The Death Watch Schism Part 2
With the end of the briefing, Aira-ty promptly turned around and headed out of the room, her temper still flared at what she had seen and the fact that the jedi want to take the imposter Mand’alor prisoner. Not just any impostor…a Deathwatch impostor. Seeing what happened to the poor trooper brought back a thought she kept buried in her hatred of Mace Windu. Mace killed Jango and had sent Boba stars knows where…But it was Deathwatch that had tricked the Jedi into wiping out almost all of the True Mandalorians…that sold Jango into slavery…that sent him into the arms of Count Dooku instead of concentrating on truly reuniting Clans as Mand’alor. She always had a feeling Jango wasn’t telling her something about the clones that would carry his Legacy, and she was going to confront him about it after that job…before Geonosis.
“Commander? Are you alright?” Aira-ty stopped at the sound of Jesp’s voice behind her.
“I’m just fine Jesp. The sooner we get this done, the better. We have enough problems with the war as it is without scum like Death Watch rearing their ugly heads.” She replied back to him, with as much coolness she could muster at the moment.
“Right, commander.” Jesp said as he walked up besides Aira-ty. “I’ll take you to the CR-20 we’re going to use, if you don’t mind ma’am. I don’t think I’ll get used to working with mongrels…even if Commander Neilson and Captain Snake-Eyes have been training them.”
In her sudden anger at hearing about Death Watch, she forgot that General Blue had non-clone personnel serving as infantry. “I don’t either, but if some of the rumors are true, General Blue wouldn’t have picked them without a good reason. If anything, think of it a teaching exercise on how Clones can do it better than anyone else.”
“Yes Ma’am.” Jesp replied as the two of them continued on to the hanger.
While Aira-ty and Jesp were heading for the troop transport, Kahan and the rest of the Pack stayed for a bit to get to know Joe’s men, as they were going to be working together. Besides the pleasantries being exchanged, the Pack didn’t like the idea of working with non-clones any more than their captain did. Kahan also took the time to talk to Joe and Sarah.
“Hello General. Commander. Sorry we don’t have more time to spend with each other. I’m curious as to see how you got your men to work together.”
“Hello Master Kahan, and we can talk about it in length after the mission, but I can say that it wasn’t easy.” Joe replied first
“Are you sure we should allow your commander to join us on this mission, General?” Sarah asked Kahan. “We’re going to have enough things to deal with, without her going on her own personal crusade.”
Kahan looked at her for minute before answering, gauging whether she would stop Aira-ty or not. “I assure you that she’ll stay on mission to its completion. You don’t need to go and throw her into someone’s quarters.”
“Good. I don’t care if she is Mando, if she gets any of my men killed, I’ll keep her in the brig for the rest of the war.” She replied before heading off.
Kahan paused for a second before chuckling “seems we both have serious commanders. We’ll get this mission done in no time.”
“Right. Let’s hope that the CIS doesn’t come after us here as well.” Joe answered back before signaling his men to move out. Kahan did the same with his men and they all headed for the transport.
After Joe’s and Kahan’s squads got themselves seated and secured, the troop transport took off and headed for the comet coming in system. The trip took a while as the ship had to travel close enough in the comet’s wake to hide their heat signature, but keep a safe distance from getting hit from anything that might break off the comet. The Pack took this time to talk to each other through their private channel.
“How did General Blue’s commander get Katarn armor? I thought they were for Commandos only.” Said the trooper with turquoise squares painted onto his armor.
“She must be special to be able to use that armor.”
“Yeah, don’t you remember the rumors? After Skywalker came back when Muunilist ended, she nearly broke his jaw.”
“Yeah, but that was after he let himself get drawn into a trap on that jungle planet…what was it again?”
“Yavin four, I believe it was.”
“Yeah. When he left, something like five Muunificents jumped in, sniped three Acclimators and were able to flee in the chaos. I’d be angry too.” said Sly. They all murmured agreements to that.
“She’s pretty good looking too. Hey Gallant, maybe you can ask to stay here and see if you can get her to like you.” The men of the pack all started to laugh at this.
“Please. I have a better chance to get the Commander to love me than I do her. I’ll find one before this war ends, you’ll see.” Gallant said. The men once more laughed a bit before letting it die. The end of the war. None of them wanted to think about that.
“You guys should show a bit more respect to General Blue’s commander. She’s just as important as the Commander is. Even if she’s not Mando’a.”
“Yeah, yeah Cube. Just getting the pre-mission jitters out of the way. Though, I’d pay some good credits to see them fight each other…if I was actually getting paid.” The one called Hooligan said. “Enough of that chatter. We still got a mission to focus on.” Jesp cut in, ending that conversation.
While they had their own conversation, Aira-ty was doing her best to keep her mind focused on the mission at hand. However, she was working with a completely unknown squad to her…and had made a horrid first impression.
“Aira-ty? Are you alright?” Aira-ty’s head jerked up in surprise, luckily no one saw it on her face, since she had her helmet back on.
“Damnit! Kirffing Jedi! What did I say about this!?” Kahan chuckled a bit at her response.
“Sorry. But you’re unusually tense. Are you going to be alright?”
“Yes, I’ll be fine. His commander wanted me off the mission, didn’t she?”
“She was concerned, yes. As you would be if the roles were reversed. She’s kinda like you. Makes me wonder how long she’s been with Joseph Blue.” That last comment actually got her to turn her head to look at Kahan.
“What makes you say that?”
“Look at her hand.” Aira-ty took the time to look over at Sarah, and at her fingers tapping away randomly on her leg. But the longer Aira-ty looked, the more she noticed the tapping wasn’t random. There were pauses after each set of taps, some pauses a bit longer than others like words in sentence. “How long has she been doing it?” Aira-ty asked back through the mental link with Kahan.
“Not too long. He’s probably reassuring her that you’ll stay on mission. I know I would.”
“’Probably?’ I thought you could read anyone’s mind?”
“Just because I can, doesn’t mean I always do it. Besides, it would be rude of me to do so when he’s offered no hostility towards us.” Aira-ty had to concede that point to him. She’d never worked with them before, so she’d give them a chance to prove themselves to her.
The flight to the planet went as planned, with the comet hiding their heat signature and their stealth systems holding up even after atmosphere entry to fly to their planned area. Once on the ground, the squads quickly got out of the transport and made their way to the facility. Seeing the coast was clear, the squads relaxed and begin their march upon the facility. They kept their pace fast enough to get there as fast as they could, but not too hard as to leave them exhausted when they get there. Even at that pace, it took them several hours to arrive at the facility. They took a few minutes to rest up before they moved into the facility. There weren’t as many patrols as they expected, as they heard the sounds of construction going on still.
“Interesting. They send out a declaration of war on us, after taking two ships and their crews…and yet, they are still far from being ready from defending their new base.” Kahan mused. “Idiots. The whole lot of them. We should put them all out of their misery.” Aira-ty said as she pressed on, making sure the path is clear with her squad right behind her. Joe and Sarah, with their squad, were right behind them. Sarah gave Kahan a quick glance before moving on. Kahan could only sigh before moving to catch up.
Both squads were able to get inside the facility without trouble. “Alright, here’s where we split up.” Joe said in a low voice “May the Force be with us.” With that, the two commanders split off with their squads to head to their assigned areas, leaving the two Jedi to head to main security room.
“Have you met Aliya before Joseph?” the Jedi Master asked the Knight.
“We’ve worked together before on several occasions. She’s good at getting into places that I couldn’t, and has helped me with some investigations I’ve been assigned.”
“I see. She sounds quite good at what she does.”
“She’s very good. She’s still alive in a place like this, after all.” Kahan could only nod in agreement as the two went on.
There were several patrols walking about the facility as the three groups moved onto their objectives, slowing the group’s advances, but ultimately did not stop them. The first group to reach their objective was the Jedi pair. They didn’t see any guards around the area, which made them more cautious, and making them draw their sabers, but not igniting them. Kahan opened the door and Joe went in first, saber ignited. But upon seeing not one, but two unconscious, securely bound guards in a far corner, he deactivated his blade.
“All clear.” Joe said, so Kahan came in.
“Seems we missed the party. You’re sure she’s supposed to meet us here?” Kahan asked after he closed the door and went to one of the consoles, seeing if he could find Aira-ty and her squad, as well as seeing how the guards’ patrols were laid out.
“She’ll be here. She might have gone to check something out before we got here, but she will be here.” Joe replied back as he took up a separate console to find the leader, Sarah and her squad, and where the other Jedi might be being held, assuming they were alive. Neither of them were at it long when Joe felt the air behind him shift downward and the slight feeling of amusement also behind him.
“Hello, Aliya.” Joe said, after he turned around to see his fellow Jedi. Kahan jerked around at hearing Joe talk and was surprised to see Aliya standing there behind him.
“Hey there. About time you boys showed up. I was getting bored waiting for you. These guys suck as hosts.” She said with amused and pleased tone. Even though Aliya was facing towards Joe more than she was facing him, Kahan noticed that she didn’t move her mouth the whole time she was talking, as well as her short height, and black hair with teal highlights pulled back into one braid that split into two just past her neck and they almost touched the ground. He thought it was strange he’d never encountered her before, since her telepathic power must be strong for her to only be communicating in that manner.
“Sorry about that. They weren’t going to put out a welcoming ceremony and let us just walk in. Such terrible hosts indeed. The place needs to be shut down.” Joe replied back to her.
“yeah…” she frowned. “We also have a problem. Ventress is here.” This caused both Joe and Kahan to frown. She had already made her reputation known to the Order as a jedi killer.
“How long has she been here?”
“I don’t know. I was only able to feel her presence accidently not too long before you got here. If you were thinking of using anything that’s been stored here, I think she has them rigged. I was going to check after coming across a body when I nearly ran into her.”
“What was she doing?” Joe asked, though he could take a good guess at what it was.
“Extracting information. She’s trying to find the leader as well as you.” The fact Ventress was there at all was troubling enough, but the questions of “how she got here?”, “was she alone?”, “is there a CIS strike force on the way?”, and “how long did they have?” just added the icing on the cake for an already dangerous mission. The original plan needed to be modified.
“Alright then.” Joe said after thinking on what to do for a minute. “I doubt we’re going to have much time now that Ventress is here, so here’s what we’re going to do. Master Kahan, after we’re done here, you’re going to head back to your squad and take tactical command. Aliya, Sarah can use your eyes and a telepathic link to both Master Kahan and Master Plo Kun. Do you need help getting to her?”
“No I don’t Joe. But I must ask, why do you have to take on Ventress by yourself?”
“I’m not.” She stared at him for a minute, trying to guess as what he had in mind. “You sure you don’t want one of us to watch your back? Even if you have that leader help you out, all of you are going to have at least two other people to worry about.”
“I know and no. I’m going to buy as much time as I can, and if the CIS does show up, we’re going to have to get out fast.” Aliya once again and stared at Joe for a minute before she started to laugh. Though no sound physically came out of her mouth, her body shook as if she were physically laughing. Kahan found it a bit surprising, but remembered Joe said he worked with her before, and judging by the kind of laughter he was hearing, it was as if he missed a joke that they knew. The laughing stopped not too much later and her tone turned serious once again.
“So how are you going to get everyone out of here and back to the ship you came here on? She’s had the time to find the vehicle bays and plant something on anything we could use.”
“True.” Joe replied back, placing a hand on his chin and looked down a bit in thought. Kahan knew she had a point, so he went back to the console and look for something they could use. It took him a while, but he found something. He rewound the feed on the roof where there was a supply ship to see if there was any sign of Ventress. He didn’t see any signs of it, so he spoke up.
“I may have found a solution. There’s a small cargo ship on the roof’s landing pad. It looks large enough to get everyone aboard. Don’t know how comfortable it will be, but I haven’t seen any sign of her up on the roof. She may not have had time to go up there.” The other two jedi walked over and looked at the recording from the roof.
“We better hope so. It doesn’t seem like we have an abundance of options.” Joe said after seeing the recording. With them agreeing on the new means of getting back to the ship, the Jedi begin moving out of the security room.
“Joe. You better come back.” Aliya said before he went off. “Because I’d rather not have Sarah rip my head off!” Aliya continued in a joking tone before she disappeared into a vent to head off to Sarah’s squad. Joe only got time to shake his head a bit before turning to Kahan.
“May the Force be with Master Kahan” he said to the jedi master.
“May the Force be with you as well.” Kahan said back before he headed off to his squad and Joe headed off to find the leader.
While the Jedi were meeting at the security room, the two squads were making their way to their objectives. With the security camera feeds at their disposal, each squad was able to navigate to their target sites without being detected. Despite having to go up a set of stairs, Sarah’s squad arrived near their target site first. After checking if the coast was clear, she moved her squad up and set up for a door breach maneuver.
“This is Commander Neilson, we are in position.”
“Copy that” Aira-ty replied. “The General was right, this area is more heavily guarded. We’re still not there yet.”
“how long until you are in position?”
“It’ll still be awhile Sarah. Just go in. You only have to get one person and she’ll be much easier to move about than a whole group. We’ll be fine.”
“Alright then, Aira-ty. We’re going in.” after that Sarah gave the hand signals to begin the breech. Snake-Eyes and one of the Clone troopers were on the left side of the door, away from the door operating panel. Sarah and the other four were on the right side of the door, the slicer of the group checking the panel. When she gave a thumbs up signal for control, the squad readied for action. The first trooper on the right side of the door pulled out and primed a flash bang grenade and nodded. The trooper on the door panel opened the door, which the trooper with the grenade quickly tossed in. A couple seconds later, the grenade went off, blinding and deafening the occupants of the room. As they moved in, moving to the corners of the room to cover all angles, they gunned down four Death Watch guards that were on duty. When it was clear there were no other guards in the room, they secured Doctor Uthan.
“Target captured. We’ll move to meet up with you, Aira-ty.”
“Got it.” Aira-ty said after using a knife to slit the throat of Death Watch member on patrol. She dragged the body into an unoccupied room and left it there unceremoniously. The Pack had to kill several in a similar fashion to get to their target location, but they got there undetected.
“Hooligan, get on that door. Not sure how long we can stay out here. Especially since Sarah is on her way to us.”
“Yes ma’am.” He said, with a bit of reluctance that only Aira-ty and his fellow Pack brothers could detect. As he worked on the door controls, Aira-ty got a nagging feeling that she needed to be somewhere else.
“Jesp, hold down the fort here. I’m going to check something out.”
“Yes Ma’am.” He replied as he kept vigilance. With her blaster pistols ready, she began to explore the area, trying to figure out what is bugging her. After finding a few rooms empty and the feeling not going away, she decided to check into the camera feeds. Bringing up some of the cameras in the area up on her HUD, she set the cameras on rewind to see what passed though. After about ten minutes of rewinding, she finally noticed something. Before they got here, a couple of Death Watch members took a clone prisoner out and went off to do who know what. She went off running to find the clone prisoner that was taken, to save him from a fate similar to what she saw before she arrived and to kill as many Death Watch personnel as possible.
After being separated, Joe headed off to the most likely spot he thought he could find the Death Watch leader, the circular training room at the center of the first floor. Looking at the feeds before he left, he saw the outside of the room was heavily guarded. The guards also looked different from the rest of the Death Watch he has seen. They looked much closer to their leader, like an Honor Guard. Even if he was wrong about the location, his presence would still attract the leader’s attention, maybe even bring him out to the open. Joe also knew he would be bringing himself to the attention of another person, as well: Asajj Ventress. How she had known to come here, and even beat him and his team there, he didn’t know, and didn’t like some of the possibilities that came to mind. But the fact remained that she was here and she needed to be stopped. If all went well, not only would he save the prisoners here, he would also have captured a prominent CIS commander. If the Death watch leader surrendered, which Joe doubted he would, even better. Priority went to the prisoners, including the Jedi ones, and getting them out before Master Plo Kun launched his assault. He felt that time was running out fast, and he and the people he was responsible for needed to get out as soon as possible. So on he went, sneaking his way closer to the center of the training room. He purposefully turned his com link off, so it wouldn’t go off accidentally with a guard close by as he was sneaking. When Joe reached the area, he had to consider is options on how to deal with the guards. He reached out with the Force to feel the area. All the guards had a mix of feeling bored and annoyed, Joe can guess from just standing around. He also felt a lone presence inside the room. It felt alert, as if waiting for something, and happy, as if he expected a fight very soon. Joe had come to the right place. Letting go of the force for the time being, he re-centered himself and came out from hiding. The guards acted immediately upon seeing him, raising their weapons and advancing on him in a spread out formation.
“I’ve come to meet Mand’alor’s challenge. I believe he’s been expecting me.” Joe said as the guards came.
“You’re right Jedi. Mand’alor has been waiting eagerly for you. The other two have proven to be unworthy fights.” This at least proved that Knight Setoni and her padawan were alive for some time after their ship was captured. The guards led him to the room where he sensed the lone figure, and unsurprising, it was the same man who called himself Mand’alor.
“Mand’alor. The Jedi has arrived.” Mand’alor turned around to face them.
“Ah. Jedi. Come prepared for battle, good.” He said, looking at Joe before looking at his guards. “
Leave us. And make sure he doesn’t have any friends.” the guards said
“yes Mand’alor” before leaving. After they left, Mandolare turned to address Joe again.
“It’s been a long time since we had a proper fight Jedi. Far too long. The other two that we captured were pitiful. One of them didn’t even give us the decency to leave a body behind.” Joe knew the Mandolarian was trying to get him angry, and while he wanted to believe that he was lying, Joe noticed two lightsabers attached to his belt. One of the handles being a bit too small for an adult. The Mandolarian noticed this and spoke. “They are fascinating weapons and I decided to keep them. But don’t worry Jedi, I keep trophies.”
With that, he pushed a button on his gauntlet and directed Joe’s attention to an upper portion of the room to Joe’s left. What was there was the head of the padawan he was tasked in rescuing, in a sealed container filled with Bacta, to preserve the head. While Joe was looking at the head, he felt the life of one of the body guards suddenly end, not too far from where they were. And as he turned his head to address the Mand’alor again, he felt two more lives get snuffed out as well as the dark and murderous force signature of Ventress, really faint, but he can still feel it.
“If you want to start a fight, then let’s get it over with. Neither of us has all day to wait around.” A fourth guard was slain.
“In a moment. I’d rather make sure we don’t get interrupted during our fight. It will be a nice change of pace for the men and women here. You better put up a good fight Jedi. I want my people to be entertained.”
“You intend to have this shown to everyone in the base?”
“Indeed Jedi. Just like the last one. As well as the trophy making.”
“If that’s what you want.” Joe watched as the Mand’alor pushes a button on the wall behind him and activated the few camera droids in the room.
While the Mand’alor started giving his little speech to them, showing him and Joe off, Joe felt the lives of the last remaining guards come to an end. Mand’alor turned to address Joe once he was done and sure he had gotten all his people’s attention.
“Alright Jedi. No rules needed. Winner is the one left alive. Ready yourself.”
“Before we do, we have an uninvited guest that would probably want to take us both on.” Joe lifted his arm to use the force and push the door controls the guards had used to leave and open the door.
“Show yourself Ventress! I know you’re here!” Silence fell for a few moments before Ventress seemed to appear out of thin air, already inside the room. Joe could feel the anger and annoyance coming from her, as she abandoned trying to keep them concealed.
“How pleasant it was that you lead me to this scum, Jedi. I get to have two bodies instead of one.” She looked over at Mand’alor and saw the lightsabers he had attached to his belt and made an annoyed and disgusted grunt.
“ANOTHER fool taking my kills just to collect lightsabers!? It’s bad enough that I have to put up with Grievous’s obsession, but I will not put up with another fool stealing my kills and interfering with my vengeance for the sake of collecting trinkets!” With that she took out both her sabers and activated them, angry red blades springing to life. The Mand’alor took a moment to look at her before he started to laugh.
“Ah, The Mistress of Ratatak graces us with her presence. All Hail the Hut'uun queen, who uses droids instead of fighting like a real warrior.” With mockery dripping from his tone. The Mandolare took the normal sized lightsaber and activated it, producing a green blade. As he did that, Joe took off his saber from his belt and activating a blue blade.
“I’ll make this quick, so I can deal with the Jedi.” Ventress said as she sets into a fighting stance. Joe also adopted a fighting stance as well, as he waited to see who would move first.
Aira-ty was still following the group of Death Watch that had taken one of the clone prisoners when she heard about Sarah capturing Doctor Uthan.
“Good. One less thing to worry about.” She thought to herself before hearing the sounds of laughter and amusement, with a periodic sound of something being kicked. She paused for a moment before pulling up security camera feeds nearest to her and found what she didn’t want to see. Ten Death Watch goons surrounding a clone prisoner. Two of the goons taking turns kicking him. She could see the poor Clone’s face, bloody, bruised, and swollen. He was trying his best to shield himself from the blows. The sight of seeing Jango’s face in such pain sent her anger, pain, and even some sadness go into overdrive. It reminded her of the time she tried to get Jango to tell her what had happened after his and the True Mandolarians’ battle with the Jedi Strike team and just getting a cold stare in response, his own flare of hatred catching her off guard. After that, she got the feeling of being out of her body and at the site of that battle. She saw him being bound by the Jedi survivors and the governor that betrayed him and the other true mandolarians. She saw him get sold into slavery, his escape, and his revenge on Vizsla. She then jumped to just before the war started, and saw him fighting Kenobi and fleeing to Geonosis with Boba. And she saw again Jango being beheaded by Windu. It hurt seeing those things and not being there to help, not being there to save him. She couldn’t help but go over and hold onto the head of her dead lover and whispering “I’m sorry” to it. What she didn’t expect was it taking back
. “Beloved. Avenge me. My killers are close by. Kill them my love. I believe in you.” With that, she snapped back to the present and again is watching the beating take place. All of the rage and anger was still there, including all of it from the past year she’d been trying to suppress and ignore. She remembered Jango’s words, and instead of trying to suppress them, she embraced them and for the first time in during the war, she felt really good and that her path was clear. She slowly straightened up and walked around the corner.
Sarah and her squad was about half way back when the Pack when Mand’alor started his broadcast.
“Commander…I think the mission hit a snag.” Sarah turned to look at the man who talked and ask what he meant, when her eye caught one of the screens in the hallway was on, showing Mand’alor, Joe, and Ventress.
“I see what you mean.” Internally, she though “God damnit! Why are you there alone Joe?” She then activated her com to try and contact Aira-ty and her squad.
“Aira-ty, come in. We have a problem.” She waited a moment of not getting a reply. “Aira-ty?” Again met with silence. She tried Jesp’s frequency next.
“Jesp. Jesp come in.” This time she got a reply.
“Commander Neilson? What’s wrong Ma’am?” Sarah was slightly relived to get someone, but it wasn’t the CO she was looking for.
“Jesp, where is your commander? We have a situation.”
“Ma’am, Commander Nokta went off to find a prisoner taken not too long before we got here. She should’ve been back by now...”
“Ok, I’ll go look for her. We may need to bug out.”
“What do you mean ma’am?” Sarah saw Ventress blur towards Mand’alor, in what should’ve been a killing blow, but the saber glanced off the armor. Joe blurred and shoulder tackled Ventress out of the way of a lightsaber counter strike from the Mand’alor. Keeping it just a three way fight.
“General Blue has engaged the Mand’alor …and Ventress.” There was a noticeable pause on Jesp’s end of the line.
“Understood ma’am. I just contacted General Kahan. He said General Blue is buying us time. He also informed me that General Aliya is on her way to you, while he checks on our escape routes.”
“Understood Jesp. I’m going to send two of my men with the Doctor to you while I go find Aira-ty.”
“Understood ma’am. Jesp out.” Sarah closed the com link and sent two of her men with the Doctor to Jesp and the Pack while she went off to find Aira-ty.
It didn’t take Sarah long to pick up Aira-ty’s trail. She followed Aira-ty trail by following the same security footage Aira-ty did to find the prisoner. Though, when she and her remaining members of her squad caught up to where Aira-ty found the prisoner, they were greeted to a grisly sight. The prisoner was lying on the ground, dead from what looked like a severe beating. The rest, she could see at least five bodies of Death Watch. One of the bodies was killed from blasterfire. Another was killed from a blaster pistol shoved through the throat. Sarah couldn’t tell exactly, but it looked like one of Aira-ty’s. The fourth had a broken pistol on the floor by where the body laid, the neck broken. And the fifth had been torn apart. It was missing both arms and the head. None of the limbs seem to be anywhere in the immediate area. There was however, a trail of bloody boot prints leading away from the area.
“Jesus Christ.” Sarah muttered to herself as she heard the other murmur “by the stars” or something in Huttese. Sarah looked towards the boot print trial and the hallway it lead down. “Grab his tags and ping the body on the HUD of the others, we need to continue on.” She ordered as she thought “what the hell Aira-ty? What did you do?” Once her men finished, they continued on, following the trail of bloody boot prints. It didn’t take long before they found another Death watch body. This one had been hit hard into a wall with a knife sticking out from the neck, towards the spine. The Hallway didn’t have any real deviations, so they continued down it.
Not too far down, they found two more bodies. Each had a ripped off arm by them, and their armor looked crushed in several places, including the helmet, leading Sarah to believe that they were beaten to death with the limbs. A little further down, they found another body. This one was also leaning on a wall, with an arm not too far away from it, a hole in the wall it was leaning on indicated where it was before it was blown off, though there was no indication of an explosive being used. The body was also unhelmeted, but the face was destroyed beyond recognition, the source being Aira-ty’s helmet besides the body, blood from the beating on it and the T visor being broken.
“Aira-ty is a force user?” Sarah thought to herself seeing the damage and thinking back on the others they’ve seen. “If so…why hasn’t she told anyone…or even use her powers until now?” she continued thinking before she noticed a sound coming from the end of the hallway, leading to a perpendicular one. She motioned her squad to advance cautiously after telling a soldier to grab the helmet. As they advanced into the hallway, they finally found Aira-ty, and she was pounding on another body. Her back was towards them, and judging from where she was stratleing the body, they could tell it was face she was pounding on.
“Aira-ty?” Sarah said out loud to get Aira-ty’s attention. It worked. Aira-ty stopped her strikes and slowly turned around, in a crouch, to face Sarah and her squad. Sarah was shocked to see Aira-ty's eyes were yellow, instead of her normal orange. Joe had told Sarah about signs of people who have fallen to the Dark side of the Force, with yellow eyes and a bit of red by the pupil being one of them. Sarah only noticed they’re just yellow, and that she seems more like a predator on the hunt than someone who have committed to the dark side. There may be a chance to bring her back to her senses.
With that, she handed her weapons over to one of her men. “I’m going to try and get her back to her senses. Set your weapons to stun. In case I fail.” Her men acknowledged her order and set their weapons to stun. Sarah then turned her attention back to Aira-ty and slowly walked towards her. “Aira-ty. It’s Sarah. We’re on the same side. Come back to your senses.” When Sarah got about a few feet away from her did Aira-ty move. Her attack came so quick, Sarah barely had time to catch the hand that had fingers extended in a form of blade, that was aimed at her throat while trying to stay on her feet as Aira-ty’s momentum threatened to knock her over. Aira-ty tried to throw a punch with her free hand, which Sarah also caught. Taking the opportunity, Sarah dropped her weight a bit to get under Aira-ty’s center of gravity and managed to push her back.
“Damnit Nokta! It’s Sarah! I’m on your side!” Sarah tried to move Aira-ty towards the wall and out of the way of the corpse on the ground, but Aira-ty’s foot got caught and both went down to the ground. Sarah managed to stay on top of Aira-ty, but was too far forward, and got a kick to the back of her head and actually sent her flying into the wall. Stunned for a moment, Sarah slowly turned around to find Aira-ty coming at her. Sarah had barely enough time to move out the way of the charge, and even managed to smack Aira-ty’s head into the wall as the pointy eared woman stopped short of running into it. Taking advantage of the sudden attack, Sarah slipped her arm around Aira-ty’s neck in a sleeper hold and tried to lead her back towards her men. Aira-ty knew what Sarah was doing, and managed to pull in enough strength to lift sarah off the ground enough to easily run back towards the wall on the other side of the hallway and slam Sarah into it and then use Sarah’s loosened grip to flip her onto the ground. To say Sarah was surprised she was just treated like a sack of potatoes was an understatement, but she didn’t get the chance to express it, as Aira-ty was on her again, trying to repay the favor of being choked out by bringing her hands up to try and strangle Sarah. Sarah caught Aira-ty’s wrists and struggled against them, but Aira-ty had the advantage of leverage and was slowly bringing them closer to Sarah’s neck. Sarah knew she was going to lose the fight if she didn’t use her own ability against Aira-ty. Since she arrived in the galaxy ten years ago, ripped away from her own world…own universe, she had kept her mutation under wraps from those around her, except for Joe and his master. They were the ones who found her and helped her not only adjust to life in the galaxy, but helped her developed her own ability with telekinesis, seeing as they could use it as well. People in her world would’ve hated her for being a mutant and was glad she wouldn’t be so judged here, but she also was afraid she would get mistaken for a Force sensitive. With the war going on, she wasn’t sure which was worse. So Sarah launched a telekinetic push at Aira-ty, throwing her back to the wall opposite of them. Sarah quickly got up and closed in on Aira-ty as the she was getting up and caught Aira-ty’s hands as she tried to use them to push Sarah back. Sarah needed to end this, so she used her telekinesis to pin Aira-ty to the wall, while keeping her hands trapped by holding them.
“Aira-ty. I Know you’re still in there. I know that something about this mission had you too emotionally close, but you’re the only one who knew these guys.” Aira-ty only replied back with a snarl. “I need you come back to your senses. Your men still need you and we still need to get people out of here. To save the Clones that no one else will give a shit about.” Aira-ty snarled back even more, but Sarah noticed she was fighting back as much. “So I need you to do me a favor. Wake. The fuck. Up!” With that, Sarah delivered a head butt.
Aira-ty stood there, stunned. And blinked a few times before coming back to herself. Jango’s voice suddenly gone, and that feeling of joy she had, turned to sudden revulsion. “What the hell did I almost do?” Aira-ty thought to herself as she lowered her head to look at Sarah again. Her eyes back to their normal orange color.
“Aira-ty? You back with us?” Sarah asked, upon seeing Aira-ty’s eyes, breathing hard.
“Yeah. I’m back Sarah…You can let me go now.” Sarah held for a moment longer before letting Aira-ty go.
“Good.” Sarah said in relieved tone. “I didn’t want to explain to Jesp why I had to bring you back unconscious.”
Aira-ty let out a small amused chuckle at that idea.
“Anyway, we have a situation. Ventress is here.” That caught Aira-ty’s attention.
“Yeah. Joe’s fighting her and that Mand’alor guy. He’s buying us time, since the CIS shouldn’t be too far away.”
“Also…we’ll talk about what happened after this mission is done” Aira-ty can only nod at that. “Alright, let’s-” Sarah was cut off when she heard one of her men sudden grunt and stumble backwards.
“Shattergun!” one of her men shouted as they moved to cover. Sarah and Aira-ty looked at the end of the hallways and saw Death Watch guards charging them. One of them had their arm raised up, looking as if he was going to shoot a fist at them. To her horror, Sarah saw that it was a wrist mounted mini concussion missile launcher. Reacting on instinct, she telekinetically threw the corpse that Aira-ty had killed earlier at him. The body didn’t get too far when the Guard fired. The missile made contact with the body and blew it apart, sending Sarah and Aira-ty down the hall, a piece of the corpse’s armor colliding with Sarah’s helmet and causing her to bounce of the wall before she landed on the floor. Aira-ty also got hit with a piece of the body, a shin; right to her head, causing her to do a backflip as she was thrown down the hall. The blast knocked both unconscious.
“Commander!” Snake-Eyes cried as he saw the two commanders go flying. As he went to go get them, one of the Deathwatch guards activated his jetpack, and with the momentum of his jetpack’s thrust, tackled Snake-Eyes. Both men went flying down the hall. Sarah’s men did the only thing they could do, take cover in the hallway they came out of. Two of the deathwatch men went after the squad, while the leader, who had fired the missile, and two men forming a rear guard remained in the hallway. The leader slowly walked down the hallway towards Aira-ty, completely ignoring Sarah. He stopped when he got to Aira-ty and looked down on her. He started to laugh at her.
“Ah. The last of the True Mandalorians.” He mocked as he started kicking her. Sarah awoke to darkness and pain. Her ears were ringing from the explosion and was feeling nauseous, but she could tell the power to her helmet was trashed. She slowly took it off, and let out a small hiss of pain as she felt something cut her cheek. It turned out to be a piece of armor that managed to penetrate her helmet. “Thank god for the helmet” she thought to herself as she let it fall out of her hand. She turned away from the wall and saw that the leader of the Death Watch patrol had an unconscious Aira-ty by the neck, holding her against the wall with one hand, and a knife in the other. Sarah slowly got to her feet, her legs feeling like jello, and slowly made her way over to the guard, whose back was to her.
“I’m going to enjoy gutting you, you kriffing-“his voice cut off suddenly as Sarah plunged one of her hidden vibro blades through a gap in his armor and into his kidney. Sarah then activated the other blade hidden in the other gauntlet.
“Next time. Make sure your enemy is down.” She whispered in the spot where his ear would be before plunging the blade into the back of his neck, severing his spine. She let him drop and nearly fell over catching Aira-ty.
“I gotcha.” She said to Aira-ty’s unconscious form. Sarah slowly tried to carry aira-ty away from the two remaining guards in the hallway when an explosion went off at the very far end that attracted the attention of the guards.
“Hey. Where do you think you’re going, scum?” One of the guards said as they advanced on Sarah. They didn’t advance far when they heard the sound of a grate being open. Before they could turn, a small figured dropped down from the opening and charged the guards. One of the guards let a small curse and “Jetii” as he went to raise his weapon. Sarah couldn’t see as she slowly turned around to look behind her, but she could still hear the familiar snap-hiss of a lightsaber being activated. She turned around in time to see part of the purple blade through the first guard’s falling body, and the jedi wielding it falling to roll over the body and continue her charge toward the remaining guard. The guard managed to get his blaster up and fire a shot, which the jedi was able to block. As the guard went to go hit the jedi with the butt of his blaster, when the jedi got close, jumped to avoid the attack, and beheaded the guard. The jedi came to Sarah’s side.
“I swear, the two of you and your ability to get into trouble is astounding. He’s off being a hero and picking a fight with Ventress, then here you are playing with rockets. Next time, I think I’ll let you two just get yourselves out of trouble.” The jedi said, her tone amused, while shaking her head slowly.
“Aliya…now’s not the time. Aira-ty’s still unconscious…and I may have a concussion.” Aliya’s expression turned serious.
“Did she hit her head as well?”
“I didn’t see it, and I haven’t really seen her face yet. My men are engaged. We need to get t-“ Sarah tried to turn back to keep going, but her wobbly legs buckled in the attempt. She couldn’t hold onto Aira-ty and would’ve ended up on her face as well, if not for Aliya coming in and supporting Sarah.
“Easy there Soldier girl. You just said you may be concussed. You have to take it slow. Besides, one of your men is coming this way.” Sarah looked up to see down the hall and saw that Snake eyes had come back. His rifle was gone and he was using his back up blaster pistols. He stopped not too far from the opening in the perpendicular hallway, being cautious about enemies being nearby. He cocked his head a bit in Aliya’s direction, as if he was hearing her saying something. After a bit, he gave a nod and with pistols raised, he slipped around the corner.
“Have I ever told you how creepy it is when you do talk to other people like that?” Aliya couldn’t see Sarah’s face, but she smiled anyway.
“All the time. And it’s not going to change any time soon.” Sarah could only sigh at the comment, which got a small fit of laughter out of the jedi.
“Alright, let’s get you seated against the wall. I can’t carry both you and her, but you can at least support your own weight somewhat. Besides, you said you didn’t know her condition.”
“Right.” Aliya moved Sarah to the closest wall, which she leaned against while Aliya went to check on Aira-ty. Other than a huge bruise and a cut under the scalp, Aliya couldn’t see any external injuries. The ones that may have happened to her brain caused Aliya to frown. She felt two lives get extinguished and Snake eyes relax. He found Sarah’s other men and bringing them back. She decided to reach out to Kahan.
“Kahan? How are things on your end?”