Story: Fallen Raven (chapter 2)

Authors: Curb

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Chapter 2

[Author's notes: The continuation of Raven's Story

As Robin was approaching the Council Tower, Starfire was beginning her first day as an Outrider.  She had to give up her knight robes and was given a more uniform bodysuit for the time being.  Jinx sighed as she looked at her in the mirror...
"We just have to get you shopping, something that will look better on you."
"I do not understand why I must dress like this?"
"For your time with us, you are an Outrider, you have to dress like us and go through what we do every day."
"I see...this will be a learning experience."
"That it will be."
Jinx smiled and looked around the room Starfire would be using.
"Okay, bathroom through there, bedroom we are in...there's a small living area and kitchen if you cook, not all of us can, the comm. unit is preset to call mine or Raven's if you need anything while home alone.  We'll head to the shrine first then to work."
"All shall be revealed..." Jinx said in a spooky voice and grinned.  Starfire blinked as the purple haired girl lead her out into the hall and down to the landing pad for the apartments was.  Starfire, for the first time, could actually appreciate the view and gasped softly.
"It is mostly lovely here...there is much greenery in many places."
"We like out nature to be part of our homes.  You'll find parks everywhere."
Jinx straddled a swoop bike and gestured for Starfire to get on back.
"Hold on."
Starfire put her arms around Jinx and rested against her back, unable to see the smile on Jinx's face...she was right, Jedi girls were snuggly.  She revved the engine and took off down the ramp, Starfire gasped out loud and hugged tighter, Jinx was very much enjoying the ride.  They followed ramps and roadways for about an hour and arrived at a park.  Jinx parked outside the gate and approached, bowing her head in respect before entering, Starfire felt it prudent and did the same.  Once inside the ornate gate, Starfire found herself in a veritable paradise, tall trees, lush grass, dense bushes.  The sound of small animals scurrying through the brush was the only sound, not even Jinx spoke till they arrived at the center of the shrine, where a large tome was set into the ground.  It was a large stone sarcophagus with an engraved lid showing the image of a man with a down turned saber in his hands.  Jinx smiled as she touched it lightly.
"This is the one who created the Outriders, years ago.  He came here from the Council, a man disillusioned with the Jedi order.  He was tired with their bureaucracy and rules and sought out a new life.  When he arrived, our world was in the grip of a crime syndicate, a big one.  We were fighting a losing war.  He chose to join us and his presence on the battlefield helped turn the tide.  It was then that he saw the first of us, untrained force users doing what we could to battle the enemy.  He helped us win, to drive out the syndicate and then turned and gathered all those who were special to him.  He chose to train them, not in the way of the Jedi but in another way, he chose to use ancient techniques, ancient styles and a code of honor we understood.  We soon became stronger and took to the streets and began to clean up our world, to bring more special ones into the fold.  It was then that he chose a name, ‘Outrider' and dubbed us with that name as we rode out into the stars to find all those the Council left behind."
"I did not know such a thing could happen...he chose to leave...chose to start a new life..."
"That he did...he molded the first into strong leaders and they in turn did the same for each group that followed.  There are more of us than all the Jedi combined."
"That is amazing...soo many left behind?"
"Yes...because of foolishness about age.  They want young they can mold into their mirror image, not someone who might differ in opinion."
"Who was he?"
"He asked to have his name lost to time...we all call him Father."
Starfire gently touched the tomb, almost fearful that it might crumble.  Jinx smiled and lead her to another monument.  It was a tall obelisk engraved with names.
"This is where the name of every Outrider who has fallen is recorded, so Father can guide them in the afterlife."
"There are many..."
"We have many enemies, syndicates, Sith, close minded individuals, the Jedi are counted as well, though they rarely try to kill us."
"That goes against the code."
"Well, now that Father has met you, let's get to work."
They left, Starfire looking over her shoulder at the monuments, this was more than she had thought, a Jedi on his own, choosing to go his own way and to create from what had been left behind.  The ride to Tower #4 was quiet, Starfire reflecting on her education for the day.  They arrived at the mid level area of the tower and moved the swoop bike onto a lift that took them up to the Outrider base.  There were three hanger bays, training levels, quarters, offices and communications, or so Jinx told her during the trip up.  Starfire looked around as Jinx maneuvered them off the lift and into a parking slot.  They were on the lower level where two of the large hangers were located.  The one they were in housed about 6 ships of varying designs.  Crews were working on them, she was surprised to see the use of Force to do repairs as parts were floated up to where they were needed.
"They use the Force for work?"
"We use it all the time...we immerse ourselves in the Force, become closer to ourselves and the source of the Force."
"That is very odd...I must learn more."
"You will, Raven's waiting for you."
Starfire nodded and they headed across the hanger and onto a smaller lift to go up to the office level.  There Starfire was brought into Raven's office.  Raven smiled as she stood up and took Starfire by the hands.
"It's good to see you, I half feared you might have changed your mind."
"No...there is soo much I must learn...I was introduced to Father."
Raven smiled and guided Starfire to a seat.
"All new Outriders are taken to the shrine.  It helps to knew a bit of our history."
"I am sure there is much more to be learned."
"There is, and I'm sure you want to hear the bad and the good."
"Yes to learn all I must hear all."
"Well to be honest, we do have to do some things the Council would not approve of, smuggling is one, though it is usually stuff that is hard to find or that is needed somewhere but is being blockaded."
"I see..."
"We do what we can to keep in operation, ships need parts and fuel, people need food and shelter.  We make ends meet."
Starfire nodded as a young twi'lek girl entered with some drinks."
"Ahh, thank you Lorani.  Don't forget you have a class this afternoon."
"I will not forget...someone must teach them how to properly pilot a ship."
As she left, Raven chuckled.
"Lorani was found by one of our Captains and is a very skilled pilot, on par with the best the Order has to offer."
"Yes...she's proven it twice so far."
Starfire sipped her tea and contemplated what she had learned soo far, a noble beginning, though some criminal activity to support themselves.  She did not sense anything of the Sith, though she had never tried to before.  She sensed nothing but positiveness all around her, though she did sense something odd from Jinx, but she was unsure of what that was.  She looked to Raven and smiled.
"I would like to know what my duties will be for a year with you."
"Ahh, work it shall be...You will ride with me on pickups and work in the training hall with the light saber.  You will also help out with the patrols once you are settled in."
"I will do my best."
"Good, now, shall we eat?"

As they were heading out to grab something to eat, Robin was standing before the Council, his anger barely in check.
"Still your anger you must or consume you it will."
"My apologies Master is just..."
"I know this seems like betrayal, but we've examined the full message and she has chose to use her time to discover the truth behind Raven and the Outriders.  This may allow us to learn more about them and if they are of any use to us."
"Use Master Windu?  They do not follow the traditions of the Order, everything I saw was an affront to me."
"A traditionalist you are and loyal beyond measure, but approach this from new direction we must."
"They may not be of our teachings, but they do resist the Sith and are responsible for keeping a whole planet relatively crime free."
There were nods around the chamber.  Yoda turned to Robin.
"Rest you must, purge these thoughts from your mind you will..."
"Yes are right..."
Robin was dismissed but still the anger brewed inside him...she had taken his glory, he was planning to bring Raven gain more support in the Council...he needed to rest...yes...

While they ate on an open terrace overlooking another hanging garden, Raven explained how the Outriders work.
"We're broken into sections.  There are three primary groups and three secondary groups.  The primary groups are the Retrievers, Riders and Defenders.  The Retrievers are able to sense the flow of the Force and find those who are able to use it, they travel to find those the Council and the Order have passed over and bring them here.  Riders are the Outrider patrols that keep the cities safe.  They work in teams or solo depending on the area and are skilled in mounted combat." Raven took a sip of her drink as she paused.
"Mounted Combat?" Starfire asked before enjoying another bite of her meal.
"Fighting from the back of a bike."
"Ahh, please continue."   
"The third group is the Defenders.  They are those who are called in to deal with large scale problems, like Sith attacks or the presence of large scale criminal activity."
"Are they needed often?" Starfire asked, a hint of concern in her voice.  Raven smiled reassuringly.
"Thankfully no, but they are still trained and ready for any situation."
"You mentioned three secondary groups?"
"Ahhh, well the first are the Mentors, they train the new arrivals and set them on the path.  Then there are the Support staff, mostly technicians, medical, clerical, they keep us running, and the last but hardly the least are our skilled pilots to get us where we need to be."
"A sturdy organization.  I can see how you have operated for soo long and maintained all you have for many years." Starfire nodded as she finished off her main dish and turned to her side dish.
"we do what we can, though it's harder these days, what with the Order's renewed intrest in me..."
"You have told me why you left, but I am not clear on some things." Starfire commented, punctuation her statement with the movement of her fork.
"Such as?" Raven asked as she leaned on the table and sipped her drink
"You love"
"Oh...OH!" Raven blushed a bit and almost choked on her drink...she cleared her throat and chuckled..."You don't know about that do you?"
"About what?" Starfire asked with a innocent look on her face.
"Listen, we'll discuss this back at base, it's not something you discuss in public."
Starfire blushed...she was unsure but she might have an idea now that it was something naughty!!  

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