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Old 12-11-2012, 08:23 PM   #3
dusk20
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Default Re: Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 3

THE EBON HAWK
CHAPTER TWO


The engines worked overtime as the Ebon Hawk broke out of the Dantooine atmosphere. It was always a delicate task that Atton, the pilot and owner, never trusted in the hands of a droid or the ship computer itself.

There were too many variables and he preferred the human touch. The sky finally gave way to the beautiful view of space. The stars sparkled around in the blackness of space.

His fingers danced across the control panel that was laid out in front of him. Button were flicked on and others off. Atton Rand placed both hands back on the control stick eyes darting left and right as the screen displayed destination and hull conditions.

A humming noise vibrated its way through the cockpit as Atton cut the overdrive engines and allowed it to settle back to cruise speeds. Overworking the engines was never Atton's style, especially when the destination ahead was one of uncertainty. He knew they were heading for Coruscant, but it didn't matter. The Ebon Hawk was a sought after ship with a lot of modifications, most illegal, they found attention wherever it docked.

Atton had been with the ship for years and was a damned good pilot. The best he would say. With the modifications the Hawk had, it was easily one of the fastest known ships throughout the galaxy. Able to protect crew in battle and nothing a few credits could not get unwanted eyes to forget about. But people knew of the Ebon Hawk and its battles. Its travels were well documented and something that Atton hated being asked about. It was his only love and something he was proud to own, make that his second love.

“Bastila is here,” said a familiar female voice from the cockpit door.

The busy pilot turned his head and looked at his co-pilot. “I'm just setting the coordinates for Coruscant. Shouldn't be much longer Vaya.”

Vaya looked at her partner and blew him a kiss. Their affections for each other were kept hidden from most parties. It was a tactic Attan suggested to bypass ransom's for control of the Hawk.

“Almost done,” he said confirming his previous words. He turned back to face the control board and fiddled with them again. The cockpit door closed behind and Vaya was gone.

It was not long before the interior lights dimmed within the cockpit informing Attan that autopilot was active. He took a step back from the controls and then cracked his knuckles. Just one of his habits whenever leaving control of the Hawk.


******


On another part of the Ebon Hawk, Aiden Coran made his way from the cargo door. The boots he wore would normally leave a clanging sound with each step, but the Padawan was skillful enough to keep himself virtually silent.

The layout of the ship was foreign to the Padawan, so each opening he saw was a new path and possible blunder. With Bastila on board Aiden was careful with his senses, however he reached out and allowed the Force to guide him. Wherever his Master was onboard, she wasn't within close proximity or his senses would've picked her up. Then again he didn't push this ability to far out as not to trigger hers.

Aiden was guided to what looked like a storage area. The interior was partially lit up with most of it surrounded in shadows, but the room was practically empty save for a few crates and a workbench in the side corner. He continued to make his way through the storage room when a beeping noise was heard.

The Padawan took cover behind a large piece of tanned dura-steel framing and reached out with his senses. However there was nothing in the room to alarm him. Aiden ran his fingers through his short hair and stood from behind the cover. It was times like this his lightsaber would be handy. Just as the Padawan took another step forward, something grabbed him around the neck and lifted him inches off his feet.

He could feel the stone cold fingers of dura-steel wrapped around his neck applying just enough pressure to let him breathe. Whatever was attacking him though was impossibly strong and deadly. Aiden thought about using the Force to tear the droid apart, but feared the result could cause the metal fingers to compress around his neck killing him, a situation Aiden didn't want.

So instead Aiden reached out with his senses pushing them further than before until he saw Bastila and another two within his field. His feet continued to dangle as the interior lit up and the Padawan came face to face with a tanned colored droid.

The droid itself was of a humanoid design with two arms and legs, a torso and head. But its skeleton was completely made of dura-steel, one of the toughest in the entire galaxy and it had strength to back it up.

Aiden choked and tried to pry the metal fingers from his neck but had no luck.

“Master Bastila,” said the droid in a robotic tone. “Such a pleasure to see you again.”

Great, Aiden thought. The droid seemed to know Bastila which made things even worse. Now that his Master was in the room they would probably turn back to Dantooine.

“Good to see you HK,” said Bastila making her way up beside the droid. She rested a hand on the droid's own. “But if you wouldn't mind, the Padawan needs to apologize.”

HK turned to look at Bastila. “Apologize for what?” his mouthpiece blinked.

It's fingers opened and Aiden fell to the floor. He sucked in as much air as he could take to fill his burning lungs. Aiden tried to talk, but he coughed instead. Bastila walked out of the room and the HK unit followed with each step leaving a hard clap against the metal floor.

When the Padawan finally stepped into the room, a large red mark was slightly noticeable around his neck. Three sets of eyes faced him and the tanned HK unit stood with folded arms. Aiden bowed his head waiting for the usual bombardment of lessons from Bastila, but it did not happen.

“Um,” started Aiden. “I would like to apologize for sneaking onboard and causing a disturbance Master. It wasn't my place to follow you without consent from you or the Council.”

A silence would have fallen across the room, but Atton introduced himself. “I'm Atton Rand,” he smiled. “Owner and pilot of this beautiful ship, the Ebon Hawk.” He extended his hand which Aiden accepted.

Usually skin to skin contact allowed Aiden to hear the thoughts of those he touched, but all he lifted off the man in front were numbers. More correctly the counting of numbers. He looked to be in his early forties with dark brown hair. His short trimmed beard was greying which gave Aiden the impression the man was using a tanning gel to keep his natural color around. Standard brown pants and a white shirt underneath an orange padded vest finished off the man.

Atton took his seat and the woman beside him spoke up. “Vaya Phaon,” she said offering her name.

Her presence was felt in the Force and the Padawan knew she was a Jedi, or at least had training in the Force. Some people had the ability to mask themselves with the Force, but this woman seemed to glorify her existence by shinning like a light in darkness. Her shoulder length dark hair was a little messy but left to move as it pleased. Her face looked tired and age. Aiden could sense that whatever mission the pilots had been on was taking its toll. Although a Jedi, she dressed like a normal citizen save for the much tighter clothing.

Time passed between talking between the four with the HK unit standing in the corner of the room checking over things. Atton ducked in and out of the room every so often to check on the controls, while Bastila spoke with Vaya.

Aiden kept himself busy while waiting for Bastila to correct his action, however it never came. He began to get a little concerned over that matter.

“Master?” said the Padawan hoping not to interrupt.

Bastila stopped her conversation with the other Jedi who walked off to the cockpit with Atton. The HK unit moved closer to Bastila as she stood in front of Aiden, but stopped a few feet away. The light reflected of his chest plates making the Padawan feel a little unwelcome. “You should not have followed Aiden,” she said with a firm look. “This mission was not ordered by the Council, nor is my being here.”

Aiden jerked his head back with the comments puzzling him. “But what of the Council then?”

“I've disbanded myself from the Council.”

“But Master...” he was cut short by Bastila.

“And I am no longer your Master,” she confirmed.

The Padawan looked down at her belt and couldn't see her lightsaber. “You've been exiled from the order?” Inside he already knew the response. He saw Bastila tilt her head slightly. “What of myself then? Where do I stand?”

Bastila placed a hand on her former Padawan's shoulder. “You're still a Padawan, just not mine anymore.”

He let out a deep breath as if to say something but turned his eyes away from his now former Master.

“When we finish on Coruscant, you will have to go back to Dantooine,” said Bastila while dropping her hand back to her side. “And you will need to explain your actions to the Council.”

Now his chances of becoming a Jedi Knight were well and truly put off. The Council may forgive him, but his leaving the planet without consent would leave a sour taste in their mouth. At least he could go down in history as the oldest Padawan ever in the Jedi Order.


******


It would take a few standard days for the Ebon Hawk to reach Coruscant. Most of the crew were resting in bunks on the starboard side of the ship. The rooms were not overly furnished, but they fit the needs until better accommodation was available.

Being pilot of the ship, Atton never liked being apart from the control. He worried a major threat would occur but Vaya calmed him down. She often reminded him the HK had been programmed to fly the ship, and that he might even be more capable thanks to quicker reflexes and knowledge of systems. If anyone else had said that to Atton Rand he mostly likely would have blasted them out of the lower air lock, but Vaya was one of a kind.

Besides she said might be a better pilot. That meant there was still a chance Atton could prove how much better he was with his Ebon Hawk.

The cockpit door slid open and in walked HK. He was a highly modified assassin droid with dura-steel plating instead of the standard, and weaker, omni-steel. Omni-steel proved greater flexibility and range of movement, but a blaster bolt at pointblank range would cook the circuitry. HK was modified by Revan many years ago when he was still known as Darth Revan. Back then HK and Darth Revan were a force to be reckoned with.

HK sat in the form-chair and looked at the star outside that were blurred into long thin lines. It was the only thing to see when traveling through hyperspace, and a view HK never saw the point of.

Each part of his dura-steel plating was riddled with battle scars each telling their own story. It was not like he needed to remember though; a droid's memory cell was definite. He could remember the first image of his “birth” to the moment his memory was wiped clean. Unknown to HK at the time, Revan had installed a backup memory cell deep in his central core. So now he never forgot anything.

In his time with the Jedi exile, or Master Vaya as he preferred to call her, HK was loaded with additional programming by Atton. HK was now a more “emotional” assassin droid. He new felt all the normal things creatures felt, which often saddened him. The only benefit was that it gave HK an added advantage to the emotional state of most people, in turn making him a better killing machine.

Time passed while HK sat in the cockpit of the Ebon Hawk. The droid thought about shutting himself down to conserve energy, but when the cockpit door opened, in strolled Aiden Coran.

The young Jedi had hazel eyes and short brown hair, a braid of which hung from behind his right ear. He enjoyed the physical side to Jedi training as his strong muscular frame showed. A few marks were visible on his face, the most noticeable being a thin scar. HK studied the Padawan's face then turned to face the front again.

“This is amazing,” said Aiden. It was the first time seeing hyperdrive and after getting over the astonishment of it all, he moved to the seat unoccupied next to HK and sat in it.
It was the third time HK had been in the same room as Aiden Coran. Already he had lifted information about the Padawan from the ship's database. Nothing came up which gave the assassin droid the opinion that he had never been off planet. Now the assassin droid was curious.

'You are a Jedi?” ask the droid.

The robotic voice sounded different to any that Aiden had heard. “I'm only a Padawan,” he said flicking the hair braid behind his ear. “You must have been all over the galaxy? What's it like?” he asked with such enthusiasm.

“Each system is different in their own ways,” the droid tapped his chest plating sounding a metal ping. “Each planet is planet as too are the species that inhabit them. Master Vaya and Atton tell me that space is cold, but you don't seem to be phased about such matters. Why?”

“I'm not sure HK-47,” Aiden replied looking up from the droids chest plating.

“Please,” the droid said. “Only HK. HK-47 is only inscribed on my plating and a means of being notified of danger. A secret codeword between us if you like.”

Aiden smiled at the sense of humor he was getting from the droid. “Okay,” he agreed. “Well thi is my first time off Dantooine. I've been there since I was born and never been off planet once. So maybe its the thrill of being in the Ebon Hawk that I'm not feeling the cold yet.”

“Where is you lightsaber?” asked the aroid. Another one of the many questions he had prepared to find out more about the young Padawan. “Don't all Jedi carry that weapon?”

He scratched the back of his head. “Yeah they do, when they're old enough to construct one.” His fingers ran over the control panel careful not to touch anything. “I have a lightsaber but it's back on Dantooine.”

“Why?”

“To which part?”

HK searched back through his memory cell. “Why is the weapon left on Dantooine?”

“I left it with a friend of mine. Another Padawan like myself only younger. Her name is Jana Nellum and I left it with her so I had a reason to go back and collect it.”

The assassin droid said nothing pondering the what was just said. “Isn't a Padawan taught that a lightsaber is their life?”

Aiden turned his head to the assassin droid. He had never really thought about it like that and maybe it was the reason the Council held him back from Knighthood. “Let's change the subject HK,” he dragged the words out hoping to put his stupidity at rest. However HK had other plans.

“But I much prefer the subject matter we are currently on.”

Aiden folded his arms and started laughing while staring out into the blurred stars in front.

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