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Tao
4 March 2005, 07:19 AM
Tao値in untied the bright red cloth that covered his eyes. Like all Miraluka he had been blind since birth, and the crimson scarf that was generally tied across his eyes was a symbol of both clan and culture. It was his only emblem of a family and a tradition he would never know.
He tucked the scarf into his waistband and tried to reflect on the last few hours. He was exhausted. His body dripped with sweat, muscles tight and aching. He was splattered with mud and grease, a dark green smudge stretching across his face, broken and clean where his bandana had covered. He inhaled heavily as he lowered himself onto the large cloth sacks of produce being stored in the cramped warehouse. His lungs burned with each breath, still fighting to clear themselves of dust and explosive compounds that had entered during his escape. Tossing his shirt aside he began to run his hand along his left forearm, tracing the long stretch of burning flesh, caused by a lucky blaster bolt, as he reflected on what could have possibly led him to where he was now.


Two days earlier. Merson.
Tao値in tightened the bright red cloth that covered his eyes. Though he couldn稚 see the army before him, he could feel them through the Force: enough to distinguish every feature of every face of every soldier in his whole platoon. In some ways, he saw far better than his fellow generals, as his sight was able to distinguish between each one of the identical looking clones in his detachment. To his left was One, an elite ARC trooper that had accompanied him on his last two missions, and who had been assigned as his personal bodyguard and assistant during the ground assault of Merson. The dirty world in the mid-rim was one of the last great bastions of the Confederacy. Nearly a year earlier, CIS defense forces successfully repelled a Republic assault on the planet. The Jedi High Council still believed that some amount of treachery was involved, but could prove nothing more than poor planning.
As the sun rose above the plains south of the planetary capital, Tao値in smiled to himself. Today, they were a far cry from the dire straits of the last assault team. Count Dooku was dead, and the Confederacy was in ruins. The army defending Merson had been caught completely off guard, and was unprepared to withstand the clone troopers under the capable command of General Tao値in. They had taken most of the planet in less than forty standard hours. Today, thought Tao値in, they would take the capital.
One put his hands on Tao'lin's shoulder, signalling that all were present and accounted for. These clone soldiers would form the primary assault force that would attack, and hopefully overcome, the capital city. These soldiers would be under the command of Commander Wrayen Fen, the young human Jedi, who Tao'lin had recently accepted as his first padawan learner. Wrayen, whose former Master had been killed in the Separatist bombardment of Kayen VI, was inexperienced in combat, but he was a capable swordsman and an expert marksman and pilot, which Tao'lin hoped would ensure his safety aboard the Low-Altitude Assault Transport from which he would command the army. Tao'lin turned to his student and sensed his pride. Through the Force he could see the wide smile and bright eyes of a Padawan, ready for his first real trial by fire. Tao'lin also smiled, wondering if he had looked the same to Master Dane on his own first battle, so many years ago.

Tao
4 March 2005, 07:20 AM
The orders had been short and simple. The majority of the clone army had been placed under the command of Tao'lin's Padawan, with only the nine most elite clone troopers staying with the older Jedi. As his mission would be one of stealth and finesse, Tao'lin wondered if the two commando units and single ARC trooper would be overkill. There is no such thing as being too prepared or too daring, he thought. The latter he had learned from his own Master, Cale Dane. The former, he had invented himself. His Master had not believed in preparation as much as instinct, nor did he lean too heavily on the strict code followed by most Jedi. He was a rogue, and something of an outcast, but he was a legend just the same. There was even talk of him becoming one of the High Council, should a vacancy present itself. Tao'lin checked his chronometer and smiled. As if on cue, the first blasts blew through the bulkhead on the other side of the building as the two commando units entered the Separatist headquarters. Tao covered his ears as One detonated a similar charge nearby, blowing their entryway clear.
The inside of the military command center was barren and metallic, and showed heavy wear from the last few years. Droid soldiers paced these halls regularly, their metal frames scratching and denting the corridors' smooth surfaces. At the moment, however, the hallway was clear, just as he had foreseen. The majority of the droid army was at the battlefront, engaged with his men. For just a moment, he wondered how they were fairing.
One stood behind him, scanning the hallway, his rifle tucked against his shoulder and ready to fire. "Ready when you are, General" he said, motioning towards the far end of the hallway.
"No," replied Tao, stepping the other way. To his left was a small doorway marked in bright yellow, presumably the entrance to the power core. "It's through here. There's something more important than the command station, and we're going to find out what..."
He was interupted by a salvo of lasers, cutting through the air unexpectedly. In what had seemed like less than an instant, a pair of Destroyer Droids had appeared from behind them and opened fire. Tao was able to redirect their fire, though he had no hope of being able to break their formidable defenses without lowering his own. The powerful shielding was just too much for his redirected bolts to penetrate. "One! Ion grenade! Now!" Before the words had left his mouth, a bright blue explosion rocked the corridor, forcing the droids to shut down their shields, though it also effectively disabled One's computerized targetting and communications systems. A deftly tossed lightsaber dismantled the droids before they could recover.
Tao'lin restarted his short-range communications array. "Commando units Arush and Besh, this is General Tao'lin. I control the scoreboard with two confirmed DeeDees. Feel free to try and catch up. The control station is now yours, commandos. We've got a secondary target. Tao'lin. Out."


"Open fire." The droids crumpled beneath the combined fire of the strategically placed clone troopers. Tao'lin had predicted the Separatists movements with his usual efficiency, and Wrayen's units were reaping the rewards. The narrow chasm was no kind of battlefield, especially for the predictable and inadaptable droid armies of the Confederacy. The men positioned at the top of the two wide buttes were quickly decimating the small droid army sent to flank the clone troopers. Further north, the main clone force was holding up well against the droid army, who had already lost two of their enormous spider droids to Wrayen's gunship. The young Jedi reviewed his command console, noticing a large hole in their lines, just north of their main force. He immediately activated his communications system, searching for available starfighters. "181st squadron, we have a spidey tearing up our northern line. Take care of that, will you?" Padawan Fen sighed. He had already lost a lot of good men, and the day was still far from over.
Four Republic V-19s streaked across the skies, deftly dodging the incoming fire from enemy droid starfighters. One of the ships began to smoke, a heavy surface to air barrage tearing through its rear fuselage and blowing out the primary engine array. Wrayen watched the ship spiral downwards, as the pilot fought in vain to regain control. In one last blaze of glory, clone pilot KV- 119 unleashed a final salvo of missiles into the Confederate army and crashed his ship deep within enemy lines. As he watched the flames at the crash site grow with each successive explosion, the Jedi commander shook his head grimly. If his pilot had survived the crash, he would be dead soon. The only true consolation was the knowledge that his death would not be in vain.

Tao
4 March 2005, 07:46 AM
Cap didn稚 like the situation. The four clone commandos were pinned down at the end of a long corridor by a pair of destroyer droids and a half dozen Baktoid super battle-droids. The corridor was dark, illuminated only by pale red lights. The second commando team had already cut the power, and the base was barely operational, running only on back-up reserves. Cap, the team leader of Arush squad, turned to his three compatriots and shook his head, still firing on the enemy droids. 展ould any of you happen to have any ideas on how we are going to get through these droids?
Tagg laughed inaudibly, as he squeezed of a shot that dropped the nearest battle droid. 鉄orry, Cap. You池e the team leader. That痴 your job. He fired again, his shot absorbed by the destroyer droid痴 shields.
乃he problem is getting through those deedees. Their shields are just too tough. Cap checked his belt, already knowing that he didn稚 have what he was looking for. 的 suppose it would be overly optimistic to hope that someone has an EMP grenade lying around.
展ell... Smoke, the unit痴 demolitions expert, was obviously trying to hatch a plan. Cap knew whatever he came up with, it would be highly explosive and potentially dangerous. 的 have about a quarter kilo of blasting compound.
展on稚 work. Tagg turned to Smoke and shrugged. 填nless you have a way of planting it at their feet, you wont be able to do enough damage to knock them offline.
鏑eave that to me, he said confidently. 鼎ap and Tagg, stay here and keep them pinned down. Seven, would you mind opening that maintenance shaft? We have a job to do.


The dark generator room was silent, except for the steady thrumming of machinery far below. The ARC trooper, One, cleaned his rifle and checked his power supply. He had barely had to open fire, except for an errant droid patrol that had wandered into the wrong maintenance tunnel. The last few minutes had done little to break the monotony. Not that he especially minded. On occasion it was nice to rest and regain a sense of the greater mission. One, however, knew that comfort bred carelessness, and in his line of work, that was a luxury he could not afford. He locked the firing mechanism back into place and looked over towards the doorway through which Tao値in had disappeared moments earlier. Watch my back, he thought. Why do I always get stuck with the boring jobs?


Wrayen was glad to see the last of the spider droids go down in flames. True, they had lost nearly all of their own AT-TEs, but the battle was definitely in their favor. All that was left was tying up the loose ends, and finishing off the remaining droids. Then they could all go home, and rest easily. He sighed. It had been a long day and filled with fire, but at least it would soon be over.


Cap poured fire into the destroyer droids shields, hoping that one blast would eventually make it through. They had already managed to take out one, but it had quickly been replaced by three more. The clone commando wondered to himself what had happened to the other half of his team. Smoke and Seven had entered the maintenance tunnels nearly ten minutes earlier, and there was still no word from them. In situations like these, ten minutes can seem like an eternity. Finally, he heard a familiar click on his commlink, the signal to get down. Instinctively, both he and Tagg ducked behind the large crates they had been using for cover. The far wall erupted in a powerful blast, sending fragments of metal through the hallway, and bringing a large portion of the ceiling down on the destroyer droids.
Cap peered around the corner, and through the smoking gap in the wall he could see two clone commandos, standing triumphantly in the command center of the Separatist base.

Tao
4 March 2005, 08:01 AM
The dark form ahead felt familiar. Like a dream that he had forgotten, or a face he recognized but could not name. He was covered from head to toe in a dark cloak, a long silver cylinder hanging at his waist. 典ao値in? So you are a Knight now? Congratulations, brother. The voice was like venom, filled with anger and hatred. Tao値in reached out with the Force, pushing through the defenses that his opponent had tried to put in place. He could feel the face, broken by dozens of wounds and scars, two long horns protruding from his head. He reached deeper, and saw him again, this time as a young Devaronian, in the attire of a Jedi knight. 鉄o, you have seen me for who I was, have you Tao値in?
溺ikayn? That can稚 be you. Youre Tao値in痴 voice faltered and faded.
The Devaronan nodded. 泥ead? Not quite. The Count rescued me, when everyone else abandoned me. When YOU abandoned me, Tao値in! His hand rested on his the hilt of his lightsaber. 鼎ount Dooku trained me. Taught me to use a power that you could only dream of, Tao値in.
Through the Force, his blind eyes could now see his enemy clearly; he had given in to the darkside, obsessed with the pain and humiliation that his near death experience on Dantooine had caused him. For only a short moment, Tao値in wondered if there had been any way to save his friend on that fateful day almost four years ago. He knew there wasn稚. Mikayn had been caught under the collapse of a building. To return to save him would have cost them all their lives. 典here was nothing we could do, Mikayn. It doesn稚 have to be like this.
The dark figure stepped down from the raised dais where he stood, his lightsaber extending into a brilliant red blade. 的t does have to be like this, Tao値in. I always dreamed of the day that I would reveal myself to my former brethren. I never imagined it would be to you, Tao. I could not be more satisfied. He quickly brought his blade into an offensive position, swinging in a wide arc towards Tao値in痴 head.
The blade was intercepted by Tao値in痴 violet blade, and sent crashing to the floor. Tao値in shook his head, recognizing the maneuver as the type of fencing practiced by Master Mace Windu. 天aapad? he asked, reaching out to the Force to show him where his opponent would strike. 滴ow clich. You really do think yourself a dark master, don稚 you, Mikayn? He foresaw his opponent痴 next attack moments before the blade began its arc towards his leg, and casually brought his saber down to redirect it.
添ou know nothing of darkness, Tao値in! Have you ever thought yourself dead? Have you ever been abandoned by the one person you ever truly trusted? My own Master abandoned me, coward that he was. He swung hard, a blow that hit nothing but the air in front of Tao値in痴 chest. 典he Jedi are cowards: pawns to an ineffectual Senate, puppets to a Sith Lord, and symbols of a dying culture. How many people must die to satisfy the greed of your Chancellor?
Blades crossed again, as Tao値in stepped forward and delivered a precise strike directed at Mikayn痴 chest. He fought methodically and cautiously, using his ability to predict his rival痴 actions to make simple attacks designed to wear the other duelist out. Mikayn swung hard and connected with Tao値in痴 violet blade. The dark Jedi pushed hard against Tao値in痴 saber, trying to force him backwards. Tao値in pushed forward and rotated quickly as his opponent responded in kind, forcing Mikayn to stumble forward. Tao値in planted his foot behind Mikayn痴 knee, shoving him to the floor. The blind Jedi placed the tip of his blade millimeters from the base of his former friend痴 skull. 展hat are you talking about, Mikayn? You, and the rest of the Confederacy are the one痴 working for the darkside.
Rolling slowly onto his back, the Devaronian laughed, a deep, ugly sound with no semblance of joy. 哲o, my brother. We are no more pawns of the Sith than you yourselves are. His face softened for a moment. 泥on稚 tell me you, of all people, haven稚 foreseen it? Ah, yes. All the dreams you致e forgotten. You池e beginning to remember them, aren稚 you Tao値in?
Tao値in痴 mind was reeling as the pieces to his dreams began to take form. The darkness, the death and destruction that had plagued his dreams, now had a face. Had the Council been right to question giving so much authority to the Chancellor? 鼎hancellor Palpatine is the other Sith. Tao値in痴 voice was calm and certain. He felt the faintest feelings of disappointment and regret for not realizing it sooner. If anyone had something to gain from the war, and from the Naboo blockade decades earlier, it was him. How had they not seen it? How had the Council not seen it?
Mikayn smiled evilly. 徹nly now do you see it. It is too late, Jedi. Soon you and I will both be dead, our names only the faintest echoes in the Force.
Tao値in saw it too late. The bright blue electricity that arched forth from Mikayn痴 body caught him in the chest and raised him into the air, pushing him across the room. He wheezed in pain, feeling his body already trying to mend his broken ribs. His robes smoked, and he tossed them aside, raising his lightsaber. Mikayn rose and charged forward. The crash of blades was like the roll of thunder as the two exchanged blows. Tao値in began to fight more aggressively. It was obvious that there would be no peaceful resolution, and it was no time to be a martyr to a dead cause. Tao値in used the Force to push Mikayn into a nearby conduit, the static charge releasing through the Devaronian痴 body with a loud crack. The circuit痴 quickly overloaded, and Mikayn痴 body, burnt and lifeless, dropped heavily to the floor. The blackened form lay motionless for a long moment before releasing a loud, choking cough. His body trembled, as if laughing. 鉄o, you致e won Jedi. Now? What do you do now? When you return, there will be no parade for your heroism. You will be betrayed and hunted and killed, like a beast who has outlived his welcome. He laughed quietly, choking on the blood that was seeping into his lungs. 鉄o now, all that remains is to kill me, Jedi. Then surrender to your fate.
哲o, Mikayn. There has been enough killing, and there will be much more. He replaced his lightsaber on his belt and turned away. 的 will not kill you, Lost One. I will simply walk away.


One watched in disbelief as Tao値in turned his back on the defeated opponent and turned to the massive computer system set up on the far wall. He entered the room, purposefully banging his gun against the doorframe to announce his arrival. Tao値in addressed him without turning. 的 thought I told you to stay put and watch my back.
The ARC trooper stepped forward and nodded. 添es, sir, you did. He glanced momentarily at the burnt figure lying on the floor nearby. He was still breathing, barely, though he may recover with proper treatment. 的 assumed that it would be difficult to watch your back if I could not, in fact, see your back.
Tao値in smiled. That was the kind of talk he expected from new clones. From One, it was just his way of disobeying orders. The Jedi couldn稚 help but like the independence of the ARC troopers. 的知 glad you池e here.
One shrugged. 的 suppose, Tao. Although it would appear as though you have things pretty well covered around here. He glanced around the room, ensuring there were no other hostiles.
哲o, Tao値in said, keying in a few more buttons on the computer console. 的t痴 not that at all. In case I don稚 make it back alive, you are my witness.
The holoprojector in the center of the room came to life, projecting a deep blue image about the size of a man. He was dressed in a long robe, and was holding a silent conversation with someone. Tao値in adjusted the volume. 展ipe them out, General. The Republic forces must not take Merson until I allow.
One studied the image痴 face, confused, and finally turned to Tao値in. 的 don稚 understand General. Why would the Chancellor be giving orders to the Confederate forces?

Tao
14 March 2005, 05:24 AM
The four commandos looked blankly at the holo-image transmitted to them by their ARC trooper colleague. It seemed almost surreal to see the Grand Chancellor of the Republic issuing orders to the enemy, but the evidence was too tangible to be doubted. Cap took off his helmet for a moment, running his hands across his rough face. As a clone, Cap didn稚 understand politics or treachery. He did know, from his basic history, that the Chancellor had been given quite a substantial bit of clout in response to the growing threat of the war. Cap痴 head began to ache. As a clone, he didn稚 understand politics, but he did understand tactics. And he now understood that he and millions of other clones like him had been created, and would inevitably be killed, so that this one man could rise to achieve the power that he desired. He bent over, glancing at the other three men in his unit, and suddenly, for the first time in his existence, he felt sick. He coughed deeply, almost choking on the bile that rushed forward and splattered across the floor.

Wrayen stepped down from the Assault Transport victoriously. The last of the droid army was being eliminated, and his army had emerged with fewer casualties than expected. Though many Republic generals, and even the Jedi generals, had grown accustomed to losing hundreds and even thousands of men, Wrayen had learned from his new Master not to accept that kind of attitude. Tao値in saw each of the clones as brothers and friends, and treated them as such. After only a short time with his Master, Wrayen couldn稚 help but to feel the same way. Many friends had died today, but many more had lived.
As he walked back towards the forward encampment, Wrayen began to sense that something was wrong. A clone trooper marked with the bright colors of a commander turned towards him and motioned at a nearby group of troopers who proceeded to surround the young Jedi. Wrayen looked confused as he turned to face the commander. 摘x-Tee? What is going on here?
The trooper痴 gaze lowered, and he stared at the Jedi痴 chest. 的知 sorry, Wrayen. You are under arrest, by order of the Supreme Chancellor.

Tao値in climbed the wreckage of the former Confederate base and rushed towards the plains outside of the city, his violet lightsaber seeming to dance around his body cutting through any stray battledroids unfortunate enough to wander into his path. Behind him, five loyal clone troopers dressed in full battle armor struggled to keep up with the blindingly quick Jedi Knight.
徹ne had served with Tao値in, and his former Master, for the better part of a decade and had only witnessed this side of Tao値in once: when his own life had been in danger. The young Jedi, then only a student, had saved the ARC trooper from a rampaging Asajj Ventress, and had nearly sacrificed his own life in so doing. The ARC trooper hadn稚 left the boy痴 side since.
Now, it seemed, he was needed more than ever. The Chancellor, who One and the small group of Republic commandos now knew to be a traitor, had declared the Jedi Order to be enemies of the Republic. The clones had been ordered to exterminate the Jedi, and there would be no question as to whether or not they would fulfill their orders. Though their loyalty to their Jedi Generals was deep, it was far exceeded by their genetically placed desire to serve the Republic.

Tao
14 March 2005, 05:26 AM
The forward encampment was dark, except for a few lights in the command tent. The scattered remains of the Separatist army posed little threat, and for the first time in years, the great army of the Republic could breathe slightly easier.
Unfortunately, thought Cap, we池e on the wrong side of the fence yet again. Years of searching for the true leader of the Confederate army had led them full circle and back into their own ranks. After countless tactical recon missions and dozens of extractions under fire they had learned the true face of their enemy, only to learn that he had a new name and a new arm; an army of his brothers. He wished he could convince them that they had been wrong all along, but he knew it was impossible. Even he, a completely different breed of soldier, with more independence than any of the rank and file clones, could barely understand it. Everything seemed so surreal, as the fabric of who and what he was began to unravel. He knew that it would eventually drive him mad, like the veterans of the Stark Hyperspace War that wandered the streets mumbling to themselves in hushed tones. He shook his head quickly and readjusted his handhold on reality. He still had a purpose and a mission, and as far as he was concerned, that was all he would ever need.

Wrayen slurped at his soup. It was far too hot to be pleasant, but he knew he would need to maintain his strength if he ever wanted to escape. He sighed, wondering to himself how he had gotten himself into this kind of a mess. He reached out with the Force to touch the familiar presence of his Master. At least he was still alive and well. He paused, sitting up slightly taller. Tao値in was also far closer than he should have been.
Suddenly he felt the cold weight of his durasteel shackles relax, and his hands dropped to his sides. He looked all around, but his room was unchanged, except for a small hole, the size of a coin, in the tent痴 canvas covering.

Tao
14 March 2005, 07:02 AM
Tao値in looked at the enormous spider walker and sighed. His plans, though always inventive, were rarely this devious and the young Jedi Knight was having some problems acting in opposition to his normally high moral standard. He had little doubt that he could later justify his actions to his superior officers, and even to the Jedi Council if necessary. In the moment, however, he could scarcely justify his actions to himself.
The army on the hillside was not like the others he had faced. They were not made of iron plating and computerized systems. They were not even faceless mercenaries. They were men with whom he had served and fought, slept and ate, lived and died. The loss of even a single one of them was to be mourned. The loss of hundreds would cause him great pain for quite some time. He sighed once more and sent word to One, who was perched on the mountainside high above the Republic痴 forward encampment. 的t is time.

Wrayen stood slowly and crept to the back of the tent. A small group of Republic commandos were perched in the rocky ravine, far from the main body of soldiers, quickly motioning him forward. He instantly recognized them as Besh unit, one of the groups that had gone with Tao値in to the Separatist base. He looked puzzled for a moment, wondering if they hadn稚 yet received the extermination order or if Tao値in simply had convinced them to ignore it. No matter what the reason, this may have been his only opportunity to escape, and he wasn稚 about to let it pass him by.
He stepped carefully into the shadows behind his small tent and reached out with the Force for guidance. The wrong path would lead him into a patrol of clone troopers, which would quickly complicate matters. As he pondered his next move he felt the ground vibrate and saw the familiar form of a Confederate spider walker emerging from the dark ravine and tearing through the Republic痴 ranks with a long arcing blast that razed the command tent and a few surrounding structures. Instinctively he reached for his lightsaber, ready to charge the mechanical weapon in defense of his troops. Before he could react any further, his Master痴 voice inside his head, pushing him further brought him back to reality. He was no longer an officer in the Republic army, and aiding his troops would only end in more shackles and hot soup. He pushed forward, using the Force to increase his speed through the long homestretch towards the commando unit.

The small darkened figure emerging from the tent was the most pleasant sight that One could have ever imagined. The commandos had done their job, he thought, and now it was time for him to complete his. The simple explosive devices salvaged from the battlefield would easily block the path behind them, buying enough time to find some way off planet.
He watched as the spider walker decimated the unwary clone troopers, their return fire barely scratching its rounded surface. Their gunships would take a while to launch, and the few remaining walkers had been stationed kilometers south of the primary base. They were practically defenseless. Part of him longed to be able to help. No matter how misled they were, they remained brothers. He shook his head. Decision making was not part of his expertise. He only knew his loyalties and how to fulfill what his commanding officers asked of him. At the moment, he only knew that Tao値in and the other Jedi had always been capable and worthy generals, while the Republic痴 politicians had done nothing more than extend this war to satiate their own greed. On Tao値in痴 mark he triggered the explosions and watched as enormous boulders slid down the ravine, crushing several tents and completely obstructing the eastern pass.
One quickly slid down the cliff, leaping from rock to rock, allowing gravity to carry him towards Wrayen and the commandos. He arrived moments behind the young Jedi, and placed his hand on the boy痴 shoulder, surprised by the warm greeting that the Jedi gave him. The six men kneeled behind the rocky outcropping and watched as gouts of flame arose from the base. The Republic痴 LAAT gunships had all been destroyed before they had gotten off the ground, and reinforcements would take far longer than the weakened clone troopers could afford.
Tao値in emerged from the shadows, his face hard and saddened. He said nothing, only looked at the small group of commandos and nodded. Cap quickly nodded back, replacing his helmet. 典hank you, General. We will complete our mission as ordered. He turned to his men and motioned for them to begin the ascension towards the camp to help the other clones. Cap stood still for a long moment, watching as Tao値in and his padawan began to walk away, accompanied by their loyal ARC trooper. 徹h, and General. He swallowed hard and saluted. 溺ay the Force be with you.

Tao
25 March 2005, 06:37 AM
The canyon was wide and rocky, its battered cliffs a silent testament to the battle that had taken place only hours earlier. There were still scattered Separatist forces, mostly alien commanders and their personal detachments of super battle droids. Tao値in paid them little attention and continued unmolested towards the small spaceport city to the southeast. With the attack of the spider droid, the primary contingent of clone troopers would be distracted and slow to chase down any leads. The Jedi General knew that allowing the Republic Commandos to return to the other clones was a tactical error. Even if they stuck to their plans and told the others that the Jedi and Echo had been killed, their return would be suspicious. Coupled with the inability to produce Wrayen痴 corpse and the mystery of the jury-rigged spider droid, it shouldn稚 take long for Commander XT-348 to realize that the General was alive and well.
Tao値in sighed as the first rays of morning rose above the horizon, illuminating the blocky skyline of the rural spaceport. Only a long stretch of war torn farmland separated them from their escape. To his left he noticed a stutter in the step of Echo, and immediately drew his lightsaber, happy to see that his Padawan had done the same. In this stage of the operation, a moment痴 hesitation would cost them their lives.
The first battle droid to emerge from the narrow alcove was greeted with a horizontal slash that cut through its midsection and cut it roughly in two. Tao値in immediately pressed forward, his brilliant purple blade deflecting the incoming blaster fire with a skill and grace that made it seem almost casual. The ARC trooper痴 return fire was swift and accurate, each shot impacting with its mark and sending his enemies to the red-brown soil. He wished he had a few grenades, and cursed his lack of foresight for failing to requisition more supplies when they had been back at the base. Echo saw a blaster bolt slip past the combined defense of Wrayen and Tao値in and realized that there was just too much incoming fire for even the two of them to block forever. He switched his custom made DC-rifle into auto-fire mode and sprayed a steady stream of blue laser across the enemy lines. He rolled to one side as a bunch of red beams fired back, and he suddenly realized that Wrayen was no longer deflecting blasters. Echo worried for a moment, as the young Jedi痴 form leapt to one side, rolling towards cover behind a nearby boulder. Echo stepped backwards, slowly retreating. As much as he hated to admit it, there were simply too many battle droids, and the tides of battle were not in their favor.
Tao値in ducked back into the canyon from which they had emerged, lowering his lightsaber and raising one of his hands. At the other side of the cave痴 mouth, Echo could see the younger Jedi disengage his lightsaber and raise both hands, mimicking his Master痴 movements. The rocks high above began to shake slightly, and some of the smaller ones trickled down like a light rain, producing loud metallic clanks as they fall upon the droid army. Some of the droids rushed forward, but quickly fell to Echo痴 blaster fire. Several long seconds later there was an earth shaking crash as the mountains fell in upon the enemy army, crushing hundreds of enemies beneath the red-brown debris. Wrayen wiped his dusty hands on his equally dusty tunic and smiled. 轍uite a day, eh Master?
Tao値in smiled and looked up at the sky, still the deep purple hue of daybreak. 的t has only just started, Padawan.