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The Jedi temple 1 month ago . . .

Clone Trooper “ here’s another one . . .”

Jedi master Joyeuse draws his lightsaber “Your making a mistake laddies, but you’ll never be the sharpest tools in the box!”

Almost instantly the accomplished master has dispatched of his would be attackers . .

Victory however looks to be short lived!

Amidst the mayhem it becomes clear that the Jedi have been betrayed by one of their own . . .

“Anakin?? My weary eyes must be deceiving me boy . . . That’s your handy work?” Joyeuse questions

An answer comes in the form of an obviously aggressive stance . . . .

Anakin Skywalker - poster boy hero of the Clone wars for so many now appears before him bathing in arrogance & hatred.

As each blow reigns down upon Joyeuse’s blade the strength of the youngsters commitment to victory becomes all too clear.

Thinking on his feet Joyeuse changes strategy - hurling debris at Skywalker in an attempt to force him to lower his guard.

Using the force Joyeuse even use one of the support columns in an attempt to disable Skywalker.

But with a combination of sabre technique & force ability the hooded villain keeps on coming . . .

“Anakin” Joyeuse screams “whatever you have done you can . .”

Interrupting Anakin finally speaks “Darth Vader stands before you old man, you will fall to my blade!”

Instantly the master withdraws his blade, casting away his robe - his voice trembles “then it is indeed true . . The Sith have returned . . It is you who will fulfil the great prophecy”

The room rumbles as the sheer scale of Skywalker’s hatred becomes apparent “I’ve had it with the Jedi doctrine” he roars - his eyes ablaze “I have been burdened by you precious etiquette & tradition for too long”

“I wouldn’t be foolish enough to quote Jedi scripture in front of a Sith lord laddy” the master chuckles “as a chronicler in the archives for more than fifty years do you think that it is JUST Jedi lore that I have happened across?”

Impatiently the young one begins to advance upon the defenceless master - now wishing to draw out the most painful of deaths upon the elder . . .

“I will prove to you my . . Value” Joyeuse sneers pointing to the door he has been providing distraction from.

With his eyes closed awaiting death, it brushes past him . . .

At that moment Joyeuse realises that there is no going back . . .

Anakin disappears inside leaving the master as witness to what’s next.

From inside one of the children can be heard to speak .. .

“Master Skywalker there were too many of them, what should we do?” The small boy can be heard to ask before the most stomach churning echoes of slaughter follow.

Darth Vader emerges . . . . Anakin is truly lost . . . . Staring Joyeuse straight in the eyes he speaks once more “you may prove of some use old man!”

. . . . . .

Back in the present, Darth Vader once again leaves a trail of dead Jedi in his wake - this time on Kessel.

Disillusioned the Dark Lord returns to his orbiting star destroyer

Within his chambers the Dark Lord wheezes dramatically as oxygen escapes from his broken mask.

“Sir, do you require medical assistance?” A bold sentry asks

“NO!” Vader stutters “my condition does not leave this room” . .

An over eager officer makes his superior aware of a direct order from Lord Vader.

“Strange of him to break protocol” the commodore Yularen notes “but we will return to the Imperial City if those are our orders”

After over 30 minutes have passed Lord Vader receives a coded message . . . .

“Greetings Sith’ari” Joyeuse begins “I have reason to believe that I have located our code green targets”

Vader shuffles slightly upon his seat “How can you be so sure?” he hisses

“Our source managed to obtain a lightsaber from his person” Joyeuse replies.

Within the bowels of an air freighter, Durandel meditates upon the peril they may face ahead.

“Morning kiddo” Cortez jests “Uncle knish says we are nearly ready to depart . . ..”

Ready to board - the Shadow trooper that located the ship informs Joyeuse of the latest developments.

“Team 19 detained the Nemodian on the way out” the trooper states “but he’s not talking”

Cortez smiles “I told you I’d get you off this planet!”

“Forgive me Galen Cortez but lets hear those engines in full ignition before we start celebrating”

Excitedly Galen enters his fighter “ Uncle Kish has installed you a ‘slingshot hyper drive’ like mine”

“ Damn” Durandel curses “I can’t find my saber”

The traitor Joyeuse boards the ship . . . . .

“Did you hear that?” Cortez jumps “Heavy footsteps.”

Without his sabre all the Padawan can do is grab a crate as Cortez readies his rifle . . .

Joyeuse unleashes a mighty battle cry as he enters the suspect room “Aaaaargh” . . .

However . . . . .

The traitor takes a moment to comprehend the situation . . . .

It would appear that his sources were . . A little . . . Off . ..

The newly revealed jedI de-robes & attempts to draw his sabre - quickly realising it is missing!

Frustrated & somewhat embarrassed he begins a torrent of anger . . . .

Using a swoop bike like a blunt instrument he repeatedly hammers it against the defenceless JedI.

Like a spoiled child the tantrum boils & boils . . .

Until the jedI corpse is buried underneath the entire contents of the cargo hold.

“Galen child, you boys scared the green out of me!” Knish exclaims “We are all clear for departure but there is a favour I would as of you first”

“Make your peace” Knish says softly as Grandpa Cortez enters.

“My child I, well there are few things that I can say to you but ”

Grandpas words jumble with nerves, of the thousands of conversations they have had this is the most testing . . .

“I’m not mad Grand papa” Galen sighs as he turns away “I’m just disappointed in you & I hate it! What a stupid & selfish thing to do - for all concerned - I’m in just shock”

Grandpa produces his Neutrino screwdriver, his tool of choice & grasps Galen’s hand. “I fix things my boy, that’s my lot in life. All o dis madness took away everything that I was certain of so I did what was the only thing I could do . .”

Holding the familiar item Galen can’t help but forgive the old man. “I always imagined you - Galen - dying for a cause with meaning. It is the one thing that would bring us all comfort & we were cheated”

“But you are still here my boy, with a heroes heart - although I have messed up you make the right choices & I’m not sorry about that!”

Galen can at least appreciate that his being here had saved Durandel from certain death, Grandpa wouldn’t be the first or last person to try to deny an uncomfortable truth.

Having located his sabre in the cockpit of the vessel - the last place that he was before meditation - they prepare to go off world.

At an identical landing pad a few miles south Joyeuse emerges from the alternate ship.

“Do you wish to interrogate the prisoner I mentioned sir?” a trooper pipes in

Quiet & deep in though the traitor pushes through the men & off into the night . . . How will he explain this set back to Lord Vader? . . .. .

Finally free from Coruscants’ grasp the two friends are in high spirits. As Uncle Knish drops cargo at the nearest space station the two modified starfighters will be free to jettison . . Off to find their destiny!

To be continued . . . . . .

<<  Chapter 4
Chapter 5Chapter 6 - Act 1
Brought to you by Raziel

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