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Chapter 54

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Chona pounded her fist on the flight console in frustration. The Kur'zo had announced to the solar system that it had captured the Halcyon, and Chona could feel her revenge slipping away like a tide rushing out to sea.

The education of the Skywalker boys to their true nature had just been the beginning. The next step, the critical step, was missing. They needed to know and she needed to know, that Chona, a citizen of Rodia, had snuffed out their lives.

She had wanted to be there, to force Anakin's head into place with her bare hands, as he watched Owen's final dying screams. Or would it have been more poetic to force them to only hear each other, unable to see each other and support each other in their final moments, much as the cajala chupa had forced so many Rodians to die far flung deaths throughout this wretched galaxy? She had not yet decided, and now she would never taste that joy.

A flashing red emergency warning on her HUD brought her back to reality. Chona read the warning text. Ah! That was the problem -- her fist had hit the jump button. Thank the ancestors that the designers of this ship had a built in failsafe. There were simply too many particles in the solar wind this close to the suns, and accelerating into the solar wind faster than the speed of light would crack her ship apart, not to mention turning it into one hell of a relativistic missile for any ships in the way, which...

She ran a few calculations. They were close enough. Her ship would be mostly disintegrated by then, but at that speed even those pieces would be more than enough to destroy the Halcyon. The tricky part would be lining up the shot; it was basically impossible to track a target as she accelerated into hyperspace. Yet the Kur'zo had taken care of that with its tractor beam.

Dare I? Chona licked her lips with anticipation. She would lose her ship, but what a small price to pay for satisfaction.

Carefully, she made her final preparations. One and a half hours of emergency air, enough for someone to come by and pick her up, and she would sweeten her emergency beacon with an offer of a few creds. The Kur'zo had not changed its course towards space station Zadu, so she could be confident of its trajectory. The autopilot and emergency overrides were in place.

With a prayer to the ancestors, she initiated the hyper sequence and watched the countdown. Just before one, she pressed the eject button, and watched her ship streak into infinity.

* * *


Anakin glanced up at the nav to see the Kur'zo pull the Halcyon further and further from the h-point. Frustrated, he went back to writing a message to Hollis, when the premonition came. There was no warning signal from the Halcyon, no red lights or high pitched wail. Just an overwhelming sense that a gigantic force with a hammer was barreling down at him, ready to squash him like a gnat. The back of his neck tingled, as if he could sense the wind being pushed forward by a charging giant.

He didn't think, he simply reacted. There was no cover in sight and the Halcyon was locked in step with the Kur'zo's tractor beam, but there was still one maneuver left to him. Anakin threw the Halcyon into max thrust, while simultaneously angling the tractor beams to push against the Kur'zo. The maneuver pendulumed the Halcyon around the Kur'zo, placing the Kur'zo in between the Halcyon and whatever it was.

* * *


Jerod crossed the cargo bay awkwardly in his uncomfortable evosuit. He had to speak with Anakin, encourage his son after all he'd endured and tried to do for everyone. Jerod had to say something while he still could, before they were separated.

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