This story is dedicated to Markus who suggested the crossover and helped in the story's development. Enjoy!
Len Targ couldn't believe his luck. On the speeder, he made excellent time crossing the canyon to the precise location of the cave. How fortunate that he now had some help in the form of three very hungry, extremely vicious carnotaurs. The predators would make his job that much easier; they would engage the plant-eaters long enough for Len to dispatch the Jedi. Len calculated the Tasous, given their youth, weren't that experienced in lightsaber combat. And their training wasn't the same as that of other, more seasoned Jedi. Learned from a Holocron left by Ricar Tasou...that isn't the same as learning from a Jedi Master firsthand.
He heard the predators' roar, the swoosh of a lightsaber, and several bellows from what he assumed were the plant-eaters. Getting out his blaster, Len stopped just short of the cave, spotting Marbe Tasou valiantly fending off a carnotaur while three plant-eaters bellowed loudly. That's not much defense; the leaf eaters don't have much by way of natural weapons, so picking them off will be easy.
Len Targ, a master of disguise, dressed in the style of a Naboo star pilot (it helped to blend in the crowd), steadied his gaze on Marbe Tasou. He took aim of his blaster then fired.
Surprisingly, negotiating through the dark cave took less time than Aladar assumed. Perhaps it was that gnawing sensation that his birth mother could be in danger. Already, before he and Xander reached the cave's mouth, Aladar could hear the distinctive roar of carnotaurs coupled with hadrosaur bellows. He and Xander could also hear the swoosh of lightsabers, shouts from Kirel and Master Hox, and another sound they could not readily identify.
By the time they reached the cave's mouth, they saw Kamura hidden in the shadows near the entrance. She was close enough to see what was going on outside but at a safe distance not put herself in immediate danger. R4A9, Master Hox's astromech was there along with the Tasous' R2T7. Apparently Hox ordered the two droids to stay put and keep Kamura out of danger. This Kamura explained as soon as Aladar and Xander arrived.
"Aladar," she said in hushed tones as not wanting the carnotaurs or that bounty hunter to discover her, "I'm sorry my revelation upset you so. I guess I should have told you in private, not in front of the Herd. Bad enough I ran away, but to see you so distraught–"
Aladar smiled, saying, "Look, Kamura. It took me some time to realize why you abandoned your nest. Being away from my own kind for most of my life didn't quite prepare me for what to expect in a similar situation. I learned quickly enough, though. And I'm sorry for the awful things I said. I love you, and I want you and Anakin to stay with us."
R2's beeping brought Kamura back to why she was there in the first place. She hastily explained, "We – Sarama, Marbe, and I – had just made it to the canyon. I was ready to light out on my own, never to return, but they convinced me to stay with you. Just as we turned to head back to the cave, three carnotaurs followed us. We had to run as fast as we could lest the predators overtake us. As soon as we got back here, that man started blasting us. Marbe deflected the bolts with her lightsaber, and Kirel and Hox got here some time later. Mac and Hadron are there; so is..."
It dawned on Aladar just who else was trapped between a bounty hunter and three carnotaurs – Plio.
"She tried to get out of the way, Aladar," said Kamura, "even was on Sarama's back, but she fell off. I don't know where she is. Oh, Aladar, Xander, you guys have to do something! That Len Targ, the bounty hunter, is here to kill Hox and the kids. They can't ward off him and carnotaurs at the same time."
Xander sized up the situation. There were three carnotaurs: One was stared down Mac and Hadron; the other two daring Sarama and Anakin to run, with both dinosaurs bellowing and readying the tail lashes. Mac had his many sharp horns in defense position, while Hadron bellowed to outwit the first carnotaur.
As for their human friends, they had their hands full with warding off Len Targ's blaster bolts. If it wasn't for this bounty hunter, then the Jedi could make quick work of the predators.
"No, it's too much," Xander said. "It's not like last time, when we literally shouted down one carnotaur. But now there are three, plus this Targ guy blasting at everything. We're outnumbered, Aladar. Got any ideas?"
Aladar thought it over. He turned to the droids, asking, "Could you guys distract the carnotaurs long enough so we can help Master Hox and the Tasous?"
R4 bowed and whistled, turning its dome head. Somehow, the dinosaur understood droid language.
Aladar nodded, saying, "Good! Now, I want you to do this..."
Just then, Xander thought of something Hox mentioned that day the Jedi wanted him and Mac to do. Something about that bounty hunter, if he ever showed his face around here. It may be a long shot, even impossible, but time was of the essence. Perhaps the message had already been sent, but still.
"R2," Xander asked, "Do you still have that message? The one Master Hox recorded a few days ago?"
Little R2T7 beeped merrily and began to call up that recording.
"No, no," warned Xander. "Not here. Not now. Just send it, okay? This may our last hope."
"Last hope?," asked a curious Aladar. "What is in that message?"
Xander replied just before he and Aladar joined their friends in the melee, "Our salvation – and the Tasous'."
Copyright @2006 by P.R. Parker. All Rights Reserved.