Coalescence, Chapter 8

Gaedyn observed the skirmish from a cliff-top as it unfolded in the distance. The small Republic squad had been taken entirely by surprise, and had suffered severe casualties as a result. They responded to the assault with practiced precision, but Gaedyn had seen enough engagements over the years to know that the mercenaries would soon make short work of the remaining commandos.

They would, that is, if they were permitted to push the assault. If they waited too long, the troopers would formulate an escape, or worse, receive reinforcements. If reinforcements arrived, the tide could easily turn against the mercenaries, and if the mercenaries were captured, the information they would no doubt reveal would make for a sticky situation for Gaedyn.

He tried not to grind his teeth at the delay. Lilandra was undoubtedly playing one of the games the Sith and Jedi were so fond of playing. Instead of focusing on winning quickly and efficiently, they all spent entirely too much time and too many resources making a game of everything.

Fortunately, Gaedyn had taken a precaution against the mercenaries being captured. He had stashed a few small, high-yield explosives in the equipment of key personnel, notably those who held too much information. Should the mercenaries be captured, or likely even if they weren’t, Gaedyn could ensure his anonymity in this operation with a single flip of a detonator switch.

Movement on the field caught his attention, and the agent observed a couple of scouts moving toward the mortars. Zooming in with his macro-binoculars, Gaedyn noticed that one of the scouts was the smuggler who had begun dogging his tracks lately. That was unfortunate, Gaedyn had hoped to pin the assault on him, but apparently the smuggler had talked his way out of trouble.

Gaedyn made a mental note to pass the man’s name and image up the chain. He was too good to be a mere smuggler, and was beginning to become a nuisance; more information was needed.

His communicator chirped, informing Gaedyn of an incoming call. Tapping it on, he heard Lilandra’s voice.

“It’s time,” she said. “Begin the advance.”

“Acknowledged,” was all he replied before tapping the link closed. Whatever he felt towards manipulative Force users in general, he would say this about her: she didn’t waste time pandering around like a megalomaniacal idiot.

The agent pulled out his holo-communicator and attempted to contact the mercenaries. Unfortunately, Lilandra had waited so long that the troopers had been able to jam the mercenaries’ short-range communications. So Gaedyn was forced to resort to a less subtle means of communication.

He retrieved a small flare-gun from his equipment, pointed it an angle over the battlefield, and fired. Returning the flare-gun, he immediately began retrieving the rest of his gear. Though he doubted the troopers would have the resources available to investigate his position, he had just declared his presence, and it would simply be bad form to stick around.

Once his gear was retrieved, and an innocuous holo-recorder hidden along the cliff-side, Gaedyn took one last look at the battle. He peeked over the cliff to see that the melee had begun in earnest, and with an added combatant.

The mercenaries should have had the numbers to overwhelm the troopers’ position, but a Jedi had entered the fray. His green double-bladed lightsaber and blue robes whirled as tore through the mercenaries.

Gaedyn almost allowed himself a smirk as he wondered how this new event would affect Lilandra’s plans, but restrained himself. He was, after all, a professional.


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