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07.07.2013 , 01:48 PM | #41
Chapter 33

Prudii threw himself at the enemies, still getting used to his cybernetic arm. Swinging his metal fist, he smashed in a Chagrian's nose, then turned and swept his rifle, killing three enforcers and a Dread Master slave. Kephess' Trandoshans swept through the throngs of Republic and Imperial forces, tearing apart soldiers, Jedi, and Sith. Force lightning and blaster bolts flew; vibroblades and lightsabers swung.

Prudii grunted, tripped over a fallen battle droid, and fell face-first onto the ground. He found himself staring at green armored boots, and he looked up. Elara glanced down, saw him, and even though she had a helmet on he could tell her eyes widened. He stumbled to his feet.

"Prudii?" she gaped.

He nodded. "In the flesh, darling. I'll explain later. Jorgan's down. He's hurt bad."

"I'm on it, sir."

She sprinted by, firing her blaster. Prudii fired from the hip, cutting down another two troops. He swung his rifle, smashing it upside the head of a Trandoshan. The alien fell and Prudii's rifle shattered. With a groan Prudii leaned down and picked up another weapon from the many on the ground. He fired, but the rifle clicked–empty!–and he threw it down, jumping forward just before a tossed vibroknife shaved above his head. Wincing, he picked up another weapon and fired. This one worked.

Jasin came up behind him, lightsaber sweeping. News must have been sweeping over the comm channels, because the Jedi betrayed no surprise at seeing Prudii. Then again, maybe he'd just sensed him in the Force.

"Good to see you're alive," Jasin said with a grin.

"Good to be alive," Prudii agreed.

Together, they stood, back-to-back, firing and slashing, for a solid five minutes. Droves of enemies fell, corpses of allies and foes piling up around them so many that the enemies had to climb over to get at them. Prudii fired up, dropping another one.

"I need to get to Kephess," Jasin said.

Prudii nodded. "Comlink."

Jasin dug into his pocket and handed one to Prudii. Prudii fired another shot and then activated the communications device.

"Havoc Squad, give Master Jasin covering fire," he ordered.

"Roger that," Jorgan groaned.

"By the way, good to have you back, sir," said Tanno.

"Thanks. Prudii out."

Jasin Force-leapt over the pile of bodies. Prudii clambered on top and fired a few shots, taking down enemies that were headed for the Jedi. Then, without hesitation, Prudii leapt from the pile and sprinted after Jasin.

* * *

Gareb sensed Jasin going toward Kephess and moved that way, Qyzen and Zenith covering him. He Force-pushed, knocking back a team of enemies moving to cut him off. He had a clear shot at Kephess. Jasin had already reached the large Trandoshan and was now engaging him. Even as Gareb reached the Undying warrior, Methic and Dha leapt in, too.

Gareb ripped a tree from its roots and hurled it at Kephess. Kephess rolled aside just as the tree reached him, and the branches grazed him, tearing gaps in his flesh. Qyzen snarled and leapt at Kephess, Trandoshan to Trandoshan. But Gareb saw they couldn't do it alone. Pulling out his comlink, he tuned it for all Republic channels.

"We need reinforcements!" he said.

* * *

Dankin winced as the comlink crackled and Gareb's voice came over. It only took Dankin a moment to find him; there, fighting Kephess at the foot of the trail.

"Bowdaar!" he said. "Corso, Akaavi! Come on, let's go!"

Bowdaar roared with glee and charged out, his arms and vibrosword sweeping the enemies aside. Akaavi closed in behind him. When Dankin was ten meters from the engagement, he threw down his energy shield and ducked behind it. He fired both pistols at the Trandoshan.

* * *

Merok moved to the top of the mountain looking down over the fight. He crawled down onto his belly, training his rifle on Kephess. He'd only get one shot at this. He tapped out a signal over the comlink, and Kaliyo tapped back a reply. She led Vector and a squad of Oroboro Killiks over to take on Kephess. Merok frowned. Now every major player in the battle was engaging Kephess, save for one.

Where was Darth Nox?

He decided he really didn't want to know.

* * *

Jasin's lightsaber spun, smashing against Kephess' vibrosword. This blasted alien really was invincible! They'd scored wounds across his arms, legs, chest, and even face, but still Kephess refused to die. Enraged, the powerful Trandoshan was fighting with all his might, pushing back even Jasin.

Rocks thrown by Gareb and blaster bolts fired by others smashed into Kephess. The alien was limping forward now, but he was still moving. Jasin raised his blade for a killing blow, but Kephess backhanded him, sending him flying a good three meters. Lying on the ground, Jasin watched as Qyzen roared and sunk his powerful teeth into Kephess' arm. Kephess groaned, pulled away, and bellowed out in rage as his arm stayed in Qyzen's teeth. Taking advantage of the moment, Bowdaar charged, ramming his shoulders into Kephess' gut. The alien fell.

Jasin rolled to his feet, panting. He Force-pulled his lightsaber to him and started forward. Kephess grabbed Dha, threw him, and then did the same to Akaavi. How could one being be so powerful?

And then, a wall of Force lightning, more powerful than any Jasin had encountered, save the Emperor's, slammed into Kephess' chest. The alien roared in agony and fell to the ground.

* * *

Methic looked up in surprise as Darth Nox surged forward, lightning pouring from his fingertips. When had the Twi'lek arrived? And why would he intervene now? No matter; it was time to finish the fight. Leaping forward, Methic spun both lightsabers at Kephess, severing his other arm. The alien shrieked and roared. But he was defenseless.

And then suddenly there was a rocking explosion that sent every combatant to their knees.

Methic tried to get up. He really did. But the agony...the agony. There was a subsonic hum vibrating deep in his skull and breastbone, and he could see that everyone else was feeling it too. And then, a Dread Guard stepped from the shadows.

"You will not take the Masters' vessel," he growled. He lifted Kephess' injured body with the Force and pulled him away.

And a blaster bolt shot through the air, blowing the Dread Guard's head off his shoulders. The agony stopped, but Methic still couldn't move; he was too busy being relieved. Kephess, on the other hand, spent no time running away as fast as possible. Jasin leapt to his feet.

"I'll get him!"

* * *

Merok sighed. He fired a few more blaster bolts at Kephess, but the Trandoshan was too far away. Well, so much for that. He'd been ready to kill the Trandoshan when the Dread Guard had come out, forcing him to change his plan. Well, it was over now, and he had new orders.

"All Republic forces," said Supreme Commander Malcom over the comlink, "round up the Black Sun prisoners. The battle is over and the Imperials have agreed to a ceasefire as long as we give them the Black Sun's captured Imperials back as a gesture of good faith. We will leave Belsavis and the ceasefire will stay in effect until we have both returned to our respective capitols. Good work, men. Supreme Commander Malcom, out."

Standing, Merok prepared to take a lot of prisoners.