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The Voyages of Targon Karashi


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Meranigean
09.10.2012 , 06:29 PM | #201
All I have to say is.... WOW..... this is the most intense FanFiction I have ever read
"One might say that you are intelligent, but just because you can move your mouth does not make you as intelligent as much as you think you are" unknown ( yet ive herd it from some where )

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TargonKarashi
09.12.2012 , 11:41 AM | #202
Yay! Finished with this blasted episode! Now we can get started with the finale!

Chapter Twelve

There might not have been as many enemies to deal with as the Republic stormed the castle – but there were some. The Mandalorians that remained behind weren’t about to let the ground they had taken be lost to another enemy.

Lightsabers lit and swung all around, lighting up the walls with blue, green, and then there was Zar’kun’s black.

Blaster bolts zinged through the air, scarring the walls and taking down targets.

They were making fantastic progress, despite resistance. Soon, they made their way into the central courtyard.

There, they saw the full extent of the brutal carnage that had already transpired.

Countless bodies lay in heaps and messes all over. Some were hidden in mud, others were sliced to pieces, and others were crushed beneath debris.

Rick spotted something next to the remains of a fallen tower.

“Over there!” he called.

They all looked, and Shazzar and Draakis looked back at them.

“Oh,” the Sith frowned. “They arrived quicker than I thought…”

“Surrender, Sith,” Master Je’and barked. Republic soldiers were quick to add their guns to support his command.

“Well, since you want him,” Shazzar shrugged, “I guess I’ll just be going…”

“Stop right there,” Zar’kun pointed his second saber at him.

The bounty hunter sighed. “Look, there’s no need to fight. The battle’s over, you’ve won.”

“And we’ll be taking you both into custody,” Master Talandar added.

Draakis had a small smile on his face.

“No you won’t,” he said.

“Why not?” Greyhawk asked skeptically.

“Because we have something you want.”

Draakis knelt down and lifted up a limp body. He struggled a bit, so Shazzar growled and helped him.

Everyone gasped.

“Targon!” Xana called.

“What have you done to him, you monster?!” Rick roared.

It escaped nobody’s notice that the young Jedi didn’t look like he should have. His arm – no, half of his whole body – was covered in something unnatural.

“Um,” Shazzar frowned. “We didn’t do anything to him…well, I didn’t. Can’t speak for blue face here.”

Draakis shook his head. “The only thing that matters is that we have him. Now, we don’t want to…but make one more step towards us and we’ll kill him.”

“Let him go,” Cyrus ordered. “You don’t want to kill him, so don’t make this all harder on yourselves.”

“You’re the ones that need to stand down,” Draakis countered. “We can wait here as long as we want until our escape comes.”

“You’re assuming that it is coming,” Greyhawk spat. “How do you know you haven’t been left here?”

“Because we know the whole situation,” the Sith replied. “You all are stumbling in the dark.”

---

The field danced and flickered with shadows beneath a hellish red glow. The humming and crackling of lightsabers echoed in the post-rain valley. The dark clouds above soaked in the emanations and seemed painted with blood.

Sparks exploded from their blades as Viruul and Fuhron continued their relentless assault on each other. Just as soon as one attacked, the other counterattacked with greater force.

With each smash against his foe, Fuhron snarled and roared with tremendous fury. Every swing was held with the combined strength of unnaturally enhanced muscle and unbridled rage.

Viruul knew better than to try to hold his ground against such unleashed power. He let the blows glance off him – as often as he could – and tried to allow his faster style to counteract the attacks.

Then he made his own strikes, full of speed and precision. He jabbed and lunged, withdrawing just soon enough to block Fuhron’s next attack.

Neither of them could tell how long they had been at each other. Neither of them actually cared. All their focus was on destroying the other.

However, that task was proving more difficult than either of them would have liked.

Because of his greater strength and brute force, Fuhron gained ground steadily. He pushed his opponent back in a continual pace. They had left the outpost behind. Now they were out in the open field, with nothing but mud and grass and water around them.

Viruul nearly slipped as he miss stepped on a patch of muddy ground. It gave the chance for Fuhron to come down with a hammering blow.

With no time to get out of the way, Viruul had no choice but to hold up his lightsaber to hold off the impact.

When the blade smashed down onto his, the Dark Lord’s whole body shook and quivered. He couldn’t hold it far, so the crackling red stopped inches from his face.

The heat caused sweat to bead on his face. His eyes grew dry from the intense energy so close to them.

Viruul gritted his teeth. He was holding with both his hands, and yet it wasn’t enough to keep Fuhron’s blade from inching closer and closer.

The Pureblood laughed as he kept pushing down, slowly but surely breaking through his enemy’s strength.

Hearing him laugh caused Viruul’s anger to catch fire again. He roared in hatred and hurled a wave in the Force up into the air – taking Fuhron along with it.

Getting back to his feet, Viruul awaited the Pureblood to return to the ground. No sooner had Fuhron’s feet touched down than he charged forward like a rampaging wampa.

Viruul held his ground until the last possible second. Then he sidestepped and let the runaway train pass by him. Before Fuhron could compensate, Viruul sent bolts of lightning to speed him on his way.

Crashing into the wet ground, the Emperor’s Wrath roared as streaks of energy surged into him, pushing him deeper into the mud.

With a howl more animal than sentient, Fuhron pushed back. The water on the ground rose up into a massive wall between him and Viruul. Then he stood and pushed forward, collapsing the tower.

Viruul’s eyes widened as the wall fell towards him. He was barely able to shield himself with a barrier of static energy before it smashed into him.

When the water crashed and dissipated back into the mud, Viruul lay on the ground, gasping for air. Instead of being crushed, he had simply been hammered into the surface.

Fuhron leaped into the air and was ready to slam down into him, preparing his saber for the final plunge.

But Viruul recovered fast enough, and he leapt back to his feet, letting the Pureblood stab nothing but mud.

Then he came at him with his saber, swinging swiftly and elegantly. Every stroke was precise and intent on where it would strike.

However, Fuhron saw it, and matched every blow with his swift and furious swipes. Their blades crashed against each other again and again, but this time, Viruul had the offensive.

Fuhron planted his feet and determined that he would give up no more ground to his foe. Instead, he let Viruul make his attacks and he countered them with his parries. However, in deciding not to be pushed back, he could not match every attack that Viruul made.

Three of his swings hit true. One slashed at Fuhron’s gut, cutting through his armor and grazing his skin. The second sliced off a few tendrils of his beard. The gold jewelry glittered in the red light and then vanished forever in the mucky ground.

The last was Viruul’s lunge at Fuhron’s gut. But the Pureblood moved to save his entrails. Instead, Viruul’s blade stabbed into Fuhron’s knee, emerging straight on the other side.

In that very moment, Fuhron smashed Viruul’s chest and face with a massive swipe of his arm, full of the strength from his entire body.

The black form of the Dark Lord flew through the air and crashed down into the grass several meters off. Viruul’s lightsaber remained embedded in Fuhron’s leg.

Reaching down, Fuhron quickly pulled the blade from his knee. He snarled in pain, but he let the Dark Side fuel him and brush the pain aside.

Holding both sabers, Fuhron laughed as he limped his way towards Viruul. He noted the hideous apprentice, standing afar off. Apparently, Viruul’s pet had been watching the fight the whole time, but without interfering.

“Now your little apprentice can watch the final fall of Darth Viruul,” Fuhron laughed. “You’ve given your commands, made your plots, and fought your battles. But now, what have you to show for it?”

Viruul was struggling to get back to his feet. The Pureblood had landed a horrible blow on him that was still leaving its mark on him.

Fuhron gave him a kick with his injured leg, ignoring the pain. Viruul landed back in the mud, unable to react in time or resist the shove.

“Your time is up,” Fuhron spat in Viruul’s face. He lifted the sabers and plunged down.

Viruul seemed to turn into nothing but shadow. The Dark Lord rose into the air, pushing Fuhron back. He remained there, floating in the air, his hands outstretched into furious fists.

The Dark Lord’s eyes were burning with a fury that had never been seen before. Even Succuba was taken aback at the sight, and the massive tremor through the Force that it caused.

“No,” Viruul roared. “My time has only begun!”

The clouds above began to rumbled and darken. Lightning stabbed the sky, exploding down on the ground. The structures of the outpost, a ways off, burst into flames as the bolts struck them. Even patches of the ground went ablaze, despite the utter drenching from the storm.

Fuhron took a single step back, surprised and the fury of the sky, and it’s obeying of Viruul’s fury.

“What is this?” he snarled.

“This is my power,” Viruul answered. “It is the Force, and the Force obeys me!”

“Fool!” Fuhron roared. He raised the sabers and marched towards Viruul.

Lightning streaked down at him. Fuhron held up his sabers and deflected the first bolt. He sidestepped the second, and then blocked the third as before.

Each time he deflected the lightning, however, more of his energy was drained.

He was starting to feel the pain in his leg again. No matter how much he called on the Dark Side, it wasn’t enough. It was like the power was being pulled away from him…

And the source was floating right in front of him.

Fuhron charged with a furious howl and swung the sabers.

All of a sudden, they were ripped from his hands.

They flew towards Viruul, deactivated, and hooked themselves promptly on his belt.

That was when Viruul smiled.

He held out his hands, pointing his fingers towards Fuhron, and let loose the lightning from them.

Fuhron held up his hands to shield himself, and for the most part, he held off the storm.

Then the lightning came from the sky as well.

A total of more than twenty arcs of lightning surged into the Emperor’s Wrath, both from the stormclouds and from Viruul’s fingertips.

Fuhron screamed, not in fury or rage, but in sheer, terrible, nightmarish pain.

But the sounds of dark energy surging, and the Pureblood screaming, were both eclipsed by Viruul’s laughter.

Finally, the storm stopped. The lightning dissipated, and Viruul returned his feet to the ground.

There was nothing left where Fuhron stood except for a charred skeleton.

Without paying it a second glance, Viruul turned and promptly walked off. As he approached his apprentice, she dropped to her knees.

“Master,” she worshipped.

Viruul motioned for her to rise.

“Call the admiral,” he commanded. “It’s time for us to leave, and to take our prize with us.”

“Prize, my lord?” Succuba frowned.

Viruul smiled. “This was only the first step. You will take a shuttle to the citadel to pick up Draakis and Shazzar.”

Succuba nodded in compliance.

“And don’t forget to take the boy as well,” Viruul added. “It’s time Targon learned his true destiny.”

Succuba rose and obeyed, activating her holocomm.

Viruul took in a deep breath. The air was crisp and clean from the rainfall, but also charged and hot from the storm. He breathed in the battle, and breathed out victory.

“I am the Dark Lord,” he said to himself. “All who threaten me again will share the fate of the Emperor’s Wrath. There is only one true master of the Sith…” he smiled. “Even the Emperor himself will learn that soon enough.”

Conclusion of Episode Twenty-Four
I'd love you all to read my stories and tell me what you think!
The Imperial Inquisition and The Voyages of Targon Karashi

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RulithBarakis
09.12.2012 , 01:12 PM | #203
And so we reach the final Episode. I have to say, after literally, for more than a year, reading this story, I've grown quite attached. It's going to be sad to see it end- and yet, at the same time, it's going to be amazing to see such a Titan of a story reach its conclusion. Targon, my friend, I now liken Voyages to an Epic. A story of a scale of unbelievable proportions. There are many things contributing to that, of course, but foremost among them is your determination to see it through to the end.

I tip my hat to you, and await the final Episode with awe...

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TargonKarashi
09.13.2012 , 09:36 AM | #204
And here we are. It's been a long time, and there have been rough patches, but we at last come to the finale of my series. I hope you've been enjoying it as much as I have. And I certainly hope it is satisfying to all of you. Perhaps we will have lots to talk about afterwards, and you can express your positive or negative opinions of my story.

In any case, let the finale begin!

Episode Twenty-Five – Mark of Fate

Chapter One

Rick had no idea how long the standoff had lasted…and it didn’t look like it was going to end any time soon either. Despite the forces on their side, they were unable to make any sort of move against the Sith that held Targon.

They were too tightly secured in the rubble. No one could move to make a shot – they would have seen it coming from any direction.

All they could do was sit and wait.

“This isn’t going to get any better,” Master Cyrus called out to them. “Sooner or later, more Republic forces are going to show up. We’ve won, Sith. Corellia is free again.”

“That’s good to hear,” Draakis nodded. “But that has little meaning for me. I’m not with the Empire…per se.”

“Then what do you want?”

“For you all to just stay where you are.”

“Come on,” Rick growled. “This is ridiculous. They’re not paying you by the hour, are they, Shazzar?”

The bounty hunter chuckled. “Maybe, maybe not.”

“This takes any longer,” Greyhawk muttered, “I’ll rush them myself.”

“And get Targon killed?” Xana hissed.

The old soldier shook his head. “You really think they’re going to kill him? They want leverage, and he’s all they’ve got.”

“So, what?” Sorgal asked. “They’ll just let you take them out for fear of losing their bargaining chip?”

A sound echoed from a distance. Everyone looked up into the sky.

Imperial shuttles were descending on the citadel, their doors open, and gunners readied their turrets on the Republic forces.

“Ah, our exit cue,” Draakis smiled. “You all sit tight and no one has to die.”

Succuba leaned out the entrance of the nearest shuttle. She threw down a line for them to climb, then she jumped down to take Targon’s limp body.

“We can’t just sit here!” Greyhawk growled. “I’ve got a shot on one of the gunners…”

“No, we can’t risk it,” Cyrus told him.

“Like hell we can’t,” the old soldier spat.

He took the shot.

The blaster bolt struck the gunner square in the neck and he toppled out of the vehicle. There was a second of silence as the development registered for everyone.

Then the firing started.

The Jedi took to the front, lightsabers deflecting as many shots as they could. Republic soldiers fired from behind, aiming for the shuttle doors and at their stabilizers.

Just as readily, the Imperials shot back. Turrets blazed from the gunships and soldiers took aim, gunning down anyone not protected by a Jedi.

Shazzar and Draakis had made their way up the lines to the shuttle. The bounty hunter brought his rifle to bear and the Sith drew his lightsaber to give him cover.

Having sparked the conflict, Greyhawk decided to take the rushing on himself as well. He charged forward, dodging bolts but also getting hit with them. His new suit of armor protected him from the worst, but he could still feel the sting.

A few more meters and he was on the Sith woman. With a roar, he prepared to pump her gut with lasers.

She didn’t even have to turn to face him. A massive swipe of her tail sent him crashing into the rubble.

Groaning, he started to get up. Rick and Gabrielle rushed to his side to help him back to his feet.

He growled and swore at them, claiming he could get up on his own. Still, he accepted their help, and in turn, they all aimed their guns at the Sith.

Imperial soldiers rappelled down to take the Jedi off Succuba’s hands as she drew her saber to defend herself. With an unnatural grace, she deflected every shot they made at her.

Then she turned just in time to catch Sorgal’s blade against her own. Following behind him, Xana and Zar’kun charged with their sabers.

Outnumbered, Succuba whacked them all away with her tail and leapt up to the shuttle. The soldiers had gotten the Jedi aboard and were back to shooting.

“Let’s go,” she ordered, and the shuttles began to rise up.

The Republic’s attack intensified, focused on the stabilizers. Most of the blaster shots missed easily, but a few were finding their mark. Smoke started to appear around the engines, and the shuttle rocked a bit.

Master Je’and made a mighty leap, landing on the ramp of the shuttle. His sabers twirled about him, taking out the soldiers around.

He took three steps forward, ready to attack Succuba, but then he was cut short.

Shazzar slammed the butt of his rifle into Zar’kun’s neck. The Jedi stumbled and fell out of the shuttle, landing on his back on the hard stone floor.

A great shadow fell over the entire castle as a Star Destroyer appeared in the skies above. The fighting ceased as the shuttles ascended and reached the safety of the warship’s hangars.

The Republic force could only watch, and worry about the massive turbolasers staring back at them.

“No!” Rick hollered. “No, no, no!”

Cyrus grabbed his shoulder. “There’s nothing we can do right now,” he told him.

“Nothing?” Rick snarled. He pointed his blasters at the destroyer and fired at it. Despite the obvious symbolism of the gesture, it was entirely in vain.

The Star Destroyer began to ascend higher into the sky. Soon, it disappeared into the clouds and the citadel became quiet once again.

“We have to get after them!” Rick stated. “We have to…”

“Patience,” Cyrus ordered. The Jedi Master turned to one of the Republic officers. “Get me Admiral Cordillian.”

The soldier saluted and activated his comm.

Greyhawk started to sway from dizziness and pain. Rick rushed to help Gabrielle support him.

The rest of the crew was just as furious and frustrated as he was. Sorgal kicked a dead Mandalorian’s helmet and swore under his breath. Tygus sighed and folded his arms, leaning against one of the courtyard walls.

Xana stormed off silently. Before anyone could try to stop her, she had disappeared around a corner. Nobody bothered to try to follow – it wouldn’t have done any good.

“Sir,” the soldier announced. “The admiral is on the line.”

Cyrus took the communicator.

“Admiral, this is Master Cyrus.”

“Good to hear from you,” the admiral’s voice said. “I have reports that the liberation of Corellia is succeeding.”

“Indeed,” Cyrus nodded. “But there’s a problem.”

“What’s that?”

“Targon Karashi has been found alive. He’s been captured by the Empire. A Star Destroyer is exiting the atmosphere with him on board. I need you to stop it.”

“I’ll see what I can do… Oh, there it is on the scanners…”

The communicator crackled with intense static. Cordillian’s voice could barely be heard…what he said was unintelligible.

“Admiral?” Cyrus asked. “Admiral, can you hear me? What’s going on?”

The static stopped and the comm was silent. It stayed silent for several minutes.

When Greyhawk was secure on his feet again, Rick made his way over to Master Cyrus. The other Jedi had gathered around him as well, bringing a hurting Zar’kun with them.

“What’s going on?” Rick demanded.

“I don’t know,” Cyrus sighed. “It’s gone quiet.”

“Is it dead?” Talandar asked.

“No, it’s still on,” Cyrus replied.

He tried again.

“Admiral, can you hear me? Please respond.”

Nothing.

Light was appearing in the eastern sky. The sun was rising over the mountain peaks and the dawn was creeping its way into the valley.

Finally, the communicator buzzed with static and then Cordillian’s voice returned.

“Master Cyrus?”

Everyone sighed with relief.

“We thought we lost you,” Cyrus sighed. “Did you stop them?”

The admiral paused.

“No.”

The shock struck everyone at once.

“What do you mean, ‘no’?” Rick growled.

“Something happened,” the admiral answered. “All our systems began to fail…we lost all power for a few moments. It all happened as soon as we started firing on the ship. It…it raised some sort of…electrical shield.”

“That…” Asha frowned. “That’s not possible.”

“We received a message as soon as power returned…it said to not attempt to stop the ship again…or else we would all be destroyed.”

“Did you still try to stop them?” Rick asked. “Please tell me you didn’t comply!”

“Of course not,” the admiral replied. “We…we started to give chase to get back in range of it and then…it escaped into hyperspace.”

“How is this possible?” Talandar asked. “What could shut down our entire fleet? Surely the Empire has no weapons…”

“And no Sith could possibly be that powerful without us knowing,” Asha concurred.

“We may be dealing with darker powers than we realize,” Cyrus frowned.

“What can we do?” Rick asked, desperation was thick in his voice.

“We must be patient,” Cyrus sighed. “Master Talandar, lead the men to secure the rest of the citadel. Arrest any surviving Imperials or Mandalorians. There still is a planet to free…and we need to do our part in restoring it.”

“But Targon!” Rick hissed. “We can’t just leave him!”

“We won’t,” Cyrus stated firmly. He continued with the orders. “Master Asha, take Master Je’and to the medics to make sure he’s alright. Rick, you and your crew need to take a few moments to rest and get the best of your emotions. Then, join me at the entrance of the citadel. We’re going to return to Admiral Cordillian to prepare a plan.”

Rick frowned and opened his mouth to say something. But then he stopped and swallowed whatever he had to say.

“Alright,” he sighed. “We need to go get Xana anyway.”

“Take heart,” Cyrus told him. “We aren’t going to leave Targon to the Sith. We will save him…or die trying.”

Rick looked at the Jedi Master.

“There is no try.”
I'd love you all to read my stories and tell me what you think!
The Imperial Inquisition and The Voyages of Targon Karashi

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TargonKarashi
09.13.2012 , 09:43 AM | #205
Chapter Two

Targon awoke with a start. He felt himself gripped with unnatural dread and a spirit frozen with some dark cold.

Looking around, he found that he was in a bedchamber aboard an Imperial starship. Though the cushions and furnishings were comfortable, his fear and chill did not subside.

His head hurt. Rubbing his temple, he tried to remember what the last thing he saw was. It was all so blurry and so…surreal.

There was the battle on Corellia. Imperials fighting Mandalorians…and he was stuck in the middle of it with Draakis and Shazzar. So much death and pain. There were screams…

Then he had spoken with Shazzar. He was preparing to die, thinking of his wife for his last moments. Targon thought of Xana…and then… He couldn’t remember.

He sighed and reclined a bit, resting on the pillows. They were strangely soft, not like most products of the Empire.

And especially not expected to be found on an Imperial warship.

The room was dimly lit, which was fine. His head was still pounding. Any brighter lights would have been painful.

He felt a sudden shock of a more severe nature. He started remembering things.

Targon had suddenly grown angry when he thought of not seeing Xana. That had put him in a rage…and he had lashed out. Such darkness…he shuddered as it all flooded back to him.

There was the pain inside him – from his changing body. And then there was the pain that he unleashed on others. He could recall all the people he killed in those massive waves.

It all made him shudder.

Then he had gone out. He remembered fading away…and the thoughts he had. After that, he must have been dreaming.

He could recall only flashes.

There had been faces – his friends, his mentors, his enemies… They had all come to him in vivid clarity. He remembered each of their names, and what they had done to him.

They had each said something to him…but he couldn’t remember any of that.

Targon shook his head and sighed, trying to relax himself. All of this was causing his pain to grow worse. And all the while he had been getting colder.

He wrapped himself in the sheets of the bed. The outfit Draco had given him was lying on a table across the room. Only now did he realize he was undressed.

Yet that wasn’t why he was cold.

There was a terrible darkness on the ship. The very walls emanated with the Dark Side. But there was more…a darkness inside his skin.

His eyes had grown used to the dimness, so he ventured to inspect himself. True to his fears, his condition had grown.

Almost half of his entire body had become…different. His skin had become scaly and green. It ran up his neck and now covered his chin, cheek, and ear. He felt around his mouth, and then in it. Many of his teeth had sharpened into fangs.

Targon wondered how he would ultimately look in a mirror…and then he determined that he did not want to know.

Fear and despair filled him then. Just knowing how he was twisting – even ignoring the sharp pain that came with it – was too much for him to handle. Burning tears filled his eyes and started to scald their way down his cheeks.

For all this heat, he could find no warmth. Not even in the sheets.

It had been some time since he had broken down in emotion like this. Tieru’s death had been one…the last one he remembered. There might have been other times more recent…but none came to mind.

He had been crying for nearly five minutes when he realized he was not alone in the room.

“What are you doing here?” he hissed, glaring at Succuba on the chair near the far wall.

“Welcome back to the living,” the Sith smirked.

Targon growled and looked away, wiping the tears from his eyes.

“How long have you been here?” he asked.

“As long as you’ve been out.”

“Which was…?”

Succuba shrugged. “You’ve been out a day or two, I believe. Ever since Corellia. You’ve missed a bit. Republic took the citadel, Fuhron was finally killed, and we departed the planet in a firefight.”

Targon turned back to her. “Fighting the Republic?”

She nodded.

He growled. “I thought you would let me go when I was no longer needed. You won your battle and had your revenge. Why keep me? Why not let me go?”

Succuba grinned and stood.

“Why, because you’re still needed.”

Targon scowled.

“What? What else could I possibly be of use to Viruul? I won’t break to him – I told him before and I haven’t changed my mind.”

“Yes,” Succuba nodded. “But that was when you were strong and healthy and still more or less human. What about now? Viruul can help you, so can our mysterious friends.”

Targon stood. His legs nearly gave out under him and he felt dizzy from rising so fast, but he held himself together.

“Get out,” he snapped.

Succuba sighed and shrugged.

“Sure, whatever you want. But we’re arriving at Dromund Kaas soon, and Viruul wants you with him when he ascends back to his position in the Dark Council. It won’t be something to miss…rumors whisper that the Emperor will have to attend it.”

She smiled and walked out. At the doorway, she blew him a kiss and then closed the door behind her.

Targon collapsed onto the bed.

The Dark Council…the Sith Emperor himself…

So much exposure to pure evil…

Targon felt his skin burn again and he winced. It didn’t last long, and he was able to shake it off.

Shivering, he walked over to the table and got himself dressed. He didn’t like the thought of anyone seeing him undressed and so exposed again.

Especially not Succuba. The way her eyes looked at him…

He shuddered and tried to put it out of his mind.

He needed to be calm. He was returning to Dromund Kaas – the capital of the Sith Empire. He needed to be strong.

After all, he was a Jedi Knight…wasn’t he?
I'd love you all to read my stories and tell me what you think!
The Imperial Inquisition and The Voyages of Targon Karashi

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TargonKarashi
09.15.2012 , 04:19 PM | #206
Chapter Three

Tygus didn’t like wandering about the halls and courtyards of the citadel. A place so full of violence and death…even for him, it was unsettling.

Besides, there was more than blood stained in the stonework. Dark forces had resided here. Cruel minds and evil wills.

He always did have an affinity towards such things. He had been around the galaxy, and his fur always bristled with discomfort when he came to areas of darkness.

It made him wonder, but it also made him cautious. It caused him to decide to hunt for a living, avoiding places that were strong with Sith and Jedi. After all, one of them might notice his…talent.

He wasn’t sure if he believed all that nonsense about the “Force” and wielding power beyond measure. The Jedi and Sith could do their thing, sure, but that was something else.

It didn’t apply to him.

Shaking his head, he returned his thoughts to what he was doing. Rick had gathered the crew, although they were reluctant to respond to him. Nobody knew where Xana had gone, and rather than send everybody to search for her, Rick decided to send him.

That was fine. He wasn’t in any rush to continue into what may very well be another crazy situation like they just had. He was, however, anxious to get away from this place.

He had searched three floors and every room of each one. Xana was nowhere to be found. He looked along the walls, through the gardens, everywhere.

His feet were starting to get sore from walking up and down the flights of stairs. He decided to take a rest at a window. Opening it up, he let the cool morning air refresh him.

Leaning against the edge, he took the weight off his feet and sighed in relief.

He perked up as he heard another sigh.

Looking around, he found Xana.

The Falleen was sitting on a gargoyle, her back against the wall. She stared out blankly at the valley. Her eyes were puffy from crying.

“There you are,” Tygus nodded. “I’ve been looking all over for you.”

“Leave me alone,” Xana muttered.

“The others are waiting,” he stated.

“Waiting for what? Me? To do what? To go where?”

“Umm…” Tygus scratched his chin. “To rescue Targon?”

Xana turned to face him.

“What does it matter?” she asked. “The Sith have him…he’ll be dead soon, if he isn’t already.”

“That’s a little…negative,” Tygus frowned. “Why are you thinking like that? It’s not like you Jedi to be so grim.”

“What are we supposed to do?” Xana ignored him. “Fly to Korriban or wherever in the Empire and fight through every Sith and soldier to find him? It’s hopeless.”

“Okay, stop it,” Tygus growled. “I get it. I get that you’re upset and worried about Targon. What I don’t get is the sudden bout of hopelessness. You need to perk up, keep it together, and be ready to do what you have to.”

Xana frowned.

“I don’t think you’re one to be lecturing me, bounty hunter. Chances are, you’re going to start trying to take advantage of my grief and…vulnerable state.”

Tygus rubbed his forehead.

“Let’s take a step back,” he sighed. “What’s the big issue here? What’s brought all this on?”

“What do you mean?”

“Are you upset because we couldn’t get Targon? Are you upset that he’s spent quite a bit of time recently in the enemy’s camp? What’s your issue?”

Xana shook her head. “Targon is gone. That’s my problem. We were unable to save him before, and we can’t save him now.”

“Can’t?” Tygus leaned further out the window towards her. “Or won’t?”

“I…” Xana’s frown deepened. “Just what are you trying to say?”

“If I recall,” Tygus shrugged, “Jedi aren’t supposed to have attachments. Are they? And if you want to call yourself a Jedi, you need to get rid of your attachments.”

“Are you…?”

Tygus cut her off. “You’re trying to distance yourself from your problem – act like it’s hopeless so you won’t be so tied to the real issue. You’re denying the truth to yourself.”

“What truth is that?” Xana asked.

Tygus stared at her straight in the eye.

“You love him.” It wasn’t a question.

Xana jumped in shock at his statement, barely catching herself before she lost balance on the gargoyle. “Excuse me?” she hissed when she was stable again.

Tygus sighed. “Why don’t you come inside? This discussion goes any longer the way it is, we’ll both end up falling.”

He reached out and offered his hand. She peered at him for a minute, suspicion and distrust were both quite apparent.

Only after a little while did she take his hand.

Tygus brought her in carefully. When she was back inside, he rubbed his shoulder and arm. He had been forced to hold it up for quite some time before she made up her mind to come in.

Xana folded her arms and glared at him.

“Now, what did you just say?” she growled.

“Look, don’t waste time lying,” the bounty hunter sighed. “You know it’s true, I know it’s true. Let’s not start going against the Jedi Code to deny it.”

Xana’s anger in her eyes disappeared almost immediately. It was replaced by worry…and a hint of embarrassment.

“How...?” she hesitated. “How long have you known?”

“I kind of figured it out after the way you’re always looking at him…and after all the times you so graciously turned down my advances.”

A smile almost broke through on her lips.

“So, what then?” she asked. “You’re no Jedi Master to be counseling me.”

“No, I’m not,” Tygus nodded. “Thank goodness. But the fact is I do know what emotions are like. The bounty hunting thing is a job, not my life. I do know a thing or two about…dealing with these problems.”

“In that case,” Xana took a step back. “What is your expert opinion?”

Tygus rolled his eyes and smiled. “Look, you can’t keep what you’re feeling all bottled up. Suppressing your emotions – especially the really powerful ones – is not good for your health. Perhaps a Jedi would tell you to let go…but any sane person knows that it isn’t that simple.”

“No, it’s not,” Xana concurred.

“I think,” Tygus thought for a second. “I think – and this is my opinion – that you need to admit to yourself and to Targon, the way you feel. Otherwise, this is going to eat at you and leave you hollow.”

“So…?”

“So,” Tygus grabbed her shoulder. “I think it’s time we joined the rest of the crew and concoct a crazy plan to rescue our wayward Jedi friend.”

Xana smiled, but then she paused.

“Why are you taking such an interest in all of this?” she asked.

“In what?”

“Me, Targon…everything. From the beginning on Coruscant with the other bounty hunters. Why?”

“Good question,” Tygus nodded. “I…I’m not exactly sure. Let me get back to you on that. For now, let’s go.”

“Fair enough,” Xana replied.

---

“Master Cyrus!” Talandar called.

Cyrus dismissed the other soldiers after giving orders and turned to regard the Kaalian. Talandar was bringing someone with him.

A Mandalorian.

“What is it, Master Talandar?” Cyrus asked.

Talandar turned to his captive.

“This is the only survivor in the citadel that we could find. He was in the master bedroom…along with other dead Mandalorians and a Sith Lord.

“The only survivor?” Cyrus frowned. He faced the man. Though wounded and still bleeding, the man was strong and fair. His white armor was soiled by the grime of battle, but it still shone in dignity and splendor.

The Mandalorian looked up at him. Despite all other appearances, it was his eyes that told the most about him. They were empty and sad – the eyes of a broken man.

“You are the Mandalorian Warmaster, aren’t you?” Cyrus asked. “Rasil Stark, if I’m not mistaken.”

The man looked back at the ground, saying nothing.

“He didn’t put up a fight,” Talandar stated. “I think…I think the fight has left him, Master Cyrus.”

Nodding, Cyrus knelt to get a closer look.

“Can you tell me what happened?” he asked. “Will you?”

The Mandalorian looked up to nod. “There’s the real question, isn’t it?” he said. His voice was weak and raspy. “I could tell you things…but I’m not sure that I will.”

“That is your choice,” Cyrus agreed. “But I don’t see what good it will do you. The Imperials are dead…or fled. Your men are dead as well. You’ve got nothing to lose by talking to us.”

“You’re right,” Stark nodded. “I’ve got nothing to lose because I’ve already lost everything. My warriors, my honor, my officers… All of it’s gone…and it’s all my fault.”

“What’s this?” Talhawk asked as he approached. He answered his own question. “Oh, I see. A broken warrior. Few sights are more tragic.”

“Who is the Sith that you served?” Cyrus asked. “Before rebelling, that is.”

“I threw my lot in with Darth Fuhron,” Stark replied. “May the souls of my warriors forgive me for that. Lord Vorra ruled this castle…assisted by Lord Vinitar.”

“Vorra is dead,” Talandar stated. “I saw her body in the bedroom. The other one…there is no sign of him.”

“What of this Fuhron?” Cyrus asked. “Who is he? Where is he?”

“You would know better than me,” Stark groaned. “He was out hunting your little resistance. If you’re here, he obviously didn’t succeed.”

“Must have been killed by that third party of Sith,” Talhawk shrugged.

Cyrus nodded and then turned back to the warmaster. “We’ll get you to a medical droid and see to your wounds. Then we’ll discuss returning you to the Mandalorians.”

“Don’t bother,” Stark snapped. “I’ve nothing left.”

“If the Mandalorians are anything like the Republic claims,” Talhawk nodded, “I doubt they would take him back.”

“I don’t give a frell about Mandalore and his cronies that bow to the Empire,” Stark hissed. “My closest friend realized their enslavement…and I killed him for it. My pride killed him, and all the others. Now my pride has gone…but it didn’t have the decency to kill me with the rest.”

Cyrus frowned and glanced at Talandar for answers. He had none and neither did Talhawk.

“I’ll offer you a trade, Jedi,” Stark said. “I’ll tell you the one bit of information that’s worth anything to you, and in return, you give me a clean, honorable death…like the one I gave your Master Senliri Orz.”

“A fair trade, if you ask me,” Talhawk nodded.

Talandar shook his head. “Jedi do not kill prisoners.”

“Take it or leave it,” Stark spat. “But it’s only worth something if you hurry…and you won’t learn it anywhere else.”

Cyrus sighed. “The Jedi Code is clear that we do not kill unarmed prisoners. However, this man is from a culture that honors strength and prowess in combat. I will not deny him his last request for a good death.”

“In the end, it is all that we can ask for,” Talhawk stated. “I will perform the deed, so as not to stain your adherence to your code, Master Jedi.”

“Fair enough,” Stark nodded. “Lord Fuhron was one of the Emperor’s Wrath – a position that officially doesn’t exist in Sith hierarchy. He kept tabs on the Dark Council and every official of real importance in the Empire from a secret space station at the far edge of the Dromund Kaas system. I have the coordinates and landing codes on a chip hidden in my helmet.”

“The Emperor will likely name a new lord to replace him,” Talandar stated. “That means the information has a swift expiration date.”

“Is it useful information, though?” Talhawk asked.

Cyrus nodded. “It is. I think I have an idea.”

Stark stared at him. “I gave you the news, Jedi. Now hold up the bargain.”

“As you wish,” Cyrus replied. He stepped back.

Talhawk came forward and activated his lightsaber.

“Hono dagor,” the Supreme Commander bowed his head to the warmaster.

Stark nodded in return, closing his eyes. As he waited for the blow, he did not flinch or cringe. He took it as a warrior.

When it was done, Cyrus sighed and turned his back.

He spotted Rick with the crew.

“Ah good!” he called. “You found Xana, excellent. Let’s go see the admiral now, for I have a plan to rescue our friend Targon.”
I'd love you all to read my stories and tell me what you think!
The Imperial Inquisition and The Voyages of Targon Karashi

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TargonKarashi
09.17.2012 , 10:32 AM | #207
Chapter Four

Joan Wernan was doing her best not to fidget. After all, it was a “great and tremendous honor” to be given an audience before the Dark Council to report her successful missions on Saleucami and Nal Hutta.

That was how her superiors put it, anyway. Annoying, selfish pigs the lot of them. The Ministry had lost a lot of good men, like Enro, and hadn’t been able to replace them with men nearly as useful.

But the Dark Council wasn’t what it once was either.

She had seen the chambers before – twelve seats set high to tower over the people that came before them. Twelve Sith Lords sat in those chairs, squabbling and arguing, issuing commands, and altogether scaring everybody.

Well squabbling and arguing was right, anyway. There were only six men on the Council here. Others were dead, or stationed elsewhere.

“Did you hear Lord Arson?” one of the Sith hissed.

Joan did her best not to jump at being startled. Truth be told, she hadn’t been listening to them for the last forty-five minutes. She had let Agent Wilko do his talk, and then she had recited her own accomplishments. After that, she didn’t care.

“I beg your pardon, my lords,” she recovered herself. “I was…distracted at your grandeur. It is a great and tremendous honor to be in your presence.”

“Well, Agent Wernan,” Lord Arson nodded, “I was saying that you deserve the highest praise, and should certainly be awarded a higher station in the Ministry of Intelligence.”

Joan laughed inwardly. Idiots. Did they really just buy that? It was the first sort of lie she could come up with on the fly…it wasn’t that good. Did these fools believe anything that was told them?

If so, the Empire was in very bad shape.

“You are most kind, Lord Arson,” Joan bowed.

“Of course, that is his opinion,” another Sith Lord hissed. “Not the overall view of the Council.”

Joan swallowed. Had they sensed her thoughts? She had been careless, she realized. These were Sith. They were fools…but they were Sith.

“Is there something that displeases you, Lord Ferral?” Arson asked. “Have I…misspoken?”

“You give too much credit where it is not due,” Ferral replied. He was a Sith Pureblood. The redskins took up most of the Council.

Arson and Howl were the only humans. Ferral, Havok, and Guildon were of the ugly red Sith race. Ortis was a Zabrak.

Now that she thought about it, Joan realized they were all really ugly.

Ferral continued. “This agent, though skilled and resourceful, was not the one that came up with the missions, nor did she plan them. She was simply following the orders of higher men within the Ministry.”

“If that is the case,” Howl asked, “why are they not here before us? Hmm?”

“We called her here,” Arson stated, “because she was the one that has been so successful.”

“I disagree,” Ferral growled.

“Disagree all you like,” Ortis shrugged. “It makes no difference.”

“You all are so petty,” Guildon sighed. “Can’t you sense the disgust this agent has for the arguing?”

Joan was surprised, and it showed on her face.

“Yes, we know what you’re thinking,” Havok answered her unasked question.

“A lot of your thoughts are quite disrespectful,” Guildon stated. “Though, given the state you find much of the council in at this time, I don’t suppose I can blame you.”

“My apologies, my lords,” Joan bowed. Fear was creeping in her mind. These Sith didn’t need a reason to kill anyone they pleased. They just did what they wanted to.

Or, they used to, before Lord Fuhron changed things around.

Joan shuddered as the room became colder than it had already been. Ice crystals formed on her aviators, and she could see her breath.

The change was not unnoticed by the Council.

“What’s going on?” Arson snapped. “Is there something wrong with the ventilation?”

“Of course not,” Havok snorted.

“Then what…?”

The doors of the Council chambers burst open. The guards that stood out front, clad in red and armed to kill, flew in and clattered to the ground. The way they landed told Joan that they were dead.

Walking in through the doors came a black shade. Joan swallowed hard and felt her legs buckle.

No, it couldn’t be. He was dead.

But there he stood, tall and regal and furious…and very much alive.

“Afternoon, gentlemen,” Viruul greeted.

Arson gasped. “Impossible!”

“You should be dead!” Howl roared.

“So glad to disappoint you,” Viruul chuckled. “I like living, thank you very much.”

Joan stepped away as the Dark Lord approached the center of the chamber. Wilko stood in his way, but Joan knew better.

Viruul sized the agent up.

“You’re in my way,” he stated.

“You are a traitor to the Empire,” Wilko growled. “You have no business here.”

“I have a great deal of business, actually,” Viruul countered.

With a wave of his hand, Wilko flew into the wall. Joan cringed as she heard his skull crack and his blood stained the floor.

“So,” Viruul folded his arms as he regarded the Council. “This is what the Dark Council is reduced to? How disappointing…”

“Just because you’re not on it?” Havok asked.

“No, because so many people aren’t on it,” Viruul shook his head. “In fact, there’s hardly any people at all. Just puppets of Lord Fuhron.”

“Puppets?” Ferral hissed.

“Yes, you heard me right,” Viruul answered. “Except your puppeteer is dead. I killed him myself. And already others have been dealt with…Vorra, that Cthulululul…whatever his name was.”

“I am no puppet,” Arson snapped sharply.

“No, indeed,” Viruul sighed. “You and Howl just happen to be the least liked remnants of the old days. So sad to see they’re all gone. Jadus is gone – caught up in some terrorist plot. Thanaton, Decimus, and Hades are all dead. Mortis too…wait, that’s because I killed him. Oh wait...Marr's still around. I do sort of like him. A shame he's off doing important things.”

“Enough of this!” Havok roared. “What do you want, Viruul? Your seat back?”

“Among other things,” Viruul nodded.

“You’ll get my saber through your chest,” Ferral stood, igniting his saber.

Viruul held up his hands. “There’s no need to resort to violence, I’m quite willing to be reasonable. After all, you have a guest, don’t you?”

The Dark Lord only looked at Joan out of the corner of his eye, but even so, she felt weak under his gaze. There was something different about him…his power had grown, obviously.

And there was a dark hatred that burned within him. This talk of peace was a weakly concealed ruse, she knew.

Some others entered the chamber and stood at his side. They were strangers, mostly, but Joan recognized the Dark Lord’s monstrous apprentice.

There was a man in a suit of dragon scales, a strange woman with incredibly blue eyes, and a strange man that looked Sith, but there was something odd about him. More than just his blue skin.

Finally, Joan nearly fainted at the last person to enter. Despite appearances, he was one she remembered.

The Jedi. Targon, she recalled his name.

But he was different now. Some sort of strange mutation was going on with his skin. He looked infected by a disease, but what it was, she could not say.

“Who are these?” Arson asked. “Your new lackeys?”

Viruul shook his head. “These are the witnesses to your destruction, and to my ascension.”

“Now you’ve gone too far,” Ferral snarled. “You may have been a powerful Sith before, Viruul, but now you are nothing. And you stand no chance of facing all six of us alone.”

All of the Dark Council stood and drew their sabers. The hum of their blades echoed against the shadowy walls.

In the entryway, Imperial soldiers appeared, their blasters ready to fire at Viruul and his companions.

“It’s over,” Howl stated. “You can’t defeat us all.”

Viruul surprised them all by nodding. “Perhaps not. I am but one man, that is true. I couldn’t hope to cut the six of you down while also dealing with your guards.”

Arson smiled.

“But,” Viruul held up a finger. “She can.”

He pointed to the woman and stepped aside.

In an instant, the stranger changed her shape. No longer was she some human woman, now she was a great creature with coiling tentacles and bright blue skin.

She lashed out and swiped aside the guards with ease, crushing them against the floor and walls. Then her coils snapped at the Dark Council, throwing them from their chairs and lifting them into the air.

Men screamed, Sith Lords howled in rage, and lightsabers hummed.

Viruul’s allies drew their weapons. The man in scales and the blue-skinned one cut down guards that remained standing.

Succuba leapt at Havok, who had toppled to the ground and avoided the monster’s tendrils. Before he could scream, she slashed and ripped him apart with her talons.

Laughing all the while.

Lord Arson screamed as the creature flailed him about, slamming him against the floor, then the ceiling, and then his own chair. He tried to claw himself free, but the coil’s grip only tightened until he was unable to breathe.

At that moment, the monster tossed him through the air. Arson’s body smashed into a pair of soldiers.

Ferral and Guildon were able to break free of the monster’s grip. They landed on their feet and attacked her with lightning and their sabers.

The creature howled as the electricity struck her – and right in that moment, the Sith with the similar blue skin moved to defend her. With a slash, he cut off Ferral’s hands.

Guildon turned his saber on the young man, attacking with brutal strength and ugly rage. The boy couldn’t hold out long against him. Even Joan could see that.

The only person who hadn’t done anything at all was the Jedi. He just stood there, watching it all blankly, like he was in a dream.

Everything then changed. Ferral was crushed under the monster’s tentacles. Guildon nearly bested the young Sith, but another coil wrapped around his neck while he was distracted. A moment later, he dropped dead as well.

But Ortis and Howl were free now. Together, they manipulated dark energy and the air itself, bringing down the boy, the man in scale armor, and even the monster itself.

When Succuba leapt at them, they slammed her into the wall with a wave of the Force, holding her there. Then, they started to try to rip the scales from her body one by one.

As the woman screamed, something snapped in the young Jedi.

The strange, mutated side of him seemed to take over. Activating his lightsaber, Targon charged at the Sith with unnatural speed – a speed no human could possibly have achieved.

He smashed the butt of his saber into Ortis’ face. As the Sith Lord turned to retaliate, Targon twirled around in the air, swinging his saber.

The Zabrak’s head rolled away on the floor.

Howl roared and fired an immense torrent of lightning at the boy. Incredibly, the boy took the blast, but remained on his feet. It was as though the electricity was being absorbed into his skin…

…and making him stronger.

Targon snarled, baring the fangs that had replaced many of his teeth. He walked forward, even under Howl’s assault.

Lord Howl’s eyes widened in shock.

“That’s not possible!” he shrieked. “Die! Die, boy!”

But Targon wasn’t dying.

He kept coming, until he was right on top of the Sith. Standing taller than Howl, Targon glared down at him with hateful eyes.

Then he raised his saber and plunged it through Howl’s chest.

The chamber became silent. It was all over.

But the silence didn’t last long. Soon the walls were echoing with Lord Viruul’s laughter.

The others were recovering, and they all gazed in shock at the Jedi.

Targon himself stood still. His eyes had changed – now they were back to his youthful look. And they were horrified.

“What?” Targon gasped. “What happened? What have I done?”

He took a step back, and then he collapsed on the ground. He shrieked in pain as the mutation was spreading further on his skin.

Viruul stroked his chin.

“Ah, I see now,” he smiled. “All of you, take Targon back to my chambers. He needs to rest after his…ordeal.”

The monster reverted back to her human form, then she and the other strangers took Targon away.

Succuba was recovering, and when she could walk stably again, she approached her master and bowed.

“Did you see that?” Viruul asked her. “Incredible.”

“He was almost like me,” the girl nodded.

“Indeed,” the Dark Lord nodded. “But different. I see now how he will serve us – all it will take is for his new form to take over completely…”

It was then that Viruul realized there was still one more person in the chamber still alive.

“Oh,” Viruul chuckled. “I forgot you were there, Agent Wernan.”

Joan didn’t know what to do. She did the first thing that came to her instincts.

She bowed.

“Victory is yours…my lord,” she uttered. What else could she say?

“You’re dismissed,” Viruul stated. “You should go get some rest yourself.”

“Thank you, my lord.”

She walked quickly for the door. Perhaps she moved too quickly. She nearly tripped over one of the corpses of the former Dark Council. But she was more worried about the dark eyes that were keeping a close watch on her.

She stopped and turned when she heard the holoprojector activate. Quickly, she tried to hide at the side of the door.

“I felt a disturbance in the Force,” the image said. “What has happ…?”

“Greetings, Emperor,” Viruul nodded. “So good of you to join us.”

“Viruul,” the Emperor stated. “You live.”

“Indeed I do,” Viruul replied. “I cannot say the same for your Wrath.”

“I felt Fuhron’s death,” the Emperor nodded. “As well as the deaths of the Council.”

“The pretenders on the Council, you mean,” Viruul corrected him. “I am in control now. I will place the proper lords on these vacant seats to join me. Do you object?”

“Not at all,” the Emperor answered. “Your strength has won your position back, Darth Viruul. I am impressed.”

“You’ll be more impressed when I fix things up the way the Empire should be managed.”

“Indeed?”

“Things are changing,” Viruul announced. “The Empire is mine.”

Joan nearly collapsed upon hearing that.

“The Dark Council and management of the Empire are yours,” the Emperor agreed. “But don’t think to supplant me, Viruul. You are not Emperor yet.”

Viruul nodded. “Of course, Emperor.”

The image faded out.

“Not yet, anyway,” Viruul muttered to himself.

Joan made haste to get herself out of the Citadel. It was time to go back to the comfort of the Ministry.

But with Viruul back, she knew, there was no safe place left in the Empire.
I'd love you all to read my stories and tell me what you think!
The Imperial Inquisition and The Voyages of Targon Karashi

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TargonKarashi
09.26.2012 , 07:47 PM | #208
Chapter Five

Cordillian sat silently as Master Cyrus laid out his plan. When the Jedi had finished, the admiral frowned.

“You want to set a trap for a Dark Lord in the very heart of the Empire?” he asked. “Am I hearing you right?”

Cyrus nodded and Cordillian scoffed.

“It’s insane!”

“It’s bold,” Cyrus corrected. “Bold enough to work.”

“I’d think you were joking,” Cordillian shook his head, “if I didn’t already know that Jedi don’t make jokes.”

“Only rarely,” Cyrus replied.

The admiral stood and walked towards the window of his quarters. Leaning against the edge, he sighed.

“I understand the desire – even necessity – of rescuing young Karashi,” he said, turning to face the Jedi Master. “He’s a good lad, and a major asset in the fight against the Empire. But what you’re suggesting…it’s suicide…for more than just the boy – for every man you’d want me to take into this.”

“The space station is remote and secure,” Cyrus persisted. “It’s at the edge of the system…”

“The Dromund Kaas system!” Cordillian cut him off. “The center of the Empire – the most secure and dangerous world in the known galaxy. Not even Coruscant has any comparable defenses.”

“I know,” Cyrus nodded. “It’s dangerous, I’m well aware of the fact. But the station is also completely anonymous – more than ninety-nine percent of the Empire doesn’t even know it exists.”

“We don’t know it exists,” the admiral intoned. “All you have is the word of a broken Mandalorian. He could have been lying – and now he’s dead so we can’t probe him for more information.”

“I stand by the decision I made regarding him,” Cyrus straightened.

“I know,” Cordillian growled and waved the matter off. “I’m not questioning it. I’m questioning the reliability of his claim. For all we know, it could be a last ditch attempt to get us all killed. Mandalorians have that bad habit of trying to take their enemies down with them.”

“It’s a risk I’m willing to take,” Cyrus stated.

“For you,” Cordillian snapped. “But it’s not a risk I’m willing to take with the lives of my men. I’ve already lost countless soldiers and crewmen in this war – in this battle alone. I won’t throw anyone’s lives away for a lost cause.”

“It’s only a lost cause if we deem it so.”

Cordillian sighed. “You must understand my reservations, Master Cyrus. A small team may pass unnoticed, but will not be able to stand against a full Imperial force. A large force will draw undue attention and will risk many more lives. It doesn’t look good either way.”

Cyrus closed his eyes and nodded. “I understand, admiral. Were I in your position, I would likely feel the same. But I have felt something in the Force – a tremor, a disturbance, if you will. I feel strongly that we must save Targon, and I also believe this plan will succeed.”

“How?” Cordillian asked. “Suppose it goes as you imagine. We capture or infiltrate the station – leaking the location to Lord Viruul. He comes with his forces to destroy and scour the place in an attempt to erase his enemy. What then? Can we be sure he will bring Targon with him? Will we be able to overcome such a powerful Sith Lord?”

“Nothing is certain,” Cyrus admitted. “The future is always in motion, and there are many possible outcomes. However, the odds can be in our favor. The crew of the Lone Eagle is creative and accomplished. They can liberate Targon while a Jedi strike force, including myself, Talandar, Asha, and Talhawk can distract and perhaps defeat Viruul.”

“That won’t be enough,” Cordillian frowned. “I’ve seen Sith that have destroyed whole Jedi-led battalions. This Viruul is more powerful by far.”

“I can try to call for more Jedi,” Cyrus conceded. “But the force must be small enough to keep out of sight of the greater Empire. Besides, we cannot divert too much from the war at large.”

“I’m glad you realize that,” Cordillian nodded.

They were both silent for a while.

“This whole mission would hinge on the variable that Targon arrives with Viruul,” Cordillian said at last. “How can you make that happen?”

“I…” Cyrus sighed and shook his head. “I don’t know. I realize it has to be subtle. Any hint that Targon is the target and Viruul will not take the bait. It needs to be about him.”

Cordillian sat back down in his chair. He rubbed his head and groaned.

“I’m sorry to make this so hard on you, admiral,” Cyrus apologized.

“No, no,” Cordillian took a deep breath. “As a commander, I have difficult choices to make all the time. This is no different…nor any more trying than others I’ve had.”

Cyrus frowned. “I sense that something is troubling your thoughts, admiral. And it’s not this…”

Cordillian said nothing for a while. Then he looked up at the Jedi.

“Come back later,” he sighed. “I…I have some calls to make. There may be a way to get this to work…but it’s very risky…”

“More risky than the plan itself?” Cyrus asked.

“Very,” he sighed. “I’ll keep you informed.”

Cyrus bowed. “I will take my leave, then.”

---

Rick tossed and turned in bed. Every way he moved, however, he could find no relaxation. Sleep was something that refused to find him.

Finally, with a growl of frustration, he sat up and placed his feet on the cold floor. He groaned and rested his head on his hands.

A warm touch rested on his shoulder from behind.

“Can’t sleep?” Gabrielle asked.

Rick turned to look at her. “I…didn’t wake you, did I?”

“How could anyone sleep in this bed while you’re writhing around like a violent bog snake?” the Twi’lek replied.

Rick sighed. “Sorry…It’s just…”

“You’re worried, I know.”

“It’s not just that,” Rick shook his head. “You heard Master Cyrus. He admitted that the plan was dangerous and foolhardy – and without Cordillian’s consent, it won’t happen.”

“You really think that will stop us?” Gabrielle asked. “We don’t exactly answer to the authority of the Republic military.”

“But what can we do?” Rick asked. “Sorgal’s said it, and so has Xana. There’s no way to face the entire Empire to save a single Jedi. It’s impossible.”

Gabrielle threw her arms around him and rested her chin on his shoulder. “You know as well as I that they’re talking out of despair. They’re just as determined as you are. All of us. We’re going to save Targon.”

“But how?” Rick asked. “Can we? How do we do it? I’m not Jedi, neither are you.”

“You think you need to use the Force to save a friend?” Gabrielle bopped the back of his head. “If I was captured by…say…Lycos Quinn, and held in a giant fortress surrounded by bounty hunters and criminals, would you give up and leave me?”

“Of course not!” Rick stood up suddenly. “I would shoot my way in, and I’d kill them all if they laid a single hand on you.”

“Even if it was impossible?” Gabrielle stared straight at him.

“Even if I was gunned down at the front gates,” Rick stated firmly. “I would do anything to save you. I would die a thousand times to save you.”

Gabrielle stood and got right up to Rick’s face.

“You’ve known Targon longer than me. He was your first friend after a lifetime of crime and running. You saved his life as much as he saved yours.”

Rick said nothing.

“What will you do to save him?”

Rick tried to swallow, but his mouth and throat were dry. Finally, he found his voice again.

“I’d fight the whole Empire to save him, and I’d even spit in the Emperor’s face as I lay dying.”

Gabrielle smiled lightly and planted a kiss on his lips.

“Good to hear you say that.”

Rick groaned and walked away, banging his head on the wall.

“That doesn’t change anything…and it certainly won’t help me sleep. I can’t think these morbid things… Even if I failed in the attempt, that wouldn’t change that you were captured. And it won’t change that Targon is held prisoner now.”

“True,” Gabrielle nodded. “But you need to remember something, Rick. So shut up, look at me, and listen.”

She waited until he complied with her exact command.

“You’re not going alone,” Gabrielle stated finally. “A team of Jedi are ready to help you…more importantly, your crew is ready to fight beside you. Old Greyhawk is itching to take down Imperials by the dozens. Sorgal and Xana will cut down hundreds – they’ll replace their hopelessness with determination when the time comes. Even Tygus is going to fight.”

She paused. Then she walked up close to him again, backing him into the wall.

“But above everything else,” she whispered. “I’ll be standing right beside you, guns blazing and heart racing. I’ll fight beside you, I’ll die beside you…”

“I can’t let you…”

“Rick. Shut. Up.”

He clamped his mouth tight.

“I’ll die beside you with a smile on my face,” she finished. “Because we’re fighting to save our friend. And because I love you. That is all that matters, Rick. Now get back in bed and let’s make this night, and this discussion, one that we will remember until the end.”
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The Imperial Inquisition and The Voyages of Targon Karashi

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TargonKarashi
10.01.2012 , 09:55 AM | #209
Chapter Six

Tygus sighed and knocked on the door to Xana’s quarters. There was a long silence, and then he heard what he had inwardly been expecting.

“Go away.”

“You don’t even know who it is,” Tygus growled.

“Now I do.”

“Oh…”

Tygus shook his head and choked down a chuckle at that. This wasn’t the time for humor – especially for the girl. She was serious. She had been in her chambers for two days, ever since they arrived on the admiral’s flagship.

He may have gotten her off that gargoyle, but it didn’t look like she was done moping on her own yet. He couldn’t blame her, as ridiculous as it was starting to get.

“Why are you still here?” Xana asked.

“Because…”

She cut him off by opening the door and glaring at him.

“What do you want?”

Suddenly seeing those angry, yet sad golden eyes sent a chill through the bounty hunter. There was a sternness in her face – one he had only seen in the most passive and calm faces that suddenly turned deathly furious.

It was like a cloudless sky ready to hurl a lightning bolt.

“Master Cyrus has asked for us all,” Tygus replied, keeping his voice even and slow. He had to tread lightly here. It was unlikely he would say something wrong…but with the Falleen in this precarious state of mind…

“Why?”

“I guess the admiral has a plan,” Tygus shrugged. “That’s all I know.” It really was all he knew.

Xana was still in her silver suit – it was smudged with dirt and mud and grime. She hadn’t changed or anything since the conflict on Corellia’s surface. Even her long ponytail of black hair was messy and rough.

“I take it you’ll want to change first?” Tygus asked. Instantly he regretted it – this was not the time for snarky comments.

Xana ignored him and pushed past. “We shouldn’t keep them waiting.”

He could only watch as she tromped down the corridor towards the lift. His eyes moved down her backside and stopped squarely on her hips.

Despite her lack of cleanliness, there was no denying her lovely behind…

He shook his head and sighed. “You just leaving me?”

“You’ve got feet,” Xana called back at him. “Use them.”

It took several bounds to catch up to her, and a greater effort to match her pace. They walked in silence, and when they stood still, waiting for the lift to take them to the bridge, they remained in silence.

Tygus thought of saying something on several occasions, but whenever he caught her eye, his spine shrunk and he forgot what he was thinking about.

Xana clearly noticed it, though the entire time she gave no sign of caring.

Finally, as the lift was nearing the bridge, she pressed a button and stopped it.

“Alright, spit it out,” she snapped.

“What?” Tygus’s voice was weak.

“You want to say something,” Xana stated. “Out with it.”

“No,” Tygus said too quickly. “I don’t have anything to say. They’re waiting for us, you know…”

“Fine, then I’ll say something,” Xana hissed. “Don’t think for a second that I haven’t noticed the way you ogle me every chance you get. You’re not the first guy to do it, and you certainly shouldn’t suppose that you’d be the first man to get his hands on me. You don’t know a thing about me, bounty hunter. I’ve spent several years amid the galaxy’s scum and I’ve let them take what they want from me.”

Tygus backed up against the wall, but she was persistent. The further he moved away, the closer she got in his face. Finally, he was cornered.

“Thought I was some paragon Jedi, did you?” Xana sneered. “Thought I was some helpless girl? I know the way the world works in its underbelly, and I’ve swum through more muck than I bet even you have seen.”

From the way she looked right now, Tygus noted, that might be definitely true. He never thought of saying that, though. He didn’t have the words to say anything.

“You can think what you want,” Xana continued. “You can suppose I’m some hussy like the stereotypical Falleen girl, and you’re probably right. I’ve been called that and a lot worse. I’ve been treated worse too. So, every time you stare at my rear end, you’ll know now that it’s used and damaged goods. What do you think of that, bounty hunter?”

Tygus found himself struggling for air, but he managed to get his only thought out of his throat.

“Where is this coming from?”

Both of them were silent and stood still where they were. The air in the compartment was getting stale and stuffy.

Finally, Xana’s glare of death vanished. She suddenly seemed shocked and confused, like she didn’t know where she was.

She backed away from him, moving to the far side of the elevator. Her eyes darted around the small space, as though she was looking for something extremely important.

“I…” she gasped. “I don’t know what that was…”

Her eyes glanced at him for a second, and then they dropped to the floor, where they remained.

Tygus reached over and started the lift back up again. He kept staring at the suddenly meek and silent Jedi. His mind was racing with questions and muddled thoughts.

What had just happened?

The ping as the doors opened to the bridge seemed incredibly loud after the silence. Tygus stepped through and Xana followed slowly behind.

Everyone else was waiting for them.

---

Admiral Cordillian waited patiently for the whole of the Lone Eagle’s crew to assemble. When they were all present, he asked them to follow him into his quarters.

Inside, the crew was visibly surprised. Master Cyrus and Arcon Talhawk were there, and the holoterminal was alive. The images displayed two individuals – one was obviously a Jedi, clad in robes and a stoic look on his bald face; the other, however was a stranger.

He was tall and covered in armor. His face was tattooed and scarred, the top of his head ringed with sharp horns. A Zabrak…and he looked like a Sith.

“Everyone,” Cordillian announced, “I would like to introduce you all to Master Jai Lok, one of the Order’s top Jedi Shadows.”

Rick scowled. “You know, the last Jedi Shadow we met hijacked my ship and tried to kill us…”

“We are aware of the unacceptable actions of Master Minos Karr,” the hologram nodded. “I hope that doesn’t taint all shadows in such a light.”

“It may be difficult to fix,” Greyhawk stated. “That one was nasty, and he’s only gotten worse.”

“Then let me apologize on behalf of my fellow Shadows,” Master Lok bowed.

Cyrus shook his head. “The Council was told you were dead, Master Lok,” he stated. “After that operation on Serenno…”

“Yes,” the hologram sighed. “Unfortunately, it was necessary to appear that I was killed, in order to throw off any Imperial suspicions to my actions.”

“And did those actions have to do with your friend here?” Cyrus asked.

“This is Lord Catac,” Cordillian announced. “Once a commander of Imperial forces in the Mid Rim, now a defector with asylum in the Republic.”

The Zabrak barely moved his chin in a curt nod.

“A Sith defector?” Rick scoffed. “What’d he do? Refuse to kill someone?”

“In a manner of speaking,” Master Lok replied.

“My decisions to prevent casualties was taken as a sign of weakness,” the Sith spat. “Rather than submit to the Dark Council’s judgment, I decided to let their foolishness hurt themselves.”

“He has given us invaluable intelligence on Imperial commanders and bases,” Cordillian stated. “You wouldn’t believe how many favors to call and how much begging I had to do to in order to get him here.”

“And why is he here?” Talhawk asked. “I don’t like Sith, even the ones that are supposedly ‘good’.”

The Zabrak folded his arms and glared at the Necillian. “The Dark Covenant was a rogue group of fools and warmongers that had nothing to do with…”

“Save it,” the Supreme Commander barked. “I’ve heard that tripe before.”

“Gentlemen,” Cordillian sighed, “we have serious business at hand.”

“So, admiral,” Cyrus asked, “what is this plan you’ve put together?”

Pressing a button, the admiral brought up a display of the Dromund Kaas system.

“Lord Catac has confirmed that there may very well be a station after all. Apart from rumors passed among the Sith about the Emperor’s Wrath, there was a substantial construction project near the edge of the system. Catac reports that the effort was never reported to have been completed, and all inquiries into the matter have been…silenced.”

“So, it exists,” Talhawk shrugged. “I was willing to go on the last words of a fellow warrior, but I guess you all needed to waste time making sure.”

“Only fools rush in without thinking,” Catac hissed.

“But this reeks of cowardice,” the Necillian countered.

“Please!” Cordillian pleaded. “You can argue to your heart’s content afterwards. Now, the Dark Council believes Lord Catac to have been killed on Serenno, since he and Master Lok disappeared to throw off their trail.”

“So they don’t know he defected?” Greyhawk supposed.

“Precisely,” Cordillian nodded. “Catac will contact Viruul as an effort to regain the Council’s favor. He will report on the station in order to draw Viruul into going there to loot and destroy it. In the meantime, the Lone Eagle and the Jedi strike team will reach the station while my fleet distracts Imperial forces in a nearby sector.”

“And you expect such a diversion to work?” Sorgal asked. “The Empire won’t think much of a raid so close to Dromund Kaas. Only a substantial invasion will draw their undivided attention.”

“It doesn’t have to hold their attention for long,” the admiral answered. “It will be a short window, but we will get the Lone Eagle within jumping distance so that you can reach the station unnoticed.”

“This all seems…risky,” Master Lok frowned. “I was aware the plan was desperate…but this…”

“It’s bold,” Catac nodded. “It seems foolish.”

“And that is why the Empire won’t expect it,” Cyrus smiled.

“Well now,” Cordillian turned to Rick. “You’re the captain, and you’d be the one leading your crew in this venture. What do you think?”

Rick said nothing for a while. He cringed and grimaced as everyone’s eyes stared relentlessly at him.

“There’s nothing to think about,” he said finally. “We’re going to save Targon. We know the risks, but our friend is worth it. Let’s do this.”

Catac shook his head. “You won’t get far without us. We will join the Jedi strike team accompanying you.”

“With our knowledge and strength,” Master Lok added, “it might just be successful.”

Rick frowned at the both of them. “We’d be happy to have you along. But…I think we’d succeed without your venerable wisdom and power. After all, this is my first mate. You might be strong and smart and all…but I’ve got the conviction.”

“Then we mustn’t waste any more time,” Cordillian straightened. “Let’s get this mission underway.”
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The Imperial Inquisition and The Voyages of Targon Karashi

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TargonKarashi
10.02.2012 , 11:04 AM | #210
Chapter Seven

It had been a little more than a week since Viruul’s return – and already Joan was certain that the Empire and the galaxy at large were spiraling toward a grim apocalypse.

The body count had reached more than ten thousand. Ten thousand dissidents who dared raise their voice against Darth Viruul. Soldiers, officers, fellow Sith, nobles, engineers, political figures…

It wasn’t counting how many civilians were killed in the middle of it all.

A part of her wished that rebellion would rise up soon, eager to throw off the tyranny of Viruul and those that followed him. But then, that would lead to more chaos and more death.

That was something the Empire could not have. The people needed stability and order, and they also needed safety.

This madness had to stop. Agents were being burned in the field, losing their cover while in the enemy’s camp. Members of the Ministries were disappearing – much more than usual. Open slaughter occurred in the streets.

Someone needed to protect the people of the Empire. Joan realized that it was going to have to be her. No one else would stand, or if they did, they had no idea how to stop the madness.

But she knew.

Everything that Viruul was doing, everything he had done, seemed to stem from one single person. That Jedi, Targon.

If it weren’t for that boy, Viruul would never have wasted so many resources in his mad pursuit. Agents and soldiers would not have died at the hand of the boy and his friends. Viruul would never have been cast out, and thus rise back and become an utter nightmare.

In order for things to go back to a reasonable state, not like they were, but at least better than right now…the boy had to go.

She knew what she had to do.

The citadel loomed over the city as a dark monolith. Lightning flashes lit it up for tiny fractions of a second, then let it return to it’s blackness.

Something about the citadel made Joan uncomfortable, and she had no idea why. She had been there before, even a few occasions where she wasn’t actually supposed to be there.

Yet every time she looked at it, and even more as she drew closer on her speeder bike, her legs trembled and her teeth chattered.

She had to steel herself. She had to be strong. She was an Imperial cipher agent, trained to handle the toughest, most delicate situations. She had done several assassinations, even more infiltrations.

This would be nothing.

She parked her speeder in an alley close to the Ministry of Intelligence. The rest of the way to the citadel entrance would have to be made on foot.

As dark as the streets were this evening, Joan had no trouble navigating unseen through the narrow passages between buildings and streets. The main doors were close…but she wasn’t going to go in that way.

There was a heat exhaust vent nearly twenty meters off the ground on the west wall. It was small and barely noticeable, plus the steam coming out was able to broil anyone close to it.

As such, there were no guards for such an insignificant entrance into the citadel. Anyone that would attempt to get in there had to be completely crazy.

Well, these were crazy times, Joan figured. And in order to do what she had to, she had to leave her logical, even sane self behind for the sake of the Empire.

Reaching the wall, she took a moment to wait and rest. She would need all her energy to ascend up to the vent grate.

Also, she needed to wait for the exact moment. The vents would shut down for fifteen minutes to keep the system from overheating. That was her window.

She counted to three and then looked up. She fired her ascension cable to the grate and started to climb.

Climbing was easy for her, and she made it up to the grate in a minute or two. The steam had stopped billowing out, but she could see that the walls were still hissing with heat.

Working quickly, she cut the bolts holding the grate to the wall. Letting it drop without a thought, she slipped in. It was incredibly narrow – her small form was barely able to squeeze in.

Her suit was designed to resist heat, but only so much. She could still feel the burning on her arms and legs. Sweat drizzled down her brow and the back of her neck. The water was evaporating quickly, making things even hotter.

Vision was clouding, thoughts were becoming sluggish. But she had to push forward. She had endured worse…though at the moment she couldn’t think of any.

The ventilation system wasn’t long, but with how small it was, she couldn’t move very fast. But she needed to hurry – the vents would be turning back on at any minute.

She pushed herself harder, desperately clawing her way forward through the tunnel. Pain seared on all sides of her, especially in her hands and feet. They were actually starting to lose their senses, and she could feel the blisters forming on her skin.

Then she heard something – a metal clanking a ways off. Directly ahead of her.

The vents were turning back on.

Finally, she found her place. Having memorized the layout of the main floor of the citadel, she knew she was right above a relatively abandoned storage room. Only cleaning droids came in there.

Working as fast as she could, with sweat coating her clammy skin, she cut a hole into the floor of the tunnel. The walls were getting hotter, but the air was heating up even faster.

A few more seconds and she would be fried.

Her knife finished its work and she simply dropped down onto the floor of the room. Above her, she could hear the hissing as the steam rushed through the vents. She could feel some of it escaping through her hole and warming up the room.

But it was gratefully cooler in the room, and Joan sat there on the floor gasping and breathing in the cold. She felt herself slowly relax in relief that she had made it out. And so far, none had been the wiser.

There weren’t any cleaning droids at the moment, so she had time to ease herself. However, she realized the burns were only going to get worse with time. She needed to hurry this up before she became too noticeable.

Joan opened the door slightly, taking a moment to look around and see if anyone was about. The coast was clear, so she exited and started navigating the vast halls of the citadel.

She needed to go up to the next level, so she found the nearest flight of stairs. There were a few Sith coming down when she arrived, so she veered off and hid behind one of the many statues in the corridor.

She kept herself calm and relaxed. The Sith could easily sense anxiety, she knew that all too well. However, she kept focused and listened in on part of their conversation as they descended the steps.

“Is it true that Viruul will be choosing the new lords of the Dark Council?”

“He will? Why would he even bother?”

“There needs to be a council…”

“Well, if that’s the case, don’t think for a second that they won’t all be puppets or underlings. I assure you, Viruul won’t relinquish any power that he already has – and right now he has it all.”

“But…”

“Just you wait. And maybe, if we play our cards right, we might get a position for ourselves.”

“You serve Viruul?”

“Of course not, but he’s the man in charge right now.”

“Good point.”

Finally, the pair disappeared into another hallway. Joan carefully emerged and glanced around, checking for anyone else. There was nobody.

“I plan to change who’s in charge,” she muttered to herself.

She bounded up the stairs but then she stopped.

How was she supposed to figure out which room Targon was being held in? It wasn’t like she could just ask for directions.

Maybe she should have thought this through better?

She shook her head. Too late for that, and there wasn’t any time, regardless. She had to get this done now. Things were too deep to back out and do nothing.

Joan started walking through the halls, keeping her eyes and ears open for any clues. She needed to tread lightly, but she needed to hurry. The longer this took, the more people would continue to die.

She stopped short, and her breath caught in her throat.

Up ahead, Viruul’s apprentice was exiting a room. The door behind her shut and locked tightly.

Joan kept herself hidden until Succuba was gone. Then, she rushed over to the locked door. There was a panel to the left of the door, one that could only be moved and activated by a wave of the Force.

However, Joan knew how to get past things like this. The Sith had these all over. She wouldn’t be a good agent if she didn’t know how they worked.

She removed the panel from the wall with care, making sure it didn’t make any unnecessary noise. Then, when she exposed all the wires and inner workings of the lock mechanism, she immediately set to work.

She fiddled with many cords, rerouted electrical lines, and used a little muscle to maneuver stubborn gears. Finally, with a satisfying click, the locks undid and she opened the door.

It was a dark room, despite the open window. Of course, given that the sky outside was always gloomy and stormy, it made sense. Joan turned on the night-vision HUD of her aviators and took a look around.

Some movement caught her eye across the room. She stepped quietly, drawing her blaster from her hip.

A flash and something leapt towards her. She jumped back, finding herself staring into the furious eyes of some tortured creature. It snarled and hissed at her, trying to tear her apart – but it was held back by immense chains.

Getting a closer look, Joan realized that this creature was the Jedi.

“By the…” she gasped. “What has Viruul been doing to you?”

The creature that was Targon cocked its head and sniffed. “You,” he growled. “You’re that agent. What are you doing here? Come to torture and mock the caged beast like all the other Sith?”

Joan shook her head. “I’m here to stop Viruul.”

“You can’t stop him,” Targon hissed. “I’ve tried. He’s too powerful. Look at me! He’s using the taint inside me to twist me into some monstrous animal! I can’t fight it – you can’t fight yourself.”

With a sigh, Joan raised her blaster to his head.

“I’m sorry, kid,” she said softly. “But it looks like this will put you out of your misery as well as stop Viruul’s plans.”

“Going to kill me?” Targon snorted. “Good. I’ve been wishing I was dead for a while now.” His tone changed drastically. “Wait…No! I don’t want to die! I have to go back! I have to go back to her!”

Joan shook her head again. “You’re confused. Don’t worry, it’s all over now.”

She started to squeeze the trigger.

Suddenly, Joan dropped the blaster. Her hands reached up to grab at the invisible fingers that clenched around her throat.

She started rising into the air, gurgling and gasping.

“Now, that’s no way to treat a guest,” Succuba laughed.

Joan’s eyes widened and she fought harder to try to free herself. No matter how hard she struggled, however, she couldn’t wrench the monster’s grip off.

“I knew you’d try something like this,” the Sith snarled. “Nobody else believed me – they all thought you were too smart to try a foolish thing like this. But I knew better.”

“Stop!” Targon called. “Don’t hurt her! She’s only doing what she believes is right.”

“And I’m doing what I believe is right,” Succuba countered. “I’m keeping you alive.”

Joan struggled, but then she was able to draw her knife. With great effort, she flung it at Succuba.

The Sith knocked the blade away with her tail, but had to break her concentration on Joan to do it.

As Joan dropped to the ground, she sucked in a gulp of air and reached for her blaster. She had less than a second to figure her next move.

Shoot Succuba, or shoot the Jedi?

Succuba was the threat, but she was also free and ready to use her lightsaber. Targon was fettered, and with him gone, Viruul’s plans would die.

The choice was clear.

Joan rose and pointed her blaster at Targon’s head.

The wild look in Targon’s eyes returned. He snarled and hissed at her, and then suddenly, she found herself slammed into the window.

She groaned and gasped as the wind was knocked clean out of her.

Targon’s force against her stopped as swiftly as it had hit her. But before she could get back to her feet, Succuba flung her up against the window, even harder.

“You’ve caused enough trouble for my master,” the monster hissed.

Succuba hurled bolts of lightning into Joan’s body. As she screamed, she heard the sound of glass cracking behind her.

In an instant, the window shattered and she flew out into the air. Her body convulsed and trembled as the electricity still pulsed through her neves.

And then she fell into the abyss between the towers of the citadel.

Succuba smiled with satisfaction when the agent disappeared. She turned to Targon and stroked his cheek.

“Don’t worry, she’s gone. She won’t hurt you ever again.”

The room became deathly cold as a shadow walked into the room.

“What’s going on in here?” Viruul asked.

Succuba turned and bowed to her master.

“Nothing anymore,” she replied. “That agent, Joan Wernan, was in her trying to kill Targon.”

Viruul was visibly surprised at that. He muttered something under his breath and stood there thinking for a while.

“It appears there are still a handful of enemies still bold enough to challenge me,” he growled.

“One less, master,” Succuba grinned. “Joan’s dead at the feet of the citadel.”

Viruul frowned. “I was thrown from the citadel as well, apprentice. Yet I survived. We can’t wait here for our enemies to make another move. We have to get the boy out of the city.”

“Where?” Succuba asked.

“I’ve been contacted,” Viruul stated. “A Sith named Lord Catac. The Council thought him dead on Serenno, but it appears he’s back and wants to get in my good graces. He’s shown me where Darth Fuhron’s base of operations was.”

“Oh,” Succuba nodded. “And we’re going to destroy it?”

“After we plunder what secrets and resources it contains,” Viruul replied. “Unchain the boy. He’s coming with us.”

“Why?”

Viruul ignored her query. “I'll bring Draco and his friends... I’ve also asked for Shazzar to do one last job before he goes home. He’s coming with us as well.”

“Why?” her voice was stronger this time and Viruul could not ignore it.

He turned to face her. “I suspect a trap,” he answered simply. “Republic forces have engaged Admiral Gerald not far from the capital.”

“It it’s a trap, why are you going?”

“It would be rude to not show up to my own party,” Viruul replied. “I sense a great tremor in the Force. I will spring this trap and destroy my enemies in a single day.”
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The Imperial Inquisition and The Voyages of Targon Karashi