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03.07.2013 , 08:26 PM | #44
Chapter 31

Collapsed mine, Mandalore
115 days ABDK

Darth Nox awoke and felt a searing pain between his eyes. He sat up and rubbed his head. Why in blazes was he in a cave? Last thing he remembered, he had been confronting Methic, when…

Oh. And then he’d lost his memory and fought the Dread Masters, and now he was trapped in a caved-in tunnel with Khem.

“Blast you, Khem, wake up!”

Khem shuddered. “Lord Nox?”

Nox rolled his eyes. “Of course, you moron! Who did you think I was?”

Khem made a grating sound that Nox realized was laughter.

“Good to have you back, Little Sith.”

“Good to be back,” Nox said. “Now, let’s see about getting out of this cave, shall we?”

* * *

Jaesa tried to calm herself and prepare for the worst as she lifted the rocks blocking the mine with the Force. She hoped Quinn was alive, but she knew chances of such a thing were slim. She felt herself begin to tear up at the thought.

Nearby, a large Houk was snarling in rage and beating ineffectually at the rocks, trying to get in.

“Come on,” Jaesa panted. “Come…on!”

Finally, enough of a space opened that she could see in, but it was too dark to tell if Quinn was nearby or not. Then she sensed danger in the Force and flattened the Houk with a gentle push before throwing herself to the ground. The rubble exploded outward.

And Darth Nox and his pet Dashade stood at the entrance.

“Methic!” Nox snarled.


* * *

Ashara looked up in relief as Tran’thar and Khem Val exited the cave, but her relief was smashed when she saw the Twi’lek’s yellow eyes, and heard his rage.

Darth Nox was back.

She ran up to him and hugged him anyway, trying to divert his anger. He hugged her a little, and then gently but firmly grabbed her arms and moved her aside. She sighed and stepped back, waiting to see how this would play out.

Nox and Methic stepped toward each other. Before Methic could react, Nox sent a blast of Force energy at Methic, sending the Sith Lord flying. Methic’s brother and cousin ignited their lightsabers, but Nox held up a hand.

“No,” he said. “Debt paid, for now. I leave in peace. Khem, Ashara, come.”

Ashara sighed in relief and followed Nox away from the mine.

Jaesa ran into the open mine and knelt beside Quinn’s broken and battered body. He was lying on his stomach, a large boulder on his back. His head was turned to the side, his eyes closed and blood crusting on his forehead.


* * *

Jaesa pushed the rock off his back and wrapped his right arm around her neck, putting her left arm under his armpit. She couldn’t feel him breathing and she despaired that he was dead.

Then he sputtered out a cough. “Jaesa…?”

“Quinn,” she said in relief.

“I…saved you,” he said. “Good…”

He passed out, and Jaesa hurried to get him out into the open air.

* * *

Dha walked up to Gault with Mako at his side. Gault had a large rock resting on his chest, and it was clear that his ribs had caved in. His other horn was broken off, making him look like a bad artist’s portrayal of a Devaronian female. Dha sighed and knelt down, putting a closed fist to his friend’s head.

“Thank you,” he said. He paused as he felt something under his fist. “Wait…he’s alive, Mako!”

Mako held a hand to her mouth, gasping. Dha swiftly picked up Gault in an emergency carry hold.

“Find a surgeon,” he said.

“On it,” she replied.