Chapter IV



          D’Tan could hear their laughter, as he brushed his long, dark hair out of his face. His friends were celebrating victory, while he celebrated differently.  He couldn’t hear the sounds of their celebration for the simple reason that they might have been next door, for they were far from him, several decks above.  No, D’Tan could hear them because he was stretched out with the Force, and was therefore with his friends.  His friends were foolish, for after this victorious battle, they were almost oblivious to the evil still growing despite this loss of a limb.  D’Tan knew a beast fights most ferociously when it was down, evil was no different.

          He needed to concentrate now.  He was attempting his fifth lightsaber cadence, much like he had learned from Luke Skywalker when he visited his Jedi Academy.  He had set up 180 ball bearings in a circle, placing them two degrees apart, using no measurement devices other than his mind.  He was to use his lightsaber to evaporate each ball bearing in a complex mathematical pattern that he must compute in his head, all while concentrating on the task at hand.  Impossible to human eyes-a challenge to a Jedi.

          He must strike all of these quickly and accurately, not scratching the pedestal on which each ball bearing rested, and without using his hands.  Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.

          D’Tan took a deep breath, and concentrated.  There is no emotion, there is peace.  His lightsaber rose from the floor, and with a snap-hiss, the lightsaber ignited in a purple blade.  There is no passion, there is serenity.  The blade arced in complex patterns, twisting and turning, barely missing D’Tan’s head, but always striking its intended target.  There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.

          An onlooker would have thought him crazy, he’d been called worse over the years.  D’Tan opened his eyes as the last ball bearing was evaporated by his blade.  He opened his hand and his lightsaber powered down in midair.  He guided it with his mind into his open hand.  There is no death, there is the Force.

          He quickly blinked his eyes, then murmured to himself,

          “I scratched two of the pedestals.  That’s not perfect, Master Skywalker would have been disappointed.”

          It was a long time since he’d seen Luke.  Back at the Praxeum, on Yavin Four, where every effort counted.  He must not allow any different here.

          He ran his fingers over one of the damaged pedestals; the scratch was nearly undetectable, unless you knew it was there.

          It was now time to test his promising student, knowing that he would need the training.  He stretched out with the Force and called Cid.  Cid heard him and would be here shortly.

          D’Tan looked out the viewport, and let the Force flow through him and stretched out to the far regions of space.  He could feel the anger out there, the tenseness of a galactic war, the suffering of his allies, and the sacrifices that must be made.  The Force made up them all, and all of it lent its strength to those who could preserve its effects.

          And connected across the vastness of space joined were two Jedi, becoming strong in the Force, and another who uses it for evil, who seeks not to destroy them but to taunt them and to destroy all which they value.  D’Tan’s friends, who would sacrifice it all for the cause they fight for, the preservation of life and peace.

          The door chime startled D’Tan.  For once, he had let his attention slip from his surroundings.  The door slid open, and Cid entered.

          “You summoned me?  Am I early, Master, for I note you have not cleaned up yet?” Cid asked, with a peaceful tone to his voice.

          “Ah, but indeed I have not,” responded D’Tan, “but since you are here, can you tell me which posts I have scratched during my exercise?”

          Cid closed his eyes, and using the Force, he quickly identified the damaged posts.  “There are three damaged.”

          “Three?” D’Tan asked, looking quizzical and raising an eyebrow.

          “Yes, three.  These two are obvious,” Cid said as he indicated towards the ones D’Tan had been aware of, “but this one is only slightly scratched, about .0001 millimeter, to be exact.  You couldn’t even feel it.”

          D’Tan closed his eyes, and sensed the post.  Cid was right, and D’Tan had missed the error.

          “Very good, Cid.  You made an excellent observation to detect this small flaw.  You are very accurate.”

          Cid was humble in taking this compliment.  This is probably what made him such a good technician, for he could sense how much more he could push a system.  D’Tan strode to the cabinet on the wall, and pulled out two objects, Cid’s lightsaber, given to him on Anorax’s ship, by Anorax, and a training remote.

          D’Tan activated the spherical remote, which floated around and buzzed in mid-air as he held Cid’s lightsaber loosely in his hand.  Cid knew this exercise.  Using the Force, Cid snatched the lightsaber from D’Tan’s hand, and as it flew into his own hand there was a snap-hiss, and the bright yellow blade extended.

          Cid’s mind was alert, and he was in a defensive position.  He not only needed to defend against the bolts, but to hit the remote with his blade as well.  D’Tan could control the remote with his mind, sending bolts sizzling towards Cid's undefended areas.

          Cid deflected each bolt, then swung his blade.  D’Tan had predicted he would strike after deflecting them, and the remote was no longer where Cid anticipated it to be.  His hefty swing had left him open and he received a stinging bolt to his arm.

          “Aaagh!” Cid cried, as he tried successfully to parry the next bolts.

          “Don’t leave yourself so open,” D’Tan said, “Through the Force, your blade will be guided, and through the Force you will anticipate your target’s motions.”

          Cid deflected more blaster bolts, and swung during what he thought was a pause, but it really wasn’t.  He attacked when he should have defended.  He caught another bolt to the chest, as he reeled back from the blow and caught his breath.

          “Your opponents will never be very predictable, but use the Force, and you’ll know their actions.”

          Use the Force.  Cid reached out to feel the remote with his mind.  Two blaster bolts came, and Cid swung his blade to the left of the remote.

          Right where he had anticipated it to go.  The remote had swerved right into his blade, shattering it with a small explosion.  D’Tan was impressed.  To defend against an enemy, as well as to get in a good attack of your own with your lightsaber was a skill that took time.  Also, and both he and Cid knew this, if one of those bolts were more powerful, Cid would have been wounded or dead.  If Cid were to ever use this skill in the field, more practice would be required.

          “Come, Cid.  Your exercise went well, but I think it’s time the Admiral would want to see us.”

          “But Master, Admiral Danar has not sent for us yet.”

          “We have yet to receive the request,” D’Tan countered, “But he has sent for us.  The Force tells me that.”

          Cid’s inquisitive mood disappeared as the data display beeped, and a message from the Admiral appeared.

          “You’ll have to show me that trick,” Cid said, shaking his head, with a small grin on his face as he headed to the door.

          “In time, Cid.  In time.”




          “Your time is running out.” Anorax snarled, as Major Toral, seemed to cringe at the Dark Lord’s disappointment, “You were given the data and the resources, and I am expecting results.  Where are the countermeasures?”

          “Sir, we are almost through with construction.  I understand that we are behind the expected delivery date, but we will have them soon, so our plans will not change at all.”

          Anorax contemplated this.

          “You have three standard days for me to see the first wave.”

          “You are gracious, my lord.”

          “Now go.  Captain Delarus.”

          Delarus stepped forward from behind Anorax’s command chair.

          “Yes, my lord.”

          “We may be delayed, contrary to Toral’s predictions.  But we can hit the Angosian still.  Prepare an assault on Peliar Zel.”

          “Sir, they have no threatening resources. It would be more effective to hit where there are manufacturing.”

          “Excellent observation.  But there will be another time.  We will incite fear now, for they don’t know we are weakened now.  Through fear, they will make mistakes.”

          “As you wish, my lord.  Preparations are underway.”

          Delarus turned and left.  Anorax smiled, for everything was going as planned.  The only defense the Angosians had was the strike force, which they would send into a trap.  Anorax laughed out loud at the thought, and the officers were wise not to turn and glare at him, or even question his laughter, as it echoed through the bridge and through the darkness of space.