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"Perfect Square Act II" Pt. 9


An even longer time ago, in a galaxy just as far away...

 

The tunnel seemed completely devoid of distinguishing features; making it most likely an original construction tunnel or some such thing. What did stand out however was the large volume of cables roufhly routed along its path; not just apparent as being more recent than the tunnel itself, these were clearly much newer additions as they showed little to no signs of age without even a layer of dust.


Mischa looked closely and they appeared to be a mix of power and data feeds of increasing volume the further they descended


Kelly's gaze trailed the cables curiously before she turned to the astromech in front of her, "ADIN, any idea what these cables are for or where they're leading towards?" "It looks like they're in high usage, ma'am," ADIN replied in the usual series of beeps and chirps that the droid was capable of in its current body. "That is, the cables are relaying large amounts of data and have maximized their power input." "High usage and new condition," Kelly analyzed the information, "that must mean there's something technological up ahead. Probably something bigger than a few computer consoles. Stay alert for more traps like these energy fields."


Continuing to descend the ancient tunnel, the group followed the cables through to a large room. All the trails of modern technology appeared to congregate in one corner here amidst a sophisticated construct of consoles and displays.

The room itself was largely of a modern - almost industrial - style, though it had clearly been built into the surrounding rock and still gave glimpses of the occasional ancient statue beyond it's modern conversion. "Eller" (There) Keelah pointed towards the consoles as they entered the room, seeing clearly that it was the most significant point in the area.


Kelly nodded in the direction of the consoles as Keelah pointed at them, "ADIN, go see if you can slice in and find anything. HK, make sure we've got a secure perimeter. Look for any other entrances and exits to this place."


Once the two droids set off, she took a brief look at the entrance they came through even though she knew she would not be able to see when Mischa and the Knight arrived. Her glance then turned to Keelah and Laesa as she asked, "Sense anything in here?"


"She is here..." Laesa replied cautiously, with a nod of confirmation from Keelah, "...and she is angry". As if on cue - like she knew they were talking about her - Lizbeth's haunting laughter once again reverberated around them. It was not quite as before though, this sounded more physical. Laesa instinctively drew her blades upon hearing the voice, "Lizbeth, let us help you!" she called out to nowhere in particular as her fellow clone was still nowhere to be seen; the laughter intensified, "My poor deluded sister... I am not the one in need of saving! No... that is all of you!" As she spoke; Lizbeth appeared on the far side of the room next to one of the large obelisks that had been seen all around the temple. She cast a powerful dark energy upon it which seemed to bring the obelisk to life as it began to glow with a deep purple aura which swirled around it, growing in intensity. Before anyone could react to her appearance, the obelisk erupted with a crackling stream of lightning with struck Laesa... and pulled her in. Helpless to fight the pull of the obelisk, Laesa whipped through the air and faded into the purple mist. As she drew closer to the obelisk, she faded from existence, until nothing could be seen of her. The Obelisk settled into a a gentle pulse of energy as it now contained everything that was Laesa; it was some form of ancient mind trap, not unlike those used by the Rakata. Only this one seemed to empower Lizbeth as her form briefly pulsed with a mirror of the aura surrounding the mind trap since it consumed Laesa. With a wry grin she turned towards Kelly and Keelah, activated both of her lightsabers as she did, "Who's next?"

Kelly reacted instantly, not to attack but to push down the barrel of HK's rifle, knowing that it would be a futile move. She shook her head at the droid and stepped forward towards Lizbeth. Though Keelah was by all means a strong Force user, the ease with which Laesa was neutralized made Kelly realize that the only way to get out of this was, for the moment, to buy as much time as she could.


"Well, there goes my weapon against you," she lowered her rifle, taking care not to look to the tunnel entrance in the slightest to betray the surprise of Mischa and the Knight's eventual arrival in stealth. "I might not be as powerful as you are, but I'm not stupid. I know when I'm outmatched. The problem is, you're not exactly making a good deal here. You want to kill us all, right? That's...well, that's not exactly the most convincing argument for surrender I've heard. Look, I've got no desire to die, my droid follows my orders and is happy as long as he gets to blast people, and Keelah here is only after knowledge and secrets. Give us a good offer, and we'll join you and spare you the time and effort of hunting down the others."


Keelah looked to Kelly in disbelief, though stayed her blade nonetheless while Lizbeth simply narrowed her deep golden eyes on the Imperial, "A good offer?" she countered with an entertained smirk on her face, "Now where would the fun be in that!" she laughed as she launched one of her blades towards Kelly. The deep purple blade spun rapidly through the air in a sweeping arc; however before it could reach its target, it was intercepted by another - lighter purple - blade thrown by Keelah. The blades clashed just above Kelly's head before returning to their respective owners waiting hands. Lizbeth turned towards Keelah, "Now this one knows how to put on a good show, I can see why she likes you!" she grinned, launching herself at the Sephi and crashing down on her waiting defense with both blades. Keelah recoiled but was no stranger to lightsaber combat; utilizing the same shadow strike ability as she had shown earlier against the living statues, she appeared to phase in and out of existence through a constant purple blur which appeared to swirl around Lizbeth - Keelah appearing in flashes all around her foe who was still able to sense Keelah's moves and parry each stealth attack. As powerful and unpredictable as this unusual technique had proven, it was not enough to gain the upper hand against Lizbeth which meant it was only a matter of time before she would gain the upper hand against Keelah and force a turn of the tables.


"If it's a show you want..." Kelly raised her rifle, aiming a precision shot at Lizbeth. She knew that the bolt would simply be deflected, but she fired anyways as a distraction to stall their inevitable loss for as long as possible. After the first shot she made for the nearest cover she could find to avoid her own attacks being redirected at her but continued firing at every opportunity. She did her best not to impede her allies, as the point was to harry Lizbeth in order to help Keelah stay in the fight for longer.


"Exclamation: Finally! A meatbag to shoot!" the HK enthusiastically joined in as he followed the example of his master, using his sniper rifle to aim for Lizbeth as she dueled with Keelah.


Lizbeth deflected the blaster bolts from Kelly and HK as expected while Keelah continued to warrant her full attention. Seeing the opportunity presented by the additional distraction Keelah darted around Lizbeth through the shadows once more, swinging her blade down across Lizbeth's arm with the intention of disarming her from one of her blades. The strike however ricocheted right off the spiny growth on her arm, causing Keelah to recoil as she had not expected the blow to resisted as such.


The brief stagger brought a smirk to Lizbeth's lips; Keelah quickly recovered and once again faded to move through the shadows, but the split second delay was all Lizbeth needed. She pulsed brighter as she drew on more of Laesa's energy, reaching out and grabbing the Sephi by the throat before she could completely fade - not a Force choke - but a physical grasp on the girl. Lizbeth's strength was augmented beyond anything natural for her frame, as she held Keelah out in front of herself with one hand; raised from the floor her legs kicked fruitlessly as she dropped her lightsaber and grabbed Lizbeth's wrist with both hands in an effort to free herself, while still attempting to fade back to the shadows.


Keelah's efforts were all in vain however as she could not release Lizbeth's grip. She gagged and wheezed as the breath was choked from her body, soon loosing so much of her focus that she could not even keep up her efforts to fade anymore. Lizbeth continued to swing a blade in her other hand to deflect the incoming bolts as she glared into Keelah's eyes- savouring the moment death claims her.


That moment did not come to pass however, as Mischa seized the opportunity and came in close behind Lizbeth - still under the combined protection of her stealth field generator and the Knight's additional masking of their presence. Drawing close, she swung her vibroblade down as hard as she could into Lizbeth's shoulder; causing her to scream out in pain as the blade penetrated her flesh. Lizbeth's grip on Keelah failed as she staggered forward and down to her knees while the Sephi girl dropped to the floor beside her. Keelah was clearly too weakened and dazed to act and Mischa knew that a counter attack for which she had no defense was imminent, opting instead to return to stealth - even without the aided protection from the Knight now as she had revealed herself to LIzbeth - and make for cover.


Her judgement was sound in doing so, as Lizbeth was quick to stand and turn towards Mischa's direction; unleashing a torrent of crackling lightning with a roar of anger at being injured. The lightning swept across that corner - where fortunately nobody else had been positioned - erupting in a sea of sparks and smoke as it impacted the walls. Mischa had managed to make it to a spot of cover behind some crates with just enough time to avoid the lightning however, her presence was revealed to Lizbeth now and as she peered back over the crates, she saw Lizbeth closing in on her.


The Knight assessed his situation but decided that with Lizbeth already aware of there being hidden assailants, finishing her off directly from stealth would be unlikely to succeed. Nonetheless, he gave the impression that he was trying such a thing as he used the Force to raise the lightsaber that Keelah had dropped, swinging it at Lizbeth telekinetically and snapping the blade to life in the last possible second so the sound would give it away as little as possible, making it a convincing attack. As the lightsaber activated he simultaneously swung his whip while standing on the right side of his former apprentice, seeking to wrap the flexible cord of plasma around her wrist. He had seen enough of the fight to understand that the growth was impervious to the damage his whip could inflict, which was exactly why he lassoed the arm. Pulling on the lightwhip, he maintained his telekinetic grip on Keelah's saber, holding it in a blade lock with Lizbeth's weapon to occupy both of her hands. This created an opening for the others to attack. Kelly seized the opportunity immediately and opened fire, as did her HK droid. Knowing that the assassin droid would aim for the head to go for the kill, she instead went for a non-lethal hit, shooting for the hand that was currently holding a lightsaber, which also happened to be the one without any form of protective armour. She fired two times, once at Lizbeth's left wrist, then again slightly away from it should she attempt to withdraw from the blade lock.


Lizbeth snarled angrily at the intervention of her former master; his lightwhip indeed having the desired effect of lassoing her otherwise protected wrist. However her offhand focus was not so drawn by the free floating blade that she dropped her protective barrier, so the first of the bolts fired from Kelly and HK were deflected still. As the Knight pulled back on the lightwhip - forcing Lizbeth off balance - she swung her blade viciously across the telekenetically wielded lightsaber, sending it clattering across the floor. In doing so she inadvertently allowed Kelly's second shot to graze her arm as she focused on protecting her head from the sniper shots of HK. With increasingly intense pulses of energy from her feed off Laesa's energy, Lizbeth reached out and pulled a large bulkhead from the ceiling which she launched straight down with incredible force on top of the Knight's position; forcing him to release his grasp in order to move away. Mischa continued the ranged distraction by firing small flurries of bolts from her less powerful rifle; not enough to penetrate Lizbeth's barrier, but enough to be a nuisance and cause her to continue focusing on it.


Unable to unfurl his whip with the time he had, the Knight let go and rolled back as expected, the distraction giving Lizbeth a second of respite, though the weapon did not shut off and was still attached to her wrist. As he moved away, her old master shielded the hilt of his whip in a bubble to prevent it from being overly damaged by the weight of the collapsing bulkhead, though he dissipated the defenses when the main force of the impact had struck, allowing the hilt to be stuck underneath the debris. This was intended to keep Lizbeth leashed at least long enough for the Knight to summon Keelah's weapon to his hand and rejoin the fight with the violet blade ready to parry his opponent's lightsaber. Meanwhile, Kelly