Some of you may have already seen this chapter, but for those that have not, here's Chapter 24 in my series. Comments/feedback are appreciated as always.
Following an unsuccessful assassination attempt of Senator Amidala by terrorists hired by the Confederacy of Independent Systems, the Republic has sent additional forces to bolster the defenses of Naboo.
Despite assurances of the planet's safety by military command, one well known family prepares to depart from their home.
Packing family heirlooms but leaving behind many of their possessions, Alyssa Enloe sadly takes down a cupboard handed down to her from her mother.
"The speeders are packed pretty tight," Rykrof says to his wife as he enters the family room.
"Just a few more things and we're good to go."
"Are we sure about this?" Alyssa asks her husband.
"This is our home..."
"You can't stay here right now," Rykrof insists.
"Not after what happened. My dad's right; you and Caldin should go to Urelia for the time being."
"Trust me," he says to his wife.
"We're going to miss you," she replies softly as he begins to embrace her.
"Rykrof! You'll never believe it, I found my telkintu picks!
" Freelo exclaims as he barges into the room.
"I was afraid I'd have to leave without them," he says.
"Well we wouldn't want you going to Rhen Var without your precious tools," Alyssa says sarcastically.
," Rykrof thinks to himself as he recalls his past experience on the frozen planet.
Freelo and Alyssa watch as Rykrof walks out of the room...
...and toward his son.
"I'll be back, Caldin," he promises.
"I swear it."
Meanwhile, several systems away, the Republic has all but taken control of the Kobridor system.
With scattered forces of droids still attacking the newly established Republic garrison, all units are still on high alert.
But while the remaining droids are rounded up and defeated, a dark presence has returned to the planet.
And a Jedi has recently been slain.
"Foln's body is this way," Jedi Council member Shaak Ti says as she leads a small group to recover the fallen Jedi.
"So it is," replies Master Tonsmokka, an Ishi Tib Jedi loyal to the Republic; despite the majority of his species siding with Count Dooku and the Confederacy.
"May you be one with the Force old friend," the Togruta Jedi Master whispers upon observing her fallen comrade.
"So it's true," Miberal points out.
"His wounds are indeed from a lightsaber."
"But Dooku and Ventress fled the planet weeks ago..." Shaak Ti says as a feeling of dread begins to consume her.
"General! Behind you!
" Clone Captain Andar suddenly shouts.
A dark figure then emerges from the shadows.
" Shaak Ti asks in disbelief.
"What... what has happened to you?"
"I've been waiting for you," Kala Mly Shundi says as he steps closer to her.
"I sense the Dark Side in you Kala," Shaak Ti warns.
"Through your perception of darkness, I have found light,
" Kala counters.
"As I searched for the answers I sought, the Force beckoned me to Dantooine," he continues.
"It was there that Pilos the Oracle showed me the truth
"It will be a member of the Jedi Council..."
"...that thrusts the galaxy into darkness."
"You've gone mad," Shaak Ti warns him.
"The galaxy is doomed," Kala tells her.
"Unless I prevent it by elimination..."
"...of one Council member at a time.
In reaction to the Jedi's hostile intentions, Captain Andar fires his DC-15 blaster at Kala Mly Shundi!
But the laser blast is easily blocked...
...as deflected into Andar's chest!
"We'll take him together," Master Tonsmokka shouts as his weapon hisses to life.
" Shaak Ti screams in desperation as Kala charges towards the Ishi Tib Jedi!
With lightning speed, the misguided Jedi dismembers Miberal Tonsmokka...
...and quickly steps back as Shaak Ti ignites her own lightsaber!
"Drop your weapon," the senior Jedi demands as she delivers a threatening blow at Kala.
"You are coming with me to Coruscant to stand trial before the Jedi Council!"
"We'll all be betrayed...," Kala bellows as he continues to retreat from her relentless attack.
"...droid!" he suddenly growls.
Shaak Ti then instinctively spins to her side, deflecting a laser blast!
The source of the attack is then revealed, as a Super Battle Droid charges toward the dueling Jedi!
Evading further laser fire, Shaak Ti waits until the mechanism is within striking range...
...and then tears through its metal body with her lightsaber!
The Jedi Master then quickly redirects her attention towards Kala...
...only to find he has disappeared!
Reaching out with the Force, she senses Kala's inner turmoil as he attempts to flee the planet...
...and closes her eyes in pain as on this day not only have two Jedi fallen, but a third has slipped into darkness.
Far across the galaxy, the small planet Urelia has been unscathed by the war; making the home of Rykrof Enloe's family the ideal setting for Alyssa and Caldin until the war's end.
"I'm sorry your brother can't be here with us Matilda," Rykrof's father, Josser says to his daughter.
"Oh, there she is," Josser says with a smile.
"Alyssa!" the old man greets her as she approaches the two.
"It really is good to see you again," Rykrof's father says kindly.
"Urelia is the perfect sanctuary to avoid unwelcome guests... there is no war here, no Badoo Corba."
"I am very grateful for this, Josser, and to you too Matilda. I really am," Alyssa tells them.
"But I'm afraid of what's to come," she says as the group watches Ralbarr and Palom unload their cargo.
"Rykrof's being sent back for an assault on Rhen Var."
"And Caldin's getting to the age where he's beginning to realize his father's away..." she says sadly.
"Ha! Rykrof has no business being off fighting in this war," Matilda rudely snaps.
"That's what clones are for."
fights so that we may live in peace," Alyssa argues.
"You'll have to forgive Matilda," Josser says, acting as a mediator.
"She is very worried for her brother."
worried," Alyssa points out.
"But I suppose this war isn't worth fighting to some," she whispers under her breath.
Hours later, a lone Republic Star Destroyer exits hyperspace...
...and arrives at Coruscant.
Back at the Republic capital, Rykrof Enloe secretly meets with his friend in the Galactic Senate, Tame Heem.
"What's so important that it couldn't wait until morning?" Rykrof asks the gentle Ithorian.
"I have very bad news," the alien laments.
"The Senate reported in session today that Master Shundi turned on three Jedi on Kobridor; killing at least one," he says sadly.
"That's impossible!" Rykrof responds.
"It is true
," Tame Heem affirms. "Master Shaak Ti barely survived the encounter! But now, no one knows where Kala is!"
"What could have possessed him to turn on the Jedi?" Rykrof wonders aloud.
"Who is to say?" the Ithorian Senator replies.
"Kala had a reason," Rykrof says as he exits the room.
"And I'm going to find out what it was."