Bounty Hunter Anon III

by Sunny Solaire

First published

Mandalorians Anonymous and Sunset Shimmer prepare for war against the returning Sith.

With enemies on both the Republic and the Sith, Anon and Sunset must mend bridges and prepare themselves for a war that puts the entire galaxy at risk. The only hope for peace is to convince the Republic and the Mandalorians to form a truce.

On the Hunt

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--Somewhere in a hidden region of deep space--

A flash of flickering bluish light reflects off the walls of the shiny corridor on a hidden space station. The flashing lights are accompanied by the sounds of electricity and painful screams. Those screams belong to Limestone Pie, the direct apprentice of Darth Sombra, Dark Lord of the Sith.

As she writhes and squirms on the ground at her master's feet, she is being barraged by an onslaught of Force Lighting. Sombra stops his punishment for just a moment, allowing her the time to whimper and cough on the ground. The slight smell of cooked flesh and smoke lingers in the air.

There is a momentary silence between the two before he finally breaks it. "Killing Pinkamena Diane Pie and the bounty hunters was your only objective, my young apprentice. Why did you fail me?"

Limestone grunts and strains to get to her knees. "M...Master, I...I ran into a problem... Those bounty hunters are...resourceful... And they had help from my other sister, Maud-"

"The Jedi..." Sombra growls.

Limestone grunts and whimpers. "Y-Yes, Master."

Sombra scoffs and looks down at her in disgust. "I have trained you to kill Jedi. What makes this one any different?"

The Dark Lord blasts her with another torrent of lightning, forcing her to scream and fall to her side again.

"You hold love for them. Is that it? Compassion?!"

Limestone shrieks in pain and grits her teeth as every inch of her body is assaulted with lightning.

"You are absolutely pathetic. I should kill you right here. You cannot kill a single Jedi. You cannot even kill a pair of bounty hunters."

Her cries turn into grunts and growls and she bangs her fist on the ground in pain.

"Your compassion for Pinkamena and her Jedi sibling begets mercy, and that mercy makes you weak."

Limestone was no longer screaming. It had been replaced by growling.

"Perhaps I should get a lowly assassin droid to do what you clearly can not. A constant reminder of your inferiority."

Limestone growls louder as she continues to be barraged by lightning. She opens her eyes and glares at her master in pure hatred before commanding herself to rise to her feet. With a growing shriek of pure, unbridled fury, she pushes both of her arms forward and blasts her master with her own torrent of Force Lightning.

"I AM STRONGER!!!" Limestone cries.

Sombra halts the assault on his apprentice and shields himself from her lightning with the Force. Behind him, the lights in the room pop and explode in bright flashes as Limestone destroys them.

A second later, she lunges at the Dark Lord, fully intent on killing him. Sombra merely raises his hand and grips her neck with the Force. Limestone's red-yellow eyes go wide as the air is sucked from her lungs and she is unable to breathe. She grips her neck and squirms around in the air as her master chokes her.

"If that is true, then you will kill Pinkamena, the bounty hunters, and any Jedi that stand in your way..." Sombra says.

Limestone squirms and wiggles her legs for a few more seconds before Sombra finally releases her. She falls to the ground on her hands and knees again, coughing and wheezing loudly.

Sombra looks down at her. "Use this anger and fear to feed your strength, Limestone. You must be strong, but you must also be smart. Exploit the weaknesses in your enemies. The weak do not deserve life."

She pants hard and continues looking at the floor. She clenches her fist.

The sound of footsteps approach her master from behind. Limestone sees the reflection of someone on the floor. Immediately, she notices that this is not one of the Sith officers Lord Sombra has at his command. Their movements are hesitant, cautious, and fearful around the Dark Lord. This one walks with confidence. Boldness.

Limestone looks up at her master and sees the approaching figure. A Mandalorian. Female, but relatively large in stature. Her armor is brown and grey in color, and shows scars from many previous battles. Her visor is red, and reflects the image of Limestone's angry expression.

Sombra steps aside to introduce them. "This, my young apprentice, is Gilda. Unlike you, she has a reputation for killing Jedi, and has personal experience with Anonymous. She will be your babysitter for the time being."

Limestone exhales and glares at Gilda. "Personal...experience?"

Gilda chuckles once and crosses her arms. "Oh yeah. Anon and me go way back. Tracking him down shouldn't be a problem."

Limestone's anger grows at her arrogant attitude. "Why haven't you killed him yet, if it would be so easy?"

"If you're good at something, never do it for free." Gilda replies.

"Rest assured bounty hunter, you will be compensated handsomely." Sombra grins and turns back to Limestone. "Find Anonymous, Sunset Shimmer, and Pinkamena Diane Pie. They know too much. Kill them. Do not fail me again, or else I will kill you."

Limestone coughs once again. "As you command... my master..."

With that, Sombra turns around and walks toward the doorway, leaving his apprentice behind with Gilda.

Gilda watches Sombra leave before turning her attention back to Limestone. "Alright, dweeb. On your feet. The sooner Anon dies, the sooner I get paid."

Limestone grunts and shakily gets to her feet before glaring at the Mandalorian.

Gilda turns around and walks down the hallway. "Darth says that you need help finding him. He's right. Hate to break it to you, but with all the trouble he's caused, Anon is going to take extra care when covering his tracks. He's good at that."

Limestone follows behind Gilda. "You mean you don't know where he is?"

"Not at this very second, no, but I know how to start tracking him down." Gilda replies. "It's like Darth said; you need to exploit his weakness. Draw him out of hiding."

The two warriors turn a corner and head toward the turbolift.

"What is his weakness?" Limestone asks.

Gilda stops and turns to face her. "His friends are his weakness."

Limestone pauses for a moment before Gilda resumes walking. They both step inside the turbolift and begin their descent toward the hangar.

Gilda continues. "Anon is short-tempered, stubborn, very blunt, and intimidating. He does not make friends easily. But, the ones he does make, he cherishes."

Limestone stays silent as they reach the hangar level, and they step outside. After a bit of walking through the hallways, they reach the hangar bay. They both approach a ship that is unfamiliar to Limestone. The word "Griffon" is inscribed on the hull. They step aboard and head into the main hold.

Gilda activates the ship's computer. "Once your master told me he was after Anon and sent me all the information he had on him, I took the liberty of working on narrowing down the search for some bait."

The ship's galaxy map appears on the holographic display, illuminating everything around them in a reddish color. The map highlights systems like Nal Hutta, Malastare, Tatooine, Dantooine, and Ottega, among others. All systems that had recently been visited by Anon.

"He's clearly been busy with contracts lately, but what's interesting is that it's not often that he takes them from the Bounty Hunter's Guild. Most of the time, the Guild is the first one in the know for posted bounties. Lots of the big-name targets he collected on recently either never showed up in the Guild's database before he collected on them, or they did show up mere minutes before he got paid for them. No one is that good."

Limestone stares at the map for a bit longer. "He has a contact?"

Gilda nods. "That's what I'm thinking. He knows someone. The coward is cheating by skipping that extra step and avoiding the competition." Gilda presses more buttons on the console and a highlights a few systems on the galaxy map. "Here's where all the recent contracts in the guild's database taken by Anon and Sunset had been accessed. I don't know where they were marked 'closed' from, but they were all seen by someone on these planets."

Limestone crosses her arms. "Then that means his friend is on one of them."

"Exactly."

One by one, the planets appear on the display. There are four of them.

"Nal Hutta, Tatooine, Malastare and... Cato Neimoidia. Interesting." Gilda hums.

"Cato Neimoidia..." Limestone stares at the image of the blue planet. The world was known for regality, unlike the other three worlds listed. "What information do you have on this world, bounty hunter?"

Gilda searches her computer's galaxy database for information on the planet. Images appear of massive cities suspended on bridges, stunning architecture, and multiple mentions of fashion designs by someone named Rarity.

"This woman, Rarity, is pretty popular here. She's not a politician, but she is well-known. Looks like she's got a hand in nearly everything going on around the planet."

Limestone stares at her picture for another long moment.

"That's her." She growls. "That's Anon's contact."

Gilda looks over at her. "You think so?"

Limestone nods. "I can feel it. She's powerful enough on that planet that she'll have connections and influence. If she's not Anon's contact, she'll know who is."

Gilda looks back at the image of Rarity for a moment before shutting it off. "Sounds like a lead to me. Let's go pay this Rarity a little visit then."

She heads into the cockpit and Limestone follows. Gilda sits down in the pilot's seat and starts the ship up.

"I hope Anon really likes her. It will be fun to see his reaction when she dies in front of him." Gilda chuckles.

"Yes..." Limestone sits in the co-pilot's seat as the engines whir to life, brooding. "Yes it will..."

The Griffon hovers off the hangar floor and exits into the blackness of space. Gilda makes the necessary preparations for lightspeed before hitting the throttle and zooming off towards Cato Neimoidia...

---

"Anonymous, darling, are you sure this is a good idea? It sounds risky."

"I know, Rarity. But this is the best thing we can think of right now."

You are sitting in your ship's armory, talking to Rarity privately on the video screen.

You, Maud, and Pinkie are currently en route to Geonosis. Rarity took a closer look at the planet and discovered that Discord is indeed going to be there for some monster fighting event in the grand arena. Pinkie had mentioned before that Discord was always fond of Rancors, and according to Rarity's new intel, a few Draconequui pirates had recently been spotted around the planet Dathomir, which is where Rancors are native to.

You're willing to bet that he's captured a few of them for this event, which is why you're heading there. With Pinkie's past experience, you're hoping to infiltrate Discord's ship, cripple his gang, and capture him.

It is of the utmost priority that you capture him, not kill him. Mandalore told you that he was willing to lend aid to the Republic against the Sith, and had sent word to your people to prepare for war. However, since you killed Hoity Toity, it's unlikely that the Republic will listen to you. Discord is going to be your bargaining chip. You're hoping to deliver him to the Republic for free, in exchange that they listen and hopefully come to an agreement to help each other fight the Sith.

Once the Republic is willing to listen, you're going to present all of your evidence against Hoity Toity to them and defend your actions on Coruscant. Then you're going to show all your findings on the Sith to them, and hopefully get them to agree to put your differences aside to put a stop to their plans, whatever they are. Rarity has every bit of information that you need to make your case. She's going to send it all to you once you've captured Discord.

You don't know what the Sith are planning. You don't even know where they are. But you're clearly onto something. Jedi Master Maud Pie even sensed it. The fact that they came out of hiding to openly attack you and the Republic over Kessel proves it even further.

Rarity licks her lips nervously before looking back at you. "Alright, darling. You do have a contingency plan in case it does not go smoothly, yes?"

"Of course." You nod. "Sunset is on standby with a few other Mandalorians, along with the Republic soldiers Applejack, and Big Mac. They're going to come in and secure the perimeter to prevent Discord from escaping, if things go according to plan. If things go wrong, they'll come in early for fire support."

She nods. "Alright. Just knowing that other Mandalorians, and a Jedi Master are involved puts me at ease. I worry about you."

"You're very sweet for caring, Rarity, but don't worry. We've dealt with worse." You smirk.

She smiles a bit. "How is Pinkie doing?"

Your grin softens. "She's fine. She hasn't been as happy-go-lucky since Kessel, which doesn't surprise me. She has been feeling a lot better though."

A part of you is glad she hasn't been her usual self. She was obnoxious a lot of the time. But you still feel bad for her. Despite her obnoxiousness, she had become a valuable ally. You might even call her a friend at this point. Finding out her sister had turned to the Dark Side and had tried to kill her was clearly distressful.

"Do you think you'll encounter Limestone again?" Rarity asks.

"I'd be surprised if we didn't." You reply. "What I'm mostly concerned about is Pinkie's reaction if we end up having to kill her."

"Let's hope it doesn't come to that then, darling." Rarity says. "She may be able to turn away from the Dark Side's influence."

Revan was able to, so that is a possibility. You aren't holding your breath though. The Dark Side seems to have Limestone in a vise grip. It will be damn difficult to pry her loose.

Another console on the wall beeps, and you see that you're getting close to Geonosis.

You take a deep breath. "We're here. I'll contact you when we've finished."

Rarity nods. "Alright, darling. I'll await your transmission."

You shut off the video screen and stand up, grabbing your helmet and putting it on before heading out to the main hold.

Needle in a Haystack

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You step out of the armory and head to the cockpit, passing Pinkie Pie sitting in the main hold.

She looks at you and smiles. "Hi Anon!"

"Hi Pinkie." You reply. "Come with me, we're here."

She stands up and follows you as you enter the cockpit. The console is flashing a light on and off, and you decelerate the ship to bring it out of lightspeed. Outside the viewport, the orange planet of Geonosis comes into view. You're just outside its gravity's pull.

You'd like to keep your distance as much as you can. It would be best to not let anyone know you're here yet. Sure, you had made a stop at Nar Shaddaa and illegally changed your ship's ID signature a couple days ago, and your stealth drive was working properly, but you can't be too careful. You're a wanted man now, after all.

It's strange having a price on your own head. It's never happened to you before. That you know of, anyway. Luckily, you're good at looking over your shoulder. You should be fine if you play it extra safe.

"Anon?" You blink a few times and look over at Pinkie. "You okay?"

"Yeah." You nod. "Sorry, just got a little distracted."

Stay focused, Anon. You're here to get out of this mess.

You look back outside at the planet and start scanning for ships. "Think you can find Discord's ship from here?"

"Hopefully." Pinkie says. "He's probably changed his ID signature too. It's been a few years since I last saw him. He may have done it a couple times."

"Let's see what we can do then."

You press a button on your scanner and start sweeping the area around the planet for ships. After a few seconds, you locate a good handful of ships and cruisers in orbit. More of them are actually on the planet itself. As time passes, you detect more and more ships. They all appear on your screen in greater numbers.

This will be like finding a needle in a haystack, but luckily, you brought a magnet with you.

Pinkie leans in and takes a good look at the ships in orbit. "Lemme see... His ship is big. Not super big like the Republic's cruisers, but still kinda big."

"Like the same size as Senator Melody's Consular cruiser we rode to Dantooine on?" You ask.

She nods, still looking at the screen. "Yeah, about that size. Maybe a little bit bigger."

You turn back to the console and adjust the parameters to filter out smaller ships. Onscreen, most of the ships disappear, leaving only a few left, by comparison. There's still a good number of them onscreen though.

"You don't know what kind of ship he had? What its make and model was?" You ask.

Pinkie shakes her head and looks back at you. "No I don't. His ship was really weird though. I've never seen a ship like his before, even with all the time I spent on Nar Shaddaa. It's like it was from another universe or something."

Well, that may help a little bit. If a big ship sticks out, it should be easy to find.

You take a seat and proceed to head towards the planet. "What color is it?"

"It was lots of colors." Pinkie says. "Green, yellow, blue, brown, red... It was kinda random."

"He sounds like quite the character."

She nods. "He is. He's really funny though!"

You don't reply as you approach the planet, occasionally checking your sensor to make sure you aren't being followed. A couple ships are in your general proximity, but they don't seem to care about you, which is good.

Just play it cool. You're no one special, you're just here for the monster fight, nothing more.

You maneuver the ship over the ring of asteroids that orbit the planet and proceed towards one of the cruisers your scanner picked up. Got to start somewhere.

Once it comes into view, Pinkie shakes her head. "That's not it."

You cross it off and casually make your way to the next cruiser. Again, no luck.

After a few long minutes of checking out different cruisers and bearing no fruit, you sigh. "There's got to be something else we can do. This is taking forever, and we don't have much time."

Pinkie nods and hums to herself. "Maybe Maud can help."

You look over at her.

"Maybe she can use the Force to find Discord. He might've stolen some Jedi and Sith stuff from somewhere that he's keeping on his ship. If she can sense the Force energy coming from those things, then she can point us in the right direction!"

Like you, with Adagio's gem...

You nod. "That's possible, if he has any objects like that aboard. She managed to find me with that stuff before."

"I'll go get her!" Pinkie smiles and heads back into the ship to find the Jedi.

That's actually a really good idea. You never would've considered that. Who can blame you though? You're a Mandalorian.

A minute later, Pinkie comes back into the cockpit with the Jedi.

Maud looks at you with her signature emotionless gaze. "Hello Anonymous."

You nod at her once. "Master Jedi."

Pinkie turns to her. "So Maud! Do you think you can help us please? Maybe Discord stole some stuff that's strong with the Force!"

Maud looks at her sister. "I will do my best. Would you like to help me?"

Pinkie pauses for a moment and her smile disappears. "Oh... Uh... Maybe. I still know how to move and push and pull stuff, but I-I can't really remember how to sense stuff like that."

Maud places a hand on Pinkie's shoulder. "Just think back to your early training, Pinkie. Clear your mind and stretch out."

Pinkie stays still for a moment before nodding and Maud steps up beside you. She looks at the screen that shows all the different ships on or around the planet.

Pinkie sits down in the seat next to you and takes a deep breath. "Okay..." She stretches out her hand, and closes her eyes.

Maud does the same. She sets her hand on her sister's shoulder and closes her eyes as well.

Pinkie starts chanting softly. Trying to calm herself down or something. "Clear your mind... Clear your mind... Clear your mind..."

You just sit there and cross your arms, silently tapping your fingers. Not much you can do right now.

It's kind of awkward just sitting here while two girls are just holding their arms out in front of them and saying nothing right next to you. But what else are you supposed to do?

You wish Sunset was here.

"Do you feel it?" Maud asks.

You look back at the girls. Pinkie's eyes are still closed, but she looks like she's focusing hard. "I... I don't know..."

"Temper your feelings, Pinkie." Maud says. "Don't focus on the conflict inside you, focus on being calm. At peace."

Maud puts her hand down and opens her eyes, while Pinkie still tries to focus on the ships outside.

After a few moments, her hand slowly moves to the right. "Anon? Can you turn the ship a little?"

"Sure." You take the controls and twist the ship to the right, following her hand. Geonosis slowly moves to the left of the ship's viewport until it's behind you.

Pinkie's hand moves to the left again. "Stop."

You stop turning the ship. Directly ahead of you are three cruisers, each one far enough away that they shouldn't be able to see you from here. Even if they weren't, your stealth drive is still active.

Pinkie strains a bit more and her hand starts to shake a little.

Maud squeezes her sister's shoulder a bit. "Focus, Pinkie. It's okay."

She takes another breath and stops shaking.

After another long moment, she slowly takes a breath and opens her eyes. "There! That's his ship! The one on the right!"

You look at the ship she's referring to. "You're sure?"

She smiles. "I'm positive! I saw it! In my mind!"

You take the controls again and proceed towards the rightmost ship on your scanner.

Maud smiles. "Well done, Pinkie. I knew you could do it."

Pinkie smiles wider and looks down at her hands, like she's seeing something incredible. "The Force..."

She gives her sister a big hug and takes a deep, happy breath. You can't help but give a little smile at them. Pinkie really needed to feel happy again. She's been through a lot lately.

Turning your attention back to the controls, you focus on the approaching cruiser. After a few moments of flying, it's close enough to make out a few details.

True to Pinkie's word, this ship is unlike any you've ever seen before. It resembles a thin oval stretching out and cutting off to a set of sleek engines. It looks fast. It looks like it was originally built as a merchant vessel... Maybe? It's looks like it has more than a few illegal modifications on it.

There are a lot of aliens in the galaxy, but this ship truly does look... alien in every sense of the word.

Once it's in view, you slow down and turn on your lifeform scanner. There are only a few people aboard. Either patrolling or sleeping. A couple of them are brawling in the center of the ship. Near the rear, a large lifeform is detected. It looks like a Rancor monster.

"Pinkie, you said Discord kept Rancors onboard his ship, right?"

She nods. "Mostly to use in arena fights like this one. He always kept at least one aboard the ship though."

With only a handful of people and one Rancor aboard the ship, you assume that Discord is currently on the planet with the rest of his crew and Rancors.

"Okay." You reply. "It's a safe bet that he's already on the planet, so if there was ever a time to sneak aboard his ship, it's now."

You move closer to the ship's underbelly, looking for a way inside, but you can't find an opening.

"The hangar bay is on either side of the rear of the ship." Pinkie says.

"Oh." You turn and head to the rear of the ship, staying slow. Hopefully the remaining crew is too distracted by the fighting on the planet to notice you here.

You fly up to the starboard hangar bay entrance and jam any comms and surveillance systems they have in here. The hangar is a bit cluttered with a few small ships, but it's mostly vacant.

You're going to head in with Pinkie, quickly disable the ship's hyperdrive, weapons, and shields, then head back to your ship and wait for him to show up. Once he does, you'll send word to Sunset and the other Mandalorians. They'll show up and join you to help capture Discord. You'll avoid killing members of his crew if you can. Bringing more than one target to the Republic alive would make you look very good, and that's exactly what you need right now.

Killing one or two wouldn't be the worst thing though.

You land the ship in the hangar bay and stand up. "Okay, Pinkie. You know the ship's layout, so you're with me. Master Maud, stay here and let us know when or if they come back early. Keep the engines hot."

Pinkie smiles and they both nod. "Okay, Anon!"

Maud takes a seat on the floor and crosses her legs to start meditating or whatever. You grab your helmet and exit the cockpit with Pinkie, putting it on. She grabs her blaster pistol and gear while you grab your blaster rifle and sidearm.

Once your jetpack is secured, the two of you quickly step down the exit ramp and sweep your weapons across the empty hangar, scanning for enemies. Pinkie ushers you to follow her and the two of you jog over to the hangar bay doors. She goes to the control panel and pushes a few buttons and the doors open. The hallway is empty, so you both proceed deeper into the ship.

Sabotage

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"There doesn't seem to be a lot of security here." You comment.

She shakes her head. "There usually wasn't when we went to fights and stuff. Discord was really cocky and sure of himself lots of the time."

You're determined to make him pay for his overconfidence.

Pinkie leads on. "When we raided ships, we made sure we didn't leave a trace of where we went, but we wanted the galaxy to know who we were. Like a calling card! He wanted to be the bestest and most feared pirate in the galaxy!"

"Well, he definitely made an impression, that's for sure." You reply.

She giggles. "Probably not the one he was after though. Good thing I'm not here with him anymore!"

You grin and continue following her as she navigates the ship, making turns down hallways and taking shortcuts as she comes to them.

Upon reaching an open doorway that leads to a large, open area, she stops and hunkers down. "Okay, there might be someone up ahead. This way leads to the Rancor cages."

You crouch slightly and grip your blaster rifle. "We have to go past the Rancor cages?"

She nods. "The engine room is just a little bit further. That's where the warp drive is."

Warp drive? Who calls it a warp drive?

"And the weapons systems?" You ask.

"They're up by the bridge." She replies. "They control the ship's phasers, photons, and particle beam emitters remotely, but someone can still use them directly if they are at the actual guns themselves."

Phasers and photons? What kind of ship is this?

She continues. "Really, the only thing we have to worry about is the Rancor monster. If he smells us, he'll wanna eat us and start roaring, so we've gotta be fast!"

Lovely...

You just sigh and shrug. "Alright, lead the way."

She smiles and peeks around the corner. "Oooh, there he is. He's a big one!"

You step out and look to where she's looking. Directly ahead of you in a large metal cage is a sleeping Rancor. It's either in early adolescence, or it's a malnourished adult. It's not as big as other Rancors you've seen. Despite that, it's still enormous.

"Where do we go?" You quietly ask.

Pinkie points to a doorway on the other side of the room close to the monster's cage. "Right there. If there's no one in here, then there's definitely someone in there. That's one of the rooms where we kept valuables. Someone is always supposed to be watching it."

You nod and turn on your helmet's lifeform scanner to look for enemies. Apart from the hulking Rancor at the end of the room, this room is devoid of life.

You're about to proceed forward when Pinkie sticks her arm out in front of you, holding her blaster pistol. She's sticking her tongue out and closing one eye. She's aiming at something. A second later, she fires and blasts a piece of metal off the wall and it falls down to the floor with a loud bang.

The sound echoes loudly through the room and you whisper-yell at her. "What the hell are you doing?! We have to be quiet!"

"I'm opening the door!" She says. "I have an idea! That was a security camera!"

You're about to retort when you hear a low rumbling sound coming from the other side of the room. That sound woke the Rancor and it growls a bit more as it starts to get to its feet. It slams one of its claws on the ground and you feel the floor shake a bit beneath your boots. It roars loudly and starts to look around.

You instinctively tighten your grip on your blaster rifle, but Pinkie just smiles and looks back at you. "Follow me once I start running!"

She looks back at the monster as it continues to make a fuss. A moment later, the door you need to go through opens and someone walks out. A male weequay.

"Hey, girl. What's wrong?" He says. "What you complaining about? You hungry again?"

He approaches the cage and turns his back to you as he speaks to the angry Rancor.

Pinkie pulls your arm. "Now!"

She bolts forward and you follow right behind her, keeping an eye on the weequay in case he turns around. The Rancor rears its head up and roars again, this time it's looking at you and Pinkie. Its roaring should block the sounds of your fast footsteps.

"Woah, woah! Calm down, girl! What's wrong with you today?" The weequay holds his hands up to try and urge the monster to calm itself while you and Pinkie run into the next room.

She quickly goes to a control panel on the left and hits a button. "HO HO! YE'VE BEEN HORNSWAGGLED, YE SCURVY DOG! NOW WALK THE PLANK!"

The weequay whips his head around at looks at you just as the door closes. Once it shuts, you hear him banging on the door a few seconds later, yelling at you from the other side. Pinkie starts laughing wildly and hits another button. Red lights start flashing and an alarm starts blaring all through the ship.

"Pinkie, what the hell are you doing?!" You shout.

"I'm releasing the Rancor!" She says with a smile. "The rest of the crew will come here and try to capture it and get eaten! It's a distraction!"

You just look at her in shock.

She continues. "Trust me, Anon! Rancors are everything to these pirates! They'll do anything to get it under control again!"

"This wasn't part of the plan!" You say.

From behind, you hear the weequay start screaming frantically and pounding on the door harder, only to be drowned out by the sound of the Rancor roaring again.

"Dead men tell no tales, Anon! Relax! We've got this! A little improv every now and then is good, when you have an opportunity!" Pinkie replies.

You pause for a moment. Her words resonate something within you.

She's right. Plans don't always have to go according to plan to work. They can evolve.

'Oppurtunism and flexibility in battle are to be admired.' Mandalore taught you those lessons before. Long ago.

Come to think of it, you have been pretty rigid in your planning lately. It's because of this whole thing with the Republic and the Sith both setting their sights on you. It's made you paranoid.

Plans are good to have, but it isn't bad to be more flexible in their execution as well.

After another moment, you nod at her. "Okay. You're right, this is a damn good distraction, Pinkie. Let's take advantage of it and move quickly."

She smiles again and you both head to the next door. It opens and you're met with another set of hallway that heads left, straight, and right.

"This way!" She leads you down the left hallway until you come to another intersection. "Okay! Straight ahead is the engine room! Follow it all the way down, but stay to the right! I'll disable the weapons systems! We'll meet back here!"

You nod. "Alright."

You both split up and run down the hallway in different directions.

From behind, you can hear her start singing. "Yo ho! Yo ho! A pirate's life for meee~! Brrra babum ba babababum..." It fades away as you press forward.

The hallway curves left up ahead and you follow it, but you stay to the right side, like she said. A bit later, you come to a right turn. The doorway it leads to is shut, but it opens automatically as you approach. It's the engine room.

You step inside and walk along a grated floor. Below, you can see the reactor core that powers the ship. Massive turbines that power the two main engines are on the far wall directly ahead of you. Pipes and massive wires connect them to the reactor core below your feet.

"Okay... There's got to be a control panel or something here."

You look around, and find a wall terminal behind you. As you approach, you notice that it has locked you out. You need a password.

You growl a bit and look around for something else you can do. You don't need to destroy the engines, you just need to cripple the hyperdrive.

Or... Right. The warp drive.

You look back at the massive turbines and pause. You're out of options.

"Improvise." You shrug.

You point your blaster rifle at the turbines and fire a few times. It doesn't do much, but you do make some progress. Then, you remember that you also have a few thermal detonators.

You take one out and arm it. It starts beeping in your hand and you throw it at the turbines. A second later, it explodes and stops the turbines, crippling the engines. The alarm starts blaring in here as well.

Satisfied, you turn around and head back the way you came, contacting Pinkie on your comms. "Pinkie, the engines are down! Where are you?"

"I just finished with the weapons systems!" She replies. "I'm on my way back now! I saw a group of pirates go down the lift before me though, so watch out!"

"Thanks for the update! I'll try to save a few of them for you!"

"Yay! Thanks, Anon!"

You grin and shut off your comms as you proceed toward the spot you said you'd meet up again. Once you're there, you take cover behind the wall and wait for the group of pirates to arrive. After a few moments, they all come out of the lift and point their weapons down either end of the hallway. You grab another thermal detonator and throw it at their feet.

One of them spots it. "Take cover!"

A few pirates cry out as they get caught in the grenade's explosion, but the others advance toward you and fire their weapons.

You step out into the clearing and fire back at them, hitting one in the shoulder before taking cover behind the corner on the opposite side of the hallway. The smoke from your thermal detonator obscured some of your view of the elevator, so you don't know exactly how many are left. There are at least three.

You blindly fire at them from behind cover, but they keep you pinned down. You reach to your belt and grab another thermal detonator. It's your last one.

Once there's a slight break in the suppressive fire, you arm it and chuck it around the corner. A few pirates scream as it explodes after a few seconds and the blasterfire stops. You round the corner and start firing wildly for a second to deter any stragglers.

In the light smoke, you spot a pirate on the ground covering his face with his arm. You blast him, then find another pirate to the left. He tries to fire at you, but you're a quicker shot than he is and blast him in the face.

Suddenly, you feel a blaster bolt hit your right arm, just between your tricep and elbow. It hurts like hell, but you push past it and whip around to start spraying blasterfire at the pirate laying on the ground. He manages to hit your chest once before he goes down. You growl under your breath and check for anyone else. No other pirates are alive. You got them all.

You feel your chest and arm for any damage. There's no blood, thanks to your armor, but you'll have a couple small bruises.

Just then, the elevator dings and you raise your weapon at the door, only for them to open and you see Pinkie standing there with her own weapons drawn.

She lowers them slightly and looks around at the bodies. "Hey! You said you'd save a few for me!"

You smirk and lower your weapon as well. "Sorry. I tried my best, but they talked me out of it."

"Awww!" She giggles and puts her weapons away. "Let's head back!"

She starts running back toward the Rancor room and you follow close behind. "The weapons are down, right?"

"Yep!" She replies. "The crew didn't seem to notice though. They're too busy worrying about the Rancor being loose."

"That was a good idea, Pinkie."

She smiles and continues onward. A bit further down the hallway, you see a few pirates turn a corner and come running toward you.

Pinkie reaches for her blasters, but you quickly speak up to stop her. "Wait."

They're far enough away that there's a chance they haven't noticed that you're not pirates yet. You grip your blaster rifle tight, but hold your fire for now. No sense in wasting a good distraction. The pirates were closer to the Rancor room than you two were.

Just as you hoped, they seem to pay you no heed as they head inside to deal with the monster.

Once they're out of sight, you slow down a bit. "Is there another way back to the hangar?"

"It will take a teeny bit longer, but yeah, there is." Pinkie replies.

"Lead the way then." You say. "Let them deal with the Rancor."

Pinkie nods and runs down the hallway, past the Rancor room. The door is open again and you see a handful of pirates inside screaming and trying to subdue the enraged monster. As you pass the doorway, it roars loudly and you feel the ground tremble beneath your boots.

The two of you press onward. Pinkie leads the way through the ship and back toward the hangar.

As you round a corner, your comms beep in your ear and Maud starts speaking. "Anonymous, Pinkie, I'm picking up movement. A small squadron of ships is converging toward us. It's Discord."

Already?

"How far out is he?" You ask.

"Two minutes. Maybe less."

Damn. He's back sooner than you thought. Think fast, Anon.

"Alright. I'm going to contact Sunset and tell her to make the jump to our location now. It should be about five minutes." You say. "Maud, take the ship and get it out of the hangar. Discord will need a place to land. Make sure the stealth drive and shields are up and working!"

"Copy that."

You cut comms and turn to Pinkie. "Pinkie, get us there faster! We need to get to the hangar and distract Discord long enough for our backup to get here."

"Okay!" Pinkie quickens her pace and continues to lead you down the corridor as it turns right. You follow right behind her.

You press a button on your gauntlet and contact Sunset. She answers immediately. "Sunset here. Are you guys ready?"

"We're ready. Make the jump now! Discord will be here in less than two minutes."

"Copy that. Just hang tight, Anon." Sunset says.

You shut off your comms and follow behind Pinkie.

After a few moments of sprinting through unfamiliar hallways and corridors, you finally arrive back at the entrance to the hangar. You both slow down a bit as you head inside. While Pinkie catches her breath, you take a look around. This is a different entrance to the hangar than the one you went through before.

Hopefully, Discord goes through the other way. You'd like to keep the element of surprise for as long as possible, despite the whole Rancor situation. Just in case he doesn't though, you prepare yourself to get the jump on him. It'll be a hell of a fight.

After about thirty seconds, a couple of small fighter ships enter the hangar on the far side, followed by three more on the side closest to you. One of the ships is a bit bigger than the others, and has a more vibrant color scheme. It has to be Discord.

You crouch down and grip your blaster rifle tighter as they start to land. Just then, you get an idea.

"Pinkie, you have explosives on you, right?" You ask.

She crouches down on the opposite side of the doorway and looks at you. "Yeah, I have a few small ones. They're not as strong as thermal detonators though. Why?"

"Because I don't have any I can detonate remotely." You reply. "Do you think you can get close enough to their ships to blow them up?"

She looks out into the hangar as the first few ships start to land. "Well, they aren't strong enough to completely blow them up, but I might be able to damage the engines bad enough to keep them from going anywhere."

If there was ever a time to make her move, it's now.

"Do it then. I'll keep them distracted. I don't think Discord would just up and leave his ship if things got bad, but I don't want to take any chances. He cannot be allowed to escape."

She nods and stands up. "Whew! Okay. Here goes."

"Be careful."

She doesn't reply as she crouches down again and sneaks out the doorway, making her way to the left and hugging the wall, moving quickly to get behind the landing ships. There isn't much cover in the hangar, apart from a few cargo containers and large maintenance equipment around the outer edge, but she utilizes what she can as she makes her way closer to the incoming ships.

Once the first ship lands, you duck behind cover again and prepare one of your wrist-rockets. You only have a few, so you have to be smart.

From inside the hangar, you hear a hiss as one of the cockpit covers open. A few alien voices start clamoring and bickering with one another, before you hear a pronounced one speak above the rest.

"...I don't care whose fault it is, he's probably been eaten by now! Just get in there and get her under control or else I'll feed you to her myself!"

You take a quick look around the corner to see a Devaronian with a warped horn shouting at a rodian and human before they both turn and run away, toward the hangar door.

"Discord..." You growl.

He's wearing a long brown overcoat that looks frayed and damaged. One of his sleeves is missing. Rarity would probably have a heart attack if she saw it. You can see his bare arm is covered with tattoos. His other sleeve is relatively intact, and he's also wearing a large shoulder pad.

Taking a closer look at Discord, you notice he also has a bandolier full of large, metal bullets over his left shoulder. Only slugthrowers use those.

You use your HUD to zoom in on him for a closer look at him. He has a pair of pistols holstered on his hips. You assume they're slugthrower pistols. Good thing you're not a Jedi. Lightsabers can't deflect those.

You mark him on your HUD and send the info to Sunset so she knows who to look for when she arrives.

Once the rodian and human run away, Discord brings his hand up to his ear. "What the hell is going on?! Somebody talk to me!"

He stays still for a moment as he talks to the pirate on the other end of his comms. You grip your blaster rifle tight.

"The weapons systems?! What?!"

He knows.

"Pinkie, tell me you've planted the explosives on the ship's engines." You whisper.

It takes a moment before Pinkie replies. "Almost! I need ten more seconds!"

"Once they're planted and you're clear, detonate them." You command. "Discord knows something's up."

Sunset should be here in about one minute.

Discord clenches his fist as more pirates gather around him. Suddenly, he lets out an angry roar and draws one of his slugthrower pistols, turning to shoot a random pirate in the head and killing him. "WE HAVE AN INTRUDER! FIND THEM AND KILL THEM!"

He and the rest of the pirates disperse. Some of them head towards your hiding spot. You crouch down and prepare to take off.

Once they get about ten feet away from you, the engines on their ships explode behind them. All the pirates turn around in surprise and blindly fire at the exploding ships for a second, exposing their backs to you.

You smirk and activate your jetpack, flying into the hangar. Once the pirates are a good ways away, you point your wrist-rocket down at them and fire. It explodes and the group of pirates scream as they're flung away.

You turn your attention to Discord, who looks up at you with surprise before it turns into anger. From behind you, a couple of blaster bolts zoom toward the two pirates on either side of the Devaronian, killing them and drawing his attention.

He hesitates for a moment before slowly grinning. "Pinkie Pie. I should've known! This has your name written all over it."

You descend to the ground beside Pinkie as she walks toward Discord. More pirates come spilling out into the hangar beside him, and each one is pointing their weapon at you.

"Hi Discord! Glad you remember me!" She's smiling a little, but her aim never falters.

Discord chuckles. "I could never forget you! You were one of the best pirates I had! I was so sad when you abandoned us!"

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hurt your feelings!" She says. "But you kept doing bad stuff to good people! It wasn't fair to them! Plus, it was easy! I like a good fight, and only bad guys put up the best fights! It got boring!"

Discord recoils a little at that. "Boring? Me? Ridiculous!"

You get a silent notification on your HUD that Sunset has just arrived in the system.

This is good. Keep him talking, Pinkie. The longer he talks, the easier it will be to capture him.

She continues. "Well, yeah! I was a bit worried! You were lots of fun to do stuff with! I thought maybe you were sick or something!"

Discord grins again and waves his hand. His pirates begin to spread out and surround you both. "Well, that's awfully sweet of you to care, Pinkie. Unfortunately, though, you did betray us. What's worse, you brought along a new friend, I see." He turns his attention to you and grins. "Not too often we get to fight a Mandalorian. Especially one with a reputation like yours, Anonymous."

Damn, you hate having this price on your head.

"Savor it while you can, Discord. You won't get another chance once I'm done with you." You say. "You're going away for a long time."

Discord laughs out loud. "Maybe we can share a cell! Get niiiiiice and cozy together!"

Your comms beep in your ear. It's Sunset. "Anon! Pinkie! The cavalry's here!"

You smirk under your helmet, but reply to Discord. "Yeah, I bet you'd like that, you freak."

Just then, you hear loud whirring behind you. You recognize the familiar hum immediately. It's a Mandalorian AIAT/i gunship. As soon as it enters the hangar, it opens fire on the pirates around you.

The frightened pirates turn tail and run away, but also return fire. You grab Pinkie and hold onto her as you take off into the air, providing fire support for the gunship.

Backup

View Online

You stand at the end of the gunship's interior and press the button on the wall next to the doors. They slowly slide open and you turn around to face your fireteam. Applejack, Big Mac, and four Mandalorians.

You're all going to fly out of the ship together on your jetpacks and kill or incapacitate any pirates you see. Once they're all dealt with and the ship is yours, you're going to head to the bridge and steal any valuable information they have. Along with any goodies they have as well.

"Mandalorians! Remember! The devaronian MUST be taken alive! Spare the pirates if you can, but do not kill Discord!" Applejack and Big Mac nod at you and you turn around again, grabbing your blaster pistols. "Go!"

Once the door is open enough, you leap outside and fly into the air, turning around and spraying blasterfire around the closest group of pirates you can see. Discord is retreating away from the gunship, but firing a pair of blasters at it in a panic.

Wait. Those aren't blasters, they're slugthrowers. That's pretty ballsy of him, you're not going to lie.

Behind you, Applejack and Big Mac fly out of the gunship and proceed to open fire as well. They slowly descend towards the ground, and take cover behind a few crates, still firing when able. They were a bit skeptical about using jetpacks, but they seemed to get the hang of it back on Mandalore, after a few tries.

The rest of the Mandalorians quickly fly out of the ship and join you in the attack. Anon is in the air with Pinkie and firing at the pirates as a few of them shift their attention to you. The gunship is still firing at the ground around the pirates and causing one hell of a distraction. You join him in the air and fight alongside him.

Pinkie stops firing and turns to you. "Hi Sunset!"

"Hi Pinkie!" You smile under your helmet and continue to corral the pirates into a group.

Discord looks panicked, along with the remaining pirates he has around him. Finally, he stops firing and tugs on the arms of the two closest pirates to him before running away to the other end of the hangar.

Just as he does, you see your ship enter the opposite side of the hangar and proceed to land. Within seconds of touching down, the ramp opens and Jedi Master Maud Pie exits, igniting her blue lightsaber.

Pinkie scrambles a bit and puts her finger to her ear. "Maud, be careful! Discord uses slugthrowers!"

"Thank you for the tip, Pinkie." She replies over the comms.

Jedi can't deflect slugs with their lightsabers.

Maud starts running toward the pirates and a few of them open fire on her. She deflects the blaster bolts back with ease. Discord skids to a stop and frantically looks around. He's surrounded.

"Inside! Now!" He tugs a few pirates and leads them through the hangar doors leading into his ship.

"Stop them!" Anon descends toward the ground with Pinkie and the gunship ceases fire. You follow right behind him.

He drops Pinkie and they both head after the pirates as they proceed back into the ship. The hangar doors start to close behind Discord, leaving a few pirates outside with you. A couple of them manage to wiggle their way inside before the doors shut, but not all of them. Only three are left. They stop firing and frantically pound on the door, trying in vain to get it back open.

Anon stops advancing and points his blaster rifle at the group of trapped pirates. "Drop your weapons! Now!"

"Right now! Do it!" You echo.

You stand beside him and Pinkie and point your weapons at them as well. Across the way, Maud Pie stands with her left arm extended in front of her and her lightsaber in her right hand, pointing at the pirates. You recognize it as the stance for Soresu. Lightsaber form III.

Beside her, one of the Mandalorians on your fireteam, Lyra, lands and also points her weapon at the frightened pirates. Her armor is different shades of green. Mostly deep green, though not as deep as the green on Anon's armor, with minty green accents. The other four Mandalorians are still in the air above you.

Next to you on either side, Applejack and Big Mac respectively stand to your left and right, also pointing their weapons at the pirates. They don't have a prayer and they know it.

---

"I said, drop your weapons!" You command again.

The three pirates practically throw their weapons onto the ground in front of them and raise their arms into the air.

"Lyra, Bon Bon, bind them. Get them onto the gunship."

"Yes sir!" Lyra proceeds toward the pirates, lowering her weapons and raising her gauntlets.

Bon Bon, a Mandalorian in light brown armor with blue and pink accents, lands beside Lyra and they fire their whipcords at the pirates, ensnaring them. The gunship lands with a thud behind you.

They lead the captured pirates toward the gunship and you lower your weapon and look at Maud. "Master Jedi, get that door open. Big Mac, cover her. I don't want to take any chances, knowing they have slugthrowers."

Maud nods and proceeds toward the hangar door while Big Mac joins her.

Applejack turns to you. "The ship's been disabled, right?"

You nod. "The weapons and hyperdrive are both shot, just like we planned. They won't get too far on sublight engines if he tries to escape."

She nods and the remaining two Mandalorians land in front of you. Coco Pommel and Tempest Shadow.

Coco is a fairly young Mandalorian. Her armor looks the newest out of everyone here, showing hardly any signs of battle. It's brown in color, with a tan accent, and she has a brown cape behind her right shoulder.

Tempest's armor is mostly dark purple and black, with a deep pink accent. Her helmet has a very noticeable scratch running down the right side over her visor.

If memory serves you right, she got into a fight with some beast when she was young that nearly killed her. Its claws severed her helmet in two and wounded her badly, but she still managed to walk away from that fight the winner. She was able to repair her helmet, but chose to show where it had been damaged, so her enemies know that she's survived worse. She is a fierce and cunning warrior.

Tempest walks toward you and looks around. "Anon, what about reinforcements?"

Pinkie chimes in. "I don't think we need to worry about that too much. Discord isn't very popular with other gangs. If he calls for help, a couple of them might try to help, but they should back off if we scare them enough."

Coco hums. "Scaring them shouldn't be too hard."

You chuckle a little at her response.

Sunset speaks up. "There might be other pirates on their way here though. I doubt they all came back at once."

"I agree." You turn on your comms and contact Lyra, Bon Bon, and the gunship's pilot. "Thunderlane, once the prisoners are secure, watch over them but keep the engines hot. More pirates might be arriving. Lyra, Bon Bon, you two take position in front of the energy barriers closest to the gunship. If anyone tries to enter the hangar, kill them."

All three of them acknowledge your order. "Yes sir!"

You shut off your comms and turn your attention back to Tempest and Coco. "Same goes for you two. Keep the hangar secure, and kill anyone that tries to enter."

The two Mandalorians nod once before taking off into the air once again and heading toward the barrier behind your ship on the opposite side of the hangar.

You turn to the door and lead Sunset, Pinkie, and Applejack toward Big Mac and Maud. She's almost finished cutting through. Pinkie moves behind Maud while you and Sunset raise your weapons at the door. Applejack draws her blasters, but stays behind you.

Maud finishes the cut and moves directly in front of the door, in your line of fire. "Pinkie. Help me push this door. Hopefully, it incapacitates any pirates on the other side."

Pinkie pauses for a second before nodding. "Okay."

She moves beside the Jedi and stares at the hangar door, a large, glowing circle of melted steel in the center.

"Together, now." Maud says.

Pinkie nods again and inhales deeply. They both pull their arms backwards before thrusting them forward at the same time.

The familiar low booming sound of thunder echoes through the hangar and the cut section of the door goes flying away from them, hitting someone on the other side. You hear a few screams following the sound of clanging metal.

You and Sunset move around Pinkie and Maud and point your weapons into the ship, scanning for any pirates. The cut section of the door had hit someone in the head and flipped over onto another pair of pirates before coming to a rest.

A fourth pirate was far enough away that he didn't get hit by the door. He looks up at you and moves to point his blaster at you, but you and Sunset blast him.

Once he goes down, you and Sunset advance into the ship, keeping your guard up. The pirate that got hit in the head is either unconscious or dead, while the two that are resting under the door are groaning in pain.

You and Sunset keep your attention on the corners of the hallway ahead of you and proceed. She's on your left, so she peers down that side of the hallway while you check the right side. The hallway is empty.

"Clear." She says.

"Clear." You reply.

You both turn around and look down at the two pirates trapped under the door. A twi'lek and a rodian. Both male.

"Master Jedi, Big Mac, get these two onto the gunship, then return here." You say. "Applejack, Pinkie, you two are with us. Let's go."

Applejack and Pinkie step over the pirates on the ground on their way towards you. Maud deactivates her lightsaber. You all need to hurry. Discord probably wouldn't abandon ship under normal circumstances, but he won't be able to escape into hyperspace this time.

"Where is he going, Pinkie?" You ask.

Pinkie thinks for a moment. "Probably to the bridge. It's our best bet."

From within the ship, you hear the sound of a muffled roar. The four of you turn and face the left hallway to see a pirate exit a room and run down towards you as fast as he can.

"Well, we can't go that way. Looks like the Rancor is still out of control." Pinkie says.

The pirate skids to a stop about twenty feet away from your position. You raise your rifle and kill him in one shot.

Sunset turns back to Pinkie. "Is there another way there?"

Pinkie nods. "It's the longer way, but yeah!"

It's the same route you took on your way back to the hangar.

Applejack gestures toward her. "Lead the way then, sugarcube."

Pinkie turns around and leads you three down the right side of the hallway. You run beside her while Sunset and Applejack both run behind you.

Retracing your steps, you go through the ship again as you make your way toward the bridge. Hopefully he's there and not hiding in any of these other rooms you keep passing. You have neither the time, nor the patience for a game of hide-and-seek right now.

The four of you round a left corner after about a minute of running and hear another monstrous roar directly ahead. You slow your pace a little, but press onward, passing the door that leads into the Rancor room. Inside, the Rancor's back is to you, but you see it pick up a dead pirate and bring him to its mouth. Hopefully, that isn't Discord.

You continue forward, the sound of crunching coming from behind you.

Applejack shudders a little. "Gross..."

Up ahead, you spot a couple pirates laying on the ground. They're the same ones you killed before.

"Right here!" Pinkie yells.

The four of you turn the corner and step over the bodies before stopping at the elevator doors. Pinkie presses a button on the wall, but it's unresponsive.

"It's not working!" She presses it a few more times, but nothing happens. No sound, no lights, nothing.

"He probably shut off the elevator. Locked himself in the bridge." You say.

Sunset steps forward. "I can get it open."

She holsters her weapon and presses a button on her gauntlet. Her cutting torch sparks and pops into a small flame over her wrist and she reaches up to the top of the two elevator doors.

She starts cutting right down the middle through the elevator door's locking mechanism. It's not as easy to cut through as it was for Maud's lightsaber, but she makes good progress. Applejack and Pinkie are watching your six, while you cover Sunset's twelve, just in case there's someone waiting for you when those doors open.

As she nears the floor, Pinkie lowers her weapon a little. "Oh, this isn't good..."

You turn to face her and she looks at Sunset. "What do you mean?"

Just then, Sunset finishes the cut and the doors open automatically. You turn around again and point your blaster into the elevator, but it's empty. In fact, there's not an elevator car at all.

You're about to step forward, when Pinkie grabs your and Sunset's shoulders and pulls you backwards as hard as she can. She must've used the Force to enhance her strength, like she did when you fought her on Nar Shaddaa, because you and Sunset both lose your footing and fall backwards.

Literally one second later, the elevator car comes screaming down the shaft from above to crash onto your level, just in front of you. It immediately gets crushed, and a light cloud of smoke bellows out as some piece of machinery on the car also explodes, along with a few pieces of debris. Applejack screams.

You look at the destroyed elevator car in surprise. Pinkie is panting hard beside you and Sunset, but looks relieved. Applejack looks at the damage in shock as well. Thankfully, no one is hurt.

From inside the elevator shaft, you hear Discord's voice echoing. "No! Damn it! Leave me alone, bounty hunters! You're not getting up here!"

You exhale and stand up with Sunset. "Good call, Pinkie."

She smiles a little and turns back to the elevator shaft.

Applejack is taking a closer look at the destroyed car. "Well now how do we get up there?"

Sunset stands next to her. "I bet we could fly up there."

You take a closer look at the elevator car. It's completely destroyed, but the ceiling has caved in some, exposing the roof of the car. There is a gap on the roof of the car big enough for you to climb through.

Pinkie can't fly, and while Applejack still has her jetpack, you don't like the idea of leaving anyone alone. You and Sunset could head inside the shaft and fly up to the bridge yourselves.

"Sunset's right." You say. "She and I will head up and capture Discord. Applejack, you and Pinkie wait here for us to get back."

Applejack nods. "Sounds good."

"Okie dokie!" Pinkie says.

You step toward the elevator car and grab onto the edge as you start to pull yourself onto the roof. Sunset puts her hands under your left boot and hoists you up. It's a bit of a squeeze to get into the shaft with your jetpack, but you manage to slide in.

Once you're on the roof of the car, you turn around and extend your arm toward Sunset to pull her up with you. "Careful."

She grunts as you pull her in enough to bring her legs in and she stands up.

"Whew. Thanks, Anon." She says.

"Anytime, love." You smile and look up the elevator shaft.

It's a bit dark, but you can see well enough. The door to the bridge is about forty feet directly above you.

Sunset turns around. "We'll be right back, you two. If you need us, call us."

Applejack nods. "Sure thing, Sunset."

Sunset follows your gaze up to the bridge level. "Let's go."

The two of you activate your jetpacks and fly straight up, leaving Applejack and Pinkie behind.

Cornered

View Online

As you close the distance between yourself and the bridge, you tighten your grip on your blaster. You can see that this door is still unlocked, but it likely won't open automatically. Which means Discord is waiting for you to open the door.

Once you get up to the door, you move to the right side and grab onto the wall for support. Sunset hovers right in front of the door with her blaster raised. You're going to pry the door open and Sunset is going to start shooting.

You look at her. "You ready?"

She nods. "I'm ready. Open the doors."

You reach over with your mechanical arm and shove your fingers between the doors. With a grunt, you pull them apart and light spills into the elevator shaft and onto Sunset. Before the doors are open all the way, she opens fire. You can't see what she's seeing, but you hear some clamoring screams from inside followed by blasterfire.

Finally, the doors open all the way and Sunset flies inside. You follow right behind her.

A pirate falls to the ground a few feet in front of you. Sunset got him first. Just behind him, you see two more pirates retreating while still shooting at you both. Sunset shoots one of them before taking cover behind a wall.

You land on the ground and shut your jetpack off while firing at the other pirate, killing him after a couple seconds. Sunset comes out of cover again and the two of you scan the bridge for any other pirates. To the right, you see the viewport windows of the bridge. Geonosis is just outside, clear as day.

Three more pirates remain in front of the control consoles. One of them has thrown his weapon on the floor and was cowering on the ground and begging for mercy. The other two pirates were still trying to kill you. One of them gets lucky and blasts you in the chest, but your armor takes the blow. You kill him while Sunset kills the other pirate.

The cowering pirate is all that remains. You're not really in the mood to take any more prisoners besides Discord, especially cowards like this one, so you ignore his pleas for mercy and shoot him in the head.

You turn around and scan the bridge for anyone else. Other than Sunset, there's no one else alive here. On the back wall is a door. It's closed. There's nowhere else Discord could've gone.

You and Sunset quickly approach the door and it opens automatically. The two of you step inside, but freeze a second later.

There's Discord, standing there in his quarters, all alone. He's holding his slugthrower pistol in his right hand and pressing the barrel of it to his right temple. There's a crazed look in his eye as he stares at you two.

"You want me alive, right?!" He screams. "RIGHT?!"

He's going to kill himself...

Sunset lowers her weapon slightly. "It doesn't have to end like this, Discord."

Discord doubles over slightly and laughs hard. "HA! And how would you have it end?! With me in a cell for the rest of my life?! Or perhaps in a cell with you two?! I know about that senator on Coruscant! You think the Republic will forgive you just because you got rid of me?!"

Very slowly, you activate your arm's targeting system and aim your weapon at Discord's right hand.

Just keep him talking, Sunset.

"We're not talking about Coruscant here, Discord. You don't want to kill yourself." Sunset says. "Imagine how that would make you look."

Your HUD adjusts your arm slightly so it locks on to Discord's hand.

Discord's cocky smile turns feral. "I don't care! I'd rather die by my own hand than by the Republic or by you any-"

You pull the trigger and blast Discord's arm. He screams as his arm flings backwards and he drops his gun.

Sunset immediately charges toward him and grabs him by the horns. She pulls him down toward the ground as hard as she can while you swing your leg forward and kick him in the head.

He grunts and goes flying backwards as Sunset releases him. His legs give and he lands on his back, bleeding profusely from his nose.

You and Sunset both exhale and lower your weapons. "Good work, Sunset."

She chuckles. "Same to you, Anon."

The two of you holster your weapons and approach the unconscious devaronian. You turn him over onto his chest and Sunset binds his wrists together.

Once he's secure, you stand up and take another deep breath. "Before we take him back, let's look around. There might be more information on his gang, like names or something."

"Good idea." Sunset heads to a nearby terminal while you look around on the ground for his slugthrower.

It flew back into his quarters so you step inside and look around.

Discord looks like he's quite the collector of odd and unusual trinkets. He's got all kinds of rare weapons, treasures, gadgets, and souvenirs displayed proudly on shelves and tables all over the place. On the ground just beside a small jewelry case is his slugthrower.

You like this weapon. You're going to keep it.

Once you put it away, you look around at his little treasure room again. There are all kinds of cool things in here. Mounted on the wall is the head of a nexu. Its wide mouth open to show its array of sharp teeth. On the table just beneath the nexu, you spot something else. It looks like a lightsaber hilt.

You walk toward it and pick it up, inspecting it in your hand. It is indeed a lightsaber, but it clearly once belonged to a Jedi. The Sith lightsaber you had was more menacing in its design, whereas this one looks more traditional.

On the table to the left of where you found the lightsaber, you see a small, black-brown metal ingot that immediately catches your attention.

"No, it can't be..." You say.

You pick up the rock with your right hand and take a closer look at it. It's cortosis. It's been refined, so it isn't deadly to touch, but it is definitely cortosis.

You inspect the ingot further. Cortosis is extremely rare. Where or who did Discord get it from?

Sunset calls to you from outside. "Anon? Come see this."

You look to the doorway and head toward Sunset, still holding the cortosis and lightsaber in your hands. She's leaning over a terminal and looking at the screen.

"What did you find?" You ask.

She stands up straight and points to the terminal. "Details about a huge stockpile of cortosis they stole."

You read the entry on the terminal. It looks like Discord and his little gang managed to make off with a shipment of cortosis from some mining company they hit a few months ago. The shipment had been stolen and hidden on some moon somewhere near the Unknown Regions.

"That's a lot of cortosis..." You comment.

Sunset nods. "I wonder if that's what put Discord at the top of the Republic's list."

"It probably helped, if anything. Cortosis is very valuable. Probably more so than beskar, in some places." You finish reading the entry on the terminal and stand up straight. You look down at the ingot and lightsaber in your hands and think for a moment. "I wonder..."

Sunset looks over at you as you think. "Where did you get that?"

"In his treasure room. He's got lots of good stuff in there. Help yourself." You change hands so that you hold the cortosis ingot in your left hand and the lightsaber in your right. "I want to see something for myself real quick."

Pressing the button on the lightsaber, it activates and hums with an orange glow. Orange is a new lightsaber color for you.

You look down at the cortosis ingot in your left hand and carefully bring the blade down to touch it. Upon contact, the lightsaber makes a crackling sound and immediately shuts off by itself. You're a bit surprised, even though you were expecting that to happen.

Cortosis was very resistant to energy. It was weaved into vibroblades, which is why they could stand against lightsabers. Pure cortosis could shut off lightsabers. This lightsaber isn't working anymore, despite how many times you press the button.

You grin slightly under your helmet as you press the lightsaber button again. "I think we could use that shipment of cortosis, Sunset. I'm going to download those coordinates. We'll pick it up later."

She chuckles. "Not a bad idea, Anon."

"I have my moments."

You walk back over to the terminal while Sunset heads into Discord's room. You look for absolutely everything and anything you can find about this shipment of cortosis and download it all.

"Wow! He's got lots of cool stuff in here!" Sunset exclaims from the other room.

You chuckle again. "Pick something out! Anything you want! He's not going to need it anymore."

Once you've finished browsing through all the info on his terminal, you transfer the data to your ship before wiping everything. You pause for another long moment as you look back at the ingot and lightsaber in your hands.

Your mind begins to wander a little. This cortosis could be used as ammunition for your new slugthrower. You might even be able to weave it into your robotic limb.

There's a war just beyond the horizon, and you'll need to be prepared against both lightsabers and the Dark Side of the Force. Cortosis means that the lightsabers are taken care of, now how would you get around the small obstacle of the Force?

You'll research that later. For now, you put the lightsaber and the metal ingot away and follow Sunset into Discord's quarters. She's looking around at some gadgets on a far table.

She looks over at you for a moment as you enter, but returns her attention to whatever she's looking at. "Get everything we need?"

"Yeah." You nod. "I don't want the Republic, or the Jedi, more specifically, sniffing around at something we can use against lightsabers though, so let's keep this shipment of cortosis our little secret. Just between us, and Mandalore, when we meet up with him again."

Sunset looks at you again and nods. "That's a good idea."

You activate your comms and contact Pinkie and Applejack.

"Hiya, Anon! Did you get him?"

"Hi, Pinkie. We got him. We're doing another sweep up here to make sure we got everything we need, then we'll be right back down." You reply.

"Yay! Good going, guys!"

You smile at Pinkie's enthusiasm.

"Nice work there, Anon!"

"Thanks, Applejack." You turn to look at Discord, still laying on the ground.

If this was happening a couple weeks ago, you and Sunset would be 500,000 credits richer right now. Instead, you're going to use him, his crew, and all these spoils as a big bargaining chip to prepare for a war with the Sith Empire.

Reality is often disappointing,

"Stay put, you two. We'll be down in a bit." You deactivate your comms and get ready to move Discord.

Too Perfect

View Online

You step out into the hangar alongside Sunset. The both of you are holding onto Discord. Pinkie and Applejack are close behind him, and are both joined by Maud and Big Mac as you pass them.

There was a new ship in the hangar now. It was a small, Mandalorian cargo shuttle. Once you had given the 'all clear' to Thunderlane, he sent word to Rainbow Dash, and she arrived a few minutes later, along with Twilight Sparkle, Fluttershy, and the Wookie, Angel.

Now that Discord was in custody, it was up to them, along with Applejack, Big Mac, and Maud Pie to guarantee a meeting between their Republic, and Mandalore. You would not be joining them. Neither would Sunset, Pinkie, nor Rainbow.

If they double-crossed you and captured you, they would be dooming themselves, along with the rest of the galaxy to the Sith's inevitable reign of terror. Because of this rightful distrust, you would be keeping Discord with you for now.

His surviving crew however, along with most of the things he stole, would be going to the Republic, along with reassurances from Applejack, Maud, Twilight, and Fluttershy that they needed to hear what you had to say. Like you said before, the fate of the galaxy hangs in the balance.

As you proceed toward your ship, Coco, Tempest, Lyra, and Bon Bon land beside you.

You look at the four of them before turning your full attention to Tempest and Coco. "Take Discord to my ship. Lock him in the cargo hold, then meet back at the shuttle."

"Yes, Anon." Tempest and Coco take Discord from you and Sunset and proceed to your ship.

"Lyra, Bon Bon, you and Thunderlane secure the rest of the prisoners onto the cargo shuttle, then get aboard the gunship again. Tell Mandalore that our mission was a success."

They both nod, but Lyra speaks up. "What happens next?"

You look at her. "We prepare for war. Hopefully, the immediate Sith threat and this group of pirates being dealt with will convince the Republic that we need to meet together and combine our strength. Now get going."

Lyra and Bon Bon both nod again and quickly head back to the gunship. Everything is going smoothly so far.

You lead your group over to the cargo shuttle and activate your comms. "Rainbow Dash, get everyone out here."

"Sure thing, Anon." She replies.

Time for a little test.

"Jii sirbur ibac o'r Mando'a" <"Now say that in Mando'a.">

Rainbow pauses for a moment. "Uh... E...Elek, Anon... Right?"

"Elek. Jate bora, Rainbow." <"Yes. Good job, Rainbow.">

"Thanks!" She says. "Er-wait... I mean, ori'vor'e!"

You grin a little and deactivate your comms.

The back of the cargo shuttle opens and Rainbow Dash steps outside, sporting her own set of dark blue Mandalorian armor, a bit darker than the blue color of her skin. It had a similar design and layout to your armor. She had forged her armor out of durasteel. Unlike yours and Sunset's, which were made out of beskar, which is very rare, and very, very expensive.

When you first met her a couple weeks ago over Ottega, you hated her immensely. Sunset did too. She acted immature and reckless. It nearly cost you your life. However, after she expertly piloted her way through the Kessel Run and saved everyone, you found new respect for her. She's still reckless and obnoxiously full of herself at times, but she's one of the best pilots you've ever seen. Maybe even better than Sunset, but definitely better than you.

Mandalore saw that she had promise, and extended an invitation to learn the ways of the Mandalorians to her. She accepted his offer, and had taken to it immediately. She said that she feels like this is where she belongs. She still has a long way to go, to be sure. It will be a difficult road, but she seems dedicated. You'll work with her and help her where she needs it.

As Rainbow steps outside of the cargo shuttle, she's followed by Twilight Sparkle, Fluttershy, and Angel the Wookie.

Twilight smiles when she sees you. "How did it go, Anon?"

You stop in front of her and set your hands on your hips. "Perfectly. His crew, along with lots of the goodies that he's stolen, will go with you to Coruscant, but you tell your brother that he stays with me until he agrees to amicably meet with us."

Maud, Applejack, and Big Mac join Twilight and Fluttershy, while Rainbow Dash joins you, Sunset, and Pinkie.

"Where's the rendezvous point gonna be?" Applejack asks.

You turn to her. "I'm not going to disclose that. No offense, but I don't exactly trust your Republic right now."

Applejack purses her lips somewhat and nods, seemingly understanding your perspective.

You reach into your belt and pull out a small holodisc. It has been pre-programmed to contact you directly, but heavily encrypted to prevent anyone from learning of your location.

After looking at it for a second, you hand it to Twilight. "Give this to your brother as soon as you can. Just have him push the button to call me. It's heavily modified to prevent anyone from tampering with it. If I don't hear from him in 72 hours, or if anyone tries to crack it open to find me, it will short-circuit and disable itself."

Twilight takes the holodisc and looks at it for a moment in her hand.

Sunset steps forward as well. "If that happens, then there's a good chance that we'll never see each other again. As allies, at least."

Applejack and Big Mac both set their hands on their weapons and glare at you.

You turn to them. "Wipe those looks off your faces, Apples. You do what you're supposed to, and we can all stay friends."

Maud steps forward between you, likely sensing the rising tension. "Applejack, Macintosh, do not worry. We will deliver this message to Captain Shining Armor with Anon's explicit instructions. I will see that this meeting happens peacefully."

Thank you, Master Jedi.

They both look at Maud and exhale after a moment. "Yes, Master Maud."

Behind them, you see Lyra and Bon Bon leading some of Discord's crew into the cargo shuttle. Thunderlane is right behind them with two more pirates in tow. His armor is dark grey and silver in color, with a yellow accent.

"How's it coming over there?" You call out.

Thunderlane pushes the pirates he's leading into the cargo shuttle. "All the prisoners are aboard the shuttle, Anon. Along with their stash of valuables."

"Good." You reply. "Once they're physically secure, sedate them for good measure. Then head back to the gunship. I want that shuttle ready to leave in two minutes."

Thunderlane nods. "Yes, Anon."

He heads into the shuttle to help Lyra and Bon Bon secure the prisoners.

You look across the hangar to your ship to see Tempest and Coco stepping down the exit ramp. Discord is not with them.

Tempest contacts you on your comms. "The precious cargo is aboard, Anon."

"Excellent work, you two. Get back to the gunship."

They both jog a few paces forward before taking flight once again. Their jetpacks' roars echoing through the hangar.

You turn back to your group. Maud and Pinkie are standing close together.

"Pinkie, say your goodbyes." You say. "It's too risky for you to go with Maud right now."

She pauses for a moment, not smiling, and turns to her sister.

Maud looks back at her. "Don't worry, Pinkie. Everything will be alright."

Pinkie smiles and embraces her sister in a tight hug. "I know."

Maud, for the second time since you've met her, smiles softly and returns the hug. That's the most emotion you've ever seen come from her. Twilight, Applejack, and Fluttershy all smile as well.

Pinkie takes a shaky breath. "I'm sure there's still good in her, Maud... There has to be."

Limestone.

You can only imagine the emotional toll it's taken on them after learning that their sister is now a Sith Apprentice.

If she can be brought back to the light and be saved, she had better do it before you see her again. You can't promise anyone that you won't kill her next time you see her.

The Pie sisters release each other and Pinkie smiles wide. "May the Force be with you, Maud!"

Maud smiles again and bows. "Goodbye, Pinkie. May the Force be with you."

At that, they step away from each other and Twilight's group turns to look at the shuttle. You look too. Lyra, Bon Bon, and Thunderlane are all stepping out of the shuttle.

"Prisoners are secure, Anon!" Bon Bon says.

"Excellent. Get back to Mandalore and tell him I'll be there soon."

The three of them nod before jogging back to their gunship.

You turn to Twilight again. "Alright. Time to go."

Twilight nods and smiles. "I'll get this to Shining Armor as soon as I can, Anon. Don't worry."

"Thank you, Twilight."

She extends her hand forward and you shake it in reply. Fluttershy smiles at you before ushering Angel along with her, who gives her a few small roars as they head to the back of the shuttle.

Applejack and Big Mac step toward you next. "We'll get it done, Anon."

You look at her. "See that you do, Applejack."

She stares at you for a second before nodding and turning back to the shuttle with Big Mac, without saying another word.

Maud Pie gives you a small, respectful bow as well. "May the Force be with you, Anonymous."

You simply nod at her. "May the Force be with you as well. Thanks for the assistance."

She follows her group into the shuttle and the door closes behind them. Thunderlane's gunship roars to life and ascends off the hangar floor before moving forward and eventually heading outside.

You turn to Sunset, Rainbow, and Pinkie, ushering them to follow you. "Come on."

You lead them all to your ship. Behind you, Twilight's cargo shuttle starts to take off. Pinkie waves happily at Maud before it launches forward and flies out of the hangar and back into space.

Rainbow clears her throat. "So Anon, what's the plan now?"

You glance at the new Mandalorian for a moment before looking forward again. "Now, we head back to Mandalore. I'll contact Rarity on the way and have her send us all the evidence against Hoity Toity we found on Dantooine, along with everything else we found on the death sticks, Adagio, and the Sith. Once we start talking and plead our case to the Republic, we'll leave it to Mandalore."

Sunset speaks up. "Hopefully, this debate doesn't last long."

You chuckle softly. "Hopefully, the Republic is smart enough to see the bigger picture, for once."

Pinkie smiles. "Don't worry, Anon! Maud and Twilight will make sure everything goes great!"

Hopefully she's right. You aren't exactly optimistic, but then again, these are desperate times for the Republic.

You all step aboard your ship and head into the main hold. "Sunset, Pinkie, see if Discord is behaving himself. Rainbow, get us in the air."

"You got it, Anon!" Rainbow heads to the cockpit.

Sunset watches as she leaves before turning back to you. "I do hope she doesn't replace me completely, Anon. Flying was always my job."

You just laugh and turn back to face her. "Oh, no one could ever replace you, Sunset. Don't worry."

She chuckles and heads back to the cargo hold with Pinkie. The ship thrums beneath your boots as Rainbow starts the ship up.

You turn to the main computer and contact Rarity. "Rarity, Discord's been taken care of, and we're ready to meet with the Republic. Send me all the info we've collected on Hoity Toity, the Sith, the death sticks, everything."

She doesn't respond or appear on the screen in front of you.

That's odd.

"Rarity?"

Still silence.

You furrow your brows together. That's not like her. She usually picks up right away. Are your communications working?

You check and see that everything is indeed still working properly.

"Rarity, do you copy?"

Your comms buzz and static appears on the holographic screen. Finally, you see a face.

It's not Rarity's face though...

"Sorry, Anon. But your little fashionista friend is currently unavailable..."

Your eyes widen in horror as you look at the other Mandalorian. Those battle scars, the color of her armor, and the reddish tint of her visor.

Gilda.

"...Where is she?!" You nearly roar at her as you clench your fist.

Gilda chuckles as she picks up the camera. You can see that she's in Rarity's office. Parts of it have been destroyed. Her fancy sofa as been overturned, and there are a few blaster scorch marks on the walls.

"Oh, don't you worry. She's still alive. For now, at least..."

She turns the camera over to Rarity. A wave of relief and rage overcomes you as you see that she is indeed still alive. She's on the ground, bruised and bleeding in a few places.

She turns to look at the camera. "Anonymous, d-don't come back! It's a trap! She's here wi-"

Gilda swings her boot over and kicks Rarity in the stomach. She wheezes and sobs as she holds her waist and Gilda pans the camera back over to her.

"You better hurry, Anon!" Gilda grins. "She's a delicate little thing. Won't last much longer."

You clench your fists before pointing a finger at her. "You just signed your death warrant, Gilda."

"Come show it to me then, daaaarling!~"

She said the word "darling" the same way Rarity does. You're so enraged right now that you can't even speak.

Gilda starts laughing as you punch your fist into the control console, shattering it. Her face flickers out on the screen and you run into the cockpit.

"Rainbow! Cato Neimoidia! Now!" You scream.

As you enter the cockpit, Rainbow stands up and turns to face you. "What?"

You shove her out of the way and take her seat in the pilot's chair. She yells as she falls to the ground.

"Cato Neimoidia!" You frantically take control of the ship and accelerate forward as fast as your sublight engines can go.

Sunset contacts you from the cargo hold. "Anon, what's going on?!"

"Rarity's in trouble!" You frantically reply.

Once you're in the open, you quickly lock in the coordinates to Cato Neimoidia and get the ship oriented. As soon as you're in position, you gun the hyperdrive and jump to lightspeed.

"Hang on, Rarity. We're coming..."

A Foreboding Aura

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As you make your final approach toward the planet's capital city of Zarra, you notice a couple small plumes of smoke coming from one of the buildings below. Rarity's building, to be precise.

"Oh no..."

Pinkie is standing behind you, covering her mouth in shock. Sunset is standing beside her.

Once you get closer, you stand up and give control of the ship back to Rainbow Dash. "Land on that building's platform, but keep the engines hot."

Rainbow nods. "Okay, Anon."

She proceeds toward Rarity's landing pad and you head back into the ship with Sunset and Pinkie.

"Pinkie, get to the gun turret and be ready. Gilda might try to blow us up with The Griffon." You say.

"The Griffon?"

"Her ship."

She nervously heads to the gun turret, while you enter the armory with Sunset to gear up.

"Do you know what we're up against?" She asks.

You grab your blaster rifle and sling it over your shoulder. "Rarity said she's here with something, or someone. I don't know who. It's a trap though." You grab your new lightsaber and press the button. It's still affected by the chunk of cortosis you found, because it won't turn on. "Damn it..."

With a frustrated sigh, you set it down on your workbench hard before grabbing one of your vibroblades and sheathing it. The ship rumbles beneath your feet as it makes contact with the landing pad. You're here.

You still have your jetpack on, but you turn around and grab a pair of blaster pistols. "You ready?"

Sunset turns to face you, holding a blaster rifle of her own in her hands, along with her own vibrosword in its sheath. "Yeah."

Good.

"Let's go."

The two of you head to the lowering exit ramp and step outside. You raise your blasters up and sweep for any potential threats. Apart from a haze of smoke that's partially obstructing your view, you can't see anything out of the ordinary at first. It's when you reach the end of the exit ramp that you see something is clearly wrong.

On the roof, you can see flames dancing around in a few places. Chunks of the building are missing from the edges, and a few pieces of debris are strewn about around the landing pad. The glass doorway in front of you has been cracked. One of the doors has been shattered. Half of the golden "R" that had usually been proudly displayed between the two doors was laying on the ground.

You activate your comms. "Rainbow, if anyone besides Sunset or myself approaches the ship, get out of here as fast as you can."

"I will, Anon." She replies.

You take another breath and quickly proceed toward the building with Sunset. The two of you are jogging, but neither of you drop your guard. You wouldn't be surprised if Gilda can see you right now, somehow.

The remaining glass door ahead of you slides open automatically as you approach, but shatters halfway. The sudden crash makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Someone was bound to hear that.

You're scared. Not for yourself or Sunset, but for Rarity. If the Sith on Tatooine wasn't enough to scare any fight out of her for good, then this will be more than enough.

As you and Sunset walk inside, you turn on your helmet's night vision. The inside of this building is dark, save for a few red emergency lights at the end of the hallway.

You know the layout of this building well. The two of you take off running down the hallway toward her office. It's the last place Rarity was when you contacted her. You pass a couple neimoidian corpses as you run. They didn't stand a chance against a bloodthirsty ex-Mandalorian like Gilda.

As you round a corner, the both of you finally reach Rarity's office.

"Wait." You say.

You and Sunset stop running and raise your blasters at the door. Maybe she's in here, or maybe it's a trap. You're not taking any chances.

Sunset presses the button on the wall and the doors slide open. Nothing happens when they open all the way. You were expecting an explosion or something.

After a second, you head inside and point your blasters to the right, scanning for any hazards. It's just Rarity's office. Scorch marks and destruction is everywhere inside, but there's nothing else you can see.

Sunset is right behind you, scanning the opposite side of the room. "Clear on my side."

"Same here." You drop your guard slightly and look around at the other side of the office.

It's completely ruined. The pristine white couch on the far wall is overturned and cut in half. A thin layer of smoke lingers in the air as well.

"Rarity?!" You pause and wait for a response. Nothing. "Rarity!"

You and Sunset wander around the room, looking behind the furniture for her.

"Rarity?! Where are you?!" Sunset cries out.

You hear a faint whimpering behind her desk. "An...nony....mous..."

You whip your head around and face her desk on the right side of the room. From behind it, you see her trembling hand reach out and claw at the carpet.

"Rarity!" You and Sunset bolt over to the desk and pull it back away from the wall.

There's Rarity, laying on the floor. She's covered in bruises and cuts, she's bleeding from her mouth, and her cheeks are stained with her tears. She weakly looks up at you as you crouch down next to her.

"I...I know.... I look....terrible..." She barely cracks a smile and you almost force out a laugh at that.

That was only funny because she's still alive.

"We're getting you out of here, Rarity. Don't worry. Can you walk?" You say.

She whimpers and winces as you take her hand and try to pull her up. "M...Maybe... I-I think so..."

Sunset gets to her feet and stands guard behind you while you help Rarity.

"Easy, easy."

Rarity cries out in pain as she rises to her feet, grabbing her stomach and wincing. Not surprising. Gilda kicked her pretty hard.

She squeezes your hand for support as she rises to her feet.

"What did Gilda want?" You ask.

She breathes hard and looks up at you. "Sh-She wanted you, Anonymous... You and Sunset both!"

Well, you are a wanted man.

"She didn't get our evidence, did she?" You ask. "What we were going to give to the Republic?"

Rarity shakes her head. "No, darling, I don't think so... I-I kept all that secure..." You don't leave her side as she takes a weak step towards where her desk was and points to a small bump under the carpet. You wouldn't be able to see it unless you were looking for it. "In there."

You crouch down and feel the carpet until you reach a fold. It's a hidden door. You open it and see a small safe inside that's been installed into the floor itself. A smart investment.

Rarity looks at the dial pad and sighs in relief. "Thank goodness it hasn't been tampered with..."

You crouch down. "What's the code?"

"It's biometrically locked..." She winces. "Only I can open it." She strains to crouch down again and you help her as much as you can. Once she's on her knees, she inputs a code into the dial pad. Then she scans her palm, and then her eyes. She clears her throat and leans down closer to the safe. "Rarity."

The safe beeps and hisses before sliding open. Inside are some business papers, a small datapad, and a red, heart-shaped gemstone, among other treasures and trinkets.

She winces as she stands up straight again. "Everything in there, Anonymous... Please?"

You reach into the safe and take everything inside.

Sunset turns to look at you again as you finish securing Rarity's valuables. "Is that everything we need?"

Rarity nods. "Yes, it should be."

"Good. If we didn't need to be cautious before, we sure as hell do now."

You nod. "Damn right we do."

Rarity looks at you, even more worried. "W-Why? What's wrong?"

"Finding you here was way too easy, Rarity." You say. "We haven't even seen Gilda yet. She's had to have set a trap for us."

Rarity's eyes widen further. "Right! She's not alone, Anonymous! She's working with the Sith! They're here!"

You clench your fist as Rarity speaks.

The Sith...

"How many are with her?" You ask.

"Just one!" She says. "A Sith Apprentice! She killed most of my staff! I think... I think it was Limestone Pie! She fit your description of her exactly!"

Oh wonderful. Just what you need. A reason for Pinkie to hold back in a fight.

"Damn it..." You take a deep breath and think for a moment.

You need to do something. Rarity has to live, but she's seriously hurt, and will slow you down. It will likely draw Gilda and Limestone's attention if you go outside.

You snap your fingers as you start thinking. "We need to surprise them. Spring the trap somehow."

You start pacing as you try to think of a solution.

Sunset speaks up. "Maybe Rainbow Dash can do something."

"Maybe..." You hum.

You need to look at this objectively. There's Gilda and Limestone against you, Sunset, Rainbow, Pinkie, and Rarity.

Rarity is in no condition to fight or help you in any immediate way. Rainbow and Pinkie are back on the ship. Assuming Gilda and Limestone plan to fight you on foot and are just waiting for you to show yourself, Rainbow could take to the sky while Pinkie provides fire support from the ship.

In addition, if one of them were in The Griffon and waiting for your ship to take off, then that would leave only one of them here on foot to fight. In that case, you and Sunset could split up and, hopefully, they'd go after you while Sunset gets Rarity to safety.

They have the element of surprise, but you have numbers on your side. Divide and conquer, Anon. You need to acquire some of that surprise for yourself.

You look at the window leading outside in Rarity's office and step toward it. "Rarity, how strong are these windows?"

Rarity pauses for a moment. "I-I don't know. Strong enough, I suppose."

That means she hasn't done anything special to increase their durability at all. They're standard. Unwise on her part, but it's perfect for you now.

"I have an idea." You turn on your comms and contact Rainbow. "It's Anon. Take off, but stay close to the building. Pinkie, be ready to cover us. Your sister is here."

"Oh no..." Pinkie does not sound happy.

"Pinkie, I know it's hard, but she wants to kill you. Do not let that happen. What we're doing here is too important."

She sighs and waits for a moment. "Okay...."

Rainbow speaks up. "What do you want me to do, Anon?"

"Strafe around the building and watch. If The Griffon starts chasing you, run away. Pinkie, if that happens, take that ship down."

"Will do, Anon. Be careful." Rainbow says.

Pinkie doesn't reply, but you know she heard you.

You shut off your comms and turn back to Rarity and Sunset. "We need to get outside as quickly as possible. We're sitting ducks in this dark, cramped building."

Sunset nods. "What's the plan?"

You walk over to the entrance to the room and lock it before breaking the control panel, just in case. No one is getting in or out of this room for now.

"Sunset, you stay with Rarity. Protect her. With any luck, Gilda doesn't know about Rainbow yet, and Limestone didn't notice her back on Shining Armor's cruiser. Hopefully, if they see me alone, they'll assume Rarity has succumbed to her injuries, and you're the one piloting the ship. I'll draw them away from you. Rainbow and Pinkie will cover me while you two get away from here. We'll meet up later."

Rarity is still worried, but she also looks confused. "How will we get out of here?"

"Leave that to Sunset." You turn to her. "Don't go out the same way I do."

Sunset nods. "Got it. Be careful, Anon."

You nod back at her and face the window. The shutters had obscured most of the light from the sun outside, but other than that, there wasn't anything else in your way.

"You might want to cover your ears, Rarity." You advise.

Rarity does as you instruct as you prepare a wrist-rocket and point it at the window. You charge toward it as fast as you can and fire.

---

You move in front of Rarity to shield her as Anon fires his rocket at the window and leaps outside. She screams as the window shatters. The light debris from the explosion hits your armor, but does no damage to you or Rarity. As the gust of wind enters the office suddenly, it whips her hair and a few loose papers around all over the place.

You look back at the charred remains of the window. Anon is gone, and so is that section of Rarity's office.

She looks at the state of her office in shocked sadness. "H-How?..." She says shakily. "I was careful... I-I was so, so careful about covering my tracks..."

You feel for her. She never wanted any of this to happen to her business and neither did you.

You set a hand on her shoulder. "I believe you, Rarity. I'm sure Anon doesn't blame you for this either. You did everything you could."

You head to the door to her office and she follows close behind as best as she can. She's still pretty banged up.

"Gilda is absolutely ruthless, even by Mandalorian standards." You explain. "She hunts for sport, more than anything. The money from the hunt doesn't mean much to her at all. She enjoys killing for the sake of killing."

Rarity's voice trembles a little as she breathes aloud. "How did you two ever meet such a brute?"

You shake your head. "We don't have time for backstory right now. We'll tell you once we're in the clear."

Rarity nods and you turn your attention to the door. Anon destroyed the control panel to prevent outside access. Probably a good idea, since there's a crazy Sith on the loose.

You turn around and head toward the shattered section of wall on the opposite side of the room. You want to make your escape with Rarity when the fighting starts.

Rarity sticks with you as close as she can. "Sunset? What are we waiting for?"

"The opportune moment." You reply. "I don't want to run into Limestone while we make our escape."

As you reach the edge, you look around for any indication of violence. Your ship strafes from the right side and into your view, keeping watch over the building, just as Anon instructed.

Below you is a vast, rocky canyon that stretches on for miles. Rarity's building is located on the edge of the city. If you were to fall from this height, it would be a long time before you hit the bottom. Should Limestone decide to go after you and Rarity in the next two minutes, then you'll have to jump. Your jetpack can hold both of you, but you're trying to avoid that. Freefall would likely exacerbate the pain in Rarity's injuries.

After a few long seconds of waiting, your ship lurches forward, firing its main blasters at the roof. Rainbow just saw something. The building shakes and rumbles a little under your feet, but you stand firm.

As your ship proceeds toward you, it flips on its side and does a sharp turn to the left. The Griffon screeches as it flies overhead a moment later and starts to give chase. Rainbow guns the engines as the topside cannon swivels around and fires. That's your cue.

"Okay, he's got their attention. Let's go." You turn around and head back to the door.

When you reach it, you activate your cutting torch in your gauntlet and start slicing your way through the door. It's not quite as effective as a lightsaber would be, but you make due and work as quickly as you can.

Rarity looks around at her office one last time. "I'll have to start all over..." She breathes.

You don't immediately reply to her. What could you possibly say? She's right. Her entire life's work is crumbling before her eyes, and there isn't anything she can do about it right now.

"At least you can start over, Rarity." You reply. "You're still alive."

Rarity sighs softly and closes her eyes, a tear streaming down her cheek. "I know..."

You can't afford to be distracted right now. Her family's business survived the destruction of Taris. It will survive this too.

"I feel for you, Rarity, I really do, but we'll worry about this later. Right now, we need to focus on getting you out of here, okay?" You say.

Rarity sniffs and nods. "You're right, Sunset... One thing at a time."

That's the spirit.

You finish slicing through the door and deactivate your cutting torch. With a grunt, you push the door forward and it falls flat into the hallway beyond.

You quickly take out your blaster again and peer outside, checking for anyone. It's empty, so you lower your blaster and take Rarity's hand. "Come on."

She holds it and the two of you proceed through the building as quickly as you can, while also being careful about booby traps.

Hopefully Anon is still okay.

---

The rocket explodes into a small fireball, shattering the window and whipping the high-altitude air from outside all around Rarity's office.

A second later, you leap outside and activate your jetpack, taking to the sky with your blasters at the ready. You turn around in the air and quickly ascend toward the roof of the building, keeping your eyes peeled for either Gilda or Limestone. Off to the left, you see your ship ascend from the landing pad and begin to strafe toward you.

Your comms turn on and you hear a pop and some static, followed by Gilda's voice. "Ooooh, what are you planning, Anon?"

She's tapped into your communications.

You growl as you reach the building's rooftop. "How about you stop hiding and I show you?"

Gilda laughs in your ear as you look around for her. The roof is cluttered with housings for electricity transformers, chimneys, and radio antennas. You keep your blasters drawn as you sweep the rooftop for any movement.

Just then, from behind an antenna base, Gilda comes strolling out into the open. Her helmet is removed and is being held under her left arm while she holds a heavy blaster in her right. She glares at you with a smirk.

You growl a little as you stare her down from the air.

"Good to see you again, Anon." She says. "It's been a long time."

"Not long enough." You growl.

You descend to the rooftop and land, staring Gilda down.

"What happened to your prissy little friend? Bit the dust, did she?"

She doesn't know Rarity's still alive. Best to keep it that way.

You don't humor her with an answer. "Why are you here, Gilda?"

Gilda shrugs. "I want you and your friends, obviously. The Sith want you too. You've been quite a naughty boy lately, so they've put a handsome price on your head. I had to get your attention somehow."

"That just means they're afraid of me." You reply. "You should be too, especially after what you've done here."

Gilda laughs. "Spoken like a true Mandalorian! I love it!"

Your ship thrums in the distance somewhere behind you. Rainbow is in position.

"Where's Limestone?" You demand.

Gilda notices your ship behind you, but doesn't stop grinning. "Oh, she's around, but I wouldn't worry about her. She can have Sunset and the Zeltron. Me, I get you all to myself."

She puts her own helmet on and readies her weapon. You do the same. Behind her, The Griffon rises through the smoke coming from Rarity's building and flies over you.

Limestone.

Your ship lurches forward and fires its forward cannons at The Griffon, before banking left and leading it away from the city. Limestone follows right behind her.

"Now that makes things fair." Gilda raises her blaster at you. "May the best warrior win!"

"I am the best. I always was."

Gilda chuckles again. "We'll see about that..."

The Duel

View Online

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1FjYlP9Isk

Gilda immediately starts firing her blaster at you. You quickly run to the left and fire your blaster pistols back at her, but she activates her jetpack and takes to the sky. She continues to rain blasterfire down on you as you take cover behind an antenna base. The roar of her jetpack gets louder as she approaches your hiding spot.

You activate your jetpack and take flight as well. As soon as she's back in your sights, you blast her a few times in the chest with your pistols.

She grunts and falls back a bit, but remains airborne. "Ha! Not bad, Anon!"

She quickly strafes to the right and resumes firing her blaster at you. The first couple of blaster bolts strike you in the chest, but you're able to move quickly enough to dodge the rest of them. Her heavy blaster rifle packs a punch. Your pistols could wear her down over time, but they're much weaker by comparison.

It is imperitive that you keep her attention long enough to allow Rarity and Sunset time to escape, but if you can kill her here, that would be perfect.

You strafe in the air until you're right behind the antenna to give yourself a bit of cover, but continue firing at her as best you can. A few of Gilda's blaster bolts hit the antenna as she returns fire, but most whiz past you. She's going to have to get closer if she wants a clear shot.

Her jetpack grows louder in volume. She's closing in.

You quickly descend back to the ground and peer out from behind the antenna to fire at her some more. She's coming right for you. One or two of your blaster bolts hits her in the torso, but she doesn't seem fazed. You lower your weapon and take to the sky once again, flying right at her.

As you get closer, you lift your robotic arm and brace for impact. Less than a second later, you collide with Gilda in the air, the force of your collision knocking your heads together and making your HUD flicker for a moment. The force of the collision breaks a few sections of your robot arm, but it also makes a noticeable dent in her armor plating, and she grunts from the impact.

She isn't out though. At the same time, she grabs your jetpack and pulls you down hard, trying to make you lose your balance in the air. Unfortunately, it works, and you start to lose control of your flight.

You try to regain your balance, but Gilda grabs your shoulders, reels her head back and butts her helmet against yours. You grunt and release your grip on her as you swerve around uncontrollably in the air, your jetpack twisting you around so your back is to her. She immediately takes advantage of this and fires at your jetpack a few times, making it spark and flicker. It's about to explode.

Without a second thought, you release your jetpack from your back and fall to the ground. Your jetpack flies around on its own for a few moments before crashing into the base of the antenna and exploding. Luckily, you weren't too far off the ground, but you still hit it with a hard enough thud that it hurts your legs like hell.

You curse under your breath and turn back to face Gilda in the air. She's already on her way down toward you, her blaster at the ready. She fires at you, but you dive forward and roll. She slams into the ground right behind you.

You immediately get to your feet and swing your arm around behind you, knocking the blaster out of her hands before punching her in the face. She reels back, but blocks your blow before you manage to punch her a second time.

You growl as you assault her as hard as you can, trying to break through her defense, but she stays firm. Her hand-to-hand combat form is just as good as yours. After a few more blows, she counters with a cross to your helmet that catches you off-balance.

"Suffer!" She snarls.

She grabs you by the shoulders again and pulls you down on her knee. The impact hurts bad, and makes a loud cracking sound that echoes inside your helmet.

Immediately, you expect the worst: your neck is broken.

You open your eyes and see that the impact merely cracked your helmet's visor, just in front of your mouth. The crack was just the sound it made. Thank the Force, you're not dead.

However, the impact flings you backwards and you lose your footing and fall onto your back. You look up at Gilda as she raises her leg up and brings it down on your face, but you catch it in your robotic hand and grip it tight. Using all the power you can muster, you command the servos and mechanics in your arm to push her backwards as hard as you can.

You manage to throw her a few feet away. You're a bit surprised.

Shaking it off, you quickly get to your feet and charge at Gilda. She staggers back a few more paces when she recovers, but you slam into her like a train, knocking her off her feet and pushing her to the ground.

You grit your teeth and straddle her torso, grabbing onto her neck with your right hand and squeezing hard. She gags as you choke her and tries to pry your hand loose as you pull back your left arm and start punching her in the face again and again. With each impact, her visor cracks and breaks more as your metal fist doesn't hold back.

"Rrrrghh!! Gonna! Kill! You!" You growl.

You continue your feral assault until her helmet actually cracks and breaks off a little on her right side. You can see Gilda's mouth, nose, and right eye. Her pupils are like pinpricks as she glares at you. Your robotic fist has nearly been destroyed as well. Two of the fingers have broken off.

As you prepare to deliver the killing blow, she releases her grip on your wrist and presses a button on her gauntlet. Her jetpack roars to life beneath her and you're caught off-balance once again.

You release her neck as you're dragged a few feet along the ground. Gilda takes to the sky. She discards her helmet and drops it to the ground. It breaks a bit more on impact.

Gilda turns to face you in the air again. Her confident, cocky look had been replaced with one of pure, unbridled hatred. She takes off towards you at full speed.

You quickly retrieve your blaster pistol and fire at her, but she dodges your blasts in the air. When she gets closer, she suddenly raises her fist and fires her whipcord at your feet, ensnaring your left foot. Your eyes widen in surprise as she flies directly over you and yanks the whipcord, making your leg fall out from beneath you and dragging you across the rooftop.

You yell as you drop your blaster as you are helplessly dragged toward the edge of the roof. You try in vain to reach to your leg in a desperate, final attempt to cut the fibercord around your ankle, but Gilda erratically swerves back and forth in the air. You can't reach the whipcord.

Finally, you reach the edge of the building and fall toward the ground. The cord around your ankle tightens as it swings you forward, but its all that's keeping you from falling right now. You're like an animal in a trap. Kilometers directly below you is the planet's surface. You're beyond the edge of the actual city now.

You look up at Gilda as she looks down at you, hovering in the air. She's got a crazed look in her eye and she's bleeding from the corner of her mouth.

"You still put up a damn good fight, Anon!" She shouts. "But I'm not in the mood for games..."

You grunt as you dangle there, unable to free yourself.

"No..."

Not like this...

She flashes you another grin and cuts you loose. The taut fibercord snaps and whips around in the air as she drops you. You scream as you look down at the planet's surface and begin your long descent.

What can you do now? Your jetpack is destroyed. You can't fly and save yourself. Is this it? Is this how you die?

Time seems to slow as your memory flashes to Sunset.

Your darling Sunset.

How you first met, your first mission together, when you first kissed, when you got your ship, your entire life with her. More recently, when you both first met and fought Pinkie at Nar Shaddaa. Or when she saved your life by cutting off your arm.

Or the last thing she said to you...

"Be careful, Anon."

Be careful...

...

You will not die like this.

You open your eyes and frantically look around for something, anything to save you. Although you haven't cleared the bottom of the bridge city yet, but you're far enough out that you won't be able to reach out and grab anything.

However, you have one last hope.

As the ledge of the city creeps up closer and closer, you point your left arm at the ground and ready your whipcord. A few seconds later, you fire it at the base of the bridge city. The hook whizzes through the air toward the metal foundation until it finally embeds itself in it. The whipcord immediately becomes taut as it begins to carry your weight and swings you closer to the base of the bridge.

You shut your eyes as you brace yourself. "Oh, this is gonna hurt..."

You swing towards the metal wall and, a second later, you impact on your left side. You let out a scream as your body strikes the wall hard. You're pretty sure you felt a few ribs crack. Sure enough, it hurts like hell.

You grit your teeth and grunt loudly as you try to endure the pain in your side. Breathing heavily, you look around for Gilda. No doubt she was watching you as you fell.

Your robotic arm is keeping you from falling to your death, and is otherwise useless right now. Your whipcord was not designed to hold onto this much weight for very long. That hook will not stay in the metal foundation forever.

You steady your breathing and try as hard as you can to keep as still as possible. With another grunt, you shakily reach for your blaster pistol with your right hand and pull it out, ready for Gilda. She's not here yet, but she can't be too far.

You reach up to your left gauntlet and press a button, activating your comms. "Urgh... Sunset! Come get me! My jetpack is gone!"

She replies a second later. "We just left the building! Where are you?!"

You cry out in pain again. "On the edge of the city! I'm literally hanging by a thread! Hurry!"

"I'm on my way!" She replies.

You cut your comms. You grunt and continue breathing hard as you wait. The pain in your ribs is excruciating.

"Hurry, Sunset..."

---

"Okay, Limestone... Come get me..."

You are Rainbow Dash. Right now, you're flying away from the city in Anon's ship, and leading the Sith away from him and Sunset while they rescue their friend, Rarity. Anon's fighting that other Mandalorian right now, Gilda, but you've got to keep Limestone's attention.

You level out the ship and fly down to the canyon below the city. Gilda's ship is chasing directly behind you and has opened fire. You reroute some power to the rear deflector shields and hit the throttle. The canyon below you is filled with hills and mountains. You're going to try and lose her in there.

Limestone hits you and you jerk forward a little bit from the impact. You've got tons of room right now and you can't personally return fire while flying away from her. Your gunner isn't doing a good job.

"Uh, Pinkie? Any time you wanna help, that would be great!"

Pinkie whimpers on the other side of your comms. "But... She's my sister! I can't!"

"Pinkie, open your eyes!" You shout. "She's trying to kill us! Knock her out of the sky, or at least make her stop following us! Just do something!"

Pinkie stammers some more. "B-but... What if I hit her on accident? I don't want to kill her! She's-"

"RRRRAAAGH! FORGET IT!" You bang your fist down on the control console and growl in frustration. Why wouldn't you be frustrated? Pinkie's being stupid!

You take another breath as you continue to avoid Limestone's blasterfire. Keep it cool, Rainbow. You're a Mandalorian now. Don't get so frustrated that you lose focus on what's important. You don't want to disappoint Anon or Mandalore. If Pinkie won't help, then you're on your own.

You swerve to the right and push the controls forward, making the ship plummet straight down. Limestone follows behind you as you accelerate toward the planet's surface, still firing at you.

A moment or two later, you pull up and swerve to miss a thin mountain. You're just above the canyon floor now. It's really narrow down here. One wrong move, and you're done for.

You stick your tongue out and concentrate. You've flown the Kessel Run in fourteen parsecs. You can do this. Just stay focused.

Another one of Limestone's blaster bolts hits you in the rear, making the ship jolt again. Your shields are stilll holding though. She'll have to hit you a lot harder if she wants to take this ship down. You aren't about to give her the chance though.

As you swerve around boulders and rocks, you take a left down a narrow valley. Limestone is still on your tail. Anon has to have some weapons on this ship. Pinkie's shots are inconsistent, inaccurate, and very few, so you have to do something.

Finally, you see something that catches your attention.

"Seismic charges, huh?"

Those might work.

You shift your focus back to the viewport and keep yourself in position so you don't crash. Another bank to the right is coming up ahead. You accelerate and turn the ship onto its side so you turn easier. The gravity in the ship shifts as well, and you feel everything being pulled to the right, but you stay focused.

Limestone slows down a bit behind you. She's obviously not the ace pilot that you are. As you enter this new canyon, you level out and press a button on the control console to prepare to release a charge.

Limestone keeps following you on your scanner, but she's a bit further behind you now.

You grin. "Perfect."

You release the charge and it goes flying into the canyon wall. A few seconds later, every sound inside the ship and out seems to fade away for a second. Then, a loud buzz erupts from outside. A notification on your control console flashes like crazy to indicate that the mine has gone off.

On your scanner, you see the blue ring of seismic energy spread out from the side of the narrow valley, splitting the rocks and earth in two and sending them crashing down behind you. Limestone slows her ship down and swerves around the bigger rocks, but you have no doubt that she hit a few smaller ones.

You laugh and prepare another charge. Once Limestone is for sure back on your tail, you release the charge into the opposite direction. A few seconds later, the same loud buzzing sound erupts and the bomb begins cutting away at the valley. This time, Limestone's flight path is significantly deterred as she strikes a falling boulder.

"Yes! Haha! Take that, Sith!"

You slow your ship and pull up out of the valley. As you take to open skies once again, you gun the engines and flip around. Limestone is still in the valley, trying to recover from the impact.

The ship orients itself in the air and you're now looking down at the valley you were just in. Limestone is just barely pulling up and into clear skies. You grin as you target her ship and pull the trigger on your controls. The ship's forward cannons start blasting her relentlessly.

Limestone accelerates and swerves as she tries to shake you, but you stay on her, continuing to spray her ship with blasterfire. Now it's time for you to chase her.

"Rainbow, no! Stop shooting!" Pinkie shouts.

You growl under your breath as she begs you to stop firing over your comms.

"I can't do that, Pinkie. She needs to be stopped." You reply.

"Then just stop her! But don't kill her! Please!"

You hesitate for just a moment. The sadness and desperation in Pinkie's voice is more than apparent. Despite how much Limestone has tried to kill her and her Jedi sister, Pinkie still cares about her. If that isn't unconditional love, then you don't know what is.

You sigh loudly. Against your better judgement, you stop firing at Limestone and she flies away. Her ship is damaged in some places, but she'll live.

Pinkie lets out a breath of relief. "Thank you, Rainbow! Thank you, thank you!"

"Yeah, yeah..." You sigh.

Every fiber of your being is telling you to kill her. Her ship is crippled, and she's wide open. She's tried to kill you so many times lately. This is the perfect opportunity.

But for Pinkie, just this once, you'll let her go.

A sudden blaring on your control console cuts off your train of thought. It's Anon's location beacon.

You turn on your comms and contact him. "Anon! What's going on?!"

He doesn't reply.

You flip around in the air and head back to Zarra before immediately contacting Sunset. "Sunset, what's wrong with Anon?! Where is he?!"

She replies a moment later. "He says he's hanging off the edge of the city! Get to him and save him, Rainbow! Hurry!"

You gasp and accelerate the ship as fast as you can, following Anon's beacon. "I'll be right there!"

---

You grunt loudly as you continue to dangle. Your robotic arm is damaged in a few places and sparking. It's also pulling on your injuries and making the pain more excruciating by the second.

You huff and puff as you endure the pain. It's killing you though. Another sharp sting in your side makes you groan again.

"Damn it, Sunset, where are you?" You say aloud.

You look up and around for any trace of her, but she's nowhere to be found.

Out of the corner of your eye, you spot some movement. Off in the distance, you see your ship quickly approaching the city.

You breathe a sigh of relief. Rainbow saw your beacon. It doesn't look like your ship is too damaged. Rainbow must've taken care of Limestone.

She slows the ship down directly beneath you. You can see Pinkie sitting in the topside gunner seat. It's a bit of a drop, but you're willing to endure a bit more pain if it means safety.

You're about to cut the fibercord, when suddenly, the topside cannon on the ship swivels and points directly upward. A second later, a missile hits the top of your ship and explodes. Rainbow swerves the ship a bit as it's knocked off-balance.

From above, Gilda flies towards you and starts blasting your ship. She's not firing as relentlessly as before though. She's clearly injured.

"Don't you know when to give up, Anon?!" She shouts.

You growl and point your sidearm at her. It hurts, but you grit your teeth and fire a few shots. She turns her focus to you and dodges your blasterfire before moving in toward you. That same, fiery look is in her eye as she closes in.

You think quickly. There's nowhere you can go from here.

Just before she reaches you for the killing blow, another blaster bolt hits her jetpack from above and she's knocked off-balance. Her eyes go wide open in confusion, and you both look up.

Sunset, with Rarity in her arm, is quickly descending toward you and shooting at Gilda with her own blaster. She hits Gilda again and again, blasting her jetpack until it starts to spark and malfunction, just like yours did.

Gilda roars angrily and quickly flies up and away from you, back to the city's ledge. You keep firing at her until she's out of sight.

You exhale and lower your blaster, holding onto your side as Sunset stops her descent right in front of you. "Anon! Are you okay?"

Rarity is holding onto her for dear life and her eyes are closed tightly.

"I'm fine!" You grunt. "Get Rarity aboard then come get me! Hurry!"

She does as you say and quickly lands on the roof of your ship. Rainbow has it under control again and has brought it closer to you. The airlock on the roof opens and Pinkie climbs out, reaching for Rarity and helping her inside while Sunset comes back for you.

You grunt loudly again as she holds your side and finally relieves the tension that was constantly put on your side from hanging on the side of the bridge. The fibercord is cut and Sunset carries you down to the ship as quickly as she can. Pinkie grabs you when you're close enough and helps you inside. Sunset follows right behind you.

Once you're finally inside the main hold, you collapse on the floor in a heap, crying out in pain again. You feel Rainbow gun the engines and take off.

Rarity is leaning up against the wall and holding her stomach while looking at you with worry. "Anonymous! Darling, are you alright?!"

You take a few deep breaths before nodding, mouthing the word 'yes' under your helmet, but not actually saying it.

Pinkie and Sunset rush to your side and help you sit up. You wince and grunt as they help you shakily get to your feet.

"Anon, you and Rarity need a doctor!"

...Wow, Pinkie. You think so?

You exhale and lean against the central computer. "We need to get to Mandalore... We have no time to waste." Pinkie holds your arm and doesn't let go. "Pinkie, go get some bacta and tend to Rarity... Give her something for the pain."

She nods and slowly releases you. "Okay, Anon."

Rarity sits down behind you in one of the seats and whimpers as she holds herself.

You look at Sunset. Her helmet is still on, but you can tell she's absolutely worried.

You grunt again. "Thanks for saving me again, love."

She breathes out a chuckle and wraps her arms around you in a hug. "Anything for you, Anon."

You return the hug as best as you can, wincing at the slight pain. Any pain you endure is worth it for her. The two of you rest your helmets against each other as she holds you.

The hyperdrive whirrs as Rainbow makes the necessary calculations and jumps to lightspeed. Finally, you're on your way back home.

Recuperation

View Online

Stepping off the ramp of your ship, you disembark onto the concrete floor of Keldabe spaceport with Anon. He's gripping his side, but you support him every step of the way, while Pinkie and Rainbow help Rarity along. The bacta she used took most of the immediate pain away, but she still needed additional help. Gilda messed her up good.

As you continue forward, more Mandalorians rush to aid you. Coco Pommel is among them. She moves to Rarity and helps her along.

"Here, let's get her to the medical bay. Hurry!" She says.

Pinkie releases Rarity into Coco's care while Rainbow continues to help, but follows right behind them. You and Anon follow them as well. The bacta did wonders for his flesh wounds, but his broken ribs need attention. Luckily, there was a medical center close by, so it wouldn't be a far walk.

Despite this, a floating gurney was waiting for Rarity a few feet away. She lays down on it and sighs, obviously relieved from the painful burden of walking. Coco and Rainbow leave her side as a couple of Mandalorian medics quickly take her away.

They turn their attention to you and Anon. "Anon, do you need a gurney too?"

Anon shakes his head. "No. I can walk just fine."

He grunts under his helmet with every step. He's clearly in pain, but he endures it. Of the two of them, Rarity's injuries were more extensive. Unsurprising, seeing as how Anon was the one clad in beskar.

After a few minutes of walking, you finally reach the medical center. Rarity is already being checked out and administered to. Hopefully, she doesn't mind the grittiness. Mandalore is lacking a bit in the pristine, fancy tech that Rarity was probably used to, but that doesn't mean they couldn't get the job done.

A couple other doctors come over to lead Anon into the examination room neighboring Rarity's.

You squeeze his hand. "I'll be right here when you're done, Anon."

Anon nods silently at you before turning his attention back to the doctors. You just watch as they take him away and close the doors behind them.

Not much more you can do at this point except wait. It kills you that you can't do anything else to help him right now. He needs you, just like you need him.

You sigh and turn around. Pinkie, Rainbow, and Coco are all standing there behind you.

Rainbow takes off her helmet and looks at you with concern while Pinkie speaks up. "Sunset? Are you okay?"

You take off your helmet and rub your eyebrows together. "Not really, Pinkie. No. I'm not okay."

Rainbow stays silent while Coco steps forward, removing her helmet as well. "Don't worry, Sunset. Anon and your friend will be okay. These Mandalorians are some of the best doctors in the system. They know what they're doing."

You nod. "I know... I can't help but worry though, you know? I almost lost him again."

Personally, you'd rather deal with Rakghouls than Gilda any day. They're both vicious, bloodthirsty monsters, but Gilda is the one who's actually evil. Rakghouls are just beasts.

You step across the room and sit down in one of the chairs they have and rest your head in your hand, taking another deep breath. Coco's right. You know she's right, even though you're still worried. Anon is tough. One of the toughest Mandalorians you've ever known. He'll be just fine.

Pinkie takes a seat next to you and rubs your shoulder. It does help ease your worries, you're not going to lie. She's turned out to be a great friend. You're glad you met her.

Rainbow clears her throat. "What do you need from me, Sunset? Anything at all I can do to help?"

You sigh again and rest your chin on your fists, not looking at her. "I just... I need to stay here and catch my breath for a while, Rainbow... Could you go check on Discord and make sure he behaves?"

She nods and heads to the door. "Of course, Sunset."

When she leaves, you're left there alone with Pinkie while Coco still stands there.

There's a bit of an awkward silence in the room before Coco takes a step backwards. "I'll... leave you guys alone for now, I guess."

You look up at her as she puts on her helmet again. "Did you need something Coco?"

She continues to step toward the door. "It can wait. Don't worry, it's not important. I'll join Rainbow Dash."

Coco leaves and you continue to ponder to yourself and try to relax while Pinkie rubs your shoulder.

---

Once the Mandalorian doctors finish patching you up, you carefully swing your legs off the operating table and stand. The operation took about an hour. They had to go in and mend your ribs with some kind of gel, or something. You don't know. You aren't a medic.

In addition to that, they also removed what was left of your robotic arm. It was irreparably damaged from the fight with Gilda. Luckily, you planned for such an event. You have a spare on your ship.

You stand up and feel your side. It still hurts, but it will get better.

The doctor looks down at a datapad in his hand before speaking. "Take it easy for a while, Anon. You'll be fine."

"Thanks, Doctor." You reply. "How's Rarity doing?"

The doctor takes another look at his datapad. "She's doing fine as well. She's stable and resting, but she's awake. If you're feeling up for it, you can see her now."

You nod at him. "Thanks again. I will, but first, I need to see Sunset."

"She's right outside." He turns his attention back to his surgical tools and you grab your helmet.

Once you slip it on, you step outside the operating room and look around the lobby of the small medical center. Sitting in the small waiting area, just by the entrance, is Sunset.

She turns to face you, and jumps to her feet. Before you can say anything, she runs to you and wraps you in a tight hug. It hurts your side still, but you don't try to stop her. Like you said before, any pain you endure is worth it for her.

She lets out a breath in your ear as you hold each other. "You're okay..."

"Of course I am, Sunset..." You reply. "Thanks to you."

This is now the second time in recent memory that you've actually almost died. You take a look at your missing left arm as you remember the Rakghouls.

She takes another deep breath. "That was too close, Anon. We're not splitting up when we go anywhere ever again, alright? I can't lose you yet."

You chuckle. "I can't lose you either." As you and Sunset keep hugging, you look around the waiting area again. "Where are Rainbow and Pinkie?"

Sunset finally releases you. "Rainbow went to check on Discord with Coco. Pinkie went with them a little while ago."

"I assume Discord is still locked up safe and sound?" You ask.

"I haven't heard anything bad, so he must be."

"Good."

You tap on the side of your helmet, but your comms are unresponsive. Gilda did a number on you back there. You take off your helmet and look at it in your hand. It has a large, noticeable crack in your visor as well. You'll need to repair it as well.

"Contact Rainbow for me and tell her to bring the spare arm I have in the armory. I feel lopsided." You say.

Sunset smiles at you. "I will. But first, now that I can finally see your face..."

She reaches up to your chin and makes you look at her before holding your arm and leaning in to kiss you. You're a bit taken back at first, but you melt into it kiss a second later. You press against her as much as you can. It's a bit awkward with one arm, but you don't care. Everything just feels so much better now.

When the kiss finally ends, you're both smiling at each other, saying nothing.

She's the best.

"Thank you, Sunset." You smile.

"Anything for you, Anonymous." She smiles again and releases you. "Now I'll get Rainbow here with your arm."

You chuckle as she puts a finger to her ear and contacts Rainbow. While she does that, you turn around and head into the neighboring operating room to yours. Sunset follows behind you when she finishes talking to Rainbow.

Stepping inside, you see Rarity laying down in a medical cot. Her hair is a mess and she has a bruise on her cheek, but other than that, she's been cleaned up pretty well. A small bandage is on her forehead. She looks absolutely devastated. No other emotion is present on her face other than despair.

As you walk toward her, she turns to you and a small smile creeps onto her face. "Hello, you two."

"Hi Rarity." You return the smile. "How are you feeling?"

She takes a deep breath. "Fine, I suppose..."

Her smile fades a little. She's grateful to be alive, but there's no way she's not depressed about what she lost in exchange. There's not much you can say right now. Nothing you say will bring it all back. Her fashion empire is in ruins.

Come to think of it, you didn't meet any resistance or public curiosity on Cato Neimoidia, but with her power and position, there's no doubt that her building catching fire made someone notice.

You reach into a large pocket on your belt and pull out everything you took out from the electronic safe in her office. It's just a small datapad, some papers and a large red jewel in the shape of a heart, among other things. Most of this other stuff must have sentimental value to her, more than anything.

You step over to her and place it all on the table beside her cot. She looks at it for a moment.

"I'm so sorry, Rarity. I really am." You tell her.

She doesn't reply for a long moment. Finally, she reaches over to the red jewel and takes it in her hands. She feels it for a moment before smiling and taking another breath. "It's alright, Anonymous. I can salvage and start again, after this whole thing with the Sith is done and over with."

You smile back at her.

Sunset steps forward as well. "If there's anything we can do to help, Rarity, you know you can ask us."

You nod at Rarity, validating Sunset's statement.

Rarity smiles again. "Thank you both so much... I'm so very happy I met you." Her smile fades again after a few moments as she stares at the jewel in her hand. After a few moments, she looks back up at you. "Who was she?"

You draw a breath and stand up straight. "Gilda..."

Rarity nods and you look at Sunset for a moment.

She looks back at you. "You knew her better than I did, Anon."

You pause for a moment before setting your remaining hand on your hip. "She and I grew up very close to each other, proximity-wise. We were never friends, but we did fight together in a few skirmishes around the system when we were younger. She was always brutal, even as a child. It's like she was destined to have an affinity for bloodshed."

Rarity continues looking at you. "Forgive me, but I was under the impression that all Mandalorians had an affinity for bloodshed. I thought you and Sunset were exceptions to that."

That's a pretty popular stereotype. Rainbow assumed that at first too.

Sunset speaks up. "Mandalorians are warriors. Fighting, conflict, and battle are our way of life. But our people still have rules, codes and standards that we live by. Some of us will resort to killing without a second thought, as it is usually the easiest option available, while others will do it while not particularly enjoying it."

"I kill when it is necessary, I'm pressed for time, or when no other option is available." You say. "We don't have to like it, but we must be willing to do it if needed. Like Sunset said, we still have rules. Murder is still murder."

Rarity looks between you both again, her mouth agape somewhat. "I'm sorry. I-I didn't mean to offend."

"Don't worry, you didn't. You're not a Mandalorian, Rarity. We know you're not familiar with our culture." Sunset gives her a smile.

She seems comforted by that.

You continue. "Gilda did not adhere to our rules and customs when she was younger. She was a damn good fighter, but she was continually chastised and punished for all kinds of horrible things she would do. I'll do you a favor and spare you the details. Some time after I met Sunset, she came out and openly declared that Mandalore was a fool before challenging him for his title. Despite his age and her ferocity, he still beat her easily. After that humiliating defeat, she was banished from the clans and was instructed never to return here. She would be killed on sight if she did."

Rarity takes another deep breath and sighs. "At least that means we're safe here."

You nod at her. "Yes. We're safe here."

She gives the jewel in her hand another squeeze before looking back at you. "Thank you both so much for saving me from her. I can't repay you for it."

Sunset steps forward. "You won't need to, Rarity."

"You're more than a business partner." You say. "You're our friend."

Rarity smiles again. That meant a lot to her.

The door opens behind you and Rainbow, Pinkie, and Coco enter the room.

Rarity turns to them and smiles. "Hello, everyone."

Pinkie waves excitedly. "Hi! Glad you're okay, Rarity!"

Rarity giggles a little. "I've been better, but thank you anyway, Pinkie." She looks at Rainbow. "You must be Rainbow Dash. We haven't officially met in person yet."

Rainbow smiles and waves a little. "That's me! Nice to meetcha too."

"Likewise, darling." She looks at Coco and tilts her head a little. "I'm sorry, I don't know who you are. What's your name?"

Everyone looks at the young Mandalorian as she stands there awkwardly. "Uh, my name is Coco. Coco Pommel." She takes off her helmet and rubs a hand through her light blue hair. "I just wanted to clarify... You are Rarity? The Rarity? The fashion mogul from Cato Neimoidia?"

A small smile creeps onto Rarity's face. "Yes I am, darling. The one and only."

Coco's eyes brighten up and she smiles wide. "Oh my goodness! I'm such a huge fan of yours! I've always wanted to meet you! I love fashion, and you've been such an inspiration for me!"

That's a bit surprising. You can tell that Rarity is surprised as well. She probably wasn't expecting to find a lover of fashion on Mandalore, of all places.

Coco pulls out a datapad and rushes to Rarity's side. "I've even been doing a bit of my own designs in my spare time! Can... Can I show you please? I would love some tips!"

Rarity giggles a little in bewilderment. "Why of course, Miss Pommel! I'd love to see them!"

Coco smiles even wider as she opens up her datapad and starts scrolling through the pictures.

You can't help but smile at how happy Coco is. You had no idea that she was into fashion. Then again, you don't really know her. She is pretty young, after all.

Rarity scrolls through the pictures and her eyebrows raise after a few moments. "These are... very good, darling."

Coco gasps a little. "Really?"

Rarity nods as she continues looking at the pictures. "Oh, yes! I mean, I have a few notes, but you show tremendous promise here. I'm quite impressed."

Coco keeps smiling. She can hardly contain her excitement. She bounces in her boots a little as Rarity continues to look at her designs. It's a bit funny seeing a fully armored Mandalorian so excited by something like this.

You take a step toward Rainbow, Sunset, and Pinkie. "We'll leave you two alone for a little bit. Sounds like you have a lot to talk about."

Rarity looks up at you as you leave. "Oh, alright darling."

She smiles as you leave and continues talking with Coco.

The door closes behind you and Sunset chuckles a little. "That was unexpected."

"Yeah it was." You reply. "But it was nice to see Rarity smile after everything that's happened."

Rainbow turns around and holds out your spare arm she got from the ship. "Oh, I forgot. Here you go, Anon."

You take it from her. "Thanks, Rainbow."

Sunset turns to you. "Need help?"

"Please."

She takes the arm from you and holds it up to the metal socket on your shoulder to begin installing it.

You look at Rainbow. "Any word from the Republic yet?"

Rainbow shakes her head. "Not yet. Discord is getting antsy, but he's still secure in the ship."

You nod. "And that's where he'll stay for now."

You're not really surprised you haven't heard from the Republic yet. It's only been a few hours since you gave the communicator to Twilight.

Pinkie pulls out a datapad of her own. "We did hear on HNN about the fire in Rarity's building though."

"About time. When was that story released?" You ask.

"Coco showed us about 15 minutes ago." Pinkie says. "They say that Rarity has been presumed dead. Even though they can't find her body."

Well, that's because her living, breathing body is here with you.

Pinkie continues reading the article. "It says that they're looking for a replacement CEO, they're cleaning up the place, and they're wondering who attacked her building in the first place. It doesn't say anything about us though."

"Good."

Sunset finishes tightening your arm into its socket. "No surprise. Rarity was careful about covering her tracks, it's just that Gilda is very, very good at what she does."

She takes a step back and you feel a small jolt of electricity surge through your torso as your arm activates. You bring it up and make a fist before wiggling your robotic fingers a little.

Satisfied, you lower your prosthesis and put both it and your real hand on either side of your waist. "Well, we'll let Rarity know about this little fake news story soon. Unless Coco lets her know first. She can deal with it at her leisure. We'll let her rest for now. Until we get some contact from the Republic though, we've got some time to kill."

Sunset clears her throat. "What about that little... thing we found..."

You look at her in confusion. "What?"

"You know..." She points to your gauntlet.

Ah, now you know what she's talking about. That shipment of cortosis you found on Discord's ship. You wanted to keep it secret.

"Oh, that... What if we went and... took care of that now?"

She grins and Rainbow looks back and forth between you two. "Uh, what are you talking about?"

It's none of her business. Not yet, anyway.

"An errand we need to pick up. Don't worry about it." You look at Rainbow and Pinkie both. "We're going to leave for a little while, just me and Sunset. Rainbow, take Pinkie to your new place and relax. Study your Mando'a, or go shopping for a while or something."

Sunset chimes in. "Don't let her gamble though."

Pinkie deflates a little bit. "Aww come on! Just one game of pazaak! Pleeeease?"

"No." You reply flatly. "We can't have you making enemies here."

Rainbow looks a little confused. "Does she cheat or something?"

"No, she's just good. Really good." You reply. Pinkie giggles again. "You guys hold the fort here and keep us updated on everything that happens. If Mandalore comes asking about us, tell him our channel is open."

Rainbow nods. "Got it. Be careful with wherever you guys are going."

You take your helmet and put it back on. "Thanks, Rainbow. We will."

You and Sunset wave goodbye to Rainbow and Pinkie and the two of you head back to your ship. Finally, you're alone.

Sunset turns to you. "How are you feeling?"

"I'm okay." You reply. "Still a bit sore, but I'm fine."

Sunset smiles at you before putting her own helmet on and grabbing your right hand. You take her hand in yours and give it a little squeeze as you walk toward your ship. Up above, a number of starships are flying around in Keldabe's airspace. It's much busier than usual. You didn't notice it before.

"From what I heard, ships have been arriving all morning from all over the galaxy." Sunset says, looking up to the sky as well.

"Mandalore's call to arms gets around quickly. That's good."

The two of you pass by a couple other Mandalorians before stepping back onto your ship. As you proceed up the ramp, you hear a loud groaning from inside.

"Uuuuughhh... I'm soooo BOOOOORED!"

You just grumble to yourself as you step inside the main hold and open the door to the cargo hold. Discord is laying on the floor, looking at you upside down, with is feet up on his cot. He's like a damn child.

He groans loudly again as you step inside. He does his best to adjust himself and sit up. His wrists are still in binders behind his back. "You know, you Mandalorians are so inhospitable! I've been here for hours completely alone with my thoughts! I don't usually mind my own company, but even I need a break from myself from time-to-time. Too much of anything is bad, you know..."

"Any amount of your talking is too much." You snap.

He recoils slightly, looking offended. "Well I never! Now you're just being mean, Anonymous!"

"Keep talking and you'll find out just how mean I can be." You turn around and head back towards the main hold.

"Ha! That's a good one!" He laughs. "We all know you won't kill me! I'm far too valuable for that. Why else would I have lasted this long?"

You stop in the doorway and turn back to him, waving your robotic hand slightly. "You'd be surprised what you can live through..."

Discord pauses as he looks at your appendage before smirking and leaning back against the cot, saying nothing.

Without another word from either of you, you close and lock the door to the cargo hold to join Sunset. The ship rumbles to life as you enter the cockpit. Sunset is sitting in the pilot's seat and taking off.

"Okay, open up that message and find out where this cortosis is stashed." She says.

"Sure thing." You sit down in the co-pilot's seat and press a few buttons on the control console in front of you. After a few seconds of skimming through the message, you find more details. "Okay, here. It's located on the moon of a planet in a small, unrecorded system. About twelve parsecs west of Bakura, which is west of some planet named Endor."

Sunset shakes her head a little. "I've never heard of Endor."

"Neither have I."

As the ship leaves the atmosphere, you do a little bit of digging on the planet Endor. Apparently, it was a nature reserve that was nicknamed the Sanctuary Moon by the Republic. There was nothing else really special about it. It was also located clear on the other side of the galaxy, just on the edge of the Unknown Regions. It'll take hours to get there.

You input the data into the navicomputer and Sunset hits the throttle, blasting off into hyperspace.

You sigh and lean back in your chair. "I'm tired."

Sunset nods. "Me too."

It's been a very long, very stressful day. Capturing Discord, getting into a fight with Gilda, surgery, everything. It's been about twenty hours since you last slept. You've got a lot of time now though.

After a couple of minutes in contemplative silence, you stand up and stretch. "Let's go see if our guest is hungry."

Sunset looks up at you and nods. "Okay."

She stands up and follows you into the main hold. You grab a tray from the kitchen area and head to the food processor.

The processor dispenses this pinkish-grey colored food slop onto the tray. It smells rancid, and that's not just because it's rotten. You never use this thing for food. You have ingredients to make real food here. Normally, you're nicer to your 'guests', but you're tired and aren't in the mood right now. So, Discord gets foodstuff slop.

After mixing in a little salt for flavor, you head to the cargo hold with Sunset.

Discord perks up when he sees you holding the tray. "Oh, finally! I'm famished!"

Good. That means he shouldn't complain about how disgusting it is.

Sunset opens his cage and you set the tray down in front of him. His grin fades immediately when he sees the slop.

He blinks a few times. "Oh, what fresh hell is this?"

You shrug. "I wouldn't call it 'food', but it's edible."

"Barely! It looks disgusting!" He shouts.

You undo his binders and he brings his arms around in front of him, rubbing his wrists.

You sigh. "I don't care. It's that or nothing."

He exhales as he looks up at you and Sunset as you close his cell again and walk out of the cargo hold.

You finally take off your helmet and set it down on the table in the main hold. Sunset does the same. You breathe again and pop your neck, wincing at the pain.

"Why don't you get some rest, Anon? You've had a rough day." She says.

"Yeah..." You turn to her and give her a smile. "We both have."

She smiles back at you and places a hand on your armored chest. You place your hand on her waist and gently pull her close to you. She leans in and you kiss each other again, her eyes closing as she places her other hand on your head and pulls you toward her. You kiss each other for a few long moments. It feels like it's been so long since you've been able to be alone with each other like this.

Finally, the kiss ends, and you're both panting softly as you press your foreheads together. You look each other in the eyes as you hold her, saying nothing. Words are not needed now. She's there for you, and you're there for her.

Nothing, no one else exists in the entire galaxy right now except you and her.

After a few seconds, she stands up straight and looks you in the eyes. She doesn't smile. She's so tired. You both are.

"I'm going to take a shower..." She says.

You nod at her as she walks to the refresher behind you

Before she gets too far, she stops and leans into your ear. "...and you are going to join me..." She whispers.

That was not a suggestion.

You draw a breath and shiver a little in sudden anticipation as she takes your hand in hers and leads you into the refresher. Upon entering, you stop and stare at each other for another moment before closing the door behind you and turning on the shower...

Diplomacy

View Online

The sounds of beeping slowly wake you up from your long overdue slumber. They're accompanied by the feeling of movement from the space in the bed beside you. The navicomputer is letting you know that you've arrived at Bakura.

You pull the covers back and sit on the edge of the bed, yawning and rubbing your eyes. Sunset had shifted in bed, but she looked like she was still asleep. You get up and groan a little as you leave your room and head into the main hold. Your side is still a bit sore from yesterday.

Upon reaching the cockpit, you pull back the throttle and the ship drops out of hyperspace. The green and blue planet appears in front of you. A small number of starships either entering or leaving the atmosphere come up on your scopes. Apparently, this was one of the largest trade hubs in the Wild Space region of the galaxy.

Once you get into a far orbit around the planet, you lock it in and head back to your room. This is the first time in a long time you've been able to relax and spend some quality alone time with Sunset, and you're not about to cut it short.

You enter your room again. Sunset is barely awake and laying on her back. She faces you and gives you a tired smile before pulling up the covers to invite you back to bed. You lay down next to her and wrap the covers around you both. She snuggles up close to you and presses her body against yours, giving a content sigh.

"We here?" She quietly asks.

"Yep." You nod, rubbing your hand on her bare back. "We'll make the jump to Discord's hidden system later."

She places a hand on your bare chest and exhales. "Good. I'm not ready to get up yet."

You chuckle a little. "Me neither."

For the next few minutes, the two of you lay there in bed together, saying nothing and looking up at the ceiling. You continue to rub Sunset's hair while she twirls her index finger around in circles on your chest. The both of you needed this.

You must've dozed off again, because the next thing you know, you're waking up to the sound of Sunset moving around your room. Her back is to you and she's in your wardrobe grabbing one of her flightsuits. Lucky for you, she hasn't put it on yet.

You grin and put your hands behind your head as you watch her. "Now that is a beautiful sight."

She giggles and turns to face you, a smirk of her own on her face as she holds the flightsuit in her hands. "Yeah, I thought you could use a good show."

You grin as you continue to watch her get dressed. She takes her time. Her eyes never leave yours as her beautiful body disappears beneath that jumpsuit after a few minutes. You're bummed it's over, but the best things in life never last.

As she finishes getting her jumpsuit straightened out, she comes over to you and gives you another kiss before ending it after a moment. "Now, I'll get us on our way to this hidden system while you get dressed. No more being lazy today."

You chuckle. "Yes ma'am."

She smirks as she heads into the main hold, giving you one last look before shutting the door to your room behind her. The hyperdrive whirrs for a moment before the ship blasts off into lightspeed after a few minutes.

You groan as you pull the covers back and get out of bed. From your wardrobe, you grab a jumpsuit and slip it on before putting on your boots and heading out into the main hold as well.

A deep breath through the nose and you can't help but smile. This morning has been amazing. However, what is not amazing is the fact that parts of your and Sunset's armor is strewn about around the ship. Most pieces were on the ground in the refresher though. Guess you were too busy with each other last night to worry about making a mess.

Not that you're complaining.

You bend over and start picking up pieces of armor. Any pieces that belong to you are put on as you pick them up, while you set Sunset's armor on the table in the main hold.

She joins you a minute later and smiles as she watches you. "My man cleaning up the ship. That's my version of a beautiful sight."

You laugh hard. "Just paying you back, love."

"Aww, aren't you sweet?"

You grin at her and continue picking up armor pieces while she starts putting hers on. "Are we on our way?"

She nods. "Yep. We should be at this place in a few minutes."

"Excellent."

You finally finish gathering up all the armor pieces and the two of you put them on. After a minute or two, all that's left are your helmets. They're sitting on the table right where you left them last night.

"I'll check on our guest." You say. "He was quiet all night. It was a pleasant surprise."

Sunset nods and puts her helmet on. "I'll be ready to get us out of hyperspace."

You nod back at her and put your helmet on as well before heading to the cargo hold. The door opens and you step inside.

Discord is laying on his cot, wide awake with his eyes fixed on the ceiling. The tray of mostly untouched processed slop you gave him last night is sitting on the floor next to him.

"How are we this morning, Discord?" He doesn't even look at you. He just makes a grumbling sound. You chuckle and put your hands on your hips. "Ah, just the way I like 'em."

He sighs. "You're awfully chipper today, bounty hunter... Will you soon be rid of me?"

"Not as soon as I'd like, unfortunately." You reply.

He looks at you. "Then how much longer am I to endure this solitary confinement?"

"For the rest of your life, hopefully." You say. "I can't say how long with me though. That all depends on the ones who want you."

He slowly blinks and groans again. He is bored out of his mind, but at least he's not making trouble.

You turn around to leave him alone again, locking the door to the cargo hold behind you. As you proceed to the cockpit to join Sunset, the ship drops out of hyperspace and an unfamiliar planet appears in front of the ship.

"We're here." She says as you sit down in the co-pilot's seat next to her.

The planet outside is a purple gas giant. A small, red moon is sitting in orbit between it and your ship. You can't find any record of this planet at all. It doesn't even have a name.

You stare at the planet. "Where are we?"

"We're in Wild Space, just on the border of the Unknown Regions." She replies.

The Unknown Regions. That's a whole lot of unexplored galaxy in front of you.

Legends passed down from Mandalore the Preserver say that Revan ventured into the Unknowns some time after defeating Malak on the Star Forge. You don't really know why though. From what you understand, it's the last time anyone ever saw Revan. That was hundreds of years ago.

It's unnerving being on the edge of civilization like this. What mysteries lie beyond, you wonder? There might be thousands of aliens, empires, and planets out there that the rest of the galaxy has never even heard of before, just waiting to be explored and discovered.

That adventure awaits for another, however. You've got a job to do now.

"That red moon is where we're headed?"

Sunset nods. "Yep. According to Discord's info, the shipment of cortosis should be buried at these coordinates."

"Then take us down."

Sunset pilots the ship down to the planet and enters the atmosphere.

---

This moon was mostly dead, with occasional dry shrubs growing in sparse locations. Other than that, there was nothing but mountains, wind, rocks and red sand all over. There was probably no intelligent life on the planet besides you and Sunset right now.

Discord's stash of stolen goods was hidden in an underground bunker on the surface. It took you and Sunset quite a while to move all the cortosis onto your ship. It was all packed into these shipping crates that were almost too heavy for you and Sunset to carry together. There weren't as many crates as you were expecting there to be, but they were very heavy. However, you managed to get them aboard your ship and into the main hold.

It would probably be wise not to store them in the cargo hold. As nice as it would be to see the look on Discord's face when he saw what you found, you didn't want him letting the Republic know about the cortosis shipment when you all finally met together. He seems like the blabbermouth type. Besides, the cargo hold was full of other supplies and weapons right now anyway, so there probably wouldn't be much room.

You and Sunset grunt as you set the last crate down and exhale. "Last one... That was... strenuous."

Sunset nods. "Yeah... Thank goodness it's all aboard now."

You stand up straight and stretch when suddenly, a beeping sound comes from the computer. It's a priority message from the holodisk you gave to Twilight.

This is it.

You rub your hands together. "Alright, it's 'go' time."

"Is that Shining Armor?" Sunset asks.

"It should be." You reply. "Say nothing about the cortosis to him or anyone else."

You press a button on the control console and put your hands on your hips. A second later, the familiar blue twi'lek appears on your hologram display. His uniform is pressed and immaculate like always, and there's a stern, yet unsure look in his eye. He also has a small bruise on his forehead. Probably from the Sith attack on his cruiser.

"Anonymous." He says.

"Shining Armor." You reply.

You hate this guy.

He clears his throat and puts his arms behind his back. "Before anything else, I want to thank you for saving Twilight and her friends from the Sith attack on my cruiser. I've been worried about her ever since, but she says she's okay. For that, you have my gratitude."

"I'm a man of my word, Captain." You reply.

"So I see." He nods.

You press further. "Is that all she told you?"

He clears his throat. "No. She also told me about this holodisk you gave her, and about how you took down Discord and his band of pirates."

You snap your fingers a couple times to get Sunset's attention before pointing to the cargo hold. She nods and heads there while you continue speaking to Shining Armor. "I did, like I promised. It took a bit longer than I hoped, but I did it. He won't bother you anymore."

Sunset comes out of the cargo hold a moment later with the devaronian in tow. "He's right here, safe and sound. Say hi to the Captain, Discord!"

Discord grunts and struggles a little against Sunset, but cooperates enough. He glares up at the Republic Captain in bitter defiance. "Rrrghh... Yeah, here I am. In the flesh. Hello, Republic lap dog."

Shining Armor looks at Discord in stunned silence. "He's alive..."

"Yes he is. I don't know why you're acting so surprised, Captain. It's me you're dealing with here." Sunset takes Discord back into the cargo hold and Shining Armor turns his attention back to you. "If you want this creep behind bars and not out here terrorizing your star systems, then you'll listen to what I have to say."

Shining Armor opens his mouth to reply, but is stopped by something else in the room he's in. "Captain, please. Allow me."

That's a new voice. One you haven't heard before. It's elegant and soft, but also firm.

Shining Armor steps aside to the right. From the left, draped in a flowing, beautiful white dress, walks an Angel. Her wings are folded behind her back, her white skin almost glows, and her hair looks like it's floating. You recognize her immediately.

Despite never paying attention to Republic politics, you have caught glimpses of her in still images on video screens all over the galaxy in your travels. It's impossible not to know who she is without living under a rock. This is the first time you've ever actually seen her move in real time though. The tales told by deep-space explorers are not lies. The Angels of Iego truly were some of the most beautiful creatures in the universe.

She looks at you with slight worry in her luxurious eyes. "Anonymous of Mandalore. Hello."

You pause for a moment before giving her a slight nod. "Supreme Chancellor Celestia. It's an honor."

Chancellor Celestia politely nods in reply, but does not drop her worried look. "What do you want?"

"I want to talk." You reply. "My people are currently preparing for war with the reemerging Sith. Seeing as how they are a common enemy, and your Republic is grossly underprepared to fight right now, it only makes sense to join forces."

Celestia purses her lips together in consideration. Behind you, Sunset exits the cargo hold and joins your side.

"I am hesitant to accept your offer, Mandalorian." Celestia replies. "You are still wanted for the murder of a Republic senator. How do I know you haven't sided with the Sith and are luring us into a trap?"

"Trust me, if we wanted to destroy your Republic, we would not be speaking right now, Chancellor." You say.

Celestia looks to the side for a moment before looking back at you. "I'd like to speak to Mandalore himself before anything else."

You shrug and press a few buttons on the console. "Fine. I'll contact him right now."

You open your comms channel and contact Mandalore. The Chancellor can be heard whispering to someone else in the room she's in.

After a few moments, Mandalore answers. "Anonymous. Sunset Shimmer."

"Mandalore. The Republic finally got back to us." You say. "The Supreme Chancellor herself wants to speak with you."

He gives a gruff chuckle and nods. "It's about damn time."

You grin under your helmet and link the hologram transmissions together. Now Mandalore, you, and Sunset can all be seen in the Chancellor's office.

Celestia turns her attention back to the three of you. "Greetings, Mandalore."

Mandalore crosses his arms. "Supreme Chancellor."

She clears her throat. "Your warriors here say they wish to negotiate a truce, despite their unrepentant attitudes regarding the murder of one of our senators, and several others in the aftermath. Frankly, I'm a bit concerned about your motives, as I'm sure you understand."

"These are dark times, Chancellor. And they will only get darker, now that the Sith have openly attacked you." Mandalore replies. "It is gratuitous that we're here offering you this one and only opportunity for peace between us. My people can and will drive the Sith back. Whether or not we steamroll over you in the process is entirely up to you."

Shining Armor steps back into view, glaring daggers. "Is that a threat?"

Mandalore glances at him. "I do not make threats, Captain. I make promises."

Shining Armor continues glaring at Mandalore angrily while Celestia urges him to step back.

Mandalore continues. "It's pretty simple, really. You are undermanned. The Sith want you dead. We have the ability, and the means to drive them back. As a show of good faith, Anonymous took care of your rampant pirate problem."

You speak up. "Instead of the original 500,000 credits I was promised, I only ask for a peace summit between us in exchange. I want to make a case for myself and my actions, so afterwards, we can come to an agreement on how to stop the Sith together."

Sunset steps forward as well. "Without your Republic to keep the Sith in line, they would have destroyed the galaxy millennia ago. Even we can see that. This is the only way you can survive."

Celestia shifts her gaze between the three of you. She's obviously conflicted.

"It behooves you to accept this offer, Chancellor." Mandalore says.

After a moment, she slumps her shoulders slightly and looks back at Mandalore. "Very well. I will meet with you, Mandalore. We will discuss things amicably, and hopefully come to an agreement." She turns to look at you. "As for you, Anonymous, I am very interested in learning as to why you murdered one of the Republic's more upstanding senators."

You cross your arms. "You'll get my justification, and my evidence to back them up when we meet, Chancellor. I promise you."

She gives you a contempt smirk before nodding once. "We will see."

Mandalore speaks up once again. "We'll meet in your cruiser above the planet Concord Dawn in two standard days' time. Your ship, my turf."

Another voice speaks up on the hologram. Celestia turns to the source. "I feel I should inform you, Mandalore, that you will be in the presence of many Jedi Knights. As well as many highly-trained soldiers and guards. We must ensure the Chancellor is kept safe at all costs."

A female pantoran steps into view with her arms behind her back. She's dressed in dark blue Jedi robes, much darker than her blue skin, and has a calm, yet serious look on her face.

Mandalore looks at the Jedi Master. "I'm not surprised. In fact, I welcome it. It's always a pleasure to meet a Jedi."

Celestia smiles at the pantoran. "Thank you, Grand Master Luna."

Oooh, 'Grand Master' of the Jedi Order. They're really flexing for you now.

Luna gives the Chancellor a respectful bow and Celestia turns her attention back to Mandalore. "Two days' time."

"We'll see you there, Chancellor." He replies.

The feed from Coruscant cuts and the Republic officials fade away. Only Mandalore remains.

He turns to you and Sunset. "Where are you two right now? Your chiss friend told me that you were on a personal errand."

"We're just west of Bakura, Mandalore." You reply. "This pirate we captured, Discord, had a shipment of cortosis that he stole and hid on some backwater moon near the Unknown Regions. We just finished gathering it up. We figured they would be useful against the Sith and their lightsabers."

Mandalore nods. "Not a bad find. Who all knows about it?"

Sunset speaks up. "Just us three, Mandalore. No one else."

"Good. Bring it back here and we'll start working on it right away. I've already got a few ideas. Once you arrive, gather whatever you need for our little meeting with the Republic." He commands.

"Yes, Mandalore." You reply. "We need to stop at Bakura to refuel, and we'll be on our way back in a few hours."

He nods. "We'll see you when you return."

Lovers' Quarrel

View Online

The planet Mandalore is teeming with activity. Destroyers, cruisers, and ships of every kind lie in wait above the planet. Even Tempest Shadow's fleet is here. It's an entire Mandalorian armada, fully armed and ready to fight.

As you finally come out of hyperspace, Sunset approaches the planet, and you contact Rainbow Dash. She should be off-world by now.

"Rainbow here." She replies.

"Rainbow. Sunset and I just got back. Where are you?" You ask.

"Mandalore told me to get Rarity and Pinkie and meet up with you on his ship. We're aboard now."

Sunset points at the largest ship in the fleet, a Kandosii-type dreadnaught. "There."

You nod and Sunset flies toward it.

"Okay. We're on our way there now." You reply. "How's Rarity doing?"

"She's doing fine." Rainbow says. "Still has a few bruises, but she's getting by."

"Good. We'll see you guys in a bit." You cut communications with Rainbow and watch as you approach the massive Kandosii.

The Mando'a word for 'Ruthless', the Kandosii is much larger than Shining Armor's Hammerhead-Class cruiser. On average, the Republic still had larger ships at their disposal, sure, but none of them could match the firepower and ferocity of your ships though. Even during the Mandalorian Wars.

Your people lost the war with the Republic and the Jedi, but it was not because of their ships, or their troops, or their superior firepower. They won because of the actions of one man, and one man alone. The Jedi Revan.

Revan was gone now though...

That little realization makes a light bulb go off in your head.

The Mandalorians are united and very well-armed right now. Probably more than ever before. Meanwhile, the Republic is fractured and desperate. At the opportune moment, Mandalore could wipe them all out, and bring the entire galaxy under Mandalorian control. As soon as the Sith were dealt with, the Republic could be next to go.

You grin slightly as you imagine being on the forefront of a new age of strength and prosperity in galactic history. The Republic would be dissolved, the Sith would be extinct, and the Mandalorians would take their rightful places at the top of the food chain, where only the strong should be.

No one in this galaxy is stronger than you and your people. Especially right now.

It all sounds amazing, but what's even better is that it's possible. You might just let Mandalore in on your little idea later. For now though, you decide to shelve it. You've got a job to do.

Sunset approaches the Kandosii's hangar and is given permission to land. A Mandalorian on the flight deck directs Sunset on where to go.

When she touches down, she deactivates the ship and stands up. "Alright, here we are."

You stand up as well and the two of you head to the cargo hold together. Discord looks over at you with a grimace as you both enter. He's been in there for a couple of days now, so it's no wonder that he looks so hostile.

"Good news, Discord. You're never setting foot in here ever again." You announce.

He groans loudly. "Good!"

You smirk a little under your helmet and unlock his cage. Sunset grabs one of her blasters as the door opens. Discord stands up, cracks his neck and struts out of his cell into your custody. You hold one of his arms and escort him to the exit ramp with Sunset.

As you disembark your ship, Thunderlane and Tempest both meet you in the hangar, fully armed.

You proceed toward them and pass Discord to Tempest. "Get him to the cells."

Thunderlane nods and grabs Discord's arm, pulling him away with her.

Discord puts on his best smile and lags a bit as he looks back to you. "Anonymous, Sunset, thank you both oh so much for a lovely- OW!"

Tempest smacks him with the back of her rifle and cuts him off, urging him to keep walking.

Discord groans and puffs his chest out with his nose in the air. "You know, you could at LEAST say 'please', if you want me to move faster..."

Tempest doesn't entertain his request as she smacks him again. "Move it."

Discord grunts and exhales, saying nothing else as he's led into the dreadnaught.

You sigh. "It's about damn time..."

Sunset giggles a little and puts her blaster away while you look around at everything. The inside of the hangar is bustling with activity. Technicians, engineers, pilots, and many other Mandalorians are all performing some task.

There are numerous starships lined up in here, with a few of them being worked on. One ship catches your attention, however. It isn't like the other ships. It was resting on the backs of both of its wings, which were standing upright. It looks like they could swivel 90 degrees to a forward position.

The ship and its wings were light blue in color, with the six colors of the rainbow accenting them. Each color had been painted on to look like lightning bolts that fit together perfectly near the rear of each wing. You're willing to bet a million credits that it's Rainbow Dash's ship.

Sunset takes notice of it as well. "I've never seen a ship like that one before."

"Neither have I."

The two of you head toward it, looking around for any activity. As you get closer, you notice Pinkie Pie walking backwards from behind the ship, looking up at something. She hasn't seen you yet.

"Okay! Try it now!" She says.

The ship sparks in a spot above her. She covers her face with her hand to protect herself from the sparks before the ship makes a whirring sound that lasts a few seconds.

Once it powers down, she hollers back at whatever she's looking at. "That sounded much smoother that time!" She finally notices you and Sunset walking toward her and smiles wide as she waves. "Hey guys!"

"Hey, Pinkie." You reply. "What are you doing?"

She points up to the ship. "I'm helping Rainbow Dash tweak her ship! Isn't it cool?!"

You nod. "Yeah, it is. It looks fast."

Rainbow comes walking down the exit ramp and turns to face you with that same, cocky smirk on her face. "It is fast! Fastest in the galaxy! Let me introduce the Sonic Rainboom!"

She holds her arms out to the side to present it to you.

Sunset whistles. "Impressive. Where did you get it?"

"Csilla. My homeworld. This baby is a proud product of the Chiss Ascendancy! Nothing else like it in the whole galaxy!" She says.

"That would explain why we've never seen a ship like it before." You say, looking at it again. "Csilla is separated from the rest of the galaxy, in the Unknown Regions."

Rainbow puts her hands on her hips, still grinning. "For a good reason! It's why you probably won't ever see anything like it ever again, too!"

Sunset steps closer, admiring it further. "It's one of a kind?"

Rainbow shakes her head. "Not exactly. It was a prototype ship given to only a handful of Csilla's best pilots. Obviously, I got first pick."

You cross your arms as you look at Rainbow. Her cockiness is starting to get on your nerves.

She continues. "I think they called them 'Gauntlet Starfighters' at the factory, but I like my name better. I think we can all agree, it's much cooler."

Alright, she needs to be taken down a peg. Now. Arrogance isn't an attractive quality if you can't back it up.

You snap and point at her to get her attention. "Quick. How do you say 'gauntlet' in Mando'a? I'm kicking you out if you can't answer in three seconds."

She pauses and stares blankly at you. "Uh..."

You snap at her some more. "Come on, hotshot. Pretend your entire future depends on this answer. Mando'a. Gauntlet. Now!"

She stammers. "I-I don't know! You're putting me on the spot here!"

"It's 'kom'rk'. Dial that cockiness back, Rainbow. Otherwise, you'll be put on the spot at the wrong moment, and then you're screwed." You snap. "Yes, you have a nice ship. Don't brag and try to rub our noses in it. All you're doing is showing off your own insecurities. That's a weakness that your enemies can, and will exploit."

She frowns and exhales before nodding. "Sorry, Anon."

"Don't be sorry. Be better."

She nods again.

You lower the harshness in your voice a bit. "Is something wrong with your ship? Do you need help?"

She clears her throat and looks up at the ship. "No... I was just trying to buff something out and increase its performance. It's easy. I don't need help with it."

"Are you sure?" You press.

She nods again. "Y-Yeah, really. It's an easy job. I really don't need help with it... But thank you...for asking."

Satisfied, you completely drop the harsh tone and speak with sincerity. "Alright. You're welcome."

Rainbow smiles and Sunset clears her throat. "Where's Rarity?"

Pinkie perks up. "Oh! She's with Coco somewhere inside the cruiser! She wanted me to contact her when you guys got here! One sec!" She turns around and puts her finger to her ear.

Coco has been with Rarity this whole time?

"I hope Coco hasn't been bothering her." You say.

Rainbow looks back at you. "It didn't seem like she was bothered. Rarity actually seemed pretty happy to have someone to talk to about all that fashion stuff."

That makes sense. You'll take her word for it.

Pinkie turns around to face the rest of you again. "She's on her way down with Coco now!"

"Sounds good."

The four of you stand around talking for a few minutes before Sunset notices Rarity and Coco coming out of the doorway in the hangar. She looks like she's doing much better. She has a little bit of a limp in her leg and she still has a few bruises, but she's moving, which is good.

She raises her arm in the air and waves at you all when she's in earshot of you. "Yoo hoooo~!"

The rest of you turn to face her and wave back.

As soon as she gets closer, she speeds up her pace and holds her arms out with a big smile on her face. "Anonymous! Sunset! Welcome back!"

You chuckle as she hugs you tightly. "Hi, Rarity."

Sunset hugs her as well. "You're looking pretty good."

Rarity giggles and looks at you both. "Oh, I'm doing much better, darling, thank you. I've had Miss Pommel here keeping me in high spirits after what happened on Cato Neimoidia."

Coco blushes a little and smiles.

You nod at her. "I'm glad to hear it."

Sunset speaks up. "How is everything on Cato Neimoidia? Your building?"

Rarity's smile fades a little. "Well... The good news is that my building won't need to be demolished and rebuilt. It will need extensive repairs however. That brute Gilda did quite a bit of damage."

"...And the bad news?" You ask.

Rarity sighs. "Unfortunately, the cost of repairs will put a sizable dent in my savings, and the time it will take to complete them will be so long that I won't be able to work this season. My business will have to survive on breadcrumbs for about a year or so. I don't know how I'll be able to make ends meet until then."

Coco pauses for a moment before speaking. "Well, if you need an extra pair of hands, I would love to help. There really isn't much need for a seamstress around here, and I could use the work."

Rarity looks at Coco and smiles. "I've been thinking about asking if you'd like a job, darling. I only hesitate because I wouldn't be able to pay very well right now."

Coco gets a hopeful look on her face. "That's okay! I can make more money doing other stuff on the side! You helped Anon and Sunset find bounties, so maybe I can do that too!"

Rarity giggles and puts a hand on her shoulder. "We'll go over the details later, darling. I love the idea, I really do, but that's so far in the future that it would be rather silly to worry about it now. When the opportune moment presents itself however, I would love to have your services."

Coco beams and nods. "Thank you, Miss Rarity."

Rarity smiles back at her before turning her attention to you. "Besides, we have so many other things to worry about now. First thing's first. We are on the precipice of a war with the Sith, if I'm not mistaken."

You nod at her. "That's correct. Coco, where is Mandalore now?"

"He's in the armory, I think." Coco replies.

"Okay." You nod. "Call up a pallet droid and bring it to my ship. We have some heavy stuff we need to bring to him."

Coco presses a few buttons on her gauntlet and looks behind her. On the far wall, a heavy-lifting cargo droid beeps and comes to life, looking at Coco. She points to your ship and the droid hovers over to the exit ramp.

"Let's go." You say. "Coco, come help us, please."

She nods and follows you and Sunset over to your ship.

Pinkie speaks up behind you. "Do you guys need some extra help?"

You look back at her and pause. You're still unsure about telling Pinkie about the cortosis. She's a blabbermouth like Discord is. If you were to tell her, you'd tell her that it would only be used against the Sith and their lightsabers, but Jedi use lightsabers too. It might make her start to ask questions and wonder.

Best not risk letting the Republic know about the ace up your sleeve, just in case you do end up having another war with them in the very near future.

"No, we've got it." You reply. "Stay here with Rainbow and keep helping her out."

Pinkie smiles. "Okie dokie lokie!"

She heads back to Rainbow's ship with her while you proceed to yours.

After a few minutes, you, Coco, and Sunset move all the containers of cortosis onto the pallet droid while Rarity supervises. It was much easier this time around with a third person to help. Those crates are ridiculously heavy.

As the three of you set the final crate down on the pallet droid, you exhale in relief. "Finally."

Sunset exhales also and cracks her fingers, while Coco shakes them in an attempt to get the blood flowing through them again.

Rarity comes over and looks at the cortosis in one of the open containers. "What did you say this was again?"

"Cortosis." You reply.

She picks up a small chunk of the brittle substance and looks at it closer. "What exactly is it used for?"

"They're used in vibroblades. Cortosis has the unique quality of being extremely energy resistant, that's why they can clash with lightsabers and not break. However, when pure cortosis comes into contact with a lightsaber, it will actually disable it for a few hours."

Rarity hums and looks at the cortosis in her hand once more before putting it back. "Sounds like it could come in handy against the Sith and their lightsabers."

"That's exactly what I was thinking."

The Sith, and the Jedi. They both use lightsabers.

The Second Mandalorian Wars could very well be a possibility in the near future. The Republic and the Jedi are merely deterrents against the Sith and their Empire. That's really all they are here for. Once the Sith is out of the way though, you can't really see an overall need for the Republic after that.

That thought of galactic conquest still resonates inside your head.

"Let's get this to the forge." Sunset cuts off your train of thought.

Coco nods and presses a button on her gauntlet and the droid begins moving toward the doorway in the hangar bay. "The armory is on the way there, so you can talk to Mandalore."

"Thanks, Coco." You activate your comms and contact Rainbow from across the hangar. "Rainbow, as soon as you're done there, you and Pinkie come to the armory to meet us."

You see her on top of her ship across the hangar. She stands up and looks over at you. "We're almost done here, but I don't know where the armory is, Anon. This cruiser is still new to me."

"Coco will wait here for you." You reply. "Follow her when you get done."

Rainbow gives you a thumbs up. "You got it."

You deactivate your comms and Rainbow resumes work on her ship. You turn to Coco. "You and Rarity wait here for Rainbow and Pinkie. Then come meet us."

Coco nods. "Okay, Anon."

Rarity smiles. "See you soon, darling."

You and Sunset proceed into the cruiser after the droid with the cortosis.

Once you're out of earshot, Sunset turns to you. "Are you okay? You seem distracted."

You don't reply for a moment.

"I'm fine. Just thinking." You reply. "I had a little epiphany a few minutes ago, and it hasn't left my mind since."

You proceed through the hangar doorway and into the hallway leading into the cruiser.

"Of what?" She asks.

You lower your voice a little. "Well... Once we destroy the Sith, we could easily take out the Republic too. They'd be right there, open, and weak. We would have the golden opportunity to take them out and own the galaxy. Mandalorian prosperity, Sunset."

Sunset just stares at you as you both walk. You aren't sure what she's thinking with her helmet on.

"You're not... You're not serious, are you?" She asks.

Huh. You thought she'd be more excited.

"Think about it, Sunset. We could be on the forefront of a new age for the galaxy. We could take our rightful place as rulers over everyone else. The Republic is weak and desperate right now. So much so that they're actually considering our help. This could be our way to conquering the galaxy and taking what's ours."

She sighs and shakes her head. "Anon, we can't do that. That's not a good idea."

Seriously?

"Why not? I don't see a downside." You say.

"The Mandalorian Wars are over, Anon." She says. "They have been for a long, long time. I know you're passionate about history, but things are different now."

"I know. Things are different. This time, Revan isn't here to save the Republic. We would've won if he hadn't showed up. Plain and simple." You reply. "As much as I admire and respect Revan's battle prowess, he ultimately did steal that victory from us. This could be our chance to take it back."

Sunset grabs your shoulder and forces you to stop walking. She stares at you. "How much have you thought this through, Anon? Really."

You shrug. "Not too much, as far as details and where we'd strike first, honestly. I can't predict the future to exactness, but I think I have a decent idea of where to start."

"Have you thought about the death toll?" She asks. "How many people would die? How many planets would be glassed in the process of making our way to the Core Worlds?"

You pause. "It would be a pretty high number, to be sure."

"An extremely high number." Sunset points to the direction of space outside the cruiser. "There are billions of people in the galaxy who are part of the Republic. Good, honest, innocent people who don't deserve to die. If we had another Mandalorian War, they'd be caught in the middle of it."

You just look at Sunset as she speaks, saying nothing.

"You remember what we did to the Cathar during the war, right?" She asks.

The Mandalorians slaughtered the feline race. Nearly drove them to extinction and practically destroyed their homeworld. As a species, they've held resentment and hatred toward you ever since. Even after all this time.

"I remember." You reply.

"That was a long time ago, and it was one of the most gruesome examples of what we're capable of." She says. "If we start another galactic war after this one, we could lose them and dozens of other races. History would remember us as murderers."

In many ways, the galaxy already sees you as murderers to some degree.

"The Cathar are fierce warriors." You reply. "If we could get them to join us, they would be stronger for it. We could use that strength."

"...And if they don't join us?" She demands.

Then they die an honorable death. You'd make sure they're granted that for fighting as hard as they could. You wouldn't just burn their planet with your superior firepower outright, you'd give them a fighting chance before they inevitably lose.

You exhale, but otherwise don't reply.

Sunset nods, satisfied that she got through to you. "Cathar is just one planet. There are thousands of others out there who could suffer the same fate if we go down this path, Anon."

You grit your teeth a little. "What if you're wrong, Sunset? What if they do join us and we don't drive them to extinction? What if they, and the rest of the galaxy remembers the carnage we brought before, and decide it's not worth fighting again? They join us, and we conquer the Republic and take control of the galaxy with their help."

She clenches her fist. "The thing about war, Anon, is that people die in it!"

"Obviously! That's why it's called 'war'!" You shout.

She looks away for a moment, seemingly flabbergasted, before turning back to you. "Do you want to kill as many people as you can?! Is this just you trying to quench some bloodlust you have?!"

You sigh. "Of course not! I want to take what is rightfully ours! I'm simply acknowledging the fact that if we do, we will have to fight our way there and people will have to die to make that happen! That's why I would give every system a chance to join us first! We can reduce the potential bloodshed exponentially that way!"

"Very few systems would side with us, and even fewer would do it willingly!" She yells. "The galaxy hates us! We're trying to save it by working with the Republic and destroy the Sith! We are not conquerors now. This is our chance to be saviors."

You shake your head. "You're wrong. This is our chance to be rulers. We are the strongest people in the whole galaxy, and it's about damn time that we prove it! This isn't about me, it's about us. All of us!"

She doesn't reply, but her fists are still clenched. She's mad as hell.

You continue. "What's stopping me from telling Mandalore about this little idea I have? Huh? What if he likes it? What if we do decide to turn our guns on the Republic as soon as we wipe out the Sith? Are you going to turn your back on him? On all of us? Like Gilda did?"

Immediately, Sunset reels her fist back and punches you in the stomach, right on your recovering ribs, as hard as she can. You yell and your legs buckle as you fall to the ground, grabbing your side in pain. Sunset stands over you with her fist up, ready to deal another blow. You instinctively grab at your blaster, but you keep it in its holster.

She points at you angrilly. "Don't you DARE compare me to her, Anonymous! Don't you dare!"

You grit your teeth and stare at her. The fury in her eyes is hidden behind her visor, but you can still feel it. That was a line you should not have crossed.

She reaches down to you and grabs your collar, jerking you to your feet and staring into your visor. "I am loyal to Mandalore until the day I die! If you do tell him about this idea of yours, and he does choose to go to war with the Republic in some twisted conquest for power and control, I will fight beside him with all my resolve! But I will NOT be fighting beside you, Anon... You and I will be over."

You're taken back a little by her statement, and immediately feel the pangs of fear and regret as she threatens to leave you.

She continues. "Any place you have in the galaxy after the Republic is destroyed, you will have it alone... I refuse to spend my life with a bloodthirsty warmonger bent on revenge over old wounds." She presses a button on her gauntlet and the pallet droid begins moving again. "I suggest you think about that..."

She follows behind the pallet droid, glaring at you for a few steps before looking away.

You breathe softly as she stomps towards the armory. You feel yourself wanting to frantically chase after her and beg her not to leave, but your growing guilt keeps you from moving. Like cement blocks on your feet.

After a few long, painful seconds, you sigh and trudge along behind her towards the armory.

So much for that idea...

New Toys

View Online

Neither of you say anything else to each other for the rest of the walk to the armory. You could probably cut the tension between you and Sunset with a knife. It was incredibly uncomfortable.

Your ribs hurt. A lot. Sunset didn't hold back when she punched you. She has very seldom been this angry before. You really messed up this time.

A few minutes of walking and tense silence later, you both finally reach the armory. Racks of blasters, grenades, vibroblades, and other weapons line the shelves on either side of you, leading to the cruiser's forge and smelter on the far side. On the outer walls are more heavy weapons, like missiles , miniguns, and jetpacks.

As you pick up the pace to walk beside her, Sunset picks up the pace as well, actively keeping you a couple steps behind her. Now you feel really bad.

Maybe she's right... While Mandalorian control of the entire galaxy does sound nice, things are not the same now as they were during the war. You can't deny that you have made a few worthwhile connections with the Republic lately too. Granted, you're in hot water with them right now, but that doesn't change the fact that there are a few individual people worth respecting.

Besides, history has shown that if the Sith aren't an immediate threat, then there is always another faction of crazed psychopaths the Republic will need to deal with.

...

Kind of like how the Mandalorians would be in the hypothetical future you just suggested...

You sigh and rub your neck as you walk. What were you thinking, Anon? That is not the right way to do things. Sunset is right. You're not conquerors anymore. If you were, then you'd be no better than the Sith are.

"...I'm sorry." You say softly.

Sunset doesn't reply. She doesn't even acknowledge that you said anything, even though you're sure she heard you.

You don't blame her. Comparing her to Gilda was a very spur-of-the-moment comment that was very uncalled for. If you could turn back time, you'd prevent yourself from saying that to her. She didn't deserve that.

You don't say anything else to her. Best to let her be mad.

As you both finally reach the smelter, you see Mandalore talking to the armorer, Bulk Biceps. He's an extremely large man. Even larger than Big Mac. He's wearing white armor, along with a thick leather apron containing all kinds of tools used in forging.

They look at you as you approach. Mandalore places his hands on his hips. "There you two are. I was starting to think you got lost."

You and Sunset stop walking and the pallet droid halts as well.

"Sorry, Mandalore. We were held up by something stupid." She says matter-of-factly.

You glance at Sunset as she speaks, but she continues to look at Mandalore.

He and Bulk Biceps both approach you. Bulk picks up a chunk of cortosis in his hand and looks at it closely.

"This stuff will be pretty hard to work with..." He presses a button on the droid's chassis and leads it to the furnace. "...But not impossible."

He looks back at you and beckons you over to him.

You step toward the armorer and he points at your arm. "What happened?"

You look at your robotic arm as you remember how it felt when Sunset cut it off. The pain you felt then was nothing like the guilt you feel now.

"Rakghouls." You reply. "I was bitten by Rakghouls, but I was saved by Sunset before the infection took hold."

You look back at Sunset, but she just crosses her arms, saying nothing. Mandalore looks back and forth between you two.

After a moment, you look back at Bulk and clear your throat. "I was given a replacement arm by the Republic as a gift for saving one of theirs from the Rakghouls. This arm is a replacement for that one."

Bulk Biceps cocks his head slightly as he looks at your arm.

"Let me see it." He holds your wrist and raises your arm in the air in front of you. "Keep it there."

You nod and hold your arm still in front of you while he goes to the furnace and pulls out a small device. It looks like a scanner of some kind, and it's connected to the furnace by a cord. He activates the scanner and runs it all over your arm. Even getting between your fingers. When he's done, he turns off the scanner and a holographic image of your arm appears beside the furnace.

"Whoever designed this prosthetic knew what they were doing. This is really impressive." Bulk comments.

You nod. "She's a very clever twi'lek."

Twilight Sparkle.

He walks back to the cortosis and picks up one of the containers. It took three of you to comfortably lift one of those back at the hanger, but he's lifting one all by himself like it's nothing.

He grunts as he sets the container down next to the furnace and begins setting a few chunks of cortosis inside. "I'll see if I can't make it better. If I can infuse this cortosis with beskar, your arm will be able to withstand any conventional energy damage. Nothing like a direct hit from a capital ship's artillery cannon, of course, but a lightsaber or two? No problem."

...Why you? You don't deserve it.

"I'm thankful, but what about Sunset?" You ask.

Bulk looks at her for a moment before looking back at you. "She saved you, so she gets something special."

He beckons Sunset over and she approaches him, walking past you without even glancing in your direction before sitting down on a chair in front of Bulk.

He looks at her for a moment, inspecting her armor. "I'm thinking a shield for you. It'll also be made of cortosis-infused beskar, and it will be able to retract from your gauntlet so you can defend yourself and your loved ones from blasterfire."

He presses a button and the holographic image of your arm is replaced with a metallic hexagon. It looks almost like an umbrella. It's not a very large shield, but it is large enough to cover one's chest and head. It will come in handy.

Bulk turns back to the furnace to begin work on the shield. "Like Anon's arm, it won't defend against everything though. So be sure to use it only when you need to."

Sunset nods. "Thank you."

Bulk Biceps begins melting the cortosis in the furnace while Sunset sits and watches.

You look at her and sigh. She deserves this prize more than you. You are still so racked with guilt over what you said to her. You'd give your other arm to take it back.

The sound of footsteps catches your attention. Behind you, Rainbow, Rarity, Pinkie, and Coco have entered the forge and joined you.

Pinkie waves at you with a big smile on her face and you walk toward them. "Hi, Anon!"

"Hey guys." You reply.

Rainbow looks at Bulk. "What's going on?"

You look back at the armorer. "We're getting some new stuff. Sunset's getting a shield."

"Ooooh! Cool!" Pinkie says.

Rarity takes a step forward, looking at Bulk. "My word. He is enormous."

You nod. "Yeah. I don't think he's human. I've never seen his face before."

Rarity hums and looks at Sunset. "Is she alright, darling?"

You sigh as you look at her as well. She hasn't moved or turned around at all to look at you or your friends.

"She's... mad at me." You say. "On our way here, I said something and pissed her off."

"Oh dear." Rarity comments.

Mandalore crosses his arms. "I thought I sensed some tension in the room between you two."

Bulk Biceps takes a few sheets of the newly formed cortosis shield and starts hammering them on an anvil. The rhythmic clanging echoes off the metal walls all around you.

Pinkie turns to you. "What did you say to make her so mad, Anon?"

You sigh. "Just... We had an argument. I said something and crossed a line."

Rarity puts a hand on Pinkie's arm. "Don't pry, darling. That's rude."

While Sunset keeps her back to you and watches Bulk work on her shield, you keep watching her.

Mandalore grunts a little. "Well, work it out, Anonymous. You and Sunset are crucial to what's about to happen, and I won't have either of you distracted by petty nonsense like this."

You look at him and nod. "Yes, Mandalore."

He nods and looks at Sunset, speaking louder. "Did you hear that, Sunset?"

Sunset turns her head to look at Mandalore for a moment, nodding as well. "Yes, Mandalore I did."

"Good." Mandalore replies. "Both of you collect your new things from the armorer and rest up. We meet with the Republic over Concord Dawn tomorrow."

You nod. "As you say, Mandalore."

With that, he uncrosses his arms and proceeds to the exit, leaving you and your friends behind. You turn back to look at Sunset as Bulk works. Already, you're thinking of ways to apologize.

After a few more minutes, Bulk finishes assembling Sunset's new shield. She stands up and proceeds to the armorer, where he disassembles part of her left gauntlet and installs the new hardware.

A few sparks of flashing lights later, he steps back and Sunset turns around to face you all. A series of large metal sheets are hooked to her arm in the shape of a wide hexagon. She presses a button on her gauntlet and the sheets retract back into her gauntlet within the blink of an eye.

The rest of you react in awe.

"Ooooh! Very cool, Sunset!" Pinkie says.

Rainbow smiles. "It's awesome!"

Sunset admires her gauntlet for another moment before turning back to Bulk Biceps.

"Be careful with that." Bulk says. "It is beskar infused with cortosis, like I said. It's great against blasters, lightsabers, and can also withstand more physical attacks, but like anything else, it will wear out if you don't use it wisely."

Sunset nods. "I'll be careful. Thank you."

Bulk Biceps returns the nod before looking at you. "Anon."

You step toward him, passing Sunset as she walks back to your friends. She glances at you briefly, but doesn't say anything.

When you reach him, Bulk looks back at the holographic image of your arm on the furnace. "This will take a bit of time to get all the pieces together. Normally, you'd wait here until I was done, but Mandalore has said that you and Sunset have some issues to work out."

You pause for a moment. "Yes."

"Then you would be smart to listen to him." He says. "We need to be at our strongest for what lies ahead... This is the way."

"This is the way." You repeat.

Behind you, Sunset also repeats the phrase. Along with Coco and Rainbow. "This is the way."

Bulk starts grabbing more chunks of cortosis from the crates and moving them to the furnace. "Come back here in about an hour or so. I'll have your arm ready by then."

"Thank you, armorer." You reply.

Bulk nods again and starts melting the cortosis while you stand up and head back to Sunset. She isn't saying anything, but she's showing off her new shield to Rainbow and Coco, while Pinkie and Rarity admire from further away.

"This is really impressive, Sunset." Coco smiles.

"Thanks." She replies.

When you approach, she finally looks at you and retracts her shield.

"It will definitely be useful." You say.

"Yep." She replies blankly.

There's a bit of an awkward silence as you just stare at each other. Neither of you can see the others' face, but her body language alone is enough to tell you that she's still angry. Not that you're surprised.

Finally, you sigh. "Sunset, about before, I'm-"

She holds up her hand and cuts you off. "Look. I know you're sorry, and I'll forgive you in time, sure, but right now, I just need to be mad. I am in no mood, whatsoever, to talk to you."

You hesitate for a moment but nod at her silently.

She looks to everyone else. "I'll see you guys later."

As she walks off, Rarity rushes behind her. "Darling, wait."

She doesn't stop walking, but she does slow down to wait for Rarity to catch up to her, and the two of them walk off together. Probably to chitchat and gossip about what a stupid boy you are. Hopefully, she can get through to her. It kills you to see Sunset mad, but it hurts exponentially worse to know that it's entirely because of you.

As they leave the room, you're left with Pinkie, Rainbow, and Coco, looking after her as she walks away with Rarity.

"Sunset..."

Negotiations

View Online

You take a look at your shiny new arm and grin a little. Bulk Biceps did a phenomenal job. It was covered from shoulder to fingertip with a layer of the cortosis-infused beskar, which gave it a sleek, charcoal colored look. You couldn't even see the wiring and mechanics inside anymore.

Once you finally acquired it from the armorer, you repainted it so it matched the color scheme of the rest of your armor. If you didn't know better, you wouldn't be able to tell that it was a prosthesis.

You lower your arm and walk down the hallway of the cruiser toward the hangar. The Republic fleet had arrived over Concord Dawn. Mandalore was leading you and Sunset, along with Rainbow, Coco, Rarity, Pinkie, and a few other Mandalorians to the ships to meet with them now.

According to Mandalore, you would all be met by the Republic on their cruiser by a number of troopers and a handful of Jedi Knights. An unsurprising security precaution, seeing as how you were not exactly on the best terms with them right now.

You and Sunset didn't really talk much last night. Apparently, Rarity tried to understand what was going on between you and smooth it over as best she could. If it worked, it only worked a little bit.

You apologized profusely and she said she accepted it, but it was still tense and awkward between the two of you. You're not sure she believed you when you apologized. Not that you blame her.

It probably will be a bit awkward for a while. Maybe you both just need a bit of time away from each other. To let things cool down. You aren't sure when you'll get the chance though. You are about to walk into a war, after all.

You look at Sunset as she walks beside you. Her new shield fits great. She had painted a design of a shimmering red and yellow sun on the front that was beautiful. You can't wait to see it in action.

As your group reaches the hangar, you look outside at the Republic fleet massing over the purple world of Concord Dawn. This world has seen numerous wars and conflicts over the millennia. It was scarred and deformed in many places. According to what you heard, the small asteroid belt that orbited the planet actually came from the surface of the planet itself. Debris and rocks were hurled into orbit thanks to at least one of the wars this planet has survived.

Mandalore stops and turns around to face you all. "Anonymous. You and Sunset take your group of friends and follow us in your ship. I will take more Mandalorians in a different one."

You and Sunset both nod.

He looks to other Mandalorians in your group. Bon Bon, Lyra, Thunderlane, Coco, and Tempest are among them. "Mandalorians. We are here to negotiate a peaceful truce between us and the Republic. The fate of our people, as well as the rest of the galaxy depends on this. I command you all to keep your weapons in their holsters, and to hold your tongues if they try to provoke you. However, if they attack anyone here first, do not hesitate. Show no mercy. Until that happens, do not speak to anyone aboard." He turns around to look at Concord Dawn for a moment before looking back to the group. "To your respective ships. We depart now."

Everyone nods and you turn to Rarity and Pinkie. They both look a bit intimidated, being surrounded by all these Mandalorians.

"Let's go, guys. Hurry." You say.

The five of you quickly head to your ship and step aboard. Sunset immediately heads to the cockpit with Rainbow, while Pinkie and Rarity sit in a couple of seats in the main hold. You head into the armory and get your weapons and gear situated.

You are going into the belly of the beast right now, and you still technically aren't free of this bounty on your head. Best to be prepared. Discord is locked on Mandalore's gunship right now, so hopefully that will take care of that, but to be safe, you are prepared to shoot your way out.

However, there will also be Jedi aboard this cruiser.

You grab the lightsaber you took from Discord's room and activate it. The orange blade pierces the air and hums as you shake it around a little. Glad the cortosis exposure didn't ruin it completely.

You deactivate it and hook it on your belt before arming yourself even further. The ship rumbles beneath your boots as Sunset and Rainbow take off.

Once you finish arming yourself, you grab a spare blaster and head into the main hold. Rarity and Pinkie look at you and give you a little smile.

"You guys ready?" You ask.

"Yep! Good to go!" Pinkie says.

"Good. Rarity, have you got all the info ready to give to the Republic?"

"I do indeed, darling. I've got it all right here." She holds up her datapad.

Fantastic.

"Rarity, I can't thank you enough for everything you've done for us on this little adventure." You say. "I'm sorry you lost so much in the end. I never wanted that for you."

She smiles softly at you. "It's alright, Anonymous. I don't blame you at all. It was a risk I took and will pay for in time."

Pinkie wraps an arm around her and smiles. "Besides, she might have help from that Coco girl! She seems like a real sweetheart, compared to other Mandalorians!"

You chuckle a little. "Coco is a good girl. She can be pretty feisty when she needs to be though." You hand Rarity the blaster and she takes it cautiously. "Hold onto that. You probably won't have to use it, but keep it on you, just in case."

She inspects the blaster for a moment and nods before putting it on her hip. She smiles again and you leave them to join Sunset and Rainbow in the cockpit.

Directly outside the viewport, you follow Mandalore's gunship through space as it heads toward the Republic fleet. Hammerhead cruisers, frigates, and three large Venator-Class Star Destroyers hover in formation over the planet. A small escort of Mandalorian ships were following you as you flew your way toward the fleet, their weapons hot and ready for anything.

You can't help but feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand up a bit as you slowly approach the large Republic fleet.

Sunset speaks up. "Just keep following Mandalore's gunship, Rainbow. Where he goes, you go."

Rainbow nods. "Got it."

You stand behind them both and watch as your ship maneuvers through the fleet and toward one of the Star Destroyers. It's impossible to shake the feeling of eyes all over you, watching your every move. In reality, that's probably what's happening right now. All these ships and cruisers, they're probably just as on edge as you are right now.

Mandalore's gunship flies over the nose of the Star Destroyer and around to the starboard side, approaching the hangar bay on the belly. Your ship follows right behind him as he ascends into the hangar bay. Inside, a few handfuls of soldiers are there waiting for you. You can spot Applejack's signature hat from here.

She's standing next to Shining Armor, and someone else you don't recognize, although you can tell it's a Jedi.

Mandalore's ship starts to descend onto the hangar floor while yours follows suit.

As soon as you touch down, Rainbow deactivates the ship and stands up with Sunset. "Okay... We're here."

Sunset looks at you and takes a deep breath. "You ready for this, Anon?"

You nod. "I think so. Come on."

You lead the girls out of the cockpit and into the main hold, where you usher Rarity and Pinkie to follow you.

"Like Mandalore said, don't rise to their bait if they try. We're here to make friends." You remind them.

Pinkie and Rarity both nod and you all step outside onto the hangar floor. There to greet you is Grand Master Luna, along with Master Maud and a handful of other troopers, all of whom are armed.

Pinkie smiles softly when she sees the Jedi Master. "Master Luna!"

Luna smiles in return as Pinkie picks up the pace to greet the Jedi. "Pinkamena Diane Pie. How wonderful it is to see you again."

Pinkie stops in front of the pair of Jedi and gives a respectful bow in front of her, which she returns. This is very good. Pinkie is showing that you can be nice and mean no harm by warming up to her old Jedi Masters.

When Luna rises, she shifts her gaze toward the rest of you. Her smile fades slightly. "So you are the Mandalorians I've heard so much about recently."

You stop in front of her, nodding. "That we are."

She stares at you for a moment. She's probably using the Force to stare into your mind or something. Don't let her in. Block her. Think of something else.

Think of Sunset. The red and yellow hairs on her head. Count them in a random order. One. Six. Eleven. Thirteen.

Luna blinks for a moment before taking a breath. "Jedi Master Pie has told me quite a bit about your endeavors lately, Anonymous. Perhaps we should continue to the Chancellor now, so we can clear this mess up?"

...Nineteen. Twenty two...

"I couldn't agree more, Master Jedi." You reply.

"Please. Follow me." Luna turns around, her dark blue Jedi robes flowing behind her as she walks into the Star Destroyer.

Pinkie takes the opportunity to give her sister a hug, which Maud hesitates to return for a moment. She's probably trying her best to look professional. It's proving to be impossible with Pinkie there.

You and Sunset lead Rainbow and Rarity after the pair of Jedi and Pinkie. Across the hangar, Mandalore proceeds into the Destroyer alongside Shining Armor. The young captain is doing his best to show authority and control, you'll give him that, but you can tell he's quite intimidated by Mandalore's presence.

As you proceed toward the hangar bay doors, you finally notice Applejack, Twilight, and Fluttershy standing there waiting for you. Twilight and Fluttershy are smiling, while Applejack looks at you with caution.

Pinkie waves her hand excitedly. "Twilight! Applejack! Fluttershy!" She runs toward them happily and wraps Twilight and Fluttershy in a hug. "It's great to see you guys again!"

Twilight giggles and hugs her back. "It's great to see you again too, Pinkie."

Pinkie just might be your secret weapon to making these meetings a success.

The twi'lek and mirialan smile as Pinkie releases them. "I'm so happy! Almost all of my friends are here now!"

Luna stops walking as Pinkie talks with Twilight and Fluttershy.

Twilight looks over at you and cocks her head. "Who are you?"

You turn around to look at Rarity. She smiles and approaches Twilight. "My name is Rarity, darling. I'm a business associate and good friend of Anonymous and Sunset."

Rarity approaches Twilight and shakes her hand. "Nice to meet you! I'm Twilight Sparkle. This is Fluttershy and Applejack."

Fluttershy waves softly and smiles. "Um, hi."

Applejack finally smiles and shakes Rarity's hand as well. "Nice to meetcha."

Rarity nods, smiling. "A pleasure." She looks back at Twilight. "I've heard quite a bit about you. So you are the one that was rescued from those dreadful Rakghouls?"

Twilight smiles, but Rainbow interrupts her before she speaks. "You've got that right! Anon and Sunset totally swooped in and saved her and a bunch of other people on that ship! It was so awesome!"

Twilight giggles again. "It was pretty awesome. Despite how scary it was at the time."

"Psssh!" Rainbow waves her hand dismissively. "Scary, shmary! Nothing's too scary for a Mandalorian!"

Applejack butts in. "Ease up there, Dash. I helped too. You're makin' me look bad."

The girls all laugh a little and you just watch the six of them with Sunset, giving a little smile under your helmet.

"They look like a nice little group of friends." Sunset says.

You nod. "They really do."

Rainbow Dash. Pinkie Pie. Rarity. Applejack. Fluttershy. Twilight Sparkle.

They continue talking for a second, before Luna clears her throat, getting their attention. "I hate to break up this friendly get-together, but we do have a meeting to get to and time is of the essence."

Twilight snaps her fingers. "That's right we do! Chancellor Celestia is waiting for us in the ship. Follow us, guys."

You and Sunset proceed after Twilight and the Jedi as they lead you all deeper into the Star Destroyer. The six girls talk for a bit longer as you walk, until you reach a spacious hallway filled with troopers and security personnel.

It puts you on-edge, and you don't like it.

"Rainbow, Pinkie, Rarity, come here real quick." You command.

The three girls turn around and slow their pace to meet you. Pinkie smiles as she reaches you. "What's up, Anon?"

"Stay close to us." You say quietly. "We want to make friends, sure, but don't be too friendly yet."

Rainbow nods. "Right! We need to look tough and mean so they don't walk all over us."

"Exactly." You nod.

As you all proceed forward, Twilight leads you into a meeting room with a large table in the center. Mandalore is already there.

On one side of the room is Chancellor Celestia herself. She looks at you with a hint of scrutiny as you enter. Like she's trying to figure you out. A large video screen is on the wall behind her. Standing with her are a number of high-ranking diplomats and senators. Octavia Melody is among them.

The Senator from Naboo looks like she has recovered quite well from the assassination attempt on Dantooine. She looks at you blankly. Like she doesn't know what to think. The HNN report on Hoity Toity's death showed that she was grateful to you for rescuing her, but she was also disappointed that you were the one responsible for the Senator's death. That will be cleared up in a few minutes though. It is genuinely good to see her alive and well.

All the other senators are looking at you with anger and fear in their eyes. You killed one of their own, after all. No wonder they're a bit cautious around you.

Your group splits up and you and Sunset stand beside Mandalore, with Pinkie, Rarity, Rainbow Dash, Thunderlane, Lyra, Bon Bon, Tempest, and Coco.

On the other side of the table is Celestia, Luna, Maud, Twilight, Fluttershy, Applejack, Big Mac, Shining Armor, Octavia Melody, and a bunch of other Republic diplomats and Jedi you don't recognize.

One of them, a young woman with light purple skin and wavy purple and blue hair, calls the room to order. "Alright, everyone. Can I have your attention please?"

You all stop chitchatting and turn to look at the girl.

"My name is Starlight Glimmer." She says. "I've been asked by the Chancellor to introduce this meeting. Jedi Master Maud Pie will moderate. If everyone could please take your seats, we will begin."

Mandalore sits in his seat and you follow his lead with Sunset, Thunderlane, and Tempest. Everyone else on your side continues to stand behind you. Chancellor Celestia takes her seat on the opposite side of the table, along with Twilight, Luna, Octavia and a couple other senators.

There's a bit of a tense silence in the room as Celestia stares intently at Mandalore, and he stares at her.

Starlight steps aside and makes room for Maud Pie. She looks at both sides of the room before speaking. "Supreme Chancellor Celestia. Mandalore. The purpose of this meeting is to negotiate an alliance between our two governments in order to properly deal with the resurgent Sith threat. I understand that there is a bit of a conflict between our two peoples, especially after recent events, so I will open it to you all. Who would like to begin?"

Neither side says anything for a moment until one Senator on the Republic side speaks up. "I would like to say something."

She's a young wroonian female with blue skin, dark blue and grayish hair.

Maud nods at her. "Senator Minuette."

She clears her throat and looks at your side. "I can appreciate the willingness of the Mandalorians to talk about an alliance to stop the Sith. We are desperate for help now. But I cannot sit idly by while that... terrorist is still walking free." She points directly at you.

That didn't take long...

Minuette continues. "Senator Hoity Toity was not perfect, but he-"

"Boy, you've got that right!" Pinkie interrupts.

Maud looks at her as if to tell her to stop talking and Minuette sighs. "...But he was still a well-respected government official. You had no right to take his life like you did. I cannot support any peace talks while Anonymous is free from punishment."

"Hear, hear." Another Senator adds.

They really don't like you.

Maud raises her hands up at both sides of the table. "Please. Only one voice at a time. Let us be civil." She turns back to you. "You may reply to that statement, Anonymous."

"Gladly." You sit up straight. "Hoity Toity was about as corrupt as you could get. Even for a politician."

"...Ah, the corrupt politician excuse. How original..."

You ignore that little remark from the Republic's side and continue. "Weeks before the incident on Coruscant, Sunset and I accepted a contract from him to bring in a woman named Adagio Dazzle. He paid us 10,000 credits for her capture. The night of his death, we found Adagio locked away in his apartment building. She was practically naked, extremely malnourished, and had been tortured by the Senator in nearly every way."

Celestia speaks up. "Where is this woman now?"

You shrug. "I don't know. We rescued her and helped her recover before my friend sent her on her way. I don't know where she is now."

From behind, Rarity speaks up. "I was the one who helped her recover, Chancellor. My name is Rarity."

Celestia looks at her and hums. "I thought you looked familiar. I heard about your building. Anonymous had nothing to do with that, I take it?"

Rarity smiles. "Anonymous and Sunset rescued me from my building. It was attacked and destroyed by the Sith because of what we've clearly been doing to them lately. Anonymous is a significant thorn in their side at this point, and you all would be wise to look past this little incident. Hoity Toity was an evil, evil man who, quite frankly, got what he deserved."

Octavia speaks up. "Miss Rarity, I can't help but notice that no evidence has been found about these accusations against Senator Hoity Toity. How can we possibly believe any of you on this?"

Rarity smirks again and pulls out her datapad. "It's funny you should mention that, Senator Melody. We have evidence of his corruption. You, of all people, will want to see this."

You take the datapad from Rarity and stand up. Maud Pie comes over to you, probably to make sure you don't do anything rash, as you connect the datapad to the video screen behind Celestia. After a moment, everything on the datapad can be seen on the screen. The Republic side turns around to face it.

"As you can see here, there's shipping invoices for a delivery of Kath Hounds addressed to known con artists Flim and Flam. AKA, The Twins. Hoity Toity's name appears on these documents all over the place as well." You go through the datapad showing off the info on the Kath Hounds to the Republic officials. They all just watch in silence. "He also had a hand in the recent death stick craze that's been infecting the galaxy lately. Which, I understand you've looked into as well. Adagio Dazzle was a dealer that had been hired by him until she started doing her own thing. But in case any of this isn't damning enough..."

You go through the datapad and find the video file that Hoity Toity sent to the looters on Dantooine. A second later, his face appears onscreen.

"...alk to me, what is going on there?! Did you get the shipment?! Is the bomb in place?! Answer me! I want Senator Melody DEAD! DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?! DEAD!"

As you play the message, you look over at Octavia who gasps softly and covers her mouth with her hand.

You grin under your helmet. You got her.

Once the message ends, Octavia breathes softly, looking a bit shocked before slowly turning to face you.

"My job on Dantooine, the one you hired me for, Senator, was to provide additional security for you during your peace talks, and to keep you from harm." You tell her. "This video message from your beloved Hoity Toity is why I succeeded, and why you are still alive right now. Taking him out was just me doing an amazing job at keeping you from any further harm."

She breathes softly, saying nothing before closing her mouth and looking at the Chancellor. Celestia seems just as distraught as her right now. All the senators and diplomats do.

Grand Master Luna clears her throat. "This is... an interesting development, to be sure."

Maud is expressionless, as always. But she does turn to you. "Anonymous, if you had this evidence in your possession all this time, why did you not present it to the Republic? Why did you take matters into your own hands?"

"Because, Master Jedi, your Republic's courts and places of law are where Hoity Toity lived and worked. It would have taken time. He would have stalled and covered his tracks long enough to probably kill Senator Melody anyway. I did what needed to be done." You turn to the rest of the senators, disconnecting the datapad. "I'm no murderer. Other people died in that explosion, and I can regret their loss, but collateral damage is sometimes inevitable. I stand by my actions."

After no one says anything else, you proceed back to your seat.

Before you get too far, you turn around once again. "Also, Captain, as promised, Discord is aboard Mandalore's gunship right now, and he's alive and well. He's yours to do what you want. No need for the 500,000 credits he's worth. You've given me an opportunity to speak. That's all I wanted."

Shining Armor looks at you like he's thinking, but says nothing.

When you reach Sunset, she unfolds her arms and casually raises her fist to point in your direction. You bump it with your own and take your seat next to her.

"Nice work." She says quietly.

"Thanks." You grin as you hand the datapad back to Rarity and look back at the Republic side of the table.

There's another pause as they try to figure out what to say next.

Mandalore takes advantage of this by clearing his throat. "So. About our situation with the Sith..."

Celestia looks around at her senators and allies for a moment before looking back at you. "Did... Did you learn anything else about Hoity Toity? Anything at all?"

"Actually, yes." You reply. "Right before I threw him out the window, he informed me that Adagio and a hefty supply of death sticks were provided to him by a Sith clawdite named Chrysalis. Apparently, the Sith are behind the death stick craze. They want to spread them out all over the galaxy for some reason."

Sunset speaks up. "We actually have data on these death sticks as well. They're much more potent and deadly than regular ones. They deteriorate the brain much faster."

Twilight nods. "We had discovered that too. I actually took the liberty to analyze the death sticks' chemical makeup and work on determining an origin for every ingredient. I haven't had much luck yet, but my search is narrowing as we speak."

Mandalore looks at Twilight. "How are you tracking down the origin for each ingredient?"

"I have an AI in my quarters who helps me." She says. "He's great! He's got all kinds of resources at his disposal. In fact..."

She presses a button on her bracelet and a hologram of a small, cartoonish, purple and green reptile appears on the table in front of you.

He looks at Twilight and smiles. "Hey Twilight! How can I help?"

Twilight smiles back at him. "Spike, can you bring up all the data for the death sticks on the screen behind me, please?"

"Sure!" He fades away from the table and his head reappears on the video screen. With each direction he looks, more images of data appear.

Twilight stands up and moves over to the screen. "Now, it's no secret that death sticks' main ingredients come from the ixetal plant, which is quite common. These newer ones however, contain all kinds of other chemicals and toxins that affect the brain of the user much faster. Nearly every species in the galaxy is affected in the same way, despite some of our more obvious anatomical differences."

Twilight changes the screen to show a short video of a human in the slums on the city streets on some planet. Maybe the lower levels of Coruscant. He's waving his arms around and screaming at nothing. He's hallucinating.

"This man had been using the death sticks for about a week and a half." Twilight explains. "He's absolutely terrified of something only he can see."

She changes the video to show twi'leks, gran, mirilans, rodians, and a few other species of aliens all reacting the same way. They are all freaking out. Terrified. You pay attention to Twilight's presentation as best as you can. It's all information you're not surprised to hear about. Most of this stuff you've already discovered with Sunset.

She continues. "The fact that this compound is able to adapt to whomever is using the drug so quickly says to me that this is not just an ordinary chemical. I won't go over absolutely everything Spike and I have found in detail. We'd be here all day if I did. I strongly believe however, that this compound is somehow... alive."

Alive?

Celestia speaks up. "Like a virus?"

Twilight nods. "I believe so, Chancellor. A fear virus. Manufactured into death sticks, so they're both addictive and deadly."

A fear virus...

Fear...

"Adagio Dazzle did mention something about the Sith being obsessed with fear." Everyone looks at you. "She's Force-sensitive. One of many that were enslaved by the Sith, according to her. She's free now, but while she was subject to them, she mentioned that the Sith would go on and on about fear, and how they would spread it all over the galaxy. She said they were planning something big."

Mandalore thinks aloud. "They're using Force-sensitives to spread this virus all over the galaxy..."

You all look at Mandalore as he nods slowly, the epiphany hitting him hard.

"That's their game." He says. "They're training Force-sensitives just well enough with the Dark Side to spread it around, so they can take conquer the galaxy with ease."

Your eyes widen as you realize the gravity of the situation.

Master Luna speaks as well. "If they're using Force-sensitives to spread this virus, then it's likely that they're using them to make it as well."

It all makes sense. Cripple the galaxy with fear, then take control of it with little to no resistance.

On the screen, Spike looks worried. "Uh, Twilight?"

The purple twi'lek looks at the AI on the screen.

"Twilight, something's wrong." He says.

"What is it, Spike?" She asks.

Spike starts to flicker. "I-I don't know... Some- Something's interfering with-with my-"

Spike screams and starts to sputter. He and the screen both flicker and malfunction.

Twilight's eyes widen in horror. "Spike! Eject! Now!"

Twilight rushes to the computer station on the table and presses her bracelet onto the panel. It flashes and Spike disappears from the screen at the same time.

She brings her wrist up in front of her face. "Spike?! Are you okay?!"

The screen flashes for another moment and the image of a dark, imposing man appears. He smiles a wicked, toothy grin and stares at you all with yellow and red eyes.

A senator screams. "It's Lord Sombra!"

You, Sunset, Mandalore, Tempest, and Thunderlane all rise to your feet and clench your fists as you look at the Sith Lord. Most of the senators and diplomats on the Republic's side of the room flee, while the Jedi assume a defensive stance as Sombra glares at you all.

His voice booms as he speaks. "An astute observation, Mandalore. It is no wonder that you lead the 'greatest warriors in the galaxy'."

Beside you, Mandalore growls.

Celestia and the few senators that remain all stand and look at Sombra as well.

He shifts his gaze to you and Sunset. "It's so nice to finally put faces to the names I've heard so much about, Anonymous. You and Sunset are quite popular."

"Maybe later I'll give you my autograph, Sith." You reply.

Sombra laughs and looks at Celestia. "I have to say, Chancellor, you must be truly desperate to accept help from these mercenaries."

Celestia stands as firm as she can. "Any chance for peace is a chance I'm willing to take, Sombra."

Sombra flashes his teeth at her. "I can taste your fear, Celestia. It's delicious."

"Speaking of fear, why'd you go with death sticks to spread it around?" You ask.

Sombra's eyes widen, almost with glee as you speak. "I am so glad you brought that up, Anon! I can call you that, right? Of course I can... I really wanted to take this opportunity to show you exactly how I'm going to execute my 'evil plan'."

Sombra's face switches to a view of a greenish planet with a single Sith cruiser in orbit.

"That's Cerea!" Fluttershy exclaims.

The Sith cruiser stays still for a moment while Sombra speaks. "I am a man of science, Anon. The death sticks were just a little test, and they worked perfectly, despite your meddling." He pauses for a moment. "Fire at will!"

Onscreen, the cruiser fires a single red missile toward the planet at incredible speed. After a moment, a tiny explosion on the planet spreads a thick cloud of red smoke all over the surface.

Senators in the room gasp and cover their mouths as they watch the planet slowly be consumed by the plume of red smoke. The entire planet is covered with it in a matter of moments.

The screen's view shifts to one on the surface. Cereans, both male and female of all ages, are shown gasping for air and reacting the same way the individuals did during Twilight's presentation. They scream, yell, cry, panic, and kill themselves and each other in sheer terror after inhaling the smoke.

Celestia gasps in horror as the brutal scene of carnage unfolds in front of her. Applejack and Big Mac just watch with their mouths agape. Twilight covers her mouth and Fluttershy starts crying.

You watch as a Cerean woman literally tears her own eyes out on the screen, in front of her own children. She's reduced to nothing more than a mindless lunatic.

It's horrible... They're losing their minds. There's nothing you can do right now but watch.

To make it worse, creatures and beasts that roam the primitive world react to the virus as well. They tear each other apart. Limbs, heads, and bodies fly all over the place in front of you, painting the ground in blood as the planet plunges into chaos.

Sombra chuckles darkly and the screen shifts back to him as he glares at you, looking even more sinister than before. "You are, all of you, vermin! I shall cleanse this galaxy of your filth and reshape it in MY image! Everything will belong to the Sith, forevermore! And not you, nor the Jedi, nor the Mandalorians will be able to prevent our great and terrible revenge!"

At that, Sunset pulls her blaster out and shoots the video screen, shattering it and ending the show of horror and gore from continuing. Sombra laughs one last time before his connection finally ends.

Celestia pants softly, her chin shaking in fear over what she just saw. She turns to Shining Armor. "Captain, send a detachment of the fleet to Cerea! Now! Help them!"

Shining Armor gulps and nods. "Y-Yes Ma'am!"

He quickly leaves the room, taking a couple troopers with him.

Twilight watches her brother leave the room and Celestia turns to your side. "Mandalore, I'd say we just found our grounds for a truce."

"I couldn't agree more, Chancellor." Mandalore replies.

The two leaders move around the table toward each other and shake each others' hands. You're officially clear in the eyes of the Republic now.

Twilight looks over at them, obviously worried. "What's our first step?"

Narrow it Down

View Online

You step off your ship onto the Kandosii's hangar bay with Sunset, Rainbow, Pinkie, and Rarity.

After coming to a truce, it was decided that Celestia would return to Coruscant to inform the Senate, as well as the Republic about the Sith attack on Cerea. While she deals with the fallout, Mandalore, and by extension you, will focus on finding the Sith and taking down this virus. Grand Master Luna would also assist in tracking down the Sith in another part of the galaxy with Shining Armor, and a number of other Jedi. This act of theirs cannot go unpunished.

You spoke to Twilight for a bit as well. Her AI, Spike, was a bit frazzled after the Sith cyber attack, but he seemed fine. She, along with Fluttershy, Applejack, Big Mac, and Maud Pie would join you on the Kandosii later.

Your primary focus is to track down where the Sith are manufacturing this fear virus, and put a stop to it. That's where Twilight and Rarity would come into play. Twilight has the Republic's resources and an AI at her disposal, while Rarity has connections to the underworld. Finding the Sith shouldn't be too hard.

What will be hard however, is dealing with them once you've found them. You've got cortosis, which takes care of their lightsabers, but you still have the small matter of the Force to worry about.

You proceed toward the interior of the Kandosii. Mandalore's gunship lands close by.

You look over your shoulder. "Rainbow, take Rarity to the intelligence center. Get her situated and ready to search for the Sith."

Rainbow nods. "This way, Rarity."

"Lead the way, darling."

They proceed into the ship. Rarity looks worried. Unsurprising, given the circumstances. You doubt that being in the middle of a war with the Sith was on her list of things to do in her life.

While they walk away, you turn to Pinkie and Sunset.

Pinkie also looks a bit nervous. "What do you need me to do, Anon?"

You sigh. "Pinkie, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. We found the location of some cortosis on Discord's ship. Lots of it. Sunset and I picked it up a couple days ago. We're going to use it against the Sith and their lightsabers."

She nods a little. "That's a good idea, Anon."

"I know." You reply. "What I need help with is dealing with the Force. Sunset may be Force-sensitive, but she's untrained, so we can't rely on her to deal with it." You look at her. "No offense."

She shakes her head. "None taken. You're not wrong."

You look back at Pinkie. "You, however, are trained in the ways of the Force."

Pinkie shakes her head a little. "Not as good as Maud is, Anon. She could probably help with whatever you want to ask me."

"What I'm about to ask you, I can't ask the Jedi. We may be on the same side now, but that doesn't mean we trust each other." Pinkie looks between you and Sunset, a little confused. "To deal with the Sith, I need to know: is there anything that deters the Force? Weakens someone's connection to it? Something?"

Pinkie looks down for a moment, not answering. "Oh boy..."

You stay silent for a while, just staring at her.

After a few seconds, she speaks again. "There is... I can't remember the name of them, but there are these lizards in the Jedi Temple that sort of... block the Force somehow. They were kept in the detention center, to keep troublemakers like me from doing anything."

The Jedi Temple has a detention center?

Not important.

Pinkie continues. "It was a weird feeling being in the same room as them. I just felt... open. Exposed. It kinda felt like being naked, but not the fun kind of naked, you know what I mean?"

You roll your eyes. "Oh brother..."

While Pinkie laughs at her joke, Sunset turns to you. "Maybe Twilight will know."

"Maybe." You nod.

You aren't keen on asking the Republic a question like this. The Jedi Order is one of their most powerful assets. They'd probably be hesitant to relinquish that information to Mandalorians, of all people.

Pinkie still strains to think of whatever these lizard things are while Mandalore comes walking up to you with Coco, Tempest, and Thunderlane following him. Lyra and Bon Bon are already on their way into the Kandosii.

"I've received word from your friends in the Republic, Anonymous. They will be here soon." Mandalore says.

You nod. "Excellent."

He continues. "Once you find the location of where the Sith are making this virus, inform me immediately. I'm going with you to destroy it."

Your eyebrows shoot up in surprise. Sunset reacts as well, though she doesn't say anything.

"You are?"

Mandalore nods. "It will be our first move in this war. I should to be a part of it... Plus, I want to see you in action for myself."

You and Sunset look at each other for a moment before you turn back to him. "I'm honored, Mandalore. As soon as I know, you'll know."

"Good." He walks away with Tempest and Thunderlane, issuing them their own commands about searching for the Sith in other parts of the galaxy.

You take a small breath. Fighting alongside Mandalore himself. You've always wanted to see him in battle with your own eyes again. It will be a great privilege.

Your thoughts are cut short when you see a small Republic shuttle enter the hangar next to your ship and land. You, Sunset, Pinkie, and Coco watch as the ramp lowers and Applejack and Big Mac lead Fluttershy, Twilight, and Maud Pie onto the cruiser. Twilight and Fluttershy are holding a few supplies in their arms, while Maud helps. The Apples are both armed to the teeth.

The four of you quickly head over to meet them. Applejack nods at you while Twilight and Fluttershy look around the hangar in awe.

You greet them. "Welcome aboard the Kandosii, everyone."

Twilight smiles at you. "Thank you, Anon. Where are Rainbow Dash and Rarity?"

"We'll take you to them now. Follow us." You lead your group into the cruiser.

Sunset watches the Apples as they grip their weapons and look around, cautiously eyeing a few other Mandalorians as they pass.

"You know, you don't have anything to worry about here, Applejack. We're all friends now, right?" She says.

She breathes through her nose, not smiling. "S'cuse me if I don't exactly trust ya'll so soon. Mandalorians ain't much more than mercenaries, from where I'm standin'."

Big Mac nods. "Eeyup."

You groan. "Well, us 'mercenaries' happen to be the ones who are going to save your Republic asses. So, a little bit of trust in return shouldn't be too much to ask."

Twilight turns to look at her. "Applejack, please relax. They're not going to hurt us."

Applejack sighs and releases the grip on her blaster in its holster, but still doesn't drop her defensive stance. Big Mac does the same.

The rest of the walk is quiet and uneventful, other than you giving directions and explaining a few of the Kandosii's systems. A few minutes later, your group enters one of the intelligence areas. It's a relatively small room with computers and terminals all over, with a large table in the center.

Rarity is at one of the terminals now with Rainbow. They turn to face you as you all enter the room.

Sunset points to her. "Twilight, you and Rarity will be working together to track the Sith down. Make yourself at home."

Twilight nods and glances at her bracelet on her wrist. "Ready, Spike?"

A hologram of the little cartoon reptile appears and smiles at her. "Ready!"

She smiles at him and heads over to Rarity. Fluttershy and Coco follow her.

You turn to Maud, who is standing next to Pinkie. "Master Jedi, we could use your expertise with the Force to help track the Sith down as well, please. If you need to meditate or something, we'll keep the chatter to a minimum so you can focus. There isn't much in the way of privacy here, unfortunately."

She nods. "Thank you, Anonymous. I shall begin at once."

She walks over to a corner of the room and sits on the floor. You close the door to the hallway and head over to the table in the center with Pinkie.

Applejack takes a breath as she sets some of her gear on the table. "Now what?"

You take off your helmet and set it down on the table as well. Sunset shrugs. "I guess we just wait."

From the terminal, Rarity calls over. "We won't have to wait too long, darling. I'm already onto something."

You, Sunset and Applejack head over to her to look over her shoulder. "What have you got?"

She shakes her head. "Nothing concrete, just a lead I'm following." She points to a bit of info on a system in the southern part of the galaxy. "Twilight, do you think you can cross reference my information with yours?"

The twi'lek nods. "Yes, I think so." She pulls out a datapad and starts skimming through it. "I've got Spike looking through more systems as well."

Rarity smiles. "He's quite clever, your little assistant."

Spike appears on Twilight's bracelet and chuckles, rubbing the back of his artificial neck. "Aww, shucks, Rarity... I'm just doing my job."

Rarity smiles wider. "And you're doing a marvelous job at it, darling! We're very grateful to have you here!"

You swear you see a slight tint of red appear over the reptile's nose, like he's blushing.

Is that... a crush? But, he's not even alive. He's an artificial intelligence.

Who has knowledge of the entire Republic at his disposal...

"Spike."

He turns to look at you, giving a little glare when he sees you. "Anonymous. You're the Mandalorian that killed Senator Hoity Toity."

You grunt. "You must've forgot. The Republic and I are good now. Stopping the Sith is more important to both of us."

Spike shakes his head. "I didn't forget."

"Then wipe that scowl off your holographic face, machine."

He scoffs. "What will you do if I don't?"

Twilight, probably sensing the apparent tension, speaks up. "Spike, be nice. We are on the same side here."

Spike looks at Twilight and drops his nasty look.

Twilight, in turn, looks at you quite sternly. "Anon, I understand that this is important, but do not refer to him as a machine. He means a lot more to me than that. A lot more."

You pause for a moment and look back at Spike. He looks back at you.

"Fine."

"Fine."

After another pause, you speak again. "Spike, my friend here has a question." You look back at Pinkie.

Pinkie perks up. "Oh yeah!"

She smiles and skips over to you to look at Spike.

Before she opens her mouth, he speaks. "Pinkamena Diane Pie. Former Jedi Padawan. Guardian. Sister of Jedi Master Maud Pie, Jedi Knight Marble Pie, and former Jedi Padawan Limestone Pie. I hear you're good at pazaak."

Pinkie's eyes widen, along with her smile. "Ooooh, he's good, Twilight! I like him!"

Spike and Twilight both smile.

She moves around you, getting closer to Spike. "Yeah, I had a quick question! I forgot the name of these lizard things that the Jedi kept in the Temple's detention center. They sort of cut off the Force in this...invisible bubble. Do you know what they're called?"

Before Spike responds, Fluttershy turns to face you all. "Oh! Those are ysalamiri! They're the cutest little things ever!"

Pinkie snaps her fingers. "That's right! Ysalamiri! That's what they're called!"

You look at Fluttershy and nod, impressed. She immediately knew the answer to that question before even Spike did.

Spike smiles and looks at you, spotting your expression. "Fluttershy is an expert in fauna of all kinds from all over the galaxy. She's got a way to sort of talk to them and care for them too."

Fluttershy blushes a little at the compliment.

She's obviously not good at dealing with Rakghouls. Otherwise you'd still have both your arms, rather than just the one. You'll keep that comment to yourself though.

"Do you know where they are?" You ask her. "We need help against the Force when we fight the Sith."

She frowns. "Oh, um, I don't think you should try to get them... They live on these special trees called olbio trees, and when they feed or feel scared, they sink their teeth into the bark to draw nutrients. It might kill them if you try to take them off the bark. They won't let go, no matter what."

You grunt. That complicates things.

Sunset steps forward. "Do you think you could get them off the trees?"

She sinks into herself and rubs her hair between her hands. "Oh, um, I-I don't know..."

"You have an AI praising your zoology skills, Fluttershy. I think you're selling yourself short." You say.

She looks up at you for a moment before looking back to the floor, shuffling her feet. "I don't know... I-I wouldn't want them to get hurt."

Sunset speaks up. "We need their natural abilities to help stop the Sith, Fluttershy. You saw what happened to Cerea. If we can stop the Sith, then we can prevent that from happening anywhere else."

Fluttershy gulps and mumbles a little. Finally, she sighs. "...Okay..."

Excellent.

"Where are they?" You ask.

"They, um, they can be found on the planet Myrkr." She says. "That's where they're native to. I can go with you and help, but only if you promise that nothing bad happens to them."

Myrkr is not very far from Mandalorian Space at all. It's just a couple systems over.

Sunset nods. "I promise you that we will do everything we can to prevent that from happening, Fluttershy."

The Mirialan smiles, but says nothing else.

The terminal beside you beeps.

"I think we have something!" Rarity exclaims.

You and Sunset go back to Rarity to look at the terminal. An image of a dark, icy world appears on the screen.

"What are we looking at?" You ask.

"Cross-referencing Twilight's information with a few underworld leads I had, Spike was able to pinpoint a bit of activity here." Rarity says. "The planet Khar Delba."

Khar Delba.

"I've never heard of this world." You say.

Rarity shakes her head. "Nor have I, darling."

Spike appears on the terminal. "It's a Sith world. It was important to the ancient Sith Lord Naga Sadow."

"It is a Dark Side Nexus..." You all turn around to look at Maud, who is standing there behind you. "A place that is very strong with the Dark Side of the Force. That is where this virus is being manufactured."

"Then that's where we're going." You press a button on your gauntlet and open your comms. "Mandalore. We have the location of our virus."

Parting Words

View Online

A few hours later, you're all on your way to the hangar.

Anon is going to Khar Delba with Mandalore, Applejack, Rainbow, and Pinkie to shut down this virus. They have no additional intel on how they make it, what it looks like, and how many enemies are there, so they're going in a bit blind.

You, on the other hand, are going to the planet Myrkr with Fluttershy, Twilight, and Big Mac. You need these lizards to repel the Sith's Force powers and make it easier to take them down. You don't need many of them, just enough for your strongest to go against the Sith and dampen their connection to the Force.

Coco, Rarity and Maud will stay behind aboard the Kandosii

You and Anon walk toward the hangar, alone. All your gear is ready to go.

You turn to him. "You nervous?"

He looks at you for a moment. "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit."

You nod. "I don't blame you. I got the easy job this time."

He nods as well, and there's another pause as you both round a corner.

You look over at him again. He's just staring straight forward as he walks. You aren't going to lie, you're still a little mad at him for comparing you to Gilda a few days ago. It hurt. Bad.

...

He did say he was sorry though... As mad as you were at him, you don't want to part ways on a sour note. You know he meant it when he said he was sorry.

You hold out your hand and grab onto his, giving it a little squeeze. He looks down at it and then back at you. You smile under your helmet, knowing he can't see you, but not caring.

He seems to ease up a bit and he gives your hand a squeeze.

The two of you walk down the hallway together, fingers interlocked between each other's, and head into the hangar. Your group is all talking with each other and getting ready to leave. Maud is likely wishing them all good luck now.

"Sunset, wait." The two of you stop walking and he reaches to his belt. "Take this with you."

He pulls out the orange lightsaber he stole from Discord's ship.

You take it in your hands and inspect it. "Are you sure? You could probably use it."

"I want you to take it." He says. "Keep yourself safe."

You look at his visor, imagining his face beneath.

Finally, you nod and hook it to your belt. "Thanks, love."

"Anything for you, Sunset."

You hold out your arms and hug him tightly. He returns it. It's strange, but it feels like you're saying goodbye forever. It's making you nervous too.

You were furious with Anon a few days ago, but now you're scared. You have a bad feeling about all of this.

"Promise you'll come back home to me, Anon..." You whisper.

He sighs for a moment, giving you a squeeze. "I will, Sunset. I promise..."

The two of you hold each other for a moment longer.

Finally, Mandalore's voice catches your attention. "Anonymous! Let's go!"

You both release each other and look at him. He's at the base of Rainbow's ship, while Pinkie waves goodbye. Applejack and Rainbow must already be aboard.

"That's my cue." He says.

You look back at him and nod. "Looks like it."

"Until our paths cross again, Sunny Bunny."

You can hear the smile in his voice as he speaks. It makes you giggle softly. "Until our paths cross again."

The two of you proceed to your ships, the both of you waving goodbye to Maud as you part ways.

You head to your ship, stepping onto the exit ramp and looking back at Anon as he walks onto the Sonic Rainboom. You wait until he's totally on board before proceeding onto your ship.

Big Mac is in the main hold. He sets his gear down on the floor next to a seat and sighs. You nod at each other silently as he sits down.

In the cockpit, you are met with Fluttershy and Twilight. You silently sit in the pilot's seat and prep the ship for launch, taking a deep breath.

"Sunset? Are you okay?" The purple twi'lek looks at you with concern.

You remove your helmet and set it down on the console. "Yeah, I'm fine."

You press another few buttons on the console and look out the viewport at the Sonic Rainboom. You pause as you see Anon through the viewport at the controls next to Rainbow Dash, talking with her and Mandalore. He takes off his helmet as well. After a second, he looks at you and pauses.

You don't turn on your comms or say anything to him. All you do is smile. He smiles back and nods at you.

At that, you activate your ship and take off. You hover above the ground for a moment and the ship goes into reverse, out of the hangar.

Once you're in space, you activate the navicomputer and align yourself with the direction of Myrkr. As soon as you're facing the right way, you push the throttle forward and blast off into hyperspace, leaving the Kandosii, and Anon, behind...

Welcome to the Jungle

View Online

---
Sunset Shimmer
---

A few hours later, you drop out of hyperspace over the lush, green world of Myrkr. You pilot the ship closer to the planet with Twilight sitting in the co-pilot's seat beside you.

While you were in hyperspace, you got to know a bit more about her and her life. She had been a scientist for a while, and had recently taken an interest in politics. Chancellor Celestia herself had actually taken her under her wing to help her on her path for a few years now. This twi'lek must have some serious friends in high places to snag a deal like that.

Still, her scientific work had to continue. Apparently, she was looking into discovering more about the Unknown Regions, and was very interested on mapping it out more. She had even discovered a few systems around the old Rakatan planet Lehon, though she had never been to that planet before.

It was where Revan destroyed the Star Forge all those hundreds of years ago. According to legends passed down from Mandalore the Preserver, it was a graveyard of ships and other technology thanks to an energy field that destroyed or disabled any ships that came close enough.

Probably best to stay away from a place like that.

In addition to politics and astronomy, she was also very good with technology. She created her AI, Spike a few years ago as a side project. He's grown and evolved over the years to become an extremely valuable asset to her and her work. He goes everywhere she does.

He asked if he could be plugged into your ship's computer to help, but you politely declined. The idea of having a Republic AI inside your computer and snooping around would make Anon furious if he was here.

Because of all this progress in her life, Twilight has been looking for a replacement. She seems to have found it in that Starlight Glimmer woman back on the Republic cruiser. Twilight is planning on leaving her findings and data to her, and then moving on to becoming a representative for Ryloth in the Republic Senate. Hopefully, it all works out. She's got a good head on her shoulders.

As you breach the atmosphere, Twilight observes the planet's info on the ship's navicomputer. "I'm not picking up any starports. No major cities, no industrial complexes, nothing. This planet is just one big jungle."

You nod. "Perfect. This will be an easy trip then."

As you pass through a few more thick clouds, Fluttershy enters the cockpit and looks through the viewport, smiling wide as you get a good aerial view of the thick jungle.

"Oh, this place is so pretty." She exclaims. "I can't wait to see how many cute little ysalamiri we find."

Twilight giggles a little and you smile under your helmet. Fluttershy's extreme shyness and reluctance was a bit annoying when you first met her, you won't lie, but she's grown on you since then. She's a real sweetheart.

She turns to you. "Sunset, you're sure that they'll be safe on the ship? They need the nutrients from the bark on the olbio trees to survive."

"Don't worry, Fluttershy." You reply. "If we need to, we can take a few chunks of bark with us so they don't get hungry."

She smiles at you and returns her gaze outside.

This jungle reminds you of the ones on Dxun, one of the four moons orbiting the planet Onderon. It's also where the Mandalorian Wars began, all those centuries ago. It's very dense and green, but the skies are a bit brighter here than they are there.

As you approach the surface more, you keep your eyes peeled for a place to land. There isn't much. It is a jungle, after all, and there's no starport on the planet, so it might take a while.

After a few minutes of flying, your scanner starts beeping rapidly. You cock your head and look over at it. That's odd.

"What the-?"

Suddenly, the entire ship jolts forward and you hear a large explosion come from the rear. You've just been hit!

Fluttershy screams as she falls to the floor. Twilight hits her head on the control console before falling over as well.

"Twilight! Fluttershy!" You scream.

Red warning lights and alarms start blaring all over as the ship twists and lurches around in the air. You're going down fast, and you can't help either of them right now. You've got to keep the ship under control for as long as you can or else you'll all die.

With a grunt, you strain to align the ship in the air so you don't crash. Outside, you catch a glimpse of a semi-open spot in the trees that may or may not be big enough to accommodate your ship. It's your best bet.

You lower your landing gear and try your best to steer the ship toward the clearing. The ship's belly scrapes the treetops as it descends and ends up knocking down a few of them in the process.

You violently bump around and jostle in your seat as you hit the ground hard, the cockpit's viewport cracking slightly from the impact. The ship groans and lurches forward a bit before finally falling onto the landing gear and settling.

You pant hard as you grip the controls. The jungle and foliage outside move around violently from the aftermath of your crash for a few seconds. The ship's systems are going haywire. Warning lights, alarms, beeping, everything.

This planet is supposed to be free of technology. Who the hell hit you?

Worry about that later.

"Sunset! Help her!"

Beside you, Twilight is laying on her side, not moving. Spike has appeared on her bracelet and is looking over at you with desperation. She has a nasty gash on her forehead that's bleeding a little.

"Twilight!" You grunt and rush over to her. "Twilight, can you hear me?!"

You grab her by the shoulders and shake her. She groans a little, but doesn't open her eyes. You breathe a sigh of relief. She's alive, but unconscious.

Behind you, Fluttershy whimpers on the ground. "Owww..."

You turn to her as she sniffles. She has a big, nasty cut on her arm and it's bleeding profusely.

She looks at you with tears in her eyes. "Sunset... Help me... Please..."

You grunt and stand up. "Hang on, Fluttershy... I'm coming." You quickly approach her. She's holding her arm tightly. Blood is starting to flow between her fingers. "Hang on to me. You'll be okay, it's just a flesh wound. Does anywhere else hurt?"

She whimpers and shakily stands up as you help her. "Everywhere..."

Not surprising. She's delicate, and you hit the ground pretty hard.

As she leans on you for support, Big Mac comes stomping into the cockpit, looking at you with worry. "Are y'all okay?"

You grunt as you help Fluttershy. "We're fine. Twilight is out, but she's alive. Help her, please."

He nods and passes you as you lead Fluttershy into the ship. She's starting to bleed little droplets onto the floor, leaving a small trail of blood behind her. That's a big vein in her arm. You need to stop the bleeding immediately.

She sniffles. "S-S-Sorry I'm m-making a mess, S-Sunset..."

You rub her back for comfort as you help her. "It's okay, Fluttershy. You'll be okay, don't worry."

You enter the main hold. Tools, weaponry, and other equipment are strewn about all over the floor in here. It's a mess. Your boot hits a hydrospanner as you quickly lead Fluttershy into the armory.

She continues to sniffle and breathe aloud as she sits down on a stool, her arm still trickling with a small stream of blood.

You grab a clean rag and wrap it around the cut, tying it into a knot. "Here. Keep constant pressure on it while I get some bacta, okay?"

She nods and whimpers as she holds onto the rag. "Okay..."

You stand up and head back into the main hold, passing Big Mac as he carries an unconscious Twilight along the way.

You point to the armory. "Set her in there. I'm going to get some bacta."

He nods and heads into the armory while you go to the cargo hold.

It's a huge mess in here. Most of your supplies were tied down, but a few crates managed to open up and fly all over the place. You carefully move through the mess until you reach one of the medical crates and find some bacta.

Once you have a few bacta salves and bandages, you return to the main hold and head back to the armory. Fluttershy looks at you as you enter, the rag on her arm is already looking more red.

Twilight is on her back on the floor next to her with Big Mac crouching over her. You hand him a salve before taking Fluttershy's arm and removing the bloody rag. The gash on her arm is deep. It would probably make an ugly scar if you didn't have bacta with you.

You open the salve and carefully take her arm. "This might sting a little, Fluttershy, but I promise it will help."

She whimpers and nods before closing her eyes as she anticipates the sting. You scrape a bit of the light blue gel onto a bandage and rub it all over and in her cut.

She winces for a moment, but exhales soon after as the healing gel does its job. "Ohh... That's better..."

You don't reply as you finish applying the salve to her cut and grab another bandage to wrap her arm in.

As you begin dressing her injury, your mind wanders. Who shot you down? Why did they shoot you down? How many of them are there? Where are they now?

You needlessly look down at your hip to assure yourself that your blaster is still holstered. It is, as always. You're sure you're in for a fight.

"There." You say as you finish. "Let that sit for a while. You'll be fine."

Fluttershy sniffles a little as you finish and looks at you. "Thank you, Sunset."

You nod at her before shifting your attention to Twilight. Big Mac is applying the bacta salve to the cut on her head.

He looks at you. "I need a bandage for her."

"Here." You give him one.

He quickly starts dressing Twilight's injury and she begins stirring a little. "Uhn... Ohh... What... What happened?"

"We got shot down and you hit your head. Hard." You reply. "Are you okay?"

"I-I think so..."

She winces and tries to prop herself up, but Big Mac is still wrapping her injury. Her lekku is making it a bit tricky.

"Hang on, Twilight. I'm almost done." Mac says.

She nods and relaxes again, looking a bit nervous now.

You look at him. "All of you stay here. I'm going outside to get a look around." You turn around and secure a blaster rifle onto your back.

"Sunset, who shot us down?" Fluttershy asks.

You shake your head. "I don't know, Fluttershy. Whoever did is dead though."

You grab the lightsaber Anon found and hook it onto your hip. You'll probably need it.

"Sunset, we should stay together here and call for help." Twilight says.

You shake your head. "That's a bad idea. We need to learn more about who attacked us and retaliate as soon as possible." You grab and equip a few thermal detonators as well. "Plus, we're sitting ducks right now. We need to repair the ship and get out of here. We can't do that with someone waiting to shoot us down."

Big Mac clears his throat. "I can help with that."

You look at him. "You're good with a hydrospanner?"

He nods. "Eeyup. Among other tools. I'll take a look at the damage once we've secured the perimeter."

Excellent.

"Let's get going then." You say. "Fluttershy, Twilight, you two stay here."

Twilight nods. "Please be careful."

"We will." You toss Big Mac a blaster rifle before the two of you head to the exit.

The ship is a bit lopsided from the crash, but it isn't so bad that the ramp won't lower. At least it shouldn't be. You press a button on your gauntlet and it lowers with a loud creak before slamming onto the jungle floor. You grab your blaster pistol and step outside with Big Mac.

The hot, humid air envelops the both of you as you step off the ship and into the sunlight. There's nothing but lush green trees and shrubbery all around you. One large tree is pressing up against your ship, while a few others are knocked over around you. There isn't much room between the front of your ship and the treeline, which doesn't surprise you. You hit the ground pretty hard.

"Fan out and stay sharp." You say.

Both you and Big Mac sweep your blasters around and scan for any enemies in the immediate proximity before moving around your ship. The sounds of wildlife are absolutely everywhere. You don't see anything out of the ordinary. You can't see much of anything, really. This little clearing is surrounded by nothing but trees.

Upon reaching the rear of the ship, you look to the engines. They're smoking and exposing much of the internal wiring. It doesn't look too bad, but it's bad enough to make your blood boil. Hopefully, Big Mac is as good a mechanic as he says he is.

You grumble a little as you look at the damage for another second before continuing around the ship until you meet up with him again. "See anything?"

He shakes his head. "Nnope."

You exhale and lower your blasters, looking around some more. Whoever shot you down was probably using short-range missiles. Likely from a portable missile launcher. The damage wasn't bad enough to be from anything stronger. Which means that they're out there, and they aren't too far away from you.

"Okay. I'm going to take to the sky and sweep along the treeline." You say. "You go inside the ship and protect the girls. Engage the ship's Ground Lockdown Defense Initiative. Nothing on this planet will get inside when that's on. Once I give the all clear, you can start repairing the ship."

Big Mac nods again. "Eeyup."

Jeez, a man of few words.

He heads into the ship and you turn around to look up to the treetops. You squint your eyes a bit as you look up at the sun. A flock of birds fly above the trees and vanish behind them after a few seconds.

Once the ramp behind you lowers and the ship seals itself, you take another breath and activate your jetpack. You fly off the ground and clear the treetops, looking around at the planet's surface. The trees spread all the way to the horizon in nearly every direction you look. You can see a spacious lake off to your right a little.

"Let's see... We came from this way." You face the direction toward the rear of your ship and proceed forward. Whoever shot you down is back here somewhere.

You point your blasters to the ground as you fly. The trees seem even thicker from above. You can't see the ground very well, if at all. You're looking for anything that doesn't fit in with a jungle environment.

This would be so much easier if Anon was here with you. He grew up and lived in the jungles back on Mandalore. He would probably feel right at home here.

He used to tell you stories about all kinds of stuff he'd done as a kid. The creatures he'd hunted and killed, how to track them, how to navigate through the jungle, everything. One time, he spent a few days alone in the jungle and ended up fighting a few jai'galaars, shriek-hawks, who wanted to make him a meal.

Normally, the jai'galaar leaves people alone, but Anon happened upon one of their nests and was in the mood for an omlet that morning. Anon walked away with a nasty scar and a full stomach that day.

Maybe he should've come here to do this instead of going to Khar Delba.

Your thoughts are cut short when suddenly, you spot something on the ground that catches your attention. Something shiny. Instinctively, you lower your altitude and drop to the treetops, finding a nice sturdy branch to land on. The flashy thing looked a bit small and metallic, but you couldn't make out any details from the air. You need a closer look.

You carefully make your way across the treetops toward the object's approximate location as quickly and quietly you can. As you jump from one large branch to another, you hear a blaster go off.

You grab your blaster and immediately hunker down on the branch you're on, the hairs on the back of your neck standing up. The blaster bolt didn't hit anywhere near you, so you are pretty sure you weren't seen, but you stay quiet and hold still anyway. Someone is here in the jungle with you.

After a moment of silence, you slowly approach a section of treetop that gives you a look at the ground. You peel back the leaves and, unfortunately, get a look at the source of the shiny object you saw from above.

"Oh no..."

There's three of them. One of them is holding a missile launcher in its hands while the other two hold blaster rifles. One of them, you aren't sure which, starts speaking.

"Query: How much further must we walk through this jungle before reaching the crash site?"

"Answer: My sensors indicate that the Mandalorian's vessel is somewhere directly ahead. By my calculations, all or most meatbags aboard should still be alive."

"Statement: Not for much longer. This unit is tired of killing these primitive creatures. I desire a challenge."

They're unmistakable. Their silver chassis, red eyes, insatiable bloodlust, everything.

"HK assassin droids..."

The Best Defense...

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You don't have any ion weapons on you. Droids were the last thing you expected to see on this planet.

HK droids are deadly and come in droves. These three can't be the only ones. They need to be dealt with right now before they find your ship and kill your friends. Maybe you could set a trap for them somehow. You have a lightsaber. You could get the drop on them from up here.

You grab your lightsaber in one hand and a nearby tree branch in the other. You need to get their attention without giving away your position.

As you start snapping the branches in half with your hand, the droids stop walking. "Statement: My audio receptors are detecting something up ahead."

"Statement: Charging weapons, just in case."

"That's right, you hunks of junk. Come to mama..." You whisper.

The droids assume a defensive stance and carefully tread into the trees just below you. You grip your lightsaber tighter in anticipation.

They're in a wedge formation. The one with the missile launcher is on the left. Probably best to take that one out last. Close quarters combat is no place for weapons of that caliber. Then again, they are droids. Not living things. Whether they destroy themselves in the process of destroying their target may not matter to them.

No. Don't overthink this, Sunset. You have a plan. Stick to it.

The trio of droids walk beneath you. You grab your blaster in your left hand and get ready. You wait until the lead droid is directly under you before you leap down, using your jetpack to slow your descent some. As you fall, you activate your lightsaber and slice the HK in half. It beeps and sputters as it splits and falls in a pile of scrap.

You land with a grunt and the other droids immediately react to you by raising their weapons. You open your shield toward the one with the missile launcher and rush the other droid, raising your lightsaber. It shoots you in the chest once before you reach it and slice its arm off. It hurts, but your beskar holds up.

The HK's arm falls to the ground and drops its rifle. Its remaining limb reaches toward you. "Statement: Ranged combat compromised. Switching."

Just before the HK grabs you, you fly backwards toward the droid with the missile launcher and slam into it with your shield, knocking it slightly off-balance. You retract your shield and whip around with your saber, slicing the droid's head off. The droid falls to the ground, dropping the missile launcher as it dies. Only one left.

You quickly turn around to face the remaining droid, but it is already a few feet away. It reels back its remaining limb and punches you in the chest, knocking you off your feet and onto your back with a grunt. The droid reaches down to grab you again, but you kick its limb away and fire your blaster at it a few times.

It shields its head as you shoot it a few more times before scrambling to your feet and taking to the sky once again. You don't like the idea of taking that kind of beating from an assassin droid. Anon is the one who can do that. He's tougher than you are, however, you are much faster and more nimble than he is.

You hover a few feet in the air and shoot the droid with your blaster a few more times. It watches you as you float in a circle around it, analyzing your blaster's aim and occasionally dodging a few bolts.

After a few seconds, you turn your jetpack on full-throttle and fly directly toward it. Raising your lightsaber again, you slice the droid in half at the waist. You slam into the ground as you land and turn around. The droid's torso falls off its legs and its head looks at you. With a growl, you plunge your saber between its eyes and it finally dies. The droids are no more.

You pant hard as you look at the pile of scrap metal at your feet. There has to be more out in the jungle somewhere. This can't be all of them. They mentioned they were looking for your ship.

They must've been sent by someone to hunt you and Anon down for the bounty on your heads. A crime lord, or maybe the Sith themselves. Someone. How could they have found you here? You just barely got here. This plan was made less than a day ago.

Unless they were spying on you. But how?

You look around nervously in case you're being watched by anyone or anything else. You need to do what you're supposed to do here, then get the hell out of here as fast as possible.

You deactivate your lightsaber and put it away again before contacting your ship. "Twilight? Big Mac? It's Sunset. Do you copy?"

Big Mac comes on a moment later. "I'm here, Sunset. Did you find who shot us down?"

You sigh and look at the droid's missile launcher on the ground. "Unfortunately, yes. We have assassin droids after us."

There's a pause on the other end of your comms. "Did you get 'em?"

"Just three of them." You reply. "They were HK droids, so there has to be more of them."

"Dang."

There's a bit of commotion on the line as Twilight takes over. "Sunset, it's me. Did you say assassin droids?"

"Yes. I'm coming back to the ship to arm myself better. I need ion weapons."

You are not happy about this.

"Okay, Sunset. Big Mac inspected the damage to the ship and we have some good news. We'll show you when you get back to the ship."

Fantastic.

"I'm on my way back now." You deactivate your comms and take another look at the droids before activating your jetpack and flying back to your ship.

---

"Well, it's fixable, so there's that."

That's good at least.

You are standing at the rear of your ship looking up at Big Mac as he inspects the damaged engines. Twilight and Fluttershy are standing next to you. Fluttershy is holding her bandaged arm, probably for emotional support more than anything. Twilight still has the bandage on her head as well, but doesn't seem bothered by it otherwise.

Your attention is primarily on Big Mac, but you're also on-edge. More droids could be right around the corner.

"What's the bad news?" You ask.

Big Mac grabs something on the ship and it sparks. He quickly pulls his hand back and shakes it a couple times. "Bad news is it will take a while. Maybe a day."

A whole day?

You give a frustrated sigh. You don't have time for this. "Can't Spike help you make it go faster?"

Big Mac shakes his head. "Not without going into your ship, Sunset."

Twilight raises her arm to her chest and Spike appears on her bracelet. "I'd be more than willing to help Big Mac fix the ship, but in order to do that, I'd need to be uploaded. Which, you said 'no' to that."

You stare at the hologram silently for a moment or two. What other choice do you have? There isn't one, really. Those ysalamiri are too important. Not to mention the legion of assassin droids that could pop out from anywhere.

You sigh again. "Twilight, I'm going to ask you to order him to stay out of things he shouldn't get into. Just focus on helping Big Mac so we can leave."

She nods. "I understand, Twilight."

You look at Spike. "As for you, don't get any ideas. Anon would be absolutely livid if he knew about this."

Spike nods. "Don't worry, Sunset. I won't try anything. You have my word."

Good.

Twilight looks up at Big Mac. "I'll help however I can too. I know I'm not a mechanic, but still."

"We'll see, Twilight." Big Mac says. "No offense, but you might just be in the way, more than anythin'."

She slumps her shoulders a little.

You look around the jungle a little bit one more time, keeping your ears open as you scan the area.

Big Mac sits up a bit. "I also noticed a bit of damage to the landing gear and underbelly. Nothin' too bad yet, but if those hydraulics give out, you might have to cut your way into the ship."

You look back at him. "Let's just focus on getting back in the air, first thing. We'll worry about the landing gear later."

He nods. "Eeyup."

You turn to Fluttershy. "We need those ysalamiri, Fluttershy. You're the zoologist here, so you'll lead the way through the jungle."

She looks a bit surprised. "M-Me? Lead?"

You sigh again. Obviously, she'll lead the way.

You pull out a blaster. "Don't worry. Twilight and I will be right there with you the whole time."

Fluttershy gulps and nods once after a moment. "Okay. I'll do my best."

Excellent.

"Twilight. Catch." You toss her the blaster. "You familiar with this weapon?"

She turns to you and clumsily catches the blaster in her arms before holding it by the grip in her right hand and inspecting it. "Oh. Well, sort of... I've seen a few, or, actually, I've read a few-"

She motions with her hands as she talks, and pulls the trigger on the blaster, shooting the ground right next to your feet and scaring the hell out of you. The three of you all scream and jump backwards at the accidental discharge.

After a second, you clench your fists and glare at her.

Twilight, absolutely terrified, gulps and holds the blaster out in front of her with two fingers, shaking her head. "Um, no. No, no, no. No, I'm not."

You give a little growl and she smiles bashfully.

Suddenly, the bushes to your right start to rustle. It gets your full attention.

"Droids!" You shout.

You stand in front of Twilight and Fluttershy and raise your blaster toward the bushes. Big Mac raises his blaster toward the bushes as well, ready for anything.

As you tense up, you feel something... odd inside you.

Your spine is tingling, your stomach is turning, and you have goosebumps. You aren't chilly though. This planet is hot, humid, and you're wearing layers. There's no way that you are cold. No, this is something else.

There's a feeling inside your gut and it's telling you... something.

You felt this way before... On Dantooine... Just before the bomb went off...

...The Force?

Without thinking, you turn to the right and fire a blaster bolt into the bushes, just as a creature prowls into the open and leaps toward you. The bolt hits the creature in between the eyes and immediately kills it mid-pounce. Its now lifeless body flies toward you.

You take a step backwards as it lands on the ground and lays still at your feet. It's a black canine-type creature with claws on each foot and a whip-like tail. It's about a meter long.

How the hell did you do that? That was pure instinct. You didn't know it was there, but... you did... You killed it, too. In one shot, no less.

Your stunned surprise is cut short as Fluttershy shouts. "Vornskr!"

You turn your attention back to the bushes as you hear another roar. Two more vornskr come prowling out of the foliage, bearing their teeth and glaring at you with their red eyes. You growl a bit in reply and grab your lightsaber, activating it and daring them to make a move as you stare them down.

They take your bait and charge you, roaring and snarling loudly. You charge at them as well, swinging your saber and yelling as you meet them.

One of them leaps into the air as it pounces while the other stays closer to the ground. You activate your jetpack and fly into the air and collide with the vornskr. It opens its mouth and grabs onto your head, but your helmet protects you from its sharp teeth.

You grab it by the tail and take off into the air. The vornskr yelps and releases its grip on your helmet as you hurl it into the air by the tail.

As it flies off, the other vornskr barks violently and jumps up to try and grab your foot in its maw. You raise your legs up in the air as it jumps up and bring the lightsaber down at the same time, beheading the beast. Its yelps are cut short as it's split in two and falls lifeless on the ground.

You land on the ground and watch as the first vornskr falls onto the ground as well in a slump. It whines and whimpers as it stands up shakily before turning its attention to you again, snarling.

You grunt as you prepare to go again, but Big Mac starts shooting at it from his position on the ship. The vornskr yelps and whimpers as its hit by the blaster a few times before falling onto its side, finally dead.

You exhale and deactivate your lightsaber as you look around at the slain beasts at your feet. Hopefully, that's the last of them for a while. Between them, the droids, your ship, and the ysalamiri, you'll have your hands full on this trip.

You holster your weapons and take a step backwards, breathing softly.

"How did you know about the third vornskr?"

You turn around and look at Twilight. Both her and Fluttershy look at you in awe.

"In the bushes... Off to the side... How did you know it was there?" Twilight continues.

Fluttershy speaks up. "They're very smart. They set a trap for us, but you knew about it, Sunset."

You look to the section of foliage where the first vornskr pounced at you.

"I... I didn't know..." You breathe.

You look down at your hand. How did you do that?

Could it really be...

"The Force..?"

Kindness

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You stare at the small rock on the jungle floor and stay still.

Just try it, Sunset. You're alone.

But it's so embarrassing. You're not a Jedi. You can't use the Force like they can. Sure, you're Force-sensitive, but that doesn't mean you can move rocks or make them float or whatever.

...Right?

You take a deep breath and look around. Twilight and Fluttershy are back on the ship and Big Mac is still working on repairs. Spike is helping him with his promise that he won't go snooping into things that don't concern him.

You searched the jungle for ysalamiri for about a half hour after dealing with the vornskr, but found none. No other HK droids or vornskr have bothered you yet either. It's starting to get late now, and you're by yourself.

You clench and release your fists a few times and take another breath.

"Come on, Sunset. There's no harm in trying."

You stare at the rock for another second or two, taking another deep breath before thrusting your hand forward and extending your fingers.

"To me, rock!" You shout.

...

The rock doesn't move. You wanted to use the Force to make it come to your hand, but it didn't do anything.

You put your hand down before thrusting it forward again. "Pull!"

The rock, once again, doesn't move.

Hmmm...

You try again. "Over here, rock!"

Nothing.

Are you holding your hand wrong? Maybe.

You turn your hand so your palm is facing upwards. "Here rock!"

It doesn't move.

"Come here, boy!" You whistle and pat your thigh a couple times. "Come on!"

You move fingers back and forth in an effort to coax the rock to come to you, but, like rocks are supposed to do, it stays perfectly still.

You exhale and drop your hand. What are you doing?

"I've gone crazy..." You groan.

You laugh to yourself and shake your head, taking off your helmet and rubbing your eyebrows. How do you already need another vacation?

"Um, Sunset?"

You jump a little and turn around sharply to face Fluttershy, who is standing a few paces behind you. She gives you a confused, concerned look.

"Are you... okay?" She asks.

You drop your guard a bit and sigh, putting your helmet back on. "Yeah, I'm okay. I'm just... trying something."

She walks closer to you. "Why were you talking to that rock?"

You look back at the rock. It still hasn't moved. You feel your cheeks turn red a little.

"I was, uh... trying to use the Force." You awkwardly admit. "How much did you hear?"

"Um, you were calling the rock to you like it was a puppy." She replies.

You laugh again a little and put your head in your hand, covering your visor. Thank the Force she can't see your face right now. This is so humiliating.

"I don't think that's how the Force works, Sunset." She says.

Obviously.

You groan. "Yeah, I kinda figured that out..."

She smiles softly and steps toward you. "I didn't know you were Force-sensitive."

"Neither did I, until a few weeks ago." You reply. "I found out just before we rescued you and Twilight from the rakghouls. Ever since then, I've been more... receptive to it? I think? I don't think that's the right word, but yeah... Stuff has been happening that hadn't happened before I knew about it."

The two of you start walking through the jungle together.

You continue. "That's how I was able to kill the vornskr before they sprung their trap on us, I assume... I just felt something... weird inside and acted on instinct... I can't really describe it."

Fluttershy just hums softly as you try to describe how you felt. "I'm surprised the Jedi didn't take you in for training when you were younger."

You shrug a little. "Well, keep in mind, I wasn't born in the Republic. Mandalore and the Jedi haven't exactly gotten along in the past either, you know."

She nods and looks forward. "That's true... It's kind of sad how much history of violence there is between us. I think you'd make a wonderful Jedi, Sunset."

You smile under your helmet and chuckle. A Mandalorian Jedi. That'll be the day.

"Thanks, Fluttershy. I'm afraid I missed that ship a long time ago though." She smiles again and squeezes her bandaged arm a little. "How's your wound?"

She looks down at her arm with a soft expression of worry. "It's fine. It doesn't hurt anymore, but I can still feel it."

"When we get back to the ship, I'll put some more bacta on it and a fresh bandage, okay?"

She smiles at you again. "Okay. Thank you, Sunset."

You nod at her again and continue walking through the jungle together. The sun is going down, but it's still fairly light out, so you keep your eyes peeled for any ysalamiri.

After a moment, it occurs to you that you don't really know Fluttershy that well. Now seems like a good time to change that.

"So Fluttershy, how exactly did you and a Wookie become friends?" You ask.

She looks at you. "Oh, um, you mean Angel?"

You chuckle once. "Yeah."

Who else would you be talking about?

She seems a bit surprised at your question. She probably wasn't expecting you to ask about herself.

She clears her throat. "Well, um, before my relief group got involved with the Republic, we had been doing other things around the galaxy to help. Angel was on his way to be sold to slavers in the Outer Rim. We caught word of it, so we went in to rescue him and a few other Wookies." She smiles a little. "He was always such a grouch about everything, but he was very grateful to be rescued. He said he owed me a lifedebt because of it. We've been together ever since."

You hum and smile as she speaks. "A Wookie lifedebt is a good thing to have in your pocket, Fluttershy. You're very lucky. He seems to care about you a lot too."

She nods, but doesn't say anything else. She's not very talkative.

The two of you continue walking through the jungle together in silence for a few more seconds.

You clear your throat. "So, remind me, you said you were the head of a relief effort to restore Taris, right?"

She nods. "One of the heads, yes."

"How'd you get into that?"

She clears her throat. "Well, um, it just seemed like a nice thing to do. What Darth Malak and the Sith did to that planet was so unbelievably cruel, and I wanted to help the world recover. I don't like bullies."

You nod. "That's admirable, Fluttershy. Seems like you made quite a bit of progress if the Republic took notice."

"We did..." She looks down at her feet a little as you both walk. "I really appreciate the Republic's help and money to buy more supplies, but, um, honestly, I really don't like some things that they're doing with it."

You cock your head. "What do you mean?"

She hesitates for a moment. "Well, um, don't get me wrong, I've made wonderful friends with Twilight, Applejack, Big Mac, and Maud, among many others, but, um... it seems like the Republic only wants to help because it looks good to the Senate... Like, they're only helping to show off, you know?"

"They're using it as a political weapon. A status symbol." You say.

She nods. "Mmhmm. It just doesn't seem like they really care about helping."

As you're both walking, she stops and looks up to a low hanging tree branch. An oversized green caterpillar is on its back legs and trying hard to reach a nearby leaf that's just barely out of reach. Fluttershy walks over to the leaf and pulls it down just enough for the caterpillar to grab hold and continue on its way. She smiles as it crawls onto the next branch and starts eating the large leaf.

She looks over at you. "Doing something kind for others is supposed to be for their benefit. Not your own."

You smile warmly as you watch the caterpillar eat.

It's just a bug eating lunch, but it was struggling. She helped it with no thought of reward. No selfish drive, no ulterior motive, nothing but kind intentions.

"You have a good heart, Fluttershy." You say softly.

She gives you a sheepish smile. "I only want to do the right thing. Nothing more."

The two of you stay there for a moment longer before continuing your walk through the jungle. You have so much respect for Fluttershy right now. She's easily one of the kindest people you've ever met in your life. It's a very welcome change. This galaxy can be cruel.

"Twilight says that she wants to help fix some of the problems in the Senate as well, so she has my support." Fluttershy says.

"She has mine too." You reply. "She's got a good head on her shoulders."

Fluttershy smiles. "She's also very good friends with Chancellor Celestia."

"Oh right, I never did ask her, how did that friendship come about?" You say.

"Oh, um, well, it's a bit of a long story." She replies. "Um, Captain Shining Armor introduced them to each other. Twilight was always a bit of a-"

*snap*

In the trees, somewhere behind you, you hear a twig break and you immediately stop walking. You stay still and listen closely, turning around to look into the darkening jungle.

Fluttershy turns around as well. "What is it?"

"Shh."

She looks around nervously, holding her hands together and trying to make herself as small as possible. Very slowly, you reach for your blaster as that same uneasy feeling in your gut returns. You feel eyes on you.

A few cautious seconds pass with no activity.

Then, just when you think it's all in your imagination, a blaster bolt comes flying out of the jungle. It whizzes between you and Fluttershy and hits a tree behind you, scorching the trunk. Fluttershy screams and you jolt backwards, blindly firing a shot into the thicket on reflex.

You run to her and squeeze her shoulder, pushing her to the ground. "Get down, and stay here!"

She whimpers and gets to her stomach on the jungle floor while you stand over her and guard her from whoever is shooting at you. You open your shield and hold it out in front of you with your blaster at the ready.

After another moment, another blaster bolt comes flying out of the trees. This one hits your shield and evaporates on contact. It feels like someone punched you. However, you were watching for the blaster bolt's point of origin this time.

You raise your blaster and start firing into the trees at the hidden assailant.

It's hard to stay put as you fire. Mentally. Every fiber of your being wants you to go charge into the jungle and kill whoever is shooting you, but you can't leave Fluttershy here, and she's not in the best condition to go charging through the trees with you.

It's okay, Sunset. You can manage.

You keep shooting, but you have no visual confirmation that you've hit anything. You don't even know who or what you're shooting at.

After a few seconds, you stop firing and hunker down over Fluttershy. You keep your eyes peeled. You still don't see anything other than trees and bushes.

Fluttershy whimpers on the ground and slowly looks up at you. "A-Are they gone?"

"I don't know..."

You breathe aloud as you keep watching for any activity. After a few moments of nothing, you help Fluttershy to her feet, keeping your shield up.

"Come on. We need to head back to the ship. Quickly." You whisper.

She nods and cautiously gets up. The two of you are about to run when a robotic voice from the trees gets your attention.

"Threat: Mandalorian. This unit commands you to lower your shield and surrender yourself for destruction, or else I will eliminate your meatbag companions."

Fluttershy gasps softly, but you step in front of her, not lowering your shield. No way will you let that happen.

"You want this shield, you'll have to pry it from my cold dead hands, you walking junk heap." You growl.

Fluttershy looks up at you and you nod at her once to reassure her that she's safe.

"Statement: Your proposal is acceptable."

From the bushes emerges an HK unit, armed with a blaster rifle. This one is painted jet black, and looks much more menacing than the other silver ones.

As it comes into view, you open fire on the droid, growling through your teeth. The HK presses a button on its wrist and it starts glowing all over. It's an energy shield. Your blaster bolts deflect off of it with every shot.

Damn it, and you didn't grab an ion weapon when you had the chance!

"Fluttershy, run!" You back away from it and continue firing as the HK stomps toward you.

She hesitates. "B-But-"

"Go!" You roar.

She whimpers before taking off into the jungle back toward the ship as fast as she can go. As she runs, the HK starts running as well.

It's going after her...

"No!" You charge at the droid in an adrenaline-fueled sprint to protect her. Your blasters are useless against its energy shields anyway. You retract your shield and reel your fist back to punch it.

Bad move. The droid backhands your fist before grabbing your arm and lifting you into the air. You yell as you're lifted off your feet and slammed onto the ground. The droid kicks you hard and you grunt as you feel the pain in your stomach. It continues chasing after Fluttershy.

You quickly get back to your feet and sprint after the droid as fast as you can for a bit before taking off with your jetpack and closing the gap further. You open your shield again as you fly through the jungle toward the HK. The droid turns its red optics on you just before you ram into it as hard as you can. The two of you collide with a loud clang and it stumbles off to the side.

As it loses its footing, you screech to a halt and land before quickly pivoting on your heel to turn around. The droid now turns its full attention to you. It's no longer glowing blue either. The cortosis in your shield must've disabled its energy barrier. Best you don't wait to take advantage of its exposed state.

You charge the droid again and punch its head as hard as you can. Its head jerks to the side a bit and you shoot it point-blank range again and again through the torso. It sputters and grabs your arm as it tries to stop you from firing at it.

As your one arm struggles, you grab the lightsaber in your other hand and activate it. You bring it up and sever its arm, freeing yourself. The droid starts leaking oil or some other fluid from its arm socket and you grunt hard as you sever its legs at the knees.

It collapses on the ground and hobbles around some as it looks up at you. You yell as you kick the droid in the head and force it onto its back. It lays on the ground and you hack and slash the droid a few times, grunting and growling angrily the whole time. You end your merciless assault on the droid by plunging your saber into its torso and roaring loudly. The droid sputters a bit more before it dies.

You yank the saber out and pant hard, your breaths almost sounding feral. It's fogging up the inside of your helmet.

You look around for Fluttershy. She's hiding behind a nearby olbio tree and watching you from around the corner. Her eyes are like pinpricks. She's absolutely terrified.

Terrified of the droid or of you, you aren't quite sure. You rarely let yourself get this angry.

You try to slow your breathing more. "Are you alright?"

She doesn't reply, but she nods quickly. Her eyes never leave you.

You deactivate your lightsaber and head to her hiding spot. "Come on. We need to head back to check on Twilight and Big Mac."

You extend your hand out to her and she hesitantly takes it. You help her to her feet and pull her along.

"Hurry." You say.

She nods and the two of you move through the jungle as fast as you can.

You activate your comms. "Twilight, its Sunset! You and Big Mac get inside the ship now! We just ran into a droid!"

Twilight responds a second later. "Big Mac said he heard blasterfire. Was that you? Are you and Fluttershy okay?"

"We're fine. We're on our way back now." You reply. "It's a safe bet that the rest of the droids know where we are now, so don't go outside again tonight."

"Okay." Twilight says. "Hurry back!"

You deactivate your comms and continue running through the jungle with Fluttershy. As you run, you try to calm down more, but you're having some difficulty with it. You're undermanned, stuck in a jungle, surrounded by all kinds of bad guys, and you are the only one capable of fighting them off.

You are just one woman. How in the hell can you manage to defend yourself and your friends from a legion of assassin droids and a bunch of natural predators, while also going out to find a few damn lizards to help you against the Sith?

You snarl through your nose as you run through the jungle. You're really on edge right now. Maybe if your friends knew how to fight, or even hold a blaster correctly, you wouldn't be so worked up.

Twi'leks are supposed to be tough. Versatile. Especially Twilight. Her and her big brain. If she's so damn smart, how come she can't figure out how to not almost shoot your foot off when picking up a blaster?

"Sunset, you're -ow- squeezing my hand too hard."

You blink and look back at Fluttershy as you both move through the jungle. She's in pain.

You loosen your grip on her a little. "I'm sorry."

You face forward again and take a deep breath. You need to relax.

Yes, things are stressful right now, but you cannot lose your cool. You'll figure this out. Just because Anon isn't here doesn't mean you can't get through this.

Things would be better if he was here though...

"Anon, where are you?" You say to yourself.

Like you said before, he grew up in the jungles on Mandalore. If he was here, you'd probably be done with everything by now. He just had to open that big mouth of his.

You sigh. If it wasn't for that stupid fight about his stupid idea, then maybe things would be different.

That doesn't matter now though. Wishing for the past to change is stupid and pointless. It's better to focus on today and look to tomorrow.

Your past is not today.

You take another deep breath. You'll get through this.

Up ahead, you see your ship. Just where you left it.

"Thank goodness." Fluttershy breathes.

"Hurry." You say.

The two of you run to the ramp as fast as you can and step aboard. Big Mac is standing in the ship with his weapon drawn and pointed toward the ground. You and Fluttershy head inside and close the ramp behind you.

She exhales and plops down on a seat in the main hold. Twilight comes out of the cockpit and a wave of relief comes over her face when she sees you. "Thank goodness you're okay."

You set your helmet on the center console and press a button on the terminal. The ship magnetizes itself and pressurizes inside. The floor rumbles slightly as an automatic blaster turret lowers from the ship to sweep the area outside. The ship's shields are up as well, and you have plenty of power. You're safe.

Now, you relax. The Ground Lockdown Defense Initiative is up.

You exhale. "Yes we are."

Twilight smiles and approaches you. "Did you find any ysalamiri?"

Oh, right. That.

"No... Not yet." You take a seat and groan, resting your head in your hand.

After a second or two, you feel Twilight's hand on your shoulder. "It's okay, Sunset. We'll have better luck tomorrow. Don't worry."

You sigh. "Yeah..."

Maybe.

Today was not a good day. You're so frustrated, you feel like punching a hole through a wall with your bare fist. You probably would if it wasn't made out of durasteel.

You sit up and take another breath before turning to Big Mac. "How are the repairs coming?"

He clears his throat. "They're comin' along. Spike and I should be done by tomorrow as well."

Spike appears on your central console. "Assuming nothing else goes wrong, that is."

You softly shake your head at him, not smiling. The last thing you need right now is an AI telling you that there's a chance of something going wrong.

"Why'd you have to say that, Spike?" You ask. "Why?"

He looks at you, slightly confused with his mouth agape. "Uh..."

You want to destroy him right now.

Twilight clears her throat. "Look. Sunset, why don't you go lay down? You've gone hard all day today. You should relax." You look up at her. "I saw some bantha steaks in the kitchen. How about I whip us up some food?"

You take a deep breath and nod, looking down at the floor slightly. "Be my guest."

She smiles and looks at Big Mac. "You rest too, Big Mac. We made good progress today."

He nods. "Will do, Twilight. Thanks."

She turns to Fluttershy. "Fluttershy, will you help me please?"

"Oh, um." She looks down at her bandaged arm.

"I told her I'd put fresh bacta on her wound when we got back." You say.

Fluttershy nods. "But, yes. I'd love to help you, Twilight."

The twi'lek smiles. "Okay. I'll get started then."

You sigh again and stand up, leading Fluttershy into the armory while Twilight heads to the kitchen area to get started on dinner.

Before you get to the armory, you stop and turn back to her. "Twilight?"

She looks at you. "Yes?"

"I like my steak cooked rare." You say.

Twilight smiles again. "Sure thing."

You nod at her. "And... thank you."

You head into the armory with Fluttershy to redress her injury.

Twilight is right. You desperately need to relax...

No Rest for the Wicked

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With your armor removed, you sit on the edge of your bed with your head in your hands, thinking back over everything that's happened today.

Crashing your ship, fighting the vornskr, the droids, everything. There's so much on your plate and it's all being piled on so fast. It's all up to you to make this mission a success. These ysalamiri are exactly the edge you need against the Sith and their connection to the Force.

But even if you do get them, you need to be able to leave this planet as soon as possible. Splitting up won't work. You can't protect either Fluttershy or Twilight from droids and vornskr forever. And you especially can't protect them from both at the same time.

You could either prioritize fixing the ship before or after finding the lizards. Which option will get you out of here faster though?

As you're thinking, the door to your bedroom clicks. It slowly starts to slide open and pours a blinding white light into the room.

You look up at the door as it continues to creep open slowly, shielding your eyes from the growing light coming from outside. You hear footsteps.

"Twilight?" You stand up, still shielding your eyes.

After a few seconds, your eyes start to adjust a little. The sound of footsteps get closer. Suddenly, a figure steps into the doorway.

It's an HK droid...

Your eyes widen and you gasp in horror as it looks at you and raises its blaster rifle. The loud blast deafens you as it fires a few bolts into your chest and abdomen.

You fly backwards over the bed and slam against the wall, shrieking in terror as you grip your chest. The pain is sharp and unbelievable. The droid just keeps shooting you.

---

Your eyes shoot open and you scream as you sit up suddenly. You breathe in and out hard, looking around your empty room for the droid. It isn't here though. You're alone. The door is still closed, and there are no holes in your chest... It was just a dream.

You keep panting hard and put your face in your hands. Your forehead is moist with sweat.

"Just a dream..." You tell yourself. "Just a dream... Just a dream..."

Try to slow your breathing down, Sunset. You're okay.

You take a few more deep, slow breaths. You feel that your heartrate is starting to slow down now, which is good. After a few more seconds, you lower your hands and take another look around your room. It's dark and silent. Your armor is in the corner, right where you left it.

The space in bed next to you is empty and you really wish it wasn't right now. Anon has seen you in your low moments before, just like you've seen him in his. You could really use him right now. He always knows how to make you feel better.

You take another deep breath and lay down in bed again, nestling into the covers. You can't seem to close your eyes yet though.

"...Why am I so on-edge? What's wrong with me?" You whisper.

You hate that Anon isn't here with you... Why did you have to have that stupid fight?

Yes, he was wrong on many fronts, and you were rightfully mad at him for comparing you to Gilda, so it is, in fact, all his fault, but... maybe you could've done or said something differently afterwards. He did apologize, after all. You don't know.

Maybe you're just worried about this looming Sith war, more than anything. The two of you have been in hairy situations before, including more than a few interplanetary conflicts, but never something on this scale.

You're scared. You don't want anything to happen without seeing him again.

You need to talk to him. Now.

You take another breath and pull the covers off of yourself to get out of bed. Once you cover yourself with your robe, you open the door to your room and step out into the main hold. The ship is dark and quiet. Everyone is still asleep.

You quietly step across the cold floor toward the central terminal. Spike had been taken out of your ship's systems for the night, so you aren't worried about any prying eyes. You trust Twilight.

You press the comms button and contact Anon. It rings for a few seconds, but he doesn't answer.

You unconsciously want to assume the worst has happened, but Khar Delba is on the edge of Sith Space. He probably doesn't have a good connection. He's fine... You just can't contact him right now, unfortunately... Yeah.

You sigh and turn off your comms before heading back to your room, but you stop after a couple steps. You're not satisfied.

You turn back to the terminal and activate your comms again. If you can't talk to him directly, you'll leave him a message. It's the next best thing.

Once it starts recording, you clear your throat and look at the camera. "Hi, Anon. Um... just wanted to let you know that I'm okay. We ran into some trouble, but it's nothing we can't handle. We should be on our way tomorrow." You pause for a second. "I miss you... A lot... Contact me as soon as you can, okay? I want to talk to you again. I know you're okay doing whatever you're doing, but I'd still like to hear your voice. So...as soon as you get this." You give him a big smile. "Bye, love."

You stop recording and exhale, pausing for another moment. That felt nice. You prep the message and press 'send'. Hopefully, he gets it soon.

You sigh again and deactivate your comms, leaning on the terminal and crossing your arms.

After a few long moments of sitting there and thinking some more, you hear the sound of shuffling footsteps from within the ship. "Sunset?"

You look up to see Twilight enter the main hold. She's rubbing her eyes and wearing... nothing. Nothing but a very loose-fitting and revealing robe. You can see absolutely everything she has to offer. You never tagged her as a girl who sleeps like that, but then again, she is a twi'lek. It shouldn't come as a surprise.

You cock an eyebrow at her as she enters the main hold.

She squints as she looks at you. "...Are you okay?"

"I'm fine. I had a nightmare and it woke me up." You look down at her for a moment. "I, uh... see you've certainly made yourself at home."

Slightly confused, she looks down at her exposed body and gasps sharply after a moment.

She frantically covers herself completely with her robe. "I'm-I'm sorry! I'm so, so sorry... I forget that humans are more conscientious about modesty than twi'leks... Especially at night."

You laugh a little at her flustered reaction. "It's okay, Twilight. If Anon were here instead and saw you, I'd be a little angry, but you're fine."

She smiles and giggles nervously. If it was brighter in here, you'd probably be able to see her blushing. You should probably change the subject. She's obviously embarrassed.

"What are you doing up?" You ask.

"I, uh, I had to use the refresher and I heard you talking." She replies.

You hum. "Sorry. I was sending a message to Anon real quick."

"What did you need from him?"

You shake your head and frown. "Just... I needed to talk to him, but he's not available right now."

You sigh again and cross your arms.

Twilight stands there awkwardly for a moment before speaking again. "Well, if you ever need to talk about anything, you can always talk to me." You look up at her and she smiles. "That's what friends are for, after all."

You give her a little half-grin. "Thanks, Twilight. Maybe another time though. I'm a bit tired now."

She giggles. "Alright. I'll talk to you in the morning then."

"Sounds good." You stand up straight and head to your room again.

"Sunset?" You stop walking and look back at her. "I know today was hard, but tomorrow will be a better day. Don't worry."

You smile and nod once. "Yeah... Thanks, Twilight."

"You're welcome." She smiles. "Goodnight, Sunset."

"Goodnight."

You enter your room and close the door behind you. Your smile fades and you take another breath.

What is going on? Stress isn't anything new. Especially in your line of work. Bounty hunting is a complicated profession, after all.

Is it because it's just you this time? Sure, Big Mac can fight, but he's been too busy fixing the ship. He has to stay here.

You remove your robe and get back into bed as you continue thinking to yourself. You also need to find out who is sending these droids after you. How are you supposed to figure that out though?

You groan and press your hands against your eyes for a moment.

Wait. They're droids. You've destroyed a few of them, sure, but dead droids can still speak.

A light bulb turns on in your head and you stare up at the ceiling as your epiphany hits you. "Its memory core..."

That's it. You could go to where you destroyed that black droid, recover its head, and search through its data until you find a record of its master or something. Any lead at all would be helpful at this point.

Twilight and Fluttershy can't go out into the jungle by themselves, and you don't want to take the chance of failing to protect them, so you'll take Big Mac with you for extra muscle to retrieve it. You can afford to wait on repairing the ship for a little while. It won't matter if you don't stop these droids first, anyway.

You'll grab the droid and bring it back here, where you can analyze its memory core for information. Maybe you can find a way to bring its master to you instead of you finding him.

You grin and take a deep breath as you close your eyes. Good idea, Sunset.

How's That for Gratitude?

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Using your lightsaber, you cut through some of the jungle thicket as you lead the way back to the ship. In one arm, you're holding the severed head of the droid you destroyed yesterday. It's badly damaged, but it should still work. Big Mac is behind you, holding a weapon of his own, as well as the droid's torso.

Well, what was left of it, anyway.

In your anger, you sliced it to hell yesterday. It was nearly unrecognizable now. Still, there was a chance that some data survived, and you were going to take it.

You push through a section of jungle thicket until you spot your ship, right where you left it. Neither you nor Big Mac encountered any enemies this time, but taking Twilight or Fluttershy with you was still a huge risk. They're on the ship right now, locked in safe and sound.

You activate your comms and contact them. Twilight answers. "Sunset! You're back!"

"Sure am." You reply. "Lower the ramp."

You deactivate and put away your lightsaber and walk to the ramp with Big Mac as it lowers. Once it hits the ground, the both of you step aboard the ship and enter the main hold. You pass the girls and toss the HK's head on the central terminal. It lands with a loud clang, making Fluttershy yelp and jump backwards a bit.

"Alright. There it is." You say flatly.

Twilight steps toward the droid's head and looks at it cautiously. She sets her hands down on the console and Spike appears on the holographic display on her bracelet. He also looks at the head.

"Woah. HK droids are pretty rare these days." He says. "Whoever commissioned these ones must be pretty rich."

Rare as they may be, they're still as deadly as ever.

Twilight looks at him. "Spike, do you think you can find out who sent it?"

Spike nods. "I can try. This thing has seen extensive damage."

"That's my bad." You say. "Yesterday was not a good day, and I had some frustrations to let out. Plus, I needed to protect Fluttershy."

Fluttershy nods sheepishly. "Um, yes... It was very scary."

She shifts her gaze between you and the droid's head, like she's choosing between you two. Your onslaught on the droid was pretty feral. Maybe she doesn't know who she was more scared of. You or the droid.

Twilight reaches into her pocket and pulls out a small cord that she connects to her bracelet. She then grabs the droid's head and turns it around. She peers into its inner workings like she's looking for something.

"Ah, there we go." She inserts the cord into a socket in the back of the head.

Spike flickers for half a second as he downloads the information.

After a few seconds, he blinks. "Alright, I've got all I can get. Processing now."

She disconnects the cord from the droid's head and watches Spike as he goes through the information. You'd like to see what he found too, so you activate the ship's computer and show the port to Twilight. She nods and inserts Spike into your ship. His holographic body appears above the terminal immediately after.

"What did you find, Spike?"

He looks at Twilight. "Lots of stuff. Mechanical diagnostics, behavior core information, weapon proficiencies..." He pauses for a second. "Wait, here it is! Memory core."

A series of numbers and letters appear behind Spike as he speaks.

He sighs. "It's encrypted."

Damn it.

"Can you crack it?" You ask.

"I think so." Spike hums. "Give me a minute."

He puts one of his cartoon claws to his head and squints his eyes as he stares ahead. The numbers and letters behind him change to characters in all kinds of languages, most of which you don't recognize. Every so often, one of the characters turns the color red and Spike either groans or shakes his head before it disappears and changes into something else.

Finally, after a few minutes of trial and error, each character turns green and Spike grins. "I'm in."

Twilight smiles. "Nice work, Spike!"

The series of characters vanishes behind him and a holographic screen takes their place. It looks like a screen you'd see on a regular terminal. Files are organized by date and time and have names written in a long sequence of numbers. Probably only something droids can understand.

Spike opens one of the files and a view from the HK's ocular lenses appears on the screen. "This one looks interesting." He says.

Onscreen, you see someone. He's wearing a black sleeveless robe with a hood. He's not a Sith, as far as you can tell. He doesn't carry himself like one. He actually looks like he's a bit unhinged. It looks like he's standing in a run-down, Lower City shop. Maybe on Coruscant, or Nar Shaddaa, more likely. He's talking to someone. You can't see who.

"...I promise you, guy. These droids can do anything you want. So long as you've got the money." He says.

"I'm good for the money, Verko." Someone off-screen replies.

The hooded man, Verko, turns toward the droid, you, and rubs his hands together. "Yes... I know."

He lets out a weasel-like little chuckle as he faces you and grins. He's a nasty looking guy with thick goggles and patchy facial hair. He's missing a few teeth too. He's gross. You don't know what species he is, but he definitely isn't a human.

"You must have quite a grudge against whoever you're after." Verko says.

The other man pauses. "I do. They're Mandalorians... They took everything from me..."

You squint your eyes and try to think about who this guy could be. His voice does sound familiar, but you can't place who it belongs to. Who did you and Anon piss off so much that he went out of his way to buy HK assassin droids?

The person finally walks into view and stares into the droid's eyes. You recognize him immediately.

"You've got to be kidding me..." You say in disbelief.

He limps up to the droid and stares at it. Verko watches him from behind.

This guy? Really? After you saved his ass?

Twilight looks over at you. "Do you know him?"

"I do..." You stare at him and clench your fists in anger. "...His name is Soarin'."

Bait-and-Switch

View Online

You shake your head in silent anger as you watch Soarin' on the recording. He stares at the droid's eyes, scowling.

"Droid." Soarin' says.

The droid's view vibrates slightly and Soarin' is focused on further. "Greeting: Good day, prospective purchaser! I am HK-53. How may I serve you?"

Soarin' winces a little as he shifts his weight on his leg. It must still be broken. What an idiot.

"HK-53. I understand that the 'HK' in your name stands for 'hunter-killer'. Is that right?" He asks.

"Proud answer: Indeed it does, prospective purchaser." The droid replies. "This unit is equipped to track targets of all kinds to nearly anywhere in the galaxy, and dispose of them with extreme prejudice."

Soarin' doesn't react. "Ever dealt with Mandalorians before?"

"Answer: This individual unit has had no direct experience with Mandalorians, however, my programming is designed to engage a myriad of enemies, from Mandalorians to Echani warriors."

You clench your fists tighter and your knuckles pop in a few places. This is not good for your rage.

Soarin' looks the droid up and down before looking back to Verko. "I'll take twenty of them."

Verko gasps loudly behind him. "Twenty?!"

Soarin' nods. "Twenty. As soon as possible."

You shake your head and growl. "Spineless little son of a..."

You huff and stop the recording before placing your hands on the terminal and taking a deep breath, your fists shaking slightly. At least you know how many droids there are in total now.

"Who is he, Sunset? How do you know him?" Twilight asks.

You sigh again. "He was one of the survivors of Octavia's assassination attempt on Dantooine. Have you ever heard of the Wonderbolts? He's one of them."

Twilight's eyes furrow. "I have heard of them. You saved him from that fire. I read the reports. Why in the world would he want to attack us?"

You shake your head. "Well... we weren't able to rescue his captain from the explosion before she died. Maybe that has something to do with it."

"It's possible." Spike appears on the table again. "According to rumors circling around on Naboo, Soarin' and Captain Spitfire were going steady with each other at the time of her death. They wanted to keep it secret."

You nod and turn back to Twilight. "There you go. He's pissed we couldn't save his girlfriend, and now he wants revenge."

Spike continues. "Republic records on Naboo also show that, because of his injuries, he was forced into early retirement, with honors. Fleetfoot was as well."

You look back at Spike. "So he's not flying anymore?"

He shakes his head. "Not for the Wonderbolts, no."

You cross your arms and think for a moment. The implications behind that means that he still flies in his spare time. Which makes perfect sense. He is a pilot, after all. Pilots are the happiest in the air and in space, more than anywhere else. You can personally testify of that.

While you think, Twilight speaks up. "Spike, is Fleetfoot mentioned at all in this droid's memory core?"

Spike turns away for a moment before looking back at her. "I can't see any mention of her, but I did find this recording you might be interested in."

He vanishes again and another holographic screen appears over the central terminal. It, once again, show's things from the perspective of the HK-53 unit. You can see Soarin' limping away from his blue Naboo Starfighter toward you.

The droid speaks. "Query: How may I serve you, Master?"

Soarin' grunts as he stops walking. "HK-53. My friend in the Senate has the information you need to hunt down and kill Anonymous, Sunset Shimmer, and Pinkamena Diane Pie. They're going to the planet Myrkr."

"Statement: I am equipped and ready to depart immediately, Master. The other units and myself will execute these meatbags with extreme force."

Soarin' holds up his hands. "Just Anonymous, Sunset, and Pinkamena, HK-53. They'll be travelling with people from the Republic to Myrkr. Good people. Do not harm them in any way. They don't deserve it. Only target the Mandalorians."

Twilight and Fluttershy look over at you as you watch the recording.

"Query: Master, if those members of the Republic have allied themselves with the Mandalorians in question, should they not also be labelled as enemies? The Mandalorians are our enemies, and if your Republic meatbag companions have allied themselves with them, then logically, they, too would be enemies."

Soarin' just shakes his head again. "No, HK-53. Do not kill or harm any Republic personnel in any way. Scare them, threaten them if you need to get closer to the Mandalorians, but do not kill them. I command it."

"Acknowledgement: I understand, Master."

The recording stops and you think to yourself for a moment. That explains why this droid went after Fluttershy instead of you yesterday. Soarin' is all for threatening and using intimidation tactics against her, Twilight, and Big Mac to get to you, but has commanded that they live. That's comforting, at least.

The first idea you get is to use them as a barrier between you and the droids, but you quickly throw it out. No way in hell would they be okay with that.

"Well, it's good to know that at least you all are safe from the droids." You say.

Big Mac crosses his arms. "I wonder if I could just blast any droids we meet by myself without any resistance from 'em."

That sounds too good to be true.

Twilight shakes her head. "I don't think that would work, Big Mac. Some droids have manufacturer's protocols that dictate some of their actions."

Spike cuts her off. "Including this one, Twilight. HK-53 units have a self-defense initiative in place if they are attacked or threatened, and a self-destruct initiative if they are captured."

She cocks her head. "If they do, then why didn't this droid tell Soarin' about it?"

"Well, HK assassin droids are programmed with an aptitude for unadulterated violence." Spike replies. "It was probably looking for an excuse to try and kill you."

Twilight frowns and looks back at the still image of Soarin' for a moment. "Well, what do you think we should do, Sunset?"

You pause and think. "One way or another, we'll have to deal with Soarin'. There's a chance he could be close by. If we can lure him here and meet up with him, then I could 'persuade' him to call off the droids."

"I have an idea." Twilight says. "Spike, download the HK's memory banks and behavior core, then use its vocabulator to contact Soarin' and bring him here."

Spike nods. "Yes ma'am!"

Twilight smiles as Spike begins downloading the information from the droid.

You cross your arms and watch Spike as well. "This AI is incredible, Twilight. You should be proud."

Spike blushes a little and Twilight giggles. "Thank you, Sunset. He's an invaluable asset, and a great friend. I had the idea about creating him when I was a teenager."

Spike rubs his artificial neck bashfully. "I've had a few upgrades installed since then, but I'm still me. As long as I'm able to help Twilight, I'm happy."

You smile a little as they look at each other. He may not be alive, but he means a lot to Twilight, just as she means a lot to him.

Spike blinks a couple of times. "Download complete."

"Good work, Spike." You say. "Now, bring Soarin' here."

Spike nods at you and brings up a galaxy map. He appears to float in the air as the map zooms in on a section of the galaxy, getting closer and closer until only a couple of stars are visible.

One of the stars lights up. "Here is us." Then another one lights up as well. "Here is where Soarin' is. On another recording, he mentions that he would wait for HK-53 to inform him that Sunset is dead."

You huff. "Well, time to tell a little lie then, Spike."

He nods and starts contacting him.

Fluttershy speaks up behind you. "Um, if we're telling a lie, then maybe it's a good thing that Applejack didn't come with us."

Twilight and Big Mac both laugh a little at that. If there's a joke here, you aren't in on it. You must not know Applejack that well yet.

"Alright, guys. Stay quiet." You say.

Everyone pipes down as Spike waits for Soarin' to answer his comms.

After a second, he finally does. "HK-53. Is it done?"

You feel yourself get angry again at the sound of this coward's voice. He'll get his.

Spike clears his throat and speaks with the voice of HK-53. "Statement: Indeed it is, Master. The Mandalorian is dead, as is Pinkamena Diane Pie."

He pauses for a moment. "Just one Mandalorian?"

Spike thinks to himself. He may be a machine, but Twilight programmed him with humanoid facial expressions and emotions. Right now, he looks nervous. On the verge of panic, even. Machines are terrible liars by nature.

Luckily, you aren't a terrible liar.

You whisper. "Tell him you kept me alive so he can deal with me personally."

Spike nods at you. "Statement: Yes, Master. The Mandalorian Anonymous is dead, but Sunset Shimmer is still alive. She is incapacitated and in great pain. I wanted to see if you were interested in dealing with her personally, Master. I do love seeing pain inflicted on meatbags like these."

As his lie progresses, he looks more relaxed and confident. You nod at him when he finishes. That was a very convincing impression.

Soarin' chuckles once. "Damn, you HK droids really are sadistic..."

"Grateful statement: Oh thank you, Master! You flatter me so." Spike replies.

You grin and Twilight silently giggles at that.

Soarin' continues. "Send me your coordinates. I'll be there soon. Make sure she stays alive until I get there."

"Statement: Yes, Master." The comms cut and Spike sends your location to Soarin' before exhaling and turning back to you. "Statement: Soarin' is on his way here, Sunset."

He's still mimicking HK-53's vocabulator.

"Nice work, Spike." You reply. "Although, you don't need to keep sounding like HK-53, you know."

Spike's eyes widen for a second and he lightly pats his cheek twice before clearing his throat. "*ahem* Whoops. Heh... Sorry about that."

Twilight smiles. "That's alright, Spike. Good work."

You take a deep breath. "Okay. Now that he's on his way here, there's a good chance that the rest of the droids will be as well. We'll need to lock down the ship again and wait."

Big Mac nods and goes over to the wall terminal he's closest to and activates the Ground Lockdown Defense Initiative. The ship seals itself again and hums softly as the defenses come back online.

You continue. "Spike, you'll be our eyes and ears. Any outside movement from droids or vornskr, you tell me about it. Keep a constant watch out for Soarin' as well."

He nods. "Yes ma'am!"

He vanishes and you turn to Big Mac. "You and me are going to be on defense against the droids. If we end up going outside for whatever reason and get separated, or if I end up dying, do not engage the droids. Their manufacturer's protocols won't kick on unless they're attacked."

Big Mac nods. "Eeyup."

You turn to Fluttershy and Twilight. "As for you two, I need you to stay out of the way. I can't lose either of you to these droids."

Fluttershy nods immediately, but Twilight steps forward. "Sunset, how exactly do you see this conflict ending?"

You pause for a moment. That's a good question.

When you first met Soarin', he and Anon got into a little fight with each other. You, Pinkie, and Spitfire had to hold them all back, but Octavia Melody was forced to intervene before they finally stopped. He gave you the cold shoulder the whole time you were on the job. He obviously wanted another shot at Anon. He's a petty, stubborn piece of work.

"If I'm being honest, I'm planning to have to kill him." You reply. "I don't expect him to cave and call off the droids without a bit of physical force. He hates me and Anon with a burning passion."

Even if that wasn't the case, you're not in a very nice mood right now. Killing him would be a pleasure.

Twilight gives you a concerned look. "Sunset, if there's any chance to resolve this amicably, I beg you to take it. Please. I understand that you're angry right now, and you have every right to be, but please don't kill him right away. Let's try to find a way to end this conflict without any more bloodshed."

You growl softly. This sleemo is trying to kill you, and Twilight wants you to be nice to him? It must be an excuse for her just practicing her future politician skills.

You exhale softly. "I'll try, but don't hold your breath, Twilight. I won't make you any promises."

She nods. "Trying is all I ask, Sunset."

She places a hand on your shoulder and gives you a hopeful smile before turning away. You just grumble under your breath and head into the armory. You need to prepare.

As you enter, you remove your jetpack and set it down on the workbench. It needs fuel. The gears in your head start turning as you look around for the fuel canister. Dantooine is still fresh in your mind. You remember seeing Soarin' trapped under that pile of rubble with that broken leg of his. It's a vivid picture in your mind.

Why didn't you just leave him there to die? That son of a bitch was blatantly trying to escape on his own, even though he had to have known it was useless. He just wanted to prove a point. You should've let him try to get away on his own. It would've been funny watching him squirm helplessly on the ground while the building collapsed around him. Anon would've been okay with it, there's no doubt in your mind about that.

...

It's not good to think this way.

You sigh. As much as you hate Soarin', you made the right choice in rescuing him and not leaving him to die. He was trapped, and it was part of your job. You did your job the best you could, just like you always do. You know it, Anon knows it, and Senator Melody knows it. He's condemning himself with this little quest of vengeance. That's all he's doing.

You're curious who his friend in the Senate is that told him where you're going. The only person who knew about Myrkr were the ones in the briefing room on the Kandosii. Maybe that's what Twilight wants to figure out as well. It has to be someone she knows. Maybe she talked to someone about this mission and didn't know that they aren't happy about this alliance between the Republic and Mandalore. It's the only logical explanation.

With this perspective in mind, you're a lot more willing to show restraint against Soarin' when you finally meet him. That doesn't mean you won't beat the hell out of him though. He is trying to kill you, after all.

With that, you start refueling your jetpack and grab whatever weapons you'll need. He should be here shortly.

Buyer's Remorse

View Online

You grip your blaster in anticipation as the console starts beeping in front of you.

Spike's voice comes on. "I'm picking up a ship, Sunset. It's a Naboo Starfighter."

Soarin'.

"Keep us locked down, Spike." You command.

Over the past two hours, he had detected a growing number of droids sitting in wait along the perimeter of the treeline. One of the droids had attempted to enter the ship, but thanks to your defenses, the small, automatic turret on the ship's underbelly kicked on and blasted the droid away. The rest of the droids were on standby with their weapons ready. There were eight of them in total so far, and they had you surrounded.

From above the treetops, Soarin's familiar blue Naboo Starfighter comes into view on your hologram display. It stops in the air and hovers for a moment before slowly descending toward the ground directly over you. Once it's about twenty meters over the ground, it stops its descent and remains stationary in the air. The canopy slides open and Soarin' himself stands up to look down at your ship. His spiky hair is waving in the slight breeze and he smirks confidently.

You growl as you watch him on the scanner. He's probably not going to leave his ship with his broken leg until he knows it's clear.

Fluttershy watches the scanner with you and gulps. "Okay, he's here... What do we do now, Sunset?"

You take a deep breath. "Give me a second..."

Before anything else, you need to deal with all those droids surrounding you. Once they're taken care of, then you can focus on taking down Soarin'. But how?

The console in front of you starts beeping and Spike appears on the hologram display. "It's Soarin'. He's hailing us."

Twilight steps toward the console. "Let me talk to him."

You step away from the console and Twilight presses a button on the display. Soarin' appears a second later. He cocks his head at Twilight.

"This is Twilight Sparkle. I'm a scientist with the Republic." She says.

Soarin' stares at her inquisitively. "I've heard of you, Miss Sparkle. Why are you here? Why are you helping these Mandalorians?"

"My business here is my own, Soarin'." She replies. "Why are you attacking us? Why assassin droids?"

"I am here for the Mandalorians, Twilight, nothing more. I have no beef with you." He says. "Hell, you should help me. Bring Sunset out here so I can give her what she deserves."

While he's talking, you get an idea. There is no way that he is going to back down from this unless he's forced to. While he has those droids at his disposal, he'll think he has the upper hand. However, you could use the ship's heavy turret to destroy them and get the jump on him. Big Mac could do that. Once they're taken care of, then you can focus on Soarin'. Your jetpack's missile should be enough to take his ship down.

You silently make your way over to Big Mac while Twilight and Soarin' continue talking.

"Those Mandalorians are criminals!" He shouts. "They've taken the lives of countless people over the years. Good people! They can't be allowed to walk free anymore!"

Twilight sighs and looks at him sympathetically. "Soarin', I know how much Spitfire meant to you, and how you must feel about her being taken."

He tenses up a little at the mention of her name. Meanwhile, you whisper your plan to Big Mac and he nods before proceeding toward the gun turret. You look back at Soarin'.

Twilight continues. "But what happened to her wasn't their fault. Senator Melody is a good friend of mine. I've seen the records, I know what happened on Dantooine. Sunset and Anon did all they could to save her and Spitfire. You can't blame them for losing her. They tried their best."

He shakes his head slowly as she speaks. He looks like he's thinking about what she's saying. You want to say she's getting through to him, but you're not sure. That uneasy feeling in your gut is still there.

"Please, Soarin'." Twilight implores. "Call off the droids and let us go. Please. She hasn't done anything to you."

He stays still for a long time.

"No, Twilight..." He says, finally looking at her. "Someone has to pay for Spitfire's death. It has to be them. If it wasn't for them, then I wouldn't have lost Spitfire. She'd still be here... With me... I won't let anyone stand in my way..." He glares at her, any sign of cockiness or arrogance is gone and is slowly replaced with rage. "If you won't help me, then you are against me!"

The Naboo Starfighter leans forward in the air and fires a proton torpedo at your hull. The entire ship rocks as it explodes outside. Twilight and Fluttershy both scream and fall onto the floor to take cover. The feed from Soarin's ship is cut and he vanishes from view.

You hold onto a wall for support and growl as you activate your comms. "Big Mac! Now!"

Below you, the ship's underbelly turret whirrs to life and he starts blasting the droids hiding in the treeline. The droids all return fire. Their manufacturer's protocols are working exactly like they were designed to.

The ship's defense initiative is still up and the hull is holding strong, but it won't for much longer if Soarin' keeps blasting you with those proton torpedoes at point-blank range. You need to take him down immediately.

You stand up and look to the girls. "Both of you stay here!"

You run to the airlock and climb up the ladder. As you're climbing, you feel another violent jolt as Soarin' blasts you with another torpedo. It makes you lose your grip on the ladder and you fall down to the floor again. Your HUD starts alerting you that the hull's integrity is starting to deteriorate.

Spike contacts you. "Sunset, now's your chance! He needs to reload!"

You pant hard as you open the airlock and get outside. His starfighter is hovering in the air right above the ship and his cannons are pointed directly at you. He makes eye contact with you and grits his teeth in fury.

You quickly target his ship and fire your jetpack's missile. It goes screaming toward him and his engines whir loudly as he maneuvers his ship out of the way and flies off. Your missile follows him, but it won't reach him. You know that it won't. Naboo Starfighters are fast enough already, so you can only imagine how much faster this one is with its Wonderbolt upgrades.

His ship flies out of sight above the treetops and you step onto the roof, watching him as he flies.

You activate your comms. "Spike! Track him! He'll come back around!"

You look around at the jungle floor. Big Mac is still firing at the HK droids. They seem too focused on him to worry about you right now, which is good. You can't afford to be distracted.

You check your scanner and look around for Soarin'. He's already started to circle back around for another pass. You've used your only missile, so nothing else you have will be able to destroy his ship from the ground. You'll need to fight him from the air. Your ship is grounded, but luckily, you aren't.

You take a deep breath and activate your jetpack. You rise into the air and reach the treetops, just to where you can get a visual on him. He's getting closer, but it doesn't look like he can see you quite yet. You're too small and too far away right now. You need to wait before making your move. He's going low; hugging the treetops.

It will be about ten seconds before he's directly over you. You'll need to grab onto his ship when he passes. You check your belt one last time. You're out of explosives, but your blaster and lightsaber are both still there. They'll have to do.

You breathe hard as he gets closer. "Four... Three... Two..."

Just before he reaches you, you activate your jetpack, full throttle, and shoot into the air directly in front of his starfighter. Soarin', now right under you, looks up in surprise as you twist in the air and careen toward his ship.

You hit the left side of his ship hard and slide backwards as you try to grab onto something to stay in place. Nothing works though, and you slide off his ship a second later. Thinking quickly, you activate your whipcord and grapple onto his ship, just to the left of his astromech droid that's docked behind the cockpit.

You shout as he drags you along in the air. He starts twisting and turning as he tries to shake you, but you don't let go. The jungle goes whizzing past you below as he pulls up and takes you on a ride.

With a grunt, you retract your anchored whipcord and pull yourself closer to the hull. His droid beeps wildly as it looks at you. The wind is blowing violently up here, unsurprisingly. It's hard to hear anything else.

A panel on the astromech droid's head opens and an electroshock prod comes out, pointing at you. You grunt as you try to claw your way onto a steady footing on the ship's hull. The prod fires a bolt of electricity onto your hand in an attempt to get you off.

"Ow!" You shout and punch the droid in its ocular with your free hand, making it yowl in distress.

You punch it a few more times, cracking the glass and destroying parts of its inner workings. The droid powers down as you destroy it and you grab onto the ship again, slowly clawing your way toward the ship's nose.

As you reach the canopy, you look down at Soarin' as he pilots the ship. He's gripping the controls tightly and gritting his teeth. You grunt and strain to take out your blaster and he glares up at you.

As you take your blaster out and point it at him, he turns the controls to the right, making the ship do a corkscrew in the air. You yell and grab onto the ship again as your legs flail about behind you uncontrollably. Luckily, you're still tethered to the ship via your whipcord, so you're not going anywhere. As you hold onto the ship, your blaster slips out of your hand and it flies down to the jungle floor below. All you've got left is your lightsaber.

After a few seconds of spinning around in the air, he finally levels out again and you look back at him. You're breathing hard and trying not to get sick. This is insane. You've got to stop this crazy ride now.

Taking a risk, you grab onto the destroyed astromech droid and retract your whipcord. All that's keeping you on this ship now are your hands. Oh, what you wouldn't give for a mechanical arm right now.

You look at his ship's left engine and aim your gauntlet at it. You have one shot at this. Soarin' stays still for half a second as he flies and you fire your whipcord again. Lucky you, the whipcord embeds itself in the ship's hull right over the left engine.

With your teeth gritted, you release the ship and flail around like a ragdoll behind the engine again as Soarin' continues to try and shake you off. You retract the whipcord again and pull yourself onto the left wing. As you grab the ship, you take out your lightsaber and activate it. Behind you, Soarin's eyes widen in horror as he realizes what you're about to do.

"NO!" He shouts.

Before he can react, you plunge the blade into the engine and pull backwards as hard as you can, slicing a good chunk of the wing off in the process. Within a second, the engine explodes, knocking you off the ship and into the air once again.

You retract the whipcord as you try to recover from the explosion. You're in freefall. It takes a few seconds, but you activate your jetpack again and finally manage to level out in the air. A thick plume of smoke follows Soarin's ship as it spins uncontrollably and plummets to the jungle floor.

You pant hard and fast as you hit the throttle on your jetpack and follow him as he goes down. After spinning around in the air for a bit, he crashes into some trees and a loud boom echoes through the air. As you get closer, you see that he crashed upside-down into the side of a large olbio tree. The engine you sliced is on fire.

You land beside his ship and quickly move beneath the wreckage. The glass canopy has been shattered and he's hanging upside-down with his arms dangling over his head. He's still alive and bleeding profusely from his nose and from a few cuts on his face.

You are absolutely livid right now.

With your fists clenched, you stomp over to him and reach up to grab his hands to pull him out of the wreckage. He falls onto the jungle floor with a hard thud on his broken leg. He screams in pain for a moment before you drag him away from the wreckage. He grunts and squeezes your wrist as you do.

Once you're a few meters away, you stop and look back at him. You stay there for a few seconds, silently glaring at his broken, bleeding body.

Without thinking, you reach down and punch him as hard as you can on his broken leg, making him scream again in sheer pain. He leans forward to reach for his leg, but you reel back and punch him in the face. He shouts and flops over onto his side, but you grab him by the hair and pull him back to face you again. You step on his broken leg to keep him still and punch him in the face again and again and again, making his cries grow louder and higher in intensity.

You reel back to punch him one more time, but you stop. He's reaching to his leg with one hand and trying to cover his face with the other. He's blubbering in agony. Tears have involuntarily begun to fall from his eyes and they've mixed with the blood on his face and he looks back at you in terror.

You pause for a moment. Every single muscle in your body, every ounce of your will, every fiber of your being wants to torture him right here and now. Make. Him. Suffer.

But you recall what Twilight said: don't kill him. Instead, you reach down and grab his collar, forcing him to look into your visor again.

"Call off the droids!" You command.

He whimpers and cries as he grabs your wrists and looks at you.

You tighten your grip on his collar. "Now!"

He pants hard and grits his teeth. His terrified expression shifts to one of defiant anger one more time before he violently spits at you, splattering your visor with a mixture of his tears and blood.

Oh, this is so not good for your anger...

You growl and throw him onto the ground again before grabbing his hand, taking hold of his pinky finger and pressing it backwards, breaking it.

He cries out in pain again and squirms around on the ground, but you step on his broken leg a few times to keep him in one place. You can feel his bone shift in his leg beneath your boot.

"Call off the droids, or else I'll break them all!" You roar.

He squirms and screams in agony as you grab his ring finger and break it as well. He throws his head back and shouts again.

He needs to hurry up...

You grab his middle finger and start applying pressure but he stammers and holds up his other hand. "O-O-Okay! Okay! I'll do it! I'll call them off! Please! Don't! Please!"

He starts sobbing as he begs you to stop. He's on the verge of hyperventilating.

"NOW!" You scream.

He shakily reaches to his ear and starts speaking as best as he can. "H-H-HK-53! S-Stand d-down! All droids! S-Stand down! Now! L-Leave the M-Mandalorian ship alone!"

He whimpers and looks up at you in terror as you keep applying pressure to his middle finger. Oh, how badly do you want to break it. This feeling, this knowledge of complete power over someone else, it feels incredible. Just watching him writhe on the ground like this, completely at your mercy...

But... You shouldn't.

You take a good look at him. His face is cut, bruised, and bleeding in places, his leg is shattered, and his fingers are disfigured now, among many other things. He's a broken, decimated mess of a man. You did this to him.

This isn't you, Sunset. You're better than this.

Gilda would do something like this. Not you.

He's beaten. He knows it, and you know it.

Panting hard through gritted teeth of your own, you growl loudly in frustration and practically throw his hand at him as you release it. He holds his hand close to him and you step backwards off his broken leg, standing up straight. He's taking shaky breaths and has been reduced to a blubbering mess on the ground.

You take a few steps backwards and watch him, panting hard and trying to catch your own breath. You take another look at his destroyed starfighter in the tree and exhale before activating your comms.

Twilight answers a second later. "Sunset! The droids are retreating! Was that you?! Is it over?!"

You take another deep breath and exhale. "It's over..."

"What about Soarin'?" She asks.

You look down at him again. He's panting hard and holding his broken finger in agony. "He's...alive... Just barely, but he's alive."

You take another look around the jungle and breathe again. Your ship is about two kilometers away. You'll have to carry him there.

"We'll be back soon, Twilight..." You breathe. "Just hang tight."

Simmering Down

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After almost an hour of walking through the thick jungle while carrying Soarin' on your back, you finally make it back to your ship. The trek was long, frustrating, and uncomfortably silent, apart from his occasional whimpering and pained cries. Lucky for him, you didn't run into any more vornskr out here, otherwise you would've fed him to them.

You let out a relieved sigh as you get a glimpse of your ship again. Twilight, Fluttershy, and Big Mac are all outside waiting for you. When they see you, they all come rushing toward you.

"Sunset, you're okay!" Fluttershy exclaims.

You nod silently as they all approach. Big Mac reaches you first, so you start to remove Soarin' from your back.

"Lock him up..." You growl, completely free of sympathy.

Twilight stares at Soarin' in shock as Big Mac takes him off your hands and starts to carry him toward the ship. "What in the world did you do to him, Sunset?" She asks.

"I let him live, Twilight... Against my better judgement, I let him live. That's what I did to him..." You say as you glare at her. "You told me that you wanted him alive, but you failed to specify how alive you wanted him to be..."

Twilight and Fluttershy both give you a fearful look as you stomp after Big Mac. You are so done for today.

As Big Mac carries him up the ramp to the ship, Soarin' looks back at you as you follow. His breaths are still shaky and his eyes are full of fear. All that bravado and cockiness from before is completely gone now.

Big Mac carries him into the cargo hold and sets him down on the cot in the cage. You simply stand in the doorway and watch him. He turns to you. "He needs medical attention, Sunset."

"He'll get some. Later." You reply bluntly.

Big Mac hesitates and looks back at Soarin' for a moment before standing up straight and leaving him on the cot. He looks at you as you stand there menacingly.

"If you could start working on the ship now, I'd appreciate it, Big Mac." You growl.

He gulps and nods nervously. "E-Eeyup."

That's the first time you've ever seen Big Mac scared.

He quickly leaves the room. Soarin' looks at him in desperation as he leaves him alone with you. You close the door to the cargo hold behind you and walk toward his cage. He shakes violently as he watches your every move. His eyes are like pinpricks. He tries to squirm away to the opposite side of the cot, but his injuries prevent him from doing so. He's stuck exactly where he is. He knows it, and you know it.

You reach into the cage and close the barred door, locking him inside. As you stare at each other silently for a few more seconds, you reach up and remove your helmet so he can see your face. You glare at him with eyes of fury and anger and reach up to wipe away some dried blood from your lip.

"Twice... Twice have I held your life in my hands... And twice have I returned it back to you... The next time..." You step forward and grip the bars, making sure he's paying attention to you. "...Your life belongs to me... And I will take it from you as slowly, and as painfully as I can... Do you understand me?"

Soarin' shakes in fear and nods his head rapidly. You never take your eyes off his. You don't even blink.

"Never threaten me, or my friends ever again... Got it?" He nods again, his lip quivering in terror. "Good boy."

You release your grip on the cage and finally break eye contact as you turn around and head out into the main hold. As you exit, you turn around to stare at him one more time before closing the door to the cargo hold and locking it.

You look around at the main hold. Twilight, Fluttershy, Spike, and Big Mac are all looking at you in silence. They're all nervous.

Why shouldn't they be? An angry, stressed out Mandalorian is the last thing anyone wants to see.

You stare at them all for a moment as you walk to your room and head inside. Fluttershy whimpers once, but no one says a word. Hopefully it stays this quiet for a while. You've earned a rest.

You enter your room and close the door behind you, giving a sigh of relief as you're finally alone.

---

After laying down for a little over an hour and trying to gather your bearings, you finally managed to calm down enough to the point where you felt ready to socialize again. All that rage you had let out against Soarin' all at once had to have made everyone else feel uncomfortable, in addition to being nervous.

He was pretty messed up. You did that to him. They saw what you were capable of. You gave them a reason to fear you, but you don't want them to fear you. You want them to think of you as a friend.

Everything you did against Soarin', the droids, and the vornskr was to protect them. They were in trouble, and only you were capable of protecting them. Still, you feel the need to apologize for how you handled yourself. You probably could have been a bit more tempered while you were out there.

You take a deep breath and exhale as you open the door to your room and step into the main hold again. Twilight is talking to Spike on the holotable, while Big Mac is walking out of the cockpit. He's followed by Fluttershy. As you exit, everyone freezes and looks at you with caution and hesitation. Fluttershy takes a small step away from you to hide behind Big Mac, but continues watching you.

You sigh and turn to Twilight.

She gulps once and smiles softly. "H-Hi, Sunset."

"Hello, Twilight." You blink slowly.

"Are you feeling better?" She asks.

You nod. "Much."

She seems to relax a little bit more, but she's still tense. Fluttershy and Big Mac are as well.

"Look." You sigh, rubbing the back of your neck. "I would just like to say that I'm very sorry for the way I reacted to this whole situation... It was just so much, so fast, and I was overwhelmed with everything that happened yesterday, and the droids, and... I didn't mean to make anyone scared or nervous."

You look at Fluttershy and give her a small, apologetic smile. She looks at you with hope in her eyes in response. She wants to believe you.

You continue. "I don't want things to be weird or tense around here because of what happened. I was just doing everything I could to protect my friends from danger, and I got a little carried away... I'm sorry." You look to Twilight. "Can you forgive me?"

Twilight smiles when you mention that they're your friends and steps towards you. "Of course, Sunset! You saved our lives."

You return her smile and Fluttershy steps out from behind Big Mac as well. "It was a pretty scary situation, and, um, while I can't say I'm happy with how things turned out, I certainly am grateful that you were here, Sunset." She says with a smile.

Big Mac nods beside her. "Eeyup."

You smile as well as you look at all of them. "Thank you all so much... I promise, I'll be better in the future."

Twilight takes another step and gives you a quick hug. You're a bit startled at first, but you return the hug and sigh after a second.

"We're all learning, Sunset." She says. "Mistakes happen sometimes. It's okay."

You smile warmly as you hug your friend. She's right. You're not perfect, and that's okay. The best you can do is try.

After another few seconds, you release each other and she smiles at you. "Now, we still have a bit of work to do before the ship is up and running, but it's coming along quite well. This ship is tough. Those proton torpedoes set us back only a little bit." She says.

"Is there anything I can do to help? Anything at all?" You ask.

Big Mac grins at you. "Sunset, you've done enough. Why don'tcha sit this one out? Me 'n Twilight can take care of the rest. Spike has made this job a lot easier."

On the holotable, Spike flashes you a toothy grin and nods his head. It makes you chuckle a little.

Twilight smiles again and walks over to him. "At this rate, we should be spaceworthy again in a couple hours. Maybe sooner."

That's good news. You've been stuck here for too long, so it's good that Twilight and Big Mac are so capable. You're about to take their recommendation and head back to your room, but then you remember why you're on this planet in the first place.

"We do still need to get those ysalamiri." You mention.

Twilight points at you once before turning to the holotable. "That's very true, we do... If you insist on helping some more, then you can go out and look for them. It should be relatively easy now that the danger is pretty much gone."

"Okay." You turn to Fluttershy. "Do you want to come with me? I could use your help."

Fluttershy smiles. "I'd love to, Sunset."

You smile at her. "Okay. I'll go get my stuff and we'll head out."

You all go your separate ways. You head to your room to grab your helmet before going into the armory to grab another blaster, just in case. Your lightsaber was still attached to your belt. The droids had been dealt with, but vornskr were native to the planet, and liked to prey on Force-sensitives and ysalamiri alike. Thankfully, dealing with them is much easier than dealing with assassin droids. You should be fine.

Once you're all ready, you put your helmet on and meet Fluttershy at the exit ramp to the ship. "All set?"

She nods and smiles. "Let's go."

The two of you step down the ramp and head into the jungle together.

It Followed Me Home, I Swear!

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It's been about fifteen minutes of wandering around the jungle and you haven't found any ysalamiri yet. You and Fluttershy had split up a little to cover more ground, but you were still within earshot of each other, just to be safe.

Fluttershy described what they looked like well enough. According to her, they were about a half-meter in length, and were dirty light-brown in color; almost a murky yellow. They also had black spots on their backs, four black eyes, and a large mouth with a row of small, sharp teeth. Based on that, you've got an idea in your head of what they look like, but it's hard to know until you actually see one in person.

As you step over another overgrown tree root, you look around again and sigh. This planet is supposed to be full of these creatures, but you still haven't seen any this whole trip. Where could they be?

You continue walking, admiring the scenery and the thick trees and jungle that surround you. This jungle was much, much safer than the ones on Mandalore. Even when the droids were after you, you're willing to bet that it was much safer here than in the ones back home. Anon would know for sure.

How's he doing? Did he ever get your message?

Once you're in the air again, you'll have to check up on that.

"Sunset! Sunset, come here!"

That's Fluttershy's voice. She doesn't sound scared or nervous at all though, she sounds excited.

You make your way over to her location, stepping through bushes and over logs along the way "Did you find some?"

She's speaking in a loud whisper about thirty meters away from you. "Shh! Yes I did! Over here!" She's waving you over to her and smiling wide.

As you head through another bush, you start to feel... weird. Like, you've lost touch with one of your senses. You can function just fine, but you feel like you're... off somehow. It almost feels like you stood up too fast and got a slight headrush. Ysalamiri are able to deter the Force from anywhere around them in an invisible bubble, so maybe that's what this is. You haven't felt like this before.

You push away the feeling and get closer. Fluttershy is looking up at a small olbio tree with a smile on her face. She shushes you and bids you to come even closer.

You follow her gaze to see a trio of ysalamiri hanging out on a tree branch just above your heads. They're just sitting there, doing their thing.

"Wow..." You whisper.

One of them is looking at you. He's smaller than the others.

He fits Fluttershy's description of them. Murky yellow with black spots and four eyes. The way his mouth is shaped, it looks like he's smiling at you.

You take off your helmet and set it at your feet so you can look at him face-to-face. He blinks at you once and cocks his head.

A smile grows wide on your face as you look at him. He's got to be the cutest little thing you've ever seen.

"Hey there, little guy." You say to him, giving him a tiny wave.

The other two ysalamiri look at you and Fluttershy curiously for a moment, but otherwise pay you no heed. That little one in the middle doesn't take his eyes off of you though. He flicks his tongue once and adjusts himself on the tree slightly, making a little grumbling sound.

He's adorable. You love him.

"Okay." You turn to Fluttershy. "How do we get them down?"

She giggles and thinks for a moment. "Well, it won't be easy. They live on these olbio trees to hide from the vornskr and feed on the nutrients. They rarely come off from them."

"What if we brought the olbio tree to them?" You ask. "Cut off a small piece so they can climb on to that?"

She hums. "That might work for now. We'll need something more long-term if we want to keep them fed though." She thinks for a moment. "I know where we can buy some of the olbio nutrients. I have a friend who also knows about animals and creatures all over the galaxy too. Dr. Fauna. She should be able to help us get what they need."

You nod at her. "Okay. I'll go chop some pieces up so they have something to snack on until then."

She smiles. "I'll work on getting these little guys down from here."

You look up at the little ysalamir one more time. He's still staring at you.

You smile and head off into the jungle a bit, taking your lightsaber in one hand. The next olbio tree looks clear of any ysalamiri, so you chop off a sizeable branch and start making a pile. After a few minutes, you manage to make a decent sized collection of bark, branches, and logs that are rich with nutrients for the ysalamiri. That should be good enough for now.

You deactivate your lightsaber before grabbing a thick branch or two and carrying them over to Fluttershy. She's somehow managed to not only gain the ysalamiri's trust, but she's also coaxed them off the tree and was holding all three of them. One of them was resting on her head. She giggles as she talks to them all.

You smile and stop in front of her, holding the tree branches in your hands. "That's incredible, Fluttershy. You've got a real talent for this thing."

She smiles at you. "Thank you."

On her arm, resting on her bandage is that same little ysalamir from earlier. He's still staring at you.

"This little guy really likes you, Sunset." Fluttershy says. "He hardly took his eyes off of you while I was up there getting him and his friends down."

Aww, really?

You giggle and set the branch down on the ground, stepping towards him slowly. "Well aren't you just a little ray of sunshine?" You say happily.

Ray.

You like that name.

He cocks his head at you again. It still looks like he's smiling.

You giggle again and step closer. "Is it okay if I... pet him?"

Fluttershy nods and holds him out to you.

Ever so gently, you reach out to him and rub your finger along his head. He looks at your hand and backs away for a second, but leans in to inspect your hand further, flicking his tiny tongue on your finger to check you out.

You rub his head again and move down his back, rubbing him up and down softly. He grumbles a little and closes his eyes slowly before opening them again. He arches his back a little as you rub his back just above his tail. It makes your heart melt.

"Awww..."

He's the cutest thing ever!

You rub his back for a few more seconds before holding out our arm to him and inviting him onto you. He looks at your arm for a moment before slowly waddling onto it and looking up at you again. He's still got that cute little smile on his face. You are so unbelievably happy right now.

"I'm going to call you Ray." You say to him. "You like that name? Ray?"

He slithers his tongue out again and looks at your arm for a moment before looking back at you. You'll take that as a 'yes'.

You giggle and look at Fluttershy. "This one's mine. End of discussion."

She giggles and nods. "Sounds great, Sunset."

You smile wide and look back at Ray as you and Fluttershy continue on your way through the jungle together to look for more.

Free as a Bird

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After about an hour, the two of you had found ten ysalamiri in total. They were all much easier to find this time around, without any droids.

Ray never left your side. He had actually crawled onto your shoulders behind your head and rested there the whole time. You couldn't help but smile each time you looked up at him. He's the cutest little thing you've ever seen.

You had pulled out an empty container from inside the cargo hold and took it into the armory for them to rest in. Both you and Fluttershy had carried the olbio logs inside the ship and set them in the container in there, since the cargo hold was a bit occupied right now.

As crippled as he is now, you don't trust Soarin' at all with these ysalamiri. They're important to you, and he hates you. He's terrified of you, but he still hates you. Needless to say, he was not happy to see you when you entered the cargo hold again. The ysalamiri would have to live in the container for a bit until Soarin' was able to be removed.

Except for Ray. He stays with you.

You and Fluttershy set the remaining ysalamiri inside the container and strap it down. They should be fine in there for a while.

Fluttershy bends down to look at them all. "Okay, everyone. I need you all to stay here for a bit. My friends need your help to stop some bad people, okay? You'll be safe and sound here, I promise."

They don't reply to her, obviously, but she seems satisfied.

She stands up straight again. "Okay, Sunset. I think we're set on the ysalamiri."

You shrug. "You're the animal expert. If you say we're good, then we're good."

The two of you leave the armory together and enter the main hold.

"Well, we still need to pick up those additional nutrients from my friend." She says.

"We'll figure that out later, Fluttershy. Don't worry." You smile at her and look at the holotable. "First thing we have to worry about is getting out of here."

Spike appears on the holotable. "Funny you should say that, Sunset. We should be good to go now!"

Your eyebrows shoot up. "Really?"

He nods. "Yep! Big Mac just finished with the essential systems and Twilight is having me run some final diagnostics. I think we're good though."

You slump your shoulders and sigh loudly in relief. That's the best news you've heard in such a long time. It's like a massive weight has been lifted off of you.

"Thank goodness..." You chuckle again and smile. "Okay... I'll check everything out then."

Spike nods and you head into the cockpit. Big Mac is sitting at the pilot's seat and looking over a few settings on the console.

"How are we looking in here?" You ask.

He turns back to you for a second. "Hey Sunset. We're doin' pretty good, I reckon. She still needs work to get back to what she was, but she'll get back into hyperspace again."

That's all you need.

You let out a breath again and smile. "Thank you so much, Big Macintosh. I can't begin to tell you how thankful I am."

He grins and stands up again. "Don't worry about it, Sunset. I was happy to help."

The two of you head into the main hold and meet up with the girls. Twilight is going over the diagnostics data on the holotable and Fluttershy is standing behind her.

"Everything check out, Twilight?" You ask.

She nods, not looking at you. "It looks like it. I've got a list of everything that needs further repairs, but the ship will be able to take off and get to hyperspace once again."

You take another deep breath. Between Spike, Big Mac, and Twilight all telling you the same thing, you feel pretty good.

"Let's get ready to go then." You say.

Twilight finally looks over at you and smiles when she sees Ray. "Looks like we got everything we were after."

You smile and look at Ray as well, giving his neck another scratch. "We sure did."

She nods. "Great. Well, we just need to tidy up a bit, and then we'll be good to go."

You take another breath and smile. "You know what? I don't know about you guys, but I want to get the hell out of here as fast as possible, so how about we clean up after we get into hyperspace?"

Fluttershy giggles and Twilight smiles before nodding. "If you insist."

You smile back at her and head into the cockpit, talking to Ray as you walk.

Once you sit back down in your seat, you smile again and wait a moment. Ray grumbles again and adjusts himself on your shoulder before staying still.

You look at him and rub his neck again before pressing all the necessary buttons to start up the engines. They click and whir for a moment before revving up like normal. The ship's systems come back online. Life support, weapons, shields, fuel, everything is on your console's display like it should be.

A few anomalies make themselves known to you here and there, but they're all for nonessential systems that still need maintenance. Your friends told you about this, so it doesn't come as a surprise to you.

Once everything looks green enough, you set your hand on the control stick and take a deep breath. "Here goes..."

You press a button and the ship lifts off the jungle floor. Outside, the trees move down as the ship rises into the air.

"Yes..." You say under your breath with a smile.

The ship teeters back and forth a little as it rises, but it works just fine. After a few seconds, you clear the treetops and hit the throttle to head toward the atmosphere. The cracked viewport shows a lot less green, and a lot more blue as you push past the clouds and ascend higher and higher, until the sky turns black and stars appear all around you.

Space. Finally.

You switch on the navicomputer and set a course to Concord Dawn. It shouldn't take too long to get back. Once your ship is on course, you hit the throttle and blast off to hyperspace.

You practically collapse in your chair and stare into the cyclone of blue lights outside. You love hyperspace. It's so relaxing to just listen to the steady thrum of the hyperdrive as you move faster than light from one part of the galaxy to the other.

You might just take a nap.

No. First thing's first. You've got to help clean up the ship.

With a groan, you stand up again and stretch. "Come on, Ray. Let's go."

He slithers his tongue again as you walk out to the main hold.

Bad News

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After you all finished tidying up, Twilight took Spike out of your ship's system and decided to relax for a bit. Her and Fluttershy were in the main hold talking. Big Mac was in the back somewhere, taking a nap. He earned it.

You tried to nap too, but you weren't able to as long as you wanted. You were sitting in your seat up in the cockpit. Ray was no longer on your shoulder.

Fluttershy was worried that he was hungry, so you took one of the olbio logs you cut and set it on your bed in your room. He was latched onto it now. That's one reason why you weren't able to nap as long as you wanted. You were stuck in your chair. Not that you mind.

You just got Ray and already, you'd die for him. You don't mind sacrificing a little comfort for him at all.

The other reason was because a beeping sound on your console had woken you up.

You inhale sharply as you sit up and look at the notification. It wasn't the hyperdrive letting you know that you were at Concord Dawn. That wouldn't be for a little while longer.

No, this was an incoming transmission. From Anon.

You gasp softly and sit up straight, answering his call. "Anon?"

On the small holopad in front of you, he appears. No surprise, he's fully armored from head to toe. He's got a few nicks and scratches in new places, but he's okay.

"Sunset?" He says.

You smile wide at him. "Anon! You're okay!"

He nods slowly. "Yeah... I'm fine... I got your message. Are you okay?"

You nod at him. "Yeah, we're fine. The ship needs repairs. We ran into some trouble with HK droids and an old friend of ours. You won't believe this. We got here and-"

He holds up his hand, cutting you off. "Sunset, Sunset, wait. Listen... I have to tell you something very important... Something has happened, and I wanted you to hear it from me first."

You stop talking and look at him closely. "What is it? What's wrong? Are you okay?"

He shakily takes off his helmet and stares at you. He's... nervous.

"I'm fine, but..." He hesitates and looks away for a moment.

He slowly shakes his head and turns back to you with a somber expression on his face.

"Anon?"

He's freaking you out.

"Anon, what is it? Tell me."

He pauses for another long moment before continuing.

"...Mandalore is dead..."

Desolation

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Anonymous
---

The Sonic Rainboom drops out of lightspeed over the planet Khar Delba.

You're impressed with Rainbow's ship. It runs very smoothly, and it's fast. Probably the fastest ship in the galaxy. You wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if it was.

According to her, this ship holds the galaxy's record for doing the Kessel Run in fourteen parsecs. She claims that record will never be broken and that she'll hold it forever, but if you've learned anything in your life, its that someone is always better. Another hotshot will come along in a faster ship and do something to beat it. Someday.

Rainbow is at the controls. Both you and Mandalore are standing behind her and watching.

The Sith presence around this planet is very great, but it isn't big enough to be all of them. The bulk of their fleet has to be somewhere else. Even so, numbers of cruisers and command ships litter the skies above the icy world.

You're far enough away to not be too worried about them spotting you, you're pretty sure. You sneak a look at the control console to check if the stealth drive is still functional.

"Oh boy..." Rainbow licks her lips as she looks for the best way to get to the planet.

It might take a little while. There are ships everywhere.

"Just take it easy, Rainbow." You advise.

She nods and begins her approach toward the planet. You and Mandalore both look around at the cluster of Sith ships in orbit.

This is where the fear virus is being made.

The death sticks were just a test. A method of spreading a watered-down version of the virus across the galaxy to make people less resistant to the real thing . Since they're so addictive, it would spread around rather easily. The resulting demand would also create chaos and civil unrest all over the Republic. Darth Sombra was using that chaos to his advantage.

All of that is exactly what the Sith want. Unrest, chaos, and carnage. The galaxy would have no chance in fighting back if they couldn't stop fighting themselves. What happened on Cerea will be a huge setback against for its people for generations.

You refuse to let that happen to the Mandalorians. That virus goes down here and now.

"Scan the planet's surface for the location of the Sith factory, Rainbow." Mandalore commands.

Rainbow presses a button on her console. "Yes, Mandalore."

On the console's little screen, an image of Khar Delba appears, along with a layout of the Sith ships in orbit.

You're watching the screen when Pinkie walks past you and stares out the viewport to look at the planet. She isn't smiling or laughing at all. She looks like she's in a trance. Applejack follows behind her and stops beside you.

You look at her. "What's wrong?"

Applejack shakes her head. "I dunno. She seemed fine a second ago, but then she got all nervous and stuff just now."

The two of you look back at Pinkie as she stares at the planet silently. Her mouth is slightly agape. You can hear her shaky breathing. She's scared.

"Pinkie?" You ask.

She slowly turns to face you and Applejack.

Applejack takes a step forward. "You alright, Sugarcube?"

She stays still for a moment before looking back at Khar Delba. "The Dark Side is very strong here, you guys."

Rainbow takes a quick look back at Pinkie before looking back outside.

Applejack looks at the planet as well. "Makes sense. Master Maud said this place was a Dark Side nexus, and it was important to some ancient Sith Lord."

Naga Sadow.

Pinkie shakes her head slowly. "There's just so much... I can feel pain...suffering...fear. So much fear... This place is so evil, it's unnatural." You swear you hear her whisper "I shouldn't have come here." under her breath.

Rainbow exhales. "Pinkie, will you stop worrying? You're making me nervous, and I can't concentrate on avoiding the Sith when I'm nervous."

Pinkie seems to jump a little when Rainbow speaks. She looks at her. "I-I'm sorry Rainbow, but you don't know how it feels just being here, and sensing what's going on down there."

"No I don't, and I don't want to know, either!" Rainbow says.

"Everyone stop." Rainbow and Pinkie go silent and look at you. "Pinkie, I know you're worried. I'm not surprised that the Force is pretty negative here. Remember, this is where they made the virus they spread over Cerea. All those people died because of what the Sith are doing here. People are counting on us to stop it."

Pinkie looks at you with a somber expression as you speak.

You continue. "We are here to prevent that from happening to anyone else. It's up to us. If we don't stop the Sith's fear virus, no one will. Keep Cerea in mind while we're down there. I need you to be strong for me, alright?"

Pinkie pauses for a moment before nodding. "Okay, Anon. I'll do my best. Pinkie promise. Cross my heart, hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye." She smiles and crosses her heart before covering one of her eyes for a second.

"Good." You say. "You don't need to be afraid. We're all in this together."

She still isn't smiling, but she nods at you once and takes another breath before walking back into the ship. It is only now that you notice that Mandalore has stayed quiet during this whole exchange. He just watched and listened.

"Nice work, Anonymous." He says.

You look at him and say nothing. What exactly did you do?

He continues. "She strikes me as the eccentric type. Probably more than anyone else I've ever seen in my life, honestly. She was on the verge of panicking. Losing her nerve. You were able to calm her down."

Oh. That.

He's not wrong at all about her being eccentric.

"Pinkie tends to worry when it comes to the Dark Side of the Force." You say. "I think she's got a few demons she hasn't told me about."

That is a thought that has been in your head for a while. Pretty much since you first met her. In the Pazaak Den on Nar Shaddaa, she looked almost giddy while she was kicking your ass. She was legitimately having fun. That is, until, you and Sunset got the upper hand. Even with two of you though, she still proved to be a bit of a challenge.

What if she doesn't really trust herself with the Dark Side?

"Even so." Mandalore continues. "You stepped up and helped her in exactly the way she needed. I've wanted to see your leadership skills in person for a while now. So far, I'm impressed."

Wow. Coming from Mandalore himself, that means a lot. It's probably the best compliment you've ever received from anyone, ever.

"Thank you, Mandalore." You say.

He nods again. "Keep it up."

You don't reply. You just grin under your helmet as Mandalore looks outside at the approaching planet once again. If he's praising your leadership skills, then you must be doing something right.

Do the others see you as a good leader too?

You've tried to be the best you could be. Giving orders, but also doing by example. If you're a part of a team, then you need to work too. You don't want to be seen as some boss sitting behind a desk giving orders, like so many in the Republic, you want to be on the front lines doing the same thing as everyone else, just like Mandalore. He's one of those leaders. You've tried to follow his example as best as you can.

Beside you, Applejack approaches the viewport as well and stands next to Rainbow.

She whistles softly. "That's a lotta Star Destroyers, y'all."

Rainbow nods. "Yep. I think I found a way onto the planet though."

You needlessly check the stealth drive again to make sure it's still working.

Rainbow maneuvers the ship very close to the rear of one of the Sith Star Destroyers. Applejack shields her eyes a little to protect them from the massive engines illuminating the cockpit.

"Hopefully they don't see us." Rainbow breathes.

You hang onto the back of Rainbow's seat, just in case. The Sonic Rainboom quickly zips around and weaves through the fleet, inching its way closer to the planet. You and Mandalore both provide advice and input here and there, but she eventually manages to sneak past the fleet.

Once you enter the atmosphere, you all breathe a sigh of relief.

Applejack puts a hand over her heart and shakes her head slightly. "Oh my goodness, my heart's goin' a mile a minute."

You chuckle. "We're not done yet. I have a feeling that was just the easy part.

As you continue moving through the atmosphere, you pass through a few thick, dark storm clouds. The ship shakes and rumbles slightly from the turbulence. You're on the night side of the planet, so it's a bit hard to see where you are.

Rainbow is flying pretty fast, but you're not worried. You're still a long way from the surface. Her ship has an infrared view on the console that she's also looking at as she flies through the clouds. There's a blizzard going on right now outside, so it should mask your approach.

After a few moments, you finally make it through the clouds and get a good look at the surface of the frozen world.

The factory is located at the bottom of a snow-covered valley. It is a massive complex of smaller buildings that surround a towering spire in the center. The spire glows red in a few places. Ships and transportation vehicles move to and fro around it. They're presumably hauling cargo and other equipment. Being at the bottom of a valley, the factory is surrounded by large mountains. The largest of which lies on the opposite side.

Along the outskirts of the valley, you notice a large section of rocky terrain that could obscure your ship from prying eyes.

You point to them. "Land somewhere in there. Let's stay hidden as best we can."

Rainbow nods and quickly descends to the ground. You pass through more turbulent air as the blizzard whips around outside. The ship wiggles a little, but otherwise stays on course.

A few moments later, Rainbow finds a clearing among the boulders and starts to land. The Sonic Rainboom's wings rotate up and the landing gear lowers as you finally touch down.

Rainbow exhales and shuts down the ship. "Okay, I think that's good."

Applejack heads into the ship. "I'm gonna put somethin' on. It looks brisk out there."

"Tell Pinkie to do the same." You call after her.

She nods and walks away.

Rainbow stands up and looks at you and Mandalore. "So how do we get inside?"

Mandalore turns to you. "Any ideas, Anonymous?"

"Hmm..."

Good question. He's testing you, you just know it.

If there were more Mandalorians here, you'd opt for just shooting your way in. Mix things up a little. But there are only three of you, along with an expert thief, and a Republic soldier. Stealth is your best bet.

"Okay." You begin. "We aren't too far from the factory. A couple miles or so, from what it looks like. I say we sneak in."

Mandalore nods. "A decent idea. What about security?"

You think for a moment. A Sith base would likely have patrols and sweeps going around the perimeter. Overpowering them at this particular one would be pretty easy, you would assume. It's unlikely that they'd be expecting to see anything. Look at this place. Who would come here?

Then again, this is supposedly the only location where the fear virus is being manufactured. That's the Sith's galaxy-conquering superweapon. It would be unwise to underestimate them.

"Tell you what. I'll go outside, do a bit of recon, and get a better idea of what we're up against." You suggest.

Mandalore nods. "Good idea. Get to it."

"Yes, Mandalore." You turn and leave the cockpit, grabbing your jetpack on the way and putting it on.

You pass Applejack on the way to the exit ramp. She's now wearing a thick winter coat that looks like it's armored underneath.

Once you reach the exit ramp, you press a button on the wall and it lowers. A gust of freezing air whips around you inside the ship as you step off and set foot on the snow.

The wind whistles a bit as you look around. There isn't much to see. Just large snowy rocks and boulders that surround your little patch of open terrain.

Taking to the sky, you fly up and turn around to face the factory. You don't have much trouble flying in this storm until you reach the open air above the rocks. You really struggle to stay in one place up here. The rock formations are blocking most of the blizzard. Flying to the factory seems to be out of the question.

You hug the tops of the boulders and proceed forward until you reach an opening that leads to the valley. The fear virus factory is just ahead. From where you are, there's a lot of open space between you and it. Sneaking in might be a challenge.

You turn on your thermal vision and look around. Apart from the factory itself, there isn't much heat anywhere in this valley. A couple heat signatures here and there show the locations of some fauna far away, but other than that, there's nothing of significance. This frozen valley is pretty much dead.

There are a few transport shuttles in the air. You aren't sure what they're for though. They could be patrols, or supplies, or anything.

You switch off your thermal vision and look around some more. On your right, you think you see a path or a road in the snow. Your HUD zooms in and you see little blue light markers leading away from the factory into the rocks. Interesting.

You descend a bit to shield yourself from the storm, but continue flying, being careful not to fly into any of the rock formations. After a few minutes, you find a road through the rocks leading directly to the factory. The blue markers show the way in the deep snow. That means there are ground patrols or caravans or something that make routine trips through here.

You make a note of this. A plan is starting to form.

It's a shame you don't have your ship here. You still have a few probe droids you could use. You'd like to know what kind of ground transportation these Sith use. You'll find out soon enough though.

Right now, you're starting to get cold, so you turn around and head back to the ship.

Honest Hearts

View Online

"Okay. Beyond the edge of the canyon, there is basically nothing between us and the factory. No cover, no boulders, nothing but snow."

You are describing your findings to your team. Pinkie and Applejack are both dressed nice and warm now in thick winter garb.

You continue. "It can be assumed that they have hidden traps or surveillance equipment surrounding the place. I saw some pathway markers out there, so there is some security. That means we can't just walk there. The storm is going pretty strong out there too, so that also means that flying is not an option."

"Damn it!" Rainbow grumbles and crosses her arms.

You ignore that. "That one pathway I saw leads directly to the factory, so there are probably some ground transports that make regular trips through the snow."

"What kind of ground transports?" Mandalore asks.

"I don't know, Mandalore. I didn't see any. If we had my ship, we could use some of my probe droids to look around." You reply.

Rainbow perks up. "Oh! I have a droid we can use!"

You all look at her. "You do?"

She smiles and nods. "Yeah! I'll go get him!"

Rainbow heads into the ship and you turn to everyone else. "While she's doing that, Pinkie, do you think you can hijack a transport full of weekend Sith soldiers?"

Pinkie smirks. "There isn't a transport I can't hijack, Anon! I'm not sure I'd be able to drive it, but I can definitely kill any bad guys inside!"

"That's all I need. I can drive." You reply.

Applejack speaks up. "Did you see any actual defenses along the perimeter of the factory itself?"

You shake your head. "I did not. I'm sure they exist, but I couldn't see that far away."

"I got my sniper rifle." She says. "Lemme go out with you so I can get a better look at what's what."

You nod. "Good idea. We could be here for a while waiting for a transport to show up."

She gives you a little sideways grin and nods. Suddenly, you hear a crashing sound from inside the ship, followed by a clatter. You all turn towards the doorway that Rainbow went through.

Mandalore cocks his head slightly. "What the hell is she doing back there?"

You shake your head and stay silent.

A few seconds later, Rainbow comes out of a small room holding an antiquated probe droid. It's spherical, bulky, and about a meter wide. It's a sickly green color, and its chassis is rusted in a few places.

You raise an eyebrow as she clearly struggles to carry this piece of junk. With a final grunt, she practically drops it on the ground in front of her and lets out a breath. She wipes her forehead and reaches behind it and you hear a click. The droid wiggles a bit as a single yellow light comes on next to its optic. It makes a buzzing sound that resembles a beep... Kind of.

The droid slowly rises into the air and Rainbow's smile grows wider as it floats to her chest level.

She looks at all of you and proudly holds her arms out toward the droid to present it to you. "This is Tank!"

...

No, this is trash.

The four of you just stare at the Chiss as she shows off what looks like the first droid ever made. Apparently, she's also a collector. You did not know this.

After a few awkward seconds, Mandalore speaks. "That droid is in dire need of maintenance, Rainbow Dash."

Her smile fades a little and she looks back at the droid. "Heh... Yeah, he's, uh, definitely seen better days."

Understatement of the millennium, right there.

You sigh. No sense in pointing out the obvious. "Does it work well enough to do recon?"

Rainbow nods. "Yep! Tank works great!"

She pats the droid twice and a panel falls off the front. She curses and quickly picks it up before frantically trying to fix it, as if doing so will erase what just happened.

Applejack chuckles and steps forward. "If you say so, Sugarcube. Here."

While she helps Rainbow put the panel back on the droid, you sigh and make your way to the exit ramp again. "Applejack, once you're done fixing... that, join me outside with it. Rainbow, you and Pinkie be on standby with Mandalore here on the ship."

Applejack nods. "Sure thing, Anon."

You reach the exit ramp and open it again, letting more icy air inside the ship as you walk down it. Once you reach the snow, you stand there silently and wait for Applejack and the droid.

You cross your arms and look around at the dark planet you're on. The wind is blowing a bit harder than it was before. This blizzard is getting worse. Hopefully, you'll be able to take off when you're done here.

What's Sunset doing right now, you wonder? Probably having a nice, easy time on Myrkr with Twilight, Fluttershy, and Big Mac right now. It's probably warm there.

You sigh as you think back to your fight. You and your big damn mouth.

Sure, Mandalorian supremacy of the galaxy sounds nice and all, but at what cost? Sunset means so much to you. More than anything else. Speaking to her how you did was inexcusable. If you lost her in the process of destroying the Sith and the Republic, then being at the top of the galaxy would be empty and worthless.

She does not deserve to be compared to Gilda in any way. Sunset is a million times the Mandalorian that Gilda is or ever was.

You sigh and look around again. You're alone, and you've got time. She deserves another apology.

You press a button on your gauntlet and try to contact her, but the sound is garbled and messy. This blizzard is interfering with your comms. You check your suit's systems to try and enhance the quality, but unfortunately, you have no long-range communications. You only have access to short-range.

"Damn it..." You shut off your comms and sigh again, tapping your fingers.

Sorry, Sunset...

A few minutes later, Applejack comes out of the ship with Rainbow's probe droid following her.

She shivers and rubs her gloved hands together. "Brr! It's freezin' out here."

"Mmhmm. Sure is." You reply.

Her sniper rifle is slung on her back. It's a DXR-6 disruptor rifle. You are pretty sure that this specific model was illegal to own. You're a bit surprised that she has it.

It has obviously been heavily modified for her specific standards. The scope on this one was much larger than the ones on most other rifles, there was a longer barrel, and she had installed a wooden butt stock with a decal of three little apples on it, among other modifications. If she's able to get her hands on a piece of weaponry like that, you're not going to judge. More power to her, in fact.

She stops next to you and looks around a bit. Rainbow's probe droid stops with her, giving a little buzz.

"So? Where to?" She asks.

"Just up here a bit." You reply. "Follow me."

You turn and lead her through the rock formations toward the valley's edge overlooking the factory. It's not a very far hike, but there's a bit of a tense silence between you as you walk that makes it seem like it's going to drag on.

After a few minutes of walking, she clears her throat. "Y'know, I don't really blame you for doin' what you did on Coruscant... with Hoity Toity."

That's a bit of a surprise.

You merely glance at her for a moment. "Oh really?"

She nods. "I don't agree with what you did. I'm all for law, order, and due process when it comes to criminals, but I can't deny that there is some corruption in the Senate."

You chuckle once. "A bit more than 'some', but yeah, there is."

She pauses again before continuing. "I never liked Hoity Toity. Not one bit. I won't say I wanted him dead though. I would've done things different, if it were me, but, hearin' that he did die... Well, worse things have happened."

You look at her. "Be honest, what would you have done differently if you were in my position?"

She shakes her head. "I don't know..."

She stops talking and you both continue forward toward the valley's edge.

Applejack seems like a stickler for the rules, and because of that, she hasn't really cared for you since you killed the senator on Coruscant. Sure, you were friends when you dealt with the Rakghouls, but that's really it. This whole 'terrorist' situation has put a damper on your friendship. It's just one reason why you didn't trust her enough to leave her alone during your time on Mandalore after escaping from the Sith over Kessel. You had secretly instructed Tempest and Thunderlane to watch her and her brother carefully.

"I just..." She continues. "I hope you know that I'm only followin' orders... Big Mac is too."

You stop walking and look back at her. "I know, Applejack. I don't blame you at all for the corruption in the Senate. Neither you, nor your brother. Your Republic has all kinds of problems, but you two seem like you're good people."

"There are lots of other good people in the Republic too though, Anon." She replies.

"I know that." You nod.

Octavia Melody is one of those people. The Chancellor herself seems like she has a good head on her shoulders as well. The bulk of the corruption seems to lie primarily within the Senate itself, rather than the rest of the government. With a few exceptions, of course.

"There are just too many bad people with power mixed in with the good." You say. "Surely, you have to have seen this."

She sighs. "Won't lie, I have seen it... I hate to say it, but I actually agree with you on a lot of those points you make. I'm not quite as extreme as y'all when it comes to a solution, but your reasonin' behind it makes more sense than not. Somethin's very wrong with the Republic."

The two of you resume walking toward the factory. She pulls her hat down a bit, and her coat up over her neck more to shield herself from the cold.

"I don't wanna get started on talkin' about politics and stuff, but there's too much dishonesty and deception goin' around for me to care for... If it were entirely up to me, I'd get 'em all out and replace 'em with people who really want to do the right thing... Politicin' ain't for me though. I'm more of a 'boots on the ground' type of girl, you know?"

You shrug. "Well, thanks to me, there's one less Senator you have to worry about. So, you're welcome, I guess."

She shakes her head. "What you did to him was wrong, Anon. Now, Hoity Toity was definitely one of the worst ones in the Republic Senate, there ain't no doubt about that. He was spineless, cruel, and downright evil. I always had him pegged as a bad apple even before we saw what he wanted to do to Senator Melody. But..." She looks at you. "My main point is, from a moral perspective, I can't say I agree with or condone what you did to him, but I completely understand why you did it... He absolutely would've tried to weasel his way out of gettin' what he deserved if he had lived."

You look forward. "I did what was necessary. I probably could've done things a bit better, I will admit. Maybe limit the collateral damage some. I can... I can regret all those innocent lives that were lost in the process." You pause. "However, if given the opportunity to kill him again, I'd take it in a heartbeat. He needed to be dealt with right then and there. That is the only way justice could've truly been served."

Applejack sighs. "I disagree. I think he could've been brought to justice without bloodshed... But, like I said, I understand where you're comin' from. I don't blame you."

"Nor I you, Applejack. Your dedication to your Republic's laws and standards is admirable, even if they are a bit corrupt. You're a good soldier that is simply following orders. I can respect that. My people's standards are simply not the same as yours. I won't say that they're higher or lower, they're just different. Mandalorians and the Republic are a breed apart."

She chuckles a little. "Ain't that the truth."

You smirk and pause for a moment. "So are we good?"

She looks over at you and you both stop walking.

She smiles and nods. "Yeah. I'd say we are, Anon."

Excellent.

The two of you shake each others hands once before continuing your hike toward the factory.

Applejack is a good girl. You admire her down-to-earth sense of duty. You won't say she's wrong for believing what she does, you just disagree with her. Which is honestly a real shame. She would make a excellent Mandalorian.

Unfortunately though, she is not a Mandalorian. Just as you are not with the Republic. And that's okay. This little agreement your two peoples have could be the start of a good relationship that may last for generations.

It's a shame you didn't realize this before you and Sunset fought...

Oh well. Live and learn.

Ambush

View Online

A few minutes of walking later, and you both reach the edge of the valley overlooking the factory.

You crouch down. "Alright, we're here."

Applejack crouches down a bit as well. The two of you approach the edge of the valley and get a good view of the factory.

You lay down on your stomach and your HUD zooms in on the complex of imposing structures. It almost looks like a temple or something with industrial equipment surrounding it on all sides. The large black spire in the center of the complex reaches a few hundred feet in the air. A long red light runs up the center and stops near the top, with another single red light resting above that. It looks like a massive eye that constantly gazes onto the snowy terrain.

Applejack unslings her sniper rifle and goes to her stomach as well.

She brings her scope up and takes a deep breath. "Okay..."

The factory is far enough away that you can't really make out any specific details. Your viewfinder simply isn't strong enough. Hopefully, Applejack's scope is.

"See anything yet?" You ask.

She doesn't reply right away. You hear a few clicks as she adjusts the sight.

"I see... Well, there's the front gate." She says. "Looks like there's a security checkpoint there too... Armored Sith guards are standin' out front."

"How many?"

She pauses. "I see four. There's probably more of 'em though."

A safe assumption. You can see the front gate as well, but you can't make out any specific details or see the guards. You'll take her word for it.

She continues. "Looks like there's a few security cameras... Three guard towers on this side of the factory... Let's see... On that big central command tower, I see a landin' pad near the top. Credits to Candy Crisps says that's where the head honcho of this place is."

You take another look at the massive structure in the center of the factory. There are a few smaller lights near the top of the tower that, you assume, mark the location of the landing pad she's talking about.

Along the front gate, you notice a bit of movement.

"Something is going on at the entrance." You say.

Applejack's nose scrunches as she focuses on the movement at the front gate. You wish you could see in detail what was going on too.

"I see a transport. It's drivin' through the front gate..." She pauses for a second. "Looks like it's headin' down the road that's closest to us."

The one road you spotted before.

You stand up and find the road markers in the clearing.

She speaks up. "Yep. He's on his way there."

This is your chance.

"Then so am I." You say. "Stay here!"

You turn around and run through the rocks back toward the road as fast as you can, leaving Applejack and Rainbow's droid behind. A gust of wind blows the blizzard into your visor as you head back, but you press on as fast as you can.

You activate your comms. "Pinkie, Rainbow, Mandalore, there's a transport inbound. Get out here now."

"We're on our way, Anonymous." Mandalore replies.

You press forward through the rocks and retrace your steps back to the Sonic Rainboom. It's too windy to fly. You don't want to risk it now.

Upon reaching the ship, you see Pinkie, Rainbow, and Mandalore all waiting for you.

"This way!" You shout.

The three of them all start running after you as you lead them through the rock formations toward the road.

Applejack's voice comes on in your ear. "It's gettin' closer, y'all! Looks like it might be a troop transport! Expect resistance!"

"Got it!" You turn off your comms. "Pinkie, be ready to jam their communications!"

She nods. "Okay!"

The four of you continue running through the rock formations. The snow crunches beneath your boots with every step. After a few minutes of weaving between boulders, you reach the road and come to a stop. You look both ways for any vehicles, but the coast is totally clear. You either missed them, or you're early.

You switch on your comms. "Applejack, can you still see it?"

"Yep. He should be there soon." She replies.

"Copy that." You switch off your comms and turn to everyone. "Pinkie, you're up next. We need to get into that transport. What would you like us to do?"

She thinks for a moment, panting a little. "Well, best thing to do is to surround them and give them a good surprise when they show up. Someone needs to go to the other side of the road." She turns to Rainbow. "Rainbow! You go!"

Rainbow nods and draws her weapon. "Sure thing, Pinkie!"

As she starts running to the other side, Pinkie shouts more commands to her. "When I give the signal, shout 'Surprise!' as loud as you can, and start shooting them!"

Rainbow looks back at her, but keeps moving. "Uh, okay!"

"Make sure you take cover when they start shooting back!" Pinkie adds.

She reaches the other side of the road and gets onto her stomach. "Okay!"

Pinkie smiles wide as Rainbow gets into cover and turns to you. "Anon! Mandalore! When they start shooting at Rainbow, I need you to start shooting at them from this side of the road!"

You and Mandalore both nod. "Got it."

"Also, I need you to yell 'Double surprise!' when you do! It'll be great!" She says.

You pause for a moment. "Alright."

She smiles again and grabs something from her pocket. She throws it onto the road before she runs off to hide behind one of the rock formations, giggling happily.

"Anonymous." You turn to look at Mandalore. "Is Pinkie always that obnoxious?"

You chuckle. "Yes, she is. I've learned not to question it though. As childish as she is, she's damn good at what she does."

Mandalore gives you a contempt huff. "Whatever you say..."

"Trust me." You say. "If she's having fun, she'll get the job done."

He doesn't reply as he readies his heavy blaster rifle and gets to his stomach. You adjust yourself in the snow as well and grab your own blaster rifle.

You activate your comms. "Applejack, how far out is he?"

"I lost track of him." She replies. "He should be right on you within a minute or two."

"Copy that. Pinkie, Rainbow, get ready."

You turn off your comms and hunker down in the snow some more, watching the road. Mandalore's weapon makes a slight whirring sound as it charges up. Other than that, and the sound of wind whistling through the cracks of the snow-covered rock formations all around you, it's quiet. About forty-five seconds later, lights appear from beyond the road's horizon, and you hear the rumbling sound of a large engine.

A transport comes rolling down the road right toward you. It's not the biggest one you've ever seen, but it's still pretty big. It rolls along the snow on four massive wheels, which is odd. You were expecting it to be on repulsorlifts.

The viewport window on the front glows red and there is a medium turret on the top of the vehicle that can spin three hundred and sixty degrees. It looks like it has to be manned in order to operate though. On the sides, there are two doors that look heavily armored. It looks like it can fit about five to seven people comfortably. You doubt it was specifically made to transport a large number of troops.

Your comms pop in your ear and Pinkie starts speaking. "Get ready, Rainbow."

After a few seconds, the snow beneath the transport explodes, forcing it to come to a stop.

"Now!" Pinkie shouts.

On the other side of the road, Rainbow sits up and starts blasting the transport. "Surprise!"

One of the doors slides open and a pair of Sith troopers come spilling out. They take cover and return fire at Rainbow. That's your cue.

You and Mandalore stand up and shoot at the troopers. "Double surprise!"

The troopers were focused solely on Rainbow, so they didn't know you were there until you started shooting at them. By then, it was too late.

Mandalore did not shout 'double surprise' with you, so you kind of feel foolish. Too late to undo it now though. The Sith have realized that they're surrounded.

You and Mandalore kill the two Sith beside the transport when a topside hatch opens and another trooper comes out. Mandalore's heavy rifle hits him in the head and he falls back into the transport.

Suddenly, from behind the transport, Pinkie leaps into the air, holding a blaster in one hand. "Triple surprise!"

She dives into the transport through the topside hatch and you hear the muffled sounds of blasterfire.

Mandalore quickly gets to his feet. "Move in!"

You stand and follow him to the transport. Rainbow moves in as well from the opposite side of the road. The three of you keep your eyes on the transport as more blasterfire and shouting come from inside.

After a moment, the side door opens again and a Sith trooper comes scrambling out of the transport, desperately trying to escape. He stops short when he realizes he's doomed and the three of you gun him down on the spot. He lets out a distorted, mechanical-sounding scream as he dies and you turn your attention back to the transport. The blasterfire from within had died down.

"Pinkie? You good?" You call out.

Inside the transport, you hear a bit of a clatter, followed by Pinkie's voice. "Yep! My surprise worked perfectly!" She emerges from the transport wearing a Sith helmet on her head. "These Sith are super ugly! You should look at this guy's face!" She says as she points to the helmet.

You smirk a little and Rainbow laughs as you all lower your weapons.

"Good work in there, Pinkie." Mandalore says. "I see why Anonymous keeps you around."

She takes off the helmet and smiles. "Aww, thanks, Mandalore!"

Mandalore nods at her once and you smile.

'What did I tell you?' You quietly say to yourself before you activate your comms. "Applejack, we're clear. Get to our location."

Rainbow comes on right after. "Make sure Tank is with you too, Applejack!"

She replies a second later. "Copy that! We're on our way!"

You switch off your comms and turn back to the transport. The next few minutes are spent cleaning out the bodies from inside while you wait for Applejack to arrive.

You head to the driver's seat to try and familiarize yourself with the controls. It doesn't look too complicated. There's a steering wheel, a gear shift, and pedals, so you're pretty sure you have a good idea on how to drive this thing well enough to get to where you need to.

The sound of footsteps behind you gets your attention. You turn around to see Applejack enter the transport. She shakes the snow off herself before removing her hat to shake it off as well.

"You okay?" You ask.

She shivers again. "Y-Yeah, I'm fine. Just chilly is all. I was out there for a minute."

You chuckle. "Sorry about that."

She exhales and puts her hat back on. "It's fine, Anon... I saw some more stuff goin' on in there."

You face her completely. Behind her, Rainbow enters the transport with her droid floating alongside her.

"What else did you see?" You ask.

Applejack's countenance darkens a little. "Slaves. A whole bunch of 'em. They were bein' corralled into the factory together."

Pinkie looks at her. "Slaves?"

Applejack nods.

Adagio did say that the Sith were using Force-sensitives to make this virus somehow. Looks like you found where she was being kept. If there weren't more pressing matters at hand, you might look for more info on Aria Blaze's location and bring her in too. You never did track her down.

Applejack looks at you. "I absolutely hate the idea of slavery, Anon. When we get in there, we have to set 'em free."

To be honest, you aren't offended by some forms of slavery. It is no secret that some alien species actually push for slavery amongst themselves. Some even volunteer for it. They see it as a way to travel and earn money.

Twi'leks are the best examples of this. They have physical beauty on their side though. Most twi'lek slaves are seen as servants or exotic dancers. Not many other species have that advantage.

Slave hard labor, however, is another story. Especially when the Sith are involved. Working people raw until they are just a bag of bones is absolutely unacceptable, and disgusting. You can imagine that a good amount of the slaves here look just as malnourished and bad as Adagio did after you freed her from Hoity Toity. No one should be forced to live under those conditions. Applejack is right.

You look at her and nod. "We'll set as many free as we can, Applejack. I have a feeling that this virus and factory as a whole will end in an explosion of some kind, so we'll do what we can."

She nods back at you once. "Thank you."

"You're welcome."

She smiles softly and Mandalore enters the transport behind her. "The bodies have been hidden and the coast is clear, Anonymous. We're good to go when you are."

Pinkie drags a Sith corpse in front of you all and drops him on the ground. She's wearing his helmet again. She kicks him once. "Except for this one!"

You take a look at him. She's right. He is pretty ugly.

"I have an idea with him though." She says. "Everyone here has some kind of armor except for me, and that's not fair! I want some too!" She crouches down beside the Sith and starts removing his gear and armor. "Plus, it'll make a good disguise!"

Applejack hums. "That ain't a bad idea, Pinkie. A good disguise can help a lot."

Pinkie nods. "Yep! I've worn a few good ones before, but a Sith one is new!"

You turn around and face the controls. "Such a shame that their armor is so damn ugly."

Pinkie giggles. "Ugh, I know! Rarity would probably throw a fit if she was here!"

You laugh and press the ignition. She's not lying.

The transport roars to life and the systems flash on the control console.

"Everyone take a seat." You sit down in the driver seat and look at the instrument panel.

The glowing red terminals show the status of scanners, comms, weapons systems, and life support, among a few other minor systems. Your seat vibrates a little with the engine as you get somewhat comfortable. You shift the transport into drive and grab the wheel.
The hydraulics hiss and squeal as you lightly press the gas and inch forward in the snow.

You need to turn around, so you pull a hard right and idle into the snowbank on the side of the road. Once you start feeling the whole vehicle rock backwards, you shift into reverse and turn the wheel to the left. This thing is big, but luckily, the road isn't too narrow. A K-turn should be doable.

You back up easily enough and turn completely around on the road. Once you're facing the opposite direction, you go back into drive and head down the path toward the factory.

You're on your way.

Rising Tension

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"Anon, how're we gonna get past that security checkpoint?" Applejack asks.

You glance over at her for a moment before turning your attention back to the road. Good question.

"Well, Pinkie is going to be in the disguise. She could talk to them." You suggest.

"Oooh! I have an idea to get past them!" She says. "I could hit them with the old Jedi Mind Trick! You wouldn't believe how many people that works on!"

Mandalore looks over at her. "Jedi?"

Uh oh.

"Former Jedi, Mandalore." You say.

He stares at her as she continues putting on the Sith armor. "Interesting..."

He says nothing else as he keeps watching her.

Pinkie looks over at him and stops moving for a second. Her smile fades and she uncomfortably resumes putting her disguise together after a few moments. He never stops watching her.

Rainbow clears her throat. "Mandalore, I have a question."

Finally, he looks away from Pinkie, much to her relief. "What is it, Rainbow?"

"Why don't the Mandalorians like the Jedi?"

Oh boy, here we go.

Mandalore huffs. "Let's just say that we disagree with each other on how to solve problems, among other things. The Jedi are powerful warriors who prove to be excellent opponents in combat. Despite this power, they are weak. Their self-destructive path of pacifism has led the Republic into a state of complacency that has driven the galaxy to the chaos and rampant lawlessness that we see now."

Pinkie silently continues putting her disguise together. She isn't smiling anymore. Applejack looks back at Mandalore for a moment before looking forward again. There is a slight scowl on her face.

Rainbow inquires further. "Well then, what about Revan? I thought he was a Jedi. Anon hardly shuts up about him though. He says that we are supposed to respect him, even though he killed Mandalore the Ultimate."

"Revan was different." Mandalore explains. "He made a choice to act rather than wait, like the Jedi Council wanted. Mandalore the Ultimate led our people against the Republic, because we wanted to prove our strength against the mightiest army in the galaxy. At the time, that was the Republic. We threw everything we had at them and lost the war, only because they had Revan. Mandalore the Ultimate was the strongest warrior we had, and even he could not stand against Revan's battle prowess over Malachor V. He was magnificent. Unlike the Jedi of today, he chose to be the change he wanted to see happen in the galaxy."

You can't hear well enough, but you swear that Pinkie mumbles something under her breath about Malak and the Jedi Civil War.

Mandalore looks around for a second before looking back at Rainbow. "Maybe later, I'll tell you more about Revan and the Jedi. I'm sure Anonymous can tell you a few things as well. He knows a little bit about the Jedi too."

Specifically, how to kill them. You know what he's getting at.

Mandalore doesn't like Jedi at all. You can't think of many Mandalorians that do.

He continues. "For now though, let's focus on the task at hand."

"I agree." Applejack blurts out, not looking back at him. The scowl on her face is as clear as day, and her nostrils are flared. She is not pleased by this conversation.

Pinkie nods with her, silently.

You'll never tell him this, but you're glad Mandalore stopped talking. He's not wrong in the slightest about the Jedi. They are weak, and that weakness has brought nothing but problems to the Republic and the galaxy. However, Applejack and Pinkie don't see it that way. You need them to stay on your side while you're here.

Apart from the loud rumbling of the engine, the rest of the ride is silent and uncomfortable amongst you all.

A minute or two later, you drive around a rock formation and up a small hill until you're overlooking the factory. The road continues straight forward and leads right to it. They should be able to see you now, so you casually continue your drive. You don't drive too fast, but you don't dawdle either.

"Pinkie, how's that disguise coming together?" You ask.

She walks up beside you, putting the gloves on her hands. She's completely dressed in the Sith armor except for the helmet. "It's together, Anon."

"How does it feel?" Rainbow asks.

Pinkie twists and turns as she looks at herself. She bends her legs a couple times and wiggles her shoulders a little to get a feel for the armor.

"Eh, it's not the best. It's fine though." She turns and looks at her backside. "The armor is ugly, but I do like the way it makes my butt look!"

"Oh my." You chuckle.

Keep your eyes on the road, Anon. Pretend Sunset is here.

Applejack smiles and shakes her head at her joke. "Well, at this rate, we'll be at the factory within a few minutes, so I'd get your story put together, Sugarcube."

"Faulty comms unit." You say.

Pinkie looks at you. "Huh?"

You nod. "That's the first thing that popped into my head. Use your Jedi Mind Trick to convince them that we need to head to maintenance."

She considers it for a moment and shrugs. "Sounds good to me."

She puts the Sith helmet on and grabs one of their blaster rifles before standing at attention while she waits for you to drive to the factory.

"Remember to try and avoid any fightin', Pinkie. We're outnumbered by a lot. Just get us in there in one piece." Applejack says.

Pinkie nods. "Don't worry, Applejack. I've got this." The Sith helmet is making her voice sound mechanical and distorted, but it's still obviously Pinkie's voice.

You drive the transport up the road and toward the main gate. A few comm lights flash on your instrument panel, but you ignore them. Your comms are supposed to be out.

The factory is incredibly massive. Now that you're closer to it, you can see much more detail. The main structure is surrounded by industrial buildings and complexes, all of which look to manufacture the virus or house slaves or something. You aren't sure from here.

Surrounding the buildings are a number of statues of people. Ancient Sith Lords, most likely. A part of you wonders which ones are here. Revan and Malak probably wouldn't have statues, as their conquest didn't take them to Khar Delba, as far as you're aware.

Revan is a favorite subject of history for you, but your knowledge on the history of the Sith Order themselves is severely lacking, you admit. You can probably only name a couple Sith Lords, and that's only if you think really hard. It doesn't matter though. This place will be a crater by the end of the day, hopefully.

The central spire of the factory itself looks like a recent addition. It's rising up from an ancient pyramid that has little to no industrial or technological enhancements to it. It's just made of stone. That must be the source of the strong Dark Side energy on this planet. Everything else looks like it was just built around it. You wonder what Sunset would be feeling like right now if she were here. She's Force-sensitive. Maybe she would be a bit iffy like Pinkie is right now too.

You sneak a look over at Pinkie. Her helmet is off again, and she's staring ahead at the factory with a worried expression on her face.

"Are you okay?" You ask.

She blinks and looks at you for a second before looking down at the helmet in her hands. She nods slowly. "Yeah. I'm okay. I think."

You look ahead again as you approach the main gate. You can see a pair of Sith troopers moving in front of the gate with their weapons at the low-ready. They're probably cautious as to why you haven't answered their communications.

"I need you to be really ready, Pinkie. You're up." You say. "We need to get in here as peacefully as we can."

"Okay." She gulps. "Okay, I'm okay." She nods and puts her helmet back on. As she walks to the door, she takes a few deep breaths and whispers something to herself. "There is no emotion... There is peace..."

Mandalore and Rainbow move out of her way and hide as best as they can. If the Sith outside see you or anyone else in here, your cover will be blown.

Once you finally reach the gate, the Sith Trooper outside holds his hand up to order you to stop the vehicle, which you do. As you come to a complete stop, one of them moves over to the door where Pinkie is, and she opens it up.

From outside, the Sith starts speaking to her. "Trooper! Why didn't you answer our communications?"

Pinkie clears her throat. "The blizzard or something knocked it loose. We couldn't talk to anyone. We came back for repairs."

The Sith pauses for a moment. "That's unusual. If it passed inspection, it should have been sturdy enough to make it through a blizzard."

Pinkie shrugs. "I agree, it is weird. I'll take it up with the maintenance guys and find out what's going on, if you could let us through. I've got a patrol to be on right now."

The Sith pauses for another moment, looking around at the vehicle.

"...What's your operating number?" He asks suspiciously.

You tighten your grip on your blaster, ready to spring into action. Come on, Pinkie. Do your thing.

Pinkie casually waves her hand in front of the Sith. "You already know my operating number. I'm fine."

The Sith freezes for a moment before replying. "I... already know your operating number... You're fine."

You let out a breath of relief you didn't realize you were holding as Pinkie continues speaking to the Sith.

She waves her hand again. "Thanks! Now, if you could show us how to get to maintenance and let us move along, we'll get this whole thing figured out!"

The Sith nods. "Maintenance is toward the left side of the temple. Building E-12. It's a large building. You can't miss it. You're free to move along."

Pinkie nods back at him as he ushers your vehicle to move through the opening gate. You press down on the gas and the transport moves forward. Pinkie moves back inside and closes the door behind her again.

"Whew!" She exhales. "That was close!"

Applejack looks back at her with a smile. "Nice work, Pinkie Pie!"

You shake your head slowly. "I am shocked at how many people that works on."

Pinkie giggles. "The galaxy is full of weak minds, Anon! It was a huge help for me back when I first started stealing!"

You chuckle as you proceed forward into the Sith base.

Don't Get Cocky

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The snow whips around in front of your windshield as the blizzard continues to rage outside. Platoons of Sith march in formations on your left and right as you continue down the road toward the massive structure. Towering above you on either side are those statues of ancient Sith Lords you saw before. Their imposing forms looking down at you as you infiltrate the base.

Rainbow moves over beside you to look out the windshield as well. "That's a lot of Sith..."

"Sure is." You reply, not taking your eyes off the road.

Upon reaching the perimeter of the temple itself, you make a left turn. The temple has been gated off. A pair of Sith Troopers in black armor stand guard in front of it. They must be special forces or something. You've never seen Sith armor like theirs before.

Ahead, a series of lights softly illuminate the roadway. It seems to move in a circle around the temple. Buildings on your left side look like they house storage supplies, or weapons. One of the buildings look like barracks.

Rainbow clears her throat. "So, what happens next, Anon?"

"Pretty simple. We go in, shut down the factory, free the slaves, and get out." You say. "Preferably in one piece."

"How are we going to do that with all the security cameras and stuff?" Applejack asks.

You aren't sure exactly. From what you've seen, security here is top notch, and it just gets more and more complex with every second.

Rainbow scoffs. "We should be able to handle it no problem, Applejack. Nothing to worry about! It'll be just like the prison! Right Anon?"

"No." You reply flatly.

She looks at you and pauses. "No?"

You shake your head. "Not trying to downplay our skills here, but Applejack is right. We are in a very tight situation, and there are only five of us."

As you proceed down the road, you spot the large maintenance garage ahead, right where the Sith Trooper said. On the front wall of the building, you spot a security camera. One of many, you assume.

You continue. "This is much more serious than blowing up a prison, Rainbow. We need to be extremely careful here."

She sighs and rubs her neck, but doesn't say anything else.

Sensing her insecurity, you continue. "Just saying, we need to be careful. That kind of hubris is something we can't afford right now. You've learned a lot since the prison and I'm very proud of you, but you still have a long way to go."

"Anonymous is right." Mandalore steps forward. "Confidence is admirable, but take care that it does not become arrogance."

Rainbow nods. "Yes, Mandalore. I understand."

You continue driving forward, passing the maintenance building and looking casual for the cameras. A plan starts to form in your head on what to do.

"First thing I think we need to do is take out those security cameras." You say. "If they spot us and something is off, they'll send an entire battalion of troops on our position."

Pinkie comes up to you and looks out the windshield as well. She's removed her helmet again. "I can take care of that, Anon. I just need to find the security mainframe. That way, I can shut down all the cameras at the same time."

You look back at her for a moment. "You sure? I don't want to leave you high and dry."

She nods. "Don't worry, Anon. Breaking and entering is what I'm best at! Except pazaak, of course." She smiles and puts her helmet back on, making her voice sound robotic and garbled again. "I'll clear a path for you guys so you can sneak in. From the security room, I should be able to find out where stuff is."

You nod again. "If you say so."

She heads to the door and waits. Off to the right side of the road just ahead, you spot a darkened area. It looks like a perfect place to drop her off.

"Alright, Pinkie. Your stop is coming up. Get ready." You say.

She nods and opens the door to the transport, letting a gust of freezing air inside. Applejack holds onto her hat as the wind whips around.

"We'll be driving around the base!" You shout. "If you need anything, let us know! We'll spring into action!"

Pinkie nods. "Got it!"

Applejack looks back at her. "Good luck, sugarcube!"

Rainbow pats her on the shoulder. "Give 'em hell, Pinkie!"

Pinkie gives you all a thumbs up and leaps out onto the darkened sidewalk. Mandalore closes the door behind her. You look toward the road again and continue on your way. Hopefully, no cameras caught that.

You open your comms. "Pinkie? You good?"

She comes on a moment later. "Yep, I'm good!"

"Okay. Let us know if you need anything." You reply.

Applejack takes a deep breath. "May the Force be with you, Pinkie."

"Thanks guys! I'll be in touch!"

With that, she cuts her comms.

Visions

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You are Pinkie Pie.

Ooh fun! You get your own part in the story, even though you aren't a Mandalorian! It's about time you got the spotlight! You weren't even in the first part of the story, which is TOTALLY unfair! That's okay though. This part of the story will be super, duper fun! You should throw a party for yourself as soon as possible to celebrate!

Wait, that's right. You can't right now! You've got a job to do!

This is cool and all, but you should probably stay focused on sneaking into the Sith's base and destroying the cameras! The party will have to wait.

As soon as you cut your comms, you watch Anon and everyone else drive away. They'll be busy keeping a low profile, so you're pretty much on your own right now. Which is fine! Friends are great to have, but no one else can keep up with you when you need to be sneaky and stuff. They'd just slow you down.

'Okay, first thing's first.' You say to yourself. 'Gotta find out where the security room is, and how to get there.'

Across the street, you spot the maintenance garages. Building E-12, just like that Sith said. You shrug. Might as well start somewhere.

You hold your rifle at the low-ready and march across the street.

'Left. Left. Left, right. Right. Right, left.'

You sing a fun, random marching cadence to yourself as you walk across the snowy street. There's a few funny ones you know that make you giggle quite a bit, but you can't be too silly. There are probably cameras all over the place watching you right now.

The Sith are serious and boring and evil and stuff all the time. It's a nightmare, but you have to blend in as best as you can. Good thing you have this armor. Even if it is super ugly. Mandalorians are so lucky.

Once you reach the opposite side of the street, you round the corner to the garage and look around. You see a few more of those troop transports all resting on one side of the lot. They're parked beside a wire fence that blocks off access to another section of vehicles. Mostly air transports, from the looks of it. This whole corner of the base must be the vehicle depot.

You look to the building itself. The massive garage doors are all closed. No surprise. There's a blizzard going on right now.

You make your way over to the personnel doorway. No one else is out here right now, but you need to keep moving. The Force is telling you that you are being watched.

As you approach the personnel door, you stop and take a look at the keypad. The door's locked and you don't have a passkey, but luckily, you came prepared. This keypad doesn't look very complicated. You can probably slice into it.

You pull out a security spike and quickly slice through the door's electronic lock. It opens for you and you step inside. You close the door behind you and shake some of the snow off your hands.

"Brrr! That's better." You whisper to yourself.

A quick look around the maintenance garage shows a few more transports, with one of them being worked on by a pair of Sith mechanics. They haven't seen you yet. A couple other Sith are in the back corner of the room, talking to each other.

Both of them have blaster rifles, but they are slung on their backs. You copy their mannerisms and sling your blaster as well. It's probably a regulation or something.

On your right, next to the door, you see a few small cargo packs that match the configuration to your Sith armor. That could come in handy. If there's one thing about disguises that you've learned, it's that you should change it up often, if you can, to keep yourself incognito.

You discreetly pick up the pack and put it around your shoulder so it hangs off the right side of your hip as you walk into the garage.

'Okay, Pinkie. Find a way to get to security.' You think to yourself.

You casually walk past the troopers and into another hallway at the end of the room. Finally, you're alone.

You take a deep breath and look down the hallway. There's another door at the end of it, so you might as well head there.

As you walk, you gulp nervously. Usually, you have no trouble sneaking into places you aren't supposed to be, but this time feels different. You're really scared, even though you don't have any reason to.

You are one of the best thieves in the Outer Rim. There's nothing you can't break into. So why are you so nervous?

As you take a deep breath and try to focus, you get your answer. The Dark Side has a very strong presence here.

'Oh right...'

You can feel the hatred and fear that covers this planet like a thick vapor of fog. It's stronger than anything else you've ever felt before.

In your mind, you can see yourself walking through an empty field of darkness. The fog is so thick that you can't see more than three feet in front of you. You try to focus on something in the darkness. Something to hold onto. Any ounce of light at all. Whenever you think you find something, the dark fog clouds your mind again and you lose it.

You're getting frustrated. That little bit of light you need to hold onto is right there, and you can't focus on it. You know it's there, but no matter what, you can't get to it.

'Come on...'

You try again to clear your mind of the dark fog and focus on where to go next, but it only gets more and more dense. You grunt to yourself as you start to run forward through the fog, pushing it out of your way and trying hard to find the hope that you're so desperate for.

Your breathing quickens and your heartbeat thumps behind your ears as you keep running. The fog only continues getting thicker. It's now an actual effort to push the fog away. You can feel it resist you.

You push the fog away harder and harder as you continue to advance forward through the field of darkness. You're slowing down though. The fog is practically tangible. It seems to be moving on its own.

That's when you realize that it's alive...

Now, all you care about is escaping this fog. You have to get out of this field. You swing your arms wildly around you in an effort to push the fog away, but it only encircles you more.

It's now that you also hear the sound of voices in the fog. The fog is talking to you. Men, women, children, all of them screaming, crying out in fear around you.

They're in pain. They're all suffering and dying. You can't hear anything else besides their screams and cries for help. It's almost deafening.

You grip your head and fall to your knees, you begin looking around, desperately trying to find them. You call out to them, but your screams are drowned out by the sheer number of theirs.

'Please...' You think to yourself. 'Please, no...' You beg the fog not to take you.

As you begin to cry in the field of darkness, the fog seems to recede from your view and condense into a singularity in front of you within a matter of seconds. It takes the screams with it.

"Trooper!"

You gasp sharply and blink your eyes a few times as the vision fades away. You're standing alone in the hallway again. There's no fog, no voices, no darkness, just you. You've barely taken a few steps toward the door at the other end of the hallway.

Behind you, you hear footsteps approach and you turn around to face one of the Sith troopers from the garage. His armor is stained with grease in a few places and his forearms are bare. He's a human, but you can't see his face behind his helmet.

"What are you doing here? Where are you going?" He demands.

Uh oh.

Think of a lie, Pinkie. Think of one quick.

You clear your throat. "Sorry, Sir. I'm... a new transfer. I-I just got here."

You stay still, but prepare yourself mentally to take him down if you have to. You really don't want to do that though. There's no place you could hide his body here.

He cocks his head some. "Transfer? Oh, you must be one of those communications specialists that Command ordered."

...

Sure, why not?

You nod. "Yes, Sir. I am."

"Well, what are you doing over here in vehicle maintenance?" He asks.

"I'm looking for the security office." You say. "My commander said there was a... clearance problem or something I needed to clear up, and told me to talk to the head security officer... I guess I'm a little lost."

The Sith nods in understanding. "Well, the security office is in the main spire, just behind the temple. You need to head back outside and work your way around to get there. No way to avoid the blizzard, unfortunately."

"Darn." You give him a little chuckle.

He continues. "Just head there and talk to one of the troopers inside. They'll point you in the right direction."

You nod at him. "Okay. Thank you very much, Sir."

He returns the nod and the two of you head back into the garage together. You split up and head back to the personnel door and brace yourself for the cold again.

On your way there, you quietly swipe a wrench that was laying on a nearby workbench and put it into your cargo pack. Blunt objects can be very helpful if you need to knock someone out.

The door slides open and you step outside into the blizzard again. You make a left and head back the way you came, using the base's massive spire as your reference point.

Gathering Intel

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Your comms pop in your ear and Applejack's voice comes on. "Pinkie? Can you talk?"

You unsling your blaster rifle again and hold it at the low-ready as you proceed across the street again. "Yep, I sure can! What's up, Applejack?"

"We're drivin' around the compound and we found the slave quarters. They're behind the spire." She says. "Are you near the security room yet?"

"Not yet. I'm on my way to there though. One of the Sith pointed me in the right direction." You reply.

Anon's voice comes on next. "How did you manage that?"

You giggle a little. "I lied to him! He was really helpful and nice, for a Sith. The security room is in the spire."

You look up at the imposing Sith spire looming over you. No matter where you are, you can always see it. The Dark Side aura that emits from this place almost makes you paranoid that it somehow knows that you're not a Sith. Like, it's a living watchtower, and it's just waiting for you to slip up and do something to blow your cover. You know that's just silly though.

You continue. "Only problem I think I'll have is sneaking in. Some places are harder to sneak into than others, and I've got a good feeling that this will be one of those places. A disguise by itself can only get a girl so far."

You continue down the street towards the rear of the Sith temple until the spire's entrance is in view. It's surrounded by guards and troopers, all armed and looking for anyone out of place. No one seems to be alone though. One thing you notice immediately is that everyone has at least one buddy with them. If you were to approach by yourself, you'd probably draw some unnecessary attention.

"Is that going to be a problem?" Anon asks.

You continue watching the guards. "Probably not, I'll just have to be creative. Lots of guards like to talk and chitchat with each other. If I listen, I can probably learn a thing or two about a flaw or a breach or something in the security. Then, I can use that to get where I want to be!"

Rainbow clears her throat. "So... You're going to improvise?"

You smile. "Pretty much!"

Anon groans a little and it makes you giggle again. He really hates that word.

"It's okay, Anon!" You say.

"I know, I know." He replies. "If anyone can improvise, you can."

"Just be careful though, Sugarcube." Applejack adds. "We'll stay on standby for as long as we can, if you need us, but try not to do anythin' to draw attention to yourself. You're in the rancor pit right now."

"Don't worry, Applejack! I'll be fine!" You reply. "I do have an idea though! Anon, could you patch in to their communications and see if they're talking about anything juicy? Any intel would be super helpful!"

"That's a good idea." He says. "I'll see what I can do and get back to you."

You smile and switch off your comms, taking another look around. From where you're standing, you're still in the dark. Literally. No one should notice you unless they're looking for you. But even if they were, you've got a disguise. So you've got a bit of time to stand still and think.

Your go-tos for sneaking in to places are usually through air vents, but this armor will make things difficult. You'll have to find another way in, or get a different disguise that will let you move around more freely. Anon said it wasn't too much trouble sneaking into the Republic prison, but to be fair, those vents were big, and he's used to wearing bulky armor. You'd rather not try anything too new and take a risk.

You make a brisk walk across the street, staying in the shadows as much as you can. You're not too worried about them calling you out on being alone as long as you don't try to get inside the building through the front door. Best to try around back.

When you get to the other side, you reach a steel barrier that blocks off the sidewalk from the rest of the spire's lot. It's about five feet taller than you, but thanks to the Force, you could easily vault over it to the other side. You take a quick look around to make sure no one is watching, and that there are no cameras anywhere before you sling your blaster rifle over your shoulder and jump up to pull yourself over. You land with a thud on the other side and crouch down for a moment, making sure you're hidden.

A quick look around reveals that you're in a storage lot of some kind. There are a crates of supplies everywhere. Should be easy to stay hidden from any Sith officials here.

You sneak toward the spire, moving over or around the storage crates until you reach the rear of the building. It's there that you see a cargo entrance, along with a couple of guards in front of the supply door. The door is open so you can see inside the building from here, and it doesn't look like there are any guards in the cargo area. There are only maintenance workers, either doing inventory or moving crates of supplies around.

Sith troopers may only be allowed to guard the cargo area, but from where you are, it looks like they aren't allowed inside. You might need another disguise. The maintenance workers moving around inside the building are dressed differently than the troopers standing guard. You can actually see their faces. Unfortunately, they're all humans. You'd stick out like a sore thumb with or without a disguise, thanks to you being all pink. Looks like your Sith armor will have to do for a while.

You make your way to the building and hug the wall. You'll need to distract those troopers somehow if you want to get past them.

As you're thinking of a plan, you notice a fuse box on the wall. You move over and take a closer look. It's connected to wires that run up the building a bit and over to the lights directly over the troopers.

"Hmm..." You say quietly. "I wonder what these do."

You flick the switches in the fuse box and the lights flicker out over the supply entrance.

"Hey! What the-?" One of the troopers exclaims.

They're going to check this place out soon. Now might be a good time to hide.

You quickly move away from the fuse box and hide behind one of the supply crates. You peer around the corner and get a good view of the darkened area around the building before one of the troopers comes into view.

"Who's messing around out there?!" He demands. "Show yourself!"

You don't reply. Instead, you stay quiet and watch him as he sweeps his blaster rifle around the darkened supply area. You need to wait until his back is turned.

After a few moments, he moves over to the fuse box, exposing his back to you as he fiddles with the switches. You quickly vault over the supply crates and move behind him. As the lights come back on, you bring your arms up and wrap them around his neck in a chokehold.

He drops his blaster and gasps silently as he tries to pry your arms off of his neck. He's strong, but thanks to your connection to the Force, you're able to be much stronger. Your grip doesn't loosen. After a few seconds, his arms start to go limp as the blood stops running to his brain, and you quickly shift your grip to grab his jawline. With a hard jerk to the side, you snap his neck and kill him. He doesn't make a sound.

You silently drag his lifeless body behind one of the nearby crates and hide him before checking his pockets for anything useful. You find a security access card that should be helpful, along with an I.D. card. You put them both away and turn your attention to taking out the other guard. He probably won't be along to look for his buddy for a while, and turning out the lights again would be too suspicious, so you need to bring him to you. You're short on time.

You hug the wall again and peer around the corner at the other trooper. He's standing all alone now, and probably has no idea that his buddy is dead. He's right where you want him. Behind him, you notice a control panel for the large cargo door. It looks like the perfect distraction.

Taking a breath, you reach out with your arm and use the Force to press the button on the panel, closing the door. The trooper whips his head around and stares at it for a moment. As he does, you quickly move around behind him and lunge forward, wrapping your arms around his neck and breaking it as well.

He collapses in front of you and you drag him off to the side of the building as quickly as you can until you reach the other Sith corpse. Once they're both hidden, you grab a blaster rifle, take a deep breath, and head back to the building's backdoor entrance. You press the button again and step inside.

You close the door behind you and proceed into the cargo area, passing the maintenance workers as they continue with whatever they're doing. You pay them no heed as you walk toward the door on the back wall. Now that you're inside, you need to find a quiet place to contact Anon and Applejack.

Once you head through the door, you close it behind you and take another deep breath. You're in a small hallway, but you're alone. You don't sense anyone coming this way either, so that's good too.

You activate your comms. "I'm inside the spire, you guys."

"Good work, Pinkie." Anon says.

You check to make sure the coast is clear again before replying. "Have you heard anything on the comms? I'm a bit blind in here."

"We did hear some chatter about some experimental droids or somethin', but not much else." Applejack says.

Experimental droids, huh?

"Sounds juicy! I'll keep that in mind. Are you guys okay?" You ask.

"We're fine, Sugarcube. Still drivin' around the base and keepin' a low profile. We'll need a place to park when we meet up with you though." She replies.

"Once I deactivate the cameras, I'll figure something out." You say. "I think the supply area behind the spire would be good. I took out the guards already, and there's lots of room back there."

"Sounds good. Keep us in the loop." Applejack says.

You smile and deactivate your comms again before moving through the hallways. You're looking for something relating to the security room. It's where you can get higher clearance to access more of the building.

Speaking of, you'll probably need another disguise if you want to reach the spire's upper levels. You're dressed as 'Average Joe Sith' right now. Probably not someone they'd let in to a meeting with Darth Sombra, if he's even here. Maybe you'll find a security officer wandering around, or one of those black-armored Sith you saw guarding the entrance to the temple outside. That would be cool.

As you round a corner, you spot a pair of Sith troopers talking with each other in the middle of the hallway. Their backs are turned to you, so they haven't spotted you yet, but you're not worried. They're both dressed the same as you.

You keep quiet and pretend to be focused on something else as you eavesdrop on their conversation, activating your comms in the process so the others can listen in as well.

"Did you see the commander show up?" One of them asks.

"Not in person, but I saw her shuttle land up top. She got here less than an hour ago." The other one replies. "She's mean... Even for an Inquisitor. I heard she singled out a trooper in the welcome formation and choked him to death because he wasn't in step with the rest of the platoon... I wouldn't get on her bad side if I were you."

"Damn... Is it true what they say about her? Can she really shapeshift?"

"I forget that you're kind of new here... Yes, it's true. I've seen it happen before. Commander Chrysalis doesn't shy away from showing off that little talent of hers."

Your eyes widen a little. Chrysalis! The Sith Clawdite that sold Adagio to Hoity Toity! She's this base's commander!

The troopers continue talking. "Huh. Guess that explains where she got the ideas for these new droids we have. I've never even heard about anything like that before."

"Oh yeah, Lord Sombra's R&D division is amazing. There are a few of them in the robotics lab a few levels up. They're pretty cool."

"Robotics? How'd you manage to get up there?"

"One of the technicians and I go way back. He was able to sneak me up there a few days ago. According to him, those droids were supposed to help us spread the drugged death sticks across the galaxy before those Mandalorians found out about it. Now, they're kind of shelved."

"That's a shame."

The troopers stay quiet for a few more seconds, so you turn around and head down another hallway, leaving them behind.

"Did you guys hear that?" You quietly ask in your comms.

"We did." Anon replies. "So, Chrysalis is here and she's overseeing this whole operation."

Mandalore comes on. "I'd guess that she holds all the security clearance this place has. We'll need to take her out. Sounds like those droids could be useful."

You nod. " That's what I was thinking too. It sounds like they can shapeshift like clawdites can, but that's ridiculous. Droids can't do that!"

"I don't know, Pinkie. As outlandish as it sounds, you shouldn't underestimate them." Anon responds. "Once you disable security, see if you can get up to the robotics lab. We're hidden, but we're hanging out by the back entrance to the spire."

"Okay." You reply. "Find security, shut down the cameras, then head up to robotics to learn about these droids. Got it!"

You disable your comms and proceed through the building. Occasionally, you'll pass a trooper or two, but you're dressed the same and can't see each other's face, so you manage to avoid drawing attention to yourself.

You're curious what these droids will be used for too. If their project is on hold now, then there might be a way to use them to help you free the slaves and shut down the factory. That would be perfect. It sounds like regular troopers definitely aren't allowed in the robotics lab though, so you'll absolutely need to find another disguise.

Before you do anything else though, you've got to find the security room.

Pie in the Sky

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The layout of the spire isn't too complex. There are corridors and hallways that branch off left and right in a few places, but overall, it seems pretty easy to figure out. The floors and walls are clean and shiny, but this place obviously wasn't made with tourists in mind. It kind of reminds you of Hoity Toity's building in lots of ways.

You casually pass by a pair of troopers as you make a right down another short hallway. At the end, it looks like it opens up to a more common area. From here, you can see a couple of Sith officers sitting behind a desk. Once you reach it, you realize that you're at the main entrance to the building. The large glass doors leading outside are on the opposite side of the room.

You look around the foyer. Usually, from your personal experience anyway, the security room is located around the entrance. There's a door off to your left that looks promising, so you head there. To the right of the door, you spot a security access panel on the wall that looks like it will unlock to anyone with proper clearance. Luckily, the Sith you killed had an access card, so you take that out and get ready to scan it.

As you approach, you hold the card out and press it against the access panel. After a second, it beeps and turns green and the security door opens for you. You're now in the security room.

'Jackpot.' You grin under your helmet and look around.

On the walls are tons of screens showing live feeds of activity all over the base. You can see the main entrance from a few different angles, the maintenance building, and a few places around the spire. They're being watched over by a single Sith security officer. A female. She's alone.

She looks over at you as the door closes behind you. "What do you need, trooper?"

She isn't armored, so you can see her face. She's an umbaran, so what little hair she does have is hidden underneath her black hat. She's wearing a pressed black uniform, so she obviously holds more status and ranking than you do. Taking her disguise could get you into more places here than your trooper armor probably would.

"I need your clothes, your boots, and your speeder bike, if you've got one!" You say.

Before she can react, you reach out and grab her neck with the Force and choke her. Her colorless eyes widen as the air is sucked from her lungs and she grabs her neck as you move in behind her. She tries to reach for her blaster, but before she does, you silently grab and crack her neck with your hands behind her and she goes limp in her seat.

You breathe a sigh of relief and look around. Sure, you were silent, but you're worried that someone will eventually come in the room. You need to hide the body before taking her clothing. There's a big cabinet in the corner of the room that you could probably stuff her in. Hopefully, no one goes looking in there until after you're long gone.

You manually lock the security room door behind you before taking her body and dragging her toward the cabinet. You open it up and start removing your Sith trooper armor. Once it's off, you put it all in the cabinet and then begin removing the security officer's clothing. You're lucky that she's also near-human. She's not a zeltron, sure, but the fact that she's here working for the Sith means that sight of aliens shouldn't raise too many eyebrows. As long as you act the part, you'll be fine.

After a few minutes, you're wearing her clothing, except for her underwear, leaving her almost completely exposed. Luckily, she's dead, so the cold weather shouldn't bother her too much. You stuff her in the cabinet and shut the door behind you, locking it in the process.

You put on her officer's cap and turn around to face the computer screens. You can see absolutely everything from here. The servers that store all the cameras' data are probably somewhere else nearby, but as far as physical security direction is concerned, this looks like the right place to be.

It's weird that there was only one person in here guarding all this important stuff. The whole base seems a bit devoid of life too. One would think that this security officer you just killed would have a buddy to watch her back. Then again, it is nighttime. Maybe things are just more relaxed right now. Looks like you guys picked the best time to shut this place down.

If that's the case, then there are probably more troopers sleeping in the barracks right now. If so, maybe there's a way to lock them in there so they can't bother you while you destroy the virus. Anything you can do to make this whole thing easier would be cool, but you'll look into all that later. Right now, you need to get your friends in here.

"The security room is mine, you guys. Start making your way to the spire." You say in your comms.

"Nice work, Pinkie!" Anon says.

You watch the camera feed for any movement from the transports. One of them that was parked in a darkened alleyway turns its lights on and starts moving.

"I think I see you guys on here." You tell them. "Can you let me know which transport you are?"

That same transport flicks its lights off and on a few times as it drives forward.

"Yep! That's you!" You say.

"Just point us in the right direction, Pinkie." Applejack says.

You guide them down the streets and towards the rear of the building. They drive casually, doing their best not to alert anyone around them. Even though you have control of the security cameras now, there are still a lot of eyes all over the place. Once they get in the building, you'll cut off any communications and alarms so they can stay undetected. The last thing you all need is a battalion of Sith crashing your party.

As you're watching them, the Sith comms beep on the terminal in front of you. Someone starts talking.

"Command to security. Come in."

It's a woman. Sounds like she wants to talk to the security officer you just killed. Obviously, that won't happen. You're a bit frozen in place as you think about what to do.

Someone from command is obviously more powerful than the people in the security office. If she suspects something, your cover will be blown. Since the security officer is dead, you've got to say something. Anything.

You clear your throat and activate the Sith comms. "Go ahead, command."

"I want you to perform a perimeter sweep around the spire." She says. "I sense something... off. We may have intruders."

Your eyes widen a little as she speaks. You're talking to Chrysalis herself right now, and she suspects something. That's not good.

Play it cool, Pinkie.

"Yes Ma'am. I haven't seen anything out of the ordinary here, but I'll send a few troopers around the place to make sure." You lie.

"Good." Chrysalis replies. "Keep me informed."

"Yes Ma'am." You shut off the Sith comms and take another deep breath before contacting your friends. "Did you guys hear that?"

"We did." Anon says. "You've got the cameras, right?"

You look at the terminals in front of you again. "Yeah. Let me loop the feed from the backdoor entrance before you guys get too close, just in case."

As you do that, Mandalore comes on. "What kind of resistance did you see inside the building?"

You shake your head. "Not much, Mandalore. A few bad guys here and there, but nothing too crazy. You shouldn't have much trouble being sneaky once you get inside. It would be a good idea to hide the bodies of anyone you kill, if you can, though. You guys heard yourselves that Chrysalis is suspicious of something."

You finish looping about thirty seconds of footage over the backdoor cargo entrance. Your friends are now invisible.

"Not a bad idea, Pinkie." Applejack says. "We noticed as we were drivin' around that the main doors to the spire are tinted like crazy. You can't see anythin' goin' on from out there. If you can cut off the alarms and comms, then once we're inside, we shouldn't have a problem."

"I'll see what I can do, you guys." You reply. "The main security office is at the main entrance. Once you get here, we'll come up with an idea of where to go."

"Sounds good." Anon says. "We're driving into the rear lot now."

Since you've already looped the camera, you can't see them on the screen. You'll take his word for it.

"Okie dokie! I'll see what I can do from here." You reply.

You shut off your communications and watch the screens, taking a seat behind the desk and cracking your fingers back, ready to help in any way you can.

---

The Belly of the Beast

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Finally, you reach the rear of the spire and shut off the transport. You've made it this far in one piece, thanks to Pinkie. Now all that's left is to get inside the building itself.

You stand up and turn around, looking at everyone. "Let's move out, guys."

Applejack and Rainbow nod at you while Mandalore opens the door, letting the cold air inside once again. He heads out first, and the girls both follow him. You're the last one out of the vehicle.

Mandalore leads the way toward the building with his weapon at the ready. Rainbow and Applejack are sweeping the right and left, respectively, for any movement as they tail him. You're covering their rear. Rainbow's droid is hovering right beside you as you quietly run to the base of the spire.

Upon reaching it, you all hug the wall and wait a moment. Pinkie says she's covered this place, but you can't help feeling tense. This is the heart of Sith territory, after all. There's no place for error here.

"Pinkie's been here." Rainbow says.

You look at her. She's pointing to a place behind a nearby cargo crate. You look to see a pair of dead Sith troopers piled on top of each other. Looks like their necks have been snapped. You chuckle a little bit. That's Pinkie's handiwork, alright.

"Come on. She's cleared most of the way for us." You reply.

The four of you quickly head around to the cargo area in the rear. It's unguarded and practically devoid of life, which is expected. The large door is closed, so you have a moment before you go inside.

Pinkie must see you on another camera, because she contacts you on your comms. "There you guys are!"

"What's on the other side of this door, Pinkie?" You ask.

"It's a small warehouse area. There are shelves of supplies and stuff all over the place. There's not many people inside, but the few that are are unarmed. They're just supply people." She replies.

"Unarmed as they are, they're still Sith." Mandalore says. "We shouldn't leave any of them alive."

"I agree." You reply. "That said, we should avoid making too much noise. I don't want any of them alerting anyone. Not until we reunite with Pinkie, at least. Use close-range, guerilla tactics to kill anyone. Blasters are a last resort."

"My blasters have silencers, Anon." Applejack says. "I can pick 'em off from a distance while stayin' pretty quiet."

You nod. "Quiet is exactly what I'm after, Applejack. I'll use my dartcaster when I can as well. Mandalore and Rainbow, go in and hit them hard and fast."

"Got it." Rainbow nods.

You turn around again and get ready to open the door. Applejack slings her rifle and takes out her blaster pistols. You all take cover behind the wall and open the door.

As it slides open, you take the lead and turn the corner into the building. A few paces away, you spot a maintenance worker performing a task.

You make a beeline straight for him and tackle him to the ground. He tries to exclaim, but you press your forearm against his neck to silence his cries. He looks at you with panic as he tries to squirm free beneath your weight, but you don't budge. Behind you, the sound of Applejack's suppressed blaster goes off and you hear someone else slump to the ground.

After a few seconds of pushing, you feel his neck snap and break in a few places beneath your gauntlet and he quickly stops resisting. His eyes roll to the back of his head as he dies, and you look around the room. Another maintenance worker is dead on the floor on the far side, and Applejack is sweeping her blasters around the room. Mandalore and Rainbow are quickly searching for anyone else.

You stand up and do the same, looking around for any stragglers. Apart from the whistling of the cold air outside, the room is silent. There was only these two Sith in the room.

After a moment, Mandalore looks at you. "I think that's it. Let's hide the bodies."

You nod and grab the maintenance worker at your feet. You drag him across the room towards Mandalore, and the two of you stuff both the bodies inside an open cargo container. Once it's secure, you all continue towards the door at the end of the room.

"Where are we going, Pinkie?" You quietly ask on your comms.

"There's a hallway that heads left just on the other side of that door." She says. "It's empty right now, but hurry. A few Sith are walking around."

You continue through the door and into the hallway. She guides you through the building and does what she can to avoid Sith patrols, but sometimes, they're unavoidable. You either silently kill or sneak past any Sith you encounter before you reach another hallway.

"Okay, make a right up here." Pinkie says. "This leads to the entrance foyer. That's where the security office is, but be careful. There are two Sith guards standing here and watching over everything."

You carefully peer around the corner and spot one Sith trooper standing at attention. He isn't facing you, but you can see him.

"Can you do something Pinkie?" You ask. "Use the Force or something?"

"Sure. I probably won't be able to choke them both out, but I can hold them in place."

Applejack takes the lead. "Just keep the one closest to us still, Sugarcube. I'll take him out from here."

She proceeds down the hallway a bit with her blasters at the ready. After a second, the Sith drops his blaster and starts grabbing his neck as Pinkie uses the Force on him. Applejack takes advantage of this window of opportunity and shoots him in the head. He goes down and the rest of you follow her into the entrance foyer.

As you turn the corner, you spot Pinkie with her hand in the air towards another Sith trooper. He's gasping for air and clutching his neck. Pinkie's tongue is hanging out of her mouth as she slowly tightens her hand into a fist and you hear a muffled crack come from the trooper before he goes limp. She releases her grip on him and he falls to the ground in a heap.

She exhales and turns to you all. "Hurry. Grab that other guy and bring them both in here."

You and Applejack grab the trooper she shot and drag him across the floor toward the security room. Mandalore grabs the second trooper and you all head into the security room with Pinkie.

She changed her disguise. She's standing beside an open metal container in the corner of the room that already has a half-naked female umbaran inside it. It's likely who she got her new outfit from.

You and Mandalore stuff the Sith corpses in the container and Pinkie closes and locks the door again. She exhales and looks at you all. "Finally! A moment to relax!"

"It'll be a small moment, if anything, Pinkie." You reply. "Have you found anything out here?"

"A few things." She nods as she heads over to the security terminal. "I was able to pull up some old footage from the experimental droids that those Sith were talking about. You've got to see this."

She presses a few buttons on the control panel and a video comes up on the screen. You see a couple Sith scientists working on a type of droid you've never seen before. It was about average height, had two large circular eyes on its head, and a glowing yellow light on its chest. Probably a power source or something.

As the Sith scientists work on the droid, one of them presses a button on a remote and arcs of electricity run along its limbs. Parts of the droid also begin to glow purple, primarily on its main joints. Then, the arcs of electricity fade away as miniaturized hologram projectors activate all over its body, and the droid seemingly transforms into one of the Sith scientists in the room.

"Woah..." Rainbow exclaims.

You watch as the droid, now disguised as the scientist in question, copies his movements and mannerisms to the letter. It's like the scientist is looking in a mirror. If you didn't know better, you'd say that droid was a real person and not a machine.

"This is extremely advanced technology for droids." Mandalore comments.

"Yeah? Wait till you see this." Pinkie says.

She presses a few more buttons on the terminal and a different feed appears on the screen. This one shows a Sith warrior in a training dojo. He's being shot at by a bunch of different blaster turrets at once, but he's using his red lightsaber to deflect the blaster bolts somewhere else in the room.

After a few seconds of watching, the turrets all stop firing and the Sith warrior stays still, ready for something else. Then, another scientist comes into view and presses a button on a remote control. The Sith warrior deactivates his lightsaber and stands up straight before he starts to glow purple all over. Then, he turns into one of those droids.

Your eyebrows shoot up. It was a droid the whole time. It was deflecting those blaster bolts with its lightsaber just like real Jedi and Sith do.

"How the hell..." You say softly.

That's unbelievable. What are these Sith doing?

"It looks like it's a computer program." Pinkie says. "They're able to watch and calculate when and where a blaster bolt will hit and deflect it like a Jedi does. It's obviously not perfect. That droid was flinging blaster bolts all over the place. A trained Jedi could destroy all those turrets within seconds, so this program clearly has some kinks that need working out. Still, it's pretty scary that a droid could deflect blaster bolts at all."

"We need to destroy that program." Applejack says. "If they keep workin' on these droids, they'll be able to cut through the galaxy like it was made of warm butter."

"I say we steal the program and keep it for ourselves." You say. "Then we can destroy what's left of this place."

Applejack shrugs. "It don't matter to me what happens, so long as we stop the Sith from perfectin' it. The Republic is on its last legs as it is. This kind of tech would exterminate us."

"Fine." You reply. "We'll make our way there as well. We might need to split up to cover more ground. Someone can go to robotics to grab that program, while someone else gets a head start on making their way to the factory to destroy the virus. I'm thinking Pinkie stays here in the security room so she can guide us on where to go."

"We'll still need to free the slaves too, Anonymous." Mandalore says.

Oh, right.

You sigh. "Maybe we do that after getting the program. We can cause an uprising or something, just like Rainbow did on the prison. While the Sith are distracted with the slaves, we can destroy the virus and get the hell out of here."

"Uh, guys?" Rainbow says.

You all turn to her. "What?"

She points to the screen. "Something's going on."

You all look at the security screens. On the cameras, you see Sith troopers, tons of them, gathering around the outside of the building. In the front, and in the rear. They're surrounding the place. Every trooper is armed and pointing their weapons at the building. You also notice that a few Sith workers are evacuating the building as quickly as possible through the rear. They move into the crowd of troopers, but they don't advance. They just stay there, covering the exits.

"What the hell?" You ask.

Mandalore goes to the door and opens it, peering out into the foyer with his blaster rifle ready. He stays still for a long moment, and you move in behind him, peering outside as well. The foyer's lights have been noticeably dimmed, and it is deathly silent. You can't hear anything outside of this room.

Mandalore sweeps his rifle to the left and right for a moment before exhaling. "They know we're here..."

Check Those Doubles

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How? How did they find out?

Applejack readies her blasters. "If they know about us, why aren't they comin' in here to kill us? Why're they all just waitin' outside?"

"They're only covering the exits." Mandalore points out. "They know we're in here, but they don't want us to leave. We're trapped."

"That doesn't make any sense though." Rainbow says. "They could easily overpower us with all those troopers. Why all this? Why lock us inside the building?"

"Chrysalis probably wants to limit collateral damage." You reply. "No doubt she knows she has the upper hand on firepower with those troopers at her disposal, but this is a pretty important building to the Sith."

"I wager she'll want to pick us off one by one." Mandalore cocks his weapon. "We'd better all stick together for now. Let's make our way to robotics, destroy this program, then find a way out of here."

"Wait! One sec!" Pinkie says. She goes to the terminal and presses a few buttons on it. The screen flickers and one of the computers sparks once before everything onscreen goes black. "There! I just took out all the cameras for the whole base!"

You ready your blaster. "Hopefully that slows them down."

She gets up from the terminal and follows you out into the foyer. The two of you stand with Applejack, Mandalore, and Rainbow as you all look around the room for any movement. Behind the tinted glass that leads outside, you can see tons of Sith troopers gathered around the entrance. They're just standing there with their weapons raised, but none of them are making an attempt to enter.

Mandalore leads your group deeper into the building. You and Rainbow are walking backwards, covering the rear, while Applejack and Pinkie cover the right and left, respectively. You occasionally look to make sure you're still behind the group, but then you go right back to covering Mandalore's six. Rainbow's droid is hovering in the middle of you all.

After a few minutes of making your way through the darkened, silent building, your group comes to a stop. Mandalore is at an elevator shaft.

He shakes his head. "It's not working."

"Maybe we can find some stairs or somethin'." Applejack suggests.

"No. I don't want to walk." Mandalore says bluntly.

He raises his blaster rifle over his head and slams it down against the door. It makes a loud clang that makes everyone jump suddenly, but he keeps hammering away at the elevator door.

Finally, he makes a big enough dent in the door that he's able to shove his fingers inside and pull them apart, revealing the empty elevator shaft. The lights in here are also dimmed a bit, so you can see all the way up to the top. It seems to stretch for miles.

Mandalore activates his jetpack and goes through the doors, ascending up the elevator shaft.

You head there next. "Come on. Applejack, you're with me. Rainbow, take Pinkie."

Applejack moves in front of you and you wrap your arms around her stomach. She holds onto you and you activate your jetpack as well, following Mandalore up the elevator shaft. Rainbow holds Pinkie and follows right behind you.

Once you rise a few stories, Mandalore flies over to another set of doors and pries them apart. They open much easier this time, and he descends to the ground on this floor and deactivates his jetpack. You and Applejack land behind him while Rainbow and Pinkie do the same. Rainbow's droid continues floating behind her. You're honestly surprised that it hasn't run out of juice and died yet.

As you all gather your bearings again, you look around this floor. Like the ground floor, this one is darkened and silent. It's also much more pristine than the ground floor is. There is obviously a higher standard of cleanliness here. This must be where the laboratories are.

"Let's look around, but stay together." Mandalore says.

You all nod and follow him as he leads your group through the hallways. You turn a corner and come to a large, open area with research stations and testing facilities on your left and right. There are machines and electronic equipment all over the place. You recognize it from the security footage downstairs. This is the robotics lab.

Only question now is, where are the droids?

You approach a large cluster of equipment and research tech. Mandalore stops and looks around. "Look for a terminal."

The rest of you look around as well. You don't go too far, but you do spread out about six feet from each other as you search.

On your right, Pinkie stops walking. "Someone's here."

You all freeze and look at her. "Where?"

She looks at you for a moment before looking around again. "I don't know, but I can feel it... We're not alone." She walks forward and looks behind a piece of equipment before moving behind it completely.

You look around the darkened lab with Rainbow, trying to spot anything, but nothing sticks out. It's a dark, creepy, seemingly abandoned lab. If someone is here and hiding with you, they're doing a damn good job at it.

A few seconds later, Pinkie emerges from behind another section of equipment, still looking around.

"See anythin'?" Applejack asks.

Pinkie starts making her way towards her. "No, I can't see anyone, but there's definitely someone here."

Applejack turns around again to keep looking, but Pinkie doesn't take her eyes off her. She's not just looking at Applejack, but glaring. She isn't smiling, or laughing, or cracking jokes at all. Her lips are actually pulled up in a bit of an angry snarl.

"...Pinkie?" You cautiously ask.

She doesn't reply. She continues moving towards Applejack. Then, she reaches for her blaster and pulls it on her. Your eyes widen in shock as her blaster charges up.

Then, out of nowhere, another Pinkie sprints over to... Pinkie, and tackles her, just before she can kill Applejack. There are two of them now.

"No!" The other Pinkie shouts as she tackles the doppelganger.

The fake Pinkie drops the blaster as she turns her attention to the real Pinkie. They both punch and hit each other as they roll on the floor. Applejack runs out of the way and you all raise your blasters at the pair of Pinkies as they fight each other. In the confusion, you've lost track of which is the real one. They both look exactly like each other in every way.

Rainbow's aim shifts between the two. "Wh-Which one do I shoot?!"

"I don't know!" You reply.

The Pinkies continue fighting until one of them gets the upper hand and punches the other in the face. She goes down and shouts in pain while the other Pinkie quickly stands up and raises her foot in the air, about to drop it on the back of the first Pinkie's head.

You fire your blaster at her feet, and she stops to look at you. The Pinkie on the ground does as well.

"Which of you is the real Pinkie?!" You shout.

The one standing points to herself. "Me! I'm the real Pinkie! This one is a fake!" She says as she points to the Pinkie on the floor.

The Pinkie on the ground grunts and looks at you. "No, I am! That one is fake!" She says as she points to the standing Pinkie.

You aim at the Pinkie on the ground for a moment before turning your attention back to the one standing. "How do I know that you're real?!"

The standing Pinkie gulps. "You have to trust me, Anon! It's me! Really me! We- We met on Nar Shaddaa! Remember?! Then we tried to stop that bomb on Dantooine!"

The Pinkie on the ground growls and sits up before she raises her arm at the standing Pinkie. The standing Pinkie stops talking and rises into the air. The Pinkie on the ground slowly rises to her feet as she grips the other Pinkie with the Force. Droids can't fake that.

The other Pinkie continues to rise in the air, screaming in agony as the real Pinkie uses the Force to crush her. The other Pinkie's skin seems to crack and sputter and her voice slowly becomes more distorted until finally, she flickers away and fades into one of those hologram droids. The droid continues to compress and crush in the air until finally, its yellow eyes flicker out and Pinkie drops it on the ground.

She grunts and breathes hard as she stops exerting herself with her use of the Force and falls to her knees again. You, Mandalore, Applejack, and Rainbow rush to her aid.

"Are you alright, Sugarcube?!" Applejack asks.

Pinkie breathes hard and nods. "Yeah... I'm okay."

When she gets to her feet, you hear another clang from the opposite side of the room, followed by the sound of metallic footsteps. You all turn your attention to where you came in and see more disguised droids. Doppelgangers. There are multiple Applejacks, Pinkies, Rainbows, Mandalores, and yous. At least three of each.

They all march towards you. The ones that look like Applejack and Pinkie all glare at you angrily. You can actually see their faces. The ones disguised as Mandalore, Rainbow, and you have their own false Mandalorian helmets on. Their fake faces are obscured.

You all get yourselves ready for another fight, when they all stop walking. They part in the center, and a dark figure steps between them towards you. It's wearing similar black armor to the Sith special forces you saw guarding the temple outside.

It stops walking and looks at you all for a moment before turning to the army of hologram droids behind it. "Magnificent... Aren't they?"

Chrysalis.

She turns back to you and removes her helmet, revealing her face. She's wrinkled and ugly. Clawdites usually are, when in their natural form. If they're normally hairless, then she's faking it right now. Her black-blue hair is draped over her green eyes, and she gives you a toothy grin.

You step forward. "So, I finally get to put a face to the name."

Chrysalis laughs. "One of my many, many faces, Anonymous. If you'd rather, I can become someone more familiar to you, if that makes you more comfortable."

She smirks again and her face shifts to become your face. Now, you're looking at yourself dressed in Sith armor.

"That's not a good look for me, honestly." You say. "If it isn't Mandalorian armor, I hate seeing myself in it."

Chrysalis speaks with your voice. "Oh, not to worry! I can change that too!"

She presses a button on her gauntlet, and her dark Sith armor glows blue for a moment before shifting its appearance to look exactly like your Mandalorian armor. The helmet in her hands also changes to look like your helmet too. You've never seen anything like this kind of technology before in your life.

She looks at herself as she takes your appearance down to the last detail. "There we go! Now I truly am the real deal! A Mandalorian through and through!"

You grit your teeth as you watch her steal your look. "You are no Mandalorian..."

She glares at you, grinning wickedly with your face. "I'm just as Mandalorian as you, Anonymous! To say I'm not, is to say that you're not!"

You don't reply. You just stand there, gritting your teeth as she flaunts your appearance in front of you.

She continues. "Hopefully I'm Mandalorian enough, because, as per your code, I challenge you to a duel!"

Your eyebrows shoot up a little. "What?!"

"You heard me." She replies. "A duel. To the death! One warrior against another! I've studied you. My Master, Lord Sombra, has followed your exploits ever since you killed his old apprentice on Tatooine. By defeating you here, then I will be worthy to become his new apprentice!"

He's looking for another apprentice? Why? What about Limestone? Rainbow didn't kill her on Cato Neimoidia, much to your annoyance. She should still be his apprentice.

Unless something happened...

She continues. "I wanted to give you a sporting chance though, Anonymous. Using my powers against your barbaric weapons would be far too easy. I want a challenge." She growls. "That's why we will do this in the traditional Mandalorian fashion. Just you and me!"

You hesitate for a moment and Applejack steps forward. "Don't you listen to her, Anon! You don't have to play her game!"

Mandalore speaks up behind her. "If he wants to keep his honor intact, he will."

Applejack looks back at him. "What?!"

You clench your fists silently as Mandalore steps forward. "As per the code, to deny a challenge, or to cheat is dishonorable. If he does not fight, he will be branded a coward."

Pinkie steps toward Mandalore. "That's not fair! None of this is fair!"

Mandalore glances at her. "I did not write the code. It has been passed down by our people since the days that the Taung inhabited Coruscant. On principle, I cannot make an exception in this one instance. Anonymous must fight. If he does not, or if we help him, he will lose his honor among the Mandalorians, and will be cast out."

You glare at Chrysalis as she grins at you, still wearing your face. "This is the way~." She taunts.

"Fine..." You reply. "You and me, Chrysalis. Right here, right now."

"Excellent!" She claps her hands together with glee. "Before we get started though, I can't help but notice that you seem a bit distracted by my look... Must be unnerving, fighting yourself. I wouldn't want you to hold back in our fight, so it seems only fair that I change it up, just for you."

She grins again and presses another button on her gauntlet. Your armor on her body flickers away and changes to a different Mandalorian design. Not your own, but still one that is horrifyingly familiar.

Your eyes widen as it becomes a shade of red that you know all too well. It's accented by yellow markings on the chest, and purple flames on the gauntlets. The helmet in her hands shifts from green to black, with red and yellow accents around the visor. Worst of all, her face changes too. She never takes her eyes off yours as your face fades away on her head and is replaced with Sunset's.

Chrysalis, now disguised as your beloved Sunset Shimmer, gives you an evil grin. "There, that's much better! Don't want you to get distracted, after all."

"Oh, you bitch..." You growl angrily as you glare at her.

Chrysalis laughs hard in Sunset's voice. "Come on then, Anon! Let the games begin!"

She puts on her helmet and grabs a pair of blaster pistols, pointing them at you. You grab your own blaster pistols before taking off in your jetpack and flying right towards her.

False Faces

View Online

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFAPdKYwncc

Chrysalis opens fire on you. You pull up and fly away from her as she blasts you a few times in the chest and once on the leg, but her firepower is no match for your beskar. You take everything she throws at you. As you strafe in the air, you point your own blasters at her and fire a few times as well. She dodges your blaster bolts and flips around acrobatically as she avoids your assault.

To be honest, you feel like it's easy for her. Not because of her abilities in the Force, but because your shots are inaccurate. The fact that she looks like Sunset right now is severely distracting, and she knows it. Otherwise, she wouldn't have done it.

As she dodges another one of your shots, she stands upright and blasts you again. This time, hitting you square in the face. It knocks your head back a bit and you cease fire for just a moment. That was all she needed, because when you recover, Chrysalis is leaping into the air right towards you. She brings her legs up to your chest and kicks you as hard as she can.

You yell as you go off-balance, and your jetpack flies you around out of control. Thinking quickly, you kill the power and fall to the ground just as you fly upside down. You land on your chest with a thud and grunt hard. That hurt.

Looking ahead, Chrysalis has already recovered, and is on her way over to you right now. She's shrieking like a banshee as she quickly approaches. You try to get to your feet to block her, but she swings her foot forward and kicks your helmet hard. It's enough to make your helmet actually fly off your head and land a few feet behind you, at Applejack's feet.

You groan loudly as you try to get eyes on Chrysalis again. She spins around and reels her fist back to punch you in the face, but you activate your jetpack and slide on the floor, tripping her. She yells and falls to the ground while you pull up and take your place in the air again, looking down at her.

No more holding back, Anon. That's not Sunset. It will never be Sunset. Look past her disguise and take her out. You're better than this.

With a growl, you accelerate towards her and grit your teeth. You drag your metal arm along the ground as you fly, creating a shower of sparks that trail behind you for a second as you reach her. Before she can react, you clench your fist and punch her square in the face. Her eyes widen in shock for a moment before impact, and she cries out in pain as she flies backwards.

From behind, Pinkie starts cheering. "Nice one, Anon!"

Mandalore immediately scolds her. "Don't distract him!"

Cheering can be considered a form of interference, which is against the rules of a Mandalorian duel. This fight must be won by you, and you alone.

You double over in the air and look back at Chrysalis. She's still wearing Sunset's face, but her nose is bleeding. She looks at you in rage and balls her fists as she stands up. From behind her, she pulls out a lightsaber and activates it. It pierces the air in a red glow and she growls at you.

If she's resorting to that, then one-on-one fights must not be her specialty. Unsurprising, seeing as how she's not only a Sith Inquisitor, but also a master of disguise. She's likely used to fighting from the shadows and using deception and trickery to get what she wants. She's bitten off more than she can chew by challenging you. You're determined to make her regret it.

You take to the sky once again, firing your blaster at her as she expertly deflects them around the room. One or two of the deflected bolts hits the ground at Rainbow's feet, making her recoil slightly, but you continue shooting. After a few moments, you change tactics and fly towards her, just over her head, and pointing your flamethrower at her. You spray a steady stream of fire at her and she dives off to the side, shouting.

You turn around and descend to the ground before charging at her while her back is turned. She faces you just before you kick her in the face, making her fall onto her back and look up at you in shock. You grit your teeth at her as you reel your metal arm back and bring it down towards her head. Just before you punch her, she moves her head to the side and your fist impacts the metal floor, leaving a noticeable dent behind.

With an angry growl, you reel your fist back again in an attempt to punch her once more, but she brings her legs up and kicks you in the chest again, making you stagger backwards a few steps. She quickly gets to her feet and punches you in the face twice. She's about to go for a third punch, but you catch her with your right arm and hold her still. Her blows made you bleed through your gritted teeth and you glare at her like a feral animal.

She uses the Force to command her lightsaber to return to her again, and activates it, bringing it down towards your head, but you instinctively block it with your metal arm. The Armorer did not disappoint. Your arm takes her lightsaber completely without breaking, thanks to the cortosis-infused beskar. The blade flashes and sparks in a few places, but your arm does not break.

Now, Chrysalis wears Sunset's face in an expression of shock and terror. She brings the blade back in an attempt to kill you again, but this time, you catch the blade in your hand, actually squeezing the lightsaber. Your arm flashes and sparks wildly as you growl at her. She pants hard and starts to panic. She's done, and she knows it.

She shuts her eyes tight as she strains to regain control of her weapon before shouting. "Kill them!"

Your eyes widen as, from behind her, one of the holodroids disguised as Pinkie points its blaster off to the side and shoots towards your friends. The bolt goes flying towards Applejack and hits her in the arm, making her cry out in pain.

"Applejack!" You shout. You couldn't stop yourself.

In that moment you were distracted, Chrysalis reels her head back and butts yours with it, making you stagger backwards as you unintentionally bite your tongue. You release her in the process and she turns her hands towards you, pushing you back a few feet with a small jolt of Force Lightning.

In addition to the pain you felt upon impact with the ground, the feeling of electricity coursing all over your body was also unpleasant. It felt like you were on fire in a few places on the inside and outside of your body, while also being pierced with numberless hot needles. It was not a fun feeling.

You groan loudly as the electricity begins to subside and you look up at Chrysalis. She's now running away and pointing at you. "Kill them all!"

She forfeits the duel, as well as any pride she may have had before it began. If you weren't mad before, you sure as hell are now.

"GET BACK HERE, YOU DAMN COWARD!" You roar.

With a growl, you get to your feet as the holodroids begin opening fire on you and your friends. You return fire, destroying one of the droids that looks like you. It sputters and your image fades away as it goes down.

Mandalore and the others have began to return fire as well. Applejack is shooting with her injured arm and holding it with the other. The expression on her face is enough to tell you that it really hurts. Kudos to her for powering through it.

Chrysalis runs through the back door as her droids continue firing at you. She turns to look at you one last time before escaping. She's about halfway between looking like herself, and looking like Sunset. She still has her red and yellow hair, but her eyes are green and sickly, and she looks absolutely terrified. She should be, considering what you're going to do to her when you catch her.

You raise your metal arm in front of your face to protect yourself as you fire at the holodroids. Rainbow moves in front of Applejack to provide cover while she strains to fight. Mandalore and Pinkie are still shooting as well. Your helmet is closest to Pinkie.

"Pinkie! My helmet!" You shout.

She looks at you real quick and then at your helmet. She points to it and then to you. Your helmet vibrates for half a second before flying across the room towards you. You catch it in your hands and quickly put it on.

Now that you're in one piece, you target the droids and move over to help Rainbow give Applejack cover.

"Applejack, are you okay?!" You ask.

She grunts and nods. "Yeah, I'm fine! He hit my armor, but it packed a punch! I'm okay though!"

You nod and turn your attention back to the droids. A Mandalore holodroid goes down as you shoot it in the face.

Behind you, the real Mandalore presses a button on his gauntlet and fires a missile from his jetpack. It screams through the air and careens towards the droids. One or two of them try to dive out of the way, but it explodes and incinerates many of them, making robotic limbs and heads fly all over the place. The few that remain try to recover before being barraged by blasterfire from you and your friends.

"Anonymous, find that changeling! Kill her!" Mandalore commands. "We'll handle the rest of these droids!"

"Got it!" You nod.

You take off in the air and fly towards the remaining droids. Your friends keep their attention while you land beside them and follow Chrysalis. She couldn't have gone too far. You make a right into the hallways and exit the research lab, leaving the droids and your friends behind. The battle starts to die down a bit after a few seconds.

You are so absolutely livid right now. She set the terms of your fight and broke them almost immediately. Spineless Sith coward. If you had more time, you'd make her suffer in the most cruel and unusual way you could possibly imagine when you caught her. She's weak, and the weak deserve no mercy.

As you're running, you hear muffled booms from somewhere outside. Explosions. The slight vibrations beneath your boots are enough to make you stop in your tracks.

"What the hell?" You ask.

You look around. You can hear a slight rattling as nearby loose objects seem to wiggle in tandem with the tremors you feel. It sounds like bombs being detonated outside. Everyone in your group is somewhere else inside the building with you, and the Sith wouldn't risk bombing their own base... Was there an accident?

You turn on your comms. "Can anyone else feel that? What's going on?"

Applejack comes on next. "We just finished wipin' up the droids when we heard the first one. There's a bunch of fireballs goin' up outside! Someone's bombin' the hell outta this place!"

You look to your left and see a window that looks out to the base. A faint orange light comes into the building for a moment before disappearing again. You run to it and look outside. The remnants of a fireball are fading away just below you, and another series of explosions are happening all over the base.

"Who is it?!" You demand.

Rainbow comes on next. "I don't know, but Tank is picking up a FRIENDLY contact on his scanner!"

Before you can respond, your comms crackle for a few seconds as static fills your ears. Then, another voice comes on. The last one you were expecting to hear...

"You're a pitiful sight, Anon..."

Your eyes widen in shock as the Griffon flies over another building in front of you and drops a payload of bombs on the rooftops, making another series of explosions.

"Gilda?!" You shout. "What are you doing here?!"

"We need to talk." Gilda replies, matter-of-factly. "I'll draw the Sith's attention while you kill Chrysalis. Once you're clear, I'll hit the gas tanks and blow this place."

"Might want to work on finding an escape route too, Anon." Limestone adds. "We're firing pretty indiscriminately up here."

The Griffon flies into the sky and vanishes into the darkness as a couple Sith fighters scramble after her in the air and a dogfight ensues up above. She hits one of the Sith ships, and it plummets from the sky.

As you stand there in shock, Mandalore comes on your comms. "This does not change anything, Gilda. You are still not welcome among our people."

"I don't care about your people, Mandalore!" Gilda snaps. "I am acting purely on self-interest by being here! Now shut up and get to work! All of you!"

At that, she cuts her comms and resumes attacking the Sith outside.

Multiple questions are going through your head right now. Why is she helping you, of all people, against the Sith? Limestone too? Can you trust her? Of course not, but what choice do you have right now?

You shake your head and push those questions away. None of them will matter unless you kill Chrysalis and find a way out of here. Gilda will handle destroying the virus and distracting the rest of the Sith, but stopping Chrysalis is your primary concern now. After that, you'll need a way out of here.

You turn on your comms again. "Rainbow, get back to your ship! Use your jetpack! Avoid the bombs and try to fight against the blizzard, but get there now and take off as soon as you arrive!"

"Got it!" She replies.

"Everyone else, get back to the elevator shaft! Chrysalis is probably going to head upstairs to escape!"

"We're on our way, Anonymous!" Mandalore says.

The Bad Ending

View Online

A couple minutes of running later, you make your way back to the elevator shaft. Another boom from outside makes the building vibrate again as you skid to a stop. Did everyone else make it here already, or are you the first one?

You get your answer after a few seconds as Applejack, Pinkie, and Mandalore round a corner behind you. They all stop in their tracks and raise their weapons at you, ready to fire.

You hold up your hands at them. "Hey-Hey! It's me. The real me."

"Prove it." Applejack barks.

You exhale for a moment as you try to think of a way to prove you're not a doppelganger. You think back to something, anything you can use to distinguish yourself to your friends. When you glance at Pinkie, you remember something she's said before. Something no one else would think of.

"Cross my heart, hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye." You say.

Pinkie blinks once and lowers her blaster. "It's him! That's a Pinkie-Promise!"

Applejack looks at her for a moment before lowering her blaster as well. "'Stick a cupcake in my eye...'" She repeats. "I like that."

You exhale and lower your hands as Mandalore steps towards the elevator shaft. "I take it you didn't destroy all the droids after I left?" You ask.

Applejack shakes her head. "We got most of 'em, but a few ran after you and Chrysalis when the bombs started fallin'."

"I still don't understand why Gilda is here, and why she's helping us." You comment.

Pinkie looks at you with hope in her eyes. "Limestone too... Maybe she's come back to the Light Side, and she wants to be a Jedi again! Maybe she convinced Gilda to be good too!"

"Fat chance." Mandalore says. You all look at him as he turns to you. "I don't know who this Limestone is, but Gilda is a bloodthirsty brute who only looks after herself. She's brought irredeemable dishonor to herself, and this little stunt she's pulling now will not undo that. If we weren't in the middle of something more crucial right now, I'd do all in my power to take her down."

The three of you stay silent for a moment before you speak up. "I'm not disagreeing with you, Mandalore, but the fact that she's going out of her way to buy us time to escape tells me that what she wants to discuss is important. Limestone is Pinkie's sister, and is also Lord Sombra's apprentice. After seeing what they did to Rarity's building on Cato Neimoidia, if they really wanted to kill us, they would've tried already."

Mandalore exhales into a bit of a growl and turns back to the elevator shaft. "Be that as it may, none of this will matter if we don't kill Chrysalis. Let's get back to the task at hand before discussing this further."

You all nod and follow Mandalore to the elevator shaft. He activates his jetpack and hovers in the air for a moment as Applejack approaches him. He wraps his arms around her waist and she holds on tight as they both ascend up towards the rooftop. You activate your jetpack as well and fly into the elevator shaft after them with Pinkie in your arms.

As you fly, Pinkie turns to you. "Anon, what do you think Gilda wants to talk about?"

You shake your head. "I don't know, Pinkie. I say we hear them out though. I know Gilda very well. She prefers killing over talking. I don't trust her, or your sister, for that matter, but the fact that they're working together to destroy a crucial Sith base tells me that they're no longer friends with them. What they have to say might be important."

She pauses for a long moment before speaking again. "What if... What if it's a trick, and Limestone and Gilda don't actually want to talk?"

"Then they both die." You growl.

She frowns and exhales as she turns away, still holding onto you tightly as you ascend. The thought of watching her sister die in front of her is not what she wants in the slightest. You don't blame her, to an extent, but Limestone has tried to kill you all multiple times now. There's got to be a point where enough is simply enough.

For her sake, you decide to change the subject. "When we get up there, I want you to look for a terminal or something and download that data for the droids, alright? It would be a shame to lose them since we can use those schematics better than the Sith can."

Pinkie nods. "Okay, Anon."

The both of you don't say anything else as you follow Mandalore and Applejack up the elevator shaft. She occasionally looks down at you to make sure you're still behind them, but does nothing else otherwise. The rest of the ascent is uneventful.

As you approach the top of the building, Gilda comes on your comms again. "Resistance is starting to get pretty heated out here, Anon. Hurry the hell up."

"We're working on it, Gilda." You reply. "Chrysalis is trying to escape. We're heading up to the top floor to stop her now."

"Chrysalis is a conniving coward." Limestone says. "I've met her before. She's brilliant, and has big aspirations, but she's weak. My Mast-" She pauses. "Sombra... appointed her as overseer of this facility after failing to best me in combat."

So something did happen since the last time you saw her...

Applejack comes on the comms as well. "I thought it was the way of the Sith to kill anyone y'all saw as weak..."

"My Master commanded that she be kept alive." Limestone says. "Sombra is brilliant and has big aspirations as well, and did not see her as disposable quite yet. Believe me, I wanted to kill her right then and there, but he ordered me to stay my hand."

You all reach the top of the elevator shaft and Mandalore opens the doors. The ground is hundreds of meters below you right now. Being this high up doesn't make you uneasy, unless you're on a planet like Coruscant or Nar Shaddaa. Hell, being in space doesn't even make you nervous anymore. You will never hate having the ability to fly.

As you pass through the doors, Limestone continues. "She knows she is invaluable. She'll try to copy or purge as much important data as she can before escaping. With her shapeshifting abilities, she'll believe she has extra time."

You all proceed through the hallways together. "She came here in a shuttle or something on the landing pad up here." You say. "Think you can slow her down?"

"I see it." Gilda growls.

A few seconds later, the ground beneath your feet shakes violently and a loud explosion erupts from just outside. You almost lose your footing as the entire building seems to wobble back and forth for a moment. You can only assume that Chrysalis' ship is in smithereens right now. She's stuck here with you all.

"That's all the help you'll get from me, Anon." Gilda says. "Now kill her and get out of there, before I blow this base up and leave you all here."

"I don't think I need to remind you that she'll try to deceive you." Limestone adds.

"Yeah, we figured that out already." You reply. "This won't take long."

"Limestone?" Pinkie says. "Thank you..."

Limestone doesn't say anything, but you know she heard Pinkie, because she hasn't cut communications yet. A few long seconds pass before she finally does. Pinkie looks cautiously hopeful and sighs as she lowers her finger from her ear.

As much as you'd like to ponder and think about what's going on in her head right now, you have a more pressing task to focus on. You'll worry about this later.

You all raise your weapons and proceed through the hallways together. The sounds of muffled booms are still echoing from outside, as well as the occasional blasterfire from Sith starfighters fighting Gilda. She should be able to keep them occupied, but if what she has to say is so important, then you've got to hurry.

You turn to Applejack as she jogs alongside you. She's cringing slightly as she holds her blaster in her injured hand. Her good hand is rubbing her injured one a bit.

"Are you okay?" You ask.

She glances at you for a moment and nods. "Yeah, I'm okay. I ain't bleedin', I'm sure. It just stings a bit."

You look ahead again and continue forward with everyone. As you all turn another corner, you reach a closed doorway. The doors are large and obviously lead to somewhere of great importance. You all approach and the doors automatically open, revealing a large chamber that almost looks like an office. This must be where Chrysalis spends most of her time.

The four of you cautiously enter the room and look around with your weapons drawn. She obviously runs this installation like it's a business, based on the layout. There are tables and chairs to your left and right, along with elaborate d├ęcor and trinkets scattered around. The lights are dimmed, so it is a bit dark in here, but not enough to blind you. Occasional flashes of orange and green lights from the fighting going on outside can be seen through the windows and illuminate the room a bit more. On the walls, you notice a series of glowing red objects, either in ancient weaponry or jewelry.

Directly ahead of you is a large desk with a series of terminals on it. In addition, you also see a glowing red pyramid sitting in the center. The light pulses softly, almost hypnotically. You've never seen anything like it before.

Pinkie takes a shaky breath and stops walking. "Guys, we should leave. Now."

"Not until we kill Chrysalis." You reply.

Applejack approaches the desk and walks behind it. "Lemme see if I can find any info on those droids here."

Pinkie takes a few frantic steps forward. "Applejack, no! Get away from there!"

As she moves, the terminals shut off, as well as all the lights in the room. The pulsing red object on the desk glows brighter and starts making weird sounds. It almost sounds like people speaking in a different language that is mostly comprised of hissing. It's eerie.

"What is that thing?" Mandalore asks.

"It's a Sith holocron!" Pinkie says. "It stores information and data that can only be accessed by those who use the Dark Side of the Force! It's extremely dangerous!"

You've never seen a holocron before. You've heard of Jedi holocrons, but not Sith ones. Though, it doesn't surprise you that they'd have their own version. Supposedly, a Jedi could sort of transfer their essence or something inside of one, and store lessons or knowledge for future generations to learn from long after they died. Very noble of them, but the Sith, on the other hand, are anything but.

You approach the holocron. "I wonder if she stored the droid's info on this somehow."

As you reach out to touch it, Pinkie runs towards you. "Anon, no!"

You barely nudge it when all of the sudden, the holocron seems to burst and produce a thick plume of dark red smoke that envelops you completely. The sounds of the Sith language from before rise to deafening volumes and seem to swirl around the room and inside your head.

You shout in surprise and try to wave the smoke away, but it doesn't dissipate. Mandalore, Applejack, and Pinkie all seem to vanish from your view, leaving you completely alone and blind. Immediately, you feel the pangs of panic set in as you try in vain to push your way out of the smoke.

What the hell is going on? Where did everyone go? Is this the fear virus? Did you inhale it?

Your heartbeat quickens rapidly and you shout as you grip your head. The hissing sounds grow louder. It's like they're all yelling at you simultaneously in an evil language. Among them, you hear another voice.

"Feel the fear, Mandalorian... Embrace it..."

You yell loudly again as Chrysalis' voice resonates within your skull. Her clawdite form face materializes in front of you. She holds an outstretched arm towards you and chuckles as you throw your fists at her in a hopeless attempt to attack, but she fades away. You drop to your knees and hold your head as she appears in front of you again, multiple times. Like an army of clones.

"Show me what you cherish most in life..."

Her nearest form walks towards you and transforms into a perfect doppelganger of yourself. Down to the last detail.

She grins at you with your face before speaking in your voice. "Give me the pleasure of taking it away..."

Next, the red smoke behind your form changes to look like the jungles of Mandalore. Sunset is there as well, along with a pair of children... Your future children... With her... Everyone looks so happy. Your doppelganger is wearing a sinister smile as it glares at you with its arm around Sunset.

Then, to your horror, the scene immediately changes to one of you slaughtering your family in the most gruesome way imaginable. Sunset has been immobilized, mutilated and you're forcing her to watch as you brutally murder your children in front of her... They're cowering, screaming, begging you to stop, but you're wearing an evil, gleeful smile on your face as you ignore their pleas.

"No..." You breathe. "Stop it... Please..."

A single tear falls from your eyes as you watch the vision unfold... It's all so real. You can hear their screams. You can see their confused terror. You can feel yourself doing these things to them, but you can't stop it. It's like you're possessed.

"Don't worry, Anonymous..." Chrysalis coos. "I'll take good care of them for you."

Your eyes widen as you realize your greatest fear is being displayed right in front of you. What she's going to do to Sunset after you die here. She's going to live your life in your place, then kill the ones you love.

That. Cannot. Happen. You refuse to let that happen.

You clench your fists and growl in anger. You punch yourself on the side of your helmet a few times, trying to push these horrific images out of your mind.

"Get out of my head..." You snarl.

You open your eyes again and the horror scene in front of you starts to shatter and break. Like a moving piece of glass chipping away. You shake your head again and try to come back to reality. The spire on Khar Delba. The Sith. Your friends.

"Anon!" Another voice shouts. It's Pinkie.

Behind the broken vision of your future family, you spot Chrysalis running towards you. As she breaks through the imaginary picture of Sunset and your children, she changes her form to look like Pinkie and holds her arm out to you as if to save you.

Your eyes widen as you see right through her disguise. As she reaches for your hand, you reply with a punch to her face. She looks surprised as you see through her trick and doesn't have time to react. She grunts as you impact her in the nose and she falls to the ground on her back. She looks up at you, still disguised as Pinkie, except for the eyes, and starts to panic.

You stand up and raise both your fists over your head, ready to deliver the final blow. "DIE!"

She scrambles just in time to avoid your impact and runs away. You're so focused on her that you almost don't realize that you're back in her office. The vision has faded away. Blasterfire is going on all around you. More droids have entered the office. Applejack is taking cover behind the desk and Mandalore is fighting alongside the real Pinkie.

You're too blinded by rage to join them. You've got to kill Chrysalis right now.

"CHRYSALIS!" You roar as you charge after her.

"Anon, wait!" Applejack yells, but you ignore her.

Chrysalis turns to run towards a pair of holodroids. One of them is also disguised as Pinkie, while the other is disguised as Rainbow. You shoot them both as you try to hit Chrysalis. She yells as you gain on her.

You follow her down a hallway, shooting at her as best as you can. You blast her in the leg and she yells as she trips. With another snarl, you bring your foot back as you prepare to kick her, but she turns around and pushes you away with the Force. You fly backwards and land on your behind, but you quickly recover and get to your feet again. Chrysalis has run around a corner and is no longer in sight.

With another enraged growl, you get back up and bolt after her.

Long Live the Queen

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You pant hard and take cover behind a pillar as another holodroid shoots at you. Applejack is crouched behind Chrysalis' desk and it looks like she's waiting for her blasters to cool down. Mandalore is somewhere else in this room, but you aren't sure where. These reinforcements are holding their ground hard and keeping you pinned.

They all burst into the room right after Anon touched that holocron. A surge of Dark Side energy came pouring out all at once. You could feel it. It seeped inside his mind and made him go crazy. He was banging his head and all kinds of stuff for a few seconds. You wanted to help him, but you were too focused on the droids. That's when Chrysalis showed up.

She used Force Fear on Anon's mind to make him see his worst fears. It's a very dark, very evil Force power. Anon must've saw through it after a while though, because the next time you looked over at them, he was chasing her through the office and roaring like an angry rancor monster. It's like he was in a frenzy. Hopefully he's okay. You want to check on him when you get rid of these droids.

You peer around the corner and blast a few more droids in the torso. Two of them that look like Applejack and Anon go down and turn back into their normal selves. A couple more start blasting at you and you're forced to take cover again.

"You alright Pinkie?!" Applejack shouts.

You nod. "Yeah, I'm okay! I wish I had a lightsaber or something now though!"

She chuckles and looks over the desk to take a few more shots at the droids before taking cover once again. Then, you see a flash of orange reflected on the window behind the desk, and the blasterfire around you slows down some.

You peer around the corner to see Mandalore rushing the droids and spraying a jet of fire from his gauntlet at them. He shouts as he slams into one of the droids disguised as himself and uses it as a shield while the other droids shoot at him. Then, he literally tears the droid's head off its shoulders and throws it at the others. They stumble and stop firing for a moment as he closes in.

Using the headless droid, he lifts it up to grab it by the ankle and swings it at another droid, knocking it off to the side before shooting it. The remaining droids all shoot at him, but the blaster bolts deflect off his beskar armor. They frantically step away from the Mandalorian as he moves on to the next closest droid.

You and Applejack take advantage of this to help him by shooting at any other droids you see while they keep their attention on him. One by one they go down, and within a few seconds, the rest of the droids are destroyed.

Mandalore growls through his panting as he throws a droid's severed arm to the ground and turns to you and walks towards the desk.

"Whew! Remind me to never make you mad, Mandalore!" Applejack compliments.

"You needed a reminder?" He says unhappily as he moves to the desk.

Applejack deflates a bit at the blunt rebuttal but you smile at him. "Aww, don't be such a grump! You did great!"

"I don't need you to tell me the obvious..." Mandalore growls.

Now your smile fades a bit and you look at Applejack. She looks unsure about being in the same room as him now, and you don't really blame her. He never seemed like a pleasant guy to be around, but he especially doesn't seem happy now. The whole situation you're all in, as well as Gilda being here now must be getting to him.

He moves to the terminals on the desk and starts looking at them. "Applejack, go find Anonymous. Look out for Chrysalis. Pie, come over here and see what you can do to get that information. We need to get out of here."

Applejack nods. "Sure thing."

She turns away and runs into the direction Anon went with Chrysalis, and you call after her. "Be careful, Applejack!"

She doesn't say anything or turn around, but she waves her hand to acknowledge that she heard you. When she leaves, you turn around and head over to the desk to look through Chrysalis' terminal.

Mandalore makes room for you and you crack your fingers as you look at the screen. "Now, lets see what we can find!"

"Listen to me, Pie." As you begin scouring through the terminal, Mandalore places a hand on your shoulder making you look up at him. "When the time comes, I need you to do something for me..."

---

This room is full of all kinds of machinery, tech, treasures, and Sith artifacts. It's not as large as the tech lab is a few floors below, but it's still quite spacious. It would be easy to hide in here among the trinkets.

You grit your teeth as you look around the large room. You lost her in here somewhere. She's probably hiding in plain sight and you just can't see her. Apart from your breathing and heartbeat, it is silent in here. Being a changeling has perks, to be sure, but you're still not going to roll over and give up just because she has an advantage.

You breathe heavily as footsteps approach from behind you. "Anon?"

You whip around to spot Applejack standing there, looking at you with worry.

"Applejack?" You ask. "Is that you? The real you?"

She nods and holds her hands up softly. "Y-Yeah... It's me..."

You pause for a moment. "...Cross your heart?"

Applejack blinks once and nods again. "Yep... Cross my heart, it's really me."

...No it's not.

Your eyes narrow beneath your visor as you stare at her for a moment before turning away again, pretending to look around the room suspiciously with your blaster tight in your hand.

"Chrysalis is still here..." You growl. "She's close..."

Very close, indeed...

"Applejack" looks around the room as well, worried as you scan your surroundings. After a few long seconds, she approaches you nervously.

"Come on, Anon." She says as she moves next to you. "We gotta meet up with our friends."

She's on your left side, the same as your robotic arm. You're looking away from her with your blaster in your right hand, still scanning the area. After a moment, you lower your blaster somewhat and exhale.

"Yeah... I know..." You reply. "There's just one little problem..."

In one sudden motion, you reach up and grab Applejack's neck with your robotic arm and squeeze hard, while simultaneously bringing your blaster around to shove into her stomach and pulling the trigger. Applejack's eyes widen in shock and she gasps hard as she reaches up to your arm and tries to pry your metal fingers loose, but she stops when you blast her stomach. She breathes in a shaky, panicked breath as you tighten your grip on her neck.

"...You're. Not. My. Friend." You growl through gritted teeth.

As you raise her into the air, "Applejack's" eyes change from her normal emerald color to a sickly reddish-cyan, her skin turns orange, and her hair changes shape. You continue to tighten your grip around Chrysalis' neck, creating the muffled sounds of her bones shattering. She squirms around frantically as she tries in vain to escape, but it's no use.

Finally, her skin and physical features revert back to their normal, ugly state as she exhales what little air she has left and drops her arms. The rest of her body goes limp, her mouth hangs open, and her eyes stop looking at you as she dangles by her neck in your robotic grip. The Sith Inquisitor is dead.

You exhale and release your grip on Chrysalis' neck. She falls into a lifeless heap on the ground at your feet and you look down at her in disgust. You think back to those images that she made you see of your broken, bloody family. What she was going to do to Sunset. To everyone you love and hold dear, most likely. What you did here was absolutely necessary.

You take a look at your hands as you realize what she would've made you capable of. Your robotic hand makes your memory flashes back to the fear you felt when the rakghouls infected you. That thought was nothing compared to the horror you felt when you saw Sunset and your children dead at your feet. At Chrysalis' feet... What she would have done.

Without thinking, you turn your blaster onto Chrysalis' body and fire a round into her. You fire again, and again, and again, a growl in your throat growing louder and angrier as you blast her lifeless body multiple times. Finally, you let out a roar as you actually throw your blaster at her head before bringing your leg down on her back to try and squish her like a bug. She's already dead, but you're so livid right now that you don't even care.

You bring your leg up and kick her side as hard as you can and her corpse slides across the floor away from you, leaving a small trail of blood behind.

"RRRAAAAAAGH!!" You throw you head back and yell loudly before dropping to your knees and panting hard.

You stay there breathing hard and thinking to yourself about everything you have and everything you're afraid to lose. Sunset, your friends, your family, everything. You can't believe how close you came to losing them to this... thing.

"Anon?"

You whip your head around to see Applejack, the real Applejack, enter the room and look at you with concern.

"You alright, Sugarcube?" She asks.

You pause and take another deep breath as you get to your feet. "Yeah... I'm fine."

She approaches you slowly and looks ahead of you. "You got her, huh?"

"Yeah, I did..." You reply. You pick up your blaster from the ground and put it in your holster before turning to face her completely. "Where are Mandalore and Pinkie?"

"They're in Chrysalis' office lookin' for the info on the droids." She replies.

Another rumble booms beneath your boots and you look around a little. The lights are starting to flicker on and off too.

"We need to get out of here." You say.

She nods and the two of you run back through the way you came in, leaving Chrysalis behind.

The Way

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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."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrI21TOT884

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.

"MANDALORE!!"

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...

Coming to Terms

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With a roar, Anon slams his fists into the durasteel wall as hard as he can over and over again. His breaths are feral and he's practically snarling. He's like a rabid animal. After a few seconds, he takes off his helmet and throws it on the ground, making the three of you jump back in fear.

He continues panting and pacing back and forth, grabbing his hair and tugging hard, before turning his attention to the wall again and punching it like crazy. It looks like it hurts with how hard he's hitting it. He's making noticable dents. If it does hurt, he clearly doesn't care, because he punches and kicks the wall over and over again, yelling and screaming all kinds of bad words with each impact.

You, Applejack, and Rainbow all stand back and away as you all watch him. What all can you do? Mandalore sacrificed himself to save you all and gave Anon his title. Which means he's now the leader of all Mandalorians in the whole galaxy. Every world, every ship, every soldier, everyone. That's a lot of responsibility to be handed all at once. Plus, Anon looked up to Mandalore. More than anyone, except for maybe Sunset.

"Should... Should we do something?" Rainbow asks quietly. "I mean, I'm really sad about Mandalore being gone too, but he's kind of taking it out on my ship."

"I dunno what we can do right now, Sugarcube." Applejack says. "He's hurtin'."

Anon punches the wall one more time, leaving another dent in it before stopping. He's clearly out of breath as he leans his back against the wall and slides down to sit on the floor. It doesn't look like he's angry, he looks absolutely distressed, more than anything.

With a gulp, you take a few tentative steps towards him. "Anon?"

He looks up at you for a moment, still panting hard, before looking away. He actually has tears in his eyes... It's the first time you've ever seen a Mandalorian cry.

"Anon, I'm so, so sorry." You say. "I really am."

"Why... Why didn't you let me help him?" He demands. "Why did you bring me aboard this damn ship and just let him die?!"

"He told me to, Anon!" You reply. "When you were fighting Chrysalis and Applejack went to find you! He told me that if it came down to it, to save you and leave him behind!"

He stares at you silently as you crouch down beside him.

"I didn't want to go through with it, but he said I had to! The fate of the galaxy depended on you being safe!" You say. "He said that someday, all Mandalorians would look to you to lead them. I didn't know that 'someday' would mean 'today' when he said it, but it did."

Behind you, Applejack steps forward. "Sounds to me like he was tryin' to cover his bases, and he trusted you to do just that, Anon. More than anyone else in the galaxy, even. That ain't somthin' to take lightly."

He shifts his gaze between you and her as you both talk to him.

"I tried to say no to the idea of leaving him behind to die." You say. "I liked Mandalore. I really did! He was a bit of a Grumpy Gus, sure, but I liked him! He was a tough Mandalorian that wasn't scared of anything! He reminded me of you in a lot of ways!"

Anon sighs and looks away again. "I'll never be as good as he was..."

"Not with that attitude!" Rainbow says. You all look at her as she approaches. "Anon, ever since I became a Mandalorian, I've tried to follow your example. You've been a huge inspiration for me. I'm awesome, sure, but you're crazy awesome too! Coco and Thunderlane have told me tons of stories they've heard about you! I don't know if anyone else in the galaxy could've taken down Discord's gang the way you did! That was something even the Republic couldn't do!"

Anon looks at Rainbow as she speaks.

She continues. "I'll be lucky if I'm half as awesome as you are! I'm sad that Mandalore is gone too, but I'd be absolutely devastated if you had died instead... I look up to you. Ever since you found me on that prison and helped me escape, I've thought you were the coolest person I've ever met! Mandalore thought that you'd be a good replacement for our people, and I could not agree more. You may not be the leader he was now, but you can learn. Just like how I'm learning right now! I've got your back, Anon. Don't worry."

She smiles at him and Applejack looks at him again as well. "The fact that you were able to persuade Supreme Chancellor Celestia and Grand Master Luna to forgive you on the whole 'Hoity Toity' issue is impressive too, Sugarcube. You know my personal thoughts on how that was done already, but that don't change the fact that he was a spineless, evil man, who probably deserved what he got. Makin' the Chancellor and the Jedi see the complete truth without resortin' to anymore violence was simply amazin' too. You have no idea how nerve wrackin' it was for us when we heard that we were gonna protect the Chancellor while she met with Mandalorians. Despite what the Sith did to Cerea, I'm still so grateful that y'all didn't resort to bloodshed durin' that meetin'. All you did was tell the truth. That's it."

You turn around and pick up Anon's helmet, brushing it off a little as you hold it out to him.

"You've been a great friend to me too, Anon. You and Sunset both have." You say. "Sure, we kinda roughed each other up on Nar Shaddaa when we first met, but it all worked out! I'm glad we met! You helped me reunite with Maud again. I had spent so many nights wondering how she was and what she was doing. Same with all my sisters! I've missed them so much. Even Limestone. Sure, I'm sad about the choices she made, but I hope that we can be friends again someday. I still love her." You pause for a moment before continuing. "But thanks to you, I have hope that we can. Just like how I'm friends with Maud again!"

Anon stares at you and the helmet for a long time, saying nothing. His breathing has slowed down a little and he's obviously thinking about what you've all said.

"Do you all really mean that?" He asks.

The three of you nod in unison and smile.

Anon sniffs once and wipes his nose before he takes his helmet from you and stares at it for a long time. He rubs his thumb along the visor slightly.

After a few long moments, he looks at you all again. "Thank you."

"You're welcome..." You say as you stand up and hold your arm out to him. "...Mandalore."

He shuts his eyes and shivers softly as he silently repeats the name. Then, he grabs your hand and you help him to his feet. The look on his face is one you've seen many times on a bunch of other people who have felt sad or down. There's only one real cure for something like that.

You smile wide and reach in to give him a tight hug. He's a little taken back at it, but you keep hugging him. Applejack gives a little chuckle at the sight.

"Pinkie, I appreciate the gesture, but you know what I've told you about hugs, right?" He says.

"I know, Anon, but you look like you could really use one right now!" You giggle. "It'll all be okay, don't worry."

He endures it for a few more seconds before you release him and smile. He gives you an awkward half-smile before taking another deep breath and putting his helmet back on.

He looks at the dent in the wall he made with his fists before turning to Rainbow, rubbing the back of his neck. "Sorry about that..."

Rainbow laughs. "It's fine, I don't blame you for freaking out a little. It's been a hectic day. Just fix it when we get back home, okay?"

Anon nods, but stays silent.

"Well, looks like we got a bit of time to kill before we get to where we're goin'." Applejack says with a sigh before turning to Rainbow. "You got any food? I'm sure we could all do well with somethin' in our stomachs and a bit of rest."

Rainbow chuckles. "Yeah, I have some stuff here. Let me show you." She turns to look at Anon. "Do you want me to get you anything?"

Anon nods once. "Yeah, I'll take whatever you've got, but I'll eat it by myself... I'd like to be alone for a little while, if that's okay."

Rainbow nods back at him and smiles. "Whatever you say, Mandalore."

They both walk away and Anon shifts uncomfortably at that, just a little bit. He's clearly not used to being called that name quite yet.

You turn back to him and smile. "If there's anything you need, Anon, you're always welcome to come talk to me, okay?"

He looks back at you and nods. "I know. Thank you, Pinkie."

He takes another breath before turning around and heading into one of the empty rooms and shutting the door. You know that he probably won't talk to you about any problems like this, but it was still nice to offer, just in case. He's your friend, and he's feeling sad right now.

You smile softly and follow Applejack and Rainbow Dash to get some food too. You could use a break, and you really want to get out of this ugly Sith armor.

---

You set down your foodstuff and take a deep breath as you lean back on your bed in the crew quarters. You don't have the biggest appetite right now, but you still needed to eat something. It's been quite a few hours since you last ate.

Your mind races back to everything that happened on Khar Delba. A part of you still refuses to believe that Mandalore is actually gone. You've known him since you were a child. He was like your father in many ways. When your actual parents died, he stepped in to fill the void and teach you anything he could. He wasn't always the leader of the Mandalorians, but he did hold that title for a long time. Now, that title belongs to you.

You, Anonymous, are now Mandalore.

You've only dreamed of holding that title, but you never thought in a million years that it would actually be yours. It's a title and position of power that is on par with the Supreme Chancellor of the Republic, or the Dark Lord of the Sith. Once you tell your people about this little shift in rulership, you'll have all of Mandalorian Space under your control. That means that stopping the Sith is entirely up to you now.

As you think, your mind begins to wander to Sunset. How will she take this news?

She'll probably be sad about Mandalore being dead, obviously, but to the news that you got his job? You aren't sure. Especially after your big fight with each other just before coming on this little adventure. You were talking about turning on the Republic and conquering the galaxy after destroying the Sith. As nice as that sounded at the time, the fear of losing her was enough to make you want to abandon that thought forever. Would that be a concern to her?

You look over at your helmet beside you and sigh. After a few long seconds, you take it and put it on your head again. Now that you're out of Sith Space, you're able to get a signal. On your HUD, you open your communications and see an unread message from Sunset. She sent it a few hours ago. You select it and press play.

Before your eyes, you see Sunset standing alone in the main hold of your ship. She's in her robe, and looking at you with a small smile.

"Hi, Anon." She begins. "Um... just wanted to let you know that I'm okay. We ran into some trouble, but it's nothing we can't handle. We should be on our way tomorrow." She pauses for a second. "I miss you... A lot... Contact me as soon as you can, okay? I want to talk to you again. I know you're okay doing whatever you're doing, but I'd still like to hear your voice. So...as soon as you get this." She gives you a big smile. "Bye, love."

As the clip ends, you exhale and shut your eyes. You stay there for a long time, thinking to yourself about what you'll say to her and what she's been doing. What kind of trouble did she run into?

You're about to contact her when a knock at the door cuts you off. "Anon, we're here." Applejack says.

"Thanks. I'll be right out." You reply.

Looks like your message to Sunset will have to wait.

You stand up and grab your leftovers from off the bed before heading to the door. It opens and you step outside into the hallway, throwing your trash away as you head to the cockpit. Once you arrive, you see the small asteroid field that surrounds the cluster of deformed rock, formerly known as Malachor V outside the viewport window, in front of Rainbow Dash at the controls. Among the rocks, you see skeletons of warships and frigates, centuries old, still floating around in the empty vacuum of space. They're all that remains of the Mandalorian Wars, even after all this time.

Rainbow looks back at you for a second. "I see one ship on my scanner, Anon. It's Gilda."

You look at her scanner to see the outline of the Griffon a few kilometers away from your position. You're pretty sure that Gilda has a stealth drive aboard her ship. If she hasn't activated it, then that means she wants you to see her. Either this is a trap, or she really does just want to talk.

As the Sonic Rainboom idles forward, the Griffon starts to move as well. Gilda has spotted you.

"About time you showed up." Gilda scoffs on the comms.

Her ship comes into view in front of you, but she does not move to an attack position. She just stays there, revealing her ship to yours completely.

Behind you, Applejack and Pinkie enter the cockpit as well. You clench your fists and take a deep breath as you activate your comms. "So where's your welcoming committee, Gilda?"

She chuckles a little. "It's just me, Anon. Don't you worry your scaredy-little head. Our two ships are the only ones here right now."

"Fine. Assuming you're telling the truth then, why am I here? What could you possibly need to tell me that's so important?" You ask.

"Let's dock and speak face-to-face." She replies.

Applejack steps forward and mutes the comms before turning to you. "That's a bad idea, Anon. If she's half as bad as you say she is, then lettin' her aboard is the last thing we should be doin'."

Rainbow nods. "Definitely. I really don't want her or her crazy Sith friend destroying my ship."

To be fair, if Rainbow didn't want to see her again, she should've destroyed the Griffon back on Cato Neimoidia instead of letting it go, as per Pinkie's request.

You turn to your pink friend. She's not her usual, giddy self right now. "What do you think?"

She looks at you for a moment. "I don't know... I want to believe that Limestone has changed, but I also know what she did to Rarity and her building, and those Sith back there, I just... Please don't make me choose, Anon..."

You sigh and cross your arms as you think. This is all so damn shifty, you don't know what you're supposed to do. Of course you know what Gilda is capable of, and you know not to trust her, but if she had wanted to kill you, she would've tried to already. She had the perfect opportunity to back on Khar Delba. You were surrounded, the base was going up in flames, there were ships and Star Destroyers closing in. If she wanted, she could've bombed you right there and gone back to Lord Sombra for a handsome reward. So why didn't she?

You take another breath as you look at Gilda's ship. "My first act as Mandalore should not be one of cowardice. Of course we will not trust her, but we will be ready for anything she has to throw at us, if she does... You girls have my back, right?"

Applejack, Rainbow, and Pinkie all nod. "Of course, Anon." Rainbow says. "You're Mandalore now. Wherever you lead, I'll follow."

You stare at her for a moment as she speaks. She trusts you. She's loyal to you. To Mandalore. That realization is enough to make you feel just a bit better about everything now.

You unmute the comms and speak again. "Fine, Gilda. We'll dock and speak face-to-face. Try anything funny, and we'll kill you though. There are four of us, and two of you."

There's a pause before she speaks again. "Four? I thought there was five. Where's Mandalore?"

"You're talking to him." You growl.

The girls all look at you as you stand up straight, unconsciously puffing your chest out some.

She chuckles once before continuing. "Alright then, 'Mandalore'... Let's chat."

The Enemy of My Enemy

View Online

The ground thrums as the Sonic Rainboom docks with the Griffon. You all stand in front of the airlock with your weapons out and ready for a fight, just in case. You're about to meet Gilda, after all. Last time you saw her, she had just tried to kill you by sending you down to the rocky surface of Cato Neimoidia. Thankfully, Sunset showed up when she did. Otherwise, you'd be dead right now.

"Whatever happens, do not lower your guard, and do not fire until she fires first." You command.

Rainbow grips her blasters tighter. "Got it."

You pull out your own blaster and look at the airlock door. It begins to hiss softly and pretty soon, it opens. There, inside the neighboring ship, is Gilda. The ex-Mandalorian stands there with her own dual heavy blasters drawn and ready, and a smirk on her face. Behind her, Limestone Pie stands with her lightsaber activated and humming softly, making everything around them glow red. She glares at you with her yellow, hate-filled eyes.

Neither of your parties move or speak for a few seconds. You all just stare at each other.

Finally, Gilda breaks the silence. "Such a shame this little get together didn't happen a few days ago. The Sith would've paid me so much money."

"I'm flattered that they were that scared of me." You reply.

Gilda chuckles and shifts her gaze to your friends. "I've heard of Pinkie, but I don't know who you other two are."

Applejack doesn't drop her defensive stance. "Applejack."

"And I'm Rainbow Dash." Rainbow adds.

Gilda looks at Rainbow. "New blood, huh?"

Before Rainbow can reply, you cut her off. "Why are we here, Gilda?"

"Because it is in both of our interests to talk." She says. "So how about we put down our weapons and be civil?"

"Not until she puts down the lightsaber." You say, nodding at Limestone.

Gilda slowly turns to Limestone and nods, prompting the Sith to deactivate her blade. As it hisses off, she clips it to her belt, her eyes never leaving yours.

You turn to your friends. "Stand down."

Cautiously, the girls behind you lower their weapons and put them away. You and Gilda do the same as you face each other.

"So," You begin. "Why didn't you kill me when you had the chance?"

"Like I said, it is in both of our interests to talk." Gilda says again.

Limestone steps forward. "We both want to see Sombra dead."

That's a little bit surprising. Killing their master and taking their place is the way of the Sith, but what's surprising is that Limestone hasn't tried to do it already.

Or maybe she has.

"Why come to us then?" You ask. "Why not kill him yourself?"

Limestone flares her nostrils and looks at you. "My former master has denounced me as his apprentice, and has ordered every Sith in the Empire to kill me on sight. Same with Gilda."

"You forced Darth's hand and made him execute his plans prematurely by spilling the beans to Celestia." Gilda continues. "Since we weren't able to kill you on Cato Neimoidia, you were able to form a truce between the Mandalorians and the Republic. I had your life in my hands. Your fashionista friend was the perfect bait, and I knew that Pinkamena wouldn't fire on her own sister. My plan was perfect, but what I didn't count on was your junior speedster over there." She motions to Rainbow.

Rainbow's eyebrows raise a little. "Me?"

Gilda nods. "Credit where it's due, Dash. You're a damn good pilot."

Rainbow smirks and crosses her arms. "Hell yeah I am. Best in the galaxy. I hold the record for doing the Kessel Run in fourteen parsecs."

You groan softly. How many times has she said that now?

Gilda scoffs a chuckle and turns back to you. "Anyway, you had an ace up your sleeve and it cost me my paycheck. Now, we want revenge."

"Oh, so you do want to kill us?" You ask.

"No, dumbass. I told you, it's mutually beneficial that we talk!" Gilda snaps. She turns to Limestone. "I said that to him loud and clear, didn't I? Multiple times?"

Limestone nods. "Yeah, you did."

You growl a little and grip your fists tighter.

Gilda looks back at you. "We want revenge against Sombra. We know where you can find him, and we can share all kinds of dirty little secrets that the Sith have. You only knew about his fear toxin processing plant. You'd need all kinds of help to find his space station, and even more help if you wanted to shut it down."

You think for a moment. She does have a point. Even with Rarity's underworld knowledge and the Republic's resources, it would be much harder to locate Darth Sombra's base than it was to find Khar Delba. You'd be able to do it if you had time, you had no doubt, but time was not on your side. You need to find him now.

"What's in it for you?" You ask.

"Two things." Gilda says. "One, revenge, for both of us. I don't like getting cheated out of a paycheck. I'd take it out on you, but the Sith would still be after us. Now that you're Mandalore, you have the best chance of destroying the Sith. No way the Republic will be able to do it on their own. In addition, Limestone wants out of the Sith too."

Limestone nods and Pinkie steps forward. "You do?"

She looks at Pinkie and nods. "I have wanted to be free from Sombra's grip for years, Pinkie. It is a new kind of hell to be with the Sith. The Dark Side of the Force is so much stronger than the Light Side, but Sombra is twisted. There's no way I can advance being under him."

"Then... Why didn't you leave sooner?" Pinkie asks. "Why not try to go back to the Jedi?"

"The Jedi are fools!" Limestone spits. "Spineless, pathetic, stubborn, and arrogant fools, who turn away from power and change instead of embracing it and shaping reality to how they want! The Sith have all kinds of flaws, but their use of the Dark Side is not one of them. The Dark Side is the true nature of the Force. With it, I'm on the way to becoming even more powerful than Grand Master Luna."

Pinkie deflates a little at her sister's words, but you can't help agreeing with Limestone a little bit. The Jedi, collectively, are fools. Maud is okay, but the Jedi Order as a whole arguably brought the galaxy and the Republic to where it is now. A lawless frontier with no holds barred, and not enough help to keep it governed properly. No wonder they agreed to accept help from the Mandalorians to stop the resurgent Sith.

Limestone appears to dial back her anger a bit and continues. "Pinkie, for what it's worth, I am sorry for trying to kill you... I wanted to turn my back on the Sith and leave for a long time, but Sombra wouldn't let me... After this is over, I will leave the Sith and the Jedi to their own devices. I won't try to kill Maud or you ever again. The thought of Sombra knowing that I'm leaving the Jedi alone to grow would really piss him off, and I like that."

Pinkie looks at Limestone with sadness, but also with a small glimmer of hope in her eye. You can imagine why. Limestone, as immersed with the Dark Side as she claims to be, is apologizing for trying to kill her and Maud. Apologizing doesn't seem like a Dark Side trait.

Gilda looks at you once again. "The second thing is that there is a really good chance that you'll die when you try to stop the Sith. Which is just fine with me."

You growl a little. "Don't count on that, Gilda. I'll have all of Mandalore backing me up for this."

She chuckles again. "Yeah, you're right. No one gets to kill you but me, and only on my terms."

You clench your fists again and take a deep breath. She's trying to get on your nerves, and unfortunately, it's working. You need to be the adult here.

"Look, Gilda." You begin. "You don't like me, and I sure as hell don't like you. But if we don't work together, the Sith will conquer the galaxy and we'll all die. We can be enemies again after they're out of the picture, but until then, let's help each other out."

She scoffs and crosses her arms. "You're explaining the Sith to us like we don't know what they're capable of. Of course they'll kill us all. That's why Limestone and I are here now, talking to you."

"Let's shelve any talk of killing each other until then, huh?" You say, setting your hands on your hips.

Gilda stares at you for a long moment before nodding once. "Very well." She turns to Limestone. "Let's show them what we've got."

Limestone steps forward and pulls out a small holoprojector from her back pocket. She presses a button and an image of the galaxy comes up in front of her. It swirls around slowly, giving you all a three-dimensional view of the spiral of stars.

She points to a section of the galaxy. "The Sith are hidden on a massive space station here. From there, they command an entire armada of Sith ships that they plan to conquer the galaxy with, using their fear toxin. The base on Khar Delba was their primary source of manufacturing the virus, but this station is a backup. After what just happened, it will likely default to the primary."

Applejack looks at Limestone. "There ain't any more places around that make it?"

"Not that I know of."

You study the section of the galaxy where the Sith station is. It's located in the Unknown Regions.

"Tell me about this space station. What are its defenses?"

"The station is located in the center of a black hole cluster, kind of like the one by Kessel. It orbits the largest one. As a result, it is isolated from the rest of the Sith fleet, which is waiting just outside the cluster. Any ships that get too close to the station risks getting swallowed up by one of the surrounding black holes. So, under usual circumstances, large ships and cruisers cannot approach it. That is its primary defense. As far as weapons go, it doesn't have anything more than standard autoturrets and cannons. It is mostly used as a factory, and headquarters for the higher ups."

"How does it get fuel and supplies?"

Gilda steps forward. "Every few days, the smaller black holes' orbits move in the right way to allow space big enough for a number of light cruisers to make a supply run. That window only lasts for a few hours though, so they have to move fast. The only way they know about the movements of the black holes are because they have access to the Sith's constantly updating navigational charts. Without those charts, anyone going into that mess is dead."

A space station orbiting a black hole... You aren't sure if that's reckless or clever. You can't help but be impressed by it, to some degree. It's impossible for larger ships to get close, except for on certain days. Anyone that tries will immediately be swallowed up by the infinite gravity of a nearby black hole and turned into atoms. You don't really feel like waiting for the opportune moment is the best course of action though. Every moment that passes without doing something is another victory for the Sith.

"What about smaller ships? Can they get close?"

"If you've got a good enough pilot, yeah." Gilda says. "Fighters can move pretty easily through the maze, while anything larger than a blockade runner would have trouble."

"We've got no shortage of good pilots here!" Rainbow brags behind you.

You huff a small chuckle. She's not wrong. She's the best pilot you've ever met. Even better than Sunset, and she's miles better at flying than even you are.

"Be that as it may, we still need that navigational data. I want at least one of our cruisers to assault the station from the outside."

Applejack looks at you. "What are you plannin' Anon?"

"I don't have anything concrete yet, but ideally, I'd like to assault the Sith fleet outside the cluster just before the window between the black holes closes. Then, while the bulk of our forces attack the Sith, one of our cruisers moves through the cluster and attacks the station, leaving no room for large Sith reinforcements. I want to stuff that cruiser with as many small fighters as possible so we have a way to defend the cruiser from the inevitable retaliation. While they're distracted, a small team will board the station, find Sombra, and kill him before stopping this fear virus once and for all."

Limestone huffs. "You make it sound easy."

"He's good at that." Gilda chuckles.

Limestone crosses her arms. "Well, unfortunately, I won't be able to get that navigational data to you until I have access to the Sith network. Since I've been cast out from the upper echelons of the Sith, I won't be able to get into it directly."

"What about indirectly?" Pinkie asks. "Can it be hacked into?"

You all look at her and Limestone shrugs. "If someone smart enough knows how to work their way around Sith firewalls and other security measures, yeah."

Immediately, your mind goes to Twilight and Spike.

"We know someone. She's good." You reply. "If you can find a place to access the Sith network, she can get you inside. We won't be able to do anything else without that navigational data."

"You get me inside, I can find it."

You nod at Limestone. "Good. We'll rendezvous with her and Sunset back home and work on it there, as well as come up with a more airtight plan. Before any of that though, I need to inform all Mandalorian systems that I am the new Mandalore."

Goosebumps tentacle out along the surface of your entire body as you say that. It's really happening. You, Anon, will lead the Mandalorians against the Sith with the Republic and save the galaxy as Mandalore. That means that your name will go down forever in history.

You'd better make your memory a good one then.

"I'll stand with you to the very end, Anon." Rainbow says with a smile. "I've got your back."

You look at her and smile back. Knowing that she's with you fills you with comfort and confidence. If she's with you, then you know others will be with you as well. Coco, Thunderlane, Tempest, Lyra, Bon Bon, and many others, but Sunset, more than anyone, hopefully.

She still needs to know about your new role in this. When you're underway, you'll contact her.

"Yes, yes, that's all very nice and sappy." Gilda sighs. You turn to her. "But how about we cut the crap and get going?"

"You seem pretty eager to want to get to Mandalore, Gilda. Feeling homesick?"

"Ha! Not in a million years." Gilda scoffs. "I am optimistic about your leadership though, Anon. Maybe you'll finally bring some spine to your people."

You know she's just talking big because Mandalore kicked her ass all those years ago before banishing her. This will be the first time she's been back to your world since. With you in charge, you'll allow her access just this once. She's still banished, but these are desperate times. Once this is over, she's still not allowed to call herself a Mandalorian.

After a moment, you stand up straight again. "In that case, let's head to Concord Dawn and regroup with our friends. We've got work to do."

"We'll follow you there." Gilda grins.

Limestone glares at you all before she and Gilda turn around and head back into the Griffon without saying another word. Pinkie takes a step after her sister and watches as she walks deeper into the ship until the door shuts completely, sealing off access again.

You take a deep breath and turn to Rainbow. "Take us home. I need to contact the fleet."

"You've got it, Anon."

Rainbow walks into the cockpit and leaves you behind with Applejack and Pinkie. None of you say anything for a while.

Finally, Applejack breaks the silence. "You alright, Sugarcube?"

"I'll be fine." You reply. "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about Gilda's intentions though. There's a damn good reason why she was banished from Mandalore."

She nods. "I don't doubt that for a second. But I don't really see a reason for her to lie now. She and Limestone destroyed a crucial Sith hideout to help us escape. We saw 'em do it. I don't think they're lyin' to us."

"I don't think they are either, Applejack. Even so, the scars she left run deep. Convincing all Mandalorians everywhere to trust me as Mandalore may be challenging if they see Gilda making a return as well."

She sets a hand on your shoulder and smiles. "We'll vouch for ya. Don't worry."

Pinkie nods at you and smiles as well. "I'm sure Sunset will too, Anon."

You take a deep breath as you imagine your future. Having your friends at your back feels like you can do anything. The Sith don't stand a chance.

You set a hand on each of their shoulders and give each of them a squeeze. "Thank you. Both of you. You have no idea how much I needed to hear that."

"No problem, Anon." Applejack smiles.

After a moment, you release them and exhale again. The ship rumbles slightly beneath your feet as Rainbow releases the Sonic Rainboom away from the Griffon.

"Sounds like we're on our way." Applejack says.

"Mmhmm." You reply. "Applejack, you and Pinkie head to the cockpit with Rainbow. I need to contact Sunset and tell her what's going on."

"Got it. Come on, Pinkie."

"See you in a bit, Anon!" Pinkie waves.

You wave back and the two girls head around the corner and into the cockpit, leaving you alone. After a moment, you walk back to your room and turn on your comms. It doesn't take long to find Sunset's message, so you replay it again.

It's so good to see her. She's so beautiful.

Once her message is over, you take a deep breath and call her. It's time to tell her.

After a few rings, her image appears on a small holopad in front of you. "Anon?"

"Sunset?"

She smiles wide when you reply. "Anon! You're okay!"

She's here. She's finally here.

It feels like it's been forever since you last saw her.

"Yeah... I'm fine... I got your message. Are you okay?"

She nods. "Yeah, we're fine. The ship needs repairs. We ran into some trouble with HK droids and an old friend of ours. You won't believe this. We got here and-"

"Sunset, Sunset wait. Listen..." You cut her off, holding your hand up at her. "I have to tell you something very important... Something has happened, and I wanted you to hear it from me first."

She stops talking and looks at you with concern. "What is it? What's wrong? Are you okay?"

You slowly remove your helmet and stare at her, face-to-face. "I'm fine, but..."

You look away slowly as the words fail to come out of your mouth. Once you say them to her, it will be official. It feels like a long time before you're able to look at her again.

"Anon?" She says. "Anon, what is it? Tell me."

With another pause, you look at her closely and speak. "...Mandalore is dead..."