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Old 07-23-2006, 12:46 PM   #164
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OK here is the next chapter. Again I went off my eccentric streak and used another movie. Try to guess.

Chapter 7: Crash and Burn
Belos was in worse shape than I thought. When we arrived we had to stop short at one of the moons. My Republic friends and I and of course Caelos traveled on one of the few trade ships still allowed onto the surface. It was by some miracle of the Force that we were able to make it past the sensors at all. I was pretty sure that they had every single Force Adept attuned to any sign of the Jedi. I did my best to mask Caelos’ signature and mine since he didn’t know how to do that yet. I hid my relief as we touched down and disappeared into the crowds. Zaalbar was a problem since he was so tall and no one had seen a Wookiee before. They had to detain him and I thought he was going to bust out but I eyed him and he understood.

I kept Carth and Caelos by me as one of the tribesmen led our motley group to a safe house. Amazing what my name can do to people. Later I learned that it was going to create a problem for the people since they were harboring us. It was one of those things that would affect me profusely. At the safe house, I gave assignments according to everyone’s talents. My goal was to get outside the capital city Xao Lin and make contact with the tribes that had managed to evade the Rashikians. I took Carth, Caelos and T3 with me to scour the exit routes. HK I left with Jolee and Mandalore since I didn’t want to deal with his trying to shoot them.

It took me two months of wandering the grimy streets to gather the necessary information about Xao Lin. We had to get reconnaissance of all possible exits and the inner workings of the city. During those two months we had become acquainted with an underground resistance who gave us everything they knew about the security habits of the guards. Zaalbar went back with the ship and headed back towards the moon. Late at night when everyone else was asleep I would make plans for my escape from the city. I decided to send back some of my people and I had not heard the end of it so instead I made the painful decision that they remain in the city and coordinate the resistance. That and other things made me retch at night. I ended up losing my desire to eat for a while and would have ended up starving if Carth didn’t force me to eat. Mostly it stemmed from the fact that food sounded repulsive. That was nothing compared to the events that got me out of Xao Lin.

It happened one day when I was walking with my usual group through the market sector of the city. T3 was beeping me readings and the list of usual supplies we needed, which included food. I was glad at the moment that I was able to secure clothing for everyone that blended in. We were looking at a stall with fruit when a small boy was being dragged out by a small group of Rashikians. I could hear their language and they were saying that the penalty for thievery was death. The people in the square cleared a circle. They knew what was going to happen and they were powerless to stop them. I could sense Carth getting upset and he wanted to reach for his blasters but I stayed his hand. I muttered for him to tell T3 to get ready and I began to walk slowly towards the group.

The leader was muttering as saying, “Your people don’t play by the rules boy. Thieves don’t get caught. Perhaps he thinks he will get mercy you think?” The rest of the group began to laugh with the crowds looking on. He then said, “Hold him down.”

The one holding the blade had it raised when I said, “Halt.” Everyone turned to look in my direction. I guess they thought I was signing my death warrant since it meant death to contradict the local authority. I ignored the stares as I said, “What in the name of the Four Winds could make a creature so dangerous that it takes six men to kill it?”

“This doesn’t concern you Belosian trash. Be advised to keep moving,” was the response.

“Well have you captured a kataran beast? Let me see. Huh, a small boy, a truly dangerous animal,” I played with some humor.

“This boy stole from the caravan of the General.”

“You’re starving us. We needed the food,” the boy retorted.

“I advise you again core slime to move along or you risk imprisonment and eventually death.” The tensions were getting high. The Rashikians were getting angry.


“What did you say?”

“I said wrong. This is my home therefore you are out of line,” I said. I had such a straight face that if the situation weren’t so grave, it would have been funny. I had treaded into dangerous territory and I could fly or crash and burn.

The leader walked straight up to me and said, “You are the one out of line. I could have you disemboweled right here and now.” His eyes were burning. It looked like it was going to be a crash and burn.

I looked at him right in the eye. I said, “Oh I don’t think so.” With as much power I could muster, I used the Force to send him flying into one of the stands. I drew out the katana that I was carrying. I didn’t want to risk my lightsaber being seen. I twirled it and was ready when the rest of the group came at me. I used a series of blocks, strikes, punches and kicks to make my way to the boy. I yanked him off his feet and told him to run. I noticed a patrol coming down the alley. I took a run and a leap and ran up the walls and flipped behind them.

That move seemed to stun them and allowed for Carth to fire away. T3 let out an occasional stunner. I was glad that Caelos was back at the safe house that day instead of here. I led the fray with my blade as I made my way to a pair of draigons that were just waiting. I motioned to Carth who jumped on one and I jumped on the other and we took off running through the streets. T3 followed behind us as I led the way to the ruined portion of the city walls.

As we approached, I saw that T3 wasn’t going to make the jump so I slowed a bit and pulled alongside the little astromech. Using brute strength, adrenaline and the Force, I managed to lift the droid and held it at an awkward angle until we jumped the wall. I used the reins to tie the droid to the draigon as the thing kept running. I turned back to find a whole patrol following us. They were shooting arrows and an occasional blaster shot at us.

We ran across the plains and headed for the forest. We managed to hide in the Yanamoto Forest, one considered to be haunted. The Rashikians tried to tempt us out by calling us cowards and other vile names. I whispered to T3 to keep quiet as they kept taunting us until they realized that we were not going to come out. After they left, I let T3 down and examined the draigons, Carth and T3. Last I examined myself. I found bruises and blisters on my hands forming from the reins and from holding onto T3. My eyes traveled up my hands and I noticed on my shoulder a burn mark. I had been hit by a blaster bolt. I shrugged it off and went into a Force Heal. The pain was gone before I felt it. I spoke softly, “Well, I guess we found a way out of Xao Lin. Now we just need to find the tribes.”

“I’ll say. What were you thinking going up to that group and taking all six on? I thought the key was to lie low,” Carth responded.

“It was spur of the moment but it was a small boy Carth. I wasn’t going to stand by and watch,” I replied as I checked the lines on the draigons. “As I seem to recall, you weren’t going to stand by either.”

“That is true but do you have any idea what is going to happen to those people? They’ll be scouring the city trying to find more of us.”

I knew it was the truth and I discussed this with the resistance. They knew the risks. It overwhelmed my calm nature and I responded forcefully, “I know that and so does the resistance. They were willing to do what they needed to do. They want to take back their planet but in order to do that, we need to get the help of the tribes out here. It was a decision and I made it.” I straddled my draigon and held the reins of the second one out to Carth. “We now have but one choice, find a tribe. We have just crashed and burned.” I turned towards a snow-covered trail and started down it. T3 beeped and followed and then Carth.

It was a silent ride through the forest as we looked for signs of any of the free tribes that had settled around there. T3 would beep out any signs of animals and such but other than that, we were quiet. I could sense that Carth couldn’t believe at my decision or the outburst I had given him. I wanted to talk but I was being stubborn, too stubborn. My thoughts drifted off and my senses honed on my bond with Revan. It was faint considering the distance between us but I could sense her tiredness mingled with annoyance. I hoped Michaela was watching out for her. My thoughts were interrupted when Carth asked, “What did you mean by that we crashed and burned?”

Surprised that the stubborn man was going to talk to me, I didn’t respond right away. When I did I said, “What it means is that we are on our own. There is no way that we will be able to get back in Xao Lin or any of the other cities. They know what we look like.”

“I see. Did you even think about that when you calculated your plan?”

“Believe me, I didn’t intend on getting us locked out of the city. This was not according to plan.” My temper was starting to get the better of me and I struggled to keep it in check.

Carth tried a different track. “Since when has anything gone according to plan?”

“For Jolee it does,” I responded in a low voice.

“Jolee doesn’t conceive battle plans as well as the meatbag who is like a brother to my wife.”

“Taking vocabulary lessons from HK?”

“It grows on you.”

I chuckled, “Tell me about it.”

We both started to laugh. My temper smoldered and died out. I had a tendency to forget that Carth understood war. Heck he fought in two wars and fought in a battle over Citadel Station. He knew that some decisions never come easy. Some were clear and others were like a catch-22. I guess he realized that he had hit a nerve and he used his good humor to try and ease the tension in the air. It worked for I felt better.

A gentle breeze was beginning to blow as we continued down the trail and it was late in the afternoon. Nothing seemed to be turning up as we came to a river. It was a beautiful sight though I was hit with a slight wave of nausea. I forced it down as I slid off my draigon and went to the edge. I made my way across to find the shallow spots. I used my katana to poke down to the bottom. Carth was waiting while T3 was scanning the area around.

I had found the shallow end and risked frozen feet by stepping in it. The icy water came up mid shin making it suitable for the draigons to cross. I sheathed my blade and looked around. I heard T3 beeping something about a sentient or an animal nearby but I didn’t get a chance to process it through my brain. All of a sudden, my feet flew out from under and I landed hard on my back in the pool of water. For a brief moment, I felt a moment of terror from that memory of my fall but my anger took over as I struggled to get up.

Wet and cold I looked around until I heard a taunting voice from a woman. She was singing, “There was a rich man from Xao Lin who tried to cross the river. What a slug, he tripped on a rope. Now look at him shiver.” She smirked at me and called out, “Beg for mercy rich man!”

I rolled my eyes and started back towards the shore. I called back, “I am not a rich man.”

A general yell called out and a bunch of women and a few men came out of the trees and brush. They surrounded Carth, T3 and the draigons and grabbed a hold of them. I was still standing in the middle of the river and I was freezing my butt off. We had been searching for the tribesman and it looks like they found us and it looked like they weren’t happy to see us.

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