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Jayce & Xan
Your search for useful equipment yields half a dozen each of stun grenades and smoke grenades in the time allowed. The thick-headed labour droids still seem to be paying you no mind.
Through the Force, you can see the troopers are getting closer, surrounding the armory section on all sides and if Kistra's group comes through the door into the corridor outside, they will immediately get caught between two patrols, with a third joining in within moments.
The two groups closest to the door to this section of the armory have taken up positions on either side of the door. You can see one of them doing the whole military hand signal thing, for "area secure, prepare to advance".
Looking down, you see no troops in the immediate areas on the next level down. Best relay that information quick.
"Hey," says Jayce to Xan quietly, "I've been thinking about this some more and I am not sure we can really trust this guy (Cruix). He seems a bit...arrogant? Anyway, I think we need to come up with a new plan if we want to get out of this alive. I'm not really seeing a lot of options though. All I have is my discblade, these rifles, some powerpacks...that reminds me, I should grab some more ammo..., these grenades we just liberated, and this lightsaber I took from my captor."
Jayce indicates the unignited saber hanging from his utility belt.
"You have any ideas?"
Cruix shares what he see's through the force to his allies. followed by "I am all open to suggestions ... what do you think we should do? It seems what ever we do we must do soon."
Cruix lets out a sigh and continues observing everything.
Kistra's eyes flash open as she gets confirmation from Cruix.
"OK, the next level down is safe for now" she says to her companions, "And with any luck, we'll be able to get into the armory the same way... only upwards"
Valara nods, then ignites her lightsabre.
"Let's work fast" she says.
The three women form a circle around DeeDee, with them facing outwards then plunge their lightsabres into the floor and begin to cut around. It takes the three of them about seven seconds to cut a rough circular hole around them, which neatly drops to the next deck.
Stessa winces in pain, then points up the corridor that they now find themselves in.
"About twenty metres that way" she gasps, "Then we can go back up"
"Eh. Ya got me. Well, I guess there's one thing we can take a shot at..."
He pulls out his own stolen lightsaber and ignites it, and begins carving into the floor.
"Let's see how thick the floor is..."
"Not a bad idea. Well done, Xan," says Jayce, pulling out his own and igniting it. He moves to join his aprentice in cutting through the floor.
Cruix, Jayce & Xan
It takes Jayce and Xan just over 10 seconds to cut a large enough hole in the deck plating, which gives way beneath them... just as the door to the armory opens to admit the Stormtroopers.
"What the...?" one of them blurts upon seeing Jayce and Xan start to drop with the cut-open deck.
The trooper at his side yells "Freeze!" and raises his blaster rifle, a split second before he does.
Luckily, only two troopers can fit in the doorway, so for the moment, Cruix only has two rifles pointed at him.
(Initiative: Troopers, Cruix, Xan, Jayce)
Despite the shock, the troopers react fastest, opening fire on Cruix as Jayce & Xan have now dropped out of sight. Unfortunately for the troopers, they are still woefully inept and their blasts sail wide or the mark in the enclosed space, hitting a clueless labour droid.
Jayce & Xan have landed in an unremarkable and seemingly empty corrider, running perpendicular to the direction that the troopers are coming from up above.
I use force slam against my Imperial Friends and follow the other 2 down the hole.
"That could have gotten sticky ..."
Cruix, Jayce & Xan
The Stormtroopers instinctively recoil as Cruix unleashes the power of the Force in their direction... an instinct that was not exactly justified as rather than smashing them violently into the ground, Cruix instead causes an avalanche of equipment to fall from the shelves between himself and the Imperials.
Probably not what he had in mind but at least it bought him time to drop down to Jayce and Xan.
"Alright, lets move and then cut another hole," says Jayce, watching as Bones lands next to him.
"Heh, lightsabers are much better than turbolifts. We don't have to worry about the Imperials shutting them down while we are in them."
(Perception check to see where we are.)
Within moments of being freed from his cell, Blake is once again wearing his complete Stortrooper disguise. With his true identity hidden and the company of a seemingly legitimate member of the ship's Elite, he is able to move more or less freely, as long as he and Faras are moving in the general direction of the trouble aboard ship... which of course they are.
"I wish I knew what frequency Torren and the others were on" he mutters, "That would make this whole thing much easier"
As Kistra's group moves stealthily forward, Stessa suddenly momentarily starts as if surprised by an unexpected noise.
"Did you here that?" she hisses, "It sounded like a crash, somewhere around the next junction"
Reaching out with the Force, Kistra calls to Cruix telepathically.
'Was that your group falling through the floor?' she asks.
Cruix, Jayce, and Xan
You are in a cylindrical, tube-like corridor a little wider than needed to comfortably walk two abreast. This seems to be more for emergency access than everyday use as there are very few signs that it has been travelled.
In addition to Kistra's telepathic message, Cruix will also see her group about 40odd metres away thanks to his Force Sight.
Jayce, with his surprisingly good hearing will also pick up a hint of Stessa's voice.
Oh, and just to make things even more interesting, a pair of stun grenades drop through the hole above you but detonate too early, doing little more than shake you slightly (3 damage each).
Looking up through the hole in the floor. "Stupid troopers ... We better get moving my friends less they get lucky."
Still reaching out with the force to see who or what is around us and the safest way out of this hell hole. To Krista "Did we make enough noise?" Cruix says sarcastically "Yes we came through the floor and the stormies dropped a grenade on us. We are on our way to you."
Nodding to let his Wookiee companion know he's fixed in on where to intercept Blake, Torren begins to make his way there, doing his best to stay observant and in the shadows...
(Stealth, UTF Sense Surroundings & Perception checks as we go. Trying to avoid as much as possible, sneak by what we must)
With four TIE Fighters to deal with, Hrabacca has his work cut out for him. His evasive manoeuvres are barely enough to keep them all off his tail, and the Syren's Heart's shields are severely overtaxed from all the laser blasts hitting them. Even as he fights defensively, he still returns fire, damaging but not quite destroying one of the pursuing fighters.
Racing to pick up Wist, the Freedom Star keeps hurling turbolaser blasts at the Pit of Despair, more to harass the black Star Destroyer than out of any expectation to do real damage. Several attacks flare against the Imperials' shields but fail to penetrate.
Torren and Kanwarr
After several close calls, you are nearly at Blake's location.
Suddenly, you get a warning from the Force of danger around the next corner. Two hostile Force Users...
Cruix, Jayce, Xan
'Very funny' Kistra thinks at Cruix.
'Hurry up and get over to us, will you? One of my group is injured'
You guys are going to have to work fast. The Stormtroopers in the armory are closing in, and already blindly pouring blaster fire down the hole.
"Time to go!" yells Jayce, pulling out a smoke grenade as blaster bolts start falling like rain. Pulling the pin, he drops it at his feat and begins hoofing it towards Kistra and Co.
Halting their progress, Torren and Kanwarr fade into the shadows, ready their weapons and wait...
(Stealth, Battle Strike & wait for them both...)
Torren and Kanwarr
There isn't a whole lot of shadow to conceal you guys, and then lightsabres aren't exactly stealthy anyway. As soon as Kanwarr's blade screeches to life, you hear a shout from ahead and just around the corner to the right followed by the crackle of electricity.
One man carefully steps into view brandishing a force pike.
"Freeze, Jedi!" he cries.
(Initiative: Torren, Inquisitors, Kanwarr)
Seeing that hiding had no effect, Torren dashes forward and lashes out at his foe....
Unfortunately the man, clad in a simple black jumpsuit, blocks your charge seemingly without effort, his energised force pike pushing your lightsabre blade harmlessly into the wall of the corridor.
He then takes his left hand from his weapon and tries to use the Force on you.
Only your carefully honed Jedi instincts allow you to dispel his attack.
Immediately, the Force flashes a warning, drawing your attention to your right, up the adjoining corridor.
You see another black-clad Inquisitor a few yards away pointing a blaster and fingers in a pinching motion in your direction.
As his dark grip closes around your throat (8 damage) you see a group of stormtroopers and another black-clad individual appear behind that Inquisitor; at the far end of the corridor and closing...
With a roar like thunder, Kanwarr charges at the prey before him...
(Charge the same guy as Torren)
If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times. It's not wise to upset a Wookiee, least of all this one.
Your bone-white blade strikes true, cutting a deep gash in your prey's abdomen.
With a gag of what was suppose to be warning, Torren decides to get out of the way, the only way he can. Aiming as best he can, he falls behind Kanwarr hoping to get some cover from his attacker.....
Torren and Kanwarr
The Force is strong with Torren.
Ducking down behind Kanwarr seems to break the dark grip around your throat.
Furthermore, you are able to deftly avoid what might have been a killing stroke as the Inquisitor you were in melee combat range of tries to cleave your head in two with his force pike.
Also, in avoiding that blow, you are out of the firing line when the second Inquisitor uses the Force to launch Kanwarr into the wall (13 damage)
And just to make things even more interesting, the troopers are getting closer and closer...
Grunting from the impact, Kanwarr takes a moment and steels himself for the battle ahead. Then, with a gleam in the eyes, he further blocks the prey from his friend, giving him time to collect himself....
(FP for Damage Reduction, move to better provide cover for Torren if able)
Torren & Kanwarr
Stealing himself for combat right now was a very good idea.
Eight of the nine approaching Stormtroopers open fire when they are just over ten metres behind the grip-happy Inquisitor, unleashing a firestorm of blaster bolts at Kanwarr... a firestorm that he somehow manages to keep at bay with his lightsabre.
Just when you think things can't get any more chaotic, the ninth Stormtrooper turns and shoots one of his fellows in the back, dropping him instantly.
At the same moment, the black-clad individual; a human female, ignites a red-bladed lightsabre and makes a pinching motion at another hapless trooper, causing him to collapse to the ground clutching at his throat...
Xan turns towards the stormtroopers and sticks his tongue out with his hands wriggling beside his head in a comical display. Sure, they couldn't see him, but that wasn't the point anyways. He moves out with the others afterwards...
"Was that necessary Xan ....? Next time just chuck a grenade at them ... its much more enjoyable." And we make our way observing whats around us. (er UTF or Perception check to see whats going on around us)
TO Krista: "We are trying to be as careful as we can ... we just happen to blow alot of things up along the way. Is your group ok?" Farseeing to see whats up around her.
Grateful for his Wookiee friend, Torren thanks him under his breath as he does a half roll-flip back onto his feet.
Seeing the discord in the enemy ranks brings a smirk to Torren's face. Looking to add to the chaos, he thrusts out with his hand and unleashes the force at the second inquisitor, looking to throw him back into the group of troopers...
(Acro check to stand as a free action, UTF Force Thrust at the 2nd Inq. FP if needed to boost)
Torren and Kanwarr
It is fortunate that Torren is quick on his feet, as he is able to get away and up without getting clobbered by the closest Inquisitor.
His Force Push against the second Inquisitor throws him off balance and propels him about 6 metres before he regains control of himself. Not bad, but not far enough to introduce him head-first to one of his own men.
"Men, deal with the traitors!" he roars, "Leave the Jedi to us"
He then advances on the two of you and tries to bombard Kanwarr with a devastating sonic attack but it don't quite work.
The closer Inquisitor is much more competent. He draws upon the Force to lift Kanwarr up and hurl him at Torren with punishing force (11 damage to Kanwarr, 21 damage and one step down the track for Torren).
Cruix, Jayce, Xan
As you reach Kistra and her group; a blonde-haired human woman, a white and pink astromech that can only be DeeDee, and a blue-skinned woman, at an intersection, you hear a dull thud from back up the tunnel where you dropped down to this level.
The blonde is the first to speak.
"Are any of you healers?" she asks,
"My name is Valara. Kistra and I helped each other escape. Stessa has been wounded and we need to work fast to get her patched before we get into another firefight"
Her last word is drowned out by blaster bolts from back up the tunnel impacting on the ceiling just above you...
With a deafening roar of pain and rage, the big Wookiee rises to his feet, look on his prey with feral eye and swings a crushing blow at his enemy...
(Stand from prone, Rage, Attack)
"I think i can play doctor if you want ... where are you hurt?" Cruix says as he turns around glancing at the ladies. Placing my hands on my badly wounded blue friend and spending 1 Force point i use Vital Transfer. "Too bad if i didnt have blaster fire over my head i could preform a more in depth examination. Oh well a quickie will have to do for now."
Torren and Kanwarr
A Raging Wookiee is a terrifying sight to behold.
Unfortunately, the effect is somewhat dimished if he doesn't actually hit his prey.
Aided by the Force, the target Inquisitor is able to deftly avoid Kanwarr's powerful blow.
Beyond the second Inquisitor, the Stormtroopers turn their fire on the traitor in their midst and his lightsabre wielding companion. Almost all of their blasts are deftly avoided or turned aside by the woman's red blade. Only one bolt scores her arm.
Crying out in pain, she hurls a bolt of lightning at the offending trooper just as her trooper drops one of the others with a well-aimed shot.
Cruix, Jayce, Kistra & Xan
As more blaster bolts crash into the walls and ceiling around you all, Cruix places his hand over Stessa's abdomenal wound and concentrates with the power of the Force.
He is able to bring about partial healing but not as much as long-term care would.
While Valara, Xan, and Kistra block blaster bolts that come too close, Stessa looks into Cruix's face.
"Thank you, seer" she says sincerely.
"We must hurry. the hangar bays start another two decks down and 100 metres to port"
She points along the port/starboard corridor in the opposite direction to where the Stormtroopers are.
*Sithspit!* Torren curses in his mind as he leaps back to his feet. *Alright, we can both play that game...* he thinks. Drawing on the Force, Torren tries to slam the far inquisitor into a trooper, returning the favor....
(Acro up from prone, UTF Move Object one into the other, FP if needed or to boost. Then Acro to tumble past the closest Imp, toward the group in the back)
Torren and Kanwarr
The Force is with Torren this time. The more distant Inquisitor is launched headlong into a Stormtrooper, denting the squaddie's back plate with his head and sending them both sprawling.
The Inquisitor closest to Kanwarr starts to back off, twirling his force pike in a defensive pattern. As he does so, he applies the Force in an attempt to confuse the mighty Wookiee's senses.
The second Inquisitor angrily hauls himself to his feet and makes a pinching motion, calling upon the Force to wrap a dark noose around Torren's throat and squeeze.
(21 damage, 1 step down the track)
Seeing this, the traitorous 'Stormtrooper' whirls on the Inquisitor and shoots him square in the back, breaking his Force Grip and dropping him to his knees.
"What is it with you Imperials and that choking thing?" he asks.
You recognise his voice as that of Blake.
Fuming, his ancestral rage coursing through him, Kanwarr draws his other saber, paws his injured friend behind him and storms toward the retreating inquisitor.
With a low rumble seeping from his lips, he lashes out with all of his formidable strength....
"Glad to help Mrs? ...." Glancing over his shoulder "I think we better save the pleasantries for later lets get out of here" (Use the force /Perception check as well as Farseeing to see Torren and Kanwarr.
TO Torren and Kanwarr
"Krista and I have met ... should we head towards you? You seem to need the help"
Torren and Kanwarr
Adding a second lightsabre to the mix enables Kanwarr to easily batter his way past the Inquisitor's defences and leave a pair of smoking hole in his abdomen. Not fatal holes, but certainly painful ones.
The remaining Stormtroopers split their fire between Blake and his companion, scoring glancing blows that scorch armour and clothes but not much else.
Better prepared this time, Faras unleashes the Force in a concussive wave rather than a burst of dark energy, flooring the four remaining troopers and crushing the chest plate of the one who had already been hit by an Inquisitor.
Taking the reprieve given to him by his friend, Torren replenishes himself with the Force and takes a breather....
(Shake it off, UTF Vital Transfer (self), spend FP to heal full)
Torren and Kanwarr
The Force flows into Torren, restoring his body and easing his wounds.
(healed 28, recovered one step up the track).
The Inquisitors on the other hand are determined not to be defeated.
Kanwarr's opponent feigns a blow for the Wookiee's knees then hits him with what should be a crippling strike to the face. (15 damage after DR)
To his horror, Kanwarr just shrugs it off.
"Why don't you tell me, traitor?" the other Inquisitor sneers, as he whirls on Blake and starts to choke him with the Force.
"Doesn't that feel nasty enough to justify our so-called obsession with it?"
Maintaining his grip on his blaster rifle Blake manages a little chuckle, then replies with some difficulty.
"Doesn't... hurt me... enough to... stop me... hutt-slime"
Howling in half-felt pain, Kanwarr brings both of his blades down with tremendous force at the pike-wielder.
(attacking with both weapons)
Torren and Kanwarr
Kanwarr's terrifying onslaught leave the Inquisitor with nowhere to go to avoid him. As well as smashing several dents into his force pike, Big K also manages to neatly slice along the length of his left forearm, from hand to elbow.
The Inquisitor cries out in mortal agony but stubbornly refuses to die.
Meanwhile up the corridor, the three surviving Stormtroopers pull themselves to their feet and open fire at Faras.
Luckily for her, she is more than equal to the task, blocking their bolts with practiced ease, before striding forward and neatly severing the right arm of the nearest trooper.
Cruix, Jayce, Kistra & Xan
"Pas'tess'affaré" the blue woman says, "But you can call me by my core name, Stessa. Thank you, and yes, we should run"
Suiting action to words, she starts to run towards the hangar bay, tugging Cruix along with her.
Valara decides to act as rear guard, retreating more slowly after everyone else has started, and blocking as much of the Imperials' fire as she can.
"I don't want to see anyone closer to those goons than me" she insists.
Hanging on to their targets with the tenacity of pitbulls, the TIE Fighters continue to pour fire at Sabre Squadron and the Syren's Heart. Ben takes a hit to his lower-left foil before Arrisa blasts the enemy fighter off his tail. Kian fires on the last TIE attacking their group, damaging it and allowing Ben to finish it off.
The TIE Fighter attacking Neela and Jula manages only one more useless salvo before it is double-teamed out of existence, leaving only the four TIEs that are harassing the Syren's Heart. TIEs that are about to get a visit from half a dozen X-Wings...
Safely away from the inquisitor facing Kanwarr, Torren dashes over to the grouped Stormtroopers and the man choking Blake. Staying out of mêlée range, Torren lifts his hand and slams them with the Force....
(Move in range of inq choking Blake and troopers near him (aiming so as not to hit friends), UTF Force Slam)
(*Also, 1 swift to start recovery action, finish next round)
Cruix hurries trying to keep up to keep from being dragged along. "Where are we going pesta ... affair .... Stessa? The safer route is that way" As he is being dragged around. "I think i can keep up thank you" Says cruix as he finally escapes the blue womans grasp.
Tactical Check to find a Choke point to hold our Escape Shuttle based on the knowledge i have already gathered.
Torren and Kanwarr
The Force is with Torren now, blasting the remaining Stormtroopers to the ground and knocking them all out.
Unfortunately it is also with the grip-happy Inquisitor, who is able to roll with the 'punch' and maintain his Force hold on Blake's throat.
Kanwarr's adversary disengages as safely as he can, draws the Force into himself like a sponge, then unleashes a disorienting sonic assault against the mighty Wookiee... which, rather disturbingly from his point of view, has absolutely no effect.
Still fighting against the ever-tightening grip, Blake stubbornly does everything he can to keep himself conscious, he just can't quite manage to shoot his tormentor at the same time...
Cruix, Jayce, Kistra & Xan
"The safer? How can you tell what route is safe?" Stessa asks, her confusion evident until she looks at your eyes, and comes almost to a complete stop.
Then realisation dawns.
"Oh, you are the one they call the seer" she says.
"How close are the enemy? Can we reach the turbolift shaft just after the next junction or should we make our own non-standard exit?"
As she asks that question, she waves her lightsabre in the direction that you had already been headed, indicating that the turbolift shaft is actually that way.
["Whatever we do, we should do it fast"] DeeDee beeps urgently, ["If we stand still too long then the ones chasing us will catch up and we won't need to worry about an ambush"]
Bellowing a roar of triumph, Kanwarr gives no quarter to his prey as he strikes out with his sabers...
(Attack, if inq falls, move toward the others)
Cruix sighs "It seems i'm picking up quite a few names as time progresses. And the storm troopers are very close ... just about all around us. So i think we should go that way .... and then proceed to try and avoid as many as we can. As we try to find a good place to hold them off until the rest of our friends can get there."
More UTF and Perception checks followed tactical ones
Torren and Kanwarr
There's just no stopping a raging Wookiee.
Kanwarr's blades easily overcome the wounded Inquisitor's desperate defence, then meet in the middle of his chest.
The very dead man's head, arms, and upper chest fall to the ground, followed by the rest of him a moment later.
"Hey! Ugly!" Faras shouts at the Inquisitor who is still choking Blake.
With that, she uses the Force to launch the severed arm of a Stormtrooper at him like a black and white missile.
It catches him full in the face, breaking his nose, breaking his Force hold on Blake, and knocking him sprawling.
Cruix, Jayce, Kistra, and Xan
Stessa nods grimly and starts moving again.
"I hope you're right, see... sorry, what's your real name?" she says as she does so.
Cruix, your Force Sight reveals troopers coming from almost all sides but that they won't reach the group until after you reach the turbolift. Also, there is an odd haze on the next deck down, like nothing you've ever seen before.
Cruix looks around quickly. "Mind if we hold the formal introductions until we are a safe distance away ... i got a bad feeling coming from the deck below and if we don't hurry we will be surrounded. We must Decide quickly if we should disable the turbo lift or not so these stormies dont follow us."
Cruix checks to see how many grenades he has left.
Moving to end this current threat to his friends, Torren dives forward, rolls and comes up next to his foe with a lunging strike, hopefully before the inquisitor has a chance to gain the upper hand again....
Torren and Kanwarr
One swift stroke brings the conflict to an end as Torren uses the butt of his lightsabre to knock the grip-happy Inquisitor unconscious.
Gasping for breath, Blake favours Torren with an approving nod. He understands that killing should be reserved for when it's absolutely necessary, and thanks to Faras, this time it wasn't.
Faras closes down her lightsabre and moves to help Blake up.
"Wes, you have got to stop annoying people who can choke you at a distance" she says, her tone one of gentle and friendly rebuke.
Cruix, Jayce, Kistra and Xan
(Cruix, you have no grenades, and Jayce & Xan only picked up non-lethal ones)
You all reach the turbolift without getting blasted by anything, though Valara is starting to feel the effects of blocking all those shots.
"Guys, if that lift isn't there in three seconds, go through the floor" she says breathlessly.
"I can't hold these creeps off forever without help, and yeah I know I chose to be last but when they come around that corner I don't think I can handle another onslaught"
Smirking at Blake's friend's comment, Torren raises to his feet, scans the area quickly and stretches. Thumbing off his saber, he turns to help Kanwarr shift through the usable gear on their fallen enemies as he speaks to the others.
"I'm glad you two were in the mix here, this might have turned out badly otherwise... oh, Blake, we have a plan... of sorts, but we can't do it without your help."
(Search the fallen for gear to give freed captives (maybe find a way to bundle it up for Kanwarr to carry as a pack))
"Don't worry, I have a plan that will solve all of our problems," says Jayce with absolute confidence. As the others look on with abject curiosity, he walks up to the lift control and hits the call button.
"Step one complete. Now Xan, come over here with me. Cruix, give us a heads up if there is anything in the lift, the rest of you stand there in awe of my strategic skill," Jayce says with a smile, definitely not serious in the least.
"I dont know if i will be able to tell so clearly if something is on the lift ... things are kinda blurry coming from the floor below us. It is from this haze that my uncertainty comes from. Let me focus and i will try harder." Cruix reaches out with the force focusing his mind to try and make out what is going on down on the lift and the surrounding area.
Xan stares at his master with narrowed eyes, almost unable to believe that his master would make such a lame joke.
"Yes, boss. I'm here as always. Y'know, these light sticks are kinda nifty..."
"Sheesh, you don't have to look at me that way. Let me have my fun," says Jayce with a wink, "Oh, and better be ready for the rough and tumble if any troopers thought it was a good idea for them to take the lift at this particular point in time. Delusions of grandeur can overtake even disciplined minds."
Torren and Kanwarr
Blake coughs a few times, then smiles, which you can't see because he hasn't taken off the Stormtrooper helmet yet.
"Well it's always good to see the younger heroes doing the thinking" he says approvingly, before removing the helmet.
"Ah, that's more like it. Ok, Torren, let's hear the plan, but first; introductions. This is Faras Caa'fel, a friend of mine from Freedom's Sons. Faras, this is Torren Kast, and our angry Wookiee friend up the corridor is Kanwarr. He should come down from the rage in a few moments and you can say hello properly"
Faras offers a little wave, having shut down her lightsabre.
"Hi" she says, a little uncertainly, "You're the first proper Jedi I've seen. Most people around here would have used the bright end on that guy"
Salvaging working equipment yields another two blaster carbines and another stun grenade.
Cruix, Jayce, Kistra and Xan
The turbolift arrives just as Cruix senses that it is clear, rendering his insight moot.
That odd haze is still below you though.
"Now would be a good time!" Valara shouts urgently, a split second before a pair of blaster bolts scorch the wall beside her.
Pushing out with the Force, she throws the first visible Stormtrooper into his companions to try to slow their advance, then switches back to defensive lightsabre work.
DeeDee is the first into the turbolift, plugging her computer probe into the control panel on the inside.
Kistra lets the others board first, moving back to help Valara hold back the troopers.
"I'm not leaving you behind" she says firmly, "Let's move"
Taking Faras's hand in his own, "It's a pleasure to meet you, under other circumstances I'd ask a dozen or so questions about your history with Blake... but now probably isn't the best time." He says the last with a wink.
Turning to Wes and becoming serious once again, Torren relates the plan they've come up with and tells Blake his major part in it, if he's up for it of course...
"Far be it from me to interrupt this touching moment between you two, but this lift needs to leave now. At the risk of being pushy, I suggest you get your pretty little behinds in gear before it does," says Jayce to the two overly heroic women.
Bringing his rifle to bear, he continues, "clear a line of fire for me and I'll give you some covering fire."
(OOC-Once they do, use autofire from the rifle to pepper the oncoming Stormies. Yeah, see how they like catching blaster bolts for once. On the off chance you rule this impossible without hitting Kistra and Valara, just shoot the lead trooper with normal fire.)
Cruix follows Xan onto the lift drawing his whip and modified blaster. Being careful not to block his line of sight and takes place at the controls of the lift.
"As you wish" says cruix with a sober expression.
Torren and Kanwarr
With a little help from Faras, Blake hauls himself to his feet. He listens to the plan without interrupted, during which time Kanwarr comes down from his Rage.
"It's risky, but I like it" Blake says, offering a wan smile.
"Let's make it happen. Lead on, Torren"
Cruix, Jayce, Kistra and Xan
Valara and Kistra don't need telling twice, ducking back to allow Jayce a clear firing lane.
His deadly fire perforates the first four Stormtroopers in several places and forces the rest to take cover.
Kistra and Valara then take hold of Jayce between them and bundle him into the lift along with all the others, closing down their lightsabres so as not to hit any of their companions by accident.
As soon as everyone is inside, DeeDee closes the doors and sets the lift in motion...
Hrabacca lets out a howl of triumph as he blows one of the TIE Fighters from his tail. The remaining three continue to focus on the Syren's Heart until it is too late. Their concerted attack finally manages to blow out the Heart's shield generator and blast several holes in its hull plating and engine housing. Fortunately for Hrabacca, the Imperials are unable to capitalise as Kira, Veka and Rutay obliterate his pursuit.
“Great shooting guys” Arrisa says over the comm.
“Anyone with damage, that means you, Neela, get on back to the Star. The rest of you, take a moment to recharge your shields then form up on me. We're going to make it nice and easy for Blake and the others to escape”
Nodding in affirmation, Torren reignites his saber, draws his DT-12 and begins to make his way toward the back bridge....
(UTF SS+P checks as we go, Stealth as well)
Torren and Kanwarr
Moving stealthily through the ship as quickly as you can, you come across a few crewers who must be avoided as well a squad of Stormtroopers, but are able to bypass both without being detected. It takes just over two minutes but you reach the doors to the secondary bridge.
"We made it" Faras says, clearly relieved.
Before anyone can say a word, a blaster bolt comes out of nowhere and hits Blake in the back, sending him sprawling to the ground in agony...
Less than 10 metres behind you, there is a black-armoured trooper, and another perhaps 15 metres beyond him...
(Initiative: Torren, Vipers, Blake, Faras, Kanwarr)
Not wanting to cause a scene right before they enter the bridge, Torren looks for some way to close off the way behind them... before the vipes blow their advantage.
(Look for control box or something? If needed, will MO the way closed, maybe?)
Torren and Kanwarr
A quick visual search of the immediate area reveals a control box for a blast doorr that will cut off the black-armoured troopers and anyone else who is coming from that direction. The bad news is that the trooper is standing right where the blast door will descend, which means the safeties have to be overcome.
All you can do for the moment is point the control box out to the rest of your group before the two troopers open fire at you. Fortunately their attacks are easily blockable with your lightsabre.
You're not sure because of the sounds of blaster fire, but you think you hear the troopers calling for backup.
Groaning from the pain but determined not to give up, Blake rolls over onto his wounded back so that he can get a clear shot.
"These guys really should know better by now" he declares, then opens fire, not at the troopers, but at the control box for the blast door.
The blaster bolts rip through the casing like flimsiplast and obliterate the circuitry within, triggering the door's emergency mode.
The blast door slams down with incredible force, crushing the unfortunate trooper beneath it. His blaster carbine clatters to the deck beside his lifeless arms, the only parts of him that were not reduced to paste...
"Nice shot!" Torren exclaims as he offers a hand to Blake. "Now lets see about your back, that looked like a nasty shot..." Drawing the Force from himself, he tries to heal his friend as best he can.
(UTF Vital Transfer)
*After; Looking around, "Say, we should find a way to close off the other hallways too. It's only a matter of time before they'd try them..."
(UTF SS+P, trying to find more controls for the other halls and also trying to see what to expect on the bridge.)
Torren and Kanwarr
"Even nicer spot" Blake replies, "I couldn't have pulled that off if you hadn't said where it was"
He has to stop talking for a few moments while you use the Force to repair most of the damage from that blaster hit. The effort takes a bit out of you but nowhere near enough to slow you down.
(healed Blake for 18, Torren takes 9 damage)
"But how would we get back out of here if we did that?" Faras asks, shuffling her feet out of frustration that she doesn't know how to heal Blake like you can.
"Well, if we can't find a back door, we could always cut our way out..." Torren flicks his lightsaber a bit as he speaks, then holsters both it and his blaster before continuing...
Torren and Kanwarr
"I guess that works" Faras concedes, and joins in the search for the other two control boxes. A search that takes less than half a minute.
"OK, so now what?" she asks, "Are we going to do this the finesse way or the violent way?"
"That depends on the situation inside, I think." Pausing for a moment to collect his thoughts, "Lets see what we can 'see', shall we?"
Closing his eyes, Torren draws onto the Force to perceive what the situation is in the room beyond...
(Close the doors, UTF Sense Surroundings + Perception check (will take 10/20 if able) Trying to see whats there and if they know somethings up)
Cruix looks around. "Anyone hurt that needs Immediate attention? While we have a second to breath." Looking over his companions to see if they have any injuries.
Torren and Kanwarr
The Force reveals that the secondary bridge is completely unmanned. It seems that the Imperials' priorities are elsewhere for the moment...
Cruix, Jayce, Kistra and Xan
"I think we're all ok" Valara ventures, taking the moment to recuperate after the running battle with all those Stormtroopers.
"I'm much better now, thanks to you" Stessa adds, though you can feel her using the Force to restore her strength.
["We're there if anyone is interested"] DeeDee beeps a moment before the turbolift comes to a halt.
["Better move fast while I keep them from calling us back up"]
Ignoring the beeping droid, Jayce says, "Ah, looks like we are here. Anyone know of a way to keep the Imperials from using this lift when we are done with it?"
Opening his eye, Torren turns to the others and relays that the bridge is clear. After, he tentatively opens the way and peeks inside. "Well Blake, time to do your magic.... you'll have to teach me how someday."
Cruix says "Well you can shoot the controls so even if they do call it up ... its not going anywhere. Be careful down here i have a bad feeling about this place." Cruix reaches out through the force to Torren and Bats(Farseeing).
"You making good timing friends? We reached the next floor down."
Torren and Kanwarr
"This may take a few minutes" Blake says as he finds the appropriate crew station and gets to work.
"First, we need to find out what's going on. I'll call up the status reports now, but because we don't want anyone on the main bridge locking us out, I have to be a bit more careful"
After about half a minute of work, a hologram of the ship appears Most of it is blue, though the areas around the prison, the armory and the hangar bay are highlighted yellow and two patches of hull near the command superstructure are flashing red to indicate damage.
"That's more like it" Blake says, smiling.
"Looks like the Imperials have a lot more to worry about than just us. According to this, nearly half the prisoners broke out just after the attack started. Only a handful have been recaptured. There are two reported prisoner fatalities, and a seriously wounded Mon Calamari. They're also reporting a number of casualties among regular and Inquisition personnel. And even better, they don't know that we're in here yet. I should be able to re-route full comms access down here in a minute or two. Torren, check the layouts for the hangar bays while I'm doing that, and if you can get ahold of Bones, it would help"
Cruix, Jayce, Kistra and Xan
"I don't like it either" Valara ventures, "But it's where we need to be. Kistra and I will take point. DeeDee, you bring up the rear. If you can't lock down the turbolift, don't leave it until we're all clear. Everyone stay alert. Let's move"
Moving forward cautiously, you notice a handful of bodies in black Imperial crewer uniforms strewn about. Some have obvious signs of lacerations or blaster wounds. Others are simply sprawled beneath a severely dented bulkhead.
Through the Force, you can feel the lingering taint of the Dark Side, moments before your nostrils are assaulted by the smell of burning flesh.
Almost at the same moment, Kistra and Valara take one hand off their lightsabres to cover their nose and mouth.
As you approach a junction, the smell gets worse.
"We need to go left here" Stessa whispers.
Taking the left turn reveals a still-smouldering corpse that is burned beyond all recognition. Beyond the burned corpse, about 20 metres along a blood-spattered corridor, are two women; an Ithorian and a Twi'lek. Just behind them is a large blast door.
Alerted to your presence, the Twi'lek hisses and whirls around.
"More of them have found us" she says urgently, making a subtle hand gesture as she does so.
"Tomla, we have to fight them"
With slightly glassy eyes, Tomla turns to face you, opens up all four of her throats, and lets out a terrible bellow that just keeps going and going and going, shaking the whole corridor and demolishing everything within 10 metres of her...
(Initiative: Imana, Jayce, Tomla, DeeDee, Valara, Stessa, Cruix, Xan, Kistra)
As Tomla's terrible bellow keeps ringing out, the Twi'lek woman takes up a position beside her, ignites a yellow-bladed lightsabre, and then calls upon the Force.
A number of small, jagged shards of metal that have already been ripped from the walls by Tomla's Force-enhanced bellow float upwards and arrange themselves threateningly.
"Do you really think you are a match for us?" she asks menacingly, almost daring you to attack...
Checking the layouts of the hanger bays as instructed, Torren reaches out with the Force to touch minds with Cruix...
*You guys almost ready yet? What's going on.... we're at the back bridge and waiting to start the lock down and open comms in the ship...*
Cruix to Torren
"We have a problem ... Tomla and a Twi'lek are standing in our way. And talking about killing us as a few other visitors they've had. But something dosnt seem right with Tomla ..."
Cruix tries to put together of what he is seeing and project it to Torren as best as he can ... at least through a miralukas eyes
Holding both hands over his ears, Jayce yells to the Twi'lek, "What the heck are you doing? Its pretty clear we aren't Imperials, you daft woman! Knock this off and lets talk about this!"
(Ready action to use Move Object on the charred body or any other large piece of debris to block the Twi'lek's attack if she doesn't want to talk.)
Cruix, Jayce, Kistra and Xan
"You fool" the Twi'lek sneers as Tomla continues to maintain the sonic attack.
"Imperials are not our only concern"
It should be immediately obvious that it is taking everything Tomla has to maintain her damaging bellow and thereby keep anyone from safely getting closer to her than 10 metres.
["This is stupid"] DeeDee beeps angrily, ["They're standing right in front of where we need to go and if they don't get out of the way, we are going to get attacked from behind"]
Though she doesn't understand DeeDee's beeps, Valara steps forward, keeping her lightsabre inactive.
"Please, listen to us" she says imploringly.
"We're Jedi. We're with the Rebellion. We can help you, we only want to get as many of the prisoners as we can to safety"
"Don't waste time on your lies" the Twi'lek spits, "Your dark deeds end here. We will not allow you to pass to pollute the galaxy further"
*Sithspit.... Cruix, try to reason with Tomla.... I sense the Dark Side, but she's not gone yet.... there is still hope....*
"Wes, they found Tomla.... but she's been tainted by the Dark Side and right in their way... I hope they try to talk her down..."
The series of events wearing his patience thin, Xan pulls out his stolen force pike, makes sure it's set on stun, and then screams right back at Tomla while charging, pike set to put her down...
Cruix looks at Tomla and the Dark Jedi ... "Kill us? really ... Seems you have your hands full ... Besides ... dont i know both of you?" Reaching out with the force to Tomla ... "Do you remember me Plantlady? ..."
Torren and Kanwarr
"Huttslime!" Blake spits.
"Just what we were afraid of"
He takes a deep breath then continues in a more calm voice, pointing to the hologram of the ship as he does so.
"I've checked the safety doors connecting the rest of the ship to the hangar bay. There are ten of them, and they are all already locked down and secured with force fields. It's part of the breakout alert protocols. The Imperials have done most of the work for us. There is a special protocol that if the ship is seriously threatened with destruction during a break out, one of the ten doors is unsealed on a timer. It's based on how long it should take the commander of the ship to get from the currently designated command centre, either here or the main bridge, down to the hangar. All we need to do is designate the back-up bridge as the command centre, choose the right door, send the message and trigger the protocol. Then we blow the power grid. It's on a separate circuit so we won't need to worry about getting flanked, even if the Imperials bring lightsabres to the party. Now we just need word that the coast is clear and for the others to tell us which door they are at"
Cruix, Jayce, Kistra and Xan
Xan's impetuous charge proves to be extremely foolhardy.
As soon as he gets within 10 metres of Tomla and the Twi'lek, he is caught in the dreadful subsonic assault. His skeleton seem to shudder beneath his skin, hampering his charge.
Without a word, the Twi'lek makes a simple gesture and uses the Force to hurl the jagged metal debris, not at Jayce, as he was expecting, but at Xan.
The poor boy is hit by a dozen jagged pieces of metal, all of which embed themselves in his body, forcing his weapon out of line so that he still misses Tomla.
(15 damage from the bellow, 31 damage and 1 step down the track from getting perforated).
"You are a fool and a liar, blinded one" the Twi'lek insists.
"I have never met you, but I know what you are. None of you can be allowed to leave here alive. Your evil ways must end now"
(Cruix, you know she is lying through her teeth. You know her. To your Force eyes, she looks wrong, and not just Dark Side wrong)
"This is insane!" Kistra shouts, trying to make herself heard over the ongoing bellow.
"Tomla, we came to this hell hole to rescue you!"
Just in case no-one can bring her to her senses, Kistra draws her DL-44 and sets it for stun.
"You are a disease of the Force" the Twi'lek sneers,
"And we are the cure"
Still maintaining her bellow mostly out of a defensive urge, Tomla begins to show signs of confusion, as though she doesn't know who to believe.
That's the good news.
The bad news is that Xan collapses under the sonic onslaught (dropped unconscious).
Grinning cruix says "Dont know me eah? Well your not exactly yourself at the moment either. I admit i cant quite place a name ... we have met before. Stop this childness... i am sure you dont want to be here as much as we dont." Cruix face turns hard and serious for a second as he says. "And watch who you call evil and a liar ... i am not the one running around slaughtering people. You "both" know my ways."
Force move Xan to me and then Vital Transfer without a force point (willingly taken damage to save his friend)
"This is our way ... your way."
(DP if need be)
"Xan, what are you doing?" yells Jayce, as Xan makes his ill fated charge upon the two at the end of the hall. He can only look on in horror as his student goes down to the combined assault of Tomla and the seemingly insane Twi'lek.
Blocking out the fear and worry threatening to boil over, Jayce steadies his mind and acts quickly to save Xan, calling upon the Force to drag his student out of harm's way.
“It’s okay, Xan. I’m here.”
(Standard to use aid another to help Bones drag Xan out of harm’s way. Swift to bring it back to my Force Suite.)
Cruix, Jayce, Kistra and Xan
As soon as Jayce uses the Force to bring Xan's wounded form into Cruix's hands it is time for the Miraluka to get to work.
The Force flows easily from Cruix into Xan, healing the boy at great expense to Cruix, but it is worth it to prove a point.
Still sporting his non-standard piercings, Xan awakens with a gasp.
(healed for 24 and restored to the top of the condition track, Bones takes 12 damage).
"He's right" Valara chimes in, "Tomla, your father was a Jedi Master. The kindest, most gentle Master I ever met. What would he say if he saw you now?"
All of a sudden, Tomla stops bellowing.
"Jedi" she pants, "Father..."
She points shakily at Cruix.
"I... I know you. We met on... Naboo"
"No, Tomla" the Twi'lek insists, making a subtle hand gesture before passing her hand over Tomla's eyes.
"It's a trick, an illusion. See his real face. The Butcher of Muunilinst"
"Murderer!" Tomla cries, reaching out with the Force to choke the life out of Cruix.
(24 damage, 1 step down the condition track)
"Oh this is ridiculous" Kistra hisses.
Now that Tomla has moved from defensive to offensive, she is a much more obvious problem.
Calling on the Force for speed, Kistra rushes forward, drawing her lightsabre with her free hand as she does so, and shooting a stun blast into Tomla from a mere 6 feet away.
As the blast sends Tomla reeling, only then does Kistra ignite her lightsabre and adopt a defensive stance in case of reprisals from the Twi'lek.
"I'm sorry Tomla. This schutta tricked you into choking a friend. I had to stop you"
Xan coughs and opens his eyes, looking down to see the shards embedded in his chest... and his widen, and he begins to shake in horror.
"G... guys? C... couldn't you... take these out first?"
Cruix, Jayce, Kistra and Xan
["Maybe they thought you wanted to keep them"] DeeDee beeps helpfully, ["Though I can't see it catching on. Battlefield piercings just make organics look silly. I liked you better when you weren't sporting shrapnel"]
Cruix looks down on Xan
"Quit your complaining we could have just left you unconscious. But it just so happens we could use a hand."
Then charges his Dark Jedi Foe letting loose a force slam once he is in range trying to knock The Twi'lek into the wall. (FP most defiantly)
"I am afraid i am no butcher but i am far from timid."
Cruix, Jayce, Kistra and Xan
The Force is with Cruix now, blasting the deranged Twi'lek painfully onto her back at his feet.
Amazingly, she just laughs.
"Where is your righteousness now, blinded one? You Jedi are all the same. Scratch the surface and the darkness is always there. Now feel my darkness!"
White-hot bolts of lightning leap from her left hand to engulf Cruix in a great cage of pain and torment that only lets up when Kistra slashes her lightsabre across, aiming to sever the hand at the wrist. The attack is blocked but it serves to stop the assault on Cruix, who falls unconscious to the deck.
Using the Force, Stessa pulls Cruix's unconscious body back out of harm's way.
Turning to Xan, Jayce quietly says, "We need to stop that Twi'lek. Get behind me while I use that skill. Then we'll rush them. Focus on the Twi'lek. It's our only chance."
Taking up a wide stance, Jayce focuses inward, before reaching out to either side. A pressure in the Force begins to slowly build at each hand, before finally culminating into a white energy phenomenon. Leaving an energy trail, Jayce slowly windmill's his arms, methodically forming a circle in the air, before finally bringing his hands towards his diaphragm.
There, the energy comes together, seemingly fighting like two magnets of opposing polarity, before finally giving way to Jayce's irresistible will. The now round energy ball starts spinning faster and faster, drawing in more and more of the surrounding Force before finally growing to encompass the Zeison Sha.
The shield itself is clear, though a patina of glowing white energy clearly defines the sphere.
With a flick of his wrist, Jayce attempts to dash the insane Twi'lek into the ceiling.
(Full round action to activate Force Shield spending FP to do it. DP for new turn. MO on Twi'lek. FP to increase UTF check.)
Xan mimics the same action, mentally pushing the Twi'lek up as well...
(MO - FP to increase check)
Cruix, Jayce, Kistra and Xan
"That's a nice light show, boys" the Twi'lek sneers as she pulls herself to her feet, keeping Kistra's lightsabre at bay with her own.
"But it's no match for me"
Unfortunately neither of your attempts to make her eat ceiling move her an inch.
While all this is going on, Tomla is on her knees, mumbling something in Ithorian.
Stessa steps up to the challenge and tries to use the Force to throw the Twi'lek back against the door. Unfortunately for her, her Force attack is sent right back at her sending her flying into DeeDee... again.
["Why do they keep throwing blue people at me?"] DeeDee beeps indignantly.
"It's time to start the dying" the Twi'lek snarls, "Starting with the whelp"
With that, she calls upon the Force and hurls a deadly storm of lightning bolt straight at Xan's head.
Valara dives across from out of nowhere and catches the lightning in her right hand, knocking Xan out of the line of fire in the process.
"Not if I... have anything... to say about it" she manages to say, with some effort, before reflecting the lightning right back at its source.
Shocked by the ability that Valara has displayed, she is unable to do anything about the return attack and gets it full force, blasting her off her feet yet again, but not quite knocking her out.
"Yeah, uh, thanks...", Xan sputters, trying not to get the shards any further in his skin than they already are. Groaning with the effort, he forces himself to stand up, and takes another shot at the Twi'lek with his mind...
(Move to stand, swift to recall MO, standard to use MO to smash her into the wall again)
Cruix, Jayce, Kistra and Xan
The Force is strong with Xan now.
'Imana', the deranged Twi'lek is powerless to resist the young man's Force attack and her head meets the wall with a sickening thud.
As she slides bonelessly to the floor, her face begins to change. Instead of the soft beauty of a young female Twi'lek, her face becomes ridged and reptilian, with gills on her cheeks.
"Blaaaaake" she gasps just before she hits the floor.
Tomla meanwhile is still crying but has shifted to mumbling in basic.
"So sorry. So sorry. So sorry. Forgive me father. Please. So sorry. So sorry"
Now that all that is sorted, the next order of business is getting everyone back on their feet.
While Valara checks on Xan and Kistra holds Tomla, Stessa pulls herself off of DeeDee and crawls over to Cruix, who is in bad shape.
"Don't you go dying on me, Seer" she says firmly, checking his vital signs and finding that his heart has almost stopped.
Without hesitating, she gets to work on restarting it with chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
It is not until the fifth or sixth round of this that she gets an output, and Cruix wakes up...
(healed 12hp, at the bottom of the track)
Cruix lets out a disgruntled moan of pain ... "It seems that was a bad idea ... now i have to suffer through this. How much longer do we have before more trouble arrives?"
"Good news ... we are alive if just barely. But if we dont get a few minutes of rest i dont know how much longer we can pull off these tricks."
Force Trance .... Starting with Recovery actions followed by Second wind ... followed by Vital Transfer on my self with a FP
*Good to hear... take a break if you need it... but hurry...* Torren sends in reply.
Turning to Blake, "Wes, they seem to have solved their problems with Tomla for now, but they are hurt and need to take a breather. Is there anyway we might be able to help them?"
Torn and wishing he could run off to help, he waits for an answer from his friend....
“There's not much we can do for them yet” Blake says, shaking his head.
“Unless we can get a fix on which of the hangar doors they're at. Then we can make sure that's the one we open. Other than that, flashing up some phoney hot spots on the internal security is about all we've got”
The ship lurches suddenly, interrupting.
“And of course, Kurt's gunners are doing their bit” he adds.
“Maybe forcing all the turbolifts to head as far away from that section as they can, but even that's pushing things. Unless we are very careful, they could all get killed”
Kanwarr roars a warning just before several showers of sparks leap from the frame of the bridge door.
“Sithspit” Torren hisses, “Faras, Wes, where are the controls for the blast doors?”
“I've got it” Faras calls, hitting the controls.
Immediately, triple-thick blast doors slide into place.
“That'll hold them, but they're going to be reporting us any second now” Blake warns, “I can't wait any longer. We have to start the emergency protocols before we lose access, Torren, get the others' location, fast!”
Nodding, Torren reaches out with the Force.
'Kistra, Cruix, where are you?' he thinks towards them, 'Look for markings on the walls or doors nearby'
Down near the hangar bay, Kistra and Cruix get the message. As she is closest to the door, Kistra is able to find the answer first.
Concentrating hard, she thinks back to Torren 'Hangar Bay access Aurek-Aurek-three'
Out loud she says to Tomla “It's all right, Tomla. We forgive you, and we're here to rescue you”
Tomla nods dimly but says nothing, almost as if she is still in shock.
Meanwhile Cruix continues his healing efforts.
Outside, the Freedom Star and the Pit of Despair continue to trade Turbolaser blasts while the ten surviving Sabre Squadron X-Wings strive to help by attacking from different angles in order to keep the Imperials from concentrating their deflector shields on the Freedom Star.
The attack is certainly keeping the Imperials busy, which is exactly what Arrisa had in mind.
On the backup bridge of the Pit of Despair, Torren relays the information to Blake.
“Here goes nothing” Blake says, keying the controls.
For a few seconds, it looks like nothing happened, then alarms start blaring.
“Is that good or bad for us?” Faras asks nervously.
“It's good” Blake assures her, “The door is open and we have a little more time than we thought we would. They designated the main bridge as the command centre right before I initiated the protocols so it will stay open for longer. As long as they don't know on the bridge which door it is, we can hold off on the comm announcement for a minute or so. That would give the others a little longer to recover”
Down at the hangar bay, Xan is the first to notice the force field around the door vanish and the door begin to slide open.
“Look, we can get thr-oww! Watch what you're doing!” he shouts at Cruix, who was pulling the shrapnel out and using the Force to help the boy heal.
“Come on, Tomla” Kistra says soothingly, helping the Ithorian to her feet.
“We're getting out of here. I said we'd be fine”
Tomla makes no comment, simply allowing Kistra to guide her through the door and into the hangar bay.
Those two are the first onto a large gantry overlooking the hangar bay itself. At various points the safety rails give way to ladders that will allow the group to descend to the shuttles some twelve metres below.
Valara joins Kistra and surveys the scene.
“Looks quiet enough for the moment” she observes quietly, “If there are any guards in there, they're being very quiet about it. I'll go first. If the coast is clear, bring Tomla down”
Kistra draws her DL-44 and nods her assent, then motions for Jayce to join them.
“We'll cover you as best we can” she says, “Jayce, over there”
Jayce quickly complies, moving into position as Valara starts to climb down.
All of a sudden, blaster fire rings out and Valara screams then falls from the ladder.
Taking careful aim, Kistra and Jayce both return fire, dropping the pair of Imperial Stormtroopers who just attacked her.
“Sithspit” Kistra hisses, “Jayce, can you see any more?”
Jayce's answer comes in the form of a blaster shot, which is followed by a muffled crash from somewhere below.
“Just that one!” he shouts.
“Right!” Kistra shouts back.
“Cruix, get in here! Valara's been hit hard and she needs help right now!”
Meanwhile, Torren, Kanwarr and Faras just finish cutting through the floor of the backup bridge as Blake activates ship-wide internal comms.
“Attention all escaping prisoners! This is Captain Wes Blake of the Rebel Alliance. Our people have control of the only open exit to the hangar bays. If you want to come with us, you have exactly five minutes from the end of this message to reach hangar bay access door aurek-aurek-three. Oh, and just in case the Imperial slugs are thinking of locking that section down, they can't because they're about to have a serious power failure. No-one get in the turbolifts. Have fun”
The words 'power failure' were Torren's cue to detonate the charges.
He wastes no time in doing so and the whole ship is rocked mercilessly. The lights all go out and several computer panels explode before red emergency lights come on.
Kanwarr and Faras are through the hole before the emergency lights finish coming on. Blake and Torren are a few moments behind.
“Come on, big guy” Torren says to his furry companion, “Let's get out of here”
Outside, the effect of the internal explosions is immediately seen. A great jet of flame streaks from the Pit of Despair's ion drives, its weapon batteries fall silent, and the shields flicker out of existence. The Freedom Star's turbolaser blasts strike the black Star Destroyer's bridge completely unhindered while the X-Wings obliterate several of the now dormant weapons arrays.
“They're not going to live this one down!” Arrisa cries triumphantly.
[“Who told him this was a good plan?”] DeeDee beeps angrily as a flurry of blaster bolts fly over her dome and are batted away by Stessa's dark blue lightsabre.
[“Telling Stormtroopers where we are is just ridiculous”]
Largely unconcerned by the fact that no-one who understands her is actually listening, she once again uses her internal fire extinguisher to throw up a cloud of concealing smoke before she and Stessa retreat towards the doorway, where Xan is already waiting.
“I hate the plan too” he says to DeeDee, “But this lot seem to trust him so we're stuck with it”
Oddly, no blaster bolts appear through the smoke cloud, though there is a definite sound of blaster fire being let loose. After a few moments, all falls silent, save the ominous hum of a lightsabre blade, and echoing footsteps.
“I have a bad feeling about this” Xan groans.
A few moments later, a gaunt white-skinned humanoid male with black hair and armour steps into view, a sulphurous blade at his side.
Immediately his eyes shift to Stessa.
“Chiss!” he yells, then calls upon the Force and makes a fist.
The crushing power of the Dark Side engulfs Stessa, who can only cry out in pain.
Without hesitating, Xan reaches out with the Force and hurls the largest thing he can find at the Dark Jedi; DeeDee.
She lets out an electronic screech and fires her integrated hold-out blaster as she is propelled into the target.
Her hasty shot only draws his lightsabre downwards, but that means that he can't bisect her as she hits him with such force that he drops his blade, loses his Force hold on Stessa and falls backwards about ten feet.
Trying to stop a rampaging Wookiee with a lightsabre is nigh on impossible, as a number of Stormtroopers are finding to their cost. Of course when the Wookiee has a trio of human companions, the odds drop to terminal.
Blake, Faras, Kanwarr, and Torren don't even slow down. They just keep running through the ship towards the hangar pay, blasting or de-arming any Imperial that gets in their way.
“ohacro waoo aoacworo wohowowh rhooaoacworc ohahaoac aoacwoahrc cacwoananc?” Kanwarr roars as he kills their twelfth trooper in the running battle with a deflected shot.
“Beats me, buddy” Torren replies, “Though usually they're not up against fighters of our calibre”
Blake and Faras grin at the comments, and the whole group just keeps running...
Down at the hangar bay, Cruix has safely reached Valara without being shot at, or more accurately without being hit. Another trooper took a shot at him but missed and was taken out by Kistra.
“Don't worry, Valara” he says, using the Force to heal her.
“I'll have you up and about again in no time”
As the healing power of the Force flows through Valara's body, she feels her connection to it deepen.
“Wow, that was intense” she gasps, “Thank you”
Cruix smiles down at her, then helps her to her feet.
“Don't mention it” he says, then turns his attention upwards back towards the rest of the group.
In the narrow cul de sac corridor, Xan and Stessa are engaged in a deadly duel with the white-skinned male.
“Your Thrawn destroyed my people” he snarls at Stessa, punctuating his words with an adder-quick thrust at Stessa's heart which she deftly parries, allowing Xan to counter with an overhead slash that is also sadly blocked.
“Ten thousand ships on fire” the male continues, in between blows “The entire Nagai fleet wiped out in one day”
All three blades lock together at that moment, allowing the Nagai to kick Stessa in the gut and send her reeling.
“My homeworld blasted to rubble!” he cries, advancing to strike again and is intercepted by Xan, who he dispatches with a vicious backhand.
“But now, Pas'tess'affaré, I will have my revenge!”
He plunges his lightsabre straight down at Stessa's chest but she acts faster, rolling clear and using the Force to propel her own lightsabre right through the Nagai's knees.
As he falls, screaming to the floor, Stessa finds her voice.
“You attacked us first” she declares, catching her breath, and recalling her lightsabre before continuing.
“Your people were a serious threat to the Chiss. We did only what was necessary to protect ourselves from you. The Chiss are never the aggressor people”
Coughing up milky blood, the Nagai snorts in contempt.
“Stupid schutta” he gasps.
“Thrawn... Thrawn tricked you all. He... he used the humans. They att... attacked us. We followed... followed them to Chiss space... and retaliated. That was... was when Thrawn told you... that we were... the aggressors. Your people... betrayed themselves”
Stessa shakes her head.
“You're lying” she insists, “Not even Thrawn would go that far. He would never be allowed to get away with it. He wouldn't throw his career away like that”
By this time, Xan is back on his feat, nursing a broken nose.
“Who is Thrawn” he asks, the words slightly muffled by his hand.
“Thrawn is a murderer and a liar” the Nagai insists, “His people destroyed mine and as long as I have breath in my body, I will have my revenge, starting with her”
Calling on the Dark Side with what may be his last breath, he reaches out and starts choking Stessa with the Force.
As her eyes roll back in her sockets and she is lifted helplessly by the throat, it looks like she is as good as dead until Xan reignites his stolen lightsabre and plunges it into the Nagai's chest, right where a human's heart would be.
The Nagai coughs once, then slumps back, and Stessa falls to the ground coughing and spluttering.
Further up the ship, Torren, Kanwarr, Faras and Blake come across a dark-skinned human woman with close-cropped hair who has just vanquished a Viper Trooper with a crafted sword.
Upon seeing them, she pulls the sword from his body and takes up a defensive stance.
“Who are you?” she demands.
Torren lays a restraining hand on Kanwarr's arm to prevent his great furry companion from doing anything rash.
“We're with the Rebellion” he says, “I'm Torren, and these are my friends. Kanwarr, Faras, and Wes Blake. I can feel the Force in you. Please, come with us. We can help you. What's your name?”
She eyes Torren suspiciously for a moment, then lowers her sword.
“Dayna” she says, “The Imperials killed my father and captured me after a long chase. I didn't make it easy for them but I still want them to pay”
Torren exchanges a look with Blake.
“If this works, the ones who hurt you will have met justice” he says, “And then you can move on. Fight without hatred. Seek justice, not vengeance, or the power inside you will destroy you and everyone around you. Sorry, we don't really have time for lessons on Jedi 101, but keep that in mind, ok? It will help you. Let's get going before any more Imperials decide to make this trip more interesting”
Dayna rolls her eyes at the sermonising but falls in with the group.
Things at the hangar bay are starting to get more complicated. Two more prisoners have arrived; a Rodian and a Quarren. Both are badly wounded, and being chased by Stormtroopers and an officer.
“Xan, get them onto the shuttle!” Stessa shouts, igniting her own dark blue blade, and the yellow blade of the Nagai to fend off the attacks from the troopers. She is able to deflect their first volley but it is obvious that she is having trouble even with the second blade.
The Stormtroopers redouble their efforts but Stessa is suddenly yanked aside by Xan's use of the Force.
“Look, lady” he says, “I may be a kid but I didn't get a thorough choking. You get them out of here and get the blind guy to fix you. I'll show the Imperials what I'm made of”
For a moment Stessa looks like she is going to argue, then Jayce comes back out of the hangar bay.
“It's all clear in there. We flushed another four troopers” he says, “We just need to pick a shuttle. I'll help Xan. He's my responsibility”
Wearily, Stessa nods, then escorts the Quarren and the Rodian into the hangar bay.
Igniting his stolen lightsabre, Jayce suddenly notices DeeDee. Recognising the usefulness of the droid in their escape so far although she appears to be offline right now, he uses the Force to pull her out of the firing line.
No sooner has he done so, the Imperials round the corner and attack. The two Zeison Sha easily deflect their blasts despite not being trained Jedi. The Force guides their blades.
Xan then uses the Force to help him lob a pair of stun grenades into the middle of the Imperial group, knocking the 6 Stormtroopers down and severely disorientating the officer, who cannot fire back effectively.
His shot is so far wide that it ends up in the wrong corridor.
With a nod of approval from his teacher, Xan once again reaches out with the Force. This time he touches the mind of the Imperial officer and says “You've been shot in the arm. You need to go to the medical bay”
The officer cries out in agony, drops his blaster pistol as he cradles his 'damaged' arm, and promptly flees.
“Nicely done” Jayce says approvingly.
Further up the ship, Torren's expanding group continues to race for the hangar bay, though their progress is being slowed by a number of dead bodies littering the corridors.
“Almost makes you wonder how the Empire managed to capture all these people in the first place” Blake observes, almost tripping over a severed head.
“oorhhoahoohucanro aoacworo oaacworaaowowa!” Kanwarr roars.
Noting the perplexed looks on the faces of Faras and Dayna, Torren translates for his friend.
“He said they cheated, and he does have a point. The Empire can't have had to face us all at once”
Further comment is put on hold as he and Kanwarr have to deflect a pair of blaster bolts from two black-armoured troopers who had been waiting in ambush.
Torren retaliates with a well aimed Force push that sends one trooper flying head-first into a nearby door-frame.
Kanwarr decapitates his foe on the way past with a powerful lightsabre strike.
“We've got to be getting close now” Faras says, almost pleadingly.
Blake's answer is drowned out by a loud scream from somewhere up ahead.
A split second is all it takes for him and Torren to exchange looks, nod, and change direction, taking a side corridor in order to reach the source of the screams.
After about twenty metres, they round another corner and come to the source; a willowy pale-blue-skinned female humanoid with a great crest of white hair atop her head, clad in dark blue robes, and shielding a child; a pre-pubescent girl with flame red hair.
Backing them into a corner, are an armoured Dark Jedi and a pair of Viper troopers.
“crqhuahcacro oaooohrarcwac anworahowo oaacahanwa raanoowhwo! crqhuahcacro oaooohrarcwac wwraoawo ohrcraaoac ooww orrawhohrarcrc!” Kanwarr roars and charges at the Imperials.
He easily deflects a barrage of blaster fire from the troopers and bisects the Dark Jedi coward, his white blade slicing up through his target's crotch, and his red blade slicing down through the head to meet in the middle at about the bottom of the target's ribs.
The pale-blue woman tries to hide the young girl's eyes, as well as her own. It is obvious that she is utterly terrified by the whole thing.
Following in Kanwarr's wake, Torren and Blake target the Viper troopers' weapons, disarming them and allowing Faras and Dayna to finish the job by using the Force to slam the troopers into the walls hard enough to knock them out through their helmets.
“crawwwo whoooh! wwooananoooh orrawhohrarcrc! Rchuwh!” Kanwarr roars, though the pale-blue woman seems too terrified to listen.
“They can't understand you, buddy” Torren says firmly, laying a hand on his great friend's shoulder, “But you did really well. Go on, we'll be right behind you”
Kanwarr looks at Torren for a moment then gives a single woof of assent and complies, allowing his friend to talk to the frightened people.
“Hi there” Torren says to the flame-haired girl and the pale-blue woman, offering them his free hand.
“My name's Torren. My friends and I are here to rescue you. We'll get you off this Force-forsaken ship and take you where it's safe”
The pale-blue woman seems unable to speak but the flame-haired girl's eyes are darting between you and Blake.
“Oh, wow!” she cries suddenly, “Look miss Zalli, It's Blake! Blake and the Jedi. Can I have your autographs when we get out of here? That's the only way my parents will believe that I met you”
Blake suppresses a chuckle and grins at Torren.
“Can't disappoint our public” he murmurs.
Torren nods, then turns back to the girl.
“Sure thing, sweety,” he say softly, “But let's get out of here first, ok?”
Neither the girl nor 'miss Zalli' need telling twice and fall in with the group as they resume their run for the hangar bay.
Down in the hangar bay, Kistra has joined Valara by the chosen shuttle, and with the aid of a requisitioned security kit, is working on getting the boarding ramp down.
“What kind of paranoid creeps lock their own shuttles?” Valara moans.
“The Imperial kind” Kistra quips straight back.
“Hold on, I think I've got it. Yep, I've got it”
The boarding ramp obligingly opens.
“Right, next we make sure this tub will actually fly when Blake and Torren get down here. Come on, let's see what we have to do with the computers”
Cruix, meanwhile is healing Stessa and the newcomers; the Rodian and the Quarren, and Xan & Jayce are standing guard at the doorway to the rest of the ship, along with the still-inactive DeeDee.
All of a sudden there is a great shout of the Force from around the corner and two humans come flying down that corridor and slam into the wall at great speed. One is female, with dark brown hair that falls almost the whole length of her back and intricate blue tattoos on her upper arms, thighs, and cheeks, and is wearing a leather tunic, shorts & boots. The other is probably male, and is wearing black robes and a mask.
Less than three seconds after impact, the male slumps to the ground with a knife in his chest.
The tattooed woman uses the Force to call the knife to her hand then suddenly dives closer to Jayce and Xan, a fraction of a second before the space she was just occupying is filled with blaster fire.
“Clouds of fire!” she exclaims, looking up at the two Zeison Sha.
“If you men are Rebels, make yourselves useful. Aid me against those approaching Imperials”
Her words are met by looks of bewilderment. Jayce and Xan look to each other then back down at her and start to laugh. The deep, jovial booming of Jayce and the adolescent laughter of Xan so not improve the woman's mood one bit.
She draws herself up haughtily and scoffs.
“Men. Obviously you're not from an enlightened matriarchal society so you are forgiven but we are still about to get attacked”
“Then if you will permit the males to defend you, my lady?” Jayce says sarcastically, dragging Xan past her.
“Cover me” he hisses, then calls upon the Force to guide his aim and draws his discblade.
He throws it just before he and Xan round the corner to see ten oncoming Stormtroopers...
Well, nine oncoming Stormtroopers now as one of them collapses with blood spurting from his neck when Jayce's discblade bounces off the wall and bites through the join of his helmet and armour and his carotid artery before returning to his hand.
Xan ignites his borrowed lightsabre and follows the discblade attack with a stun grenade that drops another five before blocking the return fire as best he can.
As one, the surviving troopers go for their grenades but are suddenly cut down by a hail of blaster fire from somewhere behind them.
As the bodies hit the floor, Blake, Torren, and Kanwarr can be seen at the far end of the corridor, holding blaster carbines.
“Nothing to it” Jayce says triumphantly, then turns to the tattooed woman.
“Now then, my lady, if it is not too much trouble, might I know your name?” he enquires with obviously exaggerated graciousness.
She glares at him then answers. “My name is Arianna Ka of the planet Dathomir. I appreciate your combat abilities and enquire as to your names”
“I am Jayce, and this is my young student Xan. As you guessed earlier, we are with the Rebels. Some more of our friends are down there in the hangar bay behind you, prepping our escape shuttle and the rest are almost here. This way”
Arianna looks at Jayce then quickly enters the hangar bay. The two Zeison Sha are right behind her. Looking down from the gantry, they can see Cruix, Stessa, and the Rodian boarding one of the shuttles.
“Ladies first” Jayce says, gesturing towards the nearest ladder, earning him another glare, though Arianna doesn't argue. She mounts the ladder and starts to climb down just as Torren and the others arrive.
He and Blake are still wearing their Imperial disguises, though they are now very, very dirty.
Kanwarr is carrying a large number of weapons and a human girl with flame-red hair.
Beyond Kanwarr are three women; two humans and an alien.
“Sorry we're late” Blake says to Jayce as Torren notices DeeDee.
“Traffic was murder. How are we doing?”
“We picked up six” Jayce replies.
“I think that means we won” he adds with a wink.
Blake just grins and Kanwarr woofs with laughter.
“Blaaaaake” a voice struggles forth from behind their group.
Immediately, Blake turns around and sees a badly wounded Clawdite reaching for him.
“All of you, get on the ship” he says, “I'll be right there”
He then walks back over to the Clawdite and kneels besides her.
“I'm sorry, Xev” he murmurs, “We'll get you out of here”
“No” Xev gasps, “Don't deserve... help. Blake... I'm so... Naboo... Travis. I... I...”
Racking coughs halt her words for several agonisingly long moments before she recovers and looks Blake right in the face.
“I'm so sorry. I told Travis about... about Naboo”
As the last word passes her lips, her hold on life gives out.
For a moment, Blake is stunned. He can't believed what he just heard. Only Torren's hand on his shoulder snaps him back to reality.
“Wes, we're running out of time” he says urgently, “Everyone else is down there, even DeeDee. We need to go. Now”
Blake nods, rising to his feet.
“You're right” he says firmly, “Let's get out of here and get back to Naboo while it's still in one piece”
One after the other, Blake and Torren slide down the ladder into the waiting arms of Kanwarr and Jayce.
“Everyone else is aboard” Jayce reports, “Xan just took the droid. Come on”
Neither man needs telling twice.
Side by side, Blake, Torren, Kanwarr and Jayce run to the shuttle. Kanwarr boards last just as there are several explosions from somewhere above them.
“crqhuahcacahwoc rhrcworaorahwhrr ahwh! aoahscwo ohwo ohworcwo rroowhwo!” he roars.
“I hear you, big guy” Torren shouts back from the cockpit, “Everyone get comfy, this is about to be a really bumpy ride”
As Blake settles into the pilot seat, Kistra looks up from one of the other control panels.
“We're fully fuelled and powered up” she says, “According to this, we have Stormtroopers coming in from all sides up above”
“Right” Blake acknowledges as he flips the switches to start the shuttle's take off.
“Kistra, give me shields. Torren, strap in and fire up the guns We are going to make one hell of a mess on the way out”
Torren grins and does as he is told.
“Hit those shuttles, I'm going to make the troopers keep their heads down”
Blasting away, the newly-stolen shuttle turns through one hundred and eighty degrees until it is now pointing in the right direction. During it's turn, three parked shuttles are blasted to scrap and dozens of ineffectual troopers are obliterated.
Blake then guns the drives and sets the shuttle screaming clear. A final salvo on the way out obliterates another parked shuttle and half the docking equipment.
Immediately, Kistra gets on the comm.
“All Alliance ships, this is the shuttle containing the craziest stunt-people in the galaxy. I don't know what this thing's official name is, anyway we pulled it off”
“What did we win?” Torren chimes in.
“A free ride home” Arrisa answers over her own comm board. “And a whole lot of praise. Come on back, and we can celebrate”
Fleeing the scene, the stolen shuttle is escorted out to the Freedom Star by the ten intact X-Wings of Sabre Squadron. Once all the smaller ships have docked, the Freedom Star makes the jump to hyperspace...
About three hours later, they emerge near Naboo. The new heroes of the Rebellion and those they liberated are ferried down to Theed in the Syren's Heart and the stolen shuttle to be congratulated but also to warn the Queen of the impending Imperial attack...
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