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Published at 9th of January 2019 03:45:44 PM

Chapter 22

Finn felt the light slaps hitting his cheeks and started to recover consciouness . Once he opened his eyes, he saw the face of Han above him which showed a kind of impatient expression .

- "Sorry to wake you up, Kid"- he said in his typical ever cocky voice but for some reason he seemed relieved- "we have to run before we're surrounded . "

He and Chewee helped him to stand and then they started to run . Finn felt a little dizzy but he knew that he had to leave the zone . In that moment he remembered the Knight of Ren and wondered what had happened with him . When he looked around, he saw the broken corpse on the floor not very far from his position . Finn gasped when he recognized the enemy and then he looked back at Han who seemed to be too focus on reaching the rendezvouz place . Finn was extremely stunned by the fact that Han and Chewee had eliminated such a foe with no repercusions, since they seemed to be complete and well exccept for some cuts and contusions . Just what have happened while he was unconscious? In that moment Han signaled them to stop and hide behind some containers .

- "How did you do that?"- asked Han in a low voice not being able to hold his curiosity- "They are supposed to be invincible . "

Han harrumphed and kept using his device to check the map looking for the best route to join the main defense forces .

- "Listen to this well, kid . It may save your life one day"- said Han giving Finn a small glance before he returned to the map- "Sith and Jedis are not invincible demi gods . They also bleed and die . All their powers are based on concentration and focus . Distract them enough and they can't do a damn thing!"

Finn found this very hard to believe . He remembered how the Knight of Ren had literally toyed with him . He had only used that "power" with him in the end .

- "Once they are distracted enough, just disable their lightsaber and they are like lost children asking for their mommies"- continued Han with a vicious grin which gave Finn a pang of fear- "In the case of Sith is much easier since most of them are more arrogant than any diva . That is their worst weakness . "

- "But they seem to predict what its going to happen"- said Finn voicing out his most worrying point- "can they see the future or read my mind?"

- "They have a kind of sixth sense that as far as I know warns them of danger to certain degree . . . "- said Han and Finn felt that it was too much of a cheat . If they could feel any danger, then it was almost impossible to defeat them- "but it doesn't mean it's a perfect thing . . . look where we are . This is a battlefield where danger lurks every second . . . imagine how many danger alarms they receive . If they had to pay attention to every time danger approaches in the middle of a fight, they would get crazy . "

Finn was still confused, but he felt relieved to hear that the Knights of Ren were killable . Finn decided to ask Han how to defeat those kinds of enemies later sincehe had the impression that this would not be the last time he faced them .

- "Greeeeeaaarrrrr ouuuurr!"- said Chewee with an alarmed tone .

- "That was too fast"- said Han eith an annoyed expression and then he magnified the map and showed it to Chewee and Finn- "ok, the fastest route is to go through this sector to arrive here . "

- "It will be full of enemies"- said Finn being aware of the type of strategy the First Order would use in this circunstance .

- "But also full of allies . . . It's the least risky way"- said Han who did not wait for his answer and started to move- "let's go"

Finn got up and followed with his blaster on hand . They advanced as fast as they could while keeping low . They arrived to the sector they had to cross in some minutes and Finn was surprised to find that the area was completely destroyed and in ruins . He did not know what the area hold before but now there were only ruins and rubble all over the place . The battle was very intense and small skirmishes were being fought all along the area .

- "Well . . . "- said Han trying to catch his breathe- "at least we won't have problem finding cover . . . let's go . . . "

Just then Finn noticed how taxing had been this battle for Han . He could hear the ragged breathing of the General and Finn remembered that the veteran hero in front of him was already in his 60's and has long passed his best years . Even so, Finn had forgotten this since he was always so strong, decisive and fearless . If he was like this now, Finn wondered how he had been in his prime during the war against the Empire . A great sense of respect soared inside him .

- "Now or never, kid!"- said Han who had waited for the best moment to start moving- "run to the point 93 and clear the area . Chewee and me will be slower so try your best to hold until we arrive . Now go!"

Finn took out his blaster and started running as fast as he could . Immediately he was under attack but he knew that in the moment he stopped he would be dead by the next second so he just used his max speed while returning the fire . He was not sure how many he was able to shoot down but it was not important and he just concentrate in finding a good place to take cover and thin down the enemy forces . Suddenly there were many explosions and Finn could see some Takodana squads still giving the fight which helped him a lot .

- "Traitor!"- shouted a voice and Finn realized too late that he had not seen this stormtrooper which was hiding behind a destroyed wall .

The enemy was just too close and too fast to evade . By the time Finn had tried to react, the stormtrooper had already hit him on the face and was pointing his weapon at him . Finn reacted quick and used his own blaster to deviate the shooting line out of his body while also trying to adjust his line of shooting and make a clean shoot but his opponent was extremely proficient in melee combat and used his armor as an advantage over Finn .

Pshiew! Pshiew! Pshiew! Pshiew! Pshiew! Pshiew!

Both of them tried their best to shoot each other but the always missed for a hair . In a moment Finn was able to shoot at the leg of the enemy but he used his armor to reduce the impact of the blaster bolt . Almost immediately, Finn received two chop hits on his face and neck and a powerful knee hit on his belly that made him release his blaster .

- "Not good!"- said Finn with desperation once he realized he was disarmed .

He let his instincts take over and before he fell down he managed to grab the enemy by the the arm and used all his weight to bring the opponent to the ground with him . In a swift movement, Finn locked his opponent using his legs in an armbar which forced the stormtrooper to let his blaster go . However, before he could apply more pressure to break his opponent's arm, the stormtrooper reacted with an incredibly swift movement and used his legs to impulse his body up and break the pressure Finn's legs were doing on his head and repositioned himself to be on top of Finn .

- "Damn!"- Finn was extremely shocked by the skill of this stormtrooper nd for some reason he started to think that he knew who it was .

The stormtrooper did not allow him to continue with this mental exercise though, since he had already managed to stand up and had caught Finn's arms in a tight grip . Finn tried to free himslef but he was already being lifted on the air . He knew what was coming but he only could try to prepare for the impact . The next moment his body was hammered against the floor which was full of rubble and Finn felt all the air in his lungs abandoning him .

- "Use the pain as fuel!"- he said to himself remembering what he had been taught in the First Order- "use the anger to focus!"

He managed to remain conscious and kicked the stormtrooper on the knee to distabilize him and then another kick on the face to create distance between them . Finn really saw the advanntage of having an armor in melee combat since he knew that those kicks would have broken some bones if not for the protection his enemy was wearing .

- "Not bad, traitor!"- said the stormtrooper before getting out a melee weapon from his back- "but not enough . "

Finn recognized it as a Z6 Riot Control Baton which was extremely rare to take with you to this kind of missions since there were other more practical melee weapons you could take with you . He only knew of one stormtrooper who always kept one with him at all times "just in case" as he said himself . The familiarity with this stormtrooper grew on Finn's mind and he was now very sure of the identity of the opponent he was facing .

- "Nines!"- said Finn having memories of their time in training but Finn had another strong image of him after his participation in the shooting in the mining facility in Pressy's Tumble . He finally understood why he was so good in melee since it was definitely his forte .

- "It's FN-2199 for you, traitor!"- said the stormtrooper putting rage in each syllable- "you'll pay for all the lives of the comrades you murdered . "

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Finn felt a terrible emotion inside . In the eyes of Nines, he was just a traitor who had killed his brothers of arms in cold blood . Nines had not been present in the masacre of Tuanul and even if he had been there, Finn knew the Nines would not understand his reasons to abandon the First Order . Also, since they were in the middle of the battle, it would be impossible to reason with his former squad member, so he grabbed the lightsaber he still had on him and activated it assuming a stance . This time, however, he did not feel comfortable with it and he felt that his previous decisiveness was waning .

- "I don't want to kill you"- said Finn trying to utter some words at Nines since killing Nines would definitely make him feel more terrible than killing faceless stormtroopers- "just let me go"

-"I didn't know you were such a coward, Eight-Seven!"- Nines attacked Finn and Finn knew this would not be easy since Nines was one of the few who could not only face him in equal grounds in the tests but many times he had been on top on him .

Nines advanced in a very decisive and accurate way . He was extremely fast and attacked Finn with a mix of stabs, slashes and feints with the baton . Finn did his best to parry and block the blows and he was very stunned to noticed that Nines had improved by leaps and bounds since the last time they had sparred .

- "Or maybe, he was never serious"- though Finn and he realized that this possibility was very real since sparring would never compare to a death battle like the one they were having now .

Nines was definitely now pulling his blows and he was using his best attacks to break Finn's defense . Finn was still an amateur with the lightsaber while Nines was an expert with the baton . The worst was that Nine had noticed this and was using it to his advantage . He usedthe baton very close to his body which reduced the openings he created while Finn alwys tried to mantain a safe distance between the lightsaber and his body to avoid cutting himself which messed with his footwork and made his movements look forced and unnatural and created many flaws in his defense that Nines was starting to use .

- "What's wrong, Eight-Seven?"- taunted Nines notiving his superioority- "I don't remember you being this pathetic!"

Due to his bad posture at using the lightsaber, Finn's stance was not firm which made his parries and block look febble and easily broken . Finn many times had to receive the powerful and well founded blows of Nines and just use the impulse to take distance .

- "What does it feel to be a traitor?"- asked Nines while attacking Finn- "how does it feel to murder those who grow up with you and who were like your brothers? Tell me!"

Finn received the blow and he felt that it had shaken him not only physically but also emotionally . Until now, he had tried to ignore the feelings he had had since he had abandoned the First Order . Even when he had tried to find justifications for his actions, the truth was still there . He was a traitor and he had killed those who once had shared his food and whom he had trained with . He knew those stormtroopers but he had killed them anyway . This encounter with Nines had made him remember those things Finn wanted to forget and leave behind . Immediately he felt a great fury coming from his chest and Finn grabbed the lightsaber tighter and advanced against Nines with great speed .

- "What the hell do you know?!"- Finn shouted while swinging the lightsaber with all he had and managed to pushed Nines back- "how can you know?!"

Nines felt pressured since Finn had changed from a passive defense to an active and violent offense . Without realizing it, Finn's stance and footwork had improved instinctively by just letting his emotions flow .

- "How can you . . . a mere slave, lecture me?"- Finn continued his furious attacks in Nine . Even though he was using simple and direct swings and stabs, they were extremely fast and decisive .

Finn managed to give a direct hit on the arm of Nines . The impact provoked sparks to fly and armor immediately melt down but Nines managed to parry the lightsaber before it did more damage . He immediately counteratacked and managed to destabilize Finn who had to take four steps back to retake his footing .

- "I'm no slave!"- said Nines jumping against Finn with a stab that Finn managed to parry in the last second- "I fight for what I believe . . . not like you who killed your own brothers due to cowardice and laziness! You ungrateful bastard! The First Order fed you and trained you to be an elite but you just dismissed everything for your own benefit! They had so many expectations on you but you were just a huge dissapointment!"

- "I never asked for that and they trained me to be a murderer!"- Finn shouted back while also returning blow to blow with Nines- "They trained us NOT out of their good will but to raise their own merciless assassins! We are monsters!"

- "We fight to bring peace and order to the galaxy!"- responded Nines while increasing the intensity of the blows . His armor was full of impacts and cuts and he could smell the scent to burned material- "we are the defenders of justice!"

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- "No! We are just terrorists!"- rebuked Finn while evading a blow from Nines and countering with a powerful blow which made him stagger and Finn dashed for his next attack- "we killed innocents! we masacred children and elderly for no reason! how can you be so blind?!"

Finn stabbed Nines but he managed to evade the blow by rolling on the floor and retake his stance to immediately throw himself with a wild roared that sounded like a furious beast .

- "Sacrifices must be made to bring change, you damn fool!"- yelled Nines who seemed to have recover his strength- "their lives will be the foundation of a new glorious era! how can YOU not understand that?!"

- "Nobody has the right to make that decision!"- said Finn while blocking a blow from Nines and they started to push each other trying to overwhlem the opponent- "you're just blind fools who would do anything if ordered! Well, to hell with that! I'll choose what to do myself!"

Finn managed to push Nines back and pinned him against some rubble while pressing the lightsaber with all his might . He was going to end this now .

- "Look at you! You're just looking for an excuse to kill another of your former comrades"- said Nines and Finn doubted for a second- "if what you said was true, you would have tried to tell the rest of us something!"

Finn's doubt was very brief but it was enough for Nines to escape from his position and hit Finn on his shoulder . The electric shock shook him completely and and immediately felt his arm go limp . Finn jumped back trying to get distance but Nines was not going to let him go . Finn used his left hand to fight but he knew that it would be useless . He only needed to hold on until his right arm returned .

- "You were always like this, Eight-Seven!"- said Nines furiously- "always believeing you were special and superior to the rest! You seriously believe you were the only one with doubts and regrets? Never ocurred to you that maybe some of those you killed that day and even today felt the same as you?"

Finn felt as if a lightning had fallen next to him . Of course he had thought about it, but he had pretended not to know . In that moment that horrible feeling in his guts intensified and he felt dirty and unworthy again .

- "Of course you never did!"- said Nines increasing his offense feeling the doubt and indecision of Finn- "you just escaped by yourself and killed your brothers without giving them the chance!"

Nines finally broke Finn's defense and landed a clean hit directly in the chest . Finn felt the powerful impact but most importantly the huge electrical shock which gave him the illsusion that his heart had stopped for some seconds . He found himself flying back various meters before landing very violently on the ground . Finn managed to breathe again with painful gasps while feeling every muscle in his body aching and convulsing . He tried to stand but he knew that he would not be able to stand up for some minutes .

- "You know . . . "- said Nines approaching Finn slowly knowing he had won- "If at least you would have said that you do this for those people that were killed or for the galaxy, I would at least respect you . . . but I can see in your eyes the truth . . . You just escaped and murdered all those soldiers for yourself . Do you regret it now?"

Finn did not answer but his expression was enough to know what he was thinking . Of course he felt a deep regret, not for abandoning the First Order, since he knew that the organization was evil and cruel . What he regretted was killing his former comrades in his escape and even now, since he knew that they were only following orders and that they did what they did because they honestly believed it was the correct thing to do .

-"You, pathetic coward just want to escape from the battle and hide in a corner of the galaxy while others bleed and die for what they believe!"

Finn just looked at him with shame in his eyes . He had rto admit that it was true . Since the moment he had deserted from the First Order he had only wanted to flee and hide . . . like a coward and due to that now even Rey was in danger . He clenched his teeth and felt a huge remorse and shame for himself . Slip and Poe had died fighting for what they believed and even now Han, Chewee, Lando, Nines Phasma and the knight of Ren also were ready to bleed and sacrifice themselves for what it was correct . Even Rey who had just been involved showed more commitment than he had . In comparison with them . . . what was he doing?

- "Such dissapointment . . . to think that you were someone I used to admire"- Nines pushed Finn to the floor with his foot and lifted the baton increasing the intensity of the soch to maximum . It was obvious that he was going for the kill- "let me at least give you an honorable death!"

Finn's survival instinct tried to force him to act but the paralizying effect of the baton was just too strong and he could only see how the baton descended directly on his head . However, the blow never reached him since Nines received a direct impact by a blaster on his chest and was sent flying on the air various meter before falling heavily on the ground without moving . Finn did not understand what had happened until he saw Han and Chewee appear behind him .

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- "Are you ok, Big Deal?"- asked Han helping him to stand .

- "Thanks"- said Finn who was still shaking for the battle against Nines .

- "We need to move . . . "- started Han but immediately there were explosions and they were thrown to the ground and when they recovered they noticed they had been surrounded by a squadron of stormtroopers .

- "Don't move! Don't move"- said the one who seemed to be the squad leader- "TK-338, we have targets in custody . "

They are seized and handcuffed . Only then they noticed that they were not the only ones that had been taken prisoners . The majority of skirmishes around had ended and many memebers of the Takodana Forces had surrendered and were being captured . After some minutes, a Knight of Ren who had a slightly different helmet from the previous one approached them .

- "General Solo and Commander Chewbaca"- said he using a mocking tone- "It was a very welcome surprise to find you were here!"

- "I'm afraid I can't say the same, kid!"- replied Han using a tone that showed that he was relaxed and he showed a confident smile- "your friend back there sent his greetings . He hoped that you could join him soon . "

Even though they could not see his face, Finn could feel the anger and the hatred the knight of Ren was exuding but he soon calmed down and tried to talk with a normal voice .

- "It's impressive that you managed to defeat Black Three"- said the knight of Ren putting all his sarcasm in his words- "You're extremely lucky . "

- "It's called skill, sweetheart"- said Han grinning and showing no fear- "you know how many of your kind I have dispatched? And I'm even short in comparison with Chewee . . . how many more do I need . . . ?"

- "Groooen!"- said Chewee with a mocking tone following the lead of Han

- "Shut up!"- said Black Two who slapped Han in the face making him fall down to the ground . Chewee roared in anger while trying to help Han who was kneeling- "if it were not for Lord Ren to want you alive, I would deal with you in this moment . I will enjoy seeing you suffer in the hands of Lord Ren . "

Finn also tried to help Han but he was was not permitted to move by his captors . He saw how some medics from the stormtroiopers started to treat Nines and for some reason he felt relieved to see this even though he knew that he would not doubt a second to kill him .

- "And you must be the traitor, FN-2187"- said the knight of Ren and Finn felt the hostility behind the mask the knight of Ren was using- "you don't seem much of deal . I hope you show me your capabilities after the training . . . if you survive that is . . . take them away!"

- "Yes, Sir!"- said the leader of the squad and they forced Han and Chewee to stand up .

- "Secure the perimeter!"- the knight of Ren ordered as if he had forgotten Han and company even existed- "prepare to break into the castle . "

- "We have incoming at 28 . 6 . "

- "What?"- the knight of Ren turned around and saw something coming in the horizon and soon he started to panic- "Move! Move! Move! Scramble all squads, repeat, scramble all squads! Head to higher cover and wait for our position! It's the Resistance!"Please download our sponsor's game to support us!