It took a split-second for their situation to change. In one second, the quintet were running toward the hangar. In the next, Aurora went down with a pained cry, cradling her left shoulder.
Whilst the rest took cover, Ethan knelt by the Zeltron to inspect the wound. “Blaster hit. Not as much damage as I would expect, so it was probably fired from beyond the range of the weapon.” He explained just loud enough to be heard over the repeated muffled retorts of the half-Echani’s slugthrower before he gave a wry grin. “On the plus side, wounds like these cauterize themselves. No major vitals hit, but it’ll hurt like a—”
Ta’var managed to push him away with her uninjured arm, giving a quiet hiss as she pushed herself to her feet. “No time. We need to keep moving.”
All of them could hear the strain in the Zeltron’s voice. Martes dropped his playful air in an instant. “If you jostle it too much, it will start bleeding. Swinging a lightsaber around is out of the question.”
“They’re getting closer,” Celevon pointed out as he emptied the cylinder of spent slugs in a deft move, reloading with practiced ease. “His reinforcements must have been nearby.”
“Can we slow them down somehow? The damn station won’t last long under the continued bombardment,” Jael growled back, fiddling with the crate that held the artifact in an attempt to open it. The half-Echani had dropped it so he could focus more on returning fire. “This thrice damned thing must have been damaged… it won’t—oi!”
The snap-hiss of a lightsaber igniting and a flash of crimson had the others turning. Celevon had taken Chi’ra’s lightsaber and slashed through the side of the crate. “This key seems to work fine,” the half-Echani quipped as he deactivated the weapon and tossed it back to Jael.
As the half-Sephi fumbled to catch the cylinder without accidentally activating it, Celevon reached in and grabbed the crystal with his left hand. Within a matter of seconds, the glove concealing his cybernetic had burned away. “Huh… that explains why it was in a box,” he muttered quietly to himself.
“Let’s get moving,” the Zeltron hissed from between clenched teeth. “Do whatever you need to slow them down.”
The Chiss amongst them grew concerned at the grin this command gave Celevon. He holstered the slugthrower, peeked around the corner and reached out with his free hand. Silver eyes closed in concentration.
The Warden’s eyes snapped open as he rose to his feet. “Let’s move.”
“How are we going to continue without getting sh—”
Jael’s question was interrupted by the sound of panicked shouting down the walkway. The ground quaked as an explosion ripped from the location of their enemy before the blast doors slammed shut. Just before they did, the half-Sephi was aware of the increase in pressure.
A snort escaped Ethan as he failed to subdue his mirth. “You saw it too?”
Ta’var sighed as they started moving toward the hangar at as quick a pace as they could manage. “Do I even want to know?”
Martes took a deep breath to keep the laughter down. “The Ithorian had a thermal detonator on his belt. H-he—” Another snort escaped as Petth rolled her eyes.
“You told me to slow them down. I figured a thermal detonator going off would do just that,” Celevon explained in mock innocent tones, drawing a giggle from Ethan. “I just used the Force to push the little red button.”
“If you didn’t, I would have.” Ethan bit his lip, trying to suppress the laughter.
Jael Chi’ra put the pilfered datapad away, urgency clear in his voice. “You also blew out half of the walkway. We need to get the hell out of here before this section detaches from the station.”
“What in the name of slice just happened? Nevermind… I probably don’t want to know. Could you guys get a move on? I want to get out of here before this hangar blows as well!”
“We’ll be there shortly, Tyraal. Be patient,” the Zeltron managed to chide her former apprentice despite the pain she was in. Aurora grimaced as she sensed the wound; it would take several bacta treatments and a meditative healing session at the very least.
Truth be told, if that was indicative of the amount of damage the bolt did when it had burned off some of its power, she would have hated to see what would happen within range.
“Ethan, Jael and Petth: you run ahead and cover any preparations we need to depart. Ethan, see if there’s a medkit or something we can use to wrap her wound with onboard,” Celevon ordered the moment they stepped into the hangar. It was clear that Tyraal had been kept busy if one were to judge by the amount of scorched droid parts strewn about.
The Chiss lifted an inquisitive eyebrow at the half-Echani ordering her around when she caught sight of Martes’ subtle headshake.
“Someone needs to pilot the ship, since Tyraal is already situated in the turret,” Ethan muttered, setting off at a jog. The other two followed shortly behind him.
“I thought I was the one that was supposed to bark orders at everyone,” the Zeltron murmured with an attempt at an amused smile. It was ruined by a wince. Every slight movement of her arm sent a wave of agony across her senses and it was taking all of Ta’var’s willpower to remain conscious.
“Old habits die hard,” Celevon grumbled good-naturedly, keeping pace in case she needed assistance. He had seen people with wounds like that pass out without warning; no sense adding a head injury to the mix.
The final two made it up the ramp of the boarding shuttle mere moments before it retracted and sealed the vessel. The first thing they were aware of was the sound of an argument between the half-Sephi and the Clawdite.
“—do you mean, you ‘forgot’? Those doors—”
“—fire on that mechanism when we’re near the shields. We’ll only have a few seconds—”
“Are we having fun yet?” Ethan gave a weary grin as he directed the Zeltron into a seat. “Apparently, Jael was supposed to blow up the thing keeping the shields active. Petth is reporting Daggo’s death. You might want to go strap yourself in so we can get underway.”
The Warden nodded and made his way into the cockpit, taking a seat and starting to strap himself in. The Chiss glared warningly and Celevon held up his hands, indicating that he wouldn’t touch a thing.
“—an you confirm that Daggo Mouk is dead?”
Petth rolled her eyes. “We didn’t exactly see him die. The thermal detonator that caused the explosion and part of the walkway to blow out was on his belt. If you want to check the debris field for tiny pieces of an ugly Ithorian, be my guest.” She ended the communications with a curt gesture, activating the flight controls at the same time. “We’re getting out of here. Someone knocking out those shields would be nice,” she called back to the others as she maneuvered toward the hangar doors.
Several bursts of energy from their turret struck the edge of the hangar doors and the shield collapsed. The emergency doors started to rapidly close, slamming shut a heartbeat after they made it out.
Petth glanced over her shoulder and spotted the half-Echani white-knuckling the armrests. “Don’t tell me you—”
“Shut up. I hate these flying death traps… especially when there’s a chance of us getting squished,” Celevon grumbled, trying not to twitch as he kept a tight grip. Silver eyes widened as he realized she was still grinning at him and not paying attention to where she was flying. “Whoa, hey! Eyes front!”
“Don’t be such a wuss, Edraven. I know what I’m doing,” Petth snickered quietly, purposely doing several unnecessary aerial maneuvers that brought them close to other vessels. “I wonder if I could fly with my eyes closed, using only the Fo—”
“Ethan, your woman is trying to kill us!”
The Chiss grinned from the pilot’s chair. “He’s mine, not the other way around. Get it right.” She paused, turned and called out to Martes. “That reminds me… When am I getting my lightsaber back?”
“EYES FRONT, FOR SLICE’S SAKE!”
Though he would vehemently deny it later, all of the others clearly heard Celevon’s voice go up an octave or two in his panic.