Sunday, 30 June 2013

City of Evil

Part 25 of the Star Wars story. Enjoy

City of Evil

The Citadel of Drumund Kaas was a giant metropolis of dark grey metal and sinister lights. The sky was always dark, as if on the precipice of rain. The people were quiet and silent as they went about their daily routines. They wore hoods and thick tunics, seemingly to hide individual features and obscure them from the world then to shield against the weather.
Wraith and Elara had no problem blending in. Their only problem was their target’s location. They knew what they were looking for – a cloning facility deep beneath the Citadel and nearly half as large. They had to go by the roundabout way – it would have been too suspicious if two figures made a beeline for a restricted area.
So they waited for the cover of nightfall and like two spirits, flitted by. The guards, they knew, were not Sith. They didn’t even know what they were guarding. They were just grunts; paid to wander around the Citadel in vigilance and to keep out any intruders from restricted areas. So the two Force-users refrained from lethal force, opting to swoop behind their targets and apply small bursts of electricity. Stunning, not killing. The entrance to the facility was like the entrance to a primitive dungeon. There were no laser-locks or force-field grids; just a foreboding gate of darkness. As he stepped inside, Wraith felt the darkness within.
It came in waves, like an ocean. The Dark Side powers that erected this facility acted as a fulcrum, pulsating at the core. But what affected Wraith were the despair, anger and hate emanating from the place. He was genuinely surprised that the walls had not decayed from it. This was not the despair of one person. Hundreds, thousands; no, tens of thousands were tortured and experimented upon here, creating mutants and monsters. And it went on for ages, decades. Year after year, cycle after cycle, experiment after experiment; the negative emotions fed the Dark Side and it festered. Even in his horrified state, Wraith understood the ingenuity of such a structure. The place created negativity which fed the Sith’s power. He, in turn, would power his facility, creating more despair. It was a perfect cycle.
They both felt it and their anger intensified.
“We can’t be rash about this,” said Wraith through clenched teeth. He was trying to convince himself rather than his partner.
“What exactly are we doing here?” she asked. Her weapon was already at hand.
“There is someone we need in there. I’ll know when I see them,” he replied. “In the meantime, let us damage this place as much as we can.”
They snuck into an air vent and crawled into the control room. From their perch they saw more guards lounging on their console chairs, playing Sarlacc and other card games. Wraith extracted one of his lightsabers and steadied himself with the other. These guards were not innocent: one prod inside their minds and Wraith knew that they were fully aware of who they supported. He gave Elara a quick nod.
The vent shot downwards, interrupting a three-way game of Sarlacc. The metal vent crashed into the holographic screen. Elara fell down and her weapon bludgeoned one in the head. A kinetic blast blew another guard’s head off. Her leg lashed forwards throwing another guard at Wraith.
The former Sith had teleported inside the room and felt the impact of the guard being thrown at him. His lightsaber activated, impaling the enemy before the remaining four could wrap their heads around what happened in the past half a second.
Two small lances of fire, thin and powerful, shot from Elara’s hands. They hit the guards in the chest and left marks like laser blasts. Wraith lopped the head off of one of them. The last guard had managed to extract his weapon and fire off a wild shot. He missed completely. Instead, the console opposite him burst in a shower of smoke and sparks. Both Force-users shot lightning at him. The energy charred the guard and arced into the consoles in the control room. Warnings and alarms blared, suddenly sending the whole compound into chaos.
“I’ll deal with the droids,” said Elara as she stepped forwards. “I’ll be your distraction. Go rescue whoever it is you have to.” Her purple lightsaber activated. She took a step forwards, towards the mechanical whirring, indicating the arrival of droids. Suddenly she spun and kissed Wraith’s lips.
“For luck,” she said.
“Don’t die,” she yelled as she took off towards the droids.
“You too.” He wasn’t sure whether she heard his voice.
He made his way towards the location he saw in the mutant’s mind. Only a handful of guards, late responders to the blaring alarms, obstructed his path. Not that they had been difficult to deal with. His Force powers had been enough against them. He found himself in a large chamber and horror filled him.
Noise, like the rattling of savage monkey, echoed from the cages.
There were cages everywhere.
They held mutants: some complete like the ones he had affronted at the Jedi Temple. Most were misshapen blobs with welts and overgrown scabs on their chalk white hides. They were all pitted against eachother in a horrific pile of flesh. They all seemed to move towards one place. A tray of slop, probably food, was slumped on one corner. Only the strongest and fittest could fight off the others and reach their meal. It was a bloodbath, with most mutants feasting on eachother’s flesh in a desperate attempt to live.
This scene had repeated itself in various corners, perhaps in six different locations. After the numbers had dwindled down, a human guard wielding a heavy duty stun baton arrived. A dozen Magna-class droids had appeared, poking at the mutants to push them towards eachother.
A particular mutant caught Wraith’s eyes. It was large, a bulky humanoid perhaps eight feet tall. It was perfectly formed with eggshell white skin and no hair. Impossibly thick muscle gave the giant a truly formidable look. He was grunting and savagely eating on the disgusting slop when two Magna droids approached him. He grunted once and swiped his arm, sending droids and mutants flying.
“Come on, Turge,” cawed the human. “You know the drill.” The giant roared and remained where he was. His eyes wore a look of defiance. The warden slapped his wrist-comm and gave his orders.
“I don’t have time for your crap today, Turge. Get back in your cage.”
The giant ignored him.

“All right, then,” said the warden as his voice shook in anger. Clearly he wasn’t used to being ignored. “Kill him,” he barked at the droids.

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