A large blue planet hung in the fourth orbit around a star known as Dina. It shared its solar system with seven other planets. The planet was covered with undulated grassy plains interspersed with lakes, seas, and a few oceans. This planet is known as Dantooine. Eight large ships orbited over this green and blue ball. These ships were a mix of Jedi Cruisers and Republic Star Destroyers. Debris from a recent battle still hung in orbit with the Republic ships including partial hulks of what once were Banking Clan Frigates. Various parts of Republic fighters and Separatist Vulture droids, destroyed in the battle started to succumb to the gravity of the planet and started drop towards the planet surface. The debris made for a beautiful light show from the surface, as well as orbit, as it burned up upon entry into the atmosphere. Some of the larger chunks broke up and made for fireworks like show.
On the bridge of one the Jedi Cruisers, a tall human figure stood over a lighted table. His dark skin contrasted against his cream colored tunic and pants of his outfit. A brown outer robe draped around his body. The white-blue light of the Holo-table washed out his color and reflected off his bald head. This was Jedi Master Mace Windu, second leading member of the Jedi Council. Behind and around him, the bridge bustled with normal activity as the Clones who crewed the ship went about their daily routines and after action reviews and rescues. A rounded wedge of Dantooine framed the forward view ports of the bridge.
On the table in front of him were four small halo figures of the other Jedi Commanders that had joined Mace as reinforcements. Obi-Wan Kenobi, an average height human with fair skin and a full beard, typical of human Jedi Masters, and full head of hair that matched in a light brown color. Beside him was his former Padawan Learner Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker. He stood almost a full head taller than his former Master. They had remained very close friends during the Clone Wars, often working side by side on missions. Anakin had almost shoulder length hair and no beard to hide his handsome features. A healed scar dropped across vertically above and below his right eye. Many jedi believed him to be “The Chosen One”, the one to bring balance to the Force.
Jedi Master Ki-Adi-Mundi’s figure stood to the side of Kenobi and Skywalker. He was a Cerean male whose conical head, which held the typical two brains of the Cerean race, made him very tall compared too many races. The tall head had a small frock of white hair as well as above his ears. He had a long moustache in a Fu Man Chu style and a long haired goatee of the same white hair. Like Mace Obi-Wan, Master Mundi was a member of the Jedi Council.
The last of the Jedi Masters was Luminara Undulli, who was a Mirialan female. She is one of the Senior most Jedi Masters of the Order. She was petite in stature but her head dress raised her height slightly. Her darker robes were designed for her shorter feminine stature and also accented her Mirialan heritage as did her traditional facial tattoos. She was a valued Advisor to the Jedi Council as well as the Republic’s Supreme Chancellor Palpatine.
“We’ve swept through our sectors and it appears all resistance has ended”, Obi-Wan reported with a Coruscanti accent. “Once the Separatists fleet had been driven away, the battle quickly turned our way.”
“Did you find any traces of the Rataka Artifacts?” Windu inquired.
“Not that we could see. I don’t think they had time to find them”, Obi-Wan answered.
“It could be they didn’t have any luck uncovering them”, the Cerean jedi added. “If we have difficulty finding them, I doubt they had any luck.”
“Why are they searching for ancient Sith artifacts?” Master Unduli asked. “I thought this was the Separatists staging area to break the battle at Mullinst.”
“It appears to be just a coincidence”, Obi-Wan answered.
“It could be they found another ancient Sith weapon”, Master Mundi spoke. “And need the Rataka Artifacts to work it.”
“That would not be good for the galaxy”, Obi-Wan stated.
“I agree”, said Mace.
“Indeed”, Luminara said.
“We must inform the Council”, added Master Mundi. “And the Chancellor as well.”
“I’ll inform the Council, but I think we should hold off on telling the Chancellor until we find out more”, Mace spoke. “We need to make sure this isn’t a wild Bantha chase.”
“Do we know for-“, Obi-Wan started but were cut off when his and Anakin’s image shimmered and disappeared. This was followed immediately by the other two Master’s images also disappearing. A few flashes of light filled the bridge area slightly as all the power died. Windu leaned down on the table and back over the bridge.
“What’s going on?” he inquired as the activity on the bridge increased. The power returned as quickly as it went. All the various electronic devices powered back on after the momentary blackout. The holotable returned to life and the images all appeared again. A clone crewmember approached Mace. He wore a grey uniform of the Republic Navy; his rank was a badge on his chest. Mace glanced back at the holotable and noticed Kenobi was sans Skywalker. He turned back to the clone who quickly saluted him.
“General, we experienced a power surge. All systems are returning to normal now”, the clone informed. “We don’t know how many ships were affected or where it came from yet.” The tall jedi turned back to the table, knowing the clone was also showing up on the others similar holotables on their ships.
“My ships appear to be coming back online as well”, Mundi informed. His ships were with Mace’s ship on star side of the planet. Kenobi’s and Unduli’s ships were on the far side of the planet.
“We have one ship that appears to be drifting dead in space. There’s no contact from the ship,” Luminara reported. “We’re sending a rescue party to try and stabilize it.”
“We’re experiencing issues coming back online”, Kenobi added. “But we have essential systems working.”
“Do we have any idea where it came from?” asked Windu. “Apparently from the outer part of the system. Was it a Separatist weapon?” Anakin joined Obi-Wan again.
“It came from the orbit of Dulbris, the seventh planet”, Anakin informed. “It was a concentrated blast of some kind of energy. It appears Dantooine shielded Master Windu’s and Master’s Mundi’s ships.”
“Was Dulbris destroyed?” asked Luminara.
“No, Dulbris is on the other side of this systems star”, Anakin answered. “It doesn’t appear to be a weapon either. Just some kind of anomaly we’ve never seen before.”
“We still need to verify it wasn’t a weapon”, stated Windu.
“Obi-Wan and I can go and investigate”, Anakin came back quickly. Obi-Wan quickly turned to Anakin.
“Master, we’re the closest ship plus Luminara’s ships are kind of busy now. AND, we have to coordinates to the anomaly. Master Windu’s busy with mopping up.”
“And what about me, Anakin?” Ki-Adi jokingly asked.
“Uh… You’re on the other side of the planet”, was all Anakin could come up with. The Cerean nodded in agreement, with a big smile on his face.
“For once I agree with Skywalker, Kenobi, you are the best ones to investigate”, Windu spoke. Obi-Wan sighed in mild frustration at his former Padawan.
“I guess we’ll volunteer to check out the anomaly”, Obi-Wan stated.
With that Mace Windu closed out the Holo-meeting, the images faded off the display. Obi-Wan turned to Anakin and started walking. Anakin fell in step next to him. They walked toward to command part of the bridge.
“Anakin, I wish you would quit volunteering us for missions”, Obi-Wan stated with a little annoyance.
“Master, you knew they were gonna ask us to go anyway”, Anakin pleaded his case. “They always do. Plus, you know you want to see this unknown anomaly.”
“Anakin, you know very well this could be a Separatist trap.”
“And what do we do best?”
Obi-Wan didn’t respond.
“We bust Separatist traps.”
“Anakin, you’re gonna be the death of me”, Obi-Wan stated cutting off the conversation as they stopped next to Admiral Yularen and Anakin’s Padawan Ahsoka Tano. The admiral was a distinguished looked human male. He had chiseled features to his face and wore a sharply pressed Republic Naval uniform. Next to him stood a young female Torgruan. She had the typical features of her race, head tails with blue stripes over a cream colored skin. Since she was only an adolescent, her tails were still taking shape. The two turned towards the two Jedi.
“Generals”, the Admiral greeted the young Jedi in a deep almost baritone voice.
“Admiral, we need to plot a curse for the anomaly that caused the power surge”, Obi-Wan started. “It seems we have been volunteered to investigate it.” He shot a dubious look to Anakin who raised his hands in mock surrender.
“General, we don’t know if that was a weapon left behind by the Separatists and there are more out there”, the Admiral responded.
“That’s what I was thinking as well, but it seems Skywalker feels differently”, responded Obi-Wan.
“I still don’t think it was a Separatist weapon”, Anakin defended. “If it was why it was left way out there?”
“My Master has a point”, young Ahsoka added. Both Kenobi and the Admiral thought the point out. Anakin gave his Padawan and supportive smile which she returned.
“She has a point”, Anakin spoke. The two senior officers regarded him. Kenobi turned to the Admiral.
“As much as I hate to admit it, he’s right”, Kenobi said. “Let’s get under way and see what caused that disruption.” The Admiral turned and started issuing orders. Kenobi turned towards Anakin.
“I hope you’re right on this one”, he said tersely to Anakin and walked away. Ahsoka stepped to her Master.
“Thanks, Snips”, he spoke to her.
“Anytime, Sky Guy”, she responded. “But don’t thank me yet. It made sense to me, but nothing the Seps do anymore make sense.”
“I couldn’t agree more.”
* * *
The bridge of the Argo was dark, not lighting from anything helped light the darkness. The only light came in dimly from a distant star. The entire was passed out at their stations where they were when the warp took place. One by one they started to stir. Sandor was one of the first to wake; his breath caused little puffs of steam as he breathed. He realized it was cold and the temperature was dropping. He groggily realized that life support was off line. This realization quickly shook off his grogginess. He tried in vain to get some sort of power going through the ship. Nothing responded to his attempts.
He reached under his station and pulled out a flash light. Standing up he started shining the light throughout the bridge. The other bridge crew was starting to come around. As usual, Eager was the first to make comment.
“Wow, that wasn’t a normal warp”, he said with his Southern drawl. “What happened?”
“I have no clue, Eager, but we’re without power and life support”, Sandor answered him.
“WHAT?!?” Eager asked now fully awake.
“Why is it so cold and dark in here?” asked Jason now coming too.
“Sandor, what’s going on?” asked Wildstar who was awake as well. Sandor was trying to wake the Chief Engineer.
“We’ve lost all power and life support”, Sandor answered. He turned back to the Chief who was now coming too as well. “Chief, we need you to get to the Engine Room and get power back on.” As he said that, the lights came back on.
“Good, looks like someone in the engine room is awake as well”, Mark Venture said. Sandor rushed back to his station. He ran some checks.
“Where are we?” someone asked.
“Wildstar we have a major problem”, the Chief Engineer spoke. Wildstar and Sandor came over to his station. “We’ve lost all Wave Motion energy.” A gasp came from Nova and few others.
“What do you mean we’ve lost it all?”
“All of our Wave Motion energy is gone. It’s all depleted.”
“So, all of our engines are off line?”
“We’re dead in space running on back up batteries.”
Gasps went up through the bridge at the announcement. Wildstar leaned against the Engineering station, head down in dejection. He then turned to look at Sandor.
“How long do we have on back up batteries?” he asked.
“About ninety-six hours”, Sandor answered. “But we can extend that if we shut down non-essential energy.” Wildstar thought about it for a moment.
“Do it”, he spoke. “Let’s get a location where we’re at and see if we can get contact Leader Desslok for some assistance.” Sandor nodded and went back over to his station, getting to work following the Captain’s orders. Wildstar stayed where he was at.
“Say that again, that can’t be right, check it again”, Mark Venture’s voice broke the silence. Everyone’s attention now turned to the ships pilot. “You did? Run it again, we need to know where we’re at.” Wildstar was now standing again facing Venture’s direction.
“Venture, what is it?” he asked.
“Astronavigation says they have no idea where we’re at. The star charts aren’t lining up and they can’t get a fix on anything in our data banks”, answered Venture. He paused as he listened to a response from Astronavigation came in. “They’ve confirmed it, we’re in uncharted space.” As the depth of the Argo’s situation sank in, Sandor put a call into IQ-9 to find out their exact location.
“Homer, send out a distress signal on all frequencies. Hopefully we’re somewhere where someone can hear us and lend a hand”, Wildstar instructed his radio operator. Homer got to setting up a distress signal that would repeat over and over.
The door to bridge opened and admitted the Argo’s genius robot, IQ-9. He rolled over to Sandor’s location.
“Sandor, I’ve computed our location and we’re over six trillion light years from Earth”, IQ-9 stated. The bridge crew instead of gasping or exclaiming, they remained eerily silent.
“IQ-9, are you sure?” asked Wildstar. He was feeling the same as everyone else was, this had to be impossible.
“I’ve checked it twenty times; the computations still come out the same. I am never wrong, I am a genius robot”, IQ-9s response was a little terse.
“Wildstar, I think we might’ve tripped a worm hole of some sort”, Sandor informed.
“A worm hole?” asked Eager.
“Yes, worm hole”, Sandor confirmed. He entered some commands on his console and the overhead screen came to life. It had a display of a worm hole on it. “A worm hole is like tunnel through space. It can shorten the distance between two points. Instead of going through a mountain or under a body of water, it can cover light years in a matter in a very short amount of time. Our scientists have debated for centuries whether they existed or not. It looks like we found one.” While he explained this, the animation on the screen showed a tunnel from one point in space to another space and a dot going between the two. It repeated over and over until Sandor shut it off.
“So, how did we find this one?” asked Venture.
“I have no clue”, Sandor responded. “Worm holes were only scientific speculation and conjecture. No one has ever encountered one so no one has ever been able study one.”
“Did we get any data on this one?” inquired Wildstar. Sandor turned to his console and started to tap in commands. Before he could respond, IQ-9 responded for him.
“Our sensors went blank as soon as we warped, we did not get any data”, IQ-9 informed.
“Sandor, you and IQ-9 go over that data again, see if you can pull anything off it that can help us get home”, Wildstar ordered. Sandor nodded and got to work. Wildstar turned and faced his bridge crew.
“We’ve faced impossible odds before and come out on top. Impossible is not in the Star Force’s vocabulary…”
Anakin Skywalker approached his former Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi on the bridge of the Resolute. He was talking to a Clone Trooper who walked away before Anakin got to him. Obi-Wan turned to him, his mood had improved since they left Dantooine.
“Any word on our mysterious anomaly, Anakin?” he asked of his former Padawan.
“Actually, yes, it appears there is a ship at the location”, Anakin answered with a bit of smugness. “Which appears to be lifeless?”
“Anakin, did it occur to you this still could be a Separatist trap?” warily asked.
“Yes, but the ship doesn’t match up to anything we’ve seen from the Separatists”, Anakin answered.
“That doesn’t mean anything, how many times have they’ve come up with things we haven’t seen before?” Obi-Wan countered.
“I realize that, Master, but-“, Anakin started but was cut off by the Clone Communication officer interrupted.
“General, we’re getting a distress call”, the Clone informed the jedi.
“Where is it coming from?” inquired Obi-Wan turning to the Clone.
“The location of General Skywalker’s anomaly”, the Clone answered.
“See? What did I tell you?” Skywalker said turning to Kenobi. Kenobi looked at him skeptically and back to Clone officer.
“Let’s see the message”, the Senior Jedi ordered. “So much for being lifeless”, he added to Anakin.
“It’s audio only, sir”, the Clone informed. “Playing it now.” As he said he patched the message through the speakers.
“This is the Earth Defense Force Argo, we’ve lost our primary propulsion, energy systems, and life support is on backup power. We require assistance, anyone who can receive this message, please respond.” The message repeated itself.
“It repeats itself, sir”, the Clone informed, cutting off the message.
“Thank you, Trooper”, Kenobi answered. He turned to Anakin. He stood with his arms crossed looking at the other Jedi expectedly.
“Well?” asked the younger Jedi.
“Well what, Anakin?” responded the older Jedi.
“I was right about this”, Anakin said. Kenobi turned away from him and brought his right hand up to his breaded chin. He contemplated for a moment looking out the forward viewport as if he could see this mysterious Argo ship. He still wondered if this was genuine or a Separatist trap.
“Yes, you were right, Anakin”, he responded with resignation. “You were right. We need to report this to Master Windu.” Obi-Wan turned and walked towards the holotable. Anakin followed him over as well. Ahsoka joined them.
“What’s going on?” she asked as Obi-Wan typed in to contact Master Windu.
“It’s a ship called the Argo”, Anakin responded as Master Windu’s image appeared above the table.
“What do you have to report, Master Kenobi?” asked Master Windu.
“It appears our anomaly is a ship in distress”, Obi-Wan informed him. He then typed a few more commands and played the distress message for Master Windu.
“Hmmmm”, Windu responded. “Earth Defense Force, is that a planet?”
“I’ve never heard of it either”, answered Kenobi. Ahsoka was looking through a data pad and then turned to Obi-Wan and Master Windu.
“There’s no planet Earth in our navigation charts”, she informed them.
“Thank you, Padawan. I’ll contact the Temple and see if there’s any information in the library on this planet”, Windu spoke then ordered. “Go ahead and approach the ship cautiously and if they are friendly, go ahead and render any aid needed.”
“Ok, will do, and we’ll report any information we get, Kenobi out.” With that Windu’s image disappeared. Kenobi turned to the other Jedi.
Ok, you heard Master Windu, let’s contact this Argo”, Obi-Wan ordered. Anakin and Ahsoka both nodded and turned to start issuing instructions. Anakin stopped to turn back towards to Obi-Wan.
“Do you still think it’s a Separatist trap?” he asked.
“I hope not, Anakin”, Kenobi answered.
To Be Continued….