AN: Good day everyone and welcome back the The Legend Reborn! After a nearly six month hiatus, the story is back, and I will apologize for the delay, as there was a miscommunication between my co-writer and I that delayed the completion of this chapter. Going forward, the updates should come much more consistently. Enjoy!
Aboard the Ebon Hawk
Zeego disengaged the hyperdrive and transmitted the clearance codes to the Mandalorian port authority. The Ebon Hawk sat motionless in the solar system for several minutes. Zeego held the ship controls in his hands patiently holding the ship steady until landing clearance was granted. He could feel the vibration of the ship in his fingers as the engine hummed idly in the rear of the ship.
There was something about spaceflight that always calmed Zeego. The appearance of various star systems beyond him radiated with life from light years away. The smuggler smiled as he thought about how easy it would be for him to reach each last one of them.
Of course, he wouldn't just make the jump to lightspeed now, their mission was too important. Getting the Mandalorians off Coruscant had become a priority for Revan, and with the former Sith Lord on his way to Dathomir, the responsibility fell to Zeego. He would have preferred something more inconspicuous than the Ebon Hawk for this mission, unfortunately this ship was possibly the only vessel capable of making it through the imperial blockade in Revan's possession.
A few moments had passed and the Mandalorian Port finally gave clearance for Zeego to begin his landing sequence. He input a series of commands into the flight console before pulling on the ship's throttle to begin its descent to the planet's surface. The roar of the engine echoed throughout the ship. Zeego muttered under his breath as HK-47 entered the cockpit, stopping behind the pilot's seat.
"Demand: Are. We. There. Yet?"
"Yes HK, we're there," Zeego paused, minor annoyance in his tone, "I swear, if I have to listen to you ask that force-forsaken question one more time, I will space you out the airlock."
"Retort: You are aware that I can survive in space, are you not? You however, cannot. Your meatbag body would cease to function in approximately .77 seconds. At which point, I would take command of this vessel and complete my master's mission without you." Zeego shook his head as he silently asked himself why he volunteered for this operation at the same time as that blood thirsty droid. He eased up on the throttle as the ship entered the atmosphere, Mandalore's gravity doing most of the work. HK-47 turned and left the cockpit, Zeego glanced down the hallway once the droid was out of earshot before speaking to himself.
"I could shoot him… I could shoot him and nobody would notice…."
Mandalore stood on the landing platform, flanked by six protectors as he watched the Ebon Hawk descend toward the palace. The ship landed with a hiss of steam as the hydraulics in the landing gear kicked in. Zeego and HK-47 stepped off the ship as the landing ramp dropped.
"Zeego, HK, come with me, we have to hurry. Ordo and his vode are waiting in the Palace. We need to go over the plan before you leave." Mandalore didn't wait for a response, he turned on his heel and strode purposefully toward the throne room, Zeego exchanged a glance with his mechanical counterpart for a moment before following the others. The neimoidian sped up his pace to keep up with Mandalore and the others.
The group moved with purpose through the halls, Zeego tried to observe the various trinkets lining the walls, but Mandalore didn't leave any time for a tour. There was work to be done today, and Zeego knew that. There would be time for a tour later perhaps.
The hydraulics hissed as the durasteel door to the throne room opened, Zeego could see at least four mandalorians inside the chamber, all of them covered in full mandalorian armor. Upon closer examination, Zeego noticed that they all wore the same face. Clones, like Mandalore himself.
Mandalore gestured to the group, "Ordo, Fi, Atin, and Mereel," He paused for a moment for Zeego to take a moment to identify them. The easiest way to do so was by the colors of their armor. Each of them was easily distinguished by the red, blue, or black colors that adorned their helmets or chest guards. Mandalore cleared his throat before speaking again, "Vode, this is Zeego, and HK-47. They can help bring our brothers home."
"How?" Ordo asked without preamble.
The iron-clad gaze of the Mandalorian was somewhat unnerving but fortunately for Zeego, he already prepared an explanation that didn't require mentioning Revan.
"Well you see, early on in my smuggling career, I befriended a Gen'Dai that went by the name of Unlar…"
Zeego swallowed hard as half of the warriors in the room started cursing in the Mandalorian tongue and the other half probably started glaring at him behind their masks.
"You befriended Gen'Dai filth and you have the nerve of saying that in the presence of our Mandalore?" Atin asked in disgust. "Have you never heard of the Gen'Dai bounty hunter Durge? That long live worm has been slaughtering Mandalorians for centuries!
Zeego started sweating a little at the anger he provoked but he still nodded. "I have heard of his infamous reputation, yes, but I can assure you that Unlar has no problems whatsoever with your people. At any rate," The Neimoidian said after the Mandalorians stopped growling at him, "Unlar was far older than Durge. Old enough to remember the Mandalorian Wars, actually."
That bit of information triggered a moment of surprised pause, as Zeego was claiming he knew someone that was born about 40 centuries earlier. Which was true, if a bit misleading.
"Fascinating," Mereel admitted. "But how does that help us?"
"Well, Unlar taught me how to perform an ancient smuggling tactic from the Old Republic Era. So old, in fact, that the chances of any imperial detecting us before crossing the blockade on Coruscant are remarkably low. No one tries that method these days."
"Interesting," Fi murmured. "What tactic are we talking about?"
"Short version? I am going to piggyback the Ebon Hawk on an imperial ship."
"And that means…?"
"Exactly what it sounds like," Zeego confirmed. "Around 4000 years ago smugglers used to jump in and out of hyperspace milliseconds after a Republic ship, say a big supply ship, heading for Coruscant. Smuggler comes out of hyperspace and goes cold except for thrusters."
The Mandalore titled his head in consideration. "It would be hard to pick up on sensors that way."
"Right," The Neimoidian confirmed, "but only if you come out in the supply ship's shadow and only if you come out and get cold right away so I must know right where they come out of hyperspace. Fortunately, I know most of the details of every hyperspace lane in the Core so I can predict when exactly they would come out above Coruscant once I latch the Ebon Hawk to the big supply ship with an electromagnetic seal."
"Won't they feel it?" Ordo asked.
Zeego nodded. "Gotta be a big enough ship and you gotta latch onto a cargo bay or something similar. Something likely to be empty. Then, once you get through the atmosphere, you disengage the seal and try to float away into clear sky."
"Sounds risky but doable I suppose," Atin muttered. "Have you done this before?"
"Never as the pilot," Zeego said slowly as he stretched the truth. "But I know what to do. We can go to the Kravos system for starters. Last I checked, there are still supply convoys that stop there to skim the gas giants for hydrogen before heading straight back to Coruscant. Those vessels are big enough for our purposes."
"Hesitant Statement: I hope your execution of this maneuver will possess more confidence than you are currently conveying, Neimoidian."
"Very well," Mandalore said, ignoring HK's remark before turning to his men. "Get your gear ready. You leave in 15 minutes."
The warriors saluted and went outside to prepare themselves, HK-47 followed the group leaving the smuggler and the planetary leader alone in the room.
"Did you really meet this long lived Gen'Dai?"
Zeego nodded. "He never told me about this smuggling method, though. That was all Revan."
Mandalore remained silent for a moment before resuming. "I appreciate you keeping the lies to a minimum. But remember Revan that I don't intend to keep his identity a secret from my inner circle forever."
"Noted," the Neimoidian replied. "Wish us luck."
"Hmm," the Mandalore pondered. "This would be the moment where I would say may the Force be with you if I could sense it. But I can't, so I suppose I will settle for luck. Take good care of my men."
Ebon Hawk – Imperial Blockade Around Coruscant
Zeego returned to the pilot's seat as the rings of hyperspace blew past them, the exterior hull of the much larger star destroyer taking up much of the viewport. Behind him, Ordo and Atin were busy fitting their armor and inserting fresh power cells into their blasters. The seasoned smuggler activated the ship's intercom after a moment.
"Alright everyone, we should be dropping out if hyperspace shortly, make sure all your suit power systems are deactivated," he said as he checked again to make sure the Hawk's systems were deactivated. While he was preparing to detach the ship from the imperial cargo vessel, Fi and Mereel joined their brothers in the cockpit with Zeego.
"Good call shutting down the droid, At'ika," Mereel commented, "the rest of the flight was much nicer without him." The Mandalorian pulled his helmet over his head, the heads-up display activated as his brothers registered on his helmet. The others took the hint and did the same before synchronizing their HUD's.
The Ebon Hawk lurched as they re-entered realspace. The group leaned over the pilot's seat as they observed the Imperial Blockade around, capital ships surrounded the entirety of the planet.
"Fierfek, Palps sure has upgraded his security," Fi said.
"I would too if I just imposed a new galactic order. Sure, it's been a couple months, but I bet there's still a few people that are less than happy with him," Mereel commented.
The supply vessel bypassed the various commercial ships waiting their turn in the massive space lanes to land on the planet into a pathway that was likely reserved for military vessels. As the ship broke atmosphere, Zeego detached the Hawk, allowing it to free fall through the sky until they were finally far enough out of sensor range that they could safely restart the ship. Zeego began to restart the ship's engines.
"Alright, ship systems are showing nominal, I'll start heading for those coordinates you gave me."
"I can't believe this crazy plan actually worked," Atin commented before leaving the cockpit. Ordo sat himself down in the co-pilot's seat tapping absentmindedly on his chest plate.
"Nervous flyer?" Zeego asked.
"You could say that, I just hate not being the one flying," Ordo responded bluntly.
"Well, feel free to take over as co-pilot," he began. "What's the plan for once we land?"
"We've been in contact with Dar and Niner since the incident, they said they should be able to get out of the barracks long enough to meet with us, that way we can escort them back to the ship, then you get us out of here, and we head back to Mandalore." Ordo explained as he took control of the secondary systems.
Zeego didn't respond as they lowered the freighter down into a decommissioned freight yard, the lampposts had been removed, so the ship sat under the cover of darkness, aside from the faint illumination coming from the ship's essential systems. Zeego let out a breath as Ordo stood up from the seat, keying into his comlink. He could hear a one-sided conversation going on, whatever had happened, Darman had shut off his comm and he could hear Niner arguing with him over something. The interference on the comm slowly dissipated as they got closer.
"Shabuir," he said. "How can you do this?" That was all Ordo could hear, and he knew his brothers in the main hold of the ship had heard it too, they flooded back into the cockpit moments later. Ordo paid them no attention as he keyed into the comm once more.
"Niner? Niner, what's going on out there?" There was no response, so Ordo tried again, "Shab, Niner, answer me dammit." Again, there was no response, Atin and Fi were pacing in the doorway. After a few moments, Atin punched the doorframe.
"I'm going out there." He stormed off towards the loading ramp, Fi turned on his heel following his brother. Zeego glanced at Ordo and Mereel expecting them to do something, but the two remained where they were.
"Atin, make sure you've got your helmet's cam running," Mereel said. "Always handy to have as much data as we can get on the interiors of enemy installations, and I don't suppose Niner's been gathering layout data for us, so we'll need it in the future."
A voice came in over the comm, "No, I haven't," Niner snapped.
"Udesii, ner vod." Ordo said, "We'll be out of here in no time."
Niner was a special forces soldier who had operated behind enemy lines throughout the Clone Wars, never turning a hair. It made Ordo uncomfortable to see him rattled during a low-risk extraction. This should have been relatively easy. Nobody knew they were here, nobody had trained a cannon on their position, and nobody would notice them if they walked into the streets of Coruscant. But it could still end in tragedy. Niner didn't respond. Ordo could hear Niner's nervous breathing over the channel though.
Atin and Fi left the ship, moving quickly through the deserted streets, they turned a corner so fast they almost crashed straight into their brother, instead grabbing him in a huge embrace before realizing that Niner was alone.
"Clue us in, sarge," Fi said jokingly, "Where's Darman?"
Niner shook his head, "He's not coming, he said he can protect his son better from in here than he can from out there."
Atin crossed his arms, "So, you can take out an entire droid base single-handed, but you can't make Darman behave and get his shebs over here." He knew it didn't help to take it out on Niner, but he couldn't bear to let Kal'buir down, "Get to the ship and let Ordo and Mereel get rid of the tracking system in your armor, Fi and I will get Dar."
Niner paused hesitantly before reaching toward his belt for something, Fi stopped him. "If you think you're staying here, don't even think about it. Mandalore is back, he's called the clans home. Now get your shabla rifle on that ship and get ready for us to come back with him. Kal needs us home." Niner sighed, knowing his brothers were right, before nodding. Niner gave a Mandalorian salute before leaving his brothers to retrieve Darman. Atin and Fi exchanged glances from behind their helmets. They couldn't see each other's faces, but they both knew they would do whatever it took to get Darman on that ship with them. The closer they got the Imperial barracks, the more crowded the streets became, but they could still easily pick Darman out in his black imperial commando armor.
The two brothers split up to cover each of Darman's flanks. They moved into a quick jog before Darman turned around with his blaster drawn on both of them, "Stop, both of you! I told Niner, I'm staying!"
Atin kept both of his hands raised, Fi took the hint and did the same, "Udesii, Dar'ika. It's us, vod. Put the blaster down."
Darman grunted from behind his helmet, he glanced around and noticed the various civilians that had stopped to watch the confrontation. He realized it was only a matter of time before stormtroopers began to investigate since the barracks were less than a kilometer away. He lowered the blaster before he stepped toward Atin, motioning for Fi to come closer, "I can't leave with you."
"We know, Niner said you think you can help your son better from in here." Fi cut in, "Dar you have to listen, Kad needs you. He's been asking for his buir."
"What he needs is protection, Fi!" Dar shouted. "Palpatine is hunting force sensitives for… I don't even know what. But I won't let him take Kad." Darman was willing to do whatever it took to protect his son, Atin and Fi both knew that. If giving up every Jedi survivor would mean the Empire would stay away from Kyrimorut forever, they both knew that Dar would do it with a heartbeat.
"If they're hunting force sensitives, what do you think will happen if Gar Saxon makes a deal with him like they say he's trying to do?" Atin asked.
Darman went silent as he reached shakily to take off his helmet, "What are you talking about?"
"Clan Saxon is trying to make a deal with the Empire, if it happens, the Empire will control our planet, our people, and most importantly your son." Atin knew that everything he was saying was just speculation, Prudii and Jaing had caught snippets of transmissions exchanged between them, but it wasn't enough to act on.
"We can't let that happen." Dar said.
"Then come home with us! Please Dar…"
Atin and Fi could tell that he was starting to listen to them, the idea of an Imperial occupied Mandalore had set him on even more edge. He put his hand on Darman's shoulder, just as he had done countless times. "We're working on a plan to keep him safe, but you need to come home for it to work."
Darman shook his head before cursing under his breath, he put his helmet back on and stepped around his two brothers, "Alright you two let's go. First round is on the last one to step on the ship."
Fi smiled under his helmet, "Ordo?" he keyed into his comlink, "We got him, we're on our way."
"Oya! Hurry and get him back here, I disabled Niner's tracker but I doubt it will be long before the stormtroopers come looking for him. Our luck's gotta run out eventually." Atin charged his blaster before performing a thermal scan of the area, from what he could see there were mostly just civilians, but he could see a garrison of stormtroopers approaching from their seven o'clock. If they picked up their pace, Atin figured they could get to the Hawk in time. He went to say something but Fi grabbed his arm and motioned for him to hurry up, he had seen them too.
Coruscant – Landing Pad 709943
Ordo was pacing by the boarding ramp inside the ship waiting for his brothers to arrive. Niner sat in the main hold while Mereel sat their working on his helmet, the newest addition to the crew kept glancing at Zeego expecting an explanation of who the Neimoidian was. But was denied the introduction as Ordo stepped into the room.
"Alright, Atin and Fi convinced Dar to come with us, but we've got another problem. There's an imperial garrison closing in on this location, they must've finally picked up that Niner disappeared from their tracking system"
"Any solutions?" Niner asked, "You guys must have prepared for this."
"Zeego?" Mereel asked. "Anything on the ship that can help us?"
The pilot smirked at him before nodding at HK-47, "That droid there is worth probably an entire imperial garrison."
The Mandalorians stared at him blankly, waiting for further explanation, "He's the one that assassinated Lorka Gedyc, between him and the rest of you, I'm sure we can hold off the Empire if need be." Zeego took a step toward HK-47 and reactivated the droid, a mechanical hum came from his motors as his eyes began to glow a faint red.
"Declaration: HK-47 online, Addition: You would be wise not to deactivated me again, Mandalorian.
Mereel shook his head without saying anything. He and others put their helmets back on before descending the ramp with Ordo and HK-47 to set up firing positions if the Empire arrived, Niner reached for his helmet but Zeego interrupted him.
"You're wearing an imperial uniform and they just shut down your tracking device, if you go down there and the empire does arrive, they will report you AWOL, and after that it's only a matter of time before they piece together where you went."
Niner's eyes darted from the Neimoidian to the helmet, "You're right, but that doesn't mean I can't cover them from the ships mounted laser cannon."
Zeego smiled, these mandalorians were a creative group, and he was hoping that his part in this mission would go a long way in helping Revan gain their trust. These clones knew their way around a blaster. Now he just had to get them back to Mandalore. He sat in silence for a moment before reaching for his comlink.
"HK? Be sure to check your targets. Darman is still dressed in imperial armor."
"Offended Query: Is your opinion really so low of me that you would assume I hadn't accounted for that? Reassurance: Have no fear, I already factored that into any potential eventuality, and I think you would be pleased to know that out of one-hundred simulations, I only shot that Mandalorian thirteen times, all of which were intentional."
Zeego hesitated, "So you're saying there's a thirteen percent chance you'll shoot him?"
"Affirmation: You are correct. Ve-" Zeego cut the transmission, fearing that the others had tapped into the ship's private communications. The Ebon Hawk's external sensors began to beep, when Zeego checked what was causing the issue, he could see that an Imperial squad had arrived, and were approaching Ordo and the others with their blasters raised. In the time that it took for Zeego to blink, the situation had escalated and a firefight had broken out, two of the stormtroopers laid dead, but Zeego couldn't tell if HK or one of the others had killed them. The smuggler flinched as a stray blaster bolt singed the exterior hull near the boarding ramp, he cursed to himself, knowing that Revan would likely have something to say about letting his ship get damaged.
After shooting yet another stormtrooper right in the middle of the helmet, HK-47 decided that he was entertained. And considering how bored he has been since leaving Tython, the droid considered the chaos of the skirmish to be just was he needed.
"Hmph," Mereel grunted he fired his blaster. "You are much more effective than I expected." The Mandalorian veteran admitted as he witnessed the droid downing one trooper after another.
Boast: "I am the most skilled hunter in the history of droid-kind, Mandalorian," HK replied as he finished off the last stormtrooper on the vicinity. Addition: "Your surprise should be expected then, as the battle droids you faced during the Clone Wars couldn't have possibly matched my splendor."
"Right," Mereel said slowly as he saw Fin and Atin approaching in the distance with Darman. "I will be sure to share that with the others."
Affirmative: "So, it would seem. Remark: I will have to initiate the next phase of my mission parameters then."
Before his organic companion could ask what, he meant, the clone saw another squad of stormtroopers approaching their direction. Mereel's brothers would probably enter the ship in time but it would be cutting it close. Then, his thoughts where interrupted when he realized that HK had put aside his sniper blaster was now lifting a grenade launcher; its aim focused on the approaching squad before firing the payload.
The stormtroopers tried to scatter but to their surprise, the detonator didn't explode moments later as they had expected. Instead, an electrical shock wave expanded across their surroundings that didn't seemed to harm them.
Mereel frowned. "EMP?" He asked.
Instead of answering his query, HK-47 started talking to himself. Declaration: "I exist for the simple things. Like how much this is going to hurt."
And just like that, the stormtroopers exploded.
Zeego sat himself back in the pilot's seat, as he started the initial takeoff procedures to get the ship ready for a fast exit while he tried to think of the quickest exit strategy. The surrounding buildings were too tall for him to use the main thrusters immediately following takeoff, and the vertical climb would take too long, if the imperials were outfitted with a rocket launcher, it would make for possibly the shortest escape attempt since the Empire had been founded. Fortunately, he found a solution when he was looking over the ship's systems, a risky one, but it was possible.
Then turned right as he noticed the nearby explosion in his sensors and the Neimoidian snorted.
"Cultivating your sense of overkill again, aren't you, HK?
Zeego was just speaking to himself at the time, seeing as he was alone in the cockpit. He was therefore, very surprised when he heard a replied from a voice he did not recognized.
"So it would seem."
Whirling around with a blaster in hand, the Neimoidian saw a robed figure behind him with a hood above its head.
"Relax friend of Revan," The alien said as she uncovered her face, revealing red skin with streaks of blue lines and bright orange eyes. "I am here to help."
"How the Mandalorian hell did you do that?" Mereel asked in perplexed awe.
Hk-47 lifted his head in obvious satisfaction. Smug Assessment: "That grenade is a glorious customized weapon of my own creation. Explanation: It emits a short range EMP that disables nearby surveillance but it also ejects a dozen of mini bombs to the area. They don't have that much range, or even that much firepower but outer casings of the bombs have a strong magnetic component. I managed to position it just right for them to attach themselves to the armors of the stormtroopers and the point-blank explosion did the rest. Addition: The weapon's test exceeded expectations."
"I can see that," Darman called out as he overheard the last part of their conversation. Now, let's get out of here before I change my mind," The Mandalorian said as he entered the ship, his brothers close behind him.
Before turning around to follow, Mereel looked at the robotic masterpiece of death with newfound appreciation. "Remind me not to get on your bad side."
Query: Would a blasterbolt to the leg be an acceptable reminder?"
The veteran stared at him for a moment before roaring in laughter and entering the Ebon Hawk.
Zeego grip on his pistol tighten in surprise. "Who are you?" He demanded. "And how do you know that name?"
"My name is Yana-De but that is not important right now," The individual said with a calm but firm voice as she introduced herself. "You and your allies must escape before Imperial vessels are alerted of your location and move to intercept. Fortunately, you will have help from my benefactor as we approach the blockade."
He had become so distracted by the intruder from an alien specie he couldn't identify that he hadn't noticed that the firefight had ended, nor that the Mandalorians had returned to the ship with their missing crew members, only when Ordo came bounding into the cockpit had he realized what had transpired. The mandalorian was approaching the co-pilot's chair when he noticed the newcomer and tensed.
"Who the kriff is this?" The Mandalorian warrior asked warily.
Zeego pressed the bottom to raise the boarding ramp before he could answer. Then he turned around. "She said she wants to help and told me something very interesting. Keep an eye on her while I fly the ship. I am going to have to question her when we enter hyperspace."
The red skinned alien merely raised her hands in a placating gesture and said she would behave. Ordo muttered a curse in Mandalorian before strapping in to the chair and turning to keep a firm stare on the stowaway.
Slowly the ship began to ascend. Once they had reached a decent enough altitude, Zeego deactivated the stabilizers at the rear of the ship, the destabilization causing the front to rise until the ship was perpendicular to the surface before Zeego sent as much remaining power as he could into the main thrusters. The rest of the crew held on tightly further back in the ship as the Ebon Hawk rapidly climbed through Coruscant's atmosphere while Ordo was programming a course into the navicomputer much slower than usual as he kept glancing back to the their unexpected visitor.
Mereel curse was heard all the way to the cockpit. Zeego glanced to his left and noticed an Imperial Light Cruiser moving in atmosphere to intercept them.
"Is the hyperdrive ready?" He asked impatiently.
"Hey, you are the one who distracted me with watch duty; just give me a few more seconds" Ordo trailed off.
"We don't have a few more seconds, now punch it before they pull us in or they will blast us out of the sky!" he ordered.
Before the clone could reply, Yana-De's voice came from behind. "And the help should arrive…now."
Abruptly, a smaller starship crashed into the Light Cruiser, the metal inside the military vessel cracking under the pressure of the collision. Zeego blinked in surprise.
"What in the…was that your doing?"
"My benefactor's," The woman clarified. "I just timed it right to give the signal."
The noise of the hyperdrive suddenly beeped in confirmation before Ordo engaged it, sending the ship into lightspeed and far away from the imperial capital.
The Neimoidian and the Mandalorian turned around but before they could grill the stowaway for questions, HK beat them to the punch; having just entered the cockpit.
The droid stared intently at the woman and before aiming at her head. Order: "Tell me, what are you doing aboard this vessel, Voss Mystic?"
The woman raised her hands in surrender, although Zeego noticed she didn't look anywhere remotely alarmed. "I am here to negotiate, HK-47. My Benefactor sent me to propose a formal alliance with Lord Revan. And intend to see that particular Force vision where come to pass."
AN: Alright then! I hope you all enjoyed this addition to the story, please remember to review, and feel free to PM me with any questions, I will answer what I can. Until next time!