The base was oddly silent, despite the space battle taking place only a few kilometers overhead. The soft clinks of Kellaro’s armor filled the air instead, and Kellaro winced each time he took a step. He wasn’t making that much noise, but it felt like it, and he kept expecting to meet guards around every corner.
Eventually his expectations were fulfilled, as he came around another bend and met a flurry of blasterfire. He dodged back around, now wincing in pain instead of the anticipation of it. His assailants did not pursue, and Kellaro took the moment to flip open his wrist bracer and start a quick scan.
Three droids, two small turrets. That would explain the lack of pursuit. They had to be guarding something, and Kellaro bet his best blaster pistol that that something was his goal.
Kellaro flicked open his comms unit. “Hey, Imadulc, could you send in a strike to the base?”
“Kzzzzsghksssgzzzzsh.” Kellaro couldn’t clearly hear her voice over all the static, but it sounded irate. And then…
“Hey, thanks! A little more to the left?”
Kellaro ducked as shrapnel and smoke flew out of the walls, and an atmosphere alert started wailing down the hallway. He tightened the clamps between his helmet and the rest of his bodysuit, taking a deep breath through his rebreather. So far so good. Then he ducked out from behind the wall and found… a gaping hole where the droids once were.
“Hey, thanks!” he called out over the comms.
“KssshJZZTzzzzsh…” It sounded like the irateness had turned to panic, but Kellaro wasn’t sure. He didn’t speak static.
He knew he only had so much time before the lack of air began to affect the artificial gravity and make moving difficult. Sealing his boots to the floor with every step with magnetic energy, Kellaro tromped down the hall, crossed over the crater with some difficulty, and made it to the server room. Plugging into the databanks — “Thank you for the slicing lesson, Sady!” Kellaro sang out to no one in particular — Kellaro got to work pulling up the pirates’ files and downloading them for Lord Ja’ak.
Another blast rocked the mooring station, which Kellaro ignored. Then another hit, awfully close to him. Kellaro flipped open his comms unit again.
“Hey, Imadulc! I don’t need another strike. You almost hit me that time!”
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING STILL IN THE STATION?!” Imadulc’s voice was suddenly very clear, and there was a definite note of panic in it. “YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE OUT OF THERE TEN MINUTES AGO!”
“What–?” started Kellaro. A third blast took the roof off the server room, throwing Kellaro off his feet. He looked up just in time to see the underbelly of a corvette glide past, and the markings definitely matched no ship of Imadulc’s or the Sith Lord’s.
“…ten minutes, you said?” Kellaro asked numbly, but he couldn’t pay attention to Imadulc’s reply. He looked back down to his datapad, watching the status bar inch ever closer to completion…
“That will have to do!” he finally cried, ripping out the cord and jamming the datapad behind a gap in his Beskar armor. “Imadulc, I’m heading back! Give me cover, please!”
More shouting was covered by the static. Kellaro turned, his speed hampered by the rocket boots. He could only hope he wasn’t spotted, like a beetle crawling around in the wreckage — and that his ship had survived the onslaught.
He reached the crater. More starfighters were in the air now: the pirates’ forces returning home. In the distance he thought he saw the outline of Imadulc’s ship, cresting over an asteroid, but he couldn’t be sure. Concentrate! he screamed to himself, his internal voice sounding a bit like Brant in the moment. He released the magnetic clamps on his boots and blasted off across the crater, clawing ungainly at the other side–
He wasn’t sure if he has been spotted or if it was just a lucky shot. He thought he had grabbed a plating attached to the ruptured station wall, but it slid out of his fingers as he flew into space, driven by the laser cannon impact much too close to him. Panic flooded through him as he flailed his way through space, unmoored: just a lone Mandalorian on his way to meet the stars.
Kellaro almost lost consciousness as the starfighter slammed into him. He batted at its hull uselessly as it flew past, bouncing off the cockpit, past an confusedly beeping astromech, and finally lodging dangerously close to the starfighter’s flaring engines. He felt the heat of them even through his Beskar, and he kicked and grabbed, trying to find purchase, trying to get away…
The starfighter bucked under him, abruptly switching directions as it evaded a series of cannon blasts from a ship Kellaro was sure was Imadulc’s. It jolted him out of the gap he’d been wedged in, and through sheer luck he could grab on again, closer to the cockpit. His rebreather and armor integrity should last him a few hours, Kellaro knew, but he didn’t think much of his ride. He had to find a way to get back to his own ship! Or…
With a grunt of exertion, he curled his floating legs back around towards the starfighter hull, sealing on again with his magnetic boots. Bit by bit, he climbed his way back to the cockpit. He saw dimly through its glass the pale face of the pilot, which then seemed to shatter into a million pieces as he punched his wrist blade into the cockpit, cobwebbing the glass — but not cracking it. He had underestimated the strength of starfighter windshields…
The pilot, too, seemed to ken what was going on, and began whipping the starfighter back and forth, careening and rolling through space in maneuvers that would’ve made a stunt flyer gasp. Through it, Kellaro’s boots held steadily to the hull, but he couldn’t say the same for his arms. “Kriff this!” Kellaro exclaimed as he flailed around.
Another buck of the ship sent him slamming into the cockpit again, and Kellaro knew he was in trouble. He sent a distress signal beaming out to Imadulc somewhere out there in the greater battle… the bulk of another ship was coming alongside… Blindly, Kellaro braced, switching the magnets in his boots to rocket power, and blasted off towards the other ship.
This time he caught on to somewhere along its wing, well clear of both the engines and the new ship’s pilot’s gaze. An Imperial insignia stared him in the face. “Oh… that’s lucky…”
“Where ARE you!” demanded Imadulc over comms. “I’m right on top of your signal, and I see nothing!”
“Yeah, you are right on top of it,” Kellaro said breathlessly. “Just…open one of the hatches, will you?”
“Are you crazy??”
Whether he was or wasn’t took the better part of the next few minutes to explain. Eventually Imadulc could nudge her way out of the battle, and once Kellaro was safely inside, they could leap their way into hyperspace.
“Some team?” Kellaro asked a while later, as he was laying back without his helmet in the co-pilot’s seat.
Imadulc’s expression rivaled that of a Sith Lord.