Episode 3.08 Kanter's War, Chapter 5 Report
Ok, so we made the plan. We executed the plan. After that? It all went off the rails.
So we threw away the plan!
In hindsight, I’m not sure if ‘planning’ is our strong suit.
Thanks to a timely email between So’zen and another friend in low places, the assassin Blue Spider, we had options to slip inside the hidden base. This was great, as I didn’t like the idea of battering through the front door. Pirates tend to try to kill first, then wonder what they shot later.
We decided in the end to take the low road, which turned out to be the wastewater exit vent for the base at the bottom of the canyon. Descending into the Needle Forest and its super-saturated fog, we found a place to park our ships just out of sight in a kelp forest.
I have to hand it to whoever thought to dig out a smuggler base at the bottom of the Needle Forest canyon. Sharp thinking on their part. There’s so much aquatic life ‘swimming’ around in the canyon’s deep fog, it would play frell with any sensor scans to pinpoint something at the bottom.
Anyway, once the ships were locked down, we grabbed rebreathers and set out into the foggy waves for the back door of the base.
The pirates had the good sense of putting a keypad lock on the wastewater maintenance hatch. That took some thinking to get past, but between Vanya’s lockpick skills and Reese’s Mentat mathematical mind, the alarm was disabled and the lock popped open. We made up for lost time and hurried into the base.
We came up into the maintenance section with no one the wiser. Except, maybe for us. Reese got his hands on a console and pulled up a utility map of the base. It wasn’t a security layout, but it was still good enough for what we needed.
Using some deductive reasoning, we figured out the kidnapped moisture farmers were probably in the mess hall or the main barracks to the south. Probably the mess hall. There was more than one way to get there, and a lot of doors between us and the farmer.
And that was our undoing. Doors. So many doors. Our greatest enemy.
After a brief debate, we kept together and headed to the mess hall through what looked like a main storage bay. We could have went down through the single dorm room quarters, but someone might have been there. Main storage seemed a faster route and really, who stands around in main storage?
Oh, that was collectively rolling a one on the ol’ Sabacc chance die if I ever saw it.
Who stands around in a main storage bay? Apparently 4th Degree Droids like Mark 3 Dark Troopers do! What a funny place to leave a pair of ‘Agonizing Death on Two Legs’! Who would have guessed? I knew I should’ve knocked first!
It turned out those Troopers didn’t like us being there. I can’t imagine why, since we’re a delightful bunch of busybodies. But the Dark Troopers made it known they weren’t happy with us, with some blaster fire and hand-to-hand fighting.
Remember that cunning plan? This was when it went right off the rails. Subtle, I know, but that was it.
We fired back, trying to subdue the frelling battle droid monstrosities and lock down the room. We overlooked one little thing… Dark Troopers tend to have comlinks built inside them. It’s always the little things, you know?
Well, while we were cutting, punching, and pounding on those Dark Troopers, it seems they were introducing us to everything else in the base. It was rather thoughtful of them, really.
So, what started as two Dark Troopers turned into five Dark Troopers. Because hey, two’s fun but five’s ‘ow my face’? But that wasn’t nearly exciting enough, as in the middle of trading blaster fire, a stray shot kicked on the fire suppression system. Fog. Was. Everywhere.
That meant we couldn’t see anything, but they couldn’t see us either. Tough but fair in my flimsie. Problem was, we were scattered out like newly scrubbed, fresh-faced Vor at their first Spring Cotillion. Not so great.
At one side of the room, I was going boot to lightsaber with one Dark Trooper. At the other, Vanya and So’zen were trying to meet me in the middle. Vanya made it down where I was, So’zen? Not so much. He got tangled up with a Dark Trooper at his end.
Captain Kolene and Vance were giving cover fire, but one doesn’t just shoot a Dark Trooper by filling the air with energy. You need to be precise. Which Captain Kolene did in Spades. Meanwhile, Reese was hammering at the base systems, yanking, slicing, or recoding anything he could find. Captain Kolene’s astromech was lending a data-jack to do the same.
Which was a good thing! Reese and Spukamas found a lone pirate in a tiny room the lot of us had decided to search later. That pirate hacker was playing hell with the base systems, making our fun dance just so much more exciting!
Vance took pains to give that guy something else to think about. Twice. Mostly because the first time the blaster shot didn’t quite take. But, as the saying goes, if at first you don’t succeed… fire twice to be sure.
But then the fire suppression fog cycled out and nearly all the pirates had come to say hello. Downright friendly bunch with a plasma-warm welcome aimed in our direction.
Now, this is where things got rocky. We had almost dealt with all the Dark Troopers. Go Us! But the pirates were having none of it. Kolene’s astromech, Spukamas, managed to lock what I think were two of the more dangerous ones out of the storage bay. That just left… the rest.
So’zen, using a metal staff, beat a Dark Trooper into recycling fodder only to turn around and eat a blaster shot from a pirate. He hit the deck like a folded piece of laundry. Captain Kolene? Her favorite, and only, energy shield went up in sparks and smoke. That left her having to do more moving than sharpshooting.
Vanya? Well, in some ways, she was in her element. Being a graduated padawan of first Jedi Master Anakin Skywalker, then Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, she waded into a group of two pirates and a Dark Trooper like a pro and handed out plenty of ‘time to rethink your life’ punches.
Me? I had taken as good as I got. The pirate leader hit me with some sort of ion-taser or stunner disk. The thing hurt, but I was still moving and could still slice up the Dark Trooper near me. It took taking a vibroknife to the back of my shoulder to stop me in my tracks.
I was still moving, especially once I got that knife out, but not nearly as fast.
Then, Captain Kolene made a miracle shot. Nailed a Dark Trooper right in the power core. That woman really knows where to kick where it hurts. Must be her former piratical lifestyle.
Downside? The Dark Trooper blew up. I don’t think anyone or anything wasn’t tossed around by that one. The dust hadn’t even settled before we were desperately trying to get to our feet before the pirates could!
Meanwhile, in the far back, Reese was hard… and I mean hard… at work trying to wrangle the base systems to his control. Unfortunately, there is only so much you can do from a maintenance console. But he did manage to foul up the pirate’s ability to muck up the room we were in anymore.
At least, that’s what we thought.
Because just then we heard a cheerful computerized voice announce, ‘base detonation in two minutes and twenty-eight seconds’.
I’m surprised it didn’t add ‘have a nice day!’
Doesn’t anyone code these things with manners anymore?
KitKat the Mentat
So'Zen Al Saba
Dark Troopers by Aerena Kolene
20220129 Evil lair under the sea by KitKat the Mentat
29 Jan 2022