Time's Arrow

At a standoff at the Kustetiera System, the young Kixi Rajki is unwittingly caught in a vicious confrontation between herself & the military leader of that system. With the weight of having to make a hard decision resting on her shoulders, she finds herself with little choice but to fire a lethal biological weapon upon an enemy that is now all but defeated. That, or watch her soulmate who is taken hostage by that very same leader be murdered. Little is she aware, that matters are by far more complex than she can possibly imagine, & that treachery runs deeper than she could even possibly begin to foresee. Unknowingly, her choice ultimately making no difference to the destiny of her beloved girlfriend, her life as she knows it is about to dramatically change forever. Soon after, an unprecedented chain of events is triggered, as she departs on a perilous mission in an attempt to change the events at that one pivotal moment of deception at Kustetiera, to save her one & only true love.

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17. Chapter 9 - Part 2

 

The noise of the swoop's engine was an echoing racket inside the garage, as both Kixi and Mako hopped on. "Those aliens are clearly below level intelligence. They fucking took off in the much slower speeder and left the much faster swoop here. What did the stupid morons think, that I wouldn't come after them?" Kixi yelled out over the sound of the swoop's engine, momentarily turning her head to glance at Mako, ensuring she had strapped herself in tightly, before facing herself forward again and storming her way out of the shed. The sound of the exiting swoop caused a loud roar, producing a loud deafening vibration, as Kixi raced out in her pursuit of her three targets. 

Swoops were long, raked repulsor craft with a plowlike scoop on the front. The vehicles were capable of seating two, were fast and manoeuvrable but hard to control well. They weren't much more than huge engines with seats and controls, and the combination of big repulsors and hot turbothrusters made for a mean, fast, noisy flier. A speeder bike was a child's toy compared to a fully dressed out swoop. Most people associated the small, unprotected craft with gangs, outlaws who did almost anything as long as it wasn't legal. Vinskk and company fitted that description perfectly well, although they had left it behind – perhaps due to the desperation of wanting to get away quickly had overlooked it, the Gran had inadvertently chosen the much slower speeder – the answer to the question was now a trivial one because as far as Kixi was concerned, she now would have the much quicker machinery, and would use it to press her advantage in catching the escaping alien trio.

Her surroundings whooshed passed her like a blur. The engine rumbled, the vibrations of the repulsors shook the ground, the sound washed over Mako who was tucked in tightly behind Kixi, in a hard bass, and the subsonics made both their heads ache.

Through her head implant, which despite all the beating that Kixi had endured, and surprisingly still functioned, she made contact with her docked starship the MXS Morihei Ueshiba.

"Take off now," came the muffled voice of her sound.

"But we don't yet have clearance," immediately came the response of the third in command, Jhes Je'Kesik in an equally muffled voice.

“It doesn't matter, we are leaving, they won't be able to do shit to you or us. They can fucking try and stop us, and we'll just leave a path of destruction in our wake as we make our escape.”

"Roger that. Your orders are confirmed, we'll be airborne in minutes, however what do you want us to do?" Jhes immediately stated the obvious, sounding somewhat dumbfounded and confused at the logic of her captain's orders.

"We are in pursuit of the three traitorous aliens. They're on a speeder which Mako and I are chasing in a much faster swoop. I need the transporter locked on all three of them, and then have them beamed directly to the brig". Kixi's voice crackled loudly through the bridge of the Ueshiba, as Jhes signalled the transport room to ready the transporter.

Kixi's sinister intents were now clear. She intended to capture the three of them. Once accomplishing that, she would set course for the Trandosha system, however stop short of entering it. In having captured her Trandoshan buddy, she would then have him begging and pleading on his knees, more so to tease and mentally torture him, while unleashing the Genghis virus on his people. She would force him to agonisingly watch the mass annihilation of his people, before throwing him and his other two accomplices out of an airlock.

*****

Kixi zoomed past at high speed through the many narrow streets, followed by some wider air traffic lanes, then back again into more tight ally ways. She zipped through corridors, missing other vehicles by the narrowest of margins, having a total disregard for the safety of anyone including herself. She approached a sharp bend, braked hard, then opened the throttle a little, hit the retros, turned, put the swoop into a one eighty and kicked up a wall of dust against one of the many surrounding skyscrapers. She could see the speeder up ahead, still a tiny blip, but she was gaining on it at an alarming rate.

And then she realised it as she kinked her head a little to the side to check up on Mako on her rear. "Fuck! Vinskk is not as stupid as I thought. Fuck! Fuck! Fucking fuck!" Her loud cursing coming out muffled because of the roar of the swoop overshadowing her voice.

"What is it?" Mako asked alarmed.

“Looks like we have company Mako. A lot of company closing in from behind us also on swoops. Hang on Mako, I've got this.”

The first of pursuing swoops, zipped past in and under Kixi's, almost catching her by surprise, as its rider went for his blaster as he dropped in to Kixi's left side. Kixi kept her swoop pointing forward, despite the imminent danger and opened the throttle wide. Deliberately nudging the other swoop as it tried to match Kixi's sudden burst of acceleration, it was the acceleration that nearly unseated its rider rather than the nudge, but he managed to stay on the saddle.

That gave Kixi the precious seconds that she needed to retrieve and activate her lightsabre. Coming in close once again, but not quite nudging him on the second occasion, the attacker's weapon shattered when it hit Kixi's sabre. The unexpected action by the Züncålazin, was enough to unsettle him for enough seconds that Kixi needed to raise her left leg up high, kick him and dismount him off his swoop. Immediately after, Kixi twisted the throttle, turned, and roared away.

However the chase was far from over. The next rider nearest Kixi was one dressed in puffy green. With the swoop's turbos open wide, it didn't take long for him to reach her. Kixi saw him coming, but he did not see the activated lightsabre still in her hand. By the time he could properly react, it was too late. He tried to turn away at the last second, but Kixi's cut sheared through the rider in green's right thruster control line. The right jet shut down, but the left jet did not, and the swoop immediately spun out of control. Kixi was past him and safe, but the wildly twirling and gyrating little craft flew into the path of another of the pursuing riders. There came a crunch of metal and plastic, as the two swoops smashed into each other and crashed to the ground.

"Well, well. Thats two down, and still a lot to go. You'd think the others would learn from example to fucking back off!" Really not so good, cos Vinskk and the others are getting away!" Kixi shouted and cursed under her breath to Mako, who was only able to understand about half of what Kixi had said under the muffled sounds of her voice, and sound of the swoop's screaming engines.

There was an extra set of goggles clipped to the handlebars. Kixi belted her lightsabre, pulled the goggles free, and strapped them on. She'd need them when the afterburners kicked in on a hot swoop, it could hit a good 600 kph. A bug would put an eye out at that speed, however it would be more than enough to catchup to the fleeing speeder. She hoped the machine's owner had kept this rake tuned – otherwise going too fast could result in a disastrous catastrophe.

"Mako. Tuck your head into my back and close your eyes, I'm about to hit the afterburners on this thing." Kixi yelled out over the top of her voice. In feeling Mako's head buried and tucked in tightly into her upper back section, it was time to let it rip.

However, the pack of swooptroops was still behind her and gaining fast. No matter how attuned in the Force she was, that wasn't enough for her to better a group of riders who were virtually experts, and knew their rakes inside and out. Kixi decided that some fancy flying would be the only chance she had in losing her eager pursuers, but it also meant that the speeder would surely escape from her clutches. Knowing she had no choice, she dropped below the main traffic lanes. They momentarily stopped gained on her, save for one of the riders, who was only a hundred metres or so back. But the pack still hadn't lost much distance either. It was only a few hundred metres behind the rider dressed in blue, and holding steady.

Kixi grinned. She knew she could rely on the Force in allowing her to make last minute manoeuvres, and allow her to ride erratically, simply because the Force would allow her to anticipate events before they happened. The route she took went more or less straight for nearly two kilometres, before it made a sharp angled turn to the right. Kixi dropped her airspeed as she approached the intersection. Anticipating exactly how to take the blind turn in advance, she understood that if one tried to take it too fast, that they'll turn themselves into a gooey paste on the far wall of the turn. She hit the retros as she adjusted the turbojets for a hard arc to the right. The swoop slewed a little, drifted to the left, then the thrusters straightened it out with a heavy shove. Easy as sneezing.

The rider behind her, trying too hard to keep up with Kixi, didn't slow down enough. Kixi heard the crash as the swooper hit the far wall of one of the many skyscrapers on the turn. The fuel cell let go, and a brilliant yellow orange flash and fireball rose into the air.

No time to worry about that. Another turn was upcoming, a long zigzag to the left, right, then left again, and she needed to keep to the centre of the corridor, which narrowed in the middle of the stretched out Z. She didn't see the rest of the swooptroops behind her, but if they wanted to catch her, they'd have to be back there somewhere. They could stay high, but to see her they'd have to be so high they couldn't possibly catch up. And if they got that far away, she could find an overhang and hover under it and they'd never find her. Seconds later one of the grey suited riders appeared in Kixi's rear viewer. He was pretty good to have gained so fast – or pretty stupid. The rider in the grey gained. He was within sixty or seventy metres now. Up ahead Kixi spotted a very narrow alleyway, gunned the turbojets heading straight for it, and went through the slot. Close enough that she felt the jolt as the rear left side of her swoop scraped one of the walls. The rider wearing the grey jacket, hot on Kixi's tail, tried to follow her – didn't make it and boom...

*****

In the meantime, the three aliens fleeing on the speeder, who had managed to lose the advancing Züncålazin thanks to the assistance from their swoop buddies, spotted the huge starship, the MXS Morihei Ueshiba hovering in the sky high above them. Vinskk instantly recognised it. Having experienced enough gruelling time with its space witch of a captain, unmistakably he understood the tactics she would try to deploy in order to capture both him and his colleagues.

“Free-Eyes!" Vinskk angrily growled, slamming his fist on one of the speeder's consoles. "Ship of fucking space witch is attempting to use beam technology to catch Trandoshan, Gran and Bothan!”

“Don't worry, I got this!" Free-Eyes yelled. He flipped a switch on a pack attached to his belt. The light went around them, phasing the cement around the speeder. Vinskk and Aeil stared at the Gran in amazement. He shrugged and grinned. "I studied it, like you told me to. What, didn't expect me to make a counterweapon so quickly? I'm offended. You're talking to-OH SHIT!" Free-Eyes nearly crashed into a pole. He swerved and kept explaining, "Antimatter particles! They're tiny, but they dispel light. I took them from her hyperdrive. She's not gonna be able to phase out of here until she fixes it.”

Aeil was busy screaming into a comlink on an encrypted channel. "Mayday, Shadownet, mayday! This is Alpha 31. I'm in need of assets on my mark. We have a woman with a bioweapon at the ready! Notify the Sith government as well, tell them this is a terroristic threat to Coruscant, and notify the Republic to Bothan Security Forces for an alien star fighter or vessel, equipped with a stealth field generator or cloaking device possibly en route to the Trandoshan System."

The comlink fizzed back, "Shadownet to Alpha 31, request for support granted. Sith and Bothan reinforcements are en route. Notifying Sith to shut down air space on Coruscant now..."

Free-Eyes zipped into the crowded spaceport, where the Black Talon was located, a spaceport at a different location to where the Ueshiba had been docked on its arrival to the Galactic Capital. It was extremely crowded as they quickly descended and went inside the main hub, taking the fight on ground. Vinskk hissed, stumbling, "Now we wait..."

*****

The rest of them were still after her. And the bad odds were still bad – very bad. It might be a long night. Or a short one...

As she throttled back for a sharp turn, Kixi heard a hoarse yell. "We've got her now! She ain't gonna win this one!"

Kixi looked over her shoulder. A swoop, engines off, dropped silently in free fall. The man on the machine wore black, his head shrouded in a flight helmet and polarised shield, a blinking blaster held in his outstretched right hand. He was about to shoot at her and would most likely hit Mako in the back first. Although if that guy on the swoop didn't light his engines real soon, he was going to turn that expensive machine and himself into a big smoking crater. As if he'd heard Kixi, the falling swoop's engines ignited. The little craft continued to fall, but more slowly.

It didn't look as if he'd kicked the repulsors on in time . He kept firing as he fell, thankfully missing, but making the other chasing swoopers move out of his way. Then the swoop steadied and got to within 50 metres of Kixi's swoop and began reeling into her position. This time instead of firing his blaster erratically in her direction, he decided to take careful aim. As she turned her head around, in seeing without any uncertainty that he had his sights aimed directly on Mako, Kixi felt the panic begin like a cluster of spark plugs in her abdomen. Tension grew in her face and limbs, her mind tried to replay Terron Hesh's attack on Mako at Kustetiera. Her breathing became more rapid, more shallow, yet now wasn't the time for this. She had to concentrate and do something – anything to stop the primal surge of her panic – that, or lose the only person she loved dearest.

"Fuck! No! SHIT!" Kixi further panicked upon realising that she would not be able to use her lightsabre to block and deflect any of his shots away. That very much being the case because Mako was seated tucked in tightly behind her, and there was no way that Kixi would be able to turn her body and safely swing her laser sword without the risk of slicing her girlfriend to pieces in the process. Yet the newcomer hotshot rider had his aim on her at point blank range. They were in trouble and she knew it. Kixi began to frantically weave her swoop from left to right in an erratic pattern in an attempt to offset the man's aim. It worked for a few seconds, however Kixi soon realised that it was futile, as not only did it help him to close in on her, but it also allowed him to let off a volley of blaster fire, with all but one shot missing. Sparks were let off in every which direction, as the blaster bolt hit a cybernetic component on Mako's shoulder. She yelped writhing in pain as it impacted her, still managing somehow to cling onto Kixi for dear life. Fortunately for Mako, no vital organs were hit.

Then Kixi sensed it, the rider was right behind her now. With the power of the dark side of the Force at her disposal, she envisioned exactly what was occurring behind her as if she were a watching spectator. He raised his weapon once more to ready his shot. Then pointing it and taking aim at Mako's back, it all seemed like slow motion – and even with the Force at her disposal, she was powerless to do anything about it. His intent – clear. The Züncålazin woman who from being the hunter had become the hunted. His focus was to shoot Mako in the back, have the blaster bolt pierce her heart from behind – killing her instantly, and then continue on and hit the rider. From there, even if the blaster did not immediately kill Kixi, it would most certainly cause her to lose control of the swoop, resulting in an impact into something, have a fierce fireball of carnage follow an instant later, and then her ultimate demise.

In that moment of chaos and confusion, it had seemed that all was lost for her – her hopes – her dreams – it was all over. Death was looming for both her and the one she cherished most.

"No! No! I love you Mako... now... and always... and forever!" Kixi cried screaming before causing her swoop to nose dive. Somehow Kixi managed to lift her legs up, swivel on her arse to face Mako, and wrap both her arms around a petrified Mako in an embrace without falling off. All while the two lovers had become nothing more than sitting passengers, in a swoop spiralling in an out of control vector towards an oncoming Monad, and to their awaiting deaths.

Then without warning, a quick flash of bright light suddenly engulfed the duo, and on the swoop on which they had only sat on moments earlier, was replaced by nothing more but empty air, once the flash of light had vanished as quickly as it had appeared.

All that to the unexpected surprise of the man on the swoop who had come close at claiming his kill. He immediately backed off, as did the other packs of the pursuing swoops behind him, standing witness to the strange bright rays of light that had miraculous saved their prey, and watched the riderless swoop veer out of control to its inevitable destruction.

The riderless swoop, dwarfed by the colossal Monad structure that loomed directly overhead, flew directly on its fatal head on collision course. There was an explosion, a ball of flame and a fist of grey smoke, as the doomed swoop plowed to its fiery end.

*****

Seeing the planet from orbit was the only way to fully appreciate the enormity of the construction. Practically all of Coruscant's landmass – which comprised almost all of its surface area, its oceans and seas having been drained or rerouted through huge subterranean caverns more than a thousand generations ago – was covered with a multitiered metropolis composed of towers, Monads, ziggurats, palazzi, domes, and minarets. By day the many crosshatched levels of skycar traffic and the thousands of spaceships that entered and left its atmosphere almost blotted out views of the endless cityscape, but at night Coruscant revealed its full splendid, outshining at close range even the spectacular nebulae and globular clusters of the nearby Galactic Core. The planet radiated so much heat energy that, were it not for thousands of strategically placed CO2 reactive dampers in the upper atmosphere, it would long ago have been transformed into a lifeless rock by a rampant atmospheric degeneration. An endless ring of titanic skyscrapers girded Coruscant around its equator, some of them tall enough to pierce the upper fringes of atmosphere. Similar, if shorter structures could be found almost anyplace on the globe. It was those rarefied upper levels, spacious and clean, that constituted most peoples' conception of the galactic capital - but now was not the time to appreciate such views.

Kixi still held her arms wrapped around tightly over a terror stricken Mako, as they both materialised on the bridge of the MXS Morihei Ueshiba.

"Captain... Captain Rajki..." The heavy voice of head of security officer General Braj'tec Qarr echoed in her head, prompting the Züncålazin that she along with Mako indeed were still alive.

Slowly letting go of her girlfriend, and allowing Arden Callis the head engineer to take hold of her, Kixi slowly looked up at large white haired towering man. She gulped, swallowing hard, still feeling the soreness in her throat from the partially healed slash wound inflicted earlier at the hands of the now gone rogue Trandoshan, and still coming to terms at realising that her loyal crew had somehow intervened at the last possibly second to save both the lives of herself, and her beloved Mako.

"Thank you." Kixi's voice came out in a soft low broken pitched sound. She was broken but most certainly not defeated.

Quickly recomposing herself upon further realising that proceedings were still far from over, she turned to face her engineer again, also taking note of a spooked out Mako, who now stood several steps behind the engineer, taking refuge in the warm reassuring arms of her third in command Jhes Je'Kesik.

"Can you not get a transporter lock on them?" Kixi asked curioriously, scratching her head with one hand, whilst placing the other on her hip.

“We tried, but—”

“But what?”

"Interference of some sort. The photons were interfering," Arden said tightly.

"What!" Kixi unpredictability slammed her fist on one of the ship's consoles, clearly not happy at the current turn of events. "They are going to escape! To contend with Kixi Rajki is to lose!". Again she slammed her fist on one of the panel's.

"You're welcome!" Came Arden's immediate response at his captain's apparent lack of appreciation, to what had been her more imperative rescue earlier on between life and death.

Taking a deep breath inwards and slowly exhaling it outwards, she immediately realised the wrongness of her unappreciative attitude. "I'm sorry Arden. I should be extremely grateful for all you have done. For that I thank you dearly and you have my most sincere gratitude."

"It's okay Captain, you're frustration given the current situation is also understandable." The engineer responded meekly.

"However we did try to catch them, but something unexpected happened. We thought we had a lock on them. I recall clearly snapping at the other officers in the transporter room when watching the empty platform, and erratic flickering of the transporters." Kixi this time listened without daring to interrupt her ship's most experienced and senior engineer.

"Erratic flickering?" Kixi finally said raising an eyebrow in curiosity.

“Yes. We frantically tried adjusting the settings, but it seemed those alien foes of yours learnt how to defend against being taken by a transporter beam.”

"Really? How?" Kixi inquisitively asked.

“Antimatter particles. They took them from our hyperdrive and used it as a counter weapon Captain.”

"That bloody Gran!" Kixi cursed under her breath.

"Well next time captain, a piece of advice, don't allow or trust any strangers to roam our ship unsupervised."'Braj'tec immediately suggested.

“Noted Braj'tec. It's my bad. I believed that Trandoshan was bound to honour. He owed me his life. I knew that he hated me, but when honour is what one is sworn by—”

“Maybe for us Captain, but not everybody sees it that way. Please don't take this the wrong way, you're one formidable warrior, but your youth and inexperience is the underlying reason why you failed to see that one coming. Fortunately while you were gone, we realised this and had the hyperdrive fixed. However I hope you have learnt by this experience, to not ever trust anyone's honour over the security of your assets and people under your command.”

The much older Braj'tec had for the most of Kixi's adult life been her mentor. She trusted in him, learnt from him – he was like her new father after her real father had expelled her from their noble House, for her secret involvement in the development of biological weapons. She simply bowed to him in acknowledgment and acceptance of his advice, and in turn the general returned a bow to acknowledge her acceptance.

Arden then spoke again, this time concerned, as a very serious sense of urgency was more than apparent in his tone of voice. "Captain. We have much bigger and more serious problems. We have just intercepted an encrypted transmission. We're working on decoding it now, but it will take serval minutes." Kixi simply nodded as everyone on the bridge fell silent in anticipation.


*****

The trio rested inside the hub, attracting attention from the people around them. Aeil's comlink garbled out, "Sith forces notified. They've shut the skies down with their planetary shield. We're probably gonna make this a dogfight. Republic forces notified, Trandosha is under a blockade. Bothan and Sith special forces are readying on your location. Keep in contact, Alpha 31."

“Roger that, Net Command.”

Free-Eyes nodded and said, "A dogfight, eh? Do we have permission to join in?"

Aeil shook his head. "Negative. Let them deal with it. We'll join in once they ground her."

Meanwhile, Sith fighter squadrons were breaking into attack formation, ready to engage Kixi's inter-galactic Defiant class starship.

*****

“They've raised the planetary shields," Arden yelled out. "Raise the ship status to Red Alert. They're onto us. Furthermore, we can't go to Trandosha, as it's being blockaded, and that's assuming we even get out of here.”

"Got it Arden—" The ship suddenly shook interrupting her speech.

“Look! Captain! That ship dead ahead. They're trying to block us!" Jhes who had been in command until the duo of both Kixi and Mako had returned advised. "Large incoming ship only 2 kilometres dead ahead. And we detect more ships on intercept vector about 20 kilometres to our port, starboard and rear sides. They're attempting to surround us. Remember we can't go up either due to their planetary shield.”

“Our immediate objective is to eliminate that large capital ship on our forward side." Kixi said taking command of her ship. "Crew, prepare to fire the Asgard beam weapon.”

"Captain, we're starting our approach. Everyone strap yourselves in." Yelled the helmsman Ālrai Tānien under the loud whooping sounds of the Red Alert.

Everyone took their respective seats. Kixi in the captain's chair swivelled her chair to the side to look at Mako, ensuring she was now okay. She then swivelled around again to face the back of the helmsman and forward view screen. She focused her gaze on the large ship zeroing in up ahead as its distinctive shape began looming in.

"You have a lock on that ship by now yes?" Kixi turned her head slightly towards Icarus Xiz'altera, the chief armoury officer, but her eyes were still fixed on the looming ship dead ahead. She had made more of a statement than question, already expecting the chief armoury officer to have calibrated and readied the weapon.

"I suspect they won't have any idea of the capabilities of our Asgard beam weapon. I expect that ship to go 'BOOM!' She also added sarcastically.

Now expecting a confirmation, Icarus however did not stir. "Icarus! What the hell are you doing? Is the weapon ready to fire?"

"Yeah, yeah, hang on, I almost got it." Icarus immediately confirmed as the Ueshiba's proximity sensor blinked and Kixi's eyebrows shot up.

"Fuck! Strap yourself in real quick now, this could get rough... Ah... Whenever your ready Icarus, fire at will!" Kixi nervously yelled out.

"We are now within firing range Kixi," Icarus confirmed. "We have a lock on that ship and I'm initiating primary ignition. Reading to fire the first two beams simultaneously in T-minus 3... 2... 1 ...

Two bright blue beams exploded out from the Ueshiba and struck the oncoming Sith vessel in unison. One beam instantly drained the shield of the Sith capital ship and several minor explosions appeared across the hull, then the second beam entered the ship and shattered it into thousands of pieces.

Immediately following, and to the utter surprise of her senior crew present on her bridge, Kixi unstrapped herself from the captain's chair, sprung to her feet, and readied herself to address them.

"My follow loyal crew – my friends – my extended family. Due to the unfortunate nature of our circumstances, I will have to make this short and brief. The time is nearing for me to execute my attempt at time travel, which as you all know, is the very sole reason why we came here in the first place." Ālrai was the only one who Kixi had her back facing towards, otherwise she stood tall, shoulders held high before her senior crew as she addressed them. Her head though, remained still, while her eyes flickered constantly from left to right, gazing upon all in whom she stood before.

"I strongly feel that now I can execute my plan more than ever before. This opportunity may take a while to come about again, or simply may never pass again, as I may have sealed my inevitable destruction by them." Kixi said frowning at her own words.

“Therefore, with Jhes resuming control of this vessel once again, you will all make your escape from this system and from the clutches of the pursuing Sith, without both your first officer Mako and me your captain as we'll be taking a Puddle Jumper back to the surface.”

"Have you lost your mind Captain?" Came the immediate protests of the entire bridge crew, and notably that of Braj'tec.

"I'm afraid that when it comes to the question of losing one's mind, I have lost mine long ago." Kixi responded in a broken low pitched voice, trying her absolute hardest to not shed a tear.

"You have all been more than loyal to me, you have stood by side during these times of hardship for me, fought for me – I cannot ask anymore from you. For all you have done for me, I thank you dearly from the bottom of my heart, and always remember, forever grateful I am for it. From this point on though, it's time for us to part ways. Both Mako and I will be on our own moving forward to execute the conclusion of my ultimate realisation – may the Force be with us all." Kixi concluded, her facial expression none other but totally consumed in sadness, she made no further effort to suppress her emotions.

"Upon our exit from this ship using one of the Puddle Jumpers, you will engage the hyperdrive from within Coruscant's planetary shield. It's the only way for you to escape, but I don't foresee it presenting you with too many problems, as it will not be the first time that you would have pulled off such a stunt before." Kixi's facial expression for just a glimmer, displayed her trademark cocky grin, before returning back to its previous downcast state.

“Once at the safe already predetermined coordinates only several light years from here, you will sit and wait patiently. Watch from afar by sending a cloaked drone that can seek out Mako's cybernetic signal or unique algorithm. She'll most likely be with me even if captured, so you'll be able to track me too. Eventually, I would have either succeeded, and yours and my presence here and all the events after Kustetiera erased. Or I fail, and I along with mako die and you all move on and start new lives here in this galaxy. In the event that the latter were to occur, and I will not hide the fact that there is a strong probability of that occurring, despite Jhes taking command of the ship, you Braj'tec who is by far the most experienced, will lead the operation of starting again, in however way you best see fit. These... Are my final orders crew.”

“You understand Captain that what you are doing is a big—”

"I'm fully aware, but such is life and the nature of the universe. I've done and am doing all that I can for Mako, if I fail, then that's just how it would have meant to be. It is pointless and wrong to further endanger your lives and everyone else aboard my ship for my own personal needs. I've come this far with all your help, and once again forever grateful I'll be. Now I'm on my own with Mako. As already mentioned, if I succeed, we'll be back at Kustetiera before we know it and forging out a new path in this timeline. If not – it's been a pleasure Braj'tec and others." Kixi concluded as she embraced Braj'tec in a huge hug.

"May the Force be with you child. We shall meet again... Sometime... Somewhere." Braj'tec whispered his final goodbyes in her ear, before giving Mako who had stood up the same hugs and blessing.

Then before they could bid their goodbyes to the rest of the crew, they were interrupted by the loud hissing sound of the bridge door opening. Dr. Nina Bela strode in and wasted no time in walking directing up to Kixi. Of course Kixi had already been expecting her.

"It's ready Captain – the injection that is." Nina said as both her and Kixi stared at one another momentarily. By their similarities in body characteristics, height, build and choice of short bobbed fringed hairstyle, they almost seemed like a mirror image of each other – almost as the only contrast was that Nina had a red tinge dye colour in her hair, whereas Kixi's was her usual straight out blonde.

"I understand you already know what you're about to sign up for so to speak, however I'll briefly run through it. The nanite replication of orb of passage, is contained inside the injection that I'm about to administer. The nanites that will enter your body Kixi, contain all the blue prints and the data that are needed to create a copy of the same device. In injecting it into you, the nanites will use your body as the means of replication of the orb – ultimately killing you in the process, however if you are captured by the enemy, they won't be able to confiscate the orb because you'll be the orb, thus still giving you a chance to fulfil your mission objective. Of course the nanite infestation of your body will not be instant, so it gives you time to execute your plan. If you succeed, upon altering the timeline, it will be as if you were never injected... And you obviously know the rest." The doctor finally concluding taking note of a very tense Mako beside her.

"I'm fully aware of the implications and consequences Doctor, but thank you anyway for reminding me. You may proceed with the administration when ready." Kixi said in a stern authoritative voice, despite her obvious uneasiness.

"You'll want to be sitting down because you may experience some dizziness when the nanites first enter your system. I've run some simulations on the computer, but nothing is as accurate as actual testing." Dr. Bela mentally filed Kixi under the 'possible mad scientist' section in her mind.

"I'll remain standing thanks. I'll be fine. Braj'tec will keep me upright if it comes down to it." Kixi quickly added before the doctor could protest.

"Okay, here goes." Dr. Bela smiled and nodded as Braj'tec took up position behind Kixi. Taking Kixi's left arm, she stretched it out fully and rubbed the skin on Kixi's opposite side of her left elbow, or what is called the antecubital space, the cubital fossa, or the chelidon. The superficial veins that crossed through that area make it an ideal spot for Dr Bela to inject the foreign substances, such as the nanites into her bloodstream with complete ease. With a disinfectant wipe of the area, the doctor put a vial of purple liquid into a syringe.

She pressed the nozzle of the injector against Kixi's skin and pulled the trigger, the purple liquid was immediately shot into Kixi's veins. Kixi clenched her teeth at the initial spike of pain, but relaxed once Dr Bela pulled the empty thing away.

“It may take a few minutes before the full affect should take place, by then, the nanites will have began to take over your body, and will even be capable of healing flesh wounds for a limited amount of time." Dr Bela explained. "How do you feel now?”

"A little dizzy, but fine." Kixi replied, her vision was blurring and she felt really dizzy. Her arms and legs were becoming slow and numb in that Braj'tec had to assist her, which she appreciated dearly as otherwise she was sure she would have fallen over.

“Kixi?”

“What?”

"I asked you what's wrong, you're frowning." Dr Bela was in front of Kixi now, her face masked with concern and worry.

"Just…dizzy…and numb…" Kixi closed her eyes, she was suddenly feeling very tired, but her body felt like it was full of energy.

"Kixi, open your eyes, Kixi!" Dr Bela was yelling now, she felt frustrated, and guilty, and worried all at the same time.

"-eel so numb…too tired to open my eyes…" Kixi was breathing heavily and her head lolled from side to side. Dr. Bela shook her shoulders, but only produced a moan from the incapacitated Züncålazin.

"Come on, you have to open your eyes and tell me what's wrong! Kixi, open your eyes!" Dr. Bela smacked Kixi, hard, leaving a bright red splotch on her cheek, and luckily, prompting the woman to open her eyes.

“What was that for?" Kixi could finally make a complete sentence, she glared at Nina and felt the numbness in her arms and legs fading. "Nevermind, I think it's wearing off, I can move again.”

“Good. Although I had expected that initial side effect to have worn off faster. Now that the nanites have taken over your body, all that is left for you to do, is summon that orb, and do your stuff before they basically consume and kill you.”

Kixi felt a warm weird sensation emanate throughout her entire body, undoubtedly the symbiotic nanites that were slowly taking over her, causing the undesirable side effects.

Dr. Bela watched Kixi remain standing up on her own two feet, unassisted by the older man Braj'tec. She saw the woman sway, but the Züncålazin managed to stay standing. Kixi then nodded the okay.

"The nanites have kicked in. Now I'm a walking dead woman, it's done. There is absolutely no turning back now." Kixi said pallidly.

Mako gulped at hearing Kixi's words, and upon the realisation of those word's significance, her face turned wan as well.

Kixi cranked her neck from left to right and reached her hand out in Mako's direction. "Come my sweetheart, we best not delay any further. The other Sith ships are closing in, and our crew doesn't have much time... I don't...have...much time left...either. It's began." Looking into her girlfriend's eyes, Kixi fought hard to hold back the tears. She had to, even though looking into Mako's sweet innocent eyes, and seeing her somber expression, made that task almost impossible. Mako understood what Kixi had done, all of what she had done and was doing, was solely for her – Kixi didn't have to, but from the word go she was determined to change what happened at Kustetiera, even if it meant failure and losing her life, she had fought every daunting obstacle that lay before her solely for Mako, and was unquestionably prepared to die for her. To the eyes of the many, the unique love they shared was incomprehensible, yet Kixi's love and dedication for Mako was well beyond any question of a doubt. "Let...us...go now. To the Paddle Jumper."

The formal goodbyes to the rest of the crew had to be left brief due to time constraints. Kixi quickly turned to face her crew for one last time as she reached the exit door.

"May the Force be with you both." Jhes, said as she clearing her throat.

"And likewise to you all as you make your escape." Kixi replied as she nodded her approval.

Mako as expected was not fairing too well in dealing with the concept of parting ways. Kixi smiled at her as she placed her soft hand under her chin. "Just turn around... Go... And don't look back when I open this door... Don't look back."

Reaching the exit door of the bridge, Kixi extended an arm opening the metallic door, allowing for Mako to step through it first as it slid away into the side wall. Kixi followed as she silently took Mako's hand. Kixi's facial expression was bleak as they silently made their way through the empty corridors and into the port side hangar bay to an awaiting Puddle Jumper. Kixi then came to a halt with Mako promptly following suit. Kixi turned around to face her girlfriend whilst they maintained holding hands. Mako returned the same hopeless stare, her eyes filled with nothing but emotional pain.

"You are going to die Kiks," she gulped as a tear slowly ran down her eye.

Kixi tried to smile, as she gently wiped the tear away from Mako. "It's going to be okay. No matter what happens."

"How... Can it be if... Your dead!" Mako's voice cracked.

“Because we'll die together, meaning that we'll always still be together Mako. Always and forever, in this life and the next, and until the end of time. But don't count us... dead just yet. Who's to say I won't succeed? Besides when have I ever failed." Kixi said suddenly becoming a little more positive and lively, as they boarded the Puddle Jumper. "C'mon, we best not stall any further, as the rest of the crew needs to jump out of here – like soon.”

*****

Arden Callis turned back to the third in command and now commanding officer. "Jhes, our trip to the coordinates of the set system should be uneventful. That is after we break through Coruscant's planetary shield. However perhaps we might want to... Wait until their Puddle Jumper is clear of our ship?"

"What! Jhes wasn't looking at the engineer, but rather she was looking at the viewscreen. She was looking at it in horror. "Ālrai! Full Thrusters... Not full impulse!" she cried. Everyone on the bridge was thrown to the deck as the ship lurched to the side. The loudest noise the commander had ever heard echoed through the bulkheads. It was the unmistakable groan of trinium, the more common metal used in the construction of ships by the humans of the galaxy of their origins, on durasteel plating, the metal composition common with many ships in the galaxy that they were in.

“FUCK!”

She didn't have to state the obvious. Their ship had collided with a large bulk freighter. However what the hell was it doing in the middle of what could potentially become a deadly battlefield – deadly in the sense that the Sith capital ships that were zeroing in on their position, would most likely open fire on them, seeing they had already turned one their ships into a heap of floating space rubble.

Jhes closed her eyes and sighed as she saw a flurry of lights come to life on her tactical display panel.

"Lieutenant Commander, that freighter was probably deliberately placed there to obstruct us. Those Sith capital ships are within firing range and charging weapons." Icarus frantically yelled out as he got back onto his feat observing a tactical display on one of his own control panels.

"Yeah I bet they're mad at us for destroying one of their ships. Fuck it, we need to go now! I sure hope the Captain's cloaked Puddle Jumper is clear of our ship. Ālrai, make the jump NOW!" Jhes ordered gasping from underneath her breath, as more alarms suddenly went berserk at the detection of the flurry of the many incoming laser fire coming inbound towards their ship.

******

The Puddle Jumper, a small, roughly cylindrical shaped ship with an angled front and rear, a shape that allowed it to slide perfectly through an open stargate or hypergate that were common in the galaxy of its origin, quickly exited from the Ueshiba's port side hangar bay.

The small ship that had once been used by the Ancients, was equipped with powerful Drone weapons for self defence, and a cloaking device to avoid detection. Although the former would probably have proven futile against the overwhelmingly huge number of enemy ships in their vicinity, the latter most certainly did not. Already cloaked upon exiting the Ueshiba, Kixi slowly began her descent towards the dense Coruscanti surface. Only Kixi could operate the ship, as the controls were operated via a neural interface, and thus what was known as the Ancient Technology Activation gene was required to activate and pilot the ship – something that only Kixi, in respect to her partner Mako possessed.

Soon they had initiated their gradual descent, the Puddle Jumper suddenly ran into turbulence and shook violently, sending both Kixi and Mako down to the floor. However Kixi soon realised that it wasn't turbulence that had struck her ship, it was a massive shockwave.

Kixi eased herself off the floor and back into the pilot's chair, as Mako also got herself back onto her feat. Kixi flinched as Mako sat down and placed her hand on Kixi's knee. Yet she didn't once turn her head to glance at her girlfriend. Instead she continued to look out of the viewscreen, as a massive wormhole could be seen opening, creating massive gravitational rifts, that had sent shock waves in all directions, including down towards the planet's surface. And then as quickly as the wormhole of the hyperspace tunnel had collapsed, the MXS Morihei Ueshiba was gone. The initial shockwaves however, had hit the Puddle Jumper with extreme force. Unfortunately Kixi quickly realised that it had done more than just cause their small ship to shake and buck. They had taken some serious damage, something that Kixi never anticipated would happen.

"We're in serious trouble!" Kixi wide eyed Mako. "The cloaking device has just gone offline."

*****

"This is not good..." Even from the surface of Coruscant, Vinskk and his company saw the beam of pure blue energy hit a Sith vessel, and just like that, it was fire and chunks of metal. A shockwave then soon after ripped across the surface as the Ueshiba jumped into hyperspace from inside of Coruscant's planetary shield, sending speeders and people flying and cracking buildings.

Aeil inspected all of this with binoculars and stopped on something of interest. "Is that an escape pod?" Indeed it was. Unknown to them, it was carrying Kixi, Mako, and a sample of the deadly Genghis virus.

They weren't the only ones to see it. Within moments of it's reveal, Sith capital ships turned their tractor beams onto it and held it there. "Strike teams are going to engage at drop point, Alpha 31. You are clear to engage as well, if you so wish."

Free-Eyes turned and asked Vinskk, "Let's kill that space witch already, huh?"

The Trandoshan clicked. The parlysis of Mako's blasters had already, for the most part, worn out. "Let us free myself of this life debt."

The three hopped back on the speeder, which miraculosly did not go flying off due to the shock wave. "Alright, here are the coordinates!, Aeil yelled as the Puddle Jumper was lowered slowly onto a clearing... A park of some sort.

*****

Mako felt scared. Kixi could feel the fear flowing from within her. She hugged her closely and positioned her head close into hers. "It's going to be okay. You're with me." Kixi said kissing her gently on her lips saying. "Remember if we go down, we do so together." They then briefly gazed at one another, speechless, before they readied themselves for what would undoubtedly be a fight on their hands. 

Kixi knew that if they surrendered, that the Sith would take them prisoner. She knew that that was trivial too, as they would execute them at a later time. However, none of that seemed to matter as she was going to die anyway due to nanite infestation if she didn't succeed in her mission. Kixi could feel the presence of the dark side of the force envelope all around her. Readying their weapons, both women attached their Ancient body shields onto them. The device would created a protective force field around their bodies. Kixi was certain that they were going to go down. This fight was going to be about how many they could take down, before they were either captured or killed. Kixi brought her lightsabre at the ready, Mako her twin Zat pistols. The rear door of the Paddle Jumper was lowered and opened.

"Today is a good day to die!" Kixi yelled out as both Mako and herself stormed out into the thick of the pending battle.

Sith soldiers, acolytes, even Lords awaited the two females in the hundreds. Bothans were littered in the mass here and there as well, holding blaster rifles, tough and seasoned. All in the crowd had their weapons turned on the two, and those who were Force sensitive reached out in a collective mind to influence Kixi and Mako, to break their spirit. Aeil, who was in the rear of the formation, pulled out a PA comlink and announced, "Surrender! You're outnumbered and outgunned severely. The Sith will take you prisoner, only if you lay down your arms now and allow yourself to be arrested. Comply, or die!" The Sith in the mass grinned eagerly, wishing to take their lives. It was clear that they had the advantage, and doubt started to seep, then cascade, like a waterfall, into Kixi's mind.

Vinskk and Free-Eyes were on top of a building close to the park where the scene was occurring. The Trandoshan was setting up a high powered sniper rifle while the Gran talked. "What do you think is gonna happen? They can stop her, right?"

He gave Free-Eyes a look of disdain and ignored the Gran as he aimed the rifle, peering down the scope to see Kixi's head. "The Jeedai is Vinskk's..."

All was a blur, the world around Kixi Rajki – ex First Prime of Sunrider moved slowly for her. She could feel the collective mind trying to influence her, however she had been taught from young how to shield against such powerful tactics. Hate and anger ran through Kixi's blood stronger than ever before. The sheer thought of the Trandoshan's betrayal and failure to comply to her command infuriated her.

She called upon the Force, summoning it to do her bidding. She pulled in one of the weaker soldiers in towards her, slicing and dicing him with practical ease using her lightsabre. Then she pulled in another and repeated her move. She spun and moved like the speed of the wind, deflecting blaster fire after blaster fire from all directions. Lastly she summoned Sith lightening of her own, just like she had with Darth Ravik on Krayiss, and fried one of the acolytes that had leaped at her lightsabre pointed at her chest. Yet the battle was futilely impossible to win, and she damn well knew it.

Kixi was fully aware that Mako was in dire trouble. This caused her a split second loss of concentration, in which she failed to sense the blaster bolt that was fired from a distant sniper to her head. It hit her dead centre on the head, thankfully her body shield protected her as she staggered backwards. She looked at Mako, her body shield was all that had been keeping her alive. However she couldn't take much more of it, and dropped down to her knees. All moved slow for Kixi, sounds distorted, the chaos around her a blur, she leaped over to Mako and with one arm brought her head and body close to her chest. Just as one of the Sith Lords was approaching.

Kixi shot him a glowering look, and then to the total surprise of the Sith Lord, turned off her lightsabre, dropped it and raised one hand in the air while still holding Mako close to her with the other.

"I surrender!" Kixi yelled out exclaiming.

"I surrender!"' She repeated glazing at the Sith Lord.

Darth Zahl stood before them, nearing 7 feet tall, with lightsabre in hand. Having unlit his weapon upon Kixi's surrender, it’s imposing glow was substituted for the gilded eye’s beneath his hood. His leather armor held tightly to him, and his muscles lay tensed long before his two adversaries came into his direct sight of view before him. Yet he knew enough about them before having made finally made contact with them, the Force allowing him to foresee their presence long before they did.

Almost disappointingly, after he had waited for her, that is the one wielding the lightsabre to make a move, but then didn’t – instead choosing to drop her weapon to protect that...thing, or what seemingly appeared to be an inferior cyborg being, the Sith Lord scowled at Kixi. Utterly disgusted in seeing the fear in her eyes, disgusted that she had no fear for her own life, but for the other she held closely in her arms. Darth Zahl immediately understood everything. The woman before him was undoubtedly versed and powerful in the dark side of the Force, yet she totally lacked the superior attributes of a Sith. Caring and compassionate, those were the fallen woman's weaknesses, as she valued the weakling she sought to protect more than herself.

“Please!" Kixi said begging. "Don't hurt her, do what you must to me, but please let her go!”

The pleading words confirming Zahl's analysis of the Züncålazin, as Kixi suddenly felt a sensation, a flash of light.

"Don't hurt her, do what you must to me, but please let her go!" Kixi said pleading to the dark lord, but this time her own words seemed to have echoed back at her. That had felt weird indeed. She felt as if she had just said those words seconds earlier, like some sort of déjà vu.

Zahl offered little more than a soft sneer, followed by the quiet growl of his voice in the darkness that seemed to envelope the area in which they were in, and in a tight and heavy silence. The others had all ceased their advancements and attacks on the duo upon the Züncålazin's surrender, and had virtually become nothing more than vicious bloodthirsty spectators. Now all that stood before the fallen duo and them, was the menacing wrath of Darth Zahl.

“All I smell is fear, and false confidence.” This time only a single edge of his lightsabre ignited, washing Kixi's direct line of view in a crimson glow. “You speak to me with such disrespect, I should kill you both where you stand.” His eye’s slowly moved to Kixi speaking once more in a more gravelly tone. “And I assure you, where you stand.” His gaze hovered on her for a moment longer before the second edge of his blade ignited, revealing the full, nearly 8 foot length of his double edged sabre. He looked at the petrified Mako once more. "Pitiful!"

His eye’s closed to mere squints, his breath slowing as he watched the two, lightsabre still at his side. The others all around waiting his next move. From that point on, both Kixi and Mako were at the merciless hands of the wrathful Sith.

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