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Star Wars: The Darkness Within


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"Right," said Per'dra, "but who knows how much energy this thing has left? It is a finite being - it has to be, since by definition, it will starve once its food supply runs out. By the way, I'm ready to take off when you are." She steeled herself against a shiver.

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"It's too bad we're never that lucky. Anyway, If everyone's ready I think we should take off. I'm already getting anxious just waiting around, and they can continue their conversation on the way there if they wish."

 

Vlalkor nodded. "Agreed. Time to head to Voss. I just hope whatever this thing is doesn't manage to blast us out of the sky when we approach Voss's atmosphere."

 

He grinned. "Just a joke."

 

Vlalkor headed for the bridge and sat down in the pilot's chair and began flipping switches and hitting buttons. The Shan rumbled as the engines came online and the ship slowly began to rise into the air.

 

"Entering Hyperspace coordinates for Voss." Vlalkor said over the intercom. "It looks like it's going to be about one day's journey. You all should probably take the opportunity to rest before we arrive."

 

 

 

 

Voss

Unknown Location

 

Voleran may have fallen but I have others to finish these fools, The being thought as it sent a single command through the force. A command that echoed through the minds of the people of Voss. Whether they were republic, imperial or the native Voss.

 

Rise

 

Many of those people who heard the command looked towards the sky for a brief moment. Voleran's death had wounded the being through the force and as such he wasn't as powerful as he had once been. But he could still bring forth those who had already had contact with those he controlled. And his power was still far beyond those of nearly any force user.

 

To me.

 

Amongst the confusion that was now erupting across Voss, speeders and other vehicles sped across the surface of Voss as they helplessly obeyed the call of the dark being that now had control of them.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Light shrugged. He knew that thinking about this was only going to go around in circles, and he felt the ship take off. "I think the best plan for now is to wait until we acquire more information. We don't know many definite answers right now. The only person who might is on our ship, and I'm sure he'll share any information with us when he is ready. For now, we should focus more on what we can control. Focus our minds, mend our wounds, and prepare our weapons. That's all I can think of, at any rate."

 

 

Light saw the program was still up with good indications, so he closed it.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Varik harrumphed and left the cockpit. He could use some sleep after everything that transpired over the last few days. He entered his dormitory and threw his lightsabers into his footlocker. Closing the door, he walked up to his bed and quickly went off to sleep.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Light watched Varik leave, and figured that to be a good idea for himself as well.

 

"See you later Per'dra, I'm off to my quarters."

 

Light turned and left, heading straight to his room, he went in side, laid down, and fell asleep to the sound of the ship entering hyperspeed.

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Per'dra nodded and prepared herself for the jump to lightspeed. When it came, she almost retched because the force of the propulsion was so strong. Fortunately, Jedi are trained to resist strong reflexes as much as they're trained to use them, so there was no mess on the ship's floor to clean up. Whew! I've got to get back in shape after being unconscious for so long. Otherwise, I don't see how I can reasonably fight this threat...

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Zarev walked from room to room of the Shan as he examined the ship as it entered Hyperspace. It was going to be a day's travel to Voss and he knew that there was a good chance that they might not come back from this mission.

 

Per'dra...he thought sadly. Jedi were not allowed to love. Jedi shouldn't be allowed to love. Jedi should be allowed to love. He was confused. Very confused. He knew that he loved Per'dra. But he didn't know what to do with his feelings.

 

It may surprise you Zarev...I loved once. A woman I saved during a mission to Corellia.

 

"Master Beval?" He asked in a soft voice.

 

Love doesn't lead to the dark-side. Fear, anger, jealousy, they can lead to the dark-side but love itself does not. Follow your heart Zarev.

 

Zarev smiled and took a deep breath as he walked towards the other Jedi. "Excuse me Per'dra, may I have a word with you? In private?" He asked carefully.

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"Of course," said Per'dra just as carefully. She sensed that Zarev was struggling to hide his emotions, but what those emotions were, she could not tell. She was no Master, and even her superiors could not always pinpoint others' feelings. "Let's head for the cargo hold. No one goes back there unless they urgently need supplies. I would suggest my quarters, but..." She paused. "I don't want to sound unseemly."

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"Let's head for the cargo hold. No one goes back there unless they urgently need supplies. I would suggest my quarters, but..." She paused. "I don't want to sound unseemly."

 

"Of course." Zarev said carefully. He was trying to be careful in hiding his emotions but he had a feeling that eventually, something was going to leak through and she would be able to pick up on his feelings for her.

 

The two of them began to walk towards the cargo hold as Zarev struggled to get the words out correctly.

 

"You remember what happened on Balmorra...that thing took control of me...and...I...What you said on Balmorra was able to help me break it's control over me long enough for me to get away."

 

He turned to look at her. "You said you were beginning to fall in love with me...and I've been thinking about what you said to me that day."

 

He paused and tried to speak again. "I...I have feelings for you Per'dra. I think I always have." He said quietly as he tried to speak what his heart was telling him to say.

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Per'dra swallowed hard. "From birth, I've been trained to silence passion. 'A Jedi is not to know anger, nor hatred, nor love'." She stepped closer to Zarev, not yet daring to take his hand. "I've always understood our Order's prohibition against the first two, but the third..." She trailed off. "No one ever spoke of this, not even the Masters, but an unspoken rule of theirs is that Jedi are not to know doubt, either. They must be completely committed in their resolve to serve the galaxy, which I've always been, and I was told that love was a foolish distraction. However - the feeling is mutual. I continue to love you, Zarev."

 

There. I've said it. Is that such a crime? Must I always deny my heart?

 

"I haven't been sleeping well, and it's because I've been brooding. Not only about this threat we face, which consumes minds as easily as it consumes food or water, but about you. I've had to consider whether or not I'm willing to face the negative consequences of positive desire - meaning exile from the Jedi Order. If our superiors found out, or even one of our comrades, that would be the end of me - of us. With that said, that's a price I'll gladly pay."

 

She sighed and shook her head. "What's the point of protecting the galaxy, and all the sentient beings in it, if we're not allowed to act like fully sentient beings? Those who cannot feel the Force can still love, and I've begun to wonder if that makes love far more powerful. And hope, as well." Per'dra found the nerve to reach out and take Zarev's palm within hers. "Together, and with our brothers-in-arms at our side, we'll be able to conquer any darkness."

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"I haven't been sleeping well, and it's because I've been brooding. Not only about this threat we face, which consumes minds as easily as it consumes food or water, but about you. I've had to consider whether or not I'm willing to face the negative consequences of positive desire - meaning exile from the Jedi Order. If our superiors found out, or even one of our comrades, that would be the end of me - of us. With that said, that's a price I'll gladly pay."

 

Zarev let a small smile appear on his face. A smile that quickly grew into a larger one. A much larger one. "It's a price that I would also gladly pay." He said gently.

 

"What's the point of protecting the galaxy, and all the sentient beings in it, if we're not allowed to act like fully sentient beings? Those who cannot feel the Force can still love, and I've begun to wonder if that makes love far more powerful. And hope, as well." Per'dra found the nerve to reach out and take Zarev's palm within hers. "Together, and with our brothers-in-arms at our side, we'll be able to conquer any darkness."

 

Zarev gently took his other hand and clasped her hand within his own. "Together then." He said gently as he felt the warmth from her hands on his own. "I give you my word Per'dra. You will always hold a place in my heart. And I will always love you with all my heart no matter what."

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Corsail sat alone in the main room of the Shan, thinking about everything that had transpired. He looked up several times when Light, then Varik, passed through to get to their rooms. I wonder how everyone else is really holding up. Corsail shook his head when he realized that he was genuinely worried for their safety.

 

"Blast, I promised myself I wouldn't let this happen again." Sighing to himself, he closed his eyes and let his head rest on the wall behind him, listening to the hum of the ship while he waited for their destination to be reached.

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Per'dra inhaled slowly and carefully, afraid that someone might hear, and then leaned in to kiss Zarev. His lips were firm against hers, and yet they trembled. It was as if the ship had silenced itself for a moment to give them privacy.

 

When their four arms at last disentangled themselves from each other's bodies, Per'dra winked at her new romantic partner and then frowned. "We'd better go and see if anything else needs to be done during transit so no one will get suspicious. It could be that they already sense something's going on between us, but I won't be exiled before we vanquish the mentophage."

 

When Zarev quirked an eyebrow quizzically, she explained: "Mind-eater." With that, she turned and headed toward the main hold. She found Corsail there.

 

"Excuse me a moment," she said cautiously, "but may I ask you a question? You're not a Jedi, but that means you don't follow the teachings - or the rules - that we do. I know that you and I haven't always seen eye-to-eye, but I'd like to know: How would you go about killing something that keeps hiding?"

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"We'd better go and see if anything else needs to be done during transit so no one will get suspicious. It could be that they already sense something's going on between us, but I won't be exiled before we vanquish the mentophage."

 

Zarev nodded and smiled gently at her. The kiss they had shared had been the first and best of his life. "I agree. I'll go check with Avriela. She's been unusually quiet for some reason." he commented as he left.

 

As Per'dra turned and left he turned and took a last look at her before turning and heading over towards the far end of the ship where Avriela had taken up residence. He looked around the Shan as he walked around and marveled that the ship had stayed together as well as it had considering all that it had gone through.

 

He saw her sitting on the floor with in a meditation pose. Before Zarev could ask her anything, a small smile appeared on her face.

 

"So. How long has this little romance been going on between you and Per'dra?" She asked with a slight smirk.

 

"Wha-?" was all Zarev could say as his jaw dropped in shock. Zarev stared at her. "You...You can't tell anyone! And how did you find out?!"

 

Avriela pointed at a broken pipe that hadn't been repaired yet. It was jutting through the wall "That pipe leads to another pipe that goes through the dormitories. I heard pretty much everything."

 

Zarev shook his head. "I...Well...I repeat: You can't tell anyone. Ever."

 

Avriela's eye's remained closed. "Don't worry Zarev. I don't plan on telling anyone. What you and Per'dra choose to do is your business and I have no intention of interfering nor exposing your relationship. You're secret is safe with me."

 

Zarev shook his head and muttered under his breath as he left the smirking former sith to her meditation as he walked out of the room.

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Corsail opened his eyes and looked up as he heard someone coming towards him.

 

"Excuse me a moment," she said cautiously, "but may I ask you a question? You're not a Jedi, but that means you don't follow the teachings - or the rules - that we do. I know that you and I haven't always seen eye-to-eye, but I'd like to know: How would you go about killing something that keeps hiding?"

 

He raised an eyebrow, surprised that Per'dra was asking him for advice. "Honestly, I really don't know... It'd be different if I knew what we were facing, but the only thing we know about him is that he has incredible power." Corsail looked away, wishing he had a better answer he could give. "I apologize for not being much help.."

 

"I also have a question, about something I've heard said several times recently...the last time I heard it was today, while I was speaking to Zarev. He told me that 'everyone' deserves a chance at redemption. So I want to know, even after everything that thing has done, murdering and twisting the minds of anyone it pleases...Would you still offer it a second chance?"

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Per'dra thought for a long moment and then took a deep breath.

 

"The way I see it," she began, "if this thing really is an 'it', a force of the Dark Side that doesn't truly have a consciousness of its own, then of course not. I might as well be destroying a table or a chair, which possesses no feelings. I'd be getting rid of a harmful object, even though this is like no other object I've encountered before. Perhaps it's emanating from a planet that is incredibly strong in dark energy - Voss - or a buried archive of Sith teachings. If so, then getting rid of such a source is what we need to do, and will cause me no guilt. Ever scrapped a malfunctioning droid? It would nearly be the same thing.

 

"However, if 'it' DOES have a consciousness, then as a Jedi, it's my duty to try and probe its motivations. 'Know your enemy' has always been one of our axioms. The more we understand about those who seek to hurt us, the better chance we have of defeating it. What do we know so far about the attacking mentophage? It feeds upon minds, and it also manipulates, as it did Master Voleran. It turns sentient beings into puppets, who kill if the strings of their consciousness are pulled. If Voleran couldn't resist it, or even examine it, then that means he wasn't strong enough to do either. I'm just a Knight, and..."

 

She stepped closer to Corsail. "Does 'it' deserve a second chance, if it has a mind and will of its own? I'd say no. How will I be able to find out if it is truly repentant or not, if it wants to be redeemed? Jedi are trained to tell if someone is deceiving them, but I am not a master in this art. I'm weak, although we are trained to be strong. I could well turn into its puppet."

 

Per'dra blinked, and set her jaws tight. "That's why I'm counting on you to help me keep a clear head. Because you do not feel the Force, you may not be as susceptible to its attacks. If I can't kill it, even if I do my best to plumb its depths, then perhaps you can."

 

She gazed around the hold. "May the Order forgive me, but I want it dead."

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Light's dream was vivid and intense. He was floating through space, nearly completely unable to control his own direction. It was as if he were little more than an object. Then he saw it....

 

A large spider, whose webs stretched across the galaxy. And he was on a direct course for the center, where the spider was constantly spewing more web. He watched as it continued spraying, drawing closer and closer. Then, ever so suddenly, it turned towards him and shot it's web. He awoke to the image of a mass of web in his face, with a cold sweat down his back.

 

That cannot be our fate. I won't let it.

 

He found the need to be clean to be pressing, so he locked his door, and washed himself with a rag and some water from one of the containers in his room. He dressed himself once more, including his weapons, before walking out of his room and towards the sound of the nearest conversation.

 

...but I want it dead.

 

"That may well be the only option. Were that it could be turned to the light, with the amount of power it has... It could inspire the next golden age for the Republic, the Sith, or both. But alas, the threat must be ended as quickly as it can be, else we will be to blame for any more lives lost, and be more likely to succumb to its power."

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Per'dra blinked, and set her jaws tight. "That's why I'm counting on you to help me keep a clear head. Because you do not feel the Force, you may not be as susceptible to its attacks. If I can't kill it, even if I do my best to plumb its depths, then perhaps you can." "May the Order forgive me, but I want it dead."

 

"But I can feel the Force, Per'dra. Although my connection is slightly weaker then yours, I have the ability to use the force just like any other jedi, I've just never been trained..."

 

Corsail stood up and let out a brief sigh of frustration. "Unfortunately that makes me just as vulnerable to this thing's control as the rest of you...But whether it gets in my mind or not, one thing I can promise you is that I'll do everything within my power to make sure it ends up dead." Seeing Light approaching them he stopped and greeted him.

 

"That may well be the only option. Were that it could be turned to the light, with the amount of power it has... It could inspire the next golden age for the Republic, the Sith, or both. But alas, the threat must be ended as quickly as it can be, else we will be to blame for any more lives lost, and be more likely to succumb to its power."

 

Corsail nodded. "You won't get any argument from me, there honestly is no alternative option in my opinion. But what about Zarev? He is technically the leader of this mission, what do you think he'll do when the time comes?"

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"Zarev almost gave his life for - our sake," Per'dra replied, the slight hesitation being that she had to bite her tongue to keep from saying my sake. "He would do the same again, in order to vanquish the mentophage for good. What I don't know is if he would try and turn it, whatever its essence, to the Light."

 

Where was the doubt? Where was the uncertainty in her mind? The young Jedi was a bit startled to realize that at this point, there was none. She was absolutely convinced of her new partner's loyalty and dedication, and that was a first. Even as a Youngling, she'd had doubts about the Order and its Code, with all that followed. Could it be that love erased such emotions, leading to folly? Maybe that was what her Masters had truly meant when they warned against it.

 

"Even if he does try and reason with the entity, Zarev won't let it harm us."

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((One day time skip incoming after everyone posts.))

 

"He would do the same again, in order to vanquish the mentophage for good. What I don't know is if he would try and turn it, whatever its essence, to the Light."

 

Zarev listened as he walked into the room and shook his head. "I don't know. I don't know if this thing will even give me a chance to try and turn it. But if it does I will try."

 

"Even if he does try and reason with the entity, Zarev won't let it harm us."

 

Zarev looked at both Corsail and Per'dra. "I will do my best to make sure that everyone comes back from this mission alive. But One way or another, this entity will be stopped. When I nearly died on Balmorra I was able to communicate with my deceased master. He told me that this entity is waging a war both here and through the force itself. I plan on reading up on encounters that Jedi have had with Dark-side entities. There has to be something in there that can help us."

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  • 7 months later...

"It seems that it would be wisest to prepare, but I'll leave the books to you. I'll start making repairs on our weapons, and someone should prepare supply packs for everyone. Let me know if you to have something fixed."

 

Light began gathering weapons in preparation for this task, going around the ship, and asking the others.

 

Everything we do right from this point on, is a step away from our defeat. Everything we do wrong, a step closer. Hopefully, we are not too close to the edge when the time for conflict comes.

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"Wasn't there something about...?" Silence. Darkness. Betrayal. A wound in the Force. "There was once a planet called Malachor V, and its essence was preying upon Force users. It was a breach in the fabric of the Force itself, a hole in the continuity of the living energy that surrounds all of us. A Sith Lord by the name of Darth Traya was using this planet to fuel her own powers - namely, a vampiric tendency. She formed a powerful bond with the Jedi Exile, whom she trained, but at the moment of Traya's death and defeat, this bond was broken."

 

Per'dra raised an eyebrow. "Could the mentophage be operating upon the same basic principle -and improving it with every mind that it 'eats'?"

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((Finally got my home computer hooked up to the internet! :D))

 

((EDIT: Never mind. about to lose my connection again :())

 

"Could the mentophage be operating upon the same basic principle -and improving it with every mind that it 'eats'?"

 

Zarev shook his head. "I don't think so. Whatever this thing is it seems to infect others by contact. Someone must have ran into it at some point and it took control and began spreading it's influence across the galaxy. If it can dominate minds like that it must have already been extremely powerful."

 

He looked over at Per'dra for a moment. "Is it possible that this thing is somehow feeding off the force itself and growing stronger and stronger the more it feeds? It could have discovered some sort of way to drain the force itself and feed off it. Whatever the case, we need to rest. We have a day until we arrive at Voss and I suggest we rest and get ready for the battle to come."

Edited by Chevron 7 locke
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  • 2 weeks later...

"All right." Per'dra headed off to her quarters, but not without casting a glance back at Zarev. Jedi or no, her gaze said, this could be our very last time. You nearly died once, and I'm not about to let it happen again, but...

 

Did anyone else see or hear? Could they read her thoughts? If so, she was lost, but then again, wouldn't she be if she perished in battle?

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