Meanwhile, Denim used the map to track the site of the superlasers--the defense to Emily's home. However, Beethoven was waiting for him. Beethoven drew his blaster as he turned. Denim pulled out his lightsaber just in time to deflect the following barrage of laser blasts. By then, he was almost on top of Beethoven, and he swung his lightsaber.
In response, Beethoven triggered the jetpack hidden under his tuxedo and shot into the air, avoiding Denim's blow and hovering out of reach. Denim looked up, waiting for a respite.
As Emily's lightsaber neared Helen, a calm certainty filled her mind. Emily was going to kill her. Oh, she'd make Emily work for it. She'd fight with everything she'd had. But she was positive, from the simultaneous memories that filled her head, that she was going to die at Emily's hands.
Her weapon came up in an instinctive parry. Emily landed and unleashed a flurry of attacks, rapidly gaining ground on Helen and driving her to the edge of the platform. Helen worked her way around Emily and away from the brink, though her new enemy easily held off her attacks and kicked her soundly in the chest, sending the new rogue flying backwards. Helen managed to recover and land on her feet, though she was again driven back by Emily's vicious frenzy. As they crossed a bridge, Helen held off Emily's brutal barrage of Form VII moves.
The two had sparred together so often that they both knew each other's favorite moves. Lightsabers clashing, they battled their way down the hall and into the control center. It felt...familiar, like another practice round, besides all the obstacles they had to avoid.
She saw the same look in Emily's eyes. "Don't make me destroy you," she sneered. "You're no match for the dark side."
They were in the conference room now. Helen's lightsaber continued, weaving light into a deadly shield against all of Emily's blows.
Emily did a backflip onto a table nearby. But Helen had been expecting something like this and didn't follow. Instead she went into a long slide, bowling Emily over.
As she fell, Emily lost her lightsaber. Helen caught it. Where's all your friends now? she thought as she looked down at Emily's weapon. Then, Emily charged her. Before she could strike, Emily was on her. Her left hand grabbed Helen's wrist, holding off the deadly lightsaber; her right hand fought to repossess the weapon. Finally, the lightsaber wrenched free, and Emily attacked again.
Out into the hall they fought, and then onto a balcony above a vat of electricity. A slender pipe led from the control center to a collection plant near the fortress's crinkled hull. As Emily's attack intensified, Helen was forced onto the pipe, where a single misstep would send her plunging into the electric vat below the glass floor. In the heat of the battle, Helen had accidentally smashed the controls to the shield generator that protected the top floor of Emily's home from attack, weakening the structure.
Crossing the collection pipe was difficult. At one point, Helen nearly fell, but regained her balance just in time. On the far side, Emily rushed at her again, driving her back and onto the collection plates.
But the collection plant had never been designed to hold the weight of two teenagers. An eruption of electricity that hung over the end of a support had provided the last straw. A huge section of the collection arm they were on broke away and fell onto the electricity and was immobilized, carrying the girls with it.
Still the fight continued, even as the collection tower slowly began to melt layer-by-layer. And still, neither girl could gain the advantage.
But that's not really true, Helen thought as she ducked, wove, and parried. Both she and Emily felt the anguish and the need to kill the other. But Emily was more agile and could shoot lightning. It gave her an advantage Helen could not match.
As the tower continued to sink, Helen looked for a way to escape. A flat chunk of metal immobilized by the electric vats was ahead. Helen took another swipe at Emily, then grabbed a hanging cable and swung out toward the platform. At the height of her swing she flipped herself into the air, landing precisely.
The platform wobbled, but it held her weight. She leaned to one side, using her stamina and stomach muscles to steer it away from the collection tower. Perhaps the sinking tower and the lightning could do what she had been unable to finish.
But when she looked back, she saw Emily on a different chunk of metal, coming up fast. "Your combat skills have always been poor," she taunted.
"I have failed, Emily," Helen replied. "So have you. I was never able to clearly think until now. Your ways are...unbalanced."
"I should have known never to trust you!" Emily replied.
"Emily, there are other ways!" Helen said.
"You are so right," Emily replied. More than one way to kill a scum...
And then, once in close enough range to swing her lightsaber, Emily and Helen's sabers clashed. Helen's breath came in long, harsh gasps, but there was no stepping back from where they were. Finally, their lightsabers locked together. Helen could feel Emily drawing on the dark side to push Helen's weapon back, but before she could, Helen made a soaring leap and landed on a ramp connected to the wall.
"It's over, Emily!" Helen said, looking down. "I have the advantage."
"You underestimate the power of your own trainer!" Emily roared before following her up. Both stood face-to-face on the ramp.
"I can feel it," Helen said. "There is hope for you yet."
"Shut up!" Emily screamed, and swung her lightsaber. But Helen swung faster, slicing through Emily's arms and one of her knees. Emily's one-legged torso rolled toward the edge. But because lightsabers cauterize as fast as they cleave through flesh, there was surprisingly little blood.
Emily tried to climb, but she was too weak from the impact. Helen looked down with sorrow at the maimed body, and at last felt tears sting her eyes. "You were my sister, Emily," she said, swallowing hard. "I loved you, but I won't help you reach such selfish ends." She couldn't see the body through the tears; she could barely make out the gleam of the lightsaber by her foot.
"I hate you!" Emily screamed.
Helen bent down and picked up Emily's lightsaber, then walked up the ramp and grabbed onto a rope. She used it to swing across the lightning, which was starting to die down, and land on a ramp on the other side of the broken chamber. She went inside, only to see Beethoven waiting for her.
Helen saw Beethoven raise his gun. Apparently he had disposed of Denim.
She was right. "Denim is dead," said Beethoven. "Surrender, or die."
"Never!" said Helen. "Your victory will be short-lived."
"I don't think so," said Beethoven. "Robots, open fire!"
The robots did as they were told. Helen used both her and Emily's lightsabers to deflect the blasts and cut down several robots. A robot fired a cannon from behind, but Helen did a backflip, avoiding it. Another series of blasts and Helen was gone.
Beethoven looked around. "Hold your fire!" he ordered. He looked up toward the ceiling. "What are you trying to accomplish, Helen?"
Helen had returned to the ramp, where Emily's maimed body remained. Helen was about to slash her when a laser blast hit the ramp close to her right foot.
Helen screamed as she let the momentum of the explosion carry her...unexpectedly, out the window. She thought she was about to die, and then she landed.
Summer and Jay were piloting Anakin's speeder, and had come up close to let Helen land.
"You had taken a pretty long time," said Summer, who was at the wheel. "You must be tired."
What? No. Summer was the only one who seemed unconvinced of my redemption. "I am...but I thought--"
"Summer's changed her mind," said Jay from the backseat. Helen sat down by him. "She believes you that you revoked the girls."
"Is this true, Summer?" Helen asked as the speeder headed to Helen's house.
"Yes," Summer replied. "You don't always have to ask people that."
Meanwhile, Emily was taken to a medical center. The amputations were a simple replacement; Emily was refitted with a mechnohand and mechanical legs in less than an hour.