Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast.   Posted by The Force.Group: 0
Haarmon Dak
 player, 606 posts
 Are you talking to me?
Tue 8 Nov 2016
at 14:05
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
Gritting his teeth and checking, double, triple checking the route he'd mapped out on his datapad, Haarmon pointed. "It matters. And... yes... that one." He pointed to the second from the left. Checked the map again. Nodded. Pointed a little more forcefully.

"Guess I'm in the hot seat, huh?" And took a breath and started up the ladder. He could feel the weight of his blaster inside his tunic, but it wasn't comforting. If things came to the point where he felt the need to draw it, then he would already be well in over his head.

Focus! Focus, void curse it!

He tried not to think about the fact that they were pretty much drowning in a sea of Bad Things. One rung. The next. One step. The next. All he had to do was walk.

He was sweating profusely despite the cool of the column.

He checked his datapad again.

Kept climbing.
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 1043 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Wed 9 Nov 2016
at 07:26
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
Rhijans nodded.  Whether it was just acknowledgement, or encouragement, was impossible to know with the trooper helmet on.  He gave Kourene a gentle push toward the ladder, then Jalt...

Haarmon knew the route, he had to go first.  The Colonel was the target to exfiltrate, he had to go next.  And Jalt had to fly.  The rest of them...

"Juragga, you follow them...if they run into trouble, they'll need you to back them up."  Out of the three 'expendables', Juragga would be the logical choice to send ahead...his strength and bulk could swing the balance in an encounter, if Haarmon couldn't talk them through it and Kourene and Jalt couldn't handle it quietly.

He looked at Shard.  "Don't suppose there's a chance you'd agree to follow him, is there?" he asked.  Filtered through the helmet's speaker, it sounded almost like...concern?  Entreating?  It was hard to say...but it wasn't the typical flat, emotionless, expressionless tone he commonly used.
The Force
 GM, 798 posts
 These aren't the dice
 rolls you're looking for.
Thu 10 Nov 2016
at 20:54
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
Up the ladder, and through the door into a familiar looking corridor.  Which isn't saying much, because it's an Imperial warship, and all the corridors look pretty much the same.

Jalt nods to Haarmon, who has done a good job in guiding them so far.  Both finding Kourene, and locating an exit.  If they get out of this in one piece, then the slicer definitely deserves a drink on Jalt's tab.

Noises echo up the shaft, muffled.  But it sounds like somebody, or several somebodies, moving through the tunnel in armour.  "Company's coming.  Can you close this door so they won't know which way we came?"

He looks down the corridor.  For the moment there's only one way to go from here...
Shard
 player, 1109 posts
 Most days, I'm tired.
 ...or drunk.
Mon 14 Nov 2016
at 13:25
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
Shard eyes Rhijans for a moment before nodding.  "I'll go."  Just that.  He's serious, and this is no time to argue...and she trusts Rhijans.  If he has a reason to send her up first, even with what's coming after them, then she'll honor that reason.

Even if his delivery makes her question it.

But time enough for that later; right now, it's up the shaft, thankfully with the bounty-hunter right behind her.  Shard's heart pounds against her ribs - the others, ahead, in danger, and Rhijans left behind in worse danger, these are sickening feelings for her.  She can't lose them; not now, not with what they've built together.

Finally, egress; egress, and cohesion as her little group comes together again.

"Secure the door," Shard mutters. "And don't bother breaking the lock, that'll just tell them which door to cut through."  This particular one won't last an instant against what comes.  The cylinder is back in her hand; she has left the bloody pistol behind, curse it, with the cases, but that doesn't matter.  If trouble happens, it's going to happen fast and ugly now, and that means Shard will need to do more than just throw out poorly-aimed plasma to try to throw off the enemy fire.  She'll need to use this void-cursed thing.

Again.

"Juragga, you and me at the fore." That's where they'll do their best work - cleaning everyone out of the way if it all heads south.  "Haarmon and Rhijans, next up - Haarmon, sing out directions if we need them."  What follows is a ways back, and most danger will come from the front.  The colonel needs to live, and Jalt needs to fly.  One quick glance to Rhijans - rather, the blood-smeared armor, a step down - in a hunt for agreement or criticism.  Then she starts to jog.

Maybe that exercise will pay off...
Juragga
 player, 498 posts
 Wookiee Warrior
 Bringing the Boom
Tue 15 Nov 2016
at 03:21
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
Juragga growled his assent, and fell in with Shard.
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 1044 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Tue 15 Nov 2016
at 05:28
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
Inside the helmet, Rhijans grimaced...but didn't argue.  Haarmon leading would have given at least a chance that anyone they ran into might dismiss them as an Imperial tech team under trooper escort...

Another explosion somewhere in the ship rumbled the deck beneath his feet.  Not like we can really afford the time to take a leisurely walk back, I suppose...  He grabbed Haarmon by the shoulder, giving it an encouraging squeeze before he gently pushed in the direction Shard had led.  "Looks like quick and dirty just became the order of the day," he quipped.  "Let's go before she gets too far ahead to hear you calling directions..."
Haarmon Dak
 player, 607 posts
 Are you talking to me?
Tue 15 Nov 2016
at 13:53
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
"Yeah. Sure. No sweat." Haarmon was holding it together, but it was a near thing. They were back in 'operational' territory again and out of 'intelligence.' That meant it was his job to mostly to call out the plays and stay as out of the way as he could.

He held his datapad tight enough for his knuckles to turn white and he kept staring at it and scrolling through the route, although by now he could have done it blindfolded and backwards.

He gave Rhijans what he hoped was a confident look. Nodded.

Lit off after Shard.

"Straight down here and second left," he yelled out over the constant din of explosion and alarm. "We're almost there." And a pause. And then, lower. A whisper. To himself more than anything. "I won't let her hurt you."
The Force
 GM, 799 posts
 These aren't the dice
 rolls you're looking for.
Tue 15 Nov 2016
at 22:57
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
Time slows to a crawl while, at the same time, speed becomes of the utmost importance.  The group move across a crowded corridor, where the Imperials are too busy dealing with fires and shifting wreckage to pay them any heed.

Into another passage, and there is an explosion behind them.  The crowded corridor fills with smoke, which vanishes almost immediately in a howling gale.  And then a blast door closes, blocking their view of the cross corridor.

"If anybody tries to follow us through that way, they're going to have to be able to breathe vacuum." Kourene says, glancing back at the blast door.

An elevator platform provides a ride to what Haarmon assures them is a deck that will give them access to the hangar.

And again there are more Imperials, all hurrying about their own business.

And the hangar is just ahead,  And guarded...
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 1046 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Wed 16 Nov 2016
at 05:06
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
Rhijans slowed slightly as he saw the guards.  "Hold up...just for a moment," he said.

"I see three ways through this...we gut it out and walk in there like we belong there, we try and create a diversion--maybe stage an 'attack' that draws guards away so we can try and slip through.  Or, we just plain old fight our way through, and hope we hit so hard and so fast that we're through and gone before reinforcements arrive."  His tone made it apparent...he didn't have much faith in the third option.

"Going on guts has been working for us, so far...but it'll be up to Shard and Haarmon to sell it.  Juragga can't speak for us, and as troopers, the rest of us should just be following orders..."  He looked back and forth at the not-quite-a-Jedi and the slicer.  "You up for that?" he asked.
Shard
 player, 1112 posts
 Most days, I'm tired.
 ...or drunk.
Wed 16 Nov 2016
at 13:05
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
Never has Shard been more pleased to greet vacuum.  Thankfully briefly.

Haarmon's directions have done the trick - unsurprisingly - and their little group, with Kourene, has arrived at their destination.  Impossible as it seems, it's true.  Now, one final task.

And it's gargantuan.

Still, after that they can relax.  Oh, there's the small matter of flying out into a warzone, and so forth, but that won't be her responsibility any more; it'll be up to Jalt and their chosen gunners (which will not be Shard, unless everyone else is somehow incapacitated, possibly by the stench of Haarmon's earlier diversion...poor Juragga).  If they fail at that point...failure is a fact of life, and at least she won't have let the team down.

Rhijans has an assessment.  Rhijans always has an assessment, for which Shard thanks whatever deity she doesn't believe in: he's usually correct, and cursed-sure worth a listen.  Gere, it's pretty clear which direction he feels they should take.

Without any time for discussion in committee.

"Haarmon has carried us through most of this," she shoots back.  "I say ride that wave.  Maybe we're just readying the Bantha - don't call it that, Haarmon - for additional transport because we've lost most of the life pods.  Good reason to have You-Why and Oh-Oh with us.  Void, we can ask some of the troopers to help us - they'd be glad to, I imagine."

Her eyes jump from Rhijans to Haarmon.  "You're up for this."

It's not a question; it's a statement of belief.
The Force
 GM, 800 posts
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 rolls you're looking for.
Mon 21 Nov 2016
at 20:48
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
The troopers guarding the hangar look to be wary, directing people away from the hangar.  The blast door opens, and one possible reason for their diligence becomes clear... there is an Imperial shuttle parked inside that hadn't been there when the Bantha arrived.

Kourene growls, "Bluffing our way through this is probably the best plan.  I think we should go for it, before anybody comes up behind us and starts taking an interest."
Haarmon Dak
 player, 608 posts
 Are you talking to me?
Mon 21 Nov 2016
at 20:57
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
Haarmon nodded. And nodded again, maybe for himself that time. It was the right play. For sure it was. And it meant he had to get out there and make it work. Otherwise, well, there as a whole Star Destroyer worth of pain a-waiting for them if they messed it up.

"Okay. Yeah. Let's do this. Rags? You mind we put some binders on you? And you all with the armour, guns out and ready? And hup-to through the hangar like maybe the whole place is about to fall apart on us? And I'll be all pointing toward the Bantha  like I'm directing traffic?  Like the Wookie's under guard and we're taking the only way out? Like he's a famous Rebel operative or whatever? Then we have a good reason for hurrying, and if it all goes sideways, we're already locked and loaded?"

Game face. Game face. Game face.

"Let's rock."
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 1047 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Tue 22 Nov 2016
at 07:27
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
A grim smile flickered across Rhijans' face, for just a moment...'guns out and ready' was probably the position all the armored personnel in the group preferred in a situation like this.  He gave a curt nod...wasn't the storyline he'd have chosen to bluff their way through, but he wasn't the one who had to sell it.  And selling it meant having as much faith as possible that it would work...which meant Haarmon was best off selling his own story.

Assuming Juragga was game, of course...

"If you keep your arms angled, just a little bit, we can just rest the binders around your wrists, unlatched.  Gravity and your hair should keep them in place well enough for a casual inspection.  Anyone wants to make more of an inspection than that, we'll have bigger problems than the binders...some of this armor would definitely not pass close scrutiny, with the damage and all..."  He held his arms out quickly, demonstrating, and gave a nod to the Wookiee, holding the binders easily in his left hand.
Juragga
 player, 499 posts
 Wookiee Warrior
 Bringing the Boom
Wed 23 Nov 2016
at 02:17
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
Juragga scrunched his nose at the smell, and growled at the binders, but nodded his assent.
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 1048 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Wed 23 Nov 2016
at 05:49
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
Rhijans laid the binders over the top of Juragga's wrists, letting the latch section hang down below where the gap between the two edges would be hidden in the Wookiee's hair.  The metallic finish of the binders showed well, at least when the light hit it.

It would, hopefully, be enough to sell the idea to anyone glancing at a Wookiee with three beat-up stormtroopers guarding him...
Shard
 player, 1114 posts
 Most days, I'm tired.
 ...or drunk.
Wed 23 Nov 2016
at 13:57
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
"All right."  Shard draws in a deep breath, lets it out.  "Securing that bloody ship for transport, important prisoner here for later interrogation, we've been cut off from our way out.  If anyone asks, we lost some of the escort in an explosion, which is why there are two technicians press-ganged into helping.  Sound good, Haarmon?  Ad lib as you please, it works for you."

"And if we run into any trouble...we don't have time for discussion, this ship is coming apart.  So hit hard."

Her fingers check the position of her weapon.  She eyes the distant stormtroopers for a long moment.  Finally, Shard nods.  "We're moving."
The Force
 GM, 801 posts
 These aren't the dice
 rolls you're looking for.
Thu 24 Nov 2016
at 20:57
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
The stormtroopers watch the group approaching.  One of them steps forward, raising a hand.  "This hangar is off-limits, by order of Lady Ghea Nimadda."  His head turns in Juragga's direction, and he looks the Wookiee up and down.  Mostly up.

"Nobody is allowed inside."

This close to the door, the shuttle can be seen more clearly.  Jets of coolant are spraying out below it.  Some crewmen are struggling to manhandle a heavy looking cargo container up the loading ramp.
Juragga
 player, 500 posts
 Wookiee Warrior
 Bringing the Boom
Thu 24 Nov 2016
at 21:30
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
Juragga did his best to project the tired, defeated demeanor he'd practiced for such situations.

It was getting to be less of an effort.
Haarmon Dak
 player, 609 posts
 Are you talking to me?
Thu 24 Nov 2016
at 21:31
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
Go time. Haarmon usually didn't know what he was going to say until he said it. Sometimes that meant he opened his mouth, inserted his foot, and sat there like a putz while the walls came tumbling down. And sometimes it meant that he could say something, anything, no matter how  outrageous, and it would sound true because, hey, who would make something like that up?

But he could never tell which was which.

For him, his whole life was basically bluffing his way through a final exam when he'd never been to any of the classes.

"Who do you think sent us up here? Some void-cursed Moff? Listen. The whole ship is coming apart. There's Rebels in the ducts. Slicers all through the 'nets. The whole systems compromised. And the Lady has decided that, no matter what, two prisoners are making it off this boat. One of them, you know which one, she's dealing with herself."

A cocked back thumb.

"This one's the other. This is the guy who lead the assault on Alkirk. Who bombed Osmur. He's what's-his-face's personal errand boy. And if I have to walk through someone to get him out of here in one piece, I'd rather it be you than her. Dig?"

He'd taken a couple of steps toward the trooper as he ranted. So he would up, well, not exactly all up in his respirator. But closer than you generally wanted to get to am anxious Stormtrooper.

Haarmon was pretty good at passionately unhinged. He'd been into a lot of fandoms back in the day, where he'd gotten more than his fair share of practice.

OOC: Rolled a 19 on Con (Braggadocio) and 15 on Persuasion.
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 1049 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Mon 28 Nov 2016
at 03:28
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
Rhijans stood easy...lightly tense, but you'd expect that from a battered-looking, blood-smeared stormtrooper guarding a large and dangerous captive.  His blaster was held at the ready...not quite on Juragga, ready to start shooting the guards if things went sideways.

Inwardly, he gave an approving nod.  Haarmon had a line ready, and he was running with it, full speed.  And there was just enough truth to it that it was easier to sell...he was shaving details, yes, but Juragga had been in all those places.  The best lies were mostly truth...
Shard
 player, 1115 posts
 Most days, I'm tired.
 ...or drunk.
Mon 28 Nov 2016
at 13:13
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
Shard eyes the shuttle.

Cargo containers...they look important.  If they're trying to get them aboard the shuttle at this time, the shuttle no-doubt to be used by Nimadda, they're probably something interesting.  If the Rebels gets through this, they might take that shuttle rather than the Bantha...

No.  The Bantha still seems the best possible choice.  But maybe, just maybe, they can do something about that shuttle as they leave.

For now, she waits.  Haarmon runs the show, and it's up to him to get them past the stormtroopers.  For now.  If he fails?  Well, at least she has gotten herself close enough to be of use.
The Force
 GM, 803 posts
 These aren't the dice
 rolls you're looking for.
Mon 28 Nov 2016
at 21:03
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
The trooper regards Haarmon and the "prisoner" in silence for a few seconds.  Behind him, some of his squad are starting to look nervous.  It's almost as if they're worried they might get in the way of one of Ghea Nimadda's plans, then have to explain to her, personally, why they did it.

"Sir.  The rebel is probably being escorted to the shuttle."

The lead trooper looks around, then back to Haarmon.  Weighing the situation carefully for a few seconds longer.

"Very well, you can pass."

The squad move aside as the team head into the hangar.  As they walk out onto the floor, Jalt's voice, muffled by a stormtrooper helmet, says quietly, "As soon as we're aboard, I want somebody on the turret in case we have to fight our way out."
Shard
 player, 1116 posts
 Most days, I'm tired.
 ...or drunk.
Tue 29 Nov 2016
at 12:35
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
The perspiration on Shard's brow could be from the stress of the ship coming apart around them.  It isn't; she can't do anything about that, and neither can any of her friends.  No, it's from silently willing the troopers to believe Haarmon's outrageous speech.  Her stomach knots as she waits...

...and Haarmon, as always, sells it.

They're past, and Shard has to fight to keep her knees from shaking.  Just a little further, she tells herself.  Just a little further, and they're safe.  They can't run, they can't pull off Juragga's shackles (not that they're really inhibiting him), but just a little further....

"Not me, unless nobody else has any experience," she replies to Jalt. "I'm a terrible shot, but I can manage if you're not expecting rapid-fire." Her voice shakes as she continues. "Colonel, any chance we might get upgrades on the Bantha after this?  Figure it's a good time to ask."

One hand reaches out, blindly, and touches Haarmon's arm.  "Good...good job, Haarmon.  You've carried us through the worst of this one, no doubt; you and Rhijans."
Haarmon Dak
 player, 611 posts
 Are you talking to me?
Tue 29 Nov 2016
at 13:52
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
It's a good thing there aren't any stormtroopers staring directly at them at that moment, because between his relief at not being dead, and the adrenaline from the whole situation, and Shard's praise, Haarmon blushed beet, beet red from the brim of his techie's hat to the collar of his techie's tunic.

"Not that good," he muttered, clearly pleased, "I just upped the price on poor Rags' head. Gonna have Bounty Hunters all up in his face-fur now. Sorry, Rags."

A pause.

"Are we commandeering the shuttle? Or headed for the Bantha?"
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 1051 posts
 Just let me do my job and
 nobody else gets hurt.
Tue 29 Nov 2016
at 18:04
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
"Pretty sure Jalt would take very verbal exception to abandoning his ship in a Star Destroyer...not to mention the potential security risk involved with leaving behind a ship that's been to our primary base.  Unless he routinely wipes the computer, SOMEONE will be able to get information on where he's been."

He risked a glance back at the guards.  "That said, if nobody's watching us too closely...I'm not a great pilot, but I can fly.  This doesn't necessarily have to be an either/or prospect."  He gave the briefest of pauses before adding, "We're doing good, to me it's a question of whether we risk getting greedy, or if our odds improve with having two ships leave at the same time.  Pretty sure if SHE isn't aboard, however, then there are pretty stringent orders that the shuttle be destroyed."

Of course, with it being the Empire, they may well have assumed there would never be any such risk and it had never been addressed...