Revenge of the Krath
PRT Draco Maligo(Krath)/TYR/Oriens Obscurum of Arcona
My name is Draco Maligo. I’ve been with the Dark Brotherhood several months now, learning about the Force, learning to control its power, and learning how to control myself. As I advance in my studies I unlock more of the arcane secrets I yearn to know, but still my emotions nag me to surrender to them. The main difference between a light Jedi and a dark one is the acknowledgment of emotion, human and otherwise. A light Jedi seeks to deny, to suppress his emotion under the grave fear of going to the dark side. A dark side pupil is taught to be aware of his emotions and to use them as tools to fuel his command of the Force.
I grew up as a poor farmer on the planet of Almania. A small group of wealthy families controlled all. I grew up bitter and resentful, and angry. I am working to control my emotions, to use them to give me power. I was taught that before I can master the Force, I must master myself. Still the drive to seek out those who wronged me in the past and seek my revenge dominates my thoughts. It spurs me to study when I’m tired, and to persevere in my battle training when I’m weak and bruised. You might say my desire for vengeance is a reserve power cell to use when my own strength wanes.
Recently my master, Templar Drodik Va’lence al’Tor, gave me leave to return to Almania to seek vengeance on a trio of judges. When I was fourteen, my family was killed by Mandalorian raiders. The judges in question ruled that a teenage boy cannot own land. So the government seized my father’s orchard and sold it. Of course they kept the money.
It wasn’t all bad, though. Even as a child I had a special talent for mind control. I didn’t know about the Force, and had only a weak grasp of how to use it, but it came in handy. When my parents died, I had no more constraints to prevent me from using my gift. I used it to save my life from the Mandalorians. I used it when I became a thief. I made a lot of credits and never got caught.
Until I met that Jedi padawan. He prevented me from scoring my biggest haul, a shipment of verbo-brains meant for the factories on my planet. He told me about the Force, said I was strong with it. He told me about the Jedi, and a little of their philosophy. But he said they wouldn’t train me. My choice of career made me a likely candidate to turn to the dark side. He said I should go back to being a farmer. Being honest and destitute was preferable to being a successful thief.
Yeah, right. I turned and walked away. The next day I made a second attempt at the verbo-brains. He was there again. I don’t know how, or why, but he was. He said he was going to stop me. I snapped. I never was so filled with rage in my life. Lucky for me he wasn’t thoroughly trained, or he would have been able to resist me. I reached out for his mind and poured all my hatred, all my bitterness, and all my resentment into him. After a few moments of agony he passed out.
At first I thought he might be dead, but later I realized that was wishful thinking. Even though that encounter spurred me to leave Almania, and ultimately meet my master on Garos IV, I still resented that do-gooder who interfered in my life. I’ve wanted revenge ever since.
Master Drodik has always encouraged me to peer deep inside to discover what it is that drives me. And since I am gaining more control over the Force he is allowing me to run personal missions as test platforms, like returning to kill those three judges. That was quite an adventure. It didn’t go as I had planned, but they are dead and I escaped justice. Master Drodik always says there is nothing like field training. So knowing what is in my heart, he is allowing me to inflict my revenge on that Jedi padawan.
This will be a much bigger test than killing three fat, old men. Even a padawan has much more capability than a weak old man. And I have to find him when he isn’t with his master. A fully trained Jedi Knight would be beyond my capacity to kill or incapacitate. And beside that, I didn’t even know that padawan’s name. Like I mentioned, this would be a much bigger challenge.
But I did know where to start. It was a risk returning to Almania so soon after the trio of assassinations I performed, but I was heady with the prospect of challenging fate. After taking some intensive sword and training saber practice, I signed out a Tie Scout and hit the hyper-space lanes for the outer rim, and my home planet.
I landed my ship at the main space port in Chiatos, on the southeastern continent of Almania. I wore a uniform of planetary security and carried a blaster pistol in a hip holster. There was one hospital in Chiatos, and it catered to the rich and to well-heeled foreigners. The poor had to do with local clinics and substandard medical care. The uniform and the excellent forged credentials I carried would get me access to the files I wanted.
The nurses and the clerks were all from the lower classes, and all were intimidated by the uniform. I guess nearly all poor people fear authority, as it is meant to keep them down. I was shown quickly to the file rooms, and the clerk on duty there barely glanced at my credentials before copying the file I wanted onto flimsiplast and letting me go on my way. I scanned it for the information I wanted. The young padawan I assaulted was named Foo Terris, and he and his master were based on Ossus. He was uninjured, except for his mind which suffered some long-lasting trauma. His master took him back to their base and the Jedi medics.
That was bad. Everyone in the Dark Brotherhood knows about the Jedi academy on Ossus. Only an incredibly daring soul or a fool would dare try to infiltrate the academy, and I am not sure which I am. But I took a gamble in believing that with all the trained Jedi there, they would have lax security. They would have no fear of dealing with any trouble.
And of course, since I was a Force user I could pass myself off a padawan. No one would question the regular influx of new students sent to Ossus to train, who would be unrecognizable to most. Blending in was no problem, and I knew enough of the Jedi philosophy to fool most of those who gave me more than a cursory glance.
The Academy itself was a stone monolith, high peaked and massive. It’s whiteness glowed in the sunshine of the nearly cloudless blue sky. The lush green lawn and scattered baffor trees gave it a collegiate atmosphere. Knights and padawans wandered about the campus chatting amicably or lost in their own thoughts. I wore the light brown robes customary to Skywalker’s academy and forced myself to adopt a genial smile and kindly attitude. I pushed all dark thoughts deep into the recesses of my subconscious mind and did my best to exude the pleasant thoughts I knew to be valued by light side Jedi.
I wandered across the lawn toward the temple. It wasn’t merely a temple, of course, it was the only building on the sight, built over a light-side Force nexus. The quadrangle shape of the building was meant to focus the energy of the Force, giving those who lived and meditated there an easy access to power and insight. Everything was housed there, archives, dormitories, dining facilities, hangar. It was a massive building, capable of housing several thousand students, staff and support personnel. There were only a couple of hundred beings here, at most, but I guess Skywalker and his cohorts were ambitious.
I ambled slowly toward the library. I didn’t expect to find the information I wanted there, but I had no intentions of slicing into protected databases during the day when the possibility of discovery was high. Trying to sneak in late at night to do my dirty work would have been chancy. Far better to walk in boldly during the day and bide my time.
The feminine voice shocked me out of my reverie. I turned to see a human Jedi, in her thirties, cream-colored robes, approaching me from the dorms. Her accent made her out to be from Chandrila. I bowed deeply from the waist.
“I am at your service, master,” I said as obsequiously as I could.
“I am Pan Drachma, and I am not a master. Where is your lightsaber? Haven’t you been told to carry it with you always?”
“I am not advanced enough to have one. I have only just arrived from Pyrdyr. I met master Jos Quelnon a short while ago, and he thought I would make a good Jedi student.” That was Terris’ master’s name, and to get from Ossus to Almania one needs to change hyper-space lanes near Pyrdyr. So it was not outside the realm of possibility that Quelnon would have stopped there.
That set Drachma back a bit. “Are you jesting with me?”
“Certainly not. Why would you think so?” One of the things a thief learns to do quickly is to lie convincingly. I thought I was pretty good at it, because I came to the conclusion early on that if you convinced yourself you were telling the truth, the lie would be so natural as to be convincing. But lying to a Jedi was always risky. Feigned sincerity needed to be plausible, and nearly perfect, so I plastered a look of hurt feelings on my face.
“My apologies, but you seem very poised for a new student.”
I tried to force a blush to my cheeks. “Thank you,” I said bowing deeply, “that is very encouraging, Jedi Drachma.”
She smiled and nodded, then went on her way.
I tried not to feel smug or sigh with relief. A small emission of pride was what I aimed for as I continued on to the library. I had already done my research. The landing field security already told me that both Terris and Quelnon were off-planet, so the possibility of Drachma finding me out was slim.
The archives was populated by a number of padawans brushing up on their history, and I could sense which ones were jealously reading Skywalker’s life story and putting themselves into his shoes for a taste of adventure. I damped down on my feelings of revulsion as I browsed the data lists for something to occupy my time until it was safe to make my move.
The afternoon and evening passed uneventfully. I asked the clerk on duty what time the archives closed, and the Klatooinian responded that anyone could access them at all times, but library assistants were not on duty after 2300 hours. That fit in perfectly with my plans. The clerk finished its shift, leaving me alone in the room.
I closed my eyes and reached out with my feelings. Most of the students and staff were asleep. A few more advanced padawans roamed the temple and the grounds as security, but they wouldn’t be a problem. Despite Skywalker’s paranoid fear of the dark side, he sure did a lousy job of training his followers to detect and fight dark side Jedi. I stood up and called the Force to me. Thanks to the training I received, I was able to wrap my shadow around myself to create a cloak of shadow. Anyone using their eyes instead of the Force would never notice me in the dimly lit library.
The door to the master’s archive was easily unlocked with the Force, and with my slicing kit I was able to gain access to the files I needed. Quelnon and Terris were on Fondor trying to negotiate a labor dispute. The shipyards there were shut down by a stike, and the Galactic government was concerned enough to send Jedi. Quelnon’s initial report mentioned that the strikers were non-violent and that the situation would be resolved in several days. I sent a message dispatching him to Ziost to investigate reports of a Sith cult arising there while ordering him to leave Terris on Fondor to continue with the labor talks.
An hour or so later I received his reply. Quelnon would depart immediately, and he was confident that Terris could finish up the negotiations on his own. I acknowledged receipt of the message, then deleted the logs to cover my tracks. By the time the Jedi figured out what happened, Terris would be long dead and I would be back on Gethsemane continuing with my training. I wore my shadow cloak as I left the temple and strode across the grounds headed for the space port. None of the Jedi security noticed me. I made it to my Tie Scout, blasted off, and jumped to light speed on my way to Fondor and the completion of my mission.
Fondor is a highly industrialized world in the colonies, devoted solely to ship-building. The surface was polluted by processing ore, and the entire population consisted of workers housed in dormitories. The shipbuilding took place in space docks orbiting the planet. Yet another instance of a small group of wealthy beings who enslaved a huge number of poor workers to toil their lives away.
It was not surprising that there was labor trouble. If anything, the surprise was that there wasn’t more of it. Bad living conditions and bad environment. The spice, gambling, and prostitutes the owners flew in to deaden the worker’s malcontent didn’t quite mollify them into nerf-like obediance. What I wouldn’t give to be ordered here on a mission to cause trouble. Bitterness and envy were two highways to the dark side, and even though few, if any, of the workers could use the Force still they would make a good dark army.
That was a thought for the future, though, as my pressing concern was getting planet-side. Landing here wouldn’t be a snap like landing on Almania. This was a company planet, whose bread and butter was making ships for the New Republic. I wouldn’t be able to just drop in, chat with the port master, and head to town. All traffic was strictly controlled, and my Tie Scout would no doubt cause concerns.
That is why it pays to fly a speedy, stealthy craft like the Scout. I had no intention of shooting it out with the X-Wings that patrolled the space lanes. From an asteroid field further out in the system my sensor readings told me everything I needed to know to get dirt-side. My run started far enough out so that my ship would have the speed necessary to elude pursuit, and the timing ensured that I would be flying just above the deck before the sentry flight could come around the planet and investigate.
It was a risk to blow in like that. Perhaps Terris would sense something evil coming, coming for him. But I had a small window of opportunity, and boldness usually has the edge in operations like this. Trying to arrange passage to Fondor and pass myself off as a worker would take time. And then workers wouldn’t have the freedom of movement I needed. They would be shuffled from planet to ship docks and back, given leave to hit the spice cafs or the gambling dens, but kept moving in tight zones of control while being watched.
And certainly Terris wouldn’t be associating with the common rabble. He would probably have limited access to the labor leaders, but be feted by the shipyard owners. They wouldn’t want him to get an idea of how the workers lived. That would only engender sympathy for their plight. And bottom line, this was a dispute over who got the gundark’s share of the company’s wealth, the top brass or the working masses.
My plan worked perfectly. The Tie zipped past the orbital shipyards and hit atmosphere while the security fighters were ten thousand klicks out of position. By the time they made it around to the right side of the planet I was two hundred meters above the deck on the night side, smothered by the permanent brown haze of industrial pollution. I knew where Terris was staying, and I dropped my Scout on top of the hotel in a hover taxi zone. But I wasn’t worried about getting a parking ticket.
The canopy popped open, allowing the stench of Fondor’s atmosphere to swirl into the cockpit. The Force told me that Terris was stirring several floors below me. The concierge of the hotel tried to impede my progress, but a hard Force shove through the transparasteel doors broke a number of his bones and put him out. The lift took me to the twentieth floor and Terris was leaving his room just as I stepped out of the lift.
He didn’t recognize me, but he did know the danger he was in when I slipped my Sith sword from its scabbard strapped to my back. His lightsaber was already in hand, and I could see the fear in his eyes as well as feel it in the Force. I continually wonder why the Jedi allow poorly-trained padawans and teenagers to carry lightsabers.
“I’m warning you. I’m a Jedi knight, and that sword you’re carrying won’t do you much good.”
I laughed. “You’re not a knight, Terris, you’re just a padawan. And your master is on his way to Ziost, so he won’t be able to interfere.”
A look of shock wafted across the young man’s face. “How do you know?”
“I was just on Ossus, and I’m the one who dispatched him. Don’t you recognize me yet? The thief on Almania?” I watched his reaction as it went from surprise to fear to confidence.
“You! But why?”
“Revenge, you fool. You cost me a great deal of money, and now you’ll pay for your meddling.”
Terris ignited his lightsaber. It had a golden yellow blade. “I won’t have any mercy for you.”
I casually swung the sword in a circle as I sauntered up to the padawan. He stood in a basic defensive stance, and I brought my left hand up to the hilt and used the Force to augment my strength as I brought the weapon crashing down in an overhead strike. Terris blocked it casually, thinking that the lightsaber would cut right through the durasteel blade. The blow staggered him and almost knocked his saber into his own skull. He flinched and turned, and I kicked him in the ribs with a Teras Kasi round-house kick, then followed it up with a side-kick that sent him sprawling.
“This is a Sith sword, bantha-brain. It has cortosis ore fused throughout the blade. Your lightsaber won’t cut it.”
Now his confidence turned to fear. He turned on the ground, holding his lightsaber out as I watched him clamber to his feet. I called the Force to me and shoved him as hard as I could. He flew backward out the window of the corridor, sending thousands of shards of transparasteel showering down to the duracrete twenty floors down.
I ran to the smashed frame and looked down to see Terris gripping a railing girding an ornate lanai several flights down. He used the Force to pop up over the edge and land on the balcony. I jumped out the window and slowed my fall to land a couple of meters away from him. Terris was cut and bleeding, and I could feel his aches echo out through the Force.
“Oh, I forgot to tell you, I’ve found a group to train me in the Force, since you said the Jedi wouldn’t.”
“Who, the Sith?” Now his fear was palpable.
“Not quite, but close enough.” I charged in, swinging my sword for all I was worth. I used the Force liberally, both to give me might and to anticipate his moves. Terris was staggered by the power I manifested, both physically and through the Force. One thing I can say about growing up on a farm, it makes you strong. And being strong in the Force, well, I guess it was just luck.
The young padawan tried riposting my attacks, but he was off-balance the whole time. It took all his strength to keep from being cleaved in two. The he made an awkward block to a side slash I threw at his midsection. That was the mistake I was looking for. We locked blades, then I leaned into him, turned my wrists over, lifted, and sent his lightsaber sailing out into the night.
Before he could use the Force to call it back to him, I lunged. My sword skewered him right through. He screamed in agony, and I had to hold him up. “This is what you get for crossing a Krath.” I grabbed a handful of robes, yanked out my sword, then decapitated him neatly. I was rewarded with a shower of blood and the coldly gratifying feeling as his life-force vacated his body. I watched his head roll on the patio and dropped the rest of him.
The sliding door to the hotel room shattered under my bloody blade. The couple in the bed were startled out of a sound sleep. I glanced over at them as I sheathed my sword. It was a middle-aged human man and a young woman. Trophy wife? Prostitute? It was yet another reminder that credits were king. But the Force was an ace.
I ran down the hall and took the lift to the roof. The couple was certain to call security, who would find the body, alert planetary security, and start searching for me. That is, if no one found the incapacitated concierge and my Tie Scout on the roof. There might already be an alert out for me.
Sure enough, as I exited the lift, a Duro in a housekeeping uniform was kneeling over the moaning concierge, a comm unit in the alien’s green hand. She looked up at me as I jogged to the ship, halting her conversation until I got out of earshot. I grabbed her with the Force and flung her over the side of the building. She screamed hysterically as she fell, the noise downed out by my warming engines.
I ran through the systems checks and hit the repulsorlifts. I could count on company at any time now. Shields up, weapons arming. My heart was still pounding with the excitement of the battle just ended. I pushed the thrusters up to max and shot off the top of the building and into the brown smog smothering Fondor.
There they were. Six X-wings coming up swift from behind. I pulled back on the stick and shot toward the sky. They had momentum behind them, but my Scout was faster. They were closing the distance, and it would be a race to see if I could clear the shipyards and make it to hyper-space before they got within range.
I cleared the planet’s atmosphere and my vision cleared of the brown murk. Laser bolts stitched the fabric of space all around me and pinged my shields. I started cutting left and right, up and down, using the Force to guide my stick. Fortunately for me, planetary security didn’t have a lot of combat experience. They bunched up, and as I moved they had to keep from banging into one another. That kept some of the heat off.
I buzzed one of the orbital docks working on a star cruiser and pointed the nose of my Tie core-ward. Finally I was free of the gravity well and pulled back the controls sending me to light-speed, and safety.