“So, we should go catch a couple of drinks sometime.” I said as I followed her lithe form up the ladder.
“We are on a black op to assassinate an imperial loyalist, and all you can think of is trying to hook up with me?” Fera snapped back.
Can’t blame a guy for trying.
“Look, it doesn’t have to be all seriousness..” I said, toeing the line. An imperial scout speeder zipped past us and that shut my mouth well enough. We climbed the rest of the ladder in silence. It turns out President Laudin was harder to get at than the Imperial High Command. He rode everywhere in laser proof speeders with a heavy military escort. Riots in the nearby towns had forced him to tone down the military escorts. The people were afraid, and this was our chance to take him down and loosen the Imperial stranglehold on this sector. As we set up on the roof, I was hoping it would be quick and clean. There was a heavy police presence, including some riot squads ready to rush in if the President’s diplomacy plan (something he’d never been very good at anyway) failed, We’d timed the patrols for a good few minutes before we made our ascent. I’d placed the reflector pad on the building behind where they’d set up the stage in the dead of night. The problem with El Presidente, was that he had too much faith in his security forces. Our informant in his office had given us the location of the bandstand and patrols for only a sum of 10,000 credits. Not bad when you considered the political implications that we could reap from it. We already had infiltration teams on the ground rallying rebel supporters to swoop in and take over.
I adjusted the facing of the reflection pad through my wrist computer. I hated the damn thing, but if it got the mission done. The crosshairs settled on the back of Laudin’s head just as he began his speech.
“I know that tensions have been high. People are scared. The military presence is threatening to many of you. It is important to remember…” he began, sounding much like a preacher at the pulpit. Preaching to sheep. Sheep that we hoped to awaken.
“We’re good.” I whispered to Fera who had set up with her personal blaster rifle, toned a dark anodized purple. It blended with her brown fur and light armor quite well, if I do say so myself. Her concentration was infallible. “600 meters to reflector. 200 meters from there.” I added, checking the range. Thankfully we didn’t have to worry much about wind. Lasers and all, pretty great stuff. With any luck, the confusion from the reflector pad would lead to enough chaos to let us slip out to our waiting ride a few blocks back. It was going to be a cakewalk.
As we lay prone on the roof, getting ready for the prime moment to strike, I found myself listening to his speech. It’s weird, listening to the last words of someone you are going to kill. Especially when they don’t know it’s even coming.
“The rebels have been a scourge to all of us. The increase in military maneuvers is to ensure all of our safety.” His young son walked onto the stage.
“Safety for everyone.” he said, putting his hand on his sons head.
“What the hell is the kid doing out there?” I whispered.
“Doesn’t matter. We’re here to do a job.” Fera muttered back.
“I won’t hit the kid.” she added. I could tell from the tone of her voice, that wasn’t what she was worried about.
We are killers. Assassins, even. But we aren’t heartless. We recognize each of our actions has an effect far reaching, miles beyond what we can see coming from it. This kid was just part of the risk assessment. Just another part of the job that as much as neither of us liked it, had to happen.
I knew it had to be done. I knew we’d be wasting months of prep-work. Several lives would be lost in vain too. All because of political trickery in bringing his son onto the stage to win the hearts of his people.
Fera’s rifle swayed a bit.
“I’m not happy about it either. Let’s just get it done.” she said, the indecision clear on her face.
Her finger slipped past the trigger guard.
“The true enemy of the empire lies within the rebels. Those bent on destroying all that we love.”
And just like that, a surveillance droid swooped into her line of fire, taking the shot like a Herglic bouncer could take an uppercut.
“Shit!” she exclaimed.
The broken droid spiraled out of the sky.
“These are the very people who have been threatening our safety. These are the people who want to take your children from you. Take your lives from you.” I could see him gesturing towards our building.
Without missing a beat, he went on.
Someone had sold us out. He’d planned all of it. The informant. The placement. The riot squads. Why hadn’t we seen it coming?
We didn’t have time to figure that out as we ran for cover. Blaster fire peppered the rooftop from the riot squads but left us momentarily unscathed. As we ran I pulled my blaster pistol and shot out one of the vents on the nearby buildings.
“We’ve stirred up the hornets nest. Meet us at the next intersection. We’re taking a shortcut.” I said as I booted the ventilation cover out of the way and we slipped inside.
“Where the hell are you coming from?” the Bothan asked. Julen K’ya was more of an infiltrator than a pilot, but we’d have to make do. If I knew anything about the guy, he was loyal as hell, and had been part of enough recovery teams to know how to get someone out of a sticky situation. As we crawled through the narrow ventilation ducts, we could hear the troopers filtering in below us.
And then we heard that terrifying phrase “They’re in the vents!” blasters went off everywhere. Both of us took hits as the ducting started to collapse. I grunted as I felt the cauterized wound stiffen the muscles in my leg.
We made hard cover a moment later, hearing a good portion of the ducting collapsing into the squad below.. I pulled my pistol again and shot out the next grate. Just below the vent, I could see Julen’s speeder hovering.
“Where the hell are you?” he said, sounding more distressed by the second.
“Up above you. Hold it steady.”
“You guys really aren’t going to…”
Fera jumped off the ledge, landing gracefully in the back of the speeder.
I tried to get a running start as my leg protested every bit of power it gave me. I jumped, and grasped at the edge of the speeder. My claws scrabbled against the smooth surface, sliding off. I was going to fall to my death, and that would be the end of Drokar.
Luckily, Fera’s quick reflexes saved my hide. She dug her claws into my arm, not out of spite, but out of leverage. Somehow, she managed to drag me back into the seat.
“Can’t you be a little bit more gentle?”
“Gripe later Dro, we got company!” Ju’len said. I looked behind us, expecting a tail to be coming after us, mainly one of those gunships.
Instead I was greeted by a duo of spec ops troopers, rapelling in from on of the overpasses we were passing under.
“Come quietly, Rebel scum.” one of them ordered, blaster drawn.
“You bet.” I said, raising my hands slowly.
Fera did the same.
“You in the front! Shut it down.”
“Fat chance of that.” Ju’l replied, slamming the throttle to maximum. It gave us just the edge we needed.
As he stepped forward with binder cuffs, I slammed my forehead into the front of his mask. As for the result,well, sometimes being hard-headed isn’t such a bad thing. He reeled back trying to bring his pistol to bear. I drop kicked him, stumbling him back. He tried to catch his balance, but ultimately failed and slipped off the speeder. His partner didn’t even stop to try and grab him. Even I cringed at the dull metallic thud of his life ending against some high pressure pipes climbing one of the cities many skyscrapers.
“I’m going to get quite the bounty off of you two.” he said, pulling a vibroblade.
“Fortunately for you, the bounty prefers you alive, but It doesn’t say anything about maiming.” he said as he lunged at me. I dodged back, narrowly missing the blade. He trained his pistol on Fera, who was trying her best to pull hers, but settled on kicking his leg out. He went down to one knee and I was on him like lightning. I threw punch after punch, working his lower body quite a bit. Fera went to put her blaster to his head but a trailing gunship full of troopers fired a salvo her way. Luckily, they were forced to pull away as the metal canyon narrowed into a residential sector. The blasters were on stun, but it was still enough to put her out of the fight leaving her sprawled across the rear seats. Her armor had soaked up a good deal of the shot, but two troopers making accurate shots to the face will ruin anyone’s day. To make a shot like that meant that they had been planning this for awhile. They’d pulled the best troopers from the other end of the system from the looks of it.
“Take care of them, Dro.” Ju’len said as he dodged an oncoming speeder. “Kind of hard to concentrate with Imps jumping around in my back seat.”
“Easy for you to say.” I muttered, wiping a bit of blood from my face.
We were screwed if we didn’t do something fast. “Hang on guys, I’m going to try to lose them in the industrial sector.” Ju’len warned, making a hard left. We all struggled to stay on our feet. I used the moment to dive onto the Spec Ops Imp. I pinned him to the rear of the speeder and was planning on throwing him off. Instead of fighting me off, he caught me off guard and grabbed my right wrist. I tried to wrench my arm away, but he had a death grip on it.
“I’m going to enjoy every second of this you cur.” he spat at me through gritted teeth as he sunk the vibroblade to the hilt just under my armpit. I felt the warm rush of blood as he severed an artery clean through. I cried out against him, feeling the strength fading from my arm in his clutches. With my good arm, I pummeled his laughing face as best as I could, still he hung on, knowing it was only a matter of moments before I wouldn’t have the strength to fight anymore. He even managed to block a good deal of my punches. His blade sunk deeper into my armpit, taking out muscle and tendons with ease. I crashed down on his elbow, hoping to end his butchery. I stunned him with it, but he kept trying to stab in again, I managed to dodge a few of the strikes, but I could already feel the blood loss hitting me like a cargo shuttle.
“Looks like you’re going to die just like every other alien scumbag I’ve killed.”
Then, through my wavering vision, I saw Fera’s blaster pistol up against his head, her face twisted in a snarl of vengenace and hate. “Looks like you chose the wrong side, you Imperial bastard.” she quipped as she pulled the trigger. I’m pretty sure the last five shots weren’t necessary, but I wasn’t in any condition to complain.
“Shit, he’s losing a lot of blood.” I heard Fera say as she grabbed the medkit from the back seat.
“Ju’l, there’s a launcher back here right?” I asked.
“There’s a PTL back there… fuck, Dro, you’re hurt bad.” he said, glancing back for a moment. I could hear the worry in his voice, but I didn’t care to hear it. We were still in dire need of a miracle or we were sitting ducks for the shuttle tracking us. It would soon be open enough for them to get at us and they’d blow us out of the sky. That is, unless we did it first.
I ignored him as I grabbed for the launcher.
“Dro, sit down.” Fera ordered.
I grabbed for the launcher, barely able to lift it with rapidly failing arm. I winced in pain. At this rate, I was going to blow us out of the sky myself.
Fera shoved me down into the seat with an exasperated sigh and set her sights on the tailing gunship. We’d just rounded a bend, so they had little idea what was waiting for them. All the better.
I heard the tone indicating a lock and watched the rocket fly straight towards the cockpit of our Imp friends. The pilot tried to pull up just as he went to pass under another maintenance overpass. The cockpit caught on the overpass just as the rocket slammed into the belly of the shuttle. I couldn’t help but smile as the fireball blossomed.
“So, how about those drinks?” I said wearily as we sped off to our rendezvous while Fera worked on stabilizing my arm. I passed out some point between her saying “You’re ridiculous, Dro.” and “ I think we can do with some booze.”
Even with modern medicine, it’s pretty hard to reattach an arm that hasn’t had bloodflow for three hours. Dead tissue, mostly. The things you learn the hard way I guess. I’ve been working to get smooth movements with the arm. All in all, it just feels unnatural. Of course, I had a nice covering done up for it to make it look more real, but I still knew it was fake, and that was enough. Shockboxing just wasn’t going well for me these days. The doctor suggested I use it to keep my skills up while “taking it easy”. Frankly, I suck. I seem to always be second too late on the dodge, or a too short on my distance for my punches. I’m tired of getting my ass shocked. I’ve been spending more time on the range lately. Master Char even suggested I take some leadership classes. He said that sometimes even the most unfortunate of accidents can turn out to be a boon to us and our allies. I took him up on the challenge since I wasn’t doing anything but pissing myself off in the ring.
Strange thing was, it’s not that bad. Not that bad at all. Officer Drokar does have a pretty good ring to it, I think. I could do with being the one to dish out the yelling and commands for once. We’ll see where it goes I guess.