Korriban drifted like a fungus ridden orange beneath the space station where Jedi Robinson had served these last nine months. She had been assigned here with her master, Jedi Synthia Weires, to continue her training away from the temple on Coruscant while offering the republic support in their vigil over the remote planet—and she was ready to go home. She missed the Jedi temple, missed the city life of Coruscant that hummed like a lightsaber with its nightlife and culture, and she yearned for adventure, needed the rush of combat, and this kind of trivial duty was simply beneath her ambitions.
"Why must Master Weires insist on staying here" she said aloud as she pounded a fist against the transparisteel viewport, "I'm tired of sitting here doing nothing as this planet silently mocks me! Oh what I'd give to venture down to its rocky surface, explore its ruined academy, and search out someone or something to swing my lightsaber at! But no, you've got to learn patience Jody," she mumbled in a mocking tone of her master, "you've got to calm yourself Jody, you can't worry about your robes being fashionable Jody, oh don't be angry Jody, anger is the dark side Jody, blah blah blah! I'm sick of it!" She sighed angrily and closed her eyes, "this planet's getting to me," she mused as her thoughts twisted and shifted like Korriban's dust storms. It had only been nine months but already it felt like an eternity as the allure of the ancient Sith homeworld radiated like heat from a sun. Every waking hour here was a struggle to maintain her harmony with the force and even in sleep her dreams were haunted by the whisperings of the ancient spirits that still walked the planet's surface below.
Jody was so lost in thought that the casual approach of Jedi Weires went unnoticed until the kind and benevolent touch of her master broke her from her reverie. Jody gasped, spun on the ball of her foot and shifting her weight violently, elbowed away the unknown threat as her hand dropped to the hilt of her lightsaber. Her brown eyes blinked rapidly as she assessed the situation and then relaxed noticeably at the site of her master and friend.
"Forgive me Jody," Jedi Weires said with a laugh, "I didn't mean to startle you."
"I'm sorry master—I didn't sense you in the force."
"No need to apologize my Padawan, the planet is unnerving, but your reaction concerns me. You just haven't been yourself these days. You've become withdrawn, jumpy, and your force aura radiates with longing and frustration."
"Forgive me master. The whispers here grow louder and my frustrations are causing me to become unhinged."
"Frustrations?" Jedi Weires asked with uncertainty.
"Yes master, frustrations. I need action, I need adventure! I'm a Jedi and Jedi don't sit around guarding desolate worlds in forgotten systems while innocent people are suffering in the galaxy—I just wasn't made for this trivial type of duty."
"Oh Jody", Synthia replied with a disheartened shake of her head, "That's why you're here. I'm worried about you—you're skilled, brave, beautiful, and intelligent, but you fail to grasp many of the basics and you're moving on in years. You're eligible to become a Jedi Knight but until I give my consent you'll never be allowed to take your trials."
Synthia held up her hand in silence and continued, "You struggle with authority, you worry about fashion, and I fear the ambition in your heart will lead you astray. A Jedi's life is one of service and sacrifice—not action or adventure. You must learn patience Jody, and humility, compassion, and balance. You must learn to defend the weak, succor those in need, and overcome the darkness within your heart or I fear it will consume you."
"Yes master, but I…" Jody started but was interrupted by the beeping of Master Weires's datapad.
"It seems Master Kao Cen Darach has summoned us to discuss the recent activity planet side" Synthia stated, "and he seems slightly concerned. Rumor has it that a smuggling vessel was recently captured departing Korriban with a cargo hold full of Sith artifacts."
"But why would anyone want Sith artifacts," Jody questioned, "they're nothing more than dusty statues and pointless tomes."
"I guess we'll find out, "Synthia said with a shrug, "but let's hurry and gather with the other Jedi to see what our Zabrak friend has to say."
The two Jedi began walking down the corridor passing both republic soldiers and fellow Jedi alike as they navigated their way towards the command center. They had just passed a group of jovial soldiers gambling rowdily with the infamous smuggler Kevin Vanord when they noticed another Jedi flirting openly with an attractive Twi'lik serving girl.
"Jedi McGee!" Jody screamed in rage causing more than a few heads to turn, "What in the name of Korriban's seven moons do you think you're doing!"
"Why hello Jody," the man responded with a grin both entertained and amused, "Maybe a Jedi's forbidden to love…but that doesn't mean a man can't dream."
"That's bold of you to say!" Jody retorted, obviously unimpressed.
"Come now Jody," Jedi McGee laughed, "It's not every day a Padawan has the nerve to call out a full-fledged Knight. I'm impressed. If your skills in combat can compare with your nerve in conversation—you'd be a formidable foe indeed." He winked, smirked a smile that threatened to break into full-scale laughter, and ran a hand through his impeccably cropped hair. "I like you, but don't go pushing your luck."
"Maxwell," Synthia chimed in, calling the roguish Jedi by name, "I'm sure you got the same message as the rest of us. Master Darach doesn't take kindly to tardiness and Padawan Robinson does have a point."
"Yes Master Weires," he said with a sigh, and then slumping his shoulders in a gesture both comical and exaggerated, replied to the Twi'lik, "We'll have to continue this later."
The three Jedi continued towards the command center, Jedi Weires standing between Maxwell and Jody like a protective parent, as the two younger Jedi tried to ignore each other as obviously as possible. They had almost arrived at command when emergency siren's suddenly blared to life and the station rocked violently from an unknown impact. Jody's eyes grew wide with shock as she frantically brushed back the auburn hair that had spilled over her face.
"Master! What was that?" she called out as she tried to calm herself with the force.
"Sith" Maxwell muttered.
"That's not possible Maxwell," Jody retorted angrily, "The Sith are dead—their false religion has been wiped from the galaxy forever."
Jedi McGee just stared at her, lost in thought, and without a word spun on his heels and ran in the opposite direction, lightsaber in hand.
"Master! What's happening?"
"Stay calm Jody," Synthia commanded, and then closing her eyes, began assessing the situation through the force while pouring out emotions of peace and calm to those around her. "Sith," she confirmed, "Hundreds of them. I feel darkness in great abundance and both Master Darach and Satele Shan are in danger. The Sith have returned to take back their planet—Korriban has called and the Sith have returned in answer."
"They want Korriban, but why?" Jody asked as a feeling of jealousy crept into her heart.
"It's their home," Synthia replied casually.
"No it's not, it's ours," Jody yelled, "we won it from Sith and now it belongs to us!" She could feel dark side energy gathering around her and was tired of pushing it away. She had worked hard and nine months was a long time for someone as skilled and powerful as she was to sit ideally by without reward. She deserved Korriban along with its powers and secrets.
"It was never ours and never will be! Listen to yourself! Perhaps bringing you here was a mistake young apprentice. Your emotions are clouded with feelings of selfishness and greed."
"I will not forsake Korriban!" Jody screamed, "The planet belongs to us! I sat here in vigil! I've defended it! Korriban is mine! I refuse to leave it!"
"Come Jody," Synthia said with sigh, "it's time you left this darkness behind."
"No master," Jody replied as her purple lightsaber snap-hissed to life, "it's time I embraced it."
Jody sprung with insanity in her step and lunged into a dizzying assault as Master Weires barely managed to draw her own lightsaber in time to parry the blows. Jody attacked, then feinted, as Synthia managed to dodge a three thrust attack aimed at her head, chest, and belly before back flipping away—her own blade a green mesmerism of fury. Synthia countered, parried, deflected, and absorbed the oncoming attacks until her steps fell into harmony with the battle drum of her heart as she danced the steps of combat she had a hundred times before. Master Weires's mind was sharp, focused, and alive in the combat, but her calm was broken by the pains of betrayal as she weaved left, spun right, and was driven into a corner as Jody's furious attacks fell unrelenting against her defenses. She was running out of options. Jody was completely unbridled, raging with the power of the dark side, and she was bending the force to her will like a master taming a pet. Fear gripped at Synthia's heart as an attack sheered beneath the underarm of her robes before her forearm exploded with pain as Jody's lightsaber glanced against her flesh. She swung wildly, blocked another thrust, and then the air rushed out of her as Jody's knee came crashing into her chest. Synthia fell to ground in a sprawl, her lightsaber clanking across the floor. "Jody, stop!" she pleaded with a sob, "I'm your friend, your master, what do you think you're doing?!"
"I'm the master now—with or without your consent" she sneered as her blade arched down and Synthia's world disappeared into darkness.
* * *
The cold air wailed like the spirits of the damned as it careened through the ancient canyons as twisting tendrils of dust writhed and swirled in welcome. She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply, opening herself completely to the darkness that surrounded her and felt it seep into the very core of her being. Korriban had called and she had answered—this is where she belonged—Jody was finally home.