Chapter III | Episode VI | 5/12/2017
Lightsabers ignited, both Elaiza and Zanroy stood ready to face off against the intimidating Hooded Figure that stood before them. The three stood, motionless in the pouring rain for what seemed an eternity, before Elaiza spoke.
“You will not take them!” She shouted, breaking the silence, continuing to keep herself between the twins and the evil presence before her.
The Hooded Figure turned its head towards Elaiza, and slowly removed its hood, revealing a younger woman. “You cannot possibly hope to protect them.” She said in an unnatural, uncomfortable voice.
Zanroy tightened the grip on his saber, anxiously waiting for what would come.
The woman continued, “How could you possibly hope to save them?” She asked, all her focus on Elaiza. “You couldn’t even rescue them from a bunch of pirates. You had to beg these useless mercenaries to help you. You have no hope against me.”
“I may not be able to protect them forever, but I can teach them to how to survive. If they go with you, all they will know is death.”
“If they come with me, they will know power!” The woman shouted back.
“The hooded figure is here, Twil!” Rath whispered to the Zeltron over comms. “I still say you’re suicidal for wanting this, but if you still want a chance to chat with her, I’d hightail it up here.”
“On my way” Twil responded, already in the turbolift. The second the doors opened, Twil bolted for the platform.
“Wait!” He shouted, just arriving, “Please, I don’t want any more violence today. Please, tell us, why are you here? What do you want? How can we end this peacefully?”
The woman then turned her attention to Twil. She raised her hand, outstretched towards Twil. Suddenly, Twil could feel an incredible tightness. His entire body was then slowly lifted off the ground. With another motion of her hands, Twil started floating towards her, stopping mere inches away. “You know nothing of my desires. Why don’t I show you?” With another motion of her hand, she pushed Twil away, causing the Zeltron to fly back several feet. She then outstretched her other hand, and caused Elaiza’s lightsaber to fly out of her hands, into the waiting palm of the attacking woman.
After comming Twil, Rath headed directly back to the main computer terminal of the pirate base and locked the door behind him. He rushed to the main console and began working faster than he ever had before.
His fingers began to ache as he worked as fast as the computer would allow. Bypassing various security measures and breaking through decryptions left and right, he finally found what he was looking for. Unfortunately, the information he found was not what he was hoping.
Rath looked at the screen with a mixture of revulsion and horror. “No.” He uttered, in barely more than a whisper. “No.” He said again. “No! Damn it! No!” He shouted, slamming his fist down on the console. “Why? How? He would never…” He trailed off. Remembering he had precious little time, the Chiss regained his composure, and continued working at the terminal.
“Stop! Please!” Twil said again, getting back to his feet. “You’ve been chasing us across this galaxy for years now. At least tell us why! At least tell us who you are!”
The woman glared at Twil, “I have no interest in you. But if you must insist on my name, you may call me Zes Codicious.”
He tried his best to think if he had heard it before, but the name was not familiar to Twil.
Knowing that this standoff wouldn’t last, Zanroy readied his saber, gripping it tightly. Noticing this, Zes attempted to take his saber in the same way she stole Elaiza’s. Zonroy was ready, however, and he would not let the weapon budge from his hand.
Frustrated, the woman shouted, “Enough of this! Hand over the twins, and I will let your worthless crew live.”
“You will not have them!” Elaiza shouted back again, standing in front of the twins protectively, arms spread out.
“What do you want with them?” Twil asked, again, “Will you just infuse them with the hatred and fear that is already deep inside you? I can feel the pain you hold. Let us help you. You don’t need to continue down this path.” Twil was excreting his Zeltron pheromones as powerfully as he could, attempting to persuade the mad woman to stand down and listen to reason.
Unfortunately, because the two were so preoccupied with Zes, neither of them noticed the guards sneaking up behind them. Both felt the unmistakable prodding of a blaster barrel to their backs.
“Give me the twins.” Zes demanded.
After a little more searching, Rath had found all he needed. “You duplicitous…” He muttered under his breath. “Twil, you trusting fool. I was wondering when your unyielding faith in people would get us killed.”
With a heavy sigh, Rath walked over to the comm station. After making some quick workarounds, he sent out his call. It wasn’t long before Venlana’s face appeared over the holoprojector. “Who is this?” She demanded.
“This is Rath, of the Sovereign crew.” He replied.
“Oh, you. Is it done? Did you kill the Pirate Queen?” She asked anxiously.
“We’ve encountered some unexpected trouble.” Rath began, “There is some sort of dark Jedi here at the base. We need some sort of support; otherwise you will most likely never get the Pirate Queen’s mask.”
“What? Jedi? What are you talking about?” Venlana asked, “I hired you to do a job. If I wanted to risk my own men and supplies on this I would have. All you had to do was kill the Queen, if she’s dead then that’s all I care about.”
Rath was seething, but he expected as much for a response. Deciding to not play all his cards yet, he abruptly shut off the comm. “I’ll take care of you later.” He said under his breath. “On to ‘plan D,’ I suppose.”
Draven had finally arrived up onto the platform. He slunk in the shadows, surveying the situation. He saw the two guards, and he instantly recognized Zes, the woman that killed the only man who even knew who Draven was; his only clue to his identity, stolen by that woman and her strange troopers. Not wasting another second, Draven took aim at the woman holding up Twil. His shots were clean, as he killed the woman instantly.
This set off a chain of events that all seemed to take place in a blink of an eye. The first woman dropped instantly. Zanroy let his lightsaber spin behind him, cutting the second guard in two. Twil rushed to the side of the twins. And Elaiza, rushed Zes, screaming at the top of her lungs, arms outstretched, she used the Force to push the four troopers surrounding Zes off both sides of the platform. As the bodies hit the ground below, everyone could hear the turrets fire, decimating the corpses. In this same attack, she also disarmed Zes, taking back her saber and slicing at the dark Jedi, making a gash on Zes’s leg, while taking a hit of her own on her arm.
Meanwhile, back in the cargo room, Idozzi had been watching, unsure of what to do, when suddenly she noticed Graf, the old man who had given them the coordinates of the hideout.
He was holding a metal box above his head, as if ready to throw it at Idozzi. “You killed all my friends.” He said angrily.
Not giving the drunk a chance to do whatever it was he was thinking about doing, Idozzi shot a stun bolt at the old gimp, letting the box fall onto his one good ankle, as he collapsed in a shuddering pile.
“Please, get us out of here!” Dekar said to Twil.
“Ok.” Twil replied, I will get you out of her, but you need to trust me. He then grabbed the twins, and held a blaster up to Raze’s head. “Enough of this!” He shouted to Elaiza and Zes. “Stop this now! Or you’ll both lose what you’ve been working so hard to acquire.”
Elaiza looked at Twil with a mixture of shock and betrayal.
Zes merely stood her ground, eyeing the Zeltron.
“Now!” Twil shouted.
Suddenly, Zes was pelted with blaster fire from both Draven and Zanroy, who was now wielding the impossibly large cannon-like blaster that the guard who was holding him had been using.
Using this distraction, Twil began to run, dragging the twins behind. “Idozzi, let’s go!” He shouted, running past the Twi’lek. “R5, are you here?” he asked over his comm. An affirmative beep was the droids response. “I need you to land the ship in that clearing in front of the base, quickly.” The droid beeped again in response as the four ran into the turbolift.
In horrible pain, Zes screamed out. Using the Force once more, she snatched the lightsaber from Elaiza. Manipulating the very air around her, she caused the rain start moving upward and around her, as if there were some invisible bubble surrounding her. She then stretched forth her hands, towards Elaiza, and screamed in anger as thick bolts of blue lightning shot out of her fingertips, electrocuting Elaiza and making the rain around her form a horrible sphere of lightning.
Elaiza screamed in agony as Zes continued her assault.
Not allowing this to continue any longer, Zanroy took aim with the handheld cannon once more. Hitting his mark directly, Zes collapsed to the ground, gasping for air.
Slowly, Draven walked over to the half dead woman. She slowly rolled over and saw Draven’s face, and smiled. “Ah, Draven… there was much that I could have told you.”
Draven shrugged, “I don’t really care.” He replied, and fired off one last blaster bolt directly through her head, finally killing her.
Zanroy quickly ran to Elaiza, helping her to her feet, and injecting a stimpack into her, doing all he could to stabilize the old Jedi.
“Nice work.” Rath said, as he walked out onto the platform.
“Where have you been?!” Zanroy asked.
Rath took a moment before answering, “Doing my job.”
The two were suddenly interrupted by Twil over comms. “Guys, we’ve got problems. R5 says he’s detecting multiple ships coming our way. We need to leave, now.”
“Go.” Zanroy replied, “We’ll take the shuttle Zes left behind.”
“Ok.” Twill agreed, “We’ll rendezvous behind one of the local moons and do a boarding there, once we’re safely away from whatever it is that’s coming this way.”
The four watched as the Sovereign began to lift off, when it immediately took a shot from some unknown ship in the distance.
“We gotta go, now!” Rath shouted.
“R5 what was that?!” Twil shouted.
R5’s annoyed beeping was all the answer Twil needed. He put the ship’s thrusters to full as he blasted away from the planet. Remarkably, however, the ships were still shooting at the Sovereign.
When Twil had finally gotten far enough away from the attackers, the ship had taken multiple hits. Hull damage was extensive. And he knew he wouldn’t be going anywhere until it was fixed.
“R5, Im gonna need you to go out there and fix this. Otherwise we won’t be any help to the others.”
Hesitant to go out there so soon after taking fire, R5 hesitantly agreed, and headed out onto the hull of the ship to begin repairs.
Meanwhile, back on the ground, the four were having an unbelievably bad time trying to leave. Zanroy had crashed the shuttle three times, somehow managing to get it lodged inside the giant crab monster that had been killed earlier.
“I can’t believe I’ve survived all this, just to die now, because you can’t pilot a damn ship!” Rath shouted at the stunned Zanroy. It was as if he was in a trance. Rath wondered if perhaps that Zes woman done something to him before she died. Recalling early on when Zanroy would collapse in pain by simply being in her presence. Regardless, he was beyond annoyed, that he now had to use his fusion cutter to slice through the hide of the monster so they could escape.
Finally free, the four escaped the carnage to see the ships now overhead. One of which was landing. “The AA guns.” Rath said, mostly to himself.
Instantly the four rushed inside the bunker once more. While Zanroy and Draven helped Elaiza get to the hidden cell, the one safe area they could think of. Rath headed back to the main controls, reactivating the anti-aircraft guns.
The ground shook as the guns began firing, and Rath could hear the satisfactory sound of multiple airborne ships exploding overhead.
The comms of the Sovereign lit up, “Hey buddy, what’s up?” Twil answered, seeing Rath’s face over the holoprojector, “Wait, are you calling from the base? Why are you still there?!”
“Because Zanroy cant pilot a ship to save his life, literally.” Rath hissed between clenched teeth. “Twil, the AA guns took out some of those ships but not all of them. One has docked; I’m not sure how many more may be out there. We need help.”
“The Sovereign is fried.” Twil responded. “I can’t go back into another firefight. Not like this.”
Rath sighed heavily, “In all these years of working with those Rebels, are you telling me you haven’t made any friends? Is there no one that owes you a favor?”
“I’ll see what I can do.” Twil said, thinking deeply.
“If you don’t hear from us in ten minutes, you need to come back here.” Rath said, “You may be our only hope.” With that he ended the call.
Immediately, Twil sent out another comm call. After a few tense moments, an old familiar face appeared on the holoprojector, although it was covered in static. “Ota, old friend, I need a favor.”
After hearing Twil’s unbelievable tale, Ota responded sadly, “Im sorry old friend. I can’t help you. That isn’t Alliance space. I don’t have anyone anywhere near Saleucami right now.”
“Yeah… thanks anyway.” Twil said despondently. He then clicked off the comm and slumped in his chair, “R5, how’re the repairs coming?”
Rath and Zanroy headed to the cargo bay, and quietly looked on, towards the platform. Seven of the strange troopers disembarked from the ship, while four of them stood near the transport, three of the troopers headed towards the corpse of Zes Codicious. Not knowing what they had planned, Rath and Zanroy were having none of it.
Centering his mind, and using all the power he could, Zanroy rolled his final thermal detonator towards the group of four troopers. The blast annihilated them instantly.
Meanwhile, Rath did the only thing he could think of. Spotting an abandoned speeder in the bay, he remotely activated it, and sent it careening towards the other three troopers, knocking into two of them; they went flying off the platform and into the turrets below. They were instantly torn to shreds.
With only one trooper left, that they were aware of, Zanroy and Draven opened fire. They wounded the trooper, who was dragging Zes’s body along with him. Not yet dead, the trooper heaved the body up onto the ramp of the ship, with the aid of the pilot who had just now shown himself.
While Draven and Zanroy battled the two remaining troopers, Rath slipped onboard, using his stealth suit.
The two had killed the injured trooper, and with no other recourse, the pilot shut the door on Draven and Zanroy. Not allowing this, Rath hacked into the controls from the cockpit. Not going exactly as he had hoped, due to the speed used, and sheer amount of stress, he broke the door, causing it to open and close repeatedly.
Timing it perfectly, Zanroy jumped inside the shuttle, slicing the pilot in two with his saber in the process.
The threat finally ended for the moment. Rath fixed the door, and all four boarded, ensuring to take the corpse of Zes along with them.
Against his better judgement, Rath asked Zanroy to take the controls and get them out of there.
Slowly the ship began to rise, finally exiting the atmosphere. Rath let out a sigh of relief. Soon they’d be back on the Sovereign and away from this nightmare…