Basilisk war droids screamed through the atmosphere overhead. Each moment artillery slammed into the ground, upending dirt and rock, then carelessly dropped it again. The dead and dying lay amongst the carnage as the soon-to-be-dead pressed on.
Tanikawa Michi, a Guardian of the Jedi Order ushered his troops into agony's greedy maw.
"Onward!" he bellowed, "We must take the hill!" A quick swipe of his cerulean lightsaber blade batted aside an oncoming blaster bolt, slapping it into the soil.
He spotted a Republic soldier crouched behind a boulder as if it offered any real sort of protection. Making his way over, he placed his hand on the boy's shoulder. He hoped it was with the reassuring yet slightly menacing touch unique to a great battlefield commander.
"Come on, grunt! The safest place to be is moving!" The detonating mortar twenty meters away highlighted his words. The body slipped out of Michi's hands and fell awkwardly to the ground. The boy had probably been dead since the first wave. He was Michi's age.
He left him where he lay and signalled his men to follow.
Out of the surrounding smoke stepped the two-meter, bulky, T-Visored armor of a Mandalorian. Between his hands he spun a double-bladed vibro-staff in challenge. Michi nodded.
"I'll handle him," he told his troops. "Get to the hilltop! Go!"
He brought his blade up to bear. The Mandalorian's expressionless visor peered down at him. They waited for the other to make the first move. Time slowed to a crawl. The cacophany of war faded away.
Another mortar pulverized the ground between them and then they were charging towards each other. Lightsaber blade glanced off of cortosis-weaved Mandalorian iron, once, twice, three times. Michi lunged but then his opponent wasn't there. Pirouetting neatly out of reach, the warrior had danced Michi out of position, exposing his back.
Sweeping the blade in an arc, it first rended open Michi's armor, then carved out a chunk of him.
Michi screamed himself unconcious before he ever hit the ground.
Tanikawa Michi awoke two years later. It was always two years and another day later.
Rubbing sleep from his eyes, Michi reflected on what the day held in his store for him. Meditation mostly. It had been months since his last mission. The enclave council didn't trust him.
Sighing, Michi reached for his rebreather armor. A bulky combination of plasteel and transparisteel, the garb contained and continually circulated seawater, allowing Iskalonians like Michi to travel the galaxy. It was a miracle of technology.
It was also a blasted nuisance. But as Master Darnay had always said, most things of import took place on dry land. If water-breathers wanted to make a difference, they had to get over it.
Checking the seals of his costume one last time, Michi climbed out of his tank, hooked his lightsaber to his belt, and strode out of his room.
The Jedi Council chamber was an interesting place. Interesting in the way that it set in the heart of the enclave, and had a tendency to toy with the figurative heart of anyone whom had been called to meet with them. The Jedi were supposed to suppress their emotions, have a level head. All of that went out the window though the moment you were sitting in the waiting chamber to go in, not sure what matter was about to be pressed on you by the couple of Masters in attendance on world, or others in attendance via holo from Coruscant or Dantooine or Taris. There were always nerves going in, and a heavy weight on your shoulders coming out.
She had time with this one though, while the ship meant to transport her was prepared. And that gave her time to grab a meal in the cafeteria before she had to resort to an in flight meal. She had her tray in her hand and was about to sit in her normal spot when something gave her pause. She turned and set her tray down on another, nearly bare table and asked, "Is this seat taken?"
Michi looked up in mild surprise. "Sure...it's Otonii, right?"
"Close enough." She agreed, sitting down across from him with her tray of questionably hot food.
Michi shrugged to himself. He wasn't eating, since eating required dropping food into the water with him and he'd found early in life that not everyone appreciated the sight.
Still, he figured he should be around the people of his Order. People were going to talk, but they were going to talk more if he cooped himself up in his room all day.
Otanii's red eyes scanned him with an evaluating look before she inquired, "When was the last time you left Jedi grounds?"
Well, he wasn't expecting that.
"Six or seven months ago. I was attached to a group of consulars who were resolving a border dispute out near the Rim."
"Six or seven months ago?" She repeated, toying with her food as she mulled that over. That was a long time to go without a mission. "Did things go badly?" She was being intrusive, but she had a feeling they were both taking a chance with this conversation.
He regarded her silently for a moment. “You don't know who I am, do you?"
"Should I?" Otanii asked him. Jedi had come to this enclave from half a dozen different worlds. She found it impossible to know them all.
"I joined the Revanchist. I abandoned the Order."
"Revan's followers left a long time ago. You are here," Otanii said, as if he needed the dots connected as much as she did. She waved a hand dismissively, "And in an hour you will meet me by the landing bay. Unless you intended to spend the rest of your time in seclusion?"
"I've been given a mission. It might be boring but it will get you off world for a bit. If that's something that you're interested in."
"Why are you doing this?"
She wasn't sure she had a simple answer for him. Something that would make sense. This didn't make sense at all, and it would take time for her to figure out. "My reasons are my own. But the decision is yours."
Well, that didn't sound suspicious *at all.*” I have an hour to mull it over?"
"And meet me by the landing bay." Otanii agreed. He had heard her name before, which meant that she must have been building a reputation for herself. Hopefully it was a reputation he would trust. "I hope I'll see you there."
"I hop so too," he replied.This was confusing.
The Chiss woman stood up then to get rid of her trash and made her way out of the cafeteria with her drink still in hand. They said the Force worked in mysterious ways, and they were getting more mysterious all the time. She had never invited another Jedi along on a mission with her since she had been made a Knight, and yet here she was inviting a perfect stranger to come with her to pick up a discovered holocron. She would just have to trust that the Force knew what it was doing.
"You can't look dignified when you are having fun."