Prauf staggered, yanking Kor off balance. “What did you do to me?” He shook his head, trying to clear away the emanations of the Force that were swirling around and confusing him. He staggered and nearly fell.
Kor grabbed tight to keep him upright. He braced himself with the Force against Prauf’s greater size and bulk. “Easy there, big guy. Easy!”
Prauf wasn’t listening. “What did you do to me?” He swatted at the air. “And what is this all around me? Get away!” he shouted.
Kor couldn’t take a chance on telling him out loud what had happened. If Sanarrn realized he’d turned Prauf into a Jedi, he’d demand that he do the same thing to him. But he wasn’t sure how he’d done it. He didn’t know if he could do it again and he certainly wasn’t going to give Sanarrn that kind of power.
Since they were so close he tried to put one of Morg’s lessons to the test and mind-talk to Prauf through the Force. “I turned you into a Jedi.”
Prauf’s head jerked violently. “What?” He tried to pull away from Kor. “You’re talking in my head?”
“Quiet!” Kor tried desperately to keep his voice down despite his elation that it had worked. “It was an accident.”
Prauf hesitated, his chest heaving. Panic was clearly visible in his eyes.
Kor pressed his advantage. “I didn’t do it on purpose. I didn’t know it was possible. I’m not even sure how I did it.”
Prauf clenched his fists, obviously fighting for control. “Okay.” He tried to answer in his mind where Kor was talking to him but it came out as a whisper too, creating a double voice.
Kor blinked at the weird effect, then forced himself to ignore it. “Look, we can use this! They think I’m the only Jedi, but with you becoming one it gives us an advantage.”
Prauf was angry. “I ain’t no Jedi. And I certainly don’t know how to use this,” he said, still getting his signals crossed and talking both ways at the same time.
“It’s okay, it’s okay. For right now, all you have to do is push and pull,” Kor told him. “Push at me just with the Force. You can feel it around you. Use it. Push it at me.”
Prauf struggled mightily for several minutes, growing increasingly frustrated before he finally managed to push at him with the Force. Kor staggered back from it and smiled in relief. “You did it!”
Prauf’s eyes widened in surprise. “I did, didn’t I?” He spoke part of it and mind-talked the rest.
In the distance, they felt a vibration run through the ship. Kor frowned. “That feels like a crane being operated. Sounds like it too,” he added.
Prauf nodded. “Yeah.” His eyes widened in the realization of what it must be. “They’re loading the Whimsy onboard.”
Kor sucked in his breath. “Of course! We locked it down but it’s so small they can just pick it up and tuck it in the hold.” He looked at Prauf. “It’ll take them a few more minutes to get it loaded.” “We’ve got to get you working on the Force.”
This time Prauf managed to mind-talk only. “How?”
“I can use the Force to unlock our cuffs, but the moment they drop off, those blasters will blow us to bits. We have to knock them out.”
Kor looked around the circular cell. “We push with the Force against the wall and spin around. It’ll be like bulldozers running along the walls, scrapping everything away.”
A slow smile crept over Prauf’s face. “Not bad, kid. Simple but effective. I like it.”
“Good. Practice pushing at me a few more times then we’ll bust ourselves out of here.”
It took longer than a few more times before Prauf was ready. By the time he finished practicing, the vibrations from the crane had stopped and they could tell the ship was preparing for liftoff. “We’re running out of time,” Kor said.
Prauf nodded. The trip to Bracca was too short for them to put off acting. They had to move. “Let’s do it.”
Kor nodded. He steadied his nerves.
He paused. “Yeah?” Prauf shoved out his hand. “If this doesn’t work, it’s been a pleasure.”
Kor shook. “Yeah, but if it does work, you’ll be my student.” He grinned at the Prauf’s surprised expression.
“I hate you, you know.”
Kor laughed. He turned back-to-back with Prauf. “Now!”
He reached out with the Force and their cuffs dropped off. Instantly he pushed out with the Force then spun to the left as Prauf did the same. It was like watching an invisible bulldozer blade scraping off two feet of concrete, steel, wiring, and plastic as he spun in a circle. The noise and debris were incredible. Prauf’s bulldozer wasn’t quite as deep or strong but it was enough for their needs.
Startled yells erupted outside the cell.
“Now, we push straight forward like a battering ram, as hard as we can,” Kor said. Prauf nodded quickly and they pushed. The twisted remnant of the cell door was blasted backward by their combined power. It shot across the cellblock control room and smashed through the opposite wall.
They bounded through the opening in their cell, attacking the guards before they could recover from their shock and surprise. Kor used the Force to fling soldiers around the room, knocking them unconscious. Prauf just roared and took them down with mighty swings of his massive fists. Within seconds the guards were out cold or moaning feebly in pain.
Kor and Prauf stared at around the room in wonder. They grabbed some weapons then examined the cell door they’d sent crashing through the wall.
“Did we do that?” Prauf said in wonder.
“I think so,” Kor said, “so let’s keep on doing it. Let’s smash our way straight through the ship. We’ll rip out all kinds of power conduits and wiring harnesses along the way, maybe even enough to cripple the ship.”
Prauf grinned wickedly. “I like the way you think.”
Klaxons had gone off the moment they start ripping the blasters out of their cell and now they could the approaching sound of running feet. They could feel the ship rapidly gaining altitude. In another minute they’d be in space where they could make the jump to hyperspace. They might already be there. Kor knew they had to work fast.
“Use the Force as much as you can to push and pull the walls apart,” Kor said quickly, “but if you can’t do it fast enough, don’t worry. Just use your blasters.” Prauf had a blaster rifle in each hand. Without waiting for a reply he turned to the destroyed wall and pushed hard with the Force. The ruined door was shoved through the rest of the wall and across the corridor on the other side. Sparks flew as electrical lines were torn and the lights went out in the cell block control room. Kor jumped through the hole in the wall. “Come on!”
Blaster bolts started hitting around them as soldiers poured into the room. Kor poked his head and shoulders through the wall, sweeping back and forth across the room with the Force, flinging men everywhere. Prauf clambered through the hole in the wall with a grin. He shoved out his hand and rammed the nearly destroyed door through the other wall of the corridor. More sparks flew and the lights in the corridor went out.
They heard startled yells as men ran into each other.
Flashlights came on and the battle was joined as a squad of soldier ran down the hall at them, firing wildly. Kor and Prauf crouched down, returning fire. Blaster bolts were hitting everything and the noise was deafening.
Through all of it, Kor saw his lightsaber dangling from the hip of the man Sanarrn had given it too. “My lightsaber!” He stretched out his hand. The man grabbed for it but it was too late. It shot through the air into his hand, igniting as he grabbed it.
“Yes!” He dropped the blaster and jumped to his feet, whirling it in front of him like a shield. Blaster bolts bounced back at the soldiers and they yelled in fear. A moment later, half of them were dead and the rest scattered and ran.
“Way to go, kid!” Prauf said. “Now cut through this wall and get us outta here!” He jerked a thumb at it.
Kor nodded and went to work, slicing a rectangle in the wall. More sparks flew and this time a shudder ran through the ship as he cut a large conduit. More klaxons went off and red emergency lights began rotating.
Prauf windmilled his arms to keep his balance. “You hit something major,” he yelled over the noise.
Kor leaped through the hole and dashed across the room beyond to attack the far wall. Prauf clambered through. A group of soldiers appeared through a doorway, their flashlights bobbing in the dark. He opened up with his two blasters, covering Kor as he worked. The firefight was furious and brief. One of the enemies’ blaster bolts missed him and hit something behind him, triggering a huge blast than nearly knocked him flat. He shook his head to clear the ringing in his ears and saw a fire raging in the corridor behind him. Black chemical smoke was pouring out of it, spreading rapidly.
Kor waved him across the room. “Come on!”
Prauf sprinted across the room and dove through the hole, rolling and springing to his feet in the landing bay beyond. There were several shuttles in there but none of them was the Whimsy. “Where’s our ship!”
Kor pointed toward the far wall of the landing bay. “In the next bay over.” They took off at a run. “See if you can set one of those off the way you did that troop carrier!”
Prauf nodded and opened fire at the engines of one of the shuttles as he ran. Kor sliced through the far wall of the shuttle bay, ripping through more power lines. The whole ship lost power for an instant and the shields over the landing bay entrance vanished for a split second. Air whooshed out of the landing bay with hurricane force for a moment before the shield reasserted itself.
A final section fell out of the wall and through it Kor saw the Whimsy. “There she is!” He dove through the hole and immediately found himself under attack from dozens of soldiers. Sanarrn must have figured out where they were going and sent troops to ambush them.
Prauf backed after him, still trying to trigger an explosion in the shuttle he was shooting at. He was halfway through the hole in the wall when he finally succeeded. The resulting blast hurled him the rest of the way through the hole, careening into Kor’s back. They went down in a tangle as the power went off throughout the whole ship.
The atmosphere shields over all the landing bays winked out and air whooshed out of the ship again, sucking some of the soldiers with it. Kor and Prauf grabbed a deck cleat as hull breach sirens began wailing. The roaring wind tried to suck them out into space as the emergency airlock doors ponderously swung closed. The wind was so strong it scooted the Whimsy several feet across the floor before the huge doors finally shut with a clang.
Kor sprang to his feet, lightsaber at the ready but the soldiers had had enough. They backed away with their hands in the air. “Smart move,” he said to them. “Run.”
Kor dashed over to the Whimsy to open it. Under his feet, he could feel the Claw losing altitude. He couldn’t tell if it was a controlled descent or not and he didn’t want to stick around to find out.
Kor and Prauf opened the Whimsy and ran in, locking it down the moment they cleared the ramp. They slid into their seats and powered up the ship. Prauf lifted off the deck and turned the bow toward giant airlock doors. By the time the Whimsy was facing them, Kor had the forward guns primed and ready to fire.
Prauf nodded at him. “Fire in the hole!”
Kor squeezed the trigger.