Lorcan honestly wanted to know just who these pirates had managed to blackmail that had big enough pockets to give them one of these puppies. Because the yards that made them weren't too strict but he damned well knew that none of them would be able to pull a score big enough to have taken in enough credits to buy one of the things legitimately. He was tempted to steal it in the name of the Rangers and take the bloody thing for a test drive if he was being completely honest with himself but that was probably a demotion waiting to happen.
No, joyriding the corvette would remain forever a dream.
It was parked up separately to the fighters to refuel and he had doubled back through the jungle undergrowth to keep an eye on it as he waited his back-up. There was a team of ten at his back but they weren't for combat, they were bridge crew for the corvette once it was secured. Instead he and his partner alone were expected to be able to secure the corvette. Sure the crew would likely be ready to make it onto the bridge even with the environment hot (that's why they were wearing armour) but they weren't combat forces in the traditional sense.
Lorcan strapped a couple of frag grenades to himself as he checked over his armour once more as he waited for his ally to arrive. Corran was a decent Ranger as far as Lorcan was concerned and one who did a lot of heavy-lifting work when it came to missions - he honestly didn't have anything bad to say about the kid as of yet. He was cynical enough to figure it would change sooner rather than later though.
Before too long, Lorcan's partner came traipsing through the underbrush as he brought up the rear. Two grenades, a stun button, rifle, and pistol adorned his web-gear that also acted as straps for his backpack. Leaves and twigs had also attached themselves to his clothes after coming through the foliage. "Did I ever tell you how much I hate the jungle? I hate jungles." Corran expressed as he brushed off the natural debris from his uniform.
Ranger Lorcan took the lead on this mission again. Corran thought the man was rough around the edges, but he got stuff done. That stuff usually involved a lot of broken necks and body bags, but that comes in handy on assault missions like this. Beyond that, the junior Ranger wasn't really sure what his partner felt about him in a professional way. Perhaps that didn't matter. Would Lorcan leave him behind if he got severely injured? Best not worry about it right now.
By now, Corran had made his way ahead of the 10 future-corvette-crewbeings of the Bolo-Class and stood beside Ranger Lorcan. "Next time, I think we should put in a request for orbital drop insertion. We've marched across this planet more times than I can count, sir." A frustrated sigh punctuated the remark. "Do you have a plan in mind, sir, or are we leaving it to fate and luck?"
Alright so Corran was here and that meant that they could get started. Lorcan nodded to the other Ranger and patted him on the shoulder in a gesture as nice as Lorcan could realistically manage. He wasn't very good at being a nice guy but he wanted to let Corran know he at least was glad it was him here.
If the head honchos hadn't have sent Corran they might have sent one of their special projects idiots.
"Next time we'll ride in on gunships blasting away as he come in to land." he told him with a smirk behind his helmet, "Promise."
As much fun as that would be, they weren't going to have that option here so there was work to be done. Touching the side of his helmet, he activated the scout functions and zoomed in on the enemy compound. It was wall with two entrances that he could see, the main entrance was very exposed but... there were only two guards stationed there.
"Main entrance has two guards but great sight lines for them."
Shifting his focus, he frowned underneath his helmet.
"Secondary entrance has more cover but four visible guards." he mused, pulling back the magnification on his helmet's optics as he spoke, "I think we need to decide if we want to be stealthy or if we want to be hard and fast. If we want to I think we could get on board the ship from the front entrance pretty quick but every one of the karkers would know about it. If we try and stealth it we have a harder time of it initially and it'll take longer but we'll have more chance if things go south too. Thoughts?"
The two gates were a bit of a problem. The six guards were an even bigger one. All things told, the base likely had at least 20 pirates total. Enough for basic patrol and crew for the corvette. For the time being, at least, the pirates were not alerted to the Rangers presence. As Lorcan laid out their options, Corran adjusted his helmet and thoughtfully reflected on the best course of action. “The initial stealth approach against the starfighter base proved effective. Besides, if we get caught, we can always rely on firepower.” Corran nodded to Lorcan. That made the most sense. “I’ll take point, sir. Watch my six.”
The junior Ranger unslung the A280C and braced it against his shoulder while advancing through the underbrush. Corran didn’t initially have a plan, but he was inspired by Lorcan’s success in the terrain back at the starfighter depot. Lure the pirates into the foliage and from there, they vanish. All it would take was some clever maneuvering.
The Ranger in the lead had successfully made it to the brush on the edge of the clearing that led to the front gate. The base commander or initial engineer had done a good job cutting back the vegetation. There would be no easy way to get into the base using the terrain as cover. Still, vegetation often held wild beasts. The front gate guards might be enticed to investigate if something in the bushes is an animal or an intruder.
Carefully, Corran began using the barrel of his rifle to sway through the bushes in slow patterns intermixed with rapid sudden movements. He then would relocate and mimic the pattern. Out of the corner of his eye, one of the pirates tapped the other on the shoulder and pointed to the brush. That’s it. Come and check it out… Take the ba—
Corran’s thoughts were interrupted by a volley of blaster fire. He immediately hit the deck as red bolts smacked into the trunks of trees or shredded branches. The guards did not advance, but fired randomly into the jungle scenery. After a few harrowing moments, they stopped. One offered to light the cig of the other. The two pirates didn’t immediately set off the alarm, perhaps expecting it was some predator they had just killed or scared off. The problem was, however, the guards at both gates were likely now alert.
Well he had agreed to the approach of going in stealth first so he couldn't blame Corran for things not working out the way they had both expected them to. Instead of being found out, they were slightly more alerted and they were expecting some kind of creature to come out of the bush. This meant that random shooting wasn't actually all that uncommon around the front gate... he hummed a little bit as he raised his rifle.
"They're on alert but no one is panicked by the shooting." he mused as he lined up a shot, "I think random shooting from the gates might be common to keep the animals away. So..."
Taking a deep breath, Lorcan steadied himself. Shooting might not raise alarm but one of them dying and the other raising an actual alarm certainly would. So he was going to need to kill both of them in as few shots as possible and without the second getting chance to raise an alarm.
"What's some more random potshots?"
He pulled the trigger.
Moved the barrel quickly but smoothly.
He pulled the trigger a second time.
And only then did he let the breath he had been holding slowly find it's way out. He grinned behind this helmet as both of the main gate guard were laid out and no one seemed to be raising an alarm. Lorcan patted Corran on the back.
"Let's get this bread, kid."
Lorcan always made the Loud approach look easy. Just a few well-timed squeezes of a trigger and lives slip into the ether like morning fog. If this particular band of pirates hadn’t marked themselves as unrepentant killers of Sector Rangers, Corran might have had an issue with his partner’s lack of stun blasts.
“So much for the stealth approach,” Corran huffed after Lorcan patted his back. The junior Ranger pushed himself off the jungle floor, caught his breath, and made a quick hand gesture to signal he was advancing. The second gate and its guards didn’t have as clear of field of vision as the pair at the front gate did. Unfortunately, the pirates at the second gate were alert, but perhaps not fully aware.
In a mad sprint, Corran crossed the open ground and slid on his knees next to the guard post where one of the corpses lay. Beyond the gate, a voice cried out, “What was it? Gerk?”
Something needed to be said. No matter what, those at the 2nd gate were going to come investigate. Though Corran was pretty certain he couldn’t mimic the tone of a… Weequay, by the looks of the nearest corpse. Then he noticed the still-smoldering cig in the mouth of the other guard. Forcing a fake coughing fit and a deep, pained voice, the Ranger shouted back, “Gotta see this!”
Unceremoniously, the front gate shuddered open. Four pirates jogged past the guard post and glanced around, primarily into the jungle. "Where-" Stun rounds smacked into the backs of the pirates, forcing them into twitching seizures. In a blink, they were all as stiff as the corpses they laid by.
Lorcan couldn't help but laugh a little bit at the gripe from the other Ranger. Wasn't like it was his fault that stealth just never seemed to really work around him. The facts were than Lorcan came through when things were violent, loud, urgent and lethal. These were things that would likely hold him back from promotion if he was honest with himself.
Eh the results spoke for themselves though.
Waving for the crew to stay low, he rushed ahead after Corran but whereas his partner went to secure the other gate, Lorcan instead moved up to the ramp of the corvette. There weren't many things more powerful in a ground fight than a capital ship using it's guns on infantry so it was in their best interests to secure it themselves.
Knocking on the ramp loudly, he moved behind the ramp and drew his vibroknife. The door at the top of the ramp opened and one of the pirates stepped down onto the tarmac of the fueling station. Coming from behind the man, Lorcan wrapped a hand over his mouth before stabbing his knife into the side of the man's throat. Keeping most of the blood inside by not immediately pulling the blade out, he dragged the corpse beside a set of crates beside the ramp and hid it before waving over the crew as he readied himself to check the corvette itself.
If he did well then they would be on hand to rush in.
As Lorcan zipped by, not even stopping at the first gate, it became readily apparent that the rough-and-tumble Ranger was in his element. Taking it slow and methodical - Corran's preferred operation - wouldn't do for a rapid assault. Blitz past the enemy and leave all second thoughts behind. It certainly would give the pirates less time to react. If that corvette took off, then all this would be for naught. With a grunt, Corran lifted himself off his knees and followed-up behind his partner.
By the time the junior Ranger had gotten Lorcan back into visual sight, the brute was already shushing another life into the Great Beyond via knife in the throat. Even better, the ramp to the Corvette was already down. As long as the allied crew could get aboard and the ramp sealed up, a huge hurdle would be behind them. Unfortunately, like many operations in the Manaan system recently, not everything went according to plan.
With the ramp down and Lorcan hiding the body behind some crates, Corran took a running start towards the ramp. As he neared it, two pirates came into view from the boarding room. In a knee-jerk panic, the junior Ranger immediately changed course and slid underneath the lowest clearing of the ramp itself. He had to shimmy on his back to fully conceal himself from their view. Metallic footfalls above signaled that the pirates were halfway down the ramp.
"Where did Yerm go?" One of the brigands said. "Donno. He is supposed to lower the ramp for the ration drop-off. Where the hell is it? I'm hungry," said the other.
Another two on the ramp but Corran had managed to make himself hidden. Thankfully the two of them were far more interested in what had happened to the man that Lorcan had just killed so they weren't on the lookout for Rangers yet. Seeing the two of them stood there at the top of the ramp, Lorcan thought about the best method to keep them quiet without using his blasters as they would be too loud for the others to ignore.
Weighing up the decision, he drew his knife again before making a loud groaning sound.
"Yerm? The heck's wrong with you?"
One of the pirates went to go and check out the sound of the 'injured' Yerm and Lorcan waited. As soon as the pirate was around the corner of the crates he grabbed him by the front and pulled him in, his knife stabbing directly into the man's skull via the eye. He held the skull to the knife as he twisted the blade once to end the man's life. Dropping the pirate down alongside the first pirate he'd killed stealthily, he took a deep breath.
Rushing out from around the corner of the crate, he spotted the way the remaining pirate's eyes widdened before he threw his knife mid-sprint. The knife struck true, catching the man in the side of the neck. Staggering, the pirate fell off the side of the ramp and Lorcan threw himself into a slide to lay underneath the falling man to break his fall and disguise any noise. With the man atop of him it was a simple matter of pulling the man's grasping hands free from the knife before pulling, cutting through the man's throat entirely and letting him bleed out in seconds silently.
Laid on his back beside the ramp, he pushed the corpse off of himself and turned to look at Corran in his hiding place. Covered in the blood of three men, Lorcan had to admit he probably looked frightful.
"Don't worry." he assured Corran with a dark little chuckle, "None of it's mine."
Horror-holos were a genre of media dedicated to suspense and gore. Something you give you chills, if you were into that sort of thing. Corran had seen a few but all the theatrics, imagination, and cinematic talent in the galaxy could not compare to the murderous gore that covered his fellow Ranger like a slasher villain. The junior Ranger stared, unblinkingly, at Lorcan for a few brief moments before finally responding, "That's... good. Just make sure to wash your hands." There wasn't really any sense to that advice. It just came out. Where did this man even learn such gratuitously violent skills anyway? It wasn't in the Sector Ranger training manual, that's for sure.
Crawling out from under the ramp, Corran noticed one of the lead Ranger crewmen peaking from around the second gate post. It was clear that Lorcan had granted the group their best chance of getting aboard the corvette. Now or never. The junior partner gave a quick hand signal and stayed kneeling on the tarmac, rifle at the ready. One by one, the unarmed future spacers of the corvette sprinted across the gap and up the ramp into the landed starship. Luckily, not a single pirate had come looking and the entire transfer went unnoticed. Once the other Rangers had gotten aboard, Corran brought up the rear, walking backwards and scanning the area. The ramp groaned and whined as it raised up again and finally shuttered as the seals locked in place. The Sector Rangers had made it into the ship with everyone intact and uninjured.
"Part one down. What's part two?" Corran asked his blood-dried partner.