Friday, September 05, 2008

Penumbral Gambit - Episode 5: Palace Assault

Disclaimer: Penumbral Gambit is a work of fan fiction set in the Star Wars universe. Several locations, items, and concepts belong to George Lucas and Lucasfilm Ltd. The picture is a combination of an image from Sergio Leone’s “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” and an image from Wizards of the Coast’s “Star Wars Saga Edition” role playing game book. This story and image is purely meant for entertainment. No copyright infringement is intended.


A speeder truck pulled over to the side of the road and four figures darted from the hatchway into the darkness. They had quickly memorized the route to the royal palace while they traveled from the hotel downtown to the drop-off point. The green holographic images were fresh in their minds. Their minds traced the path as they ran; down the street, left at the third ally, right at the bank, and right at the restaurant. It did not take long before they were cutting through the fence and sprinting the open distance to the side of the three story building.

In silence they withdrew grappling hook launchers and fired at the roofline three stories above. The anchors held tight to the concrete above and the powered winches on their belts pulled them up. Once on the third story ledge, the one clad in armor set about opening the window. Like wraths in the night the group silently entered the secured royal palace.

In the pre-dawn light the group could make out the forms of cabinets, counters, and cooking appliances. They had inserted themselves in the kitchen, exactly where they planed. The Gungan placed his large ears against the door and listened. Footsteps could be heard in the hallway on the other side of the thin door. He stepped back from the door and waited.

With a shenk the door slid open and an armed guard on patrol stepped into the kitchen. Dubja drew his heavy blaster pistol, fired, and returned it to the holster before the guard’s lifeless body hit the ground. At the sound of the gunshot a second guard came running down the hallway from behind a corner. Jett stepped into the hallway and unloaded a five round burst into the guard, felling him in the volley.

The bodies were hastily dragged to an out of the way place in the kitchen. The group had hit its first spot of bad luck since their ship exited hyperspace on the far side of the star system’s gas giant. King Andon’s report had said that the third floor of the palace was thinly guarded and a patrolling guard had stumbled upon them as soon as they had infiltrated the building. Even though the plan was to run fast and hard though the palace, they had hoped to make it down to the second floor before running into any opposition. Tahnel removed a comm unit from one of the guards and listened. The airwaves were silent, their luck was holding.

Silently the infiltrators moved through the palace to the elevator on the right side of the building. The lift would only take them down to the second floor; from there they would have to make their way to the center of the palace where a grand lift would take them down to the atrium. Without a sound the elevator doors opened and the group entered.

Soon the doors slid open again and the group stepped onto the second floor. A guard sat slumped over in a chair in front of them. Dubja drew a switchblade from his boot and crept up to the sleeping guard. With a quick flick of his wrist he ensured that the guard would not wake from his rest.

The group made their way down the hallway towards the lobby in the center of the royal palace. All of a sudden a voice rang out behind the party. It called for them to halt and throw down their weapons. They turned to see a pair of guards behind them, both with their blaster rifles drawn and one was fumbling with a comm unit.

Re’ahn leapt into action, outstretched her hand and a wave of force shot out, knocking over the guards and flinging the comm unit away. Tahnel lit his green lightsaber and charged the prone targets. Re’ahn flicked on her blue lightsaber and was not far behind. The guards rose and fired their weapons but the pair made quick work of them.

It was not long before the group had made it to the second floor lift lobby. The grand entrance lift was a ten by ten meter platform that had ornate metal handrails with glass filling in the open areas. As the lift lowered the group could see into the well lit atrium. Fountains flanked the lift with a pool full of fish which ran under the lift connecting the water works and there were also crystal chandlers that seemed to hover just below the ceiling. Guards were stationed in front of the double doors to the royal chamber as well as on the other side of the main entrance glass doors and wall.

Dubja fired at a guard stationed at the royal chamber doors and dove for cover behind a fountain. Instantly the room erupted in a vortex of violence. The guards opened fire while the force users dove towards them with their lightsabers lit. Jett raked across the guards with covering fire.

The guards on the other side of the glass entry stared at the battle in abject terror. Tales of Jedi knight prowess in combat had reached even the backwater world of Dorreth. Dubja took advantage of their hesitation to fight; he flipped the front of his poncho over his shoulder, grabbed a fragmentation grenade, and tossed it towards the glass wall. The explosion showered the exterior guards with shrapnel and shards of glass, killing two of them instantly. The rest dropped their weapons and fled from the palace.

More guards rushed in from doors on the side of the atrium. The map had indicated that a small barracks was connected to the royal palace and the sudden rush of bodies confirmed the fact. Jett turned on his jetpack and leapt across the room, tossing a grenade at the open doorway before taking cover behind the stone fountain and pool walls with Dubja. The explosion rocked the room and took several of the guards out of the fight. The pair continued to fire into the remains of the crowd while the stone chipped away around them from the return fire. Grazes seared the pair’s flesh, but they kept up their attack.

Tahnel’s muscles rippled under his robes while the hacked away at guards with his lightsaber. Each hit was more devastating than the last as he made his way from guard to guard, killing each one in turn. A blaster bolt was about to hit the force user, but he held out his hand and used the force to absorb the shot.

Re’ahn danced around each guard as she slashed with her lightsaber. Seeing their movements in her mind through use of the force she could dodge their attacks with ease. However, her attacks had trouble finding their mark as she was seemingly playing with her opponents.

It was not long before the cacophony of destruction was over and the room was washed over in a wave of silence. The four warriors took a moment to catch their breath. All that lay before them was the large set of durasteel double doors that had protected the throne room from the battle.

A voice from Tahnel’s captured comm unit broke the silence. “What is going on out there?” the voice demanded.

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