Wow. Thats amazing! How did you type all that???
|I did this one as a tie in to both Revenge of the Sith, and The Force Unleashed game and book. Tell me what you think.
(Shaak Ti's tale)
Shaak Ti; (female Togruta)
Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader; (human male)
Maris Brood; (female Zabrak)
Meditation Chamber, Jedi Temple, Coruscant.
Shaak Ti felt Mace Windu glide into the Meditation Chamber. She also sensed something very, very wrong with him. Her eyes fluttered open, montrals flicking in agitation. “Mace,” she said standing. Indeed, something was wrong, even with his dark skin tone, he looked pale as can be. It looked as if he'd seen a Force ghost or something! Windu walked up to her and spoke quietly, “I think I know who the Sith Lord is, Shaak Ti.” Shaak Ti's eyebrows raised. They'd been hunting the Sith Lord Darth Sidious. Just before the Battle of Coruscant a few months earlier, she and Mace had been in 500 Republica, following a fresh trail on the Sith. Unfortunately, the battle had drawn them away from the trail. When they finally got back to the investigation, the trail had gone cold. “Sidious?” she asked, “how in blazes did you find out?” Windu lowered his gaze. “Skywalker told me,” he said. “He said Chancellor Palpatine is the Sith Lord.” Shaak Ti backed away in utter shock. “Palpatine?” she asked hoarsely. “The Supreme Chancellor of the Republic ,” she very nearly yelled. “How do you know Skywalker is telling the truth?” Windu locked eyes with her. “I felt something in the Force...some complete certainty. We've been suspecting Palpatine's inner circle of the Sith, but never Palpatine himself! It all makes sense now,” Windu said grimly. Shaak Ti vigorously shook her head. How had the Jedi fallen so far in the deception? It was this blasted Clone War. It was clouding the Jedi's foresight. Chancellor Palpatine was a Sith Lord. The man who had rewarded her a medal for her brave actions on Dagu. The man who had held the Republic together for over a decade. The man who didn't need to take over the galaxy, because he already had it. Palpatine. She looked up at Windu. “What are you going to do now, Mace?” she asked. Mace turned his back on her to look out the viewport toward 500 Republica. Where the Chancellor was. Mace turned to face her. “I and three other Masters will be going to deal with him. He cane come silently and cooperate, or we will have to choice but to kill him,” he said. Shaak Ti stood straighter grasping her lightsaber hilt. “Let me go with you, Mace, you'll need all the help you can get,” she said confidently. Windu shook his head. “No, you and Gate Master Jorukk will remain here and organize the Temple defenses in case Palpatine retaliates. Masters Kit Fisto, Agen Kolar, and Saesee Tiin will accompany me,” he said and began walking to the door. Shaak Ti was disappointed for a moment, then knew her talents would be better required here. “May the force be with you then, Master Windu,” she said. Mace stopped and turned slowly around, facing her for possibly the final time. “I don't know,” he said, “if even that can help us now.” Then he left the Meditation Chambers. The door slid closed behind him, and Shaak Ti was plunged into darkness, save for the glowing city outside the viewports. A small while later, Shaak Ti composed herself and walked out of the Meditation Chambers. She found Master Jorukk outside the Temple, telling Temple Security to set up perimeters. Evidently, Mace had told Jorukk as well. Cin Drallig was there also, with apprentices Whie and Bene Malreaux. “We will go in doors and warn the Jedi of coming danger,” Cin was saying. He took notice of her as she walked up. “Master Ti, we just heard, we're going to warn the Jedi now,” he said. Shaak Ti held up a hand. “Wait, Cin. I think it will be better if we don't tell the Jedi of Palpatine. It will cause too much confusion. Besides, we don't even know if Palpatine will retaliate,” she said. Cin thought this over for a moment. The swordsman instructor nodded. “Good point, Master Ti, we will just warn them of a possible threat.” With that, Drallig, Bene, and Whie all turned and jogged back to the Temple. Jorukk eyed her. “I have a very bad feeling about this, Shaak Ti,” he said warily. She only nodded and said, “Come, we must organize security.”
Jedi Temple, Coruscant
Shaak Ti felt him coming before she could see him. The infra-and ultrasound-sensitive cavities in the tall, curving montrals to either side of her head gave her a sense analogues touch. Anakin Skywalker was coming. And he seemed very...broken. Something was deeply disturbing the young man. He was deathly pale—even for a human—as she saw him round the corner, his eyes were red and puffy, raw. “Anakin,” she said warmly. Maybe a friendly word was all he needed. “Thank you for brining this valuable information to our attention. The Republic is in your debt, the entire galaxy at that.” He only glared at her. “Shaak Ti. Get out of my way,” he said somewhat rudely. Something in his voice...something had matured, more authority. And she also noticed he hadn't used the term 'Master' before her name. She gently put a hand outward, sending soothing force energies to him. “The Temple is sealed, Anakin. The door is code-locked,” she said.
“And your in the way of the pad.”
She stepped aside, allowing him passage to the pad. She couldn't keep him here against his will. He began punching in a code. “If Palpatine retaliates,” she said reasonably, “is not your place here, to help with our defenses?” Anakin glared back at her. “I'm the Chosen One . My place is there!” His breathing became ragged; he looked as if he was getting sicker. “I have to be there. That's the prophecy isn't it? I have to be there -”
“Anakin, why?” she asked. “The Masters are the best in the Order. What can you possibly do?”
The entrance to the landing pad opened. “I'm the Chosen One,” he repeated. “Prophecy can't be changed. I'll do-”
A look of unendurable pain passed over his face. Shaak Ti reached for him—he should be in the infirmary, not heading to what might be a fatal battle—but he twisted away from her hand. “I'll do what I'm supposed to do,” he said, then sprinted into the night. Shaak Ti looked out into the black after him. She did not like this. She did not like this at all. A storm was coming. Not in the physical sense, but through the Force. She could sense it. She needed to meditate on this. She turned and walked back to the Temple.
Meditation Chambers, Jedi Temple, Coruscant
Shaak Ti and Gate Master Jorukk felt the three deaths through the Force. Jedi Masters Fisto, Kolar, and Tiin were dead. Not only dead, but murdered. By Palpatine—no not Palpatine. Darth Sidious. Shaak Ti opened her eyes and they locked with Jorukk's. “They're dead,” he said quietly. Shaak Ti shook her head, now glad she'd let Anakin go after all. “No. Master Windu is still alive. And Anakin went there to help. They are two of the greatest swordsmen in the Order. Together, they can take Palpatine,” she said.
Jorukk stood and ran to the doorway. “I must security on high alert. Remain here, Master. We need all the insight we can, and you are very good at getting that,” he said and left. Shaak Ti settled on her chair and delved deep into the Force. Kit...he was one of Shaak Ti's good friends. She held back her grief though. Even in this hour of darkness, Kit Fisto would want Shaak Ti to remember the ways of the Jedi, especially the Jedi Code:
There is no emotion; there is peace.
There is no ignorance; there is knowledge.
There is no passion; there is serenity.
There is no chaos; there is harmony.
There is no death; there is the Force.
She took a deep breath, letting the Force flood through her.
Jedi Temple, Coruscant.
Gate Keeper Jorukk felt Master Windu die. He felt his suffering and shock. Shaak Ti had said Anakin went with the Masters, but had he survived? Jorukk quickened his pace, nearly running to the Temple gates. He saw Jocasta Nu calming down younglings. Apparently, they had felt the deaths through the Force, and it was simply too much for the little ones to handle. He passed through a great hall that led to the entrance. He shut and locked the huge gates behind him. The night air was cool and crisp, air traffic was continuously zipping this way and that. He stretched out with his feelings, sensing for something, anything to ease his troubled mind. Surprisingly, he felt one, coming up the Temple steps toward him.
It was Anakin Skywalker.
He rushed forward. “Anakin!” he gasped. “Anakin, what happened? What became of the Masters?”
Anakin looked at him as if he didn't know who the Gate Keeper was. “Where is Shaak Ti?” he asked.
Jorukk eyed him, puzzled. “In the Meditation Chambers We felt something through the Force. Something awful. She's searching the Force in deep meditation, trying to get a feel about what's going on...” he trailed off. Anakin didn't seem to be listening.
“Something has happened, hasn't it?” Jorukk asked. Jorukk felt a disturbance. He looked over Anakin's shoulder to see clones. Battalions. Brigades.
“Anakin,” he said slowly, cautiously, “what's going on? How bad is it-?”
Suddenly, he felt something cold and hard beneath his jaw. He felt a searing hot blast off pain and blue energy cut through his head. The final thing Gate Master Jorukk heard, was Anakin Skywalker saying, “You have no idea...”
Shaak Ti fell to her knees. She'd been in meditation for a long time, she hadn't even began to feel the deaths until she felt Bene and Whie's. That had pulled her out of the trance. How long had she been in meditation when this attack started? Jorukk was dead. And dozens of Jedi were dying. What was going on? She stood shakily and ran to a com unit. “Cin!” she cried into it. “What's happening?” Cin Drallig's voice came over an instant later. “Clone troopers, Master Ti! Thousands of them, raiding the Temple! We can't hold them off--” The sound of blaster fire erupted and the sound of a lightsaber deflecting them came out of the comm. Cin's voice came back on a moment later. “Stay where you are, Master Ti! I will be there shortly to escort you down!” Shaak Ti was feeling the losses too heavily to respond. She should be down there, fighting with her fellow Jedi! Not here cowering like a frightened mynock! She ran to the entrance and dashed out...and there to meet her were over three dozen clone commandos. She felt their dark intent through the Force. She backed away slowly, blinking back tears. The clone stepped forward and raised his rifle. “Kill her,” he ordered. The corridor filled with blaster fire. Shaak Ti's lightsaber found her hand. She ignited it and began deflecting blaster fire. “How dare you?” she whispered. “How dare you!” She let the anguish of all the younglings in lower levels fuel her. She unleashed a wave of Force energy at the clone commander. He went flying into a wall. “The Jedi are your commanders! Stop firing!” she cried hopelessly. The clones only poured on their attack. She used the Force to grab the blaster rifles from the front line's hands. Then, she turned the rifles around and fired them. The clones cried out in surprise. They were mowed down quickly. She backed into the doorway of the Meditation Chamber. More would come. She ran inside and closed the door. She could call for help from the comm board. She opened up a channel, but all she heard was static. She tried another channel. Static. She tried Cin's personal link.
They were being jammed. A flash from the viewports caught her attention. She ran to it. A Jedi interceptor was spiraling out of control. Right toward the Jedi Temple. It seemed to crash only a few levels below the one she was on. The room shook from the explosion. She was knocked onto her rear end. She got up and went back to the viewport. She looked up at the sky. A huge Venator -class Star Destroyer was coming out of the clouds. She looked downward at the Temple entrance, dozens of Jedi were running from the Temple.
Her eyes widened in horror as green streaks of turbolaser fire blasted down from the Star Destroyer and at the fleeing younglings.
“No,” she whispered and backed away. Jedi Order was literally being demolished beneath her. And she was up here, instead of down there dying with her fellow Jedi. “Not the younglings,” she begged the Star Destroyer, though it was impossibly for it to hear her pleas. “Please.” But the huge ship kept firing down its fiery lasers of death. She truly wanted to go down with the Jedi, but the Force was telling her to remain here in the Meditation Chambers. Suddenly, she felt a sensation of someone reaching through the Force and sensing for her. She felt relief that made her knees weak as she recognized the presence.
She reached out to him, inviting him to come up here and wait until this onslaught was over. She felt him coming up a turbolift. A few minutes later, he was through the doorway. “Anakin,” she said, walking to him, “I'm so glad to...” she trailed off as she felt his Force aura. The death of hundreds surrounded him, and a hate unlike any she'd ever felt before enveloped him. She stopped in her tracks. Skywalker's blue blade sprang into life. Anger rose up inside of her. She didn't bother suppressing it. “Anakin Skywalker,” she said coldly, “what do you think you are doing?” Anakin took a menacing step toward her. “What I must, Shaak Ti. And that is to kill all Jedi,” he said. Shaak Ti spit. “Who gave you those orders? Sidious? Anakin! Snap out of it!” she cried. Anakin smiled simply and flashed forward. Shaak Ti's blade ignited and she blocked his attack. He kicked her in the chest and Force hurled her into the viewport. Her skull rang upon impact and the viewport cracked a bit. Anakin strode forward. “You are far to overrated with your lightsaber skills, Master Ti,” he said. Shaak Ti laughed bitterly. “Now you call me Master? Come here, boy, and I'll show you just how angry I can get.”
Then, they launched at each other through the air. Shaak Ti slashed, parried, and countered as fast as she could. But nothing she did phased the young man. “Anakin,” she said desperately while he slashed over and over at her. “Don't do this, you can still-”
Anakin sneered. “My name's not Anakin anymore, Master Ti. It is Darth Vader,” he yelled. Shaak Ti jumped backward. “Another Sith,” she said sadly. “I guess the Jedi Order wasn't strong enough to kill you off.” Vader smirked. Shaak Ti's eyes flashed up at him. “But I am,” she said simply and launched herself into the air. Vader brought his blade up to block. She came up short and used the Force to reinforce a punch to his face. He went flying backward, but not before sending another Force wave at her. There was no way to dodge. She took the blow and came to her feet. Vader was up now too, blood coming from his nose. He had completely worn her out. She had failed. She needed to get away now. She saw the Meditation chair that was right behind Vader. She used the Force to pick it up and send it right at the Sith's head. He noticed it at the last second and turned—only to be hit in the face with it. He went down hard. Shaak Ti flashed to the doorway, shutting down her blade. She ran down the corridor and rode a turbolift down. She slumped against the wall and groaned. The doors opened up and Shaak Ti found herself face to face with seven clone troopers. They yelped and brought their rifles up. Shaak Ti sent them all flying into a wall. Hundreds of bodies littered the darkened Temple corridors and large rooms. She dashed fro the nearest exit, no clones were in sight, but she could hear them. She stopped. The main exits would most likely be sealed off. She looked up. She Force leaped into a ventilation shaft, barely large enough to fit her montrals. She crawled through these and came out on the far side of the Temple. She was dusty and felt sick to her stomach. She jumped from the shaft and ran low to the ground. Some LAAT gunships were flying overhead, but apparently, they did not notice her. She needed to shed her Jedi robe. Fast. She took it off and threw it to the ground, then continued running, now in only a brown-orange jumpsuit with tattered soft-soled shoes. She reached the main city with no trouble. She went down an alley as hundreds of people struggled to get a better look at what was happening with the Temple. Some clones were holding back the crowd. She opened up a door and ran inside. It looked as if she'd entered a large warehouse, dimly lighted, with hover dollies and crates scattered about. Exhaustion took its tole, both physically and mentally. She went to a dark corner and collapsed to the floor. Only then did she let her tears flow freely. Why—how could the Force let this happen? How could it let the Jedi Order be wiped out in one swift blow? How could it let Anakin Skywalker turn to the dark side and four Masters be murdered? She sobbed uncontrollably. It all was so unfair! . She wiped her face. The Force didn't have to be fair. She simply had to live with it. She curled up and fell into a long, uncomfortable sleep. The long night had begun.
Shaak Ti was awoken by something hard being shoved into her side. Her eyes opened. “Get up,” a voice said from above her, “you need to get outta here. We gotta work.” Shaak Ti sat up and stood, then nearly fell down again as the memory of the previous night flooded her mind. There was a Bothan in front of her. “We need to work 'ere miss. Sorry,” the Bothan said. His eyes slid down her body and spotted the lightsaber. “Hey,” he said, “you're a Jedi! They're lookin' for you guys! Said you weretraitors of the Republic!” Shaak Ti used the Force and slammed him into a wall. His head rang and he fell unconscious. She unclipped her lightsaber from her belt and put it up her long sleeve. She walked outside into the blinding sunlight. Nearly everywhere she looked, there were clone troopers walking about, holding datapads. No doubt Jedi's faces were on them. She quickly slid back into the shadows. She dashed to her right, going up another alleyway. She felt naked without her robe. Usually if she wanted to be discreet, she'd just pull her hood up. But now, the Jedi were fugitives, apparently. She heard blaster fire in the street and the snap-hiss of a lightsaber igniting. She poked her head around the corner. An Ithorian was deflecting blaster bolts with his green lightsaber back at clone troopers. He was quickly surrounded and shot down. Chaos was spreading quickly through the streets as more clones ran up. Shaak Ti pulled back and went up the alley. She hadn't known the Ithorian, but at least it was comforting to know that some of the Jedi had escaped the Temple massacre. She melted into the crowds of hundreds of walking Coruscanti, all of different species going about their daily business. On a large viewing screen on one of the space-scrapers, an image of...Palpatine? Shaak Ti's jaw dropped in shock at Palpatine's distorted face. His skin had a grayish skin tone to it, and his cheek bones seemed bloated. His eyes were yellow as the sun. “My friends,” he said, his voice booming. “A terribly sad thing has happened. The Jedi have turned against the Republic, attempting to assassinate me and plotting to take over the Senate.” Gasps rose up around the walkways, Shaak Ti's own included. It was a lie! She wanted to cry, it was all a lie! She walked faster as she saw clone troopers turn around the corner behind her. The recording continued on saying how he had reformed the Republic into the first Galactic Empire. Shaak Ti scowled. And he was the Emperor. “...Togruta,” she heard a military voice say from behind. She felt through the Force the clones lock their attention on her. She used the Force to enhance her hearing. “Female too. Let's ask her some questions, she fits the description of Jedi Ti perfectly.” Shaak Ti stiffened. She pretended to take sudden interest in a shop she was passing by. She went through the doorway quickly, casting a glance backward. The clones were only a few meters behind, one raised a hand for her to stop. She pretended not to notice and quickly walked into the shop. She glanced around. It was a clothing store. She went to the back and rounded a corner that said REFRESHER. She went into the small room and shut the door behind her. A knock came soon after and a rough voice said, “ma'am we're troopers for the Galactic Empire, may we have a word with you? Now.” Shaak Ti turned around. There was one, small window, barely large enough for her to fit. She kicked it, jumped through, and ran. A blaster bolt sounded from behind her. The clones had broken into the 'fresher. “Over there!” one called. “Call for back up!” Shaak Ti cursed under her breath and kept running. She rounded a building and came to a stop, panting. She peeked around the corner. The clones were headed right for her. She looked out across at another alley. She used the Force to knock over some cans, drawing the clone's attention. The commander waved to the cans. “That way!” he ordered. They charged off. Shaak Ti sighed in relief. She looked up at the sky. She needed to get off Coruscant, wait for this whole thing to be over. She needed to go into exile. But to where? Where could she go where the clone troopers weren't already? She stayed in that alleyway for another hour or so, pondering her choices. She sighed. Here was not the time or place to figure that out. She could here more and more clones coming. She needed to get away right now, find transport later. She walked out of the alley, trying to be as discreet as possible. She didn't know how long she walked, or how far, but when she looked up, the sun was gone. She let out a sigh and checked her surroundings. Clone troopers were everywhere, but she was sticking to the shadows. She heard some noise in the alley she was passing. She turned her head to look at the disturbance. A Duros was being mugged by two Bothans. Shaak Ti rolled her eyes and continued walking. She caught herself mid-stride. What was she doing ? She was a Jedi, even if there weren't any left. She needed to help that poor Duros. She backed up and started down the alley. “Excuse me!” she said. “What do you think you're doing to this poor man?” she asked one of the Bothans. The Bothan glared at her. “Mind yer own business, lady,” he snarled. Shaak Ti only stared harder into his eyes. “Let him go, or I will call the authorities.” The Bothan scowled and lashed his hand out at her. She side stepped out of the way, grabbed his arm, twisted it behind him, and grabbed him in a choke hold. The other Bothan reared up behind her. Shaak Ti struck out with her foot and sent him stumbling into some trash bins. She pushed away the Bothan she was holding. He snarled and charged her. She flipped into the air, coming down behind him. She tripped him and he landed face-first into the duracrete. She checked if anyone had watched the ordeal. She ran down the alley and turned the corner. Only to bump into a clone trooper. She felt through the Force that he instantly recognized her. And this clone trooper was none other than A-17. Alpha. Her second in command. Alpha raised his rifle, and Shaak Ti could feel him check himself before he spoke. “Jedi Ti,” he said gruffly, but Shaak Ti could feel some of the pain he felt at what he was about to do. “You are under arrest, come quietly or we will shoot.” Shaak Ti snapped her arm. Her lightsaber hilt flew into her hand, unlit. “Alpha,” she said quietly, looking at the five troops behind him, then looked back at him. “Please, don't do this. The Jedi are not traitors! We'd never turn against the Republic! You must listen to me!” Alpha took aim. “Put your weapon down, Jedi,” he said, overcoming his initial sadness. Shaak Ti felt rage boil up inside of her. “So,” she whispered, “it comes to this. Even you. You were my friend, Alpha. But now. Now, I will kill you. For the good of the Republic.” Alpha lifted his head just a bit to get a look at her. “There is no Republic,” he said. “Only the Empire.” Shaak Ti's blade ignited. She let the Force flow through her, empowering her righteous anger. “Not,” she said, “if I—or the Force—have anything to say about it.” She flashed forward just as Alpha fired his blaster. She slashed upwards, destroying the weapon. She whirled around, her blade becoming a blur. She decapitated two clones with one sweep. She deflected two bolts back at the remaining two. Alpha drew his sidearm and fired two shots. She blocked the shots without even looking. She grabbed the clone through the Force and slammed him up against the wall. He hung there, motionless except for his head moving to watch her. She walked up to him. “I'm not going to kill you, Alpha. Do you know why?” He didn't say anything. She slammed him against the wall again. “Answer me!” she cried. Alpha remained quiet. Shaak Ti smiled coldly at him. “I'm not going to kill you, Alpha, because you are my friend.” Her eyes flashed. “I will, however, teach you a lesson in humility,” she said. She used the Force to open a trash bin, then she sent the clone head first into it. Shaak Ti shut down her blade and walked away from the battle, hearing sirens begin to wail. She began to run when blaster bolts flew by her. She looked back and saw dozens upon dozens of troops coming. She rounded the corner. There waiting for her were another three dozen troops. There was no where to run. It was a trap. She was trapped. She activated her blade again and held it to the defensive. The troops, both behind and before her, lined up their aims and fired. Shaak Ti deflected most of them and simply evaded the others. Her blade flashed with dizzying speed as she deflected and redirected the clone's fire. But there were simply too much of them, eventually she'd be overwhelmed. She desperately Force-hurled trash bins at the clones, but they blasted them from the air. Suddenly, from the two surroundings buildings, blaster fire reigned fiery hell down on the clones. The clones yelped in surprise and looked up. Shaak Ti used the distraction to her advantage. She used the Force to jump to the wall of the building on her right, then when her foot touched the wall, she used the Force to push off of it again and she landed on the opposite roof. A foursome of haggard looking men raised their eyebrows in surprise but kept firing. “Thank you,” she said, panting. She deactivated her blade and clipped it to her belt. They stopped firing and one of them opened up a hatch that led into the building. Shaak ti saw another foursome on the opposite roof, also running into a hatch. Shaak Ti dashed down the stairs. They rode a turbolift down and got in a speeder. It zipped away. Shaak Ti eyed the men who had saved her. “Who are you?” she asked. One of the men glanced at her. “We are the resistance against the Empire. There may not be a lot of us, be sure as hell will give 'em a fight to remember, especially now that we have a Jedi,” he said. The farthest thing from Shaak Ti's mind was joining a resistance that would most likely falter within the week but, since these men were her saviors, she did not want to disrupt their enthusiasm. Instead, she only nodded. “We're not in the clear yet,” the driver said. “Two gunships coming up fast.” Shaak Ti heard the familiar whine of the LAAT/i gunships closing in. She also heard laser fire blasting at them. The driver cursed and sent the speeder through a set of evasive rolls. Through the Force and her montrals, Shaak Ti could sense the gunships closing in on them, lining up with their missiles. She pushed her way to the front and nudged the driver. “Let me drive,” she said. The driver looked uncertain. One of the men from behind said, “It's okay, R'ood, she's Jedi.” The driver gave up the wheel and Shaak Ti took over. Using the Force, she evaded the missiles that came zooming by, smoke trailing after them. “This thing have weapons?” she inquired, dodging another barrage of laser fire. R'ood depressed a button and an instant later a laser cannon rose up from the rear of the speeder. Shaak Ti rolled her eyes. “Great, that'll hold them off.” She didn't need the targeting computer to aim. She used the Force to find the weak spots on the LAATs and fired. The exploded into pieces off durasteel. She handed the controls back to R'ood. They came to a small docking bay and got out. “This way,” the man in charge said. They went down a corridor and rode a turbolift down. Shaak Ti noticed the levels as they passed from the lights flashing. She gasped. They were going to the most vile place on Croruscant. The Underworld.
The doors slid back. They hurried out. Shaak Ti looked around in wonder. She'd never been to this part of the planet before. There were some buildings and everything was dark and smelled of mildew. The man in charge—Morwan—led her to a passage. The made their way into a large room. The four men sat down. A moment later, another four, this time with one woman, came in. They must be the ones from the other roof, Shaak Ti mused. Before anyone could say anything, Shaak Ti spoke up. “Look, I appreciate the help back in that alleyway, but the last thing on my mind joining a resistance against the Empire.” R'ood looked as if he'd been slapped in the face. “But you're a Jedi!” he said. “You're supposed to defeat evil aren't you?” Shaak Ti smiled sadly and shook her head. “Yes, but I need my fellow Jedi to do that. I must go into hiding, train some younglings. Only then will have the potential to defeat the Sith.” The team members looked confused. “Sith? What Sith?” the woman asked. It suddenly hit Shaak Ti that these people had no idea that Palpatine—or Skywalker for that matter—were Sith. She nodded. “Emperor Palpatine is a Sith Lord. Darth Sidious. And his new apprentice is Anakin Skywalker.” Gasps rose up from around the room. “The hero?” one of them asked. “He can't be! He was the hero of the Republic!” another said. Shaak Ti spit on the ground. “Believe it! His name is no longer Anakin, it's Darth Vader. He and a brigade of clones raided the Jedi Temple and killed nearly every Jedi there. So far I believe I'm the only one who escaped. Except for that one Ithorian I saw...” Morwan took a swig of a drink. “This...this is...awful.” Shaak Ti glared at him. “Understatement of the millennium, my friend. Do you know what became of any other Jedi in the galaxy?” she asked. Morwan nodded. “Palpatine announced it. The clones are to hunt down and kill all Jedi,” he said grimly. Shaak Ti's hand rosew to her mouth. She had thought the attack was only on the Temple! “But...Luminara...” Luminara Unduli was Shaak Ti's closest friend in the Order. If she had been killed. Shaak Ti searched in the Force for her friend. She did not sense her. She expanded her awareness, checking for any other Jedi. She did not sense any. “Luminara...” Shaak Ti croaked. “How could Palpatine do this?” Morwan didn't meet her eye. “He said the Jedi were plotting to overthrow the Republic,” he said. Shaak
Ti had heard this on the news that morning, but it sounded twice as bad when someone else said it. “Sidious and Vader will pay for this. Oh, how they will pay.” She stood. “I must go, thank you again,” she said. Morwan grabbed hold of her arm. “Wait, where will you go? There are clones everywhere in the galaxy hunting Jedi. You can't possibly defeat them all!” Suddenly, a realization came to Shaak Ti like a slugthrower to the gut. She had caused this. This was all her fault! If she hadn't let Anakin go to the Chancellor's office, this wouldn't be happening right now. All she wanted to do was crawl up in a hole and just die. “I will find a way,” she said quietly. “Please release my arm before I make you.” Morwan quickly let go of her arm. She walked forward. She stopped and without turning around said, “Good luck with your rebellion. I look forward to seeing the downfall of the Empire.” Then, she walked out.
“Wait!” Morwan called. Shaak Ti stopped and glanced back at him. He gently touched her arm. “You'll need somewhere to stay for the night, every hostel is under surveillance for Jedi.” Shaak Ti considered his offer carefully. Finally, she nodded. “That would aid me greatly, thank you for your kindness,” she said. He led her to a small door, pulled out a key, and opened it. “I'll bring you something to eat and some caf,” he said. Shaak Ti only nodded and sat down on her bunk. It was funny, really. The Jedi Order had been one of the most powerful governments yesterday. Literally yesterday. And now today, the Empire has risen, the Jedi were all but wiped out. No matter how hard the shadows reared up on the light, the light will always be there. She had heard that from one of her mentors. She'd always believed that, but here, now, she wasn't so sure. The Sith had taken over the galaxy, and there wasn't anything she or anyone else could do about it. Not even this pitiful resistance. Morwan returned an instant later, holding a tray with nerf steak and a cup of caf on it. She scarfed it all down gratefully. She said her thanks to Morwan and he left, closing the door behind him. Shaak Ti lay down on her hard bunk. Tomorrow she'd have to find transport and get as far away from Coruscant as she dared. She closed her eyes and slowly drifted off into a sorry excuse for sleep...
She seemed to wake up an instant later. She sat upright in her bed. She had woken up for some reason. Then, she felt it again. A surge in the Force. A murder! Someone was being killed right near her. She called her lightsaber to hand and, leaving it unlit, went to the door and slowly pulled it open. Smoke filled the corridor, and calls were ringing out in military and non-military voices. Shaak Ti stepped out of the doorway and ran to the end of the corridor. She went down a stairwell as quickly as her feet would take her. She heard a muffled thoomp of a grenade launcher and and instant later a large explosion shook the entire building. She dove to the floor just as a wall of fire blasted from the stairwell opening. She cried out in pain as fire licked at her back. She stood after the fire died away. She ran to another door and attempted to open it, only to see the OPEN button as fried to a crisp. She reached out with the Force and opened it. She made sure she closed it behind her. She took off, not knowing where she was going. She slowed to a stop when she reached an intersection in the corridor. She stretched out with the Force, feeling for any presences, hostile or otherwise. She did not sense any near by. She turned right and ran. She heard another explosion and turned around to see the door she had entered slam into the wall. Her eyes widened and she charged down the corridor even faster. “There she is!” she heard a voice yell from behind. “Shoot to kill!” Her lgithsaber ignited with a snap-hiss . Blaster bolts rang down the corridor after her. She batted them away without even looking back. She came to another intersection, this time going left. She came to a door about ten meters down, her attackers coming ever closer. She palmed a button and the door swished open. She realized with relief that she had just entered a docking bay. She dashed behind a neatly stacked pile of cargo crates. A squad of clone troopers ran in through the door a moment later. They began fanning out, warily holding their rifles close. Shaak ti stepped out of her hiding place and used the Force to lift four of the huge cargo crates. “Oh, boys?” she called mockingly. They whirled in surprise. Shaak Ti sent the crates smashing down on the squad. The sound of one thousand pounds crashing down on twelve sets of armor resounded through the bay. She looked around the hanger bay. It would not be long before more clones arrived. She needed to escape. There were plenty of ships to steal, but she did not have the time to slice into one and steal it. No, she would have to find a ship later. For now, she needed to find some place safe.
Shaak Ti was deep in the city again. She had made her way away from the docking bay just as clone troopers were coming in. This time, she was careful to wear many layers of clothing, and to wear a hood so as to hide her montrals. She had her lightsaber tucked away deep in her big tunic. She fingered the credit chips she had in her pocket. Just enough to find transport to get away from Coruscant. After that, she had no plan. She walked into a cantina. Shouts and smoke filled the air. She shook her head in disgust. Cantinas were probably the mot vile place in the galaxy. Most civilized vile place, she corrected herself. She seated herself at a table and a servo droid rolled up to her on a big wheel. “Hello, may I take your order?” it said in a flat, monotone voice. Shaak Ti quickly thought of a drink. “Coruscant Cooler, please,” she said. The droid rolled away, leaving Shaak Ti to her musings. She let her gaze wonder around the cantina. An Ishi-Tib and a Trandoshan broke out into a fight, one pulled out a blaster and it was all over. No one acted as if anything happened, not even the Trandoshan, who was the winner. Shaak Ti rolled her eyes. Typical. The droid came back a moment later with a tray. It set her drink down on the table. Shaak Ti took a small sip from the drink and nearly spit it back out. She let her eyes wander to a hard looking human, most likely Coruscanti. She used the Force to gently call his attention over to her. He looked around, looking somewhat confused. When he spotted her, she subtly motioned for him to come over to her table. He pointed at himself to make sure she was talking about him. She rolled her eyes and nodded. He stood and came over. Now that she could see him better, he looked to be in his early twenties, he had a brown, ruffled vest on, a tunic under it. He wore some long pants, mostly tattered. He had about two days worth of stubble on his face. Odd creatures, humans. He pulled out a chair and sat across from her, his drink in hand. “What?” he asked. Shaak Ti leaned in closer. “To you give transport to people who are willing to pay?” She took another sip of her drink, holding her breath. The man shrugged. “Depends,” he said. “On what?” Shaak Ti hissed between her teeth. The man leaned closer, Shaak Ti leaned back. “On how many credits you have, sweets.” Shaak Ti pulled out the cred chits she had in her pocket. “Will this be enough to take me to the Outer Rim?” she asked. The human chuckled. “Hell no,” he said. “You'd be lucky if you can get out of the Core with that much,” he said and began to stand. She grabbed his arm. “Wait,” she said. “Could you take me to Centax-2?” Centax-2 was Coruscant's second moon, on it there were hotels and other spaceports where she may find transport at a discount. The human shrugged and Shaak Ti handed him two cred chits. He stuck them in his pocket. “Be at docking bay 18 tomorrow at 06:00. Sharp,” he walked away. Shaak Ti rose and walked out of the bar, leaving the money for her drink on the table. She walked out of the cantina, glad to be away from the thick smoke and loud music. She went straight for the shadows and delved into the crowd. She found the most non-attention-grabbing hotel she could find. She didn't make eye-contact with the cashier and tried not to show her face too much. She accepted her key-card and went to her room. It was quaint, with a small table in one corner, a bed in the other. A small, vile, bathroom led into an adjacent room. She switched on a light and went to the bed, shedding her many layers of clothing until she was back into her jumpsuit. She sighed and lay down on the bed. She used the Force to switch the light off. Better get some sleep now, she though, tomorrow's going to be a long, hard day. She was sure of it.
She awoke a half-hour before her designated time, giving herself plenty of time to get ready and get to the bay. She met the human—she still hadn't gotten his name yet—at a frigate that looked like it needed maintenance. It was a B-7 light freighter named the Longstar . Shaak Ti boarded, now in full layered clothing again. The human raised his eyebrows. “No cargo?” he asked as the ramp lifted. She shook her head. “There is nothing here for me anymore,” she said. The human shrugged and walked to the cockpit. She stayed in the lounge area. She checked to make sure her lightsaber was where she could reach it, just in case. She felt the freighter lift off, coming away from its berth on the ground, and shooting up into the sky. She felt the G forces begin to pull on her. She looked out the small porthole on her left. She saw the Jedi Temple, and for a moment, she didn't see the smoke billowing up from the still raging fires. She saw it as she had always seen it: her home. This was where she grew up. This was where she learned to become a Jedi. The Jedi Temple was one of the only things holding the Republic together. Then, real life came back into focus, and she could see the smoke coming out of the five spires. She could see the LAAT/i gunships swooping over it. And, she could not sense any Jedi in it. Tears came to her eyes. This would probably be the last time she ever saw her childhood home. It just did not seem possible, though. For a moment, she only stared at it, remembering all the good times she had shared with Luminara, Obi-Wan, Plo Koon, Quinlan Vos...now? Those memories had been swept away in a swift current of brutality. She let her tears fall unchecked. The sight of the Temple blurred. She wiped her eyes, wanting every possible chance to just...look at it. Then, they went into the clouds, and the Temple was obscured from view. “No,” she croaked. “Take me back,” she pleaded silently. “I want to go home...” she groaned. There was no home to go back to. “Breaking atmosphere,” the human reported from the front. She sniffed and wiped her face. There was no going back now. All she had was the future. She pushed her feelings down deep. She would not let them overtake her. That was the path to the dark side. Suddenly, she felt a surge through the Force. She stretched out warily. And she sensed...Obi-Wan? Yoda? Her eyes widened. Their presences were coming from the planet below. Last she'd checked, Yoda had been on Kashyyk! And Obi-Wan on Utapau! They had survived? She hadn't felt them before...but they may have been hiding from Palpatine. She considered going back down to the planet, but thought against it. She'd never be able to find them. She only had the vagueness of them being on-planet. She smiled and gently touched them through the Force. “Good luck, you two. May the Force be with you,” she whispered. She felt Obi-Wan's surprise at her touch. But he returned her greeting with warm feelings, and she could feel he was wishing her the same. Master Yoda seemed preoccupied with something else, but he sent his assurance to her as well. She stood, feeling much better and walked to the cockpit. She sat in the passenger's chair behind the human. “What's your name?” she asked from behind him. He turned his head as if to answer her, then stared back out the viewport. “Peckhum,” he answered. She nodded. “I am Shaak..” she trailed off. “Shaak Tay,” she said quickly. Not much difference from Shaak Ti, but it did the job. Peckhum nodded. “Ah, kark,” he muttered. Shaak Ti looked up. “What is it?” she asked. Peckhum motioned to the viewport. “Imperial cruiser. They're checkin' every transport that leaves the planet. They don't want any Jedi getting away,” he said. Shaak Ti rose her eyebrows in alarm. “Uh-oh,” she said. Peckhum eyed her. “Why? It's not really any trouble, just wastes some time.” Shaak Ti backed up into the lounge, thinking fast. Not many places to hide on this thing. She whirled on Peckhum when she felt him walk up behind her. “What's wrong?” he asked. She snapped her arm out and her lightsaber fell into hand. She turned on the ignition. She pulled the silvery-blue blade up to the man's throat. Peckhum looked as if he was about to wet his pants. “You're...you're a Jedi!” he stammered. Shaak Ti nodded. “Yes, I am a Jedi. Now, let me tell you what we're going to do. You're going to run the blockade. I don't care how, just don't let us get vaped. And then, you're going to take me wherever the hell I want, got I?” Peckhum still looked terrified. “You betrayed the Republic!” Shaak Ti resisted the urge to back slap the man. “Don't,” she said, “ever say that in my presence. We did not betray the Republic. The Republic betrayed us. Now, get your scrawny behind to the cockpit and get us away from the blockade!” Peckhum nearly ran back to the cockpit. She strapped herself in just as a voice crackled over the commlink. “ Longstar , shut down all systems and prepare to be boarded. You will be shot down if you do not comply.” The voice clicked off. Peckhum glanced at Shaak Ti fearfully. She pointed to the Star Destroyer. He sighed and pushed a button. He put them through a barrel roll, punching the throttle. The voice returned an instant later. “ Longstar! Stand down, I repeat stand down! You will be fired upon immediately if you fail to comply!” Peckhum only sped away for open space. Turbolaser fire blasted out after them. Peckhum cursed as some of the deadly beams lanced off the shields. The Star Destroyer was coming up fast behind them, attempting to cut off their escape route. “Where do we jump?” Peckhum asked frantically. Shaak Ti quickly though of the one place where the Empire would not be. “Nar Shaddaa,” she answered. Peckhum looked at her in bewilderment. “Nar Shadda!” he yelled. “Hutt space?” Shaak Ti gripped her lightsaber and pointed it at him unlit. “That's what I said, captain.” Peckhum cursed and began punching in the codes, still evading laser fire. V-wings were being deployed from the Destroyer's hanger bays, adding to the barrage. Peckhum shook his head. “Coordinates are locked, ready for the jump in five-” the V-wings began spraying laser fire on their tails “-four-” the ship rocked “-three, two, one, go!” Peckhum punched a button and the stars became streaks of light, then Shaak Ti saw the voidness of hyperspace, and they jumped to lightspeed.
The trip to Nar Shadda was uneventful. Shaak Ti and Peckhum barely engaged in any conversation, Peckhum was still too afraid of her to even look her in the eye. Had the reports been that bad? She shook her head to clear it. They popped out of hyperspace an instant later. Shaak Ti pointed to an orbital space station. “Dock there,” she said. Peckhum complied and brought the ship in. A voice asked them to state their business and intentions. Peckhum shot a glance at Shaak Ti. “What do I say?” he asked. Shaak Ti glared at him. “I'm sure you can think of something,” she said evenly. He sighed and pressed the button that would let him speak with the officer on the other end. “Control, this is the Lightning Rod we're in search of work here, and were wondering if we could find any on the station.” The officer paused before answering. “Very well. Hanger bay Seven.” Peckhum said his thanks and clicked off. Shaak Ti looked at him. “ Lightning Rod ?” she asked. Peckhum shrugged. “It's one of my fake names,” he said. He brought the ship to rest in the wide berth they were given, and released the boarding ramp. Shaak Ti stood. “Well,” she said. “Thank you for bringing me this far. Even if you came here against your will. Here” --she handed him some cred chits-- “and thanks again.” Then, she made her way to the ramp. Peckhum grabbed her by the arm, causing her to round on him and kick him into a chair. He grunted. Shaak Ti held out a hand. “Sorry,” she said. “Reflex.” Peckhum scratched the back of his head. “I can see why they didn't kill you all off. Anyway, I'm not letting you go down there by yourself. This is a dangerous place. No place for a lady—even a Jedi lady. The Empire's bound to be looking for my ship already, so might as well tag along here and see if I can be of some help.” Shaak Ti waved him off. “No, thank you. I'm sure I can manage on my own.” Peckhum pointed at her. “Listen, lady, you basically ended my life today. As soon as the Empire finds me, they'll have my head for running the blockade. So you know what? Since you kidnapped me, I'm sticking with you. I'm your responsibility. Besides, if the Empire finds me, I might accidentally leak out where I dropped you off,” he said the last part with a sly grin. Shaak Ti glared at him. “Fine,” she said. “But, if you are trying to double cross me-” Peckhum interrupted her, “What? You gonna cut me up with that lightsaber?” Shaak Ti smiled pleasantly. “My dear man, haven't you ever heard of what Togrutas used to do to their captives?” The human shook his head. Shaak Ti turned and walked to the ramp. “Let's just say the captive's screams could be heard on the other side of a continent.” Shaak Ti felt his fear for a moment, then he pushed it down and quickly followed her outside. The hanger bay was just like any other she'd ever been in. The smell of lubricant, oil, must, body odor, mildew...it was all very disgusting. She and Peckhum went inside a turbolift and rode it down. She jiggled her arm, making sure the lightsaber was there, and stepped out as soon as the doors opened. Peckhum—nerves and all—gripped his hold-out blaster pistol harder, his eyes scanning the area. The scene before her looked like a small city, medium sized buildings almost touched the translucent dome over the station. Hundreds of beings were walking up and down the walkways, mumbling to themselves and others. “What are we even doing here?” Peckhum asked. Shaak Ti didn't look at him. “To make some credits,” she said. “Ever play sabacc?”
Normally, Shaak Ti wouldn't have used the Force to cheat. But this was a different time, a matter of life and death, and they needed credits.
At the sabacc table the players were: Shaak Ti, Peckhum, a Gotal, a Devaronian, and a Bothan. Shaak Ti grinned at the hand she had. It was an Idiot's Array. She played it, and took the sabacc pot. She stood. “Thank you for the game, gentlemen,” she said and motioned to Peckhum. Peckhum waited until they walked out before speaking. “An Idiot's Array! Who would've thought!” Shaak Ti didn't say anything. She was reaching through the Force, sensing danger that was about to come. Peckhum glanced at her. “What?” he asked, looking around. Shaak Ti heard blaster fire go off, and heard the snap-hiss of a lightsaber activating. Shaak Ti whirled around, whipping out her own lightsaber. She was expecting to find the Jedi-killing bounty hunter Aurra Sing behind her, but no, it was a Zabrak Jedi! It was a girl, looking to be about sixteen, with a green lightsaber in one hand, a blaster in the other. “Come on you karks!” the girl yelled. “I'll take you all on!” Ten men of all different species ran out of a cantina. The girl shot off two shots, deflected two others, flipped to the side, and unleashed a wave of Force lightning.
Shaak Ti could tell this girl was angry. Very angry. There was an anguish inside of her that throttled her anger and hate, feeding it to the Force. Shaak Ti ignited her own lightsaber and flashed to the girl's side. The girl whirled in surprise. “Another Jedi!” one of the men called. “There's a high bounty on you folk. Get 'em, boys.” The Zabrak scowled at Shaak Ti while batting away blaster bolts. “Mind your own business, Togruta.” Shaak Ti deflected three bolts and calmly looked at the Zabrak. “Your anger is feeding your desire to kill. Release your hate, young one. It leads to the dark side,” said Shaak Ti, all the while batting away blaster bolts. The Zabrak female twisted out of the way of more blaster fire, unleashed more lightning and whirled back to Shaak Ti. “I don't need your help! You don't even know me! Who do you think you are? Giving me advice!” The Zabrak struck—actually struck—at Shaak Ti. She parried and said, “You honestly don't want to get in a saber fight with me, child.” They both whirled away from each other as blaster fire broke in between them. They twisted back to each other, fighting back-to-back now, deflecting more blaster bolts. Shaak Ti said, “You may know me. I am Jedi Master Shaak Ti. I see you survived the extermination.” The Zabrak snorted, her blade a dizzying blur. “Barely. The clone troopers with us never stood a chance,” she said. Shaak Ti raised her eyebrows as more and more people joined the blaster fight. “Us?” she asked. The Zabrak ducked, turned 180 degrees, and brought her blade down through the torso of on of the shooters. “Yes, my Master and I. He was killed by Darth Vader. I felt it through the Force. I'll do anything I can to kill Vader.” Shaak Ti back flipped and, in mid-air, Force-hurled a thug into a near-by wall. “I think it's high time to wrap thing up here,” Shaak Ti said. The Zabrak nodded. Shaak Ti reached for the girl through the Force. After some hesitation. The girl opened herself up to Shaak Ti. Their blades began whirling in unison, cutting down a thug there, deflecting a bolt there. Together, they took a deep breath and sent a wave of Force energy out to the thugs. The thugs went flying backward, some crying out in alarm, and the others cursing. They fell silent when they hit the ground and housings. Shaak ti turned to the Zabrak girl. “What is your name, child?” she asked, shutting down her lightsaber. The Zabrak did the same. “I am Maris Brood,” she said. “And I'm not a child.” Shaak Ti nodded slightly. “You can't go on hating, Maris Brood. That will lead to your downfall, and to the dark side. Darth Vader is too powerful to face right now. You must train more before you can face him. Come with me, Maris. Together, I know we can defeat Vader. But not before we fine more Jedi to train.” Maris was silent. After a while she nodded. “Fine, Master Ti. I will go with you. But, I don't have to like it.” With that she pushed past Shaak Ti and walked forward. Shaak ti sighed and gestured to Peckhum, who was open mouthed, gaping in astonishment. He trotted up to her side. “That...that was amazing! I've never seen anything like that in my life! I mean, sure there's been holovids, but those were nothing compared to that! You two were talking like there was nothing going on at all! It's like you weren't even trying to deflect those blaster bolts.” Shaak Ti only waved her hand and said, “Come, we must go before more of them come.” And with that they walked to the spaceport.
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