Coruscant Trooper spoilers!
Well, Jorgan thought, I did want a helmet.
Only this wasn’t exactly what he had imagined. It was not the full-faced, T-visor helmet of the Republic troops he’d seen on Ord Mantell and in other places. It was an ugly thing, at least twenty years old–the style of Coruscant Security during the beginning of the Great Galactic War.
It was more of a hat than helmet; it was black and short-brimmed, with goggles on top and purple trim around the edges that Jorgan had painted orange to match his armor. The purple still showed through, though.
Prudii’s was better, but not much. It was at least white, though. Sleek and pointed in the back, it had a large visor that covered the eyes and upper nose, but it was bulky and unwieldy.
“Where are the helmets you see in the history vids?” he asked. “The ones heroes like Colonel Jace Malcom or Tavus–pre-betrayal–wore?”
“Higher priority squads,” Prudii replied. “Not for a rookie lieutenant and a former lieutenant from a sniper squad trying to rebuild what was once the Republic’s best team.”
Jorgan inclined his head. “Good point, I guess. But how does this–” he gestured to his helmet, “–protect me at all?”
Prudii shrugged. “I don’t know, but hey. It has a comlink bud, so don’t complain.”
“Shh!” Jorgan suddenly said. “I hear voices.”
They were in an underground part of Coruscant known as The Works, hunting former Havoc Squad CO Jek Kardan, hoping he could tell them where Tavus and the others were.
Prudii drew his pistol and motioned for Jorgan to enter the room. Drawing his rifle, Jorgan nodded and entered, weapon raised. Prudii flashed around the corner, pistol raised. Kardan was speaking to a squad of Imperial troops.
“Still alive, huh?” Kardan asked. “You really should’ve gotten out of this while you were ahead, soldier.” He turned. “Now you’re a risk to Tavus and my people. So. Havoc Squad or not, I’m gonna have to kill you.”
“Really care about Tavus and the others?” Prudii challenged. “Why’d you let them defect, then?”
“I’ve made my choice. Tavus, Wraith, Needles, Gearbox, Fuse…they’re like my children,” Kardan said. “And I abandoned them. I resigned and let them fight alone.” He shook his head. “Just to make a point. They need me now more than ever. I’m not going to abandon them. Not this time.”
“The Imperials are the enemy!” shouted Prudii. “You aren’t one of them, Kardan.”
“I read your file, Kardan,” Jorgan added. “I saw what you’ve done. You, you were a hero. You have not betrayed the Republic yet. You don’t have to.”
“The Republic came just as close to killing me as the Empire ever did,” Kardan replied. Then, he continued sadly, “As far as I’m concerned, everyone’s my enemy.” He backed away a step. “I know you’re trying to get into my head, soldier, and it isn’t going to work.”
“No, sir,” Prudii responded. “I’m just talking, one soldier to another.”
“What do we have to talk about?” Kardan asked honestly. “Our objectives are completely at odds. I’m trying to keep my people alive, and you’re trying to kill them. That’s all there is to it, soldier.”
“I served with them, too. I want to bring them in alive.”
“Well, you’ve certainly taken your time trying to kill me.”
Jorgan was actually beginning to feel a glimmer of hope that Kardan would surrender.
“You’ve already compromised the relay,” said Kardan. “Even if we take you out, it’s only a matter of time before Garza has this place slagged for a klick in every direction.” He stepped forward. “And by now, Garza will know where every one of the defectors’ bases are. They’ll be tethered banthas, cut off from each other and all–”
One of the Imperials finally had enough. “Excuse me sir, but shouldn’t we be–”
Ignoring him, Kardan continued. “The Imperials might help, but it won’t be much. They’ll all be left to die.”
“Tavus and the others, they’ll follow your lead,” said Prudii. “If you turn yourself in…well, maybe they will, too.”
“Can’t believe it’s come to this,” Kardan said to himself.
The Imperial seemed alarmed now. “Sir?”
“All right, soldier, I’ll go along with this,” said Kardan. “But if you harm a single one of my people, you’ll be dead within a day. Understood?”
“You’ve got my word on it, Kardan.”
Kardan nodded. “Then let’s get on with this.”
The Imperial soldier snapped, “I can’t let you go into enemy custody alive, Kardan.”
Jorgan retrained his rifle on the soldier.
“Are you still here?” Kardan asked. “The op’s over, people. Finished. Mission failed. So get out of here while you’ve still got legs to carry you.”
“You leave me no choice, sir.” The Imperial loaded his rifle. “Open fire, men!”
“Take-take-take!” Prudii said.
“Taking the shot!” Jorgan replied.
Jorgan shot the loudmouth Imperial in the chest, while Prudii shot one with his pistol before quickly holstering it and drawing his rifle. The other two Imps, seeing their companions go down, turned to take cover, and Jorgan and Prudii shot them down.
“Mission accomplished,” Jorgan said.