Chapter 2 - Dark Machinations

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Trenlak’s underground store room was the perfect spot for a private chat. He looked ghostly as he walked into the room. He began with a long anticipated introduction.

"I am Kobold. I've been traveling for awhile trying to repair my failing robotic parts."

Trenlak interrupted, "Forgive me for saying but you look like you been through a war."

Kobold put on a sad face, "Yes, the Sith do not have many allies. I never started or provoked a confrontation. People naturally hate the Sith. My eye was removed as punishment for trespassing at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. The guards thought it was funny. I was just trying to get a glimpse of the one they call Yoda."
"The Jedi's allowed this?" , Renin asked.

"They did obviously if they let those war hogs guard their Temple. Jedi make the rules."

Trenlak scuffed and then waved his hand in disapproval.

"I've never heard anything like that. The Jedi are the caretakers of the Peace” said Trenlak.

Kobold stood up and his voice got loud as he said, "Yes, yes, so you have heard that saying. Did you know that they would do anything for peace? Even genocide."

Kobold started walking around Trenlak in circles. He continued, " You can look it up. The history of the Jedi and Sith are still in some books. If you look hard you'll find out that the Jedi are responsible for the extinction of the Sith. Does that sound like men of peace? Their only provocation was that our beliefs are different."
Renin was showing a look of shock as Kobold gazed into his eyes with the startling information about the galaxies beloved Jedi. Kobold continued " They killed the Sith for being different. When was the last time you received support or help from a Jedi?"

Kobold gazed over at Trenlak who has his head down.

Renin put up his hand to politely ask a question, "I saw a Jedi once but he kept to himself. A Dug was attacking a woman and the Jedi just kept walking. I always asked my self why they would do that."

Kobold replied, "The answer is simple. That Jedi was preoccupied with a mission or better yet he was following his code of neutrality. They hide behind words and people think they are honorable. Not one of them.."

Kobold paused and stared into a dark corner. His eyes widened and filled with tears as he continued "..but there is one I have heard is very honorable and unarguably the best Jedi of this generation. It is Yoda. He is honorable." 

Kobold wiped the tears falling down his face.

He looked to Renin and said "This is all true. I would not lie about that. But I still suspect Yoda was the one who ordered that my eye be plucked out. Anyway, you called them Caretakers of the Peace. They have peace through destruction. They kill what they see as wrong."

Trenlak asked, "What's so good about the Sith? I only heard tales of them killing children and raping planets for resources."

Kobold rubbed his bearded chin and replied "Yes we have been guilty of murder and using a planet’s resources but we do things for the greater good. We have killed Jedi just like Jedi have killed Sith. Also, Sith have waged wars to protect civilizations. We mine planets for resources to find better fuel reserves and to benefit the galaxy through expansion and technology. The Jedi choose to keep their experiments and discoveries a secret. They meditate in that temple keeping all of their ideas to themselves. The galaxy is in a stagnant state with the Jedi. The Sith have designed whole cities and even star cruisers. The Jedi make lightsabers and then they meditate. "

Kobold stepped closer to Renin who was staring at Kobold with admiration.

Kobold continued "That is why I am here. We are looking for new ways to make efficient droids and powerful star ships. I can offer you training in the mystics arts and use of the Force. You can be a very powerful Sith if you so choose. All I ask is that you share your knowledge of mechanics and intelligent devices."

Trenlak forced out a loud laugh while he said "And now you have shown your hand. All the cards are on the table. You are bargaining your training for the knowledge this kid possess to build smart tin cans."

Renin rolled his eyes up into his head, "Their called droids Trenlak, droids."

Kobold chimed in, "I've heard great things about your skills in building intelligent hardware. I had no idea you were experimenting with droids. How interesting?"

Renin had found his moment for his grand speech. He took a breathe and said "I had a vision of armies of droids and droids fighting people. These droids were battle perceptive and they had their own independent intelligence core. My goal is to run tests with Astromech droids since they are virtually harmless but they have the capacity for galactic charts and even storing the data of entire cultures. Trenlak has a few scrap parts lying around here. I was going to build one to help navigate my ship."

Trenlak frowned. "Sure. Like you really have your own ship."

"I do have a ship, well it’s not ready, but..."
Kobold has a smile on his face. "Why not build your droid on the Sith home world? You can incorporate it into your training. We can study the history of the Sith and at the same time help rebuild it through new technology."

Renin extended his hand and said, "I accept your offer Kobold."

Renin then turned to Trenlak and said, "Are you ok with this arrangement?"

Trenlak grabbed Renin by the shoulders and looked him in the eyes, "You have been waiting for something like this your whole life. You have to go. Especially if you have delusions of owning a ship. You need to get out of this waste and void." Renin has a perplexed look on his face, "I do have ship...wait are you letting me go?" The two cousins hugged and said there goodbyes. Trenlak asked Kobold when he would see his cousin again.

Kobold replied, "In the fullness of life your next meeting will be eternal."

Trenlak crossed his arms and said, "I hope that means we will."

Later that day…

Renin found Kobold’s ship at the other end of the swamp hidden behind some over grown willow trees. He dragged his burlap sack up the plank of the star freighter. It was a ship design Renin was unfamiliar with but the size implied it was a freighter. It had dark burns on the side indicating this bird had been under fire. The belly of the freighter was long and sleek. It was an off white color with silver outlines running the length of the ship. It had the look of a fighter but the size made it a freighter.

When Renin touched the hull to steady himself while walking up the plank he noticed that it didn't feel like metal. It was moist and slick. The ship seemed to give off the presence of consciousness.  Renin didn't dwell on the odd feeling the ship gave him and continued up the ramp. Kobold was waiting at the top blocking the entrance.

"Permission to come aboard captain?” Renin asked.

Kobold had his arms behind his back. He appeared much taller then Renin since Renin was still standing down plank. Kobold gazed out over the horizon into the sunrise of Naboo not once acknowledging that Renin was even there.

Kobold looked down and said, "You may come aboard if you first tell me what you have in that sack."

Renin dropped the sack on the plank with a loud metallic clanking sound. He opened it, reached in and pulled out a shiny silver dome with red trim lines. "I found this in my cousins store room. It looked like someone was building an Astromech droid and stopped at the dome."

He pulled it out further and a long steel spine was revealed. At the end of the spine hung a large cylinder.

"I think that's the brain. I was going to replace it with a larger capacity model as soon as I identified all the access control and memory leads." Kobold examined the parts and asked in a very condescending voice, "Is that all you are taking aboard?" Renin quickly replied, "Yes. Well these parts and my tool belt. I don't have any other possessions. I use all my weekly credits on tools and parts."

"Good, good. An apprentice should have no belongings and ties to the outside world. The droid parts will be an exception since you will be teaching me with them."
Kobold turned and walked into the ship. Renin followed in behind him keeping a proper distance. They walked together through the cargo hold. Kobold waved his hand in the air as if he was trying to swat a Corellian flea. The plank retracted and the port door closed behind Renin. Kobold was apparently a master of the Force.

Renin stayed behind Kobold as they toured the cargo bay. There was an unusual assortment of devices sprawled out over the cargo bay floor. The left wall had a long work bench with what looked like ancient rusty tools. Renin saw a collection of nasty looking blaster rifles with eyeballs encrusted to the scopes. The eyes looked dead with a cold stare transfixed into darkness. Kobold walked past these unusual rifles without a word. Renin was sure the eyes were dead. They had green mucous around the sides and were oozing bubbles of puss. The pupil's were open but frozen in a dead stare. Renin tried to run his hand passed the dilated pupils of the eyes. Nothing happened. The eyes did not respond to Renin's hand movement. Kobold looked back but ignored Renin's little experiment and continued walking.

He stopped at what looked like a long staff. It had the appearance of a lightsaber but the blade was replaced with a crystal staff.

Kobold said "This was going to be my chosen lightsaber when I had finished my Sith training. It was destroyed by an old Sith magician named Carmak. He warned me about constructing a white lightsaber. I did not listen. Carmak knew the danger so he cast a spell on the saber transfiguring its blade of white light into crystal. The lightsaber became useless. No new knowledge of the force has been able to bring it back. Carmak described the power in the white saber as being variable. Its power increased as the wielders’ power increased. The more powerful the user, the more powerful the blade. The blade would keep increasing with every usage. I had the handle buzzing with so much power it could be heard two sand dunes away when I powered it up. But it was too unstable for me after awhile. Well so Carmak thought. He crystallized it to teach me a lesson."

Renin,  the young apprentice, paid well attention. Kobold seemed sad after telling that story but continued to walk through the cargo bay.

Another small work bench was in the middle of the bay. There was a robotic hand being held by two iron rings. Kobold stopped at the hand and stared at it for a moment.

He then continued walking and said, "We can discuss that later."

Renin looked at the hand and was about to touch it when

Kobold yelled, "Don't touch it. Whatever you do, don't touch anything without asking me first."

Kobold stopped and turned to Renin, "Also when we get to the Sith home world you need to…do whatever I say...when I say...or you might suffer greatly. There are many things around here that could kill you with a glance. Even though your death might give me some greatly needed test results, I am not finished with you yet my young apprentice."

Kobold gave a small laugh after saying this so as not to alarm his new student.

They both walked out of the cargo bay and into what looked like the bridge. Kobold motioned for Renin to leave his things in a bunk next to the navigation station. Kobold sat down at what looked like the captains chair. He waved his hand in the air and all of the console lights flashed and whistled. The ship was coming to life.

Kobold turned the captain chair to Renin and said in a deep ominous voice, "Welcome to the Dawn's Chariot. This is my ship. You've probably never seen a class of ship like this one." Renin hadn't seen anything like this and was not worried about showing his ignorance.

"No, this design is unfamiliar to me." Renin felt comfortable around Kobold. He didn't give the impression that he had any evil intentions. 

Kobold gave a chuckle and said, "Yes, this is an Amora. Ever hear of one of these?"

The excitement showed in Renin's face. He almost fell out of his seat.

Renin replied, "Is this really one of the ancient living ships?"

Kobold shook his head.

"I read that there were only three known that were alive today. Supposedly their race is on the verge of extinction."

Kobold winked at Renin and said, "I found this one about 10 cycles ago. I trapped it on a water planet and I've been domesticating it ever since. It has tried to kill me a few times you know. That's why I said be careful around here. I plan to take this beast apart and find out how she ticks."

With that said Kobold returned to facing the view port and his chair slid forward to the control station.

Renin was now sad. He hadn't even gotten to know the ship. The idea of seeing it torn apart made him angry. Renin was a builder and an engineer himself. The idea of taking something apart and seeing what's inside always intrigued him. But this ship was alive. It had its own thoughts. It had...a soul.

Kobold pulled back a lever and punched a yellow button. The ship rose from the landing platform and thrustered out of Naboo space.
Within minutes Kobold was moving a lever into position for hyperspace. Renin grew curious and tried to sneak a peek at the navigation coordinates Kobold was inputting. Kobold waved his hand using the Force and knocked Renin out of eyes view of the panel. Renin stood up from the cold deck of the bridge rubbing his butt where he landed.

Kobold leaned towards Renin, "You have not been inducted into the Sith yet. No one is allowed to know the location of our home world."

Renin lowered his head in shame.

"You will be a fine pupil and I will do my best to give you the best Sith training possible. Keep a positive outlook young Diggs."

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