[M21 - Danoor - FF] New Jedi Order | Chapter 1.0 - The Storms of Ator Hollos

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The students and teachers of a new JEDI ACADEMY travel to the very farthest edges of the galaxy; the planet ATOR HOLLOS, a powerful force-world selected as the home of their endeavor. After multiple days of travel passing through the strange and hostile Kathol Rift, the Jedi finally reach their destination . . . 



4th and Last Day of the Journey to Ator Hollos

The halls of the starship, Godspeed, were quiet. Most of the Jedi and Jedi initiates lay dozing in their bunks. The few still awake sat and talked quietly around a table in the hold, their voices drowned out by the dull thrumming of the freighter's engine. 
After nearly a standard week of space travel, the passengers were restless. Jun Jin-Wa, resident duelist, was no fan of space travel at the best of times, much less being trapped inside a crowded ship for days on end while flying through an anomalous space-time material cloud. 


"Everything good up there, Ace?" He bellowed towards the cockpit. "Should we—urgh—expect to crash soon?"

Kyle Katarn, head in hands, muttered, "I told you not to drink too much, Jin-Wa."

"Wish I'd drank more. Blacked out. Been left behind."

Noko Imani seemed to be keeping her cool a little better than the other two, although her face was a tinge paler than usual. 

"Do not worry; Asa has been through bad spots before. We were chased by cultists above Reecee. We survived thanks to him."
The ship jostled and Noko grasped a pipe for support. 
". . . But then, that was cultists. This is the Kathol Rift. They are not exactly the same."

"Ha!" Laughed Ma-Riki, an old Lannik woman, who sat sipping on a foul-smelling green concoction, feet kicking above the ground. At Noko and Jun's request she was seated far away from the others, lest the stench make the turbulence an even worse experience. 
"You didn't listen! You should have loaded up on my special elixir a cycle ago! All the pains of flying, disappeared! Just like that! Don't be too prideful to ask for help, Jedi. Your Skywalker wouldn't like that."

She was certainly a good advertisement for her own elixir; her cheeks were rosy and her smile was wide. She seemed right in her element, her ears waggling up and down as she laughed.

"Cease your chattering, woman," growled Aemos from his bunk. "Silence!"

"Ooh, grumpy, aren't we, Master Suurm-Xachus? You wouldn't be so grumpy if you'd had my elixir. Hehehe-!"

A voice from the cockpit echoed down the corridor. "Hey, riverflow! I could use a co-pilot's eyes, if you got a sec."

Noko bit down a retort and hurried to help her husband. She kept one hand perpetually braced against the wall.

Asa Imani sat in the pilot's seat surrounded by empty Caf powder packets and grayweave scraps. He had been going almost nonstop since they'd left Sullust, sustained as he propelled forward by the ministration of his wife through the Force, and a steady stream of chemical boosters.
There were dark circles under his tired eyes, which he didn't take off the flight path in front of him.

"Skywalker's ship was a lot smaller than this old thing . . . Check the navicomputer, would ya? For our ETA?'

Noko crossed the small room and tapped away at the computer's keys, bringing up an ancient display. A planet swirled in hologram form.

"I don't get it," Asa frowned. "It's like we're going in circles. It should be there!"

"I have good news, love."

Asa had been right. They left the tendrils of the Kathol Rift like breaking from a treeline, and finally earned their reward. Before them sat the solitary dark globe that was Ator Hollos. It was blue and green, streaked with storm systems and flashing atmospheric lighting.


The others heard their gasps and joined them in the cockpit.

"I can't believe it--it exists," Jun muttered.

"Indeed," grunted Aemos. "And it appears as dangerous as we expected. "

"I'll take anything, at this point," Kyle replied, teeth grit. "Aemos, go and wake up the initiates. We need to be ready for anything."

Noko put a hand on Asa's shoulder. "Not long now."

"Long nap, here I come," Asa said, before focus took over. It was time for approach. He shifted several levers and flicked a dozen toggles. The freighter swept in closer and closer to the atmosphere.
"Everyone strap in!" Asa shouted over his shoulder, eyes glued to the planet's shifting cloud forms ahead. 

The initiates and Jedi scrambled for a seat, attaching their restraints. One initiate struggled to get his to click; Aemos raised his hand, and the buckle fastened itself. 

"T-Thank you, Teacher Suurm-Xachus."

Aemos let out a deep rumble in response.

The ship slipped past the atmosphere and into the clouds. It was like entering a tumble-dryer, or a Bonadan refinery centrifuge. Brutal winds whipped against the old freighter, forcing it into unplanned spins and barrel-rolls. Asa pushed the controls with white knuckles to keep them from stalling entirely. A burst of lightning lit up the interior cabin.

"Don't tell me we came all the way here just to die in this durasteel box!" Jun barked, holding his restraints.

Asa was resolute. "We'll make it!"

"You've got this, Asa!" Kyle shouted over the howling wind. "Don't worry, initiates. All is as the Force wills it."

Ma-Riki said nothing. She was too busy cackling loudly, her ears flopping this way and that. The initiates on either side eyed her warily. 
Aemos, for his part, was completely silent. It was either strength, or he was worried he might throw up himself.

Then came the voice.

Every force-sensitive on the ship heard it; a voice ringing in their heads as deep as the planet's core. 


The words in their head were followed by a flash of lighting and a horrible crash. Everyone on-board saw a spark of orange in their vision, and the first engine exploded from the surge of power, tearing a hole in the side of the ship.
They felt rain against their skin, and the wind whipping their robes and jackets. Fire leapt to life, flicking wildly in the storm. The ship tilted to one side. Several initiates screamed. It was impossible to tell which way was up. It was like a horrible festival ride, an out-of-control podracer.

The lightning knocked out Asa's instruments, but his eyes worked as well as ever. Determined, he pulled back on the yoke. 

"Everybody hold on!" 

The ship careened through fog until the world stopped, as they slammed into the mountain.

When they came to, their heads spun and their bodies ached. The initiates opened their eyes to see one of the Jedi teachers rousing them, making sure they were okay. Several undid their restraints and fell to the floor, making sick on the grating. Noko supported Asa as he hobbled out of the cockpit, his leg bent at a nasty angle.
Kyle staggered out of the hole in the ship's hull to see where they had stopped.
By some miracle of the Force (or Asa's natural talent), they had landed horizontally, skidding across a long section of mountainside, upon which they'd strewn flaming parts of the ship and knocked over dozens of trees. The freighter now rested on the very edge of a cliff, overlooking a fog-drenched valley. Snow crusted the rocks, covering tufts of orange and green grass.
Though it thundered still overhead, the storm was not as violent this close to the surface. Thick white fog concealed anything further than a few hundred feet. 

"I can't believe we survived," Kyle huffed. "Asa, you sure you're not using the Force?"

Asa chuckled, but it took effort. "You're lookin' at one hundred natural talent, K-Katarn," he joked, before devolving into a coughing fit.

"I suspect you have several broken ribs, love," Noko said seriously. "Lay back. Jedi Jin-Wa, Suurm-Xachus, please inspect the students for injuries."

"At once."

The two Jedi complied, while Kyle stood peering into the fog around them. Something seemed off.  

He took several steps out of the ship, into the scorched rut they'd left in the ground. His senses were flying off the handle. Danger was close, and approaching fast. What was it; the cliff? The ship's other engine, would it explode? 

"Hey, Jedi, any of you . . ."

His voice trailed off as he saw them: dark shadows moving towards them in the fog. 

Figures, dozens of them. 

One by one they stepped close enough to see, a mass of crudely armored humanoids holding blasters and spears. They formed a line around the cliff's edge and the crippled ship, blocking them in.


"Sithspit," grunted Kyle. He spoke over his shoulder. "Friends, we have company."

The other Jedi turned to look--their guests had arrived in near perfect silence.  Several initiates startled, while others, though intimidated, looked ready to fight even in their battered state. 
Noko's brow set; she called her staff to her hand with the Force, and hurried to join Kyle. 
She studied the raiders. Among them, she saw all kinds of species, age, and disposition. Some of them were barely teenagers, while others were older, gnarled and scarred. Their eyes were uniformly full of hate. She knew well enough when someone else saw her as prey, it was the predominant look in the eyes on Reecee's streets. It faced her now in two dozen faces.

"Hello," Kyle greeted the crowd. "Something we can help you guys with?" 

His voice sounded as it always did, but his expression was intense. Not only focused on the hostiles and their intentions; he felt something, a whisper from the Force. Something distracting him. 

Two raiders stepped forward from the line; one of them enormous and armor-plated, with a mangled, fleshy face, the other thin, hunched like a predator, wearing a concealing helmet and cradling a rifle. Leaders amongst the rabble.

A long silence. Kyle sensed Noko's hand edging towards the activation switch on her lightstaff--he put out a hand to stop her, and to warn Jun, Aemos, and Ma-Riki to keep their distance. Aemos' hand was on the hilt of his sword. Jun held his saber, unignited, twitching and ready. 

The lean raider, crouched on a rock, said something to his comrade through a vocalized filter in his helmet. 

"Lightsabers. As the master said."

The voice sounded young. The large, armored raider cracked its neck in reply.

"Survivors! You are blessed this day," bellowed the big one. "Today, the One Who Gives has granted you a great opportunity. We who stand before you are the Immortal Clan, for we are that all: undying, unfading. The One Who Gives is not precious with his gifts, he can bless you also with eternity, should you prove yourselves to be not his enemy. Surrender your arms, and come with us. Come see him."

"Sabdan, be silent," said the rifleman. He stepped forward past the big one, who grunted in annoyance, to address the Jedi. His head tilted, his mask revealing nothing. 
" are different," he said, curiosity at the corner of his words. "Some of you are powerful, indeed. Sabdan is right. You must come with us peacefully; the Master will want you." 


"I've seen worse odds," muttered Jun from the ship. 

Noko grimaced as a vision in the Force struck her, a glimpsed flashpoint. She was the children in the ship, and the children among the raiders. She saw their similarities, their shared fear, their shared capacity for violence in light of it. All at once, she blinked with the impression of every trigger and every blade around her. The crashed ship, one engine still humming with power. She sensed the planet itself. It was . . . watching? Waiting, to discover the outcome? The drums of war, arrhythmic and cruel, beat in her head. And something so dark, she could sense it only by the absence of light it created.
This was a crucial moment. Destinies would be shaped in the next few minutes. 

"We must not fight," she said, quiet enough for only the Jedi to hear. "Many would die. This cannot be our path."

She glanced at Kyle, but stopped at what she saw. His expression was odd--serenity had replaced his focus and worry. He was smiling--it was his typically wry, sarcastic smile, but it was a stark contrast to the determination and fear on every other face around. 

"Master Katarn . . . ?"

"Noko is right," Kyle said. He glanced back into the ship, to the Jedi, to the Initiates, and he offered a gruff, reassuring smile. 
"The Force just showed me my path. You need to go, carry on the mission, build the academy. I have to go with them."

"What?" blurted Noko, eyes wide. 

Aemos' jaw tightened. "Master Katarn. Please--"

"We either trust the Force, or we don't. At the very least, trust me. I'll be okay. This is the way things have to be. No matter what: trust in the Force, and each other. Noko, Jun, Aemos; good luck. May the Force be with all of you. I think we'll meet again."

He saw the reluctance, the shock in their faces. He smiled once more. "All is as the Force wills it," he reminded them.

Slowly, each processed his words. They looked at each other. 

"All is as the Force wills it," they said together. Whether they felt it in the moment or not, they meant it. They chose to believe it. 

The burden was transferred to them.

"I'll buy you an opening," Kyle murmured. "Take care of the students."

With that final word, Kyle turned towards the line of raiders, these goons that called themselves "Immortals." The Jedi Master stepped forward and raised his hands in surrender. 

"Alright, you spooks," he said, voice clear. "I'll go with you, but you leave the others be."

The big one, Sabdan, shook his head. "All or nothing, survivor."

"They all go to the master!" cried a warrior in the crowd. The others answered with jeers.

"Listen up, scumbags! It's just me, no one else. You don't like it, too bad. Let's get going, don't wanna keep this 'master' of yours waiting."

He stepped closer to the line of raiders. Two ran forward and grabbed him, pulling him towards a set of waiting chains. The Jedi watched him look back, and flash another half-grimace.


He closed his eyes and leaned back his head, reaching out towards them with his free hand, pushing with the Force as hard as he could. Noko felt it like a powerful wind, blowing her back inside the broken freighter. She let herself be carried, landing lightly inside the hull with the others. The power of the Force grew even stronger, and the freighter squealed as its bulkhead scraped along toward the edge of the cliff. its weight had passed the lip.
The ship teetered backwards. There was a clunk in the still-living engine. It vibrated the remains of the freighter as it flared to life. 

Jun shouted, "Everyone grab onto something!"

"Stay together!" Kyle called, and the last thing the Jedi saw was angry raiders pulling him down.  


To be continued . . .










Thanks for looking.

Edited by RocketBoy

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