The Krayt Dragon entered realspace and was met by an onslaught of incoming fire. Brenum cursed and pressed a few keys.
‘Hey, it’s the Krayt Dragon. Mandalorian blockade, we’re Jedi, we’re on your side!’
The response that came was a volley of laser fire from several starfighters; they were of Chiss design.
‘That’s not good,’ said Brenum. He veered the ship, dodging more fire. The ship bucked as Brenum adjusted his vector.
Trylia swivelled in her chair and tried to raise the Mandalorian flagship.
‘Well the Republic’s here,’ said Lian, pointing at one of the dreadnaughts.
‘Krayt Dragon,’ came a voice through a lot of static. ‘We apologise, many ships have been compromised by the enemy… Relsor… superlasers…’
‘Wait, can you repeat that?’ said Trylia. ‘There’s a lot of interference coming through.’
Brenum pulled on the throttle and let the ship do a few rolls to ease his way through some of the blockade ships, while Trylia fired on several of the starfighters. His stomach lurched, though not from the manoeuvre, but rather from the fact that there were superlasers on Mandalorian ships.
‘I think I can help,’ said Lian.
He closed his eyes and seemed to drift into meditation, but it was brief. When he opened his eyes, he began pointing at various Mandalorian ships.
‘This one. That one. Over there,’ he said.
Brenum understood right away what he’d done. ‘We need a way to mark them so that the other Mando ships and Republic ships can recognise them.’
‘Mandalorian Blockade,’ said Trylia, ‘Jedi Lian has identified some of the ships that have the Force signature of Relsor’s malady and are most likely ones with the superlasers.’
‘Is anyone on those ships still alive?’ said Lian.
‘Scans show an incredibly high amount of deceased on the ships,’ said the Mando on the other side of the line. ‘It’s likely some are…but we cannot confirm…we must destroy those ships and those superlasers.’
‘Have any escape pods left?’ asked Trylia. ‘If Mandos can reclaim their ships and keep the superlasers, we can counter the enemy with his own weapons.’
‘Risky, but… try.’
Brenum flew past more of the ships Lian was pointing at, every time scanning them.
‘Here, send these scan reports to the Blockade leader,’ Brenum said. ‘He’ll know which ships are dangerous now.’
In no time, ships were turning towards one of the Mandalorian juggernauts Lian had identified, and began shooting it down. It retaliated with a shot from the superlasers and destroyed one of the Republic’s ships with one beam. A bright light flashed in the viewport and then the Republic ship was gone, disintegrated.
‘Sithspawn!’ Brenum cursed. He stared at the empty space before him.
‘Brenum,’ he heard Trylia say, ‘we need to land and help planetside.’
He nodded. He wished he could help the fight out here in space.
* * *
Shadie and Knarf were marching side by side behind Mandalore, Talyc and Emerick. Many from the clans were talking excitedly as though they were about to go to a massive party. Knarf was certainly intrigued. Mandalore’s comlink beeped.
‘Go ahead,’ he said.
‘Mandalore, this is Clan Leader Mildred from Clan Verlemian.’
‘Mildred, you’re alive!’ said Mandalore, stopping and turning towards the others behind him. ‘I assume your ship hasn’t been hijacked then.’
‘Wrong,’ said Mildred. ‘We have been; very few of us remain. The Sith have slaughtered nearly everyone on the ship.’
Knarf listened in more carefully.
‘Then get yourself out of there,’ said Mandalore. ‘For Mandalore’s honour, take an escape pod. We could use you down here.’
‘Sorry sir, that’s not going to be possible,’ said Mildred. ‘There is a way to destroy the superlasers. Is Knarf with you?’
‘He is,’ said Mandalore.
‘He’s sliced them before to detonate from within. We need that now. The superlasers can detonate from within and destroy the ships they’ve been installed on.’
‘I can do that, but it might take some time’ said Knarf.
‘Why can’t you get off the ship once it’s done,’ asked Emerick.
‘Someone needs to trigger them,’ said Mildred, ‘and I’ve found the controls that link them with each ship. You just need to slice through the code I’m about to send. I just need to stay alive long enough for you to do that, and then I can trigger the detonation cycle.’
Talyc looked at Knarf, then at Mandalore. ‘Mildred is sacrificing himself.’
‘That’s what it seems like,’ said Mildred. ‘For Mandalore’s honour.’
There was a quick pause.
‘Send the code to the Maw,’ said Mandalore, turning back around and resuming his hurried pace. ‘Knarf will work from there.’
‘Thank you, Mandalore. It’s been an honour.’
‘Mildred, please try to make it out of there,’ said Emerick.
‘I’ll do my best, but no promises. In case I don’t make it out in time, it’s been great knowing you all.’ The call ended.
‘Stang!’ said Emerick. He stopped walking. ‘I can’t believe he’s going to do that.’ He shook his head.
‘He was an honourable clan leader,’ said Talyc. The two resumed as everyone continued to make their way towards the Maw.
Knarf smiled in sympathy. Part of him was relieved he would be safe within the Maw slicing codes, yet another part of him was a bit disappointed he would miss out on all the action out on the field. The thought of someone sacrificing himself brought everything home too and Knarf realised any one of them could die today.
He gripped Shadie’s hand more tightly.
‘Don’t worry, I’ll be safe, my love,’ she said, as though reading his mind. ‘And I’ll keep Talyc safe too.’ Knarf smiled, that was exactly the reassurance he’d needed to hear.
* * *
Fane walked out of the Mandalorian fortress-bunker’s main entrance and stopped to look around. Relsor waited several meters away, standing in a wide stance. Fane took a few steps forward, feeling the Force around him. Relsor was alone.
‘At last, we come face to face,’ said Relsor. ‘It’s been a while since I first met you, but back then, I did not understand your significance.’
‘So you know then?’ said Fane.
‘That if anyone is to defeat me, it is you? Yes.’ Relsor had his lightsabers still clipped to his belt, but his arms were at his side and he looked ready to grab them at any moment. ‘I understood that the moment I realised you could take control of my mind. But you cannot do so alone, Jedi Fane.’ Relsor inclined his head forward. ‘I thought Jedi Master Lian was meant to kill me. Now I know I am meant to kill him, as I am meant to kill you.’
Relsor unclipped his two lightsabers and ignited them simultaneously, holding them out slightly. His knees were bent; he looked ready to pounce at Fane. Fane took his lightsaber to hand and ignited it as well. Relsor leapt into the air and twirled forward, landing right in front of Fane, striking at him with both blades. Fane blocked the two at once with his one weapon and used the Force to push his assailant back a bit. Fane rushed forward, his blade parallel to the ground, and lunged at Relsor. Relsor shoved the blade aside with one lightsaber, coming at Fane to strike on his side with the other. Fane moved quickly, blocking Relsor’s sideways attacks.
Fane felt a cold-hot pain inside him as lightning struck him, mixed in with dark side energy. He swiped his lightsaber, attempting to catch the lightning on it. With a flurry, he attacked Relsor again, moving forward with each cut; Relsor stepped back with each parry until he pulled Fane towards him. Fane barely managed to block the red lightsaber in time, batting it away.
* * *
Relsor hacked at Fane with his two weapons and they locked blades. He held them at a criss-cross, pushing forward, sending lightning through them. He smiled in satisfaction as he saw his nemesis contort his face in pain. Fane screamed as he held the position, the scream lasting a long time, getting louder by the second. Fane pushed Relsor off him and Relsor staggered back. The Jedi had grown strong in the Force, though he’d figured he had. He had to kill him, Relsor had to ensure Fane could no longer enter his mind.
Suddenly, the ground beneath them began to shake and vibrate. Relsor took several steps back as he continued to fight Fane. Finally, he jumped into the air, flipped, and landed in a crouch. He straightened, and Fane ran forward a few steps, as the ground opened up where they had stood moments earlier. The grass creaked like durasteel and folded itself into a hold of some sort.
Fane looked back in surprise, then back at Relsor, as from behind the Jedi, a sleek silver ship rose out of the ground. Several Mandalorians stood atop it, including Shadie. He recognised Talyc, his armour looked freshly polished; it seemed he’d gotten it repaired. Relsor also recognised the Mandalorian leader. Relsor had to admit, the sight of the rising ship was impressive. He saw into the ship, and saw Knarf, who looked busy; he had the expression he typically made when slicing. Relsor didn’t like that at all; whatever Knarf was slicing did not bode well for Relsor.
‘You didn’t think we were going to let you fight him on your own, did you?’ said Shadie, a sly smile upon her face as she stared right at Relsor.
‘I said alone,’ said Relsor, angered.
‘Fat chance, Relsor,’ said Talyc. ‘I’m not letting you win, and I want to be there to see you fail.’
‘Oh, you are dripping with anger, Clan Leader Talyc,’ said Relsor. ‘You are oozing it. You want to try to get at me? Just try.’
The group who stood on the ship jumped down and they took a stance next to Fane. Relsor wanted to hit them where it would hurt them most. He sent lightning at Talyc, lifting him into the air.
* * *
‘Talyc!’ cried Fane.
Talyc came crashing down onto the ground, helmeted-head first. Fane jumped in to block Relsor before he could do anything more to his man. He attacked wildly, yet remained focused and centered. Someone somewhere shouted something in Mando’a and a volley of blaster bolts came Relsor’s way. The Sith retreated a bit, backing up in leaps, but kept using the Force to attack their group.
Talyc got himself back up. ‘You saved my life again.’
‘I’ll keep saving it as long as I’m alive,’ replied Fane.
‘That won’t be for long,’ Relsor shouted out.
Shadie ran towards Relsor and jumped in to attack him and went flying right back away from him. She landed next to Fane and Talyc. She brought her comlink to her.
‘Knarf! Perce isn’t here. He can’t have gone far, but he’s not with Relsor. You need to find him.’
The Maw rose up a bit. Relsor sent lightning at it and threw one of his lightsaber up to slash at it. The Maw didn’t even take a nick. It sped away, staying low.
Relsor jumped high and landed near his enemies, fighting off vibroblades and vibroswords and battle batons, whipping blasters and assault cannons out of Mandalorians’ hands with the Force.
Shadie looked at Fane in confusion. ‘The Sphere isn’t responding to me,’ she said, ‘and I don’t know where it’s gotten to.’
‘Your precious Sphere,’ said Relsor, ‘thinks nothing’s going on right now.’
‘You’ve created an illusion around it?’ Shadie’s voice was shrill.
Relsor smiled, letting out a one-breathed laugh. ‘I can create illusions around anything that is sentient!’
Relsor powered off his weapons and closed his eyes. Suddenly, everyone stopped fighting him.
Mandalore turned to the others. ‘Our enemy has gone that way,’ he said pointing in one direction, ‘we need to follow him before we lose him.’
The Mandalorians all ran right past Relsor in the direction they thought he’d gone.
‘Mandalore, Emerick, no!’ called Talyc. ‘Guys, wait, he’s right here.’
‘They can’t hear you,’ said Relsor. ‘They think you’ve gone after me and they are trying to catch up to you, and me.’
It was just the three of them then: Fane, Talyc and Shadie.
‘What if you’re the illusion?’ said Talyc. ‘We don’t know what’s real or fake with you.’
Relsor laughed a very sinister sounding laugh, which was quickly interrupted by a streak of laser fire that shot at the ground right next to him. He rolled to the side. Fane looked up and smiled. It was the Krayt Dragon. Finally.
The ramp lowered as the ship remained in the air and out jumped Lian, landing close to them, his blue lekku moving with the wind. The ship rose again as the ramp closed and went in direction of the others.
‘Jedi Master Lian,’ said Relsor with disdain.
‘Hello again, Relsor.’
And the fight was afoot again.
* * *
‘Say that again?’ said the Mandalorian at the Maw’s com.
‘We need to speak with Usharr urgently, in person,’ said Brenum through the speaker.
‘Hang on, we’re dropping him off.’
Usharr stood and put a hand on Knarf’s shoulder and patted him a couple of times. Then he left. Out from the viewport, Knarf saw him run towards the Krayt Dragon and hurry in as the ship took flight again. Knarf refocused his attention on the code.
There was a holomonitor that showed the battle in space, and Knarf could only guess that the ship on the screen, on which one of the other Mando ships was focusing, was the very ship with Clan Leader Mildred aboard.
Knarf typed in the last bit of change to the code that was needed. ‘All done,’ he said. ‘It should work now.’
The Mandalorians opened a comchannel to Mildred. ‘Mildred, you there?’
‘Barely,’ came Mildred’s voice. He chuckled. Knarf had to hand it to him, for someone who was about to sacrifice himself and die, he sure was upbeat about it.
‘Knarf’s ready with the altered code, we’re sending it to you now.’
‘Thank you. I’ve sent the others to escape pods, anyone who remained. Managed to reach many of the others on the other ships who were still alive through our helmets’ coms. They’ve all escaped too. I’m the only one left.’
‘I’m glad to have known you,’ said Emerick. Knarf didn’t know Mildred but he wished he had. He was grateful for his sacrifice.
‘Likewise,’ Mildred replied to his fellow Mando. He paused. ‘It’s done.’
Out in space, several ships began exploding and ripping apart. Explosions were sounding off through the comchannel.
‘Get yourself out of there!’ cried one of the other Mandos.
There was a big explosion that sounded very nearby.
‘Looks like I’m about to be spaced,’ said Mildred. ‘Goodbye.’
There was another loud explosion as the holoscreen showed the ship explode into shrapnel with a bright white ball and the com went silent.
“Protectors of the Force” is written by Celinka Serre (2021).
Disclaimer: The Characters in this Fan-Fiction are new and have original names. The story is an original written work. The story is derivative and consistent of Fan-Fiction since it borrows the franchise world of Star Wars. Certain jargon and places, or concepts mentioned, along with the SW Old Republic universe belong to Lucasfilm Ltd. and Disney. No characters or story lines from the films are used. No story lines or characters from the games or books are used. A handful of characters from the games may be referenced, but are not the main focus in this fanfic story. This fan-fiction story falls under Fair Use.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.