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re: The Scattering and The Escape (Matheu Malsenti)

"We're coming out of hyperspace in ten minutes. Complete final preparations", the intercom instructed. Matheu fingered the cold cylindrical device attached to his belt once more. He checked his gear from head to toe one last time even though he was utterly confidant.
"Why aren't you nervous disciple?", asked the woman sitting next to him, her eyes closed. A tall woman with bright yellow hair pulled tight behind her head. She was adorned in black battle armor with her arms crossed over her breasts. Matheu tilted his head in thought and grinned.
"Not to doubt you master, but I feel that I'm better suited elsewhere on this mission", he cautiously challenged. Fear tickled his outer senses as he awaited her response. He welcomed it and held it tight for her to sense. It was the only thing that kept him alive.
"Are you going to cry about piloting again?" she teased. Matheu relaxed slightly.
"No master", he resigned.
"Your abilities, according to me, best suit the ground forces. You'll be an inquisitor soon enough. Forget your silly notion of piloting and embrace your strengths."
"One minute until arrival, one minute until arrival. Everyone to their stations."
Matheu tensed and then relaxed, nodding acceptance to both Beth and the intercom. Sitting up in his seat he fought the swirling rage around him to find inner calm.
"Prepare disciple, today you will meet first hand the greatest of your enemies", Beth said as she removed the light-sabers from her belt.

Matheu almost wretched as the ships thrust blasted just shy of hitting the planet from complete free fall from space. The transport sides rose quickly, welcoming the passengers to the explosions of outside. Beth Mo'ri laughed enthusiastically as the ship touched down.
"Seems we caught the rats off guard!" she laughed again and turned to Matheu. "Remain in the rear and support the wounded. Do NOT engage ANY Jedi disciple. That is an order!", she barked. Swiftly she joined the assault forces making their way toward the rubble of a hangar a hundred yards ahead. Grinning Matheu drew his light-saber and hopped off the craft.
'Now is the time', he thought observing his surroundings.
Several drop ships were scattered around the crumbling compound. Amidst the blaster fire and barrage of the star-fighters above Matheu took note of the personnel. Several disciples awaited with infantry as defense and straggler control. The fighting had not reached their perimeter yet, he noted. His own drop ship guard consisted of three infantry and a medic. A solemn group of angry looking older men. The closest crews were about fifty yards off in either direction. Matheu began to devise his plan as he casually paced around the ship, hands behind his back. He could neutralize the squad and steal the ship with no problem. It was the destroyers in orbit that troubled him. Any escaping vessels could be countered, enemy or friendly. The trading city Worlport was nearby, he thought.
Lost in thought Matheu was nearly caught off guard as blaster fire hit his squad's ship. BOOM! BOOM!
"Incoming!", yelled one of its members as an explosion threw him several yards away. Matheu sprinted and dived as the dropship exploded. The blaster fire closed in from all sides as a small group approached their perimeter.
"Very well," Matheu said to himself standing up slowly in the smoke of the explosion. "We'll play this by ear."
"Over there!"
"A Sith!"
"Fire! Fire!"
Matheu dived into another roll and sprang upwards, lightsaber ignited.
"Not good." he thought to himself deflecting stray blaster fire. Quickly he force sprinted to the nearest squad which was returning fire from behind their dropship. The enemy focused their fire from behind rubble and debris out of reach of the other crews. Matheu observed a group of four infantry and maybe a Jedi. Beth's orders rang in his ears. The Jedi ignited a blazing staff of green and began deflecting blaster fire furiously. Matheu waited as the team advanced toward their craft.
Twenty yards out the team made its way to the drop ship he and the soldiers used as cover. His light-saber sat heavy in his hand. Again he ignited it's crimson energy blade.
"Soldiers prepare to engage!", he barked. They acknowledged and prepared their short range weapons. Matheu quickly confirmed the surrounding groups as busy. With a quick whirl and lunge he neutralized the three Sith infantry. They slumped to ground gasping in pain. Matheu waited as the Jedi squad advanced on his position. He could hear the thrum of the Jedi's lightsabers as they deflected blaster fire.
"Drop ship secure!", yelled a voice from just a few feet away. Matheu cringed, unsure of his idea suddenly. Then he felt her. Silently he cursed for not accounting for his master's sense for her disciple.
"Time to die Jedi!" yelled Beth's voice. She yelled, "Matheu!". He froze as the thrum of her blades vibrated violently. The sound of the Jedi's soldiers dying filled his ears. His plan backfired. If Beth found out what he had done..
"Matheu come out and watch the Jedi die!" she ordered in between thrust and parry. Faithfully he walked around the corner of the ship to see the two locked in battle. A tall man with broad shoulders shrouded in plain garb scrambled to keep Beth at bay. Her twin red sabers flashed vehemently at him, hungry for his life. The Jedi spun and deflected a flurry of blades and caught sight of her disciple. For a moment he looked him in the eyes. A tinge of regret coursed through Matheu. He knows.
The Jedi returned a flurry with renewed invigoration and leaped back, his emerald bladed staff at the ready. Beth smirked assuming her stance.
"The Saints will not die here today Sith." he said with control. "This attack only makes us stronger."
Beth only laughed as she touched her wrist to her ear faintly.
"Very well, leave the star-fighters to cover our rear", she said into a transmitter.
Matheu turned about to notice the dropships filling with their crews and taking off one by one.
"We're done?" he asked aloud, quickly masking his disappointment. Beth nodded victoriously.
"Yes, we've eradicated most of these Jedi pigs and, fortunately, lost a great Sith commander."
Matheu paused, "Fortunately?" Beth laughed, still watching the stoic ready Jedi.
"Yes," she replied wickedly. "I'm next in line!"
She roared as she launched herself toward the Jedi. Again the blades of light sparked and spat as they parried and swiped furiously at each other. Dread crept lightly over Matheu as he realized his chance was surely fading. Surprised he heard his light-saber pop into ignition.
"Silly boy, put that away. You're not ready for a - ". PZZTTT!
Matheu entered the fray against Beth, catching the Jedi off guard.
"You!" she gasped as his blade swept low, accompanying the Jedi's high attack. She maneuvered her self quickly swiping the Jedi's blade away from her face as she twisted and deflected Matheu's blade.
"You've learned well under me boy!" she laughed as she force pushed him back violently. Matheu hit the ground flat on his back with stars filling his vision. Shaking his head with light-saber still in grip he flipped up just in time to block a violent downward attack. CRACK! The blades hissed with fury. Matheu grunted and kicked out, catching the woman off guard. The Jedi attacked in succession, buying Matheu time to lunge back out and in.

It seemed like forever, their blades dancing. Matheu knew though, that she was toying with him. He was supposed to betray her. It was the Sith way. Understanding this, Matheu maneuvered about while assisting the Jedi until his position gave him opportunity.
Beth lunged toward the Jedi who stepped back to prepare when Matheu struck out at her torso. Deftly she twisted to deflect when Matheu swirled and grabbed her wrist, still spinning.
"Do it!", he yelled to the Jedi as his motion came to its end , catching Beth off guard. He thrust his shoulder hard into her face and turned to her side swiftly as the Jedi's blade cut through his left arm and into the Sith commander's chest downward. She screamed wildly. Matheu dropped to his knees gripping his shoulder in shock as his arm fell to ground, the wound cauterized by the intense heat of the light-saber. Beth gasped blood as she struck out one last time, catching the off guard Jedi in his side and below his shoulder. They both collapsed.
"You..did well Matheu," Beth began between bloodied gasps. "Your path toward the Sith..."
Her breathing stopped in a last gurgle as her eyes rolled back.
Matheu reeled in pain and disappointment. 'I was supposed to escape, not die here!', he scolded himself as he fought the burning pain. Shock was kicking in now, he could feel. Slowly he rose, his hand gripping at the stump of his left arm.
"Quickly boy, " coughed the dying Jedi. "Come here".
Matheu stumbled toward the Jedi and slowly knelt next to him.
"Escape from here, go to Tython, " his breath rasped as he tried to breath, his face contorted in pain. "Present my light-saber...find the light." The Jedi died. Matheu stared at the light-saber, emblazoned with a golden cross in its center. His mind wandered..
The sound of star-fighters passing overhead brought him from his trance. As quick as he could he clipped his light-saber and the Jedi's to his belt. The pain was growing more intense and his body was succumbing. Awkwardly he stumbled into the dropship. After treating himself with a medic kit as best he could he lurched into the pilot's seat and set off.
"Dropship Six-Nine-Six, report!" ordered the radio. Matheu paused.
"This is dropship Six-Nine-Six," Matheu responded, carefully. "Returning with commander Mori." He replied and waited.
"Very well Six-Nine-Six, out."
The star-fighters passed by once more and ascended toward orbit. Matheu brought the dropship up and over the ruined compound, engulfed in smoke and flames. Higher he went as Beth and the unknown Jedi's bodies disappeared. Thinking aloud Matheu held his position.
"I can't go back." he pondered. "And the meds will only last so long." An idea came to him.
"This won't be pleasant", he told himself as he scanned the surrounding environment. He smiled as he spotted a nearby lake. He followed a connecting river that snaked toward Worlport. Nodding he clicked the transmitter.
"This is Six-Nine-Six, Six-Nine-Six, over! A Jedi stowaway...Commander Mori is down, this is Matheu Malsenti, going down...gonna take the Jedi with me!" he yelled. Violently he thrust the ship into the direction of the lake while opening the side doors.
"Six-Nine-Six, Six-Nine-Six, report! Whats happening?"
"Crashing!" Matheu yelled as he grabbed a soldier's pack from near the door and dove outward. The ship spiraled wildly until it exploded in flame near the lake's shore. Matheu smacked the water fiercely and plunged into the cold depths of the lake. A new pain enveloped him as he struggled toward the surface with one arm.
'This might not end well' he thought as his arm fought to bring him to air. 'But I'm finally free.'
Darkness overwhelmed him.
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