Bounty Hunter Anon III

by Sunny Solaire

The Way

Another boom rumbles beneath your boots. This one sounds more violent than the ones you'd been hearing for the past few minutes. Either Gilda is upping her game outside, or something else is going on.

You and Applejack enter the office again and head to the desk. Mandalore and Pinkie are hunched over the terminal together. They both glance at you for a moment before returning their attention to the screen.

"Did you find anything?" You ask.

Pinkie nods. "Yeah, we found all the stuff on the droids. Along with a bunch of other cool stuff too."

You're about to ask what when Mandalore speaks up. "We'll spare you the details. The Sith fleet in orbit is sending legions of reinforcements to secure this location, and any other troopers from below are making their way up. We need to leave now."

The hairs on the back of your neck stand up as another boom echoes through the building. This is the final step.

You turn on your comms. "Rainbow, please tell me you're at your ship. We're out of time."

She replies a moment later. "I just took off! I'm on my way back to pick you up!"

"Good." You say with relief. "Gilda, target those gas tanks then get out of here. Try and draw the Sith's attention so we can escape."

"Took you long enough, damn." She replies.

You cut comms with her and turn back to Pinkie. "How much longer?"

"Just a teensy bit longer, Anon." She says.

A few seconds pass and you hear another explosion from outside. The biggest one yet. An orange glow illuminates the room and everything around you shakes and rattles as Sith trinkets and artifacts fall and shatter on the ground. One of the gas tanks must've burst.

Your comms flicker in your ear. "That did it, Anon! The factory is on its way up! I'm out of here!" Gilda says. "There are two Star Destroyers closing in on your location as we speak. You literally have minutes, at best."

"Got it." You reply. "We'll meet up with you later."

"You'd better." She replies. "I'm not ready for you to die quite yet. We'll be waiting for you at the remains of Malachor V."

Malachor V: the place where the Mandalorian Wars ended.

Centuries ago, the Jedi Revan defeated Mandalore the Ultimate in single combat over Malachor V, and used a weapon called the Mass Shadow Generator to destroy the planet. Doing so completely devastated the Mandalorian fleet, but also many Republic ships as well. A winning move often requires sacrifice, and Revan knew this better than anyone.

Even ten years after the end of the Mandalorian Wars, when Canderous Ordo, Mandalore the Preserver, returned to Malachor V with a Jedi veteran named Meetra Surik to stop the Sith, Republic and Mandalorian warships still orbited the remains of the planet. It was a graveyard world, full of ancient evils and scars that plagued the galaxy for decades afterwards. After stopping the Sith, Surik used the Mass Shadow Generator once again to completely destroy what remained of Malachor V, turning it into nothing more than an asteroid field.

You pause for a moment before replying. "Malachor V. We'll see you there."

As soon as you cut your comms, another explosion erupts from the hallway and you hear voices. Shouting. The Sith have infiltrated this floor.

You growl and get out your weapons again as you make your way to the exit. Applejack follows you. "Pinkie!" She shouts.

"I'm done!" She announces.

Mandalore blasts the console and you all turn towards the back wall to head to the spire's landing pad. You and Applejack follow behind Pinkie and Mandalore, but keep your weapons trained on the exit to the hallway. They'll be here any second.

"Rainbow Dash, get to the landing pad now!" Mandalore shouts.

"I'm about there!" She replies on your comms. "Those Star Destroyers are closing in!"

Another violent boom erupts from outside the building and you all lose your footing for just a moment before continuing your escape. Must have been a second gas tank. This place will blow at any time now.

A few seconds of running later, you all make it outside to the landing pad. What's left of Chrysalis' Sith shuttle is just a pile of debris on your right. Beyond the edge of the pad, however, is an even more destructive sight. It looks like the ground is on fire. There's explosions and destruction everywhere. Buildings are ablaze, there is smoke, and a good number of Sith fighters in the air, wondering what's going on. Directly above you, you see the faint outline of two Star Destroyers as they enter the atmosphere.

"There she is!" Pinkie shouts.

You all look to where she's pointing to see the Sonic Rainboom approaching your location. It turns around in the air, and the ramp lowers as it descends to the landing pad. The four of you quickly head toward her.

Before you're able to board, a volley of blasterfire hits her ship from behind you. You turn around to see a growing number of Sith troopers firing their weapons at you and the ship all at once.

"Damn!" You shout.

You and Mandalore provide cover for Applejack and Pinkie as they both scramble aboard the ship. Blaster bolts hit your armor all over and deflect in every direction. Your beskar is holding up for now, but it won't for long under this kind of blasterfire. You need to leave immediately.

"Rainbow, get out of here!" You shout. "Keep the ramp lowered!"

The ship gradually begins to rise, and you continue fighting the Sith troopers. Mandalore grunts and shouts beside you against the onslaught of blaster bolts as well. He drops to his knees as the two of you try your hardest to take out the Sith troopers. For every one that falls, two more take its place.

Beside you, Mandalore throws his fist forward and a series of small rockets propel from his gauntlet; Whistling Birds. They zip and fly through the air as they strike down multiple Sith at once, buying you a second or two of reprieve.

"Anonymous, go!" He grunts. "Get out of here!"

You rush to his side and try to stand him up. "Not without you!" You keep your blaster raised towards the building as you await more Sith troopers that will inevitably come.

"I'm not making it out of here... Not this time." He pants and looks up at you. "Listen to me. I am old... It has been the greatest honor of my life to lead our people, but that time has come to an end... I call upon you to carry that burden now, Anonymous."

Before you can say anything else, another explosion erupts from the building. You turn your focus back towards it, when suddenly, Mandalore strikes your jetpack from behind with the butt of his rifle, causing it to activate and propel you into the air. You shout as you ascend and frantically try to get yourself under control.

"Pie! Grab him!" Mandalore commands on the comms.

Just when you get your wayward jetpack under control again, you feel an invisible grip hold you in place. You turn around to see Pinkie holding onto the ship with her arm towards you, clearly straining to hold you with the Force and bring you towards the ascending Sonic Rainboom.

"Pinkie, no! Let me go!" You shout and frantically try to free yourself from her grip, but her command of the Force prevents you from doing so.

As she finally brings you aboard, you turn around and try to leave again, but Pinkie restrains you. You try and fight her, but then Applejack comes along to hold you back as well.

"I'm sorry, Anon! He told me to!" Pinkie says.

You growl and pant hard as you try to go back outside to help. Finally, the ramp begins to lower and outside, you see more Sith troopers swarm the landing pad and press the attack against Mandalore. He returns fire as best as he can before going to his knees again.

"Listen well, Anonymous!" Mandalore shouts over his comms. "As of this moment, the title of Mandalore belongs to you!"

Your eyes widen in shock and you shake your head in disbelief. "Mandalore, I-"

"This is the Way..." He says. "Lead our people well, stop the Sith, and take care of those you love."

You breathe hard as you lean over the edge of the landing pad and watch as the Sith troopers surround Mandalore and continue firing at him. Mandalore returns fire as much as he can, but he's hopelessly outnumbered.

"Ret'urcye mhi, vod." <<"Goodbye, brother.">> Mandalore says.


His comms cut, and you faintly see him rise up to rush the Sith troopers one more time as they close in. Then, the exit ramp shuts completely and the ship pressurizes. You can't see him anymore. However, you feel and hear the massive boom as the entire spire explodes in a massive fireball that rains all kinds of destruction along the snowy valley.

Even though you know it's hopeless, you tap on your comms and try to hail him, but are met with no response. Just silence.

"He's..." You say shakily. "He's gone...'

You collapse on the floor in a heap beside Pinkie and Applejack as you try to gather your thoughts. They both have a somber look on their faces. Pinkie actually has tears in her eyes.

Applejack says something to you, but you don't catch it. You say nothing as you feel Rainbow pilot the ship through the blizzard and out of the atmosphere before making a hyperspace jump to the nearest system, leaving the Sith planet behind forever...