A/N - Here is the conclusion of the story. We (Candace, Kelli, and I) hope it's a proper climax to a war story and the destruction of Malachor V. We get more angst here as we try and explore the feelings and regrets of Revan, the Exile, Atton, and company. Mira makes a short cameo too and HK rampages through the snow. Thanks for the tip on HK - I didn't know that. I didn't get enough influence for him to tell me that part.
We also wanted to show how the Force was affected and set up the scene for KOTOR 2.
Finally, if you have not already done so, please read "Debello" for the aftermath of this story. It covers Revan's duel with the Mandalore and the Exile's exile. Technically, these stories will lead into "The Hopes of the Republic" which is a novelization of KOTOR 1, which we are currently editing to make it better and more in line with new info about the game.
Big mahalo to all of you for reading, commenting, and improving our writing. A special thanks goes out to BaM, who put up with our weird ideas and gave us his love, time, and effort so we could present you with a good product.
Now, it's on to Fires with Son Kenshin. We have a chapter just about ready to go. Middle Earth is waiting for us too.
The Mandalorian Fortress on Malachor VII
At the walls of the great fortress, Republic artillery and rockets had blasted the gate and had created gaping holes in the walls of the structure. The psychotic droid, HK-47 led an assault that had gained entrance into one of the massive breaches. Stubborn to the end, the Mandalorians held the droids back until the arrival of the general.
With her fur lined uniform hanging in tatters, courtesy of her brawl with Canderous, Mai-Lyn stepped into the breach into the fortress and deflected a half dozen bolts away, using the Soresu Form. Standing low to the ground like a tiger, she whirled her lightsaber in front of her as the deadly plasma shot away in different directions. So fast was her lightsaber, it was like a silver shield that protected her from the Mandalorians who poured fire at the general. With a snarl on her lips, she rocked to one side and angled her blade, flinging one bolt back to its maker. The warrior pitched over as the plasma slammed into his chest.
"For Mandalore!" cried one armored warrior and they drew vibroswords and rushed at her down the narrow hallway. From the side, the rust-colored droid picked off one Mandalorian just before they crashed into Mai-Lyn.
The lithe Jedi leapt to the side and sliced one man's sword in two. As he gasped, looking at the half blade, she whirled the blade in an upper cut, cleaving him from groin to sternum.
Two warriors thrust their weapons at her in tandem and she stepped back, parrying in a low circle, leaving a silver afterimage of energy. Enveloping their points, the general riposted, driving the tip of her lightsaber into one man's face. Smoke and sparks erupted from his head, blinding the Jedi for a moment. Seizing the opportunity, the other warrior slashed her down the left arm, leaving her flesh flayed open. In pain and exhaustion, Mai-Lyn cried out and drew what little energy she had left to summon the Force. With a wave of her hand, the Mandalorian flew backward into his brethren, toppling them all like bowling pins.
With his blaster rifle held to his metal cheek, HK-47 poured bolts into the pile, shouting, "Elation: You are making this too easy, meatbags."
Bolts streaked into the fallen men, tearing off bits of armor. The warriors struggled and fell over as HK's shots hit home time and again. Several warriors scrambled out and reformed to launch another attack. More were now appearing in the dark hall to throw back the Republic assault and the general's droids were pinned down at the breach.
I can't hold back their counterattack. I'll have to give up this ground that I've bled for.
The general had but a moment to think before the Mandalorian wave crashed down on her and HK. HK hurled grenades into the horde. One burst into thick goo, cementing warriors to the ground. Another detonated into blast and fragmentation, shredding a few more.
The general saw the warriors waver for a moment. I can't let Revan down. Too many have died for this ground. I must advance…I must prevail.
Mai-Lyn took a deep breath and let out a battle cry.
Aboard a Starfighter
Deep in space, the epic naval battle was winding down and a lone craft darted ahead of the massive Republic task force. Secure in the cockpit of her Jedi starfighter, Admiral Revan sat, grinning from ear to ear. The Mandalorian fleet lay in tatters and the detritus of war floated lazily in the vacuum of space. Bits of durasteel hull, ruined ion engines, and Mandalorian bodies drifted with the tides of battle. Here and there, a lone warship or a handful of Basilisk Droids fought on against the overwhelming might of Revan's war machine.
I have crafted the finest military force the galaxy has ever seen. It will be a shame to lay down my sword when this is over.
Raising the visor of her black helmet, she looked down at her systems display and several red lights were blinking. "Tee Two, I'm leaking oxygen and fuel. The lateral thruster is acting up as well. See what you can do."
As the astromech droid poked and prodded the starfighter's controls, the Force called to Revan. Enemy ships were trying to reform a defense. In her mind, she could visualize the Mandalorian warships gathering and she reached out beyond the confines of her body.
Malak, now is the time, my Rock. Strike the Mandalorians while they are reforming. You can cut off their escape. Capture as many as you can. I may have need of them later.
In her thoughts, she could see her lover nod. He was obedient, but there was something there…something he was not telling her. She focused her power and extended it into him, burrowing into his mind.
What is it, Malak? I sense something in you.
She could see him shudder under her mental probe, but the call of the droid broke her concentration. "Bleep bebop."
"Huh? Oh, good…you've made repairs. Excellent, let's get back in the fight."
Revan put the disturbing thought of Malak's resistance out of her mind and maneuvered the starfighter toward a cluster of enemy ships. With the Force, she could sense Malak's fleet closing in on the last line of resistance…along with another presence.
There is something else…a shuttle heading for Malachor Five…unusual power readings.
Attempting to focus in on the shuttle, Revan turned her thoughts in that direction, but something flashed by her canopy.
A laser bolt! Damn, I was distracted.
Revan jinked sharply to the left and a Basilisk Droid shot by, cannons blazing. She jammed down hard on the right rudder pedal and the nose of her craft spun to face the enemy…only there were now five of them.
Revan yawed the nose of her craft to starboard and unleashed a rippling tide of laser fire that tore through one droid. The droid tumbled end over end before bursting like an egg, scattering parts and plasma. "Guns kill!" she called on the comm link.
The other droids fired in unison, but Revan felt the bolts before they were launched and streaked away, letting the plasma trails burn through empty space.
With her helmet mounted sight, she looked right at one droid as they passed and a targeting reticule appeared over the enemy, followed by a loud warbling tone. She pressed the button on her stick and a missile shot from a weapons bay. "Fox Two!"
Peeling away from the formation, the bandit rolled and flares burst from its hull as the missile turned hard to starboard. Revan continued on, attempting to find another target – the missile would track on its own. She pitched the nose upward and unleashed another volley of energy, raking the belly of a passing droid. Bolts sizzled through the beast's armor and into its sensitive innards. A glow appeared through the holes in its hide, followed by flame and explosion.
"Guns kill, second bandit."
Revan looked to the left and saw her missile close on the targeted bandit. It weaved past flares, rolling and pitching with the Mandalorian and finally streaked into its engines. The warhead detonated, hurling plasma and frag through the ion turbines, rupturing the volatile fuel cells and the droid burst into orange radiation.
"Fox Two kill, third-"
Something slammed into her and flame and debris filled her canopy. A Mandalorian had rammed her in a suicide attack.
"I'm hit! Shields gone. Tee Two!"
There was no response. Revan's starfighter spun out of control with red lights flashing on her Master Caution Panel. Sweat rolled down her body within her black, form-fitting flight suit.
"Structural integrity compromised…shields inoperative…engine fire left…APU inoperative…sensors inoperative…."
The crack on her canopy was the worst of the lot. She looked back to see her droid sparking and its head spinning wildly.
Two Basilisk Droids darted by and came about. Revan reached down and grabbed the handles of her ejection mechanism, but the two droid erupted in flame.
"Admiral Revan, this is Commander Dodonna. We've got you covered," her squadron commander called as eight Republic starfighters flew by.
"Down ya go!" came another call from a man with a familiar voice.
Forn Dodonna spoke again, "Carth, shut up. The Admiral has better things to do than to listen to your hooting."
The admiral sighed with relief and turned her starfighter back toward the Eagle. "You two are a credit to the Republic. I shall see that you get everything you deserve."
"Thank you, Admiral. We'll escort you right into the landing bay," Carth said with a hint of pride in his voice.
Forming a protective ring around the admiral, the Republic pilots guided Revan into the bay, where she put the starfighter on the deck. She opened the cracked canopy and handed her black helmet to the crew chief, who gave her a worried look.
"I thought we'd lost you, Admiral."
She wiped the sweat from her face with a towel and stepped down from the damaged craft. "It'll take a bit more than a few Mandalorians to take me down, Chief."
"Glad to have you back, Admiral. You're needed on the bridge right away. There are some new developments."
Revan nodded and sprinted away.
On the bridge of the mighty flagship, Revan took her seat and analyzed the hologram of the battle.
"Admiral," spoke the Communications Officer, "Captain Karath reports his starfighters have eliminated the defense grid entirely."
"Put him on."
Saul appeared as a hologram on the bridge of the Eagle. "My compliments, Admiral Revan. The way to Malachor Five is clear."
"Outstanding, Captain. You may begin bombardment of the planet. Do your best to target only military facilities."
Saul nodded curtly and the hologram faded.
Suddenly, a blinding flash filled the viewscreen and Revan covered her eyes. Her insides were torn apart as the lives of billions were snuffed out. She let out an audible gasp and her being was engulfed in horror as the Force was torn asunder.
Snippets of visions filled her mind and she saw how Malak had hidden things from her. She saw the shuttle and a long cylinder hurtling toward Malachor V.
"Malak," she whispered, her body doubled over in pain, "What have you done?"
A shuttle near Malachor V
From the cockpit of his own ship, Atton watched the shuttle containing the Mass Shadow Generator streak away toward Malachor V. Medpacks covered the numerous superficial wounds that he had sustained in the last day and his cheek and right eye were swollen and black. He looked over to Kayla, who was in the next seat. "We better get out of here," he said and began to turn the ship about. "The Mandalorians are likely to come looking for us."
The Jedi looked pensive, her lips pursed and her eyes narrowed. "I don't want to question Malak's orders, but this whole thing makes me nervous."
"Why's that? I say we just do what we're told, don't get killed, and reap the benefits when it's done."
"Jaq, he's keeping Revan out of the loop for some reason…no good can come of that."
Atton sat back into the pilot's seat and sighed, rubbing his injured eye. "Look, don't think about it too deeply. Why don't you go check on Seja."
That statement had a finality in it that told Kayla the matter was closed. She opened her mouth to speak, but rolled her eyes and headed aft, leaving Atton to his thoughts.
The Republic operative grunted and dialed in the coordinates to Malak's flagship. Oh, bantha poodoo, Malak is closing the vise on the Mandalorians' neck. I don't think we want to get there too quickly. I'll take my time and let him finish that battle. I've had enough fighting for one war. Damn, where's my Pazaak deck?
Atton pulled the throttle back and applied forward thrusters to slow his speed. He leaned back and laced his hands behind his head, watching Malak grind the Mandalorians into dust.
That guy has a certain…overwhelm and obliterate your adversary technique. I don't know much about all of this Jedi crap but he doesn't seem very 'peaceful' like they all say they're suppose to be. Man, is Kayla right? Revan's pretty strict about these things. Aww, dammit, quit ruminating about it. What's done is done.
Atton put on the 'devil may care' face he had cultivated over in his youth and kicked his feet up on the instrument panel as he watched Malak's ships surge like a tidal wave, smashing the Mandalorian remnants.
What's done is done.
Then, from the direction of Malachor V, there was a blinding flash that lit up the entire star system.
The Mandalorian Fortress on Malachor VII
With her most fearsome war face, Mai-Lyn shouted at the top of her lungs as she charged into the Mandalorian horde. Using the Shien Style, she hacked fiercely into the knot of enemy warriors, cleaving swords and lopping off limbs. Still, on they came, utterly fearless. Strong arms grasped at her, seizing her tattered clothing. Her left arm hung, useless, and she could not fend off so many. Even the constant firing and taunting of the HK droid could not hold them back.
"Mocking Statement: Is that all you got?"
Mai-Lyn collapsed under the weight of enemy warriors and they piled on top of her, pounding and kicking. She drove her blade up through the belly of one Mandalorian like a hot poker through butter. Amid the screams and shouts, she could hear the sound of a rocket. Instinctively, she ducked down and covered her head.
No, don't hit here.
An explosion filled the hall and shrapnel rained down on the pile atop of her. More Mandalorians screamed and she was able to pull herself free. Smoke and soot filled her eyes and she staggered up. In her blurry vision, she thought she saw a red-haired woman aim her hand at the mass of Mandalorians. Another rocket flew from the woman's wrist and Mai-Lyn dove to the ground. She looked back, but the red-haired woman was gone.
Another blast tore the hallway and warriors flew about like rag dolls. With the last once of power in her being, Mai-Lyn used the Force to shield herself. Debris bounced off of the psychic barrier and fell harmlessly to the ground. Amid groans and acrid smoke, the general staggered back toward the breach.
"Greetings: General, you're still alive? Your soft meaty organic components surely could not have survived that blast."
Coughing, Mai-Lyn sneered at the droid. "Don't make me ionize you."
"Insulted: Why General, I was complimenting your skills and toughness. Why surely-"
Before HK could finish, a flash lit up the sky, drawing everyone's attention upward. Mai-Lyn dropped to one knee and doubled over in pain. Her entire being was wreathed in ethereal fire as a billion souls perished in a millisecond. In the agony of her mind, she could see the Force ripping apart and she screamed in terror.
As the blinding light in the sky faded to swirling snow, Mai-Lyn looked up into the orange eyes of HK-47. "Am…am I dead?"
"Speculation: Your red organic fluid still oozes from your squishy pink covering, your vocabulator is still functioning, and your logic circuit are at least minimally active so I would guess the answer would be…no. You are still your meatbag self."
She shook her head and brushed the snow from her blonde hair. As she pushed herself up, Republic soldiers formed a circle around her.
"Protect the general!"
"What happened?" she asked a major who was at her side, holding a comm unit.
"There's a massive electromagnetic pulse and interference all along the frequency band that is degrading our communications. It seems to be coming from Malachor Five. We can't get anything at the moment."
Mai-Lyn pursed her lips, thinking about his words. "Up your power output to burn through. I must speak to Revan. What's our status?"
"We've broken through in several areas, but resistance is still fierce. They're fighting us room by room," the major said and turned to give the signal to boost power to communications. The message was relayed back to a mobile command post two kilometers away and it burned out its batteries to burn through the interference.
The major nodded. "Power output at maximum. You won't have much time."
Mai-Lyn keyed the mike. "Revan, I have breached the fortress. What just happened?"
A shuttle near Malachor V
Kayla sat next to Seja, who was sleeping soundly, his face covered in thick bandages. She felt the tear in the Force the moment it occurred and it woke the sleeping Jedi as well and his eyes shot open.
"Wh…what happened?" he asked, bewildered.
"…a billion souls vaporized…."
Kayla sank to the floor and buried her face in her hands. "What have we done?"
Atton came back and saw the Jedi in the throes of psychic agony. He could not understand…not for many years to come. "What's the deal? I think we just won the war." He reached down to touch Kayla, but she recoiled.
"Don't touch me, Jaq! What have we done?"
"We wasted Malachor Five. The war's over. Malak's a great hero in my book."
"You just don't get it, do you?"
Atton sighed and made a face that showed restrained impatience. He reached for her again, but again, she shrunk away. "Look…Kayla…why…don't…you explain it to me," he said slowly, enunciating every word with a forced smile.
Seja stood, but the effort was clearly painful for him. "Jaq, why don't you leave her be for now. Something terrible has happened to the Force."
Atton made a motion and started to speak, but he merely grunted and made a face. "Fine, whatever. I'll just drive the ship." He started to walk away, but turned one last time. "If you need to talk, you know where to find me," he said with an uncharacteristic sadness in his voice.
With that, he turned his back on her and walked back to the cockpit, leaving Kayla in a sobbing heap.
The Bridge of the RNS Eagle
When the flash faded from view, the tactical display showed Malachor V as being nearly devoid of Mandalorian units. Revan and the Jedi on the bridge sat in stunned horror. Amid flashing lights and klaxons, a Republic officer shouted, "We have a shockwave and EMP…origin…Malachor Five!"
The display of the Mandalorian homeworld showed a dark splotch on the surface of the planet, like a void, which quickly spread like a raging virus to consume the sphere with radiation and toxic vapors. The greatest horror could not be seen, but by the most powerful of Force users. The essence, which bound all things together, was torn and wounded…perhaps fatally.
Revan watched in horror and then, she stood…stiffly, painfully. "Get Malak on the line this instant," she said with a cracking voice.
The hologram of the blond Jedi appeared. "Admiral? I have the honor of informing you that we have eliminated the Mandalorians once and for all…Is there something else that you need?" he asked with a hint of impatience. She sensed that he had prepared the statement for her and had expected her call.
Shaking, Revan pointed her finger at him. "You've tainted my victory and ruined Malachor Five. You've annihilated the entire planet! We are not murderers. The worst of the damage cannot even be seen."
She stopped and looked down, taking a deep breath. She hated to say this, but it needed to be said. Malak was becoming more willful, resistant…secretive. "Consider this a warning, Malak. I am very displeased that you did this behind my back."
He bowed curtly…his face contrite. "I am sorry, Revan…forgive me. It shall not happen again." He said with the barest hint of a smile.
Revan wanted to say more, wanted him to hold her and to beg for her forgiveness. She wanted the old trust, absolute and unwavering, but somewhere in her heart, she knew it would never be again. Her chest tightened into a cold knot and she nodded and switched the commlink off.
Malachor Five is destroyed. We've obliterated their homeworld…their people. All chance for peace is over. The Mandalorians will now fight to the death…every last one of them. Those that survive will haunt us for decades.
Her thoughts were broken by the Communications Officer. "Admiral, General T'Sing is calling. The destruction of Malachor Five is causing a lot of interference."
The general's hologram appeared, fuzzy and indistinct. "…evan, what happened? I am…tting EMP from within the system…have breached…fortress, but resistance is…heavy. Please advise."
"It's gone, Mai-Lyn."
"Gone? Wh….s gone?"
"Malachor Five…Malak destroyed it…. I destroyed it. It's my responsibility."
Mai-Lyn seemed stunned. "All of those people…obliterated. That's what I felt. The Force…."
"I felt it too," Revan added. She paused and took a moment to think. "General, we will address this later. For now, complete your assault. You can use this to your advantage. With their interplanetary communications down, the Mandalorians will not know what happened. Let them think that I have been destroyed and stage a retreat. They will smell blood and pursue you. You will know what to do."
The general nodded grimly. "I do. I will bring you victory."
Mai-Lyn's image faded.
The Surface of Malachor VII
The rust-colored droid's head twitched with disbelief. "Interrogatory: Revan is dead? The master is dead? What will I do? Who will I waste meatbags for?"
He watched as Republic units fell back in confusion and disorder as the general spoke desperately on the comm link.
"The admiral's fleet has been wiped out by a Mandalorian secret weapon. We must fall back and extract. The Mandalore will be here shortly," she said, looking around nervously. "Lay down covering fire and establish a perimeter for evacuation."
HK's eyes lit up – something was not right. The general was transmitting in the clear, oblivious to any enemy who might be listening. It was a clear violation of communications security.
"Warning: General, you are letting the meatbags hear y-"
"Shush!" she said, silencing him. "You're a smart droid…maybe too smart for your own good. I'm giving you this special assignment."
"You and your unit will shut down and lie in wait. Reactivate in five minutes and strike the Mandalorians from the rear. I'll turn and hammer them from the front. Then, I'll reveal the final blow to them."
"With pleasure, master. HK shutting dooooown…."
With that, the droid knew no more…until five minutes elapsed.
"Ready, master!" he said, his orange eyes lighting up. Mandalorians surged over him, running to get at the retreating Republic. He fired upward as one leapt by, frying the warrior, who fell smoking into the swirling snow. "Order: Get up, metal heads!" he signaled and the droid force stood and opened fire into the Mandalorian rear.
Streaks of blaster bolts flew into the massed ranks of the enemy, followed by rockets and grenades. Explosions and flames rocked the Mandalorian attack and warriors flew into the air. The charge came to a halt and many of the warriors turned to face the droids.
One machine shattered next to HK and he extended his arm. "Concern: You meatbags look a little chilly out there. How about I warm you up?" he said as a torrent of jellified petroleum shot from a nozzle to be ignited by a pilot light. Liquid fire sprayed over Mandalorians and they burst into human candles. Screams, smoke, and streaking rockets mixed with melted snow into a black rain of chaos.
HK calmly walked about, moving the jet of molten fuel over the Mandalorian line. "Culinary: Bake me something special for the master."
Then, the general's force turned and hurtled into the front of the enemy line and the area became an icy hell. Republic armor and flyers ripped into the foe, letting lasers burn through armor and flesh. Pools of melted ice formed and refroze, trapping panicked men. At the height of the carnage, a giant hologram played above the battle, showing the destruction of Malachor V.
"Warriors of Mandalore," the general's disembodied voice echoed over the field. "You have done all that honor demands. Revan lives and your homeworld is vanquished," she revealed. "Your deaths now would be meaningless. There is no glory in slaughtering you like sheep. Lay down your weapons and you will be treated with honor."
At first, only a handful of warriors threw down their weapons, but soon, this was done in greater numbers. HK rushed at a squad of Mandalorians, but they raised their hands. "Disappointment: What are you doing? You're robbing me. It's not fair, I tell you."
He lowered his blaster and stomped on the ice. He saw a red-haired woman sneak onto a Republic tank and was about to pick her off, when the general met him.
"Well done, HK. You have earned your keep. Revan will be pleased."
The general then turned without another word and picked up a comm link from a soldier. The droid was not sure, but his human behavior recognition program told him that she looked tired and worn. The woman activated the link and a hologram of Revan appeared. The general bowed. "Admiral, I give you the fortress with my compliments."
The Bridge of the RNS Eagle
Revan smiled to the hologram of the general. "Excellent. I know you would not fail me. Gather the Mandalorians and treat them with honor. There will come a time when we must demonstrate to them who is the master of the galaxy, but they are not to be abused."
Mai-Lyn nodded, but said nothing.
Revan cocked her head as if observing the general. "Casualties? I sense our losses are heavy."
Mai-Lyn paused for a moment. "Ir…irrelevant, Admiral. We achieved all of our objectives," she said, her voice cracking.
"No, we must mourn every loss…when the time comes. Gather our dead. Leave none behind."
The general saluted stiffly and her hologram faded.
Revan watched the end game of the battle for several minutes until the Communications Officer received another signal. The officer's face took on an incredulous look. "It is Mandalore…on line one."
Revan raised an eyebrow. The Mandalore himself? This is unexpected.
"Put him on…."
Mandalore's deep, gravelly voice sounded over the PA, drawing everyone's attention, "Jedi Revan, it is I, Mandalore of the Unified Clans." Static and feedback screeched from the speakers momentarily while Revan sat, intent on his every word.
"I seek you out in honorable combat," he continued, his voice calm and even. "I offer you this…should you be victorious, the Unified Clans will bow to you and no other. Should I remain standing, the Republic shall leave our space and we will fight you no more. What do you say, Revan of the Jedi?" he said and then grunted his resolve.
"Let us meet in battle one final time. My only wish is to cross blades with you, face to face, as it was meant to be."
The admiral stroked her chin, thinking on his words. The Mandalorians are finished. What would I gain by fighting him?
Revan smiled – she could end it all in one duel. I gain the allegiance of the surviving clans for the Republic. I earn the respect of the Admiralty and the Senate that has eluded me. I show the Jedi Council that they were wrong. Surely they will all embrace me when I present them with the Helm of Mandalore.
Perhaps she had been too harsh on Malak, but what was said could not be taken back. Her swollen pride could not allow it. A vision of the dark sphere that had haunted her during the war appeared to her. However, instead of the cold, lifeless, soulless pain that came with the vision, the sphere was now warm and inviting.
The old crone, Kreia, said it would be this way and that it would be my power. I embrace the void. I am ready.
In her mind, she stepped up to the void and her hands touched the darkness. Raw energy rippled up her arms and she gasped as her being surged with power.
"Mandalore of the Unified Clans, I accept your challenge, though it is of no advantage to me," she said with a bluff to gain a psychological advantage. "Know this…I could obliterate your entire, miserable race, but I wish to spare my brave fleet further losses, and, more importantly, I wish to look into your eyes as I take your life," she added and then paused for effect.
"Cease fire and we shall meet on the surface outside your smoking ruin of a city in one hour." Pushing a button, she terminated the connection.
The admiral sat back into her seat and cupped her hand over her chin. On Malachor Five, what's done is done…we've destroyed an entire world and the blood is on our hands. What's done is done…it's for the greater good.
The Surface of Malachor VII
Still shaking like a leaf, Mai-Lyn blinked hard several times as she surveyed the battlefield. Waves of nausea still gripped her from the detonation on Malachor V and she sat on remains of a Republic walker vehicle. She choked back the urge to scream and quickly wiped a tear with her tattered sleeve.
Republic soldiers disarmed the Mandalorian survivors respectfully as Mai-Lyn sat in stunned silence. Flakes whirled around her, but she was oblivious to the piles that were growing around her feet.
HK-47 had gone off to hunt for resistors and had taken the remaining droids with him. She was glad he was gone – her feelings were numb and she could not take his bloodlust any longer. Shaking and pale, she looked down at her hand, contorted like a claw as it clutched the silver cylinder of her lightsaber like a claw, her muscles rigid with the effort. In her minds eye, she could see the Force, but now it swirled with blood and gore.
What is it? What am I seeing?
In the distance, the sound of ion turbines grew and a shuttle appeared through the thick cloud cover. Its silver hull reflected the dim sunlight and it descended toward a landing pad nearby. Thrusters blasted snow and ice away as the shuttle's wings folded upward and it settled on the pad.
Mai-Lyn glanced over to see Revan, Malak, and Bandon emerge and approach her. Revan was now dressed as a Jedi with a hooded robe. The admiral looked down and extended her open hand. "Come, General. Accompany me to the final battle. I must fight the Mandalore in single combat and end this war as it should be done. You must be there when our victory is complete."
Mai-Lyn blinked and took Revan's hand. She was pulled to her feet and took a breath, looking out over the icy fields where thousands of her men lay slain, frozen in their final moments of agony. Many thousands more of Mandalorians lay butchered as well. She felt more bile rise up in her throat, but she choked it down.
"All operational objectives were met, my Admiral," she said in a tremulous voice, able only to repeat her mantra. "Casualties were irrelevant.
Revan cupped Mai-Lyn's cheek. "No, each of our fallen brethren deserves recognition and honor. It is what bonds us as a fighting force. The only thing sadder than a battle lost is a battle won."
The general nodded blankly and Revan continued, "Come, Mai-Lyn, you must freshen up - the Mandalore awaits."
Mai-Lyn looked back into her minds eye and again saw the Force swirling in blood. I know what it is I see…we have wounded the Force…it is dying.