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Friday, May 21, 2010

Episode 3: The Disk

Nothing Happens By Chance

Taedron walked into Aarik’s room and handed him a small disk, “It is old, very old, but it’s something you will want to read. It was in some archive boxes they were cleaning out of the Temple on Coruscant, I believe it was part of an investigation at some point in history.” Aarik looked inquisitively at his master and asked smiling, “What is it? The Treatise on the Seven Forms of Combat?” Taedron smirked at Aarik, no I saved that one for later. Just read it.” Aarik put the disk into his data pad and began reading the story.....
Asaerin and his lover Kaneth VII lived with  Kaneth's grandfather Chancellor Kaneth Nichoz V. Asaerin was the son of a palace employee that the Chancellor was fond of, when she died, he stayed on at the palace. Eventually, Asaerin became Kaneth's lover and the Chancellor treated  him like a grandson. Kaneth's parents had been killed in a shuttle crash when he was very young. When they were younger, Asaerin and Kaneth enjoyed the old man's stories about the “olden days”, when the Cossec Patrols fought space pirates that frequently attacked the mining and merchant ships. Those Cossec Patrol Ships were no more than old merchant ships, refitted with guns and cannons, archaic by today’s standards, but then that was 90 years ago.  Asaerin kept records of events in his life he felt significant, like the talks with the old Chancellor on a little dicta-pod that records all of the important events and later he can compose them onto a journal disk.
By Galactic standards the Cossec Federation, would by no means of the word be considered a galactic power in this day and age. Consisting one planetary system of which 3 planets were habitable with a few large and small cities, outposts and mining colonies, all of which gave the “Federation” a grand total of around 10 million inhabitants. Though the Cossec Federation was small and the population was not great by comparison to other civilizations, the Federation was quite progressive in the areas of the sciences, architecture and agriculture.
The Cossec Federation was only about 300 years old. It was formed by those who felt that their religious and cultural differences from the Mandalorians kept them from flourishing. They left Mandalore at the onset of the Mandalorian Wars. Both cultures, still stress the fact that the separation was a choice by the Cossecs, not forced on them. The Mandalorians had always shown them good will. They set out from the Mandalorian home world in hundreds of small transports and vessels of such type. They arrived in the star system and set out to create their own civilization.
The day Asaerin turned twenty he contacted the Minister of Foreign Affairs and informed them that he was preparing a trip to tour a few planets in the Galactic Republic, five stops in all, over fifteen days. Asaerin wanted know the official way he should set up the trip and get  further information on the destinations he would eventually choose. The reaction of the Chancellor was as Asaerin expected, he objected to the trip, but eventually agreed to it after a long philosophical debate. Upon hearing of this “galactic tour” Asaerin was taking, Kaneth had begun adjusting the travel plans to include transport by the new command ship, CFF Valliant. Kaneth informed Asaerin within minutes of hearing of it that he would be coming along for the trip. “The ship should be unescorted, a large military vessel with an escort may feel  threatening to some systems." Kaneth said as he walked into the room rattling off orders on his data pad. “Well, it is not a galactic tour, it is however fifteen days and five planets” Asaerin said to Kaneth. “So when were you planning on telling me about this little trip? When you got back?” Kaneth questioned. “No, I just contacted Ministry of Foreign affairs to inquire about how to set it up a short while ago, moments later the Chancellor was on the holonet me asking why in the world would I want to go and I spent time making my case for going.
I make my point to him, then I finally get him to agree and next thing I know you’re here about the trip. Kaneth, it’s not even planned or thought out yet” Asaerin said frustrated. “I decided on the trip this morning, I’d like to do this for my twentieth birthday.” Kaneth sighed, “Well, the way things get around, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had you leaving on some merchant ship already.” Asaerin laughed a loud laugh and said, “So, is there is a surprise party tonight?” Asaerin asked. “Oh please don’t be coy, you know there is going to be a party” Kaneth replied. “Now pick the good places, I don’t want to go to any crap planets either” Kaneth said, leaning over and kissing his him on the forehead, then headed back to work.
Asaerin’s lover Kaneth VII, heir to the throne, had chosen the military life and planned to be heavily involved in the military as future Chancellor. Kaneth was a brilliant military strategist and engineer; he also had a vision of a new Cossec Military. Kaneth began his work to transform the lean, aging Cossec Defense Force into the sleek, cutting edge Cossec Federal Forces. At twenty years old Kaneth was given control over the military changes as a High Commander under the Chancellor. A new shipyard was built; older ships were then refitted with new systems. New fighters were built using Kaneth’s own designs. A new Marine Unit was established alongside the Cossec Army and trained with new weapon systems. Within 3 years at the age of 23, Kaneth had turned the small defense force into a shining new military unit, complete with a small fleet of fighters and a large new command ship. The Cossec Federal Forces, CFF Valliant was over half a kilometer long of grey and black Durasteel. Federal Flagship, troop transport and fighter carrier, it was a well-designed and impressive ship, a symbol for the Cossec Federation.
The party was small, Asaerin appreciated a more intimate gathering. There were some friends and all of the palace staff. Asaerin really didn’t have too many friends, as he was sheltered throughout his childhood. He did not attend school or universities, per say, the classes were here in the palace. Asaerin was tired of this and wanted more freedom that he knew the Chancellor and Kaneth would not give him.

2

Asaerin was fond of clothes, the Chancellor and Kaneth both knew this, a designer from the planet of Coruscant was commissioned to design a new wardrobe for him. The designer was sent a holographic representation of Asaerin and he set out to make this private collection something to be talked about. He took various antique military uniforms from the history books that spanned the Cossec’s history from the time they were a people of Mandalore to the last century. The lights were dimmed at the party. “What is going on?” Asaerin asked. “You will see my boy”, the Chancellor said. Then the music started, it was a modern and faster version of the Federal Anthem, and then small spotlights shown on the end of the hall as male models came out in the coolest outfits Asaerin had seen. When the show was over the designer came out and announced this collection was designed for Asaerin’s trip. Asaerin was floored at this gift. “This is the best gift I could have received! Thank you!” and he hugged the old man. “Well son, it was Kaneth’s idea actually, but I am glad you liked it”, The Chancellor said. “Kaneth! How in the world would you know what to get me that I would go crazy over?” Asaerin asked. “Hmm let me see, you have two whole rooms of crap you hardly wear and some of that crap has even crept into my closet!” Kaneth said laughing. “Well, thank you both, it is wonderful!”, Asaerin said smiling.
Asaerin had went over possible places to go on his trip that evening with the Chancellor and Kaneth after supper and the list still needed to be trimmed a bit, from twenty five locations down to fifteen. Asaerin did not sleep in his own room and never had really, he slept with Kaneth his lover, everyone knew this. Intimacy between males was not uncommon and was accepted, the same goes for two females in the Cossec Culture. The two were talking again about the trip again. Asaerin had talked about it so much, Kaneth that Kaneth had become excited about it as well. “I think you are interested in showing the Valliant off more than anything” Asaerin said.
That night the Chancellor Kaneth Nichoz V of the Cossec Federation died peacefully in his sleep. The Federal Jacks were lowered to half-mast and “Long Live the Chancellor” was played over the Federal Network. Asaerin was upset, but considered that the man he considered his grandfather was 108 years old, it was a blessing that they had him that long. “He lived a long and eventful life,” Asaerin said to Kaneth. “Yes he did, I hope you and I live that long” Kaneth said.
It was cold the day of the funeral; he could see his breath upon the air in front of himself. It was mid afternoon in winter, there was a light snow on the ground and a mild breeze in the air. Asaerin remembered that Kaneth was going to be crowned Chancellor in exactly two days. It was tradition that the ascension by the heir was to take place exactly four days following the death of the Chancellor. The High Priest finished reciting the long Prayer of Passing from the Holy Book and began exemplifying the accomplishments of the late Chancellor to the masses gathered before the tomb.
Asaerin looked around at the thousands of citizens that have gathered to honor and mourn the passing of the Chancellor. The long pipes began to play as the tomb of Chancellor Kaneth the Fifth was closed; fighters flew slow and low overhead. Kaneth had his hand on Asaerin’s shoulder. “The last few weeks I missed spending time with him, I wished now I had tried harder to make the time”, Kaneth said. “He knew you loved, respected and wanted to make him proud. He also knew you were very busy and was very pleased with your accomplishments.” Asaerin replied. “He was a military man in his younger days and was very proud of you", Asaerin said as he and Kaneth walked down the steps to the shuttle, greeting and acknowledging Kaneth's extended family, officials and dignitaries, some all the way from the capital of the Galactic Republic, Coruscant.
The two climbed into the shuttle. Asaerin leaned in and put his head on Kaneth’s chest, Kaneth pulled him close and kissed Asaerin on the head. Kaneth let out a sigh, “It’s just the two of us now, and I am twenty three and you are twenty, we are going to need to help each other.
The shuttle landed at the palace. Asaerin was looking at the gardens that the Chancellor had help tend, the Federal Jack was blowing the breeze half-mast, the beauty of the winter scene made Asaerin contemplate the loss again. He was proud of being Cossec, though a people with their shortcomings, they were a people true of heart. He would miss this man that was like a grandfather to him; he embodied what it meant to be Cossec.

3

Asaerin and Kaneth made their way into the palace greeted by the servants and serving droids ushering them indoors, taking their coats and making a fuss over the “boys” as they have always done since they were little. Asaerin sipped on the hot cocoa that the housekeeper droid SE2 handed him. “I am tired, I am going to go lay down,” Asaerin told the droid. “Yes Your Highness, please ring if you need anything, I will have the chef make you and Master Kaneth dinner whenever your ready”, the droid answered. SE2, had looked after the boys for years, he called Asaerin Your Highness, though he was not a blood relative of the royal family. Asaerin got to his room and got undressed, leaving just his long underwear on, he took another sip of his cocoa and went through the door into Kaneth’s room. Kaneth was already lying down; he pulled the covers back for Asaerin. Asaerin got into bed and Kaneth pulled the covers back over them. He put his arm over Asaerin, pulling him close and kissing the back of his head, they fell asleep.
Asaerin awoke the next morning and Kaneth had gotten up already and was in uniform, sitting in a chair, looking out the window. Kaneth was a very attractive man, tall, 6’ 5” well built, hairy chest and legs, chiseled features, black hair, blue eyes and a little goatee. Asaerin was tall himself, at 6’, sky blue eyes, striking face, sculpted build, shoulder length blond hair, porcelain skin with just a little puff of hir there and there. Asaerin was lying on the bed looking at Kaneth. He turned and saw Asaerin looking at him. “You're awake”, Kaneth said. “Yes, I am awake and was just looking at you” Asaerin said. “I have just been sitting here thinking” Kaneth said. Looking at Asaerin lying there is bed, he was a lucky man to have someone so beautiful love him the way Asaerin does, and he felt the same way. “I am going to see the Senate today, there are things to discuss and I would like you to be there with me” Kaneth said. “So, get dressed please” Kaneth continued. “I’ll wear something conservative” Asaerin said. “Oh, I am sure of that”, Kaneth said sarcastically to Asaerin. Asaerin got up and started for his room. “Hey, come here”, Kaneth said, grabbing Asaerin and pulling him close. “I love you so much, whatever happens, I am doing this for us” Kaneth said. “What does that mean Kaneth?” Asaerin said. “Just keep your mouth closed in the Senate Chamber, you are there for support and to be my trophy lover, that’s all, ok?” Kaneth finished. “Ok, but”, Asaerin started “No buts”, Kaneth said. “Get dressed”, Kaneth said.
Asaerin picked one of the coolest suits the designer had made. It was a gray stretch woolen military suit, which the longer coat that belted in the front with a shiny black belt; the jacket and pants had a wide black stripe down the side. He put on the tall shiny black pull on military boots with thick soles. And a black woolen coat with a black yak fur collar, a black yak fur hat and lastly a black woolen scarf. Then headed back into Kaneth’s room, “Is this good Kaneth?” Asaerin asked. “Perfect Asaerin, you look perfect” Kaneth answered. Kaneth put on his long coat, grabbed his case and the two headed downstairs and the housekeeper handed them each a bottle of ever-warm coffee. Asaerin put on the large sunglasses that were in the coat pocket from the designer. The transport was on the lading pad, the federal guards stood at attention as the door slid open and the two got it. “I’m nervous, I have not been into he Senate Chamber since I was little, that was just a tour and it was empty” Asaerin said. “Don’t be nervous, I am technically the Chancellor and you are my lover”, Kaneth said. The transport landed at the Capital Building. Guards opened the door and Chancellor Kaneth and Asaerin got out. Guards were standing at attention as the two entered the complex.
“I have made a list of responsibilities and powers that I am giving back to the Senate, these changes are in effect until I make the determination otherwise or in the event of wartime” Kaneth continued. “This list is sweeping your Excellency, we would have to elect a Prime Minister to run the Federation from day to day”, The Senate Leader said. “You would be more of a figurehead then, is that you are saying you want?” The Senate Leader continued. “Yes, that is what I want”, Kaneth answered. The Senate was surprised and quite pleased by the changes. When the long meeting was over the two returned home to the palace. “Tomorrow is the transfer of power, Asaerin and then we can get back to finishing plans for the trip,” Kaneth said. “The trip, you mean we are still going?” Asaerin asked surprised at hearing it. “Yes, we are still going, we need to get away for a while” Kaneth said.

4

The following day Kaneth was placed as Chancellor of the Cossec Federation, though mostly a symbolic title now. The Senate presented him to numerous nobles, government officials and dignitaries from various alien civilizations after the ceremony, including a Jedi Consular from Coruscant. “Your Excellency, you look almost Imperious in your current attire”, Asaerin whispered to Kaneth who was standing by his side. Kaneth answered whispering. “You’re looking rather regal yourself.”
The two were introduced to the Jedi Consular Hinda Klen, the Jedi said, “The Republic is sorry for your loss of Chancellor Nichoz, we hope that the progress made in the negotiations for the Cossec Federation to join the Republic will continue with you, Your Excellency. There are also matters that I would like to discuss with you personally on my next visit.” Asaerin had never met a Jedi, but the Jedi looked directly at him, making a curious face said, “Well young man, you  may also be of particular interest to the Jedi Order. We should arrange a meeting also when I return.” Asaerin confused agreed politely and nodded at the Jedi.
When the long festivities were over the two were finally free to return to the palace and rest. Asaerin couldn’t sleep and asked, “What do you know of this Jedi Order that this Jedi Consular Hinda Klen was speaking of?” Kaneth replied, “They are group that keeps the peace in the Galactic Republic.” Asaerin said, “I suppose they are like a police force, why in the world would he think we would be interested in that?”
   Within a week Kaneth had made arrangements for the trip and they would be leaving the following day. “Are you nervous Asaerin?” Kaneth asked. “Slightly, for I don’t recall going off world except to some of the other colonies”, Asaerin answered. “But, I am excited, I feel that we have been trapped here for so long.” Kaneth answered, “Well, we are not trapped any longer.” The two disembarked the shuttle and were met by the Captain and the crew in an official ceremony welcoming the Chancellor and his partner aboard. This Captain Garren was very attractive Asaerin thought to himself, “Welcome aboard the CFF Valliant Your Majesty”, Captain Garren said. “Thank you Captain Garren”, Kaneth said. The two were shown to their quarters. Asaerin thought to himself that they were very sparse, but it was to be expected, as this was a military vessel. Being that the ship was new, Asaerin figured that he was the first person to stay in these quarters, not that he would be sleeping in them.
Within minutes of the arrival of Kaneth and Asaerin, the CFF Valliant left orbit, the large ship set its course for Coruscant and entered hyperspace. The trip through hyperspace lasted three days and when they finally reached Coruscant, Asaerin and Kaneth disembarked the Valliant on a shuttle and were flown to the surface. Asaerin and Kaneth could not believe the sight, for the Republic Capital City, was enormous. There were skyscrapers as far as the eye could see. “Kaneth this is unreal, the city is so vast, I had no idea”, Asaerin said. “Neither did I, it is most impressive”, Kaneth answered. A Foreign Affairs Liason met them at the hotel. They were informed that a security detail had been attached to them and that it was only for their protection. If anything was to happen to the Chancellor of a foreign government or any of his party, it would be an intergalactic mishap and an embarrassment to the Galactic Republic. The government had tours, receptions and meetings scheduled for the two dignitaries, but tonight was open for Kaneth and Asaerin to rest after the trip.

5

Asaerin was looking at holonet, listing every form of entertainment on Coruscant. “Its amazing what the have on Coruscant, Kaneth. Cossec Prime has nothing to do and they have it all here” Asaerin said. “I can see that, the city is huge with lots of things. What have you found of interest?", Kaneth asked. "They have things called nightclubs, they are like our cantinas and pubs, but larger and they have dancing", Asaerin said. “That sounds interesting, find a good one and we will go there”, Kaneth said with a light yawn. “No yawning”, Asaerin said, smiling at Kaneth. “There are tons of nightclubs geared for various tastes. Here is a perfect one, The Dark Trooper!” Chancellor Kaneth asked with peaked interest, “Dark Trooper? Get the address.” Asaerin said, “I want to go without their entire Security Force with us.” Kaneth said, “Me too.” Asaerin walked to the hotel room door. And whispered “Come in men”. The Cossec Federal Guards came in the room. “What are your names?” One answered, “My name is Guard First Grade Hamzen, Your Excellency.” The second answered, “My name is Guard First Grade Koric, Your Majesty.” Asaerin said, “Listen you two, we are going to go out for the evening and have a little fun. But we do not want to be escorted all night by the Coruscant Security Force, it just won’t be fun. Got it?” “Yes, got it”, the two said in unison. “How do we four get out of here without being seen?” Asaerin asked. “There is a landing pad to the left from the hotel room door”, Koric said. “The Security Force is at the elevator around the corner.” “Then we need to head to the landing pad for a transport” Chancellor Kaneth said.
The guards opened the door and they looked around the corner and there was no one. The four left the room and headed left down the hall to the landing pad. Fortunately transports land on the pads when someone steps onto them. “Please state your destination,” the droid said. “The Dark Trooper” Asaerin said. “Certainly” the droid said and the transport flew away from the hotel. The transport landed at the The Dark Trooper, the droid said, “Please place your hand on the pad for payment”. Kaneth said, “Ok, lets try this” and placed his hand on the pad. The computer voice said, “Search in progress, please wait.” Then the computer voice said, “Chancellor Kaneth of the Cossec Federation, please accept this fare as our welcome to you to Coruscant. All other fares you wish to take will be free of charge as well, Thank you and please enjoy your stay.” The door of the transport opened and they got out. And there the four stood in front of the nightclub, two guards in Federal Guard dress uniform, complete with tall fur hat, Chancellor Kaneth in Commander’s uniform with coat and hat and Asaerin in his black stretch military uniform, with a coat of blue and black whale fur and matching tall fur hat.
There was a very long line into the club that stretched down the skywalk and it was very cold outside, they began to think this wasn’t such a good idea after all. The people in the line were as Asaerin had never seen before and of many species, dressed in all sorts of outfits, some were shiny and skintight looked like rubber, all sorts of colors. “Lets see if we can go get in”, Asaerin said, “It’s cold in this city.” “In that coat and hat?” Kaneth asked. “Yes, it is, Asaerin looked over the guard rails, no wonder we are at least a mile up, nothing this high on Cossec”, Asaerin smiling at Kaneth.
The four walked up to the door and there were three big men and a large droid, letting people in as people went out. Guard Koric said “Hello Sir, This is Chancellor Kaneth of the Cossec Federation. We would like to get into your establishment. But, the line is quite long.” The man just looked at Koric and said “Yeah, sure.” But the man just stood there, not letting them in. Then the Chancellor pulled out his Identification and handed it to the man and Asaerin did the same. The man sighed, believing them to be fakes and handed the Chancellor a hand pad for payment. Kaneth placed his hand on the pad, just looking at Asaerin, the look said, if I didn’t love you we would not be here. Then there was another man moving the others out of the way saying, “Your Majesty, please forgive the wait, please come in out of the cold. I am the manager Liticin; drinks are free for your party for the night. Let me know if you or your party needs anything!” The man was looking at the doormen mouthing something and making faces, the large droid finally said, “Sorry for your wait.” Kaneth said to the manager, “It’s not a problem, we see your establishment is very busy.” They went inside and the nightclub was actually huge inside and packed with humans and aliens of many races. The music was pounding, people were all over dancing and some were stripping off their clothes. Asaerin’s smile was huge and seeing Asaerin’s smile Kaneth smiled as well. “We need to check our coats and hats”, Kaneth said. They walked over to the coat counter and checked their coats; the coat checker that was helping them said looking at Asaerin’s coat, “Is this a real Volushe? And oh my Gods, it’s the matching hat.” Then the checker looked at Kaneth and Asaerin and with two fingers pointed and said, “You two are fabulous together.” The protocol droid standing behind the counter added, “Indeed.”
They walked further into the club. “Let’s get drinks!’ Asaerin yelled, as the music was loud. The two guards were actually standing guard, and at attention. The four got up to the bar after a few minutes and the bartender said, “What will it be?” “I’ll have an ale” Kaneth said, and then looked at Asaerin, “Surprise me” Asaerin said to the bartender. Then the bartender looked at the two guards, “Nothing for us”. The Chancellor said, “Go ahead, and consider yourselves off duty.” “Give them what I am having”, Asaerin said. The bartender returned with ale in a glass and three glasses filled with a blue drink that had fog floating over the liquid. “To the Federation!” Asaerin said and began to drink. The Chancellor finished his ale and ordered another. The guards and Asaerin were drinking the blue drink down quickly, “It’s good isn’t it?” “Yes, Your Excellency it is, whatever it is” they all laughed. They finished the blue drinks and all ordered another. The next round of drinks arrived and they drank them, talking and laughing at get away from the Security Force. Asaerin and the guards didn’t realize how strong the drinks were and all three of them were getting a little buzz. Kaneth said “You three have had enough for right now” and he finished his ale and ordered another. “It’s hot in here”; Asaerin said and pulled off his suit jacket. The guards pulled off their uniform jackets and Kaneth said, “Take mine too” and he handed them his uniform jacket as well. Asaerin was in just his underwear top now dancing in place, smiling at Kaneth. The guards got back and Kaneth had another ale. “Let’s go dance Kaneth” Asaerin said, the music was pounding.
Kaneth took Asaerin’s hand and they walked through the thick crowd slowly until they got to the dance floor, then they looked up and saw the club was five stories tall and packed with people.

6

Asaerin and Kaneth found a place on the dance floor and started to dance watching the other people to get their rhythm. Kaneth had a good buzz going and as they danced Asaerin kept saying he was hot, so Kaneth unbuttoned Asaerin’s cotton top and Asaerin let it fall to his waist. Guards Hamzen and Koric watched from by the dance floor as their Chancellor and Asaerin danced. The Chancellor yelled over the music, “Get more drinks." The guards looked at each other and walked though the crowd to a bar that was closer and Koric told a bartender droid, “Hey there, we need an three ales and one of the blue drinks with the smoke.” Koric turned to Hamzen and said, “We had better stick with ale, we now what it is.” Hamzen said, “I agree with you there.” The bartender gave them the drinks and handed Koric a hand pad. “Well, see if it works.” And Guard Koric placed his hand on the pad, and then gave the bartender the pad back. “Did it work?” Koric asked the bartender. “Yeah, it worked.” They two guards looked at each other and then headed back to give Kaneth and Asaerin their drinks.
Kaneth handed his uniform shirt and tie to Hamzen. Asaerin and Kaneth got their drinks and continued dancing. Kaneth had unbuttoned the cotton top of his own long underwear and let it fall to his wait as well. People on the dance floor and around the club had removed shirts and much more flesh was showing. Hamzen and Koric were simply amazed at the place. They looked over at Asaerin; he had finished his drink so he handed his glass to Koric. “We need a place like this at home Kaneth, we are way too backwater”, Asaerin yelled smiling. “This place is amazing Asaerin”, Kaneth said loudly, looking at all the people dancing. Hamzen and Koric removed their uniform shirts and stuffed them in the backs of their pants, then undid their tops and let them drop to their waists, Hamzen stuffed both his and Kaneth’s shirts in the back of his pants and Kaneth’s tie into his pocket. The two guards were now dancing shirtless. After a short while the two went and got more drinks for everyone, Asaerin and Kaneth were still dancing and smiling. Hamzen said, pointing at the dancers, “I have never seen anyone dance naked in public before, especially someone the color blue.” Koric thought about it and said, “I could do just as well as them, my body is good enough.” “The old prudes back on Cossec Prime wouldn’t believe us if we told them about this place”, Hamzen said. “You're right there brother”, Koric said.
Earlier that very evening, ships on the edge of the Republic front began recording large movements of vessels entering Republic held territories, the war front now mere light years closer to Coruscant. The enemy ships numbered close to a thousand now, while the Republic forces numbered in at a few hundred. One of the tactical officers at a Republic space station said, “We have multiple contacts sir, a large number ships approaching the Republic Core.” The station commander said, “They are pushing right for Coruscant.” Alerts went up for Coruscant. But there was little time to prepare, half of the Sith fleet had made a hyperspace jump and appeared within the heart of the Galactic Republic, near to Coruscant. On Coruscant, planetary defense systems were initialized, a communications officer announced, as screens brought up the ships entering the solar system. “Sir, they have entered local space and are launching fighters!”
Kaneth’s communicator was beeping and buzzing in his pocket, but he could not hear nor feel it with the music. Captain Garren could wait no longer, for they had to leave orbit soon the invasion force was jumping in steps, hundreds of large warships would be jumping into orbit of Coruscant at any moment. “Contact Coruscant and tell them we are sending a force down to recover the Chancellor and Asaerin!” Captain Garren said loudly and nodded at the soldiers. They had the location of the Chancellor’s communicator and were headed to the surface to retrieve him.

7

The military transport entered the atmosphere at full speed and raced down to the city below. The Marines on board had to get Chancellor Kaneth and Asaerin back to the Valliant and they had mere minutes to do it. The large transport landed in the pedestrian causeway in front of the Dark Trooper and the Marines armed with pulse rifles disembarked the transport. The commander was yelling orders, as the pedestrians just watched, a huge crowd gathered around them. The commander and ten Marines went to the club doors and made their way forcibly in. The commander just looked around at the inside of the club, there were thousands of people in there, could he find the Chancellor? He walked up to a bartender droid and yelled, “Stop the music or I will do it myself!” The music stopped and the club was much quieter the patrons were yelling about the music being stopped when the commander yelled, “Chancellor Kaneth! Chancellor Kaneth!” Kaneth, Asaerin and the two guards heard the commander calling and made their way to through the crowd to the Marines. “What’s going on here Commander?” Kaneth questioned. He had not finished his sentence before the he and Asaerin were being grabbed and pulled from the club. “No time to explain Chancellor, we have to get you and your partner back to the ship now”, the commander said loudly as they were placed on the transport. “Go, now!”, the commander yelled at the pilot. The transport took off full speed into the sky and raced back to the Valliant. “What is going on commander?” Kaneth demanded. “Your Excellency there is a Sith invasion”, the commander answered. “An invasion where?” Chancellor Kaneth asked. “Everywhere in this part of the Republic, the front lines with their war with these Sith have collapsed back to Coruscant,” commander answered. “What of the Federation?” Kaneth demanded in a panic. “We do not know yet, our central command went on high alert about an hour ago on news of the battle, since then we have lost all communications with Cossec Prime. We believe the Sith are jamming long range communications.” Asaerin was in a state of shock, just sitting there breathing, he said,“ I didn’t know the Republic was at war.” Chancellor Kaneth said, “Asaerin, they have been at war with the Sith for a while. When we get back to the ships we will leave orbit and head back to Cossec Space, we have no quarrel with these Sith, at least not yet. The commander said,” We know they have hundreds of large warships, I hope we can make it through.”

8

The transport landed on the Valliant and everyone raced to the bridge. As Chancellor Kaneth and Asaerin arrived on the bridge the Valliant was turning to enter hyperspace. Then the space around Coruscant filled with the enormous warships. “Evasive maneuvers!” Captain Garren yelled, and the Valliant turned hard to starboard to avoid collision with one of them. Fighters raced from the surface of Coruscant firing upon the warships as thousands of fighters were launched from the warships to meet them. The scene was surreal, Asaerin watched as the Chancellor yelled, “To Hell with it, target the closest warship and fire cannons!” “Aye, aye”, said the officer at tactical. And then the new cruiser CFF Valliant fired her plasma cannons, the barrage hit the closest warship broadside, large explosions plumed from the blast. “Again!” Chancellor Kaneth yelled. The second volley had the same effect and everyone watched as the Republic fighters and cruisers that had arrived fought a losing battle with the Sith Fleet.
A group of fighters had broken off and had begun attacking the Valliant. “They are firing on us!” the tactical officer yelled. “Get us out of here, resume course for the Cossec!” Chancellor Kaneth yelled. But at that moment the large warship to port opened fire on the Valliant, the volley ripped through the Valliant’s armor plating and into her superstructure.  Main power was lost and then, a second volley was fired and the section behind the bridge was hit, explosions and fire ripped through the bulkhead, throwing everyone forward, killing and injuring most of the bridge crew and destroying the pilot droid. Kaneth had thrown himself onto Asaerin as he saw the volley approaching and they had landed in the section of the bridge a few steps below. Asaerin turned Kaneth over, “Kaneth! Kaneth! Dear Gods please be alright!” he yelled. “Get the ship out of here Asaerin”, Kaneth managed to say.
Asaerin stood and went over to the helm, in panic he saw the helm was damaged and the coordinates were gone. He pushed the destroyed droid chassis out of the way, looking at the blank console. “Computer, set a course out of here and jump!” he yelled. “Please state hyperspace coordinates”, the computer said but the voice was slow and the computer seemed damaged. “Anywhere, just set a destination out of the battle and go!” Asaerin yelled. The computer selected a system out of the battle zone and the hyper drive began to engage. He watched as a third volley hit the Valliant as it was about to enter hyperspace. Damaging the main computer and the hyperspace core. The cruiser Valliant was crippled and began to list.

9

The third volley from the alien warships had injured Asaerin critically, throwing him into a bulkhead and causing massive internal injuries. Asaerin came to hours later and was able to stand in spite of the severe pain, his head was bleeding and though he did not know, he was bleeding internally. Asaerin made his way over to Kaneth, who was still unconscious, but breathing. Asaerin dared not to move him without knowing his injuries. Asaerin said, “Is anyone else alive?” There was no response, so Asaerin checked the other bridge crew, two were alive, including Captain Garren, but neither would respond. Asaerin said, “Computer”, there was no response. He had to help Kaneth and the other two that were alive; there must be a medical kit here on the bridge. Asaerin knew a medical kit would not have sufficient supplies to treat their injuries.
The internal fire suppression systems finally, even under low power had exhausted most of the flames. But, not all of the hull breaches were sealed, as there was insufficient main power for the force fields to be erected in some sections. Asaerin walked through the destroyed section behind the bridge, and found it was exposed to space. “Dear Gods, what do I do?” Asaerin whispered out loud, watching the huge ships orbiting Coruscant. Asaerin went back onto the bridge and checked the consoles to see if any worked. The explosion fried them all and the screens were blank.
There was a floor hatch, so he decided to try to make it down to the medical facility. Asaerin opened the floor hatch and climbed down the ladder. The next deck was exposed to space as well, but one of the doors in it opened. Asaerin took the door to the right and found that this section of the ship had been gutted by fire and there were bodies. Asaerin vomited and blood poured from his mouth, then his nose. He was in so much pain that his eyes were blurring and he felt that he would pass out. He could not, he had to go on he told himself. He walked through the burned area of the ship, passing dead crew and destroyed medical droids, and then he got to another door at the end of a long hall. He hit the burned open button, it didn’t work, but he hit it again and the door opened, it was the medical bay. Asaerin walked over to a medical droid station and it said, “Automated medical system 2405 engaged. Please stand perfectly still. You will be scanned for a diagnosis. You have sustained multiple injuries, you must be treated immediately. Please prepare to be sedated.” Asaerin quickly said, “You must treat the Chancellor first, he is gravely injured and on the bridge!” Before Asaerin could say more, an automated arm quickly delivered a sedative and Asaerin was quickly unconscious. Asaerin awoke, right after the surgeries and the computer said, “ Your surgeries were successful, however there are no medical droids responding. Chancellor Kaneth is still in need of medical treatment on the bridge.” Asaerin answered, still sore from the surgeries, “The medical droids were destroyed in the fires I believe. I will bring Chancellor Kaneth down.”
Asaerin managed to bring Kaneth down to the medical bay. The computer scanned Kaneth and he was given pain killers and automated arms placed him on a table. “Will the Chancellor be alright?” Asaerin asked the computer. “It is the duty of this system that every measure is taken to ensure all proper treatments are administered.” Asaerin said, “Please save him, for he is my life.”

10

Asaerin brought the other two down as well, now his pain was back and unbearable, he passed out on the floor. Asaerin awoke and he was lying in a medical bed. He looked up and Kaneth was standing above him, “Kaneth, Kaneth you are ok”, Asaerin said as tears filled his eyes. “Thanks to you Asaerin for you not only saved me but Captain Garren and Ensign Kentis”, Kaneth said, running his fingers through Asaerin’s hair. “So we have no way of knowing our situation is?” Captain Garren asked. “We had set a course for Cossec space before the battle, but I am not sure that the hyperdrive could get us out of here now”, Ensign Kentis said. Kaneth said, “We need more information on what is going on out there, we need to contact the Republic Command or anyone for that matter.”
The ship rumbled beneath their feet and the sound of decompression could be heard. The force fields were failing all over the ship, venting precious atmosphere. “Shut the door!” Captain Garren yelled as the air was being drawn from the room. Asaerin said, “I am sorry I could not get the ship to enter hyperspace fast enough.” Captain Garren said, “Don’t apologize for anything, we were unprepared for this.”
There were Republic cruisers and fighters floating nearby, damaged as baldly or worse that the Valliant. “I suppose we will see what the Sith to do with us soon”, Chancellor Kaneth said. And as he said that a ship docked with the Valliant and took Asaerin, Kaneth and the surviving crew to a Sith Cruiser.
They were taken together, along with more of the crew that survived. They were now in a very long black hangar with large overhead lights, filled with more crews from the Republic ships. Large holographic monitors were above them along the walls with readouts Asaerin could not make out. Asaerin stood closer to Kaneth, for Kaneth was the rock in his life. “Whatever happens, stay with me, do not get separated or let them separate you from me. Do you understand Asaerin?” Kaneth asked. “Yes, I understand”, Asaerin answered. “We are aboard one of their ships, if they had intended to kill us all they would have done so already”, Captain Garren said “We have no weapons, we are helpless to defend ourselves”, one of the Marines said. Asaerin wondered where the guards that they had been at the nightclub with were, probably dead he thought, it saddened him even more. Armed troops entered the room, some were in black armor and others in Silver armor. The officers were in black uniforms accompanied by tall black droids. A tall young man stood in front of the others that were closest and said; “You are all prisoners of war of the Sith Empire for the time being. However, you will be taken down to Coruscant while the Republic prepares to surrender, for we have no interest in detaining you.”
When they reached the surface and were released Kaneth looked up at the ships flying over head, there were many cargo and passenger ships arriving and departing despite the battle fought just this day. Kaneth figured the Republic had officially surrendered by now and a treaty was most likely being debated. He had to make contact with Cossec see if there had been an attack on it. Locating a Holonet, he contacted the Federal Naval Command. Though Cossec had received news of the surrender, no hostile ships had entered their systems and things were relatively normal there despite apprehension over the surrender of the Republic. The Valliant was in bad shape and would have to be towed back to Cossec Space. A ship was being prepped for dispatch and should be arriving at Coruscant in a few days from the Federation to retrieve the Chancellor, the Valliant and her crew.

11

Asaerin and Kaneth were taken to an apartment in a high rise on Coruscant and the government representative that had brought them here said, “This will be your home as long as you two remain on Coruscant, however there is still so much to see and do here on Coruscant despite the war. The holonet terminal can access anything, games, news, occupational opportunities, the list is endless.” Kaneth said, “Thank you for you help.” The government representative nodded and said, “If you need anything contact Republic Command.” The government representative then dismissed herself, leaving the two alone again.
Asaerin was looking out across the city, “There is quite a bit of damage from the bombardment.” Kaneth asked Asaerin, “Do you want to talk about what has happened now that it is just the two of us?” Asaerin answered, “No, I don’t want to think about it. I have you here, that’s all I need.” Kaneth nodded, “You’re right, there is no sense on dwelling on the situation until we are able to leave then we can focus on it then.” Kaneth turned to the side and looked at Asaerin, he was staring out at the city, “We will to start the galactic tour over again,” Asaerin laughed then looked at Kaneth, “I am so sorry the Valliant was so badly damaged and so many crew members were lost.” Kaneth said, “It’s just a ship, and the crew were doing what they signed up to do, a heavy loss none the less though, but atleast we are safe.”
The two got much needed rest that night and the next morning they received a visit from Jedi Consular Hinda Klen. The Jedi sat the two down and explained the Force, “The Force is a supernatural, cohesive, and omnipresent power that flows through all living creatures. Beings that are in tune to the force whether they realize it or not are called force-sensitive.” The two didn’t follow the Jedi, but he continued, “You two are particularly force-sensitive. It is what I had wanted to discuss with you at some point in the future. Things have changed however, the Republic has just signed the Treaty of Coruscant, a peace treaty with the Sith Empire, came at a heavy cost to the Jedi Order, we lost many of our own.” Asaerin looked at Kaneth who said, “So you are saying we, Asaerin and I are force sensitive, what does this entail?” The Jedi continued, “Before the War, Jedi training started when the individual is very young, many times we can identify force-sensitives in their infancy. But, we need more Jedi, you two have a good connection with the force. I’d like you to accompany me to the temple and I can show you what I mean.” Asaerin and Kaneth agreed to go with Hinda Klen to the Jedi Temple.
The damage to the temple was great, the Jedi Order had lost quite a few of the most powerful Jedi and some of the Jedi Council. Jedi Consular Hinda Klen told the two that they would meet with various other Jedi to discuss what being a Jedi would be like and how it could or would change their lives. As the two watched a holovid of the history of the Jedi Order, they began to truly understand what a Jedi was, it was much more than being a ‘policeman’ as they had previously thought. “This is very exciting don’t you think Kaneth?”, Asaerin asked. Asaerin was very impressed with the roles that Jedi can fill, warrior, diplomat, healer and many more. Asaerin also considered about how the space battle they had went through the previous day had show him how shallow he had been in his life. His concerns had been with clothing and material things. Then the battle and almost losing Kaneth brought him a whole new focus. “Yes, it is exciting, I am impressed with the discipline one can attain with the force, the order you can achieve in your life”, Kaneth answered. After the holovids, they were greeted by two Jedi Masters, one was Ikil Yoi and the other was Ghenis Joilen. The Jedi Masters explained that they would like to meditate with Asaerin and Kaneth.

12

Asaerin and Ikil Yoi, went into a smaller room in the temple, Ikil Yoi explained that the meditation would give the Jedi time to look at him from the perspective of the force. “I understand Master Jedi”, Asaerin said. “Good, then young Asaerin, kneel and face me”, Master Yoi said. The two knelt facing each other, the Jedi walked Asaerin through the meditation process and before long he was able to enter a meditative state. The Jedi Master was able to see the force residing in Asaerin, he was pleased to sense Asaerin was a fair minded and compassionate individual. Yet there was an attachment, a strong bond to his lover that could hinder him as a Jedi.
Kaneth’s experience with Master Ghenis Joilen was extraordinary. The two entered the meditation and the Jedi Master was able to see the warrior that Kaneth truly was, strong and honorable. With the right guidance Kaneth would be a strong Jedi, however the bond between the two lovers surfaced during the meditation with Master Ghenis Joilen as well.
“How did yours go?”, Kaneth asked. “I think it went well and yours”, Asaerin asked in return. “It went fine, I rather enjoyed the experience”, Kaneth replied. “So, what do you think Kaneth? Is this something you would be interested in? It is vastly different than what we are accustomed to. But, sometimes change is good and what they do is impressive. It is like a spiritual military.” Kaneth looked at Asaerin and smiled, “You are right, that is what it seems like to me and yet I like the idea.” Asaerin said, “You know what? I do as well.” Kaneth said, “You do realize that they wear robes and do not have many material possessions?” Asaerin laughed, “So, you know me well, I am materialistic and shallow, but it changed for me on the ship when I was trying to do what I could to help. I would give everything I have away if I could bring back those we lost up there.” Kaneth pulled Asaerin in close, their foreheads touching and said, “I know, I know.” The two stood there considering everything, their life together and where their paths will lead them.
Jedi Consular Hinda Klen walked up and said, “The remaining members Jedi Council has listened to what we had say about you two. There are concerns, but the decision was made to offer you two the opportunity to join the Jedi Order.” The two looked at each other and Kaneth said, “I know you would be giving up a lot in your lives, you being the Chancellor of a star system Kaneth and Asaerin, you are still young and you may not know exactly what you would like to do. But, I can tell you this, this is an opportunity for you two to do something I think would be life altering for you both, in a very positive way. You both have great potential with us, if that were not true I would have never said anything about it.” The two looked at each other again and Asaerin nodded to Kaneth. The older of the two looked at Jedi Consular and said, “We will do it.” Jedi Consular Hinda Klen smiled at the two, “Well, I will go let the council know. I will be back shortly.” Kaneth said to Consular Klen, “I will contact Cossec and let them know. My last official act as Chancellor will be to recommend Cossec join the Galactic Republic.” The Jedi looked at Kaneth and said, “That would be one final act as Chancellor that would benefit both Cossec and the Republic greatly. Thank you, Excellency.” Cossec joined the Republic a short time after.

13

The two began their Jedi training shortly after with the relocated Jedi on Tython. Kaneth quickly becoming a Knight with Asaerin following as an excellent Padawan. Asaerin’s Jedi training did not go as quickly as Kaneth’s, however he was knighted two years after his lover. The two Knights turned out to be quite the duo. Having had a number of exciting adventures from the Jedi Temple on Tython. They had been following various leads from smugglers and traders from around the Outer Rim that reported that a Sith Lord and an Apprentice were searching for a specific Sith Holocron. “It could be anywhere Kaneth, why would these two think they could find it so easily?”, Asaerin Asked. “Because they are Sith my love and they believe they will find it. From what the last trader said, there was a Sith Holocron recovered by a salvager from one of the Sith Cruiser Debris.” Asaerin replied, “I would imagine there were a number of Sith Holocrons recovered in the massive amounts of debris left after the war.” Kaneth sighed, “That is highly unlikely Asaerin, the Sith prize holocrons the way we do, many contain the most intimate knowledge of the Sith teachings. I am sure there were very few, if any, left un-recovered after the war.” The next lead took the two to the planet Telos IV a world still recovering from previous wars.
“Our next contact is Jaf Dorohe at the Thani Spaceport”, Kaneth said, reminding Asaerin. “He is the smuggler right?” Asaerin asked. “No, he is a salvager.” Asaerin replied, “We have followed quite a few leads, I am starting to get our smugglers, salvagers, information brokers and traders mixed up.” Kaneth laughed and then said, “Just try to keep them straight a little longer, hopefully we will be finished with the investigation soon. If we do find the Sith, do not engage them, they will be far too dangerous. We are here to track them and then, when we have backup we can attempt to apprehend them.” The Thani Spaceport was quite large, line after line of warehouses and landing pads. The two Jedi took the tram down the row of warehouses that had the number they were given. They arrived at the correct number and went inside. To their dismay they found Jaf Dorohe dead on the floor. “He has been killed recently Asaerin, be on your guard. They could still be here if they haven’t found what they were looking for”, Kaneth whispered.
Asaerin was quite unnerved by the prospect that they would actually find the Sith. “Ok, what now?”, Asaerin whispered back. “We can check out the warehouse, then I alert the Jedi Council of our findings here”, Kaneth replied. “Do not engage them”, Kaneth repeated. Asaerin looked at him and whispered, “Are you joking, I do not plan on engaging them, I am not sure I want to go in there looking for them.” Kaneth then motioned forward, further into the warehouse and said “If they didn’t find the holocron, it probably isn’t here. Keep a lookout for opened storage lockers.”
The two headed down the main aisles, that then split into many smaller aisles. Asaerin thought to himself this was going to be a maze. All of the lockers were cut open, it was the work of lightsabers. The two moved quietly down the aisles, Asaerin was careful not to lose sight of Kaneth for very long. Asaerin then came upon lockers that were not opened, “They have either found the holocron they were looking for or are still here”, Asaerin whispered out loud. He turned to look for Kaneth. As he turned back, there was the Sith Lord standing in front of him. The Sith said, "Still here.” His lightsaber was on in an instant and the red blade impaled Asaerin and he fell to the ground. “Asaerin!” Kaneth yelled, running back around the corner. The Sith Apprentice stood in his path, lightsaber drawn, glowing red. Kaneth killed the Apprentice in an instant, desperate to get to Asaerin. He rounded the corner, lightsaber glowing blue, there was the Sith Lord standing waiting at the end of the row, by the body of his lover. The two yelled and ran at each other, Kaneth in a rage. They met half way, lightsabers clashing, they fought a long fierce battle. Both were masters of the blade and in the end, they both met their fates by the blade. The Sith Lord fell to the ground dead, Kaneth walked over to where Asaerin lay mortally wounded. He pulled Asaerin up close and with his dying breath said, “I love you so much, I should have married you", then Kaneth died. Asaerin placed his fingers on Kaneth's lips and whispered, “I love you too.” Asaerin pulled the little dicta-pod out of his pocket and said, “Compose.” Asaerin died soon after, still holding Kaneth in his arms. The story ended.
Aarik sat there in his room saddened by the story. He thought of Taedron, they shared something in common with these two Jedi. He walked over to the temple to see his Master. He found Taedron alone in one of the training rooms. Aarik walked over to him and put his arms around him. “I figured it would affect you this way, I was hesitant to give it to you after the way you felt seeing the Sith in the Oubliette last week”, Taedron said concerned. “But, I am glad you did, their story touched me and I will carry it with me for the rest of my life”, Aarik replied.
The End
By sweufan