[Desperate Measures] Team Fire & Ice
The Edrien system, for all its importance, was an almost forgotten place. Consisting of six worlds, each orbiting an isolated glowing star, had been deemed unworthy of colonisation by the Brotherhood; too hostile, barren or simply unimportant to warrant a true occupation. Instead, each of them played a role as one part of an industrial spider-web, feeding the forges of the Iron Navy’s fleets. On two worlds, mining operations tore the lifeblood out from the orbiting asteroids, as automated systems hunted for the precious metals needed for starship construction. On another, vast networks of smelters and forges purified the material, converting it into the ingots which would serve as the building blocks for their engineers. Each played its role, slowly grinding out the raw material demanded by the Brotherhood, hauling it up to the black iron fortress which hung in the uppermost skies of Edrien Prime itself: The system shipyards.
Though small by the standards of most galactic powers, they had produced countless escorts, dozens of cruisers, each flying under the banner of one Grand Master after the next. Yet, the skeletal semi-completed giants which awaited there now were to be its crowning achievement. Each dwarfed the facilities which had been built about them, their iron grey slabs held in place only by a thin network of construction platforms and adjoining operations pods. Even with most of their weaponry missing, with gaps in their armoured plating, there was no denying the power they represented. Like an oceanic predator ensnared within a sailor’s net, each looked barely contained, ready to tear free and sail into the sea of stars at a moment’s notice. On any normal day they would have been swarmed with orbital workers, desperately trying to meet the production demands of the Iron Throne. However, those men had fled, and in their place two armies fought for control.
Dancing about the semi-complete hulks, TIE fighters, X-Wings and other ships fought for supremacy, weaving tight circles about one another as they battled to clear the space surrounding the shipyard. Explosions lit up the void as each side tore into their hated foes, leaving only fragmented clouds of snubfighters in their wake. Yet, the tide was clearly turning. The few hastily positioned defensive turrets positioned across the shipyard were being rapidly silenced, one after the other. Denied both their sheer numbers and room to maneuver about the skeletal framework about the ships, the TIE squadrons were slowly but surely being pushed back. Enough, at least, to allow for the opening the Lotus needed to mount their assault.
Passing through the areas secured by the initial assault, flight of iron grey assault boats powered towards the awaiting Star Destroyers, each bearing the jagged insignia of Clan Taldryan. Barely slowing as they approached their targets, the two groups split apart, as a dozen vessels each headed towards a separate ship. The cruiser which had fired them, the Compulsor, was already pulling away, withdrawing to a distance where it could intercept any reinforcements dispatched to head them off. They had been given all they needed to claim the ships for themselves, and now it was simply down to their troops to finish the job.
The first wave of six shuttles hurtled into the semi-constructed main hangar of the first Star Destroyer, their guidance thrusters lighting up the dim environment as they slammed home. Amid loading racks still absent of their fighter compliment and massed transit elevators absent of the troop formations which would ferry them into battle, each shuttle door slammed onto the metalwork, disgorging their complement of troops. They were a mixed rabble to be sure, of contrasting units and icons from Clans Taldyran and Odan-Urr, some were soldiers through and through, while others carried the equipment of engineering teams.
“Atmospheric fields are still in place,” one of them said, carrying a bulky scanner in one hand “No sign of fluctuations either. With any luck they’ll hold as we leave.”
“Don’t count on it,” another retorted, clad in an oddly decorated set of clone trooper armour “Unless the Iron Navy has made a few upgrades, they’re the first thing to fail once someone punches a hole in these things. Keep your helmets close, and see if you can get the blast doors back online once the engines are up and running. The less areas we have the pressurise, the easier a job we’ll have.”
“You’ve done this before?” another asked, a rugged looking figure distinguished by a set of twin lightsabers and a glinting Mandalorian icon which hung about his neck.
“Not exactly. Most times I’m trying to steal anything of value from ones which exploded; not a whole ship they’ve yet to even christen.”
“Whatever the case, we’ll need to move quickly,” the first said, pocketing the scanner “The engineering deck is two levels above us.”
Hangar, Unnamed Vindicator-class Star Destroyer
35 ABY; 1022 Hours, Local Time
Celevon had transferred into Clan Odan-Urr and been appointed Aedile of House Hoth only a matter of weeks prior. The decision to make the transfer came with the fact that his daughter would not have to hide and could safely live with him, as well as attend schools with many of a similar heritage to her own. Most of his time since had been spent moving his few belongings from one set of temporary lodging to another, learning the faces and names of people he worked with and attending meetings. Naturally, when the call for aid came from Taldryan and the two Clans had joined forces, the Onderonian had been among the first to volunteer their services as members of a boarding party.
The planning phase had thankfully not taken too long. Now, the Assassin was going through another check of his gear whilst ignoring the suspicious, distrustful looks directed toward one of his two companions. For the purpose of this mission, his Jedi Armor had been refinished in a rich cobalt and light silver-gray, the symbol of the Lotus emblazoned on the right shoulder with a silver serpent curled protectively around it, fangs bared to strike. To those that knew the half-Echani, the Aedile appeared to be unaccustomed to the dark hilt of a lightsaber on his belt.
Seated directly to the left of Celevon was a petite redhead female, whose icy blue eyes darted occasionally toward the cockpit. Though she dressed as though she were a mercenary — cargo trousers, black shirt with pieces of armored gauntlets and matching armor from her knees down — the occasional utterance in a foreign tongue revealed her Mandalorian heritage. Aryn “Jade” Erinos was more comfortable behind the controls, but the vessel already had a pilot.
On the former Arconan’s other side was the source of the distrust. The dark auburn hair, pale lavender skin and violet eyes of the Zeltron glanced from Ka Tarvitz to Edgar Drachen and back with what she thought was an innocent smile. Bellatrix Sa’ya had her legs crossed, clad in a set of black and purple robes as she idly flipped the curved hilt of a lightsaber in her left hand. Though she was a Sith, Bellatrix was completely loyal to the Assassin.
The Engineers and soldiers quickly made their way out of the shuttle whilst the Force Users and lone Mandalorian remained behind, disturbed at the lack of a welcoming committee in the form of armed defenders.
Celevon frowned, observing the two he had specifically been assigned to work with for this mission. The first, his Quaestor, wore a simple fitted pair of pants, a shirt and a leather jacket, mismatched lightsaber hilts hanging from either side of his belt — the only jewelry he wore was a gold chain with a pendant of a Mandalorian Clan inscribed into it and a golden ring, featuring a red dragon on a black background. Edgar Drachen was somehow both ruggedly handsome and plain at the same time; light brown hair, brown eyes and slightly tanned skin on a stocky figure of average height.
The kind of person that could easily blend into a crowd and go unnoticed.
Ka Tarvitz, on the other hand, looked every part the warrior. Clad in a set of Clone Trooper armor with a helmet under his arm, Westar M5 Blaster Rifle across his back, a sidearm and lightsaber at his waist. Shoulder length dark hair, going gray in places, his lined face and the exposed cybernetic right eye tells the tale of someone who aged prematurely.
All told, the three of them standing together would probably trigger flashbacks for someone who lived during the Clone Wars.
“Something is… off about this ship,” the half-Echani voiced his concern, drawing the attention of Drachen and Tarvitz. “Can you not sense it? There are very few sentients aboard this vessel, not counting our own people. It’s entirely possible for it to have droids, but even they would have arrived by now.”
Though Edgar gave his newest Aedile a questioning look, he nonetheless took a second and closed his eyes. The Gray Jedi sat silent while he calmly reached out with the Force. He clearly felt the tension, excitement and fear from the men and women around him, but he cleared his mind and reached out further. His senses mind reached across the vastiness of space between him and their destination within the massive vessel and it was there that he did indeed feel something strange.
Due to the distance, the constant noise and movement of the troops around him, Edgar could only make out a few lifeforms on the ship but all of them were experiencing the similar emotions of anticipation for the upcoming battle as the members of his own team. “So they know we are coming,” the Seer mumbled quietly to himself, well-aware that this mission only had a small chance to remain a surprise attack. Just before Drachen lost his connection with lifeforms on the cruiser, he felt another mind, only this one was more assertive and calm. Within an instant, the rest of the minds became more resolved and focused.
“You’re right. Something isn’t right here; I would have expected more of a resistance. I do sense a welcoming party, but it’s not very big and that does concern me,” Edgar commented to Celevon as they walked over to where Ka Tarvitz and Darro Zhen — Knight Commander of the Knight of Allusis — were standing. “What’s the situation, gentlemen? Are all teams accounted for?”
“Yes Sir!” said the Knight Commander. “Every ship arrived without issue and we are in the process of completely securing the hanger. If I may say so, Sir, this doesn’t feel right. We—”
“We’re already aware, Commander,” Drachen cut Zhen off. “I want you to make sure the teams are fully alerted to the situation. I believe there is a party waiting for us, however I’m unsure if it’s a full-blown trap. Either way, we still have a job to do. Ka, what’s the next step from here?”
Tarvitz took a second and turned on a small holoprojector that shined brightly blue with one red dot and two yellow dots. Pointing to the singular red dot, Tarvitz explained what they were looking at. “Sirs, we are here in the main hangar and, as Commander Zhen has stated, that’s pretty much in our control. These other two dots represent the Bridge and the engineering section of the ship. We will need to send teams to both locations if we are to steal this ship. The team heading to the engineering section will have to start the main reactor and all the necessary systems for the ship to move and potentially defend itself. While a smaller bridge team take control of the ship and pilots it out of the dock once it is powered up. Hopefully by the time we clear the dock, the rest of the troops here in the hanger can begin a full sweep of the ship for stowaways. Until that time, they will hold the hangar and the main corridor to support both teams if something goes wrong. Was there anything else you wanted to add, Sir?”
“The only thing I’ll say is to be careful and keep in contact should the situation get out of hand. Celevon, I want you to go with Tarvitz’s team to the engine room while my team will secure the bridge. Contact me as soon as you get the reactor online so we can start powering up the systems. Understood?”
A chorus of affirmatives answered Edgar’s question. As they packed up, the soldiers began filing away, heading towards the hangar doors one group at a time. There were a few private offers of good fortune between the groups as they split off. Tarvitz himself offered a respectful nod to Celevon as the two headed after the mix of Odanite and Taldyran soldiers making for the engineering deck. The unease among each group was evident as they filed out of the armoured blast-doors, weapons at the ready. The soldiers here were strangers at best, and a scant few years ago they would have been bitter enemies, fighting one another in one of the Brotherhood’s many Great Wars. Necessity had forced this alliance, but that hardly meant that they were happy about this situation.
“Out of curiosity,” Tarvitz asked asked as they moved on, the soldiers ahead of them slowly fanning out as they checked room after room with detailed sweeps “Is this sort of thing common in one of the Brotherhood’s wars?”
“Of all the times to ask that, you pick now?” Celevon responded, without turning from the path ahead of them.
“Just thinking about tactics,” Tarvitz admitted with a shrug “Normally the tried and true approach I know to this situation would be to flee the ship or find a way to deny it to the enemy. If you can think of any situations like this from past wars, it could help predict what they’re going to pull. Let’s face it, we all know they’re going to try and get the drop on us at some point.”
The Aedile didn’t answer, but the shift in body language seemed to suggest he agreed with this.
“Nothing exact,” Celevon admitted after a few moments “Certainly nothing where we’ve tried to steal a half finished ship. Good point about your ‘tried and true’ approach though.”
“If we’ve yet to run into them, they’re either fleeing onto the shipyard or trying to make sure we don’t survive stealing this ship. You might want to have the engineers look over the airlocks once we’re clear, or the engines.”
“By your word,” Tarvitz answered, before immediately realising his mistake and sighing “Sorry, force of habit. Yes, sir.”
Celevon gave him a questioning look, but did not press for an answer. As their small group advanced deeper into the semi-constructed Star Destroyer, they came upon more signs of their assault’s effect. Work tools had been discarded in places where they crews had clearly stopped and fled from their duties, while in others there were clear signs of a break interrupted. A radio still playing a Corellian band through a tiny speaker, a mug of caf still steaming propped up against a toolbox; everything seemed to be there, save for the people themselves. Were it not for the sounds of the battle being waged beyond the ship’s hull, of engines passing close enough to quake the superstructure and explosions so close that they sounded like thunder echoing through the metal, the place could have been mistaken as an abandoned ship forgotten to time.
Eventually, after several checks for possible traps and to note potential choke-points on the squad’s map, the detachment eventually emerged within the engineering room. Nothing about any Star Destroyer could be called small, and the area which awaited beyond them was simply monolithic. A trio of gigantic power generators awaited at the room’s centre, raised up to the vast ceiling overhead and joined with the machinery about them through thick power cables. Monitors lined the walls, and save for the dull hum of power on standby, maintaining a basic atmosphere and life support system, the room was as dead as the rest of the ship.
“Sweep the area,” Celevon ordered as the engineers moved in and set to work on the major systems. “Watch for signs of sabotage or tampering. You two, join Tarvitz and guard the main door.”
The half-Echani had almost forgotten what it felt like to be in charge of an operation, even a minor one such as this. And beyond the soldiers, Celevon was out of his depth. With almost no experience whatsoever involving computer systems of any kind, the Onderonian would be of no help to the engineers who were already scrambling to get the ship operational.
“Tarvitz,” the Aedile called out, waiting until the armored figure turned his way before he continued speaking. “I’m going to meditate to focus my senses. It’ll give us another warning system.”
“Very well. We’ll alert you should something come up.”
Nodding, the Assassin sank to the ground in a position one would normally associate with prayer and closed his eyes. The idle chatter and sounds of the engineers tinkering with the massive generators faded into the background as Celevon concentrated and spread his senses. As he briefly touched the minds of the sentients that were not a part of their attack force, a small frown creased his brow as he noticed a disturbing pattern.
He sank within the mind of one of the enemy soldiers, seeking out recent memories. Flashes of images and instructions were revealed to the former Arconan rapidly, making little sense until he threw it all together.
The Onderonian focused on every sense he could recall of his Quaestor, from the appearance to the faint, strange scent that seemed to linger around Edgar until he had honed in on the man himself. If asked later, the Lieutenant Commander of the Joint Task Force Hoth would admit to being amused at Drachen’s alarmed initial response. Then the Gray Jedi calmed when he recognized his Aedile’s presence and returned a sense of query.
‘Someone aboard the ship is using Battle Meditation to rally our living enemies. There is no one near the bridge — there are several squads of droids waiting for you to head this way.’ When Celevon started to disrupt the telepathic link, he noticed the overall movement of the minds under the influence of Battle Meditation. ‘They’re springing the trap as we speak, converging on my location!’
Celevon released his focus and stood, drawing his BR-5010 Slugthrower pistol from the tactical thigh holster. “Prepare yourselves; the enemy is on their way here.”
“Sir, we’ve encountered a problem. Very few of the systems are operational, beyond lighting, life support and autopilot,” the nearest engineer reported. “This entire vessel is a trap.”
The Onderonian frowned, tapping his lip in thought. “Lieutenant, can your people rig the autopilot to leave the docking area and travel toward a specific target area?”
“Yessir. It would take a few minutes to set up. We would need someone on the Bridge to input the coordinates to activate the sequence whilst we set it up so an override won’t work. Any particular target area you have in mind?”
“Set it for the location of the Golan III Defense Station,” Celevon replied with a small smirk.
“What are you planning?” Tarvitz questioned without glancing back at the Aedile, his blaster rifle shouldered and ready to fire upon arrival of the enemy forces.
“Reverse the trap. Since this ship is useless for all purposes from what our people are saying, it will be a large ballistic weapon that will crash into the orbiting station. We go with the plan as it was created, just improvising a bigger boom,” the Assassin answered, making sure he had a live round chambered and a speedloader ready.
Taking a few seconds to watch his former apprentice walk away with his new Aedile, the Hoth Commander sighed and said to himself. “Sorry Tarvitz, no disrespect intended. I know you can handle the job without someone looking over your shoulder, but I have neither the time nor the patience to deal with yet another new Aedile.” He shook his head and then turned his attention to the young captain standing next to him, eagerly awaiting orders.
“Sir! I have planned out the most effective way to the bridge and have assembled just enough men to get up there quickly. I—we are ready to proceed with the mission.”
Looking over the assembled squad of six, himself and the captain included, Edgar barked at the young officer. “Are you kidding me? This is all you thought we would need? Did you not hear any of the briefing? We could be stepping into a trap here and by the looks of it, you have not one slicer on hand. What if we need to override the security protocols?! Get me a dozen soldiers with at least two qualified slicers! NOW!”
The officer was quick to carry out orders. Within five minutes, the team was on the move as they made their way to the turbolifts. Everyone went from calm and joking to wary and plain spooked; not one of them expected to to make it the turbolifts this easily. Expecting them not to work, they still tried the turbolifts and sure enough they roared to life.
Everyone took cover and drew their weapons as the lifts were arriving, every last one of them ready to pounce into action. The Gray Jedi had his lightsaber hilts in either hand, thumbs ready to activate the weapons.
As the doors opened, every member of the team tensed, only to halt as they revealed empty turbolifts.
It took another few seconds before anyone relaxed and, just as the men were walking to the lifts, an almost brilliant idea came from a shocking source.
“Commander Drachen sir… if what you say is true about this being a trap, it would have been expected for them to attack us and they didn’t. Do you think it’s wise to use the lifts? They could be waiting for us on the bridge level, ready to shoot us like fish in a barrel.”
Stopping dead in his tracks, Drachen silently cursed himself for being too hasty. The young mas was right and he had to give the officer some credit as well “You’re quite right, Captain. Smart. I know you studied the maps of this ship more than anyone here, so what is the next best option to get us up there quickly?”
Almost beaming with excitement, the young man stumbled over his words for a second, then calmed down to explain the plan. “We can take the nearby service tunnels — it be a little bit of a walk and some climbing, but it will put on the bridge deck on the portside. If we hustle, we can still be in place within the original timeframe, barring interference.”
“What are you waiting for? You heard the man.” Drachen quickly barked orders to the others as to positioning, then got all of them moving.
The soldiers nodded in understanding and turned to start setting up a defensive position. Moving with such trained efficiency, the Hoth Commander turned and started heading in the direction of the service tunnels. Just then, he reached into his jacket, pulled out a small metal flask and took a long sip from it.
“Here I am again in a situation that I know things are going to go south quick, but hey like I always say, what could possibly go right?” Chuckling at his own morbid sense of humor, Edgar put the flask away as he picked up the pace to catch up with the rear guard.
The trip to the bridge was a physical one — running through tight spaces and up a few ladders carrying gear — but, to Edgar’s surprise and to the credit of Zoya’s workouts, not one of them was too tired when it came to breaking down the door to a completely empty bridge. With alarm bells ringing in all their heads, the slicers were ordered to their posts and got to work while the rest of the soldiers cleared the entire deck.
One of the slicers made a comment about a bad feeling, only to be yelled at by the squad leader for wasting time. At the same time, the Hoth commander felt a presence reach out to him, and it took a moment to recognize that it was his Aedile. Edgar became annoyed at the intrusion upon his mind, but still relaxed enough that his mind opened to the message, making a mental note that the Assassin was a mind-reader. Celevon conveyed that it was a trap and they were under attack. Then the link was suddenly broken.
Fearing the worst, Edgar opened a private comm frequency. “Celevon, the bridge is secure. It was dead empty and this place looks abandoned. How are thin—” a loud explosion and blaster fire cut the commander off mid-sentence.
“We’re under attack, but holding our own. This entire ship was gutted and left as bait for us to take. Someone really screwed the pooch on this one, but we have a plan. I’m having the engineers hardwire the reactor and main engines as an explosive, battering ram. If we can’t use the ship, then I say we give it back to them in proper style!”
Instantly Edgar liked this new guys’ moxie. “Agreed! We—” The Quaestor glanced over at the Captain and heard him relaying rushed orders. “We have a few brief moments and still have access to the ship’s controls. What do you need us to do?”
As soon as the engineering team relayed instructions to the slicers on the bridge, Edgar could hear and sense troops heading their way. When the slicers confirmed that everything was completed, the system was locked with a new password to prevent anyone from changing their new instructions. Drachen turned to his team and ordered them all to the turbolifts. Double timing it to the lifts, he opened his comlink to the team at the base. “Blow the doors and cut the lifts free, we’re repelling down to you. What is your situation?”
“Hairy sir, but don’t worry you will have a safe arrival,” The soldier responded after a moment, the sound of fighting clear in the background. “It’ll be nice to have some backup.”
After feeling the rush of heat and air from the lifts being cut free, Edgar’s team prepared themselves and made the quickest descent they could. Most of them narrowly escaped being shot as they exited the shaft. The team, now back in full force, was able to subdue the small batch of enemy soldiers and droids. It seems like the bulk of the force had traveled up the maintenance tunnels in an attempt to flank them.
Before he got the chance, Tarvitz’s voice crackled over the comlink, “Sir, we are pinned down in the main corridor and it seems the Hangar is under heavy fire as well. We need to get out of here; the ship is set to go mobile in less than ten minutes. You need to get to us now!”
“We just finished with a small welcoming party and heading your way, but we might be bringing friends too.”
“Great…” Celevon’s voice came over sarcastically.
They were not left waiting long for the Iron Legion to arrive. With the characteristic boldness and discipline one would expect of soldiers loyal to the Iron Throne, a squad of seven advanced into the low corridor with weapons at the ready, using the alcoves and support beams as cover while they advanced. The first of them died quickly as they closed in and the Lotus forces opened fire, felling the first two of their number with well placed shots while a third staggered back as he was caught in the chest by a micro-grenade. He fell in two halves. From there on, the Iron Legion had not bothered to hide their presence, nor disguise their obvious tactics.
Checking the counter on his blaster rifle, Tarvitz shouldered it and loosed another volley of shots, catching one of the dark armoured soldiers in the gorget between his armoured plating. The shriek of blaster fire was rising now, increasing from a shriek of rapid bolts to a constant howl as each group tried to force the other back; one relying upon sheer numbers and concentrated fire, while the other resorted to almost anything they had on hand.
“Want to guess how many they’re going to throw at us?” Tarvitz asked as he fired a continual burst towards the largest concentration of soldiers.
“Too many,” Celevon answered. “They have more warm bodies and ammo. Sooner or later they’ll win out, unless Edgar can get here.”
As if to compound this point, the soldier next to him collapsed backwards as he was hit several times, the stench of his burning flesh briefly overriding the acrid smell of ozone. Another soon took his place, backing against the wall but there was little he could do. As effective as the short corridor was at keeping the Legion contained, it limited their own ability to counter their sheer numbers. Pulling back or trying to draw them inside the room would only expose the engineers to enemy gunfire.
At that moment said engineers were racing back and forth between several of the consoles, desperately trying to bring a number of them online while others were coaxed into performing the complex flight predictions. Trying to manage a ship as vast as a Star Destroyer purely from its engineering room was hard enough at the best of times, but a semi-complete borderline derelict while a war was raging right outside was making the task all but impossible.
“I think someone’s bringing up a cannon,” Celevon warned, squinting into the darkness as he crouched down, snapping off a few more shots with his slugthrower pistol. “There’s a lot of heavy equipment down there at any rate.”
Tarvitz risked a look himself, picking out signs of several troopers maneuvering something large into position, one of whom bore the markings of a technical officer. Celevon’s thoughts were confirmed a moment later as the loud boom of cannon fire was added to the mix, punching through the metal above and around them. In most circumstances that would have likely ended the fight there and then, but most battles did not involve Jedi. Reaching out with the Force, Tarvitz grabbed the cannons barrel and twisted it to one side as the gunner opened fire again. The heavy shots blasted through the nearby walls, but more importantly several of the soldiers taking over in front of it. There were several mercifully brief cries of pain as the bolts tore through them, ending in an explosion as several of Celevon’s shots found their mark on the angular power source the cannon had been hooked up to.
“Feel free to start running!” Tarvitz yelled at the soldiers as they were thrown about by the explosion, adding a few shots to emphasise his point. Instead one of them dragged thermal detonator free from his combat webbing, raising it to hurl at the Lotus soldiers.
“Drop it!” he heard Celevon command, voice laden with the power of the Force before the legionary could hurl the weapon. It bounced loudly against the metal floor, and what little remained of the attacking troops were consumed a crimson fireball, leaving little but glowing metal and charred bodies in their wake.
“How’s progress on this going?” Tarvitz yelled back, taking the brief opportunity to reload his weapon.
“Almost finished,” one of the engineers called back. “Secondary thrusters are online, primary engines are at 67% power, and main guidance systems are operational. We just need the bridge to confirm coordinates and set up the collision course.”
“Good enough,” Tarvitz shrugged. “Finish up and get ready to move out; we need to be gone before they recover from that.”
Nine Minutes Remaining
The Onderonian stared at the carnage he caused with a curiously blank expression, the Mandalorian at his side as they ejected the spent cartridges from their slugthrowers and reloaded, taking a moment to mentally calculate how much ammo they had.
“You’re not feeling getting soft on me, are you vod? It was them or us,” Jade murmured.
“Hardly. No, I was actually splitting my concentration between thinking of what to do next and tracking our other team as they make their way here,” Celevon replied, giving the redhead an amused look.
She held up her hands. “What can I say? I surely wasn’t expecting to be told that we were moving and joining the Jedi, so I don’t know what to expect anymore.”
The Aedile chuckled, snapping the cylinder back into place as he focused his senses on their surroundings. An eyebrow quirked as he sensed that one of the victims was still alive; unconscious from the concussive blast, but alive. Turel would probably yell at him later, but it was a workable plan… “Jade, how big of a bang could you set up with five minutes?”
“Depends. You want it mobile or stationary?” The younger woman’s icy blue eyes flitted to the half-Echani.
“I’m going to have it strapped to him. He’s going to walk back to his friends and—”
“I get the idea. I’ve got what we need here… Give me a few,” the redhead said absently, slipping the remaining slugthrower into her right thigh holster as she walked off to grab a few items that survived the blast.
The Onderonian looked amused as he started searching for his other companion. Shaking his head, Celevon searched within for the link that had started to develop. ‘Bella. Come see.’
Within a matter of moments, the Zeltron was at his side, curiously glancing at the charred bodies. “Whatcha need, Cel?”
“That one is still alive. I want you to heal him,” the Assassin pointed at the soldier in question. As Bellatrix started to pout, he quickly added. “Not fully. Just enough so he can walk and still have injuries.”
The Sith tilted her head to the side, slightly confused. Though, as he explained his plan, a wicked smile grew across her lips.
This was going to be fun!
Five Minutes Remaining
Erasi kept her focus on enhancing the resolve and efficiency of the soldiers under her command. She had joined the Inquisitorius several months earlier and had become well-known for her abilities with Battle Meditation. For this task, her mission was simple: Eliminate any members of the Lotus that fell for the bait they had carefully laid.
The Lethan Twi’lek frowned, brushing aside the tingling across her senses. The warning was unnecessary, as she had felt the deaths of those under her control near the Engine Room. She knew the others were returning to the Hangar and fully intended to test her lightsaber skills against the Jedi she felt. One of the mundane soldiers called loudly for a medic, making Erasi twitch; her focus was all that was keeping the legionnaires from being overwhelmed by the enemies within the Hangar itself.
“What happened to your uniform, soldier?”
A gurgle came as a reply, faint to the Twi’lek’s ear cones. As the warning from the Force increased, the sound of the being choking on their own blood turned to raspy chuckles.
Erasi’s emerald gaze snapped open, her focus broken as she turned to see what was going on, senses on full alert.
“They’re coming… for you.”
The Inquisitor noticed too late that a fairly dark aura surrounded the dying soldier. A foreign aura.
The warning was interrupted by a deafening blast as the improvised directional explosives strapped to the soldier’s chest and back were remotely detonated. Thousands of ball bearings flew in all directions, shredding the bodies of those nearby and leaving dents in the durasteel frame of the walls around them. The legionnaire that had been the point of detonation had been practically vaporized.
When the metal balls stopped bouncing around at lethal speeds, several figures stepped out from behind the heavy doors, Lotus fighters running around them to aid their comrades… and to get away from the mad laughter escaping the beautiful Sith.
Edgar Drachen looked highly disturbed as the Mandalorian woman buffed her nails against her chest, proud of the improvised munitions. That wasn’t what had disturbed him, though.
No, he had been disturbed by sensing his new Aedile and Bellatrix rip apart the mind of the surviving enemy soldier. And, were that not bad enough, the Zeltron had proceeded to croon and instruct the mindless enemy to follow them once Jade had strapped the bombs to the… body, for lack of a better description. Then, once they had been within feet of the door, Bellatrix had shut her eyes, the body had given a full shudder then started shambling as though in pain through the door.
“I told you it would work,” the Zeltron sing-songed, practically skipping over the gore beneath their feet as she drew a curved lightsaber hilt from her hip and went to join the fray.
The Hoth Commander turned to his new Second-In-Command, silently demanding an explanation.
“We were on a short time frame… And Bellatrix gets worse if I don’t let her indulge,” Celevon shrugged, sidestepping the shredded remnants of the Inquisitor. “That soldier was already dying anyway. One of the things I did in the process of destroying his mind was disconnected his pain receptors. It was merciful… from a certain point of view.”
Ka Tarvitz looked distinctly unimpressed. “How about we save the idle chatter for when we’re away from the ship that’s about to fly into the Station and explode?”
Drachen took a deep breath, nodding in agreement. “Indeed. This can be discussed later.”
Celevon turned and waved a hand at the door behind them. The large door slid shut behind them, the whine of blaster fire telling all of them how close their other ‘friends’ had been behind their group.
“I vote we leave the giant bomb and rejoin our fleet.”
A Sergeant was waiting for them just beyond the entrance of the Hangar, executing a crisp salute the moment the three of them stepped through. “All objectives completed as ordered, Commander Drachen. We are ready to depart?”
“Indeed so, Sergeant.” The Quaestor pulled out his flask and took another long swig, frowning when only a small amount flowed into his mouth. That would have to be remedied.
“Very well, Sir. If I may say, that was an excellent distraction. Really leaving this wreck of a vessel with a bang.”
Celevon twitched before he could control his reaction, hand moving as though he were about to smack the cheeky Sergeant upside the head before deciding against the action.