Join Date: Jan 2004
Chapter 7: On the Run
For the first time since his daredevil leap out of the gunship, Captain Wefive relaxed. It had been about two standard hours since they entered hyperspace. Onderon was near, only a few more hours away. Captain Wefive finally broke the ice and started conversing.
“For a second I thought I was gonna be dead meat. If you hadn’t come up with this ARC, you’d be the one flying away…”
“Not a chance, Captain. I’m bad at flying starfighters like this. It was luck that let me fly and the force that let me fire the torpedoes at the gunship. And besides, I wouldn’t have made it this far. I would have been shot down before I could even started making the Hyperdrive checks.”
“Yeah, well coincidence, luck and skill. The golden trinity for any damned feat. So, what happened at the medical?”
“Well, I broke out. Lot of people got fried, then slashed, then hit with their own blaster shots…”
“So you massacred them.”
Seliqa fell silent at his cold statement.
“You massacred them, Seliqa. Not a very, well, Jedi-ish thing to do.”
“I don’t know. It just had to be done, right? I mean, there were, like, a hundred troops crawling in that base. I couldn’t get past them without…”
“You should. You should find a way to do what you can’t. It seemed impossible for me to take out two troopers unarmed. But I did. I held off a gunship alone for like, thirty seconds. I…”
“You, would have been burned alive had I not been there.”
“We complement each other’s stupidity then.”
Seliqa fell silent once more. For the first time in her life had she been verbally defeated by a non-Jedi. It dawned upon her that she had much to learn still and if the ways of the Force are learned through a Master, the ways of the galaxy, life can only be learned from someone who has much of it, without the Force. The key to mastering the world, the galaxy is to learn living both with and without the Force.
“Come on, don’t be so grim. I just don’t like snappy Jedi.” The Captain joked, noticing the silence.
Seliqa smiled and nodded. “Well, even the best of Jedi Knights are foolish at times.”
“And I’m proud to have met one!”
Both laughed, even at an hour so grave. Seliqa resumed the earlier discussion.
“So, I found my lightsaber in a vault. There were other Separatist weapons and datapads there.”
“Must have been a safe, for the spoils of war. Don’t know why they keep them, though.”
“Maybe so that if their dead preys get resurrected and want their possessions back?”
“What happened to you, by the way. Standing off against a gunship and millions of clones is no easy feat.”
“Not if you have a million dumb clones. They bought the idea that I won’t rebel. Four troopers were to escort me to the RAS Garendator, then to Coruscant’s holding cells where I would await my trial.”
“Okay, so going to Coruscant is not a good idea…”
“No, but hey, you have the Jedi Temple there! They must be fighting off the clones!”
“Coruscant is almost filled with clones. They won’t… I don’t think they will make it out alive…”
“Damn, things are going down.”
“What happened to the Chancellor, by the way? I hadn’t expected him to go rogue.”
“He hasn’t. According to him, the Jedi have. It was in his plan all along. Wait… he knew he was going to get the emergency… wait, whoa! He actually commissioned the clones!”
“That would be going too far. He can’t plan that much, even if he’s a Supreme Chancellor. Maybe he… just got absorbed by power. Maybe he wanted to have the entire galaxy at his own feet, not at a senate’s.”
“Possible. He’ll be dictator. And that’s dangerous. The galaxy is going to suffer without Jedi and without the Senate.”
“I sense something more than this. There are more, hidden secrets beneath the veil. Perhaps we need to give it time to unveil itself…”
“Jedi riddle-talk” the Captain mumbled.
Time passed by and the lone starfighter raced to Onderon. Seliqa continued discussing with Captain Wefive about the Clone Wars, Chancellor Palpatine and estimated the number of Jedi that could have been lost in Order 66. While the Captain was skeptical, Seliqa estimated that the casualties will be less, as the Jedi are strong and can predict such matters. What surprised her, was that how cleverly Chancellor Palpatine had hidden his motives from the prying Jedi. Having a mind as strong as that was unusual in most beings, especially those who are insensitive to the Force. On top of that, the entire Jedi foundation was based on Coruscant, home of the Chancellor’s operations.
The topic diverted quite soon and the two were conversing on Seliqa’s trust in Captain Wefive. But the conversation had to be cut short as Captain alerted Seliqa that Onderon was near. Seliqa readied herself, her eyes set on the radar. Within seconds, the blue tunnel evaporated, into millions of rays, which seemed to grow shorter. And suddenly, the illusion disappeared as the starfighter jerked out of light speed and slowed to crawl. Onderon was dead ahead, but what was around it was more noticeable for the duo.
“Captain, the radar is showing… multiple units… starfighters, two RASs”
“So, how do we proceed?”
“I say we hit straight for one of the moons. Onderon must be watched closely.”
“Right… what are chances we’ll live through one day on one of those deathtraps? I would rather we get to Onderon, stay put, and jump off as refugees.”
“The clones will be watching…”
“Yeah, well we can enter each RAS, slice every living organism, blast the ship after escaping it, then repeating on every Republic vessel on Onderon. Not a bad idea, General.”
“Please, I’m a General no longer.”
“And I’m no Captain, so we’re equal now. We’ll get rid of those robes, the lightsaber, and you mask your Force thingies, and we should be safe on Onderon.”
“Sacrifice my saber for a getaway? We’d might as well hijack a civilian transport.”
The cockpit fell silent.
“I’m putting us down on Onderon. The longer we linger here in the middle of space, the faster we’re going to be burned, charred, tortured, and then killed.”
Accordingly, the starfighter’s engines blazed and it sped towards Onderon. However, their flight did not go unnoticed. Before they could realize it, Seliqa and Captain Wefive had five ARC-170 Starfighters on their tail.
As the ARC cleared the first stages of Onderon’s atmosphere, the warmth of a planet greeted the two. The forests, the mountains, the seas all became much clearer as the starfighter slowly changed its angle. Seliqa was observing the natural beauty of the planet when a change in the radar alerted her.
“Um, Wefive, we have five ARCs after us… Not good.”
“We’ll just have to evade them…”
He fired up the engines and the Starfighter rushed across the planet. The starfighters below escaped the radar, but appeared soon later, catching up with the starfighter.
“Are they firing?” asked Wefive, his eyes not leaving the controls.
“No. They just think it’s odd to have an ARC starfighter appear out of nowhere and fly above Onderon without greeting them.”
“We’ll have to land, Camman.”
“We can’t. They’ll get us before you know it. And when they find an ARC Trooper and a Jedi, I don’t think it’ll take long for them figure out things.”
“Yeah, well tell that to our fuel tank.”
The Starfighter slowly began losing height and its pursuers increased their speed, like Caxdatra birds going after a dying bird.
“Ready your ejection, Seliqa.” The former Captain notified.
Seliqa used the controls on the craft to ready an ejection seat. She knew Wefive’s plan all too well. They were to crash the craft and make it look as if they have perished in the crash. She had her own doubts on the success of the idea, but didn’t express them, as she didn’t have any ideas herself. Right now Wefive had earned her trust. He had saved her life in more than one occasion and she was willing to accept his plans and ideas.
The starfighter approached the trees. They were only some hundred feet below now. Their chasers were getting closer. Wefive suddenly turned off his engines, to make it look like an engine failure. He was almost hoping somebody shoot the craft and make a fuel leak. “Get ready…” Wefive signaled as the craft began to get dangerously low. Within a few seconds, he shouted, “Eject!”
The canopy, electrocuted, broke apart and the two seats shot out of the canopy. Wefive and Seliqa used their controls to keep the seats below the tree level. Slowly, they controlled the repulsorlifts to alight upon Onderon’s surface.
The ARC, on the other hand met an infernal fate as it’s wings, were clipped off by the trees, the fuselage collide with several trunks and eventually, the starfighter crashed, it’s belly wrecked, and brought down a dozen trees with it. Seliqa and Wefive, however, were already on the run. The starfighters passed above them as the two hid below a tree’s branches. They were careful not too let themselves visible, by distancing themselves and covering themselves with leaves. Once the starfighter passed by, the two regrouped and sitting on a lonely log, they pondered their next step.
Captain Wefive looked around, his hands on his knees. He took off his helmet and let the surrounding fragrance enter his nose. He inhaled deeply and sighed. Seliqa got up again and began pacing back and forth. Her eyes were intent, as if observing something, but it was impossible, since she was constantly moving. Shortly, she began to mumble. The Captain leaned back placed his helmet on the log. Through her fast words, he interpreted the Jedi Code. She was reciting the code over and over, as if she were in some sort of a trance.
“Chanting the Jedi Code isn’t going to get us anywhere, miss.” He remarked.
Seliqa continued pacing, ignoring him. Her forehead morphed into a frown. Her words increased their momentum. It was as if she was in battle, and had reached a critical point in it. The Captain learned that thee was not much to be gained from interrupting her. Taking his helmet, he got up and stretched as much as he could through his limiting suit.
“Hey!” he suddenly cried out. Seliqa was concentrating hard on her trance and didn’t pay heed to the Captain. “I heard something in those trees!” he said.
“Be back in a minute” he said and rushed into the forest. Kneeling down, he examined the fallen leaves. They were crumpled and torn. He had seen the leaves fall, but what caused them to was beyond his reckoning. In any case, he knew that they weren’t alone. He reloaded and cocked his rifle. With one hand, he put on his helmet and took a few steps back.
“Seliqa, watch out. We, are not alone.”
Seliqa’s eyes were closed. Her chant descended to a whisper, and then disappeared. At last she opened her eyes and fixed them at the forest. Her lightsaber floated to her hand and ignited. She took up her stance, looking out. Wefive, realizing that Seliqa had lifted herself from her trance, nodded at her and scanned the forest. Seliqa turned off her lightsaber. The Captain, surprised, was about to remark, but decided against it. “I sense no enemies.” Seliqa said. Wefive answered with a sigh and shaking his head.
A man came out of the forest, from behind a tree. He wore a forest camouflage suit. It was a light, padded armour, green and brown. He looked nearly middle-aged, accentuated by a full grown beard and moustache. In his hand was a blaster, one of the older varieties and on his belt were first-aid supplies and a hunting knife. “Not many Jedi in these parts” he told the duo for an introduction. He had a strange, winding accent.
“My name’s Esnaw. Esnaw Repol. I’m a… beast rider.” He turned to the Captain. “And my Desna’am is what alerted you, stranger.”
Seliqa nodded. “I am… Seliqa Camman, a Jedi. This is…”
“Leffar Benike, bounty hunter.” Captain lied.
“A bounty hunter, a Jedi? Unusual pair, but anything’s possible in this galaxy. Your extraordinary method of alighting upon our territory was what alerted me and my beasts. Not many prefer to crash their craft into the forest after ejecting it.”
A gentle smile spread out Seliqa’s face. “We’re on… a secret mission. A bounty, you can say. A rather unusual one, though. We’re looking for other Jedi. Until we find them, we cannot turn on each other.”
“Damned Jedi…” Captain mumbled.
“And some syndicate is after us, in those starfighters.”
“I’ve heard of a war, that Jedi are fighting on this planet. It’s mostly at Iziz or the space, however…” the beast-rider commented.
“Iziz?” Seliqa asked, innocently.
The beast-rider watched as a hound-like creature came by him and whined at his feet. He spoke something to the animal in a native language and the dog scurried away.
“It is not safe to speak here, in the middle of the forest. Our village is a little far from here, and our swoop bikes were destroyed by a perfect example of an imbecile. Me and my hunting crew have set up a camp nearby. Please, come with me. You will be safe there.”
“I would be honoured.” Seliqa answered and began following the beast rider. The Captain followed them, after a brief delay.