The chambers, almost as large as the ego they had been created for, stretched for miles. Their location deep within the ground had proven to be bomb proof, missile proof, and assault proof. Up till now, that is. More than a thousand battle-torn flags hung from the walls - many of which still bore the blood of those who had carried them. The leaders to whom the flags had been entrusted, or what remained of those leaders, were arrayed before the flags.

Some were human - many were not. Their eyes were blank, their cavities were filled with preservatives, and their bodies were supported by steel rods. The trophies stood in two inward-facing ranks and formed the letter V.

Kaan sat at the point where the lines came together on a throne made of bones. He had white hair, a prominent forehead, and a finely pointed chin. Power radiated away from the Jedi like heat off a sun-baked rock. - It caused the air to shimmer, sent static through pocket comms, and hurt unprotected minds. His eyes were filled with hatred and probed the beings in front of him.

"They come." Kaan's second, third, and fourth in command were dead, killed during hellacious battles of the past few weeks. Number five, the Jedi known as LaTor, stepped forward and bowed. Kyle bowed with him.

"Yes, my lord. They come."

"We have no way to stop them? No strategy for salvation?"

LaTor, half his face obscured by a blood-stained bandage, shook his head.

"No, my lord, none I am aware of."

"Then we must create one! Surrender is unthinkable. Assemble my Jedi."

"Yes, my lord." It took the better part of two hours to spread the word, to bring what remained of the Brotherhood into chambers, and to settle them down. Once assembled, the Dark Army was woefully small. Less than two thousand Jedi compared to ten times that number that had followed Kaan into the first few battles. Still, small though they were in number, these were the smartest, strongest, and most powerful of the lot, for the rest were dead, having been overpowered by Hoth and the Army of Light.

The air hummed with barely controlled energy. Kaan stood and the chambers fell silent.

His eyes roamed the audience, found those he knew to be leaders, and claimed their minds.

"Greetings, brethren...... and welcome to darkness. Our great and noble cause has come to an end. The forces who favor anarchy over structure have won. For what is this 'democracy' they speak of if not the absence of order? Of reason? Surely the strong should rule - for that is nature's way. "But we must forget what could have been - and focus on what is. Defeat looms only hours away and with it, the loss of all we had hoped for. I ask that you join me in one last task. The creation of a weapon so powerful that when it is detonated, the victors shall become the vanquished and be swept from the pages of history."

Kaan was a skilled orator and knew when to stop. The chambers fell silent. LaTor allowed the silence to build... and broke it with the traditional salute.

"Kaan rules!" The answer came like thunder and echoed off the chamber walls.

"Kaan rules!" And so the decision was made to place death before life. More than a thousand highly trained minds were focused on a single task. First came the creation of a mental construct that was analogous to a bomb casing. A container in which energy could be stored. Then came the process of turning the Force inside out, of tapping the darkness within and channeling that energy into the newly created vessel.

Time hung suspended, the air crackled with barely suppressed energy, and three of the Jedi died, their minds overcome by the violence of the process. Others went insane, rose with weapons drawn, and were executed by the master-at-arms.

Kyle was a novice compared to those around him and might have been killed if it hadn't been for LaTor and the other Jedi's strength. For LaTor was strong, very strong, and Kyle was impressed by the power resident in the dark side. The power and the relative ease of access... a temptation for anyone with the necessary talent.

Finally, their robes soaked with sweat and their hearts beating like trip hammers, the Brotherhood was done. The thought bomb was complete. The time had come to venture out into the sunlight, to embrace the victors and drag them into hell. The final confrontation came in the Valley located above the chambers.