Blackwind Crater, The Assault, The Sorority, Decisions
Chapter III | Episode V | 4/14/2017
Their mission was clear. Infiltrate the Veiled Sorority, rescue the twins that were of such great importance to Elaiza, and take care of the pirate queen, dead or alive…
The Sovereign had successfully landed in Blackwind Crater, narrowly evading a missile aimed directly at the ship. None of which would have been possible if not for the combined efforts of Twil and R5. Knowing that they had been spotted, the crew quickly disembarked, not wanting to waste any time.
“Okay, I’ve got a plan.” Rath began, “They know we’re here, but that doesn’t mean that we’ve completely lost the element of surprise.” He then looked to the Zeltron, “Twil, if you Idozi and Draven can create a good enough distraction, Zanroy and I can sneak into the base. While inside, if I can find their main control, I can shut down security and find the twins. After that’s taken care of, we can rendezvous and kill the queen together. Unless someone else has a better idea…”
With nothing but silence as their response, the group agreed to the plan and proceeded into the jungle. Draven and Twil led the way while Zanroy and Rath followed stealthily behind. Each had their own idea of how to do so. While Rath simply activated the many stealth features on his suit, rendering him invisible to all senses, Zanroy decided to climb up and through the many trees of the swamp, giving him a vantage point to see ahead through the thick brush, and cover from anyone else being able to spot him.
Meanwhile, Idozzi stayed behind for reasons unknown. A small creature, known as a Galva, had wandered up to her. Rath warned her that these creatures hunt in packs and can be quite dangerous in large groups. She failed to heed his warning and instead tried to pet the creature. It promptly tried to bite her hand off with a row of razor sharp teeth. Frightened, Idozzi finally followed the others into the swamp; the Galva following close behind.
Progress through the swamp was slow. The area was thick with flora at every turn, limiting visibility. There were also many branching paths. Twil and Draven were unsure where to go, getting only vague directions from Zanroy, who could see only slightly better from his vantage in the trees.
In an attempt to progress forward, and get a better view, Zanroy attempted to leap from one tree top to another. This resulted in almost predictable results, as Zanroy lost his footing and tumbled to the ground.
After picking himself up, Zanroy decided for a different approach. Instead of trying to see with his eyes, he decided to use his newfound power. Reaching out with the Force, he tried to find his way ahead. Although he was certainly Force sensitive, he was hardly a master of the Force. The visions were hazy, but clear enough. He was able to tell the others the general direction of where the base would be.
After slogging through the swamp a little longer, the group finally found the pirate base. It was an old fortified bunker. The grounds around the entrance were strangely clear and open. No wildlife, nor trees.
This was highly suspicious to Rath. He began examining the area, attempting to spot any traps. With the assistance of Zanroy, the two were able to spot security cameras and two very powerful turrets built into the base. Using his remote access capabilities through his cybernetic implant, Rath was easily able to hack into the base security. Soon, the turrets were under his control, programmed to shoot anyone or anything that wasn’t the Sovereign crew. The cameras were being fed a loop, as well, repeating the same 5 minutes of nothing happening. And with one final trick, Rath opened the base’s heavily fortified door.
Expecting an ambush, the five were surprised when no one exited the base. Plans suddenly changed. A distraction may not be necessary. So, Rath and Zanroy entered the base alone.
The corridors were narrow and empty. It quickly became clear to Rath that Zanroy would have a difficult time sneaking through the area. So, he came up with a “Plan B.” Entering another hallway, Rath found a lone pirate soldier, her back turned to Rath, apparently manning the reprogrammed turret. Rath quietly snuck up behind her, sedative in hand. With swift, surgical precision, Rath quickly jabbed the needle into the soldier’s unprotected neck, just between the helmet and chest plate. The soldier dropped without a sound. Rath quickly collected a DNA sample from the knocked out woman and put it into the tech flesh camouflage kit that he kept with him at all times.
“Put her armor on and use this.” Rath instructed the human.
“So now I become a woman…” Zanroy said halfheartedly, putting on the woman’s clothes. The transformation was instantaneous. Zanroy now looked identical to the knocked out pirate.
Suddenly the sound of very powerful blaster turrets echoed through the hallways.
“Some merc just got blasted by the turrets out here.” Twil said through his comm to Rath.
Twil and Idozzi had decided to take cover in some bushes, biding their time, during which yet another Galva had found the group and was very interested in Twil. Draven, however, decided to climb a tree, choosing a better vantage. While waiting, an armored mercenary had wandered into the “killing zone” outside the base and was swiftly torn to shreds.
This did not go unnoticed as a group of what looked to be old clone troopers came running towards the commotion from a campsite east of the base. Confused and horrified by the carnage before their eyes, two of the troopers tried approaching the base, and subsequently got torn to shreds as well. This also drew out one of the pirates within the base. She also was killed instantly.
While Draven enjoyed the show displayed before him, Twil had a very different reaction. Being a Zeltron, such carnage was a horrid sight. And he was unable to fight the shock and nausea that overcame him.
Meanwhile, back inside the base, Rath and Zanroy searched room from room. If the area wasn’t what he was looking for, he would securely lock the door, trapping the pirates and mercs inside. He was also forced to lock one of the pirates inside one of the turret tunnels after Zanroy clumsily lied his way through being discovered. Rath knew she would find the body, and he also knew it would only be a matter of time before the base would be on alert.
Seconds later, the alerts sounded. No one in the base thought twice of the disguised Zanroy, and no one could even see Rath. So it was a simple matter to evade the pirates, all of which would surely be rushing outside to find the intruders. The sound of turret blaster fire confirmed his suspicions.
Eventually Zanroy found an elevator, and the two took it up to the second level. After searching just a little more, Zanroy and Rath found a very secure door. They knew what would be on the other side. Rath deftly hacked the computerized lock, forcing the door to open. On the other side was a woman wearing a detailed mask, surrounding her were three other women, all heavily armed.
“What are you doing here Brenna?” The masked woman who could only be the Pirate Queen, demanded.
With confidence never before seen by Rath, Zanroy gave his performance, “Mistress, the base is under attack! We need to get you out of here, now!”
The Queen considered his words for only a moment before agreeing, “Very well, lead the way.”
Both men were shocked by the response. Zanroy led the Queen out of her chambers and down the hall, while Rath immediately went to work on the main computer terminal within.
Outside the base, tensions were growing. A handful more pirates had been killed by the turrets. The pirates and mercs were now wise to what was happening, but unsure of what to do. All the while, there was an unknown sound coming from the south, and growing louder.
Twil saw this as his prime opportunity. He pocketed the small creature that he was convinced was his new pet, and ran towards the entrance of the base. He was able to fire off a shot inside, getting the attention of the pirates. Of course, he also got the attention of the troopers outside. They took aim and hit Twil twice. This didn’t kill the Zeltron, but it certainly wounded him.
Not one to miss an opportunity to fight, Draven took aim at the clueless troopers below him, killing one, and grievously injuring another. The two remaining troopers immediately changed targets, and fired upon Draven. Being stuck in a tree, he was an easy target. Draven took multiple direct shots. Nearing death, he passed out.
With the troopers distracted and the pirates rushing for the entrance, Twil activated a thermal detonator within. Not a single pirate was spared as the explosion killed everyone inside, leaving the entrance hall a grotesque mess of blood, viscera, and charred remains. It was then that the unknown sound from before grew into a quake-like roar, thundering through the swamp.
Zanroy led the queen to the one airspeeder inside the base’s hangar, and was about to enter.
“What are you doing Brenna?” The Queen asked harshly, “You’re not my pilot.”
“My apologies, Mistress.” Zanroy replied. He then pretended to help the Queen inside the speeder. Growing tired of the charade, Zanroy saw his chance. With her back facing him, he quickly pulled out his lightsaber hilt and ignited it.
The blade swiftly stabbed the Queen through the stomach. She was only able to look back at the disguised Zanroy, speechless. Not waiting a second longer, Zanroy spun around, slicing the queen’s torso in two. In the same motion, he flipped backwards into the air. While midflight, Zanroy lobbed another thermal detonator at the stunned bodyguards of the queen. As Zanroy landed on the roof above, the detonator exploded, killing all three of the remaining pirates.
Rath had heard the explosions and the lightsaber’s distinct sounds from the Queen’s chambers. “All is going as expected, I see.” He said to himself as he patiently searched through the main terminal. After an exhaustive scan, he finally found what he was looking for. There were records of a small secret room hidden away in the old comm station. “Found you.” He said aloud, quite pleased with himself.
The troopers were suddenly terrified beyond words. Abandoning their quest to kill the intruders, they began running away from the base, away from Twil, Draven, and Idozzi. It didn’t take long for Twil to see why. A colossal, monstrous, black crab-like creature came into view. It immediately began devouring the bodies of the troopers and pirates that had fallen prey to Rath’s reprogrammed turrets.
Twil knew that it would only be a matter of time before the creature would finish its feast and find Idozzi, Draven, or himself. Acting quickly, Twil took aim and shot the creature. Remarkably, he bypassed the creature’s massive exoskeleton and hit it directly in the unprotected face. Enraged, the creature rushed towards Twil. Expecting this exact reaction, Twil ran inside the fortified bunker. It was mere seconds later that he heard the turrets begin firing. He watched on as the monster was slowly torn apart by the gun’s blaster bolts. First eating away at the massive shell, and then finally ripping away at the creature’s flesh. Finally, it fell to the ground, dead.
Twil explained the commotion over comms to Rath as he leisurely made his way through the empty fortress. First, he went to the hangar to collect the Pirate Queen’s mask. He knew how valuable it was, and he wasn’t about to let it slip through his fingers.
He then made his way to the old comm station as described in the main terminal. It was an easy matter to find the secret room. The comm station walls flew upwards into the ceiling, revealing a very small, eerily quiet room. Out came two very disoriented and malnourished humans.
“Dekar and Raze Arctus, I presume.” Rath greeted the pair.
The twins gazed at Rath in shock, unsure of how to react.
“Come with me if you wish to escape.”
The two said nothing, but followed Rath closely, eager to be free of this prison.
Rath made his way to the hangar, where he was reunited with Zanroy, when suddenly Elaiza appeared from out of nowhere.
For the first time since meeting her, Rath saw the woman smiling; she had a look of relief and happiness on her face, until Zanroy stepped between them.
Elaiza tried pushing Zanroy away using the Force, however Zanroy would not move. He then demanded that she continue teaching him the ways of the Force. Her response was almost predictable at this point, in Rath’s opinion.
“I said I would pay you for helping me. And I will, at a different time and place. For now, let me be with them.”
“Just let her have her moment.” Rath said, leaning up against the speeder, bored with dealing with the moody Jedi and her ways.
Zanroy then stepped aside, allowing the three to be reunited. Dekar quickly rushed to Elaiza, the two embracing happily. However, Raze approached more slowly, with what looked to be a forced smile on her face. “We need to leave here.” Elaiza said to the two.
“Careful using the front door.” Rath warned. “It’ll shred those two to pieces.”
“We’ll manage.” Elaiza responded coldly.
Just then, the conversation was cut short, as an Imperial shuttle began to land on the small landing pad outside the hangar. Upon seeing this, Rath quickly reactivated his stealth suit, and retreated inside.
The others simply stood their ground as they watched the shuttle land. The landing ramp extended and the doors flew open. Elaiza ignited her dark green lightsaber, ready to attack. Out marched four of the strange troopers that the crew of the Sovereign knew so well. And behind them, the hooded figure…