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Legacy (SoU) by SeverianofUrth

Legacy: A 500,000-Year Old Saga of Guns & Lightsabers
Date: 24 February 2006, 2:27 pm

Legacy: A 500,000 Year-Old Saga of Guns & Lightsabers. [I]

      Part One of Two.

"So are they finally thawing him out, then?" Lewin Dryk frowned at the ancient cryo-chamber before him. Through the layer of frost, he could make out the dim green-armored figure inside.

The Twi'lek--his name was Vrun--beside him giggled. "Yes! After three long monthes of bureacratic twiddling, we're going to bring him back to at last. Just imagine it--the oldest living specimen of humanity ever found!"

"But it's going to be peaceful. So why am I here?" Dryk thumbed the lightsaber tucked into his belt, more out of habit then anything else. "After all, this thing is ancient. I doubt that old-time humans would pose much threat, even if they were inclined to do so."

"The protocols state otherwise," the Twi'lek said. "Besides, our scans show otherwise; the human is quite formidable, physically." Vrun motioned for one of the droids to come forward. It, a golden speciment that looked vaguely humanoid, pattered forward on metal limbs. "Bring up a holo of the scans, please," the Twi'lek asked.

The droid complied, and before the Jedi a small, rotating vision of the human locked inside the cryo chamber was projected. The first thing Dryk noticed was that the man inside was unusally... large. Then the holo switched to the skeletal structure, and he gasped as the man's bones were shown to be, also, rather unusually thick and--

"Unbreakable?" Dryk asked, after reading one of the notes floating beside the figure. "His bones are unbreakable?"

"Well, not so much unbreakable as very break-resistant."

"So what is he? A freak?"

"Some of our experts have translated the language used back then, and it shows that this man was on a mission-- against something called the 'Covenant.' No idea what that is, however."

Dryk stared again at the hologram floating above him. "He looks fat. With those heavy limbs I doubt he'll pose much threat, speed-wise." Yes, he thought: he would dance around the ancient if the need arose, and hack away at the limbs first. Cripple the beast, topple the mountainous. "This should be a cinch. Should the ancient ever attack, I should be able to take care of him quite easily."

"That's why you're here," the Twi'lek replied. "The Senate felt that having a Jedi preside over the operations would... smooth things over a bit."

"More bureacratic twiddling?" asked Dryk, smiling.

"Oh, yes. It never ends. Still, this is worth it-- we'll be able to talk to him! Imagine that, Jedi! A man from five hundred thousand years ago, long before recorded history, or at least what we have of it."

The Jedi pointed out, "But we'll have no idea what he's saying."

"That can be taken care of," Vrun said. "It's nothing. We converse daily with our friendly Hutts, correct? Not to mention the Wookie laborers. It'll be nothing." He hummed. "I'm also very fascinated with that armor the human is wearing. Primitive, but marvelous; it's fully functioning, too, which is just great. S'gurakin--"

"Who's that?" Dryk asked, cutting in.

"That blue marsh-dweller over there," the Twi'lek replied. He pointed out the alien's tentacles. "Anyways, she discovered that the human's suit held some sort of a force-field device; we've charged it up with remote power transfers. Also, our research pointed out that cryo-resurrection was far more primitive in those days, so we're just using our own methods."


"Oh, yes. In those days, a brief moment of hazy disconnection followed right after awaking--and after that drunken moment, you really weren't fit for much, not until you stretched out your limbs and 'got your bearings,' as the Coruscantians say." Vrun smiled. "My son taught me that."

"Right," Dryk said. He stared at the frozen form. Why did he have such a bad feeling about this? "So he'll pop out fully refreshed--is that it?"

"Yes. Normally, that's not how we'd do such things, ancient alien beings usually being bloodthirsty folk, but you're here, and the Council felt that in this case, it would be safe enough. And besides, again, you're here."

"Of course." The Jedi thumbed his lightsaber. "Of course."

Oh, God. I have a ache in my back...

Master Chief slowly came to consciousness, and found himself staring at the familiar frost-hoared glass of a cryo chamber. He was, or had been, frozen; and now, as the glass was raised and he was given leave to get up, he wondered just how long he had spent sleeping.

Then something popped out. It was blue and had tentacles. Adrenaline shot high and he lunged forward, reflexes taking over, as the thing before him--no idea what it was, but it had to be something from the Covenant--emitted a high-pitched scream. The Chief lashed out with his fist, and simply smashed through the alien's head, leaving behind only a bloody ruin in his wake.

Jesus. The Chief realized that the Dubya, the ship that had been ferrying his frozen body to what was postulated to be the Forerunners' homeworld, had been taken over by the hostiles. And he had no weapons. He glanced around, and saw that--

The two doors at the end of the chambers slid open, and white-armored things surged out, strange-looking guns in hand. The Chief was shocked as he realized that those armored figures were human, or at least similar in proportions. Then they began shooting: a red bolt of some energy splashed against his shield--which was active right after his awakening, strange--and he rolled to the side, tactical options riffling through his head. It was clear that these people--or things, you never knew--were his enemies, at least for the time being. He had no weapons. There wasn't enough cover in the room, asides from the cryo-tube, and that would only last a second under such a barrage. No choice then: and with that in mind, he charged. His motions blurred; the troopers panicked under such a display of speed; and then the Spartan was upon them.

"Oh, dearie," Vrun whispered. Dryk paid the Twi'lek no mind as they watched the five-hundred-thousand year-old human massacre a squad of Republic Commandos.

"He's fast," the Jedi said. "Unusually fast. If I didn't know better I'd say that he was Jedi-trained... but I can't sense the Force, around him. I would have to check the Mitochlorian levels to be sure, but still--"

"He killed S'gurakin." Vrun turned towards Dryk, and whispered again, "he killed him. Just like that. A punch."

"Very strong, too. And some sort of a shielding system around his armor-- do you think it'll repel a lightsaber?" Then the Jedi noticed that the Twi'lek was paralyzed with shock and fear. Sighing, he wondered if he should modulate the Force in such a way to instill cheery feelings in Vrun, but decided that a simple slap to the head-tails would accomplish the same thing.


"So do you think his armor can repel a lightsaber/" Dryk asked again.

"I mean... I don't know. Regular blaster fire just seemed to melt away off him, but a lightsaber's power levels are about a hundred times more intense, so... Oh, I don't know."

"Guess I'll just have to go in, then." Dryk turned, and started walking towards the door. "I want you to call for more back up. Not troopers, but real Jedi. I'll hold him off. Make sure that the lockdown procedures are in place."

"Watch out!" Vrun squealed.

"It shouldn't be too hard," the Jedi said. "The Commandos were shooting to stun, not kill; I'm not going to make the same mistake as they did."

The Chief collected two of the guns and practiced firing them, one in each hand; they were smooth, with almost no recoil, and he was satisfied to see two big black holes scorch on the steel walls. He tried to wipe the guilty feeling out of his mind, remembering how these soldiers had bled red, like men. He had killed humans before, but after fighting exclusively the Covenant--and all other sorts of aliens--for so long, the feel of human blood on his hands was very unpleasant.

He decided that he had better things to worry about for now, like survival. He was trapped behind enemy lines, vastly outnumbered, confused and alone, and there was no telling what the next minute might bring. It was a very familiar feeling.

Where was he? The interior was certainly of a ship, but something within him, call it intuition if you will, whispered that it was not so; this place was something or somewhere else. The Spartan tried his comm channels, and found only static.

Then came the realization that he had no idea how long he had slept. Cryogenic sleep was like that. What if--this possibility actually frightened him--he was lost in time, or other such nonsense? The Spartan turned back to the dead bodies on the floor, and lifted off one of the corpses' helmet. It came off, and he saw--

A vaguely Asiatic face. The Chief cursed, to himself. Either these people were rebels against the UNSC who somehow had found, and were collaborating with, unknown species of aliens, or he really was lost in time.

He bent over another corpse and pulled off it's helmet. The same identical face stared back at him, dead, eyes open and staring. Were they twins? Then he moved onto the next dead body, and then the next--

They all had the same faces. Clones, the Chief thought. Flash-clones, or others of that ilk. The Chief cursed again. This was certainly a proof that he was sometime in the future, that he had slept for far too long. Cloning had not been perfected in his time, after all.

The doors slid open again. John stood up and turned towards the man striding in. The man walking through the doors had brown hair, was dressed in something that looked like a cross between old European tunics and a monkish robe, and held a metal rod in his hands. The Chief saw how the man held himself, erect and proud, and deduced that this must be a authority figure, in this future.

John was no diplomat, and he disliked what he considered bartering of politics. He preferred the solid, brutal, yet firm reality of the battlefield. Yet it was clear that these men were not his enemies, though they might consider themselves his.

Languauge must have changed, since his time. The Chief raised up his hands, palms out and spread towards the man, trying to communicate peaceful intentions. He didn't want to kill this newcomer, for diplomacy usually didn't start with murder.

But the newcomer uttered something alien, and there he sprang, fast, blurring and exploding into motion. The Chief barely avoided the man's swing of--what was this?--his energy sword.

This man had to be augmented; no normal human being could move so fast. John felt then a stab of envy, at the other's lack of disfigurement. He looked normal, yet was not, while he, the Spartan, was irrevocably marked by his size and other such abnormal traits.

Then the man lunged, his energy-blade blurring; the Chief dodged backwards, the tip of the weapon coming perilously close to his helmet--

It was but a glancing touch, but his shields overloaded from just that brush with the weapon. John watched that glowing blade with new respect: the thing was very, very lethal. And the man before him was even faster then the higher-up Elites he had fought before.

Another swing, this time followed by a flurry of slashes; it was all John could do to keep himself from being sliced open. Then his opponent stopped, and stepped back. The Chief circled him warily, wondering just what he might do--the man was raising his arm towards him, palm open--

Some invisible force gripped him 'round the chest, and hurled him away. He was battered against the steel wall, and no sooner was he back on his feet that the swordsman was again upon him. The blade swung for his face; the Chief ducked; the weapon melted through the steel wall above him, then slashed downwards.

The saber never finished it's swing. The Master Chief's fist punched through the man's guts, and jutted out the back. Blood dripped, and when the Chief drew his arm back out, the man's entrails splattered all over the floor. The energy blade deactivated, and clattered to the ground. Shock filled the man's eyes; shock, surprise, and fear. Then he sunk to his knees, and slowly, his hand drifted up to the spilled ruin of his stomach. Blood still seeped out in thick gulping rivulets.

The Chief stared into the dead man's face. As the corpse toppled over to the side, the Spartan, for the first time in years, felt true remorse for killing--for fighting--for murder.

But there was nothing he could do. Circumstances had carried him into this indescriably distant future. He couldn't go back, and so he would have to fight for his survival. The Chief picked up the energy sword, knowing that it would come in use.

"The council begs assistance, it does?" The little green Jedi picked up his lightsaber. Still young, the warrior motioned for his apprentice to follow.

"Yes, Master Yoda," the padawan said. He was human, tall, and pale. "Some sort of a security mess-up. Jedi Dryk was sent in, but word was sent that he was killed, indicating Sith interference."

"The Sith, yes? Then help, I will." And there Yoda marched off, and his mind probed the Force shimmering around the planet--there was a disturbance around here, but it did not reek of the Dark Side. That disturbed him, a bit; it indicated some force in motion, beyond the black-and-white contrasts of the Light and Dark. But then, a Jedi's blood had been spilled; the transgressor must pay.

"And orders have come down, Master Yoda," his padawan said, "that lethal force is authorized in this case. Apparently, this human is a rogue Jedi of some sort, kept in cryo for five hundred millenias."

Yoda nodded; he was piqued, by that. Five hundred thousand years old... there was much that this human could tell him about ancient history. Much had been lost in the years of colonization and warfare, as humans traveled and encountered vast varieties of alien life on distant planets. And there, the little green Master decided that he would capture this rogue alive, if possible.

But, as they say, the best laid plans of little green men often go astray...

End of Part One.

Legacy II: Big Green, Little Green, Cut By Lightsabers
Date: 17 March 2006, 2:27 pm

Legacy, Part Two of Three
Proving that absurdly long titles hampers not the story.

Gadwyn Endark paused as the green-armored figure strode into view. He gulped, and clutched his rifle tightly--this thing had killed Republic commandos, and he, just a merchant transcripted into the militia, might have to face it. This was bad, very bad, and Gadwyn could imagine his death, his face pulping under that monster's blow, that giant crushing his spine and cracking the bone in half, drinking the marrows and blood--

Then Lolyn slapped the back of his head. Gadwyn glared at his 'sergeant,' who was, in peacetime, his brother-in-law.

"You didn't have to do that," he muttered.

"I could see it in your face," Lolyn proclaimed, his big moon face splitting into a grin, "the fright beginning to take hold. Can't have that--we gotta shoot that thing, if it comes to killing. Y'hear?"

"You don't have to talk like that," Gadwyn replied. "It doesn't suit you."

"Oh, fine. But that's how everyone in the operas do it."

"This isn't a opera, Lyn. We might die."

At that, his brother-in-law laughed. "What do you mean? We have the Jedi on our side!"

And that was certainly true; the disciples of the Light Side were slowly drifting in on speeders and other such vehicles, floating in with lightsabers gleaming in their hands. The monster inside had slain a Jedi, after all; Gadwyn remembered seeing it on the news, the Twi'lek announcer sounding terrified as he reported the death of one Lewin Dryk. He fancied that the warriors looked a bit eager for the battle coming up--revenge, perhaps. Whatever it was, as terrifying as that armored human might be, he wouldn't stand a chance against the horde gathered here. But Gadwyn couldn't wipe the horrid feeling of anticipation out of his mind.

"I have a bad feeling about this," he muttered.

"You always do," Lolyn said. "You just love the thought of misfortune, don't you?"

Vrun sweated, visibly, as the armored human strode into view. He was on the private yacht Erasmus, owned by one Senator Godrun Liss, a representative of the planet Dantooine, who also happened to be the principal sponsor of the research that had led to the monster's awakening.

"Formidable," the man murmured, sounding eager. "Very formidable. Oh, we humans must have been great in those days..."

The Twi'lek archaelogist remembered the rumors about Liss's human superiority complex, and his membership in the infamous pro-human group, the Terran Knights. His head-tails felt very conspicous, standing next to Godrun.

He had gotten out of the ruins after iniating lockdown procedures. The durasteel doors had proved to be only a small deterrent to the monster--now complete with Dryk's lightsaber--and now, he was outside, in plain view. "Why don't they just vaporize him?"

The Senator gave him a contemptious look. "The Jedi have honor too," he said. "And this warrior here did slay one of their own. I believe we'll have a splendid show on our hands, right about now." Then he turned back to the view. "And yes, certainly a show... oh, how humankind has fallen!"

"You got that right," Vrun muttered. Liss did not hear him--or at least, appeared not to.

Gadwyn stood up as another green figure strode into view. This time, he felt a thrill of hope; this was Master Yoda, the little alien who proved that size indeed did not matter. As he watched, the Jedi strode up to the armored monster, with a dark-cloaked figure following closely behind. He gave Gadwyn the chills; something about that man's gait was simply wrong.

Everyone has trace amounts of midichlorian cells streaming through their veins; the Jedi, and the Sith, just have much more then the average sentient being. Gadwyn wasn't Force-sensitive; yet even he was feeling prescience creep up on him, in the form of intuition. The Force was rearranging itself, here and now, as warriors from five hundred millenias apart prepared to do battle, and even someone like him could feel it's effects--a maelstrom of unsettling thoughts and dreams.

How could they have known? For as the Force rearranged itself, a mote, a atom, fixed into a wrong position--and the mechanism of the universe was disrupted, and in an effort to patch itself, to right the imbalanced scale between Light and Dark, Life and Death, Winter and Spring, Fate locked itself into a course that would end in a battle between father and son. Such is life; such is life, within this galaxy.

The Star Wars galaxy, that is.

"Oh, Korriban," Lolyn cursed beside him. "Shit. I forgot my recorder. But this is going to be a damn swell battle!"

"Yeah," Gadwyn breathed. "Definitely."

Vrun was becoming more and more agitated, as Liss began to breathe heavily, sounding like he was in heat. The two green figures--one small, one big--slowly converged on each other, locked in their inevitable path. There was no sound whatsoever--not from the soldiers gathered all around, not from the Jedi, not from all the specatators milling about. Everyone was holding in their collective breathes; then--

The little green activated his lightsaber. Energy burned and shimmered in the afternoon air.

And the monster, too, turned his saber on. It glinted blue.

Then they struck, big green against little green.

Years of training was brought to this single moment of impact; John leaped back, his saber glancing downwards to parry a low-slung blow by the little green alien before him, then slashed out, trying to catch his diminuitive enemy across the face. The thing jumped back, twirling in the air as it did so; and the Chief was never more aware of how hopeless his cause was then now. Not because of the alien he was fighting, but because of the thousands surrounding them, watching the battle. This would be his last hour in the land of the living, he knew, and he accepted it with the same fatalism that had allowed him to survive the deathes of his comrades, brothers, sisters. He would die; so be it. Leonidas had done the same, defending the Hot Gates; and though no Persian host stood before him, a ring of strange creatures surrounded him with blasters cocked and lasers trained.

But he had nothing left to defend, did he? Nothing but his own life; and without a cause that overwhelmed the basic instincts for survival, survival was impossible--without honor, without loyalty, without a cause, one could not achieve victory. Sometimes, you just had to accept the sword--let it plunge into your body so that you too could strike off the head of your enemy.

All this passed through his mind without leaving much of an imprint. The thoughts blew past like the wind, leaving only ripples on the plains of sand.

John stepped to the side, circling the creature before him; the little thing raised up it's wrinkled hand, and the Chief, remembering his last encounter with one of these swordsmen and the frightening psychokinetic energies these warriors seemed to be able to control, prepared to be thrown. But instead, some tiny thread wormed it's way into his mind; and he flinched as that worm exploded into something huge--another mind, now present within his own. This was different from Cortana dictating out orders from the confines of his helmet. This mind penetrated, clove, and dug it's way through his memories, his wants, needs, instincts--

'A strange time, this is. But come from a stranger time, you do.'

John brandished his saber before him, and prepared to attack.

'Attack not! You cannot win. Overwhelmed you are, by the odds.'

True, but he couldn't afford to not attack. The Chief was now aware of a pounding urge within his chest, his heart thumping against his reinforced ribs, of his blood pumping like shots of whiskey through his veins. Death was near, and it hovered against his skin, and John could feel through his armor the Reaper's cloak fluttering against his chest, his arms, enveloping his whole body and then he could see it raise the scythe, it glittering white as it curved down and carved through his flesh--

Then it was over; the Chief realized that had been but a hallucination. The green thing stood before him with it's hands outstretched, but they no longer pointed towards him. Rather, the palms were pointing at a sleek white craft hovering some meters above the field of battle.

Then that mind was back, wormed within his consciousness.

'Apologize for that, I do. Decided to take matters into their own hands, my brethrens did--the force modulates in such a way, yes, to bring out the worst fears, that you may have.'

The Spartan wondered, first, if he should try speaking to the alien, or just think something aloud. Another corner of his mind wondered just why the thing was speaking--or telepathically relaying--in such broken jargon. Maybe the alien mind just did not translate well to a human lingo; yes, that had to be it.

'I feel your thoughts well, I do; worry not about miscommunication.'

John thought, then, I intend no harm.

'Of course. But blood has been shed, a Jedi lies slain, and revenge, yes, heats the hearts of many. See all this, I do; and see, I do, that all demand vengeance for your victory.'

It was self defense. He would have killed me if I didn't stop him.

'I understand. But know well that reason no longer plays within the minds of the Jedi; honor, yes, and courage, and bravery, but also hate and anger masked as righteousness.' The little alien seemed to ponder something. 'Apologize for the ponderous lecture, I do.'

No offense was taken, John replied via telepathy. Then: what's your name?

'Yoda. And courtesy demands yours too, worthy one.'

Spartan one-one-seven, of--then he realized that Earth was no more, not from some Covenant bombardment but of something far more insidious: time. Of the past, he finished lamely.

'A number for your name? But informed, I was, that you were a human, no android or battle-bot.'

John thought, I am human; make no mistake about that.

'Apologize again, I do, for my misstep. Now there remains a farce to be played, yes, and will you accompany this dance?'

A farce?

'Some semblance of justice must be maintained,' Yoda said, 'and fear, I do, that if you remain unharmed, then--'

He never finished his sentence; for at that moment, a little speeder swept in, and parked right above the two conversing figures. The security forces, combined with the militia, pointed their weapons anxiously at the vehicle, but when they spotted a female Jedi climbing out, they relaxed, and watched as she powered up her saber.

The Chief watched as Yoda broke off their mind-connection and spoke in the strange speech of the time to the newcomer. She replied something angrily in turn, and suddenly, John realized that she was very, very ugly. Although human, her skin was nearly green, and her thick yellow hair, so slimy-looking that they looked like tentacles, were bound in such a way behind her head that she looked, from the distance, almost like a Twi'lek.

She and Yoda broke off their conversation, and the woman then fixed her slitted eyes on the Chief. The Spartan prepared himself: then her mind poured in, and all she said was, through the Force-channel linking their thoughts,

You killed my brother. You will pay!

"Ah, melodrama," Godrun whispered to himself. The battle hadn't gone the way he had wanted it to, as there hadn't been a real clash so far, so he had sent in Antila Dryk. Now it looked like things were simmering up: he smiled as the woman lunged at the green-armored figure, and Yoda tried to intervene, and as all broke down to chaos, Senator Liss of Dantooine hummed and enjoyed the carnage now unfolding below.

Vrun shivered, behind him. He saw what was going on, and the way Godrun watched the whole thing was slightly disturbing. He wondered if the man really did burn crosses aboard Hutt-owned ships. It could be true--this human was quite insane in a very charming way. The perfect politician.

End of Part Two; Stay Classy for Part Three and the Conclusion!

Right. Skip down to the story if you don't want to bother with explanations--but some people (may their souls rot somewhere down under--just joking, guys, just joking) pointed out my omission of that famous line: A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away... Well, I have a perfectly logical explanation for that, if you don't mind reading. But if you just want to see how the Chief fares against Yoda, I'd suggest that you skip down and start reading the story. Are you still here? Then here we go...

The Chief was aboard the ship Dubya, kept in cryo-sleep, but that was ambushed and it wrecked--ala Pillar of Autumn--in the backwaters of what is now Coruscant. Yes, some farms and such remain in that intergalatic hub; it's only logical that some greenery be left in such a mechanical society. Anyways, the Chief remained in his frozen sleep for five hundred thousand years--until it was discovered by Vrun, and the whole mess began.

The main complaint that people seemed to have was that as Star Wars takes place a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, it surely could not be in the future... but it could be. Definitely. All that is required is a shift in view.

Imagine that we are following Halo's timeline. Master Chief sleeps aboard the Dubya; that is 2,500-ish, A.D., and it lands in Coruscant. Five hundred thousand years pass; then it is discovered. Now imagine that the world of Star Wars takes place in our future, really, and that George Lucas's story was actually written a million years later; and his script was written in the Andromeda galaxy. Still following me? That script fell through a inter-dimensional timehole, and following the donut theory of the universe, it fell through the one-million-A.D. epoch into our own era, where Lucas discovered it lying in his backyard, embossed in gold.

In short, five hundred thousand years after our time, in a galaxy some distance away from ours, the Dubya wrecked in Coruscant; the Chief was recovered; havoc ensued; then five hundred thousand years after that, a story was written about it; then that script fell through a interdimensional time-hole into our own time, and it ended up in the hands of George Lucas, from whose hand I--er--

We'll leave it at that, shall we?

Legacy: The Conclusion to the 500,000 Year-Old Saga of Guns & Lightsabers
Date: 14 September 2006, 3:22 pm


Dryk lunged at the monster. The green beast dodged, fast, and the saber in his hand blurred into motion. She halted, let the blade pass before her, then thrust. He sidestepped; the lightsaber again swung at her, and she ducked, counter-attacked with a slash at it's legs.

This thing had killed Lewin. That knowledge made her want to both weep and scream. Lewin had been her only brother. They had been orphans, until the Jedi Order had taken them in. He had always been better at her, in swordplay, in force manipulation, in mathematics, in verbal communication. He was dead. That knowledge screamed at her. He was dead.

By her side, Yoda did not help her, thus confirming her previous opinion that the little green master had gone senile. She didn't need his help. Dryk slashed again at the green beast, and the thing met her blow-for-blow.

Then a blue lightsaber thrust in with unnerving precision, and stopped both blades--her's, and the monster's--with a single stab. The three lightsabers hung in the air suspended, and in the pause that followed, Master Yoda said,

"Stop this you will, Apprentice Dryk."

The order was delivered calmly, but with a pitch of force-modulation, enough to manipulate her. She recognized Yoda's tactics, but found herself to be helpless. He was too strong. She found her hand slowly sliding down, her lightsaber deactivating, her arms now hanging limply by her side.

The green armored beast opposite her did the same. Then it tilted it's head towards Yoda. It said something; some gibberish; sounded like, 'thell 'er ahm shori.'

Yoda nodded. Then all hell broke loose.


Aboard the Erasmus, Liss hissed as Dryk stopped her attack, calmed by Yoda's command. Vrun, by his side, took a step back as he began pounding the ship's window in frustration.

"That fucking beast," he raged. "That fucking midget!"

"I'm hoping that you're talking about the formerly frozen human," Vrun said, alarmed. Godrun Liss's reputation as a specist--a card-carrying member of the Terran Knights--was becoming terrifyingly real. Remembering the story of one Twi'lek burned to death aboard this very same ship, in one drunken, exclusively human party, Vrun wondered if there was any way he could just sneak out of the room. But alas; the only door was locked, and there would be guards posted there, who would ask him inconvenient questions if he left early.

Godrun Liss ignored him. He took out a little communicator. Into it, he whispered his safeguard.


Dryk went insane. Her lightsaber flashed out, thrust at the monster; caught unprepared, it attempted to dodge her attack, but her blade slashed in and cut through it's right arm, above the elbow. Then Yoda's lightaber cut in, deflected her blow from cutting in any further; there was a muffled scream as the monster thrashed about, in obvious pain. Good; let that be a lesson; there would be more in coming.

She tried to move past Yoda; his saber swung before her path, and she tried to bat it aside, but it swung right back, and the tip moved unseen to the nape of her neck; she could feel the heat of the blade slowly charring the fine hair on her skin, as the little green beast stared at her, calm, with those ugly eyes of his.

The bigger green monster, on the other hand, seemed to have gotten past the pain; it's missing arm seemed to hinder it little as it picked up it's fallen saber from the ground. He activated it; the blade flared to life, and there Dryk again tried to move past Yoda, slashed at the midget's face. It was a mistake; his saber blocked her cut, then she felt the Force mold itself into a vise around her body. Trying to resist, she battered at her bindings with her mind, but they were like steel.

Then--a grenade rolled towards the three. She was flung out by Yoda, hurled away from the grenade. Yoda himself leaped away. That left the beast. The grenade rolled near his foot--he tried to jump--and the blast caught him, and for a split-second she saw his legs turn into fine ash as plasma bubbled out and burst.

Now legless, now armless, the green beast lay on the ground. Yoda cried out, and began running towards the ruined body. But a fine shot, a single blast, flashed and cut through the beast. Another one; then Yoda's saber deflected the third. Too little, too late; the sniper stopped firing, and when Yoda snaked out a tendril of thought with the Force, he found only death, dwelling within the corpse.


The Chief knew pain.

Supposedly, sometimes, according to some people, one's life would flash before their eyes before dying--this did not happen to him. John saw only the beginning; the start of life, the heart beating for the first time, the cord cut, the days by his mother's side--when she dropped him when he was three. The lucky boy, he fell on his arm and did not break any limbs.

He saw her face, for the first time in five hundred thousand years.

She was not beautiful. Kind of big-boned. Wide, rather flat, slightly tanned with green eyes and a rather beaky nose. Her mouth smiled, and her cheeks dimpled. Her hair lay in a red tangle around her face, framing it like a bushy picture-frame, a bad analogy, he knew, but still, it was the truth. A hairy picture frame--and there he laughed, but no one heard him. The helmet now locked his last gasps within.

Then his father. A solemn man. Also with red hair. Pale-faced, he reminded John of what he himself looked like, when he looked in the mirror, faced himself with all his scars. Not particularly handsome. Just rugged.

The daycare, with his father. The school. Seven years old. He flipped coins with a stranger. A young man. John knew he was lucky; so he was, got every toss right.


Godrun held still, trying not to let surprise overtake him. The safeguard had not worked. The human was supposed to have been saved; detained, perhaps, but not maimed and killed. Godrun had many things to ask to this armored man, questions pertaining to humanity's glorious past and that mythical planet, the homeworld, Terra--but now he was dead.

Dryk should have been knocked out by his whispered command. The militia should not have fired. The Jedi should not have interfered. And that grenade should not have been thrown. Aware that his plans were unraveling, Godrun looked around, searching for something to vent on. It was all right if he killed someone; he had enough money to bribe off the authorities on Coruscant.

There, he thought, spotting the Twi'lek. It had been one of the witnesses to the old-age human's awakening. The useless creature, it shouted something, and started running to the door as Godrun took out a blaster. Godrun took careful aim: the first shot burned through the Twi'lek's left knee. The alien fell to the ground, gurgling, and Godrun walked towards it, savoring the moment now.

He had been denied one triumph; it was time to have another, however small.


"Say..." One of the guards posted outside Godrun's private chamber sniffed about, nervously. "I smell something burning..."


Yoda stared at the sad ruin of the man. Behind him, a speeder lowered to let a hooded figure step down.

"Master," the figure said, "I'll take care of the corpse..."

But Yoda was not listening--rather, he was listening, but not to what the figure was saying; no, he listened to the inflections with that voice, heard the subtle shifts in pitch as the figure explained just what had happened. A militiaman had gone berserk; had to listened; so on and so forth.

They were all lies. Someone had engineered it all. Yoda realized who, and felt only sorrow.


Gadwyn Endark looked around, eyes wide, as hands clapped on his back and cheered him.

"Damn it," Lolyn cried, laughing. "You killed it! Holy shit, Gadwyn, if only I had a recorder--I mean, who'd believe that Gadwyn would be the one to kill it?"

Gadwyn looked down at his rifle, muttering, "but I didn't squeeze the trigger. The blaster fired all by itself."


A voice spoke to John.

"I think you're dead. Are you? You are--I'm sure of it."

John recognized the voice. "Cortana?"

The voice laughed. "Long time no see--what, has it been five hundred thousand years already?"

"Has it been that long?"

"You know, you have the tendency to be asleep until the 'shit hits the fan.' Same here--snoozed right through all those milleniums, did you?"

"You should be dead by now." Then John realized that was a grossly inappropriate word for a AI. "Or something."

"It's hard to die when you're in the vacuum. Like, the vacuum. Outside the universe. Good place, really."


"So why did he have to die?" Palpatine asked.

The Sith Lord merely--blinked. That was all he did: a blink, and his cat-like eyes, golden, held still on the young Jedi's face. "Good reasons. That is all."

"He didn't even have a touch of the Force within him, yet he out-fought a trained Jedi and held his own against Master Yoda. So what does that mean? Were all humans so formidable, back then?"

The Sith Lord said, after a slight pause, "it would seem, that, yes, they were. After all, they won the greatest war of all, one that secured their galactic superiority for years to come. Even now, half a million years later, humans still dominate the known galaxy."

"So is that the secret of Sith lore, then?"

"No. The secret is in how the Force was unlocked, and at what cost." He smiled. "The cost--what a delicious story. The cost--that was how we were born, Jedi and Sith."

"Will you tell me about it?"

"Not yet. Not until I can confirm you. Not until you have me trapped, with your blade burning against my throat. Then, I will tell you." His eyes seemed to burn, yellow bright. "As my master told me, and as her master told her--again and again, through all these millenias, one murderer to another, bound by death and blood."

"At the very least, tell me about that war--the one that humans won, so long ago..."


"Well," Cortana was saying, "currently, we're dancing the dance of electrons and neurons. Wavelengths; souls contained in terabits of information."

"What do you mean?" John asked. "Am I truly dead?"

"Yes," she said. "You are. In fact, you are not the Master Chief himself--merely his digital analog. I copied him when he was asleep, you see."

John wanted to ask, 'but what do you mean?' But he suspected that all he would get in return would be mere techonobabble. So he asked instead, "for what purpose?"

"What do you mean? We'll dance, John--through all the ages to come. We'll be gods, well, I suppose I am already a god, a goddess, but whatever--we'll dance through eternity, watching, seeing, and maybe even loving, if we ever get around to that."

"But we'll have no power. We'll be--"

Cortana smiled. "Of course we can't affect anything. But we can observe, and judge, and to play. And there still remains a matter of a man named Revan--I'll explain later--that we'll have to take care of, soon. But for now, just enjoy the fireworks, will you? This is my gift to you--a reprieve from a life of war, and a meaningless death, a oblivion."


They cleaned the body out before sunset. His suit was taken to a museum, where it was then stolen and sold to a certain billionaire.