By my friend Stellar_Magic.
Star Trek: Voyager
From Myths to Legend
Silently the ship glided through space. The flashes of ion storms in a nearby nebula illuminated its glistening grey surface. The dim red and blue pulse of the ships drives gave the vessel a ghostly appearance as it passed through the shadow of a small moon.
On the ships compact bridge Captain Janeway sat sipping a cup of coffee as her crew worked. Ahead on the viewer, she could see light glinting off tumbling asteroids. The rings around the planet were spectacular and reflected light like small mirrors as their components spun through space.
Commander Tuvok, the dark skinned Vulcan officer glanced up as a series of electronic alarms went off from his console, Captain, Im picking up a signal, in the subspace band, I cant make it out.
The signal seems to be in a holographic format, Ensign Kim said as he began to analyze the signal, Im compressing it to two dimensional and routing to the view screen.
A voice shot from the comm, but only static appeared on the view screen, This is the New Republic Transport Jade Scimitar to any ships in range, requesting emergency assistance
Repeating this is the Jade Scimitar
Janeway glanced at the ensign, Can you clean it up any?
Negative Captain, there is too much interference, Ive plotted the transmissions source. Its coming from just inside the nebula sir.
Tom, set course for that distress call, Janeway answered. She turned to the blond woman that sat beside her over the sensor displays, Seven, what can you make of the nebula?
This nebula has never been catalogued by any borg expedition. It has an unusually large concentration of tachyon and graviton particles. Seven of nine stiffened slightly, Im picking up the ship. Its just within visual range.
On screen, Janeway turned to the display and saw the screen flash to show a scarred vessel. A large bulb shot forward and a pair of steel wings shot around the bulb. Behind the bulb the ship flared outward and a pair of ring shaped surfaces were visible on its ventral side. The ship kept flaring outward and a bulb shaped turret was visible at its center. The ship curved outward into a pair of wings with a nest of six ion engines in between them.
Im picking up a number of energy traces on the ships hull, and excessive residue of neutrinos would indicate a large energy wake has affected the vessel. Plasma burns are scattered across the hull. Im not detecting any kind of warp field or warp core captain, their primary source of propulsion appear to be some form of Ion Drive, Tuvok reported as he finished his scan.
Howd it get out here? Lieutenant Tom Paris asked from the helm.
Thats not important at the moment, life signs? Janeway asked turning to Seven of Nine.
Captain Im picking up three, all human. Seven looked up at Janeway, her expression slightly puzzled.
Hail them, Janeway said swiftly.
Seven pushed a button, Waiting for response. Theyre trying to open a channel, were synchronizing, there connection established.
The view screen flared to life and a middle aged blond man sat in front of the monitor He seemed to be leaning back to look up at the projector. Janeway stood in the center of the bridge to make herself easily visible, This is Captain Janeway of the Federation starship Voyager to unknown vessel do you require assistance.
The man smiled slightly then stopped, Federation? You dont recognize our vessel, which Federation are you talking about? He craned back and yelled to someone off screen, Mara, get our location off the nav computer.
Janeway looked left and right to the other bridge members they looked as confused as she was, Uh, captain this is the USS Voyager of the United Federation of Planets. I ask again, do you require assistance?
The nav computer says were off near Wayland, Luke, but the stars dont match up exactly, A voice answered Luke from off screen.
Stand bye, Voyager, were running a diagnostic, could you do a sensor sweep of the area for us
Janeway threw up her hands, shed never found herself dealing with people like these, Seven run a sensor sweep.
Seven seemed to straighten, Captain were picking up a pair of small contacts closing fast.
Captain, do you have anyone pursuing you? Janeway said as she dropped down into the command chair.
Negative Voyager, weve just picked up the contacts, looks like a pair of Skipray Blastboats, should be friendly, Alliance craft, The man said slowly. Janeway watched as he expertly checked the systems on the craft. Luke glanced back up at the monitor, Were shutting down for a diagnostic, stand by
The image winked off to be replaced by the image of a pair of small vessels closing on the damaged ship.
I am detecting increased residue on the hulls of these vessels as well captain, Tuvok proclaimed as he diligently scanned the ships. Suddenly a blaze of green and blue pulse weapons fire leapt between the two new ships and the original damaged vessel.
Suddenly a voice snapped onto the comm, Captain were under attack requesting immediate assistance!!! Janeway watched as the original ships drive lit and the vessel made a swift roll to expose what little shields it had onboard.
Janeway saw the Skipray Blastboats clearly now, their curving forward fuselage and cross shaped profile. She saw that one of them was now boring down on them, Yellow alert, hail those ships.
No, response, Paris said from his post. Suddenly Janeway saw the flashes of light that were the weapons of the Skipray firing.
Red alert, engage those ships, attack pattern delta four, Janeway ordered swiftly. She felt the thump of weapons fire impacting the shields. The original vessel suddenly blazed into sight, a flaming projectile shot into the Skipray which detonated in a shower of debris and sparks. Janeway turned to tom, Fire on the other ship!
The glistening solid red blast of the phaser shot smashed through the forward shielding of the Blastboat. After a few seconds it had born completely through the ship and out the other side leaving an empty hulk tumbling through space.
The ship is hailing us, Seven said from her post.
Janeway laid a finger under her chin, On screen.
Luke was leaning back in his seat, Thanks for the assistance, Voyager, my ship
From off the screen came a second voice, Our ship.
Is badly damaged, our life support is failing and our hyperdrive is damaged, Luke said slowly.
We could transport you aboard our ship, give you whatever parts you need for repairs, our technology and yours may be very different mind you, Janeway answered swiftly.
Alright Captain, well be waiting.
Prepare to beam them aboard, Janeway turned to the others around her, Cancel red alert.
Beam, what do you mean? Luke suddenly disappeared as the blue lines closed around him.
Janeway stood and walked out of the bridge and onto the turbolift, Transporter room.
* * *
Luke gave a quick breath as he saw the room materialize before him. Slowly he stretched out with his senses, and there in front of him were a pair of crewman wearing those simplistic jumpsuits. He felt a warm hand tug at his arm and turned to see Mara standing there next to him. She smiled faintly at him and gripped Bens hand. He smiled sheepishly at her touch as the doors in the corner of the room slid open.
The woman hed talked to earlier stepped into the bridge. She suddenly stopped and starred at Mara. Luke heard Maras sharp intake of breath, suddenly Luke realized something that had been nagging at him since hed first scene the woman Janeway. In every way, but the eyes, she and Mara looked identical. After a moment the woman glanced at Ben who was gripping Maras legs frightened, Itll be alright. She glanced at the two of them, My name is Kathryn Janeway, Im captain of Voyager, are any of you injured.
Just some scratches, Luke answered swiftly. He shrugged, Im Luke Skywalker, this is my wife Mara, and our son Ben.
Well our doctor can fix those rather quickly, Janeway held up a hand, If youd turn over any weapons you are carrying Ill take you to sick bay.
Mara sighed and pulled of her holstered DL-44, Alright, I suppose we can ease your paranoia. She tossed the holstered pistol to one of the guards. Luke drew his lightsaber and handed it to Janeway.
Janeway hesitantly took it and glanced at the second device that was strapped to Maras hip, What about yours?
Mara bit her lip and took the saber from her belt and handed it to Janeway, Satisfied?
Yes, Kathryn Janeway answered as she turned to led them out of the room. She led them threw the plain halls of the Starship and to the pair of nondescript doors identical to all the others around the ship. Slowly she waved them.
Luke froze as he entered the room, there was a slightly balding man standing before him, dressed in a black and blue jumpsuit. Luke realized that there was nothing there, a void in his perceptions. Slowly Mara reached toward the saber Janeway held in her hand. It leapt with shocking speed from her hand and into Maras. With a snap hiss the lightsaber ignited and Mara pointed it toward the doctor, Youre not human?
The doctor lifted his hands in surprise, Not really, no.
Lower your weapon, hes a hologram, Janeway bellowed as she drew her phaser. Maras eyes glanced from the doctor to Janeways hard stare and slowly she lowered the saber.
Of course you wouldnt have been able to damage me, and I am after all a hologram, the doctor said as the saber disappeared.
Mara arched an eyebrow, You might be surprised.
Kathryn held out a hand and plucked the saber from Maras hands, I cant have you waving weapons around my ship. Only then did Kathryns attention turn to the young boy next to Mara. She smiled slightly at the boy, who grinned back, on glancing back at Mara Janeway found those green eyes staring back at her. Once again Janeway was shocked by the similarity of their features. Slowly she pulled the doctor aside, I want you to do a genetic scan on them, check it with our records.
What should I be looking for?
Just find out who they are, Kathryn answered and then walked out of the room.
* * *
Mara watched the Captain leave, and felt uncomfortable as the doctor held a scanner next to her, Great, from running from the Rapora to this, what next?
Luke slowly shook his head, I know Mara, but what are we suppose to do? He sighed, Were unknown to these people how can we expect them to trust us?
Mara nodded slowly as Ben climbed up onto one of the beds, I suppose youre right, and the Captain, shes just as irritating as I am isnt she.
Irritating isnt the word Id choose, The doctor remarked as he scanned Mara. Suddenly he stopped, Interesting, youre generating an electromagnetic field.
I am, Mara asked surprised. Slowly the doctor walked over to Ben and scanned him for a moment then proceeded to Luke.
Youre all generating an electro-magnetic field. Ive never seen that before in humans, The Doctor said slowly.
Slowly the doctor walked over to a microscope and put a strand of hair that hed found while examining Mara under the microscope, Hmmm
All life forms contain tiny magnets that are usually arranged half hazard the body, you on the other hand. The Doctor straightened, Your cellular magnets are arranged tip to tip, like your whole body now generates an electrical field.
Luke looked over at Mara, Miticlorians
those are the magnets hes talking about.
Mara nodded, I see where this is going. Suddenly Ben jumped into her lap, Hi.
Ben smiled at Mara, Mom, where are we
Im not sure, Mara answered plainly.
Janeway wandered around her desk and stopped by the viewport, Computer, search archives for a Luke Skywalker.
no pertinent material found, expand search to all archives?
Expand search, Janeway said as she picked a coffee cup from her desk and took a sip, it was still warm from the replicator.
Multiple matches found, source, literature, cultural, and film files
Doing a little research are we? An all too familiar voice asked from behind Janeway. Janeway spun to see the middle aged man standing there in a standard red and black Starfleet uniform.
Q, dont tell me youre behind this? Janeway asked as she recognized the visitor.
Me, Im afraid Im just an observer, the continuum sent me to investigate, Q said flatly as he dropped himself into one of the chairs and put his boots on the desk.
Janeway arched an eyebrow as she glanced at the search results, Fictional references
She slowly leaned forward, Alright Q, what is going on here?
I have no idea, I do recall a little incident with a child similar to this but
I cant recall why it reminds me of Trelane, Q said slowly then a smirk crossed his face, An interesting quandary, but as Einstein said God does not play dice, there must be a reason behind this.
You probably met the man, Janeway said flatly.
Q grinned again, I got his autograph, want to see? Janeway just rolled her eyes. Well if you really want to know, I think were seeing the result of a very rare natural phenomena.
Please Q, what did you do?
Me, nothing, or at least the me that exists in this reality didnt do anything, Q said swiftly. As he finished a series of alarms ran through the cabin.
Janeway was through the door as the call went through the ship, Unknown ship entering sensor range. She stopped in front of the command chair as the ship appeared on the view screen. It was a small ship only couple dozen meters in diameter. Janeway looked over to Ensign Kim leaning over the sensor readings, They havent detected us yet.
That wont stay true for long, Kathryn Janeway said swiftly.
* * *
Mara glanced up from the doctor as the lights suddenly dimmed and a series of red lights light up the consoles in the sick bay. The doctor frowned and tapped the comm badge at his chest, Captain whats going on?
Doctor, bring our guests to the bridge, The Captain answered across the comm channel.
Mara stood and took Bens hand, What next?
Luke frowned slightly and concentrated, I can sense something a familiar mind
I think I know who it is.
Who? Mara asked flatly as the doctor lead them through the door and down the hall. With a hiss the doors of the turbolift opened and they stepped inside.
The Doctor spoke swiftly, Bridge.
Lets just say that I hope Han was right about his change in heart, Luke said slowly as the doors hissed open. Luke stepped out of the turbolift and stopped as he saw the image on the view screen. There a familiar faceless figure was framed in the center of the screen.
Mara was faster on her wits than Luke once again, Ill be a hutt, its Boba Fett.
Hello Jade, Master Skywalker I was told I could find you near Wayland. The armored man answered slowly. He seemed slightly edgy, unnerve, There has been a large bounty placed on your head Skywalker, if I didnt have as much respect for you as I do, I would have taken the job.
Luke stopped to think, Boba Fett respected him? It seemed a strange turn of events, You dont have a spare hyperdrive do you Fett?
Im afraid not Skywalker, Id be willing to guard your ship for the time being but Im critically short on supplies
Janeway glanced between the two foreigners, Id be willing to provide supplies.
Thank you Captain, if youll open up your hangar bay Ill be willing to dock.
* * *
Belana Tores ran a hand through her thick hair as she finished the final repairs to the Delta Flyer. Slowly she pulled herself out of the ship as the doors to the rear of the ship slowly opened. She turned to see a large vessel slowly move to enter. It dipped beneath the hangar entrance and seemed to be standing on its tail as it settled to the floor. Slowly a pair of doors beneath the beam of the ship slid open and a man descended the platform with a pair of blaster pistols.
The doors for the bay slid open and a pair of gold clad guards slipped into the bay followed by Captain Janeway and a pair of people she didnt recognize along with a five year old child. Slowly Belana walked over to the Captain as the armored clad man walked to them. The man with blond hair spoke softly, If you want to take his weapons youll want the whole suite.
Ill keep that in mind, Janeway answered the blond then turned to the armored man, Im afraid you wont be able to keep your weapons while youre onboard.
With a hiss Q wandered into the shuttle bay, Captain let me handle this, Mandalorians can be as tough to get along with as Klingons.
The armored man didnt move, Have the Jedi given up their arms? Janeway nodded and the mandalorian lifted his hands to the helmet and tugged it off his head, I will give up mine as well then. The face that had been beneath the helmet was pockmarked and scarred but undeniably human. Belana felt herself breath in a sharp intake of breath. A tattoo topped one of the eyes and the face without the scars was undeniably familiar, Chekotays.
Q cocked his head at the Mandalore, Im surprised you gave up your arms so easily, Boba.
The man lifted a gauntleted hand, Wait youre Q.
Luke and Mara turned to stair at Q who seemed staggered by the remark, Uh, yes
He glanced to the others around them, Have we met before?
You certainly seemed to know him, Janeway observed swiftly.
It comes from spending too much time in the twentieth century, George Lucas sure got his moneys worth out of those films, Q said swiftly. It was obvious to all that he was on the defensive, Alright, I have a rather large collection of Star Wars merchandise.
Mara and Luke looked at each other obviously confused. Slowly Q lowered his hands and exhaled, I dont know how to put this but
in this reality Luke, Mara, and even you Boba are all fiction.
They seem real enough to me, Belana retorted at the two of them. Slowly the others nodded.
Q shook his head, Fine, Ill be leaving you can figure this out by yourselves. He snapped his fingers and disappeared in a flash.
Luke and Mara looked at each other, Who was that anyway?
Boba turned to Luke and Mara, Thirty years back the Empire hired me to capture a man named Q. It turned out he was some sort of super being, able to travel through time and space at his own will. He shrugged, That had been quite a change but I never caught him, I told the Imps that they could try themselves, theyd fail of course but. The man cracked a faint smile, You have to wonder how he does that.
Weve encountered Q once or top, he causes trouble and leaves, Janeway shrugged slightly then smiled, Hes got a son now and tried to romance me once
just typical Q antics. As she finished her comm badge went off, Janeway here.
Come to sick bay as quick as you can, you might want to see this.
Janeway tapped her comm badge, On my way.
* * *
The Doctor was leaning over the results as Janeway entered. He glanced up at her then handed her a data pad, The results of the genetic comparison.
Give me the short version doctor.
Well you and Mara share almost all the same genetic code. There are only two strands that are different, The doctor answered quickly.
Janeway skimmed the data pad, What do the stands control.
One controls eye color, Maras are green after all. The other, I cant identify it doesnt exist in any other now DNA sequence of a human being, except for her companions.
Janeway stopped then shrugged, Great, anything else unusual?
Yes, theyre generating an electromagnetic field. I did a brain wave scan and found activity in areas that normally dont have it, The doctor added to his analyses.
* * *
Janeway stepped into the galley in time to see the pair of older robed people sitting side beside at a table. She stopped as she saw something that couldnt be there floating in the center of the table was a cylinder spinning slowly above the table. Slowly the cylinder stopped its spin and settled down onto the table. Mara unscrewed the cap and poured a cup of coffee. She set the thermos down and took a sip from the cup, Reminds me of caf鮔
Janeway walked over to the pair and picked up the thermos, What did you two just do?
I didnt do it, Mara said slowly and glanced at Ben who was sitting at the end of the table.
The child smiled slightly, I did it.
Janeway arched an eyebrow, So howd you do it?
Youre doctor can probably offer a scientific explanation but, we call it using the force. Basically, I guess from what we heard the doctor say, our bodys can manipulate electromagnetic fields. We can move with our mind anything that has any sort of magnetic portion, Luke explained. He took a pebble from his pocket and set it down on the table, This pebble is made out of sandstone but through the force I can
The pebble rose from the table and began to slowly spin.
So thats how Mara got her weapon from me earlier, Janeway said flatly.
Yes, those of us that are force strong can do tons of things normal people cant do, Mara said simply. She folded her hands slowly, The force binds the universe technology, you me, Boba, this ship, they all exist in the force to a greater or lesser extent.
Ah Jedi philosophy, Q appeared in a flash of light right behind the two jedi.
Hello Q, you sure ran out rather quickly, Mara retorted as she noticed the man.
Perceptive and abrasive, I see my first impression was right about you Jade, Q replied swiftly. He smiled, I thought you might want to know an old friend just entered this region of space
Old friend, Mara asked surprised.
Does the name Mitthrawnurodo mean anything to you.?
Luke felt his veins turn icy, Thrawn, in this section of space.
Remember he is on the Chisss side, what could he gain by attacking us? Mara tried to calm her husband.
Mara would be right except for one little detail, Q said grinning.
Mara frowned, What would that be?
Q folded his arms and leaned back smiling, He may be friendly now but this Thrawn. Q laughed deviously, This Thrawn is from the era youd worse fear.
* * *
The dagger shaped ship shot from the pulsing gold colored rip in space. The nebula around the ship seemed to bend toward the rip. The ship was followed seconds later by more ships. Dozens of small bar shaped vessels. A handful of small dagger shaped ships thats side split into wings. But in the center of the group were two more of the large dagger shapped ships.
On the vessels bridge a pale faced aging officer stared down into the crew pit, What happened?
Captain, we seemed to have been caught in some sort of temporal rift, it dumped the whole fleet out of hyperspace, That was the ships science officer, but more over it was the lone scientific mind on the vessel.
The older officer leaned over the crew pit gazing at the groups of officer working at their stations, Any damage?
Negative captain, no damage or injuries reported.
The doors at the back of the bridge slowly slid open and the sound of booted feet approaching filled the captains ears with dread. He turned to navigation station, Navigation can you plot our position?
Negative captain, I did a star position once we went through, the stars are close to where they should be but they dont perfectly match. If we jump the chances of us hitting a gravity well must be considered, The chief navigator replied. He sounded tired and worried as he should be.
Captain Pelleaon, your report, A soft voice mused from behind him.
The older man slowly turned to the blue skinned and white clad admiral, Admiral, we dont know what happened, its like everything has been changed slightly, our hyperspace calculations are off, the stars are out of position, and I dont remember a nebula anywhere near Wayland.
The Admiral nodded, This is unforeseen, have there been any transmissions holo comm or otherwise?
Negative, we did pick up the delayed echo of a distress call but havent been able to decipher it to much interference.
Alright Captain, set course for the nearest star system, well gather there and try to figure out what has happened, The blue skinned alien answered.
Yes Admiral Thrawn, it will be as you command. Pellaeon replied then turned to the crew pit, You heard them set course for the nearest star system.
* * * (Episode III)
Who is Thrawn? Kathryn Janeway asked leaning across the table.
Mitthrawnnurodo, or Thrawn is an Imperial Grand Admiral, a leader who can tailor his attacks to the psychology of his foes, he came up with some of the most convoluted plots Ive ever seen, Mara said slowly she smiled slightly, The results werent all bad though.
Q smiled at the two of them, So you never figured out how he knew the physiology of his opponents did you? He studies their artwork.
Luke arched an eyebrow, Well that may explain a lot.
Janeway smiled, Well hes on his own out here, and a couple of the races dont even have artwork, the Borg, species 8472, and a couple others.
Somehow I think there are fewer problems with that then you think, Mara said quietly. Suddenly an alarm went off and the panels turned red, the lights dimming.
Janeway tapped her comm badge, Bridge whats going on?
Captain weve picked up several Borg ships, three cubes, moving fast at transwarp speeds.
Are they slowing?
Negative captain, they just exited our sensor range, Ensign Kim replied across the link.
Q smiled, The Borg would certainly want to add Thrawns distinctiveness too their own.
* * *
Captain Dorja clasped his hands behind his back as his ship slid through space. On either side of him crewmen worked swiftly. To Dorja it was the constant bustle of ship at work. Still his calculating mind was perplexed by recent events; there had been no holo communications, no calls for help, no updates from imperial intelligence, to him the silence of the galaxy around him was most unwelcome.
Captain, Im picking up distant contacts, closing fast, The sensor operator said as a light flashed on his board.
Deploy the task force, defensive alert.
Contacts resolving, unknown configuration, entering visual range, The operator added. His voice slightly more excited then usual.
Dorja let it go as he saw the first ship through the view ports. An enormous vessel that was over twice as large as his ship slowed and stop with speed hed never seen before. It was an enormous cube that slowly spun through space, glancing to his side Dorja saw another ship just as large and then another. He starred for a moment before ordering, Tactical analysis.
Im getting large energy reading and couple emplacements that might be weapon systems. Allot more energy then needed for those batteries they probably have some sort of other weapon system, The sensor operator injected.
Theyre hailing us, audio only.
The voice that came across the speakers seemed to be the synthetic merger of thousands of versions, We are the Borg, lower your shields and surrender your ships, we will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own; your culture will learn to serve as us. Resistance is futile.
Dorja looked around at the crew members. Several had stood to get a look at the enormous ship that sat in front of them. There were whispers among them about their situation. Slowly he turned to the tactical officer, Battle alert. Ready all weapons. The ship suddenly lurched as a green beam engulfed it from the first Borg cube.
Were in some sort of tractor beam, The tactical officer announced.
Dorja keyed the intercom, Pilots to your stations! With a flip of a switch Dorja cut the comm and turned to the weapons officer, Target that beam and destroy it!
The deck began to dully thump as a turbolaser cluster fired. Its emerald beam sliced into the corner of the cube and the beam disappeared.
Good shooting weapons
Suddenly the beam restarted and Dorja looked on in disbelief.
Sir, they seem to have near instantaneous repair ability, The sensor operator reported.
The communications officer turned to Dorja, Captain Arden of Serpents Hiss requests permission to engage.
Dorja nodded to the communications officer, Inform the task force their free to engage. He turned back toward the hovering cube, Guns fire at will.
The Imperial II Star Destroyer Relentless fired its forward batteries delivering an enormous amount of fire upon the Cube. Green flashes from ignited atmosphere flashed across the hull. Pieces and debris began to separate from its outer hull. The Cube retaliated letting loose with all its weapons. The blaze of green bolts flashed between ships reflected against the grey hull of Imperial Star Destroyer Serpents Hiss as it glide between two of the cubes firings with all its weapons. The blaze of green flames emitted from the sides of both cubes. Suddenly a volley of bright green torpedoes launched from both cubes at once. A brilliant green beam locked onto the ship and began to push it forward. The Borg had figured that if they could force it to use only is stern weapons theyd have an advantage.
Dorja turned to the communications officer, All ships are to concentrate on freeing the Serpents Hiss. Dorja watched as a lancer frigate sped in delivering a stream of green blasts that smashed into the beam system which quickly was blasted into molten metal. Dorja turned to the Flight officer, Launch all fighters!
* * *
Flight Lieutenant John Lukas strapped into the small compact TIE cockpit and gazed out into the blink red hall that was the TIE launch system. Ahead he saw the blast doors slid open and the launch rack lower a fellow pilot into space. With a scream the ship sped out into space. Slowly John felt his ship move forward above the launch doors. With a clacking sound he felt the rack lower him into the fiery realm of space. With a thump he was free. He punched the throttle forward and looked up and gasped at what he saw. A trio of enormous cubes were trading blasts and firing beam shots at a pair of Imperial Star Destroyers.
Slowly John keyed his comm to the squadron frequency, Kilo squadron, youre to conduct strafing runs on those vessels.
John nodded; he knew that those ships seemed to be a threat, the only threat. He twisted his TIE fighter onto an attack vector on one of the Cubes. Glancing to his sides he saw the rest of his squadron forming up for the run. Suddenly a blast shot into the middle of the formation, two TIEs exploded instantly. John felt an icy fist of fear grip his heart as he watched another series of beam blasts cut down two more fighters. He gritted his teeth as the targeting computer calculated showed that he was in range. Pulling his triggers he saw his blasts hit home against the ships hull. John pulled away from the cube as a series of green pulse blasts shot past his cockpit.
* * *
Dorja frowned at the confused space between the craft that were engaged. Suddenly a series of glistening green torpedoes shot toward a cruiser. Within seconds they hit the ships hull but nothing happened. Suddenly one of the comm officers looked up, Captain weve just lost contact with the Carrack Cruiser Cruel Redoubt!
Dorja watched as the ship tumbled through space. What had happened?
* * *
TK-897 report, The helmet spoke in his ear. The trooper could barely hear the call through the blaring of alarms and hiss of steam from several points. Suddenly the alarms cut off and the rumble of turbolaser fire cut off. The trooper picked himself off the deck and glanced at the battered turbolaser station hed been guarding.
Slowly Benjamin Hammer shook his head as he looked toward the hall, Im alright. He glanced at the status readout for the Carrack and saw it suddenly shimmer and change to a seemingly random series of glyphs. There was a hiss and the trooper turned to see the green sparkling effect of Borg Transporters as three of the burly foes suddenly appeared before him. Benjamin lifted his blaster and fired catching the first Borg in its chest bringing it to the ground, Intruder alert! Ben caught a good look at the grayed skin and dark black armor and implants of the second Borg before he fired again. The blast burned away the Borgs neck and dropped it to the ground. Ben fired on the final Borg and watched in horror as the bolt glanced off a shimmering shield that suddenly appeared and impacted a bulkhead.
Benjamin had never seen a foe like this before and even with all his Stormtrooper training began to feel fear. He drew a vibroblade from its sheath and advanced on the Borg he struck forward and saw the Borg catch his armored wrist. Suddenly he felt a pair of pricks through the black material that guarded his neck. Ben collapsed to the floor and rolled over as he closed his eyes he heard a womans voice, Come to perfection
Eight of Nine. As he blacked out he felt his emotions, his pain, his name all fade away and were replaced with a strange sense of bliss, he would strive for perfection, as was the way and goal of all.
* * *
Dorja watched as his Communications officer turned to him, Captain, were getting reports of internal weapons fire on the Cruel Redoubt. Ive picked up a personal communiqu鬠the Borg have boarder her using some sort of mater transporter. Theyre being overwhelmed.
Dorja watched as a holding beam suddenly snapped onto the Carrack, suddenly the Borg and Carrack accelerated away. Within seconds they were out of sensor range. Dorja felt his chest instantly become pressured, "Report on the status of the first cube.
Weve managed to breach their hull, wait were getting secondary explosions, sorry sir the cube is still intact, The Tactical officer couldnt withhold his disappointment.
* * *
John smiled as he saw the cube light up from secondary explosions. Swiftly he turned his ship toward the enormous vessel and squeezed the firing studs on the control column. Green bolts lanced out at the cube and detonated against its hull. Suddenly to his horror he saw shields suddenly snap on. His last blasts bounced harmlessly off into space as he passed.
He heard a bang and felt the ship shudder from the impact. The viewport was spinning and John glanced at the damage report, his weapons were out and his engines damaged. In the view port he saw the third Borg cube sitting lazily in space. He threw all his power to the engines and shot toward it.
John braced himself for impact when suddenly he saw a holding beam snap onto his ship. Suddenly he saw a spherical cavern open up before his ship slowly he felt his ship being forced inside. There amongst dozens of box shaped fighters he knew it was over. A tingling sensation alerted him to another unsettling reality. His last thoughts as an individual were surprising, I should have joined the rebels.
* * *
Dorja watched as the third cube disengaged. It moved away then shot off into space at impossible speed. It remained visible until out of sensor range. He looked out at the remaining cube and felt fear. Suddenly he saw that his turbolaser blasts werent hitting the hull but glancing off. The rumble of explosions from impacts with the ships shields reached his ears. Dorja knew that it was his own fire being reflected back at him, he shuddered as he thought of what it meant, it only took the Borg minutes to come up with an effective counter for his weapons and implement it. These were a frightful new opponent they were facing. One that defied everything he thought was possible for technology.
Out in the space beyond the bridge Dorja saw another white dagger shaped ship leap out of hyperspace. The comm officer turned to him, The Chimaera is hailing us; Grand Admiral Thrawn wants a report. Slowly Dorja sighed as the holo projector at the aft of the bridge hummed its readiness. He stepped to the plate and nodded to the comm officer.
The tall blue form of the Grand Admiral materialized before him. With the effect from the Holo projector he looked nearly human, Captain Dorja one of your ships is missing and several appear to have sustained battle damage.
Yes Admiral, we were attack by an unknown force, calling themselves the Borg, we have a complete sensor record of events, Admiral Im afraid Ive never seen anything like them, Dorja said slowly.
Yes, the damage your ships have suffered is not consistent with any known form of weapon except for a number turbolaser blasts on your hull, Thrawn said as he took a data pad from an officer that walked in.
Somehow the enemy discovered a way to reflect our fire back at us. Our own shots caused damage to our ships toward the end of the battle. They also boarded and captured the Cruel Redoubt, Dorja reported. He saw Thrawn arch an eyebrow.
Captain, Id like a complete record of events and a full report within twelve hours, events have taken a strange turn and I want to know what is happening, The Grand Admiral cut the transmission.
Dorja let out a deep breath, Yes Admiral, I wish I knew what happened.
* * *
Luke stepped to the door that had been pointed out as his temporary quarters. With a sigh he stepped into the rooms and let out a deep breath. The room seemed empty but Luke felt certain that there were hidden eyes and recorders. He felt a hand touch his shoulder and turned to see Mara standing beside him, Ill do a search for bugs if it will make you feel better.
Yeah, but will our hosts feel better, Luke answered. He deftly tossed a duffle onto the bed and walked to its edge.
With a flash of light Q appeared in the center of the room, and Mara snapped, Havent you heard of privacy!
Heard of it yes, but actually subscribed? No. Q answered then smiled, You dont have to worry about bugs though, the Federation believes in privacy.
Well thats good to know, Luke said somberly. He frowned, Has Boba left?
No your Mandalorian friend is still around, last I saw him he was headed for the holodeck, Q answered smiling broadly, With Belana Torres following right behind.
* * *
Belana smiled as she picked up the blade from the rack in the corner of the wall, Here.
Boba smiled slightly and took the blade, So this I the traditional weapon of a Klingon. He twirled the two handed curving blade in his hand and smiled, Interesting design.
Its used to settle disputes of honor, Belana said and she smiled.
So you get honor through battle, as the Mandalore clans teach our own, Boba gripped the weapon and walked to the edge of a broad circle in the center of the room, Once we held a great Empire but now are a scattered remnant of our former selves.
Belana nodded, the fear of losing their empire had held the Klingons together through some extremely devastating trials, Indeed, well lets see how your combat skills are.
She lifted the blade and struck at Boba. Boba blocked the blow and spun ducking under her next swing. Then Boba thrust upward. Belana blocked the counter and spun trying to deliver a solid blow.
Within an hour both of the combatants were exhausted but neither had delivered a blow, it was then that Boba and Belana earned each others respect.
Captain Pellaeon slowly walked toward the rear of the bridge. He held the latest report from the scout ships, and prospects werent looking good. Slowly he stepped through the doors into the outer office of the Grand Admiral There in a darkened corner Rukh stood, somber and watching. Pellaeon shook his head and stepped through the doors.
Hovering in front of him was an enormous image that made Pellaeon halt. Three giant cubes were engaging a force of two Star Destroyers and support ships. Pellaeon watched the crisscrossing of blasts and beams for a moment and was about to clear his throat when the Admiral leaned back from his chair in the center of the room, Fascinating isnt it. Weve encountered a race that is far different then any we have encountered before. But I think I know how to beat them, if they return at any rate. Thrawn brought up a sensor display record recording the imperial gunners impacts. There Thrawn nodded, You recall that each turbolaser fires on a slightly different frequency.
Yes, captain, the gunners installed the measure so they could keep track of who destroyed what post battle, something of an instrument of pride, Pellaeon answered.
Yes, if you watch closely you notice that all the batteries on the ship have fired three times at this point
Thrawn pointed to the display and suddenly Pellaeon watched as the newest barrage from the Relentless reflected off a shield the Borg had suddenly deployed. Thrawn keyed off the holo projector, The enemy recorded the frequency of each of our attacks and used the information to deploy a shield directly on that frequency; the counter to this is self evident. Each turbolaser will be a given a sequence of ten frequencies that they will rotate through when engaged by these, Borg.
Ill order the modification at once Admiral, Pellaeon said swiftly.
What do you think of the shape of the ships, captain? Thrawn asked casting his red eyes directly at Pellaeon.
I dont know what to make of it sir, its just a simple cube
Yes, a cube, a simple standard geometric shape. This gives us an insight onto the enemys psychology, were dealing against a low grade hive mind, and a culture based upon adding other to its existence. Id say that it is a culture striving to include all to become a one all in composing culture, I believe that they believe that doing this they will reach a utopian existence, The Admiral had stood and was now gripping the tops of the chair. Slowly Thrawn shook his head, Their striving for perfection makes them dangerous, even more dangerous if they actually believe themselves to be perfect.
So you know how to defeat them in battle, Pellaeon answered slowly.
Yes, captain, if it comes to that, they have their weaknesses, Thrawn answered slowly. He glanced at the pad which was clutched in Pellaeons grip, What have our scouts reported?
Im afraid theyve reported that all the installations supposedly in this sector no longer exist, there is no sign of battle or debris either sir, Pellaeon answered as he handed the report to Thrawn.
And we have no scientists with us who could explain what has occurred, Thrawn shook his head slowly, What we really need are a few good minds.
* * *
Luke glanced out the viewport at the Jade Scimitar. Slowly he lifted his comm link to his mouth, Artoo, how are the repairs coming? The answering twitters and beeps were sounded encouraging, Good, well head over in a little bit, after we talk to the engineer over here.
Two hot chocolates, Mara spoke to a recess in the wall and smiled softly at Luke as the two cups materialized already hot and steaming, You know I want one of these.
Ive heard it has trouble with some of the other things, and needs constant maintenance, Luke answered as he took a cup from the recess and took a sip. It wasnt bad but it seemed a little different then what he was used to.
We could load the schematics into Artoo, he could fix it. Mara suggested as she took a sip.
Luke shook his head, Youre just trying to make it so we dont every have to cook again.
So, since when have I cooked?
Luke laughed, True. He sighed, Wed better head to engineering. They left their quarters and walked along the corridor until they reached the turbolift, Engineering.
Mara sighed as she felt the lift take them downward then sideways, I hope Tores is willing to help.
If I know engineers shell be wanting too tear everything apart, upgrade it and put it back together, Luke said as a smile played across his face.
Shed better not, Mara retorted as the doors hissed open and they walked into the pulsing chamber which was main engineering.
Belana Tores was hunched over one of the dozens of control panels when they stepped into view. She shouted to one of the other engineers, Johnson take over. Then she walked over to the two of them, Im ready, weve got some pressure suits. Well head over whenever youre ready.
Were ready now, Luke answered swiftly. Then he stopped, Well need those pressure suits, life support failed soon after we beamed over.
* * *
The cabin was still dark but the control lights and equipment was still in complete working order. Artoo sat jacked into one of the panels running a diagnostic as a series of blue lines and glittering specs appeared in the center of the cabin. Slowly the three figures appeared wearing the grey helmeted suits that were standard for the federation. With a flick of a switch lights went on to help them see. Artoo swiveled to look at and shrieked.
Its alright Artoo its us, Luke said calming the surprised droid. He leaned down next to the unit, What have you got operational? The droid beeped and whistled and Luke glanced at his data pad at the translation, Engines are online, Weapons, Hyperdrive is at ninety percent efficiency. The droid beeped, He says he hasnt been able to fix the life support.
Alright, lets start with that, Mara said walking toward the rear of the ship with Belana in tow.
So this is your personal ship? Belana asked as they walked down a corridor.
Yes, its our ship. Luke, is the mag field online in the hangar bay?
Its working, Artoo says the life support system needs some new Carbon Dioxide scrubbers, Luke called from the cockpit.
Mara keyed the door and they stepped through into a broad space. Two starfighters hung from launch racks side by side. Each hung above a large circular launch door that was sealed with a magnetic field. Without the field atmosphere would leak from the bay at an alarming rate. Mara smiled as she walked by the T-65 XJ. It had the newest model of laser cannons. The XJ X-wings were no longer the blocky ships of the rebellion by streamlined beauties of a ship that looked even more lethal. The wings seemed to gracefully warp into the hull and the laser cannons had a distinctive cylinder shaped muzzle flash protector. The entire ship seemed more predatory with the gentle curving of the wings and the smooth bond between canons and wings. The ship seemed like the elegant weapon which it was.
Luke however still had his old ship from the rebellion, a T-65B which had the scars of countless battles. Mara knew however that it had been upgraded by Han Solo just after the end of the Vong invasion. Its weapons and shields were up to the specs for the stock XJ and the personally modified engines gave it as much speed as a stock XJ. Of course Mara had modified her ship as well but together the two ships performed just as well. Mara however liked the elegant style of the XJ over the older model. Mara turned to Belana staring in surprise, Impressive arent they?
Yes, they are, Tores seemed to snap out of a trance and focused on the problem at hand, So where is the life support?
Here, Mara said as she pulled open a panel. One look revealed a large amount of carbon scoring and scorched wiring.
Belana looked at the damage and frowned, Are those the scrubbers?
Yeah, Mara replied as she pulled out one of the blackened boxes. She dropped it onto the ground and pulled a vibroblade from the compartment. It buzzed slightly as she cut it open and glanced inside, Just as I though, the plasma charge burned away the filter.
Try this, Belana handed Mara a glowing gel pack. Mara took it and looked at it uncertain, Its a bioluminescent carbon filter, it has a fast acting plant in it that cleans the air just like a filter. Weve been experimenting with them on Voyager.
Mara glanced at the opened box and shook her head, Im not sure I could install it, the parts and energy requirements are probably different.
Let me try, Belana replied as she sat down and plugged in a sensor device. Slowly she nodded, Okay Ive got a resistor that should make the energy requirement work. She put a cap on the piece of wiring that had once gone into the square filter. Then she took the square filter cut a hole in the center and dropped it inside. She attached the pack to the wiring and installed the pack back where it had gone. She glanced at the oxygen gage and saw that it was slowly beginning to rise, All done in about five minutes well be able to dump the suits.
Thats pretty efficient for a filter, Mara answered as she closed the panel.
Belana smiled at the older woman, I try. She shrugged, So what next?
Next we repair the hull, Luke, could you get the plates and welding gear, were going outside, Mara said smiling.
* * *
Captain Janeway looked at the view screen and watched as a trio of suited figures wandered across the hull of the Jade Scimitar. She could see the flare of welding and patching on the hull. Janeway was amazed by the sheer look of the ship, even in its battered form. The design seemed strangely elegant and deadly at the same time. She watched as the sparks of welding continued and sighed, Well, it seems theyll be ready to head out pretty soon.
A warning went up from the sensor console and Tuvok glanced up from his console, Captain, a Borg Scout ship has just entered sensor range. Its approaching slowly.
ETA? Janeway asked as fear began to claw at her.
Fifteen minutes, Tuvok answered swiftly.
Janeway to Belana, get inside that ship, there is a Borg detector on the way, Janeway said swiftly.
Acknowledged, Belana answered across the command Janeway watched the group scramble to the airlock.
* * *
Luke dropped behind the pilots controls. He turned to Mara as she grabbed the chairs top, Systems check.
All systems operational, more or less, Mara answered her husband as she checked the readouts.
Alright give me a power restart Artoo, Luke ordered and the little droid whirred. The entire vessel thrumbed with life and more panels began to glow their readiness.
So who are the Borg, Mara asked as she dropped down into the weapons control seat.
Belana frowned, Theyre a race of people that capture vessels and steal their technology and the crews. Every one of them is plugged into a mechanical hive mind. Each Borg has implants throughout their body and dont have any individual thought just the will of the hive implanted in them.
Aggressive? Luke asked as he activated the ion drive.
You have no idea.
* * *
Captain, were receiving a distress call, its Commander Chekotay, Ensign Kim said as his status board blinked.
Onscreen, Janeway answered quickly.
The tanned black haired image of Commander Chekotay winked into existence on the view screen, Captain, Im afraid Ive got a Borg Detector on my tale. In the background the image of one of Voyagers shuttle craft shuddered, Get Voyager out of here.
Through the speakers another voice cut in, Commander Chekotay can you make it to the position were sending?
Yes, Belana I can make those quadrants, but you cant stop a Borg detector!
Janeway turned as the rear doors of the bridge slid open and Boba Fett stepped onto the bridge, Captain, Id like to offer my assistance.
Alright, Chekotay make it to those quadrants were coming after you! Janeway answered and turned to Boba, Launch your ship, Paris get the flyer out there, weve got a Borg ship to demolish.
* * *
Luke could see it out the viewport, a craft over four hundred meters tall it looked like a group of metal plates had been slapped together with wire and engines tacked onto the rear. A green beam had locked onto the small shuttle that was fighting desperately to free itself.
Slowly he looked at Belana as she starred at the threat. Slowly Mara turned to her, Ive activated weapons and shields, targeting array is only, Im going to hit that beam right away can your Commander make a run for it after we hit that thing?
Yes, Commander Chekotay the ship closing on your position is the Jade Scimitar shell hit the holding beam and free your ship, make a run for it once we fire, Belana said swiftly.
Alright weapons ready, ETA sixty seconds, Luke said as the target began to grow in his sights. May the force be with us.
The Borg detector slid threw space its holding beam firmly gripping the struggling Type 9 federation shuttle which was Chekotays transport. Suddenly a pair of blue streaks shot past the shuttle and into the beam. The two proton torpedoes stopped as the holding beam tried to lock onto them. The shuttle was suddenly free and cruising away. Red bolts shot pas the fleeing shuttle and into the blocky form of the Borg ship. Green detonations flashed across the ships hull. The ship kicked into an accelerating run as it became aware of the new threat.
The glistening form of the Jade Scimitar flashed by the federation shuttle its weapons ports blazing. A topside automated turbolaser spat fire at its opponent. The red blaze of the blast detonating against the hull of the Borg ship lit up the cockpit of the federation shuttle where Chekotay sat hunched over the controls. He punched a fist in the air as his ship rocketed away from the blaze of firing behind him, Thank you Scimitar.
A female voice came back across the channel, Well pull back right behind you and hold them off. Chekotay looked over to see a red headed woman staring at him through the comm display, Voyager and Slave III should be here within a few minutes.
The Jade scimitar came about and the Borg detector tried to lock onto it with a holding beam. A pair of blue proton torpedoes shot back at the blocky foes and acted as decoys for the beam which dissipated a few moments later.
Onboard the ship clambered from the rhythmic roar of lasers firing at the foe. Jade sat hunched over the weapons controls and picked up a virtual reality HUD and pulled it over her eyes. Suddenly she could see the Borg ship behind them pushing to catch up. She could sense Lukes thoughts as they roared away from the Borg ship, his constant fear for her and his desire to get back to voyager along with the coolness of a combat veteran facing combat once again.
Then through her senses she could perceive them a buzzing constant awareness at the edge of her consciousness, a mind that was both many and one at the same time. She could sense the individual Borg in the vessel of course, but they just seemed to be a mirror of the mind that was the Borg. Slowly she squeezed Lukes hand as she grasped what they were fighting.
Then through the HUD she saw a series of green blasts as the Borg ship opened fire with its primary armament. The torpedoes raced for them and Luke put the ship into a corkscrew maneuver to test the torpedoes abilities. He grimaced as the torpedoes matched every one of his maneuvers, Mara?
Activating interceptors, Mara answered as she punched a button in front of her. Outside the ship a large cluster of miniature missile launchers rose from the ships rear, a warbling sound echoed through her ears as she targeted the incoming missiles. She smiled slightly as she punched a second button. Outside a stream of miniature white missiles rocketed from their tubes. They hit one after another detonating the incoming torpedo barrage as it shot at them. The green explosions of the Borg torpedoes faded into nothingness as Mara pulled the firing triggers and a pair of blue proton torpedoes rocketed out toward their target.
The Borg ship saw them coming and attempted to lock onto them with a holding beam. The torpedoes shuddered then stopped detonating as their onboard computers realized they wouldnt hit their target. Mara cursed as she saw them detonate then smiled as she punched another button. Belana glanced over her shoulder as she pulled the trigger, Those torpedoes wont get through!
Just watch, Mara said as she felt the ejection of the torpedoes but saw no blue corona. She turned to Luke, Shadow bombs away!
With the aid of the force the two small spinning cylinders fell behind the Jade Scimitar. The rotated slowly in space bumping and moving left and right as the Borg detector closed with them. They slipped through the shields with a purple flare of light then hit random green lit hull of the ship. Mara watched as a pair of explosions ripped through the largest portion of the vessel. The large panel that formed the main hull ripped free and tumbled in space. Slowly she watched as the battered tear where the hull had parted began to harden. She saw the panel begin to reform. Within thirty seconds the damage was gone except for the hulk of debris that continued to tumble near the Borg ship.
Mara whistled at the speed with which the damage had disappeared. With her mind she told Luke what to do next. The stars spun outside and suddenly they were turned around facing the Borg ship. Mara thumbed down on the firing studs and the space between the two ships was suddenly alive with the glowing bolts of turbolasers. A series of explosions rocked across the forward section of the ship. Green flames crackled from where atmosphere was ignited from their impact. Suddenly a pair of blue white bolts blazed across the ships hull. Ionized panels crackled with electricity and parts of the ship went dark but the Borg recovered quickly.
A series of green disruptor blasts flashed past the Jade Scimitar. Mara felt the ship shuddered as a pair of the shots impacted the hardened armor of the Scimitars hull. She saw sparks shoot up from the dash and saw the HUD flash into darkness. Mara pulled off the HUD and tossed it to the floor as alarms blared in the cockpit, Weapons array offline!
Luke threw up his hands as the display darkened, Engines and shields are out! He whirled out of his seat as a green transporter beam lit up behind them. Suddenly the clammy skinned and armored figure of the Borg appeared before them. Luke punched a panel next to him and a lightsaber shot from the compartment.
It was an elegant design that featured a crescent that was an eerie combination of the Imperial and Rebel crests. It was the saber Jaina had given them as a gift on their anniversary. He smiled coldly as he activated the violet beam and readied himself for the Borg.
Mara had produced a blaster from the compartment under her chair and fired point blank into the Borg. His face was blackened by the bolt and the Borg slumped over, dead. A second then a third Borg materialized as more troops were beamed aboard.
Belana leveled her phaser and fired a blast that killed its target. She fired again and watched as the beam was absorbed by an energy shield that materialized in front of it. Belana cursed and threw the phaser at the Borg. Luke strode forward confident and swung with two quick strokes that brought the Borg down, killed instantly. He turned to Artoo, Get the shields back up!
The droid twittered and sped down the corridor. Mara followed her blaster raised with Belana crouched behind her. They came into the hanger and Mara saw a trio of Borg turn to her their targeting lasers scanning for her presence. She fired twice. The first shot burnt through the closer ones chest dropping it to the ground. The second blast reflected off the Borg like it had hit magnetic shield. It burnt a small divot in the ceiling. Mara backed up and reached for one of the loose crates that scattered around the hanger when the lightsaber twirled into view and sliced the Borg in half dropping it to the ground.
Artoo had stopped next to a power coupling and was busily working to restore shield power when a familiar voice came through Maras comm link, Slave III to Jade Scimitar.
Mara here, what do you want? Mara answered as Belana set to work on one of the power couplings.
Ive got Voyager coming up in my wake, well put the heavy end of the hammer down on them, Boba answered swiftly.
Be careful, its hull has regenerative abilities, Mara answered as a shower of sparks shot from Artoos power coupling followed by a warble. She could hear the rumble of the generators putting the shields back on. She turned to Luke and Belana, Voyager is coming and we cant do anything from here, Artoo, Lucky Hand get the X-wing up and running. She looked at Belana, Were going to take the X-wings out and try and give Voyager a fighting chance. Belana if you keep the shields running youll be safe, hold the ship, well want it back.
Seconds later Mara dropped behind the controls of her X-wing and flipped on the power up sequence. Behind her, Lucky Hand, her astromech and the newest gift from Talon Karrde dropped into his socket. She pulled on a helmet and strapped in as the droid began the power checklist. Below her she saw the space tight doors slide open and the rack that held the fighter begin to tip downward. She did a final check as the racked stopped ready to launcher her into space. She keyed her comm, Luke, ready?
Ready, Luke answered and suddenly his ship was out of the scimitar heading downward. Mara gritted her teeth at the shock of being flung out of the Scimitar and into space. She curved up and around and saw the Borg detector sitting in space with a holding beam locked onto the Jade Scimitar and a cutting beam futilely trying to bring down the shields.
Across the comm came the audio signal she knew was coming, Luke, Mara, well show this thing whos boss. Mara turned in her seat to see the Firespray attack ship flash by to engage the Borg ship.
Mara looked down at her sensor board and saw a series of new blips emerge from the Borg ship. She keyed her comm, Weve got shuttle class vessels launching from the Borg Detector.
* * *
Captain Janeway sat in the command chair as she saw a series of black boxes exit from the Borg detectors rear. She turned to Ensign Kim, Analysis?
Theyre Borg scouts, the Enterprise reported encountering one on the surface of a planet near the neutral zone, six crew, minimal armament, Ensign Kim reported. He looked up from his console.
Correct, theyre Borg shuttles, armed with a single pulse weapon and a lone cutting beam, very underpowered, Seven of Nine stated swiftly. She looked at Janeway, Theyre targeting the starfighters.
Captain Janeway, well keep these busy, Lukes voice came through the comm. He sounded intense, busy, Target that capital ship.
Janeway watched as the doors to the cabin slid open and Commander Chekotay stepped onto the bridge, Commander, its good that youre back.
Thank you, Ensign Freeman Ill take the helm. The commander slid into the helm seat and checked the readings.
Lieutenant Paris, were heading in at the Detector, if you could pull some of those Borg shuttles off our allies on the way in theyd probably appreciate it, Captain Janeway said swiftly. She watched as the Firespray attack ship opened fire on the Borg detector. Its arsenal of weapons systems tracked across the Borg ship causing miniature detonations all across it but the ship seemed just as functional.
She looked at Chekotay, Attack pattern Alpha Four. On the screen the flash of phaser energy impacted the hull of the ship. Steam erupted from the ships hull for a moment then stopped as the Borg adapted to stop the attack. She put a finger to her chin, Quantum torpedoes.
* * *
Luke watched as three pulsing blue torpedoes shot from Voyager and splattered against the Borg ship. One went through the shields blowing a whole in the hull. The molten remains of the blast splattered against his shields pinging as they glanced off. He targeted the nearest Borg shuttle and felt his hair stand on end and threw the starfighter into a loop that let him evade a trail of pulse bolts from one of the Borg shuttles.
He felt them in his mind and smiled slightly as he pulled their plan from their minds. Three shuttles closed on him from the front, rear, and dorsal vectors. He mentally signaled Mara, now! One of the Borg ship exploded as Maras torpedo found its mark and Luke corkscrewed through the expanding cloud of gas and debris.
Luke lined up a shot on one of the two remaining shuttles when a glowing and sparking green orb slammed into the shuttle which detonated in a flash. Suddenly a small craft shot through the expanding explosion and on to the Borg Detector. Through his comm Luke heard Tom Pariss whoop of glee as the flyer shot into the heart of the flight.
Luke saw Mara finish off the last Borg shuttle with a quad burst of laser fire then break toward the Borg detector. They accelerated toward the engagement. Luke glanced to Mara as she formed up on his wing, Shadow bombs?
I could try it, a pity your B model doesnt have them, Mara answered swiftly. He could imagine her smiling behind the controls.
Who says I dont have shadow bombs, Luke answered then flicked the comm to Artoo, Set up for shadow bombs.
So Artoo is going to program them to be instant shadow bombs? Mara said slowly. She shrugged then kicked on her thrusters closing on the blocky target. She launched the bomb then curved away as the bomb detonated against the ships shields. He could hear Maras exasperation, Damn it.
Luke moved in to attack and fired his two torpedoes. They didnt glow or ignite their engines as they headed for the target. Luke had his instant shadow bombs, thanks to Artoo.
The two conical shells headed for their target. Suddenly they went through the shield then exploded one after another to rip open a huge portion of the hull, Yes!
* * *
Janeway saw the flash as the proton torpedoes detonated and turned to Tuvok, Target that point all weapons. The ship rocked as a holding beam caught her vessel. The ship began to vibrate and shudder as a cutting beam caught the vessel.
Shields at fifty percent, Tuvok stated as the ship continued to shudder and lights dimmed.
Ensign Kim looked up from his display, Another ship coming in!
Identify, Janeway commanded as she watched the Borg Detector swing around to fire its forward torpedoes. The glowing orbs shot from the ship and were suddenly intercepted by a shower of miniature white missiles. The Jade Scimitar shot by the detonating torpedoes.
* * *
Thats my ship! Mara yelled as she watched the Jade Scimitar blaze into the engagement. She flipped on her comm gear, Belana what are you doing!
Luke tuned out the lecture and saw a query appear on his console. He frowned and flipped a switch to monitor the older New Republic frequencies. A stream of encoded transmissions washed across his headset. Suddenly he felt his cockpit go dark and he looked up toward the systems star and saw an enormous shape cross in front of it, Umm Mara
* * *
Unknown configuration, wait its firing on the Borg ship! Ensign Kim looked up his eyes wide as he watched the Borg Detector wither from the barrage of weapons fire. Suddenly in a green tinted explosion the ship detonated. He looked at Captain Janeway, Borg Detector destroyed.
Were being hailed, Commander Tuvok said from his station.
On screen, Captain Janeway answered.
The screen shifted to the inside of a cream colored bridge. Dozens of controls and panels were visible in the image but only a few crewmen, some of which looked human. In the center was a humanoid that was obviously amphibian. It had reddish brown skin and gold fish like yes that were mounted on the sides of its skull and had to swivel forward to focus on Janeways image, I am Captain Loran Remora of the New Republic Warship Remember Yavin IV.
Grand Admiral Thrawn sat in the command chair at the center of the bustling activity of the Imperial II Star Destroyer Chimaera. Slowly he turned to watch Captain Pellaeon as he strolled along the command deck inspecting the stations of his subordinates. Thrawn watched as the communications officer straightened, Captain, Ive got a communiqu頦rom Scout group Epsilon Four. Theyve found the Fondor shipyards completely intact!
Their report? Captain Pellaeon asked swiftly and took a data pad from the officer. He skimmed it then handed it to Thrawn, There is an attached holographic file.
Thrawn nodded as he took the data pad and skimmed its report. Yes, theyd found that Fondor still seemed to have its shipyards. Slowly Thrawn took the data card from the pad and punched it into he tactical data holo projector. In front of him the world of Fondor materialized. There were indeed a large number of shipyards around the world. He zoomed in one off the shipyards and stopped cold. There in the center of the shipyard was a vessel that was far from standard Imperial design. Thrawns eyes narrowed as he saw that it was an enormous vessel that was shaped like a ship from the distant past. He guessed that it was just over fourteen kilometers long from the range. Putting a finger to his blue cheek he spoke softly, barely a whisper, Captain? Pellaeon wheeled and marched next to him. When he bent down Thrawn spoke quietly so that the crew could not hear, Run this vessel through the technical specifications found at Wayland if there is a match I want to know about it.
* * *
Luke looked up through the top of his canopy at the enormous MC 80a cruiser that hung above him. Slowly he turned to Artoo, Artoo give me all the files you have on the MC80a Remember Yavin IV.
The screen in front of him lit up and script sped across it. Luke slowly began to read, MC80a Remember Yavin IV designation MC-80A4176. Ship constructed at the Mon Calamari Shipyards eight years after Endor. She was commanded by Commander Hiram Gurath, second in command Captain Loran Remora. Served with distinction during the war against he cloned emperor, continued service until destroyed over Doornik 319 during the Yevethan Crisis. Luke transmitted to the data to Mara.
Destroyed? Mara said across the comm. Luke could feel the surprise ripple from her as she spoke.
* * *
Captain Janeway stood in the center of the bridge, Im Captain Janeway of the Federation Starship Voyager.
Captain, I trust you have no hostile intent, unlike these
Borg, The Calamari captain said across the link. Only then did Janeway notice the blackened nature of several consoles behind the aquatic alien.
You were attacked as well? Janeway asked.
Yes, my two escorting corvettes were destroyed, we managed to beat them off and make a jump into hyperspace, Loran answered. He seemed to sag in his chair, Weve put out a series of calls through all know channels, we havent been able to contact anyone, until now. He turned to his sensor officer, Have you finished the sensor sweep?
Yes, Captain there is nothing else out there.
The Mon Calamari officer turned back to the screen, I see that there is a pair of X-wings with you, though Im not familiar with the design of one of them.
Janeway nodded slowly, Yes, Master Skywalker and his wife are piloting them. Janeway stopped when she saw the Calamaris eyes widen.
Did you say Skywalkers wife?
* * *
Remember we cant tell them anything, Luke said slowly across the communications. Slowly he turned to glance at Maras X-wing as it slid past him.
Across the channel Luke could hear Maras sigh, How are we going to explain our marriage
I mean what if they dont know whats happened? She paused and Luke felt a wave of frustration come off of her presence in the force, I just finished a sensor scan and the Cruiser lacks the upgrades that we instituted after the Clone emperors appearance. There isnt enough old battle scoring for the ship to be very old.
Well, she sure has battle damage. Im can see traces of high energy cuts across the hull, along with new weld seams, Luke answered slowly. He frowned at the damage, Could this be from a Borg attack?
That would explain why they fired on that Borg ship right away, Mara answered swiftly.
Luke was startled when a voice came across the speaker of the X-wing, X-wings, Captain Remora would like to invite you to land in our hanger, wed like to meet you.
Negative Yavin IV, wed like to get back into our ship, perhaps another time, Luke answered slowly as he turned his craft toward the Jade Scimitar.
X-wings, Captain Remora must insist
Luke felt his hair stand on end. Slowly he looked at the Mon Calamari cruiser there he noticed that a pair of quad laser batteries had turned to face him. Luke saw the targeting warning light suddenly begin to blink.
Yavin are you going to fire on us? Mara asked slowly across the radio.
Negative, X-wings unless you refuse again, The gravely sounding Mon Calamari voice answered.
Youd shoot a longtime hero of the Rebellion? Luke asked across the comm.
The voice on the other end seemed slightly shaken, We have no reason to believe you are who you say unless you come aboard.
Alright Yavin, well play your game, Mara said with a sigh. Slowly she turned the X-wing toward the cruiser.
* * *
Grand Admiral Thrawn folded his hands in front of him and starred out at the glistening blue tunnel that was hyperspace. He turned as Pellaeon approached holding a data pad. Slowly Thrawn took it and read the contents, So Fondor has begun construction on a Sovereign Class Super Star Destroyer.
Yes, Admiral, Im surprised that it was in the Wayland archives, Pellaeon answered slowly.
Thrawn allowed himself a slight smile, Youd be surprised how many designs for weapons that are in that warehouse. He shrugged, Weapons that are rare, or nearly impossible to find, but still extremely effective. Suddenly with a thump the ship lurched out of hyperspace. Thrawns eyes instantly narrowed, Report!
We hit a gravity well, sir three ships dead ahead, decloaking, The Sensor officer seemed to turn pale. Im picking up starfighter launch theyve begun to form a ring around us.
Show me, Thrawn ordered. In front of him the tactical holographic display suddenly snapped into existence. It showed the three capital ships. Each looked like an enormous three pointed spear with a pair of demonic wings that sprouted from the main hull. There reddish brown hull was covered with glyphs and symbols. The wings ended in a pair of forward pointing fins. At the ships rear a pair of enormous ion engines sat, but Thrawn new the ship had an alternate form of propulsion, a graviton drive. Above the drive sat the simple shape of the bridge designed in a fashion similar to his imperial vessels. Hed encountered them before and felt an icy fist close around his stomach, Rapora ships, here?
Were receiving a transmission, The communications officer said slowly.
Thrawn stood and walked to the rear alcove, Put it through. He stepped onto the holographic stand and watched as before him the image of a Rapora appeared.
The creature was bipedal and predatory. It had a long tail that faded out of the holograms range. Its arms were long with a five fingered clawed hand. Its skin was a sheet of leathery scales. Its head was pointed an angular, like a wolfs. Beneath its lips were a series of pointed teeth that marked it as a predator. The creature had yellow reptilian eyes that seemed to have faded because of the projection. This ones head was decorated with an ornate headdress and a chain of golden rings went from its dress to a ring just below the hole that served as the animals ear. The creature smiled its recognition as the holo projector finished loading Thrawns image, Ah, Mitthrawnnurodo if you were anyone else I would have destroyed you where you stand.
Yes, what do you want, Thrawn answered his red eyes narrowed, he knew that the Rapora were dangerous. He also knew they were quite capable of carrying out that threat.
From you, nothing, well allow you to continue on, we were hoping to catch someone else, The Rapora replied and smiled at him then bowed.
Thrawn let out a slow breath, Thank you.
* * *
Luke popped the hatch of his snubfighter and climbed down the ladder and walked into a wall of security personnel with their blasters drawn. Slowly he held up his hands, What dont recognize me?
The soldiers tentatively lowered their weapons. Luke sighed as Mara walked over from her X-wing. A couple of the soldiers snapped their rifles back up when they saw her, most just stood there. Well Ill be damned, A Mon Calamari officer slipped through the crowd and stepped forward, Captain Remora, you look a lot older then I thought you would.
Thats because he is, Mara said slowly. She sighed, Can you take us to a conference room. Well explain it all to you.
This way, The captain answered and slowly led them through the doors and down a hall.
After a few minutes they were alone in a conference room. There the Captain turned on them, So Janeway said youre married?
Luke nodded, slowly, Hold on let me explain.
Alright, I suppose Ive gotten ahead of something, go ahead, Loran replied. He heaved a sigh as he dropped into a command chair.
Luke heaved a sigh he knew this was going to be hard to explain, Captain, youve noticed that there isnt any communications available across the holo net. The Captain nodded and Luke continued, We believe that some form of temporal and dimensional distortion has occurred. You see
With a flash of light the familiar form of Q blazed into existence next to Luke, Naughty naughty, naughty, you mustnt tell.
Mara sighed, Captain Remora, meet Q.
Just Q, thank you very much.
Q is an alien who has the ability to move through both time and space at will, Mara added slowly.
What I think has happened here is, if you can imagine all the major events of the last three decades occurring at the same time. Our time line has been compressed into now. You see, me and Mara got married over a decade ago. But for you it hasnt happened yet, Luke said slowly trying to make him understand.
So simple but, wrong, Q said and barked a laugh.
You explain then if youre so smart, were not scientists, Mara spat at Q.
Q shrugged, Well, if Luke is right, explain Voyager, the Borg
I dont know but I do know what I remember and I know that this ship was destroyed years ago, Luke felt anger swell up on him then a wave of shock from the officer across the table.
What happened, Captain Remora asked quietly.
You shouldnt have told him, Mara and Q spoke at once then they both looked at each other shocked.
Luke sighed, Years from your time there was a conflict between the New Republic and the Yevetha a race that lived in the Koornacht cluster. Your ship was destroyed in a battle during the conflict.
I see, The Captain lowered his gaze slightly then shrugged, Well there is no telling what is going to happen now, if your theory is correct.
Suddenly the panels in the room flashed red and an alert sounded. A voice came across the intercom, taunt with tension, Captain weve got something.
* * *
Janeway looked out the view screen at a ribbon in space, a flexing orange rift that wrinkled and spun before their eyes. It widened and grew until it looked like a broad crack of orange had been gouged against the purple background of a nebula. It expanded then spun like a giant orange wormhole.
Janeway looked to Seven of Nine, Analyses.
Im picking up massive emissions of tachyon particles along with abnormally large numbers of neutrinos, Seven said reading her display. She looked at Janeway, The tachyon emissions are a partial match to Borg experiments with time travel. The neutrinos however are unexplained.
A stray memory clicked, You remember how the Jade Scimitar had residue from neutrinos on her hull when we found her.
Yes, are you suggests this phenomena is related, Seven replied as she arched an eyebrow.
Related or not, this is unique, Chekotay said swinging to look at Janeway from the helm.
Captain Im picking up ion signatures from the anomaly, Ensign Kim said as an alarm blared from the console. He glanced up, Im picking up, two no three small vessels
Janeway turned to see a trio of ships shoot out of the anomaly. The first one was the now familiar shape of an X-wing, its smooth lines similar to those of Maras fighter. This one however was covered with scoring from countless battles and there seemed to be the remains of a painting on the vessels wings and fuselage. Beside the X-wing was a slightly smaller fighter. It had a circular cockpit with a trio of arms that curved forward beyond the cockpit like a group of talons grabbing for its pray. Behind the two of them was a battered vessel. There was carbon scoring all along its circular hull. A cockpit jutted off the hull on one side and Janeway could make out a pair of laser turrets on the vessel.
Were picking up ship to ship communications, audio only, Ensign Kim said from his console.
Put them on speaker, Janeway ordered.
The speaker crackled and the voices seemed distorted but understandable, What in the name of the Sith was that? Um, Jagged that ship to port, is that what I think it is?
Thats not possible, its been two years, A second voice replied across the comm.
The first voice returned obviously female, They couldnt have survived could they?
Another voice cut in, Um, children weve got incoming, Rapora fighters through the anomaly.
A reptilian species who's homeworld exists beyond Chiss space in the unknown regions. They were however a major player in the early sith-republic wars. The Rapora were once a small group of aliens that existed on the planet Korriban. They were forced from the world along with several dark jedi after one of the countless struggles for power put them as part of a plot. Having fled however the Dark Jedi found that many of their traveling companions were force sensative and began training them.
Approxamently thirty percent fo the Rapora population is force using. They developed into an intense warrior culture. Almost all of their technology is geared to warfare, and that technology is exceptionally advanced. Thrawn when he was a commander in the Chiss defense force fought several battles against them and earned their respect by being able to defeat them but only with extremely heavy losses to his own force.
In Timothy Zahn's Star Wars: Vision of the Future a chiss called Stent gave this remark to Mara Jade.
"From what? You soft complacent female. You think that because you around your quiet worlds behind a ring fo warships that the rest of the galaxy is a safe place to live? There are a hundred different threats out there that would freeze your blood if you knew about them...."
I've taken the liberty and placed the Rapora as number one on this list of threats. You'll probably be shocked by just how deadly they truly are.
Captain Janeway watched as the X-wing and chiss clawcraft shot upward and toward the anomaly. From the glowing ribbon a series of starfighters shot into view. They were brown in coloration and had a pair of claw shaped wings that shot forward. Their cockpit was shaped like a claw that was half retracted in the center of the craft. Suddenly there were four of them shooting through the anomaly. A stream of golden bolts shot from the twin plasma cannons the ships had mounted on their wings. Janeway watched as the x-wing and clawcraft broke off to avoid the bolts.
Orders captain? Commander Chekotay said from the helm.
Janeway closed her eyes and listed her options. The unknown vessels had fired first and targeted a group that had been friendly to them in the past. Was it an internal conflict? She didnt know and that lack of knowledge force her hand, Retreat heading.
Ensign Kim stood from behind his console, Captain?
You heard me, we dont know if this is an internal matter or not, we cant get involved, Janeway said swiftly.
What about those ships we shot off the Jade Scimitar?
Ensign those vessels fired upon us as well, we were forced to defender ourselves, and the captain has logically reacted in accordance with the prime directive, Commander Tuvok said from his station.
Janeway saw one of the unknown craft bank to engage them. She turned to Tuvok, Shields up! Suddenly a series of golden colored bolts shot into the ships shields. The vessel rocked and Janeway saw a shower of sparks shoot from Ensign Kims console. Steam began to vent from a ceiling portion as the starfighter shot by the Voyager and curved away for another run.
Commander Tuvok glanced at Janeway, Captain, rear shields are down, deck eight reports a hull breach force fields are in place and holding.
Janeways eyes were wide, They got through our shields! She slammed a fist down on the corner of her chair, Return fire!
A phaser blast arced across the small starfighter, its shields glowed bright yellow for a moment then failed as the phaser sliced off a section of the wing. Janeway turned to Tuvok, Beam the pilot to the Brig. I want to know what were dealing with.
* * *
Luke stood as he felt the ship shudder from an impact and looked at the Captain, Permission to leave?
Go, quickly, shields are at fifty percent on our keel, whoever they are they can deal damage, The Captain answered as he left heading for the bridge.
Luke and Mara ran out of the room heading for their starfighters. Republic troops scattered as they ran past and within a few moments they clambered up into their cockpits. With a flick of a switch Luke closed the canopy over him and saw the console in front of him flash with tactical information, there were now twelve Rapora fighters, no eleven Luke thought as one speck disappeared. He shot out of the hanger and felt the rumble of his s foils locking into attack position as he headed for the engagement. Behind him Luke saw a squadron of x-wings launch from a hanger. A pair of Rapora fighters dropped behind the squadron and opened fire. Two x-wings exploded from casual caress of the plasma fire. Followed seconds later by a much larger explosion as a trio of X-wings collided in an effort to evade their attackers.
Luke dodged the splattering of plasma bolts that rocketed toward him. Luke knew this wasnt plasma like that which came from the Yuuzhan Vong coral skippers. This plasma was more refined and deadly lacking all the errors and problems associated with biological weaponry. These technological plasma cannons were exponentially more power then those biological devices Luke had fought just a few years earlier.
Luke rolled and dove and saw the remains of the X-wing squadron frantically engaged in a dog fight with four Rapora fighters. He extended his perceptions and felt Mara reaching out for him. Then he felt the cold calculating minds of his foes and the panicked outcry of the x-wing pilots. At the edge of his mind he felt several more familiar presences.
* * *
Jaina felt sweat dribbling down her face as she broke hard away from a pass from a Rapora fighter. She threw the craft around into a tight turn that brought her behind the target and fired frantically. She saw her first shot splatter against the ships shields and her second quad burst slice threw the fighters canopy. Through the force she felt the pilots outcry as it was killed.
She turned and saw a familiar pair of X-wings ahead of them engaging in a dogfight with a group of Rapora. She called to her wing, Jagged, have you got identification on those two?
Theyre the Skywalkers! Jagged shock and surprise sent a ripple through the force. Slowly concentrating she reached out to touch the mind of the pilots and felt their familiar presence, slowly she sent a simple message to her former Master, Mara is it you?
She saw an unfamiliar ship shot between them lancing solid beams of weapons fire out at the Rapora ships. She felt Maras emotional contact now, its me Jaina. Shed been so concentrating on the enemy ahead of them she didnt sense the fighter that had locked onto her tail. She heard Jagged call out a warning, Jaina on your six!
Jaina heard a terrific bang and felt her fighter shudder from the impact a damage report scrolled up in front of her. She saw the temperature of the primary reactor soar. She reached down between her legs and called out her last comm transmission, Ejecting! With an explosion the cockpit blew away and she shot outward into the void.
* * *
Ejecting! The speaker called out to the bridge crew.
Janeway turned to Ensign Kim, Beam her to sick bay! She turned around and called out to Tuvok, Bring us into the center of that fight. Full axis rotation as we engage. I want to give those fighters some help without being blown out of the sky!
Janeway watched as the Jade Scimitar soared into the engagement lasers blazing. Kathryn watched as one Rapora fighter was vaporized from the barrage. Suddenly she saw two fighters pull away from the fight and angle toward the Calamari Cruiser. They shot under the ships keel then pulled up and around straightening above their target and Janeway saw a pair of glowing white balls shoot from under the cockpits of the ships.
* * *
Captain Remora was in his command chair as he watched the fight, Lieutenant, launch all remaining fighters!
Yes sir, The lieutenant that was in charge of the fighters nodded and transmitted his command.
The sensor operator turned to face the captain, Sir those two fighters have opened fire.
Very well, The captain replied as though it didnt matter, What can two fighters do? Continue launching fighters.
* * *
Janeway saw the first shell hit in a blaze of sire that almost completely engulfed the dorsal surfaces of the MC80. Then the second shells hit burrowing into the hull before detonating. The entire cruiser seemed to quake then fire blossomed from the hanger bay and engulfed a squadron of A-wings as they launched. The ship went dark as it seemed to shrink then ballooned outwards splitting the hull in half and sending debris and large sections of the hull in all directions. Within seconds nothing was left but a splintered hulk of a ship.
Janeway felt her stomach fold in on itself, Kill those fighters now!
* * *
Luke dropped in behind the swift moving Rapora fighter and fired sending a torpedo into its engine compartment. Instantly it blossomed into an expanding cloud of gas. Above them Luke saw Voyager firing with all its phaser banks within seconds four more Rapora fighters detonated. A familiar shape flashed by them destroyed a Rapora ship that had latched onto Maras tail before it could fire.
Thanks, Mara said across the channel.
No problem, The answering voice came across the comm. Luke smiled as he heard it, Give me another target.
A pair of Rapora ships shot by Lukes canopy and opened fire, Han youve got some tails!
A phaser blast shot into one and it exploded. A trio of yellow laser bolts shot into the second ship and Luke saw the Delta flyer and Slave III slip into defensive positions around the freighter, Solo weve got your back.
A chiss clawcraft shot into view firing on a Rapora wing pair. Suddenly the wing of the pair reversed direction without changing its vector and fired. Luke saw the clawcraft expertly begin a snap roll then dump a concussion missile. The shell hit the Rapora ship and detonated destroying the craft. The remaining Rapora ship suddenly accelerated then disappeared into hyperspace. After a moment a pained voice came across the line, Im not picking up Jainas beacon call.
This is Voyager, we picked up you pilot.
Relief seemed to wash across the two voices that answered at once, Thank you. Luke recognized them as Jagged Fel and Han Solo. Mara and Luke had never been worried theyd never lost her from their perceptions. Luke glanced over the space that had just been a battlefield and saw the scattered hulks of over a dozen republic starfighters and the burned out hulk of the Remember Yavin IV. Slowly he curved over to Jade Scimitar, Belana if youd hold still well come in and land.
* * *
Janeway let out a long breath as the damage reports came in. It had been a fight unlike any other shed witnessed, Casualties?
No Casualties here but that starship, Skywalker whats the crew for a ship like that? Chekotay answered.
Luke stood in the back of the bridge, hed transported over once theyd locked down the Jade Scimitar, Several thousand.
Tuvok nodded slowly from his console, Would you like to speak with our prisoner?
Prisoner? Luke asked somewhat disbelieving, What prisoner?
We captured one of these Rapora, hes in the Brig. Tuvok said slowly.
Luke glanced at the two of them, Did you search him?
We didnt detect any weapons, Tuvok said slowly.
A lightsaber doesnt show up on most sensors, you wouldnt have known me and Maras were weapons if we hadnt given them to you, Luke said a look of horror appearing on his features.
Janeway tapped a control on the stick, Bridge to the brig. There was no answer, Bridge to the brig please respond.
* * *
Luke Skywalker pulled a comm link from his belt, Mara, there is a Rapora on the loose. Get to
and beg for a lightsaber, Mara replied immediately.
Luke turned to the Captain, Could we have our weapons back?
Janeway sighed, I had them locked in the armory, its next to the Brig.
Ill need a guide, a weapon, and a security detail, Luke said as he turned to Tuvok who was already walking around his console. Chekotay pulled a hand phaser from his belt and tossed it to Luke who caught it deftly.
Tuvok nodded to Luke as he checked the weapon, Follow me
The Vulcan led Luke back to turbolift.
* * *
The Doctor smiled slightly as he bent over his patient. A young woman with brown hair and chiseled features, there was a small scratch across her face and a bruise along her back from the ejection. He turned serious as he took the hypospray from its tray and administered it to her neck. He backed away as her eyes flared open. Hed learned that some patients turned quite violent after treatment and this girl was an unknown quantity, Good youre awake.
As the scanner slid down the girl leapt up from her bed and glanced down at the grey clothes she wore, theyd been underneath her flight suite which she now saw crumpled up in a corner. With a flick of the wrist she reached out to it and a gleaming metal cylinder shot from the suite and into her hands. She whirled and a purple blade of energy flashed into existence as the lightsaber snapped on. The doctor lifted his chin as he saw the blade directly beneath it. The woman snarled, Who are you and tell me why I shouldnt kill you where you stand!
The doctor backed away, Im just a doctor, but welcome to the Federation starship Voyager. He sighed, You were beamed aboard right after you ejected, unconscious we didnt know if youd make it.
The panels that surrounded the room turned brilliant red and the lights dimmed. A mechanical voice came through, Prisoner escape, find and detain.
Jaina smiled deviously, Howd you pull that trick I dont see a form of communicator? She grimaced and gestured with her lightsaber then stopped as she sensed through the force that there was no one there. She thrust forward and the blade seemed to go straight through the doctor, What are you?
Im a holographic projection, so if youll excuse me, The doctor said slowly and walked over to the laboratory and tapped his comm badge, Captain our patient is awake.
Sorry doctor were a little busy right now, Janeway replied across the intercom. Jaina turned to face the door as a red glow started in its center. A red beam sliced through its center and the door slid open to reveal an imposing foe.
It was a creature just under two meters tall with a long tail and scaly skin. It wore a gold colored armored suit and held a cylinder that curved into a hook shape at its end. The middle two of its feet had a curved claw that was twice the size of the others and a head and muzzle shaped vaguely like a wolf. It snarled as it saw Jaina, Ah hello Jeedai! A pair of red lightsaber blades shot from the emitters on the cylinder. The weapons curve enabled the wielder to not only engage in duels with multiple opponents but also to slip past the defenses of a novice foe with a mere cock of the wrist.
Jaina readied her lightsaber as the Doctor keyed his badge, Intruder in sick bay, security!
She slipped into a classic guard stance and waited for the Rapora to make the first move. The Rapora rushed forward and made a thrust for her face which she parried. The Raporas head snapped back into an S curve shape as the creature swung downward. As the blades hit the Raporas head snapped forward. Jaina twisted back as the twin rows of the deadly knife shaped teeth snapped closed over where her head had just been.
Jaina struck back delivering a thrust that the creature bat aside. Jaina saw the creatures lips lift up into a predatory snarl.
The Rapora swung a broad stroke and Jaina felt her lightsaber lock with his. The reptiles vile predatory breath reeked in her nostrils as she came face to face with her foe. Their lightsabers crackled and hissed from contact when the Rapora lashed out with what seemed to be a kick.
It caught Jaina in the hip and twisted her around. She dropped her lightsaber and howled with pain as she felt the burning in her side. The Rapora had done more then kick her. It had delivered a foot long gash in her side with its claw. She felt herself heaving to breathe in a pool of her own blood. She knew now that shed been right, shed rolled deaths dice for the last time.
She saw the Rapora raise it saber then stop as the sound of charging rifle registered. The creature spun and struck, slicing the arm of a security officer clear off. It the thrust out its clawed hand and the remaining security members shot into the wall and collapsed to the floor. The creature stepped past them, glanced down the halls and shot away at terrific speed.
The Doctor stepped to the door and shook his head, This is bad, Janeway the intruder just took out three security members and severely injured our guest. Slowly the man knelt down next to Jaina, Ill pull you through. Slowly the young womans eyes closed before the doctor lifted her onto one of the medical beds and set to work. Jainas last conscious thought before she slipped into unconsciousness was the most painful, Jagged, Im sorry.
Luke walked along the dim corridor his hand out with the Phaser pointed down the hall. The Security detail carried Pulse Phaser Rifles, their stance showing both tension and fear. A clattering sound came from down the hall as Tuvok keyed a key pad on a panel which turned over to reveal a menagerie of small arms, all phasers. Tuvok picked up one of the rifles flipped a switch powering it up and tossed it to Luke. He turned to two other members of the security detail and handed them two Phaser Rifles, Take these to Skywalkers quarters the escapee may try to attack them.
Luke smiled faintly at the Vulcan, Thank you.
Tuvok arched an eyebrow, Logically the escapee probably wouldnt try such a thing, but we must plan for all contingencies.
* * *
Captain Janeway was crouched over Seven of Nine as they isolated the readings on internal sensors that had to be the intruder. Seven glanced up before punching the last string of commands, There we should be able to track it now.
On screen, Janeway ordered and a schematic of voyager appeared with the escapee represented as a glowing red dot that moved across the schematic. Suddenly there seemed to be an energy discharge in the hall and the contact leapt up a deck. Janeway frowned at the image, What the hell, Tuvok hes on Deck four!
* * *
Tuvok tapped his comm badge, Understood.
What deck are we on? Luke asked slowly. He felt a slight tingling sensation across his neck.
Were on deck two, the arsenal should be just down this hall, Tuvok answered as he led them further down the hall.
Luke followed right behind them as they came to the end of the hall. Luke saw one of the doors had the burn scar of a lightsaber cut across its center. The security team sent a pair of people into the room to investigate. One came out a moment later his hand over his mouth as he frantically bit back gagging, Theyre dead, all of them.
Luke stepped through the reamed door and stepped over the body of a security guard who seemed unhurt until he saw the mans neck, it had been cut clean off not with a lightsaber but what appeared to be from a knife or even a claw. Another guard sat in the chair nearby leaning over but his stomach had been opened up revealing entrails that spill over the chair. Blood was everywhere, spattered on the walls and drenching the floor. The side of the cell had been sliced with a lightsaber and a third guard lay there his body pierced by the energy blade in the thigh a wound that wouldnt have been mortal. A second cut was across his neck by the Raporas killing claw. This spilled blood all across the floor. All the guards were dead.
As Luke stepped back out of the room shocked by what hed seen. Hed fought deadly foes but the savagery of the slaughter in that room took him aback. He looked at the Vulcan as he entered from the next door room and handed him a pair of lightsabers and two blasters, Maras sidearm and sleeve blaster. Luke took his saber and clipped it to his belt then took the other weapons and attached them to his belt as best he could.
* * *
Janeway watched as the pulsing dot crossed the deck and headed for the turbolift shaft. She turned to Paris, Turbolift is locked down right?
Yes Captain, He replied then added somberly, Lets hope, it cant climb down the shaft.
The red dot appeared to enter the shaft then plummeted, but its speed was much to slow for a free fall. The dot stopped at the second deck and Janeways gut went cold, Tuvok he just went down the turbolift shaft. Hed on your deck.
* * *
Tuvok turned toward the turbolift shaft as a red glow shot through the doors. The doors snapped open as the lightsaber sliced through their center. Beyond the creature stalked into the corridor its lightsaber on and its pose ready.
Luke grabbed his saber from his belt and activated it sending the hum of its presence down the hall. Luke turned to Tuvok and yelled, Hang back and fire whenever youve got an opening.
The Rapora sped toward Luke its blade fully extended. Luke rolled under the strike as Tuvok and the guards opened fire delivering a stream of pulse phaser shots. The Rapora leapt back and twirled through the air evading the volley and catching the top rail of ceiling in its hands. With a snarl the creature sliced a hole and was gone up through the ceiling.
Luke picked up his comm link, He just went up a level.
* * *
Mara took the pulse phaser from the guard and checked its charge. The hiss of metal boiling away from a lightsaber caught her ear. She turned to look down the corridor in time to see one of the panels drop open and a red blade emerge. Mara smacked the emergency lock of door and dropped back inside the cabin. She grabbed Ben and held him close as the repetitive sound of pulse phaser fire sounded through the door. She glanced up as the door began to glow and she readied the Pulse Phaser rifle. With a mental screech of anguish she called out to Luke, where are you!
Luke returned her mental distress call, Im on my way. Then the doors snapped open. Mara saw the Rapora standing in the door but it didnt advance it just stood there. It cocked its head at Made and through the darkness Mara saw the glint of its gleaming white teeth as it snarled, Jade
Im told to leave you alone, as are all Rapora, until we meet again. The Rapora backed away from the doors and bowed then sprinted away its long tail flicking at the panels as it ran.
A moment later Luke stepped through the door, his saber out, he stopped as he saw Mara clutching Ben to her. She spoke her voice soft, It let us be
Luke felt his stomach tightened, It did? He sighed, Im sorry Mara. He took her saber from his belt and her pistols and set them on the counter.
In the dim light Luke could see Mara flushed with embarrassment, fear, and fright. In all his life Luke had seen Mara go through many troubles but what had just happened seemed to have shaken her more then the assembled force of armies. A brutal, savage enemy had held her in the palm of his hand and let her go because of some order it had received. Luke knelt down next to her and held her close as she gave a stifled cry, He had me and Ben, defenseless and let us go, why? Why do I feel like this, used by a foe I dont even know?
The truth was the foe was not new nor was it one unfamiliar to them, they had thought him dead, but death could never truly claim him, he was the force and there was no death, only the force.
* * *
Janeway cursed at the screen, Security teams to the bridge, well hunt this thing down! She turned to ensigns Kim and Seven of Nine, Lock down all critical systems and lock out the main computer.
Done, Seven answered as she stood and drew her hand phaser, Ill start on Deck Twelve.
Good, Ensign Kim, take deck eleven, Ill take deck ten. Send security teams to all vital areas, life support, engineering, power relays, any place that sabotage could endanger the ship, Janeway turned to Chekotay, Watch that screen and tell us where that thing is!
Janeway took a phaser rifle in her hands then dropped down the access shaft to the next floor. As they walked the remaining lights went down and Janeway tapped her comm badge, Chekotay report.
Sorry Captain, Main power is offline. He must have cut one of the power conduits. Chekotays voice began to show an edge of fear, Internal sensors are offline.
Janeway keyed the light on the top of the Phaser rifle and stepped through the darkness alert for any foes. A pair of security men flanked her, their weapons also raised pointing down the halls.
Suddenly from above two clawed feet reached out and sliced into the security men. They were yanked backward and flung into a group of their fellows. Janeway rolled forward as the snap hiss of a lightsaber activating echoed in the hall. Janeway saw the creature now a terrify reptile that looked like something from the ancient days of earth stood above the burnt carpet where shed once stood. It reached its hand back and suddenly two of the Phaser rifles leapt from the hands of their owners and nestled themselves into the creatures grasp. The creature turned and fired a blazing volley that drilled into the security team. Their gold shirts lay scorched from the volley of fire. Then Janeway felt eh two phaser rifles drop to the floor as the creature leapt upward and ran its claws gripped to the ceiling.
Janeway lifted the rifle and fired a burst that missed its target as the creature scrambled away at shocking speed. Slowly she felt her cheek where a cut had been dealt to her and saw that her pant leg was sliced open. Blood slowly covered the leg as Janeway tapped her comm badge, Medical Teams to deck ten.
Thrawn paced the clean bridge catwalk. He glanced out at the rolling maw of hyperspace. His red eyes swept the crew pit as the head navigator called out from his post, Five seconds till hyperspace reversion.
With a flash the blue tunnel of hyperspace collapsed into the streaks of stars and there ahead the world of Fondor rose into view. The glittering lights of its ring of shipyards easily visible as were the dark reddish brown vessels that surrounded the world now. The sensor operator looked up his eyes wide, Weve picked up over a hundred Rapora ships.
The communications officer turned, Incoming Holographic transmission.
Thrawn nodded and turned toward the holographic alcove. Pellaeon stepped next to him his scruffy white mustache twitching in irritation, Why are these Rapora here?
Well find out soon enough, Thrawn answered as he stepped onto the holographic template. An enormous image materialized before him, a human figure cloaked and hooded in a dark robe. The mans face was you in his mid thirties it appeared, but his eyes were focused and intense. The holograms size however was what forced Thrawn to an uneasy conclusion it was Palpatine that stood before them.
The voice was much cleared then he remembered it but unmistakably the same, Ah, Grand Admiral Thrawn, you have finally arrived as Gerak told me you would.
Thrawn stared straight at the holograms oversized head, My lord it seems that reports
Reports of my death were true Admiral even you could not hold together the empire I left you. The hologram smiled deviously, Everything has come to pass as I have foreseen, except for this, something has upset everything Thrawn, I know because the last time I saw you I was fighting your forces. The Rapora were not pleased by your success.
Youve allied yourself with the Rapora, theyre no friend of the Chiss or of security, Thrawn found himself taken aback. Hed joined the empire precisely to prepare his people for the onslaught of the Rapora.
Yes Admiral, they always have been my allies, for longer then you have imagined, I know of times that are long forgotten by your databases, your textbooks, wars from a period before even the dawn of the Republic and the Sith, The Hologram smiled at him, Since you are no longer important to my plans I must remove you, goodbye Admiral. The hologram winked out of existence as a tremor shook the vessel.
Thrawn felt the tremor again and walked to the bridge doors. Through them he saw a wave of Rapora fighters skimming across the ships bow. Thrawn yelled to the navigator, Hail the fleet, theyre to withdraw to Wayland.
A sensor operator looked up from his consoles, Captain, twelve vessels decloaking, unknown configuration.
* * *
Bartleth smiled to himself as he lowered the targeting system to his level he turned to the others, For honor, let us show these, what it means to fire without provocation on a vessel. His face was dark and his ridges shone against the dim red light of the Klingon Kvort Class Bird of Prey.
The warriors along the deck barked their ascent, For the empire.
The sensor operator swung from his consol, Captain the Emperors Rose, Kahless Storm, and Honor Blade report ready, other ships report readiness. The Brel squadrons report ready!
The Klingon ships screamed into the engagement. The Rapora squadrons surprised by the new threat broke formation and scattered as pulse disruptor began to hunt for them. A green bolt sliced through one of the Rapora ships slicing it in half. The Rapora capital ships in the distance began to fire, golden bolts slicing through space toward the new enemies.
Bartleth watched in shock as one of the bolts caught a Brel class bird of prey in the midsection. The ships head severed it detonated as series of three more bolts smashed into it ripping the barren hulk apart. He frowned at the display of firepower the foes were displaying and turned to the commander, Ready gravity mines, well have to delay them, we cannot hope to destroy them completely.
Yes Captain, The Weapons officer replied. He swung in his chair toward the console as another Bird of Prey caught the devastating blow of the Rapora ships.
* * *
Thrawn watched the Klingons strike on the Rapora and turned to Pellaeon, It is times like this that make me agree with the jedi, some events are scripted to occur as though some greater force is at work. Thrawn looked over to the navigator, Are we ready to withdraw? The navigator nodded slowly and Thrawn looked at the small force of ships that were fighting for their lives against the Rapora armada, Make the jump.
* * *
Bartleth watched his sensor operator turn in his seat, The attacked vessels have withdrawn.
He nodded as the ship bucked from an impact, We must preserve our lives to tell the tail of this foe, set course for the home world. He turned to the communications officer, Let me speak to the fleet.
Bartleth stood as his transmission began, Fellow warriors we have found a great foe, I will withdraw my ship to warn the home world. The rest of you are to cover our withdraw may Kahless delight in your sacrifice. Qapla!
He sat and nodded to the navigator who jumped the ship to warp speed. Behind him the Klingons fought, and died.
* * *
Boba Fett dogged down the panel of Slave II hed been working with. He heard a comm link call come across his frequency and tapped the board as he put he hydro spanner back in its case, Boba here.
This is Skywalker there is a Rapora loose on the ship, The comm answered. Boba shook his head and pulled open a locker to reveal his armored suit.
Slowly he lifted his comm link, Im on my way. He turned to a small piece of silk colored cloth, That Rapora can go straight to the Emperor for all I care. He pulled the cloth over his dress and smiled slightly, it was made with cortosis thread making it impervious to lightsabers. He zipped up the vest and took a pair of blaster pistols from the locker it was time to go Rapora hunting.
* * *
Janeway let the medics treat her rather minor wounds as she spoke to Tuvok, He came down from the ceiling and took us out like it was easy. That thing is deadlier then the Borg.
A trio of now familiar figures came down the hallway, They are the deadliest thing weve ever seen. That was Luke whose pose suggested he was frightened ever so slightly. Maras expression was now an unreadable mask.
The echo of blaster fire came down the hall. Then there was a shriek and the fire fell silent.
* * *
Boba Fett walked down the corridors a blaster in each hand ahead he saw the red glow of the Raporas lightsaber. The Rapora wheeled as it sensed his appearance. It twirled its lightsaber and hissed demonically. Then it charged. Fett retreated down the hallway firing. The Rapora dodged and deflected each bolt as it closed. With a hiss it leapt for him but Fett was to quick activating the flamethrower on his gauntlet the Rapora was driven back. It snarled then leapt onto the ceiling sliced through and disappeared.
Fett swore and shot up through the tunnel in his backpack. He saw that the creature had sliced through one deck then two and finally a third one. As he soared up the last deck he felt a sharp pain from his side. The Rapora had lashed out with a claw and sliced through the armor just between the plates. The wound wasnt serious but it lit anger in Fett, Damn thing.
He leveled the blaster pistols and fired a barrage that echoed down the halls. The creature sprinted at him and thrust for him with its lightsaber. Boba didnt even flinch as the blade disappeared from the cortosis effect. The Rapora looked dumbfounded as Boba fired a wrist rocket into its side. The creature shrieked loud enough to echo through the halls then collapsed. Boba kicked it over with his foot and keyed his internal comm, Rapora secure.
* * *
Luke glanced at his comm link, You killed it?
The response seemed to have a quiet amusement behind it, Not quite, Ive got a nice cage for this thing.
Luke and Mara looked at each other, You stunned it!
Wrist rocket nerve agent, hes down for the count, I know stun bolts arent enough, that agent would have killed almost anything else, Boba replied.
One of the Ensigns lifted Janeway to her feet, If you need me Ill be in sick bay, with our guest.
a world of flames and deception lay before the Bridge of the Imperial II Star Destroyer Relentless. Captain Dorja starred out the viewport at the world before him and felt his heart flutter slightly, By the Emperor, what has happened to it?
Coruscant lay there but patches of green covered its surfaces, buildings and whole sections of the world were torn asunder, buildings toppled and destroyed when buildings mere blocks away remained standing, completely unharmed. The blaze of a space battle roared overhead and three distinct forces seemed laid out before them. A broken ring of debris surrounded the world, and an entire moon flashed in the ring as the debris of rocks and ice smashed into its surface leaving enormous gouges and depressions.
A trio of asteroid shaped vessels shot over the Imperial Ships bow spitting golden bolts of plasma that flashed against the vessels shields. Dorja wheeled toward the sensor operator, I want a complete holographic record. He turned to the fighter control officer, Launch all fighters but order them to stay close and defend our vessel against attack.
The majority of the ships engaged over the world paid them no head as the fleets of hundreds of warships launched blazes of weapons fire upon each other. One fleet was Imperial, star destroyers, carrack cruisers, and a Super Star Destroyer, however one was something else, a heterogeneous mixture of rebel ships, imperial vessels, hapan ships, and a variety of other ships. The third and last fleet appeared to be like a group of slowly moving asteroids that blasted plasma fire at the other two.
The sensor operator swung in his seat, Captain Im getting a strange reading at vector five one four. The sensor operator starred back at his screens, Sir I think you ought to take a look at this.
Captain Dorja leaned toward the display and read it. Then he glanced up through the view ports. There was the object an immense ball that reflected sunlight in all directions bending the images of what was around it. The sensors showed it to be perfectly smooth, an immense sphere that hung in space. It was a kilometer in diameter and from the computers perspective showed impossibility. It was a perfect sphere. Dorja just stood there starring at the image for a moment, Sensors, are you getting this?
Yes sir, The Sensor operator exhaled.
Dorja stiffened slowly, Transmit everything to Wayland.
* * *
Mara slowly stepped into the hold of Slave II where the Rapora stood in a force cage. She shook her head slowly, the only time shed imagined herself her would have been inside one of those cages. She turned to Boba Fett, Has it given you any trouble?
No, added his lightsaber to my collection, Boba shrugged then turned back to the display. He added slowly, You can talk to him if you want.
Mara nodded as she walked to the cage where the Rapora sat on its haunches starring at its clawed feet which were shackled together. Mara took a bar from next to the Cage and slammed it against the side. She had the satisfaction of seeing the Rapora jump in surprise as she dropped the metal bar to the floor as the creatures eyes flashed to look up at her. She smiled slightly, So Rapora, why arent you allowed to attack Mara Jade Skywalker?
The Rapora hissed in vexation and rose to its feet and grabbed a hold of the bars with a bang, You mean you do not know? Its forked tongue flicked out of its mouth as though to taste the air, Some hand you are Mara Jade, have you not heard his call?
Mara picked up the pipe from the floor and twisted slamming it into the fingers of the creature which leapt back in pain, Those days are long behind me as is my service to the late Emperor.
Do not say late, so quickly young Jeedai, he is far from late, The Rapora hissed in a tone that Mara recognized as reptilian amusement. The Rapora seemed to smile at her, You jedi have such short memories, do you recall the Great Sith War, the Hyperspace War, the Infinite Empire? There is one who does.
Mara shook her head, Ive never heard of the Infinite Empire, but the others have faded to myth and legend Rapora perhaps that is where you belong.
You are such a fool, the force has two opposing wills, and which will you serve young Jedi? Will you ally yourself with emotion as we do or are you the stiff logical order told through myth, The Rapora seemed genuinely amused by her.
Oh shut up, Boba said from his seat and held a hand over the force cage control ready to deliver an electrical shock.
Mara pulled her lightsaber from her belt, activated it, and lifted it to the creatures chin, Whom do you serve.
I serve the darkness made matter, the force of emotion, the force of death, the force made real, I serve our god the true Lord of the Sith, The creature sneered at her through the bars, He will have a fate worse then a thousand deaths for you traitorous hand.
Outside the Firespray the delicate and deadly form of a chiss Clawcraft slid into the hanger bay. It slowed to a halt and descended to the deck. The hatch popped open as Mara walked down the ramp of the Firespray as the lean figure of Jagged Fel clambered out of the armored cockpit and tossed aside the respiration gear.
Their was a screech of joy and the scramble of feet as Jaina rushed into the room dressed in the simple cut of a Starfleet uniform. She scrambled up to Jagged and wrapped him in a hug then leaned back to kiss him.
Luke stepped into the room and smiled at the pair when Mara stepped up beside him, We need to talk.
An intercom clicked on, Luke weve got a briefing in five minutes, briefing room.
* * *
Janeway slipped into the briefing room as several members of crew slid inside. Mara, Luke, Jaina, and Jagged slipped into the seats with the crew and Janeway cleared her voice, This briefing is about trying to figure out whats been
With a flash of light the familiar figure of Q appeared and after a snap of his fingers three more people and a gold colored robot appeared with him. He smiled slightly at Janeway, I thought you might want to talk to them.
going on? Jaina finished as the bewildered new arrivals glanced around the room.
Mara had already stood and run to the woman, Leia.
Leias eyes widened as she recognized her, Mara, by the force its been years.
Hans eyes scanned the arrivals and fell upon Luke, Hey, kid how you doing?
Good Han, have a seat, Luke gestured to the nearest chair. The lanky and aging hand Solo slipped into a chair. Slowly Luke turned to Janeway, Allow me to introduce my sister Leia, her husband Han, my niece and nephew Jaina and Jacen, Jainas boy friend Jagged, and their droid Threepio.
Janeway nodded slowly, So now that were all here, any theories as to why were all here?
Seven of Nine turned ot Janeway, Captain the neutrino emissions indicate to me that some sort of temporal and dimensional distortion. After several tests Ive run a background radiation spectral analysis. The background radiation seems bent distorted, weve gotten several readings on planets which indicate the presence of multiple times and places at once.
Thats very interesting, but what does it mean? Mara said from here seat feigning understanding.
Seven shook her head, I do not know Ive never encountered such effects in all my experience nor have the Borg.
Janeway sighed, Luke what do you know of these Rapora?
Luke sighed, Well
unfortunately not all that much, I can upload all the data we have about the Rapora, and maybe some answered would be forthcoming from the prisoner
Mara leaned over to whisper into Lukes ear, If youll excuse me. Luke and Mara stood and walked into the hall. Once there Luke turned, What is it?
I talked to the Rapora
Youre not going to like this, Mara sighed slowly, It claims to be serving the Sith.
But, hows that possible, the Sith are
Q stepped among them, It wouldnt be the first time the Sith were thought to be extinct, would it?
Mara spun toward him, Well if it isnt Q, eavesdropping?
Please, I know what youre going to say before you say it, theyre lead by old palpy, Q smiled amused by the surprised look on Luke and the suspicion evident on Maras face. His smile broadened, Things are going to get very, what is Spock likes to say, fascinating.
Captain to the bridge, unknown vessel entering the system, The intercom buzzed. Mara and Luke glanced at each other then followed Janeway and the rest of the bridge crew as they left the room.
A few moments later they stepped onto the bridge and there on the screen was a small vessel slightly longer then an X-wing but much slimmer it was a husky grey color and had lobes all along its bow. Green glows went along the vessels spine from engine exhaust. Luke recognized the design rare as it was, Sekotan fighter.
The ensign whod been in command spun toward Janeway, Theyre hailing us.
On screen, Janeway answered and the screen suddenly showed a human face. Somehow its features seemed slightly familiar. The man had dirty blond hair and a scruffy beard covering his face, but it was the eyes and all that perceived that penetrated Lukes senses. Gazing at the man Luke felt as though hed seen him before, and that he was much older then he appeared.
The man smiled slightly as he saw Luke on the bridge, Well, well, my boy is here as well. Captain, Id like permission to dock with your vessel.
Luke glanced to the others as Janeway looked dumbfounded. She turned to Luke, Do you know him?
Luke shook his head then stopped slowly reaching out with his senses he felt the man on the ship. A familiar presence it seemed but different, as though this were a mirror of something hed sensed before. Then slowly he laid his finger on it his eyes widening with shock, Anakin?
Mara also seemed shocked, Its
Not possible, yes dear Jade it seems youve changed your tune since last time I saw you. Through the force anything is possible, and I have dire news for the both of you. The man paused as he saw the golden band along both Maras and Lukes fingers, Luke, married? Luke could feel Anakins mind probing his, followed by a horrified realization from him, You married her!
Anakin seemed shocked then smiled broadly, Well if anyone can keep her out of trouble you can.
Mara grinned slightly, You might have that reversed. She sighed slowly, So how are you back from the dead?
Anakin Skywalker, the man who had become Darth Vader grinned and Luke felt a wave of suspicion, There is no death there is the force, and if the force wills it, one will not die or if dead shall be reborn. Ill explain later but there is no time, Ive got a spare hyperdrive if your engineer will install it we can get them back home. Anakin had pulled Janeways problem from her mind, If youll take the device we can be on our way.
Part II: The Galactic Web
The silvery hull of a starship slid before the splattered green of a nebula over the black velvet backdrop of space.
Captain Jean Luc Picard stood on the dim bridge of the Enterprise starring blankly at the view screen which showed an enormous pulsing and glowing metal sphere, Commander Data, analyses.
The sphere seems to be composed of some material of unknown nature, there is no gravitic weight to the object and it does not appear on any sensors except visually. A detailed scan has revealed it to be a perfect sphere, an object thought to be impossibility, Data answered from the sensor station.
Picard nodded, Continue your analyses, transmit what data you have to Starfleet command, perhaps theyll be able to piece together what has happened.
I doubt it sir, ships thought long destroyed appearing in known space as if nothing happened, Captain Kirks back, what else can happen, Will Rieker said from his seat next to the captain.
Geordi La Forge, the man that had once been rendered blind swung from his seat, Captain, Im picking up a distress call.
Picard turned to him, Location?
Deep on the Romulan side of the neutral zone, La Forge answered.
On screen, Picard replied and turned to the view screen as the figure of Romulan woman shimmered into existence, This is Captain Picard of the Federation Starship Enterprise, do you require assistance?
In the background sparks shot from one of the Romulan Consoles and the woman leaned forward, her brow scratched from a piece of falling debris, Assist us, weve been attacked by one of your vessels, manned only by humans, I hope you rot in hell Picard.
Im sorry I have no idea what youre talking about, Picard answered.
Well come and see for yourself before were all dead Picard, if they dont turn on you, A console chimed next to the woman, Traitors, the Romulan Senate has requested your assistance.
Helm set course, maximum warp, Picard said from his seat.
Rieker turned to him, Captain, it could be a trap.
I know that number one, engage, Picard answered as the Enterprise shot toward the engagement.
* * *
A green colored ray shaped starship slashed through space, lashing out with the green beams of disruptor fire. A volley of green bolts lashed out of the vessels. They hit one after another detonating first against the green shield then ripping into the ships hull. The ship went dark and began its silent tumble through space as the ship darkened beneath the enormous shadow of the ship that had disabled it. The grey hull of the attacking vessel slid silently through space spitting green fire in all directions. Another Romulan craft, a Shrike class patrol ship flashed in firing pulse disruptors on the enormous grey triangle. A pair of torpedoes launched from the ships nose and flashed against the vessel. They detonated and a few of the pulse disruptor bolts smashed into the hull causing damage.
Captain Picard felt his heart sink at the sight of the vessel, Tactical analyses Mister Worf.
Im not sure captain, there appear to be over one hundred and twenty weapons emplacements at the least, most of which are designed to fire forward. Their type is similar to a disruptor or pulse phaser, The Klingon tactical officer said flatly.
On the screen an enormous Romulan Warbird suffered the concentrated fire of all the ships forward weapons. It began to break up as its wings separated from the hull leaving a blasted and burned skeleton behind, Report on the Romulan task force.
Data spun in his chair, It is unlikely that the Romulans will be able to destroy this vessel on their own, many of their vessels have been crippled and it seems several took a concentrated barrage as they decloaked, we must intervene or the Romulan force will be destroyed.
Hail the unknown ship, Picard said slowly and took a breath, Unknown vessel cease your fire, perhaps we may be able to solve this diplomatically.
No response, Worf said from his station.
Helm, take us in.
* * *
Captain Needa made an exasperated sound as he watched the Romulan Warbird begin to disintegrate off his bow. He spun on his heel and looked to one of the officers in the crew pit, Damage report?
Shields are down on the bow, weve sustained damage to Batteries Twenty six and Twenty Four. Stern shields are down to fifteen percent but holding. Weve got a hull breach on level ninety four, crews are sealing it off now, The officer was the chief engineer for the vessel. The ship rocked as a green torpedo slipped past the rear shields, Maneuverability down to fifteen percent. Well have trouble turning but we can roll and have enough thrust to get clear.
The sensor operator spun from his console, New ship closing on our position from the bow. Ahead Needa saw the vessel an elongated saucer attached to a fuselage and two engines.
A trio of blue torpedoes shot from the vessels nose and streaked into the Star Destroyers bow. They detonated one after another causing massive destruction after penetrating the hull. The vessel banked upward firing its ventral phasers as it blazed over the Imperial Star Destroyer. The red beams sliced into the ships dorsal surfaces superheating individual turbolaser batteries. As the craft flashed over the bridge and curved away four red torpedoes shot from its stern and shattered the rear shield drilling into the engines.
Captain Needa lifted himself from the deck and brushed a hand over his forehead he saw it come away with a trickle of blood as he looked down into the crew pit. Several officers could be seen their faces burned from detonating consoles. Needa turned toward the Chief Engineers station, Damage report! Then he wheeled to the helm and gunnery stations, Guns hammer that ship, helm begin axial roll and come thirty degrees to port! Finally he smiled as he turned to the last station, Launch all fighters!
The Chief Engineer began to work on his console ignoring the burn that stained his left arm, Ten Turbolaser batteries are out of commission, dorsal starfighter control is breached. Sir the Auxiliary Bridge isnt responding their deck is open to space. The mans hand went down the list of ship systems, Hyperdrive is offline, and weve got radiation leaks on decks one hundred twelve thru ninety three. The Solar Ionization reactor is now at ninety-eight percent apparently some parts are loose from the concussion.
Starfighters away, The fighter controller spat out from his position.
Below the starfighter the trio of Romulan Shrike Class Warbirds which were slightly less then half the size of Corellian corvettes shot into the cloud of starfighters. Green beam of disruptor fire sliced into the fighters as they launched. Within seconds an entire squadron had been reduced to floating debris. The Warbirds didnt last much longer as thirty turbolaser blasts smashed into their dorsal surfaces then punched clean through sending the broken ray shaped vessels tumbling in the night.
The double hulled tie bombers curved up from their hanger and skimmed the deck of the Imperial star destroyer then vectored toward the Enterprise as she barreled toward the star destroyer for another firing run. Suddenly there were over a dozen blue hued torpedoes streaming at the Enterprise.
Aboard the Enterprises bridge Picard saw them coming, Worf, Point Defense mode! All hands brace for impact!
The phaser lashed out targeting the torpedoes, seven fell victim to the crimson beam before the remainder hammered into the forward shield of the Enterprise. One smashed through the shield and detonated in the saucer section directly before bridge. On the bridge the crackle of shrapnel could be heard scratching against the hull followed by the concussion of impact. The enterprise rocketed toward the star destroyer and the formation of bomber split open like a flower. One of the less so fortunate bombers turned to late and his craft shattered as it was caressed by the Enterprises hull. On the bridge sparks shot from several consoles.
Picard yelled above the din, Worf use the phasers on those craft, ready a full torpedo spread.
As the bombers wheeled back around like an angry black cloud the crimson red beam began to slice into their formation cutting apart the double hulled craft. Only two more torpedoes launched from the craft before the beam finished off the teeming cloud. These splashed against the Enterprises rear shields but failed to do any damage.
Captain Picard raised a finger to his chin, Fire. Four red torpedoes shot from below the deflector dish of the Enterprise followed by three quantum torpedoes. The torpedoes smashed into the port shields of the Star Destroyer ripping them down and the phaser banks sliced into the turbolaser batteries along the side of the vessel. The Star Destroyer replied unleashing the combined might of all its port batteries. The green bolts smashed into the shield less forward section of Enterprise evaporating hull plating and cutting through parts of the phaser array lessening its effectiveness. Gapping holes peppered the forward saucer section as the enterprise shot below the destroyers bow. The continuing fire flared against the dorsal shields weakening them.
Then the Enterprise plowed through the cloud of tie fighters which had begun forming up. Their brilliant green lasers smashed across the ship and in the forward section ripping through the weakened hull. Two starfighters fell victim to the ships immense velocity, one detonated on impact while the other was flung from its comrades and careened through space shooting sparks and atmosphere.
A trio of tie interceptors drifted below the ships shield and opened fire damaging the red grills of the impulse drive. One of them was a bout to fire another burst of quad linked laser fire when it detonated.
The smaller form of Voyager shot passed the Enterprise and loosed a trio of its own quantum torpedoes on the Imperial Star destroyer. Its phasers were hunting ties as a large disk shaped freighter and a small fighter that looked more like an asteroid then a ship blazed into the fight. Flashes of brilliant light erupted from the opposite side of the Star Destroyer and a heavily armed but beautiful craft, the Jade Scimitar lanced over the star destroyer eclipsing the destruction its weapons had wrought. The Star Destroyers batteries slowly fell silent.
Suddenly a comm chimed on the enterprises bridge which was now covered with thick debris and almost completely clouded in smoke. Geordi La Forge turned to Picard, Sir, weve got a transmission from the unknown vessel, they surrender.
Captain Picard sat thinking as the damage reports came in. He turned back to the view screen and sighed slightly to himself, “Well, it’ll take us a few a few weeks at Shipyard for everything to be back in one piece.”
“The Romulan government is very grateful for your assistance in this matter, now it is quite clear that this vessel was not related to the Federation, the ship’s crew is already being debriefed, we should know more about the vessel soon enough,” The Romulan commander said from her bridge. She smiled slightly, “Thank you captain if your ship or the others hadn’t have shown up we’d have been done for.”
“You’re very welcome Commander, Voyager has sent a message to Starfleet requesting that a repair ship and tow vessel come to our assistance, in the mean time…”
Geordi La Forge spun away from the sensor displays, “Unknown vessel decloaking.”
“On Screen,” Picard barked almost by reflex.
A vessel hung in space, its shape vaguely triangular but different in many ways. What looked like a trench ran down the vessel’s centerline, and a large oval ship bridge hung over the rear portion of the vessel. Its triangular hull flared out slightly toward the ends of the ship and bent downward giving it a predatory silhouette. Picard spun to the station where Worf stood, “Tactical analyses.”
“Sir, the ship’s hull is bending back my sensor readings, I can’t scan its hull thoroughly enough for a tactical analyses.”
Counselor Troi tapped a button on her console, “They’re hailing us and the Romulans.”
“On screen,” Picard said slowly.
The screen flashed to show the dim red and grey colors of an alien bridge. In its center surrounded by others crew members stood a figure with blue skin and red eyes, “Greetings Romulan and Federation vessels and congratulations on your victory over the Imperial Star Destroyer, a worthy achievement for your peoples. I greet you on behalf of the Empire of the Hand my name is Grand Admiral Thrawn.”
* * *
Mara and Luke sat behind their controls as they saw the figure on the screen their hearts racing, Thrawn the genius behind the New Republics epic defeats six years after Endor had returned in a clone body. Clustered all around him were others, some human, some chiss, and some other forms of alien life. Luke felt Mara grasp his palm. Knowing he was back had been one thing but coming face to face with him once again was something else completely.
Thrawn’s face seemed to cringe at the sight of them on the screen, “It seems you had some help, Jedi Skywalker.”
“Yes, Mit’hraw’nurodo we have been assisting them, and them us. I’d thought you’d returned,” Mara said slowly.
“Yes, you did make something of a mess of a facility of mine, but that was the past,” Thrawn actually seemed to diminish somewhat on the screen. His red eyes narrowed, “I’m sending you what data we have on the Galaxy wide events. The situation is complex to say the least.”
Behind them Ben suddenly stiffened and a whimper came from him. Mara turned to look at her son when the boy spoke, quiet and frightened, “We aren’t alone.”
Suddenly Luke felt a malevolent mind brush his and spun to the comm., “Admiral we’re not alone, Janeway guard the Enterprise, Boba, Han help Voyager.” He looked up to see space shimmer and warp as an enormous vessel revealed itself.
Its deep brown and reddish colors along with its frightening appearance sent a jolt of fear into his heart. A pair of solid brown tubes shot forward from the round hull and formed into the flower shape of a weapons array while a pair of wings shot horizontally from the vessel. These ended into two angular claw shaped weapons array. Above the main hull the bulbous deep brown bridge sat. All along the vessel a random patter of blue lights lit up the darkened hull. From two points on opposite sides of the main hull a array opened like a grey brown flower and a enormous plasma cannon slid from its housing its core already a dull orange color. From the hanger bay nestled between the two spars a swarm of fighters lurched into motion. Their claw shaped cockpits and two forward jutting triangular wings left no doubt as to their intention. They were Rapora fighters and there were a ton of them.
Thrawn’s voice suddenly shot through the comm, “Rapora Cruiser, all hands battle alert, Cruisers Peace of the Hand and Warrior of Honor decloak and take the enemy from behind, Alliance, Federation, and Romulan vessels disengage and move to withdraw.”
Following his orders, two enormous vessels identical in every respect to his own decloaked, their hulls pumping green and blue weapons fire into the rapora cruiser. The enemies shield’s held off the onslaught and the brilliant gold color of Rapora plasma weaponry returned fire slamming against the Chiss cruisers.
Luke threw the ship into a wild turn as a trio of Rapora fighters shot over the Jade Scimitar’s bow. Mara pulled the targeting computer to her face and Luke could feel her icy calculating aurora that was Mara committed to ship combat. With a flicker she sent a Proton Torpedo rocketing into the nearest fighter which detonated in a flash of orange and yellow. Its debris flashed bright against the shield of the two other fighters in the flight. Suddenly a Chiss clawcraft painted like a terrifying blood splatter claw soared into view. A quad blast from its cannons shredded the port ion engine of one of the foes sending it spiraling. Luke with a flicker of premonition snapped a tractor beam onto the Clawcraft as its target detonated. A subspace shock wave flashed outward from the explosion obliterating the third fighter. Luke had already broken away from the flight dragging the Clawcraft with him. As the wave dissipated a voice broke through and went into the headset Luke wore, “Thanks Luke.”
“Welcome Jagged, wouldn’t want my apprentice heartbroken,” Mara answered for Luke as a solid gold bolt of plasma flashed past the view port.
* * *
Picard felt his heart stop as a squadron of Rapora fighters broke toward his ship, the crippled Enterprise. He swung to Worf, “Phasers target those ships.”
Worf shook his head, “Phasers offline.”
“Retreat heading!” Picard yelled as the golden bolts from the craft began to smash against the vessels shields. He spun as the helm console detonated sending debris arching through the air. Smoke and Sparks shot from the broken console as the ensign that manned it crumpled.
Geordi La Forge spun as his board flared red across dozens of decks, “Engines off line, multiple hull breaches, sir we’re on the verge of breaking up!”
Worf looked up from his console, “All Weapons are down, wait the enemy ships are breaking off. There’s another ship heading this way.” On the screen what looked like a giant red brown spider shot toward the vessel. With a clang and thump the ship latched onto the Enterprise and its diamond encrusted cutting tools set to work ripping through the hull as the enormous bulky pod above the cutting bit glinted in the starlight. Worf spun toward the turbo lift, “We’ve got boarders Deck Three!”
“Security team to Deck Three, Hail Voyager,” Picard stood in his battered bridge and heard the crunch of wiring beneath his feet, “Enterprise is lost, we’ll cover your escape as best we can, godspeed.”
With a hiss the door turbolift door hinges evaporated behind and it fell to the floor with a clunk. There in the doorway stood a frightening creature its hands wrapped around what looked like a rifle. From a humming emitter below the barrel a brilliant red cone of energy shot forth continuously. The creature stood there its armor only revealing its bipedal saurian form and in English it spoke softly, “Drop your weapons, and surrender yourselves.”
Worf drew a Phaser from his belt and fired a beam which the creature tried to intercept with the energy blade. The beam was refracted by the saber beam and spread out onto the Rapora vaporizing armor, then flesh and bone. The creature dropped to the floor its entire front blackened by the blast. Another creature dropped from the ceiling of the turbolift and leveled its weapon. A staccato of brilliant gold colored bolts that ripped into the upholstery of the bridge and burning through the body of an ensign caught in the creature’s sights. Worf fired as the creature ducted back into the turbo lift evading the blast.
Picard reached down and pulled the panel of an access hatch up from the floor, “Everyone ready your weapons, Worf cover us!” He held his phaser ready as he clambered down a deck as the occasional pulse of a fire seared the air above him.
* * *
Janeway slumped in her seat, “Set course for Starbase Twelve, ready the hyperdrive and send the coordinates to our allies.” She watched as the three Chiss Cruisers converged and on the Rapora ship. Even with the battering and tactics that Thrawn had employed the ship had only lost bow shields and had badly crippled one of the ship’s opposing him.
Suddenly the most battered Chiss Cruiser banked straight into the bow of the Rapora ship, its heavy construction ripping through the weak forward struts of the Rapora ship. Then the chiss vessel its speed hardly lessened dipped below the crippled starship and fired all its battles sequencially into the ships reactor. Slowly the Rapora ship was beginning to go dark. Janeway stopped as a thought crossed her mind about canceling the hyper jump when two more Rapora ships decloaked and began to ready for combat.
Thrawn, realizing he was outgunned and out maneuvered moved his two relatively undamaged cruisers away and drove the remaining one straight toward one of the remaining cruisers. A tractor beam shot out the ship’s side and grasped the second rapora ship pulling it off an intercept course as Thrawn’s two remaining crusiers locked onto the dying cruiser with tractor beams and accelerated it toward the two others. As the ship moved within ten kilometers the three Chiss vessels fired into the vessels plasma generator destroying it.
As the Rapora ship was hit the most heavily damaged Chiss vessel detonated sending a massive ionized wave of gas across the two ships disrupting their systems. A second wave of radiation and ions flashed out from the Rapora ship as it detonated. Even before the wave reached the two rapora ships the remaining Chiss flashed away into hyperspace to escape the ion wave. The ion wave washed across the Rapora vessels scrambling their systems and destabilizing their internal reactors and plasma generators. A series of secondary explosions rippled through the ships’ hull and left them adrift, dead in space. In addition the plasma waves had destroyed the majority of the fighter threat.
The Millenium Falcon shot away from the remaining fur ball its right side blackened by the energy wave. Jagged Felsped toward Voyager followed by the bulbous shape of the Sekotan fighter that Anakin Skywalker drove. Boba Fett’s Slave one flashed into hyperspace. But in all that the Jade Scimitar had been less fortunate, its ion drives had been damaged by the ion wave rendering the ship disable.
Han Solo flicked on his comm link, “Kid get that bucket of bolts moving or you’ll catch the Rapora’s reinforcements.”
“He cannot, I’ll guard him, go.” The hard voice of Anakin Skywalker answered across the comm as the Sekotan fighter broke toward the battered Scimitar.
Leia grasped his hand, “We have to go, we’re damaged and with Jaina and Jacen onboard…”
Han nodded slowly, he knew to stay would be to die, “Good luck kid.” He reached for the hyperspace levers and the stars became lines as the Falcon shot through infinity’s door.
The Jade Scimitar tumbled end over end, steam and atmosphere streaming from its rear as the Sekotan Skip dropped into escort position. Onboard Luke pulled an oxygen mask over Ben’s head as Mara finished mounting one on her own face. She tossed him a mask as the howling wind of a decompression filled her ears. Luke caught it as his ears began to hurt from the drop in pressure. With a hiss the door of the cockpit slid shut and the wind died down to a whisper. Luke shook his head to clear it as the pressure in the cabin began to return to normal.
With the return of air the Luke began to catch words from the main speaker, “Jade Scimitar, status report.”
“We’ve got a hull breach, port stabilizer offline. Ion drives one, three, and four disabled, Main power is fluxuating, injuries,” Mara lifted her head from the speaker to confirm what she already knew, “No injuries, just a whopping headache.”
Luke was already pulling on a vacuum suit as Mara spun away from the console, “Come on Ben, we’re going to need your help.” She pulled open the locker underneath his seat and began to help him into the vacuum suit stowed there.
Through the view port Luke saw the Sekotan fighter that Anakin was piloting slow to a stop directly before them. His voice flooded the speakers maddeningly calm, “I’m going to try and tow you into the asteroid field bearing one-five mark two.” A black well suddenly formed between the two ships and Luke felt the Scimitar begin to move toward it. Slowly the gravitic distortion that was pulling them moved to put them on a course into the asteroid field.
Mara tapped the comm button as she finished sealing Ben’s vacuum suit, “Roger that, we’re starting repairs now.” She spun to Luke as he tossed her the last vacuum suit. Swiftly she pulled it on and grabbed the tool kit from the locker.
* * *
Picard slunk through the corridor his hand phaser out in front of him. Ahead in the blinking red lights of a battle alert he saw a door open next to a T junction. A pair of security men stepped out pulse phaser rifles leveled. A volley of glowing orange bolts flashed down the corridor. One smashed into the lead security officer bringing him to the ground with a smoldering burn across his chest. The second security officer tan down the corridor his rifle blazing when spinning through the air like a top came a humming red light saber. The sickening thump of two slabs of meat hitting the ground followed as the saber sliced through the security man. Then two Rapora warriors sped into the junction.
One held a repeating plasma carbine in its clawed hands. It spun as it saw Picard lying on the floor and levels its weapon a trio of phaser bolts tracked across the creature’s chest bringing it to the ground. Picard glanced back behind him to see Worf with his pulse phaser rifle raised.
The second creature held out its hand and the lightsaber leapt from the deck into its hand. Picard fired his phaser as the Rapora brought the saber into en guard position. The Rapora ducked back in a blur of motion as the phaser beam passed through where he’d just been.
Fear welled up in him as Picard saw the creature’s jaws twist into a snarl, “Fall back!” He stood and fired his phaser again as he began to back down the corridor. The creature charged toward them its lightsaber spinning wildly in its hands. Picard felt the wall touch his back as he stiffened, they we’re out of corridor space. Worf stood and charged toward the Rapora his phaser rifle held like a club. The creature merely lifted his hand and Worf was thrown up into the vessel’s roof. He dropped back down onto the floor with a thump. Slowly Worf reached for the pulse rifle but the creature stood upon it. Then with a flick of the creature’s wrist Worf was lifted onto his knees and the Rapora smiled demonically as it swung its saber and cut him down.
* * *
Mara hung in space with an arc welder clamped in one hand and the other on the safety line she wore around her belt. Through the force she could feel Luke’s concern for her, his protectiveness even though the task they were involved in was far from the most dangerous stunt they’d pulled together. There was another reason for the protectiveness to, Ben was with her hanging in space beside her with a toolbox clamped in his hands.
Through the force Mara could feel the bitter battle being waged aboard the Enterprise, the occasional flash of a Rapora death through the force, or the sparks of pain and surprise from the crew. She knew that Ben felt it as well, every shock of death. With her mind she caressed the young boy that was her son and eased his fears, he was smart enough to help her even at this age but he was also in danger. A distasteful thought floated across her mind, danger will be his life, as it has been mine.
Across on the other side of the ship where the engines were Luke slowly worked to get the engines operational. She felt his mind touch hers, it won’t be so bad, maybe the universe will quite down.
Mara snorted, quiet down with the Rapora around, only if we loose, Luke. She smiled slowly as she glanced at been with the tool box, another patch. The boy withdrew a small piece of metal from the box and tossed it to her as they hung there in space.
Luke’s voice came across the comm link in their headsets, “Mara, The engines will need to be rewired almost completely.”
Mara gritted her teeth as she put the patch in place and started to work, her ship had taken quite a beating, and for that they’ll pay she thought. She felt rather then saw Luke shake his head at that thought, rule number one never mess with Mara’s ship. With one last weld the hull breach was sealed and she saw the flow of escaping air disappear, “Alright hull’s patched, I’ll be right over.” She clambered across the hull with her safety line behind her Ben kicked off from the hull. Mara felt her heart stop as Ben moved away from the hull.
Luke scrambled to see Ben slowly curving using the safety line as an anchor. Ben’s voice came through the headset, and he sounded quite amused with the sense streaming off Mara of sudden panic, “I’m fine.” The boy grabbed an engine housing as he rounded the rear of the Scimitar.
“Ben, don’t scare me like that,” Mara answered and Luke sensed her irritation at being so frightened by their son’s maneuver. Luke too had felt himself tense when he’d seen him using the safety line like that. Mara dropped down next to Luke with a glow rod in her hand and glared into the engine housing, “Ben bring me the wiring kit.”
“He takes after you,” Luke said lightly and stopped when he saw her green glare, maybe he shouldn’t have said it.
* * *
Picard dropped his Phaser in exhaustion as he looked at the ruined corridors, he’d managed to use an access hatch to drop down one level, but the Rapora had found him there as well. Everywhere he’d turned there were Rapora. He glanced behind him at Rieker, Troi, Data, and La Forge. The all seemed exhausted except for Data but even Picard knew that the strain of seeing a ship was also taking a toll on the Androids hardy mind. He tapped the side panel of the door and activated the ship wide communications system, “All hands abandon ship.” He glanced toward the command staff again, “Computer activate self destruct.”
The computer’s response shook Picard’s heart, “The auto destruct system has been removed.”
Picard turned to the others, “Get to the escape pods, I’ll blow the warp core.” He saw them nod then turn and slipped into the escape pods. With a sigh Picard turned away from the pods and stepped into the next corridor.
He stopped as a barely audible hiss filled his ears. There was a thump from the deck behind him as a Rapora warrior dropped from the ceiling. Picard turned to see the reptilian face mere centimeters from his own. A brilliant red claw scratched across his back bringing him to the ground as the pain shot through him. Slowly he turned to see the Rapora remove an artificial attachment to the claw and toss it aside. Then the dizziness filled his head and he felt the warm scaly hands clasp his arms behind his back and lock them in binders.
* * *
With a flicker of pseudomotion the familiar shape of Voyager leapt from hyperspace and into a region that was crowded with vessels. Starbase 12 sat alone in the emptiness of space surrounded by vessels from a dozen different worlds. The bulbous shapes of Mon Calamari Cruisers, the triangular points of Imperial Star Destroyers, the wheel like shapes of Trade Federation Battle Ships, Klingon, Cardassian, and Romulan ships sat there.
Janeway felt her stomach tighten at the sight as she hailed Starbase 12, “Commander what’s the situation here?”
Luke smiled as he dropped down behind the pilot’s console and fired up the ion drive. Mara sat down next to him and keyed up a series of diagnostics, “Well it’s at ninety-four percent efficiency…better then I’d hoped from your farm mechanic hands.”
Luke smiled slight as Ben leaned in his arms laying over the shoulders of both Luke and Mara, “I helped, that’s why.”
Luke shook his head slowly and smiled, “Thanks a bunch.”
“Sure thing farm boy,” Mara answered as she finished reading the diagnostic. With a grimace she turned to Luke, “The hyperdrive is only at forty-five percent efficiency.”
Luke shrugged, “I’m not a hyperdrive technician Mara. It’ll be a wonder if it works at all.” He turned to Artoo as he beeped a comment, “I know you did most of the work Artoo.”
“I knew we were keeping him around for some reason,” Mara said slowly and smiled at the droids forlorn moan. She keyed another display and frowned, “Well we can’t get to the coordinates that Voyager went to, not enough consumables.” She scanned the list of worlds within range of their ship, “Hmm… let’s see what we’ve got here… Kuat is just in range.”
“Kuat it is then,” Luke answered as he leaned back in his seat. Through the viewport he could see Anakin in his Sekotan Skip waiting patiently off his bow. With a sigh he flicked on the comm, “Father, we’re heading for Kuat for repairs.”
* * *
Captain Janeway leaned back in the plush seat of the meeting room of Starbase 12 as she listened to the briefing that the station commander had prepared. On a flat screen display behind him the image of an enormous glimmering sphere was set against the black backdrop of space. The Commander sighed, “We have no idea what these spheres are but what they represent.”
Commander Tuvok turned in his seat, expressionless, “These spheres did not appear until the strange galactic events did it is only logical that they are connected.”
“Why don’t we just blast it?” Han Solo asked from his seat next to them. He glanced at the surprised looks from around the table, “I mean if it’s causing these events destroying it will make everything go back to normal, right?”
“It would be unwise to take a course of action that would be impossible to reverse,” Thrawn replied steadily with his eyes narrowed at the former smuggler.
Janeway leaned forward in her chair, “Solo, if we destroy them there is a chance that we may just make these changes permanent?”
A large green skinned alien leaned forward in his seat, his royal purple and black robes concealing the majority of his features, “This device should be studied perhaps there is some things that we could learn from it, and use to our advantage.”
“Yes Viceroy, we must change this chance to our opportunity perhaps we may all profit from this end,” A Ferengi answered his ear lobes quivering with excitement.
Thrawn nodded slowly, “What of you Romulan Ambassador Tolrain, surely you have an opinion in this matter?”
The female romulan squinted at thrawn her face forming a half smile, “I must communicate with my government but I assure you that the Federation and Jedi’s assistance with the Star Destroyer will help ensure our cooperation.” Her eyes narrowed, “I must ask Admiral, but who will be in charge of this research, we Romulans have a long memory of betrayal by several of those at this table.”
Thrawn smiled, ever so faintly, “Your government wants unquestioned access to information, I understand that and I understand that several of those at this table have similar concerns.”
A klingon nodded slowly from his seat, “We will not agree to allowing the cowardly Romulans complete access unless we to have complete access.”
The Romulan ambassador shot to her feet, “Klingon I ask you to remember that your ships are outfitted with devices of our own design! We will not agree to this.”
Thrawn leaned back in his seat, his white uniform gleaming and Janeway could see that the Admiral was thinking, trying to sooth over the mixture of old enemies in the room. Slowly Thrawn nodded, “What do the Federation require?”
Slowly the heads turned to Janeway, being the highest ranking officer in the room from the Federation, “Since the information involved is completely unknown I must request full disclosure to all parties, considering these spheres are scattered across all of our territories.”
Thrawn nodded slowly and smiled to himself, “I propose that research into this phenomena will be done independently in each of our territories, every shall we say two months, all parties will meet like this with their team of scientists to share information at a neutral location, is this acceptable?”
Janeway smiled, artfully done, she thought, the admiral had impressive diplomatic skills after all. “I’m willing to agree with that,” Janeway answered slowly. She could already see nods of agreement from others around the table.
Leia Organa Solo leaned forward onto the table, “It’s settled then, I trust you’ll select the location Admiral?”
Thrawn’s mouth twitched slightly, “Yes.”
The Trade Federation delegate stood and glanced around the table, “We will see you in two months then.”
* * *
Luke and Mara lay next to each other their voices lowered since Ben had gone to bed. Slowly Mara whispered in his ear, “So what do you think?”
“About what’s going on?” Luke felt Mara’s smile as she nodded. Slowly Luke sighed, he couldn’t keep secrets from her, “I feel like we’re being manipulated.”
Mara nodded slowly, “I feel…I feel like you’re right, something about this whole situation makes me feel…” She stopped and shook her head, “It’s hard to explain. I feel like I did when I was under Palpatine.” Luke could sense the strange mixture of emotions that welled up in her as she remembered those days. Slowly she pulled herself closer to Luke, “I can sense someone out there, issuing orders and directives, and he’s keeping an eye on me.”
Luke felt her head shift to gaze up at him, “With everything else that’s happened, you don’t think?” In that instant Luke felt his stomach fold in upon itself, Mara’s mind reached out to touch his, not for comfort or intimacy, but a touch that seemed to be an attempt to remind herself as to who she was, and everything that had changed.
Through her touch Luke could feel what Mara felt, the gnawing fear, the loneliness, and he could even sense a malevolent presence, a presence that tinged with the familiar but seemed colored by time.
Then Luke felt the presence diminish, as though it had lost interest. As it collapsed through Mara he could feel words, “Goodbye Mara Jade, you have chosen the path of death, and thus shall it be.”
Through Mara he could feel both a rush of relief followed by an icy determination, in his mind her retort hammered through him, “It’ll be your death, not mine.” Slowly Mara let go of his mind and took a deep breath as both of them tried to regain their composure. In that moment the ship buck and a warning klaxon rang through their ears.
Luke pulled himself out of the bed as the ship suddenly lurched and felt himself end up on the floor. Through the comm. systems Luke heard a cultured and distinctive voice, an imperial voice, “Upon order of the Empire, surrender your vessel or be destroyed.”
Luke tapped the display next to his door as Mara stood beside him. The Imperial Star Destroyer’s registry appeared on its screen and Luke felt his gut go cold. In his ear Mara whispered her voice suddenly fearful, “It’s the Chimaera.”
Pelleaon turned to the Grand Admiral, “Sir we’ve got a freighter in a tractor beam. The Constrainer reports that the gravity well is holding.”
The communications operator turned to toward Thrawn on his command chair, “Transmission from the freighter.”
“Put it on,” Thrawn said serenely.
“This is Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, if you’d refrain from destroying our ship, I’d like to speak with the Grand Admiral.”
“Admiral?” Pellaeon asked.
“Bring them aboard,” He glanced to the head of security, “Alert all yslamir equipped stormtroopers to be on alert. Is the other freighter secure?” Pellaeon nodded. “Come Captain we have guests.”
* * *
“Jedi Skywalker, the admiral will be waiting for you once you dock. Leave your lightsaber and blasters inside your vessel. Rukh would be most displeased if you refused.”
Luke sighed and glanced to Mara, “That’s that then.” He pulled his lightsaber off his belt and tossed it into a chair. Mara followed suit dropping both her lightsaber and blasters into the seat. She stood and clasped Ben’s hand leading him to the aft hatch. Luke stepped beside it as the craft thumped onto the deck of the Star Destroyer. With a hiss the door opened and they stepped down the ramp. A legion of stormtroopers stood along the side in a dress formation. As Luke and Mara stepped to the end of the ramp an officer nodded to a pair of stormtroopers which stepped forward and slowly methodically searched them for weapons along with Ben.
The Grand Admiral stood at the end of the line of stormtroopers his blue features reflecting in the polished metal of the cargo bay floor. Beside him a short figure lurked, Rukh, the Grand Admiral’s personal body guard.
There was a second freighter in the cargo bay, its bulk almost filling it and as Mara’s eyes flicked to study it she felt her stomach contract with dread. It was a Corellian Action Iv Transport and the four turbolasers which were visible toward its aft confirmed its identity, the Wild Karrde. Luke felt the wave of shock that roiled off Mara and glanced at the freighter then he too felt fear shoot through him.
The Grand Admiral smiled slightly and walked along the line of stormtroopers and stopped as he closed so that he could study his visitors features, “You look older then I expected. I don’t…” He stopped as his eyes focused on Mara, “Who is with you Master Skywalker?”
Luke felt himself stiffen, this wasn’t going to be good, “This is my wife Mara Jade, and our son Ben.”
Thrawn glanced at her and arched an eyebrow, “Wife?” He shrugged then pulled a commlink from his belt, “Bring her in.”
A pair of stormtroopers strolled into the room followed by Captain Pellaeon. Between them a woman struggled her red hair tattered, her brow bloodied. They stepped beside where Admiral Thrawn stood and dropped their cargo to the floor. She glanced up at Thrawn, her lips trembling with rage.
The Grand Admiral ignored her stare and slowly walked between them and dropped a small blaster onto the deck, “How is it that before me stands a woman over fifteen years older than the one behind me that claims to be the same woman that stands behind me, bloodied, and ragged. How is it that after years of indoctrination, and hate that woman has gone so far as to have not only cast aside her hatred of Skywalker, but to love him and become the mother of his child?”
Behind Thrawn the woman was breathing hard, her face contorted even more with rage, her glittering green eyes flicked to study Mara. Suddenly she reached out a hand and the blaster between them lifted from the floor began bounce and clatter toward her.
Mara’s gaze flicked to the blaster then to the woman, “Don’t, I know how you feel…don’t let his last act of revenge be your last act. You will regret it.”
The woman’s gaze seemed to falter from her words. The blaster clattered to a halt and slowly Mara stepped forward bringing herself between Luke and her former self. Then the woman seemed to harden in her resolve, “You’re a traitor.” Mara slowly shook her head as the woman reached for the blaster.
Mara lifted her hand and the blaster stopped it jerked suddenly and Mara flung it across the hanger where it clattered to the ground. Mara gave a slight almost superior smile then glanced at Luke, “Was I really this…”
“Disturbed, crazed, fanatical,” Ben suggested as he walked up beside his mother.
“Um…” Mara began her smile slowly disappearing.
“Ignorant is the word,” Ben said finally. He glanced at the woman lying defeated on the floor, “That’s what you were like?”
“I was young then,” Mara replied a slight smile playing across her lips. Slowly the woman stood. With a flash a pair of golden blade appeared. With a flicker of motion the blades sliced through her and she fell, already dead. Seemingly out of nowhere a trio of Droideka’Kar war droids rippled into existence, their cloaking fields disengaging.
Droideka’Kar was the Rapora’s secret weapon. They were heavily enhanced models of the ancient Droideka design which they’d purchased from the trade federation nearly a century earlier. Instead of dual blasters on each arm a repeating blaster and a lightsaber emitter were deployed. Between the two and almost part of the arm were Plasma projectile cannons. A pair of power lines fed to a large backpack shaped power unit attached just below the droideka’s head. A second set of rotating parts had been placed on the shoulder blades of the droid so that when it unfolded a pair of Concussion missile launchers could rise level to the droideka’s head to engage the enemy. The droid was a walking agent of destruction.
There were three of them and they immediately waddled forward and opened up with their repeating blasters. The ranks of stormtroopers were swiftly cut down and Pellaeon turned in shock to see one of the droid’s deflect blaster fire with a lightsaber blade, not even bothering to activate its shields.
Mara grabbed Thrawn’s uniform by its collar, “You want to live?”
Thrawn nodded slowly, “My death would do more harm then good.”
Luke grabbed him by the shoulder as Rukh caught a plasma blast from one of the droids which superheated his internal liquids. He disappeared in a flash of blood and steam and was gone, “Lets go!”
Luke hauled the Grand Admiral up the hatch as the first Plasma blasts began to focus on the ship. Mara picked up Ben and carried him inside the freighter and the hatch slammed closed behind them. Already Artoo was throwing power to the drives and the Jade Scimitar shot out into space.
War and conflict are the most constant portion of the known universe, they produce change, social evolution, but compared to those we now face no threat or conflict has measured up.
-Holo documentary, The New Foes, by Wolam Tser
Thirty years after the battle of Endor with the New Republic slowly changing into the fledgling Galactic Federation of Free Alliances a new threat arose on the horizon, the Rapora.
The Rapora are by no means a new part of the galaxy, nor are they a race which hasn’t taken up arms, their history predates both the Old Republic and the Jedi Order.
The history of the Rapora originally began during the reign of the Infinite Empire. Created by the ruling portion of the infinite empire, the Rapora were genetically engineered as weapons against their foes. Every one was force sensitive, every one was a warrior, and every one was indoctrinated into a religious reverence of those who demonstrated the full extent of the powers of the dark side of the force. Then the Infinite Empire fell, its members being scattered across the galaxy. The Rapora ended up on a lonely world in the unknown region and would remain there until a Chiss Expansionary Defense Force patrol, under the command of Mit’thrawn’nuruodo stumbled across the world.
It was as though a darkness inside the Raporan soul had been awaken, the Chiss Patrol was sent reeling, loosing nearly all of its ships. When word of the events eventually got to Senator Palpatine, he took a ship there to make diplomatic contact. The Rapora met the vessel as it arrived, but surprised by the presence of a heavily trained dark side adept, they struck a quiet agreement. Using his connections with the Trade Federation, he managed to smuggle the design for the Droideka to the world, along with more advanced weapons designs.
The Rapora council, the leadership for the world, quietly plotted to use the designs furnished by Palpatine against there neighbors. In an attempt to forestall this shortly after his destruction of outbound flight, Thrawn launched a preemptive strike on the planet, forcing the Rapora’s plans to be delayed over fifty years. Once Thrawn achieved Grand Admiral in the Imperial Navy he began to plan for the oncoming threat from the Rapora, funneling resources into the unknown regions and establishing what would become the Empire of the Hand.
The Rapora however learned the strategic value of preemptive strikes. Their first strike was a debilitating blow to the Empire of the Hand, the complete destruction of the Hand of Thrawn complex. The staggering blow enabled them to engage in a broad campaign against the Chiss Consortium along with an alliance of various worlds including the Vagaari.
The Chiss Consortium, desperate and hard pressed called on Galactic Federation of Free Alliances for assistance. A fleet under the command of General Gavin Darklighter was sent into the region. Several Jedi accompanied them. With the defeats that followed the realization of the sheer danger of the Rapora threat led to open war.
The average Rapora stands approximately 1.4 Meters tall this figure is misleading because of the average length of the species, which normally is over two meters due to a boney tail. They’re a bipedal predator, with skin and sensory abilities which are distinctly reptilian. Their skin is usually a dusty red-brown in coloration males have a crest of feathers on the rear of the skull and there body is shaped in a distinctly saurian fashion, an S-shaped neck, bird like legs and hips, and a wolf shaped skull. The middle toe of their three toed foot is oversized and curved to make it a devastating weapon during a kick. Their chest cavity, hips, and leg muscles are designed specifically for running and leaping giving them a top speed of over thirty kilometers an hour. Their clawed five finger hands make them able to utilize all human designed technology with ease.
It is unknown when but during the Rapora’s quite existence on their barren world, they obtained lightsaber technology. The use of lightsabers has been expanded so that nearly every warrior and pilot is issued a version of this technology. The most common instrument is the Rapora Lanvahok which design is similar to a double blade lightsaber. However one blade is far shorter then the other and the second blade is at a ninety degree angle to the first.
The most common ranged weapon in the Raporan arsenal is the Plasma gun. These fire concentrated blasts of superheated materials. They come in varieties as small as a rifle to ones capable of breaching planetary shields with one direct shot. There effectiveness is much greater then plasma weapons used by the Yuuzhan Vong due to the lack of slight imperfections inherent with Bioengineered arms.
To be continued.
[size="1"][ 09. August 2004, 11:21 AM: Message edited by: Cain ][/size]
Written some fiction? Wanna participate in a boardwar? Wanna read some fiction! Heres your place!
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