The streets of Cormond were as busy as
ever, with all manner of speeders and pedestrians going about their
lives. One particular speeder hovered silently in an off-path alleyway,
drawing no particular attention towards itself. Battered and burned, the
vehicle was almost unrecognizable as an LAVr Chariot, a favored command
speeder of the Imperial Army. A number had been stolen from the remains
of the garrison attack, finding their way into less than savory
employment. The speeder was packed with eleven armed individuals. Ten of
them were rather thuggish in appearance, clutching their blaster rifles
as they awaited the determined attack time. The ten men, mostly humans,
occasionally glanced at the eleventh member of their group. He seemed
military, they silently concluded, but they were not paid to speculate.
Fifty yards ahead of the speeder was the RSSF Horizon Training Center, a
major complex for the initiation of new police recruits. Sounds of
drills, shouting and sporadic blaster bolts were heard from the walls,
all a sign of a normal day in police training.
The armor Sergeant Jonas Garrett wore
was battered to hell, but it was enclosed. The black visor glanced to
the others there, as the MFTAS went online, cycling through the numerous
people. He took in a breath of recycled air, as the speaker took in
conversations. Strapped to his right thigh was an FWG-5, it's safety on,
and along his belt were numerous grenades: Glop, Frag, Flash. He looked
more like a bounty hunter, than a soldier. He felt as if this task was
beneath him, yet he would never voice those concerns to his superiors
for now there was only the mission.
There was light chatter among the Black
Sun mercenaries in the speeder, mostly about firearms or women. The men
continued to glance out of the Chariot's front viewport, awaiting any
sign of their entry into the RSSF compound. Their talk fell silent as
the whine of an accelerating repulsorlift was heard in the distance,
steadily growing louder as it approached. Another speeder suddenly
turned the corner of the main street leading towards the RSSF training
center, swinging around at a great speed and pushing aside the smaller
vehicles in the way. The burly speeder continued to accelerate towards
the main gates of the training facility, and the Black Sun hired hands
watched in anticipation.
A RSSF Sergeant threw up his hand at the
oncoming speeder, peering at angrily beneath the visor of his blast
helmet. "Halt!" he yelled as he stood in front of the gate, his hand
moving down to pull the DL-18 blaster pistol from his holster. "This is
a restricted area," he repeated in a loud tone, clearly annoyed, but not
thinking it any more than a civilian who took a wrong turn. He was
inexperienced, as most of the RSSF had never dealt with anything other
than petty crime.
The guard's command would have no
effect, and the speeder only continued to accelerate towards the front
gates of the complex. No one was inside the speeder to heed the call to
halt, as the vehicle had been preset with it's unchangeable instructions
and final destination. A final burst of speed sent the speeder plowing
into the unfortunate RSSF Sergeant, tossing his broken body aside
without regard, and then the speeder crashed into the gate's barriers.
The explosives hidden within the vehicle exploded with tremendous force,
obliterating anything within the immediate radius of the blast.
An annoying alarm that was too little,
too late began to echo through the compound, but it was barely audible
over the sound of the tremendous explosion that ripped through the main
gate. The guard post and those inside it were little more than ash, and
all around half-dressed and underequipped RSSF officers began to
scramble through the compound. They had nothing but stun grenades and
riot guns that were designed to handle crowd control and the petty crime
that plagued the city.
With that, the Chariot speeder now
roared to life. A strong kick from the repulsors sent the speeder
careening towards the gaping hole in the complex walls, and the vehicle
rapidly covered the 50 yards to the target. The Chariot's front laser
cannon opened fire, with crimson bolts streaking indiscriminately
towards men and material. The Chariot bounded in the air as it reached
the remains of the gate, sailing over the debris and rubble, before
coming to a halt within the RSSF complex courtyard. The door slid open,
and the mercenaries armed their rifles. Instinctively, they looked
towards the bounty hunter-esque man to lead the way.
Jonas pulled the FWG-5 from it's holster
with his right hand, flipping the safety off as he readied the weapon in
one smooth practiced action. The left hand already had a flash bang off
his nasty collection. He pulled the pin, and spoke loudly, the speaker
carried the rest of the warning to the others, <Click> went his helmet,
"Flash out." <Click> it went at the end of his sentence. He waited for
the cook time on the weapon before giving it a good toss towards the
last known location of the targets.
There were nine RSSF officers running
towards the speeder as the laser cannons erupted, and two of them
immediately were struck, their primitive armor not being able to
withstand the thrust from the vehicle's powerful barrage. "Cover," one
of the officers yelled as he moved towards a fallen piece of duracrete
that had tumbled to the ground following the explosion. The grenade
erupted catching them completely off guard and a further three officers
were blinded by the blast, falling to the ground like useless rabble.
That left four active troops who found what cover they could and began
firing with their RSSF riot guns at the speeder. These poorly fashioned
weapons fired the equivalent of concussion blasts that were the
equivalent of stun grenades. Useless against modern armor, they
nevertheless could provide a non-lethal jolt to those unprotected.
The Black Sun gunmen began spilling out
of the cramped speeder, firing as they emerged. Their polarized goggles
protected them against the disorienting effect of the flash grenade,
though one unlucky mercenary was struck by a riot gun. Having only his
street clothes to protect him, the man clattered unceremoniously to the
ground. The remaining nine began spreading out: four remained by the
speeder to provide cover fire for their peers, while the other five
began shouting as they charged the position of the RSSF defenders.
Jonas stepped out on the duracrete, his
boots falling heavy with every step he took, the MFTAS was online
already highlighting targets as it scanned the surrounding area. He had
already synched the FWG-5 with the targeting system. He fired off two
pellets from the weapon, which within three meters of their target would
explode sending out miniature flechettes. The left hand had already
selected his second grenade, a fragmentation, once again pulling the
pin, and counting down the cook time. Then with practiced ease he tossed
the grenade, which by his calculation would land within a meter of the
men hiding behind cover.
The minitaure flechettes made short work
of the three RSSF agents that had been incapacitated by the early flash
grenade, turning their bodies into something of an unrecognizable mass
that would take DNA analysis to identify for the families at a later
date. "Grena..." one of the agents cried helplessly, but it was already
too late and the small metallic ball exploded in front of him sending
shrapnel tearing through his exposed face. There were two agents who
continued firing their riot guns, but one turned to pull his comlink.
"This is the RSSF to all Imperial forces. We are under attack. Believe
the attackers to be Rebel insurgents," he nervously stammered over the
comm, hoping that someone out there would come to their aid. They were
no match for the opposition they were facing.
The five gunmen continued their sprint
to the two RSSF agents. One Black Sun mercenary was struck in the leg by
a riot gun shot and he staggered for a moment before stumbling to the
pavement. His companions closed the distance and jumped over the modest
cover, brining the butts of their rifles down upon the two RSSF
defenders. The four attackers by the speeder meanwhile trained their
weapons on the various entry doors into the courtyard, prepared to open
fire if further Ringali Shell officers dared bothered them.
The speaker, spoke quickly out, Jonas
pointed at one of the agents <Click>"Secure the entrances with the
explosives, you grab the rest, and follow me."<Click> went the speaker
as he finished speaking. He was already headed towards the barracks,
everything was going according to plan, but if they managed to get
Imperial reinforcement they were going to be in trouble.
The two remaining RSSF officers in the
courtyard attempted to resist, but were quickly overcome by the superior
numbers of the Black Sun mercenaries. In the nearby barracks the
remaining cadets were passing out their blast helmets and chest armor,
but they were young and had only begun their training. Many began
heading towards the back door in an attempt to flee, having signed up to
arrest gamblers and drunks, not fight off terrorists.
Being trained to follow orders, the
Black Sun gunmen quickly complied with the bounty hunter's request. One
of the mercenaries picked up a satchel of explosive charges and dashed
towards the courtyard entrances, intending on planting the devices to
ward off any reinforcements from within the compound. Four other
attackers grabbed the rest of the explosives and followed after their de
facto leader, cautiously watching for any additional resistance. The
gunman who was struck at the beginning of the battle staggered back into
the Chariot speeder, manning the laser cannon in case further
"We might as well piss on them," one of
the RSSF officers griped as he smashed out a window from the nearby
barracks and began firing ineffective stun bolts from his RSSF riot gun
at the group. "This is useless! Retreat," he yelled as he threw down his
gun in anger and began running the others who were attempting to escape
out the back.
Jonas pulled a glop grenade from off of
his belt, and once again pulled the pin, tossing it towards the back
entrance, where it would clatter, and explode, entrapping the back
entrance, and anyone within ten meters of the foul substance. Then with
his right hand, he fired the FWG-5 towards the windows of the barracks,
firing random shots into the windows, if anyone had popped up to try to
be a hero, the MFTAS, and the targeting system within the pistol would
do the rest. The Black Sun scum would follow orders, but he would have
rather had an entire squad backing him up.
Many of the cadets who had been in a
hurry to escape found themselves in the blast radius of the unforgiving
glop grenade. Ensnared they began to panic, stabbing at the glop
futilely with the barrels of their riot guns. The attempts had no
effect, and the unfortunate young trainees were lambs to the slaughter.
The lone Black Sun operative diligently
continued his explosive-planting duties, dropping off charges at the
various entrances that led into the courtyard. The four behind the
bounty hunter took sporadic shots at the back entrance of the complex,
though the FWG-5 seemed to have already decimated the RSSF cadets. They
waited expectantly for directions as to where to place their explosive
payloads. The mercenary in the speeder meanwhile listened intently to
the RSSF police channels, attempting to determine if Imperial
reinforcements were inbound.
The speaker squelched as Jonas spoke,
<Click>"Place the explosives inside at the support beams, then take the
rest, and and go blow the walls on the detention center."<Click> He
turned the FWG-5 on the last of the RSSF cadets, and released two shots.
Unfortunately the young cadets, male and
female both, were thoroughly ensnared in the confines of the glop and
could offer no resistance to the incoming flechettes. They were torn to
shreds almost instantly leaving no living RSSF personnel in the once
thriving facility. It was the darkest day in the long and prestigious
history of the RSSF.
Grunts of approval indicated the Black
Sun men understood their orders. Two of the mercenaries quickly set
about placing the charges inside the support beams. They had carried out
demolition jobs before, so this task was nothing insurmountable for
them. The other pair dashed off towards the cell block, slamming charges
against the wall and running back within a safe distance. "Charges
ready!" In the confines of the speeder, the mercenary pilot though he
made out the garbled estimated time of arrival of an Imperial Army
Jonas holstered the FWG-5 into his hip
holster, and turned back towards the speeder, stepping over a severed
arm of an RSSF agent. It all happened in a matter of a few minutes, now
all they had to worry about was they're escape. <Click>"Blow the walls
on the detention center, let the prisoners deal with our
friends."<Click> He said, as he was already half way to the speeder.
The roar of a Lambda-class
shuttle could be heard overhead as it dropped from the upper atmosphere
and began approaching at 100 kilometers per hour towards the smoking
ruins of the RSSF Horizon Training Facility. Aboard were elements of the
ShadowWhispers, which had been dispatched in response to the report
of Rebel insurgents. The rear ramp of the shuttle descended as it was
still in the air and the Storm Commandos in the rear already had an
E-Web set up. A massive volley of repeated heavy blaster fire began
falling from the heavens towards the Black Sun mercenaries as the
Commandos homed in on their prey.
"Incoming!" The four Black Sun gunmen in
the complex courtyard had only moments to react before the blaster fire
began pelting their position. Two were struck immediately ... the lack
of cover that had doomed the RSSF cadets now fittingly led to their
demise. An explosion was heard from the cell block as the charges were
set off, and the four gunmen from inside the compound dashed after the
bounty hunter. The mercenary inside the Chariot began moving towards his
approaching comrades, speeder door open; they would have to jump in if
they wanted a ride out.
<Click>"I want prisoners,"<Click> Major
Kerrie Kiley, the diminutive commander of the Storm Commandos, shouted
from the depths of the Lambda-class shuttle Sonthi towards
the gunner at the end of the ramp. They continued their heavy assault of
fire on the Black Sun mercenaries that were running towards the speeder,
but they refrained from firing on the speeder itself.
Jonas jumped into the back of the
chariot as it approached him, he picked up the second piece of gear,
from a wall. The mission parameters were simple, kill the RSSF, and
leave the Imperials alive. He clicked the safety off of a DC-15x sniper
rifle. Then he knelt by the entrance he had just jumped into, leaving
enough room to pick up more agents as they went. He zeroed in with the
scope, ignoring the targeting data coming in from his helmet. He took a
breath in, and held it as he zeroed in on the E-Web cannon's power box,
and fired factored in the movement of both the shuttle, and the chariot,
he had seconds to make the shot, and did so releasing a single powerful
Shouts were heard as the Black Sun
gunmen all scrambled for the speeder. The two immediately behind the
bounty hunter managed to jump aboard, but the pair behind them were far
less fortune, cut down in a blaze of blaster fire. The lone explosive
planting mercenary managed to climb aboard, as did one of the previously
stunned attackers. All told, five Black Sun men and their mysterious
bounty hunter leader were back in the Chariot. "Blow the support beam
charges?" asked one of the group.
The E-Web's power box was struck by the
blast from the DC-15x causing a minor explosion that rocked the shuttle
and threw the operator of the E-Web realing backwards. "Oh forget this,"
the Commando leader muttered underneath her helmet as she pulled a
circular tracking device from her utility belt. Major Kiley sprinted
down the ramp of the shuttle as it flew in reverse towards the Chariot.
She descended the ramp in mid air and with her left hand she grabbed
hold of the support pylon and held onto it for dear life, her right hand
surging forward to fling the tracking device down towards the vehicle.
The tracker went active almost instantly as it left her hand, and if it
latched on would surely lead them to their location.
Jonas replaced the rifle, back to the
wall, and then hit two buttons, signaling the explosives within the
barracks, and the detention walls to blow at the simultaneously, which
would create a conflict of interest for the Imperials. The helmet's
visor glared at the agent that asked the question, both objectives were
accomplished, now all they had to do was simply escape with their lives,
and he would have to give a debriefing, which would undoubtedly be filed
away somewhere never to be seen again.
The speeder continued towards the
barracks as the explosives detonated, rocking the already shaking
Chariot. Pieces of ferrocrete pelted the vehicle, though the armor
plating shrugged off any damage to the speeder. The pilot boosted the
repulsors, bouncing the speeder over the rubble and through the still
smoldering barracks. Within seconds the speeder was out in street
traffic, weaving among oncoming vehicles, though the Imperial tracking
device had attached itself to the Chariot's hull.\
The massive explosion that erupted sent
shockwaves through the air rocking the shuttle, and causing the Commando
to fall from her perch on the back of the ramp. Major Kiley's gloved
hand gripped at the support rod of the ramp as she dangled precariously
in the air from the craft. "Damn it, Ran. You're going to get me killed.
Get us out of here," she ordered through her helmet's comm system. The
shuttle began to make it's way back from whence it came, the Commando
smiling contently beneath her helmet as she watched the Chariot move
through the city grid in the form of a blue dot on the tracking display
inside her helmet.
The speeder careened through the Cormond
streets, with the pilot unaware the Lambda shuttle had withdrawn.
A quick glance to his sensor screen assuaged his fear and the speeder
slowed, joining in among the ranks of the midday rush hour. The Chariot
continued for several blocks until it pulled into a nondescript side
alley, stopping entirely just short of an industrial strength durasteel
door. The pilot glanced at the bounty hunter companion. "We're here."
Jonas grabbed a backpack that had been
laying in wait for them, and pulled the flap open. He pulled out a few
charges, and started to plant them within the chariot at different spots
within the chariot, moving quickly as he could since at this point they
were now working within a limited time window. By the time the pilot
mentioned they were at the location, he had finished, and discarded the
bag. The speaker squelched as he jumped out of the chariot,
<Click>"Everyone out."<Click> and removed a card from his belt, and
swiped it the door. It hissed as it opened, and he went through.
The five remaining Black Sun gunmen
followed after the bounty hunter though the door, which shut promptly
behind them. The entrance led to the passage of the Cormond sewer system
and within minutes, the group was wading through unpleasant waste,
though totally hidden from prying eyes. Up above the speeder had been
set to autopilot and the Chariot reversed from the alleyway, merged back
into traffic, lazily drove along the streets and then promptly exploded.
The Storm Commando Major angrily punched
her armored fist into the palm of her hand as she stood among the
smoldering ruin of the RSSF Horizon Training Facility. The destruction
of the speeder removed their one best opportunity to track the Rebels
who had so mercilessly struck against the hapless local security. There
were few survivors to be found, and the Rebels that were identified
among the dead would tell no tales. There was satisfaction in killing a
handful of them, but it was hardly an even trade. If they did not strike
back quickly, it seemed the Empire had another blunder on their hands.
Colonel Verus Theus sat comfortably
within an undisclosed safe house in Cormond, silently awaiting the
evening news broadcast. Lieutenant Kenson Tyne stood silently in the back
of the sparse living room, leaning against the rear wall with his arms
folded across his chest. Both men were dressed in unremarkable street
clothing, their attire of choice when deployed to the surface. The
familiar jingle of the Imperial Holovision caught the attention of the
pair and both watched the viewscreen intently.
A middle-aged male newscaster appeared
on the screen. "Terror in Cormond today. The Ringali Shell Security
Force was struck by an attack hours ago, as unknown insurgents stormed
the Horizon Training Center. At least thirty-five police officers and
cadets are confirmed dead. Ten were seriously wounded in the assault,
and the casualty count is expected to rise. My correspondent has more
details at the scene."
The viewcreen flickered as the location
switched to the RSSF compound. A young female reporter now stood in
front of the camera, with the ruined training center and rising smoke
visible in the background. "The situation is still chaotic at the
Horizon Training Center. Insurgents reportedly used an explosive laden
speeder to breach the main gate, enabling them to enter the compound.
Witnesses stated the second vehicle was a Chariot model command speeder,
several of which were stolen by Rebel groups following the devastating
attack on the Imperial Garrison weeks ago."
The camera panned over the courtyard of
the complex. Bodies were still strewn about; medics worked to stabilize
the wounded, while the dead were left untouched. Several close-ups were
shown of the fallen attackers. "The gunmen had links to the Rebel
Alliance, according to information from Imperial and RSSF officials, and
it is highly suspected that this group was also responsible for the
Imperial Garrison attack."
Colonel Theus nodded in silent approval.
He had passed along the fabricated evidence of Rebel involvement to
Imperial ground commanders, who had readily accepted it as truth when
they delivered the facts to the media. RSSF investigators would likely
discover the Black Sun affiliation of the gunmen, though given that
Imperial Intelligence often connected the Rebellion with the criminal
syndicate, the revelation would not prove surprising.
"Despite the death toll from today's
attack," the correspondent continued, "the assault could have been far
worse. The gunmen were driven off following the prompt arrival of an
Imperial relief force." The viewscreen cut to the video of a bloodied
RSSF cadet being interviewed. "I don't know what we would've done if
those Storm Commandos hadn't shown up. They...they really saved us back
there." The cadet struggled with the words before a medic appeared in
the frame to escort him away.
Lieutenant Tyne smiled to himself. He
knew the rescuers were part of the ShadowWhispers, his prior
assignment before being partnered with the ISB. Tyne was surprised that
any of the attackers had managed to flee, given the deadly efficacy of
his former comrades.
The viewscreen cut back to the station
newsroom, with the middle-aged male newscaster. "At least five gunmen
are estimated to have escaped the scene. Imperial and RSSF personnel are
in active pursuit of the criminals, though if you have any information,
Theus deactivated the news broadcast,
with the blue glare of the screen slowly fading from the room. Standing
from his chair, Theus turned towards the junior officer. "Good night,
Lieutenant," spoke the Colonel as he left the room. Tyne waited for his
commander to leave before shaking his head and smiling once again. The
Colonel did not have to mention the 317th was behind the day's chaos ...
he likely told very few about the plan. Yet it was clear to the Storm
Commando that this was how their war was going to be waged, and he was
satisfied with his knowledge in that.