Fon’s eyes widened as his unibrow arched.
Jonas skillfully slid the stick through Darden’s fingers.
Fon turned to warn Kut Koot. He never knew what hit him.
Jonas whipped the staff out, cracking Fon directly across his huge forehead. As Fon dropped into the dirt, Jonas pivoted on his knee and swept the end of his stick along the two guys behind him. That was an easy three.
?Blasters!? Kut Koot pointed to a craft hovering not so far away. The two remaining men who stood ready next to Kut Koot hustled toward the craft.
Jonas could not afford to let them grab weapons. He jammed one end of his staff into the soil and vaulted over the path to greet the Crows. One threw a heavy fist in Jonas’s direction. He ducked, sending the Crow stumbling on his feet. Jonas flipped up the end of the staff that was in the dirt, popping the other Crow in the groin.
’Stay down.? With the butt of the stick, the teen nailed the Crow who?d messed up the punch in the back of the head. Jonas reached over into the craft, snatching two blasters. He dropped his staff, whirled them in his hands and targeted Kut Koot with both blasters.
’So you think you have won?? Kut Koot’s unibrow lowered the entire ridge of his forehead.
?I have.? Jonas stared directly into the Lorde’s deep brown pits of eyes.
?One day you will come to understand the huge mistake your people made.?
?I don?t want to kill you, but I will if I have to.? Jonas began to tremble. He hated the thought of killing someone. Especially if it wasn?t absolutely necessary.
?I am afraid you have to.? Kut Koot’s lips curled up, showing he was not scared to face death.
?Well, I?m not going to kill you. I?m going to offer you another chance for another way.? Jonas returned the grin. He made his way over to Darden and lifted him into his arms. Darden began to mumble.
?Okay, pal. Just give me a hand here. You weigh a ton.? Jonas half lifted his friend and dragged him to the craft. ?Get in there.? He helped Darden into the vehicle. Darden flopped into the rear seat.
?What are you doing?? Kut Koot stood there without a clue as to what Jonas was planning.
?Leaving. Tell your friends at the Old Republic that the Alliance is growing. All we want is to live in peace.? Jonas had no idea why he was letting these Crows off so easily, but he wanted to be different than his father, Captain Troupe, who?d killed anyone with any knowledge of the Alliance. Jonas hoped that this little peace offering would begin to change the Crows? attitude.
Jonas picked up his staff and tossed it in the craft. He hopped in and pulled the vehicle around to where he thought the tracer that had fired upon them was hiding.
Darden’s color began to return to his normal dark complexion. He rolled his head from side to side, mumbling something Jonas could not understand.
?Hey, pal?? Jonas nudged his friend as he drew the craft toward what looked like a tangle of branches bunched up in a pile. The mess did not make sense and seemed to be some sort of bad camouflage. ?That’s it.?
Jonas brought the Crow vehicle to a hover right next to the branches. He leaned his head in between the gathered sticks to discover something metallic and unnatural was, in fact, hiding inside the brush.
Leaving the craft idling, Jonas hopped out and began ripping through each branch until he could distinguish what was back there. As he peeled each branch away, more of the metal reflected the sun’s rays. Jonas felt like he?d stumbled across a treasure. A treasure that could prevent future attacks on the Alliance. The shiny surface revealed a weapon unlike anything Jonas had ever seen. The barrel towered over his head.
?Moons.? A familiar voice came from the craft. Darden had his arms out over the side of the vehicle, which seemed to keep him from falling backwards. He offered Jonas a grin of gratitude. ?That is some weapon.?
?It looks like a mix between a blaster cannon and one of those turret things from Cordova.? Jonas strolled around the weapon, never removing his eyes from it. ?What do you think??
?I think the Emperor has plenty more of these metal monsters.? Darden coughed up a chunk of soil that was lodged in his throat.
?What do you mean plenty?? Jonas rubbed the shiny surface of the machine that had almost killed him and Darden.
?Don?t you see the transport coupling?? Darden lifted his arm, pointing at the back of the weapon.
Jonas walked around it, shifting his eyes and studying the lower half of the machine. Jonas looked up and nodded at his friend. ?They can go anywhere. That weapon will probably attach to this craft.?
?Then we shall attach it.?
Jonas approached the vehicle. ?I will back this thing up and connect them.?
?Then what? Are we going to search for Liotta and Leo dragging this thing??
?No, we could probably meet up with the caravan again and I could let the troops keep it at the rear of the line.?
?But, Jonas, we don?t even know how it works.? Darden stared at the metallic beast that exuded power and strength without even firing a shot.
?Our guys can figure anything out.? Jonas hopped back into the craft. ?Then we will go and look for our friends.?
For the first time, Jonas had put the Alliance before Leo and Liotta. He did not feel good about it, but knew that a weapon like this would slow down his search. It needed to be in the hands of the Alliance, too. He could not allow the Crows he had spared to get hold of it again.