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Book 2 - Chapter 3


“Kill him!”

Utjoh’s abrupt order didn’t come as much of a surprise to Kor. He could already see the arrogant superiority in the Hutt’s heart. He didn’t think any human, Jedi or otherwise, had enough strength to pose a danger to him.

Kor proved him wrong.

He sprang across the room, turning in midair to slice through Utjoh’s head, cutting it in half. The Hutt died before he knew what happened.

Kor didn’t stop there. Whirling around, he launched a blistering attack on Utjoh’s men. The evil in their hearts was an offense to the life-giving power of the Force. He had to get rid of it. His lightsaber flashed back and forth in a blur, cutting through steel, bones, and flesh faster than they could follow. Blaster bolts streaked around the room as they fired wildly, hitting each other as often as not. Bolts that came too close to Kor were deflected by his lightsaber, killing one of them or blowing a hole in the walls.

There was already dust in the air from his sudden entrance through the roof. Now smoke and fire were added to it. Explosions and yells turned it into a deafening bedlam. Kor could feel other people in the rest of the building running to join the fight, not realizing that Utjoh was already dead.

The last enemy in the room fell to the floor and Kor dashed out to confront the rest. A hailstorm of blaster bolts met him at the door. For a moment there were so many he almost faltered. As he deflected them back toward their source, the fighters began dropping and the ranks began thinning out. He took a moment to hurl everyone back with the Force, slamming them into the walls behind them. Some were thrown back so violently they crashed through the walls into the rooms beyond. Before they could recover, he vaulted forward through the air and landed in the middle of them, laying about with great, sweeping strokes.

Men and aliens died everywhere.

Suddenly, the building was empty.

He stretched out his senses with the Force and detected confused panic in the distant buildings where he’d detected the smaller concentrations of evil. Confused screams over the comm-links had alerted them to the fact something was wrong but they didn’t know what. The sudden silence was unnerving to them.

Kor decided he could take a minute to destroy the computers and other electronic gear in the building before moving on to the other buildings. For a thousand generations, the Jedi had been taught that using the Force like lightning was an evil Sith practice, but Morg’s avatar had taught them how to do it without the slightest hint there was anything wrong with it. Apparently, the Jedi in that long-ago age had used the Force that way the same as they used it to create lightsabers.

Kor stretched out his hand and unleashed a storm of blue lightning, frying all the electronic equipment in the building. The whole building blacked out as the power went off. He ran down to the ground floor of the warehouse and lashed out with more lightning, setting the boxes and crates of contraband on fire. Within seconds a raging inferno engulfed the building.

He cut his way through a wall and emerged onto the street. He was met by more blaster bolts but there weren’t as many as before and he made short work of the men and aliens shooting at him. As soon as they were dead, he cut his way into the next building and treated it the same way as the first one. He continued that way until several blocks of warehouses were on fire and all of Utjoh’s men were either dead or wounded.

He leaped, launching himself high into the air over the city, turning as he rose to see what was happening to Prauf. Flames and smoke greeted him from across the city. He thought Prauf was close enough for mind-talk. Need any help?

He felt an answering surge of laughter. I was about to ask you the same thing.

Alright. Meet me back at the Whimsy. Samlon said the Hutts and Kijimi had groups in a couple of other cities too. He felt Prauf’s agreement and pulled out his comm-link as he reached the top of his arc over the city and began to fall back down. “General Samlon? This is Kor. Come in.”

Samlon’s holo appeared almost at once. “Are you starting fires in my city?”

Kor shrugged apologetically. “Sorry about that, but the Hutts and the Kijimi here in Cheley are dead, including Utjoh. Prauf and I are headed to the other cities to take out the rest of them.” He landed on a rooftop and began jumping from one building to another on his way to the Pouport Terminal.

Samlon was shocked. “Already?”

Kor nodded. “We’re Jedi.”

The general was still struggling with it. “That must mean more than I thought it did. I had no idea you’d be done this fast.”

Kor understood the man’s astonishment. A Jedi’s faster reflexes, combined with their sense of imminent danger and Force-enhanced physical prowess, gave them advantages ordinary people couldn’t comprehend. Add a lightsaber on top of it and a Jedi became virtually unstoppable except in the face of overwhelming numbers. “We can also sense the presence of evil. It leads us straight to the bad guys without having to play detective,” he said, taking pity on the man.

Samlon was recovering quickly. “I see.” He looked thoughtful. “Then your services are worth whatever you’re charging us.” He paused. “Out of curiosity, what are you charging us?”

Kor landed beside the Whimsy and a moment later Prauf joined him. They opened the ship and headed in. “We’re not mercenaries, we don’t charge anything. You decide what you want to donate to us when we’re done.” He turned off the link without waiting for a reply.

He and Prauf slid into their seats. He lifted off as Prauf searched for evil with the Force. He pointed off to the east. “The next one is that way.”

Kor could feel it too. “Got it.” He accelerated recklessly.

They spent the next two hours hopscotching across Caragon, landing, destroying the Hutt or Kijimi outpost, taking off, finding the next source of evil, and heading for it. By the time they landed in the last city infested with the warring gangs, word had proceeded them and the Hutts and Kijimi were already scrambling to leave.

Kor stopped Prauf from racing to intercept them. “Let them go.”

The big Dhiketh was confused. “Why?”

“Word of mouth is the best advertising there is.” He gave him a wicked grin. “They’ll run home and tell the rest of them how scary the Jedi are.”

Prauf shook his head admiringly. “You know, kid, sometimes you scare me.”

“It’s only because I hate you.”

They both laughed at the backward saying that had become their affirmation of friendship.

Prauf made a show of dusting off his hands. “Well, let’s go see Samlon, collect whatever he decides to pay us, and get out of here.”

It turned out to be a little more complicated than that. When they landed at Pouport Terminal, it looked like the entire city had turned out to welcome them. General Samlon was standing at rigid attention beside a man in official robes, who was introduced to them as President Kos Rerve.

President Rerve had a well-trimmed salt-and-pepper beard and a hail-fellow-well-met attitude. He grabbed Kor in a bear hug then did the same to Prauf. News camera crews were on hand to catch it all, which was doubtlessly why he did it.

Politicians!

Kor fought to keep a straight face at Prauf’s sour comment in his head. Outwardly, he accepted the glad-handing in good grace. He smiled blandly at the endless line of dignitaries who insisted on coming forward to shake their hands or hug them or both, always pausing to make sure the cameras caught everything. The sun was sliding toward the horizon before all the handshaking was done.

President Rerve stepped up to a hastily erected podium festooned with microphones. Camera lights flashed like fireflies in the gathering dusk as he began to speak.

“My friends and fellow citizens! Today, Caragon is finally free from the terrible scourge of the Hutts and the Kijimi!” He paused to allow the expected applause to wash over him. As soon as it began to die, he resumed. “They’re dead, their contraband has been destroyed, and the survivors were last seen running like scared dogs!” More applause followed. He proceeded in that vein for half-an-hour, talking endlessly without actually saying anything, pausing every few sentences to allow a roar of applause to ‘interrupt’ him. Prauf was getting more and more restive the longer Rerve talked, and Kor was getting there himself. He was rescued from doing something stupid when Rerve’s speech finally came to an end. “And to show our appreciation for these brave Jedi, the government will pay for anything they wish to purchase on Caragon between now and noon tomorrow!”

The applause from the audience felt a bit more sincere this time. From what Kor could feel in the Force, he was willing to bet many in the audience were business owners who hoped the Jedi would buy something from them, preferably something big.

Rerve held up his hands to stop the sustained clapping. “And now, I’m sure you’ve got plenty of questions for our brave Jedi, so here they are, Kor Sheen and Prauf ne Jhemon d’Aubreta!”

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