Erinyes extracted her Inquisitorius datapad from a belt pouch and waved for the others to gather around a nearby table.
“Here’s the layout of the prison. We’re at the central maintenance facility. Block Dorn is where the Collective prisoners are being held. If we want to keep them from escaping, we’re going to have to make sure they stay contained.”
“How are they planning to leave Tenixir?” Tasha asked.
“There was nothing about that in the intel from Idris. I asked Sparky to look it over in case I missed anything, but–” Erinyes’ wrist comlink beeped, and her expression brightened as she read the message that glowed across the screen. “Aha. The Penumbra picked up energy readings from a flight of transports on the roof of Block Dorn. Gamma-class, it looks like.”
Ciara nodded thoughtfully. “Those are our targets, then. It’s about time someone put some effort into this battle instead of letting the Collective make us look like idiots. Five minutes with one of their scientists will fix that.” The disdain in the Sadowan Warlord’s voice was palpable.
“If we even bother,” Ronovi scoffed. “Erinyes’ ship could make short work of those transports.”
“Not really. Assault transports are designed to capture and board corvettes, and they can carry enough troops to overwhelm the crew. I’m not risking the Penumbra like that, especially when our job is technically to stop the prison riot, not prevent the Collective from escaping,” Erinyes said.
“Then we’ll have to blow the transports up before they lift off,” Tasha said. “What’s the easiest way to do that?”
“The main issue is getting into Block Dorn and up to the roof without being seen. There are walkways that run on top of the walls between the courtyards, but the roof of the building is higher than that, and there’s no cover. You know, like it was designed for security cameras to be able to keep an eye on what was happening.” Erinyes retrieved her flask of tsiraki from her belt and took a swig.
“My crew and I can deal with that,” Hawee offered, perched on a nearby exam bed. “We can slice the camera controls the same way as the comm system. Just get us to the computer core.”
“You aren’t going anywhere except back to your cells,” Erinyes said over her shoulder, replacing her flask.
Hawee’s eyes widened as she pushed herself to a standing position. “What do you mean, back to our cells? We helped you! We warned the Brotherhood that this attack was happening!”
Erinyes turned to stare at the Togrutan woman. “Yes, you did—you, people who make their living by taking what they want by any means necessary, sent out a distress call that would draw Brotherhood members to a prison where several thousand armed Collective personnel were waiting for us. How do we know you didn’t agree to lure us into a trap in exchange for your own freedom?” Erinyes raised her eyebrows at the Togrutan, then at Hawee’s crew, all of whom chose to remain silent. “Besides, you’re Severian prisoners, not Brotherhood ones. It’s not up to us whether you get a free pass.”
Hawee blinked rapidly, then visibly clenched her jaw. “That’s your answer?” she snarled. “‘It’s not our job?’”
“Yes, exactly,” retorted Erinyes. “Now that we’re all clear on that, I’d suggest you keep quiet before one of the Towering Twosome gets tired of your whining and makes you into Wrathus’ next snack.” The Adept turned back to the rest of the Sith. “Anyway, as I was saying, we’re going to need a distraction–”
The whisper of danger came in the same moment as the scratch of fingernails against duraplast. Hawee lifted her arm, laser scalpel in hand and indignant rage smeared across her face, lunged at Erinyes’ exposed back. The rest of the team reached for weapons or primed telekinetic gestures as the pirate lashed out at the seemingly bemused Adept, who simply lifted her arm. One of her lightsabers’ blades leapt from a hilt that the other Sith hadn’t seen Erinyes draw, and it lanced over her shoulder and directly between Hawee’s eyes. The laser scalpel clattered to the floor as the newly-minted corpse tumbled forward, and Erinyes stepped to one side, letting the pirate’s remains skitter to a stop in front of Wrathus.
"–to be able to get inside Block Dorn and up to the roof without being spotted. And what the kriff was she doing, stabbing me when she had four perfectly good blasters?” Erinyes sighed and turned to look at the remaining pirates, who had leapt up at the sound of the lightsaber igniting, forgetting all about their game, but were wise enough to stay at the range their own blasters allowed.
Ronovi narrowed her eyes at the Adept, then drew her DH-17 and shot the corpse in the head. The remaining pirates shifted their aim to the Dread Lord, who responded in kind. “Try it. I’ll enjoy making you suffer.”
“Frack off!” The pirate still smoking his pipe was the first to pull the trigger. Ciara, Erinyes, and Tasha backed away from the line of fire as a fusillade of orange bolts sailed through the air, only to spatter harmlessly against a rippling energy field. The blaster fire stopped as quickly as it had begun, as the pirates stared in disbelief at the sight of someone who was simply immune to their weapons.
Behind her barrier, Ronovi smirked at the dumbfounded assailants. “Suckers.” The energy field vanished, and three quick shots later, the pirates had followed their former leader into the great beyond.
The Dread Lord holstered her weapon with a satisfied hmph. “We could turn the prisoners against the Collective,” she suggested. “Tell them there’s only limited room on the transports, and that the first ones there get a ride off-planet. The ones who survive will make useful slaves to take back to Aliso.”
“And I’m sure I’m not the only one who would enjoy poking around in a researcher’s head,” Ciara said, brushing a lock of hair away from her face.
“Any other requests while we’re here? Tasha? Wrath– never mind.” Erinyes shook her head at the Battlemaster, who had already hefted Hawee’s corpse onto a nearby exam table and drawn his butchering hatchet. “What about you, Tasha?”
The Twi’lek’s upper lip curled in contempt. “I like just getting revenge on the Collective. Slavery’s too good for them, but I guess I’ll have to live with that.”
Erinyes shrugged. “Look on the bright side: so will they, and it’s not like every slave can be a burly male Chiss in Vasano’s bedroom.” From the corner of her eye, the Adept saw Ronovi shudder at the thought, and offered her a wicked grin. “What’s the matter, Dread Pirate Ronnie? Not a fan of Vasano?”
“Or burly males.” Ronovi grimaced, before she shook her head and rolled her eyes when Erinyes pointed at her fellow Plagueian. “By Epicanthix standards, he’s tiny. He doesn’t eat enough.”
“This one’s fresher than the one she whined about,” Wrathus growled, helmet tucked under his arm, as he tore a chunk of flesh from one of the Togrutan’s severed arms with his teeth.
The three non-Plagueians wrinkled their noses as a smothering, coppery aroma wafted from Wrathus’ meal. “Can’t you just eat sushi like a normal person?” Tasha asked.
“I am,” Wrathus replied. “It’s Togruta sashimi.”
As Tasha made a face, Ciara sighed, and Erinyes reached for her flask of tsiraki again, it was Ronovi’s turn to grin.
“Since we’re all looking to take souvenirs home, Wrathus and I will go with Ciara to take over the prison’s control centre and make the announcement,” she decided.
“Then I’ll go with Tasha to plant the bombs on the transports.” Ciara and Tasha nodded their assent, and a hiss sounded through the med bay as Wrathus replaced his helmet. Erinyes tapped her datapad’s controls to bring up a map of the facility. A moment later the same image showed up on her comlink’s display. “Let’s move.”