Fane opened his eyes and was shocked to see a green figure looming over him, raising a black core lightsaber. He called his lightsaber to his hand using the Force and shouted out:
His aqua blade came to life in time to block hers. Talyc awoke and moved aside, rolling out of bed and reaching for his vibroblade.
‘Gentlemen, please, such indecency,’ laughed Jassahmi. ‘You should probably get dressed, you might lose a few bits otherwise.’ Her laugh became a cackle.
Fane shoved her away with the Force. He didn’t care that he was naked. His life was in danger; Talyc’s life was in danger. Jassahmi was going to die and he would make sure of it.
Jassahmi began to whirl around him with such speed, he could barely follow her. He channelled some of the power from the Crypt and her movements seemed to slow, though he could tell by how Talyc was frantically waving his vibroblade about that Jassahmi’s movements were still sped up. Fane attacked the Mirialan from the side, trying to prevent her from reaching Talyc.
The door burst open and in rushed Shadie, Knarf, Mandalore and a few others. Blaster fire came flying in, but Jassahmi bounced them back towards the Mandalorians. Fane kept fighting her and he saw Knarf run back out of the room. Jassahmi grabbed Talyc with the Force and began choking him.
‘You think this is going to hurt me after everything Relsor and Perce did to me, Jassahmi?’ said Talyc. ‘There’s nothing you can do to me.’
‘We’ll just see about that,’ she replied.
Fane came in and blocked her lightsaber, shoving her again with the Force. He advanced on her as best he could, but she kept coming back and attacking him with more force than before. Fane felt himself lift into the air and crash against the wall.
Jassahmi pulled Talyc towards her, but he lifted his vibroblade in time to block her lightsaber. The black blade might have been able to go through beskar’gam, but thankfully, the vibrational speed of the vibroblade ensured the vibroblade did not break or bend.
Shadie and the others tried to get into the fight, but Jassahmi had been trained by Relsor and she used similar tactics to keep them at bay. No one was getting into that fight, not unless they knew how to keep track of her speedy movements. Talyc bounced from side to side, dodging this way and that, and rolling this way and that. Jassahmi was a blur and Fane could see Shadie rub her eyes and blink a few times.
Fane was the only one able to keep track of Jassahmi’s movements. Talyc swiped at empty air. Jassahmi slashed and lunged, nicking Talyc’s arm.
Talyc gave a cry of pain. He rolled aside. ‘At least it’s not the left shoulder.’
‘It could be,’ said Jassahmi. ‘I’m more than happy to oblige.’
Knarf returned and Fane felt the Force leave him as though he was entering a bubble of emptiness. Before his brain could register what was happening, he saw the ysalamir fly through the air as Knarf tossed it Talyc’s way. Jassahmi staggered back.
Talyc didn’t miss a beat and saw the opening; he drove his vibroblade deep into Jassahmi’s gut. She screamed and slashed her lightsaber at him. Fane was there to block, and Knarf and Shadie joined him too. Talyc pulled his weapon out, and stabbed her again. His face was hard.
Jassahmi laughed. ‘Relsor was right, this was my final mission.’ She slid to the floor.
Talyc pulled out his weapon. His arm went up again, but Fane stopped him.
‘It’s okay, Talyc,’ said Fane, ‘she’s dead now. She can’t hurt you, not anymore. She can’t take you away.’
Everyone powered off their weapons. Talyc nodded and sat down onto the bed, slouching. Fane sat next to him.
‘I feel so angry,’ Talyc said.
‘It’s okay, Talyc.’
Mandalore approached. ‘Take the body away. We’re going to want to study that lightsaber.’ He looked at Talyc. ‘Welcome back, Clan Leader Talyc.’
Talyc gave Mandalore a lopsided grin. ‘Thanks. I guess I was sort of gone.’
‘Let’s give them a moment,’ said Mandalore, ‘these men need to get dressed.’ He looked at Talyc again. ‘When you’re ready, come meet me in the briefing room.’
‘Yes, Mandalore.’ Mandalore left.
As Shadie retrieved Jassahmi’s weapon, Knarf retrieved the ysalamir. ‘Sorry about the shock Force absence.’
‘No, it was a good idea,’ said Talyc. Fane nodded his agreement; it had been a brilliant idea. ‘I’d forgotten you still had it. Bes’laar.’
Knarf smiled. ‘So are we still clan brothers?’
‘As though we came from the same mother,’ said Talyc smiling back.
Knarf looked at the ysalamir. ‘Sorry for tossing you, buddy.’ The ysalamir gawked.
Fane looked at Shadie. ‘Did he just call it “buddy?” Talyc grinned widely.
Shadie shrugged, giggling. She sobered.
‘I can feel the dark side pulsing from this thing,’ she said. ‘We’re gonna secure it just in case it has residual effects. Safe with Knarf’s buddy.’
She and Knarf left.
Fane felt the Force return to him. Talyc laughed and took Fane’s hand.
‘You’re the reason why I feel so alive, Fane. You know that, right?’
Fane nodded. ‘Look at you, killed a Sith, fighting her naked, and only got a small knick.’
‘That’s Mandalorian skills for you, Fane. The finest.’ Talyc winked at Fane.
Fane laughed and tossed Talyc his clothes. ‘Come on, let’s not leave Mandalore waiting.’
* * *
‘Are you sure?’ asked Perce.
Relsor could no longer feel Jassahmi in the Force. He had felt her presence leave it and then he had felt her die.
‘But if her presence left as if shielded by an ysalamir, then she could still be…’
‘That woman was close to me once, even though I felt no passion for her,’ said Relsor. ‘I can recognise it when she’s hidden, cloaked, or dead. She’s dead, all right. She failed me for the last time.’
Perce looked about. ‘What now?’
Relsor pondered a moment. He and Perce could not stay where they were; their location may have been compromised. ‘Let’s see if she at least succeeded a small part of her mission.’ He brought up his comlink and pressed a small button.
‘Yes, my Lord?’ came the voice of an officer.
‘We’re moving to Phase three.’
* * *
Talyc and Fane arrived at the briefing room holding hands. Shadie was glad to see them there, despite the situation seeming grim. Mandalore was in full armour, helmet included, before many of the clan leaders and their clanmates. He turned towards Talyc.
‘I’m glad you are here, Talyc. And ready to resume your full duties, by the looks of it. Allow me to fix your helmet back up.’
Talyc passed the Mandalore his helmet.
‘Wait a minute,’ said Wapita, ‘he’s back to normal, but surely we can’t trust him so soon after his episodic breakdown.’
Talyc turned to look at Wapita and narrowed his eyes.
‘Our secret fortress has been compromised,’ said Mandalore. ‘This secure place is no longer the safe haven it was, and if anyone is to blame for that, look no further than your own clan, Wapita.’
‘Dargoza messed up, but the rest of my clan is innocent and so am I,’ protested Wapita.
‘Dargoza still gave up this location to Jassahmi,’ said Talyc, ‘and who knows what else. This falls on you and Clan Dargoza. I never co-operated or gave anything up to the enemy.’
‘Liar!’ shouted Wapita. ‘Our enemy read your entire brain.’
‘That was forced upon me! I did not willingly give anything up and our secrets remained secret because I knew how to shield my thoughts enough.’
‘We don’t know who gave up this location,’ said Wapita, ‘you or Dargoza, because all we have is your word on what went down when you were in captivity.’
‘Don’t you think Relsor would have made a move on Mandalore a lot sooner had he gotten the information from me?’
‘All I’m saying is–’
‘Enough!’ shouted Mandalore in a booming voice, returning Talyc’s helmet to him. ‘It doesn’t matter right now who is to blame. The fact of the matter is, the True Sith know the location of our secret bunker. We must secure our weapons, our arsenal, and then see what else we can do to protect our planet. We need to discuss our next course of action and find out where Relsor is hiding on-planet. I don’t know how he entered the atmosphere without detection, but we need to–’
Mandalore was interrupted when a large bang sounded off somewhere and the ground shook. Shadie’s heart sank as everyone looked around in alarm. There was another sound and the ground shook again.
Emerick stood and walked closer to the tactical display. ‘Mandalore, I’m receiving an update that we’re being bombarded with some sort of orbital strike.’
‘How?’ asked Knarf. ‘The planet is on lockdown.’
‘Not anymore,’ said Emerick. ‘I’ve got Lashika telling me the planetary shields are down.’
‘Yes, but where are Relsor’s ships?’ said Talyc pointing at the display.
Shadie looked up. All the blips were green, and the holo showed the Mandalorian blockade. All ships were still in formation and they were all Mandalorian.
The holo and display showed a fleet come out of hyperspace, Republic-make. Mandalore’s console chimed. He pressed a key and the holo image of the Quarren Republic Admiral came into view.
‘Admiral, you arrive at a critical time,’ said Mandalore.
‘Excellent,’ the Quarren’s voice rumbled. ‘We are ready to position ourselves however you need us to.’
‘Mandalorian shields are down, the lockdown has been compromised, and–’
Something sounded off in the Admiral’s ship as the holoimage shook. The Quarren turned his head to look at someone and then back the Mandalore’s way.
‘Someone just shot at my ship,’ he said. ‘And it came from one of yours.’
Mandalore kept his helmeted gaze on the holoscreen for a moment. He took his helmet off. His face was grave.
‘I assure you, whoever shot you, they were not my men, nor my orders.’
‘I believe you,’ Admiral Ecknal said.
‘The enemy has infiltrated or hijacked my ships.’
‘I will find the compromised ships and disable them. I will do my best to save your people, but I might be forced to destroy some of those ships.’
Mandalore looked down. ‘I understand. Do what you can. Do what you must.’
Admiral Ecknal closed the call. Shadie shook her head. This was not good. There was another shake to the ground, bigger and closer this time. Emerick’s body movements suggested he was receiving more updates through his helmet.
‘Sir, Lashika says the damage is… Those are Relsor’s superlasers striking down on us.’
‘Relsor’s superlasers on Mandalorian ships?’ Fane said in a shrill voice. He started off. ‘I’m going off to find him and stop him once and for all.’
Talyc grabbed his arm. ‘No, you can’t just yet.’
‘He has to be stopped!’
‘Fane, please. It’s not going to undo the damage that’s been done by Relsor. Besides, it’s too dangerous right now. I don’t want you to leave. Please, wait until Lian arrives.’ Fane nodded. Talyc sighed in relief.
There was another chime that came from Mandalore’s console. He pressed the key.
‘Please give me good news,’ he said right away before the image came on.
‘Only the best!’ said Relsor as his blue face appeared on the holoscreen. Mandalore took a few slow steps back.
‘You!’ said Talyc in a threatening tone. ‘Didn’t get your fill with me when you had me captured, you had to mess with my head here too? Well, you failed. And so did Jassahmi. She’s dead.’
‘I know this, Clan Leader Talyc,’ said Relsor. ‘I felt it in the Force.’
‘Did you feel how she died? Because I killed her. That’s right, me!’
Relsor had a smug look upon his face. ‘Tisk, tisk. Look at you, killing Sith. A shame you don’t possess the Force, Talyc, because you may think this was a victory, but you will never be the Mandalorian my apprentice is.’ Relsor’s eyes seemed to find Knarf, even if he wasn’t in the holocam’s view.
‘I am no longer your apprentice,’ said Knarf stepping into the area so Relsor could see him. ‘I never truly was. You underestimate the Mandalorians. You give them no credit. They have more honour in battle and are way better warriors than any Sith I’ve fought.’
Shadie heard Perce chuckle in the background. Relsor’s smug smile didn’t falter.
‘It is the Mandalorians who underestimate me,’ he said. ‘I know the location of your secret base. Your shields are down, and the True Sith have infiltrated your ships covertly and placed my uncle’s superlasers within them. Oh, but how did I manage such a thing when the Mandalorian blockade was already in place?’ Relsor laughed. ‘The same way I escaped captivity, the same way Knarf never killed me on your flagship, Mandalore, the same way Clan Leader Talyc witnessed his friends die over and over again in many different ways. The same way I infiltrated your people and killed Clan Leader Kelbourn.’
‘I’m going to find you,’ said Fane, ‘and I’m going to destroy you!’
‘Jedi Fane,’ said Relsor. ‘Meet me outside the Mandalorian fortress-bunker before I decide to send an orbital strike down on it.’
‘Where are you, exactly?’ asked Shadie cautiously.
‘Why, we’re right outside!’ Perce came into view, ‘It’s not polite to keep guests waiting at the door.’
‘You’re not our guests,’ said Mandalore.
The ground shook again and an alarm sounded off somewhere in the bunker. Lashika came running in.
‘There’s been a breach!’ she cried.
‘That was your only warning.’ The Chiss’s gleaming red eyes reflected cold malice. ‘Come now. Come alone. Or everyone you care for dies.’ Relsor broke the call.
Shadie shook her head as Talyc began to frantically plead with Fane to wait.
‘Relsor isn’t kidding,’ said Shadie. ‘He’s got us cornered.’
‘Then we leave this place and face our enemy,’ said Mandalore.
‘You heard Relsor,’ said Fane, ‘he wants me there alone. I can’t ask you to risk your lives for me.’
Mandalore put a hand on Fane’s shoulder. ‘What about the life you are risking for us?’ He shook his head. ‘No. We face Relsor together, or we don’t face him at all.’
‘If we stay here, he’s going to destroy the bunker,’ said Knarf.
‘Knarf, you know very little of this place,’ said Mandalore turning towards him. ‘It is the most solid bunker.’
‘But Lashika just said there was a breach,’ said Knarf.
‘Yes, to the main area. We are still within the main area, but there is more to this place, deeper underground, built with the thickest beskar the planet can provide.’
‘Wait, are you saying there’s another section to this place that even we clan leaders don’t know about?’ asked Talyc.
Mandalore nodded. ‘Come. I will secure our weapons and people. Talyc, take Clan Kandera to the Maw.’
‘Oy, if Talyc’s getting to ride the Maw, I want to be there too,’ said Emerick.
‘Uh, what’s the Maw?’ asked Shadie.
‘You’ll see,’ smiled Emerick. ‘She’s impressive.’
Talyc turned to Fane and took his face in his hands, kissing him. ‘Stay alive, my man. Don’t you dare die on me out there.’
Shadie took Knarf’s hand. She wanted to take Fane into a hug and keep him from going out there, but she knew the Force was with him, more strongly than ever. As though sensing her, Fane turned to her and took her other hand; he squeezed gently. She knew what it meant.
‘Meet you in a few,’ said Emerick to Fane. ‘I apologise in advance if our grand entrance upstages you. Because we will upstage you.’
Emerick and Talyc exchanged a look and a chuckle. Obviously, this Maw ship was something.
Fane turned and began the other way, as Shadie and the others followed Mandalore.
“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.