I had been with the special forces group for a few months, and quickly grew accustomed to the brawn in our trio. Being the diplomat in the group wasn’t easy, especially when Zan and Drokar always fought over who had the greatest take downs. Zan was the Jedi, often letting his anger out of control, but with a constant smarmy demeanor. Drokar was some sort of wolf-like man-beast. I didn’t yet have free time to learn more about his species, but he was never satisfied unless his fists flattened at least one enemy for his daily diet of dominance. Not to doubt any of us, but while we had our own way of accomplishing missions, we didn’t always agree or listen to one another.
Our current mission was to dismantle a bomb placed on the in-bound train to the city. We had help from some of the clone troopers in the area, flying to the rendezvous point to intercept the assailing train. It was bound to be covered with droids; inside and out. The ship began to shake from the turbulence, and I squinted my eyes to try and see my teammates, but didn’t have the best nocturnal sight. The side hatches slid open, pouring sunlight straight into our eyes and drawing us towards the edge with the pull of the sudden wind. I clung onto some of the seatbelt straps bolted to the wall, bracing myself for a bumpy landing.
“Gentleman,” Zan nodded to Drokar, then turning to me. “Lady.” He flipped backwards through the air in a dazzling display of acrobatics, landing safely on the roof of the moving train.
“He’s such a show off,” I muttered, tucking back a strand of my loose pink hair. Drokar grunted and jumped off of the ship in suit. Zan and Drokar waved for me to hurry up, so I took a deep breath and leapt through the air. I barely made the edge, precariously teetering backwards before Zan waved his hands and used the force to pull me safely on board. I pretended to vomit from the back of the train as he winked at me. The clones were the last to join us. Scrapper was the head of the pack, and another Jedi by the name of Master Char came with us as well.
It didn’t take long for the battle droids to notice us and to begin firing weapons at our group. Everyone but me rushed ahead. I didn’t have the strength like them, let alone weapon knowledge or tactical expertise, but I still held a blaster just in case. Every night before a mission I readied my blaster, cleaning it thoroughly and going through the motions of take down points on an enemy. Unfortunately, I had just been released a new blaster model and didn’t read the instruction manual. I assumed it would work the same as the last one.
Drokar tore into the nearest droid, ripping its limbs apart and scattering bolts and live wires across the hot metal of the car, letting them slide off and into the quickly receding distance. “Who’s fuckin’ next?” He growled.
Zan was deftly slicing through droids himself, cleanly decapitating a handful of them at once, kicking their heads over the edge as well. I tried to help shoot one of Zan’s droids, but nothing shot out of my blaster when I pulled the trigger.
“Take the safety off,” Zan shouted. “Do you need a tutorial?”
“I know,” I snipped back, looking around my blaster for the safety. “I just got this model.” I took another shot at an oncoming droid, making a direct hit with its neck and severing the main artery of its system, paralyzing the droid as it futilely cried out for help. The momentum of the train sent it sliding over the edge. The wheels squeeled and crunched over the metal, sparking the droid’s last words.
“That may have been one of the most depressing things I’ve ever seen. You couldn’t even put him out of his misery?” Zan pressed, raising his hand and neatly tossing another droid off of the train.
“I can’t cut through them like butter, Jedi,” I snarled.
Both of us turned our attention on Drokar as a heavier battle droid advanced on him, taking a near pointblank shot at his head. Zan shot a bolt of energy from his palms and lifted a shield in between Drokar and the blast, deflecting the laser back at the droid, blasting a hole through its center panel.
“Pay attention, man,” Zan hollered, wishing he could smack Drokar for his carelessness. Drokar howled in frustration, clotheslining an incoming enemy.
“Guys, help!” I called, taking laser fire from a new group of droids that appeared from the back of the train. I collapsed to the ground, wincing at my wounded shoulder. This was exhausting. Why did I submit my resume to this place?
“Gotta save my bro!” Drokar roared, trampling everything in his path on his way to rescuing me. The first droid’s arm was ripped off and wrenched back like a baton, whipping forward with full power and sending the rest of the droid’s body off into the distance. My gun finally kicked into action and I blasted the second droid so hard it flew through the air and hit a bird in the distance, both exploding on impact. “Oh my gods,” Drokar exclaimed in his deep, guttural voice. “Maybe you are worth something.” I decided to take it as a compliment.
“Let’s get going,” Zan waved for us to jump from car to car. I hesitated. Hurdles were never my thing in gym class, and I didn’t really want to drop thousands of feet into the ravine below. Somehow I managed to make it.
“I’m going to ruin this guy’s day,” Drokar pounded a fist in his palm, making a complex arrangement of martial arts moves, confusing the droid that ran up to greet him with a blaster.
“Does not compute,” the droid beeped. “Fighting style unknown.”
While Drokar and Zan created a path through the firing machines, I targeted one of the bigger droids further up and set the laser sight on its visor. It began punching itself in the face, attempting to hit the laser point until the droid no longer moved, collapsing to the roof of the current car.
“The Separatists sure make them high quality, don’t they?” Zan laughed.
“To be or not to be—-“ Drokar held a head in his hand. “Aw, fuck it.” He bashed the head into another droid, and elbowed the still standing machine until it toppled from the moving train. He finished off the last couple of enemies and we took a second to catch a breather.
Zan decided to not waste any time and jumped over the side of the train, crashing through the window and sending glass flying in all directions. I knew there were more enemies down there when I heard his light saber cut through some solid objects.
“I’ll hold down the top of the train,” I gestured for Drokar to slip inside of the train through the safety hatch. He eyed me for a moment before hopping down the hole, echoing his landing across the tracks. I watched as Drokar dropped down to all fours and leg sweeped four droids at once. Once that car was clear, I hopped down the hatch as well.
“You know there was a hatch, right?” I eyed Zan, placing my hands on my hips.
“Yes, but I wouldn’t have looked as charming sliding in through the hatch,” Zan grinned. I shook my head. Even in the most serious of situations he had to take the long way.
The city started to draw closer and I pointed it out to my teammates. We were only a couple of minutes away from the city limits. We battled through another room. Drokar crashed through a couple of teetering crates, taking out two droids on the other side. I ran past them to try to get to the control panel room on the other side; supposedly where the bomb was stationed.
“You! Stop!” A mechanic voice sounded behind me. I blasted the droid with a twist of my good shoulder, instantly dropping it where it stood. “Are they all gone yet?” I asked. No sooner did I vocalize my frustrations than an entire new troop of droids marched in through the car door. There were too many of them this time. We couldn’t possibly fight them off. Zan and I lowered our weapons, Drokar snarling and refusing to put his fists down. A noise from above us had us all take a step back. A bright red circle melted into the roof of the car, crashing down onto the close-knit group of droids. Master Char jumped down and forced them all out of the car windows, tearing a large gap in the metal.
We thanked Master Char for his help and ran into the bomb room. I hacked into the bomb and immediately realized that it was hardwired into the train.
“Impella, you know what you’re doing, right?” Zan eyed me worriedly, looking out the window to see how closely the city was.
“Uh, sure,” I typed a few more keys on the touch screen. “There’s no way to dismantle the bomb without stopping the entire train. We’ll have to come up with something else.”
One of the clones stepped into the room. A man named Corbett. We explained to him the situation and he radioed for the ship to blow up the pylons on the bridge. Zan and I had some difficulty climbing up through the hatch, but Drokar had no problem taking a full leap.
“You don’t have to show off, Drokar,” Zan said. Drokar grumbled to himself, not having a comeback. The two of them easily slid into the ship as it pulled up along the train. I jumped at the last second and was hoisted up by my two compatriots. We didn’t get very far away when a large explosion rocked the gun ship violently. We managed to save the city.
We returned to base, and I was glad when Zan and Drokar finally finished their who’s better contest. Head of command needed us to debrief the situation. Zan needed to speak with Master Char on his own, so Drokar and I went with the clones to the debriefing meeting.
“I’m surprised you were involved in the fighting this time around,” Scrapper patted me on the back, maybe a bit too informally. I gently nudged his arm away, giving him a winning smile.
“I could have done better if my gun didn’t glitch,” I patted my holster. After some convincing he walked away to speak with some of his superiors.
After a few minutes Drokar and I noticed Scrapper walking back the other way, blaster trained on our Jedi friends.
“Corbett, what’s going on?” I turned to the clone trooper who had just been on the mission with us. He had his weapon out as well, but was more hesitant in heading over to Zan and Master Char.
“Order sixty-six has been issued,” he responded, sweat dripping down his conflicted face.
“Order sixty-six?” I questioned. There were many things about the far span of galaxies that I knew, but this terminology I was unfamiliar with. “What does that mean?”
“The elimination of all Jedi,” Corbett answered, running towards the soon-to-be skirmish.
“I think we should pack our stuff and go, Dro’. Something’s not right.”
The two of us ran towards our allies, watching as Scrapper pulled up his weapon, training it on Zan and Master Char from ten feet away. Drokar managed to disarm them, while I tried to change their minds about what they were doing. None of them would listen. The message was too far ingrained in their minds. Zan deflected an attack aimed at Master Char. The clones were closing in.
“Get to one of the ships!” Drokar shouted. “I’ll take care of these guys!”
Corbett decided to help out our side, but he was concerned about his trooper brethren, not wanting to kill any of them. I shook my head, not understanding who would have issued such an attack on Jedi, and ran for one of the usuable ships. The closest thing I could see was a freighter ship on the opposite side of the hangar. I looked behind myself to see Drokar attempting to steal a web blaster away from some of the clone troopers.
Zan suddenly ran past me with Master Char, fighting a path to the same ship I had my sights on.
“Are you with us or against us?” Zan glared at me.
“I’m with you,” I panted, finally catching up to him. I was clearly out of shape. “Just really slow.”
Zan raised his hands and brought a gigantic mechanical crane to life, crashing the neck into lines of clone troopers.
It’s like he doesn’t even care that he’s hurting all of those people, I frowned. He’s scarier than I thought. I glanced behind me to see if Drokar was in sight. Come on, Dro’. I made it to the ship and walked up the platform to the safer haven of the ship’s innards. I was so out of breath that it took me a few seconds to catch my bearings.
“Impella, get the ship started!” Zan shouted from the entrance I just walked through. “I’ll guard you.”
“Right,” I heaved, slugging to the controls. “On it.” I booted up the computer with relative ease, sighing when all of the lights showed green. Thankfully it didn’t ask me for safe-mode or a user password like last time. Although a Freighter probably didn’t have much to guard.
The ships terrain window popped open, and I gasped as I saw more Jedi’s lives being extinguished. The light of their sabers instantly zipped out of sight. I hoped they would reappear, but things were going from bad to worse. Getting the engines up and going was proving to be more of a hassle, but Corbett helped them get going. I’m pretty sure all he did was hit the fuse box with the butt end of his hydro-spanner, but it didn’t really matter how it started at that point. The engines sputtered to life and Zan ran to the front of the ship.
“Thank you, my dear,” Zan gently moved me out of the way and belted himself into the pilot’s seat. He laid the ship’s arsenal on all of the clones below, keeping away from Char so he could get to the ship. I stared in disbelief from the dark corner, trembling from the massacre that was occurring in front of me.
How can Zan be doing this? How can he murder all of these people? We were friends with these people less than fifteen minutes ago.
Zan moved the throttle forward and managed to pick up our remaining allies. Drokar carried Master Char’s injured body onto the Freighter. We were all worried about him. I made a quick note that he was still breathing. Maybe we’d have time to get out of here and then use the med kit on him. Maybe not. We flew out of the hangar and out into space, only to be met by an onslaught of rebel ships.
“I want as much energy and shields as you can get!” Zan shouted orders.
“Doesn’t anyone care about the dying guy in our ship?” I blanched at Char’s immovable, blood stained body.
“We’ll all be dead if we don’t get out of here!” Zan retorted, dodging in between ships.
Drokar diverted the ship’s power to fully utilize it with our engines, while I activated some panels for the defense system. We watched as the system activated a targeting system for any incoming weapon fire. The engines began to overheat as the ship took on some injuries. Corbett managed to cool down the engines as the overheating began to start fires.
There wasn’t much else I could think to do, so I knelt down next to Master Char and pulled out the med kit. I patched up his wounded shoulder and gave him some medicine for the pain. Master Char kept his eyes closed and silently meditated.
Jedi are weird…I mused to myself.
I helped boost up the shields as smaller ships began to swarm ours. Drokar activated the communications line, which took far longer than we would have liked. I assumed that the antennae took more time to elongate in its old age. I tried to send out a deceptive message to change the coordinates of the other ships, but fumbled with my words. Something about non face-to-face conversations increased my anxiety. Drokar aided the distraction by shooting one of the bigger rebel ships, taking down its power supply and deploying all of its escape pods. We sent out an encrypted s.o.s. signal to make the other ships think it was in trouble. As they all converged on the sitting ship, Zan yelled for me to override the hyperdrive lock on the ship. We sped off into safety.
I can’t leave these idiots now, I looked around at the assembled crew. Zan, Drokar, Char, and Corbett. They’ll die without me.