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(+32.887 Raik’ors, Regulant Auspice, Bridge)
The Var’sin’da board IN the bowels of the Regulant, before their ship finally breaks apart. Most of their assault pods are never make it, caught in the wake and explosions of their dying ship. Still, there are an alarming number of estimated enemy on board. El’Ol’savon, has a simple strategy, using the security teams to create a net that will sweep through lower decks. Once a deck is secured, the teams will push down into the next, preventing the enemy from moving up into the upper decks and bridge. She wants us to use Kauyon ambushes, popping out of hatches and maintenance tunnels to surprise our foe. I modify her tactic, until it resembles a Tel’ka strike.
As I reach the staging deck, I am caught in a stream of frightened and confused crew. The throng is loud, and as I have to push my way through. I try yelling over them, ordering them futilely to designated shelters.
Several of the teams have left the storage dock when I arrive. Upon seeing me, my team moves up. They seem shaken but otherwise alright.
“What is happening sir?“ asks Ui’Lar’ka.
I signal to move, and as we file out of the dock to our first position, I brief my team. They are elated, assured that we have won, but I make sure they understand.
“Shas’la, we are not victorious, not until the last foe has surrendered, fled or has been eliminated, do you understand?”
They nod and become more alert. We are loading into our designated maintenance tunnel when we receive the signal to load our pulse carbines and rifles. In almost complete unison, the sound of six loading motors echo off tunnel walls. The passage is long, but I find it mildly discomforting, a cold and confining space for six tall armored Shas’fann. We wait, the occasional sigh or cough are only break in the team’s noise discipline. My wrist chronometer shows that only a few raik’or have passed, but it feels like an eternity. Finally I hear El’Ol’savon whispered voice in my earpiece.
“You have eight Var’sin’da approaching, be ready.”
I wonder if she whispers because of our foes heighted senses or because of the nature of our mission, or perhaps both. Nevertheless I hold my breath and use hand signals to order my team to the far end of the tunnel. Our enemy has no fear though and despite their acclaimed stealth and agility, we hear them approach. They scrap weapons against our walls and talk with no concern for revealing their position. Some of the voices are cruel and guttural, almost shouting. Others are laughing as they pass, and their arrogance or stupidity disgust me. I stand in front of a tunnel hatch, signaling my team on the other end that I will begin the ambush. Pulling two photon grenades, I activate them as the door opens almost silently. The sliding grenades cause my foes to turn, firing faster than I would have thought possible. I barely duck back into the relative safety of the tunnel. They keep firing until the telltale blasts of my grenades go off. I break from the corridor, but see that several are still on their feet, relatively unshaken by my photon grenades. They fire again and I run, cursing and diving into a room almost across the corridor. I am not hit but several of the enemy rounds whistle by or graze my armor. Their weapon shards punch and stick into the wall as I land flat against on the deck. The fire slackens and I pop out taking two quick shots before they return fire. Using my diversion, my team files out behind our enemy, quietly making for other entrance ways and rooms to use as cover before they too fire into the enemy , filling the air with rapid bursts of pulse fire and more photons. The Var’sin’da turn reactively to my team and I use the opportunity to fire into them. Caught between us, it is not long before only two var’sin’da are left, one I believe to be a male and the other, a female, who I assume to be the group leader. I order a ceasefire, and while training my weapon at them, I exit the corridor. The male stands and drops his weapons, beginning to raise his hands. The leader only levels her pistol at his chest. I watch in horror as she guns down her own soldier before turning and bounding toward me. She is utterly alien and despite that she is coming to kill me I am strangely in awe at her graceful dives and rolls as she dances away from my chasing pulse fire. She leaps. It is an impossible jump, giving me the impression that she is somehow flying. My rifle fires more instinctively rather than through conscious choice, and in midair she twists, attempting to avoid the fatal rounds. Still my shots are true and at this range, tear through her body, punching her down and causing her to fall short of my position. Her broken body is somehow still breathing raggedly as I approach, but her scared unfocused eyes soon glaze over. Her dead face is twisted, and I cannot tell if it is in a grimace or a smile. My team check over the rest of the fallen to make sure we are secure. At first I think that everyone is fine, until Shas’la’He’tak falls. We rush to him, finding one of the alien shards stuck in his leg. No one speaks as we carry him to the nearest aid station. I want to stay, to make sure my fire warrior will be fine but we have other areas to protect and more foes to hunt.
My team pulls variations of our same trap at several locations deeper and deeper into the Regulant’s bowels. El’Ol’savon’s voice guides us from target to target as we are systematically clearing each deck. Most of our foe refuse to surrender, but there are few or those that are wounded but alive. We bind them and place them into sealed rooms. My first fire warrior dies when we encounter a group with some rapid fire cannon that pierces the fio’tek of the closest rooms. We avenge the Shas’la’s death, and link up with another depleted team before merging. Soon, my team is a mix of our cadre and El’Ol’savon’s. We are mopping up our fifth firefight and two more shas’la are down.
“Oracle Actual, this is Wind Actual, our target is destroyed. I have more wounded, poisoned.” I report.
“Stand by wind….”
The line is still open and I can still hear El’Ol’Savon’s voice though it is too faint to make out the words. There is panic in her tone and my line is dropped. I worry the bridge is attacked, surprised at how our foe have gotten past us.
The ship wide audio com activates and I hear the Shas’El’s voice, “All available security teams, to the core now!”
The order is almost a scream. I run, pushing my legs as fast as I can. We all are. Everyone knows what the enemy is after and if they succeed, we will all die. By some unknown virtue, we run unimpeded, and do not encounter any enemies as we go. Running along the corridors leaves us terribly exposed, but I cannot stop. We come to another hatch, and I haphazardly climb down part way before leaping down and landing hard on my hooves. I feel pain shoot up my legs but continue to move toward the core.
I had once postulated that capturing an enemy ship would be a near impossible task. Boarding an unfamiliar vessel can and is a disorienting experience. It strange corridors and hatches can become a labyrinth defeating any targets or capture goals. Still some facts are always true. No ship was a true labyrinth, and there were always large power or heat sources present. Whether through biology, or technology, every encountered species that I know of has created or found means to detect these energies. From there, the most daunting part of boarding an enemy vessel, is mitigated, because it is always easy to find the largest source of power, once inside. That is what is at our core, that is what our enemy has found.
We arrive on the core deck and near the hatch, I stop the team as we find the bodies of butchered Fio’fann. All of them are savaged, laying in pools of their own blood. Two are missing their faces. I am sickened, but the anger in my blood stirs and I order my team forward again. We are close to T-intersection, and I halt my team once more. Four lifeless fire warriors lay at the intersection, their fio’tek colored armor and rifles are stained cobalt. I want a kor’vessa to scout the intersection as I suspect a trap but make due as I remove my shoulder shield and toss it in the juncture. It does not even hit the ground before two streams of intense fire hit it repeatedly.
“Oracle Actual, this is Wind Actual, my team is close but we are blocked by heavy weapons fire. I need an alternate route in.”
I get no response, and try again but still receive no word. I again entertain the idea that somehow the Var’sin’da have slipped past us, and are even now taking over the bridge, but again El’Ol’savon’s voice rings out on the ship’s audio coms. It repeats the order to move to the Core, this time more calm, though I still sense its urgency.
“We are on our own,” I say flatly.
I search my wrist com for schematics, attempting to find any tunnels or hatches that will lead us past the Var’sin’da choke point, but realize that our foe has chosen well.
Ui’Lar’ka asks me, “What is the plan, Shas’vre? A tel’ka firefight, I could swing around, to the other side of the intersection, make them split their fire between us. We would have fire superiority. ”
I consider it, in addition to the raik’ors it would take for any of them to get into position, the choke point will most likely have cover, and while we could prevail, the fire fight would be long and protracted, coming down to ammunition most likely. Every moment we are delayed, our foe comes closer to destroying the core. I reach an unfavorable conclusion and I find myself slightly hesitant to say the order.
“No, Shas’Ui, Mont’ka assault, hard and fast with grenades first,” I say pulling my last two grenades.
My cadre’s fire warriors twist in question.
Ui’Lar’ka asks, “Shas’vre?”
“Is there confusion about the order, Shas’Ui?”
She stiffens, “No Shas’vre.”
We risk our heads and hands as the Shas’ui and I toss the last of our photons , giving me my only assessment of chokepoint. Further down, our foe has stacked crates on either side of the opening, but did not have enough to make an effective barrier as the center is open and exposed. More fire warrior bodies lie between us and incomplete barricade. I cut my observation pull back as shards slice into the air next to me. As soon as we hear the explosions, I round the corner.
“Make for the center,” I shout as we run.
Our photons have worked and as we approach, no enemy fire greets us. I stumble, nearly tripping over a fallen brother, and several of my team passes me. My blood fires up and I redouble my pace, trying to regain my place at the lead. One of the Var’sin’da stands. He is still disoriented, but reaches out for the long barreled weapon sitting in front of him resting on the crates. I start firing, as does my team, but the enemy warrior is undeterred, managing to grab the weapon and fire. I warn my team to evade and throw myself to the ground. The shots are wild but furious and fast, ensuring that a few still find their mark. I watch both my camouflaged shas’la drop. I take a knee and aim, avenging their deaths. We rise, and move through the barricade. As we pass, I fire into another var’sin’da, still dazed on the ground. It is not an honorable kill, but I must hurry to the core and can leave no enemy behind.
The room housing the core is rather large. Red lights are blinking through a thick white steam as my team of four enters. At first, we see nothing until one of El’Ol’savon’s shas’la activate a manual vent. We train our weapons as the steam clears to a light haze. There are at least a dozen dead fire warriors, mingled with just as many var’sin’da. There are pools of blood and torn bodies all over the deck. The glowing core has several strange alien devices near it. I recognize one as the device jamming our coms, similar in its shape and glow from recordings taken by Vre’Mua’da’s battlesuit. I take stock of the fallen around me and realize that many of the fire warriors closest to us are lying face down, wounds and gashes across their backsides and legs. I turn but cannot even finish the word “ambush” as two of our foe drop from the ceiling. One shoots a pistol as they drop and I feel a something hit me in my abdomen. A single shard sticking out of my armor. The shooter drops onto the Shas’la on my left. I move to help but the foe lands on his hands, kicking out at me with both of his feet. The force of the blow knocks me back and off my feet. I am dazed and can only hear Ui’lar’ka and the other shas’la wrestling with the other foe. I roll to the deck, and slam solidly into the wall, leaving me breathless and shocked. My assailant rises, tall and lithe as any of his kind. His armor is jet black, but slightly more ornate than many of the other var’sin’da onboard. From the alien’s belt, hang grizzly trophies. Among them are a cracked helmet of a Gue’ron’sha and half a dozen severed rotting hands. Most sickening I see flesh hanging from hooks baring the faces of gue’la and tau alike. He pulls a knife, struggling with the helm my fallen shas’la, with no concern for his comrade, who is still struggling with the rest of my team. My blood is on fire again, and I make to pounce. My foe pays no mind, and as he struggles to claim his next trophy, I crash into him. We break free, and I manage to just dodge his first slice, but his movement are a blur and I do not even see his knee coming toward my stomach. It connects, driving the shard farther in and slicing into my skin. As I have lost my rifle, I try to punch him, but he easily drops under the clumsy strike. He laughs as he palms my knee and I drop, shouting in pain. I grab out and reach his knife wielding hand. I grip it and we both fall together. He manages to land on top of me and we struggle on the floor. He strikes me again and again, but I refuse to let go of his hand, knowing to do so will be my death. Finally he changes tactics and instead puts all of his strength and weight into driving the knife into my exposed shoulder. At first, I can match him, but the blade begins to drop, closer and closer. My life organ is pumping faster and faster, and I use a last surge of energy. My foe, however is ready for it, and I only manage to move the blade back for second. I glare hatefully at him. He smiles in return and begins speaking in a foreign tongue. I cannot understand his words but they sound gloating and triumphant. I cannot stop the blade, but cannot stop fighting either, until a familiar hum builds and my would-be killer’s head explodes, showering me in alien blood and gore. Standing behind is Ui’Lar’ka, her carbine leveled. Her face is a bloody mess, and she is panting. The shas’la at her side is holding his lifeless arm. My body and head ache from pain and my face feels swollen.
I throw off the dead var’sin’da and rise unsteadily, disoriented from the beating I have endured and start looking for my fallen rifle. I pick it up and move closer the alien jammer. I kick the device on to its side and fire. It sparks, ending in a lackluster explosion. Suddenly my wrist com blazes to life with chatter.
I transmit, “Cowre secwurwed.”
Last edited by knightofthewr
on Apr 16 2015 12:28, edited 1 time in total.