Summary:A final mission that may save or destroy Obi-Wan Kenobi before he finally retreats to Tatooine to live a hermit's life and tend to the future.
The usual disclaimers apply. George Lucas owns it all; I am not making any money on this.
For Without Hope We Are Lost
Coruscant Time: –254 days
There was no reason to continue counting days they were all the same. No, that was not quite true. Everyday the Force grew a little quieter, a little emptier and the helplessness of it all became over bearing. Everyday hope for numbness grew and yet he still felt the pain of Jedi passing into the Force. And there would be no mercy for him until that day when fate or destiny intervened and left him to the calm caress of sleep he so longed for.
Until then, he served in the only way he knew how. He would abide by Yoda's orders and do what was required of him, even if deep inside he did not fully understand why. For a moment, brief as it was, he did not care.
Fingers drew across the dingy, sticky tabletop pausing at a crumb that had lain there for who knows how long. Flicking it off the edge, his fingers continued their search of the grimy table until an unnaturally fogged surface chilled his warm flesh. A dark liquid sloshed about the narrow glass as he brought it to his lips. Corellian gamba liquor was bitter and burned all the way down.
Mercifully the hood of the deep purple cloak protected him from displaying his displeasure with the toxic liquid. Setting the glass down he motioned to the Toydarian waitress.
She hovered over, her little wings flapping wildly as she showed every bit of her irritation as she plunked down another glass of gamba. "Stuff will kill you."
"Not fast enough." The weary drinker downed the fresh drink and slid both glasses across the table to the collection of four more. "Another."
"Just don't die in here. Costs to much to dispose of the body." Ignored, she huffed indignantly but took the time to gather all the glasses up. "I'll get these ready for you, hon."
"They could use a good washing."
She laughed. "Where you think you're at, pilgrim? This isn't a civilized port like Tatooine."
"So it seems." Even if his words had remained cool and uninterested, he mentally shuddered at the mention of the desert planet. Knowing they had little choice and Tatooine offered the best chance of repair, he still wished, just a little that he had not mentioned that planet to his master and crew of Queen Amidala's ship so many years ago. Maybe everything would be different.
The Toydarian stared at him for a moment longer then just shook her gray head and buzzed off leaving the figure in Mahari pilgrim robes alone. The traveler slipped a hand off the edge of the table and pressed his fingers against the cloak material. He was relieved to feel the familiar shape of his lightsaber as well as a second one wrapped and stored in a leather pouch hidden in the folds of his tunic. Then he adjusted the deep purple with black embroidered hood to better hide his face, yet it was not so low that it obscured his vision.
His soul numbed gaze reached across the room and studied a bleary, unstable holoimage. The Force drowned out the mumbles and arguments that filled the cantina so the Mahari pilgrim could focus entirely on the Holonet News anchor.
"Imperial HoloVision is now broadcasting," a female voice announced. "His Excellency, the Emperor Palpatine's special forces have brought down yet another member of the traitorous Jedi Order. Jedi Master Geya Moorbok was killed resisting arrest. She is suspected of trying to corrupt government officials in the Rimorean parliament and inciting rebellious activities. Her associate and supposed apprentice, Emeute Farrago, is still at large."
As the traveler watched, two large thugs from the far end of the dark cantina crept quietly toward him.
"In other news, Lord Vader has upped the bounty on the remaining fugitive Jedi." The holoimager flashed a picture of a ginger haired Jedi with the scrawl underneath reading: Kenobi. "The bounty for the live apprehension of Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi has brought about—"
"What do we have here?" a large Kijon asked in a heavily accented growl. A deep scar had blinded one of his round yellow eyes that peered out from thick drab green flesh. "You're a little off the path, pilgrim."
The traveler did not remove his attention from the holoimager.
The human of the two thugs grabbed a large vibroknife from his belt with his one remaining hand. He slid the blade along the edge of the purple hood drawing it back slightly and sneered, "Why don't we make this easy, friend. Give us your valuables."
With a slight wave of his hand, the traveller said evenly, "I possess nothing of value."
The human withdrew in confusion.
The Kijon smacked his partner on the shoulder. "What's that matter with you?"
"He possesses nothing of value."
"Just look at him!" the Kijon barked. He swatted the human to the ground and grabbed the Mahari traveller by the cloak and threw him against the nearby wall. "I don't know what kind of game you're playing, pilgrim."
The impact with the wall elicited a groan from the traveler and a look of surprise from the Kijon when the purple hood fell back. Pale blue eyes quickly focused on the mammoth creature that marched toward him.
"Your worth more than your belongings," the green skinned figure said. Grabbing the ginger haired man and slamming him into the wall again caused another pained groan. "Doesn't say much for that Vader or the New Order that they can't catch a couple of pathetic Jedi scum like you."
Shaking off the Kijon's attack Obi-Wan Kenobi reached for the Force but spoke softly, "You have mistaken me for someone else."
"I don't think so," the large figure growled. "I'm no weak minded fool!" With unparalleled strength, he tossed the purple robed Jedi across the cantina, sending him crashing into the middle of a sabacc game. Like a wild Heidarian boar, the Kijon stormed through the cantina shoving everything and everyone out of the way that came between he and his prize.
The Imperial HoloVision fluctuated but continued unimpeded. "This morning in the Imperial Center, the treacherous former senator from Naboo, Padmé Amidala Skywalker was put to death for her part in a conspiracy to assassinate Emperor Palpatine." There was a tremor in the speaker's voice, "We are pleased that his Excellency, the Emperor is dealing with such corruption that once plagued the senate and the people."
Obi-Wan twisted, barely catching the end of the report. Stunned by the news, he was unprepared for the Kijon's next attack that sent him flying across the room again. A tabled filled with putrid swill spilled all over the Jedi as he slammed into it.
By now most of the cantina was alert to the happenings. Most knew the Kijon was after a very worthy prize. Dozens of alien life forms converged on the downed Jedi. Ferociously bounding to his feet, Obi-Wan caused a mild startle in the creatures that encircled him. With a wild flourish, he ripped the soaked Mahari cloak off and swung it about driving the creatures back. Twisting the dark material, he tossed it toward the largest group of spacers and scum. For a moment, a brilliant flash of orange lit up the room and vanished just as the liquor soaked cloak burst into flames.
Cries of pain and terror drowned out everything else as the encroaching crowd turned into a maelstrom of panic. The flaming cloak set the alcohol-laden cantina afire sending everyone fleeing for their lives.
Except for the Kijon.
A fist as big as a human head flew out smashing into Obi-Wan sending him to the floor. The Jedi rolled and was on his feet, lightsaber in hand. "Do not do this," he warned.
"What are you going to do, Jedi? Kill me? It's against your religion."
Activating his weapon Obi-Wan lashed out, driving the massive figure through the flames toward the door. "Run while you still can."
The Kijon gave an evil grin. "You're worth more than the entire Jedi Council put together."
"The Council is dead," Obi-Wan growled as he retreated into the smoke filled depths of the cantina.
"See? You are worth more."
"You do not want this," Obi-Wan replied evenly.
Laughing wickedly, the massive creature tore into the smokey black depths. "You wonder why the Jedi are dead? Don't know much about my kind do you, Jedi?" From under his vest he revealed a blaster and opened fire. "You're magics don't work on me."
Obi-Wan easily deflected the orange bolts that cut through the smoke. Turning one back on the Kijon, the creature cried out when his shoulder was clipped.
A deep, feral growl emanated from furious Kijon. "You're going to pay, little Jedi. Doesn't really matter, the price is still good dead or alive. I am going to snap your neck with my bare hands." Opening fire again, the Kijon rushed at Obi-Wan.
At first, the Jedi tried to defend against the attack but was quickly overwhelmed. He tried to retreat into the smoke but the heat and flames were becoming overbearing. He coughed and struggled for air but the Kijon did not back down, driving the Jedi deeper into the burning cantina as if not bothered by the swirling smoke.
"Give up, little Jedi, and I might let you live."
"Who are you to say that is what I want?" Deactivating his lightsaber, Obi-Wan vanished into the black smoke.
"No more games, little Jedi." The Kijon began firing indiscriminately, lighting the smoke suffocating room with brief flashes of orange light. There was a gasp and a dull thud. Pleased, the Kijon burst into laughter. "Couldn't hide forever, little Jedi. No wonder your kind is all but extinct. Only willing to defend your self, never willing to fight. Surprised you have lasted this long." The Kijon moved slowly through the smoke, searching with his foot. He kicked something soft. "Didn't get too far away, did you?" He leveled the blaster and slowly squeezed the trigger.
A flash of blue from the smoke severed the Kijon's arm. The large creature howled and sank to his knees. Undaunted, fingers blindly searched the grimy surface for the fallen blaster. Grasping the weapon, the smoky room lit up with blaster bolts again as he fired at every shadow. "Coward! You will not get out of here alive!"
A shadow moved around the Kijon heading back toward the doors and a less smoky area of the cantina. The large creature bounded to his feet and moved to block the Jedi's escape route.
Obi-Wan coughed as the acrid air was choking him. All he could see the hulking form of the Kijon and it refused to move. His lungs were burning and he didn't know how much longer he had before the oxygen deprivation overcame him.
"I will make you suffer and beg for death." The Kijon reached out grasped the Jedi by his worn tunic and pushed him toward the flaming bar.
"You don't know how I am suffering," Obi-Wan managed between ragged breaths as the heat around him grew intense again. Twisting to see the fire that he was being pushed toward. The smoke was so thick but still the Kijon did not seem effected.
Blue flashed briefly piercing the Kijon's thick body. The heavy creature sank to his knees and toppled backward dragging the Jedi with him to the grimy floor.
Obi-Wan gasped, taking in the warm but relatively smoke free air just above the floor. "I will only kill in defense," he whispered.
Coruscant Time: –255 days
"What a mess," the sooty Toydarian waitress sighed as she hovered around the burned out remains of the cantina. She flew over to one of the few remaining tables and scooped up two blackened glasses. After a moment of study, the Toydarian dumped them into a grimy apron pouch and flew off in search of more recoverable objects.
Stepping out from the shadows, a figure in brushed silver Mandalorian armor over black studied the charred room. No less than half dozen weapons were visible, including a caston flint enhanced blaster rifle strapped to his back. The walking arsenal kicked a broken table to the side revealing the partially burned remains of the deep purple Mahari monk's robe. The Jedi had been there.
Obi-Wan Kenobi was getting harder to track, but not yet impossible. Continuing his silent inspection in the grim light that filtered through the remaining rafters of collapsed ceiling he paused.
At first glance, the armored figure was no different than the dozen bounty hunters that passed through in the previous days with one exception. Clipped to utility belt, back where it could not hinder him was a delicate lightsaber sized for a small hand. A trophy of one of his many kills.
The helmeted figure spun to face the Toydarian hovering nearby. His mechanized voice demanded, "Where is Ce'til Palom?"
"I'm having trouble remembering," the waitress gruffly replied as she held out stubby gray fingers rubbing them together in the interplanetary symbol for credits.
Calmly the figure retrieved a silver blaster from his side and pointed it directly at the Toydarian's gray head. "Palom."
Snorting indignantly, she jutted her wrinkled chin outside. "Probably getting drunk down the street. Can't you see I'm out of business? No drinks here."
"The place has never been cleaner," the hunter replied turning to leave.
Lightning quick reflexes sent an orange blaster bolt into the hovering Toydarian. She was dead before she hit the blackened floor.
The masked figure marched out of the murky, burned out structure and down the dark street still holding the blaster. Bright neon lights splashed pinks and oranges across his silver armour.
It was the closest he had been to the Jedi since Seris Prime. He would have had Kenobi then if it were not for that upstart Lieutenant Needa alerting the Jedi to the Imperial presence.
Never slowing he stormed into the first extremely crowded pub and shoved a few customers out of the way. The rest moved from his path, growing silent as the bounty hunter zeroed in on his target. Spying Palom sitting against the wall behind a full sabacc table, the bounty hunter raised his weapon. Before anyone could respond, he had killed all of the occupants at the table except Palom. The large human pitifully hid behind a hand and the stump remains of the other.
Palom began to laugh as his pale, bruised face looked up at the hunter. "Should of known, your kind wouldn't be far behind. There's no Jedi here, Ruan Uri."
Ruan fired, singing the hair off Palom's sparsely whiskered chin. "The Jedi."
"Got away after he killed my associate."
"That Kijon deserved to die." Another blaster bolt skimmed the top of Palom's head inciting the human to cower even more. "You know where he went."
Palom shot him an evil look from table level. His voice quivered as he spoke, "Probably heading to Nasaux. There's a small transport hub there."
Ruan nodded and retreated from the crowded room.