[RoS: Escalation] Team Flexing Thighs (Expansionists)


“Look, ya didn’t have to call me, Blazio. Yet ya know I got more skills than just being a cargo bunny. Big breaths, G-Baby, worry about yer tail on the ground ‘n’ we’ll take care of the bird, ya hear? Talk shop later, mkay? —”

The call ended abruptly with a click in her ear, leaving the Kiffar woman to sigh. Jar’deon Blazio was a womprat of a man, more so in personality than looks, but his cowardice pays well. Not everyone has the balls when there’s a problem to do it yourself.

Heavy boot falls announced the approach of one of her companions. Diyrian squeezed against the wall of the cramped corridor, the Starlight-class Light Freighter’s size became ever more apparent with a behemoth of a Zeltron on board. Her normally free and curly green locks were pulled back into a tight bun that pressed into her neck as her blue-green gaze lingered on Sage “The Boss” Cormac’s ostentatious form as he brushed by. With nothing better to do, she tightened the sleeves of her flight suit tied around her waist and followed after the big guy.

“Hey, Champ, ya ready for this?” Diy asked, coming up behind the man. He twisted his pridefully styled head and cocked a grin.

“I’m always ready. With me here, there’s no losing,” Sage flexed, tossing a wink over his raised feathered-covered right bicep. She couldn’t help but grin at the display, even more so when they stepped into the tiny cockpit and his demeanor suddenly softened as he spotted the ship’s pilot.

Zuza Lottson was masterfully flipping through switches and controls, making quick work plugging in hyperdrive coordinates despite only recently acquiring the Starlight-class. She tossed the two newcomers a big smile, brown hair bouncing against her neck as she tipped her head to the seats behind her.

“Better strap in! We’re ready to fly!”

No sooner did Diy plop herself in a chair and Sage braced himself in the doorway did Zuza pull the lever. The stars of Dajorra disappeared to thousands of streaking lights that dispersed nearly as quickly as they came. The freighter slowed to a drift, now hopscotched on the other side of Hutt space. Before them loomed a green and blue planet filled with temperate forests and oceans. Dandoran. Between the Arconans and the planet was a turbulent spread of starfighters, bombers, swarming in and around a large heavy cruiser.

“That’s the Geta,” spoke up Aru, leaning in closer to the two women as he peered over the scene. It was odd for the Human not to be accompanied by the smell of alcohol. “It’s the SP’s and our target.”

“Gotta say, I didn’t expect there to be that many ships around it.” Zuza leaned back in her seat as they exited hyperspace, relaxing as she slowed the freighter’s pace, taking a long look out on the scene ahead of them. With one hand, she adjusted the blaster rifle that she had tucked between her knees, unable to wear it on her back like normal. Her vibrosword was crammed securely into place through the arm of the pilot’s seat, while the unactivated lightsaber caused no issues at all. It was a very handy trait.

Two squadrons were guarding the Geta, their pattern inferring that they were on sentry or patrol duty. There were other ships, but they were no more than blips in the distance. If the quartet got caught and the alarm was raised, it’d take time for them to come in, should the two different Tie fighter squads fail.

Aru and Diy were suddenly weighed down as Sage stooped down to peer out of the front window, resting his arms on the pair. Zuza looked up as he blocked the light from behind, giggling at the situation behind her before focussing back on steering them toward their target.

“I can take them down.” The Zeltron grinned, confidence dripping from his voice.

“We-” Diy corrected, ducking down and escaping the heavy arm despite her amusement, “-can sneak through those guys easily enough. We just have to act natural until we can get into the hangar. Then the fun begins.”

“They should call in to see who we are once we get closer.” Aru stated, ignoring his adoptive brother’s arm, “I’ll handle the communications.”

“Sweet, cause a good few of them fighters are starting to look at us.” Zuza responded, gesturing ahead back toward their target which was slowly but surely gaining in size as they drew closer. And as the Human said, many of the closer TIE/LN ships had turned toward the lone freighter. “Ya ready Aru?”

The Aedile nodded, shifting forward to lean against the seat and taking the communicator from the petite pilot, preparing for the inevitable questioning to crackle through.

Crzzt- anno- vvrrrttckz- Freighter captain, announce your name and intentions or leave the area immediately. This is non-negotiable.

“Come in, come in, Geta.” Aru mimicked his best Imperial accent. It was perhaps just a tad too obvious, but still enough to fool the alien commander with all the static. “This is Captain Farris Yeel of the Constantine, requesting permission to dock.”

There was a short intermission before the commander came back to them. He was probably checking the veracity of Law’s claims. But the Aedile knew what he was doing. All the information he had given was correct, although…

“Ah, Captain Farris,” the alien replied, “we weren’t expecting you till tomorrow. What made you come sooner?”

“We have captured a high value target that needs to be imprisoned immediately. He was found to be colluding with the Revenants.”

“And who might that be?” The commander was growing suspicious

Diy nudged Aru with her elbow and whispered ever so softly.

“If you’ve got a trick up your sleeve, now’s the time to use it.”

The Aedile smirked at the Kiffar and winked at her.

“This is classified information, but for you,” he paused, “I’m making an exception. We have Sage “The Boss” Cormac on board, shackled and ready to be delivered.”

As soon as Aru dropped the bomb, Diy’s eyes widened with excitement and Sage was about to yell. Luckily though, Zuza raised her hand and pulled his chin down, which was enough to calm the towering Zeltron.

“You know it’s a lie.” She whispered at him. Sage’s response was a single puff and a look of revenge waiting to happen on his adoptive brother.

On the other side of the intercommunicator though, there was a big commotion. Sage was in fact a wanted man, and the news of having such a high valuable target aboard their ship was more than enough to allow them passage.

“Very well Captain Farris, you may dock. Welcome to the Geta.”

Then they stopped the transmission.

“What the kark was that?” Sage’s booming voice filled the entirety of the freighter.

Law, on the other hand, was quite pleased with himself. He had managed to trick the ship commander and also make a little fun of his brother in the process.

“Relax,” he said, “everything’s under control.”

“Yeah, I won’t let them get their hands on you Sage.” Zuza said from her seat, smiling widely at the conflicted Zeltron.

“That was some nice display of subterfuge, GringoI.” said Diy, to which Aru offered a bow.

“Why thank you. Everything to impress a beautiful Kiffar like yourself.”

“At least he got the species right this time …” Diy was all too accustomed to Law’s flirty attempts.

“Let us focus on the task at hand.” Zuza interrupted. “We’ve gained access, but we’re not out of the clear yet. You two lovebirds still need to disable the ship. While me,” she looked up towards Sage, “and the big guy will cause a commotion.”

“Now we’re talking!” Sage ringed his fistcuffs twice by hitting them together.

Zuza Lottson engaged the auto-pilot to dock onto the Geta and went to prepare herself. Few seconds remained until they were inside the vessel, and the second part of their plan would begin. She was nervous. This was the first time she was doing service to the Clan on the highest level. But besides her were people who would protect her, as would she towards them.

She felt a big hand on her shoulder. There was no need to look back to recognise it.

“The Boss takes care of you.” said the towering Zeltron.

“Nah uh,” Zuza countered, “the chibi takes care of YOU!”

Then they both laughed as the freighter finally docked in place and its doors opened.

Light from the Geta’s hangar bay poured into the dim cargo bay of the Starlight-class Freighter as the hatch settled. Severian Principate pilots and crew scrambled to and from TIE wing bombers and starfighters throughout the space, a seemingly chaotic yet completely ordered ordeal. Through the din and business approached several armed soldiers led by an individual of some higher ranking based on their attire and presented posture.

Diyrian let out a low whistle from where she leaned just out of sight from those outside. “Good luck, guys, not that ya need it. Like the both of ya without holes in ya.”

Zuza gave a quick wink over her shoulder, “Likewise, you two.”

The younger woman led the way down the ramp, Sage following close beside her. The Kiffar watched them go, waiting for their distraction to initiate when she felt a tug on her flight suit sleeve. Diy turned to catch Aru’s cocked grin as he jutted a finger back into the ship.

“Let’s get a head start, yeah Lady? Mechanic access hatch’s further in.” With a nod from Diy, the Human brought them to the exit. He turned the locking wheel until a hiss emitted from the hydraulics and it opened. He inhaled, bouncing on the balls of his feet before hoping down through the hole. Boots hit the ground a good five meters below and as Diyrian peered over the edge to spot the fellow smuggler standing with his arms wide open.

“Your turn! Don’t worry, I’ll catch you,” Aru called quietly up, the cockiness weighing his words.

She rolled her eyes as she lowered herself through the gap and dropped easily beside him. Despite her nimble landing, his arm still found its way to her waist as if to help steady her. The faux-Zelosian grinned and patted his shoulder, “Thanks, Buck.”

“Anytime,” Aru replied before moving off to the right.

Diyrian cast a glance towards the other two, now surrounded by the Principate’s welcome party. Things looked to be heating up hotter than an Estle City beach after hours. Blasters were trained upon the excessively large Zeltron as the Officer demanded to know why the bounty wasn’t in stun cuffs — the Hapan male getting within spitting distance of Zuza as he spoke. Turning to her own task at hand, she moved to follow after Aru.

Only to find him missing.

A voice spoke to her left, stirring her from her confused pause. “Cloaked, just one of my many tricks.”

“A man of many talents,” Diyrian sighed, been a minute since she worked with a Force-user with such skills. She tossed a grin. “One of mine is actin’ like I belong here.”

With a quick look both ways, the Kiffar ducked out from beneath the light freighter and moved confidently towards the nearest corridor, slipping between crates and starships. The bustling activity and the presence of mercenaries sparsely among the Severian forces helped avoid too much attention. Only an invisible brush of a hand here and there informed Diy of Aru’s continued presence.

“There’s gotta be a locker room or somethin’ near the hanger, yeah?” She uttered quietly as they entered the corridor, her blue-green eyes searching the walls.

“Why? Shouldn’t you have used the fresher before this?” Aru whispered near her ear.

“Somethin’ like that…bingo!”

White paint labeled the door beside it as the lockers and Diy entered swiftly. A bit too swiftly. A Human woman whipped her head around and as soon as she had processed the newcomer was not a fellow Geta crew member, she moved for her comm. A flash of yellow energy beat her to it, striking her dead in the chest and sending her slumping stunned to the ground. Diy blew on Whyell’s silencer before returning the RSKF-44 to its holster.

Aru materialized beside her, tossing one look at the downed woman and then the Kiffar with a raised brow.

“Look, wasn’t planned but hey, free clothes! Can’t all ghost around now can we?”

A minute later a mechanic and her spector walked out of the locker room. Between the schematics Aru had grudgingly memorized prior and several ship layout diagrams they stumbled upon, they managed to make their way successfully to the power core.

“Cover me,” Aru uttered as he dropped the Force-fueled camouflage and hugged the door to the Cruiser’s core. Diyrian hugged the pillars jutting from the wall, ocean gaze watching like a guard akk. The Qel-droma Aedile pulled out a code replicator and attached the device directly into the control panel beside the door.

“We get pass here and it’s just one dock away from shutting this bad boy’s power down.”

“As long as ya can get it done quickly, not sure how long Lottie and the Champ can hold their attention," Diy reminded with a grin. Confident as she was of the two’s abilities, a big ship like this likely had plenty of reinforcements.

“Eh, they’ll be fiiine…” Aru reassured her.

Depending on one’s definition of “fine”, Aru was right.

So long as that definition included guns blazing, punches swinging and a sword slicing.

As the more subtle pair exited the craft, making their way to disable the systems, Zuza had led out Sage, hands delicately placed in her pockets and smiling with confidence at the uptight karkers around her.

Sage cracked his knuckles, careful to display the vividly tattooed fingers, each hand stating his nickname. Boss.

“Why isn’t that brute in stun-cuffs! Where is Captain Farris?”

No sooner had they stepped into the hangar, a semi-circle of seven Principate schmucks had formed with sights directly aimed at the pair.

Zuza placed a hand on the Zeltron’s chest to delay the inevitable. This was going to end in a fight but if they had enough time, it could be a fight without Aru and Diy in the room.

“Now, now, sir, the Captain is on the way. Cormac is subdued for now, stun cuffs weren’t needed don’tcha see?” She paused, asking in an almost genuine tone, if it weren’t for the mirth alighting her eyes. “You look tense, war not going so well here on the Geta?”

“The war is fine. Explain yourself, miss, or you’ll be taken in as well.” The Hapan officer approached, a grim look of barely contained disgust on the middle-aged man’s face. He paused a few feet away, eyes trained on the larger of the two. In return, Sage glared with narrowed eyes.

“Well that seems a tad unreasonable doesn’t it? I explained myself just fine. He’s subdued, the captain’s inside. Send your men in.” Zuza shrugged, gesturing behind them at the freighter’s open hatch.

“I think unreasonable is assuming I’m this stupid.” The officer snapped, looking at his men.

Which was his first mistake.

Zuza took two quick steps forward and swung her arm forward, unclipping her vibrosword with the other while she uppercutted the officer in the chin.

There was a moment of shock among the circle. Despite the clamour of the hangar continuing around them, it was quiet within the bubble the guards were forming.

The officer was the one to break the freeze, glaring down at the small woman and spitting in her face.

Chaos ensued as Sage roared in anger, and without Zuza’s hand restraining him, rushed forward to pound the Hapan.

Zuza herself stepped aside automatically to allow Sage to move forward, swiping the saliva off of her cheek as she turned. Vibrosword carefully gripped in hand, she took the hand of the nearest rifleman.

Most of the guards had chosen to focus on the raging Zeltron, however, Zuza’s attack and the resounding scream from the newly amputated, brought two of them aiming on her.

Sage had grabbed the officer, ruthlessly punching the man whilst ignoring the four who were shooting blasters at him. The surprise of the situation disturbed their aim and they fired off into the rest of the hangar bay, which had delved into panic.

Panic was beneficial for the boarding party, it prevented backup arriving before the already present guards were out of the fight.

Making quick work of the other two guards aiming at her, Zuza stumbled back as a blow of blaster fire struck her in the stomach, grunting but forcing herself on to the next, one arm remaining curled around herself while swinging her sword. Sage had the guards mostly distracted in defending their officer, who was amazingly still conscious and fighting back.

There were several blaster wounds marring the Zeltron’s back and side, his obnoxiously bright green feathered coat damaged.

Yet, Zuza was confident. Few more holes than usual maybe, but this was going just fine.

“It’s show time!” Aru materialised and carefully placed his code replicator on the door.

After a brief moment, the door hissed swiftly as a bridge extended for them that led to the enormous power core suspended in the middle of the room.

Diy stepped inside first. A quick look around and she didn’t see any guards. She felt a poke in her left arm, a signal that Aru was going on ahead.

Suddenly, from the other side, two troopers appeared, marching in their direction.

“Wait!” Diy called.

“What do you want?” one of the troopers inquired. “You shouldn’t be here.”

“The commander asked me to call on reinforcements!” she faked a bit of urgency in her voice.

“Where is the commander?” the second trooper asked.

“By the hangar. Sage “The Boss” Cormac is on the loose!”

“Oh, that’s bad. Let’s go!”

With the Soldiers gone, Aru materialised, kneeling by a panel next to the power core. The Kiffar woman approached him.

“Anythin’ I can help with?”

“Actually yeah,” the Human was hurrying, “see those two wires? Splice them and reattach them when I tell you to.”

They both were doing their part as quick as they could.

Sage had managed to accumulate a respectable pile of dead bodies next to him. His lack of armor and the renewed confidence in their enemies had caused him a few more wounds.

Zuza herself had fended off two troopers, but now three were by her side. As she parried one, an incoming baton forced her to duck and roll backwards, finding herself now cornered by her opponents.

“Sage!” she yelled.

The brute looked behind, completely ignoring three shots to his torso. Luckily, they were using blasters set to stun, but still, The Boss felt them.

Hurrying over to the small Human like a raging rancor, Sage tackled the three troopers that were about to subdue her at the same time. They flew against the nearest wall.

Sage then threw Zuza in the air and caught her on his shoulders. The Human whimpered with pain from her recent abdominal wound.

“Let’s get out of here. Things are getting crazy!” he said.

“Tank pachoochoo deployed!” Zuza screamed, raising her gun.

She turned back and fired at the pursuing troopers the best she could, while Sage was running away and bulldozing any stupid creature that tried to stop him.

Suddenly, all the lights went from white to deep red. They were flashing, accompanied by the sound of alarms. And there was also a shift in the Geta’s positioning as the floor seemed to twist to the right a bit.

“They did it!” Zuza celebrated.

“Yeah, but now we have to get away!” said Sage.

“Diy!” the Human tried to reach their friends via commlink. “Diy, do you hear me?”

“Loud and clear, sweetie. The Geta is disbaled and won’t be getting back up anytime soon. How are things going there?”

A few bolts grazed past Zuza as she ducked to give the Kiffar an answer.

“Could be better,” she said. “We’re on the run now.”

“Meet us back on your ship in four minutes.” Aru’s voice came through the commlink.

“Roger that mate!” Sage yelled back at him.

“We gotta go.” Aru stated. “Zuza’s safe with Sage, but he could do something stupid.”

“Yeah, bucko. We did our part. Let’s regroup with everyone.”

Both the Kiffar and the Human ran as fast as they could. The ongoing comotion allowed them a relative free pass across the entirety of their way.

As the duo kept moving, they eventually made it to Zuza’s ship. Although, neither were there yet.

Aru initialized the take-off procedures in hopes they would show up soon.

Cutting through the alarm sounds and the occasional blaster bolt, a raging voice boomed in the distance. It was getting closer.

Diy grabbed her blaster pistol and witnessed what could only be described as a living assault tank rushing towards her.

Sage was running for his life, and Zuza was firing as much as she could.

“I’m on my last bolts!” She yelled at him.

“We’re almost there!” the Zeltron yelled back.

Diy provided cover fire, trying to shoot across the Zeltron. It wasn’t easy as Sage’s might covered a large portion of the visible corridor.

One last push and Sage lunged inside Zuza’s starship.

“Punch it!” he yelled.

“You got it!” Aru replied.

The starship detached from the dock and they flew away from the Geta as fast as they could.

Zuza traded places with Aru and positioned the ship for hyperjump.

“I’m getting readings of a ship coming out of hyperspace!” she informed the others.

As if on cue, a massive Star-Destroyer emerged from hyperspace and immediately began firing indiscriminately against them and the Geta.

“Holy mother of Kark!” Aru claimed. “That is a Karking Star Destroyer!”

“Get us out of here, Zu!” Diy pleaded.

The starship’s radar was now picking up several TIE-Fighters coming in their direction. As an entire Squadron passed by, the ship rocked with the heavy fire upon its shields.

But as they flew behind and repositioned, two TIE’s were blown up.

“Wooo!” Aru yelled from the opposite side. “Take that you Imps!”

Diy was trying to reach the Expansionists’ command center. When she did, they ordered everyone to fall back and regroup. “Yeah, like I wanted to stay and fight this thing…” she sarcastically told her commanders.

With some struggle, the team managed to fend off the TIE pursuers and evade the Star Destroyer, that was mostly focused on the Geta.

When they were in the clear, Zuza punched in the coordinates and they jumped to hyperspace.

“Good work everyone!” Aru announced.

They were happy but visibly tired, and hurt.

Sage was being bandaged in several places by Zuza who, at the same time, was tended to by Diy. The Human, mostly unscathed, pulled out one of his tabac cigars and enjoyed his smoke.

The battle was over, but not the war.