AN: Hello everyone! Sorry for another long delay in publishing a new chapter, but at least it wasn't 6 months this time! (Give me some credit for that at least) I had actually hoped to get this chapter out at the beginning of March, but there have been some MASSIVE life changes that prevented my best intentions from happening. Not to get too involved in the details, but my wife and I moved into a much bigger space (hooray!), grad school is ramping up big time (boo), and I am currently using all my spare time to try and look for a more permanent job than my current gig. Lastly, if any of you are the praying type, I would really appreciate keeping my wife in your thoughts. She has been having some medical issues lately and there is a possibility that things could be getting worse for her, but we are optimistic for the best! Anyway! That's enough out of me. I hope that you enjoy this chapter and appreciate how long it took me to write this damn thing! (I hate fight scenes, so this chapter was a PAIN for me to get through, so thank you to my friends who helped motivate me, and even wrote some of this chapter! I am curious if any of you reading can spot where the writing style shifts...) As always the more feedback and comments you give the more motivation I have to keep writing!
See you all in another few months, hopefully!
Anyway! That's enough out of me. I hope that you enjoy this chapter and appreciate how long it took me to write this damn thing! (I hate fight scenes, so this chapter was a PAIN for me to get through, so thank you to my friends who helped motivate me, and even wrote some of this chapter! I am curious if any of you reading can spot where the writing style shifts...) As always the more feedback and comments you give the more motivation I have to keep writing!
Chapter 8 – This Town Ain't Big Enough
Anakin stepped out of a shabby cantina into the scorching rays of Tatooine's blazing suns. It was mid-day, and despite the occasional gust of wind which carried small dustings of the desert with it, it was still incredibly hot and miserable, even for the native-born Tatooinian, who instinctively raised his hand to shield his eyes and give them time to adjust to the harsh light.
"I hate sand…" He muttered to no one in particular, before turning his head slightly to observe his surroundings. Anchorhead was a few steps away from becoming a ghost town, with its ramshackled buildings, boarded-up windows, and general air of emptiness. The Jedi Knight had to wonder why Revan would pick such a desolate location of all places to come. Whatever the reason was, the action had simply stirred up a new level of bitterness against the terrorist, as stepping foot on his homeworld still brought back memories of his mother.
"Any luck at the bar?" Anakin turned to see his former master making his way to him. Obi Wan seemed to be enjoying their current environment as much as he was.
"I'm afraid not." The Knight replied to the Master, making his way towards Kenobi in the middle of the main thoroughfare. "Nothing but people down on their luck trying to find answers at the bottom of a bottle. No one saw Revan, and I doubt he would have a reason to stop in for a drink. Any progress with the ship Revan came in on?"
Obi Wan shook his head in response. "I managed to find the ship he took from Hondo, even with the tracking beacon somehow being disabled, but there was only an Ithorian doing some basic repairs. He told me that the pilot had paid him a considerable amount to watch the ship and do maintenance on it, but he hadn't seen him in several hours. I'm afraid Revan may have suspected something and simply grabbed another ship."
"You might be right about that hunch Master Kenobi." Both Jedis turned to see Adi Gallia and Ahsoka Tano walking up to meet them.
"We asked around with several locals, but no one has seen anyone matching Revan's description." Ahsoka explained as the four Jedi finally met in a small circle in the street.
Anakin's hand tightened into a fist as he heard the bad report. "So, we've got nothing, great! Revan has left us behind once again."
"Patience, Anakin, do not let your emotions cloud your judgement. I am sure there is still something we can do."
After a moment of collective silence Adi turned to Ahsoka and spoke, "Padawan Tano, do you think you could try and sense where Revan is currently?"
Obi Wan and Skywalker turned to look at Ahsoka, who suddenly felt very put on the spot. "Hold on." Anakin stated, temporarily drawing the attention to himself. "Are we sure that's a good idea? We don't know exactly how Ahsoka is able to sense Revan, or if he is aware that she can do that. We might be taking too large a risk here."
Kenobi stroked his beard thoughtfully before replying. "You are right, Anakin." Tano was about to speak up in protest before the Jedi Master continued, "But the only reason we allowed Ahsoka on this mission in the first place was to confirm if she could do as she claimed, and unless you have a better idea, I say we let your apprentice at least try."
"We aren't exactly drowning in leads at the moment." Adi added in agreement.
Anakin stared at Ahsoka with concern in his eyes, as she matched his gaze with confidence. "I can do this, master." She stated, her voice backed by conviction.
Anakin sighed and shook his head. "Okay. But tell us exactly what is happening, and if we need to protect your mind in the Force, we will."
Tano nodded, before bowing her head, putting her hands together, closing her eyes, and taking a deep breath. She summoned the Force to her and began searching in her mind for that elusive connection she had felt earlier. It took several moments but finally she found it and latched onto it, using the Force to widen the tether she felt. The environment around her began to fade away, and a vision slowly formed in her mind, though she had to concentrate harder and harder to make it clearer. "I...I see light...sand...and I'm moving quickly…" Suddenly her eyes shot open and she raised her head. Looking at the three concerned and curious Jedi before her she said, "Revan is coming."
The sound of a speeder bike's engine hummed loudly, and small waves of sand were continually blasted in all directions, as a dark metallic blur quickly shot across the large sandy dunes of Tatooine.
Revan gripped the handles of the bike as he deftly weaved the old machine around, between, and over the unending mounds of sand between him and his destination. He had sensed the arrival of the Jedi as soon as they had stepped on the planet, and it seemed they had decided to stay in Anchorhead, much to his dismay. He had considered simply waiting for them to leave or come out into the desert to look for him, but the arrival of two different unknown threats had dissuaded him against that decision. It would appear he only had one way to get off this planet: fight.
As Revan began running through potential strategies in his mind, he concluded that he would not need to defeat all of his opponents, only delay them until Sterr could have the ship ready. Hopefully the Ithorian had given the Jedi minimum information about him, but nothing in the Force had warned Revan that the mechanic had betrayed him. As he came closer and closer towards the town, his mind began to wonder who the two other threats were, and what part they would play in the inevitable conflict he was fast approaching.
Suddenly, Revan's mind felt something prick at the back of his subconscious. The sensation was familiar, but he couldn't quite identify what was happening. As he tried to concentrate on the feeling in the Force it suddenly disappeared. His eyes narrowed behind his mask in suspicion, something was off with his mind. Feeling a slight level of frustration in having another mystery hanging over his head, he gripped the handles tighter and pressed on the throttle with his foot as far back as it would go, forcing the bike to reach its maximum speed, propelling him faster towards the coming battle.
Cad Bane quickly and quietly made his way through mostly abandoned side streets and alleys. The bounty hunter was familiar with almost all of Tatooine's major settlements, but usually never bothered with backwater locations like this one. He was glad that several of his old contacts still operated nearby, usually just taking random work to hunt Sand People or the occasional band of pirates. Several squads of experienced mercenaries had arrived in Anchorhead shortly before he did but had stayed hidden as per Bane's specific orders.
He rounded the corner and, carefully glanced around, before deftly stepping into an abandoned building that still had a working door. Inside was an assortment of various aliens, weaponry, and intention to murder. The lookout crouched by the boarded-up window had seen Bane approach, and simply nodded to him as he stepped into the room.
Cad quickly scanned the room, glancing over the various make-shift tables strewn about the room covered with blasters, explosives, rounds of ammo, a few slug throwers, several knives, and even a few swords. He made his way to one particular table and slowly ran his hand over a silver RPS-6 rocket launcher.
"Alright, listen up!" All eyes turned to look at the Duros in anticipation. "We've got a job to do. Classic ambush. I've already been informed that several Jedi are here poking around, no doubt looking for the same target as us. To keep things simple, we're gonna deal with those Jedi first. I want snipers and this launcher on a roof. Everyone else, find an alley or side street and get ready to fire on my mark. Jedi can only block so much blaster fire before something gets through." He quickly picked up one of the sniper rifles, double-checked the condition, and loaded a power pack in. "Anyone who kills a Jedi gets to keep a larger portion of the reward." That offer earned a murmur of approval from the room. "But if anyone tries to steal the primary target's body…" The bounty hunter's red eyes slowly glared across the room, daring anyone to challenge his authority, but no one could meet his gaze. "...will be dead before the suns go down. You all got that?!" He raised his voice angrily to drive the point home, causing several mercenaries shrunk back in fear, while the rest simply nodded.
Seemingly satisfied with the responses, Bane simply nodded before slinging the rifle onto his back. "Alright then. Let's move out, nice and quiet." With the order given, everybody in the room quickly began to move, loading themselves up with whatever gear they could grab.
Revan could finally see the settlement on the horizon, and it was fast approaching. Slowing the speeder down and switching to driving with one hand, Revan sat up fully in the seat and quickly performed a rough check of his equipment and armor with his off-hand. Satisfied with the findings, he leaned back down and increased his speed, the bike gave a small sputter of smoke and lurch as it was forced to max out its speed once again. Revan made a mental note to give Sterr extra credits for his work on this piece of junk, if not for the mechanic's skills this bike would have broken down hours ago.
As the town came further into view, Revan tapped the side of his mask, causing his vision to zoom. The old walls that used to surround the settlement had long since crumbled from lack of maintenance, and thus the main street was wide open and easily visible to the outside. Just within his enhanced vision, Revan saw four Jedi standing about a foot apart in a single line, all facing his direction.
'So much for getting the drop on them.' Revan mused to himself, before taking a deep breath and adjusting his course slightly.
It took several minutes, but finally Revan arrived at the outskirts of town. He slowed his speed just enough to aim his bike a full 90 degrees to his left, forcing it to come to a quick stop, and sending up a small cloud of dust and sand. Revan slowly disembarked from his bike on the side facing the Jedi and turned to look at his opponents.
"I see you received my invitation." Revan's mask gave no hint of any emotion on his face, but the same could not be said for Anakin, who was currently glaring daggers into the cloaked figure.
"I'm just sorry it took us so long to arrive at your party." Obi Wan quipped back, "And I'm afraid we forgot to bring any gifts."
Revan smirked slightly at the Jedi Master's response, but before he could continue their banter an unfamiliar voice spoke up.
"Well, I brought plenty of gifts for all of you." A black and purple-robed figure, with pale white skin, and dark tattoos slowly emerged from one of the small alleys to Revan's left, turning everyone's attention to them. "But it seems I misplaced my invitation."
"Ventress…" Anakin growled in half frustration and half annoyance.
"Oh, come now, Skywalker, I know you missed me." Ventress said with a cruel smile as she surveyed the individuals before her.
"Why am I not surprised that you would crawl out of some pit right where you're least wanted?" Ahsoka asked with clear mockery behind her words.
The Sith assassin glared at Tano before replying, "Well, if it isn't the Padawan brat. I'm surprised they let you come out to play with the adults."
"Enough." Adi said forcefully, ending the tiresome back and forth. "Why are you here, Sith?"
Ventress glared at Gallia for a moment before turning to look at Revan, "As much as I enjoy killing all of you, that's not why I'm here today…"
Upon seeing Ventress' gaze shift, Obi Wan spoke, "It seems we're not the only ones that Hondo gave his information to."
"Remind me to strangle that slimy Weequay next time I see him." Ahsoka added in annoyance.
"That makes two of us." Revan spoke back. While he was annoyed that the pirate had managed to outplay Revan in this manner, he couldn't help but be impressed with Hondo's ingenuity. Perhaps he had truly underestimated everything that Ohnaka could truly do.
"I'm tired of talking." Anakin stated before igniting his lightsaber and pointing it at Revan. "Surrender now, Revan, and perhaps the Council will show leniency."
"I'm afraid he won't be surrendering to you." Ventress retorted before igniting both of her curved sabers.
The other Jedi quickly turned on their sabers in response. "This does not concern you, Ventress." Adi spoke, "Leave now, while you still have the chance."
The Sith assassin simply smirked in response and took an offensive stance. Revan watched his adversaries with some interest, he examined each of them in turn through the Force. Ventress was powerful, but she did not compare to the Sith of his day, in fact she did not truly feel like one of the Sith he was looking for, but at least now he had confirmation that they were indeed still active in the galaxy; as he had suspected. The two Masters and one Knight were indeed strong, this would be a difficult fight, but as his gaze landed on the familiar Togruta, his thoughts stopped.
Ahsoka was the only one that noticed the subtle motion of Revan's demonic mask, as the pure black visor, which seemed to almost suck in light into a void, slowly drifted across the line of Jedi. Her heart skipped a beat when the movement stopped and landed firmly on her. Although she couldn't be completely certain, she could feel his eyes locked on her behind the red, silver, and black mask. Her pulse began to quicken, and a small connection in the Force slowly began to grow in the back of her mind.
With a screeching sound of death, a high explosive rocket flew across the empty air, colliding with the spot where Revan was standing only seconds before. The resulting explosion consumed the speeder bike, doubling the resulting fireball. The former Sith Lord rolled into the middle of the street only seconds before catastrophe and was now crouched only a few feet in front of the line of Jedi, who along with Ventress, were only temporarily stunned by the sudden interruption of Bane and his men.
Seizing the opportunity, Ventress gripped both her sabers and Force Leapt directly on top of Revan's crouched form. In an instant, Revan called a saber to each of his hands, and stood to block the incoming strike. The Sith assassin's two crimson blades clashed with two suddenly appearing red and purple blades. The speed with which her target produced his weaponry and blocked her attack surprised Ventress, and she was not ready for a swift kick to her stomach which forced her to slide back along the hot sand.
Only a second slower to respond, the Jedi had begun to run into the fight, but were stopped in their tracks as a hail of blaster fire rang out over the battlefield. Several of Bane's mercenaries finally revealed themselves on rooftops and in various alleyways and had begun to open fire on all the Force users in front of them.
Both Jedi, Sith, and Revan turned to the East and began to block the blaster fire with practiced precision. Taking cover behind some crates, Ventress quickly sent an order with her wrist communicator, and in seconds a CIS Maxillipede shuttle flew over the battlefield, quickly dropping a six magnaguard squad directly onto Cad Bane's position.
Bane, dropping his sniper rifle, quickly pulled out his two signature LL-30 blaster pistols, and began to fire at the nearest droid opponent, which responded by rapidly spinning its electrostaff to create a shield against the laser fire. The other droids began to quickly kill many of the mercenaries who had mostly been caught by surprise, while a few of the veteran members either ran for a better position deeper into the city or managed to pull out vibro knives and blades quickly enough to engage in melee with the guards.
With the blaster suppression having stopped, Obi Wan turned to quickly scan the situation in front of him. To his right, Ventress was coming over from behind cover, to his left Bane and his mercenaries were currently occupied with the newly arrived droids, and Revan was standing just a few feet in front of him, simply observing the skirmish between the guards and the mercenaries. Quickly forming a plan in his mind, Kenobi spoke to his fellow Jedi, "Adi, take Ahsoka and deal with Cad, his men, and the magnaguards. Anakin, I want you to-" but before the Jedi Master could finish, his apprentice was already charging directly at Revan with his saber raised. As the masked opponent and Anakin began to violently clash, Obi Wan quickly muttered to himself: "I hate it when he does that."
Turning to see the look of worry on Adi's and Ahsoka's faces, he said, "Go. I've got him." Master Gallia nodded back confidently before running towards the larger skirmish. Ahsoka hesitated slightly, watching the intense duel between her master and Revan, before gripping her lightsabers tightly and running after the other Jedi. Kenobi glanced at his own former apprentice, and seeing that Anakin was in no immediate danger, besides his own foolishness, turned his attention towards Ventress, who was slowly making her way closer to the dueling pair.
Revan turned his head slightly at the sound of Obi Wan giving orders to his fellow Jedi. However, before the first few words had even left the Jedi Master's mouth, Anakin had charged Revan directly, using the Force to enhance his speed and strength. Sensing Anakin's building rage, Revan smirked slightly as he simply waited a brief moment before fully turning to defend against the Knight's incoming onslaught. As blue saber crashed against red and purple, the former Republic General was impressed with the amount of power and force that was delivered behind each blow. The strikes were precise and meant to kill, and even though Revan had the speed and skill to block each attack, the hits came so quickly that even with his two sabers Revan had no window to counterattack, or even perry. The former Sith Lord began having to surrender ground to his opponent and started to take small steps directly backwards, towards the still-burning wreckage of the destroyed speeder bike.
The duel was harsh, quick, and violet. Years of training and experience crashed directly against raw skill and exponential potential. The two fighters maintained a consistent struggle for power in the exchange, and while Anakin was staying firmly on the offensive and creating enough pressure that his opponent was forced to maintain pure defense, his own steam was quickly running out and his attacks began to slow just in the slightest.
Sensing that Anakin was starting to lose energy, Revan bided his time, expertly blocking each strike that came against him. The fight told the former Jedi a great deal about his adversary. Anakin clearly had been trained well, but his skills were still unrefined, relying more on pure strength and power, than technique or strategy. Revan could sense the immense power that lay deep within Anakin, he surmised that given enough time and proper training, Anakin could become one of the most powerful beings that had ever walked the galaxy. It was a shame then that as long as he continued to act recklessly and without patience, Anakin would never reach that potential.
Finally, after several minutes of intense dueling, Revan had his opening, a small gap in Anakin's offensive that left him vulnerable to attack. Calling on the Force subtly enough so as not to alert Anakin's senses, Revan quickly deactivated one of his lightsabers, and ducked under an incoming blow, causing Anakin's swing to overshoot and miss. Before the Jedi could react, Revan threw a powerful punch directly into Anakin's gut and summoned the Force to push him backwards with a powerful blast. Having already summoned a great deal of Force Energy around him, Anakin was able to mitigate most of the damage, but was still sent sliding back several feet, temporarily pausing their fight.
Revan slowly stood up and took a slow but deep breath to center himself. He just needed to stall a little longer. "You fight well, for an amateur." Revan said tauntingly to the Jedi in front of him.
Anakin glared at the masked figure, straightening himself up as well and panting slightly as he took a second to let his energy recharge. "You will pay for your crimes Revan. I will see to it." He spoke with anger behind his words as he raised his saber to point at his enemy.
Revan titled his head slightly and examined Anakin for several seconds before replying, "So...this is personal for you. I am curious as to why."
Anakin gripped his saber tightly with both hands, keeping it in the same raised position before slowly moving to one side of Revan. "You attacked the Republic, you invaded my home, and you hurt my friends, why wouldn't some of this be personal?" He finished his question as he came to a stop.
Revan watched Anakin's movements carefully. As the Knight was talking, he reached out in the Force and began to sense the Jedi's emotions and thoughts. As Anakin's mind recalled the events that Revan had done, a single emotion burned at the center of all of them, one that was obviously fueling all the others: the fear of losing someone.
Once Anakin had finished talking, Revan finally responded, "No...that's not quite right, is it? Yes, I admit I did do all the things you accuse me of, and anyone would have every right to want to see me dead, but that's not what drives you." Anakin's eyes narrowed as his grip tightened. "You're afraid...of losing...her."
Anakin's eyes shot open, and in an instant he let out a roar of anger before calling on the Force and leaping at Revan, who barely reacted fast enough to block the powerful strike with his still ignited purple saber.
Ventress twisted the sabers over in her hand for a moment as she inched towards the pair of dueling Force users. The young brat's back was to her, it would only take a quick swipe and the nuisance would be eliminated, when a sharp click echoed from behind her, and a familiar heat washed over her back as the blue glow of Obi Wan's lightsaber fell over her back. She cursed under her breath not moving as Kenobi leveled the saber over her shoulder. "It's been too long, Ventress." Obi Wan mused, a small smile across his face.
"Kenobi." She practically growled at him as she summoned the Force to her for a moment before unleashing it back at him, sending him and the blade sliding back away from her. He managed to stop himself before he crashed against a nearby building and readied his blade quickly, barely managing to block the forthcoming strikes as Ventress pressed her advantage. He ducked under one of her blades and parried the other, spinning around her, and taking a few steps backwards into the street. He spun his saber for a moment as she shook her head and turned to face him. He raised his saber above his head, pointing it at her and extended his free arm towards her.
"Off-day Ventress? I suppose the heat gets to the best of us." He taunted, eliciting a scream of anger from the assassin as she rushed towards him again. Another flurry of wild blows came flying at him, less focused than the previous volley of attacks. He managed to dodge them and leap further back into the street, trying to keep some distance between himself and Ventress, when a new round of blaster fire served as a cruel reminder as to why they sought cover in the first place.
The assassin paid the new combatants no mind as she pressed her assault against Obi Wan forcing him to the middle of the street. As his mind raced trying to formulate a plan, a single shot managed to clip his shoulder, grazing him close enough to burn his robes and singe his skin. With that, he cut off the blade to his saber, managed to land a kick to Ventress' chest with as much of the Force channeled into it as he could manage sending her flying backwards, before quickly Force Jumping towards the mercenaries, landing in their midst as he reactivated his saber.
Ventress crashed against the wall behind her and into the sand. The world spun around her for a moment, as she steadied herself. She watched the dark cloaked figure and Skywalker clash for a few moments before looking towards the men on the far side of the street. She witnessed one of them drop his blaster rifle, disappear into an alley for a moment only to reappear brandishing the group's rocket launcher. The man took a knee and steadied the launcher at the dueling pair, but as usual Skywalker's sense had all but left him as he charged at Revan. The former Sith was far more aware of his situation than the enraged Jedi, and he Force Pushed Anakin backwards down the street towards Obi-Wan and the mercenaries, before leaping backwards into the alley behind him, barely avoiding the second rocket and forthcoming explosion.
Her target was alone in the alley. Her master would never forgive her if she did not seize this opportunity. She took both sabers in her hands and charged towards where Revan had disappeared to.
Adi and Ahsoka were in the midst of a large group of mercenaries. Ahsoka had jumped in first, igniting both of her sabers on the way down to the ground, slicing two individuals who barely had time to look up, before she landed deftly into a roll, holding both sabers in her signature inverted style.
Adi followed directly behind, shaking her head slightly as she witnessed Skywalker's clear influence on the padawan. Landing behind Ahsoka, Gallia expertly blocked several blaster shots, sending them straight back at the alien that fired them, which fell as two bolts found their mark on its chest.
Tano glanced back behind her, nodding a quick thanks to the Jedi Master before sprinting forward. She cut down enemy after enemy in her path, almost becoming a blur of sand, yellow and green lightsabers, and death. She had a lot of pent-up frustration and energy from the past several days, and she couldn't help but feel a smile come to her face as she was able to let go and embrace the Force.
A magnaguard droid had just finished crushing a human's throat with one hand, before tossing their lifeless body to the ground. Quickly whirling around to observe the battlefield, its scanners immediately locked on to the incoming Jedi, who was more occupied with dealing with the hired guns. Waiting for the right moment, the droid leapt with incredible force, leaving a small crater in the roof it had been standing on.
Adi sliced down another mercenary before turning to monitor Ahsoka's progress. She barely had time to cry out a verbal warning.
Hearing Gallia's outcry, Tano was able to look up and roll to the side a half-second before an electrostaff slammed into the ground where she had just been. Performing a quick roll into a flip, Ahsoka was now facing the newly landed magnaguard as it pulled its embedded staff out of the ground, and turned to face the padawan, whirling its weapon as it did so.
Ahsoka gripped her sabers tighter before charging directly at the droid. The guard's quick reflexes almost caught her as she slid under a powerful swing, allowing one of her sabers to slice against the droid's right leg. Completing her slide, she quickly stood up and swung with her other saber at the droid's center, but by turning only its torso, the guard was able to block the strike with its staff.
The two entered into a small stalemate as blows were traded and blocked, no ground being given up by either of the pair. The droid quickly memorized the Jedi's favored strikes, recalculated its fighting style in a few milliseconds, and feinted a sweep on the padawan's legs.
Ahsoka's eyes widened slightly as she realized her mistake in blocking a strike that never came, which left her open to a powerful kick that sent her flying back, sliding along the hot ground as she did so. Her head spun slightly, as she just managed to pick herself up off the ground, her vision still slightly blurry. The droid quickly advanced on their dazed opponent, raising their staff for a killing strike.
Ahsoka's senses flared up at the last second, and she dodged out of the way just in time. Anger flared up inside her for a moment, and on instinct she reached out in the Force, pulling the droid towards her in a move that surprised the guard, and before it could react, Ahsoka sliced it cleanly in two directly at the waist.
The top half of the droid fell to the ground, as its legs buckled and soon followed. Ahsoka found herself panting slightly and took a moment to steady her breathing. Just as she was about to reenter the fight, she heard the reactivation of an electrostaff behind her, and turned to see the torso of the guard still active and about to strike her.
Suddenly, a blue lightsaber pierced directly through the chest of the still active droid, sending sparks flying, and causing its glowing red eyes to flicker several times before what was left of the unit finally collapsed. Ahsoka looked up to see Master Gallia standing over the droid, as she quickly freed her saber blade from the metal corpse.
"Make sure it's dead next time." Gallia said with a slight bit of amusement in her voice.
"Thank you, Master. I guess that's twice I owe you for having my back."
Adi smirked slightly, "As long as we are only counting today."
Ahsoka smiled back, before a sudden blast of blaster bolts flew over both of their heads. The two turned to face a new batch of mercenaries, nodding seriously to each other, before running with the Force to face their attackers.
The magnaguard's staff spun faster than Bane's eyes could follow it. He unleashed another volley of rounds towards it as it pushed across the roof towards him, but the rounds ricocheted helplessly against the purple energy on the ends of the staff. He muttered several curses to himself, as he slipped the pistol into its holster and started to reach for a pair of electro-mines, but before he could draw them, a blur of a movement caught the edge of his vision.
The bounty hunter immediately fell to the ground, barely dodging under the large arc of a second guard's staff. He spun the mine into his hand and tossed at it the droid's chest, but it easily cut it from the air, sending sparks and shards of metal flying. It raised its staff to bring down on his chest, but before it could, two bolts connected with its back. Both droids swung around to face two mercenaries.
Cad did not waste time watching his men die, as he kicked his jump boots to life and rocketed across the roof. Once he had reached an acceptable distance, he planted his hand and flipped himself back to his feet. As he landed, a magnaguard was pushing the corpse of one of his men from its staff. "That's one." He muttered, "But where's?" His question to himself was cut short as the staff connected with his back sending him flying forwards back towards the first.
He crashed against the ground with a thud, causing the world to spin around him. Both of the droids converged on him, limiting his time to think, but he acted despite it. They swung their staffs in unison and he ducked under them, pivoting slightly, to force them to the front, and peppering the closest one's chest with shots from his pistol as he ducked close to it. Sparks leapt from its chest but it pressed forwards despite the wounds.
They pressed their advantages taking numerous swipes at his head that forced him to duck and weave. His hand reached for another pair of electro-mines as he responded with more blaster fire. They had forced him to continue to retreat, and the limited amount of roof remaining was not lost on him. He raised the mines to throw at the droid again but tossed them to the rooftop instead. The mines immediately activated, freezing one of the pair in its tracks, as electricity sparked up around it.
The guard on the move took another swipe at Bane, but instead of dodging backwards he charged forwards, positioning himself inside of its arms, barely catching the droid's arm before it could swing again. He had underestimated how strong the droid was, as he tried to keep its arm extended. His hand shot towards a pair of binder-cuffs and quickly latched one of the two bindings around the upper portion of the droid's arm. A quick flick of his wrist brought a vibro knife to his palm and he jammed it into the droid's still sparking chest and sliced a gaping hole through the wiring.
He had to use all of his weight, but he managed to force the magnaguard back towards its still stunned ally. Once they were close, his hand jumped towards a thermal detonator, stuffed it into the hole that he had created. He released his grip on the arm, ducked under a strike, catching the pair of binder cuffs and latching the other half to the second droid's neck. He leapt backwards kicking the back of the droid, activated his jump boots, and blasted away from the roof just as it was engulfed in flames and smoke.
Taking a small moment to breathe, Bane hovered several feet in the air as he scanned his surroundings. The Jedi pup and Tholothian were carving up his men, but otherwise occupied, Kenobi had just broken from his fight with some crazy, and Skywalker was still doing his best to try and kill Bane's bounty.
Growling slightly in annoyance at how long those droids had occupied his time, the bounty hunter was about to head towards his target, when something caught his attention. One of his mercenaries had just ran out into the street with the rocket launcher and was aiming it squarely at Skywalker and the target. Before Bane could stop him, the rocket fired, and he watched in surprise as the masked figure not only pushed Skywalker out of the way, but also managed to jump a considerable distance before the projectile made contact. However, the explosion did still send both fighters flying back further than either would have wanted.
Cad's prey was flung backwards into a side alley out of sight from everyone, and he watched as the crazy Sith girl ran in the same direction. Pressing a button on one of his gauntlets, his rocket boots shot out more fire in response, and Bane quickly flew towards where Revan had landed.
Revan slowly picked himself up off the ground with a quiet groan. One rocket had been annoying at best, two clearly meant the universe was trying to tell him something. Standing up fully, he began to brush what felt like several pounds of sand out of his layers of robes and cloak, muttering a few Mandalorian curses as he did so.
"Seems we are alone at last." Revan stopped his movements and slowly turned his head to look down the alley at the source of the voice. Standing several feet away from him was the pale woman, a Dathomirian if Revan had to guess, from earlier that had tried to cut him down at the beginning of the fight, that was now consuming a considerable portion of Anchorhead. Straightening up and cracking a few of his stiffer joints, Revan turned to face his opponent, but said nothing.
"Allow me to finally introduce myself-"
"Your name is Ventress. I heard the Jedi say your name, and I presume you already know mine, so introductions seem slightly irrelevant at this point."
Ventress frowned at the hostile response, it seemed this one was going to be a lot less fun to deal with. "So it would seem…"
"What I am actually in the dark about is who your master is? I have been wondering when the Sith would finally crawl out of their dark hiding places."
The assassin growled in anger at Revan's insult, "Sith do not hide! And I shall prove that when I bring your head to Count Dooku!" She accented her threat by igniting both of her sabers.
Revan titled his head slightly as he quickly searched his memory for that name. He had only briefly managed to skim recent galactic events from the data he had taken from the Jedi Temple, and thus was still widely in the dark about many current historical details and figures, a disadvantage he meant to correct as soon as he was off this death trap of a planet. "Count Dooku...leader of the Separatists, if I remember correctly. You're telling me he is the current Lord of the Sith?"
Ventress' eyes narrowed slightly, she had only been given limited information about this 'Revan' on her flight here, and now she was more confused. He was clearly an enemy of the Jedi, but he did not know who Dooku was, and now he was digging for information. She would have to be careful how she responded. But before she could answer, Revan spoke again.
"No…" Revan began slowly, actively searching Ventress' exposed thoughts and emotions in the Force, it would appear that the Sith had gotten progressively even worse at guarding their minds since Revan's time. "Dooku is your master, that much is clear...but he is not his own master…"
Ventress' eyes widened in shock; this scum was reading her mind! She yelled in anger and charged at Revan, hoping to keep him from digging any further.
However, before she ran close enough to strike, a hail of blaster bolts descended from the sky, directly at and between the two opposing Force users. Both Revan and Ventress reacted instantly, blocking the incoming fire, before looking up at its source.
Appearing out of the glare of the dual suns, Cad Bane descended from the sky with his rocket boots and landed on a rooftop that was roughly in the middle of Ventress and Revan. "Sorry to break up the party," His growling and slightly robotic voice echoed down to the pair, "but this masked fellow has a very large bounty on his head, and I intend to collect." he accented his claim by twirling both of his custom silver blaster pistols.
So, a bounty hunter, that's where those mercenaries came from, Revan thought to himself. It would seem Hondo had been busy making sure he would burn. Revan was once again impressed with the pirate. The Duros felt dangerous in the Force, but his mind was strong enough that Revan could not easily pierce it, this had the added effect that the Force would be slower to warn him about the bounty hunter's attacks. This reminded him of his very close fights with the veteran Mandalorian Crusaders, he would have to be careful with this one.
Ventress clenched her sabers tighter, and growled in annoyance at this interruption, but then a scheme drifted into her mind. Revan had proven himself by standing up to everything Skywalker could throw at him, she was doubtful she could take him in a straight up fight, unless…
"Bounty hunter," Cad turned to look at the assassin, "I do not care about something as insignificant as credits, if you help me kill this fool, you can have the full bounty."
A few tense moments of silence passed, as Bane's eyes shifted back and forth between the two individuals below him as he mulled over the offer. "Looks like you got yourself a deal, lady." He finally said.
Revan's body tensed slightly as his two enemies came to the agreement, but he did not wait for them to devise a strategy. He charged towards the pale assassin, ducking under her counterattack, and sliding towards her. The stunned assassin could barely respond as he grabbed her ankle and tore her from her feet. The bounty hunter unleashed a hail of blaster fire towards Revan from the rooftop he occupied.
The former Sith Lord barely rolled out of the way and to his feet, raising one gauntlet to take the last few shots. His hand shot out with the Force and he tore the bounty hunter from the air, slamming him against the wall and dropping him into the alley. Bane landed stunned as Ventress roared and leapt towards Revan, who nimbly dodged out of the way of both red saber blades. He managed to catch one of her wrists and spin her into the wall, stepping between her and the bounty hunter, placing them on either side of him.
Bane had managed to recover and level a blaster at Revan, firing a few shots. Revan lunged at Bane raising his gauntlet tanking the shots before reaching him. The saber appeared in Revan's hand before the bounty hunter could respond and it sliced through the end of Bane's blaster pistol before he planted a boot in his chest sending the bounty hunter flying backwards.
Revan smirked beneath his mask slightly before a pinging noise sounded below him. Electricity sparked off a pair of electromines that had been left at his feet and electricity raced up his body from his legs. He managed to contain his anger as he lashed out with the Force crushing both mines in half as Ventress appeared just behind him. Revan raised his second saber and caught both of his opponent's blades, parrying them and taking a step backwards, blocking and dodging her flurry of attacks. His eyes quickly move beneath his mask, searching for an opening in her enraged onslaught. Before he could find one, the Duros recovered and tossed a pair of thermal detonators at both combatants' feet.
Revan reacted without hesitation, leaping backwards against the wall before pushing off, sending himself flying into the air as the alley was engulfed in flames. The resulting explosion sent Ventress flying backwards with curses at her would-be ally. Bane did not give Revan time to collect his thoughts as he started firing before he landed back on the ground forcing him to parry the shots as he fell back to the sand.
Revan raised his blades to block the continued barrage of blaster fire, but before he could respond, the assassin leapt towards him again, her rage and fury in the dark side giving her extra strength, despite her wounds. He managed to block both of her blades with his purple saber and continued to try to block the blaster bolts with his crimson blade, positioning his gauntlet and chest plate to take what he could not block in time. The onslaught continued, forcing the former Jedi to back up until he found himself against a wall. As his foot connected with the sandstone of the building, the communicator built into his mask chirped to life and began to beep repeatedly.
Slightly surprised by this interruption, Revan was almost sliced by one of Ventress' blades, but managed to dodge, Force Push his two enemies back, and Force Jump backwards onto the roof of the building behind him. He only had a second to tap the side of his mask to open up the communication channel before both enemies had caught back up with him and resumed their combined assault.
"Hello? Can you hear me?" The familiar Ithorian voice sounded in Revan's ear.
Despite his present situation, a small, involuntary smile, crossed Revan's features as he heard the voice. "Good to hear from you Sterr! What's-" He was cut off as he was forced to parry and dodge more strikes and blaster fire. "What's the status of my ship?"
"Well sir, I performed all the tasks you assigned me. The diagnostics came back clean, there was some minor building up in your left exhaust-port, as well as-"
"Sterr." Revan cut off the mechanic mid-report, his breath had started to quicken slightly from the sustained fighting, and the talking was not helping. "Let's skip to the end, I'm kind of-" He reflected a shot at Bane that the bounty hunter was forced to roll out of the way from, "busy."
"Oh! Uhm, yes, of course. My apologies. Well, the short version is that the ship is ready to go."
"Excellent." He grabbed one of Ventress' arms and managed to punch her, before having to jump back from a burst of flame from one of Bane's gauntlets. "Start the ship. I'll be there soon." Not waiting for a response, Revan ended the call.
Now fully focused on the fight, Revan watched as Bane activated his jump boots and was preparing to fly over Revan. At that same moment, Ventress had recovered from the punch, and was now charging with both sabers ready to strike with both simultaneously. He would need to time this perfectly.
In the spare second he had left, Revan took a deep breath, deactivated one saber, dropping it as he did, raised his purple saber in his left hand, and activated both his personal energy shields with his free-hand. Both Ventress' crimson sabers connected with Revan's purple blade, clashing in a volent move that sent sparks flying, and causing all 3 sabers to flicker slightly from the impact. Revan's arm screamed at him from the strain of holding back both of her blades, Ventress grinned widely as she pressed down with all her strength, sensing she could eventually overpower him.
In that same instance, Bane launched over Revan's head, and seeing Revan so exposed, unleashed a barrage of bolts from his remaining custom pistol, and a hidden blaster integrated in his other gauntlet. Bane's and Ventress' eyes widened in surprise as the combined personally energy shields flared around Revan as the bolts connected with them, covering his entire person in a few inches of dark blue energy. Neither bounty hunter, nor assassin had ever encountered this long-forgotten technology, as increased blaster power had made them all but obsolete over the millennia since Revan's time. True to this fact, while the first 80% of Bane's fire was absorbed by Revan's shields, the remaining few shots found their mark, as the shields broke. Revan's chest piece and concealed shoulder pads managed to take most of the remaining shots, but two landed directly on his right arm.
Revan grimaced in pain, angry in his mind that his shields had not held up as long as they should have, but he had succeeded in his plan.
Suddenly, the Force screamed in warning at Ventress, and her eyes drifted over to the source of the warning, she had been so focused on her attack that she had failed to noticed Revan raising his right hand in a fist. Her eyes fully widened in terror as she saw sparks of Force Lightning flash around the raised fist, and as the hand slowly opened, more sparks and bolts of lightning began to appear and violently strike out. She yelled out in warning and tried to jump back in time, but it was too late.
Bane's quick reflexes were not fast enough, as he saw Revan's hand opening, and recognized the signs of Force lightning. He reached for his rocket controls and tried desperately to adjust course.
In an instant, blinding light and the sound of thunder exploded across the rooftop, as large arcs of lighting raced out in all directions. One arc raced into the sky, striking Bane and consuming him in a torrent of Force Lightning. He cried out in pain, the electricity being so intense that it caused him to lose control of his muscles. The electricity also made its way into his equipment, causing all of his gadgets to short-circuit and burst in sparks. His rocket boots overcharged and violently shot him into the air, leaving a trail of smoke behind him as he left the radius of the Force Storm.
Ventress, realizing she could not escape the blast, raised her sabers in a desperate attempt to block the incoming attack. The power she felt coming off of Revan in the Force shocked her, and she felt deeply fearful that she would not survive this. As the lightning connected with her crossed sabers, it took all of her strength to hold off the power for a few seconds, but it eventually overcame her, and electricity rapidly and painfully engulfed her, causing her to scream out in agony.
Revan allowed the storm to continue for a few moments, before releasing it, and the last of the arcs of lightning stopped their violent thrashing out, leaving massive scorch marks all over the roof, and the sides of nearby buildings.
Once the lightning stopped, Ventress collapsed onto the roof, only having stood up until then because the electricity had caused her muscles to seize up and force her to remain standing. Small streams of smoke from several burn marks radiated off her body, and her breathing was labored, but Revan could sense that she would not die from her wounds. He briefly considered killing her, but as he watched her in the Force, he saw a great deal of untapped potential, and some deeply hidden doubts about serving her master. Perhaps she could be useful in the future.
Pain demanded Revan's attention once again, as he felt along his arm for the two blaster wounds. His left arm was also not in great shape from holding off Ventress' full attack, his breathing was heavy from the exertion of casting Force Storm so quickly, and his body was in general pain from the prolonged fighting of the day. If he was going to survive, he needed to get out of here, and quickly.
Taking a deep breath to steady himself, Revan recovered his dropped saber, deactivating the one in his hand, and placed both next to the others concealed in his robes. Scanning his surroundings to make sure no one else was coming after him at that moment, Revan concentrated on concealing himself in the Force, activated his stealth-field-generator, and began walking towards the hangar as his physical form slowly disappeared.
Ahsoka pulled one of her blades from the chest of a human, as their body slumped to the ground. Her breathing was heavy, but as she looked around at the combined destruction she and Master Gallia had caused, she couldn't help but smile a little.
The remaining Magnaguards had been dealt with, thanks to Master Obi Wan's help, who was currently dealing with the last of the mercenaries. Anakin was clearly frustrated, he had been knocked out for a small period of time from the rocket blast, but with Kenobi's protection he hadn't been a target, and was now taking out his aggression on the few enemies left.
Finally having a moment to breathe and just take in her surroundings, Ahsoka noticed that she hadn't seen Revan since the start of the fight. In fact, now that she thought about it, she hadn't seen Ventress or Bane either.
Just then, her thoughts were interrupted by a feeling of a massive surge of power in the Force, followed by what sounded like a roar of thunder from a different part of town. The other Jedi sensed the same thing, stopping in their tracks, then everyone's attention turned towards the sound of the explosion.
"It's Revan." Anakin stated definitively.
Kenobi nodded in agreement, before speaking. "Adi, Ahsoka, stay here and deal with the rest of Bane's men. Anakin and I will go after Revan."
"We'll meet up with you once we're done here!" Adi yelled back to her fellow Master.
Ahsoka was about to say something, when another sensation came over her, she could actively feel Revan's presence shifting in the Force, it was the same feeling she had in the Temple.
By the time she shook herself from her thoughts, she looked up to see that Anakin and Obi Wan were already gone. She pulled out her communicator and tried to call them, but to her dismay it had broken at some point during the fight. Looking up in desperation, and increasing worry, she saw that Adi had leaped into action to deal with the remaining mercenaries, which had dug into a very tough defensive position inside of a building.
Glancing around frantically her mind raced with conflicting information. Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath and focused in the Force. Revan was headed towards the hangar; they were going to lose him. After a few more seconds of concentration, her eyes sprung open, filled with determination. She deactivated both sabers, summoned the Force to augment her, and started to run.
Sterr was in the process of quickly double-checking the outside of Revan's ship, making sure that he had not forgotten to disengage a fuel line or docking clamp. Satisfied with his findings, the Ithrorian made his way back to the boarding ramp of the ship and jumped in fear when he saw a black-cloaked figure, with a demonic red mask, that was gripping its right arm, walking towards him.
Seeing the mechanic's obvious terror, Revan realized his mistake and quickly took off his mask, pulled his hood back, and waved his hand at Sterr before speaking, "Sterr, it's me."
The Ithroian took a second to register who he was looking at, then shook his head and quickly made his way over to meet him. "Revan, sir, my deepest apologies for not realizing it was you, I-"
But Revan simply waved him off and offered a slight smile. "Is the ship ready to leave?"
"Oh! Uhm, yes, sir! I started it up as you asked, and she's ready to fly."
Revan nodded in approval. "And the tracking system?" He did not fancy another situation like this one happening again.
"Completely removed. It did give me some trouble at times, but I think you will be very proud of the work I was able to do in the short time I had her."
Revan's eyes scanned the ship, and slowly nodded, his mind turning with a new idea. "Sterr…"
The Ithorian's head picked up slightly in anticipation of what his most generous customer was about to say.
"...How would you like to come with me?" Revan asked as he looked at the mechanic, whose eyes were slowly widening. "I could use a mechanic like you, and I have a feeling your ingenuity has a great deal more potential than perhaps even you realize." Sterr was speechless for several moments, and sensing the Jedi were looking for him, Revan decided to speed the process along. "I can pay you even more than what I already owe you, plus," he glanced back over his shoulder to the hangar entrance, "I've just made a lot of dangerous enemies, and they will probably not take kindly to the fact that you helped me escape."
A flash of worry crossed over the alien's features, and his mind raced with thoughts and questions as he began looking around his hangar, the place that he had called home and prison for so many years.
Revan watched the Ithroian for several seconds feeling the intense levels of emotions radiating off of him. "I can't promise that the work will be easy, or safe for that matter, but I can offer you a better life than this. It's your choice, but I need to know now."
Sterr finally stopped looking around and locked eyes with Revan. There was a strange pull, a level of conviction and confidence in his eyes that Sterr had never seen in another being. His mind resolved. He straightened himself to his full height and nodded confidently. "I will join you."
Revan couldn't help the large smile that came across his face.
"Stop!" Revan and Sterr turned to face the voice that had yelled across the hangar. Revan's brow raised in surprise as he saw the Jedi Padawan run into the hangar, both sabers in her hands, deactivated. How had she…
"I can't let you leave Revan!" Ahsoka said as she came to a stop a few feet away from the pair, igniting both sabers, and taking an offensive stance.
Sterr glanced between the Togruta and Revan worriedly, but Revan simply maintained eye contact with the Jedi.
Revan turned his head just slightly and said, "Be ready to take off on my mark." but did not stop looking at Ahsoka.
Sterr nodded quickly and hurriedly boarded the ship.
Ahsoka glanced at the Ithorian but decided to stay focused on Revan.
"You know you can't stop me, young one. I appreciate the courage, and you clearly have conviction, but we both know how this fight ends. Just let me go, and we can leave this matter here."
Ahsoka gripped her sabers tighter, she knew Revan was right, but she wasn't going to back down, hopefully, she could stall him long enough for the others to realize where she was. "I have to try."
Revan looked at the padawan with new appreciation. She had bravely tried to defend the archives and was now willing to fight a lost battle because she knew it was her responsibility to do so. She reminded him of Mission… "Goodbye Ahsoka, perhaps we'll meet again someday." He said before turning to board the ship.
Ahsoka steeled herself, realizing she was out of options, she charged at Revan's back.
With only a foot between them, Revan turned to face Ahsoka and held out a hand, flat and open. Suddenly, Ahsoka was locked in place, completely frozen, a thin layer of purple energy surrounded her and bound her in place, only allowing for her eyes to move about frantically in confusion.
Revan maintained the Force Stasis, paralyzing the Padawan. He could feel the slight panic and great confusion coming off of the Jedi, and his head tilted slightly. He was aware that he needed to end this and leave, but his curiosity got the better of him and he searched her mind to further understand her confusion. Surely the Jedi had not forgotten the extremely useful and peaceful tool that was Force Stasis?
As Revan reached into her mind, Ahsoka could actively feel him reach out to her mind for answers. For the first time, she fully felt the connection in the Force between them, and almost on instinct she locked eyes with Revan and launched forward.
Revan's eyes went wide, as a mixture of shock and surprise came over him, as Ashoka used the unprotected connection between them to delve into his psyche. A wave of memories, dreams, emotions, buried truths, and dark secrets were suddenly unleashed on the ill-prepared padawan, and her mind felt like it was going to be consumed in the fire that was Revan's wounded mind.
Revan lost his concentration, the Force Stasis fell, Ahsoka gripped her head crying out in pain, which caused Revan to snap out of his daze. He quickly blocked their connection in the Force, which ended the pain Ahsoka was experiencing, but the experience had been so intense and overwhelming for her mind that it shut off in self-defense, causing her to collapse to the ground and pass out.
Revan was left stunned by the event that had just happened. It took him a moment to recenter himself, as the event had caused a great deal of deep and difficult emotions and memories to rise to the surface of his mind. He stared down at the still form of the Jedi Padawan in disbelief, his mind finally understanding why certain things had happened the way they did.
As the seconds rolled by for what seemed like a small eternity, one thing became very clear to the former High Commander of the Republic: He had a decision to make.
Anakin and Obi Wan were standing on top of a very burned and partially destroyed rooftop, several blocks from their previous skirmish with Cad Bane's mercenaries. Kenobi stood on the edge of one side of the roof, thoughtfully stroking his beard as he surveyed the damage done to other nearby structures, while Skywalker was crouched in the middle of the roof, using his fingers to carefully examine one of the burn marks. Neither Bane, nor Ventress, nor Revan had been seen by the pair of Jedi on their way to, or at this location.
The only sound between them was the occasional gust of wind and rolling of small pieces of stone against the roof and surrounding structures but was broken up by the noise of rushing wind, as Master Gallia Force Jumped onto the same roof and landed with a small thud. Both Obi Wan and Anakin only gave her a side glance and an affirming nod before getting back to their observations.
"What's the situation?" Adi asked as she approached Kenobi's side.
"No sign of Bane, Ventress, or Revan, but whatever happened here couldn't have been good for any of them." Kenobi remarked.
"Judging by the scorch marks and blaster fire," Skywalker began as he stood up and approached the two masters, "it was a pretty intense skirmish. But I would put money on Revan ending the fight with some kind of powerful Force Lightning."
"Just like he did on Coruscant…" Obi Wan muttered somberly, as the image of Quinlan Vos' smoking form entered the Jedi Master's mind.
"Exactly." Anakin affirmed the unspoken sentiment. "But based on how this fight went, none of them could have gotten far, we should still have a chance to catch Revan."
Just as Anakin finished speaking, all three Jedi turned to the sound of a nearby ship's engines roaring to full power and looked up to the sky to watch the tail-end of a Personal Luxury Yacht rapidly fly out of sight into the lower levels of the planet's atmosphere.
"You were saying…" Adi commented with a slight smirk.
Obi Wan was about to join in on the teasing of his former apprentice, when he stopped upon seeing the very serious and intense look on Anakin's face.
Anakin turned to look at both Masters, a mixture of fear and anger just beginning to stir at the back of his voice, "Where's Ahsoka?"