by Courtney Kraft and Ginna Wilcoxin

For the third time, Psylocke crossed the thresh hold of the corridor into the bright sunlight of Tattooine's twin suns. For the third time, she would have to face an opponent. For the third time, she would have to turn to her warrior ways for survival.

Octavia stood at the entrance way glancing to each side she took notice of the guards standing there again the memory of her father's words came back to her

"The Force can dictate your destiny." Her father had told her. "But you have to embrace it to know its will, listen to it."

The sun was bright causing Octavia to blink the roar of the crowd met her as entered the arena, she walked out slowly and stared at the person who would be her opponent. It couldn't be she had met her opponent before; Port Lansing on one of the levels and again in the Emperors throne room. Psylocke, the name came to her memory she was also a very skilled warrior so why was she facing her? Octavia slowly walked over to the table of weapons and stared at them. Her eyes fell upon a jagged edge sword. It almost seemed to glow at her. She grasped the handle and closed her fingers around it.

Psylocke was slightly taken aback. Was this the same woman she had met at Port Lansing? Her thoughts drifted back to Lady Cybil and her prediction, then to the Emperor's comment about their opposing auras. Could this have been it? Could it be that her destiny was to battle with Octavia to the death? She turned to the table and picked up the same jagged edged sword her opponent had. She had been raised with the sword. She felt its weight in her hand, twirled it once, and nodded. If there was anything she could beat this woman at, it was a duel with a sword.

Octavia moved the sword, getting a feel for it. She stepped back and looked at Psylocke then the sand under their feet.

Psylocke took in a deep breath and started walking toward the center of the ring, once again feeling the burning eyes of an anxious crowd on her.

Octavia sighed and moved toward the center. "I have no desire to fight you." she said softly, doubting that Psylocke could hear her.

Psylocke felt like she was walking in slow motion, like something was holding her back. "Is it really time to face our destiny?" she muttered softly.

When Octavia reached the center, she started to side step to her left, watching Psylocke's movement, it felt somehow familiar, but she didn't know why. Her thoughts seemed to cease as her senses became alert, just like in her first fight, Octavia felt the Force around her. Psylocke kept her eyes on Octavia, and started to circle, raising her sword. "Pity we really didn't get the chance to get to know each other."

Octavia kept her sword down but ready, "Yes, it is. Though I have no idea why we have been brought together."

"Absolute...Destiny...." she stopped walking, and took old of her hilt with both hands. "Now fight me."

"I will not attack you." Octavia answered calmly.

"Then you will die." With the cry of a warrior, she lunged at Octavia.

Octavia brought up her sword in defense and side stepped Psylocke's attack allowing her force of movement to carry past her. She'd heard Psylocke's warning. Octavia drew the Force around her sensing Psylocke's movement and able to dodge it. Unsure on how she did it Octavia sighed in relief when Psylocke went past her. Octavia felt the power of the Force, but also remembered Luke's warning. "Don't pull on negative emotions. Anger, fear path to the dark side."

Psylocke spun around and whirled her blade. Metal crashed with metal as Octavia met her moves. Psylocke felt the first pangs of doubt. *stop it!* her mind cried. *no hesitation.* She stepped back, retreating a few feet and smiled at Octavia, then tossed the sword from her right hand into her left. She leaned back in a lunge, drawing the dull edge of the blade over her right palm until she held it horizontally, the tip pointed at Octavia.

Octavia brought her sword in front of her sideways, braced for Psylocke's next move. She needed to keep the sword away from her, needed to make sure Psylocke didn't come in contact with her. *Defense, defend, never attack* the phrase rang in her mind. She felt a sense of calm as she stood there waiting for Psylocke's next move studying her body movements. She wondered how she knew what to look for but pushed questions away this was a fight for survival, her survival.

In a flash, Psylocke sprang forward, the end of her sword aimed straight at Octavia's heart. Octavia dropped to her knees at the last minute allowing her shoulders to knock Psylocke off balance. Psylocke saw her sword soar over Octavia's head as she dropped. Then she felt the sudden impact as Octavia's shoulder smashed into her hip. She fell forward, ducking her head to roll into the fall. The next moment, she was on the ground, her sword no longer in her hand.

Octavia rose to her feet, with a wave of her hand she used the force to pushed Psylocke's sword further out of her reach.

Psylocke's jaw dropped as she saw Octavia use the Force to toss her sword aside. "Not fair!" she growled, then shut her mouth, realizing how childish she sounded. She sprang to her feet. "I can take you, sword or no sword."

*Control your anger and let your opponent come to you* Octavia thought remembering her father's words as well as Luke's.

Psylocke inhaled and focused. She was too offensive. She would have to let Octavia attack to see how she moved. The fight was too rushed. She felt the anger swell up inside her, as it had done with Tomoe. She felt the energy surging through her body. She saw the white light approaching, but she forced it back and closed her eyes. She would end this fight herself.

Octavia knew that for now she had the advantage she had to end this; she felt compelled to end it. Taking in a breath Octavia rose her sword and brought it down toward Psylocke's forehead.

Psylocke felt strong hands take hold of hers and clap them together, catching the sword between her palms. Silently, she opened her eyes, viewing the frozen moment of Octavia's blade between her fingers, a centimeter from her forehead. She held it there for a moment that felt like years, then twisted it sharply, wrenching it from Octavia's hands.

Octavia stepped back at once. The power she sensed from Psylocke was amazing. They were once again on equal footing. Psylocke could feel her anger surging through her, so appalled that Octavia could even think herself as an equal. She felt her hands burning with fury as she reached out and grabbed Octavia by the hair and yanked her down to the sand. i

Octavia felt the warmth of the sand through her jumpsuit. Taking hold of Psylocke's hands Octavia relaxed letting the force move through her, using her strength she pulled Psylocke down, she needed to break the contact, needed to give them distance.

Psylocke rolled forward again. Octavia was bigger than she, so momentum was not in her favor. She released her hands.

Octavia rose to one knee. staring at Psylocke. *Why was she so angry?* Psylocke rose to one knee as well. She felt something working inside her. Her rage was moving her, even though she knew it was not the way of the warrior. Time to take a different approach.

Before she had the chance to grab Octavia by the jaw, a rumbling filled the arena. The women whipped around as the service entrance doors crumbled around the body of an enormous tank. Psylocke's jaw dropped at the massive tank blocked the sun. Almost instinctively, she took hold of Octavia's jumpsuit and yanked her to the side.

"What the...?"


On to Part 2