Cal wasn’t going to get out of it this time. Trilla was dead, Cere was dead.
He didn't stand a chance against this Darksider, against Darth Vader. All he could do was run, run and not look back.
But he had to try, for Cere. For Trilla.
With a yell, he lunged forward, engaging with their saber with a clash. Their guard was like a durasteel wall, impenetrable. Cal drew back to try again but it was to no avail. He was pushed back with a shove and a push in the Force.
Chilling tendrils took hold of his body and encircled around his neck, lifting him into the air. He couldn’t breathe.
Fear took over as he was pulled towards Vader, forced to hover off the ground and arched over himself to look at them. It was like a horror, clad pitch dark armour and pushing their presence out into the world, a black hole in the Force. Was there anything Cal could even do?
“Submit.” He had to get out, now.
His lungs burned, he was going to die, he didn’t want to die not now that they were so close.
There, he could pull something loose, hopefully, distract them enough to get out.
Cal pulled, willing the Force to help him this once, please. The darkness was like a miasma around him, occluding his senses and casting him into the void. It hurt, it hurt so much.
Vader didn’t even look, casually lifting a hand to stop the projectile.
Cal coughed out as the hold on his throat was released, curling into himself as much as possible as Vader threw him away. He couldn’t help the strangled scream as he flew, skidding across the ground until he finally came to a stop.
He scrambled to his knees, ducking under his own improvised weapon and watched in horror as the floor panels were ripped up and thrown at him in waves.
“We gotta run,” he choked out. BD beeped in response, a high trill of terror. Vader was approaching with slow steps. Run, there was no fight to be had here.
The facility was being torn apart, he couldn’t stop, his legs were burning and his chest was heaving and he couldn’t stop he couldn’t stop.
The turbo-lift was there, leaping from the falling walkway he dropped onto one of the stormtroopers and sliced through him, landing in a rough crouch and swinging his lightsaber as soon as he straightened to redirect the bolt back.
The lift, it wasn’t working. Cal slammed his fist down against the interface, once, twice, cold.
Vader was there, standing, watching him. Their lightsaber ignited in a whoosh, bringing with it the wretched breaths of the creature. Mechanical and cold like the rest of him. Cal slammed again, one last time and finally the doors closed, not a moment too soon.
The lightsaber appeared through the seam of the doors, Cal stumbled, falling down to the ground and slamming against his tailbone. Up, up, up.
The lift began to ascend. Slowly, so slowly. Cal began to pace, tightening and loosening his grip of the saber in his hands repetitively, the warm metal of Master Tapal and Cordova’s, his, lightsaber a small comfort, his kyber sung quietly, it even was cognizant of the Dark around them.
Force, it was so overwhelming.
He was impatient as the turbo-lift doors opened, shoving through the widening gap and setting off through the corridors in a sprint, Vader hadn’t made it up here yet, but Cal could feel their cloying presence in the fringe of his awareness.
“I think we lost him.”
BD responded with a questioning boop, pressing their chassis into the back of his neck.
“I’ll make it.” He smiled, his heart twisting at the thought of the brave Jedi who had sacrificed herself for him. “Cere… I won’t fail you.”
He kept running, almost falling to the floor in relief when Greez and Merrin managed to get back in contact. He had to get the Holocron out of here. It was almost over.
Cal should have expected it, his luck never held.
Vader was here.
The red saber was swung in broad, heavy strikes. Crashing against his hasty guard and pushing him down against the floor. Cal could feel his shoulders shuddering, screaming in pain as Vader pushed down, down, down.
BD moved from his shoulders and lept onto Vader, leg raised high and sparking with electrical energy. BD!
The droid slammed its leg down, shaking Vader free and giving Cal a moment to scramble back, heaving his breath out in relief. But now Vader held BD in their fist, sending fear sinking into his stomach. Not now, not BD.
He held his saber up, pointing towards Vader’s broad torso, he just needed to get a hit, a blow to distract them so he could save BD.
Cal lunged, striking into Vader’s side. It was a shallow victory, the Sith threw him away with a flex of their arm. Sending Cal flying once more.
He landed on his side, momentum keeping him rolling until he came to a stop. His lightsaber, he had dropped it. Cal turned around and reached for its hilt, pulling it towards him with all his might.
It stopped bare inches from him.
Cal looked up with a gasp, seeing Vader pulling at the saber too. The Sith was superior to him strength, the hilt remained shuddering in the air, but Cal knew that his grip on it would not last long.
“Surrender the Holocron.”
“I’ll never give it to you,” He snarled, putting one last push into retrieving his saber.
“We shall see.” Like it was nothing but flimsi in the breeze, his grip was blown away, replaced by those ice-cold tendrils that Cal was all so familiar with. His breath caught at the memory of it around his throat.
The saber slowly spun, igniting in a burst of Force. Cal felt the last dredges of strength leave him, leaving the lightsaber in Vader’s complete control.
He knew what was coming, the orange blade burning the back of his eyes with its intensity. If he looked closer, Cal could almost hear the kyber within the hilt crying out in pain, in fear.
The tip of the blade faced him and there was no pause as it drove into his chest. Cal screamed.
Reloading from last save.