CHAPTER 8

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Mission leaned over the edge of a small lookout down the street from the apartment. The few benches and potted plants were neatly maintained. She looked out over the city as far as she could see. The sky had turned a shade of gray and rosy red as the sun began to set. She watched the many air cars and speeders fly about through the sky lanes.

She had seen the smoke rising off in the distance from the skirmish Bastila had told them about. She couldn't believe the people were actually starting to fight back. She expected that from the Lower City inhabitants, they were accustomed to fighting as it was. Something had changed, and she wasn't sure if it was for worse or for the better.

She was going to miss this place, her home. Sure, it wasn't the best place to live as a twi'lek; it certainly had more than its fair share of problems and bigotry, but it was her home. She knew Zaalbar was going to follow Venar and the others now, because of the lifedebt, but part of her did want to stay behind. Not that she had anyone left here to stay with, it was more she was just used to the environment the planet bestowed. There was still so much of it she hadn't seen.

Suddenly, loud thunderous booms echoed in the sky. She heard several screams off in the distance and as she looked up, she couldn't believe her eyes. The silhouettes of the Sith dreadnoughts seemed closer than usual, and the space around suddenly lit up with a crimson glow as they all began to unleash a torrent from their laser cannons. Brilliant red beams of light streaked down towards the surface of the planet, like comets of pure destructive light. The first plasma bolt hit a skyscraper several miles away, cutting through the top and disintegrating the upper portion in a fiery ball of flames and debris. The scene was replayed over and over as more and more plasma bolts rained down on the planet sending fire, smoke, and rubble into the air.

Tears began to stream down her face and she fell onto her knees. She felt a giant pit in her stomach as she watched her world literally come crumbling down around her. She saw a Sith fighter come flying through the air in her direction and watched a brilliant beam of light seared through it sending it flying into the side of a building and erupting in a ball of flame. She barely even noticed the furry arms of her Wookie companion wrap around her from behind as he began to drag her away back towards the apartment. She didn't fight him. Her body simply went limp as she watched the city begin to burn.

The hangar door slid open just as a violent tremor shook the whole compound. Venar nearly lost his balance as the floor shook and deep thunderous boom echoed throughout the mansion. Alarms began to wail and they slipped inside the private hangar just as the sounds of running footsteps began to jump off the walls outside. The two men readied their blasters expecting the footsteps to be heading their way. They waited a few moments and the sounds of the men running gradually dissipated.

"What's happening?!" Venar shouted over the sounds of the klaxons as another tremor shook the mansion.

"I don't know but we need to get out of here and fast!"

The hangar held a single ship, a light Correllian dynamic-class freighter. It was gray with parts of it a reddish-orange color. The rear end of the ship held two circular engines. There was a small console next to the ship that controlled the hangar door and the locking mechanisms for the ship.

"Tee," Venar said, "we need the ship unlocked and the hangar door open." T3 beeped in acknowledgement and slid over to interface with the console.

"Well, well, well," came the familiar voice of Davik Kang. Him and Calo emerged from a secondary access way. "Looks like we have thieves in the hangar."

"Oh uh... we were just looking for the refresher..." Venar said.

"Let me take care of this, boss," Calo said as he drew twin blaster pistols from within the folds of his coat.

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