Taris part 13

Taris Part Thirteen

The rain fell steady on me as I sped through the jungle of Taris, other than me the jungle seemed empty. Rakghouls and wild life alike must have moved into shelter from the rain. I was riding full speed through the rain and jungle, easing on the throttle only to wipe the rain from the visor of my helmet. It took two hours to get to the facility, which seemed like an eternity when your friends were dying. I was able to ride all the way to the front of the building, no rakghouls in sight.

The once tall building was now half a building with ruble piled around it. A large doorway still intact looked to be the only way inside, I approached cautiously. No doubt this was where the rakghouls would come to seek shelter from the rain. I entered the through the doorway into a large lobby area, dimly light from the light coming through the cracks in the walls. The lobby looked as you would think, furniture and ruble scattered about, every thing in disarray. There were rakghoul marks on everything, but dim security lights still lit on the walls. This place still had power. An old directory still stood against one of the walls. Scanning over the holo-display I saw “Research facility fifth floor –Restricted–”

That had to be were the serum was kept. “Breathe” I told myself.  Calm yourself. Don’t allow your feelings to distract you from the task at hand, words Zotta had told me in our short time together repeated in my head. I cleared the rest of the lobby and found a doorway to the stairs. The stairs where clear of rubble mostly. I slowly made my way up the stairs and got to the fourth floor. The stairway was blocked, it was caved in. Looks like I was going need to find another way up to the fifth floor, as I had moved up from floor to floor, the stairway had gotten darker and darker, the security lighting getting dimmer and dimmer.

I opened the door to floor number four and expected to see pitch black. That was, unfortunately for me, not the case. I opened the door to see a brightly lit hallway with power lights running waist high, all the way down the hallway.

“What the…” I said aloud.

I followed the light down the hallway it was nice, carpeted and had been well kept. Someone was here and it wasn’t rakghouls. I came to a door with an entry pad on the wall next to it. I was about to get out my slicing kit when I thought, I wonder… I pressed the enter button and the door opened up, no one was supposed to be here so why would they lock the place? I walked into the laboratory filled with kolto tanks, most empty a few with rakghouls inside of them no scientists though. Weird.  Next to one of the tanks was an Imperial marked case and I looked around inside it, I read the words I had hoped to find, “Rakghoul Serum Cure”. “Imperials! Stang!” I needed to see what they were up to. Why were they here? Was Stalk or ‘the General’ with them? I opened the case to find 2 vials full of serum they looked like two doses. With what I came for in hand I decided to do a little recon. I went to a computer terminal and started searching, mission statements, authorization codes, formulas for the Rakghoul plague cure.

“If they had this cure why hadn’t they sold it yet? It was more than funding their war efforts” I said aloud.

I had completed a download of the formula for the cure and other Intel I thought would be useful when I heard something behind me. Whatever it was it was good, moving softly in the shadows trying to get the jump on me, but I wasn’t about to let that happen again. I placed the vials and the data disk securely in my utility belt but continued to type on the holo terminal as if I was looking for something, waiting for my would be attacker to close the distance.

I breathed and showed every interest in the terminal in front of me at the last second when I heard the faint sound of a virboblade being unsheathed I spun around drew my rifle to the hip and blasted a hole in my would be attackers mid section. The blade that was meant for my back fell, unused, to the floor and my attacker stammered back a step and collapsed.

My would-be attacker was no scientist; he was plain clothed wearing what anyone who wanted to fit into a crowd would wear. But he was no civilian not with the viroblade and the blaster rifle he was carrying. He was Imperial, probably Imperial Intelligence. I searched him for anything vital he might be carrying but I knew better. If he knew I was here it was likely others did too, I needed to get out of here. I made my way over to the door and checked the hallway, empty; I then proceeded to the stairwell. I cleared the stairways just as I had before and made my way into the lobby. I hadn’t taken three steps when lights flashed on overhead and standing in front of me was Stalk and about twenty of his men. The empty, dimly lit lobby I had been in not two hours ago was fully lit and full of soldiers ready to kill me.

“Ah Lieutenant Dimbo, we meet again, I must admit, I’m surprised to see you again after the present I left for you at my previous place of employment.” Stalk smiled as he spoke, plotting my death. I survey my surroundings; I really didn’t have time for this. It had been almost six hours since I left and it was going to take another two to get back to base.

“Hello Stalk, I have to admit I’m impressed with your setup here, manufacturing a cure for the Rakghoul virus is no small feat.”

“Well Dimbo, the serum was still intact when my science team came here. Now manufacturing it to be used as a weapon? That was difficult, which is why you need to die! You blew up that batch that was going to turn the war in the Empire’s favor! I had planned to expose people inside the spaceport and military base, so the rakghouls would over run it.”

While he spoke, I listened, careful not to make any sudden movements. I was standing next to a big semi circle shaped reception desk that was going to be my best choice for cover when the blaster fire started. Stalk continued speaking, “But no matter, soon you will be dead and my new batch of Rakghoul infection serum will be ready to deploy to the spaceport.”

“So your science team came here first to setup shop, they never reported back in causing the Republic to think they had been killed by Rakghouls and then the Republic classified this area level Black?, And then you were free to continue your research?” I said.

“Very good Lieutenant, I had no idea there was a brain under that thick skull.” Stalk joked. I didn’t laugh, I was a good soldier and because of that I was going to be the only one walking out of here alive.

“Well I guess there is only one more thing I need to know then.”

“And what is that?” Stalk asked, he turned to laugh with his men certain of my soon demise.

Like it was part of my body I raised my rifle, launched two frag grenades at the group of soldiers waiting to kill me. Out of my belt I grabbed a concussion grenade and threw it at the feet of Stalk. I jumped behind the reception desk as the soldiers that were still standing returned fire. They had been so confident in their numbers they had left themselves exposed in the open. Secure in my cover I began my attack. Standing up from behind the desk I launched two more frag grenades and began my barrage of blaster fire as blaster bolts raced past my head. Like paper targets these sorry excuse for soldiers went down where they stood. I watched as Stalk, who had recovered from the concussion grenade crawled across the floor like a Kath hound trying to escape from the fight. One of the soldiers managed to close the gap and attack me from the left, I activated my new boots Alten had provided for me and he went flying across the room and was impaled into a piece of rebar sticking out of the ruble. Stalk had made it to the stairway door, in his attempt to escape. I launched a Frag grenade directly at him and he landed next to a pillar and the pillar collapsed on his lower body he lay there motionless. Five soldiers remained, they coward behind a pile of ruble, I could see the fear in their eyes; they were rethinking their defection to the Empire. I launched another frag grenade between the five and after they explosion they fell motionless to the ground.

I walked over to Stalks body. I could hear his faint breathing and he started to cough, he looked up at me and said, “I thought you had another question.” He spat blood at my feet.

“I do,” I pulled my side arm from my hip and aimed it straight at his head, “Where can I find ‘the General’? Tell me and I’ll end you right now, no suffering.”

Stalk looked at the muzzle of my blaster and laughed, “You wouldn’t leave me here, it’s your duty to take me before the Senate, I need medical attention, take me back with you and I’ll tell you everything.”

“Stalk I’ll find ‘the General’ with or without you, if you want to die with clean conscience, tell me.” I looked at him straight faced, I knew I’d never make it back in time carrying him on my speeder if I wanted to save my friends I needed to leave. There was no way I was taking him back with me.

Stalk pressed his lips together in a sign of not saying anything else. I pulled the trigger on my pistol and walked away without a second thought. Stalk had died a traitor to the Republic; he didn’t deserve the chance to stand before the government he had sworn to protect.


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