(Note to readers: sorry about the delay. For some reason I'd been locked out of the forums for a time and was unable to update. Though I am not sure people are reading this or not. Anyway, here is chapter 1)
Each step echoed with the patter water on the grim covered floor. Avner’s long cloak bellowed around his feet. Air hissed from between Avner’s teeth, breath sucked through his thin nose caught more than he’d wanted. The rank odor of the hall struck him as a blaster bolt to the brain. The hall danced before his eyes.
“Do you have it?”
Avner paused. It wasn’t the fact someone had spoken close by, but the distinct echo of the voice. Even from where he stood he could make out the fact she wore a full head helmet. There were only two groups which did so: bounty hunters and mandalorians. There were higher odds of meeting bounty hunters anywhere in the galaxy. It was also no secret the mandalorians were moving on this sector. Either way, it wasn’t good for Avner. Both groups disliked Jedi with a passion.
“Not yet, but I’m getting it.”
Edging closer, it felt as if each step brought doom upon Avner and this world. If mandalorians were here then it meant the Republic forces might withdraw support rather than enter in another pointless skirmish with the mandalorians. Either that or the Republic would and end up losing countless lives. Whenever the mandalorian forces appeared the ships and number of mandalorians would’ve grown.
“There is no emotion; there is peace,” the first words of the mantra came as a breath. Avner stopped. Breathing uneven, Avner repeated the phrase several times until the words blurred together. His heart rate returned to normal, breathing slowing. He peered around the bend.
A tall, well armored figure was just in Avner’s view. She wore red plated armor. A crest Avner vaguely recognized as a mandalorian clan was emblazed in white on her shoulder.
“We need it and soon,” snapped the mandalorian, her voice etched with barely contained rage. She jabbed a finger into the thick man’s chest.
Sweat dripped down the man’s face. “I’m getting the data as quickly as I can,” he mumbled. “It’ll be in your hands before tomorrow.”
“It’d better.” The mandalorian stepped back and turned from the man. “If it isn’t,” – she whipped around, drawing her blaster and firing over the man’s shoulder in one movement. It was a skill and grace that would’ve put many Jedi to shame – “I won’t miss.”
The man fell back. He hit the ground and stared up at her, gaping.
“Shut you’re fat mouth or I’ll really kill you.”
Avner had to discover what was going on here. This had to be the disturbance the masters had sensed. There was nothing else here. No Sith, just this mandalorian and the man, they were the only two Avner had run across to even hint at the disturbance in the force.
There was no way around it. Avner had to act on this. If he didn’t there’d be one to do so. The masters wouldn’t help if the disturbance was a mandalorian. Avner took his lightsaber from his belt and tucked it out of sight. His worn robes made him look almost like a poor beggar. It’d have to do.
Avner slumped his shoulder and staggered into the room with a drunken stride. Tripping, he forced himself into the wall, muttering nonsense under his breath.
“What the hell?!” at her shout, several other mandalorians appeared.
Two large men raced over to Avner. A blaster muzzle pressed against his forehead.
“Hey, hey,” Avner gave a fake drunken laugh, slurring his words, “there’s no need for that.” Force, this sucked. Not really the brightest idea Avner had, but what else was he to do? Charge in with his lightsaber ablaze? No, that’d be more like Alek and it’d only serve as a faster means to becoming one with the force.
“Shut it!” snapped one of the mandalorian’s.
The other took Avner’s arms and forced them behind his back. The first one grabbed Avner by the hair and forced him to tilt his head back.
“What should we do with him?” asked the first to the woman.
“Hmm.” She walked over to them and looked at Avner. “He looks like any other poor beggar out there, but there’s something familiar about his clothes. Who are you?”
“I wasn’t doing anything!” Avner shouted, making his voice go high with a false panic. “Let me go, I just ended up here by mistake!”
Avner’s hair was released and – pain shot through Avner’s skull. The blaster rifle was pulled back. His head throbbed.
“Answer the question!”
“Ugh.” Avner didn’t want to give his name so he just groaned instead.
“Maybe he drank himself blind. Too much Tarisian ale, hey?” laughed the first mandalorian.
“Drug him and take him back to base. Make certain he’s drugged,” the woman commanded.
Avner felt a needle ***** the back of his neck. The ground swayed. The force flowed through him, removing the drug in his system. Even as he used the force to remove the effects of the drug, Avner closed his eyes. It was for the best he at least pretended to be affected by it.
“You’d better have it to me in three hours,” the woman snarled. “Move out!” she shouted at the other mandalorians.
The rough, uneven ground pulled against his pants. Avner’s foot hit a piece of rubble. Avner committed every turn in the hall to memory. The group dragged him further and further from the capital.
“Stop here!” called the woman. “Put the prison in that room there. The rest of you, set up camp. We’ve a mission to complete before the forces arrive.”
The group shouted something Avner took and “Yes,” in their native tongue. Pain shot through his arm. His eyes opened a slit just in time to see a door hiss closed. He was locked in and even if he wasn’t he could just sense a guard on the other side of the door.
Sighing, Avner crossed his legs and stared at the door. Well, this was just great. So far his plan had landed him in a prison behind enemy lines. What fun this was! Avner smiled to himself. At least now he’d be able to listen in on conversations between the mandalorians and perhaps learn what they were planning on doing with this world.
Avner shifted until he was leaning against the door. As time passed, he only caught snippets of conversation none of which had anything to do with the mandalorians’ plans for this world or for the republic. Most of it was around hunts and tests of skill. It was rather strange to Revan. He knew mandalorian culture was different from what the Jedi Order, but it’d never occurred to him just how different it was.
“So we’re here to get information from that drunken guy?” asked a gruff voice. “Seems like a complete waste of time to me.”
“The commander doesn’t think he’s a drunk or a beggar.”
The voices were coming closer. Moving back from the door, Avner debated on if he should pretend to be unconscious or not. The door opened before he could make up his mind.
“See, these look like Jedi robes, don’t they?” asked the man in red armor to the one in blue.
“Pft,” snorted the one in blue. “Why’d a Jedi be so easy to capture?”
“I’m not a Jedi!” Avner exclaimed, trying to sound like he couldn’t believe what these mandalorians were saying. “There’s been some huge mistake. I really shouldn’t be here. You see I got into a bar fight and-and—”
“Shut it,” snapped the red armored Mandie.
Avner skidded back from the well-aimed kick. A weak groan escaped between his lips as he doubled over.
“Yeah, he’s defiantly not a Jedi.”
“What’s your name?” demanded the red one.
Avner didn’t respond, just glared up at the mandalorians. If he didn’t need proof on the mandalorian activity here, he’d be out of this cell in a heartbeat. The council would never believe what Avner saw without proof. If the mandalorians’ goal turned out to be the Republic then Avner needed the proof to get the senate and the Jedi Council to act before then invasion took place; if there even was going to be an invasion.
The flash of red warned Avner another kick was coming. Every muscle in his body screamed at him to roll away. He remained still. The kick shot white hot pain through his body. Avner skidded back into the wall. Gasping, his hands hit the stone floor. He coughed. Blood dripped from his lips to the ground.
“Answer the question, Republic Dog, and you won’t be hit again,” snarled the red armored mandalorian.
“You’d hit me even if I gave you my name,” Avner stated. He looked up at the mandalorian, eyes locking on the visor. “Does beating me increase the respect you gain in your clan or do you just enjoy it?”
He took a step towards Avner, “Why you little—”
“Enough,” snapped a voice from the door.
Both men turned. The commander was framed in the door. She leaned against it, her helmet tucked under her arm and cold eyes locked on the two men.
“Kicking him won’t get you and answer. Isn’t that correct Jetii?” she smirked at him.
Avner stood, wiping the blood from mouth. “I’ve no idea what you’re saying. I’m not a Jedi.”
“You can keep up the lie, but I was just informed there’s a Jedi Knight here by request of the government. Your robes make it obvious this Jetii is you.”
“There’s no way this man’s a Jedi,” scoffed the man in blue. “He looks like any other guy on the street.”
“That drug we gave him should’ve had him unconscious for another hour,” stated the commander. She straighted, auburn hair glowing from the light in the other room. “Either he’s the Jedi or just extremely lucky.” The commander entered the room.
“There’s no such thing as luck,” stated Avner. Digging one boot into the ground, Avner called on the force. He took hold for two men and pulled them forward before flinging them into the wall behind Avner.
The woman pulled out her blaster pistol. Avner leapt to one side as she fired. “What are you doing here?” Avner asked in a calm voice. He recited the code in his head.
“Go to hell,” she snapped before firing on him again.
Avner rolled. The smell of burnt cloth filled the air. His goal wasn’t escape, even if she knew he was a Jedi. He needed answers.
“Tell me, what do you have planned for this world?” Avner demanded. He sensed the two behind him getting to their feet. Time was up.
One attacked from behind. Avner back flipped over him. The other took hold of Avner in mid flip. Air rushed passed him. He slammed into the ground. Blood flew into the air. Coughing, the room spun in sickening circles around Avner.
“Keep him here. Bind him and make certain he’s unarmed.”
“With pleasure,” the man holding Avner laughed. He took Avner’s lightsaber from the back of his belt and tossed it to his partner. “Wonder how much that’d fetch on the market?”
“Probably a lot.”
The mandalorians bound Avner’s arms before they stood. Chatting in their language, they left the makeshift cell.