Up with the Bounty Hunters and the cloned Bioweapon Jacobs, Ben was having second thoughts. Yes, given the levelof interest in Jacob the bounty hunters might be able to get some decent money even for a clone – but it certainly wasn’t wise to let them take them away, even with some space-moss paneling and a massive supply of sophorics to help keep each one restrained!
On the other hand… It wasn’t like he could STOP them. The only reason they weren’t fighting over HIM was because his bounty was minuscule compared to Jacobs. He was simply a way to get at Kira or Jacob.
He settled for trying to make the operation as secure as possible. Besides, while these Jacobs were grossly-powerful force-predators, one or two in any one spot could be handled. It was the prospect of hundreds at a time that looked like an absolute disaster.
It would still kill a lot of people though. At LEAST one of these idiots was bound to slip up…
Wait! Maybe he could do something about it! He had some stasis mines, if he could feed them enough power he might be able to black stasis the entire temple!
Well, the power systems evidently had lots of reserves… He told Alys what he had in mind and headed for the power core.
Alys had to agree. Some time in stasis would be a small price to pay to keep the weaponized Jacob’s from getting out. She’d keep watching over the droids who were watching over the Jacobs while he headed for the power core.
Lazlo, meanwhile, was checking his Email. It was a bit early – even if the Anti-Jedi were only a few hundred feet away they’d surely be routing their messages through a dozen nearby star systems just to conceal that fact – but most of the current chaos in the temple was probably beyond his help. Why not work through a little more of his backlog?
Sadly, as it turned out, communications in and out of the temple were limited at the moment. Not too surprising; the military was trying to seal the place off after all.
Then he discovered social networking, and was never heard from again – or, more accurately, decided to bodyguard Alys while she ran the droids. With all those lunatic bounty hunters running about the temple, she could easily get ambushed while she was running the droids.
Back with Kira…
With any help from the Jedi Council and the military likely to be a long time in waiting, I started evaluating different plans of attack for the remaining enemies running around. The Bounty Hunters were a simple matter of dodging and bludgeoning unconscious whenever I found them until this crisis was over. The HoloSith that were attempting to loot the place were either dead, unconscious, or fleeing so they no longer posed much of an organized threat. That left the Sith running around trying to kill everyone in the Temple. Given their use of bacta viruses, I suspected these guys had to be Baramour. The reckless use of bioweapon plagues was definitely top priority given that we were on Coruscant. Unfortunately, my ability to just outright kill a major Baramour assault by myself was not something I had a lot of confidence in.
Hmm, I am in the middle of a major warehouse full of stuff the Jedi thought prudent to stash away hidden from the rest of the Galaxy. Well, except for the stuff I had just blown up. I wonder if anything in here might be of use to me in the coming battles? Well, this was as good a time as any to practice using the Optimize technique against my Precognition. That ultimately directed me towards four different items: some sort of grenade, a piece of armored plastic from the remains of a packing crate, a battery for a lighting system, and a chunk of blue crystal.
I found the package description for the grenade readily enough. That apparently was some sort of antimatter grenade that took the radiation blast and used it to power a lightsaber type of effect capable of rendering nearly a two kilometer radius into atomic vapor. I suspect the damage from such a blast would extend well beyond that sort of range though, if not nearly as thorough. I just hate to consider the scenario that might call for me obliterating that much of the city. On the other hand, I couldn’t think of a more thorough way to sterilize a region while being able to hold it in my hand.
Right, that is going into one of the secure hidden pockets.
The piece of packing crate was a tough plastic material. While it wasn’t particularly effective as a stabbing or slashing object, it might prove handy if I need to interrupt an electric circuit I suppose. Another item for the belt then. The lighting battery wasn’t the same style as my power cells. I had no easy way of checking the charge on it, without licking it anyway. Perhaps I will run across something that needs to be powered.
The piece of crystal though was an enigma. It didn’t look like a piece of a holocron, and it wasn’t the right shape for a lightsaber crystal. It did have a rich metallic blue color to it. Something about it reminded me of that red glass knife Valerie likes to carry around. Apparently there was something about it worth stashing away in a secure warehouse like this. Part of me idly wondered if it might be an antimatter crystal with a thin layer of monopolium between me and annihilation.
There was a sobering thought.
My precognition though was generating more detail about the Baramour plan however. It looked like the general plan was to seed the Temple with a number of virulent plagues, and then set the Temple’s power system to overload. The hope was that the blast would kill most everything in the Temple immediately, followed by a rapid dispersal of the plagues across the planet as pieces of the Temple went on ballistic trajectories across Coruscant. At which point it would look like the Jedi had been secretly stashing away multiple deadly plagues on Coruscant and had lost containment during a horrific accident. As far as plans to discredit the Jedi went, it wasn’t half bad, but it was seriously vulnerable to backfiring if anyone caught on and let the word out.
Like I am going to.
(Kira) Alys, it looks like the Baramour plot to detonate the main power core and use the explosion to disperse a number of deadly plagues across the planet.
She promptly started swearing up a storm.
(Kira) Warn the military and record your conversation with them. After that, contact Ben and see if he can produce some sort of a miracle.
(Alys) A miracle?! What the hell sort of miracle are you wanting that you think he can produce on demand?!
(Kira) Putting the entire Temple into stasis would be a nice start, but whatever he can come up with to slow down or stop the Baramour from unleashing plagues and detonating that power core. I’m flexible.
(Alys) Fine, we’ll see what we can do.
(Kira) If he does create a stasis effect, try to give me at least a few seconds warning so that I can be prepared for it. I would rather not be stuck here waiting for rescue for an indeterminate amount of time.
(Alys) Alright. Ben is already on his way to the power core to intercept the Baramour.
(Kira) And I am going to see what I can do about those plagues in the meantime. Once I finish those, I am heading to the power core to support Ben.
Ben and Vi had managed to give the bounty hunters the slip while they were occupied with stocking up on Jacobs – mostly by virtue of Ben trying the invisibility trick again and Vi claiming that he had vanished into elsewhere again. At least no one was interested in Vi yet…
Vi was passing the time while he headed for the power core with placing bets and playing the stock market… Once the news of what was going on here got around, plenty of people would react quite predictably – and money was ALWAYS useful! He could make a small killing!
Along the way they had the misfortune to run into some bounty hunters with enough sensors to pick up Ben’s presence by non-visual means, and had a short battle – but Ben was pleased to note that he was now good enough with screens and phasing to handle most bounty hunters!
OK, admittedly it was by weathering the first storm of shots, dropping a stasis mine, and running away and closing some doors – but it was still an improvement over the last half a dozen times around.
The power core itself though… It was at least a cubic mile, and probably more! Most of it a hypermatter reactor! Far bigger than you needed to run a super star destroyer, and fully charged! There was enough destructive potential here… What could they POSSIBLY need…
It was OLD too. Well-maintained to the point of being periodically rebuilt – but OLD. Perhaps older than the Republic…
No wonder the place had been able to hold off the Yeveetha. This was a stronghold that went back to the Infinite Empire. It might not be able to withstand a Starbreaker beam, but with it’s shields full up it could weather the local sun going supernova.
Much, MUCH, worse was the fact that the Barramour were already here.
Worse to the point of utter catastrophe was that Jarik was leading this group.
With that finished, I reached out with my Force senses and tried to pick up the Baramour running around. I did sense four different teams running around the perimeter of the Temple dropping off plagues in their wake. The nearest one of those plagues was approximately five hundred meters to the southwest. Shutting down my Force presence again, I started to move rapidly towards the nearest cache of plague.
<Kira> Valerie, you may want to retreat a good distance away.
<Valerie> What now?
<Kira> Looks like the Baramour are planning to detonate the main power core and use the explosion to spread their plagues across a good section of the planet. The projections I am getting regarding the size of the explosion and resulting death toll are not encouraging.
<Valerie> Just how bad is it?
<Kira> The explosion I figure will leave a crater tens of kilometers across. The plagues are projected to kill at least a trillion if they get dispersed like that.
<Valerie> Of all the stupid…. what in the Galaxy are they thinking?! That sort of stunt will draw massive reprisals for certain!
<Kira> Well, they hope to pin the blame on the Jedi storing bioweapons in their vaults underneath the Temple. Alys is trying to undermine that by informing the authorities, while Ben and I try to thwart their plans directly.
<Valerie> Right, if the Baramour survive this, they are not going to find anywhere in the Galaxy to be safe haven any more.
I couldn’t help but agree. Valerie agreed to find someplace safe to hold up in for the time being while we seemingly battled for the fate of Coruscant and the Jedi Order. It was nerve-wracking how often I seemed to be put in the middle of these types of scenarios where a minor slip up in my performance could doom hundreds of millions to death. Where were the Jedi Council and Welhem when I needed them?
Finally I reached the first plague drop off. It was on the other side of the wall from me. I wasn’t about to phase through the wall just to get line of sight when there are safer ways to be going about this. I reached out with the Force and quickly verified that no one was on the other side of the wall, but I was able to detect the plague canister slowly leaking it’s lethal contents into the room. After I established a firm grasp on the plague and most of the contaminated contents of the room, I simply pushed with the Codex. I felt the disconnect occur along with the rebound back upon myself from the transistion I had just forced. Luckily my status as a Hybrid, plus the generally non-living aspects of what I was pushing against made the pushback managable.
Off to the next one.
It looked like the Baramour were dropping another canister of whatever plagues they had concocted every quarter kilometer or so. They were bypassing the bigger barriers where they found them, but still largely had to obey simple rules of walls and such. This slowed them down greatly, whereas I didn’t need to pay any heed to such minor obstacles and I could move in Hypertime. That ensured that I was rapidly gaining on the team ahead of me as I caused plague after plague to experience a sudden existence failure.
Soon enough I had caught up to the first Baramour group. By this point I had shut down my Force presence as best I could during my approach. I hugged against the wall that lay between me and them and listened to the sounds penetrating the wall. I couldn’t make out what they were saying, but there were definitely more than one in there arguing about something or other. Right, I took off one of the belts of thermal detonators I had collected, activated the timers, and phased through the wall. It would have been embarrassing and awkward to say the least if I had found a pair of Jedi on the other side of the wall, but luckily everyone looked to be a typical Baramour or an assistant. They turned to look at me as one of them pointed my direction. I simply tossed the belt of thermal detonators into the middle of the room where the plague canister was sitting.
(Kira) Consider this a token of my affections for you guys.
I then phased back through the wall I had come through and ran in Hypertime down the hall behind one of the heavier walls. Even in Hypertime I felt that explosion go off as the floor shook under my feet. Now it was time to run back down the hall and kill any survivors. The wall I had phased through had been blown out into a twisted mass of metal. Through one of the holes in it I could see that both of the Baramour had survived that attack but the assistants were all either dead or dying. Pulling out my blaster, I began to fire heavy burst shots at the pair of them, striking one solidly in the chest as he fell to the ground. The other one dodged away to the side and outside my line of sight to my right.
I discarded the smoking remains of yet another blaster and began phasing through some more walls while using the Force to track his movements. I quickly ended up in front of him as he attempted to spray me with some sort of purple gel. Falling backwards to avoid the spray, I planted my hands against the floor and slammed my feet into his chest with as much Force Strength as I could muster at the moment. He impacted the ceiling and then landed on the floor on his feet. Apparently this one was the more powerful of the two in this group.
Out came his lightsaber as he charged at me. I flipped backwards off the floor and drew my own lightsabers to meet his charge. His strikes came in fast but not particularly skilled as he tried to push me back against the wall. All the sparring with Valerie was paying off as I quickly chipped away at his defenses and proceeded to push him back instead. Finally I managed to knock his lightsaber to the side with one swing while bringing down my other lightsaber on his wrist. That neatly severed his hand and disarmed him of the lightsaber. Knocking him unconscious and then putting him into stasis was going to be a simple matter now that he was running out of attacks. Valerie was going to get the Baramour she wanted after all.
That split second precognitive warning was all I got as I leapt up and backwards. I felt the massive explosion wash over me but cause little damage as I was prepared for it. Landing on the floor again, I saw that the Baramour I had been fighting hadn’t been so lucky as he was now plastered all over the walls, floor, and ceiling. To my left I saw a trio of bounty hunters.
(Kreedath) You see that?! I got one!
(Wookie) Wrong one you dumb ass! You were supposed to hit the other one!
(Armored one) Quit talking and keeping shooting!
That resulted in another trio of missiles heading my direction. Hypertime wasn’t going to cut it right now, so that left only one choice. Reaching out with the Force and Codex, I shunted the missiles out into the multiverse. One of them still detonated prematurely but did little damage as I reinforced my durability.
(Armored one) Well, that’s new.
(Wookie) I’ll just tear his arms off then!
(Kreedath) Me too!
They both charged at me as the armored one stood back to watch with his heavy assault blaster rifle. I planted my foot in the chest of the wookie as he charged forth only for him to catch it in his hands. He then proceeded to twist my foot in hopes of tearing apart my ankle. Thankfully the armored joint held and transferred the rotation to the rest of my body. I then used his own strength against him as I planted my other foot into the side of his head. That didn’t bring him down, but it did managed to get him to let go of my foot. That sent me spinning through the air and I landed on the ground in a not particularly graceful manner.
Which gave time for the Kreedath to get behind me and grab me in a bear hug. Pushing myself down with the Force, I was able to get my feet touching the ground for a moment. Using that as an anchor point, I pushed hard against the floor and rammed the back of my head into his face. That broke the bear hug as he grabbed at his bleeding face in reflex. I dropped on all fours and kicked his feet out from under him. I could sense the wookie approaching behind me fast though as I rolled to the side. The vibroblade stabbed into the floor where I had been only a second earlier. I fired one of the variable stars at the far wall and retracted the line the moment it impacted. That took me out of the reach of the wookie and the kreedath, but left me open to blaster fire from the armored one.
As I was pulled along by the variable star, I fired the other one at him. It collided with the chestplate of his armor nicely enough, but didn’t seem to phase him at all. Still, the one attached to the wall was retracting at high speed while the other one began retracting as well. Thankfully the armor I was wearing was reinforced against these kinds of stresses as I probably would have torn my arms off from the tension. As he became airborne, it wasn’t exactly a simple matter to swing the variable star with him on it to collide with the wookie and kreedath, but I managed to pull it off. They all collided and fell into a pile on the floor.
Now perched on the wall with the variable star anchoring me to it, I glanced at how the bounty hunters were doing. It looked like the Kreedath was now unconscious, although for how long was an open question. The armored one was stunned, but looked like he was going to recover shortly. The wookie, on the other hand, looked to be incredibly enraged by all this as he charged at me again while roaring loudly.
I disengaged the variable star and landed on my feet. Pulling my lightsabers to my hands, I then flung them both at the charging wookie. The wookie foolishly ignored the incoming blades as he kept charging and proceeded to lose his arms in the process. Annoyingly, this didn’t seem to phase him as he kept charging anyway. Hmm, I should have aimed for the legs instead. Still, this left him no way to grapple me as I leapt over and behind him. The wookie then proceeded to collide with the wall I had been hanging from just moments ago, and I finished the job with a strength enhanced kick slamming him into the wall again. The wookie then slid to the floor unconscious.
The wookie and the Kreedath were now both unconscious while the armored one was finally snapping back into alertness. While he took a moment to take stock of the situation, I telekinetically pulled my lightsabers back to my hands and ignited them again. In response the armored one dropped a number of smoke bombs. It looked like the idiot really seemed to think that using some sort of scanner and smoke would actually give him a leg up on the fight. Sure enough, the blaster shots started coming in fast and furious at that point. I used my lightsabers to block the shots long enough to get a good idea of the guy’s position. With that figured out I stepped into Hypertime.
The bounty hunter’s use of smoke may have impaired my senses significantly, but it also greatly impeded his ability to watch me with his own eyes. Scanners just don’t cut it when it comes to interacting with someone in Hypertime. As proof, as was able to rapidly move behind the Bounty Hunter before he even registered what had happened. As he spun to face me, I grabbed his hand holding the rifle and bent his arm behind him until the rifle was pointing at the back of his helmet. It then was a simple matter to push down on his finger sitting on the trigger.
Luckily for him, the helmet took the bulk of the damage. He probably was going to have a concussion at the least and possibly suffering from motor control and memory issues for a few days given how scrambled his brains were now. I let him slump to the floor unconscious and threw the rifle to the side. All the Baramour assistants were now dead, as were the two Baramour, but the three bounty hunters were all unconscious. That hindered my plans of using one of Baramour to satisfy Valerie’s request. Still this did eliminate two Baramour and their aides while still giving me an opportunity to replenish my stocks of weapons. I managed to get another set of thermal detonators for my troubles, along with a pair of replacement blaster pistols and some more smoke bombs.
I had just finished up collecting those items when I sensed multiple people running my direction.
(Voice) Over here, the explosions came from this way! I bet someone has found him!
I was readily proving myself to be more than a match for the typical bounty hunter in all this, but their sheer numbers were going to take their toll eventually. There were just too many to be fighting by myself in succession. Enough would get lucky shots to eventually bring me down anyway. It wasn’t like I had the regenerative abilities of a Force predator. Besides, the real danger was the Baramour and their damned plagues. Allowing myself to get distracted playing with these small fries was bordering on stupid.
Simple enough solution then: use Hypertime and Phasing to the next canister of plague. That neatly evaded the pursuing bounty hunters again. I did stop long enough to get back into contact with Alys again on the commlink.
Alys, meanwhile, was still running the efforts at Jacob-containment, evacuation, security droids versus Sith and Bounty Hunters (with a lot more success on the Bounty Hunters, but at least it was letting her relay the information on the six Baramour groups), sealing off the warehouse areas to keep the bounty hunters and surviving looters out, running damage control, directing biohazard sterilization efforts, maintaining the stability of hte power core, and more. She hadn’t been at all pleased to hear that Jarik was in the area. Of COURSE he would be, but that was NOT an individual she wanted within light years of any inhabited planet, much less her homeworld! That maniac didn’t NEED a superweapon, he was a walking galactic-level crisis all by himself!
Lazlo had gotten Alys to a nicely-secure area – and then gone off to chase Baramour. He’d looked at the situation, sighed, called the Jedi Council – and gotten them to authorize him HIRING as many bounty hunters as he could get to chase Baramour and Sith. He’d put that offer out on the internal communications system, and now had… rather a lot of takers. They’d still go for Kira or Jacob if they saw them of course – by now most of the sensible bounty hunters of the galaxy had given up – but they might as well take out some Sith while they were hunting for their big prizes!
The fact that he was being fed information from Alys – and therefore could lead groups of bounty hunters to their targets – made it easy enough for him to take charge. The Jedi seemed to have PLENTY of credit reserves anyway. It was amazing how well money in large quantities grabbed the attention of freelance mercenaries.
Alys was considering… That was an awful lot of Baramour: Jarik and an aide and some thugs at the power core (and now – sigh – locked in with Ben, which did not bode well), one at each of the main outer walls of the temple, and one heading to the roof (and no doubt about to meet Xiang and Chan; good luck with THAT).
Hey, wait! If they removed the moss from the holocron archives the sith holocrons would be back in touch with their original creators and would be majorly dangerous again instead of effectively being evil droid brains again!
Another project! She had the droids start running ahead of the bounty hunters who were takingthe moss panels to shield their private Jacob collections shoving sith holocrons into shielded closets and putting warning labels up!
(Kira) Alys, I’ve dealt with the Baramour team and all their canisters on the Southern Wall.
(Alys) Lazlo is getting the bounty hunters organized to go after the team on the East Wall. Another group is being rallied by one of the Jedi to go after the ones on the North Wall. Most of the other bounty hunters – and a lot of the extradimensional and minor Sith – are being dealt with by the other Jedi in the temple.
(Kira) How is he managing that?
(Alys) He got the Jedi Council to authorize payment to the bounty hunters for each Baramour captured or killed.
I had to admit that was an approach I hadn’t considered. Of course it helps that Lazlo’s bounty was nowhere near the value of mine.
(Kira) Alright, what about the plague canisters on those walls?
(Alys) I’ve got droids working on biocontainment in those areas, along with more droids moving to the power core to help Ben maintain containment of the Hypermatter Reactor.
(Kira) What about the Baramour team on the West Wall?
(Alys) We’re having issues tracking their position. The bounty hunters are concentrating on the North and East teams for now.
(Kira) Right, I am going after the West team.
Drat it! She needed to do something about the Baramour who were headed up!
Oh wait… She hated to think that Kira might be rubbing off on her – the thought was kind of disturbing – but sending up some of the remaining droids to shout insults at Chan and Xiang from behind the Baramour group got good results.
After watching a few seconds of those results – especially Chan’s performance – she made a note to herself to NEVER insult Chan Noldor, or speak of him in anything but the most glowing terms. She didn’t need somebody who could grab active lightsabers as an enemy.
Shouldn’t that be impossible anyway? Probably some force stunt.
She needed to let Ramith know about the Baramour – but she didn’t entirely trust him… She recorded everything, just to be sure.
Good grief. You actually COULD curse so offensively that a protocol droid would overload trying to figure out how to translate it into something diplomatic. She hadn’t been THAT bad even when the real chaos was going on!
Ramith ordered some of the ships to drop in around the temple and interlock their shields – blasting down into the cities substructure as required – and prepare to heat the area to plasma temperatures if necessary. A plasma bath would decontaminate everything if the worst came to the worst.
Oh dear. Well, it WAS a pretty desperate situation. At least he was waiting until everything was shielded.
Wait! Her PARENTS were reported amongst the refugees escaping from the temple? How could… Oh dear. Ben. By now she shouldn’t be surprised that a set of alternate parents were among the refugees at the alternate universe’s Jedi Temple. That was going to make the next family meal awfully awkward…
Down in the power core, Ben’s confrontation with Jarik was NOT going well. Jarik had been prepared for him and his environmental armor. He’d launched some sort of bioweb that was loaded with a hundred of more lethal bioagents and which wrapped itself around his armor and started eating it.
That didn’t leave many options. Facing Jarik WITHOUT armor was not an attractive notion. Dumping it elsewhere – even if he could get or phase out of it without exposing himself – would mean leaving a hotbed of active bioweapons laying about. Leaving it and retreating would let Jarik blow up the power core and spread whatever plagues Kira, Lazlo, and Alys hadn’t yet managed to eliminate across Coruscant. Half his systems were already compromised, and the bioweb would burn through to HIM shortly.
Wait; if he could vent off enough energy to burn the stuff off his armor… It would take extremely fine control to avoid vaporizing himself with the charge on the powercore, but it was the only chance he saw.
He frantically studied the reactor – and (thanks to a force point) the safety margins, venting points, and access points, were pretty obvious. He headed for the primary sky-directed vent. If he vented it over the armor while partially phased and activating the ultimate dodge… well, he didn’t know WHAT would happen – but he knew what that stuff would start doing to him when it burned the rest of the way through his armor in about ten seconds.
Vi, meanwhile, was sealing the doors. That would serve as biocontainment – and trapping Jarik inside would hopefully keep him from blowing up the power core. It would be suicide!
The thugs kept trying to stop him, but THEY were easy enough to deal with – and, fortunately, Jarik was focused on Ben…
Sadly, Jarik knew the clone technique – and was PLANNING on a suicide. That way he could be SURE that the power core went off and as many plagues as possible were spread. That was also why he had some backup plague packages planted around Coruscant…
Ben vented the reactor – and realized that he’d vastly understimated the power reserve and how finely he could control the release. The ion-flare turned his armor into monoatomic vapor as the “ultimate dodge” interacted with his phasing to hurl him a very long ways across probability lines indeed. The blast punched through the military shields around the temple, narrowly missed several orbital stations, and massively irradiated a few hundred square miles of territory on one of the moons. On the plus side, the radiation and plasma flare sterilized most of the Jedi Temple and left the outside bathed in plasma even before the military got around to it.
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 67b (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 67a (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 66b (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 60c (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 56 (ruscumag.wordpress.com)