A Common Enemy

"That depends on what your definition of 'trouble' is." Thrawn said. "I am merely looking to continue the work Lady Liden had started..." Thrawn's crimson eyes studied the way Jin protected Liden. The determination in his eyes. The curl of the man's lips. However whatever Thrawn was thinking at that moment would be a mystery to the immortal. Was he merely assessing them? Or was he putting that nugget of information away for a time when he could exploit it?

"The Phantoms..." Liden muttered as she put her hand on Jin's shoulder and looked to him with a slight reassurance. "You're planning to fight The Phantoms."

"They are coming no matter what The Republic or The Remnant like to think." Thrawn said. "And Lady Liden was indeed at the forefront of that particular campaign... before The Republic intervened."

"And ruined everything." Liden said with bitterness in her voice. "And I refuse to exploit Jin's research again..."

"Master Venneroe's research matters little to me. I am more interested in a more... arcane approach to this problem." Thrawn produced a datapad and slipped it through the slot normally used to provide prisoners their daily meals. Liden took it and studied it, frowning. "This is an ancient Jedi tome."

"From the Old Republic era, yes." Thrawn nodded. "Tell me do you recognize the creature pictured?"

Liden scanned the tome as her eyes lit up with surprise. "That's impossible."

"Not impossible, merely unheard of." Thrawn said.

"What is it?" Mar asked.

"This tome details an ancient war between The Jedi of The Old Republic and The Phantoms." Liden said. "And how they defeated them."

"And how is that?" Mar asked.

"Some sort of weapon that they used which seemed to trap the force entities which inhabit the suits of armor in some sort of nether-space... The text is too poorly maintained for proper details but apparently the Jedi decided to hide the weapon in a place called The Labyrinth."

"And my people have already found it." Thrawn said.

Liden looked to the Chiss and stared at him. "Where?"


Yavin IV

"Serenity, come to your senses!" Keran ordered. "This is a willful surrender in order to glean information. If you're that foolish to think we'd actually give ourselves over to The Imperial Remnant you need to go back to swinging a practice lightsaber around with the younglings." Keran stepped out of the shuttle and raised his furry hands in surrender.

Mira pat Serenity on the back. "You really need to start acting your age and like a proper jedi, Serenity. Is it a wonder Mar opted not to train you when you act like this?" She hoped that made the message sink in for Serenity. She too stepped out and dropped her blaster rifle at her feet as the stormtroopers surrounded them.

Soon they were led to the temple where an Imperial commander, a tall and lean woman with sharp features and black hair, assessed them and nodded.

"I am Commander Uthra." The officer said. "And you all just volunteered yourselves for the next expedition into The Labyrinth..."

Thrawn had the group released from their holding cell, but did not return their weapons to them, instead opting to guide them to the officer's lounge where a meal had been prepared. Upon sitting down, he offered them his proposal.

"This Labyrinth requires those connected to The Force in order to navigate it. Sadly, the few inquisitors we had on hand are now missing and have been for several months. I believe it requires a Jedi's touch... And given your current allegiance and knowledge of our enemy, I feel you all to be the best candidates to succeed."

Mar frowned. "We're not the best Jedi in the galaxy you know."

"I am aware... however I feel you, Master Venneroe, Ryze, and Lady Liden are the best choices." Thrawn said before sipping his glass of wine. "And if you go willingly, all the better."

Liden looked to Jin with a look that was a mix of concern and curiosity. "He may be right. That tome was convincing enough to me. And if it has the answer we need to stop The Phantoms... Jin..." She reached out and took his hand. "I think we should look into it..."

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