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Old 04-15-2006, 08:44 PM   #93
machievelli
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Youthful exuberance

“Well now that the details are settled, would you like an aperitif?” Sunrider asked.

Daysah stared at him. “You two have already planned to reprogram me like a new droid one second and the next asking if I want a drink?”

Corona shook his head. “I could have merely done it without informing you, now couldn’t I? The luxury suites aboard the ship have full pharmacopoeia already installed. You can heighten your sexual potency, go straight into a dreamless sleep, focus your memory on exactly what you are working on or lay in a stupor without having to leave your bed. They can also be controlled from that panel.” He waved toward the now hidden view screen. “You could have woken up a few hours from now, ecstatic that you were going to marry my nephew, and remembering everything I wanted you to remember. But Dasa seems to be overly fond of you.”

He leaned forward, thumbing a contact. “Two brandies and the lady will decide when they arrive.” Then his head came up, the cold look in his eyes. “As it is the only reason you are here and not below learning about Conoro’s little toys first hand, I suggest you simply thank me for my courtesy.”

The door opened, the droid rolling toward the table. Corona leaped to his feet. There were no brandy snifters. There was merely a small round ball.

“What the-” Dasa started to reach out.

“Don’t touch it!” Sundrider’s fingers barely touched the ball.

Daysah winced as a bright flash and concussion threw her out of her chair. An alarm screamed from everywhere as she tried to understand what had happened. She blinked, her eyes tearing from the harsh chemicals, and a hard hand caught her, dragging her to her feet. She was staggering, her course directed by the person pulling her. They entered the passageway, and the same hand pulled her relentlessly.

There was a rumble of footfalls from before her, and she was shoved against the wall. There was a scream, gunfire, then blessed silence. The hand caught her, and she was dragged forward again.

“What-”

“Hush girl.” Breia said. “We’re in a bit of a hurry here.” A door whooshed open, then Daysah felt the drop of a lift. “We have maybe three minutes before all hell breaks loose.”

Daysah shook her head. and it was as if a film poured down off her eyes. The blind Jedi Monk was looking upward, head cocked as if thinking. “How did you escape?”

“One advantage of being blind is that people always seem to underestimate you.” She replied coolly. The lift opened. “You have to run down the passageway. Three hatches down turn left, go one corridor then right. There is a double hatch ten meters farther on. Inside there is the Millennium Falcon. Get aboard, go to the cockpit, and look for a flashing red button. Punch it, then sit down and wait for us.”

“Why are you-”

Breia shoved her out. “Those men will be after you unless I lead them on a chase. If you do as I say nothing on this ship can touch you. Just watch out for irritated Mando.” The door slammed shut.

Daysah ran, following the directions. The hatch opened, and she felt the joy a relieved outpost feels at the sight of the ship. She ran up the ramp. From behind her she heard a shout, but she ignored it.

She ran into the cockpit her fist slamming down on the flashing red button. Before the viewport a group of men were running toward her. She recognized the Tokara Security uniforms, and didn’t need to identify the weapons to know she was in deep trouble. There was a hiss, the ramp coming up, then suddenly the auto-tracking board lit up. There was a thunder and the men dissolved in a red mist as the belly turret roared into life.

She sat stunned. On the board near her hand, she saw the guns tracking endlessly. The main hatch opened, and she winced, plugging her ears.

*****

The three fugitives watched from the woven coverings the Ithorians had supplied. Liberally sprinkled with mud and uprooted plants, the small pit was invisible.

An assault shuttle settled down on it’s legs, and men poured out to join the troops already on the ground. Tokara had been ready for this, Sanji saw. There were fifty men already here, and they had laid a standard minefield around their encampment. They had gotten the hole dug and concealed just in time.

“We can’t get through that!” Morant couldn’t scream and whisper simultaneously, but he gave it a good effort.

“If you do exactly what I say, we can.” Sanji whispered. “Notice they don’t expect an attack from here, do they?” Coor punched the smaller man in the arm. “He’s right. Every sensor is aimed at the tree line.”

Morant leaned up, looking. He had to admit it looked wrong. Not only were the sensor platforms aimed at the trees, but every head was turned that way as well. A man with a Commander’s bars waved, and all but the six men manning the two mortars moved forward.

“They’ll slaughter the Ithorians!”

“They won’t have time. Come on.” Sanji eeled up and forward, his head below the berm, and invisible. Coor followed. A moment later Morant moaned, and followed.

Sanji stopped and reached forward. He lifted a small hand held sensor. “Better and better.” He looked back at the two scientists. “They have them on command detonators. If you don’t touch a mine, you’re safe.” She knelt up into a high crawl, and moved forward. As he did he stuck small pieces of split wood that marked the mines. They had to follow a serpentine path, but ten minutes later, Sanji motioned them down, and peeked over the edge. He watched for several seconds, then moved back to the men less than five meters back.

“Keep moving, head straight for the shuttle.” Then he was moving up slithering over the edge of the berm without a pause. The two looked at each other, then moved to follow.

Sanji had risen, and moved toward the men. One of them looked up, stunned, but before he could shout Sanji threw the small knife he carried. The man choked, falling backward. The other two men at the mortar stared at him surprised, then back toward where Sanji was. But they didn’t see him. Yet.

Sanji drew his sword, leaping the five meters in one bound. Both men went down as he barreled past them into the second group. All six were down before Coor’s head popped up over the edge.

“What, you’re waiting for invitations?” Sanji hissed. He looked around, then found the control panel for the mine field. Six concentric rings, the outer ten meters from the edge if the berm, the inner right on the outer face of it. He picked up the microphone, and screamed.

“The camp is under attack!” He heard. He leaped straight upward. The men had turned, and even now they were pounding back toward the camp.

“Sanji!” He could hear the engines of the shuttle revving. They had to be closer.

“Sanji!” The first man was past the outer edge of the minefield. Sanji stood, watching.

“Damn it Sanji, we are Leaving!”

The first man was barely head up over the berm when Sanji flipped the switch, diving for cover.

The mines went off in ripples. The outer ring first. With a command still being issued the second ring went off, then the third, then with a bare pause each ring followed. One rolling thunder of death and destruction broken by one 10th of a second pauses.

The man, who Sanji could now see was the commander had dropped aiming his rifle even as the sixth and last ring flashed death and destruction. One of the mines was less than half a meter from him.

There was screaming, the crackle of secondary explosions as ammunition went up, the hiss of flames. Sanji stood, brushing himself off, and walked up to the edge of the berm. Except for several badly wounded men, no one moved between him and the forest line. He walked calmly to the shuttle, passing Morant, who was standing higher, and could clearly see the devastation.

“No. Now we’re leaving.” Sanji said. He walked forward, flipping the switches. “Thank you for warming the ship up for me.”

Coor simply stared at him as the shuttle leaped into the air.

*****

The engine crew turned as the hatch suddenly fell. Two figures stepped through. “Move and you’re dead!” One of them shouted.

Anak clicked the selector to Armor piercing, and aimed, putting one round into and through the control panel one of the men had leaped toward. Everyone froze in shock.

Sev smiled, the short beam cutter held even with his hip as if it were a machine gun at assault position. “Now we were told to try not to kill anyone, and we’re going to oblige our Yuru’ike in that. However she didn’t say we couldn’t kill you if you got in our way. You’re choice.”

The men moved into a clump, cowering back.

“Very good. You.” Sev pointed at the shift duty officer. “I need a full schematic of the ship’s decks. Everything. Just in case you forget-” He aimed, adjusted the setting, and a magnetic beam snapped out. The boy pulled the cutter left. One of the lift and drive engine manifolds shrieked, falling into pieces.

“Now think of what happens if I accidentally cut a fuel line or tank? We don’t all want to die, do we?”

The officer walked carefully over to a panel, downloading the information onto a pad. He held it out, and Sev walked forward, taking it. “Now I want all of you to run like hell. I would suggest toward the nearest escape pod bay.”

Without being told again, the men bolted.

Ade, they’ll call for help.” Anak said.

“So? She said we could defend ourselves.”

Anak considered. “Can we hope they call in a lot of reinforcements?”

“I would.” Sev checked the holographic projection, then walked toward the door they had sliced free entering. “What is the record for totally dismantling a ship from the inside?”

“I don’t think there is one.”

Sev set the beam, slicing it first right at knee level, then left at just above his shoulder. Panels fell apart, sparks flying. Alarms began sounding. He grinned. “There will be when we’re done.”


'To argue with those who have renounced the use and authority of reason is as futile as to administer medicine to the dead.' Now who said that?

From the one who brought you;
What we die for...
Acceptance
KOTOR excerpts
Star Wars: The Beginning
Star Wars: Republic Dawn
Return From Exile

Last edited by machievelli; 04-15-2006 at 08:51 PM. Reason: typo
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