Thundering Force: Chapter 20: “Broken Resolution.”

“Thundering Force”

Chapter Twenty: “Broken Resolution.”

By Paul Cousins.

Copyright Disclaimer: All copyrighted places, characters, items, and events, within the story, are held by their current owners. No profit is being made on this work of fiction.

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It has been a few months since Loki quietly brokered her deal between Parliament Leader Voe Atell and Representative Mina Bonteri on the Confederacy capital planet of Raxus Secundus.

Loki had been busy for that last few months, preparing and plotting her moves in the hopes of leading her and the Confederacy she secretly lead to a productive end game in their war against the Galactic Republic.

The flagship of the Confederacy naval fleet was the Malevolence. The Malevolence was a subjugator class heavy cruiser which was over four kilometers and eight hundred meters long.

Presently, the Malevolence was in orbit around a remote planet, in the Confederacy held space in the northeastern Expansion Region.

It was the middle of the morning on rotation in the Malevolence.

Inside the heavy cruiser, on one of middle decks of a ship, a middle-aged Kaleesh man walked normally, and upright, down the hallway, towards his destination on that level.

The Kaleesh man passed by crew and droids of the ship. The crew he passed by came to a stop and stood at attention as he passed by to pay their respect. After he left their side, they resuming their duties.

On the other hand the droids he passed by did not acknowledge him and they continued to perform their work.

The Kaleesh man was around one hundred and seventy centimeters in height. He had an average physical build, and he had orange skin. Also, he had a bald head.

Unlike more humanoids, the Kaleesh had two orange hands, with each hand having two opposable thumbs on opposite sides of each hand. And each hand had to two fingers between the two thumbs. And each thumb and finger has black pointed nails.

Kaleesh had five toes on each foot, with a black nail on each toe.

The Kaleesh wore a blue naval officers uniform with the bars on his uniform showing he was a General. And he had black leather boots over his feet.

Also, he wore a white bone mask of his face which did not hide the two horns going down the bottom of the sides of his jaw, and two smaller horned protruding at the very bottom of the jaw, between the larger horns. Though, this mask did not hide the large pointed ears he had on the sides of his head.

His white bone mask that covered his face was polished and as clean as the rest of his well maintained clothing. A brown leather strap around the back of his head kept his mask in place.

The holes for his eyes to use were large and allowed him to see without a problem.

The bottom part of the mask stopped at the bottom of his chin and did prevent his jaw from moving. This allowed him to breathe and talk with ease.

This man was known by many titles. Hunter, warrior, leader, general, Jedi Killer, cybernetic monster.

The man had served many different people in the past.

The man current went by the title of General Grievous.

Grievous current loyalty was held towards Loki Laufeyson, whom had completely restored both his body and his mind. For this Grievous was eternally grateful towards Loki Laufeyson.

While Loki healed Grievous' body, Loki also peeled back to the lays of his mind to find how much Dooku and Sidious had twisted into that cybernetic mockery.

During this time, as Grievous had his mind untwisted, he began to realize how deep his brainwashing had been. He has been brainwashed to the point he believed that he had partly supported having a cybernetic body.

Since Grievous had his mind restored he realized this was not the case.

He only kept the name Grievous because it was most associated with his current role as leader of the Confederate military.

That morning, Loki had requested Grievous come to Loki's office at Grievious' earliest convenience.

Loki's office on the ship was located a few floors down from Grievous' own office. Loki's office was part of the personal quarters that Loki has requested when she has to spent extended periods of time on the Malevolence as a High General of the Confederate military.

While Grievous was the commander of the Malevolence and general of the Confederate fleet, he felt he owed a lot to Loki, and as such when Loki made a request he considered such request with little questioning.

Grievous had rearranged his morning schedule to give him time to meet with Loki.

This was not the first time Grievous has to alter his schedule for Loki. The last few months had been a bit hectic for Grievous, but rewarding for him.

When Grievous reached the doors to Loki's office, he types in a passcode on the numerical pad by the door to open the doors.

The doors slid open and Grievous walked in inside.

Grievous continued walking into the well illuminated room, as the doors slid closed behind him.

Loki's office was not as large as Grievous' office. But, the office satisfied Loki's needs. Loki's sleeping and living quarters being located near Loki's office.

Grievous saw Loki sitting in her comfortable, high-back, cushioned armchair, behind a large brown wooden desk. There were two cushioned armchairs in front of Loki's desk.

Loki was wearing her diplomatic clothing. Among other items, this clothing included a green scale like bodysuit, with a brown fur cape, a brown leather belt around her waist, and knee-high brown leather boots.

Grievous noticed a datapad on top of the desk in front of Loki.

As Grievous approached Loki, he saw Loki look up to see him.

When Grievous reached the desk, he came to a stop behind the chairs in front of the desk.

Grievous and Loki silently looked at each other for a few seconds.

Grievous inquired, “You wanted to see me?”

Loki stated, “Yes. I wanted to talk with you over a few matters. In your opinion, is the training I have given you, that my gifts to you begun to paid off?”

Grievous replied, “Yes. They have.”

Loki asked, “I hoped that was the case. How has training been with Asajj, Aurra, and the squad of mandalorians which I had assigned to you to lead?”

Grievous responded, “Events have gone well for us. The mandalorians are not a problem at all. Sing knows that I only give orders within reason. Still, I do not know how you brought Ventress to heel. I remembering working with her while serving Dooku. The difference between her now and then is like night and day. She is far more easier to work with than before.”

Loki said, “It sometimes pays to be nice.”

Grievous stated, “I agree. Morale is important for military personnel.”

Loki pointed out, “And a nation. Something we must not forget.”

Grievous inquired, “You are correct. Now, why have you summoned me? If you had simply wanted to ask these questions, I could have answered you by holo-comm.”

Loki answered, “I wanted to talk to you in person as a way to check to see if you believe you and your new team are ready. I believe that is the case. I have a mission for you and your new team.”

Grievous thought, 'Fair enough. I have done similar tactics with my subordinates.'

Grievous commented, “I am listening.”

Grievous thought, 'I wonder what this mission you desire me to take will behold?'

Loki responded, “I have a multi-part plan. I will brief you of the mission and you will brief your team in route. Your part of the plan to keep Thor, Skywalker, Tano, and those that come with them busy. But, I do not want Thor, Skywalker, nor Tano, to be seriously harmed, nor killed. And I desire that you and your team avoid bloodshed of the others if possible. I only wish for you to delay them until the appointed time I wish for you to allow them to escape.”

Grievous inquired, “Why do you wish for a delaying tactic? With my power and my team we could kill them with ease.”

Loki thought, 'Not as easily as you believe. Which is why I only want you to fight to delay them. So, you can begin to understand how powerful they are. Especially, Thor.'

Loki stated, “I do not want them dead, nor seriously harmed. I have my reasons. I wish I could tell you more of my plan. But, I will say this is only one link of a long plan I have to gain us lasting victory.”

Grievous pointed out, “Complicated plans have a way of falling apart.”

Loki countered, “True. That is why I have been very basic in each part of my plan. If I can keep the small parts simple, I increase the likelihood of completing this plan.”

Grievous conceded, “You may have a point there. Now, how long do you wish to delay them?”

Loki stated, “I would prefer an at least half an hour. Though, an hour would be better. Then, allow all of them to escape. Given the set up, I believe it would be best to wait at least an hour after they land. They should be on a reconnaissance mission. The nature of their mission will cause them to separate. By the time your team attacks them all at once, they will be too far from each other and too busy to offer aid to each other.”

Grievous questioned, “Whom do you wish to face whom? Or, do you wish for me to make such assignments?”

Loki responded, “I believe we would come to the same conclusions. From I figure with the power I gave you, it makes sense you would stand the best chance against Thor. Asajj and Aurra can decide whom will face Skywalker and Tano. The mandalorians will face the troopers whom accompany them.”

Grievous commented, “You are correct. I came to similar conclusions. Also, I believe this should not be a problem. My team can work either as a unit, or on separate missions. Though, once the conflict begins, how do you wish us to inform you of our progress?”

Loki answered, “Do not worry. I will be monitoring the situation with your communications. And I will have everything handled on my end.”

Loki pushed the datapad on top her desk over to the front of the desk, by Grievous. The datapad gently slid across the smooth top of the desk until the datapad slid to a stop about ten centimeters from the edge of the desk by Grievous.

Loki stated, “This datapad includes the mission timeline. Location. Mission parameters. General idea of what to expect in the number people you will likely face in battle, whom you will confront, and the basic abilities of those you will face on this mission. And instructions on the rendezvous location after you have completed your mission. While we already discussed some of this information, it is best you study all the information on that datapad, and for you to share this information with your team. The good news is the location is only a few hours away by hyperspace. So, travel time for us is not that large a factor.”

Grievous looked down at the datapad. He used his right hand to pick up the datapad. He looked up at Loki. He said, “Thank you.” He thought, 'I will study this information as soon as this meeting is over.'

Loki stated, “Giving your abilities and the abilities of your team, I expect at least you, Asajj, and Aurra to survive. If the mandalorians survive that is good. And I would prefer them to accomplish their part of this mission without any problems.”

Loki thought, 'Because I am not a wasteful person.'

Grievous commented, “I would be more concerned with Ventress and Sing. I believe most if not all of the mandalorians in my squad will be fine. Ventress and Sing will both be facing Jedi. While fighting troopers can be risky, fighting a Jedi is always a gamble.”

Loki conceded, “You may have have a point there. But, I have faith in the skills of you and you team. That being said, this mission is a test to see how you and your team operate working together in the field, performing different parts of a mission.”

Grievous replied, “I will take this into consideration. And I will attempt to do as you request.”

Loki commented, “That is all I ask from you.”

A thought then occurred to Grievous. He said, “I have come to realize you are not afraid of Thor.”

Loki shrugged. Loki stated, “She is not that bad. You have been close enough to Dooku and others to know who she really is. You only have to worry about her if you get on her bad side.”

Grievous said, “That is true for anyone.”

Loki conceded, “Point taken. Still, if you want to worry about someone that is a danger to you. Even after the gifts I gave you. You should worry about Sidious.”

Grievous commented, “I agree. The only time I have ever seen Dooku show fear was towards Sidious when Dooku held conversations with Sidious by holo-comm. While Sidious used his hood to hide his identity, anyone whom could force Dooku to cower before him is not someone I desire to cross.”

Loki pointed out, “Unfortunately, for Sidious, if you have power, you have already crossed him simply by existing.”

Grievous stated, “I will keep that in mind. Though, with the enhancements you gave me, I doubt that will be a problem.”

Loki responded, “While the power I gave you gives you a fighting chance against Thor. That may not be the case for a force user. You need to have a healthy respect for force users. We are fortunate that most force users prefer to use their lightsabers and not the force. Though, if you ever meet a force user like Sidious. He will not pretend to play with you. He will throw you about. Or, he will just crush you with the force. Such as crush in your chest.”

Loki thought, 'Like Mace Windu did to you counterpart in the original timeline.'

Loki went onto say, “He will continue to crush until there is nothing left to heal. Or, he may decide to capture you, torture you for fun, and study you like a lab rat to learn how I gave you the power I bestowed upon you.”

Grievous replied, “I will try to remember to be aware of such dangers.”

Loki commented, “I know you will. Do not get me wrong. You can now be far stronger and tougher than you have ever been. With your ability to recover from injuries within seconds. You are far more capable in battle than when you were as a cyborg. But, that does not make you invincible.”

Grievous guessed, “That is why you do not deal with Sidious yourself. You fear you cannot defeat him on your own.”

Loki admitted, “Yes. When is comes to Sidious, having a healthy fear of that man will keep a person alive.”

Grievous said, “I will concede this point to you.”

Loki responded, “Thank you. Now, let us meet up with your team.”

Grievous replied, “Of course. I will contact them to be ready for our arrival.”

Loki said, “I already contacted them.” Loki thought, 'When I sensed you were coming to see me, I telepathically contacted Ventress to organization your team. She just informed me they are ready for us, in hangar bay sixteen. One of the larger hangar bays on this ship. But, not the largest.' Loki continued, “They are ready to see us.” Loki sat up from her chair. As she walked around the desk, to her left, she stated, “I will teleport us there.”

Grievous looked at Loki as she moved around the table towards him. Grievous admitted, “I have never been comfortable with such abilities.”

By then, Loki had walked between the right chair and the front of the desk, to stand next to Grievous.

As the two adults look at each other, Loki commented, “I can appreciate your concerns. Though, there may come a time I have to use such abilities to save your life. Or, drop you somewhere you need to be. As such, this is a concern you need to get over.”

Grievous relented, “You are correct.”

Suddenly, everything around Grievous changed, but Loki. And he found they were in a small, illuminated room, with Loki continuing to face him.

Grievous asked, “Where are we?”

Loki answered, “A small auxiliary room beside from hangar bay eight, where you team is ready and waiting. Given the delicate and dangerous work that people do in the hangar bays, I do want to accidentally startle someone, and cause an accidental.

Grievous complimented, “That is very responsible of you.”

Loki commented, “With power comes responsibility. Now, let us meet with your team.”

Loki turned and she walked towards a door.

With the datapad in his right hand, Grievous followed Loki.

When Loki reached the door, she touched a button on the panel by the door to open the door. Once the door slid open, Loki walked into the well illuminated hangar bay eight.

Grievous followed Loki out the door, with the door soon sliding closed behind them.

Loki and Grievous walked passed various technicians and technician droids working on various ships that were parked in the hangar bay.

Most of the technicians did stop and stand at attention as they passed by. But, some did not. Though, given that some of the technicians were working on equipment that required their undivided attention, both Loki and Grievous then matter slide.

Grievous saw Loki was leading him to meet with his team, whom were standing across the large room.

Grievous saw his team was standing at attention across the hangar bay facing Loki and himself.

A minute later, Loki and Grievous reached reached the team.

As Loki and Grievous neared the group, to their left, they passed by a large military transport ship with a built in hyperdrive. The ship had its ramp lowered, with the ramp leading to the open double-door entrance into the ship.

Loki continued to walk towards the team, as she turned her head towards the transport ship. Loki stated, “That will be your transport to the mission site. I have already checked to make sure this is fueled and prepped, with needed supplies. Even the navigation coordinates have already been plugged in. All you need is two pilots.” Loki looked back towards the team they were approaching. Loki thought, 'I am sure you can find two pilots among your team.'

Grievous looked over towards the transport ship to their left. He turned back to look at the back of Loki's head. He said, “That will be fine. All of those on my team know how to pilot a ship.”

While Loki and Grievous walked closer to Grievous' team, Loki gained a better look at those they were heading for.

There were ten mandalorians standing in a row, at attention. Each mandalorian wore gray colored armor and helmet. The armor was very utilitarian and similar to trooper armor. Though, the helmets more closely resembled helmets similar to the one Jango Fett used instead of the Republic trooper helmets.

Those wearing the armor and helmets did slightly vary in size due to each being fitted to the specific person wearing the armor.

Each mandalorian had a blaster rifle slung on a sling over the back of their left shoulder. On the right side of their belt was a holstered blaster pistol. On the left side of their belt was a sheathed, turned off vibro-knife in its scabbard. There were a few grenades hooked to the belt. There were utility pouches around their belts that held various equipment, rations, canteens of clean water, and smaller weapons, such as detonators, explosives, and detonator remotes.

Though, none of the mandalorians were equipped with rocket packs on the back of their armor.

To the left of the mandalorian team stood Aurra Sing and Asajj Ventress. Aurra stood between the mandalorians and Asajj. Asajj stood to Aurra's left. Aurra and Asajj had their weapons on their persons.

Aurra was in her orange sleeveless orange bodysuit, brown leather vest, brown leather boots, and two brown leather gun belts crisscrossing her waist, with a blaster pistol holstered on each side of her waist.

Aurra held her slugthrower rifle with the butt of the weapon set on the floor a few centimeters in front of her to her right. She kept the weapon upright by holding the barrel near the top with her right hand.

Asajj wore a white shirt over the middle of her chest and back, with black borders on the sides of her chest, and black long sleeves. She were black pants and black slippers. Over her pants was a black long skirt which she used her hide her two holstered lightsabers. The holsters were attached to a belt on the sides of her waist.

Both women stood in a relaxed, though straight manner. They silently stood in place and they watched as events unfolded near them.

While continuing to walk towards them, Loki thought, 'This squad of mandalorian women and men whom I have picked out have some of the best service records in the entire Confederate military. They professional in their jobs, and they follow orders. Though, not to the point of running into a suicidal situation.'

'These are all fine soldiers. But, even the most skilled of warriors would be hard pressed when battling a Jedi. I do not want my recruits to needlessly die. Fortunately, they are support. I plan for Grievous, Asajj, and Aurra to do the heavy lifting.'

'While I make sure all my soldiers were already outfitted with good equipment and weapons. When I pulled this squad off of the front lines, for training with Grievous, Asajj, and Aurra, I had them equipped with some of the best equipment, weapons, and armor they were trained to use.'

'Barring camouflage armor, all of the battle armor the mandalorians that fight for the Confederacy are painted gray. Given the moral ambiguity of the situation. Including, most of these mandalorians are from those worlds that broke away from the Neutrality Alliance to join the Confederacy, having them use the color gray is the appropriate color.'

'Given the color of their armor is gray, some people have nicknamed the Confederate mandalorians to be the Gray Squads. I like the name.'

'The leader of this squad is Captain Luna Starband. Under her armor, she is quiet a beautiful twenty eight year old human woman. She is also a skilled leader and one of the best mandalorian soldiers I know of. When it comes to combat skills, she could give Jango a run for his money.'

'Though, none of these mandalorians use rocket packs. But, that is because these are ground pounders. They are trained for support and dealing with conventional infantry and light armor vehicle units such as the two legged all terrain recon transports, or AT-RT. These vehicles are open and basically a speeder bike seat and controls with large legs and a laser cannon attacked it. Though, the AT-RT is the predecessor the enclosed, much deadlier All Terrain Scout Transport, AT-ST walkers.'

'I will leave Thor, the Jedi, and other power opponents to Grievous, Asajj, and Aurra.'

Loki turned her attention to her student, Asajj Ventress, and the bounty hunter, Aurra Sing.

Loki continued her thoughts, 'As for Asajj and Aurra. I have have paid them do a number of missions together. All of the missions they worked on were successful. They have become good, loyal friends to each other. They have been teaching each other some tricks they know. I could not hope for a better out come with these two women. Their friendship with each other has allowed me to take my plans to this next step in my team building project.'

The team remained at attention as Loki and Grievous came closer to them.

Soon, Loki and Grievous came to a stop to stand four meters in front of his team. Loki standing to Grievous' right side, as the two individuals look at their subordinates.

The team silently faced their two higher ranking officers.

Grievous look at the mandalorians, Aurra and Asajj. Grievous thought, 'It will be nice to lead soldiers into battle once again, instead of droids.'

Grievous ordered, “Captain Luna Starband. Present yourself.” He thought, 'Combat situations necessitate that no rank insignia show on the outer side of their armor due to the concern of snipers targeting such officers.'

To Grievous' left he saw the mandalorian on to his left of the row take a step forward. The mandalorian whom stepped forward stood on the opposite side of the row from Aurra and Asajj.

The mandalorian's armor was very gender neutral and hid Captain Luna Starband's feminine figure underneath. The mandalorian turned to Grievous. She used her helmet's speakers to state, in her feminine voice, “General Grievous.”

Grievous turned to Luna Starband. Grievous thought, 'While most squads are lead by lieutenants, due to the nature of the types of missions I am suspect we will be going on, I agreed with Loki that this mandalorian squad needed to be lead by an experienced captain, instead of a lieutenant. Captain Starband has the experience and leadership skills to do her job well. Now, to check to see if this team is ready.'

Grievous asked, “Captain. Is the armor and equipment for your team inspected and ready for battle?”

Luna Starband answered, with her using the speakers of her helmet, “Yes General. The equipment and weapons you have provided is of superior craftsmanship.”

Grievous said, “I hope you and your squad will prove worthy of such quality.”

Luna stated, “We will strive to do so.”

Grievous inquired, “That I am sure of. Captain. Are you and your subordinates ready to face a force of nature in battle.”

Luna responded, “We are always ready for battle.”

Under his white bone mask, Grievous' lips curled into a smile, as he replied, “That is what I wanted to hear. You will be receiving your missions briefing in route. We will be taking the transport nearby. Though, we will need to assign pilots.”

Luna stated, “My entire team, including myself, know how to pilot starships. I believe setting a shift rotation such assignment for the pilots of the transport might be the best approach. This will allow those piloting the transport to sharp and alert for trouble.”

Grievous replied, “That will be fine.” He thought, 'Though, I will keep an eye on the assigned pilots to make sure everything is fine. If need be, both myself, Ventress, and Sing, also know how to pilot starships.” He continued, “I will leave pilot assigns to you. Also, I wish for a full flight check before we leave.”

Luna said, “Yes sir. Also, sir. When we reach are destination, I believe it is best we assign two of my team to guard the ship.”

Grievous agreed, “Agreed.” He thought, 'It is nice working with people that think ahead in a way that helps the mission, instead of hinder it.'

Grievous turned to Asajj and Aurra. He asked, “Are you both ready?”

Asajj replied, “Over course.”

Aurra stated, “If I wasn't ready, I would not be here.”

Grievous held back a chuckle, as he said, “Good.”

Grievous looked around at his subordinates, as he continued to smile under his mask. He thought, 'This team will do nicely.'

Grievous turned to Luna. He ordered, “Captain. Escort your men into the ship. And begin prepping the ship. I will be with you shortly.” He turned to Aurra and Asajj. He continued, “You two. Follow them.”

Asajj did not respond. Aurra shrugged her shoulders. Then, Aurra picked up her rifle with both hands.

Meanwhile, Captain Starband turned to her nine subordinates. Luna barked, with an authoritative tone of voice, using the speakers of her helmet so Aurra and Asajj could hear her, “You heard the General! Form up and move out! We are leaving!”

While Captain Starband did not command Aurra and Asajj, she wanted to make sure there was no misunderstanding of what was going on. Though, Captain Starband and her nine subordinates did have a comlink system in their helmets to privately talk with each other.

Then, Luna lead her men and women towards the ramp to the open entrance of the transport, with them passing by Grievous and Loki to Grievous and Loki's left.

Aurra and Asajj followed behind the mandalorians.

Grievous and Loki turned to watch as their subordinates entered the ship.

After the subordinates had all entered the ship, Loki turned to Grievous. Loki stated, “I placed a gift for you in the second room to your left on transport. I believe you will find this gift useful on this missions. Also, in the same room you will find some armor that you will that fits you. Among the armor is another mask that has the same communication features as the one you have on.”

Grievous turned to Loki. He cracked a grin, as he responded, “Thank you. You gifts have continued to prove useful to me.” Grievous turned towards the transport. He followed his subordinates up the ramp, and into the ship.

A few seconds after Grievous had entered transport ship, Loki watched as the double-doors slide closed, and the ramp retracted.

A minute later, the alert to evacuate the hangar bay was given. Everyone, both people and droids, but Loki, stopped what they were doing and they left the hangar bay.

Five minutes later, after everyone but Loki was confirmed to have left, Loki used the comlink she kept in a pocket to give the order for the two large closed hangar bay hatches to open.

Those on board the ship did not question Loki's order. Loki had done this before on the Malevolence, that she could survive in the hard vacuum of space without injury to her body.

Since Loki was not worried, the crew following her orders were nor worried. This also deterred anyone from on the ship from falsely believing that vacuum could be used as a way to kill her.

As the two large hatches horizontally retracted away form each other and into the walls the room began to slowly depressurize, so as to not disturb the equipment.

A minute later, the hangar bay was completely depressurized, the two large outer hatches to the hangar bay opened.

Once the hatches were fully opened, the engines of the transport near Loki came on and the ship's repulsorlifts caused the ship to hover upwards. Then, the ship rotated its front towards the exit to the hangar bay. The landing gear retracted. After which, the ship then flew out of the hangar bay and towards space.

The transport ship soon cleared the hangar bay. After the transport ship fully entered the space outside, the ship moved further way from the Malevolence as the ship increased in speed.

A minute later, Loki watched as the ship entered hyperspace.

Once the transport was out of Loki's sight, Loki teleported back to her office inside the ship, to being her role in the current part of her long term plans.

Meanwhile, the two outer hatches of the hangar bay slowly closed. Once the hatches were closed, the hangar bay soon fully pressurized. Once the air equalized, it was confirmed by those overseeing such matters that there was stable air pressure in the hangar with the rest of the ship, the personnel that had been in the hangar bay returned to the hangar bay, so they could resumed their duties.

(_)

A few hours later, elsewhere in the northeastern part of the Expansion Region, west of where the Confederate heavy cruiser Malevolence was, the Star Destroyer Resolute had recently come out of hyperspace behind a large moon. The pilots of the Resolute had placed the star destroyer in geosynchronous above the moon, with the moon between between the star destroyer and the planet the moon orbited, to prevent the Resolute from being seen sensors which may be located on said planet.

Presently, it was morning rotation in the Resolute.

Inside a briefing room, some of the members of the crew were being informed of their mission for that day.

Those in the briefing room were Anakin, Ahsoka, Thor, and Captain Rex. The door to the room was closed.

All of them sat in chairs around a large round, black table. The ceiling lights in the room were turned on.

The seating in clockwise around the table was Rex with his back to the door, Ahsoka, Anakin, and Thor.

Anakin and Ahsoka were dress in their usual Jedi combat clothing with their weapons and equipment on their persons.

Thor had on her armor, helmet, equipment. Her black Solace sheathed in its scabbard and strapped to her back. She set Mjolnir on the floor, by the right side of her chair, with the top of he head of the hammer facing the floor.

Rex wore his trooper armor, with blue stripes on the armor. Though, he did not have his helmet on. And he did not have his weapons with him.

Without his helmet on, all those present to saw Rex's face and his short, dyed blond hair. Though, Rex left his eyebrows their natural black color.

Captain Rex had been assigned to organize the mission and give this mission briefing.

Rex looked around the table, at his friends, as he stated, “Okay everyone. This mission comes from the brass on Coruscant. This mission should be a simple recon mission. That is why there are only a handful of us going.”

Anakin asked, “Who is going on this mission?”

Rex answered, “Us. And my squad. We should be able to handle the matter. The main thing is for us to not be found out as we do this.”

Thor commented, “We are not strangers to stealth. Please continued.”

Rex said, “With pleasure.”

Rex pressed a few buttons on the console on the table in front of him. The room darkened, and a large hologram of a planet which continents and oceans. The oceans were blue, the continents were mostly green, save for blue lines on the continents which were rivers, small blue shapes on the continents which were connected to rivers were lakes, and brown lines signified mountain ranges.

As the planet rotated counterclockwise. On the upper hemisphere of the planet, in the middle of a continent of green was a small circular shape area in red, with a blue river going by the northwest side of the city.

Rex explained, “This little slice of paradise, we are about to visit, is Sigma Alpha Nine. The ninth planet of the binary star system, Sigma Alpha. The system is in a remote area of space, on the border of the Expansion Region and the Outer Rim. While it is close to Separatist held space, the system is so far out from Coruscant that no one around bother to formally name the system and planets of the system. These are only designations on the galactic starcharts.”

“The two stars are stable, orbiting each other in the center of the system. Though, this is the only planet that was once inhabited by sentient life. Though, no native sentient life.”

“The planet in question has two moons. The captain has already informed me that we are now stationed in geosynchronous orbit behind the large, outer moon, to prevent the risk of being spotted from the planet. If there is anyone to spot us.”

“The planet itself mostly jungle and oceans. It has a breathable atmosphere. Though, the weather for the area is hot and humid. No fun in armor. But, no one is going to die from the temperatures. Where we are going is shown is that red city. Which is in what is left of a city and spaceport. If records are correct it is the dry season for that area. So, at least we will not have to deal with rain.”

Thor commented, “Rain is not a concern with thy around.”

Rex turned to Thor. Rex said, “True. And we appreciate that.”

Thor replied, “Thank you.”

Anakin asked, “What is the history of the planet?”

Rex looked towards Anakin. Rex stated, “I was just getting to that. The town itself was called, Jonas Town. Likely named after the person who founded the city... Who knows?...”

“The city is circular shaped and roughly ten kilometers in diameter.”

“While this area on the hyper-routes is remote, these hyper-routes go further north into the Outer Rim where there are planets rich in mineral resources. In the past these resources were mined with cargo ships coming back and forward from those planets, to haul the minerals to industrial planets closer to the Core Worlds.”

“Due to the remote location and heavy traffic, Jonas Town was created as a way point. No one wants to lose their cargo. And even the best of ships may need to make landings to do repairs and maintenance.”

“For a while this town thrived along this trading route. At that point in time the population of the city was thirty thousand people of various species. Then, the Clone Wars broke out and no one wanted to risk being caught in a war between the Republic and the Separatists this far from civilization. So, this trade route was shut down. Within a month, the city was completely abandoned. This was fortunate, because soon after the Republic bombed the city to prevent the Separatists from using it as a communications outpost, and staging ground to restart those trade routes for the Separatists.”

Ahsoka inquired, “And why are we going there?

Rex looked over at Ahsoka. Rex said, “To make sure the Separatists have not built a communication outpost there.”

Thor mournfully thought, 'And so we destroyed another city for nothing.'

Ahsoka inquired, “What are we taking to get down there?”

Rex stated, “The Republic brass does not feel comfortable with us being so close to the Separatists territories for long. We are taking a risk by coming here. As such we have two days to complete this mission and head back to Republic controlled space. The clock started when the Resolute came out of hyperspace.”

“Due the time constraints it would take us too long to drop us into the jungle with a gunship and make our way into the city and search the city. So, we are going to land in the center city using a moderately size civilian transport. The ship is in good condition. It has two seats cockpit. The rest of the ship is big enough to fit all of us without a problem.”

Anakin commented, “I was wondering why the Republic military sent us that civilian craft, which is currently in hangar bay seven.”

Rex turned to Anakin. Rex questioned, “You did not read the mission briefing?”

Anakin stated, “I read the basics. This seems like a simple mission, so I assigned you to organize this recon. I want to see how you can handle this job.”

Rex replied, in a professional tone of voice, “Thank you, sir.”

Anakin pointed out, “Though, I will still be in command of this mission.”

Rex stated, “Of course, sir.”

Thor asked, “So, is this transport a long range ship? Or, a short range ship?”

Rex turned to Thor. Rex said, “Short range. No hyperdrive.”

Anakin offered, “If you do not mind, I would prefer to pilot the transport.”

Rex replied, “Of course. You are one of the best pilots in the galaxy.”

Anakin smiled, as he said, “Thank you, Rex for your vote of confidence.”

Ahsoka asked, “How long will it take to get there?”

Rex stated, “Around four hours.”

Anakin commented, “Since this is recon for possible communications systems, I want to bring R2 and C3-PO along.”

Rex commented, “Those two droids are always welcome. They have come in handy from time to time.”

Anakin mentally reflected, 'It is nice to see some troopers have come to learn to appreciate droids. And sense Rex is okay with the bringing the droids along, I do not have to make the matter an official order.'

Ahsoka asked, “So, how are we going to do the reconnaissance there? Is this a large city?”

Rex turned to Ahsoka. He responded, “This is a cursory recon to get the lay of the land and see if anything looks out of sorts. Or, has been recently used. Even a hidden base will show signs on outside that the ground has been disturbed. While the city has been bomb. It should not be hard to tell the areas that have recently visited. Even through foot prints are hard to see on the road. Disturbed rubble around semi-intact buildings can seen from a distance.”

“If you see something out of sort, contact the rest of us. We will decide what to do next. It maybe nothing. Rain and wind can disturb an area. But, if it is something, we need to all be present. If there is someone there, we may want to take prisoners. Or, destroy the base. Or, just leave it alone, and feed them false information.”

Thor pointed out, “If they are Separatists.”

Rex turned to Thor. Rex stated, “That is a good point. If people are found, and they are determined to be smugglers or scavengers, we will take them prisoner. If they are just people in hiding trying to stay out of the war, we might leave them alone.”

Thor thought, 'Might. Not will. Well, I will be on the mission. So, I will make sure we do not do something too foolish.'

Ahsoka pointed out, “No matter who they are. If there is someone there. They will at least know we landed there, and we later took off.”

Anakin commented, “Not really. Since we are using a civilian transport, they will not know who we are. And if we left without trouble, they could chalk it up to us being scavengers.”

Rex turned to Anakin. Rex stated, “This is why I took the added precaution of having us take a civilian transport instead of a gunship. The profile of a Republic gunship is very unique. While the civilian transport that was transferred here has a common profile for many starships. Including several types of ships known to be used by scavengers. Even if someone sees us own their sensors. Or, even having a visual of the ship from a distance, they will not be able to confirm what they are looking at.”

Ahsoka inquired, “Okay. How are going to come into the city?”

Rex looked over towards Ahsoka. He answered, “We will make to the surface near the city, to the west, over the jungle. We will then come in low to the city. Since we will be flying close to the rooftops it will be more difficult to detect whom we are. Though, we cannot help the sound of our engines make while the transport is being flown.”

“We will be landing near the center of the city. I already inputted the landing zone into the transport ship's computer. It will be morning rotation where we will be landing. Roughly two hours after sunrise.”

“For reference, the twin suns will be rising in the east during the morning, and set in the west in the evening.”

“The landing area will be an open area. Since we have a tight window to work in we will separate into four groups. My squad and myself will be heading to the south. The southern part of Jonas Town is mostly residential. If we are ambushed there, it will be house to house fighting, which my men and I are trained to handle.”

Rex turned to Thor, as he continued, “General Thor. You will head north. While the city was bombed. Much of the damage from the bombing was in the northern part of Jonas Town. This was due to much of the industry, law enforcement, and governmental centers being located in that part of the city. To make your way through the northern part of the city you will have to fly. Though, stay low, and under the rooftops of the taller buildings.”

Rex looked at Ahsoka. He went onto say, “Ms Tano. You will check the east. That is where much of the art, cultural, entertainment, and educational centers were located in the city.”

Rex looked at Anakin, as he said, “And General Skywalker, you will take the west. The western part of the center were mostly made up of markets. This was likely partly designed as what some call a tourist trap for those coming in from the spaceport, located to the west of the city.”

“Speaking of which. You need to recon the spaceport. The location of the spaceport is on the western edge of the city, near the local river. The river is to the west of the Spaceport, with the city to the east. There is a road connecting the spaceport with the city. It is a bit of a walk, but you should be able to handle yourself.”

Thor commented, “Thy can see the logic in these assignments. If there is trouble for Anakin or Ahsoka, either thy, or your squad can get to them more quickly. While, since thou can fly, thy can more quickly reach any of you, so I am the furthest away from everyone else”

Rex turned to Thor. He replied, “Exactly. While we will be split up. I want to balance out our group, so the other groups can more easily offer aid if needed.”

Anakin turned to Rex. He complimented, “Nice idea.” Anakin looked at Thor.

Thor noticed Anakin look at her, and she turned to Anakin.

Anakin asked, “Though, with it being difficult to travel in the northern part of the city, what if you find trouble?”

Thor answered, “Then, the rest of the group should escape on the transport. Anything that could pose a creditable threat to thy would be out of your league.” She thought, 'Anakin. I am not going to put you in a position where you have to tap into the dark side of the force, again.'

Anakin agreed, “True.” He thought, 'Though, I was able to take down that giant monster on Inoc Sev, I had to use the dark side to do so. I do not want to do that again. And I am sure you feel the same way.'

Rex focused on Thor. Rex stated, “Should that happen. We will escape on the transport, as General Thor holds off the threat. Once we are in orbit, we will contact General Thor to rendezvous with us. Should General Thor still have trouble with her quarry, I believe the firepower of the Resolute and the starfighter squadrons could be used to great affect in aiding General Thor in any such battle”

Thor turned to Rex. Thor said, “That will work.”

Rex commented, “Yes.” Rex looked at the people around the table, as he continued, “Also, the planet's full rotation is twenty eight hours. After factoring the time of day when we land, we should have a good twelve hours of light. I want all groups to search the area for about six to seven hours. Then, we head back to the ship before nightfall. We will leave right after nightfall. Also, I want us all to check in one every half hour.”

Ahsoka said, “This sounds like a good plan.”

Anakin commented, “I agree.”

Thor commented, “Thy see no flaws in your plan.”

Rex grinned, as he replied, “Thank you.”

Ahsoka asked, “When will this mission take place?”

Rex inquired, “Is an hour enough time for everyone?

Ahsoka answered, “That should be okay.”

Thor commented, “That is fine for thy.”

Anakin said, “An hour is good.”

Rex stated, “Then, the meeting is over. I will see you in hangar bay seven in one hour.”

Rex pressed a few buttons on the console on the table in front of him. The hologram disappeared and the lights to the room came back one.

As they got up from their seats, Thor picked up Mjolnir. They were soon heading out of the briefing room to prepare for their mission.

(_)

An hour later, those on the recon mission to Sigma Alpha Nine met up in hangar bay eight. Except for those going on the mission, there was no one else in the hangar bay. The only ship in the bay was the civilian transport ship they would take to the nearby planet.

The transport was fueled and ready to go. The doorway into the ship was open, and the ramp was extended from the doorway to the floor.

Being the professional soldiers they were, Rex and his eleven trooper subordinates were standing at attention, by ramp of the short range transport ship. They stood in a row to the left side of the ramp, with Rex being the member further from the ramp.

Rex and his trooper squad were wearing their white, blue stripped trooper armor and helmets on. They were fully equipped for the mission.

Rex's men each had a blaster rifle slung on a sling over their left shoulder.

Though, Rex instead had his two DC-17 blaster pistols with him. Each blaster was in a holster on his outer thigh armor.

Rex and his men also had on their utility belts. The belts included equipment, explosives, grenades, rations, and small bottles of clean water.

Next came Thor, with her armor, helmet, equipment, and the Black Solace sheathed in is scabbard, strapped to her back. She held Mjolnir in her right hand, at her side.

After Thor was Ahsoka. Ahsoka had her to lightsabers holstered on the sides of her belt.

Anakin was last to enter the hangar, with C3-PO and R2 following right behind him. Anakin had his lightsaber holstered on on the left side of his belt.

Once everyone was accounted for they began boarding them ship.

Thor and Ahsoka went the first to board. Then, Ahsoka. Rex and his squad were next. Finally, the droids boarded the ship.

Once everyone was on board, the outside doors was closed and sealed, with the ramp retracted.

Anakin headed to the cockpit, to be the pilot. Thor followed Anakin into the cockpit.

No one objected to Thor being the co-pilot. It was no secret that she was actually very skilled in piloting starships. Not as well as Anakin. But, then, Anakin was on of the best pilots in the galaxy.

Anakin sat in the cockpit chair to the left. To his right, Thor sat in the cockpit chair on the right. Thor placed Mjolnir on the floor, on top of its head, to the right of her seat.

After preflight checks were completed, Anakin requested and he soon received clearance from the command desk of the Resolute to leave the ship.

The hangar bay doors open, with the bay depressurizing. Once the hangar bay doors were completely open, Anakin piloting the transport out of the star destroyer, and towards Jonas Town, on Sigma Alpha Nine.

Once the transport ship was clear of the star destroyer, the hangar bay doors close and the bay was pressurized back to the same level the rest of the Resolute was set at.

(_)

Four hours later, the Republic operatives transport reached Sigma Alpha Nine. Anakin and Thor used the ship's computer to plot a course that would have their ship come in from the western side of Jonas Town, over the jungle.

Once they had the course plotted out they flow down towards the planet.

Twenty minutes later, they finished entry into the planet's atmosphere, with them coming to flow a hundred meters above the jungle canopy to the west of Jonas Town.

It was partly cloudy day in the city, with a light breeze. Though, the temperature was hot and humid. The two suns in the sky, a yellow star and a blue star, were visible near each other, on the eastern side of the sky.

Anakin and Thor flew the ship over the green, lush jungle. They soon flow over the river that city once got their water from. A few seconds later, they passed over the abandoned tarmac of the spaceport, then the control tower and passenger buildings. They followed the abandoned highway connecting to the spaceport with city, of Jonas Town.

Anakin made a note of all this because he would have to be doing reconnaissance in the area.

When they reached Jonas town they flow over a large highway, between tall buildings that dotted the city.

The buildings showed damage from the Republic bombing years ago. But, the most of the building appearing to remain structurally sound.

Anakin and Thor used the ship's instruments to find the landing area near the center of Jonas Town.

Once they found the landing location, Anakin piloted his ship to the center of designated clearing which use to be a large outdoor parking lot.

The black asphalt of the parking lot was cracked and broken in many places. Also, there were burned out speeder vehicles dotting the parking lot. But, Anakin found a place he could set down the transport ship down without a problem.

Anakin extended the landing gear, landed the transport, and he shut down the engines.

A minute later, the ramp from the main exit to the ship to the ground. Once the ramp was fully extended to the ground, the double-doors to the exit slid open.

The crew of the ship began to disembark.

Given Thor was the physically toughest person in their crew, she exited the ship first. This way if there was a sniper, then Thor was the most likely to survive the shot without any serious injuries.

In addition, Thor senses would allow her to spot a sniper as easily as a Jedi master using the force to do so.

The ship was set about five meters above the ground. This allowed Thor to see over some of the short buildings which were nearby.

Thor walked down the ramps, as she looked around with her enhanced eyesight. She held Mjolnir in both her hands, in front, with the hammer's head leaning to her left side.

When Thor reached ground, she turned towards the doorway. She stated, “All clear. Thou does not see anything.”

Rex and his team of eleven troopers were next.

Among the troopers, Rex was the first to exit the ship.

Rex had a blaster pistol in each of his black gloved hands. White armor was set on the outside side of the gloves. While Rex's men had their blaster rifles in hand. Though, they were careful not to point the barrels of their weapons towards their allies.

Anakin and Ahsoka were the last to disembarked. The two droids were left on the ship.

Once everyone was on the ground, Rex looked around to spot any possible dangers.

As Rex looked around, he thought, 'While I trust General Thor with my life and the lives of my squad, he feel it is always wise to have a second set of eyes check on matters.'

Rex did not see any such dangers.

A few seconds later, Rex mentally reflected, 'I guess Thor is right. There are no dangers nearby. Now, to mentioned a few points of information to everyone else.

Rex stated, with his helmet speakers turned on, “As a reminder. For a reference point. The two suns are to the east.”

Thor turned to Rex. She stated, “Thank you for the information.”

Ahsoka commented, “Well, when you said hot and humid, you were not kidding.”

Thor looked over towards Ahsoka. Thor offered, “I could make it more cloudy and windy for you.”

Ahsoka turned to look towards Thor. But, Anakin spoke up before she could.

Anakin looked towards Thor and Ahsoka, as he stated, “No. Any sudden changes in weather patterns would further tip off our presence of whom we are.”

Thor turned to Anakin. She said, “Point taken.” She turned to Ahsoka, as she went onto say, “Sorry.”

Ahsoka continued to look at Thor, as she replied, “No problem.”

At the top the ramp, at the open entry way to the ship, C3-PO stuck its head out of the exit to the ship. It look around, as R2 wheel up right behind C3-PO.

Being several a few meters above the ground gave C3-PO a vantage point to see the ruined, burned out city. The droid commented, “Oh my. What a ghastly city.”

From the ground, Anakin turned to his two droids. He order, “R2. C3-PO. Stay inside the city. Monitor for any droid communications. Alert us if you have any signals of droid communications.”

C3-PO and R2 turned their attention back to towards Anakin. C3-PO said, “Yes Master.”

R2 beeped an affirmative.

Both droids turned around and reentered into the ship.

Meanwhile, Rex turned to two of his men. He holstered the pistol in his right hand in the holster on his right outer hip armor. Next, he used his right hand to point at the two armored men, as he ordered, “Alright, I want you two to guard the ship. Alert us of any problems. And try not to get yourselves killed.”

Both men turned to Rex. They responded, almost in unison, with their helmet speakers, so their commanding officers could hear them, “Yes sir.”

Rex used his right hand pulled out the pistol that was in the holster on his right outer thigh armor.

Rex turned to the rest of his team. Rex stated, “Alright. The rest of us have a long walk ahead of us.” He thought, 'At least we should not be doing any climbing.'

Meanwhile, Ahsoka looked around the area, with a concerned look on her face.

Anakin noticed this. He asked, “Snips. What is it?”

Anakin's question drew the attention of those present.

Ahsoka turned to Anakin. She stated, “I feel as if we are being watched.”

Thor commented, “When thou exited the ship, thy did not see anyone with my enhanced sight.”

Rex pointed out, “There are so many holes in these buildings it would be easy to miss something.”

Anakin looked around the area, as he stretched out with his force abilities. He said, “Whomever, or whatever is watching us is not a threat, because I cannot sense any danger in the force.”

Ahsoka pointed out, “But, the force usually only warns of immediate danger.”

Anakin turned to Ahsoka. Anakin agreed, “True. But, we have a mission to complete. If you run into trouble call for help.”

Thor looked Ahsoka, as she stated, “As thy flies through the city, thou will keep an eye out for trouble. Given the size of the city, thou can reach you within minutes.”

Ahsoka turned to Thor. Ahsoka gratefully said, “Thank you. That is comforting to hear.”

Rex had quietly listened to the entire conversation. Rex stated, “Okay. Now that this is settled, let us move out. We are burning daylight in another glorious day of the Republic.”

Except for the two troops standing guard outside the ship, and the two droids inside the ship, the group split up. They heading in different directions. Rex and his team walked towards the south. Thor use Mjolnir to fly to north, about fifty meters above the ground, above the smaller building, but below the taller buildings. Ahsoka headed towards the east. Anakin headed for the west.

(_)

In the distance, inside a tall most intact building, on a higher level floor near the top level of the building, away from the holes in the outer walls where the windows use to be, Aurra Sing was in a kneeling position, with her right knee on the ground.

Aurra held her loaded slugthrower rifle with both hands. Her left hand was on the underside of the fore-end, while having her left elbow rest on her left knee to steady her rifle. In addition, her right hand on the front of the stock near the trigger. Her right trigger finger rested on the trigger guard of the weapon. There was a round in the chamber of the weapon.

Aurra had a communication headset on her head, with the earpiece by her left ear. The microphone antennae when further down the left side of her jawline.

Aurra used her right eye to see through the scope on her rifle. In the distance she saw the Republic transport ship and the groups leave in various directions from the ship.

Aurra said, into her headset, “I see them. They just left. The weather witch is heading north, by air. The troopers are going to the south. The Togruta brat is heading east. And Skywalker is walking towards the west.”

Aurra used her scope to focus on the to guards stationed outside of the ship, near the ramp leading to the entrance to the ship. Aurra moved her right index finger onto the trigger of her rifle. She offered, “If you want? I could take out the guards whom were left with the ship, and disable the ship, before they know it?”

Aurra head, over the communication headset, as a deep, masculine voice stated, “No. Stick to the plan. Follow Skywalker. When you receive my signal, keep him busy. But, do not harm, nor kill him. The rest of us with deal with the other Republic agents.”

Aurra removed her right trigger finger from the trigger of her rifle. She commented, “Alright. You're the boss.”

Aurra stood up. Aurra began to walk out of the room towards the stairwell she used to go up the interior of the building. As Aurra walked, she began to mentally plot out the paths she planned to take, as she followed Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker.

(_)

An hour later, Thor had been flying low over the buildings of the northern part of Jonas Town. While being so low limited her visual range, it also made it harder for her to be spotted from the ground.

Thor had done these reconnaissance missions before and she knew how to do her job quickly and effectively.

Presently, Thor was flying through a government district, with the ruins of high buildings, with wide roads between the buildings.

Thor had set her comlink earpiece on the back of her right ear to have the microphone off, but still listen in to the communication channels her team was using.

As Thor used Mjolnir in her right hand to fly through the air, she thought, 'So, far I have not found signs of sentient life living here. All I have seen are small animals and plant life, the city is deserted. I will check out this area of the city for a few more minutes. Then, I will contact the others to help with their reconnaissance. They should be near their areas of the city by now.'

Just then, Thor saw someone on the area, in the distance of about a hundred meters away. The person was standing in the center of an empty four lane black asphalt highway. Someone whom was big, and she did not recognize. And this person was looking up at her.

The four lane highway used yellow and white lines with no median. There were white concrete sidewalks on each side of the highway.

The highway was twelve meters from side to side, with the sidewalks on each side being three meters wide. A combined eighteen meters wide.

The highway was straight for a kilometer in each direction.

There were intersecting streets along the highway. Though, the traffic lights, traffic sign, and the poles that traffic lights and traffic signs were connected to on the outer sides of the sidewalks has been destroyed.

Also, the sidewalks and roads were cracked and pot-marked with small hold from the Republic bombings years ago.

Thor saw the person stood over the double yellow line in the center of the highway, where the damage to the road was least in the nearby area.

Thor thought, 'I guess I spoke too soon.' Thor noticed the way his head was turned meant the person saw her. Thor continued her thoughts, 'And it seems this person has seen me. From this distance I am very recognizable, so it is best I see who this is before I leave.' Thor turned and she headed towards the person.

As Thor flew closer to the person, Thor realized from the person's physical profile that the person was clearly a man. A very large, tall man, in armor, with a weapon in his right hand.

The man looked similar build as Jar Jar Bink's larger form. He was three meters tall, with a bulky humanoid shape.

But, there were several difference between Jar Jar's large form and this large brute.

The person had orange skin. He had two large pointed ears on the sides of his had, and two horns on the bottom of his jaw. With two smaller horned protruding at the very bottom of the jaw, between the larger horns. His head was bald. Each of his hands had two opposable thumbs on opposites sides, with two fingers between the thumbs. All the thumbs and fingers had black pointed nails.

Instead of wearing ripped clothing, this individual work the clothing for a professional combatant.

He had on large, dark red-orange chest armor which covered his shoulders, torso, and stomach. The armor on the shoulders had rounded ends on the sides of the armor. Also, the armor was plated in layers in a way that allow for maximum use of movement, with minimum gaps within the armor.

Thor noticed that under the shoulder armor, from the short sleeves on his upper arms, the man wear a black t-shirt underneath the chest armor.

He wore black leather leggings that went down to his ankles, with a brown leather belt looped through the waist of the pants. The buckle of the belt was golden, with insignia being that of a bird of prey with its wings spread out, talons and beak open, ready to swoop down and catch its prey.

He wore large brown leather boots that fit his large feet.

Also, he wore brown leather gloves that went up to his wrists.

He had on a large, white, polished, bone mask, with a brown leather strap around the back of his head kept his mask in place. The mask had large holes for his eyes, and the mask left his jaw free to move.

In addition, he had a large, white bone sword in his right hand, by the hilt. The bone blade one meter and sixty centimeters long. The blade was double-edged, which ended in a point. Except for the point, the blade itself was thirty centimeters wide and five centimeters thick in the middle. And the edges on both sides were serrated.

There was a golden rectangular guard, and a forty centimeter rounded, white bone hilt. The hilt was wrapped in blade leather wrappings.

The man had the point of the weapon set on the black asphalt below him. He held the weapon by the hilt, in his right hand, like a walking cane, with the round, golden pommel of the hilt being in his right palm.

But, the most important detail Thor noticed about the person was from the look of his demeanor and body language.

While Jar Jar in his larger form had a menace and imposing stance. This person was not trying to give off an imposing stance. Instead, he was just standing there relaxed, as he looked up at Thor approaching himself.

As Thor came closer towards her chosen point of landing, she never took her eyes off of the large brute, she thought, 'Well, whomever this person is, he seems to be relaxed at seeing me. And given my reputation, that concerns me. If this guy is as tough as Jar Jar, the others will only be in the away and in danger. Though, I better find out who he is and see why he is here. I will decide what to do from there.'

A few seconds later, Thor landed in the center of the highway, ten meters in front of the large brute.

As Thor came to a stop, she realized she was facing east, and there was a slight wind blowing between the building towards her.

Though, Thor was not interested in the wind at the moment. Thor was interested in the large person in front of her, whom had a very large sword.

Thor immediately took on a defensive stance, as she held Mjolnir on both hands in front of her chest.

Meanwhile, the brute maintained his relaxed stance.

Both of them looked at each other several seconds.

Then, Thor asked, “Who is thee?”

The man chuckled for a few seconds. He then stated, in a deep, masculine voice, in galactic basic, “Someone whom has spend a lot of time preparing for you.” The brute thought, 'I am not about to tell you I am General Grievous. I like to have my secrets, as well.'

Thor responded, “Thee would not be the first.” She lamented in thought, 'And the list is fairly long.'

Grievous calmly suggested, “Even so. There is no rush. Let us take a moment to discuss a few matters.”

Thor thought, 'If you want to share information with me. So be it. I am in no rush to kill you. Now to ask the first and most obvious question.'

Thor inquired, “Fair enough. From thee's form. Thy guesses thee is an agent of Loki Laufeyson?”

Grievous admitted, “Correct. I do work for Lady Laufeyson.” He thought, 'There is no point in denying the obvious.'

Thor thought, 'You likely also have all the abilities that Jar Jar had in his larger form. His super-strength. His increased speed and reflexes. And his regenerative abilities. I need to be careful in confronting you. Unlike Jar Jar. From the way you are acting, and the fact Loki does not suffer for fools, you likely trained to fight. While Jar Jar was untrained and he was still a handful for me. Now to find out some more from you.'

As Thor looked at the giant brute. From the brutes general size and shape, she commented, “From thee's size and that thee is an agent of Loki, thou guesses thee has the same powers and abilities as Jar Jar Binks.”

Grievous thought, 'I am remember reading about Binks. Loki even told me some information about what happened. That was a mess. But, I better keep her from thinking I am not crazy like he was. I believe one of the reasons Loki gave me these powers was to prove that it was not her powers that made Binks go insane.'

Grievous stated, “Correct. Though, I am not insane. Like Binks was.”

Thor retorted, “Meeting thou in a confrontational manner is hardly a sane act.”

Under his mask, Grievous chuckled a little. He conceded, “True. But, we all have our jobs. Though, unlike others, I have no interest in making this a duel to the death.” He thought, 'I had my body restore. I am not going to lose it over having to stall you, when there are easier ways to keep you busy.'

Grievous changed his grip with his right hand on the hilt of his sword to filly grip the hilt. Then, he gripped the hilt with left hand. He picked up the sword and he rotated the weapon to be upright and in front of him.

Grievous held his sword with both hands, in front of him, while maintaining a defensive stance. He stated, “I only desire a duel to see which one of us is better with a sword.”

Under her helmet, Thor raised an eyebrow. She asked, with intrigue in her tone of voice, “You want sword fight?”

Grievous held his stance, as he answered, “Yes. We both could be very destructive with our powers. But, what would be the point. I have always preferred skills over brute force. And I do wonder what lightsaber forms the Jedi taught you.” He thought, 'To compare with what Dooku taught me.'

Thor said, “Since thee asked so nicely.” She shrugged, as she continued, “Why not.”

Thor set Mjolnir on its head on the ground by her, to her right side.

Thor kept her eyes on Grievous, as she thought, 'I will just keep Mjolnir nearby. If this is a trick, and others decide to get involved with this duel, both you and them will be sorely regretful for misleading me.'

Thor used her right hand to draw the Black Solace from the scabbard strapped to her back.

After the sword was fully drawn, Thor held the sword out in front of her. She used her right thumb to switch on the vibrations mechanisms of the vibro-katana.

Then, Thor gripped the Black Solace with both her hands, as she took an offensive stance with the vibro-katana. She maintained her position while she looked at the brute.

Thor thought, 'This will likely be a short sword duel. You are going to be in a surprise as I cut your sword in half. Though, if you heal as fast as Jar Jar did, I will still have my work cut out for me. But, before we duel, I need to know one more detail.'

Thor requested, “But, before we fight. Thou wishes to know thee's name?”

Under his mask, Grievous lips curled into a grin. He stated, “Consider it an enticement to defeat me without killing me.”

Thor thought, 'That is a good reason to give to not kill you.'

Thor replied, “Fair enough.”

Then, Thor charged towards Grievous.

Grievous held his ground. He maintained his defensive stance, as he waited for Thor to reach him.

When Thor reached Grievous, Grievous used the blade of his sword to block the blow with the Black Solace.

To Thor's surprise, the vibrating black blade of the Black Solace did not cut through the white bone sword. Instead, the two swords were both holding up against each other, with no signs of damage.

Thor quickly realized, as she thought, 'Damn. The sword must be enhanced like Loki's sword, Cassius.'

Under his mask, Grievous maintained his grin, as he commented, “It is not going to be that easy.”

Thor looked at Grievous' bone mask, as Grievous looked at the slits of Thor's helmet.

Thor said, “Thou was kind of hoping otherwise.”

Grievous suggested, “Let us continue.”

Thor replied, “Over course.”

They pulled their weapons back and both struck out at each other in a series of blows, parries, blocks, and dodges.

They used the skills they had with their swords, instead of their raw power.

(_)

In the western of town, Anakin found that has he made his way outside of the center of Jonas Town, the most sparse the city became.

The western side of Jonas Town has ruins of small buildings which were shopping centers and open market places in the area, there were also a few large skyscraper buildings throughout the area.

Presently, Anakin had made it roughly a kilometer outside of the city, as he walked down the four lane highway.

There was green jungle on both sides of the highway. But, the jungle trees and undergrowth were a few hundred meters from each side of the road. This showed the jungle had been trimmed back while the road was in use, and the jungle had yet reclaiming the road.

There were a crew buildings every so often by the side of the road. Buildings either the ruins of fuel stations are restaurants. These buildings were both burned out by the Republic bombing years ago. The jungle partly covering the ruins with green vines.

The highway and parking lots around the buildings were cracked from the bombings.

The four lane highway did not have sidewalks on the sides, and there was no median on the road.

While Anakin walked down the four lane highway, he saw there a few burned out speeder vehicles at various locations throughout the road. But, not much else.

The highway was fairly straight between Jonas Town to the east and the spaceport to the west.

Anakin saw the ruins of the spaceport control tower and passenger area buildings of the ruined spaceport a few kilometers away, towards the west.

Anakin passed by a burnt ruins of a mostly intact small, enclosed, four door speeder vehicle, to his right. The windows of the vehicle were destroy, the interior was melted, and the body was pot-marked from shrapnel from the explosions from Republic bombs.

The vehicle was positioned in a perpendicular angle to the road, with the front facing south, towards Anakin.

Anakin did not have his lightsaber pulled out because he sense no danger.

Anakin looked at the spaceport in the distance. Anakin thought, 'I can guess they put the spaceport this far out from the city in case there was some sort of landing accident. Given this was originally an emergency landing sight for large cargo ships, I can see the logic in doing so.'

Anakin looked around. He saw the open area around him, the tall ruined buildings to the east, which were closer to the center of the city, and the spaceport in front of him to the west.

Anakin focused on the ruins of the spaceport, as he mentally reflected, 'Fortunately, there are not a lot of ambush points for someone to jump out and attack me...'

Suddenly, through the force, Anakin sensed danger from behind him. Due to Anakin having looked behind him a moment ago, with there being no one present, and there no place to hide, Anakin immediately ducked behind the ruins speeder vehicle he had just passed by.

Anakin sat with his back to the right front passenger door of the speeder vehicle. He kept his body and head low to the ground, and below the broken windows of the speeder.

A moment later, Anakin heard a few shots hit the roof of the car.

A few seconds later, the shots stopped.

Anakin lamented in thought, 'Though, this is a prefect place for a sniper to ambush me. From the sounds of the shots, it might be a slugthrower. But, I could be wrong.'

'From the angle of the sounds by the shots, the sniper is probably in one of the tall building behind me, to the east, on the edge of the city. At this distance, I cannot tell which building with neither the force, nor my hearing. Ahsoka might be able too with echolocation. But, I cannot.'

Anakin looked around in front of him. Anakin continued his thoughts, 'Besides this ruined hunk of metal. There is no nearby items I can use for cover. So, it looks like I am going to be here for a while. I will see if I can get out of this on my own. If not. I will call for help.'

'I might as well get comfortable. Because a situation like this is usually a waiting game.'

(_)

At that moment, in one of the tall buildings on the western edge of Jonas Town, inside high level, Aurra was laying in a snipe blind a few meters inside the western side of building. She faced the large hold in the wall, which faced the west.

Aurra was far enough inside the building that the shadows in the building hid her presence from anyone looking into the building.

Aurra laid on her stomach, in a prone position. She held her slugthrowner right at the ready, with both her hands. She used her right eye to look through her rifle's sights, out of the building, and into the distance, on the far four lane highway road, where Anakin took cover behind a ruined vehicle.

Aurra smiled, as she continued to watch Anakin through the scope of her rifle. Aurra thought, with amusement, 'I have you exactly where I want you. You are not going anywhere. And just because I cannot harm, nor kill you, does not mean I cannot play with you.'

(_)

As Thor fought Grievous in the northern part of the city, and Anakin was pinned down by Aurra outside of the western edge of the city, Rex and his squad of nine troopers had made their way to a residential area of southern part of Jonas Town.

Rex was taking point, as he and the nine armored men with him, were slowly walking down a two lane road of residential neighborhood.

Rex was in the lead of the group. He had a blaster pistol in each hand, while his subordinates each had their blaster rifle at the ready.

All of the men did not have their fingers on their triggers, and they were careful not to point their weapons at their comrades. Though, they all were ready to react to the first signs of trouble.

Due to the possibility of an ambush, instead of walking single file, Rex had his subordinates were spread out along the road.

While Rex walked down the street, he and his squad had found area had been spared most of the bombing. Save for a few areas where a home, or two had been bombed. Otherwise the area was intact. The only signs of no sentient life being the green grass on the yards was overgrown to the point of being thirty centimeters high, and the paint on the houses were beginning to peal.

While the yards had uncut grass, the homes appeared to be mostly intact. All of the homes were set back from the road, with each home having a large front yard.

There were tall trees place through the various yards around the houses.

The branches of leafs of the trees offer plenty of shade to the troopers, which was welcome, due to them having to walk in full armor and helmet in the hot, humid climate of the city.

Most of the homes were were small, single level homes. A few of the homes were larger two story homes.

Along with the grassy front yard, each home had small double lane driveways leading up to the front sides of the homes. Some of the two story homes had driveways leading to closed vehicle garage doors, which rolled up by remote control.

Besides their being a mix of one story and two story houses, the only differences between the homes were the exterior paint colors and minor aesthetic changes on the designs of the homes, placement of driveways, and layout of the yards. Each home was painted in various shades of pastel colors.

The properties lines were marked with decorative white fencing which was a meter high. The fencing was far enough from the sides of the homes to allow grassy paths between the fencing and the sides of the home between the front yards and backyards.

Some of the backyards had tool sheds placed on a side of the yard, by the the fencing on one of the sides, or on the far back of the backyards.

The backyards butted up against the backyards of the homes on the streets that ran parallel with this street. The divider between the backyards was the same white fencing found in the front of the yards.

There were a few gates in some of the fencing to connect the various yards.

There were intact enclosed speeder vehicles parked at various places on the side of the road and in the driveways of the homes. Most of the vehicles were enclosed speeder passenger vehicles. A few of the vehicles were slightly larger enclosed civilian cargo speeders and convertible speeders with the roofs raised up to protect the interiors from the weather. A few speeder bikes were also located the some of the driveways.

Most of the homes with garage doors had the garage doors closed, so the troopers could not see if there were any vehicles inside of the various garages. The garage doors which were open showed empty garages.

Rex found the residential area to pedestrian for his tastes. This area was much different than what Rex was use to. Rex was use to tall buildings and large structures. Or, jungle environments. Or deserts. Rex was not use to residential neighborhoods.

Rex found the whole situation very eerie and off-putting.

Rex looked around, as he kept his guard up. Rex thought, 'I guess this is what people call the suburbs. How people could live in such dwellings, in neighborhoods like this, I do no know. Though, I figure when they bombed this place was during the rainy season. That likely kept the area from burned down from fires the bombing created here.'

'Speaking of water, I am going to have to allow the men to have some water to drink in a little while. With our armor and helmets on, this heat could be deadly without drinking some water every few hours.'

One of Rex's troopers asked, over their internal communication system, with the external speakers of his helmet turned off, “Captain. Do you think it might be possible to get some of these speeders working? It would make our jobs a lot easier.”

Rex kept his eyes in front of him, as he answered, through their internal comlink system, with his external speakers turned off, “No. They may be boobytrapped. Beside, they have been sitting idle for years, I would not be surprised if we did get one working, it would quit on us within a hundred meters. Though, that question was worth asking.”

The trooper whom asked Rex, replied, “Thank you, sir.”

Rex responded, “Just keep your eyes open.”

A second later, the troops saw that roughly thirty meters head of them, several armor individuals with blaster rifles pop up from various hidden locations, from vehicles, to trees, to sides of homes. Those ambushing the troopers immediately began firing at Rex and his men.

Rex did not have to issue an order, as all of his subordinates, along with himself, rush to find cover.

For Rex, he ducked behind nearby a four door enclosed passenger speed vehicle. Others ducked behind some of the larger nearby trees. And a few of Rex's squad members were able to make it to the nearby sides of the homes for cover.

None of the Republic soldiers having been hit by the oncoming blaster fire.

While Rex's men began to return fire, with their blaster rifles, from their places of cover, Rex ordered, through the internal communication system, “Standard counterattack strategy. Get to cover, and prepare for instructions on counting the enemy with a possible flanking maneuver.”

Rex thought, 'As soon as I figure out whom we are facing? And how many people we are facing? I hope this is all there is. Or, we could be in trouble. And if they have a force user. We will be dead before Anakin, Padme, or Ahsoka get here.'

'But, I am not going to call for help until I am sure they are not trying to bait us into doing so. We may die in the line of duty, but we are not going to be used to kill our friends.'

'Now for the hard part.'

Rex peaked over the vehicle, for a quick look. He saw what he needed, and a second later, he ducked back down without getting shot.

Rex thought, 'Mandalorians... We are facing Separatist Mandalorians. In full armor, helmets, and blaster rifles... Oh well... It could be worse. Far worse. And from the looks of things, they are not equipped with rocket packs. With their armor and equipment being comparable to our own. From what I see, we might be close to evenly matched in numbers. We may get out of this in one piece, after all.'

'Now to come up with a plan to win us the day.'

Rex began to formulate a plan to counter the ambush by the armored separatist mandalorian troopers.

(_)

A few seconds later, roughly thirty meters from Republic Captain Rex, on the other side of the firing line, Confederate Captain Luna Starband stood behind an outer corner wall of a home on the left side of the battlefield when facing the Republic troopers.

Luna held her blaster rifle with her left hand on the underside of the fore-end, her right hand on the grip, her right index finger on the trigger, and the butt of the stock pressed against the front right side of her shoulder armor.

Luna used her blaster rifle to fire at the Republic troopers, those this was more to keep the Republic troopers from in place than to kill them.

A moment after firing, Luna ducked back behind her cover. Luna thought, 'I am not crazy about this plan. But, my subordinates and I will follow our orders. We will try to avoid casualties on both sides. Instead, we are suppose to delay them until we receive the order to retreat. I do not know the logic behind this. Though, from what I hear, this mission created by Lady Laufeyson. So, this mission is likely one part of a far larger operation. An operation which will likely make sense after its completion.'

'Still, I had my weapons, and the weapons of subordinates set to kill. I do not play games with the lives of my squad. Besides, we are support to avoid casualties. That does not mean that if one of the enemy dies, it is against orders. As long as we do so in a way we try the alternative of only keeping them pinned down.'

'Though, if we are only delaying them, we can avoid breaking into homes and attempting to fight room to room. Urban conflict can be such a dirty affair.'

'To make matters worse, there are eight of us and ten of them. I had to assign two guards for our transport and monitor communications.'

'But, while they outnumber us by two, there are so few of them we can keep up with where they are. Just in case a few of them get any ideas to try to make it through a nearby house to ambush us.'

'Now, to contact my subordinates, and coordinate with them to make sure they are alright.'

Luna used her internal communication system to contact her team to lead them, and for her to help make sure they survived this mission.

(_)

Meanwhile, on eastern side of the city, Ahsoka had made her way east toward the end of an empty large parking lot. The end of the parking lot Ahsoka was walking towards lead to a grassy hillside with concrete stairs placed at various points long the top of a hillside, which lead down the hill. There was metal railings on each side of each staircase.

Ahsoka had her lightsabers her holsters on the sides of her belt as she made her way to one of the center staircases located at the end of the parking lot at the top of the hill.

The sunlight of the partly cloudy, late morning sky provided plenty of light to see everything.

When Ahsoka reached the staircase she planned to use she saw the other side leading down the hill.

Ahsoka realized she was standing in the back, right above the top row of bleachers of an open stadium, over looking an amphitheater.

The stadium was set into the hillside, while the stage for the stage was across a small space from the bottom of the stadium.

The rows of bleachers went down to the ground, with the only breaks in the rows being for the steps leading down the amphitheater, with the stairs going up the hill leading back down the rows of bleachers to the floor level at the bottom, which was a concrete floor with grates at the bottom to drain rain water.

There was a large crescent shaped stage theater at the bottom, with the flat end facing the stadium.

The stage at the bottom was set a meter above the bottom concrete floor level, with six rows of steps lining from the ground, leading up to the front of the stage. The stage was walled on three sides, with Ahsoka facing the open side. There was a backstage area behind the stage.

While the top of the stadium was flat against the parking lot on top of the hill, and the staircases to the bottom were straight, as the stadium lowered to the bottom floor, the stadium curved, with the bottom of the stadium wrapped around the stage with the same curvature the stage had. The bottom floor was four meters wide from the bottom bleachers of the stadium and the edge of the stage.

While the top of the hill between the parking lot and the stadium had patches of grass, the stadium, steps, and bottom of the amphitheater were made of concrete.

The stage floor was made of polished wooden tiles, with a flat concrete foundation underneath the tiles. The backstage building attached to the stage was made of metal and wood. The walls surrounding three of the four sides of the stage, and the walls of the building attached to the back of the stage was made of polished wooden boards. The roof of the stage and backstage building was made of metal tiles.

There was metal catwalks, and metal rigging hanging by metal chains from the rafters of the roof overlooking the stage.

There was a set of wooden stairs set to each the sides of where the stage met the side walls. Each of these stairs were set into the stage and was five steps to the concrete floor below. There was metal railings set on the sides of the steps which the stage floor hide.

The very end of the crescent rounded part of the stage facing the stadium was set just outside of the roof of the stage.

The stage and stadium of the amphitheater were in good condition, with no signs of bombing, nor jungle undergrowth trying to reclaim the area.

Ahsoka stood at the top of the amphitheater, as she looked around. Ahsoka thought, 'I guess this is one of the cultural and entertainment parts of this city. This is not a bad design. Classic. But nice. I bet this place due in a crowd, when it was used for plays.'

Then, Ahsoka saw someone step out from the shadows of the back of the stage, stand in in the center of the forefront of the stage.

Ahsoka could hardly believe whom it was.

Standing in the middle of the stage, look up at Ahsoka was Asajj Ventress. The more unbelievable part was Asajj did not have her lightsabers in her hand.

Asajj looked up at Ahsoka. The alcove of the stage and the curved shape of the stadium caused her voice echo, as she casually asked, “Are we going to do this? Or what? We do not have all day.”

Ahsoka thought, 'You have to be kidding me. I have never been offered such a casual invitation to fight before. And she seems almost... Cheerful.'

Ahsoka inquired, with her voice echoing, “You seem... Happy today?”

Asajj stated, “My friend drew the short straw on facing Skywalker. I have been looking forward to an opportunity to fight you for some time. It is so rare to duel against another expert of Jar'Kai.”

Ahsoka commented, “True. Though, we are at war.”

Asajj looked around. Then, she focused back towards Ahsoka. Asajj stated, “Right now, all I see is the two of us. So, how about a little duel. Nothing too extreme. No using the force besides using the force to guide ability to use our lightsabers. To see where we stand.”

Ahsoka thought over Asajj's offer for a few seconds. Then, Ahsoka shrugged, as she replied, “Sure.”

Ahsoka quickly made her way down the concrete steps of the amphitheater to the bottom floor. Next, she jumped up to land onto the stage floor itself.

Ahsoka walked over towards Asajj. Ahsoka came to a stop five meters from Asajj.

Both women looked at each other.

Ahsoka commented, “It is rare to be formally challenged like this.”

Asajj agreed, “Yes. It is.”

Ahsoka mentioned, “The Jedi discourages accepting such challenges. They believe it breeds unnecessary aggression and arrogance.”

Asajj responded, “I can see their point. Though, they likely frown on such activities because such challenges pose real chance of achieving victory for the challenger, thus creating a potentially embarrassing incident for the Jedi Order as a whole.”

Ahsoka inquired, “That is likely. So, shall we get started?”

Asajj replied, “Of course.”

Both women each drew their two lightsabers into their hands.

Asajj pulled out her two curved hilt lightsabers. She held a lightsaber hilt in each other hand hands as she ignited the red blades. Both of the red blades being equal in length.

Asajj took an offensive fighting stance with her weapons.

Ahsoka drew her lightsabers, and ignited her weapons. The lightsaber in her right hand had a green energy blade. The lightsaber in her left hand had a blue lightsaber blade. With the blue lightsaber blade being slightly shorter than the green lightsaber blade, because the blue lightsaber blade was being used on Ahsoka left hand, which was her off-hand.

Ahsoka also took an offensive fighting stance.

Ahsoka noticed something about Asajj's lightsabers. Ahsoka said, “I noticed your lightsabers are the same length. The off-hand is suppose to be a slightly shorter blade than the main hands.”

Asajj maintained her stance, as she cracked a grin. Asajj commented, “True. But, I am ambidextrous.”

Ahsoka kept her fighting stance, as she shrugged. Ahsoka replied, “Okay.” A thought then occurred to Ahsoka. Ahsoka inquired, “Why haven't you built your own customized lightsaber? Do you know how?”

Asajj answered, “Yes. I can build a lightsaber. But, these were crafted by an ancient Sith. I have yet to see finer work in the construction of a lightsaber.”

Ahsoka replied, “Well, for curved hilts, they are nice.”

Asajj mentioned, “They also interlock at the ends to of the hilts to create a double-bladed lightsaber. The S curve the combined hilt creates offers a much better grip than a straight hilt for a double blade.”

Ahsoka said, “I will keep that mind. Now, let us start this fight.”

Ahsoka charged at Asajj. In response, Asajj rushed at Ahsoka.

Soon, they reached each other, as they clashed their lightsabers in their duel of skill.

(_)

Twenty minutes later, on the southern side of the city, inside a residential neighborhood, Rex and his men were still in a stalemate as they battled against the squad mandalorian separatists.

Neither side had moved much from their original positions when the battle had started.

Both sides were using what cover they could find. From speeder vehicles, to trees, to the sides of the nearby homes. Though, everyone knew better than to try to use the white picket fences for cover. The pickets of the fences were to spaced out between each other to offer proper cover.

Rex popped up from behind the passenger speeder vehicle, in a driveway, which he used for cover for the battle, with his blaster pistols in hand.

Rex quickly shot out at a mandalorian thirty meters from him. Rex then dropped back down behind the speeder vehicle he was using for cover.

Rex thought, as he realized, 'Damn. I missed my target... Though, they missed me.'

One of his troopers stated, in the internal communications system, “Captain. Request permission to use grenades.”

Rex responded, by their communications system, “Permission denied. We are too close to them.”

Rex thought, 'Thought, I can understand your frustration. But, thirty meters is still risky when using grenades. If we start using grenades, they will start using grenades. We are to close together. One grenade could take out our entire squad. But, if they start throwing grenades, then so we will we. But, not until then.'

'Honestly, I am surprised none of us have been killed, yet. Though, from what I have been able to gather, we have not been able to kill them either. Both sides had gotten some hits. But, our armor is blaster resistant. So, it usually takes a few shots from a blaster to take any of us down. And I am sure the same is true for these mandalorians. But, a grenade will take us out in a heartbeat.'

'Though, if they wanted us dead, they would have already used their grenades. But, they have not. They do not want to immediately kill us.'

'Still, these mandalorians are not amateurs. They clearly have training. They act and react as a team. In some ways, better my men and I. I have tried to organize a few flanking maneuvers, But every time we tried, the mandalorians would shift their positions as a unit to drive us back, without getting themselves kill.'

'I do not understand what their goal is. They are not trying to advance on us. Nor, are they retreating. They are just holding their positions.'

'I am tempted to order a retreat and call in Thor. But, what if that is the whole point. If we retreat, the mandalorians will drive us in a direction of a killing box, or some other trap, where any possible allies of theirs could be present. Though, the longer we stay in this position, they great the chance that if these separatist have allies, they will soon be in a position to flank us.'

'There are so many unknown factors, I will give the situation a few more minutes, then I will make my call.'

(_)

Meanwhile, nor far from Rex, on the other side of the battle lines, Luna Starband had moved to using a enclosed civilian cargo speeder vehicle for cover.

Luna and her subordinates continued to exchange blaster fire with the Republic troopers.

Luna had used her blaster rifle to take a few shots at the Republic clone troopers trying to leave their cover on the side of the house.

These shots forced the Republic troopers back into their cover by the side of a house they were using.

Luna crouched behind the cargo speeder vehicle.

Luna thought, with annoyance, 'While my orders are to keep them busy and try not to kill them. They are trying to kill us. And they are fairly good. I could see how in a more mobile battle they would be a handful for us.'

'They have tried to flank us a few times. But, I was able to have my squad counter them. Still, I am trying to follow my mission and not get my subordinates killed by maintaining this intentional stalemate.'

'I am worried one of those fools might try to use some explosives. My subordinates know better. But, that does not mean these Republic clones as level headed.'

'I am sure these clones are beginning to start to wonder why we are not taking the offensive. Though, all I can do is be ready for when they try another flanking maneuver, or if they try to escape. If they try to escape, we will follow. But, at a much safer distance than this.'

(_)

On the northern side of the Jonas Town, between rows of tall buildings, on the deserted highway road, the sun broke through the partly cloud sky to shine down on two combatants duel each other with their swords.

Grievous, in his larger form, used his bone sword with hands fought as he fought Thor, whom was using her vibro-katana with both her hands.

They had not moved much since they beginning of their fight.

Mjolnir was nearby, on the road. Though, due to the fight being one of skill and not raw power, Thor had not used Mjolnir. Though, she did keep in mind where the hammer was.

Their fight so far had been fairly even, with neither gaining a decisive advantage.

While Grievous was far larger than Thor, this actually worked against him because Thor was able to use her smaller form to be harder to hit.

Also, Thor was able to dodging as many of strikes as she parried.

Still, Grievous was able to parried a number of Thor's strikes. A few of Thor's strikes did through Grievous' defenses. But, these were grazing blows that only cut Grievous on his arms. Grievous' regenerative abilities quickly healed the cuts, with no scars.

Though, in turn Grievous was able to graze Thor a few times with his sword. On Thor's arms. But, Thor's own healing abilities healed her wounds as quickly as well. The cuts the bone sword made on Thor's body showed no sides of scarring.

As they continued to fight each other, Thor thought, 'Whomever I am fighting. He is good. I can tell that I was correct. He is as strong and as fast as Jar Jar was in his larger form. His reflexes are as quick as Jar Jar was. And from the few cuts I got in, I can see his regenerative abilities is as good as Jar Jar's was.'

'Loki clearly gave this man the same powers as Jar Jar. Though, from the skills he has displayed in this duel, this brute has a sharp, cunning, disciplined mind behind his white bone mask. He is not crazy like Jar Jar was. He clearly has experience in his swordsmanship. He nearly defeated me a few times.'

'I can tell he has been trained in a number of sword styles. I believe I recognize a few lightsaber techniques, but I am not sure.'

'Loki chose well in giving this person such abilities.'

'Though, I am glad we agreed to fight a duel of skill. And that he is using a sword. Doing so keeps him from clapping his hands together, to send waves of kinetic power which would knock me away without Mjolnir in my hands.'

Then, while continuing to attack, parry, and counterattack, Grievous commented, “I see that you are very will versed with in a number of lightsaber forms.”

They continued to fight, as Thor thought, 'No point in not admitting the obvious.' Thor answered, “Thy has wonderful teachers.”

Grievous replied, “This is evident.”

Thor thought, 'But, what about you?' Thor responded, “Thee also seems to know some Jedi techniques. Whom was thee's teachers?”

Grievous coyly said, “An old fool whom only taught me enough to satisfy his goals.” Grievous thought, 'And that is the sad truth. But, I have a feeling that Loki plans to arrange to fix that problem for me. She already had been training with Ventress, Sing, Luna, her mandalorian squad, myself. To allow us to work together in a better fashion. Though, my solitary training was mostly to learn to adapt to fighting in this large form. I would not be surprised that after this mission Loki plans to step up our training.'

Thor joked, “The Jedi Order are full of old fools.”

Suddenly, both of them struck out at each other at once with their swords.

The blades of their weapons hit each other and came to a stop.

They pressed the flat of their blades of against each other, with Thor's blade blade against Grievous' white blade.

Grievous chuckled, as he thought, 'I did not expect such a comment from you.'

As Grievous stopped chuckling, he agreed, “That it is.” Grievous took a step back, to break the weapons lock.

Thor struck out towards Grievous' stomach, as she commented, “Thy also noticed other sword techniques which are not Jedi. But, that thy does not recognize.”

Grievous parried the Thor's strike with his sword blade. Grievous stated, “I made it a hobby to learn as a many fighting forms as I could. Some of the fighting techniques and sword forms I have learned are very rare.”

Thor pulled back her sword, as she responded, “Then, thou considers it a privilege to battle someone with such skill with their blade as thee is.”

Grievous sincerely said, “Thank you for the compliment. Now, let us continue this dance.” Grievous struck out with his large sword blade, towards Thor's left shoulder.”

Thor parried the blow with her the vibro-kanata's blade. Under her helmet, Thor's lips curled into a grin, as she replied, “With pleasure.”

And so the two combatants continued their duel.

(_)

Roughly a kilometer from the outer edge of the western side of Jonas Town, on the highway road leading between Jonas Town and the ruined Spaceport, Anakin was still penned down by a sniper, behind a burnt out four door passenger speeder vehicle.

Anakin made sure to stay lower than the destroyed windows of the speeder, so he had full cover from the sniper.

While Anakin was not sure exactly where the sniper was shooting from. He did know the sniper was firing from one of the higher levels of the highrise buildings on the outer edge of the western end of Jonas Town.

Anakin was crouched in behind of the speeder vehicle, with his back facing the ruined Spaceport.

Anakin thought, 'Okay. This has gone on long enough. If I am caught here, the others are likely also fighting their own battles. Though, I hope those in the ship are not in the middle of a battle.'

Anakin used his right hand to turn on the comlink on his left gauntlet. He set it for the frequency he used to communicate with R2-D2.

Anakin thought, 'I set this up as a failsafe. So, if there is trouble. Such as a hostage situation near R2. I can talk to R2 without anyone else realizing what is going on.'

Anakin spoke into the comlink, “R2? Are you there?”

Over the communication, R2 beeped an affirmative. On R2's end the beep was silent with the beep only being sent on the through the comlink system. Also, R2 did no broadcast Anakin's words in its speaker to those nearby the R2.

Anakin inquired, “Good. Are you, those with you, and the ship, alright?”

R2 beeped another affirmative.

Anakin replied, “Thanks.”

R2 beeped and whistled in a manner which meant the droid was wondering why Anakin asked the question.

Anakin responded, “Do not worry. It is nothing I cannot handle. I will see you back at the ship.”

Anakin turned off his communicator.

Anakin thought, 'That is not exactly lying. From a certain point of view. And I am glad they are fine. As for the others. I will give them time to deal with their own problems. As soon as I am out of this mess, I will call and have them check in.'

'I could request that R2 to send the transport to come and get me. But, that is our only ride off this planet. And I do not want to risk R2, C3-PO, the clone guards there, or the ship. Besides, I am not sure the troopers guarding the transport know how to pilot the ship. And while R2 could do so through the ship's computer, I do not want to put the little droid in such a position of deeply interfacing with a computer it is not familiar with.'

'Now, how do I get out of this trap? Obiwan always likes to talk about the best way to deal with a trap is to spring it on his terms. But, he did not talk much of how to get out of a trap, once one was in a trap. I believe he meant that more as a metaphor, than an actual example.'

'Still, that leaves the question of how I escape this sniper?'

Anakin looked to his left, on the south side of the road. He saw open space between speeder he was behind, and the jungle tree line in the distance.

Anakin looked to his right, towards the north side of the road. He saw on the far side of the road a ruined, burnt, but still standing building which use to be a small restaurant. Passed the ruined building was the jungle tree line.

Anakin thought, 'If I can reach that building, I will be able to make it to the jungle. From there, I can lose this sniper.'

Anakin used his right hand to draw his lightsaber hilt from its holster on the left side of his belt. He positioned the hilt front of him, with the emitter end pointing towards the building the distance.

Anakin did this so that when he ignited his weapon, the snipe would not see it.

Anakin ignited the green blade of his lightsaber.

Anakin thought, 'Now.'

Anakin quickly jumped up, and headed for the ruined building in the distance, on the north side of the road. As he ran, he used the force to warn him a danger. Especially, danger from the direct shot by the sniper whom had pinned him down behind the burnt out speeder vehicle.

But, as Anakin got three steps from the vehicle, the force warned him of danger, from the direction in which the sniper had been shooting from.

Anakin began deflecting shot after shot, but he quickly realized the shots were very precise. One shot was aimed towards his feet, and the next shot was aimed at once of his shoulders.

This style of attack quickly forced Anakin to use his lightsaber to defense himself in a way that taxed his abilities, and made it difficult to use a lightsaber to counter.

While deflecting the sniper, Anakin thought, with worry, 'At this rate, I am going to get shot. I need to retreat back to the speeder.'

Anakin quickly back away, with him continuing to deflect shots with his lightsaber. Until, he was fully crouched behind the speeder, below the destroyed windows of the vehicle.

Anakin deactivated his lightsaber, but he kept the hilt of the weapon in his his right hand.

Anakin thought, 'Well, that plan is a bust. It is rare for someone to use such tactics against a Jedi. Which is fortunate, because this is a very effective form of attack. For a Jedi to continually defect attacks from two extremes of their reach is hard to counter, even for a Jedi Master. And using a slugthrowner projectile means I cannot use the force to redirect my deflections towards my attacker. Not that would mean much, given the distance the sniper is from me.'

'Also, I do not want to test if I can use the force to move away projectiles heading towards me as such speeds.'

'Well, the only good news is that given the sniper targeted only my feet and shoulders. It is clear the sniper wants me to stay here. Instead of the sniper trying to wait for me to get to far out before firing and preventing me from reaching cover. Though, this means I will have to stay here for a while. And for once, I will have to wait for someone to rescue me, instead of the other way around.'

'Though, since I am stuck here, I might as well call for help. This is one way to get everyone's attention. If I am lucky, one of them will answer. If none of them answer, then I know we are all in trouble. If that is the case, I will have to figure out another plan of escape.'

'Maybe digging a hole will work... Nah... It would take too long. And if I try to use the force pick up what is left of this speeder, to use as a shield, while I make my way to the building, the vehicle will likely fall apart and leave me with no cover.'

'I will figure something out, after I contact the others.'

As Anakin gripped the lightsaber with his right hand, he freed his right index and middle fingers. He used the two fingers to change the settings to his comlink in his left gauntlet to a frequency that was used by the Republic forces he was with which were on the planet. Also, Anakin set it so his microphone would be left turned on.

Anakin stated, into his comlink, “This is General Skywalker. I am on the west highway heading to the spaceport. A kilometer west of the western edge of Jonas Town. I am penned down by sniper. I am using a partly destroyed speeder vehicle for cover. This sniper is very skilled. I find myself trapped. Please contact me as soon as possible to discuss a rescue plan.”

Anakin thought, 'Sometimes, one just has to swallow their pride and admit he needs help. In the meantime I am going to see if I figure my own way out of this trap.'

Anakin began to run various plans of escape in his mind, as he waited for a response to his request of help.

(_)

Meanwhile, inside a high level of a building overlooking the highway Anakin was on, Aurra had remained her her location.

Aurra quickly reloaded her slugthrowner rifle with fresh ammo rounds.

A few seconds later, Aurra was back in her prone position, with her using her left hand on the fore-end, her right hand on the front of the stock near the trigger, and her right index finger on the trigger guard.

Aurra calmly used her right eye to look out her rifle scope to look out at the speeder vehicle blocking her view of Anakin.

Aurra smiled, as she thought, 'Nice try, Skywalker. But, I am just better at this game than you are.'

Aurra remained silent, as she patiently continued her vigil. Aurra was like a bird of prey watching her target from a distant perch, as she calmly waited for the proper window of opportunity to attack her target.

(_)

On the eastern side of Jonas Town, Ahsoka and Asajj were still fighting each other on the amphitheater stage. They were fighting each other near the center of the stage.

The dual had been surprisingly less heated than combatant either expected. The fight was more like an extreme excised match than an actual battle.

Both of them showed off their lightsaber forms which were specifically pertaining to the Jar'Kai styles of dual wielding combat.

As they fought, Asajj commented, “I noticed that you seem to prefer to favor you right hand.”

Ahsoka admitted, “My right hand is my main hand.”

Asajj suggested, “I found it is best to practice equally with both hands, by mirroring my forms. First, I practiced with my right hand as the dominate sword hand in my forms for a few times. Then, I practiced with my left hand as the dominate sword hand for the forms for a few times. This helped me move beyond being more reliant on one hand over the other hand while using two lightsabers.”

Asajj struck out at Ahsoka with her right lightsaber.

Ahsoka blocked the strike with her left lightsaber. Ahsoka responded, “Thank you. Should I survive today, I may try that.”

Ahsoka pulled back her left lightsaber and struck towards Asajj's stomach with both her lightsabers in a straight thrust.

Asajj used her to lightsabers to push Ahsoka's to lightsaber blades away to Asajj's left side.

Asajj commented, “I doubt you will die today.”

Ahsoka pulled back her lightsabers. Ahsoka replied, “I appreciate that.”

Asajj attacked by bringing her left lightsaber in a downward strike towards Ahsoka's right shoulder, while using her right lightsaber to laterally swing at the left side of Ahsoka's waist.

Ahsoka immediately brought up her right lightsaber to block Asajj's left lightsaber, and moved her left lightsaber to her left side to block Asajj's right lightsaber.

Ahsoka pushed Asajj's lightsabers away from her center. This opened up Asajj's defenses. Ahsoka immdiately exploited the opening she made by brining her lightsabers towards Asajj's chest, as she took three quick steps towards Asajj.

In response, Asajj did a backwards flip a three meters behind her, which was the right side of the stage, when facing the stage form the stadium.

Ahsoka did not follow. Ahsoka took an offensive stance.

As Asajj landed on her feet, she held up her lightsabers in a defensive stance.

Both of them looked at each other.

Asajj commented, “No bad. You are bit more aggressive than I expected.”

Ahsoka pointed out, “Jedi Skywalker is my teacher.”

Asajj replied, “Your fighting style shows this.”

Ahsoka commented, “I will take that as a compliment.”

Asajj requested, “Please do.”

Suddenly, they both heard Anakin Skywalker's voice on the communicator speaker in Ahsoka's left gauntlet.

Neither were distracted by Anakin's voice, as Anakin stated, “This is General Skywalker. I am on the west highway heading to the spaceport. A kilometer west of the western edge of Jonas Town. I am penned down by sniper. I am using a partly destroyed speeder vehicle for cover. This sniper is very skilled. I find myself trapped. Please contact me as soon as possible to discuss a rescue plan.”

Asajj calmly asked, “Are going to answer that call?”

Ahsoka casually responded, “Nah. From what you said, I can guess it is Sing that is keeping him in place. From the tone of his voice, he is not in serious trouble.” Ahsoka thought, 'It is clear you are here to keep us busy. Not to kill us.'

Asajj giggled at little. As Asajj stopped giggling, she requested, “Let us continue this.”

Ahsoka replied, “Of course.”

Asajj and Ahsoka charged at each other, and they continued their duel.

(_)

On the southern side of Jonas Town, in the abandoned suburban neighborhood, Rex and his squad of Republic troopers continued their firefight with the Confederate mandalorian squad.

Both sides used cover where they could find it.

Since the battle had begun neither side had gained any advantage since. So far, there were no serious injuries, nor deaths for either squad. This was mostly due to Luna and her subordinates orders not to press the attack. Along with Rex's reluctance to any aggressive tactics in a situation could easily get all his men and himself killed.

Rex only had his men attempt a few flanking attacks, which were quickly repelled, forcing Rex's men back to the cover they were using.

During the battle, Rex had been able to make his way from the passenger speeder by a driveway has been using for cover, to nearby large tree in front of the speeder a few meters closer to the mandalorian squad.

As Rex was stood behind the tree, with a blaster pistol in each of his hands.

Suddenly, Rex heard through his internal speakers, Anakin speak from an encrypted communication channel used by Republic forces. Anakin stated, “This is General Skywalker. I am on the west highway heading to the spaceport. A kilometer west of the western edge of Jonas Town. I am penned down by sniper. I am using a partly destroyed speeder vehicle for cover. This sniper is very skilled. I find myself trapped. Please contact me as soon as possible to discuss a rescue plan.”

Rex thought, 'If Anakin is busy, this means that Ahsoka and Padme are likely fighting their own enemies, as well. This is all one large trap, and we fell into it.'

'Now, to see if I can figure out how to get us out, without falling into another trap. We will have to go in a different direction than the where the ship is and double back.'

'I do not know of the combatants whom Ahsoka are facing in the east.'

'So, we will go west. Because more than likely Anakin is facing one sniper. A single sniper can be avoided, as we fall back. Once we lose the mandalorians, we will get to the transport, picked up Anakin. A transport is more than a match in armor for a sniper. Then, with Anakin's help we will rescue Ahsoka. And between us and two Jedi we will aid Padme.'

'We will do these rescues in this order, because anything that can keep Padme busy is too much for us without some Jedi for back up.'

Rex began planning the escape of his men and himself back to their Republic transport.

(_)

Several meters away, across the line of fire, Luna crouch behind a cargo speeder vehicle. It was from there she listen on a closed channel she set up between her and the two subordinates she left to guard their transport, to guard and monitor communications.

The subordinate whom spoke was female. The female subordinate stated, “Captain. We are picking up an encrypted Republic signal from the western section of the city.”

Luna immediately realized what her subordinate meant, as she thought, 'Sing... It is clear you were unable to keep Skywalker from warning the others. You likely pinned him down, but he is now warning the others. So they all know this is one large trap. Though, right now there is nothing we can do about it.'

Luna let go of her blaster rifle with her right hand. She used her right hand to change some of the comlink settings using a control pad on the underside of her left forearm armor. She set the microphone in her helmet to only use the channel between her and the two subordinates at their transport.

Luna responded, “There is nothing we can do about that. Continue with your duties. We have a mission to complete.”

Over channel, Luna's female subordinate replied, “Yes sir.”

Luna changed the setting of her internal microphone in her helmet to speak to all her subordinates on their personal channel.

Luna gripped her blaster rifle with both hands. Her left hand on the fore-end, her right hand on the grip, and her right index finger on the trigger guard.

Luna went back to helping her subordinates carry out their mission.

(_)

On the highway, between the tall buildings, on the north side of Jonas Town, Thor and Grievous were still at their duel.

Due to both of them focusing on skill and power, they had only moved a little around the middle of the highway.

Both of them were trading strikes, parries, and counterstrikes, with neither of them gaining any advantage.

Mjolnir was set on top of its head on the road about ten meters behind Thor. As she battle, Thor was always mindful of where Mjolnir was.

Then, under her helmet, from the earpiece over her right ear, Thor heard Anakin state, “This is General Skywalker. I am on the west highway heading to the spaceport. A kilometer west of the western edge of Jonas Town. I am penned down by sniper. I am using a partly destroyed speeder vehicle for cover. This sniper is very skilled. I find myself trapped. Please contact me as soon as possible to discuss a rescue plan.”

Thor thought, with concern and worry, 'Anakin is in trouble. I need to end this fight right now. Besides. This farce has gone one long enough.'

Thor increased her speed, as she used her black blade to hit Grievous' larger white blade.

While Grievous had the physical abilities to keep up with such an increase of speed, Thor's sudden swiftness caught Grievous off guard.

Thor twisted her blade in a quick, forceful twirl, which knocked the white bone sword from Grievous' hands.

The sword landed on its side about five meters the to Thor's left side. As the white sword landed on the pavement, Thor brought the tip of her black blade to a few inches in the front of the middle of Grievous' bone mask.

Grievous looked at the black blade, as he calmly thought, with mild amusement, 'This was fun while it lasted. And that was a nice trick at the end. I will have to remember that technique for next time we likely do this.'

Grievous held up both of his hands, as he said, “I yield.”

Thor responded, “I accept your surrender.”

Grievous took three steps back, as he lowered his hands to his sides.

Thor stayed in place, as she held the Black Solace at the ready.

Grievous inquired, in a deep voice, “So do you intend to kill me?” He thought, 'Though, I wonder if you could.'

Thor thought, 'Since you heal as fast as Jar Jar did, I am not sure I can without a lot of help. Though, you likely don't realize this. Still, I want you to continue to think I am in a stronger position to bargain than I actually in.'

Thor stated, “No. Thy would sooner destroy a work of art than kill thee. Your form is flawless. Your skills are apparent. And while thee could have destroyed much more in our fight, to use against thy, thee mostly kept to your swordsmanship.”

Grievous responded, “You did not use your hammer, nor elemental abilities. All I did was return the favor.”

Thor replied, “Thank you.” Thor moved the black blade to her right side, to where it was no longer pointing towards Grievous' mask. Thor requested, “Now please leave.”

Grievous asked, “You are letting me go?”

Thor stated, “Thou is not sure thy Republic transport could hold thee. And thy does not want to risk the attempt. Just leave thou alone and thy will leave thee alone.”

Grievous replied, “Sure.”

Thor requested, “And do not eat people.”

Grievous firmly said, “I do not do that. I may look similar, but I am not the Coruscant Beast.”

Tho stated, “That is apparent.”

Thor looked to her left, over at the large bone sword on the road. She then turned back towards Grievous. Thor commented, “Though, thou is keeping the sword as a trophy.”

Grievous kept his eyes on Thor, as he said, “Good ahead. It's yours.” He thought, 'I have collected numerous lightsabers from the Jedi I have defeated. And losing that sword is a fair trade in testing my abilities and skills against you, Thor. I believe I received more from this battle than you. Now to get out of here.'

Thor asked, “So, what is your name?”

Under his helmet, Grievous' lips curled into a grin. He responded, “I said that was an enticement. I did not say it was a guarantee. Though, I am sure you will figure it out. But, we both have our duties elsewhere. Until next time.”

Grievous turned around. Grievous jumped high up into the air, away from Thor, down the highway. Though, Grievous was careful not to jump above the tops of the buildings around them.

The jump was towards the southwest.

While in the air, Grievous used his right hand to gently pushed a button on the right side of the jaw line of his mask, which hid a comlink.

Grievous ordered through his communicator, “All forces fall back to the transport. Though, do not allow yourself to be followed.”

While reaching the apex of his jump, Grievous thought, 'I believe we have spent enough time keeping them busy. When I check with the others, I am sure that I will find that we have all kept within the parameters of this mission.'

'Our transport is closer to their ship than I am comfortable with. But, we were first to land the planet, so we had no control of where they would land without tipping them off we are here.'

'Due to this, I will take an indirect route to the ship, so Thor does not accidentally believe I am heading for her ship. And when I get closer to our transport, I will travel by foot. From our little conversation after our duel ended, I doubt Thor... Or should I say, Amidala has no intention of following me. Which is good for both of us.'

(_)

Meanwhile, from the road, Thor watched the brute leave. After Grievous' second jump, between some buildings, Thor lost track of him.

Thor thought, 'There is not point in going after him. Considering I would have no way to contain him. It seems like he expects me to already know who he is. I am sure I will later figure out who he is.'

Thor turned to look at the large bone sword on the black asphalt a few meters to her left.

Thor thought, 'Now about my trophy.'

Thor walked over to stand by the hilt of the white bone sword.

Thor turned off the vibration mechanisms of her vibro-katana. Next, she carefully sheathed in its scabbard. Then, she crouched down and she used her left hand to pick up the bone sword by the hilt.

Thor stood up straight. She held white bone sword upright with her left hand, as she looked at the weapon in the daylight.

Thor thought, 'It is not as heavy as I thought it would be. Given it is still in one piece, Loki probably enchanted it. Still, I wonder what I am going to do with it? I already have a cool sword. I do not need another sword. Especially, a sword this large. This weapon is a little too big for me. Maybe I could give this weapon as a gift to the Jedi Order for study. They would likely be happy to have such an item to put in their vaults.'

Thor held the large sword by the hilt with her left hand, as she carefully leaned the flat of the blade against the front of her left dark blue shoulder armor. Thor was careful not to accidentally cut herself with the blade of the weapon.

Thor turned around and she looked at Mjolnir set on the road.

Thor held out her right hand, as summon the hammer, Mjolnir, which was roughly twelve meters from her. The hammer flew to her right hand. A moment later, Thor gripped the shaft of the weapon with her right hand, with the head of the hammer facing upwards. The flat rounded end face away from Thor and the axe blade faced towards Thor.

Thor stood in place, as she thought, 'I cannot hold him. I am not sure I can kill him. Getting him to leave was the only option. Though, in my report, I will just say that I knocked the sword from him and he jumped away. Besides, I am not sure who he is. But, I am sure I will figure out who he is later. I am sure Anakin and Ahsoka would be more than happy to help on this matter.'

'Now, to see how I can help Anakin.'

Thor lowered Mjolnir by her right side. She let go of Mjolnir from her right hand. The hammer floated in the air. Thor used her right hand to reach under her helmet, and onto her earpiece on her right ear. She pressed a button to turn on her microphone.

The communication channel was already set the frequency she wanted. So, all her teammates would hear here her over the channel.

Thor moved her right hand back to grip Mjolnir with her right hand, at her right side.

Thor inquired, “Anakin. Can three hear thou?”

Over the earpiece, Anakin answered, “Yes.”

Thor stated, “Thou has dealt with thy troubles. How can thy aid thee?”

Anakin commented, “I am not sure. This sniper is good. Even if you came get me, I am not sure how much of a help you could be. I do not you to destroy parts of the city to flush out the sniper. We do not know how big this trap is, and I do not to want possibly create larger problems.”

Thor stated, “If that is the case, thou could can fly over there, and drop a dense fog on top of us and held shield you, as you made your way out of danger.”

Anakin agreed, “That is possible.”

Thor asked, “Are you any immediate danger?”

Anakin said, “No.”

Thor stated, “Then, let thy check on the others. Then, we will come up with a plan to help you.”

Anakin commented, “That will be fine.”

Thor requested, “To all forces. What is your status? And do you need assistant?”

(_)

Less than a minute ago, on the southern part of the city, the suburb where Rex and his troopers were in a firefight with Luna and her mandalorians.

Luna was crouched behind a cargo speeder vehicle, with her blaster rifle in her hands.

Luna heard over from her helmet's internal speakers, over the encrypted channel the separatists used, Grievous spoke in the voice he used in his larger form to order, “All forces fall back to the transport. Though, do not allow yourself to be followed.”

Luna thought, with relief, 'Finally. We can end this insanity.'

Luna used her internal communication system to order her subordinates, “Everyone. Check in. Are there any injuries?”

Her subordinates responded, “None.” “Nope.” “All fine here.” “Got hit, but I can walk under my own power.”

As the rest of Luna's subordinates reported in, Luna realized her subordinates were either alright, or slightly injured, but whom would still able to leave under their own power.

Once all of her subordinates checked in, Luna stated, “Good. We are pulling back. We will be going further south, then to the east by a few kilometers. After which, we will slowly circle around the troopers to return to the transport. I want those furthest back to provide cover-fire and follow behind us. Stop firing once we are out of sight of the troopers. Use the yards for cover. Do not run down the road. Should they follow, they will be dealt. Otherwise, this engagement is over.”

While a few of Luna's subordinates behind her, gave cover-fire to the rest of her team, including Luna, quickly stood up and left their cover as they made their escape to the south. They stayed to the yards, trying to kill the trees and vehicles between them. The mandalorians had not problems jumping over the meter high white picket fences as they made their escape.

As soon as the mandalorians in the back were passed by those whom had being in front of them, they moved from their cover and fall back with their team, as they continued to fire towards the Republic troopers. Though, this firing was not meant to hit the Republic troopers, only to keep them from firing back at the mandalorians.

(_)

Meanwhile, Rex was standing behind the large tree in by a driveway. Rex had his two blaster pistols in his hands.

Rex noticed that the incoming fire had stopped.

Rex peeked up around the tree to his right to see the mandalorians had fallen back. Though, Rex saw they are not running down the road and they were using the obstructions in the yards to prevent the troopers from having a clear shot.

But, by then the mandalorians were over sixty meters away.

Rex thought, 'They are retreating. Good.'

A few seconds later, Rex watched the mandalorians turn a street corner to the east, and disappearing out of sight.

Though, Rex looked around and he noticed that some of his subordinates were still firing.

Rex thought, 'There is no point in wasting ammo.'

Rex used his the comlink system in his helmet, which was on a channel his squad used, to order, “Ceasefire .”

Those of Rex's men whom were still firing their blaster rifles immediately stopped firing.

Over their comlink channel, one of Rex's men asked, “Should we follow them?”

Rex stated, “No. This is clearly a trap. We need to head back to the transport.” He thought, 'I hope it is still there with the men I left to guard it.'

Rex asked, “Is anyone injured?”

Among the reports his men gave him on their communication channel was, “No.” I'm fine.” “Everything is good.” “Got tagged in the left shoulder, but I can walk.”

After everyone checked in, with a few of them having minor injuries, but whom could walk under their own power, Rex ordered, “Make sure everyone is accounted for. We will then make our way back to the transport.”

Rex heard Thor over voice over a comlink channel that both he, his squad, Thor, Anakin, and Ahsoka used. Thor inquired, “Anakin. Can you read thou?”

Rex heard Anakin's voice over the communication system. Anakin answered, “Yes.”

Thor stated, “Thou dealt with thy troubles. How can thy aid thee?”

Rex thought, 'I am glad I am not going to have to rescue you.'

Anakin commented, “I am not sure. This sniper is good. Even if you came get me, I am not sure how much of a help you could be. I do not you to destroy parts of the city to flush out the sniper. We do not know how big this trap is, and I do not to want possibly create larger problems.”

Thor stated, “If that is the case, thou could can fly over there, and drop a dense fog on top of us and held shield you, as you made your way out of danger.”

Anakin agreed, “That is possible.”

Thor asked, “Are you any immediate danger?”

Anakin said, “No.”

Thor stated, “Then, let thy check on the others. Then, we will come up with a plan to help you.”

Anakin commented, “That will be fine.”

Thor requested, “To all forces. What is your status? And do you need assistant?”

Rex holstered his the blaster pistol in his right hand. Rex used his right hand to change the microphone setting of his helmet to use the channel on comlink channel that all the Republic forces on the planet used. The same communication channel Thor had just used.

Rex stated, into microphone, “General Thor. This is Captain Rex. We got caught in an ambush. But, the attackers fell back. A few of us have some minor injuries, but we are alright. We are heading back to the transport.”

Thor responded, “Thou will see thee and your squad there.”

Rex turned to his men, as he held up his blasters upward. He inquired, on the channel that every Republic operative on the planet was using, “Is everyone accounted for?”

Rex thought, 'I do not care if Padme, Anakin, and Ahsoka. They know I am talking to my squad.'

One of his men answered, over their squad channel, which Rex heard, “Yes. We are all alive.”

Rex happily thought, 'Good.'

Rex ordered, “Good. Alright men. Let's head out. But, keep a sharp eye out. Also, since they went southeast. We are going a northwest and circle around to the east to reach the transport, to make sure they do not try to double-back and follow us. As we go northwest, we will go through the yards and if there is not gate, we will make holes in the fencing as we make way through.”

Rex and his men turned around, and started back towards the transport, in a northwesterly route, through the yards of the residential neighborhood.

As Rex and his squad walk through the yards, using the gates or destroying the fencing as they went, Rex heard Ahsoka reply over the channel. Rex calmly listened, as he and his men headed back to the transport.

(_)

Less than a minute before Thor requested how her team was doing, on the eastern side of Jonas Town, on the stage of the amphitheater, Ahsoka and Asajj were still in the middle of their duel.

The fight was fairly well matched, as they fought each other with their lightsabers. While each woman has a few singe marks on their clothing from close calls, both of them were unharmed.

Then, Asajj Ventress heard Grievous' orders through the headset speaker on her left ear.

Asajj thought, with slight melancholy, 'Well, this was fun while it lasted.'

Asajj suddenly jumped back from Ahsoka.

Ahsoka did not follow.

Asajj landed five meters on the stage to the south of Ahsoka.

While both women had their weapons at the ready, they looked at each other.

Asajj calmly stated, “Maybe one day we will dance together again. But, I have to leave.”

Asajj swift turned and rushed away, to the southern side of the stage, to the right side of the stage when facing from the stadium.

Ahsoka did not follow. Ahsoka watched as Asajj passed by a side wall of the stage. Asajj jumped off the stage, to land on the side of the bottom concrete level between the stage and stadium. The level was a meter below the stage.

Asajj had no problems landing. After she landed, she began running again.

While Asajj made her way up the most southern staircase of the stadium, she deactivated her lightsabers

Several seconds later, Asajj made it up the stadium and over the hill top, where she disappeared from Ahsoka's sight.

Ahsoka thought, with mild amusement, 'Well, that was an interesting experience.' She turned back to face the western side of stage, with directly faced the center of the stadium. Ahsoka thought, 'I guess I better head back to the transport.'

As Ahsoka was about to turn north, to take a staircase down to the bottom concrete level on the northern side of the stage, Ahsoka heard Thor over the comlink in her left gauntlet.

While Ahsoka listened to Thor and Anakin talk, Ahsoka deactivated and holstered her two lightsabers.

By the time her two friends finished their conversation, she reached the northern staircase.

As Ahsoka made her way down the few steps of the bottom level, she heard Rex begin talking.

Once Rex finished speaking, Ahsoka made it bottom level.

Ahsoka turned to the west, she walked towards one of the middle western staircases the lead up the stadium and to the parking lot above the hill top, which would lead back the way she came.

While Ahsoka walked, Ahsoka used her right hand to push a button to turn on the microphone in her left gauntlet. Ahsoka stated, “This is Ahsoka. I ran into Ventress. It was a surprisingly more pleasant meeting than I expected.”

Anakin asked, “What happened?”

Ahsoka answered, “We fought. She left.”

Thor inquired, “Is thee alright?”

Ahsoka replied, “Yes. I am. She say she only wanted to see how good I was with two lightsabers. So, she could gauge her own abilities. From her actions I believe her.”

By then, Ahsoka made it to the staircase she was walking towards.

While Ahsoka walked up the staircase, she thought, 'I will leave out that it was a duel which I willing accepted. And it was a fairly casual fight. I have had worse separate sparring sessions against Padme and Master Skywalker.'

Anakin stated, “If that is all. That is good. If Ventress was here, it is safe to say that Sing is the sniper giving me trouble.”

Thor commented, “She would have the experience and know-how to keep you pinned down.”

Anakin agreed, “True. And she likes to use a slugthrower rifle.”

Rex commented, “Those we faced were mandalorians. I would guess these were all from the Separatists. And they were part of the same group.”

Anakin replied, “I agree.”

Thor said, “This was a coordinated trap.”

Rex commented, “And from their actions, I could tell they did not want us dead.”

Thor commented, “That worries thy. We need to get off of this planet.”

Rex said, “I fully agree.”

Ahsoka thought, 'I wonder.' Ahsoka asked, “Thor? Who did you face?”

Thor answered, “An agent of Loki. Someone Loki gave similar powers as Jar Jar.”

Ahsoka winced, as she replied, “Ouch.”

Anakin inquired, “How sore are you?”

Thor stated, “Not very. Like Ventress, this person only wanted us to fight with our swords. Thou complied because otherwise the two of us might have destroyed the city. We will talk after we meet up at the transport.”

Ahsoka questioned, “Still, Rex is not the only one to deal with someone whom did not want to kill him. Ventress went easy on me. How about yourselves?”

Rex answered, “Yes. The mandalorian seemed to be there solely to keep us occupied.”

Thor said, “Same could be said for the brute thou faced.”

Anakin commented, “Well, Sing is only penning me down. It looks like all this was a distraction for us. I am with Thor on this, in that this situation worries me. And I want all of us off the planet as soon as possible.”

Thor stated, “Since We know that Ventress and Sing work for Loki. And the brute I faced was clearly empowered by Loki. This is clearly one of Loki's plans.”

Anakin said, “Exactly. And from the looks of it, we are likely only a small part of her plan.”

Rex questioned, “It is best we get off the planet and back to the Resolute before anything else happens. But, should we have those on the transport contact the Resolute to come pick up in a closer orbit to the planet?”

Anakin answered, “No. We do not know what Loki's plan is. It is best if the Resolute remains where it is. It is best we will maintain communication silence with the Resolute, so as to not further tip our hand.”

Rex replied, “Yes sir.”

Anakin said, “If all your opponents have pulled out. That means they were ordered to do so. That likely means Sing may have been issued the same orders. I am going to try make it to the jungle for cover and make my way to the city.”

Thor commented, “If thou has not heard from thee in five minutes, thou will come looking for thee.”

Anakin responded, “Thank you. I am still roughly a kilometer outside of the west end of the city on the highway leading to the spaceport.”

Thor replied, “Thou will start looking for thee there.”

Anakin stated, “Good. Everyone be careful. Get to the transport as quickly as possible. But, do not endanger yourself as you do so.”

Rex commented, “Of course sir.”

Ahsoka replied, “Will do.”

Thor offered, “If any of thee has further problems, let thou know and thy will come aid thee.”

Rex responded, “Thank you for the offer.”

Ahsoka said, “I appreciate the offer. I will see all of you at the transport.”

By then, Ahsoka made it up the hill top. As Ahsoka let go of the microphone key bottom on her left gauntlet with her right hand.

Ahsoka did not see Asajj anywhere.

Ahsoka kept walking, as she thought, 'Good. She did not stick around. That means I do not have to fight her again. Now, to get back to the transport.'

Ahsoka retraced her path back to the Republic transport.

While Ahsoka did this, she listened to her other team members talk on her comlink her in her left gauntlet.

(_)

A few minute ago, on the western side of the city, inside a high level, in a building on the edge of the town, Aurra Sing was still in her prone position, with her rifle at the ready in the shadows, a few meters from a broken window facing the west.

Aurra's right index finger was lightly rested on the trigger of her slugthrower rifle, as she used her right eye to look through the scope her rifle, out a hole in the broken window, and at the burned out speeder vehicle which Anakin Skywalker had taken cover behind, on the highway between Jonas Town and the ruined spaceport.

Then, Aurra heard Grievous' command, to return to their Confederate transport, over her headset, from the speaker on her left ear.

Aurra thought, 'It looks like the fun is over.'

Aurra took her right index off the trigger of her right. She began to to stand up.

Once Aurra stood up, Aurra backed away, further into the shadows of the building. She turned and she walked towards the stairway which would lead down to the ground floor. After Aurra was out of the building and on the street, she would head towards the Confederate transport.

(_)

Meanwhile, on the highway on the western end of the city, Anakin was having a conversation with his friends. He was still behind the speeder vehicle for cover.

Anakin held his deactivated lightsaber hilt in his right hand.

Anakin said into the comlink of his left gauntlet microphone, “If all your opponents have pulled out. That means they were ordered to do so. That likely means Sing may have been issued the same orders. I am going to try make it to the jungle for cover and make my way to the city.”

Over the speaker in the gauntlet, Thor commented, “If thou has not heard from thee in five minutes, thou will come looking for thee.”

Anakin responded, “Thank you. I am still roughly a kilometer outside of the west end of the city on the highway leading to the spaceport.”

Thor replied, “Thou will start looking for thee there.”

Anakin stated, “Good. Everyone be careful. Get to the transport as quickly as possible. But, do not endanger yourself as you do so.”

Over Anakin's comlink, Rex commented, “Of course sir.”

Through, the communication channel, Ahsoka replied, “Will do.”

Thor offered, “If any of thee has further problems, let thou know and thy will come aid thee.”

Rex responded, “Thank you for the offer.”

Ahsoka said, “I appreciate the offer. I will see all of you at the transport.”

Anakin ignited the green blade of his lightsaber. Anakin stated, “I am going now.”

Anakin stood up, and he started quickly making his way towards the nearby burnt building, on the north side of the road.

While Anakin walked towards the north side of the road, he faced the east, towards the buildings of Jonas Town, as he held up his lightsaber in front of him at the ready.

Anakin sensed no danger in the force, and this caused him to hasten his footsteps towards the building. Though, he did not use the force to speed up his footsteps, because he did not want to risk tripping onto the ground.

A few seconds later, Anakin reached the burnt out building, and soon after he reached the jungle tree line.

Once Anakin was in the safety of the bushes and trees, Anakin turned to face the jungle. Anakin moved his lightsaber to his right. Anakin stated into his left gauntlet, “I'm clear. I will be with you soon enough.” Anakin thought, 'I guess Sing left, as well.'

Over the encrypted channel, Thor responded, “We will see thee at the transport.”

Anakin turned towards the east. Anakin used a combination of the force and his lightsaber to quickly make his way through the jungle and to the city. Once he reached the city, he headed directly for the Republic transport.

(_)

In the northern part of Jonas Town, on a highway road between talk building, Thor had just been informed that the rest of her team was all right.

Under her helmet, Thor warmly grinned at the good news that her friends were fine.

Thor held the hilt of the white bone sword with her left hand, as she used her right hand to hold up Mjolnir and use the hammer to fly off to the south, towards the Republic transport ship.

Though, Thor stayed below the tops of the large buildings. She has no desire to make herself an easy target as she headed to meet up with her friends.

(_)

Over the course of the next forty five minutes, the Republic team members continued to reach the Republic transport near the city of the town, in a clearing which use to be a parking lot.

Thor was first to return back to the transport ship roughly ten minutes after she left the northern part of the Jonas Town.

While Thor landed, she held her white bone sword in her left hand, and Mjolnir in her right hand.

Thor checked with the two clone troopers assigned to guard the transport. The two troopers stood watch by the entrance ramp to their transport. Each trooper had their blaster rifles at the ready, though with their trigger finger resting on the trigger guard and the barrel of their rifle pointed towards the ground.

The door to the transport was open.

Thor check and she found that no intruder had slipped pass the troopers and entered the transport while she was gone.

R2-D2 and C3-PO were inside the Republic transport ship, and the two droids had decided to remain in the ship.

Thor decided to stand a few meters from the two troopers and the ramp, as she waited for her friends to arrive.

As Thor looked around, she held Mjolnir in her right hand to her right side. She held the white bone sword by the hilt with black wrappings, while she rested the tip of the white bone sword in the ground.

Roughly twenty minutes later, Thor spotted Ahsoka coming towards her.

Thor's enhanced vision allowed her to clearly see at a distance that Ahsoka was unharmed. This caused Thor to feel relief.

Under her helmet, Thor smiled.

A minute later, Ahsoka reached Thor.

When Ahsoka came to a stop a few meters from Thor, she turned to look at the large bone sword.

Ahsoka complimented, “Wow. Nice sword.” She turned to Thor. She asked, “Where did you get it from?”

Thor looked at her new white bone sword, then back towards Ahsoka. Thor calmly responded, “It is a trophy. And we will talk about it and other subjects when the others arrive. It is easier to discuss matters once, than multiple times.” Thor thought, 'I learned this in my political career, when I had to give the same speech over and over again to different groups.'

Ahsoka replied, “Okay.”

Thor and Ahsoka waited for their friends to arrive.

Roughly, ten minutes later, they saw Anakin walking towards them from the west.

Anakin approached Thor and Ahsoka, whom were standing the two republic soldiers and the ramp leading to into the transport.

As Anakin got closer, Ahsoka and Thor turned to look at Anakin. Ahsoka happily stated, “Greetings master. I am glad you made it back okay.”

Anakin came to a stop a few meters from Ahsoka and Thor. Anakin faced Ahsoka. Anakin said, “Thanks Snips.”

Anakin turned to look at Thor, Mjolnir, and the large white bone sword. Anakin commented, “Let me guess. Spoils of war?”

Thor smiled her helmet. She answered, “Yes. We will discuss it, and other matters, when Captain Rex and the rest of his men arrive.”

Anakin said, “That is fine by me.”

Anakin turned to the two soldiers. He asked, “Troopers. How are things on your end?”

The two soldiers turned their heads towards Anakin.

One of the soldiers answered, using the speakers on his helmet, “General Skywalker, everything here has been quiet.”

Anakin replied, “Good.”

The two troopers resumed their duties, as the stood guard, looking out for possible danger.

Anakin turned to Ahsoka and Thor. The three friends talked, as the stood watch for the rest of their team to arrive.

Five minutes later, Rex and the rest of his squad arrived. Rex took point, as his troopers followed him.

Those by the transport counted all ten members in Rex's scouting group, including Rex himself. The ten troopers did not look worse for wear in their white armor, with blue striping.

The scouting party of troopers had out their weapons, but their weapons were pointed at the ground.

Anakin looked at Rex and the troopers with him. Anakin sensed in the force that Rex and the troopers were tired.

Anakin thought, 'They must have tired themselves rushing back here in that heavy armor. Well, they can get plenty of rest on the transport, as we head back to the Resolute.'

While Rex and the nine troopers with him approached those standing by the transport, Rex holstered his two blaster pistols. The rest of Rex's men had their blaster rifles in hand. Though, the weapons were pointed away from anyone.

Rex came to a stop three meters from Anakin, Ahsoka, and Thor. Rex was five meters from the two troopers he has assigned to guard the transport.

The troopers following Rex came to a stop a step after Rex stopped.

A moment after Rex and his men came to a stop by Anakin, Ahsoka, and Thor, Rex turned to Anakin.

Anakin looked at Rex, as he asked, “Captain. How are you and your men?

Rex answered, with his the speakers on his helmet turned on, “We are a little sore. Some of us have some minor injuries. But, we will be fine.”

Rex looked over at the two troopers standing guard. He thought, 'I already checked with them, by our internal communication system. And they are fine.' Rex turned back to look at Anakin.

Anakin said, “That is good to hear.”

Meanwhile, out of curiosity, C3-PO and R2 has made their way from inside the ship, to stand just inside the entrance of the ship, at the top of the ramp.

C3-PO overheard them. It stated, “I apologize. I did not notice any droid communications.”

Those on the ground heard C3-PO.

Rex turned to C3-PO. Rex said, “Do not worry about it, Ears. There were no droids present to listen out for.”

Ahsoka overheard them. She giggled, as she commented, “Ears. I never get tired of that nickname.”

Rex turned to Ahsoka, as he smiled under his helmet. He replied, “Thanks.”

Ahsoka turned to look at Thor and her new sword. Ahsoka commented, “Now, about this large sword.”

Ahsoka comment caused everyone else to turn their attention towards Thor's new large, white bone sword.

Anakin inquired, “That is an interesting sword. How did you acquire it?”

Thor responded, “As thou stated, thy fought someone with similar abilities and physical bulk as Jar Jar in his stronger form. He used this sword. Thou defeated him. And thou took the sword as a trophy. A trophy with mystical properties. Though, thou had to let the brute go, because we have not way to contain him. Nor, kill him. He has regenerative abilities like Jar Jar. And in a confined space, he might be able to physically overpower me.”

Anakin said, “That is fully understandable.”

Thor commented, “Thou is concerned. The brute did not give his name. Though, he seemed to know thy. And he seemed to expect thou to know him.”

Rex requested, “Describe this man?”

Thor stated, “The same basic profile as Jar Jar in his larger form. He has orange skin. Though, he had four fingers on each of his two hands. The two outer fingers on each hand are opposable thumbs. He had a deep voice. He spoke fluent in galactic basic. What he wore was similar to mandalorian armor. And he had white bone mask over his face.”

Ahsoka inquired, “How good was he with his sword?”

Thor answered, “Very good.”

Ahsoka stated, “That is the key. Someone that is with the Separatists. Whom is good with a sword. And whom is high enough in the Separatists hierarchy for Loki to trust with such power.”

Anakin said, “I can only think of one person.”

Rex stated, “Grievous.”

Anakin mentioned, “It is tradition for Kaleesh to wear a bone mask over their face. So, it is likely that was Grievous.”

Rex said, “Grievous with such powers. That is a scary thought.”

Thor stated, “Thou agrees. And this logic makes sense. Loki must have restored Grievous' body and given him those powers.”

Anakin commented, “That would likely have made him very loyal to Loki.”

Ahsoka said, “To say the least.”

Anakin stated, “Also, this is likely why no Jedi has reported seeing him on the battlefield in years.”

Thor said, “Yes. It is likely the powers are recent. But, the restoration of his body was years ago. Loki likely did this soon after Dooku was deposed, as payment for Grievous' loyalty.”

Anakin agreed, “That would make sense.”

Rex said, “Without his cybernetics, Grievous would be no match for a Jedi. That is why Grievous has been out of action for so long. Only giving orders from the rear.”

Ahsoka stated, “Well not anymore. He's back and more power than ever.”

Thor said, “His skills have no dulled over the years.” She thought, 'Even I could tell he was holding back.' She continued, “Though, it seemed that Grievous was in a good mood.”

Ahsoka said, “Getting one's body resorted from a robotic cyborg would brighten anyone mood.”

Thor agreed, “That is true. And at least he is sane. Unlike Jar Jar.”

Anakin sadly agreed, “True. We will inform the Council of this. I am sure they will issue a warning for all Jedi and Republic forces. At least this time, we will see Grievous coming. But, he is now more dangerous than ever.” He turned to Thor, as he continued, “Given he can fight Thor here, to a standstill.”

Ahsoka asked turned to Rex. Ahsoka asked, “So, how were the mandalorians you faced?”

Rex answered, “The separatist mandalorians acquitted themselves well in combat.” Rex thought, 'They were clearly under orders to not kill us and only stall us. Yet, neither my squad, or their squad suffer any casualties.'

Thor stated, “Coming from thee, that is quite compliment.”

Rex turned to Thor. Rex replied, “Thank you sir.”

Ahsoka stated, “Still, this whole mission has been a waste. This was one big trap.”

Rex commented, “Given that none of us were hurt, this likely one of Loki's plans.”

Anakin said, “Though, the question becomes why?”

Thor commented, “It is clear this was a delaying tactic. But, why would Loki want to hold us off here for so long?”

Ahsoka commented, “We will likely find out sooner, rather than later.”

Thor admitted, “That thought fills thou with dread.”

Rex agreed, “I feel the same way.”

Anakin commented, “Well at least we all survived this trap. Let us get off of this rock before we have any other unwanted surprises.”

Thor complimented, “Thou agrees.”

Rex commented, “So, do I.”

Ahsoka said, “I was waiting for you to say the word. Though, now that we are at the transport and ready to leave, should we contact the Resolute and let them know we fell into a trap?”

Anakin stated, “No. On my way back here I thought about this whole situation. Given the separatists lured us into this trap. It is likely there is a Separatist cruiser nearby, in orbit. If we try to contact the Resolute, we may likely find ourselves facing that cruiser. While I maybe the best starfighter pilot in the galaxy. Even I cannot do much with a transport like this. We will maintain communication silence until we reach the Resolute. Once we are on board and in hyperspace, we will give our reports.”

Anakin turned to Thor, as he thought, 'I doubt even Padme, with the power of Thor, could protect our transport, and hold off a Separatist cruiser and starfighter squadrons at the same time.'

Anakin turned to the transport entrance. Anakin said, “Now, let us get aboard and get out of here.”

Those present filed into the transport ship. R2 and C3-PO moved further into the transport and out of the way.

Rex and his eleven subordinate trooper filed into the transport. Then, Ahsoka enters. After which, Anakin walked inside. And finally, Thor walked inside, as she carried her bone sword trophy with her left hand and Mjolnir with her right hand.

Once everyone was on board, the entrance to the ship slid shut and sealed itself. Next, the ramp was retracted.

Anakin and Thor headed for the cockpit. On their way to the cockpit, Thor had placed the white bone sword in a room near the cockpit. Anakin waited for Thor to secure the bone sword. Once the bone sword was secure, they both resumed heading for the cockpit.

Soon Anakin and Thor reached the cockpit. They sat down in the cockpit seats of the ship. Anakin sat in the left seat and Thor sat in the right seat. Thor set Mjolnir on top of its head, on the right side of her seat.

Anakin and Thor did a preflight check, which showed everything from the amount of fuel to make it to the Resolute, to the engines, to life support systems were fine.

Anakin started the engines of the ship, hovered the ship into the air, retracted the landing gear, and he flew them ship into space, towards the outer most, larger moon of Sigma Alpha Nine. The moon where the Resolute Star Destroyer was hiding behind in geosynchronous orbit, with the moon between the Resolute and Sigma Alpha Nine.

Though, it would take them roughly four hours to reach the Star Destroyer.

(_)

A few minutes before the Republic transport took off from Jonas Town towards the orbit of outer moon of the planet.

In the eastern, central section of the city, the Confederate military transport ship was located in the hollowed out shell of what was one am empty warehouse.

Though, while the building was a shell, it was still stable. The framework making up the building mostly intact. The holes in the warehouse provided plenty of sunlight, while hiding the ship inside. With the ship being piloted into the building through a very large hole in the southern side of the building.

There were enough holes in the ceiling to allow the daylight to shine through to see clearly in the warehouse.

Grievous had just made his way into one of the larger holes in the buildings. He was still in his larger form.

As Grievous approached the transport, he saw that Asajj Ventress, Captain Luna Starband, and Luna's nine mandalorian subordinates, included the two mandalorians whom were assigned to guard the transport, were already present. They were standing on the concrete floor, near the ramp leading up into the transport.

All the mandalorians were still in full armor, with their helmets on. They has their blaster rifles in hand, but their fingers were not on the triggers and the barrels of their rifles were pointed towards the ground.

Asajj did not have her lightsabers deactivated and holstered.

The entrance to the transport was open, with the tramp extended to the ground.

Grievous thought, 'Sing should be here. Shortly.'

Those personnel standing by the transport soon noticed Grievous approaching them.

In the daylight, they quickly recognized Grievous.

Immediately, the mandalorians stood at attention towards Grievous, while Asajj had an amused look on her face.

Grievous came to a stop roughly four meters in front of his subordinates.

Grievous looked over at the mandalorians. Grievous stated, “At ease.”

The mandalorians relaxed their stances.

Grievous turned to Asajj. He asked, “Ventress, were you able to handle your end?”

Asajj responded, “Like an artist. Where is your sword?”

Grievous calmly answered, “I lost it.” He thought, 'Which is an honest answer.'

Asajj shrugged. She replied, “That happens.”

Grievous turned to the mandalorians. He said, “Captain Starband.”

Luna stated, as she used the speakers of her helmet, “Yes sir.”

Grievous turned to look at Luna. Grievous commented, “Captain. I see you you have all your soldiers with you.”

Luna stated, “Fortunately, there were no deaths. And the injuries to those within my unit were mercifully light.”

Grievous responded, “We only wish we were so fortunate in every battle. Where there any problems during your mission?”

Luna answered, “No sir. All mission perimeters were maintained within the framework given to us.”

Grievous stated, “Good. I know this was not an easy task. Restraint on the battlefield never is. Still, I will make a note of the efforts of both you and your team, in my official records.”

Luna happily replied, “Thank you, sir.”

Grievous questioned, “Captain. Whom did you confront in your mission?”

Luna answered, “I do not know sure of their designation. All I know is they were ten skilled Republic troopers in full white and blue armor.”

Grievous said, “Thank you, Captain.” Grievous thought, 'Blue and white is from the 501st battalion, which is under Skywalker's command. I am not sure specifically which troopers Skywalker used. Though, I am sure Loki will figure this out from the information I give her in my report.'

Just then, Aurra came into the building from behind Grievous.

Aurra walked briskly enough that everyone present heard her footsteps slightly echo in the warehouse.

Everyone turned to look at Aurra. They saw that Aurra carrying her slugthrower rifle in both her hands. With the end of her rifle barrel pointed to her left, away from them.

A few seconds later, Aurra came to a stop near the group. She held rifle to point the barrel away from the group.

Aurra faced the group, as she calmly said, “I hope I am not late.”

Grievous commented, “Actually. You are right on time.”

Asajj casually asked, “What took you so long, Aurra?”

Aurra answered, “I had to go around to the north from where the Republic parked their transport.”

Asajj replied, “Okay.”

Suddenly, they all heard through holes in the ceiling of the warehouse, as the Republic engines come to life as the Republic ship took off into the sky.

Grievous thought, 'Good. They have left.'

Grievous turned to his subordinates. He stated, “We will leave a half an hour” He thought, 'After Thor and her team have fully reached orbit and are heading away from the planet. Thor can fly in space without a starfighter. She would make short work of this transport. As such, I will not risk my subordinates in such a wasteful manner. Now, to deal with another matter.'

Grievous began to shrink back to his smaller size. A few seconds later, when he finished, his clothing was so loose that it almost fell off of him. This included his bone mask being too big for his normal form's head.

Grievous bone mask was barely able to stay on his face.

Grievous held up his clothing, as he stated, “In the meantime. I will be in the ship, getting dressed.” He thought, 'While this is slightly embarrassing. My larger form will not fit inside the ship. I wonder if Loki realized this when she picked out this transport. That is likely. This is probably to prevent me from hiding this ability from my subordinates. I have mixed feeling on this matter, but I will let the matter be.'

Grievous walked passed his subordinates. He headed up the ramp, into the ship, towards the room where he kept his blue naval officers uniform and white bone mask for his normal form.

(_)

Around four hours later, Anakin and Thor were piloted the Republic transport ship towards their rendezvous point with the Resolute, which was behind the large, outer most moon of Sigma Alpha Nine.

Presently, the transport had nearly completed circling around the outer moon to the side not facing Sigma Alpha Nine.

Anakin sat in the pilot's seat, with Thor to his right side. Thor still had on her armor, helmet, and the Black Solace. She had set Mjolnir on the floor, on its head, by her to the right side of her chair.

The door to the cockpit cabin was open.

Anakin and Thor looked out of the front windows of the cockpit, as they piloted the ship.

Anakin commented, “Once we get passed this moon, we will be to the Resolute.”

Thor said, “Thou is looking forward to taking a shower.”

Just then, Ahsoka and Rex walked into the room. They came to a stop a few meters from Anakin and Thor. Rex was to Ahsoka's left side.

Rex still wore his helmet over his head. But, they easily could tell it was Rex by the two blaster pistols he had holstered on the outer sides of his thigh armor. And that only Rex would come to the cabin to speak with them.

Ahsoka had overheard them. She stated, “You and me both.”

Anakin and Thor turned in their chairs, towards the Ahsoka and Rex.

Anakin inquired, “So, what are you to doing here?”

Ahsoka answered, “Asking how much longer it is going to take to reach the Resolute?”

Rex questioned, through the speakers on his helmet, “The men and I were wondering the same thing. It is close to dinner time. I would hate for the men to fill up on rations if the mess hall is close by. The cooks on the ship do fix a good nerfburger.”

Anakin responded, “I can see your point. We are a few minutes from reaching the Resolute. Once we clear this moon, we should be right on top of the Resolute.

Anakin and Thor turned back to face the cockpit controls. Al four of the individuals in the cockpit looked out the front windows of the cockpit of the ship.

They saw the ship clear the moon.

Anakin said, with a hint of anticipation in his tone of voice, “Any second now.”

Thor tried the communication system to signal the Resolute with their identification number. The response would have been the Resolute sending back a signal with their identification number to confirm each other. But, she was getting no response.

Thor stated, with concern in her tone of voice, “Thou cannot raise the Resolute.”

Anakin turned to Thor. He commented, “We will find out what is going on, soon enough.”

Thor and Anakin turned to looked up at the front windows.

The windows of the ship panned to the Resolute. But, instead of a seeing the Resolute, they saw the burnt hull of the Resolute.

To make matters worse, there was a fleet of Separatists ships behind what was left of the Resolute. Though, many of the capital ships showed signs of damage. There were burnt wreckage of both Republic and Confederate starfighters near what was left of the Resolute.

Ahsoka sadly said, “Those poor people.”

Anakin looked at the sensor readouts on the dashboard in front of him. He commented, “Sensors do show lifepods from the ship have been jettisoned.”

Thor said, “They will be prisoners of war. But, there are worse fates.”

Rex commented, “From the look of the Separatists ships. Our friends put up one hell of a fight.”

Ahsoka stated, “This whole delaying tactic was to keep us from returning to the Resolute.”

Thor said, “From that much firepower, that would not have been much we could have done to prevent this from happening.”

Anakin looked over at his friends, as he stated, “This might be our last stand. Because, we cannot outrun them in this ship. And scanners showed that starfighters are heading our way. Likely Vulture droids.”

Rex said, “Okay. I admit I wish this has been a hyperspace transport.” Rex thought, 'I organized this mission. I should have said something about the transport our superiors sent us.'

Anakin responded, “Do not worry about it. Even if this ship was hyperspace worthy, we do not have time for R2 plug in the nav coordinates to get away.”

Rex thought, 'That is a good point. At least, I will die not having that on my conscience.'

Thor looked at her friends. Thor stated, “Thou has an idea. Just keep the ship straight. And be ready for a swift, hard landing.”

Anakin realized what Thor had in mind. Anakin asked, “A portal? At this speed?”

Thor understood what Anakin was alluding to. Thor stated, “Yes. Do not worry about raw speed. We will not burn up. Thy has gone from orbit to planetside to orbit again. The portal will transition our inertia between locations. Thou is going to try to send us just over the southern plaza of the Jedi Temple. It is the only open space thou knows of on Coruscant that has a flat surface below it, with a clear airspace. Just be ready to slow down as needed, and land us.”

Anakin replied, “Understood.”

Thor used her right hand to pick up Mjolnir.

Rex asked, “Should I inform the men to hold on?”

Thor did not turned to look Rex. Thor answered, “If thou does this right. And Anakin properly lands us. We should be fine.”

Rex questioned, “And if this is not done right?”

Anakin stated, “The Jedi will be scraping us off the floor of the temple plaza.”

Rex softly replied, with a bit of concern in his voice, “Okay.”

Rex used his right black gloved hand to grabbed a near section of the wall, where the wall met the back of the windows on the right side of the cabin of the cockpit. That part of the wall was contoured enough to grip onto.

Rex turned off his external speaker, and he turned on his comlink microphone which was connected to the helmet comlinks of his squad. His headphones in his helmet were left turned on to his squad's frequency, in case on of them wanted to speak to him.

Rex stated, into his comlink microphone, “Boys. Grap a hold of something. We are going to an emergency slow down and landing. And secure the droids for the landing.” Rex left his comlink microphone on, and he turned on his external speakers.

Rex noticed that nearby, Ahsoka had gripped two items on the walls of the cabin which were not controls to the ship.

In another room of the transport, Rex's men braced themselves for a possible rough landing. The troopers also secured R2 and C3-PO for the landing.

Meanwhile, Thor focused on creating a portal to Coruscant, near the south end of Jedi Temple, in front of their ship, with the portal being large enough for the transport, but also far enough in front of them that they do not to overshoot the portal. Also, Thor thought of the portal placement on the other side being to the west, so after they passed through the portal, they would not run into the Jedi Temple.

The portal formed several kilometers away from the ship.

Anakin saw the portal form, and he steered the ship into the portal.

Suddenly, those in the cockpit saw it was a clear sunny day, with the cityscape Coruscant in around them. The Jedi Temple was less than a kilometers front of them, with them being about two hundred meters in the air, heading to the west, and not towards the Jedi Temple.

Anakin immediately engaged the repulsorlifts and slowed the engines to a stop, in a quick manner. Though, Anakin was slow enough in doing so to keep those inside the ship from coming to a jarring stop.

With them now on Coruscant, Thor immediately had the portal close before any Vulture droids could follow.

Anakin engaged the landing gear and he safely landed the ship near the southwest side of the plaza of the Jedi Temple.

While Anakin shut down the engines to the ship, he thought, with concern and worry, 'members of Jedi High Council and the other Jedi Master of the temple will immediately sense myself, Thor, and Ahsoka, on board. Also, if Thor is correct with her portal, we are on the south side of the Temple.'

'The High Council Tower is on the southwest corner of the temple. Meaning if the Jedi High Council is in session, they sensed what was going on and they likely saw us use a portal. They are going to want answers on how we traveled half away across the galaxy in an instant.'

'Also, I am going to have to report the lose to the Resolute... I so looking forward to some rest in my cabin on the Resolute.'

Anakin turned to look at Thor, Ahsoka, and Rex. He continued his thoughts, 'But, at least my immediate friends. And even my droids were not on the Resolute when the Jedi Cruiser was destroyed. So, there is at least that.'

Meanwhile, Rex let go of the part of the cabin he had been holding onto. Rex turned off his external speaks, as he asked into his comlink on the communication channel he and his squad used, “Is everyone fine back there?”

One of Rex's troopers answered by comlink, “We are fine. No problems. Even the droids are fine.”

Rex thought, 'Good.' Rex stated, “Keep me appraised of any developments.”

Neither in unison, the members of his squad replied by comlink, “Yes sir.”

Rex turned off his comlink microphone, and he turned on his external speakers.

Ahsoka let go of what she had been holding onto in the cabin. Ahsoka commented, “It looks like Thor's portal ability is out of the bag.”

Anakin said, “This cannot be helped.”

Rex inquired, with the speakers on his helmet, “As interesting as that is. Why destroy the Resolute? And why do so when we are away from the ship?”

Thor looked over at Rex. Thor stated, “This is clearly all part of Loki's plans. Both to keep us busy, while having the Resolute destroyed. She clearly has plans for us.”

Thor thought, 'Loki likely did not kill us because she feels having us alive increases the chance of her being successful with her schemes.'

Ahsoka asked, “But still, why would Loki destroy our ship?”

Thor turned to Ahsoka. Thor answered, “Thou does not know.” Thor thought, 'And that worries me. Because Loki is never wasteful. If she wanted to destroy the Resolute and keep us away while she did so. She would have a very good reason. And not knowing that reason concerns me.'

Ahsoka questioned, “Okay. How about a more immediate question. What are we going to tell the council and the chancellor about your look portal trick?”

Thor stated, “Thou will the truth. Including why thou hid this ability from them. It was my choice to do so. It is thou's responsibly.”

Anakin responded, “We will be there to support you.”

Ahsoka said, “Yes. We will.”

Thor focused on Ahsoka. Then, she looked towards Anakin. Thor gratefully said, “Thank you. Now, let us get this over with.”

Anakin turned to Rex. He stated, “Captain. As soon as the debriefings of you and your squad are over, consider yourself and your men dismissed and on leave until you have been notified of your receive further orders. We will make arrangements for lodgings at a local Republic garrison, as soon as we finished with our debriefings.”

Rex said, “Thank you, sir.”

Anakin and Thor got out of their seats.

Soon, the outer ramp to the ship lowered, and the main outer exit to the ship slid open. Everyone on the ship disembarked in onto the southwest side of plaza surrounding the Jedi Temple.

Thor, Anakin, and Ahsoka knew a number of people were going to ask them questions they do not wish to answer. But, they would face those questions with courage and conviction.

(_)

Half an hour after the Thor, Anakin, Ahsoka, Rex, and the others on the Republic transport had landed on Coruscant.

In orbit over Sigma Alpha Nine, a Confederate transport was heading for the nearby Confederate fleet. On board was Grievous, Asajj, Aurra, Luna, and Luna's mandalorian squad.

They were heading for the rendezvous location.

While two of the mandalorians piloted the ship, inside a cabin Grievous, Asajj, and Aurra, were standing in front of a table, with table in front of them. There was a holo-monitor on top of the table.

The door to the room was right behind them, with the door slid shut and locked for privacy.

Grievous was in his normal form. He wore his blue naval officers uniform and a white bone mask that fit is head. That white bone mask had a brown leather strap with a buckle was went around his head to keep the mask in place.

Standing to his right was Asajj. And to his left was Aurra.

Aurra had set her slugthrower rifle against the corner of the room, behind her, to her left.

They had just dialed the number to call Loki on an encrypted channel by holo-comm.

Since General Grievous was the highest ranking person present, he would be giving the report.

After a few rings, Loki answered the call. The three adults saw a small hologram, above the holo-monitor of Loki, in a nice green skintight dress, sitting in an armchair, at a desk.

The hologram of Loki looked up at the three adults. Loki calmly requested, “I have been expecting your call. Please, state your report.”

Grievous stated, “The mission was a complete success. All of the targets acted in the manners in quick you expected. We were able to delay them for around the time you had requested.”

Loki asked, ““Any casualties on your side? Did the targets survive?”

Grievous answered, “There were no casualties on either side. Though, some minor injuries.”

Loki inquired, “Good. How did Captain Starband and her squad preform during the mission?”

Grievous said, “They performed their roles admirably.”

Loki responded, “Good. Who did they confront?”

Grievous answered, “While I am not sure the specific designation, from what Captain Starband has told us, the mandalorians confronted a squad of Republic troopers whom had white and blue armor. I believe they were from Skywalker's battalion.”

Loki inquired, “That would fit the situation. Would you three be open to working with the Captain Starband and her mandalorian squad in the future?”

Grievous stated, “Yes. I see no problem in doing so. They follow orders well. And they are skilled enough to know the proper amount of force, without using to much.”

Asajj commented, “I see no reason not to have them along.”

Aurra replied, “Your call.”

Loki commented, “Good. Also, Grievous. I hope your fight with Thor has given you an idea of how powerful she is.”

Grievous said, “Yes. She is a handful. And I believe she held back.”

Loki replied, “Exactly.”

Grievous commented, “Though, while I held back as well, I was defeated. And I lost the sword you gave me.”

Loki responded, “That does not matter. You fulfilled the mission and avoided capture. I will craft you a new sword. A better sword. A sword that will help balance out a battle when facing Thor's more elemental abilities.”

Grievous thought, 'It is nice to work with someone that is understanding. And I wonder what type of sword he has in mind.' He responded, “Thank you. Also, I had a chance to see how skilled Thor was with a sword.”

Loki asked, “What is your opinion of Thor's swordsmanship abilities?”

Grievous stated, “The Jedi taught Thor more about using a sword than Dooku did for myself.”

Loki commented, “This is no surprised. Still, that is compliment. Considering your skills with a sword are likely on par, or better than Asajj and Aurra, here.”

Asajj conceded, “That is possible.” She turned to Grievous, as she commented, “You have certainly killed enough Jedi to proof your skills.”

Grievous turned to Asajj, and he shrugged in response. Both of them turned back to look at the hologram.

Aurra looked at Loki's hologram. Aurra commented, “I was never one to lean too heavily on relying on a single weapon. Especially, a short range weapon such as a lightsaber.”

Loki responded, “Ah. But, it is your other skills that I hired you for. To that end, Asajj has skills which go far beyond her abilities with a lightsaber.”

Asajj replied, “Thank you.”

Loki focused on Asajj. Loki said, “You're welcome.”

Loki looked over at Grievous. Loki inquired, “Speaking of skills and not relying on any single weapon. Grievous. How open are you to using heavy weapons?”

“While I wanted you to get some combat experience in you new large form with a sword. I do not intend for you to only be a brute on the battlefield. I want you to be flexible. While in your stronger form, you can carry some very powerful firearms with you. The type of large projectile and powerful energy weapons that a lightsaber cannot deflect.”

Grievous said, “While I never cared for firearms, given what you are offering, I can see how intriguing your suggestion can be.”

Loki replied, “Good. We will talk about it, later. When I see you.”

Aurra stated, “Still, I does not understand why you had us do all this.”

Loki said, “Moving pieces on the board, my dear. Moving pieces on the board. If we want to win this war, we need those specific individuals alive, not seriously injured, and where I desire them to be.”

Asajj commented, “As long as you do sacrifice us as pieces on your board.”

Loki responded, “If that is required, I will request such measures be taken only on a voluntary basis.”

Asajj replied, “That will be fine.”

Loki stated, “The Malevolence is already at the rendezvous point. When you reach the rendezvous point, I want you to board the Malevolence. I want to personally debrief you three and Captain Starband. The members of Starband's squad can be debriefed by other officers. Also, Grievous there are other matters I need to discuss with you in private.”

Grievous said, “I look forward to our discussions.”

Loki offered, “Good. We will do so over some dinner. If that is alright with your three?”

Asajj replied, “Sure.”

Aurra said, “I could use something to it.”

Grievous commented, “I never turn down a good meal.”

Loki responded, “Good. Asajj, Aurra, I believe you need to hear some of what I have to discuss with Grievous. As for the rest, we will talk after dinner. You know where my private dining room is. I will see you there in an hour.”

Loki disconnect the communication, with her hologram disappearing above the holo-monitor.

The three adults look at each other.

Aurra commented, “This went well.”

Asajj and Grievous both shrugged in response.

(_)

The Confederate flagship, the Malevolence, was in high orbit around Sigma Alpha Nine, behind the outer large moon of the planet, with several other Confederate battleships and support ships nearby.

On board the Malevolence, inside Loki's office, Loki sat in her comfortable armchair, behind her desk.

Loki had set the office ceiling lights to dimly illuminate the room.

Presently, Loki had just finished her communication with Grievous, Asajj, and Aurra.

Loki pressed a button on her desk. Loki stated, over the intercom system, “I want a formal dinner prepared for four people in my private dining room within the hour.”

Over the intercom, a male, human voice responded, “Yes. Lady Laufeyson.”

Loki pressed a button to turn off the intercom system.

Loki mentally reflected, with admiration and happiness, 'Everything has gone as I hoped and planned for. I should have the dinner ready for my friends when they come. I will get all the details on their mission from them, as we eat.'

'My subordinates could not have performed their parts better. This team is coming together better than I had hoped. Soon, my team will be complete.'

'I see I was correct to give Grievous the same abilities as I did for Jar Jar. While Jar Jar went off the rails, the video and reports showed that Jar Jar's raw power was enough to handle Thor. It was only that his mind was not there. All the I needed was a mind of a military strategist behind that power and I could make the perfect soldier for my needs.'

'I gave Grievous that sword to round out his abilities. So, he would not be facing against Thor and Mjolnir with only his bare hands.'

'But, I see that was not enough. That was a failing on my part. Though, Grievous was able to hold his own against someone as powerful as Thor, and that was the important part. I am not sure how he pulled that off, but knowing him, he was likely inventive in how he handed the situation. I will find out at dinner.'

'No matter how he handed the situation, he will not be alone next time. I wanted to create a team. Not a one man army. In his future missions he will have help.'

'I will craft him another weapon. This new weapon will have abilities. But, I will have to think on what type of weapon I will make. And I will have to do so after I finish with my current machinations.'

'Also, I am sure I can convince him to start using more powerful firearms. I can already imagine the possibilities and roles he could play on the team I am crafting.'

'I will arrange for him to have some training. But, once the necessary lessons are covered, with the weapons are fabricated to fit his larger form, Grievous will be a juggernaut on the battlefield.'

'Grievous is not the only person I am proud of.'

'Captain Starband and her team performed well. Even though they do not use rocket packs, that is not a problem. Besides. I prefer warriors that are more down to earth. They intended to support for my team. They are not meant to be directly on the front line.'

'Asajj, Aurra, and Grievous are open to continuing to work with Captain Luna Starband and her Gray Squad of mandalorians. This is exactly what I hoped their reaction would be.'

'I cannot wait to included Jango and Boba Fett into this little team. I would have included them sooner, but Boba is in a delicate time in his training and age. I know from experience that it is best to let Jango finish his training. From the reports Jango has given me, Boba's training should be completed within a few weeks. Then, I will work towards incorporating them into this team.'

'I know for a fact that Boba has the potential to be as formidable as Jango. And given Boba is loyal to his father. The two will make fine additions to this team.'

'Yes. Their tests for me will come soon enough.'

'Now, about Padme, Anakin, Ahsoka, Mjolnir, and the rest.'

'The timing of all this was tricky. I have been using my resources to secretly track the Resolute for the better part of a month. So far the Resolute assignments have been in the eastern to northern part of Republic held areas, near the battle-lines. The likely reason for this is that northern and eastern part of Republic are closer to Coruscant than the southern parts of the Republic. And the western parts of the Republic are not near the fighting with the Confederacy.'

'Once I realized this pattern, I worked to arrange this part of my plan around how the Resolute was being moved from location to location in the galaxy.'

'When Resolute came to the northern part of the Expansion Region, I leaked to the Republic military that there might be a communication outpost for the Confederacy in Jonas Town, on the planet Sigma Alpha Nine. As I expected, this was to tempting a mission for the Republic military to pass up.'

'Due to how close the Resolute was to this planet, the Republic sent the Resolute to the planet, with Thor, Anakin, Ahsoka, and others to be assigned to go down to Sigma Alpha system on recon mission of Jonas Town.'

'Due to this being a recon mission close to the territories held by the Confederacy, I was sure that at least Thor, Anakin, and Ahsoka would be sent to the planet to do this mission as quickly as possible. With them gone from their star destroyer, I had my fleet deal with the Resolute.'

'But, this mission bore fruit even I did not expect.'

'Reports from the fleet that confronted the Republic transport they were on stated that the transport had escaped through a portal. This shows that Padme has somehow learned to use Mjolnir to create portals, as many Thors can do.'

'I was beginning to wonder if she would figure that ability out. Or, if someone would eventually have to show her. Either way, I would suspect that Padme took them to Coruscant. In her place, that is where I would take myself and my friends.'

'From the reports on the ground, of Republic troopers with white and blue armor. Grievous is correct. That is from Anakin's battalion. From that battalion, I can guess that had to be Captain Rex and his team was with them. Anakin always prefers to use Rex when he needs a small group for troopers to accompany him.'

'I believe this is for the best. Of the clones, Rex and his team are some the more level-headed troopers. Best to have them in play than in a holding cell, or dead.'

'I could have attacked the Resolute while Thor, Anakin, Ahsoka, and the others were heading for the planet. But, that was to risky. They could have heard a emergency call from the Resolute and turned around. But, I had to make sure they were on the planet and busy. Also, I had my fleet jam the Resolute's communications to keep those on the planet from learning what was happening.'

'Once I confirmed that my agents were keeping them busy, I had my fleet attack the Resolute.'

'After which, I let the situation play out in the manner I had set up.'

'I hope Padme, Anakin, and Ahsoka realize that even if they were there, they would not have been able to stop my fleet.'

'I wonder if R2-D2 and C3-PO were on board the Resolute. Likely not. Anakin likes to keep his droids near here. If they were, I will have a few droid teams to search the Resolute wreckage and recovery for them. But, I will not put to much effort in the search, because I doubt they will find anything.'

'Though, should the be any more survivors in the wreckage of the Resolute, or unused ships in the hangars of the Star Destroyer, I will order the droids search teams to try to take them alive. Though, we will have to pressurized some rooms near where the survivors are to provide the them spacesuits and the means to put the spacesuits on, but that will not be too much of a problem.'

'If Padme had not known that portal trick. Given their ship did not have a hyperdrive. My plan was to have one of my droid only ships tractor beam their shuttle in. Then, I would allow them to seize that ship, and escape.'

'Though, unlike what Tarkin did to Han, Chewy, and their kids, in A New Hope. I know where they would be going. Coruscant.'

'But, them using a portal simplifies matters for everyone involved.'

'Still, given there have been not reports of any use of the portal abilities means that the Jedi High Council and Palpatine likely have not been informed of these abilities.'

'It is clear that Padme kept this a secret. Save for her immediate friends. She likely realizes the dangers such an ability could be in warfare. Neither I, nor her, want to cause the galaxy to be burn to ashes because of an escalation of this war to the use of planet killer weapons.'

'I doubt she will use these abilities in conflict, to drop personnel and bombs behind our lines, even if she is ordered to do so. As such, outside of the possibly traveling for personal reasons, Mjolnir's portal abilities are not a factor in this war.'

'Besides. If they want to play the portal warfare game. I can play that game to with my own teleport and portal abilities. While the Padme, Jedi and Palpatine know of my teleportation abilities. I mentioned to Padme about my portal abilities. She knows I am better at these skills than her, which means she will not escalate the war in such a manner.'

'Though, I still have not found out where the Death Star is being built. If it is being built. It is not where it is suppose to be. But, I will find out one way or another. Palpatine likely moved the Death Star project when he realized I seized control of the Confederacy from him by overthrowing Dooku and the first Separatist Council.'

'Should the Death Star ever be finished, I already put the Separatist flight simulators to include the trench run for training to use the critical flaw to destroy the Death Star. Though, for the simulators, it is running down a canyon and hitting a target at the end.'

'If that does not work, I am sure that Padme and her Jedi friends would help me do deal with the Death Star. So, there are no major worries on this matter.'

'The only reason I do not mention the Death Star to Padme is sadly she would be against such a weapon being built. But, if it is built and left alone. We may someday need it. Having it to use would be nice against possible galactic threats.'

'Now, concerning the main key players in my plans. Padme and Anakin.'

'While I did not want to destroy the Resolute, I had to do so for my end game to this galactic war.'

'The needs of the many outweigh the few. Or, the one.'

'As for the survivors of the attack, we picked up out of their ships and escape pods from the destroyed Resolute. I gave orders that they would be confined, but treated well. When this war ends. Either way, I will let them go, as a sign of good faith. I have no interest to ransom them. I already know everything important I could learn from them. So, there is no need to interrogate them. Due to Padme, Anakin, and Ahsoka know these people. Killing these people would upset no only them, but set a bad precedence within this war. A precedence that I wish to avoid.'

'With the Resolute destroyed, the Jedi High Council and Palpatine will both consider this a close call for their most powerful pawns.'

'Since I took over the Separatist organization, Palpatine began being cautious with Padme and Anakin by not allowing them to be a part of large scale Republic assaults.'

'They were not part of the third campaign of the Republic military to take the Arkanis system from the Confederacy. Which I am glad. While we held the Arkanis system, that entire battle was a mess and very costly for both sides.'

'This current incident with make both Jedi High Council and Palpatine even more cautious with the lives of Padme and Anakin.'

'For various reasons, except for single missions, Padme and Anakin will likely not be resigned for long term tours. Instead, they will more than likely be based on Coruscant. The likely excuses given will be to allow Padme to continue duties in the Senate and for Anakin to finish Ahsoka's training in the Jedi Temple.'

'That is fine with me. For the time being, I want them to stay on Coruscant, with them resuming their duties on that planet. This was the entire point of this part of my long term plans.'

'As time goes on, the Jedi High Council will try to use both of them to get close to Palpatine. To find a way to spy on Palpatine and reign in the power that Palpatine has amassed for himself.'

'Palpatine is not in as good a position as in the original timeline. He will not risk trying to make Anakin or Padme spy on the Jedi High Council, unless the Jedi High Council first attempts to do so towards him. Though, Palpatine will focus on his end game for the Republic. And he will focus on Padme and Anakin.'

'Palpatine is still seeking an apprentice to replace Dooku. I know he has not found one, yet. Though, between what I have learned of Padme and Anakin's missions. Along with what Padme told me of her visions. I have no doubt that Palpatine has been molding both of them into potential Sith apprentices.'

'I have no doubt that if Palpatine is able to turn Padme, that he will find a way to allow Padme to maintain control Mjolnir and Mjolnir's powers... That is scary in of itself...'

'I do doubt Palpatine wants to take both of them as an apprentice. Padme and Anakin care for each other too much for both of them to serve Palpatine for long. Eventually, they would decide to work together and turn on Palpatine. Though, Palpatine realizes this.'

'Palpatine might try to find a way to turn Padme and Anakin against each other. Or, kill one in a way that will cause the other to turn to darkness. But, both approaches would be difficult. Especially since Padme and Anakin have a much closer emotional bond in this timeline. Padme is not pregnant. And most importantly of all, Anakin is clearly far more emotionally mature and patient than he was in the original timeline.'

'It will take time for Palpatine to figure out how to do any of this. Time I need. And time the galaxy needs. Fortunately, I do not need as much time as some would suspect. Which is good for me, and bad for my enemies.'

'Though, if Palpatine is not careful, Padme and Anakin might find out he is Sidious, and they would try to defeat Palpatine together. I would say they have a chance. But, not a good chance. Still, that would be ironic.'

'If Padme and Anakin learned that Palpatine was Sidious before the Jedi Order, I am not sure how the Jedi Order would react to this development. The Jedi Order is too powerful a player in this war to risk them becoming an unknown factor.'

'I will have to think on this in further detail. I may have to play a role in this, as a way to have events line up the way I hope. But, I will have to do so very, very carefully. This could very easily blow up in my face.'

'No matter what, Palpatine will still be working towards getting closer to his end goal of becoming Emperor and destroying the Jedi Order.'

'Even without defeating us Separatists. He can still have his Empire. And then he will turn his attention towards us in a more vicious manner. That is if I was not planning for all this ahead of time.'

'This is the subject I hope to discuss with Grievous. Though, I will not tell him who Sidious is, just yet.'

'I will have to wait until after dinner, when it is only him and I in private. I respect Asajj and Aurra, but both do not need to know this information. But, with Grievous being my de facto second in command of the Confederate military, I need to keep him in the loop.'

'There are other key players to factor in.'

'In the senate there is Bail Organa, Mon Mothma, and Garm Bel Iblis. In the original timeline these three people founded the rebellion. But, they have not done much in this timeline. I heard a rumor that they were in a small group of Senators with Padme. I could not confirm that. But, I could confirm they are allies with Padme in the Senate. It is good that Padme still has allies in the Senate.'

'I will keep an eye on those three, but I doubt anything will come about from those three in this timeline.'

'But, there are to people whom could play a major role in coming events on the fates of Padme and Anakin. Those to people being Obiwan and Ahsoka. Both are very close to Anakin and Padme. Obiwan will stick around Coruscant to keep an eye on Anakin, Ahsoka, and Padme.'

'Though, Palpatine might use them. But, I doubt Palpatine will try anything with Obiwan.'

'Now that Obiwan is a member of the Jedi High Council, any assassination on Obiwan while on Coruscant would be like stirring a hornet's nest. There is no telling how the Jedi High Council would react. They might just decide to directly take over the Senate in mass. Instead of clandestinely plan to confront Palpatine. That would wreck Palpatine's plans.'

'In the original timeline, Palpatine was lucky in dealing with most of the Jedi Order, because he caught them off guard. I doubt he will get the same chance in this timeline.'

'As for my feelings towards Obiwan. He is a known quantity. With him now a part of the Jedi High Council. Unless he is on a mission, or he dies, he will be at the Jedi Temple.'

'On the other hand, Ahsoka is a random factor. But, a good factor for me.'

'I know for a fact even with her years of loyal service, that except for Anakin, the Jedi Order would turn on Ahsoka over the slightly suspicion of a crime. Though, Ahsoka did herself no favors during that ordeal.'

'While I doubt the factors that had Ahsoka thrown out of the Jedi Order will repeat in this timeline, due to the many changes in the timeline. But, something still might happen to her.'

'Even though things are not going exactly as before. Because of the presence of Mjolnir and myself. It seems that similar events are happening. Even when I try to prevent them.'

'It seems that while events in parallel realities may not repeat each other, events in parallel realities can rhyme with each other.'

'When is comes to Ahsoka. I respect the girl. She is becoming a fine lady. I have no plans to try anything against her. She is where I want her to be. She is the glue that keeps Anakin grounded. Padme may have Anakin's heart. But, Ahsoka gives Anakin his sense of responsibility.'

'Still, Palpatine might try something against Ahsoka to bring Anakin or Padme into his clutches. But, I am not sure how such events would play out.'

'Though, if Ahsoka survives any such ordeal, even injured, and she is thrown out of the Jedi Order. I will help her. Even if she winds up in prison, I will break her out and make sure she is very well cared for. Then, I will quietly inform Padme and Anakin that it was me whom broke her out, and that she is fine.'

'Padme trusts me enough to know that Ahsoka would be fine in my care. I am sure Padme could convince Anakin on this matter.'

'If Ahsoka is thrown out of the Jedi Order, but she is otherwise free. And should Padme not take her in. Which given how close they have become, it is a possibility Padme will take her. Though, if not, I will quietly convince her to come with me, and I will care for her.'

'Should my plans go sideways, with Palpatine being able to turn either Padme or Anakin to the dark side. After which, Palpatine and his new Sith apprentice taken over the Republic, purging the Jedi Order, and countering my plans. Ahsoka could become instrumental in either redeeming her fallen friend, or killing her fallen friend. Either way, I would then have to take a more direct approach against Palpatine.'

'Along with the team I am building. I will try to round up any Jedi and other survivors of Palpatine's purges, so we can work together with my Separatist forces, to defeat both Palpatine and his new Empire.'

'That is the worst case scenario. This is a situation I am working hard to avoid at all cost.'

'Now, I need to quietly continue to gather my troops and ships.'

'When Grievous gets back here, after everyone is debriefed and when dinner is concluded, I will have Grievous help me with the find touches on our operational strategies in the frontline theaters of this war. If I am correct, we almost have the entire Republic armada where we want them. Without anyone on the Republic side realizing what is going on.'

'During the time I lived on the island Arcadia. There was a lot of boating and fishing around the island. And they had a large library of information. When I was not raising my children, I was reading books from that library. Among those books, I read some books on naval warfare.'

'Later, when I began to travel from domain to domain on Latverion, I learned even more.'

'Among others subjects I learned was that the Star Trek franchises taught me how to think three dimensionally when it comes to naval tactics.'

'From what I learned from those books on naval tactics, and other sources, I have come to realize that as I have gotten to know Grievous, that Grievous knows quiet a bit about naval tactics. With both of us laying out a campaign of guile at a level that is almost unheard of.'

'While I have not given Grievous my full plans. He realizes that my plans will soon bear fruit. So, he is going along with this because of all the rewards he has gained by being in my service. As long as he is loyal to me, I will continue to reward him for his fine service to me and the Confederacy.'

'Meanwhile, while the Jedi make good leaders in battle. They are not trained in advanced naval tactics. Palpatine has been so interested in placing sycophants in key military positions that none of them have the skills to realize what Grievous and I have done.'

'That is going to cost them dearly.'

'By the time those fools in the Republic, whom are running the military and navy realize what we have done, it will be too late to stop us.'

'Now, to figure out what I need to do next to win this war to defeat Palpatine, once and for all.'

Loki further plotted out and planned for her next moves in the hopes of ending the Clone Wars, with both her and the Confederacy being the victors.

(_)

“It is like it brings your innermost desires to life. If deep down inside, you're a little repressed, and a hopeless romantic. You become some sort of love-crazy wildman.” Stanley Ipkiss commenting on the Mask, from the 1994 The Mask Film.

To be continued.

(_)

Author's Notes:

No. The civilian ship the Republic forces used in this chapter was not the Millennium Falcon. The Falcon was original a light cargo freighter, not a civilian transport.

I wanted to introduce Luna Starband and her Separatist-Confederate Mandalorians earlier in the story. But, I could not find a place to do so.

Unfortunately, I will not able to fit Luna and her team much in the rest of the story.

I apologize. This is just the way the story is flowing.

Luna and her team represent how the mandalorians that joined the Separatists/Confederate are professional soldiers whom follow orders. They are not like Black Watch. And they are not mercenaries.

They are loyal to the Separatist-Confederate cause. They follow orders. They are skilled. They know what they are doing. And they do their mission without getting themselves killed.

Luna and her team is a mirror reflection of Rex and his team.

Luna Starband and her squad's gray armor against Rex and his squad of white armor troopers with blue stripes is a nod the Confederacy against the Union during the United States Civil War-War Between the States.

By the way, mandalorian armor is actually fairly gender neutral. The reason Grievous had problems telling the troops apart is that they were no rank designation on the outer parts of the armor. This is so a sniper would not recognize an officer in the armor and target that officer.

I named Luna Starband based on Luna meaning the 'Greek Goddess of the Moon'. A good name for a leader whom is female. And Starband means to be like a band of the stars. Like a team, such as a musical band traveling the stars.

By not having them have rocket packs this was a nod that rocket packs are actually a specialty item for most mandalorian warriors. Some mandalorian groups specialize in using rocket packs, but not many.

Yes. Like Jar Jar was inspired by the Ultimate man eating Hulk. Grievous with his new powers is inspired by the original Red Hulk/Rulk.

I always felt there was room for Grievous to grow as a character. There was hints of much potential with his character. But, he was so confined as a cyborg puppet of Dooku and Sidious. While this story does not focus much on Grievous, I did want to show some hints of these character traits.

For example, one is not given control of a military without some leadership and tactical skills. Grievous without the cybernetics and brainwashing makes for a much more dangerous opponent. Even without his new powers. Since he is grateful towards what Loki has done for him, he is genuinely loyal to Loki. While Loki uses this loyalty, but she does not abuse this loyalty.

The neighborhood that Rex and his squad fought Luna and her squad in was inspired by the classic American suburbs. Complete with decorative white fencing. It would make sense the calmness of the area would unnerve Rex's battle hardened senses.

The “enclosed civilian cargo speeders” basically function as flying pick-up trucks. For those people that want to be able to haul small amounts of material. The speeders are enclosed to prevent anything from falling out while the speeder is flying. While some speeders are open, like a convertible. There is a difference between someone falling out, and items falling out.

When is comes to Aurra firing at Anakin. I see in fiction how characters shield or deflect shots towards them. But, even such defensive tactics have problems protecting both the feet and upper body at once.

A Jedi would be using their lightsabers to constantly defend opposite directions at once.

It is a matter of humanoid anatomy. The arms and hands are below the upper chest and head, while above the feet. As such, it is difficult to defend both the most upper body parts and lowest body parts at once.

From Aurra's long experience fighting Jedi, she would know this. And Aurra would exploit this weakness.

There are weaknesses in every fighting style. For a writer, the key to to figure out those weakness and show how to exploit, or overcome such weaknesses is entertaining for the readers and the writer writing the story.

This chapter furthers the friendship between Asajj and Aurra. From a platonic standpoint, they have good chemistry, similar backgrounds and views on life. The more I write about them, the more I realize they work well together.

Until next time. Have fun.



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