Gray Jedi Ch. 5

Gray Jedi Ch. 5

“Anything yet?”

“No, nothing,” replied Serra.

The two Jedi crept through the murky cave, looking for potential danger around every corner. Still, both suspected that any threats they would encounter would not be of the physical variety, but of the spiritual. Remaining calm and focused was a constant struggle; as Yoda had said, the cave was strong with the Dark Side of the Force. Through it all, they continued to press onward.

“I’m sensing something up ahead,” Malik said.

“Yeah, I feel it too. It’s something… evil.”

They clasped hands as they rounded the bend, finally arriving in a circular cul-de-sac. It appeared at first to be completely empty, but the growing presence of evil was unmistakable. As they arrived at the center of the room, everything turned pitch black around them. In the darkness, Malik could no longer feel Serra’s hand within his.

“Serra? Serra! Where are you?!”

But he heard no reply…


“Malik?” Serra said weakly.

To her horror, her true love lay on the floor of the Jedi Temple, his body beaten and bruised, a hole seared through his chest. Around him were the bodies of no less than a dozen younglings, and ahead were the remains of her master, Cin Drallig. As Serra began to weep at the devastation around her, the sound of a lightsaber igniting behind her caught her attention. Relying on her warrior reflexes, she spun to face the threat.

“Skywalker,” Serra seethed.

The former Jedi approached, his hood obscuring his face, though Serra could tell it was twisted into an expression of sick pleasure. He was enjoying this, both seeing the destruction he had caused and the effect it was having on Serra. As she reached for her lightsabers, Serra realized all of a sudden that she was unarmed. She had no weapon to face Skywalker with.

“Look at this,” Anakin whispered. “Look at what you’ve done.”

“Wha… what? What I’ve done?”

“This is your fault, Serra.”


Anakin lunged, his blue blade whirling around him. Drawing on the Force, Serra executed several athletic evasions, cartwheeling backwards to put some distance between herself and Anakin. She attempted to use the many pillars around the room as cover, but this only enraged Anakin further, and he began cutting them down, even throwing his saber into them every so often.

“You were too weak to stop me! You were too weak to protect them! YOU!”

“No… it can’t be…” Serra whimpered.

“And now look at what you’re reduced to: running and hiding. Pathetic! Did you EVER think you would be able to live up to your master’s expectations! You are a DISGRACE to everything Cin Drallig ever taught you!”

At that moment, Serra attempted to wrest control of the situation from him, leaping out from behind a pillar and attempting a chokehold on Anakin from behind. He was ready for her, swinging his saber wildly and forcing her to disengage. Anakin turned to face her, his eyes burning with rage.

“It’s all… your… FAULT!”

As he screamed at her, bolts of lightning shot from Skywalker’s hand, striking Serra and knocking her to the ground with a thud. She writhed in pain as he approached, taunting her as he towered over her crumpled form.

“Pathetic… a sorry excuse for a Jedi.”


Malik stepped through the doors of the Council Chambers and was presented with one of the direst situations he had ever encountered. A group of younglings stood in the corner, huddled around each other in fear. Approaching them was a dark hooded figure, appearing as a beast on the hunt. Hearing him enter, the figure stopped and turned, revealing the face of Emperor Palpatine.

“Malik Ran… I’ll be with you in a moment,” he croaked before returning his gaze to the children.

“I don’t think so,” Malik replied, stepping forward.

“Heheheh… and how precisely do you plan to stop me? You are without a weapon, boy.”

Malik smirked. “I’m never without a weapon. I have the Force.”

Just as Palpatine was about to attack, Malik reached out with his mind and telekinetically threw him backwards. Palpatine landed with a thud in Master Yoda’s chair, and he took a moment to compose himself before rising to his feet.

“Brave of you, boy… but foolish.”

“You will do these young ones no harm.”

Malik leapt into the air straight at Palpatine, attempting to land a Force-fueled punch to his face. The Sith Lord was too quick, though, and evaded with relative ease. He charged the young Jedi and attempted to strangle him, but Malik was ready, stunning Palpatine with a pair of quick jabs to his abdomen. The pair now engaged in their bout of fisticuffs, they each drew on as much of the Force as they were able to, trading blows with incredible speed and strength. But soon Palpatine gained the upper hand, taking advantage of Malik losing his footing for a brief moment. Before he knew what was happening, Malik was flung to the other side of the room and pinned under several of the Council’s chairs.

“Now then, as I said… I’ll be with you in a moment,” Palpatine said with an evil laugh.

Malik began to realize what Palpatine intended: he wanted to make the Jedi watch helplessly as he murdered the younglings. He approached the group and turned his dark powers on the children, beginning to choke the life out of them with the Force. Malik did everything he could to try and counteract Palpatine’s actions, but to no avail. Seeing no other alternative, Malik decided he had to use the power he swore he’d only use for healing.

“Palpatine! Take this!”

Thrusting his one free hand at the Sith Lord, Malik unleashed a torrent of lightning towards his enemy. Palpatine had no clue what hit him, collapsing at once into a crumpled heap on the floor. The younglings now released, two of them rushed to Malik’s aid, levitating the chairs off of him. All the while, Malik kept up his assault on Palpatine. Though he felt the strong desire to give him a lethal dose of electricity, the Jedi somehow managed to restrain himself. Instead, he kept the level of pain just at the threshold of subduing the target without doing any permanent damage. He sauntered over to the fallen Sith, his pride welling up in him as he towered over Palpatine.

“You… have failed, boy. You are now… one of us…” Palpatine hissed.

“Wrong. I’ll never turn to the Dark Side. You are the one who has failed; failed to grasp the concept of Force Lightning. I have harnessed a force of nature and channeled it for protecting the innocent. You only use this power for death and pain.”

“You… still… use it…”

“Only when it is the last resort,” Malik interrupted. “A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack. I used the Force to defend these younglings from you. You cannot fool me.”

Sensing that enough of Palpatine’s strength had been drained to where he could be restrained, Malik ceased his use of Force Lightning. Palpatine heaved and gasped on the floor, rolling onto his side.

“Do it… finish me… I… will only… come back… stronger…”

“Perhaps… if you were more than an illusion,” Malik replied with a grin.



“Such a pathetic excuse for a Jedi,” Anakin sneered, at last releasing Serra from his Force Lightning. “All this… your fault.”

As painful as his words were, Serra tried to regain focus. She pulled on all her knowledge and experience, drew on the Force to illuminate the truth behind Anakin’s words. Finally, she realized how she could escape this pain.

“No… you are the one who is pathetic,” she gasped from the floor.


“You turned on Master Windu. You killed these younglings! YOU! NOT ME!”

Finding the strength to roll on to her side and face her attacker, Serra smiled at seeing his expression of rage.

“You were so weak, Anakin. You had it all. Talent. Respect. Friendship. Hell, you even had love. And you threw it all away… because of empty promises.”

“Shut up, shut up, SHUT UP!”

“I am not the disgrace… you are. You’re pitiful. Insecure. And…”

Anakin charged for her, preparing to run her through with his lightsaber.

“…I feel sorry for you,” Serra finally whispered.

Just as he was about to finish her, Skywalker disappeared in a cloud of black smoke. In his place stood her beloved Malik, his face one of shock and surprise.

“Malik…” Serra managed before passing out from exhaustion.

“No… no, Serra!” Malik screamed, rushing to her side.

Serra’s breathing was heavy and labored. He had seen this before. This time, there was no desperation, no hesitation. This time, Malik knew what to do. Placing both his hands on her chest, he pressed down and delivered a weak electric shock into her body, springing her back awake once again.

“Serra, you’re alright!” Malik exclaimed, helping her sit up.

“Yeah… looks like you saved my ass again,” she retorted.

“And I always will.”

Sharing a moment of silent admiration, Malik and Serra locked eyes for what seemed like ages before falling into a long, loving kiss. But as they opened their eyes and parted, the couple found that they were now surrounded by the figures of Mace Windu, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Cin Drallig, and Anakin Skywalker before his fall. Each one of them had cross, disapproving expressions on their faces.

“You’re better than this,” said Obi-Wan.

“We must hold ourselves to a higher standard,” said Windu.

“I had such expectations for you, Serra,” said Drallig.

“You’re no better than me,” said Anakin.

On and on it went, the Jedi all taunting Malik and Serra, trying to instill doubt in their minds. At first, Serra was close to tears, tormented by their sharp disapproval. But soon, Malik’s reassuring hand on her shoulder began to calm her down. Gazing into his eyes, everything in the galaxy made sense to her.

“They’re wrong, Serra,” Malik whispered to her over the taunting. “We are better than Anakin; Yoda himself said so. Together, we are stronger in the Force than either of us could ever be on our own. Our whole is greater than the sum of our parts. That is why this is the will of the Force. I finally understand. Serra…”

The voices around them now rose to a crescendo, seeming to shout insult after insult at the pair. Still, they paid them no mind. Serra could only hear the voice of her beloved in those moments. She hung on every word from his lips.

“…Will you marry me?”

Serra’s eyes widened at hearing those words. Her heart pounded, her brow perspired. It was everything she had ever dreamed of, yet she could not find the words to reply. At last, with joyful tears streaming down her cheeks, she managed to speak her answer.


The voices began to quiet as Malik took Serra’s hand, kissing it sweetly.

“Serra Keto, I take you to be my wife. From this day on, I pledge myself to you, to the good we can do together, and to the will of the Force. Whether our days be numerous or few, I am yours to the end.”

Smiling through her tears, Serra cupped Malik’s face in her hands.

“Malik Ran, I take you to be my husband. I love you with all my heart because you are the kindest, bravest man I have ever known. I will be your ever devoted partner, a loving wife, and if the Force is willing, the mother of your children.”

Falling into each other’s arms, the couple sealed their union with a long, tender kiss. No amount of disapproval could ever affect them now; they knew this to be right. As they parted, they now saw that they were once again alone in the cave, not a sound to be heard. Arm-in-arm, they walked out of the cave together.


As they exited, Yoda stood on the nearby tree stump, their lightsabers still resting on the ground in front of him. He wore an enormous grin on his face, and his ears pointed skyward, indicating his joy at seeing them.

“Malik Ran, Serra Keto, step forward.”

The pair moved towards him slowly, their anticipation building. Both knew what was about to happen. Reaching Master Yoda, they each went down on one knee before him. He placed a hand on each of their heads, his eyes closing as he sunk into meditation. After several minutes, he spoke.

“Strong is the Force with you. A difficult path you have chosen, yet proven you have your capabilities to walk it without straying. And so, by the will of the Force, dub thee I do, Jedi Masters… and husband and wife.”

Both looked up in surprise at his last words.

“You saw that?” Malik asked.

“Of course. Impossible to miss, it was,” Yoda replied with a chuckle. “Master Keto, Master Ran, rise.” As they stood, he continued, “Pleased I am to no end at seeing your growth. Known for years I have that this day would come. The day that we no longer exist as master and student, but as equals.”

Serra choked back a tear as she smiled and replied, “In your mind we may be equals, but to us, you will always be our teacher, Master Yoda.”

“Now, celebrate we must! Come, saved the last of my lifeboat’s rations for a special occasion I have.”

“Master Yoda, we couldn’t eat your best remaining food. It would be… impolite,” Malik protested.

Laughing, Yoda merely replied, “Wriggle out of this one you will not, Master Malik. Come, we eat.”

Seeing they could not change his mind, the pair followed Yoda back to his makeshift home. They laughed and joked as he prepared the food, clearly in a great mood following their promotions. Of course, Serra had a powerful urge to pounce on her husband right then and there, but she managed to refrain. Soon, Yoda brought them each a plate of food.

“Sit. Eat. Much to be happy for we have.”

Taking his first bites, Malik replied, “Master, you never cease to amaze me. Even after everything that’s happened in the last few weeks, you still manage to keep your optimism.”

“Keeps me going it does.”

“That’s true, I suppose,” Serra said. “It’d be so easy to just give up…”

“Worry not, Master Serra. Good you can still do in your life. Besides, last forever nothing does, not even the Empire. One day, years from now, a new hope will rise to oppose it.”

Malik eyed Yoda for several seconds. “You’re plotting something, aren’t you?”

“Heheh, hide things from you I cannot. Indeed, a plan is in the works. But for you two, best not to know the details it is.”

“That makes sense, in the event we were captured and tortured for information. I mean we would never betray your secrets, but…”

“I’m sure Vader can be quite persuasive,” Serra said, finishing Malik’s thought.

“Yes. But still, stronger you are than you give yourselves credit for. After all, conquered your fears and doubts you have. The cave… the images it tested me with… horrible things I saw.”

“I can imagine. I had to face Anakin unarmed,” Serra replied. “He attacked me with Force Lightning, tormenting me. He enjoyed it.”

“Hmm… yet overcome this you did, yes?”

“I did. I… I told him the things he blamed me for were actually his fault. He was saying that I was too weak and allowed all the Jedi in the Temple to die. But then I felt something for Anakin that I never thought I’d feel: pity. He had it all, but threw it away on an empty promise. I feel sorry for him.”

“Well done, Serra. Compassion and mercy, powerful weapons against evil they are. Take away evil’s power they do, as you discovered.” Turning to Malik, he continued, “Faced your fears as well, did you?”

“I did. I encountered Palpatine in the Council chambers, attempting to murder a group of younglings. Tried to fight him off, but he beat me back and pinned me to the floor. I had no other choice but… but to…”

“Go on, Malik.”

Taking a deep breath, he said, “I had to use Force Lightning to stop him. I could have killed him, but… didn’t. After he tried to taunt me, he… turned into Serra.”

“We had been fighting each other the whole time,” Serra chimed in.

“I can’t believe… I used Force Lightning on my wife…” Malik continued, lowering his head in shame. “I was so tempted to kill him, and if I had-”

“But you didn’t,” Serra said with conviction. “You made the right choice, Malik. The fact that you ended up attacking me was not your fault.”

“I know, I guess… I’m terrified of what I’m capable of with my full power.”

“This fear, very common it is as a Jedi grows. Hold lives in our hands, we often do. Make good decisions we must. Malik, fear this power you should not. Trust yourself, for you have the ability to wield this power for the Light Side of the Force.”

“You really think that? I mean it sure doesn’t feel like a Light Side power, even if lightning itself is only a force of nature.”

“True, of the Light Side it is not. But when using this power, drawing on hate and anger are you?”

“No, of course not! I only used it because it was the only way to protect those children!”

“Precisely. Managed you have to use a power thought to be of the Dark Side without drawing on your inner darkness. A difficult path it is to walk, yet I now bear witness to you doing exactly that.”

Perhaps… our friends have the ability to walk the most difficult path of all.

“Ah, Master Qui-Gon. Of which path do you speak?”

The path of the Gray Jedi.

“Gray Jedi? I thought that was a derogatory term, an insult,” Serra replied.

To some, yes. Many in the Jedi Order used the term while failing to grasp its true meaning. In recent years, it refers to a Jedi that frequently disagrees with the Council, myself for instance. But in truth, a Gray Jedi is devoted to the will of the Force and keeping the balance of the universe in check. They neither serve the Light nor the Dark, for they realize that neither can ever be destroyed.

“So are you saying you actually were a Gray Jedi in life?” Malik asked.

I was not. Though I did study some of their teachings, I found some of their methods to be… unnecessary. In the past, Gray Jedi often took the position of the ends justifying the means. Those parts of their doctrine I rejected straight away, as I suspect you will also when you learn of them. Still, many of their principles are strong and quite applicable to our lives, particularly in these dark times. I think you would do good to at least learn of these things.

“Agree I do. A good thing knowledge is, especially in learning of those who are different from us. And with your maturity and connection to the Force, only wisdom can such knowledge lead to,” Yoda chimed in, smiling at the pair.

“How would we go about learning these things?” Serra inquired.

“On your ship, a backup of the Jedi Archives there is,” Yoda replied. “Unaffected it should be by the attack on the Jedi Temple.”

“So that’s why that ship was such a carefully guarded secret!” Malik realized.

“Indeed,” Yoda smiled. “In the event of the destruction of all our knowledge and texts, a copy we created in secret, its existence known only to the Jedi Council.”

“But Master, given the connotations of the term Gray Jedi in our lifetimes, why would their teachings be retained in the Archives? I would have thought the Council would not have wanted their methods to be public knowledge?” Serra asked.

“In a section of restricted files, this information is. Need the direct consent of the Council one would to access it. Of course, secret the backup on your ship has always been, and no such consent be required.” Standing, Yoda took the dishes from Serra and Malik, placing them aside for cleaning before moving toward his makeshift bed. “Apologies, but late it is, and old I am besides. Rest I need.”

“Of course, Master. We’ll leave you in peace,” Malik answered.

“Sleep well. See you tomorrow,” Serra agreed.


While Malik’s initial thoughts dwelled on the library of information he now knew to be contained on their ship, Serra had other ideas in mind. As soon as they had arrived back in their quarters, she lunged for her husband, tossing him onto the bed and mounting him at once.

“Sheesh, girl! You don’t waste-”

Before he could react further, Serra had already sealed her lips around his, their tongues engaged in a furious duel. Malik couldn’t believe the look in her eyes; she was ravenous, almost animalistic. While it did frighten him a bit, this served to turn him on for the most part. Soon, his hands began working their way down Serra’s back and towards her magnificent ass.

“What’s gotten into you, Serra?!” he asked as they parted, stifling his nervous laughs as best he could. “I’ve never seen you like this!”

“I’ve been hot for you all day,” she replied, her words dripping with desire. “After all, we need to consummate our marriage. It’s been all I could do not to jump your bones in front of Master Yoda. Now shut up and take your shirt off.”

Malik complied without a fuss, sitting up and slipping his tan shirt off and tossing it on the floor. Meanwhile, Serra got to work on his pants, unbuckling them and pulling on the zipper. Stunned by her frantic pace, Malik had barely kicked his boots off by the time she had yanked his pants off of him. With her husband now nude on the bed, Serra stood and peeled off her black tank top, exposing her tantalizing breasts to him. After wriggling out of her tight leather pants, she pounced on him once more and attacked his lips with hers.

After a short yet heavy make out session, Serra could tell that she needed no further foreplay, her pussy juices already dripping onto Malik. As she pressed him against her entrance, she slid onto him with no resistance whatsoever, sliding down to his base in mere seconds. They had refrained from sexual activity for the last few days so as not to distract from their training, and Serra almost reached orgasm right then and there as a result. Placing her hands on Malik’s chest and locking eyes with him, she began riding his cock with everything she had.

Malik was in blissful agony. He loved this woman with all his heart, and the fact that she felt the same way only aroused him further. Combine that with her shorter haircut complementing her incredible body and their aforementioned abstinence, and he was already close to blowing his load. He knew he could suppress this with the Force, but refused on principle to use his training for such purposes. Thankfully, Serra sensed this and slowed her pace a small amount, allowing Malik to pull himself back from the brink. Still, the vigorous nature of this lovemaking session was quite fun for him, and he knew for Serra also. Getting an idea that would allow them to keep their pace up as well as enable more endurance, he wrapped his arms around Serra.

“Hold tight,” he said with a grin.


Serra yelped in surprise as Malik rolled them both over, landing her on her back. But rather than resume from this position, he first slipped out of her, eliciting one of her pitiful whimpers. He then stood at the foot of the bed and pulled Serra by the ankles towards him, impaling her on his cock as she reached the edge. She didn’t even have time to applaud his seamless transition before his pounding cock sent her screaming into a massive orgasm. Serra thrashed and squirmed, her pussy contracting all around Malik’s length, but he did not let up. From this vantage point, he was able to control the angle of his thrusts to allow for maximum speed while also keeping his own excitement in check.

For the next several minutes, Malik continued to pound his wife, giving her two more orgasms in the process. Serra was soon a moaning puddle beneath him, barely able to support the weight of her own legs, which she had to prop up on his shoulders as a result. After regaining her composure, she suddenly got a wild idea. Pulling Malik out of her, she slid back on the bed and rolled over onto her stomach, pushing her ass up into the air with her knees.

“Malik, do me from behind,” she pleaded.

Once again stunned at how animalistic Serra had become, he stood in silence for a moment to be sure he had heard right.

“Y-you sure?” he finally asked.

“Yes, baby. Please… I need you…”

Serra reached between her legs and began toying with her entrance, beckoning Malik to fill her up once more. Unable to deny her request, Malik knelt on the bed behind her and aligned his cock with her pussy, pushing forward and into her as she moaned in delight. He began his thrusts slowly, getting used to the increased stimulation of this new angle. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught sight of the dresser mirror to his right side, giving him a stunning visual of their amorous activities.

“Serra, look.”

Glancing up, her eyes widened at the sight. “Holy shit, that’s hot…”

Malik increased his pace to match their feverish tempo from before, watching Serra’s face in the mirror all the while. The look of sheer exuberance in her eyes was incredible. From this position, he was far more dominant than he was used to being, yet she loved every second of it and trusted him completely. The fact that he got an unobstructed view of her jiggling ass and heaving breasts only served to arouse him further. After only a minute or two, Malik was already approaching climax. But a nod from Serra told him that’s just what she wanted from him. Surrendering himself, Malik pumped his last into her, exploding into her pussy with a primal moan. He wasn’t sure if she reached orgasm from that action or not, but the huge grin on her face told him it didn’t matter. She had enjoyed every second of that.

Disengaging from him, Serra fell forward, hitting the pillow face first. When Malik joined her on his back, she rolled over to lay her head on his shoulder, kissing his neck and chest sweetly the whole time. As he returned her affections, stroking her hair with his fingers, she began to doze in and out of consciousness. Malik, on the other hand, was wide-awake, invigorated from their passionate and physical lovemaking. His curiosity could only be abated for so long, and he reached over to the nightstand, grabbing the handheld computer screen.

“Always the researcher,” Serra said with a giggle.

“Thought you were asleep,” Malik replied, kissing her forehead.

“Oh, in and out. You looking up the files Master Yoda mentioned?”

“Yep. Let’s see… here it is: Gray Jedi.” Reading the overview aloud, he continued, “There is no Dark Side, nor a Light Side. There is only the Force. I will do what I must to keep the balance. The balance is what keeps me together. There is no good without evil, but evil must not be allowed to flourish. There is passion, yet peace; serenity, yet emotion; chaos, yet order. I am the wielder of the flame, the protector of balance. I am the holder of the torch lighting the way. I am the keeper of the flame, soldier of balance. I am a guardian of balance. I am a Gray Jedi.”

“Wow… that was their creed?” Serra asked.

“Uh huh. It says here that this creed was the core belief system of a Gray Jedi. All their actions are out of this idea of balance. Though I don’t know if I agree with the assertion that there is no Dark Side or Light Side.”

“Yeah, I can see where that would rub the Council the wrong way. Still, you’ve experienced a bit of that, haven’t you?”

“True, when I used Force Lightning in the cave. Here’s another version of their creed,” Malik replied. “There is no light without the dark. Through passion, I gain focus. Through knowledge, I gain power. Through serenity, I gain strength. Through victory, I gain harmony. There is only the Force.”

“Interesting, combining the principles in the Jedi and Sith creeds. Not sure how I feel about that… what else does it say?”

“Here we are, early history. Much of this we know from our own history,” he said, clearing his throat. “The Gray Jedi had no official founder or Order of their own, but their origins can be traced back almost four thousand years. In those days, Jedi were decentralized for the most part, having no official academy and each master training their students as they saw fit. But when war erupted between the Republic and the Sith Empire of Exar Kun, the Jedi found that they were in constant danger as thinly spread as they were. Thus, the first Jedi High Council was established on Dantooine.

“As they sought to consolidate their members, the Council enacted new rules and restrictions, particularly on various uses of the Force that were deemed to be of the Dark side. For many Jedi, the final straw was the rule that they could not begin to train any student over the age of four and were prohibited from having families of their own. Once the war had been won, some Jedi, most notably war hero Jolee Bindo, abandoned this new Jedi Order altogether. This public declaration that they could no longer take orders from the Jedi High Council made them the first true Gray Jedi.

“Over the centuries, the Gray Jedi kept to themselves for the most part, but did manage to work with the Jedi Order in dire situations where the greater good necessitated their cooperation. In the Order, some Jedi viewed the Grays as misguided and a bit rash, yet still regarded them as allies. Others, such as Chief Librarian Restelly Quist, saw the Grays as dangerous mavericks that cared only for themselves, only becoming useful when they agreed to follow the orders of the Council without question. In more recent years, some Jedi were branded as Gray merely for disagreeing with the Council, even if they showed their continued loyalty to the Jedi Order.”

“Huh… I wonder if that’s what happened to Qui-Gon Jinn?” Serra mused.

“Well, let’s ask him,” Malik replied with a grin. “Master, were you in fact branded a Gray Jedi by your peers?”

I was by some, yes. I spent much of my life in disagreement with the Jedi Council, often disobeying their orders for what I knew to be the greater good. This, however, did not make me a Gray, merely fodder for being called as such.

“That’s true, I guess. By what we’ve read, you’d have to draw on both the Light and the Dark without succumbing to the Dark Side. From all accounts we’ve read on your life, you never came anywhere close to that,” Serra said.

Indeed. I fear that the feeling of superiority some Jedi got in branding others Gray Jedi is one of the reasons for the fall of the Order. As Yoda mentioned, our stubbornness and inflexibility on matters that challenged our preconceived notions were our undoing. For some Jedi, it was easier to call someone a Gray than it was to actually consider the value of the difference in opinion. Such differences are where the greatest growth and learning often come from.

“I agree. Even if we end up not agreeing with all the doctrines of the Gray Jedi, I think there is great value in what they have to say, particularly in these dark times,” Malik replied.

Hmm… in that case, you should travel to Atollon. There resides an individual there known as Bendu. He is not a Jedi, nor is he a Sith. He calls himself the center point of the Force, the middle way if you will. I do not know for how long he has been alive, but his wisdom is immeasurable. If you wish to adopt some of the practices of the Gray Jedi for yourselves, I think it would be good for you to speak with him. You will learn much of your inner balance, or lack thereof.

“Atollon… I’ll look it up in the morning. Thank you for everything,” Malik said, placing the screen back on the nightstand.

You are most certainly welcome, my friends. And do not forget: I am always with you, for I am one with the Force now. Do not hesitate to ask if you require my council.

Malik quietly nodded in understanding, seeing that Serra had fallen asleep on his chest. After switching off the light, he soon joined her in unconsciousness.


As the newlyweds made their preparations to leave the next morning, Yoda stopped by to see them off. Though he was sad to see them go, the old Jedi Master couldn’t have been happier at their growth over the previous week. He paced through the halls of the old Defender-class ship and reminisced over the many hours he had spent uploading files from the Jedi Archives to its memory banks.

“It’s almost time, Master,” Serra said from behind him.

“Yes,” he replied in a sad tone.

Seeing his emotion, Serra walked up to her old Master and knelt before him, wrapping him in a warm hug. “We’ll be back someday.”

“No, come back here you should not,” Yoda sighed. “If a frequent destination Dagobah becomes for you, easier for the Empire to find me it will be.”

“I… I understand,” she replied.

“We have to do what’s necessary,” agreed Malik, entering the hallway with them. “Master, I know we are not strong enough right now, but someday we will challenge Vader and the Emperor. We will be able to set right the galaxy.”

“Admire your conviction I do. Strive for this you should. But more important is to do good, and if possible, outlive the Empire.”

“I suppose that is the simplest form of victory in all this,” Malik said.

“Now, be on your way you must. Important things to accomplish you have,” Yoda said, bowing to Malik and Serra.

“We won’t disappoint you,” Serra answered.

“You two? Disappoint? Never!” Yoda shot back with a laugh. “One thing more. Considered have you what to name your ship?”

“You’re not the first person to ask, Master. And I actually had a thought on that just last night,” Malik replied. “Something Master Qui-Gon said to us last night. He was telling us of the being known as Bendu.”

“Yes, familiar with him I am. Wise I know him to be, but in quite a different way from the Jedi.”

“Qui-Gon said he was the center point of the Force, the middle way. That’s what struck me as the perfect name for our ship: the Middle Way.”

“Hmm… a worthy name it is.”

“I love it,” Serra agreed, kissing Malik on the cheek. “Guess it’s about that time.”

“Yeah.” Malik turned to Yoda. “Master, thank you… for everything.”

“My pleasure it was. Great things you two can accomplish.”

“We will be thinking of you, Master.”

“And I as well, Serra. May the Force be with you both.”

Yoda departed with a sad smile and the two Jedi powered up the ship for departure. Before long, they had left Dagobah behind them, heading towards their next destination.

“Ok, Atollon. Let’s see where it is…” Malik muttered as he studied the star chart.

“There! Wow, that’s quite a distance from here, almost across the whole galaxy.”

“Yeah, and we’ll have to plot our course with care. Look, almost every path takes us through occupied Imperial space.”

“Hmm… the most direct route would have us passing near Coruscant. I don’t think that would be the wisest course,” Serra agreed.

“Looks like we can take a route almost as direct around this way,” Malik surmised. “This way, the only major system we come close to is Mandalore. Still occupied by the Empire, but the siege has been ongoing there for months. They’d be too distracted to track us.”

“Sounds good.”

Malik programed the hyperspace coordinates, and soon the Jedi were speeding across the galaxy. A while later, they received a warning of a heavily occupied part of space ahead, necessitating their exit from hyperspace. As they dropped out of lightspeed, both knew exactly where they were.

“Shit… we’re right in the middle of the Mandalore system. And those are Imperial ships on the scanner; better power up the cloaking systems,” Serra said.

“On it.”

Now flying silently, the pair made their way with caution through the mess of Imperial warships. Along the way, Malik scanned various radio channels to see if he could pick up on any of their transmissions. Most were encoded, but a few came through unhindered. It seemed the Empire was on the hunt for a fugitive thought to be on the surface of Mandalore. The messages gave no indication about who the fugitive was, but did make it clear that whoever it was had turned on the Empire before fleeing. Finally past the fleet of ships, Malik was about to reenter hyperspace when he picked up a nearby distress signal.

“Let’s see what we’ve got,” he said to himself. “Huh… the signal is heavily encrypted, using the same frequency Senator Organa used. What do you think that means?”

“Not sure,” Serra replied. “I’ve got a lock on the signal. It appears to be a small escape pod of some kind. I say we check it out; could be a Jedi on the run.”


Serra piloted the ship towards the signal, soon spotting a tiny one-man escape pod approaching. They dropped their cloaking systems at the last second, drawing the escape pod into the cargo bay by way of their tractor beam. As they prepared to go investigate, a thought occurred to Malik.

“Serra… do you know who’s been stationed on Mandalore?”

“No, who?”

“Ahsoka Tano. I’d bet this is her we’ve picked up!”

“Really?! I thought she had left the Order?” Serra asked.

“Yes, but she still wanted to assist with the war effort. Started out with intelligence gathering, which led up to the Siege of Mandalore. But when Obi-Wan and Anakin were called back to rescue the Chancellor, she returned to active duty to command the battalion of clones. As far as I know, she’s been there ever since.”

“I hope it is her… she’s been through so much, I just want to know she’s alright…”

Malik grimaced at remembering Ahsoka’s expulsion and trial. He had come so close during that time to leaving the Order himself, but he decided to stay after a long talk with Serra and Cin Drallig. The fact that Obi-Wan had furiously defended Ahsoka in spite of the Council’s majority opinion gave him hope that the possibility of a better future still existed. Shaking his head, he pushed those painful memories from his mind as they entered the cargo bay, finding the escape pod sealed shut.

“Let’s see what we’ve got,” Malik said, reaching for the hatch release.

“I’m ready, just in case,” Serra replied, a hand on her lightsaber.

Malik nodded in agreement; no sense in being careless. They did not yet know if the occupant was indeed friend or enemy. He pulled the lever, and the pod hissed as it depressurized and opened. Malik peered inside, but the occupant was hidden by a shadow.

“Good lord, I can’t believe somebody found me!” came a gruff male voice.

Malik tensed up; he knew the distinctive voice coming from the pod, as he had been surrounded by that voice throughout the entire war. As the occupant stepped forward, Malik drew his lightsaber, Serra responding in kind.

“Clone trooper,” he seethed.

“We’ve gotta do something before he contacts the Empire!” Serra protested.

“Wait! I mean you no harm!” the clone replied, throwing his hands up. “My guns are on my hip; take them as you please.”

“What are you doing here, clone?” Malik demanded with more than a bit of hostility in his voice. The last clones he and Serra had seen had tried to kill them, and had already slain many of their friends. As he spoke, Serra used the Force to disarm him of his weapons.

“My name’s not clone, General Ran.”

“You know me then?”

“Know you?! You saved a dozen of my men from certain death on Geonosis!”

“No… CT-7567?!”

“That is my official designation. But as you well know, my friends call me Rex,” he replied with a grin.

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