The room was silent for several long seconds, tension building. Tisto sat at one side of a large desk with Revak standing behind him. Opposite of them were Arcia and Edgar, both seated. Reports lined the desk, outlining something big. Half of them were written by Revak.
“No,” Arcia said clearly. “There is no way I am going to authorize this.”
“You have to be kidding Arica!” Tisto said, slamming his hands into the desk and knocking reports everywhere. “You can’t just say no to something like this. We have the chance to get a decent force on our side, or at least stop them from joining up with enemies in the future.”
“Know your place, Knight Commander,” Arcia replied calmly. “You are asking me to authorize you and the Knights to go find and try to talk to a group of people who we know almost nothing about and, if all else fails, find someway to fight off a number Revak’s reports say would outnumber you seventy five to one. I won’t have the elite team of this House go into a suicide mission.”
“The goal isn’t to fight!” Tisto yelled, his temper getting the better of him. “Besides, we need to take risks. If what I heard is correct, the Iron Throne has been taking on other clans in the brotherhood, and winning. A group of 600 soldiers could help out a lot!”
“Do you hear yourself Kingang?” The Quaster said, still calm. “A group of six hundred mercenaries who have kept secretive enough that you had Revak scouting for a month before he found any trace of them. You will be walking into a slaughter.”
“Please Tisto,” Edgar implored. “I must agree with Arcia in this matter, risking the Knights for such a small group of mercenaries, that by all accounts will try to kill you rather that join you is just too risky. Also the lack of intelligence on this group makes me even more concerned that this will end poorly and at this time we can’t dedicate enough resources to back you up if it does. You will be totally on your own. . Revak paints a pretty strong picture of them, and I must agree with Arcia that this mission is a no go. ”
“Kingang, you are dismissed,” Arcia stated formally. “And this matter is closed.”
“Fine then,” Tisto stated, leaving the room. Revak followed close behind, giving a nod to Edgar and Arcia as the two left.
Tisto and Revak walked down the halls of the ship without a word, before boarding a shuttle back to the Trepus mining Facility. Tisto and Revak entered the cockpit, and took their seats without saying a word. Taking the controls Tisto flew the ship out of the docking bay towards Solyait.
“So,” Revak said. “That was a different response than we expected.”
Tisto remained quiet.
“But I take it you will be bringing the Knights on the mission whether it is approved or not?” Revak questioned.
“What of it?” Tisto said through gritted teeth.
“Nothing,” Revak replied. “Chris might be tough to convince, but I’m sure the others will follow you. Granted, I don’t think Arcia will like it.”
“We aren’t going to go right away Revak. I am going to wait a bit for things to die down, then pilot us to Nar Shaddaa to track down these mercenaries,” Tisto stated.
“That is probably a good call,” Revak said. “Should I find us a ship for when you decide to get us off planet for this mission?”
“Of course, Revak.”
As the shuttle carrying the Knight Commander and Revak departed the Vision heading back towards the planet, the Aedile took another look at the mission reports. He noticed something that he had missed before. Tisto had apparently run into this group a long time ago, in an incident that ended with a dead male Kiffar. Edgar took this part of the report and showed it to Arcia.
“So what should we do with this information, since it wasn’t brought up,” he asked.
“We shouldn’t tell Tisto. Let’s assume he already knows, and do our best to avoid him going against orders,” Arcia replied. “As stubborn and reckless as he is, he is a good leader, and I would rather he didn’t die trying to take out some kind of revenge scheme.”
Tisto and Revak landed the shuttle right outside the Trepus Mining Facility. Tisto left Revak to gather a few people. He walked across to the Transfer station, entering the troops workshop. The five minute walk to gave Tisto time to think and come up with a plan. Chris was the newest Knight, and the one most likely to resist a mission behind the books. The biker also felt that there was something Revak didn’t tell him.
“He has to have good reasons for that,” the Biker said to himself.
The Transfer station was devoid of people, with Bell off training with Zoya, the troops off in the mess of the mine. Tisto smiled as he entered the warmed room. He pulled up several stools, setting them up in a pentagon. Waiting for the group Revak was bringing, he picked up a hydrospanner and moved to a half put together engine sitting on a workbench on the far side of the room. He placed his leather jacket off to the side, and began to work on the engine.
Working on it he lost track of time, completely absorbed in his work. His mind flashed back to his childhood, recalling how he joined his old gang. Everything flooded into his mind, working on swoop bikes with his old friend Lucia, his first gang war, and waking up from a coma to find Lucia had built him a swoop of his own.
His thoughts drifted to his first swoop race, and how it put him on the path to the Force. His first victory winning him an old holocron, his quest into the Force to protect his friends, building his lightsaber with Lucia and finding his way to New Tython. New Tython was fraught with dangers he never expected. A few days after arriving, he found himself in a war zone, almost all of his gang dead, fighting alongside Jedi and soldiers alike against various foes. Lucia had died in that fight, killed by the person who had started the entire event, Torrek Marth.
Anger surged through the Knight Commander at the memory, the pain of the event still fresh in his mind. Alongside the anger came disappointment, and a feeling of failure as Tisto remember how he failed to save the girl who had been his life long friend. Tisto and the small group he had fought alongside killed Torrek during the battle, and Tisto was given leadership of the ‘Knights of Allusis’.
Of course that isn’t all that had happened, Tisto thought, his mind wandering yet again. New Tython wa—
“Tisto,” came a familiar voice, snapping the Knight Commander back into reality.
Tisto glanced at the engine, now three quarters of the way finished, though showing several long scratches that wouldn’t affect its performance. He then looked to the source of the voice. Standing behind him was the green squidman, Raiju. The Nautolans charcoal black left hand was on the Kiffar’s shoulder, his face showing concern.
“Raiju,” the Kiffar said. “You startled me. Is everyone here?”
“We have been here for five minutes,” Raiju stated, gesturing the the group of three standing behind him. “Where were you just now?”
“I was back at Tanduran,” Tisto replied.
Raiju nodded, having heard about the battle, and walked with Tisto to the center of the room. The two each too a seat, facing the others.
Opposite of Tisto sat the newest member of the Knights, Seth Danner. He and Tisto had gotten along quite well, despite Tisto’s remarks about how Seth’s hat would just get in the way. The two often shared stories of the past, before finding their ways to this group of Jedi and soldiers.
To Seth’s left sat Revak, and to Seth’s right was the team’s resident pirate. Trideo nodded to Tisto, the two having served together since the battle at Tanduran. Tisto trusted his life to Suur’s tactics many times over their short acquaintanceship.
The five sat in silence for a second before Tisto spoke. “We have a lot to do, and not much time to get it done in boys,” he said solemnly. “There is an group Arcia and Edgar simply don’t understand and I need the Knights.”
“Oh?” Suur asked, pensively. “Anything we should know about them?”
“It is a mercenary group known as the Red Plagues,” Revak spoke up. “There are about six hundred of them in total, and from my time gathering evidence along with Lambow I would estimate that they have the ships necessary to move around.”
At this Seth, Raiju, and Suur all looked at each other.
“I have covered many corners of space,” Raiju began. “I haven’t heard of this group once.”
Suur and Seth nodded along with Raiju’s comment.
“I met them once with my old gang,” Tisto said. “They are very secretive.”
“It is still six hundred people,” Seth said. “That is tough to keep secret in general.”
“It took Lambow and I one month to even get wind of them,” Revak replied. “They keep themselves well hidden. I guess six hundred due to the fact they are this hidden.”
“So,” Suur asked, “It could be anywhere from ten to ten thousand in theory? And are we supposed to fight them?”
“I don’t want to,” Tisto replied. “I hope we can get them on our side, but we should be prepared for a fight.”
“That is still… seventy five to one,” Seth said incredulously. “If Revak’s estimates are correct.”
“That won’t be a problem if we are smart about it,” Tisto replied. “In gang wars when out numbered you take down the biggest threats first. The peons fall after that.”
“Then again, where would we find them?” Suur asked.
“Presumably on Nar Shaddaa. They have a meet there once every two weeks, though the location is almost never the same. They stay there for a day or so, before heading off.,” Revak answered. “I assume they do the same on other planets. However, what I have noticed is that they don’t bring their full force, only around fifty to one hundred. Even so, that would be a challenge.”
“That isn’t the biggest issue,” Tisto stated. “Chris is. I don’t know how we could convince him to go along with this plan.”
“Don’t tell him everything then,” Raiju replied. “Or tell him just enough.”
“I don’t think he trusts us,” Revak responded. “Since we are taking time to plan things out and get ready, maybe we should take the time to get on his good side, so he won’t go and spill anything to Arcia.”
“There is also the issue of getting there,” Seth stated. “I could probably get a few transports timed down, but we would want to be together. And with the war and training we have had recently, we would want to leave almost together if we do different ships.”
The five of them were talking for hours, discussing logistics, when the door opened. Soldiers poured into the room, inspecting the gear. Tisto nodded at the others, and walked out through the soldiers, all of them nodding respectfully to the Knight Commander.
Tisto jumped onto his bike right next to the doors and flew off towards the Akux Sea. Loose snow flew to either side pushed by the antigrav tech in the bike. He covered the seven kilometer journey with speed, the journey only taking a minute. He slid to a stop just before the sea, pushed right to the edge of the mostly inland water source by inertia. Snow flew from the side of the land, and landed into the water, quickly melting.
Tisto hopped off the bike, and sat by the large mass of water. It always seemed to calm him some, and considering what he was planning, he wanted to be as calm as possible. He stared at his reflection, looking at it as a path he could have take in life. If he had never made his way to New Tython, he would still be the head of a swoop bike gang. Lucia would still be alive, but Bell would probably still be in slavery. New Tython would have been destroyed, meaning the family he gave his bike to could have died. At the same time he could have found his way to New Tython sooner. He had hesitated back then, waited an entire year before joining the Jedi. What could have happened had he joined them then and actually became a Jedi.
As he did, something welled up within him. Emotions flashed through his mind as everything turned to black. He felt pain, fear, anger, and most disturbingly a sense of calm control. He tried getting more information, but there was nothing, no sights or any information he could gather. His eyes shot open as the vision ended, in time for him to see the water directly in front of him.
Tisto landed face first in the Akux Sea. He tried to get up from the water, but his hands only slid down the ice next to him. Panicking he began to flail about, until a hand reached in to pull him up. As Tisto was lifted above the water, he took a breath of air, nearly winded from his efforts.
“Frak it, Tisto!” he heard a familiar female voice say. “Don’t die on me”
“He is a man,” he heard another female voice say. “Don’t be too surprised.”
“Bell…” Tisto gasped. “Thanks.”
“What happened?” Bell asked, “How did you end up in the water?”
“I just said why,” the other voice, Zoya, stated testily. “He is a man.”
“Not helping Zoya,” Bell said under her breath.
“I saw something,” Tisto replied. “I don’t know ow to explain it.”
“In the water?” Zoya remarked with a scoff.
“No,” Tisto replied. “Through the Force. I could sense a bunch of different emotions. I don’t know what it meant though.”
“That you are having man problems?” Zoya asked, narrowing her eyes.
“Zoya,” Bell said quite exasperatedly. “Now isn’t the time. What did you feel?”
“A lot of darkness,” he said. “But there was something else, a calm. A strange sort of calm.”
Zoya gave Bell a strange glance, and said, “The water has addled his brain.”
A cloaked something stood on the docks of Nar Shaddaa. It had a short figure, like looking a young human male, but he stood with the confidence of a veteran. His cloak was grey, and covered him entirely. His face was hidden within the shadow of his hood The figures cloak blew in the wind as a pink skinned female Zeltron approached with a data pad.
“Anything new to report?” the figure said in a smooth male voice.
“The one’s you are looking for seem to have vanished sir,” the zeltron replied. “Why do you want to know anything about them though? All the information I could find on the Zabrak and Wookie leads me to believe they are just tourists.”
“I saw something about New Tython being destroyed,” The figure said. “I believe they lived there. If they are alive then maybe it’s possible the scar survived. Besides, I have seen them arriving in my visions. I would like to see the scar once more, and see how he is doing. It has been interesting watching that one grow up.”
“I don’t know why you found interest in that biker, let alone put a prize of a saber crystal for a race you knew he would win,” the Zeltron replied.
“He and I have an enemy in common. Besides, I have seen what happens. He and I are intertwined for a while to come.”
General Titus looked at the datapad in his hand. On the screen was an image of Revak and one of Tisto. Both were labeled as dead, the cause of death being the destruction of New Tython. He pushed a button on his desk.
“Bring me Rlein,” he said. “The information he gathered could have been of more use than he thought. Maybe even more profitable.”
He removed his finger from the button.
“Jedi, then? This could be a very interesting turn of events,” he said to himself.