Legacy: The Conclusion to the 500,000 Year-Old Saga of Guns & Lightsabers
Posted By: SeverianofUrth
Date: 14 September 2006, 3:22 pm
Dryk lunged at the monster. The green beast dodged, fast, and the saber in his hand blurred into motion. She halted, let the blade pass before her, then thrust. He sidestepped; the lightsaber again swung at her, and she ducked, counter-attacked with a slash at it's legs.
This thing had killed Lewin. That knowledge made her want to both weep and scream. Lewin had been her only brother. They had been orphans, until the Jedi Order had taken them in. He had always been better at her, in swordplay, in force manipulation, in mathematics, in verbal communication. He was dead. That knowledge screamed at her. He was dead.
By her side, Yoda did not help her, thus confirming her previous opinion that the little green master had gone senile. She didn't need his help. Dryk slashed again at the green beast, and the thing met her blow-for-blow.
Then a blue lightsaber thrust in with unnerving precision, and stopped both blades--her's, and the monster's--with a single stab. The three lightsabers hung in the air suspended, and in the pause that followed, Master Yoda said,
"Stop this you will, Apprentice Dryk."
The order was delivered calmly, but with a pitch of force-modulation, enough to manipulate her. She recognized Yoda's tactics, but found herself to be helpless. He was too strong. She found her hand slowly sliding down, her lightsaber deactivating, her arms now hanging limply by her side.
The green armored beast opposite her did the same. Then it tilted it's head towards Yoda. It said something; some gibberish; sounded like, 'thell 'er ahm shori.'
Yoda nodded. Then all hell broke loose.
Aboard the Erasmus, Liss hissed as Dryk stopped her attack, calmed by Yoda's command. Vrun, by his side, took a step back as he began pounding the ship's window in frustration.
"That fucking beast," he raged. "That fucking midget!"
"I'm hoping that you're talking about the formerly frozen human," Vrun said, alarmed. Godrun Liss's reputation as a specist--a card-carrying member of the Terran Knights--was becoming terrifyingly real. Remembering the story of one Twi'lek burned to death aboard this very same ship, in one drunken, exclusively human party, Vrun wondered if there was any way he could just sneak out of the room. But alas; the only door was locked, and there would be guards posted there, who would ask him inconvenient questions if he left early.
Godrun Liss ignored him. He took out a little communicator. Into it, he whispered his safeguard.
Dryk went insane. Her lightsaber flashed out, thrust at the monster; caught unprepared, it attempted to dodge her attack, but her blade slashed in and cut through it's right arm, above the elbow. Then Yoda's lightaber cut in, deflected her blow from cutting in any further; there was a muffled scream as the monster thrashed about, in obvious pain. Good; let that be a lesson; there would be more in coming.
She tried to move past Yoda; his saber swung before her path, and she tried to bat it aside, but it swung right back, and the tip moved unseen to the nape of her neck; she could feel the heat of the blade slowly charring the fine hair on her skin, as the little green beast stared at her, calm, with those ugly eyes of his.
The bigger green monster, on the other hand, seemed to have gotten past the pain; it's missing arm seemed to hinder it little as it picked up it's fallen saber from the ground. He activated it; the blade flared to life, and there Dryk again tried to move past Yoda, slashed at the midget's face. It was a mistake; his saber blocked her cut, then she felt the Force mold itself into a vise around her body. Trying to resist, she battered at her bindings with her mind, but they were like steel.
Then--a grenade rolled towards the three. She was flung out by Yoda, hurled away from the grenade. Yoda himself leaped away. That left the beast. The grenade rolled near his foot--he tried to jump--and the blast caught him, and for a split-second she saw his legs turn into fine ash as plasma bubbled out and burst.
Now legless, now armless, the green beast lay on the ground. Yoda cried out, and began running towards the ruined body. But a fine shot, a single blast, flashed and cut through the beast. Another one; then Yoda's saber deflected the third. Too little, too late; the sniper stopped firing, and when Yoda snaked out a tendril of thought with the Force, he found only death, dwelling within the corpse.
The Chief knew pain.
Supposedly, sometimes, according to some people, one's life would flash before their eyes before dying--this did not happen to him. John saw only the beginning; the start of life, the heart beating for the first time, the cord cut, the days by his mother's side--when she dropped him when he was three. The lucky boy, he fell on his arm and did not break any limbs.
He saw her face, for the first time in five hundred thousand years.
She was not beautiful. Kind of big-boned. Wide, rather flat, slightly tanned with green eyes and a rather beaky nose. Her mouth smiled, and her cheeks dimpled. Her hair lay in a red tangle around her face, framing it like a bushy picture-frame, a bad analogy, he knew, but still, it was the truth. A hairy picture frame--and there he laughed, but no one heard him. The helmet now locked his last gasps within.
Then his father. A solemn man. Also with red hair. Pale-faced, he reminded John of what he himself looked like, when he looked in the mirror, faced himself with all his scars. Not particularly handsome. Just rugged.
The daycare, with his father. The school. Seven years old. He flipped coins with a stranger. A young man. John knew he was lucky; so he was, got every toss right.
Godrun held still, trying not to let surprise overtake him. The safeguard had not worked. The human was supposed to have been saved; detained, perhaps, but not maimed and killed. Godrun had many things to ask to this armored man, questions pertaining to humanity's glorious past and that mythical planet, the homeworld, Terra--but now he was dead.
Dryk should have been knocked out by his whispered command. The militia should not have fired. The Jedi should not have interfered. And that grenade should not have been thrown. Aware that his plans were unraveling, Godrun looked around, searching for something to vent on. It was all right if he killed someone; he had enough money to bribe off the authorities on Coruscant.
There, he thought, spotting the Twi'lek. It had been one of the witnesses to the old-age human's awakening. The useless creature, it shouted something, and started running to the door as Godrun took out a blaster. Godrun took careful aim: the first shot burned through the Twi'lek's left knee. The alien fell to the ground, gurgling, and Godrun walked towards it, savoring the moment now.
He had been denied one triumph; it was time to have another, however small.
"Say..." One of the guards posted outside Godrun's private chamber sniffed about, nervously. "I smell something burning..."
Yoda stared at the sad ruin of the man. Behind him, a speeder lowered to let a hooded figure step down.
"Master," the figure said, "I'll take care of the corpse..."
But Yoda was not listening--rather, he was listening, but not to what the figure was saying; no, he listened to the inflections with that voice, heard the subtle shifts in pitch as the figure explained just what had happened. A militiaman had gone berserk; had to listened; so on and so forth.
They were all lies. Someone had engineered it all. Yoda realized who, and felt only sorrow.
Gadwyn Endark looked around, eyes wide, as hands clapped on his back and cheered him.
"Damn it," Lolyn cried, laughing. "You killed it! Holy shit, Gadwyn, if only I had a recorder--I mean, who'd believe that Gadwyn would be the one to kill it?"
Gadwyn looked down at his rifle, muttering, "but I didn't squeeze the trigger. The blaster fired all by itself."
A voice spoke to John.
"I think you're dead. Are you? You are--I'm sure of it."
John recognized the voice. "Cortana?"
The voice laughed. "Long time no see--what, has it been five hundred thousand years already?"
"Has it been that long?"
"You know, you have the tendency to be asleep until the 'shit hits the fan.' Same here--snoozed right through all those milleniums, did you?"
"You should be dead by now." Then John realized that was a grossly inappropriate word for a AI. "Or something."
"It's hard to die when you're in the vacuum. Like, the vacuum. Outside the universe. Good place, really."
"So why did he have to die?" Palpatine asked.
The Sith Lord merely--blinked. That was all he did: a blink, and his cat-like eyes, golden, held still on the young Jedi's face. "Good reasons. That is all."
"He didn't even have a touch of the Force within him, yet he out-fought a trained Jedi and held his own against Master Yoda. So what does that mean? Were all humans so formidable, back then?"
The Sith Lord said, after a slight pause, "it would seem, that, yes, they were. After all, they won the greatest war of all, one that secured their galactic superiority for years to come. Even now, half a million years later, humans still dominate the known galaxy."
"So is that the secret of Sith lore, then?"
"No. The secret is in how the Force was unlocked, and at what cost." He smiled. "The cost--what a delicious story. The cost--that was how we were born, Jedi and Sith."
"Will you tell me about it?"
"Not yet. Not until I can confirm you. Not until you have me trapped, with your blade burning against my throat. Then, I will tell you." His eyes seemed to burn, yellow bright. "As my master told me, and as her master told her--again and again, through all these millenias, one murderer to another, bound by death and blood."
"At the very least, tell me about that war--the one that humans won, so long ago..."
"Well," Cortana was saying, "currently, we're dancing the dance of electrons and neurons. Wavelengths; souls contained in terabits of information."
"What do you mean?" John asked. "Am I truly dead?"
"Yes," she said. "You are. In fact, you are not the Master Chief himself--merely his digital analog. I copied him when he was asleep, you see."
John wanted to ask, 'but what do you mean?' But he suspected that all he would get in return would be mere techonobabble. So he asked instead, "for what purpose?"
"What do you mean? We'll dance, John--through all the ages to come. We'll be gods, well, I suppose I am already a god, a goddess, but whatever--we'll dance through eternity, watching, seeing, and maybe even loving, if we ever get around to that."
"But we'll have no power. We'll be--"
Cortana smiled. "Of course we can't affect anything. But we can observe, and judge, and to play. And there still remains a matter of a man named Revan--I'll explain later--that we'll have to take care of, soon. But for now, just enjoy the fireworks, will you? This is my gift to you--a reprieve from a life of war, and a meaningless death, a oblivion."
They cleaned the body out before sunset. His suit was taken to a museum, where it was then stolen and sold to a certain billionaire.