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This story is to be written by Shadow32951

This story is about Ryan's failed attempt at revenge, that is turned into a rescue mission, and then a second rescue mission. It takes place a week after the Consortium War ended, while the Coalition was still rebuilding itself.

Character ListEdit

Chapter 1: LeavingEdit

"Ow, goddammit!" swore Zack loudly, after knocking over a box and it landing on his head.

"Did you break something already, you di'kut?" asked Ryan, checking the boxes contents.

"You ok, honey?" asked Selen, walking over to Zack.

"Yeah."

Ryan, Zack, Selen, and Holly, in her new droid body, finished loading Ryan's personal ship, the Wind of the Lost.

"Ok, we just need to put the fighter in it, and we'll be good to go," said Ryan, wiping the sweat off of his head with his grease covered undershirt.

"Where are you guys going?" asked a voice from behind them. They turned to see Lightning standing on the landing pad.

"I have a certain, thing, I need to do. Nothing to important, but just something I would like to get done," said Ryan, as he turned back to the ship.

"They going with you?" yelled Lightning, as a crane began to put the fighter in the ships cargo hold.

"Not me", said Selen, walking over to her. "I'm just here to say goodbye."

"Can I come? I'd like to get away from here for a while," said Lightning in a begging voice.

"I'm not stopping you. Just be warned, things might get a little, cramped," Ryan answered, as the crane stopped.

"Ok," said Lightning.

The four people got on the ship and began to lift off, with Selen waving goodbye on the landing pad. Once the ship left the Earth's atmosphere, Ryan began typing in coordinated on the command console.

"What does this do?" asked Zack, as he began to reach for a large blue button on the console. Ryan smacked his hand away.

"Don't touch that. Ever."

Ryan finished typing on the console, and the once recognizable constellations were swept away as they jumped into hyperspace.

"By the way, where are we going?" asked Holly and Lightning at the same time.

"I have a contact back home that gave me a lead. I'm meeting him, then going to find an old friend,"Ryan said as he was getting up. "C'mon, I'l' show you all to your rooms."

Ryan directed Zack to the couch, and Holly said that she would just deactivate at night. Finnally, Ryan showed Lightning to his room.

"This is yours for the trip," said Ryan, opening the door to a large master bedroom.

"It's your room, right? You use it, I'm fine with a couch like Zack," she disputed.

"I'm not using it," replied Ryan, walking in with her. The room's walls were filled with ancient items, swords, helmets, guns. Ryan opened a drawer and grabbed out a new shirt, and began to pull out the table that held his armor. "Just, don't touch anything that looks expensive."

"No problem. Thanks, by the way," said Lightning, sitting on the bed. Ryan walked out, shutting the door behind him. These things are kinda creepy, Lightning thought to herself, looking at the various items on the wall.

Chapter 2: The ContactEdit

"Breakfast!" yelled Ryan, waking everybody up.

"What the hell, dude?" moaned Zack, dragging himself up.

Lightning yawned as she walks into the room, and Holly reactivates herself, then proceeds to help Ryan put the food on the table. A feast of 3 dozen eggs, 2 pounds of bacon, and various other food is put onto the table.

"Holy shit, we feeding the whole freakin' Coalition?" asked Zack, sitting down.

"Shut up and eat, you'll need the strength soon. Where we are going, you'll need it," said Ryan, begining to devour a plate of food.

"How long have you been up, it must have taken you forev-" began to say Holly, until the command console began to flash.

"Looks like we're here," said Ryan, bringing his plate over to the console. "Exiting hyperspace. You guys should see this." The ship began to exit hyperspace, and they came to a completly green planet. "Welcome to Mandalore, gentlemen. Oh, and ladies." As the ship got closer, they see shipyards around the planet.

"There is no way there are cities here. It looks like a huge forest," said Lightning as they went below the cloud level. They zoomed across the treetops for a few minutes until they got to an opening with a river, that led into a large city made of stone. The ship landed down on a runway in the outskirts of town, and began to get out.

"Remember, we're in Shadow Alliance territory now, stick with me and be careful," said Ryan, as he put on his mando helmet, and slung his Dc-15a and Verpine Sniper Rifle onto his back. They left the ship, with Lightning, Holly, and Zack sticking out like sore thumbs. As they walked the 3 blocks to Ryan's contact, they realised that they were the only three not in armor.

"Ok, this is the place," said Ryan, as he opened the door to a metalworks shop. They entered into the extremly hot and humid shop, with the only other person in the shop being the man hammering away on a piece of metal. Ryan removed his helmet and hit his hand on the table, alerting the man.

"Ryan, my, have you grown up. And I see you brought some aruetiise friends," hollered the large, overweight man.

"Yes, do you have my intel?" asked Ryan, eager.

"Yes, yes. Here you go," replied the man, and he slid a datapad across the table. "Say, your friends will stick out where your going? I take it you'd like to see what I have?"

"He's right, you three will stick out to much here in Shadow Alliance territory. You guys want to be safe and get something?" asked Ryan.

"Sure, I could use new stuff," answered Zack happily.

"No thanks I'm ok," said Holly.

"Stubborn girl.... What about you, Lightning?" asked Ryan, again.

"Hmmmm, fine. I don't want to be caught by Nod or any of them," said Lightning. A few minutes later, Lightning and Zack were suited up in armor and were ready to go.

"That'll be 90, Ryan," said the happy man.

"90 grand! This stuff better work," said Zack, astonished.

"It will deflect a blaster shot and a lightsaber blow. This stuff is quality," said Ryan, pushing 90,000 worth of credit chips over the counter.

"G'day, sir Ryan," said the fat man going back to work.

"C'mon, you guys can customize this stuff in the armory back on the ship," said Ryan, walking out. On the way back to the runway, they noticed that nobody stared at them this time. When they got back on the ship, Ryan set new coordinates into the computer, and it took off. A few minutes later, the stars again disintegrated into lines of white.

Chapter 3: RevengeEdit

The ship exited hyperspace above Byss, the Imperial Capital. In the distance, the sight of Imperial battleships are present.

"Wait, you brought us to the Imperial capital? Are you mad?!?" yelled Lightning.

"Possibly, but that hasn't been proved yet, has it?" retorted Ryan.

The ship entered the atmosphere, and made it's way towards the main city. They ship landed on a small, discret landing pad off to the side of the docks. Lightning, Zack, Ryan, and Holly all loaded up on weapons and ammo, and they began to move out. They opened up the ramp, and Zack and Lightning went out.

"Hey, where do you think your going?" said Ryan, stopping Holly before she left the ship.

"With you guys, where else?" she replied, baffled.

"No no no. You didn't want armor to disguise yourself with, and the Empire knows you. Stay here and guard the ship," said Ryan

"But-," started Holly, before being cut off.

"No buts. Stay here and guard the ship. If anyone besides us try to get on, eliminate them," finished Ryan, and he began to walk down the ramp. "Oh, and uh, do it quietly, we don't want to attract attention."

Holly went back and sat down, angry at Ryan. Ryan, Lightning, and Zack made there way to the Imperial capital building. When they reached it, Lightning and Zack finnaly figured out what was happening.

"Wait, no. No, you can't be serious," said Lightning over the helmet comm.

"Ryan, you are one crazy mofo if your doing what I think we are," commented Zack.

"You guys can go wait on the ship with Holly, and I can do this myself, how about that?" asked Ryan.

"You son of a, dammit. Fine, lets do this," said Lightning, drawing her gunblade.

"Civilian casualties are acceptable. We'll make it through, I promise you two that," said Ryan. The team raced towards the door, and the 2 guards saw them. Ryan fired twice, and the one guard fell to the ground. The second gaurd had enough time to turn and hit a button on the wall next to the door, and then dropped dead from Lightning's shots. The doors began to seal as the team moved closer, and were shut by the time they got there.

"Dammit, what now?" asked Zack.

"Breach and clear," said Ryan, strapping an explosive on the door. The three stacked on each side of the door, and Ryan pressed the detonator to blow the door. "Go go go!" The three stormed into the building and were met by a hail of blaster fire. The shots connected, hitting Lightning and Zack hard, but they kept going and slid behind stone pillars on both sides of the room.

"Damn, this stuff is good," commented Lightning.

"They scratched my paint, those bastards!" called Zack. As they slide behind the pillars, Ryan dove onto the ground and opened fire on the 4 Imperial Guards. 3 of them fell to the ground quickly while civilians ran for cover behind the pillars. The last guard ran over to them, believing that they wouldn't shoot civilians. Ryan grabbed something from his belt and jumped to one knee.

"Grenade out!" Ryan yelled, and tossed the explosive behind the pillar. Multiple bodies flew into the air and landed at impossible angles. Some civilians started to crawl over to the walls, while the last guard, still alive, flipped himself only to see Ryan looming above him. Ryan aimed his rifle one-handed and shot.

Lightning moved over to the injured civilians and knelt over to look at them. "Ryan, this is wrong, we shouldnt kill these people."

"They get in the way, they die. I'm not letting anyone get in my way," responded a cold sounding Ryan.

Zack walked over to Lightning and switched his com so that Ryan couldn't hear it. "This is worse than he's ever been. He was cold and heartless before you joined, but this, this is way worse than he ever was." Zack walked over to Ryan and switched his com back to normal. "Should we get moving, Ryan?"

"Yes, we will. You're staying here to guard the door. Make sure nobody comes in," said Ryan.

"Uhg, fine," said Zack, looking around. He took his machine gun and set up behind the armored desk. "See you two when you get out."

Ryan and Lightning walked over to the elevator and began to move up the building. A minute later, they elevator opened up into a long hallway with 30 Stormtroopers lining the walls. Ryan and Lightning looked at each other for a moment, then dove to both sides of the hall, hiding form the blasterfire.

"Think we can take them?" asked Lightning, firing three shots, killing 2 troopers.

"That isn't even a question," answered Ryan, aiming and firing his whole clip into the horde, with 8 more troopers falling to injuries or death. After another minute of fighting, 15 more troopers had died, leaving 5 for the 2 friends to deal with.

"Kill them all!" yelled Ryan turning the corner and charging the last of the troopers. He fired again and killed 2 of them, with Lightning killing a third. The last two began to fall back, but one was grabbed by Ryan. Ryan drove his knife deep into the back of the trooper's neck. He ripped out his blade, and looked at the last Stormtrooper, trapped between him and the locked throne room door. The trooper dropped him gun and put his hands up in the air. Ryan drew his pistol with his left hand and shot once, then put the gun back in it's holster. He began to walk towards the door until Lightning grabbed his shoulder and pushed him against the wall, taking her helmet off.

"Ryan, what is the matter with you? This isn't you, you don't kill civilians and prisoners. Why do you need this man dead so much?" asked Lightning, looking concerned.

"This man took everything from me, that's means I'll take everything form him," said Ryan, unwavering.

"Does that mean sacrificing who you are?" retorted Lightning, looking even more concerned than he had ever seen her.

"The galaxy is a better place without him. It loses nothing if I change," said Ryan without emotion.

"It loses a good man if you change. I don't want that to happen," said Lightning, pulling her hand back from his shoulder.

"I'm going to kill that man, no matter the cost. Nobody, not IceBite, not the Coalition, and not you, will stand in my way of doing so," said Ryan angerly, and pushed himself past her and began to set a charge on the Throne Room door. Lightning let out a long sign and put her helmet back on.

"Ready?" asked Ryan.

"I guess," said Lightning.

The charge blew, and Ryan soared into the room, blaster aimed at where Palpatine would be sitting. Would be sitting, if he was there. Ryan looked around hastily, trying to find where he could be hiding.

"No, no no. Where are you, Palps!" yelled Ryan. Ryan noticed something on his helmet's HUD, and he stopped dead. "Lightning, don't move a muscle." As soon as he finished his sentence, a red blade ripped through the air and was held a mere inch away from her throat.

"Ryan, are you sure this armor can block a lightsaber?" asked Lightning with fear in her voice.

"Only the armor, not the bodysuit," said Ryan, turning around slowly. When he turned, he saw an Imperial Shadow Guard holding a Lightsaber staff against Lightning's throat. Suddenly, a loudspeaker came on, and the voice that came out put fire into Ryan's soul.

"Hello again, Ryan. How has my favorite General been?" said a loud, booming voice.

"Palps, why don't you come out and let me kill you, you miserable little asshole," yelled Ryan, knowing his plead was in vain.

"You better not say things like that, or else my guards hand might twitch, and your little girlfriend might lose something very important," said Palpatine.

"She's not my girlfriend, and what do you want?" asked Ryan.

"Because I've always liked you, I'll give you three options. One, you and her can leave unharmed, and the Shadow Alliance will invade your precious Coalition. Two, you can go over to my throne and download all the information you want from it and leave, but, your three friends will die. Third, they can leave, and you can have your information. But, you need to drop your weapons and join me again. You would be a very viable Commander again, after some mind control, of course," explained Palpatine.

Ryan looked at the ground for a moment, then at Lightning. He dropped his rifle to the ground and walked over to the throne.

"Ryan, don't you dare do this! We can just beat the Alliance like we've always done!" she yelled, careful not to move forward. Ryan continued to move to the throne, unphased. He got to the throne and plugged in his datapad and began to download the information. He looked up at where he believed the voice was emminating from.

"We had a deal, let them go," Ryan said with a voice filled with sadness. The Shadow Guard turned off his lightsaber, and Ryan hit a button on his datapad. Lightning's jetpack ignited, setting the guard on fire, and lifting Lightning into the air. Not knowing to control the jetpack, she flew violently through the air. Ryan unplugged his datapad and drew his pistol, killing the guard. Lightning landed on the ground, hard. She slid for a few feet until she stopped dead at Ryan's feet. He helped her up, and she looked straight into his visor.

"You ass, one day you better tell me what that was all about!" she yelled, pushing him backwards.

"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry," Ryan pleaded. Lightning just looked at him, not saying a word. Ryan let out an audible sigh, and began to run for the door, with Lightning close behind. He grabbed his rifle on the way, and the alarm sounded. "Zack, Holly get ready for a quick exfil! Holly, start the ship," called Ryan through the comlink.

"This is Zack," a voice sounded in the comlink, blaster fire in the background."You may want to get down here quickly, it's getting hot!"

"This is Holly, I was in a bit of a mess, but I'm fine now. Starting engines, and Imperials are moving towards the ship."

Ryan and Lightning made it to the elevator, and began to descend.

Chapter 4: OthersEdit

Holly was sitting back in a chair listening to the comlink she was given and sharpening her Shockwave Blade on her armor.

Go, go, go.

They scratched my paint!

Holly began to relax while listening to the chatter until one of the buttons began to flash red. Hesitantly, she pressed it, and a large holo-screen came up, showing 10 stormtroopers attemping to get in.

"Oh, crap. This isn't good," said Holly, wide-eyed. Holly jumped up and drew her Shockwave Blade. "Well, Ryan did say be quiet." She moved over behind the couch and waited. The ramp opened, and two sets of footsteps began to move in. They moved in different ways, and Holly followed the one the went towards the command console. He began to look at the console when she came up behind him and pushed the blade through his chest. The man never said a word and collapsed onto the ground. Holly turned and saw the other trooper walking around with his back to her. She silently ran over to him and swung the sword around, slicing him in half.

"Ahhg," he screamed before dying.

"Trooper 021, what happened?" called another trooper from down the ramp. When nobody answered, 6 of the last 8 moved up the ramp into the ship. When they got in, they saw both bodies, but no killer.

"Spread out and search," ordered the squad leader. The group of 6 moved out in 3 groups of 2. Holly slide out from a hole in the wall and began to follow one of the groups. They opened a door into Ryan's room and she sneaked in behind them.

"You hear som-" said one of the troopers before his throat was cut open by Holly's blade.

"What?" asked the other trooper before his head was cut open by another blade slash. Holly darted out of the room looking for the other 4. She saw two more in the kitchen and 2 at the command console.

"This is going to be hard," muttered Holly. She slid over into the kicthen and grabbed the one troopers neck, snapping it. The second trooper turned and drew his gun, but Holly's sword came up and sliced off his hands. The trooper yelled and was quickly silienced. The 2 men in the cockpit came running over, only to be killed by a quick swipe of a blade. The one died, and the other began to bleed out. Holly snapped his neck to end his suffering. She got up and walked over to the ramp where the other 2 troopers were looking into the distance, unaware that their comlinks had been jammed and they couldn't hear what was going on. Holly drew her pistol and fired once into the left guard while throwing her blade into the other's back.

"Well, there goes the hard part," she said to herself, reteiving the blade. She pulled the two bodies aboard and closed the ramp.

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Ryan and Lightning went up the elevator as Zack set up his machine gun behind the desk. He sat down and aimed down the hall towards the blown up door which had just been used by them moments before. On his comm, he heard blaster fire from the battle above.

Well, they're having fun. Wish I could get some.... Zack thought to himself. As he was thinking that, a small can shaped object rolled in through the door.

"Shit...." The iten exploded and the room lit up in a bright explosion from the flashbang. For a second, Zack thought he was blinded until he realised that he could see fine. His HUD informed him that the light dampeners were activated. "Wow, this thing can do everything."

Zack got back up and aimed his gun as soon as Stormtroopers rushed through the door. He opened fire, mowing most down in a second. The few who made it through began to lob grenades at Zack, some of which he actually shot out of the air. One grenade landed right next to him, blowing him out of cover. He scrambled over to a pillar and saw that the desk he was behind no longer existed. He turned and fired twice more, killing a Stormtrooper attempting to charge him.

"Bad idea, dumb stormie," he said. He then heard on his comlink what seemed like an arguement between Lightning and Ryan.

Ryan, what's gotten into you?

This man took everything from me.

Does that mean you need to sacrifice who you are?

The galaxy loses nothing if it loses me.

"What the hell is going on up there," Zack said as a blaster bolt whizzed by his head. He turned to see a whole platoon of troopers on the room, led by a sole Imperial Shadow Guard. Zack tossed 2 grenades, his last 2, and easily took out some of the stormies. After another 5 minutes, the troopers were dead, and it was just him and the guard.

"Where are you?" Zack said. He turned around to see the figure looming above him, swinging his blade. Zack threw up his rifle, hitting the guard while being cut in two. Zack scrambled backwards.

"Zack, Holly, get ready for a quick exfil," said Ryan over the comlink.

"Better hurry, it's getting hot down here," said Zack, drawing his sidearm. The guard threw the saber at him which Zack had already evaded once. He tried to jump away, but it caught his shoulder. When he slid to a stop, he was sure he'd lost an arm. When he looked, however, there was a huge scorch mark that matched the rest he'd gotten in the firefight. The guard, looking amazed, began to run at Zack without a weapon. Zack quickly drew his knife and lunged for the man. When they collided, he sunk his blade into the guards thigh, hitting a main artery. The man fell to the ground, gasping for breath and crying. The elevator opened behind him and Zack threw his knife at where he thought it was, expecting more Stormtroopers. The blade went right inbetween Ryan and Lightning's heads.

"Zack, what the hell!" yelled Ryan as he ripped it from the wall.

"Sorry, I thought it was more Stormtroopers," said Zack apoligetically. Lightning said nothing as she pushed Ryan out of the way and went for the door. "What's her problem?"

"Long story, tell ya later," said Ryan, running out the door. 5 minutes later they returned to the ship and got on to see 10 Stormtrooper bodies piled next to the couch were Zack sleeps.

"What happened here?" asked Zack.

"I did it quietly," said Holly, ignoring the question.

"Doesn't matter, we'll dump them in space. Let's get out of here," Ryan said, sitting at the command console. The ship lifted off and began it's run for freedom.

Chapter 5: Failed EscapeEdit

The Wind of the Lost exited the planet's atmosphere and began to jump into hyperspace.

"Jumping....now!" said Ryan, hitting a button. The stars began to dissapear, but then reappeared.

"I don't think we jumped," said Zack.

"Shut up. This isn't good," Ryan checked the console. "Oh, you motherfu....... Ok, this isn't good," Ryan said with a loud sigh.

"What is it, why can't we leave?" asked Lightning.

"Imperial cruiser with gravity well generators. With those generators online, we can't leave until we're out of it's range. We don't have the speed to get out of it before we get shot down," said Ryan.

"Oh," moaned Holly, "this isn't good." She pointed towards the radar and it showed 25 Imperial Tie Fighters about to intercept them.

Ryan sighed and got up. "Zack, take control and listen to my commands. I'm going to go deal with our friends."

"We have guns?" asked Holly.

"Nope, but we have a fighter. Come on RC," said Ryan, walking towards the cargo bay. Lightning turned and ran after him. She caught up to him as he dropped his Dc-15 and Sniper Rifle next to the ship.

"Ryan, wait," said Lightning, putting one foot on the ship's wing.

"What?" asked Ryan, hitting multiple buttons.

"Why do you have to go, why can't we just try and outrun them?" asked Lightning, sounding more worried then before.

"Because we'll be shot down before we can leave, and nobody else can pilot this thing," finished Ryan as his droid was put into the ship.

"Still, it's just...what if you don't come back?"

"Are you really that worried about me?" asked Ryan, looking up at her.

"I lost you once, I don't want to lose you again," retorted Lightning. "Promise me you'll come back alive."

"You want to give me something to come back to?" asked Ryan.

"I'm serious....."

"You do remember the last time I promised that, right?" asked Ryan, firing up the engines.

"Of course I do. You died," said Lightning, backing away from the ship and heading back to the cockpit.

The Phoenix's Apprentice took off and went off to engage the Imperials.

"Zack, I'm going to take out that generator. When I do, leave. Got it?" asked Ryan

"I think I can do that," said Zack, looking at the console like it was alien, which it was.

"Oh god," moaned Holly and Lightning.

Ryan aimed his fighter at the Impeiral Cruiser, which was right behind the swarm of fighters. He opened up with his quad-lasers as he and the Tie Squadron collided with each other. Multiple explosions happened, and a few seconds later, Ryan was past them. Behind him, 22 fighters were left and began to split into 2 groups of 11.

"Wind, this is Ryan, you've got company. Less than before, but......" said Ryan, looking at his radar to see the other 11 turning towards him. "Shab. We better do this quick, we got Ties coming out the shebs over here."

"What?" asked Lightning.

"You haven't been paying attention during foreign language class, have you?" said Ryan.

"Oh no, she's been paying attention. Just not to the language," said Zack, smiling up at her. Lightning brings her hand up and smacks Zack across the back of the head.

"Beginning bombing run," said Ryan while attempting to line up his ship and dodge the incoming laser fire. "RC, get me a lock, now!" The ships torpedo launcher began to beep as it tried to lock on. A moment later, the beeps stopped. "Fire," said Ryan, and 3 torpedoes ran from the ship towards the Cruiser. 2 hit the generator with the third hitting a turbolaser cannon. The generator burst into a miraculous explosion.

"Zack, jump, now!" called Ryan, avoiding the debris.

"We can't, we have to slow down to jump. If we do that, we'll be shot down before we can," said Zack, trying to dodge the fighters.

Ryan signed loudly and looked at his console. "Zack, do exactly what I say when I say it, got it? Remember when I said don't press that button?" asked Ryan.

"Yeah."

"Press it, then jump as fast as you can. I'll be right behind you," Ryan lied.

"Ok, pressing it, now!" Zack said, and an EMP burst radiated out from the ship, causing the Cruiser, fighters, Ryan, and the Wind of the Lost to lose power for 5 seconds. In those 5 seconds, the faster Ties glided over the ship. As soon as the power returned, Zack hit the jump button.

Ryan watched as the ship dissappeared and began to evade the new fighters that were now on him.

Chapter 6: No Man Left BehindEdit

2 days later, The Wind of the Lost exited hyperspace above Earth and began to descend towards a Kaven Base landing pad. As Zack and Holly began to land the ship, they saw IceBite pacing on the landing pad holding something. They landed and walked out and met up with IceBite.

"What the hell were you guys doing out there?!?" yelled IceBite, holding up a newspaper with the headline Assassination attempt on Imperial Emporer. Beneath it was a picture of the Wind of the Lost with 3 people in Mando armor heading towards it.

"About that...." said Zack.

"Where's Ryan, I need a serious talk with him," said IceBite, looking around.

"He should have been right behind us. Right?" asked Holly, looking up at the sky. As she said that, the datapad Ryan gave to Lightning began to vibrate. Grabbing it off her belt, she looked at it and pressed a few buttons on it. A picture burst to life, then began to move in a video.

"We don't get messages in hyperspace. It says that he sent us this an hour after we jumped," explained Lightning, holding the pad for all to see. It showed Ryan's helmet view in his fighter as it sped back into Byss' atmosphere.

RC, dodge these fighters! I'm getting us low, maybe we can lose them in the city. An explosion rocks the picture on the screen. RC, I told you to dodge! Damnit, that brought down our shields. The video continues for 5 minutes with Ryan attempting to dodge the marauding fighters behind him. Near the end, it shows Ryan flying through the city they tried so hard to get out of before. RC, we need to mo- Another explosion rocked the screen, and the video appeared to fill with smoke. RC, eject, eject! The cockpit roof flies off, and the screen clears instantly. RC-13, Ryan's droid, flies through the air, followed by Ryan's view of jumping out of the aircraft. The video cuts to black as soon as he jumps out.

"Good god, he was shot down," said IceBite.

"Never knew he was a fighter pilot," said Holly.

"Not that good," said Zack. Lightning brought her fist up hard into his gut, bringing him to his knees.

"Ofhhh. Ok, had that coming," finished Zack, catching his breathe. As he started to get back up, Lightning kicked him hard.

"I didn't say you could get up," said Lightning, glaring angerly at him.

"Might of had that coming to," coughed Zack, rolling over on his back.

"So, how we going to get him back?" asked IceBite.

"I think we could 'borrow' a Federation Holo-Emitter and sneak in," suggested Lightning.

"Screw that, we need to get back there now. Re-stock the ship and let's get moving!" said Zack, getting up.

"I don't think-"

"The time we waste now is more time Ryan could get killed. We're going, now," ordered Zack, and he walked over to a few mechanics and told them to refuel the ship.

"Looks like we're going, then," said Lightning. "I think we may need some more people though."

"Who should we get, then?" asked Holly.

"Your not going anywhere. Tory is furious that you left without telling him. He's still in that 'father' phase," explained IceBite, looking over his shoulder.

"Fine," said Holly, walking back towards the labs and a definate scolding from Tory.

30 minutes later, Zack, Lightning, Serah, and Snow were back in hyperspace heading back for the Imperial capital.

Chapter 7: Worst Rescue Ever....of All Time.Edit

3 days later, the Wind of the Lost and it's rescue team arrived. They flew by multiple star destroyers and the damaged wreck of the cruiser that blocked them last time.

"Why aren't they firing on us, shouldn't be flagged?" asked Serah.

"Told you my plan would work. Yep, can't beat a Zeta," responded Zack, leaning back in the pilot's chair with his hands behind his head.

"Let's just get in, grab Ryan, and get out. Staying here for any amount of time is bad," said Lightning, pushing Zack's chair back up to normal. The ship slipped past the last of the ships and began to land near the spot the computer said Ryan went down.

"Serah, Snow, stay here while me and Zack go look for him. Think you two can do that?" asked Lightning.

"Nope...... Of course we can!" said Snow, placing his hand on Lightning's shoulder. Lightning shook it off and placed on her helmet. She and Zack left the ship and began their hunt. A few minutes later, they got to the wreck of Ryan's fighter, the Phoenix's Apprentice.

"Why haven't they got this thing out of here yet?" asked Zack.

"I don't know, but-" Lightning was cut off by a blinking light that went off in both hers and Zack's helmets. "What the, what is this?"

"I think it's Ryan's transponder. He knows were here," said Zack, more familiar with what the helmets do.

"Well, what are we waiting for? Let's go," said Lightning, beginning to move to the east. They walked for half an hour through the dense crowds of the Imperial capital city, attempting to find Ryan. Eventually, they saw a tall man in a grey collar shirt and a black jacket walking about 20 yards ahead of them.

"I think that's him up there. See? He's the one in the jacket and high collar," said Zack, motioning towards the man walking away from them.

"I think your right, Zack," said Lightning, speeding up her pace. Zack matched the pace step for step.

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Ryan turned his head slightly to see 2 people in Mandalorian armor walking towards him at an alarming pace. Ryan turned his head forward and began to walk much faster, only a few paces away from a jog. Dammit, why did they come.

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Lightning sped up again to keep pace with Ryan, and they began to gain quickly. They watched as the man turned down an alley, and the two broke into a sprint to catch up before they lost him. When they turned the corner, they saw a dumpster and a fire escape, but no Ryan.

"Where the hell did you go, you chakaar," said Zack, drawing his sidearm and moving into the alley. Lightning followed behind him, scanning side to side for anything that might help them. She heard a thump behind her, then the pressure of an arm around her neck. She then felt a peice of metal slide up the inside of her helmet, then move down, avoiding her bodysuit to rest point tip on her skin. Zack turned fast, pistol aimed, to see Ryan with the knife to Lightning's throat at an impossible angle.

"Ryan, put the knife down," said Zack, pistol aimed at Ryan.

"Why did you come, you could have just doomed each of us," said Ryan, removing the knife from Lightning's helmet and bodysuit.

"It's ok, no thanks needed for us coming to save your ass," said Lightning, rubbing her neck.

"I didn't need saving, I would have gotten out on my own," Ryan barked back, sheathing the knife back into his gauntlet that was hidden by the jacket sleeve.

"It doesn't matter now, we should just get back to the Wind of the Lost and get out of here before we get found," said Zack, putting his pistol back.

"You came in the Wind! Are you that stupid!?!" yelled Ryan, taking a few steps towards Zack.

"It was his idea. I said to bring a Federation holo-emmitter, but he wanted to just leave," said Lightning, leaning against the wall with her arms crossed.

"Ok, a few things for both of you. First, I'm going to start teaching you things other than just language. First lesson, never listen to Zack," Ryan said, looking at Lightning. "Next thing, Zack, I'm counting this as you stealing my ship. If I didn't need your help, I would seriously hurt you right now."

"Steal your, you know what, fine, my bad," said Zack, putting his hands up, surrendering.

"If you ever take one of my things again, and this mean my ship, my bike, or my car, I will punch you so hard that your nose will be in more peices than you can count," said Ryan with the most angry face he could make.

Zack nodded. "Ok then, where now?"

"I need to pick up a few things, then we can rendevous with the Wind," said Ryan, walking out of the alley. Twenty minutes later, they were in a small apartment filled that held Ryan's armor, his pistols, and RC-13.

"Ok, let's go," said Ryan, holstering the pistols inside his jacket, cowboy style. They reached the main lobby and Ryan tossed the key to his room on the desk and began to walk out.

"Excuse me, sir. you need to pay for your room," said an elderly man behind the counter.

"I don't have to pay, remember," said Ryan, pulling open his jacket a bit to reveal one of the pistols.

"Of, of course, s-s-sir," said the man, grabbing the key from the desk and putting it on the rack behind him. Ryan, Zack, Lightning, and RC-13 left the building and saw the Wind of the lost a few blocks down, surrounded by Stormtroopers.

"This is the worst rescue mission ever......of all time. Zack, remember to have me ask you why you command a whole fighter wing," said Ryan, turning his head.

"I'll remember," said Zack, rolling his eyes.

"You ok RC, it's about to get rough," asked Ryan to his droid, which was strapped to a suitcase with Ryan's armor in it. The droid beeped multiple times and began to roll past them. "Ok then, no need to get snotty. Stupid droid."

"Tell me why you didn't put on your armor? One shot and your down," said Lightning, watching the droid struggle along.

"Long story. lets just go," said Ryan, chambering a clip in his Verpine Sniper Rifle. The 4 ran the 8 blocks so that they were 50 yards away from the ship.

"Ok then, this'll be fun. Please tell me you all have a decent amount of ammo," said Ryan, looking at the group of troopers.

"10 shots," said Lightning, drawing her gunblade.

"I'm.....out," said Zack, dropping his head down. Ryan squeezed the bridge of his nose, holding back the urge to scorn him.

"Ok. Just tell me something. How did you expect to do this with-," before Ryan could finish, 2 sniper shots and a beam rifle shot whizzed by and caught 3 Stormtroopers. They dropped dead while Ryan, Zack, and Lightning dropped to the ground.

"Where the hell that come from!?!" yelled Ryan.

"There," said Zack, pointing to a tall building. Ryan aimed his Sniper at the building and looked through the scope. On the other side, he saw an Elite and a human dressed in Cloak and Dagger armor.

"Well I'll be damned, looks like Icey's SpecOps worked," said Ryan, jumping up from his prone position. "C'mon, lets just get to the ship and go." Lightning rolled from around the corner and fired her gunblade into the crowd, killing a trooper and dispersing the civilians. Ryan pushed his back against the wall, then turned the corner to fire off his 5 round clip. Zack walked around the corner calmly and put both his hands up. 3 Stormtroopers stopped firing to aim at him, who they believed was surrendering.

"Typical," Zack said to himself. He snapped his fingers and a large boulder fell from the sky, impacting the ground inbetween the troopers. Many of them flew into the air, while some just got crushed.

"That works," said Ryan, turning the corner while reloading his sniper.

"Leave some for me next time," said Lightning, jogging over to the others. The three ran over to the ship and opened up the hatch to get in. With Zack and Lightning in, Ryan lifted RC and his suitcase up into the ship and ran for the cockpit. Ryan jumped into the seat and began to power up the ship.

"What's to stop them from shooting us down this time?" asked Serah, holding Snow close to her.

"Nothing, besides me," said Ryan.

"Great," said Snow, rolling his eyes and dragging out the word longer than he should.

"I don't need your crap, Snow. I'm going to make them work for it this time," said Ryan, confident. The ship lifted off and sped for outerspace. They got to the damaged cruiser before any fighters began to engage them.

"Why aren't they trying to shoot us down? It's like they aren't even trying," asked Zack, dissappointed.

"They want us alive, probably," said Ryan, trying to dodge the fire. One shot hit the ship, shaking it around and forcing Ryan to lose control for a second.

"That doesn't look like they want us alive!" yelled Lightning, grabbing a chair to stop her from falling over.

"Hyperspace engine 1 is down, jump locater damaged in engine 2," said Ryan, reading the screen. Ryan continued to roll the ship to dodge the laser fire.

"Ryan, they're gaining..," said Lightning.

"I know. RC, get me a jump coordinate," Ryan said. His droid beeped a few times and shook it's head. "I don't care, just get us out of here!" RC-13 beeped again and began to do something with the computer. The cargo bay doors opened and began to dump out supplies. The crates floated in space, waiting like mines for the incoming Tie Fighters to hit them. Moments later, the chasing fighters hit the crates, exploding or being disabled.

"RC, jump!" yelled Ryan. The ship jumped into hyperspace, leaving the Imperial capital and certain death behind them. Ryan turned his seat around to look at the others.

"That was fun, wasn't it?" Ryan got up quickly and winced. He grabbed his stomach and collapsed back into the seat. "Ahhh!"

"Ryan!" Lightning jolted over to him and got down on a knee. She pushed his arm away from his stomach and pulled up his shirt, revealing a heavily bleeding wound.

"Zack, get a medkit," said Lightning, turning back to him. Zack ran to the kitchen to try and find something. "How'd you get this, di'kut?"

"Hard landing. Ow, watch were you grab," said Ryan, wincing at the pain again. Zack ran back with a medpack and handed it to Lightning. She opened the pack and began to cleanse the wound.

"Your telling me you've had this for the last week!"

"Can't really go the doctors office and say 'I just failed to kill your leader, but can you sew me up real quick?" said Ryan. Lightning started to wrap a bandage around his stomach, and pulled tightly. Ryan yelped at the wave of pain washing over his body.

"Oh, I'm sorry, did that hurt?" said Lightning, looking up at Ryan with a big smile.

"No, not at all," Ryan said, smiling back. "Hey, Lightning. Thanks for coming back for me, I owe you one." Lightning cut off the unused bandage and got up.

"C'mon, you're probably exhausted," Lightning said, grabbing Ryan's hand and pulling him up. She drug him past Snow, Serah, and Zack and they dissappeared into Ryan's room.

"Hey Snow, you thinking what I'm thinking?" asked Serah, looking up at Snow.

"They seem like a good match, if that's what you're implying," Snow said, answering the unasked question.

Chapter 8: Ahhhh, MemoriesEdit

The next morning, Lightning awoke feeling amazing. She walked out of Ryan's room towards the living area to see Zack, Serah, and Snow relaxing. She began moving towards the kitchen and was intercepted by Ryan's voice.

"Good morning there," called Ryan from the cockpit.

Lightning looked at him and blushed, quickly turning away to hide it. As she turned away, a small smile began to draw across her face. Ryan turned back to the command console and began thinking. How the hell I end up with her? I must have an angel looking down on me. Ryan's thoughts were interupted by RC-13 making a line of sounds indicating they were arriving.

"Yeah yeah, I know I need to tell them," Ryan sighed. "Snow, Serah, Lightning, can you three come over here for a second? There's something I need to tell you." The three walked over to Ryan, followed by Zack.

"Yes?" asked Serah.

"Ok, I know this may be hard for you guys to come back to, but there really wasn't a choice," Ryan quickly said to them.

"What do you mean?" asked Snow.

Before Ryan could answer, the ship dropped out of hyperspace. Behind them, their home planet of Pulse, floats charred and burned.

"Wh-Why? Why bring us here?" asked Lightning.

"Well, it was either the deserted planet, or the 7 other heavily defended Shadow Alliance planets full of people who want us dead," explained Ryan.

"Easy choice," Zack commented.

"Yeah, the least defended Alliance planet," mumbled Lightning. Ryan put his hand on his forehead and drug his hand all the way down to his chin.

"I knew it. I bloody knew it," said Ryan, suddenly sounding exhausted.

"Knew what?" asked Snow.

"I wanted to come alone, because I knew that more people meant more complications. Then Zack and Holly wanted to come, then you. And then Snow and Serah get drug into this. I could have done this alone and put no one else at risk, but instead, I put 5 others in harm's way. Now, I have us stranded on a planet where no one will be looking for us."

"That's some deep shit there, Ryan," said Zack, patting his shoulder.

"You guys better um...get ready. We'll be landing soon," Ryan said, slumping back into his chair. Snow, Serah, and Zack looked at each other and left the cockpit. Lightning, however, stayed. She moved over to Ryan and sat down in the co-pilots seat.

"Hey, you feeling ok?" she asked.

"Do I look ok?"

"Well, you're not as energetic and happy as you were last night," Lightning said carefully.

"Thanks, that makes me feel better," Ryan said with a laugh. "But really, thanks for, well..... everything."

"Anytime hotshot," Lightning said, punching his arm playfully. She got up and began to get ready like the others.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

The group was fully armed and armored as the ship entered the planet's atmosphere.

"RC, set us down there. That seems to have been untouched from the battle," said Ryan, pointing to a spot on the map.

"That's the Cocoon. I'm amazed it lasted," Snow pointed out. Lightning felt her stomach drop at the mention of the Cocoon and quickly changed the subject.

"So, how will we get out of here?" she asked.

"Well, once we land, I'll send out a distress call and try to fix the engine with what we have left. If the distress call doesn't work and I can't fix the ship, we may be, well..." he trailed off.

"Fun times. Let's get to this then," said Serah.

"Be polite, Serah. Don't interupt," said Lightning.

"Yeah, all that noise you made last night wasn't to polite," Serah said under her breathe. Lightning gave her a stare that could kill even the strongest man.

"Enough, both of you. Let's just get this over with," said Ryan, trying to defuse the situation. "Ok then, we land here. It seems safe enough for now." The ship landed about one mile away from the Cocoon in an open field, scarred with craters from the battle years ago. The field was begining to turn green again with new grass and a few small trees sprouting up from the ground.

"Home sweet home," said Serah, walking out of the ship and falling backwards onto the grass. Getting back up, she came up with an idea. "Hey, we should go check out the Cocoon, for old times sake."

"I don't think-" Lightning began, but was cut off by Snow.

"Yeah, let's go. Lightning, Ryan, Zack, you guys want to come?" Snow asked.

"One of us will have to stay and fix the ship," said Zack.

"Well thanks for volunteering, Zack," said Ryan.

"I didn't say that!" yelled Zack.

"It's ok, RC will keep you company," said Ryan with a smirk. RC rolled up behind Zack and began to beep.

"Great....," said Zack.

"Ok then, it's settled, lets go," said Snow. Serah, Ryan, and Snow began moving towards the Cocoon, but Ryan was stopped by Lightning's hand on his shoulder.

"Ryan, can I talk to you for a second. It's kinda...personal," said Lightning, staring long and hard at her feet.

"Umm, yeah, sure. We'll catch up with you guys in a minute," Ryan said to Snow and Serah, who were running north towards the Cocoon. Lightning began to walk east, with Ryan close behind her. "So, what was it that you wanted to talk about? Did I do something wrong?"

"NO! I mean no. It's just.." Lightning's voice trailed off again, head dropping to the ground again.

"Come on, you can tell me. I can keep secrets well, honest," Ryan said as he used his finger and thumb to gently pull her chin and head back up towards him. When she looked at him again, his face reminded her of a small boy, which completely disarmed her.

"Well, I didn't want to come back here because, well, I lost my friends at the Cocoon," said Lightning, pulling away from his grip.

"Oh! Ohhh. Hey, I'm sorry," Ryan said.

"They became trapped in the Cocoon, before I got sent here, I was trying to free them. Heh, so much good that did," Lightning said, walking away again.

"Well, maybe I can help. Sometimes problems are easier to solve when you have another set of eyes looking at it," said Ryan, following her.

"Since when did you become the philosophical type?" asked Lightning, turning back to him with a smile.

"Hey, us Mandos aren't just fighters. If were're nice to small animals and the elderly, we always get the girl," Ryan said jokingly. Lightning walked back over to him and put a hand on the chestplate of his armor.

"Hey Ryan," she said.

"Yes?" Lightning moved a bit closer and gave him a kiss on the cheek.

"Thank you so much. You've done everything for me. You make me feel like I belong," she said pulling away from him again.

"No problem, Lightning," Ryan said.

"Call me Claire from now on," she said, begining to walk in the direction of the Cocoon. Ryan smiled and watched her walk away. He smiled and put his helmet on, moving fast to catch up.

______________________________________________________________________________________________

15 minutes later, Ryan and Claire got to the Cocoon, seeing Snow and Serah standing infront of the crystal pillar that held the continent in place.

"This thing is a god damn moon!" said Ryan, looking up enough to nearly fall backwards. Claire walked up to the pillar and ran her hand over it as a tidal wave of emotions washed over her.

"Guys, look!" called Serah pointing to something in the crystal. Snow, Claire, and Ryan ran over, only to see the forms of two girls trapped in the crystal.

"Fang! Vanille!" Claire yelled putting both hands on the crystal. Ryan walked up behind her and put his hand on her armored shoulder.

"So, these are the two you told me about. And you're right, this does look tough," said Ryan

"That's what I thought, too. So, Mr. Philosophical, have any bright ideas?" asked Claire to Ryan.

"Hmm. What if you channelled energy through that crystal you keep in your bag?" Ryan said.

"Wow. That...might actually work. Hey, how do you know about that crystal?" Claire asked as she took a pink rose shaped crystal from her bag she had hooked to her Mandalorian armor.

"It fell out of the bag last night when we were-" Ryan was cut off by Claire.

"I get it," she said, hoping he would drop that topic in front of Serah and Snow.

"You know, me and Serah both have one of those," Snow said, drawing a black heart shaped crystal. Serah also pulled out a white dove shaped crystal.

"Good, the three of us can try and do this," said Claire.

"We may need to wait on that for a minute," Ryan said, swinging his Verpine rifle off of his back.

"Why?"

"That!" yelled Ryan aiming his rifle at an Adamantheron.

"You've got to be kidding me..." said Claire, drawing her gunlade. Serah and Snow both drew their weapons and the group began to spread out.

"Claire, hit it's left! Snow, Serah, get it's right and back!" yelled Ryan as the beast charged at them. Snow and Serah began shooting it with arrows and bullets, but missed all of their shots. The beast kept running at Ryan, but got to close to Claire. With a large slash, her gunblade cut deep into it's front leg. The wolf-like beast slowed and stumbled, but kept running. Ryan dropped his shoulder and brought his arm up under the animals stomach, vaulting it over him. It flew over him and hit into the pillar of crystal, whining. Ryan turned on his knee and fired thrice into it's already bleeding leg. Ryan got up and walked over to the crying animal.

"That wasn't to hard," Ryan said. As he finished, the beast lept from the ground at him, knocking him over. It tried to bite into Ryan's helmet, but he managed to hold the beast's neck back with his arm. Ryan thought he heard something, and the next thing he knew something hit his elbow and the animal's head fell off onto Ryan's chest, now covered in blue blood. He looked up to see Claire standing above him, sword in hand.

"Thanks," he said, pushing the head off of him and taking Claire's hand to help him get up. Ryan wiped some of the blood off of his visor and looked at his arm. "Looks like you knicked me a little," he said, pointing to a spot on his armor where the paint had been, in this case, cut off.

"Want me to try again?" Claire asked.

"Not really. C'mon, let's try and save those 2," Ryan said, looking back at the decapitated body. The three walked over to the pillar and took out their crystals. "Let's try this. If this works, I'm going to be kicking myself in the ass forever," said Claire. Snow, Serah, and Claire began channeling their energy into their crystals, which began to glow brightly. Ryan looked at Fang and Vanille, noticing that their crystal bodies began to glow also. "I can't believe this may work," Ryan said. He continued to watch as the crystal began turning into skin and clothing. After a minute, it looked as if they were to be freed. Then, the process began quickly reversing, with them turning back into crystal. "We don't have enough power!" said Claire.

"I have an idea. Something Sen and Jerdak worked on with me before Reach." Ryan walked over to Claire and put his hand over the crystal, still glowing bright. Suddenly, it began to glow even brighter, blinding Serah and Snow. "How are you doing that?" asked Claire, not blinded due to her helmet.

"Force powers," said Ryan.

"I never knew that you.." began Claire.

"Neither did I," finished Ryan. The crystal began receeding again, revealing more flesh and clothes. Ryan's HUD flashed blue and made him turn around quickly. "Really?" Ryan said to himself. Infront of him stand a horde of ghouls. "Zombies now? What else do you have here?"


"Not zombies, ghouls. Let's kill them real quick and get back to this," Claire said. "No, you guys keep doing what your doing. This may be your only chance," Ryan said, drawing his pistols from his kama holsters. He fired 20 shots into the horde, watching many of them fall. "Aim for the red on their chest!" called Claire form behind him.

"What?" asked Ryan, looking at the ghouls that had already dropped down. They began getting up, except for a few. "Oh, a big red target. Nice." Ryan aimed one of his pistols this time and aimed carefully at the glowing target on their chest. After firing 5 shots, five of them had fallen.


"Ryan, they are getting close!" Claire said.

"Well then, time to draw them away," Ryan said, trading his one pistol for his light-hatchet. Ryan shot his one pistol into the crowd, all the while walking away from the pillar and his friends. "Come on over here you bastards!" Ryan circled around the horde, around 100 strong, and began walking them away from the pillar. They followed him, eventually moving into a run. "Shit," Ryan said, turning on his light-hatchet and getting ready for close combat. He holstered his pistol and dropped his favorite knife from it's sheathe into his right hand. With hatchet and knife ready, he waited for the horde to get close enough to attack them.

Claire used her helmets 360 degree vision feature to watch as Ryan ran head first into the army of ghouls. She looked back at the bodies of Fang and Vanille, crystal not receeding nor growing. Well, at least it's being held where it is. She switched her view back to Ryan, barely visable in the crowd.

Ryan was being hit on all sides as he tried to fight off the nearly 100 Ghouls surrounding him. He plunged his knife and hatchet deep into their bodies. As he ripped his hatchet out of one of the bodies, two ghouls hit him and flung him to the ground. He flipped himself onto his back to see a ghoul starting to charge him. He waited for it to get closer, then kicked both feet into it's chest, knocking it and a few others backwards.

Claire noticed something and looked back at Fang. She saw the crystal, which had been holding steady, was beginning to grow again. "Ryan, it's growing again, we need help!" yelled Claire

"If you haven't noticed, I'm kinda busy," said Ryan, stabbing another ghoul.

Claire kept looking at Fang and Vanille as the crystal was nearly back to where they had found them. "Ryan, please!" As she said that, multible ghouls jumped onto Ryan, trapping him on the ground. Claire watched as he dissappeared under the mountain of ghouls.

"Ryan!" yelled Claire. She watched as the pile of ghouls grew as more and more jumped onto Ryan. After the last of them threw themselves onto the heap, the pile began pulsating blue, slowly at first, but then faster. After a second, the pulses became amazingly fast. A blast of wind came as the pile was thrown off of Ryan and into the air. Claire, Snow, and Serah all fell to their knees, somewhat to hide from the flying ghouls, and some out of sheer exhaustion. Claire looked back at where the heap of ghouls had been, and there stood Ryan on a knee, supporting himself with his arm. She looked back again at Fang and Vanille, who were now almost fully encased again.

"Ryan, I know your busy, but-" she started to say.

"I'm coming," Ryan said, getting up. He ran over to Claire and threw his hand over her crystal again. The crystal began to glow brighter than it ever had, rivaling the sun itself. Fang and Vanille began to glow again, then burst into a ball of light. A shockwave emmitted from the Cocoon, knocking the four over. When they looked back, Fang and Vanille were lying on the ground, unconscious, but no longer in the crystal. Ryan looked back at Claire, Snow, and Serah. He saw Serah and Claire were also unconscious, and Snow was dragging himself over to Serah.

"You ok Snow?" asked Ryan.

"Yeah, I think. None of us will if they get over here, though," Snow said, pointing to about 20 ghouls who had gotten back up and were beginning to walk over.

"Oh, I hate this planet..." complained Ryan, drawing his one pistol and hatchet. Twenty left. I can take them, right? Ryan charged the group, hoping to stop them before any got past him and went for his friends. The group swarmed him, ignoring the easy prey a few meters away.

Fang and Vanille woke up to the sound of blaster fire and the devilish screams of ghouls. They sat up and looked around, noticing Snow and Serah.

"Snow! Serah!" they both yelled, getting up and running over to them. Snow looked up at them and pointed over to the group of ghouls.

"Help..my friend. He's in there, some....where," Snow struggled to say, still physically exhausted from freeing them. Fang looked over to see an armored figure unconcious on the ground a few feet away. She got up and took the gunblade from the person's belt.

"Lets go Vanille," she said, motioning Vanille to follow her. The two got up and began running towards the group of ghouls, which had been cut down a small bit by Ryan. The two hit the group from behind, Vanille distracting them for a split second, but long enough for Fang to cut them down with the gunblade. Ryan's helmet picked up the two fighting towards him as he plunged his hatchet deep into a ghouls chest. With his blade still stuck into the ghouls chest, he turned and aimed his pistol behind him, the barrel pointed right at Vanille's face, only inches away.

Vanille stopped dead as a weapon was pointed strait at her face. It was nothing like what she had seen before, but by the sound and smell it made when it fired, she knew it had to be deadly. Suddenly, the gun moved to her right a few inches and let out another loud sound and a blue beam of light. She turned to see the head of a ghoul in two peices on the ground. She looked back a the man, who she just realised is in similar armor to the unconcious soldier near Snow. He gave her a slight nod and turned back, continuing his slaughter of the ghouls.

After a few minutes, the last of the ghouls had been killed. Fang and Vanille looked at each other, breathing heavily. Their stare was interrupted by Ryan walking inbetween them. They watched him until he knelt down next to Claire and pulled off her helmet.

Chapter 9: Empire Strikes BackEdit

"Wait, that's......Claire!" Vanille yelled. Fang and Vanille rushed over to Claire, who was just reawakening. They knelt down next to her and Ryan.

"Fa-Fang! Vanille!" Claire said, throwing her arms around the pair. Ryan nodded his head once and got up. He walked a few yards away and put his hand to his helmet, listening to something on his radio.

"I never thought I'd see you two again!" Claire said to her friends.

"Neither did we!" Vanille said back.

"Oh, wait, I almost forgot. You know Serah and Snow, but this is my, uhh, commanding officer, Ryan," Claire said, motioning over to Ryan. Ryan paid no attention, just kept nodding to himself.

"Ryan, you ok?" Claire asked. Suddenly, Ryan turned back to them.

"Change of plan, we need to get going now," he said.

"Why?" Serah asked.

"Imperial Star Destroyer. They must've tracked us here. Zack said they are dropping ground forces as we speak," Ryan said.

"Damn. I don't think we can hold off that many," Snow said.

"Well, let's hope Zack has the engine fixed by the time we get back. Let's move out!" Ryan yelled as he turned back in the way of the ship.

"Well, he seems nice..." Vanille said, voice dripping with sarcasm. Claire ignored the comment and began to get up.

"Claire, what's going on? Who are these Imperials, and what's a Star Destroyer?" Fang asked.

"I'll explain on the way," Claire simply said.

Back at the ship, Ryan saw Zack still working on the engines.

"Aren't you done yet?" Ryan said.

"No. These things are stupid, I have no clue what to do!" Zack exclaimed, throwing a wrench in the air. Ryan grabbed it one handed and threw it back to him.

"Better keep working then, the Imperials are getting close. They should be landing-" Ryan was cut off by the sound of an Imperial dropship landing off in the distance. "Now." Claire, Vanille, Fang, and the others ran up behind them.

"You could of told me before! How'd you learn they were here?" Zack said.

"RC," Ryan said, pointing to his droid.

"Ah." Ryan turned to the others.

"Claire, Snow, Serah, you know what to do. Set up," Ryan said, and the 3 knelt down behind crates and boxes. They drew their weapons and aimed them at the horizon. "You two, take these." Ryan handed one of his pistols to each of them.

"Aim, pull the trigger, and repeat. Kill anything past this line," Ryan said, drawing a line in the dirt with his foot.

"I think we can do that," Fang said, kneeling down next to Claire. Vanille followed close behind. Ryan sighed and pulled his DC-15a off of his back. In the distance, he heard the sound of marching footsteps getting louder.

A few minutes later, a beam of green plasma went by Ryan's head and hit right next to Zack.

"What the hell!" Zack yelled. Ryan continued to stand there until they were all in view. He looked at 50 Stormtroopers led by a Mark II Dark Trooper.

"Focus on taking out as many as you can, their only advantage is in their numbers," Ryan said, raising his rifle. The other four raised their weapons as well, ready to repel the attackers. Ryan waited another few seconds and fired a burst into the small army. His friends followed suit, firing no stop into the group. They began firing back, and a massive firefight ensued. After about 3 minutes, 20 of the troopers were dead, but Zack had had enough.

"How am I supposed to work under these stressful conditions!" he yelled and brought up a 50 yards high wall of rock, cutting off the Troopers from Ryan and the others. Zack went back to the engine, happy with his work. Suddenly, the wall broke down and the troopers sat on the broken wall, firing down on them.

"God dammit Zack, see what you do!" yelled Claire, clearly displeased. Zack motioned his hand to the ground and the 50 yards of rock fell to the ground, crushing 15 troopers.

"We got 'em on the ropes!" Ryan said. Zack psuehd himself away from the engine and closed the hatch quickly.

"Done! I'm freakin' done! Let's get the bloody hell out of here before I end up stabbing someone I shouldn't!" Zack yelled. Snow and Serah were the first to fall back onto the ship, followed by Fang, Vanille, RC-13, and Zack. Ryan and Claire were still outside and continued to fire on the troopers. Ryan looked over at here and shuffled over to here.

"Get inside, I'll cover you!" he said. She looked at him, then back at the troopers. She finnally got up and ran for the ramp of the ship. She got up halfway and turned back.

"Let's go!" she yelled. Ryan got up and began walking backwards to the ramp, but stopped dead. He was looking down the barrels of the Dark Troopers plasma chain-gun and was frozen in his fear. He shock hisself out of it, but before he could move a step, it unloaded on him. In 7 seconds, over 500 plasma bolts had impacted Ryan's armor. He fell backwards, turning, and landed on his stomach.

"Ryan!" Claire called, taking a step towards him. Ryan looked up and begam to crawl over to the ramp, but after a few seconds, he flipped over onto his back to see the front of a hand held rocket coming right at him. He closed his eyes and only felt the immediate heat of the explosion, then everything went dark. The blast knocked him into the air, only stopped by him hitting the top of the ship and falling down onto the ramp. Claire and Zack quickly grabbed him and pulled him inside the ship and watched the ramp close up.

Claire quickly pulled Ryan up onto the table and looked over his body. His neck down was covered in burnt paint and black. She looked up to see his green visor shattered, with the left half being gone, replaced by the trickling of blood from the helmet. She ripped it off and tossed it to Serah, who put it on the couch. Zack sprinted over to the cockpit and started the ship, quickly taking off.

"You know, we still need to get past that ship," Snow said, hovering over Zack. Zack, clearly hating his life at the moment, used his powers over air to push him out of the cockpit. Snow looked down to see his feet just skidding across the floor. After he was gone, Zack closed the door behind him and locked it. The ship then entered space, only to be blocked by the Star Destroyer.

"Why did I volenteer to come along again?" Zack asked himself. Before he could answer himself, he saw one of the shield balls above the bridge burst into a ball of light. "Nice," he said to himself. The comm on the dashboard began to blink. He pressed the button, and two familiar voices came out.

"This is the HCS Final Frontier and the Shadow Slayer, responding to the distress call of one Wind of the Lost." It was Holly and Lillian York. Zack let out a sigh of relief and began to answer.

"Holly, Lillian, this is Zack. We have no weapon capabilities and wounded on board. We will get out of here as quick as we can, but we can't get past that Destroyer!" Zack said, getting right to buissness. He saw another explosion happen on the starboard side of the ship.

"No problem, Zack. It will be taken care of before you can lock in Earth's coordinates,' Lillian said happily, firing another salvo at the ship. They were right, within thirty seconds, the destroyers weapons were destroyed and the Wind of the Lost began a hasty retreat back to Earth.

"Ryan,please, don't do this to me again. Please," Claire said, a tear rolling down her face and dropping onto his armor.

Chapter 10: Low OddsEdit

Zack, Holly, and IceBite sat together in the Emergancy Room waiting area, waiting for the results of Ryan's surgery. He had sustained heavy internal injuries and many doubted he would survive. Zack looked up as soon as Meditron and Quel 'Zeelom walked out towards them. Zack got up, getting the attention of IceBite and Holly, who both followed suit.

"I don't believe anyone gave you the estimates on his survival odds, did they?" Quel asked the trio.

"No, we got no odds," IceBite said.

"By my calculations, he had a 1 in 952.3296 chance of survival," Meditron said. Zack shot him an evil look, already knowing his friend's odds were bad.

"Yes, no one believed he could be saved, but we tried at least," Quel said. Zack and Holly hung their heads in sadness. "We tried, and suceeded." Zack and Holly's heads shot up at the sound of this, knowing they'ed taken it the wrong way.

"So, he's gonig to be ok?" Holly asked.

"We don't know. And we won't know until he wakes up," Quel answered. He saw Zack look past him and smile. Quel and Meditron turned to see Ryan in hospital pants and bandages wrapped from his waist up to the middle of his chest.

"Or you could just ask me now," Ryan said, limping out.

"Tough son of a bitch, didn't think he'd be up yet," Meditron said as surprised as a robot could be. Quel hastily walked over to him and began to push him back towards the room.

"Sir, I strongly suggest you go lie down. You don't have the strength to move," Quel said, the doctor in him completly taking over.

"Apperently, I do have the strength," Ryan said, shrugging him off. Quel was surprised by this, but kept at it.

"Even so, we need you to stay here," he said.

"What you going to do if I don't, shoot me?" Ryan answered, walking past him and stopped in front of his trio of friends. Ryan shook hands with Holly and Zack, ten turned to IceBite.

"Sir," Ryan said to him, giving him a salute.

"That may of been the first time you've ever called me sir or given me a salute," IceBite said, mockingly.

"Don't get used to it kid," Ryan said, walking past him and patting him on the back as he went. A few minutes later, he was home. He went straight to his room, where he saw his armor nearly destroyed.

"Well eff me. That will take a while to fix," Ryan said to himself. He looked over to the table to see messages left for him. He ran through them quickly, not caring for many, except for one from the UNSC. Forgetting it for the moment, he got changed and left. 10 minutes later, he saw Claire showing Fang and Vanille around. He ran up to catch them.

"Hey, Claire," Ryan said coming up behind them.

"Ry-Ryan. You're...ok?" she said, eyes wider then the sun.

"Of course," he said, giving her a smile. She just looked at him for a minute, then turned away.

"Excuse me for a minute," she said, then walked over to a building 20 yards away and sat down, head in her knees.

"Well, this will be a good conversation.." Ryan said.

"Better get going then," Fang said.

"Yeah. Hey, I don't believe we ever properly introduced ourselves. General Ryan Ferran, Hellcat Squadran," Ryan said, extending his hand. Fang and Vanille both shook it and introduced themselves. Ryan then turned to face a new problem; Claire. He began the miserable walk over to her.

"He was kinda cute. You know, when he isn't covered in blaster marks and blood," Vanille said.

"Really? That's what you think of right now?" Fang said. Ryan got over to Claire and knelt down next to her.

"Hey there," he said as softly as he could.

"Hey," she said inbetween sniffles.

"You ok?" he asked, knowing what would be coming.

"Of course not. Listen Ryan, I need closure right now, ok. I can't, you know, be with you if you keep dieing like this. The two years after Reach were terrible, then when you were lost on Byss, and now your injuries now. It's unbearable," she said, begining to full out cry.

"Well, I never made you the promise back on the ship that I wouldn't die again. So, how about I do it now?" Ryan said, putting her hand inbetween his. "I promise that I will never leave you again. I won't die, I will promise you that."

"I hope you're right, because I don't want to have another day of not knowing weather you're alive or not," Claire said.

"I promise," Ryan said again. Claire looked up at him and smiled. Ryan signed. "Might as well go down swinging..."

"What?" asked Claire.

"C'mon over tonight. I'll cook you dinner, catch up on old times. I missed the last two years, so, you know..." Ryan said, looking like a little boy, just like he did back on Pulse.

"Let's hope you can cook as well as you talk. I got a lot to tell you," she said.

"Better tell me it all tonight, I leave in the morning for the UNSC," Ryan said.

"Why?"

"Just some project. I need to inspect some Spartans they are making. It'll only take a day or so," he replied.

"So, you're already breaking your promise for leaving me?" Ryan chuckled and pulled her up by the hands. They walked back over to Fang and Vanille, Ryan's arm around Claire and her's around him.

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