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Published at 9th of January 2019 03:46:00 PM

Chapter 18

Western Reaches . Planet Takodana

Finn was lifting cargo into one of the trasporters which the smugglers who have hired him were bringing with them . Finn would lie if he were to say that his decision did not cause him discomfort . Even though he was using the physical work to distract himself in the moment, his mind still lingered to Rey . She had been the first person to believe in him and she had accepted him even after knowing he had been a stormtrooper . Her sad and pleading eyes still caused him to feel a sting of pain in his heart .

- "What if I return . . . "- he thought without stopping- "maybe I can start anew in Jakku . "

Just when he was thinking about this possibility, he heard screams in the distance . Finn turned around trying to find the source of the desperate pleads but it seemed as if they came from all directions around him . The strange thing was that the screams seemed to be intensifying every second until he felt that they were screaming right next to him . Suddenly the voices sounded from above him and Finn looked up to the sky where he could see red beams crossing the skies slowly . Any other person would think it was beautiful and interesting but Finn knew better since he had been forced to assist to the practice drills in the StarKiller Base .

- "Mother . . . "- said a male and young voice and Finn could feel the love in his voice .

- "I love you . . . "- said a pair of voice who Finn knew were a couple for some reason and their voices transmitted joy and great expectations .

- "Calm down everyone . . . let's eat while enjoying the spectacle"- said a female and old voice who tried to soothe and protect her family even knowing something wrong was happening .

- "Just wait for my vengeance"- said a male voice whose tone distilled hatred and thirst for retaliation .

- "Yahoo! Ambassador Linaki . . . "- shouted a young female voice who had great aspirations for her future .

Finn panicked when he realized that he could hear not only the voices but he also detect their feelings . Almost immediately he felt even more voices and emotions reaching him out . It was as if he was drowning in the middle of a stormy ocean full of countless voices shouting inside his head before dying and as if he could feel a portion of all their pain, dissapointment, fury and reluctance to go . He could not help but kneel and give a small groan . The maelstrom of emotions made him believe he was going to explode so he started to punch the ground with all his strength .

- "Nooooooooo!"- Finn did not know if he was the one screaming or all those voices together but suddenly all of the voices vanished and the pain went away leaving behind traces of memories that still floated in Finn's mind .

Finn looked up again and saw very clearly how the beams destroyed something and he knew, even if he could not see that the Hosnian System had been destroyed along with its billions of inhabitants . Finn noticed tears in his eyes and he just then how much this had affected him .

- "It was still supposed in experimental phase"- Finn said trying to deal with the feelings that still lingered in his chest . He felt dizzy and nauseous- "when did they finish it?"

Finn saw the red lights and he recognised it as the super weapon the First Order had created but that was supposedly still in experimentation process . He stood up and wiped out the tears he had and the he saw people started to get out from the castle and see into the sky to the remnants of the powerful red energy that still did not disperse . Finn saw Han and he walked towards the old General to tell him what had happened since he thought he would explode if he did not tell someone .

- "It was the Republic . . . "- said Finn feeling his voice very weak and looking for Rey- "The First Order did it . . . Where's Rey?"

However, Han did not seem to hear him, his eyes showed horror and a huge dismay . He immediately activated his communicator .

- "Chewee, open the emergency channel and contact Leia"- he said with desperation in his voice .

Just then Finn remembered that Leia Organa was his partner and that she was in Hosnian Prime waiting for the voting against the First Order . Finn felt bad for Han since he knew that none inside the Hosnian System had any chance to survive such massive attack . Of course, he did not say that aloud since he did not want to be the messenger of the bad news .

- "What do yo mean there's no answer!"- shouted Han with fury- "It's the best communication device we could buy! Try again!"

- "Grrrr"- the voice of Chewee came from the communicator .

- "Alright! Keep trying!"- said Han and then he dashed back to the castle .

Finn decided to follow Han just in case and then he saw that he was going to Maz office . Han seemed to know the building very well, since he ran through many hallways without getting lost . After some minutes, they finally arrived to the gate which gave entrance to Maz office . The guards did not stop them from entering .

- "Maz I need you to contact Leia!"- Han said while storming into the room .

- "It will have to wait!"- said Maz who seemed to be receiving a transmission while many of her workers were running inmany directions- "we have no time to spare . "

- "Do you understand whats happening, Maz?"- said Han and Finn was shocked to see the rage in his voice- "The New Republic has been destroyed!"

- "Yes, I know . . . better than you I must say"- said Maz not minding the outrage of his old friend- "but I'm afraid i can't do anything about the dead . . . I can only try to help the living and now there's a more pressing problem . "

Finn felt a shiver in his spine when he heard Maz's words . He could not believe the thretening power this small person could transmit . This, in combination with Han's bloodlust aura made Finn sweat .

- "What happened?"- said Han whose tone seemed to indicate that he would take out his blaster unless Maz gave him a proper reason .

Maz just grinned and her eyes seemed to be answering with a "you're most welcome to try, kid" and pressed the red button she had next to her . Immediately a red alert was given in all the complex and she took the intercom next to her .

- "This is an emergency announcement to all the guests in the Kanata Castle"- Maz said and her voice resounded all over the building and exteriors- "the First Order has destroyed the Hosnian System including its planets and Sun . This has effectively left the New Republic headless and vulnerable . Furthermore, the First Order is in its way to Takodana with intentions of attack and possibly seize the planet . "

Finn was amazed at Maz' stoic and relaxed way to face the situation . She was saying all of this as if she was talking about something unrelated to her . Wasn't this Takodana? Wasn't this the planet that was going to be invaded? How could she mantain such laid back attitude?

- "Personnel Levels 1 to 3 guide our VIP guests to the emergency shelters and be ready to escape at any moment . Continue giving the best service until the end . "- she said grinning and Finn had the impression she was enjoying the moment . He had heard about the Crazy Queen of Pirates and he supposed this was the reason of her nickname- "Guards and level 4 personnel, assume battle positions level 1 . Level 5 to 8, prepare your toys and hold positions until orders are given . "

Immediately all the castle started to shake and move . Finn saw fo the window and he saw many immense cannons, blasters and other weaponry appearing in different places including from the lake who had been very calm until now .

- "Are you seriously planning to figh, lad"- said Maz grinning with a crazy expression- "It's been a while . . . I was about to die of boredom . . .

- "It's the First Order!"- said Finn trying to put some sense in her .

- "And I'm the Queen of Pirates!"- said Maz and her eyes seemed to ignite in flames all the people running around stopped in situ and they did not dare to even breathe- "If the First Order thinks that they can take my castle, they will have to show they have the skill!"

She said this with such conviction that left Finn speechless . It was as if that name explained it all . A powerful aura of incincibility radiated from Maz and for a moment Finn really believed that they could win if she said so . However, Finn returned to reality and he knew that even thousands of cannons would not be able to stop a Star Destroyer .

- "Sweetheart . . . I've not been here so many years drinking and gambling, you know?"- she said using a more relaxed voice and the surroundings- "well not all the time . . . I've made plenty of preparations for a day like this, . . To be honest I already want them to start attacking . "

- "All civilian and VIP guests have been evacuated"-a voice through the communicator said .

- "Good"- she opened the comm again- "now that the weaklings are gone, this is a special mission under my name . Everyone who participates in the battle will receive a sum of credits and their priviledges level will be risen by three ranks in all the establishments of Kanata Enterprises across the galaxy . If you are interested, contact any dealer near to you . "

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Finn then remembred what Han had told him when they arrived Takodana .

- "Never cross Maz kanata"- he had said to them- "this is an unspoken rule that even the most dangerous thug respects . "

( . . . )

Inquisitor Star Destroyer

- "Arriving to Takodana in 10 minutes, Lord Ren"- informed an officer using the speakers in the hangar .

- "Good"- said Kylo Ren and then he turned to face the soldiers and pilots that would participate in the attack to Takodana- "You have your orders already . Mistakes are not allowed . Maz Kanata is more formidable than you can even imagine so be prepared . . . in this mission The Black Team of the Knights of Ren will accompany me . "

Four figures in black garments stepped ahead and knelt in front of Kylo Ren . The rest of the soldiers gulped and felt the air getting very heavy . The four people in front of them were part of the most dangerous, secretive and elite corps of the First Order and it was a corps under the direct command of Lord Ren . They were part of the Knights of Ren and the simple mention of the name would provoke different reactions depending of who heard it, however, being enemy or ally, both groups would still feel the same . . . Horror . Every and each member of this group was considered the best of the best and they were famous for being ruthless and approachable . They were invincible and undefeatable due to their inhuman physical abilities and it was a very well known fact that one knight of Ren could destroy entire batallions of enemies and some of the darkest rumors say that they could control even your mind and force you to do things against your will . Their mere presence could turn battles in their favor but the rest of the soldiers did not feel any happiness about this since they knew that in the case they deemed them an obstacle in the battle, they would kill them without hesitation nor mercy .

- "You will fly with me leading the team 1"- said Kylo Ren and the soldiers were excited since they had heard of the top notch flying abilities which were according to many in the same level as the legendary Rebel leader Luke Skywalker- "Our mission is to destroy their defenses and prepare the field for the rest of the teams . . . Everyone, prepare . "

Kylo Ren and the knights of Ren boarded their TIE silencers which were upgraded versions of the typical TIE fighters that common pilots would use, being the TIE/VN Space Superiority Fighter the best and personal starfighter of Kylo Ren . Its capabilities were vastly superior due to being a prototype created by Kylo Ren himself . The variations of his Fighter allowed a superior speed and maneuvering but it was extremely difficult to control and only Force users would be able to keep with it . Even other Knights of Ren were unable to fly in it which made them fear and respect Kylo Ren even more .

- "Takodana arrival in 40 seconds"- said the voice .

- "Expect heavy defense"- said Kylo Ren while preparing the systems in the cockpit- "Black team will attract their fire so the rest do as much damage as you can . "

- "Yes, Sir!"

- "Takodana has been reached!"- said the voice in the speakers .

- "Commence attack!"- ordered Kylo Ren and all the TIE fighters under his command roared while being launched at the space .

Two massive Star Destroyers appeared over Takodana and immediately released dozens of TIE fighters which flew directly to Kanata Castle .

( . . . )

- "Enemy fighters entering atmosphere"- announced the voice in the intercomm .

- "Fire at will"- ordered Maz while watching the screen she had in the office .

Immediately the cannons and ground batteries started to let lasers, proton bombs, and blasters to the invaders and the attacks covered the sky . Many of the many TIE fighters were shot down immediately but many more appeared and they dispersed making them a more difficult objective .

- "And this is how it begins"- said Maz and Finn started to analyze the battlefield as he had been trained for . He was no pilot but every Stormtrooper received training in aerial attacks- "let's see if they can break our defenses . "

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- "Transmission from the enemy"

- "Allow it"- ordered Maz with a confident smile and the screen showed a tall and burky man which seemed to be a veteran- I didn't imagine that the hunger of the First Order had grown so much to even dare to attack my castle . . . I hope you are ready to face the consequences . "

- "Commander Sylus from the First Order"- said the uniformed man introducing himself in a very martial way but his voice did not show the slightest trace of fear- "we have come to retrieve a droid which was stolen from us by the Rebel Organization called the Resistance and we know that it is in your possession . Give it to us and we will go immediately . This does not have to end badly . "

- "It will end terribly I assure you, but not for me"- said Maz showing a very cold and sharp expression- "I did have the droid but it has been given to a client who had paid a great sum . If you knew I had it, you should have contacted me and negotiate using the conventional networks . It's not as if we had never done bussiness . "

- "You knew the bounty we offered"- said Sylus also using a threatening tone- "your silence in the matter is a show of disrespect to our organization and it is evidence of your relation with the rebel group . "

- "So what if I have relationship with them?"- asked Maz with a smug smile- "what will you do?"

- "It means you have chosen sides and you have become our enemy"- said Sylus looking at Maz as if he was seeing a dead person- "hand the droid and you will be spared . Otherwise, prepare to face the full power of the First Order . "

- "I don't negotiate with unprofessional grunts"- said Maz laughing mockingly at Sylus- "you come to my territory and attack me . . . and then you have the gal to threaten me? Prepare to suffer destruction in my hands, kid . . . the full power of the First Order? Your power means nothing in my eyes . I'll make an example of you so the galaxy remembers what the consequences are in messing with the Queen of Pirates!"

Maz cut the transmission and then she accomodated in her throne . She pressed a button and then a holographic map appear in the center of the room and showed her all the battlefield . Immediately, ffteen people entered and sat in the seats around Maz and put on headphones with microphones . She took the intercom again and cleared her throat .

- "All those who have accepted the mission in the category of pilots, prepare to engage the enemy"- said Maz- "Kanata starfighters will go on the vanguard . Show those milk smelling babies how to fly . "

Immediately, many hangars opened in different locations and countless Star Fighters of every model imaginable flew out like locusts and engaged the First Order immediately .

- "Orange Team, route as many as you can to the sector H67 . Green Team prepare an ambush in coordination with them in 43 seconds . "- said Maz looking at the map in front of her- "Batteries 145 to 190 fire at coordinates 456, 098 in 25 seconds and then switch objective to 567, 132 . "

Immediately, two of the people in the room repeated the instructions through their microphones . Finn looked at the map and saw how the instructions given by Maz were executed to the milimeter . Many TIE fighters were routed by Kanata Fighters using numbers and then they were shot down by another team which was waiting in the opposite direction . Some batteries changed their aim and shot blindly to where Maz had ordered and Finn was shocked to see that both attacks had produced heavy casualties in the enemy forces .

- "How did she do that?"- asked Finn who would have attributed the previous attack as luck if not for so many to consider them coincidences- "can she see the future?"

- "You could say that"- said Han who was also analyzing the map- "remember when I said the Force was real?"

- "The Force?"- said Finn trying to remember and then he recalled their conversation about Luke Skywalker- "you mean the thing you thought it was mumbo jumbo?"

- "Precisely"- said Han- "Jedi can use it to see things normal people cannot . Sometimes they can even see the future or so I was told by Luke . "

- "Wait . . . "- said Finn looking at Maz who did not stop giving orders at all- "are you saying that she is a Jedi?"

- "No . . . she is not Jedi but she can still use the Force to certain extent"- said Han smiling- "this is the secret of her victories against vastly superior enemies . . . if her enemies knew, I'm sure they would coughed blood and call her a cheater . "

- "I still can hear you, Han"- said Maz without stop looking at the map- "let the enemy attack batteries 976 to 980 making it look as if they have an opening and then crush them with teams red, blue and Purple in exactly 2 minutes . They will not know what hit them, hehehehe!"

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Finn gulped when he heard her laugh . Wasn't she enjoying this too much? After a moment, Finn saw how the enemies that had fallen in her trap were shot down without any chance to retaliate . He could not help feel bad for those poor pilots who maybe did not even realize they were dead . The people aropund not only sent the instructions of Maz, but they also reported the situation from the forces in the area . This exchange was uninterrupted and at simple sight chaotic since the voices did not stop reporting . However, Maz responded to each report one after another and it seemed as if she could hear, analyze and respond to the fifteen voices at the same time and without confusion and with perfect control . She did all of this while taking in consideration theterrain and the number of forces . Finn got dizzy and wonder if Maz was not an advanced super computer specialized in strategy .

- "You understand now?"- said Han and Finn looked at the Queen of Pirates in a new light- "imagine fighting someone who can predict all your movements even before you decide to do them . Maz is capable of analyze vast quantityies of information in seconds and take multiple decisions at the same time you need to breathe three times . All those poor bastards are already dancing in her hand and they did not even know . "

- "I'm sure they have ground foces"- said Maz looking all around the map and Finn felt she was a predator looking for its next prey . It was as if she had already won the first wave of attacks- "make sure to inform me once you find them . Cannons in the western district make a barrage attack in all sector J56 in 34 seconds . "

The attacks were simply brutal and Finn wondered: "If she can do this with just a certain extent of the Force . . . then what can a full pledged Jedi do? If this is what one can do with the Force, then all the legends about Luke Skywalker 's feats would be absolutely credible . Finn started to consider the existance of the Jedi like something divine and unreachable . Now he understood the importance of General Skywalker in this war and why the Resistance was so desperate in finding him .

- "It's possible to defeat the First Order . . . "- said Finn feeling hope for the first time since he had escaped- "we can win . . . "

In that moment there was a huge explosion coming from the left of where they were and Finn could see it for the window .

- "Cannons in Northern district destroyed"- informed one of the fifteen assistant- "they did noit have time to send information . . . "

Maz started to gasp and she touched her chest in pain . She started to look at the map desperately . She did not have her usual grin and she was furrowing her brows with a nervous expression .

- "What happened Maz?"- asked Han who knew Maz would not behave like this for no reason .

- "Someone very powerful has come"- she said and Finn could see the sweat in her forehead .

- "Powerful?"- repeated Han- "what do you mean?"

Another explosion resounded in the distance and Maz seemed extremely confused and lost in thought . Without her orders and instructions the battlefield started to incline in favor of the First Order .

- "Batteries 456 to 532 destroyed"- said another assistant who seemed to start to panic- "the enemy is too fast . "

- "He's so strong!"- shouted Maz in frustration- "he's clouding my vision . . . "

- "Who?"- asked Han grabbing her arm- "who's there?"

- "You know who . . . "- said Maz and Han had a realization- "the Force is intense in him . . . much more than the last time I saw him . . . he's coming directly here . . . ACTIVATE THE SHIELDS AT MAXIMUM!"

Just some seconds after this order the building where they were was shaken and all the people inside were thrown to the floor . The systems deactivated and the assistants worked quickly to reestablish communications . In that moment Finn saw the enemy fighters flying around and he felt a terrible pressure in his stomach when he recognized the TIE silencer that was attacking them .

- "Kylo Ren . . . and his Knights of Ren . . . "- he said in absolute terror .

Hope? Possibility of winning? Finn recognized he had been absolutely naive in thinking this . Maybe Luke Skywalker could lead them to victory but the problem was that he was not here . If the Resistance had a Luke Skywalker, the First Order had a Kylo Ren and even Maz was completely powerless against him . The little trace of hope he had gathered vanished and now only an idea took place in his head .

- "We are doomed . . . "Please download our sponsor's game to support us!