QI’RA: Chapter Twenty-Two

Retrieving the Coaxium

Nienye and T-38 knew it could only be the will of the Force that they weren’t dead yet as the AT-ST Walker continued to shoot at them with relentless impunity. As the female guards behind them were caught in the crossfire T-38 and Nienye ran forward, lasers flying overhead, before ducking into a nearby building.

With the laser fire causing chaos in the street Nienye turned to T-38.

“Now what?!” he yelled.

T-38 held her wrist up to her mouth, a nearby explosion raining gravel upon them.

“Airstrike, take down the AT-ST Walker on my signal,” she yelled.

“On it,” replied Solaar, her voice muffled by the noise surrounding them.

When the comms was ended T-38 looked at Nienye. “I’ve got a plan.”

Meanwhile, in another section of the city close to T-38 and Nienye’s position, Qi’ra charged forward with the meager remains of her unit. They tore through the rebel forces blocking their path, Qi’ra’s sword slicing and dicing through the enemy ranks. Despite her exhaustion and throbbing headache, she was determined to retrieve the coaxium, no matter the obstacles in her path.

It wasn’t long before she found what she was looking for. In a tent that seemed like it was just thrown up that day, were a dozen crates of coaxium. When Qi’ra saw it her eyes lit up. She turned to her guards.

“Start assembling the crates for pick up,” she told them while turning to stand guard over the operation.

Three ships appeared in the street ready for pickup. As Qi’ra stood in that street, dogfights continuing to ensue overhead, she wondered where T-38 and Nienye were.

T-38 and Nienye had hurried to the second floor of the building they had found cover in before finding a window, busting it out, and shooting at the AT-ST Walker, catching its attention.

As they caused a diversion–Nienye using the spear to keep them alive as he blocked projectiles and blaster fire with the energy shield created whenever he spun his weapon–their unit charged forward, taking on the wall of rebels before them.

“Move!” T-38 cried as the AT-ST shot at them through the window. They dove out of the way, barely avoiding the Walker’s deadly blaster fire but they were still caught in the crossfire of an explosion.

T-38 yelled as she caught in the metal half of her face with a burning chunk of rubble.

“T-38!” he cried, hurrying over to her, a trail of blood making its way down his face from a deep gash on his head.

She rose to a crouch, her face scrunched with pain. “Go! Go!” she told him. “I’m right behind you.”

He did as she said, running through the building as the AT-ST continued firing relentlessly at them. With the dust from the explosions surrounding her, T-38 put her wrist up to her mouth again. She didn’t want to admit it but she was in excruciating pain. The burning rubble that hit her face had really burned her and even though it was the artificial side of her head her pain receptors were blaring uncomfortable signals. She knew that she could die here, and the thought was surely depressing, but she wanted Nienye to survive. Despite her misgivings about him, he had been through a lot, and she was half-dead anyway. She had lived her life and if death was approaching she would welcome it with open arms.

“Airstrike, now!”

There was a whining sound that filled her ears with the inevitability of her demise. She didn’t even move. She only waited for what would come next.

There was the sound of missiles and as the AT-ST turned to register the threat it was too late. A massive explosion painted everything in fiery brightness and a second later the blast sent her flying across the room where she collided into the wall and everything turned black.

Nienye dove for cover as he exited the building, the AT-ST lighting up like a beacon as it blazed with fire before stumbling to the ground and crashing with a fiery explosion. The rebels hadn’t been able to get out of the way and were caught in the blast, meaning they were immediately eliminated out of the equation.

Nienye rose, expecting to see T-38 right behind him, and when she wasn’t his heart skipped a beat.

“T-38!” he yelled. “T-38!”

He scrambled back into the building, still calling her name. His pulse raced as he realized that she could be hurt or worse. He didn’t want to imagine anything worse happening to her.

When he reached where he had last seen her the room was filled with rubble and chunks of the building. He desperately searched the room, looking for her body, hoping that he wouldn’t find her crushed under the rubble. And then he saw her, buried under dirt and dust on the far side of the room.

He hurried over to her, holding her in his arms, patting her cheek. She didn’t respond but when he felt her wrist there was a pulse. Her cyborg parts were scorched and her human parts were covered in bruises and cuts but beyond that, she seemed okay.

He took his communications device and immediately began to call Qi’ra. “Qi’ra, Qi’ra, immediate extraction. It’s T-38. She’s been hurt.”

As he ended the transmission he looked at T-38 in his arms and found himself realizing he had just dealt with the same experience a few days with the bounty hunter when she had almost died and he was tired.

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