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"Perfect Square Act I" Pt. 2


An even longer time ago, in a galaxy just as far away...

 

"Well you could part ways here, but your chances of escaping would be significantly better if you stick with her; judging the accuracy of that shot at least" Mischa casually jumped into the conversation as she deactivated her stealth field generator having positioned herself close - but not alarmingly so - to the group. Continuing her confident address and not wanting to give anyone the chance to ask why someone who appeared to be one of the Hutt's entertainers was even walking around in the first place on this level and under stealth, Mischa spoke in her native and much more comfortable Imperial accent, "Of course; you could also return with me along the route I have just secured before it is compromised and in the time it has taken for you to debate this action; we could all be in a car en route to the spaceport."


She turned to face the human woman directly, "With such a sharp aim and refined accent, I assume you are Ms. Haron? What is the status of Sixteen?"


The short-haired woman turned to the new arrival, "Intelligence sent you, didn't they? Thank the Emperor! Cipher Sixteen, he wasn't captured with me, I thought he escaped and was going to come back for me but when he never showed...well I had to do something about it so I sent that SOS from Darnel's terminal. I hope it didn't break too many protocols." The Weequay lowered the pistol, "You're Intelligence? Imperial Intelligence? Maybe you can get me out of here after all. If you don't shoot me once we're out the door, that is." "Better that than what the Hutts'll probably do, so I'd still stick with us if I were you," Kelly responded before turning to Mischa. "I have an idea on how to get out, but not through the way you came in, not directly at least. I only managed to disable the cameras in here with Darnel's access; the moment we step outside palace security will know. And even if we all had stealth generators, I've seen the latest Czerka Observer models patrolling the halls. Not to mention the R4-G unit that'll rip a speeder apart in seconds if we steal one. We need to compromise their security first. Specifically, the droids." "How do we do that?" the Wookiee howled questioningly. "I met with Gundo to discuss his interest in droid security and convince him to buy from my company, so I got to know some information on his current bodyguards," Kelly explained. "Most of them aren't fully self-aware, so not so much droids as mobile combat platforms. Gundo's technician mentioned they were linked to a central computer core. They're probably not dumb enough to have an on-off switch there, but when droids are deployed en masse like this, they need something to update their IFFs in sync, and that's almost definitely going to be found in the core. Sabotage that, and we can turn the droids on the other guards in the palace." She turned her attention to Mischa, "You brought a map, right?"


Mischa nodded, quietly impressed with the informants show of initiative, as she retrieved one of Darnel's datapads which she had tucked into the back of her pants. Holding it out flat for Kelly to see - not giving too much consideration to allowing the others any input - she called up the floor plan which she had saved on it, "A more discreet solution would be preferable, but either way that central core is our best bet. We can reach it along this route here with minimal risk of attracting attention" She said tracing a fingertip across the lines of the map before looking up to Kelly, and then the others, "Time to move" "But those maintenance shafts are tiny!" growled the Wookie, "The furball has a point..." The Weequay weighed in, "You'll never get /all/ of us through there". Mischa looked between the two as she considered the options, finishing on Kelly before the Wookie growled and roared again as he too looked to Kelly, "I already owe you a life debt for getting us this far; if you two can take the droids out from down there then go; we'll push up top to create a distraction while you do" The Weequay did a double take looking at the Wookie, "wow, wow, wow... who said I'm going anywhere with you? I want to stay with them!" he protested pointing at the two Imperials, but Mischa nodded and smiled at the Wookie, "Your honour serves as testament to your race. Very well; but do not get yourselves in too deep, once the droids are taken care of we will return for you and rendezvous here" she says pointing at a convenient spot on the map with a cautionary glance to the two aliens, "Be careful up there and don't throw your lives away; we can all come out of the other side of this if we work together." With a satisfied growl, the Wookie set off back towards the elevator; bracing a furry paw on the Weequay's shoulder and pushing him along in the same direction. As the elevator doors closed behind the proud Wookie and disgruntled Weequay, Kelly & Mischa were left to peel off into the maintenance hatch on the adjacent wall and begin their descent into the core.


With the others taking most of their limited arsenal to attract the attention of the guards, Kelly handed Mischa the one rifle they had between them, "You're leading the way, you're more likely to need this than I do." Letting Mischa go first as she was the one who planned the route, Kelly crawled into the narrow maintenance tunnels behind her, sticking close, "So, I take it from your outfit that you got in as a dancer? Did you have to go through Darnel too?"


Mischa couldn't help but smile at Kelly's question; "Indeed... he was rather expecting in his standards too, I do not want to think what he expected to transpire after escorting me to his private quarters..." she chuckled, carefully maneuvering through the narrow ducting. "So what exactly happened to you and Sixteen? I assume that once we are out of here you have a means to re-establish contact together. After all, since receiving your SOS; my objective clearly stipulates that I ascertain not only your status, but that of the agent assigned to you also."


"I'm...actually not sure what happened," Kelly replied. "The mission was going well at first. We didn't find any way to get confirmation on Gundo's relationship with the Republic but we did seem to get him interested in Haron Incorporated's droid models, which means we'll be able to monitor his activities once they're hooked into his network. We were in the last stages, finalizing the deal and all, and then palace security just burst into my room and locked me up for spying on Gundo. I have no idea what gave me away. Or where Cipher Sixteen ended up for that matter, we weren't together when I was caught. They could've executed him on the spot, or he escaped and stayed on radio silence."


Mischa listened carefully to Kelly's recounting of events, "Well our first order of business once we get out of here must be to establish the status of Sixteen. Unlikely as it may be; it does sound you two were compromised so first we find Sixteen, and then we secure the compromise." As she spoke, Mischa stopped in the ducting and peered through the hatch into the control room. As anticipated it appeared devoid of activity and so she set about removing the hatch so they could finally exit the shaft and stand up straight again, "Well... I say /first/ order of business, though that will of course be getting out of this bloody outfit!" she chuckled as she gave a light grunt in shoving the hatch open. Once clear on the other side she turned and extended a courteous hand to help Kelly out while visually surveying the area.

"You don't look too bad in that outfit," Kelly chuckled. "But it's definitely not a good choice for a firefight." Taking Mischa's hand, she stepped out of the tunnel and glanced around. The two were on top of a walkway above the maintenance level of the palace. The chamber beneath was covered with machinery which was littered across the room in no coherent pattern. Humanoid combat droids patrolled the room, oblivious to the two intruders whose entrance was masked by the heat and noise of the generators around them. "Speaking of firefights..." muttered Kelly. With a closer look, she identified the computer core by being the only thing in the room with a significantly large access console. She pointed it out to Mischa, "That's what we want. From this vantage point I can take out a good few droids but they'll notice us soon and we're completely exposed up here. Or we could take our chances down there, use all the machines as cover. But as dumb as these models are, I really don't recommend trying to fight one in close quarters."


Mischa hrmed as she considered the options briefly, "Alright; you hold point up here" she said handing Kelly the rifle, "I've seen your handiwork and trust your long range aim to be swift and efficient" she smiled lightly. Leaning forward again to assess the most optimal tactical route, "Those are Czerka model TN-450's right?" she asked looking back over her shoulder to Kelly who's simple - albeit slightly perplexed - nod told Mischa all she needed to know, "Ok, wait for my signal then pick off all that you can, you'll... know when you see it" she smiled playfully as she spoke, clearly taking great pleasure in her art, as she hit her stealth field generator and began the descent down into the main level, leaving Kelly to watch and wait... The seconds ticked by slowly for Kelly as she sat prone with the rifle poised ready to raise. She did not see as Mischa circled around the room to single out an isolated droid in the corner beneath the walkway, which she managed to sneak up behind and with a single strategically placed downward thrust of her blade, followed by a sharp twist; was able to sever the main the power line for the droids CPU, instantly rendering the unit non-functional as it slumped to the floor at her feet. In doing so of course, the rapid action also broke her stealth field and she only had seconds to act, but this she know. Ducking down to grab the weapon that had been sported by the droid, she dove behind some nearby crates and knelt ready, rifle in hand. With a quick check over it she took aim and glanced up to see that Kelly was ready and waiting still before opening fire herself on the next nearest droid; making a precision shot to instantly shut down the unit, though this of course caught the attention of the other patrolling units who all turned in unison - beeping and whirring as they processed the unexpected change in circumstance - before all opening fire on Mischa's position as she ducked down behind the crates once more. Now she was reliant on Kelly successfully catching them in a crossfire else she would need some quick rethinking...


As the droids turned their attention to Mischa, Kelly took the opportunity to open fire. Having kept the first droid she aimed at in her sights for the entire time, the shot was extremely precise, ripping through its metal chassis and completely frying the core, sending ripples of excess electrical energy through it and rendering it damaged beyond repair. She quickly moved to the next one and pulled the trigger; despite not having a scope, the blaster bolt hit the droid in the chest, not as well-placed as the first but still instantaneously dropping the target. The third hit connected with a droid's shoulder, knocking it back before the fourth finished it off. By then, the other droids had responded to the threat from above, many of them turning away from Mischa to shoot at the catwalks. Kelly fired a volley down in return as cover fire as she darted back into the maintenance tunnel, the only safe spot she could possibly reach in time.


Mischa was quick to react to the anticipated change of attention for the droids and as they turned, she moved around the room and ducked behind one side of a console; firing multiple times to drop another droid still focused on her as she moved. From her new position in cover she had a much better vantage point on the remaining droids and quickly dispatched two more thanks to their more vulnerable rear chassis being exposed to her. This action brought the focus of the last remaining droid back towards Mischa, who barely managed to scrunch herself in behind the console as the droid turned and fired wildly on her position


Kelly stepped out from the tunnel once the blaster bolts stopped flying in her direction, spotting the final droid as it fired at Mischa. She stabilized the rifle on the railings of the walkway, carefully controlling her breathing as well as her weapon as she focused intently, doing her best to take aim with the limited functions of the palace guard's blaster. As she finally pulled the trigger, the bolt dashed across the room, striking the droid's hands and melting most of them away along with half of its weapon. She followed up a burst of less precise shots, some missing, some tearing through the legs of the droid, crippling it and leaving it to crawl with what remained of its limbs towards Mischa in a vain attempt to reach its target. "Don't destroy that one!" Kelly shouted so that Mischa could hear her, unconcerned about alerting the rest of security as the shooting had likely done that already.


Mischa peered up from her cover spot before glancing briefly to the wounded droid. With a small but distinct nod to Kelly, she stepped out from her cover; keeping the rifle poised to defend herself against any sudden moves from the droid, "This one is all yours, Ms. Haron" Mischa called back. She stood guard just out of the droids reach, checking the exits and rest of the room for further activity while Kelly made her way down to the main level.

Kelly climbed down the ladder as she held the rifle with one hand, making her way over to the computer core. On the way, she fired two shots into the droid's arms, severing them both at the elbows to further cripple it. The droid turned and crawled towards her instead, but with its relatively backwards programming it was unable to carry out any attacks in its current state and merely followed Kelly harmlessly as she stood before the massive servers that made up the palace's main computer.

For a minute everything was quiet as Kelly set to work on the terminal, her fingers gliding from button to button as she navigated the intricacies of the computer core, using her technical expertise to bypass security where passcodes and other identifiers were needed. Then, as the screen changed to display what appeared to be a layout of the palace filled with circles and blips, Kelly paused for a second, glancing back at Mischa.


"You might want to know that we'll be getting some company soon..."


Before Mischa had a chance to respond, two small doors slid open on the other side of the maintenance chamber as four more guard droids stepped in.


"Thank you for the warning!" Mischa joked as she readied her rifle. She wasted no time in opening fire on the two droids to her nearest side as she ducked into cover. The blaster bolts flew sporadically but her aim was true enough to take out one of them while she was on the move. As the droid focused it's attention on her position, Mischa glanced back quickly to ensure Kelly was also clear before looking to return fire.


The machines in the way prevented the droids from getting a clear shot at Kelly, but she still knelt down, not to take cover or to make herself a smaller target, but to grab the broken droid at her feet who was trying with futility to grab her with its non-existent hands. Blasting the lock on a small panel below the terminal's interface, she yanked out several wires, connecting them to access ports on the back of the droid's head. "Riding the droid's connection into the IFF protocols should save me some time...I'll have them down soon!" Kelly assured Mischa. It was not very assuring, however, as two more droids charged in seconds after the first went down, followed by a large Gamorrean holding a shotgun.


While Kelly worked, Mischa again popped up out of cover, spraying a flurry of bolts across the two droids from the opposite side of the room before they had a chance to close on Kelly, "Any time Kelly..." she encouraged over the sound of blaster bolts flying overhead.

Kelly stood up to type on the terminal once the droid was connected. Meanwhile, the still functional droids continued to advance mindlessly, one of them losing an arm to Mischa's fire, lurching back for a second before throwing its other arm forward, firing wildly. As they got closer, a few blasts whizzed by Kelly, causing her to duck again, this time an instinct to avoid the shots. "One moment," she muttered as she continued typing as best she could while crouched. "Just have to...there!" The droids all stopped simultaneously, holding their rifles with both hands in a position typical of those standing guard, except the one with the single arm who simply held its weapon at its side. The Gamorrean grunted and squealed in a mix of confusion and frustration, shouting for the droids to blast the intruders. They did not respond, leaving Kelly to type away without distraction. Enraged, the Gamorrean pushed the nearest droid aside, charging for Mischa with his shotgun raised. He opened fire, but he was too far for the weapon to be effective, its scattered projectiles simply embedding in various machines. Before Mischa could retaliate though, all droids turned and raised their rifles, each firing a single burst at their former comrade. Most of the Gamorrean was disintegrated by the sheer volume of blasts before he even realized what had happened, and what remained dropped to the ground in an unrecogn


"Excellent work" Mischa commended Kelly as she cautiously stood from her cover, keeping the rifle raised and one eye on the nearby droids. She turned to get a closer look at Kelly's work on the terminal, "I trust there are no unforeseen setbacks?"


Kelly shook her head as the droids completely ignored them and began walking out of the room, "I replaced the list of targets with the list of security personnel and fighting between the organic and droid guards should be breaking out across the palace now. Most of Gundo's models are terrible, but they're numerous enough to take over the palace so our coast should be clear once the shooting stops. In the meantime, I'm going to see if I can get what we came for directly out of the computer core..."



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