Note:*** This story is a seguel to "Jedi Knights of Earth and Beyond". If you have not read that story, it is requested that you do before you read this one. This story may get confusing if the first has not been read. Note: A CMD is combat multiview display. ***
*** Chapter One
The floor of the room was covered with moaning bodies of different species from around the galaxy. Some tried to get on their feet, but failed. The only door was guarded by two soldiers dressed in white armor; both carried a huge blaster in their hands.
The door slid open. In stepped a man dressed in black armor. A black cape ran down his back, swinging behind him as he walked into the room. Two more white guards followed him through the door; both also carrying huge blasters in their arms.
The black figure stopped in front of a man with a black cloak. The man showed no fear as he stared at the masked face of the dark clad figure towering over him.
The black figure ignited a hard, red beam; a lightsaber. He lifted the saber above his head and swung the blade towards the neck of the fearless cloaked man...
* * * *
Billy jerked awake, his eyes wide. "What a nightmare," Billy whispered to himself, holding his head with his right hand. "That's the third time in a row that I've dreamt it."
Billy let his hand drop back on the bed. There was something about that dream, something of great importance that Billy couldn't quite figure out. "Come on, Billy. Think. You're smart, you can figure this out," Billy thought.
After a while of thinking, he finally decided that this dream wasn't a dream at all, but some sort of call for help. Quickly, Billy stretched out through the Force to find where the call was coming from.
* * * *
At the same time Trini's eyelids popped open. She too had dreamt the same strange nightmare. "What in the world," she breathed, sitting up. She tried to contact Billy using the Force, but the way was blocked. Trini sighed.
"He must be practicing his skills," Trini thought, "but at this hour?!"
Most likely. Knowing Billy, he's probably preparing for Jason and Tommy's first lesson again.
Trini laid back down and shut her eyes. Whatever Billy was doing it wasn't her business. She slowly dosed off into a heavy sleep.
* * * *
The next morning Jason and Tommy strolled through the park, babbling excitedly to themselves. "Can you believe it?! Us, Jedi Knights. The next Luke Skywalkers. This is going to be great!" exclaimed Jason, smiling.
"No, I don't believe it, but it's the truth!" Tommy laughed. "I wonder if George Lucas knew that his movie dream was in real life reality?"
"Of course he didn't. Otherwise he wouldn't have to hire actors," laughed Jason. He looked at his watch. "We'd better get a move on. It's almost seven." The two started racing each other to the place where their first lesson was to be held.
* * * *
The two Jedi Knights stretched out through the Force, searching for their two trainees. "They're coming," Billy whispered to Trini.
Trini looked up to see him yawn. "Didn't get enough sleep?" she asked. Billy nodded his head.
"I was up all night trying to find out where the dream warning that keeps coming to me came from," he replied, looking up at the sky.
"You mean you've been having strange dreams too?" Trini exclaimed, raising her eyebrows. Billy nodded.
"I keep dreaming that I'm in a room of dying aliens and humans. Every time a guy, who resembles Darth Vader, comes in and cuts off the head of one of the humans who seems very familiar. Not until last night did I realize that it was a warning or call for help," Billy explained, glancing back at her.
"That's the same dream I had too," Trini murmured, glancing at the ground and then looking back up at Billy. He gave her a tight smile, which quickly disappeared as he turned his head quickly to look over his shoulder.
Trini followed his gaze, preparing for a monster, a group of putties, or something dangerous to jump out of the bushes and attack them, even though Lord Zedd and Rita weren't even in the solar system.
Instead of a monster, though, from the bushes came two teenagers older than she and Billy were, laughing as they raced each other past Trini and Billy, stopping at the edge of the lake.
"I won!" Tommy panted, resting his hands on his knees. He glanced up and gave Jason a smile. Jason smiled back.
"Sure did," agreed Jason, still panting. He put his arm around Tommy's shoulders when Tommy straightened up. Tommy did the same to Jason as they walked back to their Jedi Masters.
When they reached the two Jedi Knights they let go of each other. Jason smiled at them, "We made it."
"Yep, we're ready to begin our training," agreed Tommy, shuffling his feet to hide his excitement, though he knew he couldn't.
The two Jedi Knights looked at each other. "I have a funny feeling that training these two is going to take longer than we thought," Trini thought-waved to Billy. He just nodded.
"Are you still sure you want to go through this training?" Trini asked Tommy and Jason. "It's not going to be as fun as you seem to think. The Force is not a toy."
"We're willing," replied Jason, stepping forward. Tommy nodded his agreement.
"Very well," said Billy in a low voice. "Shall we begin?"
Trini took Tommy and Billy took Jason to separate places by the lake. Each Jedi told their trainee about the Force and showed them a few simple exercises. This took some time for the trainees were so excited that they could barely concentrate on what they were supposed to be doing.
The training went on for hours until Billy noticed that it was after twelve o'clock and called for a break. "So, how am I doing?" Jason asked Billy.
"Quite well. You do need to work on your concentration, but today's only the first day. You'll get better the more training you get," answered Billy as they followed the others to the picnic table where they'd planned to have lunch with Kim and Zack.
Arriving at the table they noticed Kim and Zack already there waiting for them. "Hey, guys!" greeted Tommy as he sat down next to Kimberly.
"Hey yourself! What took you guys so long?" demanded Kimberly.
"We lost track of time," replied Trini, sitting down between Jason and Billy. Billy propped up his broken ankle on the bench across the table by Zack and leaned his crutches on the table.
"So, how was your first day of training?" Zack asked to Tommy and Jason, a smile crossing his face.
"I think it went very well," responded Jason, helping Kimberly pull out the food from the picnic basket.
"VERY well," echoed Tommy, his gaze on the food.
"What did you learn?" Kim pushed to keep the conversation going as she put the last of the food from the basket on the table. A ham sandwich ascended into the air, about three inches off the table, where it floated for a while, startling Kim and Zack. The sandwich then, unsteadily, floated to Tommy and landed on his paper plate.
"I assume that levitating objects was one of the skills learned," Zack guessed. Jason and Tommy nodded.
"Let's get eating! I'm starving!" shouted Tommy, taking a bite from his sandwich. The others each grabbed a sandwich and also began their lunch.
"When's the next lesson?" Jason asked Billy and Trini after a while. Trini and Billy looked at each other and then back at Jason. Tommy looked up from his second sandwich, anxiously waiting for an answer.
"We're not quite sure yet," replied Billy. "Maybe tomorrow night, since tomorrow's Sunday, or ..."
Billy stopped suddenly. He was staring at the table, but didn't see it. A voice filled his mind, saying, "Nassir, you must come to Yavin Four immediately. You are needed. Bring your sister and your most trusted friends with you..."
As the voice faded Billy blinked and looked up at his friends who gave him concern looks. "You okay?" Zack asked.
Billy nodded, "I'm fine, but we must go."
They looked at each other and then back at him. "Go where?" Kim questioned.
"The Yavin System." Gasps went around the table. Kimberly began tossing everything back into the basket.
Questions were thrown at Billy, "Why do we need to go? Is there an emergency? How do you know? Do we have to leave now?"
Billy held up his hands for silence, "Please, no questions. Let's go."
Billy grabbed his crutches and then stood up. He, with the others, teleported to the command center.
*** Chapter Two
When they materialized in the command center they were greeted by Alpha. "Rangers, what brings you here?" the robot asked.
"We need to go to the Yavin System. There's something going on there that can't be ignored," replied Billy.
"Normally I wouldn't let you all go and leave the earth unprotected," announced Zordon. The rangers hung their heads, thinking about all the trouble that could be going on in another galaxy that they weren’t going to be able help with. Zordon then brightened their moods when he added, "However, since there is no threat to our planet, I shall let you all go help the world in distress. Alpha, set the coordinates for..."
"Yavin Four," Billy and Trini said at the same time. Billy looked at her in surprise.
"How did you know?" Billy thought-waved the question to his "sister"
. "Lucky guess," Trini sent back with a smile.
"The coordinates are set, Zordon," announced Alpha.
"Good. Go now, rangers, and may the Power and the Force protect you," the mentor commanded. The six teens vanished, heading towards a galaxy far, far away.
* * * *
The rangers materialized in a tropical woods. They could hear what sounded like birds chirping though they weren't sure. Things can be different on another planet or, in this case, moon. "It's so beautiful," Kimberly commented as she gazed around at her surroundings.
"Certainly is," agreed Tommy who was looking up at the canopy of green that was hiding the sky. When he brought his gaze back down he noticed Billy and Trini walking away from the group. "We better move on before we lose our guides."
The four ran towards the two Jedi Knights, with Tommy and Jason in the lead. The two trainees suddenly stopped and were bumped from behind by Kim and Zack. "What's wrong?" Zack asked. "Why did you stop?"
"Do you feel that?" Jason whispered the question to no one in particular.
Tommy nodded, but the others shook theirs. "Feel what?"
Jason shut his eyes. "I don't know." When he reopened them he murmured, "Let's go."
The four soon caught up with Billy and Trini. When he reached Trini's side, Jason asked, though he already knew the answer, "Did you feel the disturbance?"
The two Jedi Knights nodded. "You're starting to sense tremors. This is good," Billy said. "What you sense are the other Jedi nearby." Silence soon fell among the group as they continued through the forest to a unknown destination.
* * * *
At the base of an ancient temple two droids, one gold and the other blue, headed off into the forest, arguing. "Artoo, where are you dragging me off to this time? " the gold droid, See-Threepio, demanded as he followed his counterpart, Artoo-Detoo, on his stiff legs.
The little droid stopped, swiveled his dome-shaped head to look at Threepio, and whistled.
"Master Luke sent you out to look for something? Why do you invite me then?" Threepio asked again in his British accent.
Artoo blatted at him.
"You most certainly DID invite me," Threepio argued. "You didn't order me. In fact you CAN'T order me around. Mistress Leia and Master Luke are really the only ones who can."
"If Master Luke wanted me to go with you he would have told me himself."
Artoo turned his head away from Threepio and started rolling towards the woods again. He bleeped.
"All right, I'm coming, Artoo," Threepio said, giving up, as he began to follow the astronomic droid. "But if you lead me into one of your silly adventures again I'll never forgive you."
* * * *
The teens stopped in their tracks. "What is it this time?" Kimberly moaned.
"Did you hear that?" Tommy asked, glancing around.
"Hear what?" asked Zack. Suddenly they heard a voice in the distance saying, "Artoo, slow down! Wait for me!"
"Someone's coming," whispered Tommy, tensing up.
A blue dome appeared in the ferns moving towards them. A gold figure, with its arms in the air, followed the short, domed figure shouting, "Artoo!"
The domed figure came out of the ferns and stopped in front of the teens. The gold figure soon reached its side. "I told you to wait for me," it said.
The blue figure bleeped.
"Fine then. I ASKED you to wait for me," replied the gold figure. It looked up and, noticing the six teens, straightened in a jerky movement. "Oh my."
Tommy, Jason, Kim, and Zack stood there, staring at the two robots as if they were toys that just came to life. "May I ask what you are doing here?" The gold droid asked the teens.
"We've come to see your master," Billy replied.
"Master Luke is teaching a class right now. You'll have to wait until the class is finished in the assembly hall," announced the droid.
"That's fine with us," Trini said. Artoo started heading back the way the two droids had came.
"Artoo! Where are you going? I thought you had to look for something," Threepio exclaimed, following his counterpart.
"You mean to tell me that you forced me to come with you to find them? You could've found them without me!"
The teens chuckled softly as they followed the two comedians.
* * * *
The teens sat waiting in what used to be the briefing room during the time when the temple use to be a Rebel base. Now, the temple was the home of the only Jedi Academy. "Tell me again, Billy. Who are we waiting for?" questioned Zack.
"Jedi Master Luke Skywalker." The eyes of three surprised teens started to grow wide
. Zack laughed and then held out his hand to Kimberly. He smiled at her.
"Pay up!" he exclaimed. Kim gave Zack a dirty look, pulled a five dollar bill from the pocket of her jeans, and slapped into his hand. Laughing, Zack slipped it into his pocket.
Silence fell after that. Jason, Tommy, Zack, and Kimberly started to become impatient. Jason began pacing up and down an aisle between the rows of concrete benches. Tommy was at the front of the room with Kimberly looking at the screens and computer consoles. Zack was watching Jason.
Zack broke the silence. "Hey, Jase. Could you stop pacing? You're making me dizzy."
Jason sighed. "Sorry, Zack. I guess I'm kind of nervous."
"Nervous about what?" Zack asked as Jason sat down next to him.
"About meeting Luke Skywalker," Jason answered, but ended up changing the subject. "This is all too weird. First we find out there is a Star Wars Galaxy. Then that there is such thing as the Force and Jedi Knights. And now Luke Skywalker is real. What's next?"
A door in the back of the room lifted up and in stepped a figure. Billy and Trini stood up and faced the man in the shadows. The others turned their heads toward the figure. The door closed automatically with a whooshing sound, leaving silence in its place.
The figure stepped out of the shadows to reveal a muscular man. He had light brown hair that nearly covered his ears and blue eyes that twinkled in the light. The man's face had a few wrinkles and old scars. His clothing was black and on his feet were black knee-high boots. On his right hip hung his lightsaber.
"You wished to see me?" the man asked, clamping his hands at the small of his back.
The man surprised Tommy. "Mark Hamill?"
The man gave him a confused look. "Who?"
Tommy pursed his lips before responding, "Never mind. You just look exactly like a person from our home planet." To himself he thought, "When we get back I'm going to have a talk with Zordon."
The man slowly nodded to Tommy. He turned back to the others. "Can I help you?"
"We've come," Billy said in a soft voice. He paused before adding, "Master Skywalker."
Jason, Zack, Tommy, and Kimberly gasped.
*** Chapter Three
Luke stared at the blonde haired boy. He was usually good at remembering faces, but this one didn't stand out. Though the boy did feel familiar in some way through the Force, he couldn't match a name to him. The girl beside the boy was the exact same. She felt familiar, but no name came to him. "I'm sorry, but I don't remember you from any of my classes," he apologized.
"That's because Rakia and Nassir, two former students of yours, transferred into us," Trini explained.
Luke searched them again with the Force. The feeling of knowing the two came back, but this time he finally recognized it. He smiled at them. "Nassir. Rakia. It is good to see you again."
The two Jedi Knights smiled back. "Pleased call us Billy and Trini," Trini said.
"Very well," replied Luke. He then looked over at the others. "Who are your friends?"
Billy motioned his comrades to join them and introduced them one by one, "This is Jason, Zack , Tommy, and Kimberly. Tommy and Jason are our two Jedi students."
"Pleased to meet you," the Jedi Master said, shaking hands with each of them. "I'm sure you're all tired. Why don't my students show you to your rooms. I would myself, but I have other business to attend to. I'll see you tomorrow. Good night." With that, he left the room.
A few seconds later two young teenagers walked into the room. One was a human boy with bright red hair and wearing all purple. The other one was a female Gand, an alien from the planet of the same name in the far reaches of the Outer Rim. "My name is Eric and this is Oorela," introduced the boy. "Master Skywalker has sent us to show you to your quarters."
"Lead the way," Zack said with a yawn.
* * * *
The rangers followed the students until they got to a junction. "If you ladies will follow Oorela this way," the Gand said, leading the way down the hall on the group's right. Before following, Trini glanced at the guys before she disappeared down the hall after Kim and the Force-sensitive alien.
"This way, gentlemen," announced Eric, leading the guys down the hall on the left.
Eric stopped at the end of the hall by the last door on the left. "Here are your quarters. There is food in the kitchen if you get hungry. G'night," the boy said. He turned around and started heading back down the hall.
Tommy stopped him. "Where are Kim and Trini?" he asked.
Eric whirled around. "The girls? They're at the end of the hall they went down," He replied, pointing his thumb over his shoulder. Tommy watched the boy turn back around and disappeared around the corner.
Tommy turned around at the sound of the door opening in time to see Zack walk through the doorway. He popped his head back out when they didn't follow. "You guys coming or are you going to sleep in the hall?" the Black Ranger teased. He yawned. "Well?"
Tommy motioned for Jason to go in. "After you," he said with a grin.
Jason went in followed by Billy and then Tommy. He looked around the room. In the far left corner was a high-tech kitchen filled with strange gadgets he'd never seen before, except for the small computer that laid on the counter. At the center of the room was a dark, wood table with four chairs around it. The far right corner housed four identical beds, one of which Billy was on top of, his hands folded on his stomach, his eyes closed.
"Let's hit the sack," Zack said a he crawled under the covers of the bed nearest to the door. Jason kicked off his shoes and sat on the bed by Billy's. "Tommy?"
"I will after I get some water," replied Tommy as he headed towards the kitchen. He grabbed one of the metal mugs off the counter and then searched for a sink. "Where's the sink?"
"There is no sink." Tommy jumped at the sound of Billy's voice.
"I thought you were asleep," Jason exclaimed, twisting his upper body around to look at Billy who still lay on the bed with his eyes shut.
"Appearances can be deceiving," Billy responded flatly. He returned his attention to Tommy. "Do you see the device that is jutting out of the wall and the pot under it?"
Tommy looked around. Sure enough, there was a small oval-shaped device with a switch on the front of it that was connected to the wall by a small pipe. A deep, gray pot sat on the counter under it. "Yes, I see it," answered Tommy.
"You flip the switch on the device and let the water go into the pot. Then dip your mug into the water and drink it," Billy explained.
Tommy flipped the switch. The device came alive, making groaning noises at first, and then started humming. Water poured out at the bottom of the oval and into the pot. After a few seconds he shut the device off, picked up the pot, poured the water into his mug, and started to drink it.
He took the cup away from his lips and swallowed slowly while looking at the water in his cup. "What's in this water?" Tommy asked, making a disgusted look on his face.
Billy smiled. "Everything that's supposed to be in water," he said. "You're not used to the taste of recycled water."
"Recycled water?!" exclaimed Tommy, looking at the water again.
"Yes," Billy replied.
"Hey, bro," Jason spoke up, tapping his watch, "it's getting late."
"Okay," responded Tommy. He looked at the water again, then, as fast as he could, drank the rest of the water. He placed the mug back on the counter and headed over to the bed between Jason's and Zack's. Slipping off his shoes, he sat down on the bed and hit the button on the wall. The light over the bed turned off. The whole room was dark except for where the few glow panels on the lower portion of the walls and the light Tommy forgot to turn off in the kitchen area. "Awe, man," he whispered to himself as he got up and started towards the kitchen to turn off the light.
The light turned itself off.
"What? How-," Tommy stopped. He turned to look at the still form of Billy. A smile was on his friend's face. Tommy returned to his bed and, as he curled up under the covers, said, "Thanks, Billy. G'night."
* * * *
He moved his repulsor chair out onto the balcony and into the humid night air. He wished that he could have walked his way up here, but injuries forced him not to. He looked up at the orbs floating above him in the vast speckled sky. The treeline ended a few feet below the balcony which he occupied, so there were no interruptions in the clear view of outer space. Billy stared as the red planet of Yavin and two of its other six moons slowly track their way from one horizon to the other.
A ghostly figure appeared beside him. "Beautiful night isn't it?" the transparent blue figure asked.
Billy nodded. "Very." He pointed to a bright star off to the right of Yavin. "Ironos?"
Nassir nodded. "From here it seems so far away and yet there's hardly a need for lightspeed to reach it." He glanced down at his hands. "Gosh I miss it."
"But you knew you had no choice. If you had not transferred, you and Rakia would be dead, and who knows what could have happened to Earth if Gunnar wasn't killed. You did the right thing."
"I know, but I still can't help wishing to be home." Nassir sighed. "Well, there's no need to worry about past events. We should be worried about the now." He glanced at Billy. "Like you getting some sleep."
"Yeah. I guess you're right." Billy moved the repulsor chair around and back into the temple. "Good night," he called to the ghost as it shimmered away into nothingness.
* * * *
Jason woke up to the smell of something delicious. He opened his eyes and gazed over at the door as Trini and Kimberly came in with pots steaming and adding more scents to the air. At the table he saw Tommy and Zack talking as they waited for their breakfast. Billy was sitting on the edge of his bed, typing away on a computer that rested on his lap.
"Good morning, Jason," acknowledged Billy without looking up from his typing.
"Hey," Jason yawned. He stretched, got out bed, and moved to sit beside Billy. "What are you doing?"
Billy paused what he was doing and stared at the screen for a while before resuming his work. "Typing."
Jason laughed slightly. "I know that," he said. "What are you typing?"
Billy paused again. "A message," he replied.
Jason looked at the Jedi. "You're being very talkative this morning."
Before Billy could respond, Trini announced with a smile, "Time to eat!"
"Are you coming?" the Red Ranger asked his friend. Billy shook his head.
"I've already eaten." Jason looked again at the young Jedi, then went over to the table and took a seat. Trini set a plate of food in front of each boy. Kim took the last vacant seat, setting her own food in front of her.
They all stared at their plates. One half of the plate held a glob of light green mush with pieces of what looked like lettuce leaves and blue chunks. The other half held something that resembled green Cornflakes and a mixture of orange, red, and yellow slices. "What is this stuff?" Zack asked, letting the green glob filter through his fork.
"Just some greenery from the forest," replied Trini. "At least try it. It's not poisonous."
Tommy looked at his plate again. Slowly, he scooped up some green glob onto his fork. The others watched, as if they didn't believe Trini and were waiting for him to drop dead.
He put the goo into his mouth and let it swirl around over his tongue. After a while he swallowed and looked at the others staring at him before he said, "It's... interesting. Not bad."
Kim gave a sigh of relief and started to eat hers as did the others.
As they ate Jason glanced over at the two Jedi Knights sitting on one of the beds, both looking at the computer screen and whispering softly to themselves. He smiled and went back to eating.
Suddenly Billy stopped pressing keys and closed his eyes. Trini felt a slight tremor in the Force. She glanced over to the table at the trainees. They continued to eat, not seeming to feel it.
She looked back at Billy. As the tremor faded, Billy opened his eyes and furiously finished typing his second message. After sending it, he turned it off, folded the screen down, and placed it on the bed. He picked up his crutches, stood up, and hobbled out the door.
Jason noticed. "What's up with him?" he asked Trini. Not answering, Trini hurried out the door after Billy. Jason stood up, breakfast forgotten, and started to follow her. Zack tried to stop him, but was unsuccessful.
Tommy was about to follow as well, but a firm hand landed on his shoulder and stopped him. "You don't need to go after them," Kim whispered.
Tommy turned around to face her. "I want to," he said in a hushed voice. He looked down at his feet.
"Billy probably just went out to run an errand. Trini must have thought he was upset about something and went after him. You know how easy it is to worry her. Jason had no right to follow. Neither do you." Kimberly's voice had a firm tone to it.
"I know, but everything's different about those two ever since that spaceship crashed in the park. You don't know what they'll do now," Tommy exclaimed.
Kim shook her head. "Just finish your breakfast," was all she said. Tommy knew that there was no point at continuing the conversation and so sat back down at his seat at the table.
*** Chapter Four
Billy stopped at the junction and turned around. Trini, followed by Jason, appeared from around the corner. Billy sighed. "Why are you following me?"
"Something's up and I followed you to find out what," Jason replied before Trini could say anything. She nodded in agreement.
"Luke wants to see me," Billy replied. He changed the subject, "Why don't you go back to the room. I'm sure Tommy's a little worried, and Kim's probably angry that you left without finishing your breakfast, Jason."
"Oh man! Breakfast!" Jason shouted, slapping his head with his hand. He turned around and sprinted back down the hall. Trini glanced at Billy before disappearing down the hall after Jason.
Billy sighed again and turned to hobble on his crutches down the hall on his right. He stopped in front of a door on his left, pushed the buzzer, and waited. Soon a voice from inside the room reached his ears. "Come in," it said.
Billy heard the door unlock and watched it retreat into the ceiling. He stepped into the room.
The room was much smaller than his and the other boys' room was. To the left of him in the corner was the white kitchen area filled with similar gadgets as his quarters. In the far left corner was a single bed with black covers that was neatly made. In the corner to his right was a closet. A square table with two chairs was in the middle of the room. Luke sat in one of the chairs. "You wished to see me," Billy said.
"I did," replied Luke. He gestured to the other chair. "Please be seated."
Billy took his offer and sat down. "I wish to talk about why I asked you to come to Yavin Four with your friends," Luke announced and then began, "For the past few years we, the New Republic, have been having no problem with small fragments of the Empire, until now."
The 'until now' caught Billy's full attention. He leaned forward. "A few days ago, after Leia's arrival on Yavin Four," the Jedi Master continued, "she received a message from Coruscant saying that a cargo ship was passing through the deserted Ostonen System when the pilot noticed a 'small moon' moving towards Ostonen and shooting a laser at the planet. Once the laser hit the surface, the planet's life was destroyed."
"Some type of Death Star," Billy said. Luke nodded.
"It appears that the pieces of the Empire have joined together and used all the supplies they could get from smugglers and deserted planets, such as Almania and its moon Pydyr, to make another Death Star. They used Ostonen for target practice," Luke explained. "That's why I asked you here. The Republic needs all the help it can get and, from what I can recall, Rakia and Nassir were two of the best pilots on Ironos. Oh, while I'm on the subject, did you send the message to Wedge?"
"Yes, General Antilles wants my friends in flight training as soon as possible," responded Billy.
"Good." Luke stood up and headed to the closet. "You best get ready to go. Leia's going to go back to Coruscant soon. We need to go with her if you and your friends are going to help."
"I guess so," Billy replied, heading to the door. "We'll see you in the docking bay in about fifteen minutes." He left Luke's quarters and headed back to his.
* * * *
The door opened and Billy stepped into the room. His friends were sitting on two of the beds and apparently had been having a conversation. Trini was seated at the table with the computer in front of her. They were now looking at him. "Time to go," he said.
A groan escaped Kim's mouth. "Again?" she asked. "We just got here." The other three on the beds nodded their agreement.
"The New Republic needs us. We have to go to Coruscant," Billy said, not a touch of frustration in his voice.
Trini turned off the computer, the others looked at each other. They looked back at Billy. "What do we have to do to get ready?" Tommy asked.
"Help us pack up," Trini answered as Billy went to the closet. The other boys followed him. "Come on, Kim. We've got our own packing to do." The two girls stepped out of the room and disappeared into the hall.
"I don't get it," Zack exclaimed as he dropped one of the gray bags on the floor beside him. "Why do we have to pack up when we didn't bring anything here other than ourselves?" His response was an orange pressure suit. "Oh."
Each ranger packed their bags with an orange pressure suit with silver straps, a white armor vest, a square device with black straps and a tube, a gray belt, boots, gloves, and a helmet with Rebel symbols on it.
"What's all this stuff for?" questioned Tommy, studying the helmet before slipping it into his bag.
"Well, from what I remember from the 'Star Wars Trilogy'," Zack said, "this is what the pilots...," He stopped and looked at the helmet in his hands, shocked. In a softer voice, he finished his sentence. "...what the pilots wore."
Zack looked at Billy, who smiled at him as he slid his tennis shoe off his foot and into the bag beside him with the other one he couldn't wear. "You mean...," Zack started. His eyes grew wide when Billy nodded as he headed to the bathroom, which was to the right of the door, with clothes under his arms.
"What is it, Zack?" Tommy asked, noticing shock appear on his friend's face.
Not looking at Tommy, Zack replied in a hushed tone, "We're going to be pilots for the New Republic."
"What?!" Tommy and Jason shouted at the same time. They looked at each other and then at their still open bags of pilot gear, too stunned to say anything else.
Billy reappeared into the room. He wore a pair of tan pants with a deep pocket on the upper part of each leg with flaps covering the openings of each pocket. A sleeveless light blue shirt was tucked into his pants. The others were too stunned to notice him walk over, neatly lay his clothes into his bag, and start to put on his pressure suit.
The Jedi Knight sat down on one of the beds, his pressure suit half-way on, and pulled a black boot over his right foot. He took out his small spray can from his bag and sprayed it onto his cast. The cast vanished and he started moving his foot around in circles. "I need to figure out how I do that," Billy thought to himself as he slipped on a sock and pulled on the other boot. He dropped the spray can back into the bag, stood up, finished putting on his pressure suit, and bent over to pick up his belt.
Jason was the first to notice Billy. The young Jedi was buckling his belt. He noticed Jason looking at him and smiled before bending over to pick up the armor vest. "What are you doing, Billy?" Jason asked. "I thought the gear was supposed to go in the bag." Tommy and Zack looked up from their bags. Their faces seemed to ask the same question.
Billy smiled again. "For you, yes. For me, no," he said. "I'll be taking one of the starfighters. The freighter can't hold all of us." He slid the vest on over his head and then bent over to pick up the square, black device with straps which he put around his neck and wrapped the other strap around his chest. He connected the tube to his orange suit.
Zack's ears perked up at the word 'freighter.' "We're going on a freighter?" he asked, his eyes widened. "What's its name?"
"I think you already know that answer," responded Billy, pulling his black gloves over his hands. A smile that went past his eyes appeared on Zack's face.
"The Millennium Falcon?! You got to be kidding me." Zack's smile grew larger as Billy shook his head.
"No joke. What other ship would Han Solo come in to pick up his wife?" Billy questioned as he zipped up his bag and went back to the closet.
"Hmm. Good question," said Jason with a smile. He was trying hard not to laugh at Zack's behavior.
Zack was bouncing off the walls with excitement, repeatedly shouting, "Yes!" Tommy was trying to catch him so he could calm him down. Jason couldn't resist anymore and started laughing hysterically.
Tommy finally caught Zack and calmed him down. He glanced over at Jason who was doubled over in laughter. "Tommy, look what you made me do," teased Zack, pointing at the laughing teen. At this, Jason laughed harder.
Tommy glared at Zack and then went over to calm Jason down. Jason wiped away his tears, still grinning. He stifled some giggles.
Billy came out of the closet with something in his hands. "What's going on in here?"
"Nothing we couldn't handle, Billy," answered Tommy. He saw that Billy was holding something. "What are you holding?"
"I forgot to give you these." Billy unfolded his hands in front of him to reveal four straps, each holding eight small, oval-shaped devices. Each ranger took one.
"What are they?" Jason asked, scrutinizing the silver devices.
"They're detonators," Billy replied, strapping his around the top of his right knee-high boot. Tommy started to open his mouth to say something, but Billy cut him off. "Just in case you need them."
Billy picked up his bag and tucked his helmet under his arm. "We've got to go. Luke's waiting for us. We need to get the girls."
As Billy headed to the door with the others following him the door opened to Trini and Kimberly. "Hope we're not late," Trini said. She, like Billy, was wearing her pilot gear.
"You're not. We were just going to get you," Tommy responded. He moved past Billy, into the hall, and stood by Kim. "Let's go."
* * * *
The docking bay was virtually empty of ships except for three starfighters and a junky looking stock light freighter. The freighter's ramp came down and a man descended, ducking his head as he went under the hull of the old ship. A tall, hairy beast, a Wookiee, followed the man.
The man was in his mid or late forties, but there was no gray in his brown hair. He wore a white shirt, a black vest with pockets, navy blue pants with a line of red dots running down each leg, black boots, and a brown belt. A gun holster, that held a blaster in it, attached to his belt and leg completed the outfit. The Wookiee had brown and black fur with streaks of gray. A strap rested on his left shoulder, the pouch connected to the strap on his right hip.
A woman in a white gown was waiting for them a few meters away. Her long, brown hair was in a braid that circled the top of her head. Seeing the man, she ran, arms outstretched, into his embrace.
The rangers, except Tommy, watched this from their spot near the door of the lift they had taken. Tommy was staring at the Falcon. "We have to ride in that thing?" he asked, a disgusted look on his face.
"She flies better than she looks," Zack answered. "That is , if it does go along with the trilogy like every thing else seems to."
Luke came over to them from one of the starfighters. "Hi," he said. "I told Han before he landed and he said that it was all right that you went with him." The rangers noticed that he also, like Billy and Trini, intended to go in his fighter.
The man, woman, and Wookiee came over to the group. "Hey, Luke. Are these the ones that you asked me to take to Coruscant?" questioned the man as he placed his arm around the woman's waist.
"Han, Leia, Chewie. I'd like you to meet Jason, Zack, Tommy, Kimberly, Trini, and Billy," Luke said, gesturing to each one as he introduced them. "My friends, this is Chewbacca, Han Solo, and my sister, Leia Organa Solo. Zack, Kimberly, Tommy, and Jason are the ones who are flying with you in the Falcon to Coruscant."
"Nice to meet you all," Leia said with a smile. Chewbacca roared.
"We'll be ready to go once everybody's on board," announced Han. He turned around and headed back to the Falcon with Leia and Chewie.
"Well, I guess we better climb aboard," Tommy exclaimed, picking up his bag and walking towards the freighter with Kim, Zack, and Jason following. "See you on Coruscant you three."
"I assume that's our cue to get going as well," Trini murmured, shifting her helmet that was tucked under her arm. "Shall we?"
The three walked over to the fighters, two X-wings and one B-wing. Artoo was making last minute adjustments to Luke's X-wing, another R2 unit rolled out from behind the other X-wing. The black domed droid seemed familiar to Billy, but he couldn't place it. It whistled excitedly as it rolled to a stop in front of him. Billy kneeled down to get a better look at it.
Luke noticed Billy's confusion. "That's Nassir's R2 unit, Artoo-Deefour," he said. "He left it here with his X-wing when his mother forced him to leave on one of the few transports."
Billy recognized the droid after Luke said this. Artoo-Deefour chirped with delight as he saw Billy's face light up as he recognized it.
"We better get the droids on the fighters. Han's almost ready to go," Luke said. "You ready, Artoo?"
Artoo bleeped and the tool he was using went back into its compartment.
After the droids were securely in the astronomic area of the X-wings, the three Jedi Knights climbed up the ladder attached to the fighters, stowed their bags in the starfighters, and jumped into their cockpits. As the canopy of each cockpit slowly closed and sealed the pilots put on their helmets and strapped themselves to their seats.
By this time the Falcon had already taken off. The B-wing lifted off the ground, folded its landing gear, and shot out of the hanger bay. The two X-wings did the same and followed it out of the atmosphere.
"Downloading coordinates from the nava computer. Enter hyperspace on my mark," Luke commanded. The three starfighters slowed and then disappeared into hyperspace.
*** Chapter Five
Billy glanced out at the blue and purple colors as his X-wing zoomed through space at lightspeed. He sighed and leaned back in his seat. Coruscant was two day's worth of traveling away. He shut his eyes, the swirling colors of light hurting them.
"It has been a long time since I've traveled through hyperspace," Nassir's soft voice said in Billy's mind. "A weird experience isn't it?"
"Yes, it is," Billy replied.
Nassir seemed to pause. "Did you know that you are Force-sensitive?"
Billy opened his eyes, startled. "I know. I got it from you. Why do you ask?"
"I ask because you were Force-sensitive before the transferation," Nassir explained. "Why did I just figured this out? I just noticed that with my own Jedi abilities, you are twice as powerful as I was. That may be the reason how you can walk on your bad ankle without realizing that you did anything. I'll have to look up on that though. Luke never mentioned stuff like this happening."
Billy was silent. Him, Force-sensitive long before he and Trini met the royal twins. He couldn't believe it, but it seemed right. Almost as if he knew, yet didn't.
"Don't stress yourself on it, Billy," Nassir said, "Get some rest. Deefour will wake you up when you reach Coruscant."
Billy shut his eyes again and slowly drifted off to sleep to the sound of the roaring engines.
* * * *
Han covered his face with his hand as Threepio continued to talk about why they should have waited for Luke and... what were their names again?... oh yeah, Billy and Trini.
"You know that the Millennium Falcon is much faster than the fighters," Threepio yacked on. "You really should hav-"
Han cut him off. "Shut him up or shut him down!" he shouted, slamming his hand on the round, checkered table.
"Really, Captain Solo, I was only telling you my op-" The droid was cut off again.
"Look, Goldenrod, I don't care about your opinion," Han snapped. "Either you turn off your vocal cords or I'll shut you completely down. Got it?"
"You should learn how to keep your temp-" Threepio stopped talking as Leia flipped the switch on the back of his neck. Threepio's eyes became dark and the protocol droid went limp where he sat.
"Thank you," Han said, relieved. He glanced at the two teens beside him. They had fallen asleep while Threepio babbled. The girl, Kimberly, rested her head on the long haired boy's shoulder. Tommy, he believed the boy's name was. The other two were in the cockpit with Chewie, saying something about trying to figure out what the controls were. Han believed that they just wanted to get as far away as they could from the golden droid as possible.
The door to the cockpit opened and a head poked out. "Has he stopped?" the boy, Jason, asked.
Leia laughed slightly. "I turned him off," she said. "Come on in here."
Jason turned his head and whispered to someone. A sigh of relief reached Han's ears and he chuckled softly. Jason and... Zack came into the room, watching the lifeless droid as if it would turn back on and start its useless babbling again. Han chuckled again.
The two teens sat on the floor and leaned against the wall. They looked wiped out. Zack slowly started to nod off and Jason yawned. In minutes they were fast asleep.
"These kids got the right idea," Leia said. She yawned. "Good night, dear." She kissed Han and then left the room, heading further back into the ship.
Han went into the cockpit to see Chewbacca watching the controls. "How's it going, Chewie?" he asked, taking a seat in the pilot's chair.
His co-pilot roared.
"Why don't you get some sleep. I'll watch the controls," Han suggested.
The Wookiee thought for a moment, then nodded his head and roared.
"Okay. I'll wake you up when we get close," Han agreed. "Good night." As Chewbacca left the cockpit, Han turned around to watch the controls. He sighed. He hated watching them. There was no action, just a boring job that had to be done.
But it wasn't as dull as usual. With the Empire reformed and with a new weapon, there was no telling what could happen.
* * * *
The blue and purple colors formed into the bright dots of stars that littered the blackness of space. The large, gray planet of Coruscant loomed ahead. Even from a great distance she could tell that the planet was almost completely cover with walks, skyscrapers, offices, and millions, or billions, of other buildings. From what she got from the file on Coruscant, only one mountain on the entire planet had no buildings on it.
Her gaze moved away from the gray sphere to the three ships in front of her. All four ships were sitting there, waiting for clearance from Space-Traffic Control. A voice came in through her headset. "We got clearance, Trini, to land at Spaceport 213," the voice announced.
"Copy that, Billy," Trini said, igniting the engines of her B-wing and following the two X-wings and the Falcon into the planet's atmosphere.
Soon all four space crafts rested on their landing gear on the ferrocrete floor of the space port. Trini took off her helmet and gazed around at her surroundings as the canopy of the cockpit opened.
There was nothing much to see. It was all that she'd suspected it to look like: a futuristic New York City, only larger and with MUCH taller buildings. In the distance she could see the Imperial Palace. It wasn't very hard to point out. It was the largest structure on the whole planet, the former residence of Emperor Papiltine, now the home of the New Republic's Senate.
Trini climbed down the ladder. Upon reaching the stone floor, she looked back up at the cockpit. Her helmet floated out the cockpit and landed softly into her hands, along with her bag. She walked over to the Falcon where Billy and Luke were already waiting for her. The ramp of the freighter came down and Jason, Tommy, Kimberly, and Zack sprinted off. The sound of an argument reached the Jedi Knights' ears.
"Look, Professor, I already told you that Chewie and I knew that the controls short- circuited! You don't have to tell me a thousand more times!" one of the voices, Han's, shouted. "We'll fix it soon!"
"I'm just saying that you should probably fix it now," Threepio exclaimed in, surprisingly, an almost irritated voice; if there was such a thing for droids. "I may not be an engineering or astromech droid, but my experiences with Artoo have told me that a major short-circuit like that should be fixed immed-"
"Don't you think I already knew that?! Besides that's only for when we're flying! Do you think the Falcon's going anywhere?! No!" Han stormed down the ramp, Threepio waddling after him. Leia followed the golden droid, shaking her head and smiling, with Chewbacca. Luke covered his mouth with his hand, trying to cover his amusement. Billy and Trini chuckled softly.
"Does that droid ever stop talking?" Kim asked from behind Trini.
Luke put his hand down, still slightly smiling. "If he's on, almost never." The seven watched as the Solos, Chewie, and Threepio walk away, Han still shouting at Threepio. Artoo and Deefour rolled over to the teens and the Jedi Master. Artoo whistled.
"Oh, thanks, Artoo," Luke said as if the droid reminded him of something. He turned to Kim, Tommy, Zack, and Jason. "We better get you four to pilot training. Wedge is expecting you."
As they walked to the turbo lift, Kimberly and Tommy both asked Zack, "Who's Wedge?"
"A friend of Luke's, I think. I guess he's a general or something the way Luke said he was expecting us for pilot training," Zack answered the best he could. Sure, everything seemed to follow the trilogy, but he couldn't be absolutely sure. After all, it's been eight years after the Battle of Endor. He, himself, looked it up.
"Why do we have to go through pilot training?" Kim questioned. Zack shrugged. The talking stopped after that. The only sound was of the lift moving.
* * * *
It seemed like hours rather than minutes for the lift to finally stop. A cool breeze rushed into the lift as the doors opened to a promenade which hung over a urban canyon that curved its way along the planet's surface. After a minute or two a repulsor cab came to a halt in front of them. "Let's go," Luke uttered as the doors of the cab swung open.
The cab took them through the canyon twisting and turning. It then rose into a sky of mile tall buildings, heading towards the Imperial Palace. Just before reaching the magnificent structure, the cab swung left towards one of the enormous buildings nearby, where it came to rest.
The group of seven walked off onto the promenade towards the lift guarded by two Rebel troopers. One of them stopped the group. "I'm sorry, but no one's allowed pass this point without proper identification," the guard explained.
Luke pulled an identification card from his pressure suit's pocket and handed it to the guard. The guard ran the card through the slot on the datapad in his hand and then handed it back to the Jedi Master. "What about the rest of you?" the trooper demanded.
"They're with me. General Antilles has asked me to bring them. They're new trainees," Luke replied, slipping his ID card back into his pocket. "You can check with him if you don't believe me."
"I won't need to do that, sir." The guard smiled and stepped aside, allowing them to pass and move towards the lift.
* * * *
The lift ride seemed shorter than the one they had taken when they first arrived on Coruscant. Either it really was shorter or they were too excited to truly notice. Maybe both.
They walked off the lift, down the hall on the right, and towards one of the doors. The door retreated as Luke, in the lead, came close to it and headed into the office.
The room wasn't very large and didn't contain many furnishings. A few chairs lined the side walls and a transparent top desk sat close to the large window that took up most of the back wall. A man sat the desk, hunched over some datapads. He looked up and, when he noticed Luke, a large smile grew on his face. "Luke!"
The man immediately stood and walked over to greet his old friend. Hugging Luke, the man said, "Oh man, am I glad to see you! How long has it been, a year?"
Luke smiled at his friend's beaming face. "Not quite that long." He turned to the teens behind him. "These are the teens you've asked me to send."
Introductions were made before the man, Wedge Antilles, announced, "We best get down to business. Won't you all be seated?"
"Sorry, Wedge, but Trini, Billy, and I have other matters to attend to. We just came to drop the new recruits here," Luke explained.
The General nodded. "Okay. I'll see you later." He then turned back to Kim, Tommy, Zack, and Jason, beginning to brief them on what to expect in training.
* * * *
Trini was taking longer to change than they thought she would. Billy and Luke stood near the door to her hotel room, waiting patiently for her to come out. Instead of being in their pilot gear, they both wore black outfits and black knee-high boots. Cloaks flowed down their backs to the floor, Luke's black and Billy's a deep blue gray.
Suddenly there was and explosion a little ways down the hall. The two Jedi Knights were thrown into the wall at the end of the hall from the impact. Through unfocused eyes they noticed something that the New Republic hoped would never set foot on Coruscant again.
Luke and Billy ignited their lightsabers and started deflecting laser bolts shot from the white troopers' blasters. They swung this way and that, taking down any trooper that was too close. No sooner had the battled started when the Jedi felt a cold sensation in the Force and a voice shouted an order. "STOP!!"
The stormtroopers ceased firing, but kept their blasters in attack position, ready to fire if needed. The Jedi Knights looked towards where the voice had come. Out of the smoke came a man in black armor much like Darth Vader's but without the mask. His black cape flowed out behind him as he walked towards Luke and Billy. When he stopped in his tracks his cold, black eyes stared hard at them with pure hate. He looked at his troops and barked, "I told you NOT to fire! I had ordered that I wanted them ALIVE, and yet you come in here firing away!"
He looked back at Luke and Billy, an evil smile curling up on his lips. "No matter. You didn't kill them." He nodded to two stormtroopers behind the two Jedi Knights. Billy and Luke turned around only to be hit by a stun ray. Pain surged through them until they finally fell into total blackness.
* * * *
Trini heard all the commotion outside her hotel room door, but still was not fully clothed. By the time she was, all the blaster shots and screams had ceased to total silence.
A shiver ran up and down her spine. Something wasn't right. She felt an evil presence nearby, to close for comfort. But still, putting fear behind her, she peeked out into the hall.
The smell of burning metal and ferrocrete stung her nose. A few bodies lay smoking on the ground, bodies wearing white armor. "Stormtroopers? Here?" she thought, bewildered. She ran away from the door, into a room off of the main one, and hit a few buttons to open a communications channel.
A hologram of a brown hair man formed. The man sounded tired as he spoke, "What is it?"
Trini took a deep breath before responding. "General Antilles. This is Trini Kwan. We have a serious problem on our hands..."
*** Chapter Six
Billy slowly opened his eyes and looked around. The room he was in was almost completely dark, save one single working glow panel. He slowly sat up. The room had no furnishings. Just metal walls, ceiling, and floor. Something stirred to the right of Billy. He glanced down at it.
Luke moaned as he awoke from unconsciousness. He blinked and also looked around. A hand reached out to him and he grasped it. A mighty heave and he was back on his feet. "You okay?" a voice asked beside him.
"Yeah," Luke replied. He looked around, stretching out with Jedi senses. The evil, dark presence of the black-armored one was close by. Thousands of other presence scurrying around this small place concurred that they were on a ship heading...
His comrade shivered as he too felt the blackened presence. Footsteps clanked on the metal floor of the corridor as troopers strolled past, patrolling the area. This was not good.
"We have to get out of here," Luke whispered, motioning Billy to follow him towards the cell's door. Through the bars they could see a guard half asleep beside the door.
"Hey! You there," Luke called through the bars. The guard snorted and looked up towards the two captives.
"Yeah? What do you want?" The man's voice was groggy, as if he was still half out of it.
"Open the door," Luke commanded with an even tone, allowing the Force to clog the guard's mind.
" Open... the door," the man repeated, heading towards the cell door with the keycard in his hand. There was a click as the guard unlocked the cell.
"You are tired," Luke continued. "Put down your rifle and take a nap in here."
The guard repeated Luke's order. "Tired. Put down rifle. Take nap." The groggy man walked past the two Jedi and into the cell, settling himself on the cold, metal floor. He was soon fast asleep.
Luke picked the rifle off the floor as Billy pulled the keycard out of the cell's lock and closed the door, dropping the keycard on the floor afterward. "Let's get out of here."
* * * *
Trini sat in the general's office, running through calming exercises. Wedge was out talking with Admiral Ackbar about the stormtroopers that had somehow gotten into Coruscant... "And taken Luke and Billy prisoner, " she thought.
Finally calmed, she stretched out through the Force, trying to locate her "brother" and the Jedi Master. Nothing. She sighed. Just then, the door opened and in stepped Antilles, his hair in a mess and the collar of his shirt opened. "Looks like I'm not the only one taking this bad," Trini figured.
Antilles walked around his desk and looked out the window. Trini could feel his fear like it was a cold wind. He sighed and turned around to face her. He hesitated. He brought his hand up to his face and bowed his head towards his desk. He brought his hand down and leaned over his desk. Without looking up he whispered, "We can't go after them."
Trini arched an eyebrow at this unexpected news. She thought for sure that the New Republic would do something. Her "brother" and a New Republic hero were out there somewhere in enemy clutches and they weren't going to do ANYTHING?! She pushed her anger down. "Why not?"
He paused again. "The Republic needs its ships elsewhere."
Trini knew that he wasn't telling her everything. She pressed the general for more information. "Why? Where does the Republic need its ships?" Suddenly she knew. In her mind's eye she could see a huge structure slowly moving through space. It was black, shiny, and smooth with a canyon running through its middle, like the equator on a globe. In the northern hemisphere was a circular indention with a large laser cannon sitting in the middle of it. It was the Empire's new weapon... the Death Eye.
She didn't know where she'd come up with that name, but it seem to fit the black marble perfectly. "The Empire's going after one of the Republic' planet's with its new weapon, isn't it?"
Antilles' features tightened. He slowly nodded. "Yes. We just got word from the Adega system that it went into hyperspace from there. From the pieces of communication the base there picked up, the weapon is heading here. We must be ready for the attack."
Trini nodded her head, realizing the dangers at hand. Though she desperately wanted to go out and search for Billy and Luke, she knew that it would be best for her to stay here and help the Fleet fight the Empire's new weapon. Luke and Billy could get out of the mess they're in without her help.
She, at least, hoped they could.
* * * *
Billy trailed behind Luke, keeping an eye out for any troopers that just might appear from behind. He held his lightsaber tight in his grip. He and Luke had just found and retrieved their elegant weapons from a small, nearly empty storage room.
Not without alerting everyone to their presence, of course.
Luke had suddenly stopped and Billy ran into him. "What is it?" He whispered to the Jedi Master.
"Feel that?" Luke asked, glancing around the room, a distant look in his eyes. Billy closed his eyes, stretching out through the Force.
Icky blackness suddenly weighed him down. Billy stumbled under its weight. An icy wind seem to blow through the pitch black vision. So much darkness. The dark side of the Force.
A tremendous amount of the dark side.
Billy opened his eyes, shivering at the sudden coldness. Luke was staring at him where he sat in the corridor. "You okay?" he asked. Billy hesitated before nodding. He shuddered again as the vision of the dark side flashed back into his memory.
Luke stood and stretch out a hand to help the young Jedi up. He didn't know that Billy was so... sensitive to the dark side. He was shocked at the boy's reaction to feeling the dark presence. When they got out of here he decided that he should look into this further.
Luke's warning senses suddenly flared and he spun aroud, lightsaber ignited. Billy's blue lightsaber snap-hissed not far behind. A little ways down the corridor was the evil being that had imprisoned them on the this vessel. A name flashed into Luke's mind: Jeeme Regthime.
He'd heard that name before. It was one of the names in an old log book he'd found in the ruins of and old Dark Jedi Academy, yet Regthime didn't look all that old. In fact he looked only about five, ten years older than Luke himself. Either that or the dark side had withered his body until he appeared to be.
Regthime smiled at the two Jedis before him. His master would be very pleased with them. "Welcome to my humble domain, my guests," he greeted them coldly, accenting the word "guests." The two captives didn't even flinch. He smiled again. Yes, his master would be VERY pleased with these two.
"Might I introduce to you my master, the Emperor himself." Regthime stepped off a little to the left and an older man came out of a connecting corridor. His white hair was cut rather short and the wrinkles on his pale, white face were deep. His gnarled hand had a death grip on a crooked, wooden cane. His long, black robes were a great contrast to his bright red eyes. He gave the Jedi a smile that was so filled with hatred that it couldn't even be called a smile.
"My master, this is the great Jedi Master, Luke Skywalker, and along with him, the Jedi Knight and barrier of the Monarch Tunnel powers, Prince Nassir of Ironos," the dark knight introduced them to his master. He smiled. He was going to be greatly rewarded for this: the capture of two of the greatest Jedi.
The Emperor, who Luke recognized to be Lansky, the head honcho of the long destroyed Dark Academy, smiled again. "You have done well, my student," Lansky's cracked voice said. "You've earned your fight with the light side." A croaked hand pointed to Billy. "There is your prize. Now bring the so called Jedi “Master” to me and then you may have your fun with the other."
Billy nearly collapsed as Luke was driven away from him to the Emperor. There was so much dark; Luke had supported him as the weight of the dark side had yet again intensified. "What's wrong with me?" he thought. "This never happened when I had to fight Gunnar. Nassir?"
"You've grown rather sensitive to the dark side. Whenever you get near a place strong with the dark side, your warning senses flare, over powering you," Nassir explained. He paused. "When this is all over, I suggest a long talk with Luke."
"I agree," Billy thought back to the prince. Regthime came back over to him and he restrained himself from collapsing under the dark side's weight.
Regthime brought himself to full height and looked down at his opponent. The boy was weak looking, just starting to build up his muscles. He could tell that the young one was trying to stay standing, his knees shaking as if they were going to give. The boy held his lightsaber in front of him defensively. The dark apprentice almost laughed at him, his appearance seemed humiliating to the race of Jedi Knights.
Yet the Force was strong with the young Jedi.
Regthime ignited his dark purple lightsaber and attacked. Billy ducked at the incoming blade and countered the attack, nearly cutting a deep slash on the dark apprentice's back. Billy's opponent turned around and glowered at him, then did another wild swing with his lightsaber. Billy jumped out of the way and swung his lightsaber at Regthime's open left side.
The icy blue blade made contact with Regthime's arm, cutting it off at the elbow in one clean cut. Regthime screamed in pain and rage, holding on to his severed arm. Billy backed away, stunned at what he'd done. It was similar to the tactic he had used against Trini when they'd first practiced their lightsaber techniques, only it seemed much easier and quicker.
The Force was growing stronger within him.
Billy ducked again as Regthime, ignoring the pain, swiped at his neck again. He roared with rage. "How dare this weakling severe my arm!" the dark apprentice thought in hatred. "He will pay for that." Aloud, he screamed, "I'LL HAVE YOUR HEAD FOR THIS, BOY!!"
Again, Regthime took a wild swing for Billy's neck; again, Billy ducked. Anger seemed to envelope his opponent, making his presence feel like nothing except a black mist of rage and hatred. In fact, Billy really didn't feel a presence. It was as if Regthime WAS the dark side of the Force. He swayed slightly under the weight the dark side put upon him.
Billy dodged another swipe of the other's saber. As Regthime's lightsaber took another try at taking his head, Billy hit the floor and rolled past the insane Jedi. He was suddenly behind his opponent on one knee. Before the screaming dark apprentice could pivot around and take another sweep with his saber, Billy tapped his back with the tip of his blue blade.
Regthime screamed in agony as his back suddenly burned and caused him to become off-balanced. Billy took this as an advantage and swept the dark one off his feet. Regthime twisted in mid-air so that when he landed he was on his back...
Facing the tip of Billy's blade.
Regthime closed his eyes, awaiting for the slash that would kill him. It never came. He opened his eyes again and exclaimed, "Well, what are you waiting for, boy? Kill me!"
Billy cocked his head at him, then raised his lightsaber and shut it down. He glanced over at the battle between the two Jedi Masters and, seeing Luke gaining the upper hand of the battle, smiled slightly. It was all going to be over soon. Anytime now he and Luke would be leaving this vessel and returning to Coruscant. He gazed back down at Regthime. The Dark one's lightsaber flew from where it had lay and dropped on the floor beside it's owner. Billy pivoted and headed towards the battle between Luke and Lansky.
Billy's warning senses suddenly flared again. He turned back around while igniting his lightsaber...
And sliced neatly through Regthime's midsection. There was a brilliant flash of light and Billy covered his eyes. When the light died, Billy removed his arm from his eyes to see his enemy's lightsaber clatter to the floor.
He just stood there for a moment, staring at the only thing that remained of his opponent. There was another flash of light behind him, which redirected his attention to Luke's battle. The light faded and Luke came towards him, leaving the smoking remains of the Emperor.
*** Chapter Seven
"All fighters, report in," came the squadron leader's voice over the communications systems. She listened nervously as from her A-wing as the other pilots reported to their leader. "Red 8, awaiting orders," Kimberly said with a shaky voice. She couldn't believe all this was happening. She had just barely gotten into training and now here she was, out in a starfighter, about to do the real thing.
She steadied her fighter, being careful not to ram into one of the other ships as the squadron of A-wings, in a tight formation, awaited orders from the base. She looked up from her controls and into space looking anxiously around for their target.
It had not arrived yet.
Kim took this as a good sign. Maybe all this talk about the Death Eye coming to Coruscant was only a rumor and they could go back down to Coruscant and forget about this silly fiasco. She was about to go back to looking at her instruments when something caught her eye. She looked up.
Whatever it was, it was rather hard to see. It was black as space itself, barely visible except for the faint reflection Coruscant's sun made on its round surface. Kim gulped. "Does anybody see what I see?"
"See what?" a pilot, Red Four, asked. Kim could see him looking around in his cockpit. "Location?"
"Object baring coordinates six-two-five," Kim replied, bringing up the unknown object on her CMD. On it appearred a black marble-like object with a canyon running along the equator and a laser cannon in a circular indention. It was marked unknown, but Kim had a funny feeling she knew what it was.
"All squadrons, this is Base One. Target has appeared in the system. Engage and destroy," came a voice over the systems. Kim tightened her grip on the joystick. This was it. She followed the other A-wings as they sped towards the enemy vessel.
* * * *
"Engage and destroy," the officer at the base said before ending transmission. Jason pushed back the fear that was trying to take over him, reminding himself over and over again that fear was part of the dark side. He glanced over at the starfighter beside his and peered into the cockpit. Inside, the pilot, Tommy, turned and gave him a thumbs up before turning on the X-wing's starboard wing to join his squadron.
Jason grimaced. How could Tommy seem to be so calm when they were about to go head to head with the Death Eye, and with barely any training?! He shook his head, allowing himself to only concentrate on the battle that about to begin. "Okay, Gold Squadron, this is Gold Leader," came a voice over the Y-wing's communications. "Prepare to engage the enemy."
* * * *
"Looks like the party's about to begin," Green Three exclaimed over the squadron's private channel. "My long range sensors just picked up 4 flight groups heading this way; all containing TIE fighters and interceptors." Tommy took a deep breath and let it out slowly, quickly going over some of the calming exercises Billy and Trini had taught him. He tried to remain calm, but fear was growing inside him. Here, out in space, only his fighter and his limited skills could save him from becoming space dust. He had no power to protect him from laser fire.
At least...not morphing power. His skills, however, in controlling the Force were very limited.
The squadron leader's voice came through the static, giving out an order. "Green Squadron, lock S-foils into attack position and follow me. I want to see those enemy fighters dancing."
Someone whooped in the background, which made Tommy smile slightly. "Let the entertainment begin," he thought sarcastically as he follow the rest of the starfighters into laser fire.
* * * *
Trini's hand moved the joystick as if it had a mind of its own, blasting away at the two fighters in front of her. One of her laser bolts only skimmed the port solar panel fin of one of them, but the other wasn't so lucky. It took the other two bolts and then erupted into a cloud of smoke and flames.
Her warning senses flared and she turned her B-wing portside to face the oncoming danger. Guided by the Force, her hand hit the trigger...
And blasted the concussion missile just before it could hit her.
"Looks like we got bombers joining the fight," Trini announced over the channel to the other pilots. She winced as a scream came over the communications and went silent. Yet another pilot was lost. Again her warning senses flared and she pushed the fighter down, barely missing the green laser bolts that came from behind. Trini forced the fighter into a tight loop which brought her behind the attacking interceptor. A quick round of laser bolts that disintegrated the vehicle.
Blue Two, come with me," the squadron leader's voice ordered. "We're going in for the Eye's 'sore spot.' Blue Six and Four, cover us."
Six and Four acknowledged their orders. "I copy, Blue Leader," Trini, Blue Two, acknowledged after them. She guided her fighter after the leader's, taking out a TIE fighter along the way. The four B-wings dove into the canyon etched on the Death Eye's surface. Three X-wings flew in formation overhead, preparing to help destroy the 'sore spot,' or, what it's better known as, the reactor.
There was a sensation in the Force and Trini moved starboard. Green laser blasts sizzled by. "We've got company!" Four shouted.
There was a burst of flames from behind and the TIE was no more. "All taken care of," one of the X-wing pilots announced, moving back into position over the B-wings.
A hole appeared on the floor of the trench, which the fighters dove into. The hole turned out to be a tunnel of pipes and wires, leading to the heart of the gigantic weapon. Four then said in a panicked voice, "We got more fighters on our tails!"
"Let's split up. Blue Four and Green Five, head back to the surface," Blue Leader commanded. "See if you can take some of the fighters with you."
The two pilots acknowledge, taking the left tunnel instead of the right and heading back to the surface. Only one of the five fighters followed them back out. The enemy's lasers sprayed on the pipes and occasionally one of the starfighters' shields. Blue Six tried to dodge the TIE fighter's guns, but rammed into the pipes lining the tunnel. There was a scream over the communications system which died under the roar of the flames that took over the vessel. One of the TIEs could not avoid the fireball and ended up adding to it.
The two B-wings and two X-wings soon entered a spacious area. In the center was the reactor with four support towers surrounding it. "Okay, lady and gents, to blow this baby up we're going to have to take out the support towers with two proton torpedoes each. Everybody pick one!" Blue Leader said over the static.
"I've got the north tower," Green Four announced.
"I'll take the west." announced Trini, swinging her B-wing towards the far tower.
"The east tower's mine!" exclaimed Green Three.
"Guess that leaves me with the south," the Blue Squadron leader said.
Trini went around the reactor to the west support tower, turning a TIE fighter into space debris as she moved into position and switched her weapons over to proton torpedoes. Blue Leader's voice came through the channel, "On my mark. Fire!" Trini hit the trigger, sending two blue torpedoes toward the tower.
A pilot shouted, "Hits away!" As they sped away towards the surface the reactor of the Death Eye collapsed on itself, sending a wave of flames through the tunnel. Trini put her shields full aft and drained her laser cannons into the engines. Her jaw tightened as the heat from the incoming fireball made her sweat.
The surface was in view now, but so were the flames. "Come on, come on," she whispered to herself. She was then back in the cold safety of space, away from the flames that tried to fry her. She turned around the best she could in the small cockpit to watch the weapon explode. To her surprise, the Imps on the Death Eye didn't seem to realize that they were about to become little, tiny pieces. They were powering up the laser cannon! "What in the name of the Force do they think their doing?!" shouted a pilot. The laser crackled with energy, preparing to kill all the living spieces on Coruscant.
The blast never came.
Cheers erupted over the communication channels as the Death Eye became nothing more than fragmented pieces floating through space. The Empire had lost again! A familiar voice came through Trini's headset. "That'll teach you to mess with the New Republic!"
Trini shook her head, smiling. "Good old Zack," she thought. She then noticed that two familiar presence were coming towards Coruscant. She looked up to see an Imperial shuttle come out of hyperspace. The private channel on her B-wing opened up and yet another familiar voice entered her headset. "Awe, did we miss all the fun?"
Trini laughed. "Sorry, Billy. You just missed it." She stretched out through the Force to touch his mind. She smiled when he repeated her gesture by touching hers with his presence. "Welcome back."
The rest of the afternoon all the rangers slept, tired from all the stress in their battles. They'd tried to get Billy to tell them about his little adventure with Luke Skywalker, but he refused, saying that he was too tired. The others found this to be true when he fell asleep as the others chattered on about their experiences in dogfighting in outer space. They soon had followed the young Jedi's lead by falling asleep as well.
When they awoke the next morning, Tommy announced as they ate breakfast, "Guys, I believe it's time for us to go home." All the rangers began to talk at once, asking why they had to go so soon.
Tommy whistled and the group became quiet. "I know we don't want to leave, but think about it. Our parents are probably worried sick about us; plus we left our world unprotected. We need to go home."
Although not willing to go just yet, they saw Tommy's point. Slowly, they finished eating and went out in search of Luke, Leia, Han, Chebacca, and even the droids, to say their good-byes.
"Are you sure you have to leave?" Leia asked.
Tommy nodded. "We can't stay here forever. Our place is on Earth, in the Milky Way Galaxy; not here. Call us fighters of another galaxy if you want."
"Take care," Han said softly. Chewie roared a sorrowful goodbye.
Softly, from behind Leia, Luke quoted the famous saying: "May the Force be with you."
"And with you," Billy replied. The rangers stepped back and, with one final look at their new found friends and allies, teleported away.
Luke, Han, Leia, and Chewie stared at the spot the seven teens had vanished from. It was Han who broke their silence. "You know," he said, "the New Republic could really use that type of transportation."