1. Nar Shaddaa
“Di’kut!” the ARC captain called out. “Now you’re really in trouble!” He drew the vibroblade he carried on his back and assumed a stance all too familiar to Vhiran: the zenkutsu-dachi, one of the stances from Vhiran’s personal lightsaber form Guntou Kaigen!
By the Force! How does he… Before giving the Jedi Knight a chance to react, the clone quickly strode forward and thrust with the point of his blade at Vhiran’s head. Only barely guarding against the attack, Vhiran jumped back and guarded a quick slash at his chest. He raised his saber over his head and launched a vertical slash. While the trooper guarded, Vhiran aimed a kick at his leg. The ARC noticed this, simply sidestepped and elbowed Vhiran in the back. Staggering, Ashukahwa rolled to the side to avoid a stab from the vibroblade and jumped forward. Close to his opponent, he performed a Jung Ma, spinning three-hundred-and-sixty degrees to prepare to strike at the clone’s head.
“You just don’t give up, do you?!” the ARC called out and thrust at Vhiran, the point of his vibroblade aimed the Jedi’s head. The next moment a single step would have meant the death of both combatants. The points of both blades were now only inches away from their opponents’ heads. The ARC captain and Jedi Knight stood motionless as they faced each other, both having no way out. Vhiran narrowed his eyes. He had to survive this. If he died, Bultar would also die. Defeat was no option now. The Knight swallowed and kept his eyes fixed on the ARC, looking for an opportunity to strike without being struck down himself. Suddenly, the trooper cocked his head slightly to the right and lowered his blade. “Heh,” he let out shortly. “Su’cuy’gar!”
Upon hearing the Mando’a greeting, Vhiran looked in suspicion, keeping his blade where it was.
“It’s good to see you alive, general,” the ARC continued in Basic again.
Now Vhiran also lowered his blade, but kept it activated to be sure. General? This commando knew him? Vhiran only knew several of the soldiers he had under his command personally and the chance of this one being one of them was just…
“Don’t recognize me, general?” the captain’s calm voice sounded with a tone of amusement. “Now then.” He slowly took off the red and white helmet, revealing his scarred face and wild flashing eyes, and grinned at Vhiran. “Commando Alpha-69, Alpha Squad. Codename…”
“Flash!” Vhiran interrupted. His jaw slightly dropped and he couldn’t hide the surprised look in his eyes upon seeing the captain of the elite commando squad he had led in the war.
“At your service, general.” Flash saluted.
Vhiran deactivated his lightsaber, but held it in his hand nevertheless. “Why don’t you kill me?” he asked, still uncertain of the situation.
Flash’s face turned serious. “The Grand Army turned against the Jedi without a second thought. Countless died because of Order 66. I can’t and won’t blame you for not trusting me, general. But…” He paused and clenched his fists firmly. “But, know that I would rather face the entire Imperial military and die the most painful and horrible death imaginable than kill you, my general. My friend…” He fell silent again and looked Vhiran in the eyes. “My brother!” He turned his look to the ground.
Vhiran slowly clipped his lightsaber to his belt. The look he saw in Flash’s eyes was clear. It was one of sincere anger and guilt about the current situation. Order 66 had probably taken its toll on the loyal ARC trooper as much as it had on the Jedi Order. The commando looked up at his general when he felt a hand being placed on his shoulder. The Jedi smiled humourlessly. “Ner vod,” he repeated Flash’s last words in Mando’a, then embraced his friend firmly.
– Di’kut (DEE-koot) – Idiot, useless individual, waste of space (litt: someone who forgets to put their pants on)
– Su’cuy’gar (Soo COO-ee-gar) – A greeting (litt: “You’re still alive!”)
– Ner vod (Nair vohd) – My brother (vod can also mean comrade or sister)