Nice and long chapter today, hope you enjoy.
The Black Vulkar base was about as dreary as the sewers except on a higher level, it was no military installation but it was heavily guarded with droids and turrets set up everywhere. The three intruders had already breached the main computer room and Mission was attempting to hack through the security and unlock the elevator to the garage where the swoop bike component was no doubt being stored. The console was located inside a large hall that had many guards until Tali, Mission and Zaalbaar entered guns blazing; now there was an array of corpses and holes in the wall where bolts had missed their mark. Tali was keeping watch, her energy shield still engulfing her body in its blue glow and Zaalbaar had retrieved a number of grenades from the bodies scattered around the room growling in approval while stringing some to his belt.
Tali had found her new armour to be too cumbersome for her, her specialty was getting in close quickly and riddling her foes with shots and then moving onto the next target. Her heavier armour made it difficult to move as swiftly as she would like and a few stray blaster bolts knocked out her inferior kinetic barriers very quickly forcing her to rely on her energy shield. Tali hoped to pick up some lighter armour from the dead guards but all their armour was damaged from the fight.
Mission, meanwhile had hacked through the security systems and disabled the base security. "Here, check this out." She gestured for Tali to come and have a look at one of the remote cameras. Tali came over to see a feed that showed many guards in what looked like a set of barracks, a Twi'lek slave was forced into the room wearing virtually nothing while the Vulkars gawped at her. Mission quickly hit a few buttons on the control station and an exposed transformer overloaded sending electrical shots through the room killing most of the guards instantly. "Ha take that ya Vulkar scum!" She exclaimed triumphantly as the slave used the confusion to run from the guards, she exited the barracks and entered the hall where the three intruders were standing.
"Help me!" She screamed as a Vulkar gave chase with horrible burns on his face. He quickly caught up to her and hit her with his pistol, oblivious to the three intruders. He looked up for a second and noticed the Wookiee towering over him.
"Who the-?!" Was all he could say as the beast grabbed him by the neck and crushed his throat with very little effort. His lifeless body hit the ground with a loud thud and the slave backing off in terror.
"Don't hurt me!" She screamed in hysteria, "Stay back!"
Tali and Mission quickly made their way around to comfort the scared woman, on closer inspection she was very young, couldn't have been much older than Mission. "Are you alright?" Tali asked as Mission embraced the young Twi'lek.
"I… I don't know." She started sobbing loudly as she looked to the side and saw the Vulkar with a crushed neck. "Please… just let me go." The former slave pleaded as she pushed the kind hands of Mission and Tali away and quickly running for the exit without a word.
"Let's keep moving." Mission stated obviously as she motioned for Tali and Zaalbaar to make a move towards the garage elevator. Tali was hesitant at first, everything about this galaxy made her angry, at first she had hoped that there may have been improvements over her last home, but it was the same old discriminatory and violent galaxy. She followed on with the other two as they entered the elevator and set it on course to the lower level.
The garage was oily, smelly and dirty as you would expect from a gangland swoop garage. There was a central hall with a crane and 4 swoop bikes stationed on the longest walls. There was smoke everywhere and scorch marks from welding torches. Tali and Zaalbaar were hidden around the corner while their blue friend did recon with her stealth generator, Tali sighed as she adjusted the sight on her pistol, she needed to get out of her suit – badly. Her indebted companion looked at her, whether he looked concerned was anyone's guess, but one thing was clear: he had no idea what he was looking at.
A few minutes later Mission rematerialized in front of the two, making Tali jump a little as the young Twi'lek appeared brandishing her rifle. "Just a mechanic and two defunct security droids, if we're quiet we can just sneak past." She clutched onto her pistol and motioned for Tali and Zaalbaar to follow. As they turned the corner, the mechanics legs could be seen sticking out from underneath a swoop bike, he was humming a strange tune that seemed badly made or he was just humming it wrong. The trio made for a nearby ramp that led even lower into the base, "They probably didn't count on anyone making it this far, security is really relaxed." They approached a door at the bottom of the ramp with a computer panel which was glowing a faint blue on the side. "Hang on, might be able to access the cameras…. There!" Mission exclaimed in triumph after hitting a few buttons on the holographic interface. Tali leaned in behind her; the one camera that she managed to get was showing that the corridor ahead had a large amount of guards.
"What should we do?" Tali quickly asked, gripping her pistol tightly and getting into a firing position.
Mission didn't answer, instead she tore off one of the panels next to the console and started tearing wires out while frantically pushing buttons on the console. "Bypassed the security protocols, I have full control of everything on this level." She looked through her options. "If I set an alarm off in one of the garage bays, all the guards should rush to that bay and then I can seal them inside the bay."
"That could work, we can take care of the guards if it doesn't." Tali said, loosening her grip on her pistol and holding it at her side. Mission took her approval and punched in some keys.
"The system says that the engine prototype is in bay 4, I'll set the alarm off in bay 1." Mission said as she made the actions in order to set off their plan. An alarm could be faintly heard behind the steel door, Mission had full camera control and watched the guards rush into the room, once they were all in she sealed the doors with magnetic locks. Nobody was getting in or out for a while.
With the hallways empty, the three continued towards bay 4. Mission couldn't access camera control for this room so they were unsure if there were guards but it was probably likely that Brejik had ordered them not to get distracted by anything. All three of them switched on their shields and readied their weapons. The door slid open and the 5 guards inside all pulled their weapons, what ensued was a tense standoff until one of the Twi'lek guards began speaking in his native tongue, Tali couldn't understand a word of it but one of the human guards spoke up. "Come on Mission, the Beks don't treat you with the respect you deserve." She said in a sly tone while darting her gaze back and forth between the trio. Tali knew they were trying to turn Mission away from the Beks and join the Vulkars however she wasn't going to let that happen.
"Mission!" Tali said, causing the young Twi'lek to face her, but not lower her weapon on the Vulkars "If you betray the Beks, you betray me and Carth, Zaalbaar and Nick especially!"
"Ahh Nick." The human from earlier muttered, "I see he's manipulated you into thinking that the Beks are so righteous."
"The Vulkars support – no they USE slaves and deal in the SLAVE TRADE! How could you work for people who do that?!" Tali gave Mission a hard stare, even if her expression wasn't received, the tone of her voice got through.
"You're right, the Vulkars are evil! I – WE would never work for you!" Mission drew her blaster and gunned down one of the guards forcing everyone into defensive positions. Tali jumped to the side behind a steel beam and activated her energy shield, Mission ducked behind a steel countertop, Zaalbaar, however was growing more creative and had charged the Twi'lek in command and was beating him to a pulp on the floor, his screams dying down. Mission let loose a few shots blindly, missing them all; she stood to aim properly however she was hit in the arm and thrown back into cover, screaming in pain. Tali looked over to see Mission clutching her arm, her face scrunched up in pain. She peeked around to pick a target, only two left and Zaalbaar had the other one by the throat, she leapt out of cover and fired her pistol, accidentally pushing a switch on the side and fired a charged shot at the enemy, the recoil almost threw the gun out of her hand. The unlucky Vulkar was hit by a blast of concentrated energy which melted straight through his armour and his body; he was thrown backwards by the blast and fell to the ground.
Zaalbaar tore off the arms of the final guard who went down screaming before dying of blood loss. Once the shooting had stopped, Tali quickly rushed to Mission who was still writhing in pain from the shot. She had her hand clutching the wound, no blood but severely burned. Without saying anything, Tali grabbed one of the medpacks that Carth had bought earlier and injected the Kolto into Mission's arm. The relief came immediately; Mission breathed a sigh of relief as the painkillers did their job, Tali then wrapped a bandage around the wound. After being helped up, Mission thanked the Quarian and continued on to look for the engine.
"There it is!" Mission exclaimed in triumph as she spotted the oversized engine, Tali was intrigued and wished that if she had the time she would take it apart and analyse its inner workings. The thing was a beast and would require both Tali and Mission to carry it back to the Bek base.
"What about the guards? We will be completely defenceless against them." Tali complained in protest.
"They're still locked in that room, trust me." Mission replied confidently, seemingly ridding away Tali's concern. The two of them began carrying the part out of the Vulkar base.
They went back to the main hall only to be greeted by the mechanic from earlier; he looked absolutely terrified at the sight of two heavily armed people inside the base. Seeing as they were carrying the part, the Vulkar pulled his rifle and pointed it at them.
"I don' know what ya think yer doin' with that part, but yer gon' give it back right now…" From behind the pair a shot rang out and a green charged shot hit the Vulkar square in the head, disintegrating it in one shot. The now headless Vulkar fell over backwards; Mission and Tali looked at each other and heard the familiar wail of their furry friend. Zaalbaar was clutching onto his bowcaster with a grip that could shatter bones.
"Big Z! Thanks for the help." Mission replied in appreciation, the Wookiee simply growled in response and the three of them carried the swoop engine out of the Vulkar base.
The Sith continued their campaign of suppressing the citizens in the upper city; however the streets had been relatively quiet since the initial curfew had begun. The Sith presence had not lowered at all, however, and troops continued to patrol and set up heavy weaponry. However, there were two who were not willing to submit to their evil oppressors. Nick and Carth had since found a way to bypass the Sith by using maintenance tunnels to get to the lower city.
The corridor they were currently in was cramped, lit very sparsely with red emergency lights. There was water dripping from a pipe just above a door that Nick was working on, Carth was nervously aiming down the corridor from where they came.
"You sure we gave those bounty hunters the slip?" Carth asked, never once taking his eyes off the corridor.
"They would have found us by now, now quiet down." The mercenary shot back, employing a security tunneler into the door panel causing it to be filled with junk data allowing Nick to open the door. The door slid open with a loud creak, opening an even darker span of maintenance shafts. "Let's move." Nick added, swiftly moving through the open doorway. As Carth advanced in after him he shut the door and started to prepare a fragmentation mine to cover their tracks. "What are you waiting for!? Just lock it already!" Nick shouted from behind Carth.
"Alright, I'm done!" Carth hastily said as he turned from the door and ran after Nick.
"As soon as we get to the lower city we gotta find Tali and Mission before they leave." Nick stated as they passed through another door and deeper into the tunnels. Above they could hear faint footsteps from Sith Soldiers marching around on the metal streets above them.
"Yeah…" Carth said, his thoughts clearly elsewhere, Nick paid him little attention as he continued to navigate the maintenance shafts, looking for a hatch or passage that could take them to the lower city quickly.
Suddenly, a little ways behind them, one of the doors slid open revealing one of the bounty hunters that had been tracking the two. As the door opened there was a faint beeping sound, the charge that Carth had set off was about to explode and kill the bounty hunter. The hunter barely had time to register that he was about to die, but he managed to look up and ahead just before he was shredded in the resulting shrapnel from the explosion. The shockwave caused both Nick and Carth to spin around and see the twisted remains of the corridor behind them.
"What happened?!" Nick shouted while moving down the corridor back the way they came.
"I was trying to detonate the door controls with an explosive, looks it worked." Carth replied, almost looking pleased with himself.
"You… IDIOT!" Nick cried as he frantically began to move through the corridors. "The Sith will have heard that, and I guarantee that-" he was cut short as he opened a door and a squad of Sith soldiers stood greeting him. For a second both sides froze in place, unsure how to react. Very quickly however Nick pulled his gun and fired a shot at the first soldier, the bolt pierced his armour and the soldier fell to the floor dead.
"He's got a gun, take him out!" One of the soldiers shouted as they all drew their weapons and advanced towards the two, Nick shut the door just as the Sith began firing causing all their shots to explode on the closed door.
"Come on!" Nick said as he backed away from the door, he was sweating nervously as he turned around and ran back the other way. Coming up to the section that had been destroyed, Nick started to look for a way through, Carth looked on worriedly. The door behind them opened and the soldiers charged in firing shots straight at the two, Carth pushed Nick out of the corridor into a thinner section of the shaft that led in another direction just before the shots hit them.
"We need to move now!" Carth shouted at braindead looking Nick who didn't seem to paying attention and almost fell over. He was snapped back to reality by the ping of a blaster bolt hitting the wall in front of him, he turned to Carth who again shouted at him to move and the two continued down the corridor away from the pursuing soldiers.
As they ran from the pursuing Sith, they turned corners but no new route was available. They pushed on until Nick got ahead and pushed through a durasteel blast door only to find a room with a security console, more importantly there were no exits. "It's a dead end." Nick stated flatly, turning around to leave before Carth stood in his way.
"Then this is where we make our stand." Carth said, facing a horrified Nick.
"No! We can't, do you have any idea how many Sith are out there?!" Nick cried while Carth calmly walked by and started pushing crates to form a crude barricade.
"We have no choice, either we stand here or we die!" Carth shouted back, Nick seemed to get the message and helped Carth build his barricade. The Sith were not far behind, giving the pair minutes to get ready. Carth locked the door and placed a concussive charge in front of it, anything else would vaporize everyone inside. He then climbed over their makeshift defence and waited.
Minutes went by that felt like hours, Carth was reminded of a similar situation during the Mandalorian Wars, Nick simply let the sweat drip down his face as he readied his blaster. The door started to be pounded and the loud bangs from the fists outside were evident of this. Muffled shouts could be heard as the Soldiers outside moved to blow the door open. Both Carth and Nick activated their energy shields, waiting for the door to open and for their pursuers to be visible.
The door exploded into a flush of bright white light as the Sith blew open the door, almost immediately after, the concussive mine laid by Carth activated and blinded the squad of Sith while Carth and Nick stood up and fired a flurry of shots into the opening, the explosion fractured a nearby pipe and water sprayed out into the hole where the door had been. Partially blinded by the explosion, the concussion mine, and the water gushing from the pipe, the pair missed a large number of their shots: only downing two of the Sith soldiers while the others retreated for cover with only one minor injury. Carth and Nick were then greeted by return fire that bounced off their shields but forced them down anyway, the Sith began activating their more powerful, military grade shields. The flash had died down and both sides could now see perfectly well, the Sith were covering in alcoves outside the room while Nick and Carth had superior cover but not the tactical advantage: the room they were in slightly sloped towards the back – where their barricade was.
"Damn it!" Nick shouted over the gunfire as one of the fuses in his shield blew out forcing him to reconfigure the settings. He peeked over cover and saw one of the soldiers advancing, he unleashed a rapid shot that riddled the soldier with blasts, his shield absorbed a lot of the damage until it shorted out causing the soldier to rely on his armour; however that quickly gave out under the fire from Nick's heavily upgraded rifle. "Hah!" Nick called out triumphantly while crouching back down.
Carth readied a frag grenade and threw it out into the open, it landed near an unlucky soldier who, for a few seconds accepted his fate before the grenade opened a deadly wave of frag in all directions, completely shredding the armour and skin of the unlucky soldier. The grenade didn't kill him, but he was put out of action following severe burns and internal bleeding. After this, the remaining soldiers pushed back slightly, causing a lull in the battle. Neither Carth nor Nick knew how many soldiers were remaining, but they figured their numbers must be thinning if they were reluctant to start pulling the trigger on the two. In these precious moments, they both knew that they had a few minutes or less to prepare for the next wave.
Nick stood up from his crate and vaulted over it, using his shield as a contingency while using the jet of water as cover, he approached the closest body of one of the Sith and quickly looted it, taking his energy shield and his rifle. Carth kept a close eye out with his pistol at the ready and his shield on a new fuse. Suddenly a wave of blaster fire erupted from the opening, disintegrating on Nick and blowing his shield in a matter of seconds, as he moved the fire followed him and his armour was riddled with shots as he fell over the barricade face first onto the floor showing the extent of the damage. Some of the shots had pierced his armour and had burned his back with deep wounds, Nick moaned in agony while Carth hurriedly pulled him closer and injected him with an advanced med-pack, spreading Kolto throughout the wounded area. Another flurry of shots riddled the crates and plasteel cylinders of their barricade forcing Carth to lean in and take cover. Finding that he was out of med-packs, Carth instead found some of the Medi-Gel that Tali had been carrying, without thinking he applied it to the remainder of the burns hoping for the best.
The jet of water died down to a slight drip and Carth peeked over the crate to see a horrifying sight: a towering three legged assault droid had been called in as backup, it's repeating blaster glowing red with overuse. It was glowing red from an enhanced military energy shield and it started to move forwards slowly. What these droids made up for in power they lost in speed giving Carth a few minutes more to prepare, he grabbed that Sith energy shield and the rifle that Nick grabbed earlier and readied both. He had one last frag grenade and hoped to eliminate the soldiers with it; he tossed the grenade behind the assault droid and it exploded with the muffled scream of a soldier in the background. Unfazed, the droid continued its slow movement towards the barricade, searching for a viable target. Carth mentally counted to three before standing up over cover and unloading all his shots into the droid who in turn opened fire with its repeating blaster, burning holes in the wall where it missed its target. The flurry of bolts pounded away at the assault droid, knocking out its shield and then its armour, the high power of the Sith battle rifle was enough to knock out the assault droid quickly. Carth backed into cover, finding his energy shield burned out and the power pack in his rifle overheated and melting the core of the rifle making it unusable. Carth mentally cursed himself before drawing his trusty pistol. He peeked over cover to see the droid still functioning, but heavily damaged after the last hail of gunfire, it's repeating blaster hanging from one of its 'arms', Carth finished it off with a power blast that tore the droid into two and it's sparking components fell to the floor.
Carth stood up to gaze at his victory but was greeted by two more towering assault droids approaching his position. With the rifle all but useless and his pistol too weak to effectively deal with the shield, Carth cowered behind the barricade with nothing left to do but accept his fate. Nick groaned in pain as he tried to turn around, successfully propping himself against the barricade he turned to Carth and the two exchanged a look before accepting their end. Nick held out his hand revealing an ion grenade he had been hiding, the droids hadn't advanced through the door yet so Carth quickly grabbed the grenade and tossed it at the droids. It detonated in a wave of electricity that shorted out the droid's shields and stunned them momentarily. With the droids disabled, the pair relaxed behind the barricade again, neither making a sound, apart from the heavy groans from Nick.