Chapter 46 - Part 1

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Ben

"All teams move in and engage!" Ben ordered. "Lieutenant Til'trius, cut the holofeed and release that painwave!"

Ben ignited his repulsor jetpack and soared with gamma team through the shaft they'd drilled, and landed on the ground floor of the six-story, open atrium.

Blaster bolts flew wildly in the smoke around him. He needed to get the Skywalkers to safety immediately. With Tiltrius' visual augmentation feed, he found them, and used the force to launch them back by the metal chairs they were strapped to, and placed himself in front of them for protection.

Where was Krul? Ben's feed showed a red-highlighted Rodian, scrambling away in the fog several meters ahead on the behest of a Rodian wearing the mask of a Sith overlord. They were clutching their ears and trying to stuff loose items in ears and saucers to dim the noise. Til'trius' painwave was doing its job.

Ben made a gesture action with his suit, highlighting that group of miners on all gamma team HUDs, prompting them to advance.

"I've got Krul," said Sergeant Icol, "Taking him out." But as Icol pulled the trigger on her blaster pistol, the Rodian wearing the holomask of a Sith overlord--one of the suspected Mandalorians--stepped in front of her line of fire, took the shot and went down. The Rodian scrambled back up, his armor withstanding Icol's bolt.

He grabbed Krul, and bathed the atrium's ghostly environ in light as his jetpack ignited and took them above. Another bolt from Icol's pistol nailed the jetpack, and the Mandalorian carrying Krul flew out of control, crashing wildly into the glass fourth floor railing and skidding across the floor.

"Do not pursue," ordered Ben, as gamma team shot down the miners that had been left behind. They couldn't afford to leave cover just yet, or they'd be easy pickings for hungry Mandalorians.

Ben gritted his teeth and shot at two other masked figures with his blaster pistol, who were busy blasting away at the speaker systems that Til'trius was using to emit the pain wave. Knowing this meant the miners would soon recover he highlighted regions on gamma team's HUDs and ordered Kharn and Graff.  "Detonators--now."

Ben closed his eyes and focused. He felt the beating of the force extend beyond his body and out into the floor, into his comrades who were firing blasters, into the miners who fought desperately back, into the air, and into the very thermal detonators leaving Kharn and Graff's hands. He guided the detonators towards the most densely populated regions of terrorists and one towards Krul. The Jedi also used the force to pull on clothes, armor, weapons--anything to drag the Rodians closer towards the points where the detonators would explode for maximum damage.

Attuned to the force as he was momentarily, he felt the sudden vacuum of life when the terrorists died in quick succession. Opening his eyes, the destruction they'd caused revealed itself in cracked floors, demolished walls, dangling electrical wires, several gaps in the building's lighting, corpses--one of them wearing a mask--and panic-stricken miners. As some turned and ran, gamma team rained death on them. But a defiant voice boomed throughout the atrium, above the sounds of fire.

"Press forward through the storm, citizens!" Krul bellowed. "The cajala chupa could not suffer the stabbing truth of our words, so they seek to silence us with their fists. Find cover, take careful shots, and do not let the Skywalkers escape alive." The Skywalkers -- they weren't safe here now that the battle was prolonged and the miners were recovering.

"Era and Graff," said Ben. "Get the Skywalkers out of here. We'll handle the rest of the miners in here, and regroup at the LZ."

"Acknowledged, Commander," said Graff. "Blacken some greenies in our absence." Ben provided cover fire for them while they freed the Skywalkers from their chairs and exited the building to the SKYE compound streets. In response to the open doors, a Mandalorian blasted away on her jet pack, following them. Their escape could prove difficult.

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