Luke dragged his lightsaber along the ground, kicking up sparks behind him as he approached the door out of the Vespira’s airlock and into its main halls. The crew was a flurry of questions and requests for orders. Finally, Revain took it into his own hands, banking the Vespira hard enough to knock Luke back away from the door; buying them precious seconds.
Other than Cassidus, none of them understood what was happening. Why did Luke seem so furious? Even Vince reached out with the Force hoping to calm the Jedi. His message was not well received. Luke still approached…and so did more enemy ships. Revain had no choice but to blast forward into Ruusan’s atmosphere. Vai and Major Orso followed closely in their fighters.
Thrawn’s hail displayed on the command deck, “Sensors detect you’ve entered Ruusan’s atmosphere. Scan the surface immediately and transmit the data to the Chimaera.”
Cassidus obliged while Revain focused on keeping them in one piece.
“Skywalker is here,” Cassidus mentioned.
“I’m aware Dr. Kade. He should be.” Thrawn responded.
“No,” he spoke a bit quieter, “he’s on the Vespira. Uh, one of our crewmates fired on him accidentally.”
“I see,” Thrawn said carefully. “No doubt a result of the chaos of battle. Talk him down, Dr. Kade. And land as soon as possible.”
Thrawn ended the communication and Cassidus took to the ship’s internal comms.
“Gene-…Master Skywalker,” he fumbled with what to call the Jedi, “I’m sorry, but no harm no foul, right?”
Grifflar leaned on the wall beside the door into the bridge. Luke stood on the other side about to barge to in. He stood still at the door and looked around for the camera to respond to.
“I should’ve known not to trust you,” he said. “Why did you try to kill me?”
“You stand between me and Moff-dom, Luke.” Cassidus responded. “But it doesn’t have to be this way. I just need you to disappear after all of this is over.”
The door slid open and Luke looked at Grifflar, the stormtroopers, and the rest of the bridge. There was a silence before he sighed and responded, pointing at the main screen.
“Maybe we should talk about this later.”
Six surface-to-air missiles were approaching the Vespira. Sy and Vai swooped in and blasted one each out of the sky, leaving four still barreling toward the vessel. Vince grabbed one with the Force and smashed it into another, detonating both before they could make impact. The last two flew past them.
As they cleared the clouds, they revealed a landing platform built into a rock face amongst a range of mountains and green and gold plains. There, two missile turrets and several Acolyte forces fired on the approaching ships. Vince blasted one of the turrets from his battle station and took a chunk out of the platform. Steam poured from the nearby piping.
Revain piloted deftly on a now smaller landing area. His approach was hot, causing the Vespira to slide to the end of the platform and begin to teeter off. Vince and Grifflar hopped off the back and it teetered more. The stormtroopers stepped back slowly and they could feel it return to even keel. Luke and the rest of them exited the ship and onto the platform.
Sy took maneuvers to prevent a lock from the remaining SAM turret. He destroyed the missile platform and made a quick landing before hopping out and taking cover. Vai made an attack run as well, blasting through the Acolyte’s cover, damaging more of the piping, and raining fire on a few soldiers. He landed beside Sy and posted up.
Blaster fire filled the air as the crew and Acolyte soldiers traded shots. Most took cover, but Grifflar rushed in, jumping over a small chasm and through burning hot steam to grapple and suplex one of Vextan’s forces. The blow and steam caused resulted in an ungodly scream. He could only get one shot off on the Wookiee before he died from his wounds.
Cassidus took a shot from afar but fumbled with his blaster pistol. He misfired on the piping he took cover beside, but the steam thankfully shot out from the bottom, causing him no harm. Revain took cover and fired beside him while commanding two stormtrooper squads before he relinquished one to Sy.
Luke surged in, jumping dozens of meters, to land between two of the soldiers already harmed by the crew’s onslaught. He sliced them both in half before a third fired his massive blaster cannon at the Jedi. He deflected the shot back at the soldier and killed him as well.
To Luke’s surprise, Vince followed suit; achieving a Force-surged jump of his own to land behind one of the enemy officers. The Jedi cut off his hand before he fired back with his remaining blaster pistol, screaming into his comm for the GAT. Vincenzo redirected the shot, finishing off the officer.
The hangar-sized doors behind them began to open and a Ground Armored Tank (GAT) raised into view on a massive elevator. It rushed in, slamming into Luke, and decimated their stormtrooper support. Sy managed to fire on essential parts to slow it down, but it raged on.
“Luke!” Grifflar called out in his native tongue. Luke understood. “Throw me!”
The Jedi gave him a sharp nod and flung the Wookiee, legs-first, into the tank; damaging it further. Grifflar gave it another blow and supplemented Sy’s damage enough to stop the tank in its tracks. Still, its turret and missiles were a massive threat and Vai knew it. He slid in beside the tank and placed explosives perfectly in place, setting it for what he knew would be a huge blast before he warned the team.
Most of them booked it to the elevator while Cassidus and Revain remained on the opposite end of the platform near the ship. Vai turned and gazed at his handiwork.
The explosion was massive. The flash blinded them for a moment and when vision returned, they saw the burning chasm, over forty meters wide, that it left behind. Unfortunately, this didn’t do well for the platform’s structural integrity.
It began to dip as the beams of metal groaned. Revain and Cassidus rushed into the Vespira as it started to shift toward a fall. Their half of the platform gave way as Revain powered up the ship’s systems. They fell out of view and the platform crashed down the mountain’s side.
The Vespira raised back into view through the black smoke of the explosion and landed on the half the others stood on.
The pair popped out and, buzzing with adrenaline, Revain shouted, “Did you see that?!”
They rushed to the elevator, began their descent, and caught their breath.
“I knew I felt power within you,” Luke said to Vincenzo through heavy breaths.
“I have so many questions,” Vince responded.
Luke placed a hand on his shoulder. “I know. I have answers.”
The elevator doors opened slowly to a ground level. Before them was a gorgeous plain of green pasture and distant mountains. A small temple sat upon a hilltop. Its grey stone shining in the sun.
Yet, to their right approached a battalion sized unit in the distance. More tanks, more soldiers.
Luke turned to the crew. “We need to go.”