The troop carrier vibrated as it flew through the air. The antique seemed near to falling apart, but it was all that was available. Xucphra had invested much into bringing in various mercenary organizations, many of them operating with nothing more than promise of payment once Xucphra had all the pieces he needed to begin his trade once again.
The final piece required, however, was one of the central hubs required for processing the raw ingredients into tradable Bacta. A large facility that housed its own growth inhibitors, it also hosted the core systems for a network of bacta production compounds. Without it, each facility taken so far was useless, at least, except for an expensive process to transition each of them to an independent controller. Far less expensive to endure the grueling process of taking an entire network, hub and all. And by starting at the edges, much of their opposition had been whittled down.
So did the crew of the Absolution find themselves charged with taking the hub. Being one of the only groups with more than a promise of payment ‘later’, and the only one of those with a crew large enough to handle the task, Captain Jaster Solaris had been all too happy to take on the additional mission. After a quick contract negotiation, of course.
Rhel Reytal tapped the toe of a boot against the floor of the carrier, sighing impatiently. “Let’s get this ball rolling, already,” he groaned as the pilot circled the landing zone for the third time. Korbin Vex dug a ball-bearing out of his pocket and offered it to Rhel with a smirk on his face.
Arcturus Halcyon rolled his eyes at Korbin, shaking his head. “Why do you always have to have a joke?”
Korbin shrugged slightly, letting the small metal ball roll in his hand as the airship started to dive, finally making its way in for a landing.
“Showtime, folks. Lock and load,” Arcturus said, bringing his rifle to bear. “We’ve got the center. Watch the rear,” Arcturus said to his own squad as they readied their own weapons.
“Ryyk and Siren teams, set up far side security on the left.” Rhel said to his squad. They nodded at the command, green lights on their weapons coming on as they pushed power cells into place.
“I guess we’re taking the right,” Korbin said to his own crew. “If you see something, try not to get shot.” His squad nodded, holding their pistols awkwardly, probably all wishing they could get back into their cockpits.
Rhel muttered something under his breath, the sound cut off as the doors opened on both sides of the craft, noonday sun flooding the compartment. The three squads evacuated the craft as quickly as possible, rapidly setting up a perimeter.
As the craft took off, catching some small amount of fire from north of their position, they all moved for cover nearby.
“Sound off,” Arcturus said over the comms.
“Yeah, all set,” Rhel responded.
“You know, you could just turn around and count us off yourself,” Korbin said, shrugging at Arcturus. “It really doesn’t that long to count to twenty-one.”
Arcturus stared at Korbin, a vessel in his forehead pulsing as he clenched his jaw in frustration.
“We waiting for the other two, or we pushing ahead to clear the way?” Rhel interjected, trying to change the subject.
“Looks like we’ve been spotted,” one of Korbin’s squad said, pointing out past one of the alazhi patches.
“Did anyone remember grenades?” Korbin asked, taking cover with his squad.
“Yeah, we’re set,” Rhel replied. “Got more on this side.”
Arcturus moved his squad up alongside Korbin’s. “Go support Rhel, I’ll cover this side.”
Korbin nodded, moving his squad up behind Rhel’s as Rhel pushed around one of the alazhi planters. Rhel’s squad quickly put down part of a squad guarding that side, clearing it for cover.
Arcturus hit a pair of troops on the other side of a tree, his squad helping to finish them off. He makes short work of the rest of that squad, pushing around the planter to support Rhel and Korbin from the other side.
As the crew puts down most of the second squad, the enemy squad leader retreats north, falling in with another squad defending a shield door leading into the compound.
The Absolution squads push up, working on picking off the squads immediately outside of the compounds.
“Those other two better hurry up if they want us to leave anything for them,” Rhel yells over the blaster fire, a grin filling his face.