Star Wars: Darkness Rising: The Threat Within Chapter 20

Chapter 20
The Star Dust exited hyperspace near Yavin 4.  Rae pressed the button on the comm station.  “Yavin control, this is the Star Dust.” 

“Star Dust, this is control. Please identify yourself.” 

She sighed.  “This is Padawan Rae and Padawan Lowbacca.  We are requesting permission to land at the temple.” 

“Permission granted.  Master Skywalker asked to be made aware of your arrival.” 

“Thank you, Control, Star Dust out.” 

Rae leaned back in the chair.   The bacta cuff was still on but Rose had told her that it would probably come off once they could get to a real medical facility.  “Get us down please, Finn,” she said. 

“I do not show any ships approaching us,” K7 said from the co-pilot’s seat.  

Finn nodded and engaged the engines, probably entering the atmosphere a bit quicker than needed.  The past five days, they had all felt like the fleet was right behind them.  “Five minutes,” Finn said. 

K7 looked at him.  “We could be quicker if you didn’t mind the landing,” it said.  When Finn glared at him it turned and hung its head a bit.  “Blame the Wookie, he reprogrammed me.”

Rose sat in the engineer’s station and stared at the window as the clouds flew by.  “Maybe we can work on your sense of humor later,” she said. 

“Won’t do any good,” Finn said, “It never had a great sense of humor to begin with.” 

“I am sitting right here,” K7 said.  It adjusted a few of the controls as it talked. 

Luke stood in the entrance of the temple watching the Star Dust approach.   “I wonder what happened to Lando,” C3PO said.  

“Sorry 3PO, need to know basis,” Luke said.  He was walking across the tarmac as the freighter sat down, Its landing gear compressing.  C3PO chased off after him the best that it could followed by R2D2. 

Luke stood outside as the boarding ramp lowered.   He with concern as he saw Lowbacca carrying Rae.  She was missing one of her legs.   This fact wasn’t in the information that had been transmitted to him from Coruscant.  “What happened?” he asked. 

“Master Skywalker,” Rae said.  “We really don’t have time to explain.   We have to start evacuating.” 

Luke nodded.  “I got a transmission from Lando last night.  Ackbar got permission based on what he was told and is moving ships here.” 

“Sir,” Finn said, “I don’t know of it was explained well, but the fleet that the Imperials are sending here will destroy all life on this planet.  Rae is right, we need to get people off the planet and hurry.   My best guess is that we only have about ten hours before the fleet will be here.” 

“Oh my,” C3PO said and looked to Luke.  

“There are several ships on their way here now,” he said.  “They should be here within the next few hours.  Most are being diverted to Haven City to start evacuating the residents there.”  He looked at Rae and Lowbacca.  “I am not going to like what you have to tell me, am I?”

“No sir,” Rae said and Lowbacca growled in agreement.  She took a deep breath.  “Master Solo did this,” she said. 

Luke looked stunned.  C3PO put its hand over its mouth in a very human gesture.   R2D2 let loose a low whistle.   “How?” he asked. 

“He has been working with them,” Rae said.  “For some time.  He has fallen to the dark side.”  Lowbacca growled something and Rae looked up to him then nodded.  “He didn’t fall, he leapt.” 

Luke was having trouble believing it.  “This can’t be,” he said. 

Rae pulled out her lightsaber and Lowbacca his and offered them to Luke.  Luke took them and stepped back.  He could feel that they were wrong.  It only took him a second to figure how to activate them and he stared in disbelief at the red blades. 

“He did that, Master Skywalker,” Rae said, “while we fought him.  He also turned his own blade red.” 

Luke extinguished both blades and handed them back to Rae.  “We will have to confront this, but for now, none of you are to speak of this until I can talk with the council.”  He looked at Finn and Rose. “These are the two that helped you escape?”

“Yes,” Rae said. She pushed at Lowbacca so he would set her down on her good leg.  “Finn and Dr. Rose Tico.” 

Luke looked at Rose.  “I have you to thank for treating my padawan?” he asked. 

“It was mostly luck I was there,” Rose said, “And that they had medical equipment on board.” 

“Luck or the will of the force,” Luke said.  “And thank you for what you have done.” He looked at Finn, sizing him up.  “I was told what Lando knew about you,” Luke said.  “At this point, you have proven to me that you are not part of the Empire.”  Luke looked up at the underside of the Star Dust.  “This is your ship?” he asked. 

Finn nodded. “Yes sir, it is now.” 

“Good.  I will need your help with the evacuation,” Luke said and turned to start toward the temple. 

Finn looked a little startled.  “Master Skywalker,” he said.  Luke stopped and turned back toward him.  “I was part of the Empire.  Are you sure you want me helping with your evacuation?”

Luke looked at him for a long moment and then to Rae and Lowbacca. “I believe was is the operative word.  They would not have let you here if they had doubts about you.”  He looked to C3PO and R2D2.  “R2, 3PO, stay with the ship.  Make sure that they can leave in a moment’s notice.”  

C3PO looked to Luke.  “Master, I think I could help more with coordinating the evacuation,” it said while R2D2 whistled and headed toward the landing ramp. 

“I know C3PO and I may need you to do that but for now stay here,” Luke said and walked toward the Temple. 

Finn was sitting in the cockpit of the Star Dust watching the sensors.   There were a few younglings already about the ship.   Lowbacca and Rae were getting them settled.  Time was running out.   The clock in his head was ticking by faster than real life, but even then, eight hours had passed and only one transport had come and gone from the Temple taking some of the other Jedi Masters and padawans who were without their own transportation.  

K7 looked up from the screen.  “Oh, several ships have exited hyperspace,” he said. 

“They are already here?” Finn asked. 

“No such luck,” K7 said.  “It’s a Quasar Carrier variant, two Nebulon B2 frigates, two corvettes and two dozen starfighters. Oh, and three Corellian midweight freighters.”  K7 was quiet a moment. “The freighters are making planet fall along with four of the fighters.”   

A large freighter descended toward the landing pad in front of the Jedi Temple.   Finn walked out of the ship to get a better look at it.  It was a Corellian heavy freighter though he couldn’t remember the exact model.  What was more interesting were the two X-wings that were landing with it.  

Finn was familiar with X-wings through his training.   These were not the ones that Incom had made and that had helped the Rebel Alliance against the Empire.   “Pretty nice?” Luke said, startling Finn. 

Finn nodded.  “I have heard that there was a new variant of the X-wing,” Finn admitted.  “Intelligence did not have much in the way of information about them though.” 

“I think that the Republic is riddled with Imperial Spies,” Luke noted.  “Republic Intelligence is going to have their work cut out for them.”  He walked toward the X-wings and motioned Finn to come with him. 

The X-wings were different from their predecessors.  Their engines were a bit larger and their wings were swept forward.   The fuselage was wider with an ion cannon on either side.  “I wonder how they would stack up against the new Tie’s that the Empire is using,” Luke said.  He glanced at Finn to see the mildly surprised look on his face.   “Lando transmitted everything that they had acquired to me last night.”

The cockpit on the X-wing opened and a man climbed out.   At the same time, a ball droid lowered from the underside of the X-wing and a pole lowered for the man to climb down.  The droid whistled at the pilot.  “Thanks BB,” he said.  

The pilot stepped onto the ground and turned to face Luke and Finn.  “Master Skywalker,” he said and offered his hand.  “Captain Poe Dameron.”  He shook Luke’s hand. “Rear Admiral Antilles sends his regards.” 

“Admiral?”  It had been several years since Luke had spoken to Wedge. Once all of this was over, he would have to rectify that.  “I have been out of the loop.  Wedge finally gave up Rogue Squadron?”  Luke asked. 

Poe offered his hand to Finn.  “More or less,” he said. “He is up on the Arclight and is the fleet commander for the fast response group that Rogue Squadron is based out of.” 

Finn shook Poe’s offered hand.   He was not used to physical interaction, but realized he probably needed to learn.  

“Captain, this is Finn,” Luke said.  “He was one of the ones responsible for letting us know what was going on.” 

Poe’s smile widened.  “Glad to meet you, Finn.”  He let Finn’s hand go and looked back to Luke.  “Master Skywalker, we need to get the evacuation going.  General Solo ordered three freighters he had in the sector to drop their cargo and come here to pick up refugees.  We hooked up with them on the way here.  Two of them have landed at the city’s spaceport.”

Luke smiled.  “Just like Han to drop cargo at the first sign of Imperials,” he said and laughed at his own joke.  Finn and Poe looked confused and Luke waved them off.  “Never mind, it is an old story that would take too long to explain.  I will have the Temple’s staff move in this freighter.  They will start out here shortly.” 

Luke was almost back into the Temple but stopped when he heard someone calling his name.  He turned to see Saint jogging toward him.  “Master Skywalker,” he said. 

“Mr. Saint, I am afraid I don’t any time,” Luke said.  He remembered that Saint was one of the first to show up after he had started using the temple again.  He opened his general store and had been there since.  

“I know,” Saint said.  “I ran into one of the Padawans who was passing the word to get people ready to evacuate.” 

Luke nodded.  “Imperial Remnants have raised their heads again,” Luke said. 

“I have several storerooms full of food, water, medicine, and other supplies.   If they are going to attack the planet, we might as well move this stuff with the refugees from the temple.” 

Luke paused.  “Thank you, Mr. Saint.  How soon can you have it out?” 

“If I can borrow a few of the older younglings or padawans, we can probably get everything moved in less than an hour,” Saint told him. 

Luke nodded.  “Ok, come with me, I will have you work with Master Gonan on getting supplies distributed. We may only have about an hour.” 

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Shawn Bennett

When I was 7, I saw Star Wars: A New Hope in theaters a week after it opened. My parents were nice enough to take me and I have been a fan of Star Wars and almost all science fiction in general. I am an amateur writer who has been published for contributing flavor text to a RP game. I also have a copyright on a novel I hope to be able to publish sometime soon.