Log:Array Consortium: Assault on Complex Seven, Part I
Allied efforts to isolate Complex Nine on planet Jaynat has caused Kespanian forces to fortify believed to be the entry point of invasion. Capitalizing upon this, a small infiltration unit of Consortium agents rendezvous with a purported resistance in the larger Complex Seven to determine if the city can be turned from the inside.
Jaynat, mining center of the Sarkahi system. A vast rockball, cold and austere, it has more in common with Mars than any other planet, yet has a breathable In the past few days, the Gray Legion has begun operations to invade the planet. While the fleet keeps the planet defended from orbit, Consortium pilots have been dropping jammer buoys around Complex Nine, one of the smallest of the mining complexes in Kespanian hands, while the Legion has been transferring troops and materiel to those complexes friendly to the liberation effort. This has all served to cause the Kespanians to move troops to the smaller complexes, especially Nine, where a destroyed sensor array and the dropped jammers are a clear prelude to invasion of the captured facility.
Which is the point.
While the Kespanians are being led about by the proverbial nose, other plans have been in motion. Amodified Trilon Aggressor owned by the Legion has been dispatched from the Serious Business, jammers on and dropping into atmosphere. While a heavy fighter, the Aggressor is singular in that it can carry a number of passengers; in that ship is the Consortium insertion team. The mission is simple: the Consortium agents, flown through the atmosphere, will be dropped by a long-forgotten entrance to the mines that radiate from Complex Seven, a far larger complex than Nine, but significantly depleted of security in the moment thanks to its proximity to the "embattled" complex. Entering through the tunnels, the Consortium agents will follow a course laid out by Jaynati resistance to their agents stationed under the dome. There, these agents will lead the Consortium personnel into the city, where they will meet with the local leader, a woman named Alastine Tribadii. From there, she will tell them what she needs in order to begin the liberation of Complex Seven from the remaining Kespanian soldiers.
Currently the fighter descends upon the planet, cold, air blowing in biting sheets over the Aggressor's slanted viewports. Dark night outside, the ship is traveling at nap-of-the-earth distances, jammer crackling away. The pilot and copilot, wearing the plain gray uniforms of the Legion, are composed as the hurtle across an alien surface using only night-vision optics to navigate by.
The Consortium personnel are in seats behind them, well-protected but, well, flying blind on a giant rocket-sled.
Zerna is settled as she can be with her....arsenal. Yes...she's wearing a fiber suit but over is some sort of....sheer blackness plating. Her orange skin is bright and gods know she needs this. Strapped to her thigh is a pistol....on the other a knife. A sword is on her hip and she's currently working on looking over a sniper rifle. Needless to she's ready for all occasions. Looking up and over she squints before looking back to her gun to make sure it's set.
Coren Sym sits quietly toward the back of the passenger compartment, slouching in his chair as best he can given the restraints. For the most part, he appears calm, but is focused on the group leading him. He's seen Sion and Mandl in action before, but not Gann and Zerna. They're the ones that interest him the most. Seeing the small armory strapped to Zerna's body, he begins to wonder if he's woefully underprepared.
It's true that pilots tend to make lousy passengers. This tends to be even worse when the ship they're in is flown by people they don't know. Sion Corvara is sitting in her seat with her knees drawn up, arms crossed on top of them, chin resting on top of her arms. And struggling not to ask if they're there yet. The very motion of the ship says 'no', but she's all but quivering with nervous energy. Speech is just one outlet for that.
Mandl has chosen not to go 'full dreadnaught,' as lightly-armored means swifter movement and easier escapes should a tunnel collapse-- a veteran miner's pragmatic approach to a horrifying (potential) calamity. Gone are the several pistols of yesteryear, Dr. B'rot only bearing a heavily-tweaked Scout trooper's pistol and the ubiquitous electric gloves of the Array, folded neatly in their belt. "Sym, we are given free reign to encumber ourselves-- but the Array's policy is that one should have the demonstrated skill to use what one carries."
Time stretches on a little more, but soon the dark peaks of the mountains surrounding Complex Seven soon loom ahead. "Target area approaching," calls the pilot from the nose of the ship, eyes never leaving the cold lands ahead. "Prepare for departure, folks. You need coats, we have them in the lockers by the exit ramp." The co-pilot rises, one hand rising to brace against the fighter's roof as she waits for the ship to land - and soon it does, settling down upon the landscape with a gentle bump. Damned ace pilots, these.
Once the group kits themselves out in warm-weather coats and glow rods as they desire, a datapad with mission information and a map of the mines is pressed into Mandl's hand. "You're the expert, I hear," the woman says, grinning at the Bith as they are given the pad. "Be careful." And few minutes later, the lot of them are collected at the bottom of the ramp as the fighter's repulsors kick on again. In the flickering glow of the ship's powerful drives, the blue-lit panels of a heavy door set into a nearby rockface can be seen, silent for the moment. The fighter ascends, and then departs, leaving the team alone in the dark.
Are there bears? There are probably bears.
Coats. Hm. Sighing Zerna grabs one and pulls it on over her attire. Stretching a bit she yawns a bit, those fangs she actually have finally showing but then they're gone just as quickly. When they are alone she looks to Mandl before looking around in the dark. There's a slight squint but she smiles a bit. "Alright...let's move out."
Coren Sym pulls his coat tight and gives the area a once-over as best he can. Looking to Mandl he asks, "So, you have the m..maps. Wwhat's it look llike?" He steps closer to the Bith, hoping to get a look at the datapad. "Blast this place is cold."
At last! Touchdown brings Sion's chin off her arms, her arms off her knees, and her heels off the edge of the seat. These are not separate actions; they are /one/, and the subsequent springing to her feet is delayed only by unlatching her safety harness. Of course, she notices her fellow female yawning. "Sleepy, Zee?" she teases lightly. She is emphatically /not/, hurrying to the locker and finding a winter parka quickly. It's a nice red one, a complementary color for her well-tanned skin and dark hair. Clipping a glow rod to her belt for the trip, she waves to the crew and steps out onto the ground outside. It's the first time she's touched the soil of this planet. With her thin Socorran blood, the cold outside is a shock. Finding a scarf in the pocket of her borrowed coat, she quickly wraps it into place and pulls it up over her nose and mouth. She's busy enough with this that she misses the departure of the Aggressor.
At least she's ready to move once Zee gives the order. "Hope it's not a long hike to the entrance. This place'd freeze the scales off a Dewback."
Mandl's helmet goes on. The familiar *thunk-hiss* of an independent atmosphere engages, and presumably the screen lights up in scrolling Bith heiroglyphics unless... anyone else... also uses that setting. Mandl's tinny voice reports: "The approach looks normal: Zerna is our CO, so reports of 'not-normal' go to her. Standard waste-removal and power distribution setup-- the door is severed from the main. It may be operated by key or winch."
The unintelligible glyphs flowing across the datapad mean nothing to Coren, and he sighs, a thick vapor cloud flowing out of his mouth. Rubbing his hands together, he looks toward the door and starts making his way toward it, "May as well get the show on the road." looking back at Mandl, he adds with a snarky grin, "I don't suppose you were given the key?"
Sion nods to Mandl and steps up to the door. "Strange that the keypad isn't lit. Maybe it only activates if someone approaches it, or hits a key."
She slips the glow rod from her belt and turns it on, pointing the light at the control. Surprisingly, the light reflects brightly off the screen into her face, and she yelps and stumbles back a step. It takes a moment for her eyes to recover.
Mandl offers: "Perhaps I can-- *clicka, clicka-- *clackclackCLACKACLACKA*" Mandl's delicate mechanical operation devolves swiftly into punching the surface of the mine's wall. "Krif! Piece of frelling-- " and so on.
Zerna is looking at the door and looks to seem to think. However the light from Sion's glow rod blinds her momentarily. Muttering something not pleasant in her native language she looks away, shielding her eyes from the light. "Please...warn me before you light up stuff in a dark area...." It's almost a growl but she shakes her ehad and looks back. Clearing her thraot she squints from the brightness. "There's some sort of....plug in an access plate." Squatting down she seems to tilt her head. "It's right here...under the rim of the panel." Looking over at them she raises her brow. "Possibly...let's try that first...."
Coren Sym rolls his eyes at the bith pummelling the wall, and leans against the far side of the door, out of everyone's way. He does his best to shield his eyes against the light coming from the pair working on the panel, and watches the empty expanse for anything suspicious.
"Sorry..." Sion mutters, frowning at the control panel. She dials the light down to a more manageable level, slowly getting familiar with this unfamiliar glow rod's controls. "Anybody got anything we can connect up to this?"
Mandl takes a deep, refreshing breath of recirculated air and tries again. "Perhaps this runs on an older circuit-- just there--" and the power begins cycling through the machines, beginning with the keypad! DING!
After what is really just a few minutes of digging around, Mandl manages to return power to the door; groaning for a moment as its mechanisms engage, the magnetic seals disengage and the door hisses open. The breath of the earth issues forth, foetid with must and damp, and a double row of dim blue lamps leads into the twisting bowels of the mine.
There may well be a grue down there. Fortune help you all.
Zerna stands up from her crouch, reaching into her cloak and pulling out her pistol. Rolling her shoulders she lets her eyes guide her as she keeps aim. "LEt's move in....slowly...." She's being careful....and leading the way just in case.
Pushing himself off of the wall with his elbow, Coren finishes the motion with a turn and follows Zerna into the tunnel. Quietly, but with a sharp edge, he snips at Sion as he passes her, "Turn that off, would you?" He stays a pace behind the XO, giving her room, keeping his left hand idly dragging along the rough wall, and his right on his blaster.
Having turned the glow rod off as soon as she'd seen proper lighting inside, Sion just sticks her tongue out at Coren as he passes. Hooking the thing back onto her belt, she waits for Mandl to get past so she can take rearguard. Better if someone who can shoot is back there.
Looking at those glowbulbs is a good excuse. "Freshly changed. Hopefully this means our resistance friends are on the job."
Mandl assumes no especial place in line or position of authority beyond "renowned miner," tracking the map and squaring the blueprint with 'visible detail.' Pistol drawn because... well, one never knows... but Mandl's attention is truly on keeping the group alive and safe. Because there is a job to do.
Hours pass as the group descends into the bowels of the earth - the particularly well-lit bowels, as it happens, every tunnel and intersection well-braced. Ancient equipment still sits here and there, left to rot, but even here the equipment isn't as decayed as it might be elsewhere; one could even salvage a lot of it, as far as Mandl's concerned. But as in the case of all mines left to time, stability has begin to slip, and were it not for having an expert miner with the incredible vision of the Bith people around, the little band might have triggered more than a few deadfalls or collapses - but as it is, Mandl is about, and thus the evening is saved.
Eventually the group emerges from the tunnels into a large cavern, one filled with storage crates, where the abandoned machines are far greater and loom like stuffed behemoths overhead. The light is far dimmer here...but there are a few people waiting ahead, dressed in casual clothes and insulated jackets. At the sound of footsteps they turn, reaching for blasters beneath those coats, but relax at the sight of the group approaching. Looks like they've been waiting.
Zerna was quiet most of the time, staying ahead of the group as she keeps her blaster pistol at the ready. Needless to say she was more than happy when they finally arrived at the cavern. As she sees the group, she quickly holsters her weapon as she sees them. Smiling softly she nods as she raises a hand. "Well...I'm hoping we're in the right spot...or this is going to get awkward."
Sensing the shift from the tension of the tunnels to the different tension of meeting people in the caven, Coren adopts his typical slouch and saunter. "I hope you're right, boss." He says to the XO, though he never looks at her. His eyes are busy looking for paths through and over the crates.
At rearguard, Sion has an extra couple seconds to holster her weapon, though she keeps her hand on it. "Guess this is the welcoming committee," she says quietly. Her eyes flit to their surroundings, just in case this party gets crashed.
Mandl slides their weapon into the holster, although does not remove their helmet. "We shall see."
There are three of them, two human men and a tremendously burly Barabel - one of the men, a sandy-haired fellow with a square jaw and a recently broken nose, approaches with hands away from he gun he had almost pulled from his jacket. "Good to see you're here," he says. "We'd gotten your faces from your captain. I'm Daro, that's Haln, and the big feller there doesn't have name but we call him 'Tag'."
Tag is a very very large fellow, but he says nothing. He just stares.
"You're a little, uh, overequipped, aren't you?" That comes from Haln, red-headed and wiry. "We were expecting infiltrators. You guys look like you're partisans or something. Gonna have to change that before we go into the domes."
Zerna smiles as she makes her way over, "Good to know. I'm Zerna.....the Captain's XO." Smirking a bit she chuckles a bit than smiles. "Nice to meet you all." At that she seems to think then shrugs. "Well I like to be equipped for the beginning....wasn't sure what we were walking into....nothing personal" At that she lazily folds her arms. "So....we'll go your way. What you got in mind?"
Coren Sym snickers quietly at the comment from Haln, having 'packed light.' He stands aloof off to the side, seemingly watching anything but the meeting in front of him. Anyone actually looking at him, though, would see otherwise. He's wary of the men meeting them, ready to bolt for cover at a moment's notice.
Well, Zee has this. Sion holds her peace, though she does glance down at the riding gear that's been serving her as mission gear. "Guess this isn't casual enough..." It's probably the hip-howitzer, but she wasn't about to leave the S5 behind. Even their hosts have come prepared to shoot and scoot, after all.
Mandl shrugs? "Equipment one has and doesn't need trumps equipment one doesn't have and needs."
A slight smirk from Daro at that. "Maybe you're right about that," he drawls. These men are obviously transplants, not Sarkhaian specifically - the pale complexion and silvery hair is not there, nor are there the facial tattoos the Sarkhaians themselves possess. But this isn't out of the ordinary, either. Sarkhaian society is something a melting pot, at least away from the throneworld itself. "So we got some mining suits from you, and IDs. You're gonna need to come with us - the slackheads up top don't have full records on who's who up there, thanks to citizens of principle, so we should be able to get through without a problem."
Zerna noda a bit then seems to think. "Alright then...." Smirking slightly she nods. "So my question...do we need to hide our stuff on us or....leave some. I know what I'm good at and I don't wan to be lacking however if you all have a plan for incidents...I'd love to hear it. Meanwhile....we can start sorting out our disguises...."
"Disguise ourselves as miners... when on Coruscant, I guess," Sion says, unbuckling her heavy belt and holster and setting them aside on one of the crates. She begins shrugging out of her coat.
Mandl *beckons* with one hand. "Do you have a schematic for the camp? Even a tourist's map... could... suit Dr. B'rot's purpose in this regard. Mandl will attempt to concoct an alibi that is resistant to being verified or contradicted."
"Migrant workers are common in the complexes," replies Haln, shrugging. "I mean you can see we aren't natives. As for your gear, we'll pack 'em up in parts crates."
"Yeah, the more normal things seem, the happier our 'bosses' are," mutters Daro. "Our corporate masters."
Daro also adds to Mandl's question, "Yeah, we'll get you all that. Let's get things packed up though." He heads over to a large suspension pallet which is...grime-encrustered, and stacked with boxes. But hey. It's mining equipment. Of course it is.
Zerna nods then motions to the group to get too moving. Pulling off her jacket she starts to unstrap her toys from her self. "Just....don't lose my stuff, huh?" There's a look given to them as she gets out of her gear to just her tank and shorts."
Coren Sym follows suit and drops trou. He folds his jumpsuit into a neat little lump, and places it into the crate provided. Looking back at the local support, he asks, "No blasters, then?"
Mandl removes their spacesuit and helmet, temporarily clad only in a body-glove without hint of curve or swell. Scandalous!
Sion hesitates in undressing in front of their contacts... but Zerna's apparent immunity to embarrassment spurs her to continue. She slips off her racing jacket, leaving it with her parka, then her boots, then wriggles out of her close-fitting pants. Looking less like a professional infiltrator and more like a nervous early twentysomething in her white cropped tee, pink athletic briefs, and white socks, she tries not to shiver in the cavern's native chill. "Hope there's something in my size."
Mandl removes their spacesuit and helmet, temporarily clad only in a body-glove without hint of curve or swell. Scandalous! (re, I just hit enter sooner than I might've liked!)
The suits are unpacked and handed out, the willingness to strip down for gear is noted with some surprise, and soon every one of the group are clad in dull yellow coveralls, boots, and mining gear. They're filthy, these suits, and carry the stench of years of use, but that's all to the good (or so their hosts insist). ID cards are tagged on to each suit at the right breast, and with all guns and clothing tucked away in an equipment crate, all is ready to be handled. The three rebels, too, gear up in their own suits, finally revealing themselves to be miners themselves and not just simple civilians. So at least there's that.
With Tag the enormous Barabel pushing the thing along, the lot of them proceed into an industrial lift and up into the dome. This particular structure is dingy and smells of disuse, lights flickering in places as you proceed through the corridors. Eventually they make their way to the exit gates, where a pair of heavily armed figures in gray battle armor stand watch; they carry not blaster rifles but repeaters, ready to hose down a squad of men each, not just a few dissenters. "All right," mutters Daro as they approach the pair, "Just keep it calm and let me do the talking."
Zerna finishes pulling on her outfit, looking to eh name. "You guys be sure to remember what's on your tags..." At that she rolls her solders and then taking a deep breath she looks to the others to make sure they're good. Nodding to them she smile. "Alright....we follow their lead...don't hop out of line....and just roll with it...." Looking to the guys they met she nods. "And will do...."
Coren Sym pats the suit down after pulling it on, and reads the name on his badge, "Deritrac Botrim? Did...did you guys just make these up?" He frowns and walks back to where he set his things, and begins finding new homes for them in the various pockets. Every now and again he bounces a little, and shakes himself, occasionally pausing and fiddling with something in the pockets. Unzipping the the top, he tries fitting the blaster and holster inside the suit, but it would be too obvious. He puts the blaster in the crate with the rest.
Once all is said and done, he follows Zerna's lead. His typical demeanor and posture shift a bit, and he seems comfortable in the new clothing, sliding into the role.
Sion sets her new ID card on top of her jacket so she can study it while she pulls on the dirty yellow coverall. "Elladayle Gardner... of Agamar. At least it's easy to remember." And actually kind of pretty, in a down-home sort of way, though it's not a great fit for her skin and hair.
She's into the suit quickly, clipping on the ID. She carefully wraps her holster and weapon inside her other gear and passes them over to be packed up with the rest. "Could you be careful with that weapon? It and I have been through a lot together," she says to Daro. Her thundersilk gauntlets are tucked into her belt, looking like just a pair of spare gloves.
Ready as she'll ever be.
She moves to follow Zerna. Time to do some actual infiltrating.
Mandl performs a similar check before falling in line, fortunate to have to "act" the least. Mandl just reviews memories of journeyman digs, perhaps, a Bith's "bright college days." They scrutinize their alias? 'Bes Westerna?' "Hnh."
The guards wear no markings, letting their weapons do the talking; as the knot arrives at the checkpoint, one keeps their repeater trained on the group - particularly Tag - while the other steps forward. "Citizens," the burly man growls, looking at each face through the visor of his helmet. "All right, what are you doing here?"
"Mining detail, sir," says Daro, gesturing to the sled packed with boxes. "Bringing old equipment up refurbishment, to fit the new margins set by the bosses. That's all."
"Awful lot of you for that," the guard says, while his silent partner there holds the gun on Tag still. The Barabel, to his credit, is like stone. "IDs, all of you." He takes a moment to go through each, and then, after a minute or so spent looking over each ID placard and scanning them with a small sensor wand, shakes his head and mutters something before stepping back and nodding to the gates. "On your way."
"Thank you, sir," says Daro, who then leads them all through the gates, into a cavernous corridor beyond, and ushers them all pile into a small cargo truck waiting by the gates as Tag leads the boxes into the back.
Zerna does as they're told: stays quiet. The togrutan looks around lazily but then looks back ahead as she sees the guards. A slight smile tugs at her lips and she just seems to pretend...to barely speak. She lets them check her ID and just nods to them. Yes...ever so....blase.
Coren Sym flows through the checkpoint with everyone else, letting the guards do what guards do. On the other side, he gives the area a quick scan, and once out of earshot of the sentries, mutters something about, "too easy."
Sion just takes a couple deep breaths as they walk up to the checkpoint. Fortunately, the guards don't seem that interested in conversation of security, and they're moving again within a minute or so.
She steps a little closer to their hosts. "Do they always pack half the armory on that post? I counted more weapons than guards."
Mandl replies, casual: "It depends on the output of the mine. If the mineral is valuable enough or rare enough, they're not above making you turn out your pockets as you leave. This may be ore for military projects or minerals dangerous in the hands of anti-government extremists. Such as ourselves."
"They've lost a lot of manpower around here," says Haln, the redheaded man piling into the driver's side of the speeder truck's cab - Daro gestures for them all to get into the elongated bed with the crates, while Tag stands by the boxes and keeps a hand on them to help steady. Once everyone is on board, the machine stirs to life, and skims down the dim corridor.
"Complex Seven is a middle-sized example of a mining facility," Daro says as the truck glides along; the back of the operator's compartment is sealed but has a back window, allowing passengers to converse with whomever is in the bed. "Five sealed domes, connected by tunnels like the one we're in now. We just left Dome Four, and we're headed now to Three, which is an industrial area. From there we can get to Dome One and link up wth Alastine in the underlevels." He looks between them all. "We can't get a good count, but there's still probably two, three hundred troops stationed throughout the domes and around the industrial areas. Mostly patrols and checkpoints, like you saw." He nods to Sion. "Yeah, they carry heavy arms all the time - part of where we're at. They've dissolved the company's security force and have them all home." House arrest, more or less. "Look, we've never had to live through an occupation, you know? But it sure as hell looks like they've got everybody hostage, not just the everyday folks. I mean surely the bosses didn't roll with this on their own power."
That all gets a scoff from Haln. "I like you, Daro," he says as he negotiates the truck along, "But man, you are eight kinds of naive sometimes."
"Everyone hostage? Not just everyday folks?" Zerna raises her brow a bit. "Do tell..." Her voice stays lora s she rolls her shoulder a bit. "Hmm...." There's a pause now as she seems to think for a bit. "We'll see..." That's all she says for now.
Coren watches the boring rock walls zip by as they drive through the corridors. He doesn't like the sound of the situation here, and pipes up, "Yeah. I don't like the sound of this." He looks between Zerna and the pair up front, "What exactly does this Alastine want us to do? I like retrieving things without being noticed. Not...uh, starting insurrections." He pulls a small twisted bit of metal from his pocket and starts fidgeting with it in his hand.
"So the city's one big prison camp?" Sion asks, frowning thoughtfully. "It sounds like there are hardly enough guards to go around. Are they spread thin?" The guns could be for intimidation, after all. How would they use them all at once?
Mandl replies to Sym: "The revolution is what the Array is being paid to do: we stop pirates, we kill slavers and we *absolutely* instigate revolt against oppressive regimes who oppose the values of self-determination and economic parity. For our fee."
Mandl's words get a chuckle from Haln. "Yeah," he says, "That's definitely what I like to hear."
Daro nods as well. "That's about right, in this case," he says, nodding to Sion. "They only had time to land troops at half the complexes on the planet before you folks came in - we don't know much about them, other than the fact they sure as Hell aren't revolutionaries. I mean anyone can look at them and see that, and even if you couldn't, they're not winning hearts and minds out here. There've been civilian deaths already."
"All right, stow it," says Haln. "We're here."
Another checkpoint, and the guards here are worse - scanning each crate, there's more than a few heart-stopping moments when they almost go to open them...but for whatever reason, they do not, and the team goes undiscovered. The trip through Dome Three is quick and simple, navigating throngs of scared-looking people and a ton of heavily armed people, and soon they're past and gone through more checkpoints to the largest of the domes, Dome One.
Dome One is a massive thing, twice the size of the other domes as Daro helpfully explains - but you don't go inside beyond yet another scanner-heavy entry checkpoint. Instead, Haln drives the truck off a side corridor into a loading area, and once the speeder's powered down the three jump out and make a beeline for the crates. "Get your kit on," Haln says as he opens the crates, tossing out the gear to each team member. "We need to get downbelow right away."
Zerna nods as she moves to start gathering her things. Looking to the others she nods. "Double time...." Yup...she's moving fast to get geared up and down as they said.
In a single, graceful motion, Coren flips himself out of the back of the speeder, and hurries back to the crates. He grabs all of the two items that he stowed, and wastes no time stripping the mining jumpsuit off and pulling his fiber armor back on. Quickly, he pulls the various bits and bobs out of the pockets of the mining gear and places them into the pockets of his armored suit. As before, he occasionally gives himself a bounce and a shake, patting the pockets, sometimes reaching into a pocket again to adjust things. Finally, he straps his holster to his waist, and snaps the band around his thigh. Giving the blaster a little wiggle, he ensures it is safely stowed. He nods to Zerna indicating readiness, and looks toward the men leading them into the belly of the beast, awaiting further instruction.
At least it's easier to pull off a jumpsuit than it is to pull off her outfit from earlier! Sion gets her boots and gloves off lickety-split, being used to flight suits, and has the mining suit off in moments. Her own gear takes a little more time; the close-fitting pants take a little body-english to get into, and there are simply more pieces to put on. But within a couple minutes, she's geared up and ready. "Are we there yet?"
Daro gives Sion a smirk. "Yeah, this way," he says, and leads the knot of would-be cadets and kings around a low wall of supply crates to where a maintenance hatch has been set in the floor. Squatting low, Daro produces a code cylinder and sockets it in the hatch's access panel; it pops loose, and swinging open he leads the lot of them down a somewhat comically long ladder down into a service tunnel cut out of the rock. Unlike the mines, these walls are smooth as glass, chipped only in places where an errant piece of equipment or storage unit has bumped into a wall. "It's this way," Daro says, and with Haln and Tag bringing up the rear, leads down through the small maze of tunnels toward what signage indicates is 'Maintenance Nexus 27'.
Zerna makes sure she's strapped in then exhales. Making he way along she seems to think then continues along as she seems to think. At that she just...stays on the ready.
Coren Sym stays in the middle of the group, and slides onto the ladder with ease. In the tunnel below, he runs a hand across the smooth wall, impressed by the work that he honestly doesn't understand. It could be trivial to do, but he thinks its neat, nonetheless. As the group moves deeper into the network of tunnels he notes the signs and quietly snarks, "Maintenance, eh? Are we getting coveralls and tool belts, next?" His gait is slowly shifting from his usual lazy saunter to a slightly anxious saunter. He mutters something under his breath, and continues on.
It's a fairly long walk, and a fairly long slide down the ladder, but Sion manages it just fine. She can only marvel at the smoothness of this tunnel. That kind of work is almost impossible for sentient hands.
The signs get her attention, along with Coren's remark. "I hope we're not getting undressed and then dressed again..."
"We have all that in spades," says Haln from behind, "So if you need it, yeah, sure. It's weapons we don't have, and your folks ain't handing them over." Dim tone there, marking someone who gets disillusioned easily. Or maybe it's just the newness of military occupation.
"These people aren't a proper army," Daro says, walking ahead with an industrial-power glowrod in hand and throwing a cone of bright blue-white light down the corridor with it; some fifty feet down is another door, labeled in Basic and another language with the words 'MAINTAINANCE NEXUS' and a number of warning legends. "Can't expect decency. Already these guys, we get reports that they're doing dark things when nobody's looking. Part of the reason they got the security folks on house arrest I'm sure. Here we are." Daro stops to socket another code cylinder into the panel; the heavy hatch slides open with the buzz of a disengaging magnetic seal, revealing a large if low-ceilinged room beyond. Here, not only tools have been collected but several workbenches meant for fabrication and upgrading industrial equipment, plus one half assembled that looks very much like it is meant for weaponry. Amongst the boxes and discarded packing material, perched on a couch that should have been discarded like a million years ago, a powerfully-built and short-haired Cathar woman sits, the unmistakable shape of an older-school scatterblaster on her knee with muzzle training the doorway.
"Good evening," she says in a soft, silky tone that belies her tankish stature.
"Hey," says Daro, immediately steeling a bit as he enters the room, gesturing for the rest to follow. "They came after all."
As she has been, she's quiet. Looking round she then glances then nods. "What he said. I mean...do you really want people to have weapons that are....not trained or...a bit jaded?" Her brow raises but then she goes quiet again. Looking around, she just waits for them to lead them. Its then that she see where they're arriving. Licking her lips she stays relaxed as she looks and then nods. "Evening...."
Walking into the room, Coren assumes a more defensive posture, ready to spring away in a heartbeat. He frowns at the scatterblaster aimed at him and his friends, but takes his eyes off of the Cathar on the couch to get a good look at the room, and twists his lips as he sees others scattered about the room. If things go pear-shaped, his team is in trouble. He takes a few paces away from Zerna, just to open things up a little.
So this is their contact? Sion keeps her hand clear of her blaster, but stays close to Zerna, ready to back her up. "Yes, we did," she replies simply. "And this is quite the welcoming committee. Have previous contacts proven to be someone you weren't expecting?"
"I'm just not a stupid person." Being one of the less felinoid breed of Cathari, the woman is marked as one of the Juhani subspecies with bare skin instead of fur; she looks over the group, red eyes faintly glowing in the dark as they finally settle on Zerna. "You're Zerna Ka. Good. You going to be with us for a while, or will you be returning to your captain after this meeting?"
Zerna nods a bit as she as she shrugs off one of her head tails. "A pleasure...that I am." Then she raises her brow a bit then nods. "We'll be heading back after the meeting. We just need to be able to reconvene with the Captain after this."
Coren Sym relaxes a little, and runs a hand through his hair. He returns his attention back to the conversation, not sure where exactly this is supposed to be going.
"I never had that impression," Sion replies, remaining close to Zerna. This is really her assignment; the Socorran is just along as security, and in case they have to commandeer their own transportation to escape.
Sion gets a faint nod, but the woman's attention remains on Zerna for the moment. "That's what I expected," she replies, though as to if this is good or bad, her expression leaves this only to the imagination. "Alastine Tribadii, Crown Minerals Corporation. I'm the security chief over at Dome Four, which is on the other side of the planet and way the hell away from everything nasty. So the company's sent me here, to help get the loyal personnel and civilians clear of this mess, however posible. That also means working with you lot."
Zerna nods a bit then smiles. "Well we're here to help. We'll do all that we can to get this settled so you can get your people out and safe to your dome..."
Coren Sym is beginning to relax back into a relaxed stance, letting his eyes wander the room. He scratches idly at his chin, and loosely crosses his arms. To most, he gives off the appearance of being bored, bordering on checked-out. He smirks at something only he is aware of.
"So some of the local companies are fighting back," Sion observes, frowning thoughtfully. This is shaping up to be one very complicated war.
"THE local company," she points out. "Crown Minerals is the royal monopoly on everything in the system - everything flows up, as they say. Most of the complexes that stand with the Crown are company operations - not all the independently-owned complexes have stood against the Crown, but those that have are those jackasses." A beat. "Save for Complex One, and that's likely because Duxis Padrano has wanted to sit in the Throne longer than I've been breathing. We're patriots here, though. I know I am." She grunts. "And even if I weren't, I'm a company woman. So I'm running loss prevention on this one - the revolution, as it were."
Alastine looks at the faces of the Consortium agents, nodding to herself quietly. "Good," she says. "Good. So getting the revolution running here isn't your concern so much as it is helping it out, I know; what we're going to need is an armory. Now the Gray Legion isn't offering arms, and really can't get them in without tipping people off - you'll have noticed the guards, I'm sure - so what I'm thinking of doing is getting into the security office here in the prime dome and looting the armory, while as many of the company security officers currently under house arrest can be gathered up and brought down here in the maintenance levels. That's your trained army, right there. Once they're armed and equipped, real change can start from the inside."
There's a pause as Zerna listens, folding her arms a bit. Smiling she then nods as she winks at the woman. "Alright then...then let's get these people out....get to the armory...without....getting everyone killed."
Coren Sym looks over at Zerna and Alastine at the mention of sneaking into the security offices. "Security offices? Do tell." He slides closer to Zerna, now, to join the conversation. "Do you have any maps? Shift schedules? Head counts?" Coren catches himself, realizing he's probably overstepping, and he shuts his mouth with an audible *click*
"Pity you can't hit the guard posts. You might get the same amount of firepower that way, considering what we walked past," Sion observes. "Do the so-called revolutionaries seem very concerned about security inside the dome? It looks like they're mostly focused on keeping people out and keeping them in, and maybe not so much on what's happening at facilities inside."
"Still collating data on some of that," says Alastine with a smirk to Coren. "But it's good to see you're already thinking ahead." Sion gets a nod. "Good question, yes - they're basically walking the main domes, giving a very good impression that anyone seen doing anything remotely illegal is going to miss a trial, if you get what I'm saying." She grunts. "Jackboots aplenty. And here they were suppoed to be some popular rebellion...not a Sarkhaian among them, you know. Those that do speak the language have such a bad accent they might as well have protocol droids tagging along."
With a toss of her head, Alastine looks to Zerna. "Look," she says, "We're going to need to get some prep work done on this, so if you're going back to your captain, let him know what's going on here. I've got all the map data we can get our hands on here on this datatab." She holds up said piece of data-encoded plastoid for Zerna to take. "I know you lot are busy trying to keep the damn Keppos off the planet any more than they've gotten, but if you lot are willing to help us get in - or at least give us the material we need to get things going real lively in here - that would be very appreciated."
"What can I say? Our team is thorough and have their specialties...." At that Zerna nods then rolls her shoulders a bit. "We'll get back to the ship and let you know. Get yourselves together and we'll get ourselves together. Needless to see....we'll make it happen...." Zerna looks back to the others. "You guys need anything else? Info? Have questions?"
Coren Sym shrugs, "Plenty, but it sounds like you have some answers there," he indicates the data Zerna accepted, "I'm sure more questions will come up, but I'll wait for further Intel." He looks excited and ready to jump into action.
"Well." She purses her lips, and then Alastine gets to her feet - towering over even Zerna, such that she has to duck down. "As you can see, I can't exactly go walking around without attracting attention, so I'll have the boys show you back out. Keep your disguises, you'll need them moving back and forth. Might even let the guards keep a sense of familiarity with you, keep things easy." She nods to Daro, and he clears his throat, gesturing to the door. "We'll be seeing you around."