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Where Our Intrepid Hero Doesn't Get Away

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"But... I'm not..." Luke took a step back, not at all liking what he was hearing - not that being threatened with death if he failed to do something he didn't know how to do was much better, but this was undisputably worse.

"What you are, dear boy, is the last jedi," Grakkus said, pausing incrementally and narrowed his huge, bulbous eyes slightly. The blue light caught in them, igniting a gleam that that revealed the greed and, darker, more unpleasantly, the desire to possess. "And now you belong to me."

"I think not."

The holocrons clattered to the floor, onto boxes, dark and closed once more as Luke lost his concentration and stumbled around, the Hutt's many hooked legs clattering on the duracrete beside him.

The fleshy thump of a body being thrown onto the floor briefly drew his gaze down, then past the body to the black boots - was that more bodies scattered behind Vader towards the doors and beyond? Patting himself down on pure reflex, there was of course no lightsaber to be found, because the Hutt had it.

Said lightsaber suddenly flew through the air to land in Vader's outstretched palm, and wasn't that a sour deja vu he really didn't need? Swallowing down confusion, anger and a trickle of fear, Luke balled his hands into fists and tried to ignore the cold, dark fire that emanated from the dark lord and filled the storage they were in.

"Take him!" Grakkus bellowed, gesturing to his magna guards as they surged forward. Luke hoped that maybe he could get a chance to get away now - but leaving without his father's lightsaber seemed counter to everything he'd done today - a thought that disappeared in the shock of the floor likewise disappearing underneath his feet.

"Ack---" pulling at the collar of his shirt, the Hutt pulling it tight against his throat, Luke flailed and managed to squirm out of his jacket, but that left Grakkus' grip on the back of his shirt, and Luke swore, trying to reach the hand to bend it loose, "let go!"

Behind them, purple and red arcs were drawn in the air as Vader and the magna guards fought, the towers of boxes around them shuddering as one of the droids was thrown into them, and they were moving so fast and he couldn't get loose---

Metal shrieked, and then snapped in quick, sharp succession and a rattling thump went through him from the Hutt's impact as he landed on the floor from the legs being broken, halting his escape. They stuck out at awkward - dangerous - angles and heedlessly pierced thick, slimy skin and flesh. A sweet, rank smell that was wholly unlike the iron of blood pierced the air along with Grakkus' muffled noises as he landed on the floor and his own artificial legs.

Kicking his own legs, Luke had half a thought that if he twisted around he might have a better shot at freeing himself... Though he ended the attempted motion by pulling his legs up instead, twisting in the air and barely avoiding the half-broken magna guard as it flew past him and slammed into the Hutt instead, then dropped down to the floor, circuitry sparking.

Another shearing noise of metal drew his attention even as Grakkus swore, picked up the magna guard's dropped staff, and slowly started to slither away, leaving a trail of slime mixed with something dark behind him. The last magna guard jerked and twitched unevenly as its limbs twisted around themselves, then were torn out of their sockets and the torso collapsed in a tortured shriek of metal.

The droid was dropped onto the floor and Vader started forward with a sort of furious inevitability that had been lacking in their... meeting (he couldn't really call it a duel, could he?) on Cymoon. It was both frightening and made him angry; had he just not rated this level of seriousness, and why was Vader showing it now?

"Turn around and face me, Hutt. Attempting to claim that boy as your property will be the last thing you ever do." Dark rage dripped from every single word, though why he was so angry Luke had no idea - the Empire used slaves, after all.

"No closer, Lord Vader," Grakkus said, his voice rougher, wetter, now than it'd been when Luke first heard him speak, "why don't you take care of all this, ah... contraband, and I'll just be on my w---" Grakkus choked, the words disappearing in a strained rattle, and Luke grimaced. He tried once again to twist out of the Hutt's grasp, but with the staff being waved wildly around with Grakkus' convulsions, Luke was sure he'd end up speared or cut in half before he ever got to feel floor underneath his feet again.

"Oof---" grunting as said floor came up to meet him as the next jerking convulsion made Grakkus let go of him, Luke caught his breath and rolled away, trying but unable to stifle the shudder at the feeling of slime and who knew what else that was now coating his right side and back. Sure, he'd landed in trash earlier today, but somehow this was worse. "And these were new clothes..."

Glancing over his shoulder, Luke, despite having been involved in the Alliance and the war against the Empire for a good while now, rather wished he hadn't.

Grakkus was in pieces.

His arms, along with pieces of his tail, were twitching on the floor, and there were shallow, blackened cuts all over his torso. Vader seemed to be systematically hacking through the Hutt from the tail up, all the while still choking him.

The Hutt was also still - for now - alive, Luke knew. Not that he seemed to be, his eyes rolled back in their sockets and his tongue convulsing with the rest of him, but, sickeningly, the trace of brilliant life that was the Hutt was still flickering fitfully in the Force, bright against Darth Vader's cold fire.

Shaking his head, Luke wasn't even sure how he was collected enough to have got that much from the Force. Eyeing the dark-armoured and cloaked shape, Luke bit his lip and scowled, wondering if he could risk getting close to snatch the lightsaber... probably not. Could he... grab it with the Force, maybe?

He wasn't sure he was good enough at that, yet. But he couldn't just leave without it.

The muffled death rattle of Grakkus as Vader finally cut off the Hutt's head sliced through Luke's new resolve, and he realised he'd squandered whatever moment of distraction he'd had. The head teetered precariously for a second before it slowly slid off the mass of Grakkus' torso, and Luke quickly looked away.

He couldn't close out the noise of it hitting the duracrete, though.

Trying to breathe shallowly in an attempt to avoid the stink now smothering the air, Luke took a few steps backwards, glancing around the towers of boxes and hoping to find something he could use as a weapon - one of the magna guards' staffs, maybe?

Darth Vader turned around slowly, slicing his lightsaber through the staff at his feet with a nearly negligent slash of the tip of the blade, hanging low as it was. Luke stared, swallowed, and then glowered. Vader stared back, and the moment stretched.

"Opening all of the holocrons at once was impressive."

Blinking at the sudden compliment after almost a minute of uncomfortable, noisy silence, Luke twitched, glanced around again.

"Yeah... thanks." Where was that second staff---

No floor under his feet again and Luke caught sight of the statue he was headed for right before he hit it, tensing up even if it'd be better to try and relax into the impact. Breath driven out of him, Luke was, vaguely, more surprised that hitting the unyielding stone hadn't brought with it a concussion and an aching back as well.

For some reason, his impact against the statue felt very... precise.

He fell to the floor for a second time in quick succession, trying to catch his breath and get to his feet fast enough he might have a fighting chance, but he'd barely gotten his hands under him when the cold enveloped him. Then there were black boots right in front of his face and his arms were yanked up and he supposed this was it and he hadn't been able to avenge his father or Ben---

The cold snap of metal closing jarred Luke out of his sense of impending death, and he looked up, confused.


Past those, an impassive, stark black mask, and Vader's loud, regulated breathing.

"Wha--- ah!"

He met the armoured shoulder with a thump, breath driven from him again, and he hadn't mistaken those lumps that'd been behind Vader when the dark lord had entered; there really were a trail of bodies all the way through the building and out.

"Hey! What's the big idea?"

Vader ignored his yelling, only tightened his grip and lengthened his steps, walking silently until they stepped out of the shadow of the building and the sunlight momentarily blinded Luke.

"Burn it down."

Luke looked up, trying to twist around to see who he was talking to, but he got all the view he could've wanted when Vader started walking again and passed the... the woman and two droids? that had been standing outside. Luke met her startled look, but he could tell there was no use in pleading to her for help even if he wasn't sure exactly why he could tell. He hoped Artoo would be all right...