Jedi Bri Meets Sith Xara
by AJ Marks
The place was unknown to her as she looked around the dark area. There was hardly any light to make out the nearby shapes. She could feel death near by, the stench was almost overwhelming her. The smell of smoke from extinguished fires mixed with the present death smell making her feel sick. Her senses were overwhelmed by everything.
She tried to think about how she got there. The last thing that she could remember was going to bed in her apartment. What could have happened that she would be here? There was no explosion, or real sound that woke her up, but she knew that something did and now she was surrounded by all of this death and destruction.
She got to her feet to slowly walked around to see if she could find out what happened. She stumbled over a body nearby but could not make out the features of the man’s face. His clothes gave him away as a civilian, not a Jedi. She tried to extend her senses but found that they were blocked by something. Something dark was blocking it, and it was getting closer to her.
She reached down to her lightsaber and found that she still had that with her. She did not ignite the weapon, as the light given off by the weapon would give whoever was out there an advantage over her.
She tried to find a wall where she would have some protection behind her, but the room seemed to be very big. Almost behind her she heard the familiar click-hiss sound of a lightsaber coming to life. Whirling around with her own saber drawn she met the red saber as it headed for her head, only to be block by her own green saber.
She glanced at her attacker, and could make out the eyes, a pure blue, that at that moment were ice cold.
Bri Lighter started awake from her dream. Her heart was pounding so hard that she thought it might jump out of her chest and she was covered with sweat. She hated that dream for more than one reason, it was not the fear that woke her up, but a connection of loneliness and hatred in the blue eyes that did.
Knowing that sleep would be impossible after the dream Bri went down to the meditation chamber to meditate to see if perhaps this time she would receive some guidance from the Force about her dreams. For as long as se could remember those eyes had haunted her, the color of them she would not soon forget. Getting up out of her bed she quickly stretched her small frame, and ran a hand through her long strawberry hair. Grabbing her Jedi robe and quickly putting it on she made her way down to the chamber from her quarters.
“Bri, what troubles you?” A kind voice said interrupting her thoughts, she knew who it was by the voice even before she turned around
“Master Yoda, I was just on my way down to the meditation chamber.” She replied to the small figure who had been her teacher before she had become a Jedi Knight. She knew that he was aware of her dreams and the push that made her one of the best Jedi negotiators in the realm.
“Another dream again little one.” Yoda said to his former pupil. She was one of the brightest he had ever seen. Quick to learn, and always tried to talk first, using her lightsaber only as a last resort, not that she was not skilled with it, she was one of the best he had ever trained. She just did not like to use it. He had learned that she hated to kill anything, and that nightmares plagued the young woman. It was the one area that he could never reach, like it was blocked from everyone, including her.
“How was your two hundredth and fifth birthday?” She asked not wanting to talk about her dreams.
“Good it was, sorry I was that you were not there.” Yoda said knowing that she did not get out much. Yoda knew that a Jedi must be committed to the cause, but even a Jedi needs rest to replenish their strength.
“I just got back from Alderaan.” She replied knowing that he also knew it. He had kept an eye on her for a long time, ever since she had first arrived at the Jedi Temple when she was an infant. She had never learned who her parents were, they had been killed in a mining accident. She had been brought in with her parents. Master Yoda happened to be in the hospital at the same time tending to some injuries of his padiwan at the time. He had noticed the Force in her even then and had made arrangements for her to be taken to the Jedi Temple for training. Ever since he had been a father figure to her.
“When you find out, talk to me you will?” Yoda asked her.
“Yes Master.” She replied then they each went their own ways.
She entered the chamber and set about a deep meditation looking in the Force to guide her to understand the dream and the blue eyes.
Yoda watched as she left and shook his head. She was one of his brightest pupils, and was one of the most skilled negotiators he had ever run across, and he had even learned a few things from her. He did feel that there was a part of her that was missing, and until she found it, she would never reach her full potential powers. He had seen the tired lines on her face and knew that he must talk to the council, otherwise they would send her out on another mission, one that she was not ready for.
Master Yoda entered the Jedi council room and waited for the eldest to speak.
“Master Yoda, what troubles you?” Master Aqat asked the small Jedi in their midst. Aqat knew that this Jedi was destined for great things and his abilities in the force impressed him greatly.
“Master Aqat.” Yoda said bowing to the council. “Concerned I am about a former pupil of mine. Jedi Knight Bri Lighter.” Yoda told them.
“Yes, Master Yoda, she is one of our best Jedi.” One of the members said. “I was not aware that something was wrong?” He questioned wanting more information.
“Rest she refuses and too hard she pushes herself, even for a Jedi.” Yoda said to the council.
“Master Yoda is right, it is time for her to get some rest, before she fails an assignment.” Aqat said to the council. They had been using the young talented Jedi in some of their hardest missions because of her abilities to resolve matters peacefully. “Bring her before the council, she will be ordered on vacation.”
“Thank you Master Aqat.” Yoda said with a bow before leaving the room.
The other members looked at Aqat after Yoda left waiting for an explanation. They almost never told a Jedi when to rest unless it was for their own good, such as Bri.
“Jedi Bri has been working non-stop since her title of Jedi Knight was bestowed on her, and that was eight years ago.” He told the council who looked a bit shocked and realized why he was doing this.
The tall woman waited at the bar counter for her contact. She was dressed in a form fitting black suit that hugged her body leaving nothing to the imagination underneath a black robe. Her piercing blue eyes roamed over the bar looking for someone. So far all she had received were invitations to dance or rude suggestions that she calmly ignored. The last guy she almost killed on the spot. A smile came to her lips as she thought of different ways to kill the next person, but then realized that she did not want trouble.
Another one came up to her and she could tell what he was looking at by the lustful look in the man’s eyes, but one look in her eyes and he knew that his usual tactics in getting women would not work on this dark haired beauty. He quickly backed off leaving her alone with her drink. She silently sighed as the man left, he had been more interested in her breasts than her.
A small older man came up and sat down in the chair beside her.
“You’re late.” She said coldly to the man.
“Had to get rid of some followers, unless you wanted me to bring them here.” The man said with a raspy voice.
“Do you have it or not?” The woman said finally.
“Yeah, yeah.” He said reaching into his pocket to retrieve a data stick. “Everything you need to know is right here.”
“Be in touch.” The woman said snatching the stick and after putting it in her pocket left the bar.
The man swallowed his fear after she left, for a second he thought that she would see through his lie. He had just forgotten to leave early enough. He let out a breath and quickly drained his drink that the bartender gave him then walked out of the bar.
He walked quickly down a few roads and through a couple of shortcuts to get home quickly. He made one turn and found himself face to face with the devil himself, or so he thought until he hear its voice.
“I don’t like being lied to.” The woman’s voice said chilling the man to the bone as a lightsaber blade came to life quickly cutting the man in two.
“Consider that you severance pay.” The woman said as she put her saber away and quickly left the scene. She knew that he had lied, but the information on the stick was over a week old and was no good to her now, the man had lost his usefulness to her and therefore was eliminated.
Her client was getting impatient and she needed the money, and her boss was also getting impatient with her, not a good combination. She was part of a secret dark Jedi organization, the Sith, that was waiting for the time when the Sith would take their revenge on the Jedi. A Sith Lord who was very cruel controlled them, and he had his eyes on her, she was usually very good, which was why she had this assignment. Others had failed and the organization was in danger of being discovered if the operation was not completed quickly.
Xara had discovered that the hardest thing about this mission was information, or lack of information. No one seemed to have up to date information of the target. The latest information had the man on Alderaan, but that was a week ago.
She sighed and went to her hotel to catch up on her sleep. As she walked into the lobby she managed to catch a glance of her target on the television. He was headed right for her. A smile formed on her lips as she now had the information she needed.
She quickly contacted her master and relayed the information. He was glad that she had the information she needed and that the mission would be over quickly.
Bri walked into the Jedi council room to meet with the council wondering what she had done recently. There was nothing that she could remember doing wrong so she would just have to find out.
“Master Bri, thank you for coming.” Master Aqat said.
“Honored Council.” She replied bowing to them waiting for what they were about to say.
“It had come to our attention that you have not rested in over eight years.” He said and she looked a bit shocked. She had not known that they would have kept track of that.
“I do not require rest master.” She replied to the council.
“Maybe not, but rest you will get. The council is ordering you to a months rest, with pay.” The Jedi Master said.
Bri knew that there was no way that she could decline an order from the council, and that she would be on vacation for a month. “Yes master.” She replied with a bow.
“Your vacation is to take place immediately.” Aqat said watching her face. “I don’t want to see you working on someone else’s mission, alright.” He said the last part pointing a finger at her and they both knew what he was talking about.
“Yes master.” Bri said with a sigh of defeat. They had seen right through her, now everyone would be alerted to her forced vacation.
“Good, now get some rest.” He told her having seen the bags under her eyes and the tired expression in her green eyes. Her small compact body also looked like it was suffering from fatigue. They had been driving her too hard lately and he felt guilty. He had decided to extend her vacation from the two weeks that they had decided on to a month after seeing her in the room.
Bri walked out of the council room not really sure as to what she was going to do now. She had never been on vacation before. Master Yoda had taken a few vacations while training her, but usually it was only a couple of days, or at most a week. Then she really realized that she had not taken a day off in a long time and that Master Aqat was right. She was going to burn herself out without some rest time, but where to go on her vacation. She decided to seek out Master Yoda again for council.
She found the energetic Jedi with his padawan in the hanger area. Yoda saw her coming and realized what had happened by her body language. He was able to see the indecisiveness in her body movements.
“The council has order me to go on vacation for a month, and now I don’t know where to go?” Bri said to her teacher. “I was hoping that you would have a suggestion.” She said with a slight bow to Yoda.
“The planet Naboo has some wonderful places to rest and regroup. Places that are isolated and off the path. There are also wonderful areas to meditate, I have gone there several times to be surrounded by beauty.” Yoda said to his former padawan.
“Thank you master.” Bri making her way to the local library to see what type of places that Naboo had that were out of the way.
She waited quietly in the darkness of the shadows. Her target would be approaching soon. He was a powerful leader of a large corporate business that refused to pay money to her Lord. She was to make sure that he would regret his mistake. She was to kill the man, and she knew that the rest of the company would fall in line. This was how they made their money, and she was good at it.
She had tied her long black hair in a ponytail so that it would not in her way. She could hear the footsteps of her target and knew that he would be coming soon. A key was put into the lock in the door she waited for a second until the door swung open.
She waited until the door had closed as she pulled the mask over her head and reached for her lightsaber. She saw that there were six men, three guards, two insignificant people and her target. They never heard her until her lightsaber came to life.
She moved quickly and took out two of the closest guards, cutting them in half within seconds. Her target had a terrified look in his eyes as she cut his head off. His head bounced a couple of times as it rolled to a stop in front of one of the others who looked like he was about to throw up.
The other guard had his blaster out, but was too terrified to fire. A quick flick of her wrist and the blaster was snatched out of the man’s hands and into hers. She calmly walked up to the one who seemed to be the least terrified.
“Make sure that you buddies know what happened to him, if they don’t comply the same thing will happen to them.” She said lifting the red lightsaber to where the tip was just under the man’s chin.
The man strained out a yes, not wanting to move for fear that he would get cut, or worse. The dark assassin then backed out of the room and left the three remaining men alone in the room still quaking in their fear.
Xara walked into her hotel room several minutes later and let her boss know that the mission was a success, and that he was now dead. Her boss told her that it was good work, and to report to Naboo until the heat died down from her latest mission.
She knew that it was more like a forced vacation as no one had seen her face, and it was not on any video. She had made sure that she had disconnected any recording device before starting. It was there way of rewarding successful work, and her bank account would have a significant deposit made before she reached Naboo.
Sighing she stripped out of her clothes and went to the shower to wash away the grim form the attack. Even though a lightsaber left little blood, there was always a little bit that escaped and she always felt like it hit her, even though chances were nothing even got on her. She luxuriated in the feel of the water on her skin, almost as if it was washing away all of the blood on her hands.
Grabbing a towel she dried herself off and went to work on her lightsaber, making sure that it was operating at the highest level it could. It was the one possession she had that cost was not an object with. If it needed repair she bought the best material possible. It was her only friend she ever had, and had never let her down yet.
After cleaning and running it through a few quick drills she was satisfied with it and turned in. It took her a few minutes before she was able to fall asleep, and she wondered if she would dream tonight.
Bri walked off the transport in to the fresh air of Naboo. It was different than Coruscant, with all of its industry all over the planet. There were many air converters and most often the air smelled as though it was recycled once too often. This air she could smell the water, something that always seemed to calm her, and ancient deeper calmness that she could never explain.
Grabbing her small pack, which contained her few possessions, mostly clothing, but a few personal items from gracious people that she had helped she set out to find a cab to take her to the country side. She had read about a small lake that was out of the way, and a small local hotel that was on the lakeshore, one that was well known among the Jedi.
“Ma’am, you are headed to Pristine Lake are you not?” A small man said coming up to her.
“Yes I am.” Bri said wondering how the man knew that the lake was her destination. He saw the look in her eyes and continued.
“You are a Jedi, they almost always go there.” He replied opening his door to his cab, which she noticed had the lake’s name on the side.
She got into the cab and he started to head for the lake.
“The owner will be happy to see a Jedi, its been about a month since we had one there.” The cab driver said. “I usually keep an eye out for any Jedi, they usually arrive from Coruscant, so it’s easy to see where they come in.” He rambled on.
“Oh yes, we’ve had quiet a few, apparently they like the peacefulness of the lake. My name is Darrin.” The cab driver said.
“Bri.” She replied back to Darrin.
“So, are you a Jedi Master, or a Knight? I doubt you’re a padawan, they usually don’t come here unless it’s with their master.” Darrin said making conversation with the young woman in his back seat. If she had not been a Jedi he would have tried to ask her out.
“Jedi Knight, I haven’t wanted a Padawan.” Bri replied feeling at ease with the man. He was honestly curious about everything, like most cab drivers she had encountered. “I’m on vacation for a couple of weeks.”
“You must have not had a vacation for a while, wait a minute, the Jedi Knight Bri Lighter?” He asked as his mind registered who was in his cab.
Bri blushed a bit when she realized he who she was. “Yes, that’s me.” She confirmed.
“Wow!” He said with childlike enthusiasm making her blush even more. “Master Yoda talks about you quiet a bit. Man, the others won’t believe who I have in my cab, they’ll be so jealous.”
I wonder what he has told them. Bri thought to herself trying to get rid of the blush on her face whole also wondering how much longer it would be until they arrived at the lodge.
“Here we are.” Darrin said a couple of minutes later as he pulled the cab up to a gorgeous old time house that overlooked the lake.
Bri got out of the cab and made her way inside the building to where the front desk was located. The older man standing behind the desk looked a bit familiar to her, but she could not place the face. His hair was white from age and there were a few wrinkles around his eyes and mouth that crinkled when he smiled.
“Jedi Bri Lighter.” The man said surprising her that he knew her name. The confusion showed on her face. “You don’t remember me, Jason Uly, I owe my life to you and Master Yoda for the Ilderian incident.”
Bri’s mind clicked as to where she had seen the man. It had been one of her fist assignments with Master Yoda almost seventeen years ago. “Jason, I didn’t recognize you.” Bri said finally giving the man a hug. Jason had gotten himself involved with an evil crime lord who had taken his two children as hostages, but with the help of Master Yoda and his padawan Bri they had foiled the crime lord’s plot and put the man away for a long time.
“Master Yoda has told me quite a bit about you with his time here.” Jason said ringing the bell on the countertop. Shortly a young bellhop appeared. “Take my guest here to room 6A.” He told the man who asked Bri to follow him.
“I’ll see you later.” Bri said allowing the man to lead her to her room. It was on the upper level of the house as the man opened the door for her. She walked into the room and stopped at the sight. It was an off white room with lots of space. In one corner facing the lake was a meditation stool, on the other side was a comfortable looking bed, and plenty of space to move around and practice. The whole room appeared to be set up for Jedi.
“You must be a Jedi.” The man said as he put her things down on the Chester drawers. “Only Jedi are given this room, otherwise its unoccupied.” He told her.
“Yes I am.” She said taking off her light blue robe and allowing the man to see her lightsaber underneath.
“If you require anything, all you have to do is call down.” The man said leaving her alone in the room.
Bri walked over to the bed and fell onto it. The softness of it surrounded her making her feel like she was floating on air. She might have been a Jedi, but she still occasionally liked to indulged in the finer things in life and pampering her body. Taking off her normal clothes she put on a simple tunic and shorts and went out on the balcony and just sat down and enjoyed the sights before her.
Xara made her way down to the lake shore near where she was staying. So far very few people had asked her about what she did for a living, which was fine to her. The fewer people who asked about who she was, the more she was able to relax. So far she had been there for almost a week, and she was beginning to get edgy. She was ready for her next mission.
The thought had just rolled through her head when she noticed the beautiful young strawberry blond jogging the opposite way she was. As they approached each other Xara took the opportunity to check out the young woman. The strawberry blond had on a form fitting sleeveless shirt, and a pair of short shorts. Her arms and legs were muscular, but not overly so, just enough to allow Xara to see that there was strength in the small compact body.
As they neared each other Xara was able to see more details about the young woman. She had a wonderfully shaped body, perfect curves. Xara wondered if she would be able to bed this fine woman. Her thoughts quickly headed south as she noticed that the young woman’s shirt was practically see through from the sweat the woman had worked up on her run as her nipples were visible through the shirt and a pleasant sensation worked its way down her spine.
Xara smiled at the young woman as they passed each other and noticed something she was not expecting to see.
Bri had watched as the woman she was closing in on checked her out. She knew that this shirt was not the best one to run with, but it was her only clean shirt today. The woman in front of her was beautiful, that was for sure. Her tall frame, black hair, and figure made her seem powerful in Bri’s eyes. However it was the eyes that captured her attention as they passed. They were a blue like she had only seen in her dreams and she suddenly stopped and looked back.
Xara noticed that her mysterious enchantress had stopped so Xara turned around to make sure that they young woman was all right.
“Are you alright miss?” Xara asked when she noticed that the young woman was staring at her eyes.
“Ah, yes thanks.” Bri murmured a bit embarrassed at having been caught staring at the woman. She had never had such feelings and it was overwhelming her. The eyes were definitely out of her dream.
“My name’s Xara.” She said extending her hand.
“Bri.” Bri replied shaking the woman’s hand feeling a connection with this woman in front of her.
“So, Bri, do you live around here?” Xara asked when Bri showed no signs of talking or releasing her hand.
That shook Bri out of her shell and she quickly let go of the woman’s hand. “No, I’m on vacation.” She replied slightly embarrassed that she had been caught staring.
“Me too.” Xara replied then before she could stop herself she continued. “Would you like to have dinner?”
Bri went into shock for a few seconds as her mind registered what the beautiful woman in front of her had just asked. She quickly wondered if her response was wise even as she accepted the offer.
“Great, where are you staying?” Xara asked before pointing to where she was staying. “I’m over there, at the Paradise Lodge.”
“Oh, I’m over there, the Heaven on the Lake Lodge.” Bri replied back to the woman.
“How about I pick you up at six.” Xara offered pleased when the young woman accepted the offer. “Great, see you in a little bit, and the place I have in mind is casual.” Xara said as they both walked back to their rooms to change for the evening.
Xara wondered what she should wear. The place she had in mind was perfect for her limited wardrobe. She chose a black top with matching shorts. She noticed that she was actually nervous about meeting Bri and wondered what it was about the small woman that made her nervous. The young woman would probably run the other way if she found out what Xara did for a living, after all, telling someone that you work for the Sith is not something that everyone hears about or accepts.
Bri meanwhile was having a hard time figuring out what to wear. Most of what she had was workout clothing, not something to meet someone in. She decided that a pair of shorts and her best shirt would work. Xara probably thought that she was rich or something by where she was staying. The owner, Jason, allowed Jedi to stay for free for saving his life, even though most paid for a bit anyways. Karen would be shocked to find out that she was actually a Jedi Knight and any thoughts of friendship might go out the window.
Bri waited patiently as she watched Xara walk up to the lodge that she was staying at. Xara walked up to her and asked if she was ready, to which Bri nodded her head and the two of them walked off together towards a small restaurant located not far away.
Bri had not been in this restaurant before, although it was a place she had wanted to try. It had a nice hometown atmosphere along with local dishes for tourists to try.
“So, Bri, what do you do for a living?” Xara asked wanting to learn more about the young woman in front of her.
“I’m a free-lance negotiator.” Bri replied not reveling her true job, although it was close. “What about you, what do you do?” Bri asked right back.
“I’m a bounty hunter.” Xara replied knowing that it would be the closest without lying to the young woman.
“I’m surprised that we haven’t met before.” Bri said watching Xara’s face.
“No, I usually work in the shadows.” Xara replied her voice sending a wave of excitement down Bri’s spine and for a second she had a memory of her last dream, where the eyes had come out of the shadows, but with a lightsaber.
“Is there anything wrong?” Xara asked as she saw her companion’s face.
“Oh, sorry, just remembering a dream I had.” Bri said.
“Perhaps you’ll tell it to me.” Xara said with a smile.
“Perhaps.” Bri replied with a smile of her own
The rest of the night went to fast for either woman as they both found that they enjoyed each other’s company. They walked along the lake’s shoreline in comfortable silence arm in arm, neither wanting the night to end.
“Well, I guess I need to go to sleep.” Bri said with a yawn. “I’m on a forced vacation.” She said as if to explain the yawn.
“When was the last time you had a vacation?” Xara asked and was a bit startled when Bri said eight years. “Wow, eight years, It seems like I’m almost always on vacation.”
“I guess when you’re a bounty hunter if you’re not on a mission then you’re on vacation.” Bri replied.
“You’re also not getting paid.” Xara replied a bit somberly. “It’s a balance you have to try and maintain, but if you’re good enough then the jobs come to you.”
“Pretty much like what I do.” Bri said.
“Yeah.” Xara said watching as the younger woman yawned again. “I think that you should get some sleep, how about breakfast?”
“Love it.” Bri replied as they made plans for breakfast the next morning.
The next morning Xara and Bri went to a small cafe to have breakfast. It was a place that Bri had already been to several times and knew that the food was good. Even though she had been raised all her life as a Jedi, she still had quite an appetite for someone her size. It was also a common joke around the temple and people were always amazed at how much a small person could put away.
“Did you have any dreams last night?” Xara asked wondering if Bri might share her dreams with her.
“No, I don’t have them often, but when I do they come for about a week or so.” Bri said wondering if she should tell Xara about them. It was her eyes that were in the dream.
“Is the dream more of a nightmare, or something you like?” Xara asked probing the young woman.
“Well, it’s more like you’re in it.” Bri said making up her mind to tell Xara about them. Bri noticed that Karen looked a bit shocked at the news and definitely wanted to know more.
“About me?” Xara asked. “How do you know it was me, I mean after all we just met.”
“Your eyes, I see them as clear as I see them now. Of course I always wake up just before I see anything else.” Bri replied. “However I have seen you with a lightsaber, do you ever use one?”
Xara was caught unaware at the question. This was something that she had not been expecting. “Not often.” Xara said, lying just a bit.
“You’re usually in someplace dark and there are dead bodies in the room with only you standing there. You see me and then the dream ends right there, sometimes you have a lightsaber, other times you do not.” Bri said having made a decision to tell Xara.
“Well, it is true that my job does call for me to kill people, and I do have a lightsaber, usually for cutting things because it’s so good.” Xara said using her bounty hunter alibi to explain such a weapon. “Do I try anything against you?”
“No, that’s the strange part, usually something like that would be horrible but I never feel like I’m in danger from you.” Bri replied and Xara felt better about the answer.
“Hey!” Xara said noticing that they had finished breakfast. “There was an interesting museum not far from here, want to go.”
“Sure, I love history.” Bri said as they got up and hailed down a taxi.
The next two weeks went by quickly for the two women who enjoyed each other’s company a lot. They had settled down into a routine. They would meet for breakfast, and then do sightseeing all over the planet before having a relaxing dinner before going to bed. Both, however, knew that it would not last. Xara could be called away for a mission at any time, and Bri only had a couple of days left on her vacation.
Xara awoke to her communicator going off, and she realized that her services were needed again. Picking up the device she was not surprised to see the Sith Lord appear.
“Apprentice Xara, I have a job for you.” He said in a deep voice.
“Yes, my Lord.” Xara replied not expecting to feel the desire to turn off the device and leave the room.
“It appears that our tactics did not work, and the Galactic Communications Inc’s new CEO will not cooperate, kill him.” He said then signed off leaving Karen a download of information. Her first priority was to tell Bri that she was leaving.
She met the young woman for breakfast and the younger woman immediately picked up that something was wrong.
“I’ve had an assignment come in.” Karen told her. “I’ll have to leave tomorrow.” She said.
“Where are you going?” Bri said but Xara just mentioned something about client secrecy, which Bri accepted.
They spent the rest of the day just sitting along the lakeshore talking and enjoying each other’s company.
The next morning Bri found herself unable to control her emotions as a tear made its way down her cheek as they said their good-byes. Xara gently wiped the tear away and gave the younger woman a slight kiss, meaning for it to a simple gesture, but not expecting the explosion of senses it evoked in both of them.
When they broke away both felt the loss from the contact. Karen said that they might meet again.
“May the Force be with you Xara.” Bri said, using the common good luck good bye between friends.
“May the Force be with you as well Bri.” Xara replied the got in the cab and drove away.
Bri went back into her room after the cab had left her sight and went to meditate. She tried for the rest of the day and the remaining days, but it seemed to evade her, almost as if she was out of balance. There was something about the woman that had captivated her from the first time she laid eyes on her. There was also a shadow around Xara that Bri found hard to reach, but it was also familiar to her in some way.
The cab ride back to the spaceport was a bit better, and Darrin was his usual bright and cheerful self. Darrin hoped that he would see her come again, and Bri mentioned that it could happen, she did not plan on going so long without a vacation again.
She got out of the cab, and this time she was dressed in her usual Jedi clothing and light tan robe, which was different from other Jedi, who usually wore a darker robe.
Xara had spent quiet a lot of time studying her target. There was something that was lacking this time, the thrill of the pursuit that usually excited her. Usually she would have just gone in and killed the stupid guy. This time however she did not want to do that unless it was a last resort.
The usual threats so far had not proved useful, as her target just seemed to ignore them. Xara so far had tracked the man to and from his home and office gathering a schedule of the man. The one thing that worried her was the fact he seemed to not worry about any threat, and that made him dangerous.
Her Lord was getting impatient with her, but after explaining the situation and her gut feeling, her thought about it and realized that she was probably right. Her new priority was to find out what they had against them.
For that task, Xara had resigned herself to the dreary task of following her target and any leads that could come from it.
Bri walked into the presence of the Jedi Council awaiting her next mission. Master Aqat was sitting there and she could feel him studying her as she walked into the room.
Aqat looked at the young Jedi, and noticed that something was different about her. He tried to figure out what it was, but it eluded him for the most part, almost as if she was not all there.
“Are you alright?” He asked her testing her response.
“Yes master.” Bri replied with a bow to the council. “I had a good time on my vacation, Pristine Lake is a wonderful relaxing place.”
“Yes it is.” Aqat replied knowing the place first hand. “The council has a job for you. You are probably not away of this, but the heads of several large companies had turned up dead lately, cut in half.”
“Only a lightsaber could do such a thing.” Bri said her thoughts going out to a certain bounty hunter she had met on Naboo.
“That is the primary weapon that we believe to have killed them, yes.” Aqat replied giving Bri another hard glance before continuing. “The head of Galactic Communications Inc is believed to be the next victim, you are to identify the killer, and his motives.”
“Yes Master Aqat.” Bri said bowing once more then leaving the room where she ran into Master Yoda.
“Vacation, good was it?” Yoda asked as she looked down to him.
“Yes it was Master Yoda.” Bri replied.
Yoda looked at his former student and noticed that there was something different about her. He looked closer at her as he thought he saw something but he easily dismissed it.
“I gained a friend.” She replied before Yoda could say anything else.
“Friends, good to have they are.” Yoda replied a bit happier that she had made some friends. Even here at the temple she had few acquaintances who really knew her. She had still refused to take on a padawan and Yoda was a bit concerned for her.
“I have a new mission, have you heard or know anything about the corporate deaths Master Yoda?” Bri asked knowing that she probably did not, but that it never hurt to ask.
“Hmm, heard of the deaths, I have.” Yoda replied as his head bowed in thought. “Something evil is behind it, that is all I’ve felt, be careful young Bri.”
“I will master.” Bri said then left for headquarters of the Galactic Communications Inc.
It took while to get over there, as there was a traffic jam, but she made it and was escorted right into the building.
“Master Jedi, I’m so glad that you could make it.” An older gentleman sitting behind the large disk said as Bri was escorted inside the room. “My name is Otto Julies.”
“Thank you sir, I’m Bri Lighter.” Bri said as she took in the surroundings listening to the Force to see if anything was wrong. Otto Julies stood an average height, but he looked to be a few pounds overweight caused by sitting at a desk too long. His hair had already turned white and a few wrinkles lined his face and a gentle twinkling of his eyes that give him the effect of a grandfather type of look. “Can you tell me anything about this attacker and what they want?”
“I’m afraid that I know very little, only that this group showed up, demanding that we start contributing to their organization or else.” The man replied. “They said that others who failed to do what they said ended up dead.”
“Have you noticed anyone following you around, or any taps on your communications?” She asked intelligently sticking to business.
“Nothing we can detect.” The man replied, he was obviously scared of whatever it was that was after him.
“I’ll try and get to the bottom of this quickly.” Bri said and the man was thankful of her appearance.
Xara watched and was not amused with what she saw. A Jedi Knight had gone into the building, and that could only mean one thing. Things were just about to get more complex for everyone involved. She would have to contact her Lord about this.
She pulled out her communicator and within seconds had her Lord on the line.
“Report!” The man said.
“They have involved the Jedi, My Lord.” Xara said wondering what they would decide to do.
“If the Jedi interfere in any way, kill them.” Came the cold reply.
“As you wish.” Xara replied signing off realizing that the mission had just become much more dangerous than she had first realized. She pulled her robe across her shoulders and headed out the door to see if she could find out anything about the Jedi who had just arrived, and the exact reason why.
She walked out of the room as dusk was beginning to fall, her favorite time of the day. The shadows would be beginning to emerge, just like she would emerge from her hiding spot. Whoever this Jedi was, they would be insignificant in stopping her from her job.
Bri put her hood up as the group stepped outside. The wind had picked up and a cold blast of air was whipping down the street. The sun had started to set and she extended her senses in case there was any trouble like her master had taught her. She was to escort the head of the company to a dinner engagement with the chancellor, she only had to get him there and back to his house. During the dinner she could enjoy a meal of her own, without having to worry about the formalities of eating with the chancellor.
Her senses told her that they were being watched, that was fine by her, as long as they only watched. For the moment she registered no threat coming from whoever was watching. Whoever was watching was probably trying to gain some sort of advantage. She would have to talk with Otto about adjusting his schedule so that it was not easy figure out. And different routes to and from his home and work so that there was no real possibility of ambush.
With all these things going on in her head she allowed the conversation that the men were involved in pass over her. Otto had noticed the look of concentration, but said nothing about it as he knew that she was doing her job, therefore did not try and force a conversation with the stunning looking woman. He made a mental note to talk with his staff about the Jedi, to make sure that no one tried anything that would get them hurt.
Bri felt the presence of her watcher and causally glanced up into the shadows. She knew that whoever it was would know that she also knew that they were there. That might allow her a little bit of time to find some clues, and if she knew Master Yoda, he was looking in the archives for anything that she would be able to use.
The watcher was leaving and she felt that they would be safe for the night, but she only relaxed a little. The only thing that was odd she thought was that if the watcher was the one, she did not feel in danger by whoever it was. She made a mental note to have a long talk with her master about it, perhaps he knew something that she did not.
Her thoughts of having a quiet dinner evaporated quickly when Chancellor Jaffen was told of who was escorting Otto. The man had personally invited her to join them. Bri knew that there was no polite way of backing out of the invitation, so she accepted with a smile and sat down at the table after removing her robe.
The chancellor had wanted to know better what had happened on the moon of Oxites and the worker rebellion that had been going on there. She had quieted the rebellion in a couple of days in what his advisors could not do in over eight months. He had thought that military involvement might have been necessary. Master Yoda had suggested her personally and his choice proved to be right.
Bri only said that she listened to both sides and worked out an agreement that was equal, and that his advisors almost had it right. The only sticking point was payment, which the workers wanted more of, and the companies did not want. She had gotten the companies to agree to more with a concession in another area that the workers accepted.
Bri breathed a sigh of relief when the dinner was over and Otto was ready to head back home. She had learned that Otto’s company was in the process of negotiating a contract for being the only communication company for the government. This was a clue to Bri, and she would have to check the other companies to see if they had any government contracts as well. If it was, then someone was trying to infiltrate the government in all levels and areas.
“I wish to thank you Master Bri for your willingness to help.” Otto said quite truthfully as he arrived home.
“I’m glad that I could help, I did have one question that perhaps you can answer.” Bri said and the man patiently waited for her question. “The other companies that have had suspicious deaths, were they either working for the government or discussing a contract with them?”
“Hmm, that I don’t know.” Otto said scratching his beard thinking about the question. “I can make a few calls and find out if you like?” He said willing to do just about anything to find out who was behind everything.
“If you would, I’m going to look into it as well.” Bri said. “We’ll see if our results match.” Bri said with a bow then left to head to the Jedi Archives for some late night studying.
Xara sat in her chair, puzzling over what to do next. She had to get to this man with the Jedi near. Whoever the Jedi was had found her hiding spot quite quickly after they existed the building earlier in the evening. The Jedi had purposely looked up right where she was hiding and made no attempt to hide that they knew she was there. The only question was how much did the Jedi know, had the person felt her, or felt her watching the group.
She could always attack the man at his house, even though it was guarded like the chancellor was. This mission was getting dangerous. She would have to observe the man some more and see what developed. The Dark Side would lead her to the right time and place to strike, that much she was sure about.
Bri brought up a list of the companies who leaders had been killed recently, and realized that there were more than she realized. Finding out whether or not they had government contracts was actually easier. Every company either had a contract, or was working on one. It brought a chill up and down her spine. Several of the companies also had job contracts with the Jedi as well. This was something that the council needed to hear about right away.
Bri made her way to the council room, glad that they were still in session.
“Master Bri, what brings you here this late at night?” Master Aqat asked as he watched her walk into the room.
“Pardon me, but I have something that I feel that the council should know about.” Bri said and several members shifted in their chairs knowing what mission she had been on.
“Is it about your mission?” Aqat asked.
“Yes, I have found that each company targeted has had a government contract, or is working for one.” Bri said seeing the alarm go up in the others eyes.
“Are you sure?” An aquatic looking Jedi Master asked, knowing that what she was saying had great importance.
“Yes, I have the data right here.” She said handing the data to Aqat who took and quietly read it over while the others waited.
“This is serious.” He said gravely to the rest of the council. “Bri is correct, there is a group that wants to take control over several aspects of the government, and we must be cautious and devote all resources to finding out who or what is behind it.”
“I will let all available Jedi know about this.” The aquatic Jedi said getting up and leaving the room to talk with others who were outside the door.
“Bri, be careful, they may know that you are on to them and even Jedi protection might not prevent an attack on Otto Julies now.” Aqat said and Bri knew that he was speaking the truth. “This group has obviously made careful plans so they can also be dangerous.”
“I understand.” Bri said bowing then leaving the room to get some sleep, tomorrow was going to be a long day.
Xara found herself in a fitful sleep, but not like her dreams usually were. This one was different as she dreamed of green eyes looking at her in horror. It was a look that Xara could not bare to endure. Bri had walked in while Karen was killing someone with her lightsaber, then Xara turned on the young woman.
Xara sat up in her bed disturbed by what she had just seen in her mind. This was not influenced by the Force that much she was sure about. Karen had several Force induced visions before and she could feel everyone’s feelings.
Xara walked over to her sink and splashed water on her face to wake her up some more. Today was the day that she would make her presence known to the Otto Julies with or without a Jedi present.
She chose her dark clothes and robe to allow her to have a more sinister appearance, not that she really needed it sometime. A smile came to her face at the look of the man when she finally got to him, it would be worth all of her work. She had decided to confront the man just as he was walking out of his house. If she got to him today then they would not have had time to vary his schedule like she knew they would start doing.
She made her way to his house with no trouble in finding it. It was a large house, with lots of security that usually took no notice of anyone who was just walking by. But if you looked at the house they watched you carefully she had learned. Two of her spies had been caught and she had been forced to execute them. She noticed that the guards did not have their weapons out, and a confrontation here would allow her plenty of areas to escape by.
She quietly made her way to the bushes around the house. Something that was quite stupid, as the bushes did not have any thorns or even anything dangerous to prevent a burglar from trying to hide near the house. Xara made her way to the front to await the door opening and then she would strike. She made no notice of a tingling in her senses.
Bri was pleasantly tired as she knocked on the door of Otto’s house. The security had been all right she thought. It could have been tighter and she made a note to talk to the head of security about it when she had the chance. Last night had been quite productive and she had learned quite a bit. Someone, or some group was going around to companies employed by the government and trying to coerce them into doing what they said. So far whoever was calling the shots was hiding very well and was probably using bounty hunters.
A brief thought of Karen entered her mind again, and Bri wondered if she would encounter the woman soon. Otto Julies walked into the room where Bri was waiting for him. The man looked to be a bit tired, but that was to be expected.
“Good morning Master Jedi.” Otto said greeting her warmly. “I talked with a couple of friends that I have in other companies, and I don’t like what I heard.”
“Oh?” Bri said her curiosity peeked a bit by the man’s comment.
“It seems that they all have contracts with the government, and that lately things have changed a bit.” Otto said a concerned with what he had heard. “It seems that the head of Inteci had some sort of threat and a death in the family. Ever since the company has changed. My friend used to have access to most areas, and lately he has found his access so limited that he can’t even do his job right and has to fill out forms to get any information. That and the factories that produce the good for the government have become off limits to all but essential personal.”
“That is strange, I’ll let the council know and they can send someone inside.” Bri said. “I talked with the Jedi Council last night and they agree that someone or some group is trying to, at the least, infiltrate the government.”
“I can’t let this influence me, so let’s get to the office.” Otto said.
“Then I need to talk to you about your schedules, and not be so regular. That will make you a easier target, if we vary it, at least it will make it harder for whoever is after you.” Bri said looking at everyone in the room as she pulled her hood up over her head. There was an unfamiliar tingle in her senses and she quickly headed towards the door.
The group walked to the door and watched as it slide open to reveal a dark clothed figure standing in the doorway. Bri heard the familiar click-hiss of a lightsaber igniting as her own hand reached for her own saber. The black figure charged in swiping the red lightsaber at Bri who was able to block it with her own green lightsaber.
The combatants parried a few times before Bri’s hood fell away revealing her strawberry-blond hair that had been bulled back into a ponytail. The attacker suddenly stopped confusing Bri for a second. The attacker’s mask obscured the face of the tall attacker but the black figure suddenly backed out of the house after turning off the lightsaber. Then the attacker took off leaving Bri with the others stunned at the events.
Taking a few calming breaths Bri replaced her lightsaber at her waist, but the confrontation had left her shaken for some reason. She quickly composed herself and cautiously walked out the door and looked around. Several of the guard had come running up.
“Where did he go?” Bri asked quickly to one of the men.
“He ran off that way quicker than anyone of us could run.” One of the guards said.
“He must be a Force user.” Bri said thinking that she did feel a bit of the Force in the person. This was a complication that the Council needed to know about.
“Thank you Master Bri.” Otto said with a shaken voice, but relieved that no one had gotten hurt. “Perhaps we should hurry to the office?” He asked glancing around.
“Yes, we should get going. I don’t know if he’ll be back or not, but you might think about staying somewhere else tonight.” Bri said offering some advice watching as the man pondered the idea, there was plenty of time to make a decision as they got in the waiting speeder and headed towards the office.
Xara made her way back to her room shaken by her recent ordeal. She knew that a Jedi had been present in the house, and almost made it to Otto Julies. She had been positioning herself to where she was within striking distance of the man when the Jedi’s hood had flown back revealing the face. It was not one she had expected to see and it rocked her to her core.
The gentle green eyes that she had been used to looking into had a different look on them against her. They held such determination and strength that Xara could not believe that it was Bri. The name rolled around her mind as the young woman’s face danced across her vision.
The woman lied to you! A voice in her mind said wanting her to take her lightsaber and cut the Jedi down next time they met.
I lied to her as well. Xara’s voice of reason replied back.
She is nothing. The voice said again in argument.
She looks so innocent. Xara could hear herself say.
She will make you weak! The voice said stronger this time.
But I can’t! Xara weakly protested and the voiced sensed a victory.
She is a liar, a Jedi, and defiantly not weak! The voice said with a note of finality in it.
I’ll just have to try it another way. Xara said to herself. She knew that perhaps she had shaken the man, and perhaps it was enough, perhaps she should try talking this time. She would wait a bit until her next move.
Bri walked into what was becoming a familiar sight to her. She used to only come into the council room to give reports of a mission done, or receive missions, this was the first time that she had been the council room so often.
“Bri, we were not expecting to see you so soon.” Master Aqat said as Bri walked into the room ad he wondered what new developments had occurred. “What news do you have for us?”
“Master Aqat.” Bri replied with a bow. “I have talked with Otto Julies and we have reason to believe that there is more going on than we know about.” Bri said watching as the old Jedi Master leaned back into his chair intently listening to what she had to say. “He talked with one of his friends who works with Inteci and they have changed many things, I think that we should have someone look into it.”
“We might be able to spare a Jedi to that task.” Aqat said. “Thank you Bri.” He said in a dismissive tone only to stop short when she did not start to leave. “There is more?” He questioned.
“Yes Master.” Bri said. “When leaving Mr. Julies house we were attacked by someone wielding a lightsaber, and he looked to have been trained in the use of the Force.” Bri said wondering how this news would be received.
“It is common for many Force sensitive individuals to go into bounty hunting, but they usually do not use a lightsaber. This person might be the one who is behind the attacks.” Aqat said wondering about what was not been said. “Find out the identity of your attacker, and then we will be closer to whoever is behind this plot.”
“Yes master.” Bri said and left the room. Her mind was in a bit of turmoil. She hoped that it was not who she thought it was. She knew that Karen sometimes used a lightsaber in her work. After all she told her herself that she did as well.
Bri went to the archive to see if she could see a pattern of companies that have been threatened, and might help in uncovering some others that might be in danger. That was they could keep an eye on them. There were several Jedi still in the archives doing their own research as well. It was the one place in the temple that was never closed or empty, you could always find people in here.
Bri began the long task of her research, keeping an eye on the time, she had to be back at Galactic Communications before the end of the day. The attempt on Otto Julies had disturbed Bri a bit, it meant that whoever was behind it was becoming impatient. That could lead to mistakes that she might be able to take advantage of, or a slip that could uncover everything.
Otto Julies sat at his desk working on a new communications device that would allow an even better holographic image than the one that was currently in use. This new one would allow for a smaller device and one that could be stored in many areas, and not just used in large communication rooms and companies. It could also lead to inventions in other areas, such as entertainment and security. He was pondering over the report when a call came in.
“Hello, Otto Julies here.” He answered as he always did wondering what problem someone had now.
“This morning was just a warning to let you know that I can get to you at anytime I wish.” The cold voice said making Otto’s head snap up.
“What do you want?” He asked, hoping to get to the bottom of the mystery.
“I ask the questions not you. First get rid of the Jedi, then I’ll call you. Don’t be foolish, I’ll know if you don’t.” The voice said as the caller hung up leaving Otto a bit shaken.
It was true that an attacker had gotten through this morning, but if it was not for the Jedi, he would have been dead already. He wondered if what this person said was true, that even a Jedi would not be able to protect him. He replayed the morning’s events in his mind again for about the thousandth time, something was not right. Bri and the attacker had fought with lightsabers and without warning the attacker just took off, but why. Did this attacker really just want to scare him, or was the person really trying.
There was no way to tell what was the real truth and what was meant to intimidate him. He decided to talk to Bri about everything and see what she said. Perhaps they could use their connection with the Force to determine what he should do.
He turned his attention back to his report, then noticed how easy it would be to install a small listening device in the initial manufacturing process and then be able to listen to every all and transmission made by the government. The information alone could be worth hundreds of billions of credits, of even trillions depending on the buyer. It could also be used to blackmail the officials into doing what this group wanted. If they also controlled several other companies that worked for the government then they could control what products they used and the quality of the products. This was becoming far deeper than he imaged.
“Report my friend.” A dark figure said to a kneeling man.
“My Lord, the Jedi have become aware of the meddling that we have been doing.” The bowing man said. “One of my best student encountered a Jedi Knight in her mission.”
“This is unexpected, we can’t let them know about the Sith. We are not quite ready.” The Master said sitting back thinking about what needed to be done. “Our clients are already impatient, and we can use the money.” He had hoped that the Jedi would not find out until it was too late, and by then they would have so many contacts in the government that they would be easily able to hide and cover their tracks.
“What do I tell her my master?” The man asked.
“We will back off.” He told his student. “Tell her to stay low where she is, I might have an assignment for her in case our clients get to demanding on us”
“As you with my master.” He said getting up and walking out of the room. His clients had come to him asking him and his organization to put pressure on certain companies so they could move in. The client was going to take control of the government and economy from the shadows where no one could see them. The only problem was the Sith were not mercenaries for hire, he would have used this set up by the client and after it was all set up, take it over. By then the money coming in would allow them to grow, to the point where they would at last have their revenge on the cursed Jedi.
Bri walked out of the library with her thoughts on what she had read. What she had been able to see was that there was no connection to anything, just a bunch of companies that did different things in the government. Some companies were more in dangerous than others, like the one that made the computers for the government, to some that seemed to have no purpose at all, like writing instrument. Bri was puzzled by everything and to top it off she was still puzzled about the encounter she had this morning.
“Your research, how is it coming?” The voice of Yoda asked as Bri turned a corner.
“Feels like a dead end master.” Bri said to the small Jedi who was on his hover pad. It allowed him to keep up with others easier than if he was walking. “I thought that I might find a link in the type of companies that had been threatened, but no such luck.” Bri replied sounding a bit defeated after all of her work.
“Rest, look at it tomorrow. Different it will appear.” He said with wisdom.
“I suppose you’re right master. Its just I feel something on this mission.” Bri said not sure to continue.
“Feel nothing do I.” Yoda said having meditated on the subject earlier in the day. “There is evil behind it, nothing more.”
“That’s just it master, it’s not from the Force that I feel this, it seems deeper to me.” Bri said not really sure how to explain it.
“Clear your mind little one, only then will the Force flow through you.” Yoda said wondering exactly what was disturbing his former student.
Bri thought about that for a second knowing that he was right. His wisdom was years ahead of most others, and she had been blessed to have such a powerful teacher. She knew that one day he would be on the Jedi Council, it was only a matter of time before they came to him. Bri also wondered if she should tell him about her experience on her vacation and if that had anything to do with her current state. She glanced at a clock and realized that she needed to leave to get to Otto’s office in time.
“I need to get going, but I do need to talk to you soon master.” Bri said. Yoda just nodded his head in understanding and watched as Bri left the temple.
“Any news?” Master Aqat said as he approached Yoda.
“Disturbing, I’m afraid.” Yoda replied not looking at the Jedi Master. “The mission is like a fine edge.” Yoda said finally looking up at the older Jedi.
“Hmm, should we take her off the mission?” He asked. Yoda was known to have the best perception of any Jedi and his words were carefully listened to. The council had talked about making him a member when the next space was available at the end of the month because of his abilities.
“No, even more dangerous that would be.” Yoda said. “Talk to you I will after she has talked with me.”
“Will she, she barely talks to anyone except when its part of her mission.” Aqat said thinking about the young Jedi. She rarely spoke to others in normal conversation, had few real friends, and yet everyone loved her, it was so strange.
“Mysterious she is.” Yoda said confirming what Aqat was thinking.
“Listening to my thoughts again?” Aqat said with a quiet laugh.
“Hard not to with you right here.” Yoda replied with a smile of his own.
“Keep us informed Master Yoda.” Aqat said before leaving into the archives.
“I will.” Yoda said heading off in search of his padawan.
Bri walked into the Otto’s office on time even though she thought that she was going to be late from traffic. Master Yoda’s interruption had held her up a couple of minutes and she thought that she might miss the transport, but she got there just in time. As she walked in she could sense that something was wrong right away even before she looked at Otto.
“What happened?” Bri asked her mind racing with possibilities and not sure what was true.
“I received a call earlier in the day.” Otto said making up his mind to tell her everything. “Whoever it was said that they could get to me regardless of Jedi protection.” He admitted to her with concern in his voice. “I was told to get rid of my Jedi protector and that they will know if I don’t.”
Bri thought about what he had just said. It was actually a logical plan, get rid of anyone who could pose a threat and then you are free to do as you please. She wondered if the threat was really viable or not.
“Could the attacker have defeated you?” Otto asked with all seriousness in his voice.
“The person was Force knowledgeable, but I’m not sure. There was something about the fight that seemed strange to me.” Bri said still thinking about the fight.
“I’d like for you to stay, I’m not running from this.” He told her and she was relieved at that. Then he looked at her with a questioning glance before speaking. “I wanted to ask you, what happened during the fight. The attacker seemed to leave after your hood fell back?” He asked wondering if she had an answer to the question.
“That’s right.” Bri said thinking about that part of the fight. They had been fighting back and forth when her hood fell back, it was then that the attacker stopped, and then ran. An unpleasant thought went through her mind, what if it was Xara. She did not like that thought at all, and hoped that it was wrong, but it could provide a vital clue for her.
“Are you all right?” He asked never having seen so much emotion of a Jedi’s face before and he was a bit curious about it.
“Everything’s fine, in fact we might have stumbled upon a clue that’s all.” Bri said not elaborating on what she was thinking and ignored Otto’s questioning look. “Come on, let’s get going.”
The ride back to Otto’s house was uneventful and Bri had decided that she would stay at the house to provide additional protection. The only thing that she had to do was talk to Master Yoda. She left the house and went to the Jedi Temple and sought out her former teacher.
Master Yoda was sitting on a meditation cushion, which is where Bri found him. He turned to look at her when she entered the room. She positioned herself on the one next to him and they sat in silence for several minutes.
“I fear that I know that attacker.” Bri finally said breaking the silence that they had been surround in. Yoda did not say anything just waiting for her to finish what she was going to say, like he had done when she was his padawan. He had learned that with enough patience she would finally come to him, a lesson that he had begun to use with his new padawan.
“I think her name is Xara, a bounty hunter I met while I was on vacation at Naboo.” Bri said not realizing when an unconscious small smile came to lips with the name. Yoda noticed the smile and realized a dilemma that was developing in his former student.
“She admitted that she sometimes uses a lightsaber for her work.” Bri said to him briefly wondering what he thought. “I did not tell her that I was a Jedi however.” Yoda nodded his head at this news. Bri had always been a private person and for some people, knowing that you are a Jedi they will not talk to you, or ask you to solve their problems, so when a Jedi was on vacation or just resting they usually did not say what they did.
“Its just that the attempt on Otto Julies this morning I had my hood up at first. During the fight it fell back, and it was then that the attacker stopped and then fled.” Bri said in a rush not really wanting to believe that it was Xara who had been the attacker.
Yoda sat silent for several seconds pondering what to say to his former student that would help. There were forces at work here that he rarely had ever encountered. He did have an inkling of what was happening to Bri. “There is something going on. I feel that if you believe that it was Xara, then find her and your questions will be answered.” Yoda finally said. “You do not wish for it to be her, do you?” He asked gently.
“No, she is a friend of mine.” She said.
“Be careful of your emotions, they can blind you.” Yoda said wondering if she would listen on this point.
“Yes master.” She said a hesitantly wondering if she should say more. Yoda knew better than to push her at this point and he felt like she was about to open up to him in a way she never had before.
“My dreams.” She said softy having made her decision. “You have always asked about them and why they haunt me. Its not a fear that keeps me up, but something else.”
Yoda nodded his head in agreement. He had sensed that she never really had a nightmare, except after she had taken a life. The other times when she would go through times of these dreams she always woke up feeling restless, and sleep would evade her for the rest of the night. Yoda sensed that he was close to being told what bothered her, and he felt that it had to do with this mysterious bounty hunter she had met during her vacation.
“In the dreams I’ve never felt like I was in danger, or even threatened by the person in my dreams, in fact it’s the opposite. Almost as if I’ve come home.” She said quietly. “Each time I have the dream it’s different. The places are different, from a ocean shore to a room full of dead people.”
Bri fell silent again as the normally confident Jedi Knight struggled with words. Yoda could see all of the signs that this was difficult for her. He could see the tension on her face, hear it in her voice and feel it through the Force that flowed from her. It seemed to Yoda that Bri was more in tune to the Force than he had ever seen her.
“Regardless of the scene, or how dangerous it is, there is always one thing that is common with them all.” She said taking a breath to calm herself a bit. “It a person, I could not tell who it was, race or sex, but the person’s eyes were always the same. They are a deep blue and whenever I see them I feel a connection to the person that I’ve never felt before. It a connection so deep inside me that when I wake up its like a part of me is missing. I don’t want to wake up from the dream. On Naboo I found the eyes, and they belong to Xara, and the connection was there.” She said looking at her teacher for the first time since she had begun talking.
Yoda sat in contemplation for a few seconds as he pondered her words. A lot of things now made since to him, but how to tell her. “Glad I am that you talked to me, your solution, not simple.” Yoda said with a slight shake of this head. “Few records there are of this, and none known among Jedi there are. A soulmate you have.” He said seeing her think about it for a few seconds.
“But a Jedi are not allowed to have such a thing.” Bri said knowing from her training and teachings that this type of thing was usually forbidden by the Jedi ways.
“Nonetheless, your soulmate you have found.” Yoda said pondering over the question. He would have to consult the archives and the Jedi Council to see what could be done.
“Now what do I do.” Bri said at a complete loss as to her next move. If it was her soulmate then she could not fight Xara, it would destroy her as well.
“Find her, use your heart, it will lead you.” Yoda said recalling everything he had learned about soulmates. He had actually meet a pair of soulmates and learned that if they found each other they could feel each other, a bit like the Force, but only a link between two people. What one felt, the other felt as well.
“What about my mission.” Bri said not wanting to abandon her charge.
“My padawan will take care of that.” Yoda said. “Make myself available to you, the council asked me.”
“Then they are taking this seriously.” Bri said with a sigh of relief. “I’ll take him with me tomorrow and introduce him to Otto.”
“Go with you I will tomorrow. Meet this Otto I want.” Yoda said then told Bri to get some sleep.
“Master Yoda, what brings you to my chamber.” Master Aqat said looking at the small powerful Jedi in front of him.
“Talked to me, Bri has.” Yoda said and Aqat invited him inside the small room where they both sat down.
“The news is good and bad.” Yoda told him. “Find this bounty hunter, she will.”
“That’s good news, but I get the feeling that the bad news is tied in on this as well.” Aqat said watching as Yoda nodded his head.
“Her soulmate, she is.” Yoda replied watching as the shock of the news register on Aqat’s face.
“A soulmate for a Jedi.” Aqat said. “Impossible.”
“Possible it is, known it I have. Didn’t see it until now.” Yoda said shaking his head as he realized that he had known for a while.
“I’ll wait to tell the council about this, but I’ll tell Master Janson, he will have to told as well.” Aqat said talking about the other member on the council who had a permanent seat on the council. Two seats were for life, the other ten were rotated to prevent the council from becoming to staminate.
“Understand I do.” Yoda replied knowing that the two permanent seats would know about it.
“I’ll talk to Janson in the morning, will you be around?” Aqat asked wondering what Yoda would do.
“My padawan and I are going to take over the protection of Otto Julies, while Bri hunts down this bounty hunter, Karen.” Yoda said watching Aqat nod his head.
“Very well, I let you know what we decide.” Aqat said knowing that Bri should be able to track down the bounty hunter quite easily if she allowed herself to. His sister was in a soulmate relationship and they still talked quite often, and had seen the bond in action a lot.
Yoda acknowledge Aqat and walked out of the room headed to where his Padawan was to tell him of their new assignment. He knew that his padawan would be anxious to start a new mission. There was only so much meditation and reading that a young boy could do without going stir crazy.
Xara walked about her small rented room. She was about to go crazy with everything that was going on. She had been told to stay low, and until her boss called again to give her instructions for her mission. She hated it when her clients and boss changed a mission in mid stride.
She had been order to stay low, something she did very well, but not doing anything made her crazy. She had already practiced her lightsaber drills since she woke up from her sleep with the disturbing dream. She still was not sure what the dream meant, aside that she had seen Bri in it.
Xara decided that it was time to grab a bit to eat. Her food supply was a bit low, so she needed to go out and get some. She decided to eat out then grab some supplies while she was out. There was no telling how long she would have to wait until her boss got back to her, it could be today, or it could be a month before she heard anything.
Slipping into simple clothing and grabbing her lightsaber she tucked in under her coat and walked out of the door. It was too cold, but there was a wind that had picked up a bit and whipped her hair around her head as she made her way towards the local cafe for breakfast.
Master Yoda and his padawan, Marcus, waited for Bri to show up before they went over to Otto Julies’ place. Bri had spent the night over there and was on her way over to pick the two Jedi up.
A transport approached and stopped in front of them and Yoda knew that this was their ride. The door opened and allowed the two Jedi to climb aboard. Inside the spacious transport was Bri along with Otto. Yoda and Marcus sat down, as the speeder took off headed for the headquarters of the company.
“You must be Master Yoda.” Otto said with interest having heard the Jedi’s name in the news
“And this is my padawan, Markus.” Yoda said indicating the young man next to him. The young man nodded his head and extended his hand to Otto who grasped it.
Bri watched as Yoda and Otto made their introductions to each other before saying anything. “Master Yoda and his padawan will be taking over your protection.” Bri told him watching as he looked at her with a question in his eyes. “The council feels that providing you with additional protection will allow me to hunt down your attacker, and as I have already been in combat against the attacker I will have the best chance of finding him.” Bri said making sure she said him and not her, as a part of her still did not want to believe that Xara was behind the attack.
“So its not because this guy is really good then.” Otto said. He had been a bit worried when Bri said that additional Jedi were being added to his protection.
“If protection was all we were concerned with then Bri would be all that you would need.” Yoda said. “We wish to find your attacker, then many pieces will fit together.” Otto nodded his head in agreement. There was a group running around that wanted to infiltrate the Republic at all levels and there were no real reason as to why.
Their transport arrived at Otto’s workplace and the man along with the three Jedi walked out and into the building. It took a few minutes more until the group arrived at Otto’s office.
“I will keep in touch Master Yoda.” She said to the small Jedi in front of her. “I will get to the bottom of this quickly Mr. Julies.” Bri said as she turned to the man who was now at his desk. He wished her luck in her mission as she said her good-byes to Yoda and Markus before she left the room.
Yoda watched her leave knowing that she could be on the most important mission of her life. She would either come back complete, or a shell of herself. Yoda hoped that she would come back stronger, but the road would not be easy for either of the two.
“Do you think she will complete her mission alright?” Markus said speaking up for the first time.
“Return, she will.” Yoda replied looking at his padawan. “How she will be, worries me that does.”
Otto and Markus shared a confused look at Yoda hoping that the Jedi would elaborate even more on his cryptic answer. Yoda only stood looking out the window of the building wishing Bri all the luck he could knowing that there was not anything he could do for her.
Bri walked out onto the street and wondered what she should do. There were millions of places that a bounty hunter like Karen could hide, the only thing she had was a bit of her personality that the two had shared at Naboo. She figured that she would start by walking around a bit and seeing if she could find anything out about her mysterious Xara.
Xara walked into the local grocery store that was near where she was staying. The rented room was not much but the neighborhood was clean and she did not have to worry about anyone trying anything funny with her. In some areas she did, not that she cared, she just did not want to have to kill anyone on this mission that would invite attention to here she was.
The little store was pretty much empty as she walked in. There was a small Ilderian standing behind the counter along with two boys who he was talking to. Xara quickly picked up a few groceries then paid the man who was quite talkative. She had found out that his wife had recently passed away and that her hair was the same color as Xara’s. Xara thought that the man talked too much, but she did not say anything as he was doing what any merchant would do, talk.
With her bag in hand she headed down the street. The sun was shining giving warmth to the day as she walked. The wind still whipped around, keeping things cool, but not uncomfortable. She passed a diner that looked like it would serve a good lunch and noted it in the back of her mind to try after she finished with her shopping.
A tingle went down her spine suddenly. It was something she was used to, there was no danger associated with it, but there was an indication that someone was near. A quick glance around her did not bring anyone out into the open. With her senses on alert she stretched out with the Force to see if she could find out what was wrong.
She felt another presence, but it conflicted with what she was feeling, which was unusual for her. Usually her inner senses were in tune with what the Force was telling her, but this time it was different, why? The question rolled around in her head for several minutes as she continued to walk to her room. The feeling was getting stronger and she casually glanced around to see if anyone was following her. There was no one behind her that she could see and turned back around.
It was then she caught a shape out of the corner of her eye. She glanced and was a bit shocked at what she saw. A Jedi was causally walking down the other side of the street. This is what set her senses off. Xara ducked into an alleyway until the Jedi walked past her. She watched as the Jedi continued down the street until it was straight across the street from her.
The Jedi stopped and glanced around. Slowly it brought its arms up and pushed the hood back revealing strawberry blond hair pulled back into a ponytail. Xara could not believe her eyes, here was Bri, standing right across the street from her. A large part of her wanted to cross the street and greet the Jedi, but knew that their worlds were wide apart, they could never be together. Xara glanced back at the figure then ran down the alleyway and quickly headed back to her room.
Bri had felt something as she walked down the street, and pushed her hood back to get a better view of her surroundings. There was something different this time. What she had felt was not a tug of warning from her connection with the Force, instead it seemed to come from somewhere inside her. A place that was so deep that she usually never looked there. Just like that the feeling was gone leaving Bri alone again.
A man walked into the large conference room. His hair was white showing his age, but his body did not. He looked to be as strong as a Wookie, and everyone in the room knew that he was even more dangerous than anything else they had ever encountered. A few of the men in the room had not wanted to involve this man with their plans, but they needed his strength, and felt confident that they would be able to control him in case things got out of control.
“You asked to see me.” The man said to the group with a tone that to an outsider would indicate that he was in charge. In fact his entire poise radiated power in the most extreme way.
“Yes, there seems to have been a problem with Galactic Communications, we would like the problem solved now.” One of the men said. He was the obvious leader and did not like the way that this man in their presence acted toward them. The time was coming to eliminate him.
“I will solve it when the time is right.” The man said.
“I want it solved now.” The reply came as a fist slammed on the table. “I have worked to hard to see it fa..” A sudden choking cut off his tirade as his hands grasped at his neck to try and undo whatever it was that was choking him.
“I said I would deal with it.” The man said with one of his arms raised. He allowed the man to choke a bit longer then let him go and walked out of the room.
The only sounds left in the room was one person gasping for breath and a door closing.
Xara was not sure what to make of her recent encounter on the street. On one hand it scared her more than anything ever had. The fact that someone could affect her this way was new to her, and it scared her. She had felt something that she had never felt before, that was the real reason she had left during their fight yesterday. Now it appeared that Bri was trying to track her down to ask her about her involvement with Galactic Communications, and that was something she was not ready to do.
She thought about contacting her boss and seeing what he had to say about the latest development. Ever as the thought went through her mind it was dismissed. There was something else going on and she wanted to know what it was before contacting her boss so there would be information to give.
Her boss did not give lightly to her calling if there was nothing to report, a lesson she had learned the hard way one day. She needed more information, and the only way that she would get that would be to do more investigation, perhaps she could talk to a few people at the company about the Jedi involvement. Most guys were a sucker for her looks, and it would not be the first time she had done it.
With a plan ready she waited until nightfall to start her plan, then she would hit the expensive bars around the company building for anyone who worked there and see what she could find out.
Master Aqat walked down the hallway to the small room that he could usually find Janson in. They needed to talk in the worst ways, and together they would decide what to do about Bri. Master Yoda had given him some bad news last night and he had meditated on the subject all night without any answer to the questions in his mind. If Bri really did have a soulmate then there were few choices left to her.
Bri could give up her soulmate, and then she would never work at her full potential again and they would only have a shell of the Jedi that they had become accustom to. The other choice was to allow Bri to leave the Jedi Order, either way they were losing a valuable Jedi, something that Aqat did not want to happen, perhaps Janson would know of something that he could not think of.
“Aqat, what brings you here this time of the morning?” Janson said as he noticed the older Jedi walk into his meditation room. It was something that he actually expected, the Force telling him that Aqat had something important to say, with an important decision to be made.
“I’ve come to update you with what has been found out.” Aqat told him as Janson looked on with a question on his face.
“Isn’t everything in the report?” Janson said having read the report just this morning.
“Yes, and no.” Aqat said. “This is something that could not be put in the report, just yet.” Aqat told him watching Janson’s face look on with a bit of worry. “Master Yoda came to me last night to talk about Bri.”
“What’s happened, should she be taken off the mission?” Janson said wondering what was bothering Aqat this way.
“Yoda informed me that Bri has a soulmate, and has met her. It appears to be the bounty hunter that attacked Otto Julies in his home yesterday morning.” Aqat said.
“Is he sure?” Janson asked wanting to make sure he had heard the truth.
“Yes, I don’t want to take her off the mission when she is our best chance of finding the bounty hunter, the question becomes what to do with her after the mission, and she has her soulmate.” Aqat said running the question by Janson.
“A bounty hunter you say.” Janson said stroking his long beard. “What if we do nothing, and allow her to pair up with the bounty hunter?” Janson asked taking an approach that Aqat had not thought about.
“That would be different, would it be allowed in the council?” Aqat asked as he thought about all of the council members. “There might be a few who object to such a pairing.”
“I will talk with them, they might listen to me more than you.” Janson said and they both knew it for the truth. Aqat might be the stronger and wiser one, but the one the rest seemed to trust even more was Janson. His personality allowed a person to feel at ease right away.
Master Yoda sat in meditation most of the morning. His padawan had been sent out to run an errand and grab some food for both of them. Yoda so far had not come up with anything to help them with their mission. What he did know from talking to Otto Julies was that whoever was behind it was good. Otto’s own men had not been able to find out much about who was behind the attacks. They had even lost a few men that was when he decided to contact the Jedi Council for help.
Yoda had to concede that there would be no break in the mission until Bri found the bounty hunter, ad then he could only hope that this mysterious Xara would have some information on what was going on. His communicator beeped and he knew that it would be Master Aqat calling, he was probably done with his conversation with Master Janson. Yoda went into a private room to take the call.
“Master Aqat.” Yoda said as Aqat appeared.
“Yoda, how is Otto Julies?” Aqat said asking about the mission first off to allow Yoda to make sure that the area around them was clear.
“Doing fine he is, this morning has been uneventful so far.” Yoda replied wondering what he and Janson had decided.
“I talked with Master Janson earlier today and he had some interesting views.” Aqat said to Yoda.
“Though so, and conclusions did you reach?” Yoda asked wondering what they would have concluded.
“Well, if they both survive the mission, we have a few suggestions, the first two I believe you already knew about.” Aqat said to Yoda who nodded his head. “The first option is to allow Bri to remain in the Jedi Order, but she would have to give up her soulmate.”
“Lose her we would.” Yoda said as he heard the first option that was given.
“Yes, we would, and we would lose her in the second option as well, which would be to allow her to leave the Jedi Order.” Aqat said.
“Either way, we lost Bri.” Yoda said recounting the two options before him.
“Not quite, there is a third option that Master Janson mentioned to me during our conversation.” Aqat said to Yoda whose face perked up. “He suggested teaming them up to form a partnership. Bri has indicated her reluctance to accept a padawan, and teaming her with a bounty hunter would solve many problems.”
“Be together they would, stronger together than apart they are.” Yoda said.
“Yes they would be, the only sticking point of this would be her soulmate, and you must watch her carefully.” Aqat said in warning.
“Watch her, I will.” Yoda said as the communication line went dead. He walked back out to the office area where his padawan, Markus, was waiting for him with the food for lunch. “Smells good, well done.”
Markus said his thanks as he divided the food into two groups and dug into his food. Breakfast had been early in the morning and he was beginning to undergo a growth spurt Yoda could tell by the amounts of food that his padawan was consuming. It was something all Masters could see with their padawans.
Bri had walked the streets in a vain effort ever since this morning. The only time she felt close was when she had first started and had felt something. She tried to concentrate on that part of her, but found that it was hard for her to do, as it was an unaccustomed feeling for her.
She took time out to find a place to eat. There was a small cafe at the end of the street that she had passed and wondered if the food there was any good. She felt in her pocket for her credit stick, as she was not sure she grabbed it this morning in her haste to get up. She had overslept, hitting her alarm clock one to many times and had rushed through breakfast. Her stomach was not protesting the missed meal with a loud grumble.
Walking quickly down the street she quickly found herself in front of the cafe where a wonderful smell was drafting through the doors. Bri pushed her hood back and entered the cafe.
“Welcome to the Surfaceside Cafe.” A mechanical voice said. Bri looked over to see a droid standing there waiting. “How many in your party.”
“Just one.” Bri said looking around the cafe. It was full of people eating and not many people paid her much attention, which was fine with her. The less people who noticed her, the better off she felt.
“Of course honorable Jedi.” The droid said as it led her to a small table near the back of the room. “A waiter will be with you shortly.”
Bri sat down and allowed herself to relax for a bit. She had been walking all morning and it felt good to sit down for a few minutes before she had to resume her searching. A waiter came up to her and handed her a menu and asked if she wanted anything to drink. Bri gave her drink order and watched as the waiter walked away, then turned her attention to the menu where everything looked good.
As she was sitting she felt the tingle that she had felt earlier in the day. She casually glanced around and noticed no one who was out of the ordinary. The waiter came back and Bri gave the waiter her order then sat back. She took everyone’s face in to see if anyone looked familiar to her and for the next time she felt the tingle.
She waited a few minutes before it went away and she relaxed again. If this was from Xara then she had not left the area yet. She made a mental note to keep an eye on the clubs and bars in the area tonight.
Bri decided that she would go back by and see Master Yoda and give him an update on her progress. Then she decided to head back to her living quarters and get some sleep for tonight. If she was going to up all night then she would need her rest. Bri already knew that she would be tired tomorrow.
Her food arrived breaking up her train of thought. Eyeing the food in front of her she quickly dug in making quick work of the food.
Xara had walked quickly back to her small room after going to the cafe. On here way there she felt the same feeling that she had earlier in the day. She was able to look inside the small cafe and was not surprised when she noticed Bri sitting in the back. This weird connection that seemed connect her with Bri was unusual to her. She did not know what to think, and if she did not get over it soon, it would begin to affect her job performance.
She fell back onto her bed and tried to think about what to do about Bri. Yes, she was a Jedi, a very pretty one, but a Jedi nonetheless. Bri was everything that Xara had been brought up to hate, but she found that when she tried to hate Bri, she could not.
Xara wondered if it was even wise to continue her quest on gathering information tonight. If she did not then it would mean that she would have to explain why to her boss, and that was something she did not want to do, just yet. She knew it was only a matter of time before they pushed for a confrontation between her and Bri. That was something she wondered if she could even do. When she had first fought Bri just inside Otto Julies’ home she had found herself hesitating even before he hood flew back and Bri’s face was revealed. Xara had found herself unable to attack after that, so she ran as fast as she could.
She walked over to where she had placed her supplies and grabbed a quick snack to hold her over until she went out that night. After finishing her snack off, and cleaning up her small mess she decided to catch a quick nap so she would be refreshed for her evenings activities.
Bri made her way back to Otto Julies’ office where Master Yoda and his padawan, Markus, were still standing guard for the man. Markus noticed her approach and waved to her. Bri smiled and waved back as she made her way into the room. She noticed that Yoda was sitting in meditation, like he would quite often to pass the time.
“Bri, how goes the search?” Yoda asked wondering if she had made any discoveries since this morning when she had left.
“Not much master.” Bri replied. “Although I have discovered a way to track her, I think.”
“Markus, some water please.” Yoda asked his padawan who nodded and left to get something to drink for Yoda. “Now tell me.”
“There is a feeling I get when she is near, I think.” Bri said not really sure about it, but it was the only thing she had to go on. “I’m going back to my room to take a nap before I go to the nightclubs tonight.”
“Wise idea that is.” Yoda replied. “Talk to Master Aqat you should about this.” Yoda told her watching as her face showed a bit of shock at the idea. She looked on for more information, but Yoda was not forthcoming so Bri knew the only way to find out what he meant was talking to Master Aqat.
Markus walked back into the room with a pitcher of water and some glasses for all of them. Bri had a quick glass and then told them that she was heading back to the temple. Yoda told her to be careful, and Markus did the same, but knew that he was out of the loop as to what was going on.
“Is she all right?” Markus asked after Bri had left the room.
“Yes, tough time she is have, that is all.” Yoda replied leaving his answer at that although he was wondering if the young woman would ever be the same again.
Bri quickly made her way to the Jedi Temple, as the traffic had died down a bit. She made her way through the main hallway and past some of the statues of the great Jedi of the past. She had almost made it when she heard a familiar voice.
“So how is the great Jedi Knight Bri doing on her mission?” The voice said mockingly at her. Bri groaned a bit inside while she turned around to face another Jedi standing behind her.
“Cal, what a surprise.” Bri said trying not to let the man get to her. He stood just a bit taller than she was, but he had an attitude that made her squirm. He took every opportunity to bother her or tease her about what she was doing compared to him. He liked to brag, that much was sure and the Jedi Council had reprimanded him many times already.
“So, how are you doing?” Cal said putting his arm around her.
Bri shrugged off his arm and said that everything was fine and that she must be going, she had a meeting with Master Janson.
“I’ll see you around Bri.” The man said with a smile, which Bri did not return.
Bri was glad when she rounded the corner and no longer had to be in the man’s presence. She had not known that he was back, the last she had heard about Cal was that he was still off on assignment in the outer regions of the Republic. She pushed his encounter to the back of her mind and focused on finding Janson.
Bri had to ask a few people to the whereabouts of Master Aqat, but she finally located him in a small part of the library. He looked up when he heard footsteps approaching and grinned a bit when he saw who it was.
“Master Aqat, Master Yoda advised me to talk to you.” She said quietly.
“Yes, come and let us go where ears are not listening in.” He whispered back to her then led her back to his small room in silence. On the way Bri glanced up at him a couple of times wondering what as going on. Once inside his room he ushered her to sit down.
Bri took a quick glance around the small room. There were few things on the wall, but there was a picture of the man’s sister and husband, along with his brother, who had been a Jedi as well, but killed in an ambush while on a mission almost twenty years ago.
“You’re probably wondering why Master Yoda told you to talk to me.” Aqat said watching as the strawberry-blonde nodded her head. Aqat got up and went over to the picture of his sister and her family. “My sister and her husband are soulmates.” He told her and she was a bit stunned at this statement.
Bri was a bit shocked at this news. It was something that she had not been expecting, but she might now be able to understand a few things a bit better.
“Tell me, have you noticed any strange feelings, like the Force, but in your heart?” Aqat asked and knew the answer even before she answered him.
“I have felt a tingling, nothing that centers on one emotion several time in the past couple of days.” Bri replied. “Is that me sensing her?” She asked wanting to know the answer.
“Yes, my sister has tried to describe it several time to me, but I don’t think that it is something that can be explained.” He told her. “She has told me that if she concentrates hard enough that she can sense where he is, and even what he is doing.”
Bri thought about that for a few minutes. She wondered if her dreams were a way of telling her that Xara was in trouble.
“How long were you two together during your vacation?” Aqat asked wondering if they had spent the entire month together.
Bri mentally calculated the amount of time that she and Xara had spent together before answering. “We spent about three weeks together, why?” Bri asked a bit curious about his question.
“How did you feel the first time you saw her?” Aqat asked a bit curious if her answer would compare to his sister’s. “Don’t be shy about it.”
Bri sat there for a few minutes trying to put into words what she felt when she first saw Xara. She briefly wondered if she could ever do the feeling justice. “It was unlike anything that I had ever experienced in my entire life.” Bri said beginning her tale. “Xara was walking down the lakeshore towards me. I don’t think that I’ve ever felt such a connection to a person as I did that moment. I would have continued running past until I noticed her eyes. She had the deepest, prettiest and most wonderful color of blue that I had ever seen. I think that I went into a bit of shock, I stood like a gawking teenager staring at her and she had to ask me if I was alright to break me out of it.” Bri said with a bit of a laugh.
Aqat sat in silence as he listened to what Bri was saying. It sounded a bit like his sister. Whenever he would ask her about it she would reply with a rambling about how wonderful her husband was, or a certain moment. Aqat was sure that Bri did have a soulmate, and that she did find her soulmate in this Xara.
“I felt such a connection while I was with her that I did not want the time to end.” Bri said. “When she finally had to leave, the day before I did, I stood and watched as the taxi went out of sight, like she was coming back to me ay minute.”
“That sounds like something my sister would do.” Aqat told Bri.
“I’m so torn.” Bri said switching the conversation, but Aqat knew what she was talking about.
“You don’t know if you should try and find her and ask about the mission, or just find her.” Aqat said watching as Bri nodded her head, avoiding the Master Jedi’s eyes. “I can not tell you how to proceed from here, this is beyond what a normal Jedi is trained for. I believe that you will have to use your heart, and you do have allies in the council.”
Bri nodded her acknowledgement at the statement and bit the Jedi Master good day saying that she needed to get some sleep. She was going out to the nightclubs tonight and she wanted to get some rest. Aqat told her good luck ad watched as the young, petit Jedi walked out of his room. He had no doubt that she would find Xara, it was the rest that he was fearful of.
“You are late.” The black robed man said as another man entered the room. He had been expecting the man for some time, he had the information that would allow a decision to be made.
“There are several Jedi involved in the situation, and it seems that the Jedi Council has ordered every Jedi not on assignment on the case. The main ones are Jedi Knight Bri, Jedi Master Yoda and his padawan Markus.” The man said relaying his information to his boss.
“Who is the closest to finding out about us?” The man asked watching intently for any signs of lying.
“Bri is.” The man said sweat beginning to form on his brow.
“You are dismissed.” The black robed man said watching as his informant left the room. He would have to eliminate the Jedi and quickly before they found out about the mission.
Bri recognized that she was dreaming almost right away. Her clothing was very different, she was wearing a small green top, and a short brown skirt. She thought that it was odd, she had never worn anything like that before in her life, so why she was dreaming she was would be a mystery to her. There was a familiar presence in the field where she was standing. Off to her right there was a small campsite with a fire going in it. A horse nearby that looked to be well groomed. Bri walked around the area looking for anything that might be trouble. She glanced around the small fire and noticed a stack of old scrolls lying nearby, and something very strange about the entire scene.
She picked up one of the scrolls and began reading it. The language was one she had never seen before, yet she could read it without any problems. She did not give that much thought, as anything is possible in dreams.
The scroll had a story on it, and Bri read the beginning of it. It was about a tall dark warlord who terrorized just about everyone she had ever meet. It seemed like the warlord had traveled many places and even tried to conquer her world, but she got into trouble with her army, and they tried to kill the warlord.
The warlord then decided to go home, where on the way home the warlord met the writer of the story. The writer told of how the warlord saved her life, and in that moment the writer felt a connection with the warlord, giving graphic detail of the how the warlord looked. Bri could not have written a more accurate detailed description of Xara if she tried. She also learned the name of the warlord, Xena. For some reason that name meant something to her.
A rustle of leaves behind her and she quickly raised up to see who was coming. She stared in shock at who appeared. Coming out of the bushes with a fish in her hand was a tall dark haired woman. She was dressed in black leather and had a sword on her back.
“Everything alright Gabrielle?” The woman asked her and she thought who was this ‘Gabrielle’ that this woman was talking about.
“Everything’s fine Xena, is that trout?” Bri heard herself say without her permission.
“Yes it is Gabrielle, I know that you love it.” The woman she had called Xena said as she laid down the fish and began to clean it. She was already moving to prepare the fire and some herbs that they would use for seasoning on the fish.
They had talked a bit more while preparing the fish and Bri let the conversation pass over her while she tried to figure out what was going on.
“Xena do you ever think that our souls will meet again in a later life?” She heard herself, or Gabrielle, asked
“Its possible.” Xena replied to her question and Bri found herself listening to this part of the conversation.
“Enough, what’s going on here?” He heard Xena say.
“Xena?” Bri heard the reply.
“No, my name is Xara little girl.” The dark haired woman said and Bri had to get over her shock at the comment.
“Xara?” Bri asked with a bit of surprise in her voice.
“Yes, now what’s going on?” Xara asked again getting impatient for some answers.
“I don’t know.” Bri said having regained some control over her body. “I’m just as confused as you Xara.”
“All I know is that I’m in a strange area, talking to someone who looks like Bri, answers to Gabrielle, and calls me Xena.” Xara said taking a breath before she continued on. “I don’t know you, and I want to know what’s going on?”
“Xara, I know, its me Bri.” Bri said in a soft voice hoping that she could calm Xara. “I was wondering what was going on as well, I found myself here, dressed like this, then you show up and I start talking without my permission and call you Xena, and you’re calling me Gabrielle, and well I don’t know what’s going on around here.”
Bri’s rambling had brought her face to face with Xara/Xena and Bri found herself losing herself in the blue eyes that were looking back at her. For a long time she found herself looking deep into the eyes that were looking back at her with the same expression. She felt herself start to lean forward. Bri wanted so much to feel the luscious lips that were in front of her and she felt herself lean even more.
Bri saw that Xara was also leaning forward and could not wait as she closed the distance to Xara’s lips. The kiss felt wonderful to Bri as she felt Xara slid her arms around her as she responded in kind. Bri felt like her entire being was being filled through the kiss that they shared and she closed her eyes to just enjoy it.
Opening her eyes she noticed that she was no longer in the fields, but her own room and bed. With a sigh of disappointment she ran a hand over her lips that still seemed to tingle from the dream kiss. Her body felt more alive than it had in a long time and part of her was very frustrated form having woken up so soon.
Bri glanced over to her clock to see what time it was and decided that a cold shower would work out nicely. She reluctantly got out of her bed and headed to her shower before she headed out.
Xara made her way to one of the local nightclubs near the Galactic Communications headquarter to see if she could find out anything. She was still trying to shake the dream she had earlier in the day. She dreamed of a far away place, and Bri was there, although she had called her Gabrielle at first, and she had called her Xena. Neither name was one she had heard much before. It was the kiss at the end of the dream that left her really confused. There was a filling of her soul that she did not know was even possible.
Shaking off the dream and the lingering effects of the kiss she walked into a nightclub and glanced around for a place to sit. Seeing that there was an empty place at the bar she went over and sat down. After ordering a drink she allowed herself to just listen and allow the conversations to float around her. The conversations around her so far dealt with several topics and nothing that would interest her. They were about the latest games and sports.
A local drug dealer was dealing nearby, and she briefly wondered if he would be so blatant if an officer was nearby. She figure that he probably still would be, now if a Jedi was here, Like Bri, then he might be in trouble. A small smile came to her lips at the thought of the small Jedi and with some effort she pushed the young woman from her mind and concentrated on her work.
The night went by quickly as she did not gather much information. Towards the end of the night she did manage to find a worker from the Galactic Communications and after buying him a couple of drinks his lips were loose enough for her to get some information. She learned that they had brought in a couple of other Jedi. He said that one of them was none other than Jedi Master Yoda himself, and Xara figured that the other Jedi would be his padawan, who Xara did not concern herself with. Halfway through her conversation she began to feel the familiar tingle that she thought was because of Bri. The guy was still talking and Xara could to excuse herself just yet, so she had to hope that Bri would not have figured anything out yet.
Bri walked into the nightclub and imminently felt the presence of Xara nearby. She found a place to sit down and concentrated on the feeling. Noticing when it got stronger, and when it got weaker. Her eyes glanced around the room hoping to spot the bounty hunter.
Xara had quickly wrapped up the conversation with the guy she was with, and felt like it was time to leave. He wanted her to stay, but Xara slipped out of his grasp and decided to head out the back door. She had taken two steps out the door when she heard a voice behind her.
“Xara wait.” Bri said having caught a glimpse of Xara getting away from a man then headed out the back door.
Xara turned around and felt her breathing catch as she looked into Bri’s eyes. “What.” She said a bit to husky.
“Can we talk?” Bri asked walking up to Xara’s side taking her hand. It was a bold move by Bri, but she felt somewhere deep inside her that it was a right move to do.
“Why didn’t you tell me you were a Jedi?” Xara asked a bit too crisply. Her Sith side taking over in a second.
Bri stepped back like she had been slapped by the tone in Xara’s voice. She took a deep breath before answering the question.
“I told you the truth when I said I was on vacation.” Bri said risking a glance up into the blue eyes that were staring at her. “When a Jedi is on vacation they usually do not want to be disturbed, and Lake Pristine is a perfect spot to relax.”
“You’ve said why you were there, but you still have not said why you did not tell me you were a Jedi, I guess you didn’t trust me?” Xara said realizing deep down inside her that she herself was not being truthful to Bri. “And here I thought I had made a friend.” She said with a snort.
“I don’t know.” Bri said releasing Xara’s hand and with her head hung down she looked away from Xara. “I didn’t think that it would matter.” Bri answered and with that she began to walk away before Xara could see how much she had hurt her.
Xara watched as the Jedi walked away from her with her shoulders slumped in defeat. Xara’s heart wanted nothing more than to run after the small Jedi and wrap her arms around her, but the Sith training was still to strong. The further away Bri got the worse Xara felt.
Bri did not know how she had the strength to leave on her own two feet, but she managed. She then ran as fast as she could towards the temple and her own quarters where she could be alone.
Entering the temple Bri was glad that it was nighttime and there were not many people out that she would have to talk to. She quickly walked through the building to her quarters, glad when she saw no one she knew. Once in her own room she allowed herself to cry at the feelings that Xara had done to her. The total lack of trust ripped her apart it seemed and she was not sure that she ever wanted to leave her room again.
A silent figure retreated back to where he was when he saw Bri walk into the temple. Aqat wondered what happened to bring such emotion to Bri.
Xara walked back through the nightclub wondering to herself why she had just been so cruel. There was a part of her that had grown very attached to the young Jedi, and Xara thought that she had been able to feel Bri’s pain as she walked away. Xara tried to put the thought out of her mind.
“Hey, glad you ditched the little nerfherder, now we can have some fun.” A large man said as he approached her. He had tried to hit on her all night and suddenly Xara found herself angry with him insulting Bri.
Xara found herself taking the large man down rather roughly. The man was quite surprised by the strength of the woman as he hit the floor hard. “Don’t you ever call her that again!” Xara growled through clinched teeth.
“A..al..alright.” The man stammered as he looked into a pair of very cold eyes.
Xara released the man realizing that she was making a scene, not what she wanted to do. She got up and walked as calmly as she could out the door and to her rented room. There was something going on that she just did not understand, something between her and Bri. She had never allowed herself to feel anything for anyone, yet she not only felt something for Bri, but could feel her emotions as well.
When Bri had held her hand it had felt so right to her. There was a connection that she did not want to ever end, and when Bri and pulled her hand away after Xara had been so cruel to her it had felt as if something left her, something important.
Xara sunk down onto her bed as she tried to make sense out of the emotions that were wiling around in her head. It seemed like a tornado was twirling around in it without any relief in sight.
Her communicator chirped to life and Xara had to quickly rally herself in order to answer it. She knew that it would be her boss.
“Xara, I’m sending in some more people for you.” He said his cruel voice coming in over the communicator. “Our mission has changed. They should arrive tomorrow. They already have their orders, I will contact you for the next phase, which will be to eliminate Mr. Julies.” And with that the communication ended.
Xara had to wonder what was going on. He had taken her off the mission, and there were more people on the way. Something big was in the works, and Xara could not help but try to figure it out. There were only a few things that could have happened, but she could not think of anything that important as to sending more men.
Bri gradually became aware of her surroundings. She was in her bed, still with her clothes on from last night. The thought of last night brought back the memory of her conversation with Xara and the hurt that it caused her. Bri did not want to get out of bed, but she knew that eventually she would have to. She wondered how long she would be able to hide from everyone, and how long the hurt would last.
She crawled out of bed and made her way over to the mirror. She looked at herself and realized that she looked awful. Walking over to the bathroom she took a shower and tried to make herself as presentable as she could. Then with all the strength she could muster walked out of the room and through the building towards the exit.
Bri was not sure as to what she would do, but she realized that anywhere could be better than staying at the temple where those who knew her would ask about what happened. She was sure that she would ever be ready to talk about that.
Bri decided that she would head towards the local park and try to just relax. Maybe with the peaceful surroundings she would be able to come to grips with what had happened.
She got to the park and sat down to hopefully try and relax, there was a small pond, and several trees along with grass that gave a nice relaxed atmosphere to the area. She did not even realize it when her stomach began to growl.
She glanced around to the clock and noticed that she had gone all morning without eating anything. Now her stomach was protesting. Glancing around she noticed that there were a few good restaurants nearby that she had been to before. She made her way towards the place when she suddenly got the feeling that something was very wrong. She did not have a chance to move out of the way as a dart pierced her skin. She quickly pulled it out and, for a brief moment she realized that the dart was not deadly, but it was her last conscious thought.
Xara could not help but feel like something was wrong. A deep feeling inside her was telling her that something was different, and she was having a hard time standing still. She went walking outside to see if she could release some of the tension that was building up. She had no idea where she was going, perhaps some food would help her out, and as she passed the small store she had bought some supplies form earlier in the week.
She walked in and noticed that the same old man was standing behind the counter. He greeted her warmly and Xara found herself returning the greeting with a smile, even though she really did not feel like smiling.
“How are you, I remember you from earlier. Did you forget something?” He asked with a smile.
“No, I was just out and got hungry and thought that I would stop by and see what you had to eat that was quick.” Xara replied keeping the conversation light.
“So what do you do for a living?” He asked watching her as she went around looking at his sandwiches that he had out for lunches.
“This and that.” She replied not giving too much away.
“A bounty hunter.” The man said with a knowing look in his eye. “I get a lot of them in here, not many female ones. They like the small shop feel.”
“You must have a lot to notice them.” Xara said.
“It’s usually how they answer questions that gives them away. You were evasive, there is nothing wrong with being a bounty hunter.” The man said with a glint in his eye, which Xara found intriguing.
“How would you know?” She asked.
“I was once a bounty hunter as well.” He said then his eyes lost their glint and sadness appeared in them.
“I don’t mean to open old wounds for you.” Xara said. “I’ll just get my lunch and go.”
The older man took a close look at her, and then smiled again before speaking. “How about I take you to lunch, and I’ll tell you my story. I think that you will find it very interesting.”
“Alright.” Xara said using the Force to see if anything was out of the ordinary. Satisfied that he was telling the truth she agreed to go with him.
The man introduced himself as Kintu, and told the other person working the store that he was going to lunch. He then led Xara to a restaurant across the street. The hostess warmly greeted him, telling him how sorry she was about his wife. He talked with her a minute of two as they were lead to the table.
“The waiter will be with you shortly.” The hostess said as she left leaving the two alone.
“You’ve been here before?” Xara asked already knowing the answer.
“My wife and I came here quite often, and many of the people working here are friends of mine.” He said. “Might I suggest the Kalimar Shrimp, its quite good.”
“Alright, you’ve been here more than me.” She said as they gave their order to the waiter who exchanged greetings with Kintu before heading back to the kitchen with their order.
“I was a bounty hunter over sixty years ago, and I went by the name of Cata Paq.” The man said watching as recognition of the name flared in the woman’s eyes.
“Cata Paq.” Xara said no really believing it. He had been the most successful bounty hunter of that time until the last mission. No one really understood what happened, many said that he had died, others said that he retired, not she was going to learn the truth.
“I know that there are many rumors about my last mission, but the last mission I was on was actually an assignation mission. It was something I had done many times, I never figured that it would change my life so completely.” Kintu said as he recalled the mission so well. “The woman was a sister of a powerful military commander that a group of pirates wanted revenge on. I got the job and went off on the mission.”
“I thought that the mission was to eliminate a pirate leader?” Xara said.
“That’s what it changed into, after I met Sara. I had her lined up in my sight and my finger was pressing the trigger. No matter how hard I tried to pull the trigger my body refused to respond, it knew what my brain was trying to deny. You see, I was about to kill my soulmate.” Kintu told her. “I put my weapon away and walked out. I learned later that the pirates found out about my betrayal and hired several more bounty hunters to kill her. She had been captured and was on her way back to the pirates headquarters when I found out about it.”
“She survived obviously.” Xara said having heard that his wife had just recently died.
“Yes, I went in with my guns blazing, and was almost too late. She had been tortured and abused, but I managed to nurse her back to health, and with the help of her brother I buried my past and lived the rest of my life here.” He said. “Her legs never fully recovered, and the doctors said that they could be replaced with artificial ones, but we both did not want that. I could always feel when she was in pain.”
“You could feel her.” Xara said in a bit of disbelief.
“Yes, I once talked to a Jedi, and we discovered that a soulmates connection is very much like how the Force flows through a person, but it is only a connection with one person.” Kintu said. “Once she was held up, and I could feel that she was in trouble, and went rushing into help her. That was a strange experience, I was jumpy and restless, but I knew that something was going on, so I went to see what had happened to Sara, and there she was along with a punk holding a gun to her. I saved her of course, as I still have many of the skill that once made me Cata Paq.”
“You must miss her.” Xara said.
“Every second.” He said the sadness in his eyes back.
Once they had finished eating Xara went to pay, but was told that it had already been taken care of, but the management. They walked out of the restaurant and Xara went to tell the man good by.
“Perhaps I’ll see you around Xara.” Kintu said then continued. “And perhaps I’ll meet you soulmate next time, she’s in trouble.” He said then walked off leaving her with her mouth open. He had seen the jitteriness in her eyes and had recognized it mirrored in his wife’s eyes, and from Xara’s stunned expression he had guessed right. He had told her his story because he had the feeling that she was much like he was.
Xara wanted to go up to the old man and ask what he meant by his remark, but she already knew. She had been able to feel Bri specifically whenever she was around. Looking into her heart she realized that what she was probably feeling was hurt from what she had said last night. Now she had to find her and then do what she questioned herself.
For the first time in her life she felt like a path was laid out for her, by her, and not her Sith Master. It was an intoxicating feeling, but there was much she still had to do, but first was apologize to Bri. With that thought she went back to her room.
Yoda sat with his padawan at the house of Otto Julies waiting for any news from Bri. So far the only thing he had heard was from Master Aqat. She had returned last night and did not speak to anyone when she came in. This morning she left early again not speaking to anyone and had not been seen since. Yoda was not sure what to make of this unusual behavior from Bri. She kept to herself, that was true, but she usually said hi to a number of people on her way in or out.
“Is there something wrong Master?” Markus asked as he walked into the room where Yoda was looking out the window.
“Yes, feel it I can, but where, and what, I do not know.” Yoda replied turning to look at his padawan.
“Is it about the mission?” Markus asked, he had not felt anything and was a bit worried that he was not as advanced as Master Yoda had said he was.
“I do not know, for hard to see it, it is.” Yoda said putting his padawan’s fears at ease. Markus relaxed, if his master had a hard time seeing it, then he knew that he would not be able to, for few could see it if Yoda was barely able to.
“Master Aqat said for me to tell you that Master Bri still had not returned.” Markus said having talked to the Jedi Master just before walking into the room.
“”Thought so.” Yoda said not reveling anything else. His feeling that something was wrong with Bri had been with him since lunch. He had hoped that nothing had happened to the bright young Jedi. She still had promise of even greater abilities, more than any other padawan he had ever had.
Yoda told his padawan to get a good night’s sleep and watched as the youth nodded his head, turned and walked out of the room. Yoda turned back to the window knowing there was something wrong. The feeling was very faint, but there, and it all seemed to focus around Bri. Yoda wondered what trouble his former padawan had gotten herself into. He then decided to meditate for the night and see if anything presented itself to him.
Morning came to quickly for Yoda, and he was no closer to solving his mystery than he had been last night. Wearily he made his way to the main room where Markus was sitting down eating along with Otto. Both of them looked up when he came into the room.
“Is everything alright Master Jedi?” Otto asked seeing the Jedi walk into the room looking tired.
“”Perhaps.” Yoda replied not saying too much and grabbing something to eat as well.
“Does it concern me?” He asked concerned that he might be in more trouble with whoever was after him than he first believed.
“Know that, I do not.” Yoda answered honestly. “Markus, your guard you must keep up.” Yoda said to him before continuing. “Back to the temple I will be going, must speak with someone.”
“Yes Master.” Markus said a bit excitedly. This would be the first time that he would be left alone on a mission. He mentally prepared himself by going over the days tasks in his head. The only areas that concerned him were going to and from Otto’s work.
“Leave you now I will.” Yoda said to Otto then turned to his padawan. “Use the Force, let it flow through you and you will complete this mission.”
“May the Force be with you Master.” Markus said as Yoda walked out of the room on his way to the Jedi Temple.
Yoda had not felt that there would be any moves made against Otto, and figured that it was about time his padawan did something on his own. It would be a good character test, one that he was sure his padawan would pass. He also needed to talk with Master Aqat. He knew that he had talked with Bri two days ago, and maybe he might know something.
Xara woke up from a fitful sleep, there was something wrong that she could still feel. She had spent the day looking for Bri without any luck. Perhaps it was time she took a more direct approach. She knew that there was two other Jedi protecting Otto, and that they might have some idea as to what happened to her.
The only problem she had with this line of thought was that it went against all of her training. Her Masters had told her over and over again that the Jedi were responsible for their hiding in the shadows. If she continued down this path, she would have to choose between her heart, and her masters.
The choice was not easy for her. She had never had anyone who she had ever trusted. The only ones who said they trusted her were her masters, but they could also be cruel. She had been punished more than once for a stray word that they had felt was against them.
She grabbed her robe and decided on a path of action after a long deep thought about herself, and what she wanted. She wanted a chance at the young beauty, and that meant she would have to walk a fine line until she found Bri. The first thing she would do would be to go and have a visit with Otto, and his Jedi protectors.
She quickly made her way to the building that Otto worked in, and let herself into the still dark office that the man had. It was actually quite a nice room, warmly decorated and filled with pictures of his family she noted as she walked behind the desk and sat down. She had briefly thought about threatening his family when she was after him, but if he refused and she was forced to kill a family member she risked galvanizing his resolve.
She heard footsteps as she turned the chair to face the door. The door opened and Otto went to turn on the light. With a flick of her hand Xara made sure that the lights would not work.
“Odd, the lights are not working.” Otto said turning to his companion, a youngster in a Jedi robe.
“Come in and sit down.” Xara said in a commanding voice and watched amused as the young Jedi took up a defensive position in front of Otto. Xara could feel the fear in the boy as his lightsaber sprung to life.
“Put it away Jedi, if I had wanted to kill you, you would have already been dead.” Xara said standing up to her full height. Her black robe and outline from the window behind her gave an appearance of someone very frightening, right out a person’s nightmares.
“Stay back.” Markus said to the person in front of him. His opponent was a definitely a woman, and gave off a waves of power that seemed to physically smash into him. This was something he had never encountered before.
“I said relax, I need information.” Xara said getting bored with the game.
“You won’t get anything from either of us.” Markus said still on guard. He was about to say more when the woman in front of him stretched out her arm and with a flick of her wrist his lightsaber was jerked from his hand. He took a step back, this was a Force user, and a trained on at that.
“I said I just want some information.” Xara said holding Markus’ lightsaber in her hand. It had been easy to get, the young Jedi was not used to such a tactic, but he would have learned a lesson, one that might save his life in the future. She set the lightsaber down on the desk and continued walking around the desk.
“Alright.” Otto said closing the door and walking over to the chair and sat down. If he were going to die, then it would be on his terms. Markus still was not so sure about everything, but this woman right now held all the cards.
“I’m looking for a friend of mine.” Xara said as she noticed how hard it was for her to ask it, instead of beating it out of a person. “I’m looking for a Jedi Knight named Bri.” Xara noticed the look on the Jedi’s face at the name and knew that he knew Bri.
“Never heard of her.” Markus replied not sure as to why this woman wanted Bri.
“I can see right through you, and I know that you know her.” Xara said getting right up in the young man’s face. She felt the Force and realized what happening and quickly stepped back activating her own lightsaber and just blocked the kid’s attack.
Markus was again surprised when his opponent started to wield her own lightsaber, a red one at that. He quickly realized that she was much stronger, faster and more skilled than he was. He felt a bit of fear as he wondered how to get out of this alive. Otto meanwhile had ducked into a corner to watch the fight, and even he knew that the their mysterious woman was the better fighter.
It was over quickly as Markus found his lightsaber cut in half by a very precise attack. His blue blade died and the clank of a piece of metal hitting the floor could be heard. Xara turned off her lightsaber and turned to Otto, who was now slowly getting up out of the corner.
“Do you know anything about Bri?” She asked. “I know that she was protecting you.”
“”We don’t know.” Markus said finally. He had been defeated now twice by this warrior in front of him.
“Does anyone know?” Xara asked.
“Master Yoda might know.” Markus said wondering if he was doing the right thing.
“Where is he?” Xara asked.
“At the Jedi Temple.” Otto replied wondering if the woman would leave.
“And is he to return?” Xara asked and received her answer before any of them spoke. “Then I’ll wait here with you.” Xara said taking a seat on the sofa. With a flick of her wrists the lights came on.
Markus and Otto had to blink a few times as their eyes adjusted to the light. They finally got a look at their attacker, and they were surprised. There on the sofa, sitting as comfortable as she could sat a beautiful woman, with long dark black hair and blue eyes. Markus noticed the lightsaber she had on her and wondered where she had leaned to use it.
“I believe you have work to do.” Xara said looking at Otto, who shook himself out the trance, he was in and went to work.
Yoda walked down the hallway of the building of the Galactic Communications offices after his talk with Master Aqat. There had been nothing out of the ordinary. The two had talked about Aqat’s sister, and what Bri was feeling. Aqat was now sure that Bri had found her soulmate. Yoda could only agree with the statement.
As he approached the office he began to feel something else, a strong flow of the Force. There was a powerful Force user in the office, Yoda was sure of it. It seemed like it teemed with something dark, and Yoda figured that it was a Dark Force user. He geared himself up for a fight and opened the door.
Xara had felt Yoda approaching, this Jedi was more powerful than any of her masters, that was for sure. The door opened and she watched as a small green skinned figure walked into the room. His hair was thin on top, and his robe was light, but she could feel the Force flowing through him.
Otto and Markus watched as Yoda entered the room and the two people sized each other up. Even Otto could feel the crackle of energy flowing through the room.
“Jedi Master Yoda.” Xara said to the small figure as the door closed.
“You must be Xara.” Yoda replied.
“I see you’ve heard of me.” Xara said getting up to stretch. She had been sitting down the entire time watching both Markus and Otto, just to watch them sweat. “I just want to know where Bri is, I want to talk to her.”
“Know that, I do not.” Yoda replied then turned to Markus and Otto. “Leave us.” He commanded.
Xara allowed the two to leave without any question. Master Yoda had a reputation of being honest, as long as you did not cross him. She found the small Jedi intriguing.
“Looking for you, I know she was.” Yoda said after they had left.
“She found me, for a minute.” Xara said. “I said some things to her that I shouldn’t have.” Xara admitted. She felt that he was one who could answer some of her questions.
“Her actions make since now, about last night.” Yoda said. “In pain they say she was.” Yoda told her watching as Xara turned to look out the window and knew that it was the truth.
“Then she really is in trouble.” Xara said, and suddenly realized who might have her. “I have to go.”
“Beware, the Dark Side runs deep in you.” Yoda said warning her of what he had felt.
Xara turned when she reached the door. “I know.” She replied then walked out of the room.
Yoda watched as the door closed behind the Xara and only had to wait a few seconds before Markus and Otto came back into the room. He could see that both of them had questions, and he knew that even he had no answers. The strong Dark Side presence within the woman had come as a shock. He wondered if she really knew how close the Dark Side was to over taking her. If Yoda had known to real truth it would have shocked him.
“You didn’t tell her anything, did you master?” Markus asked as he walked back into the room. He had seen the dark robed woman leave and had quickly returned to the room, relieved that he was still alive.
Yoda took a close look at his padawan who shifted his weight from one foot to another. He knew that something had happened between Markus and Xara. He glanced at Otto as he sat back down at his desk and began to make a call. Yoda also took in the fact that Markus’ lightsaber seemed to be damaged, and wondered at what his padawan did.
“Told her what I knew, I did.” Yoda told his nervous padawan then continued at Markus’ face. “What happened?”
“You told her?” He said a bit astonished at what he had just heard. “She’s after Bri, and you’re letting her find out where she is.” Markus could not understand what his master was doing. This did not seem like the Jedi Master that he had grown accustomed to.
“Had to, not understand you would.” Yoda said not expecting Markus to understand the reasons behind Yoda’s actions. Especially since he had not told Markus everything about the mission. It seemed that it was changing constantly. At first it was just a simple protection, then they uncovered a plot to infiltrate the entire government, and now a battle for souls, Bri and Xara’s.
“I guess you won’t explain it to me, will you?” Markus asked knowing that his master would not.
“What happened?” Yoda asked again as Markus calmed down a bit. It was the one thing that he had to learn still. Markus would react to quickly without listening to what was going on.
“We arrived at the room, and the lights would not turn on and that woman was waiting for us. She demanded to know about Bri and we refused.” Markus said not really wanting to tell his master about the fight. “She then waited knowing that you would show up.”
“Hmm.” Yoda said rubbing his chin while looking at his padawan thinking about what he had just said. He wondered if he would have to ask about his lightsaber or if he would tell him.
“Ah, well, there was one more thing.” Markus said stammering around trying to tell Yoda without telling him. Yoda just stood there looking at his student waiting for him to say what he already knew. He had challenged the woman and lost. Markus looked at the floor and tapped the leg of the desk with his toe. “I, ah, well she seemed, and I, uh, she was really good, and I, well, lost.” He stammered out.
“She looked like she was going to attack us, and Markus went to protect me.” Otto said seeing that Markus was having a hard time telling Yoda about what happened.
“She’s really strong in the force.” Markus said as if to cover what he thought was a failure at a saber fight.
“Yes she is, should have not challenged her, concerned she is.” Yoda said to Markus. “Another lightsaber to build you have.” He said as he examined the damaged lightsaber. The skill required to cut it in half the way she did meant that she might of had some training. This meant that she had more than just used like Bri had thought and wondered what other secrets the tall dark haired woman was hiding.
“Yes master, next time I’ll listen.” Markus said a bit glad that his master was not disappointed with him. He knew that Yoda rarely got mad, and was usually kind but stern.
“I’m glad you could make it.” The man said as a blue robed person walked into the room. There were several others in the room as well. They had decided to enlist another person into their scheme as their current hired help looked to be turning on him. The last discussion had led to him almost being choked to death, an experience he did not want to repeat.
“What do you want?” An even voice said from under the hood that masked the features of the man.
“Our current hired help appears to be turning on us.” The man said glancing around to the others. There had been much discussion over bringing in another person into their scheme. A few thought that it was beginning to get out of hand.
“You want me to make sure that they don’t reach you, right?” The robed figure said correctly guessing the motive of his being here.
“Yes, that’s correct.” The headman said. “We can pay you very well.”
The man seemed to be silent for a few seconds as he thought it over then began to laugh out loud. “I’ll accept the job, but there will be a condition later.” He said.
The leader’s eyes narrowed at the robed figure. He did not like this thought, and said so out loud. He was met with laughter again.
“You wish to know, then I’ll tell you. I ask to be lifted to the head of the New Jedi Order that you will create with the new government.” The figure said.
The group seemed to think about this for a few minutes before one spoke out. “I think that we can do that.”
“Very well, I hear that you have a prisoner?” He asked.
“Yes, someone who was to close to reveling what we were doing.” The leader spoke up. “Would you like to see her?”
“No, just don’t let her go. She could be trouble.” The robed figure said then walked out of the room leaving them alone.
“Are you sure about this Arble?” One man finally said after the robed figure had left.
“Yes, he is out insurance against those cursed Sith mercenaries we hired.” The man called Arble replied as he rose out of his chair. “We are to close to have everything fall apart. We have move silently for years to get to this position, and now we have almost reached the moment we’ve all been waiting for.”
“Arble’s right, we have almost everything in place, we just need Galactic Communications, then we will have everything we need.” Another one said. “We can use the Jedi to get Mister Julies to our side.”
“I’m going to visit our guest, we’ll meet later.” Arble said as he walked out of the room.
Bri felt as though there was a thick layer of fog in her head, as she could not shake off the sleepy feeling. A sharp pain on her cheek briefly cut through the fog, but only for a minute.
“Wakey, wakey.” She heard a voice say followed by another slap to her face. This time she tried to open her eyes. It took a great amount of effort but she finally managed to crack open one of her eyes.
Standing in front of her was a dark haired man, with long sideburns. She noticed that he was wearing leather and thought that it was odd, usually people did not wear that type of material, except for certain occasions.
“I see that you’re finally awake.” The man’s voice said as she received another slap. “Let’s just make sure though.”
After a few more slaps Bri noticed that the fog was still there, but she now had both eyes open and now could see where she was. Her arms and legs were bound and she was suspended in the air along with a blue energy field flowing around her. She noticed the field right away and knew that it was a Force dampening field, she would not be able to use the Force to help her out of this one.
“The head still foggy, want to fall back asleep?” The man asked as he walked around her form. “Its the drug we used to capture you, I’m sure you’re aware of it, Axito.” He said watching as her eyes went wide with shock. Normally it would not be deadly, if the person was allowed to sleep it off, but prolonged wakefulness would cause a painful death.
The man walked to the wall in front of her and indicated a button with his finger. “Now I would like nothing more than to keep slapping you, but I have found it to be ineffective, now a small jolt here,” he said pressing the button watching as Bri reacted to the sharp jolt of electricity that cursed through her body, “that is much more effective.” I can keep you awake for a long time.” He said as his eyes lit up with joy that made Bri shudder again.
Bri’s mind was racing, well as fast as it could without the pain or fogginess that would creep back in afterwards. She was in trouble and she doubted that anyone would know where she even was.
“I’ll just set this timer, its specific for maximum pain, both from the drug, and the shock. Sleep well!” He said with a cruel laugh as he walked out of the room.
“Well done.” Arble said as the man walked out of the room and to the observation area. “This bitch almost cost me everything, and that I will not allow. ” He said coldly. The man next to him nodded his head.
“I will enjoy this.” He replied. “It’s been to long since I had to do this type of torture, and I’ve ever done a Jedi, this one should last longer than all the others.”
“What’s the record?” Arble asked a bit curious.
“Twelve hours.” The man replied. “You have time, I would come back tomorrow morning, that’s when she should start to really feel the pain from the drug.”
“Perfect.” Arble said and left to go home and get a good night’s rest.
“She is not here Milord.” The woman’s voice said.
“Then find her, she was supposed to be there, find her and punish her.” The cruel voice replied. “This could cost us dearly.”
“We’ll find her, and punish her.” The woman said turning to her men as her eyes seemed to light up with the thought of punishing someone and her men took a step back. “Spread out and find her, and let me know when you do.” She said her voice almost crackling with glee.
Xara had walked all over the local area and without any luck. She had not been able to find any trace of the young Jedi, and the more she looked the more worried she became. Darkness had begun to creep across the streets and lights were coming on and Xara felt that she could not stop. She walked aimlessly down another street when she heard a familiar voice.
“Xara!” She turned around and noticed Kintu, who was closing up his shop.
“Hello Kintu.” Xara replied wondering why she had walked down this particular street.
“I can tell by your voice that you haven’t found who you are looking for.” Kintu said almost seeing the energy coming off her.
“Its getting worse.” She said not really sure why she was telling him.
“Come with me.” Kintu said and lead her to his small living quarters. She noticed that it was well kept and the pictures that lined the wall, there were of his wife.
“This must be your wife.” She said picking up a picture of Kintu with a woman. They were both smiling.
“Yes, it is.” He replied and before he could say anymore the door burst in and four dark dressed men rushed in followed by a tall blonde woman.
“Xara, Xara, Xara!” The blonde said mockingly at Xara. “You’ve been a naughty girl, and I’m here to punish you.” Her voice was full of glee.
Xara felt that this was a critical time, she would either be strong enough to leave now, or she would be a slave to her Sith Maters forever. A long look at her heart and she found the answer in a sharp desperate tug. She turned to look at Kintu who understood the look and an almost indictable nod down she noticed that he had a small blaster near his hand.
“Tell the masters that I’m through Tali.” Xara said moving around for position, making sure that all of their attention was on her, and not Kintu.
“I don’t think so, your mine tonight.” Tali said “I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.”
They both ignited their lightsabers at the same time as shots began to ring out form where Kintu was. Two of the men grunted and fell, never having known what had happened, another was to caught up watching Tali and Xara to realize what was going on. The fourth realized and shot back.
Xara did not know was had happened as her concentration was on the blonde in front of her. She knew that Tali was good, but there was something else that was driving Xara now, and she delved deep down inside herself and called upon that part of her that had never been used. The energy responded right away filling her like she had never known. The power of her strokes took Tali off guard, Xara was not this strong, even on her best days, something had changed and for a brief second fear flashed in her eyes. It was all Xara needed. She powered through Tali’s defenses and gave her a mortal wound. Tali slumped down on the floor with shock in her eyes as the life slowly faded away.
Xara looked around and did not see any of the others standing, and it was then that she realized that neither was Kintu. She rushed over to where the man was lying, a wound in his chest and she could see the labored breathing of the man.
“Here let me take a look.” She said reaching for his shirt only to be stopped by his hand. She glanced into his eyes and saw something she had not expected to see.
“Please.” He said. “Do nothing. Been so lonely.” His eyes briefly closed before they opened again. “To find, concentrate with your heart.” Then with pained breath he closed his eyes and Xara watched amazed as a smile came to his lips and he passed away.
Xara thought that she should have felt sad, but the last look and she knew that he had been reunited with his soulmate. She got up and quickly wiped down what she had touched, then with one last look behind her and saying good-bye to a friend she did not even realize she had, she left. He had given her a way to find Bri, and for that she would be thankful.
Xara also knew that she could not stay at her rented place, and she needed a place to stay that would be safe. She had no friends and no allies. Who could she trust, one person flashed in front of her, and knowing that it was a gamble went somewhere she never thought she would go.
Yoda walked over to his own quarters to see if anything else had come up. So far there had been no word about Bri, and Yoda was worried that something had happened to the young Jedi. He had dropped by in her quarters and found it like it usually was. There was no sign that she had been back since this morning. The situation was one of the few times that he had felt unable to do anything to correct the situation.
Master Aqat had no information for him on the ongoing mission either. There seemed to be a complete stoppage in whatever was going on. There had been no further attacks on any high-ranking corporate official, or political official. It just seemed like whoever was behind it was waiting for something to happen. Both Jedi Masters hoped that they would be able to stop whatever plan had been set in motion.
Yoda looked around his room and grabbed a clean robe to wear along with one for his padawan. He reviewed what they had learned so far, which was not much. Someone, or some group, was going around gathering the cooperation of businesses that had, or were in the process of getting government contracts. The only purpose that they had been able to think of was to gain control of the leaders of the Republic. Besides that no one seemed to know why, and it was beginning to bother Yoda.
The investigation team so far had not come up with anything else that could be used. Everyone they had talked to had refused to talk, and fear of something could be sensed. This also disturbed Yoda. There was a powerful group that put fear in people even with protection from the Jedi.
He walked back out of his room and was headed back to Otto Julies house where he and his padawan were staying until further notice. The only excitement had been when the mysterious Xara had showed up at his office. Markus had challenged her to a duel and lost very easily. Yoda had gotten the complete story from Otto as his padawan was embarrassed about the entire thing. He knew that he had sensed the Dark Side in her, but after listening to Otto, he was almost sure that someone had trained her.
As he waited for a transport he felt something, and he knew what it was. He had felt it when he had approached Otto’s office after lunch. He turned around to see if he could pinpoint the feeling, but it was still too vague. One shadow however seemed to rise up from around the surrounding shadows. Yoda watched as the shape took the form of the very mysterious bounty hunter.
“Xara, to see you here I did not expect.” Yoda said as the figure moved cautiously closer. Now that she had closed the distance between then he could see the lines of worry on her face. “What can I do for you?”
“I need some help.” Xara said looking around. She felt very tense being so close to the Jedi Temple and Yoda also noticed her eyes dart around as if she was in danger.
“What help can I be?” Yoda asked wondering what was making the young woman give off such nervous energy.
“I need a place to crash tonight.” Xara said not reveling the real reason. She had come to the Jedi Temple to find the Jedi Master and had stood outside in the shadows for the past twenty minutes trying to gather enough courage to see the small Jedi out. She had been relieved when he had come out of the Temple.
“Staying at Mr. Julies I am, not sure if you are welcome.” Yoda replied honestly to Xara.
“If he does, so be it, if not, I’ll find somewhere else.” Xara said.
“Very well.” Yoda said as the transport stopped at the docking area. The two got on the transport and rode in silence. Yoda was wondering what was going on with Xara, and she was just glad to be going away from the temple.
All her years of training and condition by the Sith Lords had taught her to despise the Jedi and their ways, now here she was sitting next to one of the most powerful Jedi ever, and was worried about another Jedi. Xara rubbed her eyes a bit, she was tired and had spent most of the day looking for Bri, only to come up empty handed.
“Did Bri show up?” Xara finally asked hoping that the young Jedi had appeared.
“No, worried we are, did you find anything?” Yoda said allowing his own worry to come through, knowing that Xara picked up on it.
“No, I haven’t. I think I know a way though to find her.” Xara said not saying much else.
“Yes, a soulmate connection.” Yoda said watching the shock in Xara’s eyes appear. “Told me, Bri did about her vacation.”
“That’s why you helped me earlier?” Xara said realizing that Bri understood before she did. Again what she had told the young woman crashed down on her. How could Bri forgive her when she herself had lied about who she was?
“Yes, I had met some soulmates a long time ago, helped him I did.” Yoda said. “His name is Kintu, he lives around here.”
Xara chose not to say anything as she recognized the name that Yoda had said. The man had died earlier tonight because he was willing to help her, and had gotten caught up in her world. She figured if he had been twenty or so years younger the man would have survived, but he was now at peace and had given her a piece to finding Bri.
Yoda got up as the transport stopped at their destination. He noticed for the first time the bag that Xara carried, it was not much, but he figured that from whoever she was running from she did not have much time to gather much. She got up with the small Jedi and they went to Otto’s house.
Walking through the door brought back a few memories for Xara. This was the area where she had fought Bri, until she realized who the Jedi was. Yoda led her to the back room where Otto and Markus were waiting.
Both of them recognized her as soon as she walked in the room. Otto was a bit concerned, and Markus quickly looked at his master to see if everything was all right. It appeared to be, and Markus waited to see what was going on. He was trying to learn his lessons and this was defiantly one of them.
“Good evening.” Xara said to the two who were watching with curious expressions of their faces. “I was wondering if I might be allowed to crash here tonight?” Xara asked Otto.
Otto was a bit taken back by all of this. He glanced back and forth between Yoda and the woman who had just days earlier been trying to kill and intimidate him. “I’d like to discuss it with Master Yoda alone first.” Otto said. The woman shrugged her shoulders and walked out of the room followed a few seconds later by Markus.
Yoda watched as the two left the room before turning to Otto. “You wish to know whose sides she on?” He asked Otto who nodded his head and Yoda thought about it for a second. “Know that, I do not. After you, I do not think she is.”
“She’s tried to kill me at least once, has been stalking me for days and has tried to intimidate me and now you lead her right into my house.” Otto said getting it all off his chest.
“More concerned about Bri she is.” Yoda replied. “Something has happened to her lately, and I feel that she is lost right now.”
Otto paced for a few minutes wondering what to do. This woman could just be playing with Yoda, telling him what he wanted to hear so she could get close to him and strike. On the other hand if Yoda was correct then she would pose no threat to him.
“Alright, I’ll allow her to stay here for the night, but just one night.” Otto said making up his mind.
Xara was a bit glad that Otto had allowed her stay, she knew that she would need her rest, ad that she would need her energy to find Bri. She was allowed a small room and she put her stuff down and cleaned herself up. A bath had felt quite good and the bed was nice and comfortable. In minutes she was asleep, but her mind was still trying to find Bri.
Xara woke up the next morning still tired even though she had slept the entire night. Something was keeping her from sleeping well even though she did not have any dreams. So far she was no closer to finding Bri than when she had met with Yoda last night. Hearing voices in coming from the kitchen she rose and headed toward it to see what was going on.
As she entered the kitchen she noticed several people in there. Master Yoda and his padawan, Markus along with several others that she had not seen before. Two of them appeared to be a Jedi, the other two looked to be a couple, and a man she recognized as retired Admiral Petan.
Several of the group looked up to see who had entered the room. There was something about the couple that Xara found odd, an inner sense that she felt. They looked at her almost with knowing eyes. She looked at Master Yoda next who seemed to be a bit sad and wondered what type of news he had just received.
“Good Morning Xara, well did you sleep?” Yoda asked as he watched the woman enter the kitchen. He had just received some sad news, but at the same time news that relieved his heart.
“No, not really.” Xara replied as the couple shared a look between them.
“Allow me to introduce myself, I’m Jedi Master Aqat.” The gray haired Jedi with kind eyes said. “This is Jedi Master Janson, his sister and husband, and retired Admiral Jason Petan.” Aqat said identifying each other the others around the table.
“I hope I’m not interrupting anything?” Xara asked as she looked around.
“I was just telling Yoda about an old friend of ours that was killed last night.” Aqat said. “He was a local store owner.” Xara knew who they were talking about, Kintu who had been killed by Tali and her goons who had been sent by her former masters.
“I’m sorry.” Xara said not reveling that she knew him. “If you’ll excuse me, I need to get going.” Xara said as the feeling that she had ever since yesterday seemed to be getting stronger. “Tell Mr. Julies thank you for letting me stay here last night.” Xara said leaving the room where she had begun to get uncomfortable. Three Jedi Masters were more than enough to set her on edge.
Arble walked down the hallway towards feeling quite pleased with himself. Walking with him was his newly hired protector and a fully trained Jedi Knight, not the scum Force users that he had relied on early on. They were to be eliminated anyways as he knew that they could not be trusted.
A smile came to his lips as he thought about what was awaiting him today. He would finally be rid of a nuisance that had plagued him almost all his life. He thought that she had died years ago, but when he saw the young woman he knew who she was. He would enjoy telling her.
Walking into the control room he saw his hired help sitting down at a control panel watching through the tinted window. The man just looked over to see who had walked in and turned back around.
“She’s trying to be tough, but she will succumb eventually, they all do.” The man said to Arble with a cruel smile on his face.
“Good, very good.” Arble said returning the man’s smile as he walked over to the window. He could see the Jedi still held in her chains, she appeared to be in a bit of pain as the drug really began to work in her system. Even from here he could see the sweat on her face. As he watched another shock went through her keeping her awake. He watched her body jerk at the shock.
“I think I might have something to make the fight either last longer or shorter.” Arble said to the man who just looked at him in question. “I have some information that I know she’ll find interesting.”
“Go on ahead then.” The man said to Arble and they went into the room.
Bri managed to see that two men were coming into the room. She felt like an entire herd of nerfs had run over her, back up and ran over her again. Her head was beginning to really hurt, and the strain of her body jerking at the shocks had the rest of her tired. Apart from that she could begin to feel the drug starting its own torture of her.
Arble walked up to her, he could see that she was awake enough to focus on him. He walked around her just watching as he could see the beginning of the pain in her eyes from the drug they had given her.
“Well, well, well, the great Jedi Knight Bri Lighter.” Arble said mockingly in her face daring her to say anything. “I have a secret.”
Bri was trying to push away the pain and drowsiness to see what this man was going to tell her. Until it was over there was always a chance he might slip, although she admitted it was slim.
“I know who killed your parents.” He said watching shock in her eyes. He knew that everyone thought it was an accident. “You see, I did, I arrange everything, the only problem was you survived.” The man said finishing the sentence in a growl.
Bri was not sure she understood, except for the fact that this man had killed her parents. She had always assumed that it was an accident, and now this man was telling her that he arranged everything.
“That Yoda had to come along when he did, it almost ruined me, but I’ve got my revenge now.” Arble said. “I tried to get my brother to agree with me, but he was always talking about doing the right thing, never about money. He was a weak fool.” Arble spat out. “He found out what I was doing and was going to flee after talking to the local authorities, but I made sure he never got there.”
Bri knew that everything that had happened to her lately was taking a toll, but now this man was telling her a tale that she was sure she believed. She did not know she could believe it.
“Yes little girl, I’m you uncle.” He said in her face. “And I’ll enjoy watching you die.” He said walking out of the room.
It was almost too much for Bri, the thought that she not only had some family left, but that he wanted her dead shook her soul. He was responsible for all of this, everything she had suffered from the accident, and never knowing her parents. Her mind tried to think though the fog that enveloped her as the drug took control. Another shock shook her awake again and she tried to think of what she could do. The field around her dampened her use of the Force, so who could she call.
Even as she thought of the question her soul and heart answered for her. A vision of blue eyes flashed in front of her, and she wondered if the field would dampen that as well. She was running out of options that much was for sure. She closed her eyes and let her heart guide her as she focused on nothing but Xara.
Xara had returned to her room and was packing up her stuff. She really was not sure what she would do, or go when the woman who had been in the kitchen walked in.
“I hope that I’m not interrupting?” The woman said as she walked in to the room.
“No, I’m just frustrated.” Xara said.
“You have met you soulmate, haven’t you.” She said and they both knew it was not a question.
“Yes.” Xara said continuing to pack her stuff.
“I could tell, your actions in the kitchen gave you away.” The woman replied. “My name is Eva.”
“Xara.” Came the reply as the she continued to back her few belongings.
“Is you soulmate alright?” Eva asked as she watched Xara pace around packing her stuff. The woman did not have a lot, but seemed to be on edge.
“I don’t know, we had a fight, I said some things I did not mean and now no one knows where she is.” Xara replied grabbing her clock and lightsaber.
Eva was about to reply when she heard Xara gasp. She looked at the woman who looked pale and was griping her lightsaber so hard her knuckles were turning white. She was getting something from her link between her and her soulmate. Eva quietly went over to the woman and sat them both down on the bed.
“Bri’s in trouble, big trouble.” Xara said as she regained control of her self. “I don’t even know where she is.”
“Let the link guide you, close your eyes and open your heart.” Eva said. “You will know if you are headed in the right direction, it will feel right.”
“I need to go, it feels like she won’t last the day, perhaps even the morning.” Xara said as she ran out of the house still clutching her lightsaber, forgetting about her bag.
Yoda waited for a second as Eva walked back into the room. They had all seen Xara rush out of the house like she was on fire. They waited for Eva to break the silence.
“Her soulmate’s in trouble.” Eva said more to her husband than anyone else. He nodded his head, he had seen the look in the woman’s eyes and knew that something was very wrong, and his wife just confirmed it.
“In serous trouble then, Bri is.” Yoda said watching as they all agreed.
“Is there anything we can do?” Janson said, wondering if they should put everyone on alert and on the look out for Xara as well.
“No, she’s already gone. Whatever is happening it’s blocking the Force, otherwise we would have already felt Bri.” Aqat replied as Yoda nodded his head in agreement.
“Wait, is the only thing we can do for now.” Yoda replied watching as Markus and Otto entered the room telling them that he was off to the office and that they were welcome to stay, and just to lock the doors when they left.
Xara ran down the street in what she thought was the right direction. She had never done anything like this before and she was not sure that she was even doing it right. She ran past a corner and suddenly stopped, it felt different. Turning back around she walked to the corner and began walking down the other street, that was felt the same as well. Turning around she felt like it was the right direction and began to run again. She had taken the time to tuck her lightsaber away so she would not attract attention to her self.
She stopped for a second as she was getting tired of running, and she had no idea as to how long of a run she had. She spied a taxi just sitting on the side of the road and she quickly ran over to it and jumped in.
“Hey lady, can’t you see the sign, I’m off duty.” The driver growled to her as she got in.
“Now your back on duty.” She growled. “Go that way.” She pointed down the street.
“Look lady, I’m not moving.” The last word got cut off as Xara held him by his neck.
“Now you look.” Xara barked at the man staring him right in his eye and knew that he was feeling fear. “My friend is in trouble, and we’re going to find her.”
“Alright lady, just quite choking me.” The driver got out as he was released. “Where to?”
“That way, I’ll give you the directions as we go.” Xara said not wanting to tell him she was not sure either.
“Alright.” The driver said as he switched on the meter and pulled out.
It took an hour to get where Xara felt like Bri was. She and the taxi driver had finally gotten a system ironed out as to her directions. He had missed a few turns and they had to make u-turns but now the driver sat looking at the building.
“Park over there.” Xara pointed out at a small little area that would hide a taxi. Xara figured that she might need to get out of the area fast, and having him nearby would be a good idea.
“Okay.” He replied not caring, only hoping that she would be able to pay the tab.
“Wait here, I’ll be right back.” Xara said turning around then back to the driver. “Oh yeah, if you do take off, I’ll hunt you down and kill you myself, and it won’t be pretty.” She said pinning the driver with her stare and watched as he nodded shakily. She then turned and went towards the building.
Xara made her way to the building, extending her senses to feel for any danger. So far she was not feeling any danger, but the distress that she now acknowledged was Bri was getting more desperate. Making her way to the door she grabbed her lightsaber and opened the door expecting anything.
She quickly went inside and waited for her eyes to adjust. Looking around she did not notice anything, no security or anything, that made her nervous. She looked around to see what felt right, there were several doors, and she noticed that one seemed right.
Opening the door she noticed a hallway, although it was long, it was also perfect for an ambush, but she knew that she had to go through it.
She made it about halfway when the door opened and several armed men came through firing their blasters at her. Her lightsaber already flashed to life before any thought went through her mind and she deflected their shots still advancing on the men. Several fell by their own shots directed back at them, the rest still held their positions.
She quickly used the Force to pull several of them forward and their blaster flew even further as they lost their grip on the weapons. She quickly closed the distance and cut the men down before they could recover. She knew now that whoever was behind this was alerted to her presence, but they might not realize that she was here to rescue Bri, and she could use that to her advantage.
They had locked the door, but that was no problem as she cut through the door and quickly entered the room. There was one man a control panel a couple of doors and a window. The man was holding a gun of some sort.
“You can’t block this, Jed.” The man said with a sneer.
“I’m not a Jedi.” Xara replied as she recognized the weapon, a dart gun.
“Doesn’t matter.” He said firing the weapon watching stunned as the woman lifted her arm and his dart stopped just short of his intended target, her neck.
Xara realized that the dart was tipped with a drug, one she recognized as non-lethal, usually. It was a sleeping drug that caused death if one was kept awake, allowing a person to sleep and the drug wore itself out of the system. Keeping a person awake would cause a lot of pain and eventual death.
She looked at the dart that she had stopped, just hovering in front of her, then at the man standing looking at her in shock. With a flick of her wrist it turned around and went straight at him. He tried to duck but it struck him in the arm. He pulled it out quickly but they both knew that the drug was already in his system.
Xara only had to wait a few seconds until the man dropped and she knew that she was no longer a threat. She walked over to the window and was shocked at what she saw. Chained up and in a blue field that Xara knew was a Force dampening field was Bri. She looked terrible and Xara realized what was happening to the strawberry-blonde.
She ran into the room and was almost taken by surprise by another person, who she realized was a Jedi.
“You might have defeated everyone else with your tricks at your slim knowledge of the Force, but I’m a master at it.” The man said as his blade sprung to life. Xara did notice that there was another gray haired man in the background of the room, but he did not seem much like a threat.
Xara smiled grimly as she looked at Bri, and knew that she had to get her down quickly, and that a prolonged fight would not help her condition. Xara’s own red blade came to life again. She twirled her blade a couple of times waiting for the Jedi to make the first move. He came in quickly aiming for her shoulder, which she blocked quite easily as the sound of hissing blades striking each other filled the room.
The Jedi that Xara was facing decided to up the tempo of the fight, which Xara willing allowed and matched the man stroke for stroke. She blocked his attacks easily and knew that he would have been no match for either her or Bri from just the little that they had fought. The man quickly realized that his opponent was better than he first thought, the thought made him mad and he quickly fought with anger rather than like a Jedi had been trained.
Xara vaguely realized that this Jedi in front of her was more like a Sith now than she was and the back of her mind vaguely wondered when the switch had occurred. Xara had watched for weakness in the man’s technique and was quick to spot it. Whenever he swung with power like he was doing now to his right he left himself open to attack. Xara positioned herself to make the man attack and when he did she struck.
The man knew the moment that he had brought his blade down that he was in trouble. His teachers had told him that it was a weakness, but he had never paid attention to them thinking that he was better than all of them. Now he realized that he was not better, and that the teachers knew what they were talking about as he felt the pain of the lightsaber strike him. He gasped as the pain went through his body. He slumped forward as he lost his grip of his lightsaber and it clanked noisily on the floor.
Xara looked around and did not see the other man who had been the room when she first starting fighting the Jedi. Not seeing him she turned her attention to Bri who had been following the fight as mush as the pain she was in would allow her to.
Taking her lightsaber she made quick work of the chains holding her. Bri slumped forward only to be caught by Xara and a feeling of security surrounded her. She knew that they would have to talk, but right now she had never been so glad to see anyone as she had when Xara had stepped through the door.
“D..d..dr..drug.” Bri stammered out wanting to tell Xara what had happened.
“I know.” Xara said stopping herself from calling Bri sweetheart. “Can you do something for me for a few minutes, stay awake and try and walk, I know that your in pain, but there’s a taxi waiting outside and we might have to fight out way out.” Xara explained. She would be more than glad to carry out Bri, but it would hamper her fighting abilities. She watched Bri nod her head and knew that she would try.
They made their way as quickly as possible through what Xara thought was the control room, through the hallway, where Bri noticed the bodies of several men, and then out the door. Xara had to help Bri several times from falling as her sleep depravation, the drug and the pain from the drug were beginning to take their toll on her. Xara quickly lead them to the hidden taxi and climbed in the back pulling Bri inside with her.
“The Jedi Temple, and watch out for anyone following you.” Xara said as she waited for the taxi to pull away. Once the building was out of sight she pulled Bri onto her lap and held the young woman as she fell asleep.
The taxi pulled up to the temple a few minutes later. She told the driver that she would be right back to pay her tab after she took care of Bri. Picking up Bri carefully so she would not wake she walked into a place that she never saw herself going in. As she walked across the entranceway she was aware of several stares coming toward her that made her uneasy. Fortunately for her two of them walked towards her, one she recognized as Jedi Master Yoda.
“Found her I see.” Yoda said seeing his former pupil in the woman’s arms. She appeared to be asleep and Yoda was a bit worried.
“She’s been drugged with Axito, and forced to stay awake, for how long I’m not sure.” Xara said watching as Yoda and the other one who she realized was Aqat nodded her head.
“Rest she needs, and liquids as well.” Yoda said. “Her quarters this way.” Yoda told Xara and began walking as Aqat said he would bring up some liquid nourishment for Bri, she would have to wake up for a few minutes to drink it, but it would replenish what she had probably lost until the drug wore off.
“I also need someone to pay for the cab fare, he’s waiting outside.” Xara said still holding on to Bri.
“No problem.” Aqat said as he walked away and sent a young Jedi out to take care of it.
Master Aqat walked into the small quarters that made up Bri’s room. He noticed that Yoda was still with the small group and that Bri was now lying on her own bed still sound asleep. He put down the drink that he brought for Bri and briefly wondered if they would be able to wake Bri up to get her to drink it. The drink was made specific for humans to replenish lost nutrients quickly.
He watched as the other woman known as Xara brushed back some of the hair on Bri’s face with such tenderness he was not sure he should have been watching. Xara spoke softly in her ear and he watched as it took a while but the young Jedi reluctantly woke up.
They watched as her sleepy eyes paused on each of them before finally resting on Xara. “Hi.” She said sleepily then closed her eyes again to go back to sleep.
“Oh no you don’t, not yet.” Xara said giving Bri a slight shake. This time annoyed green eyes opened as she fixed them on Xara.
“What?” She asked getting annoyed at being kept awake by her friends keeping her eyes on Xara.
“Here, drink this.” Xara said handing her the glass to drink. “Drink it all down and then we won’t disturb you again until you wake up.” Xara told her hoping that Bri would just drink it without much fuss.
Bri grumbled but took the glass then quickly downed the contents before glaring at Xara again. “Satisfied?” She asked and not waiting for their answer turned on her side away from the group and went straight to sleep. The group looked at each other as Xara put the glass back down on the table.
“Would you be willing to answer some questions for us?” Aqat asked when he realized the Bri was not going to stir anytime soon, and the council would like to know what happened.
Xara at first did not answer, as she was putting a blanket over Bri to make sure she was comfortable enough. Xara pondered the question, was she up to a room full of Jedi, she knew that they would be asking several tough questions that she might not want to answer.
Aqat thought for a second that the woman would not answer him, but was surprised when she said that she would answer what she felt comfortable answering. Aqat said that was fair enough, and knew that this woman was a warrior, and would feel uncomfortable in too many personal questions. He would have to warn the council before the questioning started.
“Oh, by the way Master Yoda, the visitation for Kintu is tonight, there are a group of us that will be going.” Aqat said knowing that Yoda would go see a person who had the small store.
“Yes, I will, only wish I knew what happened.” Yoda said as he watched Xara with his former student. She was standing there just watching the form on the bed. “Later we will talk.” Yoda said knowing the now was not the time for any conversation like that.
“Of course, may I ask when the council should expect you?” Aqat asked so he would know how long to stall the council.
“Give me an hour to freshen up.” Xara said breaking her contact with Bri to look at Aqat. The man nodded his head then walked out of the room leaving Yoda and Xara with the sleeping Bri.
The two of them stood in the room. Yoda wondered if anything else had happened and he asked her point blank.
“You’re direct, I’ll give you that.” Xara said. “I’m afraid that Bri will know more than I will. Let me know when you go to the visitation tonight for Kintu.”
Yoda was a bit shocked at that request. “Know him you did?” He asked wondering how she would know him.
“Yes, I also knew that he was at one time Cata Paq, one of the best bounty hunters ever. He told me the story, and I was there when he died.” Xara said watching as Yoda perked up with that last bit of information. “He was going to tell me something, and someone form my past caught up with me, wrong time and place.”
Yoda nodded, but he had the feeling that she was not telling him the truth. He would have to pry a bit deeper to gain the truth, but that could wait for another day. “Say anything did he?” Yoda asked.
“Not too much, but he was returning to his wife, his soulmate.” Xara said remembering the expression as Kintu died in her arms. “His face was happier than I had ever seen it.”
“Reunited he was.” Yoda said glad that the former bounty hunter had found his peace. He had run across the man years ago after he had given up his bounty hunter ways and had settled down. A former enemy of his was after him, and Yoda had help save the man’s life. Kintu had been grateful and was a good source of information, as he had many contacts back then that were still alive. Yoda would later learn that Janson’s sister and husband knew Kintu and his wife and it was through them that he had learned of the passing of Kintu’s wife. He did not know what type of reaction a loss like that would have, but he had kept tabs on the man and learned that he had continued on with his life until last night. He was glad that Kintu found the peace he searched for.
Xara walked over to the small sink and splashed her face with some water to freshen up a bit before her encounter with the Jedi Council. Yoda dismissed himself and walked out leaving Xara and Bri alone. Xara wondered how long the young woman would be out. From previous experience with the drug she knew that a person could be out for a long time, and the longer they were kept awake then the longer the person would need to sleep to get rid of the drug. The drug had been developed for surgeries, and it was later found to have a serious side effect and was banned. Bounty hunters and other dark groups found the drug useful for torture and a slow death. She figured whoever was behind this wanted Bri dead, but they also got their pleasure that way.
Arble was not sure how things had turned out so badly in such a short amount of time. This morning he was to be rid of the one person who knew the most. He had been in the room with Bri tormenting her again when his new protector came into the room and said that someone had broken into the building and was headed right to this room.
He briefly wondered if he should just have the woman killed when he heard commotion coming from the control room. He did not have a weapon and knew that he could not strangle the girl, as she was too high off the ground.
He was about to ask the Jedi to do it when the door swung open and a woman he had never seen before walked into the room with a red lightsaber. He knew who she worked for and wondered if they had finally betrayed him. His Jedi and the woman engaged in a duel and even he could see that she would defeat him. Arble then decided to leave the scene through a hidden door that lead out of the building.
Now his plans were falling a part and he was not sure that they could even be salvaged anymore. He would have to think about what his next move would be. He wondered if he could trust the Sith mercenaries that he had hired after what happened this morning. He decided to contact them and see if they were surprised at him still being alive.
Xara walked into the Jedi Council room. She was a bit nervous if she was to tell anyone the truth. However, she would not admit that one unless she had to, the last thing she wanted anyone to know was trained by the Sith. She held no illusions that they might be able to detect he knowledge of the Force, Master Yoda had felt her Dark Side and warned her against it, she had chuckled after she left if only he knew the truth, she would not be here.
She looked around the room with a confidence that she dredged up from somewhere and looked each of the members in the eye. She was not going to let them intimidate her.
“Welcome Xara.” Aqat said with a smile. She held her composure better than most people did with their first council appearance. He wondered what the other members thought, as they were used to being intimidating.
“Jedi Master Aqat.” Xara said responding to the elder man sitting in his chair. “You asked to see me?”
“Yes we have a few questions about a few things.” Aqat said.
“Then ask away.” Xara said holding her hand out to the side as if to say bring it on.
“Yes.” Aqat said hiding a smile at Xara’s actions. This would prove to be quite interesting he decided. “You were on a mission to either take out or make Otto Julies, of Galactic Communications to cooperate, right?” Aqat asked starting with an easy question.
“Yes.” Xara replied not saying anything else as she gave only a one-word answer.
“Do you know who you were working for?” Janson asked seeing if she would answer this question.
“No.” Xara calmly replied knowing that the answer was not what they were looking for.
“What do you mean no, surely you talked with them.” One of the members asked.
“I mean no, I only had brief contact, and never met them face to face.” Xara said giving a bit of an explanation. She had to maintain her bounty hunter image until she could talk with Bri about it.
“Now Ri-Jun, you know that’s how a lot of bounty hunters work, as long as they get paid they don’t care about their employers. And usually the employers don’t want to meet them.” Aqat said before the man could ask another question. The rest of them nodded their heads knowing that it was a fairly common practice. “I’m going to ask this but you probably don’t know. Do you know what their plan was?”
“No.” Xara answered. So far they had not really asked any pointed question, but she was sure that would change once they began to ask about her rescue of Bri.
“So you don’t know anything about what has been going on with the company CEOs?” Ri-Jun asked not really sure that he understood what she was saying.
“No I don’t and even if I did I would not say anything.” Xara said as several of the council members stared at her in shock, but one just laughed.
“A bounty hunter to the end, I like you.” A small Jedi member said with a bit of a laugh. “You are a warrior in your spirit and you let nothing intimidate you, do you?” He said.
“Alright, I did not think that we would gain any information about who was behind all of this, but you probably can tell us what happened in your rescue of Jedi Knight Bri.” Aqat said as the council switched topics.
Xara wondered how much she should say about the rescue, or if she should even mention the Jedi she had encountered at the end. Instead of saying anything about it she asked where they wanted her to start.
Janson seemed to think that one over and he decided on an area that would be safe, for both her and Bri. “What happened once you got to the building, as obviously your informants led you there?”
“You’re right, and I can’t give away those secrets.” Xara said privately relieved that he had not said anything about the connection that she and Bri had. “It was one of the warehouses, I think that Halliu controls it.” She said mentioning the company that had its symbol on the building. “Once inside I had to make a choice between several doors to go through, and I believe that it was at this time that I tripped an alarm, or they saw me enter the building. It was deserted, and opening one of the doors exposed a long corridor. This made me believe that I had chosen the right one. I had just taken a step inside when the other side opened up and several men started firing at me. I returned fire and killed all of them.”
“How many were there?” One member asked.
“Don’t know, doesn’t matter.” Xara said. “I then walked cautiously down the corridor until I arrived at a room that looked like a control room. There was a man there, probably in charge of the equipment. After a brief struggle I used his own dart gun on him and he fell unconscious.”
“Was it the same drug that they used on Bri?” Aqat asked.
“Probably, after that I entered a room where they had Bri chained. I cut her down and led her out to the waiting cab that I had.” Xara said.
“I have one question, perhaps the most important one in my mind.” Ri-Jun asked turning his attention to the woman. “Why rescue her?”
“She’s my friend.” Xara said slowly as if tasting the word for the first time. Standing here saying those words made an impact on her like nothing else had ever done. This was real, she had betrayed her ways for another path. She gave it a brief thought, and then decided she would worry about it at a later time.
“A friend?” Ri-Jun asked in a bit of disbelief.
“Yes, a friend, we met when we were both taking a vacation on Naboo.” Xara said getting tired of this Jedi’s questioning.
“I think that those questions are not important Ri-Jun.” Aqat said looking right at the Jedi. “You’ll have to excuse Ri-Jun, he has had some bad experiences with bounty hunters in the past.” He explained looking right at Xara as if to tell her she had a few allies in the room.
“I understand.” Xara said knowing that even he did not know the real truth, that she had been trained by the Sith, if they found out then the questions would not end.
“Was there anything else that you can tell us?” Janson asked hoping for something that they might use as a clue to unraveling the mystery of this case.
“Only one, when I was fighting the man in the control room, there was another person, I did not get a good look at him, and I just remembered him. But when I had finished fighting the man had disappeared.” Xara said still not mentioning the Jedi that she had fought. That would bring up to many questions that she did not want to answer.
“Do you remember anything of what he looked like?” Aqat asked pressing for ay type of detail that they might be able to use.
“No, he was a bit below average height, blonde hair with streaks of gray, he was human and dressed rather well, but aside from that nothing else.” Xara said as she really tried to remember what the man looked like. “That you’ll have to ask Bri about, she might be able to remember more.”
“I think that your right, but she will probably not be awake for at least a day or so.” Aqat said watching as Xara nodded her head at the statement.
“If you can remember anything else please let us know.” Aqat said meaning every word he said.
“Of course.” Xara said as she walked out of the council room and headed back to Bri’s quarters.
“My Lord.” A man said as he bowed to another dark man, his face obscured by the shadows.
“Report.” Came the reply.
“We still have no contact with Xara, and Tali was found dead along with her men at a small apartment. There was another man that had been killed, and it could have been assumed that he killed all of them, but Tali died from a lightsaber, I believe that Xara was involved.” The kneeling man said.
“So Xara has betrayed us.” The man in the shadows said, his voice cold and calculating. “”No matter, send a spy to watch the visitation of the man who was killed, perhaps Xara will show up there.”
“Yes my lord.” The man said getting up and walking out to carry out his orders. Inside he was fuming, he needed Xara to complete his plan to take over the Sith and Xara would become his right hand. Now she would die for her betrayal.”
Xara was sitting on a chair near the bed cleaning her lightsaber when a knock on the door interrupted her. Quickly hiding the weapon and glancing over to make sure that Bri was still asleep she answered the door. She was only partly surprised when Aqat and Janson standing there.
“May I come in?” Aqat asked her waiting for her answer before moving. Xara motioned them inside but told them to be quiet.
“I think we have some questions and answers for both of us, and what we say will be off the record.” Aqat said once they were inside and at Xara’s arched eyebrow he explained more. “We know the truth about your relationship with Bri.”
“My sister has a soulmate, she said that you do as well, and Master Yoda mentioned to us that Bri had found hers, so we concluded that you must be hers, and that is how you found Bri.” Janson said having talked to his sister just after Xara had left the house this morning.
“I guess I am.” Xara said taking a quick glace at the sleeping form just a few feet away. “Its still all pretty new to me, so I’m still not sure about all of this.”
“If you want, when the smoke of all of this mess clears I’ll introduce you to my sister, and then you can have a long talk with her.” Jason said as he sat down on one of the nearby stools.
“Why didn’t you ask me about that in the council meeting. If you knew why did you say that it was from one of my informants?” Xara asked as she remembered what happened in the council meeting.
“If the council found out about the fact that Bri had a soulmate then we would stand to lose one of our best members, and that is something that I don’t think we can afford.” Aqat answered truthfully. “Bri has a way of finding the peaceful solution without violence. Very rarely does one of her missions lead to bloodshed.”
“There is a growing number of Jedi who try to use their lightsabers as the negotiation tool, instead of the Force.” Janson said continuing Aqat’s train of through.
Xara felt proud for a moment about Bri, the fact that she used her mind and wits to get things done instead of force was an accomplishment. She would know, having used brute force most of her life she knew that it was the easy way. “So what are you going to do about us?” Xara asked wondering what they had planed for Bri.
“As you know, we don’t want to lose her, and seeing as she will not take a padawan we have a couple of choices, but the ultimate decision will be yours.” Aqat answered waiting a minute to tell her the choices. “There are three that we know of. One is for Bri to leave the Jedi Order to be with you, second is for both of you to never see each other again.” He paused a bit looking at Janson who just nodded his head. “The third is for you to partner with Bri on her missions, it would allow you to stay together, Bri could stay in the Jedi Order, but it would mean when here on Coroscuant you would have to hide your affection for each other.”
Xara sat there thinking about the three plans for them. It was obvious that they had put a great deal of thought in to the situation, but one question came to her. “What about the Council? I think you would expect us to appear before them, would they know?”
“You may or may not know this but only two of the twelve are permanent members for life, the others are elected and rotate in and out, one only the permanent members would know.” Aqat said. “In this case the only ones on the council who know are Janson and myself. Along with Master Yoda we are the only ones who know about all of this.
“It appears that you’ve put a lot of thought into this.” Xara said, she knew what she would like, but she still had some items to clear up with Bri, and until those issues were addressed then no decision could be made. “I’ll have to talk with Bri about this, and a few other things before we make out decision.”
“We were not expecting a decision until after the current mission is over.” Aqat said. “Now is there anything else that you can mention that was not part of the council meeting?”
“Just one, I encountered a Jedi in the last room where Bri was being held.” Xara said seeing the look of surprise on their faces. “It looked like he was helping them.”
“This is not good news.” Aqat said before a thought came to him. “You defeated a Jedi? How?”
“That will have to wait, until I talk to Bri.” Xara said dropping the matter.
“If a Jedi was involved then you must tell us.” Janson said not believing that she withheld such information from them. “This increases the importance of the mission, and we need to know if he was part of a mission that we sent him on.”
Aqat had to agree with Janson on this one, and told Xara so, but the woman steadfastly refused to talk about it any longer, instead turning to the bed and ignoring the two council members.
“Please tell us?” Aqat asked. “This could be the important break that we need.”
“Perhaps you are not meant to solve the puzzle.” Xara answered wanting nothing more than to spend time cleaning and testing her lightsaber, but the two Jedi did not appear to be going anywhere.
They were looking at each other when Yoda walked into the room and immediately felt the tension in the air. He chose not to comment on what he felt, instead turned to Xara. “Hungry are you?” He asked her.
Xara thought it over, she had not had anything all morning and now her stomach was beginning to make itself know to her. “Yes, I could use something to eat, are you offering?” She asked the small Jedi who nodded his head. She excused herself from the other two Jedi and with a glance back to the bed walked out of the room following Yoda.
The other two Jedi looked at each other for a moment before they left the room.
Yoda led Xara to a small cafe inside the Jedi Temple. Inside there were a few Jedi eating, mostly sitting by themselves, and most looked like they were doing research for whatever mission they were on. Very few looked up to see who came in or out of the door.
They grabbed something to eat in silence and sat down. Yoda was trying to figure out a way to make the tall woman at ease in her surroundings, as he knew that she was uncomfortable in the temple by her actions.
“How did you meet Bri?” He asked figuring that this was a safe topic.
“On Naboo. She was running one way, and I was walking the other.” Xara replied. “I thought it was odd when she just stopped, at first I thought she had hurt herself or something.” Xara told him remembering the look on the young woman’s face as she stood there staring at her. “We began to talk a bit and I asked her if she would like to grab something to eat, and the friendship grew from there.”
“You know why she stopped?” Yoda asked remembering Bri mention Xara’s eyes and he noticed the color was a unique blue.
“She told me about the dreams, yes.” Xara said.
“Blue eyes, you have.” He said as they dropped into a comfortable silence and ate their meal. “Bri could always eat, amazed everyone she would by the amount.” Yoda said breaking the silence, watching as Xara looked up with a smile. That was something she had learned on their first meal, and she had been amazed at the amount of food that they young woman had put away.
“I wondered where it all went.” Xara said playfully.
“So do we, but active she always is.” Yoda replied.
“I’m sure that you have some stories of her as she grew up.” Xara said watching Yoda nod his head.
“Even when she was young, potential I could see.” Yoda said remembering the first time he saw Bri. “First time I saw her, I knew.”
“How did you meet her?” Xara asked wondering about Bri’s past, and with Yoda she had a chance to learn about her from someone who cared for her as well.
“Came across her, in an accident scene I did. The hovercraft had lost control. Her parents killed instantly, and I was about to leave when cry she began.” Yoda said remembering the twisted wreckage of the hover car. The two adults had been mutilated almost beyond recognition. “Protected she was by her mother. That maternal instinct is strong.”
Xara sat and listened to the story that Yoda told and to her it was almost incredible that she survived. Yoda described the twisted wreckage and she was more impressed by how the mother had protected her baby.
“Any relatives?” Xara asked.
“Find none, we could.” Yoda replied. “Only one lead, an uncle she is supposed to have, never found.”
“She has no family then.” Xara relied wondering if her own family was still alive somewhere.
“You are a bounty hunter?” Yoda asked watching her head nod. “How did you become one?” He asked a bit curious.
“I kind of fell into it.” She said with an evasive answer. “I met the wrong person at the wrong time and my career took off.”
“A matter of situation.” Yoda replied understanding what Xara had told him. The story was for Bri first, then they might tell others. “What would you do, about the choice?”
Xara sat back to think about the question. “It’s up to Bri, but I want to stay with her, and I think we would make a good team.” Xara told Yoda who looked like it was the answer he was expecting. “Of course it will depend on how she reacts to what I tell her.”
“Things work out they will.” Yoda said with much faith in their strength in each other.
“I hope you’re right.” Xara replied as they finished their meal.
“The visitation is going to be in four hours, are you coming still?” Yoda asked knowing that she wanted to go to Kintu’s visitation before the funeral tomorrow.
“Yeah.” Xara replied then walked out of the cafeteria and back to Bri’s room.
Xara got up when she heard the knock on her door. She knew who it would be, Master Yoda telling her that they were leaving for the visitation. She had thought much about how she would tell Bri about her past, most of it was not pleasant, and she had done some terrible things so far in her lifetime. Bri seemed to be like a saint compared to her, and she probably was. Xara had killed more people than she could count, or remember, including one death that had taken her down the path she was now on.
Of all the death she had both dealt out and seen, this was the first time that she was going to honor someone who had been killed, or that she felt like she should honor.
Opening the door she saw that the small Jedi was waiting for her and she felt no pressure to be in a hurry. They greeted each other and Yoda walked into the room and looked at Bri, who was still sleeping. The doctors figured that she would probably sleep until sometime tomorrow night. Xara was trying to figure out what to do during that time.
They left the room making their way to the transport that was awaiting them. Getting on board Xara saw that there were just a few on board, but she did recognized Master Janson and Aqat on board. She decided to just ignore them for the time being, as she knew that now was not the time to bring anything up.
The ride over was a bit quite as only Aqat and Janson were talking. Xara had managed to pick up bits and pieces of what they were saying, apparently a Jedi had recently shown up dead. She heard his name was Jan-Li, but the name meant nothing to her. A description of the wound made her realize that Jan-Li was the one she had fought earlier in the day. This morning seemed like so long ago to her that it felt like it was a month ago.
She did notice that there was one Jedi sitting in the back that had been staring at her for the entire ride over. Something about the man made her defenses rise up. She glanced back at the man and they silently stared each other down. She realized that he was a bit different from the others, his eyes held something that she had never seen from a Jedi, but she had from a Sith Lord. She allowed a bit of her dark side out, not enough for the others to feel.
She watched as she knew her eyes had gone cold and hard like steel. She enjoyed the satisfaction that he was the first to blink and look away. With a small grin she gave him a once over and turned away. No one else had witnessed the silent interaction between the two.
Arriving at the funeral home they all got out and Xara walked out into the night air. She followed Yoda and the others into the building and were lead to a large room where Kintu was laying. She watched, as there were quite a lot of people in the area. Off to one side she noticed a unique group and something inside her recognized them.
One of them looked over to her, whispered something to the woman he was with and they both looked at her. She felt nothing hostile coming from the couple and turned her attention back to the casket.
She waited a bit until just about everyone had walked by the casket before she went over. She walked up to the casket and looked at the still face of her friend. She felt bad that she was the reason for the man’s death, but the last breath of the man had reassured her, he had gone home. She whispered her thanks and told him that she had found her soulmate and she could imagine the man smiling at her telling her to follow her heart.
She walked back down and headed outside. The night air was nice and the stars were out. She had not looked at the night sky for so long she had almost forgotten what it was like. A noise to her left brought her attention back to the door, and she noticed that the man who had first seen her was walking out of the building.
“Hi there.” The man said walking up to her. “My name’s Tillis.” He said extending his hand.
“Xara.” She replied shaking the man’s hand.
“Where’s your soulmate?” He asked taking her off guard. She had never liked surprises.
“My what?” She asked deciding to play innocent.
“You don’t have to hide anything, all of those couples that you saw inside are soulmates. We can tell when someone has a soulmate, it’s in their eyes, someone who doesn’t understand can’t see it, but I think you can.” Tillis said to her.
“Sleeping off a drug.” Xara replied.
“How did you know Kintu?” Tillis asked.
“He helped me out of a tight situation, and because of it he died.” Xara said.
“He’s home now, when his wife died he was devastated. We all know that one of us will know what that will be like, it is something that we don’t want, but is part of nature.” Tillis told her then with a nod silently walked back into the building.
Xara only had to wait a few more minutes before she heard another noise. This one was quite faint, and this time her defenses rose up. There the noise was again off to her right, a person was trying quietly to approach her, and that meant trouble. She weighted her options, she could go inside, wait for the person to get near her, or she could force the situation.
Deciding not to have a confrontation now she walked back into the building, intent on keeping an eye on the door and to see who was missing from inside. There were several groups standing around and she recognized Janson and his sister, along with her husband, Aqat and Yoda standing around talking. Seeing movement coming from the door she was not surprised to see the Jedi who had been staring at her on the bus walk into the room.
The man walked right up to her, and calmly stood next to her.
“Don’t believe we’ve met, I’m Cal.” The man said with what Xara could only see as a fake smile.
“Xara.” She replied not saying much else.
“You may have fooled the others into thinking that you’re something else, but I know better, watch your step.” Cal said walking away.
Xara watched as the man walked away, he was going to be trouble that much she knew. How the man was involved she did not know. She watched as the man went over to talk with the others. Xara made up her mind to go over as well.
“Hello Xara, I see that you’re doing better.” Eva, Janson’s sister, said as Xara walked up to them.
“Yes, I resolved my earlier trouble.” Xara replied back seeing the understanding look in Eva’s eyes.
“That’s good to hear.” Eva replied then went back to the conversation as the recalled some of the tales of Kintu’s life.
Xara stood listening to the stories and laughing at a few of them as she found herself caught up in a life that was full of adventures. Xara had thought that once he had stopped being a bounty hunter his adventures had stopped, instead it had just increased.
Things began to wrap up and Xara followed the other out the door. The ride back to the temple was uneventful and Xara found herself tired as the day’s events caught up to her. The transport stopped in front of the temple and the small group got off and Xara made her way to Bri’s quarters, where she would probably stay until things were ironed out.
She had almost made it to the door when Cal intercepted her again. “Lets get one thing straight, Bri is going to be mine.” He said menacingly and Xara was hard pressed to believe that he was a Jedi, and also had to fight the urge to pound the man through the wall.
“And let me tell you something, I know what you are as well, you don’t hide it very well, Cal.” She said turning her back and headed to the room leaving Cal sputtering for a comeback.
A silent cloaked figure made its way down the corridor towards the communications room. Looking both ways before entering the figure quietly opened the door and went inside. Once inside the figure sat down at a terminal and made several quick instructions.
“Report!” A voice said.
“A mysterious person showed up with Bri and rescued her. Rumors have it that Bri had been kidnapped. Everyone not on a mission was assigned to find her, and some non-Jedi shows up with her, says she is a bounty hunter. She is not intimidated by Jedi either.” The person replied.
“So she is there, interesting, keep up your reports.” The voice said as the communication died.
The figure exited the screen, wiped the area and left the room calmly walking out of the area.
End Part 6
Continued in Part 7
The Athenaeum’s Scroll Archive
~ Jedi Bri Meets Sith Xara ~
by AJ Marks
Disclaimers: The two main characters look a lot like the ones we are used to, Xena and Gabrielle, and no I don’t own them, wish I did. This story takes place in the Star Wars universe that I don’t own either, that’s owned by George Lucas, along with Yoda who I borrowed for this story.
Subtext: Yes this involves love between two women, nothing graphic however.
This started as a result of a discussion board in which a comment was made of how well Renee O’Conner would portray a Jedi Knight.
Arble sat back in his chair, so far he had spent the morning doing damage control. His plans were still in tact, for the most part. He just had to figure out if he had enough power to begin his plan without the communication company in place. He was deep in thought when one of his lackeys walked into the room.
“Ah, Garret, come in my boy.” Arble said the young man. “I have a job for you, I want you to begin the operation.” He told the man.
“Is that wise sir?” Garret asked wondering if his boss was all right, or if the recent events had finally pushed the man over the edge.
“Don’t question me!” Arble thundered suddenly standing up and Garret had to take a step back as he caught the look in Arble’s eyes.
“I’m sorry sir!” Garret said unconsciously taking a step back.
“That bitch survived, and I want her dead.” Arble said smashing a glass against the wall. The fragments showed all over the room from the force of the impact, but Garret managed to remain still.
“Is that my mission sir?” Garret asked hoping that it was not, he did not want to take on a Jedi.
“No.” Arble said coming back to his senses. He eyed the man closely for a second, he was handsome, average height, with blonde hair. He would do nicely. “I want you to go to our hired help and deliver a message.” Arble said handing the man a written message. Garret looked at him a bit confused, they had not used paper in a long time, only for official purposes. This was an important message.
“Yes sir, I’ll do my best.” Garret said taking the message.
“And make sure you don’t read it, if you do, I’ll know.” Arble said his voice cold and hard.
“You can trust me sir.” Garret said and Arble watched the man walk out the door.
“Yes I’m sure I can.” Arble whispered to the closing door with a cruel smile on his face.
Xara walked into Bri’s room and wondered for the first time why she had returned. It was true that she really had no place to go, she had lived almost her entire life on the road and had no place to call home. She glanced around the room seeing little things about it that made her seem that Bri did not spend much time in the room.
A look at the items on the dresser show signs of dust that meant either Bri was lousy at keeping anything clean, or she was not here much. A glance around the room made her think that the young woman liked to keep her room clean and therefore it must be because she was away a lot.
Bri was still sleeping on the bed and Xara did not see many areas to sleep. Taking a blanket and one of Bri’s pillows she set up an area on the floor. It was not as comfortable as a bed, but it was not the most uncomfortable place she had ever slept as well.
Xara had briefly thought about climbing in the bed with Bri, but did not know what type of reaction she would have gotten form the woman. Xara decided to play it safe and seep on the floor. She knew that trouble was brewing and that her masters would be looking for her. With that thought she remembered a person that she had met tonight, Cal. He seemed almost possessive of Bri for some reason, or he had a personal vendetta against her. That was something she would have to talk to Bri about.
The man still worried her. She examined her thoughts for a few minutes. She went over everything she had seen from the man. It seemed like he was hiding something from her, or he was jealous of her for some reason.
The more she tried to sleep, the less it seemed like it would come. Her mind was a swirl of thoughts that wanted answers to the many questions. After two hours she gave up on her quest of sleep and went in search of someplace to perhaps meditate.
The hallways were silent, except for the passing Jedi to and from their quarters. It seemed that even in the dead of night there was activity going on. She found her way to a small room that held several pads, and seeing that the room was empty she walked in and sat down.
She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Closing her eyes she allowed herself to concentrate on the trouble at hand. She realized that this would be the first time she really allowed herself to meditate on the Force. Usually she would try and bend the Force to her will. The feeling of the Force felt different to her this time, perhaps the Force itself was reacting to her own change.
She had been meditating for a while when she felt the air around her change as the door opened. Opening an eye she noticed that Yoda was walking into the room. He did not seem to be surprised to see her in the room. He quietly walked over to another pad and sat down. He looked at her and noticed that she was no longer in meditation.
“Sleep well?” He asked form where he was getting comfortable on the pad.
“Not really, too many questions.” Xara replied.
“Answers not always given freely, not wanting to be found they might.” Yoda replied. “Seeing you here, not surprising.” Xara did not say anything at the comment and Yoda continued. “Trained you have been.” He said making an observation on her. “Know I do from my padawan. You beat him with a lightsaber.”
“Yes that’s true, but it doesn’t mean I’ve been trained.” Xara replied.
“Maybe, maybe not.” Yoda replied giving a nod at Xara, as they both knew she had a point. “Learn much from Bri, you can.” He told her then closed his eyes to meditate.
Xara went back to her meditation as well and they sat in the room in silence.
The fogginess began to clear a bit as Bri became slowly aware as to where she was. Her eyes refused to open, as she tried to figure out where she was. The last thing she remembered was pain. She thought about it some more and images of Xara came into her mind. She could remember thinking about the mysterious bounty hunter and she had passed the time wishing that Xara would rescue her. Now she was not sure if she was dead or alive and which images she remembered were real or imagined.
It was then she remember Arble, her uncle. Anger flared in her as she thought about the man. He was the one responsible for her parent’s death, and would have killed her as well. The feeling of sheets made her believe she was in a bed, but what type she was sure about yet. Her memory became clearer as the fogginess began to slowly dissipate. She could remember Xara freeing her and telling her that she would have to walk to a waiting ride. She remembered seeing some dead bodies, and then once in the taxi nothing else until she was awakened for something to drink. She remembered being quite angry with her for that.
Her mind again went to Arble, and what he had done. He was willing to sacrifice his own family for his gain. He had told her much while she was chained up. He was the mastermind behind a powerful cartel that was moving into position to take over the government. They had moved to control several businesses to gain money and influence. They took over the heads of several large corporations to make a power base that they could use.
They then went into the companies that held government contracts to infiltrate the government officials. With this leverage they would know everything that was going on, and had the power to either directly, or indirectly, effect every decision that the government made, from the simple question of where to eat to military action to when the Jedi were called in. They even had a plan to reorganize the Jedi council that was where the Jedi that had been with her uncle came in.
She then could remember Xara defeating this Jedi that thought stopped her thoughts. How had she been able to defeat a full trained Jedi Master without any training? Xara would have some explaining to do, that was for sure. There was still some fogginess, but she could feel her stomach growling reminding her that she had not had anything to eat except for the drink they had made her drink.
She slowly opened her eyes and let them adjust to the light level of the room. The sunlight was pouring in through the window and Bri groaned that it was a bright day. Slowly blinking her eyes she adjusted enough to look around the room. She had never been so glad to see her quarters as she was right now.
Her stomach growled again and this time she felt the weakness of her body from the lack of food. She pushed herself up onto her elbows and glanced around again. She noticed a small sack on the dresser that was not hers, and figured it to be Xara’s. A glance around again and she realized that the woman was not in the room, but there was an area on the floor that had a blanket and a pillow indicating that Xara probably had sleep there. A brief thought went through Bri’s mind as she wished Xara had slept with her and she could imagine the feel of waking up in Xara’s arms.
Bri pulled herself out of the bed and noticed that she was still dressed, just missing her robe. She glanced down reveled clothes that were wrinkled and not smelling as fresh. She decided that she also needed a shower and headed to the bathroom.
The news of Tali’s death was not received well by his master, as he had expected. Tali’s defeat by Xara only reinforced his thinking that she was one of the best fighters he had ever seen. Her defection had cost him dearly, but now he would be out for revenge.
He walked over to the counter of the spaceport.
“Good morning sir.” The way to cheerful attendant said as the man approached her. “What can I do for you?” She said with a large grin on her face that he briefly wondered if she had had implanted on her face.
“Coruscant.” He replied watching her look in the computer for a flight.
“Next flight will be taking off in two hours.” She replied cheerfully.
“I’ll take an seat, first class.” The man replied.
“Of course.” She said with the ever-annoying smile. “I have two openings, do you want an isle seat?”
“Yes.” He replied to her question.
“All right, one first class to Coruscant, that will come to one thousand Republican Credits.” She replied.
“Free.” He replied with a slight wave of his hand.
The attendant seemed to react with shock at first, and then her eyes took on a slightly glazed look as she repeated what the man said.
“Thanks.” He said with a slight smile as he walked away with the ticket in his hand.
The attendant wavered for a moment before her usual bubbly side reemerged and she asked for the next customer after a shake of her head.
Yoda felt the restlessness of the body beside him and he opened his eyes to look at the woman beside him. She was now sitting there with her eyes open looking out the window at the bustling city.
“What troubles you?” Yoda asked his meditation not having reveled much of anything.
“I think that the storm is just beginning.” Xara replied. She had felt a large darkness surround her while she had been meditating. She was not sure where it was coming from, or if she could even stop it. “I’m a bit hungry, think that I’ll go grab something to eat then back to Bri’s quarters.”
“”Yes, sounds good.” Yoda replied getting up with the Xara ad headed to the cafeteria. They walked in silence to the cafeteria, Xara still wondering what the meaning was behind the feelings that she had during her meditation. “Where’s your padawan?” Xara asked as they walked into the cafeteria.
“Still guarding Mr. Julies.” Yoda explained. “Out of danger we don’t know.”
“I’m afraid that I don’t have much information on that, just that my job was to either make him see our way, or kill him.” Xara replied back. “Its entirely possible that they are in the process of hiring someone else to take my job.”
Yoda nodded his head at that, it was the same conclusion that he had come up with. He figured that his padawan would be enough for most the protection. They had increased security after Xara had made her way inside his office. They each grabbed a plate and sat down talking about politics and the current situation in the council.
“It was nice talking to you, I see where Bri got her abilities.” Xara said giving the Jedi a compliment.
“Not did I teach her.” Yoda relied with a shake of his head. “Some she taught me.” They shared a short knowing smile before Xara left the room.
Yoda thought about Xara for a few moments, she defiantly had potential, and she would only grow under a partnership with Bri. She had taught Yoda quite a bit, and there was an inner part of the young woman that seemed to shine out casting away the darkness. He was about to rise to meet Markus when Xara came back into the room.
“She’s gone.” Xara said with concern written all over her face.
“”Gone?” Yoda repeated not quite sure what to make of what Xara had just said.
“Yeah, she’s gone. I looked all over her quarters and there was no trace of her.” Xara said in a rush. “She changed clothes, and her lightsaber is gone.”
“Disturbing news this is.” Yoda said quietly, then got up and they walked over to where Aqat’s quarters were.
After telling him the news they began to search the Temple. They searched anyplace where Bri might be, from the archives to meditation rooms. Yoda had asked Xara if she thought that Bri was in trouble to which Xara replied she did not think so, and that she was feeling no fear from their link. Yoda was relieved at that, but concerned that the young woman was missing.
“Master Yoda.” A slim green skinned Jedi said holding the hand of a small, young red skinned Jedi in training. “He says that he remembers seeing Master Bri this morning.”
Yoda walked over to the small boy, who was about the same height as he was. He gave the youngster a smile that was returned.
“Saw Bri did you?” Yoda asked gently to the youngster who nodded his head.
“Yes Master, she passed me quickly, running down the hallway she was, almost knocked me down.” The youngster said in a rush.
“Hmm, say anything to you did she?” Yoda asked now knowing that Bri was awake hoping that the youngster had heard something.
“Not to me, but I overheard her mumbling something about family.” He replied.
Yoda looked at Xara a bit confused at the statement. He thought that Bri’s family was all dead, no one had come forth to claim the child and there were no records of any family that he was aware of.
“I thought that Bri’s family was all killed in a hover car accident?” Xara asked a bit confused by the information given to her.
“An uncle I believe she has. Could not find could I.” Yoda answered her. “Believe him to be dead as well.”
Xara nodded her head then closed her eyes a bit and searched for a link between her and Bri. A few seconds later she opened her eyes and looked at Yoda. A slow shake of her head and Yoda understood that whatever was affecting Bri it was making it hard for Xara to communicate with her.
“A mystery we have, and no clues to answer it.” Yoda said to the others. “Search the archives we must.” The others agreed and it was not long before Xara and Yoda were walking towards it.
“Something’s not right about all of this. Bri usually doesn’t do things like this, does she?” Xara said looking right at Yoda as she spoke. Yoda looked up at her ad she knew the truth before he even spoke.
“No, she does not, and nothing I sense from the Force.” Yoda told her.
“Then I guess we must hope that the archives shed some light on our mystery.” Xara said hoping that they would be able to find something that would lead to Bri.
Garret had traveled all night to get on a fast transport to arrive on time. His boss had been very specific on hand delivering the message to this Sith lord. Garret was not beyond admitting that he was very afraid of these people that he was about to meet. Others had told him that they were overly cruel, killing without remorse or sometimes even reason.
A black robed figure meet him at the entrance of the building and Garret could not see the person’s eyes. He did not even know if the person was a man or woman. There was no verbal communication between the two of them, but he understood that the robed figure wanted him to follow him.
Garret watched as they passed several empty rooms, and a few rooms that he could tell were for training. Passing one such room he noticed that there were several people standing around two others. They were obviously in lightsaber training, and by the looks of them they were very good.
A sudden realization came to him. He would not be able to leave unless they wanted him to. That thought sent a shiver of fear down his spine something that he was not used to dealing with. Usually the position was different. He finally understood what his captures went through. He put those thoughts away for another time. He was here just to hand deliver a simple message.
The robed figure in front of him suddenly stopped. If he had not been paying attention he would have slammed into the figure. Again there was no communication but he understood that they had arrived at the place of the strange person who he was to give the message to.
Walking through the door was a sudden chill hit him. Part of it was because of the air, it seemed to be still, and cold. It hug around him like a suit of clothing that was too tight and he had to resist the urge to tug at his collar. A quick glance around the room reveled sparse furnishings. There was a small table over in the corner along with a couple of chairs. Another chair was directly in front of him and he noticed that it was in front of another grander chair, where a man was sitting down. Garret did notice that there was a door behind the man, but this was a room for meetings. They had designed it for maximum intimidation.
As that thought went through Garret’s mind and he thought that it was definitely working, he was intimidated. The man sitting in the chair motioned for Garret to sit down, which Garret did. The man then sat there in silence, as if studying him.
A bead of sweat formed on Garret’s forehead and he wondered how much longer he would have to endure the silence. The absence of noise began to wear on Garret’s nerves. Garret was smart enough to understand that he was not allowed to talk until the man in front of him did, but with each passing second Garret grew more uncomfortable.
“Speak.” The man finally said a few minutes later, but to Garret it had seemed like an eternity.
“I, uh, I have a message for you from my boss.” Garret replied wondering if he should bring the message to him, or what. Garret pulled the message out of his pocket and presented it to the man.
“A message for me? What does it say?” The man asked almost amusingly to himself as he stared at Garret.
“I don’t know, I did not read it.” Garret answered truthfully.
“No, you didn’t it, did you.” The man replied with a cold smile on his face. It was if the man knew something that Garret did not.
Before Garret could move the paper was plucked from his hand causing him to jump in reflex. The paper floated over to the waiting hand of the man in the chair. He took the note and opened it carefully reading what Arble had written on there. Garret watched as the man’s face screwed up into real anger.
Garret flinched when the paper burst into flame consuming it in a matter of seconds. The ash of the paper then floated down to the ground as the man ground the remains of the paper in his fist. Garret could tell that the man was angry when the eyes focused on him. There was a burning coldness in them that he had never seen before.
Pain suddenly went through Garret’s body as he was struck by some sort of lightning coming form the man’s hands. The pain was overwhelming, as the man did not seem to let up. It was then that Garret realized that he was the sacrifice.
The man watched with mild amusement at the suffering of Garret. The man would not last too long under this kind of attack. He kept it up until most of Garret’s body was charred, he had stopped moving long ago but the man’s wrath was not easily quenched. The man sent one last lightning bolt at the smoking remains before turning away and heading towards the door.
Servants cautiously waited until their master had completely left the room. He had been in a foul mood over since this morning and the servants knew enough to stay out of their master’s way. He would not hesitate to kill any of them no matter how loyal they had been in the past. Once he had left the room the servants entered and began to clean up the mess.
He strode out of the room, angered beyond anything he had been before. He warily noticed that even his most loyal servants were keeping a wary eye on him. What did they expect when he had been betrayed. His second in command had betrayed him. He had left the planet and was currently on his way to Coruscant to probably join up with the traitorous backstabber Xara.
The man knew of the plan to use Xara to get rid of him, but any plan he was aware of he was not afraid of. He was going to use Tali to counter Xara, but he had underestimated Xara’s power. Somewhere along the way she had gained power that was the only thing that worried him. He would deal with the traitors soon enough. He would wait for his second in command to return before putting his own plan in action.
Bri made her way down the street with a determined stride. She had remembered quite a bit of what had happened when she had been captured and under the drug’s influence. Most of all she had remembered what her captor had told her. He was apparently her uncle, not only that but he had been behind her parent’s death. She now had a mission, find this man who had stolen her life from her.
Xara followed Yoda as they made their way over to the large achieves of the Jedi. It was the most complete source of information in the galaxy. Xara knew that it would be difficult to find anything on Bri, but right now she was willing to try. Something was going on with Bri and she felt that this uncle was the cause of everything.
They entered the archives and Xara had to glance around in wonder at the immense size of everything. The Jedi archives must take up the entire building. Upon entering Yoda directed Xara over to one of the terminals and gave her a quick instruction on how to operate the system, but she noticed that it was not much different than other archives on other planet. This one was know as a collection of everything.
Xara quickly brought up her terminal and began to look through the listings of Bri’s heritage seeing if there was anything of significance that stood out. She noticed that Yoda had gone over to another terminal and had begun his own investigation. It was then that she realized that he had done this before, and had not been able to find anything. She was not sure that she would be able to find the answer either.
Xara sat at the terminal trying anything that she could think of to see if anything popped up. So far all she had come up with was several dead ends. There was nothing about her family that she could find.
She had been at the terminal for a while when she felt a hand on her shoulder. Glancing up she noticed that it was Yoda.
“Check on my padawan I am, need anything do you?” He asked her. It was only then that Xara realized that it had become lunchtime.
“No thanks.” Xara said turning her blue eyes back to the screen in front of her. Yoda nodded seeing that she was fully involved in her quest and left the room, he would bring back something to eat anyways.
Markus sat at on the round cushion on the floor of Otto Julies’ office meditating while Otto went about his business. The older man had at first been disturbed by the Jedi’s presence, but had come to ignore the presence. Markus was quite quiet and if Otto was concentrating on his work he could easily forget that Markus was even in the room with him. The communicator beeped and was only a bit surprised when Yoda appeared on the screen.
“Master, what news?” Markus asked wondering if his presence with Otto Julies was still necessary.
“Nothing new, has Bri come by to see you or Mr. Julies?” Yoda asked hoping that she had been there, but he was not hopeful.
“No master, has something happened to her?” Markus asked, last he had heard was that the mysterious Xara had shown up at the temple with Bri.
“Disappeared again she has.” Yoda replied.
“We’ll keep an eye out for her Master.” Markus replied as the line went dead.
Markus and Otto looked at each other for a second.
“So, she’s missing again, I thought she had been found?” Otto asked wondering if he had heard wrong.
“No, the woman who was here earlier found her.” Markus answered. “Master Yoda seems to be quite concerned about it.”
“I’ll let my people know in case they see her.” Otto said going over to tell his own security guards.
Arble paced around his small room. He hated to wait for anything. He was only awaiting word that his ties with the Sith mercenaries had been severed before he began his next phase. The first phase had been botched, but it was only a minor setback in his opinion. He would inform the rest of his group of his decision in a few minutes.
A young woman walked into the room and waited for Arble to acknowledge her presence before telling him the news.
“Report!” He said to her.
“We have conformation that your message was received.” The woman said nervously. The Sith had actually contacted them saying that the ties were not severed yet. She told him that as well.
Arble stood there, it was what he had expected, these Sith people were so predictable, it was a wonder that the Jedi had not found them yet he thought to himself.
“Very well, cal the others together, I’ll be there shortly.” Arble answered watching as the woman walked out of the room. He allowed himself to smile, at last he was close to his goal, total domination of the black market, and legal as well. He would control everything, from the government to the economy to the black market to the Jedi as well. He was not concerned with a few threats by a rogue group of Jedi who embraced the Dark Side, not when he would have the power of the Jedi to back him up.
He was informed that the other members were gathered. A smile came to his face as he walked out the room towards the meeting area.
He walked into to room full of other businessmen who had joined on with him for this control. Most were with him only for the wealth that they would gain after his plans came through.
“What’s this about the Sith making threats against us?” One said while another wanted to know if the rumor was true that Arble had severed ties with the Sith.
“Yes its true, but do not worry.” Arble said making the rest of the group grumble. They were not as confident as he was.
“Do not worry!” One said getting up with his arms spread. “What’s not to worry about, the fact that your plan is falling apart, the Sith are about to hunt us down, and a Jedi was allowed to escape, and you say there is nothing to worry about.”
“Sit down, first of all the plan is not foiled, I just allowed you to think so. It would have been easier with Galactic Communications with us, but it does not matter, we have enough to continue.” Arble said with confidence. “As to the Sith, I will take care of them if they chose to come.”
“If they choose to, you’re an idiot man.” The one standing said.
“I have a plan.” Arble replied to which many wanted to know this plan. Arble only replied that they would have to wait and find out for themselves.
Xara was beginning to feel the strain of the constant scanning through the files with no clues coming up. She had a strong feeling that if they could find out more about this uncle then she would have a clue as to where Bri was going. She had a feeling that time was not an option this time. The dark anger that washed over her this morning she figured came from Bri.
She was about to close the file she was working on when a small phase caught her eye. She read it again and knew what it was. It was a code used by the criminal world to signify a name change. Somewhere along the path Bri’s father had changed his name to Lightner. There would be no record of what the name was previously. Xara quickly looked around to see if there were any pictures of Bri’s father that she could use to compare with pictures of known crime bosses.
It took a while to find the picture but when she did she realized that if she just aged the man a bit, she would have the same man who had been in the room where she had rescued Bri. Was it possible that the brothers were twins she asked herself?
There was one easy way for her to find out. She accessed the archives for the known crime bosses and their siblings to see if any had a twin brother. It was a bit of a stretch she realized as she was looking, but it was her best lead so far. A name came up, one that she was familiar with, as it was the same as one she had done work for in the recent past. They had done a lot of work for him she realized.
She thought about the past projects for a few minutes. The family history of the man did not indicate any family that was known, so it would seem the man was a dead end for her research. Yet she could not shake the feeling. She recalled the jobs she had done for the man, and she realized that they were all the same. She had gone after corporate executives. She tried to find a picture of the man, but there were no known photos of the man except one, but it was not known if it was real. It was a picture of two boys standing next to each other posing while off fishing.
Yoda walked in, as she was about to get up. She had to get more information on this man, and she knew where she had to go.
“Find something did you?” Yoda asked seeing that she looked like she was about to leave.
“I think I found out who her uncle is.” Xara said pointing to the screen.
“Arble Jexinx.” Yoda said. He had never run into the man that he knew of, but if he were Bri’s uncle then it would explain why he could not find him.
“Bri’s father changed his name a few years before Bri’s birth, when he met her mother. I guess he wanted out of the family business.” Xara said thinking it through.
“If he is, finding him hard will be.” Yoda said.
“I have a source that I can try. I keep in touch.” Xara said walking out of the room and heading for Bri’s room to pick up her lightsaber and then going to her rented room.
The trip to her room was uneventful, but Xara kept up her defenses just in case. She fully expected her former employer, the Sith to be watching the room in case she returned. She cautiously entered, and not finding anyone or any traps let out a small breath, and quickly found the communications device.
“What does the traitor want?” The voice replied after a few minutes.
“Just some information.” Xara replied.
“We already know that you’ve joined the Jedi.” The voice came back, and Xara was a bit shocked by the news then realized that they had spies in the Jedi Order as well.
“I just want information on Arble Jexinx, then you won’t see me ever again.” Xara said and waited, as there was a pause in the transmission. It seemed like they were thinking it over.
“If you kill him, I will give you the information.” The new voice said, and she knew that this was the lord of the Sith.
“I will.” Xara answered not realizing that her tone had grown hard as she realized that he was responsible for Bri’s capture and nearly killed her.
“So be it.” The voice said and the information was transferred. “One last thing, kill Lord Zaris.” Then the line went dead.
Xara stood shocked, Lord Zaris was his right hand man, why would he want the man killed. Xara then was able to put two and two together, Zaris was coming after her. Things just got more dangerous as she retrieved the information and walked out of the room.
Bri made here way into a small run down bar. Inside there were a few people milling around waiting for tonight or getting an early drink. The inside stunk of alcohol and the condition of most of the furnishings had seen better days. Off to the side there was a group of people standing around talking. Everyone stopped talking as Bri walked in.
“Well, well well, a Jedi here, it must be our lucky day boys.” One of them said making the others grin. They did not see the glint in Bri’s eyes as she approached the man.
With a flick of her wrist the man went flying across the room landing with a thud. In an instant blasters were drawn and they all heard a click hiss of a lightsaber coming to life. Bri stood calmly in the center of the room with her green blade softly humming as the only sound that could be heard.
“We can do this two ways, you can tell me what I want to know, or some of you will die and I still find out what I want to know, your choice.” Bri said softly, but deadly to the group.
“Information will cost you pretty one.” Another one said giving her a look over. He barely got the words out when he too went flying back into the wall.
“Where’s Arble Jexinx?” Bri asked the group that was still standing.
“We can’t tell you, he’ll kill us.” One said with a shaky voice.
“I’m more deadly than he is right now.” Bri replied her green eyes flashing with danger as she approached the man. He looked at her and realized how much danger he really was in.
“All right, I’ll tell you.” The man said.
A few minutes later Bri walked out of the bar with the information she needed. She raced off down the street, her destination was only a few blocks away, and with it her revenge. She arrived at what looked like an unimportant building and walked inside. The regular guards that she would expect to find in a place like this greeted her.
“What can we do for you?” A green skinned guard asked.
“Take me to Arble Jexinx.” Bri said with a wave of her hand.
The guard wavered as the full effect of the Force hit him as Bri bent his will to her own. “I’ll take you to Arble Jexinx.” He replied after a brief pause. The other guards looked at him strangely for a second at his response.
“The rest of you will stay here.” Bri replied with another wave of her hand. The guards repeated what she said and followed the green-skinned guard out of the room.
She followed him as he led her up the elevator. The doors parted and revealed a small desk in front of a door that Bri assumed was Arble’s office. There was a pretty redhead sitting at the desk looking quite bored as she did her nails.
“I’m here to see Mr. Jexinx.” Bri said calmly.
“Do you have an appointment?” The redhead said as Bri answered that she did not. “I’m sorry but..” She was cut off as she was tossed to the wall and slumped down having been knocked out.
“There’s my appointment.” Bri said turning to the other guard she did the same thing, then grabbing her lightsaber she cut through the door to reveal a startled Arble sitting behind his desk.
He had been going over his recent meeting in his head when he heard thumps coming from the next room. He had gotten up when the door to his office exploded inward causing him to jump. He quickly recovered glancing at the door while his other hand sought out the blaster underneath the tabletop. He raised the blaster to the figure coming into the room and was only briefly surprised when he noticed that it was a Jedi.
“Hello uncle!” Bri spat out as she spied the man alone in the room.
“Family can be so irritating.” Arble said taking a shot at Bri, which was blocked and reflected quite easily. “I suppose your here to destroy me.” He said with a cruel laugh. “That’s not the Jedi way.”
“I don’t care.” Bri replied. “You destroyed my life, what it could have been.” She said. “And all because my father wanted out of the ‘family business.’ He had more courage than you ever had.”
“He was a weakling, and needed to eliminated, but you can join me.” Arble said.
“You’re fooling yourself.” Bri replied as she blocked another shot from Arble.
“My only regret is that I wasn’t able to finish you off as well, a mistake I won’t make this time.” Arble said with a slight laugh.
Before he could fire again Bri yanked the blaster out of his hands and the gun went flying across the room. He then felt himself flying back and impacting the wall behind him. Bri was standing in the middle of the room and the desk that was between him and here went flying off to the right crashing into the wall making a hole in it.
Arble struggled to his feet when he went flying again across the room and landed heavily on the opposite side of the room. He had almost blacked out from the force of the impact. Bri watched emotionless as she tossed him around the room. The man would pay for everything he had done.
Bri advanced on him, as all he was able to do was watch. Her green blade twirled several times as he noticed the look in her eye was anything but pleasant. It as a look he had never seen before, at least not directed at him.
He closed his eyes as he saw the blade come down and expected to feel the pain. He opened his eyes after a few seconds when he had felt nothing wondering if she was playing with him. What he saw was not what he had expected to see. The green blade had been stopped just short of his forehead by a red blade.
Bri had anticipated herself for the strike that would have cut the coward of a person in front of her in half. She wanted it so much and was shocked when her blade had been stopped so close to her goal. It took her brain a few seconds to realize what had stopped her lightsaber and the color of the blade. It was red and she realized right away who it was.
“Stay out of this Xara.” Bri growled out not taking her eyes off of her intended target to look at Xara.
“Can’t Bri, you know that.” Xara said not moving her blade. She had arrived just in time to see Bri rear back and bring her saber down on the man. Xara had used all of her training to stop Bri from making a large mistake, and a path that Xara knew very well, something she could not allow to happen to Bri.
“Let me, I need to do this.” Bri ground out applying more pressure on the blade hoping that she could overpower Xara.
“No.” Xara replied as she felt Bri apply more weight to the blade to which Xara easily responded. She knew that this battle would be very important to both of them. She could not hurt Bri, and she had to stop Bri from killing anyone. The task was going to be harder than she imaged it would be.
Bri realized that Xara was not going to back off. With a growl she tried to shove Xara’ s blade out of the way. Xara responded with a shove of her own and pushed Bri back a step. She narrowed her eyes and locked on to Xara instead. The green eyes had gone dull with anger that Xara could relate to and knew that Bri was close to stepping over the edge.
Bri slashed out attacking Xara with everything she had. Everything that she had been put through by Arble was coming out in her attack. Xara had to focus solely on Bri and not allow the young woman to hurt her. She could spare no attention to Arble or what he was doing. The man slowly got to his feet and noticing that they two women were engaged in combat decided to try and make a break for it.
Bri noticed him trying to leave and with a quick Force push knocked him into the wall. The man was knocked unconscious by the blow and slumped to the floor.
“Why are you doing this Bri?” Xara said in between blocks. The woman was very good and Xara wondered how long she could keep this up.
“He destroyed my family.” Bri said bitterly. “He planned the killing of my parents just because my father did not want to be in the family business.” She replied attacking again.
“He’s destroyed a lot of families, I’ve destroyed families.” Xara said admitting the truth to Bri who did not even flinch. “Let him be tried.” Xara said trying to somehow appeal to the younger woman’s sense of justice.
“He killed my sister as well.” Bri said in a rush leaving Xara a bit confused. As far as she knew Bri did not have any siblings.
“Your sister?” Xara asked not having run across any siblings in her research earlier in the day. Xara blocked another attack by Bri.
“My father had a daughter from a previous engagement. She did not want to be art of the Jexinx empire. My father was on his way to meet up with her and leave the planet when we had the accident.” Bri replied trying not to think about what could have been.
“What happened?” Xara asked noticing that Bri’s attacks were weakening and that she was close to breaking down. Xara felt like she only had to push a bit and Bri would crack.
“He ordered my parents and me killed. He ran us off the road and into a building killing my parents instantly. He then went to where my sister was waiting, she was ten years old at the time. He, he.” Bri could not say it. “He told me everything he did to her before he killed her.” Tears began to flow down her cheeks. “I have to destroy him for everything he’s done. If he can do that to family, what does he do to others.”
“Vengeance will not help, I know. I’ve been there Bri and I know where it leads.” Xara said still between her and Arble.
“I have to.” Bri whispered trying to continue her attack.
Xara noticed that Bri’s attacks were getting clumsy. She was over swinging and leaving herself very open and she would take a large wind up. An idea suddenly came to her that might end the fight. Xara allowed Bri to get in close to her and after a few more lunges Bri brought her arm back again. Xara took a quick step in and wrapped the younger Jedi in a hug catching her off guard and she poured all of her feeling into the hug.
Bri was overwhelmed as she felt everything that Xara felt for her the moment the woman embraced her. The feelings powered their way through her anger and sorrow on its way straight to Bri’s soul. It wrapped around her soul comforting it in a way that no one else could. Bri gave up the fight and allowed herself to cry for all that had happened over the past couple of days. Her lightsaber fell to the floor as she latched onto Xara with everything she had.
Xara was relieved that Bri had stopped struggling and just allowed a safe place for Bri as she worked things out. They stayed like that for some time when a sound alerted Xara that something was not right. A quick glance and she noticed that Arble was now awake and that he had a blaster in his hand. She watched as she saw the finger tighten around the trigger even as her own lightsaber sprung to life.
The blaster fired and Arble felt like he was about to get revenge on the person who cost him everything. He barely noticed that the taller woman’s lightsaber had sprung to life when his shot was deflected right back at him. He felt shock for a second as the shot hit him in the chest. Bri spun around to see what happened and noticed the blaster in Arble’s hand and the lightsaber in Xara’s hand and knew what had happened.
“I think we have much to talk about there, slick.” Bri said looking at Xara and at the lightsaber. Xara could only nod her head knowing that it was the truth. Bri thought about what she had done and was glad that Xara had found her when she did. If Xara had not stopped her she would have slipped to the Dark Side of the Force without even knowing it.
Xara watched the emotions flicker though the small Jedi in her arms and she could guess as to the thought of Bri. It was like her first time with the Dark Side of the Force. There was something seductive about it that pulled a person in. Xara wondered at how she would tell Bri about her past, it was something that she was afraid that would make Bri turn away from her. At the same time she knew that she had to tell Bri or else it would rip their relationship apart.
Xara just decided to hold the small form in her arms for a while as Bri came to terms with what she had almost done. Bri just allowed herself to be comforted by the strong arms around her enveloping her in a warm sense of security.
Xara could sense that Bri would need some time to talk about what happened in the past couple of days, but she was confident that they could work through it. Somehow the thought of her telling Bri about her dark side seemed like it would help comfort the young woman.
“I think your right, we do have a long talk ahead of us, but we can have it later.” Xara said feeling Bri’s headshake against her chest.
“You bitch, you ruined all of my plans.” A cold voice said from behind Xara. She knew who it was before she even turned around.
Standing in the doorway was a black-cloaked figure staring at the couple. Bri’s eyes showed shock at the sudden appearance of the person. His voice was cold and by the reaction of Xara knew that the two knew each other. She released Xara and felt her arms leave her waist as they faced their new adversary together.
“Darth Zaris, what a pleasant surprise.” Xara said in a flat voice not betraying ay of her emotion. Here was the man who was responsible for most of her life, and who she was and he had big plans for her. She knew that one day she would end up as the head Sith Lord, something that she no longer desired.
Bri stepped back to allow Xara room to move, she knew that they were about to battle, and she feared that it would be to the death. So far this Zaris character had made no comment about her, and perhaps he dismissed her as too weak or something. Bri thought to soon as she heard the next comment.
“So this is the reason you turned against us.” Zaris said glancing at Bri for the first time taking in her looks in a quick glance.
“Only part of it Zaris.” Xara said omitting the title that he held, cutting the last tie. She saw the spark of outrage on Zaris’ face at the omission.
“I’ll destroy you, you know that.” Zaris said quite confident about his abilities.
Bri jumped a bit as two lightsabers sprung to life, both red. Xara seemed to be watching her opponent very carefully, looking for any opening that he might give her. He had trained her, so he would know all of her abilities, her strength and weaknesses. It was something she had never been against in her entire life. A small part of her wondered if she could even win.
Xara made quick eye contact with Bri who seemed to be standing on the side watching and Xara knew where her extra strength would come from.
“You’ll try.” Xara said as their lightsabers met with a hiss. “But you won’t succeed this time.”
Zaris attacked with anger, at first driving Xara back. She knew that he was tapping deeply into the Dark Side of the Force in this engagement. His blows had real power behind them. Xara found herself on the defensive just trying to stay alive for the second time today. He backed away for a second to evaluate his attack.
Xara knew that she would have to do something quickly, or else she would not last long in this fight. She began a few counter-attacks to probe his own defenses, but to her dismay she found that he deflected her attack quite easily and had to rush to defend herself from his quick counter-attack.
Bri watched as the person who was her soulmate battled a man who she finally realized was a Sith Lord. Xara had called the man Darth Zaris. She knew that the name ‘Darth’ was an ancient tradition passed down by Sith lords since Darth Bane had been alive. So this is where Xara had her training in the Force, by the Sith. She also realized that Xara had turned away from the Dark Side, something that was previously thought to be impossible.
The two red lightsabers crossed again and again as Xara was slowly pushed back to the wall. She could feel that the wall was closing in on her, and felt helpless to stop it. Zaris was stronger than she was in just about every way. He had obviously been holding back in her training until Zaris overthrew the current head of the Sith.
Xara blocked another attack and saw Zaris raise his hand. Before Xara could react she felt herself pushed as Zaris used the Force to slam her against the wall. Her lightsaber fell from her hands as she slumped down from the force of the impact. She tried desperately to regain her senses. He quickly slashed her leg and sword arm to insure that she would be alive for a while, but no real threat, he had plans for her.
“NOO!” Bri yelled as she saw Xara fall from the force of her impact.
Zaris turned his attention to the short strawberry blonde Jedi who had been watching. He had ignored her because he felt like he was stronger than any Jedi, and that his real opponent would be Xara. He would teach a Jedi to interfere with his business. He looked at the green eyes staring at him with determination and again glanced over the Jedi’s body. He was sorry that he would not be able to enjoy her.
He raised his hand with deadly intent, knowing that it would only take a few seconds for him to kill this slight Jedi. Streaks of lightning shot forth from his hand streaking towards an unprotected Bri. Xara watched as she saw what was happening, and knew that she still would not be able to save Bri from the painful effects of it.
Bri watched as the man had turned form her soulmate to her and with a raised hand she knew what was going to happen. As the lightning streaked toward her she allowed herself to feel her connection with Xara and the Force, allowing herself to be calm. Her mind recalled a few things that Yoda had taught her, stay calm, stay focused and a Jedi can overcome anything. Bri raised her arm at first to shield herself, but instead extended her hand.
Xara was not sure who was more surprised, Zaris or her when his lightning not only failed to inflict any pain on Bri, but she caught it and extinguished it with only a slight effort.
Bri allowed herself to be calm. Her hand felt a bit weird after catching the lightning, something she was not sure she even would have been able to do. Yoda had once demonstrated it to her when she despaired over her size one day. She remembered being transfixed by Yoda as she realized that with the Force, brute strength was not everything.
Zaris could not believe that nothing had happened, it was impossible yet here was a Jedi who had withstood his attack. Reigniting his lightsaber he rushed to attack her knowing that she did not have a weapon.
Bri waited for a second until the man was committed to his attack then rolled under his arm and away from him. As she got up her hand clasped around her lightsaber as she pulled it towards her. It ignited with a click hiss as the green blade sprung to life and Bri spun around to face Zaris.
Zaris spun around quickly, but was greeted with a Jedi now with her lightsaber. This Jedi was quick, and he wondered for a brief instant if he had underestimated his enemy. He shook the thought out of his head and rushed to attack with al the power he had.
Xara watched from where she was amazed as Zaris’ attack was stopped and he was put on the defensive. Bri’s green blade became a blur to anyone watching as she attacked Zaris. Her attacks were beginning to weaken Zaris and he felt anger that she was getting the best of him. He tried a couple more attacks and found that not only were attacks stopped but also his cloak had been cut off.
Xara watched amazed as Zaris’ cloak floated to the ground. She looked close and noticed that his clothing was cut in several places. Bri was a natural sword fighter, one of the best she had ever seen. Bri had Zaris looking like an amateur. Xara wondered if Bri had been holding back earlier or if Bri’s emotions had gotten to her, or if their connection had somehow saved her from Bri’s full abilities.
Bri could feel the anger coming of Zaris in waves. She was surprised that she was not able to see them they felt so real. Bri also knew that her opponent’s anger, while giving the man a feeling of invincibility it also blinded him to what was going on around him.
Zaris kept up his attack but realized that his opponent was not fazed by his attack. She stood her ground and deflected all of his attacks quite easily. He gathered himself for another attack and launched himself against her with everything he had swinging clumsily at her. Bri was able to deflect his attacks but she realized that she had no plan on what to do with the man. It was not in her to kill the man, yet he would not stop unless she was dead.
He attacked with everything he had in a viscous downward slice that was meant to overpower her strength and it might have worked if she was still standing there. Bri realized what he intended to do and moved out of the way leaving him off balance and falling. She realized only after he went by her that Xara had been behind her. At first she was afraid that she had made a mistake, and that it would cost Xara her life. She glanced at the figure and noticed that Zaris was not moving. It took her only a second to realize that there was a red lightsaber sticking out form the back of the man. She realized what had happened. His over swing had allowed Xara to run her lightsaber through the man from where she had been sitting.
Xara had taken advantage of Zaris falling toward her by activating her lightsaber and putting it through the man’s chest. He seemed a bit shocked by it at first as his eyes went wide, but then she could see the life in his eyes fade as he died. Xara pushed the body off her and noticed that Bri was standing there with a bit of a shocked expression.
“I’ll explain it all to you later, I promise.” Xara told her as she put her lightsaber away and slowly pushed herself up with help from the wall.
Bri mentally shook her head from what she had seen. She knew that Xara had killed people, but to actually see it like this was something else. She did not like what had happened, but a small part of her mind realized that it probably had to be done, and that it was for the best. She would allow Xara to explain the rest to her.
“Is this case over?” Bri asked out loud seeing that Arble was dead, along with a mysterious stranger who she realized was a Sith Lord.
“Almost, I’ve got one last call to make.” She said as Bri walked over to help Xara. She bent down to search Zaris’ body and finding what she was looking for activated a communicator. It took a second for it to activate, but another man appeared.
“Yes?” The man said in a cold voice and Bri thought that this was the head of the Sith.
“He’s dead.” Xara replied.
“I’m surprised that you were able to do such a deed.” The man replied if she could kill Zaris then she would be a great asset to the organization.
“I didn’t do it, a Jedi did but I don’t think that we’ll be saying anything.” Xara said looking at Bri.
At first Bri did not understand, this was something the needed to be told. She just looked at Xara for a second then slightly nodded her head knowing that it was something that they would have to talk about later.
“Then it is good bye.” The man said knowing that he had lost Xara for good. He had seen the look that Xara had given Bri, and knew that she had found a soulmate, the one thing that he feared even more than a Jedi. A soulmate was a powerful connection that could turn anyone from the path that they were on, it could turn a good person bad, or a bad person good. It seemed that this time the Light Side of the Force had prevailed, but there would always be next time he thought as a smile came to his face.
“Send a team to this address, to clean up your mess.” Xara said giving the address and waiting for the acknowledgement before terminating the connection. “Let’s get out of here.” She said turning to Bri and leaning on her for some support.
“It’s been a long day.” Bri said, as she felt a bit hungry. “Let’s get you checked out and then grab something to eat.”
“Sounds like a plan.” Xara said allowing she to lean on the small woman.
Yoda sat down where he had been resting. He had just finished talking with his padawan who was still guarding Otto Julies. So far there had been no threats made against the man. It appeared that Xara was the one with the contract against the man. Yoda had to caution his padawan not to get complacent just yet, at least not until he had more information.
Yoda also knew that Bri had disappeared, and shortly afterwards Xara also had left saying that she knew where to find Bri. He was not worried about Xara finding Bri, but what type of situation would the young Jedi would be in. He had felt a disturbance in the Force earlier, but had no idea as to the cause. It had felt to him like the Dark Side.
“I take it that you felt the disturbance in the Force earlier?” Aqat said as he walked into the small room that Yoda was sitting in.
“I did, yes.” Yoda replied wondering if the older Jedi Master had any information about it.
“It disturbs me.” Aqat said grimly as he thought about his youth. “It reminded me of the last time the Sith had been active. I think that the last Sith Lord, Darth Bane, managed to escape. We never found anything to support that he had been killed.” Aqat told Yoda. It was something that he rarely mentioned.
“The Dark Side, I thought I felt.” Yoda replied a bit worried. “From Bri I thought it was.”
“I guess we’ll have to wait until she gets back to see what happened.” Aqat replied not happy with the way things were going right now.
Yoda remained silent for a moment thinking about what had happened recently. In the past couple of days he had found out the Bri had a soulmate, been kidnapped and was now missing for the second time this week. He hoped that the rest of the week went by quietly, as it had started out with a bang.
Yoda finally gave up on any meditation. “Want to grab something to eat?” He asked Aqat who was taken back by the question. Aqat quickly recovered and nodded his head that they went off toward the cafeteria.
On the way down the hallway Yoda spied two familiar figures coming down the hallway towards them. The shorter one seemed to be supporting the larger one, but there seemed to be smiles on their faces as they got closer.
“Bri, good to see you.” Yoda said as they closed the distance between each other.
“Master Yoda.” The small strawberry blonde Jedi replied not releasing her hold on her tall dark haired partner.
“You are hurt.” Aqat said to Xara who merely nodded saying that it was nothing more than a scratch causing his gray eyebrows to go up. She had a bandage on her leg, and one on her arm, and she was leaning on Bri in order to walk. This was one story that he could not wait to hear.
“I’ll explain everything later.” Bri promised shooting a look to Xara. “Right now I need to take care of my partner here.” Bri said gaining a grin from Xara.
“Look forward to it we will.” Yoda replied then headed off with Aqat behind him.
“That should be an interesting story.” Aqat stated once they were out of hearing range of Bri and Xara.
“Yes, it should.” Yoda said as they entered the cafeteria.
Bri and Xara entered the medical room of the Jedi Temple where the medical robot came right on over and inquired as to the problem. Xara quickly explained what her injury was.
The medical robot went to work quickly placing a bandage over the wounds that Xara had received. They were medically treated to help in the healing of a lightsaber wound. They were both glad that this type of wound happened quite often in the Temple. Usually it was because of a practice duel between two Jedi as the participants could get carried away.
The robot examined the leg wound and declared that it had cut into some of the muscle and went about repairing it. After it was done it told her that she would have to stay off it for twenty-four hours to let the muscle heal properly. Xara was not too happy with that but thought that it would allow Bri and her a chance to talk about what needed to be said.
“Come on, I’ve got a bed that you can use.” Bri said with a smile as she led Xara down the hall to her quarters. She led Xara into the room and helped her onto the bed even though Xara could have probably done it herself.
Xara had thought about telling Bri that she could get into the bed herself, but seeing the green eyes and Bri’s face as she helped her made her realize that to shake off Bri’s attempt to help would hurt the woman. That was something she did not want to do, and she added in the fact that the woman’s presence was comforting beyond any rational reason. The gentle touches that Bri did, like the smoothing of Xara’s hair touched a place so deep inside Xara that she thought it had died a long time ago.
Bri was not able to bring herself to leaving Xara. It felt like she wanted to stay with Xara, keep her in her sight. She wondered if it was the same when Xara had brought her back to the temple after the kidnapping. Bri could remember the wonderful feeling when Xara had finally cut her down from her confinement. It was when they got into the vehicle that she remembered feeling such a feeling of peace and safety that she had willing abandoned herself to the dark-haired woman.
Bri’s stomach growled bringing each other out of the trance. Xara grinned at the strawberry blonde hair framed face as the blush crept its way across the face making the woman seem even more attractive.
“I think that you had better feed that monster before it gets angry.” Xara teased.
“All right, you want anything? They have wonderful Alderaanian goulash.” Bri asked not getting up and still looking into Xara’s blue eyes.
“Sounds wonderful.” Xara replied giving the cheek in front of her a caress watching as Bri leaned into it.
“We’ll have to continue this later.” Bri said not wanting the touch to end as she slowly leaned down to capture Xara’s lips in a kiss.
It went on longer than either person had intended it to. Bri had to pull away to catch her breath and even then it was quite ragged. Xara’s breathing was not much better as her hands ran up and down Bri’s back.
Bri went back to capture another kiss as she felt her body heating up in a way she had never felt before. Xara felt the familiar feeling and knew where it was headed. The problem was did she want to go there just yet. Another kiss and resolve melted away into nothing as she slipped off Bri’s robe. Bri allowed herself to be led realizing that she had no experience in this area, and that Xara also knew that by the gentle ways she was taking Bri higher and higher.
Some time later two naked bodies lay entwined on the bed. Xara was serving as a body pillow for the younger woman. Bri had her head on Xara’s shoulder and there was such a look of peacefulness on her face that Xara could not help but stroke the hair. Xara recalled her previous lovers, and knew that none of them even compared to Bri on any level. The young woman had been inexperienced, that was for sure, as she had been a virgin. It was such a gift Xara had wanted to cry. She had such an ugly past that she hardly felt worthy of such a gift from someone like Bri. She was sure that Bri felt otherwise. Bri had been uncertain at first, but it had not taken the younger woman long to learn what to do, that and there was such a connection emotionally that it heighten the experience ten fold.
Xara felt Bri stir and she looked down into the face as green eyes popped open. The closed again as a blissful smile came to her face and she squeezed Xara a bit.
“That was wonderful.” Bri replied in a dream state.
“Glad I could help.” Xara said as Bri’s stomach made its presence felt again.
“I guess I should get something to eat.” Bri said.
“You need to keep up your energy.” Xara said running her hand over Bri’s naked back sending shivers throughout her body. A low moan was her answer as Bri’s head collapsed back onto Xara’s shoulder and a smile crept over her face. Xara’s stomach decided to join in on the fun and grumbled at not having any food since the day before. “Come on, get up.” Xara said giving Bri’s cute bottom a pinch.
Bri yelped and jumped up rolling away from Xara’s hands and right off the bed landing with a thump. Xara could not help herself as she started to laugh. Xara could not help herself as Bri stood up and gave Xara a withering glare that would have made Xara stop, except for the fact that Bri was entirely naked and it ruined the effect.
“Now that you’re up, you can get us something to eat.” Xara said watching the compact form of her soulmate walk around the room to gather her clothes from where they had been tossed earlier in the day.
“Just wait until you see what I get you.” Bri replied to the laughter as she gathered her clothes and put them on with as much dignity as she could. She walked out of the room after she finished dressing and walked down the hallway feeling a bit sore but happy.
Bri walked into the cafeteria aware that it was quite crowded. Wondering what time it really was she found out that it was time for dinner. That would explain why she was so hungry. Of course the recent activities she and Xara did. It was something that she would not trade for anything else in the universe. It was the most special time she had ever had in her entire life, including when she made Jedi Knight.
Yoda noticed the moment when Bri walked into the cafeteria. He got up as she made her way to the line where the food was being served. He intercepted her halfway to the line.
“Hello Bri, how are you?” He asked as she stopped in front of him. He looked at her and noticed that she seemed quite happy, and there was a glow around her that he was sure it came from Xara.
“I’m doing just fine.” Bri answered giving Yoda a smile that lit up her eyes. “We were tired after getting back, but now we’re hungry.”
“Xara, how is she?” Yoda asked wondering how the woman was. He had heard that Xara had been injured and that the wound had been made by a lightsaber. That information had made Yoda a bit curious as to what had happened.
“The doctors say that she should not get up and walk around for at least a day. Otherwise she should have a full recovery.” Bri said not mentioning how she got hurt.
“Look forward I do to your report.” Yoda said as they made their way to the cafeteria. “Want to see you soon the council will.”
“I know.” Bri answered wondering why the council had not asked for her presence already. Perhaps they had and she had slept through it. She would have to check her messages when she got back.
Yoda remained silent at his former padawan’s statement. It was one of acknowledgement of something that had to be done, but not what she wanted to do. He thought about it for a while and figured that there was probably not much of a threat left or else she would have said something. He would keep his padawan on for a bit longer until the council had talked with Bri.
He watched as she filled a tray with food and he knew that it was for both her and Xara. She was going to go back to her quarters and eat there instead of here. He would let her go, for the time being.
“Talk to you later, I will.” Yoda said as she finished loading her tray and he knew that she was leaving the cafeteria.
“Yes master.” She said with a slight bow of her head and walked off towards her quarters.
Aqat walked up to Yoda after seeing that Bri had left the room. He saw Yoda and Bri talking when he had walked into the room and waited until she had left to approach him.
“When should we call her to the council.” Aqat said as he approached the diminutive Jedi.
“Call tomorrow morning, allow them to talk.” Yoda said looking up to the Jedi Master. He was sure that the two women would want to talk first, and then they would be ready to talk to the council.
“That sounds good, has there been any word form you padawan, Markus, about anything unusual or threatening calls?” Aqat asked wondering if they had heard the last of this particular mission.
“No, nothing heard is good news indeed.” Yoda replied back to his friend. He glanced back at the door and wondered himself what type of discussion was going to go on between Xara and Bri.
Aqat glanced down at the Jedi and figured that he would have that information tomorrow morning.
Bri had just left the cafeteria when another Jedi blocked her path. She looked up. He good mood quickly vanished as she saw who it was, Cal. He always thought that he owned her somehow and it bugged Bri quite a bit.
“Hello Cal.” She said as he stood there.
“Glad to see that you made it back safely.” Cal said with a grin that she thought was somehow not very friendly.
“Yes, well I must get back to my friend.” Bri said trying to get around the man without spilling her food.
“She’s not what she says she is.” Cal whispered to her as she passed. “She’s done evil things.”
“I know.” Bri replied looking the man in his eyes. She then turned and continued down the hallway leaving a stunned Cal standing alone. It was something he had not expected her to say.
Bri let out a breath of frustration like she did every time she encountered Cal. Even though he was a Jedi, she would nearly lose it whenever Cal was around. She found the man to be overbearing to the point where he thought he could tell her what to do. That part became really clear when she was knighted. He felt it was his duty to make sure she was all right. He had treated her like a child, which she disliked. He kept thinking that they were friends, but really she tried to stay away from the man.
Bri dismissed those thoughts as she thought about who was waiting for her in her room. She had left Xara there still in bed, even though she was under doctor’s orders to take it easy until tomorrow. Bri felt that they could use that time to talk.
She pushed the door open and was greeted by the sight of Xara lying in bed, with shirt on that barely covered everything. Bri stopped in shock for a moment as she took in the sight. Her mouth went dry and she stood there mutely. Xara looked up from her maintenance of her lightsaber that was sitting on her lap. A quick grin at the look on Bri’s face told Xara everything she need to know.
“Are you going to stand there all day, if so I’ll starve to death.” Xara said with a grin on her face. Bri blushed a bit at having been caught and closed the door. She crossed over to where Xara was sitting and set down the food.
“I didn’t know what you liked, so I picked out my favorite.” Bri said as she took out the food and set it out for them.
They sat in silence for a few minutes as they each focused on their food. Xara knew that she would have to start the conversation. It was something that she was not looking forward to doing and the thought of what could happen scared her more than the recent battle.
“I know that you probably have some questions, and I’ll do my best to answer them.” Xara said beginning the conversation having a good idea of what question would come first.
“Are you a Sith Lord?” Bri asked wanting to get that particular question out of the way.
“No, but I was part of the Sith organization.” Xara stated. “The Sith are made up of two main leaders, a master and an apprentice. Aside from those two are others, their ‘hands’ as they are called. I was a hand of Zaris, he was my master, until I met you.” Xara said truthfully as she looked right into Bri’s eyes.
Bri knew that Xara was telling the truth, but she was not too sure that she understood. “So a ‘hand’ is a person who works for one of the Sith Lords, and they carry out certain deeds?” Bri asked wondering if she got it right.
“Yes, I use the description of a bounty hunter to anyone who asks what I do. The jobs of the ‘hands’ and one of a bounty hunter are almost identical.” Xara said.
“Will I be able to trust you not to return to the Dark Side?” Bri asked wishing that she did not have to ask the question.
Xara tried not to flinch at the question, but knew that it was coming. “I can’t promise you anything Bri, but you do have my word that I’ll do my best to stay on this path.” Xara said truthfully. “The Dark Side is very seductive Bri, you’ve felt it.”
Bri nodded her head as she realized that she did know what Xara was talking about. Bri had walked a fine line when she almost killed Arble. Xara must have been able to sense that. Xara’s comment that she understood now made sense to her, and she was relieved that Xara had been able to stop her.
“Bri, I want to apologize to you.” Xara said suddenly serious as she looked down at the bed. Bri looked on and gently caressed Xara’s cheek. “I’m sorry for what I said to you in that alleyway a couple of nights ago.”
Bri had to think to remember that night. She remembered what Xara had said, and how much it had hurt then, but what happened afterward had taken the sting out of the words. Bri looked at Xara and realized that she had already forgiven Xara, but the woman needed to hear it.
“Your words did hurt me. Some of them I still don’t understand why you said it, but I’ve already forgiven you.” Bri said looking right into Xara’s blue eyes.
“I was feeling hurt that you had not told me that you were a Jedi when we first met. It was a double standard and I knew it, but my training had taken over.” Xara said feeling foolish that her excuse was so lame. “I had been taught all my life to hate the Jedi, and I guess that I was hurting because my heart and soul had already fallen for you. My mind did not want to believe it.”
“How did you become a member of the Sith?” Bri asked curious to hear the story.
“They found me on one of the moons around Fisture. I was walking the streets playing local bully and crime lord.” Xara said calmly. “My father and mother had been killed a couple of years earlier and I had been forced to go to the streets. My slim knowledge of the Force allowed me to be feared by the others. I was never afraid of using my skills to hurt anyone back then. When Zaris found me I was already on the path to the Dark Side, of course I did not know that at the time. It was easy for him to take me under his wing and turn me into whatever he needed me to be.”
“That’s where you learned to use a lightsaber and the Force?” Bri wondered already knowing the truth.
“I learned a bit, enough to make me dangerous, but not enough to challenge either of them.” Xara replied remembering her battle with Zaris. “It looks like you are more powerful than I am.”
Bri just chuckled. “To be honest I don’t know how I managed to stop those bolts. Master Yoda showed me it one day, but I thought that you had to be stronger in order to accomplish it.” Bri said with a slight shake of her head.
“Perhaps you’re more powerful than you believe yourself to be.” Xara stated. “You were able to defeat Zaris, a Sith Lord, where I was not.”
“But I was not able to defeat you.” Bri replied back. That was something that she had thought about. Why had she had the ability to defeat Zaris, but not Xara?
“I think that has to do with our connection.” Xara said. “I’ve thought about it for a while now. “For some reason our connection did not allow you to fight to your full ability, for which I’m glad.”
Bri thought about that for a few minutes as she chewed on a piece of her food. She came to the conclusion that Xara was right, and perhaps she was stronger than she thought she was.
“What should I tell the council, they would want a report on the status of the mission?” Bri replied knowing that in the morning she would probably be reporting to the Jedi Council.
“I’d leave someone to watch Otto Julies for a bit longer, but I feel that with Arble out of the way, and a public knowledge of what had happened that the mission is probably over.” Xara said with a bit of confidence. “Do you want me to go with you?” She asked not knowing what to do.
“No, usually only Jedi attend the meetings. I think that I can handle it.” Bri replied. “Besides you are supposed to be resting.” She stated.
Xara was about to protest when she realized that Bri was probably right, she did need to rest. Se allowed Bri to win this time, there would be other times to discuss how injured she was.
The next morning Bri found herself awakened by the annoying sound of her communicator. She realized that this as probably the council asking her to make an appearance in the council chambers. She was hesitant to get up from the warm spot she was in and the arms that encircled her. Bri knew that they would keep trying until they would actually send a person on over for her, that could be worse.
That thought made her get up out of bed, and grabbing a robe to cover herself she answered the call. An image of Aqat appeared and Bri knew what he wanted.
“Hello Bri.” Aqat said as she answered.
“Master Aqat.” Bri said with a bow. Her only question was when the council would want her report.
“I’m to inform you that the council asks that you and Xara come to the council this morning.” Aqat said seeing the surprise on Bri’s face. She had not been expecting Xara to be requested as well.
“Of course. We’ll be there as soon as we can.” Bri replied a bit surprised at the request of Xara being asked to attend as well.
“I look forward to it.” Aqat said as he ended the call.
“That’s different.” Xara said from where she was lying on the bed.
“Yes it is.” Bri agreed. “I did not expect them to ask for you as well.”
“I guess it’s time to see what they want.” Xara said getting up out of the bed and testing her leg. It was sore, and she would probably have a limp today, but at least she could put pressure on it.
The two women walked into the council and Aqat could see the difference between the two women. Xara was tall, with dark hair and piercing blue eyes that seemed to challenge anyone who looked at them. Bri on the other hand was a head shorter, strawberry-blonde hair and green eyes that were almost always warm and inviting making you want to be her friend. Aqat could not have picked two opposite people if he tried.
The two women stopped in the middle of the council room. Bri bowed waiting for the council to begin asking her questions. Xara remained stoic, and was still uncomfortable in the room, although she was getting used to being around other Jedi, and they both knew that it would take time.
“We would like to know what the status is on your current mission, and if it has been completed?” Master Janson asked taking the head role this time in the council.
“We believe that the mastermind behind everything was a man by the name of Arble Jexinx.” Bri said, the name sending a bit of shock through the room. Many of them had heard of the crime lord, but most had believed him to be dead. “He had been operating in the shadows and had slowly gained power over several corporations that had government contracts. His plan was to use the leverage and power to infiltrate the government and bring himself to power as hidden dictator. He even had plans to infiltrate the Jedi Order and take it over.”
“He would have had to have an inside man in order to do that?” Aqat said with a bit of surprise in his voice.
“He did, he had a Jedi Master, I believe that Jedi Master Hi-Lu is missing, and I remember seeing the man in the room with me when I had been captured.” Bri stated to the council.
Aqat and Janson nodded their heads, and it now became clear how Xara could have defeated a Jedi Master. Hi-Lu was one of the worst swordsmen in the Jedi Order, but the man believed that he was the best there ever was. His overconfidence would have been his downfall.
“I, uh, went to find Mr. Jexinx and stop him from finishing his plans. I was angry and almost slipped, fortunately Xara was there to stop me. He was killed in a struggle between him and Xara.” Bri told the group. It had been hard to tell them of her brief fall, but she felt that it was important to talk about.
“It was you we felt earlier then.” Aqat stated then and knew that his next step would be meet with less resistance than he had first thought. Here was someone who knew the difference between the two sides, and that could always come in handy.
“Yes it was.” Bri replied.
“How did you find Mr. Jexinx?” Ri-Jun asked from where he was sitting. He was curious as to how she had been able to find the man.
“The man was my uncle.” She stated getting shock from the rest of the council. Many were quite shocked at the confession that she could be related to such an evil man. “I just went into the local bars and demanded the information.” Bri said on how she got the information she needed.
“How did you find her, Xara?” Janson asked not having heard how the woman tracked down Bri.
“I managed to put a few pieces together from my background as a bounty hunter. I found a phrase that means that a person of organized crime changed his, or her, name. I also found a picture of Bri’s father, aged him a bit on the computer and realized that the man I saw in the room with Bri when I rescued her looked the same. It turns out that the two men were brothers. I contacted my former boss, who was only to happy to provide me with the location of the man and I was able to get there in time.” Xara explained wondering if they would accept her answer.
“Interesting.” Aqat answered for the council. He and Janson exchanged a quick glance and knew that both their thoughts were along the same lines. They had to keep these two together, the knowledge that Xara had would only enhance Bri’s abilities.
“I think that with Arble dead that the plan that he had undertaken will crumble.” Bri said. “It did not look like he had any intelligent second in commands, and those who were backing him may be looking to leave for a while.” Bri told the council. Many thought the same thing. The Jexinx crime syndicate was not known for leadership beyond the head. And anyone who was connected with the group would be cutting their ties so they were not connected to a weak organization.
“Is there anything else that we should know?” Janson asked looking at the two women. Bri shook her head no while Xara just stood next to the Jedi. Janson looked around the room silently asking if they had any questions. Everyone had their questions answered that they felt needed to be answered.
“I’ll take my leave now.” Bri said after a minute of silence.
“Actually there is one thing that Master Aqat and I would like to discuss with you Bri.” Janson said stalling the woman from leaving. “You too, Xara.” Both women looked at Janson wondering what he would say.
Xara was at first a bit shocked that Janson wanted them to stay and her mind raced to figure out what was left. She then realized what was probably coming. They would have to make a decision about their future. She already knew what she was going to do.
“Bri, you have refused to take a padawan time and again.” Janson said and Bri wondered what her not taking a padawan had to do with this conversation. “It seems quite clear to me that you and Xara work quite well together. I would like to propose that you make a working team.”
Bri was a bit shocked, but then she realized that he was giving her a chance to stay in the Jedi Order, and stay with Xara. She looked at Xara first and saw only acceptance in the woman’s eyes. “I’ll be happy to have her as a partner.” Bri said looking back at Janson.
“What about you Xara?” Janson asked not doubting that the bounty hunter would stay.
“Bri says she would like it, I think I would as well.” Xara replied with a stoic face. Inside she was jumping up and down at staying with Bri, and she could feel the happiness coming from Bri as well.
“If anyone objects?” Aqat said looking around the room. The recent events had shown that the two worked quite well together, and they would make a formidable team. No one said anything and Aqat declared that they would work as a team, on the same assignments. Bri would be the one to report to the Jedi Council, but if Xara would accompany her to answer question like they did this time.
Bri and Xara left the council feeling a bit happy with the outcome.
“I didn’t think that you would want to stay?” Bri admitted as they walked along the hallway.
“When I first met you, no I would not, but I’ve made a few people that I would like to call friends here.” Xara said.
“Really, who?” Bri replied wondering who all she had talked to in the past couple of days.
“Aside from you, Masters Yoda, Aqat and Janson. They made me realize that I could have friends and perhaps a family in you.” Xara said looking at the green eyes that had locked on her own eyes.
“Me?” She questioned.
“No, the statue over there. Of course you, after all you are my soulmate.” Xara said giving the smaller frame a hug and then left her arm draped around Bri’s shoulders. “Come on, let’s grab something to eat.” Xara said hearing Bri’s stomach growl and she led her towards the cafeteria.
Inside the cafeteria room they spotted Master Yoda along with his padawan Markus. Grabbing a plate of food they sat down next to them.
“How did the council meeting go?” Yoda asked knowing that he would probably be told what had happened by Aqat and Janson later on.
“Quite well, we gave them our recommendations on the mission.” Bri replied digging into her food.
“We believe that the mission is over with the death of the mastermind.” Xara said while Bri ate.
“Good news that is.” Yoda said with a gleam in his eye. “What else happened?”
“I think that you already know.” Xara said watching the small Jedi’s eyes. “Bri and I are going to form a team. I think that I can keep her out of trouble.”
“Hard task that is, I know.” Yoda replied with a chuckle.
“Hey, I wasn’t that bad.” Bri protested from where she was eating.
“I thought that you were guarding Mr. Julies?” Xara commented towards Markus.
“Master Ul-Ili has taken that over. He wanted his padawan to gain some experience guarding someone on his own.” Markus answered. He was glad that he was off the assignment. He needed a few more years until he was on his own. It had been exciting, but he knew that he needed more experience and had talked to Yoda about it.
“It was good training for Markus, but needs more he does.” Yoda said as Markus nodded his head.
“I take it you talked it over?” Bri asked watching Markus nod his head. “Then your not far away from being a Jedi Knight, knowing your limitations is an important sign.”
Markus blushed a bit under the compliment that Bri had given him, but everyone in the group knew it to be true.
“So, where are you going to be staying?” Bri asked Xara catching the dark-haired woman off guard.
Xara coughed a bit as she swallowed her food too soon. “Uh, I had hoped that I could stay with you.” Xara said watching, as it was Bri’s turn to look stunned.
“Oh, yeah.” Bri stated.
“I have no place of my own and not enough money to pay for an apartment.” Xara said logically.
“Bigger place you will need.” Yoda replied then continued with a glint in his eyes that Bri recognized. “One bed or two.”
Xara coughed again as Bri could feel the heat of a strong blush come on.
“Get too much sun, Bri?” Yoda asked seeing the blush rise up on Bri’s face. “Perhaps sun block would work, Xara could help you put it on.” Yoda said innocently.
Xara noticed that Bri was now covering her face and she started to laugh. Suddenly Bri got up, grabbed Xara’s arm and dragged her out of the room.
“Let’s go, it’ll only get worse.” Bri said as she walked out of the cafeteria.
“Gotta go, talk to you later.” Xara said hastily to Yoda who waved them good-bye.
“I forgot he can do things like that.” Bri said once they were back in her room.
“You mean be normal. I thought it was kind of funny.” Xara said from where she was standing near the door.
“Yes, if we had stayed it only would have gotten worse.” Bri said.
Master Yoda walked down the hallway along with Aqat toward Bri’s quarters. He had explained that Xara did not have a place to live and that moving them to larger quarters might be good for them. Aqat thought about it and after taking a look at the quarters situation and it was decided to give them a room that had two beds.
Yoda knocked on the door and waited a bit hoping that he was not interrupting anything. He had teased Bri earlier in the day and he hoped that she had forgiven him already.
“Hello Master Yoda, Aqat.” Xara said as the door opened. “Come in, Bri’s taking a shower and should be right out, just a second.” Xara went into the bathroom and then came back out. She did not want Bri coming out of the bathroom naked thinking that they had no visitors.
“I wanted to ask you how you would feel about moving to larger quarters?” Aqat asked not wanting to do anything without first even seeing if they wanted to.
Xara looked around the small room and felt that larger living quarters would be better. “I don’t mind, but you would have to ask Bri about it.”
“Ask me about what.” Bri said with a robe on and still drying her hair.
“A larger living quarters?” Xara replied.
“With two beds.” Yoda said not able to resist.
“Well, I have no objections.” Bri said looking at Xara.
“Then it’s agreed on. I have a quarters lined up if you want it?” Aqat told the two women.
They agreed and spend the rest of the afternoon moving Bri’s small amount of stuff that she had collected to the new quarters and their clothing. They then spent the rest of the afternoon shopping for extra clothing for Xara.
The next couple of day had been spent getting Xara settled in and resting before the council sent them on their next mission. They had found out that they could put the two beds together for a large bed that they could sleep in. They usually ended upon one side of the bed with Bri usually lying on top of Xara.
This is how they were laying in the morning. Xara was just lying there awake rubbing the smaller woman’s bare back just content to wait for the woman to wake up. They usually separated the bed in the morning in case anyone came in. They did not want to advertise they were a couple to the others.
A knock on the door startled Xara and she wondered who it was. She woke up Bri and quickly told her that someone was at the door. Panic went through Bri’s eyes as she quickly got up out of the bed as they pushed the beds back to the original position. It took only a few seconds as Bri called out that she was coming.
Xara stopped her as she was about to walk out to the small living room they had. Bri looked at her with a question in her eyes.
“I just thought that you would like to put this on, or you just might give them a peek of something you don’t want them to see.” Xara said as her eyes wondered over Bri’s naked form.
“Right.” Bri said taking the robe and putting it on went to answer the door. Master Yoda was standing there waiting patiently for one of the women to answer the door.
“Good morning Master Yoda.” Bri said seeing who it was.
“Good morning to you.” Yoda replied wondering if he had interrupted anything. “I just wanted to let you know that the council wants to see you both.”
“Probably going to give us a mission.” Xara said from the door to the bedroom as she tucked in her shirt.
“Right.” Bri said. “All right, we’ll be there shortly.”
The two women walked into the council room wondering what type of mission that they were going to go on.
The council waited as Bri gave the customary bow, and Xara did the same.
“We have a mission that you can use to warm up with.” Aqat said to the two women. “King Tallot of Unilit says that his daughter has been kidnapped by his rival and wants her back. We are sending you to make sure that this doesn’t erupt into war.”
“So, rescue the daughter and prevent war, sounds easy.” Xara said giving a glance to Bri who just shrugged her shoulders.
“Any information we might be able to use?” Bri asked.
“All the information is right here.” Aqat said handing the file over to Bri. “Good luck.” Aqat said with a smile having no doubt as to the outcome of the mission.
“We’ll do our best.” Bri said taking the information and the two women walked out of the room.
“Our first mission.” Xara said.
“Yep.” Bri said with a smile looking up to Xara. “You do realize that we will be away from the Jedi Temple with this one, right?”
“Right.” Xara said with an answering smile, they would not have to resist the urge not to touch each other.
“Let’s get out of here.” Bri said dragging Xara off to their quarters to pack.
Continued in Master Lighter