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Outer Heaven


Ara-Lai Kaipi
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There was no time to issue orders, no time to think, only time to run run run as ten meters and an uncountable number of kilograms teetered and began to tumble onto the shoulders of the two Talon shock troopers. Bryce hugged her carbine to her chest and sprinted away from ignominious death as crates slid off of the shelves and slammed onto the warehouse floor. She vaguely felt the heat of two blaster bolts sear through the synthleather of her belt-pat and caress the plate of her greaves--of more immediate concern was the figure that suddenly loomed out of the dust, long-barrelled disruptor rifle aimed in the rough direction of her breastbone at point-blank range.

 

And then a blaster bolt blazed directly into the humanoid’s left temple, spilling both the sapient and their weapon to the ground amidst a cloud of vaporized bone and gore. The Talon shock trooper slammed into the falling corpse with her shoulder, pinning it against the wall and smearing red over the dusty grey surface.

 

“Kriff, kriff, kriff--I’m good.” Her squadmate puffed as he narrowly escaped a metric ton of who-knows-what falling upon his shoulders. “Two more--” he flinched as a disruptor beam sizzled through the space between their shoulders.

 

Johanna had already snapped her carbine up to their two assailants from a distant catwalk and was blazing blaster fire towards the two sapients. In her shaking hands, her blaster fire was splashing against the walls and catwalks, only succeeding in blasting chunks of duracrete from the walls and showering sparks over her targets. Their return fire was nearly as enthusiastic but even less disciplined; the crimson disruptor beams reduced entire chunks of the walls to dust. Bryce dove to the side as yet another disruptor beam burst only centimeters in front of her face, exploding the duracrete wall into a cloud of dust. The shock trooper clambered clumsily over the ruin of crates and shelves, the wreckage sagging under her armor as the inaccurate disruptor fire reduced crates to explosions of splinters and beams to slag…

 

Two steadily-aimed blaster bolts raced out towards the final two terrorists, striking them in perfect center-of-mass impacts that pitched both to the floor. 

 

“Captain, Vor, you two alright?” Came the calm, reassuring voice of their squadmate.

 

_____

 

The remainder of the raid involved a great deal of shouting and no small amount of toil from the Imperial Scouts’ medics. Half of the ground floor of the warehouse was a ruin, as misaimed disruptor fire had caused shelves to collapse against each other in a chain reaction. The catwalks were strewn with rubble from blaster fire. The few terrorists who had not been killed outright by blaster fire continued to groan and writhe, one even attempting to lift the barrel of their bulky disruptor rifle. Johanna’s boot came down hard on the receiver of that weapon with a crack of splintering plastoid and the shock trooper scowled at the supine Sullustan.

 

“Really? Resisting a medic? Stormies, you find anyone else?"


No… Captain.” Johanna thought she heard a sigh over the comms. “All clear in the offices.

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The onslaught of Rebel and Imperial forces was a relentless tide that could not be ceased; even by a force as fearsome as disruptor wielding mercenaries and terrorists. If anything the sheer evilness of such a presence on the battlefield confirmed the rightness of the crusade to seize Outer Heaven.

 

As Talons, Knights, Intelligence Assets, Scouts, Troopers, and Infantry closed on the entrenched terrorist force, the end drew near. The arrival of armored Imperial walkers and hover tanks sealed their fate. Those who resisted were cut down. Entire warehouses collapsed on holed up resistances, erupting in plumes of fire and dust beneath withering firepower. Overhead, air support screamed through the synth-sky. Painted targets were vaporized beneath the earth shattering guns born upon signature twin ion engines.

 

Across the station, Imperial forces triumphed by combinations of strength of will, superior tactics, and firepower. Within, secret agents and suppressive teams drove the roaches from the shadows by light and flame until no where to hide was left. Those who resisted, died. Those who surrendered were taken prisoner and quickly taken to the surface for transport to a summoned prison barge for sorting, charging, and rehoming. Innocents were offered homes elsewhere. Those who wished to remain would be allowed to do so with Imperial support; but they would know this place was now under the governance of the true Empire. Such a haven for crime would be resettled and repurposed, a home for military retrofitting, training, and administration. 
 

The darkness of oppression faded with the dawn of an Imperial dawn.
 

The chaos was over and even now, the long task of restoring order and prosperity was beginning.

 

_____________________


Stepping from his shuttle amongst the plumes of dust, Naval Vice Admiral Nikolai Kolchak surveyed the scene of the greatest resistance; Sector Seven. Here, even now, caches of disruptor weapons and manufacture were being secured and dismantled. Such a weapon would never see use in the field of battle if the commander of Naval Intelligence had his way. Piracy, terrorism, criminality, would splatter beneath his oiled boot heel.

 

Assembling an escort, the steeled cyborg stepped carefully through the debris until he found the eclectic team of Talons, Imperial Knight, and rogue robots. He surveyed them, worn and battered, bloodied and pained. They were a stark contrast to his crisply pressed uniform, even against the backdrop of smeared Imperial white Stormtrooper armor that stood behind him.

 

”Very vell done Capitan, you and your men are to be commended. Quick zinking zaves life.” He addressed Captain Bryce and her team with an approving nod and a shadow of a smile that tugged at the corners of his stern scarred face. “Regular forcez are zecuring remainder of vorld. Report to base camp. Get chow. Clean up. You dezerve it.”

 

Turning to Imperial Knight Skyshatter, Kolchak locked eyes with him for an uncomfortably long moment. “Knight,” he addressed the man by his title, his voice characteristically slow and heavy. “Ze Imperial Navy acknowledgez and appreciatez your aid. You Knightz, much appreciate. If you are able, your mission ztill ztands.” His one good eye wandered in the direction of Rune and Fera. “You have performed . . . admirably.” 

 

 Finally, the Vice Admiral turned to regard the duo of droids, his cybernetic eyes whirling and zooming in and out assessing damage and scanning the pair. “Robotz. You have zhown zat your programming may not be ideal for militant venture. Perhapz, ve have ozher planz for you.” He paused as his scans detected the broken barrel of a disruptors pistol jammed beneath the terror bot’s plating. “A Jedi comrade has requezted aid. Protective detail to farthest reaches; far beyond reach of Imperial law. Go to Felucia. Healer Kill you vill report to.”  Kolchak had not understood the entire context of the request, questioning the routine so called applications of the force. He was not foolish enough to discount it entirely either and if a Jedi Council woman was asking for irregular intelligence assets as a protective detail to an unknown location seen only in visions bound by darkness, or was it the dark side, then this pair of droids might do the trick. If Knight Skyshatter followed to ensure that the droids  behaved, he would also be able to see what the Jedi were up to.

 

Turning back to regard the group, the Admiral clacked his heels as he stood at attention. It was second nature to the man. “Vat queztions have you?”

 

 

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“A Jedi comrade has requezted aid. Protective detail to farthest reaches; far beyond reach of Imperial law. Go to Felucia. Healer Kill you vill report to.”

 

“Want to kill Sith, not that.” Ruin commented, disgruntled at this prospect. However, he was quickly silenced when Fera, perched on his shoulder, gave Ruin’s head a tap like a parent giving their child a smack. 


“Very well, we shall do that for now Admiral” Fera replied, it's beepings and chirps translated by a nearby soldier. Ruin gave a brief shrug and then turned around to find the nearest ship. He didn't have the same kind of respect for authority that trained soldiers had. He was a droid, and not one programmed by people in this era.  

 

Ruin only briefly stopped to give a nod to the Jedi that had worked alongside at the station. "You kill good. More kills then me today. I like. Pity no Sith. We free Onderon someday. Bash and Crash again, yes?" 

 

And with that, Ruin moved along.


“No Sith. No good. Need to kill Sith. Got to hurt Sith good.” Ruin voiced as the two moved towards a transport. It was clear it would soon be leaving. The fact that it was going to Felucia was a lucky coincidence for the two droids. 


“Think long term Ruin." Fera jumped off Ruin's shoulder and stood in front of his ward to get his attention. When Ruin didn't stop, Fera instead followed alongside, scrambling to keep up with the Terror Droid's long paces. "They know we are threatening to the Sith. They know you are destructive and wouldn’t send you to a peaceful or delicate situation. So why would they send us, of all things, to protect a healer?”


“A killer healer.” Ruin added. The soldiers on the transport gave Ruin and Fera a wide berth. The stained blood on the droid’s chassis was beginning to smell slightly. Still, everyone kept an eye on the two. Word was traveling at the mess the two had caused on Mon Cal, as well as incinerated bodies found on the station. The fact that an Abyssian was found missing an arm didn't help.  


“Er…yes. Healer Kill, though that man's accent is impossible to translate. I calculate there is a high probability we will see combat that would be indirectly tied to the war with the Sith. However, we must take all of the admiral's words with caution. Given our predicament, until we can legally secure a ship of our own, we must help the Imperials. Then we can explore the galaxy and find where the Sith reside.”


“Blood and guts. Guts and guns. Kill the Sith.” Ruin uttered as he finally sat down and took a glance around. “Felucia. We go to Felucia. Healer need protection. Protection from Sith? We kill Sith. Guts and Guns. Swords and Spleens.” 


Even as the small ship began to take off from the space station, Ruin retrieved his own vibrosword and, utilizing a piece of metal, began to clean and resharpen the black blade. 

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As Ruin and Fera spoke and then moved on, Lok's mind returned to the realm of reality. He sat upon a Duracrete perch, one knee raised as he twisted about a lone piece of trash between fingers, lost in the constructs of his own thoughts as the Imperial Assault concluded. The Shistavanien had struck a cord, using the strife of Non-Humans as an excuse to maim and murder. And Lok, as a human, had simply been locked into a lot as an enemy simply because he was human. It was Idiocracy, but as old as time.

 

Standing up to follow Ruin and Fera, Lok nodded to @Nikolai Kolchakas he handed over the datapad of his report, which had detailed Ruin and Fera's actions during the assault as well as the findings of the terror cell housing the disruptors for Imperial Intelligence before he departed for Felucia as well with Ruin and Fera.

 

Despite his kinship in development with the two droids, he now had to go deal with his former Order and one of it's members. Taking out a cloth, he began to disassemble his armor and clean the blood and dust from it's form. Today just wasn't beginning to look like his day.

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At the end of this very long day, Johanna Bryce removed her helmet and pinned it to her hip. Her previous attempt at binding up her hair had long come undone. As she shook her hair free of the cheekplate, it came free in sweaty tangles that clung to her face. The Talon Captain’s appearance was rather worse for wear, with one eye bloodshot and bruised, the cheek below it cut from struggling in close-quarters combat. And yet, she and her men were smiling.

 

And why wouldn’t they have reason to be pleased with themselves? Despite a long, difficult day of fighting, their entire fireteam had survived--indeed, the only wounds that they had suffered would knit together quickly enough after bacta and bedrest: a concussion, a broken leg, a ricochet from a blaster bolt, and uncounted bruises and scrapes and minor cuts that would be only an annoyance for a medtech. And from Bryce’s perspective, her twisted, bloodied smile came from a combination of pride and relief. After months of training and iterations on their equipment, the Talon concept had finally proven itself. Their breach into Outer Heaven had proceeded almost flawlessly--it was holding the reactor core that proved to be a challenge. Even with overwhelming numbers bearing down on them, however, they had held long enough for the regulars to relieve their position.

 

“Thank you, sir,” salutes followed, with Vor gladly swinging his carbine to a rest at his shoulder. “I’ll be checking in with my squadmate on Constantine.”

 

With the Rebel fleet ferrying regiment after regiment of ground troops to Outer Heaven, it was an easy matter to find a transport willing to take on an additional three soldiers back to the fleet. Insisting on watching from the cockpit--much to the pilot’s annoyance, the Talon watched the traffic descending from the fleet.

 

Even with the station pacified and nearly all of its resisting elements neutralized, the shuttle traffic wasn’t slackening. If anything, it was only intensifying in frequency--and it wasn’t merely troop shuttles that were dropping off relief forces, but freighters and heavy transports.

 

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