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Lost In Space (and time): Eternal Empire pt 1

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TATOOINE
Approx six months after Order 66
Time: Unknown

Alexis Solis ; Taz


Where was she? It was dark. And dry. And yep.....something was broken. Clara Cole opened her eyes and received a face full of dust that just so happened to pick up at the same time. She coughed and spewed it up trying to get it out of her lungs. As she began to sit up she felt something painfully stabbing her in the side. With a groan she reached under herself and found her master's lightsaber which she'd been lying on. Vash!

Wiping her eyes clear of the sand she looked around frantically. Where was he? Nowhere in sight. Where....was she? Clara looked up and realized she was in some sort of...canyon? But wait. Hadn't she just been inside a cave? How was she outside? Also, there wasn't a spare rock around. Well to be fair, the whole place was made of rock and dirt and sand. But there weren't like huge massive chunks from when the floor gave in.

A growl behind her made the redhead jump. She turned suddenly and saw a large beast with sharp looking claws waiting to pounce on her. A Nexu, she believed it to be called. The striped tiger had four eyes that she could see and enough rows to make her know she wouldn't last in a fight against it. That is, if she weren't a Force user. And if she didn't have her master's saber in her hand.

Jumping to her feet she gripped the blade tightly in both hands to stop her arms from shaking and activated the bright red beam. The creature took it as a sign of aggression and launched itself at her. With swift and precise movements the girl sidestepped and removed the dangerous weapons from the monster so it couldn't pose any other threat. It landed awkwardly and rolled over itself while it howled in pain. Clara quickly put it out of its misery by slashing at its gut through the underbelly.

Turning about again the redhead would check the surrounding area. No other sign of its pack. But other creatures would soon smell blood. And she needed to find her master. Drawing her concise attention to the pelt of the beast she would skin it with the lightsaber and make herself a decent cloak to cover herself from the sandy winds and then begin climbing out of the valley. There had to be some sign of her master somewhere.



 
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He opened his eyes slowly, peering into the vast darkness around him. His ears rang and head throbbed. The last thing he remember he was walking deeper into a cave, following a tunnel that he suspected would lead him to the origin of a powerful dark side energy source. Then...did the tunnel collapse, did his shuttle explode. Did his apprentice betray him and fire on him with it's guns ? He couldn't remember. He could only remember the endless fall.

Suddenly he realized he was laying in the dirt. His entire body was racked with pain, so much so that even his hair hurt. He tried to move, tried to look around. The motion only making his head spin. But his arms could move. The rest of him seemed to be pinned under rock.

Despite the pain, Vash would summon the force to him. What little he could managed at least, and focus on the rocks and debris that blanketed his body. He reached his arm out, lifting the rocks one by one. Casting them off into the darkness. When the majority of the rocks were off he rolled to his knees. Slowly pushing himself up to stand on them and looked around once more.

He reached down to hilt belt, realizing he did not have his saber hilts on him. As he suspected and suddenly remember. They were gone. One was with his apprentice when they split up. The other, cast away as he fell before. Now he was weaponless and injured.

As if his fear and anger had manifested it. A weapon would appear from out of the dust and darkness. A strange looking short staff with what appeared to be a Kyber crystal forged within in. Despite it's soft green-blue glow, Vash could feel the dark side flowing from it. It was the aura, the disturbance, he had felt before.

"Interesting ?"
 
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Travelling in the sand was miserable. It downright sucked. She could feel it getting everywhere. Everywhere. The cloak did nothing to protect her like she wished but it was better than actually walking around stark naked. How did she keep ending up in situations like this? It was her master's fault really. He was the one who gave her that ridiculous outfit instead of tough armor. Though, she had a hard time remembering how the cave actually went down. She remembered there being fire. And lots of it. But, where had it come from?

Once she was at the top of the cliff the redhood looked around and sat down on her butt. She could see for miles in just about every direction. No sign of Vash. Clara held up his saber and looked at it, stroking it with her other hand like it were some feline pet. She normally could sense him when he was near her; she'd never been this far away from him. That is to say, if he was even alive. She knew in her gut that he was, but it didn't stop her mind from thinking the worst. Sighing she fell back and rested her head against the sandy dune. This was going to be trouble.

As she sat there, the winds began to pick up. Clara rolled on her side away from it, but it didn't do much to hide from the blowing sand. Then, it got louder. And louder. Clara sat up with a start. That wasn't the wind. That was an engine. Looking around and then behind her, she noticed a sand crawler making its way across the desert. Clara jumped up with glee and cheered with a quick hurrah. But how would she catch it? No way she could catch up.

Clara looked down at her hand to the saber. It was her best shot. She ignited the red beam and began to wave it back and forth above her head. In less than a minute, the crawler began to turn around....
 
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The darkness flowing from the staff would suddenly flow past Vash like a river. As if a dam had been busted the moment that the Sith laid his eyes on the weapon. The power was like nothing he had felt before. It felt as though it was alive withing the force. The weapon pulled at Vash. Seeming to beg him to take it from it's resting place in the sand.

So he did.

Dax reached out with his left hand and used the force to grasp the staff and pull the weapon into his hand. The slim grip of the weapon slide into his hand. As he closed his fingers around it the crystal inside the staff turned from it's blue-green to a blood red. Then the staff slowly molded itself into that of a saber hilt. The crystal within continued to glow. As it did he could feel the power of it. Vash would use that power, not unlike a force drain, leaching the power from it to heal his injuries.

Soon made whole, Vash then reached out into the force. Expanding his senses. Pushing out to feel for his apprentice, his slave. But he can't feel her. What he does feel is that his prison is little more then a cave. So with his new found power from this weapon, Vash unleashes the force with a powerful blast of energy that blasts a wall out and opens into the sea of sand. The dune sea.

Vash strolls out of the cave, looking around to get some barring of his surroundings. A feat proving more difficult by the rolling hills of sand. Unfortunately there was nothing as far as the eye can see. With the exception of what appeared to be some manner of mining crawler.
 
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As the crawler began to turn her way, Clara would disengage the saber so as to better hold her cloak closed. The sand was still blowing rather hard. She watched as it came toward her, increasing in size as it got closer, before it finally came to a stop. For a moment there was no sound coming from either party, just the howl of the wind. Clara wondered what would be waiting for her on the other side of that door. Finally the sound of gears turning signaled the ramp was opening and the massive front of the crawler began to descend.

Clara gripped the saber tightly behind the cover of her cloak. She knew they'd already seen the red beam, but it could have been a simple glow stick or flare. They didn't know it was specifically one of the galaxy's most dangerous weapons. Her senses could tell that there were eyes on her and as the door opened further she saw the tiny glowing eyes of the Jawa people. Her eyes then noticed they were all carrying blasters. Typical.

"You will give me passage to the nearest town!" the woman called out over the howling wind.

The Jawas started to move closer and proceeded to shout at her. Kriff. She didn't speak their language. Or any language they might know. Perhaps they spoke Basic, but she couldn't understand them back. What would her master do? Show no fear. Make them submit. Closing her eyes for a moment Clara focused on the Force. She let the Dark side come to her. It was her ally. It was her strength. And she would show them her power.

Lowering her hand to the side she pressed her thumb to the ignition plate of her master's saber and it ignited the red beam once more. The Jawas flinched and began to shout at her more. Clara repeated her command.

"You will give me passage to the nearest town!"

The Dark side was growing in her. The sand started to swirl around her and as an effect, the red glow of the beam reflected off the swirling grains. Clara repeated her command with more intensity. She could feel her power boosting even more which made the wind pick up even harder. She began to rise slowly and her feet came off the ground no more than a few inches. The fear coming off the Jawa was intense. It fueled her. They backed up and were wanting to flee, but none of them could turn their back to her. Finally, they all dropped forward and began to bow up and down to her in worship. Yes. She would be a god to them.

Touching down against the sand Clara released the focused connection to the Force and let the normal wind blow the sand as it went. Clara moved forward with the beam still in hand and walked past the Jawa into the safety of their crawler. Only after she was inside did she turn the blade off and return her hands to the inside of the cloak. The Jawa would wait a moment before speaking to one another and then following after their new master.
 
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Vash trudged his way across the sands. The twin suns baked him from the outside in. The warmer he got the longer he seemed to have to go. The more he had to walk in this, the greater his anger grew. An endless cycle of suffering, the only upside of which was that if fed his power and connection to the force.

He continued to trudge, to suffer. Step and step, yard after yard. Until he surmised that he managed to walk over a mile. Then suddenly he watched as the crawler in the distance seemed to turn toward him. Or at least in his general direction. Soon after, it stopped, but Vash could not see why. However he knew from the force that there was little to no life close by.

Until suddenly he could feel a ripple of power within the force. The dark side seemed to suddenly and without warning burst and flourish from near the crawler. Causing the Sith to smile, as his mind drifted to what he knew without a doubt was his apprentice. Knowing this, he stopped in mid stride. Then sit in a meditative position.

"Apprentice, I am here. Return to me."

The simple words he sent into the force. Allowing the force to carry the message to Clara like a bird on the wind. Gliding on the gusts. He would give it time to fly to her, circle and find her. Then he repeated it, this time pushing his way threw. Forcing his will to collide into her growing power.
 
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The inside of the crawler was annoying small. Had she been any taller and she would have had to bend over and walk like she had a hunch. But it was enough still that she had to walk with her head turned slightly to the side. So that, that was annoying. Clara made her way through the crawler, passing several droids and one rather dusty looking C3 unit before climbing up a ladder to the helm. There she stopped suddenly as a feeling ran down her spine. A cold chill came over her making her arms rise up in tiny bumps and the hair rise up on end. Clara turned her head sharply toward the wall behind her but she knew what had called her lied much further away.

"Take me that way." she ordered with a dark voice while pointing the way of the sensation.

The Jawa scrambled to do as she said and were soon powering the engines up to begin making headway in the sandy dunes again. Clara watched from the back of the cockpit as they drove the massive war tank toward her master. She kept her cloak held tightly to her so none of the tiny creatures would sneak a peak. She thought about finding some new clothes to wear but her master's will was the most important thing on her list. And soon enough, she saw him.

"There. Bring him aboard."

Clara would again gesture to the blip in the sand that had been waiting for them and then she moved back through the floors of the crawler to the main gate that would slowly open upon slowing down. Clara's face lit up when she saw her master sitting there and she fought every urge not to run over and tackle him. Instead, she stood there and knelt down to one knee as he approached her.

"My lord! I am so glad you survived."
 
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He felt his connection to Clara once again, and knew she felt his will. Soon the massive metal beast was heading in his direction and the Sith would wait calmly. Secure in the knowledge that soon he would be plucked from this sandy hell.

The crawler soon closed to within the distance of the lowering ramp. Vash waited until it did just that before rising from his resting place. To his amusement, Clara was waiting for him on bending knee. His loyal and dutiful apprentice. Proving his wisdom in finding and molding her to be his pupal.

He stood, walked up the ramp and then towered over Clara. Despite his weather appearance, he exuded power, control, and dominance. His knew weapon drew on the sinful emotions and enhanced his will. Pushing his aura into every corner of the crawler until it was as oppressive as the heat outside.

"Indeed. Rise, apprentice. Lead me to the control room and let us be underway."

He stood over her until she stood and slowly followed as she lead him as instructed. When they arrived, Vash slide into the chair that would of been the mining officer's, had it been used as intended, and place his new weapon on the arm rest under his left hand. He then waved two fingers with his right hand to call Clara to his side.

"You've done well. For now we will use these vermin. Have them take us to their home. The Jawa city."
 
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"Of course, my lord!" she replied. Clara stood and bid him further into the crawler.

She would lead him through the technological tank up to the final ladder where she reminded him that the cockpit would be a cramped place and that he might want to watch his head. She then began to ascend the ladder where her master would see a rather lewd view of his apprentice; nothing he hadn't seen before.

Upstairs he would sit in a chair and summon her to his side. She came and knelt down to better see him while also being a little more comfortable than trying to stand. He congratulated her on her efforts thus far and then instructed her to tell the Jawa to return them home.

"To their home, my lord?" she asked with confusion."Not....to the nearest city?"
 
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As Clara knelt before him on his would be thrown. Vash would pet her long red hair, like he was petting a dog. Both to amuse himself and to belittle her with one swift motion. The point of which was as always, to prove his power over her.

"You fail to see the bigger picture apprentice. Do you not wonder how we arrived here on Tatooine from the faral world on the edge of know space ? We must regain our barrings in the safety of the shadows." he said calmly as he continued to pet her. "Now, tell them."
 
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Her master would begin to pet her hair and she closed her eyes and lowered her head some to surrender more of herself to his will. It felt humiliating, sure. But she loved it. Feeling his hand being so tender with her. So warm and comforting. She sighed happily and almost forgot she was talking to him.

Standing up she patted down her cloak to flatten it out and hastily replied, "Yes Sir. I understand sir." Turning to the Jawa she coughed and spoke out to them. "Take us to your home."

Naturally they turned and started speaking to her but the words were lost on deaf ears. "Now!" she shouted. "Take us to your home. Don't make me say it again."

She could only hope her words translated well in regard to what they were saying back to her. Either way, her command did not go unheard as they all started to rapid fire give orders to themselves back and forth and the crawler would then turn into a different direction. Nodding to herself she'd come back and hold out her hand to her master. In her grip was his saber.

"Your saber, my master." In a way she wasn't asking him for what she said next was, "I'd like to go downstairs and see about some new clothes."
 
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He looked on with no small amount of pride. Clara followed his orders to the letter, and the Jawas made quick work. As they often do. The crawler was soon enough moving once more, and this time to a base. One known only to locals, and those who traded with the sand rats.

When she came back to him he hardly looked at her. Until she presented him with the saber hilt, his saber hilt. The one he gave her before the event that lead them here. He gave it a glance. Then lifted his new one from the chair.

"The force has gifted me with something much more powerful." He said, in a low amused tone. "Keep the blade apprentice, you will need it for the fight to come. The dark side is showing us something Clara. A path perhaps."

Vash to warm to her expected appreciations. But would deny her wanting to leave. Instead using the force to insist she stand by. She would kneel to him with little more word, but he could feel her displeasure in being in the rags. He allowed her to feel his own irritation at being in rags. Like that of a peasant slave. He did not appreciate the feeling. It angered him.

In a few short hours the crawler would make it's way to the small forgotten fortress. Now surrounded by tents and junk. Spare parts and random droids. The crawler slowed and then came to a stop at the edge of town. When the tank was finally at rest Vash rose to his feet. Allowing his power to flow freely.

The jawas scattered off like the rats that they were. Vash let Clara move before him, clearing his path like a good bitch. Without so much as a word, he pushed her to guide him to what he knew was the former command tower. The tower housed a small cabin, a simple bed and living area. It was a tiny excuse of a thrown but it would do for the moment.
 
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Her master noted the saber that was once his but instead showed to her his new one. Clara could feel the power seeping from it. It was...chilling to stand in its presents. Clara's own mind was not skilled enough to resist the temptation and she started to reach for it slowly. Then before she even knew it she was falling to her knees with her head bowed to him once more. She gasped quietly as she came back to her senses.

What had she just done? She tried to take his saber?! How could she do such a thing? Clara clutched his old saber to her chest and ran her thumb across the metal sides. This was his saber, hers now. But his gift to her. She was his servant. She was his apprentice. She would never disobey him or betray him. Clara couldn't believe how tempting that blade was and how powerful it truly was.

She would reply to his comment on her keeping the blade with, "As you wish, my master. Thank you for your generosity."

Idly she sat by listening to the drowning sounds of the engines and the tiny squeaks from the Jawa people. She eventually got comfy beside him, sitting more on her ass than her legs and he would continue to pet her hair like she was his mutt. The soothing repetition calmed her mind and her soul and Clara found herself in a state of peace. When the crawler came to a stop once more she was pulled out of her sleep. Her master stood up and she followed to then lead him out of the tank and into their base.

Clara didn't know how or why but she was feeling very confident in her walking. Normally, or rather all the time, she walked behind her master. She was his pet and his shadow. But now she was in front and leading him. Or, was he merely controlling her like a puppet? Clara felt that something was amiss, but would not come to question it. If her master wanted to lead, he would have done so from the start.

She led him into a tower of sorts within their confines and looked around the small room. She then could feel her master retreat from her mind and for a second she faltered, nearly falling backwards. She hadn't even felt him take over her. Now it all made sense. Clara lowered her head and kept her mouth shut feeling that if she protested in the slightest she'd be punished for it.
 
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After being led to the tower, Vash would dismiss himself from the front room and into the bathroom. Tearing away the tattered remains of his old armor. He cast them from the room, leaving only his new weapon. Placing it on the sink counter before stepping into the shower.

In an instant the hot water cast over him. washing away the sand and dirt. Vash stood in the water so what the shower head was above his head, the water over him like the falls of Naboo. He allowed himself to retreat into his mind then. To meditate in the dark side, and center himself in the darkness so he could think through his next move.
 
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And then she was alone. Her master went to the bathroom and shut the door leaving her behind to wait. She figured he was just relieving himself but when she heard the shower she knew he wasn't coming back. Still, she waited. Clara figured he'd call for her in a moment. To no avail. "I guess I'll go....take a long around then."

Deciding to do something productive the redhead left the room and began to make for the closest thing she could find to a command center. The Jawa weren't exactly the most technological of forces nor did they possess their own legions of armies. But they had taken over an abandoned fort so there had to be some radio system that she could use to signal the Sith Empire.

Luck came even quicker to her as she found a protocol droid just walking about down one of the halls. "You there, come here for a moment. Tell me the imperial date and time please." The droid obeyed and procured for her the exact calendar date, but it was not at all what she was expecting.

"Will that be all m'am?" the droid asked.

Clara did not reply. She was stunned. Confused. Totally lost. With no other directives for it the droid would then start to walk away. Clara still said nothing. The date. It didn't seem possible. It had to be a malfunction within the droid. Moving swiftly she ran down the halls to another droid and asked the same thing. Still, the answer remained the same. Sinking down against one of the walls she put her hand to her forehead. Her skin felt cold and clammy to her, meaning she was likely getting sick or she was in shock.

The reason the calendar date disturbed her so much was because they were just ten or so years before the Empire fell. When the New Republic was said to have started. This...was thousands of years ago. The end of the Clone Wars. The beginning and end of the Empire. The final days of Emperor Palpatine. The fall of Darth Vader. The rise of the Skywalkers.

They had gone to the past.

With a worried and fearful gaze she would struggle back up. Clara then rushed back as fast as she could back to her master's room. She burst through the bathroom door and practically slipped on his clothes before righting herself.

"My lord! My lord! I know where we are!"
 
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