Star Wars

The Trouble With Clones

Written by Rachel E Hayler

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...

Through his electronic binoculars, the landscape before him transformed into a wire-like, graphical mesh of lines and numbers. As the diagnostics began to run up the left hand side of his screen, Jedi Knight Kai Darklighter felt a groan escape from his lips.

Beside him, a bitter sounding laugh emitted into the air, followed by a snide remark, "That bad, is it?"

Kai nodded slightly from behind his binoculars, his voice beginning to gain a sharp edge, "The Seps have the area well guarded." He raised a hand, and pointed towards the left hand side of the complex that loomed in the distance. "That's our point of entry, but look..."

The young man at his side sighed, "Snipers."

The older Jedi nodded. "A bit too much protection for a Sep warehouse, isn't it?"

The Padawan lowered his own set of binoculars. "And by the looks of things, it's just our luck that today they have been set up on high alert."

Kai lowered the binoculars, and frowned out of the viewport of the landspeeder that they had acquired earlier on. The recon gear that they had prepared for this mission alone would not get them inside undetected. It was going to take more, a whole lot more. Unfortunately, they had not been supplied with any clone supports that could be used as a distraction. That was one of the troubles with clones. There was never enough to be in a supply when they were needed. Although, he had a slight suspicion that the Chancellor was holding back on his reserves somewhat, as if he wanted the Republic to ultimately fail. Well, he had never really understood politics.

And so, they were forced to face off against blazes knows how many droids, just to blow up the whole place anyway. On the bright side, he had been able to persuade the Jedi Council to allow him to bring two additional Jedi along with him and his apprentice, so that they had some chance of succeeding. At the time, he had already been planning who he was going to bring with him, and there were only two Jedi in the whole entire Order who he would wish to bring with him.

The com-link that was hooked over his right ear suddenly burst in static, causing both of the Jedi in the speeder to cringe in pain. Being connected to the same com-channel was not always a good idea.

"Master Farlander and I are in position, Master Darklighter," a female voice called down the 'link. "We are about to approach the point of entry..."

"Negative!" Kai barked, annoyed that the female Padawan had broken com-silence. "Hold fire! There are tinnies everywhere!"

"Understood, maintaining position." The Padawan's voice sounded slightly irritated, but only caused both of the male Jedi to roll their eyes.

Once com-silence had been re-established, Kai turned to face his Padawan. "Alright, Phixx. Now would be a good time for a plan."

Phixx's brow furrowed as he concentrated. "A diversion?"

His Master groaned. He was being as smart as usual. "As I have explained already, Padawan, where will we get the resources for that?"

The young man spread his hands. "You asked me, Master."

"Yes, and now I am beginning to wish that I hadn't."

Both men held a rather awkward silence, as the Jedi Knight returned his gaze to his binoculars.

As Kai looked back through them, a black cloaked figure crept up behind the snipers, an amber beam of light busting from his fist, the figure quickly dispatched two of the snipers, the lance of plasma searing one hip to shoulder, and as he finished his movement his blade came to a stop as the other sniper's head fell free of his shoulders, toppling to the dusty ground as his last wheeze escaped his throat, while he disengaged his lightsaber placing it apon his belt. He pulled a silenced pistol from next to it letting the force guide his hand as he let off two quick shots, hot plasma igniting their eye-sockets briefly before they fell face first into the dirt. While the robed figure replaced the pistol in upon his belt, gazing directly at Kai, smirking and giving him a comradely salute before leaping down towards the hangar,

Meanwhile Kai looked on astonished, pulling the binoculars away from his eyes tight rings around them showing how intently he had been watching before stuttering, as he came to comprehend what had just happened, "Phixx...I think we just got our distraction," he felt escape his lips, without even thinking.

Phixx was about to ask what, when a higher pitched fuzzle sound over their com-links, a sign that they were becoming connected to a more secure and private broadcasting frequency.

"We're running out of time, boys," a more mature voice remarked. "If we're going to act, we need to do so soon."

"I know, Keisha, I know." Kai shook his head, trying to clear his head of his astonishment. Despite of the Jedi that had just entered the complex, there were still a lot of droids and sentries guarding their entry point. "But it's too dangerous. There are droids all over the place."

"For you, maybe," Keisha's voice sounded as hard as duracrete with determination. "Lena and I will create a diversion whilst you boys slip inside."

Suddenly, Kai had a reason to have his astonishment replaced a new level of shock. "Keisha, didn't you just hear me? There are tinnies all over the complex! You couldn't possibly survive if you tried to divert their attention from us!"

There was a pause in the conversation, and Kai found himself pleading silently that she would reply with an answer that he was wanting to hear. Keisha has been his friend since the age of seven standard years old, just after they had graduated from Yoda's teaching classes. It would be unbearable if he was to lose her now, due to an act of needless heroics.

He looked over at his apprentice, his eyes silently pleading that the young man would speak up and try to convince them otherwise. His Padawan replied with sympathetic shake of his head, and a shrug. There was nothing he could do, or perhaps, nothing he wanted to do.

Kai cursed, but quickly hushed when Keisha spoke again, "Well, you'd better wish that the Force is with us then."

There was nothing he could do. He wanted to argue more, but knew that time was slipping away from them. She would still go against his deepest wishes, despite how much he protested. That was just in her nature.

"Alright...alright. Hold fire until Phixx and I get into position." Kai swallowed hard, and fired up the engines of their landspeeder. His stomach was doubling up in knots as he spun them around, and pulled them out of the small side street that they had been hiding in, so that they could observe the goings on at the warehouse.

He swung the landspeeder back around the way they had come, and travelled down the main street they had turned off of once more. His Padawan kept his gaze focussed on the area outside, his attention flicking across each home that they passed. There was not much to see, however. Every house that they passed was identical to the one before it. Obviously, it was a reflection of the cloning that was carried out regularly on the planet.

Well, it should be said, had been carried out on the planet. It was becoming less and less of a surprise to see why the Seps had built a cloning facility on the once peaceful world of Khomm, and were disguising it as a warehouse. Due to strict new regulations that no cloning outside that of cloning Republic clone troopers was now being established within the keys worlds of the Republic, the people of Khomm had been outraged. It made a clear motive why the people of Khomm had allowed a Sep base to be built on the outskirts of one of their main cities. It was a sign of revenge.

Luckily, the Republic had received word from some resources that Kai had no idea about, and the Chancellor had ordered an investigation, and ultimately the destruction of the facility, if it existed. He had clearly stated what a tragedy to the Republic it would be if the Seperatists got hold of some clone research. After all, a clone was a hundred times smarter than a droid.

So now, Kai and his companions were on a recon and termination mission, designed to cease the cloning experiments from the inside. But; what had surprised him was that they were to report directly to the Chancellor himself, and not via the Jedi Order. He had specified that the Jedi Order were already too clogged up with other more pressing mandates, and so he would not wish to trouble them. Even though he had thought this reasonable, Keisha had been wary. Then again, she had never truly trusted Bail Organa.

The elder Jedi slowed slightly, and looped the speeder around a road to the right. He was relying on the Force alone to guide him through the symmetrical city to reach the warehouse, using the Force presences of Lena – but mainly Keisha – as an indicator to where they should be headed.

After another sharp turn to the left, the building began to swell into view. Kai pulled the speeder over to the edge of the street, and then cut out the engines. His Padawan had barely unfastened his crash webbing before he had begun to run through checks on the recon equipment that was heaped down around their feet. Well, in truth, they had thrown together a series of blasters ranging in size, as well as some rather archaic explosives. The elder Jedi felt a grin sneak across his face at his apprentice's eagerness to get the mission under way, and felt a similar adrenaline rushing through him too.

A boyish spark entered his eyes, and he began to check the charges of the detonators that they carried. The first to finish was obviously his apprentice, who ended up groaning heavily at the speed that his master was taking. This, only the Jedi Knight knew, was a deliberately slow pace.

So, he gently pointed out, "You need to learn some patience, Padawan."

Phixx rolled his eyes as he unfastened his restraints, before leaning back in his chair, allowing his head to go limp and sag backwards against the back of it.

Kai pulled out a blaster, and began to check the charge left in its battery. "You seem troubled."

The Padawan regarded him with a side-long glance that was only partially curious. "What makes you think that?"

"The tension in your posture." He didn't even look up from the blaster in his hands. "As if you are worrying about someone getting hurt."

Now the young Jedi seemed interested. "Wh...Who am I worrying about?"

"I have no idea, Lena perhaps." Kai finally looked up at his apprentice. "She is inexperienced, and could easily get hurt here. There are a lot of droids."

An irritated spark entered the Padawan's eyes, and he looked away, "Trust me; I am not worrying about her."

The Jedi Knight sighed, and finally let the subject drop. He had no idea why the padawans hated each other so much. Obviously, they were brother and sister, so there was bound to be a certain amount of sibling rivalry between them, but the hatred that was amidst them was totally uncalled for. He had frequently asked Keisha if she had any idea why they would not get along, but even she had no clue.

He shrugged, and finally finished checking through his 'recon' gear. Glad to be able to move, his apprentice leapt out of the speeder, and waggled his fingers as he landed, causing his recon gear to fall into all of its appropriate places on his gun belt. Not wanting to delay any more time, Kai clambered out of the speeder, and copied the trick.

"What direction are we going to be approaching the warehouse from, Master?" Phixx asked, looking up the street to a dusty track that led up to the complex's main entrance.

His master paused. Well, the main entrance clearly was not the smartest of options. "It would make sense if we entered from the West, considering that our point of entry is towards that side of the warehouse." He pointed across the speeder's nose, to a darkened point across to the other side of the building. "Keisha and Lena are in position on the far side."

The Jedi apprentice groaned, "You haven't thought this through, have you?" When his master gave him a blank look, he continued, "If we try and divert them by only attacking at one side, they will probably leave half of their troops at the point of entry, so that no one can get inside."

Kai paused, then grinned sheepishly, and sat down on the speeder's nose, flipping on his com-link and waiting to be connected to a link with Keisha. His Padawan began to pace impatiently along the speeder's right flank, causing Kai to feel slightly dizzy. When he finally heard a burst of white noise, he began to speak, "Keisha...the plan that we discussed isn't going to work..."

The female Jedi Knight's reply sounded slightly amused, "Already ahead of you, Kai. Lena and I have separated. We're going to launch attacks at both ends. Just you worry about getting inside, we have the diversions covered."

Kai looked briefly over at his apprentice, but sensed nor saw any sense of fear within him about the impending diversion; where his sister would be left to fend for herself against blazes knew how many droids. He sighed, and looked away again. Keisha was more experienced, and at least three years older than her apprentice, and yet he found himself worrying slightly about her. He knew that she would be alright, and he would never admit to his fear of losing her, but it still did help the feeling of helplessness to go away.

He did not consciously register the reply that left his lips a second later, for it was far too hasty, "Good to hear. We are moving into position now. Give us four minutes, and be ready to go on my mark."

"Understood. May the Force be with you, boys. You look as if you are going to need it."

Despite the situation, he found himself smiling at the remark, "And with you, Keisha. You've got the hard work."

Both male Jedi quickly began to move down the street, sticking to the shadows despite the darkness that was looming around them. The constant darting in and out of shadows was hindering their progress, but Kai found it necessary to take such precautions. After all, the black cloaked Jedi he had seen earlier on had looked directly at him, despite of the distance that they had been away from the outer wall of the complex. He just hoped that the darkness of the rather chilly evening would aid them in their camouflage.

After two minutes of ducking in and out of the gloom, both men found themselves pressed tight up against the outer wall of the warehouse, a droid sentry maintaining a post right above their heads. With a quick flick of his hand, Kai erratically thrust the droids head to the right, so that they could slip past it towards their entry point. He stopped just a few metres short of it, and paused for a moment.

Knowing that activating his com-link so close to the boundary wall with droid sentinels dotted all around the top of the wall was a dangerous idea, he reached out with the Force, and pushed out a message towards Keisha and Lena, We are at the entry point. Prepare to commence diversions on my signal.

Understood, Master Darklighter! Good luck! Came a reply that he assumed to be from Phixx's sister, Lena.

Now that they were ready to move, he began to edge as quietly as possible towards their point of entry - in other words, the warehouse's back vehicle entrance. A hand on his shoulder stopped him after a few footsteps, however.

He did not look back, but a question from a call in the Force rang in his mind, Master, how are we going to get inside?

The Corellian Jedi smiled, and as if on cue, a delivery transport arrived and grinded to a gentle stop just in front of them. We use that.

A ripple of startled emotions from Phixx radiated out in the Force. How did you know that transport was coming, Master?

A little thing called the Force, Padawan, Kai replied as he continued forwards.

Both men snuck up to the side of the transport that was now stuck as a green-shouldered droid demanded that it should check the driver's identification. The alien grumbled, but obliged as it slipped out of a door on their side of the vehicle. Phixx fell into the Force, and slightly nudged one of the crates in the transport's now open cargo hold, distracting two droids that had started to flank its sides. They headed to the cargo hold, leaving the pathway clear for them. His master smiled in approval - a rare occurrence - before running up along side it, his apprentice hot on his heels.

The driver finally finished being inspected and returned to his vehicle, fuming and cursing in a language that Kai knew he would never be able to understand. His apprentice emitted a soft laugh that suggested he may have understood what the being had said.

Feeling only a tinge of jealousy, the Jedi Knight motioned that his apprentice remain in position for a moment, as he crept up to the door that the driver had left open. Crouching down behind it, he paused and waited for the driver to begin his climb up into the transport's cockpit. He sent a message to his apprentice that he should sneak around to the other side of the transport, and climb into it via the passenger door on that side.

Once he sensed that his apprentice was securely inside, Kai turned his attention back to the driver. Before the man could even take one step into the transport, he raised a gloved hand, falling into the Force, and then closed it into a fist. The man squirmed, clutching at his throat before slumping back against the door. He slipped forwards at that point, climbing up into the transport where the driver would have, dragging the man's limp body up with him. He pulled the door shut, and gently tossed the man into a small gap behind the co-pilot and pilot's chairs.

Phixx looked back at him, then at his Master. "You didn't kill him did you, Master?"

His master flipped on the transport's engines, and accelerated slowly into the complex's main courtyard. "No, he's just unconscious."

The padawan nodded, and turned his attention back to the hangar bay entrance that was now looming before them. After another couple of minutes, they finally arrived inside. Before they had even had a chance to un-fasten their crash webbing, a squad of droids started to march up to them. Kai pressed two fingers against his com-link, activating a small device on the side of it to jam the droid's own 'links, then hissed into it, pressing the device close against his cheek so that he could be heard more clearly, "Alright, Keisha...Lena, commence diversion now!"

Neither of the female Jedi replied verbally, but the sound of a dozen explosions erupted all around them. A confident smile blossomed on his face as half of the squad stalked off to go and investigate the harsh sounds bursting outside, leaving only three of the original six behind to deal with them.

The elder Jedi leant back in his chair, and motioned that his apprentice should deal with the droids outside. Phixx nodded grudgingly, and slipped out of the passenger's door and leapt to the transport's roof as his master raised his legs up and crossed them over one another as he rested them on the flight console. He folded his arms across his chest and relaxed, not paying attention to the droids outside. A second later, a droid with yellow painted shoulders arrived at Kai's door, glaring up at him with narrow, black photoreceptors.

"Identification, please," the droid demanded, and the Jedi Knight could almost hear the technician mumbling in confusion as to why he could not contact this particular tinnie.

Kai flicked a cold, side long glance towards it, but did not change his position otherwise. "Can I see your identification?"

His lips creased up into a smile as the droid launched off into an automatic response, "Failure to comply..."

He laughed, and cut it short with a simple comment. "Kiss my ass."

Just as the droid started to begin its response again, its head shattered into a thousand tiny shards along with the other droids. His apprentice dropped down from the roof of the transport and grinned at his master as he landed.

"About time," His master groaned as he clambered out of the transport. After lowering himself to the ground, he waved over at Phixx and both men crept across the hangar before stopping outside what were the most available doors into the warehouse itself.

"Alright, we're inside," he whispered into his com-link, un-jamming the com-links in the area once he had finished speaking, "We'll be as quick as possible."

No response sounded, and he found himself grinning at the sincerity everyone was showing towards maintaining a degree of com-silence. After all, this was a recon mission, and getting discovered was not on the agenda. They ducked into the shadows as a squadron of droids burst through the doors, heading towards the cacophony of blasts filling the air around them.

Kai raised a hand and caught the door mechanisms in a Force grip, leaving a gap in the doors wide enough for them to climb through. Phixx leapt through it, closely followed by his master, who as he landed released his grip on the gears. Safely inside, they could finally see what the "warehouse" was really like.

Well, due to the dimly lit corridor that they found themselves in now, it was quite safe to say that this was not a warehouse at all. Taking the lead, the Jedi Knight crept up the hallway, then had to scamper into the shadows as another team of droids marched past them. He was very tempted to destroy them now, to give Keisha and Lena less of them to fight against, but they had to remain hidden.

Once the group had passed, both male Jedi rose and continued down the corridor, using the Force to nudge away the occasional security camera so that it did not see them. However, they need not have bothered. The diversion and the man that had entered earlier seemed to be taking a toll on the security, as no one had seen them so far.

Eventually, after turning down what felt a thousand corridors, the hallway spilt off into two pathways, almost like a fork in shape. At its centre was a spherical room, with a large viewing screen that ran along its outer wall, running almost down the length of the two smaller corridors. Kai crept up to it, followed by his apprentice, and dropped down below the windows bottom edge, so that only the top of his head was visible through the glass.

He looked up into the room a moment later, gripping the window's bottom ledge so that he could pull himself up a little higher than he first intended. Inside the room were a variety of monitors that were flashing and whirring in a brilliance of greens, reds and blues. But, at the centre of the room stood a large, cylindrical tube with a small, pink blob that was suspended inside of it. The Jedi Knight found himself transfixed by the small ball of life that was growing within the cloning vat, and a thousand questions of wonderment began to flutter through his mind.

Phixx nudged him, and snapped him out of his trance, "Even though there is no one inside, there is bound to be someone watching what is going on in there."

Both male Jedi suddenly ducked as a droid entered the room and began to pass every monitor, checking each one in turn.

Once it had moved to the other side of the room, away from the window, Phixx spoke up, "What is it doing? A routine check?"

Kai shook his head. "No. It's checking the monitors for points of entry. Someone broke in earlier, and I guess they must know about it by now."

"Someone has already come in?" The young jedi raised an eyebrow. "Who the blazes was it?"

A deep voice echoed behind them, heavy blaster-scorched hands clamping on their shoulders "A very good shot, so you're here for the same reason I was are you?" he asked, beaming like a little kid.

Kai spun, knocking the kid's hands off of his shoulders. "We were sent here officially." He frowned. "By the way you're acting; I can't say the same for you."

Laothin smiled profusely at this; grinning to Phixx before turning back to Kai, scratching the back of his head as he replied, "Well, when you say officially, officially on behalf of whom? Anyway, what are you complaining about, saved your necks didn't I?"

"No, you have made matters worse for us, Kid." Kai's eyes narrowed. "They probably know we're in here, we're supposed to be on a recon mission."

"You'd prefer to be dead? And recon really, I heard you were here to blow this thing all the way to Geonosis anyway, birds of a feather and all that, I have the plans to the place. So where are you headed?" he finished with a sigh.

Phixx groaned, and pointed above the window, where the droid was still lurking. "In there. We need the data from in there. Chancellor's orders."

Laothin smirked, pulling a Data-chip from his belt. "You mean this data? Pity the console was destroyed when you got here isn't it?" he finished, smiling as he replaced the chip in his belt.

Kai frowned, and folded his arms across his chest. "Can't you stick to your own missions, Kid?"

"Should've got in here before me then shouldn't you?" Laothin smirked, whipping his Blaster pistol out and firing a series of shots at the droid, letting it trigger the lockdown procedure before aiming one at it's photoreceptors while he slid out of the room, under the door clicking to the locked position behind him as he smirked, straightened his robes, watching his chrono for a few seconds before straightened his robes, watching his chrono for a few seconds before a deep pulse followed by the sound of liquid washing the floor echoes behind him before continuing on his way artistically dispatching any who were foolish enough to attack him.

As he disappeared, Phixx looked up at his master, completely baffled. "Master...who was that?"

The Corellian Jedi found himself smirking. "No idea but he is a pain in the ass, and he's getting in the way." He stood to his full height, and vaulted through the whole that Laothin had blasted into the window a few seconds earlier. He landed inside, and moved over to a console, which he ducked down next to and began to hotwire. "But I won't let him get in the way of this mission."

His apprentice followed, and after a few short moments, the monitor connected to the screen winked into existence. The Jedi Knight looked up at the young Jedi, and motioned to his belt slightly. "Get downloading the information from the back-up files on this thing. The Kid can't have destroyed those too."

Phixx obliged, withdrawing a data-chip from his utility belt and slotting it into the console. He cycled through as many files as possible, the data-chip constantly flashing green with every successful download. His master manoeuvred around the room, attaching electronic short-circuitry devices- his own personal design - onto each monitor, ready to blow up whatever the kid had not already destroyed.

The young Jedi looked up briefly, and found himself frozen, as a single word escaped from his lips. "Droidekas!"

"Oh...not good!" Kai dropped to the floor as arcs of green laser energy penetrated the glass window and blossomed all around them. He raised his hand above his head, trying to protect himself. If the kid hadn't taken out the cloning vat, then the droidekas would not have opened fire on them. So much for saving their necks!

He withdrew his lightsaber, and was about to leap up to his feet to try and fight against them, when yet another explosion ricocheted above their heads. This one however was far larger than simple blaster fire. His vision blackened briefly, but he remained perfectly still, using the Force to project bubbles of protective energy over himself and his apprentice.

As the dust and smoke began to settle, he slowly and rather awkwardly rose to his feet again. He was about to yell out something to the kid who had passed earlier, presuming he had been the one to set off a detonator in such a closed off space, but held himself back when he saw the real culprit behind it.

He grinned, and leapt back through the shattered viewing screen as the person began to pick their way through droideka remains towards them. He called out to her as he went, "You know that detonators are really only supposed to be used out of doors, don't you?"

Jedi Knight Keisha Farlander smirked at him as she came to a stop halfway down the corridor, kicking a droid torso out from under her feet. "Well, if you had any better ideas, you should have told me."

Kai flashed a roguish smile back at her, before turning his attention back to Phixx. "How's the downloading coming?"

The young Jedi frowned at them both, and removed the data chip from the smouldering remains of the computer terminal he had been standing at. "The state of this machine clearly tells you."

"Then we'll have to make do." He caught the data-chip in an outstretched, gloved hand as his padawan tossed it to him. He flicked a side long glance back at Keisha. "Where did you abandon Lena?"

The female Jedi Knight laughed, and started to move back the way she had come. "I told her to go and collect the Tracinya. We'll meet her in the hangar."

Laothin, meanwhile, had been watching the episode on a bypassed camera terminal, then switching to the hangar camera, he sighed knowing they couldn't make it in time, grabbing his lightsabers, he leapt from the breeze, sprinting across the ground back towards the warehouse, leaping over the edge of the cliff and plummeting down to the ground, rolling as he landed, Deflecting blaster bolts and shearing tinnies ground, rolling as he landed, Deflecting blaster bolts and shearing tinnies in pieces as he made his way to the rescue, again.

Kai nodded, and as he followed her, he gripped all of the droid torsos in the Force, and sent them flying back down towards the cloning vat room, causing his apprentice to duck. He could feel the young Jedi's gaze burning onto his back, so he said over his shoulder, "Call that a practicing of your reflex speed, padawan."

They all continued down the corridor, and finally began to make a move back towards the hangar. Occasionally, they engaged a squadron of battle droids. However, they were clearly no match for a trio of Jedi.

Back at the hangar, the hulk of a black freighter landed in amongst the growing chaos, its shields raised to maximum as the battle droids that were trying to prevent their intruders from escaping opened fire against the ship's hull. The ship settled down gently on its landing pads, and the hangar held a deadly silence for a long while as the boarding ramp lowered and no one came down it.

Confused, a single droid captain came to the bottom of the ramp, tilting its mechanical head back to regard whoever might be inside. Suddenly, the droid split from head to foot as a whip of scarlet light lashed out at it. Smiling slightly, Keisha's padawan Lena Arano finally emerged from the ships interior, her lightsaber whirling around her in arcs that were suspended in mid air. It was then that she saw the full extent of the number of enemies that she was going to have to face, and she felt a lump start to rise in her throat. Biting back any fear she was feeling she walked slowly into the onslaught of the droids, concentrating on keeping her lightsaber aloft and ready to deflect any fire.

The black robed man stepped lightly through the entrance to the hangar watching the droids unfurl, destroyers ready to let loose a barrage of light as he stepped up beside the young padawan, putting his arm around her, kissing her on the cheek, before, leaping into the fray. The super battle droid squad chest casings imploded as they were thrown against the far wall through two destroyer droid's shields, overloading the generator as they too stopped as a sparking pile of scrap on the other side of the hangar, twin beams of amber light bursting from the man's fists he smirked, slicing through the casing's of the battle droids like ryse cake.

Lena tensed as the man kissed her on the cheek, and was totally baffled by the action as he moved off into the mass of droids. A super-battle droid sent a burst of fire at her from behind, and she quickly batted it away, calling her lightsaber back into her grip. She just hoped that her master would return soon.

He crouched in the centre of the hive of droids, amber blades on his belt until an invisible force akin to that of a stone wall slammed every droid across the room, leaving the hangar devoid of all movement bar Lena and Laothin, and too many sparking piles of scrap to count, he looked around at his handy-work, looked Lena straight in the eye, smiled one of his trademark, disarming smiles, bowed as he would to royalty, and sprinted out of the hangar leaving no trace he had been there, except of course about 10000 credits of damage to the droids of the CIS.

She turned as he sprinted out of the hangar, raising an eyebrow as he left. Who the blazes was that guy? She frowned, and shook her head, trying to rid herself of the romantic thoughts that started to whirl through her mind. Suddenly, the hangar doors were wrenched open, causing her to shudder and her desires to float away.

Kai was the first to enter, a startled expression on his face when he saw the carnage that was strewn out across the hangar floor. "What the osik happened in here, Lena?"

"An ambush, by the looks of things," Keisha answered, as she too stepped into the hangar. "But that is a lot of droids to take on by yourself."

Before she could reply her brother came bounding through the doors, his lightsaber ignited as he deflected a random shot that came flying rather accurately towards him. "We've got droids!"

Keisha ushered Lena back towards the ship, followed quickly by herself and Kai. Phixx remained where he was, however, protecting their exit.

"Phixx, come on! We've got to get out of here!" His master yelled after him, withdrawing his own lightsaber to help him retreat.

"NO! Go on ahead, I can take them!" The young Jedi replied hastily, advancing towards the tinnies with a confidence that was bordering on cockiness. He turned back slightly as he stepped back through the doors, about to add something else when he was struck directly in the torso by a red bolt of energy.

"PHIXX!" Kai yelped, running forwards, but the hangar doors slammed shut before he could even reach them.

"Kai, come on!" Keisha yelled, waving futilely that he should follow them up the boarding ramp. "We have to leave!"

"But...we can't just leave him!" He shouted back desperately, beginning to stalk towards the doors once more. "Phixx!"

She hurried forwards, stopping Kai in his tracks. She looked up into his eyes, her expression firm but tinted with the same sort of pain he was feeling. "He's gone...Kai. We need to go, before we lose anyone else."

As she started to guide him backwards, he softly protested, mumbling his Padawan's name occasionally.

The Tracinya's engines roared to life, and just as the ship streaked off into the bleak, starless sky, a lone figure stood watching the ship as it left, his youthful face creased in lines of anger.