fan fiction scrollThe Reverend’s Fall: Part IV

 Star Wars

Nareen had reprogrammed the droids to shield against rifle fire. Although they objected initially, stating that they were reconnaissance droids and not designed for warfare, she promised to promote them if they survived.
Tidis sensed the mercenaries before they were visible. He remembered the feeling of those bloodshot eyes on his back. He took a deep breath to relax his muscles.
“They are nearly upon us,” Tidis said. “If we survive this, will you show me your face?”
“It is a curious request, but if the promise of my unveiling spurs us to victory, then I will oblige.”
“You are most courteous.”
“Not this time.”
The uncorrupted droid wheeled around, “the enemy is one kilometre away. Shall we take our positions?”
Nareen nodded and the droids glided to hover at either side of the navigation beacon. Tidis and Nareen took their places behind the structure and crouched to focus on the horizon.
“I see them,” Nareen said, indicating to the north-east.
“I can see some shapes,” Tidis said, “are they on speeders?”
“Yes, and they have rifles; one of them just raised his in the air. I upgraded the droids to possess far better shields than their counterparts, but they still cannot take sustained fire from laser-rifles. We will need to attack after the second barrage and hope to find an opening as they reload.”
“Will you pray with me?”
“No, but I will listen in silence.”
Tidis nodded and closed his eyes.
“Help us to accept the will of the Force and surrender to its wisdom. Help us to join with the Force and be one with its nature. If this is where our mortality ends, help us to embrace death as we have embraced life. Hear me and grant us this favour.” Tidis opened his eyes and turned to Nareen. “May the Force be with you.”
The speeders were in an arrowhead formation and a volley of laser fire burst through the air, striking the beacon, the sand and rebounding off the droid shields. Tidis sensed Nareen’s anxiety. He placed his hand on her shoulder. “They are solely motivated by money, superficial desires are easily manipulated.”
“I trust you,” Nareen said.
The Jedi waited for the second volley of laser fire, which penetrated the left-hand droid’s shield and punched a hole in its fuselage; the machine fell lifelessly to the sand. Tidis emerged from behind the beacon and untied his cloak around the neck. He allowed the long garment to hang loose until it caught the wind and gave him a more dramatic façade. He gripped his lightsabre and unhooked it from his belt. As he activated the weapon he imagined what Nareen might look like beneath the mask… she was beautiful. The third volley brought him back to reality. One projectile passed through his billowing cloak just above the shoulder and another struck the remaining droid; the machine’s shield began to stutter and fail.
Tidis sprinted towards the speeders as the mercenaries in the closest vehicle began to reload their rifles. The Jedi knew he would not reach them before they were ready to fire, but he hoped he would be close enough to disarm them. He took the bola in his other hand and rapidly turned his wrist to generate some momentum in the weapon. When he was thirty feet from the first speeder and the xan steadied their rifles for another volley, Tidis let the bola fly. It spiralled through the air and struck the pilot in the forehead; he dropped immediately out of sight. The Jedi detected muzzle flare and ducked to his left as three lasers peppered the sand surrounding him. Two of the mercenaries still had active weapons, but the Knight was now upon them. He tightened his thigh muscles and sprang into the air, somersaulting to land on the bow of the speeder. The vehicle lurched at an angle, forcing one of the assailants to topple off the side and another to drop his rifle, which fired and blew a fist-sized hole in the cockpit.
Tidis knew exactly how to maximise his advantage and instead of assaulting the remaining mercenaries, he vaulted to the adjacent speeder. The xan were not trained killers and naively attempted to engage Tidis at close range. Three of them fired their rifles, but the Knight ghosted to the side, allowing the stray projectiles to strike the speeder behind; the fragile vehicle caught on fire, forcing the occupants to abandon ship.
With blinding speed, Tidis impaled the nearest mercenary though the chest and decapitated another. The remaining three withdrew to the stern, dropping their rifles and drawing either pistols or serrated knives. Tidis ignored the mercenary to his left, who had seen his colleague’s head removed and was uncontrollably shaking. The xan to Tidis’ right attempted a clumsy knife thrust and watched as the blade fell to the deck still attached to his arm. Sensing the remaining mercenary’s frailty, Tidis swept his free hand through the air and rendered the xan motionless; he became as rigid as the statues enclosing the Jedi temple.
Tidis stood upon the engine compartment of the vehicle and listened as Nareen engaged the stray xan he had left behind. The three mercenaries in the remaining speeder had chosen to flee and were hastily gathering smoke grenades to conceal their escape. Tidis imagined the battle as the grenades were unpinned, his jade lightsabre flowing methodically in the gloom, the xan scrambling for visibility, their bodies collapsing incomplete to the deck. Through his meditation the Knight envisioned something else; he searched deeper, past the weapons deposit, tracing the girders running along the right-hand side of the speeder, to a nook, a tiny section of the vehicle the mercenaries had failed to maintain. He pictured the object – spherical with indentations, he felt around the item in his mind, caressed its dimensions until he knew its identity.
Then he removed the rusted pin.

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