DX-9 Crash Site
The soil drank greedily of Nightsister blood while Macron, Roxas and Shi Long plied their trade. The staccato barking of Roxas’ heavy repeater came incessantly, pausing briefly only when the Mandalorian trained the barrel on another group of attackers to mow them down without mercy. Those ‘Sisters who were beyond his field of fire were dispatched in kind by the Proconsul and Apostate’s unique, but no less effective, ways of death-dealing.
A skull was crushed satisfyingly by an Armored Fist and Macron savagely kicked its owner’s corpse to the side as the comm unit in his helm crackled. Momentarily distracted, he strained to hear Dragoon’s sit-rep. As far as the Alchemist could tell, Shirai had caught up with Dragoon, Jade and the rest after momentarily losing his bearings; Anzaithia’s majiks were strong, indeed. A woman’s shrill shriek at his back drowned out the rest, but he definitely made out the important words:
Explosives.… Shaman.… Back-up.
At the same time, Roxas called out, saying his repeater was spent, the shuttle’s remaining power drained by the Mandalorian’s constant fusillade. Macron made to respond when his Force jaundiced eye caught a flash of movement to his left just as another Nightsister, brandishing a wicked looking scythe, rushed him headlong. She was closing the distance fast; too fast for Mac to train his disruptor on her and get off a proper shot, even with his preternatural speed. More flashes of movement and ripples in the Dark Side alerted the Madman to others circling him and closing; it was clear the ‘Sisters made to bring him down by sheer force of numbers. He braced himself, hoping his armor would bear the brunt of the onslaught.
Abruptly, the distinctive ripping sound of a auto-repeating slugthrower at his back gave Macron cause to steal a glance over his shoulder. For a brief moment, he saw Shi Long backpedalling towards his own back, the Primarch emptying the weapon and felling two of the attackers. Macron began to think for a moment that their time had come and grit his sharpened teeth defiantly against the notion of rotting in the mud on a backwater planet at the Rim’s Edge. Thankfully, Shi was of the same mind…
The Long, still backpedaling, called over his shoulder: “Mononoke; follow my lead!”
Macron said nothing, instead flipping his rifle to catch it by the barrel. He felt Shi’s back slam into his own, and the Primarch elbowed him in his left side. Instinctively, Macron whirled to his left, swinging his disruptor like a club. Shi, after bowing the Proconsul, released the spent magazine from his sidearm, dropping to a knee and sliding a fresh one home before the empty hit the dirt.
The Long ducked under the Alchemist’s swing and fired under Macron’s arms towards the direction the Madman quit; the unforgiving stock tore through the attacker from the left’s jaw just as Shi took out the woman who was closing in on Macron from the front, the slugthrower jackhammering merrily in his bronzed fist. Claret blossoms bloomed bright all across the woman’s torso; Shi didn’t even wait for her to fall as he stood, moving forward a step while Macron adroitly used the Long’s body as a pivot, loading up for yet another mighty swing.
A ‘Sister who’d come from Shi’s direction caught it fully in her ribs, and bright, oxygenated bubbly blood came from her mouth in a ragged cough. Macron could scarce contain his glee at the carnage, and Shi’s laughs were no less mirthful as he drove his fist into another ‘Sister’s face, her nose splaying wide across her otherwise delicate features. Her head snapped back and a slug found a home in her exposed throat; she clutched at the spouting wound futilely as she, too, fell.
The pair swiftly cleared space in an expanding area around them, fighting back the tide of malice; when Shi would put one down and turn his attention elsewhere, it would be to cover Macron who was covering the Long in kind. A pistoning Armored Fist would be replaced by vicious elbow strike; the report of the auto-repeater would only give way to a savage bludgeon as the pair circled again and again, never stopping, never pausing. Just when the ‘Sisters thought they had one of them dead to rights, aiming to sneak in an attack, they would be dealt with by the other with surety. Macron marveled at the efficacy of Shi Long’s maneuvers.
Even Roxas benefited from Shi Long’s tactic. Now, facing Macron, he saw movement at the top of the shuttle above the hatch where the Mandalorian was holed up, feverishly looking for a power-pack to bring the heavy repeater back into play. The Apostate backed up a pace, then rushed forward towards Macron, who’d dropped his rifle momentarily and cradled his interlaced fingers in front of himself. Shi’s booted foot stepped in, and the Alchemist heaved upwards and over his head, sending Shi into the air. The Apostate clear, Macron dropped to one knee, the disruptor flying into his hands by an unseen force. His maddened laughter resounded, but just barely, over the sizzling report of the rifle, his targets erased painfully from the fight.
Shi soared and flipped, enjoining the Force to keep him airborne as long as possible. “Buurenaar; above you!” roared the Long, again replacing an empty mag with a fresh one with a smooth and practiced motion. The battle-hardened Prelate abandoned the heavy repeater and dove forward out onto the berm, twisting in mid-air to land heavily on his back. The Long’s warning alerted him to three ‘Sisters who’d come around the wreck and climbed atop it, looking to spear him savagely, unseen.
One of them pitched backwards, arms and legs jerking fitfully as she was cut down by Shi’s pistol. The remaining two each earned twin smoking holes in their faces for their attempt at treachery, courtesy of twin blasts from the heavy blasters clutched in Roxas’ steady hands. Swiftly, Roxas stood and climbed the berm, assessing the killing field before him.
The remaining Nightsisters had seen the futility of their rush and had fled into the surrounding woods. Roxas slid down the opposing slope and walked gingerly towards Macron and Shi, catching the trail end of their conversation.
“…incredible! Where did you learn that?” Macron asked Shi, slinging the disruptor across his back as the Apostate’s own weapon found its customary home at his thigh.
“Oh, it was in a book I picked up not long ago; something about ‘Praetoria’, if mem’ry serves. It works better if you can connect mentally with your allies, but…” he paused, tapping a finger against his temple. “Either way, I think we did alright, considering.” The easiness of Shi’s tone belied the furtive glances he cast about the field, feverishly looking for someone else to kill.
Roxas joined them. “A book? They still make those?” he asked incredulously.
“Not like this one, they don’t,” Shi replied, still on edge but seemingly in control.
Macron appraised Shi Long appreciatively. There would need to be a conversation about Shi’s book in the very near future, he decided silently. But, for now, there was still a shaman to capture and Clanmates to help.
The Alchemist took on an air of command. “Alright. Dragoon says they need some assistance inside. Roxas,” he began, gesturing towards the main gate. “Make me a hole.”
“Already on it,” the Mandalorian responded, pulling two thermal detcharges from his pack and shuffling towards where Macron had pointed.
“And how about you?” the Alchemist asked the Stone Dragon. “If you stay out here, can I trust you to stay to cover our backs, make sure our way out is clear?” A not-so-distant detonation indicated Roxas had set the charges and opened the way as Macron had ordered.
Shi Long ceased his scan of the area momentarily, fixing Macron’s helmed face with his swirling eyes. “Two things, Mononoke: you can trust me to be me, and if I stay out here, it’s because I want to…not because I was ordered to.” A broad smile eased Macron’s concern, but did very little to mask the bloodlust simmering within.
Macron considered Shi’s words, then shrugged in acceptance. “That’ll have to do,” he said, extending his arm. Shi clasped the forearm in a warrior’s clutch, then turned his back to the gate.
“Roxas, with me!” the Proconsul ordered, taking swift and sure strides through the smoking hole in the gate, and the Mandalorian followed.