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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Episode 2: Oubliette

When nothing remains, everything is equally possible.
Acelan opened his eyes in the pale light of the  morning sun, casting his gaze across the large field of parok melons, many newly ripened from his meditations, vines fresh and full of life. Only a few hours earlier this field was struggling to produce, no irrigation or fertilizers can help crops unsuited for some planetary conditions, often times it is the meditations of the healers that help them survive and thrive. The parok and the other fruits and vegetables grown on the agricultural world of Bunjon III are a vital to help feed the Republic. Many such worlds exist, Bunjon II and III in this system alone feed two billion. It was the purpose of the AgriCorps, a branch of the Jedi Service Corps, to grow and harvest the crops on the agricultural worlds.
Acelan, stood up from his meditative stance and began walking back to the temple, it was time for breakfast. Though most healers eat breakfast before their mornings work, Acelan usually completes one field before eating. It was the cool freshness of the mornings on the Northern Continent and the sight of Bunjon rising in the East with its pale violet sunrises that brings him to the fields so early in the morning.
Falling into another daydream during the long walk back to the temple, Acelan visualized a grand Republic ship arriving to take him to be knighted back at the Jedi Temple on Dantooine or even Coruscant. He arrived and was presented to the Jedi counsel, and there his former teachers would tell him how wrong they were in their judgment that he would only be a healer at best, never a Jedi Knight and certainly never a Jedi Master. Oh well, nothing wrong with a daydream Acelan told himself.
Acelan snapped out of the daydream, only to see that there was no grand ship on the landing pad, but the was another ship, not a cargo carrier, it was for too small for that. Acelan wondered what kind of ship it was. He walked faster, hoping the ship wouldn’t lift off before he got back to the temple. As he got closer he noticed it was a landing craft from a larger Republic Cruiser probably in orbit. Acelan figured they were picking up food. His thoughts returned to his daydreams.
He hurried up the front steps and into the temple, there was a lot of activity in the main hall, heading in to find out what was going on, his best friend Veren grabbed him. “Hurry, you must get your things, we are going to the war Acelan, at least I’m sure your coming too!” Veren exclaimed. “Your not going to war young Veren, you are going to heal the war injured on Celic Prime, not fight on the frontlines, like we told you before”, Jedi Master Healer Kintrel corrected Veren. Master Healer Kintrel walked up with a Republic Shuttle Pilot; data pad in hand, the pilot said “And who is this young man?” Healer Kintrel answered the pilot, “This is Healer Acelan Genor, and I believe you read his name out earlier”. Checking his data pad, the pilot answered, “Why yes he is on the list, and with him, the total comes to 10 healers from the Bunjon System. The list is complete, we must depart as soon as possible.” Master Healer Kintrel looked at Acelan surprised “Please get 5 robes and your data pad from your quarters. I suppose you could take your training saber, not that you would be using it, but just as a precautionary measure, then meet the others at the shuttle. And may the force be with you both”. Master Healer Kintrel nodded at Acelan and Veren, dismissing them. Kintrel and the Shuttle Pilot, both turned and headed down the hall towards the shuttle. Acelan turned to Veren and said “Looks like we are getting to go off world for a while, it is exciting. After all, I don’t remember being off world much. I remember very little of being at the Coruscant Jedi Temple.” Veren replied, “ I still wish we were going to fight in the war, but healing at the hospital will let us hear lots of war stories I bet.” “Let’s go pack, I’ll beat you to the shuttle!” Veren exclaimed.

2

The Republic Cruiser Victory left orbit and set course for Celic Prime, close to the front lines of the Republic Sith War, later known as The Great Hyperspace War. The planet Celic Prime needed more healers to stabilize the critically wounded quickly so they may be moved to a planet further into Republic Space, the war front was approaching that system. With the lack of ships and the injured numbering into the hundreds of thousands, the move was proving to be a daunting task for the Republic.
The Victory had been in a few battles during the war; as such she was in need of repair, the reason she was probably chosen to make this particular run was because she was unfit for battle in her condition. The ship had to drop out of hyperspace periodically on route to Celic Prime because the hyperdrive was damaged. Her course was not direct; she had several jumps plotted with repairs continuing between them. Her third jump was plotted to take them into an uninhabited system. Usually this system would be a safe location to continue making repairs, after all the war front was still not close.
The Victory assumed an orbit around the third planet in this system, the small red star at the very end of its life glowed faintly in the center of the solar system. The crew continued repairs on the hyperdrive and major ship systems. “The situation is not the best captain, the damage is quite extensive across most of the ship, I’d hate to think we would be facing any combat, the ship just couldn’t take it” the ships engineer Lino said. “I know you don’t have to remind me again, that’s why were are playing ferry for now, did you find something else you didn’t find before?” Captain Rend answered. “It’s the fuel tank compartments, the hull plating has micro fractures that just can’t be fixed unless we dock, which we can’t do, so we need to avoid a firefight” answered Lino.
Just as Lino had informed the Captain of the new situation, the proximity alert sounded. “We have a contact Captain, scans are showing a ship on an intercept course approaching from aft” said the Helmsman. “Can you identify the of type of ship?” the Captain replied. “Yes Sir, it’s a Sith Battle Cruiser” the helmsman replied. “Prepare to jump to Hyperspace,” the Captain said urgently. “Yes Sir, course set, preparing to jump”. The helmsman affirmed. Just as the ship was about to jump, the Sith cruiser locked a tractor beam onto the Victory, control panels popped and the lights dimmed. “Sir, their tractor beam is overloading all our systems, we are loosing main power,” the helmsman yelled. “Fire cannons, we won’t let them take us without a fight!” the Captain yelled. “And send out a distress call!” Just as the captain gave the order to fire, the power of the Sith ship’s tractor beam ripped open the weakened hull plating that surrounded the fuel storage tank compartments. The force of the explosive decompression caused the fuel tanks to rupture and a huge explosion blew out of the side of the Victory, severely damaging the Sith cruiser at the same instance. The Victory had lost main power and began to descend into the atmosphere of the planet they were orbiting, explosions ripping through her superstructure. The crew and passengers rushed to the escape pods, Acelan was rushed into one, “Launch them now!”, a crewmember yelled.

3

Ten escape pods were launched, but the final explosion from the descending ship consumed five of them, five remained, hurtling toward the planet with a burning cruiser following close. Their trajectories changed slightly, three of the pods hit the ocean very close to one another with the remains of the cruiser landing on them dragging them to a watery end. The forth and fifth pods hit a rocky atoll, the fourth crashed into the rocks and cracked apart, the pieces landed into the lagoon past the shoreline of the rounded atoll. The fifth pod hit the rocks and also blew apart, but instead of crossing the rocks and back into the water, it changed trajectory, strewing pieces of itself down the beach.
The Sith Cruiser faired no better, caught in the gravitational pull of the planet, the burning ship listed into the atmosphere and fell burning to the planet below. Only one escape pod launched, joining its mother ship in the spiraling freefall. Roaring through the rainy night sky, the burning cruiser crashed into the alien sea, the escape pod landed not far away. Fires of the wreckage burned as the rolling waves took the remains of the larger ship under, only the small escape pod remained afloat, the waves carrying it towards a distant shore.
Acelan was vaguely conscious, his mind was cloudy, barely able to comprehend the pain he was in. “Focus, you must focus young healer…” he could hear that thought in his dreams or is this not a dream? His eyes opened with a start, his vision was blurry, his eyes were burning, and yet the sunlight was not too bright though. Acelan, tried to move, but the pain stopped him quickly. He was strapped into the escape pod, impaled on a small piece of rebar. There were two more in the part of the pod with him, they were healers by their robes, they were slumped over, and he wondered if they were dead. “Hello, are you alive? Hello!” Acelan yelled. No response from the other two healers, the force of the impact that destroyed the pod must have broken their necks he thought. Acelan unclasped the safety harness, he knew he had to un-impale himself, pulling with all his strength he pulled the metal from his body out of the wall of the pod in one try, only to pass out from the pain. He woke later in the morning, the pain was excruciating, he stood pulling himself over the side of the pod, he landed on the sandy beach. Pain, such pain he thought, he attempted to control the pain and stop the bleeding. Acelan had lost a lot of blood, he was not thinking clearly enough for meditation. Focus he thought, he must focus. Stumbling towards the shore, he knelt in the light waves as the water washed up onto the beach. He began splashing his wound with the salt water until the wound was clean; he placed his right hand on the wound visualizing the bleeding stopping. With his sight clearing Acelan looked out upon the pale blue sea, a mid mornings sun not quite overhead and the cool breeze blowing across his face. He finally was able to enter a meditation and his eyes closed as the meditation deepened.
Acelan awoke from the meditation with a start; the tide was higher, the water lapping at his waist. He looked down at his wound, it was closed, and he felt around to his back at the exit wound, it also had closed. A school of silver fish circled him like a spinning cloud and sea birds dived in the distance squawking as they flew overhead.

4

Where are the others from the Victory? Acelan stood and looked around scanning the beach with his keen eyes. Nothing but this part of his escape pod. Where did the others crash? Acelan had no idea what planet this may be, he was nauseated and had a headache, but he must continue to focus, the thought repeated in his mind.
Acelan climbed up into the part of the escape pod, he looked at the other two that did not survive, he was saddened, he must tend to their bodies soon. But, he needed food and water to survive, he must find some, somewhere. Checking the compartments in the escape pod, he found the emergency kits, food, water, medical supplies and blankets, no camping gear though. Obviously the escape pods were not meant for planetary landings, as the condition of the pod would attest to that fact. Acelan considered, what if the other pods landed somewhere else? Others could still be alive. Then he remembered Veren, anguish streaked through his mind. Did Veren his friend survive?
Acelan climbed down out of the escape pod and carried the supplies up the hill to the edge of the rolling rocky dunes. He opened a blanket and laid it on the soft sand under a small outcropping of rock, the second blanket he used for a pillow and sat with his head back against the rocky face. The water and rations were good surprisingly, unless his hunger was making his mouth believe they were. Acelan knew he needed to tend to the two other healer’s bodies. There was no wood for a funeral pyre, so with a piece of metal from the escape pod, Acelan dug two shallow graves in the soft sand and by the time the small sun was setting he had buried the two young healers. He didn’t know them, but gave them an honorable funeral meditation nonetheless. They were from one of the other Bunjon Temples he supposed, Bunjon II or III, he didn’t know.
Acelan made his way back to his small camp near the pod, but the pod was gone, taken by the outgoing tide. “Now this is really turning out to be a bad day”, Acelan said, sighing. The metal, he could have used his lightsaber to have cut the metal for a better camp, he thought. Too late for that now, but he had done the more honorable thing by burying the two dead. Gathering up rocks he fashioned a mound and using his lightsaber he heated the rocks to a high temperature, this would keep him warm if the temperature got much lower. The night was cold, the sea breeze made it seem a little colder. Not many sounds that night but the light waves lapping at the shore and a few creatures flying overhead, he fell into a deep meditation, then to sleep. Acelan awoke the following morning, the small sun barely lighting the planet’s surface. Acelan could see the sun dimming and brightening with his naked eye, not a good sign. The small red star was dying and dying quickly. The realization he was truly alone on a planet that was likely nameless and in a dying solar system. He knew that the Republic Fleet may not know that the Victory was destroyed. He realized that there may never be a rescue.
Acelan knew he needed to explore and see what more of this planet was like. The possibility existed that the planet may yet be inhabited. Climbing up onto the dunes, he looked around to see that the beach was really a large, atoll, kilometers across. Climbing up higher on the outcropping he could see quite a distance in each direction, despite the faintness of the daylight on the planet. Though it was daylight the planet was not getting any warmer.


5

To the West was the continuous circle of the atoll broken in a few places and to the East the atoll circled back towards a larger landmass, the center of the atoll was an enormous lagoon. Acelan decided to walk in order to access if the planet was truly uninhabited. The waves washing up on shore, the flying creatures overhead were diving into the sea for fish was interesting to watch he thought, it was a peaceful place. Nearing the landmass the beach receded and the water almost covered the rocks, there were crablike crustaceans that he had never seen before in any Jedi archive, large blue and red crabs, with enormous claws scurrying into the surf, half a meter in diameter. Acelan thought to himself, food would not be a problem if the crabs were edible.
As Acelan approached the landmass he saw a structure, not far up the hill from the shore. The closer he got the more he could see, there was a fence around a compound of some kind, a building, rows of towers behind it, a large warehouse like building that was partially collapsed and scattered equipment parts. Far to the right he also saw some sort of silos and a star ship-landing pad. He began to run, hoping that some form of people, aliens or whatever lived or worked here. “Hello, hello!” Acelan yelled, as he got closer. There was no answer to his calls; he reached the gates pushing them open. “Hello is anyone here?” he called out, still no answer. Looking around at the scattered and deteriorated debris, he figured out the place had been abandoned for quite some time. Acelan let out yet another sigh, investigating further he noticed that behind the compound the field of towers were actually large droid like towers with six legs, they looked rusted into place. This must have been a mining operation at some point in time, long abandoned by the looks of it.
Acelan was disappointed, but then he had not expected to even find such a shelter on this planet. The planet was may truly be uninhabited, the tell tale signs of a thriving civilization are all too clear, ships flying overhead, even Bunjon as sparsely populated as it is, has its fair share of ships in the skies, there were none in the skies above this planet. He walked back out to the beach and knelt for an afternoon meditation, his side still ached, the wound was healing nicely, but another meditation would help nonetheless.
Listening to the sound of the sea has had a profound effect on Acelan’s meditations. As he drifted off in meditation he told himself all would be alright. Deep into his meditation, Acelan became aware he was not alone. A chill ran up his spine and he stiffened, had he betrayed his awareness of whoever or whatever was right behind him? Fright filled the young healer; he knew it was not someone from the Victory. In a flash he stood, turning towards the unknown standing behind him.


6

The stranger was looking down at him, as he was quite a bit taller than the young healer. Acelan had assumed a defensive stance, but not daring to reach for his saber, knowing if he were to do so could mean instant death. The stranger was clad in a robe not unlike a Jedi Master, but his robe was much darker and patterned. Acelan recognized the dark robe the man was wearing, this was a Sith Lord. “So, there were survivors from your ship young padawan, where is your master?”, the Sith Lord said in a condescending tone. “None survived the crash, save myself and I have no master and am no padawan” Acelan answered nervously. “Well, in that case we have something in common”, the Sith Lord said.
Acelan could see the man was injured the side of his robe was wet with blood. The Sith Lord’s left side of his head had a deep cut and blood had dried to his head and the side of his face. From quick observation Acelan had diagnosed those injuries and there may be more injuries he cannot see. But even with his injuries, this Sith Lord was tall and very strong, if he wanted to kill Acelan; there was nothing he could do to save himself. “You are no knight at your age and most certainly not a master, yet you carry a lightsaber” The Sith Lord answered. “I am a healer from Bunjon III” Acelan answered in return. “A healer, then what is your name young healer?” the Sith Lord questioned. “My name is Acelan Genor” he replied. The Sith Lord looked at Acelan, studying him, like a predator studying its prey. “And I am Darjin, Sith Lord, if you haven’t already figured the Sith Lord part out yet, young healer”, Darjin attempted to smile wickedly, but Acelan had already began sensing the extreme pain Darjin was in. “Well young healer, it will be dusk soon, prepare a place for us to stay in the building there and a meal from your rations, if you have any.” Darjin said in a commanding tone. Acelan didn’t hesitate, he felt like we was not in immediate danger from the Sith and he hadn’t had a chance to go into the building yet, he was curious to see what was inside.
The door hesitated to open at first, but eventually it did, the inside wasn’t what Acelan expected. It was remarkably empty, but it was not dirty, the environmental systems were still working, no dust, no mold, no spiders or bugs, to Acelan’s great relief. Though it was abandoned, a few furnishings were left, a table a couple of chairs in the main room, and it had lights, there must be a long term power source, Acelan thought. There was a small kitchen and it had a refrigeration unit that was still functional, however, it contained no food and had a terrible smell. Acelan set out a semblance of a meal with what he had from the emergency rations and went to the door to tell Darjin that it was ready. The Sith Lord came in and said nothing, just watched Acelan as they ate. “The emergency rations from your Republic ships could be better” Darjin said. Acelan just looked at him, still sensing great pain from the Sith Lord’s injuries.
When they finished eating Acelan walked over to his things, he folded the blankets into sitting pads and knelt down on one. “Come Lord Darjin, kneel with me and I will attempt to heal your injuries”. Darjin considered the young healer’s offer and he accepted. Lord Darjin knelt in front of the young healer, Darjin never liked anyone close to him, and especially this close, the young healer and the Sith Lord were kneeling face to face. Normally he would be apprehensive, he was injured and vulnerable to attack, but his pain was great and he knew in his mind that Acelan was sincere in his desire to heal his wounds.

7

Acelan closed his eyes and reached out to search Lord Darjin’s body for injuries, he ran his hands from Darjin’s head to his abdomen, he found six wounds, two minor, three that would require more time and one severe injury that was causing internal bleeding. He began to focus and the abdomen. The healing powers of the force began to flow from his body passing through his hand and into the Sith. Focusing the healing energy onto the most severe injury first, Acelan guided the energy to the next injury, the lastly the least severe. Lord Darjin had drifted into a Sith meditation, though they are different polarities of the force, the Sith’s meditation did not hinder the Light Side energies entering his body. After hours of the healing meditation Acelan opened his eyes, he was drained of the force and of physical strength. Lord Darjin, opened his eyes in time to grab Acelan as he fell over from exhaustion, he placed the blanket under the healer’s head, an act that showed a most unusual level of compassion from one trained not to show it. Darjin felt much better, the cut on his head and on his arm had healed, the great pain from his internal injuries had been reduced to a mere soreness. Darjin sat against the wall contemplated this fact; the Dark Side cannot heal, though a powerful Sith Lord, he was incapable of helping himself this time.
Acelan awoke, still tired from healing previous night. Darjin was nowhere in sight, he hoped the Sith Lord’s wounds were better. Acelan felt hungry again, but more than that he needed a bath, the salt on his skin was irritating. He knew there must be a shower here, after all these years he hoped it worked. Walking down the hall, past the kitchen was a changing room, a few benches and a cabinets were along the walls, passing through a door at the end of the room, there was, a line of showers along a wall. It had been two days since he had a shower. Acelan made a wish, if there was no rescue then, let there be hot water. He turned on the middle shower handle to hot, the handle and the showerhead began to rumble, a blast of dust spewed forth filling the air, then his wish came true, brown rusty water rushed in spurts from the shower head, a blast of air, then brown water again, finally hot steaming water sprayed from the nozzle crashing onto the floor as the rusty water ran down the drain. Acelan walked back over to one of the benches sat down, pulled off his boots, and then removed his robe. The cold floor felt so good to his feet. The water was a little hot, so he adjusted it to be more comfortable, still hot, but not too hot. There was a dispenser of cleanser on the wall, Acelan pushed it, squirting out a glob of something, he smelled it, and well it didn’t smell horrible he thought to himself. Acelan lathered up his body, the wound on his side was healing up nicely, two days and most of the pain was gone, he reached around and felt the exit wound on his back, healing as well as the front wound. Acelan dried off and went back into the main room. The Sith had returned, “There is a shower with hot water if you want one”, Acelan said to the Sith. “That actually sounds good Healer”, Darjin said and went in to shower.
Darjin returned from showering shortly after. “Did your ship send a distress signal Healer?” Darjin asked. Acelan said, “I do not know. Did your ship?” Darjin answered, “I do not know either.” The Sith then asked, “What rations do you have left?” Acelan waked over to the pack and checked the rations. “Packs of freeze dried tharrik, poonga jerky, bantha steak curry, Tarisian fried ice cream and some supplemental booster reds”, Acelan answered. “Well, we have to start preparing ahead for the inevitability of being marooned here on this planet”, Darjin replied.

8
“Were there no rations or supplies on your escape pod Master Darjin?” Acelan asked. The Sith Lord just looked at Acelan, and then finally answered coolly, “The pod sank into the sea, I was barely able to get out of it, and I had no time to think about rations.” Acelan knew with the lack of rations and the dying star their time on this planet was limited, crabs or no crabs. “This world’s sun is dying and dying quickly at that. This world is close to the sun and yet was able to sustain life even at its proximity, which means the sun was never really hot and now it is only a matter of time before the last of its energy is gone”, Acelan said to the Sith.
Lord Darjin heard Acelan’s words but simply raised his hand to Acelan, meaning, just sit and do not speak. Obedience is the duty of a padawan to a master; Acelan didn’t debate the fact that Darjin wasn’t a Jedi Master, but a Sith Lord. That fact may be an issue in the future, but today Acelan was not interested in dying upon a red lightsaber. He considered his situation here on the planet as he sat, it was not one Acelan relished. He thought himself trapped on a no name planet with a Sith Lord who had planned more than likely to treat him as a slave.
The days passed, the rations began to run low and the sun weakened, “Come healer, let me see your prowess with a lightsaber”, Darjin said as he headed out onto the beach. “But Lord Darjin, I am not very good and you could severely wound me or even kill me”, Acelan answered. The Sith simply kept walking and said, “Even the Sith do not damage or kill their sparring partners young healer, well, usually they do not.” Acelan still did not follow Darjin onto the beach; he just stood and looked at him apprehensively. Darjin finally said slightly annoyed, “I have adjusted my lightsaber to a training level young healer.”
“Well, that is a good thing, but do not expect much from me”, Acelan said hesitantly. “Do not underestimate yourself young healer, for the light side of the force is very strong with you, at least your healing energies. You can channel those into defense, it is a place to start.”

9
Acelan walked out onto the beach and stood in front of Darjin facing him. Acelan bowed at Darjin and his saber activated glowing blue. Darjin bowed in turn and his lightsaber activated glowing red, as all Sith lightsabers do. Acelan took up a defensive stance, while Darjin took an attack stance. Their sabers met as Acelan stepped back, blocking four saber swipes in a row. Next he blocked a series of attacks, the last forced Acelan to the ground, holding his saber above his head he held the red saber back as the Sith pressed harder. Acelan rolled and attempted to stand, the Sith kicked Acelan in the chest, knocking him back upon the sand. Darjin held his lightsaber close to Acelan’s neck, “Your whole technique is pitiful, no wonder you are merely a healer”, Darjin said in disgust and walked away. Acelan just lay there on the coarse sand looking at the sun. He considered what kind of life he had lived, uneventful, unexciting, bordering on unhappy and now practically a prisoner of the enemy.
Acelan eventually got up and went into the structure, there the Sith Lord sat meditating. “Healer, I desire your ministrations”, Darjin said to Acelan. The healer thought for a moment and asked, “I thought you injuries have healed Lord Darjin? I am sorry, I will begin again.” The Sith did not open his eyes, but answered, “I did not say my injuries had not healed, but none the less, I want you to begin.” Acelan knelt facing the Sith, placing both hands on each side of the Darjin’s ribcage the young healer began his attempt to heal the Sith. Acelan searched with the force for unhealed injuries, yet he could find none. “Look deeper healer”, Darjin whispered. Acelan felt the heat from the Sith’s body in hands as the force flowed out searching, the closeness of this man to him was disconcerting for the young healer, it was bring up feelings that he had been trained to ignore as they interfere with judgment and cloud one’s thoughts. However, though Acelan was guarded the Sith was not, the light side intrusion was not resisted and the dark side was not as evident as it was during previous healing sessions. Acelan decided to try something, focusing the light side energies to fill the form before him Acelan was able to envelope the entire Sith’s body in light side healing energies. The Sith let out a gasp, but did not resist, for the duration of the session the dark side was not present in the Sith. When Acelan ended the session, exhausted, only then did the presence of the dark side return to the Darjin, this time it returned in a greatly diminished form. The Sith Lord lowered the exhausted healer back onto the floor and whispered into the healer’s ear, “Thank you young healer”. Darjin then did something he had never done before in his life, he held Acelan’s cheeks and leaned in kissing the young healer on the lips lightly.

10
Days passed and the food rations were almost gone, Darjin sat in the structure, thinking this healer is weak in the martial skills but strong in the force, yet he is what Darjin desired. What the Sith had kept locked away under his years of training and deep in his psyche was emerging. The Sith Lord Darjin was lonely, there had never been another before that he connected to, but now there is this healer, strong in his connection to the light side of the force, full of potential and beautiful. The Sith Lord Darjin Helotis realized he was in love. Naga Sadow would not get his hands on Acelan Genor, Darjin repeated in his mind, then the Sith decided to abandon his plans of defection to the Republic for the time being, for it could greatly endanger his future apprentice and with hope future lover Jedi Healer Acelan Genor. “To hell with it”, Darjin said sighing, he raised his sleeve and tapped a little green light on his armband. A few moments later on a distant world in a hidden stronghold, a small cruiser lit up, the little droid pilot hopped into his seat and said, “I am coming master”. The hanger doors opened up and the cruiser left the stronghold and sped towards the small planet that the two were stranded on.
Acelan woke up, it was not exactly a bright morning though the sun had already risen. He thought that it must be the first day of new season on this planet because it was not warm at all. “Darjin?”, Acelan sat up, looking around the structure that he now considered and not to his liking, his new home. “I am here young healer”, said the Sith as he came in the door from outside. “What do you want?”, Darjin questioned in a firm tone, still not letting his guard down or to appear to have any consideration for him. Darjin considered there would be time for everything to take its course on Orissa, the isolated planet his hidden stronghold was on. Yet, Darjin was concerned with whatever Acelan had to say, though he would not let on, not just yet. Acelan answered, “Nothing, I was just wondering where you were.”
For his part Acelan had never been one to be alone much, he relished his solitary time with his ministrations over the fields on Bunjon III, but that was for a few hours a day only, the rest of the time he was surrounded by people and activity at the temple. Though Acelan was still afraid of the Sith to a certain extent, though he now regarded him as a friend, he truly knew with the nature of the force light and dark sides opposing, friendship was not really possible. Then again he could be right in his thinking, Acelan felt that through his healings of Darjin, he had helped push the dark side from the Sith, whether on his own or with the help of the Sith he did now know. Acelan did know one thing for certain, the dark side energy from the Sith had been greatly reduced. There was also something Acelan knew would be better forgotten, but how could he? That something was a feeling that the Sith gave him, something that the Jedi Masters had said was forbidden. Acelan did not know what to do about it.

11
Darjin looked at Acelan and said, “Well, I am here and there is something I need to tell you. I am leaving this planet and you are coming with me, call it a rescue. I have a ship on the way and it should be here in a very soon.” Acelan’s jaw dropped and he panicked saying, “What? You are taking me with you? To the Sith Empire? Please no Darjin!” Acelan knew he in his mind he was in trouble and worse he would probably be killed by the Sith in their Empire. Darjin sighed to himself and interrupted, trying to calm the young healer down. Holding Acelan’s shoulders he said, “We will not be going to the ‘Sith Empire’, calm yourself”, Darjin found himself speaking to Acelan in a soft whisper and gently stroking his shoulders, “We are going to a secret stronghold of mine, on a planet that is not in the Sith Empire, but well away from it. You will be safe, I promise.” Ordinarily a promise from a Sith Lord could be taken as a lie, but Acelan accepted what Darjin said without question. He trusted what Darjin said which was a first step to a stronger bond between them. “Why didn’t you say anything before Master Darjin about the ship?” Acelan asked. “Plans changed and that is all I am going to tell you at the moment.” Just then the two heard an approaching ship, rushing outside they saw Darjin’s small cruiser approaching. The ship was about 30m in length, a shiny grey ship with large blue glowing engines, there was a symbol on it that Acelan really could not make out. The ship touched down on the landing pad and Acelan followed the Sith to the landing ramp. They were greeted by PD-2, a small pilot droid, “Greetings Master, it is good to see you well. I came as quickly as I could after receiving your call for retrieval.” Darjin replied to the droid, “It is good to see you as well and a good thing for you that you came as quickly as you ‘could’ as you have said”, the Sith Lord answered. “Yes Master”, The droid PD-2 answered. “This is Acelan, my new ‘apprentice’ so to speak, treat him as you would me, however set his security clearance at”, Darjin paused a moment, “level 2”.
The three entered the ship and the landing door closed. Darjin and PD-2 went further ahead while Acelan followed behind looking over the ship.
It was a new ship Acelan thought by the smell of it, he followed them into a large windowed compartment with chairs, couches, video screens and consoles. “Sit here while we get underway”, Darjin said to Acelan. The Sith and PD-2 went on ahead to the bridge for departure. Acelan sat back into one of the chairs and sighed, wondering what kind of rescue this is going to turn out to be. Acelan sat for a moment and contemplated, then he said out loud “Well a rescue of any sort is better than starvation on a dying planet.” At that moment Darjin entered the room, “Well said young healer, but I don’t think that you are going to be disappointed.” Darjin tossed a new robe into Acelan’s lap, “go shower in the compartment to the right down the corridor and put those on, you have had your old robes on for days, a fresh change will do you good.”
Acelan watched out of the window as the ship got underway, the little atoll disappeared below them and the planet was revealed as being mostly ocean, as they sped away. He knew it would be all ice one day soon. The ship entered hyperspace towards a destination unknown to him. Part of him wished they could just drop him off back on Bunjon III, but he knew that was impossible and also part of him was excited about the possibilities that lay before him with Darjin. Acelan considered the Sith may have plans to turn him to the dark side, however there was not that fear in his heart, something had changed with Darjin, whatever the change he knew he would find out soon. Acelan stood taking the dark robe and headed down the corridor to the adjacent compartment to shower and change.

12
Darjin considered their predicament, when they arrive at Orissa, they will have enough supplies to last many years, that was good, no need for contact with the outside world. But this young healer would probably not be content to sit and wait on a planet such as Orissa, it was beautiful, however it was a frozen world far from any inhabited planets or trade routes. Then Darjin had an idea, he has an oubliette on Orissa, they would use it to wait out the war and see what happens. Darjin immediately knew this was what they were going to do, he would be able to keep Acelan safe and by his side.
The next morning they we descending into Orissa’s atmosphere, Acelan thought the planet lovely, but a little cold for his tastes. After all he comes from a lush green farming planet, this one was covered in ice. The ship approached a large structure built into the side of one of the mountains, a large hanger door opened and the ship landed inside. The three departed the ship and to Acelan’s amazement the hanger was not too cold. Darjin looked at Acelan and said, “Come let us eat some proper food and get some proper rest.” Acelan followed Darjin, the inside of the stronghold was carved out of the mountain and the walls were polished, it was lit up nicely and seemed fully equipped with everything that Darjin needed. They arrived at the large kitchen where a cooking droid was standing motionless. Darjin, flipped a switch and the droid spun around quickly and said, “I am COO-2B, what may I prepare for you today?”. Darjin looked at Acelan and said, this is a little something I picked up from a smuggler, an Automata Galactica cooking droid from the Republic. A brand new series and he cost a fortune.” The Sith looked at the droid and said, “Make us some Mandalorian food, as young Acelan needs to start with something light before eating Sith cuisine.” The COO droid began work and quickly had a pot of Red Gourd Soup on the cook top and a pan of Tiingilar casserole in the oven. The two sipped on Shig, a Mandalorian drink while they waited. The two ate without saying a word, when they were done Darjin stood and told Acelan, “Follow me”.
They walked through the wide halls of the strong hold passing a room that seemed like a communications room, all lit up with screens and instruments. They arrived at Darjin’s sleeping quarters, it was large and very well decorated. There were what would appear to be treasures from different cultures in the room. “Now young healer it is time we got some rest, in a real bed.” Acelan looked at Darjin, who placed his lightsaber on the nightstand, disrobed and walked towards the bed. Acelan placed his training saber on the nightstand as well, removed his own robe and followed him. Darjin pulled back the covers for the healer and Acelan laid down. “This is not easy for me to say, I have never needed to. I know how you feel about me Acelan and I feel the same about you. I intend to take care of you and keep you safe”, the Sith said. Acelan looked at Darjin and really didn’t know what to say but began, “It is forbidden in the Jedi order to fall in love with someone, but with you I could not help it. However, you are a Sith Lord and that scares me, I will not follow you down that path that you have chosen Darjin, I cannot.” The Sith looked at Acelan and said, “I do not expect you to and would not allow it, but my path is no longer the path of the Sith, but a path I walk with you.” Darjin pulled Acelan close, kissed Acelan lightly on the lips and the two fell asleep.
The next morning when Acelan awoke Darjin was standing by the large window looking out of the mountainside onto the great frozen vastness of the planet. “I planned on staying here if the war turned for the worst for the Republic, which I had planned to defect to. I have grown tired of the Sith, a people rotten at the core tracing back thousands of years. Though it was a dangerous proposition with the possibility of being pursued by Bounty Hunters, that didn’t matter. I would taste the freedoms of the Republic, even if it were just for a brief time.” The Sith Lord turned and looked at Acelan and said, “That was before you, my love. Now I cannot risk it, if we were to go to the Republic, what would happen, you would be taken back to your farming planet or worse yet sent into the war? I could be detected as a Sith , even if I tried to hide it, imprisoned or executed. It was folly to think it would have been so easy.” Acelan looked at Darjin and said, “What would you have us do Master? Wait for the war to end, that may be a long time in coming and still yet, who will be the victor?”

13
Acelan noticed Darjin was wearing a different type of robe than he had worn, it looked more like a ceremonial robe. Darjin walked over to the bed and picked up a robe that was laying across the end of the bed and he sat be Acelan, “I want you to put this on Acelan, we are going to make it through this and in the end it will be better, of that I am sure.” Acelan did not understand, but complied. The new robe he was given was like a Padawan robe, but darker and the fabric was more soft and luxurious, not coarse like his own. Darjin ran his fingers through Acelan's hair and he pulled their heads towards each other, their foreheads touching. “It is time, come”, Darjin said, standing. The two walked down a different hall, longer and leading deeper inside the mountain.
They came upon a room with an object in the middle, it was large, made of metal with a window covering part of the front of it, like an escape pod. “What is it?”, Acelan asked. Darjin answered, “It is an oubliette Acelan, a place where we will sleep through the war and when we emerge, things may be more conducive for us.” Darjin walked over to the device and tapped the panel, the transparent door opened. Acelan walked closer, scared, he trusted Darjin but knew his life was about to be forever changed. “Step inside”, Darjin said. Acelan obeyed, hesitantly he stepped into it. Darjin punched something else into the keypad on the control panel and then stepped inside with Acelan. Pulling Acelan close to him, their arms holding each other. The door closed on the oubliette and the process began. Darjin said, “I will see you soon.” As the gasses began to put them into a deep sleep, Acelan uttered the words for the first time in his life “I love you.” 6000 years the two slept in the oubliette, no one had entered the stronghold until today.
Aarik’s jaw dropped as he walked up to the oubliette, tapping his comm. device he said excitedly, “Master, you had better see this!” Taedron replied over the comm., “Aarik, what is your location so Master Melucian and I may find you and see what you are..” The comm. device cut off. “What in the worlds?” Taedron asked. Aarik turned to see that Taedron and Master Melucian had found him anyway. Aarik looked back at the device with the two humanoids seemingly frozen behind the glass. “Amazing, simply amazing”, Master Melucian said quite in shock at seeing it, “It is a Sith Oubliette, a stasis device, obviously this installation is from the Sith Empire era, many millennia old.” Taedron asked concerned at the possibility, “And I am guessing those two are Sith?” Chill bumps ran up the back of Aarik’s neck, but all he could do is stare at the two in the chamber in fascination. “Yes, I can’t quite believe it myself, but there they are”, Master Melucian and Taedron walked up closer to the oubliette, both staring at the two inside. “A Sith Lord and his apprentice by the looks of it, they are wearing traditional Sith robes from the period”, Master Melucian said. Aarik walked up close and reached out to touch the glass. “No Aarik!”, Master Melucian yelled at him. Aarik stopped, took a step back and looked at Master Melucian. “Don’t touch it, you could cause the machine to waken them, we don’t know how the mechanism is designed. For all we know it has been here for 6000 years undisturbed, let’s not change that right now.” Master Melucian continued, “To awaken them could mean the death of us all, for a Sith Lord is dangerous, quite beyond any of us, including one so skilled with the saber as Master Hairon here”.
Taedron pulled his padawan further away from the oubliette. Taedron finally said, shaking his head, “A Sith Lord, it is astonishing”, he walked up closer to the device. “They are perfectly preserved and look as though they are just sleeping.” Master Melucian said, “Well they are ‘just’ sleeping in a manner of speaking. And if the two revived right now, it would seem to them that they had just went to sleep moments ago, if what I have read about the devices is correct, that is.” Aarik still unnerved by the prospect that he could have woken the pair by touching the glass finally said, “Look at them, like a perfect master and his pupil.” Looking over at his own master, Taedron caught his eye and knew what Aarik meant. The two both had noticed the apprentice’s arms holding onto his master in their sleep chamber. “I wonder who they are and how they came to be in the device? I wonder what their story would be?” A part of Aarik wished that he could wake them and ask them the questions that now filled his mind, for to him they not only looked like a master and apprentice, but reminded him immediately of Taedron and himself. “Well we need to contact the Jedi Council and tell them of our discovery. We may be able to answer some of you questions by investigation here in the stronghold Aarik.” Master Melucian headed out of the chamber and back to the ship to contact Coruscant.
The Republic Science and Space Ministry and the Jedi Order had sent out probe droids searching for suitable planets for other DNA repositories, part of the Arthuta Project. The Arthuta Repository is a very large protected vault that holds the DNA for every known species in the Galaxy. The Arthuta Repository proved invaluable following the destruction of the Yuuzhen Vong Wars, allowing the reseeding of species wiped out by the Vongiformation of many worlds. The probe found that this planet met the criteria for the project, frozen, isolated, geologically stable, the star in the system was a very suitable main sequence yellow dwarf. The probe also found this stronghold built into the mountainside. Master Melucian being part of Arthuta Project was sent to investigate the stronghold, he brought his student Aarik and Aarik’s Jedi Master Hairon with him to assist.

14

As soon as Master Melucian had left the room Aarik walked up to Taedron and said, “I think these two are lovers.” Taedron looked at Aarik, “I knew you would think that, I saw your eyes when you looked at me, you think I believe that too.” Aarik looked at Taedron and replied, “Don’t you? They look like lovers, they remind me of you and I actually, albeit it trapped in that thing.” Taedron sighed, “Aarik, just stop right now. They are not you and I. I know what is running through your mind, don’t let your emotions make these two out to be something they may not be. I know you all too well, you are placing you and I in their place. But it is not us in there, stay focused on what we are here for and let the Jedi Council take care of this.” A few minutes later Master Melucian returned, “The Jedi Council is dispatching a team immediately to retrieve the oubliette and all the contents of the facility. They want us to wait here until the team arrives and assist them, until then we begin to pack the place up. The council wants everything and who knows maybe we will find out who these Sith were and what they are doing in the oubliette.”
Taedron wished now that they had not accompanied Melucian on this investigation. His padawan was the most compassionate person he had ever met, a quality that both benefits and hinders his progress towards becoming a Jedi Knight And now Aarik was worried about the two Sith in the oubliette they had found. Taedron knew Aarik had created a life for the two Sith, some sort of dashing and lavish tale in his mind, ending with them being imprisoned for eternity together, in the oubliette. Taedron sighed looking at his padawan.
They found and packed many amazing things from Sith Holocrons to two ancient droids in perfect condition. Aarik took holovids of everything since their arrival like a documentary. The small Sith cruiser was tagged along with all the other items too large to put in crates. Through every thing they cataloged and packed, the three didn’t find out the names of the Sith, possibly being able to read Sith would have benefited the three, but alas that was not the case. The Jedi and scientists sent by the council arrived and also were astonished at actually seeing the oubliette. Readings were taken with various equipment and it was determined that the oubliette could be moved without disturbing its occupants. The leader of the Jedi team spoke with Master Melucian and Taedron while Aarik knowing his place waited to hear what was said.
“Well Aarik our part is completed, with our help the Republic Science and Space Ministry has determined this will be an ideal place for an Arthuta Project Repository”, Taedron told his padawn. “What will happen to the Sith in the oubliette?”, Aarik asked. “The oubliette will be taken back to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant for further study, that is all we know”, Master Melucian answered. “Who knows, one day under the right conditions, they may open the oubliette and determine who these Sith are, but more than likely that will be a long time coming. The current council is cautious, the Sith have caused great trouble in the past, many would be hesitant to invite it directly by freeing a Sith Lord from his slumber’, Master Melucian finished. Taedron then said, “We must be going, we need to get back to Dantooine.” Aarik nodded and turned to look at the Sith Oubliette and its two occupants one last time, he knew one day he would know who they were.
The End
by sweufan

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