The Adventures of Luke Skyweaver, Chapter 7

skyweaver

While this drama has been going on, Carpenter has made his way to the tractor beam terminal.  He edges out onto the ledge over a deep chasm and turns all the controls from blue to red, breaking the beam.  As he is out there, the end of the hallway opens and two troopers stand guard, unable to see him as he hides behind the terminal.  Bored, the troopers begin chatting.

TROOPER 1

Do you know what’s going on?

TROOPER 2

Probably another one of the manager’s “keep things loose” tactics.

TROOPER 1

Try not to suck, indeed.

Carpenter, using Command, takes a small pebble from his pocket and expertly guides it between the troopers, drawing their attention away while he leaves the ledge and exits the hallway in the other direction.

As he travels down the hallways toward the Arsenal, a cold feeling creeps up his back.  Suddenly, in the hallway, he sees Darth Rizzo, his red glowing bat illuminating the darkened path.

RIZZO

I’ve been waiting for you, Ace.  We meet again at last.  The circle is now complete.

Carpenter, who would normally select a different weapon, is also prepared with a bat handle, which extends into a blue bat of his own.

RIZZO

When I last faced you, I was but the learner.  Now I am the master.

CARPENTER

Only a master of evil, Darth.

carp-vs-rizzo-bats

 

The two size each other up for a bit, circling warily.  Carpenter then tries to reach Rizzo’s outside knee, only to be blocked by the red blade.  Carpenter tries to go up and in, but again he is denied.  Working through his entire sequencing repertoire, Carpenter can not get the blade past Rizzo.  However, Rizzo is completely on the defensive, bouncing the blue blade off to the sides and unable to get any solid strokes of his own.  That doesn’t stop Rizzo from talking trash.

RIZZO

Your powers are weak, old man.

CARPENTER

You can’t win, Darth.  If you strike me down I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.

While the two masters fight, Luke and company have joined Eugene and Oh under the alcove, looking at the Arsenal.  The ship is guarded by a full squadron of troopers.

REYES

Didn’t we just leave this party?

LUKE

Is the ship all right?

REYES

Looks like it.  Just hope the old hurler got the tractor beam out of commission.

Beyond the Arsenal, the blast doors open into a hallway where we see the continuing battle of Rizzo and Carpenter.  Drawn by the fight, the troopers leave their posts around the Arsenal and approach the battle, ready to lend Darth Rizzo aid.

REYES

Now’s our chance!  Go!

The entire party starts to race across the open area toward the ship, but Luke’s eye is caught by the lightbat battle.

LUKE

Carp?

Carpenter looks toward look, then with a smile he raises his laserbat in front of him and closes his eyes.  Rizzo, seizing the opportunity, steps up and takes a mighty swing through Carpenter, slicing him in half.

LUKE

NO!

The troopers, their attention drawn by Luke’s cry, turn around and start shooting at Luke and the ship.  Luke returns fire as he is obviously overcome by grief and rage.  Rizzo, meanwhile, continues to step over Carpenter’s cloak, puzzled by the fact there is no body.

REYES

(to Luke) C’mon!

MOZELIAK

My friend, it seems to be past time for our departure.

REYES

Blast the door, kid!

Luke takes aim and fires at the controls for the blast doors, sealing Rizzo and some troopers outside of the hanger.  Luke continues firing until he hears Carpenter’s voice in his head.

CARPENTER

Run, Luke!  Run!

Luke finally turns and dashes into the Arsenal.  Reyes has already fired up the engines and he and Kelly make the final preparations to take off.  Blaster bolts continue to thump against the hull.

REYES

I hope the old man got that tractor beam out of commission or this is going to be a real short trip.  Punch it, Carsie!

The Arsenal leaps forward, jumping quickly out of the hangar bay and off into space.  While Luke sits forlornly next to Mozeliak in the common area, mourning the passing of Carpenter, in the cockpit Reyes and Kelly see more trouble ahead.

REYES

We’re coming up on the sentry ships.  Hold ‘em off!  Angle the deflector shields while I charge up the fastball!

Racing into the hold, Reyes snaps Luke out of his reverie.

REYES

Come on, kid, we’re not out of this yet.

Reyes takes the top gunport while Luke, realizing what Reyes is asking, takes the bottom one.  They both settle in with headsets and viewscreens to track the approaching fighters.  Mozeliak has moved up into the cockpit with Kelly and notifies the gunners.

MOZELIAK

It appears the ships have arrived.

The ship, under Kelly’s control, continues to dodge as much as possible as Reyes and Luke line up their shots.  The fighters are small and agile, though, and are difficult to pick off.  The Arsenal, for all its admirable qualities, is also a huge target.

LUKE

They’re coming in too fast.

MOZELIAK

We’ve lost lateral controls.

REYES

Don’t worry, she’ll hold together!

Another bolt hits the ship, causing a shower of sparks in the hallway.

REYES

You hear me, baby?  Hold together.

Finally, the fighters start coming into the crosshairs.  Reyes’s gun sends out a large number of blasts, speeding out at the top speed available.  One of the ships is too slow to get out of the way of that barrage and turns into many fine pieces.  A second ship swings around under the Arsenal, where Luke’s precise firing sequence eliminates him as well.

LUKE

I got him!  I got him!

REYES

Great, kid!  Don’t get cocky.  It’s not like you’ve got a line of trophies or anything.

MOZELIAK

By my count, I believe there are still two fighters that need to be dealt with.

Those ships don’t last for long.  Luke again skillfully works the guns to take out the first while Reyes overwhelms the second.  As the last ship glitters against the starry background, Reyes slumps with relief in his seat.

LUKE

We did it!

In the cockpit, Mozeliak gives Carsie a firm handshake as the Arsenal takes off toward the secret Republic base.

Back on the Series Winner, Lord Rizzo approaches Manager Maddon, who is looking over some statistical readouts on a viewscreen.

MADDON

Are they away?

RIZZO

They have just made the jump into hyperspace.

MADDON

You are sure that the homing beacon is secure aboard their ship?  I’m taking an awful risk, Rizzo, and risks don’t always work well with this organization.  This had better work.

Back on the Arsenal, Reyes, who has now moved into the cockpit, is proud of what he’s accomplished.

REYES

Nice bit of rescuing, huh?  You know, sometimes I even amaze myself.

MOZELIAK

That sounds like low-hanging fruit.  They let us go.  That was the only reason for the ease of our escape.

REYES

Easy?  You call that easy?

MOZELIAK

They are most likely tracking this ship to find our final destination.

REYES

Not this ship, big shot.

MOZELIAK

It’s irrelevant.  At least the information with Oh-two is still intact.

REYES

What’s so important?  What’s he carrying?

MOZELIAK

Scouting reports on that battle station.  I only hope that when they are analyzed and discussed a plan of attack can be found.  It’s not over yet!

REYES

It is for me, GM dude!  Look, I ain’t in this for your rivalry and I’m not in it for you, Mo.  I expect to be well paid.  I’m in it for the money.

MOZELIAK

You needn’t worry about your reward.  I’m sure we can draw up a long-term deal with acceptable parameters that will enrich you at a level you’d expect.

Mo leaves the cockpit as Luke comes in.

MOZELIAK

Your friend there is quite the mercenary.  I wonder if he really cares about anything, like playing in a great city or on a winning team.

LUKE

I care!

(As you should know by now, artwork by Daniel Winnett.  Here’s Chapter 6…you can find links to the rest of the chapters there!)

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