CHAPTER 12

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Calo Nord's eyes opened to dusty darkness. He felt a bit of pressure on his legs, and as his goggles adjusted to the low light, he saw there was a slab of permacrete resting on top of his legs. His legs were fine, his extremely durable cutom-made armor saw to that. He sat up and struggled to shift the slab of rubble off of his legs. It shifted and he was able to slip out from underneath. Groaning and creaking sounded all around him and he realized he was still trapped under a pile of rubble, with only enough room crouch.

The built-in interface in his goggles began to map out the wreckage around him highlighting the most unstable areas. It also monitored the integrity of his armor and he was pleased to see that no real damage was sustained to it. His armor had been custom made out of cortosis alloy, one of the rarest and strongest metals in the galaxy. It was even resistant to lightsaber blades. It had been crafted by one of the galaxy's finest armortechs, and upon completion, Calo had put a blaster bolt in the man's skull to ensure the armor could never be replicated. That very armor had saved his life on countless occasions.

He chose the weakest part of the wreckage, moved himself as far away as he could, and primed a wrist rocket. He fired, and a small exposion broke open a hole just big enough for him to crawl through. He crawled through and was surprised when he looked up, he saw open sky where the ceiling and thousands of other floors should be. Smoke rose in the distance, and all around. He looked out on a dark and smoldering city, lifeless and stripped bare. How long had he been out? He brought up his vitals history on his goggles. Apparently it had been a few weeks. His armor diagnostics showed it had been giving him steady kolto injections within that time, slowly nursing him back to health. He must have took a bigger hit than he thought.

He needed a way out of this place. The Ebon Hawk was gone, stolen by Canderous and that other guy. He brought up the video feed from just before he lost conciousness and displayed the picture inside his lenses. He paused and zoomed in on the other man's face. He ran a facial recognition scan and waited for a result. After a few moments it came back with not one but three matches. The first one said he was a Republic scout by the name of Venar Moonrunner. The second showed a partial match with The Mysterious Stranger, though that was to be expected because there were no good holo images of him. The third result, though, was especially puzzling. It couldn't be, could it?

Whatever the case, he realized there was only one thing to do. The Sith would pay a fine price for bringing this man in, and if he was indeed the Mysterious Stranger then he could probably get double for the Jedi he was with. How fortunate then, that there just happened to be a Sith battle fleet overhead...

He extended his right arm and a grapple shot out of his armored gauntlet, snagging on a building across the way. He tapped a button and the line began to reel him in, launching him over an ominous and unforgiving drop. Should he fall, not even his armor could save him. Fires burned as far down as he could see, casting a orange-red glow against the lower parts of the buildings. It made it seem like there was a raging inferno waiting for him below.

He hoisted himself up onto the ledge of the other building as he was reeled in. He spotted a Sith fighter patrolling in low, heading in his direction. He retracted the grapple and primed it for another shot. He crouched low as the fighter neared, aiming his wrist towards the incoming aircraft. He had to time it just right or he would miss his shot. Just a little closer... Whoosh! The grapple shot out hitting its mark in the underbelly of the fighter. The sharp arrowhead pierced the hull underneath and lodged itself into place. Calo was swept up as the fighter passed, slowly reeling himself in as he was towed behind in the open air.

Once he was right up underneath the ship, he reached out and placed a small circular device that tapped into the fighter's comm circuits. Now he could listen in the everything the pilot and command were saying.

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