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 Post subject: RS Plot 16e
PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 5:15 pm 
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Written by Face and Dru over a day or so, with every move done via the RPG system. It took a while, but I feel the action was worth it. PLUS, it shows that every confrontation shouldn't be that easy.

If there's interest, we can post the rolls and choices behind the plot, so people can see what it's like.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Although the assembled Stormtroopers had the drop on them, they weren't expecting their opponents to go on the offensive, and certainly not as quickly as they did.

Face moved first, his countless hours of combat training beating even Dru's legendary reflexes, despite his condition. He reached for the nearest trooper, grabbing his outstretched arm before the Imperial had a chance to aim his blaster. A quick wrenching move, and the hapless Stormtroopers wrist snapped in two. In one fluid motion, Face whipped the trooper's weapon instantly into his throat, eliciting a sickening crunch as the man's windpipe gave way under the excessive force. Continuing his step as naturally as though he was strolling down a country lane, Face came up beside the next soldier and put his elbow solidly in the man's carotid artery, dropping him to the floor. Without pausing, Face diverted his momentum and brought his right leg around, connecting with the helmet of a third trooper. Face muttered a curse under his breath when the soldier failed to drop to the ground.

Dru raised his rifle at lightning speed, even as Face was assaulting the nearest two troopers. Sighting down the rifle at one of the troopers drawing a bead on the whirling Colonel, Dru pulled the trigger. The scarlet bolt of energy burned through the troopers chest armour, causing a burst of flame to briefly ignite the fireproof plastoid and body suit. The trooper went flying back, the impact knocking him off his feet as he crashed into the wall, not dead, but certainly out of the fight for the foreseeable.

Whirling about to face his foes, Theran brought up his "borrowed" rifle and snapped off a shot, sending a bolt of fire into the shoulder of a fourth soldier. The man cried out, but with an effort kept his hand from darting up to cradle the wound. Sensing that the odds were canted distinctly against him, the trooper allowed the momentum of the shot to drop him to the ground before firing off a shot at his attacker. His blast connected with Theran's chest armor, but with a quick twist, the pilot saw the shot glance off, leaving nothing more than a smoldering scar in the white plasteel as a memory of its passing.

The stormtrooper whose head had just been rocked by Face's kick bought up his E11 in one smooth movement, ramming the butt into where his opponents nose should be. However, Face slipped behind the rifle, covering the troopers weapon with his right hand, as his left whipped out once more, aiming for the gap beneath the helmet. The trooper sank his chin, meaning Face's hand connected with the front grill, protecting him once more.

The last trooper surged forward, joining the trooper Face was locking in combat with. Not wanting to shoot so close to his own colleague, he raised his blaster rifle in a similar move, striking the Wraith. Face caught the motion at the last moment, twisting his head almost of the way. The rifle connected, but not with the full force intended, bloodying the Colonels lip, but no more.

His eyes flashing in anger, Face twisted away from the two stormtroopers, as he did so, he extended his right arm to almost connect with one of the trooper's helmet. The trooper flinched, expecting the blow to connect. It didn't. He had just enough time to realise he was now staring at what looked like a stubby, but mean looking blaster pistol, before Face pulled the trigger on the Redemptor. The blast incinerated the troopers helmet, and the first three inches of the front of his head.

In a subtle motion, Dru switched his aim to Face's final assailant, escaping the soldier's notice as he focused on the brutal fighter before him. With a quick click of the trigger, the blaster roared to life, embedding a bolt of energy in the trooper's side.

Face whirled around, as the trooper grunted under the impact of Dru's shot. It had saved his life, but only for a split second. The troopers gun was still pointed right at him. Suddenly, the blurring form of Theran slammed against the trooper, knocking him away from Face and sending both the troooper, and Theran sprawling onto the floor.

Theran's original target, still prone on the floor, twisted about to line up a shot at the Colonel. His E11 shrieked, then his shot met nothing but the durasteel wall as his target fluidly stepped out of his way. The Colonel paused briefly, turning to stare at the trooper, his gaze piercing the troopers opaque eye shield. The trooper flinched as the Redemptor fired once more, almost silently hurling another bolt of condensed energy into his armored gut. Face cursed again as the man still failed to go down.

Following suit, Dru sighted in on the prone Stormtrooper. Another howl of blaster fire sent another bolt, this one in to the man's arm, sending him reeling to one side, grasping at his burning limb in a vain attempt to dull the pain.

Grappling on the floor, Theran managed to get his vibroblade into his hands. He stabbed at the trooper, cursing under his breath as the blade skitted off the armour, slashing deep into the mans biceps, injuring but not finishing the trooper

Even as Theran struggled with his target, Face leapt over the pair and rolled smoothly over the decking, coming up onto one knee mere inches away from the prone and injured trooper. Grasping the troopers helmet with both hands, he jerked it hard to the right. The sickening crunch sound audible through the protective headgear.

Sighting around Theran's struggling form, Dru carefully lined up a shot on Theran's victim, the bolt of fire leaping out and striking the soldier's abdomen. A sadistic glint flashed through Dru's eyes as the man howled in pain and reflexively tried to curl up, but having the practical effect of sitting upright, but having the practical effect of sitting up right, leaving his head exposed out from under the cover of Theran's armor. Dru raised his weapon and silently pulled the trigger, sending a blast through the man's helmet, leaving nothing but the sound of his limp form clattering back against the floor panels to fill the otherwise-silent passageway.

Face shared a look with Dru, before collapsing to the ground from fatigue. Dru managed to take half a step, before sliding down to join him. As Theran stood, surveying the bloody scene, Az finally raised his head from beneath his cowering hands.

"What did I miss?"


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 Post subject: Re: RS Plot 16e
PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 3:02 am 
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In space no one can hear you scream.

But you do make some hilarious facial expression, I thought as I stared at the space outside the door -- a space big enough to contain the entire universe.

My foot hesitated at the brink. The canopy of space with its pinpricks of stars and swathes of galaxies as seen from a planet was big, but it was nothing compared to vast sphere of space as seen from vacuum without the haze of atmosphere or "ground" to give a false perception of scope. And instead of looking up into the firmament, in space you often looked down, as I now was, into the unfathomable depth of infinity.

I edged out, immediately slapping a magnetic disc against the outer hull of the station. Without magnetic boots or a jetpack, the two magnetic discs that I had discovered in the spacesuit locker and had secured to my wrists with a meter of cord were my only means of navigation.

In a slow shuffle, I pressed a button to release the magnetic hold on one disc, moved it a foot, reattached it, and did the same for the other disc. I gradually increased my pace as I literally walked on my hands along the exterior of the station, always aware that prematurely releasing one hold before the other was secured would send me off into space and into a deteriorating orbit of my own.

I audibly gasped as I crawled over the top of the station. The planet we were falling toward was no longer a sphere in space. It now consumed all edges of my vision, the features of every continent standing out in stark detail. It reminded me of my deity-like vision while momentarily dead, yet instead of floating above Keshoc as a carefree spirit, I was plunging uncontrollably toward it, riding on the back of a million-ton space platform. While I was not normally afraid of heights, the sense of vertigo was undeniable, and I had to resist the sudden desire to release my hold and float free from it.

And then I saw something that spurred me back into motion. What was now the nose of the station was showing faint tendrils of fire as it rubbed abrasively against the outer reaches of the upper atmosphere. If we were going to execute an escape from this place, there wasn't much time left.

Fortunately, my destination was not far, and I climbed lower on the hull to stay hidden in the stark shadows cast by Keshoc's sun. And also in my favor, none of the Imperial crewmen on the nearby exterior launch pad were looking for invaders from space as they rushed to prep a Corellian Corvette for takeoff.

Using a dimmed landing beacon as cover, I crawled up onto the outer edge of the landing pad and hid behind it. I scanned the scene for all the potential threats. There were plenty. The landing pad was a flurry of activity, with at least two dozen space-suited Imps getting the transport ready. Through the outline of the blue magcon field protecting the hangar bay from the vacuum of space, I could make out at least two dozen white blobs I assumed were stormtroopers.

If I had ever had a squadron of warriors under my command, now was the time I wanted them the most. I watched the movements of the crewmen and troops, but there was simply no pattern to their movements I could take advantage of, and the landing bay by practice was kept almost devoid of unnecessary objects that could afford me cover. Something about piles of passenger's luggage floating off into space and insufficient compensation from major spaceliners.

Then I realized something rather obvious. I was in a spacesuit. Duh. The only difference between what I was wearing and what all the Imp crewmen were wearing was a small insignia on their chest. If I played it cool, I might just be able to waltz through their front door.

I started out in a casual stride along the magnetized deck, but then realizing that anyone moving that slowly under Imperial eye would probably be shot, I broke into a quick trot, matching the movements of the other crewmen. The spacesuit's minor shield generator allowed me through the magcon field, but I instinctively slowed my pace as I came upon the stormtroopers. I forced myself not to look at them, all the while wanting to see if there were looking at me.

Passing through the ready room doors, I let out a huge sigh of relief. I had just stripped off my spacesuit when I realized I was in the wrong room. That was when another spacesuited crewmember stepped into the ready room and pulled off her helmet.

"Excuse me, I--" she started to say, but her eyes widened as she recognized my face.

I threw my wadded up spacesuit at her. She fell back against the lockers, flailing to get the suit off her head. I grabbed the holdout blaster off my thigh holster, flicked it to stun, and fired before she could say another word. She slid down the lockers and sat awkwardly on the floor.

Picking her up, I stuck her into a storage room and closed the door. She'd be back on her feet in ten minutes, but I'd be long gone by then. Never like killing a lady if I can avoid it.

I slipped into a side passage to avoid the main crowd heading toward the hangar bay and moved as quickly away from there as I could. The public announcement I had heard earlier about the "Republic saboteurs" and getting everyone to the transport had confirmed my suspicious. This station was going boom in much closer to 20 minutes than 20 hours. COMPNOR had drastically sped up the timeline, and it wasn't working in our favor.

I headed back in the direction I had seen Face in my vision, a few levels down. I had been forced to take the most roundabout way possible to get there, and looking at my wrist chronometer...

I stopped in my tracks. More time had passed than I'd realized. We were about to cross into hour five of the siege. Tyria, Deven, Kai, and Piggy should have already gotten to Face and possibly the others by now, unless they were on the move, too. They'd probably be headed to the Sacul, now that time was almost up, and would be hoping I'd show up shortly. I altered my course, intending to intercept them.

With most of the activity concentrated around the hangar bay, my movements through the station were fast, and it wasn't long before I reached what I figured to be the halfway point between the Sacul and where I'd seen Face in my vision. I stopped to take a breath, then carefully peered around a corner...

...and got smacked in the face by a leku.

There was a stifled shriek, and something metallic connected with my head. Stars exploded in my vision, far brighter than the ones I'd seen outside, and I dropped to the floor like a dying tauntaun in a snowstorm.

I looked up blurrily to see far too many Tyrias, Devans, Kais, and Piggys looking down at me. The Kais were still clutching a blaster in their hands like a club.

"Geez," I groaned, "is that the way you treat a guy who was dead an hour ago?"

"What took you so long?! I told you to take 20-30 minutes to recover, not an hour!"

"Actually, I just gave myself 10, but I took the scenic route. Space is nice this time of year."

Piggy reached down and helped me to my feet.

"Thanks," I said, watching my vision clear. "Where are the others?"

Kai jerked her head toward the intersecting corridor. "Judging by the ridiculous amount of blasterfire coming from that way, Face is just around the bend. Let's hope he's not alone. I'm done with this place."


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 Post subject: Re: RS Plot 16e
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 12:46 am 
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From the mixed up files of Ms. Red and Mr. Halley.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As soon as she had been granted permission Red took off, not even giving Drake a split second of waiting time.

She had to, or she might have just completely lost it.

She had immediately taken a sharp turn and headed through a door that led to on of the smaller, parallel access halls that bordered the main thoroughfares in the station. She only seemed to notice Drake was behind her because as he caught up, the sliding door hiccuped mid close.

"Oh, he sent you, too? Good."

Drake couldn't help but gawk at the calm, matter of fact manner in which she acknowledged him, especially considering how she had been moments before.

"You're kidding, right? After your take-charge attitude back there, I don't think he could have said no."

Red didn't stop moving as Drake piped up, almost having to jog in order to keep up. "I...I don't know what you mean." She finally came to a stop, a faint grin forming at the sight of a hall access console. Despite her feigned answer, Drake could tell immediately he had hit a chord as her response hiccuped.

She was also avoiding looking at him, her hands flying over the console as she began to flip through screens, looking for something.

Drake pushed. If she could push their commanders, he could push her. "Red. Look at me."

"There has to be something in here that could tell us where Elassar is," she continued flipping through files on the console as if she didn't hear Drake's request at all.

Deciding that helping out his troubled companion outweighed the possibility of her ripping his limbs off like an enraged Wookiee that lost a bet, Drake held his ground and gently placed a hand on Red's shoulder.

"Red, please. Look at me," he repeated.

He felt the same tension that he had felt in her shoulder before when they had failed to find Elassar - thankfully he got to keep his arms as Red sighed and finally turned to look at him, a fairly pained expression having formed during the period she had been focused on the console.

"You probably think I've lost it, don't you?"

"You're not going to win the Jedi merit badge for patience and composure any time soon. But truth be told, I've seen a lot worse."

"I just couldn't....seeing everyone in such bad shape, and all I could think about was how easily I'd gotten off..." Red didn't seem to be able to get her thoughts together anymore, a sigh as she turned back towards the console, although Drake noticed that unlike before she wasn't closing him off like she had before. It seemed she was able to focus better while she was dredging through the console's screens, specifically pulling up different sets of station schematics at a much calmer pace. Pausing on one that seemed to outline the level they were on, she glanced back over her shoulder to him and broke the silence that had formed.

"Elassar saved my life on the first 'mission' I undertook with this group. I know we don't have time, but I don't think I could live with myself if I didn't do everything I could to find him. Not after my whole grand plan to rescue this group by getting caught myself has fallen apart so spectacularly. Same way that it all fell apart on Sekar IV when I thought I could go in and help the team."

Drake gave a soft smile to convey that he understood what his Wraith companion was saying. There were too many times in his life when he left his friends in the dust. It seemed just about every time one of them was in need, flight won out in his fight or flight response.

"We'll find him then," he said. "Just do me one favor next time you insist on going on some damned fool's crusade?"

"What?"

"Ask me if I want to go along before you volunteer me."

"I think I can try to remember that." Managing a smile of her own for the first time in a while, Red paused to review the last screen she had pulled up. "Want to volunteer for a fool's crusade? I found a quarter we had missed back in med bay...."

"A hidden room in a medical bay? What kind of station is this?" After an unamused eyebrow raise from Red, Drake gave a reluctant sigh and nod of confirmation that he was in it for the long haul.

The two retraced their steps back to the medbay, employing skills of stealth whenever possible. After ten minutes of strict silence and a couple overly dramatic somersaults into adjacent doorways and halls, they had yet to run into any opposition. That fact bothered them both, but each kept their thoughts to themselves.

Finally, Red, who was on point, turned to Drake and pointed to a closed door just up the hall to their right. Drake wondered how she knew which room it was without having the schematics of the floor. Then he noticed the carpet in front of the door.

Blood. A whole lot of blood. Barely soaked into the carpet in a long streak leading from the door from who knows where up the corridor. It was pretty fresh as it seemed to shimmer like a shallow pond under the fluorescent lights. It was a sight that under any other circumstance would have been hauntingly beautiful, but in this context was something quite other. Drake's gaze froze for a moment in perplexed horror before Red finally brought him back to attention with another quick hand motion.
Tearing his gaze up, the signal took a moment to interpret. Left.

Red had lost some color from her face, but the fact that there was a clue seemed to have steeled her into a decision. Nodding, Drake lined up on his side as Red took to the right side of the doorway.

Somehow, they both managed to avoid stepping in the blood. Doing so was not the most efficient manner to approach what was now an ancillary infirmary, but it made for a macabre dance as they snaked over and around.

A silent count down on fingers and the door was open, Drake following once again close on Red's heels as they entered the room in the same manner as the one before.

This time, Red managed to step out of his way before coming up short, although Drake barely noticed. Both the Rogue and the Wraith forgot one another at the scene that had greeted them.

Streamers of red ribbons had been drawn along each wall - gentle, curving patterns that drew an observer's eye inward. The symmetry and cleanliness of the lines was almost admirable, especially considering that blood was a fickle medium, prone to running. Each one developing the frame around the Rorschach patterned table in the center of the room, illuminated by a single surgical lamp.

Red almost convinced herself that the center piece of this scene was a chandelier. But that was only because the dark truth that she was staring the severed leg of her teammate, suspended on a meat hook above a blood soaked flimsy on the table below threatened to overwhelm her and what little remained in her stomach.

A few choice expletives came to Drake's mind but all he could muster was the dropping of his jaw in awe at the sight. He looked to his right and caught sight of what looked like a body behind another table. Without thinking, the pilot ran to it, his heart racing, wanting desperately for it to be Elassar, and for him to be alive.

He was wrong on both counts, which left him first relieved, then distraught, and finally revolted. Relieved because it wasn't the Wraith's medic, but a red-headed nurse with a well-placed blaster wound to the forehead. He became distraught because that meant Elassar was still missing. And he became revolted when he noticed the nurse still had both her legs.

Suddenly finding himself crouched before the body, Drake once again had to gather his wits and stood up slowly. He turned back to Red to let her know that the body wasn't that of their friend, unsure if she would find it to be good or bad news. Red had hardly taken two steps in any direction in the time Drake had been down, moving her eyes between the flimsy on the table and the sign of the Imperials' mockery of them hanging from the ceiling.

"What does it say?" he had to ask three times before he got any sign that Red heard him.

"Red. What, does it say?"

A hollow sound materialized as Drake's voice, and Red realized she had somehow taken two steps forward at some point during his repetition of inquiry and lifted the flimsy so she could discern the text. It also then dawned on her that she wasn't actually reading the note but instead staring at the blood that had begun to ooze off of it and creep slowly down the inner edge of her palm and wrist. Swallowing hard, she managed to read the first few lines out loud.

"Please consider this as a deposit on your Devaronian. While you should be thanking us for taking such a worthless piece of ..." Red skipped something, her expression letting Drake know it was some slur not worth repeating, especially based on the sharp crinkle that formed in the flimsy where Red was holding it. "...him, off your hands, your team seems overly attached to him, so we didn't want to leave you without some consolation. Please be assured, we will be treating it, ... him with all the care he deserves."

Red managed to look up from the flimsy, eyes passing Drake and once again drawn to the leg as she murmured, almost instinctively.

"I highly doubt the nurse in the corner removed it...much too crude...." Drake was about to ask how Red knew the woman in the corner was there, let alone a nurse, but decided that would do little to change any of the circumstances of the current situation.

"I think we need to get out of here," he stated bluntly. Certain Red would protest, he continued, "That blood outside the door is pretty fresh but this station isn't going to be on the galactic map much longer. They're not going to let Elassar die on the station. They need him as leverage with us in the future."

It was a weak argument at best, maybe even a bit desperate, even Drake knew. Red didn't say anything at that, and Drake was having the worst time deciphering her mood since they had parted ways with Face, Dru, Theran, and Az. He wasn't worried just for himself, he was genuinely worried for Red as well. Not simply her physical well being, but also her sanity; which seemed to be hanging by the thinnest of threads today.

He walked over to her, putting himself between her and the detached leg.

"You've done all you can, Red. You tried to come back for him. It doesn't always work out like it does in the holos."

Watching and listening as Drake presented his argument, Red carefully began to fold the flimsy, nodding to him as he broke her line of sight with the leg.

"You're absolutely right."

Drake felt sick to his stomach, feeling he once again was listening more to his flight response than his fight, and trying to take a good friend down that path with him to boot. But what choice did he really have?

There will be another chance to find him. Better to survive now and get that second chance.

He tried to give the same soft smile of reassurance he had given Red in the corridor some fifteen minutes before, but cut it short as he thought of one last thing he could do to prove to himself and fate that he would rescue Elassar in the future.

Running over to the deceased nurse again, he lifted her up and hastily took off her white lab coat. Draping it over his shoulder, he went back to Red's position and stood up on the table the flimsy rested on and began unhooking the chain on the ceiling. Once the chain was loose, Drake carefully let the leg down to the floor and jumped off the table, quickly wrapping the leg up on the lab coat.

"Ready to head out, Lieutenant?" he asked, tucking the appendage under his left arm.

The look on Red's face was one of relief that he had seemed to sense the one thing she had on her mind. Had he not taken the initiative to get the leg, Red would have stood up on the table and made an attempt herself, although she had doubted at this point she would have been tall enough to undo the chain. But the brief respite that his action had provided had also allowed her to wrap her brain around their next move.

"Ready. With a detour to the nearest console. I think I know how we can reconnect with Piggy and the others who weren't captured, or at least make sure they're also headed for the Sacul."

"Lead on. Y'know I never did like going to the doctor's..."

_________________
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 Post subject: Re: RS Plot 16e
PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 4:18 am 
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The Minstrel Boy to the war is gone...

"THREE MORE ON THE LEFT!!!" General Horn yelled amidst the smoke billowing through the laser-filled hallway.

"ROGER!" Piggy grunted back, swiveling his repeater rifle on its tiny tripod as he lay on his belly on the floor.

The garmorrean raked the doorways with rapid fire, hitting one trooper in the gut and blowing another trooper's arm right off his body.

In the ranks of death you will find him;

"I got him!" shouted Theran from the doorway on the right side of the corridor he was standing in.

He leaned around the metal door frame with his E-11 and fired.

The third trooper went down with a hole in his neck, grasping at his throat as he went door into the hallway twitching.

His father's sword he hath girded on,

Tyria breathed deeply, clearing her mind as best she could despite the chaos around her.

Hold still. Hold still, she willed her target as she lined him up in her scope's reticule.

She exhaled, and at the moment before the next breath, she pressed the trigger.

And his wild harp slung behind him;"

The trooper at the far end of the hallway went down, dead before he hit the floor.

What the-- flashed across Tyria's mind as a large, metal door slid sideways into the hall propelled by a trooper hunched behind it, yet followed by a much less comic sight.

"E-11! Take cover!" she yelled, ducking behind the cargo box she'd propped her rifle up on.

World of Song!" said the warrior bard,

"TAKE COVER!" Corran repeated the order, flattening himself against the ground as best he could, covered only by the armored bodies and debris littering the floor.

"I hate this type of fighting!" Kai growled to herself as she squeezed her thin body into a narrow alcove, awaiting the onslaught.

The E-11 opened up, sweeping the corridor with deadly light, its lower shots reanimating the fallen stormtroopers as they pummeled into their bodies.

"Tho' all the universe betrays thee,

Betrayed by his sizable bulk, Piggy rolled into Deven's doorway but still took a large piece of shrapnel in the shoulder as a pipe next to him was blown apart.

"Hold still!" said Deven, dropping down and putting both hands on the wound, spurting out blood.

The moment the E-11 stopped to cool, Corran, Tyria, and Kai fired back, but their shots impacted against the turret's makeshift but effective cover.

One sword, at least, thy rights shall guard,

"Medic!" Deven yelled as the gamorrean's blood seeped past his fingers.

"Gotta clear this first!" Corran shouted back. "Toss me a frag!"

"Here!" Deven lobbed a thermal detonator across the hall.

One faithful harp shall praise thee!"

Corran waited as the E-11 opened up against, the blasterfire crawling within inches of his head, pockmarking the floor with burning craters.

"Give me covering fire!" he ordered once the turret fell silent again.

Tyria and Kai obeyed, distracting the gunner as Corran got to his knees, flicked on the kill switch, and threw the detonator.

The Minstrel fell! But the foeman's chain

The fire that blossomed through the E-11 on its side, sending its next shots slicing ineffectively across the ceiling.

"Move forward!" the general bellowed as he saw the gunner and his assistant burning silently on the ground.

Running in a protective crouch, Kai and Corran moved forward as Tyria took over for Deven, allowing him to join his comrades.

Could not bring that proud soul under;

"Friendlies to our right." Kai reported as she peaked around the next corner. "They're pinned down."

"Roger that," Corran replied. "Got a spare blasterpack? I'm out."

"Take these," Deven said, handing him two. "Courtesies of the dead dudes back there."

The harp he lov'd ne'er spoke again,

"Thanks," said Corran. "Cover me again. I'm going to that next doorway."

"Got it, chief. You're clear. GO!"

Instinctively ducking his head, the general sprinted across the way toward cover.

For he tore its chords asunder;

A stray laser slammed into Corran's E-11, making him drop it like a hot spud as he stumbled into the next doorway.

"Kai, please fetch the general another blaster," Deven asked. "He can't seem to keep hold of anything."

The Twi'lek returned with a gun, which she tossed across the way to Corran.

And said "No chains shall sully thee,

The general flashed her a thumbs up, then leaned out from his cover to fire out.

You're clear, he mouthed to Deven.

The pilot nodded and dashed to the next spot of cover past Corran.

Thou soul of love and brav'ry!

"Two on the right!" Kai warned, leaning around the corner and shooting past where Face and his group were camped, battling unseen enemies down another corridor.

Corran picked off one, and Deven and Kai made the other one do a funny dance.

"Let's go!" the general yelled, sprinting forward.

Thy songs were made for the pure and free,

"Thanks for the assist, pal," Face said as Corran slid next to him behind their barricade.

"Left corridor clear," Dru said as his, Az's, and Theran's guns fell silent.

"Glad to help," the general said. "What's your situation?"

They shall never sound in slavery!"

"Giving the Imps sith. You?"

"Tyria's just around the corner, patching up Piggy. I don't think it'll take her long. Shadow's back at our staging ground with Void. We're going to pick them up on the way to the Sacul. Where's Red, Elassar, and Drake?"

"What they're doing is going after Elassar. Where they are is beyond me."

"You should do a better job keeping track of your people," Corran said.

Face looked like he was about to kill him.

"Sorry, man, just joking," the general said, slapping the colonel on the shoulder. "I know you watch out for 'em better than anyone."

Face looked grim. "I don't think any news about Elassar is going to be good."

"Sorry..." Corran trailed off, feeling a weight press against his chest.

Suddenly the station lurched violently.

"That's not good," Deven looked around. "Something hit us."

"A ship?"

"That'd be one heck of a ship. And one heck of a bad pilot."

Theran moved over to a viewpoint.

"It's a ship alright, but it didn't hit us. It's pushing us."

Everyone else ran to the window, and nobody liked the view. Outside the Raven's Nest was pulling away from the landing platform and headed straight for an Imperial Star Destroyer.

"It's pushing us with its tractor beam," Dru confirmed as their side of the station rotated back toward the planet's surface. "They're just accelerated our descent."

"We're out of time."

-------------------------
Lyrcis adapted from "Minstrel Boy (Black Hawk Down Film Version)." By Thomas Moor (1779-1852). Audio version here.

The Minstrel Boy to the war is gone
In the ranks of death you will find him;
His father's sword he hath girded on,
And his wild harp slung behind him;"
Land of Song!" said the warrior bard,
"Tho' all the world betrays thee,
One sword, at least, thy rights shall guard,
One faithful harp shall praise thee!"
The Minstrel fell! But the foeman's chain
Could not bring that proud soul under;
The harp he lov'd ne'er spoke again,
For he tore its chords asunder;
And said "No chains shall sully thee,
Thou soul of love and brav'ry!
Thy songs were made for the pure and free,
They shall never sound in slavery!"


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 Post subject: Re: RS Plot 16e
PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 10:39 am 
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Once more, with feeling! From Halley and Red. (Hope you don't mind that I posted Halley, seemed ready and the group now has no excuse not to work on the finale!)

~~~~~~~~~~~~

"It wasn't all his."

"Huh?"

Drake was surprised when Red finally spoke, having been following after her at a fairly steady clip for some time since they had exited the medical bay.

"The blood, there is no way it was all his....the leg was laser cut, so it cauterized. Plus, if he had bled that much, he'd be dead no matter how much medical intervention they used."

"How..."

"They probably broke into the blood supply for transfusions and smeared that everywhere to build up the level of gore they wanted."

Glancing back at Drake, Red could tell that he was primarily confused as to how she had come to such a conclusion. He was also worried...it was a bit macabre to discuss it so bluntly she knew, but his expression clearly showed he thought the fact that the normally cheery engineer knew anything about blood content of a humanoid body was bothersome.

"Its an old gangster trick...they would do it to pressure cantina owners who owed payments. Get a small appendage that might be from someone they know, then use a whole bunch of nerf blood to smear up their place. Shock tactic."

And a horribly effective one at that, I have to admit Red managed to not mention that specific, personal observation out loud.

"The leg was pretty shocking in and of itself." Drake almost whispered, the weight of the leg he had tucked in the lab coat under his arm becoming all too real at the moment. Red seemed to sense the discomfort, but before she could say anything in return they had come back to the console she had been originally working from. The schematics from the medical bay were still pulled up across the screen.

"Alright, give me two seconds..."

The thought was never completed, as the decking underneath their feet lurched violently. Drake managed to balance himself, hold onto the leg, and grab Red simultaneously so that she didn't smash face first into the console. As they both processed the occurrence, they also began to process that Drake still had his arm wrapped firmly around Red's midsection well after the shake. Red was beginning to turn incredibly red at the ears as she suddenly slipped out of his arm, a murmured "thanks...".

"Um, anyway, give me one second...then..."

Drake couldn't believe the absurdity of the whole situation. " We're holding the leg of a teammate, the station we're on is crashing, and we still have time for chivalry to become awkward...fantastic. "

As Drake was reflecting on his string of growing bad luck, it dawned on him that Red had begun to scroll through an impossibly fast series of schematics, most of which simply looked to him to be lines and dots with boxes attached at various points. The awkward blushing was still at the tips of her ears, but she had the most excited expression he had ever seen, only adding to his earlier sense of the absurd. He risked the question.

"Red...what are you doing, and will it get us back to the group and Sacul?"

A furious nod was given as Red glanced over her shoulder without breaking pace, the screens continuing to fly by. It took a moment for his brain to pace the console, but Drake quickly saw that as Red was typing there would be a brief flash on various parts of one image before it skipped to the next.

"That shaking...I'm willing to bet that was something to do with the large vessel we saw earlier departing. That or COMPNOR initiated a final stage of the crash. In either case, they are likely exiting the station at this point en masse, which means we have an opening to reestablish comm signals."

Drake blinked, his mouth opening but not managing to ask the how before Red was already excitedly answering that for him.

"They were jamming our signal. That requires hardware, which requires monitoring - either on their vessel or the station. They're jumping ship, but the signals are still jammed, that means its on the station. Annnnnd, if they're leaving it means they would have likely hardwired it into the system instead of leaving people to work it, although I wouldn't put it beyond them to expend someone. Even then, if the person knows they're station fodder and is of the caliber they're willing to expend, I don't suspect they'll be keeping a close enough eye on things. And if the jammer is in the system, that means it is attached to a power source."

Red's explanation suddenly clicked for Drake, a grin of his own forming. "Which means it can be overloaded."

"Exactly!" Red was just about dancing, a slow down in the screens she was scrolling through indicating that she felt like she was getting close. "I just have to figure out where it is, isolate the controls for the closest power source, and blow it."

"Well, it needs to be quick, I have the sinking feeling that we just lost 22 hours of our life with that lurch."

As if spurred by Drake's observation, A red flashing suddenly appearing in a box at the top corner of a screen. Red's pace came to a sudden halt and was followed by a very forceful, very pointed press by Red on a single button. The sound of elevator music re-establishing itself in the hallway as the station's internal comm system unjammed was suddenly one of the less irritating sounds either of them had ever heard in their lives. Somewhere, Red knew that there was a sparking jammer, maybe even a COMPNOR agent with electrical burns, and it made her happy.

Clearing her screen, Drake saw Red pull up a code line and enter what looked to be a remote log in sequence.

Somewhere across the station, a datapad in Piggy's uniform began to vibrate and demand attention.

*****

"What is that beeping?" Tyria asked, tending to the wound on Piggy's shoulder. She was in the process of bandaging it as the Gamorrean tried to tenderly keep his injured acromial region hovering in the air. She didn't have any sedative to provide the Gammorean, and the depth of the shrapnel was enough that without proper supplies she had opted to leave it in, bandaging around it.

"It's one of my datapads with a built-in comlink. Could someone take it out of my pocket? I'm a little busy."

Kai gingerly strolled over and reached into Piggy's pant pocket.

"You know it's not every day a Twi'lek who knows how to use a blaster sticks her hand in my pants."

"He's a little out of it from the shock of the injury," Tyria said, clearly concentrating on getting his wound wrapped effectively. Kai gave the statement no mind, although she did wonder how Gammoreans acted on pain killers.

"Piggy's panty datapad. Grand Master of the Universe Kai speaking," she said after flipping the comlink on.

There was the briefest of pauses before the person on the other end responded.

"Kai, it's Red. I'm here with Drake. We just felt a bit of a jolt. Is everyone okay on your end?"

"We're doing a-okay. But this station is pretty darn eager to meet that planet below us. Do you have Elassar in tow?"

"You could say that..." Drake mumbled in the background.

Red was quick to jump on Drake's statement, "That's a negative, Kai. We were unable to locate him. We believe he's with COMPNOR."

"Great job getting the comm back online, Red, m'dear!" Piggy became alert for a second as Tyria moved his shoulder the wrong way. "The music is lovely!"

Tyria gave Kai a concerned look, as Piggy seemed to quiet once more and turn his attention to the growing bandage on his shoulder.

Kai once again gave the statement no mind.

"So, where are you, where are we, and where is the Sacul, oh Red of computer access?"

*****

A couple of minutes later, both parties had their bearings in relation to each other and to the Sacul thanks to Red's handiness with the computer console she was still situated at.

Drake remained at her side on guard though neither of the pilots expected any opposition in their immediate futures.

"Alright, you have the download of the schematic to get back to the Sacul?"

Kai sent a 'Roger!' over the speaker, and glancing at a chrono on the screen corner, Red made the call.

"Well, we've got further to go, so I would say move as best you can and we'll meet you there if we can't catch up. If the commanders are okay with that."

Another 'Roger!' followed by the faint sound of affirmative noises in the background from Face and Corran were enough for Red to cut the connection, but she remembered one last thing before powering down the console. "Oh, Kai - see if you can use my data pad's wireless link to contact the Sacul directly, find out whats going on ahead of you. Also? Don't let Piggy put it back in his...pants."

A snigger from the Twi'lek ended the conversation as the comm shut off. Turning to start heading down the hallway, Red did at least pause to ensure she didn't take off without Drake again. "Ready?"

"Sure am, but how do we know where to go, we don't have a data pad schematic."

Red managed a faint smile as they rounded a corner and she picked up the speed. "You're going to have to trust that my brain can keep a plan memorized for that long."

"Oh...kay."

"Don't worry, I've got a good memory for plans. Also? I can kill you with my brain."

Drake blinked at the serious expression he got from Red as they picked up their pace for a second time, only for her stern expression to lighten into a soft chuckle.

"Jeeesh, its a joke. Lighten up."

"Real funny..."

_________________
"I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person!"


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 Post subject: Re: RS Plot 16e
PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 4:50 pm 
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Written by, in order of geographical proximity to the North Pole, Face, Bowman, Corran, Red, Tyria, and Dru.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


"Ascension guns."

"Check."

"Weapons."

"Check"

"Insanity and wit."

"Plenty to go around, sir."

"Excellent," Corran said. "Now here's the plan. I count three--could be as many as five--stormies on the concourse floor. Shadow, Dru, and I--we're Team Slice 'n Dice--are going to hit the Dockmaster's office in the center. These guys aren't Carida castoffs. I'm sure there'll be more guys waiting for us in the office and stormies up above on the docking ring balcony."

"It's a trap!" Az muttered.

Corran glared at him. "Yes, we know that. Now, there's no way Slice 'n Dice is going to make it to the Dockmaster's office without getting noticed by the troopers above or below even if we go sneaky. So we're going to need a really good distraction. That's where Team Clamor comes in. A few of you will first sneak into the shops closest to our access point on the perimeter of the concourse and turn on all the music and advertising and caf dispensers and anything else that makes noise and lights. But you've got to get cover quickly, because the stormies on the floor and on the balcony will start shooting at you. That's the point. While you're crouched behind Collector's Edition Pez Dispenser dispensers, Slice 'N Dice will get to the office and dispatch the baddies inside. Once they're inside, the third team--Team Runaway Sandcrawler--will use Team Clamor's distraction to enter the concourse and start shooting stormies.

"Now here's the fun part. As Clamor moves to join up with Sandcrawler, Sandcrawler is going to use their acension guns to lift themselves up to the balcony and drop the guns back down to Clamor, who will then drop the guns down for Slice 'n Dice to pick up when they're ready. They need to do all of this while being fired upon, so whoever isn't climbing at the moment needs to be providing cover fire. We could be dealing with up to two full platoons of stormies here--that's 18, Az--so be looking in every direction at once. I just hope to the Force that no more troopers show up, because what we're doing is insane already.

"Sandcrawler and Clamor will then battle their way around the balcony to the hidden entrance of Ziggy's hangar on the far side of the docking ring. By the time they get there, well, we're hoping Slice 'n Dice will have the door open. At that point, Slice 'n Dice is going to have to run like ranats to get to the ascension guns, get up the balcony, and get to the hangar, somehow without getting shot by the remaining stormies. We're hoping Clamor and Sandcrawler will sufficiently distract them by shooting them. Face and Red will have run ahead to the Sacul to get it warmed up. Once Slice 'n Dice arrives, we all get on the Sacul and go on our merry way.

"Team Clamor, you're up. We're right behind you. Let's get this done before the station's hull breaches in the atmosphere."

"Sir!" chimed Theran. "Requesting permission to be on Team Clamor."

"You've got it, pilot."

"I can go with Clamor," Tyria offered, "Climbing isn't my best skill, after all, nor is slicing, so that would make the most sense. But whatever you think is best, Corran."

The General looked over at Face. "Thoughts?"

The Lorridian narrowed his eyes, his still muddled brain moving at lightspeed as he put his legendarily devious mind to the task at hand. "The second they know we're here, we get a ton of heat on us. I think we need to be more subtle. Comms are working, right?"

"Right." Red nodded, still slightly out of breath, having just arrived with Drake, who was still clutching an object that Face didn't want to guess about.

"Good. Dru, Theran, you commed up?"

The typically taciturn pilot nodded a tight smile before shooting a glance at the ex-Imperial. Theran responded in kind.

Face nodded, and blinked a few times as he finished processing the information. "OK. Slice 'n' Dice, get as close to the dockmasters office as you can. Do NOT engage any targets until you're at the location. Once you're getting close, comm Clamour. Theran, Tyr that's your cue to make the noise. Once that happens, hide. If you see targets, then take them down, but do not expose yourselves. If the troops on the balconies zero in on you, you're toast. Take 'em out, and quietly." He shot a glance a Tyria. "That may mean you need to not use the shiny stick just yet."

Tyria clenched her jaw, but nodded in response. "Lightsabers are great to make an impression, but not the stealthiest weapon out there."

"Exactly." Face paused, looking over at the rest of the assembled pilots. "The other issue is, the second we try and climb up on the balcony, we're gonna be spotted, so we need to make them think we're coming up another way. Red?"

"Boss?"

"Can you rig up something that explodes, create a lot of noise, a lot of smoke, and fires blaster bolts?"

The small engineer blinked a couple of times, before nodding. "As long as you don't need the bolts to be dangerous, but just a distraction?"

"Yup."

"Then I can do it. I'll need a load of stuff first though."

"Make a list quickly, and give it to Tyria." He shot his fellow Colonel a look. "When Clamour are making their noise, you get to go shopping."

She flashed a sarcastic smile back at him.

A quick grin in response, and he continued. "Once you've got the decoy made, and Dru's got the door unlocked, we'll throw it up one of the service tubes the opposite end of the concourse to our climbing. We all rendezvous at the climb site, climb up as quickly as we can, blast everything and get through the door. The Sacul's already alerted, and she's started her warm up. Right?"

Red nodded again. "She's as good to go as she can. She starts initializing her main power systems, they'll detect it, and know what hangar we're aiming for."

"OK, so once Dru's unlocked it, she can start the rest of the sequence. By the time we're there, we can board, and get the hell outta here." He glanced around once more, his eyes somehow gauging everyone as he considered the final aspect. "Tyr, you and Theran are together. Drake, you're with Kai. Fan out, and when the signal comes, make noise, but stay hidden." He waited for a series of nods, before continuing. "Deven, you're solo, get to the climbing point and get ready to set it all up."

"Gotcha." Deven shot Tyria a wink. "I'll keep the shiny stick hidden too."

"Piggy, sorry pal, but you're still injured. You'll have to stay here with Void. Once the door's unlocked, make your way to the climbing point as fast as you can carry him."

"Face, I might not be able to climb, especially if I'm carrying Void."

"Sithspit." Face swore, his brain churning once more.

"I can handle that." Tyria chimed in, her expression set. "I can lift Piggy and Void easily enough."

Face shot her a thankful glance. "I'd never have thought of that... thanks!"

She smiled back. "That's because I outrank you."

"Don't push it." Face looked around one final time. "Red, you're with me. I'll watch your back whilst you cobble together the distraction."

Red barely looked up from her datapad where she was furiously scribbling a design together. "Gee, thanks."

"Have I missed anyone?"

Az raised a hand. "Urm.... Me?"

Face sighed. "OK, you're with me where I can keep an eye on you." He flashed a final glance at Corran. Despite the difference in rank, this was his element, and the General knew it. "OK?"

Corran smiled. "Like I'm going to ever correct one of your plans, pal." He glanced at Dru and Shadow. "We ready?"

"Ready." The reply came back in unison.

"Then let's get moving!"

***

Moving quickly but quietly throughout the stalls, Corran, Dru and Shadow glided through the dimly lit concourse. Corran took a moment to admire Shadow's technique, the woman appeared to take her nickname literally. Her slim frame seemed to meld into the sides of the stores, alleys and concourse. She paused for a moment, her hand held still in the air, motioning for her two followers to stop. Corran glanced across at Dru as they stopped briefly, ducking down behind the opening of what looked like a bantha burger stand. The other pilot looked across and shared a quick glance. Despite the tension of the situation, they shared a brief grin. Corran, with his years of CorSec, as well as commando and Jedi training, considered himself pretty stealthy. Dru, with his clandestine background also had sneaking around high on his list of skills, but Shadow was giving them a master class.

Corran leaned over, his mouth mere millimeters from Dru's ear. "I can see how she got her nickname."

Dru smiled, but shook his head. "I agree, but that's not where it's from." His voice was so low, Corran could hardly hear him.

"Where then?"

"Long story involving a class at the Galactic Outdoor Survival School."

"How do you know these things?"

Shadow dropped her hand, and moved off, so quietly that Corran had to double check she'd gone. He looked at Dru again, his smile still in place, this time with a minute smugness.

***

Tyria shrunk back into the shadow of the nearest shop as two stormtroopers walked past. For a moment, one of them turned to look in her direction. Her heart pounded as she calmly reached for her lightsaber, but the trooper turned his head, and moved on. She breathed out a breath she didn't realize she was holding, and then glanced back. Theran was three shops behind her, his head half disappeared inside the shop front. Moments later, he dropped silently to the floor once more, a slight sheen on his face. Tyria's expert eyes could see that he was still in pain from his missing eye, but he was carrying himself well. He threw her a quick nod, indicating that the shop was rigged to turn on at their command. He then froze. The stormtroopers who had just passed were returning!

Shrinking back into the shadows of the booth, Theran bought his borrowed blaster rifle up automatically to sight down his right eye, his left still covered in a makeshift patch. His fingers caressed the trigger, applying a slight pressure. Carefully, he lined up the sights, square over the left eye of the nearest stormtrooper helmet, a grim sense of irony briefly flicking across his conscious thought before he shunted it to one side. He took a silent, shallow breath, and held it. Held it... Held it... The stormtroopers passed. Silently, Theran breathed out, his finger relaxing minutely. He threw a cyclopic glance at Tyria, cocking his head to one side in silent question. Her eyes defocussed slightly, as she sensed the path of the troopers, and then nodded. Returning the nod, Theran picked up his make-shift satchel full of 'acquired' equipment before slipping into the shadows once more, returning to where the others were waiting.

***

"You don't ask for much do you?"

"What do you mean?"

"You ask me to design and build a whole new device with minimal materials, not to mention the slightly increased tension of being shot at, carrying my friends severed leg and dealing with a drugged up CO."

"I'm not drugged up anymore."

"Liar."

"That just proves it."

Red stopped dismantling one of the three blasters she was working on before fixing Face with a glare. "You're just trying to take my mind off the inevitableness of being killed."

"Is it working?"

Red glanced upwards for a moment, considering his words. "No." She turned back to her project, without giving her CO another glance. "But thanks." A few moment passed, as she worked the Xciter chamber from the DL22 which Face had provided. "Why are you here?"

"At the moment, there's nothing else for me to do."

"You could join in scavenging for parts?"

"I wouldn't know what to look for. Besides, the more people out there, the higher likelihood of being spotted."

Red flashed him a brief grin as she stripped apart an actuating module. "The great Face Loran, at a loss?"

"Reviewing plans before a battle is never a loss."

"Smarty pants."

"Just shut up and work."

Red opened her mouth to respond, only to have a satchel dumped into her lap. Her eyes lit up, as she started pouring the contents on to the decking.

***

It was all going perfectly for Team Slice 'n Dice until Corran's jacket snagged on a desk just outside the Dockmaster's office. The desk shifted ever so slightly, hardly making a noise, but the tall mug of steaming caf set too close to the edge lost its gravitational equilibrium and dove overboard. Reacting with reflexes Dru would have sworn only a Jedi with his full faculties in the Force could have managed, Corran caught the mug almost instantly. Unfortunately, he caught it upside down.

"Unnnnggghhh," the general gave the most stifled scream he could manage as the scalding liquid splashed onto his neck and poured down the front of his jacket. Dru winced, and Shadow gave a sympathetic look.

Setting the mug down softly, Corran slid under the desk and slipped off his still-steaming caf-stained jacket. One whiff of that venti grande galixano chai latté as they entered the Dockmaster's office, and the stormie inside would realize he'd left his caf outside and turn around.

As Corran crawled out from beneath the desk, Dru mouthed something and jerked his head.

The Ewok babies cook Gungan stew by the light of the fairy blood moon? The general mouthed back, turning his head but only seeing an advertisement for Roadkill Jaughnni's Bantha Stand -- "Always a unique burger, every time."

Dru shook his head and made a walking motion with his fingers, drew an overly-complex symbol that looked like it could be a combination of at least three rude gestures, then poked himself in the eye.

What?

Get over here!

Corran crawled quietly over to the rest of my team, then looked back to see Theran carrying a sack of parts back to Team Sandcrawler in the corridor outside the concourse.

Gotcha. The general flashed Dru a thumbs-up symbol, but it didn't seem to assuage his frustration.

Shadow and Corran crouched in front of the office door like two felines ready to pounce. Dru reached up and pushed a button, opening the door with a light hiss.

They were inside in a flash. Corran leapt at the closest unhelmeted storm trooper, who was already halfway turned away from his control panel and toward the motion behind him. The general clapped one hand over his mouth threw his other arm around his neck. He twisted, feeling the man's throat, muscles, and spinal cord rubbing uncomfortably against each other. The stormtrooper kicked out, trying to drive his attacker into the wall behind him. Corran dug his heels in and prevented himself from being slammed noisily into the metal office walls. He wrenched the man's powerful neck further as his victim clawed at his arms, scratching into the flesh. Corran leapt upwards, forcing his weight on the bigger man's upper back, and pitching them both forward. The trooper's face contacted with the soft cushion of his office chair, but Corran's weight pressed the rest of his body down toward the floor, snapping the man's neck with the agonizing crack of splitting bone and tearing tendons.

The general stood up with a disgusted look on his face. He hated this sort of combat. It was dirty. He looked over to where Shadow was grappling with the second trooper who was further away from the door and had more time to react. They struggled over the trooper's knife, both their hands occupied with trying to secure the weapon and skewer the other person with it. It was all Shadow could do to hang on, and the trooper was taking advantage of his superior strength by kicking the Wraith very painfully in the knees and shins. Dru stood behind Shadow, blocked from the trooper by her in the tiny office and looking for an opening.

Suddenly Shadow released her grip on the knife and pushed herself backwards, nearly running into Dru. Knife well in hand, the helmetless stormtrooper neither grinned triumphantly nor taunted his attacker. His gaze simply flicked over to the alarm button on the console, just within arm's reach.

It was one of the last thing's he ever saw. A blade flew from Shadow's hand and buried itself in his neck. He fell forward with a gurgle, blood coming out of his neck and mouth. Dru pushed past Shadow and caught him before his armor clattered on the metal floor. He lowered the trooper softly to the floor as his body went limp.

"Why didn't you just start with the knives?" Dru asked.

"Sometimes they scream," Shadow replied darkly, retrieving her knife from the man's neck and wiping it off on another chair cushion. "I think it's your turn now."

Dru looked at the dead trooper half lying on one office chair and the fresh blood glistening on the other.

He moved to the computer terminal to slice into the system and get the Sacul's hangar doors open.

"I guess I'll work standing up."

***

Deven slipped silently around the concourse, his Force senses allowing him to avoid all the patrolling troopers before they would even have a chance at spotting him. The two ascension guns they had somehow acquired were strapped across his back, taped securely so they wouldn't slip and make a noise at the crucial moment. Arriving at the climbing point, Deven look around. It was pretty secluded, but there were still too many lines of sight available to the snipers on the upper level. Reaching out in the Force once more, Deven tugged slightly at one of the nearby advertisement hoardings. Slowly, creaking minutely, the hoarding shifted, blocking the angle of attack from one of the vantage points. Deven nodded to himself. It would have to do. For now.

Stretching out once more, Deven could sense a trooper nearby. He grinned to himself. A little bit of stealth work, and when the time came, he could be right behind the solitary trooper...

***

"A blade for a mag?" Corran asked.

"Sure," Shadow replied, catching the sheathed dagger and tossing the general a blaster pack.

"This is going to be a really fun run once the shooting starts," Corran commented as he slammed the fresh blaster pack home.

Shadow nodded, strapping the knife to her thigh. She glanced over at Dru, who appeared completely absorbed in the task of slicing into the Sacul's hangar bay doors.

"Need any shots, Dru?" Shadow asked.

"Huh? Oh, yeah." Dru unholstered his DL-44 and tossed it on the workstation. "If you have spares. I've been clean out since three corridors back."

"You could have said something."

"Didn't realize until I tried to shoot the stormie who was about to plug you in the back of the head."

"The one who sneezed in his helmet and gave away his position?'

"Ya, gross, and you're one lucky duck."

"What's a duck?"

***

Tyria looked at the row of entertainment machines, robotic caf dispensers, holographic projectors, and technological do-dads on display in the booth she was crouched behind beneath the balcony encircling the concourse. She'd identified the power switches on all--well, most of--the gadgets and managed to turn all the volumes up to max without turning them on yet. It was going to be an auditory assault with enough visual fireworks to draw all the trooper's fire to this point, long enough for the rest of the Rogues and Wraiths to enter the concourse and start climbing to the upper balcony.

The only problem was, that meant all the fire was going to be directed at her. The colonel surveyed the power switches. For a very brief moment she almost wished Janson were here. He could probably assemble a way to switch them all on remotely with just his bubble gum and used dental floss. It would be gross, disgusting, putrid, nasty, and would probably give her nightmares for three weeks just to touch it, but it'd keep her hide from being fried. However, she doubted he even knew what dental floss was.

Instead, she was going to have to run along the line of gadgets, switching them on as quickly as possible before diving behind a desk at the far end. It was a horrendously ugly desk, but it looked like it'd withstand a small star cruiser attack. In fact, it actually reminded her of some of the wares she had seen at the Agamarian Antique Furniture Roadshow in Coruscant. That show had been a mistake. Especially when she had to convince Ailie to not purchase half the lot.

Tyria grimaced. Thinking about Ailie made her think of the rest of the Rogues, wondering if she'd ever see them again. She'd tried to call out to Wedge through the Force, but she was still too weary from her bout with the virus. And besides, she'd never heard of someone with as little sensitivity in the Force as Wedge being able to hear a Jedi's call. The only thing that consoled her was knowing that he wasn't worried out of his mind about her right now. Then again, she wanted him to be worried and thinking about her. If she died in this firefight, she wanted to be on his mind and not have him instead mulling over which pair of rust orange argyle socks to wear today. The argyle socks had been a mistake, too.

Tyria shifted her focus back to the moment. She'd made a last minute change to the plan with Face. Being able to identify the parts more easily, Theran would instead be the one to go "shopping" for all the equipment Red needed to create the distraction that would allow everyone to make it up to the balcony without getting picked off like mites. In the past few minutes, he'd grabbed what he needed and returned to the main group. And now Tyria was waiting for a signal of Slice 'n Dice to start her clamor.

But what's taking them so long? CORRAN?!?!

***

Back in the dockmaster's office, something in Corran's mind twinged.

"Hey, aren't we supposed to signal Tyria when she's supposed to start the distraction?"

"Ya," Dru said, "once I get the hangar doors open."

"Wait, I thought we were supposed to have her do it when we were sneaking out here to give us cover. Well, except, we didn't need it, so that's kind of moot." Shadow shrugged.

"Oh, dang, I think what Shadow said is what Face told us. Except is doesn't make sense. Red wouldn't have had enough time to assemble her device of mass distraction," Corran said.

"Which is why we shouldn't make any noise until the hangar bay doors are open," Dru replied.

"But if they open, the stormies will know right where we're headed and block us. Maybe you're just supposed to signal when you have them unlocked, then open them right before we head there ourselves," Corran suggested.

"Hold on," Shadow interjected. "We saw Theran heading back to Face with all the parts for Red's gizmo. That was supposed to happen during Tyria's distraction. Face must have changed plans without telling us."

"You saw Theran already? When?" Corran asked.

"When we were sneaking to the office. That's what I was trying to tell you," Dru said.

"You mean all that stuff about the fairy blood moon?"

"The what?!"

"Good grief!" Shadow threw up her hands. "Just comm Face and ask what he wants us to do and why the Sith he didn't tell us about a change in plans."

Corran looked sheepish. "Yes...commlink.... About that...."

"Bantha poodoo!" Dru yelled, belying his normally calm exterior, but he was looking at the control console. "Open the hangar bay doors, dangit! Inferior, second-rate control management system. This should have been updated six versions ago!"

"Update it then. I'm sure the IT department will thank you after they figure out how to reassemble their molecules. Shadow, maybe you could sneak back and ask Face what's up."

Shadow gritted her teeth. "I'm trying to avoid that. If I'm spotted, the fighting could start long before Dru has the hangar doors open. At this rate, anyway--no offense, Dru."

"Um, can I take some? Do you realize that trying to slice the doors with this system is like trying to open a bank vault with a nail file?"

Corran turned toward him. "Is it looking like a no-go?"

"Nah. I'm still brilliant, remember? Once I get this system updated in a few minutes, I should be able to at least unlock the doors. But I have the feeling that to actually open them without the force of a dozen Rrowvs pulling on them, I'm going to need to jury-rig the panel on the door itself. That will cause a bit of a delay, and I'll need someone keeping the stormies off my back."

"We can do that," Corran said. "But to the other problem at hand, how are we going to signal Tyria? We could try opening the office door a little and do hand signals."

"Ya, because non-verbal communication works so well in this squadron." Shadow rolled her eyes. "And I think the stormies might notice you waving."

"Well, maybe I could try to reach her with the Force."

"You can still do that?"

"I can try. Or do or do not. Or whatever."

Corran closed his eyes and concentrated with every fiber of his being.

"You look really constipated right now."

"Shush."

Tyria...

***

Even with death looming over her head, Red had to take a moment to stop and admire her work. A chewed up Mousebot had been in the satchel that Theran gave her, the perfect platform for her device. Rather, it had become the device.

Red was a tad unnerved how prominently mousebots had begun to play in her life, from dreams and nightmares to real life. Maybe she felt a connection because she had been able to relate for a long period of her life to the size and insignificant treatment the little creatures received. But no longer.

Turning to jab Face in the leg - not with the sharp end - of a tool she was holding, his gaze was drawn down to see her final product.

From what he saw, it was a mousebot bristling with the parts and components from at least 4 blasters, what appeared to be a small engine for a speed boost to get it into the enemy faster, and a switch in Red's hand. Face could only assume it was direction control combined with an overload, from the looks of a red trigger prominently featured in the center. A last minute explosion, perhaps? It was not as subtle as a real mousebot, but considering how quickly it had been assembled and the pressing need to get the heck out of dodge, Face wasn't about to complain.

"Mousie Chaosbot is ready, sir."

"You named it what, Red?"

"Don't disrespect the Mousie Chaosbot!"

"Colonel," Piggy's double voices interrupted the engineer's huffed reply, "I've been observing the movements of the balcony patrols for the last several minutes. Based on my extrapolation of their probable arrangement, my recollection of the obstructions posed by the buildings on the concourse, and my estimation of -- er, Mousie Chaosbot, sir? -- that is, the device's capabilities, I believe that I have pinpointed the 20-second window per patrol cycle wherein we can anticipate maximal interference with their patterns, thereby heightening confusion and lengthening our projected life expectancy."

"And here I thought you were just gazing out the window listfully," Face deadpanned.

"Indeed sir, that was my original intent. I was... distracted."

Red shook her head. "Piggy, you said you isolated a 20-second window? When is the next one?"

"Approximately 37 seconds from now."

"And the one after that?" Face interjected.

"Er, I don't anticipate another such window prior to the station's imminent collapse." Piggy paused for a beat. "Also worth considering, the efficacy of Red's device should drop by approximately 12.5% for every 10 seconds delay up to the first minute after; after that the curve continues sinusoidally."

Face's gaze shifted to the oddly malformed mousebot. "Dru'll have my head for this if we cut his slicing time short."

"At least your head will still be there for him to have, Bossman." The twinkle in his engineer's eye assured him she was still sane, just desperately clinging to her optimism, which considering her mood earlier was a good sign. That infernal optimism that just never ended, even when death was looming.

It was almost contagious, Face thought, as he turned to give the signal.

***

The dockmaster's office had adopted an eerie calm that wasn't making Dru's work any easier. Across the room, General Horn sat on the ground, deep in concentration. Shadow paced silently, eying the edge of her inactive vibroblade so that Dru thought she must be visually inspecting the weapon's readiness for another kill. Dru, on the other hand, stood over the computer console, alternating commands between the datapad he'd pulled from the desk drawer and the console itself.

"Any luck?" Shadow's voice break the silence, eliciting a protracted yawn from Dru.

"Er, sorry," he managed as the yawn subsided, "Do you want the details, or a half-sentence?"

"I'll take the latter."

"Call it a 'measured yes,' then. I have a program to exploit a few holes in this, but the system is outdated and isn't accepting the right kind of data transfer between the datapad and the console; once the update is done my program should get the job done in a few minutes."

"Hmm? I stopped listening after 'exploit a few holes.'"

"I purport that the first sentence doesn't count."

"I heard the full stop."

A chime from the computer console drew Dru's attention from whatever comeback he might have been preparing, and a hush fell back on the room. Shadow resumed her pacing, only to be interrupted moments later by a noise outside.

"What in the..." the question died on her lips as she moved to the window, hearing before seeing a flurry of blaster fire prompt a swarm of activity from a trooper patrol down a nearby alley. "Dru, I don't know if you're going to get those few minutes you were talking about."

"Merda!" the High Galactic curse slipped past the engineer's tongue, "Vomica ut diabolus filius quod suus turpis saeta!"

As he continued to rant and rave in the old language, Shadow turned her attention to the seated General. "General, if you're alive in there, you'd better get out fast."

As Corran wrenched himself back to the here and now, he screamed one last thing into the void. What is going on?

***

"What did go on...exactly?"

That was the question that continued to resonate long after the fact.

No one was quite sure what followed, and conferring stories did little to ease the dissonance and confusion. In the chaos that followed the deployment of the explosive and confusion between the teams, everyone had somehow made it on the Sacul. All they could really do was recount the facts.

The mousebot had been deployed prematurely, exploding shortly after Dru's tirade began. Tyria had been separated from the group and unable to properly provide a distraction, although she'd felt something that they all figured was an echo of General Horn's scream into the void and managed to return. The firefight that opened up in the ensuing explosion had provided cover and somehow everyone had gotten through the hangar doors and to the Sacul. There had been a close quartered fight on the entrance to the Sacul to hold off the troopers as they then closed her doors.

It had not been grand, and it was barely even survivable.

Tyria had taken a hit to the arm in her rush to rejoin the group, although the doctor put off treating herself to attend to the burns and cuts that almost each crew member of the teams has sustained. No one had gotten out unscathed.

Red had been found unconscious down in the engine room after Sacul had cleared the crashing station, still holding Elassar's leg, having managed to get the engines going in the escape. At some point, she had shattered shoulder that had been caused during the rush to the vessel and in her fall in the engine room had cut open her forehead on a console on her way down.

Dru had also been confined to sick bay once they were clear, having taken a serious shot to the side. He had been the easiest target in the initial firefight as he had continued to work on opening the hangar doors. The injury had also seemed to trigger something residual from his torture, requiring him to be sedated as he had begun to have seizures shortly after staggering onto the Sacul.

No one knew what had happened to Ziggy.

As the Sacul had broken free of the station, they had immediately activated the hyper-drive and jumped, knowing it would be further death to remain and suffer watching its final descent.

There was no destination issued by Face, simply orders to the Sacul to get them to a free piece of space, where they could begin to try and process the events.

The only thing they all could agree on in the coming days as processing began, was that somehow the end of an era had occurred, and their status in the world might never recover.


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