Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by Bea
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Balmorra, year 3649 - The Battle of Outpost EX-66

Cᴏʟʟᴀʙ ᴡɪᴛʜ Fᴀʟʟᴇɴʀᴇᴀᴘᴇʀ ᴀɴᴅ Bᴇᴀ

Dominik Rothul had never set foot on Balmorra, nor had he even visited the Balmorra system until he was redirected from one assignment to another. Both very different in nature, instead of seeking out intel about possible persons of interest or Empire movements, Dominik was directed to help in the effort on Balmorra as the Republic fought to reclaim large expanses of land that the Sith had managed to overtake.

He was tasked to meet up with another fellow Jedi, Sela Kythor, and her Padawan, Xid Terrik. Dominik had met the younger Padawan once or twice in his time at the Temple. Both interactions had been brief and blunt, as Dominik was not one to converse with others easily.The kid had a talent, Dominik had heard many times from both Sela and other Jedi, so the older Force user was intrigued to find out exactly how that talent was going to be put to use down on the muggy, polluted surface of Balmorra. The briefing Dominik had received was short, sweet, and to the point. The Sith and Empire forces know they’re coming, specifically when and how? That wasn’t clear. This was where Dom felt he could've been most useful, tracking down the mole versus defending a young Padawan and putting his trust into the boy’s knowledge; for the small strike team was headed straight into a hot zone, the battle not more than one klick north of their target: a crippled outpost named EX-66, one that had proved vital in relaying crucial information between two hotspots that had been reclaimed by the Empire.

Dominik could assume the dangers they’d face, even before the in-briefing had begun aboard the assault shuttle as the small strike team departed for their assignment.

Out of the dangers Dominik knew were all too likely; Sith, enemy insurgents, ambushes and infiltrations, the older Jedi set his mind on watching the battle that had been slowly creeping towards their target outpost.

Not only did EX-66 help transfer encrypted messages and relayed important information about the enemy, but the outpost was also a major tipping point in who controlled the fight. EX-66 was one of the strongest points of the Republic defense grid before it had been ambushed and shut down. Should the large battle to the North make its way to the outpost and surround them, air support would be very difficult to come by, which meant extraction by air would be nearly impossible. They could fend off as many Sith as needed, but without extraction or any form of reinforcements, their efforts would dwindle and they could be overtaken by the Empire’s forces.

As the shuttle took off from an outpost far out from any hot zones, one of the troopers briefed the small group of ten on their mission, its critical hit times, and alternate plans of action should something go awry. As the trooper gave his briefing, it would be clear to most in that assault ship that Dominik’s mind was elsewhere. A briefing was nothing new for the Jedi Master, it was something he subconsciously processed as his focus moved to the battle, and preparing for every possible threat the Empire would throw at them.

Sela looked out of the cargobay’s window. She leaned against the metal wall as her right hand folded underneath her chin. Her dark braid followed her back down to about half way, the locks thick in their flow and fixed tightly together. The dull reddish sunlight poured through the glass as it colored her white skin. While her brown eyes seemed fixated on the landscape, her ears absorbed the trooper’s briefing.

After the words stopped, she glanced back to her padawan. With a calm and hint of warmth, Sela broke the background rattling.

“Xid, I can sense your anxiety. What’s the matter?”

Xid lifted his head, the messy curls of his blond hair shifted from his movement. His hand reached up to brush his bangs from his eyes. A small click and buzz came from his lap. There sat a small droid with a banged up chassis, welded in multiple spots with metal patches. It had a hexagonal body mounted at the side with six, segmented legs. It tilted his front upward to glance up at Xid’s hesitation.

He bit his lip then replied, “We’re close to the front lines, aren’t we?”

“Yes. We’ll be alright. You’ll have Navi even when he was supposed to remain at the base.” Disapproval laced her kindness as he flinched.

She seemed to notice, but didn’t address it. Instead she let out a calm, soothing breath. She replaced the disapproving tone with a gentle one.

“You understand your part in the mission, right?”

Xid nodded.

“Can you please explain it to me? I feel your nervousness might’ve gotten the better of you and clouded your mind some.”
“I avoid all confrontation and bring the defense systems back to functional levels.” Xid watched her, studying her reaction to his words and seemed to seek approval.

“While put in an odd way, that is right.” Her tone continued to retain its relaxed mood.

Sela and Xid’s conversation broke Dominik’s trance as the older man had got caught up in different aspects of the mission. His gaze didn’t move, but his ears listened to the two and as usual, he wondered about their Master and Padawan relationship. Sela was a Jedi Dominik would confidently fight alongside with, she was someone who he knew he could trust. They had known each other for awhile and had worked together many times before.

This mission, however, was a first in working with Xid and his droid, Navi. Dominik was a Jedi who understood not everyone in the order specialized in weilding a saber and dueling, Xid was one of these Jedi. Where the kid couldn’t duel well, he had a hell of a way with machines. Dominik could feel the tension between Master and Padawan, but he would not mention it now. The group needed all of the focus and cooperation they could get if they wanted to return from EX-66 alive.

Protect Xid at all costs while the kid got that outpost back online, that was Dominik’s mission. This outpost had to be operational again if the Republic was to stand any chance at taking control of Balmorra.

There was little for Dominik to worry about in that moment, for the team was capable and willing; but if he had to pick out one aspect that made the man doubt anything about the Jedi he was working with, it was Sela’s confidence, or lack thereof, about her Padawan that the older man could sense in the space between them.

“We’re going black.” One of the troopers announced, as the cab lights shut off and all that remained were small, red operational lights that lined the side door of the small bay. Even the headlights of the ship went black, which would make it obvious to the crew that they were close, and that their mission had truly began.

The three Jedi were handed rebreathers, as the smog and pollution was far too dangerous the lower to the ground you were, and then given a thumbs up by their troop Commander Hoss as they pilot gave the signal that the ship was two minutes out. Dominik finally broke his spell of silence and looked to Xid and Sela, a small smile finding its way to the edge of his mouth. "You ready?"

“I think so.” Xid stated as Navi clicked and buzzed, rattling his chassis in agreement.

Sela nodded and shifted her position, her hand placed on his shoulder.

“One more thing. You must be vigilant of your surroundings and avoid capture. A war zone is unpredictable, especially in a hot zone. We won’t always be around to protect you.”

“I can depend on Navi-”

“Xid…” Sela voice made it clear she didn’t want Xid to depend on the droid to much. Realizing her mistake, she exhaled and resumed with a softer touch.

“Navi is very limited in what it can do. Loyal as it is, you must rely more on your own abilities in combat than your tool.”

“Yes master.”

The shuttle rattled. It was the first signal they were coming in for a landing. Sela looked at Dominik, unsure of what to say. Her eyes flickered with concern and worry before she shoved them away. Her inexperience with non-combative Padawans was showing despite her efforts.

“Lead the way Dominik.”


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Dominik glanced at Xid before nodding to Sela, looking to each of the troopers in turn as they all confirmed they were ready. The ship landed hard and fast, a little less than a hundred meters from the perimeter of outpost EX-66. Dominik donned his rebreather and allowed time for Sela and Xid to do the same before he signaled for the bay door to open.

As it opened, Dominik waved everyone out as he stepped forward, drawing his saber and igniting the green blade. The air was still and thick, forming a fog like appearance around them. The tall structure of the outpost could be seen in the distance, and as everyone stepped off the ship, it lifted from the ground and took off in a few short moments.

Tapping the center of the com link on his wrist, Dom activated a beacon that was connected back to their base outpost, with a few other Jedi and troops watching over their every movement.

The Master Jedi reached out with his senses, allowing himself to see beyond the physical barriers of the smog and terrain. Almost immediately he felt a presence, there was no mistaking what it was. Sith.

If they could get to the outpost, they could barricade themselves inside, giving the group more time to get to where Xid needed to go to fix the tower.

"Make for the outpost, now!" He instructed, pointing towards the tower with his left hand, as his right held his lightsaber at the ready.

“Dominick, I’ll assist you. Xid, go with the troopers. We will need the cover fire when we retreat.” Sela ordered. She stepped to cover their retreat and her legs widen in a combative stance. With practiced ease, her lightsaber floated into her grip.

Xid nodded. Still clutching Navi, he rushed alongside the rest of the troopers to the outpost. The moment they moved, the leading Sith jerked his arm down. About three of the five Imperial troopers dropped to one knee then fired off blaster shots. The dark red bolts flew toward the group breaking off.

Sela stepped into the line of fire. She whipped her lightsaber about, catching two bolts with a low sweep.They bounced off redirecting into the dirt nearby. At the two’s demonstration of skill, the Empire advanced quickly. Two apprentices and their master rushed for Dominick while the third one charged at her. She jerked up her blade to catch the fool’s slash down on her head.

Dominik met the Sith lord head on as he and his apprentices charged. The Jedi Master met the Lord's initial strike with his own saber, a frenzy of red and green dancing around each other before the apprentices got involved. They were no match for Dominik, as the older Force-wielder focused his effort on the Lord, much more cautious in fighting the one with more experience. He parried the apprentice's strikes with his own, then turned quickly to parry another downward strike from one more experienced.

Dominik kept an eye on Sela as they both fought, glancing back towards their strike team as the troopers covered Xid while they ran towards the outpost.

There were times when the Sith made an attempt to grab Dominik's rebreather, or strike it with their saber in order to disable it. The Sith wore masks, no doubt with rebreathing capabilities. They knew that by disabling the rebreather, it would give them an upper hand in the duel, on that Dom did not intend to drag on.


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Xid felt his breath shallow when they arrived at the entrance. His head turned to see Sela deflecting blaster shots and countering the Sith apprentice’s assaults. Each movement held its own lethal grace, not a single careless movement, leaving a slight envy for her skill within him. He knew he could never match her ability.

When he spotted one of the troopers gesture him forward, he moved to the front.

“Can you slice this?” Someone asked as he jerked his blaster end toward the console. The outside was scorched from one of the Imperial weapons and now refused to let them in. From a simple touch, Xid could he needed to remove the cover.

“Yeah, that’s easy. Can you hold him for me?” He passed the small protesting droid to one of the soldiers.

He pulled out a torch and flipped it on. The end came alive with a spark, the flame glowing hot from the powercell and fuel. Carefully he guided it around the border. The metal ended up burn then melted a hole through the cover.


Dominik did not once slow as the Sith aggressively challenged him. The man used a Force Push, and pushed hard, to create distance between he and one of the apprentices. He easily was pushed back, but the second apprentice managed to position herself behind the master. The woman lashed out with her lightsaber. The blade aimed to slice through him at the middle from his back. Dominik whipped around quickly as he sensed the other apprentice charging him. Master Rothul turned, meeting the the female Sith face to face as he blocked the downward strike. The man smirked at the female as he parried her attack, holding her there for a second before he kicked hard at her abdomen, attempting to give himself space as the Sith lord came in to play.

Leaving his apprentices to distract the Jedi, the Lord’s free hand straightened out. A large chunk of scrap metal shook and pulled from the ground. His eyes smirked in excitement before sending it slicing through the air at the Master. Both apprentices immediately jumped back to avoid being caught in the attack at the last moment.

Dominik noticed as the apprentices jumped back, shortly after he sensed the chunk of metal and turned to see it coming at him with incredible speed. Dominik quickly withdrew his saber, keeping the hilt in his left hand, and held both hands out, pushing back towards the metal and challenging the Sith lord as they both pushed against each other.

The Lord strained with the contest. His hand tended fully out and shove more power behind his force shove.

Dominik's focus shifted suddenly as the male apprentice charged him. The Jedi shifted his stance and took hold of the suspended metal, turning hard and thrusting it towards the apprentice that charged him. The movement was quick and precise, leaving no time for the apprentice to react as the object slammed into his body, landing on the ground and sliding to a stop, the dark sider's lifeless body pinned underneath it.


After the metal was cut, Xid placed on gloves and pulled it apart. The metal screamed as it bent to his will. Inside he could see the circuit that had fried from the blaster’s impact. Carefully, he shoved his through the hole and fished around for the wires. A few tugs brought the ends to the outside. He began to reconnect the ends to the others, looping the energy back through the button. His hand smacked the now operation button caused the metal doors to rattle open.

He paused long enough to shout to Sela and Dominik, “The doors are open! Quickly get inside!”

As he did so, one of the Imperial troopers aimed and fired toward his unprotected form.


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The female Sith apprentice charged Dom after her ally had been crushed by the chunk of metal, anger and fury showing in her eyes as she struck at Dominik relentlessly. The Master Jedi didn't miss a beat though, for he saw the blaster fire aimed directly for Xid. Time seemed to slow as the man, aided by the Force, sped past the female apprentice and reached Xid in the blink of an eye. Saber drawn Dominik redirected the blaster fire immediately, keeping his focus on their pursuers as Sela regrouped with them.

Dominik's focus remained on the Sith that chased after them, attempting to make it to the doorway before Xid could close it.

Sela struggled to keep her person intact. She parried and swiped, then locked blades with her opponent. The Sith was the more experienced out of the three apprentices so he easily shoved her back. She twisted her head about, deflecting another incoming blaster, to see the door open.

“Dominik, close the door. I’ll keep the blasters-”

She was interrupted mid sentence by another stab at her middle forcing her to step to the side. Her blade came up to block a side swipe, forcing her farther away from the door. The Imperials laid down a rain of blaster bolts that aimed to catch anyone brave enough to venture out. As Sela spoke, both the apprentice and Lord were attempting to rush at the outpost.

Seeing Sela take a blaster bolt to her middle, Dom took a few steps and pushed back towards the battle.

The Master looked back at the troopers that were firing at the enemy, then to Hoss, and finally to Xid.

"Commander Hoss!" He called out, "Stay with Xid!" There were a few moments as Dom took a deep breath and solidified his decision, "Xid! Close this damn door and don't open it until you get the all clear from my com link! The rest of you, on me!”

Xid jerked his head up and looked to protest.

Dominik saw that look from Xid but spoke before the boy could say anything first. "Close the door, now!" He demanded before turning back to the battle and pushing forward, the rest of the troops following him and giving the Jedi cover fire as he pushed the Sith Lord and the apprentice that challenged them.

"Sela! Get back! On me!" Dominik called, loud and clear, just as the Republic troops began to fire back at the Empire's small force, attempting to cover Sela so she could double back and regroup with Dominik.

Sela made a leap with her feet, sending her flipped over the sith and closer to Dominik. The movement hurt as the earlier shot managed to nick her side. She had gotten sloppy in her defense while she continued to try to move backwards toward the post. The Sith wasn’t allowing it. He began to try to push past her, putting himself between her and the escape.

A Republic trooper’s shot clipped the reckless Apprentice on the shoulder causing him to crumble to one knee.

Dominik charged the Sith lord as soon as he realized the Sith was making an attempt to block Sela off from her escape route.

Dominik met the dark-sider full force, challenging him with a strong overhead strike, then another strike as the Sith parried the first. They held against the others challenge, their sabers crackling as they were pushed against the other, both Force-users eyeing the other fiercely. Dominik held the defense, trying to give Sela more time to get back and closer to the outpost. Dominik pushed off of the Sith lord and deflected a tuned shot to his chest. The female apprentice moved to help her Master and struck at Dominik from his side, making the Jedi turn to parry. Another well tuned blaster shot found a mark and seared through skin and some muscle over Dominik's right upper arm. The man clenched his teeth as he listened to the skin sizzle and sear with the heat of the blaster bolt.

"Sela keep falling back!" Dominik instructed as he challenged the Sith and his apprentice, dodging blaster bolts that threatened to tear through him with each passing moment.

Seeing her attacker down, Sela rushed forward. Her foot slammed on his shoulder as she flipped off and over. His hand brought up his saber to slice at her back. She twisted about and batted it away. Her feet landed hard on the ground while she skidded back toward the door. With a heavy breath, her eyes glared at the two Sith still attacking Dominik.

She turned and launched herself at the exposed female’s back. Landing a shallow slice, she then raced toward the slowly closing door. Her figure darted past Dom while the female Sith twisted about to find her attacker.

Following Sela's lead, Dominik took steps back towards the door to the outpost. He deflected one blaster bolt into the chest of an Imperial trooper, the blaster fire of his own strike team equaling the hail of fire that Dom was attempting to deflect. The older man held one hand over the searing wound, his main hand holding his saber steady and deflecting any bolts that threatened his figure.

"Everyone inside, now!" He yelled to the troops, waiting for them all to turn and retreat inside before Dominik followed after Sela, sliding in just as the door sealed shut.

Silence enveloped the small space, with just the heavy breathing of the group filling the interim.
"Barricade the door," Dominik began, taking a deep breath and removing his hand from his arm, "these walls are thick, but if they're determined, they'll find a way in."

Sela winched as she examined her wound. The blaster fire had eaten past her clothes and into her skin, leaving it reddish where it contacted. She placed her hand out to stop Xid from approaching, inhaling sharply.

“I’m all right Xid, it’s just a scratch. Focus on the mission,” She leaned against the wall to balance herself.

In the backdrop, their squadron were working on finding pipes or other scraps to barricade the rustic door. Already the imperial troops and Sith were pounding away at the door. The sounds of hissing showed them that their enemy refused to be derailed. After a few minutes, they managed to reinforce the door with scraps.

Dominik had found more heavier pieces of scrap and metal, and along with what the troopers had placed, Dom used the Force to move these heavier pieces in place. The door was thick, luckily, so cutting through it with a lightsaber would be harder than normal.

Looking to the wound on his arm, Dominik examined it for a short time, his focus moving to Sela momentarily, gauging her actions and facial expression to see just how much the wound was bothering her. He finally moved a hand and removed the rebreather from his mouth. The devices made breathing polluted air easier, but they didn't help the man maintain his breath during battle very well, as they were slightly restrictive of how fast they could take in and filter air.

Sela seemed to be adjusting to the pain. Her wound was shallow and in time, would heal fine with some time. After she inhaled, her posture straightened up.

Knowing that sitting and talking about the battle and their wounds would get them nowhere, Dominik then moved to Xid.

"Padawan Terrik," he began, taking a deep breath as he regained himself from the heat of the battle, "what are we looking for? To get this outpost back online, what do we need to find?"

Xid sensed the Master approach and turned his head. He paused in thought a moment, recalling his information.

“The outpost should have a central room where systems are monitored and assessed. A control room of sorts. I need to get in there to turn the defense systems on. Once on, I can use them to force the Imperial back.”

Xid lowered Navi onto the ground. “Navi, can you access the vents and slice open the doors? We’ll obtain a map and assemble there.”

Navi buzzed, clicked in an aggressive fashion. Xid shook his head then reprimanded the droid for uncooperative behavior.

“Navi, please.. We need to locate and secure the central command or the Imperials will terminate us and more will follow the same result.”

At the mention of them being killed, Navi rattled and scurried off into the nearest open vent. His metallic steps faded the deeper he went. Xid turned to the others.

“Look for a large console. All of the systems should be connected and accessing one will be effective.” He caught Sela’s slight disapproval at his speech pattern, a habit he fell into during intense stress. The padawan realized his mistake, but it was too late to correct it.

“I’ll scan the far right and toward the back. When you find one, let me know immediately.” With those words, he began to walk away from the barricade they created.

Little was said amongst the group as they all spread out to search for the console. Dominik kept his senses out wide, allowing himself to feel for any disruptions in the Force, anything that would tell him if more were coming. No doubt there would be.

The large room was dark, particles of dusk and much worse floated through the air around them. Dominik used his lightsaber to shed some light around himself, looking for anything that looked like a control console.

About ten minutes of searching went by before Commander Hoss called out, "Jedi! Over here!" He said, looking to Xid who was relatively close. Dominik came quickly after he heard Hoss, stopping next to the trooper and looking at the old, dusty, beat up control console the soldier had found.

Xid’s head snapped into Hoss’ direction then rushed over. When his figure reached the rustic machine, he crouched down and gestured for the tools. One of the troopers slide the kit over. He began to remove the bolts while he spoke.

“After I’m done repairing it and access it, I will need the power turned on.”

Sela spoke up, “Dominik and I can get the power. We should also do a perimeter check and ensure the Sith haven’t clawed their way inside.”

“Commander Hoss, you and the rest of your squad, stay with Xid. We can communicate with our wristlinks should something go wrong. Xid, your mission is to get this tower up and running, at all costs. Do not face these Sith alone, without Sela or I, do you understand?”

Dominik held a hand out to emphasize how serious he was when he instructed Xid not to face the Sith alone. There was no question in the skill they had over the boy, not to mention there were three of them.

Xid nodded solemnly.

Dominik glanced around, his eyes scanning the dark room and finding an industrial stairway that he hoped would lead into the upper levels. He examined it from where he stood before turning back to the group. “Hoss, keep your locator on. This place is going to become a maze the farther up we get.”

The older Jedi took a deep breath and examined the group. He was confident, but not cocky. He only wished they could have afforded more help. Unfortunately, everyone in the group was all that could be spared, and they had a very strict timeline on top of it.

Council’s orders, six hours or at first signal for an extraction which meant that they had little time for distractions; little time for Sith trying to interfere, and little time before the battle reached the outpost and air extraction became impossible. And if they weren’t able to meet their rendezvous with the shuttle, they’d have to go by foot.

Needless the say the Jedi Master was on edge, and pushing hard.

“As soon as the power is on and the tower is operational, rendezvous back here, this spot. I’ll signal for our extraction and we’ll be on our way back home.”

Pushing hard, but not discouraged.

“Any questions?”

“It’s a basic directive so yes.” Xid felt confident he understood it, but he didn’t like the risk. However he knew he couldn’t argue with the older master. His fingers picked at his rebreather, adjusting the device and inhaled again.

The rest seemed to agree with various head shakes or nays. Without additional comments, Sela began to follow Dominik. Her lightsaber floated to her hand again and she readied to ignite it again.

Dominik wasted no time in taking the lead, feeling Sela closely behind him as they left the small group and started up the stairway. A few minutes of silence went by as Dom walked at a calm but steady pace, his lightsaber ignited and held out in front of his body in order to give the pair some light.

“He’s still young… Sela. He’s got a long way to go and plenty of training left. I know he’s lacking in some places, but he’s a smart boy.” Dominik said suddenly, quietly, glancing back at his companion for a moment and grabbing eye contact. He had seen the looks they gave each other, caught the clues when they spoke, and he could sense the uneasiness between the two.

“I started late, as a Padawan. But there’s always time to improve, and he shows enormous potential. I hope you see that in him.”

Sela sighed, “It’s not his youth that I’m struggling with and he’s been with me for two years already. He was brought to the temple rather young. It’s his skill set and mindset I’m having troubles working with.”

There was a sense of guilt in her words over admitting the truth.

“He’s not a fighter.”

“There are plenty of Jedi who don’t fight on the front lines, Sela,” Dom interjected quickly, but he fell silent again and let Sela finish talking.

“That is what worries me. How many Jedi who can’t defend themselves have survived? How many have you heard perish throughout the war? I’ve got many names I will never be able to see, including Ceris, my first padawan.” A bitterness edged into her tone at the Jedi’s fate.

“He won’t be without these skills forever. Let him indulge in his interests, move him to a temple far from the front lines, and teach him. Learning doesn’t have to constantly be on the battlefield.” Dominik’s voice was quiet, both to allow him some sense in listening around them, but also to show Sela that he understood.

“If only it was that easy. While I might be his master, the war continues and every day the Republic loses ground. Time isn’t on our side when the Sith threaten everything we are. As for indulging in his natural gift… I don’t agree and fear it might not keep him on the right path.”

Dominik knew the war was at its highest peak, and the Jedi Council pushed hard for Padawan’s to learn as they go. Taking a Padawan learner from the front lines to a Temple wasn’t ideal, but if it kept that Padawan alive and aided in the learning process, the Council might make an exception.

“We can’t very well give up on those we’ve promised to protect and train. It’s not a decision the Council makes lightly, but if it would benefit his growth as a Jedi, he can be taken from the fight and trained somewhere more peaceful.” There was a moment of silence before Dominik continued, “Even if you don’t take him from the front lines, it is not uncommon for a Jedi to take on more than one Padawan, especially in wartime. Our young ones learn from each other, it could benefit him.”

Sela paused in her search for Sith, her eyes snapped to Dom with a bit of a surprise.

“I’m not sure that is wise. My main concern is if I can handle two learners and not put one’s progression above the other’s. If the new padawan is a fighter, I will admit I might lean more into his education than Xid’s. How would that benefit Xid when clear favoritism is shown?”

“It wouldn’t benefit him.”

The master left a moment of silence to add weight to his words.

“But as a Jedi Knight, and a teacher of your Padawan, it is important that you’ve identified that issue and that you work hard to prevent it… Our purpose as teachers is not just to help the younger generation learn the ways of the Force and grow as a Jedi, but it is also for the teachers themselves to learn from their students. There is never an end to what a Jedi can learn, and a Padawan only helps one expand upon that knowledge.”

The words Dom spoke could be traced back to his own growth as a Padawan. Even in that moment he was learning how to aid others in their own growth as Jedi.

“True, but gaining another padawan this soon might give Xid the impression I’ve given up on him. Being a tech focused Jedi isn’t easy from what he’s told me. I personally don’t understand the purpose or desire to be connected to droids or machines in general.”

“Right there, Sela. That is why we must learn from our Padawans. Give him a chance and Xid could show you why being connected to droids and machines is useful. Give the boy a chance, nurture that talent that he has, encourage him, and see where it takes him. One of the greatest things a master can do for their Padawan is to help them find their talent, and to expand upon it. There’s no telling where it could take Xid.”

“I just hope it doesn’t lead him to the dark side. Navi, Xid’s creation, has tendencies that are concerning.” Sela glanced around, still seeking any sight of forced entrance.

“As long as you’re there guiding him, Xid cannot be influenced. You are a strong Jedi, Sela. Strong Jedi make for even stronger students. If you need any guidance, you can always speak to the Council, or to me directly. You’re not alone in the struggle.” Dominik said, glancing back at his companion and giving her a reassuring smile as he moved his lightsaber from one hand to the other.

The Master stopped suddenly, his words trailed off into nothing as his head swiveled. He could sense them now, even more than before. Upon his face he felt a slight draft; there should be no draft in an enclosed, shut down outpost.

“Just ahead. We’re not alone inside this place anymore.”

“Shit,” Sela cursed as she pushed forward, moving down the tunnel.

She came to a sudden stop. Before her, a small hatch hidden in the wall was cut completely open. It was obviously done by lightsabers.

“I think we’re too late,” her head twisted about to see the three tunnels leading away from the main one.


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As Sela and Dominik disappeared around the bend, Xid pulled his eyes away. He let out an audible sigh and returned to examining the console. They would find the power source. At least he hoped they would. His hands moved quickly through the wiring and circuits, repairing parts and soldering down new connections. As he finished up, his hands pressed the cover back into place. He looked to the Command who nodded then activated his wristlink.

“Xid got the console fixed, we just need power now. How are you progressing on that?”

"Coming in a few seconds." Came Dominik's voice through the comlink. Just a few moments later and the power to the outpost surged through its frame of wires, cords, and power cells. A deep rumbling could be heard as some conveyor belts whirred to life, creaking loudly as they slowly started to move.

Xid smiled. The machines began to hum and pulse, their movements rattling through the cobweb filled outpost. He loved the sounds of their miniscule ticking. The very noise seemed to deafen others, but for him it just vibrated inside his core. The sensation reminded him he wasn’t isolated from something bigger. Like a gear or circuit in a great machine, he had a purpose to serve. For a moment he lingered on the sensation until one of the troopers nudged him.

“Sorry,” Xid automatically uttered.

He received a slicing tool. The hand was long with a long rod at the end, which he inserted into the receiver port. The device whirled and clicked, indicating it was connected. His fingers clicked across the keyboard as he began to dive deep into the system. Firewalls provided only a small obstruction to his search and were easily dismissed. It was second nature to attack the wall’s weakness rendering it useless. After a few moments, Xid smiled. He found the map. He downloaded it into the data stick at the end of the slicing tool before ejecting it.

“Got it!”

As Commander Hoss started to speak through the comlink, his words were stopped in his throat. His eyes widened and his hands clawed at his throat. Xid stepped back, frightened by the sudden shift in the Commander’s behavior. That’s when the darkness began to crawl into his awareness. Xid’s eyes followed where the other troopers already looked.

The Sith lord clapped his gloved hands in slow applause. “Job well done, Jedi.”

His apprentice, the young woman, had her hand out strength with a clawed gesture. Her lips curled into a malicious smile. She tightened her grip causing the Commander to lift in the air before she threw him against the far wall. The man’s body crumbled like a ragdoll.

Xid immediately bolted for the tunnel that Sela and Dom had vanished down. Just as he was about to make it, he jumped to the side. A chunk of the barricade came flying at him.

“Not so fast, you stupid boy.” The male apprentice sneered, his hand returning to his side.


Sela’s eyes widen as dread filled her, the emotions not her own. Her head looked back down the tunnel. Sounds of a brawl faintly echoed from it.

“Xid,” her voice cracked. Without another word, she rushed back the way they came.

Dominik turned just as Sela did, feeling a surge in the presence of Dark side of the Force, and it was close.

“Sela, wait a second- Shit.” Dom cursed, as Sela was already good and gone, but for good reason. The elder Jedi took a deep breath to calm himself. His eyes scanned the metal walkway for a few long moments. He looked ahead, and then behind him. If the outpost was similar to most others, the pathways might loop back around and reconnect, perhaps back to the main room. Dominik withdrew his lightsaber and mounted the hilt on his belt before heading down the hallway in the direction he and Sela had been going.


Oh shit, oh shit… Xid thought as he faced the three Sith looking at him.

Realizing the shitstorm they were in, the troopers immediately opened fire on the three. Xid looked down the tunnel where Sela and Dom disappeared. She was coming. As if realizing what he did, the Sith lord’s body stiffened. Three lightsabers continued to deflected the blasters, one its way back to the source. One trooper found himself nailed across the shoulder while the other got it on the chest. He crumbled, never to rise again. The rest kept blasting as the Sith began to advance on them.

“Your master won’t make it.” The lord’s words chilled Xid’s spine down to the bone.

The padawan’s eyes took another glance and hoped to see Sela appear shortly. Everything happened so fast. From the corner of his vision, he spotted one of the last trooper’s grenades being tugged from his belt. Xid’s gut directed him to the female apprentice. Seeing him looking, her pale face smiled wickedly. She mouthed goodbye.

“Run!” Xid shouted. His telekinesis seized the grenade and tossed it down the tunnel. His master would sense his intentions and get clear of the blast. His hands shoved the trooper toward the nearest stairs leading up, pushing the trooper ahead.


The buzz of a lightsabers were cut short when the explosive went off.


The explosion was not missed on the levels above, for Dominik heard and felt it. It reverberated through the metal walkway, the Master sensing the emotions of all below after the explosion settled.

The man quickly took to finding a way to the upper levels. There were parts of the outpost where it was an open balcony and you could see one to two levels below. Finding his way to one of these balconies, the Jedi moved his gaze down, hearing footsteps and sensing the emotions of the Force-users below.
Not a few moments later Dom spotted Xid below, running from the same Sith he and Sela had fought outside.

Wasting no time, Dominik turned down the closest tunnel, aiming to find a way to meet up with Xid, or to get ahead of him.


Xid’s breath grew show and shallow. He ran across the metal catwalk toward the ladder. His head darted behind him, spotting the Sith apprentices give chase and gradually gained on them. If he became cornered, it was over. His mind recalled the map while he lead the remaining trooper down the corridors to the command center.

“You can’t escape, Jedi. Stop and accept your fate, we’ll even make it quick.” The lord’s voice echoed behind them, leisurely following his more eager apprentices.

The moment the female apprentice came into range, she leapt and brought her lightsaber own on the last republic trooper. He turned to fire at her. Her blade cut down on the blaster slicing it into two. The gun crumbled having never fired a shot. Xid’s feet skidded to a stop at seeing this. His lightsaber flickered on, bright green in color, then rushed to block the next swing.

“DUCK!” Xid shouted.

The trooper crouched down when Xid’s blade came up, stopping the Sith’s horizontal slash in its tracks. Trooper would’ve lost his head if the padawan didn’t. Xid gritted his teeth, trying to push and keep her back. The female chuckled.

“Such a weak attempt.”

She gripped the handle with both hands and pushed harder. Xid dug his heels into the metal, feeling his strength struggle. Her blade tilted at an angle and trying to force him to take a knee.

Dominik was silent in his approach to the scene. The master was utilizing the Force to mold light around himself, almost as a cloak would do to its wearer. The focused inward, reigning in his presence, making it seem as though his being had simply disappeared from the world entirely.
The older Jedi walked, steadily and slowly so as to allow himself to remain focused, yet so he was aware of his surroundings. Dominik was a few feet above the scene on an overhead railing, watching as the female apprentice slowly forced Xid down. He took a deep breath before placing a hand on the railing and throwing his body over it, falling down and aiming to land next to the female Sith. Dominik revealed himself moments before his saber drew upon the female, his body seeming to have faded in from nothingness.

The female Sith released her challenge from Xid and raised her saber to block Dominik as he drew his, striking down on her hard as he landed directly next to her and Xid. A flurry of sabers ensued, Dominik pushing the female hard, taking step after step in an attempt to overwhelm her and catch an opening.

Seeing the Jedi appear out of nowhere, the male apprentice growled in frustration. His eyes darted between the padawan and master. The female appeared to be struggling to keep up with the rapid movements of her opponent, but let her rage boost her skills. A debate tumbled in his mind before he reached a decision. Seeing Xid start to rise, the padawan was easy prey compared to the master. A quick kill.

His lightsaber slashed at Xid. Seeing the attacking, he stepped up and slapped it away. The apprentice was about to counter when Xid whipped his hand at him. A loose pipe ripped off the side and slammed into his side. The Sith uttered a curse while he raised his lightsaber, severing it into two. By this time, Xid’s ally and him were rushing into the opposite direction.

“Come back here you little shit!” The Sith hollered then chased after.

Dominik focused intently on the Sith apprentice he was fighting, aiming to take out one more problem from his equation. If his dwindling group was to succeed in their mission these Sith would have to be dispatched, and fast.

Dominik pushed at her harder and faster, finally coming to a stop as their sabers crackled against each other, the Jedi Master pushing his enemy down in an attempt to get her to her knees, just as she had tried with Xid.

The sith’s face turned into a scowl. Her fury filled the air and continued to push against his advancements. Gradually her strength began to wane. Her right leg buckled underneath down to knee while her hands pushed against the plasma pushing toward her head.

The Sith Lord’s steps hastened when his eyes spotted the Master materialized from thin air. His lightsaber out and ready as he closed in.

Dom grew fiercer with each passing second, knowing time was running out, and knowing he needed to protect Xid. He heard as the kid ran off with the male apprentice following, but his focus was pulled as the Sith lord closed in and went for his open side. A speedy and precise slashing movement. Dominik's left hand went out suddenly, his right still holding his saber against that of the female's. Focusing on what he had learned and channeling the Force as it ran through him, Dominik's palm stopped the Sith Lord's saber mid-strike. It was obvious at the look on Dom's face that what he was doing was taxing. With every moment that passed by Dominik could feel his focus slipping, as on one side he had the apprentice, and the other was the master.

With the master’s attention divided, the Sith apprentice began to use her rage to push back. She gradually rose from her kneeling position. The Lord’s weapon pulled back and drifted toward Dom’s back, reading another slash.

His attempt was short lived as a cable shot at his legs. It wrapped about the feet causing him to adjust his attack. His lightsaber shifted directions and severed the anchor point. The surprise attack distracted the Lord enough for Dom to make a move.

Dominik took advantage of the sudden change in the Lord's behavior, noting the cable that had distracted him and allowed Dom a moment to regain himself. He met the female's rage with his own determination and pushed against her momentarily before noting the opening he had. A quick foot to her chest and the apprentice was sent back, hard. Master Rothul had no time for their games anymore.

Dominik turned quickly and struck at the lord with his saber, his movements quick and agile as he attempted to catch the Sith by surprise and stall the fight in order to catch back up with Xid.

The apprentice skidded back, narrowly avoiding tumbling to the seemingly endless pit below. She clutched her chest where the kick was made. It felt like the impact might’ve bruised her as she tried to regain her second wind. However, her master didn’t fare so well. In his carelessness, the Jedi master managed to slice through his lower calf. The Sith Lord let out a blood curdling scream from the pain. His stance collapsed underneath without its support. Realizing the wound sealed his fate, he released a full force Lightning chain against the master. Purple energy surged from the fingertips to wrap about the master.

In the background, the male apprentice had finally gained the upper hand. He rose Xid by the throat in a force choke and walked him to the edge of the catwalk. The younger Jedi struggled as his feet frailed and kicked. Ignoring his victim, his eyes turned to Dominik. Just when the Sith had been about to call for surrender, a dark haired figure thumped onto the catwalk behind him. Sela. Her weapon slashed at his arm. It dropped on the metal causing him to drop Xid instantly. Another scream filled the air.

Surprised and unprepared, Xid fell. His hand reached out and managed to catch the metal’s edge. He grunted as he came to a sudden stop. Gradually, he tried to pull himself up.

The Force lightning overtook Dominik's body in a few short moments. One of Dominik's hands shot out to catch himself with the metal railing. The man reigned in all of his strength and pushed through the pain from the lightning. He put a bottled foot down hard on one of the Lord's arms and plunged his saber into the Sith's chest, pulling it back quickly and pointing it towards the female apprentice, the last one standing.

He rushed her quickly, holding his saber to her neck threateningly. He knew Sela could handle the other downed apprentice and help Xid, so now he chose to ask a question that was taunting him.

"No more games!" He yelled, a little louder than he had intended, his ferocity and adrenaline starting to slow. "How did you find out about this, tell me now."

The female breathed hard. Her lightsaber held at her side, but didn’t strike. The man held the advantage as she tried to tame her rage and frustration. After a few moments to collect herself, she smiled a venomous smirk.

“You’re going to have to be a bit more specific, Jedi. Your demand covers a lot of ground to explain.”

The fighting in the background began to die down. Sela had managed to slice off the Apprentice’s head without mercy then proceeded to assist Xid up. Not far from the pair, a little hexagon shaped droid began to scramble out of the nearest hole in the wall. It bolted for Xid, climbing up onto his lap. The padawan smiled as he held the droid close for comfort. He rose to his feet and followed Sela, who stepped around the dead apprentice’s body.

"It's a simple… question." Dominik growled, breathing slowly, forcing himself to calm down, reigning in the adrenaline from the fight. With Sela and Xid nearby, Dominik knew he had to control his temper and reign in the lasting emotions from the fight. "How did your masters know there were going to be Jedi here. Four petty Sith don't just decide to show up to an old outpost without good reason."

“My master spotted your ship when it landed. We didn’t know Jedi were onboard until we spotted you walking off, then we knew the outpost had to be important. So we took a few Imperial troops to gain position first. They should be reaching the command center soon.”

Her eyes stared hard at the master. It was clear, she knew what happened in wartime.

“Now that you got your answers, do your worst. There is no mercy in war and the three of us know it.”

"Sela, take Padawan Terrik and resume looking for the central command. I won't be far behind." Dominik said, looking sternly to Sela. He knew the Knight would understand, and Dom did not want to expose Xid to anymore violence today if he could help it.

Sela nodded. Her hand ushered Xid away from the would be execution, her words soft and kind.

“Xid, where’s central command room? You did download the map, right?”

“Yeah,” he hesitated, trying to glance over his shoulder. Sela immediately discouraged that with a firm grip on his shoulder.

The Sith chuckled, a bittersweet one. “So… you’re too much of a coward to let him see what the price of being in the light truly means? To know you must kill to-"

Dominik did not glance over in the direction of Xid and Sela before his arm moved and there was naught but silence where the Sith stood. There was no hiding the truth from anyone, and he expected questions from the young Padawan later. Dominik was not often one to hide the truth of war from anyone in the Order; yet there was still that guilt of allowing their young to endure so much violence and bloodshed. If it could be avoided, Dominik would do so.

He took a deep breath, his mind pulling away from deep thoughts as his eyes closed. The man heard the head of the apprentice hit the metal floor and roll off the catwalk. The man withdrew his lightsaber, but kept the hilt held firmly in his hand. Mere moments went by before he turned away from the scene and moved to follow after Sela and Xid.

When they entered the command room, a gruesome scene greeted them. The doors were wide as the Jedi walked in. Bodies of Imperial soldiers were scattered across the room. Some hunched over the console and others lied on their side, all dead. Burn marks criss crossed over the chest of some, neck of one or two, and one had a hole in his face. Sela crouched down and examined the nearest one. He had a purple black line around his neck. Skin had a lavender tint and eyes were bloodshot, indicating he had been strangled. Sela instinctively looked to Xid for an explanation.

Xid then looked down at his creation in his hands. Navi whistled, clicked and beeped in his personal dialogue. The padawan paled slightly at whatever the machine had revealed to him before he looked toward Domink and Sela.

“Umm… Navi says he took care of the Imperial Troops. He let them in and laid an ambush, eliminating all threats to me.”

Sela didn’t say much, but glanced at Dominik. It was obvious this was part of the dark issues she spoke of earlier.

Dominik caught Sela's glance as he walked into the room. Resting the hily of his saber back on his belt, Dom paid the glance no attention. Though he now understood Sela's concern, now was not the time nor the place to talk about it.

Dominik moved past the bodies on the floor, stepping over or around them as needed. Approaching a large, raised console near the front of the room, Dominik glanced out the wide window ahead of it. They were on the upper levels of the outpost, which gave an impressive view of Balmorra's landscape below. Dominik’s eyes, however, moved to the battle that was growing ever closer with each passing moment.

"Xid. Is this console what you need?" He asked, turning back to look at the Padawan.

Xid nodded as he put Navi down. Immediately the droid scattered past Sela and onto the nearest counter, finding a perch it liked. Its red slots for eyes watched the trio with a mix of curiosity and disinterest. He looked at the consoles, his eyes alert and happy at being able to be useful. His hands touched the keyboard then flew like they memorized the access codes. The machines seem to react to him. They hummed to life and seemed to pulse with something mimicking life. After a few moments, Xid’s fingers simply stopped typing but the machines continued to follow his orders.

Outside, the outpost’s turret defenses began to shift. Dust fell from their forms as they stood upright, preparing their weapons to blast the incoming Empire troopers.

“There, I think we can secure this post until reinforcements arrive.”

“Good job Xid, you’ve saved many lives today.” Sela’s words caused a smile to spread across Xid’s lips.

In the background, Dominik had managed to get an old holoprojector to operate. It was a simple fix considering it was tech that the man had worked with throughout his life as a Jedi. The Republic base that their group had originated from needed confirmation that the team had managed to get the outpost up and running. However, due to the nature of the operation, no images or words would be spoken.

Dom insulted a string of numbers and letters into the small datapad that lined the holo projector's surface.

They would have to wait for reinforcements to arrive. Luckily, an extraction by air was not required due to the outposts fully functioning defense systems. The Jedi would, however, need to wait until forces arrived in order to fully secure the outpost. Now, it was a waiting game.

Sela began to pick up a body and start a pile outside the command room. Her attention distracted, Xid edged over to the older Jedi. His eyes filled with hesitation and concern while he approached.

“Master Dominik? What… what did you do to the Sith?”

At Xid's question, Dominik's fingers paused on the keys of the datapad. His head raised slightly as a map of the outpost expanded to fill the holo-projector.

"Padawan Terrik," he began, his head lowering before he glanced at Xid momentarily, "you remember your teachings on the Jedi Code, correct?"

Dominik grew silent as he let the question sink in, allowing Xid to think about the code and what it stated.

“Yes, I do.” Xid stated calmly.

"The Jedi way is a guide for all Jedi to follow. Throughout their lives, especially during wartime, many are forced to make difficult decisions." Dominik paused again, his mind flashing back to the apprentice, to how he refused to watch as he killed her; to the Sith lord who he'd impaled. "Each decision they make, they make for the greater good, and for the good of the Jedi Order."

He paused again, momentarily, "A Jedi must put the needs of the community above the needs of one individual." Dominik looked back at Xid after these words were spoken. He watched the young man, observing him in that moment, measuring his character and his feelings. "I do not enjoy killing, no Jedi should; if killing that Sith meant that you, and Master Kythor, and our troops live to fight another day, then I would not hesitate to do it again. You must act for the greater good of your allies and your fellow Jedi.” Dominik paused one last time before his eyes moved back to the holo projector. “There is no death, Xid. There is only the Force.”

Xid wasn’t sure how to react. He shuffled a bit, his head logically placing pieces together. Finally he asked another question.

“So if there was another way, would you still have killed her? My master says that Sith bring harm and destruction to the world. There is no such thing as a good Sith. Is that true?”

“All Jedi have different experiences in wartime,” Dom began, glancing over at Sela for a moment, his voice quiet, not attempting to make her feel singled out, “and these experiences change our views on certain things. If that is what you want to believe, Xid, then I will not try to sway you. That is what your master feels, but is it what you believe?” Dominik’s eyes remained upon the map of the outpost, but his focus was definitely on the conversation. He decided not to bring up what experiences shaped his beliefs, not unless the boy asked. Despite what had happened to Dominik in Sith hands, he held a belief not common among the Jedi.

“I don’t know what to believe. Part of me wants to believe they feel isolated and alone. So they lash out. The other part of me knows it’s a choice. Logically, some individuals are more drawn to it by various factors. Factors that can’t be changed.” Xid looked down at the floor, unsure if his thoughts would be acceptable.

“That is what you want to believe, Xid. I cannot force you to think one way but feel another. Your experiences as a Jedi will help shape your view on the galaxy.”

Xid nodded, but couldn’t find a proper reply. “I wish I knew what to think of it. I feel like a person looking through a window and unable to connect.”

As if sensing Xid’s meaning, Navi promptly picked himself up and walked over to the young padawan. He brushed the leg gaining his attention.

“It’s why I built Navi. He was my first friend that I connected to.” Gently Xid bent down to pick him, his hand cradled the small droid in his grip.

“Navi is a brilliant, Xid. I’m glad to see he’s helped you, and your skills have developed tremendously since then. But you must understand, he may not always be at your side. He is not capable of helping you through your journey as a Jedi. There are some things a Jedi must do alone. You must not rely on him to be with you every step of the way.” Dominik said, a slight smile on his face, his voice calm and soft as he spoke to the young padawan. There was more he wanted to say, but now was not the time nor the place. He preferred to speak to Sela first, as well. But that, too, would have to wait.

At the mention of Navi being absent from his side, the boy’s smile weakened. He sighed and nodded, understanding the meaning.

“I know this. I should be stronger. I want to succeed, yet I seem to fail more. Sela tries to be supportive, but I can see her disappointment.” His right shifted from underneath Navi, showing the blisters and developing calluses’ from long sessions of combat training.

“I understand machines so much better than organics. They make me feel less alone.”

“You are young, Xid. You have many years of growing and learning as a Jedi ahead of you. There are many who will help encourage your talents and strengthen your weaknesses. You are never alone.”
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