Log:Defiance Guild: Ghosts of the Black Fleet
The short story: That one time Defiance didn't steal a Star Destroyer.
The long story:
That's what would probably be expected on a ship that had been abandoned at least a decade ago. Abandoned a decade ago, though nobody knows exactly why. From outside, the derelict Imperial Destroyer looks functional enough. There aren't any giant holes in it, anyway. It just hangs eerily in the blackness of space, with only enough power readings from the backup generators to keep the life support systems running.
On the inside, those backup generators create a persistent hum. The steady hum is something that all spacers are pretty used to, and it's probably all that anyone would expect to hear. But there are also noises of damaged electrical equipment arcing somewhere off in the distance, creating a soft glow down one of the unsealed corridors each time an arc occurs.
Other than that, there are no functioning lights inside the main docking bay where Defiance's VCX-100 light freighter has been put down. No lights, that is, outside of the running lights of their own ship, and whatever portable lighting devices the crew members are carrying with them. By now the crew have already made their way out of their own ship, and have had time to explore the docking bay a bit. There doesn't seem to be too much in their other than a bunch of piles of discarded equipment and garbage. Appearances can be deceiving though, and one man's garbage is another woman's Hex.
There only seem to be two corridors that aren't currently sealed, or barricaded with garbage. One leads to the probably non-functional freight lift that cuts through nearly every level of the ship other than the bridge.
The other leads toward the crew quarters. Or at least, it used to lead to the crew quarters. Now, presumably, it leads to a bunch of empty bunks. Or at least let's hope it does.
Sajin, UGLY STUPID SAJIN, sat in the abyss of space only his cockpit HUD and lights to wash over his helmet. He had elected to follow along in his E-Wing and escort the others to the wreckage. Now he was running scans. Well buckets was running scans. Making sure that no marauders or villains could take their salvage. "Is it scary in there? Like a grave yard?" He asks over the comm.
That corridor might not have garbage in it before, but Defiance is here, so it's got garbage in it now. Hex is here, wearing armor other than the Floral Duster for a change; disappointing, but a helmet with an aid to dark-vision is something that can't be passed up. Even if it did have to be modified to suit its owner's anatomy. The big Twi'lek has a shotgun, but he doesn't seem too worried about using it at the moment, this place is abandoned, right? "We are here to salvage, ai'jouku," he reminds the team, voice slightly distorted by the helmet's vocorder. "Look for anything that's got resale value, anything that might be useful to us. Anything the black market might like, anything we can use. Medical supplies, ship components, sublight and hyper fuel.... uniforms... we hit the bunks first to look for that, then we'll hit the lift and look for the rest, ok ka? Don't pick on each other. Don't pee on anything. Don't cry to me if you're hungry. I WILL turn this ship around." Pause. "I mean, not /this/ ship, the Mayhem. That ship. Just try not to be annoying or die! Sajin, it's as dead in here as it is out there, but keep your eyes open." Tromp tromp, with no effort to be silent, he's heading toward the crew area.
"So to be honest I didn't really pay attention to why this thing is here. Besides playing finders keepers here in the dark for scraps, what if we try to fire this thing up and steal the entire ship? "Darius says to the group in general. Helmet with flash light? Nope. Flash light mounted on his pistol? Nope. Can see in the dark? Nope. Though he did stop at space CVS when gearing up and grabbed two cheapy flashlights for Ve and himself. They ain't pretty but they the job done.
The trip over was uneventful, Kasia flew them and continued her tradition of not letting Hex smoke in the cockpit, because she's mean like that, and bickering on the way over is tradition. They're set down now, however, ship powered down, and once everyone is off, closed, because of the risk that someone else might be here and leave with their ship. Slight, but she does want to go home eventually. She's got some light armor on, a couple of weapons, and a bag dangling from one shoulder. It's that bag she's digging in now, pulling out a flashlight or whatever they're called here, switching it on so that beams of light can cut through the dark. "If you do split off, don't go anywhere alone, this isn't a small ship and we don't know who or what else we might find."
Grom's heavy footfalls are even more resounding than usual in the cavernous silence of the derelict destroyer. The Houk- as is becoming habit- was unable to decide between his vibro axe and the four-and-a-half foot monstrosity that he calls a blaster, thus he carries the axe in his left hand and the rifle/small artillery piece in the right, leaned atop his armored shoulder. "It is BORING," the hulking warrior complains in answer to Sajin. "Grom doubts I will find a worthy hat," he sulks aloud, with a glower. A firm nod to Darius, "Yes, Codworth Glass-eye speaks sense. Entire SHIP can be hat. ...Throne-ship..." he muses, thoughtfully.
Vasani is following close behind Darius and the rest of the crew. Usually she's pretty good on stealth missions, but this pure angel is having a hard time holding in her excitement. First mission with Defiance? You know she's going wild. "Whaddya think we're gonna find in here guys?" she says, pretty much to the whole group. She has not a hint of sneaking in her step, walking around the abandoned ship like she owns the place. "Which way is the bunks? Ya' think any a' those old empire people slept with stuffed animals?" she lets out a little giggle, thinkng of those big tough guys actually being big babies in real life.
Outside the ship, everything still seems to be calm. The members of Defiance seem to be the first to respond to the ship's distress call. Weird that it randomly showed up after the ship was abandoned for nearly a decade, right? You'd think one of these guys would be a little more suspicious of the strange timing there...
Perhaps rightly, they seem to not be all that interested in searching the garbage in the docking bay. Probably best to get down the corridor as quickly as possible.
The corridor that leads toward the main crew area/barracks/commissary/mess hall is littered with even more garbage. Overturned astromech and cleaning droids, random debris, and a couple of shipping cannisters that look like they were used as burn barrels. What's not so obvious though, at least in the poor lighting, are the droppings that litter the massive corridor.
Droppings that both Kasia and Darius manage to step in almost simultaneously...
As far as droppings go, they aren't especially remarkable. Roughly human sized, maybe a bit smaller. Maybe the refreshers were the first systems on the ship to stop working?
"Darius, the hell are we gonna do with a Star Destroyer?" Hex asks, in a tone that's 60% 'why would you even suggest this' and a solid 40% 'go onnnn.' "We can't just roll up back home to Nar like 'hey what up we're 15 douchebags who just got ahold of imperial firepower, this is why we're hot.' We don't even have enough people to staff the bridge, probably, and the First Order would kill us, and we have no idea what we're doing in any context to begin with, let alone Star Destroyer contexts." They walk along and he advises, "Grom, maybe you just need to be more creative about.. your... hats..." he trails off, frowning, and looking around. "Ay, this trash seem suspicious to you lot? As in, not random, in the way that it's placed?" Frowning, he paws through a pile of random debris on the corridor to the crew area, but doesn't seem to discover anything useful.
"I'm as smart as you believe me to be your grace. And Hex, my friend, I think this thing could be a mighty fine present to someone else and not us. People that might dislike Empire 2.0" Darius says with a smirk, but as he notices Vasani just stomp around like she owns the place he tsks. "Hey, Spots, why don't you stick close to his royal highness" Grom. "And me okay?" On an adventure with a bit of danger, Darius gets a little more 'I'm gonna keep that puppy's on a short leash' with Vasani. He slides his pistol out of his holster. Yeah, might as well take care of that now. And then there is a squish. "Oh, c'mon even on a Star Destroyer I can't escape lizard shit?" Is it lizard? Who knows. But Darius is having flashbacks to his mutant child.
"We're not taking it, we don't have any way to move it, and we don't know what condition anything is in," Kasia rattles off reasons why they're NOT taking the monster ship, but stops as she steps in something. "Oh, what?" She angles her light down at the ground. "Uuuuugh." One foot drags on the ground to try and get the literal crap off of her boot, grumbling. "There is something living in here. We're not taking this, and if I step in more of this we're blowing it up before we leave." Ain't no one getting a gift of this, the ship has offended her shoe, and now it must die.
What would they do with a Star Destroyer? "Whatever we wish!" Grom declares, blithely oblivious to the logistics involved. "Turn on engines, turn on droids, and we have a flying city. A capital!" the Houk muses, grandly. At Hex's hat suggestion, Grom pouts a bit, "Maybe stupid noodles needs to be more creative about hats." Tromping in and among the refuse he tried the time tested stealth method of tracking prey: "ANY FOES CLINGING TO LIFE, COME BEFORE GROM," while brandishing his axe at... the corner.
"Suspicious? I dunno bout the trash but I think takin' a shit in the middle a' the hallway is pretty suspicous." Vasani responds, lifting her flashlight as to avoid stepping in any of it, then suddenly SQUISH, and it wasn't Vasani that stepped in it. "Dare!! We got the flashlights fer a reason! At least use it! Seems like I'm already doin' better than ya' considerin' I haven't stepped in any a' that!" she lectures. Vasani goes over to one of the damaged astromech droids, and turns one of them, looking at the front of it. However, knowing absolutely nothing about droids, she has no idea what she's looking at. "Neat, a droid!" Good job Vasani.
The trash does indeed to be placed suspiciously. It's arranged in an alternating pattern, in such a way that if someone were to say... run down the hallway without a flashlight, they would certainly run into one of the piles. It certainly COULD be simply accidental, but you'd think on a ship this size they wouldn't have put garbage out in the hallways, at least in a couple of central locations...
But let's not panic yet. After all, we haven't gotten to the crew area yet.
Aside from being suspiciously placed, the garbage piles don't appear to be all that interesting. Perhaps worth a second look though. Which Hex is apparently more than willing to take the time to do. After all, with robot hands he probably doesn't care that much about what kind of filth he touches. But he should, the nasty animal.
Nothing steps forward to answer Grom's challenge. The empty ship simply echoes the challenge back in gradually softening tones. "ANY FOES CLINGING TO LIFE, COME BEFORE GROM... GROM... GROM...
Two things happen almost simultaneously.
First, the astromech droid whirs to life and immediately starts zipping away in the direction of the ship's Main Engines. He's not moving too fast to follow, and he's making quite a bit of noise since one of his skids seems to be heavily damaged.
Second: The pile of garbage that Hex was rooting through suddenly tries to eat him. At least, that's what it might look like. He manages to get his hand away in time, leaving behind what appears to be some sort of makeshift bear trap made from spare ship parts...
"....You know." Hex pauses and wipes an uncomfortably mysterious substance off on the seat of his armor pants, then looks up from where he is investigating a pile of rubbish. "It occurs to me that... why did we even know to come rob this thing? The distress signal." Notice, their first impulse was not 'let's help the black fleet out of danger.' "Who sends distress signals?" He ticks off some options on his fingers. "One - people in distress. Why are they in distress? Their ship is broke or something on it is going to kill 'em ugly. So... there could be something here that's... distressing, ka." Knowing this is a bit long-winded for some persons of royal attention span, he summarizes, "GROM, watch out for foes!" and then goes on. "Other reason people send distress signals is as a trap." Wait, that's gonna be the same summary, so he just thumbs-up at the Houk and repeats, "FOES!" He peers back at his trash, the nasty boy, and gives it one more rummage... only to find it spring alarmingly to life. SNAP. "AAHHHH," he yells, like a competent leader with nerves of steel, backing up a few steps while he waits for his blood pressure to normalize. "Okay. OKAY, stay away from the trash, ok ka." Breathe. Ohhh breathe. Okay, good. Cheerfully, "Crew quarters?" Hex suggests, and heads that way. He calls over his shoulder, "Somebody shoot that droid, it can't be doing anything good."
"We can find out if the hyperspace works, stash it somewhere and then deal with it later. " Darius drags his foot across the durasteel. Gross. Gross. Glancing up to see Grom pout Darius feels his heart skip a beat. What a little darling. Grom's happiness is now important to him. "Yeah, yeah, ya got me love, ya got me." He says to Vasani. For Darius he seems to be doing lots of watching of others and looking around and not really poking through this. He leaves that to Vasani and keeps a close eye as she does. The droid comes to life and Darius is half listening to Hex, go on about stuff until he hears 'shoot' and 'droid. Point. Pew. He fires off at it without waiting.
"I said we shouldn't come here," Kasia points out to Hex as he complains about the lack of logic around all of this, though there's no real heat behind it. She knows what she's getting into when she lets herself be talked into bad ideas. Then there's a droid, and the beam of light she's guiding jerks upward unhelpfully, then lowers, then there's a bear trap trying to eat Hex and she does it again. "So," her voice is higher with a teensy bit of stress. "Someone has set traps, and turned on a signal to lure people in. Do we leave, or do we find and kill them?" She's asking, but she already knows what the answer is going to be.
Grom's typical attention span has been well marked, as just about the time the Houk is about to wander off looking for something, Hex summarizes, and Grom nods emphatically. Yes, foes. One must look for those. When the droid rumbles to life briefly, Grom calls excitedly to Hex, "Funny head noodles! Yell your robot hand to speak with broken droid, to learn where foes are!" Because artificial limbs totally speak binary. Then the droid is shot, and Grom sees his cunning plan foiled. "BAH," he kicks a piece of trash at a larger pile of trash and continues on his stompy way. "FIND AND KILL THEM," Grom votes to Kasia's question, 'cunningly' adding, "Also that we make this our Throne-ship-" his addendum to the vote trails off as his reptilian nostrils flare, eyes narrow and head tilts. Then eyes widen and his wide mouth bares smiling teeth. "FOE!" He takes off for the crew quarters at a sudden run.
Vasani jumps up as the droid awakens, and before she has a chance to do anythng about it is jumped again by the sudden shooting from Darius. "Guess I won't be messin' with those anymore..." she says quietly. What Hex said does kind of spook her though, as she realizes there could actually be some danger here. She tip toes her way back over toward Darius and stands so close that she's pretty much touching him at all times. "Guys... what if there's a GHOST on the ship?" I don't think thats what they meant about danger on here, but okay Vasani.
The astromech screams as it gets hit right through what would be it's dick, if astromech droids had dicks. It shorts out immediately after and falls forward on its face, skidding a few meters through abandoned Mystery Turds and colliding with a pile of garbage. A piece of tightly-compressed spring steel shoots out from the trash, impaling the droid against the opposite wall.
Poor innocent droid. He was just going to fix the ship so that Defiance could steal a perfectly-functioning Star Destroyer and become fabulously wealthy and stop dicking around on a crummy Hutt moon freeing slaves that probably were just too lazy to overthrow their oppressors.
Great job, Darius. Enjoy a life of poverty and public service.
Hex has effectively summarized what the Defiance members have learned collectively. Namely, that there don't seem to be any people, but there seem to be people turds. So SOMETHING was alive on this ship after the cleaning droids stopped working.
Something which Grom apparently found. Running suddenly down the hallway and leaving the rest of his crew behind, Grom triggers several of the makeshift traps, but is running too fast for any of them to strike him. They strike lots of other stuff though, and the trail behind Grom just kind of looks like a spray of flying garbage and turds.
Once inside the crew quarters, whatever Grom heard seems to be gone. But it left behind something that it was apparently chewing on....
There, in the middle of all kinds of filth, is a severed, refrigerated human hand.
Also in the crew quarters is a couple of datapads, some of which might even work, and a larger computer kiosk.
And did we mention the filth?
"Grom, waiiiii...okay," Hex starts and then gives up on the thought of making Grom wait, and then just lets Grom happen, as Grom does. He winces, each wince accompanied by a lekku-cringe, as the Houk comes in like a Wrecking Grom. He didn't mean to start a war, he just wanted you to let him in. Eventually it's quiet-ish enough that he ventures forth, into the room with the, "Ohhhhh for real? Gross," Hex says of the human hand in the filth, and tries to kick it under a bunk. "We're not eating that. It's not sanitary," he warns Grom, and the thing isn't really hidden either, but he still calls back, "There's definitely not human parts all over the floor! And no ghosts!" Shotgun in his lap, he sits down at the computer terminal to get some damn ANSWERS, only to discover... that... there's really a reason no one ever lets Hex use computers. There's a reason he was robbed of 70k, his bank account password was password. And he thought all his spam email was really Kasia mailing strangers, why else would there be all those messages that His Female Is Unsatisfied? Hex has got nothing. He pokes a few buttons, then does what everyone does when the going gets tough, yells for Kasia. "BABE?!"
With his free hand Darius pinches Vasani's chin. "Take out your blaster Spots, and if it makes you feel better you can set it to ghost kill mode. " If Vasani looks at her blaster someone had scratched out the label for 'kill' setting and labelled it 'ghost killin' instead. Maybe this wasn't the first time Vasani's fear of ghost has come up. If Darius had any remorse about taking out the droid, he doesn't show it. They are lesser beings anyways. Oh, oh, look at me with my metal body, oh, oh I can play videos from my nose. Yeah, you're so cool R2-D2. Darius moves to follow the group, but in marching order he assumes Grom and Hex are in front and then after that is Kasia. So he tries to keep Vasani behind Kasia while he walks last keeping a glance behind them every now and then until they arrive in the crew room. He then keeps watch by the door.
Kasia doesn't go charging in, but she does follow shortly after Hex, stopping short just past the doorway to look revolted. "What. Why? WHY? Who does this?" Not that anyone is going to have answers for her right now, but she still asks the question, makes a disgusted sound, and then turns to head for Hex. "I'm coming," but she doesn't sound happy about it. "Lean over, ka're," she says, using real tentative fingers to prod at the screen, or the keyboard, whatever. "There are logs," she reports as she leans over Hex's shoulder, but they've done this at least a thousand times when he's needed computer help in the past. "Holologs, medical officer logs," she reports as she finds. "Let me see if I can get the logs to play." Tap, tap, tap. "Ugh this room is disgusting." She's not looking around, but she knows it's there, the filth, it haunts her.
Grom snorts at Hex. "Human flesh is sour and must be skinned and pickled, first." Duh. Peering at the hand, until it is kicked away, Grom sniffs after the trail of desiccated human bits the FOE left behind in its haste, until the trail tapers off, his quarry either having hidden or escaped. Or... "Foe must have passed through wall!" the Houk declares, vaguely recalling talk of ghosts, earlier. "It must be, for no living foe could have escaped the tracking skills of King Grom!" he steps on a datapad, mid-sentence. Peering down, he tries and fails to make it look deliberate.
"You got it" Vasani smiles, taking out her blaster. Vasani walks in down the hallway between Kasia and Darius, looking carefully at all of the pre-sprung traps. Thanks Grom Cakes for protecting us!! Finally getting into the room, Vasani lets out a little yelp and turns around hiding behind Darius. What was she scared of? Hex already kicked the human hand away. Oh... Vasani just heard Grom say there was a ghost and took it as fact. She slowly peeeeks around Darius again, finally looking into the room. With her expert insight Vasani can really tell that this place is a huge mess.
Whatever Grom heard when he ran down the hallway, it managed to vanish pretty effectively. There are plenty of places to hide in a crew quarters this big, especially with the sheer volume of filth and garbage that's been piled up in it. You never know what you might find under a bunk, in a storage locker, or perched on the back of a refresher...
As Kasia accesses the datapad, and clicks on one of the files labeled 'Chief Medical Officer's Log: 20013', the datapad menu disappears and is replaced by a video image.
It's a middle-aged man, talking directly to the datapad's camera. He's old and thin, with white streaks in his blue-black hair. His thin, wrinkled face is a distinct blue hue, marking him as a Chiss. Aside from that, he's wearing a lab coat instead of a uniform, and the background behind him seems to be of one of the ship's Medical Bays.
"Still dealing with an outbreak of diarrhea from these new rations we've been field testing. Looks like I'm going to have to recommend foraging parties be sent to supplement the crew's diet. We've already had a few crewmen who couldn't quite make it to the refresher in..."
"The creatures that we found on the planet's moon appear to be edible. However, they're intelligent enough that the crew is reluctant to consume them. I've advised the Captain that it's unhygienic and potentially hazardous to keep them as pets, but..."
"The crew have been using the creatures as slave labor, against my wishes, but also as pets. A few of them have even learned to speak some Basic. I've had them deloused, but I can't help feeling that..."
Skipping ahead a lot...
"It's been nearly a year since we brought the creatures aboard, and they've started to multiply rapidly. My own attempts at breeding them have proven interesting, and I think I might be able to get one with red fur soon..."
"Several of my Special Specimens have escaped and holed themselves up in the Engine Room. Should have them out soon..."
Skipping ahead for the last time...
"This will probably be my last entry. They've taken over the ship, disabled the engines, and have started herding us into the brig. Blast! How did they learn to use our weapons so effectively? I can hear the screams through the blasted vents! But they won't take me! I've given myself an injection and will start drifting off soon... I can't help but feel that somehow this is partially my fault...."
"Strange, the song they sing is actually kind of catchy. Yub Nub... something something..."
The videos end, leaving only a boring menu display.
However, from the vents, a high-pitched song can be heard.
"Yub Nub... something something Yub Nub!"
Hex gets out of the way to let Kasia do her thing with the computer terminal, sighing as he steps through and around the filth. "Alright. Okay. So something in here probably ate the crew," he decides, big shrug, "and that's probably why they sent the distress signal, and it's probably not going to be real friendly to us. But on the plus side, that means there's NO competition for anything we find with....!" He's trying to be cheerful, but he stops when the recording plays, looking over his shoulder to watch the Chiss and his recording of a slow descent into monstrosity, squalor, and slaughter. A long pause lingers, a long, long, awkward pause, eventually broken by the ch-CHK of Hex racking his shotgun. "I ain't 'fraid of no nubs."
"Well, your grace, if foe has passed through wall, then we must have no more walls. Dontcha think? " Darius says to Grom with a smirk, and gently moves Vasani from behind him into the room. Looking at one of the datapads on the ground Darius picks it up, but then turns away throwing it against the wall. It smelled so bad! So much for his ability to use computers. He awaits Kasia's findings, but then realizes. This thing is eating humans, a quick count. 1 Houk. 2 Twi'leks. 2 Humans. 50/50 odds here. Then the singing. "Ve stay close, stay calm. Kill first, question later, even if you think it is cute. "He holds out his free hand to his fiancé, not to grab, but just as a gesture of security.
When Hex moves, Kasia eyes the seat and then slides into place tentatively, perched on the veeeeery edge of the seat. Prod, prod, then the playback starts, is not informative enough so she skips, listens, skips, repeating this process over and over until they reach the end. "You're not wrong, but it also means that this ship isn't exactly for the taking, or if we take it we're taking it from beings who are intelligent enough to learn some basic, and were brought here against their will. I think they've probably got more right to it than we do." A pause. "But if we find valuable things that won't kill them if we take it, I say we take it."
Grom peers at the datafeed over Kasia's head, a disappointed glower growing on his face. "Hurn. Little fuzzy pets are no worthy foes. Grom wants to fight mighty warriors, not more rabbits." Dangit. Turning his head to peer at a vent with narrowed yellow eyes, the Houk shouts, "Stop that, rabbit! If you throw sticks at Grom you will NEVER AGAIN EAT HUMAN and you will die on stupid space cave-ship." Grumble grumble.
"PSHHHH Darius, ghosts aren't cute! They're spooky!" She's really stuck on this ghost thing. She grabs Darius' hand anyways. "Don't worry, I got this. Whatever it really is that was eatin' people on this ship is gonna be a ghost soon enough." She gives a confident nod, before taking another look around the room. It really is filthy in here. "I wonder what- WAIT!! what was that?" Vasani suddenly jumps, hiding around Darius again. "Shhhh... D'ya guys hear that?" Vasani looks around the room startled, trying to figure out where the sound came from.
The eery singing picks up in intensity, coming from multiple areas on the ship. The Chief Medical Officer was certainly right about them multiplying rapidly.
Grom and Vasani hear the creatures creeping up on them just soon enough to warn the crew that danger is coming. Up in the vents, something is rustling around and there's the sound of bowstrings tightening. At least if you have ears sensitive enough to hear that, which Grom apparently does.
More troubling though, there's something rustling around in the corridor that they Just Came From, effectively cutting off their path back to the ship. If they want to turn and run, they're going to have to fight their way out.
Suddenly, the room is showered with arrows made from spare ship parts. They're not very accurate, but they're heavy and made of metal. Whatever they were shot from is capable of hurling them way faster than any primitive bow...
Paying too much attention to her datapad, Kasia takes a steel rod right in the midsection, burying deep enough into her armor to actual go through and stab her somewhere in The Organs. Let's hope it wasn't in any of the Really Important Organs...
Suddenly, the singing is replaced with really high-pitched battlecries, as literally dozens of small, rabid, bear-like things come pouring through the vents. Some of them are firing crossbows made from ship parts, but a few of them actually have old Blastech E-11 blasters.
The little bear creatures have also modified some old Stormtrooper and TIE Pilot armor pieces fit them. As if they didn't look nightmarish enough on their own, with their frothy mouths spraying drool with each shriek...
Hex might not be 'fraid of no nubs, but maybe he should be, given that one of them just launched a piece of metal into his wife. "Kasia!" Hex cries out in real distress, because she pays all of the bills and rent and he doesn't know how any of that works, he's a kept man. Also he loves her, probably. But he should have paid more attention because immediately following, a projectile pierces him too, right in the lek. THE LEK. Vasani can sympathize, it's about the most painful place you can get hit if you're endowed in this fashion, and now there's blood everywhere. Like when a dog traps its tail in the screen door but keeps wagging it, just blood everywhere. Blood on the computers. Blood on the filth. Blood on his armor. Blood on the stale blood. You're anywhere close to Hex at all, you're getting bled on. He screams like someone just tried to rip out his shriveled, raisinlike heart, and it devolves into a growl by the end. "Swear to GODS, you little shits better not do that again or I will pave a luxurious road /straight/ to hell with every single one of you as goddess damned fur carpets," the Twi'lek yells at the bear...things. He doesn't seem to recognize what they are. "You got took as slaves and I got sympathy for that so you get one chance. Get. Gone. If you understand Basic, now's your chance to leave and you let us go in peace. If you don't get this or you don't want that chance, then we're gonna cry havoc and paint this place red with your insides." He raises the weapon and repeats, "GO."
"I mean if we don't murder all of them to survive, we could attempt to bring them back to their home planet. Or space'em all." Darius says but then arrows start to fly, one flies past him out of luck. Realizing he can't try to dodge as Vasani is directly behind him he grunts. Then an arrow flies into his arm. "Little trash carpets." He grunts twirling his blaster up but then stops as Hex goes to yell and gives them one chance to stop what they are doing. Darius decides to wait, against all his maternal instincts he inherited.
Kasia's attention is on the datapad in her hand, the vid might be over but there are more files that might be helpful. More files that might give them insight into-- there's a surprised grunt as she's impaled with something that she did NOT see coming right through the middle, which is not a great place to get stabbed. The datapad slips from her fingers and she tries to get to her feet, but the thing has gone /through/ her and the back of it catches on the seat just enough that she stumbles to the side and hits the floor. That also hurts, but another projectile thuds into the chair where she was, so things COULD be worse. "I'm on the floor," she whimpers, pitiful, horrified, there is so much poop in here. "HEX!" Now he's screaming too, and bleeding, and then screaming some more. And bleeding more. She's not going to intimidate anyone right now.
"FINE," Grom shouts with irritated resignation. "Grom will count them all as ONE worthy foe," the Houk growls deep in his chest and draws the massive axe back as the hairy horde howls toward him. Blood- Dangit, Hex- AH. "Stop bleeding, Bloody Noodles!" The little deranged enemies are won a brief reprieve from his axe by the distraction. "Yes, leave or be Grommed!" he adds aloud, trying without success to wipe Lek blood out of his eye.
"AAAH" Vasani is not useful on spooky missions. She lifts her gun to the ready. Following the lead of Darius, she is ready to shoot as soon as the order is given, but waits in case the respond to the Hex-ing happening in this room. "GO AWAY!" She decides to add to the warning and she franticly looks between Kasia on the floor, Hex splattering blood everywhere, Grom now having Hex in his eyes, Darius is some how calm (?), and back into the darkness looking for any signs of movement.
"Doo-doo feces! They speak Ewok!" One of the Ewoks swears, in barely-accented Basic. Sure enough, the tribe has learned to communicate, which actually makes them a little creepier, don't you think?
Okay, so the creepiest part is probably that they eat human flesh, but the talking is a close second.
"Fall back! Fall back! Bungo Team, get to cover! Speekle Team, lay down suppressive fire!"
The Ewoks are clearly spooked by Hex's display of bravado, and the sergeant in charge of the ambush has to yell at the top of his squeaky voice to get them all back in line. Now that they've lost the element of surprise, the Ewoks are going to have to use tactics.
Tactics like say... cutting off their escape route and flanking them, which they did about two rounds ago...
As the Ewoks in the room retreat, half of them lay down random suppressive fire with their Blastechs and their crossbows. The other half bound to cover.
As soon as Bungo Team is behind cover, they start laying down fire for Speekle Team to bound. It's basic infantry tactics, but it's impressive that the little bears know it, I guess.
Holding the commlink up to his mouth, the Sergeant tries to yell above the noise of blaster fire and Hex screaming. "Pooza Team! Now would be a good time for some gods-damned support, don't you think? How about you get off your fat hairy asses and throw a few glorping flashbangs!?"
The Ewoks shield their eyes just as a couple of flashbang grenades get thrown in from the corridor that Our Heroes just came in through a few minutes ago, making it obvious that they're flanked. Immediately after, there are blaster shots from the corridor as the Ewoks fire from behind the piles of garbage and overturned droids.
Well, it almost worked. It almost, almost worked. Fall back sounded really good. Suppressive fire sounds so much less good. Hex sighs, and then the flash bangs hit, and everything is disorienting... everything was disorienting anyway, you know there's neural tissue in lekku? Fun fact. He just lost the complete memory of that time he set Kasia's kitchen on fire. No that time, the second time, the one where she dumped him after. Chaos is starting to spin up, and Hex feels a little more calm than he probably should, taking a moment to comm, "Sajin? You want to light up this ship somewhere that's not us? We got hostiles. Me and Kasia and Darius are hit. Did you ever know that you're beautiful? On the inside. And the outside. Mostly the outside. Maybe right now more the inside. I love you man." Then he comms off and FIRES, this is your FEARLESS LEADER, he misses wildly, hits an unrelated vent, and liquid feces come splooshing out like the worst and drippiest confetti. "Oh. Well, shit."
"Alright, they die! And this Star Destroyer is ours!" Darius says as blaster bolts and arrows go by. He grabs Vasani and moves to push them both behind one of the bunks to try and get at least a little bit of cover. "Stay behind me and if it is fuzzy blast it love!" Pew. Pew. Let's kill some Ewoks. Pew. I hope they taste good! Eye for an Eye makes the world full of yum.
SNORE. ZZZZ. SNORE. ZZZ. Sajin wakes with a start as buckets beeps and tweets at him. "No! I don't want to be Grominated again!" He flails in the after throws of a dream brought on by the voices and sounds of the com hatter. "HE made me UGLY. Don't look at me like that. There's so much SHAME in your visual sensor!" He whimpers as Buckets chides him. He hears Hex, "Huh? Oh yeah... totally..." A pause, "Buckets, scan for something that'll make a real nice boom." The R2 unit goes about his chore as Sajin kicks on the engines which flame to life and burn as the milspec E-Wing fighter jets towards the Derelict.
That's a pretty good fire to forget about, Hex, it'll be less fun if the wounds heal and the memory returns. He can be sad about it all over again, even though it's long over with. "Mess the ship up, just not enough to kill us until we can get off of it," she adds into the coms, voice strained after taking cover from the fire and jarring the piece of metal that's still impaled in her. She knows better than to remove it at least. SPLOOSH goes the poop, and this officially becomes the worst adventure they've ever been on. One bloodied, poo specked hand reaches for a blaster and yanks it free, squeezing off one shot at an ewok she can see. She is feeling far less charitable than she was.
Rabid ewoks, meet angry Houk. Grom wades into the ferocious furry tide, swinging a ridiculously large vibro axe in one hand, while apparently also trying to step on enemies? Whatever, he big, they small. "GLORY TO THE HATS OF FALE."
Vasani follows after Darius, taking his lead into the cover as everything seems kinda blurry and bright from the flash bangs. Don't worry, she's got this. Vasani peeks over the top of the bed, taking came to aim her blaster. Apparently not enough care, as two shots miss everything in front of them. Maybe frying a pile of poop on one side and scorching the wall on another. "Did I hit em?" Vasani can't even see clearly enough to tell. "Why'd we even come here theres nothin' but SHIT and PAIN." Vasani is complaining, but she makes a good point. "MAKE A HAT OUT A' THE FURRY CREATURES, GROM CAKES!!!" Vasani cheers as she hears his battle cries.
"NOOOOOO! They got Pleek-Plook and Tweela! Frag the bastards! FRAG 'EM!"
As their comrades die around them, the Ewoks get angrier and angrier, and their blaster bolts become simultaneously more plentiful and more sporadic.
Although some of them are firing blindly, there are a couple who have figured out that Grom is the most immediate threat. As he stomps around flailing his ridiculously large vibro axe, he draws progressively more attention, which translates to more aggro, which translates to more blaster bolts his direction.
Which, thankfully, gives the rest of the crew a bit of a respite.
Behind a pile of garbage, Pleek-Plook tries to put her intestines back inside her body, screaming and sobbing for her mother.
Laying next to his lifelong best friend, Tweela puts his bloodied furred hand on the other Ewok's shoulder and says through a voice choked with emotion. "Tell... my wife.... I plurking hate her. I know it was her what's been eating all the babies in the Breedin' Pens. Greedy... bitch... she knows how much I like fresh human meat!"
Tweela lets out his last breath, and soils himself, adding to the mess around him.
His teammate starts sobbing, and through unblinking eyes covered in tears he locks in on Grom, and runs across the room toward him, charging with his bayonet!
The fight rages on! RAGE! FIRE AND BLOOD! Well, more like poop and blood. Hex is avoiding getting injured worse, but that white hot pain is not just pain, it's disruption. Thoughts that won't come, memories or plans that are just out of reach, aim that's just dead wrong. It's difficult, and he falls back closer to Kasia, whom he regards with a slightly breathless laugh. "I feel like this is one of the best dates we've been on, nonna? ....I can't remember any of the others, though..." He hits the com, "Sajin, ni muchi, we're getting back to the Mayhem as soon as we can. Kriff this, this is a joke, if the Order or anybody else wants this Destroyer back they can figure it out with the carpets."
"Ah, yeah, sure love! You got a bunch!" No, you didn't Vasani. You missed all of them. "Watch it!" Darius calls and reaches out to push the blue Twi'lek out of the way of something. Pain then stabs into Darius' mind. Looking down at his left arm he notices blood is flowing, cause ya know, he has AN ARROW sticking in it. There is a noticeable red hand print on Vasani's chest as he went to 'protect' her from arrow fire. Totally wasn't coping a feel in a stressful situation. "Breeding pens? Babies?" Darius stands now. "Yeah, let's not leave one alive. "He says gently to himself. Cold as steel. In fact, blue steel. Three more pews. Only two dead Ewoks. You loser Darius.
Sajin in his E-Wing; Faded Mist, rockets towards the old derelict. "Munitions Bay?" He responds to Buckets as the HUD indicates a section of the ship down from where the Deflings were but close enough to where the Ewoks had come from to be damaging to them. He shrugs, "Alright, sounds fun." He rudders the thrusters to points his three heavy canons where the reticule indicated. Waits for a tone, and fires them linked. Right... on... the... money. "Wait... you didn't find anything? Awww... Some shadow trooper armor would have been really cool... we can't leave this for the First Order to find. That's just irresponsible." This is Defiance he's talking about... "On the other hand."
"This is like a lot of our dates, ka're," Kasia replies with a wan smile, having turned herself so that she's sort of sitting up with her back against a wall while trying to remain hidden from fire of any kind. "It'll come back, ka're, it did last time too." She lifts her blaster to fire again, but this time she sizzles a spot on the wall rather than any of the Ewoks. "We're not sweeping through this whole place and killing them all," she says, glancing around at the others. "We need to leave. There isn't anything here that's worth the risk we take in trying to get it. Hex," she holds out a bloodied, filthy hand out to him. "Help me up. This makes it a lot harder to move." She points to the rod of metal still sticking out of her. "But if I take it out I might bleed to death before we get anywhere that there is help beyond a bacta patch."
A couple of the Ewoks have been firing nothing but arrows this entire time, and by now they've run out. Fortunately, only half of them are using primitive weapons, while the rest brought their Blastechs.
"Fix bayonets! We'll taste their blood!"
That order seems to have been for the ones who were wielding crossbows. But their bayonets seem to mostly just be sharpened pieces of whatever metal they could find.
More Ewoks seem to keep pouring in through the vents and from the hall, their numbers impossible to estimate given the exponential rate at which they reproduce. The advantage of giving birth to litters.
Ewoks are now charging directly at the members of Defiance, some with sharpened bits of metal, some simply with their dull little claws and their filed-down carnivorous teeth.
Until the explosions start happening...
Suddenly, there's frantic chatter on the Ewoks' commlinks, letting them know that they have more to worry about than just the douchebags who rolled up in their docking bay and started poking around.
"Bungo Team! Get to your TIE Fighters! We have incoming Rebel Alliance ships! Hurry! Hurry! Move with a purpose!"
Panic descends upon the Ewoks, and an entire team starts retreating and heading toward the TIE Hangar...
Mere moments later, the sky is thick with TIE Fighters, each piloted by diminuitive fuzzballs who can't really see much of anything in their oversized helmets.
Splat goes another Creepy-Ewok. Creewok? "Cree..peewok?" Grom rumbles between swings, as his inner dialogue slips into outer dialogue. Â "BAH. I am the mighty King Grom! You are as tiny furry things before me!" Splat. "Because.. you ARE. Tiny. Furry things-" metaphors are hard, okay? "DIE NOW."
"NICE!" Vasani cheers after she supposedly hit a bunch of them. She didn't. She peeks over to take another shot and BAM. Right in the shoulder. Looks like that blood was from Vasani and not from Darius' grasp. The shots fire off right as she's hit though, hitting the wall as she falls back from the shot. "There's too fuckin' many of them!" Vasani's positive attitude. is. gone.
Grabby hands, aaaah, grabby hands! "Witchtits!" Hex hisses a curse as he gets grabbed, "Escho'ka ni tal'kan, you rash-burned assbaskets!" He's managed to knock the one off himself, bleeds, and turns to see if his impaled wife needs help over there also. Bad day for the Ashkuris. "Worst date. Okay. Worst date. Sajin, light it UP," he comms, "Everyone else get out! Bring one or two if they're stuck, we'll kill them on the Mayhem!"
"These breeding-" An arrow goes back and hits Vasani, Darius quickly fires and drops the Ewok that did this. Sorry, kids, babies, you mean so little now compared to her. "You're okay! It's fine, it's fine!" Maybe it is? Darius doesn't know but he tells Vasani this as he helps her up. "I'm with you, let's make a path and get out of here!" He then shoots the Ewok that grabbed Kasia, right through that brain hole, and then the other that grabbed Grom, in the bowls, before moving. "You're all clear so let's blow this thing and go home." Wait, where they planning on blowing this up?
"No. NO! They're going to get away! THE MEAT IS GETTING AWAY!!!"
The Ewok Sergeant is pissed, and rightfully so. His entire squad is acting like they've never hunted and killed a pack of humans before. But it's not all their fault. After all, when they hunted the Imperials down and put them into breeding pens to use as livestock... they didn't have a Houk with them.
"NOT ON MY KRUTACKING WATCH!"
The Ewok Sergeant pulls the Thermal Detonator off of his ill-fitting Stormtrooper breastplate, and switches it on. Holding it in his hands, he runs straight toward Grom!
Sajin already lit it up! But that's okay, technically Hex has brain damage right now! The hung Hapan is far too busy trying to shoot down TIE's who are just awful at flying. Some even crash into each other. "What even is this?" He asks aloud which of course Buckets has a tweeted beeping quip to. "I guess so..." The awful flying actually makes them difficult targets for Sajin.
Does Kasia need help, she might, that hand she held out to get assistance up is taken, just not by Hex "NO!" The refusal is angry, and followed up by a fist that hits the Ewok harder than one might expect Kasia to hit. The little furry turd factory whips back beneath the force of the blow, and then is shot. Pew. Dead. She doesn't know who did the shooting, but she's not sad the thing is dead. A hand goes out to Hex again for help up, but this time she starts trying to get up on her own whether or not he's there to help her.
It's a very dramatic moment: the gutsy Ewok commander with a hand full of blinking red death charging at the roaring Houk, who waded through blood up to the knees. No doubt music would pound and swell with the building shouts, right up until the forced perspective reveals just how much larger Grom is, and one boot roughly half the size of an Ewok punts the sergeant and his payload down the corridor packed full with his howling underlings. "GROM WINS."
Vasani pulls herself back up with help from Darius. Yeah, it's fine. At least it WILL be once they get out of here. "Shoot those FUCKING animals" uh.. Vasani, you okay? Like I know ya've been shot but... Nope, she is in angry mode and she is DONE with these little creatures all over the place. And there goes two shots from her blaster as her and Darius attempt to make their way through this horde. Pew Pew. Well one of them's down at least. Better than none of them. "Let's get outta here." She says in a tone that seems almost more of a demand than a request.
There are dozens of shrieks from the corridor as The Sergeant's comrades realize what's happening. But they don't have the time to get to any cover, and even if they did there isn't any cover in the corridor that would save them from a thermal detonator.
Just piles of garbage and feces, remember?
Speaking of the feces, that's literally all over the place now, due to the detonator. But the hallway appears to be momentarily clear now. If the schmucks from Defiance were looking for a better time to leave, they won't find it.
BOOOM, the sergeant and his would-be heroics explode in the hallway, and Hex helps Kasia up; between the two of 'em they'll manage this. Hex closes his eyes briefly and tries to remember where they put the ship. And how they got here. And why they're here. What the hell is the name of that ship? For once, it's just kind of nice that Grom keeps saying his name, at least he knows who Grom is. Hex pauses a moment to pick up something... some object nearby... oh, ew, it's the hand. Well. That'll work. He tosses it at Grom, because that is how you cheer for Houks. "Grom wins!" he agrees, and really he saved the team, everyone should be...... giving him a hand.
The Ashkuris limp shipwards.
"See?" Darius says as Vasani and him rush to the transport "I told you wookiees we weird, look how fucked up they are even from childhood!" Didn't they say they were Ewoks? Nah, these are pre-adult wookiees. There is a click noise, and his blaster reads empty. He reloads on the way to the transport just in case. It seems, though, wounded order is Grom fine, Darius blood grope, Vasani broken, Hex no more brain, and Kasia... Poop. "Hex, Kasia we are right behind you keep moving, we have your back." Though you both smell horrible.
"Man this is really really fun..." Sajin says as he's just flying around blowing up cute man eating ewoks in TIE fighters that are at least twenty years old or more. They might be having a hard time keeping up with the band new and advanced E-Wing. "You guys on the ship yet?" He asks over the Comms.
The datapad is picked up at some point while she was on the floor, and shoved into her bag. Will anything come of this? Maybe It depends on what else she finds, and how disgusting the next ship is likely to be. She might just fire the datapad into a sun. Then Hex helps her to her feet, and she grits her teeth, leaning heavily against her spouse once she's on her feet. It hurts, guys. "I hate everything about this," she informs Hex as they shuffle off to the ship slowly, trying not to jostle the projectile she's still got sticking out of her. "If I die, blow this place up for me, ka're. If I don't die, blow this place up for me, ka're."
"Darius we ALL smell horrible. Don't worry guys, we're in this with you. Stinky TOGETHER. TEAMWORK. YEAH DEFIANCE!!" is that adrenaline? It is now when we realize that Vasani has been a smuggler for pretty much her whole life, and doesn't have much experience AT ALL with combat. She's good at being pretty and getting info out of horny men, not at shit shooting murder cannibalism death. BUT she's with Defiance now, so she'll learn. Vasani makes her way out and back to the ship with everyone, staying close to Darius, but also not getting too far from Kasia and Hex in case they need the help. They seem like they'll need the help more than she does anyways.
There have definitely been more successful missions in the history of Defiance (maybe?), but everyone's alive and intact as the Mayhem spins up to life, and fires its engines to get out of dodge. "We're clear, Sajin, make us a path and then we jump," Hex comms, "Everybody's alive. Intact. Smells like shit. Never doing that again. Not really comfortable knowing this is still out there, but.... pretty comfortable with it not being my problem." There is that datapad, though.... there is that data. "See you at home....." Oh no, what's his E-wing pilot's name? He just said it. They were talking. "....Employee of the Month." It'll work. The coms click off, and as they get ready to bolt, Hex regards Darius with a smile. "Maybe we'll get a star destroyer next time, buddy."