Prologue: A Task Force Assembled (From the Personal Memoirs of Geldar Tharn)

The current path that I find myself following had it’s beginning with my arrival on Corruscant the first time after my mother’s death. After my recovery from that ordeal, I set out at once to bring my father the news accompanied by my new ally, the trandoshan soldier, Tarrsk. As my account of those events will show, Tarrsk and I found ourselves bonded through the sacrifices of my mother, Kylarra Tharn and forged a mutual respect for one another. That respect has grown toward understanding of sorts and a tenuous, if not loyal friendship. Tarrsk is definitely from the other side of the galaxy in his way of thinking, and I find him hard to read at times, but there is a compassion in him that I sense when he lets his guard down and a desire to understand the light that is rare among his species.

When we arrived on Corruscant, Tarrsk and I were immediately accosted by the Supreme Chancellor’s officers and asked to accompany them to meet with him. Along the way, we were introduced to the others of our group who had also been assembled together to meet with Chancellor Valorum. The entire affair was very secretive and Tarrsk was very edgy about it. All of us were, but I sensed no immediate danger and so we allowed ourselves to be led to the Chancellor’s tower offices.

The others were:

Senator’s Aid, Brin’tac Kyen’tir of Bothwai, a Bothan noble on leave from his political duties while pursuing his families kidnapper believed to be one of these sith apprentices. Though driven to distraction by the loss of his family, the politician has a commanding presence and a level of wisdom that has held our group together through these last weeks of chaos.

Nyarchagga, a Dug bodyguard of sorts for the Bothan who was rescued from Hutt-slavery by Brin’tac and a Jedi Master named Jin Tai Lo (who was leading the investigation of the Kyen’tir family disappearance at the time). Nyarchagga is a scoundrel, but astute with machinery and computer systems that make him an asset to the team.

Satchal Paige, a young human, jedi padawan like myself who was apprenticed to the above mentioned Master Lo. Master Lo was killed by the very enemy they were pursuing who then escaped leaving my old schoolmate lost and alone in the galaxy after having been delivered from the darkness of the sith arts himself many years before by the master who he regarded as a father figure.

Side Note: (Of everyone on the team, I fear most for Satchal. His familiarity with the dark side of the force and his anger at losing his master have combined to work some powerful confusion in his mind that leave him unsteady at times and somewhat unreliable. Yet I see growth in him as well that gives me hope. If only another master would step in and help him to finish his training....)

Tso Guihu rounds out our team as the sixth member. He is a Sullustan employee of the Soru-Suub corporation who’s cargo ship was infiltrated by a mysterious dark figure that slaughtered everyone on board except for Tso who hid himself and watched it all take place. Tso was later suspected of the murders himself, until Master Lo and Brin’tac showed up to speak on his behalf. They believed the killer was the same dark figure they pursued. Tso was cleared, only to find himself reunited with all but the deceased Master Lo months later as he too had been summoned by the Supreme Chancellor.

We were later to discover that Supreme Chancellor Valorum had assembled the six of us as a small task force composed entirely of relative unknowns in order to aid him in his fight against a terrorist group known as the Flail, a subversive organization that had been attacking public utilities on Coruscant in protest of government policies. The groups actions were causing power failures, disruptions in Coruscant’s weather-control systems, and traffic accidents - with no concern for the resulting property damage, injury, or loss of life. Finally, in response to death threats against him and with the council of Master Mace Windu of the Jedi Order, Valorum put together a list of potential candidates for a task force whose job it would be to check out suspected flail activity and , if possible, stop it before it caused any further harm. In addition, this task force would be expected to seek out and put an end to any assasination attempts upon the Chancellor during a speech that he would be delivering in the plaza outside his office building the following day. This was our mission.

I’m not quite certain why each of us with our respective backgrounds as colorful as they were would agree to such a distraction from our personal agendas. Perhaps it was loyalty to the Republic; perhaps it was the Force guiding our paths, but soon we had all agreed and within hours we were heavily equipped and in pursuit of these criminals.

Our investigation led us first to a weather tower where we suspected the Flail would attempt to sabotage some weather equipment. A gunfight ensued and we were able to subdue all of them and commandeer their hover-car. Apparently they had been sent to reprogram the weather modulation so that the atmospheric ionization modulators would reverse and create an electrical storm that could wreak havoc on the plaza and take many lives, including the Chancellor’s.

Our second encounter took place at a nearby air traffic control building where we suspected the Flail would attempt to hi-jack a public service vehicle in order to load it with explosives and remotely pilot it into the plaza. This time we were waiting for them and managed to take down a couple of them before the rest escaped in an air transport! Following Tso’s lead, we pursued them in another transport in an attempt to stop them from reaching the plaza! It was clear that all of their attempts had failed, and with less than 10 minutes before the Chancellor’s speech, they were desperate to reach the plaza and end his life by direct assault if necessary!

The chase wound through the city with the flail trying to lose us in the maze of buildings and platforms. They twisted and turned and dived through and under and over in every conceivable trick they could manage to get away from us on the way, but Tso stayed with them! That sullustan truly doesn’t give himself enough credit. Admittedly, he did lose control at one point which sent us careening into a light building, but under the circumstances, I would submit that it was unavoidable to all but the best of pilots. And I have no doubt that Tso will be one of them. The fact that he brought us through the crash alive says a great deal.

In fact, not only did we survive the unfortunate crash, but he managed to preserve the air transport and continue the chase as well! The flail would have lost us at that point, but we knew where they were going all along and were not far behind. When we arrived at the plaza, chaos reigned as people were running everywhere in fear! The Flail transport had flown right into the center of the plaza and opened fire on the Chancellor’s repulsorlift platform! Valorum’s blue-robed bodyguards were dead, having blocked the innitial attack with their bodies and the terrorists were already dropping down on rappelling cords, apparently to finish the Supreme Chancellor off face to face!

To everyone’s surprise, Valorum had the presence of mind to leap from the main platform in a desperate attempt to reach the next one hovering nearby and escape his attackers. We watched in shock as he hit the other platform, scrabbled for a grip, and then slipped over the side! We thought it was all over at that moment; that we had failed, when we noticed that he was still hanging precariously from the bottom edge of the platform where it appeared his robes had snagged! There he hung, 30 feet from the floor of the plaza, unable to escape!

We had arrived none too soon.

With no time to waste, Tso flew our transport between the two platforms blocking the terrorists line of fire to the Chancellor while the rest of us commenced the fight. Tarrsk and Satchal leapt to the original platform to engage the flail agents hand to hand while I leapt down to aid Valorum. Brin’tac and Nyarchagga exchanged blaster fire with the remaining occupants of the other transport.

Fortunately, we were not the only ones quick to act on behalf of the Chancellor. Another Senator on the second platform was quick to take control and rotated the floating podium so that Valorum was hanging off of the side opposite the terrorists and out of immediate danger. Also, one remaining Senate Guard on the second platform had leaned far over the side to grasp the Chancellor’s hand, preventing him from falling. However, he dared not pull the Chancellor up for fear of exposing him to the blaster fire aimed at him and the senator at the controls of the platform. Fortunately, I was able to provide a third target for the attackers and Brin’tac and Nyarchagga had given them something else to focus on as well which bought us a short reprieve.

The senator began to lower the platform to the ground, but unfortunately, the flail had the same idea and their platform was dropping as well! Thankfully, the crowd had all but fled the immediate area and were not in direct line of fire once we were safe on the floor.

Tarrsk and Satchal seemed to have dispatched most of the terrorists on their platform with the aid of Brin’tac and Nyarchagga who had now abandoned the badly damaged transport above.

Then, to our surprise, a figure dressed in black and yellow robes leapt from the Flail transport, but not onto either of the platforms. Instead the dark figure vaulted to the upper gallery atop the colonnade behind the repulsorlift platforms. Running along the top of the pillared arches he ignited a lightsaber and I felt my blood run cold. I had never truly faced an enemy wielding a lightsaber before and he was coming right toward me.

Fortunately, Satchal saw him as well and leapt to the colonnade even as I did, flanking the enemy, both of us with our lightsabers ignited! It all happened so fast that it now seems a blur in my memory. I remember being rushed by the attacker and then a searing pain in my right leg as his blade grazed me. In the end it was the flanking manuever that Satchal used that stopped him. Our opponent could not defend himself from both sides. My failed attack had been enough at least to distract him long enough for Satchal to render him unconscious from behind before he could finish me off! Fortunately, I was to find out later, the weapon that had struck me was not a real lightsaber, but only an immitation, or the result of that strike to my leg may have been more lethal. As it turned out, even the dark figure himself, the Flail leader named Zegmond Pent, was a phony and not a true dark jedi at all.

Meanwhile, unnoticed by the rest of us, the Flail air transport had drifted away from the plaza on its own, apparently pre-programmed, and had begun to loop around on a collision course with the center of the plaza where people still scrambled to escape the danger. Tso, still in our own transport had seen it and had gone in pursuit. Unfortunately, he soon realized that the battered transport he was piloting did not have the ability to catch the other and altered his course to intercept it’s incoming path instead. With no other way to stop the accelerating vehicle, Tso set his interception course to ram it at the last possible moment before it hit the crowd. His gamble was that he would be low enough to the ground at that point to jump to safety before impact and survive the heroic manuever.

Fortunately, his gamble payed off and he survived to tell us all about it. Many innocent lives were spared by his quick thinking, though the shrapnel from the low flying collision still showered the people with enough metal to cause some serious injuries. Tarrsk and the others, with the help of newly arrived security forces, had subdued the remaining terrorists and all that remained was a trip to the nearest medical facility.

The End

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