Powers of the Force

     Kem ran swiftly through the forest, panting lightly. There was the last obstacle. He leapt over the highly acidic pond and landed easily on the other side.
     Nimoness was not so lucky. He ran at full tilt, leapt... and fell towards the water. He was caught by an invisible hand in midair.
     "Nimoness, what went wrong?" Master Alya asked. "You did it yesterday."
     "I'm sorry master." Nimoness said, as he felt himself lowered to the bank, next to his panting rival. "I tried as hard as I could,"
     "There is no try." Alya corrected sharply. "Do, or do not. Now, do you want to do it?"
     "Yes master, but not now. I am severely drained."
     "Very well. You may return to your quarters and meditate."
     Nimoness Halcar walked away, glowering at both his master and his fellow pupil, Kem Bevlar. Nimoness was of a near-human species, male, and only separated from the others by a slight bluish tint in his skin and hair. He was a few years younger than his rival, Kem, and uncountable years younger than his master.
     Kem finally caught his breath a few minutes after Nimoness left.
     "You can use the force to help you with that." Master Alya said.
     "I know master. But like Nim, I'm drained."
     "You did well today. Do not let Nimoness' failure discourage either of you. You both are coming along well."
     "Not as well as he would like." Kem said wryly.
     "Yes," the master spoke slowly, cautiously, "He is very young, very brash. You are not much older. You must beware of the same anger that can overcome him. It may not be as powerful as it was when you first came, but the dark side will always be there."
     "I know. My strengths often compound his weaknesses. I don't mean to get on his nerves, but we both are talented in different areas."
     "But not limited to."
     "I know, master." Kem picked up a towel from a nearby branch and wiped his face with it. "But it still leads to tensions that I would like to avoid. From his point of view, I'm sure it seems as if I am better than him in everything that you seem to care about. I would be as frustrated as he is if our roles were reversed."
     "I know, my pupil." Alya looked sadly back at the temporary wooden huts set up for the jedi pupils. "I know. And that is the worst part. The dark side does not discriminate against anyone. Everyone is just as susceptible to it's power."
     "Which is why we as jedi students must be cautious."
     "You are wise, Kem, but you often don't know how to deal with people. Yet another example of your strengths contradicting Nimoness'. I can only hope that he will give up his anger and become as wise as you."
     "I do believe that was a compliment of sorts. Thank you."

     Nimoness' door flung open three steps before he even reached it. He walked through and looked angrily at the dimly lit room, and the sparse furniture. Then he turned around, and the door slammed loud enough to hear all over the camp. Nimoness used the force to muffle the sound wave outside his hut. No one else in the camp heard.
     He stretched his senses out all around him. No one was approaching his hut, in thought or in deed. He quickly shielded his mind from others, but kept it open enough that he would know if anyone approached.
     A few minutes of digging in the dirt floor brought him to a small clear cube. He pulled it out, and cleaned it off. Then he set it on a table and backed away.
     A figure appeared above the holocron.
     "I am Master Ilik Nevvar, the gatekeeper of this holocron. What is it that you wish to know?"
     "I wish to find a way to surpass my rival."
     "To kill him is simple. To surpass is hard. A jedi does not kill. You must take the hard route."
     "I'm ready master. Teach me what my teacher has failed to do."

     Nimoness calmed himself and revived himself with an ancient sith technique. It was so simple. And it was not evil. Only if it was done with evil intent was it actually of the dark side.
     But the jedi masters couldn't see that. All they knew was that the sith were of the dark side.
     Well, they were. Sith teachings were horribly twisted. But that was no reason to abandon a good technique simply because it had been enlisted by the sith as well.
     He could feel the force flowing, much more than he ever had before. With it he could feel a hint of evil, corruption... that had never been there before.
     But neither had the power. Of course. It all made sense. With the heightened senses came more sense of evil. But also more sense of good. It made perfect sense.
     But it was just so natural to get rid of his hated rival...

     His hated rival leapt as far as he could. Kem usually didn't even have to use force enhancement for this particular jump, even Nimoness made it every time.
     Until this time. Nimoness stopped to focus on his rival for a moment, and shot his concentration to bits. The sith had so many techniques to choose from...
     Kem fell into the canyon, screaming.
     Nimoness had timed it perfectly. The easiest, but most deadly jump in the whole track devised by Master Alya. No one would know that Kem had been disrupted. Nimoness didn't even have to get his hands dirty. Kem did it to himself.
     Down below, a pair of students were practicing with remote droids. They both looked up at the first sound of Kem's screaming.
     The droids hovered, waiting for them to start fighting. But they didn't.
     The girl, Jemma, acted without hesitation or even thought. The force flowed through her and against the falling body. It slowed, but not to any reasonable speed.
     Her partner, Tirral grabbed two of the small droids and drew their power out of them. Electricity crackled around his hand, then his eyes opened, and he raised his hand.
     Kem came to a smooth stop a few feet above the ground. He managed to get up shakily. A quick jedi technique calmed him to the point where he could open his mouth.
     "Thanks." Was the only thing he could manage.
     "No problem." Tirral said. "What happened?"
     "I.. I don't' know." Kem stuttered out. "One minute I was running without a care in the world, I jumped, and my mind just went blank. When I realized what was happening, I was falling. I can enhance jumps, but when I'm already falling... well... I can't."
     The girl jedi spoke up. "It's okay. You're fine now."
     The male spoke again. "I'm Tirral Max. This is Jemma Creon. Nice to meet you."
     "I'm... uh, Kem. Kem Bevlar."
     "It's nice to meet you, Kem." Jemma said.

     "Well, stang. Waste of one lesson." Nimoness chewed his lower lip. The holocron would still be helpful, though.
     "Lesson from whom?" Asked a voice from across the ravine. Nimoness looked up to see Master Alya standing there, his arms crossed.
     "No one you have met." Nimoness turned to walk away.
     Alya wouldn't let him. "Nimoness, you are one of my most promising students. Don't turn your back to me. I am your teacher of the jedi. If you turn from me, you turn from yourself."
     "Old man, you have no control over my life."
     "I don't want any. You must have that control. If you do not, then Force be with you, because no one else will."
     "No other jedi, perhaps." Nimoness said, still walking away. "That doesn't concern me right now."
     Alya watched in concern as his pupil walked away. Suddenly, his thoughts were interrupted by the hum of a lightsaber being ignited. He looked over to see a bright purple blade swinging at him.

     "What is that?"
     Kem pointed to the lip of the cliff. A green and purple flash could be seen. Tirral enhanced his sight as much as he could and looked up.
     "It's one of the jedi masters fighting... and I can't see against who."
     "Which master?"
     "I don't know his name."
     Kem squinted up, and tried to enhance his vision. Most of his concentration was back, and he managed to make out his own master there, and one other dark figure.
     "Come on!" He yelled to the two jedi students. "It's master Alya, and he's in trouble."
     The three ran around to the nearest path up the cliffside. Kem took it in huge jedi enhanced leaps, forgetting that he had almost been killed a moment earlier by similar jumps.
     Kem finally landed on the ground and where he had just jumped perilously from, and saw that the fight had been joined. A towering figure, half his face made of metal, was wielding an orange saber and it was all Alya could do to keep from getting struck by one of the two.
     "NO!" Screamed Kem. But he could do nothing that wouldn't kill him first.
     Then Nimoness stepped out of the forest. With a calm glance, he took in the three combatants, and reached out with the force. The cyborg screamed against the pupil's mental assault. Alya turned to deal with the purple bladed figure.
     Kem saw his master, and he could see the two lightsabers. But the dark jedi's outline was nothing more than that. An outline and a slight dark spot. Kem could see right through him.
     Suddenly, the cyborg got up and leapt across the ravine. He took a swing at Nimoness, who ducked and rolled backwards away from it. In the sudden surprise, Nimoness lost the mental contact. The sith mind technique was useless against a lightsaber. It swung at Nimoness' unprotected body.
     And was stopped by a yellow-green blade. Tirral knocked the orange lightsaber aside, and then kicked the cyborg in the chest, knocking him back a bit.
     Then, with nothing more than a raised hand, all three students that were still standing were thrown back. The cyborg picked up Nimoness' prone figure and leapt back across the cliff.
     Alya felt him coming, and locked blades with the shadowy figure. A hard thrust, and the figure fell backwards. Alya turned to grapple with the cyborg, but was at a disadvantage because he didn't want to hit his own student that was slung carelessly over the cyborg's shoulder.
     Kem saw the shadow float off the ground and hold it's lightsaber over his master's head.
     "Master, look out!" He screamed, mentally and out loud. Alya turned in time to be sliced in half. His body disappeared, and the lightsaber fell to the ground along with the brown jedi robe, and nothing else.
     Kem leapt across the cliffside, but the two evil jedi were gone, along with Nimoness Halcar.
     He silently vowed revenge.
     "We are luminous beings, Kem." He heard his master say. "Not this crude form. I have moved on. You will move on someday, too. Remember, a jedi acts when he is calm, at peace. Revenge is of the dark side."
     Kem lowered his head.
     "Luminous beings, Kem. Beings of light. Revenge is of the dark side. Whatever you do, don't give in to hate."
     "I won't fail you, master." Kem said. "I won't give in to revenge, or anger, or hatred. I will follow the teachings of the jedi."
     "You are... a jedi."
     His master's presence left him.

     For almost a month Kem had been working on his lightsaber. His new friends' master was supervising his work. Jemma and Tirral had come to the camp mere months ahead of Kem. They would all leave within weeks of each other, each as full jedi. Now they all were.
     While he built his saber, he became closer to the two other students that were to graduate at the same time as he would. They both already had their lightsabers, but that was only because their teacher had allowed them to make it before they were full fledged jedi. Jemma had a blue blade, and Tirral's was yellow-green. Both of them had talents mostly in energy manipulation. Tirral could manage to absorb a small amount, perhaps a few blaster bolts worth, and transfer them into pure force energy. He could also draw power away from batteries, like in the two practice droids he had used to save Kem's life.
     Jemma could not absorb energy in that way, but she had a distinctive talent for manipulating machines and the way they used energy. Born on Corellia, she had a habit of manipulating her family's droids when she was young. When she finally learned that she had the force, her exasperated family begged jedi master Runtik to take her in and teach her control of her powers. Although she was a bit old, he took her in.
     Along with them was one of Master Themarai's students, a young man of Corellian descent. Unlike Jemma, he was not raised on Corellia. Myka was raised on the heavily populated world of Coruscant. Descendant of the force-strong Neeron family, his entire family had fled Corellia when Xim the Despot had threatened bombardment hundreds of years ago. The family line had remained mostly pure, so he was considered Corellian by most standards. However, he was the only one of his generation found to be force strong. Slowly his family line was being absorbed into the huge cityscape of Coruscant.
     And while Kem felt slightly dwarfed by Tirral, he towered easily over Myka's head. Myka was less than two and three quarter meters tall. Kem was just under two meters, and Tirral was just over. Jemma was slightly smaller than Myka, but not much.
     Myka may have been small, but his ability to fight was never in question. Even some of the earliest spars between him and his classmates proved his skills. Wielding two lightsabers, and moving at incredible speeds, he could predict his opponent's movement often before they did. Myka's lightsabers glowed with two red gems his father had sent him during his training. With two in the same blade, he could have made it change length with a flip of a switch. But he didn't want to. He felt more comfortable with two, and with dangerous results.
     Whereas Kem went to the opposite extreme. With a two gems he had managed to get ahold of, his blade had a silver/purple sheen to it, and with a press of a second button near the activation switch, it doubled in length from one to two meters. It also became thinner with the extra length, but since Kem was never all too good at reflecting laser bolts back at their shooters, anything that would simply protect him was good enough.
     Jemma and Tirral had made their lightsabers a few weeks earlier, and had been practicing with them when Kem first dropped in on them. Jemma's was blue, and Tirral's was yellowish green.

     With the death of Kem's master, he became withdrawn from the others. Master Runtik, Jemma and Tirral's teacher, had taken him under his wing, but he was still not completely healed over the loss of his friend and teacher. But he was a jedi. That much was for certain.
     Kem charged his lightsaber for the first time with master Runtik watching over him, making sure there were no shorts that could explode it and hurt him. There weren't.
     Kem walked into the hut as a student, and came out as a full jedi. His blue and black jumpsuit represented the jedi order of his homeworld, and the silvery sheen of his blade was not uncommon among his family. The purplish hue was unique to him, though. As lightsabers often are.

     Nimoness felt himself being dragged by his cloak. His head bumped off the floor occasionally, the pain was what brought him to consciousness.
     When he was finally able to open his eyes, he realized that he was no longer being dragged. He was laying in the corner of a small room. A glance up showed the impassionate metal face of his enemy. The lightsaber hung on the other side of his belt, too far for Nimoness to reach, but close enough to kill him with a single strike.
     The young apprentice felt weak, but let the force calm him. He felt better, more refreshed, more...
     Angry. His own master had been cut down in front of him, and he could not do a thing. The same master he had argued with only moments earlier. Nimoness clenched his fist, and felt the force energy bleed off his tightened muscles. Now was not the time to strike, he was too weak.
     Soon he felt a jerk of motion. Whatever elevator he had been on had stopped. He was being dragged again. Now he could see the metal hand, and the nonmetal one hovering near the metal shell of a lightsaber.
     He was picked up like a child and thrown into a room. Two men in uniforms grabbed him and fastened him down in a chair before he could even think to resist.
     "Welcome, my young friend." A voice boomed from nowhere. The only people left in the room were the two men and the cyborg. "You are lucky. We have liberated you from your wrongful teachings. Now you will be shown the true power of the force."
     "I don't need your power." Nimoness said. "You have nothing to offer me."
     "On the contrary, little one." The voice was soothing, but fear jabbed needles deep into the student's mind. "You have nothing to offer me. But I shall change that. I will help you dig the open well to the reservoir of your anger. You will serve me. I know."
     "I serve only one person. And I that is me. I will choose who I obey and who I don't."
     "No." The voice said. "You won't choose."
     Pain overcame Nimoness. Pain tore through every pore in his body, waves of force induced pain. Finally it stopped.
     "You will obey me."
     "Listen you..." Nimoness struggled to regain his composure for a moment, then lost. "Wherever you are, I'll find you. You'll be sorry. You and that cyborg over there, and whoever else is with you. You'll all pay for this mistake with your lives."
     "That would be an interesting trick, considering that your friends don't even know where you are, or if you are alive. And all of my associates are more powerful than you could ever be."
     The pain came again, followed by sorrow and anger. Nimoness could not control his own emotions, they fought him from the inside out. Finally he burst into rage.
     The restraints holding his wrists became as soft as tissue paper, and fell apart under the force onslaught he gave them. Nimoness threw the three men aside and ran out the door before they could recover.
     A blast of anger melted the door shut. Nimoness ran down the hall as fast as possible. He ran into a few crew members on the way, and none of them were done smoking by the time the cyborg finally got out of the torture room to chase him down.

     Nimoness finally escaped on a small gunboat. It only needed one pilot, but had room for two gunners and a co-pilot/missile coordinator. He flew away as fast as possible. He saw that it was a large, dark dreadnought that he had been on. Then it jumped into hyperspace, and he could feel and see it no more.
     Nimoness left as well, this time for the jedi training camp again. He had unfinished business there.

     The four jedi graduates were loaded onto a shuttle for the nearest civilized world, Garus. They were all ready to become part of the force that had kept the galaxy together for hundreds of years.
     "I'm just not sure we should leave yet." Kem said.
     "Kem," Jemma had gone through this argument several times, and was tired of it. "we need to go. The galaxy needs us. Why are you so adamant about this? Master Tyrrell wants us to go."
     "It's not a matter of wanting to. I was taught that I was supposed to feel the force. Well, the force is telling me to stay here."
     "Just calm down. I'm sure it's not a matter of life or death. If it was, then you would be able to be a little more specific."
     "I suppose you're right."
     Which was the exact same thing he had said twenty minutes before. But the new jedi were patient with each other.
     The shuttle left orbit and headed out towards another star. Soon, it left realspace and journeyed on, faster than light itself.
     Soon after it had left, a small gunboat entered the system.
     Nimoness managed to keep himself hidden in the force. Not even the jedi masters below sensed him.

     He had managed to slip into the village at night. His old hut was still abandoned. Instead of digging, he used his impatience to fuel force power and pull away the dirt. He imagined the holocron rising from the dirt and landing in his hands. It did.
     He activated it once more.
     "I am Master Ilik Nevvar, the gatekeeper of this holocron. What do you wish to learn, my student?"
     "My last lesson."

     The gunboat lifted from the surface of the planet. It headed out on the same course that the shuttle had followed. Soon it too went into the roiling course of hyperspatial transport.
     Hours later, it reappeared near the Garusian sun. Nimoness followed sensor data until he found a large freighter with poor sensors. Mentally he targeted the crew members. Only two could even see the radar screens. Nimoness opened up the panel under the control board and pulled out his transponder. A sharp yank, and his ship no longer registered on their scopes. He quickly clouded the two crew member's minds so that they wouldn't see the small metal object maneuvering towards their large craft. A moment later, the gunship sealed itself magnetically to the larger ship, like a metal remora preying on an overlarge shark.
     The freighter took him straight to Garus.
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