ACT 2 The New Mandalorians are harsh enemies. In the Old Republic and Old Sith Wars, the Mandalorians worked with the Sith to kill the Jedi, making them the worst foes to face. As General Kronis and DarkRula try to escape the Fre'ji System with a defused hyperdrive, and Mandalorians blocking their way, Trade Federation forces come to the rescue, blasting out of hyperspace with weapon systems ready.
"Get ready to pull out of hyperspace and launch all starfighters," Captain Taa Undera commands. "Roger. Roger," a battle droid says. The B-1 Battle Droids are still in service to the Trade Federation, but the only ones available are outmoded. The B-1's aren't made anymore. Instead, a greater focus was put to make the B-2 Super Battle Droids and the B-3 Ultra Battle Droids a lot better than normal. Having stopped the production of the B-1's to make more room for the B-2's and B-3's, which turned out to be failiures, the only other droids in production were the droidekas, and the new B-4 Super Speed Battle Droids. Since these took more time to make, however, no mass produced droids could ever make it out of the factories again, and the rights to make the B-1's had been scrapped when no production of them had been made for six Galactic Standard months. Now the B-1's in service were upgraded so they had the thinking capacity of the B-3 droids. They were more competent as well. "Sir, we are coming out of hyperspace in three... Two... One... And dropout," the same Battle Droid says. The void of hyperspace run down into star-streaks, and then to star-lines, and then the stars snapped back into position. What could be seen from the veiwport was three cruisers chasing down one Scimitar, lasers scattering and chasing it down. The Scimitar however, was evading them all. But soon its luck could run out. "Let's introduce ourselves," Captain Undera says. "Launch starfighters." "Roger. Roger." A minute later, a hundred droid starfighters can be seen bearing down on the three cruisers of the Mandalorians.
"Finally," DarkRula says. "The help we asked for is here." "Well, I certainly say it has helped stir them from us," General Kronis says, watching the sensors. One hundred droid starfighters. Those starfighters were massively available, and catered for both ground and air assault. Being able to land and walk on split-end legs, they could blast holes in the enemy lines. In space however, they were a lot quicker and were able to cripple gun emplacements on cruisers without getting a scratch on themselves. "Let's try and regroup with the droid cruiser. Hopefully they won't fire upon us," Kronis says. "Who?" DarkRula asks. "The Mandalorians, or our cruiser?" "Send a signal through, tell them to give us a guard." DarkRula gets on the comlink, while still flying the ship, and calls the droid cruiser.
"We need help," DarkRula says. "Either keep the Mandalorians' gun emplacements busy or get us a guard." "I'll see what I can do," Captain Taa Undera assures. "Good,." The link then dies. "Sir, we can keep the guns busy, don't worry about that," a Battle Droid says. "And we can get our gunnery crew some practise." "How?" Undera asks. "The Mandalorians are releasing craft of their own. I believe they hope to destroy our defences." "Let's give them a fight then. Just make sure that Scimitar is protected."
"Those fighters are getting awfully close," General Kronis comments. "It doesn't matter what happens now," DarkRula tells, "I will never give up the fight." "You aren't planning to, are you? "Well those Droid Starfighters should protect us and do the fighting for us. But the fact is, we have to be prepared to fight if all odesn't go as planned." Turbolasers then start striking the three Mandalorian cruisers at any point they can. Droid Starfighters ram into the sides of the cruisers to create reaction points for the lasers to hit. But the Mandalorian fighters keep on coming, destroying the Droid Starfighters and reaching the Federation cruiser to deal damage to its guns. "Shall we deal with the Mandalorian cruisers or defend our own?" DarkRula asks. "Defending our own could be interesting, but I think they'll have that covered on board," Kronis commands. "Deal with the Mandalorians. They could prove to be hard foes if they manage to regroup. And if they know those cone droids are on the surface, they will try to get down to the surface." The Scimitar turns away from its present course and heads to the nearest of the Mandalorian cruisers.
"Sir. The Scimitar has broken away from its course and looks like it is heading into battle. Meanwhile, we have more pressing matters. Some Mandalorians are heading our way," a Battle Droid says. Taa Undera looks at the veiwscreen. "Hmm. Send out the SuperSpeed Droids." Landing craft are then spotted arriving onto the scene. Cannons blast holes in the Federation cruiser. "Who forgot to turn the shields on?" Undera roars. "Sir, they were on, but needed to recycle. Our power seems to be running lower than normal. The turbolasers could have something to do with it." Mandalorians then start jumping from the landing craft and entering the holes made in the cruiser. "Hurry up and get those SuperSpeed Droids out onto the field and make sure to call for reinforcements!" Undera commands, roaring the words with an agitated croak. Why did I end up with a cruiser that fails when I most need it to be on form, Undera thinks to himself. Outside, SuperSpeed Droids start to fire upon Mandalorian landing craft. Those craft are trapezium shaped with a curved bow and extended aft area. A door on each of the starboard and port sides are open from hinges at the top. In the extended aft area the two cannons rest. Underneath the bow, missile launchers and laser guns wait to be fired. On the top of the craft, a rotating gun turret is spinning and destroying the SuperSpeed Droids. But the SuperSpeed Droids are equally fast as the lasers. Based off the B-1 droids, instead of legs they have a bulky generator unit that controls their motion by use of thrusters. It also has the ability to repulse gravity to a certain extent so they will never touch the floor. All the turbolasers of the Federation cruiser then go silent, and the lights flick out.
"Whoa!" DarkRula exclaims. "The turbolasers of the Federation cruiser have stopped." "It appears we might see something unusual," General Kronis comments wonderingly. The loss of power is usually a bad sign." With the turbolasers of the Federation cruiser down, the Mandalorian cruisers started to load up their own turbolasers and blasted the remains of the droid starfighters to pieces, not even caring if they hit friend or foe. General Kronis, it seemed, had noticed as well. "Why risk killing your own? I thought the Mandalorians were warrior clans. Unless... Get a scan of lifeforms on one of those craft!" "Already tried," DarkRula calls. "I need to capture one." "You know what to do then." DarkRula gets out of his seat and uses the turbolift to get down below. General Kronis takes the pilot seat. "Tell me when you are ready," he calls into the comlink. "Sure," DarkRula says. "I've had plenty of practice getting this suit on. Well, okay. I lied. But it is the standard of its type. In other words, the same armour the old Republic Commando's used but with more enhancements." The suit was called a Star Realm personal craft. It was, as DarkRula had put it, made from the same armour the Republic Commando's used during the Clone Wars. The extra enhancements were the fact that it was more durable with airtight locks. This was to allow for the jets on the back that propelled it forwards, and the guns sticking out the sides. It also meant that the original flaw of only being airtight for twenty minutes was fixed. All of this was controlled by controls fixed onto the front, using the basic ship flight controls. Another handy feature was that the suit was hyperspace capable. "It's all on," DarkRula calls into the in-built comlink of the helmet. "Just running the lock checks now." An acknowledgement comes from General Kronis and a short while later DarkRula confirms suit integrity. The airlock then opens and DarkRula launches into battle. Using the engines at full power, DarkRula locks onto a Mandalorian craft and quickly disables the engines of it. Getting a grip on the viewport of the craft, DarkRula looks inside. The viewport opens up and a Commando Droid pops out, combat ready. DarkRula pulls the gun from the holster and quickly blasts it apart. He then grabs hold of the Commando Droids foot and activates the engines again. But an even greater problem waits, as his quick engagement hadn't gone unnoticed. Other craft were making there way towards him, blasters engaged. DarkRula activates his own lasers, but even so nearly all miss. They are getting closer when the Scimitar pulls in front of him with airlock open. DarkRula is quickly inside and lands with a dull thud. Quickly getting the suit off, he makes his way up to the bridge with the Commando Droid. When General Kronis sees it, he wonders aloud "So that is why the Trade Federation no longer makes the Commando Droids." "There is still the battle to win," DarkRula comments. "Yes. And win it we shall."
In the Trade Federation cruiser, the power is back up but a dreary report is being forecast in the bridge. "They somehow managed to over-ride the power systems," a SuperSpeed Droid was explaining. "However, instead of cutting it, they are adding even more power to the circuit." "Why?" Taa Undera asks. "I have no idea," the SuperSpeed Droid replies. "However, too much power could overload the system. I suggest short-circuiting the system or disabling the drive." "What about the Agility Droids?" Undera asks. "What about them?" "Surely they could track down the Mandalorians and disable the electric currents being added." "Maybe. But remember they are only prototypes at the minute. Not very effective." "But still, they are the best choice we have. Unless your group can take care of it." "We will be more than effective enough in dealing justice to the Mandalorians." The link then breaks.
The Scimitar dodges in and out of the Z-98 HeadHunters and other craft, firing when it can upon the enemy craft. The Droid Starfighters, plus Hyena Bombers and manned Colanical-class Interceptors. These interceptors were thin and long, with gun emplacements mounted below the main of the craft on low swooping wings. DarkRula looked out towards the enemy cruisers. Two Venator-class Star Destroyers, hourglass shaped with the main hangar bays located in indented sections set aft, where the bridge was. The main of the firepower, though, came from the Keldabe-class Battleship. With a thin, flat forward end and a rear end like that of the Venator-class Star Destroyer. Equipped with five turbolaser batteries, three heavy ion cannon batteries, and a mass driver missile launcher that could punch through even the most powerful of shields. Of course, it had shields of its own, but could also leech power from other cruisers and vessels. Through all this firepower and defensive capability, its compliment of starfighters was limited. "What are the cruisers waiting for? They've stopped firing," DarkRula exclaims. "Probably just recharging batteries," General Kronis says. "Just keep up the assault." One problem with doing that, was all the starfighters were retreating to the planet below.
"Did you get that call for reinforcements done?" Undera asks a Battle Droid on duty. "Yes, sir. They said four more cruisers, including The Ark, would be arriving." "One thing I would like to know is why the Mandalorian starfighters are retreating to the planets surface?" "Maybe they've surrendered," a Battle Droid offers, this one with a broken vocoder, making its voice surrounded in static. "Hardly. Maybe they are preparing a trap. Wait until the other cruisers arrive before following them into the atmosphere. And get me a link to General Kronis!" "He is already waiting," another Battle Droid says, this one with its vocoder intact. "Good." Taa Undera then walks to the communicator, where General Kronis and DarkRula wait. "I trust you are well?" Kronis asks. "Well, for the most part. Reinforcements are on the way however, and so we can give chase once they arrive." "Can we head down early?" DarkRula asks. "Get some scouting done?" "He is eager," Kronis adds. "Fine," Undera says.
On the Keldabe-class Battleship's bridge, a Mandalorian with black armour decorated with red stripes on the leg and arm plates looks out at the Trade Federation cruiser. "We have put in enough power to the circuit," another Mandalorian speaks through a comm. "Retreat then, and I will give the order." The comm clicks off and the Mandalorian turns to another with red armour. "Charge the leech beam. Full power. Let's give them a jolt." Looking back out to the Trade Federation cruiser, shuttles can be seen retreating. "Give them a good jolt indeed," the Mandalorian whispers to himself.
"Just hurry up and tell us about what we face," Taa Undera says. "Yes. Of course," DarkRula says. The Scimitar is sat still, facing the Trade Federation cruiser in which the two are talking with. "We'll be waitin-" Undera's voice is cut off. "Look," is all Kronis says, pointing out of the viewscreen. A dark shadow mass surrounds the Trade Federation cruiser, growing larger and larger. Light and metal is being sucked into it, meaning that this was a void. "Quick! Move!" General Kronis shouts. DarkRula doesn't need telling twice.
"It is done," the red armoured Mandalorian says. "Stop the leech beam then," the black armoured Mandalorian says. "We don't want to be pulled in as well." "Sir." A few seconds later, the expanding void closes up. Four more cruisers appear out of hyperspace. "And so the real battle begins."
The four Trade Federation cruisers fly forward, triangle formation, toward the Mandalorian cruisers. The three points of the triangle formation are simple Reverb-class battleships, grey plated, long and flat, the front end curves upwards and extends outwards. In these forward areas, heavy cannons wait to be fired. Both bridge and hangar bay are on the underside of the main body, with the bridge just a few meters back from the forward heavy cannons. The hangar bay is located halfway along the main body of the cruiser. But it is the cruiser in the middle of these three that is more interesting. Simply named The Ark, this prototype battleship has a curved underside, allowing for a very large three-floor hangar bay which extends the full width of the cruiser. Some of these areas are privatised for officials or commanders. Another hangar bay, this one a lot smaller, extends off the bridge's aft section in a curve and is reserved for emergency use. This makes the whole area of the bridge look like a helicopter overturned. On the bridge of The Ark, a human male with distinctive droid features stands overlooking the scene in front of him. His body is flesh, and so is his head. But on the head, a vocoder is worn which doesn't quite cover the scar running to his right ear. Both arms are flesh, but both legs are droid. The legs are made of a black metal that allows for flexible movement, since both have two joints. The legs are entirely visible with nothing covering them except a grey cloak and hood which the male wears. "Commander Valon. Sir," a Battle Droid calls from behind, "we are being hailed by General Kronis." The cyborg, Commander Valon, turns and walks with quick strides towards the holocom centre. "Put him through," the flat, strained voice says. "Commander Valon," Kronis greets. "I trust you are ready for battle. The Mandalorians have just dealt with Taa Undera's cruiser in a most peculiar fashion." The hologram then flickers to life, and General Kronis stands in miniature scale on the holocom board. "Yes. How did it happen?" Valon asks. "We have no idea," another voice calls, fainter that Kronis'. "One second it was there, the next a void had replaced it." "Who is that?" Valon asks. "DarkRula," is all Kronis says. "We are down on the surface, again, and are being chased by the Mandalorian pilots. All of which are Commando Droids." Valon hisses. "I wondered where the manufacturing rights had gone. It seems that the bigger battle is down on the surface. We shall join you there with the Receptical, and leave the others to deal with the cruisers up here which..." Valon looks back at the veiwscreen to see the three Mandalorian cruisers blasting at full speed toward the planet. "Scratch that. All but The Ark will join you. It seems you are about to be in even bigger trouble." "The cruisers are heading down to the surface, and if they find what waits at their base-" The hologram flickers, and static drowns out the words. "-doomed." "Trouble, I presume?" Valon remarks at the disruption. "Well. Remember those things I mentioned at the base? They have the ground cannons active. And are using them to full effect." "We will join you as soon as we can." The hologram fades completely. "Ahead full for the three cruisers." Valon then pushes a button. "Ark Force five. Ark Force six. Prepare for battle and meet me at the main hangar. We are jumping ship to the Receptical." Ten minutes later, landing craft and shuttles litter the area as they head towards the furthest forward of the three Reverb-class Battleships.
"Sir," a Mandalorian says through a hologram. "We have located the source of the disruption. Someone has the cannons operational, and is blasting anything in sight." "Call them off then!" the Mandalorian commander shouts. "They don't respond, sir." "Then get down there and see who it it." The hologram fades. The Mandalorian commander looks out at the carnage below and spots one ship in particular. "Target the Scimitar. Leech beam. Let's give those two meddlesome Jedi a test of wills and speed."
DarkRula had been targeting the Z-98 Headhunters, and destroying quite a lot of them, when everything on the power board flickered. Pressing a few buttons, he then calls General Kronis. "Did the power just flicker down there too?" "Yes. I suggest you put it in automatic pilot and join me down here. If the power does go, the lifts might not opera-" "Don't worry. I'll get out of here. But you might have problems with the rear hatch." "Already open." The hologram then cuts out, and so does all the power. DarkRula, wasting no time, blows out the windshield using the Force, and jumps through. On the actual hull of the Scimitar, DarkRula uses the Force to glue his feet to the hull and walks to the edge. He sees Kronis free-falling to one of the cannon towers that was causing much of the mayhem. Closing his eyes, DarkRula repairs the windshield then stops the falling Scimitar dead in the air. As though it were a feather, the Scimitar then floats down to the ground, the landing gear already engaged. Using the Force again, he closes the rear hatch and charges to the cannon tower where Kronis had already started fighting. A huge explosion then knocks DarkRula to the ground. "Kronis!" DarkRula shouts when he lifts his head up.
"So, even that didn't stop them," the Mandalorian commander wonders, watching one of the Jedi bring the Scimitar down gently to the ground. That Jedi then jumps and locks the Scimitar up, then charges to on of the cannon towers. The only one that seemed operational. "Target that cannon tower. We'll block the Jedi when he enters." "Incoming!" another Mandalorian shouts. The Mandalorian commander looks up a bit to see that the cannon had fired directly upon them. "Shields on maximum!" Even so, the glow from the laser was bright. When the glow faded, the cannon tower had been destroyed. "Did we hit it?" the Mandalorian commander asks, confused. "No sir. Apparently it destroyed itself once it fired at us." The Mandalorian commander found himself wondering if he would share the same fate as that building when he finally came to face the Jedi.
The three Reverb-class cruisers follow the Mandalorian cruisers down to the lower atmosphere of Fresia. Stood on the bridge of the Receptical, Commander Valon watches the destruction happening around him. He then sees a ship stop dead, and start falling. Looking at the tracking screen, Valon sees that it is the same one recorded to be under the control of General Kronis. Ordering a scope lock on it, Valon sees someone who must have been DarkRula on the hull. The falling craft then slows considerably. "Now that is impressive," he amends quietly. The craft on the ground, DarkRula then jumps off it and rushes out of the scopes sight. Looking up out of the veiwscreen, the control tower DarkRula is headed to blows up. DarkRula is on the floor, but still moving. "Ark Force five get out there and deal some justice to the Mandalorians," Valon shouts into a comlink. An affirmative comes back through. Soulwind bombers and Atakara Speeders swing into view, and head into the chaos below. Soulwind bombers look like miniature Reverb-class cruisers, but in reverse, with the areas resembling the bridge and hangar bay the weapons emplacements and the curved area housing the engines. The cockpit affixed onto the curved part. The Atakara Speeders were two-man ground vehicles which could also be used as light aircraft. Thin at the front, then curving and extending outward both on the X and Y axis, they curved back to the middle point sharply near the rear. The engines poked out from this rear end. Four of them. At the furthest part of the sides, and at the front, simple laser triggers were housed. "Can we confirm that the Mandalorians blew the gun tower down?" Valon asks. It was entirely possible that something else could have happened to it. "Replaying recorded footage... Negative Commander," a Battle Droid acting the request says. "There is nothing to suggest that anyway." The Keldabe-class Battleship quickly accelerates and escapes. But not up to space. "Train lasers and fire!" Valon orders. "Quickly!" Lasers fire upon the three Mandalorian cruisers, especially the escaping Keldabe-class Battleship. That one was too far out of range however, and soon the Mandalorians were being quickly destroyed. The two cruisers were putting up a fight but their shields were slowly failing. "Ark Force six," Valon calls into the command-link. "Prepare to board enemy cruisers and blow their reactors." A minute passed. "Ready, sir," a voice came back. "Go! Go! Go!" Two shuttles blast down and each enters one cruiser. "Sir! Sir!" a Battle Droid runs up to Valon. "Look on the scope. We have it trained on the blasted gun tower." Valon follows and looks at the screen. DarkRula and General Kronis are standing on the edge, and are talking to each other by the look of their movements. Something then slotted into Commander Valon's mind. Jedi impressed him more each time he worked with them.
"Kronis!" DarkRula shouts into the rubble of the gun tower. A piece of rubble moves. "Kronis!" DarkRula uses the Force to shift the rubble, and indeed the Kel Dorian General rises. "What are you looking upset at? I had the situation well under control." "That's good. But how did you survive those things?" "I didn't. I used stealth until I knew where to repulse the Force." The two start walking away from the remains of the gun tower. "I suspect we have quite a lot of the battle to catch up on," DarkRula says, looking up. "Hang on. Where's the Keldabe-class battleship?" General Kronis looks up too. "It must have escaped." He then tracks the movement of boarding shuttles entering the two former cruisers of the Grand Army of the Republic. "It seems the battle has now been taken inside the cruisers." "I want to take part," DarkRula, eager, says. "There will be a time when you can, but for now we need to contact Commander Valon and find out the intricacies of the battle we missed." As he says this, Kronis gestures to one of the Reverb-class cruisers. Another relic of the Grand Army days, a Low Altitude Assault Transport hovered down beside them. The latest versions were packed with even grander weaponry than the originals. "Glad you could make it," Kronis greets the pilot. "Always happy to escort Jedi," the pilot says. The trip back was quiet, but the hangar bay was a loud commotion of noise. Valon's voice was the loudest however. "Kronis! Kronis! Here! I need to talk with you." "Certainly," Kronis says. "But next time, don't shout. I was making my way to the bridge for a progress report anyway." Valon, Kronis and DarkRula head to the bridge, where frantic activity is taking place with all crew tracking the movements of the boarding parties. Valon watches the activity then shakes his head. Turning left, he directs Kronis and DarkRula to a side room with soundproofing. "That's better," Valon says. "No-one will disturb us in here unless it is absolutely necessary." "So what is the status of the battle?" Kronis asks. "We followed them down to find they had launched fighters to counter the incoming fire from that tower firing. When the blast happened and it was destroyed, we thought they had got impatient and charged laser to counter-attack. The Keldabe-class Battleship, the command cruiser, fled." "And so you managed to disable the shields of the two Venator-classes to board them?" DarkRula guesses. "Yes, but only to blow the reactors." "Bit risky, isn't it?" Kronis asks. "Not at all. In fact they should have arrived at the react-" Valon is stopped by a flashing red light before someone enters. "Sir," the officer says. "The team aboard one of the cruisers had reported overload and mission success." "I sense that means bad news for the other," Valon says. "Aboard the other cruiser, hard contact between the two forces has emerged. And it is real hard." "Let's go," General Kronis says. DarkRula moves forward heading out of the room. "What?" Commander Valon exclaims. "We Jedi know how to resolve situations of hard contact. Don't worry about that." Kronis then turns to the officer still standing by the door. "Which Star Destroyer will we be heading to?" "The port side one from our position," the officer says. Kronis then walks out to the bridge proper and to a wall. Wrist-strap devices are strung on the wall. "DarkRula. Halt." "Kronis?" DarkRula states questioningly. "Come here." By this time Commander Valon had entered the main bridge too. So had the officer. "Um. Master Jedi," the officer bluntly says. "Those teleporters are still in the prototype stage. No-one has actually tested them yet." At the mention of teleporters, DarkRula turns around. Kronis then reprimands "Well if they haven't been tested, why are they on show?" In three quick strides, he reaches DarkRula's side, grabs his arm, and both disappear in a flash. "Jedi!" the officer shouts. "Well, I suppose those teleporters could use some testing over long distances," Valon says. "And the Force could probably calibrate those things quicker than we ever could."
The two Jedi appear instantly in a large room with endless abyss' and circular walkways surrounded by computers. "I think we're in the reactor room," DarkRula says. "We can't blow it. Not yet." Kronis then looks around for an exit. Spotting one with the faint light of blasterfire, he calls DarkRula to follow. Peering around the edge of the wall, Kronis sees chaos. Armoured men and droids. The armour looked like it had once belonged to pilots of TIE Fighters during the Reign of the Empire. The only addition was the black jetpacks attached to the backs. The droids were a mix of B-1's and Droideka's. Two more of the supposed Mandalorians drop dead from fire. The rest start backing down the corridor. "Lightsaber out, and combat ready," Kronis warns. DarkRula hefts his 'saber. Kronis activates his own blade and thrusts it into the back of one of the Mandalorians. The others jump, and those that are still shocked after a second and aren't able to react get tore apart. "Jedi!" one exclaims, pulling out another pistol and firing one each way down the corridor. "How did they get there?" "Who knows. Just keep firing," another Mandalorian tersely relpies. The remaining Mandalorians, five of them, activate their jetpacks and jump over the droids, laying down fire on them. One shoots the roof with his pistols which crumbles down and crushes the remaining droids. The shields of the Droideka's, only able to deflect lasers, were destroyed with their owners. Kronis and DarkRula give chase. "Head left and check for the others. I'll go after the one in front," DarkRula says. "Why must you do everything? Simply wait and they will come to us," Kronis says. "Somehow, I don't think so." DarkRula then rushes off. "Why do I get the feeling that impulsive streak of his will get him killed?" Kronis says to himself as the four stragglers turn down a corridor away from the main one. Aiming a Force Push at the Mandalorians, their jetpacks start to shake. Using the Force to hold them in place, each jetpack, depending on the thrust the user has them at, explode in forceful symphony. One Mandalorian, however, escapes the jetpack straps and makes a run for it. "This isn't good," Kronis says as he picks his way through the rubble. When he turns right into another corridor, the escapee is nowhere. Only a black void. Kronis is slowly pulled closer to it and would have gone through it had he not used the Force to plant his feet firmly on the ground.
The other Mandalorian, the one DarkRula was chasing, had given up running and had drawn his weapons. Sleek black rods, heavy, and with a small hilt. They were made from the lightsaber-resistant Phrik. The elegantly named Swift-Pike is a weapon commonly used by the Mandalorian Elite when hunting. DarkRula pulls up quick when a blow is aimed at him, blocking it with the reverse side of his dualsaber. He then strikes with the forward side, but that is blocked by the Mandalorian's right Swift-Pike. DarkRula then retracts the forward blade, left with just the reverse side, and takes up a new stance. The Mandalorian strikes quickly with both of his blades. Each strike is blocked by the smooth and precise movements of DarkRula's 'saber. The Mandalorian starts moving backward, drawing the fighting elsewhere. Then for the first time, speaks. "I hope you're happy with what you have done with our base." "You was asking for it," DarkRula grunts as he blocks two strikes. "And we had to stop what had taken over the base." "Oh, we know about them. And you'd be wrong to think you destroyed them." DarkRula almost lets a strike through, having to use the Force to block it. "What?" "You heard." The Mandalorian then aims a kick at DarkRula at the same time his jets open up. The kick misses, but his jets propel him down the corridor. "Name's Tir LeRane. Remember that next time you see me." "There won't be a next time," DarkRula growls, using the Force to slam LeRane on the ceiling, then down to the floor. He then reverse grips his lightsaber, and goes to slam it down on LeRane. However, standing over LeRane wasn't a good idea, as next second the two positions are reversed and LeRane also holds DarkRula's active 'saber. "So good to have justice over another Jedi." The 'saber is raised over LeRane's head, and as he pulls it down, DarkRula looks to the right, as all people who are about to die do, seeing ghosts, with a shocked expression on his face. The ionised blade is a few centimeters from DarkRula's face when a tap on LeRane's shoulder stops it short, and a voice exclaims "I wouldn't do that if I were you." The voice comes from a vocoder. With the hesitation, DarkRula takes advantage and uses the Force to push the blade of the 'saber back into its hilt, then calls the hilt to his right hand, flipping over backwards with his left, and activating the lightsaber again with it held by LeRane's neck. "And so the tide turns," DarkRula says, looking past LeRane at General Kronis, blade now also extended. "Two against one is still in my favour," LeRane says. One blade each then flicks out at each Jedi.
The void closes and Kronis collapses forward. He wonders what the void was. Getting up, he concentrates on finding DarkRula through the Force. He senses that DarkRula is in trouble and rushes through corridors, stopping for a few seconds to locate the exact point the trouble is at. Rushing forward, Kronis stops as he hears the words "Name's Tir LeRane. Remember that next time you see me." He then hears DarkRula growl "There won't be a next time," and then a grunt and a slam as something hits a wall or floor. Kronis backs up, just in time to see a Mandalorian drop to the floor. DarkRula then walks over the Mandalorian, reverse-gripped his lightsaber and goes to slam it down into the neck joint. However, LeRane twists his legs and slams DarkRula on the floor as he gets up and picks the lightsaber from DarkRula's grip. "So good to have justice over another Jedi," the Mandalorian says, raising the 'saber over his head. Taking the chance, Kronis Force jumps right behind LeRane as the blade starts arcing down. DarkRula's eyes lock onto Kronis' and shock is evident on his face. Kronis then taps LeRane on the shoulder just as the blade is a few centimeters away from DarkRula and exclaims "I wouldn't do that if I were you." The Mandalorian stops short of striking. Taking advantage, DarkRula uses the Force to push the blade of the lightsaber back inside its hilt then calling it to his right hand, flipping over backward with his left. He activates the lightsaber again and holds it by LeRane's neck. "And so the tide turns," he says and Kronis activates his own blade as DarkRula looks at him. "Two against one is still in my favour," LeRane says and flicks one blade out at both Kronis and DarkRula. DarkRula's blade quickly cuts away and flicks out again to block the blade sent at him. Kronis admired him that smoothness as he blocked the blade aimed at him with a swift chop. But that was the way of the Wind forms. Smoothness. Kronis then wonders how the Mandalorian had managed to get the blades to his hands in the first place. Then he notices the two clips on the chest plate as Mandalorian turns to Kronis to attack with both blades. Ah. Kronis blocks the blades and DarkRula aims a surgical strike with the blade. But wavers and misses, striking the armour instead, as an explosion rocks the ship. LeRane then slams one blade into DarkRula's ribs with enough force to hear a faint click of bone. That blade then follows on to strike Kronis, but he blocks the blade and activates the teleport to reappear beside DarkRula. LeRane throws one of the Swift-Pike's at Kronis who grabs it with both hands, keeping his lightsaber in the air with the Force, and slams it into a wall. The second Swift-Pike hits Kronis on the head. The lightsaber falls and so does he.
Tir LeRane considers his success at beating two Jedi, but he had his comrades to thank for that. The reactor had been blown and distracted the Jedi long enough for him to attack. "Sir, we must leave now." The voice comes through the built-in comlink embedded in his helmet. The point-of-view icons show two of his comrades flying through corridors fast, as though they were pushing their jetpacks to the limits. The third POV icon isn't moving at all, but a lot of fire can be seen. "Go on, I'll catch up," LeRane says. "Just finishing with something." He closes the link and reaches out to one of the blades, getting onto his knees. He activates the blade, but another explosion rocks the ship, and definite cracks can be seen in the walls and floor. It doesn't matter if I kill them. They'll be dead soon enough anyway. LeRane activates his jets and powers away.
On the bridge of the Receptical, Commander Valon watches as the Venator-class Star Destroyer cracks along two sections, creating a triangle break in the port side of the cruiser. The engines had already broken off and were burning up on the ground. Then the entirety of the port side disintegrates and the starboard side falls and crashes on the ground. Valon just stood there, wondering what to do. They would have survived. He knew it. "Get all boarding parties ready," he says to a Battle Droid. "But sir, there is nothing to board." "I know, but that starboard side is still intact and I would rather have Jedi like General Kronis back with us then chase Mandalorians who mean nothing to us anyway." "Uh... Yes sir." He would have those two Jedi back on board. Even if he had to go out and search himself. "Sir. The boarding parties have landed near the remains of the cruiser and are entering where they can," a Battle Droid says. "Why can't they just hurry up with it?" Commander Valon questions. "Well short of blasting at it, which could cause a cave in, there is no other way to work towards them," another Battle Droids supplies helpfully. "I know that. If they don't find him within ten minutes, I'm going in myself." "Is that wise sir?" "Yes. I am a field commander. It is what I am good at. The best, in fact." Valon flexes the double-jointed legs, the ones he had earned with distress when a bomb had gone off and he couldn't get clear in time. The black metal stood out against the whitish-blue of the floor on which he stood. The scar on his face was a result of torture by the enemy. Sometime later during that engagement he was out fighting again in the same battle after the legs had been inserted onto him with bio-tech, when he ran into enemy troops who outnumbered him. Using the powerful new legs, he ran as fast as he could. He then ran into a stun net. Unable to get up due to the legs' tech being offline, the troops had captured him and taken him to their leader. When he refused to give answers, that leader had produced a thin piece of wire and jammed it straight though his jaw, which then hit his voice box. That flexible wire had been jammed down his throat, then as an afterthought, dragged through his right side to get it out. They had then threw him out, and left him to fend for himself. After that, he had fought his way back to his supreme commander on field and through drawings, the only way he could, indicated what had happened. The supreme commander then sent him to an asteroid medical centre to have fitted the vocoder, which linked to what was left of his voice box. During that time, the supreme commander had switched him to fleet commander instead. The change of events unsettled him slightly. Even now. To make sure it wouldn't happen again, to fall victim of an EMP, he had the legs tested with all sorts of electric resistant materials and chemicals. Soon he had got the mix right, and went to the supreme commander to prove it. The supreme commander though, had said he was losing touch in the field. When he was transferred to The Ark, he wanted to get back in the field someday. Eight minutes had now passed. "What are they playing at?" Valon asks. The comm then activates. "Sir, we need your assistance," was all the message said. "Right then. Excuse me." Valon heads to the bridge air lock. "Sir?" "Don't worry about me," Valon says, then cycles the air lock. The Receptical was about two hundred meters above the ground. Valon didn't seem to care. Curled in a ball, he hurtles down to the surface. Twenty meters from the ground, he straightens with feet pointing to the ground. When he lands, his legs make an 'N' shape, with the top joint almost touching the ground and his body arced backwards with his hands out behind him. Pulling himself up, Valon then reaches to the top parts of his legs and snaps off one part each. He then flips them in his hands and the poles extend outward. Working his way to the downed cruiser is easy, and soon he meets up with the droid scout team. He says nothing to them and enters the cruiser. Covering ground quicker than a droid could, he soon sees sections of ceiling leaning against the wall. Upon closer inspection, that wall isn't quite touching the wall. Valon grabs it and pulls it away. Another sections falls away, and both General Kronis and DarkRula are revealed. DarkRula is clutching his ribs, and General Kronis is holding a hand to his head. Both look weak. Valon activates his comlink. "The Jedi have been found. Locate and excavate at my co-ordinates." The tinny 'Roger. Roger.' of a droid comes through and Valon closes the link. "Did you get the Mandalorians?" Kronis asks. "Have you got teams following them?" His voice is weak, but still manages to sound through his vocoder. "They got away. All of them." Valon saw no reason to with-hold that information. DarkRula then coughs, and it is apparent he wanted to say something. "Those- The Mandalorian said-" He starts coughing again. "That Mandalorian said we'd be wrong to think we destroyed the creatures at the base. They knew about them." "No wonder they ran," Kronis states. "Ba'slan shev'la." Ba'slan shev'la was the Mandalorian phrase for a strategic disappearance to regroup, and then reemerge at a later date full of fighting spirit. If they had gotten hold of the secret creatures, then it was apparent why they would disappear. The only question was, when would they reappear? The excavators had now done a great job of removing most of the materials of floor, walls and ceiling. So much so that they could get a small landing craft through the gap. When all had entered, the landing craft took off, a larger variant with the droid boarding party following behind. When the two craft docked in the hangar, the Reverb-class cruisers headed back out into space to regroup with The Ark. All four cruisers then jumped into hyperspace. But Commander Valon knew, from what Kronis said, the fight was just beginning.