Okay, sorry for the delay because I have been playing these games recently:

-XCOM Enemy Within

-Assassins Creed: Black Flag




Sorry for the delays, but I will get this one cranked out now. I hope you like this. I'm a gamer. Happy Holidays to you all.

And I want to thank fellow Author Crazy-Man for his contribution for the Guardians. You will know who they are later.

And no, I don't own Halo or Star Wars.

Episode 12: Regicide.

{Sundari, Royal Palace, Throne Room.}

Maul overlooked the city in the balcony of the royal palace, observing his remaining troops fortifying the defenses. He knew that they will not hold, and he also knew that the Keldabe dig site when silent just as the attack started. He knew if they did not check in after 30 minutes, then he knew that something was not right. Even as this blasted invasion started, he would have been informed on the status of the Keldabe dig site that had been a secret and only shared with his top lieutenants.

Ever since he stumbled onto that mysterious silver door that he and his brother found during their time hiding under Keldabe's catacombs, he knew that whatever was on the back of it was going to change the galaxy forever. He had that feeling, one shared by his brother and the top leaders of the Death Watch that he controlled.

Now, it seems that everything was falling into pieces, a sentiment shared by his brother, Savage Oppress. He was surveying the scene when reports of large, armored droids came and slaughtered their men like cattle. While Savage was not familiar with the term "Spartan", he researched on the topic. IF they were indeed involved, then defeat was now a certainty.

"Brother, our forces are faltering, our control over this planet is slipping. We cannot hold out against the Ne'tra Kad and their Clone lackeys, not to mention their UNSC war hounds. We will not survive this unless we leave now." Savage said, overlooking the wartorn Sundari city as he saw the fighting of the city inching closer, if the blaster bolts coloring a nearby street that was not so far from their high and mighty fortress.

For years, they ruled with an iron fist. Their rule over Mandalore is a prime example of what would happen if the Sith ever ruled the galaxy. Segregation, genocide, torture, and more inhumane acts were committed to keeping the local populace under control. All undone now, thanks to the UNSC. Ne'tra Kad could never launch this large scale invasion on their lonesome.

And the former rulers, the New Mandalorians, banded together with small remnants of the True Mandalorians, and now all their inhabitants of the planet not under their control wanted whoever was associated with the Sith and the Death Watch on a pike.

Maul did not like a retreat, but unless he did so now, it was certain doom for them.

"What of our surprise?" Savage asked his brother. They had been creating a last resort to give a pyrrhic victory over their foes: A bomb, strong enough to take out half the planet in its extreme power. They held the codes, and as soon as they realized this battle were truly lost, if it wasn't already obvious to Maul, then he would activate it and leave the planet to die via catastrophic explosion.

"We activate it. And as soon as we reach our way to the other side of this Force-forsaken planet, we can activate it and use the horrendous aftermath of it to escape in the confusion." Maul explained, confident in his plans. "And we hold the only deactivation codes for the device, so even if they did reach here, it would not be enough time to take the bomb out."

His brother did not share his sentiment, however. "I can sense Ventress on this rock, in this very city. We will never get away clean, even with your plan."

Maul was still overconfident to not see the threat, despite signs of everything that was an omen of the things to come for them. The Dark Side does blind all, even common sense.

"They are of no concern to me. We focus on the plan, my brother, so prepare to abandon this rock." Maul said, unconcerned the incoming threats.

{Sundari Royal Palace, Meanwhile}

It had been a long slog towards the end, but now the majority of the Death Watch has been finally pushed back to the last defense in the city: The Royal Palace. Traps, turrets, mines, and all sorts of heavy ordinance are being hurriedly set up, but were being hampered as advance forces harassed the defenders, as their enemies advanced faster than expected. Either by surrender or by death, Death Watch was losing at a ratio of 5 men per 1 Clone/Ne'tra Kad Trooper in their battles.

In the midst of this chaos, CBMI agents Offee and Ventress met with Spartan IV Fireteams Crimson and Royal and infiltrated the Royal Palace successfully, with Royal, led by Overlord, providing the distraction, weakening the defenses and softening the target for their allies, as Crimson provided escort for the two Agents towards their main targets. Resistance was fierce, and most Death Watch tried to suicide bomb in desperation. Despicable as they are, no one questions the dedication of the troopers stationed in the palace. Some of the greener soldiers surrendered, but the rest were gunned down to the last man.

Eventually they entered the main Throne Room, where a very unpleasant surprise awaited them.

In the middle of the room, and on the Throne that Duchess Satine was sitting on when she was ruling Mandalore, was a large bomb.

"Shit." Ventress swore softly as Wren came over to check the device.

"This is one nasty bomb, a fusion bomb to be precise. This is set to explode in 30 minutes." She said.

"Can you disarm it?" Offee asked. Wren frowned slightly. "I can, but it might take too long. I can speed that up if you can get the activation codes. And I think we know who has them." Wren suggested. Ventress grimaced. "Fine, but if they hold out on us, their deaths are going to be slow rather than quick if they resist."

Her partner shook her head. "Reign them in, Asajj. We have to find them first." She said as she scanned the room for anything out of the ordinary. She eventually came across a secret panel that activates a secret access tunnel that runs under the city to a secret transport terminal that connects from Sundari to Keldabe to 10 different locations. During Satine's reign, she built them during the Clone Wars and she used them when the Sith came to town. Now it was used to get the Sith out of a situation Satine herself was in a year and 2 months ago.

Lady took no chances. "Wren, Wrecker and I will stay with the bomb. The rest of you are coming with the CBMI and assist in tracking down the targets and-"She was cut off as she barely dodged a laser bolt that came from the door as reinforcements that managed to bypass Fireteam Royal and began to open fire on the Spartans as the rest fired back.

"Go!" Lady said as she dropped two more Death Watch Troopers. Offee and Ventress nodded as the two CBMI agents were escorted by Maverick and Lightning as they entered the escape tunnel in pursuit. She then used her TACPAD to map out the schematics. Four blue dots indicated their position, and as the schematic expanded, lots of red dots began to fill her view.

"They have escorts and a good lead on us, so we aren't stopping for anything." Offee pointed out. No words needed to be said.

Everyone cloaked and soon, the tunnel was empty, save for the telling sound of rapid taps of boots stomping the ground.

{Keldabe, Undisclosed location in the Catacombs.}

Clone Commando Darman has seen a lot in his service with the Republic. Corrupt officials, Biological Weapon caches, even the ancient ruins of civilization in planets controlled by the CIS, but nothing prepared him and his team for the "surprise" the Spartan Fireteam unveiled to them. Omega and Bacta came in as they walked into a large empty area with so many dead bodies and a large door, surrounded by the Spartans.

After being given a brief insight as to what the Forerunners were, Fireteam Napalm leader Firebrand gave the main reason as to why they came to Mandalore: To investigate and activate the Forerunner device that laid under the former capital of Mandalore. With Kal attending this via hologram, the Commandos and their leader were rather stunned that such a powerful and ancient race built something under the homeworld of the Mandalorians. Corr of Omega Squad asked why this did not activate when Maul's Death Watch were not able to activate the device, it was because they lacked the proper activation device, and without it, they would be unable to access the structure itself. Firebrand then explained to them that all their efforts of retaking the world would cover up their Forerunner ruin under the sands of Mandalore.

Firebrand activated the device, as it slowly activated the large door as it suddenly shifted and changed, revealing a hallway behind the entrance.

"Well, I'll be damned." Darman muttered. "Looks like Kal's home had more hidden doors than we thought."

"Well, we still need to know what's inside. One of our Spartan Fireteams will defend the entrance, while the rest of us head inside." Firebrand said.

"Well, that is acceptable." Darman agreed, since he and his brothers are curious what is inside.

Fireteam Napalm led Bacta and Omega inside, as the other Fireteam took positions to defend the area.

{Tunnel 6-A, At the same time.}

Lightning and Maverick found heavy resistance on their way to the Tunnels that lead into the escape platform that would take the Sith to a secret facility that lead towards somewhere that would take the Sith far away from here. The AI were working furiously to find out the location of that area, but for now, the CBMI agents were gonna take the slack and take the Sith down before they get out.

So far, they saw only a few turrets and hostiles, but intercepted enemy transmission told them that more reinforcements were on their way, so they had to move fast or the enemy will bog them down long enough for the Sith to escape.

More and more Mandalorians came in, and more met their deaths by either projectile based weaponry, advanced energy weapon discharge, or, if they got too close to the CBMI, lightsaber and Hardlight hack and slash tactics that sliced and diced the foes in a manner that would have made any sushi chefs jealous if they saw them.

They then reached a large area that had a large transit train hooked to anti-grav boosters, leading into a large tunnel that is assumed to be the escape tunnel that led to the shuttles that will take them away from the planet at large.

And they saw their primary targets boarding it.

Lightning wasted no time. "Targets sighted." He said, and numerous red bolts began to head on their positions.

Maverick began to snipe as Lightning opened fire on the nearest 3 hostiles. "We'll cover your advance, and delay these guys. Go!" He yelled over the hostile firepower began brought down on the group as Offee and Ventress activated their speed modules in their suits and using the Force to increase their already enhanced speed to catch to the escaping craft just as it was about to leave.

Maverick and Lightning then raised hell as they used their slipspace modules to teleport from one vantage point to another, with Maverick taking down the threats from afar and Lightning taking out anyone foolish enough to approach their postions.

10 minutes later, the entire area was now filled with corpses, body parts and the occasional ash pile. Then, they found an extra grav transport and used it to catch up to their CBMI superiors.

{Sundari, Escape Tunnel, on unidentified grav transport}

"Looks like they brought their lackeys to slow us down." Ventress remarked as another blaster shot pinged off her Hardlight shield. Both her and Barriss were swarmed as soon as they entered the lift. Their targets were in the small cabin in the front of the train-like transport, but between them and the Sith were hoards of hostiles trying to swarm the intruders. No such luck.

Bodies were thrown from the transport, whether it came from being Force pushed, slashed, or shot by Ventress' Magnum. Barriss used no guns as she simply wailed on the foe, slicing and dicing at her foes. Ventress was mixing it up, shooting with her Magnum and using her hardlight sword to cut through her foes and then perforating her foes, not necessarily in that order.

Eventually they finally reached their target as Ventress blew the grey matter off one Mandalorian and Offee decapitated his partner. They ripped the door off using the Force and threw the dessicated remains of the door out the back. They found the Sith waiting for them. Maul sat in the middle, with minimal light, as his brother stood behind him, forming dual sabers in his hands.

"Well, well, well. Would you look at that? A Jedi and a Sith fighting side-by-side?" Maul laughed, as if the concept was totally a complete joke to him. "Dooku must be turning in his grave if that was the case. He taught you better, Ventress."

"He taught me how utterly deceptive and backstabbing you lot are. I intend to scour you from the face of the galaxy. And you, Savage," Ventress snarled. "I did not forget your betrayal. I will end you as well as your brother."

"You are weak, Ventress. Under my new master, "Savage gestured to his brother. "I have become stronger."

"Yes, strong enough to wield those blades, I imagine." Ventress quipped, despite the growing rage of Savage. "I suspect he feeds you enough dog food to make you a decent swordsman, let alone a Sith."

Savage raged, but his brother calmed him down, seeing through the ruse. "I admire your bravado, but it is time for you to die now."

Barriss then decided to talk, choosing her choice words correctly. "Yes, I agree. You first." And then she and Ventress used their Force powers to take out all light sources in the carriage. Maul and Savage shielded their eyes from the shattering glass that surrounded them. When they finally recovered, the CBMI agents were gone. Both brothers wielded their weapons, readying themselves and using the Force to help them locate the threats.

Unfortunately, as they did so, they did not notice Barriss and Ventress taking positions opposite one another on each end of the carriage, waiting for them to step over a small concussion mine they planted in their place as they stepped on it, and disorientated both men as Ventress and Offee Force-pushed the two Sith to each other, Savage to Ventress and Offee to Maul. The brothers recovered and soon battle was joined.

Lightsabers, Hardlight weaponry, and thrown objects, ranging from a table to a dead Mandalorian, were everywhere, and between the insanity done here and the moving transport, the tunnel had literally lit up. The pairs were separated from each other, with Maul and Barriss moving towards the front and Savage and Asajj going at it towards the rear of the transports. It was going to be a long fight. Maul and Barriss are now inside a car, with the makings of a small living quarters inside.

Maul sidestepped Barriss in an attempt to give a glancing blow, with Barriss using her left handed hardlight Katana to block it as Maul brought his other blade to bear on the CBMI, who dodged underneath and activated a small device on her palm, and in turn, made a small mine activate behind Maul, who did not sense it fast enough to get away as its incendiary payload burned his robes and some of his skin.

Barriss smirked. "Always be mindful of your surroundings."

Maul snarled and launched his own counter-attack, delivering a flurry of attacks and used his Force powers to grab a table behind her and smash it behind her, and she barely dodged it as it clipped the back of her head. Barriss groaned a bit and Maul was allowed a small breather, while looking down on her. "Good advice." Catching his breath, he pounced and the two resumed their duel, slicing furniture in their wake.

Meanwhile, Asajj threw a plasma grenade as Savage caught it with his mind, before it detonated prematurely and burned him slightly as he was blown back towards the rear even further. He underestimate Asajj's questionable tactics with her lightsaber skills, like mixing her lightsaber strikes with her using her magnum to wound Savage when he was caught off guard by the weapon. Truly, Asajj is more unpredictable now than she was before all those years ago. Savage decides to up the ante by smashing multiple glass windows and using his powers to fling it to her with the speed of a machine gun. Asajj saw this and activated her hardlight shield, as Savage used the cover to advance rapidly on her position.

As the battle raged inside the tunnels, above the ground, the war was over. Many surrendered, and the New/True Mandalorians began to take control, with the UNSC Spartans and Ne'tra Kad troopers began to advance towards the secret docks that held the final resistance and the escape shuttles of the Sith overlords who ruled the planet.

Meanwhile, Kal Skirata and the majority of Ne'tra Kad commanders who acted as his bodyguards were now en route to the location of his Clone Commando teams who were with two Lost Legion Spartan Fireteams, as he wanted to know what a civilizations as advanced as the Forerunners would want with his planet.

{Keldabe, Meanwhile}

"Unreal." Fi said as he and his team came inside the structure, not believing of the ruins inside.

But ruins did not do justice to it. It looked like it was still brand new, with only a few sections of the wall missing. The entire thing was silver, with orange energy pulsating in the area, with the majority of area bathed in an unnatural blue light. It was utterly alien, more than anything the Clone saw in their lifetimes.

"And you say that most of your tech is based off these "Forerunners?"" Corr asked, as Firebrand nodded. Darman was actually shuddering how such a race, who could build such elegant structures, could disappear from the face of the galaxy and still leave a lasting impact on the Terrans, and now, the Mandalorians.

He, along with the rest of his brothers, were only given the summarized version of the Forerunners, but they did not know about the extensive part of it, such as the Ancient Human-Forerunner War, and their Flood problems. Only Kal Skirata was given the main story, but even then, it was limited.

Right now, though, whatever limited knowledge they had on the subject matter was blown up for them proportionally.

The area was large the layout was confusing, and if they went in without the Spartans, they would most certainly be lost. "This place would have made Palpatine jealous." Fi remarked.

Firebrand snorted. "I doubt that whatever he could cook up will be better than this. Besides, our spies got a lot of stuff from his database. For a strong military force, their cyber defense has more holes than swiss cheese."

"Swiss cheese?" Corr asked. Firebrand was about to explain as her TACPAD began to emit a beeping sound. "We have arrived." Firebrand proclaimed as she began to tap more commands on her TACPAD.

"Give me a few minutes for this. I am gonna activate the thing using the Forerunner codes I obtained from the eggheads back over in the Milky Way. Not much, but it beats being perforated or vaporized by the defenses."

"Why would the defenses turn on you? I don't know a lot about this, but ain't this Forerunner stuff supposed to be keyed in with your DNA?" Darman asked. Firebrand shrugged. "That was only for our galaxy, Darman." She said. "We found this out of a small cache of data found in one of the ruins back in the Milky Way, and even then we have to tread carefully. Not all Forerunners liked us humans from being the successors of the Mantle. SO DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING" She warned, which everyone agreed and began to wait for her work to be done.

{Escape Tunnel, with Ventress and Offee}

The battle was getting intense, and escalating more and more as the Sith threw everything at their foes. Maul quickly learned not to underestimate the Jedi has-been Offee as she nearly chopped his wrist off when he tried to do a feint. Now he was trying to find weaknesses in her defenses as she was currently throwing objects that either weighed 5 times more than her weight or can explode at the Sith, leaving small cuts on his body with some bruises to top it off.

Meanwhile, Ventress and Oppress were smashing into each other with enough Force to cut through 5 Warthogs in a line. Their swordsmanship literally all but annihilated the room they fought in, as it bore all sorts of weld marks that made it unstable and forced the combatants out of there as they continued going towards the front from the back.

The only thing each fight had going similar for the three Force users was that it was very equal, and each countering the other's attack. All four combatants knew this.

Maul was beginning to think that he underestimated his opponent, and began to step up his game. He increased his power behind his swings as he smashed his blades. "I grow tired of this." And he struck with vigor. He still believed this battle could still be won.

Barriss struggled as she felt that it became even more difficult to block his attacks. He had the rage, but he was also impatient. She had to hold him out long enough for him to make a mistake. And he did as he swings his lightsaber in a wide arc which she dodges, only for him to charge in order to gain the upper hand and hopefully cut her head off. Barriss sidestepped and activated her hardlight shield to bash him in. The universe rewarded her actions with a snapping sound of a broken bone. Maul screamed in agony as his right arm is snapped like a twig. "And you became too rash." Barriss countered her opponent's earlier remark.

Barriss put her power and used her abilities in the Force to increase the power in using her Hardlight Shield. She took advantage of his impatience. "Clearly, your throne blinded you to the basic rules of combat. One of which was to never, ever underestimate your opponent." Maul used his good arm to Force Throw a couch at her, and she cut it in half easily, but took advantage of the distraction to move away and find a place to hide and recuperate his wounds, and then ambushing her when she least expected it. Barriss took off in pursuit but as soon as she entered the next car, he was nowhere to be found.

Barriss knew that he will try to heal up and get the jump on her, so she treaded carefully and headed to the top of the mag cars, because if she stayed to the indoors of the transport, it would be all the more likely to be caught in a trap of Maul's making. Better she take the higher ground. Activating her TACPAD, she began to scan the cars as she made her way to the front.

Meanwhile, Maul had reached the foremost front car and began to brace his arm and set it back again in place. He took the lull of the combat to his advantage, thinking of a new strategy to take her down. No longer did he regard her as a pest, but now as a true threat that nearly rivals that of Obi-Wan. He knew that if he did not take this girl down, she would find a way to bring him down. He no longer had any illusions that her Jedi morals will not stop her from flaying him alive.

Maul could see out of the corner that a strange blue light passed through the mag car he just left and realized she was sniffing him out. Smart girl. He deduced that it was coming from the roofs of the mag cars judging on the direction of the blue light that came shining downwards. She truly was not taking any chances. He had to admire her preparedness and clever tactics. But he was still the stronger one, no matter how wounded he was.

Barriss slowly stalked her prey, making sure she was in a position where she can see or feel that an ambush or trap can be seen clearly. She was just about to head out to the forward again when she felt a surge of alarm through the Force. She immediately back flipped just in time to see Maul smash through the ceiling and if she had been standing there for one second later, she would have been sliced in half.

"Exemplary Reflexes, girl," He scoffed. "But they still will not save you in the end."

"You are still too arrogant to proclaim yourself anything but a weak fish trying to outsmart a shark." She replied, to which Maul was confused on what she was referencing. "What?" She smirked and used her confusion to the advantage.

One of the things she learned while under the employ of the CBMI is that people are easily confused with things they don't understand, and that anything to throw the enemy off balance is permitted, whether it is using a new gun, explosive, gadget, or even psychological warfare. They even said that using phrases that throw the enemy off and giving them the upper hand.

Maul was confused for a split second when Barriss took the confusion to her advantage and used all her strength and Force abilities to propel a thermal detonator at Maul, who made the mistake of trying to counter her banter by standing like a fool.

The detonator was thrown at his face, but Maul managed to used his Force abilities to push himself away from the detonator, but it barely saved him. The heat and shrapnel traveled quickly to puncture through Maul's clothing and armor and found his flesh, already wounding an already wounded Sith. Barriss looked on as she approached her pray.

Meanwhile, with Savage and Ventress, they were still going at it, with anger and frustration building up between the two as their bloody history between each other fueling their blows as Ventress wants payback against Savage for betraying her, with Savage wanting to kill Ventress for her simply using him as a tool.

Now, they were reaching their limits as they realized they had to finish fast, before the other one gets lucky.

Savage used his Force powers to throw debris at her, and she cuts them in half and he pounces just as soon as he launched the second debris at her foe, trying to end this. Ventress screamed as she was bisected at the waist and fell in two neat pieces. Savage grinned as she finally put an end to her once and for all. "It seems I am the better Sith after all."

As he turned however, joy turned to shock as he realized that the "body" of Ventress shimmered and fizzed. It seems that she was able to somehow switch places with a decoy and gave him the false sense of victory. He did not ponder for long how this had transpired as a colored blade pierced his chest.

"You were just too overconfident." Ventress whispered as she decloaked from her position.

"H-how?" Savage coughed. "I-I would-d have -ssensed you."

"I had many months to train my ability to hide my presence in the Force. I did not do so earlier so that you would know who was coming to greet your doom. In the end, your arrogance caused your death, Savage, and retribution is at last, mine." She hissed before she used her other blade to decapitate the Sith. She took a moment to look at her quarry before she went to the front to assist her partner. Thinking about her victory later, she moved with haste as she knew that Maul will now try everything in his power to kill Barriss, and she knew an angry Sith is a lethal one, not to be trifled with.

Maul sensed his brother's death in the Force. And his face was going from shock, to pure unadulterated anger as he unleashed his anger through the Force, catching Barriss offgaurd and throwing a good distance back to the rear, breaking a few ribs and her left wrist in the process.

She was disoriented and her head was screaming pain in her and it took all her will not to scream in agony as the Sith landed in front of her, his signature dual bladed lightsaber already making his features look feral and intimidating to his already fierce expression of anger painted on his face.

"I was going to relish cutting your head off Jedi," he said as he twirled his blades in her direction like a fast moving buzzsaw. "Now, you are going to beg for a quick death."

Barriss tried to reach for her saber which has fallen to her left, only to have her left hand cut off and rewarding Maul with an ear splitting shriek of pain. She recovered with as much haste as she could but as she stood up, Maul did not let up as she cut her on the legs and soon she was on her back, facing the angry Sith as she felt a crushing sensation on her throat, but she did not see him lifting a finger to reach at her. She then felt herself being lifted up.

Maul decided to toy with her a bit, extending her suffering before he made her truly beg. She was choking and she felt more force being put on her throat. She believed that her neck was so close to snapping at the moment.

"Any last words?" He mocked, feeling good as he felt the end close at hand. Well, he was about to.

Ventress bursted in and firing her magnum, making him drop Barriss and even catching a round in the shoulder. Barriss hacked and coughed as Ventress came over. "Don't worry I got this. You rest now." Ventress said, and Barriss nodded tiredly and moved herself to rest and heal up as much as she can while her partner takes on the Sith on in a heated duel.

"Why don't you pick someone who can fight you with both hands attached, Maul. Your brother had a good head in comparison to yours." She taunted, and he took the bait like a bull looking at a red cloth. And he charged with a fury unseen by many. Ventress then engaged him and pushed at him, away from her partner.

They went at it, back and forth, with no end in sight. But for Barriss, she kept coming in and out of consciousness, fighting the shock of losing her left hand and began to go through her memories as the shock and dizziness took her out of her consciousness and began to go through her memories.

Memories of her fighting alongside a Besalisk Jedi General, his fall, his madness his hatred, and her suffering all enduring and leaving an indelible mark on her soul poured into her mind; her memories of faking her death, meeting Ventress, their uneasy alliance turning into full partnership and actual friendship formed by the two. Both came from two opposite spectrums of the Force, both disillusioned and both working with a faction who knows the difference between good and evil, and walking the fine line between the light and dark sides to balance the darkness that crept over the galaxy, all to ensure the peace and stop the conflict from involving the Terrans, even though Ventress and her joined for different reasons.

She came to see her old Master, her friends, Ahsoka, and even the acquaintance of Dennis, the Spartan IV who she enjoyed to talk to. She saw them all dead, she saw them dying, she saw them in all sorts of pain, and she saw a dark shadow coming to swallow everything good and then nothing.

She woke up with a jolt, still laying against the wall. She did not know how long she was out, but judging by the lightsaber sounds echoing in the area, it probably wasn't for a while. She did not know what to make of that scene, but she knew that she will not Sidious win, and she will not certainly not die here. She saw her hand and began to tie a tourniquet to cover it. She can have it flash cloned again so she can have her hand back, but for now she will deal with Maul. She never leaves the job half-done, as her associated from CBMI, especially Roberts, drilled that statement into her head. She shakily stood up and called her WarFrame, which shaped itself into a Katana and proceeded to the sounds of fighting in the distance. She began to take a small syringe from her left breast pocket and injected herself in the heart, unleashing a multitude of chemicals to give her an edge momentarily and give her a shaper sense of her surroundings that she had before. She began to pick up the pace and sprinted to the front.

Maul and Ventress were both relentless. None of the two gave ground lightly, and both gave as well as they received. Yet, it was Ventress who began to falter as she slipped and fell on her back, in the same position as her partner was earlier. She parried vicious strikes and struggled to get back up. Maul saw that she turned her back on him momentarily and took the opportunity to charge and skewer her from behind. Before he could do so, however, a Hardlight shield bashed at him, stunning him and forcing him at the defensive as he was assaulted by the now one handed Barriss Offee, who used her left arm to use as a shield while she used her good arm to assault him.

She kept attacking, taking blows with her shield and kept on him, while Maul was on the defensive, slightly shocked that despite her sudden loss of her left appendage, she fought on as though she was never affected. She kept on pushing and pushing until she cornered Maul on the edge of the corner.

She did not let up, and Maul noticed that she had her anger in her attacks, as her expression was cold, yet her eyes betrayed the fire that only glows bright with anger. He locked their blades together, and surprisingly, even with his mastery of the Force, she held her ground.

"I sense the anger in you, little girl," he said calmly, despite his predicament. "You have the power, the means to achieve it, don't you feel it too? Calling out to you? Telling you to grasp the moment, and to take it all for yourself?" He hissed.

Barriss looked down for the moment, but her strength did not wane. "You are right. IT is tempting to take it all for myself. It is truly power that I see the means to take it all." She emphasized. This surprised Maul that she admitted it easier than any Jedi would. Deciding that he had the upper hand, he leaned in closer and grinned.

"Then why don't you get it all for yourself? You can feel the Dark Side, whispering, calling your name to take it all." He said, genuinely believing that his only way out was to tempt her to the Dark Side. "Your anger at the Jedi's blindness that in their arrogance, they left all of those who they sworn to defend, helpless and I know for a fact, that they are the instigators of most of the sufferings in the galaxy. Why fight for them, when you can fight for yourself."

"Perhaps." She said, but then she began to push him back, shocking him as he was putting his strength behind his weapon, a strength not even Obi-Wan can overcome so easily. "But I am tired of hearing such lies, blatant lies, that killed many of my friends and innocents in this galaxy, Maul. I am tired of hearing the Dark Side calling out to me when I am angry of the world. And I am tired, of seeing oppressors like you and Sidious, and you know what?" She continued, still pushing back, and looked right at him with a cold fury that is unseen by Maul before. "I am sick to death hearing people like you think that they can manipulate me further. I choose my life, and I choose to end yours!" She exclaimed and pushed her opponent with a fury, disarming the Sith in the process and leaving him defenseless.

And the next thing she did was use her handless left arm and lifted him up, using her Force powers to grip him the throat, and brought him closer to her face, which seemed to be as hard as stone.

"And I have been taught a phrase about such things and what to do with them: De Oppresso Liber. To Free the Oppressed. Mandalore has been under Oppression for a long time now. And it needs one more thing to gain their Freedom: Your blood." She declared with a cold tone.

Suddenly Maul could feel his neck and body beginning to slow turn as the former jedi spoke. The pressure on his spinal cord starting to build up, as his head stayed perfectly still. He could see the look within Barriss' eyes as his body continued to twist unnaturally, it was not a look of a cold blooded killer, but of someone who had been pushed to the very limit both mentally, spiritually and physically.

During his fight with his opponent, the Sith had tried to make Barriss turn towards the dark side. But what he had done was sown the seeds of his own demise, for a brief moment Maul could have sworn that this former Jedi was enjoying what she was doing, but he would never know the truth. For moments later, his spinal cord violently ripped apart, as Barriss had caused the Sith's body to do a complete 180 degree turn. His face now aligned with his back. And with that one act, a violent and troubled chapter in Madolore's history had come to an end.

Ventress slowly approached her partner, who was looking at the corpse with a blank stare. Ventress placed her hand on her shoulder and said. "Your hand will be fine once we get to the ship. Are you in any pain?" She asked with genuine concern, but was confident her wound isn't permanent

Barriss shrugged. "This won't last. I can take the pain." She said nonchalantly. Ventress then said. "HQ, this is Shadow 1-2. Objectives complete, I have a wounded partner with me and requesting med evac." She waited for the reply as Barriss looked on with detachment. She knew she needed to brief Kal Skirata on the Forerunner ruins right now, but her partner did not hear any of it, and insisted she leave it up to her.

With a sigh, she agreed. After all, it was just ruins. What could possibly go wrong there?

{Forerunner Ruins, Meanwhile…}

Unfortunately, things did not go well as planned. Fi had been deciding to investigate some of the control panels and he looked into one console that was flashing. Everyone was on alert, so Fi decided to see for himself what it was. Firebrand was working on the systems when she saw the defense grid network and realized that it was still active, it was simply waiting for someone to activate the prompt command to activate it. And the flashing console that Fi saw was the defense console.

If Fireteams Napalm and Gospel did not bring any of their bubble shields with them, they would have lost a lot of people that day. Firebrand tried to get to the console but she was blasted back by an explosion caused by the defense AI, which looked like Sentinels units, knocking her out, and leaving Hannah "Nova" Novak in command for now. Dennis "Gopher" Gostibule had a bad injury in the left shoulder and Fleur "Filler" De Castro was hit square in the chest, but got off with a slight burn, thanks to the armor. Even Firebrand was hit in the shoulder, but she was out cold.

It was then that they were swarmed by more sentinels, now accompanied by bipedal, humanoid figures that were using a variety of Forerunner Weaponry, and their bodies where bulky and armored, with their heads looking like those of the flying Sentinels. Overall, this was a new foe they faced, with the majority of the new foe being blue in color and Filler spotted a single red one directing them, as she saw it transporting troops and using the sentinels as cover when it moved.

"THIS IS YOUR ENTIRE FAULT!" Darman yelled as he ducked behind cover.

"HOW IS THIS MY FAULT? I JUST PRESSED ONE BUTTON! How was I supposed to know it was the defense console?" Fi yelled as he dodged a bright projectile that hit his cover and disintegrated it.

Hannah "Nova" Novak, Spartan IV leader of Fireteam Gospel, then said. "Save it you two, we need to get to the console before more Prometheans come in." She pointed out and began blasting at the Promethean Knights that materialized all over the room.

Now the Spartans eyed the console and it was decided that Omega and the rest of Gospel, minus Nova and Filler, who was providing the over watch even in her wounded state, will advance to the console as the rest will give them cover fire and treating the wounded. Filler then saw some more enemies advancing towards the group and warned them "Heads up, hostile force at your 3 o' clock!" She used her assault rifle to get them away from the group as she was now under fire, but was backed up by her squad mates. Firebrand woke up and then took command.

She then called for back-up. "Overlord, this is Napalm, do you copy, over? We are under heavy attack an unknown Forerunner defense AI and I need some reinforcements, how copy?" She said calmly even as a shot nearly perforated her skull. Overlord answered.

"Solid copy, Napalm. Skirata is near and is bringing his team to you. Commander Orar is closest to your position by 5 minutes. Can you hold til then, acknowledge?"

"Overlord, this is Napalm. Solid copy, we can hold the line, and I think we see the defense grid console, so we can handle it until reinforcements arrive." She replied. The link closed and now they were on their own for 5 minutes.

Gospel and Omega teams should have made it to the supposed location of where Fi located the defense console, but he platform holding it shifted and was now protected heavily by Sentinel Guardians and a new Forerunner AI type that looked more like a large beatle with a flamethrower like weapon on the "mouth" and an energy mortar capable of spewing Hardlight energy and bombarding the enemy at long range.

Nova and Napalm saw the Commander and issued orders quickly. "Focus fire on the Red one. He is directing the hostiles to our position." Sure enough, projectiles of both energy and bullet went flying at the red Sentinel as its shields are barely holding from the onslaught. The Sentinels swarmed and used their bodies to cover the leader as it used some sort of jetpack-like device on its back to move to higher ground.

"Damn it!" Filler swore as her shot disappeared behind the Sentinels. "They seem to be protecting the leader with everything they got." She remarked as she saw the red one jump down, behind the metal Beatle and began ordering it to fire at their position, using a mortar-like weapon on its back and firing on Napalm's position. "MOVE!" Nova yelled as all Spartans in the area sprinted as the energy discharge blew the area they were in.

They were really starting to feel the pressure building. If they did not take that Red Forerunner AI out, they would be in deep waters. Fortunately, reinforcements arrived.

Mandalorian Ne'tra Kad and True/New Mandalorian troopers descended from the entrance, led by Commander Marik Mareel-Orar.

He moved with remarkable grace and flexibility, blasting through most of the Sentinels as though they were merely practice targets and using his jetpack to great effect, getting to hight vantage points and dispatching more Guardians and even taking out the arm of the large red Commander Guardian that was directing the defenses. It was now wounded, and left open. The Sentinels began to surround the leader once more, until someone brought rocket launchers and soon, both the Swarms of Sentinels and their leader that they tried to protect turned into scrap metal.

Afterwards, it was all easier to deal with the defenses and reach the security console, and deactivated the Sentinels.

"Took your time, didn't you?" Nova asked. Commander Mareel-Orar shrugged. "Hey, when we get there, we get there.

Overlord, who was accompanied by Fireteam Crimson and Kal Skirata, arrived to survey the damage and get a report from Fireteam Napalm.

Firebrand reported in. "No casualties, but we took a lot of hits, and Filler needs a medavac." She grunted as she realized she too was shot in the shoulder, but she had a lot of adrenaline to notice the injury until now. Overlord took notice and called Wren in. "Get your team to a medic. You're done for the day." He said, but had a slight tenderness in his tone that was unnoticeable by most.

Firebrand smiled slightly at him, and she and her team were escorted out. Wren came over and touched Overlord's shoulder pads slightly. "Don't worry, she'll be fine." She said. While she loved Lance, she knew that Sofia had feelings for him as well, but in the end, Wren won him over. She knew better than to feel jealous at him.

Overlord became serious as he walked over to Skirata.

"I hope that your men's lives were worth this thing. My men nearly got hit in the process too." Skirata frowned, still skeptical to the ruins. "I still can't believe this damn thing was under our home planet this entire time."

"Compared to their other works, Skirata?" Lance said. "This is a small thing they did, and it was easy compared to their Shield Worlds."

Kal grimaced "And that's what worries me. What if the Empire gets a hold on these Forerunner weapons? Who knows how much more powerful those bastards could become."

Lance looked at him hard and said. "That is why we are gonna get to them first. But for now, we will discover what this place was holding out on us." He said, before he and his team escorted Skirata further in the ruins.

FINALLY I AM DONE! Thank Nightsalker for his awesome death scene with Maul. Thanks, man! Please review. I would like to have feedback please. Sorry this took so long.