Note: A thank you to Inachis for all her help.
Note to Hatten: Please drop me an email if you are still around, can’t reach you any longer under your old address. Hope you are well, Hawklan.
Double checking the installation of the Class 850, it looked fine. The two lifeboat shuttles with micro hyperdrives were a perfect fit. Sure the hyperdrives were slower than a normal backup hyperdrive, but it was better than nothing.
A shiver ran down Xander’s spine and made him close his eyes. ‘I sense death and…,’ Xander opened his eyes and thought, ‘that is not good.’ He was about to open communications when explosions were heard. “Why can’t I ever land on a planet without explosions?” he whined. “If it’s going to be like this, I’ll never have the guts to go to a vacation planet.”
Seating himself down by the control panel Xander flipped open communications and sensors. ‘What were those explosions?’ he asked himself.
New alarms started to scream out. All over in space, almost point blank to the orbital defense station, Republic warships suddenly came out of hyperspace and started to shoot.
Not good, communications said a team of infiltrators had stolen starships and fighters and were now attacking the planetary shield projectors. Five of the twenty needed were already destroyed.
It must have been one of those shields blowing up that he had noticed. First the space attack then the ground attack, this was an invasion fleet.
Two more were blown up. Almost 35% of the planet would be unprotected or they would have to stretch out the working shield over the unprotected areas and that would weaken it overall.
Another alarm, yet another shield unit was under attack, but its defenses were holding for now. Then one outside town exploded from inside due to sabotage. The shield was down to 40%. Trying to open communications seemed hopeless, planetary defense forces were jamming all communications except theirs.
Xander closed his eyes. ‘Return to the ship,’ he said, sending his wish out using the force to reach the minds of his friends.
Lexa was drooling as she watched her Helix. Well, not her Helix yet. The salesman was coming over with the paper work. “What? I have to have an adult sign for me?” she whined. “Damn’ it… I’ll get Xander here.”
Dawn rolled her eyes. “Of course you do. What kind of civilization do you think this is?”
Lexa shrugged. “Just give me the papers and I’ll get the…,” she stopped and looked out as gigantic explosions made the dark evening look like day again. The shimmering distortions in the air told her the planetary defense shield was activated.
Then something exploded and from behind them, starships were being stolen. The wall was destroyed and they started to fly away.
“No, they’re stealing our ships!” the salesman yelled.
Dawn looked at four of the now escaping ships that looked like fighters to her. “To help the enemy attacking your world perhaps?”
The man blinked. “How and why? They’re not armed yet.”
Lexa frowned. “Really?” she grabbed his computer. ”Open the file on repairs and maintenance for, let’s say the last week.”
The man blinked then looking at her eyes, shining black, he decided agreeing would be best. “Oh no... Someone has changed the files. The droids have armed all ships in the building.”
Lexa smiled. “Why don’t you sign this paper and perhaps I could help you protect this world in my very own Helix?” she said, eyes still shining. “Or even better, give you an escort out of here. Don’t be surprised, I can see it in your eyes, you’re planning on jumping in a ship and fleeing for your life.”
Dawn grinned, that was such a great idea. “Yeah, I can be gunner.”
The man nodded. “Give me the papers,” he said, signing them. “And give me your credit stick, I’ll put it in the reader.” As the money was transferred with a tiny pling, the computer registered that Lexa Harris was the proud owner of a Helix-B. “Here are the access keys.”
The two girls grabbed the keys as they rushed out. The inside of the Helix was far more cramped than the Enterprise. Still the two girls were giddy in excitement. “Where is the start button?” Lexa yelled.
“We have to power on the generator first,” Dawn said.
“No, that’s not it. Wait… That’s correct. Let`s do it,” Lexa agreed and they looked at each other as the ship started to power up.
“How long does it usually take to make a dead generator cold start?” Dawn asked.
Lexa sat down. She wanted to fly out and be the hero, instead she sniffed. “Up to half an hour, depending on the ship. If the power generator is on standby in a ship like this, perhaps 10 minutes for a cold start.”
Dawn blinked. “That’s sucks.” Beside them the generator burped as it slowly heated up. Outside the fight was raging.
(At the same time in the starport hanger)
Tapping his feet for who knows how long, Xander had just about had enough. He walked out of the ship, it was time to go find his crew. Behind him floated his trusted starslinger swoop. Sure the cybersteed was better on worlds where he needed more cargo and wanted to move unseen, but now he needed speed. He mounted the sleek twin ion engine swoop and pushed the peddle. With a maximum speed of 875 miles and an altitude of up to 150 meters, the Chop Harlison build engine of speed was once again flying.
Xander’s face, hidden by his helmet, was almost split in part from the joy he felt as he rushed between the repulsor cars and between, under and over the traffic at full speed.
Above him he could see planetary defense forces flying lots of ships and the planetary shield was flickering in and out from powerful explosions above. They were draining the shield, they must know some of the projectors were damaged and destroyed and the remaining had to be working overtime. Bombing the shield they could create a small hole in the shield, even if only for a short moment. With only a partially working planetary shield system the bombing would be extra effective and the moment they had a hole in the shield, starfighters would enter the atmosphere.
He ignored it for now. On the streets civilians were running panicked and plundering. On a world that was specialized in selling, modifying and buying new or old ships, the number of beings with a pilot’s license was gigantic. If you counted those with a shuttle license, it was closer to 90 %. Those with real pilot licenses would be around 60%, a staggering amount of people. From somewhere E-wings were suddenly coming. He counted 6 of them, half a squadron. Not good and a whole squadron of Howlrunners followed.
Pushing the Starslinger to full speed he entered a tunnel and raced inside and through it. The neighborhood didn’t look like a good one. Deep underground and surrounded by naturally glowing crystals he would have found it wonderful if not for what was inside the building carved out of the mountain wall.
Xander felt his instinctive self defense become active as he walked inside the art gallery, carrying Jaina and Danni’s armor. He hated art galleries, he never understood anything inside them. And this was the worst of them, a place for the rich and mighty. Diplomats and nobles were cruising around in the palace like place.
Since he married Jaina and had become a Jedi knight he’d had to visit more than one of these places. Jaina liked it sometimes. Danni could stand it if Jaina was with her. He hated it almost all the time.
As Jaina and Danni had an invitation to meet an old friend of Jaina’s, he’d decided to stay on the ship. As he walked in a door guard tried to stop him, it was a big strong bouncer droid. “Sir, if you try to force your way inside, I will have to stop you,” the guard droid said.
“Jedi Master Xander Harris looking for my wife, get out of my way or be junk,” Xander said, holding up his license as a Jedi knight.
The droid seemed to scan the file then said, “Of course sir.” And backed down.
“JAINA. HELLO?” he yelled as he walked inside.
Inside the high and noble people were still partying, but it became silent as the fully armed Jedi Master marched inside.
“Xander darling… what’s going on?” Jaina asked.
“It’s bad right?” Danni added.
Xander nodded. “Yes. The planet is being invaded, sensor jamming is cutting off communications on the whole planet.”
Around him the nobles squealed in fear.
“That’s bad. It’s the Republic, correct?” Jaina said.
“It’s the Republic. I have your armor and weapons in here. I have to find Noh Noss and Arden. Anakin is here with you, correct?”
Jaina nodded. “He is. Ani…,” she hollered.
Anakin managed to finally get away from a bunch of brainless twits that believed he was interested in them because they where rich. “What is it?” he said, hoping for a planetary catastrophe so he could excuse himself.
“You’re not going to like this. It’s a planet scale catastrophe. The world is being invaded,” Xander replied.
“You don’t say. How awful,” he said and thought, ‘YES I’m free, free of brainless twits.’ A moment later he froze, that wasn’t nice of him. Sith spit, he was free from those brainless two and he wondered why they were called noble girls anyway.
“Anakin help us… You’ve got to save us,” the brainless twits screamed as they tried to cling to him.
Lucky for him his brother in law came to his rescue. “Buzz off now, he has a mission,” Xander said almost growling. “Get away now. Anakin… find Dawn and Lexa, I fear they have done something remarkably foolish. I feel almost proud of them,” he smirked.
Anakin rolled his eyes. “Yes, Master.” He moved away to the toilets to change. Damn… It was occupied, Jaina and Danni had rushed in before him. ‘Now where to change?’ Of course he used force cloak to become invisible and changed into his armor standing right in the room near the wall, unseen by people or sensors.
Xander glared at the people. “Communications are gone and you people don’t even notice it? A constant warning on the information net and you don’t even listen or ignore it? I don’t know if its inbreeding or stupidity, but something must be wrong with you,” he said as he walked out.
An old noble man snorted. “Quite right, young man. Alright people, listen up. I’m the senior Duke and that makes me the one in charge. This is what we’re going to do.” The old-timer said, reliving his glory days as a general during the Clone Wars. ‘Finally some action again,’ he thought.
Xander shook his head, this was going bad. He had a feeling Noh Noss and Arden were over their heads in trouble and he hurried away at full speed.
(Fifteen minutes later)
“You said let`s go to the galactic zoo. You said it’s entertaining, they have monster locked away. You said it would be safe,” Arden complained loudly.
Noh Noss groaned. “It should be.” He peaked down the tower they were hiding on top of. “It’s still tearing up the concrete. This tower is going to fall soon.” He was perplexed and continued. “What kind of monsters are immune to lightsabers, force pushes, telekinetic attacks and even mind tricks?”
“A monster that’s going to call the two of us dinner, that’s what,” Arden replied.
Under them the recently found and thank to a gigantic gravity trap captured Terentatek roared in anger. Its force sense detected two force users and it was hungry.
The two Jedi on the top blinked. “Look, now it’s running away. Do you think it gave up or got hungry?” Arden said.
“Perhaps it’s trying to trick us,” Noh Noss mused.
They looked at each other and Noh said, “Orbital attacks, planet invasion and a super monster. Not our day. You know what this means?”
“It’s Master Xander’s fault,” Arden replied and his friend nodded.
Flying to the Zoo Xander landed outside. It was no use flying into the zoo like a fool. His Starslinger was unarmed and it would be too easy to notice him. Walking inside he saw strange beasts in cages. Most of the cages had been ripped asunder and something bigger than the monsters inside had eaten them.
That was never a good sign. He saw leftover parts of dead humans and an arm from a rancor. Not good. Then he saw a cage into which a big airspeeder had crashed and opened it up. The picture of the cage told him exactly where the situation had gone from bad to worse. “A freaking Terentatek? It just had to be one of those.” Why was it dark suddenly? No, not dark… a huge shadow was running towards him from behind. That is never good. As fast as he could Xander turned around and at the same time as he force jumped away he was activating both lightsabers and slashed the gigantic clawed hand that slashed a ditch where he had just been standing.
To even cut a living Terentatek you had to focus the power of the lightsaber so much that it penetrated the natural armor and the Force shield the monster had and as if that wasn’t enough, you had to burn the wound or a strange green fluid would heal it in no time. It was almost invulnerable, strong, fast and did a remarkable good imitation of Wolverine from the comics. Direct force powers didn’t affect it at all.
As he spun around his left blade followed by the right cut into the fist of the monster, cutting it deep and making a clawed finger fall off. As the monster roared in anger a new finger grew out. He looked up it was a big one, nine meters tall and too ugly for its momma to love. “Do you feel lucky?” he asked as the monster attacked. It had regenerated the cut off claw already.
Xander knew force push had no effect on the monster, but on the other hand that broken statue lying on the ground could be affected. He moved his lightsaber and suddenly half a ton of a steel statue flew as a missile crashing in to the Terentatek’s face. It did little if any damage except to confuse it and break off its attack.
“I hate days like this,” Xander said as he moved under the Terentatek legs and slashed out with his long blade in its full two meters long form. Stabbing deep in the knee of the monster before slicing out, he then moved as the monster roared in anger and tried to step on him. Pulling out his Thunderer blaster he opened fire with a low energy setting to burn the wound closed, trying not blast it more open.
A fire burst out from the healing wound as it stopped healing, the healing fluid was crystallized and the monster’s left knee was crippled. Not that it mattered that much as it used the arms for faster movement. This time the monster pushed both clawed hands into the duracreate ground, ripping out a chunk of duracreate larger than an X-Wing and throwing it at Xander.
The Jedi master felt worried as he jumped up over the chunk of flying stone. The monster attacked and jumping towards him, it started to slash out with its claws. Still in the air Xander was almost helpless. Using Force push on himself he was suddenly thrown helplessly further up in the air, where he quickly used force flight to glide down again.
“Master Xander,” “Master Xander,” Noh Noss and Arden screamed as they rushed towards him.
“We’re so happy we found you. There’s a monster and we can`t find it and its immune to lightsabers,” Noh Noss said.
Xander smiled. “Um... I see. Monster you say? Could it in theory, only theory mind, look like that monster does?” he said, pointing at the monster that was running in their direction.
“Eeep!” Arden yelled.
Noh Noss grabbed his sonic blaster. It was the only weapon that had had any effect on the monster. It had pissed it off.
“Arden, make the monster fall. Trip it, don’t try to capture it. Just make it difficult to stand. Noh Noss, that is a Terentatek. I have told you about them for a reason. That’s the reason,” Xander quickly said.
The two Jedi Knights wasted no time as they focused their powers. The plants surrounding them suddenly came to life, quickly capturing the leg of the monster, making it fall over.
Xander moved and yelled, “Noh Noss, follow and use the gun on long range. Burn the wounds I’ll give it.”
Noh Noss looked at his Jedi Master. “Are you mocking me?” he asked, knowing full well he had told Xander about the fact that he, like most of his race, was almost unable to see long distance without special glasses. On the other hand, he could see microscopic objects using only his eyes.
“Oops… I forgot about that. Alright, every cut, every wound has to be burned, disruptor fire or low setting on a blaster will work,” Xander said.
Noh Noss nodded. “I’m better with the blade anyway, I have a portable welder. It would work, right? How can you cut it and we were unable to even hurt its skin.”
“You have to focus the force around the blade extremely tight or you cut nothing. It’s a reptomammal and most reptomammals have a spot in the back, around gut high on the left side. If we hit it and burn it so it is unable to heal, the monster should die. Lightsabers can, if the Jedi focus the energy of the force with enough strength, cut anything,” Xander explained.
Arden growled in frustration as he tripped the monster again and again. Now instead of attacking them it was attacking the plants and the trees around them. Plants he needed to use as weapons. “Should die?”
“Should die is correct. That or we attack its brain, but surprisingly that’s a small target and difficult to reach. Noh Noss, if it’s a normal Terentatek, it will focus its anger on the one that hurts it and if a new person hurts it, it will be distracted. Let’s tag team… I hurt it and let it chase me, then you hurt it and it switches to chasing you.”
Noh Noss was unable to follow as Xander moved.
As the monster was biting a tree to death Xander landed on its back, driving in the lightsaber deep in while firing his Thunderer blaster in the open wound. The monster roared in anger as it twitched around, clipping his cloak and ripping it apart.
Xander removed the cloak. “It’s fast,” he yelled.
The monster was coming in towards him, moving clumsily as the plants tried to capture its feet and hands. Then Noh Noss attacked with a perfect up swing, followed by a burning with the welder. He sliced the foot and burned it.
Now Noh tried to move but he was too slow as the tail end of the heel captured him and Noh Noss was flying down the way. A big splash was heard as he landed in a fountain.
Xander moved and attacked with full speed as the monster rushed after Noh Noss. Apparently that wasn’t a fatal spot on a Terentatek. A rancor, also a reptomammal, would have been crippled in nine minutes and dead in an hour.
The Terentatek was dying, the wound had hurt a vital organ and in a day or two it would start to wither away and die. Just now it was in extreme pain and going crazy with anger.
Xander attacked its feet, sending the monster stumbling over as a large part of its heel was suddenly missing. Then before the wound had even started to heal he fired his blaster and burned it closed. Now the monster would miss a part of its left heel.
It roared in anger and started to follow him.
In the fountain Noh Noss sat up with blood dripping down his face “Crap I broke my nose again.” He grabbed it with his gauntlet and twitched it back into place. It wasn’t the first time he had broken his big potato like nose. It was the sad consequence of having a sexy manly nose. Unlike the tiny button of a nose Arden, Xander, Jaina, Dawn, Buffy and the rest of them had.
In front of him the monster was attacking Xander again and again driving the master back. What was Xander doing just jumping around like that? No, it looked like their somewhat strange master had a plan.
As he jumped he created hundreds of small wounds all over the monster, while Arden helped slowing the monster down.
Noh Noss couldn’t see the reason now, but he offered his help, using telekinetic to throw stones, rocks and garbage on the monster.
Xander had a plan.
Suddenly the rubbish started to fly against the monster even more as Xander was distracting it. He walked up to a broken cage and cut off a long steel bar, making a 3 meter long spear. It was almost too heavy for a normal man to carry.
Holding it in his hand Xander focused on one of the tiny open wounds in the chest. Then he threw the spear, using the force to accelerate it to speeds faster than a bullet.
The monster roared in anger and it was just about to turn and attack Xander when a flash of steel suddenly penetrated its body.
Xander grinned. “Its force armor follows the skin, increasing its own natural armor. Open wounds are totally unprotected,” he said, while the Terentatek was clawing at its chest, trying to dig out the three meter long steel bar.
Xander ignored it as he created a new spear, aimed it and shot it off with a Force push. This time he hit a small wound on the side of the head and the steel bar penetrated deep inside, reaching the tiny brain, one of the small areas of instant kill. It caused a small earthquake as the monster fell down.
Xander looked at his two students. “Alright you two, as the local Jedi Master I will hereby abuse my power and force the two of you to carry or find a way to bring that dead beast to the Enterprise after you make sure it’s dead.”
“What, why?” Noh Noss asked.
Xander walked up to the monster carefully, since it could still be alive. He sliced open its neck and then dogged around inside its body. “This is why,” he said, pulling out a crystal. “The green fluid crystallized inside the body of the monster and they make perfect lightsaber crystals,” he said with a grin. “And because I killed it, I get 2/3 of the loot and if you two clowns want your share, you better bring it back to the ship. I have to find the others,” he said moving out.
“Arden… I think Master Xander is irritated,” Noh Noss said.
Arden agreed on that. “Yeah, but it’s still his fault.”
They both grinned as they started the hard work of getting the dead monster back to the hangar. They had to do it fast. Arden, lacking telekinetic powers, had to compensate and said, “Let`s borrow a speeder truck, it’s the only way.”
The two rushed away to find a truck.
Sitting nearby searching after signs of the others Xander could only groan as he spotted a Helix lift off and attack E-wings. The planetary shield was down.