Episode Four, Intermission

Viewed through a staticky viewscreen

The Sulas Tine, privateer corvette that serves as ship’s boat to the Parindra II has ferried a small assault team to the surface of the planet, Captain Chabra at the helm. The assault team consists of (Gunnery) Chief Mala, (Operations) Chief Niazi, the new Bosun Braseloc Moigne (a Kravyad), and a handful of Janya Outcaste brawlers from Mahanadi currently between refinery assignments.

Chief Niazi is being brought along because of his slightly larcenous background, with the expectation that zhe can help with security systems and the underground prison layout. Chief Niazi is, unfortunately, rather less than a front line fighter, and the command staff hasn’t spend the money to outfit the crew for hostile environment protection.

Which is to say, by the time the team humps their way through the hills surrounding the location identified from orbit most likely to be the prison camp, Chief Niazi has started taking damage from frostbite. Chief Mala is leading the expedition from the front in his new combat armor enhanced shipsuit. Everyone (except Chief Niazi) is equipped with non-lethal weapons.

The team arrives at the area designated “Landing Zones One and Two”. It’s twenty-five meters wide and a few hundred meters long, generally running magnetic northeast to southwest. In the southwest corner (LZ2) are four hardened (open) hangars. Inside each is a Chekhov class orbital interceptor in good condition. They aren’t occupied or spun up, but look as though they could be in fairly short order.

To the west, across an open and clear space, the bunker entrance to the underground building complex designated Bunker B. To the south, across an even further space, Bunker A. Bunker B is closer, so the team moves that way, swiftly and silently. Two industrial sized reinforced doors block access to the complex, but Chief Niazi makes short work of the mechanical controls. The doors retract sideways into the front of the entrance. Inside, a five meter wide hemispherical tunnel that extends downwards at a fifteen degree angle. There are a series of flickering grim actinic lights illuminating the path downwards. There is an alcove immediately to the side of the entrance, with a rotating amber light indicating the doors are open. There are also monochrome monitors of the external cameras outside the bunkers and the landing zone. Everyone hustles in, Chief Niazi operates the controls, the doors close (and the amber flashing light deactivates).

There’s a brief discussion about whether to prop the doors open a sufficient amount for a Janya to pass through in an emergency, when Chief Mala notes that the controls are all labeled clearly in Jangla (which is definitely not the language of the Abhva invaders). This derails the rest of the “do we leave the doors open?’ discussion.

Advancing down the incline, deeper into the complex, the team arrives at a hub location. There are cross passages that lead to open spaces filled with machinery, and a number of fairly secure doors (one of which is labeled “Quarters”. Someone is heard to say “Looks like it’s clear”, before Makara defenders open up with dragoon carbines, two on either side of the open space the team is inhabiting (at the base of the ramp). The team acquits themselves honorably over a sustained firefight. One of the Makara is rendered unconscious with non-lethal weaponry, and another is essentially pinned and hopeless until reinforcements arrive, which accounts for half of the first resistance encountered. Unfortunately for our heroes, the other two Makara are in fine condition, have radioed in for reinforcements, and seem unlikely to lose morale any time soon.

On the other side, though: four smoldering corpses of Janya roughnecks, Chief Niazi and Bosun Moigne’s reluctant surrender, and Chief Mala’s hasty retreat towards the surface. As he withdraws, Chief Mala tells the survivors to let the Makara know about the orbital bombardment that’s on the way.

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