Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Las Vegas Nevada
Current Game: Dungeonseige series
Sanji stormed back into the conference room. “The Rodians can also be affected!” He snapped.
“Well until-” Began the newly arrived Head of Procurement.
“We do not have time for all of this palaver!” Sanji shouted. “We must close down the warehouse, find out where that ship has gone and warn every government that needs to be told!”
His statement was greeted by silence. The Admiral in charge of Home fleet coughed. “We don’t have the authority to do that, Padawan-teacher.”
He stared at them angrily. “Unless you want more people to die needlessly, we must move now! If you don’t have the authority-” He reached out with the force, flipping the com link from the Admiral’s belt into his hand, “-Call someone who does!”
“But you said it needs a sonic cue to activate.” The commander of Coruscant defenses said. “Without it there can be no such incident.”
Harrigan was a thief. Not just any thief when it came to computer systems he was a master. There wasn’t a system anywhere he couldn’t slice into and run as his own. He’d proven it on every mission he had ever undertaken and never been caught. He’d even worked for governments!
The job had been intriguing. Get onto Station Alpha 4 in orbit of Coruscant, upload one program. The man that had hired him was a Corellian, he knew that from the accent. The program was simple. It just reset the all stations tone to what it had been before. He didn’t know what the big deal was, and frankly he didn’t care. The new sound that had been used for the last week or so was a raucous klaxon that offended everyone. He’d actually liked the original better.
He inserted as a tourist bound for Taris. He went to the first kiosk he came to, and bought his ticket. The ship left in about ten minutes; tight but doable. He looked around, then inserted his homemade data wand into the slot where a droid would connect. There was a flash on the screen, and he saw that he was in. He inserted the program.
He logged off, sauntering down the main thoroughfare. The station was a huge flat donut with ships on the rims, and control at the center. The passageways were wide with shops along them. He paused at a jewelers, looking at a necklace. His girl would-
The all hands message interrupted him.
“I don’t care if the Chancellor is in bed with an underage page boy!” Sanji roared back. “We have to contact him-” An alarm blared. The Admirals in command of Home fleet and Planetary defense reached for their com links at the same time.
“Alert. This is not a drill. Station Alpha 4 has broken communications, all weapons systems have gone active.” Someone reported flatly. “Weapons have targeted ships in orbit- Correction, weapons discharge. Tarisian liner Bonart has been fired upon. Frigates Caspi and Kolrami under attack by Alpha 4. This is not a drill, I repeat, this is not a drill.”
“What the hell?” The Procurement officer roared.
“It seem that someone has found away around the sonic signal needed.” Sanji replied mildly.
The table com bleeped. “Admiral Nadien, the Chancellor is on line one asking what the hell is going on. His own words.”
“Well?” Sanji looked at the ashen Commander of Planetary Defense. “I think he might be awake. Now you can tell him as I asked you to report half an hour ago.
Hawk Flight dropped into bedlam. Yaka whipped the ship upward, guided by the force rather than any sensor, and the missile that would have spitted them shot past. It arced to the right, and an inner system cargo lighter opened like a deadly flower.
“All ships in Coruscant orbit, all ships in Coruscant orbit. Station Alpha 4 has gone active and is targeting anything in view. Move immediately behind the planet or moon. If that is not possible, leave the system immediately.” The voice was harsh, demanding. Breia didn’t need to switch channels to know that they would also be confused.
“Where is Alpha 4?” She shouted. Yaka tapped a key, dodging a stream of projectiles. The screen lit up, and she saw the carnage. Four ships in orbit near the station were already drifting, but that didn’t stop the chain guns installed for perimeter defense blasting them anyway. One suddenly gushed air and fire, breaking up.
“Breia, I am busy right now. Could you connect the call?” Yaka asked? He did a maneuver she had never seen, flipping the ship end for end, running behind a communications satellite which began to come apart.
She giggled, punching the buttons.
“Jedi Monastery, how may I-”
“The council, now!”
“It is very early here. Can you-”
“No I can not call later! Tell them it is Breia Solo. We have information about the gas, and must transmit immediately!”
The hold seemed to stretch for hours, but less than five seconds later she saw Master Hontu’s face. “Padawan.”
“Has Master Sanji reported?”
“Yes. I assume this thing in orbit is part of this thing?”
“I assume it is, Master, the pattern is the same. If it follows suit, the station will continue firing until it is out of ammunition. This is the first time it has happened over an inhabited planet, however.” She rocked as Yaka made another dodge. “We don’t know what they will do if they run out of targets first.”
“Understood. Master Sanji has reported that home fleet will destroy the station-”
“No!” She almost screamed. “There are thousands of people whose only crime is they’ve been drugged!”
“I agree.” Hontu looked haunted. “But they see no other option.”
“They have marines don’t they? Ground troops, shuttles to transport them?”
“What are you suggesting?”
“Connect me with whoever is in charge of this fiasco and I will tell them at the same time.”
“You are mad!” The Procurement officer screamed. “You want to Board a station under full alert?”
Breia immediately loathed the man. She glared into the screen. “I am saying that once we get aboard I can bring down the defenses then you can board you idiot-”
“Idiot! At least I am not acting like some Knight from a Fantasy story! No one can board that station without horrendous losses.”
“We can.” Sanji broke in. “Trust in the Force.”
“Listen Padawan! When you have served in a military, and know what to do, then you can tell-”
“An overblown windbag who from his decorations has served thirty years behind a desk!” Sanji shouted. “Who has never seen battle! Unless you have an option that doesn’t include the murder of over fifty thousand people I suggest you sit down and shut up!”
“Calm down people. More speed, less haste.” Master Hontu broke in through his link. “Our Padawan can board the station. We will not do so without losses.” He turned, and Breia could tell he was talking to her now. “Continue, Padawan.”
“Once the defenses are down the assault shuttles can board. Everyone to be armed with non-lethal weapons. You will have time for that if you hurry. They can move through the station section by section and disable anyone not already dead.”
“Padawan, I have authorization to destroy the station.” Admiral Nadien replied. “How long will this take?”
“If we stop talking and start doing something, ten minutes.”
“We’ll have the marines standing by. I will give you those ten minutes.”
“You don’t need to ask. We will launch every available ship.”
“Then I will see you on the station.” Or in hell she thought. “Yaka. We need to ram the station here.” She touched the screen, which strobed blood red.
“We may not survive.” He warned.
“Then tens of thousand will die.”
“There is that.” He took a second to work out a trajectory, then the engines howled at full power. The ship, which had run out far enough to only deal with the occasional missile stooped like a hawk.
Breia almost closed her eyes as the world before her spun and cavorted as if on the roller coaster from hell. The station was a dot, a coin, a ring, a-
She slammed against the restraints as ten tons of ship slammed through barely ten centimeters of hull. She flung her arms up as she tried to stop debris from hitting her.
Yaka leaped from his chair, running aft. She was beside him as he threw her an emergency bottle of air, slipping the modified mask Ithorians needed in place.
“Tie your sword into the sheath.” She ordered. “We will disable, not kill unless there is no alternative.”
He nodded, using a small emergency cargo tie to do as she said. Breia slapped the ramp release. The system groaned, then shuddered, but the ramp did not drop.
Breia cursed, drawing her sword. With four slashed she chopped a hole in the ramp, diving out as the meter square dropped away. She hit and rolled, the flat of her blade slapping away a screaming man. The air was gushing from the control center like blood, yet around her people still fought insanely.
Yaka dropped beside her, his sheathed weapon laying out four men in as many seconds. Breia looked around, spotting the control panel. She charged across, sheathing her sword, then drawing sheath and all to slam down on a man’s head, breaking his neck. She leaped another charging pair, landing in front of the station. The man at it spun, foam flecking his lips, and leaped up, his hands locking around her throat. Summoning the force, she pushed, throwing him into and through the upright situation board ten meters away. She spun, hitting the keys, watching the weapons go down one by one. As soon as they all had, she drew, slicing through the power cables. Then she turned. There should have only been five or ten people in the room. She faced almost thirty instead.
With a scream she charged.
“Systems down!” The assault shuttles lifted. Ahead of them they could see the motley fleet the Jedi had launched. Seven ships, from an old Coruscanti Flitter class cargo vessel to four sleek couriers from as many systems. They charged into the maelstrom, and the Flitter slammed into and through the number one primary docking bay doors. All of the ships poured into that bay.
“Head for Number 2!” The assault commander screamed. “All other shuttles board at the next landing bay to the right of where your leader is going! Ready your weapons!” He slipped on his helmet.
Behind him the fifty men on the shuttle checked their weapons as they were doing on all of the shuttles. There are few weapons used by the military that are meant to disable rather than kill. The assault commander had told his men what to do and every police station in the city had been raided in the frantic minutes before they loaded. Stun rods, concussion and sonic grenade, the ubiquitous bloopers used to launch small grenades including neural paralyzer grenades. Every man was festooned with restraint cuffs and plastic emergency cargo ties. They knew they could find more on the station, but they would have to hope it was before they ran out of what they carried.
The shuttle smashed into the bay doors, smashing them flat. Air exploded outward, along with anyone who was in the bay. The shuttle slammed down, and the doors opened, men pouring out. A Marine found a case of ties, slinging it up on his shoulders, his squad mates running ahead to cover him.
The Assault commander pointed at the airlock. Two men ran to it, keying the sequence. It snapped open, and they went in, slamming the door. It would hold a squad at a time, but no man in his right mind put eight men into a meat grinder when two could do it.
“Clear.” One of the scouts reported. “But not for long. We’ve got screaming clockwise.”
“First squad, go!” He shouted. The man with the case of ties and his fellows stuffed themselves into the airlock and the rest gathered impatiently waiting their turn.
Sergeant Conroy turned, and his blooper fired, a neural paralyzer grenade arced into the people charging at his men. The flash went off, everyone in the area of effect collapsing as their nerves were disabled. Screams of pain were added to screams of fury as the others charged over the flailing injured. He went through a ten round magazine, slamming in a new one. “I really don’t like this!” He screamed.
“You think I do?” The Commander aimed, holding down the trigger on the sonic stunner he was armed with. He knew some of those people would end up permanently deaf, but he was worried about his own command more. “Second squad, link up with the Jedi! First Squad, link up with Charlie Company! Everyone else, even squads follow two, odd squads follow one. bag em and tag em as we go! MOVE!”
There are several military axioms that aren’t quite true. One is that no organized discipline military force is outnumbered by a mob. The second is that firepower can overcome even a massed charge. The third is that two men working as a team are superior in capability to eight men who are not.
If your enemy is insane, every one of them go right out the nearest airlock.
When they reached the first cross corridor all hell seemed to break loose. First squad wasn’t destroyed, it was overwhelmed as a hundred lunatics charged at them. The first fifty or so went down from all of the weapons they had with any standoff capability, but the other fifty rolled right over the squad. The teams following them did what they had been trained to do, what is called ‘scratching their backs’ with longer range fire as other charged forward to relieve the pressure. It was down to stun rods before the last of the maniacs was down.
There were few dead Marines. After all, Coruscant wasn’t a place where you needed to carry a weapon at all times. But no one had ever conceived of such a situation. Five of the seven Marines of First Squad Second Platoon, 7th Marine Assault Force including Sergeant Conroy were dead.
“Ready?” Sergeant Mason of 2nd squad looked around, There wasn’t a cross corridor here, so this thrust had not been attacked.
“Yeah. After we clean up all those stupid Jedi...” The scout that left Docking bay One stopped talking as he surveyed the passageway ahead of him.
One Jedi was leaned against the wall, cradling her arm. She looked up, flashing him a gamine grin from the heap of bodies she sat on. None of them, he noticed were in Jedi garb. She couldn’t have been more than fifteen years old.
“They went that way.” She hooked a thumb down the passageway.
“You all right?”
“Sure. I landed wrong and dislocated my shoulder. The others went on to corridor seven A.”
“I don’t see any blood.”
“Unless they get us mad, you won’t.” She replied. “Sheathed blades and practice staffs only.” She winced. Could one of you set this for me?”
As the rest of the assault team cycled through the lock, the scout helped her, resetting her shoulder. By the time the last was through she was one her feet, swinging the arm.
“Not too bad. As long as I don’t go full out.” She marched down the passageway then looked back at the stunned Marines. “Well come on, do you want to live forever?”
The bloopers fired, the stun grenades blasting half a hundred people off their feet. Men surged forward, keeping up the pressure as behind them others used the cargo ties they had collected on the way. The 1200 men of the Regiment had brought over 12,000 sets of restraints with them. Even scavenging off the wounded and dead, they had run out. Runners were going back to cleared areas, and Company G paused to wait for more.
“That’s the way to the control room.” One man pointed toward the right. “That way is in our hands.” The Lieutenant in command checked his pad. As each section of the station was cleared, he could see it change from red to green. The central done was still a bright red.
“Holy-” A scream was eclipsed as someone ahead of them died.
“They got a laser down there!” Someone shouted back.
“We can’t go that way.” The lieutenant mused. A laser mount would slice his men up like cooked meat.
He paused as a frail old man walked from a passageway. His weapon came up but the man merely paused, looking back.
“Master Hontu of the Jedi Monastery. We’ve cleared this section.” As he touched the pad, the area he touched had turned green.
“Wait, didn’t you land over in I Company’s area?” He looked at the pad display. That was half way around the station from him!
“Yes. But we work fast.” Hontu turned watching the laser flare in the corridor ahead. “I can see the problem. I need two of your men who are fast runners.”
“You don’t have to understand, all they have to do is follow me.” The old man walked across, standing with his back against the wall. “Boys, move back from the entry. It’s going to get a little hot here in a few moments.”
“Just have someone follow me at the run.” At that he leaped into the corridor.
The beams suddenly seemed to leap as if trying to cover every inch of the corridor and half the adjacent space simultaneously. Two young Marine leaped up to follow, and over the hissing of the beam the Lieutenant could hear their boots rattling on the deck. Then suddenly the beam stopped.
“Sir, it’s clear.”
Unwilling, the Lieutenant walked over, looking down the corridor. At the other end, the two Marines were binding the gunner and seven or eight more that were scattered around. The old man was no where to be seen.
“Where’s the Jedi.”
“He stayed long enough to do that-” One of the men jerked his thumb toward the weapon mount, “Slapped this guy with a sword, landed on them-“ He jerked his thumb at the pile at his feet. “Then kept on going. Said he had a date.”
The lieutenant looked at the barrel of the laser sliced into five small chunks. “If he wants, he can date my sister.” The other Marine said, finishing. “Can’t see telling the old man no.”
The door to the control room hissed open, and Jedi poured in. Master Soo-chin stopped, looking around. Of the forty or so people in the room according to the scan she had done, there was no sign. In the center of the room the nose of Hawk Flight was rammed into the deck. The emergency sealant system had worked, spot-welding the ship into place. It would require cutting the entire section of the station’s hull open to get it out. But that meant they had air again.
She approached slowly. The ramp had been sliced open, then repaired with an emergency patch. She tapped the metal, and got an answering tap. Then the ramp came down.
Yaka stood there, arms folded. “Would you like some tea, Master Soo-chin?”
“Tea.” She responded.
“Yes. My master is in the cockpit talking with the planet. She suggested tea but all we have is Ithorian Wide Leaf, Echani fire tea, and something called Lord Barret-”
“I think some fire tea would wake me up.” Soo-chin interrupted. “What about all of the casualties?”
“They are all in the cargo hold. We had to stack them, so the dead were laid down first. Twenty-five are still alive though they are vacuum injured, and still quite insane.” He waved toward the overhead. “She asked me to apologize for the damage.”
Soo-chin looked around. At least half a dozen consoles had been sheered off, either a sword or the force tearing it free. “We’ll just take it out of her salary.” Soo-chin replied. “Now where is that tea?”