Before The Sith Maiden - Volume Three of the Gessa Saga - Complete!

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  1. Casper_Knightshade Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2000
    star 6
    CHAPTER 112.2

    The event echoed through the Force, immediately getting Darth Rune?s undivided attention when she and Mathaniel locked weapons again. Mathaniel felt and saw as well, and both mutually fell away from one another as the fire of Enothchild burned so bright and the smoke from Juna choked the life out of any with working lungs. It was truly something none of them had ever seen before, so brilliant and inspiring and horrible all. Casper could barely comprehend why it had to happen. Poor Mathaniel had thought Juna lost her mind. Both would understand later on.

    Rune?s mouth went completely dry before it fell open in complete shock; genuine, full fledge shock. She mumbled incoherently, ?No.? Once she regained what little sane composure she had left she augmented her denial. ?No. No! He?s mine! Sarch?s life is mine!?

    Mathaniel heard her last sentence. Rune totally ignored him and went to attack the scene unfolding before them both. Despite what was happening and who was involved something in the Force told the young Magus to stop her! The urge was so great he couldn?t ignore it. He shouted, ?NO!? He did not mean to give himself away, remind Rune he was still there. His hands were guided by the Force just as mouth and body was. Rune turned sharply and blocked him. The two tore into one another with a zeal no one would have thought they had left in them.

    As the two ran away from the strange event, Casper watched the fire slowly fade. It was like watching Master Yoda?s little fire burn down to where only the smoke was left. The smoke proceeded to take up the space of the flame. Neither the fire nor the smoke had left any trace of their existences on the surface.

    Crawling towards it, Casper felt strange stirrings within the black plume. As much as it stank badly and made him weary in spirit he was compelled to go. He had to bare witness to it all. It was not because it was his duty as a Jedi. He felt he had to see it all in order to tell anyone that would listen that Juna and Enothchild did this one thing for so many good reasons. It was now his only burden. It got testy when a great stream of Force Lightening from a cloudless sky struck the very spot. He covered himself up for protection that should have been worthless. When he looked from his position, Casper noted that the black smoke rolled off a humanoid, feminine form like any smoke from a chimney or from the windows of a burning house. The form, Juna, dropped to her knees and fell forward. The blackness still rolled off of her; Casper could not see her under the bellowing smoke that came out of her body; no hair, no skin, no clothing; absolutely nothing.

    Beyond the pale of it the young Jedi Knight saw a familiar individual. She was staring at the smoke in absolute awe. Casper said, ?Destiny, what are you doing here??

    The Vhinech-Wookiee had sensed too much a long time ago. When Rose came to her ship and told her who had sent her something gnawed on Destiny?s conscious like the late Wobble ?gumming? tough to chew food. She had told the little girl to remain on the ship -- and Rose did so -- and she went to the array. She had no Vhanbaly idea why she had decided. The climb was not too difficult for her; the trying part was bypassing the leaking plasma vent. Before her, however, was too much to comprehend. She was on automatic pilot, reacting to what she saw, and when she saw Casper she ran over to him; she took a wide berth around the smoke, not a straight and quicker path to the young Human.

    ?Oh no, you good man,? Destiny whimpered. She turned Casper easily around and examined his wounded legs. ?I must get you out of here.?

    ?No!? Casper?s mind was running a hundred light years a second. ?No, I have to stay here. I have to help!?

    ?Help who? How will you do it?? Then Destiny looked around and began to panic. ?Mathaniel! Where is Mathaniel!?

    On cue, the Tig-Vhinech caught Rune with a kick and follow up kick in succession to her stomach. The Sith Maiden flipped haphazardly over broken debris, head over heels. She landed on her k
  2. Sara_Kenobi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2000
    star 7
    I always manage to get back here at the biggest cliffhangers. :p

    Great updates, Casper. :)
  3. Whiskey in the Jar-Jar Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2000
    star 4
    Uh oh....:eek:

    Looks like Enothchild's life force was taken at the wrong time. His pure Light Side just cancelled out Juna's Dark Side, rendering her pretty much mortal.

    Talk about crappy timing.
  4. Delight Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2001
    star 4
    Oh dear, dear Juna.

    Two posts that made my roller coaster week good again. Thank you, Casper.

    Take care. Thoughts are with you.
  5. Casper_Knightshade Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2000
    star 6
    First off, I would like to thank my readers, my fans, for having tremendous understanding during this difficult time for me. It is everyday that people die, but it isn't everyday that it's your own Father. You only have one Father.

    Life will and does go on. I took the time off and have done the best I could to get over what has happened, but you never do. You can't get over the death of a love one, especially not the parents that you love.

    What you do is you take what they have given you, and you carry it with you. What my Dad has given me is a lot, not just life. One of those thoughts of wisdom is getting the damn job done. That point I can never apply to other Fan Fiction Writers here on the Boards. The point does, DOES, apply to me.

    Unless something else pops up that radically changes things, I'm getting this damn job done.

    For my Dad.


    -------------------------------------


    Sara!: Hey there you! I knew you would sneak back in the Boards and post! I'm glad you caught up, and I hope you do stick around for the rest of the ride. :)

    Whiskey: Yup, overall the timing of everything does suck. In post, anyways, we find out why it hurt Juna's dark self so. Wait: the chapter isn't over yet.....

    Delight: Thank you.

    Just as all is a shadow, and perhaps a little rain falls, the sun comes out....


    ---------------------------------------------


    CHAPTER 112.3

    ?Run.?

    Casper, Destiny, and Mathaniel looked at Juna as if she was putting a blaster to her head and pulling the trigger when she spoke. Juna couldn?t blame them; if they did not think she had lost her mind after the Hard Fall, she really had lost it after absorbing Enothchild and becoming plain Juna Rapier, suicidal Human woman idiot. She couldn?t explain it to them what had happened; for the moment, she couldn?t explain it to herself. It really wasn?t the time or the place for such a constructive look at why things had happened. Rune was roughly a hundred meters away and closing.

    ?Just go, damn it!? Juna walked briskly over to her weapon and checked it; power readings were still green, a clear indication the weapon could still work. ?Get to the control room. Check and see if you can turn the Republic back on. I?ll hold her off.?

    ?You are mad!? barked Destiny. ?I can no longer sense you as before!?

    ?She?ll tear you to pieces!? mauled Mathaniel critically. ?You stand no chance!?

    ?Juna, listen to reason!? implored Casper.

    Although she had changed, some things remained constant throughout her many ordeals: the fact she was a leader. ?None of you are healthy enough or skilled enough to cover for anyone.?

    ?And you can take her on, alone, powerless! Get real!? exasperated Mathaniel.

    Juna just pushed past them and ordered again, ?Get to that control room. This is between me and Rune.?

    Casper grip on Destiny?s shoulders told the Vhinech-Wookiee enough about how terrible he felt. But he said quietly, ?Hurry.? The three began to move. When Mathaniel trailed a bit for the lower access ladder, Casper yelled, ?Hurry!? The Magus, knowing he would be the first guard against Rune, turned and ran after his friends.

    Juna did not look back. She kept her brown eyes locked right on target. There was going to be a time to grieve, to mourn loss, to access the lasting damage. It was not that time. This, though personal, was like any sortie she ran, like all the gunfights she had in the fringe. She knew the odds, and she just couldn?t back down from the push no matter what her status was physically, mentally, and spiritually. What to do, her options, were few and far; she could only hope that Rune would get overly assuming; Juna knew that was very unlikely to happen, but none of the other options buzzing in her head were going to happen either.

    She took note of Rune?s demeanor and clearly Juna had, honestly, finally really pissed her off. Rune was so big on killing Enothchild, as if the absolute destruction of Coruscant and the billions of people on it were not enough to satisfy her evil. Consolation prizes were not something the
  6. Delight Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2001
    star 4
    :eek: I don't believe that. Of all people! speechless.

    Priceless!
  7. Whiskey in the Jar-Jar Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2000
    star 4
    HOLYBANTHAPOOPONASTICKWITHWHIPPEDCREAMANDACHERRYONTOP!
    :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:

    NADJA IN DA HOOOOWWWWWWWSE!

    *falls to his knees*

    Oh Loard, for duh butt-whuppin' we's about ta see may we be tah-ruly thankful.

    *scratches his head* Why is it every time I think of Bible-thumpers they have a drawl? Dunno.

    At any rate, the Goodness factor just shot off the scale as the living, breathing, hacking, slashing, Force-wielding embodiment of the Ugly Stick of Common Sense walks amongst us once again...

    Can Rune's death be far behind? I hope so...

    *Switching Gears*

    I'm sorry for your loss, Casper. I guess I've been lucky in that respect, not having lost anyone that close to me. I can only guess at how you must be feeling and I can only offer my deepest condolences.

  8. Casper_Knightshade Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2000
    star 6
    Delight: Sometimes, when one waits long enough, payback does come around. [face_devil]

    Whiskey: Thank you. It's been pretty tough, but I'm managing.

    But it does make me happy that everyone's stoked that they loved the return of the most feared Jedi striker....

    ---------------------------------------

    CHAPTER 113.0

    Rune moved her weapon to strike, but Nadja spat a lot of phlegm in her face and then smacked Rune upside the head. Rune then got a drop kick from Nadja that sent her away Juna so she couldn?t use her against the resurrected Jedi Master. The smaller Nadja was up on her feet quickly and stalking towards Rune?s recovering form; she stomped with every step, with the purpose of someone four times her size but never greater than her legend. She was hungry for food, thirsty for water, and smelled like a new born baby, but that all was insignificant to her at the moment.

    Gloating a bit, Rune said, ?She Wished for you! HA!? She raised her weapon to prepare for attack and examined Nadja quickly. There was nothing much to the old woman; she appeared as she did before she died; what the overly large tunic did not cover exposed the ancient scars that marred her tiny body received by many wars fought over such a short life. ?You?re a frail old woman!? She shot Force Lightening at Nadja. ?And worse for you a frail, old Jedi!?

    Nadja held up her right hand and the energy just collected in her palm. She held it there, shaking with effort. Rune, perplexed, unleashed some more of her will upon the Force Lightening, trying to direct it around her foe?s hand. But Nadja just kept her hand up and the Force Lightening just collected in her palm within the realm of her very own focus. It was more than about power; it was about shear will; the power to dominate with wits, which unlike other Jedi Nadja had absolutely no problem using her wits to dominate others; she saved it exclusively for those with evil intentions. When Rune stopped, Nadja just squeezed her hand shut and the energy shattered like glass.

    ?This frail old Jedi just made you look like a proprietor of an electric light show,? chimed Nadja. ?Got any more magic tricks, girlfriend, or are you just going to keep showing me how you power up your sex toys!?

    Rune thought of the shadows. It would take a great amount of her power to bring it, but no question the Jedi was no match for it. ?See if your mouth and precious Jedi ways can handle the full power of the Dark Side of the Force!?

    Seeing the shadows coming to tear her apart, Nadja shut down Enothchild?s lightsaber and just collapsed into a Jedi meditative sitting position and closed her eyes. The shadows swarmed around her and dove for her to destroy her as they destroyed Faith?s dead body. The shadows struck the outward shield of Nadja?s projected will; they were stopped, but Rune in control of them she fought to enter the unseen field. Rune felt in her heart that with effort she could break the shield. No Jedi was stronger than a Sith.

    The efforts began to show as the shadows gathered wherever available and assaulted Nadja?s seated position. She disappeared under the umbrella of darkness, and the shadows seemingly squeezed the area she was in. Rune continued to push and push, not satisfied with the progress. She was certain Nadja had come back not any more powerful than before, like Rune was when she had returned.

    The shadows expanded away from Nadja when it became apparent that she held them off and was pushing them away. Nadja could be seen by Rune; her eyes were closed, her face still stern but without stress, just complete calm. She held up her right hand in a chopping position, middle and pinky fingers bent at the tips. She made one downward pass with then one left to right crossing motion. At the end of the motion she gave a loud yell, and the shadows broke apart like splintering wood.

    The breaking not only shocked Rune there was recoil in the Dark Side that bent her back. When she recovered, Nadja wasn?t talking; she was flying at her and stuck the taller Sith Mi
  9. Delight Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2001
    star 4
    Nadja's fighting the smart way, I think. Brains vs brains, and suddenly Rune becomes less brain than brawn. Better regain the wits, Rune, or Nadja will beat you with the ugly stick of common sense. :D But we audience aren't complaining!
  10. Casper_Knightshade Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2000
    star 6
    I wouldn't think anyone would. ;)

    -----------------------------------

    All Nadja could do was give her foe a goofy sneer; raised eyebrows with a rolled up upper lip. She was fighting Darth Rune; it was just in a way the Sith Maiden would have never guessed. Nadja just had assumed -- and correctly -- her foe had seen it all; Rune?s very own fighting style was a reflection of her own arrogance, that it had to be absolutely unique compared to every catalogued lightsaber fighting style ever employed, thought of, dreamed of, and scrutinized. Rune had seen, recently, the styles of others; Nadja was certain she faced Enothchild, perhaps Juna, and perhaps others but Nadja was not certain.

    What was absolutely certain was Rune had fought Dux Gheruit and had seen the very technique that had been passed down by their Jedi Master father Soo-Si Gheruit; a style Nadja was very familiar of but had never mastered; Dux?s insane attack had shortened then Siren?s training when Dux killed Soo-Si. Nadja?s own style was not unique: the clutch and grab as it was generically referred was the ?old school? style of Jedi fighting before the Jedi had enough time to contemplate what they thought to be a ?more civilized? way of fighting; in short less wear and tear and loss of functioning body parts.

    Nadja?s technique was barbaric and it required great sacrifices of the body, but it creative, spontaneous, and after five thousand years of no one else employing the style the clutch and grab was practically a new concept. Nadja?s body was a resurrected body with the scars that Dux had inflicted on poor Siren, but with the unbelievable survival of such horror came an incredible unmatched toughness. Pound for pound, in the past life and the new one, Nadja Moranna was the toughest being alive. The clutch and grab worked for her then, and in a perfect galaxy it would work for her now.

    However, not against Rune, although to date if the battle was scored on points Nadja would be way ahead. Faradi Nimh had suffered through her own fates and carried that over into her new lease on life as well. As with Nadja, it was in the mind and the spirit, not necessarily the body, where her toughness came from, and as such the tricks and ploys Nadja let loose would have ended mere idiots. Rune was certifiably tough in Nadja?s book, and going in for the simple, open door kills had her death written all over them. Rune?s style allowed for form quickness, which always trumped natural quickness; especially when Rune was naturally quick and had honed her form.

    The tactic she tried was quickly developed from her surroundings; Nadja herself, Enothchild?s lightsaber, and Darth Rune. Held in hands and thinking of her Father, thinking of her entire family of whom the tortured Dux had murdered, there was one technique Rune had never seen and, so far, could not figure out.

    When Nadja was Siren Soo-Si taught her so much philosophy and so little lightsaber technique by wielding a tortured branch he had found on the planet Dagobah. It was quite literally the perfect mock-lightsaber weapon pole; a little long, close to straight, and easy to grab; much like Enothchild?s own lightsaber handle. Soo-Si instructed his two Jedi children at different times to do everything they could to hit the stick with their energy weapons. Every attempt was met with failure, and every bad attempt meant a sure crack from that dreaded Dagobah stick on any part of the body, and it absolutely hurt like hell. Her Father had simple called it the Ugly Stick of Common Sense, and his point with that Ugly Stick was simple: as in anything if a Jedi strays from common sense they deserve whatever pain inflicted upon them. It was tough love, but an imperative one for the Jedi children of Soo-Si: either they learned from the Stick, or they learned the hard way from a Dark Jedi?s very real, very lethal weapon. In some ways the Ugly Stick philosophy contradicted Nadja?s sense of sacrifice, but she never forgotten those lessons and they were paying off. What she quickly planned to do was combine both poi
  11. Delight Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2001
    star 4
  12. Casper_Knightshade Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2000
    star 6
    ?Told you,? mocked Nadja. She called for Enothchild?s weapon and had it actually bounce off of Rune?s head along the way. Rune tried to destroy it, but she was late in activating her weapon. ?But please, don?t hold back on my account. Don?t sing it? she gestured with her fingers ?bring it.?

    Rune forced herself up with weapon ready. She cursed, ?You haven?t won anything, you little prud! I will enjoy killing you and watching your precious Republic die! Do you honestly think those fools down below know what they are doing!? She glanced over her shoulder and noted Juna?s still passed out form. Rune returned her look back at Nadja with a devious smile on her face; there was only one person that could turn the Republic on. ?They have no time left to spare.?

    Nadja wasn?t absolutely sure what Rune was talking about but she had a pretty good guess after she saw how her foe looked at Juna. She lit her weapon and said, ?Squishy, in about two minutes I will show you your weakness, but you won?t live long enough to correct it.?

    Rune paid no more attention to Juna; she had thought to attack her Granddaughter. A Jedi boasting her superiority was just a bit too much. Of course she knew Nadja was playing head games. It really did not matter to Rune. Despite Nadja?s current success, despite Nadja?s reach and beatings, Nadja had shown no ability that was superior enough to stop Rune. The old, resurrected Jedi had to be stopped first, and then Juna was ripe for the taking.

    Rune walked towards Nadja, and Nadja walked towards Rune. The Sith Maiden once again struck out first and again Nadja made her miss. This time Rune combined tightness of saber movement with maneuverability by moving about, applying an occasional misdirection flip or somersault. Again, Nadja kept Rune in suspense by not connecting at all. Weapons never touched, and this time Nadja put in the extra effort to make certain of it. Rune had to work extra hard, but she was so determined to strike either Nadja or her weapon.

    After a few moments of work, Rune connected with Nadja?s weapon several times and kept the pressure up so tight Nadja never got in a retaliatory strike. Nadja had to admit Rune was good, but not out loud. Besides that, Nadja wanted this.

    Rune cut inside Nadja?s guard but moved her body and kept up a box formation guard, followed by a triangular guard formation. Nadja tapped into the Force, her old friend and ally, and continued to draw as much of the Force inward. The Force awarded Nadja with her request as it seemingly understood what she was about to do. What was about to happen was a matter of destiny, not just vengeance or justice. Rune just would not have believed it if she had been told.

    With every connection, Rune regained her confidence; her arrogance kept her from speaking as she only wanted to dissect Nadja piece by bloody piece. As much as she wanted to keep Nadja alive to torture her like she did her brother Dux, it just made sense to kill her, and then torture the others. Juna was going to really suffer, for she brought back the Jedi and had taken Rune?s true destiny from her. Juna was going to pay; Rune knew of a thousand ancient Sith techniques to ensure long lasting, life continuing suffering.

    Nadja managed to get Rune disengaged enough from her and both took the opportunity to breathe. Eyeing one another with unshakable contempt, they circled around with weapons held loosely in each right hand. Their eyes never left one another.

    ?Your two minutes is just about up, Jedi,? cursed Rune. ?Got any more cute little predictable quips to throw at me before you die??

    ?Yeah,? said Nadja, raising her guard. ?A little douche goes a long way to relieving others of having to smell your feminine odor.?

    Rune shook her head momentarily and sprinted in. She hit right, left, right, left, spun to her right, spun again to her right, stopped and headed back left. She raised and lowered the level of her arm and found it easy to get through Nadja?s guard. Nadja?s weapon was just too long, and now she was not quick enough to stop Run
  13. Delight Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2001
    star 4
    Whoa! That is one ending I didn't expect! Goodness gracious!

    Rune: next time, be a little more paranoid and duck! :)
  14. Whiskey in the Jar-Jar Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2000
    star 4
    And so Darth Rune gets the chance to finally behead the great Nadja Moranna...and promptly gets blown to bantha poodoo in the process...Sure as heck didn't see that one coming.

    Casper, that was one of those fight scenes that when it's done, the reader kinda goes 'whew...' There was so much tension and unpredictability in it, you honestly didn't know from one moment to the next who was going to win or come out of it missing an appendage or two. Excellent work.

    Well, the CFL up here in Canada is now done for another season, and the NFL is in full swing as we march towards the Super Bowl next year. However, on December 3, yet another football season will start...one filled with lots...AND LOTS...of violence.

    {INSERT SHAMELESS PLUG}
    [image=http://www3.telus.net/witjj/images/GLFseasonlaunchsmall.gif]
    GFL Homepage

    Let the games begin...
  15. Casper_Knightshade Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2000
    star 6
    Delight: Remember, in lightsaber combat, the 5 Rules of Dodge ball: Dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge! :p

    I did it for many reasons but I got the idea from the last short story in the 'Tales from Jabba's Palace' paperback. There was a line in there about 'the reptile doesn't die until sun has set'. It was a moral more than a warning, but nonetheless in that story and here it actual is more true than a figure of speech.

    Being a Sith means being selfish: selfless acts and selfless actions that save the day are often overlooked by them, or so least expected they don't even give a thought of consideration to them. When facing Nadja Moranna, you know you will have to sacrifice a great deal in order to defeat her because Nadja's going to sacrifice herself to achieve an end. Rune learned the hard way.


    Whiskey: Well, it does actually get harder and harder to do this stuff when everyone has seen it (read it) all ready. Of course I'm not a fan of the 'clean fight' style Ol' Lucas goes for. Even then with my 'Empire'-like style there is an expectation built in of ending. Even with Nadja, perhaps the deadliest Jedi striker of all time, it gets tough to do, to get it written out. So I do my best to really change that anticipated ending.

    Nadja was long ago planned on coming back, and she did make the fight sequence easier and faster. However it took two years of thinking (yes, that far back) about how to end the fight. That was the rub, and it had to make sense. I really did not like the idea of letting herself die to win initially, but in the end and after two years of debating it it made the most sense. After writing it I loved it. There was no hassles and no need to explain anything more.

    -----------

    Of course, it STILL goes to plot not covered yet...... :eek:

    --------------

    CHAPTER 114.0

    Running, for Muriel and Nowen, was the constant option. Their own rest would be while riding the trains back towards the entrance of the docking bay. The first train, which was the last train they rode to get to the interior compartment of the Device, took them back to exactly where they had previously got on it. Stepping off proved to be non-adventurous, but no sooner than they did the train nearly took their legs off with closing doors. An alarm went off, and they could hear all sorts of noise echoing throughout the unmanned corridors.

    ?Don?t think we tripped anything,? mused Nowen cautiously, scanning their surroundings with rifle raised. ?Not this late in the game.?

    Muriel let her mind dwell on her instincts; the Force told her a little. The kiosk station, however, burst suddenly with noise that at times blurted out Republic Basic speech. The two went to the terminal, knowing it was easy access before, and played with the Vhinphyckian-labeled controls.

    ?Volume,? said Nowen when the noise got loud.

    ?Static control,? said Muriel when it fizzled out. They took turns with every button they fiddled with to get the kiosk to work, certain they were dealing with a transmitter or at least a communication system linked to the Device?s transmitter. They made observations based on their knowledge of the Republic?s technology. ?Locator fixation. Dickscreen Compensator, has to be. Deviation base. Oops, sorry: variable tuner.?

    After some back and forth on the controls they found a constant voice, lost it, found it, lost it, and finally found it again. It was clearly a Republic transmission. That was good news to them. The bad news was simple enough:

    ?-large, planetary object on a collision course with Coruscant! Repeat, this is Echo Station Three Tee A: our tracking stations are back online and have detected a large, planetary object on a collision course with Coruscant! We detected it when it ran through a ore container! It?s over a hundred kilometers in diameter, at least! Estimated time of arrival is seven hours! Come in, Coruscant, this is?.?


    ?You think we can contact them?? suggested Nowen. ?Figure this thing out, get a hold of them??

    ?I would if we had control of this thing,? said Muriel flatly. ?
  16. Casper_Knightshade Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2000
    star 6
    Nowen fired point blank in the drone?s face. He and Muriel activated their helmets to shield their faces as the rest of the drones realized two well protected meals were sharing a ride with them. They entered into the tight conforming tunnel, but the drones began to move for them with all caution tossed into the cart-driven winds.

    Nowen sized up his aim and began to unleash repetitive fire, making sure to hit the front line drones still clinging to the carts. This created a bit of problem for he and Muriel especially since the bodies flew towards them. They were in the rear of a fast moving vehicle; physics dictated they would catch up with the bodies, alive and dead, when the bodies released their holds on the carts. Both tucked when the bodies bounced unpredictably across the top of the carts. The drones were not deterred.

    ?Watch the sides!? screamed Muriel over the noise of wind whipping by them. The carts may had used magnetic resonance to keep the carts on the rail, however a drastic interruption by a falling body between rail and coupler could still cause a derailment. Some of the drones crawled towards them too close to the sides.

    Understanding the stakes, Nowen kept his focus on more upright targets. Muriel readied her lightsaber and took to her left side. Some of the drones were edging more to the sides, learning quickly of the perils of coming at the food directly. Both Guardians began their counterattack in force. One drone would fall, and another. Muriel was quick to cut them away as the bodies came at them.

    Nowen kept his fire precise, doing all he could to keep the drones from falling badly for them by bunching them closer to the middle, and upon shooting them they caromed off the top of the carts and into the tunnel walls. Muriel hacked away with brutal simplicity as the drones fell towards them and got too close. The drones became foolishly ravenous and leapt for them. The bodies were missiles traveling at a high rate of speed; Nowen and Muriel had to duck, not wanting to chance any of the bodies hitting them right and snapping their necks, or worse?.

    Muriel was up to chop away again. Overzealous drones in the rear of the pack jumped and crashed into the front group. Most of the front group lost their handholds. Some bounced off the sides of the tunnel, others the sides of the cart. The carts rocked, nearly tossing the Guardians out. The rocking forced Muriel to stiffen up, and it made her target for flying bodies. She was knocked out of the cart and grabbed the top of the seat with her free hand.

    Nowen turned and grabbed for her. Muriel found her purchase and stowed her weapon quickly on her hip to use her other hand. She looked behind Nowen and told him, ?SHOOT!?

    Nowen spun around but had to drop his blaster to the floor of the cart to catch the drone that made it to his position. The beastchild foolishly tried to bite Nowen?s armored arm off, snapping teeth, but it did not stop fighting. Nowen struck it with quick elbow strikes. He had a firm hold of its neck, ready to toss it over him, but held off; Muriel was struggling to hold on, right in the line of the throw.

    Pulling with her stomach, Muriel finally dragged her feet against the flow of air and got her feet latched under open footholds. A drone lunged for her?

    Muriel ducked and let the creature sail to his death. She pulled herself up to find Nowen finally getting his foe turned around; he had him pinned down in the seat. The other beastchildren were starting to swarm towards Nowen?.

    Firing after pulling out her Guardian blaster, Muriel bought Nowen much needed time against his small, but very strong and ravenous foe. The number of enemies was less, which made it harder for Muriel; she couldn?t shoot one beastchild to knock another beastchild off. She still fought to stay on the cart, making her aim very unsteady.

    Nowen finally tricked his foe by letting the beastchild wrap itself around his body. He stood up and got Muriel?s attention. At close range, Muriel was able to shoot the beastchild dead in the back. Now
  17. Casper_Knightshade Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2000
    star 6
    Muriel went to all fours and couldn?t stop herself from crying. In absolute frustration as well she threw her helmet away. It was her fault; she fell asleep, she wasn?t strong enough, she was too old, she was more a woman than a warrior, she was no Force user?.

    Sensing Muriel?s upheaval was easy for Nowen. He dragged over to Muriel and put his hands on her shoulders. Though it was clear they were done for he had to offer something to her. He said, ?Oggie would have been proud of you today.?

    Muriel wiped the small dribble of snot from her nose. She took his words for kindness and accepted them so. The mentioning of Ogwa Newhausen gave her some respite from failure. She added, though, ?I wish he was here, and then maybe he can carry you out of here and give me a rest.?

    ?He would have you carry me still,? insisted Nowen. ?He would have been a better cheerleader than me.? He pulled off his own helmet and gave it a throw. Under the circumstances it seemed fruitless.

    Nowen continued that line of thought. ?What were we thinking??

    Muriel shook her head after a sniffle, sat up on her knees. ?We could tip toe in, shout our way out in typical Order of Guardians? fashion.?

    ?Yeah, stupid us.? He fought to his feet and hopped over to the station floor that was up slightly higher than the rails. ?We grunts will never get it. We?ll never figure it out.?

    ?God, let?s hope not,? said Muriel empathically, not dismissing her words not once. She got to her feet, and cursed the fact that she could walk with very little wear to her legs compared to only a few seconds ago. ??Peace is only a caffe break between conflicts?.?

    Nowen smiled at the learned saying from Oggie. In the view of their mentor he was always right, and all time he showed how right he was. When Muriel began her training with Oggie he predicted a war would occur before she was twenty -- at eighteen, the Vhinech launched an attack against the Republic and Trade Federation and the conflict lasted ten years. When Nowen began his training so late in his life Oggie told him of many other things, one of which was he wouldn?t be surprised if the Guardians were hired for a police action -- guarding the Vhinech at New Paradasia qualified. It was true some of his predictions had not come true, such as the Trade Federation invading and conquering Naboo over something reasonably predictable and politically correctable, but the two had learned to be patient and wait: in the end, no longer how long it took, Oggie was right.

    In that Nowen suddenly realized, for the first time, New Paradasia would work; the Vhinphyc-birth problem was going to be a hassle unless Naressa Rapier did indeed have the cure; still, regardless of Naressa, Oggie was not going to call a retreat because of it. It wasn?t so much that Oggie wanted to protect his grandchildren, he just knew that the Vhinech given a chance could exist as a civilized society. Nowen knew those reasons beforehand; he just believed them now.

    ??Never doubt the opinion of a watcher of grass?.? Nowen tossed that saying at Muriel to get a brief smile from her, though there was a lot of truth in that statement that really had nothing to do with watching lawn grass grow. ?He had to have a Jedi ancestor.?

    ?He did.? Muriel rolled herself on the platform and went to help Nowen up on the platform. Nowen was surprised by her admission. ?He never told you??

    ?He never told anyone,? was Nowen?s response. All the other times the other Guardians talked amongst themselves with their experience with Oggie the subject had never come up. Given the friendships Oggie had with them, where he practically told them everything, this was news. ?When did he tell you??

    Muriel helped Nowen up onto the platform. Finished, she sat beside him and said, ?I think within the first few days after I was given to the Order. He told me about my midi-chlorian count being high enough for Knighthood, and then he just blurted it out. He didn?t say who was his ancestor or anything.?

    ?So, did he?? began Nowen.

    Understanding his unfinished question
  18. Casper_Knightshade Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2000
    star 6
    CHAPTER 114.1

    Eventually, after a minute, Dizzy restlessly returned to the nearest corridor the Hailstorm?s Hauler was parked by. It was not the same corridor as the one Team Cofka had gone into; that was two hundred meters to the right of the ship. He and Alluetia just deemed it a little too dangerous to be parked right in front of that one. The compromise was placing the ship, once they got it back on its landing gear, between the two entrances and far enough away from the wall. All Team Cofka had to do was look from their corridor and see it.

    After completing the repairs on the Hauler Dizzy was so hyper-tensive he had to walk it off. It wasn?t the crappy patch job they had done on the ship that was making his hearts pound with such unforgiving vigor. He wasn?t certain, but he was sure they were close enough to Coruscant now, and if anything the Device had not opened up to allow escape, at least he wanted to be with Muriel. He did not want to die alone; he was certain they were all goners eventually the longer they stayed on the cursed Device. Alluetia was good company, but Alluetia wasn?t his Wife. He wanted his Red to be there at the end, whatever that end was going to be. He only hoped Juna and Enothchild had succeeded and if not he hoped they went down together, fighting to the end.

    Another peek down the corridor told Dizzy another sad story: nothing was coming. There was no good news in that. The only thing he would take from looking down the corridor was seeing his friends, and more importantly Muriel, coming down the tunnel. His Sullustan eyes were good for low lighting conditions, but there was a misconception about their ability to see far away; just because they had large eyes did not make them telescopic. Dizzy?s eyes, when he was younger, were slightly better than a Humans, but that did not make him a bird.

    His taped up ears picked up something just as he turned away from the tunnel. As he went back, a quiet THUMP drew his attention towards the outer shell. There was another quiet THUMP a half minute later. Almost in cadence, another quiet THUMP vibrated from the rock.

    ?Coruscant outer defense,? guessed Dizzy. ?Either that or we?re hitting every single space taxi between us and there.? The idea wasn?t that farfetched: Coruscant actually had way too many of them things, driven by aliens with questionable credentials and even more questionable experience, such as air parking. He thought he heard something else entirely?

    The crackle of comlink brought his attention back to Alluetia. He looked towards the Hauler?s sealed cockpit. ?What?s up, Loosh??

    ?I?m havin? problems keepin? this thing in warm up mode,? stressed Alluetia. ?It wants to go to shut down if I don?t reeve up the reactor through the motivator.?

    ?You do that and you?ll blow the compilers,? stressed Dizzy.

    ?I know that, but I don?t want to shut the engines off.?

    Dizzy thought for a moment and then said, ?It isn?t a lack of power, it?s just the available power is too much for what we have to run. Go manual and engage the complier control. Just hold the damn thing down. It will run the excess energy through to the back up batteries. When we get airborne we won?t have the problem anymore.?

    ?Won?t that fry the compiler??

    ?We may not get off this rock to land on a planet again and you?re worried about the switchover??

    ?Good point.? Alluetia went silent as Dizzy kept the channel open but his transmitter off.

    ?I know I?m always right,? mumbled Dizzy. Frustrated by the itching, he loosened the bandages covering his ears and pulled out the wads of gauze used to stop the bleeding. Alluetia was a way overzealous in treating his wounds. The removal of all the blockage from his ear canals rose the volume level of his surrounding environment immensely.

    ?Geez,? Dizzy sighed in relief, taping his wounded ears back up while trying to get used to normal volumes of sound again. He played with his right ear lobe with his pinky finger. ?Here I thought those frickin? demon brats had made me deaf.?

    Another rou
  19. Whiskey in the Jar-Jar Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2000
    star 4
    WHEW!

    Now I can finally let loose that breath I've been holding for...oh...2 FREAKING MONTHS!

    Quite possibly one of the most intense 2-location battles I've ever read about, Casper. Awesome work.

    Glad to see Muriel and Nowen made it back safely to the ship. Though the losses for the good guys weren't that comparatively significant, it would have been a shame to have seen any more of them lost in this conflict.

    But, now that Rune's history, as is Prophet's last stab at the galaxy...what's left? Could we be staring down the barrel of the end? Are we nearing the conclusion of this epic saga?

    Guess I'll have to stay tuned to find out...Oh...and one more thing:

    GO KRAKENS!
  20. Casper_Knightshade Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2000
    star 6
    Thanks Whiskey. Yeah, I didn't mean to have it drag out this long, but now the relevant stuff is out of the way. Things begin to wind down considerably, and much less is covered so the next few chapters should fly on by.

    There's perhaps one chapter I have to weigh on in thinking about doing: it hasn't been done yet, so I have time.

    But with luck this is done before the end of the month. Maybe.

    And oh yeah: I'll get around to that football deal as soon as I can! :)

    FORWARD!

    (Hmmmmm......Do I create a Battrition podcast?) :eek:

  21. Casper_Knightshade Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2000
    star 6
    First, you'll be seeing in the chapters a lot of 'old school' storytelling from me, and that's intentional: just to give you an idea that the story is no longer going into deeper depths of telling.


    Second: Well....once you involve lawyers....

    --------------------------------

    CHAPTER 115.0

    Four days would pass before Team Cofka finally made it to Naboo. During the time Team Nal Hutta returned and waited for them, and with Coruscant well they knew Team Cofka had succeeded and Juna became the busiest out of all of them. With the Republic turned back on, the demand for answers for Rapier Technology failure was several terapages long in numerous message boxes. Now the whole head of Rapier Technologies, Juna Rapier had to make all of the billion credit decisions and in the current climate those decisions were made every few minutes, all day, all night. Such as the role of leader, there was no rest for the wicked.

    Somewhere in the storm of demands from stock holders, family board members, supervisors, political figures from near and far, estimators, attorneys, judges, pundits, media, contractors, employees, revenue collection agents, members of the Royal Court, credit auditors, law enforcement looking for Naressa, and that all too curious Juna was able to get Casper and Mathaniel fixed up. The two had sacrificed just as much of as she did and Enothchild had done. It seemed pretty unfair of them to lose limb in a fight that really in the deep sense of the subject had nothing to do with either of them.

    The Jedi Knight and the Magus of the Path and Destiny the Vhinech-Wookiee at their sides watched Juna practically order more than a hundred desperate looking beings to stay put outside their room; no one in the large group appeared to take the news well. The exception to her rule was the little girl named Rose who followed Juna around wherever she went; freshly scrubbed in clean clothes, the pretty little girl was just as restless as Juna. Juna, wearing darker hues of attire and wearing the necklace in which Enothchild?s ring hung from, looked tired. She had no rest since her return from Nal Hutta.

    Still she found the time to consider her friends, and she made the time the best she could for them. Some time after their return Juna offered to supply the two warriors artificial replacements of the highest and most durable quality. The two accepted the offer with little reluctance; Casper felt there was still much for him to do and he needed two legs to do it, and Mathaniel couldn?t believe he could go on without his fingers to twiddle his weapons let alone learn how to eat while holding utensils with pinkies and thumbs. They also insured Juna that they could trust Rapier Technology, now that she was able to isolate the exact code lines that allowed for the Shut Down.

    The two sported replacement limbs that was unique in more ways than one. For starters the sensor database of the mansion still retained the accurate measurements and forms of both men. In most cases with artificial parts they were just slapped on and it was assumed the receiver would just adjust to it; unfortunately it did not work that way all the time and the limbs had to be replaced over the days. With precise measurements, and recordings of the way they biometrical moved, the process of limb replacement was smooth and the training time for them to get use to the replacements was going to be very minimal. Also setting the replacements apart from others was the parts and outer casings holding the moving parts were made out of Saberhide, making them virtually indestructible; Casper was admiring the wiggling flexibility of his ten black toes that were exactly the same shape and size and as detailed as the toes he used to have; Mathaniel had been practicing his finger techniques by rolling coins between his fingers. Essentially they had at least one more day to go before the Medical Bay would release them to ensure there were no errors. Profile wise they could fit clothes or other ga
  22. Delight Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2001
    star 4
    Ahhhhhh....

    can't believe we're winding down.

    Rose seems cute.
  23. Casper_Knightshade Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2000
    star 6
    I know: almost over: scary, eh?

    It just took three years (Remember, December 15th, 2003......)


    CHAPTER 115.1

    A few days later and Team Cofka limped in and their first surprise was Juna?s normal appearance when she had greeted them in the Landing Bay. The news of Cofka as with Nal Hutta was received in various ways. Team Cofka completed the circle over the loss of Enothchild Sarch, which only doubled the loss of Nach to everyone; it was official, the Vhinphyc race as they knew it was dead. The basic details of the missions were relayed, minus Juna because she was just too damn busy. Muriel took the loss of Enothchild hard again. She would have spent time with Juna, but she wanted to spend time with Dizzy who she still missed that much more. Besides that there was so much more to consider and so many wounds to heal. Since Casper and Mathaniel were fine that Dizzy and Nowen took their spots in the medical ward; the Sullustan?s ears and the Nubian?s knee both faced reconstructive surgeries.

    The following day Muriel had a physical check up done. Dizzy was at her side while the others were resting in their quarters in Rapier Manor and Nowen was busy with the muscle knitters and rehabilitation in another part of the Medical Bay. Once again Juna made a return to the Medical Bay, with Rose in tow and keeping a horde of worry warts outside; a new batch of them, fewer in numbers but still unapologetic with their need to get under her crawl. On that note Muriel was rather glad Juna was back to normal: dark side Juna would have had those people for breakfast?.literally!

    There was one thing the two did not reveal to the others, except of course in Muriel?s case she told Dizzy and begged him to keep quiet. Though they were happy to see each other there was an unspoken tension that caught their words in their throats. Suddenly it was very odd to be in the room at the same time.

    At the same time, as soon as the door closed, they said together, ?I?m pregnant!? The two women gawked at each other and forgot exactly what each other wanted to talk about to the other. At the same time again they said, ?NO! You? Get out! For real? Oh that?s wonderful!?

    ?Hey, hey, hey, HEY!? Dizzy got between the two and just threw his hands all around them. ?Will you two stop talking at the same time? That?s just freaky.?

    Juna and Muriel looked at each other, smiled, and both went to each other and hugged. Muriel momentarily felt something odd in the Force localized against her chest; her purple eyes traced the source to Enothchild?s ring hanging from Juna?s neck. Oddly, Muriel felt no grief in seeing it.

    ?How?? asked Juna of Muriel. The red head looked up. ?I mean, it?s Dizzy?s right?? Dizzy frowned at Juna. ?Well, it isn?t like Muriel?s me, you know??

    ?Yes, it?s Dizzy?s,? chuckled Muriel. ?I have to thank you. If you hadn?t wished a baby for us, it wouldn?t be possible.?

    ?I?wished you a child??

    ?You?.don?t remember?? When Juna shook her head, Muriel showed her the monitor with the medical exam results on it. It showed the fetus growing inside of Muriel, and accurate statistics. ?See the conception time? Trace it back; it goes right to your rant that brought Enothchild back to life!? Suddenly she began to blush. ?I?uh?remember it well. I was suddenly not myself.?

    ?I?ll say she suddenly became a full time plita!? Dizzy pointed out. Muriel shot his a look of flying lightsabers while Juna dropped her mouth when he compared his wife to a flop-around floozy. ?Well you did!?

    ?I?m going to be the mother of your child!? said Muriel pointedly. ?You can?t call me that.?

    ?You scared the hell out of everyone.?

    ?I?.I wasn?t myself, that?s all.?

    ?I still got the bruises to prove it.?

    Face redder than ever, Muriel turned to Juna and said, ?He?s?.exaggerating just a little.? She cleared her throat, threw another set of imagined lightsabers at her Husband, and then showed an amused Juna more read outs. ?Anyways, our baby was conceived shortly after you made all those wishes. I hadn?t been the same since then.?

    Juna rac
  24. Whiskey in the Jar-Jar Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2000
    star 4
    Three years...hard to believe it's been that long.

    I was actually looking over that little treat I made for you all that time ago, and I can't believe it's been that long. And what a ride it's been.

    Highs, lows, more plot twists than a psychotic roller coaster designer, and more action than <insert lewd comment here>. It's hard to believe that it's all over now but the mop-up.

    Or is it?

    Somehow, I've a feeling TSM won't be going softly into that good night just yet, though that might be my paranoia talking. Then again, with both Muriel and Juna being pregnant, and given their rather aggressive tendencies...AND...given Dizzy's ability to stick his foot in his mouth at lightning speed...

    <shudder>


  25. Delight Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2001
    star 4
    Well, that's a scary thought, isn't it, Whiskey, that it really isn't goodbye, but just good night for a little while. After all, how the entire saga since TDH since what, 2000?

    But yes, the adventures of the babies... :D
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