Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast.   Posted by The Force.Group: 0
Rhijans Thanus
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 nobody else gets hurt.
Fri 12 Aug 2016
at 06:15
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
Rhijans cocked his head slightly, listening for a moment.  "How close are we to the hull?" he asked.  Another cluster of sounds echoed through the deck.

"Those sound like turbolasers...which is some awfully heavy hardware to be hauling around inside.  Might be a chance to see what's going on outside, if we can find them..."  He didn't add the comment, but the thought was brewing in his mind that it might also be a useful way to cover their withdrawal...if the could get to the Colonel.  A turbolaser battery going up would cause a lot of collateral damage...there'd be a lot of debris and chaos to sort through before anyone could really figure out someone had gone missing...

He was as close to agitated as he got, short of being in a circumstance where his life was directly in danger.  He was fairly certain that adding too much pressure to Haarmon would cause more problems than it might solve...but he waited having to wait on someone else.  He compromised.

"What's the word?" he asked.  It was an innocuous question...but the vocal processor in the helmet didn't totally mask the tension in his voice.
Haarmon Dak
 player, 566 posts
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Mon 15 Aug 2016
at 12:42
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
"Good news-bad news," Haarmon mutters as he scrolls through screens and menus, tapping furiously. "So the deck with the detention centre is clear. But the one below us is not. I can get the elevator moving. But we'd die from a toxic coolant leak. But there's ones nearby that are working."

He put away his terminal and drew a quick route on the schematic he called up on his datapad. Handed it to Rhijans. It was pretty straightforward, as far as it went. Direct line down to the next junction. Hop on. Down two decks. And back.

Only one problem.

He pointed at the fiery hallway.

"They're through that."

This message was last edited by the player at 13:49, Tue 23 Aug 2016.

Shard
 player, 1064 posts
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 ...or drunk.
Mon 15 Aug 2016
at 13:06
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
"Void," Shard whispers.  She could cut through into the next deck...but that one is lethal.  That leaves the elevators Haarmon indicates.  Her lips compress into a thin, thin line.  "I..."  For an instant she glances back over her shoulder, almost helplessly, at the others.  Then her eyes turn back to the fire and her lips compress.  "I can make it.  But I probably can't get the colonel out without you, and I'll never get him back through the fire."

Hefting the extinguisher, she pulls the pin, readying it.  And reaches back over her shoulder toward Juragga.  "But I might cursed-well be able to suppress the fire enough for everyone to make it through.  If you run.  Juragga, I'll need the other extinguisher as well."  Her lips quirk in a mirthless smile.  "Might also let Nimadda know where I am."

Fear spikes through her for an instant.  Walking into an inferno?  She hasn't...she's never done anything on that level.

"Another fifteen seconds," her master intones behind her, and Shard struggles for silent peace, her scorched hands wrapped around the glowing ember.

Reaching within, she searches for that balance again.  There's the cold emptiness of her training...and the beckoning heat of her atavistic fear and fury.  They spiral about her like the ends of a spinning rod, each wobbling, unbalanced.  Her eyes snap to Haarmon, Jalt, Juragga, Rhijans, You-Why and Oh-Oh.  And the spinning slows, gradually coming to a slowly shifting balance within her.

The fulcrum, as always, is care.

"If anyone has a better idea, I'd be glad to hear it," Shard whispers, the heat beating against her body.

This message was last edited by the player at 13:15, Mon 15 Aug 2016.

Rhijans Thanus
 player, 1006 posts
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Mon 15 Aug 2016
at 15:26
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
Ever the pragmatist, Rhijans looked at the information on the datapad.  "Don't suppose there's access to the functional lift from an upper floor, is there?" he asked as he started sifting the information.  He was generally opposed to the idea of backtracking...but sometimes the best way forward was to take a step or two back.  No sense battling the fire--both ways--if they could quickly bypass it...
The Force
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Mon 15 Aug 2016
at 19:27
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
The shouting continues, and  then there is the sound of running feet from somewhere behind the group of Rebels.  Seconds later, seven or eight crewmen with fire suppression gear run past, heading in the direction that Haarmon had pointed,  Soon they are lost from sight in the smoke-filled corridor.

The shouting rises in volume as more voices are added.

And still there are turbolasers, at least that's what Rhijans says they are, firing not too far away.

R2-O0 starts whistling frantically, and UY-3PO translates, "He says that I should remind you that he has fire suppression equipment built in to him, should it be required."
Shard
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Wed 17 Aug 2016
at 12:05
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
Shard cocks an eyebrow.  "I would say that's as clear an indication as we can get.  I vote we go, now, and worry about the next problem when we hit it."  Tossing one of the fire extinguishers back to Juragga, she readies herself to move.  They're well-past the point of caution, now; turbolasers firing means the war proceeds apace outside, and this ship is caught up in the middle of it.  Still.  And a damaged ship is a tempting target, especially for Rebels ill-used to holding such an advantage over an Imperial Capital Ship.

No time to wait, no time to worry.  Friendly fire could obliterate the colonel, them, or the whole cursed ship at any moment.  Ghea Nimadda might decide to abandon ship, but not before coming to get her prized prisoner.  Any of the Imperials around them might begin to realize they're not acting up to spec.

"Seat of the pants," she mutters.  "It's what we do.  So let's move."
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 1007 posts
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 nobody else gets hurt.
Fri 19 Aug 2016
at 06:17
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
Rhijans had misgivings...but Shard had a point.  They were at their best when everything was a hair's-breadth from total disaster.  "You're the disaster team, we're just escort," he quipped.  The helmet made it impossible to know whether he actually smiled when he said it, but he was suspiciously close to a chuckle.

"You lead.  Pretty sure Jalt and I aren't going to have any trouble with the fire if the rest of you can get through safely."  He thought for a moment...and decided against apologizing in advance if Juragga's hair got singed.  While they'd been working together for a while, the question of the Wookiee's potential vanity had never come up, and he didn't want to find out the hard way, now.
The Force
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Mon 22 Aug 2016
at 20:16
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
The smoke grows thicker, and the voices louder, as the group move through the corridors.  Surely it's only a matter of time before they run into the fire?  Or the Imperials? And it's hard to say which would be worse.

As luck would have it, it's the latter.

Ahead there is a faint glow through the smoke, and moving shapes dimly silhouetted against it.

A sudden air current tears the smoke into ragged wisps, just for a moment, and an Imperial officer spots them.  "You there!  Go around to the left side and try to keep this contained."

He indicates a passage that leads off to the left of the fire.
Rhijans Thanus
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Sat 27 Aug 2016
at 12:29
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
"Yes, sir!" Rhijans responded crisply.  He actually had little or no intention of fighting the fire, but figured acknowledging the order was the fastest way to get the officer to stop paying attention.  He turned to the others, gesturing them onward...and contemplating what to do about the officer if and when he noticed they were going for the elevators, rather than fighting the fire.
Juragga
 player, 480 posts
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Sat 27 Aug 2016
at 16:29
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
Juragga followed, fire extinguisher in hairy paw.
Shard
 player, 1068 posts
 Most days, I'm tired.
 ...or drunk.
Mon 29 Aug 2016
at 11:04
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
Clever.  While she's sure that Haarmon had a four-line excuse ready to roll off his tongue, Shard can see Rhijans isn't to short with the fast-talking, either.  One rather rough salute later and she's hurrying after the others.

OOC - apologize for the brevity, I'm on vacation and there's not a lot needed to be said...
The Force
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Mon 29 Aug 2016
at 19:20
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
According to Haarmon, there is an elevator just a little way ahead now, and his terminal indicates that it's safe to use.  The team should be able to get down two more levels without any difficulty.

Unless, of course, the elevator is already full of stormtroopers...

The door opens, to reveal that the elevator is actually empty.  And a few seconds later it is empty again, as the team steps out onto the right deck.

There's less smoke down here, though the air is still warm.  Haarmon consults his map-

"About two hundred metres that way." he says, pointing, "We should find a side passage on the left, and that will take us to exactly where we want to be."
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 1010 posts
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 nobody else gets hurt.
Tue 30 Aug 2016
at 05:58
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
Ruijans nodded.  "We're your escort," he said, laying out what fraction of a plan he had.  "You were ordered down here to make sure fire-suppression was online in case things go wrong upstairs.  All you know is, it's a high-security area and you weren't allowed in without us to watch over you.  Feel free to sound annoyed if you have to explain that."  There was no humor to the tone, just expedient pragmatism.

"Once we get in there, we'll assess what we can do and figure out what more trouble we can make."  He glanced quickly at Juragga, his head cocked slightly in thought...then he gave a minute shrug.

"Let's get this done..."
Haarmon Dak
 player, 572 posts
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Fri 2 Sep 2016
at 16:59
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
Haarmon had a whole host of replies ready to blurt out at any Impperial officers foolish enough to get within shouting distance of him. He pretty much always did. But when the real officer popped up and started popping off, he found he was too freaked out by the situation to do much more than squeak a little squeak of agreement and follow along blandly.

But then, once again, he was up front, with a map, the lynchpin of Rhijans' plan. He gulped. Took a breath. Nodded.

"Let's get this done."

He stomped his way down the hallway, trying his best to keep his face more put-upon-functionary than scared-to-death-little-pissant (and doing a decent job of it, he thought). He rounded the corner looking for the duty officer, or whoever they had in charge here.
The Force
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Mon 5 Sep 2016
at 19:33
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
Haarmon's map proves to be accurate, and in a matter of minutes the team are approaching a standard Imperial detention unit.  An open space at the near end contaois a control desk, where a pair of crew members are looking stressed, even though they don't have much to do.  Unlike the last detention unit, the commanding officer looks even more stressed than his men.

It could be something to do with the number of stormtroopers, both near the control desk and in the corridor that leads away from it, past the cell doors.  There must be at least forty or so troopers in the area.

As the team approaches the desk, it becomes apparent that there is something unusual happening here.  Not only are there a lot of troopers about, but the officer in charge has an abnormally high rank for a man in that position - his insignia mark him as a Sub-Commander.

The officer turns as the team approach, and he sneers at Haarmon, Shard, Juragga and the droids.

"What are you doing here?  This area is restricted by order of the Lady Ghea Nimadda."
Haarmon Dak
 player, 573 posts
 Are you talking to me?
Tue 6 Sep 2016
at 01:54
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
Haarmon didn't stop moving. He didn't freeze and he didn't just start belting out curse words. But all the same, he felt pretty good letting the fear and anxiety show on his face. This was a scary and anxious situation. And now, the moment the sub-commander guy spoke, he was suddenly under the personal orders of Nimadda and, therefore, the stakes went up. ALL the way up.

And plus the ship was under attack.

He figured scared was a pretty authentic reaction for anyone.

"Yea, yeah, but I think that was before the whole galaxy exploded and everything was on fire." He smiled a very nervous smile and wiped the sweat from his forehead. "Which is why we're here. Checking fire suppression. Back-up gravity generation. You don't even want to know what's going on a few decks up. And you know what this one means to her. We need a half hour to check all the systems."
Shard
 player, 1071 posts
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 ...or drunk.
Wed 7 Sep 2016
at 10:56
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
Shard keeps back, back with Juragga and the droids.  She salutes, somewhat comically juggling the fire extinguisher, but that's all.

Things could go to the void any second, with so many troopers around and the officer possibly on edge.  Then again, it's possible he's not - he's high up, placed here by Nimadda herself, and could be excruciatingly competent.  It might be better for her to be up front with everyone else, but...there's a matter of the officer's apparent familiarity with his commander, and the murder-stick hanging at her belt.  So she stays out of the way and makes sure to hold the fire extinguisher coincidentally in front of said tool.

If the officer spots it, there will be problems.

OOC - Sorry, short post...will be short for another two weeks or so.
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 1013 posts
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Wed 7 Sep 2016
at 15:52
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
Rhijans felt an unpleasant twist in his gut at the sight of all the troopers.  Not unexpected, certainly...but unwelcome, just the same.  Any visible reaction he had to the numbers was hidden by the armor...the same faceless quality that the Empire relied on for psychological impact was, at the moment, his best tactical edge.

He allowed himself a slight smile of pride for Haarmon, who stepped up and rattled off the appropriate techno-talk without any glimmer of unreasonable fear for an Imperial drudge in a very unenviable situation.  All that was left was to wait and see how the Imperials reacted to it.  Out here, at a focal point where they could all realize and concentrate on the team, there was almost nothing they could do.  If they could get deeper into the detention area...where he and Jalt could be mistaken for guards...they might just have a chance.
Juragga
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Wed 7 Sep 2016
at 23:48
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
Juragga did his best to play the bedraggled and defeated slave.  But his paws gripped the fire extinguisher.  It would make a handy club if swung with his Wookiee might...
The Force
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Thu 8 Sep 2016
at 17:05
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
The Sub-Commander looks Haarmon up and down.  His sneer seems to grow even more contemptuous.

And then it falters, and fades into a look of nervousness.  Somebody has sent these techs, and the slave, into a highly restricted area, with a stormtrooper escort to ensure that they get there, no less.  And he can only assume, from that, that their presence is required.

The nervousness flickers into fear - what would happen if he were to obstruct them, and Lady Nimadda's prisoner died due to some system failure that they might have prevented?

"Very well."  He raises a hand and summons two of the troopers guarding the area, "You two... help escort them as they go about their task."

Four stormtroopers would be better able to keep an eye on the techs...

"Proceed, and be quick about it."
Rhijans Thanus
 player, 1015 posts
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 nobody else gets hurt.
Fri 9 Sep 2016
at 04:13
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
Rhijans gave himself a quick mental nod.  They were in...and there were now two extra stormtroopers to shuffle up with.  The thing they'd have to be careful of would be making sure he and Jalt didn't lose track of each other and start shooting the wrong team...

And how to communicate with Haarmon and Shard without tipping anyone off...

One problem at a time...  He stepped off to one side, next to Jalt, leaving a gap for the two troopers the sub-commander had assigned to take up positions on the other side of the group.  For the moment, at least, it would make it less likely for he and Jalt to get confused with the rest of the troopers...
Haarmon Dak
 player, 577 posts
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Fri 9 Sep 2016
at 12:22
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
Haarmon saw Rhijans maneuver the new 'Troopers off to one side and nodded to himself (to keep us from shooting the wrong guys, if it comes to that, I bet). He thought it was pretty badass and something he'd never have thought of. He had his brain full up at the moment being the guy up front and on point. Again.

How the Void was he going to scrape these two off of them long enough to get anything done?

He walked into the detention area, looked around all squinty-eyed like he needed a map, and pulled out his databad. He needed a nice, semi-secluded room or hallway where they could do their 'work.'

"So, uh," he said, sort of half-looking back at the 'Troopers, "I guess you're the ones with the new DL-826 helmets? With the advanced tox-screens? That why the boss sent you back?"
The Force
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Mon 12 Sep 2016
at 20:19
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
The extra troopers move into position, nudged by Rhijans to occupy the right spots in the group.

The whole group head further into the detention area.  Stormtroopers move aside before Haarmon, no questions asked.  For a moment a stray though leaps to the front of his mind...  Everybody just moves out of my way.  This must be what it's like to be Ghea Nimadda.

Haarmon's question about their helmets seems to distract the escort.  They look at each other for a moment, then at Rhijans and Jalt.  Finally, one of them speaks.

"What do you mean, advanced tox-screens?"  Even through the muffling effect of the helmet, there is a certain amount of doubt evident in his voice
Haarmon Dak
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Thu 15 Sep 2016
at 16:10
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
Haarmon thought he really liked being important. But now that he was up to his neck in important, he realized that he was really more fond of seeming important. All the bells, half the whistles, as it were.

At the 'troopers question Haarmon shook his head and waved his hand in a dismissive gesture. "Sure, sure. Advanced, prime, upgraded, secondary-focal-point-ionizing, whatever you want to call it. So long as it works, right? I mean, call it deep-fried-wompa-burger if you want, so long as it doesn't dissolve when that ejected coolant waste hits it, right?"

He tried to inject the proper amount of hearty, aloof indifference into his voice. Having no small experience with IT professionals, he knew the exact tone he needed.
The Force
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Thu 15 Sep 2016
at 19:34
Re: Part 19 - The Belly of the Beast
The real stormtroopers keep pace, even in the face of potential corrosive coolant leaks.  They do have their orders, after all, and they are nothing, if not professional.

Just ahead of the advancing group there are four troopers standing outside one of the cells.  Even though the area contains at least forty white-armoured troopers, this is the only door which looks to have actual guards posted at it.  This particular door is about half way along the corridor, some thirty metres from the security desk.

There are stormtroopers posted along the corridor, and groups of them in the open space around the desk and at the far end of the corridor.

For the time being, nobody is shooting at anybody...