The Sith Empress
by AJ Marks
Jessica and Gaia made their way to a small area outside the temple, secluded enough to have a private conversation. This is what they wanted, a private area for this conversation between them.
“So, what happened?” Gaia asked after sitting for a few minutes.
“It seemed that my trusted second betrayed me. He had been with me the longest and planned this revolt,” Jessica replied. “At least he did in the Sith way.”
“The Sith way?” Gaia asked trying to understand. She knew little of the Sith.
“Its like this, the strongest are not always on top, that’s a misconception of the Jedi,” Jessica replied. “Its who is the best, most cunning and powerful. He hide that side of him from me very well, that ambition. He picked his time well, and organized his supporters well and when the time was right, attacked. The ship never had a chance to fight back.”
“All those people,” Gaia said saddened by it all. “They were killed just so he could get on top?”
“That’s the Sith way. We find a person’s weakness and use that against them,” Jessica replied.
“What about me?” Gaia asked, knowing she had been a prisoner yet Jessica had saved her.
“I had ordered the captain to do anything he could when a hit knocked you out. I knew no one would concern themselves with you, but I could leave you there,” Jessica said.
“My big, bad Sith Lord has a weak spot for me,” Gaia said with a smile, it felt nice having someone be concerned with her like that.
“Yea, well, I carried you to the escape pod, placed you in there and pulled the launch button,” Jessica said.
“Why didn’t you come with me?” Gaia asked, the question she pondered the most.
“I couldn’t abandon my men. I may be a Sith Lord, I may be ruthless, but I protect those who are loyal,” Jessica replied. Somehow the answer made sense to Gaia as she continued. “It is the strongest survive, but we don’t toss away a life like that. Loyal men are those who will do anything for you later on.”
“And how did you get off the ship?” Gaia asked. “I saw it explode.”
“After I pushed the ejection of your pod I started to head to the bridge,” Jessica replied. “But there was a large explosion on board and I felt the ship breaking up. Knowing there wasn’t a lot of time left I dragged several crewmen into the nearest escape pod and left the ship.”
“Then what happened?”
“We landed on the nearby planet, probably the same one as you. I gathered up a few loyal men who survived, but Tyi had his troops looking for me,” Jessica said. “Tyi made his mistake here, he showed little loyalty to others, and the men I had saved were now very loyal. With their help I remained out of sight, and gathered information though them, learning who had tried to have me killed. I also learned how he let you go.”
“I thought it was too easy to get on board a transport and leave,” Gaia said.
“He gave orders to let you go,” Jessica said. “Probably thought he would take care of you all when he attacked Yavin IV. It took him longer than I expected to gain control as other groups viewed my downfall as a way to gain control.”
“The civil war, we kept an eye on that knowing once it was over they would attack,” Gaia stated recalling the reports.
“Yeah, predictable to the end,” Jessica said. “He know nothing of remaining in the shadows when it comes to such missions. I knew enough to keep the Republic confused before I was ready, and they were not ready.”
Gaia realized she already knew that, Jessica had pretty much told her that when she was a prisoner.
“Once I knew his plans I stowed away with some help, the rest of my men carried out the rest of my plan to end this threat,” Jessica said. “They went and destroyed other key instillations before heading back to their home, or where ever they wished to go.”
“You let them go?”
“My Empire wasn’t going to happen with that group,” Jessica replied. “And I wanted to check up on a certain Jedi first.”
“Really?” Gaia said looking over at Jessica, her voice almost a squeak. After a few seconds she looked back out and leaned against Jessica. “I think that’s the nicest thing you’ve said to me.”
“I did do all that to save you, had to make sure,” Jessica replied.
“You would have found someone broken, morning for you,” Gaia replied honestly seeing the shocked face. “I think somewhere along the way I feel in love with you, I know, crazy right?”
“Not really, I think I did the same,” Jessica replied. They were quiet for several seconds as each basked in what the other said. “I did some awful things to you.”
“That was Darth Rizon, not Jessica,” Gaia said. “It did hurt, but I also realized I can’t let you go again. When I thought you were dead, I didn’t want to live either.”
“I understand, I saw you shot, thought you were dead,” Jessica said pausing a bit. “I completely lost control.”
Gaia considered the situation and realized that was how Jessica was. Her strength was her anger, that dark side of her. If Gaia was to accept Jessica she had to accept that part of her as well. Otherwise she wouldn’t have a complete person with her, she would change her for into something she wasn’t.
“So, now what for the Sth Lord?”
“She retires,” Jessica said. “There are other things I’d rather be doing, spending time with.”
“I get the feeling this won’t be easy,” Gaia said.
Gaia knew where ever Jessica would go, she would go with her. Now she would have to inform Master Skywalker of this decision and hoped he understood better than she did.
Fie-Tel looked on watching as Gaia was making her way back with the dark-harked woman back to the temple as he looked over at the others.
“Well, they’re coming back,” he said to them. “Any clues to who she is?”
“She told us some things,’ Luke replied back to him. “But, I fear we’re about to lose a Jedi for now.”
“What do you mean?” Fie-Tel asked, unsure about what he meant.
“He means when Jessica leaves Gaia will be going with her,” Kyle stated from where he sat.
“Much like you did,” Luke replied looking over at Kyle.
“You think she’ll leave the Jedi Order?” Fie-Tel asked uneasy with such a decision. He had devoted his life to the order and to see it tossed away wasn’t something he enjoyed seeing. He had worked too hard with Gaia to see her quite like this and hoped Luke was wrong in his perception.
“Yes, sometimes you have to let things happen like this in order so people may find themselves again,” Luke replied back. “I have a feeling that one day she will return.”
“Like what you did with me,” Kyle stated as Fie-Tel recalled that whole incident. “You never gave up on me even when I did.”
“You were going through a lot and had to come to terms with who you were and your feelings with Jan,” Luke replied back to him. “It was a lot to sort out which is why I wasn’t surprised when you came back. It was how, especially with Desann forcing the issue.”
“I was in a rush to regain my powers,” Kyle replied recalling that he used the Valley of the Jedi to regain his powers. And that act had set in motion a range of events leading up to them watching Gaia walking towards her with a woman who tried to take over the galaxy.
“Are you sure about this Master Skywalker?” Fie’Tel replied. He wanted some sort of reassurance.
“One can never be sure, but if we want Gaia to remain, we must set her free,” Luke replied watching as the two continued to walk towards them.
Gaia made her way alongside Jessica as they headed towards Master Skywalker. She could ask for some time away from the order to sort out some things in her life. She needed the time and space to sort out her feeling for Jessica and figure out who they were together.
They entered the room and saw Luke was in the room along with Kyle and Fie-Tel standing there almost waiting for them. She approached them as Jessica hung back a bit.
“Master Skywalker, there is something I need to talk to you about,” Gaia finally said looking at him instead of the others.
“You know you can discuss anything with me Gaia,” Luke replied startling Gaia a bit, she had not expected him to be so open already and wondered if he somehow knew what she was going to say.
“I need to leave the order for a while. I need to figure out some things, like who I am,” she said to them. She looked at Luke, then over at Kyle and Fie-Tel. Of them all only Fie-Tel seemed disappointed in her statement while the other two seemed thoughtful and accepting.
“I understand,” Luke said shocking Gaia with that. She had expected some talk about how you don’t leave the order, or something like that. She figured at least one would try to change her mind.
“You are not the first one to undergo such personal problems,” Kyle said and she figured he had some personal experience with such things. She knew he had left the order for a while and came back. She still didn’t know the entire story but it seemed to be similar to her own.
“The Jedi Order in the past would have frowned upon such things, but the new order is still learning and making changes to prevent past mistakes. I have come to understand that we are only people with feelings and require time away. Some come back better than when they left,” Luke said looking over at Kyle and Gaia knew he had undergone something similar.
“I had turned by my back on the Jedi, had a lot of personal problems. It wasn’t until Desann forced me to make a decision that I really came back and became focused on who I was,” Kyle said.
“I have a feeling our paths will cross again,” Luke said.
“So do I,” Jessica said speaking up.
“Things will work out,” Luke said to her.
“Thank you Master Skywalker, I will remember everything you’ve taught me and make you proud,” Gaia said.
“If you follow your heart, you will always do well,” Fie-Tel replied.
Gaia smiled knowing that following her heart had been the best for her, even when faced with a Sith Lord.
With that she made her way back out and headed to pack.
Fie-Tel watched her leave the room along with the dark-haired woman. He still wasn’t sure about this, he had pledged his life to the order, not to turn his back on it.
“You still disagree,” Luke said looking at him.
“Yes, there are traditions which should be respected,” Fie-Tel said.
“But we should also learn from the past, so we don’t repeat those same mistakes. Some of those led to the rise of the Emperor and Darth Vader and then finally the Purge. We must build a new foundation for the Jedi and merge the new and old,” Luke said to him.
“I hope so,” Fie-Tel said, still unsure.
“I’m sure it’ll work out, it might take a while, but I think they’ll be back,” Kyle said. “Gaia had a good head on her shoulders, and Jessica, I think she needs to figure out who she is now.”
“You mean and not be a Sith Lord,” Luke said.
“Yeah,” Kyle said.
“You trust her?” Fie-Tel asked. “She is deceptive.”
“I trust Gaia,” Luke replied without hesitation.
And with that Fie-Tel knew what happened to the two of them would be up to Gaia and hoped she was strong enough.
End part 32