Although it was his first time working with members of Plagueis, Swil Phift remained calm as he edged out of the shuttle that had brought him and his team aboard the shipyards. Though completely unfamiliar with the men and women that he had shared the shuttle with, he’d quickly found out their names: Reg, a Bothan who also claimed to be a slicer, Tahiri, the Quaestor of House Ajunta Pall, who was providing the team’s muscle, along with Talos, Obsidian, Razor Ragnorhawk, and Sarai Andromeda.
“Right. We’re aboard. Have you a schematic of the shipyards?” Swil questioned, his comlink on a frequency only Kz’set could hear.
“Just give me a minute! I don’t have that many armszzzz!” the Verpine hissed.
Swil rolled his eyes, but the requested schematic appeared on the screen of his datapad before he could even think of a suitable retort.
“By the looks of this, the console we need isn’t far, but I doubt it’ll be easy going,” Phift explained, his finger tracing the route that his team would need to take.
“You worry about the console’s security systems. The rest of us will worry about getting you two there,” Tahiri said, glancing across at Reg and Swil.
“That might be easier said than done,” Talos interrupted, snatching the datapad from Swil’s hands. “If that’s our route, there’s at least three places that the Collective could set up an ambush.”
“That’s what we’re here for,” Tahiri reiterated, tapping the hilt of her lightsaber.
“From what I know about the Collective, they’re trained to deal with Force users. Lightsabers may not be enough…”
“We will suffice,” the Ajunta Pall Quaestor responded. “We will have to,”
Swil was ignoring the ongoing conversation and had already connected his datapad into the door’s locking system.
“I don’t think the door’s even locked…” Reg began, but stopped mid-sentence as he spotted what his colleague was doing.
“Maybe not, but Lord Mimosa-Inahj always said to keep the doors open,” Swil explained.
“Inahj? Do you mean Andrelious?” Talos interjected. “Makes sense, mind. If the doors are all permanently open, we can see what’s coming. No ambushes,”
“Mimosa-Inahj. You don’t forget the Mimosa twice, I assure you of that,” Phift replied matter of factly.
“Please be careful, Mister Phift! The system iszzz detecting your intrusion. I fear that too much tampering will lock me out for good,” Kz’set warned.
Swil shrugged, momentarily forgetting the Verpine couldn’t see him. “Door override complete. Releasing in 3…2…1…”
“Go, go, go!” Tahiri cried, leading the charge herself.
Three enemies, all Liberation Front Partisans, were caught completely by surprise as the Quaestor and her allies moved into the corridor. They were quickly cut down even before they could properly aim their E-11s at the attacking Plagueians.
The two slicers were the last to emerge, keeping their distance as the rest of the team dealt with a few more enemies.
“Can’t you help them?” Reg questioned Swil, eyeing the rifle strapped to his colleague’s back.
“That is a sniper rifle. Excellent for eliminating targets a long way away. Up close, it’s not quite so effective,” Phift explained.
“Come along, you two!” Tahiri ordered, annoyed at how far the computer experts had fallen behind.
“I’d have thought we’d have faced more resistance than this,” Razor commented.
“The enemy’s strength will be focused elsewhere. They probably weren’t expecting us to hit this area at all,” Talos explained.
“Still, even I wasn’t expecting to find it quite this easy. It’s as if the Force itself is helping us,” Tahiri added.
“I can feel it, too,” Sarai replied.
“The real difficulty is going to be getting into the AI system. I’ve spent a lot of time slicing Collective systems. Of course, even the most insane of enemies have bad coding habits,” Swil stated.
“At least we’ll be able to connect easily. The Empire was nothing if not insistent on uniformity. The same kind of data jack on all consoles,” Reg remarked.
As the two slicers continued to discuss their trade, a trio of hairless Humans kitted out in all kinds of cybernetics leapt from a doorway, brandishing Z6 Riot Control Batons. Each of the soldiers picked a target, the saber proof tips of their weapons sparking dangerously as they went on the offensive. Tahiri and Talos made relatively short work of their opponents, but the third seemed to catch Sarai off-guard. Knocking the Miralian to the ground, the soldier almost seemed to smile as he went in for another blow, but his expression was melted away, along with the rest of him, from a full powered shot from Swil’s sniper rifle.
“Wow,” Obsidian croaked.
“That is possibly the shortest shot I’ve ever taken,” Phift grinned as Obsidian helped Sarai to her feet.
“Never mind that now! I can see how close you are to the console! Get me connected!” Kz’set demanded.
Once again led by Tahiri, the group filed into the room ahead. Swil and Reg immediately connected their datapads to the console, their fingers almost a blur as they tapped away.
“Patching you in now, Kz’set. You weren’t wrong about the security on this thing! Whoever programmed this knew what they were doing,” Swil announced.
“Swil. Does this function do what I think it does?” Reg asked, pointing to a particular line of code.
“Stick to basic, please!” Talos complained, completely bamboozled by the code he was watching Swil enter rapidly.
Like having Andrelious here, Swil thought to himself.
“Basically about 90% of the code is designed to allow anyone with the correct password to take control of the entire shipyard. Enter the right code, and you can have the whole place blow up. You getting this, Kz’set?” Reg queried.
“Yeszzzz. It iszzzz most interesting. I will transmit everything we’ve learned to our diplomatic team,” the Verpine replied.