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By: Syntax

9-LOM ducked under the rolling door to the bunker as it closed, stepping to the left of the wide doorway, into the shadows cast by the corner and the off-center lights mounted in the pitted and aging ceiling. The door hit the ground, loud in the empty loading dock. Louder than 9-LOM would have liked, but it meant nothing; the door was always this loud, and with no one around to hear it anyway, it was irrelevant. 9-LOM stepped forward, engaging the sound-mufflers built into his servomotors, which had been specially installed by the SpecForces mechanics when he'd transferred into Special Ops. The movement was perfectly silent as he stepped along the wall, ducking under the first window, where a pair of Imperial officers chatted. Their conversation was halted by the double-paned transparisteel, however; nothing intelligible could be gleaned from their moving mouths. With their backs turned, 9-LOM couldn't even lip-read.

He slid along the wall a bit further, until he came to an open doorway. He reached across his hip with his right hand, into the satchel hanging from his left shoulder, and pulled out the small, portable mirror. Angling it properly, he could see well down the hall; there were two stormtroopers, standing at attention outside one of the apparent offices. That would be the field commander's office, 9-LOM thought to himself, and silently leapt across the doorway. If the troopers had been looking, they'd only have seen a blur of movement, dark against the shadows of the loading dock. There was an open corridor at the end of the dock, but 9-LOM's view of it was obscured by a loading truck . 9-LOM inched up behind the truck, stepped around to the left -- and saw another trooper wandering lazily down the halls. Sith! 9-LOM thought, and spun back behind the truck, back into the shadows. 9-LOM timed his sidesteps so that he inched around the other side of the truck as the trooper walked out into the loading dock. Now 9-LOM had to make a choice: Wait for the trooper to go back, or kill him now? If I kill him, someone will stumble across him later. If I don't, he could see me later and then I'm just as screwed.

A panel on 9-LOM's right thigh retracted and a small object slid out; 9-LOM removed the vibroblade with his right hand, rotating it up so that his forearm covered the blade and prevented any light from reflecting off of it. He listened for the crescendoing footsteps of the stormtrooper, and quickly scurried around the left side of the truck, keeping his head low and ducking around the front. As the trooper walked deeper into the loading dock, 9-LOM dashed into the adjacent hall. He heard the trooper's footsteps slow and the pivot of a boot on the duracrete floor, and dove into an open, dark storage closet on the right. He landed on his right shoulder, left hand already whipping the AM-125 machine-pistol out and up, and rolled onto his back as he slid to a stop inside the closet. 9-LOM had made sure to attach the silencer for the pistol well before entering the bunker. The footsteps got louder again, nearing his position, and he steadied his aim. The trooper came into view -- and promptly turned to the left, towards the door directly across the hall from the open closet, his back to 9-LOM. 9-LOM flicked a switch with his left thumb, engaging the laser sight on the machine-pistol, the red dot dancing a bit on the back of the trooper's helmet. The door opened, the trooper stepped through it, and it closed. 9-LOM switched off the laser sight, rose, and put the vibroblade back in the compartment in his thigh. He poked his head out of the storage closet, looking to the left and right, and then proceeded down the hall to the right. He stepped around the next corner, eyeing the open doorway on the left side of the hall. He continued down, peeked his head around the corner into the doorway -- and saw that it was the mess hall. And it was lunchtime. 9-LOM tried to step back from the walkway, but the whine of a blaster rifle, specifically a model E-11, charging up stopped his movement. He dove forward across the doorway, whipping his left arm out and aiming with the machine-pistol, and fired off a silenced round at the trooper who'd snuck up behind him. The same trooper whom he'd let live earlier, when he was in the storage closet. He reached across his hip into the satchel, pulling out a sticky-bomb as the downed trooper fell backward, the armor-piercing slugthrower shot exiting the back of his head and pinging off of the celing. A few stormtroopers sitting nearest to the doorway promptly stood, upon hearing the ricochet and the clatter of stormtrooper armor, and even more stood upon hearing the chirp of the sticky-bomb being armed, as 9-LOM slapped it onto the wall right next to the doorframe. Those same troopers went down again, however, as 9-LOM dove away from the doorway, and the one-second timer ran out; the wall exploded, blowing inward into the mess hall, and the ceiling collapsed in front of the opening. 9-LOM was thrown against the wall, his head knocking off of the duracrete, and bounced backward, falling onto his back. He stood, running a diagnostic as he rose. Vocablator -- offline. Other systems -- 90%. Indeed, the circular vocabulator built into the middle of his "face" was sparking erratically. It was most certainly offline.

Well, that solves the "comm-silence" problem, 9-LOM thought to himself. The entire base knows I'm here, too. Luckily, I cut down some of their numbers, trapping them in the mess hall.

9-LOM dashed down the next hall, ducking under a window where he could hear troopers scrambling for weapons and powerpacks, and went into a full-out sprint towards the next intersection. If Intel was correct, the door he was looking for would be on the...

The stormtrooper barreled right into him as it came around the corner, knocking the droid back on his haunches and sending his machine-pistol sliding away. The trooper had been knocked on his rear, but still grasped his blaster rifle. 9-LOM dove from his crouching position, springing up and onto the trooper as he fired his rifle twice, both shots passing along 9-LOM's hip to singe the ceiling. 9-LOM wrestled the rifle away from the trooper, his superior droid strength easily prying the gun from his grip, and double-tapped the trooper in the chest at point blank. 9-LOM let the rifle fall from his grasp, but turned his head to the right as he heard more footfalls; an Imperial officer came around the corner, a sporting blaster in one hand and a comlink in the other. 9-LOM reached back with his right hand, unslinging the disruptor rifle and swinging it out, arm fully outstretched to counter the high recoil of the powerful weapon. The green bolt lanced from the barrel, spanning the distance between 9-LOM and the officer in under a second, just as the officer rose the comlink to his lips and switched it on; the people on the other end of the connection would have only heard a brief explosion, before the comlink was destroyed.

9-LOM stood, reacquired his machine-pistol, and slung the disruptor back over his right shoulder. He started down the hall again as a few more troopers rounded the corner behind him. Their rifles were already up, and 9-LOM only bothered to turn around as red bolts of energy started glancing off the walls behind him as he ran. He rotated his hip, looking back every few seconds, and switched his machine-pistol over to three-shot bursts and changed the ammo selector over to explosive-tipped rounds. There was a quiet ca-chink as the rotating ammo clip switched over, and then locked into place. He fired a few volleys down the hall, the pip, pip, pip of the silenced rounds barely audible over the din of the blaster rifle fire. The explosive-tipped rounds detonated on the chestplate of the first stormtrooper, knocking him back and into his fellow troopers, who stumbled backward, a few random shots playing off the ceiling as they fell. 9-LOM sent another two volleys down the hall, just to keep their heads down, and slapped the door controls on for a door on the left. It opened, revealing a computer station, totally vacant. 9-LOM slapped the door control, then fired an explosive round into it, blowing it apart. The door slid shut quickly. That should keep them busy, 9-LOM thought, and went to work at the computer terminal.

9-LOM heard the thumping of fists against the computer room door, and went to work at the computer terminal. Muffled voices could be heard on the other side of the door, but nothing intelligible could be discerned. 9-LOM pulled the datapad out of his satchel, jacked it into the scomp link port on the terminal, and tapped away at the keys. His superior officers had only told him what file to search for, not what it meant. 9-LOM didn't have time to check what the file contained; he'd have to wait until he got out of here before he could read it. The file was downloading, when the door began to slide upward a bit. 9-LOM pulled out another sticky-bomb from the satchel, clipped it to the door, and armed the timer. The file continued to download, and the door slid up a bit more. Finally, with the file fully loaded on the datapad, 9-LOM yanked the datapad from the port, dropped it back in his satchel, and ducked down before the air vent at the bottom of the right wall. 9-LOM easily yanked the grating off, and ducked into the vent, which was surprisingly spacious, just as he heard the door slide up a bit more. 9-LOM picked up the pace, moving a bit faster through the vent, when an explosion rocked the walls. The vent shuddered a bit, causing 9-LOM to pause, but then he continued, moving through the vent another thirty meters. He came across a grate cover in the bottom of the vent; looking through it, he could see another vacant walkway directly beneath him. 9-LOM slammed on the grate, popping it out loudly. It clattered when it hit the ground, but 9-LOM could hear no footsteps; the hall was clear. 9-LOM dropped down into the hall, quickly scanning left and right as he did so, and then proceeded to the left. Around the corner was the flight hangar for the base; exactly what 9-LOM wanted to see. However, what he didn't want to see were the stormtroopers running towards him. Thinking quickly, 9-LOM assumed the mannerism of the LOM-series protocol droid which he started life out as; as the troopers neared, they paid him no heed, clearly ignoring the high-class disruptor rifle slung on his back. Of course they're ignoring me, 9-LOM thought. There's a Rebel terrorist on the loose in the base, and I'm just a protocol droid.

9-LOM waited for the troopers to run past and go down the hall before continuing towards the TIE Fighters and other craft. 9-LOM pulled the comlink out of his satchel, and clipped it to the side of the datapad. This negated the comlink's vocal capabilities, but allowed text transmissions.

9-LOM reporting. Vocabulator damaged. Package acquired. Need cover.

Copy, 9-LOM. Please give indication of location, came the text reply on the datapad.

9-LOM dashed over to the nearest Alpha-class SG-1 Gunboat, popped the canopy, and jumped inside. The inner hangar doors were closed, but indicator lights on the walls of the hangar showed the outer doors were open. 9-LOM prepped the systems of the Gunboat, hovering it about two meters above the ground, and armed the shields and weapon systems. Stormtroopers dashed out into the hangar, weapons firing, and tried to get near the Gunboat. Laser blasts were absorbed by the charging shields, not even depleting them, as 9-LOM brought the Gunboat around and switched weapons over to lasers. He let down a quick strafe of fire, cutting a line across the wall and through the troopers, causing them to scatter to the sides of the hangar. 9-LOM armed the proton torpedoes, swung back around to the hangar doors, and fired off a fire-linked pair; the glowing-blue projectiles streaked towards the inner hangar doors, impacting dead-center and blowing the doors apart, shrapnel raining out along the grass outside the bunker's hangar. 9-LOM switched the fire selector back over to single torpedoes, and fired another down the hallway from whence he'd came. The torpedo blew through the wall, connecting with the power core of the base; the outside lights flickered, dimmed, went out -- and then the power core exploded. The brilliant fireball rose from within the bunker, collapsing walls, as a plume of smoke rose up into the sky.

Nice shot, scrolled new text on the datapad.

With his left hand, 9-LOM typed his reply: Thanks, I get that a lot.

9-LOM throttled up the Gunboat, accelerating towards the now-open hangar, when the outer blast doors began to close; apparently, someone had managed to slap the door controls before the hallway had been destroyed. 9-LOM dumped everything into his engines, racing towards the doors as they closed, and rolled his ship slightly to the left. The doors rumbled towards each other -- just as 9-LOM rocketed between them. He leveled the ship out again, pulling up towards the atmosphere, as the X-wing with which his datapad was communicating came in from above and commenced its strafing run on the rest of the bunker.

Cakewalk, 9-LOM thought to himself as he breached the planet's atmosphere and hit the vacuum of space. Now let's see what was so important that I recover. 9-LOM looked at the datapad, telling it to access the file he'd downloaded.

Starship Schematic: Arc Hammer
File Continues...

Interesting... 9-LOM thought to himself, as he tapped in the nav coordinates for the rendezvous point and engaged the hyperdrive.