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The Insurgency: S3 #19 ROBKAT (FB)
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Part 19 in Season 3 of my Insurgency series! A freebuild for the Marauders. Please comment, rate and enjoy!
About this creation
Corresponding text underneath each picture.


2nd June 2094


Tank: “Jarred! Jarred!” I hissed urgently, trying to awaken him, but he couldn’t hear me. His head was bouncing from side to side and against his chest and he was groaning and moaning nonsensically.



Ever since Dr. Lobotomy, or whatever the hell he was called, had injected Jarred, he’d been passed out. I wasn’t sure how much time had passed but it must have been a couple of hours. Jarred had gone from silently unconscious to his current state of deliria. His eyes were open but they’d rolled back into his skull, so all that was showing were the whites, giving him a creepy entranced look.


Tank: “Jarred!” I continued trying to awaken him, whilst attempting not to be too loud in case the crazy doctor returned. “Jarred, wake up!”


But nothing changed. He spasmed again as he had been every so often, his head slamming back against his gurney so hard it made me flinch. He let out a loud, feverish groan and I couldn’t help but feel that he was getting worse. I didn’t want to watch my best friend die, but I wasn’t sure that I had much choice.



Suddenly, Jarred started shaking violently, almost as if he were having a fit.
Tank: “Jarred!” I cried out and frantically struggled against my bonds, but they seemed unbreakable.


Jarred continued shaking for a good couple of minutes and I had to look away, I was too upset, but finally, after what seemed like forever, with a loud sigh, he fell still.
Tank: “Jarred?” I whispered, afraid he was dead. “Jarred?” I tried again, louder this time.
Dr. Lobotomy: “Well! That was fascinating!” the Doctor declared as he re-entered the room.
Tank: “What have you done to him?” I demanded, furious.
Dr. Lobotomy: “If he lives… we shall find out!” he grinned, both his real eye and his cybernetic one focussed on Jarred, as he made his way over. He began examining Jarred more closely.


Tank: “Is he alive?” I asked quietly, afraid to know the answer. The Doctor either didn’t hear me or just chose to ignore me, because he didn’t answer. Instead he began muttering to himself and produced a clipboard with several sheets of paper attached from inside his lab coat and began flicking through the notes.



Tank: “Is he alive?” I asked more forcefully. The Doctor looked up at me, but as it turned out, he didn’t need to answer.


With a loud gasp of air, Jarred came to and his eyes flew open. I could see his pupils now, they were no longer back in his head.


Tank: “Jarred! I exclaimed. “Are you okay? Jarred?”


The mad doctor began chuckling to himself.
Dr. Lobotomy: “Perfect…. Perfect!” he approached Jarred, who was still taking deep breaths, and got close up in front of him, their noses almost touching.


Dr. Lobotomy: “Jarred?” he queried hopefully, a grin on his face. “Can you hear me?”



With no effort at all and in the blink of an eye, Jarred reached up, breaking his arm restraints and grabbed Doctor Lobotomy by the throat, lifting him a good foot off of the floor.


Jarred: “Yeah… I hear ya’…”
Tank: “Jarred!” I cried out as the doctor began choking. He was batting at Jarred’s hand, but his grip was like steel and his fingers didn’t budge. Despite not being able to breath, Doctor Lobotomy was still grinning and he began to laugh.


Tank: “Jarred, how did you do that?” I asked, wanting to know how he’d broken his restraints to easily, so that I could do the same and we could get out of here. But Jarred didn’t reply, his eyes hadn’t left Doctor Lobotomy who was still struggling in his grip. “Jarred. Come on. We need to get out of here.” I urged. “Jarred!” I shouted, when he still didn’t respond.


That got his attention, but he turned to me with a glare that made me shiver in fear. His lip was twitching in anger and his arm hadn’t moved – Doctor Lobotomy was starting to go limp now.


Tank: “Jarred, we need to go.” I repeated quietly, more pleadingly.



He glared at me silently for another few seconds but then relinquished his grip on the mad doctor’s throat and, gasping, Lobotomy dropped to a heap on the ground.


Jarred easily broke free from the rest of his restraints and stepped down onto the floor. He paused for a second or two and then made a couple of shaky steps over to me. With as much ease as he’d broken his own bonds with, he ripped open my ties and I stepped down to the floor.


Jarred: “Let’s go.” He grunted and made for the door. I followed, snatching up my hat and Jarred’s helmet from where they sat on a cabinet at the side as we went by.
Dr. Lobotomy: “You’re magnificent!” he shouted after Jarred from where he still sat on the cold ground, but we both ignored him and walked straight out of the room.


We had no idea where we were or where we were going, but I let Jarred lead the way. We were weapon-less but Jarred didn’t seem to care. I followed like a lost child, constantly looking around in case somebody found us.



Thankfully, we didn’t bump into anybody at all, however, a siren did begin to wail, I assumed to alert personnel to our escape. A few minutes after it started, we turned through a doorway and found ourselves in a small generator room.


Tank: “Wrong way.” I concluded aloud but Jarred replied,
Jarred: “No it’s wasn’t.”


I frowned but he stepped over to the closest generator. He glanced over the controls for a moment before slamming a fist down and straight through the electronic control board.
Tank: “What are you doing?!” I exclaimed.
Jarred: “What do you think?” he retorted. He seemed to be angry at me, but I didn’t know why. I silently put it down to everything he’d just gone through. After all, who could blame him?


He smashed through the control panel of a second and then third and fourth generator, smashing them with far more ease than he should have been able to or I could have done. I could have tried cross-wiring them but we didn’t have that much time. Jarred’s method was much quicker.


Jarred: “Let’s go.” He demanded as he finished his job and warning lights began to blink on the generators.



We began to run. I still did not know the way and I assumed Jarred didn’t either. Several times we hit a dead end and had to turn back, but eventually we discovered the laboratory where we’d first been gassed.
Tank: “This way!” I urged, now remembering the way. I just hoped we had enough time left.


But we’d only gotten a couple of meters down the corridor when a side door burst open right next to me and a silver droid shot me in the leg.


I cried out in pain and collapsed. I didn’t see what Jarred did but barely a second passed before the droid’s head clattered to the ground, closely followed by the rest of its body.


I felt my eyes drooping and my vision blurred.
Jarred: “Get up.” He commanded but I shook my head and pointed at my leg, too nauseous to speak.


I felt gloved hands roughly grab hold of me and hoist me into the air, just as I heard and felt the rumble of an explosion deep inside the base. Seconds later a rush of hot air blasted over us – heat from the explosion, but it was too much for me and I passed out.





2nd October 2096: Present Day


I was surrounded. Drones on one side and a shark man on the other.


God, I wished Tracks would hurry up…

Jaws: “You’re coming with me!” the shark-man hybrid growled in a voice that sounded like rocks being ground together.
Tank: “Sorry, but I’m going to have to decline!” I replied as I spun and shot down a couple of the Collective drones. In a risky move, I ran towards them, away from the terrifying mouthful of teeth. I kept shooting at the Collective soldiers and dived for cover behind an air conditioning unit.


I heard the shark guy roar and as I poked out around the side of the big metal unit to take another couple of shots, I saw him ripping a drone apart with his mouth, another already in a pile on the floor.


I shot down another drone then took shelter again. Quickly scanning the skies, I searched for any sign of the Viper, but I couldn’t spot it yet.


A drone suddenly appeared around the side of the air-con unit and I scrabbled away. Leaping to my feet on the far side, I shot it’s head clean off, however, I now realised with fear that I was back in the open with Mr. Mouth.


Tank: “So, who’s your dentist?” I quipped as he spotted me and charged in my direction.
I fired several hasty shots at him but they all missed and I had to make a dash for the far side of the air-con unit again.



I could hear the hybrid creature roar as he got closer and just a second later, I had to crawl frantically away as the air conditioning unit was ripped apart.


I fired up at him again but he used the ruined metalwork that he’d just torn apart as a shield, protecting himself. Using this to my advantage, I leapt up again and started running across the roof, however several drones got in my way and one grabbed tight a hold of my arm. I whacked my pistol across one drone’s face and then shot the one who had a hold of me in the chest and he let go. However, their intervention had given shark guy all the time he needed.


I cried out in fear as I was hoisted into the air from behind and then thrown several meters. I crashed to the ground in a puff of pain and rolled over as quickly as I could. The beast was stood over me and before I could react, he reached down, grabbed me by my clothes and lifted me up again, before slamming me straight down, hard onto the rooftop. I grunted in pain as he did this again with a snarl and then casually tossed me aside.


I crashed into the sharp, twisted metal that had been the air-con unit and winced in pain.


I knelt up and looked around me, just in time to see several drones attack the freak of nature all at once.



Using this as an opportunity, I leapt up and ran as fast as I could for the far side of the roof.


But, no sooner had I got there, a huge pair of metal wings soared up from below, twisting in mid-air and coming to a pause several meters above me.
Wolfhide: “We’re supposed to be taking you in alive, but they didn’t say you had to be in one piece!” he threatened. His wings folded in and he dived towards me. Backing up, I fired several shots at him, but only one of them clipped a wing and did no damage.


Wolfhide’s foot flew out and struck me square in the chest. I staggered backwards a pace or two before collapsing onto my back, gasping for breath.



Wolfhide: “You like my new wings?” he boasted as he stood over me. “I upgraded!”
Tank: “Lovely.” I muttered sarcastically and tried to bring my pistol up to shoot at him, but he stamped on my arm, pinning it to the ground. I whacked at his leg with my free hand, but achieved nothing and so I looked over to see where my second pistol was and found it tantalisingly just out of reach. Wolfhide laughed when he noticed.


Wolfhide: “Aww, can you not reach?” he mocked with a sneer. “Pathetic.” With his free foot he kicked my second pistol even further out of reach. “Not so big and tough now, are you?”



He lashed out and punched me square in the chest and I groaned in pain. I brought my free arm up to try and block him, but he batted it aside and rained several more blows down on me, one of which knocked the wind right out of my lungs.


I wheezed, gasping for breath as Wolfhide laughed.
Wolfhide: “Now, are you going to come quietly or are you going to make this fun for me?” he grinned.


I tried to think of some clever remark but before I’d had a chance, two Collective drones barrelled straight into the mercenary, freeing me. Wolfhide had been so busy concentrating on me that he hadn’t seen them coming! I made the most of every second and scooped up both of my pistols, firing numerous volleys at the one-eyed asshole, who was battering away his attackers.


I don’t think any of them hit him, but I didn’t get another chance as, with a powerful boost from his backpack, he soared high into the sky.



Turning, I found that during my exchange with Wolfhide, even more Collective drones had appeared. What were they doing here?! Where were they all coming from? Did the first lot send out a distress signal or something?!


I shot down another couple and couldn’t help but be reminded of when The Collective had first arrived in the system and had been the enemy. Back before I’d even met Eris.


But now was not the time for memories, now was the time for getting the heck out of here! Finally I spotted the Viper heading in my direction and began sprinting back across the rooftop. As my ship approached I heard the shark guy roar in anger and glanced over my shoulder to see him smashing drones aside like a freight train as he charged at me.


I’d have to jump. I knew that, but I had to time it just right otherwise I’d either get caught and likely eaten by the freakshow, or miss my ship entirely and plummet to my probable death on the pavement below.


Tank: “COME ON!” I shouted in frustration as Tracks finally brought the Viper level with the roof and I took a flying leap.



My breath caught in my chest as I flew through the air, but just moments later I landed on the hull of the Viper and Tracks threw open the canopy so I could climb in. No sooner had I placed my first foot inside, he was off. But as we did so, I noticed something coming our way from the rooftop.
Tank: “Tracks! Pull up!” I shouted, but it was too late.


A huge metal hammer, thrown by the muscly green guy from ‘Beta Squad’, who had somehow gotten onto the roof, smashed into the underside of our ship. A burst of static coursed through The Viper’s electronics and warning lights began flashing on the dashboard. Looking behind us, I could see we were trailing smoke.


Tank: “Shit! Tracks, get us home, hurry!” I urged but he shook his head and whirred out that if we went home now, they’d be able to follow us easily. I knew he was right.


Tank: “Damn!” I cursed, trying to think of what to do.


The ship’s com began bleeping. I groaned and told Tracks to activate it.



Mr. Grey: “Are you okay, Chain?” Mr. Grey asked as soon as he appeared.
Tank: “We’re in a bit of a situation, but apart from that, fine. Why?” I asked, confused.
Mr. Grey: “The Brain was alerted that the Viper had been badly damaged and wanted me to check that you are alright.”
Tank: “How did the Brain know the Viper had been damaged?” I queried.
Mr. Grey: “Do you really think that the Brain wouldn’t be able to track your ship?”
Tank: “Wait, you’ve been tracking the Viper all this time?” I asked, getting angry.
Mr. Grey: “Yes. Simple GPS tracking. Just so that we can make sure you go where we tell you to go.” He explained and I scowled, annoyed.



Tank: “I’m going to land at the senate.” I explained, changing the subject. “See what Judas can sort out.”
Mr. Grey: “Don’t worry. The Brain has already arranged for the repairs to be carried out for you. Just head to the ROBKAT Engineering Shipyards, up in Qoter’s orbit and land in bay 97. It’s all been sorted.”
Tank: “Wow… efficient.” I commented dryly and nodded to Tracks, who began taking us skyward. “How did the Brain wangle that deal? Or am I meant to be performing some sort of task to pay him back for the repairs?” I asked, and as I did so it occurred to me that, following the revelations that had taken place back in Judas’s office, I could now pay for the repairs myself! And they wouldn’t even make a dent in my bank account!
Mr. Grey: “Oh, it’s simple. He owns the Shipyards.”



Mr. Grey: “Yes. He purchased the company quite some time ago now. And as for a task, there’s nothing for now, but don’t worry, I’ll be in touch with something soon.”


Tank: “Oh, um, okay.” I wasn’t really sure how to respond.
Mr. Grey: “Now, if you’re done chatting, I have work to attend to. Remember, bay 97.” He reminded me abruptly.
Tank: “Yeah. Got it.”


Mr. Grey nodded curtly once and then vanished, leaving Tracks and I alone, heading into space and towards ROBKAT, the biggest and most famous spaceship engineering shipyards in the system.


It didn’t take long to get there, thankfully. I didn’t think the Viper would be able to hold out for much longer! It had coughed and spluttered a couple of times on the journey here and each time I’d been gripped with fear that we were about to plummet back through the atmosphere to a fiery death!



But, much to my relief, we arrived safe and sound and landed as instructed in bay 97. As soon as we touched down we were surrounded by workmen who moved in like pit workers, all instantly carrying out their own jobs.


Tracks popped the canopy and we both clambered out. As I slid down the wing onto the shiny bay floor, a four-armed alien whom I assumed to be the foreman or equivalent, walked over to us.
Alien: “Rockwell?”
Tank: “Yup.” I replied as he made a mark on a datapad.
Alien: “Please sign here and here and date here.” He requested, holding the datapad out to me and pointing at three different blank boxes. I did as asked and he took the pad away.
Alien: “Thank you. You shall be informed once repairs are complete. In the meantime, guest quarters have been arranged for you. If you’d like to follow X1-2B, she’ll show you to your room. Thank you.” He babbled, business-like and then walked away, leaving us with an assistance droid, presumably X1-2B.



X1-2B: “This way please.” The droid announced in a soothing female voice.


Tracks shot me a wide-eyed glance and then quickly looked between myself and the other droid, who had begun to walk away without even checking if we were following.
I laughed.
Tank: “Easy, boy! You know neither of you have those parts, right?” I chuckled as we began to follow our guide and Tracks grunted indignantly as he gave me a playful shove.



Several hours later, I was sat on the bed in our guest suite, my comlink in hand, waiting for Judas to pick up.
Judas: “Hey. What’s up?” he greeted when he answered.
Tank: “Uh, well, long story short, after leaving the office I was attacked. Then some Collective drones turned up and joined in. Then the Viper was damaged and I only just about made it to ROBKAT to get it fixed without falling out of the sky.”
Judas waited a moment before replying.
Judas: “That’s the short version?!”


Tank: “Unfortunately, yeah.” I chuckled, trying to make light of the situation.
Judas: “Are you guys okay?”
Tank: “Yeah, we’re both fine, thanks.”
Judas: “Who attacked you?”
Tank: “Well, that’s why I’m calling, actually. They called themselves ‘Beta Squad’. Do you know anything about them? They claimed that they were authorised by the Galactic Imperium.”
Judas: “No, I can’t say I have. I’ve never heard of a ‘Beta Squad’ before.” He replied, looking concerned. “And they said they were working for the Imperium?”
Tank: “Yeah. Avorax Wolfhide, the bounty hunter, was a member. There was a big green guy, a man-shark… thing and a human too. Their leader was Colonel Ramson. I’ve had run-ins with him before. He’s definitely Imperium.” I explained and I saw anger bubble behind Judas’ eyes.



Judas: “Ramson?!” he exclaimed.
Tank: “Yeah. Why?”
Judas: “Remember that I told you it was the Colonel who told me about your real identity?”
Tank: “Yeah…”
Judas: “Well, in that same meeting, I expressly told him to stop pursuing you. You were to be removed from his wanted list immediately. He wasn’t happy, but I took him to be a man of honour and integrity, as all agents of the Galactic Imperium should be. Clearly I was wrong.”
Tank: “Well, yeah. He’s still after me.” I confirmed and the Governor shook his head, annoyed.


Judas: “I’m sorry about that, Tank.”
Tank: “It’s okay. I’m used to it!” I joked.
Judas: “Who else did you say was there?”
Tank: “Wolfhide. Avorax Wolfhide.”



Judas: “Hang on…” he muttered and began typing on his computer. He spent a couple of minutes searching and then announced, “According to government records, Avorax Wolfhide is still in prison.”
I laughed.
Tank: “Uh… well, he’s not.” I confirmed. Judas shook his head sadly.
Judas: “I don’t know what’s going on then. I’m sorry this has happened to you, Tank, I really am.”
Tank: “Hey, no worries.” I replied. “Like I said; I’m used to it!”




Later that night, after having a meal at the guest’s cafeteria, I sat on the side of my bed, thinking. Tracks was powered down in the corner, recharging and I was thinking over the day’s events. What had started out as an ordinary day had seen me discover that I was in fact a billionaire, had reunited me with Uncle Barnaby and had then seen me get cornered by a freak show of characters including one ass-hat of a bounty hunter and another ass-hat of a Colonel. Then, my ship had been damaged, I found out that The Brain owned ROBKAT Engineering, and now I found myself at that very location, holding in my hands the box that I had been given back in Governor Boan’s office.


I just sat there, looking at it. I’d gotten it out of my satchel to make sure it hadn’t gotten damaged in my fight at all, but thankfully it remained intact.


I opened the lid and looked over the contents again. My dad’s watch and wallet, the photograph of the three of us from happier times, my mom’s bible and the holochip. I picked out the holochip and in the silence of the night, simply looked at it. I didn’t know what was on it – it could be anything, but for some reason I couldn’t bring myself to activate it. I wasn’t sure why not, but I felt as if I wasn’t ready for whatever it might hold.


With a quiet sigh to myself, I placed the chip back in the box and slid the whole box back into my bag. I’d look at it another day.


Elsewhere…



Finding dirt on the Foster family was proving much more difficult than Alberto Rinse had initially expected.


He'd now spent months digging around, looking for anything that was in the slightest bit suspicious, following up on leads, but no matter how hard he tried, he was getting nowhere!


He didn’t want to think it, let alone admit it, but maybe the Fosters were clean after all. He hated the idea and didn’t want to imagine what Darkblade, the mysterious man in black, would do if Alberto didn’t come up with the goods. Alberto was not a man to be frightened easily, however, Dakblade scared him. He’d had dealings with mercenaries and shady businessmen in the past, but Darkblade was… something more. And he made Alberto nervous.


All of this passed through his mind as he continued his continual search. He’d moved on now from searching specifically for dodgy dealings and the like, to just researching any and all financial transactions and bank accounts linked to the Foster family.



With a frustrated groan after scrolling through pages upon pages of ancient documents for hours on end, Mr. Rinse, slapped a palm down onto his sleek, black desk. However, as he did so, something on his computer screen caught his eye. He followed a financial transaction through a series of accounts and finally he arrived at one that he had never seen before.


Frowning, he investigated a little further. He was careful not to attempt to access the account in any kind of way and limited his probing to the most minimal level possible. If this was a possible lead, then he didn’t want to set of any security measures that might be in place.


He knew he would have to be careful with this, but now, hopeful that he finally had something to go on, with renewed excitement, Alberto cleared his schedule for the new few weeks in order to spend as much time investigating this account as possible.


The Next Day…



After spending an uneventful night in our guest suite, the following day, I got bored of being confined to the small room and so decided to go for a wander, just to have a look around and stretch my legs. Tracks decided to come along as well. He’d spent too long sat around in the apartment recently.


Together we meandered through the corridors and areas that were open to us. We weren’t allowed into any of the engineering zones or any of the other bays or anything like that, but we looked around what we could and eventually we found ourselves in the cafeteria we’d visited last night.


It wasn’t big, it wasn’t fancy, but it was clean and did the job. It was surprisingly busy and so after paying for my food, we wandered around trying to find seats. After a minute we found a table with only one occupant, so we headed over.
Tank: “Do you mind if we sit here?” I checked with the woman.
Woman: “No, not at all.” She smiled before returning to her burger. Tracks and I both slid onto the picnic-style, metal bench and I started tucking into my pasta.


Woman: “So, what are you here for?” our table’s only other occupant piped up.
Tank: “Oh, just some ship repairs.” I replied. Now that I looked at her, she couldn’t have been that much older than me. A handful of years maybe. Five at the most. She had tan coloured skin with dark facial markings and long brown hair, which hung loose around her shoulders. She nodded when I responded.



Woman: “Anything major?”
Tank: “Fairly. I wasn’t told the details but we nearly fell out of the sky several times on our way here!” I joked and she smirked.


Woman: “Yeah, I’d say that was major.” She laughed and I nodded. “Ari’ Odanna.” She introduced herself, holding out a hand.
Tank: “Chain Rockwell. Or Tank. Whichever you prefer.” I replied and we shook hands.
Ari: “Nice to meet you Tank.” She smiled before taking another bite of burger and glancing around the room. She seemed to be keeping an eye out for something, or more likely someone. But I didn’t ask and munched away on my pasta salad.


Tank: “So, what about you? Why are you here?” I asked to keep the conversation going.
Ari: “Oh, my father’s yacht has a dodgy sail so we’re here getting it repaired.” She replied slightly too quickly, as if she’d been expecting somebody to ask her that. In my mind, I knew something wasn’t quite right, but again, I kept my mouth shut and instead decided to see what else I could uncover.



Once again she glanced around the room – she seemed to do that a lot.
Tank: “Oh, so your father is around too?” I asked, continuing with her story, wondering if that was who she was keeping an eye out for.
Ari: “Yeah. He’s back in our guest suite. He likes to keep to himself.” She responded, again, slightly too quickly, but I nodded in understanding.
Tank: “Ah okay. You seem to be looking around a lot, I thought you might have been keeping an eye out for him.” I said, testing her, and she instantly focussed on her food. Something was definitely up.
Ari: “Oh, no. Just… looking around.”
Tank: “I see…” I replied after a moment, now knowing that she was lying. It was none of my business and I had no particular interest in finding out the truth, it was just amusing trying to get to the bottom of it.



I had just opened my mouth to probe her some more when the entire room shook to the sound of an explosion and red warning lights began flashing on the walls in time to a wailing siren.
Ari: “Shit!” she cursed and whipped out a comlink as people began screaming and running everywhere.
Tank: “What the hell was that?” I questioned, standing up, as Tracks did the same beside me. He whirred a suggestion about it being an accident in one of the bays, but then we heard a second explosion and the lights flickered and all possibility of it being an accident vanished.


Ari: “Lieutenant! ROBKAT is under attack!” Ari’ shouted at the blue figure in the palm of her hand.
Lt. Drayson: “Damn, I knew it!” the hologram cursed, just as a warning message began playing all around us.
Voice: “ROBKAT Engineering Shipyards are now in lockdown. Please make your way to your designated suites and await further instructions.” The message began to repeat itself, but I was listening to Ari’s conversation.


Ari: “What do you want me to do?”
Lt. Drayson: “Find somebody in charge. Offer your services and do everything you can to help until reinforcements arrive.”
Ari: “Okay.”
Lt. Drayson: “And Ari’.” The hologram added as Miss Odanna made to leave. “Stay safe.”
Ari: “Will do.” She replied in a hushed tone, before ending the transmission.



Tank: “You’re Imperial?” I questioned.
Ari: “Sorry, no more questions.” She responded and went to leave.


Tank: “Hey!” I leapt up and went to follow her. I wasn’t sure why, but I wanted an answer before I let her go.
Ari: “Look, if you want to be of use, come with me and help. If not, go back to your suite and wait for further instructions like the message said.” She snapped, pointing a finger at me and then began jogging away.


I scowled for a moment before realising she’d gone.
Tank: “Hey!” I repeated pointlessly and then started after her, Tracks close behind me.
Ari: “What?” she demanded as we broke into a run.
Tank: “What’s the deal? Who was the Lieutenant?”


Ari’ groaned, annoyed.
Ari: “I’m an Imperial Cadet, okay? I’m here undercover. I was keeping an eye out for suspicious activity, but this sounds like a full-scale assault!”
Tank: “But, ROBKAT is Imperial, isn’t it? Why the secrecy?”
Ari: “Lieutenant Drayson, my mentor, suspected that ROBKAT would be targeted but our Admiral didn’t believe her. She sent me here to keep an eye out, just in case. Nobody else knows that I’m here.” She explained and everything clicked into place.


Cadet Odanna swiped an access card that opened a ‘Staff Only’ door and Tracks and I followed her through into the heart of the shipyard facilities.



Ari: “Why are you doing this?” she questioned as we ran past confused mechanics and worried technicians.
Tank: “Doing what?”
Ari: “Following me.”
Tank: “I guess I just want to lend a hand, same as you.” I replied and as I said it, I supposed it was true. I’d not really thought about it until then!


I realised that here, in the technical areas of the huge floating shipyards, a different automated message was playing.
Voice: “ROBKAT Engineering Shipyards are now on Red Alert. All defence technicians to their posts. All non-essential staff to their quarters. Please await further instructions.”


The message repeated but we had now arrived at the entrance to a control room.
Guard: “I’m sorry, this is restricted access. You can’t be here.”
Ari: “I’m Imperium Cadet Arianne Odanna.” She announced showing her ID. “These two are with me.” She added, after glancing sideways at me.
The guard didn’t speak again, he simply stepped aside and let us past.



The control centre was a hive of activity as we walked in and paused to survey the scene. What would have usually been a busy room anyway was now chaotically so. There were officers rushing here and there delivering readouts and statistics to those who needed them. Technicians sat at their posts, monitoring the shipyard’s defence systems and various officials conversed urgently while looking over holomaps of the shipyards and their attackers.


Ari’ marched over to the nearest officer.
Ari: “Who’s in charge here?” she demanded and the confused officer pointed to a short, moustached man not too far away.
Officer: “Boss Tackart.”


The cadet marched over to the indicated man and saluted sharply as he finished a conversation and turned to face her.
Tackart: “Who are you?” he demanded. “Get these civvies out of here!” he shouted angrily looking our way.



Ari: “Imperium Cadet Odanna, sir, reporting for duty. Lieutenant Drayson aboard the INV Anvil commanded I come and offer my services. What’s the situation?”


Tackart: “The situation, Cadet, is that what looks like the whole frackin’ Aurellian fleet has come down on us! But that is not your concern, as you shouldn’t even be here.” He responded harshly. “Now if you don’t mind, this room is cluttered enough as it is.”


Ari: “But sir, the Lieutenant was very specific. I was to report to whomever is in charge and offer my services until Imperial reinforcements can arrive.”


Tackart: “Look, Cadet, that’s all very well and good, but firstly, all of our defence systems are automatic. Secondly, the few Imperial fighters that were stationed here have been scrambled and are already doing their jobs. Finally, you’re a Cadet. How much battle experience do you have?”
Ari didn’t respond immediately.
Ari: “None, sir.” Before quickly adding, “But I’ve come top of my class in every battle simulation so far and I’m eager to prove myself for real.”



Tackart: “Didn’t think so. So, with all due respect, there’s not much that a Cadet, a civvie and a droid can do for us. Thank you for the offer, but we’re good for now.”


And with that, Boss Tackart strode away. Ari turned back to me, an expression somewhere between surprise and bewilderment on her face.


Tank: “Not used to being turned down?” I guessed.
Ari: “Why wouldn’t he accept my assistance?”
Tank: “To be fair, I don’t know what we could have done anyway.”
Ari: “Well… anything.” She replied meekly.


From outside came rumble after rumble as barrage after barrage of turbolasers struck the shipyards and bomb after bomb exploded.


The Aurellians were here in force.





BONUS PICTURES



Dr. Lobotomy's lab set.



The entrance to the secret lab set.



The set for the ROBKAT hanger.



As my series is going to be jumping around though time, I will include a date on each episode and add it to the timeline at the end of each episode so that you can follow it.



TIMELINE




Comments

 I like it 
  December 13, 2016
Nice! I wonder how they'll get out of this one!
  December 6, 2016
Another top notch episode! The dialogue throughout this one was particularly engaging, and the backstory of Jarred and Lobotomy was brilliantly written. Well done, and I look forward to finding out how ROBKAT turns out!
--R.K. Blast--
 I like it 
Blizzard -
  December 5, 2016
Exciting episode! I'd h@te to be in Ramson's shoes when Judas gets through with him. Not to mention I don't exactly envy the Aurellii who get in the way of Tank and Tracks.
 I like it 
  December 5, 2016
Great episode - I loved the bit of Tracks and the other droid! :D :P [IAD]
 
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