Remember when I said the document dissappeared? The Virus that screwed me up hid all of my files, and I was able to find the original! Enjoy...
It was a quiet night. WO3 Robert O'Neal sighed happily as he headed his AH64 Apache toward the barn. He could scan the ground ahead of him, and used the Forward looking Infrared (FLIR) sight to look for power lines.
“Scorpion One, I have a massive IR burst at 030 from my position.” His wing man reported.
“Any idea what it is?” He asked WO1 Conroy.
“Negative, sir. It looks like someone put a heavy lift chopper or a Harrier down in the trees near the south of the base, but radar had nothing, and the tower doesn't have anything in the area.”
“Wait one.” O'Neal clicked the commo switch. “Stonewell approach this is Scorpion one. My wing man reports a large IR burst at 030 from his position. We are a few minutes out, would you like me to check it out?”
“This is Stonewell approach. If you would, sir.”
“Stonewell, Scorpion flight of two changing course to 000. Will scan and report.” He turned, and immediately spotted the thermal bloom. The kid was right; hell it looked like someone had landed a jumbo jet in the woods. As they approached he tried to make sense of the IR signature. It didn't look like any plane or tank he'd seen. It was a flat disc 30 meters across and 35 in length. The forward end (making an assumption) was three squared off mandibles with some kind of guns aimed forward.
“Stonewell this is Scorpion 1. We have the target in sight. Is a disc with a squared off end.” He described what he saw. “It is down on the ground inside the base itself near the southern end in the trees.” He described the IR image.
“Scorpion 1.” The voice was different. “This is Colonel Bates. This comes under Darkstar protocols. We will have troops en route within five minutes. Your orders are simple. Whatever that is, it stays on the ground. If it tries to lift you are to hover over it to block it's assent and if necessary fire into it.”
“Sir, that last order is not very clear.”
“You will aim to disable, but if it tries to escape you will blow it to hell. Is that clear enough?”
It might have looked more sedate with proper couples. Dannika and Bastila walked first, hands touching and hips bumping, while Canderous and I followed. I watched it and felt... inadequate. Canderous ignored it. Of course among the Mando'a such displays were accepted. Easier to figure out who to proposition, after all.
The enlisted club was wild with loud music and even louder voices over the music. Dannika and Bastila threaded their way as we had to shove through like a pair of icebreakers. They stopped at the bar, and Dannika held up the bottle we had brought. The man behind the bar shook his head, and the women agreed to take what he offered. He brought out four bottles, and Dannika waggled her fingers as she spoke in the native language, the man repeating what she had said. She handed us our ales, and we moved to a table. I swigged, then paused looking at the five pointed star on the label. God, this was revolting! “Is this the best they have?”
“According to the the barkeep, yes.” Dannika drank, scowling. “We only have to drink two rounds.”
“Since it's swill, I won't complain about Jedi tricks.” Canderous replied.
“Jedi tricks!” Bastila commented. Her look was as eloquent as the others.
“Yes.” Canderous waggled his fingers. “I paid for a round.”
“Actually two.” Dannika said. “I could tell the ale wasn't that good.”
We laughed at that. Even bad beer is better than nothing and our second round was delivered quickly.
I was in the middle of the bad beer when a man staggered by, then stopped laying his hand on Dannika's hip. “Hey, babe, what are you doing later?”
She froze, then her head turned. I suddenly pictured the turrets of the Endar Spire with her guns capable of coring a corvette at 500,000 kilometers. She looked up at the man, and only a non predatory species would have called it a smile. Any self respecting predator would have fled for the hills or prepared to die. “Were you addressing me?” she asked in a purr not much away from a growl.
“Sure was, sweet cheeks.” Obviously this human had never dealt with women of her stripe. Carth tuned in his seat, but Canderous stopped him.
“She was a Jedi, Sith, then Republic Soldier. She knows how to deal with this.” He commented. I had to admit he was right, which is why I sat quiet.
“I suggest you move your hand.” Dannika said in that calm way she had. “Before I remove it at the wrist.”
“Oh so forceful.” He grabbed her upper arm. What he might said next was cut off as her knee came up between his thighs. He gasped, settling to the floor almost as if to pray. She gave him a pitying look, then turned back, an arm draped across my hip. I watched a couple of his friends dragged him away, but I was worried about the glares they gave us.
We sipped our drinks in a pool of rapidly expanding silence. Dannika looked at her chrono, and motioned to it for us. Both Canderous and I knew we had overstayed our welcome, though for the life of me I didn't know why.
We had decided to stay for only two rounds of drinks. I had anticipated little problem, though the one man had been a bit much. Any fool in a cantina knew to ask before pawing. I had hoped that draping my arm over Bastila might limit it but the atmosphere became even more hostile. Our possible option to stay for three rounds went by the wayside then. I motioned and the others stood to go out. We walked out the door, and found ourselves facing a dozen angry men.
“What is the meaning of this?” I demanded.
“Your kind fouled the system!” One of them shouted.
I was confused. 'Our kind'?”
“You lipstick lesbians, going to the club and drinking, then you're hanging all over each other and giggling. If I did that I'd be out with a medical discharge before I could say it was a mistake!”
“Lipstick lesbian?” Bastila asked.
“Lipstick is something the local women put on their lips to make them more appealing.” I replied. “And a lesbian is a woman who takes other women as lovers.”
Carth tapped me and I translated what had been said so far. Hehad the grace to look confused. “Why is that a problem?”
“I have no idea.” I replied. “Why is me putting my arm around my lover a problem?” I asked.
“Like I said, it's that blasted double standard. You can say you had too much to drink but we couldn't.”
“Maybe it's a social behavior.” Canderous commented. “Females are allowed to do it, but men are not.”
So foolish. I shook my head. “Society is like a plant, it grows and branches as it gets older. Perhaps they would ignore it if you merely wrapped your arm around some man you cared for-” For some reason that caused the tension to shoot up.
“Are you saying you think I'm queer?”
“Queer?” I asked. “I would say more strange-”
“Are you saying I'm gay?” He growled.
“You do not appear overly happy to me-”
“ Are you saying I love men and not women?” He growled again as if I was too stupid to understand why he was upset, and frankly, I didn't.
“Then why are you so upset? Either you do love them or you do not. It is not my place to judge.”
He snarled, ripping his blouse off to reveal the undershirt. “I'm going to rip off your head and shove it up your girlfriend far enough that you can pleasure her forever.”
I translated, and Carth came forward, fists clenched.
“Tell your Fag-hag friends to stay out of it or they'll get the same as you two!” I could tell from his comment that Bastila and I were their prey, but if Canderous and Carth stayed out of it, they were safe.
I passed this on to them. Carth's answer was pungent and unprintable. Canderous had a better answer and I used it. “You mean they get to kick your butts too?”
And so the battle was joined.
There were twelve of them, and four or us. Poor saps, they were totally outnumbered.
The men had surrounded us, and as Dannika and Bastila turned to charge toward our rear, Carth and I went forward. The man that had been screaming at Dannika swung the bottle he held in one hand down, and it shattered, leaving razor sharp spikes thrusting from his hand. He thrust at my stomach and I caught his hand in mine like I was taking a punch. I lifted, my eyes looking into his, then I smiled as I began to squeeze. He struggled, then screamed as I crushed his hand down around his makeshift weapon, slicing his palm open. I didn't stop there, I kept squeezing, feeling bones dislocate as he frantically beat at me trying to get free. I reached out, hand behind his head, and head butted him hard enough that he went down bonelessly. I ducked, a fist shooting past my face, and I clipped the man on the back of his upper arm, making his fist drop helpless. Another came from the opposite side, and I caught his arm, dislocating it as I threw him into the others. A single back fist left me with no opponents.
I turned. Dannika was holding one man's wrist, using her grip to maneuver him as she fought the other two. She blocked a strike from the trapped man, then her forearm blocked one from the man on his left. She kicked out and the man who had swung went down, gasping at the injury she had done to his solar plexus. She rolled backward, the trapped man squawking as a foot caught his stomach and flipped him up. At the same time she used his energy to roll to her feet, letting go of his wrist to drive two fists into the next man's stomach. She turned and negligently struck the last man in the forehead with a raised knuckle.
Bastila had put one man down, but another had grabbed her in a bear hug. She dropped forward, and when her attacker went backward to stop her she kicked down, legs coming up, both feet flashing out to hit stomach and face. The man paused as if he didn't believe it, then slowly went first to knees, then to his face. She kicked down, a foot smashing his instep, and when the man released her she dropped, a hand coming back to catch his head, and she rolled forward, the man flipping over her shoulder to land with stunning force on his back. She stuck at his temple, and she had no further opponents.
We all turned to look at Carth. He had taken one guy down, but the other two had spread out, forcing him to defend on a front of about 80 degrees. “Come on, Republic. There's only those two left.”
“A little help maybe?” Carth leaped back, then kicked one of his opponents, but the man blocked the kick.
“Why?” I asked. “I took three of them.”
“So did I.” Bastila wasn't even breathing heavily.
“As did I.” Dannika said with a chortle riding her voice. “Do you really need help, Carth?”
He blocked, then said, with obvious reluctance. “All I can get.”
I stepped forward a hand on either man's head. Before they could react I slammed their heads together and both men went down. “Are we done here?”
“I should think so.” Dannika tried to stop the giggles, but she couldn't. Bastila joined her, and they laughed together. Finally the chuckles died and Dannika raised her com link. “Jolee, talk to me.”
“We have a problem, Dannika.”
I know that none of us would fit in on this planet, but having us relegated to merely sitting aboard the ship and wait was galling. Jolee along with Sasha and T3 had gone to gather the electronics we needed, Dannika, Bastila, Carth, and Canderous had gone to this 'EM' club to act as a second line of defense, but I could not get in; not looking like the locals.
So Mission Zaalbar and I were stuck here. It didn't bother Zaalbar much, he had begun another of those large roasts he had made before, and Mission helped by kneading bread dough. I opened the canisters Zaalbar tapped, and peeled the tubers. Both he and I are primarily carnivorous, but living among other races had taught us both the appreciation of some vegetables and fruits. I especially liked the little heart shaped vegetables with seeds dusted on the outside, and a small tuft of green to hold when you eat them.
I finished peeling the tubers, took a small bowl of the vegetables and went forward to the bridge. I was sitting when I felt them; men approaching. I took the controls in hand, warming up the lift and drive engines. The proximity scanners screamed and I spared a look at them. Some aircraft was hovering directly overhead, another sweeping into a turn, the three barreled cannon under it's nose aimed in obvious threat.
We had yet to examine one of their weapons close up. Primarily projectile rifles, we knew. The cannon were probably enlarged versions of them. They could damage but not disable the ship. But Dannika would not like it if I had to blast our way free. The ship bumped as the aircraft dropped onto our dorsal surface. A clear bid to force us back down. I am a fair pilot and good with the Force, but I could not control two aircraft and fly at the same time.
“We are going to have locals aboard in a moment, no hostile actions. Make sure the weapons are locked down.” I lowered us back down, and men were charging toward us as I lowered the ramp and shut down the engines. Before moving I locked down the control panel then I went aft.
A large man was screaming at Mission, poking her with the muzzle of his weapon. Zaalbar was growling, ready to attack. The man shoved Mission and she sprawled on her knees. The man was screaming “Get up and move!” Mission caught a chair and tried to get up, but collapsed. He must have hit her harder than I thought. The man snarled, raising the weapon and reversing it so he could smash it down on her.
“Stop.” I said. When he didn't, I put him in a stasis field. There were clicks and half a dozen weapons were pointed at me. I didn't lower my hand, instead I looked around. One man had more stripes on his sleeve, and I concentrated on him. “We are not resisting, so violence is not necessary.”
“What did you do to Simmons?”
“I have the ability to halt the motion of other people. If one of you will take his weapon, I will release him.”
“If we don't?”
“You will have to kill me, and since I am the only one you can speak to, you will not be able to question us.”
The man glared at me, then jerked his head. Another soldier went over, taking the weapon from the man's grasp. Once he had stepped back, I released Simmons. He jerked forward, then looked at him empty hands. “What the-”
“We are not resisting. There is not need for brutality and violence.” I replied before the man in charge could say anything. “Of the three of us only I speak your language.”
“Stand down, Simmons.”
“Stand down. Now.” The man grumbled but backed up. The weapon was returned.
The leader nodded, and a man slung his weapon, pulling out cuffs. None of them would have fit Zaalbar, and I had no intention of letting them cuff us.
“That will not be necessary.” I looked at Mission and Zaalbar. “We will go willingly.” I turned back to the men and repeated it. “Your restraints are not large enough for Zaalbar, and if you tried to attack him a number of your people would be hurt.”
“Really?” The man sneered.
“Both Mission and I would help him fight, and none of you knows what we can do. So may we do this peacefully?” He shrugged. I got the impression that he wouldn't mind lugging body bags if it came to that, but his orders said otherwise.
We came down the ramp. They had brought several vehicles. Four of them looked like tanks, but three had smaller turrets and ramps in the back. Each of us was pushed into a different vehicle, and only my shouting at Zaalbar kept him from fighting. The last I saw of them was the ramp coming up, and Mission's worried face.
I was going to have a long talk with Dannika about how she apportions assignments. I understand why they couldn't take Sasha into a bar, but making me haul her narrow butt around was galling. She could have stayed aboard the ship but two of us would make this job easier.” There was a twittering behind me. “Erase and correct, one juvenile and a tin can.
The building was one story brick. I checked the locks; no security system. I used the Force to open the door and we went in. I went from door to door opening them as Sasha and T3 went in and began. I made sure to find at least five of their archaic computers before retracing my steps. Sasha still had the little carry basket from the store, and she was pulling circuit boards, stacking them as if shopping. In the next office T3 had opened the casing of a computer, and was pulling circuit boards, examined them, then began pulling the circuits we needed. He finished then rolled to the next room. Sasha came out of the fourth door and scuttled down the hall toward the fifth.
I heard a rumbling, and went to the door. Six large vehicles were rolling past us followed by a slew of smaller ones with men inside. I felt a person behind me, Sasha. “T3 is almost done. I have emptied their computers.”
“We'll wait until those guys have passed, then we'll leave.” She grunted in assent and I smiled. So she had gotten something from me after all. The parade ended as T3 rolled up. We ghosted through the night. It was really a nice place. Reminded me a little of Carator where I grew up before becoming a Jedi. The rolling hills reminded me of Dantooine.
We reached the trees, and I raised my hand once we were in them. “Those vehicles headed here.” I whispered. We moved forward cautiously. The vehicles were there in a semicircle with their guns aimed at the ship. Two aircraft flew overhead low enough to be in danger of clipping a tree. Then people came down the ramp. I saw Juhani Mission and Zaalbar surrounded by armed troops. Since she could speak their language she seemed to have kept the pins in. Each was hustled to a different vehicle, and I could feel Juhani's mind touch mine. We passed information back and forth as the vehicles they were in pulled out.
“Jolee, talk to me.”
I lifted the com link. “We have a problem, Dannika.”
The president hunched over his coffee. Bad enough that something was important enough to get him out of bed at Oh-dark thirty. But he'd never heard of Darkstar before.
“We're ready, sir.”
“About damn time.” He sipped his coffee, looking at the small plate of snacks beside him. He took a croissant, buttering it. “Talk to me, General.”
The three star nodded, bring up the projector. “Yesterday morning as just after midnight, SPASUR reported a contact closing at a significant percentage of light speed. At that time it was 60,000 kilometers out.”
“Never learned metrics. Put that in English.”
“Just under 38,000 miles.”
“At the speed you quoted, it should have gone by like a bat out of hell then.”
“Yes sir. However it made two quick orbits and at 00:15 was passed off to US Space Defense Operations or SDOC. At that time they had reduced speed to just over 20,000 miles per hour and were still decellerating.”
“Yes sir. space surveillance is run by the navy, and SDOC by the Air Force.”
The president shrugged. “Go on.”
“The alien craft continued to descend, and made their way toward the Gulf coast south of Galveston. In doing so they entered the threat radius of Carrier battle group 17 which was on maneuvers 200 miles south. At 0030 ships in the screen of USS Truman; the cruisers Shilow and Lake Champlain supported by destroyers John Paul Jones and Stout engaged the craft.”
“They opened fire without orders?” The President looked shocked.
“Sir even at DEFCON 5 our battle group commanders still have the authority to attack if they are going to be overflown by an unknown. Admiral Yaeger had ordered the craft to stand off, but it ignored our attempts.
“The cruisers and destroyers opened fire and shot themselves dry trying to stop it; 248 Standard missiles and they didn't even scratch it. In fact, more than 70 missiles were shot down before they could even get close.” He switched the screen to the Gulf coast of Texas. “Next report was a local sheriff calling Camp Stonewell at 0430 hours. He reported that some kind of aliens had raided a local store, a Smart and Final in the town of Togara, Mescalero County. The manager had called in, and they didn't believe it until the Sheriff and one of his deputies watched the DVR recordings. Six humans and three aliens were recorded taking several tons of food from the store. Except for the manager, who was incoherent, there was not a description of the ship. Colonel Bates, the Intelligence officer on the sceen called a Darkstar alert at that time.”
“How do we know it wasn't just a bunch of kids in costumes?”
“Bates sent copies of the discs in for analysis. All of the aliens showed physical capabilities a human in make up without further special effects could not have done. One alien described as a small blue skinned woman had what they originally thought were horns growing from her head that lay on her shoulders. But when she was concentrating on deciding what to take they writhed like snakes. One of them described as a human sized female cat had mobile ears that flicked when she was concentrating. The largest, described as a Sasquatch wannabe had retractable claws. He picked up number ten cans by grasping them with his claws.”
“So they were definitely aliens.”
“Yes, sir. The manager of the store arrived at just before 0400, and described the craft as 'a flat disc with three prongs on one end along with what he thought were 120mm tank guns attached to it. He went aboard where he discovered the human girl and the blue skinned one stowing the stuff they had taken. He was shocked by the blue girl and backed away until he bumped into the Sasquatch. At that point he fled, and fell to his knees just inside the store where he was found by the leader of this group.”
“How do you know who was the leader?”
“The actions of the others. She gave orders, and the others obeyed. She is described as a red head in some kind of black leather outfit. She knelt in front of the manager, then touched him on the forehead with one finger. Nothing else and the man acted as if he had been frozen solid. She had the others come, then she took the hand of the small human girl. The other human woman touched a finger to the woman's forehead and the child's. The cat woman placed her hand on the leader's neck, and joined hands with one of the men, the oldest of the group. That man put his finger on the other human woman's forehead.
“They stood there for an estimated three minutes, then one by one they all released their holds or moved their hands. At that point the leader addressed the manager in English with a Spanish accent like the man they had been touching. They told him they needed supplies and gave him several odd crystals. Those are being analyzed as I am reporting.”
“Why wasn't this reported this morning?”
“We were still collating the reports. That brings us to tonight.”
“Yes, sir; if I may continue?” He waited for the nod. “The Darkstar protocols were created under another name back in the early 70s when SETI, the Search of Extra-Terrestrial life organization came into being. Only three nations, Red China, the then Soviet Union and the United States have refused to sign it. The SETI protocols as they are called govern how the 'host' government is supposed to handle the situation. The three nations I mentioned disagreed.”
“I believe the Chinese and Russians disagreed for the same reason we did. Ever since Operation Blue Book in the 50s, it has been the policy of the US government that the Military and intelligence community would be in charge. Under the SETI protocols diplomats and scientists were. It was believed that whomever snagged a ship first would have access to technology hundreds of years in advance of everyone else, and that would be a major destabilizing factor internationally.
“We believe we need to check it out first, assure that there isn't anything of military value, and only then open it up to the scientific community. Darkstar is activated if such a craft is reported, and holds all information regarding them until released by the president.”
“All right. Go on.”
“Most of what I am about to report happened four and a half hours ago; at or around 2300 last night Central Standard Time. The delay in reporting is because we got several different reports from different sources in the next hour and a half, and we wanted things in chronological order for you.”
“No excuses; give.”
“At at or around 2300 hours four people later identified as some of the human component of the alien ship were seen to enter the enlisted man's club at Camp Stonewell. They obviously came as two couples; but the two women were holding hands. One of the local troops was upset, and tried to get them seperated. The leader spoke to him, then when he didn't relent, kneed him in the groin. She then turned back and put her arm around her friend. He and his friends left the club at that time.
“The two couples left a few moments later, and while recorded on the security cameras, it wasn't seen until later. The manager of the club was worried and went out to check. When he saw what had happened, he called the MPs. They checked the recordings while the hospital sent over ambulances.”
“How many of the aliens were hurt?”
“None of them. In the space of three minutes they took down all twelve of the locals including a SEAL and two Green Beanies. Only one man, Sergeant Olson was badly injured. He had broken a bottle to use as a weapon, and the oldest man in the group crushed his hand over the bottleneck, dislocated every finger except the thumb, and drove the glass into his hand badly enough that he may lose the use of the hand. Most of them are sleeping the sleep of the seriously concussed.
“At or about the time the people arrived, An AH64 Apache flying wing on another reported an odd thermal bloom in the woods at the south of the base. The flight were told to investigate. They spotted the alien ship on the ground, and were ordered to keep it on the ground by any means necessary. A platoon of troops and their vehicles were sent and at 2330 captured the alien ship and the three aliens. Only one, the female cat spoke English; again with a Spanish accent. They surrendered without a struggle. They were taken to the stockade for interrogation. That is the bulk of what we know at this time.”
I stared at the com link in horror as Jolee reported. Three of my crew captured, and the ship occupied. “Stay there, we'll link up and recapture the ship.”
“We'll be waiting.”
We moved faster. You can tell who is and is not used to maneuvering in the dark by listening. Bastila and I used the force to feel the trees and undergrowth ahead of us, leaping it like predators at home in their environment. Canderous moved almost as silently, the whisper of leaves on his boots as he moved. Carth, not surprisingly made the most noise. I finally stopped him and told him we'd call when it was clear.
Without him crimping our style it took us less than ten minutes to reach the clearing. It didn't look good. There were three vehicles I identified as tanks, and four smaller ones.
“Jolee, you and Canderous deal with the troops. Bastila,” I motioned upwards. “We take the aircraft. T3, jam all their communications.”
We moved out on our missions.
It was easy, actually. Dannika and I leaped up on the dorsal portion of the ship as their communications were jammed. She took the one directly overhead, I the one that circled. First we jammed their weapons so those cannon could not try for our flesh. Then we controlled the pilots, making them land just outside the perimeter. Below us Sasha Jolee and Canderous were dealing with the troops. There was a shriek of metal as Jolee ripped the gun tube from one of the tanks, but beyond that, silence. Carth arrived, and I felt Dannika direct him into the ship on the heels of Sasha and Jolee. As they dealt with the intuders Carth opened the weapons locker and pulled out half a dozen stun rods and Bothan stunners. He handed them out and Jolee ran toward my vehicle as Sasha ran to Dannika's. Five seconds later every one of the locals was unconscious.
We gathered, and Jolee motioned toward one building. “They are there.” He told us. “Juhani is kept separate, but the other two are there.”
“Why keep her separate?” Dannika asked.
“Because she can speak their language, and the others cannot.” Jolee commented.
Dannika looked at him, then at me. “Then we have two rescues, not one.”
She was as decisive as I knew she would be. Bastila and Sasha were assigned to the rescue of Mission and Zaalbar; I would go in with her for Juhani. Canderous would be on the ventral guns, Carth on the stick. The two pairs ran down the ramp, and I felt it close behind us. Here was where the fun would begin.
I sighed. Would their stupid questions never end? “I have told you several times, my race did not spring to life on this planet. I was born on Cathar, which is a planet about half of the known galaxy from here. My race is the dominant form on my planet, as yours is dominant here. I am not a cat, merely an analogue of the same species here. If you were to combine the DNA from the sample you took from me and bred it to a local animal of the same genotype it would be a hybrid which might not live very long.” I gave the grunting cough of my race's laugh. “Maybe it would learn to be sentient, but I could not guarantee it.”
“You are not being helpful.” The human replied.
I looked at the chains that linked my neck, hands and feet into a continuous link. “And chaining me like this is helpful?” I concentrated, and the chains from neck to ankles fell away. “I promised not to resist, but you treat me like a specimen. Should I be happy that you have not handed me over to vivisectionists?”
There was a feeling, and I followed it. I leaped to the cage they kept me in. “Swear by what you consider holy that you have not done that with the others!” They were silent as I screamed, ripping the bars from the floor. A round thing popped into my cell, and I was assaulted at the aural and audial level by a blast of energy.
I felt Juhani's anguish even as we hit the doors. Humans saw us coming, then were thrown aside as the Force pushed ahead of me like a tornado. We reached the cell block, and found Juhani mewling in pain in a cell. We'd disabled a dozen men on the way, and seeing her anguish I didn't regret any of them.
I reached out, the lock snapping open, and caught Juhani. “My student, speak to me!”
Juhani looked up, then her hand rested against my cheek. “The others...” She whispered. I touched her forehead, then a look of horror covered my face. I pulled Juhani up onto my shoulder. I didn't need to see why, my mind was a blood red fury of an avenger. I went past Jolee like a missile already sure of it's target.
It was horror upon horror. We breached their security and the first thing I found was Zaalbar. He was strapped to a table, and a human looked up from where he was ripping our friend from sternum to crotch with a blade. I reached out, and he was pinned to the wall by the force even as I tried to heal the wound inflicted. “Sasha, find Mission, protect her.”
I saw the horror inflicted on Zaalbar, and Amma tu che Mata was not happy. “Sasha, find Mission, protect her.” I looked at what they had done and my heart hardened. I leaped into pursuit, Mission's energy leading me and I burst into yet another horror. There were three of them, one just lifting a knife from Mission's sternum as I entered.
All my teachers; My stepmother, evil step mother and Juhani had taught me right from wrong; what I saw was so far into the wrong I could not stand it. The one standing before me went backwards into computer consoles, his body imbedded in them from the fury of my reply. The one recording had enough time to scream before I imbedded him in the brick wall behind him. The last, the one with the naked bloody blade in his hand was not given enough time to scream. I threw him through a glass wall, through a grouping of computers and into a wall hard enough that his body was imbedded like a fossil.
I fell to my knees keening in my agony. I had learned to heal, but not enough, not enough! I screamed for help.
I could feel Sasha's anguish, and was in motion as Jolee picked up Juhani behind me. Two darts, one Bastila, the other myself arrowed toward where Sasha keened. I arrived last to see Bastila and Sasha kneeling over a bloodied form. My mind refused to accept it even as I leaped forward. I caught one of Bastila's hands, then one of Sasha's. “We will not lose her!” I screamed.
We combined, feeling the injuries inflicted, and I directed us in the healing. It was like three surgeons working under the command of one, and we knitted the damage together. Both Sasha and Bastila relaxed, but I did not rest until Mission rested beneath our hands, inviolate.
We gasped, then sighed as Mission was repaired. I caught both Sasha and Bastila in my arms, kissing both as Mission's eyes opened.
I held my blaster cannon, waiting at the ramp. Republic was at the controls, but it wasn't as if he'd be any good. It had reached the finely drawn point where nerves were wire stretched when they returned, all of our crew intact. I gave a sigh of relief as they came aboard, Jedi and not Jedi striding by me.
Dannika, last as she was first into battle always touched my arm. “”The crew is whole again.” She whispered. “Tell Carth to get us out of here.”
I passed the order as the ramp closed, and the Ebon Hawk aimed for space.
The Ebon Hawk broke from the planet's gravity and I rejoiced. Our crew was well; both Zaalbar and Mission had been tormented, but we had repaid that evil. I drifted back to the medical bay, running my hand gently over Mission's face. To face such horrors, I had never imagined it. I sat there, my soul linking to hers. Then Carth interrupted. “Dannika? T3 is done fixing the Nav Computer.”
“”On my way.” I touched the face before me. “I will not let you be a sacrifice, Mission.” I whispered, kissing her on the cheek.
The Ebon Hawk leaped into flight, and my own arms, wings lent her power. Felt every hand, T3 at the drive connections, both Juhani and Canderous between. I dragged myself to the bridge as Carth aimed for that huge moon.
“Carth?” I asked.
“we're free of planetary gravity. We have enough supplies.”
I wanted to punch an arm in the air. “Can you detect our path here?”
“Give me a few.” He asked. I nodded heading aft. Zaalbar's latest roast included traces of the merdai I had enjoyed. He grinned, then began to serve. I tasted links to it in the food before me, but was not sure. Bastila laughed, stuffing meat and spice into my mouth as the same time that Jolee did the same with vegetables and spices to Sasha. Both of us stiffened as the tastes hetrodyned, then it was gone.
“Carth, take us home.”
Whatever prizes to whomever can tag the following items just from the description:
1: The type of ship firing the missiles; does not have to be specific class, just type.
2: remember the dictionary difference between what is a fruit and what is a vegetable. What is the red fruit and vegetable mentioned and define accordingly. In case you are confused, according to http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/fruit:
the developed ovary of a seed plant with its contents and accessory parts, as the pea pod, nut, tomato, or pineapple.
the edible part of a plant developed from a flower, with any accessory tissues, as the peach, mulberry, or banana.
any plant whose fruit, seeds, roots, tubers, bulbs, stems, leaves, or flower parts are used as food, as the tomato, bean, beet, potato, onion, asparagus, spinach, or cauliflower.
the edible part of such a plant, as the tuber of the potato.
I was confused for a moment, Miriam Webster defines a fruit as having internal seeds, but a vegetable as having external, which a tomato obviously does not. Soldier on...
3: define properly a meat tea.
4:What is the Merdai stew she found?
5: What is she using to eat this Merdai stew? Remember, there are three different varieties, and I will accept any and all.
6: What type by name of the company that made the candy is Sasha eating?
7: What type of confection is Mission suddenly in love with?
8: What brown ale? If you've read my stuff I have mentioned this specific beverage in one of them. If you have not, let this be a chance to read my other stuff (Blatant plug!).
9: What beer did Carth gag at?