Join Date: Jan 2004
Chapter 18: Victim of Betrayal
Blade watched from his dark forest cover as his squadmate was buried alive in a heap of stone. His resolve fastened and his hand gripped the anti-armour gun tighter. He unloaded it’s empty shell and pumped in a new one. “Jesqas, report.” He whispered over the comlink.
“Jesqas here. Shoulder injured.” A broken and breathless reply surfaced.
“Irtan has been buried in a pile of stone. Won’t last.”
There was a momentary silence on the other end.
“Here. We won’t last either. We must inform Xydan. This Jedi is powerful. We’ve never fought Jedi…”
“Shut the whining, Jess. We’re taking down this Jedi. Let Xydan know and ask him to contact command. Act as unconscious as possible, those Jedi can detect death-feigners.”
“Alright. Be careful and stay down. Jesqas out.”
Blade heard Jesqas’ words clearly, but he had no real intentions of following them. He had always lived on the brink of death and he knew completely well that the very purpose of his life is war. He is a war machine, only an organic one. He is engineered to fight, designed to think and conditioned to last. And he knew he would not give up that easily. Pulling out his three-feet long sniper rifle, he hoped the Jedi had not moved. He looked down the iron sight and zoomed in at a maximum, capturing a clear, albeit partially blocked view of Seliqa staring at where Irtan must have been. His finger lingered over the trigger. His mind was dying to make that one twitch that could end either his, or his target’s life. Seliqa, in her full senses was a very dangerous foe, and if Blade revealed his location with the sniper shot, Seliqa would slaughter him.
He dropped his sniper rifle and collapsed against a wall, in anxiety.
Wefive gawped over the seemingly unanimated body of Jesqas. His shoulder showed a clearly cauterised, ring-like mark made by Seliqa’s lightsaber. Wefive kneeled down into the mud and touched Jesqas’ helmet, his other hand ready to strike. There was no response. He unfastened Jesqas’ helmet and slowly pulled it out, letting Jesqas’ head drop onto the muddy stone. His eyes were closed, but his face was not peaceful, but more like a man resting before his revenge. The face was just as Wefive had expected – like his own. The same eyes, the nose, the ears, everything looked just like him. Wefive had never thought he would have to turn a gun against someone with the same face.
He got up and aimed cautiously with the gun, hoping to waste the least ammunition possible by hitting at a critical point – the exposed head. He got ready and was about to shoot, when Jesqas’ leg kicked Wefive’s and tripped him. Wefive stumbled and his gun fell ahead. Jesqas jumped to his feet, pushing Wefive aside and grabbing his gun. Too close for a safe shot, he butted the gun into Wefive’s helmet. Wefive fell to the stone floor and rolled back up, in a martial arts stance. Jesqas fired with his right hand, his only working one. Unaided by two hands, the gun fired in a very loose reticule. Wefive took advantage of this and leapt for Jesqas’ feet, bringing him down. He then grabbed his gun and fired Jesqas’ leg. The leg started incinerating and Jesqas cried in pain and his bashed his leg on the ground. Wefive fired away and struck Jesqas’ upper abdomen. The armour was strong, but Jesqas’ unusual jerks and twitches gave away the fact that he was in pain.
Wefive fired mercilessly and brought his aim up, towards the face. Jesqas watched in the few seconds of horror, as the white fire spread from his chest, to his neck, then corroded his cheek, filled his nose and charred it away. It then immolated his eyes and burned away his face. Jesqas’ last moments were short, but painful. Wefive stopped firing seconds later, long after Jesqas’ face had been corroded beyond recognition. Wefive fired twice more, further blackening the already scorched face and turned away.
He had claimed yet another life, and witnessed yet another horror.
Xydan got up and donned his reliable helmet. He half-limped his way to his starfighter. Switching on the input to the radio comlink, he called out for Jesqas, Irtan and Blade to report. He had heard the complete conversation between his squad, but had never interfered. His mind had been racing with thoughts. The thoughts that had formed in his mind from Jesqas’ last words.
“This Jedi is powerful. We’ve never fought Jedi…” Jesqas’ chant echoed through Xydan’s head. It was the cold truth, which answered all of DY44’s questions. DY44 had only faced droids and separatists before. Fighting a Jedi had taken too much out of them. Xydan traced the root of this disaster to Commander Soy, the egoistic imbecile who had launched the operation partly to hide his failure and partly to extract a vendetta. Xydan now wanted to kill him as much as he wanted to kill the Jedi. His monotonous mind, built to follow all orders given to him was on the verge of breaking it’s rules and running free. But it was impossible for him. The urge to complete his orders was irresistible, as was his hate for the Jedi and Captain Wefive.
He jumped into his starfighter and punched into it’s controls.
Wefive walked back to Seliqa, who stood alert before the stairs. She was soaked by the water, which continued to fall on them, showing no signs of stopping. Her lightsaber was turned off, and she looked calm, but Wefive could tell from the glaring heat in her eyes that she knew something he did not. He did not care anyways.
“I’ve killed another one. Pretended to be out cold, the idiot.” He reported coldly as he approached her.
“There is another one, and one more who has not shown up. I think we got him in the facility.”
“Well, there are four and we have halved our load. The other two must be running for their lives in the forest right now.”
Seliqa did not reply, but paced the brilliant blue and grey stone below her. She was in much frustration and apparently tired.
“Any clue?” Wefive asked, hoping to get a concrete answer from the Jedi, who seemed to be in a stupor.
She then suddenly leaped into the air and caught a medium-sized spacefighter as it flew above Wefive. She received a powerful impact as she landed on the blazing fighter. She punched it’s canopy hard, to no avail. The fighter rose and dived, and then took circles around the temple. It often rolled and swung, hoping to shake Seliqa off and fired recklessly on having Wefive within it’s sights. Wefive smartly dived into the debris where Irtan was buried alive and dug in to keep himself hidden.
Seliqa meanwhile, drew her lightsaber and noticed the rain evaporating off the lightsaber’s blade. She drove it into the canopy and dug a hole, only to greet a series of powerful blaster pistol shots. She ducked and hugged the front of the starfighter, while Xydan rolled precariously. She realised that his wizened acumen was starting to fade and the strings of desperation setting in. He punched into the air outside the breached canopy, only to feel serene raindrops on his gloved fist.
He dived his craft and got up, staring deep into Seliqa’s eyes. The few seconds, they stared at each other, waiting to see what the other would do. Wefive drew out his hand to smash Seliqa’s fist, which held onto the breach firmly. Seliqa quickly retracted it and in mid-air, drew her lightsaber and swung it swiftly, chopping off Xydan’s arm. She watched the fist fly off Xydan’s hand, and flee into the rain. Xydan dropped back, staring at his burning hand in horror. The smouldering sensation on his fist was intolerable. In a fit of rage, he drew out his blaster and fired a few clean shots out of the breach, none of which landed on his intended target.
He glanced down from his cockpit. The craft was losing altitude and spiralling downward. Seliqa, too looked down and then at a confused Xydan. She grabbed him and tried to draw him out. He shot her hand with his blaster, causing burns on his wrist. She retracted in pain and then grabbed him again, more firmly and drew him out. He protested, and dropped his blaster, watching in horror as it fell below him, with his beloved craft. It circled downwards, out of control like a toy. He saw himself falling down with Seliqa. He was some four metres above the surface, when he saw the massive explosion as the craft smashed into the edge of the Temple perimeter, a divider between the forest wall and the stone floor. The craft practically shattered to pieces and lit up in a magnificent yellow-red explosion. So engrossed was he in the blast, that he did not realise he had landed safely on the ground with Seliqa.
He jumped to his feet and stepped away, while Seliqa calmly watched his plight. His shattered craft had been broken into pieces and now no recognisable part was visible. He turned around to see Wefive approaching. He realised that he has appeared in the most critical position in his life. His death was only seconds away, and the worst part was, that he knew it well beforehand.
Blade was torn in a mental conflict. He had the perfect opportunity – he could wrap up the entire situation with a single shot. Because of their proximity to each other, the two would most probably die together. However that meant baiting Xydan. Without Xydan, DY44, (or what was left of it) was like a body without a spinal cord. Blade picked up his heavy anti-armour gun, a bulky weapon of great responsibility. He had seen his team-mates topple one by one. First it was Irtan, buried beneath the very rubble he wanted his enemies to be in. And now Jesqas had been personally executed by Wefive. Now only Xydan and Blade were left, and the knowledge bored a hole into Blade’s mind.
His mind drifted back to one of their first missions, on another temperate planet where the squad had to infiltrate a Separatist base and assassinate a bunch of Nemoidian conspirators. Then, DY44 had been in one of it’s most vulnerable positions. The squad had killed their targets, but could not complete their secondary objectives, or get out of the well fortified base. It was then, in that moment of desperation, that Xydan revealed his master strategy. “Complete your goals with whatever means possible, tie all the strings and escape as soon as possible.” These words now echoed in Blade’s mind. The cold truth that lay in the implication of these words now dawned upon him. The words were like candles that were extinguishing a dense darkness that surrounded him.
“Complete your goals with whatever means possible…”
Blade looked down from the edge of the forest, into Xydan’s exasperation and his utter helplessness, surrounded by two of his greatest foes. He looked at his large gun and pictured himself firing a rocket into the group of three, taking out all and completing his mission.
“Tie all the strings…”
Blade watched his dream with a dark delight, as Seliqa and Wefive flew like ragdolls and faced a miserable, yet quick defeat. They lay dead, in the rain.
“Escape as soon as possible…”
Blade walked toward his craft, satisfied of killing his foes and completing his mission – but at a great risk. He could feel the hole in his heart as he walked alone. And then his mind jolted back to reality and he came to his senses.
The orange blade erupted out of the previously calm lightsaber hilt. Xydan watched the rain disintegrating instantly as it hit the lightsaber blade. A feeling of unease grew in him as he learned that soon he too would disintegrate in a very similar manner. He looked around like an outnumbered prey. It was Wefive, in his scarred armour, cocking his reloaded gun, ready to fire at the slightest provocation. Xydan was heaving, breathing heavily and only now did he realise that his body was bouncing up and down maniacally.
Suddenly the pit was lit up in the all-too-familiar yellow glow of an incoming rocket. Xydan turned around and saw the yellow-orange star fly towards him at more than fifty miles an hour. The view got brighter every second. A quick glance to the left and to the right revealed that Seliqa and Wefive were stepping away, preparing a sprint. Xydan stepped backwards, but he knew he was no match for the speeding rocket. Then suddenly his vision was covered by a bright white light, as pure as any, but possessing a pretension of death and destruction. The sound that followed it was literally deafening and after a very sudden explosion, Xydan heard nothing. When his vision returned, a darkness ensued. He could not hear, but realised he was flying. He was flying backwards, towards the temple. His body was on fire, his armour disintegrated and his mind slowly recovered. The searing heat spread through his body. A wild pain emerged from his legs and spread upwards, accompanying the fire. Another sharp pain wracked his spine as he crashed like a ragdoll against the edge of what was left of the temple’s roof. His body jolted and blazed. He felt himself falling, into infinity. The liberating flame doused his pains and seemed to lift him up, away from the sinful world. His front connected the wrecked stone floor below, but he did not feel it much. He screamed instinctively as the last strands of his life were sapped away. His mind was extinguished and suddenly, he was no more. In that instant, Xydan died.
Blade was in shambles. His mind had virtually committed suicide. He watched helplessly as the rocket hit Xydan fairly in the abdomen and drove him away, burning him alive. His ragdoll body struck against the temple roof at a high velocity and then fell limp on the debris. He was clearly lifeless. Blade could not believe he had to kill his own boss. If this got out, Blade would be court-martialled. He looked around frantically for the bodies of Wefive and Seliqa. His heart sank. Seliqa was bruised and had burn marks over her, but she was somehow getting to her feet. Wefive too was using a nearby stone pedestal for support as he got up, with heavy carbon scoring on his armour.
Blade went insane as he realised Xydan’s sacrifice was in vain. He had killed Xydan, but to no avail. His intended targets were very much alive. He pulled out his sniper rifle and with shaking hands, reloaded it and looked down it’s scope. He pointed it towards Seliqa’s neck and fired instinctively, feeling the mild jolt of a blue laser escaping the gun. He felt no emotion as the laser raced through the air towards Seliqa. The latter saw it approaching and quickly whipped out her lightsaber, striking the bolt with spectacular accuracy. The thin strand of laser reversed direction and bounced back at double velocity. It raced into the forest and struck Blade’s helmet at a dazzling speed. Blade flew back a few feet and stumbled over a log. His gun fell out of his hands. He took off his helmet. While the laser itself was harmless to him, because of his armour, it was the force that struck him. The impact of the laser had emanated a powerful wave, crushing Blade’s facial nerves and affecting his spinal cord. He had heard it crack as the laser had hit him. His vision blurred in an instant, and he felt an emancipating force surge through his body and gush into his brain. Suddenly he lost his senses and died quietly.
The rain had refused to cease, it’s endless torrents crashing down on forest. Seliqa turned off her lightsaber and moaned. Her robes had been burned, and her body had suffered carbon scoring. She saw Wefive get up and felt a ripple in the force, as another life was extinguished in the forest. She breathed a sigh of relief and limped a few feet, until she got her bearings. Wefive too got up and tended to his banged and bruised head. Seliqa staggered towards the stairs of the temple, or what were left of them. She was heaving and her body rose and fell as it greeted the soothing raindrops. She felt the contrast between the hot ait escaping her body and the cool water dripping from heaven. She put her first foot on the flight of stairs when a sudden burning sensation entered her back. She had been unaware of her surroundings in her state of euphoric distraction. More pangs of the burning entered her back and her lower neck. She moaned in pain as a blazing weakness overtook her. She dropped to her knees suddenly, sending shockwaves in her limp body. The smouldering sensation grew wilder and further increased as she fell on the stairs. She looked back, despite her weakness and saw a mosaic of raindrops, darkness and forest. The body of Wefive, his gun aimed, pierced the vista. His gun opened a burst of fire and Seliqa felt it dig into her back. The cold flame of realisation singed her body.
The raindrops fell into her eyes, blurring her view. Wefive’s grey body splattered in her eyes and a darkness took over everything. And then the blaze stopped, as did her view. She felt the soothing raindrops pounce on her body, ignoring the flame that scorched her body. A debility overcame her and dissolved her, leaving only a lifeless, limp body on the cold stone steps.