Aedan leaped off the cart just as it exploded into a ball of fire. He laughed joyfully as a wave of hot, smoky air hit him and sent him even higher; he didn't care about the smell. Or the cart. Or that he might break his body in a thousand pieces if he landed wrong. Or if he turned over to land headfirst on top of Count Cuckoo's ––– AKA Dooku's ––– air-filled skull and crack the idiot's head open. He would actually like that. A bit. Anyway, none of that would happen, because he was WICKED. He knew what he was doing. He smirked gleefully as he landed–––right where he wanted ––– on top of the spider droid that had caused his vehicle to implode and demolished it.
A dark-haired woman in white popped from behind an overturned tank and peppered the Geonosians with blasterfire. Aedan came to a standstill to watch her. That girl kept on appearing out of nowhere, it seemed. This hadn't been the first time he'd seen her in the midst of a pack of Separatist GOODS, being blasted from all directions yet never getting hit, all the while taking them down like any well-seasoned WICKED.
He scratched his head, absentmindedly watching tiny flakes of dandruff float onto his freckle-spotted nose. Yes, he's definitely seen her several times before. The first time was when she had whipped that GOOD animal into dog meat. Then he had seen her destroy so many droids and those stupid excuses for flying warriors that he had lost count. She must be WICKED, but he couldn't figure out how she could be. After all, she was a girl, and a senator. They were both on the GOOD list. Some girls were an exception if they weren't terribly, disgustingly girly, and if Aedan judged completely by looks, he would definitely conclude that she was too feminine to be WICKED. Yet she hadn't croaked yet, and GOODS always croaked. It was confusing.
Maybe I'm all wrong about the WICKED and GOOD thing, he thought, all those Seps are GOOD, yet some of them have been alive for years. And that cowardly GOOD Sith has been living for a decade or so. Maybe WICKED people aren't so WICKED.
"NO! G-G-G-G-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-D-D-D-D!!!!" Aedan screamed and leaped for an unsuspecting droid, chopping off all its limbs and slicing its control panel into shreds. He was WICKED. WICKEDS weren't GOOD. GOODS existed everywhere, and they didn't always die immediately. Most died eventually. In a time like this, as usual, Aedan WICKEDLY knew what to do. He would test her, to see whether she was WICKED, or just lucky, another form of GOODNESS in Aedan's opinion. And his opinion had considerable weight among WICKED people. Lucky people were GOODS that hadn't croaked yet. WICKED people had no need of luck.
Aedan waited patiently ––– for once ––– until she swiveled and pointed her blaster at another group. He waited until he saw her index finger's muscle tighten. He leaped right in her path just as she pulled the trigger and released the blasterfire.
"No!" Padmé shouted, but it was too late for her to do anything, so she just sat there.
Aedan calmly stood his ground, feeling the fire streak past him, singing his skin and ruffling his hair as it passed. Then he strolled toward the Senator, miraculously, WICKEDLY, untouched.
Padmé opened her mouth to say something, most likely a lecture, but Aedan never gave her a chance. He knew what she was going to say. It would only bore him. He had known he wouldn't get hit, not only because he was WICKED, but because he knew that if he stood in front of a blaster a certain way, just a fraction off from the center, it wouldn't hit him. Everyone knew that blasters weren't entirely accurate, and even a steady hand could fire off-center.
He leaned down to her ear. "WICKED!" he yelled. Then he leaped over her head and ran off to find another WICKEDLY gigantic skirmish.
Two droidekas rolled for him. Aedan waited until they came to a stop and began to unfold. A microsecond before they activated their shields, he rolled between them and swung his lightsaber in a figure eight. He got up, brushed off his tunic, stomped on the smoking ruins of the droidekas, then flipped over to a group of thickly clustered Geonosians.
GOOD. Aedan chuckled even as he swung his lightsaber in an ever-moving arc. He had been stupid even to think of that GOOD senator as a WICKED like himself. The battle must have been distracting him. She was girly, and a lucky GOOD. Besides, she had Anakin Skywalker to protect her.
He cut down another insect. Hm, he thought, this group wasn't as big as I thought.
There was a huge formation of droids ahead. Aedan thought he could hear the screams of his friends Terry and Na'thin somewhere inside the wall of marching machinery. It sounded like they were having WICKED fun.
Smirking, Aedan sliced his way through to join them.
Kan stood rooted to the spot, not even daring to breath. The bounty hunter, too, stood very still, as if frozen. Any moment now, Kan thought, any moment now until he fires. He heard a faint whisper inside him. And the Reek is coming.
I can feel him.
He stared at the blasters, which glared balefully at him as they pointed in a straight line right for his chest, right down to the center of his heart. Soon he would fire. They would hit Kan; he did not doubt the hunter's accuracy with a blaster. It would be very quick; he would only feel a swift stab of pain as the blasts penetrated the thin layer of nerves, and after that it would be over. His Master had told him that deep wounds did not hurt very much; there were not as many nerve cells after the layer had been penetrated.
I'm not even afraid, he realized, but why should I? It will soon be over.
He closed his eyes. But I don't want to die. I don't want to see the last moment. Let me be a Jedi to the last. Let me not be afraid.
The Force will be with you.
The Force. The Force was always with him. It would be with him, even after the end. He called upon, called upon it to come upon him in a strength he had never known before, to be with him, to aid him.
It obeyed. It began as a faint breeze, like water trickling through the rock. Then it swelled, grew around him, enveloping him like a soft, transparent, delicate yet strong bubble, protecting him from the next moment. The Living Force grew even stronger, and soon he could hear everything around him ––– the screams, the tremors in the ground as Jedi leaped and fell, the hum of wings as the Geonosians took flight, the ping of blasterfire. The faint trickle of blood soaking into the dirt. Time began to slow, then to stop, then began to unravel like the weaving on a tapestry, to unwind like a spool of thread. The Force had put a stop to time. But could he keep it stopped forever, so the next moment, the moment when the blasters were fired, the moment he died, would never come?
Then Ruru was there. He was standing in front of Kan, filling that horrible, empty space between Kan and the blasters with his large, powerful body. It made Kan feel taller, bolder, more than he was. His Master seemed to chase away his fears that had left him frozen on the spot, so that he was able to breathe freely again. He let go of the Force, releasing the bubble of time so that it ran again as it had before. His Master slightly turned and tilted his head toward his Apprentice, smiling encouragingly. Kan smiled back, knowing that his Master would not let Kan succumb to the terrible fate that awaited him.
Ruru turned to the bounty hunter. "Leave the boy alone."
His soft voice that nevertheless spoke with strength and command filled the silence. The bounty hunter did not respond to him, but the blank stare of the mask seemed to look at them with a hint of malice.
"Jango Fett! Don't shoot!"
He caught a fleeting vision of Adriaan running at top speed, arms upraised and stretched toward the mercenary as if pleading with him. She sidestepped a rolling destroyer droid, cutting it to pieces. A super battle droid fired a barrage of blasts at her, nicking her in the shoulder and causing blood to run forth. But she didn't flinch. She kept running.
Kan's gaze swerved toward his Master. Adriaan, I don't need you, he called silently to her, My Master is here. He will take care of me. The bounty hunter ––– Jango Fett? ––– does not stand a chance against Ruru…
Jango Fett, the bounty hunter, swiveled his Westar at Ruru and fired.