Aeris had left Kai in the remains of the Halls of Healing, even though she was the one who really needed medical attention. Since there was nothing wrong with him, he had refused treatment and instead volunteered to help with the wounded. His duties consisted mainly of moving people and supplies around as needed.

He had just carried a badly burned victim of a Mawite flamethrower into intensive care when he first saw the Bright Knight.

Clad in his customary gray and blue costume, the Bright Knight stared back at him, his expression obscured by his helmet. He stood over by a window with his cape wrapped around him like a cloak. Even in the dim sunlight filtering through the smoke, he was a bright spot in the gloom.

<What are you doing here?> Kai asked. Prior to this moment, he had only ever seen the Bright Knight in an animated holoshow.

“The inmates at Azrael Asylum have escaped,” the Bright Knight replied. “I need someone to help me round them up, before they have a chance to wreak too much havoc. You fit the bill for a sidekick.”

<But what about—>

“Today is a school day for my usual helper,” the Bright Knight interrupted. “But from the looks of it, your school is currently out.”

Kai looked around at the smoldering wreckage of the Temple, and nodded grimly. [Sorry, something came up. I’ve got to go!] he signed to the medical staff.

When he turned around again, the Bright Knight was already outside, aiming a grapple at the building across the street. As he swung across, Kai was right behind him, extending a fleshy cord to wrap around a Coruscanti gargoyle.


“There they are,” the Bright Knight said, inclining his cowled head toward a group of asylum inmates. Still clad in their striped uniforms, they were making trouble in the streets below, looting buildings abandoned during the invasion. The Bright Knight and Kai were poised side by side on a ledge high above, like birds surveying their prey before they struck.

<How are we going to capture them?> Kai asked. For this unusual occasion, he had made a mask to cover his face and hide his features. <It looks like some of them have blasters and other weapons. They’ll try to kill us if we fight them.>

“Aspiration over exasperation, Doppelganger,” the Bright Knight replied, his cape rippling in the breeze. “There are ways of disarming and incapacitating others without placing ourselves in mortal peril at their hands.”

Though Kai normally resented being referred to by his species rather than his name, in the mouth of one of his heroes “Doppelganger” became an honorific. It didn’t matter that Kai hadn’t told the Bright Knight about any of this—the Bright Knight just seemed to know everything already. Besides, if they were going to be doing this crimefighter gig, it made sense not to use their real names.

<Okay good, okay fine. Tell me what to do.>

“I’ll use this to seize their weapons,” the Bright Knight said, producing a small black device from his belt. “Then I’ll fly in and start the fisticuffs. I’ll carry you with me, but from there you’ll have to fend them off. Think strategically. And remember: don’t use your lightsaber unless you have no other choice, and even then don’t strike with lethal force. These are sick people, not soldiers.”

Kai grinned. <Got it!>

Raising his arm, the Bright Knight activated the device and tossed it in a direction away from the highest concentration of inmates. There was a couple second delay—then all the weapons in the immediate area were snatched from the inmates’ hands, drawn toward the device.

<It’s like a giant magnet!> Kai exclaimed. His awestruck admiration for the technology was cut short as the Bright Knight gestured for him to take hold of his shoulders before leaping from the ledge.

Spreading his cape like wings, the Bright Knight glided down into the fray, where chaos had ensued among the inmates in the absence of their weapons.

Spying the duo overhead, someone shouted, “Cops!” Technically it was true—the Bright Knight was a duly deputized agent of the law, not a vigilante.

Kai let go of the Bright Knight, diving and rolling through the group. The inmates scrambled out of the way, though some returned with raised fists, ready to fight.

A Togruta with a scarred face charged at Kai. The Doppelganger sidestepped him and knocked him off his feet with a sweep of his leg. Trying to swamp him, the others dogpiled onto Kai, who punched and kicked his way out of the mob. Soon the alley was strewn with unconscious and groaning bodies.

“Now we tie them up and leave them for the police,” the Bright Knight said. Despite all the fighting, he didn’t even sound winded. Kai helped him, though their roundup of the inmates was interrupted by screams coming from nearby.

"I smell smoke," the Bright Knight remarked ominously.

<Come on!> Kai abandoned the criminals, running toward the sound.

A building was on fire. Smoke billowed from the flames, and the air reeked of fuel. Civilians were fleeing the scene in terror, scattering in all directions, only to be pursued by beastly Sithspawn loosed in the underlevels by the Maw. The sight was but a microcosm of the pandemonium that had ensued in the streets of Coruscant after the Brotherhood’s invasion.

“This is the work of an arsonist,” the Bright Knight deduced. “I sense no one is inside the building, but we should look around for the perpetrator. No doubt they will linger nearby to observe the destruction.”

Kai was already looking, though not for an arsonist. He was overwhelmed by the chaos around him, not sure what target to pursue first. Worse, they were in alarmingly close proximity to the Reef. He was torn between wanting to help the people who were in danger here, and a desperate need to defend his second home from the invaders.

“There, Doppelganger!” the Bright Knight exclaimed, pointing. “That one over there, watching the fire!”

While others fled, a lone figure stood perfectly still in a nearby alleyway. By the orange glow of the flames, Kai saw that the arsonist wore the distinct striped uniform of an Azrael Asylum inmate. With the Bright Knight having given him a direction at last, Kai charged at the figure without a second thought.

They crashed together, falling to the ground.

“Get off me!” the arsonist yelled, thrashing in Kai’s grip. “It’s a setup! She tricked me!”

Only the ravings of a lunatic, Kai thought. He held on tight, but as the two struggled his captive somehow managed to wriggle out of his arms, slippery as an eel. Kai was fast enough to catch him again, only to feel something—well, several somethings—stab suddenly into his flesh before he was violently thrown against a duracrete wall.

Smoldering puncture wounds were left on Kai’s body where his skin had made contact with the arsonist, as if he had been impaled by red-hot spikes. Bewildered and in pain, he looked up to find his opponent’s flesh was writhing as what looked like needles rippled along the surface of his skin. The arsonist was a shapeshifter, too.

“She told me to do it!” he shouted over the fire and the screams. “Forget about me, it’s you she wants!”

His pain turning to rage, Kai’s lightsaber was suddenly in his hand. With a flash of the glowing blade he had sliced off the arsonist’s hands. A scream of agony, followed by curses in a language Kai did not understand, fell from the arsonist’s mouth.

<Bright Knight! I got him!> Kai called out to his ally.

But the Bright Knight was nowhere to be seen.

Before Kai could process this new development, his danger sense flared. One of the Sithspawn beasts terrorizing the citizenry was bounding toward them. It lunged at Kai, digging its claws into him. Arcs of electricity darted down the monstrosity’s arms and shot out of its paws. Kai’s eyes widened, and the world went white.