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Posted on Sun Mar 13th, 2022 @ 9:32pm by Ver'alor Jiani Pava & Captain RC 3910 "Coda" & Spacer Atrus Abraxis & Mando'ade Zaf A'Toruk

Mission: Episode 1 - All Roads Lead to Nowhere
Location: Lartelu Depot

Jiani was surprised what good condition this base was in considering how long it had been abandoned. After leaving Mandalore she'd ended up hiding out in an old campaign base and that thing looked a mess. Couldn't have been the Clone they'd just come across right? He was different than the others she'd run into during the war for sure. Less serious, not as eager for a fight. Actually, she'd never seen a clone toss aside his weapon, they were almost Mandalorian in their reverence of equipment. Speaking of where was this guy? Couldn't have gotten that far from the landing Pad...

Standing in the hanger in front of the ARC-170, Coda was taking a few large breaths to calm his mind while trying to ‘meditate’ like Sera had taught him. He never thought that he would have so much trouble adjusting to non military life, everything was different without the Republic, his brothers or Sera and to be honest Coda didn’t have the first clue what to do. Hearing someone behind him, Coda quickly put his helmet on and turned to see who it was, with his hand on his pistol ready to draw it if needed.

"Easy there Trooper," Jiani said coming to a halt, his own weapon cradled in her hands. "You seemed to have dropped this, surprised you haven't tried harder to get it back." Definitely not your typical clone, and she wasn't thinking about his armor.

slowly withdrawing his hand from his pistol, Coda motioned over towards a small pile of machine parts he'd collected from the various fighters left in the bay in an attempt to repair the ARC, "just put it over there, and if you don't mind me asking, why would you bother retuning it to me? you're companions seemed more then willing to strip mine this place of everything and move on without a second thought"

"That's different," Jiani replied with a slight shake of her head, placing the weapon on top of a crate. "This base, its supplies, its ships... they don't belong to anyone anymore, Republic is gone." Her hand rested on top of the rifle, Jiani's own painful past bubbling to the surface a moment. She'd been on the losing side of a war before, she'd been left with precious few possessions, she learned to treasure them. "But your weapon, that's still yours and I'd rather not take it."

Giving a sigh, Coda turned his attention back to the ARC, "technically everything here belongs to the Empire. The ships, the supplies, the droids, my armour and even my body all belongs to the bloody Empire" he said, before turning back to Jiani, "tell me Mandalorian, did you fight for the Death Watch or against them?"

"I fought for the future of my people for the True heart of Mandalore." Jiani would never fight for those facists, they twisted the word of Mandalore into something ugly and barbaric. Joining the Owls young, during the schism of Clan Ordo. They had been divided between their loyalty to House Kryze and belief that the pacifist faction was a betrayal of Mandalore's True vision. It was the Death Watch and extremists that took things too far. She would never forgive Lady Bo-Katan for aligning with them after the destruction of their forces and rise of the Pacifists.

"That doesn't answer my question, so how about a simpler one. Did you follow Pre Vizsla?" Coda asked, not knowing about the fight for Mandalore at the end of the war. Last he knew the Mandolorian people either followed the Dutchess or Death Watch.

"The Vizsla's and the rest of their kyor'ijaat (dishonorable) group can burn for all I care. I will never stain my family or my Clan's honor by associating with them." Jiani started the Clone down a moment, unsure if the Clone knew and understood the history of the last Civil War. Or perhaps they hadn't been trained as well in the True culture of Mandalorians.

Coda nodded, "good, then we can work together. Last I heard they were causing a great deal of trouble for the Duchess. how's that going?"

"Couldn't tell ya, I left Mandalore years ago, after the Pacifists took control." New Mandalorians, what absolute blergshit, nothing but a bunch of cowards, picking off the bones of what the Death Watch reduced her people to. "But if you want to work together I guess we could..." Did she tell him about the Jedi, would that set him off? "My employers seem to be in the market for hired guns at the moment."

Giving a long sigh, Coda nodded, “sounds like a decent idea. I doubt anyone else would be looking for a former commando. I assume your employer isn’t affiliated with the Empire?”

"I don't think so." Really it would be hard to believe the Jedi had any affiliation with the Empire, whatever it really was. Considering what the two had told their new crews about the end of the War. "It would be pretty stupid of them considering the circumsta..." The deck below the pair rocked hard, red light started to flash, alarms blaring through the halls.

TC-326 finished a circut of the new ship that had landed at the base.. the Rusty Rancor. He'd never seen a ship like it before, or rather the one that brought the Captain. Spending the entirety of his existence in service to the Grand Army didn't exactly leave the droid much of a frame of reference for civilan ship models. Now that the base's restraining bolt had been removed he'd have to upload a new ship recognition profile to his matrix. Watching these new arrivals was almost as interesting. First, everyone was getting ready for a fight and then the Captain had backed down. It ws strange now the two Frighter owners seem to be getting along chatting it up while both fueled and allowed the droids to load up supplies onto both ships.

TC didn't understand humans, or organics really, but humans, in particular, were a strange species. The Mandalorians and Clones as well, so similar and yet they didn't seem to get along well. It had been hours since the female went below after the Captain. The other, well he was off somewhere pilfering supplies. Perhaps he should go find...

"WHOOOAA!" TC was thrown from his feet as a large explosion rocked the landing platform. A mix of Blue and Red laser bolts impacted around the crew. Seconds later a mix of starfighters streaked past, the roar of their engines was deafening. TC scrambled to right himself while connecting to the station's sensor array. "SIRS! SIRS! WE APPEAR TO BE UNDER ATTACK!"

As TC panicked wildly toward one of the ships. R4 hot on his trail, a Gunship swooped low over the base. The battered ship strafed the landing pad, blasterbolts glancing off the armor the Rusty Rancor.

Jiani came bursting out of the hatch ready for battle, her WESTARS drawn, as soon as she realized there weren't troops on the deck, the Mandalorian woman flipped down her viewfinder trying to locate their attackers. Another barrage of laser bolts sent the Mandalorian flying through the air. Jiani twisted in the air, she fired her boosters in an attempt to regain control.

A human on the ground was no match for a ship in the sky. It didn’t matter if he was armored, armed or not--there was no going toe to toe with a ship opening fire on the ground. Atrus unabashedly startled when the fire barrage began overhead, instinctually taking cover by hurling his body at the nearest object that was heavier than him. It was luck that hadn’t found him blasted into a thousand pieces at the first round of fire, but he wasn’t about to test that gamble a second time as the overhead ships began to bank around for another run.

A quick burst of adrenalyn kept him sharp, though he felt disorientated just the same. He hadn’t exactly heard the droid squeal out the obvious, but he stood part way up to watch as the Mandalorian regained control of herself. He tried to place the others in a glance after flinching once more from the second barrage, his jaw tightening and his face grimacing as he sighted the droid as he ran wildly towards the ship.

If Atrus ran for his own ship--or the nearer Rancor--he worried the above attackers might pinpoint it out as a target to be destroyed. As far as he knew they were the only operational ships on the ground, and returning fire directly from either of them would make them sitting ducks ripe for the plucking.
“The base defenses--can’t they go back online?!” He all but screamed at the droid or, really, anyone within earshot to hear it and do something about it, feeling a little helpless in the situation. He was clothed plainly and had nothing but twin blasters on him. His ship had a top turret but, again, getting it off the ground was going to take an effort that it might not survive with the oncoming fire. The best approach might be to take cover inside the base hatch itself, and he began to move strategically in that direction in between the passing barrage. He found himself still close to the Rancor’s captain, of whom he gauged to be of equal measure of level-headed strategic impulses.

"Sir, I would but...AAAArrwahhhooo!!!" TC and his counterpart were sent sailing through the air as another hail of turbolaser fire impacted the flight deck. The R4 unit going sailing through the air straight into the Rancor's Captain. The loud sickening crunch as the man collapsed at the bottom of the ramp. As the cloud of dust settled, the ship's Twi'Lek co-pilot came running out, tears beginning to fall as she shook the unconscious Human.

Running into the bay, Coda quickly took stock of the situation before hurrying over to where Ship’s Captain and the R4 droid lay. Righting the droid, he gave it a couple of tapes on its dome to get its attention, “droid, get this stations shields up. Transfer any available power to it. Do you understand”

Letting out a series of whoops and whistles the R4 spun it's head around quickly, shaking the proverbial cobwebs loose. With another yell he sped off, dodging another strike by the orbiting gunships to the closest computer socket. The seconds it took to interface with the station's main computer felt like an eternity, the almost metallic echo of the station's Ray-Shield gave the group a moment to breath. "Waaa-arooo! Wrrk-wrrk. Weeeeeoop!"

"You're sure!?" Jiani's voice cut through the echoing of the shield as they had a moment to breathe, her helmet turning to the others huddled at the bottom of the Rancor's ramp. "Those are Republic Gunships!"

“It’s the Empire. I guess they want this crappy outpost after all” Coda said, looking around at the others, “so are we going to try and fight our way out of this or stay here and be captured?”

Another round of laser fire impacted the station's shield, the silver shimmer of the protective barrier taking on a much more orange glow. It wasn't going to last much longer, they wouldn't have any time to set up a real defense.

"We'll need to make it a quick escape, break through the shield... they must have support in orbit." Jiani looked to the sky, her integrated viewfinder scanning the clouds for a ship the LAAT/i's dropped from. "You Republic types never make it easy... we'll need to make an atmospheric jump into hyperspace." Jiani turned to look at the two who were hunkered down with her. "You, pilot. Do you know how to remove the safeties from your Nav system to make a jump inside of the gravity well of a planet?"

It was a question Atrus didn’t believe he’d ever been asked in his lifetime. He had been looking uneasily at the sky along with Jiani, thinking the same sentiment that Coda had--fight or be captured. Atrus wasn’t bad in a fight, certainly not as proficient as the Clone trooper or Mandolorians were--but what he was good at was a quick escape. Between the three options, he preferred to take his chances with Jiani’s suggestion. Only capture seemed to be the one that was both imminent and assured, and he doubted being captured was better than being dead. It seemed he could not avoid the war entirely, after-all.
“Yes,” He said, nodding to her with a shout above normal conversational level to be heard above the symphony of impending doom. “Better to accept the risk of the ship falling apart in hyperspace than being guaranteed to blow up here!” He agreed, standing to make his way back to his ship at a more than awkward jog through the rubble and fire that was cascading down above.

“TD!” He shouted for his droid, who was already cowering under the landing ramp of the ship. “Get the frell on the ship, along with anyone else who's desperate enough to try this--” He shouted, ducking into the interior of the Marauder. They had more crew and another vessel which would attempt to complete the same thing at roughly the same time. The odds of them both not becoming, at best, adrift in space in the same way he had found Coda was slim. The nuances of engaging close to the gravity well without actually hitting it required a finesse that seemed possible only under the anxiety-riddled stress of death.

Watching the laser hits on the shield, it reminded him of a story he once heard about an incident that happened on Naboo before the war started. Something about the trade federation causing problems, like they always do. “If I had to guess, I’d say there’d be at least one Venator and two acclimator ships up there. Standard for a scouting flotilla. Bloody Cody and his regulations”

"Yep, never makes things easy." Jiani grumbled before she got up, starting to take the ramp into the Rancor. "Now get on that ship, and help your friend!" Speaking of Jiani didn't know where Zaf was, looking around once she was inside she only spied the Twi'Lek pilot, the unconscious human and the Facilities droids. "ZAF WHERE THE KIFFING HELL ARE YOU!? WE ARE LEAVING!" Jiani shouted into her helmet, as she piled into the pilot's seat, flicking switches rapidly to heat up the freighter's engines.

"Sorry Ji, this isn't my fight..." She heard over her suit's comms as the ship began to shake beneath her. "Small comfort I know... but at least it's not an Airlock this time... good luck verd'ika."

Jiani didn't quite know what to say, she never exactly hated Zaf... she actually liked him and felt close to the other Manado. His leaving... it... it hurt, it made her pause, staring out the cockpit window. She imagined she could see the small figure with a jetpack escaping the battlefield unseen. "Good luck, Vod." Taking a deep breath Jiani turned, her focus once more on her ship and escape.

"Rancor to... um other ship." Classy "Set your hyperdrive for these coordinates, hopefully when we make the jump we won't be too far separated!"

“Atrus, let’s get your ship moving, looks like we’re outta here” Coda called out before tapping the intercom on his arm, “attention all active droids, we’re evacuating this station. Anyone who wants to leave, get aboard the Marauder“

Atrus didn't allow for much time for the droids to embark. He received the coordinates and took on the task of playing both pilot and co-pilot alike, moving swiftly as if he were on an autopilot of his own. He heard Coda and let out a breath of relief to know he was on the ship. He would have been relieved if he'd managed to make it onto either ship, but the company didn't hurt. It didn't help his conscience in considering just taking off to a new set of coordinates and forgetting the whole messy debacle, but it made the choice to remain in proximity to the group less of a weighed decision and more of a flat truth. He made sure the landing ramp was up and the safety features were disengaged to even attempt to pull off this act of suicide, and he took in another breath as he made contact with the partner ship.

"Marauder to Rancor, coordinates set. I wish us both luck. Engaging hyperdrive in three...two..." He counted down, the ship shuddering to life and vibrating gently underneath him. Separation from his counterpart was the least of his worries. He hoped the ships remained in one piece at all. He grimaced a little at the final number, knowing it was a do or die moment for them all. If he hesitated to press the jump now, he might not have a chance or the courage to do it again.

"One." He said, and engaged the hyperdrive with a flinch as it lurched forward to cut a swatch into hyperspace.


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