Collective Dreadnaught Akan
15 minutes ago
“Brace for impact!”
The shouted warning came in just a moment prior to the broadside of turbolaser bolts impacting the Dreadnaught’s shields with the force of a nuclear holocaust. The flickering deflectors shone with a hot spectrum of purples and blues, contrasting against the emerald greens of the turbolaser fire in an iridescent flare that was blinding to behold. A terrifying heartbeat later, a staccato of vibrations shook the vessel’s durasteel spine as a cluster of shield capacitors along the port dorsal overloaded and blew, spitting ionized flames into the void of space.
A few stray bolts pierced the shields where the banks had been momentarily compromised and tons of ablative armor evaporated under the relentless barrage, but the Akan had suffered worse and lived to tell the tale.
“Damage report?” Captain Brith Kayle grunted as he slowly eased the grip on his command lectern.
Around him the bridge crew swiftly moved back to their stations, a pair of augmented armsmen aiding in extinguishing a small electrical fire that had sprung up in one of the lesser control stations. Within a few short seconds he had the data on his screen, indicating the loss of a handful of compartments in the lower levels. Only one had been occupied at the time, the rest had been but storage.
The seasoned captain had lived long enough to believe in luck, and that one was wise to make their own. Just a few thin internal bulkheads deeper and the enemy could have struck the central fuel tanks. Luckily, that had not been the case and they lived to return another salvo.
“Shields recharging, sir, but we can’t withstand more than two broadsides like that,” the distressed voice of a pale-faced bridge officer called out from her station, the augmented Pantoran’s cybernetic hands dancing on hololiths as she diverted power from wherever she could spare it to prepare the capacitors for another strike.
“Make it three and I’ll see us through this yet,” the grim-faced Rodian replied, his beady eyes focusing on the angular shape of his hated foe beyond the bridge’s view ports. The Arconan capital ship was preparing for another volley, but he still had his own retort to give.
“Target their gun ports, I want every turret trained on a turbolaser bank on their facing. Their recharge rate was…”
“Thirteen, point seven seconds, sir!” a combat analyst shouted.
“Thirteen point seven seconds, which means they’ll be ready to fire in seven more. Every available gun fires in six, just when they drop their shields to let their own fire through.”
“Aye, sir!” The bridge echoed in unison.
Auxiliary Hangar, Starboard
Collective Dreadnaught Akan
The vessel vibrated with the dull impacts of long-distance turbolaser shots, the weight of incoming fire having drastically reduced over the last few minutes while the Collective ship seemed to fire almost unabatedly. In the back of his mind, Malfrost Xeon knew it was merely a result of the Arconan warship moving to a better position, one where it could bring its starboard side to bear after losing several guns on its port side.
The Collective had proven itself a dangerously capable foe and even when cornered, their warships were proving damnably difficult to knock out.
Scarlett Kelrune roared as she pulled her lightsaber free from the dismembered Collective armsman, a name which the Dark Jedi had made rather ironic. As the corpse flopped lifelessly onto the durasteel decking, the raven haired Echani scanned the vicinity, eyes flashing with an eagerness for more violence. To her dismay, the compartment was devoid of hostile life, every last Collective crewman and security officer gutted by her hand; except for one.
“Ggggghgg!” the man choked, struggling for air as he was held a few inches off the deck and pressed against the wall by Malfrost’s droid bodyguard. The uncaring steel of its vice-like grip was slowly but surely choking the life out of him, but there was a reason he was not dead quite yet.
“[REMAIN CALM. MY MASTER WILL BE WITH YOU SHORTLY.]” the droid stated in a mechanical monotone to its suffocating prisoner.
Stres’tron’garmis dislodged his power hammer from what had a few moments ago been a terrified Collective gunner’s chest cavity and wiped the gore-licked end on the man’s clothing. The Chiss turned around as he heard distinctly effeminate steps echoing down the shuttle’s boarding ramp and swiftly made his way over to offer his hand to the Twi’lek that descended onto the now-cleared deck.
Accepting the Chiss’ hand, Tali Sroka cleared the last steps onto the Collective vessel’s deck and took a moment to recenter herself amidst the carnage. Seeing the hungry glare in Scarlett’s gaze, she saw it best to calm her friend’s more violent tendencies, lest they compromise the mission or her own focus.
“Relax, Scarlett. Ve don’t vant him deadt just yet,” the Twi’lek stated in passing as she headed towards the struggling prisoner. The Dark Jedi threw her a withering glare.
“Just get on with it, head-tails, before they scramble a proper welcome party,” the Echani huffed, deactivating her crimson lightsaber.
They’d breached the compartment not two minutes prior, Scarlett, Strong and Malfrost’s droid taking care of the shocked crewmen while the pregnant Twi’lek and scholarly Jedi patiently made their way out of the shuttle. As per the plan Mal had concocted for this mission, the highest ranking officer had been left alive for the Twi’lek to work her magic on.
It was not the sort of task she particularly relished, not least from the sheer wickedness of prying into someone’s memories by force, but time was of the essence and each moment they dallied, more Arconan lives would be lost or put in jeopardy. And so, with a heavy sigh, Tali approached the quickly blue-ing man and raised her hand.
“Tell us the shortest route to the mainframe, andt how to avoidt the guards.” The demand was withering as the air between them seemed to shift by her will alone and even the droid adjusted its head minutely towards her, as if surprised by the sensation it could not possibly have felt.
The man resisted.
“I saidt,” Tali repeated herself, closing her eyes as she sharpened her will into a blazing spear, “tell me!” She flung the words at him like the mental javelin, skewering him on it and shattering the shield of his mind.
The man began to croak. His eyes rolled back in their sockets, mouth opening and closing like a fish out of water as a trickle of blood seeped from his nose. He was going catatonic.
“Release him!” Tali spat at Malfrost who duly nodded to his droid.
The man slumped to the floor, shivering and foaming at the mouth. He wasn’t going to be of any use if they dallied. Cursing herself for what she was about to do, Tali let out a steadying breath and pressed her hands against the man’s temples, diving into his subconscious and weeding out the answers she wished to hear.
To her fellow Arconans, it seemed like the man had gone mad. Spitting bloodied foam from his lips, he blabbered a string of corridors, codes and names, time stamps and turrets, all in a single incoherent string of thought. When the man finally fell silent, it was with a sigh of finality that they all knew was his last. A moment later, his lifeless corpse slipped from the Twi’lek’s fingers and slumped to the ground.
Slowly, she opened her eyes and choked, fighting the urge to vomit. Strong rushed to her side, offering a helping hand as she got back on unsteady feet, one hand never leaving the rather distinct bump on her lower belly. “Sorry, baby,” was all she could think of.
While the Twi’lek reassured the Chiss she was still capable of continuing with the mission, Scarlett cleared her throat with a distinct cough. “So, uh, anyone got any of that? Because I sure didn’t,” she admitted.
“Apologies, lady Sroka,” Strong stated with genuine shame for his lapse in concentration. He should have known better.
Tali cast a glance at Malfrost, who returned it with a sheepish look. She felt the urge to slap her face with her own lek.
“[AFFIRMATIVE. RECORDING SUCCESSFUL.]” the droid chimed in a synthetic monotone.