remake? That's correct... and the hardest one to put together yet. Hope you take the time to sit back and read this one, it was by far the most difficult photonovel I've put together. Thanks in advance for any feedback.
While on Dathomir, Rykrof Enloe's clone strike force has fallen victim to the many dangers of the planet, as well as a droid strike force dispatched to eliminate any survivors.
As Rykrof and a small group stranded travelers attempt to find a way off Dathomir, a trio of Separatist battle cruisers loom over the hostile planet.
On the surface, Rykrof's group has discovered a mysterious group of destroyed droids submerged in a shallow swamp.
"These are the same droids that attacked us yesterday," Rykrof comments to Traedon Cusiro, a stranded smuggler who though a chance encounter has joined Rykrof. "What do you make of it?"
"These marks aren’t from animals," Traedon reveals. "Look how clean the cuts are. I'd say we're not the only ones down here running from droids."
"I hope the Badoo Corba aren't back," Freelo says nervously. "But maybe it was the witch that did this?"
"I don't think it was any witch Freelo," Rykrof replies dryly. "We better keep moving."
Meanwhile, Neimoidian General Snodd continues his search for survivors from Rykrof's team.
"Gamma Patrol is still missing Sir," one of his droids informs him.
Although he does not know the fate of the missing unit, he is well aware of the countless dangers in the jungle. Even smugglers have been known to hide on the planet, and there are always the giant beasts that inhabit the area.
"Update Commander Ventress on the situation," he snarls. "In the meantime, keep attempting to open a communication signal with the missing unit," he orders.
As the hours pass on yet another sultry night, Rykrof's group stumbles onto a field of skeletons and decomposing corpses.
"Freelo, get that out of my face," Rykrof gasps in blatant disgust as he attempts to ignore the foul stench from the bodies.
"This look's like a feeding ground," Freelo says thoughtfully while observing an aged skull. "Many carnivorous species will drag their prey to a marked territory before consuming it."
"What's that?" Freelo then says as something catches his eye.
Suddenly, the most horrifying sight Rykrof has ever laid his eyes upon appears.
Carrying the bloody helmet from one of his deceased clone troopers, the hideous being known as the Dark One emerges.
"I told you she's real," Freelo exclaims. "The witch!"
Suddenly the demonic being turns towards the group and roars an obscenity in an unknown language.
"Great job Freelo!" Rykrof yells in disgust.
While Rykrof opens fire on the hideous creature, Freelo runs off in fear.
"Run for your lives," Freelo screams as he scrambles off into the jungle.
"Damnit," Traedon shouts. "Where did she go?"
"Just hold your positions," Rykrof orders. "She's gotta be around here somewhere!"
"Blast this, we've got to get out of here," Briss yells as he suddenly dashes past Traedon.
"Wait, Briss," Rykrof gasps in horror as the young man foolishly attempts to escape into the jungle.
With frightening speed, the creature seemingly appears out of thin air and pounces on Briss!
Knowing they are unable to save their friend, Rykrof and Traedon run for their very lives as the evil witch begins to consume the flesh of her kill...
...tearing Briss to pieces.
Minutes later, the two exhausted comrades stop to catch their breath.
"You ever seen anything like that before?" Traedon wheezes.
"Hell, I've never even heard of anything like that before," Rykrof says in disbelief.
"But Freelo’s out here somewhere," he continues. "...we need to find him."
"The fish took off to save his scales," Traedon argues as his eyes widen. "He’s only slowed us down. He’s useless…"
To Rykrof's surprise, Traedon raises his blaster...
…and fires towards an approaching battle droid!
Rykrof then remembers that the terrible creature is not their only concern as the droid opens fire on the two survivors.
"I don't believe this," Rykrof growls as more droids approach.
"Hands up," another droid orders in a cold voice as it emerges from the jungle.
Rykrof then spins around, blasting the droid to pieces.
"There's too many of them," Traedon yells as the two become surrounded.
Then Rykrof hears the familiar hiss of a lightsaber ignite and deflect a bolt of blaster fire.
Out of nowhere, a figure appears and dismembers one of the droids.
And another droid is quickly destroyed by a second Jedi.
As Rykrof comes to grasp the sudden turn of events, he realizes that the aid has come from an old friend, Jedi Master Kala Mly Shundi.
Rykrof and Traedon watch in awe as Kala Mly Shundi defeats the last of the droids.
"Rykrof Enloe, are you hurt?" Kala asks after securing the field.
"I'm alive, thanks to you," Rykrof exclaims to his friend. "And am I glad to see you!"
"As am I, Commander," the Jedi replies. "But it is not I that you should thank for finding you."
"Never underestimate the loyalty of a Wookiee," Kala then says with a smile as Ralbarr approaches the group.
The mighty Wookiee then picks Rykrof up off his feet; wrapping the commander into his powerful arms in joy for having found his friend alive.
"I'm alright pal, I'm all right," Rykrof wheezes as Ralbarr gleefully squeezes the air out of him.
Young Jedi Knight Kovin Thayle then interrupts the reunion with bad news.
"Master Shundi," he says calmly, "...we have company."
The rest of the group then sees the evil Asajj Ventress approaching.
"Ventress," Shundi says.
"Ralbarr, take Rykrof and his friend to the rescue site. Kovin and I can handle this. This is no place for you Rykrof."
"And this is no place for you, Jedi," Ventress hisses as she ignites her twin lightsabers.
As Rykrof and Traedon follow the mighty Wookiee further into the depths of the jungle, Jedi Master Kala Mly Shundi ignites his weapon, singeing the muggy air.
The two Jedi quickly discover that they have their hands full with the Dark Side advocate; who is much quicker and agile than either of the two Jedi.
"You've given yourself to hate," Kovin tells her as he blocks a deadly strike from Ventress. "Come back to the light before it is too late."
"We must fight together, or we will all die here," Master Shundi then tells Ventress.
"Huh? What are you talking about?" she hisses through her teeth as she turns back to Kala.
"A greater evil approaches," the Jedi responds.
As she tries to understand the Jedi's intentions, a hideous bellow erupts from the adjacent field. "Jeeeediiiiiii..."
the horrible creature cries.
Asajj Ventress leaps at the opportunity to face the abomination; realizing this confrontation
is the true test her master, Count Dooku, has orchestrated for her.
To her shock, the living curse of Dathomir unleashes a terrible inferno of dark side energy into her...
...rendering her unconscious."JEEEEEDIIIIIIII..."
the horrible creature bellows again.
"Slow and easy," Kovin says wisely.
"We'll take her together," Kala then says. "Follow my lead!"
As Kala Mly Shundi attempts to draw the creature's attention for Kovin to sweep in for a side attack, Siriadne effortlessly delivers a burst of Force energy into the powerful Jedi Master; knocking him out of the fight.
Now effectively on his own, Kovin Thayle bravely stands his ground...
...as the Dark One moves in for the kill.
As a new day dawns on Dathomir, an eerie stillness consumes the forest.
Many hours have passes before Kala Mly Shundi awakens with a terrible headache. Looking around, he sees no evidence of Ventress or the abomination...
...but finds the dismembered corpse of his Jedi friend, Kovin.
He then falls to his knees in despair over the carcass of his friend.
But suddenly Kala Mly Shundi senses someone approaching.
To his surprise, he finds a Mon Calamari smiling at him.
"A Jedi," he says with joy. "We’re saved!"
That afternoon, Rykrof, Traedon and Ralbarr reach the rescue site but run into another droid patrol.
"Not again," Rykrof yells as he blasts a droid to shrapnel.
"We can't keep getting out of these entanglements much longer!"
"Wait," Traedon shouts. "Is that what I think it is?"
…Rykrof is astonished as he looks in the sky to see a Republic Gunship descending.
"Angels above us," Rykrof shouts as he narrowly avoids a deadly laser blast.
"Get on board!"
"Rykrof, we’re here to rescue you," Freelo exclaims as he emerges from the heavily armored ship.
"You should have followed me last night," Freelo yells above the blaster fire. "Then we wouldn't have had to look for you all day!"
"Shut up Freelo or you're staying here," Rykrof shouts back at him.
As the ship prepares to take off, more droids join in the fight and reign down on the makeshift landing zone.
"Look, there's a rancor out there," Freelo exclaims as Rykrof fends off more approaching droids.
While the main droid force concentrates on the rancor...
...Kala Mly Shundi fends off the sporadic blaster fire.
As Rykrof and his friends climb towards safety, the droids fire several idle shots into the air...
...and soon bring down the mighty rancor.
After reaching the site of Rykrof's escape, General Snodd contacts Trade Federation Viceroy Nute Gunray.
"My Lord, I regret to inform you that we were unable to prevent the Republic Commander from escaping," General Snodd reports. "I alerted the orbital cruisers to engage them but it was too late."
"This is not good news at all General. Return to Neimoidia immediately," the Viceroy replies. "Leave one cruiser in the Dathomir system to maintain our presence there."
As the transmission ends, Asajj Ventress approaches.
"They have escaped," Snodd informs her. "Count Dooku will not be happy with you over this."
"I suggest you worry about your own skin, General Snodd," Ventress hisses as she ignites her lightsaber.
"Now, prepare my ship. I've had enough of this wretched place."
Meanwhile, Rykrof and the survivors embark on the long journey home.
"I can’t thank you enough for coming for me," Rykrof says to his Jedi friend. "And I'm very sorry about Kovin. From what I had heard about him, he was an honorable Jedi."
"That he was," Kala replies.
"I have no way of knowing for sure, but there could be more survivors from my strike forces still on the planet," Rykrof then tells him.
"But with that creature down there, I don't see how we could send another search team... even if we could get past the Federation cruisers orbiting the planet it would be near impossible," Rykrof says.
"Quit thinking about it. No one will approve the resources to attempt any more rescues like this Rykrof," Kala informs him.
"And the witch on Dathomir should now be the last of your concerns," Kala adds. "You will face a harsh Senate committee when we get back. Many feel the Badoo Corba terrorists escaped only because you delayed the launch of the mission just so you could visit your family on Naboo."
"There is a good chance you will be stripped of command and arrested once we reach Coruscant.""We'll see about that,"
Rykrof says defiantly, firmly grasping a data cylinder he recovered from the abandoned terrorist base on Dathomir...
TO BE CONTINUED...