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 Post subject: Desolation - Part One
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 2:23 pm 
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Desolation - Part One
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

“How far out?”

The dozen figures blurred and then sharpened again as the electrobinoculars struggled to maintain focus in heavy snowfall. The wind was beginning to pick up and further limit the already reduced visibility. “About three hundred meters and...”

A pause. A groan.

“And?”

Lieutenant Brya Jaa'roo lay prone against the slip face of one of the innumerable snow dunes that covered the landscape. Her face buried in a pair of Electrobinoculars, the rest of her buried under a few centimeters of snow, she watched as a pair of 74-Z speeder bikes appeared from behind a hill and turn towards the squad of quickly approaching snowtroopers.

“And two speeder bikes just showed up.”

Bowman Gavin, his own rank of lieutenant more footnote than functional, carefully climbed the short but steep slope from the thin flanking clump of short, spindly trees and eased in close on his squadmate's right just below the crest of the dune. Burying the dark metal barrel of his stolen DLT-20A longblaster in the snow, he flipped the rangefinder and sights on then angled the weapon in the direction Brya was watching. The small readout of green numbers in the sights lit up as the rangefinder locked onto the lead trooper and slowly began ticking down from two-nine-seven.

“Well,” Gavin said just loud enough for his voice to carry the short distance between them. “This certainly turned out to be more complicated than expected.

“Remind me again how this was supposed to be an easy 'in and out' job,” Brya grumbled as she continued to follow the speeders.

“I think it was the unfortunate run-in with the outpost's commander who decided to try and sneak his lady-friend into Axillary Control for some pre-duty nookie that turned our--”

Alarmed at Gavin's sudden silence, Brya's eyes darted back and forth searching for additional threats. Seeing none, her eyebrows knit together in confusion.

But only for a moment.

“If you say what I know you're about to say, I will shoot you myself.”

Gavin bit his lip in wry amusement, resisting the urge to finish the unintentional puerile pun at the Imperial Commander's expense. “Our 'in and out' into a 'run for your lives'.”

The pair watched as both riders and troopers suddenly slowed to a halt as the two groups of snowtroopers intercepted each other. The lead trooper, presumably the squad's sergeant, approached the two riders and began pointing in one direction and then another, laying out what appeared to be a wide pincer maneuver in their general direction.

“Powercells?” Brya asked, a slight level of tension edging into her voice.

“Last two fresh packs loaded; about forty shots each,” Gavin replied, all trace of humor suddenly gone from his. “Your rifle is just between us.”

Brya shut the binoculars off and dropped them down the slope and reached for the other longblaster. Powering up the rifle's onboard systems, she caught a glimpse of Gavin's face from beneath his own camouflaged parka. The Wraith's eyes had gone as cold and icy as the snow swirling around them as he stared down the sights of the rifle in his hands. Gavin had shifted into a frame of emotionless operation, like an assassin droid poised, waiting, calculating the perfect moment to fire. Ever since the two had been reunited aboard the Sacul, after his ordeal with the Dark Side and subsequent severance from the Force, there were times during combat where the Gavin they had known would disappear into this state of mind, replaced by what Red referred to as “'borg mode”. Over time, the instances were less and less frequent, but it still unnerved her and the Jedi members of Wraith Squadron every time it happened.

“If we want to try and take out the speeders and hopefully part of the squad in the explosion, we'll need to do it quickly.” Gavin's flat tone snapped her attention back to the issue at hand. “It looks like the briefing is wrapping up.”

Brya brushed the feeling aside and zeroed in on the left speeder. “I'm assuming we have a plan once they call for reinforcements?”

“I'm hoping Scon received the emergency signal and shows up with the shuttle before those reinforcements show up.”

“And if he's not?”

“I shall be very put out...”

Abscond, Brya's R2-R Series astromech droid, had been assigned the critical duty of piloting and concealing the mission's CX-90 Conductor-class short-haul landing craft after first touching down on the Imperial-controlled world. Had the mission not encountered the difficulties it had, the droid would have been waiting at the rendezvous point another kilometer out. However, due to the necessity of avoiding any suspicious comm transmissions during the mission, the droid had been unaware that the mission had been cut short.

“Two rounds to the respulsor engines at the rear,” Gavin said, flipping the weapon's safety off and curling his finger around the trigger. “I'll take right, you take left. First shot is mine followed by yours half a second later. Ready?”

“Range, two-nine-three,” Brya flipped her safety off and exhaled. Her slow stream of warm breath condensed into a thin vapor as it hit the freezing air. “Here we go.”


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2016 10:29 pm 
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“Command has identified the two intruders as Captain Bowman Gavin of Wraith Squadron and Republic Intelligence Agent NX2214,” Sergeant Banai radioed to other the thirteen troopers. Under normal circumstances, he would have used his helmet's exterior speakers, but in the steadily increasing winds, the sound would have been all but lost. “It's been confirmed they've stolen highly sensitive data and your orders are now to kill on sight! Repeat, kill on sight!”

The Sergeant turned slightly and lifted his rifle across his chest. “Troopers IB-112 and IB-113, you will scout ahead and report back if visual contact has been made! Do not wait for us to engage the targets! The last thing we want is to give the Rebels the opportunity--”

A high-pitched whine suddenly pierced the howl of wind and Banai's back armor erupted in twin flashes of crimson. The Sergeant stiffened and cried out in pain only to have his cry drowned out as one of the speeders exploded violently in a cloud of green and orange.

- - - - - - - - - -

“Kriffing hell!” Gavin cursed as Brya's shots were the only ones to hit their intended target. “Just my luck for the squad-lead to step right into the line of fire.”

“Just his luck too,” Brya snorted, watching the scene through her sights. Relief washed over her; his time submerged had been brief. “Everyone's still down. Think we got them all?”

“Not with the way our luck is today,” he replied, sweeping his sights over where the troopers were once standing. For a moment, he hoped that fortunes might be with them and that all fourteen troopers had been taken out in the explosion. Two seconds later and he was met with disappointment.

“Nope… they're getting back up again. I see eight… nine… ten… ten. Damn, the speeder only took out three of them.”

“Quite the hardy bunch.”

“Eight disappearing behind cover…” Gavin continued with the realtime coverage. “One trying to get the other speeder working again...”

“Doesn't look like he's having much luck.”

Gavin's eyes narrowed as he squeezed the trigger twice again. A muffled boom reported back as the second speeder vanished. “Nine.”

“Alright, I think it's a safe bet that they've reported in with our location,” Brya said, glancing her wrist chronometer.“We've got at least five minutes before reinforcements start showing up. Do we go with the sneak-away-then-run-like-hell plan, the stay-in-this-clump-of-trees-and-hold-out-for-Scon plan, or...”

She turned her head to throw him a patronizing eyebrow arch. “Your hide-in-the-snow-and-hope-they're-too-stupid-to-notice plan?”

“Unless Scon's here with the ship in less than four minutes, the only--”

Gavin's voice stopped again. Slowly pulling back from the rifle's sights, his face shifted from annoyance… to concentration… to recognition… to concern. The hairs on Brya's neck stood on end as he turned to face her and she saw the dread in his eyes.

“We're out of time.”

The sudden whine of engines pierced the wind as a new pair of speeder bikes swung out from the snow drifts to their left and bore down on their entrenchment.

“GET DOWN!” Gavin shouted as they both dove back down the slip face. Half a dozen crimson lances burned through the top of the snow dune as the speeders opened fire. A moment later, both craft speed up the dune and skimmed over the tree cover.

“Where the hell is that droid?!” Brya shouted, quickly righting herself and throwing the hood of her parka back from off her head. The icy wind stung her exposed skin as she lowered the pair of goggles down over her eyes and brought the rifle back up to bear.

“Switching to autofire!” Gavin announced as he did the same. Pulling back a snow-laden branch, he watched as the riders split off and began looping back around. He glanced back over his shoulder and saw Brya at the top of the dune again.

“Our friends suddenly get bolder?” he shouted over as the wind suddenly picked up.

Brya's weapon barked off two sets of three rounds. “Counting nine troopers inbound. We're going to be in a lot of trouble in about two minutes!”

“Forget them! I need you down here!”

A moment later, Brya turned and slid down the slip face.

“What's the plan?” she shouted back as she reached the bottom.

“Those speeders are coming back around for another pass at us!” he said, dropping into a crouch and raising his rifle. “Concentrate your fire on the left rider! Try not to hit the bike and we can use it to get the hell out of here! Empty the clip if you have to!”

“Roger!” she shouted again over the wind. Dropping her eye back to the sights, she squeezing the trigger.


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