The scourge had set up inner defences as they moved in, hurrying to the cover of pillars.
“Get to cover!” called Jace, throwing a grenade into the troops midst. Lanyef stayed behind Jace, firing on one of the troopers, injuring him. Rak took cover, taking out a trooper in a single shot before reloading. Rebeka finished off the injured trooper as Rebeka was struck a glancing blow. Lanyef also suffered a minor burn. Jace threw another grenade into the entrenched forces as he and Lanyef moved up blasting another trooper. Rak fired on another trooper, killing him, hitting the pillar of a second trooper. Rebeka reloaded as Stebe hurried across after Rak. The defenders advanced on them, some giving covering fire to pin the attackers. One trooper went to strike Jace with his gun, having it grabbed from his hands and smashed hard into his helmet, killing him, Rak not ducking back in time to avoid a minor graze. Stebe caught a droid by surprise, severing it into pieces as she engaged a second. Jace drew a blaster pistol and ion pistol, calmly firing on two troopers, killing them outright in two shots. He took down one of the droids shields before hitting it in a sensitive area with another blaster shot. Lanyef stayed behind Jace, blasting the damaged droid to pieces as Rak blasted one of the droids, lowering its shields. Rebeka fired on the droids taking cover behind the front desk. As Rebeka dodged there return fire. Stebe whirled at another of the droids as Jace fired on one himself, damaging it along with Lanyef as Rak blasted the droid with disabled shields before him, destroying it, and then helping Stebe with a few shots. Rebeka finished off the last trooper then fired on another Droid, the droids behind the desk opening fire on her exposed position, grazing her again as she tried to dive away. Stebe cut down the droid before her, taking a defensive stance as Jace charged the damaged droid before him, destroying it with a heavy kick. Rak and Lanyef destroyed a second between them, leaving one droid remaining. Rebeka fired on it, damaging it as Stebe leapt across the deck severing the droid into pieces. The hall fell silent save for the sounds of battle occurring outside. After taking a moment to breathe and tend to their injuries, the five of them took a turbolift to the operations centre. The doors opened and they immediately sprinted for cover as the scourge forces opened fire from there fortified positions. Jace blasted 3 of the troopers as he rushed out of the lift. Lanyef dashed for the cover the raised operations area as Rak dashed up the stairs, blasting another trooper. Rebeka followed him, blasting the nearby berserker droid. It charged her, grazing her with its lightsaber. Stebe hurried out after the others as Jace through a grenade, destroying an interface and killing two more troopers with the explosion. Lanyef took aim at a trooper trying to aim down at him, blasting him before he had the chance to open fire, the Arkanian then moved round to try and flank those above as Rak opened fire on the berserker the droids shields taking a severe pounding as Rebeka pulled away from the droids, the other Berserker closing on her too. Lanyef was injured from a shot by a trooper that had had the same idea as Stebe engaged the droids, destroying the damaged berserker and causing damage to the other. Jace killed another four troopers, as Lanyef blasted the trooper in front of him twice, taking him out Rak and Rebeka blasted the remaining droid, causing more damage to it as Stebe and it traded blows, before Jace finally took it out, clearing the operations centre of all scourge presence. Lanyef began relaying the operational information to the allies with Jace’s assistance while Stebe seemed to be puzzling things out.
“This just seems too easy.” She said with a faraway look in her eyes.
“Don’t say that, that’s when it starts to go wrong.” Hissed Rebeka.
“I would expect this to be more heavily guarded.” Said Rak.
“Agreed, for such a strategic asset to be left so unprotected feels wrong.”
“Maybe it’s a trap.” Said Rebeka.
The holoterminal lost all data and was replaced by the imposing image of Taivus.
“And so you do not heed my warnings. Your disobedience continues.”
“Did you really think we would? You’re more stupid than you look.”
“You are the ones who are Stupid, did you honestly think I would leave information pertaining to my whereabouts at a factory I let run on automatic?”
“You’d be surprised how many people slip up like that.” Said Rebeka.
“Well, it is now you who has slipped up.”
There was a sudden shriek in their heads, a banshee’s shriek from there comlinks which they removed or switched off.
“I have blocked all your communications, the first action and prelude to an invasion.” Said Taivus.
“This was a trap after all.” Said Stebe.
“Indeed it was Master Jedi, I have no doubt that you will do better than most in what’s to come, but the end result will be the same.”
“This isn’t over Taivus! We’ll overcome your trap and we’ll come after you!” said Jace loudly, deafened slightly by the screech.
Taivus chuckled, “What is that charming phrase you use? Ah, yes. Try it.” He said, and the hologram vanished, reverting to the data being displayed previous. The lift opened and a member of the resistance dashed into the control centre.
“Master Jedi! There are troop transports landing all over the city, there numbers are overwhelming!”
“More targets then.” Said Jace.
“We have no choice, we will need to fight our way out of this.” She said.
“We can.” Said Rebeka, hurrying over to the computers to track the previous signal along with Lanyef.
“Anyone who would serve us better outside should join the defence,” said Stebe, looking at Jace and Rak.
“We’ll be fine.” Said Rebeka, “We’ll fight our way out once we’re done.”
They reluctantly followed Stebe into the turbolift and joined the defence. Thousands of troops and droids were marching on the control centre, the allied forces were badly depleted, but given the lack of escape, nobody looked ready to dessert. They were fighting for survival.
“The number of transports suggests the fleet above must be overwhelmed.” Said Stebe, wavering slightly at the odds.
“How did he hide a fleet of that size without detection.” Said Jace.
“Maybe something he found.” Suggested Stebe, readying her lightsabers.
“Doesn’t matter,” said Rak, checking his rifle. “If we die, we die, but we’ll take a load of them with us.”
“Right.” Said Jace. Then the real battle begun.
The scourge engaged the allies, men and droids falling on both sides. Another imperial transport came in at speed towards the command centre carrying something beneath its cargo hold. Jace took over on the heavy repeater as Rebeka and Lanyef made it to the lift to join the battle. The square was filled with blaster fire and smoke from the weapons of both sides. The transport dropped its cargo, the strange lozenge shaped creation crashing into the square, tearing up troops and decorations as it slowed to a halt before the entrance. Stebe leapt away to safety and Rak dived away in time as everyone recovered from the sudden shock. Aside from the scourge emblem plastered over it there was no hint as to what it was. Rak climbed onto it and used it as a vantage point to pick off a few more troops.
“Rak! I don’t think that’s a good idea!” called Rebeka, who’d arrived at the battlefield with Lanyef. The position of the dropped cargo blocked much of Jace’s arc of fire, but he still managed to take out several droids and troopers. Rebeka blasted a droid from her position as suddenly the cargo started to move and open. Rak jumped off as the huge droid stood up, screeching in binary that echoed across the square.
“[Death to the enemies of Taivus. Death to the enemies of the Scourge.]” It said, extending its huge claws and readying the unusual cannon on its left arm. It swung violently with one claw, striking Stebe with it, throwing her across the square with its mighty blow. Lanyef tried to hit it with ion, but the shot flew wide of it. Rak’s didn’t however, bringing its shields down and blasting it with his rifle afterwards, the huge droids armour taking the full brunt. Jace let rip on it with the heavy repeater, damaging the huge droid even more.
“You can have this thing back.” Said Jace to the gunner he’d replaced, “I’m going out there.”
Stebe held her own against the Scourge forces as Rebeka felt a moment of adrenaline, firing on the droids face plate, as heavily armoured as the rest of it. The droid took aim with its arm cannon, firing at the front of the bunker and decimating it and the people inside with heavy plasma fire. “Jace!!” called Rebeka as the droid demolished the front of the bunker. Lanyef hit it with ion, but it seemed ion shielded. Rak opened fire on the droid, more and more of its armour dented and damaged. Then everyone was relieved when a stream of blaster fire hammered into the droid and Jace emerged from the smoking bunker. The droid let out a massive screech of agony, as though several people were in intense pain, and collapsed back on the concrete. Jace blasted a couple more troops as they noticed more of the titans coming in to land. However as if in response to the increase in threat the front lines of the Scourge were peppered with blaster fire. Cheers went up among the allies as new ships joined the battle, Jace recognising them as mandalorian. They dropped their troops on Jetpacks, The leader of the new forces landing close to the Dawnstar crew.
Davik Makin, the mandalorians around them weren’t just Makin clan either, but several clans.
“Nice of you to finally join us.” Said Jace.
“Glad we got here when there was still some left to kill.” Said Davik. “Least the trip wasn’t a wasted effort.”
Rebeka climbed the fallen Titan, expecting it quickly for any sign of weakness. “The head is thin duraplate to keep the brain overheating! If you can get a shot directly into the plasma burst cannon you could destroy a fair portion of it! It also has heavy shields and armour, so hitting it with ion blasts would make it easier to take them down!” Three more Titan droids crashed into the square, one nearly crushing Rebeka who dove off the fallen droid in time.
“Our forces are divided between the battle down here and the fleet above!” called Davik, Cyare joining him at his side.”
“Do we have enough to win this thing?” asked Jace.
Davik seemed to pause. “We can die trying.”
Rak and Jace blasted a few more troops, taking out several more droids as the Titans begun to activate. Rebeka destroyed a droid straggler, as the Titans stood to their full height. Lanyef blasted one with his ion blaster, disabling its shields as Rak brought down the shields of the other two with an ion grenade.
“Shields are down!” roared Jace, blasting one of the nearest titans with blaster fire, returning fire with its burst cannon, not hitting the mandalorian, but hitting Rak with the sheer power of its shots. Rebeka hit the one in front of her with blaster fire, dodging away from its swinging claws, the third Titan throwing several of the allied troops into the air with a mighty swing of its claw. Lanyef fired on the Titan nearest Rebeka, Rak returning fire on the Titan attacking himself, Davik and Jace. Jace pulled out his blaster Rifle, taking careful aim and blasting the Titan’s cannon. The weapon exploded, taking a chunk of the titan with it, the huge droid shrieking in rage. He tried another few shots on the nearest droid, missing the first few times but destroying it’s cannon and arm as well. Lanyef heard the sounds of rockets over the battle, seeing something in the distance heading this way. Rebeka blasted the nearest Titan, still reeling from losing its arm. The sound of engines got louder, the more intact titan turning to face the sound just as First surged through the sky towards it, large claws extended and smashing it into the nearby statue, sending troops flying as the Basilisk ward droid and titan hit the ground. Rebeka was swiped by a massive claw; Lanyef blasted the droid on the ground several times as Rak fired on the damaged droid nearest as Jace charged in with lightsabers drawn, swinging at the droid and cutting portions off its armour. Rebeka added her fire to Rak’s, damaging the Titan further. The Titan that was knocked down got up as first did, the two of them locking claws, violently slashing and rending metal. Rebeka seemed to have drawn the Ire of the damaged titan as Jace was hit by a claw. Lanyef fired on the Titan trying to take out First while Rak drew his vibroscimitar, leaping at the damaged Titan distracted by Rebeka and severing several connections to its head, prising it apart, the titan collapsing as its head rolled away. Jace swung mightily at the other titan, chopping more parts off the droid before a final thrust, his lightsaber entering its head and destroying its power source, the droid shrieking as it buckled. First was struggling to keep up with the Titan, even with Rebeka supporting him with blaster fire, the Titans advanced design surpassed the ancient basilisks, and inevitably the Titan had strength enough to drive it’s claw into first, ripping it apart with its powerful claws, causing first to collapse as power and battery acid leaked from the fatal damage. The sight of a basilisk had spurred the mandalorians on; now the tide was turning now the ancient machine had been put down. Jace and the others were only more determined to take the droid down, blasting it several times and taking the severely damaged titan down before it could turn to attack them. The death of the final titan drove the Scourge back, the armies hastily retreating as there trump cards lay in ruins. The mandalorians and allies pursued, forcing them out into the streets, a cheer of victory filling the square as they watched their foes fall back.
The group gathered around the fallen Basilisk, Rebeka checking the droid over for any chance to save it, but the droid was too badly damaged.
“He doesn’t have long,” she said to Jace, “I’m sorry.”
“You were rubbish.” Said Jace.
“You were equally poor.” Managed First, parts of him sparked.
There was a pause. “You die as a worthy mandalorian.” Said Jace.
“That is all I wished. I go to meet my rider at last.”
The mandalorians gathered around it, most removing their helmets. Davik and Cyare doing so, Cyare taking Davik’s hand.
“This galaxy has no need of Basilisks, perhaps that is how it should be.” Said First, “I was wrong… You called, and they came. You are Mandalore, even if… you do not believe…” then the droid shut down.
Jace patted its hull, then removed his helmet, climbing onto Firsts wreckage; he then turned to face the mandalorians and allies gathered.
“Here lies the first and last Basilisk, like so many others who fell today. But it gave its life for the belief that we are worthy to carry its fire to the galaxy. The Scourge wants to put out the fire in every being in this cluster, but so long as there is one mandalorian, one soldier to carry that fire we will not go quietly!
We will take back this cluster; we will destroy the enemy and reclaim our birth right as warriors who follow the Mandalore!!”
The Mandalorians cheered, sending ripples out to the rest of the allies who cheered in united strength. The Battle of Nantuker was over; The Battle for the cluster was ready to begin.