Log:18 years a prisoner pt 2
When we'd left our Force Sensitive heroes they'd just gotten on the bridge of the prison transport Oberon II. Three individuals noted their arrival, standing up and staring at them with slack jaws... A twi'lek female, baring an ameoba upon her back and missing half her face, screamed and the trio began to leap across the tops of consoles towards the group.
Just like the Elizabeth Banks in Season Five of Scrubs, L'orera had been here the whole time, only nobody had noticed because she was wearing a wedding ring.
So that's where we were.
All around them the sounds of screaming, fists banging upon doorways welded shut, and the surge of a fury so strong even the unforce trained could feel it... Juria, seeing her father leap across the console at her, nearly dropped her lightsaber as she stumbled backwards until her shoulders connected with the bulkhead. His arms reached out, gripped at her Swoopsuit, trying to pull her close enough to bite her with dingy yellow, blackened teeth. Though she was able to keep him from biting her, she stared at his familiar face, into his foggy yellow eyes, and shook her head. "No... No..."
The other two split off, one rushing at Qutha. Turning over anything that got in thier path. Whatever has happened to them, their apearance does not match their capabilities. Sickly as they LOOK, they still have a great deal of dexterity.
The other, a Stormtrooper without a helmet, leaps from the top of a console at Rey, snarling and gnashing at the air as he sails.
Instincts were a powerful thing and over a decade spent wandering space had honed them better than his early years before the fall of the New Republic. The figures rising and screaming making his hackles raise and the color drain from his face. The hand holding his saber lifting to a defensive grip and the dark blue blade extending with a hissing squeal.
A step forward, towards danger despite all common sense, his other hand rises with his palm extended and his attention going first to where Juria is being accosted. What could he even say there? Look out? Something comforting while her father tries to bite her face? Fingers curling and flicking forward to send her father hurtling back to slam against consoles, rolling along them to strike the floor and begin to stagger to his feet.
Another step forward, gaze to the Twi'lek rushing him and his hand sweeping towards her - sending that one on a similar if less aggressive flight, bouncing and rolling through the air to collide with the far wall, she too scrabbling back to her feet.
"Dear oh dear..."
WHERE LAST WE LEFT LIRA (to the best of her player's recollection)...
Lira'una, lavender-skinned Twi'lek in a black Jedi robe over dark indigo clothes, was holding the silvery blade of her stunsaber ignited and off to the side of herself as a kind of makeshift torch when they found the bridge. Instead of holding it in front of her face where she would be blinding herself with the glare, she was carrying it down and off to her right side so she could see the bodies they were passing, the debris on the floor. Twi'leks had excellent low-light vision, but even they couldn't see in the pitch dark.
Back in the ship, Lira had warned of something... /many/ things... that were hungry inside the station. It had been such a strong feeling that she'd even looked pained when she said it, and that feeling had persisted. Shortly after the group had stepped off of the YV-666 together, Lira had called out, "Up there!" when Juria's light passed over a vent. But before she could get anyone's attention called to it, it had slithered inside and disappeared.
IN THE PRESENT...
Rounding the corner into the bridge, Lira's eyes had gone wide with surprise at the sight of /people/ still there... standing... turning and facing them. But they were /so/ not right. And even as they ran, she caught a glimpse of the amoeba on the Twi'lek's back, the one on Juria's father's back.
"GET THE THINGS OFF OF THEM!"
It was the only thing she could think to say. How did she describe what she'd seen in a short enough phrase to make it more clear than that? She had no idea what they were, only that whatever they were, they weren't making them /better/ .
Juria's father went flying back against some consoles, and Lira moved instinctively, the blade of her stunsaber flashing through the dark and angling to do exactly what she suggested -- swing at the 'thing' on Juria's father's back. Even as he tried to climb to his feet, the blade whipped past him once, twice, trying to be careful of hitting the man himself and instead target just the amoeba. Missing both times, unfortunately.
L'orera has been here the whole time. Completely and totally present. Well, maybe not totally.
EARLIER, ON THE SHIP
There was the briefing, and the Padawan was tucked in a corner, trying to focus her mind and meditate. To let the Force fill her with, you know, the good stuff like calm and peace.
Instead, she fell asleep.
The sounds of violence, of banging and shreiking, the bursts of raw, inhuman fury. The Padawan is terrified as she sprints through the ship, following the feeling of her Master, of her friend. She can almost taste Juria's despair through the miasma of mindless hunger and rage that blots out even her own bubbling animal terror.
Still she continues.
Her boots skid on deckplates as she rounds into the corridor towards the bridge, skidding to a stop and watching Juria's own zombified father try to bite her. For an instant, she's frozen with indecision. Her mind both races and is blank at the same time as she fights for the ability to think through the adrenaline rush of fear.
Qutha hurls the infected away, and Rera can breathe again for the moment. Golden eyes flicker across the scene and she draws a deep breath, tilting her head. Both hands come out to aid in focus, fingers curling like they were wrapping around a warm mug of kaf. She reaches out with the force and grips the amoeba, arms trembling with the effort. She grits her teeth, and wrenches the top half of her body, ripping it away from the mangled twi'lek and hurling it into a bulkhead.
She sways a little, breathing heavily from the effort, eyes opening to see the chaos still ensuing.
Unsettling wasn't a strong enough word.
With the others ahead of her already being engaged by the rage-filled people, Rey is drawing in a breath when she spies the one that lunges at her.
Two things follow. Her saber is brandished from behind the satchel she was wearing on her hip, while her right hand came up to reach out toward the one jumping for her.
He freezes in mid-air, held by her connection to the Force flowing around them, while in her left hand her saber comes on, with the golden beam lighting up both her face, and the man's face who is held suspended in front of her...
Rey's fingers flex on her right hand, while her eyes search the man's face... using the light from her saber's sunlit glow to get a better view of his ghastly visage.
What Evie's seeing on the video feed is making her heart sink. That... was the opposite of what they wanted to find. At least, she thinks. Despite all the things that the Empress of the Void has seen, what seems to amount to animated corpses?
That's a new one even for her.
Needless to say, she'd glad she's got the feed piping in through her helmet, rather than on a screen somewhere. Then, she starts hearing... /things./ Things that sound like an overwhelming force is trying to make an uninvited entry into her ship. Her home. Her voice comes over comms, <"Guys? I think there's more of them. They're trying to get into the ship. We need to go."> ... she's... at a loss of what to do at the moment. They came so far, after all this time... to come up short? It /hurts./ Of course, she's only at a loss with the exception of the things she's actively doing. Starting the process of getting the ship ready to /go,/ without going so far as to strand her people.
Yes. Even the Jedi. Playing on opposite teams was /long/ ago. She's definitely on that team these days.
But more importantly, she's making sure that Katya is safe, and if that means shooting everyone on that ship that didn't come from her ship, she's prepared to do so. Her blaster isn't going to run out of bolts any time soon.
Changing her broadcast to transmit that Kuati drawl throughout the Asteroid, she adds, <"Katya, sweetheart, go to your room and lock the door. Mommy's gotta do some... noisy repairs to the ship. Don't wanna hurt your pretty ears."> Of course, the noisy part and the repairing part will likely be two different things if history is any indication.
This is decidedly not what they wanted to find. Gallem is hurled backwards away from his daughter and crashes against a terminal. His body flips over it, rag-dolling, until he hits the deck with a hard thump. He's already climbing back to his feet when Lira sweeps her blade over his head, moving in a jerky side to side motion, presenting the host rather than the amoeba on it's back. Apparently they have self preservation that does not include protecting the person they're riding.
Juria, temporarily stunned though she may be, ignites her saber and leaps forward. Following Lira's indication to remove the creatures from their back, she hopes, but each swing is met with similar results. Her father dodges, leaping back, using his BODY as a shield, which forces her to pull punches.. The blade whirls downward in an overhead strike and stops just before it would connect with her fathers forehead...
Qutha, Rera, and Rey are far more successful.
Two fly away from Qutha, but the woman leaps up from where she'd buckled against a couple of chairs. Running at him with a hunger filled scream until Rera tears the creature from her back. The transluscent creature is yanked free, with a two foot bio-organic tail pulling out of her spinal column from a small wound in the back of her skull.
The second that the last of it is removed, the woman crumples like a sack and slides across the floor. Whatever had been keeping /her/ animate is gone... nobody can survive losing a lekku and half their face. But it's good information.
Some of them may be alive, but even the ones that aren't, can continue fighting.
As for the Asteroid?
Katya screams when the banging starts and, while she wants to stay and help, knows whatever is going on is ... terrifying. She runs towards her room and bolts the door, crawling beneath her bed where she clutches a stuff bantha to her chest.. Outside the hatch, one... two... ten? fists are banging. Screaming.. breaking themselves against the durasteel.
It's only a matter of time.
The notion of it turns Qutha's stomach, but with space between he and the victims he has moments to think. Saber still out and held at a high-defensive posture he focuses on the subject of their search. Reaching out and envisioning the Force enveloping the creature controlling the other. Free hand gesturing again in a loop ending with his fingers gesturing as if tugging something.
Gallem dropping to the ground and the entity being drawn from their body, the translucent form hurling across the room past the stormtrooper that Rey suspends - the creature there following after to leave the trooper suspended without their body controlled.
Head snapping back, Juria's father is saved from impacting the deck, at least. Caught up and carefully lowered while the Zelosian's skin flushes and he begins to feel the exertion of all that he is doing at his very core.
Lira stood her ground as Gallem dodged her attacks, and soon Juria's saber was joining her own in a flurry of swings, trying to cleave at amoeba rather than /person/ . And then the thing they were swinging for is simply torn free, flung across the room, and Gallem collapses (gently, thanks to Qutha's concentration) to the floor in front of her.
Instead of stopping to check on Gallem, however, the Twi'lek merely turns away from the slumped figure, her blade still 'ignited' (in as much as a stunsaber's blade is ignited).
She could still /feel/ them.
The Twi'lek was moving away, then, taking a few quick steps past the group, back the way they came, her blade once more held out to the side so she could look... but not just /look/ . She took a moment. Breathed. Tried to still the rising adrenaline.
Just like at the circus... the crowds... /let it all fade away, Lira/ . Focus on what you're doing.
"Guys, I don't mean to sound bossy, but the way is clear /now/ and it won't be if we don't go." She even surprised herself with how steady her voice sounded. She turned back towards the group. "Can someone get Juria's dad, or do Rera and I need to carry him?" They were, after all, the only ones without the /real/ sabers. "There's more of them.. a /lot/ more of them. The doors are holding, but they won't for much longer."
Rera can -feel- the amoeba leave the Twi'lek. When she opens her eyes again and actually looks, her stomach roils in revulsion. The natural reaction to witnessing a (somewhat) fresh corpse. She swallows bile, doing her best not to sick up on the deck at her feet. She draws a deep breath and scans the bridge, watching Qutha do what she did with far less effort and then set Gallem to the ground.
She seems to suddenly remember what she's trained to do.
The Mirialan reaches into her satchel and pulls out her medpack, sprinting towards the man on the floor. She drops to her knees, sliding the last meter or so on them, and starts to do her thing.
Except she can't. Her hands shake, her mind goes blank. She looks up at the other Jedi, her expression blank and wide eyed.
"I...I can't remember...I don't..."
She looks up at Lira blankly, like she's trying to parse what she said. Combat shock? The sheer, unwavering fury boiling through the air itself? Probably both, honestly.
When Qutha makes the successful removal of the parasite, Rey's eyelashes just flutter at the savage nature of these creatures, and the implications of it all. But she reacts swiftly, allowing the man to settle back down on to his feet.
Rey's saber is swtiched from her metal left hand in to her right. She tucks her mechanical hand and arm around the Stormtrooper's waist, and begins to try and lead him.
"Let's go. We can't save them all." Rey says, turning back to the corridor toward the hatch and the ship they came on.
Together, Rey and the Stormtrooper (hopefully) start to make their way back out, with her golden saber lighting the way ahead of her.
<"Guys? Talk to me here, status update? On your way back? I'll keep 'em at bay as long as you need, but, the less time you need the better, right?">
Evie's voice over comms probably includes the sound of her blaster being fired towards the docking hatch. They're not exactly warning shots, but that opening isn't big enough for anything to get through yet. On top of that, she's not exactly that concerned about running out of ammo here, so she's definitely going for quantity over quality in her shot selection.
Not scoring any hits? A little disheartening, to be sure... but ground combat has never really been her field of battle. At the same time, she's been a soldier of one stripe or another for the majority of her life. She's prepared to do what it takes to defend her own.
Even without trying to hear it, everyone can hear the banging. Every door they had passed getting here, so many fists. The entire population of this prison barge, it sounds like. The sheer volume of furious screams is enough to shake the bulkhead as dozens and dozens of fists punch at durasteel bulkheads trying to get out of their metal prisons. The irony, right? They'd come to free prisoners.
Juria, seeing her father hit the deck, slides down beside him and turns him over. She doesn't know much about medicine, but is thankful when her Padawan is there with her medpac. Even now, maybe especially now, Juria looks calm.. breathing in deep and letting it out slowly. She lacks her usual serenity and her eyes are ... different.. an emotion in them that few have ever seen from the Corellian, but she's externally calm. "Breath." She says to L'orera.
"Help me get him up." With foggy eyes, Gallem is looking around, trying to see. Drawn to a voice? Her jaw tightens.. and she shakes her head. Can't focus on that right now. She stands and heads towards the exit, "Lira'una, help rera with my father." All seriousness, blade ignited at her side. <"We're coming.">
Out in the corridor, the sounds of multiple hatches starting to bend beneath the pressure can be heard and a single white clad figure squeezes itself out of a crack a three fourth too small for him... He clatters to the floor and jumps to his feet, running at the group of Jedi screaming!
Back at the Asteroid.. The access hatch is getting wide enough that arms are coming through, a half dozen of them at least, trying to grab at Evie. Screaming, horrible, intense screaming. Some of the faces almost appear human, others are... less so. Torn, tattered, barely any flesh.
"Good job." said to L'orera, despite her panic and then the zelosian's glance is on Lira, nodding when Juria requests she help with her father. Expression pained as all of the chaos begins to pressure down around them, "As she asked, Lira... H'ep 'er gittem out." looking up and moving forward.
They had Rey here, she was cover enough for their efforts. But of all the Jedi here, she was the only one with children and that seemed to strike a bell in priorities for Qutha once in the corridors. Saber held to one side, ready to be brought around - a walking makashi stance that holds even when an armored victim is likely damaged beyond surviving by the parasite controlling them.
"I'm one wit' Th'Force." steps even, continuous and guided back towards 'home', with intent to clear a path for others, watching the trooper and striding towards them until instincts call out again. Arms drop and the body from mid-chest down passes while tumbling in one direction - shoulders and everything from the clavicle up going the other, "An' Th'Force is wit' me..." the mantra continuing until he has a commlink lifted,
<<"We's comin' Miss Evie. Be ready t'slam hatches once we's aboard..."
Lira's stunsaber retreats back into its hilt with a 'hiss' of the spring-loaded blade and charged particles dissipating. She hooks the extinguished hilt back onto her belt underneath her robe, and in the next moment, she's on her knees in front of Rera, taking the green-skinned girl's hands in her lavender ones. It takes only a few seconds, but she focuses on the other girl's eyes.
"Remember what you told me at the uneti tree?" she asks, purple lips curling into a little smile. "The only way to find peace is to surrender. Stay in the moment with me. You already did /great/ , now lets get him back to the ship to you can focus. We can do this. Together."
Her heart was pounding. It was all she could do to hold /herself/ together from the burning /need/ to just get /out/ of this place. She could still taste the stomach acid rising up her throat like bile. But she gave L'orera's hands one final squeeze and then began to move, grabbing one of Gallem's arms and starting to try to hoist him up.
For reference, Lira'una is a five-foot tall Twi'lek that weighs a hundred pounds. This is /not/ going to happen as a solo effort. She's not a complete weakling, but the strain of even the first few seconds shows pretty evidently on her face, and she was hanging back while the others moved forward, putting her complete trust in Rera to help.
L'orera's hands shake as she fumbles with the medpac, golden eyes rolling in her skull like a terrified prey animal. Her mind races with what to do. She knows how to do it, she can do it in her sleep, but her hands won't listen.
Then she's met with comforting presences. First, Juria. Her eyes focus, and she draws a slow, shuddery breath, trying to come back to the here and the now. What needs to be done, and how to do it. Her nod is hesitant, but it's a start.
Then Lira arrives, taking her, at the moment, icy hands into hers. More focus comes back. "R-right. The moment. Here. Now." Her next deep breath is far more steady, but her hands are still cold. She nods to her friend and slips her hands free to put the medpac back in her bag. She shifts her kneel into a crouch, slinging Gallem's other arm over her shoulder. She's only a little taller than Lira, but she's determined and ready to help. She looks to the Twi'lek and nods. "On three. We do it together."
Rey and the disoriented Stormtrooper start down the corridor back toward the hatchway. She watches the others rushing about, and looks over her shoulder to them. "Stay close, we have to get free of this place and see it finished to spare those aboard it."
With a strain in her voice, Rey continues to help the Trooper on her left walk and move, him being taller than she, and weighing more it is no small task, but she makes due, with her metal hand gripping on to his Stormtrooper utility belt to keep him up.
Rey's saber growls in the ship's stale air, the sound of the hands beating on the hatches around them like an impending threat, it bashes at her own anxiety to try and let it loose... but she has been through worse, she's seen worse.
The Jedi Code is the answer to such moments, and she recites elements of it silently within her own mind, as she has countless times before.
<"Got it. Good. I'll start working on getting the engines ready for egress.">
Even though the numbers on the other side of the hatch... which is increasingly becoming an open connection between the Asteroid and the infested ship, the pilot already starting to back away from said hatch to try and stay out of arms reach for the invaders.
<"Don't be surprised if we're not the only ones on the ship when you get here, though."> A pause. <"She's safe, Jay -- you know I'm not letting them near her.">
She doesn't doubt the ability of the Jedi boarding team to dispatch of the invaders. Truth was, they'd likely be much better than she would at it, because her specialties lie in other places. Other places that the group could actually use her /applying/ said skills, so she's going to start working on exactly that. Trusting in her ship, and her knowledge of the layout to buy the group enough time to get back. Trusting in her armor and it's head-to-toe covering nature to buy her a little more time.
The screams are loud. Distracting. Even to the girl who got her original callsign /because/ she was loud and distracting in the cockpit. But hands are flying. Tapping panels, disconnecting power couplings. She's going to get them ready to go, because once her people are on, she wants to get her ship and her family as far from /that/ ship as she can.
Even if it comes down to someone else having to fly them out of here when it's time.
The Stormtrooper against Rey isn't completely dead-weight, but he's not much help either. He goes in and out of lucidity, which is being generous. Stumbling along beside her, using her more as a leaning post than a crutch, the going is not quick. Which is going to become problematic because those doorways are pushing open. More hands are coming through, so many hands, and while the corridor is wide enough that they dont' come anywhere near reaching the Jedi moving through them, it does mean that eventually all those hands will have bodies out here... isntead of in there.
Another Stormtrooper pulls itself through and Juria twists around and cuts his head off, severing through ameoba and host with a whine of the glowing blue blade twirling in her grip. A prisoner tries to grab at her as she falls through the crack and only barely survives another upwards twist of the blade. The creature hisses and crawls to her feet, having once been a Deveronian, parts of her are ... gone.. and still clawing at Juria's leg.
<<"We're almost there.">> She says to Evie, a kind of cold in her voice as she roughly kicks defensively at the hand clawing at her leg. Across the hall and further ahead, another Prisoner squeezes through where the corridor turns down towards the port hatches. Just beside one of the overturned barricades they'd passed coming in.
Gallem is no more lucid than the Stormtrooper and of even less help for Rera and Lira. Dangling from them, dragging his feet. His head is moving glancing towards something everytime Juria speaks, but then it lulls forward and hangs.
<<"How many's at the hatch, Miss Evie?">> speaking into comms still and continuing down the corridor, mindful of the figures trying to force their way through the doors and mores of those coming in to attack. Seeing one next to Juria, trying to trip her up with her father and focusing on it and another charging them from further down the hallway.
"Miss Juria, I ain't sure if we gotta gitcha all ahead'a me, or ifn' we're gonnar need t'stick tight t'gither." trying to judge how best to get the injured to safety, while covering their egress. But Qutha's eyes on Gallem when he says it, continuing in the same breath, "But we need t'gitcher pap back f'sure."
A sweeping of the hand holding his comm goes from one side of him to the other, passing under the hand holding his saber and the screaming figures are batted to one side of the corridor, clearing the path again for the escaping jedi.
"One. Two. THREE."
Lira heaves, getting Gallem's arm around her shoulders and lifting with her legs, grabbing at whatever she can to help hold him on on her side while Rera gets a grip on the other. It's all done as quickly as she can manage, and as soon as Rera seems like she has a decent enough grip, the Twi'lek starts to shuffle forward.
It's not a slow shuffle, either. The others were already moving forward, clearing their path, and Lira is ready to beat feet towards the same exit as fast as she can Juria's dad in tow. And since neither of them was as tall as Gallem, his feet were dragging along behind them. There was no way around that. That's just how it was going to have to work.
"Oh... hey.. I think he's moving." It's said almost conversationally, but from the strain of Lira's voice and the exerted panting, it was hard to tell if she was talking to Rera or just herself. Regardless, she wasn't stopping to check any vitals along the way. This was a one-way flight back to the Asteroid with no layovers.
"Hang in there.... my dude... not far... we've got this..."
Shuffle. Shuffle. Shuffle. Shuffle.
Unlike her bestie, Rera is bearing the weight far more stoically. She is mostly silent as she engages in the time honored tradition of teamwork . Mostly silent anyway.
"We've got you," she says quietly into Gallem's ear. Her tone is as soothing as she can make it. "You will be fine. We're getting you out of here. Your daughter... She's here. She's getting us to safety."
She looks over at Lira and tries to give her an encouraging smile. It comes out more as a grimace, but this guy is kind of heavy!
"We do have this, Lira. Together."
With the Stormtrooper barely able to keep his own weight whilst leaning on Rey, the Jedi Master just quietly grunts as she manuevers them around some of the bodies strewn about the floor that they weaved through on their way in originally. She sees Juria's saber strikes, followed by Qutha's timely use of the training he's honed over the past decade and a half to dispatch two more.
Her eyes dart over to one of the hatches that are spreading open by hands pulling on it, and some part of her wishes they had more chance to save some of these people... but there wasn't enough time or resources available to achieve it.
Throwing her shoulders to adjust how the heavy man leans on her, Rey steps over one of the bodies on the ground, spins her saber off to the side to drag it momentarily along the bulkhead which cauterizes one of the hatch doors beside her as she goes, helping seal it with rapidly cooling molten metal jamming it up now.
"Almost there..." She says through gritted teeth.
Why save this one trooper? Because if he can provide answers, anything related to this place.. all the more information is useful.
<"Not sure, they're kinda climbing all over one another to try and break in. At LEAST six. Probably more."> Evie reports, letting her tone grow more somber. Not quite the ball of energy of her youth, or the confident leader of men that showed herself at Exegol. <"If it comes down to it, I'm last priority here. Don't forget that. I think we're gonna be okay, though.">
Her attention sweeps back towards the hatch. In her life, she can't think of a time when she'd more like to see the glow of lightsabers coming from the other side. But she doesn't. Not yet. Still, she works... she works, and keeps her legs tense in case she has to lead a chase through the ship.
Because it'll definitely be a case of trying to play keep away than going down in a blaze of glory. Not a terribly traditional Mandalorian idea, no... but one does what one must to defend one's family.
They're making headway, but it is not going quickly. They've been stalled becuase of the two wounded they're trying to carry, with Juria not getting to far ahead of Rera and Lira who are supporting her father. More and more of the ameoba are clamouring out of the quickly opening bulkheads, pulled open and falling out like locust spilling over top of themselves. There's dozens... so many multiple dozens.. of the screaming, angry people.
The two Qutha had thrown away hit the wall hard, crumple.. then claw their way across the bulkhead towards him with their spinal columns broken. The mortal injuries meaning absolutely nothing to these creatures for how little they care about their hosts. All they want is to feed.
Juria swings her blade around and misses one of the prisoners her very nearly falls directly ontop of her. She stumbles back and the blade whistles around awkwardly to cleave its head from its body. She breaths sharply and looks to Qutha, nodding. "You're right. We need to go.. Katya's on the ship." She'd put her daughter in harms way. She couldn't have known what was on this ship, but the guilt is trying to cripple her, but she keeps pushing forward. Protecting the Padawan, protecting the injured.
<"FORMATIONS!"> An unfamiliar voice screams, echoing down the halls. The sound of blaster fire fills the corridors, Evie can hear it clearly. The sudden baleful cry of half dozen... a dozen.. of the screaming creatures and then a hail of blasters. <"Troop two! move to cover the corridor."> The sound of heavy boots coming towards the Cockpit. The dirty, dingy white armor of a First Order Command Officer stands holding his E-11 at his chest, <"Trooper A7... frak... My name is Trask and we need a ride.">
"Well, Trask. Better git t'gittin'..." jerking his head for the trooper to start running, looking to Rey with the trooper, then back to the Padawans with Juria's father. Reaching out, seeking to draw on the force and only succeeding in causing his own eyes to water and his head to pound.
"Oh bother." hand holding the commlink pressed to the side of his head, "Y'all, we's gotta run." stumble stepping "Git them two she, n'they's, is h'epp'n. We gotta go an' quick." hop-steppng before he starts to move at a jog - rushing for the ship where there are apparently a number of these things trying to get in.
"Evie's got a mess've em at the hatch. We gotta hurry 'fore we's git swamped and... well... One way trip!"
Talk about slow going, and no matter how much Lira focused through her panting, there was just no summoning the will to move any faster -- Force assisted or not. It probably didn't help that she hadn't exactly started /practicing/ that ability, either. She'd only read about it in her studies.
So, the Twi'lek stuggles on under her own power, trying to do everything she can to hold up her end of the Gallem bargain and move along with Rera.
"Oh... good... backup...."
"Wait.. how.. did... whatever... we'll know... soon enough..."
Things are going insane. Absolutely insane. Rera can feel the tightening knot of anxiety in her stomach. She draws a deep breath, looking over at her friend, and she knows what she has to do. She has to do more. Help more. She looks at Lira and just nods once. "Go. Help the others. I've got him."
She closes her eyes, and she feels the Force. The possessed no longer are here. The rest of the Jedi are no longer here. The sounds of blasters aren't here. There's only her, the Force and what she asks it to do.
To her, it feels like minutes. In reality, it's an instant. She's flooded with the Force and hefts Gallem on her own, picking him up and slinging him over her shoulder. It's not like he weighs less, just that the burden isn't so bad anymore.
"I've got him! Let's go!"
Her pace picks up from the slow drag, keeping up with her fellows better, letting Lira free to hit things.
Rey and her Trooper buddy round the last corner to see the other Troopers there. The blasters were seen firing, the bodies were seen dropping, and with a grim expression... Rey considers their options.
"Drop your guns as you board. Your helmets as well." She tells them, bartering a deal for their safe passage with them.
Her lightsaber switch is given a stroke of her thumb, causing the ring to swirl again and the blade to sink back in to the hilt.
"Lets go. This place is about to be overrun!"
Even more familiar to Evie than the hum of lightsabers... is the sound of those E-11s. They're... comforting but not. Probably a little moreso than they are not, though, given that they're making some of those screams die out.
<"It's your lucky day, Trooper Trask."> Evie drawls through her helmet's vocoder. Normally, she'd take it off to be sociable. For a couple of reasons, that doesn't sound like the best idea at the moment. <"Flight Leader Leven,"> she hasn't used that rank -- or name -- for a long time. It could ring two different bells for the First Order. Neither may matter all that much in the face of the alternative, though. <"I've got room on the fastest ship in the galaxy. Get your people on board, I've got a team of specialists coming--">
That's about the time she, briefly, spies the yellow glow of Rey's 'saber in the distance behind the troopers. She smiles under her helmet.
<"...and that's them now. You heard the lady, that's the deal. No fighting on my ship. I just had her cleaned.">
That's an exaggeration, but with backup now in multiple forms? She's making her way back to the pilot's seat. Hands already moving to be in place to launch the second everyone's on board. No sense in giving more of those... things... any more chances than necessary to catch up.
TSix individuals, haggard and dirty, three each of Stormtroopers and prisoners in a hodge-podge of armor protecting vital organs, take up positions in the last corridor. Their weapons trained down at and past the Jedi. "Come through, we'll cover you!" One of the prisoners shouts, the six unloading down the passage providing intense, if largely inaccurate, cover fire.
Juria slips forward and swings her saber, twisting around as the blade misses once, then a second time, but she's moving towards the hatch. Only going as fast as Rera, providing further cover for the retreat. More and more of the infected are breaking through the welded hatches. A mob of them climb over one another trying to get out of openings to rush down the halls. Some drop to blaster fire, some jerk as it hits them, stumble a few steps and then keep stumbling forward. But for everyone that drops, two more or right behind..
This is a very big ship.
There were a lot of people on it.
And apparently only seven survivors.
Trask glances back at Rey entering and giving her demands... then to Evie seconding them. He nods ones and removes his helmet. Dirty blonde hair tumbles out to nearly the middle of his back. Dirty, naturally starting to dread. Same with his beard. "My troopers will cover you while your team gets on board." He looks gaunt, eyes sunken. Whatever strength he has, this is what he's doing with it. This is what they're all doing with it.
The will to survive is a very strong thing.
"By your leave, Flight Leader Leven." He sets his E-11 down on the console beside her and walks past Rey, nodding. "Ma'am." He still has his blaster pistol, which he pulls and stands in the hatch-way, firing off shots. Doing as he said he would, covering everyone's entrance onto the ship. "Troop two, keep those sons of bitches busy. We're getting off this gorram hell hole."
"OOORAAAH, Sir." All six of them say in unison, prisoner and Stormtrooper alike. None of them looking anymore well fed or rested. Save for the undeniable, unshakable... desire to live.
Their exit was being covered, but the Zelosian was dead set on making sure those with kids, injured, or kids -and- injured to attend had all the aid that could be provided. Pace steady, eyes drifting closed and his movements becoming loose at best description. As if he wasn't quite in control of himself.
"I'm one wit' Th'Force..." twisting into a spin on the ball of one foot around one of the infected - saber cleaving through spin and parasite - it sets off a series of dance like movements. Weaving towards the ship with a second dropping to the ground, beheaded and Qutha's eyes fully closed, "I fear nothin'... all's as Th'Force wills it.
Another rushes towards him, arms out and his blade is extended in a short jab, through the neck and the creature behind before he is moving onward - at last finding no purchase when he swings on instinct. Tip of the saber whistling over the infected's head and the orchardist keeps moving, to the Asteroid and safety.
When Rera manages to find her center in the middle of the chaos and Lira can /feel/ the weight being shouldered more by the green-skinned girl, she looks over and her eyebrows lift.
"Kriff. You go girl..."
Lira's stunsaber hilt was already in her hand as she was moving towards the airlock, steadying herself as the petite circus performer with nothing in the way of military training charges into the flurry of blaster fire and... HOLY BLUESABER, PLANTMAN.
Well, there was a hole for sure, now!
Without a need to clear bad guys, Lira re-hooks that saber hilt. Rera had Gallem, and if not, she had others to help get him the rest of the way. A lot of others. Juria would need to tend to him, along with Rera, once they finally got stable. Now there were a ship full of strangers.
So Lira was barely pushing through the troopers at the airlock before she was cueing up the comms.
< "Evie, it's Lira. Where's Katya? Can you tell her I'm coming to her?" >
The force fills Rera and it feels wonderful. So wonderful she can't help but smile amidst this terrible chaos. Still, she is well aware of the ...creatures after them all. The swarming, ravenous and terrible things that want to eat her and everyone else. So she runs.
Qutha shows the true might of the lightsaber, obliterating a handful of the infected, letting her get closer and closer. She's on a timetable, the Force will not bolster her forever. She can see the hatch, the survivors firing into the oncoming horde, and she just moves. Runs. As fast as she can.
Feet away from the hatch, the power leaves her, and the Mirialan stumbles, the strength gone. She twists, falling backwards to ensure that Gallem lands on her and not the floor. This means she hits hard, neck whipping and head bouncing onto the deckplates, one of the sticks bouncing out of her bun and through the hatch.
She groans, shaking her head, loosening her bun more, but she -pushes-. Both feet press to the plates of the floor, one arm wrapped around Juria's father, the other clawing behind her to help drag them both. She grunts, growls and finally yells as she makes her body exert itself beyond capability. Crawling those last few feet into the ship on her back, bearing the dead weight of a wounded man.
Rey concentrates fully upon her goal of getting this dazed, weakened, battle weary soldier to the ship hatch. She watches the others continue to hold the line, in a manner of speaking, until she reaches the ship bypass... and passes through it.
Once inside the other ship, Rey finds a place to finally settle the injured Stormtrooper down. She looks him over briefly before she turns to the others and moves toward them to help where needs may arise.
"Lets go, we're going to blast this place and be gone from here!" She shouts over whatever loud noises may be filling the passage. Her right hand still clutches her saber, though she has it disengaged in the moment, her black cape sways in the wind coming between the two ships, and those who are boarding it.
"Is anyone injured?" She calls out as she starts trying to figure out who requires medical attention first. "Evie, once we're all aboard, try and get us out of range of an explosion swiftly."
The commander of the surrendering Troopers does get a look from Rey too, as she considers his gaunt face, and everything that he and his men must have gone through on that derelict...
<"Once we get airborne... we've got food and medical supplies on board, and I get the feeling we've got a lot of catching up to do."> Evie comments to Trask, letting him and his crew work on keeping the way clear for her rescue team. Keeping herself ready to go once she gets the word.
<"Katya's in her room, Lira; lower deck, down by the cargo bay."> She chose that spot for their daughter's room for a reason. It would be the most defensible place on the ship if the worst happened, which it almost did.
Once she gets the official word that everyone's on? She's punching it, the YV-666 moving sharply to start putting distance between it, and the derelict vessel. <"Roger that, Rey. Getting us out of here ASAP.">
Juria rushes aboard the Asteroid, the terrible shrieks of dozens upon dozens of infected only slightly louder than the blaster fire from the six survivors holding them off from the hatch until everyone is onboard. She's panting, the exersion from the intense, if short, skirmish back from the cockpit has winded her, but not so much that she doesn't see the pretty brown eyes of her daughter staring at her from the hallway. Lira is on her way there, but Juria smiles at her and nods.. then turns to look at the haggard shape of her father hanging off Rera's arm like a backpack.
She stares at him. Dead weight on her padawan's arm and steps forward, reaching out to assist in moving him towards the medbay. "I'm here papa..." Her jaw tightens. Tears well up in her eyes seeing him this way... she hadn't cried in so long, the feeling of it stung her eyes as the tears broke across her lashes and rolled down her cheeks. He shifts and looks up at the sound of her voice, eyes white and glossy, unseeing, and he says nothing.
The six troopers walk backwards, waiting until the last of the Jedi are aboard before entering by twos until they, too, are on the Asteroid, "Punch it." Trask nods and hits the comm, <"Flight Leader Leven, get us the hell out of here, if you please?">
In the harsh light of the interior of the prison ship, the horrible image of ... so many.. things that use to be people storm towards the closing hatch. They throw themselves at viewports, visible from the small access ports, and they pound against durasteel until the Asteroid breaks away under Evie's guidance.
Juria looks over at Rera, "You did very well.. get my father to the medbay." She lays a hand on the young Jedi's face to move towards the cockpit where her wife is seated. She leans against a console, clipping her lightsaber with a trembling hand, and taps the comms. "This is Jedi Knight Juria Nexum... Anyone who can operate a laser turret, please mount them. My wife is going to take us to a safe distance and we're going to fire on that ship until we're all, collectively, satisfied that it's vaporized." She swallows and turns, sinking down onto her butt and covers her face with both hands. "I'm so sorry, Evie.."
Following with Gallem to Medbay, lightsaber extinguished and back up his sleeve, the Zelosian Orchardist prepares. Breathing deep and focusing, hands folding before him as he looks over the man who had spent years upon years in what must have been a private hell. Looking over his shoulder, around the medbay and then almost too casually laying a hand on the old man's brow, another on his chest.
"I fear nothin'..." for all is as The Force wills it.
Skin blanching, growing gaunt, the flora Jedi lets the force channel through him like a river. Carrying his very life force with it into the older man whom they had just rescued, issuing a grunt that becomes a wheezing rasp as the flesh seems to melt away beneath his skin. Veins pressing up against too taught skin and sunken eyes losing their gemstone luster.
"A chance, s'all. Make up some'a yer los' time, hoss." stepping back at last with another whistling breath and a creak of joints when the fibrous material that makes up his muscles protest beneath the skin and he quite literally falls into a nearby seat. Withered and looking older beyond his years and maybe not even for the first time in his long years of wandering and aiding, where he can. But his gaze remains on the old man, and his hand go into his robes - drawing out a pipe made from a hardy looking dark wood, tamping tabacc into it with shaking hands and finally lighting it with a match popped on one of his thumbnails, to puff aromatic smoke around himself.
A small personal comfort after that act.
< "..I've got her." > Lira answers back to the comms to Evie almost instantly, far too fast for her to have made it down to the lower deck by the cargo bay. Which meant Katya wasn't /in/ her quarters after all. But should be soon.
She'd spotted those brown eyes and that dark skin, too, apparently, hiding behind all of that armor. No one else seemed to notice her or really care about her presence.
In a parallel universe, she might have stopped to talk to some of those troopers. She /was/ Lira, after all. Never met a stranger. But children came before everything, in Lira's young mind. Children were, maybe, be the single most dangerous lure of the darkness. She would protect a child at any cost. And if she ever fell, it would be -- in her mind -- for all of the right reasons. Saving a child, instead of herself.
"Hey, kid," the lavender girl quips, emerging from between a few armored shoulders. They didn't know each other well, but they'd at least spent the trip over in the same room, and she didn't even have to kneel to talk to Katya. Lira was already fun-sized. She reaches out to take the girl's hand, and though she waits long enough to see if she'll take it, it's not really a option. "Come on. Things are getting crowded up here. Can you show me your room? And maybe once we're back in hyperspace, we can find some meiloorun juice."
Because that's where Lira was spending the rest of this journey, as friend, playmate, and private security for Katya, making sure she stayed out of the way and everyone else stayed out of her way. A room full of random soldiers was not to be trusted around a vulnerable little girl, and with her mothers busy, anyone that dared would at least have to come through Lira.
Rera breathes easier once the hatch closes and they're off. She stays put for a moment, staring at the bulkheads above her, unmoving. She smiles tiredly at Juria as she helps extricate her from Gallem. "Of course, Master. I'll...I'll do my best to care for him."
She rises, gesturing for a couple of the survivors to come help her as they can with him, heading back to the medbay of the ship. She looks over her shoulder as her teacher moves into the cockpit, her heart twisting in her chest at the guilt she can feel. Part of her wants to go to her, but, well, the wife is up there for that and she has a duty to these people.
"Once Mister Nexum is stable, I'll be looking at all of you. Thank you for helping us. I'm... Just, thank you."
Then Quatha does something incredible. She can feel it before she can see it. Her eyes shoot to the Zelosian, widening in shock as he sits. "I...I...," she says in shock, unable to process. "If I can...If I can help you recover...please, let me," she finishes quietly.
Drawing another breath, she turns to start tending to Gallem. Then the soldiers. Then Qutha.
She won't be getting any rest on the trip back.
Juria remains in the cockpit.
The soldiers, those of them who have strength enough after their short burst of energy, rush to the laser batteries and lock targets upon the Oberon II. Woop woop... woop woop... The sound of the guns going off shake through the whole ship, but only the individuals in pods will see the majestic erruption of gas that explodes outward in a ring of soundless fire until the void of space devours it, leaving nothing behind but debris and silence.
Juria, however, stays in the cockpit.
Hands on her face, crying into her palms. Eighteen years. It had taken her eighteen years. What if she'd gotten the message earlier? What would they have found? Would her father have seen her get married? Would he be proud of who she had become?
Qutha sacrifices so much.. nearly giving all of his life to provide Gallem a breath... Which he sucks in sharply and stands, perhaps of the first time on his own strength in all tha ttime... He stares at the Jedi, color returning to his eyes as life floods into him through the mystical weaves of the Force.
He doesn't know any of these people... he peers around them. He looks to Rera who had helped him, "Thank you.." He says in a hoarse voice, separating himself to stumble, as life returns to him and he gains strength, towards the Cockpit where he'd heard a familair voice. When he reaches the hatch, he leans against it... looking first to the pilot, Evie... and then to the figure sitting against the console covering her face.
"Juria." He says quietly.. and smiles. "I knew you'd come."
Star Wars music plays.
Oh and Katya shows Lira all her dolls.
They all have names.
She chose this evil for herself.