“So what do you think he’s planning this time?” Vez asked no one in particular; the collected members of Tython Squadron - sans Agate who was on some sort of meditation retreat - were marching through the halls of the Praxeum to meet their CO at the hangar.
“Knowing the captain?” Talis responded, looking as though he were recalling a particularly irritating memory. “Something poorly though out, and likely to get us all killed.”
“And yet,” Raziel piped in. “It will somehow prove reasonably successful in the end.”
“That’s the worst part,” Talis groaned. Nijalah placed a sympathetic hand on the miraluka’s shoulder.
Vez hummed. “What about you, new girl?’ she asked, nodding towards Elyon. Their newest recruit had been trailing behind the rest of the Squadron in silence. “You ever worked with the captain before?”
“Ah… once,” the young Jedi said quietly. “It was… interesting.”
“She means it was a catastrophe,” Raziel responded, remembering the disastrous mission to Moraband. “All for a damn hat, Jon.”
Talis frowned. “What are you two talking–”
“Ah, my friends!” a jovial voice interrupted them as they rounded the corner. Sure enough, there was “Captain” Jon Silvon, leaning against the hangar-bay door. Waiting behind him was the silver-and-gold R3-unit, Artemis. “I am so glad to see you all!”
“You sound happy,” Talis said aloud, as the Squadron congressed around the door. “Too happy. It makes me worried.”
“That’s because I have something to show you all!” Jon announced, grinning broadly.
“Now we’re very nervous,” Vez commented. “And why is the hangar door closed?” It wasn’t usual for the heavy blast doors to the hangar to be down unless someone was actively taking off inside, and they’d be able to hear it from here if that were the case.
“Because I don’t want to ruin the surprise,” Jon said.
“Does this have something to do with the Light?” Nijalah asked. As soon as the question was asked, the Captain immediately sobered. The mischievous glint in his eye faded, and he stood at his full height. Reaching into his pack, he pulled out a copper-colored sphere, crisscrossed with grooves reminiscent of ancient, pre-hyperspace star charts. The map.
“Yes,” Jon announced. “But only indirectly.”
“What does that mean?” Talis asked. “Are we going after the next trial or not?”
“You have located it,” Nijalah said. “Right Jon?”
After the Trial of Faith, and the battle against the Sea Raven Raiders, the Squadron had expected to immediately set out for the next Trial - until the Collective decided it would be an excellent time to invade the Arx system, and then the entire Brotherhood was forced to drop whatever they were doing and deal with that mess.
After their return to Kiast though, there had been a sudden… lull. Jon was inexplicable running around the system doing Force-knew what, the Raiders had retreated and hadn’t been heard from since, and no mention of the map, or the Light Of Ki’Asma had been made.
Then, out of the blue, he summoned the entire Squadron, as well as Raziel and their fresh recruit Elyon, to the Praxeum. To say they were curious, and a few of them anxious, would be an understatent.
“I have,” he said at last, slipping the map back into his pocket. “But we’re not going after it. Yet.”
Jon paused for the expected outcry, but all he got were silent stares. They were waiting for him to go on. Jon nodded.
“Ok, short version? After the Raiders crashed the party on Kaerls while we took the Trail of Faith, it became pretty clear that they were gonna keep coming after us as long as we’re after the Light.”
“Naturall,” Talis interjected. “Rhon Ya thinks if can get it, he can stage his own little revolution.”
“He might be right,” Raziel said. “You all saw what happened with the Vatali a few months ago, how much damage the Admiral did. If this pirate can get a symbol that powerful under him, even if it’s just a symbol, he could get the same kind of support.”
“Which is why,” Jon interrupted. “We’re not going to keep playing scavenger hunt with them. We’re going to take the Sea Raven Raiders off the board first, then go and find the ship. Without the added competition.”
Vez’s eyed widened in realization, and a grin split her emerald face. “We’re going to attack the pirates’ where they live?”
“Yes, my blood-thirsty green compatriot,” Jon nodded, some of the glimmer coming back into his face. “We are hitting them where they live!” Jon rested his hand on Artemi’s transparent dome, “Now that we know where they live, that is.”
The astromech projected a hologram of an asteroid. Zooming in, it revealed an iron door built into the surface.
“That’s what you’ve been doing all this time,” Talis said. “You’ve been running around trying to find out where the rats have holed up.”
“They were better at covering their tracks than I thought,” Jon nodded. “After Ogg defected and brought us the map, they abandoned all their previous holdings and went to ground. Called in every underworld favor I could before getting lucky. Now I know where the Raven’s Nest is.”
Elyon tilted her head. “Raven’s Nest? They don’t actually call it that?”
“No, I made that name up myself,” Jon said absentmindedly. “I think it’s rather poetic.”
“All of which is fascinating,” Raziel interjected. “But it doesn’t explain why we’re discussing this in the hallway.”
“Ah!” Jon exclaimed, just before he about-turned began typing on the door keypad. “Much as I hate to admit it, my beloved Carnival was simply not up to the task of sustained combat. Lovely she may have been, but a fighter she was not.”
The doors slip open with a hiss, to reveal the collected ships and fighter’s of Tython Squadron, and in the middle of them all, was a bright-red ship, of a model all too familiar to anyone who ever spent time in the world of bounty hunters.
“You bought a Boba Fett ship?” Vez exclaimed.
Jon laughed aloud. “Ladies and gentleman - and Vez - I present to you all, the Grand Carnival!”