The Triangle, Memoirs of a Mechanoid: Two to Tangle
Leaking from the mind of Adam J Purcell
After an unfortunate set of events, too painful to reiterate, found myself stuck on a Klingon starbase. The Prestinium in need of serious repairs, so agreed to help the Klingons on a recon mission, yes? Sounded like a fair trade for the repair work, besides got me away from the numerous, er, interesting smells to be found around them - or so I thought, huh?
“How are you doing DB?” asked Dilon, looking a little less green than he had an hour earlier but still looking like he had just tasted something exceedingly foul.
* ‘Death Bringer’, right? * he corrected for the umpteenth time. * Fine... * he said in a tone that suggested anything but as he tried to shift his not inconsiderable bulk in the tiny metal, unpadded and extremely uncomfortable, high armed swivel chair. If he hadn’t known better he would have assumed it was some form of torture device.
Dilon sat upright from his slump in an identical chair, which fitted the seventeen year old’s slightly under-average frame perfectly. He turned back to looking out of the small viewport to his left and tried to concentrate on the streaks of starlight as they sped past. Unfortunately, no matter how hard he tried to block them out, the pungent smells of the stifling Klingon craft continued their onslaught on his senses.
Had to endure that journey for almost twelve hours, yes? When first told about the ship had assumed they were joking. Assumed wrong, huh? Still, interesting design - little more than a large energy cannon with small control room bolted on the back. Was a little worrying that the cannon also acted as the propulsion system, didn’t give the smoothest of rides, yes?
Lack of facilities onboard was perhaps unsurprising given the cramped conditions. Environment wasn’t helped by the fact the owner appeared to live onboard. Absence of bathroom facilities probably explained the, er, distinctive odours cultivated by the captain, yes?
The captain was a grisly old Klingon, fairly small as Klingons go but stocky with it and had a tangible air of insanity around him. He had growled away to himself for most of the journey but the other two had thought it best to ignore him. Ignore him when they could, at any rate. It was particularly difficult when they witnessed the revolting sight of him drop his trousers and squat in the corner over a bucket. Given the ship basically comprised of the one room it was inevitable that some luxuries had to go but Death Bringer couldn’t help but think the almost overflowing bucket should have been emptied before they left. Death Bringer was also glad he didn’t eat, as such, given the little galley area shared the same corner as the makeshift latrine
“Nearly there. Engaging cloak.” growled Ki’yak, who was sitting in another identical chair just in front of Dilon and Death Bringer, only this one was surrounded by worn out looking control panels.
The Klingon leaned forwards and pulled a rusty looking lever. There was a shudder. The lights flickered, as did the artificial gravity. Dilon gasped - which he instantly regretted as the rancid air made him choke and retch. Even Death Bringer shifted uneasily in his chair, as best he could, anyway. They were both aware, as they had been since they left, that this junk pile of a ship was all that stood between them and death in the endless void. Given how ill he had felt for the entire journey Dilon was actually praying for death at one point but the sudden reality shook that out of him.
After a few seconds of tension, broken only by a couple of loud, laboured, sounding Klingon breaths, the lights blinked back on, though a lot darker than before. The gravity also felt a great deal lighter.
Ki’yak again reached forward in the gloom and pressed a button. Clearly whatever he was expecting to happen didn’t so he repeated the action, only this time he thumped the switch. The little cabin lurched and the occupants were thrown back into their seats as the star streaks suddenly resolved into tiny pinpricks of light. The gravity and lights increased slightly.
On the little video display before Ki’yak they could all make out the dark muddy grey world that almost filled the screen. Ki’yak turned a creaking dial and the picture zoomed in on a lone Victory Class Star Destroyer.
Interesting sounding contract - break into an Imperial Garrison, discover their plans and take the place out, yes? Tricky, but not the first time. Would usually charge enough to buy a new ship, huh? Must be getting soft in my old age. Pays to advertise, though, yes?
Klingon reports suggested this world was acting as garrison to an extremely large Imperial fleet. Bulk of it in the Triangle perhaps. Somewhat unexpected to find only one old Victory Star Destroyer, huh?
Put down behind a ridge fairly close to the base. Extremely useful these cloaking devices, must have one fitted to The Prestinium, yes?
The Imperial garrison was a large collection of prefab units slotted together like an oversized children’s construction toy. One large vehicle hangar unit, a command module, a power core/shield module, three habitation modules and a handful of gun towers.
Death Bringer took the lead, flanked by the other two, as they crossed the desolate, lifeless, terrain. Dilon and Ki’yak both wore breathmasks to combat the thin air. Dilon sported a thermal jacket due to the sub-zero temperature but Ki’yak appeared oblivious to the cold.
The three of them approached a massive set of double doors - the vehicle hangar bay. None of them spoke, not that is would have carried well under the circumstances, they could all sense something was wrong. As they got closer to the building they spotted what appeared to be a tiny door dwarfed by the larger pair next to it. They approached cautiously but reached the door apparently undetected.
* Hmm, get the feeling we have competition, yes? * Death Bringer said, breaking the half hour silence of their slow, cautious, approach.
The other two looked around Death Bringer to see the door panel he was examining. It had been cut open and rewired. Death Bringer touched two stripped wires together. With a spark at the panel the service door slid open. Then slipped in, through the atmosphere containing force field into the large open grey expanse that was the vehicle hangar. It was virtually empty, save for a handful of AT-PTs, Speeder Bikes and a couple of TIE fighters hanging from the ceiling racks.
“Wow, this place is empty! Are you sure they haven’t all left?” Dilon asked, the sight of such a huge amount of empty space surprising him.
* Hrm, gone on holiday, huh? Makes our job easier, yes? *
“Death to the feckers!” shouted Ki’yak as he ran towards one of the AT-PTs.
“Excellent idea!” Dilon called after the Klingon as Death Bringer brought a hand to his face.
* Go on then, catch me up, yes? * Death Bringer said needlessly as Dilon began sprinting towards Ki’yak and the one-man All-Terrain Personal-Transports. * Now got two of them to deal with, huh? Come back for them later... * he said to himself.
Death Bringer rushed towards the exit out of the hangar and into the garrison proper, not giving time for Dilon and Ki’yak to catch up in their new toys, assuming they ever got them going. He paused by the exit as something odd caught his attention from the corner of his eye. He approached a stack of plastic packing containers and readied his Titanium Shott Blaster, just in case. He leaned around the corner of crates but was only moderately surprised by what he found.
Not the best stacking I’ve ever witnessed, yes? Must be an acquired skill, Stormtrooper stacking. Not a bad job, though not sure I could have stacked twelve Stormtrooper bodies any better, huh? Impressive blaster holes, still smoking at that. Clearly the work of a professional such as myself, yes? Thought it best not to tell the other two, didn’t want the Klingons only half fixing my ship, right?
Death Bringer made his way through the corridors towards the power core module. Like the hangar the rest of the garrison was also virtually empty. On only two occasions did he have to duck into a room to avoid Imperials going about their business.
Back in the hangar, Ki’yak had climbed into the nearest AT-PT but couldn’t make out the controls. Dilon peered into the cockpit from the open top hatch trying to convey the controls to the Klingon, with little success. He had mastered the guns, however.
“Drive! I’ll kill ‘em!” Ki’yak shouted at Dilon whilst blasting away at everything in his field of view.
“Ahh, it’s not big enough - there’s only one seat!” Dilon called over the racket caused by the AT-PT in front of theirs having one of its two legs blown off and collapsing on its side.
“Hmmm - I know!” the Klingon bellowed over the din. He half turned in his chair and, keeping one hand on the targeting joystick and firing blindly ahead, began to hack away at the back of an armrest with a nasty looking blade. Once the support was cut through at the back he forced the armrest down so it was almost flat with the seat. The same fate became of the other side of the chair. It was still a squeeze but they both managed to share the newly extended chair even if they were jammed shoulder to shoulder.
More through luck than judgement the AT-PT was just the right height not to scrape the ceilings of the corridors. The doorways were a bit more trouble, they were wide enough but a little short. Ki’yak had the perfect solution. He blasted them.
Death Bringer leaned over the support rail for the gantry and took careful aim at one of the two technicians monitoring the power core consoles below. This is all too easy, he thought to himself as he triggered his shott blaster. A perfect head shot - the man crumpled to the ground.
The other technician heard the attack but was slow on the uptake. He looked at his colleague and then, panicing, looked about the floor of the power core room as he went for the small blaster pistol at this side. Death Bringer sighed, shook his head and blew a hole in his back.
* Just don’t make Imperials like they used to, yes? * he said to no one in particular. He crouched down on the gantry and serveved the area just in case he had missed anyone nearby who might come to investigate. There was nothing.
He vaulted over the gantry safety rail and down onto the floor a level below, his red cloak billowing after him. He landed into a crouch and serveyed the area again from his new vantage point. Still nothing. The emptiness of the garrison was beginning to make him nervous.
* Hmm, sure nobody’s at home, eh? * he called out into the large echoey chamber, half hoping a squad of Stormtroopers might reply with a volley of fire. With no such reply forthcoming he shrugged and walked over to the primary control console.
* Why can’t they build access points higher up, on the top of the console, perhaps? Most demeaning, huh? * He kneeled down on one knee before the console and held up his left forefinger. The finger tip flipped open and out shot a metal spike. He slid the probe jack into the droid interface, hoping for easy access to the encoded mission files.
After several minutes he was getting nowhere. * Tsk. Hate to admit it but Dilon’s help would be useful right now. Time is wasting, yes? May as well wire this place up now, huh? *
Death Bringer disengaged from the console and walked over to the center of the room and the power core itself. He reached into a couple of the oval pouches around his belt and liberated the three explosive charges from them and the remote detonators. He attached the detonators to the explosives and leaned over a large coolant pipe to place the first out of sight. As he withdrew his hand after attaching the first he felt something. He gently ran his hand over the odd obstruction. Not quite believing what his hand told him he leaned over further for a good look at it.
* Really have been beaten to it. Don’t recognise the design but appears to have anti-tamper sensors, yes? Oh, well, fine by me - so long as I get the information first, huh? * he said examining the other explosive device hidden near his own.
On his way out to find Dilon and Ki’yak he hid the bodies of the two technicians on the assumption that two dead bodies would raise the alarms far quicker than two missing technicians.
Little did I know that being stealthful was a complete waste of time, yes? Perhaps unsurprisingly Dilon and Ki’yak had caused a commotion. Didn’t really expect them to get one of those walkers going. Sadly mistaken, yes?
“Die! Die! Die! Die!” chanted Ki’yak every time he pressed the trigger to fire the AT-PT guns.
“Look out - there’s more of them!” shouted Dilon, over the not inconsiderable noise of the battle, as another squad of Stormtroopers ran through a door in front of them.
“Die! Die! Die! Die!” Ki’yak continued as if he hadn’t heard Dilon. He blasted large holes in three of the new group of Stormtroopers as they scattered to join the remnants of the previous squad who were taking cover around the two corners of the T-junction ahead or behind the door they came from.
Blaster bolts flew both ways down the corridor but neither side appeared too concerned about being accurate, it was almost as if they were competing just on the number of shots made. Occasionally a blaster bolt would fizz into the AT-PT which was a fair size and something of a sitting duck. Fortunately for the two occupants the armour was holding up well, it was designed as an anti-infantry vehicle. As such its own weapons were far more powerful than any hand-held blaster and Ki’yak was making short work of blasting the surrounds of the door ahead to get the troops taking cover the other side.
“They’re storming us!” shouted Dilon in a panic, suddenly not feeling so well protected at the sight of nine troopers breaking cover, from all three locations, and rushing towards the AT-PT, weapons blazing.
As this was unfolding an armour clad figure watched on from the darkened, smoke filled, corridor behind the AT-PT. This wasn’t going to plan at all. Something would have to be done to fix the problem.
“Die! Die! Die! Die!” Ki’yak continued relentlessly as he brought the twin side guns to bear on the attackers, not pausing the firing as he did so.
Dilon backed up the AT-PT a little, as best he could given the complete lack of rear view and a general design flaw which virtually precluded back-peddling. The sudden backwards jerky motion threw Ki’yak’s aim (which was more indiscriminate than anything else to begin with). The barrage of bolts from the one-man walker came up short and ripped into the metal floor. There was an explosion of searing hot steam from something underneath the blast point and most of the stormtroopers were instantly engulfed.
As the screams of the stormtroopers being boiled to death in their white armour reached the ears of the mysterious bounty hunter he decided it was time to act. The 5"9' metallic grey armoured figure pulled a battered looking DEMP gun from his left holster and carefully aimed it at the back of the AT-PT cockpit, just above where the two legs attached. With a thoomb a large blue bolt shot from the weapon and impacted squarely on the back of the walker. Blue electricity sparked and arced around the AT-PT for a couple of seconds as the electro-magnetic pulse disabled the onboard systems.
“Yes sizzle!! Die! Die! Die-” Ki’yak shouted at the boil in the bag stormtroopers but stopped abruptly as he realised the controls had gone dead. “Make it work!” he growled at Dilon who was already trying to figure out what had happened.
The bounty hunter watched the AT-PT wobble but was disappointed when the naturally unstable vehicle settled without toppling over. Without the onboard systems to constantly balance the machine he knew it wouldn’t take much to knock it over before the systems recovered. He raised his right arm and activated the device on the top of his forearm. The Personal Missile Launcher fired one of its incendiary micro-warheads at the right leg of the AT-PT. The fiery explosion was enough to over-balance the walker and it toppled forward.
“Ahhh!” screamed Dilon as the felt the AT-PT rock and slowly fall forward. The little viewing slit he had opened, so the two of them were not completely blinded by the system outage, was filled with the floor as they rushed towards it. With a clang that continued to ring in their ears after it had finished they were both thrown towards the front of the little cockpit. They both braced their impacts by outstretching their arms. It saved them from head injuries but Dilon felt his a bone in his right arm snap when his full weight collapsed on it badly.
The bounty hunter sank further back into the shadow and smoke of the corridor behind the fallen AT-PT when he saw the remaining stormtroopers edge around the the diminishing and cooling steam cloud. He could not allow himself to be seen by the Imperials.
One of the troopers triggered the manual release for the top hatch on the walker and was greeted by an insane Klingon who jumped from the hatch and knocked the stormtrooper to the ground. Ki’yak ripped off the other’s helmet and produced, from hidden about his person, a small metal cylindrical container. He popped the cap and pored the contents in the Imperial’s face. With a gurgling scream the stormtrooper writhed in agony and clutched his face as the acid ate it away. Ki’yak laughed with joy as he further launched himself at two other approaching stormtroopers.
Dilon dragged himself, with one arm, half out of the hatch just in time to see Ki’yak attempt to wrestle two stormtroopers only to be surrounded by three more, two of which opened fire on him. One hit him on the shoulder blade and the other was a perfect central back shot. Ki’yak roared in pain and fell to the ground, though he did have the satisfaction of bringing the two stormtroopers to the ground with him.
“I surrender,” Dilon said weakly as the stormtroopers moved their attention to him.
By time I located the remains of the AT-PT just two stormtroopers were left guarding, yes? Devastation was considerable, perhaps time to recommend a raise for Dilon, eh? Had a sudden sickening urge to locate Dilon and Ki’yak - most unprofessional, where’s the profit in it, huh? But, given the fact that the only other space craft seen was a couple of TIE fighters - with no hyperspace engines - only sure way off was in Ki’yak’s, er, ship. So, decided to find them, purely for practical reasons - didn’t fancy my luck trying to pilot that bucket, yes?
The first guard fell almost as soon as the spear hit him dead in the heart. Death Bringer knew he had to be quick off the mark to get the second, if the other stormtrooper had enough reaction time he would call for backup. That being the case, Death Bringer swung the blaster carbine in his left hand around on the second guard as soon as he had fired the spear from his interchangeable right hand. The spear was quick and, most importantly, quiet. A blaster bolt would have attracted the others attention immediately but it took the other guard a full two seconds to notice anything had happened at all. Before he could figure out what was going on he had been cut down by Death Bringer’s blaster carbine. Death Bringer was feeling frivolous and let off two shots in rapid succession instead of his usual one.
* Assume they left the worst performers behind to guard the garrison, huh? * he quipped at the two corpses. He took a second to admire the scene of carnage around him from his new vantage point. * Amazing what some people can do with a simple AT-PT, yes? *
Death Bringer leaned down to take a look inside the walker, just to be sure it was empty. He noticed the impromptu chair extension and muttered to himself * Hmm, looks like both of you were in here I’d say. Given the lack of blood and carbon scoring probably captured, huh? *
He stood up and went to retrieve the spear whilst replacing his right hand that he had removed to attach the spear for firing.
* Detention Centre can’t be too far away - * Death Bringer started to say, thinking out loud. It was muffled, silenced, but was definitely the sound of a blaster being fired. He threw himself to one side as the faintest of distortions shot through the air where he had been standing.
* Hmm, clever, blaster bolts beyond human visual spectrum, huh? * he said as he dived behind the remains of the AT-PT for cover. * Just as well I can see into the ultra-violet, yes? * he called out to his attacker.
It was a stand-off, both were behind cover - Death Bringer crouching behind the fallen AT-PT and the other in a doorway to the side of the dark smoke-filled corridor.
* Best you give up now, yes? * Death Bringer said but there was no reply. Death Bringer reached into a belt pouch and pulled out one of the two unused explosive devices. He quickly swapped the remote timer fuse for a timer version and hurled it down the corridor towards the bounty hunter. At that same instant he spotted an object sailing towards him from the other direction.
* Great minds think alike, eh? * Death Bringer called out to the other as he made to clear his position. It was then, just as the device plinked to the ground and bounced that he noticed what it was. This was no normal explosive. His surprised look quickly changed to determination as he threw himself clear of the thermal detonator. He dived over the AT-PT and, with a little assistance from his jet boots, he jumped almost half way up the corridor towards the bounty hunter and his own explosive. Death Bringer laid flat on the ground and covered his head expecting his own explosive to go off first. He was correct.
The bounty hunter ducked back behind cover after throwing the thermal detonator but had failed to notice the explosive Death Bringer had returned. Knowing full well the potency of thermal detonators he thumped the door control to protect himself from the massive blast that would shoot up the corridor past his position. Less than three seconds later an explosion ripped the door to shreds are hurled the debris towards him. He knew a thermal detonator blast when he saw one and that was that no thermal.
Death Bringer was several metres from his explosive but was well within the danger zone, especially in the confined area of the corridor. The force was incredible. The floor actually felt as if it rose quite some way. Shards of sharp hot metal tore into his arms as he desperately tried to cover his head and gripped the tips of his shoes on the floor to prevent himself being thrown too far back towards the thermal detonator that was likely to go off in about a second.
A large sharp piece of metal from the door sliced a deep gash into the bounty hunter’s leg as he was thrown back against the back wall of the small, empty, storage area he was sheltering in. The deadly shower of debris impacted into his armour and gave numerous other small minor wounds. He hit the wall hard and slid down it in a daze.
Before the explosion had even subsided, a fraction of a second after it had begun, Death Bringer willed his battered body towards the blast. His snap calculation was correct - his explosive had decimated that part of the corridor. The ceiling had collapsed and, more importantly, so had that section of floor. Again, with the aid of his jet boots he dived towards the hole in the floor to escape the thermal blast.
Groggy and disorientated by the concussion the bounty hunter more rolled than dived towards the side of what was once the door. He got there just in time. The thermal detonator went off. For several metres around the device, both horizontally and vertically, everything was instantly vapourised. The thermal front expanded out at the speed of sound. The very air that filled the corridor combusted into a stream of fire. The metal walls were softened and buckled, the outer layers becoming molten and forced like small waves down the corridor with the thermal front. The bounty hunter curled up into a ball, as best he could in his armour and with his injuries. The air felt as if it were being sucked out of the room and then a wall of flame poured through the remains of that door, melting away much of what was left of it.
Everywhere he looked was fire and heat. Even down in the wreckage of the level below Death Bringer was engulfed in flame. Most of it may have passed harmlessly overhead but that was little consolation as he could feel the heat on his back reach danger level, even for his tough metallic hide. Within seconds all of the oxygen in the long corridor, back for several hundred metres, was almost exhausted. Death Bringer, still ablaze like so much around him, pulled himself up from his awkward landing and began to pull a long metal spike that broke his fall from his side. * Uuhhn! *
The bounty hunter heard the cry. He had evaded most of the thermal energy by hiding behind the door but was still severely burnt, even under his extremely protective gear. On the plus side his leg had been well and truly cauterised. He was about to lean on the wall to help himself up when he stopped himself, realising it was still far too hot. He eased himself up, trying not to touch the floor with anything but his feet, and hobbled to the doorway, leaving footprints in the hardening metal as he did so. He looked down into the hole beyond and saw the flaming figure of Death Bringer. And Death Bringer saw him.
* Terak! * bellowed the freelance peacekeeping agent at the bounty hunter.
Tonb Terak was not in a condition to fight. He’d already caused far too much damage to both the garrison and himself. Fun as it may be, it was contrary to his mission. Death Bringer would have to wait. He jumped as best he could across the edge of the hole. The smoldering visage of Death Bringer leapt at Terak as he crossed the gap but overestimated his energy and didn’t get even close to grabbing the bounty hunter’s legs. Terak staggered off to find some cover in which to recuperate.
Death Bringer’s face smashed into the ground and it was all he could do to half look up to make sure Terak was gone before he could no longer hold his head up and, again, it impacted the ground. He lay there for several minutes to regain his strength.
Not the most pleasant experience of my career, yes? Still, chances of surviving a thermal detonator at that range are rather small, huh? To survive two in an many weeks - must have someone up there looking out for me.
Rather lucky I’d triggered and thrown my explosive before Terak had, otherwise would not have had to time get clear of the blast zone and would not have had a convenient hole to take cover in, yes?
Had considered going after Terak but where’s the profit in revenge, huh? Couldn’t figure out why he attacked. Clearly we were on the same side - those stormtroopers in the vehicle hangar had his name all over them. Know he wouldn’t work for the Empire after all they’d done to him. Perhaps didn’t want to share the reward. Felt like there was more to it than that, yes?
Patched myself up as best I could and decided to go find someone to help me get into the detention centre.
“Where are you taking this-” the detention centre guard asked offhandedly without taking a proper look at Death Bringer and his prisoner. Something about what he saw in that brief glance made no sense and he stopped speaking, mid-sentence, to take a proper look. In that last split-second of life he was afforded a bizarre image indeed. What looked like a large silver man with a few ill-fitting stormtrooper armour plates haphazardly strapped to his too-large frame and holding an unconscious man wearing nothing but a pair of colourful boxer shorts and socks.
Death Bringer’s titanium shott blaster burrowed a hole straight through the imperial’s head. He threw his prisoner across the room, it no longer mattered if the stormtrooper was alive or not. As it turned out he hadn’t been needed to get past any biometric security devices. Death Bringer wouldn’t kill him unless he became a threat and given his condition that was very unlikely. With his left hand now free he pulled out his blaster carbine and, together with the titanium shott blaster attachment on his right arm, he began blasting the various camera and sensing devices around the detention centre control room.
From down the short cell bay corridor came an imperial soldier, rushing towards the blaster light show Death Bringer was causing. Death Bringer shook his head slowly as he brought both weapons to bear on the soldier and blasted him several times with each. * Tsk, felt suicidal, huh? At least have your blaster ready next time, yes? *
There was a beeping from the communication panel of the detention centre consoles. Death Bringer made his way over to it. Suddenly he noticed another sensor he had missed and blasted it. * Don’t do things by half these Imperials, eh? * He clicked a switch on the console to accept the communication. * Everything's under control, huh? Situation normal, yes? *
"What happened?" came the reply down the comms circuit.
* Had a slight weapons malfunction. Everything perfectly alright now. All fine here now, yes? How are you, huh? * Death Bringer wasn’t one to bluff but he needed time to rescue his comrades and get out.
"We're sending a squad up."
* Negative, negative. * He searched for a good story. The pain in his side from the injury right next to his fusion core gave him inspiration. * Have a reactor leak here now. Give us a few minutes to lock it down. Large leak, very dangerous, yes? *
"Who is this? What's your operating number?" said the man on the other end of the communication who clearly wasn’t buying this at all.
Death Bringer blasted the console.
* Boring conversation anyway, huh? * he said as he left towards the cell bay after glancing at the cell allocation console.
Death Bringer pushed the door control of the first of the two occupied cells and the metal door slid upwards at quite a rate. Dilon was in the cell, crouching beside the door and jumped back with surprise, attempting to hide a piece of metal plating behind his back with one arm, the other was held to his stomach.
It took Dilon a second to recognise the mechanoid with the bits of stormtrooper armour hanging loosely from himself and generally looking rather more fire-damaged and beat up than usual.
“You’re a little tall for a stormtrooper.” Dilon said flatly as he tossed the piece of metal onto the bench-like bed on the far wall of the cell.
* See you were planning a little get-away, yes? *
“Something like that - they didn’t check me very well and missed this.” Dilon said, holding up a pen sized laser cutter, wincing after intially trying to grab it with his other hand. “I think I’ve broken my arm... What happened to you? You didn’t climb into the power core did you?”
* Long story. Moral is: never play with thermal detonators inside, huh! *
“Wow, that was you! I think the entire garrison must have felt that blast! Come to think of it why haven’t the alarms gone off?” Dilon exclaimed, his arm suddenly forgotten.
* Good question. Place is rather under-staffed but not empty, yes? Perhaps Terak found a way to disable all the alarm systems. *
“Terak! Tonb Terak - the bounty hunter! He’s the one that rewired that door?! Excellent, with him on our side we’ll easily get the information and blow this place!” Dilon said excitedly. He’d heard stories of Terak’s exploits during his brief tenure helping the rebels, the very same group that Dilon and Death Bringer were now associated with.
* Don’t think help was on his agenda * Death Bringer replied looking down at the remains of his once glorious red cape, which was supposedly fire retardant. Death Bringer made a mental note to bring this up, rather forcibly, with his tailor.
“Huh? He’d never work for the Imperials. He must have thought you were on their side. Anyway, why would he have to break in if he was working for them?”
* Or kill an entire squad of Stormtroopers. Or hide explosives around the power core, huh? * Death Bringer added thoughtfully. Something didn’t add up. His instincts told him there was more to it than professional jealousy or a desire not to split the money.
Death Bringer turned to move to the next cell to retrieve Ki’yak. Dilon popped his head out of the cell cautiously and followed. “Must we?” Dilon asked nodding his head towards the other cell. “He’s as mad as a sackful of Jawas!”
* Also our ticket out of here. *
“Oh, no, not that ship, please! I could get gangrene!” Dilon pleaded but was ignored.
The other cell door slid open just like the previous only this time Death Bringer was faced with a blaster.
“Die - ” shouted Kiyak as he let off a salvo in Death Bringers general direction “- alien scum!”
Death Bringer was quickly getting in the habit of diving out of the way of anyone pointing a blaster at him and large burning chunks were blown from the door to the opposite cell.
“Hey! It’s us!!” shouted Dilon who hadn’t quite made it to Ki’yak’s door before this all happened.
“Grrr!” growled the Klingon, who was always in a habit of shooting first and, well, never asking questions. And that was when he wasn’t slightly groggy from multiple stun blasts.
Death Bringer picked himself off the ground, dusted himself down and joined Dilon to look in at Ki’yak. * Better disguise than I thought, huh? *
They were both rather surprised to see the remains of an Imperial officer and an interrogation droid strewn across the floor. Both had large chunks bitten off, half the officer’s face had been apparently eaten.
* Late bringing supper, eh? Good to see you’re getting your roughage, yes? * Death Bringer indicated the droid.
Dilon was looking rather unwell again. “What now?” he asked weakly, turning his back on the scene. Death Bringer wondered how someone can spend so much of their time looking queasy.
* Control Centre. Need to get that information before Terak destroys this place, and us, yes? *
Had to shed the disguise, not my colour, yes? Time enough to pick up Ki’yak’s weapons and get out before another squad of Stormtroopers turned up, just. Had considered making Ki’yak leave his possessions, time being somewhat limited, but had heard stories that he’d had the same disruptor for several decades. Not getting sentimental, rumours had it that he’d led his people into battle just to retrieve it, to great cost, on more than one occasion. Didn’t feel like rushing back to find it with the garrison exploding around us, yes?
Place could have gone up at any second. Time to get to business - get to the source of the problem, the Command Centre, yes? Find out where everyone is, especially the fleet. Get as much of their game plan as possible. Trigger the explosive in the power core, chain reaction destroys the garrison. Simple, huh?
Didn’t turn out quite how I expected, yes?
* Ready? * Death Bringer more warned than asked as he felt the lift come to a halt. It had been a very short journey. The detention centre was three floors directly below the command centre, all they had to do was enter the lift Death Bringer had used minutes earlier. This time he didn’t feel the need to bring the unfortunate stormtrooper he had smacked over the back of the head with his mace, though he was unsurprisingly still unconscious as they walked passed him.
Dilon shifted nervously, cradling his arm. He didn’t like the idea of a frontal assault. Ki’yak was almost bouncing around with anticipation. The lift door slid open.
“I’ve been expecting you.” said a white haired man in an Imperial Admiral’s uniform, standing directly in front of the lift.
Death Bringer was slightly taken aback and had to grab Ki’yak by the scruff of the neck to stop him immediately assaulting the officer. He frowned * Don’t like to drop around unannounced, yes? *
“Please, come in.” said the admiral who then noticed Dilon’s apprehension. “Don’t worry I’ve ordered them not to attack you.” he said indicating the half dozen crew on various consoles around the command centre.
“It was you - you stopped the alarms going off!” declared Dilon as the three of them exited the lift and for the first time got a proper look at the command center. It was extremely under-manned and there was no sign of any troops. Most of the walls were transparasteel through which they could see the depressingly dull world they were situated on.
“Very good, sorry I don’t know you’re name -” the admiral prompted.
“Dilon? Hmm, I’ll remember that.” He turned to Death Bringer. “Of course I know who you are, Death Bringer. You don’t forget a colourful name like that, or such an impressive piece of engineering. Doctor Halum and his team must be very proud.” He turned, finally to look at Ki’yak. Looking like he had a foul taste in his mouth he talked about the Klingon as if he were a specimen "I’ve not met this species before. Must be from one of those other places. A native, perhaps?”
“Ki’yak, you snivelling pig dog!” the Klingon retorted.
“Indeed.” the Imperial said curtly and shifted his attention back to the other two. “I’m Admiral Harborough. I assume you are here to kill me?”
Death Bringer broke his silence, he hated chatty Imperials. * Not necessarily. Here to get your plans and destroy the garrison and any opposition, yes? *
“Well I’m afraid you’ve come to the wrong place if you are after our battle strategy. You see Vader doesn’t trust me. Sad, isn’t it? That’s why I’ve been left here with a skeleton crew - to keep me out of the way.”
“Liar alien scum!” barked Ki’yak who was rapidly getting an itchy trigger finger.
“Look, I’m well aware I am in mortal danger here. I have no wish to die, therefore I have no desire to lie. It is quite simple really.” Harborough restrained himself from adding a Ki’yak aimed insult to the end of his sentence.
* Where has the fleet gone? Are they returning, huh? * Death Bringer interrogated.
“I was told they were going on an exercise. I don’t believe that for a second. They are clearly going on an offensive mission and probably plan to build a new garrison closer to the action, hence why they have all but deserted here.”
* Being very cooperative. Hoping to defect, eh? *
“I’m open to offers... Reasonable offers...”
“What?! Imperial officers don’t defect, not high ranking ones!” Dilon exclaimed.
“Too true.” came a voice from way across the room, as did a blaster bolt aimed directly at the admiral’s head.
Death Bringer moved to push Harborough out of Terak’s line of fire but was too late. The admiral’s head exploded in a shower of golden liquid. Before they realised what was happening the headless Harborough reached into his own chest and pulled out a remote control.
Terak sprinted towards the admiral, his injuries temporarily forgotten thanks to the adrenaline, but he could never make it in time and the others were blocking his shot.
Both Death Bringer and Ki’yak instantly understood the situation and, as one, pulled out blades. Death Bringer grabbed the vibro-axe from his back and Ki’yak pulled a nasty looking long dagger. Together they slashed into the creature posing as the admiral. Death Bringer brought his axe down on and through the arm with the remote control and Ki’yak brought his dagger up into its gut and opened it all the way to its chest.
The creature’s arm fell to the ground, changing into a golden liquid as it did, but it was too late - the button was pressed and they all knew it.
Terak rolled two grenades towards the nearest transparisteel wall and opened fire with all he had at it. Death Bringer and Ki’yak, feeling the moment crawl by as if in slow motion, swapped their blades for guns to join the bounty hunter. A small explosion could be felt far away.
Two dull thuds sounded by the wall, almost inperceptable under the blaster and disruptor bombardment. All four of them ran towards the wall, all but Dilon blasting away at it as they did so. Though they were only peripherally aware of it, blaster bolts were now flying in their direction from some of the crew who had little understanding of the situation. A larger explosion could be felt from elsewhere in the garrison. The wall gave out to the pummelling. The internal atmosphere was sucked out into the lower pressured outside. Ki’yak was already reaching for his breathmask. Dilon was not.
Terak and Death Bringer were the first to reach the large hole in the wall and both jumped without hesitation. Ki’yak and Dilon were close on their heals and did the same. Dilon in particular was shocked to see how far up they were - how far they had to fall. He hadn’t realised the garrison was over fifteen storeys high and the command centre was at the top. He was also suddenly aware that he couldn’t breathe.
The garrison fragmented out behind them as they were barely clear of the hole but, unfortunately, still in serious danger. Death Bringer successfully grabbed both Ki’yak and Dilon, one with each hand, as they fell. Death Bringer did his best to put on the breaks with his jet-boots but the explosion threw them into a tumble away from the garrison.
More by luck than judgment Death Bringer managed to fire his jet-boots in the correct direction to slow them down moments before the three of them crashed into the ground. Large sections of garrison superstructure were crashing down all around them. Noticing Dilon’s lack of breathmask Death Bringer grabbed it off of Dilon’s belt and pressed it to the aphixiating rebel’s face. The mechanoid pulled both his companions to their feet and dragged them along as fast as he could away from the disintegrating garrison.
Managed to evacuate the area with no serious injuries to any of us, yes? As ever time was against us. Knew that the Star Destroyer in orbit would send TIE Fighters in to investigate. Time it took them to scramble and converge on the area was just enough to return to Ki’yak’s ship, helpfully cloaked from their sensors. Gave it a little while for the interest to die down before we left, even cloaked, yes?
Assume Terak got back to his own ship, huh?
“You didn’t get another head for your collection.” Dilon, who was keeping his breathmask on in the ship and wrapping his arm in his thermal jacket, commented to Ki’yak.
“No. I want some changling for my collection...” Ki’yak replied techilly, looking up at the severed heads of various enemies and creatures he had slain over the decades. Every now and then one of shed another piece of rotten flesh as the main gun fired to keep their backwards flying speed up.
“So who was Terak working for?” Dilon asked no one in particular.
* Don’t know. Get the feeling he was hired to take out the admiral, yes? *
“But not the garrison - the admiral wired that place up, right?” Dilon added.
* Looks that way, yes? Suspect whoever hired Terak knew Harborough wasn’t who he appeared to be. *
“Vader!” Dilon interjected.
* No, somebody else. Somebody trying to control the game, yes? *
“Oh, What about the Imperial Fleet? What now?” Dilon continued.
* Now? Back to base. Have a warranty to invoke, yes? * Death Bringer replied, looking at the tatty burnt remains of his cloak.