Chapter 1: Attack on the Endar Spire
The space near the newly conquered Sith world of Taris lit up with flashes of red and green light as squadrons of Sith starfighters dive-bombed the Republic cruiser Endar Spire. Sith capital ships stayed at a distance and fired occasional shots into the damaged ship, but the fighters were doing the grunt work now. With a noiseless fireball the port engines on the Spire flamed out leaving the ship dead in space. As it began to drift, a series of landing craft darted in under the anti-ship laser batteries, escorted by a squadron of fighters and approached the ailing cruiser.
On board the Spire, in one of the crew quarters, Matthias Starseeker was thrown from his bed as the ship lurched hard to starboard. The young man, dressed in nothing but his underwear stood up, rubbing a bruise on the back of his head and looked out the window. Matthias was a very handsome young man in his late twenties, with brown hair. He had high cheekbones, and green eyes.
“Sithspawn, this is what I get for being able to sleep through anything,” he groaned. He was just about to get his clothes out of his footlocker, when the door to his quarters opened and in rushed a bright-faced young Republic soldier. He was a bit taller than him and had blond hair as opposed to his own darker locks.
“We’ve been ambushed by a Sith battle fleet! The Endar Spire’s under attack! Hurry, we have to find Bastila!” Matthias regarded the unknown soldier a little warily.
“Hang on, who are you again?”
“I’m Trask Ulgo, your bunkmate remember?” he replied, “Now hurry up! We have to get to the bridge and defend Bastila! I’ve heard all about you; elite combat training, tops in your class. It’s no wonder you were hand-picked for this assignment.”
Matthias half-smiled to himself as he thought about that. Bastila herself HAD picked him for this mission. He often wondered why, out of the hundreds of thousands of grunts in the Army of the Republic had Bastila chosen him. Matthias’s initial impression of the Jedi when they’d first met had been of a cold, haughty demeanor that didn’t quite go with what he had seen of other Jedi.
“Bastila’s gonna need men like you at her side during the attack. So let’s go!”
Nodding, Matthias ran over to his footlocker and quickly grabbed his combat suit, blaster rifle, vibroblade, and medpacs. Slipping the suit on with the ease of a veteran soldier, he checked that the rifle’s gas cartridge was full and then turned to face Trask.
“Let’s do it.”
They had just run into the main corridor when their comlinks activated.
“This is Carth Onasi. The Sith are threatening to overrun our position, we can’t hold out against their firepower. All hands to the bridge!”
“That was Commander Onasi on our portable communicators. He’s one of the best pilots and soldiers in the fleet. If he says things are bad, you better believe it!” said Trask as he jacked open a jammed door. Matthias recalled the gruff pilot from when he’d boarded the Endar Spire. They had just stepped through the door that Trask had managed to lever open just in time to see a lone Republic soldier in his red and yellow combat armor get shot by two Sith in their silver armor with faceless helmets designed to inspire fear in their enemies.
“These Sith must be the advance boarding party! For the Republic!” cried Trask as the two soldiers charged down the Sith troopers. Matthias had a funny feeling that it was going to be a very long walk to the bridge.
Matthias and Trask had almost reached the bridge when they ran trough another door and almost into a Jedi and a Sith dueling in the corridor. The red and blue lightsabers flashed as the two combatants smashed them together.
“It’s a dark Jedi! We’d better stay out of this, we’d only get in the way,” said Trask. Even though most of the Endar Spire’s crewmen had been outfitted with special vibroblades with a Cortosis ore weave, no ordinary soldier was fool enough to duel with a dark Jedi. With a deft slash, the blue saber-wielding Jedi cut the Sith down, but almost as soon as he’d collapsed to the floor, a plasma conduit behind the Jedi woman exploded.
“That was one of the Jedi accompanying Bastila. Damn, we could’ve used her help," groaned Trask as some more Sith troopers rounded the corner. They managed to kill the troopers before they could get any shots off but just as Trask turned to go, Matthias bent down to examine the body of the Jedi woman.
“Hey Trask, wait a minute, she’s still alive!”
“Well give her some kolto and lets go,” he replied, keeping a wary eye out for any ambushing Sith.
“No way. A manly man like me can’t leave a woman behind, even a Jedi,” said Matthias with a sarcastic grin. He picked up the unconscious woman and carefully arranged her in a fireman’s carry over his shoulder.
After a couple more minutes of fast and furious fighting, Trask and Matthias finally arrived at the doors to the bridge. They both drew their vibroblades, as both soldiers knew that it would be suicide to use blasters in such a close-quarters environment. Matthias carefully rested his unconscious passenger against the wall just as Trask opened the bridge doors. There was already a furious battle on the bridge. Two Sith troopers noticed Matthias and Trask right away and charged them. Matthias lunged forward and with two graceful, almost careless moves, cut down both Sith. He then turned around, jumped into the air, spun, and came down on another trooper, cleaving him almost in two. Trask whistled and cast an eye around the now silent bridge.
“Bastila’s not here. They must’ve already run to the escape pods,” said Trask. Matthias looked one of the large bridge view ports and saw a pair of Sith destroyers moving closer to the Endar Spire.
“The Sith want Bastila alive so once she’s off the ship there’s nothing to stop them from blasting the Spire into galactic dust. Let’s get to those escape pods,” said Matthias as they opened the door leading to the starboard side of the ship. Matthias retrieved their Jedi passenger and they were about to board the turbolift down to the escape pod level when the door across from them opened. Another dark Jedi stood in the doorway, but he was different from the others they’d seen, He wore all black armor, expensive-looking too. He was bald and had a goatee on his face along with an evil-looking, amused smile. A red, double-ended lightsaber flared to life in his hand, and he spun several times as he began to march towards them.
“Damn, another dark Jedi! I’ll hold him off, get to those escape pods! GO!” shouted Trask as he charged the dark Jedi.
“No Trask you fool! You don’t stand a chance!” cried Matthias but he was too late. A series of explosions forced the door shut, and that was the last Matthias Starseeker saw of Ensign Trask Ulgo. For a moment he stood in the hallway, frozen with shock, but then a red blade stabbed through the door and snapped him out of it. He jumped into the turbolift and punched the button. As he car descended, he punched the wall angrily.
As Matthias stepped out of the turbolift, his comlink activated again.
“This is Carth Onasi. I’m tracking you through the Endar Spire’s life support systems. Bastila’s escape pod is away. We’re the last remaining crewmembers aboard the Endar Spire, so we’d better get off the ship. Now!”
“Thanks for telling me how to get to the nearest escape pod Commander,” mumbled Matthias as he shot another trooper. However he had studied the plans of these types of ships and was reasonably sure of where he was going. Getting there was going to be the trick, especially with his unconscious female cargo weighing his shoulders down. At last he reached the final compartment that separated him from the escape pods, when Carth’s voice blared from her communicator again.
“Watch it! There’s a whole squad of Sith troopers beyond that door!”
“Really?” asked Matthias as he picked up a thermal detonator from the corpse of a Sith, “Shouldn’t be a problem.” After putting down the Jedi woman yet again, he stepped to the side of the door, opened it and tossed in the bomb. One thunderous explosion later, he stepped into the anteroom which was now just a blackened, smoking ruin filled with blackened, smoking Sith corpses. Daintily picking his way among the dead troopers, he spied the red uniform of a commander. Knowing that the COs almost always had some nifty gadgets on them, Matthias stopped to examine the ex-Commander and found what looked like a prototype vibroblade.
“Won’t be needing this anymore my friend. Might as well put it to good use,” he said. Opening the door, he found Commander Carth Onasi waiting for him next to the row of escape pods.
“You made it! This is the last functional escape pod left, so lets get in and go… wait who is that?” he asked when he saw the woman draped over Matthias’ shoulders.
“Well this young lady needed a lift so I thought I’d oblige. Now let’s get out of here!”
Not needing to argue the point, Carth climbed in with Matthias and their Jedi passenger.
The last of the Endar Spire’s escape pods shot away from the dying ship fast enough to avoid being shot by the Sith ships. From the tiny cockpit, Carth and Matthias watched the ship in its death throes.
“That’s funny, the damage doesn’t look as bad from…” Carth started to say but was cut off as the Endar Spire exploded in a nova-bright blast. The escape pod continued to hurtle down towards Taris.