STAR WARS: JEDI APPRENTICE #2:
THE DARK RIVAL

K-7, Core 8. Core 7. Core 6. Core 5. Narrow. Pressure. Trapped.

"Yes, Qui-Gon. I can do it. I will do it."

He knows it is wrong. He must stop it. But he can't fight this power. He sees the broken circle. The circle that brings the past to the future, yet does not meet. He must make the circle meet. He must...


Qui-Gon Jinn woke with a start. As always, he knew exactly where he was as soon as he awakened. Dreams never hung on him, clouding his mind.

Even a nightmare had only served to sharpen his senses. The room was dark, but he could make out the edges of the window in the darkness. Dawn was near. He could hear Obi-Wan Kenobi's quiet breathing on the sleep-couch next to him.

They were quartered in the guest chamber of the Bandomeer governor's official residence. He had come to the planet on a routine mission that had suddenly turned non-routine, all because of a single line written on a piece of paper.

The message had brought the nightmare. He'd had the same one for three nights running.

Qui-Gon's hand fell on his lightsaber, placed so that is was in easy reach in case of intruders. Within the blink of an eye, he would be standing, ready to fight.

But how could one fight a dream?

K-7, Core 5. What could the words and numbers mean? K-7 could be a charted but uninhabited planet, or a star system. But why did he have such a sensation of being trapped? Who had said, "I can do it"? And why did he rage against the words, why did he feel helpless despair as he heard them?

The only thing that was familiar to him was the image of the broken circle. It filled him with dread.

He thought it was in his past. All of it. Then, upon his arrival on Bandomeer, he was handed a note. It welcomed him to the planet, and it was signed Xanatos.

Jedi are taught to value dreams, but not to trust them. Dreams can confuse as well as illuminate. A Jedi should test a dream much as he tests unstable ground. Only when he's sure of his footing should he move on. Dreams can be random energy, nothing more. Some Jedi see things in dreams, and others do not.

Qui-Gon rarely had the gift and preferred not to dwell on dreams. He managed to push dreams away in the daylight. But at night, it was harder. If only he could ban his nightmares, and memories. Then they would not be able to haunt him so.

He had been all over the galaxy, from the Galactic Core to the Outer Rim Territories. He had seen many things that pained him, and many things he wished he could forget.

Now his worst pain, his worst regret, had caught up with him at last.