Setting up a Defensive Position

As they headed out the door Brin’tac came up next to Geldar and whispered, “That didn’t sound too much like a Jedi to me. Master Lo, I would think, would have agreed with you. For the moment we don’t have to rush, so I would think now would be a good time to discuss the best move.”

Geldar gave him a sideways glance in agreement, but the two spoke no more. Down the hall they went and through a doorway into a stairwell. Then down the stairway they went to the ground floor. There they found that the lobby was already blasted, and the majority of people that must have lived in the building were already slaughtered as they tried to escape.

“They’re taking no prisoners,” Ivanna replied sadly as she paused behind the reception counter. “The droids are slaughtering mercilessly. Look. Here’s the body of a child lying next to her mother. She was cowering behind the reception counter.”

Tarrsk came to inspect the body and sneered at the gruesome scene. “The blast came from this angle,” he said as he stooped down. “The droid killed her intentionally and the child. This was no accident. There’s no blast in the counter itself. She took a direct head-shot from right here.”

Ivanna turned to them all, a grim look on her face. “If what the inmate said is true there will be few on this city that can fight against the military droids if the security force is taken down. If the droids caught the military officers on this city by surprise, as I believe is the case, then there is little chance that they were able to mount a decent defense or retreat before the droids wiped them out.”

“What are you trying to say?” Tso asked even though he knew the answer.

“With no long range communications on this city and no way off...” she trailed off.

“The droids will hunt every last being on this city down until they kill them all,” Lialla finished.

“And they’re most likely going to succeed,” Tarrsk finished.

“What do we do now?” asked Satchal. “Are we still heading for District Five?”

“No,” said Ivanna. “This changes everything. The droids will go to that section of town next. It will be the worst possible danger for us.”

“Then what are we going to do?” asked Tso. “Do we stay here then?”

“I think we should,” Geldar put in.

“I agree with him,” said Brin’tac. “There’s no way we’ll be able to stop all of the droids that will be attacking District Five. We need to hide and plan some other offensive if we’re going to get out of this alive.”

“Agreed,” said Ivanna. “Since they most likely hit here first they won’t come back any time soon. We stay here and recover while we think about how best to go about escaping this place.”

“I wish I had the Phoenix Moon,” Tso muttered dismally.

“It wouldn’t be in your hands at this point would it?” asked Ivanna somewhat sharply. “Don’t wish for things you can’t have.”

Tso looked at her with a defensive gaze. “Hey!” he snapped. “Who do you think you are? I’m not one of your students or even a Jedi. You can’t give me orders.” Then more subdued after his retort he added, “Master Jedi.”

Ivanna only raised a single eyebrow at him. “Excuse me,” she replied with a hint of sarcasm. “I was only attempting to bring your focus back to reality.”

“I don’t need my focus back on reality,” Tso replied. “Reality kind of sucks right now. And by the way, I’ll focus my reality on whatever I want to.”

Nearly everyone was taken aback. Up to this point Tso had always been a mild-tempered individual. He’d never snapped at anyone. Geldar came and placed his hand on his friend’s shoulder to calm him. Still, he didn’t exactly try to dissuade his friend from speaking. In fact, he said in a non-offensive voice, “He’s right, Ivanna. You may be Satchal’s Master, and I may be a Padawan so you outrank me, technically, but you have no right to order the others around at all. Even Brin’tac is not a Jedi to tell what to do. I think you may need to give them more respect and not just take charge here. Up to this point we have all decided things together without one leading another.”

Ivanna became impassive instantly. “Perhaps you’re right, Padawan Geldar,” she replied. “Forgive me if I seem a bit bossy. You must understand that I have been outside of social situations for nearly ten years, so if I’m a bit rusty in such matters it is only because I have been without companionship for some time.”

And that was the end of it. The tension in the group quickly faded away, and Brin’tac hurriedly changed the subject so that it wouldn’t have a chance to come back. “All right, so let’s set up some fortifications and make sure we have a quick way of escape. Agreed?”

“Right,” said Geldar. “We should have Lialla and Tarrsk watching for any signs of trouble while the rest of us get the place ready to defend if we get stuck in here. Then when we’re finished we should probably get some rest.”

“We’ll take shifts,” Brin’tac added. “Tarrsk and Lialla, are you capable of handling the first shift?”

“Sure,” said Tarrsk, but Lialla looked a bit haggard.

“I had a near miss at the Security Center,” she replied. “A blast bolt nearly caught me square between the eyes.”

“Fine,” said Geldar. “Who will take first shift?”

“I will,” said Tso. “other than a few bruises I think I’ll be fine.”

“Good,” Geldar replied. “Brin’tac. Do you want to take the second shift with me?”

Brin’tac nodded. “I would be honored.”

“Then let’s get started,” the Padawan said, and they all began to move about to do whatever tasks they could to prepare their temporary hideout for an attack.

As they went Ivanna turned to Satchal with a smirk on her face. “Are they always like that?” she asked.

Satchal chuckled. “Pretty much. I think the real reason they had a problem with you taking charge was because they weren’t anymore.”

Ivanna put her arm around his waist, an act that completely caught him off guard, and she smiled warmly at him. “I can see that you and I are going to get along very nicely.”

As they went Geldar watched with a suspicious eye. Jedi were not supposed to show affection like that, especially with their Padawan. Granted Ivanna was probably about ten years older than Satchal, which meant that it wasn’t above the realm of possibility to have a relationship with him compared to most standards, but the fact that she was a Jedi Master and he was her student meant that she was breaking the Jedi Code.

Now Geldar was not a Jedi who lived by the Jedi Code in every way. His master always taught that emotions weren’t necessarily bad in themselves, but if they were used in the wrong ways they could be very dangerous. Love was a great thing, and it should be expressed especially in marriage and commitment. But this was supposed to be a Jedi that lived by the Code, and here she was getting a little too close to Satchal. There was just something not right about it, and if Geldar had had his suspicions before about her they were doubled now.

Satchal was thinking somewhat along the same lines, but in the same respect he liked having the gorgeous Jedi Master, his master, show him affection. He couldn’t help but feel a certain connection with her, and he couldn’t help but instantly feel close to her. On top of that he did feel as if she were his equal and not his master. That made it feel even more right that they should be closer in a more intimate way. In spite of what the Jedi Code said Satchal couldn’t help but feel that this move by his master was right. Maybe she was just being friendly, or maybe she was just trying to get closer to him. Whatever the case Satchal liked having her put her arm around his waist and pull him close to her. He liked feeling her warm, sleek body pressed against his, and he wasn’t about to say that she was wrong for doing so or question her in any way.

The pair walked off together to find some heavier objects to use as a barricade, and as they disappeared into the shadows of the darkened building Lialla watched from the lobby. A scowl crossed her face as she stared holes in the back of the Jedi Master’s head. She didn’t know why she hated the woman so much, but especially after she’d treated Tso the way she had she was even more hating her. Now, with her being so affectionate with Satchal, Lialla wanted to rip her heart out of her chest and shoot it to oblivion.

Just then, Brin’tac came and tapped her on the shoulder to get her attention. “Are you going to see if there’s another exit?” he asked after figuring out what she was doing.

“Uh...right,” she replied, and instantly she fled from the scene.

Brin’tac watched her go and shook his head sadly. He could sense something wrong with all this, and he didn’t even need the Force to tell him that. Something bad was happening right in the midst of their little group, and Brin’tac feared there was really nothing he could do to stop it.




The End

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