Log:First Order: For the Greater Good
The short story: Monsters. And also some people affected by bioweapons. Just following orders...
The long story:
A beautiful, strange, often violent planet even without sentient interference, Felucia has a blood-soaked legacy from more than one galactic regime. You wouldn't know it from the pristine, if dangerous, appearance of the jungle, but the spongey, moss-colored jungle ground holds wars' worth of sentient blood. Maybe Duke knows. Maybe the jungle claimed some of his blood. It definitely claimed that of some of his brothers.
What was the Empire doing on Felucia? The Order doesn't know for certain, but Intelligence indicated that it might be worth investigation to find out. Experimentation was conducted here, on prisoners the galaxy never heard from again... perhaps they discovered something that could be useful for the continuing fight against the Resistance terrorists, right? A team of the galaxy's finest white-armored soldiers, not so different than many of the Vanguard used to be, were dispatched to collect information, and it's there that they ran into trouble.
"They did find biological weaponry, and its lack of containment seems to have proved devastating to the troopers who suffered the worst exposure," travel-size holo Oran briefs. "Investigate, and report. When you approach within 200 yards of the facility, equip your hazmat gear. Standard armor will not control this, it will not. Equip the hazmat gear over your regular armor. I cannot emphasize this enough, we do not know the nature of this contagion." A pause, "You all look even more dreadful than usual. Talk shortly?"
He disappears, and in the distance, a sinister building. It's time to suit up.
You paged Duke with '1 Stinging, biting, armor-joint-burrowing insects have taken a liking to you. You, and no one else. You are suffering.'
You paged Grayson Oakfell with '2 You broke a precarious rope bridge by being careless in your passage across it. Everyone else had 20 extra minutes of hiking because of you.'
You paged Drath with '3 You are having some kind of allergic reaction to spores in the air. A persistent feeling of euphoria and inhibition affects you.'
You paged Lioria Thrace with '4 Your choice of "shortcut" resulted in a detour through a cave of bat-like creatures that defecate when startled. Everyone knows you're the reason for the guano all over everything.'
You paged Hadrix with '5. You're sweating so much. Just, so much. Something about the Felucia atmosphere has made it potent. Armor cannot contain this smell.'
Well, Lioria hadn't expected the shortcut to go THAT bad. But it did. And the Knight is grumbling about it even as they'd stopped to deal with talking to Polly Pocket Oran. Once that's down the crimson armored woman looks to the hazmat suit that was going to go on top of the armor and she shrugs. May as well get it done.
"Damn junka beetles," Duke says swatting at a bug skittering over his chest piece that likely came to light just there after falling from a nearby tree. "Almost as bad as the Gelagrubs," he adds, finally managing to flick the thing off of his chest to land in a pile of brush with a muffled thunk. That kind of gross thunk that goes to show that a bite from that thing probably really, /really/ hurts.
Much to the chagrin of everyone else in the party, Duke had a run-in with the junka beetles early on in the expedition, and began covering the entirety of himself with a foul-smelling orange goo that can be found seeping liberally out of local bantu's head mushrooms.
As the team approaches the building an already unsettled Duke becomes even moreso. "No time like the present, eh?" he asks, disengaging the maglock that's holding his standard-issue pack from his back and flipping it open to pull out the more specialized gear. Those plucky First Order troops just have a tool for everything?
"Trudging with the others, sweaty, pungent - something about the atmosphere has Hadrix raining buckets, and his suit is having trouble keeping up. How much? Well the man eats a lot of spicy food, and he's starting to smell like someone dipped an old primary school gym locker in barbeque sauce. Does he seem to mind? Unsure, his helmet is up and his suit is otherwise sealed... And he's probably drinking the filtered, purified, and recycled water. Because it's gross. And he might be sending suit information to Oran, because the fop isn't here to suffer with him. <<"Really glad I had tech center run full checks on my suit...">>
Drath, as it turns out, has been getting more and more slow in his reactions throughout the entirety of the walk through the fungal forests of Felucia. Occasionally he laughs at something, though exactly what that something is remains a mystery. Nodding in acknowledgement at Oran's explanation of the situation, the Trooper reaches back to his attached pack, and after four or five tries actually manages to get hold of the hazmat attachment for his helmet, which he goes about engaging... Slowly. <<"I wonder what it would taste like.">> comes over the comms from Drath. <<The biological weapon.>> Because he needed to clarify. At least he manages to get his hazmat attachment on eventually.
Grayson Oakfell had elected early on to simply wear her gear from the get go so as to avoid having to carry heavy bahs of any sort. So this entire venture, including the ride over, was with Grayson decked out in her officers uniform and the hazmat gear atop along with mask and the like. When Oran's image disengages Grayson will softly click her teeth together, << That man is hovering on my last nerve and is on the verge of losing his wine privileges with me ..>> Said through the hood of her mask, soft brown eyes peering from behind black rimmed death mask, or ..hazmat mask depending on which side of it you reside. The woman is GORGEOUS, and no amount of poking by Oran will have her questioning her own stylish look.
Later on, after the hike through her nightmare, she is further churlish due to the fact that she had to wait TWENTY MINUTES for the team to take a circuitous route after the very precarious rope bridge she had crossed with no problem. It was of course the last barrier to where they currently have to change into their gear to avoid Certain Death, and she is waiting with hands on her hips, hazmat helmeted head cocked to the side, the woman exhaling out a soft note, "Took you all long enough."
Of course had she not hooked her foot at the end of the bridge in a trip over a ricket bit of board and rope causing it to fall away leaving her separate on the other side of the MASSIVE HOLE in the ground - crevice, gap, sinkhole, whatever, she wouldn't have had to wait, "You are more than welcome to taste it and I will take copious notes for my research at the result." Primly stated in her foreign accent from behind that helmet, woman waiting for the others to finish suiting up.
Carefully now, they're heroes. Bat-creature-poop-covered heroes, thanks to Lioria's wayfinding. Festooned with orange goo, in the case of Duke... sweating so bad one needs hazmat materials just to contend with the smell from Hadrix, in his case. Drath is Drath, but he is some how MORE Drath, like the amount of Drath per square inch has been mysteriously increased. And Grayson. Bless her heart. What else can you say. BLESS HER HEART.
The jungle looks foreboding and terrifying, but somehow, the remains of the old imperial prison look even more foreboding and terrifying. There is something of the Empire's hubris here, their certainty that they could control the ground forces of every planet; that they could conquer nature itself and emerge victorious, that they could reshape the galaxy and everything in it, through determination and lawful cruelty. And they almost did, if not for those meddling kids.
But here too, they were wrong. Felucia has broken this place. And it has broken whatever was inside, perhaps to horrible effect. As the group approaches, hazmat gear in place, three white-armored troopers in standard gear trot forward to meet them.
"I thought we were dead for sure," a white armored man greets the Vanguard, stepping over a cap of fungus as he approaches. His helmet is held in one hand, revealing a swarthy man about the average age of the party. A hand runs over his short military-cut hair, spraying sweat and humidity into the air. "VN-1209, reporting. I'm sure you're wondering what's going on here." Tense grey eyes scan over the group. "So am I."
"We were conducting a routine search of the premises when VN-4317 started behaving erratically. Red-flagged all of us, more than once, said he was feeling... woozy. Before I know it, half the squad is out of commission. Some of them vomiting in their helmets. I tried to keep to procedure but it's hard to talk them into keeping them on when the filtration system is full of... Well, the lieutenant gave the order to withdraw, but only the three of us made it out here. For whatever reason, doesn't seem like it affected us. Immune boosters they gave us in medical paid off, maybe." The helmet goes back on as he readies his weapon. "But now that you're here, we'll get to the bottom of this, together. You can call me One Two. All my team does. ...did."
Lioria finishes making sure the hazmat suit is attached and then looks to the others, "Apologies that the trip has been so full of...guano so far." the vocoded voice states. Hopefully they could power wash their armor when they got back to base...or hide it somewhere that it wouldn't get on the ship. When VN appears there's a look over him and a nod, "One Two. Where are the others that you said made it out with you?" she asks him.
All HAZMAT-ed out, Duke regards One-Two with a healthy amount of distrust that soon spreads out to Drath Xtra. A distrustful squint is spared for the erratic trooper, but nothing more as he begins wandering toward monolithic tribute to the Empire of old. Seems he's in a hurry to get this over and done with.
Hadrix chooses to ignore Grayson's venom, save for a brief flaring of his rifle's pilot light - which seems to poof out further... as if his funk was flammable (delicious). Suiting up and listening intently to the white armored man, and Lioria in turn as she speaks with him, Hadrix keeps his eyes glued on the white-jobs as best he can while trying to monitor Drath to see if his actions become worse. When Duke rolls off on his own as he does, he sighs and looks to the others to see what potential opinions will be.
<<"I hope it tastes like ale.">> Drath chirps back over the comms, though he makes no actual motion to remove his helmet or his hazmat gear. Unfortunately it may be somewhat difficult to actually tell there's anything wrong with him in the first place. Coming to a stop with the others as the other Stormtroopers arrive, Drath's nose slowly wrinkles behind his helmet, and after a moment of (very) slow thought he comments <<Don't we have containment protocols? They aren't equipped with hazmat gear.>> About two seconds after he says this, his hand moves up to point at the other three Troopers.
Nodding to the trio, Grayson's hands slipping off from her hazmat suitted hips as she takes a half-step back from the one reporting, "Doubtful." Murmured with a small amount of doubt in response to One Two's report, gaze drifting over he and his companions as she considers why these particular three were spared. A glance to the distrusting Duke who continues onwards, honey brown gaze shifting back to One Two, a long moment of silence as some sort of internal thought process occurs. Or she really has nothing left to say. It's hard to tell with the helmet obscuring everything but her eyes, but look how they narrow ever so slightly. She might just be in a mood.
"One-Two, if you would do me an entertaining moment, I would very much like a blood sample from each of you-" Already said as she begins reaching to her hip to swing around her medical bag to her front, gloved hands prying open latches on the fancy leather bag, "- Before we continue, to set baselines and the like for whatever we may find, and perhaps find the source of your suspected immunity to what befell your comrades." All said very pleasantly, woman nudging her chin to indicate the men to approach her, drawing out a hypo with three empty vials, two tucked under her arm as she loads the third, waiting to stab away and collect what's needed, "Then we can continue onwards. Please." Free hand lifts and extends out triple gloved fingertips, palm up.
KB-4287 and TK-0248, surviving companions of the Sergeant, One-Two, salute the group and although they do not remove their helmets, their actions seem fairly normal... other than, perhaps, a rattled breach of protocol. "We didn't know what we were up against, sir," one of the two Privates answers Drath. "We were expecting based on the intel that we'd be retrieving data, not samples. We trusted our standard filtration to keep out the worst of Felucia, and didn't... it's not what the intel said." He sounds like he's short-circuiting a little, but keeping it together. "It wasn't in the mission brief, sir. It wasn't in the mission brief. We followed parameters for the expected -- we didn't expect -- it wasn't in the mission brief." He tries again and just holds his rifle at the ready, safely pointed away from the group, impeccable trigger discipline. "We are here to assist your investigation, sirs."
So they enter.
The prison is dark, groaning under the weight of the encroaching jungle, and perhaps for less savory, more ambulatory reasons as well. Traversing the initial passageways toward the old experimentation lab is an adventure in dodging jungle vines and roots, fungus; it's all hard to see in unsteady, flickering light. A pair of corpses in white armor lie on the floor as they round the bend -- companions of One-Two, TK, and KB, surely. It's hard to see what condition they're in, but they're not moving. Until they do.
Hadrix and Duke see it coming; the others are taken by surprise as the bodies of a lieutenant and a captain lift themselves up off the floor with surprising speed, and hurl themselves at the new arrivals. They aren't right. They aren't right at all. The Lieutenant has gaping holes where his eyes used to be, weeping blood and serum down his wreckage of a face. His nose is gone. The Captain's lips are pulled back as though shriveled and drawn from purple, blackish gums, and a grotesque tumor disfigures half of his face, rendering the man unrecognizable. They fire their weapons, blue stun bolts, but also use them as melee weapons, bashing thoughtlessly against their erstwhile fellows while howling with something that isn't rage, isn't fear, isn't human at all anymore.
"Anything you need," One-Two responds immediately, stepping forward with his arm held out to Grayson. "You're in charge. The Supreme Leader sent you to rescue us and stop this madness. Do whatever you have to do. We know the mission comes first and we'll assist as long as we can."
His two compatriots nod in agreement, following his lead and offering their arms to the doctor, uttering affirmations. "We want to see this put right." "We still have a mission to complete."
One-Two follows the others into the prison with clear trepidation, a shell-shocked stutter in his step as they cross the threshold, and before long it is clear WHY. He is so traumatized by the experience thus far that instead of attacking back, he stands frozen in place until a stun bolt hits him and drives him to his knees. "It was real. It was real," he pants to himself on the ground. "I thought- I thought when you got here- I thought I woke up." It would be impossible to hear his voice if it wasn't transmitting over comms in the background of everyone's helmets. "But it was all /real./ The el-tee... the captain...." The shaking muzzle of his F-11D follows the figures of their assailants but nothing fires.
Lio gives a bit of a wary look, but her face can't be seen. She then gives a look to the to the other compatriots. Blaster bolts fire and she gets a bolt to the armor but she's fine. She grabs the lightsaber from her belt and there's the snap hiss as it is turned on, "Get. Back. Or I'm going to gut you." she hisses out coldly.
Oh, cool! A nightmare! Duke really wishes he could switch places with the poor lieutenant and be rid of his no-good eyeballs. That way he wouldn't have to gaze upon the horroscape that they're currently witnessing. Or ever have to see Hex Ashkuri shirtless. That's the dream, honestly.
The scout turns and lifts his E-11, squeezing the trigger twice as he levels it towards The Walking Dead. But Duke's not very good at his job, so both of those shots go real wide.
"Kriff..." said to himself privately as he watches the madness unfold- stormtroopers shooting vanguard, half-rotted monstroopers lurching up from the ground. <<"Ninety-One, take a stimulant booster - Seventy-Seven, move up overwatch on the Knight Asset and Supreme leader. Doctor behind me.">> He's the least... slow, and also the least crazy - which is saying something. He's also distracted and the spray of his flamer sending liquid hot... not quite magma spraying willy nilly as he tries to help form a firing line.
Drath isn't getting worse, per say, but he is... Off. At least, he is for a time after they've went inside. Slow, breathing heavier than usual, laughing when he sees those bodies... Or well, he starts to, but it seems to snap him out of it. The Trooper clears his throat, coughing a few times as his free hand comes up to rub at the underarmor around his throat. <<Kriff, I feel terrible.>> he croaks out, though it's mostly just the soreness in his throat hitting him. It's the hallucinagenics, you see, only they're somewhat fast acting. Side-stepping a cone of blue energy, despite his complaints, Drath returns fire at the infected Troopers that rise in their assault. <<It'll have to wait!>> he provides to Hadrix, though he /does/ intend to take that stimulant. If just to rid himself of the side effects.
<<"I know this is going to sound strange, Knight, but .. do you /think/ their coginitive functions are intact based upon their current behavior?? //Attack// them and bring them //down//, do not /converse/ and hope for a reply.">> A rhetorical question from within her helmet over the comms then hasty demand from Grayson who had held back to label and sort the vials from the men who were very willing to let her do her job, the last vial slid into her bag in a special holdie-doo just as those bodies leapt up, taking the doctor by surprise, her question to Lioria following in a snap afterwards.
Hadrix calling for her to get behind him was never in question, as he calls his order out she's already behind the group using them as shields as she whips out her scanner from within that bag, already configuring it to collect samples from the air, <<"I have seen this behavior once before.">> Grayson begins, breath coming quickly, adrenaline pumping through her as she shakes her head, "The fore-brain is destroyed, or heavily compromised, this is the limbic system responding, the most ancient part of our brains." Class time everyone, << Destroy the brain stem, the lowest part will ensure functional death, or the spine to paralyze them, I can collect any detrius from their bodies regardless of which path you take but -->> She raises her scanner up into the air, brown eyes following the readout as she continues to breath heavily, far too long out of these sort of situations, <<-- do it quickly, they are running on pure primal urge. >> Is she shaking? She might be shaking.
Shots from the rifles and the flamethrower scorch empty into the corridor; the fire from the latter licks out and misses its targets. But it does ignite another body on the ground, another "corpse" that goes from immobile to trying to crawl away once the misdirected flames hit. She's missing her helmet too, and when the fire hits her she screeches, screaming screaming with an unholy sound that no human vocal cords should make until she just /splits/ with a wet cracking sound. Blood and liquified tissue spill all over the floor in a growing puddle, some of it seeping out of her white armor, until the body is not moving and the flames gutter out. The smell is horrible. "We used to play cards," KB-4287 remarks, unsteadily.
The LT and the Captain move with surprising, unsettling speed, which proves them difficult to target, especially in the poor lighting conditions, and a little encumbered by hazmat gear. They are still FO trained, weapons from birth, but with a lack of safety, sanity, or tactics that proves difficult to predict. Fueled by whatever primal power is left in their tortured brain function, the two men... the two things that were men.... scream and then disappear. One up into what might be a vent in a total Duke move, one toward abandoned prison cells. The old lab is in neither direction.
It's difficult to tell what expression One-Two might be making behind the white helmet but he's currently staring at the departed corpse of the burning screamer, his weapon limp at his side for a moment before it snaps up into position again. "...sir," he addresses the nearest body, pointing in the direction of the old lab, away from the direction either of the two assailants just fled. "The old lab's that way. I wish it was as simple as 'this all started when we went in there' but it isn't. We'd already left some time before. Still. It's a lab, right?" His grip tightens on the handle of his rifle with a squeak of plastoid. "Sir, what are your orders?"
"Good question." Lioria's vocoded voice is heard stating to Grayson. She was at least giving them a chance to make sure they could kill them. Without feeling bad later. Then she's after the one that went up the vent, her fingers splaying wide and a wave of lightning coming from her fingertips as she tries to scorch the thing.
"Seems like they're afraid of the fire," Duke observes, loweing his gun a hair as the two combatants scurry off. He grunts and locks his E-11 onto his leg before he takes a running jump toward the vent that the Captain disappeared into and was moments-before super duper electrified. Here's hoping that it's not anymore.
Clambering his way up, the Scout-trooper slips into the dark void, clicking the tac-light on his shoulder on. With a shimmy-shimmy-shimmy, the man is gone.
Snarling at One-Two, as well as 4287 Hadrix shakes his head at first giving a moments pause when Lioria opens up with lightning, shocking (HA!), being the first thoughts passing through his head. The next being a realization that he needs to switch the recyc-water flavoring to citrus, berry is running out fast. "One-Two, Eight-Seven - how many are there that are potentially infected and will be up and running at us in. He's trying to look through what he can, "I hate Imperial complexes, like some maze designed to turn their own lab techs into test-womprats..." shaking his head. "Take us the most direct route." said to the two living personnel, waiting for them to be not living personnel.
Drath furrows his brow as the two infected Stormtroopers flee, his gaze shifting down to that burning one on the floor as she apparently immolates from the plasma fire. <<How disturbing.>> It's pretty obviously disturbing, and Drath takes a moment to cough some more when that lightning shoots out into the vent. Resting his rifle with one hand, the other reaches up to rub at the suit around his throat again, then moves down to flip open a pouch to remove a fragmentation charge.
Turning that guano covered helmeted head down towards it, Drath fiddles with the controls on the side, those gloved hands perhaps still a little stiff from the infection he'd been dealing with. The explosives click, then beep, then click again... And Drath stares at them, only to reach back into his pouch again. Removing some cloth, he wraps the device up, then steps into the hallway towards the cells and very, very carefully places it down against the base of the wall. It's beeping occasionally, but - <<No one disturb that.>> he warns as he takes steps back away from it and finally gets to remove the stimulant from another pouch on his utility belt.
"Next time, Knight, I suggest you remember that we are with the Vanguard, not the league of slow thinkers and well wishers." Primly stated from the Doctor as she exhales out quickly in relieved horror, "They are now /loose/, and you do something useful /thereafter/." Disgust, Grayson muttering something about Oran, steeling her nerves together just in time to see Duke burrowing after the one in the vent, " ..no one would have knowing ..."
To herself softly, but with a lick of her lips and a nod of her head, one of which goes unseen, the other quite obvious, the good doctor is striding to One Two to firmly grip his shoulder with her non-scanner holding hand, nodding twice, "Thank you, I promise to you a quick death if you are to become one of them, and if not, the best medical treatment you have ever had in your life." That's her way of saying thanks for pointing the way to the lab.
"These facilities, while mazing in just a look, are all configuring in much the same way." Begun in that sweet accent as she takes off where the helpful man points, adding ominously over her shoulder, "If something gets /out/, it will take /time/ to do so." Her smart looking heeled boots click, the Hazmat Suited Doctor on a mission. TO THE LAB.
Duke disappears into the vent shortly after Lioria's lightning followed the Captain down there. Where is he going? What will he do there? Does he need help? What if the horrible infected troopers KO him in the vents? Nobody knows. Duke does as he must. Duke does the needful.
With their scout gone feral back to his natural habitat, Lioria, Hadrix, Drath, and Grayson are left to follow the guidance of KB, TK, and One-Two toward the remains of the lab. "Besides what you've seen already, two more might be alive, but we haven't seen them for... for some time, sir," TK confirms, reeling away from the snarly Hadrix to huddle behind One-Two, or at least as much of a huddle as one can get while following proper movement protocols.
Their path brings them to the lab, which like everything else here, is in a state. Computer terminals and medical equipment abound, all of it looking to have suffered over thirty years of disuse, disrepair, and encroaching jungle. A backup generator present provides simple tech that may allow some of the equipment to reach a state that can be useful toward accessing or downloading records. Medical droids - and torture droids - or the imperial era hang here like silent ghosts, having rusted in place for lack of care, and then slowly circled into technological insanity in their own minds as, immobile and without tasks to complete, they waited for their power to fade.
There are more stormtrooper bodies here, bloated with knots of tumors that burst their armor, and now leave the corpses lying weeping on the floor. As before, it's only a moment before one of them leaps up again. The Lieutenant again, must have circled back here, and his attack leaves blood and viscous, gluey, dissolving tissue all over poor One-Two's armor. In the vent, Duke is having a similarly charming issue with the Captain. It's a snug and cozy fight.
One-Two stiffens under Grayson's touch, steeling himself for what lies ahead. "Just trying to complete the mission so these men's lives meant something to the Order's cause, ma'am," he breathes, gathering his rifle into the crook of his arm, planting the stock more securely. "It's this way."
And what do they find but more chaos, infection, and disorder. The lieutenant beats bloody, tumor-ridden fists against poor One-Two's helmet. Shaken, but not stirred, the stormtrooper's training kicks in, finally acclimatizing to the new reality and his trigger finger gives a tug, blasting hot plasma into his assailant so that he can stagger free, ichor up and down his white armor.
Lioria doesn't say anything as she hears the scathing words from Grayson. Apparently she was a mucking things up supremely on this outing. She moves on. After the force lightning scorches the one runner, she looks to Duke who went up after it and that means she can't go after it and force lightning the hell out of it. It probably would hurt the trooper. She starts to search for another vent to climb in to go help Duke.
Shimmy-shimmy-shimmy. SABOTEUR! Duke is just minding his own business in his vent fortress when he's assaulted by the Captain. The be-tumored stormtrooper manages to twist and bend his body in unnatural ways, speeding through the vents like a man possessed. Getting a grip on Duke, the two of them begins /duking/ it out in the confines. DK-4077's hand manages to get on his gun, but the close quarters and his opponent's strength mean that he can's get the barrel of it anywhere near the man, so a pair of bolts rip through the metal confines, likely deafening the two of them.
Stepping in, growling loud enough for his externals to click in and send the sound warbling through his externals, Hadrix moves with surprising alacrity for a man of his size. Releasing his flamer to swing back on its utility arm to seat on his back even as he is moving towards the fungal-tumor-trooper.
Drawing his vibrosword underhand with his left hand to bash the monstrosity with the pommel as he switches to his right hand, driving the point into the neck just under the jaw and into the brainstem, pushing it away from the white-job as well as Grayson. Drawing a bag from his utility kit and throwing it at one two. "Bag the head, and whatever else the Doctor feels she wants for samples."
Drath takes a moment to inject that stimulant into his system on their way to the lab, a sigh of relief coming to him as it works rather quickly to stem the swelling in his esophogus. How pleasant! Slipping the remains of that injector back into his pouch, the Trooper folows on the path to the lab, his rifle held at a relaxed state until they arrive.
Gazing around the room, and all of the bodies, Drath shakes his head at the carnage. <<Nine-Oh, may want to stick that in the heads of all the corpses we come across. Just in case.>> In case what? In case bodies jump up at them like that one does! Hadrix has that under control however, and Drath's attention shifts to the shots coming from the duct in the wall. Raising his rifle, the Trooper fires off two shots after some careful calculations, both of them piercing into the duct behind, but only one of them finding its mark in the side of the Captain. <<You alright, Seventy-Seven?>>
Grayson Oakfell is under duress, and it is a high probability that she will feel bad once they Are Safe for how she spoke to Lio. For now though adrenaline and nerves are threatening to burst with horrified excitement at what is happening in this facility. The possibilities. The things she can share with Saanvi and other staff to utilize in projects already in the works.
A binary tone buzzes out from a small box as Grayson gets that genny working, the woman having gone over, squatted next to it, pushed a button, waited. Pushed another button. Waited. Pushed again. Boop. And then nudged it with two poking fingers which brings it to life. BRAAWWWWW.
That binary tone continues as the console begins connecting to various things, the machine chattering away to itself, happy to be back to life while having been on the barest flickers of energy in it's tiny emergency battery. Leaning into the console with both gloved hands the hazmatted woman stares at the console which reads 'thank you for your patience, intializing after catastrophic shutdown.'
"Oh come on now." Things die behind and above her, but the woman's focus is straight on that monitor, lips pulled to the side, her stance one of supreme annoyance and tempered patience. Clapt. Clapt. Clapt. Gloved fingertips thrum on the edge of the console, head canting to the right.
Exhale. "I am very much in annoyance."
The ruckus around Duke reveals his position... which Drath rather incautiously fires into, but it all works out well for Duke! Rifle fire from his companion hits the tumor-warped Captain, but not the Scout who chased him into the vent. TK-0248 dutifully follows Drath's example and fires as well, and this time he manages to dispatch his one-time leader. An explosion of diseased flesh sprays all over Duke as the body slumps against him in the vent, and as gobbets of pestilence drip down his faceplate, now's a time to be really glad that hazmat suits are a thing.
In the lab, an inspection of surroundings - now that bodies aren't leaping up to attack - provides insight into what may have happened here. This team came for records and research, unaware of the presence of samples, but a large container marked obviously with BIOHAZARD warnings has been corrupted with tree roots strangling through the infrastructure. The mechanisms that preserved this have broken, and the samples were released into the environment. Unaware they were stumbling into a deathtrap, the team that came to retrieve the records, and found much more than they bargained for. Three survivors.
In the sudden quiet following the death of the Lieutenant and the Captain - merciful, for them - Pocket Oran flares back to life for whoever was carrying a portable holo. "What have you discovered on Felucia?"
"By the will of the Supreme Leader, I think that's the last of them," One-Two is saying to the others, wiping uselessly at the bodily gunk on his armor, succeeding only in spreading it around. The putrid green stands out in stark contrast to the white betaplast. "Thank the stars you arrived when you did or this mission would have had a very different outcome. You have my thanks and I'll include all of your actions in my report. No one else left from the squad to file one now." The lieutenant and captain are dead, leaving One-Two the ranking officer on the scene for the original team. He glances over at the transmission. "Let them know and then let's get out of here. I owe you lot a round of alc rations."
"You okay up there, Duke?" Lio's grabbed a box and used it to see up into the vent. Because she can't climb today apparently! "Oh. Good. It's dead and not the other way around." the vocoded voice states. "Come on, before more of those...things show up." she mutters. Oh look. It's tiny Oran again!
Pushing the now-smoldering corpse of the Captain off of himself, Duke wipes an excess of blood off of his visor. <<I'm fine,>> he comms back to the rest of the team, sitting up in the vent and reaching over to grab his E-11. He'd be depressed if he wasn't in paradise.
<<"Oran... it appears we're clear. We need a quarantine craft, some sort of fungus - turns people into bloodthirty monsters seeking to pound other sentients into the ground - like in Cambion and Doctor Montuio - except the creations don't sing, they just grunt and hit. But pretty similar otherwise. About the same production value.">> Clicking off his comms and then looking to Grayson, externals clicking on, "How much of all of this do you want us to have hauled back to the lander?"
Drath peers quietly up at the vent after the other Stormtrooper opens fire on it as well, and after receiving confirmation that Duke is fine, chirps back <<Copy, Seventy-Seven. Glad to be of assistance.>> Sometimes you just gotta take the shot, right guys? Turning his rifle over to check the charge, Drath nods and slings it as he steps further into the lab and gazes at that broken open crate. <<Might be best to call in a glassing once we're done here. Make sure it's contained.>> You know, by utterly destroying it and the forest around it. History shows this to be an effective tactic. That's transmitted over the holocomm as well, of course.
"Inappropriate storage of hazardous goods and insufficient effort to prevent such." Grayson states with a sidelong glance around her to see the lab, a glance to the left, a glance to the right, coming to the conclusion now that dead things aren't launching themselves at the group, some annoyance for the tiny image that pops up in front of her helmet from a little projector, "Hold a moment, I am finally in this ancient tech." Said, woman listening to Hadrix's assessment. Annoyance for the tiny image likely a result of that slow arsed comp. The sound of her tapping with squishy gloves comes from her own transmission back to the man, "I am seeing that this was an abandoned project, an incredibly dangerous virus --"
Her brown eyes are lit up from behind the protective shield of her hazmat visor, "Highly contagious, incredibly virulent, and far too stable to weaponize in a controlled manner ..." She sounds far too keen and happy, "Amazing." Breathed out softly, the doctor beginning to download files, "I only need one sample, the one who just spoke -" Drath, "-Is correct. Here." She will blindly dig into her bag, drawing out a box, "Flip it open, take the vial, draw out the swab, swab, and reinsert into vial, shake vial, put vial in box, activate box with the blue button." Box is held out towards Hadrix.
"Everything will have to be decontaminated before we get back onto the ship, even the smallest of samples left in the open on us could contaminate an entire city, and ...you have seen what can happen to just a small group of men. Imagine beyond ..." Way too keen. Reading data. Watching it download. Box still held out until Had takes it to do what she want him to do, "We must be glassing entirely after as he said." Again re-affirming Drath in a distracted manner. Is Oran still on the line?
Pocket Oran receives the news grimly. "Return nothing and no one to the quarantine lander," he replies to the team. "Do not bring samples. Do not bring bodies, do not bring anything other than yourselves. We will be glassing this site completely. If anything or anyone is left alive in there, kill it. We cannot accept the risk of contamination, for ourselves or for the civilian populace for whom we are ultimately responsible."
That's terrible news for One-Two, TK, and KB, the latter two of which are completely at a loss for words.
The Coruscanti Knight on the holo continues, "This directive is not from me. This directive is from the Supreme Leader. No survivors. You will eliminate anyone still breathing down there, you will return to the quarantine vehicle with your data, and we will be expunging this site of all that was ever here."
"Please confirm you understand and comply."
It takes a moment for the orders to register with One-Two. "Now wait a second, you said-" a finger points at Grayson, "You said we'd be taken care of with the finest medical staff the Order has to offer! You can't do this, we completed the mission! We're the same! We're here for the same reason, we- we followed protocol as best we could, there's no protocol for this, there's no protocol..."
Lio was listening to the transmission that was going on and well, given that she's really not going to disobey orders...the lightsaber is switched on. Followed by the noise of it cutting through the air and VN-1209 is suddenly headless. The head hits the floor with a gruesome thunk followed a few seconds further by his body, "Confirming and complying." she states in her vocoded voice.
At the order from Oran, Duke begins a good old-fashioned shimmy-shimmy-shimmy towards an exit that overlooks the room that his fire team ended up in. A well-placed kick sends the grate sailing and he drops down, hoping that his team doesn't just shoot him immediately.
Hadrix's single point visor, being his helmet is styled after a Flame Trooper, turns to Grayson, "Unfortunate. Sorry doctor." Hadrix turns, an overhead strike putting the blade of the vibrosword past TK's helmet and into the midst of his skull. Suit whining with the sudden engaging of strength enhancing servos he pushes down bisecting the man entirely. Entirely. Head to groin. It's no quick cut, blink blink, slide apart. No it's bad. Real bad. That's a vibro-sword. It moves through flesh and plastoid like butter, butter that sprays blood, fluids, bits of organs, and the contents of stomach, intestines, and bladder before the two halves fall apart. <<"Contained">> Hadrix reports.
Drath tilts his head, listening in over the comms as the orders come back. <<Copy that. That's how we handled the last one.>> The last pathogen infested place, anyway. No prisoners, blow up the ship... Drath knows how to do pathogen containment now. He's learned from the best! Then the /other/ orders come down the pipe, and Drath chirps up with a <<Yes, Sir.>> It might sound more malicious than it is, but it truly gives Drath no pleasure as he coldly turns towards the other Stormtroopers, takes aim, and promptly turns KBs head into molten slag in a quick, clean death. They're orders, after all, and the smoking crater that used to be KBs head drips all over the floor as the rest of the body thumps down.
Grayson Oakfell glancing up to look at One-Two with a slow nod there is clear conflict in her honey brown eyes. Does she disagree with the demand? Sure. Did she make a promise? Indeed. Her brow wrinkles from behind that mask, lips parted as something niggles at her and she feels her breath catching in her throat, download to her datapad completing with a soft relaxing tone, "Perhaps the Supreme Leader would allow me a few weeks to sta..." But then Lio decides to ascribe more worth to the dead than the living and cuts off the head of Two-One without even a moments worth of hesitation she gave to the dead dude earlier, and a breathy shudder runs through the doctor. But that's it. By some power of the Force, Fate, or Design, she keeps it together.
By grace of her hazmat helmet her features go unseen, though all that could be witnessed is a clenching of her jaw, a slight wrinkle at the edge of her eyes, and perhaps a slight tic of the corner of her mouth. Her breathing slows considerably. The box she had held out to Hadrix is withdrawn and set back into her bag in a gravely slow motion. Grayson turns from the console to lean in against it, three vials of blood from within her bag drawn out and each one individually sunk into a port on her scanner which she yanks up from the console behind her, running scans on the samples to obtain their data. When each vial is scanned the woman will murmur something softly, each vial set atop the console neatly, as if she were laying them to rest.
No further words from the doctor who will nod primly to the group as she leaves the console, striding to head out and back the way they came, the long walk back a time for reflection.
For a soft hearted woman who doesn't want to take Vratix eggs away from their parents, who doesn't want to attack plague ridden monstrosities until they have a chance to be monstrous, Lioria is very quick on the draw to execute VN-1209. He loses his head before the surprise can truly register, and he dies at her feet. A good man. Loyal to the cause. Faithful to the end. Dead in a war he believed in, at hands he mistook for salvation.
KB-4287 and TK-0248 fall shortly after to the rifle and blades of Drath and Hadrix, cut to pieces by the men they unquestioningly followed. Grayson's promise is as broken as the bodies on the ground. "Quarantine vessel is arriving shortly," Oran comms, "Follow procedure as indicated."
It's a hell of a decontamination requirement, but they get the job done, they are clean, they are free to go, leaving behind the corpses that would perhaps paint them as everything the Resistance has been afraid of. Everything for which they scream at the rest of the galaxy, it can't be allowed, it can't.
It's for the greater good.
When Grayson analyzes the samples, she'll find TK, KB, and One-Two were clean. They did not share the contagion.
A job well done. It's for the greater good.