An even longer time ago, in a galaxy just as far away...
In the darkness of a world plagued with constant storm, there were only three sources of light in its sky. One was the streaks of lightning that accompanied the rain, flashing every once in a while, here and there. Its raw power was a source of havoc and devastation, though technology had long caught up to the brutality of nature, channeling the energy down lightning rods which kept the buildings safe.
The second source of light was that which came from the buildings themselves, lights of various colours shining from the tall towers of the city. This structure, however, stood apart from the rest, possessing only a few dim white lights barely visible through the rain, despite it being one of the taller buildings in the outskirts.
The third source of light was the vehicles that darted through the sky, their headlamps glowing at high intensity to guide them through the storm. Around this tower, three lights circled, three lonely rays dancing in a constant, unwavering pattern like planets in orbit around a star. They belonged to three patrol craft, all of the same model with the same markings and the same mechanical pilots.
Suddenly a fourth beam cut through the rain, and the pattern broke. One of the patrols veered off, its light focused on the new arrival. The two rays met, illuminating the other vehicle- a smaller airspeeder with a closed roof, painted grey and black with no distinguishable markings. The two flew alongside one another as they made for a landing pad jutting out of the side of the building.
Much of the space on the landing pad had been taken up by a large shuttle, though the airspeeder managed to find adequate room to touch down. The patrol craft hovered patiently in the air as it monitored the landing, acting as a spotlight on the sole occupant that emerged. The figure was largely obscured by a hooded robe which blew in the wind, giving just a faint glimpse of a face to the patrol’s security camera.
The speeder’s pilot needed no identification, however. A long cylindrical object hanging from the hip denoted the individual as a Sith- a member of the elite order that ruled the Empire. The object was a lightsaber, a weapon which emitted a blade of suspended plasma. Here at the centre of the Sith’s regime, it was used more so as a symbol of status than a tool of death, and those that carried a lightsaber inspired fear from all beneath them.
Paying no heed to the pummeling rain, the Sith calmly strode across the landing pad and through a set of sliding doors. The wet robes clung to the body that wore them, hinting at the feminine figure beneath. Despite the state of her clothing, she made no move to remove them, not even to lower the hood- it was clear that its purpose was not to act as a shield from the weather, but instead a mask for her identity.
Aside from a probe that bleeped as it scanned the Sith, the building was eerily quiet as she proceeded through the lobby and through the halls. For a morgue run primarily by droids, this was hardly surprising, but this facility was much more than a simple morgue.
This was Black Site Krill.
Hidden in plain view, this tower was used by both Sith and Imperial Intelligence, the spy organization of the Empire. It was the first of such facilities constructed, designed to hold and interrogate very sensitive or high value prisoners. Its front as a morgue served well to cover up those who did not survive the procedures; most were sent to incineration following a complete removal of their records from Imperial databases.
As a form of psychological torture, the interrogators made no effort to conceal the suffering of their subjects in order to encourage cooperation from those next in line. As a result, loud screams usually echoed across the hallways. This time, however, it was quiet, and somehow these same corridors were even more terrifying in complete silence.
The Warden awaited the Sith as she neared her destination. Imperial Intelligence often forbade their members from utilizing their own names, and this was one such case. The middle-aged man known only as the Warden of Krill was the head of the facility’s organic staff. He was extremely efficient and sadistic, often showing far too much enthusiasm in his gruesome work.
The last time these two met, the Warden was commenting cheerfully about his work on one of the prisoners. Now, even though he was standing in the midst of the facility he managed, the Warden looked nervous. He urged the Sith to follow along with a simple “this way.”
“Is something wrong?” the Sith asked as they continued down the hall. “You weren’t so tense when my master and I visited you before.”
Her voice was neither strong nor intimidating, as one would expect from a member of the Sith Order. Instead, it was a rather silvery voice, cool and, at least in the words spoken to the Warden, pleasant. It did little to reassure the man, though; the fear in his tone was unmistakable.
“It’s not you I’m tense about,” he replied as he pressed a panel beside a door, stepping aside before it could fully slide open.
The Sith entered the room, a small chamber with a central table, racks along the side and a computer terminal at the far end. A mostly-covered corpse lay on the table, but despite the light directed at that body, her gaze was instantly drawn to another.
In front of the table stood a tall figure clad in elaborate grey robes with purple trimming. A sleek, ovoid helmet covered the entirety of his head, hiding any view of his face. There was something aside from his tall stature and unseen visage that was imposing, as if merely looking upon him caused pain to radiate throughout one’s mind and body. She had felt this disturbing presence as she moved through the facility, but only now, upon laying sights on its source, did she grasp its meaning.
“Lord Jadus,” she immediately dropped to her knees.
Darth Jadus. Head of the Sphere of Imperial Intelligence, Jadus was a member of the Dark Council, a group of twelve Sith who governed the Empire and answered only to the Emperor. This made him one of the most powerful people in the entire galaxy, and his power was not only political; it was said that aside from the Emperor himself, no one else possessed a mastery of the Force parallel to that of Jadus.
“Come,” the Dark Councillor turned to address the black-robed Sith, beckoning her closer. “This is the one who has slain your master.”
She stood, taking a few slow steps closer to the table. With a gesture of his hand, Darth Jadus telekinetically removed the body’s covering, revealing the extent of its damage. There were injuries all over the corpse, including deep gashes, severe burns and a combination of these two- scorched trails down the body that were almost certainly the work of a lightsaber.
“You may speak,” Jadus said as he observed from behind her.
“These wounds,” the smaller Sith trailed a gloved hand along one of the blackened cuts on the dead man’s arm, “they’re inflicted by Lord Mulciber?”
Darth Jadus simply nodded.
“That doesn’t make sense,” she continued. “My master gave up the lightsaber after the war. He taught me the greatest weapons a Sith possessed were the Force and the mind. Lord Mulciber carried a lightsaber for show, the only time I’ve seen him use it was against another Sith Lord whose Force abilities rivalled his own.”
“The assailant was Force-sensitive,” Jadus corrected her.
“I was told he was ex-military.”
“How is this possible?” she asked. “All Force-sensitives are taken into the Order. I can hide my connection to the Force from Jedi and Sith, but not from a medical evaluation. Aren’t all military members tested before they enter service?”
“Simply because you do not understand something,” the Dark Councillor walked to the computer at the far side of the room, “does not mean it is impossible.”
With the press of a few buttons, the screen on the terminal changed, displaying three detailed medical documents, each stamped with a photograph of a face. The one closest to the left was clearly of the man who now lay dead on the table, the one in the centre bore semblance to him but was notably younger, and the right-most image was that of a young boy.
“These are his medical examinations,” Jadus explained. “The first test was administered at the age of nine, when he was tested for potential to join the Sith. The second was taken when he was conscripted into the Imperial Army at the age of eighteen. The most recent was a blood test from only one year ago.”
“They all show him as non-Force-sensitive,” the dark-robed Sith remarked. “Even below average at that.”
“Yet these are the results of his autopsy,” Darth Jadus pushed another button, and the three files were replaced by a single one, this time with an image displaying the man as he was seen on the table, battered and scarred.
“They’re off the charts!” the younger Sith read the data with unconcealed surprise. “You’re telling me this man somehow gained extreme Force-sensitivity over the last year?”
“That is what the evidence tells me. You will tell me how.”
“Me? I don’t have any leads and neither does Intelligence. Not to mention I’m only an apprentice.”
“Your master is dead. Kneel before me, and I will grant you the power you require.”
“Yes, my lord,” she dropped to a single knee in front of the Dark Councillor, much more composed than her initial gesture upon entering the room.
Darth Jadus tilted his head down towards her in a brief moment of silence before he spoke, “First, I name you Videte, Dark Lord of the Sith. Now, I take from you all that is yours- your name, your past, your identity. Your instructors, your fellow acolytes, all who have known you, will be silenced. You will be nothing but a vessel for my power.”
“All of them? Is that necessary, my lord?”
“It is necessary. With the death of Lord Mulciber, his title, his resources and his duties pass to you. You are my eyes and ears, my blade from the shadows. You will work with Intelligence and watch them closely. No one will know you except those to whom I choose to reveal your presence.”
“I am honoured.”
“Now rise. Do what Intelligence needs of you, but your primary duty is to uncover the secret of your master’s assassin. Find how he obtained this power, and bring it to me.”
Videte stood, her heart racing. Something flowed through her body that she had never felt before, not even in her grandest moments. It was a confidence like no other, a feeling that she was truly invincible. She looked at the body on the table and wondered how such a lowly being could defeat a Sith Lord like her former master when she could crush a thousand of these men with her bare hands. The strength of Darth Jadus was hers.
“It will be done, my lord.”