The Unforeseen Threat: Ch 08 – Looming Shadows

Bleeea-duooh-aaahhhaaa… Bleeea- dooouh-ooouh…. Ooo-ahh-baa-haa…

The data droid continued to transfer it’s recordings into the lab’s mainframe computer. Within seconds there was video-playback on screen.

The video displayed a darkly armored man snapping the neck of Liam-wil Turner onboard the Pallarbeck. The dark man had never touched him – it was a Sith. As Turner fell to the floor the Sith spun around as a whistle was heard to the side. Now General Sparzz could be seen holding a prototype biometric launcher on his shoulder. Sparzz fired the weapon and it sent the Sith flying into a command console.

Sparzz walked over to the dark-armored Sith and they conversed for a moment. Behind Sparzz an object could be seen levitating and in an instant it flipped in the air and shot out a long crimson blade, severing the general’s arms. Seconds later the Sith could be seen jumping out of the command console, staggering to his feet.

“That’s quite the toy Sparzz, but no weapon is significant next to the power of the darkside,” the Sith shouted out just before he walked over towards the recording unit. As he pressed a button, the recording equipment shut down.

“The weapon is still not ready.” A man in a white lab coat stated as he switched off the monitor. “We need to find a way to cut them off from the force.”

“With all due respect Master Henaat, we just don’t have that kind of technology,” a scientist tried to reason. “How can you stop a Sith from channeling the force? All they have to do is think it, and they can do anything.”

“Well if we knew that, we wouldn’t be here my friend,” Master Henaat stated as he turned back towards his lab team. Henaat had a young face, but his long silver hair looked as though it was colored by the wisdom of many years. His hair flowed just past his shoulders, but on top it was spiked like a crown. The style gave him a look as though he was a genius, and that his knowledge was the greatest weapon one could possess.

“My friends,” he said as he extended his arms, “you are not like the Jedi & the Sith, or even the commandos. One could say, that you are mere mortals, but that does not mean you do not play a major part in this war. Anything that has advanced this war has come from you, the scientists. When the republic needed a way to heal troops in battle, we engineered the bacta packs. When they needed a larger radius attack, we gave them the EMP cannon. If it was not for us, especially this lab, they wouldn’t even have their advanced cortosis armor. All these technologies that the republic sought, and believed was impossible, we gave them. So when they ask us to design a weapon targeted for use against the Sith, and you say it’s impossible, I say it is just another day at the office for us.”

The team of scientists went wild with applause as their leader encouraged them from the video platform.

“Study whatever this little guy has for us,” gesturing to the data droid. “When they ask for the impossible, it’s our job to give it to them, so we will find a way.”

The scientists continued their applause as Henaat finished his speech and stepped down from the platform. As he began to walk through the scientists, they went back to their work stations. Henaat made his way through the crowd, and headed to the sole door occupying the rear wall of the lab. Swiping his security key through the reader, the door opened with a “swish” before Henaat, and he was granted access into his personal study. As he walked to the back of the office he placed his hands on his desk and rested for a moment.

They want to cut a Sith off from the force? How do they expect me to do that. All they have to do is think something and… “All they have to do is think it!” Master Henaat jumped back from his desk and ran to one of his many book shelves in the study. He scanned the shelf and quickly pulled out a thick spine, hide bound book, and threw it on the desk. He quickly opened the tomb and began searching the pages rapidly. “All they have to do is think it,” he repeated with a grin.

*          *          *          *          *

            “Neeru has been telling me that your training has been going exceptionally well…aside from some recent regressions,” Vandin stabbed.

Down the candle-lit halls of the Academy, only the silhouettes of both Vandin and Tenaz could be seen as they made their way through the halls. Smirking, Tenaz thought of how he had truly transformed since his first days within the Order. Before the Pallarbeck, he was held back by something, but now that the haunting dreams of Sparzz were taken care of, he had fully embraced the dark side.

“Hmph. There will be no more regressions my master, only progressions. I have become one with the darkside and now I see no limits to my power.”

“There can be no place for regressions in the Order Tenaz.” Vandin was silent after that. As the two men approached the end of the hall they came stood before the lift. Tenaz knew Vandin had said he had an offer for him, but he hadn’t made any further mention.

Standing before the lift, the doors slid open. The two men entered the small cubicle of a lift, and Vandin sent it to the top floor – the council’s chambers. Tenaz knew you only went to the chambers if you were entering the order or they were taking you out, and in a secret order that meant that the chambers would be the last place you would see. Tenaz had messed up before his mission, but his victory on the Pallarbeck surely made up for it and then some.

Unsure of his own fate, the seconds seemed to crawl for Tenaz as the lift continued to climb to the top. Tenaz had learned much of the dark side in his studies, and felt that he belonged among the best at the academy. There had to be some other reason for the visit to the council.

Once the lift had reached the top floor the doors flew open and their access to the chambers was granted. Vandin was first to exit the lift, making his way down the dark halls towards the more open area; the area the council called home. Not wanting to show any signs of hesitation, Tenaz immediately followed behind.

Tenaz would not be caught off guard by whatever awaited him ahead. In his head he quickly called to mind all the members of the council; Decayus, Dragos, Caedox, and, Kantuun. Each was a true master of the dark side and had their own unique fighting styles and powers. Decayus fought in the highly aggressive Ataru form, Dragos also chose the Ataru, but modified it to his own needs, Caedox leaned towards the more defensive Soresu form, and Kantuun drifted between a variety of styles. If he was challenged by them all at once he was unsure he would survive, but that didn’t mean he would go down without a fight.

Vandin continued into the large rounded room, Tenaz following behind. Looking around the chambers, Teanz became aware of the fact that no members of the council, aside from Vandin were present. If Tenaz was to be “dismissed,” didn’t he deserve a trial before the council? Vandin swiftly spun. Tenaz’s hand twitched above his saber on defensive instinct, but Vandin made no gesture to convey an attack.

“It is wise that you do not always trust yur brothers Tenaz, after all we are all Sith.” He laughed, humored by his own comment, ” but you can relax. You are safe today.”

Tenaz was unsure as to the meaning if his words, but he had had enough of not knowing what was going on. “Why have you brought me here Master Vandin?

“Tenaz, what do you have to report back about from your last mission?” Vandin asked casually.

Tenaz was taken back; “You brought me to the confines of the council’s chambers to speak about my mission?”

“The chambers provide a certain…security from wayward ears,” Vandin grinned. “And it’s not so much your mission, but rather the more pressing matter.”

What was Vandin talking about? Be had taken Sparzz out, what else coups be more important than a major victory?

Vandin stepped in closer, narrowing the gap between the two men. “I need to know more about the new weapon you encountered onboard that ship.”

“Weapon?…oh, the biometrics?” Tenaz asked curiously. “There’s not much to be said really. It knocked me out for a second but I was able to quickly call on the dark side and over power its paralysis.”

“What do you mean it knocked you out? Like a black out?” Vandin was quick to respond. There seemed to be more to his questions than he was letting off.

“Not exactly…it was strange. I was fully conscious and aware of my surroundings, but I was unable to focus. My mind was clouded,” Vandin turned away as Tenaz described the events, “but the dark side quickly empowered me once more.” Vandin remained silent as he seemed to stare off into the darkness of the chambers. “Master Vandin, what is it that you are not telling me?” Vandin was still, and his silence continued as Tenaz’s patience grew thin.

Vandin finally made some movement as he dropped his hand to his side and removed his lightsaber from his belt. “Tenaz, you are familiar with midichlorians aren’t you?” Vandin said calmly as he stood with his back to Tenaz.

“Midichlorians?” Tenaz kept his hand above his own saber in caution for whatever the dark man before him might attempt. “They’re what enable us to control the force, are they not?” Tenaz was confused as to why Vandin had asked him this, but he felt it would all lead to the answers he had been waiting for.

“You’re partially right.” Vandin turned around slowly as he compelled his lightsaber to float ahead of him. Vandin slowly danced his fingers below his saber as he spun it in different directions. “Malus is the expert on the subject but, the mediclorains in each of our systems allow us to bend the force to our will. Our desire for power feeds that will…but there is on more important factor in controlling the force that many forget – our ability to think.”

By the tone of the master’s voice, Tenaz was convinced that the information Vandin possessed was of extreme importance. So, with eyes locked on the dangling saber, Tenaz began to listen attentively.

“The midichlorians do not think for themselves,” Vandin continued, “they are simply an organism in our blood stream, just like a blood cell. They need a host to compel them to act. If that host is unable to create thought…,” the floating saber dropped into Vandin’s hands in the blink of an eye, “the midichlorians cannot act. If we cannot create thought, we cannot act.”

Tenaz turned his attention from the saber to Vandin’s face; “The biometrics. Master, are you telling me that the republic has a weapon that can immobilize us?”

“No, not yet anyway.” Vandin began to pace the dark chambers, walking back and forth across Tenaz. “Up until now the weapons have only affected out bodies, not our minds. So, only our agents and troopers were left defenseless. Lately, however, both Malus and myself have had visions of a weapon that could stop anything, even a Sith, dead in its tracks. That is why Malus has spent countless hours in his study, trying to figure out how they are going to do it.”

“What has he found so far?”

Vandin stopped his pacing, “Nothing but dead ends, and that is exactly why I brought you here today.”

*          *          *          *          *

            Malus’s study was a massive room inside the walls of the academy, second in size only to the council’s chambers. Even with the oversized room however, there clearly wasn’t enough space for all his belongings. The shelves, along every wall of the rectangular room were overflowing with hundreds of both ancient and newer tomes. Above the shelves laid to rest the lightsabers from each Jedi Malus had ever defeated, and he always knew the owner of each saber.

In the center of the room there was a large circular table with dozens of opened books sprawled out across. The book covered table was accompanied by only one seat at the rear, but you could hardly call it a seat as Malus could never read sitting down. He would become so indulged in his work that he always had to continue moving, so the only use the seat ever got was an arms-reach shelf stacked with five to ten volumes at a time.

Among all the clutter it was difficult for Neeru to find a spot to rest against. “Did you get robbed or something?” he jokingly asked Malus.

Malus raised his hand and pointed a finger at Neeru, as if instructing him, “I know where everything is, and that’s all that matters,” Malus said lightheartedly, and turned back to the opened books across the table. “Where you able to find anything within the republic base old friend?” Malus spoke with his head still buried in the writings.

Neeru found a spot against a few books on one of the shelves, upon which he could comfortably rest. Leaning back he let out a deep breath, “Ughhh… Feels good to relax for a second,” he paused momentarily to clear his mind as he rested on the shelf, and then continued. “They’re getting closer my Lord. The Republic has hundreds of expert foragers spread out across the galaxy looking for whatever plant or herb will produce the desired effects. I was able to swipe a few samples of some of their more…potent experiments. They are not lethal, but each is more dangerous than the last.”

Neeru reached into the inside of his robe and removed four clear vials, each containing a different type of substance. As he held his hand out, he gazed as what he successfully smuggled back across the galaxy. Two were clear liquids, one was a red liquid, and the last was a deeply purple gas. Picking himself up off the wall, he walked over to the table Malus stood over and placed the vials in the seam of one of the books.

Malus turned his attention from the tome he was wrapped in to the vials resting on the adjacent book. Bending over to pick up one of the clear liquid filled tubes, he began to study it. He held it in between his thumb and index finger and began to tilt the tube back and forth, causing the fluid to flow to the top and then back to the bottom again.

“Lord Malus, the substances might be unstable, you should exercise caution,” Neeru warned Malus as he watched nervously as the liquid moved from side to side of the vial.

Malus slowly looked over to Neeru. “How will we know how close they are, if we do not know what we’re dealing with?” Malus suddenly began to violently shake the vial, causing the liquid to thrash around within the tube.

“Malus!” Neeru called out.

“Hahahahaha!” Malus burst out. “Relax brother; I can see that it is simply a single liquid substance. You need at least two for a compound reaction.”

“So these are useless?” Did he grab the wrong vials? Neeru was annoyed as he began to feel that his entire mission had been a complete waste. He had successfully snuck behind enemy lines and was able to get ahold of classified republic materials. All the while he had been disguised as a republic commando and any use of the force or his lightsaber would blow his cover.

“Useless?” Malus questioned as he closely examined the vial. With these I can analyze possible compounds and hopefully find what the republic is looking before they…” Malus seemed to cut himself off as he turned to the shelf behind him. Skimming up and down the wall, he walked all the way to the corner of the room. Stopping at the corner he pulled out a tome that looked as though it had been caught in the middle of one of Tatooine’s devastating desert storms. The spine was barely held together with only a few remaining strands of the original backing. The print on the cover had long since faded away, but Malus still seemed to know what it was even among the other countless tomes within the room.

Malus stood with his back to Neeru as he flipped viciously through the pages. It was clear now why the tome had become so weathered.

“Useless?” Malus again questioned as he spun around. Malus held the decaying volume out in front of him and walked across the room to Neeru. “These are far from useless brother,” he said with a grin as he again shook the vial with his other hand.

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