"We must be close," says Kane. "He should be up here."
"We're close, right?" asks Dreya as she checks the corner.
"Yeah," says Jai slowly, looking around. "It should be just up here."
Kane lets out a controlled breath as he scans the small space. "I'll go on up ahead."
"Let me run up here," says Jai to the group of Alliance contacts. "Just cover my back."
"Nice to see you again," says Jai, holstering his pistol.
Kane smirks under his helmet. "Likewise."
"So what's this about?" asks Kane. "Any news on the Rebels? Dreya? The Cerean?"
Jai Wroth feels a chill go up his legs as he thinks about what to say next. "Well," he pauses. "Not exactly."
Kane grasps his pistol as his eyes move side to side, watching for any hint of what might occur.
"It's," Jai begins. "This is going to be sudden, okay?" he pauses.
"What did you do?" growls Kane loudly.
"Just remember to stay calm, please."
"Drop your weapon!" a voice echos throughout the space suddenly.
"Stay there, stay there!" shouts another Rebel. "Don't move!"
"Hey, woa! Woa!" Shouts Kalin as he comes around the corner, quickly spotting the Rebels with their rifles raised.
"Stop there! Hold it!"
"Don't count on it!" shouts Haas as he enters the corridor, scanning for potential targets.
"Wait!" says Meade. "Hold your fire, no one fire!"
"I can get two of them," says Kalin without blinking. "Just say so!"
"Wait, wait!" says Jai walking between the two groups. "Hold up! Just stop! Hear me out here!"
"Wroth!" Get to cover!" Commands Dreya, her heart beating a bit harder, seeing the man step between the two groups. "Please," she says, focusing on Kane.
"Wait," whispers Jai with a slight smile. "Just wait."
He slowly turns to make eye contact with Kane, his nerves touchy. "Look, Kane," he says, trying to appeal to him. "You have to understand. I've got good intentions here. You-you," he stammers. "We just need to talk about something, about your friend, Brior."
"I know, I'm not supposed to know about that," says Jai to Dreya. "But I do. And they deserve to know."
"It's our fault," he says. "No one has heard from him because the Alliance got him caught. He needs your help Kane. He needs your men. He needs us to help him." Jai raises his hands, not sure what will happen. "The Empire detained him in an Imperial prison-"
"Hey!" yells the Alliance rifleman. "Don't say anything else-"
"Quiet!" commands Dreya, watching the situation, her eyes wide.
"Why would Captain Brior be in an Imperial Prison?" asks Kane, gritting his teeth. "Tell me that."
"It's complicated," says Jai. "Everything's complicated, okay? I'll explain-we'll explain everything we know, let's just lower our weapons first, alright?"
"We're not gonna do that right now," says Kane. "That one-eyed Cerean tried to convince us Brior was a Rebel sympathizer. You know where Rebels belong? Hell."
"Don't escalate it Kane," says Meade. "Kalin, Haas, come on! Think here!"
"Kane," says Jai. "Brior was looking out for you. Get me? The Empire detained him because he was looking out for you. He wanted peace. That's all!"
"The Aberrant Dawn is behind us, we want to be clear of that mess. I don't know what you're trying to do here-"
"You never will be," says Jai. "You know that they won't stop hunting you. Brior has been detained. I'm not lying to you. You needed to know. You needed to meet these people and hear it for yourself."
"Brior is a good man."
"He is," adds Dreya. "And a good friend."
"Brior is no friend to you," says Kalin bluntly.
"You'd be surprised," she responds.
"Look," says Jai. "This is the situation. The Empire wants us all dead or locked up. And one way or another, they're gonna get that. Right?"
"I'm finally understanding," he says. "There's always gonna be this big divide that separates the galaxy. And it doesn't matter what I do, I'm caught in the middle. But maybe sometimes we just need to step back and look at things from a distance."
"There's people we like, and people we don't like. Sometimes we just have to figure things out for ourselves and work past our differences. Sometimes living is more important. Sometimes we're just gonna have to cast our differences aside and stand up for what we think is right. Sometimes we're gonna have to ignore the past so we can press on."
"I know things are tough, and you have to keep playing sides. And you can all hate me, and you can want to kill me for this, all of you. But you needed to know about Brior, and they needed to tell you. And this might have been the only way we could have met."
"Because this galaxy is broken. And it's gonna take a lot of different people to fix it! We can agree on that, right? And you can fight for different things: justice, independence, clearing your names and righting your wrongs, but that's also gonna take cooperation. It's gonna be working together and it's gonna be hard, but we have to figure something out. We have to help Brior."
"Contact right!!!!" yells the rebel.
"Kane," shouts Jai. "Watch it!"
"We have to go!" shouts Dreya over the blaster fire.
"Copy that!" growls Kane. "We're getting out of here!"
"Watch the flank!" yells Kalin, as Imperial soldiers begin to block the group in.
"Kane, fall back through that corridor! We'll cover you!"
Kane growls audibly.
"We're cut off!" says Kalin. "We can't go that way!"
"Go out the back," bellows Kane.
"You sure about this, sir?" asks Kalin sarcastically as he fires his pistol.
"No," says Kane.
"And you! We're gonna talk if we survive this."
"Fall back, fall back" shouts the rebels as they flee the corridor, while several blaster bolts fly past Dreya, each barely missing her.
"We're moving, let's go, let's go!"
"Dreya!" shouts Jai, as she stumbles to get behind cover.
"Come on, let's go, let's go!"
Quickly, the group exits the alcove-
-As Kane fires off one last shot.
The smell off burnt air whirls through the tight space.
"They're on the run!"
"Cease fire, cease fire," commands the sergeant. "Maintain positions."
"Sir, shouldn't we pursue?"
"Too many loses for a patrol-"
"We'll call it in."
~ Jodo - Check out my latest photonovel as of Oct. 27/17: Era of Darkness Halloween Special - "Lurkers"
: Part 1!