[CDW][Run-on] Into the Abyss - Xantros, Elyon de Neverse, Jon Silvon

Xantros
Elyon de Neverse
Jon Silvon

Unnamed planet, Outer Rim

Xantros looked around at the place he landed at. It was quite a barren place, like the whole planet. Little plants covered flat ground that was the only thing the Duros could see. Preparing to move to the north, where the source of a strange signal was located, he heard a loud sound of engines. He noticed a Sheathipede-class Transport Shuttle coming towards him. He readied his lightsaber for the combat, but he could not sense hostile feelings from the crew, when the ship landed nearby. There were just two of them. A Jedi and person that was not Force sensitive. The Duros wondered, why did they come to that planet too. Had someone sent them to investigate the source of the signal too?

A male and a female Human left the shuttle and approached him. As they got closer, Xantros recognized the man. It was Jon Silvon, a former member of Clan Scholae Palatinae. They served together in the Imperial Clan for some time.

“Ironic, isn’t it?,” asked the man rhetorically and pointed at his companion. “This is Elyon de Neverse”

Xantros nodded. Jon was a mercenary that was currently hired by Clan Odan-Urr. The Duros spent them several months, in an attempt to redeem his crimes that he committed as the dark side user, before he left it to study the Force on his own. Now, he was back in service of Scholae Palatinae.

“Indeed, it is. Especially that I assume we are here for the same reason,” spoke the Duros. “I am Xantros, by the way.”

“Yes, we were sent here to investigate a mysterious signal coming from the planet” replied Elyon.

“Well, as we are here for the same purpose, we could team up anyway,” commented Jon. “Together, we have better chances to succeed in our mission.”

“You are correct, unless our mutual distrust makes us jump to our throats,” smirked Xantros. “For instance, I am wondering who is influential enough to convince two so different Clans to send their operatives to the same place. I do not think it is an accident.”

Jon made a step towards the Augur, but stopped suddenly, looked around nervously and asked, “Do you feel it too?”

Both Elyon and Xantros nodded as they could feel ground shaking under their feet. They tried to keep balance, but the quakes became stronger and stronger. Fifteen seconds later, the ground under the trio collapsed. They fell down over eight meters, but luckily, they hit something durable, but soft. Thanks to that, they were shocked by the sudden collapse of the ground, but no one got hurt.

“What did just happen?” asked Elyon.

The Duros looked around and noticed a narrow corridor leading to the north. Still a bit confused, he answered, “Seems like a local earthquake caused this area of ground to collapse due to extra weight.”

Jon looked up and added, “It does not seem that we will be able to climb back to the surface. There is nothing that we could grab or put our feet on on the way up.”

“Looks like we need to work together anyway, but the stake has changed,” replied Xantros and grinned. “We need to ensure our survival first, though this made me truly curious about the source of the signal.”

Jon sighed. The three of them had been trekking through the complex network of tunnels for what felt like days. Jon flipped a switch on his comlink; it had been half-an-hour.

Well so much for a quick and easy mission, he thought. The only light, once the trio had passed far enough away from the pit they’d fallen into for sunlight to no longer reach them, came from the lightsabers his companions carried, the blue and violet casting a bizarre, eerie glow over the bare stone walls.

“So, Xantros…” Jon began amicably. “Been a while…” he said awkwardly, following after the duros. Xantros didn’t say anything in response.

“You may not remember me -”

“I remember, Captain,” Xantros said. “Though we never worked together directly, your presence in the Empire was… loud.

Jon chuckled at that, but stopped when he saw Elyon looking at him with a frown.

You worked for Scholae Palatinae, Jon?” she asked. “I find that… difficult to believe.”

“Ah,” Jon sighed, rubbing the back of his head. Ah yes, he never had toldest his newest pilot about, well… all that. How to even begin to explain?

“Another lifetime, El. Way before you popped up in this century.”

“Your friend the Captain has quite the storied history,” Xantros said, not turning back to look at either of them.

Jon raised an eyebrow. That was certainly one way of describing it. Then again, this was hardly the place nor time that he wanted to have a conversation on his sordid past.

Jon cursed as he tripped over, his foot slipping on a rock he hadn’t seen.

“Careful!” Elyon gasped. Before Jon could hit the cold hard ground, he found himself suspended in mid-air. Elyon raised her hands as she gently lowered him onto his feet. “Try to watch where you’re going, Captain…”

“Hmm,” Xantros hummed, crouching by the spot where Jon had tripped. “Most intriguing.”

“Intriguing?” Jon asked with a frown. “It was just a…” but now that Jon looked closer, he realized that what he’d mistaken for a rock in the darkness, was something else entirely.

“Is that…”

“An egg shell,” Elyon finished, gazing sternly at the object.

“Freshly hatched, I would say,” Xantros muttered, examining the broken object even more closely. “Insectoid species, but the coloration and make-up… it can’t be native to a frigid world such as this…”

“Mysterious signals, collapsing caves, alien eggs,” Jon listed off to himself as he glanced around the cavern. “This day just gets better and better.”

“Desert world, certainly,” Xantros continued like Jon had never spoken, gently turning the egg over. “Hm… tell me, Master Jedi, you are a verteran of the Clone Wars, yes?”

Elyon looked startled for a minute, most likey, Jon guessed, at someone from another Clan knowing where and when she came from. They’d need to investigate that later…

“Yes…” Elyon said reluctantly. “What about it?”

“Then tell me,” Xantros said, standing back to his full height. “Did you ever engage in the campaigns on Geonosis?”

“I already know where you’re going with those questions.” Elyon said, measuring the Duros from head to toe.

“And the answer to your last question is yes,” Elyon said, delving into her memory for a moment.

Geonosis … a desert planet, she remembered. At that moment, a flood of memories engulfed her mind. Undead … Queen … brain worms Elyon shuddered at the memories.

“You are well acquainted with the history of the Clone Wars. And I sincerely hope you are wrong.” Elyon said to Xantros sternly after a while.

“What’s this about?” Jon asked, watching Xantros and Elyon alternately.

“Will you tell him or do I?” Elyon asked, but before the Duros could say anything, Elyon started.

“Xantros encounters the events that took place after the first battle of Geonosis. It was my first mission as Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic and a member of the Halls of Healers,” Elyon sighed and continued.

“After the Battle of Geonosis, the first task was to stop the operation of the battle droid factory. And capture the Geonosisan leader Poggle the Lesser. The destruction of the factory was the first victory in the war, and everyone hoped that trapping Poggle would be the same. Unfortunately, this was not the case. He and Queen Geonosis Karina set a trap for us. And Xantros thinks this is one of her eggs that she laid on many planets in the galaxy, as rumors says,” Elyon said, looking at them.

“But you missed the most important thing,” Xantros remarked. “You didn’t tell Jon about zombies or brain worms.” Xantros fell on her.

“What?” Jon exhaled involuntarily.

Elyon frowned at Xantros. “I would say it later,” Elyon said sullenly, turning to her captain. “There is a species of desert snail whose larvae in the larval stage are called brain worms. These worms are parasites that take control of the mind and body.” Elyon explained quickly.

“Really great,” Jon sighed, looking at his companions. “And those zombies?” He asked, though he probably didn’t want to know the answer.

“They say the worms can control dead bodies.” Elyon replied reluctantly.

“What now?” Jon finally asked.

“We must move on and complete the mission.” Elyon said, looking at her companions again.

The trio moved further into the underground corridor. Though it seemed that the tunnel went deeper and deeper underground, they could still see the surroundings without use of torchlights. Actually, the further they went, the brighter the place became.

“I do not like this greenish colour of the light…and that the light seems to come from nowhere”, spoke Elyon.

“I guess the source of the light is some sort of bioluminescent species of fungus,” explained Xantros.

“Wonderful, brain worms, fluorescent, what else?” laughed Jon.

“Them,” replied the Duros and immediately activated his lightsaber.

Three strange beasts emerged from a dark corner of a large round chamber the trio entered while talking. The creatures resembled monsters from the worst nightmares or visions of madmen with twisted minds. Most of their body was made of a giant spider-like abdomen and multiple legs. In its front part, there was a humanoid torso with four arms. The heads of the creatures had no ears, but two pairs of large eyes. Whole body was covered with short hair.

“Disgusting,” murmured Elyon and spat, activating her lightsaber too. She reached through the Force and tried to take over control over the beasts, but she failed as they kept getting closer. “I cannot control these monsters for some reason.”

“We no monsters,” spoke the closest of the creatures in broken Basic. “We thinking beings like you.”

“Well, that would explain a lot,” explained Elyon. “I can handle animals, but not…”

“You can speak?” asked Jon with disgust.

“We do.”

“But how?” inquired Xantros, always eager to learn new things. “I do not think your species has been ever encountered in recent years”

“We lure the unaware…we learn their secrets…we kill the useless…we grow powerful…we stay hidden before the time is proper to return,” explained the creature. “But this not important. You are ours.”

“I do not think so,” replied Jon. “We are no slaves that you can kill or food that you could eat. If you think so, it is the high time for you to learn that lesson, no matter how ancient or mysterious species you are.”

“You stay here,” spoke the alien and he and his comrades rushed towards the intruders.

However, they underestimated the threat posed by people who entered their nest. Xantros did not wait for the aliens to get closer and attacked first. He jumped towards the closest arachnoid, as he called the newly encountered species, and avoided the grab of muscular arms that reached towards him, cutting two right arms of the insect. A second later, he slashed through the abdomen of the being killing it instantly.

Elyon and Jon did not waste the time either. The mercenary stayed in the back, but pulled out his throwing knives. Five precisely thrown knives eliminated another alien by damaging its eyes and blinding it before Elyon killed it with a single strike of her blue lightsaber blade.

The last alien stopped for a moment as the fight made the intruders accidentally cut all routes to escape blocked. It turned out to be its doom, because a few seconds of hesitation allowed Elyon to pick up Xantros’ intention to attack the creature from the left.

“Grenade in the hole!” shouted the Jedi and waved her hand.

A sudden, bright flash appeared out of the blue sky. Xantros and Jon managed to cover their eyes, but the alien was blinded by the flash that lit up the cave. The Duros ran towards the disoriented enemy and beheaded it with his lightsaber. He looked around and grinned evilly.

“I think we are done here,” said the Augur. “However, it seems that the riddle of the mysterious signal was solved. These aliens must use a strong emitter to broadcast the signal once in a while and lure potential victims, which they use for their own dark agenda.”

“Agree,” spoke the Jedi and nodded. “The better reason to get rid of it so that they do not achieve their goal, whatever it is and whatever these aliens are.”

“We should hurry,” Elyon said, looking at Xantros.

“Did you feel that,” she asked, though she probably already knew the answer.

“Yes, I felt it. And so did they…,” the Duros replied, looking at her.

“Will one of you tell me what’s going on?” Jon said grumpily because he had a riddle up to his neck for today.

“Their deaths created a tremor in the Force. Only strongly connected beings with the Force could do such a thing,” the Jedi replied, frowning.

“And if we felt it, so did they.” Xantros added.

“So we’ll probably have company soon,” Jon thought.

“Exactly.” Elyon exhaled and released her datapad from her pocket. “The signal source is 500 meters below us. Based on the resonance of that signal, I’d type it into a large room.” Elyon said while analyzing the situation from the data.

The trio started moving again. The path through the tunnels now led steeply down. “If we go along the walls we have a better chance of not falling,” Xantros suggested, and Elyon and Jon followed suit.

After a difficult descent, they finally stood on a flat surface. It was a huge room. It resembled a big hall like in a shrine or temple. The hall was subtly lit. Massive statues stood on either side of the pillars. They are touching the high vaulted ceiling. At the very end stood an elevated place like an altar. The trio headed for him. The thump of their footsteps bounced off the walls and echoed back.

“This must be a quick action. We will find the transmitter, destroy it and disappear,” Jon ordered, stepping forward.

“Yes, Captain.” Elyon answered, catching up with him. The Duros said nothing and followed them, ready to cover their backs.

As soon as they reached the altar, the three of them began to examine it.

“Have you seen anything like this?” Xantros asked her.

“It must be from Geonosis. I’m sure of that, but we don’t have time for a cultural lesson right now,” Elyon replied, looking at the datapad data again.

“According to the data, the signal is coming from the room behind this altar,” Elyon said, stepping back to the tent.

" Can you move with it," Jon asked.

“It’ll be better if we both pick it up at the same time.” Xantros said and stepped back to the opposite side against Elyon.

“Yes, it will be better.” Elyon agrees and waits until Jon goes around her and he stands behind her.

Xanthos and Elyon then look at each other and nod silently. Both of them then reach out at once and move the altar forward with the help of the Force.

“That should be enough for a manhole,” Elyon said as she went to see what the situation behind the altar looked like.

Then, with a buzz, she ignited her blue blade and lunged forward. Like the hall, this room was subtly lit. Xantros and Jon followed, examining the room. The room was circular in shape in the center of which became a main transmitter surrounded on all sides by smaller types of transmitters.

“Nice collection,” Jon remarked, looking at all the transmitters.

“We must destroy them all. One by one, so that no one can find this species again.” Elyon said and began destroying the transmitters with a lightsaber. Jon and Xantros did not stay in the back and also went into destruction, leaving only the main transmitter.

“Shall we do it together?” Elyon asked, looking at her companions.

“Together,” they both answered in unison.

After the destruction of the main transmitter, there was a big commotion around. A siren sounded from somewhere. And from a distance, approaching enemies could be heard.

“All too quick to disappear,” Jon sighed, and the three of them prepared to fight.

Jon and Xantros fired volley after volley at the nightmare aliens that came at them, but it barely made a dent in their numbers - for every one that fell, another - two more, three! - seemed to take their place; and they were closing in on the trio, slow but sure.

“Elyon,” Jon called, “We need an exit!”

Elyon’s eyes darted around the room, looking for ideas, before locking onto one of the massive statues. Glancing once at the ceiling, the Jedi smiled.

“I’ve got an idea,” she said, slicing apart one of the monsters. “Make me some room?”

Jon smirked, and raised his vambraces. “Doctor,” he said to Xantros. “You’ll wanna get behind me.”

The Duros didn’t stop to question, moving behind Jon. A moment later, he felt a surge of heat as gouts of flame erupted from the mercenary’s wrists. The flames weren’t enough to drive off their enemies, not when they were so many, but the fire was so unexpected that many of them reeled backwards in surprise.

It gave a moment’s opening, but that was all they needed: like lightning, Elyon was weaving through the crowds. Her sapphire blade cut through any malformed limbs that came too close, but they weren’t her goal - reaching the edge of the room, she leapt through the air, and perched on the legs of the nearest statue. Then, she went to work.

Jon and Xantros were busy fending off their attackers, when a loud CRACK rang through the room, echoing off the walls.

“I think I see what your friend had planned,” Xantros said. As one, every eye in the room turned to look up just in time to see one of the colossal statues tipping over from the place where Elyon had carved through it’s ankles in a moment, it crashed against the other wall, lying diagonal, with Elyon standing midway up.

Before the aliens could recover from their shock a second time, Jon grabbed Xantros by the wrist with one hand, and with the other fired off a cable from out of his vambrace. The two were immediately lifted off the ground, and pulled up to join Elyon.

*Well,” Jon said, “I did say we needed an exit. And seeing as ‘out’ isn’t an option…”

“We go up,” Xantros concluded, finding his feet on the stonework.

“Good thinking, El,” Jon said. “Now let’s move.”

Down below, the creatures were already scrambling after them. The trio fired some shots back, but at this point they were focusing on climbing the tower as quickly as possible. Even that ran into a problem soon however - they were running out of room.

“OK, now what?” Jon asked as he panted for breath.

“There!” Elyon pointed - not far from the spot where the head of the statue had crashed into the wall was an opening, some kind of ventilation shaft Jon would bet.

“You believe it reaches the surface?” Xantros asked skeptically.

“Do you have any better ideas?” Elyon asked. The Duros shook his head.

“Then off we go,” Jon said cheerfully. He triggered his last remaining grappling hook, and swung over to the opening, squeezing in as best as he could fit.

“You’re not claustrophobic, I hope?” Elyon asked.

“Please,” Xantros scoffed. Focusing on the Force, Xantros leapt, allowing the energy field to carry him, and clambered after Jon, Elyon following on his heels.

It was dark, cramped, with the chittering, crawling sounds of things never far behind them, and more than once the three began to suspect they were nearing a dead end but - somehow - they eventually reached the surface.

“Ah, sweet sunlight!” Jon gasped as he reached the open air.

“As much as I’d like to celebrate with you, Captain,” Xantros said, rushing past the captain. “Those creatures remain close behind us. I trust you won’t take it personally if I take my leave of you now?” He didn’t stop to wait for a reply before rushing over to his own ship.

“He’s right Jon,” Elyon replied, grabbing her captain by the shoulder. “Let’s get out of here while we still have an opportunity to.”

Rushing back to their own vessel, both ships prepared to launch and leave this horrid world behind once and for all. Hopefully, no one would discover it again…