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02 Sith Trials

Written by: Tuba and posted on: May 1, 2013

Verdant fire rained from the sky, searing craters into the once pristine surface of Aurora Prime.  Millions perished during the ruinous surprise attack, but the deaths of three in particular reawakened a slumbering darkness.  Jedi Hunter Pel “Tuba” Morba now relived the death of his family. 


At the time of the attack he felt only the brief terror and swift death of his wife and two daughters, but through the power of the Dark Side, Pel actually witnessed their demise as the superheated plasma lanced through their home vaporizing all within.  Their loss triggered the rage within him, leading to his current quest for power, for only mastery of the Dark Side would allow realization of his vengeance:  Pel was not content with simply killing those responsible for murdering his family, nor those who ordered or planned the attack.  Only the utter annihilation of all involved, their families, even their entire worlds would satiate his need for revenge.


Seeing the actual deaths of his family again fueled Pel’s fury even more, and he focused this rage on directing and refining the vision.  Following the turbolasers, his point of view shifted, flying through the sky into space.  The star destroyer itself was easily recognizable; it could have been a friendly craft if not for its attack on his adopted homeworld. 


Behind this particular behemoth, the battle raged.  Starfighters flashed by and winked out of existence on both sides.  The orbital defense platforms listed and burned with venting atmosphere.  The attackers knew their exact positions, emerging from hyperspace too close for random chance or typical intelligence gathering.  Only a single Golan III managed to raise its shields under the withering assault and it fell too quickly to be of any real use.  Without warning, no evacuation or effective defense was possible, and after the platforms burned, the attackers turned their attentions to the cities.


Dismissing the remainder of the battle, Pel concentrated his hatred on the star destroyer he initially observed.  Zooming toward it, he sought to penetrate the craft and observe those within, seeking to learn their identity and place of origin.  The closer his vision came to the immense craft, the slower his progress.  Pel pictured his family’s murder again, redoubling his rage.  His vision surged a bit, then stopped completely just outside the star destroyer’s hull.  Some force unknown to him shrouded the vessel and its inhabitants!


With a final gasp, Pel ceased his concentration and the vision faded.  Drenched in sweat and physically drained, he slumped from the sustained effort.  Ever since achieving the rank of Jedi Hunter, and the knowledge of Force Visions, he regularly attempted to discern the attackers’ identity.  Today was the closest he’d come to penetrating the veil surrounding the enemy fleet, but he required more knowledge and power to complete the task.  Pel allowed himself a grimace.  If he survived the day’s planned activities, knowledge and power were exactly what he would receive. 


Hours later, Pel heeded a telepathic summons and knelt before his dark master.  “What are your orders, Master?”  The hooded Sith’s holoprojection sat alone in the spacious training area aboard the Star Dreadnought Avenger, flagship of the Dark Brotherhood.  The figure observed Pel silently for a time then uttered a single command: “Survive, my apprentice.”  The holoprojection ceased and Pel rose as the room faded into darkness.  He drew his training lightsaber and activated the switch.  Igniting the blade produced the familiar snap-hiss sound, but neither the blade nor its ambient light was visible.  Calmly, Pel extended his senses to view the room directly through the Force, but that mode was occluded as well.


Fear bolted through the Sith.  As a pilot, vision was paramount to his survival.  If he could not see, he could not fight!  Whirring and rustling sounds surrounded him, adding to the burgeoning panic.  Pel flailed about with his training saber, contacting nothing, and receiving only a distant mocking laugh in response.  Fearing defeat and death, Pel stopped his frantic attempts and stood motionless.  ‘Panic is the mindkiller,’ he thought.  Reflecting on his desire for vengeance, Pel cleared his mind except for the kernel of rage within, and silently recited. 


‘Peace is a lie, there is only passion.

Through passion, I gain strength.

Through strength, I gain power.

Through power, I gain victory.

Through victory, my chains are broken.

The Force shall free me.’


Pel concentrated his rage not on the past, but on the here and now.  Instantly the previously empty room sprang into existence around him, revealing a quartet of assassin droids in front of him.  The four Uulshos Justice droids, each equipped with a variety of melee and ranged weapons, assumed a loose perimeter a few meters from Pel. 


Without waiting, the Sith struck first.  Reaching out with his free hand, he grabbed the first droid with the Force and yanked it forward onto the blade of his crimson saber.  The droid silently endured as the training blade slowly skewered its central processor.  A real lightsaber would have cleaved the droid instantly, but the reduced power of the training ‘saber could only disrupt the bipedal automaton’s delicate electronics. 


The remaining three instantly opened fire with blasters, a disruptor, and an assault slugthrower.  Pel used the skewered droid as an inhuman shield, wrenching its neuronic whip free.  The trapped droid quickly disintegrated under the combined fire so Pel knew he had to act fast.  Leaping over the fracas, he twisted in midair, avoiding the redirected fire and landed flanking the remaining droids. 


The neuronic whip lashed out at the last droid, entangling its assault slugthrower.  The droid’s armor shielded it against the whip’s powerful electric charge, but the weapon was more susceptible.  The slugthrower sparked and let out a sustained projectile blast.  With a powerful jerk, Pel brought the uncontrolled weapon into line with the other droids, instantly annihilating the second droid’s head, but the third dodged away after only losing its left arm.


The fourth droid dropped the depleted slugthrower and charged Pel with a vibroblade while the third used its remaining arm to spew accurate blaster fire.  Pel drew upon his Force vision, peering a fraction of a second into the future to intercept the bolts with his training lightsaber, deflecting them harmlessly into the wall.  A more skilled Sith could reflect blaster bolts back to their source, but Pel was not yet proficient in that technique. 


The third droid quickly flanked right to maintain a clear firing line outside of its companion’s charge.  Pel called upon the Force again, enhancing his own speed and matched the firing droid’s progress, keeping droid four between him and the deadly bolts.  He parried the vibroblade’s initial sweep, pinning the weapon, then drew his Morellian Enforcer slugthrower and shot the droid twice through the head.  The droid’s armor was no match for the large caliber projectiles.  It sputtered and fell into a sparking heap.


Seeing its companions dispatched, droid three changed tactics.  Maintaining blaster fire, it launched gas grenades, then picked up the fallen hulk of droid two as cover.  Pel’s Morellian Enforcer erupted six more times, penetrating the droid shield, and lodging in the armor of droid three.  The nerve gas quickly filled the room and Pel dropped his empty pistol, unable to reload while fending off the blaster attacks.


He recalled his earlier training and held his breath, using the Force to revitalize his oxygen-starved lungs, but Pel was quickly tiring.  The droid had no need to breathe and could keep up its assault indefinitely until the Sith’s defenses slipped or he passed out.  A quick solution was required, which the Force provided.


Pel deactivated his training ‘saber and scrambled across the room, somersaulting over the fallen droid four to retrieve a dropped grenade.  Sweating from the exertion and nearing collapse, he dropped the active grenade and put all his power into one massive telekinetic shove, sending the battle’s debris flying toward the remaining assassin.  The droid shifted fire, calmly dodging and blasting the larger pieces while ignoring those too small to damage it.  Pel was counting on this.  The cryoban grenade detonated upon contact with the droid, releasing a thick cloud of carbonite gas.  Enveloped in the intensely freezing mist, the droid stopped firing and tried to escape, but was quickly frozen in place. 


After several moments Pel walked over and struck the droid’s head with his ‘saber hilt.  The brittle frozen metal easily shattered and the battle was over.  Overhead atmosphere scrubbers roared to life, quickly evacuating the gas and smoke.  The Sith relaxed as his normal vision returned.


The holoprojector flared again, displaying his still-seated Master’s image.  Pel knelt instantly.  “Good, my apprentice.  You prevailed despite my occlusion of your normal vision.  You may now assemble your lightsaber.”  The image faded and Pel strode confidently out of the training chamber, ready to complete his last task before attaining Knighthood.

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