Star Wars: The Old Republic: The Mandalorian Wars
The cuffs bit into Avner’s wrists. He shifted, testing the strength of the bindings over and over again. Sharp, throbbing pain in one wrist warned him he was pushing this too far. Avner sighed and leaned back against the wall. The position was uncomfortable. His arms were bound behind his back and held in an awkward position to allow him to sit.
“Brilliant plan: let yourself get captured by the mandalorians. They’ll never suspect you’re Jedi, idiot,” Avner cursed his stupidity. Of course the mandalorians would’ve known the difference between Jedi robes and civilian clothes. And even with letting them take him, he’d learned nothing of their plans. It was just a huge waste of time.
Avner sensed several people approaching the cell. He suspected it was a mandalorion with another wave of questions for him. There was no doubt he needed to think of a way out of this mess. So much for being the one who always thought situations through, it was laughable really, but true, he’d screwed up. Alek was sure to never let Avner live this one down; if Avner could get out this mess that was.
The cell door hissed open. Avner looked up in time to see as four people were shoved into the small room.
“Looks like you won’t be alone anymore,” laughed a mandalorian in blue. “You got your Republic buddies to keep you company now.”
Before Avner could move let lone stand, the door shut. He turned his gaze on the four newcomers. Two were human males, there was a male twi’lek, and one human female; all four of them were dressed in Republic uniforms.
“What happened?” Avner shifted so he was kneeling before them. Republic soldiers shouldn’t have been so easily captured. Avner looked closer at the group. Most looked injured either from blaster fire or vibroblades.
“Wha—?” The woman looked towards him and her eyes widened. “Master Jedi!” she exclaimed. “How’d the mandies get you?!”
“Long story,” Avner stated, trying to avoid having to tell them he let the mandalorians capture him. “Right now we need to focus on getting out of here and finding the Republic.”
The four soldier’s exchanged looks. “Master Jedi, the Republic pulled out. My patrol was ambushed when we received the order to pull back.”
Avner took the news in, a small frown creasing his features. Though it wasn’t really a shock the Republic had abandoned this world the fact remained this situation had turned dyer.
“How long ago did the Republic pull out?” Avner asked.
“They should be gone by now,” stated one of the human men. “We were given an hour to get back to the spaceports.”
“Our time’s up by now,” stated the woman.
“This means the mandalorians will be celebrating this evening,” Avner mussed aloud. He looked away from the soldiers thinking over all of this. If the mandalorians were celebrating it would give them just enough of a chance to make a run for it. “All right, I’ve an idea.”
“Don’t leave us hanging,” grunted another of human males.
“The mandalorians here have no doubt received the news of a victory which means they’re going to celebrate before dealing with us.”
“That’s a cheery thought,” stated the twi’lek.
“You misunderstand,” Avner shook his head. “This is actually the opportunity we need. The guards will be lessened around the cell when the celebrations start and the ones left will be distracted by the thought of the celebration.”
The soldiers nodded, seeming to get where Avner was going with this.
“One of us will pretend to pass out and another will call for help from the guards. When the door opens I’ll jump them and lead the guards away from you four. That should give you just enough time to make into the sewers. I’ll then double back and close the tunnel so the mandalorians can’t follow.”
“Where do we go from there?” asked the women.
“I managed to memorize the path the mandalorians took here when I was captured. I can get us back to the capital.” From there Avner didn’t have a clue what to do. Though this plan did allow time for him to try to gather information on the Mandalorian plans, the task might prove difficult.
“So if you don’t catch up to us, what do we do then?”
Avner was about to reply when the door opened. “You’re food.” Several plates clattered to the floor sending food from them to the floor. The door closed behind the mandalorian.
“Do you think they overheard?” asked second human male.
“No, they weren’t close enough at the time,” Avner stated. “I’m Avner,” he introduced himself.
“Lieutenant Carvan,” the first male introduced himself. “I’d shake your hand, but that seems a little hard at the moment,” Carvan nodded at the bindings holding Avner’s hands. “The mandies don’t seem to want to take risks here.”
Avner laughed. “So it’d appear.” Avner leaned back. “If I don’t catch up to you, head away from this place and at the first exit leave the sewers.” Damn, it really wasn’t a good plan, but it was all Avner had.
“Not a very sound plan,” Lieutenant Carvan grunted, grabbing one of the plates, “but I’ll take it over nothing.”
The four soldiers ate their food in silence. Avner’s stomach churned, his dark eyes locked on the door. No matter how much he knew he should eat, the thought only made him feel sick. There is no emotion; there is peace, Avner repeated the opening line of the mantra over and over in his mind. He let the words wash over him and keep his expression calm and, he hoped, almost bored.
Time passed, measured only by the movements of those beyond the door and the soft chatter of the four soldiers. Avner sat alone in his corner of the cell. The soldiers clustered around the opposite corner.
Soon Avner sensed all but two guards leave the door. He spread out his awareness. Sure enough most of the mandalorians were gathered together now. The sound of raucous music and drunken laughter was damped only by distance and the thick door. The guards shifted, seeming uneasy.
“It’s time.” Avner opened his eyes to see the soldiers already moving into position.
Lieutenant Carvan nodded before he gestured to the twi’lek. At once the twi’lek collapsed to the ground. And the woman shouted in shock. She leapt to her feet, calling, “Help, help!”
Avner moved so he was kneeling on the ground. The force built in him. He sensed one of the guards at the door. Now – Avner uncoiled, lunging at the mandalorian the second the door hissed open. Pain shot through him as his shoulder slammed into the heavy armored chest of the mandalorian. Clang, crash! The ground shook as he and the mandalorian stuck the ground.
Rolling, Avner felt a pop as he dislocated his shoulder. He twisted his arms under his legs before leaping to his feet. A soft pop and a jolt told him his shoulder had relocated.
The other guard charged. Avner whipped around the blade. The air pulsed as the vibro-blade whooshed passed Avner. Several strands of black hair floated towards the ground.
Avner leapt into the air. His arm wrapped around the Mandalorian’s neck. The ground stuck his boots. The bindings snapped as the Mandalorian hit the floor. Whipping around, Avner thrust out his hand. A wave of the force slammed into the other guard.
“Much better,” Avner stated, shaking his sore wrists.
“Why you little?” The mandalorian was on his feet in an instant. He charged towards Avner.
Avner leapt back before dancing around the hulking man. “This way.” Avner shot away from the mandalorian and into the main room. He raced through the crowd.
Shouts followed Avner as he ran, “The Jedi – the Jedi’s escaped!” That was right, follow Avner and ignore the soldiers. Yes, follow him.
Avner, whipped around several tents, blaster fire tore passed him. He had to find his lightsaber! Force, he really hoped the mandalorians hadn’t already tried to sell it.
The heat of shot warned Avner he was cutting this close. He raced through another set of tents. His eyes slid across an older mandalorian, a blaster cannon out, ready to fire. Oh, hell! Avner skidded before sliding to one side. Shots thundered behind him.
Where the hell was his lightsaber? Avner raced through the tents. The force lent him speed until he was shooting by the mandalorians as little more than a blur. He started towards the center of the base and skidded to a stop at the sight of the auburn haired woman.
“Looking for this?” she asked, holding Avner’s lightsaber.
Several more mandalorians moved from between the tents until Avner was completely surrounded. His eyes flickered from the woman to the group and back again.
“Keeping him alive is too much of a risk. Kill him!” she ordered.
Avner steadied his stance. “There is no emotion;” he moved his hands, “there is peace.” The rubble littering the ground began to shake. His lightsaber moved in the woman’s hands. “There is no ignorance; there is knowledge.” The rubble shot up from the ground.
The mandalorians stumbled back. Several let out shouts of shock. The rubble flew towards them. Avner lunged towards the woman. His lightsaber flew from her and into his out stretched hand. His heel dug into the ground and he spun as he steadied himself. The low hum of his lightsaber filled the air. A soft, purple glow was cast over the ground.
“How many of you have a faced a Jedi before?” Avner asked, his voice even almost bored. His blade was flipped so he held it in an underhanded position. His free hand sent a large piece of fallen metal towards the group with just a flick. Turning, Avner didn’t wait for a reply. He bolted.
“Avner!” a shout greeted Avner as he turned into the sewers.
“Get down,” Avner warned the soldiers. Whipping around, the force built in him. The rocks around his feet flew into the air. Cracks cascaded through the ceiling. Several of his pursuers hesitated noticing the slight shaking of the ground.
The ceiling caved as Avner lowered his free hand. Shouts of shock echoed off the walls. One cried above the others, “You’re dead, Jetti, dead!”
Darkness fell around Avner and the soldiers, punctuated only by the soft light of his lightsaber. Dust settled around them. Silence soon pressed down on the group from all sides. Avner remained still, listening, his awareness spread wide incase a group was on patrol somewhere ahead.
“That was amazing,” a voice broke the silence, shattering Avner’s concentration. “I’ve never seen a Jedi do that before,” it was the woman who had spoken.
“Then you’ve not met many Jedi,” Avner stated in a calm voice. He turned to the group, holding his lightsaber so they could see. “We should head towards the capital. There might be other soldiers who were left behind.”
“You thinking of starting a rebellion?” asked Lieutenant Carvan. In the gloom, Avner only just made out the smallest shake of the man’s head. “That’s damn suicide.”
“Then what was the point of escaping?” Avner looked at the man, his expression calm. “Even if we get out of the sewers, what would you do then? The mandalorians will have all transports under lock down even after their fleet leaves this system.”
Only silence greeted Avner’s words.
“It doesn’t matter just yet as it is. We need to get out of the sewers before worrying about what we will and will not do.” Avner stepped through the small group and took the lead.
Silence fell over them once more. The only sound was the patter of water and the louder sound of their boots. The purple blade illuminated very little in the dark passages. At times Avner heard one of the soldiers leap back when a shadow shifted despite the fact there was no one ahead or behind them.
Hours slipped by before Avner found the entrance he’d used to get down here. “Stay here,” he warned them and placed a hand on the ladder.
“No,” Lieutenant Carvan placed a hand on Avner’s wrist.
Their eyes met and all Avner saw was a hard determination. “We go up together.”
Avner hesitated. He really should go up alone first and call down if it was safe or not.
“If you stick with us, kid, you need to learn we do things a unit and not alone.”
This went against Avner’s better judgment. He sighed, “All right.” He stepped down. “But allow me to go up first in case we come under fire. I can guard against ranged attacks.”
The lieutenant nodded and Avner started up the ladder. He pressed button at the top. Nothing happened. Just great, the power line had been cut and he knew there was no access nearby. Avner shifted his lightsaber before stabbing it through the metal door. Sparks flew and the small passage was light by them. The door swung open.
Avner crawled up and out of the sewers. A dim, dust filled landscape greeted him. The soft sound of boots against stone paths filled the air. A soft cough sounded behind Avner.
“Damn mandies,” muttered the lieutenant as he stepped up beside Avner.
“By the looks of it there’s already a resistance group,” stated the woman as she exited. She turned and helped the other two out of the sewers.
“The only question is: where are they?” asked the twi’lek.
“We’ll have to find them,” Avner stated, sheathing his lightsaber. “It’s our best chance at helping the civilians and this world.”
The lieutenant grunted in response, not seeming too pleased by this. The fact remained the five of them alone had little to chance of making it out of this situation alive. Plus, while Avner was trapped here he might as well try to learn all he could about why the mandalorians were invading outlying worlds not yet part of the Republic.