[FIN] The Smile
The fires were visible even in space, huge swathes glowing scarlet and orange, broken up by roiling black plumes of smoke. Revan's fury burned along with the Telosian surface.
What have you done, Malak? Revan thought, lips set in anger.
"Casualties." she snapped to Admiral Danzel.
He cleared his throat. "Nearly 100%. Malak somehow obtained the security codes to the planetary shield. Few ships were able to escape the fighters."
"Malak is on his way?"
"He's docking as we speak."
"Comb the surface for survivors. Preserve whatever is left of any military fortifications and civilian infrastructure. I am not about to let this planet die because of abject stupidity."
She nodded her dismissal and Danzel walked away briskly, almost relieved to be away from her white-hot anger.
Revan heard bootsteps ringing in long strides across the length of the bridge, but she didn't turn away from the view of the conflagration on the planet. Her hand brushed the lightsaber on her belt and lingered. She stroked the cold metal briefly as Malak approached.
He joined her and watched the ships flying around the burning planet for a long moment. He looked over at her. The flickering light from the planetary fires reflected off the smooth black lenses in her mask. She didn't return his gaze.
"Impressive sight, isn't it?" he said. He looked back at Telos with satisfaction, a small smile playing across his lips.
Revan fumed at his smile. So self-righteous. So smug. So infuriating. "Do you have _any_ idea what you've just done?"
Malak's smile faded at the steel edge in her voice. "You wanted to weaken the Republic. The Telosian leaders were going to forge a treaty with the Republic in the next day. That would make the planet a strategic trade and military center in the Outer Rim. I wasn't about to let the Republic get access to those resources."
Revan looked up at the ceiling and shook her head in disgust. "So typical. You always choose brute force over more subtle means. I already had agents in place in the Telosian government. The treaty discussions were going to fail and Telos was going to side with us. You have singlehandedly destroyed one of our greatest allies in the Outer Rim. Congratulations on your success at turning the region completely against us."
"No planet will dare to defy us ever again. They've now seen what will happen if they do. The Outer Rim is ours," Malak smirked.
Revan hated that superior smirk. "I prefer to be a little more selective with destructive technology," she replied.
Malak turned to face Revan, drawing up his full height, forcing her to look up at him. "You are a Sith. It's time you started acting like one. The galaxy doesn't have to like you. They just need to fear you." He leaned over her, giving her a feral grin. "But perhaps you're too weak-minded to do what needs to be done to take over this galaxy."
Revan saw his hand moving slowly to his lightsaber. In a flash, she ignited her saber and whirled out from under him. "You're not Sith enough to take me, Malak."
His saber jumped to his hand, blood-red blade hissing to life. He charged, closing the distance between them. Revan drew on the Force to gain strength. Malak flurried a series of powerful blows, forcing Revan back, fighting just to block him. She recognized some of the patterns he used, and countered the strikes with deft precision. With quick jabs she probed his defenses. He shrugged off the blows, then moved forward again. She stepped back as he made vicious slashes with his blade. Revan ducked as his saber flew a fraction of a centimeter over his head and sucked in her breath as the heat burned through her hood.
Don't play to his strengths.... Revan thought, gritting her teeth as she fought off another round of strikes. She leaped well out of his range, using the Force to propel her as far away as possible. She turned to face him, drawing on all the power she could muster.
Malak saw her guard drop as she focused on the Force. He dashed forward, lightsaber raised for a death strike.
Revan lifted her hand, sending her collected energy out in a storm of Force Lightning that struck Malak in the chest. His body spasmed as the bolts snaked over him, and his lightsaber clattered to the ground as he lost all muscle control. The power lifted him off the ground and sent him flying across the bridge. He hit the plasteel of the bridge, gasping as his ribs and back shattered on impact, and then collapsed to the ground. The remnants of purple electricity slithered over him before dissipating, leaving only the acrid odor of singed armor and flesh behind.
She extinguished her blade and walked slowly over to the fallen man, waving off one of the officers who tried to help. Blood trickled from the corner of his mouth, and smoky bruises darkened his pale face. He breathed in tortured gasps. "Kill me...get it over with."
Revan ignited her lightsaber. Malak closed his eyes, resigned. She held the saber over him so long, he opened his eyes again. He looked at the tip of her blade poised inches from his face, and then smiled through the pain. "You can't do it, can you?"
"Oh, you misunderstand, Malak. I could easily kill you. I simply choose not to. I want you alive, thinking about what happens to people who defy me."
She raised her blade again.
Malak started to laugh. Revan sunk the blade into his face and through his jaw. The sickly-sweet smell of burned flesh filled the bridge. Malak screamed until her lightsaber hit his larynx, destroying his ability to make sound. She lifted the blade back out of his body and extinguished it. She motioned for the officer to get the medical team.
She kneeled down next to him, watching him twitch in agony. His eyes started to dim as he fought to maintain consciousness through the shock, gurgling harsh breaths through what was left of his windpipe. Revan leaned close to his ear. "And now I'll never have to see you smile again."
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