"There doesn't seem to be a lot of security here." You comment.
She shakes her head. "There usually wasn't when we went to fights and stuff. Discord was really cocky and sure of himself lots of the time."
You're determined to make him pay for his overconfidence.
Pinkie leads on. "When we raided ships, we made sure we didn't leave a trace of where we went, but we wanted the galaxy to know who we were. Like a calling card! He wanted to be the bestest and most feared pirate in the galaxy!"
"Well, he definitely made an impression, that's for sure." You reply.
She giggles. "Probably not the one he was after though. Good thing I'm not here with him anymore!"
You grin and continue following her as she navigates the ship, making turns down hallways and taking shortcuts as she comes to them.
Upon reaching an open doorway that leads to a large, open area, she stops and hunkers down. "Okay, there might be someone up ahead. This way leads to the Rancor cages."
You crouch slightly and grip your blaster rifle. "We have to go past the Rancor cages?"
She nods. "The engine room is just a little bit further. That's where the warp drive is."
Warp drive? Who calls it a warp drive?
"And the weapons systems?" You ask.
"They're up by the bridge." She replies. "They control the ship's phasers, photons, and particle beam emitters remotely, but someone can still use them directly if they are at the actual guns themselves."
Phasers and photons? What kind of ship is this?
She continues. "Really, the only thing we have to worry about is the Rancor monster. If he smells us, he'll wanna eat us and start roaring, so we've gotta be fast!"
You just sigh and shrug. "Alright, lead the way."
She smiles and peeks around the corner. "Oooh, there he is. He's a big one!"
You step out and look to where she's looking. Directly ahead of you in a large metal cage is a sleeping Rancor. It's either in early adolescence, or it's a malnourished adult. It's not as big as other Rancors you've seen. Despite that, it's still enormous.
"Where do we go?" You quietly ask.
Pinkie points to a doorway on the other side of the room close to the monster's cage. "Right there. If there's no one in here, then there's definitely someone in there. That's one of the rooms where we kept valuables. Someone is always supposed to be watching it."
You nod and turn on your helmet's lifeform scanner to look for enemies. Apart from the hulking Rancor at the end of the room, this room is devoid of life.
You're about to proceed forward when Pinkie sticks her arm out in front of you, holding her blaster pistol. She's sticking her tongue out and closing one eye. She's aiming at something. A second later, she fires and blasts a piece of metal off the wall and it falls down to the floor with a loud bang.
The sound echoes loudly through the room and you whisper-yell at her. "What the hell are you doing?! We have to be quiet!"
"I'm opening the door!" She says. "I have an idea! That was a security camera!"
You're about to retort when you hear a low rumbling sound coming from the other side of the room. That sound woke the Rancor and it growls a bit more as it starts to get to its feet. It slams one of its claws on the ground and you feel the floor shake a bit beneath your boots. It roars loudly and starts to look around.
You instinctively tighten your grip on your blaster rifle, but Pinkie just smiles and looks back at you. "Follow me once I start running!"
She looks back at the monster as it continues to make a fuss. A moment later, the door you need to go through opens and someone walks out. A male weequay.
"Hey, girl. What's wrong?" He says. "What you complaining about? You hungry again?"
He approaches the cage and turns his back to you as he speaks to the angry Rancor.
Pinkie pulls your arm. "Now!"
She bolts forward and you follow right behind her, keeping an eye on the weequay in case he turns around. The Rancor rears its head up and roars again, this time it's looking at you and Pinkie. Its roaring should block the sounds of your fast footsteps.
"Woah, woah! Calm down, girl! What's wrong with you today?" The weequay holds his hands up to try and urge the monster to calm itself while you and Pinkie run into the next room.
She quickly goes to a control panel on the left and hits a button. "HO HO! YE'VE BEEN HORNSWAGGLED, YE SCURVY DOG! NOW WALK THE PLANK!"
The weequay whips his head around at looks at you just as the door closes. Once it shuts, you hear him banging on the door a few seconds later, yelling at you from the other side. Pinkie starts laughing wildly and hits another button. Red lights start flashing and an alarm starts blaring all through the ship.
"Pinkie, what the hell are you doing?!" You shout.
"I'm releasing the Rancor!" She says with a smile. "The rest of the crew will come here and try to capture it and get eaten! It's a distraction!"
You just look at her in shock.
She continues. "Trust me, Anon! Rancors are everything to these pirates! They'll do anything to get it under control again!"
"This wasn't part of the plan!" You say.
From behind, you hear the weequay start screaming frantically and pounding on the door harder, only to be drowned out by the sound of the Rancor roaring again.
"Dead men tell no tales, Anon! Relax! We've got this! A little improv every now and then is good, when you have an opportunity!" Pinkie replies.
You pause for a moment. Her words resonate something within you.
She's right. Plans don't always have to go according to plan to work. They can evolve.
'Oppurtunism and flexibility in battle are to be admired.' Mandalore taught you those lessons before. Long ago.
Come to think of it, you have been pretty rigid in your planning lately. It's because of this whole thing with the Republic and the Sith both setting their sights on you. It's made you paranoid.
Plans are good to have, but it isn't bad to be more flexible in their execution as well.
After another moment, you nod at her. "Okay. You're right, this is a damn good distraction, Pinkie. Let's take advantage of it and move quickly."
She smiles again and you both head to the next door. It opens and you're met with another set of hallway that heads left, straight, and right.
"This way!" She leads you down the left hallway until you come to another intersection. "Okay! Straight ahead is the engine room! Follow it all the way down, but stay to the right! I'll disable the weapons systems! We'll meet back here!"
You nod. "Alright."
You both split up and run down the hallway in different directions.
From behind, you can hear her start singing. "Yo ho! Yo ho! A pirate's life for meee~! Brrra babum ba babababum..." It fades away as you press forward.
The hallway curves left up ahead and you follow it, but you stay to the right side, like she said. A bit later, you come to a right turn. The doorway it leads to is shut, but it opens automatically as you approach. It's the engine room.
You step inside and walk along a grated floor. Below, you can see the reactor core that powers the ship. Massive turbines that power the two main engines are on the far wall directly ahead of you. Pipes and massive wires connect them to the reactor core below your feet.
"Okay... There's got to be a control panel or something here."
You look around, and find a wall terminal behind you. As you approach, you notice that it has locked you out. You need a password.
You growl a bit and look around for something else you can do. You don't need to destroy the engines, you just need to cripple the hyperdrive.
Or... Right. The warp drive.
You look back at the massive turbines and pause. You're out of options.
"Improvise." You shrug.
You point your blaster rifle at the turbines and fire a few times. It doesn't do much, but you do make some progress. Then, you remember that you also have a few thermal detonators.
You take one out and arm it. It starts beeping in your hand and you throw it at the turbines. A second later, it explodes and stops the turbines, crippling the engines. The alarm starts blaring in here as well.
Satisfied, you turn around and head back the way you came, contacting Pinkie on your comms. "Pinkie, the engines are down! Where are you?"
"I just finished with the weapons systems!" She replies. "I'm on my way back now! I saw a group of pirates go down the lift before me though, so watch out!"
"Thanks for the update! I'll try to save a few of them for you!"
"Yay! Thanks, Anon!"
You grin and shut off your comms as you proceed toward the spot you said you'd meet up again. Once you're there, you take cover behind the wall and wait for the group of pirates to arrive. After a few moments, they all come out of the lift and point their weapons down either end of the hallway. You grab another thermal detonator and throw it at their feet.
One of them spots it. "Take cover!"
A few pirates cry out as they get caught in the grenade's explosion, but the others advance toward you and fire their weapons.
You step out into the clearing and fire back at them, hitting one in the shoulder before taking cover behind the corner on the opposite side of the hallway. The smoke from your thermal detonator obscured some of your view of the elevator, so you don't know exactly how many are left. There are at least three.
You blindly fire at them from behind cover, but they keep you pinned down. You reach to your belt and grab another thermal detonator. It's your last one.
Once there's a slight break in the suppressive fire, you arm it and chuck it around the corner. A few pirates scream as it explodes after a few seconds and the blasterfire stops. You round the corner and start firing wildly for a second to deter any stragglers.
In the light smoke, you spot a pirate on the ground covering his face with his arm. You blast him, then find another pirate to the left. He tries to fire at you, but you're a quicker shot than he is and blast him in the face.
Suddenly, you feel a blaster bolt hit your right arm, just between your tricep and elbow. It hurts like hell, but you push past it and whip around to start spraying blasterfire at the pirate laying on the ground. He manages to hit your chest once before he goes down. You growl under your breath and check for anyone else. No other pirates are alive. You got them all.
You feel your chest and arm for any damage. There's no blood, thanks to your armor, but you'll have a couple small bruises.
Just then, the elevator dings and you raise your weapon at the door, only for them to open and you see Pinkie standing there with her own weapons drawn.
She lowers them slightly and looks around at the bodies. "Hey! You said you'd save a few for me!"
You smirk and lower your weapon as well. "Sorry. I tried my best, but they talked me out of it."
"Awww!" She giggles and puts her weapons away. "Let's head back!"
She starts running back toward the Rancor room and you follow close behind. "The weapons are down, right?"
"Yep!" She replies. "The crew didn't seem to notice though. They're too busy worrying about the Rancor being loose."
"That was a good idea, Pinkie."
She smiles and continues onward. A bit further down the hallway, you see a few pirates turn a corner and come running toward you.
Pinkie reaches for her blasters, but you quickly speak up to stop her. "Wait."
They're far enough away that there's a chance they haven't noticed that you're not pirates yet. You grip your blaster rifle tight, but hold your fire for now. No sense in wasting a good distraction. The pirates were closer to the Rancor room than you two were.
Just as you hoped, they seem to pay you no heed as they head inside to deal with the monster.
Once they're out of sight, you slow down a bit. "Is there another way back to the hangar?"
"It will take a teeny bit longer, but yeah, there is." Pinkie replies.
"Lead the way then." You say. "Let them deal with the Rancor."
Pinkie nods and runs down the hallway, past the Rancor room. The door is open again and you see a handful of pirates inside screaming and trying to subdue the enraged monster. As you pass the doorway, it roars loudly and you feel the ground tremble beneath your boots.
The two of you press onward. Pinkie leads the way through the ship and back toward the hangar.
As you round a corner, your comms beep in your ear and Maud starts speaking. "Anonymous, Pinkie, I'm picking up movement. A small squadron of ships is converging toward us. It's Discord."
"How far out is he?" You ask.
"Two minutes. Maybe less."
Damn. He's back sooner than you thought. Think fast, Anon.
"Alright. I'm going to contact Sunset and tell her to make the jump to our location now. It should be about five minutes." You say. "Maud, take the ship and get it out of the hangar. Discord will need a place to land. Make sure the stealth drive and shields are up and working!"
You cut comms and turn to Pinkie. "Pinkie, get us there faster! We need to get to the hangar and distract Discord long enough for our backup to get here."
"Okay!" Pinkie quickens her pace and continues to lead you down the corridor as it turns right. You follow right behind her.
You press a button on your gauntlet and contact Sunset. She answers immediately. "Sunset here. Are you guys ready?"
"We're ready. Make the jump now! Discord will be here in less than two minutes."
"Copy that. Just hang tight, Anon." Sunset says.
You shut off your comms and follow behind Pinkie.
After a few moments of sprinting through unfamiliar hallways and corridors, you finally arrive back at the entrance to the hangar. You both slow down a bit as you head inside. While Pinkie catches her breath, you take a look around. This is a different entrance to the hangar than the one you went through before.
Hopefully, Discord goes through the other way. You'd like to keep the element of surprise for as long as possible, despite the whole Rancor situation. Just in case he doesn't though, you prepare yourself to get the jump on him. It'll be a hell of a fight.
After about thirty seconds, a couple of small fighter ships enter the hangar on the far side, followed by three more on the side closest to you. One of the ships is a bit bigger than the others, and has a more vibrant color scheme. It has to be Discord.
You crouch down and grip your blaster rifle tighter as they start to land. Just then, you get an idea.
"Pinkie, you have explosives on you, right?" You ask.
She crouches down on the opposite side of the doorway and looks at you. "Yeah, I have a few small ones. They're not as strong as thermal detonators though. Why?"
"Because I don't have any I can detonate remotely." You reply. "Do you think you can get close enough to their ships to blow them up?"
She looks out into the hangar as the first few ships start to land. "Well, they aren't strong enough to completely blow them up, but I might be able to damage the engines bad enough to keep them from going anywhere."
If there was ever a time to make her move, it's now.
"Do it then. I'll keep them distracted. I don't think Discord would just up and leave his ship if things got bad, but I don't want to take any chances. He cannot be allowed to escape."
She nods and stands up. "Whew! Okay. Here goes."
She doesn't reply as she crouches down again and sneaks out the doorway, making her way to the left and hugging the wall, moving quickly to get behind the landing ships. There isn't much cover in the hangar, apart from a few cargo containers and large maintenance equipment around the outer edge, but she utilizes what she can as she makes her way closer to the incoming ships.
Once the first ship lands, you duck behind cover again and prepare one of your wrist-rockets. You only have a few, so you have to be smart.
From inside the hangar, you hear a hiss as one of the cockpit covers open. A few alien voices start clamoring and bickering with one another, before you hear a pronounced one speak above the rest.
"...I don't care whose fault it is, he's probably been eaten by now! Just get in there and get her under control or else I'll feed you to her myself!"
You take a quick look around the corner to see a Devaronian with a warped horn shouting at a rodian and human before they both turn and run away, toward the hangar door.
"Discord..." You growl.
He's wearing a long brown overcoat that looks frayed and damaged. One of his sleeves is missing. Rarity would probably have a heart attack if she saw it. You can see his bare arm is covered with tattoos. His other sleeve is relatively intact, and he's also wearing a large shoulder pad.
Taking a closer look at Discord, you notice he also has a bandolier full of large, metal bullets over his left shoulder. Only slugthrowers use those.
You use your HUD to zoom in on him for a closer look at him. He has a pair of pistols holstered on his hips. You assume they're slugthrower pistols. Good thing you're not a Jedi. Lightsabers can't deflect those.
You mark him on your HUD and send the info to Sunset so she knows who to look for when she arrives.
Once the rodian and human run away, Discord brings his hand up to his ear. "What the hell is going on?! Somebody talk to me!"
He stays still for a moment as he talks to the pirate on the other end of his comms. You grip your blaster rifle tight.
"The weapons systems?! What?!"
"Pinkie, tell me you've planted the explosives on the ship's engines." You whisper.
It takes a moment before Pinkie replies. "Almost! I need ten more seconds!"
"Once they're planted and you're clear, detonate them." You command. "Discord knows something's up."
Sunset should be here in about one minute.
Discord clenches his fist as more pirates gather around him. Suddenly, he lets out an angry roar and draws one of his slugthrower pistols, turning to shoot a random pirate in the head and killing him. "WE HAVE AN INTRUDER! FIND THEM AND KILL THEM!"
He and the rest of the pirates disperse. Some of them head towards your hiding spot. You crouch down and prepare to take off.
Once they get about ten feet away from you, the engines on their ships explode behind them. All the pirates turn around in surprise and blindly fire at the exploding ships for a second, exposing their backs to you.
You smirk and activate your jetpack, flying into the hangar. Once the pirates are a good ways away, you point your wrist-rocket down at them and fire. It explodes and the group of pirates scream as they're flung away.
You turn your attention to Discord, who looks up at you with surprise before it turns into anger. From behind you, a couple of blaster bolts zoom toward the two pirates on either side of the Devaronian, killing them and drawing his attention.
He hesitates for a moment before slowly grinning. "Pinkie Pie. I should've known! This has your name written all over it."
You descend to the ground beside Pinkie as she walks toward Discord. More pirates come spilling out into the hangar beside him, and each one is pointing their weapon at you.
"Hi Discord! Glad you remember me!" She's smiling a little, but her aim never falters.
Discord chuckles. "I could never forget you! You were one of the best pirates I had! I was so sad when you abandoned us!"
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hurt your feelings!" She says. "But you kept doing bad stuff to good people! It wasn't fair to them! Plus, it was easy! I like a good fight, and only bad guys put up the best fights! It got boring!"
Discord recoils a little at that. "Boring? Me? Ridiculous!"
You get a silent notification on your HUD that Sunset has just arrived in the system.
This is good. Keep him talking, Pinkie. The longer he talks, the easier it will be to capture him.
She continues. "Well, yeah! I was a bit worried! You were lots of fun to do stuff with! I thought maybe you were sick or something!"
Discord grins again and waves his hand. His pirates begin to spread out and surround you both. "Well, that's awfully sweet of you to care, Pinkie. Unfortunately, though, you did betray us. What's worse, you brought along a new friend, I see." He turns his attention to you and grins. "Not too often we get to fight a Mandalorian. Especially one with a reputation like yours, Anonymous."
Damn, you hate having this price on your head.
"Savor it while you can, Discord. You won't get another chance once I'm done with you." You say. "You're going away for a long time."
Discord laughs out loud. "Maybe we can share a cell! Get niiiiiice and cozy together!"
Your comms beep in your ear. It's Sunset. "Anon! Pinkie! The cavalry's here!"
You smirk under your helmet, but reply to Discord. "Yeah, I bet you'd like that, you freak."
Just then, you hear loud whirring behind you. You recognize the familiar hum immediately. It's a Mandalorian AIAT/i gunship. As soon as it enters the hangar, it opens fire on the pirates around you.
The frightened pirates turn tail and run away, but also return fire. You grab Pinkie and hold onto her as you take off into the air, providing fire support for the gunship.