Fate of the Jedi: Omen

ORBITING ZIOST

TWO STANDARD YEARS AGO

DICIAN FELT THE PLANET EVEN BEFORE IT APPEARED ON THE MAIN bridge monitor of the Poison Moon. She sensed it had seen her, as she now saw it, this seemingly harmless world of blue and white and green, and she smiled gently. The pale geometric tattoos on her face, standing out in stark contrast with her dark skin tones, crinkled with her smile. This was the destination she had beheld in her mind’s eye a short while before, the unvoiced answer to the question of what she was hoping to intercept here. She had ordered the crew of this frigate to make all speed, and only hoped she was in time.

Where are you going, charming one?

To unopened eyes and dead senses, this planet would seem a world much as any other: a world with oceans and landmasses, heavily, practically entirely forested, with two white, icecapped poles on either end. White clouds drifted lazily above it.

But it was not a world like any other.

It was Ziost. Homeworld of the Sith.

What was left of the Sith Order now remained silent and in hiding on Korriban. She would return there soon, but not without the prize she had come to claim.

Dician realized she was leaning forward slightly in anticipation, and settled back in her command chair. She gently pushed her excitement down lest it interfere with her mission.

“Wayniss, take us into orbit.” In her role as an intelligence gatherer, the light, musical tone of her voice often deceived others into thinking her much, much more harmless than she was. Her crew knew better.

“Yes, Captain,” the chief pilot of the Poison Moon replied. Wayniss was a laconic man, not at all Force-sensitive, pleased enough to do as he was told in exchange for the generous pay he was receiving. In his own way, the graying ex-pirate was as fair, honorable, and hardworking as many so-called upstanding citizens. He had done well by Dician on this mission already.

“Any sign of the meditation sphere?” she asked Ithila, her sensor officer. Ithila leaned forward, her face, which would have been beautiful in the traditional Hapan manner if not for the horrific burn scar that marred the right side, furrowed in concentration.

“Negative,” Ithila replied as Ziost appeared in the forward viewports and the Poison Moon settled into orbit around it. “No indication of it on the planet surface.” She turned to regard her captain. “Looks like we beat it here.”

Dician smiled again. No mistakes. All that remained was to capture the small vessel itself.

Dician settled in to wait, her dark eyes on the slowly turning planet in front of her. It gazed back at her, and she felt a tug in her heart. She wanted to land the Poison Moon, to walk Ziost’s forests as other Sith had done in ages past. But that was not why they were here. She must think of the good of the One, the Order, above her own yearnings. One day, perhaps, she would stand upon the surface of this world. But that day would not be today.

They did not have long to wait. Only a few moments later, Ithila said, “Picking it up on long-range sensors, Captain.”

Dician sat up straighter in her chair. “You have all served well and brilliantly. Now, as our smuggler pilot might say, it is time to close this deal.”

It was time for her, Dician, to be perfect. She could not afford a mistake now.

She felt it even as Ithila transmitted the image to her personal viewscreen. There it was, the Sith meditation sphere. She regarded it for a moment, taking it in—the orange-yellow-red