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THE ENLOE CHRONICLESChapter 18DARK EXCHANGE






    







After months of endless fighting, the small planet Kobridor has been torn apart by the Clone Wars.





Outnumbered and outgunned, the Republic forces on the surface struggle to maintain a foothold on the planet.





The primary objective of the Republic’s assault on the planet had been to capture a terrorist informant working for the Badoo Corba, but a strong Separatis army has halted the mission to a standstill.





But under the leadership of Commander Rykrof Enloe’s 334th Siege Battalion, the Republic forces have held ground on a number of occasions when defeat seemed inevitable.





Wave after wave of battle droids have been turned back by the courageous group of clone soldiers.

But only the most battle hardened troops remain out of the original force that first arrived with Rykrof to take control of the planet…






… and the clone force knows all too well that for each droid they destroy, a dozen more are produced to bolster the Separatist war machine.





But it is the citizens of Kobridor that have suffered the most; their planet reduced to rubble…





…its citizens forced to take up arms to protect themselves. Not only from droids or looters…





…but from the Badoo Corba terrorists who have staked a claim on the planet.

With the Republic having now focused its efforts on the droid army, dozens of terrorist snipers have emerged from the shadows; patiently waiting to eliminate open targets.






After a long night of repelling aerial bombardments, the Republic prepares for a counter strike against the droid army.





The Jedi Masters leading the Republic forces now meet prior to their scheduled assault…





…with Commander Rykrof Enloe and Captain Andar eagerly awaiting their orders.





“The time to attack is now,” Master Shaak Ti announces.

“The enemy’s supply lines are stretched thin. I will lead our main force to strike the heart of the droid army, which should distract the Confederacy for Commander Enloe to locate and arrest the Quarren traitor,” the Jedi says.






“It has been decided that I will accompany you,” Master Kala Mly Shundi says to his friend.

“If our information is correct, the Yam.rii scavenger in the eastern square may reveal the location to us that we need to find the Badoo Corba contact.”






Following the briefing Rykrof meets with his friends, Freelo and Ralbarr, to update them on the situation.





“Where did you find that armor, Freelo? You look like a Corellian tortoise!” Rykrof laughs.





Ralbarr then rumbles a deep chuckle in agreement.





“This is better than clone trooper armor!” Freelo argues.





“All kidding aside, General Ti has given the order for the assault,” Rykrof tells them.

“I’ll be leading the 334th to find the Quarren we’ve been looking for while she leads the main force against the Separatists. But I want you and Ralbarr to stay here.”






“I knew it,” Freelo says as he looks away. “You go off on adventure and leave me to protect Ralbarr.”





“There will come a time Freelo,” Rykrof says.

“But this isn’t the place for it. Besides, we need someone to stay back and watch over the base in case the droids counter strike.”






Soon, Jedi Master Shaak Ti’s forces begin the main attack…





…but to her surprise, the droid army does not charge forward to meet the assault.





Instead, the droids maintain a defensive position…





…leaving the clone force vulnerable to a broader range of fire.





“Get in closer!” she orders her troops, as she charges; slashing through a super battle droid on the front line.

“It’s our only chance of overtaking them!”






Following the lead of the Jedi, the clone troopers advance on the Separatist positions…





…drawing the droids out into the open.





Back at the Republic base, Freelo expresses his discontent to Ralbarr.

“I’d much rather be on the front lines than be stuck here with you,” he mumbles.






Suddenly a sniper blast strikes Freelo squarely in the chest!





In a flash, Ralbarr races for his blaster as Freelo collapses to the ground.





Medic!” Freelo cries in terror.





The mighty Wookiee then fires a shot in the direction of the blast…





…killing the Badoo Corba sniper with a single shot.





After checking the area for additional attackers, Ralbarr checks on the Mon Calamari; who springs to his feet.





I’m alive!” Freelo exclaims. “I’m so happy that I’m not dead!”





Meanwhile, Rykrof and Kala Mly Shundi’s squad has located the Yam.rii scavenger, who like most mornings, is found rummaging through the debris looking for salvageable parts for resale.





“Greetings my friend,” Kala says to the female alien.

“We are looking for the Quarren, Tessor. We have intelligence suggesting that if we find him, we can help rid this planet of the terrorist organization, Badoo Corba.”






“A Quarren you seek? Search the abandoned warehouse that is located south of the pumping station,” she says in a chirpy voice.





“I have witnessed many creatures entering the warehouse lately… a Quarren, a Twi’lek, a young human female, and… others,” she squeaks.

“But be careful. The terrorists have far greater numbers than you have in your party…”






“You have our gratitude,” Kala Mly Shundi says.

“Finding this traitor will help the Republic liberate this planet from both the droid army and the insurgency. No longer will this Quarren bring trouble to Kobridor.”






Less than one hour later, Rykrof’s group locates the warehouse specified by the Yam’rii informant.





“This is it,” Rykrof tells the group.

“Be ready for anything,” he advises Captain Andar.






Once inside, the group finds themselves in an eerily lit corridor.





The group then cautiously explores the building…





…and immediately comes across what appears to be their intended target.

“Something’s not right here,” Rykrof says as Captain Andar approaches the Quarren.






Captain Andar then spins around the chair of the alien…





…whose lifeless corpse falls to the floor!





A cold sweat breaks out throughout Rykrof’s body as Kala turns towards Rykrof.

“This is a trap,” the Jedi tells him. “The Badoo Corba knew we were coming.”






Suddenly the data monitor on the workstation chimes to life…





…revealing the image of a young woman lying in an alleyway.





As he views the screen, a sickness comes over Rykrof unlike any he has ever felt… more powerful than the culmination of every fear he has previously experienced in his life.

“It’s your wife,” Kala says in disbelief.






“I present a welcoming gift to you for visiting Kobridor!” an evil voice laughs as the screen displays the body of Alyssa Enloe.

“In exchange for her life, the Badoo Corba offers to take her husband into custody. When we arrive to pick him up at your present location, Rykrof Enloe will be alone and unarmed.”






“She is in the central district just south of what remains of Ramar Bank,” the cruel voice hisses, revealing the hideous face of a Twi’lek.

“In exactly 15 minutes my snipers will implode her beautiful skull. You have until that time to find and rescue her. The Jedi must accompany your clone troopers but I suggest you leave now. Any attempts at trickery and she will be promptly terminated.”






“Rykrof, I will stay here with you,” Kala Mly Shundi says solemnly.

“No, we have no time to discuss this. Do exactly as they say… this is no bluff; they’ll kill her,” Rykrof says sternly.






“Find my wife and get her off this rock. And promise me you’ll protect her… and if my son is still alive, you will see to it that he is safe,” he says.

Torn with emotion, Kala puts his hand on his friend’s shoulder.

“May the Force be with you,” he whispers.






Rykrof then stares as the terminal, wondering how the Badoo Corba managed to abduct Alyssa from their home on Naboo and if their son has been captured as well.





Minutes later, Master Shundi’s team locates Alyssa and helps the stumbling woman to her feet.





“Are you alright?” Captain Andar asks her.

“I …I think so,” she says slowly. “They must have …drugged me.”






“They have her,” Badoo Corba terrorist Judiss observes from a distance. “We must leave immediately.”





“Not without activating the droids,” Troffar the Terrible orders him.





A pair of Badoo Corba assault droids then open fire from a high vantage point…





…striking into the rescue team!





A third clone falls before the group is able to react to the surprise attack.





The remaining members of the team then return heavy fire…





…destroying both droids before either one can inflict any more casualties on the group!





“All clear,” heavy gunner JT-44 reports after scanning for more enemies.





“What’s going on?” Alyssa cries. “Where’s my husband?

“We must first get you to safety,” Kala tells her. “I will then explain everything.”






Back at the warehouse, Rykrof finds himself face to face with the new leader of the Badoo Corba.





You fool!” the Twi’lek from the data monitor screams, brandishing a blaster against Rykrof’s chest.

“My brother may have underestimated the Republic, but the Badoo Corba will now become more powerful than ever!”






Brother?” Rykrof asks in shock. “Your poor mother had to put up with two of you?”





Now you know who you are dealing with; I am Mubaas, Minister of the Fuuda Tribe!

“This day marks a new beginning for the Badoo Corba! The Republic will meet our demands to leave the Outer Rim territories, or I will teach you the true meaning of pain and suffering!”






“Nothing you do to me will help you,” Rykrof says.

.“You are as big of a fool as your brother was. Your message of hate will never inspire people to follow your cause.”






“Fool, you know nothing of the Badoo Corba!” Mubaas hisses.





As the trio of terrorists begin to escort Rykrof out of the warehouse, Rykrof demands to know if his family is safe.

Your family?” Zeedo Chissis asks. “Soon your family will be the least of your concerns.”






“I’ve been looking forward to this, Commander…” the Rodian laughs.





“…for a very long time!”

Mubaas then holds down Rykrof’s head as Zeedo forcefully slams the butt of his rifle into Rykrof’s chin, shattering bone.






The terrorists quickly evacuate the planet, taking their new captive with them.





Meanwhile, the main Republic force has taken over the Separatist position…





…turning certain defeat into victory.





As the battle concludes, Master Shaak Ti completes the destruction of the enemy force by smashing the final droid into a duracrete wall.





Feeling pain throughout her exhausted body, the Jedi is able to call upon the Force to regain strength as a clone officer reports to her.

“All droids in this sector have been eliminated,” he says.






“Heavy losses on both sides,” she laments. “But a much needed victory. Let’s hope the others were successful in their part.”





Soon after, Freelo attempts in vain to comfort Alyssa Enloe.

“I know you’re thinking today was a bad day,” Freelo tells her. “But you are safe, and so am I.”






“Rykrof’s not,” she snaps at him.

“And I have to get back to my son.”






“Your little tubby will be ok,” Freelo insists as she walks away from him.

“I find myself focusing on what horrible things are happening to your husband!”






“What are we going to do, Ralbarr?” Alyssa asks the mighty Wookiee.





“I can barely understand anything he says,” Freelo tells her.

“Rykrof could always translate for me.”






That evening, Master Shaak Ti approaches a disheartened Jedi Master.

“You did all that you could today Kala,” she tells her friend.






“No, I did not,” he says sadly.

“I failed my closest friend… I should have gone back immediately before they had taken him,” Kala Mly Shundi says, trying to hide his tears.






“I sense great fear and anger in you, Kala. You must cleanse your soul of these dark feelings. Regardless of what you think, you did the right thing,” she says softly.

“But his destiny is out of our control. It always has been. His life is in the hands of the Force.”






“We must now prepare to evacuate this planet before more droids arrive.”

TO BE CONTINUED…




THE ENLOE CHRONICLES
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TWISTED ALLEGIANCE
 
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TRIBULATION
 
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