Alright then now, I'm not gonna lie. The ending for this chapter alone took ages, not because it was hard but because I have no idea how I wanted to end this one, it took days for me to figure it out and I'm still not sure I made the right idea.
The two blades danced around him in a flurry, both black and red, one in each hand that didn't stop moving even for a moment. All around him in the smaller hanger on the star destroyer, two squads' worth of troopers all had their weapons aimed at him, firing their weapons with good aim, most of which would have hit him if it wasn't for the sabres.
Starkillers training regime did not stop while he was on mission, in fact after his meeting with Lord Sidious, his training only increased. Twisting his body as his sabres moved like fan blades around him, two bolts blocked every second if he was counting right.
This was Thrawns personal hanger and so smaller than the ones on the rest of the destroyer, though that did not mean it didn't possess most of the features of a regular hanger. At the moment the one that caught his eye was the overhead walkway where he saw the Grand Admiral himself looking down at him from the brief moments he had to look in that direction, knowing that he would not be there unless he had a reason. Starkiller thought it best that he should see what he wants, now that he had somewhere to be, he started to deflect the rounds back the ones who fired them and after just thirty seconds, all the troopers where on the ground.
Taking a moment to calm himself, he deactivated back his sabres and walked towards the edge of the hanger until he was standing right under the walkway Thrawn was waiting for him on. Using the force to boost him, Starkiller jumped into the air and landed on the railing just next to the Admiral "I must admit Starkiller, I am surprised. I thought you would have preferred a more... risky training of style" he said, looking down to the troopers who started to pick themselves back up after the stun rounds hit them.
"I do" he said back quickly "but they wouldn't have provided the training needed if they thought there was a chance they would be killed by it" he explained.
"Fair enough, I suppose. Please walk with me" he said as the two left the hanger.
"What can I help you with Grand Admiral?" Starkiller asked as they walked in silence down the corridors of the ship and he could quickly tell that they were moving towards the bridge, all the personnel that they came across either moved to the side and gave them a salute or the more higher-ranking members of the ship stepped out of the way and gave them a respectful nod.
"There has been a development that the ISB have been looking into and it's getting quite worrying to some of the high members of the imperial government" he spoke calmly as they stepped onto the bridge. All the regular personal where present but upon looking closer, Starkiller could see agent Kalus was standing at the front waiting for them.
"Grand Admiral" he nodded to Thrawn before turning back to Starkiller "My lord hand"
"Agent Kalus, there was something you wanted to speak to us about" Thrawn said as he looked at the agent.
"Yes Admiral. There has been a great deal of tension within the ISB at the moment. Two months ago, there was a... heist for lack of a better word. One of the imperial garrisons on Aldhani also acted as protection for the quarterly payroll for an entire Imperial sector. The assailants were discovered and there were casualties, but they did manage to escape with a seventy percent of the payroll" he explained as he lifted a data pad and handed it to Thrawn who started to look it over "members of the ISB have begun to suspect that this is the work of a rebel leader they have given the name of Axis"
"Do you believe them to be retailed to the Phoenix squadron?" Thrawn asked him.
"I believe so. This Axis is an unknown power, but they have proven to be effective in their work" Kalus spoke "the efforts of the Phoenix squadron are not well known to the ISB as they are simply labelled as local insurrectionists. But if this 'Axis' is capable of planning the Aldhani operation, then I believe they would not be working alone, it is my belief that this could a coordinated attack by multiple rebel cells working together and pooling their information and resources"
Thrawn let out a hum as he looked down at the data in front of him "and you believe that this 'Cassian Andor' is the key to identifying Axis?" he asked him.
"Yes sir" Kalus nodded "Andor was on the radar of the ISB before the heist took place and it is believed that he was a member of the team, ISB has had little in the way of tracking him down but an operation is being led by Dedra Meero. Who will in two days be leading a team onto the world of Ferrix as it has recently been known that Cassian's mother has died and the funeral will be held there"
"Use the Funeral as bait to lore in the target then take him down when he arrives" Starkiller spoke as he crossed his arms "all of this is on the assumption that he even goes, why are you telling us this? Seems the ISB has it well in hand"
Kalus squared his shoulders "I have simply brought it to the attention of the grand admiral because I believe this relates to his current mission"
"And you would be right" Thrawn spoke causing the two to look towards him "I believe this could be useful, assuming of course that this Andor takes the bait and goes" he looked over to Starkiller with a raised eyebrow "Starkiller I would like you to go to this Ferrix and assist the ISB in capturing Andor, your skills would make you quite suited for the mission. Before you try and dissuade me" he added quickly "keep in mind that by the time you return, the package I requested for you will have arrived" he said.
Starkiller didn't speak for a moment, but he did give a small roll of his eyes, this was clearly below his level of attention, but he had to remember that his mission here was to assist the admiral with his mission "forward me the details" he said to Kalus as he turned his back "I'll go over them and make for Ferrix" he finished as he started to walk away.
"Yes, my lord" Kalus's voice echoed behind him.
Sabine was walking towards the command centre with Able and Fenn beside her. They had just landed the Tempest and she was only planning on getting some supplies and letting Sato know about what their plan was. Only for that to go out the window when she was told to immediately make her way to the command table for an urgent meeting.
As she approached, she could see pretty much everyone. Zeb, Rex, Cal, Maul, Marrin, Chopper, Kanan, Cere and even Hera made her way over, though she still did look very upset. No doubt not done morning the loss of her father "Wren, good, you're here" Sato said as he took a step forward and all eyes turned to him "one of are Fulcrum agents has passed on an important message" he reached down and pressed a button on the table.
The standard logo for the Fulcrum agents appeared over the table and distorted voice began to play for all of them to hear "I have conformation that Starkiller, the hand to Lord Vader will be heading to the planet of Ferrix in an attempt to capture a rebel agent that could give the empire access to a large rebel cell operating within the inner rim of the galaxy. The agent's name is Cassian Andor" an image of Andor's face became displayed for all to see "Starkiller will only have the reinforcements of a small force, three squads at most and no fire support. If you want him, this will be your best chance" the image went away as did the message.
Everyone was quite for a moment as they let the message sink in "we have to do this" it was no surprise that Sabine spoke first.
"Last time we ran into him, things didn't go well" Cere spoke as she placed both her hands on her hips.
"Ture enough" Maul spoke as well "but that was an unexpected meeting, we would have the element of surprise this time"
"The risk is huge" Rex added "but I'm more interested in this Andor" he turned to look at Sato "do we know of any rebel cells in the inner rim?" he asked.
"I was not made aware of one, but it would hardly be surprising" was all Sato said on the subject.
"Dealing with a few squads of troopers shouldn't be a problem either" Cal added his own voice to the mix "but Star... Ezra is a very strong opponent. He beat me and Cere easily the last time we met"
"You were alone" Kanan spoke as he took a step forward and placed both hands on the table "I don't know how strong Ezra would be against all of us, but I'm willing to bet we would have what it takes to bring him down. Not kill" he quickly looked over to Sabine "we need to bring him in alive, if not for the chance to bring him back to us but for all the information he could give as well"
"I could knock him out" Marrin spoke up causing all others to look at her "If I have the necessary ingredients. I could create a concoction that would be enough to put him to sleep for a time"
"Then that's the plan" Hera said as stepped forward, everyone was surprised by her words "we'll take the Ghost to Ferrix now, spend however long we can to get a lay of the land and come up with a plan. We find Ezra, fight him, knock him out and bring him back. And we're all going" she directed that last part at Maul who nodded back.
She turned around without a word and started to make her way to the Ghost, Sabine made to follow her but stopped herself before she turned to face Fenn "you don't have to come with us" she said to him.
"I would like to, my desire for battle has not diminished yet" she smiled at her before she quickly made her way over to the Ghost.
Walking up the ramp she wasted no time in heading to the cockpit already seeing Hera go over everything that's needed when it comes to getting ready for take-off "You don't have to come" she said to her.
The pilot didn't say anything for a moment, only looking over her shoulder and starring at Sabine in the corner of her eye "why wouldn't I?" she said back.
"Because I think you might not have a clear enough mindset for it" the response was blunt, but it got her point across.
She let out a dry chuckle "and you do?" she said back just as quickly "say what you want to say Sabine" there was a harsh tone in her voice that the Mando had not seen before.
"Hera, I need to know that you won't try and kill him" she stepped forward until she stood right behind the pilot.
Hera stopped what she was doing and turned around, standing up straight she was a couple of inches taller than Sabine but that didn't mean much to her "How do you know he doesn't deserve it?" she asked back.
"Hera, what happened was not Ezra's fault" she knew that it wasn't what Hera wanted to hear but it had to be said "he doesn't know who he is anymore"
"I know!" she snapped back quickly "I know Sabine and my heart goes out to him, it really does but we can't keep trying to save him at the cost of everyone else" she reasoned as she calmed herself.
"It won't come to that" she argued back "last time, he caught us by surprise and unaware. Now it's the other way around and we're all going to be there. We will subdue him and bring him back" that was all she said before turning around and heading away. Knowing that if she stayed, they would have ended up arguing over this and she didn't want to create a bigger rift with Hera then there was already.
Starkiller flew his ship into a secluded area of the town and hid it from view, not wanting his ship to be seen alongside the other imperial vessels. The landing gear hit the ground with a small thud, he immediately began to power down the ship before he lowered the exit ramp. Standing up he started to make his way off the ship and stepping down the ramp onto the dry desert rock, he pulled his hood up over his head and started to head towards the town.
It wasn't a long walk and soon he began to walk through the streets and buildings making his way towards the imperial base which was made up of an old hotel building. While early in the morning, the sun only just starting to rise, giving the sky a blue hue. There were a couple of people walking around though as soon as they spotted him they stopped and walked away, talking to each other as they did so.
He payed them no mind and continued onwards to the hotel, he reached it easily though a part of him told him that something wasn't right, that someone was watching him more closely then they should. He stopped in the road and turned away to the left down a side alley, his yellow eyes peering out from his hood, and he only briefly caught the sight of a dark-skinned woman before she was hidden from view. His eyes narrowed slightly before he turned and continued on.
Upon reaching the hotel, he was met with a squad of Storm troopers who all shuffled nervously as he neared, he could tell that they wanted to stop him as they had no idea who he was, but they didn't out of fear. Stepping past them and into the main lobby which was full of imperial personal and equipment, all them however turned to look at him as he walked in. Before anyone could ask a shadow trooper approached him with his weapon held close "My lord" it stated with his synthesized voice coming through the helmet "agent Meero has been made aware of your arrival. I'm to escort you to her" he said to him.
"Lead the way" was all he said back.
The trooper nodded and turned around, making his way up the stairs and Starkiller followed behind. It only took a minute or two before he entered a makeshift meeting room and upon entering all the personal turned to look at him. He could see agent Meero, a tall woman with white her pulled back into a tight bun, matching her uniform and three unknown officers that he would guess are the ones in charge of the forces here. All the men held nervous looks as they gazed at him and Meero did as well but she was much more refined and controlled in her body language "Lord Starkiller" she said as she bowed her head, the others following suit quickly.
"Agent Meero" he said back, stepping forward ignoring the others. He stopped just shy of the table that held a holographic image of the town "I trust everything is in order?" he asked her.
"Yes, my Lord" she said before turning her head to the officer on the left of her "continue" she said to him.
Quickly gathering himself, the man continued with what he was saying before he walked in "we've loosened air traffic as you requested, pulled back our uniform patrols, relaxed our curfew. We've baited the trap and opened the door. We've got recon units prepped and positioned. I know you've got your own sources out there" he said to Meero but he kept on looking at Starkiller with a nervous look.
"What time is the funeral?" she asked him.
"They asked for midday. We pushed it back two hours. They slow down a bit after lunch" he answered.
"And the funeral area?" she continued.
"Right there" another one of the officers said as he pointed at the middle of the map, right in front of a large tower "that's her box. We're allowing them half of Rix Road for one block"
"We gave them a max of thirty people. The daughters pushed back, so we've upped it to forty"
Meero and Starkiller both looked at the man with a confused look "Daughters?" she asked before he could.
"The daughters of Ferrix" he answered "It's a social club. Andors mother was a past president"
"A local annoyance" another said quickly, more to himself than anyone else.
"Up the population more" Starkiller spoke for the first time causing the others to turn on him.
"My Lord?" one of the men said "if we allow the crowd to grow larger than we'll be outnumbered"
"You're already outnumbered" he said back "the entire town is against you and they just need the smallest spark to set them off into a fight. The crowd will keep getting bigger regardless of what you say but the best chance we have at capturing Andor will be giving him a place to hide" the others all looked at each with thought "the more cover he thinks he has then the bigger chance we have of catching him in the open. Let him think he can hide in the crowd. Allow whoever wants to attend the ability too" he ordered them and like the scarred sheep they were, they all nodded and muttered 'yes my lord'
"We control positions here" one of the officers said as he pointed at a handful of key points on the map "here and here. We'll have snipers and a containment unit there"
"Containment, yes. Snipers, no. I want him taken alive" Meero immediately said "I want that message passed along the line and clearly. Dismissed" she said to them, and all the officers left the room, leaving the two of them alone "you'll have to forgive me for the lack of proper welcoming" she started "I was only made aware of your arrival two hours ago"
"And you don't like it do you?" he said back quickly as he took a step forward, now pushed up against the table.
"My Lord, I assure you it is an honour for you to be..." she started with a firm voice.
"Stop" he interrupted her and she froze in place before shutting her mouth "you may be able to lie well but you cannot lie to me, you hate that I'm here, you think that I will take all the credit for your hard work" he started to move around the table towards her "let me reassure your fears, I don't care" as he reached the same side of the table as she did, he walked forward and she slowly started to take a step back, being unable to hold her ground against the presence Starkiller gave off "I don't care for the politics of the ISB, I don't care for your rivals, I don't care about credit. I am here to complete the mission" Meero's back hit the wall giving her no were else to go "as far as I am concerned you can tell your superiors whatever you want, mine will know what I did. You can keep all the credit" he stopped right in front of her, their faces almost touching "you can go back from here with your head held high and get another little blue pin for your uniform. If you do well enough, then I may even have good things to say about you to others such as Grand Admiral Thrawn and Lord Vader. But until then you will do what I tell you, Understood" he said to her.
She was quite for a moment as she looked up at him, her eyes looking right into his yellow ones "yes sir" she said to him calmly.
"Good" was all he said back before he stepped away "Now, do you have room for me?" he asked her.
She quickly straightened her back at the question and nodded "yes my lord, follow me" she said before moving out of the room with him following close behind.
The crew of the Ghost was a lot more cramped together than it would be normally but when an all-hands-on deck was called, they had taken that literarily. The cockpit currently held Hera, Kanan, Chopper, Sabine and Able. While further back in the ship, there was Cal, Cere, Maul, Marrin, Zeb and Fen. The latter of which was only here as a method of releasing let out a great deal of rage he felt after having seen his clan wiped out "I'm going to land us a few clicks away from the settlement" Hera started as the Ghost went into the clouds and started to make its way to a small mountain area a good way away from the town.
"Good" Kanan agreed "but be ready to pick us up in a moment's notice. We don't know how quickly we'll want to leave"
"I know" she said back calmly but also, Sabine could notice a cold note in her voice.
Knowing that there wasn't much more to say, Sabine turned and made her way out "we're about to land now" she told the others who were all sitting around a table "Cere and Zeb will stay here and act as back up for Hera encase something happens" she started as the others all turned to look at her "Marrin, how much longer for this... whatever it is be competed?" she asked him.
The Nightsister was in the corner of the room with a large bowel full of a green liquid that glowed more often than anyone was comfortable with. She was waving her hands over it, chanting while she did so. she stopped what she was doing and looked up at her "Not yet, I need more time" she told them.
"You said you could do it" the Mando said back with narrowed eyes.
"And I can" she said back just as harshly "but it needs to be strong enough to knock someone like this... Ezra out, the more strength it needs to longer it will take" she then started to ignore her and went back to it.
"She'll get it done" Cal interrupted the argument that was about to start "And I'll be able to slow him down enough to give you an opening" Cal added as he nodded towards the Night Sister.
The door behind her opened and Kanan walked out with a calm face, he looked to the others and gave them a nod "Alright, let's go" was all he said to them as they made it to the exit of the ship.
The music is what alerted him first, Starkiller opened his eyes as the sound of music came through his open window. Standing up from his kneeling position he made his way outside, not on the ground level, that wouldn't help him as much as being higher would. Walking up the stairs, everyone stepped out of the way of him and giving him a salute. He could tell the music was getting louder, the crowd was getting nearer. Walking around the corner he reached the final door, opening it he stepped out onto the roof. The troopers stationed on their quickly turned to face him but straightened their backs and saluted, he ignored them and moved the edge of the roof and looked down to the road.
At the far end of the road was a large gathering of two crowds that were coming together, each one had a group of people playing music as they slowly moved forward "You call this a parameter! Square this away!" a voice called from under him. Looking down he could see that the officers he spoke with earlier started to order everyone around clearly panicking like the fool he was "they don't step past this line!"
Starkiller droned his shouting out of his ears and focused on the mission, he had attempted to use meditation as a means of finding Andor put that seemed to prove ineffective. Something he would have to train for more in the future, glancing away from the crowd for a moment, he caught sight of two civilians walking through the parameter line. Though one was forcing the other, an undercover agent by the looks of it, again he turned away.
The two groups had met up in the middle of the line and where now holding together at the end of the road, the music still played and with his eyes he could see a man in the middle holding a plague slowly make his way forward. There was a small droid by his side and when the two made it to the front of the group, they stopped and the music did with it. As this happened, he felt a small prick within the force, something wasn't right and it wasn't just the large crowd of people who clearly wanted to kill them all. Something else was going on.
Suddenly the music picked up again and the entire crowd started to walk forward towards the imperial line, the music playing faster as they did so. He made sight of Meero who left the hotel with her Shadow Troopers, he rolled his eyes at the sight. The sight of the coming crowd was making the officers nervous, no doubt about that but he payed them no mind. Instead, he scanned the crowd and looked for the target, anything with a hood or someone facing away from him.
The crowd had now reached the hotel, though before they could hit the perimeter line, the man holding the plague turned around and some moved in behind him and walked around in the little circle, marking a spot in the middle for the droid. The music continued to pick up again but this time the crowd started to chant with it "Stone and Sky. Stone and sky" they said as one voice.
As they chanted, he looked at them all. He could see many different people looking up at him, not that surprising when you would consider how ominous he must look, wearing all black and have yellow eyes peering out of his hood. Though he couldn't help but take a moment to think about all of this, this woman must have meant a lot to these people, this was a large gathering and he doubted that if someone died here, everyone would turn up which seemed to be the case here. This was a woman who was clearly a leader and he respected those who could earn such loyalty from others. Then it all stopped, the music, the chanting, everything.
He tore his eyes away from the crowd and instead looked to the centre of the circle as the droid projected a hologram of the woman in question. Everyone in the crowd looked up at her as he had to say the hologram was quite large, giving everyone a chance to see her "My name is Maarva Carassi Andor" she started "I'm honoured to stand before you. I'm honoured to be a daughter of Ferrix, I'm honoured to be worthy of the stone. Strange I... feel as if I can see it. I was six, I think, first time I touched a funerary stone. Heard our music, felt our history. Holding my sister's hand as we walked all the way from Fountain Square. Where you stand now, I've been more times than I can remember. I always wanted to be lifted" as the woman spoke, while Starkiller did listen to her. He also looked away as he went back to the crowd, he may respect the woman but that didn't mean he was take listening to her talk over his mission here.
Then there it was again, the Force calling to him. It was a new feeling, he's felt the Force warning him, give him power, he's even heard of it from his master and his research that it has been used to see the future and give visions though he's never done that himself. But this was different, it was like the Force was leaving him a trail to follow, a place to step, a direction to turn "there is a wound that won't heal, at the centre of the galaxy" Maarva's voice came back to him as he stepped right in the ledge of the building trying to find where the Force was telling him to look "there is a darkness reaching like rust into everything around us. We let it grow and now it's here. It's here and it's not visiting anymore. It wants to stay. The empire is a disease that thrives in darkness, it was never more alive than when we sleep"
That was when he saw it, a face deep in the heart of the crowd. Looking up past the hologram and right at him, he narrowed his eyes as he tried to place it from this distance "It's easy for the dead to tell you to fight" he was looking in the exact spot the Force was telling him to "and maybe it's true, maybe fighting is useless. Perhaps it's too late. But I'll tell you this... if I could do it again, I'd wake up early and be fighting these bastards" he didn't listen as the imperial officer started to push his way through his men and towards the droid "from the start" was all she got out before it was cut off.
The crowd immediately started to shout and yell at him, seems he didn't listen when Starkiller told him it was only a small spark that would set them off "ENOUGH!" he shouted back at them before he flipped the droid over. Which in turned caused the man who held the plague to kick him to the ground.
And que the riot.
They all charged at the line, but he didn't care, he didn't even look down at them. He just kept looking at the man who didn't move with the crowd, instead he stood in the same spot while others ran past him. Or away from him, violence wasn't for everyone a large number of people turned in the other direction. That was when it happened, the Force called out a warning like it always did. His eyes didn't leave the man, even when he knew something was flying over the imperial line and towards one of the transporters. But that was when he realized it, that was when he recognized the man "Kestus" he muttered to himself.
The explosion of the bomb happened underneath him and the shockwave hit him causing his cloak to sway backwards. Starkiller did not care, not at all, he didn't care about the transporter that blew up, he didn't care about how that explosion set off even more causing major damage to the front of the hotel and maybe killing a couple of people, he didn't even care about Andor anymore, he didn't care at all. Why would he? A Jedi was here.
He leaped forward, jumping off the roof and into the smoke bellow him. Using the Force to slow him down as he fell, just in front of the line of troopers who only picked themselves up off the ground. He had to give these people credit though, some of them kept on fighting despite everything. He did respect that, he loved a good fight "OPEN FIRE!" a voice called behind them.
The blaster bolts flew all around and him and the bodies fell to the ground, though many continued to fight despite that, a part of him respected these guys even more then he did the officers who ordered them to fire upon them. The idiots didn't even keep their heads calm as they listened to the speech of a dead woman. He made a mental note to kill them later, it was just sad really.
As he walked through the crowd of people that were running around in a panic, it wasn't helping that the troopers where slowly marching forward firing at anything they could see. Some people in the quickly displacing crowd even tried to attack him, not that it worked of course. Someone came at him with a pipe, he simply brought his right arm back, the metal it's made from more than enough to brunt the attack and move to it the side and just as quickly he brought it back and punched the man in the face his it, breaking many bones and causing him to fall to the ground. Another came from the other side but he simply used the Force to push the woman away.
As he started to make his way out of the smoke, he could see his target. Kestus was standing in the middle of the road a little further down, waiting for him. He could appreciate lack of a chase and seeing that he had his sabre in hand got his blood pumping. They both ignored the crowd running around in a fear fuelled frenzy "I've been told about you" the Jedi started as they stood still "of who you are, or who you were" he flicked his wrist and the blue sabre came to life.
He was about to march forward and attack but a sound coming from his left stopped him, turning to face it he could see another Jedi. The same one he saw on Ryloth. Jarrus. He stood with his sabre turned on as well, looking at him with a strong intent and a guarded stance. The smile on Starkillers face grew ever so slightly, this seemed to be much more interesting.
However, it wasn't until he heard that exact same sound on his right that he got really excited. smiling brighter in anticipation, he turned to face it but when he saw who it was that he knew that this mission may just be one of his best. Standing on the steps that seemed to go up to one of the smaller alleyway's was a male Zabrak with red face paint and a red double-bladed sabre.
He knew that one all too well, one of the true Sith apprentices that were confirmed to still be alive somewhere. And he was right here, for a moment Starkiller forgot about the other two Jedi and instead turned his entire body to face him, this was the one he was going for. To fight one who trained under Lord Sidious himself for years, he started to shake slightly with anticipation for the coming battle.
But it got even better, he heard it again.
His mouth opened ever so slightly as he turned his head to the right, into the direction of the way he just came from and he smiled as he saw two more figures. His head tilted to the side as he looked at them, a man and woman... 'no' he thought to himself, a clone and a mando. That much was easy to tell based on the armour they were wearing. Two figures that looked to be the same he saw on Ryloth only this time they looked ready for him, not to mention the weapons they used. On either one of their wrists, they wielded small red blades that extended ever so slightly.
For some reason he couldn't help but think that they looked familiar and not just from Ryloth. It was like he could picture their faces behind the helmets, his eyes narrowed as he looked at the woman 'who is she?' he couldn't help but ask himself
"I don't know what happened to you" she started to speak over the sounds of the blaster fire, the fighting and the screams only happening behind her "but we're going to help you Ezra. I am going to get you back"
At the sound of that word, all the wonder and curiosity about these people left him. His eagerness for the fight, the smile on his lips at the thought of it went away and his face was replaced with an emotionless husk "Ezra Kryze is alive only in the past, he's forgotten" he brought his right arm up and ignited his sabre, the red blade blurring to life "I am Starkiller, hand of Lord Vader" he moved his left hand and grabbed the hilt on his waist "and I have never known defeat" with a flick of his thumb, a black blade came forwards.
He didn't need to listen in to hear the startled gasp coming from the Mando nor the snarl from Maul "where did you get that!?" he shouted as he started to move forward.
Starkiller didn't give him a moment, he quickly charged at the former apprentice and attacked. He didn't know if it was the surprise of the attack or if he was still shocked that he used the darksabre but it didn't matter. Starkiller advanced on him and with both blades working in tandem, and Maul found himself being pushed back down the alleyway. As he blocked the attack. He knew that the others would be close behind so he would want to do as much as he could before then. As the long red blades danced side to side, all the people who got out of their way only found themselves maimed by the weapons.
Sensing the danger coming behind him, Ezra raised both his weapons and slammed them downwards. Maul had no choice but to raise his double-sided blade to stop him, the force of the blow forced the former Sith's hands to lower from the strain of the attack. Taking the moment of weakness, he jumped over the Zabraks body avoiding the attack that would have just hit his back. His feet hit the ground on the other side of Maul and he only took a moment to see the two Jedi, the clone and the Mando all move towards him.
Kestus jumped on the nearby right wall of the alley and over Maul, preventing Starkiller from ending for the former Sith with a quick slash to his back. He hopped back in order to avoid the blue sabre being jammed into the ground he just stood, he twisted in place and brought his red blade outwards in a sideways slice that would have gone right through the Jedi's face but before it could it was blocked by a second blade that sprouted up from the bottom of the hilt. Rather than be deterred by the second blade, he acted quickly and brought the Darksabre forwards, instead of simply stabbing Kestus, did knew that he couldn't because the other Jedi was moving forwards. Before he could react Starkiller hooked the Darksabre of the other side of the blue blade and pulled it towards him.
The Jedi found himself unable to stay balanced under the force of the pull and stumbled forwards, using something as simple are poor footing against him. Kestus fell forwards onto his stomach, though much to the Starkillers annoyance before he could kill him, the second Jedi moved forward. In order to block the other attacks coming at him, he had to step back in order to defend his body from the Jedi and the now recovered Maul who was back on his feet.
The small alley they were in was the only thing keeping him from being overwhelmed. He was in a natural chock point, and he could use that to keep all of them in front of him, leaning back in order to avoid a sideways slash from Jarrus, once the sabre missed him. Starkiller brought up his left and kicked him under the chin causing him to stumble for a moment. Maul rushed him the second he could, practically shoving Jarrus aside in order to get to him. He made a jabbing motion towards him but he simply batted it aside with the Darksabre, he used the other side of his blade to strike at him in a single spin. Starkiller took a step forward and blocked the attack, he moved with the Darksabre again and with his red blade blocked the second side of the double bladed weapon. For the brief moment he had in which both sides of Mauls sabre were facing the alley walls, he quickly reached up with his leg and kicked the hilt backwards into his body.
While that didn't do much to the Sith, the Clone and the Mando that were coming up behind Maul, had to stop in order to stop themselves from being hit by said blade. Maul quickly recovered from the attack and started to move forwards again. This time however, Starkiller could see that the alley was about to end and would cause them to be out in the open and allow him to be surrounded. As their blades scorched the walls as they fought, Starkiller ducked one strike but at the same time he turned and extended his leg, it hit Maul at the side and before anything else could happen, he quickly threw the Darksabre into the air above him and held it there with the Force, with his now free hand, a torrent of lighting shot out and hit the Sith head on. Though he had to give him credit, he didn't scream. He simply froze in place as the pain overtook him and with a little bit of extra power, his body was pushed back into a nearby building.
With him out the way, both the Clone and the Mando came at him at once. They were not the most skilled present but with four different blades between them constantly jabbing at him from both sides, using his red sabre he batted most of them aside without doing any real counterattack. Until the right moment came to him, he flicked his head backwards and the Darksabre that was hovering in the air flew towards them with the aim of going right through the woman's neck and it would have done so if it wasn't for Kestus quickly appearing behind her with his sabre raised. The two were forced to stay back-to-back as she came towards him with the clone while the Jedi held the Darksabre at bay with his own blade.
Not that it would help, it wasn't just that Starkiller was using his anger and pain to give him a power boost over the Jedi which he was causing him to struggle but it was also the sheer power of the Darksabre that was giving him an even bigger advantage. As the black blade was blocked with the blue, sparks and tendrils of power came between the two, while the black blade was unaffected, the blue was clearly struggling. It wouldn't be much longer now.
As the clone made another jabbing towards him, instead of blocking it, he stepped to the side and raised his leg. Kicking the wrist of the clone he forced one of the smaller blades to slash the front armour plate of the Mando and while the armour held up to the sabre, it still must have hurt based on the way she gasped and keeled over in pain. Her falling over caused Kestus to loose his footing and fall backwards over her, freeing the Darksabre from the fight and it flew into his open hand.
While the two were on the ground, he quickly stepped backwards on into the open road which had a lot more room but now that there were less of them, he felt much more confident that he could deal with them. Hence when the clone continued his attack, Starkiller simply used the Force to lift him up into the air and throw him backwards into the side of a building. While Kestus and the Mando where picking themselves off the ground. Jarrus came up to him and started his own attack, there was some semblance of skill there, though it wasn't close to enough.
With both his blades Starkiller started to press his own attack on the Jedi and he was now the one being pushed back, further down the street and towards the small ship port. They went through the entrance and started to fight through the many different ships present, he held a sideways stance and blocked the blue blade with the Darksabre. Much like before, the black blade started to spark against the blue one, using his age and might against the weaker foe. He held the lock with his own hand, despite the Jedi using both hands, he was able to hold him evenly with just one of his own.
"I'm sorry" the Jedi said to him. The sheer randomness of the statement caused Starkiller's eyes to narrow slightly in confusion "You were right, I shouldn't have made you choose between who you are and a Jedi, I shouldn't have pushed you away, I should have taught you how to use the Force and not let my own fear get in the way of that. It's my fault you ended up with Vader" as he spoke, the emotions coming off of him started to show and the Sith could almost see tears in his eyes "I am so sorry"
The Sith tilted his head at the words he was hearing, clearly not understanding what he was getting at, instead he pulled his blade back and started to attack again, pushing the Jedi further back into the shipyard. There was a couple of steps between them as he advanced on the Jedi "I have no idea what you are talking about" Starkiller said to him as he moved forward "chasing you on Ryloth was the first time we've ever met" as he spoke, he looked over the Jedi's shoulder and something caught his eye. Off in the distance, he could see the reason he was here.
Cassian Andor was helping a woman limp towards a ship where he could see people making ready to take off. As the woman was being helped onboard, Andor turned and the two made eye contact. Starkiller could sense the fear coming off of him from where he stood and for a moment he considered the idea of leaving the Jedi to quickly knock him out "No it wasn't" Jarrus spoke getting his attention once again as he stopped stepping backwards and attacking with his sabre "we first met on the planet of Lothal, we were taking some imperial supplies and you took them from us. We did missions together against the empire" with every statement that the Jedi made, he attacked with some blows of his sabre "you fell in love with Sabine, you fought against Vader, you beat his inquisitors, you showed us all that we can fight back. You remaindered me what it meant to be a Jedi"
Their blades locked again and Starkiller felt a smile of humour come onto his face as he listened to this tall tale, it really was amusing to think about "you chose your heritage over the Jedi way because I made you, I forced a choice onto you and I never should have, I pushed you away and I tore our family apart" the raw emotions coming off the Jedi really did seem to be something real, whatever this Jedi was saying. It seemed that he really did believe it, which just showed how delusional he really was, but it did cause him to wonder why he was saying this to him "I am going to make this right, Ezra I am going to find some way to save you"
Just like before, as soon as that name was heard. The smile left his face and all thoughts and feelings he just had abandoned him. The love for the battle and the anticipation for what was to come were now nothing more than fleeting feelings that were quickly being eradicated "Ezra Kryze is alive only in the past" he looked over the Jedi's shoulder and saw that the ship that Andor had just helped someone get on was slowly taking off "He's forgotten" he batted the Jedi aside with his red blade causing him to stumble to the ground. He then reached up with his hand and aimed it at the ship. With his power in the force, a blast of lightening shot out and hit its target, this ship didn't have any shields and if it did then they weren't turned on. The engine of the ship imploded before it all burst into flame crashing into the ground.
"NNNNNNNOOOOOOOOO!" a savage and primal screen echoed throughout shipyard. He looked over the Jedi and saw Andor drop to his knees and look up in despair.
"Hand of Lord Vader" he batted Jarrus sabre to the side and slashed with the Darksabre, severing the wrist of the Jedi. The sabre and the weapon both fell to the ground "and I have never known defeat" he twisted in place and extended his leg. It connected with the Jedi's face and he fell to the ground knocked out. He briefly considered leaving him there and going after Andor but he knew it was a fool's errand to allow him even a moment for himself, he will escape like they always do.
He stood over the downed body and raised the Darksabre. Just as he slashed downwards, a red blade intercepted him. Slowly turning his head, he saw Maul looking at him with narrowed eyes "I do not care that you are unable to remember who you are" he started as he started to attack him and Starkiller blocked the slashes and jabs. He would admit that while he was confident in his abilities to defeat this enemy, Maul was highest skilled opponent he fought "but you will not get away from me until my question is answered. Where is Kenobi?" Starkiller ducked under a slashed, blocked another and kicked Maul in the chest, which caused him to stumble.
Reaching out with his hand he seized him with the Force and held him in a tight grip. Maul found himself unable to escape his strong grip and he was pulled closer towards Starkiller. As their faces neared, the hand spoke "I have no idea where Obi-Wan Kenobi is. But rest assured, when he is found I will make sure he is delivered to the master" before the former Sith could attempt to break free, lightening shot forth from Starkiller and he flew back into the side of a ship. His body crashed down to the ground and his body shook as the lightening washed over him, he didn't scream. Starkiller would give him that, when he stopped the attack, Maul was quick to react. Though he didn't do much as his body had clearly not recovered from the attack, despite the attitude he had.
As the former Sith lay on his stomach, he picked his head up and looked up at him. Starkiller raised the Darksabre and flipped it in a reverse grip, ready to be plunged down into Mauls head "such a waste" he said back, angry that the battle with a former Sith apprentice no real challenge.
"I could say the same" a new voice he didn't recognize came from behind him. Turning his body away from Maul, Starkiller looked in the direction the voice came from and he was truly amazed at the sight. Standing in the middle of the shipyard, a good dozen feet away from him.
The female Togruta stood calmly, looking at him with a firm but also saddened face, one that held a look of regret. She held two different sabres in her hands, though they were not ignited yet. The Sith ignored everything that was happening behind him and focused on her completely "Ashoka Tano, now this really is a surprise" he spoke calmly.
She tilted her head at him slightly "you know me?" she asked back with an emotionless tone, though her eyes were narrowed slightly.
"I know enough" he said deactivating his sabres, much to the surprise of the others who only just started to make there was back towards him after being knocked down. While the woman wearing mando armour focused on him, the others went to the now one less hand Jedi "I know that for some reason you are given different treatment from all others. Surrender and Lord Vader shall show you mercy, on the condition that you inform him where the remaining Jedi could be found" he said, giving her the conditions that the master told him about if he ever found her.
She adopted a look of anger as she starred at him "there are no Jedi, you and the rest of the empire have seen to that" she said back to him.
He narrowed his eyes right back at her "lie" he said quickly "I don't care for the nameless stragglers such as them" he nodded towards Jarrus and Kestus "I only want two. Master Kenobi and Grand Master Yoda. The last members of the high council that have yet to be confirmed as dead" he took a step forward towards her "where are they?" he asked already knowing the answer.
"I have idea where they are" she said back to him.
He said nothing back, he brought his mechanical hand to his face and turned his red sabre on, the blade coming to life as he pointed to the air. He brought it to the side of him and held it outwards while at the same time flipping on the Darksabre and holding it in a guarded reverse grip "we shall see" was all he said back to her.
Narrowing her eyes before taking a sigh of clear disappointment, she brought out both her sabres and pointed them at each other. The white blades activated, and she pulled them apart, holding them in a similar stance to his own.
He was about to move forward and start the attack but to his shock. He found that he couldn't move, something had used the Force to hold him in place and all he could do was move his eyes inside his own head and try to use all of his might to try and break free. Which would work, he knew that it would only take a few moments "Marrin! Now!" he heard Kestus shout from behind him.
Just before he could free himself, the form of a woman shimmered into view just in front of him and blocked the view of Ashoka with her own body. The second he saw her, he knew it was a Nightsister. No doubt the same one who saved Kestus and the other from the ocean after he got the Holocron back. Just before he was about to free himself, she brought a closed fist up to his face and opened it. He didn't see anything there but when she blowed on her hand, a green mist washed over his face and he was unable to stop himself from breathing it in.
Just as the pressure around him gave way and he could look around again, not that it would help him. He could feel whatever that powder was take effect and he felt his eyes begin to feel heavy. He started to stumble and raise his sabre in order to kill the Nightsister, but he had to turn in order to block the blow from Kestus. Knowing that he was now on limited time, he quickly used all his focus to beat back the Jedi. He moved quickly causing Kestus to move on the back foot in order to survive the sheer speed in which he swung both his sabres.
He was using all the anger he had at his disposal in order to not succumb to the drug going through his system, the Jedi was clearly on the back foot. He held the Darksabre in a reverse grip and span around, Kestus leaned back just in time to avoid his head being impaled by the ancient blade. Starkiller stumbled against the wall of a ship as he momentarily lost his focus, he shot out lightening in order to beat the Jedi back. But that was stopped by Ashoka who landed just in front of him and blocked the attack with both her sabres. He knew that he should retreat or request reinforcements, but he would never do that, he would never retreat from a threat, he would face it head on or die trying.
Hearing steps coming from behind him, he quickly turned but he found himself unleashing a sloppy and slow attack that was blocked by another person who he hasn't fought yet. It was a large Lasat that blocked him with a Bo-staff and he found himself so overcome with what was in his system that he couldn't even raise his other sabre to attack "Don't worry Ezra, we'll get you sorted out" was all he heard before a large fist was raised at him and punched him right in the face.
Then there was nothing but darkness.
Ok, all there where so many different ways I wanted to do this. Like so many and all I can do now is hope this was the right choice. Anyway, as many of you have noticed, yes I used the final in Andor as a part of this, I will most likely do so again in the future. Who knows maybe I'll work the Bad Batch in some how.
But that's besides the point, that was the last chapter I had ready for the update schedule so for now I'm taking another break and going to work on the next bunch of chapters. I'll aim for five and release them on a weekly basis, then another five and so on.
So, yeah. Let me know what you all thought and I'll see you all in the next chapter.
Next story update (Hopefully tomorrow): Project Atlas