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billyrayjoebob
12.14.2011 , 08:34 AM | #3
Chapter Three – Flight From Naordor

Present Day

Oric was always a little sad to leave Naordor – the scenery was so breathtaking, it felt like he was betraying something intrinsic by not constantly gazing on it. But, they had a job to do, mainly getting back to Golga. He was never sad to be done with their work on the planet, however, as he was invariably the one chosen to drive their rickety loader through the mud and grass and deal with Gemry again – this time in a fouler mood. But he would soon be in a worse one: back at the ship, he and Thor had called Golga’s head assistant, Donegal. And to their utter lack of surprise, the Middle-Man had not contacted Golga or Donegal about anything. More disappointed than anything, Oric was sent back to chaperone him as he called before they left.

Of course, Gemry was belligerent, swaddled in casts and kolto patches as he was. As an implied threat, Oric pulled back his jacket, revealing one of his Dead-Eye pistols. “Someone once told me…a human can be shot in many, many places without dying.”

Huffing and puffing, the Middle-Man became suddenly compliant, keying in a few commands to his terminal and bringing up a holographic display of Donegal’s head. “Gemry,” the rakish looking man said as way of greeting. “I was told to expect a call from you. You look rather sour.” Oric held back a rather unmanly giggle at this, since Donegal’s mouth always looked like it was sucking on lemons. Donegal seemed to have picked up on this over the holonet, and arched one of his very thin eyebrows over his slanted bluish-grey eyes. “As I was saying…,”

“Yes, as you were saying, your men here assaulted me and-,” Oric wasn’t having any of that, so he kicked Gemry’s leg out from under him, causing renewed hollers of pain.

“Oh, look at that, he started to do something stupid and he fell over from it, all of the stupid, oh by the Force, it’s everywhere!”

Another paper-thin brow arched. “Gemry, our mutual friend-,” by this he meant Thorwer “-has already told
myself and the illustrious Golga about your misdeeds. We will be expecting an adjustment – in my master’s favor, of course – in your prices.” His head turned towards something off-screen momentarily, as if receiving further instructions. “And you are to pay the Jexxel’s a compensation fee for the damage done to their ship by your little… ambition.” What was going on? Golga was never this generous.

At last Gemry picked himself off the floor, roaring again, “Wait, wait, wait, they already took a ‘compensation’ fee!”

One more arched brow.

“Did they, now?” The blue-grey eyes turned to regard Oric, questioning. “Well, the money that Volga paid him…we found it… and… there was three-hundred thousand… -,” as Donegal’s head once more turned to take instruction, “-aw crap.”

It was odd, seeing the disembodied head constantly turning to look at, what was to him, a distant wall with stacked crates and seemingly listening to it. But it was even worse seeing his mildly wrinkled face turn back towards the young Jexxel and command: “You will take the bare minimum from what you found to repair your ship. The rest – you will bring it to us.”
With a defeated sigh and a muttered “okay”, Oric left the warehouse and began trudging back to Mother. As he was driving the rusty loader back to the ship, however, he saw a trio of speeders come soaring in and land just outside the warehouse.

Nearly a dozen armed men piled out, while three of them – they looked to be in Mandalorian armor – went in to the
warehouse itself, where a hobbling and angry-looking Middle-Man joined them, pointing and gesticulating at Oric. Oh that’s not good. Then one of the Mandalorians pointed at a clustered group of the men that had piled out of the speeder, then pointed at Oric. Definitely not good. One of them then hefted a large, metal tube-like item. What the hell! A distant cough and Oric was running away with the briefcase from the loader, scrambling, tripping – concussive waves slammed him to the ground, pulling the air from his lungs. Groaning on the ground, he did a quick check of himself – nothing pierced, nothing broken, though his ribs felt a little sore from the concussion.

“******es!” he screamed out, probably a bad idea – the loader was engulfed in flames, they likely would have thought him dead before he had let them know otherwise. He scrambled back to his feet, continued running – a random scarlet shot colored the air above and to his right as he ducked into an alley, pulling out one of his pistols and comlink. The pistol’s comforting weight held him as he called into his comlink awkwardly, balancing it with the briefcase in his offhand, “Anne? Thor? Anyone? Gemry’s gone full dick mode!” Then, remembering that they had set up a code phrase, he shouted into the receiver, “Jexxels are never alone!” A silhouette darkened the alley entrance for a split second before Oric’s pistol barked, and then he fled.

---

Three Weeks Earlier

At first, the Chiss had assumed he would have had to avoid any Corellian security, possibly even kill many to achieve his goals. But he had slipped through largely unnoticed save for the occasional pedestrian that noticed the gleam of his gunmetal skin. It had even aided him, intimidating those underworld fools that he had brought his own brand of interrogation to into giving him the location of the doctor rather effortlessly. And here he was, lightning, thunder and rain obliterating the world.

Spaceport District, seven-eight-nine-nine-three-seven, storage lot four, warehouse B – a place of stagnant, sterile and some other rather unique smells made more so for being wet.

He had found the Doctor Caspar.

The Jexxel scent had led here originally, but for some time now the Sith had been led by the Force, drawn to a maelstrom of fury and wrath encompassed in a single living frame! It had drawn him as surely as a moth to a flame! And oh, Vershrik would bathe in this tempest, let it toss and turn him! Even its outermost limits made his battered body feel whole and renewed! Focus! Discipline! Screamed the specter of his Master, railing at him for allowing himself to fall into the same failings as the false Sith – the enveloping of hate, fear and rage to the exclusion of any intellect or simple reason.

And he would focus – hunt.

As his metal-encased foot slapped duracrete, echoing through the seemingly abandoned lot, Vershrik stalked to the warehouse. Inside, he could feel something through the torrent of hate and rage. In the eye of the maelstrom seemed to be something else…smaller though it was, the Chiss felt it recognizable – Jedi? Could it be possible that they had stumbled upon his Master’s plot?

Even thinking it, Vershrik dismissed it immediately – why would they care if they had? They had an entire Empire to deal with on top of their so-called “peacekeeping” duties. No, no… this little Jedi was here for something else. With a modicum of effort, Vershrik disabled the lock on the door with the Force, and pushed it open in the same way. Inside, he found something odd – a slightly portly, gray-haired old man in dusty white linens and cracked glasses – the Doctor Caspar, he presumed – leaning away from the luminescent blade of an adolescent human – the Jedi, or more likely Padawan. To their right was a caged white-furred Wookie, roaring, raving and frothing at the mouth – to Vershrik’s surprise, the eye of the storm seemed to be centered on it. Near the cage, another human lay in two pieces, his halves cauterized – seemingly from the lightsaber being held at Caspar’s chest.

“The Doctor Caspar, I presume?” Vershrik’s remade voice scratched out, as if being raked over graters before finally issuing from his mouth.

His blade still poised over the frightened Caspar’s chest, the Jedi eyed Vershrik out of the corner of his eye, sweat or the slickness of the rain coating him – his Padawan braid laid over his shoulder similarly soaked. “What, are you another slaver?” Anger – curious. Ah, Vershrik thought in revelation. The anomaly of the Wookie must be overriding his meager training, coupled with his biased views of slavers…yes. Even I am having difficulty maintaining composure…

“A kind of one,” the Sith replied reflexively, knowing full well that all were slaves before one of his might.

Finally turning to fully regard him, the Padawan stalked towards him, snarling, “What, are you stupid? Don’t you see what’s going on here? I’m a freaking Jed-“ his words were cut off by the gunmetal arm snatching his throat, crushing his throat and snapping his neck in one overwhelming movement.

As the lightsaber was extinguished by the now lifeless fingers and he let the corpse fall, Vershrik responded: “You were no Jedi.” Focus! Discipline!

Fool! The hunter cursed at himself. The Wookie, though seemingly calmed by the murder of the Padawan, had been influencing his mind – overwriting his most intrinsic disciplines without him even noticing. He would have killed the Padawan regardless, but allowing him to get that close with a lit lightsaber! Fool!

“Are…are you going to kill me?” an old man’s voice whimpered from the other side of the mostly-empty warehouse, still pressing himself against his desk as if to avoid the now-absent lightsaber.

“Ah, yes, the Doctor Caspar,” Vershrik muttered, as if just remembering he was there. Thunder crashed again, as if to highlight his next words.

“Possibly. That depends on you.” Over the next hour, Darth Vershrik extracted every notable bit of information he could from the Doctor Caspar – as much as he could through the blubbering and pleading – until finally the Doctor Caspar let slip the name of a planet that Mr. Corvus called him from repeatedly - Naordor. At the end of the hour, the Chiss was finally satisfied and sank his scarlet blade into the Doctor Caspar’s heart – a quick death, at least.

At last, at last, at last, Vershrik turned to the pearlescent Wookie, which stared at him from his hunched position inside the cage – still exuding an aura of ******* brutality from its undignified predicament. The thing seemed entranced by the Chiss, as if he were the lodestone for the Wookie’s eyes – his soul. “You,” his renewed voice grated again. “What do you wish in this galaxy, Wookie?”

“<I am the most savage of all Kashyyyk!>” the beast declared, somehow managing to look majestic in its cage, roaring hatred and rage at all things. “<Mightiest of all Wookie-kind! I will allow no shame! I will bear proof! I am Lowraccor!>” And then, Darth Vershrik understood. The ability of this simple Wookie to bear such strength in the Force, its ravening rage…

The beast was insane.

He was kin.

“Most Savage Lowraccor… if you come with me, if you would be my Hound… I will give you your proof. I will make you most savage… of all kind.” Again, the Wookie’s eyes seemed to be pulled to the Sith like filings to a lodestone, and for a time they stood like that. Then, in wordless assent, Vershrik cut the lock on the cage, and Hunter and Hound continued the hunt.

And they would hunt.

---

“Oh…oh, Jude…,” the veiled woman nearly sobbed, rushing to the collapsed and broken youth lying prostrate on the ground. Cradling his lifeless body in her arms, the Miralukan Jedi Master sobbed from her sightless eyes, murmuring, “I told you you’d die if you went out tonight, you young fool. The gunmetal man…”

---

Present Day

He had long since lost feeling in his feet, the only reason Oric knew they were still attached to his legs was because of the leathery slap they created on the pavement through his boots. His fingers were stiff as the dead from gripping his twin pistols and firing sporadic shots at the pursuing thugs. “Don’t you guys have anything better to do?!” the Jexxel called out in between hurried gasps, lungs burning for the effort. Maybe he should cut back on the whiskey.

No matter how much he ran, though, he couldn’t seem to make it back to the ship; he knew exactly why. They were hemming him in, preventing his return to the ship and the other Jexxels. The Middle-Man’s outpost was not so large that it would have taken this long to return, with or without the loader. This was how he came to be pinned down inside of a doorway with the briefcase set down next to him, two Mandalorians chipping and burning away his meager cover as a third advanced from the opposite direction. It wasn’t that he didn’t know about it, it was that he could do nothing about it. The door was locked and, of course, made of thick steel. The universe could be cruel. And it seemed his earlier call had gone unanswered, in fact the communicator appeared to be dead, emitting only a low-pitched, static sound. No help there.

Suddenly the deluge of weapon’s fire seemed to cease momentarily – a mistake on their part, as Oric quickly capitalized and dove out towards the one that had been advancing from his rear, catching the Mandalorian in the chest and driving him to the ground. A vicious elbow drove into his back when the two connected, almost causing him to lose his grip, but not enough to make him forget what he was doing. Keeping the Mandalorian between himself and the other two gunmen at the end of the alley was his primary goal – not getting shot, essentially.

Fortunately, he had remembered to strap on his jade vambraces before leaving the ship for Gemry’s warehouse.

He quickly drew the hidden combat knife from inside his left vambrace, stabbed in one movement – a savage movement that left the blade lodged in the Mandalorian’s unarmored throat, gurgling and struggling with the blade. Before the man could fall and present Oric as a target, however, the Jexxel quickly charged into his falling body once again while drawing the pistol he hadn’t lost in the initial scuffle, roaring. Before he could do anything, the two had opened fire, multiple impacts against his recently acquired body shield staggering him, the heat transferring through the body in some places and burning Oric. He gritted his teeth and pressed on, charging, the pistol he had not dropped angled around the Mandalorian’s heated corpse, barking like a faithful hound – it bit one of the gunmen in the knee, flash-heating the kneecap. The other it mauled in the throat and shoulder, leaving him to a painful, slow death.

At the end of the alley, Oric finally tripped, dropping the dead Mandalorian and himself on the gunmen, his voice hoarse, his body aching from the brief yet brutal brawl. For a moment, all the Jexxel could do was lie there in the random alley, panting heavily as all of the soreness began to accumulate – his ribs, burns through the Mandalorian’s armor, his stiff hands…his feet just now deciding they should feel again, and feel awful. Then a shout brought him back from his self-pity – someone at the end of the alley where the armored Mandalorian had come from. Rising quickly, he dashed to the doorway with the briefcase and his other pistol lost in the brawl, holstering it and grabbing the briefcase. Silver lightning shot new energy into his beleaguered body, shooting him out of the alley as he blindly fired behind him to discourage pursuit, twisting and pulling the knife free from the armored Mandalorian’s throat as he went.

Again, his feet soon became unfeeling things that he simply knew were there by the sounds they made when they slapped pavement. His breath came in ragged gasps, clawing and burning the inside of his lungs, begging him to stop, to roll over, to die. Almost! A promise to the weary limbs and besieged soul. We’re almost there! An urging until his mind became too transfixed on the verdant fields, Mother’s abstract shape a beacon of hope, of salvation, for him to even think. Slap, slap, slap and it felt to Oric he would never be safe.

Then something fast, large and white blocked his path, causing him to come to a stumbling halt, so worn that he the thought to raise his weapon did not even encounter his practical mind. Then it turned – it was a Wookie. Imposingly tall, even for one of its kind, and near-naked save for a small belt at its waist, a metal cylinder at the left hip. Eyes fever bright, mouth wide with a hissing snarl, then a roar that buffeted Oric, down to his knees, utterly conquering every sense he had, drowning him with pure ******* rag! He dropped the briefcase and his gun to shield his ears, to dam the tide of roaring fury that threatened to overwhelm all sense – physical and mental! It seemed to go on for eternity, making him small, feel as if he were about to vomit until –

It ceased.

Shocked into idiocy by the sheer power behind the bellow, it took Oric a moment to realize it had stopped, and then for him to stop simply swaying on his knees, clutching his ears, holding shut tight his eyes.

He opened his eyes, and saw a veiled woman in blue wielding violet incandescence against the red of the white Wookie. Sparks leapt whenever light met light, hissing, creating temporary glares like the sun off of polished metal, the scent of sulfur. She dodged and parried where the monster battered and crushed, the thing fighting with a savagery beyond anything Oric had ever witnessed, her with a finesse he had only heard of in tales of her kind – the Jedi he knew she must be. Still not comprehending the entirety of what was going on, the Jexxel knew one thing: that thing would kill him if it could.
Retrieving his blaster from the ground, he shot off four consecutive shots into its flank in rapid order, scarlet streaks burning white fur.

It screamed in renewed fury, but more in agony, as Oric saw it turn to regard him and bellow its wrath again – only to be cut off by the veiled Jedi, her blue robes swirling in rhythm with her violet saber, batting at his defenses with lightning quickness. Oric would have advised the use of ranged weaponry or at least artillery against that Wookie, but he knew convincing space magic wizards that there was a viable option outside of lightsabers was impossible.

Then the young Jexxel stopped caring about the Wookie, the random Jedi, the Mandalorians, Hutts and Gemry.

A man, not much taller than Oric, swathed in black robes stood at the edge of the outpost, where grass met molded steel. A man holding a head by its hair in his left blue hand, his azure glowing blade in his right, metallic hand. But what drew Oric’s gaze was the man’s face: the face of the mysterious Sith that had tortured and broken him not six months prior. Yet it was not his face – gunmetal steel covered the entire right side of his body.

“Mr. Corvus,” it rasped with something like religious bliss – again, the voice of the Chiss and yet not his voice, his eyes as feverishly bright as the snow-furred Wookie, though now rimmed in sorcerous gold – the Sith took a step forward – Oric scrambled back, began to run – a giant’s hand squashed him to the earth face-first. “No no no, Mr. Corvus…,” his voice grated out once more. “I have already hunted you to this end of the galaxy…I am in no mood to chase you to another!” His pinkies burned anew, as if freshly liberated from his hands. Panic, base, animal panic scrawled through his mind, pounding through his limbs, urging him to fight, to run, to do anything!

Yet the giant was merciless and unmoving, even as the Sith stalked towards his ensnared prey. Oric just managed to turn on his back, and throw one of his six combat knives, which was pitifully deflected by the Sith’s metallic skin, and only increased the pressure by which he was held down. “Yesss… you see, Mr. Corvus… that anger, that raw fear that you seem to tap into within a moment’s notice…,” he took a deep breath, and spread his arms as if lifting something much larger than himself. “It gives my kind such STRENGTH!” A speeder flew into view, and then crashed in the distance – he craned his head and saw four of Gemry’s hired bounty hunter team just before the speeder collided directly with the lead most one, right before all disappeared in a cacophony of erupting flame.

In that moment, the blue-clad Jedi was there, wave after wave of rocks the size of Oric’s skull rocketing into the Sith, pummeling the blue gunmetal man back from the defenseless Jexxel, forcing him to defend himself with both his lightsaber – and the Force. Finally, Oric felt the pressure gradually lessen, until it all evaporated. Rolling to his gun and the briefcase, the Jexxel quickly jumped up and began running once more for Mother, absolute terror pumping his legs as a frustrated roar followed him from the Chiss, fleeing past the Wookie with no feet and one missing hand. Oric needed no incentive to run, but when he saw the Wookie still conscious and trying to chase him when it had cauterized stumps for feet, that helped.

He collapsed shortly from the outpost, falling to the soft grass in a heap near a tree, the briefcase tumbling away. Something in his pocket seemed to be very important to that smart part of Oric’s brain, the part that governed all of his logical decisions. The part that had been completely drowned out until this very moment. “The comlink…,” he moaned, forcing himself to roll over to fumble in his pocket and retrieve the device. Thumbing the activator he noticed there was no more static, popping sound and then, he breathed, “Captain…Maal…Anne…I’m kriffing tired, come get me. Oh, right, something… about Jexxels.” His vision began to fade, the sunny, somewhat clouded sky slowly being replace by the blackness his mind was forcing on his consciousness – until a boot found its way into his sore ribs, banishing the darkness from his sight.

“You karking piece of filth!” a voice roared from behind a red and gold Mandalorian helmet, as it sent another foot into his now-even-more-sore ribs. “I brought twelve men – twelve! – when that dick called, promising good money for an easy job – kill these two mercs, get a hundred grand in creds, get the hell out. Simple. Easy.” A punch hammered into his chest, driving what little air was in there out, making Oric sputter and cough. “But no! No! You killed four of my men, then there’s suddenly kriffing Wookies and Jedi and the…crap, the…the angry Jedi! That freakin’ cyborg angry Jedi – Sith! That’s what they’re called! – throws a freaking SPEEDER and kills ANOTHER four!” Another hammering blow from the Mandalorian – another staccato of coughs from Oric.

“Trained Mando’ad! Decades of hard won experience! And they’re all dead!”

Then a slight chuckle from someone standing behind him, “Well, Februus, you’re not at least.” A sigh, from Februus, Oric would have guessed – then his own slight chuckle.

“There is that, isn’t there. Get the briefcase. We’re taking all of it, to hell with Gemry.” At this, the men following Februus cheered, while the unnamed one that had commented earlier retrieved the briefcase. “Well, Oric, it was interesting knowing you.” All Oric could do was groan as the man pulled out his hand blaster and aimed it at the young Jexxel’s face.

“Really? Right here? In the face, too? I thought Mandalorians were supposed to be all honorable and crap.”

Another sigh and Oric inwardly smiled as Februus directed one of his men to restrain him as the Mandalorian helped him up.

Oric’s smile deepened until it appeared on his face. Drawing the same knife he had killed the other Mandalorian with, Oric stabbed it into Februus’ wrist at the joint, eliciting a roar of pain and anger from him as his now nerveless hand dropped his gun. Diving into the next nearest bounty hunter, he brought a quick knee into the man’s gut, and then spun with a fist already flying to the next man.

Yet the third caught him, hitting him over the head with the briefcase, staggering him until Februus kicked him in the back and down to the ground. Oric tried to scramble back to his feet, but only succeeded in turning onto his back as the one he had kneed in the gut now stood over him, both feet planted on the Jexxel’s wrists, a pistol gripped tight in both hands and pointed down at his face. His finger tightened on the trigger. Well, I tried…, Oric thought resignedly.

Scarlet flashed, and the weight on top of him was thrown back.

With a surprised grunt, the young Jexxel realized this was not because he had been shot in the face, but that his would-be executioner had been struck in the chest by a blaster bolt.

“Stay down, Oric!” the incredibly welcome voice of Zanatos Maal called out as more scarlet flashes followed, striking another of the bounty hunters down while Februus and the last one carrying the briefcase sought cover behind the tree and a nearby boulder. Retrieving his pistols, he added to the staccato gunfire Maal was laying against the tree, which to his immediate pleasure was quickly joined by the familiar and rapid whump whump whump fire of Thor’s heavy repeating cannon, and the coughing whisper of Anne’s marksman’s rifle.

Rolling out from under the other Jexxel’s covering fire, Oric darted up and raced to their position where he saw the Captain upright, in full armor, hefting his cannon and unloading on the tree, quickly whittling the bark down and causing small fires in and around it. Maal was next to Thor in his dazzling golden armor, the two of them using the curve of the hill as cover as they were attempting to keep the Mandalorian and the bounty hunter suppressed – until finally Anne’s marksman’s rifle coughed again, striking the bounty hunter dead as he had leaned out of cover to return fire. Oric heard a loud curse as the Mandalorian dived to the tree his last comrade had hidden behind, and retrieved the briefcase, just barely dodging another shot from Anne’s rifle.

“You know, you kriffing Jexxels are a LOT more trouble than you’re worth!” Oric and the other Jexxels heard right before a gout of flame enveloped the tree and a spherical device rolled around it. No time for thought, just simple instinct – and that instinct screamed down. After the initial explosion and concussive wave, Oric was up again, next to Anne he realized, who was still in her camouflage netting. He was relieved to find her, as well as Maal and Thor, not torn to bits or on fire. Of Februus, there was only the sign of a man some five-hundred meters away and growing, treading the sky with a jetpack as fast as he could – and by the glint it created from the sunlight, the young Jexxel realized he had the briefcase.

Finally, Oric let himself collapse – for good this time, he hoped – and breathe out: “I have had one kriffing hell of a day.”

“Well there isn’t any time to explain, my boy!” Thor shouted as he lifted the exhausted Jexxel over his shoulder in a fireman’s carry, his gun being carried by Maal.

“What, why? Just let me sleep for a minute for the love of the F--,” he stopped complaining immediately, as he saw the reason. The Sith was there, the gunmetal Sith was sprinting at incredible speeds from the direction of the outpost. “Shoot it! Shoot it! Shoot it!” Oric breathed, eyes transfixed, fear forcing what little breath he had out in pants, though he kept mouthing the words.

“Can’t, son,” he heard Thor say to him in between hurried pants while running. “Maal and me are out of ammo, and you’re crazy if you think I’m gonna let my wife stay behind to fight that guy alone.”

So they ran, thankfully not far until they made it to Mother’s boarding ramp, where Thor quickly threw Oric down next to the entrance and shouted to Maal, “Get us the kriff out of here, boy! We’ll discourage the fierfek from boarding!”

As Maal rushed to obey, and the engines hummed to life, Anne’s rifle coughed while Thor ran to retrieve more ammo from the onboard armory for his heavy repeating cannon. For a moment, Oric didn’t realize he had joined Anne in her volleys – animal fear and rage driving him again, though this time his hands were actually able to obey. Anne’s shots were neatly deflected time and again, or caught on the Sith’s metal-skinned arm – neither slowed the hunter down. Oric’s own shots fell far short, however – not for lack of accuracy, but for lack of range in his weapons. The Chiss was still well over two thousand yards from Mother, so Oric logically knew he was wasting his shots – but the primal fear he held for this man, the all-encompassing terror overrode it, tore logic down from its perch and stomped on its skull until it stopped screaming so that it could.

Then he knew the Sith was smiling, was staring him directly in the eyes from that distance, and he knew this in a place beyond knowing. He could just see the smiling whites of the Chiss, his hunter and own personal demon.

“Why won’t he just kriffing die?!” Oric screamed in futility, continuing to depress the trigger long after its last shot had gone, while to his side he could see Anne becoming visibly nervous as all of her shots were completely on-target yet none of them were doing a thing as he deflected, dodged or just plain took the shots.

Just six-hundred yards away, now.

Then Thor was at the entrance, with new blaster packs for everyone. Oric and Anne quickly reloaded, and then in unison, the three Jexxels opened fire, twin pistols barking, cannon blasting, rifle coughing. The Sith dove, blocked, leapt and ran, dodging and deflecting it all – but his progress had stopped.

And finally, Mother woke, and began to climb away, as her ramp slid shut.

“Oric Corvus!” A shout which paralyzed the young Jexxel, erupting from the rasping new voice of his hunter. “I am Darth Vershrik, and I will hunt!”

Then the ramp was closed, and Oric sat transfixed, staring through durasteel and metal to the planet below, shaking, until Thor said the most sensible thing he’d heard all day.

“You look like you could use a drink or three, boy.”

---

Well that's it for this leg of the story. I hope everyone that read it enjoyed it, feel free to call me a moron or *******.

But nothing else, though, because that is my limit.