Darth Nox sneered at the Black Sun attackers. He exited the Sith Sanctum, Khem at one side and Xalek at the other. They had their weapons drawn, but Nox did not. The attackers shouldered their rifles, barrels pointed at Nox but a few swaying nervously toward Khem. Nox raised his arms.
Lightning shot down from the skies, amplified by Nox's power, and sheared through the Black Sun assassins. They dropped like rocks, instantly dead. Two more attackers drew vibroswords and charged. Khem stepped forward calmly, clamped a hand around one's weapon, ripped it away, and disemboweled the man with his massive blade. The assassin dropped. Xalex leapt forward and decapitated the other assassin before he could react.
"Impressive," Darth Marr said. "Most impressive."
Nox inclined his head. "I would not be on the Dark Council, otherwise."
"We should go, My Master," Xalek hissed. "We must destroy the attackers."
Nox nodded. "Agreed. At a later date then, Lord Marr."
Marr nodded, turned, and walked away to see to the defense of Dromund Kaas. Nox stepped toward another squad of Black Sun attackers, but he did not draw his lightsaber–the one he'd kept under lock and key until Methic had destroyed his other one. The attackers saw him, and whirled. Nox pulled two coin-sized pieces of coral from a belt pouch and hurled them. One landed on the neck of the first attacker, the other struck the second assassin in the side of his head.
Instantly, a transformation began. Coral grew from their shoulders, knees, and necks. Their eyes went to an unfathomable black, with wisps of red smoke floating throughout. Their fingers grew coral talons, and they dropped to their knees.
"You serve me now," Nox hissed. He knew the Seeds of Rage would come in handy. "Now, go. Destroy your former comrades."
* * *
Merok stood on the bridge of a Black Sun vessel and felt his blood run cold as he watched the attacks on Dromund Kaas and Coruscant over a holo-terminal. He hated Black Sun; he should blow his cover right now and shoot them all. He could call his crew; he could hold out here long enough for them to arrive. Together they could tear through this ship, capture it, use it to stop the attacks.
But he couldn't. He still hadn't learned who was behind this, or who led Black Sun–if the two were not, in fact, one and the same.
"Magnificent, isn't it?" muttered a Black Sun vigo.
"Unbelievable," Merok muttered.
"Utter destruction," agreed another vigo. "Black Sun has never been so powerful."
Merok stayed silent, letting the conversation continue.
"And it's all due to our grand Underlord," said the first vigo.
Merok waited in anticipation, but the conversation ended there. Disappointed, Merok watched the footage. He recognized defenders on both worlds. Jasin, Methic, Dha, Gareb...friends. And they were fighting the same people he was, only they got to use guns and lightsabers, while he was forced to use soft words and vibroknives.
"We are in position for the attack," a servant said.
"Excellent," said the first vigo. "Glory be to Black Sun. Launch the attack!"
* * *
Jasin swung his lightsaber in an arc, and its silver-blue blade slashed cleanly through a Black Sun attack droid. They had either run out of organic soldiers, or were tired of letting them die, because there had been nothing but droids for the last two hours. He was getting tired, and his arms felt like lead–but the droids were falling in droves.
Gareb ran up beside Jasin and hurled a wrecked speeder at a squad of droids. The droids, flattened, fired their blasters frantically, hitting their own allies. Jasin grinned and reflected a few bolts that managed to come their way. Backblast tossed an EMP grenade, frying all nearby droids.
"Okay," Jasin breathed. "We need to stop."
"We can't afford to," Backblast replied. "We have to keep pushing."
"Can't," panted Dankin. "We need...breather."
Corso, Kira, and Risha nodded. Backblast shrugged.
"All right," he said. "Everyone, hold here. Gamma Squad, form a perimeter."
"I'm surprised Prudii isn't here yet," said Gareb.
"Actually, I heard some comm chatter," Backblast replied. "He's here on Coruscant, but he diverted when he got a distress signal from Captain Jorgan."
"Was Zenith with them?" Gareb asked.
"Or Guss?" added Dankin.
Backblast shrugged. "I don't know."
Jasin put his head back against a speeder. It was rough, hard, but he didn't care. Right now, he felt like he had to rest or he'd collapse–abruptly, he was somewhere else.
Standing on the beach, Jasin looked around. He didn't understand. How had he gotten here? There was a calm in the air...but also menace. Jasin reached down instinctively for his lightsaber, and found not his own, but Orgus Din's. He drew the weapon, and the deep blue blade extended.
He turned and saw a rust-colored freighter sitting on the beach nearby. He frowned. He'd never seen a vessel so old, yet it seemed infinitely familiar. As if he'd been on it his whole life, or at least he knew someone who had. He walked toward the freighter.
"Find me," a voice said. "You must find me."
It was a familiar voice, but the last time he'd heard it, it had been weak, wavering. Now, it was strong–more than strong, it was heroic, charismatic.
"You must find me," it said again. "Or the galaxy is doomed."
"Doomed?" Jasin asked. "Why?"
"The fear will overtake it," the voice said. "The fear will destroy all."
"Find me," the voice said reassuringly. "Together we can save the galaxy."
Jasin jerked awake, looked around. Backblast was pacing, helmet under his arm. Gareb and Nadia were talking in soft tones, and Dankin was over with his crew, talking to them. Prudii and Havoc Squad were sorely missed–but they were doing what they had to, to save a friend. Kira came over and sat down beside Jasin.
"You drifted off," she said.
"I know," he said. "I was on a beach, someone was telling me that he needed to help me and..." he froze. "And I know who it was."
He stood, drew his lightsaber. "We need to finish here, fast. I have to find him."