Lobo raced up the stairs, trying to keep pace with Jaxor. He had a feeling these flight of stairs would go on forever, though eventually he reached Jaxor’s destination.
The pair entered into a hallway under repair. The doors to the rooms here, which appear to be commercial in nature, were all removed. Jaxor entered the first doorway on the left and Lobo quickly followed. Inside he first noticed a group of heavily armed men on the near side taking cover at the windows. Some windows were actually absent, instead they had been covered by plastic sheeting which was now lightly blowing in the breeze.
To the far side of the room Lobo noticed another group of armed men filing in from the doorway located there. They were carrying heavy equipment which they started to set up near the window immediately. The first individual set up a heavy duty tripod and one of his companions immediately attached a long cylindrical shaped housing. It became immediately apparent to Lobo that this was a missile launcher when he noticed the third man loading a missile into the tube.
“So, would you mind telling me what’s going on here?” Lobo nervously asked his friend.
Jaxor stood beside one of the duracreet cores, taking cover, and peered outside through the plastic sheet.
Without looking at his friend Jaxor answered. “Lobo, the galaxy is at war if you haven’t noticed. Quite a lot has happened since the last time we ran together. I see you’re either still bounty hunting or etching out some type of living with your crew. Whatever it is that you’re doing it has no comparison with what is going on in the galaxy. There is a struggle which is greater than all of the sum of our parts. It is a struggle for the freedom of our galaxy, our home."
Through the light wind blowing onto the floor Lobo could hear the familiar noise of a chanting crowd. He walked closer and parted the plastic sheet carefully. Peering out he saw some twenty stories below him a huge crowd had gathered in the capital’s main sprawling plaza. There must have been at least a hundred thousand citizens chanting their protest.
To the left of the plaza there was a great and opulent staircase that led up to what he surmised to be the capitals government building. The plaza itself was surrounded by several arterial grand avenues and enclosed by skyscrapers, similar to the one Lobo was in.
“Not long ago I have made a critical decision in my life.” Jaxor continued. “I have seen to many things Lobo. To many despicable and putrid acts of savagery that I just could no longer ignore. The Empire is not who they purport to be.”
Lobo winced slightly at hearing Jaxor’s dissention of the Empire. He still refuses to believe there is anything wrong with the government that has done no wrong by him.
“So what are you doing here?” Lobo once again insisted for a straight answer, though he felt that he would not like what Jaxor would tell him.
Lobo’s old friend now turned to him and looked him straight in the eyes. “I have joined the Rebellion my friend.”
Lobo gulped uncomfortably. It was worse than he thought. He tried to find the words though was torn at what to say. Here was a friend of his that had literally saved his life. If it wasn’t for Jaxor then Lobo wouldn’t be standing here, three years later, with his old friend.
Though in that time Lobo had developed a strong sense of patriotism for the Empire. He saw them as the new order that will ultimately bring peace across the whole galaxy, that it will tame the quarrelling species which still refuse the rule of man. His immediate thought was to draw his pistol and start shooting though Lobo managed to stay his hand.
Jaxor couldn’t discern his friends thoughts as he looked on for a response. It is possible that the surprise had stumped him. He then broke into a moments laugh.
“Always speechless Lobo. Some things just never change.”
Jaxor’s attention diverted as he was tapped on the shoulder by one of his men. He quickly peered through the plastic sheet onto the plaza below. Lobo followed suit.
The protest below seemed to be in full swing with the voice of the gathered growing ever stronger. Lobo noticed that it became fever pitch in response to the appearance of the Imperial Army on top of the steps of the government building. Must have been a regiment that stretched across the marbled floor. Then, to Lobo’s sudden shock, the army started shooting at the gathered crowed.
Bodies fell in their hundreds as thousands panicked and rushed for the four grand avenues that lead into the plaza. Though they were trapped by the masses of protesters that were yet to realise what was going on, so more fell to the fire of blaster fire.
“It’s started.” Jaxor whispered painfully.
Lobo’s ears now filled with the screams of thousands of people from below. Like the swell of a stormy sea it rose and flooded into the room. The faces of the other men in the room hardened.
“There!” Jaxor shouted and pointed to his men. “Start with that one.”
Lobo followed Jaxor’s pointed finger and saw straight below an AT-ST walker coming out of a side alleyway. It immediately started shooting at the crowd nearby. This time limbs were torn from bodies as they flew at the impact of the explosion from the walkers heavy guns.
“Heavy support!” Jaxor bellowed. “Fire on that target!”
The three men handling the missile moved the tripod closer to the edge. The tripod itself flexed forward giving the gunner a better view to his target and then he fired. The missile whizzed through the air and hit the AT-ST walker on the rooftop. Exploding in a great ball of fire the walker crumbled to the ground.
Then, in unison, heavy and small arms fire bellowed out from the surrounding sky scrapers. The Imperial Army below seemed to be caught under a crossfire. Realising that there is a greater threat than an unarmed populace, the imperials broke rank and looked for whatever cover they could find and started returning fire.
One of the men scampered over to Jaxor and leaned over so he could better hear. The gun fire from below and from within the room had taken dominance over any sound.
“Sir, it is time for you to leave. We can take it from here. The men know their orders. I know what we need to do.”
Jaxor turned to him and clasped the man on his shoulder. Giving him a warm smile Jaxor responded. “May the force be with you my friend.” He turned to Jaxor and nodded with his head towards the doorway.
“Take me to your ship friend. It’s time for us to go”
With a sense of relief Lobo moved quickly to the exit. He stopped for a moment and looked back at the men fighting with the imperials below. He still struggled to make anything of it though shoved all of that aside. He had a debt to pay and taking his friend off this planet may just very well be the first step on the road to settlement.
With that Lobo stepped through the exit and rushed for the stairwell, eager to place everything that transpired into the past. Hopefully something that he could forget, just like all the other things he saw and………….. forgot.