Kraft og skjebne

The story of how everything went dark.
Episode XL: Betrayed by Kotan

Ondas view:
“It all started with a bad case of not sharing with the group. I should have suspected something when Kranks secretkeeping was so easily forgiven. Somebody was keeping secrets themselves.”

We had just rendezvoused with the Last Echo and were trying to get in touch with Sun’saith, when Krank finally got a vision. He freaked out of course, but the vision was about Sun’saith being captured by Kiados. It seemed they had him ready for slaughter.

We quickly decided to find Sun’saith to save him. I started searching for him with the force but his defences were to strong, I could not get through. I got some glimpses that could have told us Krank’s vision was a bait, but I could not be sure.

Joe could find him however. With Kotans clever plan to use a hyperspace buoy to triangulate Sun’saith’s position, we could find his current location. Sun’saith could, supposedly, travel through hyperspace at will.

After finding the location we flew our flagship to a dying planet. We disembarked and quickly found a tunnel leading deeper into the planet. I could feel the planet dying and the power this gave me.

We found the altar of my and Kranks vision and started searching for clues. During our search we were attacked by several lightsaber wielding foes, lackeys of Kiados it would appear to be. They were no match for us, although Krank went down again. After dispatching the majority of the foes we found that one of them was Kiados, and she wanted to talk.

She told us that she had the same goals as the rest of us: Killing and stopping Kath’ritt. While this kinda tickled my interest, my current thoughts was that the last of her minions had Kranks lightsaber. I told him to give it up, but he refused. I took it by force, killing him in the process. While picking up Kranks lightsaber I felt Kotan drawing his power and turned towards him. He was directing it at me! In a battle of wills I just managed to gain the upper hand, but he used his power of foresight to boost his powers and I flew away into the darkness. My final thought before everything went dark was: “How could Kotan gain the upper hand?”

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Introduction to Episode XLI
Divergence

The dark chamber was silent again…
Jze crept silently along the walls of the one-part natural and one-part carved tunnels on the nameless, Force forsaken planet… it was nigh on void of life. That is to say, life was leaving the planet itself, through the very ground, through these very tunnels. Jze shivered and pressed on. He had to find Kranky and Onda, he had to get them to safety… the wailing of Warde hadn’t made it easy to convince the crew to stay, but Do Nio had agreed to wait for Jze.

“Why did you spare the Wookiee? Was it intentional or are you just incompetent?”
Kiados strode alongside Kotan through tunnels leading, Kotan suspected, to her ship. Kotan glanced sideways at her, but before he could utter a syllable: “I could still feel he was alive, even after your masterful deception” sarcasm dripping from every word, she continued “it is not exactly a trust making move, but I have come to understand the ways of your people, these times. Sentiment is a strong streak among your kind and the citizens of the galaxy, with a few noteworthy exceptions. It is a weakness easily enough purged.”

They left the underground tunnels through an opening in the side of a massive crater. Not far away Kotan noticed a shimmering field, Kiados waved her left hand and a ship was revealed. Arrow shaped, dark brown and red. Four figures just outside the entryway. Kotan could feel fear, whether his own or someone else’s, he was no longer sure. As they walked through the alien ship, Kotan only half-listened to Kiados as he marvelled at the technology, the strange design and the gentle hum of the engines as he could barely feel the ship start up and take off. “… so, having failed the first test, we must find another, or two… Don’t you agree?” As Kotan realised she had be talking to him, he was gently guided into a room, the door behind him closed.

Leaning back from the navicopmuter, Vex looked out at the galaxy and was not amused by his current predicament.
“Interesting. I’m in the void in the Void… how did I end up here?”
A sound from the cargo hold made Vex tare his gaze from the view of the galaxy and leave the cockpit. He contemplated his current situation, if only he could get things running again. Once more the spectre of Tera Sinube was projected to fill the centre of the cargo hold from floor to ceiling. He was talking, but the only sound was a rasping sound. It was the same recording as all the other times. A three minute recording, before it restarts and repeats itself. It did this repetitive sequence four time. Then it turns off for a time. Vex rummaged through their stores of food and drink once more… he was running out. There was a loud sound and whirr. Someone or something had connected to the Void’s airlock. “May the Force be with me.”

“He did what?!”
Nela Kohn’s voice was strained, and something was off with the cybernetic leg as it kept wobbling and moving even as she tried to stay still. Do Nio sighed, looking over the unconscious forms of Onda and Kranky he gestured to Martail, who ordered some crew members to move the patients to the medbay, Arana one step behind as they hastily made their way to do what they could for these unfortunate, betrayed heroes. Jze made his way to the command centre, to join Kaitai and Nela in the preparations for whatever was to come.

Warde sat meditating.
A green crystal in the palm of his hand. Tears running down his cheeks. How he had failed his saviours. It was a recurring thought. It had gone from irrational fear to certainty in less than a full sentence.

An awareness gathered itself
Slowly coalescing into consciousness. Again. “Once more? Really?” it asked. Something else: “Do you think your chosen path will ever let this end?”

Elsewhere
Aeons worth of dust, piled impossibly high. Never moving. A thick crust. A crack appears somewhere in the middle, it spread upwards, downwards, outwards, inwards. An ever so slight shrug, followed by a short sigh. It returns again to a sort of stillness, a stillness that has not been disturbed since it first settled.

“They’ll live.”
“Krankawarrok will probably wake up first, unlike Onda he wasn’t covered in rubble. They should be ready for the next phase in no time. I should say, we don’t have much bacta left, these treatments consumed almost everything from our last haul.” Martail turned and left. Jze turned on the holomap again. Do Nio, Nela and Warde turn on their datapads. Nela started "So, we know from Rebel intel that Sinnius’ ship The Scourge of Elmar has been making repeated micro jumps in deep space between Tarillion and the poetically named system: S74R7, for some time. This combined with the assumed positions of Kiados’ interdictor forces, I think Sinnius is hunting. Also, he may not be alone. This also confirms that going to Tarillion with a too big ship, is inadvisable. The Last Echo may be too big, or just small enough." Nela paused. Kaitai studied the holomap, it showed the area and systems around Tarillion, and the dangerous hyperspace routes to Tarillion was highlighted as orange, squiggly lines.

“Are we really going through with this? With the loss of Kotan to the enemy, how can we hope to prevail against their combined might? Not to forget whatever other forces Kiados has at her disposal!” Warde pointed at the rhombic cube that represented Tarillion, “How can we hope to stop her from entering that station and make her way to the vault?”

Kaitai sighed. “First, we don’t know Kotan’s plan, if he has any, he could be dead, traitor or double agent. We just don’t know. We can’t let that make us hesitate.” Kaitai paused, then continued “So, from what data we do have, from Kranky and Onda, as well as the data Kotan supplied, we can infer that the station must have its own defensive systems. We also know approximately where the settlement they visited is located.” A green area was highlighted. “It is unlikely they will enter any other way considering Kotans awareness of where the vault is located and settlements assumed proximity to the vault, this is most likely their point of entry.” He looked at Nela.

She stared at the map, pointed at a highlighted blue line and said “It’ll take us two runs in the smaller ships to get all of us in this way. The Echo will run on a skeleton crew and make micro jumps as close as possible to the system, and from there go the rest of the way in real space. With some luck the ships our Rebel friends promised will arrive later today, they will join the Echo.” She paused. Warde looked at them both in bewilderment. “What if Kiados knows of another way in? What good will this plan do?” He looked at the two of them, then he turned to Jze.

Jze stared at a smaller holomap above his datapad, one of the entire galaxy. Noticing he had the room’s attention, he peeked at the three in turn. “I have here a map, it shows the trail of a signal I’ve been tracking. Kotan believed this signal could indicate the location of Sun’saith. I think he was mostly right. It led us to the dying planet, then it disappeared. I couldn’t detect it after we left. Not before today. It appears to be … reappearing.” Jze tapped his keys and superimposed on the map in front of Nela, Kaitai and Warde, a cloud of lights appeared. The cloud blinked and moved in a nauseatingly random pattern. It covered the whole map. “I don’t know what this means … but it’s all around us…”

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Tests and Conquest
Episode XLI - Kotan

Forgive me for my wrongs, I have just begun.


“You survived the second test, in a way.” Kiados stated.
Kotan was tired, bruised and battered from the duel against the morgukai warrior and irritated by his wounds and the pointlessness of the last fight, he retorted sharply: “I deafeated the one that attacked me yes, for whatever point that makes”

“So you fought the nikto? the weakest challenge there – the most powerful was the girl in chains … " she chuckled at the confused expression he displayed. “I guess you still have much to learn. First answer one question though:Why are you here?

Collecting his composure, Kotan took a breath and answered calmly:
“Two reasons.” he raised a finger.
First; I don’t think you are the greatest threat in this conflict – you confirmed that suspicion in the crypt." He lifted a second finger.
“Secondly; I belive I have learned what I can from the other masters, you are the next logical step.”

“Pride, Arrogance.” Kiados stood behind him as she spoke, Kotan could hear movment, and the hiss of seals opening as she took of her helmet. His curiosity grew too strong and he turned around.
She had short cut dark hair and a regal jawline, but her eyes were covered by a tight fitted dark cloth. No eyes, like the one on Pybus, Kotan thought.
“I can tell that you were trained by jedi, it’s in your stance.” She raised an eyebrow at him.
“the first lesson is that there is always more to learn” Kiados drew her lightsabers.


The bridge of the unfamiliar ship was empty except the two of them, beyond the glass the vastness of space was glittering with similar ships; sleek, arrow-shaped, brown and red constructions, their design mean and agressive. They were preparing for the jump, and the invasion.

Kotan finished the adjustments to his armor and turned to see Kiados enter, his master enter, he mentally corrected himself.
Started pacing slowly in front of him her head facing the stars outside the massive windows.
“Imagine if you will, a community of hunters, nomadic and sceptical to new ideas like: settling in one place, growing crops – a primitive people in all ways”
She was thoughtful, Kotan could tell, this story was for her sake as much as for him.

“Then one day there is a light in the sky and these strange beings arrive.”
“And then these beings kill everyone, with ease, except you – you they take, up in the sky, and they hurt you and test you.”
She opened a hand, lightning crackled along her fingers before she closed her fist.
“All so you can learn this, this was what they wanted from us – to fuel their machines.”

“You were a slave to the Eternal Empire, but you found a way to climb the ranks.”Kotan ventured, facinated.
“Only because they chose it for me, I was property, one of Kath’ritt’s Hounds
Her face twisted in a grimace, a combination of self loathing, and hatred for her old master.

“When the empire collapsed, my master took me and entered the Infinity Gates, and when ”/wikis/sunsaith" class=“wiki-page-link”> Sun’saith and his people came for him I escaped … untill they captured me, and Sun’saith began his millenia of torture on me."

“I am so sorr… " Kiados sharply interrupted Kotan, and hissed angrily “If you ever try to pity me again, I will kill you where you stand!”

She turned to the exit and made to leave “today you will prove yourself” she threw over her shoulder as she reached the door.
“one question, master” Kotan rose from his seat, Kiados hesitated at the door. “What will you do when this is over?”

Kiados turned around and looked at her apprentice, after a couple of moments she opened the door and left “You sound just like Sun’saith now …” she grumbled as she left.

Left alone in the control room, Kotan looked out at the stars and the ships jumping to hyperspace one by one.
He started speaking, "May the force … " he interrupted himself with a snarl and stalked out the door.
Time to get this done.


The arrow-shaped boarding ship came in at a neckbreaking velocity, as it threatened to overshoot the landing area of Zone Zerek it made a agressive halt and partly embedded itself in the durasteel.
The sharp front of the ship split in four and opened outwards, a man in black close fitting armor strode down the ramp his black hair hung loose behind him and his lower face was covered by a stylized face mask showing a sneering beast. He lit his saber as he walked, and dark, armored figures stepped up to form a phalanx behind him, the red light making them seem demonic and otherworldy.
He briefly looked over the gathered denizens and their ugly makeshift barricades, some of the braver souls had started to tak aim at him.

With a gesture the closest militia were lifted up in the air, they spun around themselves in confusion as he adressed the crowd.
“Citizens of Zone Zerek, behind me hell and death follows. Anyone still standing here the next couple of minutes will die screaming.-But worry not, we are not here for you, if you let us pass without incident we wil travel on leaving you to your lives.”
Kotan looked at the ragged defenders, making sure to meet the eyes of several of the weakes ones, they all avoided his gaze.
“Is there really any point in dying here?”, he added. Now to see if they can manage to save themselves, if not I will have to live with their deaths on my hands as well.
Through the magnetic field seperating the station from space, the sharp silhuettes of many more ships started to appear, closing in on them fast.

“well … I’m out, not dying here.” someone mumbled, and like wildfire people left, drifting away and disappearing.

The only one that hadn’t moved was the burly armored and scarred wookie holding the yellow lightsaber.
Of course, you stupidly brave fool, now you decide to be the paragon of virtue, not even you can survive this force alone in the open, but now you decide to make a stand. Kotan thought as he almost admired the sheer bullheadedness of his friend.
The two friends stared at each other for a while, then Krankawarrok broke the silence,.
In his tongue he talked; his gutteral growls and snarls punctuated by expressive hand movements, having made his point he added a last bit and pointed at the ground.

After a while Kotan leaned to his second in command Kehn and whispered “Do you understand shyriiwook?” Kehn quckly translated to Kotan.

“mhm, yup, fighting or the wrong side, aha, leading the enemy against my friends, right and wrong, mhm, not going to move an inch, ok got it”
Kotan turned back to Krank and after a brief sigh said “I’m sorry that you feel that way.”
With a gesture he reached out and suddenly the massive wookie was flying at full speed past him and out into space.
If anybody can survive that it will be you, and that will keep you out of my hair untill I need you, old friend. Kotan justified to himself.

The other ships crashed into the station and landed violently, one of them entered wrong or had amalfuction and was engulfed in a wall of flame before entering.
Troops marched out, forming a perimiter as Kiados disembarked and walked up to Kotan “No resistance, like you promised – well done.” The flames framed their dark shapes and the surrounding warriors.

“This way to the vault” Kotan pointed, and together they started walking into the depths of Tarillion.

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Soon to be resolved
Episode XLI - Onda: Tension

Onda felt that things were drawing to a close. There was an imminent vertex approaching. Travelling to Tarillion – a rombic-dodacahedron wonder – Onda felt the force telling him these things. Kranky was fidgety and nervous, there was a mood in the ship that you could feel. Everybody was feeling the upcoming storm.

Entering Tarillion they agreed that Onda would go for the portal farther into the space station and Kranky would make fortifications at in docking bay. Leaving Kranky to it, Onda took a small force of Nela Kohn’s forces and ventured into the station. Managing to lose their trail they we’re beset upon by some of them more vigilant defenders of Tarillion. Losing two of the Gensu-dai, they dispatched the attackers and continued on their way.

Getting near the tower that lead to Kath’ritt they saw that the base was preparing its defences. It positively crawled with droids everywhere. The boys with Onda got a bit scared by this, but seeing Onda’s resolve they managed to follow him into the tower. Ordering the boys to barricade the door, Onda went down to the portal. Kayn Nebulous was nowhere to be seen, and searching for him with his power Onda felt him below, on the other side of the closed doorway.

Knowing that time was of the essence Onda started to delve deep into his powers and look for a way into the portal. Drawing deeper and deeper on his power Onda felt something tear, he felt himself entering a new place. Everything started to fade. Fade into white….

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Sacrifice
episode XLII

“You lied to me!”
Dace stormed into his room, pointing a finger at the translucent image of Master Kotan.
The image had been waiting there patiently the last day for him to come back.
Dace had processed his anger and dissappointment by working on the ship, or at leat pretending to be working on the ship while avoiding his own quarters.
Tara had left him alone as soon as she picked up on his dark mood.

“I can understand that you feel that way, but it’s not true, I’ve always been candid with you, Dace.” To Dace the holocrons patient demeanour seemed manipulative and cold.

Dace barreled through the image and begun pacing.
“All this time you were teaching me, all the talking of choosing the higher road, about living with peace, all the god-cragging meditation and training of forms, it was all banthapoop – You’re a sith!” Dace kicked a discarded box of parts into the wall and stood there fuming.
The silence stretched out.

Finally the image of Kotan Blen spoke: “Did I ever say that I made this holocron?”
“Hmm, what? you said your name was Kotan, this is your holocron, who else would make it?” Dace’s brow was furrowed in dark thoughts and confusion. “What do you mean?”

“Yes, and I did clarify quickly that this holcron holds a image of the man know as Kotan Blen, but it is not him. I also never claimed that he was the maker. Because of this I am not him, not really: I look like him and think like him, my core personality is built on his intellect, but I am not, nor have I ever truly been him, I am … this”

The image of the old force user started splitting apart into different images, some of them video, some of them still, all of them showed Kotan in different parts of his life, some of them young, other older and wiser, in them he was fighting, talking, frowning, smiling, he was covered in mud, he was wearing fine robes, he had blood on his face, he looked tired, he was shouting, he was resting his eyes, he was speaking at the camera.

The calediscope of Kotan twisted and flowed over, like a man shaped geisyr of images, files of audio from recorded conversation and copies of radio records created a cacaphony in the small room as the myrid images spread out and covered every surface. Before finally folding back in on itself and slowly melding together all the different parts into the familiar image of Master Kotan as he usually appeared .

“Whomever made this holocron used the crystal from Kotan Blen’s old saber and his many journals and diaries, in addition to extensive archives harvested from countless sources to create a likness of the man, his mannerism, his beliefs, his knowledge and some knowledge he did not have, like the results of his actions, the events he set in motion but did not see finished, the consequenses of his legacy, and that of his friends.”

Dace was still stunned by the display of the swirling images "But what happened to …. " he stopped, a thoughtful look crossed his eyes, gently he continued onto another line of questioning “Wait, ‘whomever’ you said, and ‘they’ – you don’t know who created this holocron do you?”

The holocron showed deeply human emotions of embarresment and annoyance. “I have made some calculations, and while going through these logs with you I can point out at least four sentients that MAY be the creator, although since my information is incomplete there may be more that fit the criteria, and so far none of them seem decidedly more likely than any of the other.” He looked sheepishly at his feet
“It’s quite … vexing, I’ll admit.”

Dace stood there staring at the image for a while before he burst out laughing at the absurdity of it, he leaned back against the wall and composed himself.
After some seconds he chuckled wryly again and said “So it seems not even the master I chose knows everything , not even about themselves!” he ran his hands over his braids and exhaled loudly “I guess it figures … my final lesson from you, Copy-of-Kotan.”
The simulacrum winced at the new monkier and retorted “Or maybe your lesson to me, Dace .” he offered humbly.

“But what happened to them? where does Your archives stop? " Dace asked.
“Well, there is nothing recorded directly from the last day” the image put one hand behind his back and used the other for ephasis as he listed up the facts, he slowly paced the cabin like an orator starting on a lecture. “All information is second- or third hand, a lot of it is missing – there were a lot of dead, unfortunatly.”

He turned to Dace and over his right palm text and images appeared. “We know that Kiados and Kotan arrived at Tarillion station with her forces, their goal: the vault holding Kath’ritt. We also know that Onda and Krankawrrok had gathered defenders to stop them, included in these forces were both rebels, the empire and other fring elements like the Gensu’Dai, the Isini and at least one shadow organization … most of these forces tied each other up in a massive space battle outside the station … So we’ll ignore them and focus on the landing party Kiados brought to Tarillion, and the events as they advanced on the vault”

The hand flickered through a plethora of faces, many of the crossed out With a big red ‘X’.
“Kiados forces were seen fighting against both the defenders and the station itself, one account describes how a combination of guerilla tactics and random attacks by the stations droids almost obliterated the soldiers Kiados had brought to the station”
Several documents and videologs of witnessess appeared to emphasise the facts, before being wiped away as the simulacrum continued.
“After that there is not a lot of information to be found, but the last bits of semi-reliable witness accounts comes from a surviving Gensu’Dai defender that was stationed at the entrance to the tower that led down to the Vault. Before he was knocked unconcious by a thrown droid he swore he saw Kiados and Kotan walking towards the vault while fighting a horde of droids using only the force. He described the vision of them battling these machines as , and I’m quoting him here ’ A vortex of metal and destruction, and in it’s center two silhuettes striding through the carnage like gods ’ end qoute … "
The image apeared to sigh." While one witness with a head injury is not really a strong source of info, we can at least assume that they somehow arrived at the vault."

“Old communications logs show that Onda was stationed at the vault entrance and that Krankawarrok chased after Kotan to it as well. More curiously, there are several sources confirming that Vex Ruul arrived with the Void of Integrity and was last seen flying a speeder towards the same location.” the image of Kotan displayed several blurry pictures over it’s hand with a raised eyebrow. “Most curious that bit.”

The mentor clasped his hands behind his back and faced Dace as the other images desappeared “And that’s where we run out of information: Kotan and Kiados, Onda and possibly Krankawarrok and Vex all entered the vault, at different times most likely. And none of them ever came out. When survivors from the battle investigated they found the vault sealed again.”

Dace stood with his arms crossed looking at the floor, looking lost. “So that’s the end of the story?” He slowly shook his head “But could they have survived? or ended up somwhere else? maybe -” Dace went still and tensed up as a force vision came over him with great intensity.

A massive chamber somewhere else, lit by flashing lightsabers, red and green lightning arcing over the room from the hands of an armored woman and a large reptilian and ancient evil, the light highlighting large colums, friends fighting friends, a wookie screaming out in pain and rage, a green swordswaster with burning eyes and a viscious grin as he cuts him down, a shadow striking at him from the darkness, a mask splintering and cracking, the pillars staring to fall down towards them, Kotan Blen standing with his arms reaching to each side, his armor scorched and disintegrating around him, his hair whipping about him weightlessly, face covered in blood and contorted in a soundless scream as the whole room shakes, the ceiling collapsing over all of them.
Just before he is buried by tons of stones Kotan looks at Dace and smiles sadly, then he closes his eyes and is engulfed by darkness.

" … By the force, they’re still in there."
Dace could feel himself gasping for air, that had felt like being there in the flesh.

The holocron hadn’t sensed his vision and reacted only to the words he spoke. “That is a likely assumption” He looked up for some time as in thought
“I’m afraid we are out of time”
“What?” Dace asked.
“Since the day you activated this holocron I have been accessing the ship’s sensors , and I just picked up a large craft dropping out of hyperspace and speeding towards you – most likely there is a hidden transponder in one of the crates you picked up on Tattoine last cycle.”

The ship made protesting sounds as a tractor beam locked on and started pulling at them.
“That cheating, lying, treacherous, worm, he sold us out! Tara, we need to run, they’ve found us!” Dace was dashing towards the corridor.

DACE WAIT!” the bellow from the image of Kotan, an unusual event at any time, arrested Dace’s momentum and he turned back to the apparition.
Kotan held up a palm showing design plans and diagrams of the holocron, as Dace watched the image of the box was opened. “This is my final gift and lesson, Dace: how to open the core of the holocron and retrive the lightsaber crystal within … you’re going to need it.”

“But what happens to your matrix then? are you deleted or do you go dormant? I still have so much to learn!” The simulacrum of Kotan shook his head as Dace felt the holocron settle in his hand.
“To late for that, and I think I have tought you enough to get you on the right path … May the force be with you Dace, it’s been an honor to know you” The figure bowed and added with a grin “Now go save your girl before it’s to late, the past can wait my friend.” the image flickered and disappeared, plunging the room into darkness.

Something large clamped onto the side of the ship and sparks started coming from the airlock down the corridor.
Dace felt tears trickle down his cheeks as he went through the sequence, fingers deftly clicking in place a set of hidden buttons and catches in sequence, the twelve-sided box slowly slid apart and opened to his hands as he gently retrived the green crystal, he stared at it for a moment before slotting it into the hilt he had finished the other day.

Green light lit up the hallway, Dace stood there staring at the blade as the airlock was being cut open by the boarding crew.
As the door fell over he charged at the incoming troops, one hand reaching out and sending several of them flying back out into the boarding tube, he jumped over them.
Landing between them he sliced through a blaster before it got a proper aim at him and did a spinning kick that knocked out the last man.

Wow, that was a big ship … but it probably had the controls for the tractor beam near the engineering like all others. No time to lose.

Dace ran, his dreadlocks whipping behind him, a green blade in his left hand.

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