Celevon and Ethan led the charge for the elevators, with Petth and Aura close behind. The kerfuffle surrounding them was tremendous, and Jael already shaking stressfully was scrambling madly to get his equipment packed. Several wires jammed themselves in, and with a series of tight-lipped swears, he began to yank at them to free them. The others were already out of sight, swallowed up in the tonnage of bodies outside of their makeshift hidey-hole. A prisoner swung at him, smashing against the wall as a heavy hand gripped his forearm and pulled.
With a sharp flash, crackle, and yelp, the body fell back, but the hand still clung, lifelessly to his arm. Had he the time to think about it, he would have been mildly disturbed by the limb.
“Leave it, Jael,” growled Tyraal, cutting off the cold appendage.
The Mystic ignored him, continuing to struggle with his wires and tech until Tyraal wrapped an arm around the Sephi’s neck and pulled him back.
“I will personally pay for your replacements to your specifications, damn it! We can buy new toys, we can’t buy new lives, now let’s GO!”
Before Jael could argue, Tyraal turned him and shoved him down the hallway. They stumbled into the crowd, Tyraal keeping a tight grip on his fellow Odanite as they waded through the ocean of bodies.
“Jael, which way?!” Roared Tyraal.
“DOWN!! Make for the gap over there!” Shouted back the half-Selphi, ducking under the bodies and weaving towards the position in question.
He burst out from the crowd, and broke to a frantic halt less than a meter from the edge: he didn’t need to look down to know it was a deadly long drop, straight into the sewage system. Something slammed into him, and he skirted along the edge, spinning and igniting his crimson lightsaber with a sharp snap. The red illuminated his face as a pair of prisoners raised makeshift weapons at him.
Before there was time for either party to act, a sharp crackling made itself heard, accompanied by a back-of-neck tingling from vibrant, extraordinary energy. The two prisoners shrieked as a few hundred volts of lightning passed through them, before Tyraal appeared overhead, kicking them to the sides and landing beside Jael.
“We can’t get through this crowd,” he muttered, surveying quickly for options.
“Maybe we shouldn’t have gone to this edge?” Offered Jael lamely.
The two of them looked around against the tide of bodies pressing ever closer as the prison riot grew more and more intense. A slow alarm wail went off somewhere overhead, prompting the two Odanites to look at each other.
“Is that—?” Started Tyraal.
“They’re cutting life-support!” Finished Jael. He extinguished his lightsaber, clipped it to his belt, and began more frantically to search for escape routes.
“Sewer pipe,” snapped Tyraal, not even giving Jael the option to reply before he threw himself forward, off the edge of the platform, towards a dozen or so technicolored pipes on the far wall.
He smashed against them, sliding down a few meters as he strained to get a grip. He passed a nut system connecting two pipes together, and caught hold. He steadied himself and began scaling the wall, thankful as always for Aura’s unnecessary amounts of training.
“Are you—?” Gaped Jael, before turning to look behind him. Lights overhead were sharply swapping color, from white to dark red, and the prisoners were screaming in panic.
It became a stampede of bodies, all knowing that death was fast approaching: some made for their cells again, others rushed for doors, slamming fists and bodies against doors and windows in desperate attempts to escape certain extermination.
“Statement: all things are under control.”
A dozen droids, in various conditions and states of assembly, lined up beside Rutgar-4, now holding a blaster in place of his smashed datapad.
“Time to go in a blaze of glory…” muttered Jael half-heartedly, gripping his lightsaber.
“‘Blaze of glory’ hardly befits the situation,” corrected Rutgar dryly. “You will suffocate and freeze. There is no way you can ‘blaze’ in this scenario.”
Rutgar raised his blaster, and at the motion, mirrored his action, leveling a dozen blasters towards Chi’ra’s chest.
Jael ignited his lightsaber, sweating as more and more lights switched from white to red and the lack of atmosphere closed in on him.
He heard fizzling of blasters warming for another shot. And then most of the droids fell to the floor as a yellow beam and green beam carved through them.
“Statement: that accomplice is more trouble than I thought.”
Jael rushed forward, chopping up the remaining droids as Rutgar raised his blaster towards the pipes where Tyraal hung upside-down by his legs, manipulating his two lightsabers through the return arc of the throw. Rutgar fired two shots towards the Knight, and then redirected at Jael: the first shot missed by two meters, but the second nailed Tyraal’s thigh. The Knight’s two lightsabers abruptly flew wide as Tyraal lost focus and, with a sharp cry, dropped from the pipes he hung from. Jael lunged at Rutgar and sliced him neatly in half, bottom upward.
Tyraal dropped from the pipes, scrambling through his options with which to catch his fall: options of which there were none.
“Tyraal!” Shouted Jael, throwing himself to the edge of the platform, and stretching downward towards his comrade: far past arm reaching, Jael grabbed Tyraal with the Force as the Clawdite fell, straining to break his fall by pulling him upwards.
Tyraal felt himself slow in his plummet and then abruptly halt, a few meters from the ground, over a vent, spewing putrid aromas upward.
“Jael, let me drop! I’m at the bottom, I can see a grille through the bottom!”
“How do I get down?”
“I’ll catch you in my arms, like some bride or other.”
“Just get down here you idiot, I can use the Force too.”
Jael clipped his lightsaber once again, and with a little pizazz, hopped off the platform, and rushed downward. He felt a tentative resistance catch him and then suddenly break his fall a bit too abruptly as he landed on his feet.
“Look, it’s more Aura’s thing than mine: just be glad she taught me some.”
He didn’t give the Techweaver time to answer before slicing off the grille and hopping down. Jael, grimacing at the squishy sound of Tyraal’s landing, followed closely.
Aurora and Petth scrambled up the stairs, lightsabers out. Truth be told, Aura would have probably chosen her current companion as her death-mate last out of the list of options she had. But, she didn’t have much choice in the matter, and so kept her mouth shut and her feet moving. And lightsaber slashing. And using the Force whenever necessary to rip open a door.
She was keenly aware of the air thinning around them as they sprinted onward, down the endless halls, up the stairs again, through another doorway, down a chute, up another stair, and down another corridor. She was also aware that the sounds of rioting had rather abruptly ended around them. Coupled with the thinning air, Ta’var assumed that somehow, somewhere, someone must have switch life-support off.
“Not very nice of them.”
Ethan and Celevon were anxiously twiddling thumbs as their lift sluggishly chugged along its rail. The lights had, a moment before, shifted to an obnoxious red hue, and the car had begun heating considerably.
“Game of strip poker?” Asked Ethan nonchalantly.
“Even in this heat?”
The car abruptly halted and the doors opened. A dozen droids stood without, backs turned, attempting to retain control of the trading hub. Ethan and Celevon made rather instantaneous ends of them, and froze. In the chaos, most of the goods had been been abandoned. A slow grin started creeping across the half-Echani’s face.
“I mean… it’d be a shame if all of this was—”
“MARTES!” Roared a rather strained female voice, as Ta’var magically appeared from out of sight, sailing through the air towards from the side. Petth was close behind, vaulting over smashed kiosks and smashed droids. Most of which had been left behind from their first visit.
“So much for that,” Ethan rather flatly completed Erinos’ hopeful statement; but not before quickly snagging a large, wide-brimmed hat that was rolling past his feet much like a tumbleweed.
Aura stopped and looked at them expectantly, and then whirled, surveying the room as a whole.
“Where’s Tyraal?!” She demanded.
“And that other one?” Yawned Petth. “He was kind of cute when he got frustrated.” In an almost inaudible voice she added. “Kind of wanted to see him get frightened.”
“Weren’t they with you?” Shot back Ethan sharply.
An abrupt explosion from the hanger caught their attention, and the foursome exchanged looks.
“We have to go,” announced Celevon.
“But Tyraal—” Protested the Zeltron.
“We’ll all be dead. They must’ve gotten caught in the mob.”
He began sprinting towards the hanger, and Petth followed, leaving Ethan and Aura rooted to the spot. They exchanged looks, and looked back towards their respective paths. Although they started off rather despising each other, their mutual friendship and camaraderie with the Clawdite had brought them a bit closer. And as they both outranked the Clawdite, they both felt a mutual guilt at him being left behind. Ethan ground a tooth, and laid two fingers on the brim of his newly acquired hat in a moody salute to the Clawdite and half-Sephi.
“Hope you died quick, and took that damned droid with you,” he growled, and turned away. And with a slight effort, forced himself to jog towards the hanger.
Aura’s eyes blurred as she forced herself to follow his example. She knew Tyraal was crafty enough to get himself out of this, she just had to believe in that.
In the hanger, all hell was breaking loose. Droid control forces had opened fire on evacuating merchants and non-station personnel, as per Rear Directory Order 115: in the instance of Station Administrator Rutgar-4 being destroyed, all non-station personnel are to remain on premises, by force if needed. Most ships were utterly destroyed, and dozens of bodies littered the floor, gunned down in their panicked flight. The ray shields containing the hanger flickered menacingly, trapping all ships in the hanger.
“Damn, how do we get out of this?” Muttered Martes, reloading his weapon, beside the other three Odanites, hunkered behind a Lambda-class shuttle wreckage.
“Get to the control booth and shut down the ray shields,” replied Celevon as he pointed across the hanger, with monotony that suggested that that was obvious and that Ethan was an idiot for not knowing that.
“…and how do we get to the control booth?” Added Martes rather dryly. He waved his slugthrower towards the open expanse. “You want to run across that wasteland?”
Before the half-Echani could reply, Petth drew their attention to the fact that there was already a fight going on inside of the control booth. They all looked up and found that there were indeed blaster bolts flying like mad inside of the tinted windows. The ray shields abruptly shifted color from the menacing yellow trapping them inside to a more friendly cobalt.
“They got it down, whoever they—”
“It’s Tyraal!” Interrupted Aura, leaping to her feet.
“Don’t get your hopes up,” shot back Ethan hopefully, following her up.
It was actually Jael who did the ray shield magic, but Tyraal was beside him, leaning heavily on the half-Sephi as they struggled out of the control booth and down the stairs to the hangar floor.
“Bloody-karking-blazing forces, it is Tyraal, damn it!” Ethan whooped, and threw his hat victoriously, before swearing as he watched it fly neatly out the ray shield. He didn’t have time to mourn for the hat before Aura had him in a crushing celebratory hug.
“Then let’s go, there’s no time to—” ordered the Warden, starting to run towards a shuttle, and abruptly halting as a wing fell off and the ship burst into flame.
“How about—” Offered Aura, also stopping as her suggestion also burst into flame.
“How about we just follow them?” Suggested Ethan dryly, pointing at Jael and Tyraal limping across the floor towards an E-9.
“That ship somehow hasn’t blown up: how many missions has it survived with Tyraal?” Wondered Aura, igniting her lightsaber and sprinting out towards it.
The others followed suit, weapons blazing as they charged across the hanger floor towards the E-9. The last of the droids dropped clunkily as Tyraal and Ethan opened fire on them with their two blasters. As they all reconvened at the E-9, the ray shields again turned yellow, and another dozen droids began pouring out of the control booth: many were wielding electro-staffs and batons.
“Jael?” Muttered Tyraal.
“Of course,” replied the ex-Sith, bringing up a screen on a confiscated control-pad from the hanger control room. “Shall we get on?”
Aura swung Tyraal’s arm over her shoulder and they limped up the ramp, followed by Ethan, Petth, Celevon, and Jael. As soon as the ramp closed, Jael flipped some switches on his pad. The control booth erupted in a hideously glorious fireball. The explosion destroyed the shield controls, shutting down the ray shields. The emergency blast doors began to close, but Tyraal, having beat Ethan to the pilot’s seat, lifted the E-9 off of the hanger floor and out of the gap.
Celevon and Ethan slowly moved to the back of the ship and both opened their pockets as the rest of those gathered silently panted from the chaos of the mission.
“So in total, how much do you think you got?” Ethan asked, keeping his voice low.
“At least a thousand creds worth.” The Half-Echani whispered. The two of them had stuffed their pockets whenever they got the chance of goods and shiny bits from the market.
“Well…. That went rather off the rails,” commented Jael, sitting down and looking sadly down at his new datapad. “I lost my lucky equipment.”
“No such thing as luck,” replied Ta’var, as she reached around the chair to hug Tyraal. “Glad you’re alive.”
“Me too.” He jerked his head towards Jael. “He’s pretty handy in a fix.”
“You’re still paying for my new equipment.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, keep your shirt on.” Tyraal sighed. “There go all my savings.”
He glanced back at Aura expectantly.
“Alrighty. Where to next, boss?”