This week, the Captain and the soldiers are being fired at, and they are being hammered. The Jedi are in combat with a Sith. They are outgunned, tired, alone and in a bad situation. Will they get out alive? Find out in the new Friend or Foe.
Friend or Foe
Episode 11: Looking Death in the Eye…
Blaster bolts were hitting all over the place. Broken tree bark was scattering across my face. I kept shooting at unseen enemies. I never thought to be in such heavy fire on the ground. We… I hadn’t prepared to be in such a thick fight. I dove down into the foliage when some stray shots came too close for comfort.
I grabbed my com. “Iridom! We need help!” I shouted to my subordinate.
She responded exasperatedly, “What do you think we are trying, Sir? The Sith spaceships are following us and the port authorities are getting mighty pissed on our sudden departure.”
“Screw them. We need the ship’s air-to-surface weapons. Fire them up and start blasting the woods to the north of us. They are filled with enemies. It’s gonna be a shootin’ gallery. Or else you will have a dead commander!” I yelled back at her.
“Aye, Sir! ETA 2 minutes!”
“We will be dead in 2 minutes!” I yelled at her, but the com was already off. I peeked over the tree I was behind with O’Crave. A few shots were hitting the tree bark again and a puff of debris landed in my face. “We need one of your snipers, sergeant!” I said to the sergeant, while removing the dust out of my vision.
“Already on it, sir! One is still tracking the fight between the Jedi and the Sith. The private second class is coming this way.”
We kept firing. Carina was shooting from the treetop still and signaled me and the sergeant that a group was trying to flank us. The sergeant ordered Jarsons to give us cover so we could face the threat. A huge explosion came behind the Sith. The heavy gunner grinned and said, “Grenades are always great for making mayhem.” We ran past him. He spun up and the screaming of the gun began again.
We walked a few meters to get a defensive position. The sergeant signaled for me to keep quiet. He mouthed to Carina, Can you see a heat signature? She responded that she saw ten Imperial troopers coming our way. I checked my assault rifle and hid behind a tree. “30 meters and closing.” The sergeant said from behind a tree trunk. “Fire when I say so.” I made a short agreeing sound. Waiting felt like an hour, though it was only a few seconds. My heart was pounding in my throat. I was breathing heavily and sweat was on my face due to fear and the humid climate. The adrenaline had subsided a bit. Waiting till the next surge was needed.
“Open fire!” O’Crave shouted. I turned away from the tree and saw 4 troopers coming towards us. I shot one straight in the head and one in the chest. The sergeant made two headshots. I backed again to the tree. 1 little, 2 little, 3 and 4 little Jawas popped morbidly in my head. The other 6 jumped away behind trees. This would take longer than I’d hoped.
“You have a grenade with you?” I asked the sergeant. He turned to me with a mean grin. “Bombs away,” he said softly. The detonator left a firm explosion that ringed my ears. But also killed a few troopers and managed to destroy cover. I looked out behind my tree and quickly jerked back. The 3 remaining soldiers started firing at us. Crap… this is not good, I thought. The shooting stopped suddenly. Our sniper shouted an all clear. I looked in surprise at the sergeant. He lifted his shoulder. We both stood up and walked to the sniper. He was cleaning his last kill off of his knife.
“So, now we can get back to the others, right sir?” he asked.
“Nice job, son,” the sergeant said. “Yes, we need to reinforce them, ASAP.” He clicked on his comm and asked Carina for a status update. The response was not good. Three of us were hit. And Jarsens was running out of juice.
“If this takes much longer we’re not going to survive this,” O’Crave said. “What about the Jedi?”
The sniper responded, “When I left, the stalemate was still in place. There was a lot of movement, but no upper hand. Whichever side tires first, dies.”
We ran back through the forest. It was warm as hell. The adrenaline was draining away. Those two minutes must have been up by now. I hoped. We saw Jarsens sitting behind the tree that he used as cover. The man looked dead. He saw me looking worried. “Don’t worry, Cap’, just tired. It isn’t so easy to get this massive weapon spinning.”
I radioed to Carina to check if she was okay. “I have been better, sir.” She responded.
“Who’ve we lost?” I asked.
She replied depressingly, “Grandar, Smerths and Urdan, sir.”
“How many Imperials left?” I requested.
“They are keeping their heads low for the moment. Probably more reinforcement will come to their aid. We haven’t made much of a dent besides the initial dozen ki… DUCK!” Carina shouted.
When she warned us, the enemy was firing with renewed assurance. They probably figured out that the flanking maneuver failed. Hits were getting closer. Jarsens got shot in his arm and dropped his weapon. Carina’s hiding spot was fired on heavily. The branch started to crack and fell down with her in it. She got knocked out cold. This cannot be the end, I thought. I dropped the assault rifle and reached for my blaster. Might as well use what I know, we’re not making a dent anyway. It felt comfortable to wield my normal blaster again. I jumped up from the fallen down tree trunk. I gunned two in the head. O’Crave shot a few that were just looking behind a tree.
“We cannot keep this up, Captain! We need The Corona here!”
“She will be here. Trust me!” I shouted with as much reassurance as I could muster. Where was the ship?
A grenade dropped near me… time seemed to be stretch out. I try to run away from it as fast as I could. Not far enough… The explosion knocked me back and everything went black.
I was being shaken awake. O’Crave was trying to get me up on my feet. I saw him shouting at me but I couldn’t hear what he was saying. A massive ringing was still killing all other sound. I tried to get up and help again, but spots invaded my vision. I fell to the ground again and threw up.
“…t up!…ew …ft.”
Then the sound came back full on. And loud. “GET BACK UP! We’ve only got a few of us left! Jarsens and Carina are okay, but we are getting hammered here!”
I whiped my mouth and tried to speak, but nothing came out. I grabbed water to take a short sip. “She will be here!” I cracked out of my throat. But things looked dim. Then I heard a sound, killing every other sound. Heavy shots were sent down from the sky where the Empire had their troops. A grin came on my face.
“Don’t say it,” the sergeant responded to me. I kept grinning.
“Better late than never,” I said and reached for my comm. “Can you get us away from here?”
“Good to hear your voice, sir. But no, this area is too small for us to land, but we can pick you up at the temple, and that way we can grab our Jedi at the same time.”
“Aye, aye. Go ahead, we will get the wounded with us.” I took Carina on my back. Jarsens didn’t need help, only his arm needed to be checked. O’Crave and the sniper kept the back secured if any would attack us.
We returned to the temple courtyard and saw our Jedi fighting the Sith. He wasn’t wielding a simple lightsaber, as I had thought before. It was double-bladed. Erlena had warned me about those. Used improperly, they could just as easily damage the wielder as the opponent. Aroko’ant and Osam had dumped their cloaks so they could fight better. The Sith had removed his cloak as well. He still looked the fittest of the three, but in duals that didn’t mean you would win. If an opening is found and you are struck, you lose. I looked to the sky to see where the Corona was. She started to touch down near opposite side of the wreckage of the troop transport. The entering ramp was already coming out so we could escape as soon as possible.
“We have to leave!” I shouted to Padawan and his master. Osam signaled that he had heard it. I saw a medical officer standing near the ramp so he could take on the wounded and get them to the infirmary.
I returned to look at the two Jedi. Arako’ant forced an opening with a few strong strikes, which Osam used to push the Sith away. The Sith flew several meters away and the two Jedi ran towards the ramp. The Sith landed meters away on his feet and started to walk towards us. I jumped behind the two Jedi in and fired along with O’Crave at the Sith so he wouldn’t jump and enter the ship. The pale man simply deflected the shots and looked with his fiery eyes at me. Staring… deadly, hateful. The ramp closed. And we flew off to space.
To be continued…