Han Solo’s Last Flight – Fan Fiction

Han Solo’s Last Flight

by Paul Talon

Han rubbed his face, trying to get the sleep out of his eye.

He had to face it. He had gotten old. He looked around at the Falcon.

It seemed so empty. And it always will.

He looked at his co-pilot seat…now twice emptied.
First Chewbacca oh so long ago, and then…

Leia.

Lost in the Last Sith War when the Malengi attacked the Senate. (SEE JINNMATRE SAGA: THE LAST SITH WAR)

Han had been thought dead, and most of the time, he wished he had died. He remembers seeing a large light and leaping to cover his love, and then waking up, confused, alone, and clutching a few strands of his wife’s hair.

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Balance of the Force: Episode VIII: Seduction of the Force – Fan Fiction

Balance of the Force Episode VIII: Seduction of the Force

by Paul Talon

TWO YEARS AFTER EP VII

It has been a long two years, Anders thought to himself. The death of all the Jedi, the destruction of peace and justice in the galaxy.

Being an outlaw on the run. There were eight in the group altogether. Master Ralls, Anders, Melinza, and the five other Jedi Master Holdess sent home as a Plan B in case something were to happen at New Coruscant that day.

Something like what actually happened.

Darth Odium’s betrayal and use of the virus that tainted the Jedi connection to the Force, had taken the whole galaxy by surprise. Odium went from rogue Jedi to Supreme Commander of the Universe in less than twenty four hours.

No one had taken it harder than Melinza. Being severed from the Force was the worst possible thing you could do to someone like Linz. She lived in the Force. Anders worried for her sanity. She sank further and further into despair each day she lived without the Force.

He looked over at her, and winked. She nodded back and attempted to smile, but it was very lackluster.

He couldn’t think about her today though. It was a big enough day. Two years ago when they escaped Coruscant, they only stopped at the Temple long enough to pick up the rest of their crew. It wouldn’t be long before Odium moved on the Temple, so they didn’t tarry. They quickly were out of the system and headed for their new home, Endor. Much like Dagobah and Yavin before it, Endor was teeming with life and it made sense to meditate and try to connect with the Force on a planet which had such large contingent of life.

But breaking back into the Temple remained a high priority. Ralls indicated that the masters’ hidden room, whose location was only known by the top two Jedi of the council, namely Holdess and he, could help. The masters’ room had both holocrons, and a droid keeping the history of the Jedi safe. Anything in there could be a key to rediscovering their conncetion with the Force. It was definitely worth a shot.

Anders hadn’t heard much more from the mysterious voice that had helped him during the battle of New Coruscant. No matter how he tried to focus, the voice wouldn’t return. It bothered him, but he was much to busy working with Linz that it didn’t affect him greatly.

Having taken much of the Jedi funds before Odium had a chance to seize the account, Ralls was able to pay for materials for a headquarters to be set up on Endor, and to keep a few mercenaries on retainer. The mercs’ latest mission was simply to watch for Darth Odium’s schedule so the Jedi would know when he would not be at the temple. Having witnessed Odium’s power up close, Anders had no desire to see it again, if he could help it.

Today was the day Odium would be at New Coruscant, so the Jedi knew that now was the time to break in.

The plan was for the mercenaries to act as distractions while one of the Jedi went in the back way. Never again would all the Jedi be in the same place at the same time. Laurent, one of the five remaining active Jedi volunteered and suggested that Ralls, Melinza, and Anders be left behind as he would be slowed by the three. Ralls wouldn’t have it though. He was the only one who could open the chamber, and the other two, well they wouldn’t stay behind unless sedated.

Waiting for the moment, Melinza was getting impatient. She had a blaster that she had been practicing with the past few months but she wouldn’t give up her lightsaber…it remained clipped to her belt. Anders understood and felt the same way. About the impatience and the lightsaber. His lightsaber remained clipped to his belt as well.

BOOOOOOM!

The distant explosion rocked the structure and the Jedi jumped to action. Sneaking in the back door, there were a few obstacles in their way, but only one was almost insurmountable.

Passing by an open doorway that was once the medical wing, a glance in saw a body on a metal slab. The body had been opened up…and studied. As much as that was something the Jedi didn’t want to see, the fact remained that it got much worse when they saw the face.

“Master Holdess!” Anders coughed, nearly collapsing.

“Anders! Melinza! Come now!” Ralls ordered, grabbing Linz by the shoulder and roughly pushing her out the door. Ralls himself, hesitated, before shaking his head and walking towards the main chamber.

“I can’t believe Holdess is lying there like that!” Linz cried.

“Master Ralls, if Holdess had died, shouldn’t she be one with the Force?” Laurent ventured.

“No. I’m afraid that if she couldn’t connect with the Force, there was no way for her to retain her identity in the Force. One more crime, Odium will have to pay for.

Suddenly blast hit over Ralls’ head! Five guards had entered the hallway. Laurent ignited his green saber and leapt to the fray. Deflecting all the blasterbolts, Laurent quickly decapitated two of the troops. Anders and Linz took care of the remaining three with quick shots of their own.

Stepping over the dead bodies, they walked into the main chamber.

“What now, Master Ralls?” Laurent questioned.

“Well, Laurent. We are here. Let me focus,” Ralls said looking at a few indents in the rock floor as well as glancing around the room. Pointing he looked up to the statue of Haol, the great Jedi conqueror who had taken care of the Serpents of Azaroth. He held up a large boulder with a small rock on top. “Take this stone in the Force and place it in this indentation. After Laurent complied, this scene repeated itself a few more times until the indentations were full.

The rock pattern slid out of the floor and up from the floor came a podium, with a data pad on it. Ralls hiked his sleeve up and placed his hand in the center of the screen.

It beeped and shone green and began to disappear back into the floor. Right in front of them, the floor began to open up and a stairwell formed before them going down.

Laurent stayed behind to guard the room, while the rest of the Jedi and R-12 walked down the steps.

Upon reaching the large cavern, Anders was stunned at the amount of information that could be in one room! Screens, holocrons…it was amazing.

Ralls walked to the middle of the room where a humanoid droid stood processing some information.

“Master Ralls,” it said. “How good to see you again. It has been a while! 2 years, 1 month,12 days, 6 hours, 4 minutes, and 3.2 seconds to be precise. Welcome! I hope I can be of service.”

“I do too. Well, introduce yourself to the rest of the team!”

“Of course. Glad to meet you all. I am C-3PO, human–cyborg relations.”

Ch. 2

“How old is this droid?,” Linz looked with a mixture of doubt and shock.

“That is not a polite question mistress, but I shall say I am somewhat older than you,” the droid answered.
Ralls laughed, “Always something with you Threepio! This, my children, is a relic of sorts, but an honored relic. This droid has been here since the beginning. Luke Skywalker himself owned him.”

This was met with an audible gasp of reverance. Skywalker! The first of the New Jedi Order as they called themselves.

Anders looked at the droid with a sense of familiarity and affection.

“This droid could tell us eons of history! Why wasn’t he shown to us before?!” he asked Ralls pointedly.

“It is the masters of the temple’s privilege alone to know all the histories, young one,” Ralls stated. “C’mon Threepio, I know you have all the holocrons memorized by now, you have to come with us.”

“With you? Leave the temple. I am quite fond of staying right here. Why I haven’t been in any danger at all in almost a millennium and I don’t mean the Falcon, mind you!”

“Because Threepio, a Sith lord has taken over the temple and if he discovers you he will use all your knowledge for sinister purposes!” Laurent said

“A Sith lord, here? Oh my! I do think we should get going quickly than, don’t you?”

Linz looked around quickly. Yeah, I agree. Let’s get out of here. Laurent stiffened.

“He’s here,” he said lighting his saber. Ralls looked aghast.

“Luckily there is a back way out! Hurry!” the Jedi master said.

“Why didn’t we come in the back way than?” Anders was quick to point out.

“Because the wall is programmed to only open from the inside! Now stop asking questions and go!”

The rest of the Jedi and Threepio began following Ralls to the back of the chamber where a downward ramp could be spotted. Laurent stood his ground.

“Laurent, come now!” Linz whispered as loud as she dared, all the while looking around. The sense of fear and darkness came closer.

“He’s felt me. He is on his way. He will not stop until he finds a Jedi. I can hold him off. He already has felt where I am. He’ll find the room. I must destroy the holocrons! We can’t let him know anything more than he does! Now GO!” Laurent shouted.

Linz tried to go back for him, but Anders held her back and pushed her along. Ralls turned back and sadly smiled while flipping him a timed thermal detonator.

“May the Force be with you Laurent.”

“May the Force return to you, Master Ralls.”

The Jedi left out the back door.

Laurent heard footsteps and felt the pure black of night descend on him with the inevitability of a sunset.

“So, the Jedi do have more secrets, I have yet to learn. Excellent,” came the voice of Darth Odium from above. Down the stairs he came. Laurent quickly armed the detonator and set it for five minutes. He would have five minutes to defeat Darth Odium if he were to escape.

“Come Vanin! Meet your maker!” he screamed. The lights went out. He couldn’t see, but he felt a presence. Somewhere nearby. He couldn’t pinpoint it.

A red light pierced the night like a sunbeam. Laurent’s green blade met
the beam with a flourish. Laurent quickly jumped into a defensive position and began to parry Odium’s increasingly powerful thrusts.

Time became secondary to the point where Laurent didn’t know how long they had been fighting. But he knew his life would soon be over. Using the force, and his best instincts to guide the fight closer and closer to the detonator, when a sudden flash of light came from beneath him and enveloped his body for a millisecond before it reduced it to ashes.

The explosion rocked the whole secret room, destroying statue, holocron, data pad, and even the back stairwell didn’t survive it’s wake.

Odium didn’t flinch.

Brushing off the debris from his shoulders, he willed the lights back on, even those who were no longer connected to the circuits. He looked around, knowing he shouldn’t have toyed with the Jedi. A lot could have been learned from this research.

He would find them. He would find all of them. Especially her.

“Commander,” he called on his intercom. “Have you located the ship the Jedi came in on?”

“Yes sir, do you want it destroyed?” came the voice over the speaker.

“Negative commander. Just tell me where it goes,” he stated. “I would know where the Jedi and the Forceless would go.”

He had plans for them.

He had time.

Ch. 3
Anders ran in from the meeting room to greet the returning mercenaries. They always took the long way around to make sure no one would track them back to their safeworld of Naboo even on random supply runs like this one was.

“Hey! Socal! Glad you boys made it out!” Anders greeted the hardened merc Socal, who jumped down from his freighter in his long black jumpsuit. From head to toe, he was covered in belts, gear, weapons, and anything else that might be useful in a pinch. Running one hand through his graying goatee, he nodded towards Anders.

“Always do my man, always do. You want to check we got what you need?” Socal asked in his gravely voice.

“Nah, I trust you…you live here after all,” Anders said embracing him. “Thanks again for the assist at the discounted rate!”

“Hey, you always do well by me. I can at least give you a discounted rate! Wanna grab a pint?” he asked a little too eagerly. He’d been wanting a pint for a while now, Anders could see.

“Maybe later, Soc. I have to go check on Linz,” Anders said slowly, the smile running off his face.

“Still having problems?” Socal asked genuinely.

“Worse with Laruent’s death. I’m not sure what to do frankly,” Anders sighed. “She won’t talk to Ralls or the other Jedi at all, and she’ll barely talk to me.”

“She’ll come out of it. She’s a tough chick.” Socal said.

“Hope so. Then we’ll both buy you a pint.” Anders grinned again.

Socal flashed him a thumbs up. “I’ll hold you to it!”

Socal grinned and walked away towards the refreshed. Anders’ grin slowly faded as he watched the merc walk away. He turned and walked towards their quarters. Walking through the main opening, into the large foyer, he almost ran headlong into Listan, a Jedi who was practicing a lightsaber technique that involved floating through the air, but moving like he was on the ground. It made Anders a little bitter for a moment, wishing he could still do it.

He would show Listan the proper way! But the moment passed. He had to be careful not to slip into despair like Linz had. It was easy, and in truth Anders had felt more alone, more naked than he ever had in his life. But he had trust in the Force. It was the only thing he had left.

“Sorry Listan. Didn’t mean to interrupt.”

“No problems, Anders. Next time, I’ll just impale you,” he joked. Anders cracked a grin before walking by. He had to check with Ralls and see if the master had found anything in 3PO to help them.

The walk gave him time to think. He had spent the past few years trying everything he could to re-connect with the Force. He spent hours upon hours upon days and weeks meditating, trying to reach within his own body, and Linz’s for that matter, attempting to repair what Odium had torn asunder or plugged up. That was the problem. Odium was a genius and the only known scientist to work on Jedi. Without knowing exactly what he did, how could he repair it! Especially without the Force. The remaining Jedi weren’t much help either. They were young, adventurous and not known for their talents in healing.

It was frustrating.

But not nearly as frustrating as it was to Linz.

Melinza had grown up without a friend in the world. Abandoned as an orphan she was young and spunky and depended on her abilities to get by. When she came to Master Holdess as a Force adept, it took her quite a long time to let anyone inside. She had friends, and even one who was more than a friend, Anders hoped, but none of them meant anything to her when compared to the Force. The Force was her true friend. Her first friend. Her true love. Without it, she was shattered and incomplete.

Anders shook his head. It was hard to reach someone who didn’t want to be found. So he went on and walked in on 3PO and Ralls continuing their search of the information 3PO had stored in his memory.

“Hello Master Anders. Is R-12 with you?”

“No Threepio, he’s getting tuned up for our next adventure, I’m sorry.”

“Quite alright. I just hoped to see him. He reminds me of a little friend I once had. R-2 D-2. I do miss him. Ever since he went with Master Luke and General Solo on the fateful trip.”

Ralls looked thoughtfully at Threepio. “Skywalker’s last journey?”

“Why, yes of course, Master Ralls. I’m sure it was R2’s fault they didn’t come back.”

“Tell me,” Anders said looking wistful.

“Master Luke had received a distress call from Mistress Mara, his wife. Their son Ben, had fallen to the Dark Side and had killed Mistress Leia. Master Skywalker and General Solo went with R2-D2 to Tatooine, where Ben was hiding. A terrible battle ensued. Ben used all the power of Leia, Jaina, and a few other Jedi thathad come with and unleashed a fury at Master Luke. At his age, Master Luke was too old to deflect such power. Both Luke and Mara were killed almost instantly. It was only General Solo who got away. He escaped by programming R2-D2 with a large amount of explosives. He had little choices or resources. Ben was in such a state, that it was now or never. Sending R2 in, Ben didn’t think much of it, lost in the pain and despair, and anger that had led him to kill his family. R2 had always been around. R2 exploded, killing Ben instantly…and R2 as well.”

“Wow….I’m sorry Threepio. I had no idea…” Ralls began.

“Such a fate for such a hero,” said Anders slowly, feeling as if he would cry at any moment. “Is that what happens to heroes like Skywalker?”

“Yes, Master Anders…it seems tragedy always strikes the Skywalkers. None have escaped its wrath.”

Anders was struck by the sheer tragedy. He got up slowly and walked away.

“Call me if you find anything, Master Ralls.”

“I will Anders.”

He needed to work on regaining the Force, and regaining a friend. It was time to go find Linz.

He walked up to Linz’s quarters and knocked on the door.

No answer.

He knocked a little louder.

No answer.

Slowly he opened the door.

“Linz?”

The room was empty. Empty except for a holopad. Lifitng it up, he turned it on and a bright blue depiction of Linz shone through the room

“I’m…sorry Anders. I can’t stay. We aren’t getting better….and I need the Force. Odium has promised to return the Force…if I join him…I have to see if it’s possible. I’m sorry.”

Linz! What have you done!

“Lord Odium? Ship approaching the Temple. M-Class,” the officer announced.

Darth Odium paced the room slowly. “Our little Forceless one has taken the bait. Excellent. Let her land, but keep an eye on her.”

“Yes sir.”

***

Linz followed instructions to land at the first docking bay. Tears streaked her face. She hated leaving Anders behind like she did. But without the Force, she had no reason for life. She didn’t plan on going to the Dark Side. In fact she has some inkling that after the Force was returned to her, she could take out Odium herself, or at least escape.

But really she didn’t care about much else than reconnecting.

She landed and wiped her eyes clear. She wouldn’t let the Dark Lord see her in tears. She didn’t want to give him that much power over her.

She stood proudly at base of the ramp, awaiting Odium, but he never came. The door opened to the landing bays and out walked Jeeson, the same as ever. He seemed even less confident than the last time she saw him.

“Gggood ddday mmmilady. I-I c-c-can take you t-t-to your qu-quarters.”

“Where is Odium, Jeeson. I would like to see him,” Linz said quite pointedly.

“Y-y-you will…” Jeeson began before Linz grabbed his hand flipped him over and kneeled on his throat.

“I would like to see him,” she repeated.

“H-h-h-he is in your quarters!” he squealed. “I-I-I’m trying t-t-t-to t-t-take you there n-n-now!”

Linz let the mousey man up. He scurried ahead of her, beckoning her to follow. She followed. IT was difficult looking around at this place now. It hadn’t changed much, with the exception of the vast emptiness. Lord Odium didn’t require much in the way of personnel and without the numerous Jedi padawans to fill the rooms, it was a lonely place.

She knew where she was going before they got halfway there.

Her old quarters.

Jeeson motioned her ahead and she walked in slowly. Her things were where she had left them. Everything was exactly the same. Except for one thing.

There was a Sith Lord next to her bed.

“Jeeson. Leave us,” came Odium’s booming voice. Jeeson jumped and ran away. “Welcome, Melinza. Glad you could join me.”

“Dispense the pleasantries Odium. You promised me you could restore my connection to the Force. What do you get?”

“I only want you to join me, to be queen of the realm. I tire of ruling. I only live for knowledge, for studying the Force. But when the child killed Viceroy Dallo, I was thrust into leadership. You can rule the galaxy for me…” he said with the hint of a smile.

“I desire no such role in this fraudulent government,” she spat.

“But you do desire this….” Odium whispered, caressing her with the Force. Linz felt the Force touch her body, and run over her every curve leaving nothing sacred.

“Stop it,” she whispered.

He stopped for a moment. “Remove your clothing.”

“What?” She asked, shocked.

“Remove your clothing,” he repeated.

“No! I won’t do such a thing,” she shrieked.

“If you want to touch the Force again, I need to retrain you. You need to understand the Force, feel the Force and when I have completed your training you shall touch the Force deeper than you ever have before! Now if you want the Force, you shall do as I say, and REMOVE YOUR CLOTHING! I will not repeat it.”

Linz hesitated, and then she felt the caress of the Force. She hesitated slightly. She would do anything to connect with the Force. Anything. A tear rolled down her face as she took off her Jedi robes until the cool air prickled at her naked flesh.

Odium looked on with great pleasure and took a moment before speaking.

“Excellent, my apprentice. Tonight you learn the first lesson, I have to teach.”

Linz looked up in dreadful anticipation.

“Submission.”

With that Darth Odium clothed her naked body with his own and Melinza’s soul cried out in torment.

“Master Ralls!” Anders shouted towards the venerable former Jedi. “Master Ralls!”

“Yes, Anders. I am here,” Ralls answered back studying the next block of data Threepio was carrying.

Anders rushed in, carrying Melinza’s holopad in hand. It’s Linz! She’s gone to find Odium…I think she means to apprentice herself to the him…To the dark side!”

“What?” Ralls stopped his analyzing. “The dark side.”

“We have to go after her,” Anders intimated.

“No!” Ralls put his foot down.

“No? What do you mean, no?”

Ralls now stood and walked over to Anders.

“Listen, Anders. I know how much you care for her. You know how much I care for her. But this is the choice she made. If we had more Jedi, it might be worth the attempt, but right now we don’t. We can’t risk what remains of the Jedi for one person, no matter who she is. I’m sorry.”

“We can risk it for the droid here!” Anders snapped thumbing at Threepio who backed away, muttering, “Oh dear.”

“That was different Anders and you know it. Threepio could provide us with the information to re-connect with the Force. It was a risk the non-Jedi could take with one of the remaining Jedi, especially since our mercenary friends would take most of the heat. Rescuing Linz would be flying right to Darth Odium. We can’t.”

“You can’t…I can!” Anders suggested forcefully.

“Anders, don’t do it. Please. Stay calm, at peace. Don’t give in to your anger. This is the path that Odium and now Melinza is on. Don’t let it claim you as well.

“You don’t understand!”

“Yes, Anders I do! I had a friend who fell to the dark side once,” Ralls finally snapped. Anders seemed taken aback, but sat down. Ralls centered himself before continuing. “My best friend, Chalik was the most talented gymnanst you ever saw, even without the Force. He was a great friend, a great warrior. Everything was wonderful until his wife was on a freighter who was attacked by pirates. The fight lasted thirty seconds before the old freighter broke in two and everyone inside was soon floating through space. Chalik swore revenge and hunted down the pirates one by one until he got to the leader, Captain Blacke. Chalik had the chance to turn him in, but he turned his blade on the pirate instead. But it didn’t help. He needed more and more vengeance. He destroyed the pirates vessels. His rage and despair ate him up inside until he promised to kill all pirates. He became a vigilante that was trouble for the rest of the galaxy. The Jedi ordered me to take him in, hoping that our connection could lead him back…

It didn’t.”

“I had no idea. What happened?” Anders was riveted now.

“I was forced to kill him. I can’t ever forget the mercy he begged me for in one voice, with my blade at his throat. I was forced to kill him, because I wasn’t sure I could trust him. A far cry from times prior, when I would have gladly given up my life for him. Now I had to take his life for him. Once you start down the dark path forever, will it dominate your destiny. Do you understand? If Melinza has already started, it will forever cloud her.” Ralls shook his head and continued on with his work and the conversation.

“Forgive me Master Ralls, but that is not entirely true,” Threepio timidly spoke up. My memory was wiped a long time ago by one of my Masters, Senator Bail Antilles from Alderaan. But long after the Galactic Civil War, Artoo informed me that my maker was one Anakin Skywalker, Luke’s father. Now Anakin supposedly went over to this Dark Side and for decades haunted the galaxy as Darth Vader. Master Luke went on to claim, that he was able to bring Anakin back to the light. In fact it was Anakin who killed the Sith Lord who had taken over the galaxy.”

Ralls looked up at Threepio, a mixture of wonder, disappointment, and even a slight bit of annoyance evident in his face. Threepio saw the look and backed down.

Anders sparked a little sign of defiance and appreciation towards the two and then stood up.

“I’m sorry Master Ralls. This is something I feel I have to do,” he proclaimed.

“Very well Anders. But you will do it alone. I can afford to send no Jedi with you. You may take one of the mercenaries, but that is it.”

“I understand, Master Ralls.”

Ralls looked up almost as if surprised he was going to go through with it.

“Remember your training, Anders. Even though you cannot feel the Force, your battle training and observational training can still save you.”

“I will, Master Ralls. And I will return with Melinza.”

“May the Force be with you more than ever.”

“For the first time in years, I think it will be Master Ralls.” With that, Anders ran straight for the one guy, he knew would help him out.

Socal sat at the bar, finishing up his fifth shot of the hour. He wished the Corellian whisky hit him like it used to. Now it took twenty shots before he was even buzzed. He blamed it on the cybernetics he had installed.

“Garen,” he murmered. He missed his partner, his best friend, his co-pilot. Killed on one of the Jedi runs, Socal hadn’t gotten around to getting a new partner, and he wasn’t sure he could. Garen and him had been on many a mission together.

No more. He missed the camaraderie, he missed the laughs, the drunken revelry after a mission well completed. He tried hanging out with the other mercs, but they already had their own cliques. He tried hanging out with the Jedi, but they weren’t exactly the partying types.

So he had been throwing himself into mission after mission after mission. Nothing suicidal, he just liked staying active. So nothing made him happier than to see Anders running towards him.

“Change your mind, kid? I can get ya a pint in a heartbeat,” he offered.

“Not today, Soc. I’m here on business. Unofficial business.”

Anders went on to explain the situation to Soc who really only understood half of it as he was never into the whole Force mumbo jumbo.

“So, you want me to fly you through the galaxy’s largest fleet, to meet up with the command ship of the Dictator who has taken over our universe, who would not only kill us but torture us as long as possible, all to give you the chance of finding, and rescuing your lady friend, who may or may not already be becoming a bad guy reconnecting with the Force soe she can and may kill us so much as look at us. Is that about right?”

A sly grin came to Anders’ face. “That’s about right.”

Socal looked thoughtful for a moment.

“How many pints is it worth ya?”

“If we get home Soc, I’ll buy you a whole night’s worth of pints.”

“Jiminy! I was going to do it for one!” He laughed, but then pointed in all sincerity, “But I’ll hold you to that!”

“Deal!” Anders said, laughing despite himself. “Let’s get going. I have a tracker that I put on Linz’s ship a while ago that she doesn’t know about. I had a feeling she may jump ship. So we just have to find that. Hopefully with your former ORC connections, you can get us through.”

Soc grabbed a pint and ran ahead towards his ship, looking back at his friend. “One for the road!” He tipped the drink back and swallowed, dropping the glass which broke into a hundred pieces.

The two got to his ship, boarded it and began to take off.

Hold on Linz. Hold on!

Melinza’s lessons in submissions lasted a week before her teachings intensified. But he hadn’t given her the Force back yet. He had already started treating her for the virus as well as training, but there was no sign it was working. She was growing impatient and a little suspicious.

Odium stood behind her. She could feel his breath on her shoulder and on the back of her neck.

“Try again,” he simply commanded.

She focused all of her energy on moving the crate in front of her. She thought back to a time when it would have been nothing to her to throw the box around the room. Now she couldn’t even place it’s dimensions.

Nothing.

“It’s not working,” she snapped.

“Yes it is,” he smiled. “You must unlearn your Jedi platitudes. Feel your aggressiveness. Feel your anger. Feel your entitlement. You deserve the Force. Don’t let them take it away from you. Feed your anger!”

She tried again and this time it moved an inch. Surprised, she let her guard down.

“There! It has begun. What were you feeling?” he asked her simply.

“Rage,” she answered just as simply.

“Good. Revel in it. To be a powerful user of the Force, you must have the deepest commitment to your emotions,” he said stroking her auburn hair.

“But it’s not coming fast enough. For two years have I been without the Force!” she turned and faced him. “I need more.”

Odium grinned. “As do I. You will have it soon enough. And then you will be ready to be my sword. You will kill the last of the Jedi.”

Linz stopped, resigned. “Yes master. If I can touch the Force again, I will kill the Jedi.”

Anders sat in the cargo hold, alone. He told Socal that he needed time to meditate.

Again, he tried to touch the Force, slowly. He felt each portion of his body. He tried to feel each cell. Then he would try to expand outwards into the cargo hold.

He got as far as his body. He could feel every portion of his body, but he couldn’t be sure whether it was the Force or simple body attunement.

He was getting almost as frustrating at Linz. He had just concentrated on not showing it so Linz wouldn’t go over the deep end.

“Guess it didn’t work,” he said out loud.

“We all must walk our own path,” the voice from nowhere suddenly interjected, interrupting Anders’ thoughts.

“Who are you?” Anders spoke allowed, wondering if he had just snapped.

“A friend.”

“A friend offers more than vague half-answers,” Anders intimated.

“A friend also knows when to talk and when to listen,” the voice returned with a chuckle. “I can’t speak long, just trust your instincts. All will remain well if you just trust your instincts,” the voice said fading away.

“Wait! I…” Anders began but the voice was gone again. Anders was more confused then ever, but he did feel a warmth when he heard the voice. Something in the voice soothed him.

“Hey Jedi,” said another voice coming into the hold from seemingly nowhere. Just for a split second, Anders was confused before he realized that THIS voice came from the intercom, and belonged to the ship’s owner.

“Yeah, Socal.”

“We tracked down the signal. She’s back at the Temple. But the whole fleet is in the system. I don’t think Odium liked you guys taking goldenrod from him.

“Probably, not. Well head in that direction and I’ll think of something by the time we need to revert. Plan to revert just outside the system.”

“You’re the boss,” Socal said signing off.

Anders ignited his sabers and practiced his technique. Without the Force, he’d need to be even greater than usual. He needed more practice.

Melinza sat in her room in tears. Odium had just left for the night, leaving her alone and cold. She felt such anger at the universe. Anger at Odium for violating her physically and with the Force. Anger at Anders for not being able to help her. Everything. She was one big ball of anger.
But as she saw when she looked at the mirror, she felt her own presence. Using the rage inside her she channeled her emotion until she felt lightning crackling at her fingertips. Looking at them with awe, she realized that she could feel where Odium was! She was touching the Force. It wasn’t as consistent as it used to be. But it was there.

And it was powerful.

She couldn’t take revenge on Odium yet, until she knew she would keep her power.

She could take revenge on the Jedi, she thought. They would pay for their platitudes and hollow promises.

She would learn to hate them all…even…

She stopped for a moment as Anders’ face came to mind. Immediately the lightning ceased crackling on her fingers and she could no longer feel Odium.

She didn’t want to, but she let the rage pour back into her. She needed the Force. She thought she had needed Anders Valken. But she needed the Force more. Anders would die with the rest of them. She loved him. But she had to let it slide into hatred.

The crackling returned.

“Hey Jedi, what’s the plan?” Socal called back on the intercom.

“I told you, Soc, I’ll have something by the time we revert to real space,” Anders answered, obviously still thinking. A little shake in the ship, caused Anders to lose his balance for a moment. “What was that?”

“Real space reversion,” Socal deadpanned.

“Oh. Ok. Got it, I’ll be right up,” Anders answered, got up and walked out the door and up towards the bridge.

Anders walked into the bridge to see Dagobah up close again. He loved the planet. It was the most beautiful and the most full of life world he’d ever been.

“Ok, Soc, you and Garen used to run for the ORC, right? Do you remember any of their codes for shipping?”

“Yeah. You want me to be shipping to the planet? What if they don’t buy it?”

“Well, we make a quick getaway and think of a different plan,” Anders said slapping Soc on the back.

“I think I undercharged you…”

Anders smiled. “We can renegotiate after we get out of this alive.”

“Deal.” Soc said smiling. “Ready?”

“As ready as I’ll ever be kid,” Soc said, setting a course to intercept Dagobah, as if he were going to land on it.

A crackling came on the radio.

“Shuttle…Tylon. Cargo and destination?” came a clipped voice, sounding quite full of himself.

“Uhh…Cargo: Parts and Technical Crew for Temple excavation. Destination: Temple.”

There was a long pause from the other end.

“Shuttle Tylon. Please transmit your clearance code,” abruptly shot out of the intercom.

Turning off the radio, Socal began to type in his codes.

“Hopefully, this’ll work, kid. I hate running on an empty stomach.”

Again there was a long pause between Socal’s entry and the return of the uppity ground control.

Socal nervously twitched his fingers on the throttle, as Anders sat calmly next to him.

“Shuttle Tylon. You may proceed at will to Landing Pad #3A.”

“Thank you,” Socal said truthfully.

“Good work Soc,” Anders said. Now let me get ready to slip off, unnoticed. “You still have those ORC uniforms in tow?”

“Of course I do, they’re in the third compartment back there.”

Anders slipped quietly into the grey uniform. Open vested with compartments on the inside, it was one uniform one could easily smuggle a spherical-rod like device in. Like a lightsaber.

Landing on the platform, Socal opened the door and Anders slipped out unaware. Leaving Soc behind to jabber with any questions the crew had, the young Jedi began searching out his-well whatever she was.

“Have they landed?” Odium asked the controller.

“Yes sir. Do you want me to pick them up and lock em down?”

“No. Leave them to me. I will deal with this personally,” Odium said quickly stalking out of the room. Melinza’s first test.

He found her still in her room, crackling with energy and hate. Every day had been a new adventure with her growing deep in her newfound power. Odium was careful to make sure she never even came close to his power. He put her down a few times just to make sure she knew her place.

If her submissions nightly were any indications, she certainly did.

“Linz, my dark lady. It seems we have guests. Guests we need to accommodate.”

Melinza looked up looking pale, but not sickly. Her eyes betrayed an ember of pain. Her spirit showed anger. She fed on her anger and embraced it like a long lost lover.

“They will be destroyed my master,” she said kneeling before him, feeling her power grow just for being around him.

“Good. I will lead him to you. And you shall lead him to death!”

Anders had a few ideas about where to search for Linz, but none of them were turning up a lovely Jedi.

Even in uniform, some of the guards were giving him questionable looks.

As he turned the corner he walked right into an officer who did more than look.

“I don’t believe I know you soldier. And I know everyone in this platoon. Name, rank, and code clearance number?”

Anders coughed before starting, “Antilles, Private, Code 456-356-2110A.”

The officer smiled. “A? I believe you left off a few numbers there Private Antilles.”

Anders smiled back and waved his hand in front of the officer’s face.

“You may go about your business, move along.” He said hopefully trying to feel the Force.

“Move along? MOVE ALONG? Who do you think you’re talking to soldier!?” the officer screamed at him.

“Right, no Force. Watch out!” He took out his lightsaber and threw it straight up in the air. While the officer started taking out his weapon, his gaze went up to follow the saber for just a moment and it was all Anders needed. Anders dropped into a crouch and swept the officer’s feet from under him. He jumped back to a standing position and caught his saber, turned it on and sliced the gun out of the officer’s hand. The officer attempted to sweep Anders feet, but Anders jumped over and put his blade to the officer’s throat.

“Give me a reason.”

The officer wisely backed down. Opening the nearest quarters door, Anders found a very large lock box.

“Get in,” he motioned and the officer jumped to comply. Locking him in, Anders went on in his search.

“That was close. Free him from his locker and then demote him. That was a horrible display of ineptitude. Send the guards after him with instructions not to kill or actually hit, but to herd him towards the open air observatory,” Odium said watching the screen.

“Yes sir,” the controller said to Odium’s back as he stalked out the door.

Blaster erupted over his head where he just was standing.

He’d been spotted. Taking out his own blaster, he made sure it was ready and then returned fire. He hated having to use such a crude and, let’s face it, uncivilized weapon. But without the Force, it was a necessary evil.

Turning down the hall, he had to hurry. Giving up all pretense of stealth, he threw doors open, that he thought his love must be.

He didn’t like that the troopers basically were dictating where he was heading, but he he had no choice. Go where they forced him or else be shot. He knew he was most likely heading into a trap, but he found it best to know there was a trap and knowingly spring it, if at all possible. At least it wouldn’t be a surprise.

He found himself before the open air observatory door. He had troopers on his left hall and troopers on his right. Pushing himself in, he shut the door and almost fell up against it.

“God, how do the mercs do it without the Force?” he asked himself quietly.

Looking up into a night sky, he saw a figure on the balcony catwalk far above the ground.

“Linz?” he asked but the figured didn’t move.

Anders ran up the stairs.

“Linz?!?!”

She didn’t turn around.

“Linz, it’s okay. I’m here now. We can go and leave it all behind. We will help ourselves! We can’t give ourselves to the Dark side now…after all we’ve been through.”

Linz’s only movement was the heaving of her shoulders. She was crying.

Anders never did well with crying women.

Suddenly Linz turned and kissed him full on. The emotions ran through Andres like a charging bull. He enveloped her in his arms and let the passion crackle throughout their body.

She pulled away and Anders saw the tear stained, pale face. Looking down, she opened her mouth for a moment before speaking.

“I love you Anders….” She whispered.

“I love you Linz” he said forcefully. “Let’s get out of here. Socal is waiting!”

“I-I-I’m sorry Anders.” She whispered even quieter.

“For what Linz? It’s all forgotton.”

Shaking her head. “No, you don’t understand..” She backed away for a moment before looking up into his eyes with a newfound power to them.

A red light flashed from her hands lighting up the night sky and reflecting like fire off both their faces.

“I’m sorry.”

He never even saw it coming. The red lightning that came out of her fingers hit him square in the chest and he flew back to the stairs and fell down the first few before she stopped.

“I lived for two years without the Force. I will never do so again. As much as I love you, the Force is my one true love,” she stated sincerely.

“Then why do you abuse it by being a Sith?” he asked from his knees struggling to stand.

“Don’t claim to understand, what you don’t know my love. The dark side is more powerful than anything we’ve been taught. I feel the force flowing through me guiding me!”

Holding on to the railing and beginning to climb, he looked her in the eye.

“No. You feel your hate controlling you, making it easier on you. Nothing else.”

Then she proved him right. Her eyes smoldered, her fist clenched, her body tensed and she unleashed another burst of Force lightning at his chest.

This time, Anders ingnited his saber to block it.

“I don’t want to fight you Linz. But I won’t let myself be killed either,” he stated succinctly.

“You won’t have a choice, without the Force you are no match for me!”

“You’ll find I’m full of surprises!” he shouted as he focused his saber with just enough power that instead of absorbing her lightning, it turned back on her for a moment.

She stood tall, and ignited her new red blade.

“Come and get me, Jedi…” she whispered.

He shook his head. “Come back with me, Jedi.”

She answered with a swing of her saber. Anders quickly blocked it but realized his reactions were slow. He jumped in a backwards flip and landed on the first stair. Reaching in his belt, he pulled out a smoke grenade and chucked it in Linz’s general direction.

BOOM.

Knocking Linz back a few feet, she recovered to find herself in a cloud of smoke.

“Where are you Anders? Don’t make this harder then it needs to be!” she shouted looking through the cloud of haze as best as she could.

“I will not fight you. I’m leaving this Sith lord behind…and you will be joining us!”

Coughing and struggling to maintain some sense of center, a drip of venom came into Linz’s voice.

“I will NOT lose the Force again!”

Finding Anders in the Force was easy. He was still standing right in front of her. He still expected to sway her.

Linz hesitated.

Anders tried once more to open himself up to the Force when the strange voice spoke aloud again.

“You must leave her, for now. She is on the path to the dark side. She is lost now. Twisted and evil!”

“No! I can save her!” he shouted as Linz swung towards his voice. Anders reignited his saber and blocked her thrusts.

The voice tried once more, “Please, leave, you are their only hope. Go An-“

The voice was drowned out by the sudden explosion of pain in his right side. Melinza had connected.

It had been a grazing blow, but enough to hurt like he had never hurt before, especially given he didn’t have the Force to handle the pain.

Melinza pressed her advantage, pushing him further and futher up steps to the highest landing which reached far out of the temple to the night sky.

The doorway opened and Darth Odium walked in.

The sabers kept connecting and repelling each other, crashes and sparks lighting up the night sky like red and green shooting stars.

Melinza filled herself with her anger. Anders looked at her with love.

Melinza’s red saber connected with Anders wrist and severed it sending it and his lightsaber tumbling down to Dagobah.

Screaming, Anders collapsed in on himself and kept pushing back as far as the edge as he could go.

Melinza stalked in but the only sounds that could be heard was a distant engine, the hum of her saber, and the applause of Darth Odium.

“Good Melinza…Good. Well done. Now you know Anders, that you can never turn her back. She like your galaxy is now mine. I can extend the same offer to you that I did to Melinza…Join us! I can give you the Force back. You can prove yourself worthy. All you have to do is say the word…Jedi.”

“Never Odium. I will never turn to the dark side! Linz, I’m giving you one more chance. Let’s end this. Come back to me, Linz. Come back.”

Linz looked between her two loves. Her blade lowered. Her eyes filled with tears.

“Please Anders, don’t make me kill you.”

“No, Linz. I won’t make you do anything. Everything you do is your choice. But for now, I will take the choice out of your hands.”

Anders let himself fall over the edge of the catwalk.

“NO!” Linz screamed. She rushed to the edge, hoping to catch him in the Force maybe, she didn’t know what.

Then she saw it.

Anders had landed on a ship! The ship opened up it’s portside hatch and Anders crawled in.

Linz allowed herself a small smile, before grimacing and turning to her lord.

“I’m sorry master. He got away.”

Odium looked to her for a moment, before turning and walking away without saying a word.

He had bigger plans at the moment. Now that he had his Jedi, he wouldn’t wait for the surviving Jedi to attack. He would root out the problem immediately. It was time to take out this secret Jedi Coven. Then and only then would he feel comfortable.

Ch 10

He had failed.

Anders sat in the cargo compartment, alone and gave into his despair.

He tried with all of his might to center himself, to do what he trained the padawans to. To do what Master Holdess always taught him. To do what he had always told himself he would do.

But he couldn’t. He lost her. And not to an enemy. But to evil. It made him sick to think he might have to be the one to put a blade through her. No, let Listan do it…or even Ralls. He couldn’t!

“You are the last hope,” the recurring voice came to him.

Before Anders could question the voice, the door opened and Socal came rushing in.

“Anders?! Are you alright?” asked the smuggler.

Anders felt the tears streaming down his cheeks as he looked up. The last hope. Taking a deep breath, he looked Socal in the eyes.

“I have to be,” he said with some intensity.”

“Good, cause I’m gonna need you on guns, I don’t think they want you to leave…”

With that Anders focused and ran towards the lower quad guns.

Socal ran back up to the bridge.

Odium had sent a squadron after them. Ten Hybrids.

“Hey kid! I’ll owe you a pint back for every one you space.”

Despite himself, Anders grinned…a little. “Alright. If you want to give your earnings away so easily.”

“Well it is a difficult choice between my life and a good pint. But for today at least, I’ll take my life. Another day, you might get a different choice.”

“Just don’t stick around if we can bolt, alright?”

“Yes sir, kid, sir.”

The hybrids had broken formation. Two of them wanted the honor kill. Anders felt his hand tighten. It was a good thing he didn’t have the Force. The sight of the hybrids attacking reminded him of Odium and Odium reminded him of what the dark lord did to Linz.

That made him angry.

He squeezed the trigger and hit space.

“C’mon kid! You had a money shot there! You can’t afford to be givin’ up the money shot!”

“Just fly, Soc, I’ll take care of the gunnery, ok?”

“Touchy!” Socal returned. But he shut up. Calculating the coordinates for a jump was difficult while trying to dodge hybrids and lasers. He sighed. He needed a co-pilot for this hunk of junk even if he didn’t want one.

Anders calmed down and centered himself.

And proceeded to blast the next two hybrids out of the sky.

The next wave would be three, if ORC standard procedure followed through. It did. Socal juked left and right as best as he could to avoid the laser blasts, but his ship was not meant for intense combat.

Anders watched them as they came and slowly got into the groove of shoot shoot, wait wait, shoot shoot. He watched and something was starting to bother him.

They only sent one squadron of ten. Surely they could afford more? He couldn’t think of any more because a blast scorched his gunnery pit and knocked him back out of the seat. Hitting his head against the wall…he saw more stars than he knew were out there before sliding down unconscious. His last thought was that ten was enough after all.

————
“Listan, I told you. We can’t afford a rescue mission, especially for someone who doesn’t want to be rescued!” Ralls calmly said.

“Master Ralls, Anders has gone off anyways, we should be supporting him!” Listan shouted.

“Listan. This may sound cold and harsh but Anders is as of this moment expendable. I don’t want to lose him any more than you do, but the fact is he is forceless. I can’t let what few Jedi we have left to risk themselves needlessly. Understood?” Ralls turned away before Listan even agreed and back to his work.

“Well when are we going to do something. That droid is not going to help us!”

“On the contrary Listan, he already has. I have the lead I’ve been looking for! Pack up your things! We’re going to Tatooine,” Ralls smiled.

Listan nodded and turned to go ready himself.
—————–
Melinza walked back to her room, lay on her bed and thought. She couldn’t cry anymore. She was all cried out at this point. Isn’t this what she wanted. She reached out into the Force and let if flow into her. Odium was right. She was more powerful then ever.

But she still wasn’t happy.

But she was at peace. Happiness was something that wasn’t meant for her, she rationaled. As she sank deeper into the Force, she just let herself be surrounded in it like a lover holding her close.

Anders threatened that. Without Odium she would be crippled again. She could never go back to that again. She steeled herself.

She would have to face Anders Valkin again.

——————–
Odium turned to Jeeson. “Did they get away?”

“Y-y-yes my lord,” Jeeson stammered looking anywhere but at Odium.

“Was the homing signal attached?” Odium walked closer to Jeeson.

“Y-y-yes my l-l-lord,” he said. “I-I-if I m-m-may ask? D-d-don’t we know where he’s g-g-oing?”

“Yes Jeeson, but they also obviously have found Linz’s note to Anders, our bait. Therefore they know I was there. They will be moving shortly, if not immediately. I want to attack them on their new world, where they are setting up, not when they are already about to leave! Alert me when they’ve settled for a bit.”

“Y-y-es my l-l-ord,” Jeeson said.

Odium walked out of the room and stormed towards the living quarters. He needed to teach Melinza a few more things before she walked into battle again. Another lesson in submission would be a good starting point.
—————-
Socal had punched into hyperspace, not long after Anders had gone down. Immediately after the jump, he went and helped Anders to the cot. He was no doctor, but he could ease pain and apply bacta.

Anders stayed unconscious for quite awhile making Socal nervous. He hoped Master Ralls could help.

Soon after they jumped into system however, Anders was quick to wake. Stumbling up to the cockpit, he looked around, somewhat in confusion.

“What happened?”

Socal turned to him and with a full grin, “Well you blasted a few and then they blasted you a few until I blasted it the frag out of there!”

“We goin’ home?” Anders asked groggily, rubbing his head.

“No. Just got word from Ralls. He said he wants to meet us on Tatooine. They packed your stuff and sent the coordinates.”

“Tatooine, huh?”

“Yeah, something about a lead from that droid he’s been playing with,” Socal finished. “We’ll be there soon. Why don’t you go rest.”

“Alright. Call me if you need me.”

“You got it.”

Anders went back and lay on the bed again. Tatooine.

Anders was going home.
END OF EPISODE VIII

TO BE CONTINUED IN EPISODE IX: Awakening of the Force

Balance of the Force Episode VII: The Tainting of the Force – Fan Fiction

Balance of the Force EpisodeVII: The Tainting of the Force.

by Paul Talon
PART I:

Prologue:

Swirling around in the Force. Consciousness came and went, slowly pulsing through his consciousness. The Force was quite powerful. He never knew how powerful. Much more powerful than he had even thought. The past, the present, the future. Everything was present in the Force. Something was different though. There was something not quite right. There was something taxing the force…abusing it…subverting it.

IT IS TIME…

What? Time? What? He felt the Force flow in and out, in and out, until there was a bright light…and fear.

Chapter 1.

The Jedi.

They have been the one constant this galaxy had in the millennia of existence.
Governments had risen and fallen, strove for excellence, and crumbled to the ground. Races have sprung up and gone extinct. But the Jedi remained. There was one time in the history of their existence where they were almost eliminated. But not quite. This time, the job would be finished. If he had to hunt down every last Jedi himself, they would be destroyed., and at last there would be vengeance.

Vengeance for those whose children were stolen from them in the name of the Force. Vengeance for those who were not important enough to deal with the high and mighty Jedi over such piddling things as their lives. Vengeance for those who were persecuted because they used the Force, but ultimately disagreed with the dogmatic views the Jedi handed out.

Vengeance for the Sith.

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Balance of the Force Episode V: Legacy of the Chosen One – Fan Fiction

Balance of the Force Episode V: Legacy of the Chosen One

by Paul Talon

The four travelers passed through the wormhole again after their ship was repaired and modified.

Raist checked against the marker they left behind. “Two years. A lot can happen in two years.”

“Two years!?!” Anakin exclaimed. Jacen sat confused.”

“Seems it does that a trip to alternate universes can make you lose a litle bit of time.”

“But…”

“Incoming!” cried Gruda.

Raist looked out side and was shocked to see ships of an Imperial design.

“Wow,” was all he could say. “He’s moved beyond the test scee.

“Looks like we go to a place when the Emperor is well and good. Can you handle that?”

“Here we go again,” Jacen said under his breath.

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Balance Of The Force Episode IX: Awakening of the Force – Fan Fiction

Balance of the Force Saga:

Episode IX: Awakening of the Force

by Paul Talon

Anders awoke with a start. He didn’t know where he was.

“Rest easy young one. You’ve had quite the day.”

Anders looked up towards the voice and saw Master Ralls standing over him.

“M-m-master Ralls? What are you…where are we?”

“We’re on Tatooine Anders. Socal brought you down to see me after he landed because you didn’t awaken. If I didn’t know better, I would have sworn you were in a jedi healing trance,” Ralls said with a slight hint of questioning.

Anders sat up and wished he hadn’t.

“Well, it didn’t work if that’s what it was…”

Anders looked up to guage his surroundings. He was in some kind of hut, with little decoration, but a definite lived in feel. He couldn’t really take in much more, because the flap on the door burst open and Socal came in and embraced Anders, lifting him off his feet.

“Good to see you back kid!”

“Socal,” Ralls started, “It might be better if you leave him on the cot.” Socal dropped Anders back down and nodded.

“You’re right. Sorry. Just excited. I mean he owes me a lot of ale!”

Ralls smirked, “Of course he does.”

Anders smiled weakly. “You’ll get them all and more as I get better.” He turned to Ralls. “So why Tatooine? I haven’t been to this hellhole since Holdess found me.”

Ralls smiled. “Has it been that long? I actually like it here. There’s a lot of solitude. Anyways, I finally got a piece of information from 3PO that just might be important.”

“What was that?” Anders looked past Ralls and saw 3PO just watching.

“Remember the story of Luke Skywalker and his son?” Ralls asked.
“You mean Luke’s death? Yeah.”

“Well, it turns out that Ben turned to the dark side after an experiment gone awry. He was studying the ability to siphon the Force off of users and into his own body. This was going to be a new effective way to strip dark side users of the Force. But he never got far enough for it to be effective. He had tried it on a few dark jedi who Luke had captured. Luke had been wary because it seemed almost unnatural and too much of the Dark side, but Ben had a way of convincing his father. It is unknown exactly what happened, but we do know what happened in the long run.”

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