Alric stood patiently by as a technician ran an instrument over his chest.
"Sir, your Midi-Chlorians are well over the red zone."
I readjusted my perch on the windowsill. My body ached from its recent exertions, but I knew that I would have to be in top form for what was about to come. I drew the Force to me and let it flow through my limbs, my muscles, my blood.
Meanwhile, Alric contented himself with games.
The commando tossed an egg into the air, and Alric tensed. As the fragile sphere moved midway through its arc, it exploded as if smashed by invisible hands.
"Damn! I can feel it, but I haven't gotten control yet."
Silently, I thanked him for an admittance of his weakness. But this would mean I must move quickly.
The commando threw another egg, and this time it slowed and began to hover in the air. Alric was frozen in concentration. I slipped through the window and into the room, walking carefully up to the nearest guard.
The commando's neck snapped with an unpleasant pop. Alric spun towards me, and the egg hit the ground.
Fast as my Jedi reflexes were, my opponents were no slouches either. They were products of the best lethal training money could buy.
Not a moment was wasted with surprise at my appearance or sadness at the death of their friend. As soon as my presence was detected the guns were trained on me.
My body was a blur of speed as I launched myself towards another guard and, locking one arm around his throat, spun him around. Instantly I felt the impact of blaster fire shudder through him as his colleagues began shooting a fraction of a second too late. I snatched the blaster rifle out of his spasming hand and returned fire as I ducked quickly behind one of the large metal cylinders.
"Don't shoot the machines!" insisted Alric. I could feel his Force power growing. His location was revealed to me by an ever-widening disturbance in the very fabric of the Force.
I sensed the commandos tense and then slowly and stealthily begin to fan out through the room in an attempt to pin me down. What they didn't know was that I had been moving too.
Two guards walked past me, their eyes focused on the cover I had last hidden behind. I slid out of the mass of cables and wiring I had draped over myself like vines and, grabbing one helmeted head in each hand, smashed their skulls together. They weren't dead, but they would be if they didn't receive medical aid. I couldn't worry about that just now.
Another commando lunged at me with a long vibro-blade. I caught his wrist and, spinning, twisted his arm around his back until it snapped. I dropped him to a ground with a kick that hit his knee at an angle, crippling him permanently, but also putting him out of the fight without killing him.
"Kill the hostages!"
A group of soldiers and technicians broke for the door. The first flew forward onto the ground as my jump kick terminated between his shoulder blades. Using his body as a push-off point, I launched a spin kick which took down two more. The others hesitated, unsure whether they should run or attack. It was all the time I needed.
A jab to the nose bridge of a technician put him quickly out of the fight. A commando saw this as an opening in my defense and threw a vicious punch aimed at my throat. I dodged and, grabbing his arm, dislocated it at the shoulder. For added effectiveness, I headbutted him. It didn't do my head much good, but I had the Force and he didn't. The shock sent him into unconsciousness.
More blaster fire splattered around me. Bits of molten rock burned my skin and bolts singed my clothing. Alric had forced me to show my hand by threatening the hostages. I was right where he wanted me.
While leaping and spinning in the air to escape the brunt of the fire, I spotted something. Before my mind even had time to acknowledge the new information, my body, which was now working solely on instinct and the guidance of the Force, had reached out and snatched a small object off a table of equipment.
I landed on my feet and my lightsaber snapped to life with a crack. Before I knew what I was doing, I had deflected three blaster shots and moved to the attack.
I could feel the surprise and fear burst out of the first commando as I brought the humming blade up through his torso, splitting him into two unequal parts.
The stroke continued into a sideway slice that beheaded the next unfortunate mercenary.
As he fell, I shot out with a reverse kick that caught the assailant who had rushed up behind me squarely in the midriff. He bent double as the breath rushed out of him, and I spun the lightsaber around, catching him just above the knees and dropping him permanently to the ground.
I sensed danger and my acute ears picked up the snapping of a metal pin above the din of screams and gunfire. Using the Force, I stopped the grenade just as it neared me, and I just as quickly shot it right back across the room back into the waiting arms of the commando who had thrown it. When it exploded, there was nothing left of him, and only pieces of his two friends.
"So, that's how it is done," observed Alric wryly.
He and I were all that were left in the room who might ever hope to fight again.
His skin was still bluish - the Midi-Chlorian-laced concoction had seemingly dyed it. His dark eyes were now a bright gold. Though he wore no armor more protective than a bathrobe and carried no weapons it was obvious that he posed more of a threat to me than I to him.
"Ahhhhh, Kenobi! I see now why your order has guarded its secrets so closely. I can feel so much. Do such wonderful things. I can hear your heart beat and feel the wind displaced by a hunting hawk circling above the citadel. I have become one with everything.
"Do you know why I left Giga Secondus? Most assume it was because of the coup. What a joke. I was behind the coup! Had I wanted, I could have been dictator there years ago. No, I was forced to leave, by this!"
He indicated his own body. I circled around him, lightsaber in hand, waiting for any sort of opening in his defenses.
"You see," he continued, "I have been recently diagnosed with a rare and incurable disease. I am doomed to watch as my body slowly degenerates and collapses until I become nothing more than a breathing husk. I have been betrayed by my own body!
"For months I have watched the gradual slowing of my reflexes and faculties. I have felt my organs atrophy and my muscles die.
"But now! Oh, noble Jedi! I can sense every cell, every diseased, corrupt, dying cell, begin to fight back. They grow, they repair themselves. I am coming back to life.
It seems a shame to taint my recovery with your murder, but..."
He threw himself at me. I felt an iron grip on my wrist pinning my lightsaber. He brought his upturned palm into my chest, instantly staggering me and forcing me backwards. I never even had a chance to prepare myself for the sweep kick that sent me crashing to the ground.
"How exhilarating. I was never this good in the old days! Perhaps I should create an army of Midi-Chlorian-saturated soldiers. Or do you Jedi have a monopoly on such things?"
All the weariness that I had been fighting off had returned. I was wracked with pain and fatigue. He had returned to his position on the other side of the room, and for a moment, I wasn't sure that he had been punching and kicking me at all. He was just so far away. I realized I was beginning to lose consciousness.
"Master Jedi, let us try this Force of yours out and see just what we can do."
I fought to get to my knees.
Alric sighed, and his look took on an appearance of extreme concentration. I began to feel the Force around me coalesce and then constrict.
In my chest my left lung was paralyzed; it was as though someone was squeezing all the air out of it. My ribcage came under intense pressure. I could feel and hear my heart beating furiously as it was crushed. A rib snapped.
Alric was sweating. His eyes were closed. I knew that in a matter of seconds, all the organs contained in the left side of my torso would be crushed into a pulpy mess, resulting in my immediate death. As it was, I was sure I was about to have a heart attack.
My lightsaber lay limp in my hand. So close.
"Prepare to die, Obi-Wan Kenobi," he spat through gritted teeth.
One of the earliest abilities we learn as Padawans is the ability to project our voices, to increase its range and volume. Being diplomats as well as a police force, such an ability is highly important. Negotiations in a hostile environment often times rely on the ability to be heard, and when mechanical means of voice enhancement are unavailable, a Jedi must rely on his own abilities.
I drew to myself all the energy I could. I thought of my mission, the Council and my calling as a Jedi Knight. I concentrated on Qui-Gon Jinn, my master, and Anakin, my Padawan.
I felt the Force swell just above my stomach and I harnessed it and pushed it upwards and outwards.
"No!" I cried.
The sound, a pure manifestation of the Force, echoed thunderously in the chamber. Machinery shattered, gauges exploded, and rocks crumbled. Alric lost his concentration and stumbled backwards.
In retrospect, I assume he was still using the Force to boost his hearing as well as his other senses, and being untrained, he was probably not able to protect himself from the noise.
He grabbed his head and screamed soundlessly. I charged him and with a stroke my lightsaber sent his head tumbling across the floor. His body tottered on its feet and sank to the ground.
Strong in the Force, you were.
It was time to find Anakin.
"Clearly Midi-Chlorians aren't everything."