An Alternate Path

An explosion rocked the plaza near the heart of Cloud City as a larger military droid wheeled into the area turning its heavy repeaters and grenade launchers on the citizens of the fledgling mining town. Everywhere pandemonium reigned as droids of every kind turned on the living and began to kill them with anything they could use. Appendages normally used for welding or hammering or drilling were now used to batter torch or skewer their prey. Hands that once were programmed never to harm were now grabbing heavy objects and smashing vital organs or simply gripping the necks of their victims and squeezing them like a vice.

It was into this scene that Kazzra’an found himself. He was a young Wookiee with deep brown fir with white or gray highlights. A streak of tan colored fir dominated the hair on his face and streaked down the center of his chest with some traces of white and gray as well. Other patches of a deeper brown seemed to mar his face stemming from his nose down the right side of his face and from the left corner of his mouth to his neck. The left side of his face around his eye was also a deep brown, and unusual to most Wookiees that eye was also a deep brown while the other eye was a light blue.

Beneath these already rather odd features Kazzra’an was hiding the terrible scar tissue that marked his time in the Trandoshan torture facilities. There his right hand and the left side of his face had been terribly burned and looked very shriveled and withered. Due to the aid of Master Orruwarr and some Republic physicians, whom Orruwarr had taken Kazzra’an to, new skin and fir were grafted in the place of the damaged skin, at least as best as they could manage. Still some patches of scars remained, but for the most part the new darker fir covered it. It now seemed to be more of an odd fashion statement than a deformity.

As for the eye color being different physicians could not determine the cause. Since the eye had been discolored when Orruwarr found him in the Shadowlands some time ago no one could be certain when this change occurred or why. All they could speculate was that the tormentors must have caused this change or that some chemical within his body had altered the color of his eye for some reason.

Kazzra’an dove under a table he’d just tipped over and considered how best to survive this terrible scene. Everywhere people were screaming and fleeing for their lives. No one could figure out why everything was falling apart. Explosions were shaking the streets as vehicles driven by droids smashed into buildings or other vehicles and disappeared into a cloud of fire and debris. Other vehicles mowed down fleeing citizens like blades of grass. It was horrifying, and Kazzra’an would never get the images or shrieking voices out of his mind as long as he lived.

The military droid shot a Sullustan female down right in front of Kazzra’an as he pulled out his bowcaster. Using the table as cover he took several shots at the droid, but he did little against its energy shield except catch its attention. Now the droid had labeled him as a threat, and it began to focus more of its attention on him. Wheeling in his direction it began to blast holes in the table. Kazzra’an knew he had nowhere to run, and he was seriously doubting he could succeed in defeating the droid in a one-on-one match. His only hope was to improvise.

The droid wheeled closer as more and more of the table was blasted away. It wouldn’t be long before it either blasted enough of the table to hit him or was able to come around the table to hit him at point blank range. Still, he bided his time waiting for just the right moment. If he succeeded in his plan he’d live. If not at least the civilians in the area had been given the chance to escape.

The droid stopped moving as it continued to pummel the table boring holes in it like a drilling machine. Then, all at once, Kazzra’an grabbed the table, gave off a battle roar, lifted it into the air to cover all but his legs, and charged at the droid. The droid continued to blast the table, unable to compute a different course of action. He smashed the table into the droid’s shield unit and began to shove it backward towards an open manhole which one of the fleeing citizens had managed to open in his attempt to escape. The droid had unwittingly wheeled right around in front of it before it stopped, as Kazzra’an had hoped.

The droid slowly moved backward as it continued to fire at point blank into the table. One shot managed to hit Kazzra’an in the side, but he ignored it and kept pushing harder. Finally, the droid’s right rear wheels hit the hole, and just as he’d been hoping its square base tipped into the hole causing the droid to flip onto its back. Not wasting any time he grabbed his bowcaster, plugged it into a hole in the table, and began to fire nonstop. The droid’s shield held only for a short time, but at last he managed to penetrate it and blow the droid to smithereens. With the droid’s base partially stuck in the manhole there was no way it could push itself into a position to strike back.

With the military droid gone Kazzra’an finally had a chance to escape. All about chaos still reigned, and he saw that there was no avenue of escape in the streets. The manhole into the sewers would be his best bet. Shoving the droid’s base out of the way enough to squeeze himself through he dropped into the sewers and took off down the tunnel to his right. He only hoped he could find some place to hide until he could figure out what was going on.

The End

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