Beyond Prelude to Terror: The Rescue (NJO, OCs) COMPLETED

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Mando-Man, Jul 22, 2013.

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  1. Mando-Man Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 1, 2008
    star 2
    This story is a prequel to a fic I started several years back but never got past chapter one with. So I decided to reboot the story and totally rework it and the following story was originally planned to be the first few chapters of Dark Terror but quickly spiraled into a story of its own.



    Prelude to Terror: The Rescue

    Dramatis Personae

    Baydo Titus; Mandalorian Supercommando (male human)
    Beluin Uluar; Mandalorian Supercommando (male Zabrak)
    Dawk; Mandalorian Supercommando, medic (female human)
    Dyir Carud; Mandalorian Supercommando (male human)
    Elai Kareb; Mandalorian Supercommando (male Kiffar)
    Falas Draisa: Yuuzhan Vong high commander (male Yuuzhan Vong)
    Kas Birek; Mandalorian Supercommando (male human)
    Kial Volar; Mandalorian Supercommando (male human)
    Koryn Bralor; Mandalorian Supercommando (male Barabel)
    Kurru Ivat; Yuuzhan Vong warrior (male Yuuzhan Vong)
    Raven Varos; Jedi Apprentice (female human)
    Rev Devieyc; Mandalorian Supercommando (male human)
    Rixa Numeck; Mandalorian Supercommando (male human)
    Ryia Devieyc; Mandalorian Supercommando (male human)
    Tyran Numeck; lieutenant, Mandalorian Supercommando, strike team leader (male human)
    Yunauli Drau; Mandalorian Supercommando, pilot (male human)

     
    [Chapter One]

     
    The Tal’galaar was a lethal ship. Constantly refined over several decades of use by the Numeck family the former KDY space yacht was now a premiere bounty hunting vessel. Purchased from a Toydarian dealer on Nar Shadaa by the late Ruima Numeck, the ship had been promptly taken back to Mandalore and handed over to MandalMotors for some custom touches. A beskar-reinforced frame and hull, upgraded weapons and communications systems, overhauled engines, a complete medical suite and armory topped off by a matte-black stealth finish on the already streamlined shape of the ship made the vessel a perfect blend of both beauty and deadly precision.

    The ship was perfectly suited for the task that had been laid before Tyran Numeck and his company of Mandalorian Supercommandos: Infiltrate enemy lines and find Jedi Apprentice Raven Varos. The young Jedi’s job had been to sneak behind the Yuuzhan Vong lines and survey the enemy fleet strength. Apparently the Jedi had done that several times before without detection which led Tyran to belive that she had become too confident in her abilities to avoid the Yuuzhan Vong and had gotten herself captured. He believed he was heading to recover a dead body but the Jedi’s master was pretty sure that she was still alive and being submitted to the Yuuzhan Vong breaking.

    Which was unfortunate for the taskforce preparing to jump to Katna Major and begin its liberation campaign of the planet. If the Yuuzhan Vong had already broken Varos then the campaign was going to be even more costly and vicious. A surprised Yuuzhan Vong defense was a difficult thing to defeat, but a prepared defense…that made even his iron nerves stand on edge. He was standing in the communal lounge of the Tal’galaar which was situated in the center of the ship’s upper level. His eyes were fixed on a readout panel on the durasteel wall in front of him counting down the minutes until they dropped back into realspace, or ripped back into it via a dovin basal mine.

    His large arms were crossed over his chest and his right hand was absent mindedly scratching at the few weeks of beard growth on his chin. The sound of his comrades preparing for battle echoed around him in an orchestra of sorts and he found it oddly calming. There was just something about the sound of a powerpack clacking down on a plasteel table that put a satisfied smile on his face.

    “Remind me again why we got stuck with rescue detail?” Kial Volar asked as he counted out several powerpacks and placed them in the belt pouches of his forest green kama.

    “The reason should be obvious Kial.” Tyran said without turning his head from the display “The Mand’alor wants to strengthen our relationship with the Galactic Alliance and rescuing one of their beloved Jettise will do just that.”

    Controlled laughter rolled through the Supercommandos in the communal area and even Tyran allowed himself a grin at his own dark humor.

    “How long do you think this relationship will last?” a long haired Zabrak named Beluin Ulular asked as he pulled on his helmet, modified to allow his cranial horns to slide through custom slots on the top.

    “About as long as a flitnat in a vacuum.” Tyran said back with no hint of humor in his voice.

    None of the Mandalorians on the ship had any delusions about what the relationship between the GA and Mandalore was based on. The politicians of the Galactic Alliance were only interested in the combat effectiveness of the Mandalorians mostly because they were the only ones who had beaten the Yuuzhan Vong outright and on more than one occasion. They all knew that once the war was over Mandalore would go back to being the dreary backwater world it had been before the war to the politicians in the GA and Tyran was perfectly happy with that.

    He turned away from the display as it reached a count of fifteen minutes and grabbed his WESTAR repeating rifle which was propped up against the bulkhead next to him and slung it over his back as he counted out ten powerpacks for himself from the containers provided by the armory on the Star Destroyer Resistance. He grabbed a handful of smaller packs for his two DL44 blasters, each holstered on either side of his abyssal-black hunting kama.

    “Shakedown you gear vode, we drop in fifteen.” He said grabbing his helmet and began running a quick system scan of his armors functions. He extended his right arm away from the group of Mandalorians and blinked twice at a dagger-shaped icon in his heads-up-display and an eighteen inch beskar blade ejected from the housing on his forearm with a heavy, metallic shunk. He repeated the process with his left arm and got the same satisfying results.

    A soft hissing sound on his left drew Tyrans attention “This one thinkz those would be a great inveztment.” Koryn Bralor said his dark scales ruffling slightly as he prepared for combat. His eyes were locked on the two blades protruding from the housings on his leader’s forearms and Tyran nodded at the Barabel’s assessment.

    “They’ve been useful for cracking crab armor.” Tyran said pointing behind the massive Barabel “you might have to melt down the armor on your tail to get a set though, beskar is rare these days.”

    The Barabel lifted his large, beskar plated tail and dropped on the durasteel floor with a very audible thud. “This onez tail haz has been useful in cracking crab armor. As well as theze.” He said flashing razor sharp claws protruding from his fingertips.

    Tyran retracted his blades and put a hand on the Barabel’s shoulder without any fear of losing the limb at all. “Believe me, this one knows.”

    Tyran hadn’t interacted with very many Barabels in his lifetime but he had grown up with Koryn and his hatchmate Kredd, who was back with the rest of the Mandalorian group on the Resistance prepping a special piece of ordinance, but he was sure the two Barabels were vastly different from the rest of their species. They had been adopted by a member of one of the Bralor clans around the time Tyran had just turned four. The circumstance of their adoption was still unknown to him and the brothers weren’t very forthcoming with the details. It didn’t matter, the brothers had become trusted comrades of his and he was happy to have them at his back.

    “Remember though Koryn, this is a stealth mission so no engaging unless the Yuuzhan Vong hurl thudbugs at us first.”

    The massive Barabel sissed his acknowledgement and Tyran gave a nod and turned to a black and purple armored woman stuffing a plastiod carry case full of medical supplies “Good to go Dawk?” The woman was young, as were most of the people on the ship. Tyran was among the oldest at twenty-one years of age but Dawk was at least four years his junior “You’ll be able to handle her if she isn’t ambulatory?”

    The young woman nodded “Nothing better than a trial by fire right.” She gave a short nervous laugh and continued packing her medical case.

    Tyran’s doubts weren’t exactly soothed by her answer and as he turned around and caught his younger brother’s gaze he knew that Rixa wasn’t so sure of Dawk’s abilities anymore than he was. Rixa Numeck gave a subtle shake of his head and Tyran motioned him towards the large table in the center of the room.

    “Everyone gather around I want to go over the plan one more time before we enter back into realspace.” Tyran said clipping his helmet to his belt and pausing while his strike team gathered around the table. “Alright, I know you all know that we’re being sent to rescue a Jedi and I know most of you aren’t happy or couldn’t care less but please keep your comments in check as best you can. If the Jedi is alive we don’t want to hurt her feelings, we all know how fragile the Jedi are.” There was some small laughter but it faded quickly “On to the fun stuff. The ERS signal was traced back to one of the four moons orbiting the gas giant Katna-Rae. Katna-II is mostly a dismal swamp with the bleakest weather you might ever find in the galaxy and it is merely a stone’s throw from Katna Major, the largest population center in the system and the next planet targeted for liberation.”

    “But it’s also where the Yuuzhan Vong fleet is stationed.” Yunauli Drau said, he was the man responsible for piloting the Tal’galaar and Tyran was very confident in the elder Mandalorians flying skills as he was a veteran pilot for both the Empire and the Rebellion and flew as the leader of the Mandalorian fighter squadron assigned to the Resistance. “Katna-II is in a very unique position relative to Katna Major, their orbits almost mirror each others, the moon being out in front and an almost impassable object for anyone heading to Katna Major.”

    “So one way or another we’ll have to pass that moon?” Rixa asked.

    “And every Yuuzhan Vong ship that orbits it.” Drau confirmed glumly “You really bit one off this time Tyran.”

    “Just fly the ship old timer.” Tyran said with a genuine smile as he turned his head back to his team “When we exit hyperspace Yunauli is going to kick in the ship’s stealth package going whisper silent and leaving a nearly undetectable ion trail. The plan is for him to get as close to the planet as he can without being detected, we’ll all climb into the escape pod and jettison ourselves down to the cheery swamps below.”

    “The escape pod doesn’t have any kind of stealth package and it will definetly leave a detectable ion trail Tyran.” Rixa said “How do you expect to out maneuver coralskippers in that rusted hunk of metal.”

    Every eye at the table turned towards Tyran hoping he had thought of an ingenious plan to get around that little flaw.

    “I was hoping you would have kept that detail silent little brother.” Tyran said sourly “I had the maintenance crew on the Resistance get the escape pod up to standard safety specifications and had them put a little umph in the drives.”

    “No armor plating?” Volar asked.

    “It would weigh us down.” Tyran said. “We need all the speed we can get.”

    “Well a magma missile will slow us down considerably.” Volar said incredulously “It would slow us down back to our base molecules in fact.”

    “We have manual control over the pod so we won’t be flying in a straight line Kial.” Rixa said. “We can pull off a few evasive maneuvers.”

    Volar waved his hand dismissively at Rixa and motioned for Tyran to continue. Tyran opened his mouth to carry on the briefing when he was cut off by his second in command.

    “Do we know where the Jedi is?” Ryia Devieyc asked.

    “I’m getting to that Ryia, I understand the urgent need to get this briefing done but constant interruption isn’t helping.” Tyran said impatiently “We are going to try and steer the pod in the general direction of Mount Piya, the only inhabited area on the planet, its mostly a giant prison facility housing criminals from Katna Major and some other systems looking for a place to dump their undesirables.”

    “You think she is there?”

    “The ERS isn’t traceable to the millimeter Ryia, but she is on that planet and I’m fairly certain that prison is where she is being held. The GA was able to get a few probe droids in here and it doesn’t look like the planet was Vongified too much.”

    “I’m sorry,” Dawk interrupted “What’s an ERS?” Everyone at the table was courteous enough to not shake their heads, almost everyone.

    “Emergency. Response. Signal.” Volar said massaging his temple “You really aren’t that inexperienced. Are you?”

    Dawk’s young face reddened at the statement and she looked down as she looked for the right words for the appropriate response.

    “An ERS is a small device implanted just behind the ear under the skin. Once pressed it sends a signal back to a receiver.” Tyran said to the young medic and turned back to Kial “The Mand’alor had faith enough in her to place her on the team, if that isn’t proof enough of her experience than I don’t know what is.” Tyran said giving the young medic a quick wink.

    “I don’t doubt her medical skills it is her combat skill that worries me.” Volar continued “She has spent more time with her nose in holobooks than with her eyes looking down a scope. It’s easier to patch up wounded soldiers on a cruiser than it is to be in the trenches being the one doing the wounding.”

    “I am proficient with various forms of combat ranging from melee to long range to-” She began to defend herself.

    Shab am I talking to a Mandalorian or a protocol droid?!” Volar exclaimed “Tyran tell me the truth do you feel safe with her behind you.”

    Tyran stared at the young medic for a few moments, his experienced eyes searching and evaluating what he saw. He saw fear at its most primal level, though not blatantly exposed on her face but still far from hidden. He saw uncertainty and inexperience, a dangerous combination but not one that had not been felt by anyone else at the table. Out of everything he saw the one thing that made him feel certain about the young medic and her potential was that she was sitting at the table with the rest of them ready to drop neck deep into a pit of Yuuzhan Vong warriors. His gaze met both Rixa’s and Ryia’s and they both gave curt nods to their leader, both seeing the same thing in the medic as he did.

    He gave her a short smile and turned his head towards Kial “Yes I do.”

    Kial shook his head again “I’m not as convinced as you are.”

    “Dawk do you know how that blaster works?” Tyran asked.

    “Yes.”

    “Do you know which end the bolts come out of?”

    “Yes.” She said almost disgusted at the question.

    “There you go, perfectly qualified.”

    Rixa and Ryia gave snorts of amusement and the Barabel sissed in approval.

    “Deadmen, we’re all deadmen.” Kial said “Get on with the briefing.”

    “Though there doesn’t seem to be much terraforming from the droid images I wouldn’t be surprised to find Yuuzhan Vong flora and other such things. All tech in the prison will most likely be dismantled and decimated so sneaking into the prison won’t be overly difficult.”

    “It’ll be sneaking to the prison that will be the trick.” Dawk said.

    “See, she knows her stuff.” Tyran said and the young girl beamed “Koryn, Kial, Rixa, Beluin, Dawk and I will make a stealthy approach to the prison while Ryia takes Baydo, Elai, Kas, and Dyir to the landing platform at the peak of the mountain. The Yuuzhan Vong use it as a DZ for personnel and such and I’m hoping once we start making noise in the prison that reinforcements will come from the fleet.”

    “You’re hoping for enemy reinforcements?” Dyir Carud asked.

    “Not for the reinforcements, for the ship they will use to reach the prison.” Dawk said grasping the plan.

    “Right again. When the enemy lands their new wave of reinforcements all you have to do is board it and hold it until we arrive with the Jedi.”

    “Five Supercommandos against a ship of scarheads?” Ryia mused “That seems about fair.”

    “Don’t get cocky, I’m certain that is how our Jedi got herself in this particular situation.” Tyran said sternly “Get the ship and hold it, we’ll link up with Yunauli at a prearranged rendezvous point and switch over to the Tal’galaar. From there it’s a six hour hop to the staging area where we rearm and prep for the liberation of Katna Major.”

    Tyran glanced at the countdown display as it reached four minutes. “Everyone gear up, Yunauli get to the cockpit and get ready to go dark. Rev, get in the hatch turret and keep your head on a swivel.”

    Ryia embraced his younger brother for a few seconds before the younger soldier ascended the ladder to the ships one external cannon. Section by section lights starting to shutoff in the ship as Yunauli began to shut down all primary systems except the engines, his hand hovering over the silent-running button on the console next to the pilot’s seat. Suddenly the ship gave a massive shudder and Yunauli hit the steal button immediately.

    Tyran made his way to the cockpit grabbing at whatever he could to keep his balance as the ship began to shudder more. Yunauli didn’t even turn his head “Dovin basal.”

    Less than a minute after hitting the switch the hum of the Tal’galaar’s main drives disappeared and only the small vibrations coming off of the stealth drives gave any indication that the ship was being propelled at all. The bright streaks of light in the cockpit straightened out into stationary motes of light and the grey ball of sludge that was Katna-II came into view, almost the size of a thumbnail at that distance. But beyond it was the significantly larger Katna Major, the once lush green landscape that had been depicted in all of the briefing session Tyran had been a part of did not resemble the brown and black orb that lay before them.

    “Think they destroyed the planet?” Yunauli asked “Like Ithor?”

    “No, just altered the atmosphere.” Tyran said “We had intelligence reports of Yuuzhan Vong terraforming the surface and erecting large structures. They wouldn’t do all that and then turn the planet into a wasteland.”

    “Or would they?”

    “Ryia get everyone into the escape pod.” Tyran said after opening up an encrypted link to his second in command. “Make sure they are all strapped in tight, this might get bumpy.”

    “What about you?”

    “I’ll join you once Yunauli gets us close enough for launch.” Tyran said “Get it done.”

    “You just want to make sure I can handle your ship.” Yunauli said.

    Tyran strapped himself into the co-pilots seat and activated an exterior holocam recorder “Might as well get some intelligence for the Fleet.” He said ignoring the veteran pilot’s correct assumption.

    Yunauli gave a nod of his head and began to gently increase the speed of which the ship was heading towards the small murky moon.

    “Contact, cruiser analog.” Rev said from his position in the hatch turret “It has skip escorts, doesn’t look like they’ve spotted us yet.”

    “They won’t” Yunauli said confidently “This tub is as dark as space itself, we’ll be hard to spot.”

    Tyran nodded his head feeling quite confident in his ships stealth capabilities but couldn’t help but feel a sense of foreboding growing in his gut as they drew closer to the cruiser-analog and the large ring of asteroids that lay beyond it, encircling the moon of Katna-II. Yunauli put the ship into a gentle dive easing his way under the flight path of the cruiser-analog and its coralskipper escorts.

    “Track them Rev, let me know if they so much as twitch in our direction.” The veteran pilot said he whispered the command more than spoke it. There was a confirming hiss of comm static from the hatch turret.

    Tyran absently clenched his fists as the underbelly of the yorik-coral ship came into view of the cockpit and a flight of seven coralskippers flying flanking positions on either side.

    “ETA to drop zone?” Tyran asked Yunauli without looking away from the living asteroid floating just over them.

    “Three minutes until we break the first line of the enemy fleet, two minutes until we’re within the minimum range to jettison the pod.” Yunauli said his eyes fixed firmly ahead on the enemy fleet as it drew closer.

    “You catch that Ryia?”

    “Yeah, those minutes might as well be hours.” Ryia sighed. Tyran silently agreed and felt a small surge of relief as they passed under the cruiser-analog and its skip escort.

    Yunauli brought the ship in to a steady climb and leveled the vessel out bringing it back on course. Tyran watched in amazement for the next two minutes as the Mandalorian pilot skillfully maneuvered the vessel around the Yuuzhan Vong fleet and brought them to the launching point.

    “You better go strap yourself into the pod Tyran,” Yunauli said as he began to flip a series of switches “I’ll start angling the ship for launch.”

    “Right, see you at the RV point in a few hours.” Tyran said climbing from the copilot’s chair and making his way back towards the escape pod.

    The outer hatch to the pod was still open when he arrived a few moments later and he climbed in and took a seat next to Dyir Carud, the royal blue armored Mandalorian gave him a slight nod.

    “Yunauli we’re set.” Rixa said sealing the door from the control panel in front of him. “Open the launch doors when the ship is in position.”

    There was static over the comlink for a few tense seconds “Rixa it looks like we’ve got some interested skips heading our way. What do you want me to do?”

    “If they come any closer open fire.” Tyran said “Just get us as close as you can.”

    “Affirmative.”

    There was a deep chugging sound as the hatch turret began to charge up. An odd calming sensation washed over Tyran as he felt his center of gravity shift as the Tal’galaar changed its position, angling towards the planet. His life was no in the hands of Fate and there wasn’t anything he could do about it. Once those pod doors opened the only thing between his team and death was the flying skills of his little brother. The steady thumping rhythm of the ships hatch turret firing away echoed through the pod quickly joined by the high pitched whine of the forward laser cannons being fired by Yunauli.

    “Well so much for stealth.” Volar said darkly.

    Before Tyran could open his mouth to retort a loud clang echoed around the pod followed by a skull shaking boom and a sudden, rapid acceleration. The tube-shaped pod rocketed from the bay at the rear of the Tal’galaar and began to scream towards the grey sphere ahead of them. Tyran noted from a brief glance out of the small cockpit that Yunauli had maneuvered the large space-yacht deep within the Yuuzhan Vong fleet and was now being fired upon from multiple coralskippers and light frigate-angalog cruisers.

    Dawk was sitting directly in front of him with her head down and her fist clenched on her knee and Tyran couldn’t help but reach out and place his much larger hand on top of hers in a gesture of comfort.

    “Relax kid, Rixa Numeck is one of the finest starpilots in the galaxy.” Dyir said. He was Tyran’s age, 19, and had seen and done just about as much as Tyran. “If anyone can get us through this mess it’ll be him.”

    “If Rixa is so good how come is isn’t co-piloting the Tal’galaar?” Dawk asked.

    “Because we need someone who knows how to fly a Yuuzhan Vong ship, he has had access to some simulators and few of the captured vessels the Alliance has.” Ryia said.

    Rixa banked the pod to the right, hard, sending Dawk, Ryia, Kial and Kas slamming into their harnesses.

    “A little warning next time eh?” Kas Birek shouted towards the cockpit his voice layered with an accent found on Concord Dawn.

    “Sit back and shut up.” Rixa yelled back angrily, his usually cool composure was rarely broken and that was a sign to Tyran that things were not going very well up front.

    He opened a private link to his brother “HUD link.” He said.

    A small window appeared in his own heads-up-display showing everything that his little brother saw, in much smaller detail. A swarm of coralskippers was heading from a large carrier-analog straight toward the escape pod.

    “Everyone hold on.” Rixa said through gritted teeth as he put the pod into a roll, spiraling through the swarm.

    Bright flashed began to fill the pod as plasma missiles began to erupt in front of, behind and all around the small escape craft. Volar started cursing quickly in Mando’a which launched the large Barabel into a fit of sissing.

    “Why are you laughing?!” Volar exclaimed “This is no time for laughter.”

    “This one is not laughing at or our situation, this one is laughing at you.”

    “You’re lucky we’re about to die or I’d smack some common sense into your scaly head.”

    “This one will attribute your remark to battle stress,” Koryn hissed menacingly “But a second comment iz not recommended.”

    Volar sank back in his jumpseat as far as he could as the Barabel leaned forward still hissing and his large tail thumping against the durasteel behind him.

    “Koryn you can kill Kial after we get the Jedi off that moon and back to the taskforce.” Tyran said genuinely “But for now, as hard as it is to believe, we need him.”

    Somehow the Barabel was the only one not being knocked around in his seat by the constant jinking and juking that Rixa was making the pod do to avoid the skip barrage. Koryn nodded his large head and sat back perfectly still in his seat.

    A private link appeared on Tyran’s HUD. “You wouldn’t actually let him kill me would you?”

    “Depends on how things go planetside.” Tyran ended the link “How long until landfall?” he stated over the shared link.

    “Two minutes until we enter the atmosphere.” Rixa said putting the craft through another stomach knotting roll.

    He heard a relieved sigh come over the shared link and he hadn’t needed to look at the transmitter ID to tell that it had been Dawk who had let the sigh slip through her lips. The shipped lurched violently as it impacted the outer atmosphere of the planet and the interior grew increasingly hot.

    “Rixa you’ve got……ive skips on yo…..ail.” Yunauli’s voice washed over the comlink, most of it garbled in the static interference from entering the atmosphere.

    Tyran could see the murky mountain tops beginning to peak out from under the dismal clouds and he couldn’t help but feel a little better at their chances of making landfall intact.

    “Yunauli repeat that last message.” Rixa said as he pointed the craft in the direction of the LZ coordinates he had displayed on his HUD.

    “Skips, on your tail!” Yunauli repeated much clearer now that the pod was through the atmosphere.

    “How man-” he was cut off by an earsplitting bang and a sudden wave of smoke washing in from the rear of the pod. Tyran felt the pod begin to spin in a downward spiral, rapidly gaining speed. “We’ve been hit, I’ve lost all control of the pod.” Rixa announced as if he had just relayed a weather report. “Hang on to something.”

    “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” Dawk yelled over the rising whine of alarms gong off in the cockpit. Something solid slammed into the side of the pod sending it into a now rolling downward spiral, the sudden impact jolted free the bolts on a few of the restraint harnesses sending Dawk, Ryia and Kas slamming into Beluin, Koryn and Tyran. Gravity took over and pinned the Mandalorians together.

    “What just hit us?” Kial yelled as Rixa tried to regain some form of control over the pod.

    “Coralskipper.” Rixa said back.

    The last thing Tyran Numeck saw before things started to go really wrong was the rapidly expanding view of a mountainside. A violent impact followed tearing everyone from their restraints and throwing them around inside the pod like a Twi’lek shaking up an intoxicating beverage at a tapcaf. There was yelling and screaming, all involuntary, natural reflexes to the event occurring around the eleven Supercommandos. Every now and then it was pierced by the sound of wrenching durasteel and breaking permaglass. There was one final violent impact against something wet and it was the last thing Tyran felt before blacking out.

     
    Last edited by Mando-Man, Jun 7, 2014
  2. Mando-Man Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 1, 2008
    star 2
    [Chapter Two]

    “How large was the ship?” High Commander Falas Draisa inquired of the young warrior standing before him. Bearing little in the way of scarring or ritual marks of any kind the warrior was of little interest to the Yuuzhan Vong high commander, but he had witnessed the event unfold before the Grand Temple of Yun-Yammka.

    “Not large, more of an escape vessel than anything Commander. I watched as it was obliterated over the Temple. Justice from Yun-Yammka for invading his sacred ground.”

    “What of survivors?”

    “I don’t believe any infidels would have survived such a crash and if they had they wouldn’t live long, critical injuries must have been inflicted. I watched as one of our fighters rammed into the vessel to prevent it from crashing through the Temple. The violence of the impact was like that I’ve never seen before.”

    “You watched as an infidel vessel crashed outside the Temple of Yun-Yammka, and you didn’t go investigate the scene to be sure that no infidels desecrated the holy temple of our War God?!” Falas said slowly, his voice quite laced with venom and the young warrior stood silent searching for an appropriate response. “You’re dismissed.” Falas said feeling that the young warrior would not have much more of anything useful to tell him. He gave a subtle wave of his hand to the large warrior behind the witness, without question the large and heavily scarred warrior wrapped his thick arm around the neck of the smaller warrior and gave a sharp twist resulting in a sickening crack and a gurgling sound as the young warrior fell to the ground. “Justice from The Slayer for not ensuring his holy grounds continued to be unsullied by the filth of the Infidels.”

    “High Commander, I would volunteer to search the crash site for survivors and ensure what the weakling has not.” The large warrior said.

    “No Kurru I want you to speak with the Jeedai again and make sure she has no means of contacting the other Infidels that we haven’t yet discovered.” Falas said scratching at his split chin “Have your finest warriors search out the crash site and have that thing disposed off.” He said motioning to the dead body on his palace floor.

    “As you command.” The warrior said with a salute motioning to two of his subordinates to remove the body and relaying the commands he’d been given into a shoulder villip.

    Falas turned out towards the large viewing membrane that looked over the treacherous terrain outside his command post, he wasn’t overly worried about their being survivors, from all accounts he had heard the one thing they’d all had in common had been the fact that the crash had been a particularly vicious one and most infidels were fragile creatures at best. If there had been anyone on the craft they were more than likely dead, his concern was the ship that had engaged his picket ships in orbit. What was its purpose for entering this system and why had it launched the smaller vessel and then promptly jumped back out of the system.

    The only answer he could come up with was that it had something to do with the Jeedai and if she was aware of some kind of rescue attempt Kurru Ivat would promptly discover that information and he would also discover how she had relayed her whereabouts to the other Jeedai.

    “Kurru I do not want our Jeedai guest killed but she must be broken this time, you have permission to do whatever you must short of killing her to get the information we need.” He said to his subordinate without turning from the viewing membrane.

    “As you command.” Ivat replied quickly

    “Be patient,” Falas droned on “The Jeedai will be sacrificed to Yun-Yammka, once I am certain she has nothing of value to further tell us.” The High Commander could practically feel the smile that spread across the torn face of his subordinate.

     
     
    ***********

     
    Pain.

    That’s what had made up the existence of Raven Varos for the last week, or was it two weeks, three? She had lost count of how many days she had been pinned to the yorik coral wall deep within the winding tunnels of the Yuuzhan Vong stronghold. She hadn’t lost track of how many times she had been submitted to the Breaking. The count had reached five and it was sure to reach further than that, more than likely to the point where she was a broken shell of herself both mentally and physically ultimately leading to her execution.

    At first it had been brutal physical attacks that had left her injured and weakened, the left side of her face was swollen to the point that vision in her left eye was obscured. She was positive at least five of her ribs were broken or cracked because when she inhaled it was as if one of her captures had stuck her with a knife and constantly twisted the blade. Those breakings had all been a tactic to break her mental stability.

    Now every time the large Yuuzhan Vong came into the room it took all of her willpower to not scream in terror and beg for mercy but she was determined not let her captors have that satisfaction, but she was starting to doubt how long she would be able to hold out. He would ask her questions and when she didn’t answer she received a strike from an amphistaff, the snake like weapon had dug its fangs into her back and delivered its toxic venom over and over and each time a second Yuuzhan Vong warrior would apply a viscous substance to the wounds on her back. She had assumed that it was to ward off the effects of the amphistaff venom because she hadn’t died yet from the mass amounts of venom being introduced to her system. She knew that had to be some kind of counter agent to the venom and she knew it wasn’t being applied to her as a gesture of mercy from her captors, but just another way to ensure that she didn’t die from the bites and to further break her mental will.

    After every session she was pinned back against the wall and left in almost impenetrable darkness, after which she used what time she had to enter a healing trance and begin to repair some of the damage done by her captors. It didn’t help dull the pain she felt but at least it made her that much stronger and somewhat ready to deal with the next round of punishment, physically anyway.

    Her one desperate seed of hope was the ERS emitter buried under the skin behind her ear, there was no external lights on the device that showed through her skin or any kind of mark that would give the Yuuzhan Vong reason to check for that kind of thing. She had hoped it had been activated when the Yuuzhan Vong had begun their initial round of physical violence towards her. The device was activated by touch and her captors had grabbed her by the neck and slammed her head against the yorik coral wall more than once. She was certain their fingers had touched the area the device had been implanted but she still had no way of knowing whether it had been activated or not. She wouldn’t until a taskforce arrived to rescue her and she was sure she would know when that happened because the Yuuzhan Vong would be rushing about the structure like a swarm of Jabiim hunting wasps defending their disturbed nest.

    So far no such activity had occurred and none of her captors had come to question her about anything that would give her a reason to think that anything like that may have happened. On a whim she reached out in the Force and as she suspected she felt only the hollow void left by the Yuuzhan Vong. She felt the presence of the wildlife of Katna-II, nothing more than a giant mudball in space. That’s why she figured the Yuuzhan Vong hadn’t changed the planet as drastically as they had others, it was already dark and dismal and void of any form of the technology that they found so offensive to their religion. From the little she had been able to record before being captured, the Yuuzhan Vong had done nothing more than erect several yorik coral structures at various sites on the surface. The largest being a temple meant for their war god Yun-Yammka, which also served as their base of operations.

    She opened her eyes and licked her lips, which were swollen to twice their size and as cracked and dry as the ones on the hideous faces of some of her captors. Her throat was dry and itchy and it was sore from countless hours of screaming, she had little doubt that her voice might never be the same as it had been before her capture and she found herself somewhat scared of the prospect of sounding like a Hutt for the rest of her days, if they weren’t already on a countdown nearing zero. She reached out in the Force one more time and felt the empty void and the small presence of what animals the Yuuzhan Vong hadn’t exterminated yet and then she felt it. A surge of rage and anger unlike anything she had ever felt before and that’s when she knew she wasn’t the only living being on this planet.

    Suddenly there were multiple presences flooding her way, at least a dozen or so. Each one of them different than the first, some scared, some angry, some concentrated on a single task set before them. She began to believe that she was going to be rescued soon but told herself not to get too excited there was every possibility that those presences were nothing more than people who had been captured by the Yuuzhan Vong and delivered here to receive the same kind of treatment as her. Still though she couldn’t keep a smile off of her face, until the entry membrane to her room opened and Kurru Ivat entered, his well used amphistaff coiled in a whip form in his four fingered hand.

    Again she felt the urge to scream and found herself trying to draw her body back into the unyielding yorik coral wall behind her. The Yuuzhan Vong warrior let a sneer cross his face as he drew near.

    Jeedai I have more questions for you.” He growled at her as a few warriors he’d brought with him removed the blorash jelly from around her wrists, waist and ankles and repositioned her in a kneeling stance before Ivat “And you will answer them.”

    “I….wouldn’t…..count….on it.” She wheezed through her damaged throat.

    The comment earned her a backhand across the face “I have been given permission from the High Commander to do as I wish in order to get the answers we seek.”

    A tremendous amount of fear trickled down her spine but she returned her gaze to the warrior and fixed him with a defiant stare, ignoring the tears streaming down her face.

    “You think yourself brave Jeedai?” Ivat asked uncoiling his amphistaff “We shall see how brave you are.” He walked around her just as he had done in all the previous interrogations cracking his amphistaff in the air as a successful intimidation tactic. “Tell me why a small infidel vessel would enter this system, drop an escape pod and then promptly leave the system.” He inquired.

    “They had a bad travel agent.” Raven replied.

    Ivat snarled and struck out with the amphistaff and Raven tried not to scream too loud as the dagger like fangs of the living weapon dug into her back for the uncountable time. The venom rushed into her body as if she had acid in her veins burning through every blood cell she had. Ivat did not remove the creature from her back as he done so before, instead he let it stay there pumping more and more of the venom into her in an agonizing wave after wave of searing pain. She began to scream louder feeling as if her throat was going to tear itself apart. The amphistaff retracted and a smaller warrior applied the venom absorbing salve as usual. The substance did not remove the pain the venom had caused but at the same time she could feel the venom being removed from her system. The pain from the amphistaff overrode the burning sensation caused by the salve itself.

    “Why do you make this hard on yourself Jeedai?” Ivat asked again “Answer my question and your sacrifice will be all the sooner. Why would an infidel ship enter this system?!” he demanded. She continued sobbing choking on what little saliva had made its way into her throat, which felt like it would be ripped to shreds by the gentlest of breaths. “Tell me Jeedai! Do you have a communication device? Did you signal other infidels to come to your aid?”

    That’s when she knew for certain that the dozen or so presences she had felt were not those of prisoners but those of her saviors. The glimmer of hope she had been clinging to suddenly became a very real beacon shining bright on the horizon. She lifted her head and blew a lock of her black hair out of her bruised face.

    “I have no communication device, I don’t know what the ship was doing here.” She said her voice cracking and stinging her throat with every word. “But I hope that whatever they were doing is bad news for you scarhead.”

    Ivat snarled something to one of the warriors in the room and the warrior promptly exited and came back holding what looked like a human liver in his hand. Raven watched as the warrior handed Ivat the creature that was sure to be bad news for her. Ivat grabbed the liver in his left hand and gave it a hard squeeze, a small dot of a glowing substance landed on the tip of his index finger and a wisp of smoke appeared the moment the substance hit his skin. He closed his eyes and savored the pain the acid sent racing down his arm and fixed Raven with a very, very large smile.

    “I don’t believe you.” He said walking towards her and kneeling down so he was eye level with her. He pressed his acid coated finger to the bare skin under her right eye and she immediately began to try to pull away as the acid began to burn into her skin. Ivat grabbed her by the back of her hair and pressed her face against his finger and the scream she emitted was as animalistic as anything the Yuuzhan Vong warrior had heard out in the swamps of the planet. He pulled his finger away and felt satisfied with the red circle that had appeared where he had touched her, the skin around it blackened.

    “Do you wish to continue lying to me Jeedai or would you like to have another taste of the voka’s acid?” She was sobbing again, her face feeling as if it had just been struck by the raw power of lightning.

    “Please….no more.” She found herself begging and every Yuuzhan Vong in the room adopted a look of satisfaction at having finally broken the Jeedai. “Please.”

    “Answer my question!” Ivat snarled his nose less face mere inches from his. “I have touched you with my bare hands and have become unclean all in the service of the War God and I grow tired of dealing with you and your frail body. You are unworthy of being in my presence and I promise you that the Priests will make your sacrifice a drawn out and painful ordeal if I don’t get my answer!”

    Raven drew her head up and tried to work some saliva into her mouth in order to form the correct words. She looked him in the eyes fixing him with a defiant stare and spat into the disfigured mass in front of her. Ivat drew back, enraged by her action he pulled a silver cylinder from his belt and Raven instantly recognized it.

    Her lightsaber.

    “Having already dirtied myself in the service of Yun-Yammka and you appearing to have become accustomed to several of my methods I think a new approach is in order.” He growled at her as he eyed the cylinder in his hand studying it. If she could have had some use of her hands she would have tried to reach out for the weapon in the Force and used it to free herself, but the blorash jelly had completely coated her hands. She gasped when she heard the all too familiar snap-hiss of her weapon being activated and she cringed when she saw the room was now bathed in the purple light being emitted by her violet blade.

    “Blasphemy.” One of the other warriors yelled “That is an infidel weapon and you have the nerve to activate it within the Temple of our War God?!”

    “It is in the service of Yun-Yammka that I activate this weapon, in an effort to protect this Temple from the filth of the infidels do I further dirty myself. If the Gods wish to punish me for this than I will take whatever punishment they assign to me.” Ivat roared back swinging out with the weapon and lopping the accuser’s head off at the shoulders.

    He turned his gaze back to Raven and she tried to swallow “My life may be forfeit now but I will not have this temple dirtied by you or any of your allies.” He pointed the blade at her throat and she feared that maybe her rescue had come too late. That was when the entry membrane opened into life and a large Yuuzhan Vong enshrouded by a blood-red cape embedded into his shoulders entered the room.

    “High Commander!” Ivat said turning off the lightsaber and saluting his superior

    “Your scouts have reported in Kurru.” Falas said fixing his eyes on Raven “They have encountered infidel resistance and have begun to take casualties.”

    Ivat snarled and made a move to backhand Raven again but Falas stopped him “You have sullied yourself enough for one day Kurru. I want you to take as many warriors as you can muster and engage the infidels, stop them from entering the Temple.”

    “As you command.”

    Kurru and his one remaining warrior departed the room at a fast pace and High Commander Falas Draisa turned his gaze from the captured Jeedai to his now filth ridden subordinate. “You are strong Jeedai, that I will give you, but I would not hope to be saved by your allies.” He said turning back to her “They are vastly outnumbered.”

     
     
    ***********

     
    “They just keep coming!” Beluin yelled as another wave of razorbugs impacted the fallen tree the Zabrak was using as cover.

    “Hold the line!” Ryia yelled back as he opened fire with his repeating blaster burning a hole through the armor of a rushing Yuuzhan Vong warrior. When the warrior fell Ryia turned his attention to the group of wounded Mandalorians propped up against the shattered hull of the escape pod. “Dawk I need a sitrep!”

    “Not good.” she yelled back “Koryn is still alive but unresponsive, Baydo’s arm is dislocated and more than likely a concussion, Tyran is in the same state as Koryn.”

    Shab.” Ryia said “Try to get Tyran and Koryn up on their feet, we wont be able to hold this position much longer.”

    The young medic didn’t respond and went back to work on trying to revive the strike team leader and the unconscious Barabel. Baydo was propped up against a sheared piece of durasteel hull, safe from the incoming alien projectiles. Dawk came to a skidding halt at his side.

    “How’s your head?” she asked grabbing hold of his arm.

    The older and larger Mandalorian gave a slight shake of his head “Visions clearer than it was, my arm isn’t feeling so great though.”

    “Well considering it was almost ripped free of your body I can see why it might hurt some.” she said “It has to be popped back into place.”

    “Do it.” the Mandalorian said instantly “I need to get back in the fight and you need to get Koryn and Tyran up and in fighting order.”

    Dawk nodded and grabbed hold of the dislocated arm. It was a lot heavier than the medic had thought it would be. Years of physical military training and farm work had turned Baydo into one of the more muscular members of the strike team. She wasn’t certain she had the physical strength to achieve the desired effect. She looked around the crater at the rest of the strike team looking for the least occupied Supercommando. Considering that they were all fighting for their lives, they were all pretty occupied.

    Her gaze came to rest on the team’s heavy weapons expert, a tall Mandalorian with dreadlocked hair and spiraling tribal tattoos down his arms. She could see the tattoos because Kas Birek’s red on black armor had no sleeves to it. Just a body cuirass, shoulder pads, greaves, gauntlets and boots. He was the largest human member of the team, outsized only by the Barabel.

    “Kas I need some assistance here.” she yelled over the shared link. His head turned in her direction and hesitated for a brief moment before sprinting over to her side.

    “What do you need?” his deep voice boomed in her helmet.

    “I need you to pop his arm back in its socket, I don’t have the strength to do it.” she pointed over to where Baydo was sitting.

    Kas nodded and quickly darted over to his injured comrade, gave him a quick pat on the uninjured shoulder and grabbed hold of the dislocated limb at the wrist and elbow and gave an unceremonial shove far more forceful than anything than Dawk could have done. There was an audible click and an short outcry of pain over the teams shared link followed by Baydo’s heavy breathing.

    “Thanks vod, I owe you one.” he said.

    Kas hauled him to his feet and shoved a light repeating blaster into his hands “We have to get out of here in one piece before you can owe me one.”

    The two men hurried off to fill in weak points within the perimeter that had been created around the crashed pod. Dawk ran over to Tyran and removed his helmet. She didn’t have any stinksalts on her, nor did anyone else on the team. But that would have been to easy. She stared at him for a few seconds and simply gave him a hard slap across the face.

    “Wake up!” she yelled.

    A sudden roar filled the air and Dawk looked up and around the battlefield for the source. Molten rock began to rain down around the Mandalorians, making smaller craters within the already massive crater the team was situated in.

    Rixa was at Dawk’s side in an instant.

    “Whats your status, we need to move.” his voice was calm and stable.

    Dawk gave a defeated shrug “I can’t get either of them to respond to stimuli.” her voice wasn’t as stable as his.

    “Then we’ll have to carry them.”

    “I’m not carrying the Barabel.” Volar’s voice echoed over the shared link.

    “You’ll carry who I tell you to carry.” Ryia’s voice joined in. “Until Tyran gets back in action, I’m in charge.”

    Rixa paid no attention to the argument the two men were having while simultaenously fighting off their attackers. His gaze never left the ground where his brother still lay unconscious. “Elai we need to move, got eyes on any defensible locations from your vantage point?”

    The Kiffar sniper was positioned in one of the many trees that surrounded the front of the pod. The tree the red armored sniper had chosen was just over twelve meters high and provided a decent view of the battlefield.

    “Rixa I have eyes on what looks like a cave entrance, it’s the only defendable position in the immediate area.”

    “Ryia did you copy that?”

    “Affirmative.”

    Rixa was in the process of waiting for Ryia to give the retreat order when a solid mass slammed into him from the back. A searing pain raced up from just under his shoulder blade. He wheeled around and a second and third mass slammed against his chest plate knocking him off his feet and onto his back. The razorbug that had lodged itself into a weakpoint in his armor penetrated even deeper as he landed on it. He tried to sit up but the two thudbugs that had hit him in the chest had driven every ounce of air from his lungs and he was still struggling to catch his breath.

    Dawk brought her blaster rifle up with the speed and precision to be expected of a soldier engaged in their first battle. She fired off a quick burst into the large Yuuzhan Vong warrior who had felled Rixa, the three laser bolts merely blackened the already dark crab armor of the warrior. He roared at the small soldier and brought his amphistaff into its rigid form and began moving at a quick pace toward Dawk. She switched her blaster rifle over to full auto and depressed the trigger.

    The crab armor began to smoke as it took impact after impact and the warrior began to move in a tight zig-zag pattern and the maneuver immediately affected the accuracy of the Mandalorian medic. He drew to within a meter of her and gave a savage swing with his amphistaff that would have connected with her head had she not performed a combat roll to avoid the strike. She came out of the roll behind the warrior but wasn’t fast enough to avoid the second swing of the amphistaff. The living weapon connected with her body in between her shoulder blades and knocking her down so she was now parallel with Tyran’s unconscious form. Her arms and fingers were numb and her nerve endings were exploding in little eruptions of fire within her body. A large boot came down on the small of her back and she cried out as a new wave of pain hit her.

    An equally large hand grabbed her by the back of her neck and hauled her to her feet. That was when she came face to face with her Yuuzhan Vong opponent. His face was nothing more than a mix of torn flesh and gold angular tattoos. His four front teeth were celarly visible through a missing patch of flesh on his upper lip and where the should have been a nose was nothing more than two ragged slits. Her visor fogged as his breath hit it and she couldn’t see as he pulled out his coufee, a knife like weapon. His grip tightened on her throat and she found herself wandering where the rest of the team were and why none of them had come to her aid yet.

    Then again she was just a rookie to them, some one who was just as expendable as any Galactic Alliance or Imperial Remnant foot soldier to the Mandalorians. It was only after this though crossed her mind that she saw the knife in the Yuuzhan Vong’s hand and saw the evil intent in the alien’s eyes. His arm drew back and promptly shot forward.

    Dawk hit the ground and remained still.
    Last edited by Mando-Man, Jul 25, 2013
    Rau_Fang likes this.
  3. Mando-Man Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 1, 2008
    star 2
    CHAPTER THREE:

     
    Dead. He had to be dead.

    It was the only explanation for the empty darkness that hung over his field of vision. He had nothing but a memory of a stomach churning decent of a spacecraft through a moon’s atmosphere and a resulting impact that had been as violent as anything Tyran had experienced in the last few years of his life. Anything after that memory was just darkness, both cold and numb. He felt as if he was hanging over an abyss yet unable to drop into it or climb above it.

    There was nothing in the void, no movement, no sound, no gentle gust of wind and no smells to pull him back from the edge. He was truly alone. For the first time in his life he felt true fear. For all his life he had always had someone at his back, whether it be his younger brother, one of his friends, or even his father, there had always been somebody there with him. But now there was nobody.

    It was just him and the void. Was this his punishment for all the horrific things he’d done in the name of destroying the Yuuzhan Vong? Was he to suffer a fate worse than that of all the people he had watched become victims to the alien invaders as he and the other Mandalorians stood by, waiting for the time to strike?

    Is this to be my fate, just hanging here for all of eternity unable to pass into the hereafter? his thoughts seemed to echo back to him off the darkness and reverberate back to him as voices that had belonged to people whom he had known to be long dead.

    “You don’t fear death but you fear not being able to pass on into whatever lies next, you fear not being able to join your fallen comrades in their next campaign of violence, still hungering for war and combat as a spectral being.” the voice of Giel Dolvo bounced back to him. “You aren’t so different from myself.”

    The comment ripped through Tyran as he floated in the nothingness. To hear something like that from a man who had sought to revive the Death Watch was unnerving, to find truth in it was almost unbearable.

    “I’m nothing like you!” Tyran spat back into the darkness. “I’m not a murdering thug.”

    “No, you are nothing more than a coward!” his own voice morphing once again into that of another deceased voice “Afraid that you will no longer be able to function as a warrior without the template of your father to live by. With him dead, everything that you had once hoped to become has vanished and you doubt you’ll be able to revive that hope!”

    “NO!” Tyran roared at the disembodied voice of Mon Lieva “I am not a coward like you! I rose up against my enemy and I have fought them at every turn. I am not afraid of the Yuuzhan Vong!”

    “No, just afraid of life.” a third voice rang out, a voice that would have dropped Tyran to his knees had he been standing. “You’re afraid of living. You have seen what horrors you are capable of committing and are afraid that after this war is over you wont be able to turn off the drive to further carry out those horrors.” Ruima Numeck echoed out of the abyss.

    Unlike the previous voices the voice of Tyran’s father decided to take shape. His father’s image shimmered into existence before his horrified eyes.

    “I expected better from you Tyran.” Ruima Numeck droned on in a dark tone.

    “I fought to avenge you-”

    “Placing many of your allies in danger in the process!” the ghostly image of Ruima interrupted “You fight with a mind clouded in anger and rage that does nothing but put others at risk, that is not how I trained you to fight.”

    “You didn’t train me to fight this kind of war.”

    “The war with the Yuuzhan Vong is no different than any other war, the only difference is that the stakes are higher this time and the galaxy will need every criminal, smuggler, politician, soldier and Jedi that can be mustered to save it from the coming darkness.” the ghost paused for a moment and adopted a softer tone “If you don’t clear your mind of your emotions I guarantee you that the galaxy will be short one soldier it needs, plus the number of soldiers standing at your back.”

    “It’s too late, I’m already dead.” Tyran sighed.

    The specter released what must have been a snort of amusement “Tyran if there is one trait I am proud that you inherited from me it is my knack for being hard to kill.”

    “Considering I’m talking with a ghost that isn’t very reassuring.” Tyran tried to move his head to avoid looking at his father’s ghost “Rixa can lead the others and get them off that mud-sphere.”

    “Rixa, the formidable combatant he may be, is not leadership material. Your brother is too young and still too saddened by my death to be an effective commander. He needs his brother and your team needs their leader back.”

    “I don’t want to be their leader!” Tyran roared at his fathers ghost.

    “What do you want?”

    A silence filled the abyss as Tyran searched what remained of his soul for the answer. The seconds that could have been hours or days seemed to tick by in what felt like years, but he found his answer. Without looking up at the ghost and with a harsh whisper Tyran said “Vengeance.”

    “For me?”

    “For Mandalore.” Tyran said “For the thousands of others who have the same guilt and pain that I have to bear.”

    “What do you have to feel guilty for?”

    “Your death, I could have stopped it had I been on Mandalore when the Yuuzhan Vong attacked. You would still be alive.”

    “No I wouldn’t and you wouldn’t be alive now to save that Jedi and I can’t stress to you how important it is that you rescue her.” Ruima said “I know what lies ahead for you Tyran and wish I could say that it is all warm and fuzzy but that would be a lie that would serve little purpose.”

    He became confused by his father’s words “I’m dead, I have to be.”

    “You’re very much alive,” the spectral Ruima said with a second amused snort “I suspect you’ll begin to regain feeling in your limbs soon.”

    Muted claps of thunder began to sound off somewhere in the back of Tyran’s mind and he was certain he could hear people screaming. He tried to turn his head in the direction of the sounds but some invisible force had him clamped in place.

    “Remember what I taught you as a child, you need to be cold and calculating. If ever the Jedi have gotten one thing right it is that fighting with your emotions only ends in disaster.” the ghost of Ruima Numeck echoed and his spectral form began to fade.

    Tyran began to struggle against the invisible hand holding him in place trying to reach out to his father. The last image Tyran saw was the two ghostly hands of his father come together in a clapping motion which resulted in a bright flash of white light.

    In one single instant, pain racked Tyran’s body surging through his nervous system like lava flows rushing down a mountainside. Normally pain would have been a good sign as it meant he was alive, but considering everything that had just happened and the, for lack of a better word, vision he had just had the Mandalorian wanted to go back to the abyss and have a longer discussion with his father. There were so many question he needed answered but knew that would forever remain mysteries.

    The claps of thunder became clearer and the yelling sharper, his vision went from dark to a blurry gray and individual shapes began to appear before him. He heard a young girl scream not less than a meter from his right. His head rolled in that direction and he noted a solid black mass laying immobile in the mud. Standing just ahead of the mass on the ground was an upright mass with its arm extended gripping a much smaller grey mass.

    His vision cleared to what amounted to eighty-percent clarity and the shapes became people. Tyran noted the black mass on the ground as being his little brother, two razorbugs protruding from his backplate. The large upright mass was an imposing Yuuzhan Vong warrior, disfigured in a way that signified a high ranking member of the warrior-caste. The small grey mass the Yuuzhan Vong was holding became the eighteen year old medic that had been attached to his team by Boba Fett. A young girl who was ironically named Dawk.

    Adrenaline flooded his body providing it with strength and speed that it would not otherwise have been able to generate at the current time. Becoming aware that his helmet was nowhere to be seen Tyran scrambled to his feet and made a rush for the Yuuzhan Vong warrior, knowing that Rixa was in no position to be helped at the moment and probably wouldn’t be if the team medic was slain.

    He flexed his left wrist which activated the sensor in his gauntlet which in turn activated one of the beskar blades housed within the armor plating. A sharp blade of the indestructible metal about a third of a meter long ejected from the black plating with a crystal clear shink. He was angry that his little brother was laying in a pool of blood and he wanted to act on that anger, but his father’s voice echoed deep in his head.

    Cold and calculating.

    Tyran approached the Yuuzhan Vong warrior with all the grace of a Dathomiri jungle cat, targeting where crucial arteries that sustained life were located and noting the vulnerable points in the living crab armor the large warrior was encased in. Not that he needed to find any weak points in the living armor, Tyran was confident in his beskar blade to crack the warrior and his armor wide open at its most dense location.

    He watched the warrior pull a knife like weapon out from a sheath in the small of his back and made sure that the small Mandalorian in his iron grip saw the weapon as well, letting her see the tool of her demise. Whether the alien smiled or not Tyran could not tell but he paused before reaching back with the knife and lunging it forward towards the neck of his small prey.

    Tyran sprinted forward and Dawk let out an uncontainable yelp of fear as the knife bore down towards her throat. Tyran brought his muscular right arm around connecting with the Yuuzhan Vong warrior elbow to elbow, using his considerable, adrenaline aided strength to prevent the progress of the knife any further.

    Dropping the young Mandalorian, the Yuuzhan Vong turned his head in Tyran’s direction, a look of true shock on his mutilated face. Tyran knew his face was utterly devoid of emotion as he stared back, but his eyes must have been something different. The warrior he was now intertwined with faltered for one single, fatal instant and didn’t even try to prevent the blow as Tyran brought his left arm, and the beskar blade protruding from it, into the small of the Yuuzhan Vong warrior’s back.

    The cracking sound of vonduun crab armor and alien bone mingled together in a hideous noise that made Tyran nauseous. Seeing the twisted smile appear on the alien’s face as the immobilizing pain overtook his body only amplified the sick feeling growing in Tyran.

    “Oh no, you don’t get to enjoy this.” Tyran whispered to the alien.

    With a single movement he ejected his second blade and brought it down across the neck of the Yuuzhan Vong, and before the separate sounds of body and head hitting the ground could catch up with his ears, Tyran was already crouching down by Dawk.

    “Kid are you alright?” he said hauling her to her feet. Her helmet had come off during when the warrior had dropped her and Tyran snatched it up and shoved it into her chest, almost knocking her back down. “Are you ok?”

    “Yes, what about you?” she said shakily as she replaced her helmet.

    “Don’t you worry about me, my brother is down.” Tyran said shoving her in Rixa’s direction ending their conversation “Ryia I need a sitrep!” he yelled across the forty meters of mud that the Mandalorian strike team was using as its defensive position.

    Ryia gave no sign of acknowledgment. He had his helmet on and was probably listening to the audio feed from the team’s shared link.

    Shab!” Tyran cursed as he twirled around as he looked for his helmet. He found it lying next to the still unconscious form of Koryn Bralor. He reached down and grabbed the dome-shaped helmet and secured it to the rest of his armor before repeating his order to Ryia again. “Ryia, sitrep, now!” was all he said before reaching down and pulling Koryn to his feet and giving the Barabel a very hard slap across the face. “Wake up!”

    “Tyran!?” Ryia exclaimed over the shared link “Shab I thought you were dead.” his voice was layered in relief and disbelief “Did you just smack a Barabel?”

    Koryn snarled in disapproval and his vice-like claws wrapped around Tyran’s forearms, unable to crush the thick beskar housings for his blades.

    “Koryn good of you to join us.” Tyran said grabbing the Barabel’s helmet and handing it to him in a more gentle gesture than he had to Dawk.

    “Thiz one feels as if he haz been….azsaulted.”

    “When we get out of here I’ll be you an ale.” Tyran said clapping him on the shoulder before grabbing the WESTAR heavy repeater that had been laid in the mud next to the wreck of the escape pod. “Right now I need you to help Dawk with Rixa, he is hurt and she isn’t trained enough to hold off multiple scarheads at once.” Koryn sissed his acknowledgement and rushed off towards Rixa and the small medic.

    Tyran jogged over to where Ryia, Dyir, Kas and Baydo were now hunkered down, avoiding salvos of thudbugs and razorbugs as he went. A razorbug caught him in the shoulder spinning him around in the process. His beskar armor managed to prevent the projectile from penetrating through to his skin and left nothing more than a few centimeter long gash in the black metal. He ripped the alien weapon out of his armor and hurled it at a charging Yuuzhan Vong, catching him in the forehead, the impact of the projectile combined with the alien’s forward momentum resulted in a midair back flip.

    He slid into position next to Dyir and Kas who were ducked down behind a large piece of durasteel that had been wrenched from the frame of the pod and into a convenient U-shape for the team to use as cover. “Still waiting on that sitrep.” he said.

    “I think our situation speaks pretty well for itself Tyran.” Kial said over the shared link.

    “For once I have to agree.” Ryia said darkly.

    “Then the galaxy must really be coming to an end.” If the joke had been made under different circumstances the men behind the durasteel sheet would have probably laughed.

    “Elai, you want to fill him in on what you just told me?” Ryia said.

    “I have visuals on multiple artillery beasts situated on a ridge two kilometers from here that are getting very close to dialing us in, the Yuuzhan Vong forces just keep boiling from over that hill in endless droves, I estimate they outnumber us twenty to one.”

    “That’s it?” Tyran said in a mock-cheery tone “Well we’ve faced worse odds before.”

    “You know that structure we almost collided with during our landing?” Ryia said “Well it appears to be a temple built for one of their gods.”

    Tyran’s heart sank. If they had landed so close to a Yuuzhan Vong temple that meant they would be dealing with very seasoned soldiers. The warriors on the outside of the temple wouldn’t be easy to get by but the ones on the inside would be almost impossible to elude.

    He sighed “Well that’s why they gave the job to us and not a team of Jedi.”

    “Do you have a plan?” Ryia asked shaking his head.

    Tyran consider for a moment and glanced around at his surroundings, relying on his naturally destructive nature to help him find a way out of their particular situation. His eyes were drawn to a stream of fluid jutting out from the drives of the mangled escape pod.

    Very explosive fluid.

    “Elai hold off on the cover fire and let as many of the Yuuzhan Vong through the perimeter as you can.” Tyran said looking up into the twisted trees that surrounded his team, not knowing which one the Kiffar sniper was hold up in but certain he was in one of them.

    “What?” multiple voices rang out at once.

    “You heard me, let them through. Kas I want a det charge rigged up in the pit near the pod’s drives, they are leaking coolant.”

    “You want regular or super strength?” the large Mandalorian asked.

    “What ever is enough to fry every Yuuzhan Vong that is standing in this pit when I give the detonate order.”

    “Super strength it is. Give me three minutes.”

    “Done, here’s the plan.” Tyran said broadcasting to the shared link so everyone could hear it “After the charge is planted and camouflaged we’ll begin a steady withdrawal into the treeline and set up a new defensive position forcing the Yuuzhan Vong to hold here in this location. When I see enough scarheads in this pit I’ll give the order to detonate.”

    “You do know how potent that coolant is right?” Dyir asked swapping out powerpacks in his BlasTech repeater.

    “I’m fully aware of how potent it is.”

    “Good, just seeing if you know how fast all of us are going to have to run after Kas hit’s that button.”

    “Very Fast”

    **************

    Raven could barely feel her arms at this point. They had been stretched out along the wall at their maximum, hyper extending both her elbows, and secured in place with blorash jelly. She had become used to the various pains assaulting her body on almost a one minute basis. She had been visited by several members of the Yuuzhan Vong whom had continued on in their attempts to break her. They could not figure out how the small Jedi was defeating their methods, why she was not succumbing to the pain as other members of her hated group had done in the past.

    They had even tried to beat the answer out of her but to no avail. Drawing on the Force to heal her wounds between sessions had given her strength to resist the brutality, physically she was able to take whatever they threw at her but mentally she was sure her breaking point was nearing.

    She was clinging to hope to hold her fears at bay.

    Hope that the new presences she felt in the Force would be able to get to her and free her from this prison. She concentrated on those presences in the Force, those eleven different mixes of emotions and beliefs she interpreted as a wash of different colors. Each one was unique but all carried the same undertone of dark determination and practiced discipline.

    Soldiers. Not Jedi.

    She couldn’t figure out why her Master, or any Jedi for that matter, hadn’t come to rescue her along with the eleven soldiers that could only have been special forces. The thought had been counterproductive to her attempts at staving off the fear boiling in her. She clamped down on that emotion trying to bury it deep again.

    Jedi don’t feel fear. she told herself.

    She steadied herself and concentrated on one of the more vibrant Force presences, a combination of fear, courage, sadness and rage that presented itself to her as a swirling vortex of reds, browns and yellows in the Force. She reached out and touched that presence, nothing more than a simple nudge to let him know that she was here and that she needed them.

    The presence faltered for a single moment, most likely do to feeling her touch through the Force, but quickly recovered and set back to what he was doing. She grabbed on to the courage in that presence, the only emotion that radiated as brightly as the crimson rage that enshrouded the presence, drawing on it to bolster her own.

    Who ever you people are, please hurry.

    **************

    Tyran shook his head. He felt as if someone was watching him, not an unusual feeling in a combat zone, but the sensation didn’t feel dangerous as it usually would have. There was a sense of urgency and desperateness to the feeling.

    “We need to hurry it up.” he said as he returned to his firing position. He had no doubt in his mind that the feeling he had felt had been their Jedi. He let loose into a couple of Yuuzhan Vong warriors rushing over the hill and down into the pit. His high-powered repeater burning neat holes through their crab armor. His repeater began to chirp as the powerpack depleted. “Reloading.”

    He ducked down behind a ragged piece of durasteel and Beluin, missing several cranial horns due to a close encounter with a razorbug, popped up to take his place.

    “What’s the rush?” Dyir asked.

    “I don’t think our Jedi has much longer before she submits to whatever the Yuuzhan Vong are doing to her.” Tyran said grimly. “Kas have you got everything set up?”

    The dark skinned Mandalorian stood up from his kneeling position near the pod drives. “Yeah we’re all set, we can blow this place to haran whenever you’re ready.”

    Tyran nodded and half crouched, half ran towards Dawk where she was tending to Rixa and the wounds inflicted by the razorbugs. The two of them were situated inside the remains of the pod, Koryn was standing watch just outside the ‘entrance’, which was nothing more than a jagged hole in the side of the pods hull.

    Tyran entered the shattered vessel and turned his head to the right, his brother was sitting up with his chest and back plates removed and several bands of crimson curving around his ribcage and down his the front of his torso.

    “You going to be able to run?”

    Rixa let out a labored snort “Yeah I’ll be fine once Dawk pumps me full of painstims.”

    “Will the dosage effect his combat efficiency?”

    Dawk nodded her head “If he want’s to feel absolutely no pain, yes but if he can be a big boy and tolerate a little pain he’ll be more than able to be combat ready.”

    Tyran grinned at the young medic, not very many people taunted his little brother like that.

    “What position are you in to make jokes?” Rixa said “It’s your fault this happened anyway.”

    Dawk jammed the painstim into the wound a lot harder than she needed to and smiled as Rixa let out a high-pitched yelp.

    “Sorry if that hurt.” she lied “That should take a minute to take effect, get your gear back on.”

    Tyran openly laughed as the small medic and her unofficial Barabel protector exited the pod.

    “You have a way with women little brother.” Tyran said helping him to his feet and handing him his missing pieces of armor.

    “Seems to run in the family.” Rixa grunted as he pulled on his durafab undershirt and chest piece. The ground shook as the Yuuzhan Vong artillery continued to dial itself in on the Mandalorian team. “It’s a shabla miracle that those things haven’t hit us yet.”

    “Hey I’ll take miracles where I can get them.” Tyran shoved a repeater into Rixa’s hands and rushed outside. “You’re up to speed on the plan.”

    “Yeah.” Rixa said jogging behind his older brother.

    “Good,” Tyran said switching back over to the shared link “Everyone grab your gear and star withdrawing to the treeline, Elai time to abandon your post.”

    There was a loud thud as the red armored sniper dropped from the tree canopy above and landing a meter ahead of Tyran.

    “Already abandoned.” the Kiffar said slinging his shatter gun over his back and hefting a new variant of the E-11 rifle in his hands.

    The trio began running for the treeline. Tyran kept his attention on the rotted husks of what had once been trees, not checking behind him to see if every member of his team was in tow. He came to a sliding stop behind a fallen husk and began counting the sounds of muted thumps as the rest of his team continued sliding into place behind similar objects of cover. It wasn’t long before razorbugs and thudbugs began to hammer against the defensive position the Mandalorians were huddled behind.

    “Hold them in the pit!” Tyran yelled as he returned fire at the alien warriors, not particularly aiming at any one warrior, but trying to keep them from exiting any further from the blast radius they were about to create.

    Rixa came down near a tree two meters to the right of Tyran. Even through the black armor that his little brother was wearing Tyran could see that he was breathing very heavy.

    “You alright?”

    Rixa shook his head “No, that painstim didn’t to anything.”

    “Should have been a little nicer to the medic then.” Dyir said dropping down beside Rixa. Kial and Baydo weren’t too far behind him.

    “Tyran I think they sent a whole battalion after us.” Kial said while he reloaded his weapon. He to was out of breath. Tyran glanced over his tree husk and couldn’t believe how many Yuuzhan Vong warriors were spilling over the hillside and into the pit rushing towards them.

    “Kas, do you still have that detonator.”

    “It’s practically glued to my hand.”

    “Give me a five count, when he reaches three we all break cover and head away from the blast zone. If any of us get separated, proceed to the designated rally points for your respective teams and wait.” he received confirmations from his ten Supercommandos and took in a large breath of air. “Start the count.”

    Kas began the count, putting two beat spaces between each number. All too soon his count reached three and Tyran was once again rushing through the muddy jungles of Katna-II. With every footfall he had to expend more energy than he would have liked by having to break the suction the mud created around his boots every time they impacted the muck. It effectively turned what should have been an incredibly fast run into a slow march.

    He heard a loud thunk beside him and made a quick glance to locate the source of the noise, only to see his little brother collapsed. Retreating back towards his little brother without a moments hesitation, Tyran was happy to see Rixa still conscious. The effort that it had taken to maneuver through the mud combined with the pain from his prior injury had taken a severe toll on his body. The sky beyond the treeline became illuminated for a single instant and Tyran knew that they had only moments to make a decision.

    Taking in their surroundings Tyran noted a shallow pool of water, putrid though it was. He grabbed Rixa by his collar and began to drag him towards the pool. It took considerable strength on Tyran’s part to pull both himself and his brother, weighed down by armor, weapons and several added pounds of mud and grime.

    “What are you doing?!” Rixa yelled at him “just let me go.”

    “Too late for that little brother.” Tyran said tossing Rixa into the pool of water just as the shockwave from the explosion hit him.

    He lurched forward, and fell on top of Rixa with all the grace of a dancing Hutt. The ground began to shake as if threatening to break the swamp-moon in two. A deafening roar hit the two of them seconds after the shockwave. The heat that enveloped the pair was so intense it threatened to boil the pool they were submerged in, cooking them alive in their armor. An immense wave of pressure washed down over them darkening the edges of Tyran’s vision.

    For the second time in as many hours Tyran felt the abyss reach up and grip him.

    **************

    Raven staring up into the face of High Commander Falas Draisa let out a sudden howl of pain, not caused by the painful methods of her captors but by the sudden rippling in the Force. The eleven presences she had been monitoring all suddenly erupted into hot, searing pain. Some of them more so than others.

    Then she felt the sudden vibration and hollow crack of thunder. Something horrible had just happened, caused either by the Yuuzhan Vong or her rescuers she did not know, but she knew that it had been costly. She could feel many of the soldiers who had come to break her out of her prison writhing in pain from whatever had happened and the young Jedi came to the conclusion that her rescue was not to be.

    Finally tears spilled down her cheeks and she began crying. Sobs echoing out from her in uncontrollable waves of agony. The portal to her chamber opened and a lesser Yuuzhan Vong warrior approached holding a leathery sphere out towards Draisa.

    The two began to speak in their native language and Draisa briskly grabbed the villip from his subordinate.

    Jeedai I believe you will want to hear this for yourself.” he said in Basic. The malicious joy in his voice unmistakable. He stroked the villip once and the face of Kurru Ivat appeared before him. “What is your report?”

    “High Commander, the infidels fled into the jungle and detonated their own vessel in an attempt to decimate our forces and aid in their escape.”

    “And?”

    “Their plan worked my lord, but it had a high cost. Many of our warriors were incinerated by the blast but Many of the infidels were wounded by the explosion as they did not anticipate the thickness of the mud that surrounds this area. It slowed their escape considerably and they were not able to vacate the blast radius in time.”

    Raven’s heart sank at the news. She now knew for certain she would never leave here alive.

    “We have gathered the survivors and are transporting them back to the Temple for breaking my lord.”

    “Very good Kurru, you have made the Slayer god most pleased. The stain of the Infidels on your soul may yet be cleansed after all. I await your return.” The image of Kurru Ivat gave what appeared to be a salute and the villip inverted once again. The grin that he turned on Raven practically made her skin leap from her body “Now Jeedai tell me what you were doing in my sector?”
    Last edited by Mando-Man, Aug 5, 2013
    Admiral Volshe and AzureAngel2 like this.
  4. aalagartassle Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 11, 2011
    star 4
    Great work, very exciting and the story line is spot on! Tag please
    Last edited by aalagartassle, Aug 20, 2013
  5. Mando-Man Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 1, 2008
    star 2
    Thanks. This is one of the more enjoyable stories to write out of all the fanfics I've written. I'm glad you enjoyed it so far, chapter four was put on hold for a bit but is now back on track and should be up shortly.
    aalagartassle likes this.
  6. AzureAngel2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    Your story reflects the culture & religion of the Yuuzhan Vong brilliantly. Please also tag me!:D
  7. Mando-Man Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 1, 2008
    star 2
    You bet ;).

    Glad you like it.

    Before when I was writing the NJO fics I hadnt actually read the NJO but now that I have, I see I may have missed the mark on some of my previous efforts. So this fic and the one that will follow it are my attempts to fix my previous mistakes.
    Last edited by Mando-Man, Aug 23, 2013
  8. Mando-Man Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 1, 2008
    star 2
    CHAPTER FOUR:

     
    The rain began to fall not long after the last few flames of the blast had finally burned out. Kurru Ivat surveyed the destruction caused by the infidel ship, privately approving the large crater that had been etched into the swamp. The Yuuzhan Vong warrior savored the smells of combat. The scent of burnt flesh, Yuuzhan Vong flesh, filled the air. The burning crater that had been the infidel vessel was emitting fumes of its own. There was more of a metallic and unnatural smell to those fumes. Kurru took great delight in watching the infidel vessel burn becoming somewhat entranced by the flames and the way they danced around the blackened Durasteel hull. Somehow the ship seemed like a massive aquatic beast that had been slain and brought to shore, it’s many pieces scattered across the sand.

    He subtly shook his head to clear the thoughts from his mind and return to his task at hand. He had three prisoners to bring back to the Temple to be submitted to the Breaking and eventually the honor of being sacrificed in the name of Yun-Yammka. Three soldiers, highly trained and effective combatants from a warrior culture that was both revered and feared in this galaxy for their prowess in battle. They had worked for the Yuuzhan Vong for sometime during their initial entry into this galaxy to begin it’s cleansing, using their skills to great effect until turning on them recently. Kurru was not aware of a word for their people in his native tongue but he knew the word used by the infidels of this galaxy.

    Mandalorians.

    Never having faced the Mandalorians but being fully aware of their reputation as warriors, Kurru found his first encounter with their kind to be underwhelming. He turned towards one of his subordinates, a moderately scarred warrior wearing the same, swirling, red and black tattoos of Domain Ivat.

    “Bring the prisoners to my personal transport.” he ordered the warrior as he turned away from the crater made by the drop pod and headed off towards his transport.

    It was slightly larger than the average coralskipper but not as large as a Yorik-Trema dropship. It could accommodate up to ten warriors and the pilot. Ivat, flanked on each side by some of his finest warriors approached the craft arriving just as three of the Mandalorians were being hauled onboard.

    “Commander surely these infidels cannot be the same beings who defeated three different Domains and retook two worlds from our forces?” the warrior to the left of Ivat snarled.

    “These infidels may not be the best that their kind has to offer, maybe they were sent here to die after their faults were recognized by their leader.” Ivat shrugged “It doesn’t matter. The High Commander will deal with them when we return to the Temple. Order the rest of the warriors to resume their regular patrols, we are done here.”

    “What of the others, there might still be more of them out there.”

    “If there are they will be too severely wounded to be of any threat.” Ivat said definitively.

    “Then they will be easy to hunt down and exterminate.”

    “The local wildlife will take care of that.” Ivat didn’t break his stride as he climbed into the transport and started for the rear of the craft.

    The three Mandalorians were already being hauled into the transport. Their helmets had been removed, either by the blast or by his warriors Ivat didn’t know and didn’t really care. He was rather surprised at how young the three humans appeared to be. They looked much younger than many of the other soldiers the infidels had thrown at him and his Domain when they had taken this system from them early in the Yuuzhan Vong’s conquest.

    Maybe that was the explanation for why they had failed so spectacularly in their mission to rescue the Jedi. Kurru thought to himself as he climbed into the transport after the six warriors. He slowly turned his body in the direction of his new prisoners, who were kneeling with their hands secured to the deck with blorash jelly, and took in no small amount of amusement from the dark looks he received.

    Two of them were rather large and looked similar enough in the faces that it was hard to not confuse them as twins, and Ivat instantly began to feel as is his position in his caste was going to change in a very rapid fashion. He had defeated a group of Mandalorians, prevented them from desecrating the Holy Temple of Yun-Yammka, stopped them from rescuing the Jeedai and now he potentially had three of them to sacrifice to the Slayer God, and two of those sacrifices had potential to be twins.

    They were even wearing identical armor, black with some gold trim and sigils here and there.

    “You!” he snarled at the largest Mandalorian “Are you his twin?!” he indicated the somewhat smaller and obviously injured Mandalorian to the big one’s right side.

    Tyran Numeck stared up at Ivat “Twin? Sorry to disappoint you but you won’t be getting any promotion on our account.” he spit on the large Yuuzhan Vong warrior’s vonduun crab chest plate.

    Snarling, Ivat struck Tyran in the side of his face with a large and armored fist. It only snapped the large Mandalorian’s head to the side, which he then slowly turned back to face Ivat “You’ll regret that.”

    “Are you threatening me infidel?” Ivat raged stepping closer to the Mandalorian.

    “He’s sure as hell not inviting you for caf and cookies.” the green armored Mandalorian to the left of the big one said dismissively. Volar received a solid backhand from the Yuuzhan Vong warrior standing next to him “Keep pushing your luck scarhead.” he yelled at the guard.

    The warrior reached out to strike Volar again but Ivat stopped him with an outstretched arm and a snarled phrase that sounded as alien to Tyran, Rixa and Kial as the large asteroid-esque transport they now found themselves in looked.

    “Do not touch the Mandalorians.” Ivat yelled “They will be a gift to Yun-Yammka from High Commander Draisa and must be delivered to him in decent order.”

    “This one is already heavily wounded.” the warrior behind Rixa said indicating the bloody crack in his durasteel backplate.

    “They will be thrown in with the Jeedai and their wounds treated so they will be in proper health for the sacrifice.” Ivat said giving Rixa a disgusted look “They have no honor left now that they have been defeated, it will do no further insult to have them receive medical aid.”

    “Pathetic meat sacks.” another warrior said kicking Rixa hard in his side.

    Rixa let out an involuntary yelp as the blow doubled him over partly as the blorash jelly kept him from being able to bend his abdomen all the way. Tyran and Kial turned their eyes to Ivat.

    “When we meet your Slayer God I’ll make sure to send his head to you after we’re done with him.” Tyran said.

    Ivat backhanded Tyran with his armored fist drawing a fresh cut across his face. His skin along the right side of his face was red, slightly burned by the explosion, an explosion he had engineered. He pushed the pain to the back of his mind, he had more important things to focus on.

    He had no idea how many of his team were left to execute the real plan, the one he, Rixa and Ryia had put together. The plan he had outlined to his team on the Tal’galaar had only been thought up because no one would have gone along with the real one. The plan was for Tyran and Rixa to be captured by the Vong and activate a tracking beacon that Ryia and the remaining team would follow and hopefully rescue them and the Jedi.

    But now Rixa was wounded, there was a third man on the team that shouldn’t have been there and he may have disintegrated the rest of his team with a spur of the moment idea.

    The overall success rate for this mission had just dropped drastically.

    What was the saying his father had always told him?

    Remember Tyr’ika always expect for things to go wrong with the mission because that’s the nature of the job, and if the mission goes too smoothly keep your eye on your six because you may be getting set up. Tyran could practically hear his father’s voice in the back of his head echoing the phrase over and over.

    Well dad I guess you were right….again. He thought.

    The Yuuzhan Vong transport lurched suddenly and both Tyran and Kial traded uneasy glances. They both knew that they were headed for an interrogation session and they both knew that their captors were going to torture Rixa to get the information they wanted from the two healthy Mandalorians. Rixa, judging by the resigned look on his face, had pretty much reached the same conclusion.

    “Think all that anti-torture stuff we learned on Raxus Prime will work?” he asked.

    “We’re about to find out.” Kial said darkly. “I just hope they don’t mess my face up too bad. Savah will kill me.”

    “Or she’ll thank the Yuuzhan Vong for making improvements.” Rixa laughed. Kial gave Tyran an irritated smirk and Rixa inhaled deeply before turning his head in his older brother’s direction. “I’m thinking not investing in solid beskar armor was a bad idea on my part.”

    Tyran felt the transport leave the ground and was pushed back by the acceleration. “I agree little brother.”

    **************

    Elai lowered his sniper rifle and slung it across his back as he watched the Yuuzhan Vong transport lift off into the sky. The red armored Kiffar slowly rose from his covered position and began backtracking to the cave network that he and the rest of the Supercommandos had holed up in to treat their wounds. He silently cursed himself for not being quicker and not getting to Tyran, Rixa and Kial before the Yuuzhan Vong had.

    “Ryia, the scarheads took Volar and the Numeck brothers.” he transmitted over a direct link to the teams new leader.

    Temporary leader. The Kiffar thought as he waded through the thick mud that had hampered the Mandalorian retreat from the crashed escape pod. The rain wasn’t helping much either. It proceeded to turn the already dense mud into a soupy muck that seemed to want to devour his feet every time he took another step. We’ve got to find Volar, the Numecks and that Jedi so we can get off this forsaken world.

    “Unfortunate.” Ryia replied “Out of all the people to get stuck with Tyran and Rixa get Kial Volar.”

    Elai audibly laughed inside his helmet. Leave it to Ryia to still make disparaging remarks about Kial Volar even now that he was in the hands of probably the most ruthless beings to grace the galaxy since Palpatine.

    “Fate it seems is not kind to the Numecks.” he replied to the comment.

    “I’m not so sure Fate had anything to do with it Elai.” Ryia sighed “Get back here pronto, we have a new plan to put into effect and I want you here to hear it.”

    “Yes sir.”

    Ryia closed the link and turned back to face his battered and burned team. Dawk had run through most of her supply of bacta salve she had brought along after applying it to the various degrees of burns the team had suffered. He considered it lucky that only one of his team had suffered severe burns and then immediately questioned why he found that lucky.

    Kas Birek, his two bare arms thoroughly covered in bacta salve and wrapped tightly in synthflesh bandages, was sitting propped up against the wall of the cave with Dawk kneeling next to him with a hypo.

    “You need to let me give you this.” she was saying to the dark skinned Mandalorian.

    Kas shook his head “Painstims will only impair me more, I need to have a clear mind and cant afford to have it fogged up by medication.”

    “Pain will do that just as well as the painstims will.” Dawk persisted “If I give you the painstims at least you’ll be able to use your arms for a few hours without feeling anything.”

    “No.” Kas replied firmly.

    “Kas stand up.” Ryia said walking over to him.

    The large Supercommando did as instructed and Ryia came to a stop a few paces from him facing towards him “Okay now draw your sidearm and point it at me before I draw mine and aim it at you.”

    “What?” a bewildered look fell on Kas’s face.

    “Just do what I ask.” Ryia said dropping his hand down to his own sidearm.

    Kas gave a slight shake of his head but slowly placed his hand over his holster and gripped his sidearm. His eyes narrowed somewhat as a jolt of pain shot up his right arm from the simple movement.

    “Good,” Ryia said “Dyir give us a three count.”

    Dyir nodded and began counting. Ryia fixed his gaze on Kas silently counting along with Dyir. Sweat was begging to form on the larger Mandalorian’s brow. Dyir reached three and in a single, fluid, lightning fast movement Ryia had drawn his sidearm and had it aimed dead center at his target. Kas let out a groan of pain as he tried to manipulate his arm in the same way Ryia had.

    “Take the painstims.” Ryia said “You’re faster on the draw than I am, you shouldn’t have lost.”

    “I’m fine.”

    “Alright let me put it this way,” Ryia said walking over to Dawk and grabbing the hypo “You can either have a trained professional do it or I can do it and shove it somewhere you may not like very much. Either way the painstims are going into your bloodstream.”

    Kas didn’t even need to think on it “I’ll take the trained professional.”

    “Smart man.” Ryia said handing the hypo back to Dawk who had a large grin on her face.

    “Out of professional curiosity as a physician where were you going to stick this?” She asked him.

    “Sorry but that’s not something I can say to a lady.” he said giving her a pat on the shoulder before walking over to where Beluin, Dyir, Koryn and Baydo were sitting in a loose circle.

    Dyir had removed his helmet and placed it on the floor next to him. He blonde hair was slicked back with sweat and he was gnawing on a dried out nutrient bar made out of a mixture of oats and honey. Half of his face was a bright red, an after effect of having a wall of flame wash over half your body while the other was submerged in swampy water. Beluin was doing much the same as Dyir, eating rations and simply waiting for orders. Koryn had managed to catch a rodent the size of Ryia’s arm and was in the process of devouring it.


    “Well that’s lovely.” Ryia said as he took a seat in the circle next to the large Barabel. Koryn made no acknowledgement of his leader’s comment and continued on eating in silence.

    Baydo was sitting with his back against the rock wall with his legs extended and arms crossed. His chin was tucked into his chest and his breathing was heavy. Though it appeared that the Mandalorian was in deep sleep he could still jump to his feet fully alert at a moments notice.

    “So,” Dyir said swallowing a mouthful of nutrient bar “What’s the next move?”

    “Well now that phase one is over, when Elai gets back I’ll inform the rest of you on phase two of Tyran and Rixa’s brilliant idea.”

    “What happened to the plan we had before we landed?” Dawk took a seat in the circle next to Beluin.

    Crashed,” Dyir corrected “Not landed.”

    Ryia let out an amused snort “You’ll be brought up to speed when everyone is here.” Everyone looked at him and all their faces said the same thing to him. Most of us, not all.


    The next ten minutes went by in relative silence as the group of Supercommandos sat and ate. They each tried to avoid contemplating the events of the day but each began wondering if rescuing the Jedi was worth all the effort. As far as they were concerned it had become a mission to rescue their friends and the Jedi could sit and rot. It wasn’t much longer before a very good imitation of a bird, common only on Mandalore, began to drift in through the cave entrance.

    It was the signal they had decided Elai would use when he returned from his scouting mission. Soon the sound of his boots were echoing down the cave walls as he worked his way deep into the cave complex where the rest of the team had set up shop.

    “What’s the situation out there?” Beluin didn’t turn his head as he asked the question. He was too busy examining his newly trimmed cranial horns in a small, handheld mirror.

    “Better than it was.” the Kiffar sniper set his shatter rifle against the cave wall and took a seat between Dyir and Kas. “The scarheads aren’t looking for us.”

    “What?” there was no mistaking the tone in Ryia’s voice for anything other than disbelief “What do you mean they aren’t looking for us?”

    Elai removed his helmet and smoothed over his sweat drenched hair. He turned his gaze to Ryia and fixed him with a curious glance “Is that a trick question? I think the statement ‘they aren’t looking for us’ is pretty self explanatory.”

    “A better question would be why aren’t they looking for us?” Dyir asked standing up.

    “They’re probably too busy with Tyran, Rixa and Kial.” Elai grabbed a plastoid bottle filled with water the team had collected before taking shelter in the cave. They had boiled it for well over the normal time frame it took for water to become purified just to be on the safe side. The group let out a collective sigh as he drank “You mentioned something about a plan?” he asked tossing the bottle to Kas as the burned Supercommando joined the group.

    “Yeah,” Ryia said as he tried to discover the best way to reveal the real plan without having much of an argument after he brought it up. He came to the decision that the truth was the best choice and inhaled deeply “Tyran and Rixa weren’t captured by chance, it was by design.”

    Koryn’s head snapped up from his rodent meal and he let out a very menacing hiss “What do you mean ‘by design’?”

    “The plan Tyran outlined on the ship was not the real plan, he only gave that briefing because he wasn’t so sure you all would go for the real one that he, Rixa and I came up with.” He received an equal mix of upset, confused and disgusted looks from the Mandalorians sitting around him. “The plan was always for him and Rixa to be captured. Tyran had a tracking device implanted in his forearm that sends a signal to a receiver that is accurate to within six meters.”

    “And the three of you figured the Yuuzhan Vong would take the two of them to the same place where the Jedi is being held?” Beluin’s voice was half angry and half confused.

    “Yes.”

    “What were you going to do if it turned out that the Jedi wasn’t being held in the same place as the Numecks?”

    “We were going to improvise.” Ryia said a bit sheepishly.

    “Any reason why you didn’t think to clue is in on the real plan instead of giving us a line of bantha osik?” Dyir’s voice was all accusation.

    “Me and Rixa wanted to do that but Tyran was firm in keeping the rest of you in the dark.”

    “Didn’t trust us?”

    “You know better than that! He didn’t think you would go along with two of your friends willingly throwing themselves into Yuuzhan Vong hands in order to rescue one Jedi.”

    “Well he was right. We don’t even know if that Jedi is alive.”

    “Rixa was injured,” Elai added “He could barely walk when the Yuuzhan Vong led him to the transport.”

    “Those were variables we had no control over.”

    “So let me get this straight,” Dyir said standing up and moving towards Ryia “You planned on two members of the team to be captured by the Yuuzhan Vong and decided not to tell us about that plan, now three members of our team are being held captive and one of them is injured to the point where he can barely walk. And it is all for one Jedi apprentice who for all we know may be dead. Am I right so far?”

    “Yes.” Ryia turned towards Dyir.

    “Well then what’s next?”

    “That is very simple,” Ryia said taking in the entire group with a sweeping glance around the cave “Track them, find them, rescue them, kill every scarhead that gets in our way.”

    **************

    Raven was curled up in a ball in the far corner of the dark room she had called home for the last two weeks. Her captors had removed her blorash jelly restraints for the first time in her entire stay in the Yuuzhan Vong temple. She was afraid of what that may have meant and she was in no physical condition to fight off any attempts to gain information from her.

    Not that she had any more information to give.

    After feeling her chances of rescue diminish in a fiery and agonizing eruption in the Force she had finally succumbed to the brutal interrogations of High Commander Falas Draisa. She had given the Yuuzhan Vong everything they had wanted to know and now Raven was sure thousands more were going to die facing a prepared defense of an already well defended world.

    And now she realized how much of a grave mistake she had made. Maybe it had been an hour or only a few minutes, time seemed to take an eternity to pass for her in recent weeks, after Draisa had finished draining every ounce of information from her that she had felt the presences in the Force again. They were hurt and in pain, but they were alive and they were there. As were her chances of rescue, but now she wasn’t sure she was worthy of rescue. She feared that the soldiers sent to recover her were just wasting their time and their efforts had been for nothing.

    She wanted to cry and to scream and to bang her head against the yorik coral walls but didn’t have the energy or bodily fluids available to spend. All she could do was lay in her corner and think about what she had done and the damage she had caused.

    A Jedi was supposed to protect life not put thousands of lives in the path of certain death. She had failed as a Jedi, she had failed her Order and she had failed the galaxy. Her well intentioned trip behind enemy lines had done more harm than good. She closed her eyes and tried to slip into a healing trance. Her abilities in the Force were starting to diminish as her ability to focus decreased more and more each day.

    For one brief moment she felt as if she was going to achieve the calm focus needed to enter a healing trance but a sudden swirling anger swept over her in the Force. Her eyes shot open and she probed the vortex of anger which dissolved into three separate Force presences as she concentrated on them, two of them the sources of anger, one burning brighter than the other, and the third presences was just painful, tired resignation.

    They were close. Real close.

    Though she couldn’t see it she heard the portal to the dark room open with a sickening squelch that she had come to ignore. There was yelling in three different languages. One was the guttural snarls and barks of the Yuuzhan Vong the second was a fluid language that she had not heard before but had to be native to her galaxy and the third was welcomed Galactic Basic.

    A solid thud echoed off the yorik coral floor no less than a meter to her left. She could make out two shapes moving in the shadows as the portal to the room squelched once more and plunged the room into total darkness again.

    Hut’uune.” one of the voices yelled in the direction of the portal.

    A coughing sound began to rise from the area the thud had resounded from. There was a cracking sound to her right and suddenly the room was lit in a yellow-green glow. One of the soldiers tossed two Chemsticks onto the floor and glanced around the room. His eyes landing on Raven.

    “Jedi Varos?” he asked. He was large and wearing body armor that seemed to be blacker than the darkness she had occupied before his arrival. He had said her name and it sounded so foreign to her that she didn’t recognize it immediately. He drew closer to her “Are you Raven Varos?” his voice had rose somewhat in volume, not quite shouting but just a little more than yelling.

    She nodded her head forgetting how to use her mouth to form words. She had known the soldiers were on the planet for sometime now but she had never really expected them to find her. Hope had finally left her completely only to be slightly rekindled into what she was certain was false hope.

    “Well at least our luck is turning.” a second face materialized next to the first one.

    The first soldier knelt down in front of her and activated a third Chemstick and held up near her face. He gently grabbed hold of her chin and turned her head from left to right examining her wounds.

    “They worked her over pretty good.” the second man said “You sure you want to go through with this Rixa?”

    “Yeah don’t worry about it.” a third voice said between coughs “I’m tougher than I look.”

    She felt sadness well up in the first soldier and she found it odd for a moment. Maybe they were friends and the soldier just didn’t want to see one of his teammates suffer.

    “It…it doest matter how…tough you…are.” She stammered. Her voice cracked and tore at the back of her throat as painfully as any combat knife.

    “What?” the first soldier asked.

    “It doesn’t matter how tough you are.” her voice becoming stronger “He will break before its over. You all will.”

    A serious look fell on the first soldier’s face “Did you?”

    She looked away unable to meet his eyes.
    aalagartassle and AzureAngel2 like this.
  9. AzureAngel2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    You portay this different warrior cultures & their codes fairly well. You also give them deep thoughts & emotions. @};-
  10. Mando-Man Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 1, 2008
    star 2
    CHAPTER FIVE:

     
    There was no mistaking the dark feeling that had fallen on the room with the affirmation that the Jedi’s silence had given to Tyran’s question. She had been broken by the Yuuzhan Vong and had given them everything she knew about the Galactic Alliance fleet preparing to liberate Katna Major. He could easily tell that Kial was more than angry with the young Jedi apprentice but at least had the decency to keep his mouth shut for once. Tyran couldn’t blamer her though. He hadn’t done a very thorough inspection of Varos once he and his two brothers had been thrown into the nearly black room with her as other things had been higher up on his priority list at the time.

    Now that he was finally able to get a look at her he was truly surprised she had lasted as long as she had. She was young, thin and pale skinned with long black that had a single violet stripe running down the right side. It was all matted and filled with dirt and clung to her skin in the humid atmosphere that seemed to go along with the living technology of the Yuuzhan Vong.

    Her clothing was literally no more than dirty, bloody tatters that left very little to the imagination of what was under them. There was a myriad of lacerations, bruises and burns scattered across the entirety of her body, the most serious of which was a scorch mark under her right eye. It was a deep scarlet at its center and gradually blackened towards the outer edges. Her back resembled more of a crude dejarik board with all the intersecting lines from amphistaff whips creating a checkered pattern on her skin.

    But ultimately he wasn’t surprised she had broken in the end. She wasn’t a warrior, not in the same sense that Rixa, Kial and himself were anyway. They were trained in every way of warfare, trained to be the one who came out on the winning side no matter how dirty or vicious the other side fought. Their supplemental training on Raxus Prime only reinforced their finely sharpened skills.

    Raven on the other hand had spent most of her life learning how to deal with things in a peaceful manner, through negotiation and only to use acts of physical violence as an absolute final option and she had to do it with virtually no emotion. Which gave her no resolve. Tyran used his feelings to fuel his body, to make sure he accomplished the goal he had been given. His hatred of the Yuuzhan Vong had gotten him through Gyndine and his all consuming need of vengeance had gotten him through Tholatin. It would be his concern for his brother that would get him off this moon.

    He turned his gaze in the direction of the Jedi. She was curled up in a corner of the room emitting a sound that made him think she was hacking up a beskad. He was certain that it was a cold fury building up inside him for what the Yuuzhan Vong had done to her that would get him through Katna Major. He pressed a button on his forearm plate and a compartment on his thigh armor opened up. He pulled a small plastoid bottle from it, the contents of which was nothing more than purified water from the stores on the Resistance. He walked over to the Jedi and kneeled down in front of her once more and handed the bottle to her. She finished her coughing fit and looked up at the bottle with tears involuntarily streaming down her face, caused by the coughing.

    “Here you need this a lot more than I do.”

    She tried to transition over into a sitting position and just barely managed to do that. The simple movement that should have taken her less than a second to perform made her breakout into a sweat. He gave a small shake of his head and felt something cold form in his gut, a confirmation that the rage was there. He slowly reached out with his hands, showing he meant no harm, and helped her move her body into a sitting position. He leaned her head back and pressed the bottle to her cracked lips and slowly tilted it upwards. The cool water began to trickle down the back of her throat, a soothing balm to throbbing irritated flesh. He tilted the bottle upwards a little more to allow more of the liquid to slide down her throat and she brought her hands, weak and shaky, up and grabbed hold of his hand around the bottle and began drinking.

    He felt a genuine moment of pity for the girl. Reduced to the point where she could barely function on her own. She closed her eyes and continued to drink from the bottle pushing up on his hand to indicate to him to tilt the bottle some more. She closed her eyes and more tears began to spill down her face. Whether they were tears of relief or embarrassment Tyran couldn’t guess, he only knew the girl had nothing to be ashamed of. He had a sudden feeling that he was being watched and turned his head. Kial was standing over his shoulder with his arms crossed.

    “You have a problem?” Tyran asked in Mando’a.

    “Yeah,” Kial said replied back in the same manner “You’re taking care of a Jedi instead of your own brother.”

    “The Jedi needs it more.”

    “I wouldn’t waste what few supplies we have on someone who looks like she’ll be more of a burden than an asset in combat.”

    “Then she’ll be my burden to bear.” Tyran fixed Kial with a glare that would have given even Koryn Bralor a moments hesitation. “Give me your water bottle.”

    “No. I’m not wasting my water on her.”

    “Give it to me or I’ll take it by force.”

    “Give it to him Kial,” Rixa chimed in, his voice heavy and tired “The Jedi is the whole reason we came here in the first place. We need to make sure nothing else happens to her.”

    “She betrayed the Fleet.”

    “She thought we were dead, she thought her final hope of escape had gone up in a giant plume of fire and pain. Plus the Fleet has taken into account the possibility of her telling them everything she knows.” Tyran growled “Give her a break.”

    Kial sighed deeply and eyed the Jedi over. He wasn’t so interested in his own chances of survival that he didn’t feel a stab of anger and sympathy for what the Yuuzhan Vong had done to her but he wasn’t thrilled that he would have to sit here and watch it happen to one of his friends.

    “Does Rixa really have to be the sacrificial nerf?” he asked.

    “He is already injured,” Tyran’s voice was detached “He wont be of much help in keeping the Vong away from her.” he leveled his gaze with Kial “That will be up to me and you.”

    “I’ve always wanted to be a team leader,” Rixa’s voice was thick with grim sarcasm “At least now I get to pretend to be one.”

    Tyran didn’t like the plan any more than Kial did. When the Yuuzhan Vong entered the room again they were sure to try and break the three of them by hurting the Jedi, a damsel in distress scenario where they would be compelled to divulge anything and everything they knew.

    They weren’t going to let that happen.

    Raven was curled up in the corner for a reason. When the Vong came into the room, Tyran and Kial would stand side by side and in front of Raven and use their skills in close-quarters-combat to kill any warrior that tried to approach her. They would then sell out Rixa as their leader and let him receive the Breaking.

    As he tilted the bottle some more to allow the final drops of liquid to leave the bottle and enter the dried throat of the battered Jedi, Tyran hoped that he was strong enough to watch his brother endure the tortures of the Yuuzhan Vong. He pulled the bottle from her lips and crumpled it in his hand.

    “Better?” he asked in Basic.

    “Much.” her voice was weak still and cracked as she spoke but there was a relieved undertone to her words that hadn’t been there when the three of them had been thrown into the room with her. Her eyes didn’t have the same grim and resigned look to them either. It was amazing what a single act of kindness or compassion could do.

    “That language, what is it?” she asked wiping her chin on the back of her hand.

    “Mando’a.” Tyran said as he sat down in front of her while Kial leaned against the wall on Tyran’s right.

    “As in Mandalorian?” she half gasped half coughed.

    “The one and only.”

    She stared at Tyran and Kial for a few moments “I thought you were Special Forces.”

    “They don’t get anymore special than Kial here.” Rixa said making his older brother laugh.

    Raven tried to smile “So who’s in charge?” she asked.

    “He is.” Kial and Tyran said in unison as they pointed to Rixa.

    Raven felt them lie to her and took no offense to it. They obviously had a plan of some sort and she wasn’t about to foul it up.

    “How did you get the Chemsticks and water in here?”

    “The Yuuzhan Vong didn’t search us.” Kial said. “They herded us into a transport but that was about as much as they wanted to handle us I guess.”

    “Huh.” she breathed. The water seemed to have helped her coughing. There was a few more moments of silence. “You, um, wouldn’t have anything to eat would you?”

    “Ration bars, but they’re tougher than bantha hide. Is your throat able to handle that?”

    “It can’t be more painful than the last few days I’ve had.” she said “I think I can handle it.”

    Tyran shrugged and opened the compartment on his thigh again and pulled out a nutrient bar and broke a small piece off and handed it to her. He let out an amused snort at the disparaged look she gave the small portion of food in his hand.

    “Just start out with this and if you can get that down without too much pain I’ll give you the rest.”

    She gave him a curious look as she took the small portion of bar from him and popped it into her mouth. It hurt her jaw to have to chew on the bar, he hadn’t lied to her when he said it was as tough as bantha hide. She did take notice how the bar seemed to have no taste to it. It was just a thick bar made out of a clear sticky substance that carried all the nutrients a soldier would need in the field. Even though the edges of the bar were soft they seemed to cut into the swollen flesh of her throat as she swallowed it. Tears welled up in her eyes and she closed them shut hoping the Mandalorians hadn’t seen them.

    Tyran nodded his head “Yeah that’s what I thought.” he ripped off another small piece of the bar and handed it to her “Here eat up.”

    “What?” She croaked.

    “You heard me,” he laughed “But I’ll help you out this time.”

    “How?” she popped the second piece of bar into her mouth.

    “Just relax.” he said tossing the remaining bar to Kial and raising his hands to the Jedi to show no ill intent. He changed position so he was sitting next to her. He slowly gripped his hand around her neck and felt her instantly tense under his touch. “Relax.” he said again as he started massaging her throat. “I don’t know exactly how this works but one time I when I was ten or eleven, I was in the Outer Rim on this dustbowl of a planet with my father going through training like every other kid my age. I came down with an infection in my throat, there was some swelling and whatnot. It wasn’t life threatening but I couldn’t eat solid food without feeling like my throat was being cut to bits. One day my father reached over and started massaging my throat while I was eating and the pain was greatly diminished.”

    Kial rolled his eyes “You’re lucky that Aru isn’t here to see you with your hands on another women.” He said in Mando’a.

    “Well this is for medical purposes.” Tyran said truthfully but with a hint of a laugh as he felt Raven swallow the nutrient bar while he massaged her throat. He let go of her “How was that?”

    “Better.” she nodded “It didn’t hurt as bad as before.”

    “Think you can finish the rest of it?”

    She nodded “You were right about it being as tough as bantha hide,” she said “You just didn’t say anything about it tasting like it though.”

    Rixa began coughing “Yeah, they take some getting used to.”

    The room suddenly filled with the sickening squelching sound as the portal to the room puckered open. Instantly Tyran and Kial were on their feet forcing Raven back into the corner as far as they could before taking up positions in front of her as a barrier. Rixa managed to pull himself up to a standing position by using the yorik coral wall behind him.

    Four Yuuzhan Vong warriors, heavily scarred and tattooed walked into the room with Kurru Ivat and Falas Draisa walking in the center of their formation. Draisa looked down at the Chemsticks littering the floor and snarled to the warrior next to him. The warrior reluctantly crushed each one under his foot, covering his armored limb in the glowing fluid contained in the plastoid cylinders.

    Draisa turned his head towards the two Mandalorians standing in front of the Jeedai, who was cowering just as a being who had just succumbed to the Breaking should, and then turned his head towards the lone Mandalorian who was clearly putting up a front to appear like the strong soldier he thought he was. Draisa could tell that the infidel was in pain, his brow was covered in sweat and his breathing was heavy.

    Such fragile and pathetic creatures. the High Commander thought as he moved into the center of the room. “Which one?”

    Kurru stepped up to the side of his superior and pointed at Tyran “That one High Commander. I believe he is their leader. He was the most defiant and troublesome of the trio during transit from the incident site.”

    Draisa walked over to Tyran coming to a stop at least two arm lengths away from him. He wasn’t afraid of the infidel as much as he was afraid of the taint that he carried.

    “You, my subordinates say you are the leader of the strike team that nearly desecrated the Temple of Yun-Yammka.” Draisa swept his blood-red spidersilk cape away from his body making sure his physical form was fully in view. The Mandalorian he was addressing eyed him over and seemed unimpressed. Draisa sighed “Why you infidels must always play the strong silent type in the beginning has always bothered me. You all end up giving me what I want in the end.”

    “Not us scarhead.” the lone Mandalorian said from behind Draisa “Especially not them, they’re just muscle.”

    “And you would be the brains?” Draisa asked without turning his head away from Tyran and Kial, both of whom had their fists balled and appeared ready to strike.

    “Yeah, more or less.”

    “Well which is it? More or less?”

    “More.”

    Draisa nodded and walked back to the center of the room and turned to the warriors who had accompanied him. “Bring me the Jeedai, we’ll see how long they can watch the female suffer.” Two of the four warriors gave a quick salute and uncoiled their amphistaffs and turned towards Tyran and Kial.

    The two Mandalorians began to shake their wrists and roll their necks preparing for the coming fight. The lead warrior, a large and heavily scarred Yuuzhan Vong, came to within three paces of Tyran.

    “Move or die.” the warrior hissed in harsh basic.

    Tyran neither moved or replied to the Yuuzhan Vong threat. The larger warrior snarled to his counterpart and they moved towards Tyran and Kial prepared to forcibly move them out of the way. Tyran planted his large palms on the chest plate of the large warriors vonduun crab armor and gave a hard shove, pushing the warrior back several paces. Eyes flashing with a golden rage the warrior rushed towards Tyran striking out with his rigid amphistaff. Tyran brought his left arm up and the venomous fangs of the living weapon shattered as they tried to clamp down onto the unrelenting beskar iron his forearm plate was made of. As the staff transformed from its rigid state into its pliable, whip like form, Tyran wrapped it around his forearm and pulled the warrior still holding it closer to him so they were nearly face to face.

    “Getting the Jedi won’t be so easy.” he snarled at the warrior as he released the damaged amphistaff allowing the warrior to back off a few paces.

    If there was one thing Tyran could be certain of it was that the warrior he had just insulted would most definitely plan on exacting immediate retribution. He was pleased to see that the warrior met his expectations and proceeded to toss the damaged amphistaff aside and rush him, howling with rage. Tyran planted his feet as the warrior leaned into his rush planning on impaling him with one of the many spikes that protruded from the shoulders of his vonduun crab armor. When the warrior closed to within a half meter of him, Tyran balled his right hand into a fist and sent it flying upwards in a picture perfect uppercut that caught the warrior’s lowered head square on the bridge of its nose.

    The Yuuzhan Vong warrior was rocked into a standing position by the blow before he’s feet left the ground by a noticeable distance. He came crashing down on his back, a fist sized hole now occupied where there had once been an already severely disfigured face. A silence fell on the room as Draisa and Ivat stared down at the two dead warriors they had sent to retrieve the Jedi. The smaller of the two warriors that had decided to engage Kial was lying in a crumpled heap at the Mandalorian’s feet, a spike from the warriors own armor protruding from his throat. Tyran and Kial shared a meaningful glance with each other for a few seconds and grinned as they took in the confused and angry glares of the other Yuuzhan Vong in the room.

    “Crushgaunts.” Tyran said flatly to the High Commander as he gave the dead warrior at his feet a hard kick that sent the body scuttling across the yorik coral floor. It came to a halt almost directly between the two forces.

    “Impressive.” Draisa said his voice sour and devoid of anything that came close to being truly impressed. “You weren’t removed of your weapons before being brought into the Temple?”

    “I’d talk to your head of security about that.” Tyran said “But don’t think that we’ll be giving these up without a fight.”

    “Is that a challenge!?” Ivat roared stepping forward towards Tyran.

    “Remain where you are.” Draisa barked at his subordinate “We shall have a discussion about why these infidels were not properly searched before entering the Temple of the Slayer God.”

    “Yes High Commander.” Ivat said falling back in line behind Draisa.

    Draisa sighed as he turned to face Rixa “The Jeedai is of no more use to us and I am not going to throw away my warriors to try and pry her away from her…guardians.” He turned his gaze to Kurru “Strip him of his armor.”

    “High Commander what if he wears these…..crushgaunts.” Ivat struggled with the word “He will dispatch all who approach him.”

    “No, I think not.” Draisa said “He is wounded and weak. I would wager that one of the underlings would be able to restrain him in his current state.”

    Rixa blinked sweat from his eyes “Only one way to find out scarhead.”

    Draisa moved across the room with blinding speed and before Rixa could react the heavily armored fist of the Yuuzhan Vong High Commander slammed into the side of his face. Motes of white light sparkled across his vision and the blow opened up a deep cut on the side of his head. Rixa Numeck crumpled to the floor in a helpless heap. Draisa turned a lipless smile on Tyran and Kial.

    “I have heard that Mandalorians are supposed to be an honorable people. Would you truly leave one of your own, a member who is obviously of your own domain, to suffer for the likes of the Jeedai? Someone who volunteered information on your entire infidel fleet.”

    “That information may not be what you hope it is.” Tyran growled using all his willpower to remain in front of the Jedi “This Jedi has been out of touch, things change.”

    “We will see Mandalorian,” Draisa’s voice dripped venom “We will see.”
    Last edited by Mando-Man, Sep 16, 2013
    AzureAngel2 and aalagartassle like this.
  11. aalagartassle Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 11, 2011
    star 4
    Great work. I always love the Vong and Mando cultures going at it! Excellent imagery
  12. AzureAngel2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    What a brutally honest update. In the truest sense of the word. Now I fear that Draisa is interested in all the three prisoners and that might be a bad thing still. Can´t wait how this clash of cultures goes on. ^:)^
  13. Mando-Man Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 1, 2008
    star 2
    CHAPTER SIX:

     
    The Yuuzhan Vong warrior never saw it coming. Never heard the sound of the knife slicing through the humid air nor had he felt the impact of the blade on the back of his skull. There had just been a single instant where everything froze and then went black as he collapsed to the ground. The three others in his patrol group could only stare down at the weapon protruding from the back of their leader’s head in utter confusion. It wasn’t much longer when two of the three remaining warriors grabbed at the side of their necks in reaction to an unexpected pain that disappeared as quickly as it had arrived. It took less than three seconds for the nano-toxin in the expertly delivered saber darts to do their job.

    The lone remaining warrior, the youngest and least deformed member of the group, began to feel an emotion that he had thought had been drummed out of him during his training as a warrior.

    Fear.

    Real fear began to creep in from the depths of his mind working its way forward as his two superiors fell lifelessly to the ground. He began to whip his head around searching for what had felled his superiors only to find nothing in the immediate vicinity.

    Until he heard it.

    A solid thunk as a large mass dropped from the trees overhead directly behind him. The young warrior cursed himself. The unnatural fear that crept over him had rooted him to the spot preventing him to turn and face the foe who had killed his fellow warriors. Then the most chilling sound he had heard in his short life began to fill his ears. A sinister sissing that seemed like its goal was to bombard his brain until it became nothing less than a thick soup.

    A repetitive thud joined the sissing as the mass began to drop something large and heavy on the fermented foliage that made up the uneven terrain of the swamps that encircled the Temple of Yun-Yammka. Slowly the young warrior uncoiled the amphistaff on his arm aiming to not provoke the mass behind him before he could turn and strike. The young warrior shifted his weight to the balls of his feet, his hands gripped the amphistaff in his hands tightly, coaxing the living weapon into its rigid form.

    The sissing behind him grew louder and the young warrior knew that his time had run out. He spun on the balls of his feet bringing the head of his amphistaff around at what would have been head height for most beings in the galaxy. Instead of clashing with soft flesh that the warrior had expected to strike, the head of his amphistaff shattered in an ugly, messy splat on the chest plate of the largest reptile the warrior had ever seen.

    “Thiz one doez not take kindly to the stain you have made on thiz one’s armor.” the large figure hissed. With impossible speed the large reptile spun and brought a thick tail, armored with both natural scales and an added iron plating, striking it against the head of the young warrior. A stain similar to the one made by the amphistaff appeared on the tail plate as the remains of the Yuuzhan Vong head slid off the beskar plate and down onto the muddy ground at the Barabel’s feet. “Clear.” Koryn hissed.

    Dyir, Ryia, Beluin, and Dawk emerged from the jungle on both sides of the foot trail the Yuuzhan Vong patrol had been guarding. Dyir walked over to the patrol leader and pulled his knife out of the back of the dead warrior’s head and cleaned it by pointing it away from him and giving it a hard shake.

    “Get the bodies into the swamp. Let nature takes its course.” Ryia said as he consulted a datapad that’s sole purpose was to follow the tracking signal being emitted by Tyran. “Tyran is definitely inside that temple.”

    Beluin and Koryn began dragging the dead Yuuzhan Vong into the jungle towards the deep pits in the swamp where some local wildlife would surely make a fine meal out of the corpses.

    “So when we get there,” Dyir said sheathing his knife “what are we going to do if all three of them are….incapacitated?”

    Ryia gave a slight shrug “We just have to hope that at least one of them is able to move under his own power.”

    His voice was somber and tired. All he wanted to lay down and get some rest. He was running on nothing but shear will power at this point. He and the Mandalorians had been on the moon for almost two days at this point and most of it had been a game of hide and seek with Yuuzhan Vong patrols. The cave network had been the teams only respite, his one chance for rest but the fact that three of his friends were stuck deep in the bowels of a Yuuzhan Vong temple had kept any trace of tiredness from overcoming him.

    Between Koryn, Elai and himself, the three Supercommandos had spent the better part of a day searching out the Yuuzhan Vong patrol patterns searching for weak spots in the defenses around the temple. The current stretch of swamp they had just cleared was the fourth of the five weak points that the Mandalorians had uncovered. The only thing between them and the Temple was a ten mile stretch of swamp and jungle that was patrolled by twelve Yuuzhan Vong warriors, all of whom appeared to be significantly more seasoned than the warriors they had encountered so far. Ryia had expected that though. It made sense to have your more seasoned soldiers closer to the heart of the operation instead flung out across the outer perimeters.

    Beluin and Koryn reappeared out of the jungle after removing the dead Yuuzhan Vong bodies from the visible path.

    “When do you think the scarheads will catch on to what we’re doing?” Beluin asked.

    “If we keep moving at this pace we probably be back on the Tal’galaar before the Yuuzhan Vong even notice.” Ryia said.

    “What about when we breach the Temple?” Dyir said “A team of ori’ramikade is going to be pretty hard to miss.”

    “We just have to kill them before they see us.” Koryn hissed.

    “That is a lot easier said that done.” Dawk said.

    “I still don’t feel good about bringing her on this particular mission.” Dyir said “I understand her medical skills surpass everyone else but she has a severe handicap compared to the rest of us in combat effectiveness.”

    Dawk turned her head towards Dyir “We’ve been doing this for the better part of the day, I’ve helped take down four security patrols and you still think I’m not combat ready?”

    “Compared to the rest of us…yes.” Dyir sighed “It’s nothing personal just the truth.”

    Dawk felt the weight of his words press down on her shoulders and for the first time since crashing onto the moon that was Katna-II, she felt like the untrained fighter she truly was.

    Ryia raised his hand “Alright enough.” he started off in the direction of the largest and final security patrol that stood between his team and their true leader. “She is small enough to go unnoticed compared to the rest of us. She can get in and out of tighter spaces better than the rest of us. Her combat skill is a severe flaw but its counteracted by all the other skills she brings into to play. Chiefly her medical skills.”

    “She should be back at the cave complex with Kas instead of Elai. We could really use his tracking skills right about now.”

    “Incase you haven’t noticed Dyir, you’re starting to sound an awful lot like Kial right about now.” Beluin said.

    “As much as we all dislike the chakaar you have to stop and think that he may have been right about her.”

    “I said enough!” Ryia yelled and opened a private channel to Dyir “If she gets killed because she was thinking more about what you said than what she was supposed to be doing I promise you that I will rip your head form your shoulders. Cut it out!”

    “Yeah, you got it.” Dyir said darkly cutting the private channel.

    Ryia clicked over to a private channel with Dawk “Hey keep your chin up kid, you’re a vital part of this team whether you know it or not.”

    “I sure feel like it.” She said sarcastically as she fell in behind the team as they moved back into the foliage.

    “Don’t let them bother you.” Ryia said “I’d take a well trained medic over a well trained soldier any day.”

    “I bet you’d like to have a well trained soldier that is a well trained medic more than you would a well trained medic.” Dawk replied.

    Ryia didn’t respond instantly. He was alarmed at how true her statement was. “Tyran has faith in you. That’s more than enough for me.”

    “Lets hope his faith wasn’t misplaced.” Dawk whispered more to herself than anyone else.

    **************

    Falas Draisa couldn’t help but be impressed by the willpower of the Mandalorians in front of him, or what was left of the Mandalorian at any rate. What had once been a young, well muscled man had been reduced to a lacerated mound of well toned muscle and flesh. There was no doubt the young warrior was in agonizing pain, a day and a half of non-stop torment had seen to that.

    But even more impressive was how the two other Mandalorians had simply watched and stood guard over the already broken Jeedai. The simply stood there with anger in their eyes and hatred clenching their fists. The High Commander had cut, carved, burned and beaten the human male with virtually every form of violence he was aware of and still the Mandalorian had not given up any details that would expand upon that which he already learned from the Jeedai. Either they were very dedicated to their objective of keeping the Jeedai safe or they were more ruthless and cold than Draisa had imagined.

    He vowed to himself that before the Yuuzhan Vong cleansed the galaxy of the infidels and their technology he would meet the cold, ruthless skills of the Mandalorians with his own and be the last one standing. He turned his gaze over his shoulder as he headed for the exit to the room and fixed the large Mandalorian with an apraising stare. The Mandalorian held the intimidating glare.

    You Mandalorian will be the first of your kind to fall at my feet. He promised himself as the portal hatch opened with a wet, meaty smack. He proceeded through the portal and out into the hallway outside. The phosphorescent lichen growing in the corners of the walls provided an eerie green light that seem to magnify the grotesqueness of every Yuuzhan Vong ritual markings and mutilations.

    Kurru Ivat fell in at his commander’s side, his disfigured face twisted into a snarled mess from the anger welling up inside him.

    “I did not bring this up earlier due to other important obligations,” Draisa began the discussion “But now that those are completed for the moment would you mind disclosing to me why those infidels were not stripped of their armor and those blasphemous gauntlets they used to slaughter my personal guard?!” The High Commander roared.

    “My Lord, I was unaware of these so called crushgaunts. They never used them before entering this Temple.”

    “The Temple of Yun-Yammka!” Draisa roared “You let not only fully armored infidels into this holy place but you allowed them to retain weapons! The Warriors are baying for the chance at combat with these Mandalorians, to prove they can best these heretical gauntlets and defeat the infidels who use them.”

    “The bodies that have piled up around the Mandalorians should deter any others from attempting that.”

    “Would it have stopped you when you were no more than a warrior trying to gain elevation? Draisa inquired “Because no wall of bodies would have stopped me.” Ivat conceded that point. The warrior that managed to kill one of the two Mandalorians wielding the crushgaunts would indeed gain no small amount of recognition in his caste. Draisa waved a dismissive hand “I have not the resources to allow the young and foolish to throw away their lives so needlessly.”

    “You are not pleased the by surge-coral slaves?” Ivat asked “Did they not help secure the Katna-Rae system for Yun-Yammka?”

    “Mindless infidels.” Draisa spat. “I would sacrifice them all to the Slayer if he would supply me with droves of warriors of my own kind.”

    “A worthy sacrifice.”

    “Make no mistake Kurru Ivat. You are hanging by a thin thread, one more mistake or desecration that can be traced back to you and I will personally oversee your execution.”

    “To have the High Commander perform such a task would be an honor.” Ivat replied “I shall keep everything in order.”

    “I have things to attend to on Katna-Major.” Draisa continued as he walked down the corridor to the hangar where his personal coral craft was situated “I will be gone for a few days at least, I want those Mandalorians broken and everything they know about the infidel fleet compiled with what the Jeedai gave us.”

    “You will have a full report on your return.”

    “I will not dishonor the War God by loosing his temple. You would do well to accomplish this task quickly.”

    Ivat tickled the portal to his personal hangar and it opened with a skin-crawling sucking sound. Ivat watched as the blood red spidersilk cape of his superior disappeared beyond the portal.

    One day Falas Draisa you will lie dead at my feet and I will be the one to take your place.


    **************

    Tyran had never felt so helpless.

    His brother was lying no more than a meter away from him, his back turned towards the others, curled into a ball emitting a heart wrenching wheezing sound. It had taken everything he had and more to remain rooted to where he stood and to watch his younger sibling undergo the Breaking. He knew he would never forgive himself for allowing his brother to take a punishment that had been meant for him. But he had been wounded already and their plan called for at least two people for it to work.

    He tried not to look at Rixa’s back. As bad as Raven’s had been, his little brother’s was worse. There was no pattern to it, just mindless slashing and hacking while his tormenters hoped the pain would drive him into revealing something significant. But Rixa had remained strong drawing on his training and the vast store of courage that dwelled within him to stave off the pain. He had not uttered a single word to the Yuuzhan Vong High Commander.

    Neither had Tyran or Kial. They didn’t try to intervene in the Breaking. They hadn’t tried to stop it. They had done absolutely nothing.

    Except keep the Jedi safe. Warrior after Warrior had entered the room at Draisa’s command to act as a barrier between himself and the two fully functional and armed Mandalorians. It appeared however that the Yuuzhan Vong longing for a good fight overrode their orders and one by one, two by two and three by three, the launched themselves at the two Mandalorians. Only twice did any of the warriors come close to wounding them with the large spike protruding from their vonduun crab armor.

    The living armor was incredibly durable. Almost a living version of the beskar armor that Tyran and his Mandalorians were wearing. If it hadn’t been for the crushgaunts that him and Kial were wearing, they would not have been able to rip the spikes from the Yuuzhan Vong’s own armor and use them as highly lethal weapons. Tyran still had the two beskar blades in his gauntlets, but he wanted their existence to remain unknown the Yuuzhan Vong for as long as he could.

    Rixa began coughing again, a wet, guttural sound that was only emitted by a person in extreme distress.

    “This isn’t right!” Raven yelled from behind Kial and Tyran. “I’m not worth the pain he’s being submitted to. How can the two of you just sit and watch that happen? You can stop it.” she said indicating the vast pile of dead Yuuzhan Vong before them.

    Kial sighed and gave a shake of his head “Not all of us were exactly thrilled to be given this job girlie. I for one didn’t feel like putting my life on the line for someone who was stupid enough to recon a Yuuzhan Vong military base on their own.”

    “I wasn’t alone.” Raven retorted “I had the Force.”

    “Yeah?” Kial snapped back “How did that work out for you?”

    “Shut it, the both of you!” Tyran barked.

    Both Kial and Rave fell silent almost instantly. Kial returned his gaze to Rixa’s curled up body. “Do you think any of the others made it?”

    “We’ll find out by sunrise.” Tyran said confidently but darkly.

    “Sunrise?” Kial said confused “What do you mean?”

    Tyran switched back to Mando’a “Raven isn’t the only with a tracking device implanted in her body.”

    Comprehension dawned on Kial’s face “You planned all this? You planned to be captured?”

    “Me and Rixa did anyway. But since he’s wounded it is probably for the best that you are here.”

    “Ryia is in on this plan?”

    “Yes.” Tyran said “He has the receiver my tracking chip is transmitting to. It, unlike the one Raven has, is accurate to within a two meters.”

    “So the team just blows a whole in the wall, kills everyone in their way and springs us from here. Is that the gist of it?”

    Tyran nodded.

    “You boys from out in the hills are insane.” Kial said drawing on the generalization most Mando’s had about the people who lived out in the woodlands outside of Keldabe.

    Tyran shrugged “At least I came in here with a plan.”

    Kial pointed at Rixa “Was that in your plan?”

    Tyran chewed his bottom lip “No.”

    “Hey! Can you speak Basic? If you’re going to talk about me I’d prefer you do it in a language I can understand.” Raven said settling herself into a cross-legged position and resting her back against the yorik coral wall behind her.

    “We we’re discussing our escape plan.” Tyran said “And since you already broke once, I’m not divulging it to you so you can offer that information to the Yuuzhan Vong to try and stop them from hurting Rixa when they come back in for round two.”

    A look of sheer horror dawned in her eyes as she looked at him “They are going to kill him can’t you see that!?” she yelled “What kind of brother are you?”

    Tyran wheeled on her “I was ordered to bring you back to the Galactic Alliance. The order didn’t come from any GA Admiral or General either, it came from the Mand’alor Boba Fett himself. Whether I agree with the mission or not I have to do it and achieve every objective given to me.” Raven tried to back away from the harsh anger that enveloped his voice as it frightened her worse than sight of High Commander Draisa. “If that means some of us have to die in order to achieve those objectives then we will sacrifice our lives to complete those objectives. Whether we want to or not.”

    “I don’t want others to die for me.”

    “They may already have.”

    **************

    “I have eyes on the patrol.” Dyir whispered over the shared link as he watched a procession of Yuuzhan Vong warriors march down their patrol route.

    The warriors were nearing a hastily dug minefield set up two hours prior. At first their had been some worry that the sound of explosions would echo across the jungle to the Temple and alert them that all was not well in the wild. Luck it seemed was with the Mandalorians for the moment as a particularly violent thunderstorm had rolled over the area. Claps of roaring thunder and flashes of brilliant lightning echoes down from the heavens giving the Mandalorians a natural disguise for the explosives show they were about to set off.

    “The guys in weapons development are sneaky little shabuir’s.” Beluin radioed in “Thermal detonators disguised as chunks of yorik coral.” The Zabrak made a tssking sound at the deception.

    “Lets hope these scarheads don’t question why chunks of yorik coral would be spread out in a symmetrical pattern.”

    “Cut the chatter.” Ryia hissed. Not a soul could hear them, their helmets were insulated to the point where two people could have an outright screaming match and the only way anyone else could hear it is if they were patched into the com frequency. Despite that fact Ryia felt a natural fear seep into him that the Yuuzhan Vong might overhear their conversation. “How far are they from the redzone?” he whispered.

    “Close.” Dyir said.

    “Hold off on the detonation, I want them to reach the center of the pattern before we send them to their great beyond.”

    “Affirmative.”

    “Be careful this time, I’m out of bacta salve.” Dawk added.

    “Hardy shabla har.” Dyir mocked. “Kas rigged the last explosion, and there isn’t any highly flammable liquid nearby to amplify the blast.”

    Dawk didn’t reply.

    Ryia was worried that the young woman’s confidence in herself, however slim it already was, had been shattered by Dyir’s comments earlier. Despite his and Kial’s feelings, Ryia felt that she was doing fine. She did have two confirmed kills under her belt.

    “Eye on the ball kid.” Ryia said on a private link with her while keeping an eye out on the minefield. “When we get inside I’m going to need you with me at all times.”

    “Because I’m an inefficient killer?”

    “Because you’re the best medic on the team and you’ll be needed, if not by the Jedi than by one of our own.”

    “I hope you’re right.”

    Ryia cut the channel as the first of the Yuuzhan Vong patrol walked out into the open near the trap that had been laboriously set up by the Mandalorians. Even though Ryia couldn’t see him, he could visualize Dyir tensing up and moving his thumb directly over the detonator switch. As if on cue there was a particularly monstrous clap of thunder as the bulk of the Yuuzhan Vong patrol made its way into the center of the web of the strike teams remaining thermal detonators.

    “Blowing the trap.” Dyir’s voice echoed over the team frequency.

    Less than twenty milliseconds later the small patch of dry land that contained the spider-web of thermal detonators erupted into a fountain of fire, mud, flesh, bone and blood. The ground shook violently beneath Ryia splashing more of the swamp gunk onto his golden armor.

    Just more natural camouflage. He thought as he peered back out to the scene of devastation. The sound of the thunder had masked the sound of detonating thermal detonators perfectly and Ryia felt no concern in there being any Yuuzhan Vong reinforcements, at least not in the immediate future. Just as he had hoped the majority of the Yuuzhan Vong patrol had been swallowed by the explosion. There were only three remaining warriors who had not been killed instantly by the blast.

    Ryia was no medic but he knew that the warriors writhing on the ground did not have long to live. They were all missing limbs, two of the warriors were missing more than one. They were roaring and wriggling in pain. Ryia found it oddly ironic that the warriors who so valued pain in their religious beliefs that they would react this way to wounds suffered on the battlefield.

    “Start mopping up.” Ryia said as he pulled himself up off the ground and down the slopping hill towards the site of the blast.

    “How do you plan on hiding these body parts?” Beluin asked.

    “We could feed them to Koryn.” Dyir answered sarcastically.

    The Barabel hissed, the unamused tone was perfectly clear. “Thiz one would rather eat hiz own tail.”

    “Well I didn’t see anyone else offering up ideas.”

    “It doesn’t matter anymore, there aren’t any patrols between us and the Temple.” Dawk said. “We just have to sneak past the guards.”

    Dyir walked up to one of the writhing Yuuzhan Vong warriors. His eyes went wide as he watched the blue armored Mandalorian approach him. The warrior began to pull himself across the ground with his one remaining arm moving towards a leathery sphere that had somehow managed to not be destroyed in the blast. Beluin cut the warrior off at the other side and brought an armored boot down on the villip communicator. It disintegrated under his boot like a rotted cabbage.

    “That probably won’t wash off easy.” he said scraping the remains of the communication device on the rotted stump of a nearby tree.

    Dyir pointed his blaster at the warriors head “Any last words scarhead.” He was perfectly aware that the alien warrior couldn’t understand him but the defiant anger in it’s eyes said everything that needed to be said “I thought not.”

    Ryia knocked the blaster down “No blasters, not yet.” He said “There isn’t anything out here to cover their very distinctive sound. Use your knife.”

    Dyir slung his rifle over his back and pulled his knife from his thigh sheath “So much for quick and clean.”

    **************

    Raven couldn’t stand it anymore.

    The pain that Rixa was emitting in the Force was too much for her to withstand any longer. She had stood behind Tyran and Kial and felt every tear and rip of Rixa’s skin as Falas Draisa whipped, stabbed and generally mutilated the mans body as if had been her own body being subjected to the horror. In essence she had gone through the Breaking right alongside the Mandalorian who had come to rescue her. She had cried, pleaded and begged the Yuuzhan Vong high commander to stop while the two other Mandalorians had just watched.

    How can they just go along with this, just let this happen without any thought of stopping it? she had asked herself There is no acceptable answer for their inaction, they are just as cruel and cold as the Yuuzhan Vong themselves.


    She knew better than that though. She could just as easily feel the pain and anger swelling within the two men as they were forced to watch. Still they did nothing. All for the reason of keeping her safe. A weak, useless coward who had sold out thousands of other lives just for a moment of respite from the fear and pain that had racked her own body.

    She didn’t deserve the sacrifice Rixa Numeck had made. She cried for a few minutes or for a few hours. She sat huddled with her knees drawn up into her chest feeling the raw pain of Rixa and hearing the wet, wheezing noise he had been emitting ever since Draisa had stabbed him in the back and had most likely punctured a lung.

    She opened herself fully to the Force and projected as strong a soothing sensation as she could in her weakened state and enveloped Rixa within the sphere she had created. If she could somehow get up and move to his side she thought she might have some chance of healing his wounds with the Force. She was by no means a gifted healer even in an unweakened state, and didn’t know if she would be effective in fixing the damage done to him. But she was certain she could at least relieve his pain.

    “Stop staring at him.” Tyran said over his shoulder “It’ll only make you feel worse.”

    “Not possible.” she sighed. “Bring him over here.”

    “No.”

    “Bring him into the corner behind me and I might be able to ease his pain and probably save his life.”

    “Doesn’t look like you have much in the way of medical supplies.” Kial said.

    “I have the Force.”

    “Yeah did it take a vacation or simply abandon you when the Yuuzhan Vong captured you?” Kial turned his head to look at her.

    She didn’t answer.

    “That’s what I thought.”

    She closed her eyes and focused on the green armored Mandalorian picking his Force presence out from the other seven nearby presences she felt. Preparing to grab hold of him and hurl him across the room.

    Seven! She exclaimed within her mind

    Her eyelids shot open. “Tyran I feel others in the Force.”

    His head whipped around “How many?”

    “Five and they are getting closer every second.” her voice became fearful “If they are who I think they are, then they won’t get past the Temple Guard.”

    “You don’t know Ryia Devieyc.” Tyran said. For the first time since she had laid eyes upon the black-clad Mandalorian she saw and genuine happiness on his face. “We won’t be here much longer.”


    Tag
    @aalagartassle
    @AzureAngel2

     
    Last edited by Mando-Man, Oct 2, 2013
    aalagartassle likes this.
  14. AzureAngel2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    A stunning update.

    Much violence, but also empathy and sympathy from Raven. If she ever stops feeling that compassion, I am sure she will be lost to the dark side.
  15. Mando-Man Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 1, 2008
    star 2
    Sorry it has been a while since the last chapter was posted. I do have a start on Chapter Seven but a bit of writers block has taken hold of me so it might be a little longer before Chapter Seven finally makes its way to the boards.
  16. aalagartassle Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 11, 2011
    star 4
  17. Mando-Man Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 1, 2008
    star 2
    Tag:
    @aalagartassle
    @AzureAngel2

    Hey sorry for the long wait, I undertook some other writing ventures but figured I should probably wrap this one up :p. There will be one more chapter after this one and this story is finished and it's on to the next.
    ______________________________________________________________


    CHAPTER SEVEN:


    Yunauli sat with his feet up on the control console of the Tal’galaar with his hand folded on top of his chest as he gazed out at the stars on the other side of the main viewport. He found a very welcome calmness from the inky blackness permeated by the sparkling orbs of light. That calmness was certainly most welcome. By his wrist chrono and the standard rotation rate of the planets in the system he had concluded he and Rev Devieyc had been sitting in the heavily modified KDY staryacht for the better part of two days.

    Now that he had reached a certain age, Yunauli wasn’t as eager to rush headlong into a fight and was more than happy to sit the action out while the fighting was left to the younger men and women, but Tyran and his strike team were late and he couldn’t help but start to feel like he had to take some form of action. The Tal’galaar, occupied only by himself and the much younger and increasingly agitated brother of Ryia Devieyc, was positioned on the far edged of the Katna-Rae system no less than an hour away from the moon that the rest of the Mandalorian strike team was operating on.

    They were waiting for the pick up signal that was now almost six hours overdue. Rev was bordering on the hysterical, albeit in a very discreet way. Yunauli had seen men crack under stress more than once in his long career as a mercenary, assassin and starpilot and it was very clear that the fear of not knowing what had become of his older brother and his friends was starting to fray the nerves of the young Rev Devieyc. He had adopted that thousand yard stare that men seemed to adopt when pondering the worst case scenario. Rev was seated next to Yunauli staring down at the ships communications console and absently biting on his armored thumb.

    “Hey you shouldn’t think about it.” Yunauli said looking at Rev.

    The younger Deveiyc brother didn’t turn his head and didn’t shift his gaze “That’s easy for you to say because your only remaining family member isn’t down on that moon.”

    “Fair enough.” Yunauli sighed.

    **************

    Ryia splashed through the mud making a beeline for the large yorik coral structure ahead of him. He didn’t see any Yuuzhan Vong warriors lurking around the perimeter of the temple just yet. The tracker linked to Tyran’s beacon was beeping at an increasingly fast pace as he drew neared to the structure.

    “One-hundred meters to target.” Ryia said calmly as he slammed himself against the yorik-coral wall and did an ammo count. He had seven blasterpacks left in his belt and only three thermal detonators “Hold here and everyone do an ammo count, Dyir get a tape charge on this building and make us a door as quick as you can.”

    Ryia listened to the gentle panting of his team members as they followed his instructions. Dawk was standing right beside him, her weapon in both hands and her head was looking down at her feet. Ryia bumper her with his elbow and she lifted her head and looked at him. Her purple armor was plastered with mud and dirt and the blood of more than one Yuuzhan Vong warrior. Ryia felt a small pang of pride for the girl.

    “You ready?” he asked her.

    “As ready as I’ll ever be.” the young and inexperienced medic replied back as Dyir began placing a strip of thermal adhesive tape to the yorik coral wall. “Wont they hear the explosion?”

    Dyir shook his head “Not this stuff, it’ll burn through the wall rather than blow a hole in it. We’re going to quietly create our own little archway into their precious temple.”

    “Are we good to go?” Ryia asked.

    Dyir gave him the thumbs up. “Thirty second burn time, estimated.”

    Ryia nodded towards the wall and Beluin, Koryn, Dyir and Dawk pressed themselves against the temple wall on either side of the thermal tape outline. Dyir pressed the detonator and almost instantly the tape came alive in a white-light of hissing noise. The glare screen in Ryia’s HUD activated as he turned his head away from the bright light.

    “Beluin, Koryn watch our flanks. This might be a little hard to miss.”

    **************

    “What is it?” Kial asked as he walked over to Tyran.

    “She can feel Ryia and the others.” Tyran said feeling genuine relief. “Get ready, I give it less than five minutes before this place is buzzing with angry scarheads.”

    Kial flexed his crushgaunts “I cant get any more prepared than this.”

    Raven stood up, unsteadily and placed her hand against the wall of the room that had been her prison for the last hellish week of her life. “What about Rixa?”

    Tyran felt the relief drain from his body. Rixa was a bloodied, wheezing pile of flesh curled up on the floor. The Yuuzhan Vong had really done their best to try and coax information out of Tyran and Kial by torturing him. That was the only real regret Tyran had about the mission so far.

    “We need to get him out of that blorash jelly.” Raven said finally managing to right herself and take a few sluggish steps toward the battered Mandalorian. “If I had my lightsaber, it would be easy.”

    An unexpected, metallic shunk made her whip her head around. Tyran was standing beside her with a large metal blade protruding from a housing on his arm.

    “Step aside.” he said kneeling down next to his brother and cutting away the outer edges of the blorash jelly around his brother’s hand.
    “You’ve had that the whole time?” Raven asked and Tyran nodded in response. “Why didn’t you use it earlier?”

    “Didn’t want the scarheads to know I had it.” Tyran said grabbing Rixa’s left forearm and giving it a hard tug. Rixa’s hand pulled free of the blorash jelly with a stomach turning squelch and Tyran went about freeing the other hand. “Kial, keep an eye on that entrance. I don’t want anyone getting the jump on us.”

    “Yeah I know the drill.” Kial sighed as he crossed his arms and stared at the dark wall where the door-membrane was located.

    There was a second squelching sound as Tyran freed Rixa’s other hand. Tyran caught his younger brother as he slowly collapsed onto his right side. Raven made her way over to Rixa’s side and tried to take some of his weight and help Tyran lift him.

    “No, you stand over there in the corner out of the way.” Tyran said pointing to the far wall. “I can handled this.”

    “I want to help!” Raven argued. She wanted to make up for giving the Yuuzhan Vong all the information they had needed to defend this system from the Alliance fleet massing over Gyndine.

    “No.” Tyran said as he draped one of Rixa’s arms around his shoulders and effortlessly lifted the two hundred pound man up off the ground. “You are the mission objective, you just stay behind us and let us do our job.”

    “I can heal him.” Raven tried. “Set him back here with me and I’ll try to ease his pain while you deal with the Yuuzhan Vong.”

    Tyran stared at her for a few moments as if he was having an inner debate with himself. She was a really stubborn one and he needed to find a way to show her that that wasn’t going to be acceptable, but as Rixa started wheezing again Tyran couldn’t help but feel sorry for his little brother.

    “How well can you heal him? Will he be able to help us fight our way out of here?”

    “It wont be like a bacta tank no, but I’ll try to heal his internal injuries and ease some of his pain.” Raven said. She had seemed to have found some internal spring of energy she hadn’t had before. “He wont be in danger of dying….from his wounds at least.”

    Tyran weighed his options and decided that he had to work with the tools he had. He dragged Rixa into the far corner and the Jedi Apprentice followed him.

    “Turn him so I can have access to his back.” Raven said as Tyran positioned Rixa in the corner. Tyran grunted as he maneuvered his wounded brother as instructed.

    “You stay in this corner and you keep your head down.” Tyran said. His voice indicated that he wasn’t asking or suggesting the course of action. “From here on out you do exactly what I tell you when I tell you, same goes for anyone else on my team.”

    Raven nodded and dropped to her knees next to Rixa and rubbed her hands together. The gesture made it look as if she was unsure of her abilities. She tucked a lock of jet-black hair behind her ear and closed her eyes and her hands drifted over Rixa’s carved up back.

    Tyran couldn’t see anything happening, but he hadn’t expected to. He’d seen Jedi use the Force before and knew that whatever the Jedi Apprentice was emitting was invisible. He hoped that whatever was happening to his little brother was actually healing him. Tyran didn’t want to say anything to diminish her spirit, or what little of it that had been rekindled, but Raven Varos didn’t look like she was capable of healing anything or anyone in her own, cut up and wounded state.

    Her body was just as cut up as Rixa’s was. The rags she was wearing left very little to his imagination. Her torso, portions of her chest and her left cheek sported burns and lacerations of varying degrees of severity. Her back though was the most gruesome injury she had. If she laid down on her stomach two people could play a game of dejarik on the mutilated flesh there. He didn’t know how the young woman was even on her feet, let alone how she had the energy to try and heal his brother.

    Maybe there was a lot more to be said for the Force than some older Mandalorians had said there was. He didn’t want to ruin her concentration but he did have one more order for her to follow.

    “When my team get’s outside this room, let me know which direction they’re coming from.”

    She didn’t reply or make any acknowledgment that she had heard him but Tyran decided to take it on faith that she had. He moved to stand next to Kial in the dark room facing the portal membrane. Neither man looked at each other, there wasn’t anything to say. They just had to sit and wait now. The floor vibrated beneath their feet and the sound of very non-Yuuzhan Vong weapons discharging could be heard from not so far away.

    “Two minutes.” Kial said. “That’s how long I bet it takes for them to get to us.”

    Tyran grunted “I’ll give them less than one.”

    **************

    A mix of razor and thudbugs whizzed past Ryia, missing him by mere inches and leaving a small gouge in his right shoulder pauldron. Blasterfire erupted all around him as he and his team forced their way into the Yuuzhan Vong temple.

    “If we cant thin them out, it’s going to slow us down.” Beluin said. “They might move Tyran, Kial and the Jedi before we can get to them.”

    “Then we’ll just follow Tyran’s locator to where they move him.” Ryia said swapping out his power pack for a fresh one.

    He was picking his shots carefully, he couldn’t afford to waste what little ammo he had. The small team had made it probably twenty meters into the temple before they encountered the first pocket of Yuuzhan Vong resistance. Dawk had switched to her sidearms rather than using her rifle, she had an abundance of powerpacks for them.

    Koryn let out an intimidating hiss and removed a thermal detonator from his belt and set it to it’s shortest fuse timer and hurled it into the knot of Yuuzhan Vong warriors ahead of the Mandalorian group. The immediate whump and the close proximity of the blast knocked Beluin, Dyir and Dawk off their feet. Chunks of yorik-coral and bits of Yuuzhan Vong Warriors flew this way and that while others remained still in the crater Koryn had created. An eerie silence fell over the corridor as the Mandalorian strike team recovered from the sudden shock and pressure waves from the explosion.

    “Everyone still in one piece?” Dyir asked he pulled himself up off the ground and then helped Beluin up to his.

    “Yeah nothing’s missing that I’m going to miss later.” Ryia said. The sensors in his helmet didn’t indicate any movement up ahead “Come on we need to get while the getting is good.”

    **************

    “I told you to trap them in that corridor, why are the infidels still moving through the temple?!” Kurru Ivat raged at his subordinate.

    The equally large Yuuzhan Vong warrior standing in front of him didn’t flinch or show any sign of fear of his commanding officer.

    “None of my warriors want to damage the Temple of Yun-Yammka and risk his wrath.”

    “It would be in defense of his Temple, the War-God will not strike down those that fight in his name.” Ivat replied. “Destroy those Mandalorians, I want you and your finest warriors stationed outside where we are holding the Jeedai and the three other infidels we captured. There can be no mistakes.”

    “As you command!” the large warrior exclaimed as he saluted Ivat and rushed out of the room.

    Ivat began to contemplate how much time he had left to live. The High Commander wouldn’t accept any excuses for why the Temple of Yun-Yammka had been breached by the Mandalorians. His failure to defend the Temple would surely end with his sacrifice and a large amount of dishonor heaped onto Domain Ivat.

    Ivat snarled and brought his fist down hard on a yorik coral fixture next to him. He didn’t react as the jagged material sliced his hand open and his blood began running down his fingertips. He wouldn't let the slight against his domain stand. Someway, somehow Kurru Ivat vowed that he would bring some honor back to his Domain, even though he was certain his life was now essentially over.

    He walked over to the villip communicator seated on a pedestal deep inside the main chamber of the room. He stroked the leathery sphere until it opened and moments later the ritually scarred face of Falas Draisa appeared in front of him.

    “High Commander,” Ivat said saluting his superior.

    “I thought I made it clear that I was not to be disturbed while I'm dealing with other more important matters in preparation for the infidel fleet.” Draisa growled.

    Ivat didn't shrink at the anger in his superior's voice. “My lord, the Temple of Yun-Yammka has been breached by the infidels who survived the crash.”

    The face of Falas Draisa was blank for a few long moments. “Infidels have entered the sacred house of of War God?”

    “Yes.” Ivat said.

    “You assured me that the three infidels you took prisoner were the only survivors of the crash and resulting skirmish in the swamps.” exclaimed. “How many are there?”

    “Reports aren't clear on that High Commander,” Ivat said “No less than five, maybe a few more.”

    “What about the Jeedai and the three other prisoners?”

    “They are secured in their chamber, I have your son and the Temple Guard stationed directly outside.”

    Falas let out a low rumble. “Sehn will stop those infidels from retrieving their comrades, of that I am sure. He will make a suitable replacement for you. You should hope that you are slain in battle Kurru Ivat, if not I will ensure that the Shapers find some way to turn you into a Shamed One. You are not even worthy of being sacrificed to the gods.”

    Ivat didn't know how to respond to his commander's comment and the villip quickly reverted back to it's normal state. Ivat clenched his bloody hand in anger. To have the honor of being sacrificed taken away from him was a punishment he had never heard of before. To be condemned to live the life of a Shamed One was worse than death.

    Ivat was headed out of the main chamber an instant later. He was going to confront the big Mandalorian who had stood guard over the Jeedai and slain many Yuuzhan Vong warriors before his associate had been questioned by High Commander Draisa.

    That would be an honorable fight. It would be an honorable death.

    **************

    The beeping in Ryia's helmet began to quicken as they came closer and closer to Tyran's position inside the Temple. There had been little contact with any more Yuuzhan Vong forces for the last few minutes. That worried him deeply. It could only mean that their enemies were planning something up ahead of the group of Supercommandos. They had slowed their speed of movement down enough so that they wouldn't turn a corner into a situation they couldn't get themselves out of.

    He could hear the heavy breathing of his team over the shared link. Dawk, more so than the rest of the team, was clearly having trouble catching her breath after the initial series of engagements as the Supercommandos had fought their way inside. Ryia felt bad for her, but he couldn't slow the team down enough to allow her to recover the risk to the others just didn't warrant it.

    “You doing alright?” Dyir asked from behind the young medic.

    The purple armored woman turned her helmeted head over her shoulder feeling a little shocked. Dyir had been one of her biggest naysayers, other than Kial Volar. He hadn't seemed to care about her well being before. She wondered if her performance in the last few engagements had started to win him over.

    “I'm fine, just a little winded.” She said between wheezes.

    “Just don't collapse on us because we don't have the resources to carry you out.”

    “I'll be alright.” Dawk assured him.

    “Ammo check.” Ryia interjected into the conversation “I've got that feeling I usually get just before we wind up in the osik.”

    “I've got just enough to fight our way out of here if I manage my rate of fire correctly.” Beluin said.

    “Same.” Dyir and Dawk both said.

    Koryn let out a low rumble “Thiz one is never short on weaponz.” His heavily armored tail thumped on the yorik-coral below him.

    Ryia nodded his head “Good, I just hope Tyran, Rixa and Kial are in some kind of fighting shape. We're going to need them.”

    The group slowed as they came to an intersection. Ryia knew which way to go because of the tracking beacon he was following. But he still came to a stop to check for an ambush. The rest of the team fell in line behind him.

    “Remote.” He whispered despite the soundproof interior of his helmet.

    Dyir pulled one of the small devices from his belt and handed it to Dawk who then handed it to Ryia. He activated the small, palm sized sphere and waited until it's video feed appeared in his HUD. When it did he let go of the device and it floated out into the intersection. The hallway up ahead of them was clear of any hostiles, and sensing no enemy contacts the remote turned to the next hallway which was also devoid of Yuuzhan Vong warriors.

    The hallway to their left however was clogged with the alien soldiers. Everyone of them appeared to be heavily scarred which signified high rank in the warrior-caste. Ryia noticed one large warrior enshrouded in a long red cape standing at the front of the wall of Yuuzhan Vong with his arms crossed. He snarled something and a few seconds later a razorbug sliced through the remote.

    “You dare desecrate the Temple of Yun-Yammka further by using your blasphemous technology?!” a voice boomed from around the corner. Ryia assumed it was the large one in the cape who, judging by his mastery of Galactic Basic, must have been in charge. “Step out and meet your death with some honor at least.”

    “Yeah we stepped in it....again.” Beluin said.

    “Looks that way.” Ryia said thinking. “Do we have any of those yorik-coral mines or did we use them all?”

    Dyir checked the pack that Kas had given him. “We've got two of them.”

    Ryia gestured for them and Dyir handed the pack to the temporary team leader.

    “Thiz one wantz to know what you are planning?” Koryn sissed.

    Ryia nodded towards the hallway “It's narrow in there, these don't look like regular thermal detonators. We toss these in and they wont think anything is amiss, at least not right away hopefully.”

    “Those things blow and we take out anything left standing.” Dawk said “Correct?”

    Ryia nodded “You catch on quick.” Tyran and the others are just up ahead, we might have to blow through a wall but we need to get through these scarheads first.”

    “Answer me Infidel!” The warrior yelled. “I am Sehn Draisa of Domain Draisa, Commander of the Temple Guard, show yourselves and die like the cowards you are.”

    The warriors behind Draisa roared behind him and slammed their amphistaffs against their vonduun-crab armor.

    “Well he seems eager.” Dyir said.

    “Yeah, that might just be his undoing.” Ryia said clutching one of the yorik-coral grenades in his hand. “Maybe I should give him the fight he's looking for.”

    “You'll be right there when the detonator goes off,” Dawk said. “There is a very large chance that you wont survive, even though you're wearing beskar armor.”

    “I'll be fine. You all just make sure to move in once the detonator goes off.” Ryia said handing his blaster rifle to Dawk. “This scarhead will want a fist fight.”

    Dyir laughed “I bet it'll be a blast.”
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  18. AzureAngel2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    The warriors behind Draisa roared behind him and slammed their amphistaffs against their vonduun-crab armor.

    “Well he seems eager.” Dyir said.

    “Yeah, that might just be his undoing.” Ryia said clutching one of the yorik-coral grenades in his hand. “Maybe I should give him the fight he's looking for.”

    “You'll be right there when the detonator goes off,” Dawk said. “There is a very large chance that you wont survive, even though you're wearing beskar armor.”

    “I'll be fine. You all just make sure to move in once the detonator goes off.” Ryia said handing his blaster rifle to Dawk. “This scarhead will want a fist fight.”

    Dyir laughed “I bet it'll be a blast.”

    Long time, no see. But your return brings us a brilliant update! So you are forgiven! :D
  19. Mando-Man Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 1, 2008
    star 2
  20. AzureAngel2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    I wonder what happens next! :D
  21. Mando-Man Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 1, 2008
    star 2
    What ever it is I'm sure it will be a blast :p
  22. AzureAngel2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    I am a teacher... so I have a lot of patience. Especially when it is making folk what I want them to do. :p;)
  23. Mando-Man Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 1, 2008
    star 2
    CHAPTER EIGHT:


    Ryia took a deep breath and stepped out from the corner, his hand clamped around the detonator shaped to look like a piece of the ultra-sturdy yorik-coral the Yuuzhan Vong used to build most of their structures and living-space cruisers. He wasn't exactly sure if what he was planning to do was actually going to work, but he'd been lucky so far in his decision making. He found himself looking forward to when Tyran would be back having to make tactical decisions like this because the last few days had surely given him a few premature gray hairs.

    The Yuuzhan Vong warriors all perked up as he walked out alone into the corridor. Almost all at once they stood up straight and gripped their amphistaff's tighter in anticipation.

    “He is mine.” Sehn Draisa barked at the warriors behind him. “You redeem yourself by confronting your fate Infidel. You have chosen to die with honor.”

    Ryia set his audio projector to full volume. “You speak Basic pretty well for a scarhead.”

    What he had assumed to be a smile, the veteran warrior's face was so cut up and ritually disfigured that the Mandalorian couldn't make it out exactly, quickly faded.

    “You've managed to take away from what little honor you had regained in the eyes of the Gods.” Draisa sounded disappointed. “If that is how you wish to be viewed by the Gods, so be it.”

    Sehn Draisa gave his arm a tremendous shake and an amphistaff uncoiled from around his massive arm. It went rigid in the warrior's large hand and Ryia swallowed hard. He needed to get close enough to the group of warriors so that the detonator in his hand could have a more potent effect.

    “You know I thought a warrior like you, obviously one of higher stature, would enjoy a good old fashioned fist fight.” Ryia said.

    Draisa studied him for a few moments. “You wish to fight me in hand-to-hand combat?”

    “I've killed enough of your warriors in the last two days and know enough about your society to know that I'm a worthy opponent.” Ryia couldn't believe he was actually asking a Yuuzhan Vong warrior for a one on one fight. It wasn't that he didn't have faith in his CQC skill, he had that in spades, he just found the situation less than comfortable.

    Draisa snarled at Ryia. “Those warriors you killed were mere insects compared to me! You are not worthy to face me in unarmed combat.”

    “Are you afraid you might lose?” Ryia said smugly knowing that his arrogance combine with the slight against the warrior's reputation would push Sehn Draisa in the direction he wanted. “Scarhead.”

    Draisa turned his whole body towards the gold armored Mandalorian. “You think that I am afraid of you!?”

    “I'm not the one who's backing down from a fight,” Ryia said shrugging. “Yeah I think you're shaking in your boots because you've finally seen what a real warrior looks like. All that blustering doesn't mean anything because you are just a coward.”

    That did it. Draisa's eyes narrowed to practically slits as the amphistaff in his hand went slack and slowly wrapped itself around his forearm. “You dare call me a coward?!” Draisa's voice was quiet and menacing.

    Ryia rolled his neck in preparation for the coming fight. “Yeah I just think I did.”

    The Mandalorian couldn't help but feel like this was a bad idea, but it was necessary if he wanted to get his team and their missing Jedi off the forsaken moon they had all found themselves on.

    “You wish to fight me in unarmed combat?” Draisa asked again. “Fine Infidel, you get your wish.”

    “Stand down!” Sehn Draisa and every warrior under his command wheeled around as Kurru Ivat and his personal guard approached the cluster of soldiers.

    “Commander Ivat, this Infidel has challenged me to combat!” Draisa exclaimed. “I have the right to confront my challenger.”

    “You will.” Ivat said uninterestedly in formal ceremony. He cared little about ceremony anymore, his life was already forfeit. He just cared about redeeming himself before his death. “First I must challenge an infidel of my own and then you can slaughter the rest.”

    “The High Commander has deemed those infidels as sacrifices for the Gods.” Draisa said. “You cannot touch them.”

    “I am the Commander, you are the warrior!” Ivat roared. “You do as ordered.”

    “You dare talk to me that way!” Draisa roared back.

    Ryia stood by watching the spat between two obviously high ranked Yuuzhan Vong warriors. He was never one to let an opportunity slip by unnoticed so he depressed the ignition button on the yorik-coral detonator and discreetly rolled it across the floor and hoped it rolled deep enough into the center of the Yuuzhan Vong ranks to cause enough damage.

    Four seconds. He thought as he slowly turned around and began walking away from the blast zone. He opened a comm channel to his team. “Dets away.”

    Draisa looked up at Ryia as he began walking away.

    “Where are you going Infidel, you dishonor me by walking away after challenging me?!” the warrior raged, his tempered worsened by the intervention of his superior.

    “I've got more combustible problems right now than fighting you.” Ryia said flinging himself to the ground and covering his head.

    Both Ivat and Draisa stared down at the Mandalorian for a few precious seconds before they realized what was happening. They both ran in the same direction as Ryia away from the cluster of warriors just as a small brilliant ball of white light filled the corridor. Tremendous thunder followed suit in a small plume of vaporized yorik-coral, warrior limbs and blood splatter. It was over almost as quickly as it had happened. Draisa climbed up to his knees and was almost overcome by the intense smell of scorched flesh and spilled blood. His ears were ringing but otherwise he had suffered very little damage in the blast.

    A large majority of his warriors were laying motionless on the floor behind him, only a handful were pulling themselves up off the ground and seemed to be in fighting condition. A larger percentage were on the ground missing either an arm or a leg or some combination. The warriors of the Temple Guard of Yun-Yammka were reveling in the pain racing through their bodies. The lone infidel had managed to efficiently decrease the fighting strength Draisa had brought with him. He realized he had been tricked by the Mandalorian. The infidel had goaded him into a drawn out conversation with insults to his honor and bravery.

    The interruption by Kurru Ivat had only provided the Mandalorian with perfect cover to launch whatever had just decimated his forces, most likely one of the blasphemous thermal detonators, undetected. Draisa looked around and found Ivat a few paces behind him already on his feet and disappearing into the chamber where the four prisoners had been held.

    “No!” Draisa exclaimed. “They belong to the Gods!” He climbed up to his feet and motioned at the remaining warriors he had “Stop Kurru Ivat!”

    “Oh you can bet we're going to stop him. We just have to stop you first.”

    Draisa whipped his head around to see five Mandalorians raising their rifles. The high pitched whine of the blasphemous weapons discharging filled the hallway. A wall of superheated plasma ripped through the Yuuzhan Vong warriors still standing in the hallway. Draisa was knocked back by a rapid sequence of impacts against his chest plate and slowly a burning fire worked it's way through his torso.

    The pain was unlike anything he had ever felt as he collapsed smelling his own burning flesh as his breathing became intensely labored. The whine of the blaster rifles came to a stop and only a few more selective shots rang out as the Mandalorians finished off the Yuuzhan Vong warriors who had yet to die. Draisa heard footsteps coming his way and found that he couldn't move his arms or legs. Soon he was looking up into the lifeless durasteel barrel of a blaster pistol.

    He wanted to say something, to curse to Infidels with all the hate and anger in his body but his voice would not form the words he wanted them to. He watched the armored finger depress the trigger of the weapon and was no more.

    “Good riddance.” Ryia said darkly as he put away his pistol. He had no more ammunition for his blaster rifle and had discarded it, the weapon was just dead weight that he didn't need now.

    The hissing of amphistaffs slithering around the floor was the only other sound that the Mandalorian team could hear now. There were muted sounds coming from inside the chamber where the tracking signal was coming from hinting at some kind of commotion going on inside the chamber.

    “Beluin I want you and Koryn to gather up as many thudbugs and razorbugs as you can, our ammo isn't going to last much longer and we're going to need another source of weaponry.” Ryia said. “Dyir, you and Dawk are coming with me to get Tyran and the others.”

    “You got it.” Beluin said as he began kicking over a Yuuzhan Vong warrior's body and began checking for the projectiles.

    Ryia headed over to the entrance membrane that Kurru Ivat had disappeared into. There did sound like a fight was going on in there, and it sounded like a vicious one.

    “Anyone know how to get this thing to open?” Dyir asked as he looked at the wall on either side of the membrane.

    “Put a low-yield det on it.” Ryia said standing back.

    “What about Tyran and the others?” Dawk said. “I'm running

    “As long as they aren't up against the wall when it blows they'll be fine.” Dyir said as he pulled out a palm sized detonator and fixed it to the wall.

    Ryia banged his fist onto the wall as hard as he could. “Tyran if you can hear me, fire in the hole!”

    He stepped back, followed by the two others, and he nodded to Dyir once they were a safe distance away. Dyir nodded back and hit a button on his wrist gauntlet and the wall exploded in a ball of lightning and thunder.

    **************

    Raven was fixed on healing the wounds covering most of Rixa's body. She visualized the flesh reattaching itself in her minds eye and exerted her will through the Force to manipulate his cells. At the moment the most serious wound Rixa had was a punctured and collapsed lung. Over the last few minutes she had managed to re-inflate the lung but had yet to seal the puncture wound.

    She could feel the fear radiating from him in the Force stronger than she could anyone else in the room. She tried to emit a soothing presence in the Force and enshroud him in it, but even that wasn't as strong as it should have been. She was too weak and injured herself from the weeks of captivity in the hands of the Yuuzhan Vong. Her focus wasn't as strong as it should have been, there were too many things going on around her to allow her full concentration on the task before her.

    The Mandalorian strike team had arrived in the corridor outside and she could sense all of their emotions. There must have been something outside that door that they didn't like. A large Yuuzhan Vong patrol perhaps? Tyran had ordered her to let him know when they arrived and she had to break what little concentration she had to do so.

    “You're friends are outside.” She said trying to split her focus between talking with Tyran and healing Rixa. She felt pure relief flood through both Tyran and Kial. “But something isn't right they feel very....apprehensive and anxious I guess. Something's got them concerned outside the door.”

    Tyran and Kial traded looks. Ryia and the others weren't the type of people to be rattled easily.

    “Yuuzhan Vong.” Kial said. “The have to be outside the door.”

    “Must be a lot of them.” Tyran agreed. “Take up defensive positions around Rixa and the Jedi. They might try to move us before Ryia and the others can get in here and we'll have to hold them off for as long as we can.”

    As the two Mandalorians closed in around her Raven meshed her hands together, one on top of the other, and pressed down harder into the jagged gash in Rixa's back. He let out a wet gurgling sound of distress as the pain hit him. His blood oozed out over her fingers in warm thin strands that she added to the increasing list of things she was trying to ignore. She tried to calm him again through the Force and felt him ease a little but not as much as she would have liked.

    Raven didn't know why these men were putting themselves through all of this for her. She didn't feel like she deserved the pain and sacrifice they had suffered in the last few days. They didn't know her at all and they came from two very different lifestyles, but Rixa had subjected himself to a level of brutality and violence that not even she had been subjected to during her stay with the Yuuzhan Vong. The only thing she could do to make things right at the current moment was to kneel beside the wounded man and try to ease his suffering for as long as she could.

    She focused on the presences of the two other men in the room with her, trying to draw on their determination and concentration to bolster her own. She peeled back the layers of their presences, working through the worry and negative emotions that would hamper her and looking for the emotions she needed. She was caught off guard by what she felt. Tyran and Kial were only a few years older than she was and it amazed her at how much older and wearier they all felt compared to her. They felt more like retired war veterans who were in settling into their autumn years that she had met on some of the assignments she had been sent on.

    It was sad. These were men who should have been out in the prime of the careers as mercenaries and bounty hunters, but this war had aged them, at least mentally, beyond their years. She knew she probably felt the same way in the Force. It was a foregone conclusion that she wouldn't ever be like she had been before being tortured. She knew the vibrant and fearless young-woman she had been weeks earlier was going to be replaced by a more cautious and fearful woman if she made it off this moon.

    When she made it off the moon.

    She could feel it in Tyran's presence. He hadn't come all this way just to watch his younger brother be tortured and to wind up sacrificed to the imagined Gods of the Yuuzhan Vong. He was going to get her out of here, he was going to make sure she survived. She couldn't understand how he could be so confident, but it was reassuring all the same. She drew upon his confidence, a shining light at the center of a dark mix of rage and violent intent that she now saw as her only means of salvation. She could feel the effects of her healing technique becoming stronger as she bolstered her confidence in her abilities with his own. The blood oozing from between her fingers began to slow at a steady rate and Raven could feel the pain lessen in Rixa's body.

    Suddenly and violently all of her concentration was ripped away as a thunderous roar pierced through the yorik-coral wall between them and the corridor. Raven dropped down to the ground out of shear animal instinct not knowing what had just happened. The room was as dark as ever so the explosion hadn't managed to pierce the wall to their cell. She reached out in the Force again, this time searching the presences of the other Mandalorians who had come to rescue her. The feelings she felt emanating from them were ones of satisfaction and relief.

    “Cutting it close, don't you think?” Kial said as he pulled himself up off the floor.

    Tyran grunted and looked around the room. “Not close enough, they didn't breach any of the walls.”

    “That's the next step.” Kial said dismissively.

    The conversation sounded too casual to Raven. There wasn't an edge to either of their voices. Dust had been dislodged from the ceiling by the blast outside and Raven began sneezing. The wet hacking sound was what made her remember about Rixa but before she could even start crawling towards him the portal membrane to the room opened with a sickening pucker and the hulking form of Kurru Ivat stumbled inside.

    If Raven's eyes hadn't been adjusted to the darkness of the room, she wouldn't have noticed the seething look in the Yuuzhan Vong warrior's eyes as he brought himself up to his full height and leveled his gaze at Tyran.

    “You Mandalorian,” He growled deeply. “Will be my redemption.”

    Tyran turned to face the warrior, both his arms held away from his sides. “We'll see about that.”

    **************

    It happened too fast for Tyran to react.

    The razorbug shot straight past his face, just glancing his scalp and opening up a wound that began to bleed freely. Out of reflex he executed a combat roll away from the line of sight the Yuuzhan Vong warrior had on him. He followed through the roll and came up on his feet and broke out into a dead run charging full on towards Ivat and letting out a animalistic roar of anger. He ejected one beskar blade from the housing on his right arm and made a savage slash at Ivat's left side.

    The Yuuzhan Vong warrior caught Tyran's arm in his own large hand and pulled Tyran in close before delivering a debilitating headbutt to the bridge of Tyran's nose. The blow buckled Tyran's knees as Ivat removed a coufee from a sheath somewhere on his back and brought it down. The point of impact would have been the center of Tyran's skull had Kial not jumped into the fray. He threw a solid right hand punch into the side of Ivat's disfigured face and the warrior barely moved backwards more than a millimeter. Ivat turned his head in a slow, menacing fashion as he growled deeply in his throat. Kial glanced down at his crushgaunt and back up at Ivat not believing that it had had little to no effect.

    Tyran shook his head to try and clear it and looked up in time to see Ivat plant the tip of his boot firmly into Kial's groin. Tyran tried to free his arm from the vice-like grip Ivat had on it but the Yuuzhan Vong warrior swung him around and hurled him into Kial. Both men crashed to the ground feeling a little worse for wear.

    “I thought we were supposed to be kicking his shebs.” Kial groaned.

    “Come on get up,” Tyran said thickly while climbing up to all fours. “We've got him on the ropes.”

    “Yeah it feels like it.”

    Ivat let out a laugh. “You disappoint me. After you managed to kill so many of my kind without any trouble, a lone warrior is all it takes to best the both of you?”

    Tyran spit a glob of blood and saliva onto the floor as he stood up to his full height. “Now that we got the warm-up over, time for the real fight to start.”

    This time Kial and Tyran didn't try to rush Ivat, instead they slowly began walking towards him. Tyran had retracted the beskar blade he had failed to impale Ivat with earlier. Ivat seemed to be willing to meet them in a melee, he had discarded his coufee and had yet to uncurl his amphistaff. The large warrior began to close the distance between himself and the Mandalorians. The two parties came to within and arms length of each other and Ivat made the first lunge.

    It was a savage strike directed at the side of Tyran's head. Tyran ducked under it and brought his own fist up hard into Ivat's abdomen while Kial connected with a spinning back-fist to Ivat's disfigured nose. Ivat made a second wild swipe this time directing it towards Kial. The Supercommando clamped onto Ivat's left arm and hyper-extended the alien warrior's elbow before bringing his own beskar armored elbow down on the joint. Ivat howled more in anger than from pain as his arm bent at an angle that it wasn't supposed to. In the short few seconds afterward Tyran landed several hard left and right fists into Ivat's right side, further pulverizing the vonduun-crab armor and even drawing out some of the alien's bluish-black blood.

    Ivat stepped back breathing heavily, his left arm hanging uselessly at his side and black blood flowing from a crack in his armor's right side. His eyes glanced from Tyran to Kial and to the Jeedai hiding in the corner with the wounded Mandalorian. It was obvious to Tyran that Ivat was trying to formulate a plan.

    “Not so high and mighty now are you scarhead?” Kial said with his trademarked smugness.

    The smile that came over Ivat's face turned Tyran's stomach into a ball of ice. The sinister laugh the large Yuuzhan Vong emitted after it didn't help to thaw it out either.

    “No Mandalorian, I am not but unlike you I will be accepted by my Gods.” he reached behind him and pulled out one of the projectile beatles that were often employed as long range weapons by the Yuuzhan Vong warrior-caste.

    This one didn't look like a normal thudbug or it's more dangerous cousin the razorbug. Process of elimination left only one more possibility.

    “Blastbug!” Tyran yelled. Instantly he turned towards Raven and Rixa and began running in their direction.

    Kial began running towards Ivat but the Yuuzhan Vong warrior lowered his shoulder and stopped the charging Mandalorian with the spikes on his vonduun-crab armor. The spike found it's way through a weak point in Kial's beskar armor, entering just under his right armpit. Ivat threw Kial to the ground and hurled the blastbug in the direction of Tyran, Rixa and Raven.

    Tyran felt a pressure wave hit him and lift him off his feet and heard the crack of thunder, too loud to be a blastbug, unless Ivat had hurled a supercharged variant of the creature. There was a good chance the Yuuzhan Vong had different classes of explosives just like the Mandalorians and other military's in the Galaxy did. He closed his eyes as he felt himself flying through the air towards his brother and the wounded Jedi standing guard over him. He just hoped that the weight of his body and the full beskar armor it was encased in didn't crush who ever he impacted when he came to a stop.

    **************

    Raven reached out in the Force and grabbed Tyran, stopping him in mid air less than a meter from Rixa and herself as the smoke and rubble continued falling from the explosion. She lowered Tyran to the ground and looked to the wall where the eruption of flame and yorik-coral had come from. Through it spilled three other Mandalorians: one wearing dented and battered gold armor, a second wearing a set of royal blue armor and the third was much smaller than the other two and wearing a set of purple on black armor. She wanted to say something, to scream out in joy as her rescuers piled into the room and headed towards her but found that her throat could no longer work again. She was too overcome by her emotions to speak, days of fear, pain and tremendous doubt were close to coming to an end.

    Tyran climbed to his feet and looked around. It didn't take him too long to work out what had happened and he turned around just as the golden armored soldier began walking in their direction.

    “A little warning would have been nice Ry'ika.” Tyran said with no small amount of relief in his voice.

    “You know me, always love to make a big entrance.” the soldier said.

    “Who's with you?” Tyran asked.

    “Dyir and Dawk, Beluin and Koryn are outside keeping our exit route clear and Elai is with Kas and Baydo at our exfiltration point eight clicks from here.”

    Tyran nodded and Raven didn't even try to pretend like anything that was being said was actually making sense to her. “Good job Ryia, I guess it's up to me now.”

    “Yeah, and I couldn't be more happy. This leadership thing isn't all it's cracked up to be.”

    Tyran laughed in agreement.

    “Where are Rixa and Kial?” Ryia asked.

    Tyran stopped laughing and pointed behind him. “Rixa is over there with the Jedi and I haven't seen Kial since your blast.”

    Ryia looked over Tyran's shoulder and remained silent as he took in the brutally beaten appearances of both Raven Varos and Rixa Numeck.

    “Dawk get over here, we've got two people who need your assistance.” Ryia said.

    The small purple armored Mandalorian appeared at Raven's side in an instant and the Jedi began to shake her head. “No he needs medical aid more than I do.” She said pointing to Rixa. “Help him first.”

    Dawk looked up at Tyran. “Sir?”

    Tyran nodded his head and Dawk went about treating Rixa. He turned back to face Ryia. “Do you have a spare earpiece? I need to be patched into the team comm frequency.”

    Ryia nodded and fished around in his belt and produced the desired device and Tyran pressed it into his ear. The device linked to the control panel in his forearm plate a second later and Tyran opened a line to all members of his team.

    “Dyir, start looking for Kial. He might be under the rubble you guys brought down.”

    Dyir grunted. “I'll look for the chakaar, but I'm doing it under protest.”

    Ryia walked over to Raven and extended his hand to her. She stared at it for a few second before taking it and the Mandalorian pulled her to her feet.

    “Ryia Devieyc.” He said to her flatly.

    Raven got the impression that he wasn't too friendly with Force-sensitives. In fact his Force presence suggested that he hated them.

    “Raven Varos.”

    “I know who you are.” Ryia said. “You're not what I expected to find.”

    “You thought I'd be older?”

    “No I was sure you were dead.”

    Tyran watched her visibly deflate and felt bad for her. He nudged Ryia's shoulder. “Hey get a line to Elai, I can't raise him on this thing. Tell him to get in touch with Yunauli and tell him we'll need extraction in a couple of hours.”

    “You got it.” Ryia said but before he could open a comm line to Elai, Dyir began shouting.

    “Hey Dawk we got a man down over here! Kial's got one of those crab armor spikes jammed in his side!”

    The young medic grabbed Raven by the arm “Stay here with him.”

    Raven didn't even have time to respond as Dawk took off towards Dyir with all the others. She knelt down beside Rixa and propped him up against her own body. The wounded soldier's Force presence was filled with alarm and fright. Raven patted him on his chest.

    “It's ok, you're friends are here and they're going to get us out of here.”

    His sense of alarm didn't decrease and it bothered Raven. As a precaution she took a look around. Out of a pile of rubble Kurru Ivat launched himself towards Raven and Rixa with the small dagger in his hand. Raven caught a glint of metal behind Ivat and didn't need to think twice. She reached out in the Force and the silver cylinder came flying out of the rubble and into the palm of her hand. With the much welcomed snap-hiss the purple blade of energy sprang into life and she brought the blade down into the path of Kurru Ivat with strength that stemmed from all her anger and hatred of the alien being. In one swipe she removed both his one good arm and his head from his body.

    The warrior fell to the ground in a smoking heap.

    Breathing heavily, Raven kicked the lifeless husk with her foot and looked up to see the other Mandalorians staring in her direction.

    “He's dead.” She sighed as she deactivated her lightsaber.

    Tyran turned away from the distraction and looked down at Dawk as she examined Kial wound.

    “How is he?”

    “He's going to lose his arm.” Dawk said. “The spike went right through the socket.”

    “He's alive though right?” Ryia asked.

    “Unconscious, but alive.” Dawk said.

    “Great, we have to carry out two members of our team.” the frustration in Ryia's voice was apparent. “That's going to diminish our fighting ability.”

    “We'll manage.” Tyran said. “Dyir you carry Kial, I'll get Rixa and the Jedi.”

    “I'll carry Rixa.” Ryia said. “We need you out front.”

    “Fine, Dawk you watch over the Jedi.”

    The small medic nodded her head. Once Dyir had Kial over his shoulder and Ryia had a semi-mobile Rixa propped up against him the group moved out into the hallway. Beluin and Koryn both saluted Tyran as he moved past them.

    “Beluin you're on rear guard, Koryn you stay up front with me.”

    The large Barabel hissed as he fell into step with Tyran. “Thiz one iz pleazed to see you alive.”

    Tyran patted the Barabel on the chest-plate. “Try to keep me that way, huh big guy?”

    Raven watched Tyran's interaction with the Barabel from the center of the Mandalorian formation. She had never seen anything like the Barabel before and the she must have been staring at him because the young medic next to her nudged her.

    “He doesn't like people staring at him.”

    Raven looked down and kept walking. She could feel the small medic staring at her as the group moved through corridor after corridor, some of them filled with Yuuzhan Vong bodies.

    “Tyran I got through to Elai, he's going to radio Yunauli for pick up.” Ryia said.

    Tyran was gripping the blaster pistols that Beluin had given him tightly in each of his hands. He was leading the group down the corridors at a quicker pace than Ryia had. The potential to encounter resistance without detecting it beforehand was a lot higher.

    “Good, lets hope we can get out of here without too much of a hassle.” He said quietly as he brushed through an intersection following the path of destruction that Ryia and the others had caused on their way in.

    “Why'd you have to say that?” Beluin said from the rear of the group. “Once you say that things always get worse.”

    As if on cue a trio of razorbugs hurled through the air and stuck in the Zabrak's backplate and knocking him down on his stomach. He let out a wet gurgling sound that caused Dyir to turn around and see his injured friend and the Yuuzhan Vong warriors approaching from down the corridor.

    “Contact!” He yelled as he brought his rifle up one handed and depressed the trigger.

    The rest of the group spun around and everyone who was able to return fire did so. Beluin began crawling towards the group but caught two more razorbugs in the process. He looked behind him at the mass of Yuuzhan Vong warriors barreling towards them. “Explosives...” Beluin said extending his arm. “Give me...what's left.”

    “What?” Dyir said. “No, you're coming with us.”

    “We can't spare anyone else to carry him.” Tyran said grimly. “Give him the explosives.”

    Dyir growled in frustration as he passed Kial over to Ryia and undid the satchel that housed the few remaining explosives the group had left. Thudbugs and razorbugs began to strike the walls to either side of him. Dyir pulled the ignition switch and placed it in Beluin's weak grasp.

    “Just push the button vod, you won't feel a thing.” Dyir said slowly.

    “Get out of here.” Beluin said.

    When Dyir turned around he saw that the rest of the group was almost to the end of the corridor near the next intersection. With one last look at his friend he turned and followed suit.

    **************

    Beluin watched as his team disappeared around the corner. The Yuuzhan Vong horde came to a stop and began to encircle him. Cruel laughter filled the hallway as the warriors spoke in their guttural language, probably hurling insults at him as he lay there dying. He could feel his heart beat in his fingertips as he hovered his thumb over the detonation switch. The Yuuzhan Vong warriors began kicking him, laughing hard with each blow. Beluin couldn't help but smile. The Yuuzhan Vong could laugh all they wanted. He pushed the button.

    With a flash of brilliant light and rolling flame, Beluin Uluar got the true last laugh.

    **************

    Elai perked up as a sudden column of smoke began rolling up into the sky on the horizon. His pulse rate skyrocketed and he began to try and raise Ryia on the team frequency.

    “Ryia, are you there? If you can hear me respond.” Static filled the airwaves. He eyed the pillar of smoke with a sense of dread creeping up on him. “That can't be good.”

    His earpiece crackled but it was only Baydo. “Whats going on?”

    Elai sighed. “Smoke on the horizon, looks like it's coming from that Temple.”

    “Can you raise Ryia or anyone else?”

    “No.”

    The answer hung there in the air for a while. Baydo didn't say anything and Elai didn't either. There was a very real chance that out of all the Mandalorians who had made it onto the moon of Katna-II, Elai Kareb, Baydo Titus and Kas Birek were the only three that were going to make it off of it.

    “What do we do?” Baydo finally said. “Yunauli is going to be here in two hours.”

    “That's if he can make it through the Yuuzhan Vong blockade again.” the sour note in Elai's voice was easily detectable. “Either way we can only sit and wait for Yunauli to signal us and for Ryia to get here with the others, or as many of the others as he can.”

    “If they're captured we need to do something!”

    “No, we need to stay here and hold the pickup point.” Elai said smoothly. The Kiffar sniper knew that there wasn't anything the three of them could do anyway. Baydo was still suffering from a dislocated arm that had been hastily popped back into place and Kas could barely lift either of his arms because they were covered in severe burns. “For now we just sit and wait it out.”

    Baydo growled in frustration as he closed the link. Elai sighed again and leaned back in the tree he was perched in and cradled his long-range Verpine sniper rifle in his arms as he fixed his eyes on the ascending pall of smoke on the horizon.

    **************

    Raven had never run so hard or so fast in her life. After narrowly avoiding being roasted alive the group had managed to get outside the temple and back into the swamplands surrounding it. Their escape had been slowed by repeated attempts by they Yuuzhan Vong to intercept them, that and the fact that two members of the group had to be carried. The Mandalorians had resorted to hand-to-hand combat after depleting all of their ammunition. She wanted to know how much further they had to go before they reached the extraction point but she didn't need the Force to tell that that wouldn't be a good idea.

    Everyone around her was already emitting grief on a scale she had never encountered before for their friend. There was little doubt that Beluin had bought them precious time to actually make it out of the Temple as well as hinder the Yuuzhan Vong attempt to capture the escaping prisoners. But in the end however, the Yuuzhan Vong had still caught up to them.

    The constant whomp, whomp, whomp of the artillery beasts firing golden globs of superheated plasma in large arcs from somewhere behind them was proof of that. The ground-shaking impacts of the plasma salvos were getting closer and closer with each passing minute. It wouldn't be long before the Yuuzhan Vong had dialed in their artillery and pinned what was left of the Mandalorian rescue team down.

    Raven looked over her shoulder for a single instant and her foot caught in a divet in the ground. She screamed as her ankle twisted as she fell but Dyir had grabbed her by the back of her tattered top and pulled her back up. He shoved her in the direction the rest of the group was headed in.

    “Don't look back Jedi, there aint nothing back there that's worth it.” His voice was strained with the effort of running through the swamp while also carrying the dead weight of Kial Volar on his shoulder.

    An earsplitting shriek made Raven look upwards as a plasma salvo arced over their heads and impacted the ground just ahead of Tyran, Koryn and Ryia. Trees, muck and Mandalorians were sent flying up into the air. Tyran came crashing down in the mud just ahead of Dawk and came back up to his feet almost an instant after he hit.

    “I'm getting real tired of being thrown through the air!” He screamed at no one in particular. Plasma artillery rained down on virtually every side of the Mandalorian team except directly down on them.

    “They're trying to box us in!” Ryia said.

    “They want the Jedi alive.” Tyran said as he looked around the swamp. The trees had fallen in an adequate defensive barrier, they didn't have anything but their knives and hands. It was going to be a fight to the last man once the Yuuzhan Vong finally caught up to them. “Take up defensive positions, get ready for close-quarters-combat.”

    No one moved. They all knew right then and there that they weren't going to make it out of their alive. Tyran looked around at all of them and Raven could feel the sense of failure he felt.

    “Call Elai, tell him we aren't going to make the extraction point and that we need pick up at our current position.”

    “Tyran,” Ryia began.

    “Just do it Ryia.” Tyran cut him off. “Everyone else get in position and get ready to fight.”

    Everyone slowly got into their positions and Ryia began to try and raise Elai again after passing Rixa over to Dawk. Dyir set Kial down behind a tree trunk where Dawk led Rixa and began treating the wounded soldiers. Raven gripped her lightsaber in her hand tighter than ever and looked around the makeshift position as Yuuzhan Vong artillery flattened the area around them. She was a trained soldier and she didn't know what to do in this type of situation. Tyran grabbed her by her shoulder and led her to where Dawk was tending to Rixa and Kial.

    “You stay here with them.” He said pointing at the medic. “Watch her back and keep the scarheads at bay. Can you do that Jedi?”

    Raven didn't know if she could but she nodded her head anyway. “Yes, I can do that.”

    “Dyir and Koryn will be here to help defend this end, me and Ryia are going to hold the other side.” He pressed a comlink into her hand. “If this position gets overrun you get out of here and call Elai Kareb, tell him you are the Jedi and that Tyran's position has been compromised and that he is to come to your position and pick you up.”

    She stared at the comlink in her hand before she closed her slender fingers around it and nodded at Tyran. He walked away from her and turned to Ryia who gave him a subtle thumbs up.

    “I got through to Elai and he said he'd relay the message to Yunauli.” There wasn't much hope in his voice. “Earliest ETA is one hour.”

    “We can hold out for an hour.” Tyran said.

    “With what? We don't have any weapons and we have three injured people, the Yuuzhan Vong will swarm right over us.” Ryia yelled.

    “Have some faith.” Tyran yelled back. “We didn't come this far just to die in a hole in a swamp.”

    The Yuuzhan Vong artillery died down and it's constant thudding was replaced with the guttural snarls of the Yuuzhan Vong as they marched towards the Mandalorian position. In front of the marching Yuuzhan Vong warriors appeared to be a cloud of some sort, moving rapidly towards Tyran and his team. Ryia stepped forward and increased the magnification of his visor.

    “Razorbugs!” he yelled.

    “Everybody down!” Tyran ordered.

    He heard a staggered series of wet thuds as the people around him dropped down into the mud.

    **************

    Yunauli clenched his hands around the controls of the Tal’galaar tighter than he could ever recall squeezing a set of controls in his life as the ship made the short hyperspace jump into the Katna-Rae system.

    “Rev is the cannon up and running?” The old pilot asked calmly as he watched the timer slowly tick down to the moment when they would return to realspace.

    “Cannon is good to go, medical bay is prepped and ready to receive injured. Lets get this over with and get back to Gyndine with the rest of the taskforce.”

    “You don't have to ask me twice.” Yunauli truly felt that he was getting too old for this kind of thing. He'd had his fill of large scale space engagements during the war with the Empire and Rebellion years ago. But he'd heeded the Mand'alor's call and come out of his comfortable retirement when the Supercommandos had been ordered to go to war.

    “Can you make your way through the Yuuzhan Vong blockade again?” Rev asked.

    “Boy I've been running blockades since before you were a twinkle in your old man's eye. You just sit in that bubble of yours and blast and scarhead ship that get's too close.”

    Rev began laughing, just nervous displacement before dropping back into a firestorm for a third time. “Remind me to thank Ryia for making me stay behind with you.”

    “Probably did you a favor lad, that last message from Elai didn't sound like they were fairing too well down there.” Yunauli said as he glanced at the timer one more time. “Thirty seconds before we drop out of hyperspace.”

    Conversation stopped for the entirety of that thirty seconds. Yunauli kept his gaze out of the viewport watching the inky blue display of hyperspace dancing in front of him. The countdown clock was of no concern to him now, he had begun to keep a mental countdown of the seconds until reversion into realspace.

    All too soon the inky-blue lights stretched out and became stars in front of him and the large planet of Katna-Major dominated the viewport. The brown mudball of Katna-II was directly ahead, ringed by what appeared to be an asteroid belt that Yunauli knew to be the enemy fleet.

    “Strap yourself in lad, this is where the fun begins.”

    Yunauli put the ship into a steep spiraling dive, activating the ship's stealth package as he did so. His plan this time was to dive under the Yuuzhan Vong fleet and come up behind them and head down into the surface. Of course that had been his initial plan when he had dropped Tyran and the strike team off, and that hadn't exactly fared so well. The Yuuzhan Vong wouldn't suspect him to try the same maneuver twice, at least he hoped that they didn't.

    “Call out any enemy contacts if they come to within two-hundred meters.” Yunauli said. That was the extreme range that the Tal’galaar’s lone turret could fire and still maintain accuracy. “Pipe your visual feed to the secondary monitor, I don't want you opening fire unless I give the order. No need to blow our cover if we don't need to.”

    “Piping it through now.” Rev replied.

    Rev's HUD display appeared in an empty monitor next to the tactical display. It showed the large, dual-barreled turret was aimed directly behind and upwards of the Tal’galaar at the enemy fleet above.

    “So far so good lad.” Yunauli said. “We'll just have to take it nice and slow from here.”

    “We can't do slow!” Rev hissed over the radio. “Ryia and the others need us now!”

    Yunauli shook his head. “Son we'll go as fast as we can with the stealth package engaged. Getting a magma missile up the ion drive isn't going to solve your big brother's woes any quicker.”

    Yunauli spent the next twelve minutes negotiating his way under the Yuuzhan Vong fleet as slowly and urgently as he could. The constant impatient huffs coming over the radio link were starting to irritate him.

    I should have brought along the Aggressors. He thought to himself. His fighter squadron, an all Mandalorian unit flying the latest series of XJ X-Wings provided by the Galactic Alliance, were all still back on Gyndine with the taskforce. The eleven other Mandos would have been a welcome sight right now. They could have engaged the Yuuzhan Vong and allowed him to slip by the blockade easily and much more quickly than he was now.

    But he didn't have them.

    He just had a highly modified KDY space-yacht, a single high powered cannon manned by a young and inexperienced Supercommando and his own battle tested wits and flying abilities to get the job done. He could do it, he knew he could, he just needed the Yuuzhan Vong to remain unaware of his presence for just a little while longer.

    “Contact! Contact!” Rev yelled. “Flight of six coralskippers breaking off from a patrol pattern near that frigate-analog.”

    Yunauli glanced down at Rev's video feed. Indeed two coralskippers were breaking off and heading in their direction.

    “Fierfek.” Yunauli sighed. “Keep an eye on them Rev. Let me know if they become unfriendly.”

    “Missiles released!” Rev yelled.

    “I guess that means they just became unfriendly.” Yunauli sighed. “Going evasive, permission to return fire.”

    He deactivated the stealth package and accelerated the space-yacht to it's full speed and rocketed out of the line of sight of the Yuuzhan Vong coralskippers. The steady chug, chug, chug of the Tal’galaar's turret opening up filled the cockpit as Yunauli corkscrewed through the void to out maneuver missile after missile. Rev cried out in victory as he reduced a coralskipper to a cloud of floating ash.

    “Five left.” Rev said.

    “Oh there's quite a few more than five left lad. We've got a a few thousand of those things bearing down on us.” The tactical display was alive with hostile signals swarming in around the Tal’galaar from all directions. “We can't head down to the surface with all of these things on us like this. We'll have to jump out of the system and come up with another plan.”

    “No, they need extraction now!” Rev yelled.

    “It's not possible, the Yuuzhan Vong would shoot us down the moment we became stationary.” Yunauli yelled back. “They'll just have to hold out longer.”

    Rev screamed in frustration. The tactical display began to beep as more contacts entered the system.

    “See they've got more ships coming in, we need to get out of here.”

    “No!” Rev yelled. “Those aren't Yuuzhan Vong, those are Alliance Star Destroyers.”

    Yunauli didn't have a visual of the vessels through the viewports but the tactical display supported Rev's claim. Four of the wedge shaped vessels were now sitting on the edge of the system spewing hundreds of smaller green dots.

    “Mandalorian vessel Tal’galaar, this is the Imperial Star Destroyer Transcendence are you receiving?”

    “Affirmative Transcendence, you picked a fine time to join the party.”

    Tal’galaar this is Aggressor-Two, the Jedi couldn't wait anymore. So we thought we'd tag along.”

    “Captain Drau this is Commander Balsir Tumari of the Transcendence. We will hold position here and draw out the Yuuzhan Vong fleet while you and Aggressor Squadron recover the ground team.”

    “Since when does the Empire help out the Jedi?” Yunauli asked.

    “Since when do the Mandalorians rescue the Jedi.”

    “Fair point Commander. Get the caf ready, we wont be too long now.”

    A flight of eleven X-Wings appeared on the left and right of the Tal’galaar. Each one sporting a black-blue paint scheme with a Mythosaur skull emblazoned on the snubbed nose of each craft.

    “I bet Tyran will be thrilled to see you Ten.” Yunauli said as a large scale battle began to unfold above the Mandalorian formation.

    A sultry female laugh came over the radio. “I am his wife.”

    “Well lets go get him so we can all get somewhere less lethal.”

    Yunauli dropped the space-yacht into a second steep dive towards the brown moon below him, feeling much more comfortable with his new escorts.

    **************

    Tyran pressed his face down into the mud as razorbugs, thudbugs and blastbugs races over his protected position. Splinters from the trees around the Mandalorians dropped down in irritating chunks as blastbugs detonated on impact with the waterlogged wood.

    “Fierfek, why aren't they moving in to engage us?” Dyir yelled as projectiles rained down on his position directly opposite of Tyran. “It's not like them. Normally when they get their shebs handed to them the scarheads are clamoring to get at the people responsible.”

    “Maybe they don't have as many soldiers left as we think they do.” Ryia said. “Maybe they're moving more up from the planet, but that's going to take time and their stalling until they can get more reinforcements.”

    “I don't know about that.” Tyran said. “But anything is possible.”

    A blast bug detonated behind Tyran and was followed by a blood curdling scream. He whipped his head around to see Dyir holding his hands to his helmet clawing at it. The visor itself was cracked. Dawk was on him in an instant pulling off his helmet. Fragments of wood and visor were lodged in his eyes and face and he was rolling around grabbing at them. Dawk was failing in her efforts to restrain the wounded man and keep him from digging at the glass and wood fragments. A second blastbug detonated next to her knocking her face first into the log Dyir had been using as cover.

    “Dawk!?” Tyran yelled as he readied himself to run over to her and Dyir. She climbed up to her knees and removed her helmet and let it drop into the mud. She had a cut along the top of her scalp but it didn't seem to bother her as she rolled Dyir onto his back and began to try and calm him. She looked up at Tyran and opened her mouth to say something to him.

    But she never got the chance to say it.

    A Razorbug came flying in and impacted her just under the chin and stuck there. The small medic was knocked backwards by the impact.

    “No!” Tyran yelled as he rushed over to her. He scrambled on all floors in the mud to reach his fallen teammate. Raven had already beaten him to the small medic.

    Remarkably the small medic was still alive. Blood was streaming from her mouth and nose, her skin was ghostly pale. Tyran tried to wipe away the blood as he looked down at the small medic.

    “You're going to be ok.” He said, having to force the words out from his throat.

    The small girl couldn't make any noise at all but her face contorted and tears fell from her eyes. Her hand twitched and Tyran reached down and grabbed it. He held her hand in his left hand while he wiped away more blood from her face.

    It was hard for Raven to watch. This was happening because of her. A woman who she didn't know and who owed her her nothing was going to die. It was a death that no one deserved.

    “It's going to be alright, just relax.” Raven managed to stammer as she tried to push aside the fear and pain that Dawk was emitting. Raven tried to replace it with calm and peaceful sensations.

    Dawk looked over at Raven for a brief second making eye contact with the Jedi she had come to rescue. Then she was gone.

    “Dawk....Dawk!” Tyran gave her a gentle shake.

    Raven put her hand on Tyran's shoulder and shook her head. “She's gone Tyran, I can't feel her in the Force.”

    Tyran removed the Razorbug from his dead teammates throat and gripped it in his hands. He looked over at Dyir who was no longer thrashing around but still clutching his hands to his face, growling in pain. Tyran pulled Dyir by his collar to the safety of the formation of tree trunks that Kial and Rixa were propped up in.

    “Let me see it.” Tyran said as he tried to remove Dyir's hands from his face. Dyir fought against Tyran's grip. “Hey I can't fix it if I can't see it so move your hands.”

    Dyir slowly released the tension in his arms and Tyran pried the wounded man's hands from his face and visibly winced at the wound.

    “How bad is it?” Dyir said with tremble to his voice.

    “It's bad.” Tyran confirmed. “You're gonna lose your right eye.”

    Dyir leaned his head against the tree trunk just as Raven dragged Dawk's body into the protection of the trees. She gently placed her next to Rixa, who had managed to remain conscious despite his severe wounds. He shook his head slightly upon seeing the dead woman.

    “Raven, find her medkit and get a bacta bandage around Dyir's wound. You're in charge of the wounded now.”

    Raven looked around at the three wounded men and one dead body and nodded her head.

    Tyran ducked back outside with Ryia and Koryn. Ryia was hunched over waiting for him.

    “Dawk didn't make it and Dyir is going to lose his right eye. We need evac soon.”

    Ryia swore. “Yuuzhan Vong infantry is moving up on us Tyran. I don't think we're getting out of this one.”

    Tyran shook his head “What a waste.”

    “You aint kidding.”

    The rain of Yuuzhan Vong projectiles came to a stop and Tyran, Ryia and Koryn all stood up and watched as a procession of Yuuzhan Vong warriors raced towards them. These were the all-star Yuuzhan Vong warriors. They were encased head-to-toe in thick vonduun-crab armor. At a quick glance there must have been two or three hundred of them marching through the swamp.

    Tyran felt everything drain out of him. He was suddenly more tired than ever and just wanted to drop to his knees in submission. The urge was the opposite of everything he'd ever been trained to do and broke every rule and code he believed in. Now he realized that sometimes there was just no helping it. Tyran glanced around at the remains of his shattered team. He'd accepted the mission and led them into a suicide mission all because he came from a line of Mandalorians who had a knack for beating the odds.

    He'd put his heritage up against fate and fate had thrashed his heritage and thensome.

    “Sorry I got you into this Ryia.”

    “Oh shut up with that.” Ryia laughed. “At least die with some dignity.”

    Tyran laughed and soon Ryia was laughing with him. They stood in front of a wall of Yuuzhan Vong warriors laughing as if there wasn't an army of genocidal aliens swarming down around them. Koryn began hissing loudly as the Yuuzhan Vong came closer. The three of them knew that they werent going to make even a small dent in the Yuuzhan Vong forces, at best they would kill maybe two or three warriors a piece before being struck down by an amphistaff or the blade of a coufee.

    They stood shoulder to shoulder and watched as the warriors began running at them howling and baying for the flesh of the Mandalorians.

    “Get ready.” Tyran said.

    The Yuuzhan Vong closed to within thirty meters and with a giant roar the airframe of an X-Wing buzzed the tree tops. Everyone looked up into the sky as a brilliant streak of crimson raced through the sky and impacted into the Yuuzhan Vong ranks. The ground shook violently as the proton torpedo impacted the wet mud and sent remains of every warrior within the impact zone flying into the air.

    Five more X-Wings came in from the left and right dropping more torpedoes into the Yuuzhan Vong. Tyran couldn't believe what he was seeing. Less than a second earlier he had been accepting that he was going to die and now there was an entire squadron of X-Wings laying waste to the Yuuzhan Vong that had been seconds from overruning his position.

    A sudden downdraft made him turn around to see his space-yacht touching down in the muddy clearing. The ramp lowered and Elai stepped out.

    “Get everyone on board, we don't have all day!” The Kiffar said as he waved to the Supercommandos.

    “Koryn you grab Kial and Dyir, Ryia you get my brother. I'll get Dawk and the Jedi.” Tyran said as the three of them headed into the cover of the trees.

    “What's going on?” Raven asked.

    “We're getting out of here.” Tyran said as he stooped over and picked Dawk's body up in both of his arms.

    The Barabel effortlessly tossed Kial over his shoulder and helped Dyir to his feet while Ryia draped one of Rixa's arms around his shoulder. They moved as a group into the Tal’galaar and in minutes they were off the ground. The majority of the group moved to the infirmary. It was hard to judge who got to use the bacta tank, after evaluating the wounds of all the injured it was decided that Rixa warranted the use more than the others. A fresh bacta bandage was wrapped around Dyir's face and Kial was strapped down to a stationary bed. Raven refused treatment until everyone else had been taken care of. She was sitting in a corner of the medical bay by herself apparently meditating.

    Tyran decided to leave her be for the moment and went up to the cockpit to join Yunauli.

    “Shab son you look like you've been put through the ringer.”

    Tyran sunk down into the co-pilots seat with a tired laugh. “You should see the others.” He looked around at the tactical display as Yunauli brought the space-yacht up and away from the same heading as the rest of the Imperial Star Destroyers. “Not regrouping with the Imperials?”

    “No today Tyran, the Yuuzhan Vong are chasing the four Star Destroyers out system in order to buy us a free pass out of here. We're going to regroup at Gyndine just as planned.”

    Tyran nodded his head as the space battle disappeared behind them. The stars in the viewport stretched out and then blinked into waves of blues and purples as the Tal’galaar entered hyperspace. Tyran finally allowed himself a smile. He had done it.

    He had beaten the odds. Just at a high cost.
    Last edited by Mando-Man, Apr 22, 2014
  24. Mando-Man Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 1, 2008
    star 2
    Ok everyone this is the final entry for this story so I hope you all enjoyed it ;)

    EPILOGUE:

    Tyran stepped out of the cockpit after dozing off. He was starting to feel the effects of the last few days of Yuuzhan Vong hospitality. He stepped into the main chamber of his ship and nearly tripped over a set of beskar'gam stashed near the the curved sofa that dominated the rear section. He looked around the chamber and saw that everyone who wasn't in the medical bay was either crammed together on the couch or sprawled out on the floor. Sound asleep.

    Pieces of armor were scattered everywhere and he had to carefully pick his way across the floor to avoid breaking his neck. Ryia and Rev were sitting shoulder to shoulder on the couch with their heads resting against each other as they slept. Koryn was curled in a ball in the corner, his massive tail thumping against the deck as he snarled and hissed, Tyran figured the Barabel was probably hunting something in a dream. Elai was sprawled out on the opposite side of the couch of Ryia and Rev and snoring loudly with his sniper rifle within reach. Baydo and Kas were lying on the floor with their heads propped up on their armor.

    They all deserved the rest. There was still six hours before they would revert back to realspace near Gyndine. He sighed heavily and slowly picked his way across the floor that was strewn with stray armor and dozing teammates. It took a few moments but he made it to the access hatch that would take him to the medical bay. He found Raven standing over the lifeless corpse of Dawk. She was stroking the young medics hair and tears were freely flowing down her cheeks.

    “She didn't deserve this Tyran.” Raven said without turning around. “Rixa didn't deserve to be tortured, Dyir didn't have to lose an eye and Kial didn't have to lose an arm. I don't deserve the sacrifices you and your friends made for me. I gave the Yuuzhan Vong the information they wanted and now Falas Draisa is going to take the lives of thousands of more pilots and soldiers than he would have if I'd just kept my mouth shut.”

    “The Alliance has taken the probability of you succumbing to the Yuuzhan Vong into account, they'll be prepared for a stiff defense.” Tyran said taking off his armor pieces and setting them on a nearby table.

    “The Yuuzhan Vong will mount more than just a stiff defense.” Raven said thickly as she stared down at Dawk. “More people are going to die because of me.”

    “You can't think like that.” Tyran tried to sound calm and understanding when he actually wanted to walk up to the Jedi and shake her. “If you do think like that, then the Yuuzhan Vong have already one and the sacrifices these people have made will have been for nothing, especially Dawk”

    “That was her name?” Raven asked.

    “Yeah, I never learned her last name.” Tyran said moving to stand next to Raven. He'd removed his fight suit so that he was now just wearing an undershirt and a pair of black fatigue pants.

    “How do I make this right?” Raven asked quietly.

    “You fight.” Tyran said after thinking about the answer. “You help defeat the Yuuzhan Vong.”

    “I'm not a warrior, I thought I was but I'm not.”

    Tyran put a hand on her shoulder and spun her around. “You killed Kurru Ivat, not any of us and he was the second in command of the forces on that moon. Give yourself some credit. A little bit of training and you'll be besk'atin'la.”

    “What's that mean?”

    “Tough as beskar.”

    Raven shook her head. “I doubt it Tyran.”

    Tyran looked around the medical bay and spotted the black bantha hide bag he was looking for. It was sitting on a storage container just behind him and he steered Raven towards it.

    “Do me a favor please, I think I've earned that much.” He'd meant it as a joke but he could see it had only upset her more. He shook his head and grabbed the bag. “If you want to make it right, to make Dawk's sacrifice worth something. You'll wear this.” He handed the bag over to her.

    Dawk grabbed the bag and opened but recoiled after she saw what was inside. “I can't wear her armor.”

    “Yes you can and you will.” Tyran said. “You will wear this in her memory and you will fight to honor her because she died to save you. You owe her that much.”

    Raven looked up at him. “It might not fit me.”

    “When we get to Gyndine we'll have it fitted to you by one of the Mandalorian techs.” Tyran said.

    Raven seemed to stare through him for a sew seconds, concentrating on something he couldn't see. Slowly her head began to nod and her eyes darted back to him. “Ok. I'll wear her armor. It'll be a start to repaying my debt to you and your friends.” She unexpectedly rushed Tyran and wrapped her arms around him. “Thank you for saving me.”

    “Just doing my job.” Tyran said wrapping his arms loosely around her. “Lets get you cleaned up.” She nodded her head and separated herself from him. She climbed up on one of the medical tables while Tyran grabbed a flimsiplast glove and some bacta salve from a drawer. “Take your top off please.” She looked at him cautiously and he laughed. “Look I need to get this on your back, once that's done you can come with me and I'll show you where you can get a sanisteam and then you can apply this to the rest of your more personal wounds.”

    She hesitated but pulled her top over her head just enough so that her back was exposed. Tyran winced at the criss-cross pattern cut into her flesh and the dozens of pockmarks left by the venomous bites of the amphistaffs. He squeezed a glob of the bacta salve onto the flimsiplast glove and began working it into the wounds. Raven flinched as the could substance hit her skin but she grew accustomed to it and closed her eyes as Tyran worked the healing medical substance into the deep cuts and gouges. It took him fifteen minutes and half a container of salve to cover all of the wounds.

    “Ok you can put your top back on.” Raven pulled it back over her head and the fabric clung uncomfortably to the salve as it fell across her back. Tyran moved to stand in front of her and put a small dab of salve on the thumb of his glove. “Let's take care of that burn on your face.”

    She sighed tiredly as he began working his thumb in circular motions around the thumb shaped wound inflicted on her during the interrogation sessions. Of all the wounds that she had suffered through, that one had to be the most painful one. He was finished treating that wound in a few seconds and stepped out of her way.

    “You said something about a sanisteam?”

    Tyran laughed. “That I did. Follow me.” He removed the glove and dropped it in a recycler before heading out of the medical bay with the Jedi in tow.

    They had to pick their way across the Mandalorian strewn floor before they reached the personal quarters. Tyran opened the door and walked over to a dresser and pulled out some clothing and handed it to her.

    “Here these should fit, you're a little shorter than my wife but these are better than those rags you've got on now.”

    They were simple charcoal colored fatigues, and undershirt and pants, but they looked like the most comfortable clothes she'd ever scene at that moment.

    “Thank you.” she said taking the clothes in her hands.

    Tyran nodded. “After that feel free to climb into the bed and get some sleep or meditate or whatever.” he said waving at the large bed in the center of the room. “Sanisteam is just through that way, we've got six hours or so before we reach realspace and you're going to need your rest.”

    He smiled at her and walked out of the room shutting the door behind him. Raven looked around the room and sat on the edge of the bed. It was soft and it called out to her almost as much as the hot water in the sanisteam called out to her. She had no doubt that the next day or so was going to be nothing but debriefing after debriefing for her. Everyone from her Jedi superiors to the Military command staff were going to want to know what she had discovered about the Yuuzhan Vong defenses around the planet.

    She was sure that whatever intelligence she had discovered about the Yuuzhan Vong fleet had well been changed since the arrival of the Galactic Alliance battlegroup that had acted as a distraction to allow her and the Mandalorians to escape. She climbed up off the bed and headed into the sanisteam. Sleep could wait another hour while her bruised body soaked up every ounce of hot water this ship had to offer. She was undressed a few minutes later and standing under a hot stream of water, genuinely smiling as tension was immediately relieved from her body.

    She began sobbing again. But they were happy sobs. Tyran and his team had come through for her, at high cost to themselves, but nonetheless they had gotten her offworld and now she was having a hot shower and was soon going to be sleeping in a real bed with the promise of getting real food once they reached Gyndine.

    She though about the girl named Dawk who had died in the effort to rescue her, who's armor had just been given to her. Raven thought about the promise she had made to Tyran. She felt a sudden surge of responsibility wash over her. She'd wear that armor with pride and honor and somehow make herself worthy of Dawk's sacrifice.


    She had to. Tyran had kept his word so she would keep his.
    Last edited by Mando-Man, Apr 22, 2014
  25. Mando-Man Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 1, 2008
    star 2
Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade