“He’s dead! Guard! He’s dead!”
The guard ran to the cell door and looked into it to see Tome kneeling next to a motionless body. He opened the cell door and ran in, kneeling beside him. “What happened?!”
“This!” Tome swung a metal object he had acquired and hit the guard in the back of the head. The guard fell on Obi-wan who immediately pushed him off and flipped to his feet. Tome was already at the door waiting. “Hurry!” Obi-wan ran out the door and Tome shut it. The lock snapped shut and Tome tossed the keys away from the cell. “Ok now where to?”
“Follow me.” Obi-wan said as he began to run down a corridor. They ran at a quick pace, need and adrenaline driving them to run as fast as they could. Suddenly Obi-wan stopped, opened a door, and pushed Tome in. He then followed, gently closing the door behind them.
“Hey! What’s the big idea?!”
“Shh, there’s some guards in the hall.”
“I didn’t see any.”
“Believe me they’re there.” The two were silent for a little bit before they heard footsteps and voices move pat them. They remained silent until they were long gone.
Tome looked to Obi-wan. “How did you know?”
“I’ll tell you later. First we must get out before someone finds out what happened.” Obi-wan looked over his shoulder at Tome to say more but stopped.
Tome turned and his jaw dropped. “Holy Hutt slim… Look at all these weapons!”
Obi-wan moved forward and looked at the racks upon racks of weapons closely. “From the looks over it this is a storage room for weapons taken from the prisoners here.” His eyes then trailed upon two weapons in particular. He picked them up with a smile. He had found both Qui-gon’s and his lightsabers. “Get some blasters, we might need them.” He said as he put the lightsabers on his belt and took a blaster for himself. It would be easier to get out if he didn’t use his lightsaber. Doing so would tell all the guards the Jedi was escaping and Obi-wan didn’t need to put Tome in anymore danger then they were already in.
After arming themselves they exited the room and began to run down the halls once again. It did not take long to come above ground and scale the small wall blocking the prison off from the outside world. But as Tome was following Obi-wan over the wall a spot light hit him and sirens went off. “Hurry!” Obi-wan yelled. Tome nodded and leapt. Once Tome hit the ground they both dashed off along the river bank. They could hear guards behind them but Obi-wan knew they’d be safe once they reached the woods.
As they reached the woods Tome stumbled and braced himself against a tree. “Obi-wan keep going.” His breath was uncontrolled and heavy. “I’ll just slow you down and they’ll get you too. Go and continue my work.”
Obi-wan ran over to him and frowned some. “I am not going to rest tonight with your death on my conscious. Now if your legs refuse to carry you then mine won’t.”
“This is why my father died…”
Obi-wan pulled Tome so he lay on his stomach across Obi-wan’s shoulders. “Well I am not your father am I?” He the began to run, using the force to push him as he went. He did not tire and he soon lost his pursuers. He was almost to the camp when he allowed himself to tap out of the force and he began to feel weary. He slowly came to a staggering walking before he slowly fell to his knees, gently placing Tome on the ground beside him. Obi-wan’s vision began to blur and close in on him.
Right before Obi-wan passed out he saw someone running towards him. He couldn’t make out who but they seemed familiar to him. The person took him in their eyes and he heard a lovely voice speak to him. “You’re going to be alright Obi-wan.”
The light dabbing of a wet rage brought Obi-wan back to consciousness. He looked up into very familiar green eyes. “Good morning Obi-wan. I am glad you made it.” Ninde said lightly as she continued to dab his head with the cloth.
He gently pushed her hand away and sat up. “What happened?”
“Before you tapped into the force your body was already close to exhaustion. After that long run your body forced itself to shut down in order to save you the moment you tapped out of the force. You did well Obi-wan. Look, you even saved this young lad right here.” She motioned to the boy sitting next to her.
Obi-wan grinned some when he looked at Tome. “See, we made it.”
“Yeah but we almost didn’t. But hey, what does it matter? We’re both alive aren’t we? Thanks you Obi.” Tome stood and helped Obi-wan to his feet.
“Aw, so it’s Obi now?” Ninde snickered some as she stood up. “It’s such a cute name. I’m going to tell everyone back at the Temple.”
“Speaking of the Temple shouldn’t we contact the Jedi Council and let them in on recent news?” Obi-wan asked as he brushed himself off.
“No, I already spoke to Oria and she said it would be unwise. You just escaped and they’ll be looking for us. They’re probably doing planet wide searches to see if we’re sending out distressed signals.”
“Oria? Jedi Master Oria is here?”
“Yes, so is Arianne. They arrived as our back-up. Unfortunately if something should go terrible wrong there will be no other team sent.”
“When are we going back in for Master Qui-gon?”
“As soon as Master Oria and Arianne get back.”
Tome blinked some as he put what they were saying together. “Wait… are you two Jedi?” He asked in awe and bewilderment.
Ninde looked at Tome for a moment before looking back to Obi-wan and cocking an eyebrow. “Now Obi-wan, how many times do I have to tell you it’s rude not to tell someone you’re a Jedi?”
“You do it all the time.”
“But that’s me Obi.” Ninde snickered some more as she looked back to Tome. “Yes we are Jedi. You have to forgive my friend. He is rather forgetful of details as well as his manners.”
“We really didn’t have time to talk about it Ninde.”
“So is that why you knew those guards were coming?”
Obi-wan nodded and went onto say more but was cut off by another voice. It was Master Oria, who had finally returned. “Everything is ready. Now we’ll just have to wait on Arianne.”
“Where is she?”
“Finding out exactly which cell your master is in young Padawans.”
Arianne quietly made her way through the corridors to the jail, checking each cell as she went. She was dressed as a slave and had helped a farmer bring in supplies. A deal had been made with the farmer inn order to allow Arianne to accompany him. She had no idea what the agreement was but whatever her Master had given him or promised him seemed to have worked. She had been able to come in with him and then sneak away from the supply center. She’d be back before he was done unloading. Right now she was looking for Qui-gon.
It did not take long for her to find him. Qui-gon sat with his back against the door. He seemed to be in meditation from what she could see through the thick glass that was in the door that separated him from her. “Master Qui-gon?” She called to him through the small opening used to slip food to prisoners.
“Are you drugged?”
“No… What do you want?”
Arianne suddenly heard guards up ahead and knew she had to hurry up. “Be ready by nightfall to leave… Friends are on their way.” She then turned and dashed down the hall, just barely rounding the corner before the guards came into sight.
“I cannot believe this!” Balank was more then outraged after being told Obi-wan had gotten away. “It is bad enough she got away twice but now this! Not only did our most valuable bait escape but also that son of that bastard Rebel Leader! Do you know what this could do to us?!”
“Sir, this was an uncalculated escape. No one believed this would happen.”
“Fool! When working with Jedi you act like anything can happen because it always can!” Balank walked over to a map table and looked down at it. “But nevertheless… I believe this is a minor set back. We can still get our hands on her. Now I want you to barricade all the exits except the one facing where the river runs alongside. We are going to force her to play into our hands. When she comes for her Master she will try to go back out the same way and that is when we’ll spring our trap. I no longer care for the old man or her friend. They can die when she comes.”
“Isn’t playing mind tricks with a Jedi unwise? They play mind Tricks all the time too.”
“I believe worry and fear for their Master’s well being will give me the edge I need. Now just do as I say.”
“Yes my Lord.”
It was near midnight and the prison exits looked quiet. Almost too quiet… But Ninde knew this may be their last chance to get Qui-gon out of his prison. She nodded an ok to the others and they dashed for the building. All of them pulling out their lightsabers and allowing them to hum to life. Tome was with them, cradling his blaster some in his hands. He wasn’t all that sure as to what he could do but all the extra help was welcomed and they had allowed him to come with.
Arianne led the way once they got inside and they moved quickly, using the force to sense out the danger. Ninde had noticed something disturbing about the enemy’s patterns. It was almost as though this was the path they wanted them to take. What if it was a trap? She had asked Master Oria about it and all she had said was to prepare for the worst. Ninde trust Oria but her gut instinct told her something wasn’t right. She was not at ease with anything. But she had already made a promise to herself. It didn’t matter what went down here… Oria, Arianne, Qui-gon, Obi-wan, and Tome were all going to get out of here and off this planet alive… even if Ninde had to give her life to ensure it would happen.
They had to be quick. As soon as they had Qui-gon they would leave and head to a ship that Tome said his father had been planning on leaving the planet in should worse come to worse. He said it was big enough to hold at least fifteen people and that everyone would fit. Ninde had pointed out that the moment an unidentified starship went into the air the enemy would be all over them. Tome had clarified that it was not entirely a new model but it had been modified some and would hopefully be able to outrun anything that chased it. He has also said there were three areas where people could take up residence in gun torrents. He admitted though that two were not up to date and would probably be worthless and the one that was usable may not be of much help because his father had died before he could finish remodeling it to speed it up some and update the firing system. If none of them worked then Ninde would have to do some hard flying. They had all agreed that she was the pilot and she knew why. If there was anyone that could escape an army of star fighters in a starship that had no weapons it was her. She wasn’t all that sure how good she would be however depending upon what she was offered.
They continued through the corridors and soon came to the cell Qui-gon was being held in and Oria cut through the lock as everyone else stood watch. Qui-gon emerged from the cell by himself. He looked as tall and strong as both Obi-wan and Ninde were use to seeing him. Obi-wan handed Qui-gon his lightsaber and Qui-gon allowed him a light smile, rare but deserved. “We should get going.”
Tome was the first one to step forward, heading back in the direction they had come from. As he did he looked down one of the connecting halls and something caught his attention. He began to move towards it and Ninde snatched out to pull him back. “No!” But it was too late. Tome had tripped a motion censor. A loud siren began to sound and Ninde yanked Tome’s arm, pulling him back out of the hall. She looked down at him for a moment before grinning. “It’s definitely time to split.” She pushed him towards the direction they had to go and quickly began to run past him. “Let’s move!”
Quickly the group began to move but it was not long before they ran into security. It happened as they came to a place where four hallways intersected. Obi-wan had stuck his head around the corner to make sure it was clear. Had it not been for Arianne pulling him back just in time he might have lost his head to a blaster bolt. Ninde flashed him a slight smirk before stepping fully into the hallway, raising her lightsabers and deflecting all the shots fired. Arianne did the same thing on the other side of the hall, covering the rest as they dashed to the other side.
As the masters and Obi-wan raced for the other side they had to deflect very few shots. Arianne and Ninde were doing a good job at deflecting all the blaster bolts. But as Tome was running through the intersection his blaster was blasted out of his hands. They continued to run, Arianne moving to the front while Ninde brought up the rear. They soon came to a large room and dashed the length to the door that lead outside. Ninde had to pause and turn back around as they neared the other side. She quickly swung her blades around her hands and deflected the bolts coming from the guards hovering from the other side of the entrance the Jedi had just passed through. They only stuck their hands around the corner, not bothering to risk their heads in order to aim and attempt to hit the Jedi and take them down.
Obi-wan moved through the door after Tome, Arianne, Oria, and Qui-gon. He turned back and cried out to Ninde who was still in the room. Ninde turned and ran for the door. Suddenly the door hissed and slammed down in front of her. Ninde ran into the door, dropping one of her light sabers as she pounded her fist against the metal helplessly. She then looked out the small yet thick window that separated her from the Jedi, from freedom… from Obi-wan. He stood there staring at her with large and worried eyes. He quickly moved to the door and began to pound on it, as though trying to will it to break down for her to come through. The blaster fire behind Ninde had ceased and she didn’t know why but right now she didn’t care. Obi-wan soon gave up and stared at her helplessly. A voice suddenly came from behind Ninde. “It’s too late, Ninde. You’re mind now.”
Slowly Ninde pushed herself away from the door and turned to see Balank. Instantly she felt a shiver of warning spiral down her spin. She looked back to the door and lipped the words `go.’ Obi-wan shook his head but started moving the instant she pushed his mind to understand he needed to. He also needed some added help from Arianne and Tome who ran back to him and started pulling him away. Arianne had been told to because both Oria and Qui-gon knew that there was no way to help Ninde… If Ninde was to get out of this one she would have to do it on her own and they also knew that Ninde would want it no other way. `I’ll be fine,’ was the message she sent to him as he lost sight of her. She slowly turned back to Balank. She used the force to pick up her other light saber before slowly walking towards him. She stopped about ten feet from him and glared at him. The other door was closed… there was no escape. So instead of looking for a way out she kept her gaze fixed entirely on him… and this caused Balank to grin wickedly.
Slowly Balank drew something from his robes… a lightsaber. It was only around eight inches long and was very plain aside from some cold engraving on the handle. Ninde had remembered it because the owner of that lightsaber had come to her requesting her to put the gold markings on the handle. The grin on his face only worsened as Ninde’s eyes trailed to it. “You recognize this one don’t you? That’s right, this lightsaber belonged to Rena Kar, you’re first real friend.”
Ninde’s hard expression lessened some and shock showed in her eyes for a mere moment. Rena had been her first friend that looked her age at the temple. She went missing on an assignment four months earlier with her master and they were assumed to be dead. Ninde had been torn up for a while about it and had finally been able to find a piece of mind to get over her missing friend well enough to be able to do her job. Instantly Ninde’s eyes narrowed again and she took up a stance. That made Balank laugh even more as the door behind him opened and a cloaked figure walked into the room. “Oh it’s not me you are going to be fighting my dear Ninde.” He said as the figure walked up beside him and stopped. Balank reached up and pulled the person’s hood back.
As the hood was pulled back Ninde’s eyes gazed upon the person hidden beneath the darkness of the hood. The features were familiar… A young female Twi’lek with blue skin and piercing blue eyes. “…Rena…?”
Balank leaughed at the faint word that escaped Ninde’s lips. “Yes, your dear childhood friend. I was ever so gracious as to let Rena and her master live.” The door opened and another female Twi’lek entered and walked up beside Balank. Her skin was a soft purplish color and she was obviously older than Rena. She was Jedi Master Lakka. “But of course they had a price to pay.”
Ninde frowned some. “You brainwashed them…”
“Precisely, how did you guess?”
“Only the brainwashed hold a blank look like that in their eyes when looking upon their best friend after having not seen them in so long… You’re sick.”
“This was all done because of you and what you did to me dear Ninde. You have no one to blame but yourself.”
“You’re brother attacked me. I was merely defending myself.”
“Everyone has a price to pay for their actions. In order to live you killed my brother and you will also have to kill your best friend. If you live, which I’m sure you won’t, you will not soon forget this lesson I teach you.”
Rena slowly took off her cloak and tossed it aside. She wore tight black banks and a black sleeveless shirt, much like what Ninde was wearing should she take her Jedi-shaped dark tunic off. A belt was strapped to her waist and held two lightsabers. Ninde had been the one to teach Rena originally how to use two lightsabers and it was because of that that Lakka had chosen Rena for her pad wan learner because Lakka also enjoyed using two lightsabers. Anymore Rena’s style was more custom and the last time Ninde had fought her during a training match she had been quite good.
Lakka and Rena moved forward, Rena moving to the left side of Ninde and Lakka moving to the right. Ninde deactivated her lightsabers and quickly adjusted the length on them. Noth Lakka and Rena’s lightsaber settings her shorter then the normal lightsaber and sometimes that was an advantage… and it was one that Ninde was not going to allow them. This was no longer a simple training with friends… this was a death match again people who looked like friends. Her friends had been brainwashed and even if they remembered small things such as her face or her voice it wasn’t going to stop them from killing her. She would have to fend for herself and do it without thinking about the past good times she had had with Rena and Lakka. She would try to save them if she could… but she had been in these shoes before. The chances of convincing someone that has been brainwashed of who they truly are was hard and Ninde had only accomplished it once in the several times she had encountered this particular case.
With a light sigh Ninde put her light sabers on her belt and slowly removed her belt. The two Twi’leks stopped and waited on Ninde to be ready for the fight. Slowly Ninde took her tunic off, revealing her sleeveless black shirt. She put her utility belt back on and looked to Balank as she pulled back the top half of her hair with a leather strip she had take from her belt. The top half of her hair was no securely fastened back while the lower half was not. Her eyes then looked to Balank and her eyes seemed to become emotionless. “This lesson has already been taught to me… You’re a bit too late.”
“We’ll see.” Balank then nodded to Lakka and Rena. Ninde’s keen ears heard the snap hiss of four lightsabers… the battle was on.