MOTF Book I: BOTE Chapter 16

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MOTF Book I: BOTE Chapter 16

Post by Emperordmb on Sun Dec 07, 2014 4:54 am


Walton had been all the way across the battlefield when he heard the blast. An ambient rumble filled the air a second before Walton saw the fiery green explosion out of the corner of his left eye. He cocked his head over in the direction of the luminous spectacle as the air around the explosion flashed a bright green. And when the light dissipated, Walton’s heart sank.

Across the battlefield near a stone outcrop lied Dylan’s body. Walton’s charismatic commander, his heroic leader, his friend was now sprawled out across the ground, motionless with his chest plate blasted open. Disbelief flooded Walton’s mind as he stared at his friend from across the battlefield, his mouth agape behind the visor of his helmet. Walton had seen countless soldiers fall in battle, but he never thought he’d see Dylan like this. Even when things seemed their worst, Dylan would jump back to his feat and pull of something that Walton and the others considered to be impossible. But not this time. This time, Dylan’s body sat perfectly still on the cold hard ground.

“I got it!” Walton heard Barto’s all too familiar voice from the speakers embedded on the inside of his helmet. “I have successfully sliced into the Lightor comm channel!”

Any other day, this would’ve excited Walton beyond measure. He would’ve put on a beaming grin behind the visor of his helmet and pressed the button on his gauntlet with great excitement. But this time, all Walton could do was stare at Dylan’s body, still in a dazed state, almost as if he were stuck in some sort of trance, barely able to move his arm to touch the button on his gauntlet. The deathly silence that had enveloped Walton was suddenly broken by the blaring of the Lightor comm channel in his helmet.

“He’s dead. We have no more business here,” Walton heard in a male voice.

“What of the girl?” a female voice chimed in.

“Bring her with us. She’s our prisoner now,” The male voice responded.

Walton suddenly snapped to focus. They could only be referring to Dylan, which meant they had to be near him! Walton quickly surveyed the areas around Dylan and saw a Lightor in gleaming gold armor, and another Lightor in a sleek set of white armor. Next to them stood two elite Lightor combat droids, and they were dragging a very familiar figure across the ground. It was Shorya. It was their prisoner.

“Alright, the shuttle is on its way for evac” the female voice said as Walton observed a shuttle way off in the distance flying towards the battlefield.

Glancing back and forth between Dylan sprawled out motionless across the ground, and Shorya being dragged dragged away by those infernal machines, a fiery anger began to surge through Walton. He wasn’t going to let them get away with this. He wasn’t going to let them escape with Shorya as their prisoner. He was going to kill them all.

His body now shaking with fury, Walton raised his automatic blaster rifle, steadied his arms, and took aim at the Lightor encased in golden armor. “Time to die,” Walton whispered to himself as he pulled the trigger. Almost immediately, several blasterbolts whizzed through the air towards the Lightor.

Walton heard a panicked shout over the Lightor comm channel. “We’re taking fire!”

Walton didn’t let up. He held the trigger down as the barrage of blasterfire rained down upon the Lightor.

Much to Walton’s dismay however, the shuttle had just about reached the Lightor’s position and was beginning to land.

“Get on the shuttle Jaira!” the male voice shouted. “You two,” Walton heard, assuming the male Lightor was talking to the two droids dragging Shorya. “Come with us. Every other unit, stay behind and finish these brutes off.”

Just as the shuttle touched the ground, the Lightor female and the droids dragging Shorya walked into the transport. But before the Lightor male got on the shuttle, he turned towards Walton aimed his cannon at him, and fired. A luminous green ball of energy flew towards Walton, threatening to blast him into oblivion if it struck him.

At the last possible second, Walton dove to the side as the pulsating ball of energy struck the ground he had just been standing on. Even so, the concussive force of the blast sent Walton hurtling through the air. His body struck the ground hard, several meters away from the area of impact. As Walton sat up, he glanced over at the ground he had been standing on only moments before, or rather where the ground should’ve been. A large smoking crater stood in place of the firm ground Walton’s feet had been planted on before he dove away from the blast.

Shaking his head in disbelief, Walton turned his attention back to the enemy just in time to see the shuttle lifting off of the ground. Without a moment’s hesitation, Walton rose to his feet and raised his rifle. With a loud battlecry, Walton unleashed a barrage of blasterbolts upon the rising shuttle. Small bits of the armored hull began to chip off in little chunks, falling to the ground below as the shuttle rose even further.

If only Walton had his rocket launcher, he would have a far easier time breaching the hull of the shuttle. But alas, he had become separated from his rocket launcher in the initial firefight between the Shadikill and the droids. Now all he was left with in the way of firearms was his automatic blaster rifle, and he knew deep down that it would never penetrate the hull of the shuttle before it flew out of his range. He still desperately clung to the hope that maybe, just maybe, he might hit a weak spot on the ship’s armor and bring it down.

Walton’s desperate hope was met with bitter disappointment however, as the shuttle flew off into the distance, but Walton kept firing a minute after he could no longer see it. Finally, Walton released the trigger, lowered his blaster, and let his arms slump to his sides in disappointment.

Just as he was about ready to give up, Walton held one last flicker of hope. The hope that Dylan would surprise him again. The hope that against all odds, Dylan would still be alive. As Walton prepared to charge however, two advanced combat droids and four other droids reached his position. Walton drew his sword in one hand and his blaster in the other as he defensively stepped back, with the six droids now approaching him.

He knew that Dylan would’ve charged them. Dylan could’ve probably somehow beaten them apart with his bare hands if it came down to it, Walton mused, but he was hardly the juggernaut of destruction that Dylan became on the battlefield. He couldn’t just plow through them like Dylan could, he would have to fight very carefully.

He continued to give ground as the droids approached him. After a brief pause, the droids opened fire with their arm cannons. Walton took off as fast as his legs could carry him, dashing behind one of the regular combat droids for cover. Before that droid could turn around, Walton’s blade had severed its head from its body. Walton’s next move was made without a moment of hesitation, because even a brief pause would mean death for him.

Walton leapt towards the nearer of the two advanced combat droids, activating the thrusters on his boots to propel him forward as he angled his blade towards the droid. The droid was quick however, bringing its blade up at the last possible second to deflect Walton’s strike upwards, but Walton never expected to skewer the droid like that. Instead, Walton swung his legs beneath his body, bringing them up in front of him. As soon as Walton’s feet struck the droid’s chest, Walton activated the thrusters on his boots again, sending the droid tumbling several meters away across the ground.

When Walton’s back hit the ground, he rolled back with the momentum, bringing him back on his feet just in time to dodge an overhead strike from the second advanced droid. The next time the droid swung, Walton caught its blade with his own, and pressed as hard as he could against it, putting every bit of effort he could behind that single shove. Walton’s efforts were rewarded when the droid staggered back a little bit.

Without a moment to lose, Walton activated the thruster on his right foot, propelling him upwards by his right leg, and slamming his right knee into the neck of the droid. As the droid staggered back, Walton activated the thruster on his left foot, kicking his left foot into the droid’s face, sending it toppling over. As Walton dropped to the ground, he held out his blaster rifle and shredded the droid’s head apart with a barrage of blasterbolts.

When Walton’s feet touched the ground, one combat droid stood on either side of him preparing to fire. As soon as their arm cannons began to discharge, Walton activated both of his rocket boots, and leapt into the air. Both of the droids’ cannon blasts met thin air before blowing the other droid’s face clean off. Walton grinned as he came down on the fourth normal combat droid, slashing his blade right through the top of its head as he dropped to the ground.

As the first advanced combat droid rose back up to its feet and swung at Walton, Walton fired a few blasterbolts into the droid’s legs, effectively off balancing it. With the droid now off balance, Walton swung his sword in an arc, lopping off the droid’s weapon arm. Almost casually, Walton swung his blaster upwards, catching the droid all across the chest and face with several blasterbolts, practically cutting the droid in half with his blasterfire.

Walton took a moment to survey the wreckage of the droids scattered around him, before looking back over at where Dylan’s body was lying on the ground. Three regular droids and two advanced droids were standing around it. Walton had to do something. If Dylan was still alive and the droids realized it, they would kill him.

Angling his blade in front of him, Walton leapt towards the group, activating his rocket boots as he did so. He practically flew across the battlefield holding his sword out ready to reduce those droids to scrap metal and save his friend. Unlike the advanced combat droids, the regular droids didn’t have as impressive of a response time, so the first regular combat droid was unable to do anything before it found itself skewered on Walton’s sword.

Planting his feat firmly on the ground, Walton held down the trigger of his blaster and swung it in an arc, sweeping a barrage of blasterfire across the four remaining droids. None of them went down, though the two regular combat droids were substantially damaged by the barrage. Before they could recover, Walton decapitated the regular combat droid to his left with his sword. Then he twirled around and blasted the other droid’s chassis apart with his blaster.

It was at that point that one of the advanced combat droids swung its blade at him, and though Walton was able to block it, the blow knocked him off balance. Processing that information, the advanced combat droid swung its other arm around, and caught Walton in the gut with its fist, sending the young Communications leader sprawling, and sending his automatic blaster rifle tumbling out of his grasp.

Just as the droid stood over him, preparing to deliver the killing blow, Walton saw Dylan’s custom rocket launcher lying on the ground next to his body. Seizing this opportunity, Walton rolled out of the way of the droid’s strike, grabbed Dylan’s rocket launcher, and fired a rocket straight into the advanced combat droid’s chassis, blasting it to pieces. Before the other advanced combat droid could even react, Walton brought around Dylan’s rocket launcher and subsequently blew that droid apart with another well placed rocket.

It was at that moment that Walton saw several other droids running in his direction. Realizing he had to get out of there, he ran over to Dylan’s armored body, hoisted it up with his left hand, and slung his friend’s limp body over his left shoulder. With Dylan’s rocket launcher in his right hand, Walton fired a rocket into a cluster of droids, blasting them apart. As the remaining droids scattered, Walton fired the laser attachments on Dylan’s rocket launcher, sending several streaks of red stabbing through the droids, tearing them to pieces as he made his escape.

As Walton fell back, he opened up the comm channel, and issued an order. “Everyone who’s left needs to fall back to the base. I repeat, fall back to the base!”

——————————————————————————

Darth Holos sat in one of the nine chairs in the Sith Council Chamber on Korriban. His entire body was encased in a suit of Sith armor fitted with an advanced holographic disguise matrix, which allowed him to alter his appearance almost at will, though he kept this function inactive while meeting with the other council members. At least in the chamber. Darth Holos could pose as a member of any of the other spheres and strike up a conversation with another councilor, gleaning valuable information from them without them even knowing.

Holos grinned behind his mask. Though he had shown and projected several different appearances in front of the other councilors before, none of them had been his own. Not a single person in the galaxy knew so much as his species, much less what he actually looked like. Information is power. That was one of the first lessons any and all Sith Agents learned after choosing this specialization, and as the most prominent Sith Agent in the order, Holos took this lesson very much to heart.

The fact that he knew the other Councilors inside and out, and that they didn’t even know who or what he actually was served as a great source of pleasure for Darth Holos. It was an undeniable advantage he had over every other prominent Sith in the order. He was like a ghost. He could be anywhere or nowhere depending on what the situation required, and nobody would know where he was or what he looked like if he so chose.

Holos glanced over to his right at Darth Angelo. The Iktotchi Male sat in his chair with a strange detachment to the conversation at hand. It was typical for the Head of the Sphere of Farsight to have his head in the clouds, glancing to the future, but this time something was different. He seemed profoundly disturbed and shaken up, almost wounded even. While this behavior was not the norm, it hardly surprised Holos. A heated conversation with the Dark Lord tended to have that effect on even the greatest of the Sith.

What Darth Holos found more surprising was the fact that Angelo was even alive after that conversation. Holos knew the reason behind their meeting, he had always known. Odious and Angelo believed themselves to be the only ones who had heard that prophecy, but very little that happened on Korriban managed to escape Holos’s ear, even a secret as safeguarded as this. Of course, Holos had no immediate plans to make use of this information. Much like his knowledge of the other councilors, he was holding it in reserve should he ever need it.

“I’m sure you all know why we’re here,” Darth Slazer began. “The Dark Lord has recently made a deal with the Zygerrians to make up for Malvot killing their King.”

Holos could see Malvot shooting Slazer a cold glare, but the Zabrak blademaster seemed to ignore it.

“From now on, the Zygerrians will enslave the population of every hostile planet we capture,” Slazer continued. “In the interest of a mutually beneficial arrangement, the Zygerrians have agreed to provide us with one fourth of the slaves from the planets we capture, and they have agreed to sell us additional slaves at a cheaper cost than usual.”

“Yes yes,” Darth Cha, head of the Sphere of Martial Arts chimed in.”We are all aware of this ratest deveropment. The obvious question is, how wirr we divide these sraves up amongst ourserves”

Holos watched as the interests of almost all of the councilors peaked. “Now before we all get too excited over this,” Holos replied. “I must remind you all that the Dark Lord has already staked a claim to a certain number of the slaves already.”

“This is true,” Darth Stovar chimed in. “Archives indicate that Darth Odious has requested he be given the one hundred most physically powerful slaves and the seven most fertile female slaves from each planet we capture.”

Of course, many of the councilors had their own theories about what Odious was planning to do with these slaves, many of them believing he was using them to create some sort of army. Darth Holos knew better however. Holos knew that the real reason the Dark Lord requested the one hundred strongest slaves from each planet was so that he could have them trained. They would be made stronger. The Dark Lord would feed them hope of freedom, and then, when their training reached its end, Odious would set them free.

Only they wouldn’t really be free. Odious would stalk them across what ever remote environment he chose to release them in, and then he would hunt them down and kill them, savoring their fear. There was no logical benefit that came from this of course, Odious was merely doing it for sport. Darth Holos was regrettably unaware of what Odious did with the female slaves, but he thought he had a pretty good idea.

“So,” Holos continued. “With that out of the way, where should we start…”

Darth Avion was the first to speak up. “The Sphere of Flight could certainly use some more slave labor. We require star fighters and ships, and vehicular repairs, and resources, and maintenance.”

“What exactly are you requesting Darth Avion?” Darth Malvot demanded.

“I am requesting that fifteen percent of the slaves we receive to go directly to the service of my sphere,” Avion calmly replied.

“That’s absurd!” Malvot responded. “The all powerful Darth Avion claiming fifteen percent of all of our slave labor for himself!”

Darth Holos kept a sharp eye on Slazer’s non verbal cues. The female Zabrak was about to speak up. Holos grinned behind his mask in satisfaction. Normally, he knew Slazer would reject Avion’s request just as forcefully as Malvot did. But with her arch rival taking the opposite side and having made a rather large blunder, Holos knew Slazer wouldn’t be able to resist taking the opposite side in order to fully exploit Malvot’s mistakes.

“You aren’t in much of a position to stake any claim Malvot,” Darth Slazer spat out vehemently. “Let us not forget that you were the one who killed the Zygerrian king in the first place!”

Holos’s grin widened. Slazer was even more blinded by hatred than Holos expected her to be. With the two other most prominent councilors irrevocably deadlocked on this issue, Holos knew that he had the power to determine the outcome of this event. Holos laughed inwardly. He was going to enjoy this. He was going to take full advantage of this situation.

“Avion does raise a point,” Darth Holos began. “The Sith fleet is an indispensable part of almost every battle we have, and the Sphere of Flight is more in need of these resources than any of our other spheres.”

“Yes indeed,” Stovar piled on. “Archives indicate that the success of Avion’s Sith Aces is of paramount importance to our space battle victories.”

“It would be extremely foolish to cut off Avion’s sphere from the resources it needs,” Holos continued, much to the irritation of Darth Malvot.

As all eyes were on Holos, he noticed a small nod of approval from Avion, and a menacing glare shot his way from Malvot. Holos knew Avion would return the favor, a favor he would certainly need once he staked his own request. Malvot’s glare on the other hand was a little bit more troublesome. When it came to dealing with Slazer and Malvot, it was always unwise to incur the wrath of either of them. After Darth Odious, Darth Malvot and Darth Slazer were the second and third most powerful Sith in the order respectively.

Holos knew that both held back certain applications of their skills and power, holding them in reserve for the day they would need them most. Slazer held back a certain application of her skills and physicality. Likewise, Holos was aware that Darth Malvot had yet to reveal her deadliest power, one unknown to all but her self, and of course Holos. Darth Malvot also kept another secret about her true ability, one hidden behind the dark fabric of her robes.

Neither of these Sith were aware that Holos knew their secrets, and Holos had no immediate plans as to what to do with this information. He was content to just see how things played out, and exploit these secrets when it became the most necessary or advantageous. As far as incurring the wrath of either one of them went, Holos knew that whenever things got too heated between him and one of them, he could simply play their hatred for them against each other, drawing all of their attention away from his decisions that they didn’t favor.

“Well then,” Slazer began to speak with a tone of authority in her voice. “It’s decided. The Sphere of Flight will receive fifteen percent of our slaves.”

“I also have a small request,” Darth Holos began. “I request that half of the soldiers and government officials captured be turned over to the Sphere of Infiltration.”

Normally, Holos knew Slazer and Malvot would immediately refuse his request. But in this situation, neither of them felt up to speaking. Slazer wouldn’t cross Holos so soon after Holos took her side in overruling Malvot, and Malvot held her tongue in order to not draw further attention to herself in this conversation after her embarrassing mistake with the Zygerrian king.

“I concur,” Avion responded with a curt nod. Holos also knew that Sorran lacked an interest in slaves, Stovar had a decent enough relationship with him, and Angelo wasn’t in the mood to say anything at all so soon after his meeting with the Dark Lord. The only councilors likely to oppose him in this matter were Cha and Nash, but with Sorran’s support, Cha and Nash wouldn’t be able to refuse him. Several seconds passed, but nobody spoke up to deny Holos’s request.

“Very well then,” Holos said as he sat back smugly in his chair. “It would appear this meeting is adjourned.”

“Indeed,” Malvot agreed, eager for this particular congregation to end.

As each councilor rose to their feet, Holos grinned smugly behind his mask. He always enjoyed playing Malvot and Slazer against each other. Their frequent disagreeing with each other meant that Holos often had the power to be the deciding variable in the council’s decisions, though he used this power conservatively, and in more subtle ways than bold declaration in most instances.

This time, Holos had played with their rivalry to upset the balance of power in his favor.

While Malvot and Holos were rivals with each other, unbeknownst to them, they were also Holos’s rivals, and he did whatever he could to upset the balance of power in his favor. It was nothing personal against the two Sith ladies of course, but Sith seek power, and power is control. And as the Head of the Sphere of Infiltration, Holos was intent to control things from where he lived. In the shadows.

——————————————————————————

Walton walked back into the captured Lightor base with Dylan’s body slung over his shoulder, and the rest of the squad behind him, save for some Stealth soldiers patrolling the perimeter.

“Barto! Herndon!” Walton said with a certain urgency in his voice. “You and the rest of Comm be on the look out for Lightor communications in the area. I don’t want another incident like the one we just had at the mine.”

“Yes sir,” Barto replied.

“Tech!” Walton continued. “I need you to accompany me and Barre into the medical center. I have no idea how to operate all of the medical machines and devices.”

Barre nodded. He was trembling, and he was clutching at the area his right arm had once been. Aside from Dylan and Shorya, all of the other officers had made it back to the base still standing. Sullivan had been incapacitated in the battle, but he was now back on his feet helping stealth patrol the perimeter.

Walton knew that’s not where Sullivan wanted to be. He knew that’s not where any of the soldiers wanted to be. They all wanted to be in the medical center together, and learn the fate of their heroic leader. It broke Walton’s heart to give Comm and Stealth those orders, but he knew they couldn’t afford to be caught off guard again.

Once in the medical center, Walton laid Dylan’s body down on an operating table, and pulled his helmet off. Aside from the closed eyes, Dylan’s face was as it always was, completely unscathed by the green explosion. His torso however was a different story. the front of his armor was almost completely gone, and a large hold had been blown in Dylan’s chest. Walton could literally look into Dylan’s open chest cavity and see Dylan’s heart. It wasn’t beating.

A wave of denial swept over Walton. Dylan just couldn’t be dead. Dylan was lucky, Dylan was invincible, and Dylan could always find a way out of every tight spot he found himself in. Walton didn’t quite know how to explain it, but Dylan was somehow special. He didn’t know how or why, but he knew it had to be for a purpose. He knew Dylan must be able to do the things he could do because of some destiny he had. He just couldn’t be dead.

“Chase!” Walton cried out, his voice now shaking with grief. “Put him through the scanner!”

Almost immediately, several Tech soldiers ran over, picked Dylan up, and set him down in the medical scanner. Dirk stayed by Barre’s side however, helping treat his injury.

Walton stood there, completely numb as the scanner buzzed and beeped, slowly doing its work. His body was trembling. The shadow of grief hung over his body like an overcast. He wished there was something he could do, anything he could do. But there was nothing he could do. He just had to sit there and wait.

After what seemed like an eternity, but was probably only half a minute, the machine beeped, and Chase walked over to the datapad and began to read out the results.

“His heart-” there was a catch in Chase’s throat. “His heart isn’t beating.”

Walton could see it in Chase, he could see it in every member of the squad. He could see the same thing he saw in his help. Fear, grief, desperation, disbelief, and a fading hope. Dylan had saved all of their lives time and time again. He was more than just their leader, he was their friend. He was their “droogie.” And now that it was Dylan whose life needed to be saved, they were all uncertain of whether they would even have the chance to save Dylan’s life, or if it was already lost.

Suddenly Chase’s eyes lit up with excitement and hope.

“His body temperature has dropped ninety percent, but it’s still above the temperature he should be at if he’s dead,” Chase continued. “His brain activity. It’s very feint, but it’s there.”

Chase paused for a second before speaking up again. “I don’t know how,” Chase began. “But he’s alive!”

At that moment, everyone in the room let out a collective sigh of relief. Walton’s spirits soared higher than Tormax was at the Battle Bar. He was alive! Dylan was alive!

“Walton,” Barre spoke up. “I need you to slice into the base’s medical database.”

“Why?” Walton asked, very confused, and in no mood to leave Dylan’s side.

“I don’t know how much longer we can expect Dylan to survive like this, so I need access to the specs on all of the medical technology we have access to,” Barre explained as he held his mangled right shoulder in his left hand.

Without a moment of hesitation, Walton ran over to a panel on the wall and prepared to slice it.

“We can do this!” Walton cried out. “Dylan is going to live!”

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Emperordmb
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