Bounty Hunter Anon III

by Sunny Solaire

The Belly of the Beast

Finally, you reach the rear of the spire and shut off the transport. You've made it this far in one piece, thanks to Pinkie. Now all that's left is to get inside the building itself.

You stand up and turn around, looking at everyone. "Let's move out, guys."

Applejack and Rainbow nod at you while Mandalore opens the door, letting the cold air inside once again. He heads out first, and the girls both follow him. You're the last one out of the vehicle.

Mandalore leads the way toward the building with his weapon at the ready. Rainbow and Applejack are sweeping the right and left, respectively, for any movement as they tail him. You're covering their rear. Rainbow's droid is hovering right beside you as you quietly run to the base of the spire.

Upon reaching it, you all hug the wall and wait a moment. Pinkie says she's covered this place, but you can't help feeling tense. This is the heart of Sith territory, after all. There's no place for error here.

"Pinkie's been here." Rainbow says.

You look at her. She's pointing to a place behind a nearby cargo crate. You look to see a pair of dead Sith troopers piled on top of each other. Looks like their necks have been snapped. You chuckle a little bit. That's Pinkie's handiwork, alright.

"Come on. She's cleared most of the way for us." You reply.

The four of you quickly head around to the cargo area in the rear. It's unguarded and practically devoid of life, which is expected. The large door is closed, so you have a moment before you go inside.

Pinkie must see you on another camera, because she contacts you on your comms. "There you guys are!"

"What's on the other side of this door, Pinkie?" You ask.

"It's a small warehouse area. There are shelves of supplies and stuff all over the place. There's not many people inside, but the few that are are unarmed. They're just supply people." She replies.

"Unarmed as they are, they're still Sith." Mandalore says. "We shouldn't leave any of them alive."

"I agree." You reply. "That said, we should avoid making too much noise. I don't want any of them alerting anyone. Not until we reunite with Pinkie, at least. Use close-range, guerilla tactics to kill anyone. Blasters are a last resort."

"My blasters have silencers, Anon." Applejack says. "I can pick 'em off from a distance while stayin' pretty quiet."

You nod. "Quiet is exactly what I'm after, Applejack. I'll use my dartcaster when I can as well. Mandalore and Rainbow, go in and hit them hard and fast."

"Got it." Rainbow nods.

You turn around again and get ready to open the door. Applejack slings her rifle and takes out her blaster pistols. You all take cover behind the wall and open the door.

As it slides open, you take the lead and turn the corner into the building. A few paces away, you spot a maintenance worker performing a task.

You make a beeline straight for him and tackle him to the ground. He tries to exclaim, but you press your forearm against his neck to silence his cries. He looks at you with panic as he tries to squirm free beneath your weight, but you don't budge. Behind you, the sound of Applejack's suppressed blaster goes off and you hear someone else slump to the ground.

After a few seconds of pushing, you feel his neck snap and break in a few places beneath your gauntlet and he quickly stops resisting. His eyes roll to the back of his head as he dies, and you look around the room. Another maintenance worker is dead on the floor on the far side, and Applejack is sweeping her blasters around the room. Mandalore and Rainbow are quickly searching for anyone else.

You stand up and do the same, looking around for any stragglers. Apart from the whistling of the cold air outside, the room is silent. There was only these two Sith in the room.

After a moment, Mandalore looks at you. "I think that's it. Let's hide the bodies."

You nod and grab the maintenance worker at your feet. You drag him across the room towards Mandalore, and the two of you stuff both the bodies inside an open cargo container. Once it's secure, you all continue towards the door at the end of the room.

"Where are we going, Pinkie?" You quietly ask on your comms.

"There's a hallway that heads left just on the other side of that door." She says. "It's empty right now, but hurry. A few Sith are walking around."

You continue through the door and into the hallway. She guides you through the building and does what she can to avoid Sith patrols, but sometimes, they're unavoidable. You either silently kill or sneak past any Sith you encounter before you reach another hallway.

"Okay, make a right up here." Pinkie says. "This leads to the entrance foyer. That's where the security office is, but be careful. There are two Sith guards standing here and watching over everything."

You carefully peer around the corner and spot one Sith trooper standing at attention. He isn't facing you, but you can see him.

"Can you do something Pinkie?" You ask. "Use the Force or something?"

"Sure. I probably won't be able to choke them both out, but I can hold them in place."

Applejack takes the lead. "Just keep the one closest to us still, Sugarcube. I'll take him out from here."

She proceeds down the hallway a bit with her blasters at the ready. After a second, the Sith drops his blaster and starts grabbing his neck as Pinkie uses the Force on him. Applejack takes advantage of this window of opportunity and shoots him in the head. He goes down and the rest of you follow her into the entrance foyer.

As you turn the corner, you spot Pinkie with her hand in the air towards another Sith trooper. He's gasping for air and clutching his neck. Pinkie's tongue is hanging out of her mouth as she slowly tightens her hand into a fist and you hear a muffled crack come from the trooper before he goes limp. She releases her grip on him and he falls to the ground in a heap.

She exhales and turns to you all. "Hurry. Grab that other guy and bring them both in here."

You and Applejack grab the trooper she shot and drag him across the floor toward the security room. Mandalore grabs the second trooper and you all head into the security room with Pinkie.

She changed her disguise. She's standing beside an open metal container in the corner of the room that already has a half-naked female umbaran inside it. It's likely who she got her new outfit from.

You and Mandalore stuff the Sith corpses in the container and Pinkie closes and locks the door again. She exhales and looks at you all. "Finally! A moment to relax!"

"It'll be a small moment, if anything, Pinkie." You reply. "Have you found anything out here?"

"A few things." She nods as she heads over to the security terminal. "I was able to pull up some old footage from the experimental droids that those Sith were talking about. You've got to see this."

She presses a few buttons on the control panel and a video comes up on the screen. You see a couple Sith scientists working on a type of droid you've never seen before. It was about average height, had two large circular eyes on its head, and a glowing yellow light on its chest. Probably a power source or something.

As the Sith scientists work on the droid, one of them presses a button on a remote and arcs of electricity run along its limbs. Parts of the droid also begin to glow purple, primarily on its main joints. Then, the arcs of electricity fade away as miniaturized hologram projectors activate all over its body, and the droid seemingly transforms into one of the Sith scientists in the room.

"Woah..." Rainbow exclaims.

You watch as the droid, now disguised as the scientist in question, copies his movements and mannerisms to the letter. It's like the scientist is looking in a mirror. If you didn't know better, you'd say that droid was a real person and not a machine.

"This is extremely advanced technology for droids." Mandalore comments.

"Yeah? Wait till you see this." Pinkie says.

She presses a few more buttons on the terminal and a different feed appears on the screen. This one shows a Sith warrior in a training dojo. He's being shot at by a bunch of different blaster turrets at once, but he's using his red lightsaber to deflect the blaster bolts somewhere else in the room.

After a few seconds of watching, the turrets all stop firing and the Sith warrior stays still, ready for something else. Then, another scientist comes into view and presses a button on a remote control. The Sith warrior deactivates his lightsaber and stands up straight before he starts to glow purple all over. Then, he turns into one of those droids.

Your eyebrows shoot up. It was a droid the whole time. It was deflecting those blaster bolts with its lightsaber just like real Jedi and Sith do.

"How the hell..." You say softly.

That's unbelievable. What are these Sith doing?

"It looks like it's a computer program." Pinkie says. "They're able to watch and calculate when and where a blaster bolt will hit and deflect it like a Jedi does. It's obviously not perfect. That droid was flinging blaster bolts all over the place. A trained Jedi could destroy all those turrets within seconds, so this program clearly has some kinks that need working out. Still, it's pretty scary that a droid could deflect blaster bolts at all."

"We need to destroy that program." Applejack says. "If they keep workin' on these droids, they'll be able to cut through the galaxy like it was made of warm butter."

"I say we steal the program and keep it for ourselves." You say. "Then we can destroy what's left of this place."

Applejack shrugs. "It don't matter to me what happens, so long as we stop the Sith from perfectin' it. The Republic is on its last legs as it is. This kind of tech would exterminate us."

"Fine." You reply. "We'll make our way there as well. We might need to split up to cover more ground. Someone can go to robotics to grab that program, while someone else gets a head start on making their way to the factory to destroy the virus. I'm thinking Pinkie stays here in the security room so she can guide us on where to go."

"We'll still need to free the slaves too, Anonymous." Mandalore says.

Oh, right.

You sigh. "Maybe we do that after getting the program. We can cause an uprising or something, just like Rainbow did on the prison. While the Sith are distracted with the slaves, we can destroy the virus and get the hell out of here."

"Uh, guys?" Rainbow says.

You all turn to her. "What?"

She points to the screen. "Something's going on."

You all look at the security screens. On the cameras, you see Sith troopers, tons of them, gathering around the outside of the building. In the front, and in the rear. They're surrounding the place. Every trooper is armed and pointing their weapons at the building. You also notice that a few Sith workers are evacuating the building as quickly as possible through the rear. They move into the crowd of troopers, but they don't advance. They just stay there, covering the exits.

"What the hell?" You ask.

Mandalore goes to the door and opens it, peering out into the foyer with his blaster rifle ready. He stays still for a long moment, and you move in behind him, peering outside as well. The foyer's lights have been noticeably dimmed, and it is deathly silent. You can't hear anything outside of this room.

Mandalore sweeps his rifle to the left and right for a moment before exhaling. "They know we're here..."