Gray Jedi Ch. 02byauguy86©
"Serra, they're on our tail!"
"I see them! Hang on!"
Serra Keto and Malik Ran rocketed through the Coruscant system, the Republic navy chasing after them all the while. The Z-95 Starfighters were fast, but their antique Defender-class light corvette held up splendidly, able to evade most incoming attacks. Not to mention that it was also quite well armed.
"Get the hyperspace coordinates programed, I'll keep 'em at bay," Malik said.
Malik pulled up the targeting computer, tracking the fighters behind them. He figured he wouldn't be able to destroy them, but if he could just throw them off a bit, it would give them their chance to escape. As he placed them in his sights, a transmission came in over the comlink.
"Unidentified ship, you have entered Imperial space without permission. Identify yourselves."
"Don't respond," Malik said to Serra. "The less they know, the better."
Deciding to send a reply with actions, Malik took careful aim at the nearest starfighter and let loose a volley of blaster fire. He managed to wing the ship, forcing the pilot to abandon the chase, but his comrades now knew them to be hostile and engaged as such. They opened fire, but the shields on the Jedi ship were stronger than they anticipated, deflecting most of their attacks. Meanwhile, Malik continued to throw them off with his shots, forcing them to roll and evade.
"Ok, we're ready!" Serra shouted.
"Get us out of here!"
Malik strapped himself in just in time as the ship accelerated to light speed. Soon, the capital of their once-great Republic had been left behind. The pair sighed in relief, relaxing back in their chairs.
"So... where are we headed?" Malik asked.
"Ord Mantell," Serra replied.
"Ord Mantell?! Are you sure that's wise?! The Clone Army is known to use that system as a base of operations!"
Serra smirked. "They use the northern half of the planet as a base, but the southern half is nothing but abandoned junkyards. Trust me, they won't find us, and we might find some salvageable parts in those junkyards to help us. And since we'll be approaching from the south, they'll never even see us coming."
"Oh. Uh, good... good thinking," Malik stammered, surprised at how well though out her plan was.
Placing the ship on autopilot, Serra continued, "We won't arrive for several hours at least, and it's been a rough day. What say we go relax for a bit?"
Malik stood from his chair and began to explore the ship a bit. Near the cockpit stood the captain's quarters. He and Serra would sort that out later, he figured. Moving down the main hallway, a couple of extra sleeping areas lined the walls on either side of the exit ramp. Finally, he found three rooms in the back of the ship. The first was a small, dark room with a large holomap computer, perfect for charting courses and planning missions. The second was a conference room, complete with advanced communications equipment. The last room appeared to be a meditation area, containing several cushions and sofas on which to relax.
"Perfect," Malik said, taking a seat on the sofa.
"Mind if I join you?" came Serra's voice from the door.
Rather than sit in a different seat, she moved to sit next to Malik on the sofa, sliding close to him in the process. As he seemed apprehensive and distant, she attempted to calm him by placing her hand on top of his. He recoiled at first, but did not move it away altogether.
"You ok?" she asked, concerned.
"I... I don't know..." he admitted. "I feel like... I should have done more for Master Windu. I could have found a way to save him."
"Malik, what's the first rule of being a healer?"
"First do no harm, of course."
"Oh yeah... ok what's the second rule of being a healer?"
Sighing, he knew exactly where she was going with this. "We save as many people as we can. Sometimes that doesn't mean everybody."
"Exactly. You didn't kill Master Windu, Palpatine did. He didn't die from your failure; he died in service to the Republic, in service to freedom. Don't dishonor his memory with misplaced guilt."
Seeking to comfort him, Serra moved closer, laying her head on his shoulder as she held his hand. She turned her face, planting a soft kiss on his cheek. Although she wanted to go further, Serra then noticed that poor Malik's head was hanging and slumped; he was so exhausted that he had passed out sitting up. She gently guided his body to lie across the sofa, and then placed herself in his arms to spoon against him. Before long, both Jedi were fast asleep.
Some time later, Malik was awoken by an alert from the ship, indicating that their arrival at Ord Mantell was eminent. As his brain powered up, he became aware of a warm sensation against his body. Opening his eyes, he saw that Serra had fallen asleep in his arms, her gorgeous raven hair mere inches from his face. Soon, she began to stir as well.
"Morning Malik," she mumbled. "How'd you sleep?"
"Not as restless as I thought I would."
"I'll take it," she replied with a sweet giggle.
After untangling themselves from each other, the pair made their way back to the cockpit to make preparations for arrival. Serra ensured the shields were running strong, while Malik checked that the weapon systems were armed and ready. If they should run into any Republic warships, they wanted to be prepared. But as they dropped out of light speed, both were pleased to find that they were the only ship in the vicinity.
"Huh... guess the clones were called away."
"Not that surprising. Here, check out this transmission that came through while we slept," Serra said.
The pair listened to a special session of the Senate, during which Chancellor Palpatine elaborated on a failed plot by the Jedi to overthrow him. With his warped face, he now had the look of a true Sith Lord. Alongside tremendous support from the politicians, he then announced the reorganization of the Republic into the Galactic Empire. This was supposed to ensure a "safe and secure society," but both Jedi could tell that this was the Chancellor's, now the Emperor's, plan all along: a final bid for nearly unlimited power. As thunderous applause echoed throughout the Senate, Serra cut the transmission off, disgusted by what she saw.
"So this is it... the Sith won..."
"Not in my book," Malik replied with confidence. "They may have beaten us, driven the Jedi into hiding, but as long as the ways of the Light Side of the Force exist, so will the benefits they bring. We just have to do as much good as we can for this galaxy. And avoid getting caught, of course."
Serra brightened a bit. "I actually had a thought on that last goal. Looking at the ship's configuration, it would be easy to modify it. It is a Corellian design, after all. For example, if we can find the right parts on Ord Mantell, I bet I could install a cloaking device. There's already a hidden stash of stygium crystals onboard; they're the primary component to cloaking devices."
"You could do that?" Malik asked in wonder.
"Of course! Don't forget, I've always been on par with Skywalker as far as my mechanical skills and piloting capabilities."
"True, I had forgotten that. All right then, let's head for the surface. Where do we start?"
"How 'bout here?" she asked, pointing at their navigation panel. "This section of the planet contains the largest junkyard in the hemisphere. I'd be shocked if it doesn't have what we're looking for."
Serra piloted their ship down to the surface of the planet, landing amongst a heap of abandoned parts and scrap. Exiting the ship, she now saw that the junkyard seemed to stretch into infinity. Doubts began to creep into her mind. What was she thinking in coming to this place?
"You're attacking the problem all wrong, Serra," Malik grinned, seeing her worry.
"Huh? How so?"
"You're only inspecting this junkyard visually, hoping to see with your eyes the parts we need. That's worse than a needle in a haystack. But we are Jedi... the Force can guide us. You know what parts we need. Picture them in your mind, and allow the Force to take over."
While a pure connection to the Force had never been Serra's strength, she did manage to quiet her mind as Malik instructed. As in-tune with the Force as he was, she trusted that what he was describing was indeed possible, even for a brash young Jedi like her. Reaching out with the images of the machinery in her mind, she began to feel the invisible tug of the Force. Compelled to follow it, she and Malik traversed the junkyard for an hour or so, trusting only in their instincts to guide them. At last, they arrived at the top of a pile of junk, looking down into a valley of sorts.
"Down there," Serra said.
Jogging down the hill, they began to search the area for whatever it was the Force was leading them to. Finding parts for the primary body of a cloaking device took no time at all, as these were quite commonplace. The computer core, housed in the balloon-like top of the device, would be trickier. But thanks to the Force, Serra soon came upon part of an old, beat-up cloaking device. Only the top half remained, but that was exactly what she needed; the rest of the parts would suffice to get it working again.
"How do we get this back to the ship?" Malik wondered.
"Here, got an idea," Serra replied. Pulling a large, flat piece of rectangular-shaped metal from the rubble, she continued, "Let's load everything onto this, and we'll levitate it with us back to the ship, like a flatbed."
The pair got to work on their spoils, being careful to load the parts in such a way that they would not be damaged during transport. Once everything was secure, they began to make their way back to the ship. It was slow going, as their concentration was focused on keeping their cargo stable. While this was quite easy for Malik, Serra began to grow fatigued about halfway through. But after a few minutes' rest, she had recovered enough to make it back to the ship. All the while, she couldn't help but smile at how patient Malik was with her. He never looked down on her or thought less of her just because he was stronger with the Force than she. Serra liked that. Hell, she liked everything about this man.
"We're here," Malik said, interrupting her daydreams.
While Malik spread the parts out underneath the ship, Serra went onboard and found the stash of stygium crystals to power the cloaking device. As she was the better mechanic, Malik allowed Serra to take the lead on the project, following her instructions as they came. She began by hotwiring the power cells in the bottom half of the machine, which was quite easy for her. There was no true standard for this part of the device, just as long as everything ran with efficiency and did not overheat. Serra then turned her attention to the beat-up computer core they had found. After making several adjustments to the circuitry within, she installed the stygium crystals in the center of the device and began to wire the halves together. Using a small computer, she performed several diagnostics, and found that the device was indeed operational.
"We did it!" Serra exclaimed in joy.
"You did it," Malik emphasized.
Serra jumped up, grabbing Malik in a celebratory hug for a moment. While he was hesitant at first, he found he rather enjoyed feeling her warmth against him; he had noticed the same thing earlier when they woke up together. Even though both of them were filthy from their trip through the junkyard, he still found the scent of her hair intoxicating. Before he could react further, Serra separated from him.
"Come on, help me get this installed."
Serra opened up the access hatch underneath the ship and climbed in, preparing the space for the cloaking device. Once she was ready, Malik levitated the eight-foot-tall machine up through the hole, keeping it steady for her. Serra made quick work of the installation, and soon their new acquisition was ready for its first official test. The pair climbed aboard and powered the ship up.
"Here's hoping this works..."
"I know it will," Malik said with a smile.
Once all systems were running, Serra connected to the cloaking systems and activated the device. At first, nothing happened. But after a moment or two, the device in back hummed to life, and the ships sensors confirmed what the two Jedi had hoped would happen: their ship was now undetectable. Once this was confirmed, she powered off the ship to conserve power, as it was growing late in the day.
"Impressive," Malik marveled.
"This'll make it easier for us to find a safe port," Serra agreed.
As the sun sank low over the horizon, the pair adjourned to the relaxation area, grabbing a couple of ration packets along the way. They ate in silence for the most part, still exhausted from the events of the last few days. Malik flipped through news reports on the monitor near him, piecing together the events of the Rise of the Empire. Though the Senate gave overwhelming support to the move, several systems remained hesitant. Among the most notable of these was Alderaan, a system famed for its society of peace and tranquility. Their leader and senator, Bail Organa, was also a known friend to the Jedi, having worked with the Order on humanitarian projects throughout the war. If any could be trusted to keep their existence a secret, he could. Upon sharing his thoughts with Serra, she agreed, saying Alderaan should be their next destination. At that time, the pair received an encoded message directly from the Jedi Temple.
"This is Master Obi-Wan Kenobi. I regret to report that both our Jedi Order and the Republic have fallen, with the dark shadow of the Empire rising to take its place. This message is a warning and a reminder for any surviving Jedi: trust in the Force. Do not return to the Temple. That time has passed, and our future is uncertain. Avoid Coruscant. Avoid detection. Be secret... but be strong. We will each be challenged: our trust, our faith, our friendships. But we must persevere and, in time, I believe a new hope will emerge. May the Force be with you always."
"So... that's it," Serra sighed.
"Looks like it. At least Kenobi managed to send out the distress signal. Do you think any survived besides him?"
"If I know Master Yoda, he's far too wise to have been caught off-guard by this. He's alive... I'm certain of it."
"And if he doesn't want to be found, he won't be. Still, I think this confirms our next course of action. We have so few people we can trust left in the galaxy, but Bail Organa is one of them. I doubt he'll remember me personally, but I'm sure he would help us."
"Sounds like a plan." Yawning with a stretch, Serra said, "It's getting late. We'd better get some sleep before our trek tomorrow."
"Agreed. Um... seeing as you're our pilot, I think it's only fair to, uh, let you have the captain's quarters. I'll sleep in a bunk tonight."
Serra eyed him, a knowing look in her eye. "Is that really what you want to do?"
"W-what do you mean?"
"Come on, Malik, we slept together last night."
"Yes, but not on purpose. We just... passed out."
"Well... maybe you didn't do it on purpose. But I snuggled right up next to you. I knew exactly what I was doing. And I'm not sorry," she said, leaning close to him. "Malik... neither of us can deny how we feel."
"But... the Order-"
"The Order has fallen," Serra reminded him. "Malik, all we have left is the Force... and each other. I've meditated night and day about my feelings for you, and every time I try to follow Master Yoda's advice and let go of anything that might become an attachment, I cant. Not when it comes to you. Every time I do, I feel something, a tremor in the Force. It tells me that it's the wrong thing to do. It tells me... we need each other."
Sighing, Malik admitted, "I've felt the same exact thing you just described. I'm just such a damn rule-follower, I guess. That's why I'm hesitating."
"There's nothing wrong with doing things by-the-book, when the book is just and makes sense. But we're taught that we are, above all else, servants to the will of the Force. And if the Force is willing us to be together... then we should."
Their eyes locked, unable to look away. Malik peered into her deep, brown eyes; Serra gazed right back into his icy blue ones. Their breaths began to synchronize, and they again felt a push from the Force. It drew them not apart, but together. The two Jedi leaned closer, mere inches separating their faces. At last, Serra could wait no longer. Placing a gentle hand on Malik's cheek, she drew him in and pressed her lips to his, feeling the warmth of his touch. He was slow to respond, as she expected, but soon found himself unable to resist this incredible woman.
The pair kissed for quite some time, slowly exploring each other and savoring the warmth of human contact. Their actions soon became stronger, and Serra lightly prodded at Malik's lips with her tongue. Without even realizing it, he parted his lips and allowed her entry, and soon their tongues were intertwined with each other. While he was surprised by this new sensation, Malik did not fight it; there was no going back at this point. Finally, they parted from each other, panting in arousal from the experience. Without a word, Serra took his hand and stood, leading him down the hall to the captain's quarters.
They found the room to be spacious, yet simple. A desk sat in one corner, and a small table with two chairs in another, both holding a small lamp. Ahead of them stood a large, comfortable bed with brown linens. As Malik moved to switch on one of the lamps, Serra sat on the bed, smiling at him the whole time. She then kicked off her boots and began to unstrap the pieces of leather armor around her chest and shoulders, revealing her plain off-white tunic. Malik's mouth dried out as she began to uncover her form; her beauty was truly breathtaking.
Sensing his uncertainty, Serra stood and sauntered over to him, drawing him in for another kiss. As she did so, she moved her hands up his chest and pushed his brown cloak off of his shoulders, letting it fall to the floor. She then moved her hands back to his chest, unwrapping the fabric of his tunic and pulling it out of his pants. Malik was powerless to stop her, and surrendered himself to Serra. Soon, she had finished with his shirt and pulled it up and over his head, exposing his bare chest to her. Serra smiled at this, and decided to give Malik a similar view, crossing her arms in front of her and lifting her top off. He could now see that his previous observations about her form were spot on: her beauty was stunning. He had always admired her porcelain skin, and was now further entranced by the addition of her large, soft breasts. Malik knew she was shapely, but hadn't realized the extent, as her armor concealed her form in most cases. But tonight, he did not see her as a warrior. Tonight, she was simply a woman, one who wanted nothing more than to be with him.
"Malik," Serra whispered. "You can touch me."
"Are... you sure?"
Taking his hand in hers, she raised it and placed it on her breast. "Positive."
Malik was speechless once again. He could feel how soft she was, and he couldn't resist moving his other hand forward to cup both her breasts. They were quite large, a bit larger than his hands, and contained a pair of tiny pink nipples. He spent several minutes exploring every inch of them, soon discovering that Serra gasped every time his fingers touched her nipples.