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ShadowFett wasn't surprised when someone was stupid enough to pull their gun on Mirdala. These criminal types were mindless shabuire. The first shot fired ended any chance they had of the court finding them innocent, since they were committing a crime on record that was assault against law enforcement. What was interesting to Fett was that always before, firing at him had been a matter of survival for his enemies--they needed to eliminate him before he did so to them. Now, for the first time, firing upon him was a crime, which meant not only did the shooter instantly become a criminal that would be hunted by the entirety of Core Worlds Security, but it could actually cause those enemies to hesitate before making that commitment. Given sufficient information, the Mando'ad could capitalize on that moment, although unfortunately along with the weight of the law came its responsibility, which made it typical that he could only fire when fired upon.

 

Right now, it didn't matter that much as the men who hadn't been stunned by the first barrage opened fire with their blaster rifles set to kill. The criminals had engaged Mirdala. Mand'alor instantly snapped into full combat mode, painting targets with his buy'ce so that they couldn't get lost in the firefight. Then he opened fire. A verpine shattergun was pinpoint accurate, but it fired slugs instead of blaster bolts, which meant that there was no stun setting. Fett had trained well, however. His first shot silently zipped through the air, an all-but-invisible slug fired without an audible report or muzzle flash to give away his location, and snapped through the gun arm of his first target. The man screamed and fell, clutching that arm.

 

Men everywhere sought cover or hit the dirt. A particularly obtuse businessman lost his calm and started to run ponderously for the back door, the one opposite where Mirdala had entered. Fett fired again, and another round lanced with unerring accuracy through the fleeing man's left ankle. He fell, layers of fat cushioning him almost as though he had landed on a sofa. A blaster bolt came from one of the members of his traat'aliit a floor above him and a few rooms over and destroyed another blaster just as it was being leveled on the grappling Mirdala's location. They'll have our position now, Fett noted.

 

Something caught his eye, and he immediately commed Mirdala. "Activity on the floor above you. Watch the stairs." If the security forces above came down fast enough, they could flank Mirdala's team. Fett leveled his shattergun, drawing a bead on the door to the stairwell, waiting for someone to come bursting through it. However, through the 360-degree vision his buy'ce offered him as well as its acute hearing, he detected movement behind him. They came fast, he thought, then let go of his shattergun and rolled onto his back, his hand falling naturally on his assault rifle and his finger squeezing the trigger even as the men noticed him and brought their own weapons to bear.

 

To his credit, one of them managed to get off a shot before being pounded senseless by Fett's automatic stun fire. The rifle bolt struck the Mando'ad in the left shoulder, but glanced off the beskar plate there and ricocheted through the window out of which Fett had been firing. Wasn't good for nondetection--the former beroya would need to move. He hoped his warning to Mirdala had been good enough; her mettle would be tested, and he was interested in seeing the results.

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"Alright, so we're adding assaulting an officer, and resisting arrest to the list then?" Mirdala said, her voice full of ire as she rolled to the side to avoid a small barrage of blaster bolts. Her team had taken cover in the hallway as the crime-lords had over-turned the conference table and were using the hard wooded table as cover, much to the annoyance of Mirdala and her team.

 

Why don't they understand that they are just making it harder on themselves? She wondered as one of the gunmen started screaming and his gun arm started bleeding. That could only mean one thing.

 

"Looks like we've been authorized for lethal force boys and girls," she relayed, loudly enough for the criminals in the room to hear, as she switched to her main side arm from the stun pistol. "Move to live rounds, repeat, move to live rounds." The order followed instantly by the rest of her team.

 

Mirdala nodded once, and they rushed the room once more, this time meeting the hut'uunse head-on. Mirdala ducked low with her shoulder, meeting the groin of one of the bodyguards, dropping him instantly as she vaulted over him and rolled to cover the ground to the table. Once there, she popped over the table and shot some of the hired thugs that had been doing most of the return fire.

 

Another cry of pain emmitted from the room somewhere behind her position, and a quick check of the recording showed the verd that the same sallow and robust man that had been uncomfortable with the casual discussion of assassination fell to the ground, sputtering. When Mirdala checked, she noticed that his wound was in the ankle and was nothing serious. Some men just couldn't handle themselves, and the wetness of the man's pants testified to that. She shook her head in disdain.

 

She was grabbed from behind, her arms pinned by one of the crime-lords, a Rodian with rancid breath who towered over her by at least a foot, apparently thinking that fact would work to his advantage. Instinctively, she curled up to a ball of dead weight before exploding forth and arching her back, breaking free of his grasp and using her boots to shatter his knee caps in the same motion. He was not the first to mistake height for advantage in a fight with the verd.

 

She spun around and delivered a round-house kick to the side of his head before grabbing her stun gun and putting him out of his misery for the time-being.

 

Again she was rushed, as one of the still-conscious thugs tried to wrestle the weapon away. "Ke nu jurkad ti Mando'ade, burc'ya!" The raven-haired woman warned between gritted teeth while using her will to maintain her position. A momentary prickle of the hairs on the back of her neck warned her of the danger of the blaster, almost as one of Fett's team's shots took care of the threat.

 

A dangerous look settled in the dala's eyes as she willed herself to the spot as the rest of her team worked on taking out their targets. The man's face paled, but his balls were bigger than his brain as he retorted, "Ain't you a little short for a Mando?" His grip on her smaller hands tightened.

 

Fire flared in the woman's eyes as she dropped the grapple and decked him with a solid right-hook to the jaw which knocked him out cold, before swinging around behind him and dropping him to the ground with her knee in his back. With untold speed she cuffed the man with the zip manacles and was none to gentle about it. "Doesn't make me any less dangerous, only more so."

 

Fett's voice cut through the morass of the still-raging fire fight. Activity on the floor above you. Watch the stairs.

 

Even though she knew that he likely couldn't see her she nodded in acknowledgement. "Fenray! Sain! Kai! Stairs, now!" she called to her team, designating those that would be covering the incoming reinforcements. "Chief, where are those reinforcements?" she signaled to the team from local law enforcement.

 

Echos of blaster fire accompanied her answer. "On our way, should be two levels below you, entering from the stairwells.

 

"Haar'chak!" Mirdala said before relaying to the stairwell team, "Possible friendlies coming through route as well, but they're two levels down and under fire, aim true!"

 

A trioed chorus of "Yes, Ma'am!" let Mirdala know that her warning was heeded. She doubted with the resistance that the local team was getting, that they'd make it to the floor's stairwell entrance before the criminal's back up. Somehow she sensed, no, more like she knew that the local team would make it there in time to back up her team and flank the security.

 

Something hard hit her on the back of her head, causing her eyes to cross before she was able to react. She shook it off as she turned to face the pale and slender man who'd been referred to as "Twenty" by the Chairman. He was in the process of lowering the butt of his rifle, a malicious and twisted grin contorting his face.

 

He hadn't hit her with the intention of disabling her; his motive was to draw her attention long enough so that his master could make his escape. This little bitch had been enough of a pain already, but he wanted some fun before he permanently wiped the arrogant smirk off of her face. As part of the fun, he figured that he'd give her a bit of a chase, while at the same time setting the stage for the rest of her crew to watch as their leader fell at his hands. He darted for the door to the balcony.

 

"This shabuir is mine! Restrain the others!" She called over her shoulder, fully allowing herself to fall into combat mode. Once she set her eye on a target almost nothing could deter her from that path.

 

The balcony's surface was made up of large tiles of some rare mineral that Mirdala wasn't about to spare seconds to identify, but she assumed that, like the rest of the hotels details, it was likely something quite durable, but expensive. She quickly assessed the area that she had to work with, the balcony ran the full length of the conference room and was about three meters width from the building, and twelve meters in length. A barrier of about a meter and a quarter ran the perimeter that was designed for keeping people from falling the thirty stories to the ground. At one end there was a table and chair set and a few plants were scattered here and there in a tasteful manner.

 

As she cautiously stepped out, gun drawn, he rammed her from the side, forcing her back into the barrier and slamming her hand against the hard surface which caused her to loose her grip on the weapon. His other hand was fast and at her throat, trying to block off her air supply, he eagerly licked his lips in anticipation of the kill.

 

The man should have known better than to corner a Mando'ade, relieve her of her weapon and think her defenseless. Mirdala let out a roar of rage as she brought her knee up and into the crotch of the man, expecting him to drop.

 

The vein in his neck throbbed as he fought the pain, but he did not drop as she had no doubt been expecting. He didn't expect her to recover as fast as she did from the shock, however, and soon found himself being driven backwards as she leveled her shoulders and pushed out with both of her feet. His smile widened. This one would prove most fun, indeed.

 

Breathing heavily as the air pored back into her lungs, she drew her kukri's, sensing that things were about to get up close, personal, and ugly, most likely in that order. "Last chance." She offered, knowing that he wouldn't take it, offering it more as an insult and taunt, than an actual offer for the man to turn himself in without further bloodshed.

 

While he regarded her for a moment, she maneuvered herself away from the barrier, ready for his next move.

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Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya. - "Train your sons to be strong but your daughters to be stronger."

“A Mandalorian woman's greatest talent is not her charm or beauty, but her strength of body and will.” - Mandalorian proverb

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ShadowFett was moving, his position compromised just a little too much. Thankfully, he had a way to do it quickly. The Mando'ad took just a few steps, then drew the jetii'kad he typically carried. Its blue blade lit bright, but he was behind cover as he sliced a round hole in the floor. As soon as the cut was done, the plug fell and Fett dropped through, triggering a quick pulse from his repulsor pack to ensure the fall was safe. He landed and checked his penetrating radar again.

 

There was another man running up the stairwell, now about a level below him, a bit of a straggler. Mand'alor slipped over to the door to the stairs, jetii'kad still in hand, ducking out of sight of the portal's small window. The man was charging blindly up the stairs, and just as he came in front of the door, Fett thrust the blazing blade through it. The man screamed and fell. Fett wasn't sure if he was dead or merely injured, but didn't dwell on it. He was trying to take as many prisoners as possible, a marked change from his usual style.

 

Then Moon Knight moved some more, passing through a couple rooms until he had another vantage point. Closing down his lightsaber and dropping his assault rifle again on the floor, he pulled out his shattergun and found the stairwell across the way and through a window. Mirdala's team seemed to have it under control now, flanking the group with her reinforcements. Ori'jate, he thought. It seemed the Mirdala had even found a worthy opponent from among the enemy, which was even better. Fett didn't have an angle on the man called Twenty to get a shot in, but didn't want to interfere unless things went poorly anyway, and the other Mando could handle herself.

 

The main conference room seemed to be pretty well locked-down by the initial strike team, so now Fett turned his attention to looking for new threats. It didn't take long for him to spot yet another group that had been hustling from another part of the building. This organization was large, and the meeting had had more security than he'd thought. If they'd been more organized and efficient, they could actually have made this situation difficult to win for the Mando'ade and their cops. Unfortunately, this team he spotted was very aware of all the sniper teams, and he only caught a glimpse of them before they ducked below the row of windows in the hallway they navigated, removing his shot.

 

"I'm coming over," Fett commed, then grabbed his assault rifle and leapt out the window. He rocketed across the gap between windows, and the measures the security team had taken to ensure he couldn't snipe them meant they didn't know he was coming. As he approached the wall, the ori'ramikad fired a concussion grenade from his kom'rk. With a loud percussive noise the weapon detonated and the wall caved in. Fett entered, bringing his rifle to bear. Of the team of six, only two were standing, and Fett's unerring accuracy brought them both down in less than a second.

 

One of the ones on the floor was still conscious. "B-bounty hunt--" Fett cut him off with a kick to the head, ensuring he was to remain unconscious.

 

Now to clear this building and rendezvous with Mirdala.

 

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((A little strong language ahead, but I censored it. Builds the story, I think.))

 

The huge man known only by his call sign "Twenty" cracked his neck, bouncing slightly on his feet as he readied himself for another fray against the Mandalorian girl. She was good, there was no doubt about it. But she was small and a woman, so she had no real strength. He would enjoy overpowering her, breaking her body, having her at his mercy. There were a few things he would like to do with a girl as pretty as her.

 

First he had to beat her. Shaking the pain out of his own body from her unsporting attack, he watched her draw her kukris, wicked forward-curved blades that were nonetheless too short to extend her reach to get in striking distance of him. He twirled his blaster rifle back up to a raised position, bracing it against his shoulder and opening fire on full-auto, aiming for her legs to cripple her. "I'm gonna f*** you up, you little c***."

 

And he had a plan. If she got close, he had an ace up his sleeve. His own knife, poisoned so that all he would have to do is scratch her skin, the slightest incision, and she would die.

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Something in Mirdala snapped and suddenly she realized this dini'la shabuir was a more dangerous than she'd originally estimated. She'd seen his kind all too many times before and knew that for either turnout, she wouldn't be the last that he wouldn't stop with her. He would have to be eliminated just so that he wouldn't survive to prey on a lesser target, due process be damned. He'd managed to stay free this long.

 

"Demagolka, those words will be some of your last." she spat back at him, her transmitter on so that only Fett could hear the conversation so he would know not to spare this lenedat should she fail.

 

Mirdala didn't need to rely on the Force to tell her that she should have already been in movement as the man raised his assault rifle. Time seemed to slow as he brought the weapon to bear. She ran in a curve towards the barrier, using it as a step-off point to launch herself into the air, landing on his shoulders and causing him to fall backwards as she bashed his head with the hilt of her kukri, focusing her will to enhance her strength. The angle at which she'd landed hadn't afforded her the ability to snap his neck.

 

She spun off of him just as quickly, using the movement to kick away the rifle, sending it skittering across the surface of the balcony back the way from which she'd come. Quickly regaining her feet under her she sprang back to a ready stance as he rolled back and sprang back up, ready to engage in the second round.

 

Mirdala wasn't about to let him have the first move this time. She came in low leading with her left aiming at his mid-section, more a feint than a strike actually meant to hit or do serious damage. The movement was meant to build momentum and hide the low kick she delivered in her concealed beskar'gam-clad shin.

 

As he fell he managed to catch his balance and dipped his shoulder as he pushed off the foot that he'd used to steady himself, and kept running until he heard the crack of the tempered glass window and Mirdala's soft expulsion of breath. A wicked grin crossed his face, though with his shoulder still lowered she couldn't see the full effect.

 

At least this time Mirdala's arms were free and she brought down her elbow between the man's shoulder blades as she kicked off again, this time as he went back, the window gave way, and she fell back into the conference room, rolling backwards and to her feet. Pumping full of adrenaline, she wasn't aware of the bits of glass that she'd landed on as she rolled back.

 

He was up again and coming for her, but she quickly rolled to the side and dashed to scoop up the discarded weapon as she dove out of the doorway and back out to the balcony. She fired off a few rounds in his direction taking aim and catching him in the leg before the already well used weapon indicated that the power-pack was spent. "Haar'chak!" She exclaimed as she tossed the rifle aside, reaching again for her kukris, looking up to find him nearly on top of her.

 

At the last second she dipped, positioning her shoulder into his gut and allowing his momentum to carry him over her and flip on to his back.

 

She finished the movement and turned to face him once more her kukri's poised to strike. Her aim was for his chest, she was going to end this now, a relatively quick and painless death that he in no way deserved, but to make it slow and painful wasn't something that she could afford right now.

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Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya. - "Train your sons to be strong but your daughters to be stronger."

“A Mandalorian woman's greatest talent is not her charm or beauty, but her strength of body and will.” - Mandalorian proverb

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ShadowFett picked up the words being exchanged between Mirdala and her aru'e and knew that she was in a pitched battle. It seemed that at least one of these criminal shabuire had enough getse to give her a challenge. A flash of something went through Fett's head when he considered the possibility that she would be defeated. He didn't take the time to lock down what exactly it was, but he allowed it to compel him into his next action. With a hand signal, he told his ram'sere squad to watch his location for flankers. He had another place to be.

 

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Twenty loved pain almost as much as he loved killing. The barrage of kicks, bumps, and burns he was taking from this Mando girl pumped more adrenaline into his system, making him stronger, faster, and more feral. Now he was pure strength and speed, an avatar of destructive impulse. His leg was hurting, but he embraced it. He was on his back and she was over him, lunging down at his chest with her kukris, and now was his last chance to turn this around.

 

Suddenly his poisoned knife was in his hand and he drew it across his body in an attempt to parry. He missed the kukris but hit the Mando's gauntlets, the force of the blow twisting her body off-balance. With incredible speed, he took advantage of the fact that her guard was down and slashed again, drawing the knife across her waistline, just above her belt and below her hidden armored plate. Her stifled cry and a glisten of red told him that he'd injured her, and that was all the poison needed. He brought a knee into her midsection, rising to his feet, and it was her turn to fall on her back.

 

But Twenty found standing behind her, hidden by her frame before she fell, something he hadn't expected. A black armored figure with an assault rifle.

 

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Mand'alor fired. The assault rifle blast met the large man's forehead and he dropped like a rock. He immediately took a couple quick steps and stooped next to Mirdala. "K'oyacyi, vod," he told her, using the first word in its more literal sense. "Meh gar kyrayc, shuk bah ni."

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Mirdala's aim was true, but the swiftness with which she'd seen him produce the weapon and block her showed her what an animal he'd become, as his movements quickened and the blow that had parried her blades hit harder than before, causing her to have to twist back with the movement so that she didn't loose her grip on her weapons. She was not about to let the man disarm her for the second time.

 

Faster than she had time to react, his arm swung back around and she registered the reverse grip of the blade as he swiped at her midsection again. The Force helped her to react in time to pull back from the attack, but she wasn't able to fully escape the weapon, and she felt a sharp pain and burning sensation, followed by the warm trickle of blood and she knew that she'd been hit. Her cry of pain died in her throat, she would not give this man the satisfaction of hearing her cry out in any way, knowing that it would only fuel him further. Realizing her mistake she looked up to meet him again as his knee came up and sent her hurtling back into the table that had been part of a seating area. It shifted backwards slightly from the impact of the armored Mando'ade as she slumped against it, the wind knocked from her lungs. The impact had also taken the slashing and slight puncture wound, and made it slightly worse as she felt the small opening tear just a little more, allowing the blood to flow just a bit more freely. She was a verd, an ori'ramikad, though, and she was not about to let this man beat her.

 

She was just about to call for back up, when a blast from an assault rifle streaked through the air, downing the man and seconds later she registered the black of his boots next to her, then meeting his visors gaze. Relief flooded her, that the fight was finished. Anger with herself for not being strong enough to have completed the task on her own warred within her. Pain seared her from where the blow had been struck, her hand instinctively holding the worst of it in order to try to put pressure on the wound. It was with all these emotions that she met his gaze determinedly as he spoke, some of the blood from the glass pieces from the smashed window in the back of her head ran down her neck and settled in the hollow of her collarbone. Her mind was able to process, but it was difficult to focus through the pain as she tried to regain her focus after hitting her head for the second time.

 

"K'oyacyi, vod," he told her, "Meh gar kyrayc, shuk bah ni."

 

She nodded, her mind slowing, but partially able to follow his words, at least enough to understand the first part as an order, and one she fully intended to follow. She managed a smile between shallow breaths, since the very act of the intake and release of air was disturbing the wound, and responded as matter-of-factly as she could, "Ib'tuur jatne tuur ash'ad kyr'amur." Her gaze fell on the now-still body of the agent known only as "Twenty", her eyes narrowing in contempt and disgust for a moment before refocusing on Fett and continuing in their tongue, "It looks as though they have. Vor entye, ner vod."

 

She tried to brace herself and rise to a more seated position, but the waves of pain halted her movement attempts in a few moments. "Bandages, pouch by my left ankle." Her breathing was still shallow and heavy as she tried to breath through the pain. "Small med-kit there too." It wasn't anything major, just a typical field kit that she always kept on her in case she or a traat'aliit'ad needed it. "Tsikador", her father had often drilled into her.

 

Mirdala's blood-soaked hands fiddled with the buttons at the bottom of her uniform shirt, clumsily she was able to undo enough of them to reveal the beskar plate beneath. She was about to release the specialize mag-lock system that held the pieces in place, when Sgt. Izak came running around the corner, looking quickly from the body to Mirdala and Fett, before moving to help. Mirdala's voice stopped him.

 

"Report. Have they all been taken into custody?" The strength that she was able to put into her own voice, surprised her but she knew that she was going to be fine, eventually, and someone still needed to make sure that the loose ends of the mission got tied up into a nice and tidy package for the judges and juries to decide.

 

To his credit he bit down his already formed protest and reported. "All accounted for one way or the other ma'am, sir," he said, including Fett as well. "Most of the higher-ups are still alive and are currently being remanded to local custody. There's some light resistance that should be getting mopped up right about now." He looked at her again, noticing how pale she was beginning to get, but thought better of it, since suggesting it could make things worse, and since Fett was with her, he was likely to have noticed it too. "Would you like me to oversee things for now?"

 

Grateful for his initiative, she nodded and finally released the mag-lock as he turned on his heel and left, knowing that he'd be more help downstairs now that things were quiet up here.

 

Now that the plate was out of the way, she rolled up the soft under-layer of the armor and revealed the crimson streak across her stomach that stretched nearly the entire with of her abdomen just below her navel. The bleeding got worse towards her left-hand side where the tip of the blade had actually penetrated the deepest. Not the worst she'd seen in her time. The question was, why was it so much more painful than it should have been? And why was she having trouble moving all of a sudden, as though she were trying to maneuver the swamps of Dagobah instead of normal atmosphere. She tried to say, "Something's wrong," but the words came out nonsensical.

 

Fighting down panic, which she knew through experience would only make the situation worse, the young woman switched to her transmitter, and again relayed the message to Fett, adding, Check the knife.

 

Her transmitter automatically started broadcasting her bio data directly to Fett as a built-in emergency measure between the two systems. Mirdala was still aware to a degree, though she was beginning to fight to keep her thought's coherent. Beads of sweat began to form on her forehead, and she felt as if she was burning all over, but her body wasn't responding very well to her attempts to move it. Poison. Possibly same as...as trip...zero. Hip...pouch, was all she managed before she realized that she only had energy enough to focus on one thing, and she chose consciousness. There was no way she was going to allow herself to pass out, not when she was confident that the same poison she was sure was now coursing through her veins was the same as what had been used to kill the senators on Coruscant. She wasn't going to close her eyes for anything, not when she had reverse-engineered the antidote before the mission as a precaution and had distributed it to both teams.

 

She was not giving up.

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Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya. - "Train your sons to be strong but your daughters to be stronger."

“A Mandalorian woman's greatest talent is not her charm or beauty, but her strength of body and will.” - Mandalorian proverb

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ShadowFett worked quickly and silently, forcing Mirdala to lay flat and retrieving her scarce medpack as she worked to expose the wound. He carried only the most basic medical gear himself for situations like this in his belt pouch, but generally any injury he sustained in the field that was bad enough to keep him from getting back to his ship would require someone like his beskar'ad to come along and help him out. There might be enough here to patch Mirdala up and get her out of danger, but it would take bacta or more time than they had for her to heal completely.

 

The thing was, the wound itself didn't seem all that bad. Someone of Mirdala's constitution and endurance, and certainly someone of Fett's, might have been able to k'atini and drag themselves out of there, even without assistance. He reached the same conclusion as Mirdala at about the same time--there was another agent at work here. The intuitive leap was that it was the same poison used to kill the Senators, since this organization was responsible for those murders.

 

Mirdala was tsikala, however. She'd packed an antidote ret'lini, and now it might just save her life. Already she was fighting consciousness, and Fett knew that if he didn't act quickly, she would die, a result that was... unacceptable. Efficient and steady-handed in even the most desperate situations due to decades of unwavering discipline, Mand'alor unstoppered and administered the antidote directly to the wound, using the entire vial just to be sure. P for Plenty, the old mantra went.

 

As soon as the vial was empty, he sprayed the wound with antiseptic and unrolled a strip of bandages, applying it forcefully, pressing it down on his traat'aliit'ad's stomach with both of his gloved hands, attempting to stop the bleeding. Keeping it pressed down, he then applied medical tape to keep it tight and in place. Finally he reached up and grabbed her jaw, turning her head, which had drifted off to the side, to face him, meeting her eyes through his buy'ce. "Stay with me a couple minutes, Mird'ika, and you'll cuyanir," he told her.

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She made an odd pained sound as he administered the antidote, it had burned almost as much as the fiery pain that had been gradually getting worse through out her body. Being smaller, it had taken the poison much less time to work through her system, and a very small part of her was scared that she wasn't going to make it. The antiseptic spray somehow managed to cool the area enough that she soon felt chilled all over. The pain came again when Fett applied pressure to the wound and dressed it, and her grip on consciousness began to fade. All she wanted to do was go to sleep, but a gloved firmly grabbed her jaw and her eyes found his visor again. His words came through almost as though she were hearing them from underwater.

 

She tried to think of something to focus on, like the mission, but found herself loosing that battle as she tried to fight the overwhelming desire to sleep. Her bio-data indicated her heart slowing, but her breathing rate remained steady. The antidote starting to spread through out her body. Meditate, she managed to send. She could sense that she needed to help the antidote along and the only way she could do that was by attempting something that had been in the data she'd received from Aryian. Let my...body...heal...itself...

 

In all honesty, she wasn't sure if this would work, but something told her it would at least help the process along. She opened her eyes for a moment again and swore she was able to see his brown eyes from behind his buy'ce, and knew that he trusted her.

 

She felt his hand leave her jaw, and could sense him watching her for any sign that she was slipping away.

 

Tion kaysh baatir ni? She asked herself before she focused on relaxing and letting everything melt away.

 

~~~~~~

She found herself transported back to Concord Dawn, to the village where her mother had set up when they'd relocated to the planet when Mirdala was a teenager. She swore she could almost smell the growing wheat that usually danced in the breeze gracefully.

 

"Mird'ika!" a familar voice duo of voices called, and she turned to see both Joreel and Tracyn approaching from up the road. The two of them were clad in their customary armor, but neither were wearing buy'ce.They began a foot race to see who could get to her first, and Joreel, with his abilities in the Force, of course beat Tracyn. She felt herself scooped up in one of John's bear hugs as he swung her around before setting her down. Tracyn caught her in an embrace as well, before holding her at arms length to look at her again.

 

"You've cut your hair ni cyare Dral Ka'ra!" he laughed, as he tenderly brushed it back behind her ears. The love in his eyes was readily apparent, and Mirdala's heart filled with joy as she embraced him once more.

 

Joreel rolled his eyes as an older woman and man approached the trio of friends. "Mird'ika! What are you doing here?" her buir's tone was happy, but at the same time his voice carried with it a sense of urgency.

 

How did I get here? She thought back to a balcony set in the side of an elaborately decorated hotel, and the knife that had wounded her so severely. She turned to regard her mother, still in Tracyn's arms. "I was stabbed and poisoned, but the demagolka is kyrayc, thanks to my traat'aliit'ad."

 

"I see," the woman with him stated flatly as the two of them strode forward to hug their ad. Mirdala stepped back from her buirse finally realizing what was going on and why they were so concerned.

 

"I'm not the one that's kyrayc," she swore, looking at each of them. "Am I?"

 

Tracyn was the one that spoke, as he took her hands again. "Cyare, it's not time for you to be here, even in the in-between." He bent down and kissed her fiercely. "You have a duty to the galaxy that you cannot abandon, not even for us, not even for me. I was able to ramaanar in peace, because I knew you were out there. You cannot stay."

 

Mirdala's sadness weighed on her heart, but a part of her knew that his words were right. It would be selfish of her to give in, to join Tracyn, Joreel and her family. She would let down Fett, and she'd promised to cuyanir. She didn't back out on her promises.

 

She nodded, and after one last hug from everyone and one last kiss from Tracyn, she let herself drift back to the present.

 

~~~~~~~

 

Her stats had begun to stabilize almost as she'd entered the meditation trance. Fett could see that the antidote was starting to do it's job. About a minute of Mirdala being into her trance, he saw tears start to form in the corners of her eyes and her lips parted forming the word "Tracyn".

 

A few moments later her breathing began to return to normal and her heart-rate regained it's steady and strong rhythm, and her olive-jade eyes opened. Her face was her usual mask, but Fett knew her well enough to see some of the sadness behind it. "Vor'e again, ner vod."

 

She was still pale, and would continue to be, as the poison had been about it's nasty work of attacking, among other things, her red-blood cells. She knew that the Justice had a small infirmary that would have more of what she needed to get back to full strength in no time. She just needed to get there.

 

Her hand extended to Fett who helped her to her feet. She leaned heavily on him, still weak, but she'd be damned if she was going to allow herself to be carried from this place. Mirdala was still angry with herself for not being strong enough to have handled the matter on her own, despite being grateful for Fett's assistance. She straightened and tried to stand as much on her own as possible as someone entered the what was left of the conference room.

 

"Bag the knife as evidence, and it's one more nail in their coffin," she directed Sgt. Izak, who'd returned at that point to let his superiors know that everything was settled down stairs.

 

He nodded and stooped with an evidence bag to collect the poisoned knife. The bag was specially made for bladed weapons so that the knife's blade wouldn't cut the bag, compromising it and potentially poisoning the person in the process. "The medics are on their way."

 

Mirdala shook her head, "No need, the Commissioner did a hell of a job patching me back together and we have what we'll need to finish the job back on the Justice. Remember, we're old hands at treating our own bumps and scrapes." She was grateful that the young Sargent didn't know how close she'd really come, or she knew he would have insisted she be looked at by the professionals. It was one of the reasons that she'd down-played the extent of the injury. "Remember, it takes a lot more than a single knife-would to take down a Mando'ad," she managed with a reassuring smile.

 

He nodded and left to log the evidence with the joint-force CORESEC and local CSI units that had arrived earlier that afternoon to begin the process of collecting all of the physical evidence that the Banking Guild had left behind.

 

Almost as soon as he was out of sight, Mirdala was leaning on Fett heavily once again. "Let's get to the Justice and make sure this hut'uun didn't do any more damage that we were able to see. Not to mention, it would probably be the best place to dig this glass out of my head. Next time I storm a room, I'm opting for the buy'ce." The comment was followed by a halfhearted laugh.

 

Then something curious crossed her mind, and she withdrew Flirt from her right breast pocket and handed it back to Fett. "Oh, and for the record, I don't think that your droid likes me." She was happy to hear that some of her usual light-heartedness was back in her voice.

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Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya. - "Train your sons to be strong but your daughters to be stronger."

“A Mandalorian woman's greatest talent is not her charm or beauty, but her strength of body and will.” - Mandalorian proverb

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ShadowFett had watched silently, stoically, as Mirdala struggled against the poison. He was a hard man, someone who'd taken hundreds of lives in personal combat. He had gunned down squads of stormtroopers, hideouts full of chakaare, gangs of slavers. He'd fought and killed wookiees, jetiise, dar'jetiise, and pirates; Imperials, criminals, terrorists and keepers of the law just as he was now. All around him, his whole life, people died. His buir was dead, his only family. And yet this one seemed to mean something to him. The last person he had trusted like he trusted Mirdala had been...

 

Piccolo. Am I really ready to do this again? he wondered. Piccolo had been his closest ally, and yet had become his greatest enemy. Ever since then, he hadn't trusted anyone, in fact had worked solo as much as he could. After all this time, the Mando'ad had learned to be honest with himself--the more he identified his character, the less it would mix with the other people in his head. Piccolo's betrayal had been painful. But here he was, working fervently, trying to save the life of someone in whom he'd invested even more than the half-Trandoshan. Like it or not, he had bound himself to Mirdala, for no being could go free knowing as much about him as she did.

 

Turning his mind back to the present, Fett observed as she went into a healing trance, something he knew all about from Isolder. A moment later she was back out and already much stronger for it. "Kih'parjai," he said when she thanked him again. It was the least he could do. She was still very weak, but she made herself look strong for the traat'aliit until they were out of sight. He supported the diminutive Mando'ad as much as she required, fully capable of carrying her if he needed to but that clearly not being the case.

 

Moon Knight commed 2277, asking the beskar'ad to bring the Justice to their location--there was no way she was walking the kilometers out to where he'd landed. He accepted Flirt back while the ship was on its way. "Flirt, if you don't behave, I'll memory wipe you," he threatened the positronic processor.

 

Flirt protested. "But she--"

 

"Don't think I won't," he cut it off, then dropped the machine into one of his belt pouches. Now the Justice was arriving, and 2277 lowered the boarding ramp. Fett took Mirdala up and to the "infirmary", which was really just the bunk room where one of the bunks had some medical scanners and a couple full-sized medpacs and bacta canisters in a compartment beneath it. He helped her onto it, then started running the scans.

 

While the tests ran, he popped his buy'ce and placed it on a nearby table, then pulled off his kom'rke and bloodied gloves. "Me'vaar ti gar?" he asked Mirdala, going back over and checking the readouts. "The wound itself doesn't seem too bad, it was the poison that did the damage. Having the antidote on hand was... mirdala." It was the word in Mando'a from which her name came. He guessed it wasn't surprising that she was prepared, from that standpoint.

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She was grateful as the trakaad-class vessel landed, she hadn't really been looking forward to walking the long distance to the drop point. It was also better for morale that the rest of her team didn't see her like this, especially since even those few moments with Sgt. Ikad had nearly drained her.

 

It was with great relief that she was finally able to lie back and just relax a bit after the ordeal. She rested for a few moments as he began the scans of her system. "Ni liser cuyanir," she sighed as the last scans concluded, laughing a little at the linguistic connection of her living up to her name. The initial results revealed a mild concussion in addition to her other injuries.

 

"My poisoning just helped us make the link to this group and the senator's deaths all the stronger," she pointed to where the computer had confirmed their earlier suspicions. "There's no way in haran that they will be able to dismiss this as being related now. Not with that physical evidence as well as the multiple data feeds of audio and visual evidence."

 

Gingerly rolling to her side, she eased up into a sitting position and frowned at the blood-stained pillow and reached up with one of her hands, gently brushing the back of her head. Her hair was quickly becoming a matted mess as the bits of glass and dried blood were causing it to stick together, but somehow she managed to dislodge several pebble-sized pieces and they fell to the bed. She sighed again. Why hadn't she been stronger? What could she have done differently in the battle to not have ended up this way? One of her mistakes had been forgetting that demagolka like that often became stronger due to their perverted nature. She began to pick the remaining bits of glass from her hair as she mulled over the battle in her mind.

 

She looked back up at Fett, "Let's say we head home. I've had enough of this place, and I'm not going to get back to full strength lying about here. I've got to make myself stronger. I should not have lost that fight." In her tone, Fett could tell how disappointed with herself she was and how much she hated to loose.

fMZZcER.png

Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya. - "Train your sons to be strong but your daughters to be stronger."

“A Mandalorian woman's greatest talent is not her charm or beauty, but her strength of body and will.” - Mandalorian proverb

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ShadowFett nodded at her suggestion and spoke to 2277. "Set course for Coruscant, beskar'ad," he gave the command. The droid was fully capable of getting them all the way there on autopilot, which enabled Fett to stay here. He found a nearby chair and took a seat. He would have pulled off his boots and made himself comfortable, but Coruscant was only a short jump from Nubia, so it was hardly worth it.

 

He scratched behind his ear and ran his hands through his short military-cut black hair. "No one wins every fight, vod," he said. "I've had a few rough fights with dar'jetiise. Wore some prosthetics for a while after a fight with a man named Scando.

 

"All you can do is learn. I carry an ysalamir for a reason." He felt the Justice lift off and head for deep space. He strapped himself in for the jump to hyperspace. "Today's lesson is that we should stick together." He'd been there to watch Mirdala's back, and she would be there to watch his. There might be opponents in the galaxy that could beat either one of them, as much as Mand'alor was reaching the point where he'd been extremely successful in his recent forays. But there were dangerous people out there, and though Faust had been reported dead, it was hardly the first time. Only together would they be invincible.

 

Soon the Justice made the hyperspace jump.

 

((You can post our arrival, but not yet. We'll discuss over PM. If you want, we could trade a couple posts in space.))

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  • 2 months later...

He stood looking at his reflection. Moments before he had emerged from the very tube he was staring at. His body was still wet from the liquid that coated his new form. It had been a long time.

 

His eyes slid over to a table, where a neat pair of simply robes awaited him. Droids milled about, the purpose to bring him comfort in this harsh reality. Calmly he walked to the table and cloaked himself in those robes.

 

There was much to be done. He picked up a datapd. Soon he had ordered the customization of a new ship. He also placed orders for new sets of armor. It was time to move on in the armor game. His set had been powerful, but outdated. It was time to stay fresh and current.

 

A contact at the sith temple alerted him to something interesting. It seemed a human had been going with out food nor water, standing at the temple gates for months. That or if food or water were consumed it was hidden in ways no one had observed. Regardless it was clear that this being was some what Force sensitive.

 

This intrigued the bounty hunter. Yet he would not be leaving this world for some time. Not until he was up to combat status. He sent out a message. Then with a long stretch he left to go prepare.

Slicer.jpgMy sig is my profile...

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  • 5 years later...

A freighter belonging to Judyc Viba rocketed out of hyperspace over the Core World Nubia and descended towards the outskirts of Rordis City, the site of his closest safehouse to Corellia and one that was fully stocked for what he was about to do. His cargo was Mirdala Ad'Goran, the oldest and most hated enemy of his employer, a Twi'lek dar'jetii named Ab'ki. As a result, she was perhaps the most valuable cargo he'd ever hauled, and hot enough that it would have made plenty of sense to take her straight to Serenno and collect immediately.

 

But Viba had some unpleasant business to take care of first, and it put him in a foul mood even despite the monetary windfall he'd earned today.

 

Judyc landed his ship on the docking platform attached to his 13th-floor residence. The place was an expansive condo the size of a large house, with enough space to house everything he needed if he had to go to ground even for months, and it had a beskar'ad staff maintaining and running the place. The most important room right now was the med center, where he had a medical droid and a suite of scanners and tools so that he could recover from any injury he sustained in the field without needing to use a public hospital. Presently he carried Mirdala's unconscious form out of the freighter and into that room, where he put her on the operating table, which was outfitted with a full set of restraints, which he immediately went about fastening around Ad'Goran.

 

The medical droid approached him. "Welcome, Master Viba. What is the nature of your visit, and how many I help?"

 

The Kyr'tsad rifled through some nearby supplies. "First off, you are to keep this woman alive at any cost," he said. "She's worth more than this whole complex. I want you to administer a light dosage of sedatives. She needs to be able to feel pain and I need her to be able to speak, so it needs to be just enough to slow her down." He had medical training, but Mirdala was a small patient and he figured it was better to let the beskar'ad handle it. He also knew that the restraints would most likely be more than enough to keep her down, but there was no such thing as overkill.

 

"Yes, sir," the droid said. He'd long wiped out from its programming any sense of morality it might have as a medical professional. Which would be necessary for what was coming.

 

"Let me know when the stun effect wears off and she wakes up. Search her thoroughly for weapons and do a full bioscan so there are no surprises," he said. "I have other preparations to make."

 

So saying the beroya stalked off to change into his red and orange beskar'gam and find the tools he would need for what he had planned. A crate of stun grenades. Droids from the training center and real weapons to give them.

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Mirdala stirred feeling like she’d been run over by a herd of bantha. She tried to raise her hand to her head but found it held fast in place and discovered her other arm, legs and chest were in similar levels of restriction. Her brain also felt cloudy and sluggish. No...no...no, no, no, not again... a part of her screamed as she mentally flipped the switch forcing down the emotional response that would do her little good in her present situation.

 

The last thing she'd remembered was shaking hands with the boy's father before he pulled her close and she felt the pistol pressed to her back a half-second before the apparent stun bolts went off.

 

The boy...his father… it had all been a trap. But for what? Her specifically? Random chance? Her gut told her she'd been targeted specifically. Mentally she swore at herself for lowering her guard so completely as to be led merrily into such a trap.

 

A low growl of frustration emanated from her throat and she tried to reach out with the Force to crush the medical droid that was poking and prodding her body as it continued its scanning. Nothing.

 

A fresh wash of panic flooded her but was quickly stemmed as she reached out empathically for Kandor, her brothers, or father before she remembered that it could be Fieyr that had used the man as his proxy to lure her. A knot of fear began to form in the pit of her stomach as she heard the door behind her open and she closed her eyes, pretending to still be asleep.

 

She heard the figure approach and get the read out from the droid.

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Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya. - "Train your sons to be strong but your daughters to be stronger."

“A Mandalorian woman's greatest talent is not her charm or beauty, but her strength of body and will.” - Mandalorian proverb

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"The subject is awake, sir," the medical droid announced as Judyc walked over. "She was unarmed except for a knife in her boot, which I confiscated."

 

The beroya moved until he stood over her, his shadow falling upon her restrained body. "Well hello, Mirdala Ad'Goran. I'm Judyc Viba, and I'd like to welcome to the last days of your life," he said. His voice was deep, a bit gravelly, betraying his age. He looked at the droid. "What did the bioscan turn up?"

 

"She has a mechanical implant behind her right near, near the base of the hairline," the beskar'ad reported. Its voice was clinical and even, maybe just a bit soothing, in sharp contrast to its owner's.

 

"Ah, no doubt it has an implanted comm system," Viba mused. "Well, this will do well enough. How are her sedative levels?"

 

"As ordered, sir. She will be able to feel and speak but it should take the edge off her fight."

 

Judyc took one of the overhead cameras and repositioned it directly over Mirdala's head, but zoomed back enough that his arms and shoulders would be in the shot but not his head or face. Then he hit a button to start a recording. "Hello, ShadowFett," he began. "As you can see, I have Ad'Goran, just like I told you I would, though she's quite alive at the moment." As if to demonstrate, the beroya struck her across the jaw with his gauntleted hand, eliciting a reaction from her and causing a small laceration on her chin from the edge of his beskar plate.

 

"Let me tell you what's going to happen. You're to come alone to the coordinates included in this transmission immediately. If you take more than eight hours, I will kill her. If I get even a hint that you brought someone with you, I will kill her. You may wear your armor, but you are to come unarmed. If you bring any weapons and I detect them, I will kill her.

 

"And don't expect her to be able to use her implant to tell you what I have planned," he said. The Kyr'tsad produced a curved beskar knife with a blade about six inches long. Standing at Mirdala's side, he put his left hand on her forehead and banged her head once against the table to daze her, then forcefully turned it and pushed it flat against the surface, the palm of his hand against her temple.

 

He growled at her. "Unless you're ready to die right now, I suggest you hold still." He then inserted the knife into the soft tissue near the base of her hairline and proceeded to make a sawing motion as the cut the device from her head, her blood dripping onto the table and collecting in the grooves of the metal blade. She struggled in her restraints but he held her head still until the job was done. Finally he picked up the implant and held it up to the camera, still glistening red, even as it triggered its emergency protocols and fried its internal circuits to prevent it from being compromised.

 

"See you soon," he said to the camera, then cut the recording. He called in another of his droids. "Eighty-eight, take this recording and send it as well as our location to ShadowFett. You -- medical droid. Make sure she doesn't bleed out, and begin localized bacta treatment on the wound. We're going to have to keep her going for a while to get our money's worth."

 

The droids hustled to get to their tasks.

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"The subject is awake, sir," the medical droid announced as the man approached. "She was unarmed except for a knife in her boot, which I confiscated."

 

Kriffing droid Mirdala thought as she opened her eyes as her captor stepped into view. Her heart froze when she saw the orange and red armor of one of Ab'ki's associates.

 

As he introduced himself, she had to admit he was older than she'd expected, but that only meant he was more dangerous. TeVerd's words rang out in her mind, Be wary of old men in a profession that destroys young men.

 

The incessant beeping of the monitors helped her stay focused as she considered falling more within herself to endure whatever it is this man was going to dish out. Then the droid, who'd apparently done a very thurough scan while she'd been out of it, clued the man in on what was usually her wildcard play. In the time between getting stunned and the man entering the room, she hadn't had the chance to turn the device off to keep it hidden.

 

There was little use in worrying about it now. She'd need that energy to fight the sedatives she felt pumping through her system. Once she got out of here, he was going to sorely regret doing this to her. Force abilities or not, she was still a formidable opponent.

 

Movement over her drew her attention as he adjusted some kind of camera over her. As he began speaking, a chill washed through her. Kandor...what does he have to do with all of this? Does Ab'ki have an interest in him for some reason?

 

A hard backhand from his armored hand brought her focus sharply back to him, as she managed to suppress the grunt of pain that now fired up her jawline. Looking back towards the camera, she tried her best to form words of warning into a sentence but it took a moment to get past the fog the sedative was causing. "Don't!" was all she managed before the hunter smashed her head against the metal of the table, effectively stunning her to silence. Stars swirled through her vision as she felt her head being roughly turned to the side, the machine's beeping speeding up to match pace with her heart beat as adrenaline coursed through her.

 

She struggled against him for a moment, somehow piecing together what was about to happen before she heard his warning growl. For a moment she considered the risk if only meaning to keep Kandor safe by removing his reason for coming to meet this man. You know he would still come for you, alive or dead... a voice whispered to her through the ether.

 

She stilled, then suppressed a cry of pain as she felt the knife bite into the back of her skull. She couldn't do anything to stop the escape of tears that formed at the edge of her vision. There was something about seeing the implant fry itself that left her feeling very alone. She hadn't realized how much the small bit of tech she'd associated with always being able to reach Kandor at a moment's notice. She'd used it to help him pinpoint the slaver's installation on Tatooine and now had nothing to reach him with.

 

Feeling a bit lightheaded as the medical droid began its work, she called out, "I get that I'm a contract, but what the hell did he ever do to you?" Then she passed out from a combination of the pain and blood loss.

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Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya. - "Train your sons to be strong but your daughters to be stronger."

“A Mandalorian woman's greatest talent is not her charm or beauty, but her strength of body and will.” - Mandalorian proverb

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The medical droid called Judyc back into the room when Mirdala came back around. "Do try to keep her awake from now on," he said to the beskar'ad.

 

"I will endeavor to do so, sir," it assured him.

 

Judyc stepped over to the nearby counter and picked up the beskad'ika that had been confiscated from Mirdala's boot. "Beautiful knife," he said. "Just like your father's."

 

He turned to face her. "Maybe you don't realize how long I've been looking for you, little Mird'ika," the Kyr'tsad began conversationally. "Shab, I was working for BakToid a long time before Ab'ki ever entered the picture. They had a huge price out on the head of some brat they'd practically cooked up in a lab. They somehow lost her during a raid by some Mandalorians in an amazing display of incompetence. Usually the way these things go is the child either gets killed or turned in to some orphanage and it's almost impossible to find it, but this was one special little girl. Years later I meet this shabuir named Fieyr and he gets to talking about you. I almost couldn't believe my ears, but you had to be BakToid's little pet project, turned up over a decade after the trail had gone cold.

 

"Best part was, Fieyr coughs up the location of this little farm on Shogun and is none the wiser about the BakToid bounty. So I put together a team, we dress up as ConSec goons, and pay a little visit.

 

"Jorbe and Cyare," he continued, shaking his head and giving a short laugh. "Big damn heroes they thought they were, throwing away their lives for you. Some shabla orphan he'd picked up fifteen years prior. All he had to do was turn her in and they would both still be alive." He scoffed at Mirdala. "I wonder if they'd think it was worth it if they saw what's become of you now, that it was all for nothing."

 

He stood over her, a cruel glint in his eye. "But sticking up for you wasn't the thing that sickened me -- it's how little fight they had in them. Your old man Jorbe took a lot of abuse before he died, but I didn't even get a good scrap out of it. Not even when I burned his wife alive in her home."

 

Judyc feigned a thoughtful look. "I wonder if you would shriek like your mother did." He produced from his belt a small lighter and flicked on the flame. Slowly, he lowered in to her left bicep and held it there until her skin blistered.

 

He shrugged, then tossed the lighter over to the bench as though bored of the activity. "Anyway, you managed to disappear, but imagine my surprise when you killed a dar'jetii two years later and his lover turns out to have pockets almost as deep as her desire to torture you to death. Ab'ki is a creep, but who am I to turn down her credits? At least you get to join your buire -- after your boyfriend Kandor dies trying to rescue you, of course."

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Her eyes narrowed at him as his words began to sink past the muck and mire that continued to cloud her mind. She tried to ignore the twist of anger in her gut as he handled her knife and indicated familiarity with her hand-crafted objects that were only known and given to a precious few in her life that were close to her.

 

The anger grew within her as he continued to speak, filling some of the last details of a puzzle she'd been trying to make sense of since she was fourteen. Fieyr had betrayed her yet again and she now knew why his voice sounded so eerily familiar. Unable to control the white rage that overtook her vision for a moment, she struggled against the restraints, as useless as the action was.

 

"You're a liar." She spat in his face as he reached for the lighter and ripped away some of the fabric of her sleeve. "I was there. I saw it all." Flipping a mental switch she let herself fell away as the flames licked against her bare skin the acrid smell making her stomach turn as the monitors began to echo her body's response. Mirdala locked her jaw to keep from giving him the satisfaction of crying out.

 

The drugs in her system, combined with the pain from the burn and what still echoed from having the implant brutally extracted, kept her from being able to hide her reaction to hearing him verbally make the connection between ShadowFett, Kandor, and her.

 

"I don't understand..." she said through gritted teeth, fighting back the waves of nausea. "What does he have to do with this? What does Kandor have to do with ShadowFett?" It was a lame attempt she knew, but she had to try. Then something seemed to click and she narrowed her eyes at him again. "This isn't business anymore...this is personal for you..."

 

She didn't care and couldn't think about Ab'ki as too many thoughts collided and shattered within her head. She closed her eyes and fought her body for control over consciousness.

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Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya. - "Train your sons to be strong but your daughters to be stronger."

“A Mandalorian woman's greatest talent is not her charm or beauty, but her strength of body and will.” - Mandalorian proverb

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Judyc stared at her like she was a misbehaving child. "Do you take me for an idiot? Still trying to protect his identity?"

 

The beroya sighed. "Let me tell you another story," he began. "This one goes back even farther. BakToid didn't even exist yet, much less you. I'm a strapping young lad in the first few years of a promising career as a beroya. Between jobs I was spending time with my aliit -- the ones I could still tolerate, anyway -- on Concord Dawn. But along comes this gang of 'True Mandalorians' trying to sniff out the big bad Kyr'tsad clan rumored to be in the area. Got it in their heads that if they can find us, they'll wipe us out or evict us or some osik.

 

"Anyway, their raiding party is pretty big and my buir's looking for some way to take them down without a stand up fight, so I volunteer to get on the inside and start feeding him information so we can figure out how to catch them at unawares and put them down," he explained.

 

Judyc paused for a moment. "I manage to pass as an informant for the gang well enough, and the gig goes on for a few weeks. Thing was, some of them were actually decent verde and, well, of course there was this girl." He stared off into space for a moment, then checked the medical droid to make sure it was keeping Mirdala's dosage steady. "Dark hair, these piercing blue eyes like you've never seen. I saw in her a... an undeniable nobility, I suppose. It was shabla frustrating how certain she was that she was doing the right thing, but I was smitten."

 

He looked back down at Mirdala. "It was a pity that she forced me to put a knife in her to protect my aliit," he said darkly. "But before I did I made a promise. Disappear for a while, raise a son like she and I might have had together. A True Mandalorian, a hint at what I might have been in another lifetime. I knew that this son and I would inevitably end up on opposite sides, so as soon as he was ready to set off on his own into the greater galaxy, I faked my death, deciding it would be better to keep my distance than force myself to kill my lover a second time by violating my promise."

 

A hint of anger entered his eyes. "It worked great until now. When of all the men in the oyu'baat, he's the one you end up with. It's sickening... I thought at first I could warn him off, but he really fell head over heels for you, didn't he?" Judyc was practically growling now. "On Nar Shaddaa I realized that there is no other way. You put my own son Kandor in the position where he will hunt me and everything I built to extinction unless I kill him first."

 

His anger was building, but he remained locked down, his eyes deadly as he picked up his knife from the table. "And now you're going to learn the same lesson that the woman I once loved did." He took the knife, put the tip in the fresh burn he'd given her, and twisted it, puncturing the damaged skin and watching her blood trickle out onto the table. "No one comes between me and my aliit and lives. I only regret that I have to let Ab'ki do the honors if I'm going to get paid."

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Mirdala stared at him, confused by his tale until the pieces started to fall into place. Deathwatch, the True Mandalorians, espionage, and...love. She almost felt sorry for him as he described the woman he'd loved every bit as much as Kandor loved her. A chill ran through her as she realized just who this man was and what had taken his contract on her from business to personal.

 

She hissed against the fresh pain in her arm as she tried to grasp ways to get at the man behind her tormentor. "Why? What makes you think you have to kill each other? He's your family, your son. And what is it that's so sickening about me that makes you so upset to have me as part of that family?"

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Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya. - "Train your sons to be strong but your daughters to be stronger."

“A Mandalorian woman's greatest talent is not her charm or beauty, but her strength of body and will.” - Mandalorian proverb

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Crossing his arms, Judyc gave her a haughty laugh. "Sure, how about I just let you go, walk away from my life's work and apologize to Kandor and pretend we're all one big happy aliit," he said. "You, me, and all your Seeker friends, like that pathetic hut'uun TeVerd who wasn't even there the protect you and your parents when we came for you. And ShadowFett, the great Mandalore who kicked the Kyr'tsad off of Manda'yaim, never knowing his buir is a Viba. Guess I did a pretty good job raising him a True Mandalorian."

 

The medical droid started to clean and dress Mirdala's fresh wound so she didn't bleed out or die from infection. "You're still young. There's a lot you don't understand about how men like Kandor and I work," he said. "I'd say you'll learn, but you'll be dead as soon as Ab'ki finally decides to put you out of your misery. She's a real piece of work. You'll like her even less than you like me."

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She would've given anything to be able to throttle this man. Mirdala knew that Kandor did not mourn the father he believed was dead any more than he mourned the deaths of those he'd killed doing what he believed was right. In the past such insults, especially where her adoptive parents were concerned, including TeVerd, would have been a hot button with her. Learning all she had about the reality of the situation TeVerd had found himself in following his departure to get Fieyr away from her helped keep her from reacting more than a narrowing of the eyes. His insult to Kandor was just one step to far, however.

 

"You are nothing like him," she growled, swallowing hard against the pain in her arm. "He's more mandokarla than you could ever hope to be. How could you fall in with a Sith of all people against your own? My husband was and is better off without you in his life and will easily be a thousand times the father you were. You underestimate what Kandor has become in your absence and that will be your downfall."

fMZZcER.png

Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya. - "Train your sons to be strong but your daughters to be stronger."

“A Mandalorian woman's greatest talent is not her charm or beauty, but her strength of body and will.” - Mandalorian proverb

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Judyc looked down at her. His face appeared calm but his eyes betrayed that she'd struck a nerve. His voice was equal parts ice and fire. "You are going to regret saying that," he said through gritted teeth, drawing his knife again.

 

The Kyr'tsad looked over her body, then slowly used the knife to cut open the front of her trousers. He then yanked the waistband down a few inches, baring skin. "Kandor Fett will never be a father," he said, then plunged his knife at an upwards angle into her body around the level of the center of her pelvic bone.

 

He held the knife there for a second before finally withdrawing it, its serrated edge doing further damage.

 

Judyc looked at the medical droid. "I forgive you if she passes out. Just keep her alive," he said, leaving the room after dropping the bloodied knife on the counter.

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The sharp cold stab of fear shot through her body as he looked her over, a predatory look in his eyes. It wasn't the same look she'd seen in Lura's eyes as she struggled against the restraints when his knife made quick work of her trousers. It was something far more dangerous. She watched in disbelief as his blade plunged into her going so deep that she felt it hit the bone. She barely heard his words over the cry of pain she was not able to suppress when her body involuntarily tried to move away from the source of the pain nor could she hold back the tears that came with the searing pain and the realization of what he'd just done.

 

She couldn't speak as shock took over her body as she just made out the clatter of the knife hitting the medical bay counter as the droid began it's work of keeping her from bleeding out. In the end, unconsciousness won out as her heart felt like it was torn in two.

fMZZcER.png

Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya. - "Train your sons to be strong but your daughters to be stronger."

“A Mandalorian woman's greatest talent is not her charm or beauty, but her strength of body and will.” - Mandalorian proverb

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((Subsequent posts will handle Judyc's and ShadowFett's actions together under this account.))

 

The Justice emerged from hyperspace and descended toward Rordis City.

 

"Are the buy'cese ready to go, Twenty-two?"

 

"Yes, Master."

 

"And what about you?"

 

"I believe I am adequately prepared, although I must once again express that I am skeptical of my role in this plan."

 

"You'll do fine. Okay, drop me here. Good luck, burc'ya."

 

------------------------------

 

Judyc got a ping when the safehouse's droid brain spotted Fett's ship, the Justice, making a low approach. He double-checked that the trap was ready, then headed into the medbay.

 

"She's been out long enough. See if you can wake her up," he told the medical droid. He then activated a series of holoprojectors which displayed the various rooms in the safehouse. He fiddled with the settings until the largest and most central image was that of the entryway. "I want her to be able to see Kandor die."

 

"I will try, sir," the droid answered dutifully.

 

------------------------------

 

After a few moments, a figure in a black beskar'gam descended the ramp of the MandalMotors Tra'kad and began the ascent to the 13th floor where Judyc's safehouse was located. He moved with a deliberate gait, unflinching in the face of what was to come, focused on the objective before him. True to the ultimatum, however, he bore no weapons. Even his gauntlets had been stripped of the wrist rocket and laser, flamethrower, and miniature grenade launcher.

 

Fett prepared himself mentally. He didn't know what state he would find Mirdala in, and he didn't know what Viba had planned. The Kyr'tsad had proved a formidable opponent even when they were on even footing, and here he was on his home turf. It was practically a suicide mission and he knew it. But he'd beaten long odds before, and he was going to do it again today.

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The sound of water moving through the spring cave did little to sooth her restlessness as she railed in unconscious silence to whoever might be listening. Fury she'd never felt before, even against Lura and his men, gripped her and she truly knew what it meant to feel the poison of hate course through her body. Why hadn't she kept her thoughts her own? Would he still have taken the one thing from her she wanted most for her and Kandor? Had she brought this on herself with the fear she'd felt when she saw their son bearing the mark of a Seeker, knowing what sort of life that meant he'd chosen? Not knowing if he was legitimately fighting or had become one of the Fallen. It mattered little now as she fell to her hands and knees in the shallow pool and watched as it gradually turned a red then black.

 

She'd failed him - her and Kandor's son - before he'd ever been born. She was trained better than this. Had the shock of Judyc's admissions really been all it took to get past those years of intense study and preparation? It was only now that she began to question the validity of his stories but there were too many details he knew to dismiss them.

 

He knew Kandor at least as well as she did, she realized, despite the years apart. Viba knew enough to know that no matter what Kandor would tear apart the galaxy until he got to her. All this coward cared about was credits and was willing to go through his only son and his wife to get to them. Secretly she wondered if he even knew of Kandor's possibility to come back even beyond the grave. Even if he was successful in killing him (not a thought she wanted to give much time to) Kandor would again gain the upper-hand and come free her.

 

She had faith in the bond she shared with Kandor, whatever senses or Forces made it up. He was coming for her though to what end things would play out, she didn't know. Judyc had certainly done all he could to stack the deck against her husband.

-------------

 

She didn't want to wake up, but whatever chemical that damned moral reprobate of a medical droid injected her with forced the issue. She felt raw to her very soul and wondered just what new torment he'd decided to wake her up for this time.

fMZZcER.png

Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya. - "Train your sons to be strong but your daughters to be stronger."

“A Mandalorian woman's greatest talent is not her charm or beauty, but her strength of body and will.” - Mandalorian proverb

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"She has regained consciousness, sir," the medical droid reported.

 

"Good, just in time," Judyc said. "Kandor is here."

 

He put on his buy'ce and grabbed his weapons. If all went according to plan, he wouldn't even need to use them, but maybe he'd get a good scrap out of this after all.

 

---------------

 

The beskar-clad figure approached the front door and seemed to brace itself.

 

"Here goes nothing," Fett said, examining the feed from the penetrating radar, starting to get a map of the layout of the rooms.

 

"Four targets, most likely droids," 2277's voice came through their link.

 

"Breach."

 

---------------

 

As Judyc and Mirdala watched, the intruder, unmistakably identifiable as Fett by his armor, surged through the door. Immediately Judyc's hidden trap triggered, and a shower of small spherical objects showered down from hidden dispensers on the ceiling. The stun grenades immediately detonated, filling the chamber with a wash of blue energy. It was utterly overkill.

 

And yet, somehow, as the energy glare faded, the figure was still moving. It had closed with the first of the four training droids Judyc had given live weapons and ripped from its grasp its assault rifle, turning it on the others. Blaster bolts started flying, and multiple hits were scored on the black beskar, but still the figure moved. Its own blasterfire tore through the remaining ranks which had not the luxury of a layer of conventionally-indestructible metal to protect them. The fight was over as suddenly as it began, and though the figure staggered as some of the bolts had found ways around the armor, it did not fall.

 

"Impossible," Judyc growled. "Fine, I'll do it myself."

 

He rushed out and Mirdala could see him move through the rooms to the front area.

 

"What's your game, Kandor?" Judyc said as he entered the room, his energy shield raised before him and his beskar pike slotted in its side, its tip pointed at his opponent's eyes. "No one walks through stun grenades like that."

 

His opponent remained silent, then dashed to the right, opening fire. Judyc caught the blasts on his shield, but noted how Fett's injuries had slowed him down. A rifle would be useless at close range, so he closed the gap rapidly and began a sequence of strikes which quickly battered through his target's defenses. Moments later, he made one final strike and plunged the pike directly through the man's neck, a telling and lethal blow.

 

Sparks showered out in all directions. Judyc stared. "What?"

 

----------------

 

ShadowFett, wearing the refit beskar'gam Mirdala had made for him, dropped through the hole in the ceiling of Judyc's safehouse he'd cut with his jetii'kad and slapped Flirt into a nearby computer terminal, checking the charge on his assault rifle. It had been easy enough to get here, hiding his armor under the cloak he'd bought on Corellia and approaching the building on foot posing as a civilian. He'd had to break into the home of whoever lived above Viba, but that was a small price to pay.

 

2277 had played his part perfectly. The beskar'ad was not a war droid, but he'd been studying Fett's combat technique for all the long years they'd been partners, and his humanoid body was the right size to wear Fett's beskar'gam with the adjustments he'd been able to make on the flight over. He honestly was impressed that the droid was able to fight well enough to beat the initial trap; in any case, his role was fulfilled.

 

Fett moved quickly through the condo, checking corners, until he came upon the med room. Inside was Mirdala, alive and conscious but soaked in blood, a medical droid attending to her. Fighting back his anger as he glanced at but did not examine her wounds, he quickly produced his beskad'ika and cut away her restraints, though he doubted she was going anywhere in her condition. He needed to keep a clear head to finish this fight. "K'oyacyi, Mird'ika," he said, then glanced at the holo displays in time to see Viba dispatch 2277. He'd figured coming in that the droid would be needing another new body after this.

 

He checked his rifle again and spoke, his voice cold with menace. "Back in a minute."

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"Kandor is here."

 

Mirdala couldn't help feeling her heart sink as she heard Judyc utter the words, hating herself and him for making her doubt Kandor's chances in this horrible situation.

 

As much as she didn't want to watch the situation, she had little choice as the droid's arms forced her head towards the monitors and would press down inciting the tender area behind her right ear anytime she closed her eyes. Her stomach churned as she watched him reach the main hallway, tears brimming her eyes as the monitors were obscured by a brilliant blue energy that could have easily taken out an entire squad, let alone a single Mando'ad, even one as strong as Kandor.

 

The droid applied pressure once more as she closed her eyes, and she forced them open again, fully expecting to see Kandor's prone and armored body on the floor. What she saw stunned her. Trying to jerk her head away from the mechanical arm of the torturous medical droid so she could get a better angle on the monitors, her mind tried to process what she was seeing as Kandor made quick work of the droids and staggered onward.

 

She didn't bother to hide her smirk as Judyc vocalized his disbelief and frustration at the inadequacies of his droids to do a job he didn't have the guts to do himself to begin with.

 

"Guess picking on restrained women who can't fight back is more your speed," she laughed at his retreating form before the pressure from the droid returned.

 

A sound from the doorway caught her attention and she looked up to see the most welcome sight - Kandor in his other set of armor. As he cut away the restraints, she reached for him, her fingers brushing the side of his gauntlet and leaving a small smear of blood there. He was real. "H-how?" she began before turning back to the monitors where she saw Viba tearing his way through 2277's circuitry.

 

She just managed to stop herself from crying out for him as he left to face Judyc, centering her focus instead on the medical droid. "Now you and I need to have a bit of a chat. And by 'chat' I mean to dismantle your personality matrix bit by bit." She grabbed the droid's arm and pulled it to her, fighting back the unconsciousness and nausea that threatened to overwhelm her again from aggravating her injuries. Prying the casing apart, she short-circuited a few of the key systems causing the droid to loose it's mind for a second before she shut it off and completed the rest of her tinkering. The next time Judyc decided to utilize the droid, it would turn on him most viciously.

 

Her work complete, she lay back on the table not able to move from the pain and looked towards the monitors and prayed for Kandor to be alright.

fMZZcER.png

Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya. - "Train your sons to be strong but your daughters to be stronger."

“A Mandalorian woman's greatest talent is not her charm or beauty, but her strength of body and will.” - Mandalorian proverb

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Judyc watched the droid body wearing Fett's armor drop prone on the floor before him, unmoving. "Haar'chak," he swore, whirling around and running back towards the medbay, realizing that his victory was no longer guaranteed.

 

ShadowFett, meanwhile, was pure focus. Although 2277 had been incapacitated, he still had the feed from his other buy'ce, so he saw the path Viba took. As a result he knew exactly what corner to pause behind, waiting for his opponent to come charging around it.

 

When Viba did, Fett pounced, thrusting his rifle sideways and feeling the solid clack as it struck his enemy's helmet, clotheslining him. Viba landed on his back with a grunt but immediately rolled and brought his shield around to intercept Fett's follow-up volley of blaster fire from the rifle. Kandor dashed forward to keep too close to the older verd for him to bring his pike to bear, putting a blaster bolt low before tossing his assault rifle aside and physically grabbing the edges of the energy shield in an attempt to wrest it out of Viba's hands.

 

Judyc toggled the power switch and the energy barrier collapsed, bringing Fett down on top of him, but not before he got a foot up and propelled the other Mando'ad over and past him. He then rose, reactivating the shield and getting his pike back into position, erasing Fett's advantage.

 

Kandor had prepared for this on Corellia, having carefully studied Viba's style of combat. He did not relent. He stepped back and from his gauntlet he fired a concussion grenade. Judyc batted it aside as he had shown his ability to do reliably and the explosive went spinning into the main living area. Fett had anticipated the move and took advantage of the window in his opponent's defenses, quick-drawing his sonic pistol with his left hand and opening fire towards Judyc's right hip. The rings of sonic energy weren't quite as destructive as blaster bolts, but their conal shape made them ideal for finding gaps in Judyc's beskar'gam.

 

At least one of the bolts found purchase and Viba grunted, but recovered and triggered his flamethrower even as the concussion grenade detonated with ground-shaking force, shattering transparisteel and sundering furniture. Fett's aim deviated for a moment as he retreated from the flames, but Judyc pursued, ignoring the fierce pain in his joints from both the sonic attack and the pressure wave from the explosive. He knew his best advantage was in melee and that's how he was going to beat his son. "You should have let her die, Kandor!" he growled.

 

Fett continued to backpedal, sending more sonic bolts downrange before finally drawing his beskad, a heavy blade of Mandalorian Iron, in his right hand. In his left, he produced a metal cylinder about a foot long, which Judyc at first thought was the energy shield he'd stolen from him on Nar Shaddaa, but for now it stayed off. Between the flamethrower and the grenade, a series of small fires had broken out around the room.

 

"You made a critical mistake, Viba," Kandor answered, starting to circle his target and look for an opening. "That's my riduur you've got in there. No one comes between me and my aliit and lives."

 

ShadowFett made his move, dashing forward and to his right and bringing his blade in a right-to-left sweep, striking the side of Viba's pike and forcing it sideways into his shield. Fett then twisted around so that his back was briefly to his opponent and hit the activation stud on the object in his left hand. There sounded a familiar snap-hiss a brilliant blue blade left forth. Judyc's shield was caught on the wrong side of his body, and the lightsaber blade moved unimpeded to strike him across the visor.

 

Viba staggered back, dropping his pike and retreating toward the balcony, bringing his shield up just in time to ward off the follow-up blows. His buy'ce was scarred and the transparisteel shattered, so with his now-free right hand he ripped the whole helmet off.

 

Kandor froze for just an instant in surprise when he saw the aged face of his own buir. "Kelborn!"

 

Judyc didn't hesitate. He went for his sidearm and opened fire. Fett twisted as he took two hits on his beskar'gam but then locked the lightsaber on and sent it spinning towards Viba. Judyc managed to deflect the jetii weapon but Fett was on him again, putting his shoulder down and driving him backwards towards the edge of the balcony. Neither of them could stop before he struck the railing and, top-heavy in their armor, were carried over it by their momentum, Judyc letting go of his weapons to grab fiercely onto his son and mortal enemy.

 

ShadowFett did not have his repulsor pack in this set of armor, it was with 2277. Instead he triggered his liquid cable launcher, and suddenly both men were dangling over the edge of a 13-story drop.

 

Kandor gritted his teeth. "Stay dead this time," he said, drawing his beskad'ika that Mirdala had given him and slicing it right through Viba's arm at the elbow. The older man grunted in pain and, unable to hold on with one hand, plummeted. Fett heard him hit the duracrete with a crunch almost three seconds later. He paused a moment, exhaled, then pulled himself back over the railing with his liquid cable, collapsing for a moment onto his hands and knees after doing so.

 

By now the whole room was on fire and he still had multiple objectives before he could get out. Mand'alor forced himself back onto his feet. Can't stop yet.

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The battle between the two was fierce and despite her body's desire to slip into unconsciousness Mirdala forced herself to stay awake to watch as the two of them fought their way through the house. The tremor from the concussion grenade nearly did her in as her whole body vibrated and new waves of pain overtook her.

 

Then she felt it, small at first, but little by little she could feel some of the pain bleeding off as another familiar presence brushed her mind. Somehow, TeVerd, or one of her brothers was close by, enough to help. She opened herself up through her empathic bond to make it easier for them to find her.

 

Hearing Kandor's name called out on the pickups, she turned her attention back to the monitors watching as the two men circled one another as flames licked the room around them, bouncing eerily off of their visors.

 

You made a critical mistake, Viba, She heard Kandor warn in a deadly calm tone. That's my riduur you've got in there. No one comes between me and my aliit and lives.

 

She didn't bother to hold back the tears as she felt her heart both swell and break simultaneously with the love she felt for Kandor, how she'd utterly failed them both by walking blithely into the trap that had brought them both to their current situation, and the irony of his statement considering she hadn't managed to warn him Viba was his father, or at least the man who'd raised him.

 

Crying out and coughing against the smoke as the two of them went over the edge and out of her vision she feared the worst. Yes...unconsciousness was preferable to this.

fMZZcER.png

Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya. - "Train your sons to be strong but your daughters to be stronger."

“A Mandalorian woman's greatest talent is not her charm or beauty, but her strength of body and will.” - Mandalorian proverb

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