Sergeant Major Rake Carson was passed out in his rack, a
half burnt cigarra still in his lips, and a bottle of whiskey on
the nightstand. That was how he dealt with any mass slaughter; just
drink it all away. His weapons were hanging on the headboard, save
for his DL-44, which was still in its thigh holster. He was half
clothed, his uniform blouse hanging from the bedpost of the top
rack, and still wearing his trousers and skive shirt. If one were to
look at him, he'd almost appear to be awake, save for the awful
snoring. He had been awake for almost 72 hours prior to the end of
this last operation, and after pretty much murdering 1100 people, he
had figured it was time for a little bit of a nap. He had been
asleep for the last four hours, and left to his own devices, he
would probably be asleep for the next twenty. If he had been
conscious, he would probably have realized the impossibility of that
dream, but alas, that old adage 'Ours not to reason why' strikes
again. 'Suck it up' would be the only sympathy he would allow
himself. If he had been awake, anyway.
Reilly was glad the doc had been on this mission. Replacing a
kneecap was a bit above her pay scale. She could change bandages
though and this was what she was heading toward the area where the
Imperial commando was being held. A fresh pack of bacta and some
bandages in tow, the Sergeant moved past security, hoping not to run
into her Commanding Officer. Thousands dead was too close to being
Imperial for her tastes.
The rather-defeated Imperial commando sat silently in his cell,
now accustomed to the familiar position he was chained to the stool.
He had no sense of night and day, let alone what the actual date
was. Pain was present across his body, particularly where his original kneecap had once rested. Keeping his
mind clear, the man simply awaited for when his next round of
interrogations would begin. Perhaps this would be over soon and then
they'd be done with him.
Captain Tong had slept for a few hours after things had been
sorted out as far as prisoners went, but it did not take long to
realize that the Captain just did not sleep much. And it was not as
though the man had screaming nightmares. Now he was up, sipping
coffee. He did not seem off put by yesterdays events, except that
the stupid civilians had rushed into the kill zone. Not to be done
for that now. He took a short sip of his coffee before he lit a
fresh cigarra and picked up his scrambled comlink, putting a call
out to Atio. Best to let the Argo skipper know that he would
have three guests to put to bed and board, just as soon as they
finished with the supply officer. He was dressed similarly to Rake,
though it was rather common for him. He did not always wear a
blouse, preferred just a t-shirt, a tactical vest, and a light
jacket over the lot. His vest was sitting on his bunk, but his EE-3
was sitting next to him, his side arms as always, were on him. Only
the submachine gun he used was dismantled, in the process of being
cleaned. But that was almost out of habit to relax while he waited
for Atio to pick up.
Quar sucked the backs of his teeth boredly staring at the burning
tip of his cigarra. He flicked the cancer stick away and blew out
the remainder of smoke in his lungs. Quar adjusted his belt which
had a holstered custom made slugthrower. On the opposite side of his
worn black belt rested two spare magazines which gave the belt a
balance. The young Intelligence officer found himself extremely
bored with some of the mundane tasks offered by the Rebellion. But
then again, he was fighting the battle for more than himself. It was
for a memory. Quar glanced out a small viewport in the warehouse,
closing his eyes momentarily before looking to the gold ring on his
finger. Quar mused at the thought of being a fighter for a cause
larger than his own bank account and laughed. ?If only Sia could see
me now,? he though aloud, turning to look at the others gathered in
the warehouse. He arrived only ten minutes ago and he was already
wanting to leave.
Deep inside the Ringali Nebula the hidden Rebel Base sat
protected, shrouded in dense red and purple gas clouds. The
converted mining station was the perfect platform from which to
strike against Imperial convoys plowing the Perlemian Trade Route
and the Hydian Way as it afforded easy access to six systems,
including the influential planet of Brentaal. Within the hastily put
together recreation room, Commander Derek Atio sat with his feet up
on a dilapidated table, leaning back in his chair, as he listened to
a Shockball game and sipped his Alderaan Ruge. "Ah," he groaned as
the team from Coronet scored. He had bet heavily on the game. Just
as he was about to get up and have another drink, his comlink
buzzed, startling him. The chair slid backwards and he toppled with
it to the ground, landing on a dull thad that cracked the wood of
the chair. His drink spilled all over him and he lay there for a
moment, slightly dazed as a round of applause from the officers
signaled his defeat. His right hand moved towards the comlink, while
his left hand to rub at his bruised kidney. "Ugh... Atio..." he
spoke awkwardly into the handheld device, wondering who had picked
that moment to contact him and interrupt his off night.
"Start up the shuttle Atio. Got some stuff for you to pick up,
and I'm hoping you have a few crates for me." if Dagon had known
that the skipper of the Argo was sitting around watching
shockball, he might have been a bit irritated. But as he didn't
know, he didn't have reason to get upset. "Should be twelve hours or
so before we're ready to drop off to you. And watch out on your way
in. Traffic might be a bit slow." Even on a scrambled com, he stayed
vague, so that any signal geek that got lucky wouldn't have anything
to go on. "But we definitely need groceries down here."
Atio took a moment to stand, regaining his footing and attempting
to dry himself off with a towel that seemed to have last been washed
during the Clone Wars. He shook his head, mostly at himself and then
picked up the chair and sat it back right. As the chair was
resituated it's back fell to the ground with a loud *clank*, having
broken loose when he fell upon it. Offering a polite bow to those in
attendance to save face, he began moving out of the recreation room
towards the hangar bay. "Acknowledged," he said quietly through the
comlink as he hurried on his way.
"Out." He replied as he shut down the channel with Atio and stood
up. He headed back into the rock of cots behind a few crates that
acted as something of a privacy wall. The scent of cigarra smoke
trailed after him as he came to stand beside Carson's rack. He gave
the side of it a nudge with his shin. Wasn't Rake a lucky man? First
thing he would see when he woke up was the scarred visage of Dagon.
"Wake up. Need to interrogate the supply officer so we can get all
three out of here today."
Rake woke up with a start, about choking on his half smoked
cigarra. He blinked twice to clear his eyes, then looked around.
He always woke up like he was in an entirely new place. He struggled
to fathom what Tong had said, and after a few seconds, it sank in,
and he propped himself up on his elbow and nodded. "Coffee." was the
only thing he said in response, and then he reached for the pack of
cigarras on the crate that acted as a nightstand. He pounded out a
new one, then lit it up and took a deep drag. He sat up and cleared
his head for a moment before donning his blouse and slinging his
weapon. He left the whiskey out, figuring that he would need it in
about an hour anyway. Getting up and moving around to clear the
cobwebs, he snatched up some coffee and downed a whole cup without
breathing. The caffeine almost immediately cleared his hangover, but
he was still pissed off and cranky. Too bad for the supply officer,
he thought idly. Pouring another cup, he moved toward the detention
rooms. His first stop would be to the commando, whom he would inform
of last night's events and their effect on the mans reputation.
Namely, he wouldd focus on the fact that the man was now to be
considered a terrorist and a traitor, and if he was spotted by the
empire, he'd be shot on sight. That should be a merry good morning
to him. He was more than a little shocked, though, to find that his
plans were slightly foiled by the medic being there "Out, sergeant.
Well, the Imperial would have at least one friendly face before
being interrogated or worse. Reilly rewrapped his knee and even gave
him a shot of painkiller. No one should have to deal with that
amount of pain. Like her fellow combatants, Reilly wore trousers and
an undershirt, tank. Once the would was tended to, she rose from the
squatted position necessary to see to the knee and nodded to the
Imperial. "That should help the pain." Without awaiting a response,
Reilly turned and headed for the entry, knocking to be let out. Once
the door opened, she proceeded out of the room and headed for the
They were not victims. They were prisoners. Enemies. And lucky to
still be breathing. If the fact that people vanishing without a
trace wouldn't have a psychological impact on the rest of his
enemies, you would not be even that lucky. Dagon did not think that
Carson would go to far during the interrogation, the man seemed
pretty well locked down. But it was good to be on hand. Not to
mention, standing in the room when the prisoners started talking
made it easier for him to discern whether or not they were telling
the truth. But at the moment, he was just in the corridor of the
small cell block. Watching the medic make her rounds had him shaking
his head. She really was worried about these three's safety, when
two of them would have gladly gutted her, and were quite capable of
it, were they not securely restrained.
Some semblance of a nod was given by the commando to the woman,
though his attention quickly turned towards the two familiar men in
the room. A flicker of recognition was given towards the uniform
worn by Rake, the uniform that the commando
himself had once donned. No physical reaction was given, as it would
have been a pointless afair anyway. He kept his head raised and eyes
focused on his torturer, mentally preparing himself for whatever was
to come with this next round of questioning.
Have a cup of coffee. And a cigarra. I just came by to
tell you some good news, Ohmer." He nodded to Tong to indicate that
the boss should level his weapon on the guy, and when he had done
so, he bound the man's upper arm to his torso, then unbound the
man's right arm. This would allow the prisoner to receive the
proffered cigarras and coffee. He stuck the cigarra in the man's
mouth, and lit it for him, and then placed the cup of coffee in his
hand. Given that the man had not eaten or drank anything in the last
72 hours, he would probably take it. cigarras suppress appetite,
which would be killer after Reilly had injected those painkillers,
and coffee would quench the thirst. And keep him lucid through the
medication. Rake wanted the man to hear this "You're a terrorist,
and a traitor to the Empire, Ohmer. Looks like we have a lot more in
common than you thought." Rake was not particularly concerned that
the man would unbind himself using his free hand, as that would be
physically impossible anyway. The binders were locked tight, and
this fellow just did not have access to the key. Besides. If he got
loose, it would give Rake an excuse to beat the ever-loving crap out
of the man "That's not to mention my new uniform. It appears we have
that in common too." As Rake started to leave, he stopped at the
door for a moment, and then looked back, as though he had forgotton
something trivial "Oh, and, uh, Ohmer. You really shouldn't go
around killing 950 of your comrades and 110 civilians for no reason.
It's just not good on your fitness reports. A fine, up and coming
officer like you, you had it all going for you. But then, you just
threw it all away. Pity, really." Rake shook his head sadly, and
slammed the door to the cell before moving on to the Logistics
officer's cell. As he left, he shouted back to commando through the
door "Enjoy your coffee, traitor." Turning his attention back to his
boss, he nodded down the hallway to the SB2 Captain's cell, and
moved toward it "Shall we, boss?"
The commando silently accepted the cigarra and coffee, debating
in his mind if the words spoken were propaganda or truth. It was
beyond his means to deduce now, so he simply enjoyed his mild
Dagon did not unholster the MSD-32, but he did flick the
retention strap off the thigh holster, so that if the prisoner got
antsy, he could draw and fire on the man. Would not leave much to
transport, but it would certainly end any hostility in short order.
He waited until Carson was out of the cell before he followed him,
and shut the door behind him. "Just remember, we don't have a lot of
time to patch this one up. He needs to be in good enough health for
transport. And we have twelve hours total to get it done. Though
with the soundtrack that man's had, the sensory deprivation, and the
uncomfortable angle he's been chained at, I doubt he's going to hold
out long." He took a drag off his cigarra as he opened the supply
officer's cell door, and let Rake step in ahead of him.
"Good morning, Captain. I assume you're aware that you've been
arrested, by now. I'm Lieutenant Ohmer Wilton of the Imperial Storm
Commandos, and I was tasked with the arrest. As you can see, it was
a glorious success. I apologize for any inconvenience you might have
had in your transport, but the Empire never did particularly care
for those officers who would so readily issue out weapons and
ammunition to personnel who were known to them to be traitors." He
stopped momentarily to take a drag of his cigarra, gesturing in
the general direction of the garrison. Of course, the prisoner
wouldn't know that was the particular direction of the garrison, but
he would know that there had been a tremendous explosion there last
night, and he probably heard the screams of the wounded
"Unfortunately, Captain, I failed to stop you before the delinquent
recipients of this ordnance proceeded to blow up the garrison. I'm
sure you'll be overjoyed to know that you aided in the deaths of
just short of 1,000 of your comrades, and that every single friend
you might have had is now dead. And I'm equally certain that you're
aware of the Empire's most likely position regarding suspects in the
aforementioned incident. Now, I'd like to help you. I know that a
man like you needs to make a buck here and there, and that your
credits aren't what they should be. Pay isn't that great in the
imperial service. I understand why you did it, and that you had no
intention of causing anyone harm. Tell me what you know, Captain,
and you have my word that you'll get out of this with a discharge
and nothing else."
The logistics officer struggled to focus upon the newcomer to his
cell. His head rolled slightly as he turned, attempting to shift his
body to face Rake. He mustered his concentration to hear the words
being spoken to him, but he could only
comprehend them with disbelief. Shaking his head slightly as he
listened, his heart rate quickened as he learned of the charges that
he was apparently being condemned for. Managing to muster his voice,
he attempted to respond to his questioner
"What...what do you want to know?"
"I believe Major Elias of Intelligence here has a list made out.
"The shipping schedules for the Cormond forces, who you've issued
what to over the last cycle, and your current manifest." Dagon spoke
in the cold, stoic tone that he always had, partially a product of
his own service with the Empire.
"I believe, Captain, that a full inventory of all items, down to
toothpaste and linen, held against the manifest, could potentially
produce the culprit's name, assuming he used his real name. But a
good supply officer such as yourself, you'd likely make note of
every detail. Or so one could hope. I'd hate to imagine the
consequences if you'd failed to live up to your reputation. But
then, we've nothing to worry about, do we Captain? You're a fine
supply officer. You just needed some extra cash, right?"
The still-stunned officer sat in silence, trying to recollect the
past orders. His mind was jumbled with the recent arrest and
containment though, and he was unable to fully piece together those
manifests and details now. He attempted to summon more words
"Why...why do you need me for that information? Can't you just check
the old logs, or delivery shipment records for that?"
Rake began to grow visibly impatient, and he approached the
Captain slowly. Stopping two inches from his face, his voice dripped
with sarcasm as he spoke "Of course, Captain. Because you certainly
logged 'every' underhanded deal that could land you in Kessel for
the rest of your natural days, right? Come now, Captain. You can't
expect me to believe that. You have twenty minutes to produce that
information." Carson tossed the man a datapad, loaded with the
information from the Imperial system. The datapad had no uplink
capabilities, and could not contact the outside world. Turning on
his heel, he stormed out of the cell impatiently, stopping at the
door just long enough to inform the man
of his seriousness "Captain. The next time we speak, I sincerely
hope that you don't disappoint me. Twenty minutes." And with that,
Carson left the cell, waiting in the corridor for Tong to come out.
Dagon stood and looked at the captain for a moment from the
shadows, before he walked out, not saying another word to the man.
He expected that the man was sufficiently scared, and probably
suspected that ISB had kidnapped him, that would cooperate and they
would meet the twleve hour timeline he had to get rid of these
prisoners. The cell door closed behind him as he lit a cigarra.
The Captain watched the other Imperials leaved before looking
down at the datapad. He stared blankly at the device, desperately
trying to recall his orders. He was a logistics officer for a
reason, stress wasn't his particular strength. Attempting to calm his nerves, he began tapping the datapad
aimlessly. Perhaps the information would come to him, if he was
Reilly was moving past the room where her Commanding Officer and
his new buddy were 'busy' with the Imperial. She paused as Dagon
came out. Brown eyes scanned the man and his cancer stick "Am I
needed in there again, sir?" She tried not to show any emotion,
knowing the Captain was npt one to put up with anything that did not
have to do with violence and would not give a Sith's crap about what
she thought of his methods.
He already knew what she thought of his methods anyway. "No, the
man's unharmed at current." He replied to his medic, leveling his
dead gaze on the medic. "Dont worry too much about them. We'll be
shipping them off to the Argo today." Which he was certain
would make everyone but Atio happy.
"I'd hardly call it worry, sir." She moved past Dagon, heading
back toward the make shift med lab. There had to be something she
could straighten in there. Empty bottles and sharp needles were much
better company than many of her comrades.
"Speaking of which. Sergeant Judah, you are not to treat the
prisoners without the express permission of myself or Tong until
further notice. Am I clear on that?" Rake fixed her with a stare
just about identical to Tong's, blocking her exit as she tried to
move away. There would be no more of this feeding prisoners
painkiller crap behind their backs "For the record, by feeding a
prisoner painkillers, you increase his tolerance to pain. As a
doctor, I'm sure you're aware that an increased tolerance to pain
requires us to do more damage to the prisoners to loosen their
tongues. And that can hurt them worse. So in the end, your big heart
ends up getting them permanently damaged. No body likes this crap,
Sergeant. Don't make it worse. Understood?"
"No, Sir. Not clear at all. We are not like them. We take care of
any wounded. If you have a problem with that, take it up with Atio.
Don't rightly give a damn where you were when I was in school. I
know my job. I know the Rebellion and I 'know' what medical aid I
can give. No one knows that better than I do. If you don't want a
prisoner treated, take it up with the doc. I do my job by the book.
Ain't an opinion, 'Sir.' Its the kriffen rules."
"Sergeant, that's a damn order. And you will follow it. I've been
fighting wars since you were a little girl in school, and I know
damned well how this shit works. You don't. Sorry, pal, that it
ain't a walk in the playground. These assholes are killers. These
guys are against everything we stand for, and sometimes principle
has to get sacrificed. That information enables us to win. Without
that information, they get to go frolicking around every planet in
the system, stomping out little children and pissing in the potted
palms. Now you have your orders, and you follow them. That's all. I
don't frankly care what your personal opinion of it is. One day,
when you've had some substantial loss in your life because of these
guys, maybe, just maybe, you'll wise up. Until then, you trust the
people who have. Dismissed, sergeant."
She stormed off. The desire to cry was great. Not because of the
dickless Sergeant, but because he had no clue what the Imperials had
done to her and her family. And hopefully he never would. Now, back
to the needles which had better personalities.
Dagon just watched, and shook his head after it was done. He took
a moment to light a fresh cigarra. "Check on the man in half an
hour. See what he's come up with." And with that, he headed back
upstairs to the coffee pot.
After having napped a couple of hours, Jason would be occupying
himself quiet in the back of safe house, working on carefully
crafting more spikes to be used in the slicing, as well as going
over the Intel gathered from their assault on the base. Dressed in
his usual attire of the durable sandy-colored tunic, jacket equipped
with more pocket space than twenty people could use, a pair of
durable, rugged pants in a sandy color, and very well used, but
reinforced boots, he would be snacking on a standard ration bar, too
absorbed in his task to notice the lack of taste in the thing. An
insect going by would make more noise than he was, the only
indications of his presence would be the soft electrical hum of the
databoard, and an occasional tap of a key as he presses on one
harder here and there. With most of his attention on the board, his
modified heavy blaster pistol was out in plain sight, within a spilt
seconds reach should something come in threatening. Since his
trouble sense was quiet, he wasn't worried, and continued working
until called on. He would take notice of an encrypted signal leaving
the safe house, logging the encryption method it for breaking apart
later, the frequencies used, and the point of termination, purely
out of habit. His hearing was sensitive enough to catch the
intensity of the voices in the halls, but not yet good enough to
catch exactly what was said without more focus, so he went back ot
Once back in the make-shift medlab, Reilly sat at the monitor and
charted the medical treatment of each patient/prisoner she had seen.
She had been doing this for years but things always amazed her.
"Must be a kriffen Jedi...how could the bastard even know what
treatment had been administered." She re-read the doctor's orders,
making sure she had not disobeyed those that she was supposed to
follow. "Stupid warmongering..." She sighed and leaned back in the
chair, shaking her head "Don't know loss...just cause he lost
manhood..." Pausing from her work, she pulled out the holo of her
family. Two infants, a man about her age in an imperial uniform. It
brought her back from the TIE fighter raid in her head, and pulled
her emotions back in check "Someday there will be peace, Doyle.
Someday the Imperials will all be gone."
With the Captain gone, Carson was left with nothing else to do.
He hated pacifists, hated people that couldn't see the point of what
he did. He had a job to do, damn it, and he did it the best he
could. And the worst of it was he had to work with these people.
Tong could get away with not caring, but Carson was the
Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge. He had to ensure cohesion within
the team, and people had to be willing to talk to him. He had to lay
down the heavy hand, too. That made his job a little tougher. Carson
walked down the corridor to the sickbay, punched in the code, and
stepped through the door. When it slid shut, he leaned back up
against it and dug a holo, very similar to Reilly's, from his breast
pocket, and tossed it to the medic "Look, doc. I'm not trying to be
an asshole. But we've all got to work together on this thing, and
there's only one way to do it. I don't tell people very often, but
we're all human. Even guys like Tong and myself. Make sure I get
that holo back." Rake left, then, heading back to the corridor to
stand outside the cell of the logistics officer, resuming his
daunting task of counting the seconds. He pulled a cigarra out of
his pack and lit it up, waiting with iron patience for the thirty
minutes to pass:.
Whatever was on the holo would be tossed into the trash with the
rest of the medical waste she had collected. She had no use for
excessive violence. That was what the Empire was for. The medic
continued her straightening even as the man spoke to her. He was not
giving an order so she had no reason to listen.
Dagon let the medic and the executive officer have their chat,
moving off to the bunk area to speak to the tech. "You'll have a
datapad to check for accuracy in a minute. Then we're moving the
prisoners off world." He didn't stay to listen to what the man might
have said in reply, instead moving back to his work bench to
reassemble his slugthrower, and wait for Carson to bring back the
A soft acknowledgement would be all that was given from Jason, as
he continues to work and relax in the way he had, something about
this did not sit well, but a job was a job.
The logistics officer sighed as he finished inputting his data
into his small pad, possibly the only link he had to survival. The
list was incomplete to be sure, the result of the frayed nerves of
the captain. However, the details that were present all would be proven exceedingly accurate. Perhaps more time
and a calmer setting would be more conducive to isolation for this
one, as the man had never seen frontline combat. He hesitated for a
moment before raising his voice, attempting to
shout through the doors "I'm...I'm done!"
Carson stirred at the sound of the voice. He looked at his
chrono. Eighteen minutes. He smiled a bit to himself, then threw the
cigarra down and stomped it beneath his heel. Waiting for a couple
of minutes before opening the door, he smiled broadly at the
Captain, walking up to him and taking the datapad from him. He ran
over it for a second, a preliminary check of the goods. It was, in
fact, very good "You've done well, Captain. You'll have your
discharge. The Empire thanks you for your cooperation." Rake
loosened the mans binders, actually freeing one of his hands,
placing his pack of cigarras next to the man. He lit the first
one, so that the man could light them off of that one when need be.
Not like he would finish them. He would be moving soon. Rake left
the room, and went back upstairs to the main floor, searching for
the Captain. He would like this. Passing Jason, he called to the
tech, and then shouted for Tong "Boss, got the intel. Jason, you'll
be wanting to take a look at this. And Sergeant, be so kind as to
take a real chair to the Captain. Make sure you're careful in the
process, and ensure he stays bound to it. Leave a hand free. And
don't let him see you in that uniform when you do it."
Once her report was finished, she moved to the med cabinet and
check that all was in order. With that done, it was time to discuss
procedure with her Commanding Officer. There was a lump in her
throat as she approached the main floor and the emotionless Captain.
"Sir..." She placed a copy of the medical inventory on the bench next
to Dagon "I have checked our supplies and we have plenty of
interrogation serum available. Will you be needing any?" She glanced
back at Rake and then looked at Dagon again "I guess not."
"That your way of asking to speed things up, and ease your
stomach at the same time." He replied as he finished the assemble,
and slapped a fresh magazine into the weapon. A moment later, and it
was charged before he took up his cup of coffee again. "I'll let you
know next time we have someone in one of the pens. And we'll try it
your way. If it works out, you might save yourself work later."
"Ever seen a wound left to fester for a week? My stomach is fine,
sir. Never puked a day in my life...save my bridal shower." She
nodded to Dagon and moved past Rake, calling over her shoulder
"Whatever kriff you put in my office, you better fetch it before the
trash is taken out."
Rake did a double take when he heard what she said. That 'kriff'
was the only thing Rake had left of his humanity, and she was
implying it was in the trash. Rake's blue eyes went glacial, icing
over with a fierce intensity, and without even thinking, he grabbed
the Sergeant by the arm and spun her around. He stared daggers into
her, boring into her soul. He usually had a hollow look to him, but
now his face was alive with emotion. He was something else entirely,
nothing like the man he had been a mere twenty seconds ago. He was
nerve-wracked, his eyes wide as a spiceheads. He was lost in some
other time and place, visibly incapable of speaking for a full
minute. His grip on the Sergeant's arm was like a vice, and his eyes
only got colder. Finally, as quickly as it had come, it passed. His
muscles, relaxed, his eyes returned to their normal blank stare. He
was the same Rake again. When he spoke, his voice was far from its
normal fluid tone, though. It was measured, even, as though he was
weighing the intensity of every word before he let them roll off his
tongue. They were guttural, spat with such a visible intensity that
it took obvious effort for him to keep it under control "'You' will
retrieve that holo, Sergeant, and 'you' will return it to me. I must
have that holo, you understand? Your childish, foolish antics will
not cost me that.
Oddly enough, the tree hugging medic now had a look of rage on
her face. Apparently Rake had found the spot deep within her that
she kept from everyone. She grabbed hold of his free arm, turned her
body and that arm around so that it was behind his back. She leaned
in, talking close to his ear "Its in the trash. I don't give a damn
what you want to show me. Now go fetch it and stay the hell away
form me or you'll see why I'm a medic instead of laser fodder like
you, sir." She pushed at the man's back and released him.
"Stow it Carson. Save it for the enemy. Don't need the two of you
shooting at each other. I have three Imperial officers to transport,
probably another two regiments on their way down." He was not
exactly enthralled by what was going between the two Non-Commission
Officers, and he really did not need it. "You've both lost crap, and
you both have your reasons for being here. But I'm telling you right
now, sort it out before I shoot the both of you." And he didn't seem
to be joking when he said it.
Reilly continued past Rake, heading toward her bunk. She rubbed
her arm and swore that would be the last time that man touched
"Athol, is that Intel good?" He called back towards the Corporal,
and then glanced over at the medic. "Now, Judah, go tranq the
prisoners. Take Mereel with you. As soon as you're done, let me
know." He was still quiet calm, still focused on the job.
"Yes, sir." Reilly headed down to the doc's office, where the
more potent drugs were kept. Security required her to enter her code
before she could retrieve the necessary drugs. Once this was done,
she headed toward the prison area. Smiling at the first man, the one
with a new knee, she inserted the needle into the man's arm,
injecting him with enough drug to knock him out for a nice long ride
to visit their fat commander. A quick check of his vitals satisfied
her and she was off to the next man, repeating the procedure.
Poking his head out of the back corner area he had been working
on, almost without looking the pad would be tossed towards Dagon
with an uncanny precision Intel is verified at 97-percent accuracy,
there were some slips, but extremely minor, I have color coded the
changes without overwriting the info." That said, his head would pop
back into the corner, and he was back to working, quietly, having
ignored the yelling a minute ago.
"Carson, when she's done, put those three in a crate. We'll get
them loaded so we wont have any surprises during transpo." A nod was
paid to Athol as the captain picked up his coffee mug again. It was
days like this that he really understood what the Empire had cost
him when they had stormed his safe house last time on Brentaal.
Operators who knew and accepted the mission, and had worked together
long enough to trust and respect one another. But that was then, and
now he had sets of problems to deal with, and just as he always had,
they'd be dealt with methodically.
Through her com, Reilly announced to her Commanding Officer that
all the prisoners were unconscious "Prisoners ready, sir." With her
work complete, the Sergeant headed for her bunk. Even before the
swoosh told her that the door was shut, she plopped down on her bed,
wishing for more privacy than was currently granted. Arms folded
over her eyes. Even this slight movement brought the squeaking of
the cot. Maybe she should take some of that tranq as well so she
could get some sleep. There was definitely a lack of sleep to be had
around these parts. With a sigh, she let the stress leave her body,
blowing a stream of air out of puckered lips.
Captain Tong was sitting in the passenger seat of their cargo
speeder. In the back were stacks of crates, along with their medic
and tech. Given that they were on their way to the space port, and
not necessarily to pick up anyone with a
diplomatic status, his EE-3 carbine was stuck down in the rack where
the console normally would have been. He also wore his light jacket
over the seemingly always present tactical vest. He was smoking a
cigarra, and seemed to be taking in the sights of the city,
clearly examining the current level of response that the Imperials
had paid to their recent attack. It was somewhat surprising at how
little there was. The Senate must not have been willing to commit
anymore troops to the planet just yet.
Rake was just as pleased at the moment to find the Imperial
response lacking as Tong was perturbed. He eased the throttle down
on the speeder as the entered city traffic, and attempting to dodge
the checkpoints as best he could, turned down a back alley to come
out on another, less harassed road. They had been playing this
labyrinth game for the last two hours, and Rake was tiring of it. He
took a long drag off of his cigarra, which he uncaring flicked
into the cargo bay of their vehicle, hopefully hitting one of their
prisoners. He had bound them with exceptional creativity, making
them appear as though they were merely seated passengers. If Judah
had found out how he and Tong had ingenuously placed their bodies
within the crates, she would probably be a little upset. Assuming a
sitting position with nothing to sit on gets a little tiring after a
few hours, and they were still fairly distant to the spaceport. Of
course, there was good reason to do this, as a man with legs so
cramped he can't move can obviously not run away. Rake's rifle was
tucked neatly into the rack directly beneath Tong's, facing the
opposite direction for ease of access. He still wore his sidearms,
of course, hidden discreetly throughout various parts of his
uniform. Pulling a new cigarra from his pack, Rake lit it and
began smoking again. He had always found smoking calmed his nerves.
Judah had never voiced her opinions to anyone in her company
regarding the sanctity of life. As a former Imperial, she still held
human lives a bit higher than those of other species, though she
worked on that inwardly as often as possible. Given her record, she
fit in perfectly with the violence loving commanders. At current,
she was scowling as brown eyes drifted from street to street,
seemingly taking in the sights only to be distracted by a snag on a
fingernail that required attention. Right ring finger was brought to
mouth so that her teeth could 'file' down the distraction. When
finally satisfied, she went back to looking out the speeder, noting
the lack of additional Imperials. Given the other day's destruction,
she'd expected many more troopers present.
Sitting in the back of the speeder, Jason's icy green eyes would
be scanning the databoard one moment, and the streets around them
the next, the modified blaster pistol out, and charged. Only the
safety would keep it from being fired. As they moved, he was both
watching for humanoid type interference, and scanning the local comm
channels to see if anything would come up of interest. Still unused
to this type of military style procedure he had relied on what Tong
had told him to do. Which was to stay quiet, keep alert, and shoot
only if necessary.
Inside Cormond's spaceport, a tired Derek Atio stood in the
docking bay where the Gilded Thranta had touched down. Having
tipped a little extra to the docking authority, he had managed to
keep the local RSSF at bay, but one never knew about the roving
patrols of Imperial officers. The middle-aged Rebel Commander stood
with a hand upon the small of his back, nursing a welt that had
formed during his earlier fall aboard the Ringali Station. He
certainly would not be the one unloading these crates.
"And there it is." He gave a nod of his head out the windscreen
towards the docking bay holding the Gilded Thranta as they
pulled into the main terminal. "Glad he could make it on time." As
they pulled into the bay, he shook his head. He could see the skipper nursing some sort of injury, but he wasn't
overly impressed. Not that Atio had always been a real action junkie
anyway. "Go ahead, and back the cargo door towards the ramp of the
shuttle, and we'll be gone before anyone knows it." He lit a fresh
cigarra as he waited for Carson to to bring them to a halt.
Rake nodded, then turned the controls of the speeder in order to
pull them toward the docking bay in reverse. Easing the vehicle to
the loading port, he stopped the cargo bay of the speeder just short
of the ramp of the shuttle, and killed the engine. Without being
told, he opened the door and stood, leaning on the doorframe and the
vehicle, and keeping his right hand close to his E-11. His left hand
held a submachine gun low below the doorframe, out of sight of any
watching Imperials, and he kept it pointed outboard, in case anybody
got any funny ideas. His life as a smuggler had taught him this much
"Unload that stuff back there, gents. And lady. I'll keep watch up
front, skip, if you gotta talk to Atio."
"Everything I could get on such short notace is in the cargo
hold," Derek said through gritted teeth as a pained grimace was
plastered onto his usually jovial face. The rounded, plump cheeks of
the man's face sagged as he frowned, wondering if in all his clashes
with the Empire it would be a chair that would ultimately be his
undoing. "Is Sergeant Judah with you?" he asked Captain Tong as his
hand continued to rub at his side. He was not sure if he could
manage until he returned to the ship and meet with Doctor Ari'acoda.
Reilly looked toward the ship and sighed. What a beat up piece of
junk. Then again, it suited those who came from it. Jumping out of
the speeder, she moved to the crates. As she heard her name, she
looked toward Derek, wondering what he wanted. Perhaps he too could
read her mind and knew how much she hated this current assignment.
Moving away from the crates, she headed toward Derek, saluting
As he had not been introduced, he felt perfectly free to ignore
the protocol type stuff for the military. With the lady distracted,
Jason would begin moving the crates off the speeder, and over to the
cargo hold as directed, making as little noise and eye contact as he
could while still watching his environment, blaster poised for
instant grabbing if needed.
Commander Atio gave a polite nod to the Combat Medic and slid the
weathered, brown synthetic leather jacket from his shoulders and
carelessly let it fall to the ground. Perhaps indicative of how it
came to be so battered. He let out a groan of discomfort as he
turned his back to her, hoisting up the back of his shirt to expose
his back to her. The middle-aged man's back was covered in dark hair
that seemed as if it had not been groomed since the days of the Old
Republic. Pulling up his shirt a bit more, a black and blue welt was
visible over his left kidney.
Seeing as how their medic was trying to get out of combat it
seemed, Dagon lent a hand to their new man, first unloading the
crates containing prisoners, and then loading the crates containing
their fresh supplies into the speeder. Nothing like MREs and
explosives. One would put you in a bad mood, the other would put
others in the same. Once they were all loaded, he took another
long drag of his cigarra. From there, he moved over
towards Judah and Atio. "Recommend you get those crates to where
they're going fast. Pretty perishable. Will definitely spoil and
start to stink in the next six hours." When the officers would wake
up, hyperventilate, and suffocate most likely.
So much for a strong stomach. Fat man's back hair was 'the'
panicle of turn offs. Good thing the rest of her company had more
love for their weapons than women. "How'd it happen, sir?" Please do
not let it be sexual, by all in the Force, please!
Proceeding to finish the loading while Tong spoke, Jason would
make sure the crates were securely packed and safe, then walk to a
vantage point and begin looking around for anything, checking
visually, and by the databoard, he was still a bit paranoid about
being this out in the open, and some of it would show despite the
attempts to calm it mentally.
"We about ready to go?" Rake was getting tired of standing in a
hot city while they loaded prisoners onto a shuttle that had
probably been involved in no less than a half-dozen shootouts with
fighters just on the way in, and it showed in his voice. He had to
use concealed weapons, since pulling a rifle out in the spaceport
would probably result in his being shot by any number of troopers.
They walked by at regular intervals, and they looked right at them
at least a dozen times, and each time Rake felt like they had been
caught. Tong and himself were both...very obviously so...former
military. Those kinds of guys standing around in one spot next to a
shuttle offloading crates right after an Imperial garrison just got
blown off the face of the planet, well, that's a little unusual.
Derek pondered Reilly's questioning, wondering what he should
tell the young Corellian medic. The truth was that he had clumsily
fallen from his chair, but he could not allow himself to admit that
in front of the commando unit. "I was doing a run to Esseles," he
explained as he began to fabricate a story worthy of this kind of
injury. "Ran in to a Houk the size of a small moon in the Calamar
spaceport," he continued, wondering if she was buying it. "We had a
disagreement and he ended up throwing me up against a cargo
container..." he said, his voice getting a bit slow towards the end.
Yeah, that's the ticket, he thought silently to himself as he moved
his face away from hers again.
"I can give you an anti-inflam till you can get to a doctor,
sir." She dared not touch his back. A quick look was given to Dagon
to see if it grossed him out as much as it did her. Then again, he
probably had back hair or back-ne given the amount of care he gave
his weapons instead of his body. She fished through the medkit that
was slung on her right side. Once some anti-inflammatory pills were
found, she handed the bottle out toward Derek "Are you having any
internal pain...kidneys? Any trouble urinating?"
Derek lowered the shirt over his back again and began to readjust
his clothing, the plain white shirt and grease-stained slacks making
him look something of a spacer. Unfortunately, the middle-aged man
still insisted upon wearing the same clothes he wore in his youth
and they really did not flatter his increased physique. While he was
not an obese man, he did enjoy a good meal and had let him go
considerably in the two decades following the Clone Wars. Reaching
out, he took the bottle of pills from the Sergeant with a smile and
immediate popped a couple. "Just my pride," he muttered beneath his
breath, replying to her question about additional pain.
Upon hearing the excuse made and the medic's comments, Jason
would turn slightly towards Tong say "You know, that was a bit too
smooth for truth, and the fact of the location the medic mentioned
doesn't fit the story right...he's lying about something...not sure
why though, might be simple pride." and then he shrugged and went
back to his watching.
Well, if Rake could read minds, he would have told Jason he was
right to be paranoid. A duo of regular army on foot had turned their
attention toward the group, and one of them nodded as the other
spoke, then began walking toward the heavily laden speeder. Rake did
not look at anyone else, didn't take his eyes off of his scan. He
kept his eyes on the two, even though he moved his head like he was
looking around. He did, in fact, do a preliminary scan to make sure
they were alone, though, and once satisfied that they were, he
leaned into the speeder to get his cigarras. As he did, he spoke
quietly into his comlink "Trouble, coming folks. Everybody act
normal. Want me to take 'em out, pronto, boss, or let 'em snoop
around a bit?"
"I don't really care how he did it." Dagon replied before he
looked at Judah. "You have a minute max, then you load up. We need
to leave." On a planet that was getting more violent by the day,
their presence would still be written off as another mercenary unit.
It was a useful ruse at least. When he saw the pair walking towards
them, he just shrugged a bit. The senior man reached up,
as if to rub his throat, activating the throat mic
and spoke as if he was speaking to Atio. "Leave them be. Judah's
done anyway. Just load up and move out. We don't want a firefight in
here. It'd force us to set up alternate supply routes." He turned
his gaze on the medic, letting her know that they were done here,
before lighting another cigarra, and heading down the ramp to get
into the passenger side of the speeder.
She looked up at Derek, doing her best not to roll her eyes at
Dagon's caring comments. "Thank you so much for giving me this
assignment, sir. I could never express the 'joy' it gives me each
day." :ince they were supposed to be civvies, she patted Derek on
the shoulder "If you have complications, get help quickly." With
that she moved to the speeder and hopped in.
Hearing that message, Jason would begin to slowly make his way to
the speeder, not looking anxious or hurried, a block of marble would
have shown more warmth than he did right now. As he was further
away, it would take him a few more seconds to reach the speeder
unless he sped up and began to look suspicious, so he took his
careful time. Once he made it back, it would take no time to climb
in, still maintaining the calm façade.
Rake remained leaning on the frame of the car, tracking the
troopers with his submachine gun. He'd stay that way until everybody
was in the speeder, and when he saw Jason get into the back, he
nodded at the troopers, and stepped into the driver's seat. The
troopers were still heading towards the ship, though, ignoring the
speeder. He turned the corner, pulling over shortly, and looked at
Tong for orders. If the ship got caught, they'd have no transport on
or off, and no re-supply. He figured at the least, best to wait.
He'd parked across the street from port authority, which would be
believable enough, since they were technically supposed to claim
what goods they imported. Not that anybody did, besides mercs trying
to cover their tracks, but hell, it was the 'legal' way to do things
"Figured we should give it a few. Better if we're just out of sight
than ten minutes away when our beloved commander's fat ass realizes
he can't smoothtalk or outfight those two guys."
"Might not need to do anything." He turned to look in the cargo
compartment, the smell of cigarra smoking drifting to the medic
and tech's nose. "Athol, break out your mobile gear. Quick slice
into port authority. If it looks like Atio cant charm his way out of
it, send out a report of a freighter on the other side of the port,
possible explosive smuggling, rebels, the normal security alert.
Make sure it calls for all hands on deck."
The two Imperial Army troops, one a Corporal, the other a
private, approached Atio's ship cautiously. As they did so, the
private swung around to the right, edging up to the ramp, his weapon
cradled anxiously in his hands. The Xorporal walked up to Atio, his
eyes scanning around to the front of the ship, to make sure nobody
was waiting in ambush. He nodded at Atio, thinking to himself that
the man needed to invest some of his smuggling profits in a new
wardrobe "Excuse, me, ah... sir. Is your Captain available?"
The beleaguered spacer bent down and lifted his old jacket off
the floor, shaking loose the Brentaal sand from the weather-beaten
cracks of the leather. He offered a smile to the first trooper as he
slid the jacket back on, the remaining dust slipping in underneath
his shirt. "What a dump this place is, eh?" he asked as he made
small talk, beginning to doubt whether or not he would return for
the next shockball game. He was careful to make sure he presented
himself as the typical spacer, with no weapon visible on his
persona. His stocky frame offered nothing of a threat and he was
smart enough to leave all of his markings behind. He was grateful
that he did not allow Tashi to tattoo the Rebel crest upon his
shoulder that night he got drunk on the Gateway Space Station. "I'm
the Captain of this fine vessel," he pointed out as he proudly
leaned against one of the landing claws.
The trooper behind the ramp coughed at this,
trying...unsuccessfully...to suppress a laugh. The Corporal shot him a
stern glance, and the private cowered. The Trooper returned to
poking around in the cargo bay of the vessel, pausing at the various
crates, poking them with his rifle muzzle. As he did so, the
Corporal looked back at Atio, and suppressing an urge to vomit, he
politely continued. His military mind had the man fixed for some
kind of inconsistency. The guy was certainly fishy, and not just in
smell "Well, sir, the condition of the vessel is, well, unique. But
that aside, may I ask what brings you to Brentaal?"
"On it." those two words would be all that was said before a
mobile transceiver was pulled from his pack and powered up. It would
take only a few moments for Jason to tap into the appropriate
wireless frequencies, and with that ready, he would begin crafting
the message as per the instructions given. Once Jason was told to
send, it would take less than five seconds for it to be received by
the authority, and then every possible person in a ten kilometer
radius would be called into handle the situation "Just say when."
and he was now waiting, fingers poised to broadcast the message.
Derek looked towards the soldier and shook his head in
disagreement. "It's not what she looks like kid. It's how she
handles when it counts," he explained to him as he offered a
confident nod. "You'll find the same goes for women. During the
Clone Wars I met this one girl on Boz-Pity who had about three teeth
and skin you could make a rug out of, but boy did she know what she
was doing," he said as a sly grin curled upon his face. "Brentaal is
the intersection of two trade routes," he added getting more series.
"I brought in a case of Ruge from Alderaan for one of the local
Cantinas. Good money in that ... in case you're ever looking for
another line of work," he nodded, throwing in a courteous smile as
he started to back slowly towards the shuttle.
As the Corporal was busy up front, the Trooper had redoubled his
efforts in the cargo bay, hoping beyond hope to find something,
anything, to put Atio away. His little snort had angered the
Corporal, and the private had no desire to stand duty for the next
three weeks with no liberty. He noticed that the vessel had recently
been offloaded, clean spots showing on the dusty deck where the
crates had been. There was no indication of what might have been
loaded off, but there had definitely been a lot. That got his mind
thinking. If dust showed empty places, one could assume it had
accrued upon landing. Therefore, anything with dust under it was
newly loaded. He began shifting crates around to see what was under
them. Meanwhile, up front, the Corporal noticed the small talk,
impatiently dismissing it. But he did not dismiss Atio's rather
obvious attempt to back away. He tightened his grip on his weapon
"Sir, you have not been authorized to leave yet. I'm going to have
to ask you remain here until this vessel has been satisfactorily
inspected." His speaking caused him to miss the Private's frantic
yells from the back of the ship, where he had discovered that one of
the crates was, in fact, groaning.
Derek reached into his jacket pocket where he produced forged
travel documents provided by Lieutenant Klynn of Alliance
Intelligence, offering them towards the Imperial Corporal. In the
documents it gave him clearance to transport rare and exotic animals
off Brentaal for a new zoo being constructed on the nearby world of
Chandrila. "You know how kids loving petting zoos," he explained as
he turned to look back into the shuttle's cargo bay.
The Corporal looked at the documents, deciding they were
legitimate only after a long and careful inspection. He called the
Trooper back over, where the private relayed to him his story of the
groaning crate. The corporal folded the documents up and handed them
back to the Captain, wondering to himself what kind of
self-respecting man transports animals for a zoo. You'd burn more in
gas than the zoo could afford to pay "You're an odd man, sir. A very
odd man. Carry on. Come on, Sorenson. Let's get the hell out of
here. This thing's probably diseased." The Corporal and the
turned and left, making their way back down the corridor and toward
the next docking bay to inspect the next freighter or shuttle that
happened to land.
"Alright. Looks like he's in the clear. Now we need to go before
we have that pair wanting to inspect us." He said as he knocked a
bit of ash of the cigarra.
"On it, boss." Rake accelerated the speeder slowly, merging
cleanly into traffic and becoming lost in the inner-city commerce.
They were now just another cargo speeder carrying a load, probably
for some local project or maybe even supplies for the numerous
construction crews on the destroyed garrison. As the ruins came into
view between buildings, Rake looked at them, saw the bodies lined up
outside for identification. He did not let himself think about it or
think about the 300 civilians on Fest. He just pushed it away, did
Well, that allowed him a sigh of relief, then Jason would power
down the transceiver and put it back in place, saving the message
for later use. Now it would be back to the routine of watching out
for anything coming at them, mechanical or not.
Derek let out a deep sigh as he scampered up the ramp of the Gilded Thranta, his hand immediately slapping down on the
control mechanism that would close the shuttle's ramp. A moment
later he hopped into his pilot's chair and activated the shuttle's
engines. The tired, old craft began to rumble as the engine powered
to live. Activating the repulsorlift engines it lifted slowly from
the hangar bay, a cloud of dust being blown away in the direction of
the two Imperial troopers. His hand moved forward on the controls as
he activated the sublight engine, sending the ship on its return
course towards the Ringali Station. He had to deliver these
prisoners to the station in thirty minutes or he would miss the last
of the game, reminding him of his youth as a poor delivery boy.