Faith and Betrayal
Lu'Nasad- Part I
Xerxes’ twin power blades went to work like a spinning blender of death. Arms, heads and legs parted from their parent bodies as the ship’s security personnel attempted to overwhelm the assassin who stood alone holding the door. When their blitzkrieg-style attack started to falter, those in the rear who had not yet got into the range of Xerxes’ swords decided that perhaps ranged weapons would be a better option and fell back into defensive positions by hallway corners where they could shoot from cover. Xerxes quickly threw himself out of sight inside the room as the first bullets from a thunderous volley of small arms fire filled the space he had previously occupied; the rounds sending up sparks and hissing gas as they penetrated and obliterated power conduits and various venting pipes on the far wall.
Xerxes glanced back into the cogitator room at the Tech-Priest, Vern, who was busy manipulating a keyboard on one cogitator while several of his mechandrites were plugged into others and sifting through data. “Can we hurry this up?” Xerxes shouted into his micro-bead.
The Tech-Priest gave the barest twitch of annoyance as a nearby power conduit blew out and caused a minor power fluctuation but continued his work without pause. Nearby, his servo-skull spat out a continuous parchment read-out that was quickly forming a small pile at its base. “There is a lot here. Inquisitor Sand was correct in assuming that this ship held a key position in the Serrated Query’s smuggling network. The databases are extensive and I have found some files that are over a hundred years old. I’m assuming that the Query cleanses data on a routine basis to protect its activities and the identities of their clients, but this ship appears to hold copies of all the transactions that the Query has done in the Calixis Sector for the past one-hundred years. I suspect that it downloads these files to a master server at another location every hundred fifty years or so. It’s interesting that they have not yet tried to block my access…disregard. They are attempting to shut me out.”
Xerxes swung his long las into the doorway and fired off a shot before ducking back into cover. He was rewarded by a scream as one of the carapaced-armored figures toppled to the floor. It looked like the security personnel had received reinforcements and were preparing for another push. “We need to hurry, they brought more party poopers and I’m low on ammunition.”
Vern looked irritated as he remained concentrating on the cogitator screen. “I thought you were trained in the killing arts…perhaps you should utilize your full range of talents.” One of the cogitators that Vern was hooked into started sparking fiercely and Vern detached from the unit. “This one has got some skill…he’s managed to lock me out of seventy-six percent of the data files, but I think I was able to get what we need.”
Vern grabbed the parchment print-out from his servo-skull and grinned at what he read. “Yes, yes, here it is. We got…” Vern stopped short as a stray round blasted his servo-skull and sent it spinning away to crash into the wall. The Tech-Priest genuinely looked dismayed as he studied his servo-skull’s wrecked remains.
“You got it? Well let’s go! We need to get out now!” Xerxes yelled as he rolled his last frag grenade down the hallway; the shrapnel shredding two of the guards.
“That skull will be unsalvageable. Pity as I was quite fond of it.” Vern said more to himself before hefting his hellgun and turning to the assassin. “Yes, yes, we can go. Luckily I happened onto an alternate route we can use for extraction. I think we will be able to avoid most of the ship’s personnel and make it to the pod. It will require a bit of close quarters fighting if you have enough ammunition for that.”
“That I do have,” Xerxes said as he drew his two power swords. “Lead the way.”