Shades of Gray

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Shades of Gray

by bloodsword 

After Order 66, the galaxy flipped upside down. Clone troopers turning on their Jedi commanders in the middle of battle, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine declaring himself emperor and revealed as a Sith Lord, and the order of the Galactic Republic devolving into the chaos of civil war.

Sabaat Juur sighed as he looked down at his hands, still bearing the scars of his short, but brutal imprisonment at the hands of clone troopers that had captured him and three other Jedi knights following Order 66's declaration, with instructions to hold them until somebody named Darth Vader came for them.

Sabat could feel his expression tighten. To learn that the Sith not only had reappeared after so many years, but had hidden in plain sight as well was almost too much for him to bear. How blind they had been, how arrogant and prideful to think that their strength had kept the Sith at bay this whole time!

Instead the acolytes of the Dark Side of the Force had corrupted them from within, twisting their faith and crippling their strength. So much so that, in one day and night of treachery and bloodshed across the galaxy, the Jedi Order was driven to the brink of oblivion, with only a handful of survivors scattered across the galaxy its sad remnant.

"You look deep in thought there, friend," a low, human male voice observed from just behind his left shoulder. Weary to the depths of his soul, Sabaat's hand didn't even twitch towards the lightsaber he had concealed inside his jacket. Any other day the battered zabrak would've chastised himself for his waning vigilance. Today, however, he merely sighed.

"To a depth never before experienced, neighbor," he replied in Galactic Basic, the same language the human had used, without looking up.

"Perhaps being so far from the familiar confines of Iridonia has troubled you," the human suggested, his tone friendly. "Or the fact that you're 200 parsecs deep in the Rishi Maze, on some backwater world far from civilization."

Sabaat shrugged.

"The lack of civilization has never bothered the Zabrak," he replied, finally turning enough to look at the human that had apparently taken an interest in him. "As for being deep in the Maze, I find it suits me."

To his weary eyes the human, cloaked in fairly concealing black was large for his species, though not so much so that a zabrak would feel threatened. However he found his expression tightening upon seeing the man's face nearly hidden behind some sort of black metal breathing apparatus.

"Perhaps you should be the one concerned with the lack of civilization," he said. "That thing on your face looks complicated."

"Oh, this?" The man lifted a gloved hand to tap the side of the respirator. "Compensates for a gas burn in my lungs." The hand dropped. "A handy piece of tech that's more robust than it looks. Lets me explore the galaxy."

"So you're an explorer then," Sabaat said, continuing the conversation even as a small voice inside his head began to mutter uneasily. Why was he suddenly pushing aside all caution and his training as a Jedi knight to talk unreservedly with this stranger? Was there more to this man than he could see?

As if sensing his reservations, the man made a gesture to the droid behind the bar.

"Another for my friend, here," he said when the droid swung its photosensors in his direction. "And the same for me."

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