Star Wars: Requiem

Welcome to Absolution

“Whoever you were before might as well be dead. For some of you, that is pretty close to the truth.
“Aboard this ship, we have those who were born to lead and those who were given no other choice. Some who dragged themselves out of the gutters and others who fell into our midst from greater heights.
“Who you were does not matter. I don’t care about your past sins or who you slighted, who wants your head or who may come trying to collect on debts.
“Aboard this ship, as a part of this crew, you are absolved. Nothing you have done matters. Because once we drop out of hyperspace and hit that dirt – once those blasters start firing – all that matters is who you are and that who you are has their head where it belongs.
“Whether you’re a pilot or a commander or a grunt; aboard this ship, you have all been given another chance. Don’t screw it up.”
- Captain Jaster Solaris in an address to the ship, Absolution

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The Price of Failure

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After a failed mission to defend the daughter of a Senator, Captain Solaris and a small crew set out to hunt down the bounty hunter responsible for taking her.  Hoping to intercept the bounty hunter before  he reaches his client, Captain Solaris has only taken a small freighter, Shadow Dancer, and a Cutlass-9 starfighter to rescue the captive and return her safely to her father.
Most of the ships armory was used in the defense mission.  Several members of the crew were injured and no few of the groups starfighters were put out of commission.  Captain Solaris has left the bulk of his crew behind with enough credits to begin repairs, taking only enough to see the small crew through the rescue mission and out the other side.
With their failure lurking over their shoulders, it is all the group can hope for that they can successfully return the clients daughter safely in the hopes that any of their payment will remain.

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The Price of Failure Part One

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Captain Jaster Solaris drops the ship out of hyperspace on the edge of Tatooine airspace. A quick check of the radar quickly manages to locate the bounty hunters Firespray on a straight course for Tatooine. He decides to follow it in, as there isn’t enough room left for them to intercept.
Clearance from Mos Shuuta air control allows them to land Shadow Dancer and Vokovo at Landing Bay Aurek, the larger of the two hangars. The Firespray, surprisingly, doesn’t aim for the other landing bay, but rather a larger building just south of the second hangar.
While making their way through the city, the crew finds that there are several Gamorrean squads patrolling, as well as an entire squad of Stormtroopers, mostly gathered at the other landing bay. This much opposition presses them into striving for stealth and keeps them from drawing too much attention.
The group makes their way towards the large building and begins to ask about what it is. After being met with some amount of hostility from the locals and finally managing to discover that it belongs to a Hutt named Teemo, Korbin Vex makes his way around the building to look around the back end, hoping to see the ship they had followed in. Successfully finding the Firespray on a landing pad behind the palace, the group decides to head for a local cantina to discuss how to get in and get the client’s daughter out.
An overheard conversation from the next table over gets the attention of Falchion. The crew quickly realizes that the voices they are hearing belong to the bounty hunters who took their clients daughter. Rhel Reytal is sent to follow them, the rest of the crew following behind him.
The bounty hunters make their way to Teemo’s palace, the Gamorrean’s at the door allowing the male Twi’lek and female Human to pass without issue. Arcturus Halcyon and Maximillian von Graff manage to bluff their way past the Gamorrean brutes at the gate by pretending to be arms dealers with an appointment to see Teemo.
Once inside, they make their way towards a backroom that they suspect has access to the landing pad out back. They again bluffing their way past Gamorrean guards, this time by pretending to be the mercenaries heading out to grab the daughter. The porcine aliens seem confused for some reason, but allow them to pass.
They begin to search the ship, triggering a silent alarm that alerts the bounty hunters. The female Human comes out and demands to know who they are and what they are doing. Arcturus manages to convince her that they work for Teemo and are inspecting the bounty hunters vehicle. She believes them, but remains behind to oversee their search.
With her guiding them, they quickly discover that the clients daughter is no longer aboard the ship.
Meanwhile, outside of the palace, Rhel and Korbin begin inspecting the outside of the building, hoping to find a way to create a distraction. Falchion and Captain Solaris keep watch over the alley that they ducked into.
Without much issue, Rhel finds a series of power cables that lead into the building. He quickly makes his way to the junkyard just across the pavilion and scrounges up a long metal bar. By communicating with Max, who is far enough away from the female bounty hunter to not be easily heard, they time their attack on the bounty hunter with the rest of the crew cutting the power, using the bar as a lever to sever the wires.
Max shoots her communicator immediately, and blocks off her escape. She manages to get a shot off and hits Max just as Arcturus hits her with a stun round that immediately drops her to the pad. They quickly bundle her back aboard the ship and stow her away in one of the prisoner pods.
As the power shuts down, the two Gamorrean’s at the gate go inside to investigate the disturbance. Captain Solaris and the rest of the crew go inside, finding the building almost pitch black. Korbin attempts to slip past them but instead stumbles into one of the brutes that had been guarding the doorway. He is knocked back just before blaster fire erupts from over his shoulder, dropping two of the Gamorreans immediately. The brute ignites his Vibroax and catches Korbin just under the ribs. A quick block keeps Korbin from being opened up, but sends him flying a few feet back towards the rest of the group. He takes cover behind a wall before removing his own blaster and sending his own shots flying.
A third Gamorrean goes down just as the brute charges for Korbin. Captain Solaris jumps in between them, only barely managing to block it himself. The action is enough, however, and allows the rest of the crew to open fire at nearly point black range and drop the massive Gamorrean to the ground.

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The Price of Failure Part Two

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Maximillian von Graff and Arcturus Halcyon, having just dispatched the female bounty hunter, make their way back inside of the building. They quickly encounter the small group of Gamorreans from before, all huddled together in the darkness. Their lack of understanding of events has translated itself into fear, making them easy to manipulate. With only a little probing, they manage to convince one of the porcine aliens to lead them to the captive Rodian.
At the front of the building, Captain Jaster Solaris and his group quickly tend to their wounds before hopping over a reception desk and through a door leading into a hallway. Before they can all enter, however, Korbin Vex and Falchion happen to hear heavy boot steps coming from outside. Suspecting they belong to curious Stormtroopers, Korbin decides to approach them himself, posing as a lackey of Teemo. With Falchion backing him up, he tries to convince them that Teemo is in danger and needs their help. Their lack of concern for the Hutt becomes evident quickly, even more so when they demand to know where the prisoner is.
With open Comlinks, Korbin tells the Stormtrooper Sergeant that the prisoner was moved back aboard the ship in order to keep her safe. Without hesitation, they rush down the hall and towards the landing pad out back.
Meanwhile, Rhel Reytal, who has made his way into the communications hub of the palace, manages to get auxiliary power restored to the room. Quickly slicing into the computers, he checks recent communications logs and finds that the Hutt has been in contact with an Imperial class starship very recently. With everything they have learned, they agree that the Empire funded the kidnapping of the Senators daughter through the Hutt and have come to pick her up themselves under guise of a routine patrol.
Max and Arcturus manage to get the Rodian girl, Navo Reevan, into the communications hub before the Stormtroopers manage to make their way to the workshop. Using a disguise kit, they quickly make her look like the female bounty hunter before everyone walks out the front door.
Once outside, they notice that their recent activities have drawn attention to the building. Gamorreans are beginning to move closer, confused about lack of outgoing communication from the building as well as the lack of power evident in it. Their confusion about the building holds up long enough for them to leave without being harassed.
They push along the north of the city, Navo following close being Captain Solaris. As they reach the water tower, however, they find that a group of Gamorreans have blocked off the road they need to take to leave. Looking for another route quickly becomes hopeless as a group of Stormtroopers makes their way up the only other main road.
Arcturus rushes towards them, trying to prevent them from getting anywhere near Navo and the rest of the group. He invents a story about ‘sketchy people’ near the Dewback stables that they don’t buy into. They start to call into their Sergeant while he expands his story to include a potential threat to Teemo and his palace. They start to head back towards the palace, knowing their sergeant is inside, until they manage to get a hold of him. Arcturus is just close enough to hear the order to secure the other landing bay to prevent anyone from leaving. The Stormtroopers start running for the other road, and their way out.
Without a moments hesitation, the rest of the group sets up a position and goes to open fire on the Gamorreans and the Stormtroopers, their concern with causing a scene outweighed by their need to get off planet.
The Stormtroopers, however, manage to see the ambush before it can spring and open fire, catching Falchion in the shoulder before blaster fire opens up on them. Falchion hits one of them, earning a grunt, before Rhel shoots through the supports of the water tower, dropping the same one that Falchion hit. Max folds in behind Rhel and gets another shot off, dropping one of the Gamorreans.
Arcturus rushes up from behind the Stormtroopers and hits them from behind, taking out a Stormtrooper and a Gamorrean with a pair of well placed shots.
Captain Solaris dives out into the street, hitting the last Gamorrean in the center of its chest, dropping it to the ground.
The last standing Stormtrooper lines up a shot between the girders supporting the water tower and fires, grazing Max’s shoulder. Max returns the shot, making a point of putting the round between the troopers eyes and dropping him hard.
Without wasting a moment, the group rushes for the landing bay. Korbin gets back into the Vokovo, the rest of the group loading into Shadow Dancer, Navo Reevan in tow.
Solaris fires up the ship and flies it up and away, exiting the atmosphere as quickly as possible. Before he can jump to hyperspace, however, their ship is hailed by two squads of TIE fighters, ordering their descent back to the planet in order to confirm their cargo. As Solaris reaches for the key to respond, however, a large black ship bursts out of hyperspace ahead of them and wastes no time in gunning down the TIE’s with it’s massive turbolasers. As Shadow Dancer draws close enough, its tags come up in the computer, listing it as Absolution. The crew hails the small freighter and Captain Solaris replies, inquiring about repairs even while flying the YT-2400 into a docking position.
Korbin lands his fighter inside of the hangar, finding only four other Cutlass-9’s remaining aboard the ship.
Captain Solaris makes his way to the bridge, Navo Reevan nearly glued to him as he orders a jump back into hyperspace immediately over comms.
The rest of the crew head for their posts. Whether in troop quarters or engineering or starfighters quarters, they all notice faces missing from their numbers.
Missing pieces of equipment, depleted stores of materials, six starfighters missing, and dozens dead remind them all of the price of failure.

The Absolution drops out of hyperspace near Christophsis. They are quickly hailed by Senator Androom Reevan who, having been watching the incoming signals and recognizing the Absolution returning, was already aboard a shuttle on his way to meet them.
Captain Solaris meets him in the hangar with the senator’s daughter immediately behind him. She rushes into his arms as soon as he steps out of the shuttle, her father in little better state emotionally.
The senator tells Solaris that, because the terms were not met, he has decided that half of the agreed funds will be paid. Despite his need for the funds after the debacle that unfolded, Solaris does not argue, but instead informs the senator of the Empire’s involvement with his daughters kidnapping and advises him to send his family into hiding in order to keep them from being used against him. There is a moment of silence before Androom finally thanks the captain and retreats back into the shuttle, returning to his planet.

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Thyferrian Bacta Crisis

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Shortly after jumping to hyperspace, Captain Jaster Solaris pulls up the ships inventory and available credits. The losses prior to The Price of Failure have drained much of their resources and even the credits earned from rescuing Senator Androom Reevan’s daughter are not enough to fully restore their power.
They needed a job, and quickly. There wouldn’t be enough time to be picky. It just needed to pay well.
He opens up a secure connection to check available missions, sorting it by best paying.
By a landslide, he picks out the top mission. A rougue element on Thyferra, a planet known primarily for its part in Bacta trade, seeking to retake the power they once held in the trade before an internal government affair took all power from them and granted it to another group, the Ashern Circle. The Bacta Cartel, as it was known in certain circles, had attempted several coupes, though none nearly so quiet as the one led by the Ashern Circle. Bloodshed had driven up the price of Bacta over the years since the beginning of the Clone Wars and even the rise of the Empire had not proven enough to end it.
“Sounds like a jackpot to me,” Jaster muttered to himself, standing from his commanders seat aboard the bridge of the Absolution. “Set course for Thyferra,” he ordered, excusing himself from the bridge. He needed to get as much information as he could before he briefed the crew, and he only had a few days of hyperspace travel to do so.

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Thyferrian Bacta Crisis Part One

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The Absolution drops out of hyperspace at the edge of the Thyferrian system.  Captain Jaster Solaris responds to the hailing signal from the planet, confirming the ships identity and mission to the private signal.  The ships systems act to keep its signal from being detected without permission granted from the bridge.
The Absolution lands on the planets surface within a compound.  Personnel swarm about, moving crates and objects about the base in preparation.  There is a feeling of suppressed energy about the base, like the gas in a blaster just before it ignites.
Captain Solaris leads a small group of upper-personnel into a large building. Introductions are made between the crew of the Absolution and the contact, a human named Xucphra.  He explains to everyone the situation.
Several years ago, a political coupe ended the hold on the bacta market that had once been held by Xucphra and his partner, Zaltin.  Over the years, a rift had formed between the two and Zaltin had split off.  It was Zaltin who led the faction that had gained control of the bacta trade.  Now, Xucphra feels that he is in a position to take back control of the fields and production facilities.
Arrangements are made for the ground forces of the Absolution to be shuttled out to the first facility on the contract. They get put down a ways south of the compound, nearby the Alazhi fields.
The squads proceeded north, towards the compound. Heavy fog cover makes sight beyond 50 feet difficult at best. As such, it isn’t hard for a group to seemingly appear out of nowhere not far from them.
Taking the lead, Arcturus Halcyon approaches the squad leader and claims to be reinforcements against an impending attack. The squad leader, who introduces himself as Sergeant Brannon, seems confused and claims he never received such an order, but allows them to pass and directs them towards the compound before returning to his rounds, a second squad appearing and disappearing just as quickly.
The crew is able to pass another squad on patrol just as quickly, referencing the previous sergeant. Before they can get far, another squad leader approaches, the man she was talking to backing off a ways and seeming to speak to himself.
She doesn’t buy the bluff. She steps forward threateningly, her squad picking up on her mood, as she asks who they are once again.
The crew is able to just make out a comm crackling from the squad in front of them before rifles are raised and aimed at them. She states clearly that there is a kill-on-sight order with no exceptions and that she is giving them one minute to comply.
Within an instant, weapons are unholstered and fire breaks out as everyone begins to move for cover and to set up a cover.
The crew finds themselves facing off against four squads, covering all sides. Korbin Vex ends up pinned down on the other side of a growth field, part of a squad keeping him pinned down on one side and the proximity of another keeping him from moving back. During the engagement, one of his fellow crew makes a snide remark about his squad being unable to hit anything. He yells back, “I’m not the moron that decided to try and walk my entire frelling crew into the gundarks den! Haven’t you monkey lizards ever heard of mission planning?! I didn’t even get a recon flight; we walked in with NO intel!” His squad takes a fair amount of damage, but manages to break the supressing fire before losing anyone.
Falchion and her squad find themselves in an open stretch and without cover. They pick off a number of enemies quickly and break through on one side. Falchion closes with another squad leader and pulls her Vibrosword while her squad splits up and supports two other flanks.
Maximillian von Graff orders his squad to cover, holding a flank alone. They pin down an enemy squad, keeping them from pressing in on the rest of the crew.
Arcturus and his squad get pinned against the growth field, nothing but air between them and the squad to their south. With only mild injury, they put down most of the squad and and almost open that side of the conflict.

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Thyferrian Bacta Crisis Part Two

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Korbin Vex and his squad manage to take down the group keeping them pinned before shifting their position to open up a way to the rest of the crew, opening fire on another squad’s flank.
Maximillian von Graff and his group hold his side of the conflict with only Max sustaining an injury that put him down for a time. They manage to hold their position until help joins them.
Rhel Reytal gets shuttled onto the field, moving quickly towards the conflict. He and his squad manage to catch an enemy group by surprise and assist in quickly dispatching of the force keeping Korbin and his group isolated from the rest of the crew.
Falchion presses her assault and manages to shift the focus of the battle to only two sides after downing another squad and sergeant. However, one of her squad misses a shot and manages to hit one of Max’s troops.
As soon as the field opens, Korbin rushes along the south of the conflict and attempts to distract the survivors of one of the enemy squads in order to open them up to fire from Max and Rhel along with their troops. The ploy works and the last of the enemies are downed without issue.
The crew take a moment to breath and provide medical attention to the wounded before they set out again, intent on not getting pinned up in such a situation again.

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Thyferrian Bacta Crisis Part Three

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A comm link is quickly looted from the corpse of a dead enemy sergeant, allowing the group to have a better idea of what is coming for them.
Rhel Reytal positions his fire teams into flanking positions before proceeding forward. He is spotted by an enemy squad and chased as he retreats. The trap is sprung, and all but one of the enemy squad is killed before they even realize what is happening.
Arcturus Halcyon convinces the last man standing to lay down his weapon in exchange for his life. The man agrees, putting his rifle on the ground.
The group questions him about the base they are assaulting and the others in the area. The man cooperates, explaining that outlying bases, like the one he was defending, have not received better equipment. Only a couple of dedicated squads for defense and several squads that patrol between different production facilities. The larger facilities, on the other hand, have much denser fortifications and plenty of munitions to repel attacks without resupply for days.
The crew decides to attempt to recruit the troop. After a short discussion in which the many simply questions their part in the conflict, he receives an answer he finds satisfactory. It doesn’t take long for Korbin Vex to discover that the new member of their crew has an interest in piloting. Without any opposition, he takes him into his squad, intending to get a new starfighter provided the rookie survives long enough.
Rhel manages to spot another enemy squad. He calls out to them for help. They approach, somewhat skeptical, but willing to comply.
Rhel throws a grenade into the middle of the group. Three of the squad are downed instantly and the SL is picked off by precise fire immediately after the explosion.
Arcturus demands that the last three ‘surrender or die’. They immediately turn tail and run away.
Arcturus spots another group. He quickly scoops up one of the downed enemy sergeants – a tough feat to find one in a single piece – and stumbles towards the squad, calling out for medical assistance.
The squads fire teams set up a near-side perimeter while the sergeant approaches Arcturus. His fingers feel for a pulse on the neck of his downed comrade. He looks at Arcturus quizzically and says “He doesn’t have a pulse” immediately before a blaster bolt finds his forehead.
Falchion and Maximillian von Graff come out of their cover and finish of the rest of the squad before they can get more than a couple of shots off.

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Thyferrian Bacta Crisis Part Four

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Maximillian von Graff activates the comlink that had been previously looted and asks who is on the frequency. A crackles voice responds, coming in clearly with the question ‘What is your location?’.
Max informs the voice that he and thirty-four crew of the Absolution are outside of their facility. He states that they are willing to allow everyone inside a chance to surrender and survive, but will not hesitate to kill everyone inside of the walls if necessary.
The voice replies with a simple ‘Eat bantha shit’, then proceeds to inform the crew that they have exactly one minute before reinforcements arrive.
“‘Exactly one minute’?” Korbin Vex mutters, appearing amused. “Oddly specific. Guess they spent all their training on timing drills instead of actual, you know, combat training.”
Max shakes his head before reactivating the com. “It is unfortunate that you have committed your men to death,” he says. The comlink crackles as the connection is broken.
Falchion orders her squad forward, coming around the corner of the walled facility and finding a squad of enemies stationed at the door. She and her fireteams open fire on the enemy squad immediately, putting several of them down.
Max sends his squad around Falchions. One of his fireteams shoots the awning over the enemy squad, dropping the heavy canvas and knocking the enemy of their feat.
Rhel Reytal and Arcturus Halcyon put their squads behind cover as the remaining enemies extricate themselves from the canvas. They open fire on the squad and put down all but the squads sergeant.
Falchion charges the squad leader, pulling her vibrosword from her hip. Her squad opens fire on the sergeant as she moves, putting him down hard.
She puts the humming blade near the mans throat as Arcturus brings him back to consciousness. Arcturus offers the sergeant the opportunity to survive if he agrees to open the door.
The man spits at Arcturus and says, “Off-worlders have no business in our affairs. This day or another, you will meet your own fate.”
Arcturus drops his head as he stands up, getting clear of the blood spray as Falchion relieves the man of his head.
Korbin approaches Arcturus, his eyebrows cocked slightly. “Why do you think he spit on you?”
Arcturus shrugs, wiping off the spittle with a gloved hand. “Beats me. Maybe Trandoshan gonorrhea?”
Rhel rolls his eyes as he approaches the hololock between the vehicle sized shield doors barring their entrance. Within seconds, he pulls a recently used code input into the door. As soon as everyone has positioned themselves, he punches in the code, opening both shield doors into the compound.
An enemy squad opens fire on them from nearby to their south. They both miss as they start running for cover, their surprise at the ease of entry made by the crew evident.
Falchion throws the recently severed head into the fray, causing the already fleeing squad to fall prone and drop their weapons as they do so. Her squad opens fire on them, halving their numbers instantly.
Max orders his squad to begin moving through the same door, pushing straight up the center. One of his fireteams spots on enemy and opens fire on them.
Arcturus comes in behind Falchion and finishes off the enemy squad before they can recover and get behind equipment.
A squad positioned within much of the machinery near the center of the compound advances and opens fire on Arcturus and his squad.
Rhel moves through the other doorway, pushing to the north. He orders his squad to attempt to cover Max as he pushes towards the office structures at the north end of the facility.
The center squad opens fire on Arcturus again, putting him down with accurate fire. His squad pushes up on him, his medics quickly getting him on his feet.
“Thanks for picking me up, ladies,” he grunts, picking up his rifle as he shakes his head clear. “They knocked the wind out of me for sure.”
“A sucking chest wound is natures way of telling you to duck better,” Max retorts while pushing into the facility to cover Arcturus’ flank.
Rhel and his squad hit the northernmost part of the courtyard. His fireteams set up cover surrounding him as he pulls off his bag, rifling through it. “Rykk squad, hand me that power cell. Sirens, I need a can of your hair spray,” he says to his fire teams, taking the requested items and rigging them together into a makeshift explosive. “There. Don’t touch this door,” he says while putting his bag back on his shoulders and bringing his rifle to bear.
Falchion sees a door start to open near one of her fireteams just before a grenade flies out of it. She yells at them to move just in time. One of them catches a minor injury, but avoids the worst of it. Falchion opens fire on the sergeant as she comes out, joined by Max and his squad to support.
Rhel and his squad catch fire from their end of the compound. They take a few minor hits, but manage to free up that end of the compound from any danger in short order. He goes about clearing the rest of the rooms on that end of the facility to ensure no further surprises. Korbin comes in behind Rhel, covering the north end of the facility while Rhel clears the rooms.
Arcturus orders his squad to cover on either side of him, opening fire on the entrenched enemies. He pointedly puts every shot on the squad leader that downed him, managing to put a blaster bolt through the his protective face shield.
Max shoots the sergeants blaster rifle from her hands. She immediately pulls her baton free and squares herself off in the doorway, ready to move back into cover.
Falchion pulls her vibrosword free, activating it as she says, “This ones mine.”
Max nods, signalling to his squad to keep their rifles at the ready. Falchions squad moves away from the sergeant, clearing the way.
Falchion approaches the woman, sword held out slightly from her body. It crackles through the air like a bolt of lightning. The sergeant raises her baton to parry, knocking Falchions blow aside and striking at her ribs. Falchion jumps back and avoids the blow, swinging the sword toward the sergeants head as she does. The jump throws her strike off, but she still catches the woman on her shoulder.
The sergeant swings again, missing her mark as Falchion steps in to close the gap. With one smooth motion, she drives her sword straight through the sergeants rib cage, giving it a twist as she pulls it free.
Falchion gives the blade a flourish as she turns it off, stepping away as the sergeant drops to her knees, collapsing forward with her last breath.
Arcturus yells out from his cover at the surviving enemies. “Last chance. Surrender now or you’ll die like your comrades!”
The incoming blaster fire trickles to a stop within a matter of seconds. The Absolution crew ceases their own fire but remains at the ready, waiting.
The silence stretches, feeling like hours. A man stands up, his rifle held over his head hesitantly. After a few moments, another man stands up in similar fashion. A woman beside them, then more begin to come out from behind the facilities equipment.
They are quickly relieved of their weapons and sat down in the courtyard to wait.
As the shuttles begin to fly in for their exfil, Falchion looks around at the crew of the Absolution and sighs as she says “Next time, let’s just knock an asteroid out of orbit and call it a day.”
A small explosion at the north of the facility punctuates her statement. A blackened droid stumbles out of the room that Rhel booby-trapped, stumbling about as if dazed.
“That was my last can of hairspray,” a member of Siren’s, one of Rhel’s fire teams, mutters darkly, glaring at his back.

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Thyferrian Bacta Crisis Part Five

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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.

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