Generic Unnamed Story
For Vail and Sero. Others - shoo, shoo. Get out you retards. Back off. Back off.
It is rumored across the galaxy that ancient objects of magical or arcane power exist. Artifacts from the ancient era when the Sith ruled the galaxy unquestioned... a time when light was oppressed by the darkness.
But all things change, this is a reality proven true countless times again and again across the universe. And the Sith fell away into their own darkness; knowing one day they would return to conquer the Republic that defeated them.
And so it was a Republic was overthrown by a shift into a Galactic Empire, which fell away to be replaced by a New Republic. A Republic that was more apt at democracy than it's predecessor had been. It was a new dawn of heroes as the Jedi Knights returned and Rogue Squadron became once again the most dominant aerial force known across the galaxy.
But the Light could not burn bright for all eternity... all light diminishes at one time or another. It is the equilibrium of the dualities of Light and Dark, Sith and Jedi. And the Dark Brotherhood now matches its foes in not only ability, but the will to use their strength.
These events I rant on about appear on a galactic scale, shifting in trivial manners each day. But to see the true effects of thiw war it must been seen from the eye of a single observer... watching these sides battle against one another.
A Republic Scout was rumaging through the catacombs of a superstructure on the planet of Coruscant. His informants had fed him a line about ancient Jedi holocrons, but the artifact was too priceless to chance missing out on.
The Captain was sorting through moth eaten books, molded items and dirt when he finally kicked up something distinctly not useless. It was a small medallion of gold, with a ruby set upon the center of it... strange engravings spread across the obscure item. He clutched it between his fingers, eyeing the gem to place a price upon it.
A shuffle from behind the Republic soldier caused him to turn and draw his blaster. He saw nothing. But hidden in the dark was one trained in the Dark Arts of the Force; his cowl hiding his gleaming silver irises.
The Republic Captain strained to see into the darkness and was rewarded with a shaft of light; the light from the ancient weapon of Forse Users, a lightsaber.
The red blade whipped in towards the head of the Senior Scout as he deftly backed away from his approaching foe. With his blaster in hand he loosed several bolts of scarlet energy at his oncoming foe.
It seemed the constant barrage of fire was too much, or perhaps the Dark Jedi had been too arrogant. But as he neared he attempted to strafe the random bolts and lay a deathblow upon his enemy. A pair of bolts seared into the chest of the Force user, halting the passage of blood to his vaporized heart.
An instant smile was replaced by horror as the red blade cut deep into the Republic Officer. As the blade passed through his body the Dark Knight fell to the earth, his saber deactivating in the process...
The Republic Scout forced his com-link to his hand, changin the tactical frequency to 'distress' blurting out everything he had seen, "I am in the catacombs of the Coruscant Sector 25-A-113, and I have come across a valuable artifact... but a Dark Jedi he wanted it and... and... i'm dying... please come... to... my....aide..... immedia-" The transmission fell away into static.
Meanwhile in the vast bleakness of space, two Krath were drinking, joking and listening in to various frequencies for kicks… It just so happened that tonight would not be as normal as the past few.
“Did you hear that, buddy? Sounds like some pitiful Rebel was mucking around in some ruined womp-rat hole in Coruscant.”
“I heard him, Vail. But who would send a man there during the games? I thought all Clans were focused at this time.”
“Presumably, Saitou, but anything that includes both a Sith and the New Republic is enough to pique my interest. Let’s head on over and check it out.”
The Lambda Class Shuttle Rakija rolled counterclockwise and made the jump to hyperspace. The stars appeared to become lines before a blue wave immersed the craft.
However, the distress call was not ignored by the New Republic. Faint crackles began to emanate from the receiver and soon the message broke forth. “I am… Coruscant… 25-A-113… valuable artifact… Dark Jedi… I’m dying…”
Commander Prijatelju of the 6th New Republic Intelligence Service frowned as he heard the broken message of his dying agent. His fears had come to pass and now it was clear that the mission was in jeopardy. Due to his agent’s frantic attempts to be heard before his death, the message was sent on the broadest channels. Everyone and their pet now knew something was up. He had to get there before some damned scavengers did first… or worse.
“Flight Officer Zdravo!”
“Did you hear the coordinates?”
“Take us there at once. Try to enter from the far end of the sector. Perhaps we can still pass as merchants.”
The Modified Freighter Beograd powered up its engines and angled itself towards the jump path. With a flash, the freight jumped into hyperspace along with its crew of twelve.
The Republic Scout dropped his com-link and spat blood, which was now running freely down his chin. The end was near and he had lost the strength to attempt further communication. Yet, out of the corner of his eye, the Captain spotted the precious artifact, which had cost him his life. It was almost within his grasp. He strained to grab the medallion and a look of painful triumph shot from his eyes.
“At last…” the Captain rasped.
It was futile. Merely millimeters from the coveted object, his hand fell limp and his fingers curled. Death had overcome him and the Dark Knight. So close and yet so far these two figures were added to the history of the talisman…
The shuttle finally landed; as Rakija docked, Vail could finally release a sight of relief.
“Saitou my friend, it seems we came here safe”
“Don't get all happy Vail” Pontifex replied “We still have a lot to do around to be safe”
There was not much talk after that between the two after those words; they both grabbed their bags and headed straight to the exit. Without a word they got out of the shuttle, straightened their clothing as they walked to the customs. Placing their bags on the scanner platform they went in the detector.
“Anything to report?” asked the customs officer lazily.
Vail was the one to respond. He smiled and politely shook his head “No sir. Just two tourists visiting Coruscant.”
The officer looked at the information from his scanner and nodded “It is all right. You can go through. Enjoy your time here”
“Oh, I'm sure we will” grinned Saitou as the two picked up their bags and left with a barely noticeable hasty pace. They went through the starport without turning to hear tour guides, people promising them a good time or offering them trinkets; they casually walked out of the building not minding the crowd, mingling in the people on the walkway, and suddenly disappeared among the thousands of Coruscan't citizens.
For Vail, it was a strange sensation. His feet touched the same platforms he didn't see in years – ever since he escaped the planet, fleeing as he found out New Republic began realizing who he was. Dark Side Adept now breathed the air he had not breathe for a long time; he now walked the streets of his birthplace, under a new name, with a different face. And even though he did not walk under the sun of Coruscant for many years, it was still all so familiar to him – it took him just a moment to remind himself of all those unused memories and to bring them back on the surface. For him, it seemed as if his long exile lasted no longer then a few heartbeats.
“Where now Vail?” Saitou casually asked as he walked by his side.
“We need to get down” he replied absentmindedly “If everything is still the same, there was an elevator not far from here that would take us down to the base level , from where we can grab us a train which shall transport us near the location where we sensed that scout. From there we'll have to find the entrance to the superstructure below”
“Doesn't sound like much trouble” shrugged Saitou and grinned. “We should be back home within a day”
“Don't count on that” replied Vail as he turned around the corner and stood right in front of the elevator “For one, I know of a bar down the corner from here, it used to serve bunch of great cocktails. Only visiting that place will take us a few days”
The response drew a smile on Saitou's face. “Always the same with you. Always knowing where cheapest alcohol is served”
“I did not say it was cheap Saitou”
“It usually is so. Am I right?”
“Yeah, it is cheap” Vail admitted “But hey, it was really good! You'll have to try at least some!”
“We'll see friend. All in due time. For now, let's find that artifact. If that scout spent his whole life searching for it, at least we can make sure its not forgotten and claim it for us”
“This is Dock 54 to M/FRT Beograd.”
“Dock 54, this is Beograd,” Commander Prijatelju replied. He was confident that civilian operators would not uncover his identity.
“Beograd, you are cleared to land. Send your cargo list to the main office towards the left and your men can take leave by following the corridor straight to the main terminal.”
“Dock 54, thank you. Preparing for final approach now.”
The M/FRT Beograd completed docking and all things were squared away. Commander Prijatelju told Flight Officer Zdravo to take half the men and begin a separate search. He made it clear other teams were bound to be in the area and it was only a matter of time before the artifact would be secured.
Two groups were formed and civilian dress was the fare. With an almost muffled haste, the covert ops teams moved out and into the endless city.
“We’re here!” exclaimed Vail.
“This is the entrance to the superstructure?” asked Saitou.
“Of course not. This is that place I’ve been telling you about. We gotta stop here on the way back.”
“Alright, alright already. Shady locations aside, is that truly the entrance?”
“It is. Time to have some fun.”
Saitou and Vail moved towards the utility facility and stared down at what appeared to be an endless void. Saitou had memories of his time as a yeoman with Karva and Cuchulain in such dreary places as these. It was almost invigorating.
“Do you want the honors, Vail?”
“Don’t mind if I do.”
Vail motioned slightly with his wrist and a panel was activated. Thus began their descent towards the prize. The fact that the secondary elevator was nowhere to be seen did not concern them in the slightest.
“F.O. Zdravo, come to my coordinates immediately. I think we’ve found something.”
“Roger that, Commander. We’ll be with you in five minutes.”
Some rustling and various other noises signaled that a team member had broken through a seal. He cried out that they must be close. This only boosted the commander’s hopes that this mission would be quiet.
“What have you found?” asked the Commander as he peered through the makeshift entrance.
”It appears some of the structure was damaged in their fight, but most of it should hold. Get me a light.”
A light globe was tossed in to the team member and he grimaced when he stepped upon the corpse of the Dark Knight.
“I’ve found the adversary, but where is the captain? They must’ve had one hell of a fight.”
“That or one unlucky break. Only a single support beam gave out. This is merely old dust.” The commander brushed aside old debris with his boot.
The entire team went silent as they heard an elevator descend. Once it reached the bottom, they all reached for their weapons and waited. There was nothing to be seen. Perhaps it was a malfunction… perhaps a distraction.
“Move out and sweep the perimeter,” the rear man signaled with his free hand.
He was soon acknowledged in a similar fashion and the Rebels began to sweep the area. Some believed they saw two shadows, but could not be sure. They felt as if they were dreaming until one lunged directly for the commander. He yelled and brought all his fire to bear upon it.
“What in Mon Mothma’s name was that thing!?”
Closer inspection revealed the creature to be a stray mynock. The commander crushed the corpse’s head with his boot and spat. He grumbled about odd creatures where they ought not be and possible diseases.
“Sir, I believe I’ve found it!”
The dead captain’s body was pushed to the side and his eyelids were closed. The talisman lay beside him and shone with an eerie shimmer.
“At long last. There it is.” The commander’s eyes almost doubled in size.
“You know, he searched for the artifact his entire life and at long last he found it.” Every Rebel raised their weapons and looked around frantically. The voice was not one of theirs. “It was where it has always been – just out of his reach.”
“Who goes there!? Show yourself!” One team member slowly advanced.
“Not another quest by a pitiful non-force attuned.” Saitou’s voice triggered additional anxiety for the Rebel team. “Shall we just take our treasure or must we dispose of these men as well?”
“We are of the 6th Intel Service! If you know what is good for you, you will surrender. Though one of our men died taking your contact out, we will not make the same error!”
“Aren’t they cute when they’re cocky?” Vail’s voice seemed to echo and leap from every direction. The Force was merely a toy for the Dark Jedi’s mockery now.
All involved stood and waited for the other to make the first move...
In the dreaded silence the two parties stood looking at each other. Commander Prijatelju kept his eyes on both Dark Jedi at the same time, without blinking even once, nervously holding his hand near the blaster holstered on his belt. The two Dark Jedi stood calmly, as if not troubled at all by the New Republic trained commandos all around them.
“So, gentlemen” Vail said out loud “Are you finally going to attack?”
One of commander's men attacked. He rose his blaster quickly, aiming for the head of one of the Dark Jedi. He was not fast enough. Vail moved his hand, and instantly Prijatelju could feel a sudden blow so strong it knocked all air out of his lungs, throwing him across the underground chamber. Commander could see all his men falling on the floor, and the other Dark Jedi, Saitou, who dropped his bag, suddenly holding two metallic objects. Saitou threw one to Vail, and in an instant, two blades composed of pure reddish-white light extended from the handles the two Dark Jedi held.
“Lightsabers” murmured Prijatelju as he grasped for air, getting back on his feet. His men attacked the two Dark Jedi, shooting a salvo of blaster bolts at them. Each shot was precisely aimed at the vitals of the two Dark Jedi, each could kill them instantly, but they moved and, with a single, graceful, fluid move blocked each of the blaster bolts aimed at them with their lightsabers, deflecting them harmlessly aside.
Prijatelju rose his blaster and aimed at Saitou. In a moment he calculated his movement and aimed where Saitou's eye was to be a second later. As soon as he pressed the trigger Dark Jedi's movement changed, and he blocked the bolt with his lightsaber, then extended his hand toward Prijatelju. Commander felt a sudden force pull his blaster and it flew straight out of his hand and fell on the floor meters ahead.
He ran and jumped forward to grab his pistol. As he grabbed it, he realized the sounds of blaster fire had failed. Two Dark Jedi were among his troops, quickly slaughtering them. Vail jumped between the two, slashing one right across his chest, and quickly stabbing the second behind his backs. Saitou quickly killed two that stood side by side with a single long cut. Seeing all around them are dead, the two rose their lightsabers and approached Prijatelju.
The commander rose his pistol and aimed at Vail. With a short, quick move of hand, as if he was chasing a fly, Vail knocked the hand with his pistol aside through Force.
“The artifact” he said coldly.
Prijatelju did not respond. The medallion fell out of his hand against his will. The eyes of the two Dark Jedi gleamed with joy as they saw it.
Just as Saitou bent forward to pick it up, there was a sudden explosion right next to them. The explosion launched them both into the air. A blaster bolt was aimed at the place where Vail was about to fall, but he performed a backwards catwheel, evading the blaster bolt and continuing to fly through air to a safe place. Suddenly another explosion from a heavy weapon struck underneath him, launching him even further into air. He grasped in fear and amazement when he felt himself falling into a distant abyss, a deep, deep chasm that led downwards, to the planet core.
Saitou dodged the blasters, raising his lightsaber and deflecting them aside. He saw the medallion right in front of him. For a moment he progressed forward toward it, but then he realized what happened with Vail. For a split second he considered his options and then retreated, into the chasm, following Vail, led only by his faith in the Force to provide him a safe landing on his search for the Dark Side Adept, leaving the medallion in the hands of the New Republic.
Flight Officer Zdravo yelled a battle cry as he charged forward with his team. A secondary explosion caught him by surprised and he was brought to the ground. One of his team members helped him up.
“What happened!?” Zdravo looked at his commander.
“Dark Jedi… just wonderful.” The commander surveyed the dead and grimaced.
Prijatelju quickly walked to the place where he had seen the medallion last. The talisman had disappeared once more. He quickly set upon the dust and prayed the explosions had not launched the artifact into the abyss.
“Well... don’t just stand there! Search for it!”
The commandos instantly strapped their weapons around their shoulders and got onto their hands and knees to aid in the search. Time was still of the essence. They knew any Jedi that willingly ran away would shortly return.
Vail plummeted into the void. As he descended he attempted to grab hold of any apparatus, which might possibly slow his fall or otherwise do something. He couldn’t believe it. How was he so careless? Various support girders and poles bounced off his forearm. Finally, he stopped off a generator’s ledge. His arm throbbed with pain and dulled as he concentrated on hanging on.
“Take my hand if you want to live.” A smirk appeared across Saitou’s face as he faked a deep voice.
“Dammit, Saitou! Just pull me up!”
“That’s the third time I’ve saved you this week, Vail.”
“Helping me out the bathroom window in that bar doesn’t count, Saitou.”
“Regardless, you get to pay for the drinks tonight.”
Vail clambered up and stood on the ledge. When asked about his saber, he merely shrugged and muttered some curses under his breath. They had a bit of a climb and started to it, looking for a maintenance tunnel. Dark Jedi always prefer to take the easiest way.
Commander Prijatelju concealed his weapon and ordered his men to do the same. They would be on the surface soon, minus four of their team. The losses were great, but the mission was a success: the talisman was now in their possession and Zdravo had obtained a lightsaber trophy.
The elevator doors hissed open as the Rebel team exited the superstructure and made their way to a more public street. They would return to their ship and celebrate once they left the atmosphere.
When the team had reached the main street, they began to feel at ease. It would only be another fifteen minutes to the landing pad. It was then that the rear member saw two cloaked men and his heart sank.
“Commander…” He attempted to keep his voice muffled as he maintained his walking speed.
“What is it?” Prijatelju turned and caught a glimpse of the two shadowy figures as they grinned and walked into a side street. “They would not risk attacking us out here. We are both in jeopardy with so many around us.”
“What will we do?” the commando asked.
“Our orders are to stay undercover at any cost, Zdravo” Prijatelju whispered “We'll proceed to our ship and contact headquarters once we launch”
Prijatelju clenched his fist around the medallion. He hated missions such as these; he could have completed it and seal the fate of the Dark Jedi by simply speaking to the first New Republic officer he saw. But, he had to remain anonymous. No one could know he was a member of INTEL. So he kept walking casually with his men, desperately looking around to see an fellow agent that he could talk to.
Instead, he saw them. The two Dark Jedi walked toward them, looking at them with death in their eyes. Something told Prijatelju that they would not care about the civilian casualties; he knew he had to move to evade them.
* * *
“They are going in!” Saitou pointed at the six New Republic agents that were entering the building.
“That's that bar I told you about” said Vail as he slowly paced up. The two went straight to the bar, entering the place with no hesitation whatsoever. The only thing on their mind was finding the agents and exterminating them. All Vail could think of now was getting his lightsaber back.
Loud music was the first thing Pontifex notices upon entering. Weak red and greenish light shone from the corners toward the floor, barely illuminating the room, showing mostly silhouettes and shadows of the people inside.
“How are we going to find them?” asked Saitou, leaning and shouting in Vail's ear.
“You'll see” Vail replied in the same way. He pointed at the table next to the entrance and sat on the chair next to it. As the two seated, the bartender quickly ran to them.
“What would you like?” he asked in a high-pitched voice, obviously strained from years of trying to be heard over the music.
“Two Galaxy's Ends please Mirco” replied Vail as he rose his head to look at the bartender. Mirco's eyes expanded from amazement.
“Vail” he grasped “You... I haven't seen you in years!”
“Not now Mirco. Two drinks, fast”
“Right away count”
Mirco brought the two cocktails with lightning speed; before Saitou and Vail could even scan the patrons completely, the two large glasses were brought before them, filled to the top with grayish-gold liquid.
“They are cold” said Mirco. “I always keep a few of those prepared in case you return”
“Six men came here before us. Where are they?” asked Vail quickly
“Six? They went through the back door, just a few seconds ago”
“Seconds!?” Saitou looked in amazement
“Yeah” Vail nodded “Drink up fast”
They both rose their glasses and drank the stuff to the bottom. It almost made Saitou puke – the liquid burnt his throat, falling hard on his stomach. For a moment he felt as if it was some acid, eating him from the inside. Still, he felt his mind wonderfully calm, and his throat refreshed.
Vail jumped up, followed by Saitou, who staggered forward a bit as he got up. Vail threw some credits on the table and pulled Sero by his sleeve through the crowd, to the exit of the bar, pushing everyone around to make way.
Within a few seconds they were out of the door, and suddenly they were captured; they were outside, with no cover, with two blasters pointed at their heads to their sides.
Saitou cursed himself for not sensing the danger. He was too busy thinking about the effects of the alcohol on his organism; now he reached in himself to detoxify the last remnants of it, but it was too late. They both rose their arms.
“Don't shoot!” said Vail out loud “I am unarmed”
“That is the one without weapons” said one of the agents “Search the other”
As soon as they approached, Vail lowered his hands, and lightning shot from his outstretched fingers. It caught the two agents, trowing them to the floor, jumping around in agony. It lasted for a moment, and then they fell motionless, dead. Vail lowered his arms and smiled.
“Fools” he quickly commented “let's go”
The elevator to their left was not there; it ascended upwards, to the higher levels of Coruscant. Saitou already cursed their bad luck; by the time the elevator was back and took them up, the Rebels would already be far gone.
“That elevator is down!” Vail pointed to the other elevator “Come on!”
“Vail, this elevator is on the opposite building!” Saitou protested as he ran into the elevator with Vail.
“So?” Dark Side Adept replied with a grin.
The elevator stopped on the same level. Across the chasm, they saw four INTEL agents coming out of their elevator, running away from them.
“Are you ready?” asked Vail. Then, without waiting for a response, he ran and jumped up, lifting himself through Force to jump to inhuman heights. Saitou followed, and the two landed on the opposite platform, dusting off their clothing as if they had no worry in the world.
“See?” Vail grinned “They are ours now”
Prijatelju’s team stopped and spun around. Zdravo reached for his weapon and Vail realized who had almost taken him back in the superstructure.
“Not that toy again.” Vail smirked at the Flight Officer.
Saitou reached for his saber and kept his attention focused on the commander. The two remaining team members would be finished soon enough… they were no real threat, but more of a nuisance.
“Let me ask you just one thing. Are you feeling lucky, punk?” Saitou continued to fondle his saber, merely waiting for the moment to draw it.
“You can not win up here, Dark Jedi. The local forces will overwhelm you.”
“That may be,” Vail replied, “but if you truly wanted their assistance you would have already summoned them by now.”
Zdravo’s third team member grew unbearably irritated and in his moment of fear, discharged his weapon. It was quickly deflected from Vail’s body as Saitou moved his saber to intercept.
“Good… Good! Let your hate flow through you!” Vail chuckled as he let loose his personal rebel zapping abilities once more. As the commando jerked uncontrollably from his spasms, he lost his footing and went over the side of the building. His scream and subsequent thud were enough to draw a half dozen security droids, all alerting police and racing to the scene.
By the time they had arrived the rooftop had become engulfed in a seemingly last stand of the 6th Intel Service team. Another commando lay dead and only the commander and his lieutenant remained.
“Halt! You are in violation of New Republic law…”
The droids droned out the typical warnings and the four combatants briefly ignored one another to destroy what droids they could. The fight would need to be ended in a new location. It was of paramount importance to both parties to escape before local authorities and garrisons could respond.
“This is beginning to really try my patience, Vail. Also, how do you know that bartender? That was a little too familiar of terms.”
“All will be clear soon. Stay with me… I have a new idea.”
The four ran away from the rooftop they were on; Prijatelju and Zdravo were the first, followed by Saitou, and finally, Vail, who always kept a similar distance, never letting the two INTEL agents gain a significant advantage.
Prijatelju and Zdravo jumped from the roof down on the walkway around the nearby tower. Zdravo staggered a bit as he fell down, but both Dark Jedi were impressed with the skill that Prijatelju jumped down and continued running. It was clear the Force was strong with him.
The two agents ran into the ventilation shaft in the building. The two Dark Jedi increased their speed as they came after them, running in the ambush two officers set for them with inhuman speed; both blaster shots missed them widely, and Vail and Saitou positioned themselves side-by-side, facing the two New Republicans.
In a brief moment of time, the four people stood in the dark, damp room, facing each other, staring, not moving a single muscle on their faces. Vail's attention was focused on Zdravo; the man who held his lightsaber was still far away. Definitely too far away to attack, considering the blaster of the one called Prijatelju.
“So, are we going to attack?” Saitou asked impatiently.
“Not yet” replied Vail calmly.
Adept could see Prijatelju clenching his blaster, carefully waiting for them to make the first move. What Vail had in mind was not something that could be seen by a naked eye; He carefully became one with the Force, feeling the structure around them, searching for the places which supported the floor they were on. Prijatelju seemed to have sensed what he was doing; he rose his heavy blaster, but a moment too late. Vail applied sudden pressure on every wall he could sense, breaking the heavy construction with the strength of his will, fueled by his anger. The blaster shot at the ceiling, missing them widely as they all fell downwards through the crumbling concrete.
They all fell in what seemed a large convention hall; Vail fell down on a long, massive desk made of wood that seemed imported from Kashyyyk. The concrete that fell on it barely made a dent on the sturdy surface. Around them, the people reacted with much less confusion that Vail could expect. Many of them died when the ceiling crashed on their heads. Those who survived got up on their feet, and rose blaster rifles at the men who fell down in the center of the room.
Saitou and Vail could see them. They were mostly men, dressed up in fine black suits, but they could see Trandoshans, Rodians, even Graans. They all immediately figured what was happening – where they have fallen in.
“Mafia” gasped Saitou “Our luck to draw trouble these days is exceptional it seems”
Before anyone could become aware of the whole scene, the glasses on the side exploded with a sudden force, scattering them all around the room. Even more police droids came, scanning the scene for the four people they were after.
“Now!” Vail shouted. He grabbed a thermal detonator from the Trandoshan next to him, tossing him to the other side of the room. Explosion threw them back into the air, to the open windows, together with cloud of dust and shards of broken glass. In the chaotic mess Vail saw a familiar shine – he reached for it through Force, and the handle of his lightsaber appeared in his hand as he fell on the floor, rolling toward the window, and finally getting out to the balcony.
A second after, Saitou ran to him, followed with sounds of blasters, explosions, and stray bolts. “The mafia and the police are shooting at each other! I got this though!” he showed to the thing he kept in his hand – a shinning, golden talisman.
“Great! Now lets get out of here” said Vail “These guys will be searching for us in a minute”
“Like we weren't in enough trouble already” replied Saitou grimly, as he looked around for a way to escape the balcony of the hotel.
Having already jumped numerous voids in the day, Saitou took no time to hesitate doing so now. As he went over the balcony, he landed on a quite surprised police patrol vehicle. Vail followed closely behind and the vehicle rocked from side to side.
“Hey, you two! Guard our cruiser while we bust this disturbance!” Saitou waved his hand as he spoke in a stern tone.
The police were quick to mimic him as they ordered the two Jedi to “guard” the vehicle and rushed into the fray. Saitou hopped through the canopy and into the driver’s seat.
“It looks like we’re almost home free, Vail.”
The cruiser began to roar and the high pitched whine indicated all systems were go. Saitou deactivated the emergency lights and disabled the siren. However, he was soon reminded by Vail that the mafia had not all stayed behind. Vail’s words were quickly validated as blaster fire scarred the hull of the cruiser.
“Turn right and core-ward!”
“No back seat piloting, Vail!”
“Just give me the damn controls, this place is like home!”
Another volley of fire, now becoming much heavier rocked the vehicle and Saitou gave up the controls. There were two mafia on their tail. As Vail spiraled towards the surface, Saitou kept ahold of what composure he could as he rummaged for extra police weaponry.
“Keep this thing a little more level and I can pick some off!” Saitou armed a crowd control canon.
As the dense traffic of civilians swerved and collided with one another, the chase continued through the commerce section of the sector. Saitou let loose one canister, which sailed just off its mark and into a window. The panic that set in was lost as the vehicles zoomed on.
“I said level! You fly like a Krath!” Saitou chuckled as he realized his choice of insult. He really needed some more time away from Predator back in CSP.
As Vail tugged at the controls in order to avoid incoming fire, Saitou leaned out the overhead turret. He shot another canister. It exploded within on of the pursuer’s craft and it quickly filled with smoke. The vehicle juked erratically and collided with a service transport. The two erupted into flames.
Prijatelju squeezed the trigger and a Graan howled as it fell to the ground. He quickly pulled the weapon towards himself and swung in an upwards arc to bring the butt across the side of a charging Rodian’s head.
“Zdravo! Time to get out of here!” The commander motioned with his firearm towards an exit.
The two commandos rushed for the door and pain shot up Zdravo’s body as a blaster bolt seared his leg. Keeping his cool, the Flight Officer leapt through an internal window for some partial cover. Prijatelju grabbed him as he ran, dragging him down the corridor.
“Damnation! First the talisman… and now this!” Zdravo slammed his fist into the wall as he got up and forced himself to run.
“Escape is our only concern now. We’ll figure out what to do once we’re out of this mess.”
As a thermal detonator spewed shrapnel and smoke from newly destroyed items, the Intel soldiers made their way out of the area.
Two INTEL agents ran through the corridors of the hotel, followed by the mafia men. Prijatelju was ahead – if it wasn't for Zdravo's injured leg, he would have already outrun the pursuit. This way, he had to think for an escape.
As he turned around the corner into another corridor, toward the elevators, he turned and raised his blaster at the ceiling. Prijatelju fired a burst above, bringing the ceiling down, blocking the path of the men chasing them.
“Here!” he shouted pulling Zdravo behind “Now is our chance!”
Prijatelju took out a card from his pocket and inserted it in the locked doors to the hotel's employee area. The doors opened and they came in, locking the doors behind them.
“How's your leg?” asked Prijatelju as he approached the communications terminal.
“Better.” replied Zdravo “What are you doing?”
“I'm using our codes to access Coruscant information database” he said. “They must have taken the photos of those two Dark Jedi upon their arrival to Coruscant – I'll just look for their ship.”
Suddenly his smile broadened. “I found them! They came on the Tyderian shuttle Rakija. Its on starport seven, docking bay thirteen. Their names are Seymoore Butts and Suki Tumi. I'll look if they have records in our database...”
“Errr... They don't have any Prijatelju. Those are fake names”
“Damn. You're right. Well, we'll just have to intercept them in the starport”
“How do you think we'll defeat the two Dark Jedi?”
“Remember your training Zdravo. We'll just have to outwit them”
* * *
Saitou and Vail were in for a bumpy ride; Vail knew the layout of Coruscant like a back of his hand, but his skill in driving the repulsorlift vehicle was completely inadequate. He braked just in time as he made a sharp turn, scratching the side of the police vehicle.
“Hey! Watch it!” shouted Saitou from behind as he desperately tried to keep his balance on the waving vehicle.
“Relax. I know what I'm doing” Vail replied calmly, concentrated on driving the vehicle.
“You were saying that since the start! You don't have a slightest idea! You were bluffing all along?”
“I did. But it worked, didn't it?”
“Vail, we have mafia and the police chasing us, and we have two INTEL agents out there to kill us which we have problem eliminating. I wouldn't say it “worked” or anything except “total disaster”.
“Ok, we're getting rid of the mafia in a second. Get down and hold yourself”
Vail suddenly turned the vehicle vertically and flew right through the two pipes into the building. Police vehicle couldn't pass unharmed though – it scratched the bottom surface, damaging the sensitive repulsorlift engine. Vail had just enough time to turn it back into normal position and jump out with Saitou. As they landed on the ground, they both activated their lightsabers, and their blades sprung up in an instant. The only remaining mafia vehicle came straight from where they entered, coming in through the obstacle without a flaw. The two Dark Jedi jumped up on the open-topped vehicle, slaying all four men inside with two straight moves of their weapons.
Vail finally sat back to controls and calmed the speed. “Well, we're safe now” he said “Black vehicle, leather seats... We'll be returning to the starport with style”
“So tell me how you knew that bartender?” asked Sero as he sat next to Vail.
“Oh, I lived here most of my life.” Vail replied casually “I moved away sometime after the battle of Endor – New Republic INTEL become realizing that I was doing some favors for the Empire. Its not strange to know the good bartenders, isn't it?”
“No, not for you at least” Saitou nodded. “So, do you think they will wait for us on the starport?”
“Think? Saitou, we both know that.”
“I think I'll leave that to you”
Saitou grinned “So, now you stop being in charge here. How nice of you.”
“Thank you” replied Vail.
“In case you haven't noticed, I was being sarcastic”
“Please be advised that all unattended items will be confiscated and possibly destroyed for security reasons…”
Suddenly a smooth vehicle with leather seats crashed through the baggage transfer station and exploded. Various techs ran in every direction to escape the ensuing blaze. Saitou coughed and picked himself from the terminal floor.
“Ok. Remind me not to leave the plans to you, Saitou.”
Saitou merely shrugged and pointed out that they had arrived at their destination. “It’s not like we have anything but carry-ons!”
Vail rolled his eyes and the two Dark Jedi ran towards the shuttle hangars. The Rakija was waiting and so too was Prijatelju and Zdravo.
“Security just isn’t what it was when the Empire ruled the planet.” Saitou sighed as he looked at the two now familiar Rebels.
“You will find that your shuttle is not nearly as safe as you have left it. We had some time to… play with it before your arrival.” Prijatelju grinned.
“Some changes might blow you away,” added Zdravo, who now had his injured leg bandaged and temporarily treated.
Vail looked over the Rakija and noticed several small explosives. They had been placed on hastily, but quite skillfully. There were no doubt a few that he could not immediately locate.
“You certainly have not made it easy on us,” Vail stated, “but you can not hope to stop us now.”
“I’m impressed with your resistance,” Saitou added. “However, it was merely a delay of the inevitable.”
“Give us the Talisman. I won’t ask again.” Prijatelju’s eyes narrowed and it was easy to see that he meant business.
The standoff lasted only three seconds. What was to follow truly shocked Saitou. The Shuttle Rakija was consumed by a handful of moderate explosions. Both the Rebels and the Dark Jedi sprinted away from the larger disaster soon to follow. The Rakija came apart and pieces were sent flying every which way.
“I didn’t expect them to be quite that far ahead of us,” Saitou huffed while continuing to run. “How the hell are we to escape this planet now? Everyone on this planet will be after our heads now!”
“I have my ways,” Vail assured him. “Trust me…”
Saitou sighed and attempted to locate the two nuisances. They were temporarily out of sight once more. He cursed and followed Vail.
Again, Vail took the lead. They ran straight through the starport security, too surprised to do anything about the two Dark Jedi causing chaos at the port. Vail and Saitou ran right through the hole they made with the car, jumping through on the walkway with ease.
“Where should we go now?” asked Saitou as he ran next to Vail.
“Mirco. He's nearby. But we need to get on the lower level”
“Nothing easier” Saitou replied, then took a running jump and landed right on the walkway on the other side, one level lower. Vail followed and the two kept running, straight to Mirco's bar.
When they came in, the bar was empty, and the normal lights were on. Mirco was all alone, cleaning the place now that no guests were around to serve.
“Mirco, we need your help” Vail came up to him without delay. “We have no ship to leave this planet, and we have INTEL agents, police, and the mafia chasing us”
“You need a ship?” Mirco looked at Vail “Vail, you know I have one, but huh... I didn't flew it a long time.”
“It will work Mirco. We need it”
“But how will I ever see it again?”
Vail sighted “We'll get it back Mirco. Somehow. I promise”
Mirco sat on the chair and shook his head, not taking his eyes off Vail. “I haven't seen you for years man. And you do what – run in and ask me for a ship? Is that the way to treat an old friend?”
Vail's gaze was calm and unchanging. “Things are different now Mirco”
Mirco got up and took something out of his pocket, putting it in Vail's hand. “My ship. You know where it is. Take good care of it”
“We will” replied Vail “let's go Saitou”
The two went through the back door. They saw the place where they confronted the two INTEL agents earlier today; Mirco took care of everything, and the corpses dissapeared. Nothing could show that this location was the place of violent revelation of the pure power of the Dark Side.
They took one of the elevators again, going down this time. Their descent was long – Saitou could literally see the world going dark as they went deeper and deeper, closer to the long-forgotten ground of Coruscant.
Suddenly the elevator stopped. Saitou looked at Vail, but the face of the Adept was calm. He quickly typed a code in the panel, and the elevator continued its descent.
They finally reached their destination; the elevator opened to a platform on which a corellian transport resided. It was small, unremarkable – like the thousands flying throughout the galaxy. Still, for Saitou and Vail, it was the best ship in the universe – it could fly, and it could fly right now.
They made just a few steps toward the ship, when a sudden explosion right underneath their feet caught them by complete surprise. Vail was knocked off to the left, while Saitou flew over the platform, holding desperately to the edge with his right hand.
“When are you two going to die!” shouted Prijatelju as he descended from above. Zdravo was holding the large blaster with his both hands.
“Not you two again” replied Vail. “This ends here”
His lightsaber went on with a snap-hiss as he charged the two INTEL agents. Zdravo rose his gun at Vail, but the Adept was faster, striking at him through Force with such a strength that it picked him up, and tossed him at the wall. Zdravo managed to catch himself on the thin ledge, right across from where Saitou hanged.
Prijatelju dodged underneath Vail's lightsaber and produced two blaster pistols. He aimed and fired both rapidly at the Dark Jedi, and Vail stopped for a moment, blocking each shot one by one. After the first salvo he caught his chance – he jumped up, over two low shots that Prijatelju fired at his feet, and sliced off head of the INTEL agent with ease.
Now that Prijatelju was finally dead, Vail ran to Saitou. To his surprise, Pontifex did not even try to pull up. Instead he reached with his left hand for the thin ledge Zdravo hanged from, where, Vail could see, talisman was laying on. It was right on the edge, and a single tremor could send it falling down, into the depths it was lost for decades.
It was right out of Saitou's reach. At the same time, Zdravo tried slowly crawling, carefully pulling himself along the ledge, toward the medallion.
“Saitou, stop!” Vail shouted as Pontifex tried reaching even further for the artifact, risking to lose his hold “Stop man!”
“I almost have it Vail!” Saitou shouted, his fingers almost reaching the medallion “Just a little bit more”.
“Saitou, no!” Vail kept on shouting “We cannot get it! That's its curse!”
“Curse?” Saitou looked up at Vail with surprise in his eyes.
“We cannot get it my friend” said Vail, lending his hand downwards to Saitou “Let it go man. Trust me.”
Saitou looked once more for the artifact. Then, he looked up at Vail, and rose his left hand, grabbing Vail and pulling himself up.
At that moment, Zdravo touched the medallion with his fingertips. In that very moment however, his other hand slipped, and he lost his hold, falling downward, into his death. Last thing the two Dark Jedi could see was a small, golden light of the artifact that fell back to the depths from which it was retrieved.
“I figured it out just now” Vail said calmly. “This whole thing had looked far too... Ridiculous. It was as if that talisman was toying with us all, almost as if it wanted to pass from hand to hand. And then I remembered what you said about that scout”
“That he found where artifact always was... Right out of his reach”
“The artifact is cursed?” Saitou looked at Vail in amazement.
“Look at everyone. That scout died trying to get it. Zdravo died before even laying his hand on it. You almost died. We both almost died several times. The artifact was not meant to be found”
Saitou sighted. “So, we are taking this ship off this planet. What will we report?”
Vail shrugged. “That we found the fabled Talisman of Power. It was where it has ever been – right out of our reach”
Excellent! This sucker is done and now we can submit it for the IGs. Nice working with you on this, Vail.