Note: A big thank you as always goes out to Inachis and Hawklan for all their help with this story.
(Next morning, inside the Enterprise)
The star system was coming up in front of them and the crew was ready.
They used a maximum level of stealth as a group of Corellian corvettes supported by at least a full wing of TIE-Interceptor mark 2 fighters were prowling the star system.
Noh Noss was honestly curious and asked, “What’s the plan? Just walk right inside?”
Xander studied the movements of the ships. “Lumiya wouldn’t like anybody near the alchemy machine if it’s truly sentient. It would be too easy for it to turn anybody near it into a slave drone of some kind. No, she will be the only one able to go near it.”
He was silent for a moment and then continued. “If we land, she’ll get an early warning, that’s bad.” He slowly smiled and added. “Lucky for us we’re not going to land. We’re going in from orbit.”
Noh Noss raised an eyebrow and Jaina looked confused, but then started to grin.
“What are you talking about?” Noh Noss asked.
“Our ring transporter. They work from close orbit down to a planet. We’re going to transport down and our robot steeds are coming with. Then we show her justice, revenge, preemptive-protection, whatever we call it. Once it’s pushed down her throat, it will taste like shit,” he said and grinned. Pay back was coming, bitch. “R3, you and R6 have to stay on board. Hideout near the moon and go silent. We’ll call you when we need you.”
R3 peeped worriedly at his master. Xander just petted its chromed top. “Don’t worry. I’ve done lots of stupid things before, you know. Don’t fuss so much, it makes you rust like a bucket,” he said, giving R3 a silly grin.
R3 actually managed to huff and gave Xander an electric shock before rolling away. Nobody called him Rustbucket or could claim he would turn into one.
“Wait R3, I’m sorry. Listen, I know what I’m doing,” Xander said as he limped after his metallic friend.
“You are so droid whipped,” Noh Noss snorted.
“He’s a friend, a good one,” Jaina said with a smile. “Just like my R6 is.”
Noh Noss shrugged. “Whatever. How good is that R3? I’ve heard some negative things about that model,” he asked.
Jaina blinked. “They’re among the greatest astromech droids ever build. Perhaps you talked to a starfighter pilot. The R3 is dedicated to maintenance on big ships, capital and cargo ships. Their ability to work as starfighter astromech is lacking and even if you put a starfighter interface inside of an R3, you would have to buy the software separately. It’s cheaper just to buy an R2.”
Noh Noss nodded. “I know that. What I heard was about the personality,” Noh Noss said.
“Oh that. Well, R2s are rather perky and curious with a go get it personality. The R3s are more responsible, hardworking with a stubborn I will not give up personality. They sometimes become overprotective unless their memory is wiped,” Jaina replied.
“Let me guess, R3 has never ever been wiped,” Noh Noss said.
She just smiled at him as she nodded.
He leaned back. Well, as annoying as an over protective droid is, at least it’s not as irritating as a protocol droid.
Xander came back with R3 following behind. “Let`s go to the planet. Noh Noss, move the robot horses inside the rings. They will have to go first,” he said.
“Why not use repulsors or swoops?” Noh Noss asked.
“The robot horses, believe it or not, are sensor baffled against detection. You can move fast and not be detected by sensors that easily,” Xander replied.
“Master, a question. You told us about those strange powers the Sith have. Is that the so called Sith Magic and are the Sith more powerful than us?” Noh Noss asked.
Xander smiled. That was a loaded question. “Right, let`s see if I can give you a proper answer. First Sith Magic, no Alchemy and Sith Magic are different, although related. To use Sith Magic most need an amulet and to make an amulet you need Alchemy. Those that master magic, light or dark, can use the force in a totally different way than we do. Most of that are rituals. Have you seen the Gands Findsman ritual?” he said, looking at Noh Noss, who only shook his head.
“That is a prime example of white magic. Using partly the force, special smoke and chants, he manipulates the force in a different way than we Jedi do. That is magic. In some ways it’s stronger, but it’s also weaker. Even the legendary Sith force blast. You need to prepare yourself and charge up a blast for later use or use a special amulet that lets you do it at will.” Then he frowned a bit and said, “Other magic does exist. There is a strange group Vader was faced with and they actually defeated him.”
All were looking at him now.
Xander nodded. “They can somehow create a circle of peace around themselves where nobody can attack them or somebody under their direct protection. Anakin Skywalker refused to say much more as they are a private group. The second force cloak that Jaina and I use follows these rules of magic. Both of us have to focus in a special way that’s difficult to do during combat. And while under the cloak, we’re unable to attack.”
Noh Noss frowned. “So magic can do strong tricks equal to force tricks in strength. Some of those tricks are more powerful, but slower,” he concluded.
“Yes, they are also limited. Jedi force tricks are far easier to change and manipulate to make them do another thing. And you asked if the Sith was or are more powerful. No, they are not. Most Sith don’t even know all this even exists,” Xander said.
Jaina was now interested. “Why is that?” she asked.
Xander smiled. “Because we have different Sith groups and forms of Sith. The first was the Sith species that supposedly is an extinct species of near-humans almost born with the power of the dark side. The Zeltron are related to them, except they seem to be born in the light side of the force.” He could see the shock in Noh Noss eyes and then he continued. “Then came the Sith Empire. Fallen Dark Jedi who became rulers and forged an empire among the stars. It ended during the Great Hyperspace war more than five thousand years ago. Scholars say it was the victory of that war that really made the Republic what it later became. After that it was believed the Sith were permanently gone.
The Massassi were survivals from the Great hyperspace war. They build the pyramids on Yavin 4. Around 4000 years later their legacy once again bloomed and another big war came. A war that created the old Jedi order as a result and eventually made the Republic fall.
Then after that came the cult of the True Sith, the Brotherhood of the Sith, the Krath sect and Revan’s Sith empire, a powerful empire that rose in record speed and crashed and burned almost as fast.
Then the Sith triumvirate that started to use assassins. They used special methods to capture force-sensitive enemies, sometimes even their own soldiers. Using mind washing indoctrination and special training, they created a cradle of loyal killers that were willing to die just to finish the mission. They were masters in the art of using the force to hide themselves.
Around the same time came their worst enemy, who had forged an empire as large as the first Sith Empire. It was the new Sith Empire. It was never beaten, it collapsed into civil war and the Jedi arrived to remove what was left. The triumvirate and they were like cats and dogs. Hated each other even more then they hated the Jedi.
Then came the Brotherhood of Darkness. Lord Kaan gathered the surviving Dark Lords and Sith followers at the planet Ruusan to begin a new order. The Jedi followed them and they were destroyed, all of them or so it was believed.
Next was the Oder of the Sith Lord Darth Bane. He created the order of two. A master and a student only.
Kyle Kartan discovered the Disciples of Ragnos, a group that even Palpatine tried to destroy. They claimed to be the True Sith. Hopefully Kyle did destroy them.
Then last we have Lumiya, a Sith and her followers,” he explained in a long rush. He paused for a moment so that they could assimilate all what he just said and then continued. “The problem is or our advantage is that all this time the greatest enemy of the dark has always been the dark. They hoard secrets and refuse to share them with each other; they hide knowledge from each other and kill each other. And I did say hide. Most Sith lords like to be seen as wise so they research and write down important knowledge they can give to the student as a reward for being a good dog. Still they try make sure the student doesn’t learn too much or too fast.
Lord Bane’s rule of Two was broken more than once when a renegade student managed to escape and formed his own Master and student order of the Sith. After all, when the student has fully mastered all the lessons, he or she is supposed to challenge the master in a fight to the death.
And that’s why the Jedi order knew that there was always two, a master and a student. And they were surprised as they had believed both student and master had died hundreds of years ago.”
Jaina leaned back. “So all in all, these are just pretenders,” she said in surprise.
Xander nodded. “Dangerous pretenders named after a species they themselves more or less destroyed. Sometimes a new cult is named Sith or a nut job finds lost knowledge recorded by a Sith and the cycle starts anew.”
“Doesn’t this depress you? All that old hate and it never dies,” he said.
Xander nodded. “It can depress you, unless you think about it this way. The force is life and death, all sides of the force. Life is the light and the dark is destruction. They all have to have their champions and their own way of expressing themselves. The champions of the dark side are dark side users and the champions of the light are us, the Jedi. In the end it comes down to ‘better the enemy we know, than one we don’t’.”
Noticing something not many did, Noh Noss said curiously, “One thing Master. From what you said Life being the light side and destruction the dark side. I have heard you call the dark death also, but you almost never call it evil. You call the dark side users evil, but not the dark side.”
“You are absolutely correct. The force is the force, it’s not good nor is it evil. On the other hand, it always strives to follow its own nature. And the light side isn’t always good. It could just as easy be a light side Jedi doing criminal things. The dark side, as I said, is the manifestation of destruction and death. The greatest enemy of the Sith have never been the Jedi or even the light side. The dark side’s worst enemy has always been other darksiders, as they always kill each other in the end.”
Noh Noss looked amused but considered the unasked question. “Dark side as a manifestation of destruction and death, those two sound like evil. You claim they are not. And you say the force itself only strives to follow its own nature, making any darksider a person spreading destruction and death around him. That’s evil,” he finished.
Xander snorted. “Not directly. In the past there have been darksiders that served as warriors protecting the innocent. The problem comes from the fact that mortal beings are unable to handle the nature of destruction. It corrupts us and brings forward the evil that exists inside of us.”
Noh Noss nodded. “You master, have a strange way of seeing things. Some would say a dangerous way.” He looked at the table and his own lightsaber. The one he built completely out of found spare parts and broken gizmos. “Still, the idea of alchemy is intriguing. You said it could use the Light side as well?”
Looking at the man Xander smiled. “If you like, I could show you some Force alchemy. Our armor is made with alchemy and there are some tricks that I haven’t yet done or mastered that we could explore.” He wasn’t so worried, Noh Noss felt like he was dedicated to the light and the skills all depended on peace and tranquility to perform. And who knew? The guy might invent a useful ability or equipment the Jedi could need.
Noh Noss nodded, that sounded fun. Xander was much younger than him, but Noh Noss didn’t feel that right now. The young Master was childish when playing with his droid or goofing around. He was also responsible and had a lot of wisdom, even if he was a bit rash at times.