Episode X: The Reckoning: Chapter Forty-Three

Trish was exhausted. Like, literally depleted of strength. Well, not physical strength. She could still easily take down a Gamorrean with her bare hands. But her mentals were tasked. Ever since they had crashed on this planet there had been nothing but trouble. And now she found herself staring at an entity she had only heard about and hoped she would never see; an All-Terrain-Annihilator.

“Why?” she whined.

A second later the Walker shot forward a devastating blast that caught one of Halla’s warriors directly in a fiery explosion.

“Narshaa!” Halla screamed with anguish as the rest of their Sarskis bucked in terror.

As the wounded soldier laid on the ground covered in burns and blood, two of Halla’s other warriors hurried to help only to be caught in a blast themselves.

John Skywalker didn’t need to see anymore. He turned the Sarski around and kicked it into a fierce sprint as blasts from behind sent scorching dirt pelting their backs. Trish looked back, hoping to see Calrissian and Dameron directly behind them. To her relief, they were.

They turned a corner, briefly escaping the destructive barrage of the Walker but they were not safe. The AT-A continued firing upon their position, blasting the facilities that sandwiched them, sending burning chunks of metal and smoldering debris raining upon them.

There was a scream and when Trish looked, Halla was lying on the ground, briefly unmoving, her Sarski crushed beneath a giant chunk of metal. When Hall stirred she saw the fate of her Sarski and released a cry of sorrow that hurt just to hear.

“Katiri,” Halla wailed, rushing toward the metal only to be stopped as Poe Dameron jumped from the back of Calrissian’s Sarski to grab the native leader.

Still, in very real peril, he grabbed hold of her and began to speak to her. Trish couldn’t hear what he was saying as they continued to move away but whatever he told her helped her mount one of the few Sarskis behind one of her remaining warriors and follow after them.

John Skywalker and Trish were out of cover and found themselves facing yet another AT-A. Skywalker brought the Sarski to a skidding halt.

“Okay…” he said, gazing upward at the hulking metal beast that would be their utter destruction.

There was a pinging dot on the console of the stolen Tolgan craft. It wasn’t anything more than a simple distress signal, but the mysterious vessel’s flight code was familiar. Shockingly familiar.

When Phasma recognized it, her eyes widened.

“I found them!” she exclaimed.

The Knights huddled in the cockpit around her looked at her with their expectedly reserved expressions. She realized she needed to elaborate.

“Our friends, Poe Dameron, Keeli Calrissian, John Skywalker, Trish, I found them.” She placed an urgent hand on Sheb’s shoulder. “Set course for that distress signal, quickly!”

Sheb wasn’t fond of taking orders anymore but she obliged, launching them out of hyperspace. Phasma looked and saw an uncomfortably familiar world. A planet she had once visited called Trash. If they were indeed there, no good could come from that outcome.

She left the cockpit, moving through the craft until she found Rose with Finn in a medical area of the vessel. He was now slightly awake and looked to her when he heard her approach.

“So, you’re awake,” she said.

He smiled. “Barely.” He paused before continuing, “Rose said you saved my life.”

She shrugged. “You would’ve done the same for me.”

They locked eyes and there was an immediate kinship that passed between them. They were once enemies. Now they were more than allies. They were friends.

“What is it Phasma?” Rose asked. “The expression on your face promises something good.”

Phasma smiled. “I’ve found them. Our friends’ distress signal. We’re heading into the planet where they’re located as of this moment.”

Rose’s eyes widened. “Wow! Are you serious?”

“Thankfully, I am.” Phasma’s mood suddenly darkened. “Let’s hope we’re not too late to help them.”

Keeli Calrissian had ignited the distress signal. Before they had left their crashed vessel, she had ripped the beacon device from the craft’s console just in case. Now was one of those moments when the distress signal could potentially save their lives, for they didn’t have much hope beyond that.

As they found themselves faced with imminent doom at the behest of a vicious AT-A, Keeli could only pray to the Force, to the mystical galactic gods, and whoever was listening to her, that they would get out of this situation. So imagine her surprise when, as the AT-A turned its cannons upon her and her friends, it was blasted on the side by a fierce onslaught.

Trish pointed. “Look! Allies!”

Sure enough, when Calrissian looked, an unfamiliar vessel streaked across the sky, delivering a potent attack on the Walker. The distress signal. She couldn’t contain the grin that formed on her face.

Poe Dameron whooped behind her. John Skywalker sprung into action. He rose to a crouch on the mount and used his boosters to launch himself onto the leg of the distracted Walker. Keeli watched as he scrambled up the Walker’s body before stopping on top of the AT-A’s head. He pointed the blaster down and delivered three shots into the AT-A’s weak spot. The Walker had no choice but to fall as it was sent out of commission.

At the same time, the craft came back around and landed. When the vessel’s door opened Calrissian couldn’t believe what she was seeing, for it was Phasma standing in the doorway.

“Come on!” Phasma yelled.

Keeli never thought she would be happier to see the former agent of the First Order. They all hurried to the vessel just as the other AT-A rounded the corner, its red eyes searing into them as if the very machine was angry. They all dismounted the Sarskis, patting the lizard-like mounts on the rear ends in a gesture that told them to go on without them before they began hurrying into the craft.

“Hurry!” Phasma yelled eagerly.

“Where’s John?” Keeli asked.

She looked and saw that John was running toward them, having just jumped from the wreckage of the fallen AT-A. But the other Walker was already setting its sights onto their craft. Whoever was piloting the vessel began launching for takeoff.

“Wait! John’s not with us.” Keeli exclaimed. “John!”

He turned as the Walker fired a lethal barrage at the vessel, a barrage that would take out their engines and leave them for dead. There was only one thing that he could do. He looked within himself, tapping into the deepest reservoir of the Force, and pushed the ship out of the way of the attack.

“John!” Keeli screamed.

He looked toward her just as the barrage, meant for the craft’s engine, caught him in the blast.

“No! John!” Phasma had to grab Keeli. “John! John!”

The door to the vessel closed and as the craft boosted away from the facility she crumbled to the ground, Phasma still holding her. The mood inside of the ship was expectedly grim as Calrissian wept.

“John,” she cried. “John.”

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