Chapter 46 - Part 2

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Ben force-jumped to the side, now a little frantic with all his equipment dead, including his lightsaber and the vital ability to communicate to his teams.

How could I have been so stupid? The Mandalorian must have dropped it while he wasn't looking. Fortunately, Til'trius should notice he was offline and update Kharn and Icol.

Dropping his blaster and pulling out his vibroknives -- the only useful weapon still available to him -- Ben pushed file cabinets and corpses to put in the path of the Mandalorian, which the Rodian quickly disintegrated. I've got to slow him down, Ben thought.

He scanned the Mandalorian's armor and where each plate separated from the other. Force-pushing the knives at his assailant, one missed, and another implanted above the left knee cap.

The Mandalorian grunted, and to Ben's amazement, kept moving, powering on his flamethrower. Ben rolled backwards, and with a sharp yank on the armor around the Mandalorian's wounded leg, he pulled his opponent down onto his back, the flames now roasting the ceiling. Then finding the knife again with the force, the Jedi pulled it across the knee, sawing against the Mandalorian's bone.

The warrior howled in pain, just as dense bursts of blaster fire penetrated the floor beneath him and hammered him in the back. Well done Kharn. Yet the Mandalorian scrambled up despite the injuries.

Ben glanced back to find a concussion pick a miner dropped, and kicking on its mass-manipulating function to its maximal level, he pulled on it with the force. The pick zipped past him and cracked down on the Mandalorian's head. Once, twice, a third time. Mask crushed and bone shattered, the warrior toppled over.

Ben summoned the pick back into his hands and nabbed a blaster from the Mandalorian's belt. A bolt whizzed by his thigh, reminding him that he needed cover. He slipped behind one cubicle, and with the Force rearranged the cubes to form up against the atrium railing, shielding him from enemy view. It emptied the floor space, but made the personal objects from SKYE employees littering the ground more apparent -- holoforms of family members, mugs, trinkets, meds, the occasional plant or tissue box.

Ben dashed across the space he created and scanned for Krul. Blaster fire torched through the office cubicles but the bolts were shot blindly, and none hit him. Krul was no where to be seen.

He couldn't have escaped, could he? It was far harder to spot the terrorist leader without Til'trius' augmentation, and he couldn't communicate with teammates with his comm unit fried. He needed to grab a comm from Icol or Kharn. He made it to the stairwell, and to his relief heard Krul's voice echoing below.

Following down seemed too easy, the recent mishap with the Mandalorian still fresh in mind, making him suspicious. At a safe distance, he powered on the concussion pick and guided it down the stairs, jangling it around the steps with the Force when the stairwell exploded.

The floor undulated, and metal, rock, and plastic toppled down, which he caught with the force before they could wedge together and bar the way. Levitating a larger rock fragment, he hopped on top, and slowly dropped it down to the third, then second floor in pursuit.

He wouldn't be able to hold on to this many objects for long. Holding his blaster in front of him, he peered around the corner and bolted to a nearby desk. He let go of the many objects and they came crashing down. Ben scanned the floor with a blaster, picked off a stray miner, and listened for Krul's voice intently with the force. It emanated from a nearby lab room.

Ben advanced, as Kharn appeared from an adjoining hallway, his blaster blazing. The soldier slipped behind the hallway corner and spotted Ben. He chucked him a comlink, which the Jedi led into his hands and then attached to his left forearm.

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