Time's Arrow

At a standoff at the Kustetiera System, the young Kixi Rajki is unwittingly caught in a vicious confrontation between herself & the military leader of that system. With the weight of having to make a hard decision resting on her shoulders, she finds herself with little choice but to fire a lethal biological weapon upon an enemy that is now all but defeated. That, or watch her soulmate who is taken hostage by that very same leader be murdered. Little is she aware, that matters are by far more complex than she can possibly imagine, & that treachery runs deeper than she could even possibly begin to foresee. Unknowingly, her choice ultimately making no difference to the destiny of her beloved girlfriend, her life as she knows it is about to dramatically change forever. Soon after, an unprecedented chain of events is triggered, as she departs on a perilous mission in an attempt to change the events at that one pivotal moment of deception at Kustetiera, to save her one & only true love.

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10. Chapter 4

 

 

It was a useful hide out, and Free-Eyes had used it many times to temporarily accommodate criminals that in general could be trusted or worked for bosses who were well acquainted to the Gran. Thinking back to his days as a young slicer brought a smile to the alien's face, as he leaned forward in front of one of his computer terminals that was linked to several holovids surrounding the shed, or were in the vicinity of his shed. He surveyed the area indiscreetly, since it was just his old friend Vinskk with him and the young woman that his friend trusted.

"It's all clear, however we shouldn't stick around for too long." The Gran shrugged looking at Kixi. "Sith are everywhere on this planet and frankly a Jedi in my presence while I'm here makes me nervous. So let's finalise your offer girl and then get going." The Gran finished off saying dryly.

 

 

*****

 

As Mako descended the invisibly cloaked Cālder mit Arkhan away from Coruscant's busy skies, something suddenly flowed along the bond she shared with her girlfriend Kixi, and Mako felt a grin rise to her face. Frowning a little as she read what was flowing to her through the bond, Mako reached along it until she found its origin. There, a little below a group of several smaller skyscrapers, just to the right of where she was heading now, was a small secluded shed which Kixi had referred to as a safe haven of some sort.

As Mako turned her ship toward the shed's location, she de-cloaked the ship whilst flying low in between several lower skyscrapers, almost certain no one would notice her ship suddenly materialising out of nowhere. Yet the moment she had turned off the small star fighter's cloaking device, a hailing light blinked to life on her console. Plummeting slowly through the sections of the jungle like man made structures, she pressed the comm activation button.

"Unidentified fighter, you are on course to a restricted section. Please identify and state your business." As the Cālder mit Arkhan plunged between the dense skyscrapers that was common place throughout the Coruscant surroundings, Mako felt a frown form on her face. Unidentified fighter? She thought to herself. Well her class fighter was definitely of unknown specification since it was of extra-galactic origins, so in a way it was of no surprise. She could understand if some sort of security or military installation did not recognising a fighter like the Cālder mit Arkhan, but she was only descending down to what her girlfriend had referred to as an abandoned shed in an area of the city that no one bothered to generally go to, or have any real reason to venture to.

"This is Commander Mako Jhasmin Zaneca, First Officer to Captain Kixi Rajki of whom I believe is with you and sent me these coordinates to rendezvous with her here. I am of no threat. Requesting permission to set down and land near your shed." As Mako spoke, she turned on the auto pilot stretching out her hands. Regardless, she intended to land by the set of coordinates that she had been given.

“Lightning interference from your location, unidentified ship, we do not copy. Repeat your name and state your business.”

“I repeat, I'm Commander Mako Jhasmin Zaneca, First Officer to Captain Kixi Rajki. My captain is with you and has asked me to rendezvous here with her.”

 

*****

 

Alarm bells had began ringing suddenly, prompting Free-Eyes to return to his monitoring console.

"What in the name of the Force........ That strange star fighter has just materialised out of nowhere." He said concerned as he attempted to open a hailing frequency to the ship.

“It's okay Free-Eyes," came the soft feminine voice of Kixi Rajki from behind him. "It's my First Officer Commander Zaneca, I gave her the coordinates to here. She had been circling the skies in that fighter which was cloaked for some time monitoring us.”

"I see, however it would have been greatly appreciated if you could have consulted me about this first!" The Gran responded clearly showing an expression indicating that he was irritated at the young Jedi woman, yet proceeded in eventually allowing for Mako to land.

“Trandoshan sees cyborg. Why does human send freak?”

"Hey don't fucking call her that!" Kixi angrily retaliated.

"Yeah well what's she doing here?" Free-Eyes finally said butting in.

“Like I just said, she's been monitoring us from the skies in my cloaked star fighter. I gave her the coordinates to the shed, and you didn't see her coming because she only de-cloaked the ship now, or on her approach to our location.”

Free-Eyes rubbed his hand across his chin thinking. "Well next time you invite anyone here, I would prefer you consult me first, regardless on who it is." Free-Eyes said once again emphasising his point not really sure what to make out of the situation.

“Okay I got it, but Mako is the greatest gift of all. We're in love, therefore she goes wherever I go. ”

"It seems to Trandoshan that same rules do not apply to human's cyborg friend. Cyborg more than friend to human." Vinskk said finding Kixi's courtship of another female absolutely disgusting to say the least, as both Vinskk and Free-Eyes roll their eyes at Kixi.

 

*****

 

"Okay! Confirmed. Commander Zaneca, get off your current trajectory and head for coordinates that lead to our shed. I'll turn on the landing lights, and your captain will meet you there shortly." Free-Eyes paused for a moment turning to Kixi indicating for her to go outside and invite Mako in once she had landed. "We look forward in meeting you shortly Commander." Free-Eyes said ending the connection, and observing Kixi chuckling to herself as she disappeared through the shed's entrance to outside.

Mako set down safely as she verified her set of coordinates. She pushed open the cockpit's hatch, before leaping upwards and on the port side wing of her fighter. Stretching out her body briefly, the young woman who was even younger than her Züncålazin counterpart, then hopped down from the Cālder mit Arkhan, and walked along the metallic flooring to meet her girlfriend by the shed's entrance. After they passionately kissed one another on the lips for a brief moment, Kixi took Mako's hand leading them both to proceed to the shed's entrance, and walk through its narrow corridors that lay beyond the entrance, to where both Vinskk and Free-Eyes casually awaited.

 

*****

 

Finally after everything had settled down, and everyone was done with any brief formal introductions of the newly arrival Mako, Kixi just stood and watched as the 2 aliens changed into fresh clothes. "You 2 actually look a lot more civilised. You might actually be able to pass for a local resident." Kixi said commenting jokingly as she looked at the new look Vinskk giggling. Kixi gave off the impression of seeming almost childlike, laughing and getting excited over trivial things that no one actually cared about. Yet Vinskk would not be fooled as he glanced over at Free-Eyes giving him a warningly look. The Gran may not have yet understood Kixi's tactics, but Vinskk most certainly did.

Then there was Mako, who stood to Kixi's right speechless. Like a mute and annoying to watch, the aliens wondered if she was really Kixi's pet rather than the lovers that she claimed that they were.

They feverishly got to work at deriving a detailed plan on how to tackle the task at hand. To the annoyance of the 2 young human females, both Vinskk and Free-Eyes spoke in Gran for much of their discourse. Kixi sensed that it almost seemed deliberate of them, and to Vinskk's own credit, as a subtle way to pay Kixi back for her bubbly childish like behaviour, which the Trandoshan most certainly saw as nothing more than a dirty tactic employed by the human as a rouse to play with his mind. Nonetheless though, Kixi couldn't sense any real conflict in him, nor the Gran, and put it down to that it was just easier for them to communicate in their own language.

"So how long will it take to download the data I need once we are at a terminal", Kixi finally said breaking her silence.

Free-Eyes laughed at the question. "Not any old terminal will do. I have to hook up to one connected to the source of the database. So, the least risky one would be one in the library. But I'm gonna need some deep cover for this shit. I mean, it's the fucking Jedi Temple. We gotta play our parts perfectly. And I think I got just the thing. I'm the mechanic, sent to fix a broken terminal or whatever. Vinskk here is Trandoshan royalty. Step out Vinskk."

The Trandoshan, had momentarily stepped out, and then came back out of a separate room, looking quite dashing in a open purple vest, a red cape and loose, silk pants. "Vinskk feels unprotected. Trandoshan needs blaster."

The Gran shook his head. "No guns. You'll blow our cover. Just act all haughty, like you normally do." The lizard was about to say something incredibly rude, but Free-Eyes cut him off and said to Kixi, "And you are gonna have to use some of that Force to make sure we don't get busted immediately. It might take me a while too...the info you want sounds like it'd be in the restricted area, accessible to only a select few. Might take me ten minutes, tops." He adjusted his mechanical outfit, complete with overalls and a tool pouch, and asked, "Any questions?"

"You look really handsome Vinskk", Kixi burst into laughter. "You can court beautiful Kixi now". She could see Vinskk clearly wasn't impressed. "Don't worry, you'll be well protected. You still have me, and my lightsabre is well concealed", Kixi added enthusiastically yet acting cocky at the same time. "Even that nasty Sith earlier on wasn't able to detect it", she added with confidence and a half grin smile.

"I guess we'll leave our weapons on my ship once we actually get to Lothal and do this." She looked at Free-Eyes, "No questions, I'm about as ready as I'm ever gonna be".

Free-Eyes nodded, and Vinskk said, "Let us go then. Oh and by the way human. Leave freak on ship too. Mission far too dangerous to bring pets along."

Before Kixi could even retaliate, they had all exited the small house, the Gran locking the door behind them. He then stated, "I hope this works. We'll be arrested on the spot if it doesn't."

 

*****

 

"We are not all gonna fit in the Cālder mit Arkhan." Kixi said pointing an arm in the direction of her star fighter stating the obvious.

“That's of no real concern. We'll just get a sky taxi back to your ship. We'll just put my tools and other equipment in the back seat of your star fighter, and your little cyborg pet can fly it back to your ship while you go back with us in the sky taxi.”

"For the final fucking time do not call my girlfriend a pet!" Kixi said finally losing her temper, despite the insult this time having come from Free-Eyes instead of Vinskk. The Gran could feel a slight tickle around his throat area as Kixi just stared at him. The tickling sensation suddenly formed into a tight invisible grip causing him to cough, as he began to choke being deprived of oxygen.

Then as quickly as the invisible grip had been applied, it quickly was released as the Gran gasped for much needed air. Yet it wasn't the large Trandoshan who had intervened, instead the young cyborg woman herself, whom Kixi had sought to defend.

"Stop it Kixi. You are no less violent and as bad as the others," Mako cried out, the sound of her voice very representative of her teary face. She hopped into the Cālder mit Arkhan not impressed at Kixi's retaliation methods. "I'll see you back at the ship," she said abruptly, shutting the star fighter's canopy and firing up its engines at the same time which roared to life, lifting slowly into the air before being propelled forward and up.

Kixi dropped her head down in shame, watching the star fighter lift off and shoot off into the busy Coruscsnt sky. She felt a guttering sensation and all to the silent amusement of the Trandoshan who stood there ignoring Kixi, while Free-Eyes who had initially shaken his head called upon a sky taxi.

The taxi service arrived several minutes later. Vinskk sat at the front giving the droid driver instructions to the spaceport, while Kixi and Free-Eyes took up the spots in the rear of the cab. Kixi would remain silent during the whole trip back to the ship, leaning her forehead on the side of the sky taxi's inner doorframe, focusing her gaze on the uneventful busy fast flowing traffic outside and around her. 

It was true that there was a certain satisfaction that the young Kixi Rajki got from bragging and showing off, especially in the services of helping those she cared about most, thus there was nothing quite like the thrill of making one's day. Despite her demeanour which seemed to be one of arrogance, smugness and confidence, Kixi found the most pleasure in aiding others, in whatever way she could too. Even if it was just putting a smile on their face. Yet on this occasion she could easily tell that she had not lifted the spirits of her girlfriend Mako Jhasmin Zaneca, much to her own displeasure, and the amusement of the two aliens that were accompanying her which she mostly, even though hesitantly, chose to ignore. However there was one thing that had caught her attention. A brief, almost unnoticeable flicker of sorrow within her eyes, one that had not surfaced due to the mentioning of her being called a freak and a pet. Upon reflection, Kixi figured that she should have known better. In essence, Mako was a peaceful woman. Kixi on the other hand had been the first prime of Lord Xix'Jhan at one point, and a leading biological scientist. Quite the opposite to her other significant half. Mako understood that sometimes violence was unavoidable, however condemned the use of any unnecessary use of violence of any sort – the use of Force choking the Gran simply for calling her a pet being a perfect such example. Mako's sudden outburst regarding Kixi's violent use of the Force had unsettled her, upset her and disrupted her train of thought regarding the upcoming mission. Most certainly she knew that now would be a good time to reflect and clear her mind and thoughts, that was once they were well on their way to Lothal.

 

*****

 

When they disembarked from the sky taxi at the landing platform to where the MXS Morihei Ueshiba awaited, it was Braj'tec, the head of security who had waited patiently for their arrival.

Kixi wasted no time, being the first to exit the cab and walk right over to Braj'tec, while Vinskk and Free-Eyes took their time to approach the head of the loading ramp, where both Kixi and head of security Braj'tec Qarr were now engaged in a heated discussion. Wind whipped down the canyons of the city's towering buildings, hiding their words from the two aliens. Carefully, they edged closer so that they could listen in.

"It is not disrespect, Captain!" Braj'tec was saying vehemently. "It is the reality of the situation!"

"From your point of view, perhaps." Kixi's face was hard and tight with anger.

The older man's voice dropped a notch. "The lizard man is dangerous. And now you're inviting another unknown aboard our ship. We all sense it. Why can't you?"

"He owes me his life, and his species are loyal to such life debts, that much is certain, thus he is not dangerous," Kixi corrected sharply. "As for the newcomer, he is loyal to his Trandoshan friend, and thus whoever the Trandoshan approves of, in this case me, then the newcomer will agree with as well. That should be enough for you." Kixi turned away dismissively. "Now get on board!" Braj'tec wheeled away and stalked up the ramp into the ship.

Kixi turned to both Vinskk and Free-Eyes, and then they walked up to her.

"Captain Kixi Rajki," Free-Eyes said uncomfortably, riddled with doubt and guilt over what was happening, "I don't want to be a problem."

Kixi placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder. "You won't be Free-Eyes." She glanced toward the ship, then took her arm off the Gran's shoulder to address both Vinskk and Free-Eyes. "General Qarr has been a long standing friend of mine and very protective of me. He is only looking out for me, and my best interests which is what he does best." She paused, eyes locked first on Free-Eyes, and then on Vinskk. "Stay close only to me, and away from the rest of my crew. That way no one will inadvertently be able to make you feel unwelcome."

Wind whipped at Kixi's bob styled hair, blowing strands of hair including that of her bangs across her pale looking face.

Vinskk thought about it a moment, then frowned. "Vinskk does not understand human's people, but Vinskk will do as human ask to serve human's needs. It will be Trandoshan's pleasure to continue to serve and protect you."

Kixi smiled, and her eyes were warm but secretive. "I thank you dearly for your loyalty Vinskk. I promise you, the rewards that you will gain afterwards will be well worth your efforts – for the both of you for that matter," the Züncålazin advised solemnly. Kixi then turned and both Vinskk and Free-Eyes followed her into the ship. Moments later they were all aboard, and the MXS Morihei Ueshiba had lifted off, leaving Coruscant behind.

 

*****

 

Arden Callis, the Ueshiba's chief engineer was making the calculations for the jump to Lothal. Carefully he inputted the data, and a few moments later the input was on the screen and accepted. "I've set the jump to take us all the way to Lothal." He said to Jhes Je'Kesik, the intelligence officer, third in command who was currently in command of the vessel, and Ālrai Tānien, the helmsman. Then he turned his attention directly to the helmsman, " Do you think there'll be any problem getting there?"

“No, we have more than enough resources and fuel to reach Lothal sir.”

"Good," Arden nodded acknowledging the helmsman and then turning to the intelligence officer. The chief engineer only needed a slight nod from her head to understand that it meant the command to engage the hyperdrive, and send them on their way.

Kixi, who had been standing near a control panel on one of the lower levels of the ship, tumbled back against the wall behind her. But as she fell back, she saw the stars outside become blinding, infinite streaks of light, confirming that indeed they were now well on their way to the Jedi Temple on Lothal.

Kixi now took the time and opportunity to detach herself from her crew, Vinskk, Free-Eyes and the dangerous mission that awaited her. Almost alone in her ship's own personal training dojo, it wasn't long before she found herself duelling with a training droid. Mako safely stood to one side, silently and attentively observing the one woman who determinedly and willingly would stop at nothing for her, vigorously preparing herself for battle.

 

*****

 

The blade of the lightsabre hissed through the air. Kixi Rajki could not see its red gleam through the blindfold pressing on her eyes. She used the Force to know precisely when to duck. The searing heat of her opponent‘s lightsabre blade slashed overhead, nearly burning her. The air smelled like lightening.

"Good!" Mako called from the sidelines of the dojo. "Let go. Let your feelings guide you." The words of encouragement spurred Kixi on. Because Kixi was an adapt Züncålazin challenging only a training droid, it was assumed that she‘d have the advantage in battle.

However the droid's programming had been set to its highest setting, easily making it a match for the agile, quick and cunning Kixi Rajki. She listened intently for the sound of her foe‘s lightsabre, for the faint buzz of its electric circuits, for the scrape of a shoe against the floor. Such sounds echoed loudly in the small, high ceilinged dojo. A random jumble of blocks on the floor added another element to the exercise. She had to use the Force to sense those too. With such uneven ground, it was easy to lose her footing.

Behind Kixi, Mako warned, "Keep your guard up."

Kixi obediently raised her weapon and rolled to her right as her opponent‘s blade slammed down into the floor beside her. She took a small leap back, clearing a pile of blocks. Kixi heard the sing of the lightsabre as her foe attempted a hasty strike motivated by irritation. Good, she thought to herself. Sweat trickled underneath the blindfold, making her eyes sting. Kixi blocked it out, along with her being pleased at her opponent‘s clumsiness. She could imagine herself, a Züncålazin, or Jedi Knight in this galaxy, battling an imaginary creature. The creature had fangs as long as Kixi's fingers. In her mind, Kixi saw the armoured creature glare at her through eyes that were mere green slits. Its claws could easily shred a human. The vision energised her, helped her let go of her fears. In seconds, her every muscle was tuned to the Force. It moved through her, giving her the agility and speed that she needed. Kixi swung her blade up to block the next blow. The attacker‘s lightsabre hummed and whirled down. Kixi leaped high, somersaulting over her attacker‘s head, and thrust her lightsabre down where the beast‘s heart would be.

"Aargh!" The droid simulated pain as it howled in surprised rage as Kixi‘s hot blade struck its neck. If Kixi had been using a real lightsabre instead of her training weapon, it would have been a killing blow. But in training, Kixi only used training sabres set to low power. The touch of the blade only gave a searing kiss.

"That was a lucky blow!" the slightly damaged, but not impaired droid protested.

“Lucky? Nuh you wish you piece of tin trash fucking junk heap. In fact if you really insist, we could spar again and perhaps I'll then really turn you into a junk pile.”

After a long moment, however, Mako said, "All right, hot head. You're arrogance is really shoved so high up your arse that the sun no longer shines there."

“I beg your pardon!" Kixi said placing the palm of her hand upright over her mouth in shock. "After everything I've done for you and am still doing, you dare speak —”

"I appreciate all that you do for me, and I understand how much you love me, my love to you is equally the same, however, underneath all the beauty feminine look of yours, you're an extremely violent person. I'm finding that matter real hard to cope or deal with. You have much to learn than just being an ultimate warrior Kixi. I just hope you realise that before it's too late." Mako said trying real hard to hold her emotions from giving way to tears.

"What is that last part supposed to mean? Too late for what?" Kixi asked still furious at the fact that Mako would dare challenge her.

But Mako simply shook her head. "Never mind, let's just save it for another time. We'll be at Lothal soon and you need to be at your peak level."

"Right." Kixi replied not very convincingly, but decided the better than continue with the discussion.

"Continue with round two I guess, use the blindfold again and try not to turn your training droid into a pile of waste." Mako said switching off her emotions as if nothing had just happened. 

Kixi bowed to Mako, reluctantly accepting the fact that she wish not discuss the problem that she had with her at the moment. Kixi tightened her blindfold. Despite her confidence, she did feel fatigued, but pushed it away, willing her muscles to obey. She again concentrated instead on the image of the big beast, it‘s orange striped fur covered by black armour. Kixi could sense the Force flowing around her, within her. She could feel the presence of the droid opponent, even though not a sentient being, it did create ripples within the Force that surrounded her.

Kixi assumed a defensive stance as the droid lunged. She let the Force guide her as it had done earlier. She blocked the next blow easily. Then she jumped high to avoid another blow and landed behind a pillar. Lightsabres smashed together, sputtered and burned, then whisked apart. The air felt thicker, clogged with the energy of the battle. For long minutes, the two combatants fought as if in a graceful dance. Kixi leaped away from every attack and blocked every jarring blow. She did not try to hit the droid. Kixi was taking the sparring session seriously, as if the droid were a real opponent – and she was right to do so. 'Let the droid see that I‘m not clumsy', Kixi thought bitterly. 'Let the droid see that I‘m not stupid. Let it see it over and over again.'

Sweat began to drench Kixi‘s clothes. Her muscles burned. She could hardly breathe fast enough to get the air needed. She was pushing herself to the limit. Importantly she did not attack in anger, and the Force remained strong with her to not think about the fight. She lost herself in the dance, so weary, she did not think at all. The droid fought slower and slower. Soon, Kixi did leap away from the droid‘s weary attacks. It merely blocked, finally giving up.

"Good", Kixi, Mako called. "You won without turning into an enraged beast and to the good, your training droid is still in one piece." 

Kixi switched off her lightsabre and hung it on her belt. She used the blindfold to wipe the sweat from her face. Next to her, the droid excused itself, walked away and then de-activated itself.

"I'm not anywhere at your level as a fighter, but you see," Mako said, "To defeat an enemy, you do not have to kill. Defeat the rage that burns within the enemy, and they are no longer your enemy . The true enemy is rage. The Jedi of this galaxy are wielders of the light side of the Force. The Dark Jedi and Sith, the dark side. There are no in betweens such as what the Züncålazin like you can be."

Kixi understood what her caring girlfriend meant. Yet something told her that the artefact she sought, now more than highly a Sith device, would require the use of the dark side to have it function. Kixi‘s own glazed glare from a large mirror in the dojo's corner told herself that she had not quite fully defeated her own anger. She would have to travel down the path of the dark first, before she would see the light. That much she was certain about.

Kixi turned to the shomen area of her dojo, got into the seiza position and bowed solemnly. Getting up, she approached Mako and they both held each other in a tight hug for several minutes. "I'm just gonna refresh myself. I'll see you back on the bridge. We shouldn't be too far off our pending arrival at Lothal. Get yourself ready my dear love." Kixi kissed Mako gently on her lips before swivelling around and leaving.

As Mako headed to her alcove, Kixi took a lift to the middle levels of the ship, where the medical facilities were situated at. Doctor Nina Bela, the chief medic greeted her captain surprised to see her in a big sweat. She limped slightly into the medic‘s chambers, a little hurt from the intense training session.

"Your clothes are a little slashed and singed," Nina said raising her eyebrow in surprise. Kixi hadn't noticed as she then for the first time since leaving the dojo, felt the warm oozing of blood running slowly from one of the rips along her shoulder line.

"Just the result of a hard sparring session in my dojo I guess." Kixi said shrugging and not at all phased, sitting down on the examination chair.

"I understand. Well it appears that you're only a little scuffed up. I'll have you all fixed up in no time," the short cute woman said, who's choice of hairstyle was similar to that of her captain's, in that she too wore it as a short bob with bangs. The exception in her case being that hers was tinged in a dark red dye as compared to Kixi's blonde coloured hair. For a doctor, let alone a chief medic, Nina was quite young, on par with the age of her captain, who in turn for a captain was also extremely young. "Just take a breather for about 30 minutes and I'll have you all pimped up again." She said momentarily placing the soft palm of her hand gently on Kixi's cheek, which felt so soothing to Kixi after the intensity of her heated battle.

Kixi then nodded and smiled. Closing her eyes she lay back on the examination chair and meditated in her mind while the doctor did her work. Clearing her thoughts of any conflict, she psyched herself up, reading herself mentally for the infiltration of the Jedi Temple that dangerously awaited her.

 

*****

 

From his position at the helm controls, Ālrai controlled the large vessel. "Coming up to Lothal." He reported as Captain Kixi Rajki, walked onto the bridge, passed her own command chair indicating for Jhes who was seated there to remain there and stay in command, and took position just behind Ālrai's right shoulder placing both her arms crossed behind her back.

"Arden, bring us out of Hyperspace, and park us in orbit." Jhes ordered from the command chair, while the captain continued to face the forward viewport.

"Aye ma'am." He replied, and did just that.

Kixi looked out the viewport, soaking in the image of the vessel exiting hyperspace, re-entering normal space relatively close to Lothal. In the beginning of re-entering normal space, Kixi along with the rest of the bridge crew could see the planet as a small object in front of them, but with the speed they were re-entering at, despite slowing down, meant that it quickly, within seconds, the entire planet had filled the viewport.

When the ship settled into a stable high geo-stationary orbit, Kixi looked out at the planet below, then turned around to face her crew and smiled.

"We're here, finally. You all have already been briefed on the mission at hand, and understand what each of every one of you is responsible for. Our two alien guests are awaiting me at the hangar bay. I, along with them will head down and land close to the temple." Looking directly at Mako, she then started walking for the bridge exit with Mako following. "Mako will follow us in my Cālder mit Arkhan star fighter and remain cloaked and airborne during the entire time." Kixi them stopped at the bridge lift with Mako having taken up position directly behind her. "If anything of urgency comes up, contact Mako first and she will pass the message across to me, as once I'm in the Jedi Temple, contact with me will be at an absolute minimum." In having said that, her crew acknowledged their captain, in which Kixi then shut the lift doors, allowing for both Mako and her to head down to the ship's main hangar bay in which Kixi, Vinskk and Free-Eyes boarded a shuttle, and promptly took off. The shuttle left the Ueshiba's hangar bay, streaking rapidly across Lothal's cloudy atmosphere, with Mako soon following in the Cālder mit Arkhan. Mako proceeded cloaking her ship as instructed, once she had cleared the planet's thick clouds, following the shuttle into the nearby city. She would then circle the area of the city and Jedi Temple, where she would monitor the trio as they underwent their daring attempt to infiltrate the Jedi Temple and slice into their computers.

The original Jedi Temple on Lothal was a location in a snowy region of the planet that was one of many outposts and temples the Jedi established throughout the galaxy. It was one of the few surviving temples that wasn't destroyed when the Galactic Empire came into power. Over time however, as the many centuries passed, with the unprecedented events that followed, the planet became settled by the likes of traders, refugees, migrants, establishing a reasonable sized city not too far from where the original Jedi Temple stood. In fact as the Jedi re-established themselves after their demise to the Sith ruled Galactic Empire of old, the temple on Lothal once more became one of several centres for training and spirituality of the Jedi Knights.

Unlike other buildings in the sprawled out city of Lothal City, the Jedi Temple stood alone. Rebuilt over the last several centuries, it had become pyramid in shape with multiple spires rising skyward from its flat top. It was reminiscent of the once great Jedi Temple that stood on Coruscant during the prestigious days of the once grandeur Old Republic. The temple sat apart from everything at the far edges of the newer settled city. From the temple, the bulkier, sharper edged towers of the city were a reminder that the planet itself was not one of total solitude and isolation. Within the temple were housed the Jedi Knights and their students, the whole of the order engaged in contemplation and study of the Force, in codification of its dictates and mastery of its disciplines, and in training to serve the greater good it embodied – like it had done so for thousands of generations.

 

*****

 

Nighttime had fallen on Lothal, and in the small nearby city where the trio had landed, the streets empty and silent, save for the occasional passing passerby, and the whisper of the wind.

Walking the short distance to the temple, Vinskk was displeased. 'No guns? What if we run into resistance, before we can get back to the ship?' He thought. And he felt ridiculous in his outfit. Sure, what he was wearing was the royal wear in Trandosha, but he was a far call from an aristocrat. The Trandoshan's manners were...subpar, at best. Hopefully he didn't have to talk much, although not many understood his native tongue of Dosh, while given he was a Trandoshan, his poor Basic could be excused. He then turned to Kixi and asked, slightly upset, "What is Human going to be?"

"Ha!" Kixi half laughed sarcastically. "What am I going to be he says." Kixi eyed Vinskk with a dumbfounded look and arms in the air. "How the heck am I supposed to know, I know very little about your galaxy's cultures and people. Perhaps you should tell me what I should be," Kixi frowned at the Trandoshan. "Oh and by the way, don't be concerned about not having your blaster nor that Sith fool possibly having followed us," she said sighing and not hiding the fact that she was annoyed at the lizard being. "You have me to protect you, and I am still armed with my lightsabre and the Force for that matter. And one last thing," Kixi briefly looked up towards the sky and then back down again, "Mako has all our backs covered," she finished speaking with a cocky cheeky grin.

Vinskk stared at here in disbelief. "What the hell are you gonna tell the Jeedai? Never mind them, how are we even going to get past the Temple Guard? They are trained against mind tricks and have no error in their data about who is supposed to be there and not be there." Vinskk said.

"This plan was suicide to begin with." Free-Eyes laughed and added, "Don't worry about it. I got an idea for her. Just, uh, be open to any suggestions, okay? This might be a bit...unorthodox." The Gran chuckled and rubbed the back of his head.

"Ummm," Kixi stopped walking a moment. "This is supposed to be a simple mission right?" All you need to do," she said pointing her arm and hand in Free-Eye's direction, "Is get me those names of Jedi and what they look like etc." She paused briefly and continued. "Once you have it, your bit of work is done. Simple. You then take a back seat," she nodded as a sign of respect to the Gran, "And then I select a suitable candidate for both Vinskk and myself to masquerade as." She could sense what Vinskk was thinking before he could speak. "How? You ask? Well that is not a problem. My people have advanced holographic projectors. We simply clip one of those on our bodies, and then we are made to appear in the exact image of the person or persons we are pretending to be." Kixi said taking in a deep breath. "Then Vinsk and I will go deeper into the temple looking like Jedi," she quickly muttered. "Yeah you're a bit confused. Well although I am a Jedi, but not one of their Jedi.... umm never mind," she shook her own head and continued, "I will then proceed to access the restricted archives in the temple, retrieve at least one of the Sith Holocrons they have hidden away in there, of if that isn't there, information regarding what it is that I seek, and then leave. You see I have it all planned out unlike what I seem to be leading you to believe. So don't worry, it will all work out fine in the end. Trust me."

She then added one last thing. "As long as they don't have any shields protecting the temple, Mako has our backs and will get us out of trouble if we can't get out ourselves. You see, the way transporter technology works, is like this." Kixi looked like an opera maestro at work in the way her arms where moving in elegantly from left to right and up and down in the air as she tired to explain it all to her mission companions. "It locks on to our position, a beam of light will then encompass our entire bodies, it will then break us apart, down to the last atom or molecule and instantaneously take us somewhere else. In this case it will be my starship which you know is currently in a geosynchronous orbit around the planet. Once there, the transporter on that side will re-assemble us atom by atom. It's a quick and seemless experience, and whoever fool attempts to stop us will just see us vanish into thin air." Kixi smiled, cunningly and full of confidence. "So don't worry, just do your part, and I'll take care of the rest if all goes to shit." She gestured once more with her arms and hands in the direction of the temple, "So pretty please, with sugar on top, lets get this over and fucking done with."

Vinskk shook his head and the Gran replied, "I'll do my job and you'll do yours. Just don't get caught, cause I won't bail you out. Maybe Vinskk, but you?"

The Trandoshan turned to look at Free-Eyes and said, "Treat Human as an extension of Vinskk."

Free-Eyes threw up his hands and exclaimed, "Fine! I'll save the whole fucking Hutt Cartel too!"

They reached the entrance to the Jedi Temple, guarded heavily by Temple Guards, armed and trained. "Here we go," the Trandoshan clicked....

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