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A Spark in the Void





It's been four years since the events of Kotor II: The Sith Lords. The newly reformed Jedi Council sends a team of two specialists on an important top secret mission. The team is composed of Olympia, a young human female Jedi Consular remarcably skilled in the art of combat and the use of the Force who just progressed from the rank of padavan to become a full Jedi and Alex, a young human male archivist and researcher at the Jedi temple on Coruscant who is a brilliant archeologist, with extensive knowledge on ancient cultures, civilisations and dialects and a technology genius, able to adapt ancient computers and devices to work with modern technology, and to extract and decrypt the information stored within them. He has an academy graduation thesis in paleotechnology, with the title: "Ancient Information Technology Systems Adaptation and Ancient Data Decryption and Analysis", and is the inventor of the OmniTrans system, a device able to decrypt data stored within ancient computer terminals and translate the information in real time, connecting through any availlable port or even through the power source, tapping in the computer's software routines and translating the interface texts in real time to allow even an unskilled user quickly acces to the information within.

Their mission is to locate the long lost home planet of an ancient civilisation who dominated the galaxy 20,000 years before the Rakata's Infinite Empire, the very civilisation the Jedi Council's hystorians now believe has actually introduces the hyperspace technology to the galaxy.

The little and loose traces of this civilisation, called the Xeons by the Jedi researchers, were found on some now uninhabitable planets, called "dead worlds" by scientists, as their stars either went supernova or burnt out millenia ago, their atmospheres vanished and their once liquid molten metal cores solidified, roaming adrift through the galaxy. On such a dead planet archeologists found the ruins of a once great city, with once kilometre-high skycrapers now collapsed and flying crafts used for transport that once spread through the skyes, now at the bottom of a frozen ocean. The landskape somehow resebmled a deserted Coruscant, archeologists used to remark. It must have been an important city of this fallen empire. In the ruins of the skycrapers the archeologists found numerous undescyphrable writings, and also some few ancient computers and portable devices that somehow resembled a Datapad, burried deep under the rubble. They also found a spaceship which seemed mostly intact at the bottom of the frozen ocean, and using strong laser drills they bore a tunnel all the way down to it, managed to get inside it and extracted the navigation computer's core, as well as many star maps beautifully crafted on a plasticised paper-like support and the Datapad-like devices belonging to the defunct crew.

At first the Jedy archeologists, researchers and archivists were surprised by the writings of this civilisation, even the Republic's top linguists and hystorians never saw such symbols, and any attempt to apply the patterns of any contemporary or ancient language failed. They even managed to power up the ancient computer consoles and portable terminals, but nobody could interpret the strange symbols scrolling through the screen. The physical starmaps were also useless, as all the annotations were in this strange language, and extrapolating the locations of the stars and planets depicted there deemed useless, as the stars shown have long faded or collapsed, and the planets once orbiting them drifted aimlessly through the galaxy, without a star's gravitational pull to keep them in orbit. It looked like something terrible, like a galaxy-wide cataclysm turned the entire galaxy upside-down dozens of millenia ago.

The scientific community struggled more than year to dechipher the lost language with no success, until a brilliant young xenoarcheologist and paleotechnologyst named Alex, who just graduated from the Coruscant Hystory and Archeology Academy joined the team, amd was quickly remarked because his unconventional thinking and brilliant problem-solving skills. He took an ancient portable terminal, connected it to a datapad, and also linked the two to a powerful computer, which he programmed to attempt to synchronise the two datastreames from the ancient and modern console, at the same time attempting to decode the language by comapring the data-streames and finding similarities between the formulations, since in his vision all computers analised data in the same manner. After a few days he begun to see patterns, based on which he managed to decode partial formulas, by the end of the week he and the team he was leading managed to decypher the ancient alien language. The symbols were actually phonems, more like syllabs then actual letters, a written language grammar found nowhere in the galaxy.

Using the decyphered symbols, Alex managed to design an OmniTrans device able to interface with the ancient computers and instantly decode and translate the language on its screen, also taking control of the control interface through the device. He called it XenoTrans. Using it on the terminals recovered by the archeologists, in just a day he managed to find more information on this lost civilisation than all the archeologysts together managed in decades. They pulled out and translated tons of data about the Xeon Empire's hystory and culture, its spread through the galaxy, its capital planets, daily life in the Empire and many other more or less interesting details. It seemed they were a peaceful technologically advanced civilisation, most individuals were not Force-sensitive, but they researched ways to technologically and genetically intensifiy the Force strength of individuals. It seemed like a major catastrophe hit the galaxy when they were at the peak of their civilisation.

Although the particular planet where the data was collected from seemed to fall early, at the beggining of this tragedy and therefore few information about what happened were found, there were mentions of a project to preserve the Empire's best technological and cultural achievements inside an underground bunker, dug deep in the mountains on their home planet, called Xara.

Using the recovered navigation computer from the ship found in the frozen ocean, the starmap and the crew logs, they managed to correlate the information with modern starmaps, finding solar systems that still existed in the present day, but named completly different on the ancient map. The researchers were able to pinpoint the original location of the planet they found the lost city on, it seemed to be somewhere in the unexplored section of the galaxy called the Unknown Regions. They also located their home planet of Xara, which seemed to be at its original location, in the heart of the Unknown Regions.

A space probe was sent to scan the planet, but as soon as it entered its orbit its navigation systems were destroyed from the interference of the powerful radiations surroundung the system, and smashed in the thick asteroid belt surrounding the planet. The few images it managed to send back to the researchers amazed even the wisest Jedi Masters, the deserted planet seen from space was a beautiful red sphere with dark blue-green spots spreaded all over it. The entire planet was encased in billions of asteroids and space debris, floating around it, forming a net around the planet. It once was a beautiful green paradise with lakes and oceans and great cities covering its surface, and four moons orbiting it, and great starships flying from the planet to its moons amd back. The moons were smashed into asteroids along with the ships orbiting the planet, and the planet itself was deemed uninhabitable by an unknown force, that even the wisest masters and the most brilliant scientific minds could not concieve. Nobody could imagine what kind of cataclysm or weapon could produce such destruction, such a disaster. Scans of the ruined planet the drone did before crashing into the asteroids revealed a massive structure of mountains, once hosting a great city, much bigger and with taller skycrapers than the one found on the dead planet drifting through space. A massive structure seemed to dominate the city, found at the base of the mountains, looking like a temple of sorts, and most important it was preserved in an exceptional state, only less then a quarter of the massive structure was collapsed.

The Jedi Council assembled to decide what to do next, and decided to launch a top secret investigation and salvage mission to this lost planet, to find what secrets were kept inside the ancient bunker, hoping they could also find something from this advanced species to use to protect the galaxy from the re-emerging Sith menace.

The smallest and fastest ship ever made by the Corellian Shipyard, the Romina II (the Romina I was the prototipe which hyperdrive core exploded during tests because of the high instability) was outfitted with the newly developed Zero-Point Interference Device (ZPID), the most advanced cloaking technology, making the ship invisible both visually and to any radar and scanner system and the strongest shield and deflector system ever produces, stronger then that of a Republic Carrier Class ship, in order to protect the ship from the strong radiation and the dense asteroid field surrounding it. Its hull was also reinforced with a triple layered Cortosis high-density weave plus two layers of a secret military alloy, making it the most resistant structure in the galaxy, able to withstand the impact of crashing at full speed into an asteroid. It was also equiped with a supercomputer system more powerful then Czerca Corporation's main office mainframe server, linked to an array of sensors, scanners and probes meant to scan collect all data about the destination planet and its surrounding asteroid field. It was also equiped with a hyper-powerful laser system, meant for drilling into thick rock formations, but also useable as a weapon against asteroids or even Sith ships that they might encounter in their voyage.

The ship's interior had the obvious cockpit, luxurious crew corters (space wasn't an issue since the crew was only composed of two) compared to the military grade bunks, a fully equiped research lab and some sort of garage, which housed the Crawler, a prototype eyght-wheeled all-terain vehicle also capable of hovering above ground when needed, built from the same material as the ship's hull, packed with the same military-grade shields and deflector systems and powerful laser drills and an areay of sensors linked to a powerful computer system. The Crawler was intended for digging deep underground, in case the lower levels of the ancient alien bunker were collapsed.

Alex would lead the mission, as he was the obvious choice for this case, and he would be accompanied by Olympia, a beautiful young Jedi Consular skilled both in the ways of the Force and wielding a lightsaber. Olympia would be his protector in this mission, as she had been assigned Security Officer on the Romina, and also the Jedi Council's person sent to investigate whether Force-related technologies would be found on the ancient planet.

The Romina II embarks on its maiden voyage with its small but brilliant crew...






Starship Romina II

Mission Day 23

Location: Far edges of Outer Rim territories, close to Unknown Regions Border


- Hey, Alex, could you take a break from playing with those ancient datapads and take a look at the food replicator? asked Olympia

- Sure, but what's wrong with it? Replied Alex

- There seems to be something wrong with the Tarisian Burgers...either it's just me, but they seem so spicy that they would even choke a Wookie!

- Oh, I just tweeked the replicator a little...the food tasted so like plastic. (laughing)

- Well what did you put in it? I bet ten of these burgers would kill a Rancor.

- Just a drop of my secret sauce, with the main ingredient of Tatooine Peppers.

- By the Force, that is...they should be banned in the entire galaxy!

- Ok, ok, I'll tweak the menu, add the old recepie back but I'll also keep this one. Hmm, what should I call it...Alex's Burgers on fire! Hot like a 20.000 w industrial laser.

- You're a lousy chef...

"WARNING: PROXIMITY ALERT! SHIP WITH SITH HYPERSPACE SIGNATURE AT 500 PARASECS" The warning message reverbed through the entire ship.

- Damn, I thought this would be a lean ride. Quick Alex, let's head for the cockpit.

- Ok, engageing stealth mode...

- Activateing weapon system, loading laser cells...

- Actually I don't thing that will be neccesary. This is a peaceful salvage mission, we're not here to start the Second Great Hyperspace War!

- Well I'm the Security Officer, kid. My job is to protect us and this ship against all dangers, so I'm not going to stay here like a sitting duck while these Sith turn us into smoking space debris.

- You've got a point, kiddo, but look at the size of that thing...Scans indicate an unknown ship architecture, seems a destroyer class, but I've never seen anything like it! With our lasers we wouldn't be able to even scratch it...it would be like a mosquito against a Rancor!

- Well maybe we should spray it with your "secret sauce" genius, that would sure burn off those shields! (laughing)

- Nah, that would just make them hungrier...

- Laser cells fully charged, target locked. At any sign of hostility I'm readu to zap them!

- Draw your gun, tough girl! This isn't a Kath Hound hunt!

- If it would have been, I would have readied my lightsaber! (smiling)

- Sensors report they ate passing through...they haven't noticed us. Olympia, are you ok?

- I...feel...strange. (Olympia passes out)

- Olympia! Are you OK?



30 minutes later, Romina II medical deck


- Alex, where am I?

- You're ok, you need to rest. You passed out after that weird ship passed near us. I had to carry you in my arms to the med station.

- Oh how sweet (blushing)

- Do you feel better? What happened?

- I...felt a presence...like a tear in the Force. Master Soran told me when I was a Padawan that when he fought the Sith in his youth he encountered a strong Sith Lord. While fighting him he felt this very wound in the Force. He was lucky his Master was with him and helped him focus on the battle.

- Well I will allways be here for you, you can count on that! (hugs her)

- Thank You, and I will allways be here to keep you safe, and I also have a lightsaber and a cute liittle thing called The Force. (laughing, hugs him back) The two kiss passionately.

- Well I thought romanceing was forbidden by the Great Jedy Obsolete Code.

- Well the Jedi Code is NOT obsolete for sure, I live by it...but that issue about Jedis romanceing IS obsolete! Can't a girl just kiss the guy she likes there days...

- Obsolete indeed...besides, we are thousants of lightyears away from home, who knows if we come back...By the way, what do you think we will find there?

- I have no idea, maybe some paradise where servant droids do all our needs and we can just relax and have fun all day long. You tell me, you cracked their computers!

- We didn't find much data on what's inside the bunker...it could be some great superweapon capable of vapourising stars, some force-enhaceing technology to make a Jedi even out of me, the secret to immortality, many other boring stuff or even the Xeon's greatest videogames collection or a version of my secret burger sauce.

- Don't mention that sauce again! I think I know why that civilisation got extinct in this case...

- Whatever we will find there I hope it is worth the ride. Did you see the size of that Sith ship? And what weird shape it had...

- Don't remind me of that! It really creeped me out. Especially when I remember a legend master Soran told me.

- What legend?

- It was rumoured that the long dissapeared Revan mentioned of some legendary Sith living in the Unknown Regions...they are truly powerful ones, like Exar Kun! And they call themselves the True Sith. It is said that Revan found out they are preparing for a great war to take over the entire galaxy, and went alone to stop them. He has not been seen ever since.

- I know about Revan, the legendary commander and leader, he defeated Malak decades ago. It was talked about his dissapearance on all holo-networks! He left his wife and child, and dissapeared into the Unknown Regions, where we are going.

- What if we would bump into him on the way there...he could be of great help! What if he is searching for the same thing we are after?

- In this galaxy, everything is possible. Anyway, I wanted to give you something...I've been working on it since I first met you. Here, take this!

He gives her am iron box, it looks sturdy and heavy. She is surprised when she opens it.

- Wow, a Protosaber! How did you...where did you, when?

He embraces her and kisses her.

- I'm glad you like it! It took a while to get it running and I had to adapt it to work with a modern power cell. It is quite power hungry. I found it on an expedition to an anciend jedi temple that was just discovered on the bottom of what once was part of the Telos ocean. It wasn't hard for Master Soran to convince the Council to let me recondition this great weapon and give it to you, you have more them proven yourself and you truly deserve it!

- Thank You, I can't wait to try it at training tonight!

- Easy Olympia, that thing has quite the power. It will fry the training drone!



To be continued...

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