weetuskenraider: (Have a Bad Feeling About This)
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Two Jedi, encircled by thirty Yuuzhan Vong warriors moving toward them at a rapid rate -- it didn't take a Givin to know those were bad odds. "Remember, you're supposed to be training me," Tahiri said, turning to stand back-to-back with Corran. "What does the wise Jedi do in a situation like this?"

"The wise Jedi avoids situations like this," Corran said.

"Oh," Tahiri replied dryly. "I guess I don't know any wise Jedi, then. Very disillusioning."

"Right. And that's your lesson for the day-don't hang on to your illusions."

She felt for the power stud of her lightsaber. "I was hoping more for a crash course in 'how to kick butt when you're outnumbered thirty to two.'"

"Well, if you're going to be picky about what I teach . . ."

Everything happened pretty quickly after that. Nom Anor yelled a warning, the ground shook, Zonama Sekot's pain rippled through the Force and them, and right on top of that came a blast of laserfire that blew large swaths of the surrounding warriors away.

It was the Jade Shadow -- Tahiri felt a little twist of pain on Ben's behalf -- and Luke, Jacen, and Saba Sebatyne leapt out of the ship before Mara took it back up and began to blast more warriors. These were much better odds, and Corran and the others began to engage the remaining warriors, but Tahiri ignored them, more interested in tracking Nom Anor. He was too busy dodging the Jade Shadow's fire to pay any attention to her in his flight toward the Yuuzhan Vong ship, but still several meters ahead of her, just in time to make it onto the landing ramp before it began to retract.

Tahiri yelled out a Yuuzhan Vong war cry and threw herself into a high Force-assisted leap, slashing her lightsaber out at his head as she landed. He ducked and her blow cut into the yorik coral hull, then began to scramble away. She started to follow him, only to get thrown off the landing ramp when the ship lifted off abruptly with the Jade Shadow in hot pursuit.

At least the last two crash landings had involved her being in a ship. Ow. And ow again, as another wave of Sekot's pain hit her through the Force. She wasn't stunned, though, and she could see that all the warriors looked like they were dead. Saba was at the edge of the clearing . . . and Corran, Luke, and Jacen were heading her way.

"Tahiri." That was Jacen, who'd been the first to reach her. "Are you okay?"

"Nothing broken, I think," she said, trying to wave him off, but he reached out to wrap her in a crushing hug. At least the pain was a good excuse to flinch and pull back.

"I let him get away," she murmured. "After all that, I let him get away. And now Sekot will die."

"Die?" asked Luke. "Do you two understand what's going on here? What's wrong with Sekot?"

Over Jacen's shoulder, Tahiri saw a shaft of blue light suddenly leap from ground to sky, appearing from somewhere near the hyperdrive. It lasted only a second. She realized what it was, and was about to shout a warning --

"Down!" Corran beat her to it. "Cover your ears."

They all dropped just before the shockwave hit, accompanied by a scorching hot wind and Jacen demanding, "What was that?"

"The ship's drive," Corran explained. "Nom Anor must have sabotaged it somehow."

"Nom Anor?" Luke was staring at them both now. "What?"

"That's a long story," Corran said, "one that I would like to tell. But I don't think I'm going to get the chance if we don't get out of this area, and quickly."

That happened soon enough; Mara was already on her way back to pick them up, and they all got onto the ship gladly. Tahiri half wanted to go find the Z-95 Headhunter she and Ben had talked about at Flight Club just before she'd left on this mission, but she was too tired, and she and Corran owed the others an explanation. Mara had alerted the Imperial Remnant frigate in orbit, and they should be taking care of the Yuuzhan Vong ship, and as it turned out, Luke, Mara, Jacen, and Saba hadn't known they were there; they'd just sensed the planet's pain, and come to find out what was wrong. Either way, Tahiri wasn't arguing -- but the planet's hyperdrives were going crazy, sending massive blue beams of energy tearing through the atmosphere.

It was driving the Jade Shadow's instruments crazy, so they settled the ship in a sheltered ravine, hoping to wait it out. If the planet ever came back out of hyperspace, now that Nom Anor had sabotaged the drives.

Tahiri looked up, saw streaks of light instead of a starry field, and shivered. She was on a planet with hyperspace for a sky. No matter which of her backgrounds she chose to filter that information through, that was all wrong. She was only half listening to the conversation, contributing to the explanation whenever she could.

"That could explain it," Luke was saying about how their hybrid Sekotan/Yuuzhan Vong ship must have evaded the Jedi's ability to locate them, and a new voice interrupted.

"It certainly explains it," said the female and familiar voice; everyone turned to look, and Tahiri sucked in a breath.

"Nen Yim?"

"No," said the being wearing Nen Yim's shape. "This one has passed on. I found her attached to my memory -- her, and much information concerning her technology -- and the ship that brought you here. The modifications she made to the ship are interesting. I may experiment with the design, should we survive this."

Before Tahiri could ask, Jacen turned to her and said, "This is Sekot. The living intelligence of the planet."

"I--" She supposed it was unreasonable to expect either the Jedi academy or Fandom High to have classes that dealt with the social protocols of introducing yourself to a planet. "I'm pleased to meet you." Oh, Force, that sounded lame.

If Sekot thought so, it didn't let on, instead saying gravely, "And I you, Tahiri."

Luke was more fixated on something else, though. "Should we survive? what happened, exactly?"

"I was infected with a virus designed to corrupt the information-transfer system that links my consciousness to the hyperdrive. I believe the intended result was a core explosion. I managed to prevent that, but was unable to stop our jump to hyperspace. I have excised the virus and am regaining control as we speak, but it is difficult."

"Do you have any idea of our destination?"

"None," Sekot said. "The jump was blind. Eventually we will pass close enough to a gravity well to be pulled out."

"Our friends in orbit," Luke asked. "Do you know what happened to them?"

"They did not make the jump with us," Sekot replied. "Whether they were destroyed, left behind, or pulled off onto another vector, I cannot say."

Tahiri dropped her head into her hands. "I'm sorry. I brought him here. I argued for it, and now everything's ruined."

"You weren't the only one who thought it was a good idea," Corran interjected, putting his hand on her shoulder. "Everything always looks clearer in hindsight. You came here for all the right reasons: to end the war, to somehow find common ground between us and the Yuuzhan Vong. I thought we could handle the situation. I was wrong."

"I will not say I am happy to find myself sabotaged and in danger of destruction," Sekot-as-Nen Yim said ruefully, "and yet what you brought with you, the shaper and her knowledge, are of great importance. I do not entirely understand, and will not speak of it now, but I suspect the questions raised are the most important questions I shall ever have to ask myself. Now if you will excuse me, I must return my full attentions to preserving us all through what is to come. I suggest you find sturdy shelter in the caves."

"Thank you," Luke told her, "and may the Force be with you."

"More than ever," Sekot said, "I believe that it is." The semblance of Nen Yim disappeared.

It wasn't long afterward that the stars reappeared.

[OOC: Yep, still NFI/NFB/OOC-okay. For the last time, adapted from The Final Prophecy by Greg Keyes. Yeah, I love that first bit way too much to put it behind a cut. Yes, Friday, shut up. I meant to hit post two hours ago.

. . . and now, straight on to The Unifying Force starting Sunday. I'm so sorry, but there was just no way to break them up.]
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Tahiri Veila

July 2013

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