Davies and Jayce made their way into the spaceport cautiously. The charred corpses of Mir’s encounter were lain in a sort of scattered semi-circle by the first freighter. The blaster shots had hit the ill-fated guards at critical points with frightening accuracy.
“Our Trandoshan friend do this too?” asked Jayce casually.
“Hard to say,” mused Davies. “Whoever it was, looks like they were in a hurry. He made fast work of them.”
“Or she,” corrected Jayce. “Look over there.”
Davies turned to see a tall, ponytailed woman dressed in civilian clothes having a heated discussion with a pair of Duros and a female companion. The first girl’s associate stood by nervously clearly not that enthused to be there.
“What do you think’s going on?” asked Davies.
“I’d guess some sort of smuggling issue,” responded the female trooper. “Doesn’t concern us. Let’s get back to the ship and send the transmission to Balkest 3 before Grayner has both our heads.”
“I was not aware that there were troops stationed on Balkest…” an eerie voice behind them said.
Davies and Jayce whirled around to see two hooded figures approaching them. Jayce recognized them both from when she was stationed on Korriban. Katon Bersek had selected his apprentice from among dozens at the Sith academy. The trials and competition that the students undertook to gain Bersek’s approval had been destructive and terrifying even by Sith standards. Jayce knew from what she’d heard from the other troopers that the prominent young Sith’s ruthlessness had more than earned his place at his new teacher’s side.
“My lords!” exclaimed Davies. He and Jayce immediately bowed solemnly. “Forgive us, we did not know of your arrival. We were just about to contact the base on Balkest’s moon.”
“Identify yourselves,” ordered the man.
“Privates Jayce and Davies at your service, my lord,” obeyed Jayce taking over. “We’re here with Lieutenant Cors’ away team.”
“Lord Bersek,” started Davies. “You should know that the Jedi order has dispatched—”
“I’ve already sensed the Jedi’s meddlesome presence, fool,” snapped Katon impatiently. Davies bowed his head apologetically. “Tell your lieutenant to rendezvous with me in a timely fashion. I may have a use for his little firesquad.”
“Lieutenant Cors will relish the opportunity to crush the Jedi, sir,” said Jayce speaking for her superior. “We are at your disposal.”
“Very well,” responded Katon. Jayce caught the first glimpse of his eyes beneath the man’s hood. She had to stifle a gasp and she was glad she was wearing a visor to hide her expression. His eyes were yellow and angry; the only windows to the darkness filling his soul.
The private’s fear seemed to satisfy Katon. The dark side felt strong on this planet for some reason.
“Follow us if you wish,” he said carelessly strolling past the two soldiers. His apprentice followed suit, but not before turning to sneer at Davies and Jayce.
“Just make sure to stay out of our way,” the young Sith said with the customary disdain for non-Force users.
Davies and Jayce glanced at one another and then followed suit leaving a few meters between them and the Dark Jedi so they could speak in hushed voices.
“Well I would say things just took a surprising turn,” remarked Davies resuming his annoying habit of stating the obvious.
“No shavit,” swore Jayce. “Why don’t you do something useful and let Cors and Grayner know?”
“Okay, okay!” the male private said switching his comlink on. “Don’t get your armor in a bunch.”
Then all hell broke loose on Balkest.
“What the brix is going on!?” exclaimed Grayner pointing his rifle at the rioting citizens.
It was as if someone had flipped a switch on the colony. Citizens who had been acting normally seconds earlier were now participating in mindless violence. Dozens of human colonists were tearing through the streets. Already Lieutenant Cors could hear the crazed chanting.
“Kill the Queen! Kill the Queen! Kill the Queen!”
“You!” called Cors picking out a teenage colonist among a group of ranting humans. “What is this madness?”
The colonist smiled psychotically at the lieutenant staggering toward his with an outstretched hand.
“All hail Trask Heyurk,” raved the boy. “He will lead us to salvation! He will eradicate the Kubaz—”
The colonist stopped dead in his tracks as Cors blew a sizzing hole into the teenager’s chest. He fell face-first into the dirt pathway.
The other colonists roared and rushed at the two Sith troopers. A volley of accurate blaster fire prevented the attackers from entering a ten foot radius of the soldiers. One man was left standing in the middle of the bodies trembling uncontrollably.
Cors strode up to him slowly. The walk seemed to take days. The chaos of the colony was reflected and distorted in the lieutenant’s metallic, silver armor. It was beautiful in a sort of terrible way.
He finally reached the man and looked him square in the face. Cors was taller so the unfortunate colonist was forced to stare up into a cold, unsympathetic black visor.
“I’m going to say this one time,” he said. “So if you have any more insanity, save it. Tell me what’s going on.”
The colonist could only stutter. He was terrified, but he was too corrupted by some mysterious horror to know.
“Kill the Queen…” he whispered as a stream of drool ran down the side of his mouth.
Rendon Cors sighed. He hefted up his carbine and smashed the stock square in between the colonist’s eyes. He relished the sounds of all the little fracture points in his skull as the man went down his bleeding eyes still wide with fear and surprise.
“And I thought this was going to be a dull day,” remarked Grayner walking forward to survey the dead body.
“Lieutenant? Come in Lieutenant. This is Private Davies. Over,” went the sound of Cors’ comlink receiver.
“I read you, Private,” responded Cors. “This is Lieutenant Cors. Have you encountered any hostiles? Over.”
“A few, sir,” responded Davies. “They seem to leave us alone for the most part. They’re looking for the Kubazian queen.”
“Affirmative,” said the lieutenant. He was still puzzled by sudden the outbursts of violence. An entire colony didn’t erupt into madness without some other factors being present. “Did you and Jayce manage to send the transmission, Private?”
“No, sir,” he answered. “Katon Bersek and his apprentice arrived before we could get to our ship. We’re escorting them now. Lord Bersek requested that you and the corporal rendezvous with us asap, sir.”
“Katon Bersek?” muttered Grayner listening in on the channel. “What’s he doing in this system?”
“What’s your position, Private?” asked the lieutenant. His heart was racing faster. With two Sith warriors fighting alongside them their worries were over. They had the potential to flatten the entire outpost. This was something Cors had something of a penchant for.
“Leaving the spaceport now, sir,” said Davies. “En route to the center of the camp. The Dark Jedi are leading the way mind you.”
“We’ll see you shortly Davies,” finished Cors. “Over and out.”
He turned to Grayner grinning behind his visor.
“Let’s get a move on, Corporal!”
A thermal detonator exploded a few meters behind them and knocked both of the soldiers forward. The shack it had been thrown at was completely leveled in a matter of seconds.
“You don’t have to tell me twice!” hollered Grayner. The two men pushed themselves back up, retrieved their weapons, and proceeded to blast their way through the camp glad that they had ammo to spare.