Alric Kellard was standing in the corridor leading to the cockpit of the Forrum Family Corellian freighter. He had a concerned look about him as he looked into the lounge and main cargo area.
"Was this a bad idea?" he asked the Mirialan woman to his side.
Thirty Jedi, ten Padawans, ten Masters, and ten Knights, had all set up a makeshift living space with basic mats. There was chatter among them, some debate in how they should be arranged, given many were female, some complaining about the space. But at 6000 credits and a bonus, this was surely worth it.
"He'd better not get into trouble on this one..." Alric said, watching the corridor Marx went through.
A male Jedi in black armor and wearing long black hair in a ponytail caught Marx in the corridor as he stepped out of the lavatory. He gave a completely neutral expression, but his eyes glared and burned into Marx's. He went past him and joined the others.
"They're all disciplined Jedi, 'Mister Kellard'," Jorek, the Zabrak Knight said to Alric with disdain as he stepped up to the pair of smugglers watching. He looked to the Mirialan. "The captain has given us clearance to depart."
Outside, the Corellian ship was docked inside a Republic cruiser, where the Jedi came in from. The landing bay doors opened, giving the smugglers their way out.
Lilezi nodded and went into the cockpit, informing Harlow of their clearance to depart. The ship revved its engines up and detached from the floor. Outside the window you could see the transition from metal plating to endless blackness.
Over the intercom Harlow's voice echoed. "Prepare for hyperspace."
As everyone braced themselves, the endless black turned into a swirling neon blue. As they made their way to Ilum, Lilezi once again went to Alric.
"Alric, if we're going to be partners, I need to know your background some more, and I have a feeling these Jedi have a huge part in it. What's the deal?"
"Of course," Ty'rin agreed. "Unfortunately, that won't be our only problem. Each moment we get closer to Ilum, I feel a familiar sinister presence. We must be cautious as we go into this battle."
On the cold world of Ilum, a hooded woman hid on a ledge as she watched two Jedi Guards scoping the area under her. A young Togruta male and a young Human female behind her waited like a feline ready to pounce.
"Now," the woman said.
The young Human, named O'jule, jumped high into the air, activated her two red lightsabers, and twirled down. The Jedi Guards, surprised, immediately looked up, but ignited their sabers just in time. O'jule hopped back, a smile crawling along her face. Nevrix, the Togruta, appeared suddenly behind the Guards after being cloaked in invisibility. He stabbed one in the back and as the other was taken aback, O'jule sliced his head off.
Melodica jumped down and landed between her two apprentices, the dead Jedi laying motionless in the snow.
"How was that, Master?" O'jule excitedly asked.
Melodica seemed distracted and looked off into the sky.
"My Lord?" Nevrix said.
"Silence," she hissed. She looked harder into the sky, and that's when she saw it. Seven figures appeared. Two female, five male. One Mirialan, the rest Human.
"Interesting," she thought out loud.
"What is interesting, Lord Melodica?" O'jule wondered.
"Remember how I said we were going to see some familiar faces? I know now who these old friends are."
Alric sat in silence on the flight to Illum. He kept his hands on the two large blaster barrels at his thigh. His blaster was a custom model. It basically looked like two smooth lightsaber hilts side by side and connected at the bottom to a spherical hinge, the handgrip and trigger connected jutted out of it at an angle.
The expression on his face was a failure at stoicism. Pain and anticipation was visible.
As time went on, they eventually made it to Ilum. They appeared out of hyperspace over the white and sacred planet. The New Dream dove into its atmosphere, breaking into the cold and windy air. The ship flew close to the ground until it reached the incognito Republic base where they were to land.
The freighter settled on its designated pad and the ramp opened.
"We have arrived on Ilum," Harlow announced over the intercom. Many Jedi were already exiting as a few of the Forrum siblings watched their cargo leave on their own.
A female Zabrak Jedi Master walked up to Vane. "Thank you for your troubles. We appreciate this."
"No problem. We're getting paid big for this so we thought 'why not?'" Vane teased. The Zabrak simply left the ship without so much as a chuckle. "I guess Jedi aren't much for humor."
"Most Jedi aren't," a young Jedi Sentinel said. "I, for one, enjoy a good joke."
Lilezi, who was still in the cockpit, turned to Alric as Harlow left them alone.
"Of course," Lilezi agreed. They left the ship and met up with the base commander, an older man but made of muscle. He had a hard look but he smiled when he saw the two smugglers approach.
"Ah, there you are. You two must belong to this fine vessel. We appreciate your cooperation and generosity. I'm Commander Tefundo. I believe I have your credits."
"Yes, thank you. And no problem."
They were handed their credits and walked away as Tefundo waved them off. Harlow started up the ship as the smugglers made their way on board. Most of the Jedi were already gone, having left on multiple speeders to go to their directed destinations. Only a few remained to guard the base.
As Ty'rin held on tightly to Anro on their speeder, she felt a chill up her spine, and it wasn't from the cold air.
"Anro, I have a bad feeling."
As the New Dream made its way out of the base, two shadowy figures jumped on top of it silently. A third figure jumped down into the base.
Tefundo and three Jedi looked to the direction of the clatter of boots. The stranger took off their cloak to reveal stark white hair and blazing silver eyes. She ignited her red lightsaber and grinned as the Jedi ignited their blue and green ones.
On the smuggler ship, the two figures ignited their red blades ran along the top, cutting into the flying metal. They jumped down and using an extra grip of Force, made a smooth landing on top of a snowy ledge. The ship rattled and smoked as the systems started to fail. The freighter hurtled down towards the ground and skid across the snow and finally stopped after the momentum gave out.
Lilezi stood up unsteadily as she held her hurt shoulder.
Alric took a deep breath and looked around the ship to ensure everyone in the family was able to move, making his way to the door. "Just when we thought we'd be getting easy credits... Everyone stay here! I'll buy us time for repairs!"
There was enough power flow in the door curcuits to open the boarding ramp slightly, just barely enough for him to slide through. For his size, however, he should not have been able to contort and move through it so easily and quickly. He coughed a bit to let himself breathe after stepping out in the cold.
Cautiously, he drew out his double-barreled heavy blaster and a vibroknife and started walking.
Lilezi coughed and searched for her brothers. Vane was already out of the ship, right behind Alric. He took out his blaster and followed alongside him.
"You see anything?" he asked in a low tone.
In the ship, Harlow pulled himself up on the pilot's chair and held his head. He was bleeding from the impact he made on the dashboard. Marx was nowhere to be found.
"Marx! Harlow!" Lilezi cried out.
"I'm fine!" Harlow shouted.
Still no answer from Marx.
"Marx! Where are you?" Lilezi said as she wandered the slanted corridors. She walked into the supply room and pushed the slightly-open slide door to the side. She found Marx laying face down on the ground
"Marx!" she cried, falling to her knees beside him. She turned him over and saw he was unconscious. She put her ear up to his chest. He was breathing, but it was slow.
"Marx, come on buddy, you gotta wake up," she said, shaking him slightly.
Back at the base, Melodica was holding her own against the three Jedi. Unfortunately, one came too close and she stabbed him through the heart. He fell to the ground lifeless. The other two continued to push on.
Commander Tefundo hid behind a large batch of crates and contacted all the rest of the Jedi, which also included the New Dream crew.
"Sith! There's Sith here! There-"
His throat closed up. He dropped the holorecorder to the floor, the last thing anyone could hear was his gasp for air. Another hooded figure walked from around the corner. He took off his hood with one hand as the other clenched tight. A red-skinned face with yellow eyes looked down at the poor soul.
"Sh sh sh. Silence." He twisted his wrist and Tefundo's neck snapped to the side and he fell to the floor without another movement.
The Sith walked out from behind the crates to find Melodica standing in the middle of three dead bodies.
"Have they been notified, Darth Reaper?" Melodica asked.
Alric felt sick in his stomach. He aimed his weapon towards the entrance of an icy snow trench several hundred meters away. The path the New Dream carved into the ice ran parallel to it.
"Stay with the ship," he said to Vane. "Marx is hurt. Bring Lez the medical kit."
He started a brisk walk towards the trench. Fog and snow, pushed by the wind, clouded his movements. There, he extended his senses outwards, extensivley, making his presence known to those who could See.
That live-recording was faintly heard as Lilezi pulled Marx into her lap. Vane walked in with a medical kit and handed it to his adopted sister.
"Sith?" Vane asked... mostly to himself.
Lilezi didn't answer. She was applying bacta gel to Marx's head wound and wrapping it up. She pulled out a small breathing tank and put the mask over Marx's lips. His chest started moving more noticeably.
"Good," Lilezi sighed. "Vane, check up on Harlow. We need to find out what happened."
"I think it'd be better if we stay in the ship," Vane suggested
"Like sitting ducks? Screw that! Whoever or whatever is going to pay!"
"Where's Alric?" she asked, looking up at her brother.
"What do you mean, he left?" she growled through gritted teeth.
Lilezi looked at Vane for a few seconds, then started to get up, placing Marx's head down on the floor gently.
"Where do you think you're going?" Vane said, blocking the only exit.
"To find Alric!"
"I think not! Whoever did this kind of damage must be armed and dangerous! I'm not letting you out there!"
"Get out of my way!" She shoved him aside, and he could have easily stood there with his stocky build, but for some reason he didn't resist. Then he started to regret that decision. He grabbed her arm and pulled her.
"Let go!" She punched at his jaw with full force and his body fell against the wall. She took this chance to grab her blaster rifle and charge into the snowy cold.
As Alric reached out into the Force, he could sense a Dark presence.
"Hello," said a silky voice that slithered into his mind. "What are you looking for?"
He fired two shots, one from one barrel, and one out the other, at both of them, walking sideways. The density of the bolts and the speed which they flew at gave them an unusually high force, like the swing of a sword.
Nevrix and O'jule swatted the bolts with their sabers in perfect unison then split away from eachother, like someone running away from their reflection.
"They're going to flank us!" Lilezi gasped, pulling out her blasters. Out of the snowy wind two bolts flew towards both O'jule and Nevrix, one after the other. They blocked it and skid to a halt, staring at the space where the bolt came from. Lilezi did the same.
Vane's face and body came into the clear, his blaster smoking in the icy air.
"This requires a change of pace..." Alric though to himself.
"Whatever you do, stick together," he said to Lez, pacing back to rejoin Vane and firing a heavy bolt at O'jule. "Watch each other's backs. I'll be nearby."
He thumbed a switch near the handle and started on a full sprint at Nevrix, firing lighter, more standard blasts at the warrior before sliding and kicking up snow and ice, then practically disappearing.
O'jule bent back as the bolt flew right over her stomach. She put her hands on the ground and flipped back up. She rushed towards the group as Alric made his way to Nevrix. O'jule jumped high and force pushed at the two siblings. They both were pressed against the ground.
Nevrix, on the other hand, spun his lightsaber to fling away the bolts and barely blocked the snow and ice flying towards his face. He looked around and couldn't find Alric.
Just as O'jule landed, Alric appeared, seemingly stepping out of a cloudy wisp with his vibroknife stabbing for her forearm bones, along with his blaster, used and held like a tonfa, aimed for her jaw.
Nevrix felt through the Force the exact location of Alric and found him dangerously close to his comrade. He looked in the direction where he sensed him and saw Alric's silhouette holding a sharp object close to O'jule, who was slow to understand what was going on.
Nevrix pushed with his hand forward and forced the vibroknife out of Alric's hand causing it to fly. Unfortunately, Alric was to close to O'jule, and part of the blade slithered against her cheek, her blood flying with it. The vibroknife eventually landed in Vane's leg, who was trying to help Lilezi up from the ground. Both O'jule and Vane yelped in pain.
Alric, finding himself knifeless and interrupted, sprang back a step and then stepped forward, punching at O'jule's center mass with his blaster, pulling the trigger and firing stun bolts out of bolt barrels.
O'jule felt her whole body seize up and she fell to the ground paralyzed, blood dripping from her cheek.
Meanwhile, Vane nearly falls on top of Lilezi, only for her to catch him and pull herself over him. She immediately took out the blade and threw it away from her. She took out a clothe from her pocket and wrapped it around the wound and tied it tightly to stop the bleeding enough to not cause an overflow.
Nevrix ran to Alric and wound his leg up for a roundhouse kick to Alric's legs.
Alric felt his legs give out from under him and he dropped like a stone onto his side. He found his footing again and sprang away before Nevrix could cleave him and his lightsabers. He tumbled, rolled, and slid before stopping and getting back up.
He found that his heavy blaster had been flung in the opposite direction and his vibroknight was glinting near Lez and Vane. Weaponless. At least for the moment.
He reached his arms out, crossing over each other, towards his weapons. His knight flew past Lilezi's nose and into his left hand while his blaster slid from between the Sith's legs and into his right.
Sheathing his knife, Alric switched the grip on his blaster and held it like a tonfa again, barrels aimed up towards his elbow and upside down. Then both barrels unfolded from a hinge connected to the top of the handle, by the trigger, and pointed downwad. Then both barrels split and folded away from each other to form a longer, proper tonfa. Finally, from both ends of the tonfa, blue-white blades of plasma shot out of each barrel end. The one pointing downwards touched the icy floor and evaporated the ice it touched until it made a small hole.
Both Lilezi and Nevrix looked at the white, hot blades protruding from his blasters.
"Lightsabers..." Lilezi whispered in awe.
"Well, this just got interesting," Nevrix chuckled. He squared up and flexed his muscles to prepare for this change of events. He rolled his head and popped his neck. He squinted at Alric and sized him up along with his new weaponry in this battle.
Unbeknownst to anyone else, however, O'jule was crawling through the snow towards Lilezi and Vane, blood trailing behind her. She used the pain to drive her towards her foes.
Nevrix's senses were on high alert and could still sense Alric as the steam flew into the air. The Sith parried just in time and maneuvered himself to turn and slide by Alric, and spun around with his blade to catch him in the back.
O'jule glared at the Mirialan girl through red eyes as she continued her slow trek towards her, like a preying beast.
Alric's saber spun by the grip as he pulled his arm back, parrying the blow. Then he spun himself around, jumped back, found footing, and pulled a large block of ice out of the ground, only half the mass of his body, between the two of them and hurled it at the Sith.
Nevrix jumped up, but Alric's skills were good, and the block of ice caught Nevrix's feet, causing him to flip awkwardly and fall to the snow and ice below. He flipped up onto his feet, his eyes glowing yellow.
The Togruta raised his hands, palms up, and the ice underneath Alric began to shift towards the Sith as a wall between Alric and the Forrum siblings began to rise, blocking their view of each other.
Lilezi watched as the wall of cold, frigid ice formed. She tried to pick up Vane, finding this to be the time to bring him back to the ship. As soon as she built the strength to pick him up, her throat began to close. She let go of Vane, dropping him to the snow, and grasped at invisible claws. She strained her eyes to find who was doing this and in her horror she saw yellow eyes glaring through the fog.
O'jule grinned menacingly, much like her master, and let up only slightly so that Lilezi can...
"Alric!" Lilezi screeched with a scratchy voice. "Alric!"
Sensing and hearing Lilezi's peril, Alric had to act fast. He deactivated one end of his saber and aimed it at Nevrix's feet, firing heavy bolts both at his legs and at the icy ground in front of him. The bolts that struck the ice caused jets of steam to shoot up, enough for Alric to control with the Force and completely cloud the area.
Then he did as a shadow did--hide his presense in the Force and thus himself, for the time being. After this, he sprinted towards the wall blocking him and the Forrums, aimed his blastsaber at its base, and fired four bolts into one spot before dropping and sliding into the tunnel he made, with both blades activated and spinning very quickly above him at an angle.
He burst out of the other side of the wall in a heap of stream and snow. He stood up out of the snow with his saber spinning and his eye on O'jule. With heart pounding and determination, he threw his saber and let it fly at her arm like a saw.
Nevrix immediately stopped the shifting ice and blocked the bolts to his feet, but the steam caught his face and he was blinded for a second or two, allowing Alric to escape.
As the wall shattered, O'jule was caught off guard and...
"Agggh!!!" she screamed as the saber sliced off her left arm. Alric's saber deactivated as it stuck into the snow.
Lilezi collapsed to the ground, her face more blue than green, as Vane stirred and opened his eyes to see the one-armed Sith and his sister lay near-unconscious.
A silhouette of a feminine figure appeared in the distance. O'jule's body began to lift into the air and pulled away from the scene. While they were distracted, and before Alric could reach O'jule, Nevrix ran to him and as the Sith's lightsaber nearly struck the secret Jedi, Nevrix was shot in the arm by a mysterious blast. A Human woman sitting behind a male Zabrak on a speeder rushed in, her arm raising a blaster.
Nevrix hissed and use what little energy he had left and sped his way off into the distance towards the silhouetted woman. A starship then came in and hovered behind the three Sith. Nevrix hopped in with his master as O'jule floated inside. The woman contiued to shoot at the ship as it sped off.
"Karabast," she muttered.
They got off and went over to the two siblings on the ground.
Alric's body caught up to him and he started panting, his energy very near gone. He pointed to Vane, "Wounded..." then the direction of the ship. "There too... We need repairs..."
Weakly, his hand was reached towards his weapon. It came at him by the handle, dragging across the snow somewhat, then into his hand. The sabers folded together at the ball joint and angled to form the blaster which he returned to his holster. He cradled Lilezi's head and gently lifted her up, supporting her back and neck, and carried her towards the ship.
"I'll get us something to drink," she said, then walked off.
Faang sat down next to Alric and sighed.
"This was very unexpected, I'm sure you know," he started. "Many Jedi have fallen already. But, many Imperials have as well. We've gotten word that a Sith named Malgus has made himself a threat to both the Republic and the Empire. It seems that he has rallied other Sith to join him in a power grab, causing panic throughout Ilum."
This intrigued the secret Jedi. He knew Malgus' name well. It incensed him more than anything else.
He looked at Lez, Vane, and Marx in their beds. He knew the Siths' power and battled his personal feelings and rational thought. Would the Forrums lend themselves and their services to the Republic much more after this? Would fear overtake them as well? There was a great deal he wasn't sure about.