ACT 9 With new friends made, and the victory over the Neimoidians for control of The Ark, DarkRula plans for numerous events. He knows the first thing he needs to do is report to the Jedi Council. Sending out a signal requesting the full council for a report, DarkRula waits in the conference room, with The Doctor stood by his side. The Dalek command had disappeared, and so had the Mandalorians. One Dalek though, remained captured after its battle with the natives of one particular planet.
It's systems activated. It had no idea where it was, only that it could only look around. It's weapon could not be fired. It started to dawn on it that it was trapped within some energy bindings of a type it was unfamiliar with. Hanging a few feet above the air, it slowly rotated, giving it a full view of the room it was held in. This room was sand yellow. The walls looked like they were made from a steel, as were the floor tiles. There was only one door into the square room. There was only one light, hanging directly above it. Dalek Rizon came to the realisation it was trapped. It didn't feel fear - that was for lesser mortals. It didn't feel angry - there was no need to. It only felt a mingling disappointment that it was trapped here while it's kin were out in the action. The door opens and a man walks in. Dalek Rizon's eye stalk swivels to look at this man. Dressed in simple robes, he carried himself with the air of an important man. His face was sharp, and when he spoke, it was in a deep and commanding voice. "Ah. So you're awake," he says. "Good. I am Thalos, leader of this planet." "You would be exterminated on sight if I had the power to," Dalek Rizon retorts, it's monotone mechanical voice conveying menace. "What do you want with me?" "Ha. Ha. Ha. I am not your enemy. I merely want to know what you are doing here, and what you plan to do." "I am trying to contact the main of my group, so I can return to them." Dalek Rizon didn't feel the need to hide information from this human. If he could arrange things, Rizon would soon be the rightful leader of the planet, leaving this man without a scrap of power. "So, you completely destroy and take command of a communications network just to contact some friends. Hmm. Interesting. We could have easily arranged that for you, had you only asked." "Daleks do not ask for help from lesser mortals. Let me down and allow me to continue contacting command." "Ha! Do you really think I arranged all this protection and not know how powerful you are? You really expect me to let you down, when the first thing you'll probably do is kill me and be on your way? No. I don't think so." Rizon was surprised at that remark. This human was tactful, and strategic. He would indeed be most useful, if Rizon could get the tides to turn the right way. "I will, however," Thalos continues, "allow you contact from within here. I'm sure it couldn't hurt." "Hurry up and get on with it," Dalek Rizon commands. The man bows and exits the room. Rizon is left waiting, continuously spinning on the spot where it was bound, until Thalos again walks back into the room. He was carrying equipment, and set it on the floor. It consisted of a mechanical box and a disk with a wire attached to it. Placing the disk on top and attaching the wire into the mechanical box. "So who are we contacting?" Thalos asks. "What frequency?" Dalek Rizon reeled out the frequency he had memorized from his last contact. The code made Thalos look up. "The Mandalorians? Your command has made contact with them?" "We are now the leaders of these Mandalorians, and accept nothing less from them than total servitude." Thalos looks back down and enters the code without saying anything. "Now go. And don't listen in." Thalos bows and leaves as the connection is made. A voice rises from the communication unit. "Who is this?" "I am Dalek Rizon. Allow Dalek Zane or Dalek Volk to speak." "I'll go get them." The voice sounded fearful now it knew who was speaking. Zane and Volk seemed to have done a good job to placate them. It took a minute before Zane spoke. "Dalek Rizon. I was wondering when you'd get back in contact with us." "I have been captured by the leader of this planet," Rizon says. "But I plan to turn him to our cause. He will make a useful ally." "That is good. We have made contact with The Doctor, though he escaped and has a Jedi escort." "I understand you have been setting up numerous traps for The Doctor," Rizon asks. "Have you succeeded in any of them?" "We haven't set any traps since our first were foiled by the Jedi," Dalek Volk spoke up. "Now The Doctor is indeed here, we plan to continue making traps. We killed one of the Jedi, and as we understand it, he was the higher of the two. We suspect we'll have no trouble following this up and finally defeating The Doctor once and for all. What are your plans?" "You will have to see. After I have the leader, moving around unperturbed will not be a problem." "Contact us again when this plan of yours is finished. We will have to see what we can do with it." The transmission ended. Daleks weren't known for long drawn-out ending messages, if they gave them at all. Dalek Rizon raised its voice. "You may return." Thalos walks back in. Dalek Rizon could tell he had something on his mind, but could tell nothing else. "So, after that chat with your command, I wonder if you have had any more thoughts about what I said before," Thalos asks. "About you being willing to join with me. We would make a great partnership, I can tell." "I would be willing," Dalek Rizon states. "Good." Thalos gestures and the bindings holding Rizon disappear. Rizon manages to stay stable using its hover mode. Gently falling, it lands next to Thalos. "Though I have said I will join you," Dalek Rizon says. "Make no mistake. It is you who are joining us. Any deviation from that command and you will be exterminated." "As you wish. Master." "Any avoidance or hindering of my commands and you will be exterminated." "Yes. Master." Dalek Rizon found he didn't need to say any more. All that mattered was when the time came, Thalos would help the Daleks to conquer The Doctor once and for all. This planet was now a trap in itself, and he had preparations to make. Moving throughout the building, which he came to note as a palace of some kind, hardly anyone moved within the halls. Those that did gave no sign they had recognised him. Rizon paid no attention to the detail of the place he moved, only the directions. He found that he had made a full circle while slowly moving upwards. From the cell to a small circular room, where a load of other cell doors were dotted around, to a large rectangular lobby. At the other side was a corridor, which looped to the right while sloping upwards. Then a sparse expanse of a room with other doors leading off it. The main double doors were larger than the rest, and these led outside, where the brightness of Tatooine's twin suns bleached the landscape. There wasn't much to see on this planet, Rizon notes, though he found that the palace itself was built on a vertical drop that cut travel easily. Though he didn't want to see the full expanse of the palace, he knew there must be at least three levels to it. And this building wasn't the only part of Dalek Rizon's plan. He had others, that would soon be coming into effect. And they would help the Dalek command achieve ultimate victory. Scanning for the nearest town, Dalek Rizon moves away from the palace, heading in a straight line for the nearest signs of life.
Ilum was the same as ever. The frigid wind storms blew across the surface of the planet, making sure the temperature never rose above freezing. The landscapes were frozen as crystal. And the Jedi Temple of Ilum still stood. The Council Chamber was empty apart from one. A Lurmen. Kanar Tee Vol sat in the chair specifically made for him, eyes closed, locked in thought. A meditative stance while sat allowed him to better concentrate. He was thinking about current events. Since Golden and Kronis had last been here, all those years ago when Golden had first been made Kronis' padawan, not much had changed to the membership of the Council. Two members had left, and two more had filled their places. He was one of the main, as was Zabaran, and so they would stay until they handed leadership over. The door of the chamber opens, and Zabaran walks in. A red-skinned Zabrak, sharp featured and wearing robes of black, this Jedi had been friends with Kanar Tee Vol for a long time, since before they had been padawans themselves. Growing up in the Temple as younglings, they had both been competing against each other. Now that they were masters, and much wiser, any competitive streak had been driven from them. Zabaran sits down in a chair next to Tee Vol, and looks at him before asking "You look troubled." His voice is deep, but smooth. "There has been a darkness. A darkness settling itself within the Force. I have felt it for a day now, growing stronger." "I have felt it also, but there is a full council meeting. Is this really that important to discuss in session?" "The Jedi Golden requested the full council in session," Tee Vol states abruptly. "That is what this session is about. He will be calling in a few minutes." "He must have something important to be discussing. But why would he request the council. Why not Kronis?" "That is something I hope to find out. We have no idea what has happened, but from our talks with Kronis before Golden's promotion, it seems Golden himself was elsewhere." "Not on board the ship?" "The Trade Federation possibly had their reasons for splitting them." "But the Federation-" Zabaran starts, before Tee Vol holds a hand up to stop him. Three other members of the council walk in and take their respective seats. All three are human. Once they were seated, three more walk in. A Rodian, another Zabrak, and a Muun. The last four of the council file in minutes after. A Twi'lek, a Gungan, a Weequay, and another human. When all were seated, Tee Vol calls the session open and explains who they are waiting for. After the explanation, a sound starts up from the middle of the circular chamber, and a hologram emitter activates. Stood in the middle of the floor was now Max Golden. And stood behind him was another man none of them knew. Kronis was nowhere to be seen. "This is Jedi Protector DarkRula reporting in," he spoke. Tee Vol and Zabaran look at each other. There had obviously been a lot of events between the last call to Kronis and now. And this meeting was hopefully going to clear all that up. "Well, we are all here," Tee Vol states, "so what is it that you want to discuss with us?" "During action in the system of Gamor, General Kronis was killed," DarkRula recites in a toneless voice. "He was killed by a new threat that has risen. This new threat being Daleks." "And what exactly are Daleks?" Zabaran asks. "They're sort of droids, but not. They aren't from anywhere we know, anyway. Their armour is massively strong, as is their weapon. We can't harm them, but they can do massive damage to us, as they have done." "And Kronis was captured by these things?" Tee Vol inquires. "Yes." The word was terse. "And where were you when this action was going on? Kronis made you his Protector, so you should have been at his side." "I was out of action on Kallidah. The ship I was using had taken massive damage, and the repairs took a long time." Tee Vol sensed that Golden was trying to keep his voice as formal as possible, keeping locked within darker thoughts. He was interested in knowing just what they were about. "And why didn't you rush there in another vehicle and pick up your ship after the battle?" "Kronis wasn't in the battle then. He was still patrolling the Duluur sector where no action took place. Once repairs had finished, I checked in again and made to his location, and that was when the battle started. Just as I set off. And though the ship was repaired, it wasn't done very well. I couldn't use maximum power and so was delayed." "And where exactly had you come from?" "The Trade Federation had tasked me and a strike team to Naboo." Tee Vol visibly jumped at the mention of the Trade Federation, and looked slowly to Zabaran, who looked at him. The mention of that name was sure to bring with it things they didn't want uncovered. "There we were to discover what the Naboo leadership were up to, in contacting unknown parties." Tee Vol didn't look at Zabaran, but knew that he was thinking the same thing. As far as they were aware, Naboo had had no dealings with any unknown parties. The conversation was veering to a place the Jedi didn't like to discuss, and there seemed to be no way to pull the conversation away from that subject. "We encountered a cyborg Zabrak and, though I destroyed him, we had a bit of trouble escaping the planet." "It was this Zabrak who the Naboo were contacting?" Tee Vol asks. "We have no idea, but it makes me wonder why the Trade Federation had me go there in the first place. I know they don't like me, but what is the overall history of the Jedi and the Trade Federation? Why was Kronis a part of it in the first place?" It had arrived. And now they had to speak very carefully indeed. Tee Vol looks around the Council Chamber, noting as he did the subtle touches of nervousness among the other Jedi. They all had a history with the Federation - some more than others. Golden had not been informed of any of it though, and they weren't about to start here. Tee Vol looks back to the centre where the hologram of Golden stood, and made it look as though he had been waiting for someone else to start. He then began. "Well, the Federation had been in a tight spot once upon a time, and Kronis had done them a favour. They repaid that favour by allowing him to join. They asked him to be a consultant to the Jedi on the Federation's behalf. "Now, once they started to realise you could not leave your master's side, they wanted to get rid of you. And that's when the tension between us started." "Over me?" DarkRula asks incredulously. "Well... Sort of. The Federation kept petitioning for you to leave Kronis' side. When it got too much, we had to step in to stop them. They trusted Kronis, but no-one else. They thought you were of little importance, and so wanted you removed. When they couldn't have that, I'm guessing they decided to remove you on their own terms." "Like sending me somewhere unprepared? Like trying to set me up for killing one of their own?" "We won't deny their actions are rash," Zabaran says. "But from their point of view, only Kronis was supposed to be a part of them. The fact that you were unofficially inducted into the Federation has always been a bit sour for them to handle." "So I can't be trusted by them?" DarkRula asks. "No. Now, tell us. How did they react when Kronis was killed?" "It's like they knew. Within minutes of the battle being won, they were already swarming The Ark, and had taken control of it. They pointed Kronis' death at me, saying I wanted full ownership rights of The Ark and that I'd do anything to get that." "Another attempt to remove you, of course," Tee Vol states. "They would say that if it meant finally being able to disband you from the Federation. We have it on reliable sources that the only reason they made you a flight group commander after Kronis' promotion was because they hoped you be killed in action." "Like that'd happen," DarkRula retorts. Tee Vol gave a weak smile. "Yes. They are not the brightest. But we need to know this. Once they captured the ship, what did you do?"
Tee Vol could see that Golden was having difficulty, whether with what he had done, or what he wanted to say. He waited patiently in his seat, watching. The other man they could see had not made a single noise during the interview, but he too was now watching Golden. "I threw them from the ship," DarkRula finally speaks. "I forced a deadlock and made them leave. They were scared enough to, anyway." "That might not have been the best move," Zabaran says slowly. "Forcing their hand makes you vulnerable." "But why? The ship is rightfully mine. I'm still rightfully a part of the Feder-" "Was a part of it," Tee Vol states. "Forcing their hand has now possibly forced them to disband you from the Federation under acts of treason. They will be hunting you." "So?" DarkRula scorns. "What can Neimoidians do?" "While they themselves can't do anything, they have powerful allies who have much greater skill to do their bidding." "I've beaten them before, I can do so again." "I'm not sure you understand your position," one of the humans say from the other side of the chamber. "These Daleks are hunting you. You have now made enemies with the Neimoidians. They will be hunting you. There will no doubt be a bounty placed on your head by the Neimoidians as well. Anyone who accepts that will now be hunting you. And from what Kronis has told us, the Mandalorians are also involved somehow, though we don't know how bad. They could be after you." "Neimoidians and bounty hunters, yes. Mandalorians, no," DarkRula says. "The Daleks have got them running. They're probably already in hiding again." "Either way," Tee Vol interrupts. "What is your next move?" Tee Vol had sensed something that was troubling Golden, and if he had forced the entire Neimoidian court from a ship that was rightfully theirs, it was no wonder. He might have been acting uninterested in the fact all these people were now after him, but something was definitely giving him uneasy thoughts. And those thoughts weren't centred on Kronis. And that was worrying. "Well, my mission on Naboo was never fully completed," DarkRula says. "So I intend to go back there. Even if the Neimoidians have blacklisted me, I'm still curious as to find out what forces are going to the planet. And also if Jek Nori really is involved." The name jumped out at him. Jek Nori. Presumed dead, as well as his padawan. Zabaran and Tee Vol lock eyes on each other, each thinking what to say. "Are you sure it really was Jek Nori?" Zabaran asks. "Kronis met up with him on Cyrillia. He and his padawan had set up a base there, and his padawan turned everyone into droids. Nori hadn't wanted to though, and so a special room was built for him. The businesses on Cyrillia were producing so much fumes that it was necessary for the process to happen. The padawan turned rogue, trying to recruit an army to overthrow the Jedi. I ran into him on Naboo." "The outcome?" "He's no more." "Head back to Naboo," Tee Vol instructs. "Find out what you can. And report to us what you find out. You no longer belong to the Trade Federation. There is no longer a need to tell them anything." "I wasn't even considering it," DarkRula says, and the hologram fades. Free now to speak their minds, the Council members became more restive. Much more looking at each other started up. Tee Vol first broke the silence. "Well, I'm glad that's over." "The Jek Nori," the Weequay Jedi states. "The Jek Nori. Records say he died." "It appears not," the Muun says. "I wonder who that man with Golden was." "If he had been important, I'm sure Golden would have introduced him," one of the humans say. "That's not what is important," Zabaran calls. "The most important thing is - what action are we taking against Nori? If his padawan can fall, so can he." "Is that really possible?" the Rodian asks. "From what Golden said, Nori wanted nothing to do with his padawan." "He only said that he hadn't consented to be turned into a droid," Tee Vol reminds the group at large. "And that man with Golden could have been there just to listen to the story. As for what action we take against Jek Nori - that will be decided once Golden informs us of what he has found out on Naboo." "Yeah," another of the humans speaks up. "If Golden knew the whole story though..." "If Golden knew the whole story," Zabaran says, "he probably wouldn't take orders from us either. Let's just hope the whole truth never leaks out." "His darkness would overwhelm him," Tee Vol softly sighs. "No-one would be able to reign him in."
The hologram fades and all members of the Jedi Council disappear. DarkRula stretches his arms out and turns to The Doctor. "Well. That conversation went well. So. Did you find that informative?" he asks. "It did help me to better understand the Neimoidians feelings towards you," The Doctor replies. "Anyway, where are we going next?" "Like the council said, back to Naboo." DarkRula walks to the main computer and sets the course. The hyperdrive activates. Outside, the angularities of hyperspace greets The Ark. A button is then pressed by DarkRula who calls for a droid to meet him. "And now," he says, turning to The Doctor, "you'd better follow me." The Doctor does without question. Out of the bridge, and into the first square block of rooms, the two turn into a door on the right, where a Battle Droid is already stood. "Sir. The inventory is almost complete." "Good," DarkRula says. "Just alert me when it is." "Um..." The Doctor asks after a minute of waiting. "Aren't we meant to be doing something?" "I called you here so you weren't standing around out there." "Oh, I don't know. I wouldn't have minded. After all, I explore quite often and-" The Battle Droid cut across The Doctor's mumblings with confirmation of the inventory. "Reel it out then," DarkRula commands. "Personnel first." The droid says that there are still over four thousand droids on board. Only one hundred of those were Agility Droids. Most were of the old B1 stock, though at least five hundred of the new B1 stock remained. Five hundred more were Super Battle Droids and, though inactive, there was a box of one hundred Droidekas. Most starfighters were of the droid controlled type, no pilot needed, but there were still a few shuttles around. The Scimitar of DarkRula's was counted within the inventory, and a number of Z-95 Headhunters were stocked in one of the smaller bays. In terms of weapons, they only had what was on them. All standard issue droid weaponry, DarkRula's lightsabers, the teleporters, and a few grenades. "Okay," DarkRula says wearily after the droid's recitation. "I'd think that was all we'd need. At least for now." "Um, okay, sir," the droid says. "Right. Meet me on the bridge with a number of other commanders. This time, we'll plan to do the right thing." After the droid gives an affirmative and leaves, DarkRula turns back to The Doctor. "And now, we head back to the bridge." "Why was I even called here?" The Doctor asks again. "It's not like you really need me, and I could be doing better things." "Security, for a start. And also because you wondering the galaxy wouldn't exactly be the best thing. I know a broken ship when I see one, and your TARDIS is far from healthy." "Well, it is still able to travel, and I thought you wanted to be my apprentice? The way things are going so far, anyone would think that I'm yours." DarkRula could tell that The Doctor was slightly offended that he should be thought of as an inferior. But he wasn't going to let that worry him. "I thought you said you wanted to tag along and get to know this universe better." "I do, but I don't see why I should be doing menial tasks when the Daleks could be up to no good at this very moment." "Good luck finding them in this very big universe then," DarkRula states. "And if I don't see you on the bridge, I'll know you'll have gotten lost." DarkRula walks out of the meeting room. Behind him, he heard The Doctor following him, as he had known he would. He didn't expect the hand to about-face him though, and he found himself looking into The Doctor's eyes. "Now look," The Doctor says. "I don't think your taking the Daleks seriously enough." "Oh, I think I am," DarkRula states, still using the same snark-filled tone. "Then you know why I need to find them. They could-" "Take over this entire universe and exterminate everyone who stands in their way," DarkRula interrupts, now speaking seriously. "I heard them. But right now, they are hiding. Don't think I haven't got anyone tracking them. But since we can't do anything at the moment, we may as well do something useful. And that means something for the Jedi Order." "I thought it was the Trade Federation who originally told you to-" "Yes. They did. But this is a different mission now, from a different person. And I'm rather curious myself about who Naboo are contacting." "I suppose I could go along with you. But how did you set up tracking on the Daleks if you only showed up after they vanished?" "Oh, you'll find out. In time, I expect. Now. Bridge. Come on." The Doctor follows DarkRula back out to the bridge. The droids are still manning their stations, but what there was to do, The Doctor didn't know. The door opened again and ten droids walked in, following the one DarkRula had asked to find them. "Commanders reporting, sir," the droid at the front says. "Good," DarkRula says. "Now then. The plan." The Battle Droid Commanders stand waiting. Listening. The Doctor listens in as well. Though he didn't want to be a part of it, he was stuck taking part either way. Thus, he listened to the plan, hoping to gain a better insight into DarkRula. "Now, last time the plan didn't go so well. In part though, that was due to the fact that we had a rogue Jedi cyborg on our case. And had we not been forewarned by Kronis, it could have been worse off. "This time, with that cyborg out of the way, we'll have an easier time. I'll be using the same planning structure as the last time, though a bit different. Two groups will be out in the wilds, searching for any anomalies. Another two groups will spread out to the cities, not drawing attention to themselves, noting any suspicious activity that isn't related to planet welfare. That means any small-time crimes you do not deal with." "That's only four commanders on the field though," one of the droids ask. "Where will the rest of us be?" "It'll be two commanders per group, so eight will be on the field. One commander will be with me and our guest here. We'll be down on the planet's capital to get an audience with the Queen. The last commander will be here on the bridge waiting for my mark to send reinforcemements and commandeer the battle from the air should it come to it." The Doctor noted the use of the word guest but paid it no mind. He was thinking about the openness with what DarkRula had stated to be his position. "When you say 'get an audience,'" The Doctor asks, "how do you intend to do that?" "Not by force, if that's what your thinking," DarkRula states. "Haven't you been listening? This whole plan is to avoid conflict and violence." "So why does the backup have to be a battle?" "Well that's more of a last resort than anything." "Meaning?" "If the forces down on the planet are mercenaries of any kind, or maybe even a warrior clan, and they find out what we are trying to do, I expect they will attack. "Either way, Commanders - to your stations. Be waiting for when we emerge from hyperspace, and get your crews to the hangar." An affirmative chorused through the bridge, and the droids headed out. DarkRula turned to look out the viewscreen at the hyperspace angularities. "All I want to do is talk to them," DarkRula says. "Why don't I believe that?" The Doctor sighs.
The Ark came out of hyperspace, with a green planet sighted within the viewscreen. DarkRula and The Doctor stood watching out of the viewscreen as the planet came closer in view. "Sir," one of the droids on duty says. "The Naboo Traffic Control are hailing us, sir." "Okay," DarkRula sighs. "If we must do this peacefully, we may as well open communications at this stage. Open us up. Let me talk to them." The droid presses a button on the control board as DarkRula walks over to it. A voice comes through the speakers. "Naboo Traffic Control. Incoming cruiser, state your name and intentions." "Jedi Protector DarkRula aboard The Ark, requesting permission to land on the surface to carry out some surveillance, and also requesting an audience with the Queen." "The audience will be arranged. Coordinates for the landing zone will be beamed to you. As for surveillance, that will have to wait until you reach the surface." "That's fine. Thank you." The connection was cut, and DarkRula reaches across to the control board. A hologram of one of the droid commanders appeared. "Tell the surveillance groups to stand down." "Sir?" the droid asks. "Naboo Traffic Control have given me an audience with the Queen, but the surveillance will have to wait until we reach the surface. I think I know why, but we don't want to upset them, so we follow their rule. Okay?" "Roger. Roger." The hologram fades, and DarkRula calls The Doctor to him. At the exit of the bridge, DarkRula addresses the droids on board. "Anyone wanting access to this ship that seem suspicious, call me first. If any Neimoidians come poking around, don't let them anywhere near you. Okay?" "Roger. Roger," the droids chorus. The droid officer adds "We'll make sure everything is running smoothly for your return, sir." DarkRula and The Doctor exit the bridge and make their way down to the hangar. While there had been direct access from the bridge to the hangar, a fatal accident had ruptured the rear lift system in the lower arch. Only one of those lifts had survived, but that lift didn't extend to the tower. Since the time that it had happened, long before Kronis had ever set foot on the ship, no-one had thought to repair it. At the hangar, the droids stood at attention around the various shuttles. One of the commanders walks up to DarkRula when he is within reach. "The shuttle you'll be taking is ready sir. Coordinates locked and loaded." "Good. Let's get underway." The shuttle touches down at the coordinates received. Stood waiting is a guard awaiting them. The ramp lowers and DarkRula walks off first. "Welcome, Jedi," one of the guard says. "May we see identification. It's just that recent events require us to." DarkRula produces his ID from his comlink. He knew that it gave his full name. He couldn't edit that part out. But he had been able to affix his call name onto it to avoid any confusion when on official meetings. "Very well. And your friend here?" "Oh, don't worry. He'll be by my side the entire time." The guard looks a bit suspicious but doesn't question the case further. Instead, he indicates to the two that they should follow. "It not often you see a Jedi in control of Federation technology," the guard asks. "I take it you aren't working for them?" "My master was, I was dragged along. He got killed, they forced the blame on me. I forced them to hand the command of that cruiser to me." The guard looks shocked but quickly hides it. "Sorry to hear of your loss. But... You forced the Federation to give you command of the cruiser?" "Yes. Anything wrong with that?" "No. It's just that this wouldn't be the first time a Jedi had come here but with hidden agendas." The group had now walked inside the palace. The city of Kadaara had numerous views of the ocean, and from the palace, there was only one side of the building where the sea couldn't be seen. While Kadaara was a seaside resort, a secondary palace had been built at the city a number of years previously for a number of reasons. The palace resembled the one at Theed in terms of design, though smaller. It was designed so that it wouldn't draw attention to itself. DarkRula, who had been looking around, only just realised what the guard had said. "Wait, did you say another Jedi was here with hidden agendas?" "That is right," a strong female voice called. The Queen of Naboo had exited from a door on the corridor's left side ahead of the group. Wearing regal attire of pale yellow, the Queen waited while the group walked to her. "Sorry," DarkRula asks when within talking distance, "but there was another Jedi?" "Some cyborg. Caused trouble across the planet." "And this cyborg stirred up trouble? Leading to infighting?" "There has been no infighting here," the Queen states, and DarkRula could hear the slight accent which labelled her as coming from the city they were in. No wonder she wanted a palace here, DarkRula allows himself to think, before asking the question which confused him. "I don't understand. There were reports of infighting here. On this planet. The fighting started to get worse, and so third parties were called in." "The only reason the third parties were called in was to control that cyborg." "Mercenaries have been out in the cities and plains searching for the thing," one of the guards say. "We haven't seen it for some days though, and none of the reports we've been getting have any success with locating it either." "Cyborg... Jedi..." DarkRula slowly speaks. He looks down, looking inside. His head whips back up as he realises the two are one and the same. "I destroyed a cyborg Jedi. Last time I was here." "You've never been here before. We have no record of it." "Of course you wouldn't. I was under orders from the Trade Federation to execute a stealth mission to break up the infighting and find out who the mysterious contacts were." As the sentence is finished the guards whip from a relaxed stance to battle positions, guard staffs at the ready and pointing toward DarkRula. "I thought you said you didn't work for the Federation?" one of them asks. "This was before my Master died!" DarkRula exclaims. "Roughly two weeks before I was still his padawan and under the footing of the Federation. They ordered me here on a stealth mission, and I took some damage on the way back. During that time of getting repairs I was made a Jedi Protector but due to the damage of my ship I was unable to make it back in time and wasn't able to stop my master getting killed in battle." He said this quickly, trying to get them to understand. It was the Queen who spoke first though. "Stand down. Both of you. He helped us, and we should help him."
The Queen had allowed DarkRula and The Doctor access to a feast, her usual luncheon dine. During that time, there had been no questions asked. DarkRula had found the food very enjoyable, but was wanting a full explanation of events. He found it as soon as the Queen had finished her food. She'd told them that they would have better privacy within the throne room, and that was where they all congregated. The throne room had an ornate gold-rimmed throne at one end of a semi-circular table. The throne was placed where the centre of the circle would be, with the ends of the table in line with the front of the throne and more than an arms distance away. DarkRula and The Doctor sat in front of the Queen, with the two guards stood behind them, as she told them the current situation of Naboo. "We have always been a peaceful people. The Naboo and the Gungan populations still live in harmony together. We have done so for centuries now. Some issues may have arisen from time to time, but nothing diplomacy couldn't handle. "The Trade Federation though, mean to turn our peace into profit. At every opportunity they seek ways to get us to join them, or else turn Gungan against human to create a war profiteering scheme. Or maybe they still remember the way Queen Amidala arrested Nute Gunray all those years ago, and seek to wipe us out." "They have the power to wipe you out," DarkRula says. "They're just scared to." "Cowards, of course." The Queen smiles. It then fades as she continues talking. "The cyborg arrived, and we felt the peace was shattered. He asked this council first, but we declined his offer. We understand the Gungans also refused the offer, though some did seem interested. Though why an offer to help wipe out the Jedi attracted them, I will never know." "Wipe out the Jedi..." "Like we discussed, he was Jedi himself. Though possibly felt a need to avenge something they had done to him. "When both offers were declined, the next thing we heard, an entire city had been destroyed. We needed to stop the cyborg, but not being fighters ourselves, we called in various mercenaries. Bounty hunters. No-one heard from the cyborg for a week. We thought he had left the planet. We then heard that an entire Gungan village had been attacked and, same as last time, been destroyed. "How the Federation even knew we had a problem, I have no idea." "It's possible one of those bounty hunters was secretly working for the Federation and tipped them off," DarkRula states. "It's possible that the bounty hunter in question was under order to find the cyborg Jedi and make a pact between the Federation and him to force you down to their level." "Maybe," the Queen says. "But it still doesn't answer your involvement in the matter. Perhaps you were meant to be the catalyst. The one who stirred up the trouble." Yeah, maybe, DarkRula says in his mind. Aloud, he says "It's a good thing I didn't get very far before meeting the cyborg then." The fact was, DarkRula had just thought of another reason why the Federation would send him here with a cyborg and a bunch of mercenaries on the loose. He held out on saying it though. The Naboo wouldn't want to know anyway. "A good thing, yes. Otherwise you and I would not be having this conversation." "I don't get it though," one of the guards say. "Why would your ship read Mandalorian?" "What was that?" DarkRula asks. "The ship you used. It was reading Mandalorian." "Oh. The signature. Still haven't changed it yet. I'd killed a Mandalorian and took it from him some time ago. Been too busy to change its transponder." "Well then, thank you for the visit," the Queen states. "Is there anything you need help with?" DarkRula asks. "We should be fine. It's mainly just rebuilding the cities the cyborg destroyed." "Thank you for you time," DarkRula says, bowing. The Doctor quickly bows too before about facing and following the guards back to the shuttle. Once seated, the shuttle heads back for The Ark. "Well, that was a good meeting," The Doctor speaks. "I am so going to get the Federation one of these days," DarkRula hisses. "Sorry?" The Doctor asks, bewildered. "Couldn't you piece the puzzle together? Oh, it's so obvious now. The Federation already had a contact on the ground, had met up with the cyborg and joined forces. There I am, awaiting assignment. Time to get one over me again!" "Aren't you getting just the teensy bit carried away?" "No. In fact, it makes sense. In fact, when I next meet the Federation, I'll give them something to fear. And they will be worse off than I was." The Doctor wonders whether he should say anything to that. He decided not to. In the unlikely event that they did ever meet the Federation again, it was highly likely that DarkRula would have forgotten that promise. Or, at least, he hoped.