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Word Count: 312
EXP: +1. I’ll figure out my total EXP later.

As the crew returned to Smash City Alcamoth, Donnie looked over at the huge glass windows that encased the...atrium? Observation deck? Whatever the technical term was, he knew of the immense destructive powers that highly-concentrated magic could achieve. He was all-too familiar with the infamous “mana bombs” that the Horde reserved for the most deadly of exchanges--especially when he failed to stop the famous port of Theramore from being completely obliterated by one dropped at the behest of the corrupt Horde Warchief, Garrosh Hellscream.

To many denizens of more “modern” or “advanced” worlds, the mana bomb met the definition of a weapon of mass destruction. Not only would anything within several miles of the bomb be completely annihilated by the explosive mana burn the bomb created, the most powerful one used (admittedly powered by an artifact stolen from the Blue Dragonflight, who literally oversaw magic itself) could temporarily open holes in the fabric of reality and mutate the physical structure of those poor souls who weren’t killed instantly.

Needless to say, if the weapon that was carried into the Dead Zone (and apparently due to go off rather soon) was anything like a mana bomb, the explosion would quite literally be noticed from anywhere in the known World of Light. Those fancy glass windows could very well shatter no matter what they were made of. Eardrums would burst. People miles away could suffer from internal bleeding.

Of course, he had no idea what the size of the explosion would be. For all he knew, it might be small enough to not have collateral damage beyond the region, but he couldn’t be sure.

“Blazermate? Tora?” he asked, nervously. “Refresh my memory. Do we know the explosive yield of the bomb in the Dead Zone? Because I’ve seen explosions like that before and the collateral damage can go much farther than expected.”

[@ArchmageMC] @Lugubrious
<The following is Part 2 of my collab with [@Heater]. The last one. I think. I don't know anymore, this collab has eaten my life.>

“Well,” Malg said, drawing one pistol and his rifle again (and feeling rather silly for putting them away), “I think we’re near the Command Center, since I know the engineers live closer to it so they can repair critical systems more easily. Of course, the Command Center is also probably where we’ll find the most resistance.” He held his engineer’s keycard in his other hand. “The Command Center is likely where the camp commandant is directing the guards from. We both know they’re probably radioing for a relief force, but if we can get there, we can give the all clear to the Imperial city nearby and call off the reinforcements, which gives us time to breathe and get everyone out of here.”

Malg walked over to the blast door, saying, “Unfortunately, the Imps aren’t stupid, and they’ve probably entrenched their position with every heavy weapon they have. The prisoners have numbers, but the Imps have autoturrets, grenades, and...well, probably stuff I haven’t seen yet.”

He turned back to Zena. “I’d imagine the prisoners want their revenge on the camp officers, so they’re probably going to push for the Command Center too. The problem is, the prisoners have numbers, but they’re only beings. Their morale will eventually break if enough of them die.”

He looked at the two organics. “You were able to get them to rebel in the first place. You’re going to be the best at keeping them from breaking. And between the three of us, we might be able to punch a hole in the defenses and end this battle.”

“You don’t have a layout of the building? We should try to find one if we can.” The New Republic commando stated as she checked her blaster rifle quickly before they headed into what was likely to be another furious firefight.

“If we move quick enough we can hopefully call off the reinforcements. But yes, they’ll likely have a perimeter around the command center. It will be hell to breach through it but we will. We just have to hope the chaos outside aids us. Absolute worst case scenario I can radio Republic forces above and request air support.” Zena added, hoping she wouldn’t have to do the latter. This operation was supposed to be more on the secretive side, she didn’t want to potentially disrupt the main assault from the bulk of the New Republic forces.

“Let's move, any prisoners we see we’ll do our best to assist.” The sergeant stated assertively with a nod then stepped through the door nearest to them. As she peaked around the doorway she noted a lack of stormtroopers on the end of the hallway. Though she heard a near deafening amount of blaster fire reverberate through the halls. “Move slowly, call out any plastics you see.”

As the trio shifted out of the room on their way through the building the sounds of combat drew nearer. Zena posted herself against a wall, then peeked around it swiftly. Another hallway split to the side where a small group of prisoners were desperately trying to push down. They were dropping like flies as the encamped stormtroopers on the other end had set up several metal crates as makeshift cover. As she turned around the corner one of the prisoners, a Gran in prisoner rags stared at them, then spoke.

“Its suicide. We can't break through. Thank Mother Doellin you’re here.” The alien spoke, his words filled with nervousness. He tightly held a discarded Imperial E-11 blaster in his six fingered hands as he saluted. “Private Uleen Bieduss of you’re a lifesaver for breaking us out.”

“Sergeant Vale of the Vorn Tiger squad. The job isn’t done yet, stop throwing bodies down that hallway. We’ll try to lead the charge through.” The rugged Aldeerani commando stated, glad to have ran into a former Republic soldier. Who knew how long the poor Gran had been there. “We could probably blow right through it, any suggestions Malg?”

Malg pointed to the Stormtrooper utility belt he was wearing like a bandolier, and the white cylinder in front of his left shoulder. “All Stormtrooper utility belts come with a single thermal detonator. Thanks to my shields and armor, I’m the best here at taking blaster shots, so I’m gonna be the droid to throw it. If they somehow survive, it’ll probably blow up their cover in the process. Then, before the smoke clears, I want at least five of us to shoot down the hallway at full-auto. I’ve used E-11s before, and they’re best at close-quarters fights inside confined spaces, like this hallway here. If we fire them on minimum settings, they’ve got 500 shots each. 100 on max. We won’t give them time to think. By the time the smoke is gone, they should all be dead. And if not, our job will be a lot easier.”

He rifled through the pouches of the utility belt. “One, two, three--huh. Four spare packs each. Yeah, we won’t run out of ammo if we can find more of these. Anyway,” he said, putting it back on, “In a confined space like this, we can’t miss. And every one of those plastics is going to be carrying another detonator. We can repeat this trick as many times as we want as long as one grenade survives each time.”

He looked to the others. “Thoughts, everyone?”

“Sounds perfect. The only way we’re going to be able to get through their defenses is by blowing right through them. Using their own grenades is a smart move as well.” Zena replied with a smirk and a nod as she took in the droid’s entire plan. Next to her Dakkar seemed to be in agreement as well, a mischievous smile on Yuzzem’s face at the thought of blowing up even more Imperials.

“My men and I will be right behind you three, all of us are itching to show those plastic boys what we can do.” Private Bieduss spoke with passion. A half dozen prisoners turned insurgents sat at the ready, each clinging onto E-11s. The light of the Rebellion never died within the prisoners, even as the Imperium mistreated and beat them in the labor camps. They were all craving some proper revenge.

“On your move Malg, once those detonators go off we will lay into those plastics.” Sergeant Vale added as she glanced at the Republic aligned droid. She was very glad to have stumbled upon him.

“Alright,” Malg said, steeling himself. “Here goes nothing.” He ripped the cylinder off of the belt, moved over to the corner, peeked over (getting a blaster bolt to his shield for his trouble), and rolled the stormtrooper thermal detonator into the corridor with significant force given the awkward angle. Then, slipping his blaster pistol around the corner, he fired one heavy shot at the baradium-core code-key detonator.

Stormtrooper detonators were different from normal detonators. They were designed not to go off unless a very specific code was entered by the trooper carrying them, and the buttons were unlabeled to make it even harder for an enemy to guess the code and use it against the Imperials.

Unfortunately, some crazy Imperial weapons designer put goddamn thermite in the casing. And to his credit, this was a rather insane trend throughout the thermal detonator’s history. Thermal detonators were either made of thermite or axinite. Thermite was, in essence, a black sand-like material traditionally made of metal powder and iron oxide. In other words, metal and rust. It didn’t matter what metal you used, the result would be the same. A devastatingly-powerful incendiary mixture that, when exposed to a spark, burned at half the temperature of a yellow star, at about 2500 degrees centigrade. And, as iron oxide had oxygen in it, thermite effectively had its own oxygen supply, meaning that it would burn in any conceivable environment as long as there was enough heat to keep the combustion reaction going, even underwater. It could even burn in a hard vacuum if it was warm enough, which was probably the thought process behind using it in grenades that would be brought onto spaceships.

Unfortunately, this was the baradium-core code-key thermal detonator’s fatal flaw. Thermal detonators worked much like hydrogen bombs, putting a core of radioactive material in intense enough conditions to induce a fusion reaction and cause a small-scale thermonuclear explosion. However, they did this by bathing a baradium core in energy. A blaster bolt could partially emulate that effect, and when coupled with the thermite in the casing igniting after being shot with a bolt of extremely-hot plasma contained in a magnetic field (the magnetic field itself probably doing a number on the internal electronics)...well, the results weren’t pretty.

And “not pretty” was an apt way of describing what happened when Malg shot the white cylinder directly in its center of mass. As the stormtroopers behind the metal crates began to realize what happened and ran for it, a sharp-eyed observer could see the white core being pierced for a fraction of an instant as red-hot flames began to spread across its surface, the white coating of plastoid over the thermite-infused casing bubbling and melting under the heat. And then, a microsecond later, a blinding white flash lit up the room and a deafening explosion was heard as the baradium core inside went to fusion, blowing the metal crates outwards behind it and killing a few stormtroopers from the impact alone. The corridor walls buckled under the force of what was effectively a tiny hydrogen bomb, and dust and metal blew everywhere as everything nearby was coated in droplets of burning thermite and molten plastoid hot enough to char bone as the hallway fizzled and smoke billowed out under the withering heat and explosive force of a dangerous fusion reaction. Malg’s shields withered and died under the sheer heat of the explosion, but thankfully, the miniscule quantities of baradium used in a thermal detonator didn’t tend to leave dangerous levels of fallout due to some accident of baradium’s atomic structure, and the droid’s tough armor helped protect the unarmored prisoners behind him. The explosion had also blown a sizable hole in the ceiling, resulting in a convenient outlet for the smoke, but it still wouldn’t be healthy to go through that without protection of some kind.

“Damn Malg, that was beautiful.” Sergeant Vale stated in a tone which conveyed extreme delight at the result of the explosive ‘experiment’. She had her helmet on snuggly but still felt her ears ring for a few moments as she peaked around the corner of the hall at the aftermath. “Thank you! I’ll be happy to do a repeat performance if I find another!” the droid replied.

The armored New Republic commando led the charge down the smoking corridor after the retreating stormtroopers. She raised her A280 upwards as she darted forward then unleashed multiple blaster bolts down the mutilated corridor towards the fleeing plastics. Dakkar followed behind her, having ripped some cloth from a deceased prisoner to use as a makeshift face cover. His fiercely thick fur would be able to withstand the quick trek through the brutalized hallway. The rebellious prisoners would be the last ones to follow down the hallway, several of them holding their hands over their ears for a few more moments as the corridor stopped shaking. Thankfully, Malg could simply shut off the microphones in his ears, and the smoke wouldn’t be much of a problem for a being that didn’t breathe. His medical computer, however, calculated the likelihood of the breathing ones in the room getting asthma or miner’s lung, and it wouldn’t be healthy to keep doing that.

“Keep up the pressure! Give them no quarter.” Zena hollered as she stepped carefully over some of the fallen stormtroopers unlucky enough to be caught directly in the explosion. She squeezed the trigger of her blaster a few more times, doing her damndest to allow her makeshift team to get enough of the way down the hallway.

Malg had drawn his two blasters and his E-11, and the combination of two pistols and a full-auto rifle meant that he could throw an absurd quantity of bolts at anything that moved. His E-11 blew three holes in a trooper’s chestplate as his left pistol shot out another’s helmet lens and his right pistol mangled yet another trooper’s arm, subsequent shots from a nearby prisoner putting him down. Of course, most of the shots simply missed, but in a tight corridor and this many guns, he didn’t even really need to aim, and filling the air with that many bolts had a use all the same: It made for a great distraction!

As the team moved down the corridor, blasters raised, they came to a very, very heavy blast door, with a second door on the right side of the hallway.

“We’ll have to breach it--” was all Malg was able to say before the door on the right burst open, and the biggest, most terrifying battle droid he’d ever seen charged straight for him, quickly body-slamming him into the wall and applying a pile driver’s worth of pressure to his chest. He heard a cracking sound, and his processor was filled with damage reports that he wasn’t even in the state of mind to analyze. The heavy wall behind him actually sported a new spiderweb crack as the dark-gray, twelve-foot-tall, stormtrooper-headed droid reared its fist back to punch him right in the face, rattling his photoreceptors and temporarily blinding him as his “eyes” shut down for a brief moment.

When he could see again, from the Imperial droid’s right wrist now extended a sinister energy blade that went straight for his head, but Malg grabbed its forearm with his labor droid arm and held it back, putting all of his modified mechanical muscle behind it. However, it was clear that even the sheer brute force of a labor droid’s arm wouldn’t be enough to hold back the battle droid for long, and the shock had made Malg drop all of the blasters he was carrying. In response, Malg tried to gouge out the battle droid’s left photoreceptor with one of his claw-like medical droid hands, but it responded by snapping the spindly 2-1B arm like a twig. Malg screamed, a horrible noise that sounded like an astromech droid being crushed to death by an industrial press.

To make matters worse, Stormtrooper boots could be heard clomping down the halls. A relief squad was rapidly moving in from the rear in a pincer tactic. They’d be here quickly, and while a squad of Stormtroopers wasn’t an issue on their own, their positioning could give the Imperials a decisive advantage.

“What the fuck?” The Rebel commando had hollered as she watched the menacing, powerful droid slam into Malg and begin to pummel him. She and her team had been fortunate enough to not encounter this type of wicked Imperial creation before but they had heard tales of their ferocity. They were damn Jedi killers.

“Light that thing up Dak, get it the hell off Malg!” Zena hollered as she raised her own blaster, then unleashed a volley of blaster bolts into the machine’s side.

She aimed carefully to avoid hitting their new droid friend. Private Dakkar did the same, as he crouched then fired his heavy blaster rifle at the Imperial mechanical monstrosity’s legs. Their objective was less to kill the imposing machine but rather to get it off the New Republic droid. From the other side of the hallway she heard the distinct sound of Stormtrooper boots clanking down the hallway towards their position. Their main objective at the moment was to bring down the massive droid but they couldn’t let the other Imperial forces flank them.

“Bieduss, you and your men have to cover our asses. Take care of those plastics, private!” She barked as she stepped backwards, to position herself out of the line of fire from the approaching trooper while Dakkar did the same. Their combined shots slammed into the enemy droid with furiosity.

“Ay ay sergeant! Let’s get those bastards!” The Gran replied with passion as he called out to his six man team of escaped prisoners, armed with stolen Imperial arms. She had faith in them, having fought through the true brutality of the Grand Imperium.

The Purge Trooper battle droid was an early result of the Dark Trooper program. It was heavily-armored, and could resist lightsaber slashes. It would take more than a barrage of blaster bolts to bring it offline.

But that didn’t mean it was invincible.

The barrage of blaster bolts slammed home, the sizzling plasma causing pockmarked burns on its leg joints. Not enough to pierce the thick armor plating, but enough for the extreme ambient heat to play merry hell with its leg motors.

It stumbled back from Malg, and was forced to its knees as the affected motors temporarily overheated, muttering a curse in Binary that Malg understood all too well.

Wincing in pain as his mangled arm flopped uselessly at his side, Malg grabbed one of the pistols he’d dropped off of the ground and leapt onto the Purge Trooper’s back, wrapping his stronger lower arms around its neck.

Droids didn’t need to breathe, but that didn’t mean that going for the neck was useless, a fact Malg knew from his time in the wastes. He wrenched the Purge Trooper’s neck as far to the right as he could, the Imperial machine shouting in a synthesized voice as it reached for its neck to try and pry off Malg’s hands.

But Malg had leverage, and the Purge Trooper knew this. As its legs recovered, it tried to back up into the wall to slam Malg into it again. The impact caused yet more damage to his torso, but Malg held firm. The Purge Droid tried to activate its energy blade, but Malg shoved his blaster pistol right into its temple and pulled the trigger three times, stunning it.

Then, with a sickening noise that would make any droid who heard it understandably wince, Malg snapped the Purge Droid’s neck servos, causing its head to hang limply. It was still active--all Malg had done was damage a non-essential part--but now even getting its bearings would be difficult as the droid could only look at the floor.

It staggered drunkenly as Malg then used his more claw-like hands to go for its photoreceptors, just as he’d done previously. His modified claws, however, couldn’t quite pierce the high-end materials used in the construction of the droid’s photoreceptors.

While their droid friend wrestled with the hulking Purge Trooper the two New Republic commandos watched intently with their blasters leveled. They had to cease their firing on it so they didn’t hit Malg by accident. Behind them the prisoner team handled the backup stormtrooper squad sent after all of them. Each of the freed prisoners were former New Republic personnel, they could fight damn well even clad in dirty prison jumpsuits and armed with ‘seized’ Imperial blasters.

As Zena watched the two machines wrestle before them she silently cursed, partly worried about the brave New Republic droid as he clawed at the Imperial war machine. As Malg snapped at the Purge Trooper’s neck the two soldiers found their opening. Sargeant Vale narrowed her eyes then squeezed the trigger as bolts sprayed off to slam into the shoulder mounted rocket rocket launcher. Meanwhile Private Dakkar unleashed a volley at the enemy’s legs, hoping to help knock it down a step.

“Keep at it, Dak! Once its down for the count his fight becomes way easier!” Zena exclaimed as she continued to fire off bolts at the droid’s shoulder. The well trained commando’s marksmanship skills came in very handy for this very moment.

“Don’t let them through!” Private Bieduss hollered on the other side of the hall as the prisoner force’s battle intensified. He tucked behind a crate in the hallway right after dropping a stormtrooper, adrenaline surging through the Gran’s veins. The prisoner team was doing well, having entrenched themselves to provide cover for the others.

It was time to end this. As Malg’s vision stuttered and his systems let out alert after alert, he knew he couldn’t keep this up much longer, But he was a hardware modification genius, and every system had its weaknesses. When he’d shattered its neck servos, he’d pushed a piece of armor plating in the back of its neck out of alignment, leaving a fatal chink in the armor. It was all he could do to hold on, though, as the Purge Droid tried everything it could to shake him off...but Dak had damaged its legs, sending it to its knees again. This gave Malg the opening he needed. He jammed his B-1 arm into the thing’s neck and started ripping at its vulnerable wiring and circuitry. The Purge Droid began to spasm and jerk, yelling electronic gibberish as Malg quickly began causing severe damage, and it culminated in the medical droid ripping out the main power cable in its spine, instantly bringing it offline. Malg held up the sparking cable like a macabre trophy as the purge droid, with a final shudder, collapsed to the ground, an inert hunk of metal.

The prisoner squad, by this point, mopped up the remaining stormtroopers, save one who, with a rather improper declaration of “HOLY SHIT!” got to his knees, put his hands on his head, and quickly stammered out a surrender after seeing what just happened to the base’s resident superweapon.

Malg got off the disabled purge droid’s back, and shot it in the head one more time for good measure, before he himself almost collapsed, barely supporting himself by grabbing the wall. “Fucking...hell…” he said, “...That bastard did a number on me. I think I’ll live--I don’t bleed like you guys do--but I need to be the one to call off whatever reinforcements they send.”

He pressed a hand to his chin, as if confirming what his systems check already told him. “Thankfully, my vocabulator’s intact. I think I can mimic the commander’s voice.…” He looked to the blast door leading to the command center, still sealed. “We’ll need to do something about this. Got any explosives?”

“Of course I do.” The lead commando stated with a wide smirk. The impressive display from the droid had earned him Zena’s respect. She wasn’t sure how they would’ve gotten by that mechanical monstrosity if not for Malg.

She shifted towards the door, then reached into a metal case on her back contained several explosives, triggerable by a remote detonator. As the ragtag prisoner squad across the hallway finished off the marauding stormtroopers she diligently set up to blow the door right off its hinges. There was no telling how many more troopers would be awaiting them behind this blast door but she did not expect too many, it seemed most of the plastic boys had been sent out to quell the prison riots. After one quick final check another smile onto the Alderaani’s face as she stepped back.

“Here we go!” Sergeant Vale added clearly, her gloved thumb hovering over the switch as she gave one more look towards her two companions.

Having back far enough away she set off the explosives. A resounding boom echoed through the corridor as the blast door ignited in a mix of flame and smoke. As the aftermath of the detonation cleared the team could see a small, surprised group of Imperials reacting to defend the command center. The blast door sat several meters away from the doorway on the floor, pulverized as she had knocked it right off the hinges.

“Let's finish this!” Zena exclaimed as she charged into the room, blaster raised towards the small group of Imperials. Three officers clenching blaster pistols while two more stormtroopers scrambled to get behind cover. It was child’s play compared to the Purge Droid.

Malg half-stumbled into the room, once again loaded for bear, with his rifle and his remaining pistol (what with only having three working arms left) tracking two separate targets.

Malg may have been horribly injured--hIs prized diagnostics computer (the most important component of a 2-1B for doing its job) might never be the same again without replacing it with a brand-new one (all those annotations in its memory banks, potentially down the drain!), and the shield generator was out of commission until he could seriously get to work on it for a week or two, not to mention his broken arm--but he could still track a moving target just as well as he could originally. There was a reason he survived on Tatooine for so long, and it was because his reflexes were ungodly fast with the modifications he sported.

In a smooth motion, he aimed for the unarmored Imperial officer on the left with his pistol, blowing a sizzling hole in his chest and sending him to the floor with a single well-placed shot. The E-11 aimed for the Stormtrooper on the same side, a flurry of blaster bolts piercing his helmet before he could get to cover. Malg had done this as he was moving, crouching behind a computer console, but not before a lucky shot from the camp’s commandant hit his leg. Thankfully, the durasteel held, but durasteel wasn’t Beskar iron, and it was a miracle he didn’t suffer serious damage.

As the damaged droid attacked so did both the New Republic commandos, with rapid precision Zena raised her blaster rifle at one of the other stormtroopers then squeezed the trigger. A trio of shots rang out and slammed center mass into the soldier. Private Dakkar steadied his own heavy blaster rifle as he aimed at one of the officers. He grunted and unleashed a volley of laser bolts towards the Imperial. A moment later the officer fell to the floor with a bang, a wound burn through his collar and chest.

As Zena turned towards the last standing Imperial in the room, another officer, drastically unfit to be taking on a trio of trained soldiers. The squad leader’s finger hovered over the trigger, about to end the man’s life before he dropped his blaster pistol and his hands shot upwards in surrender.

“Stop, please!” The officer nearly begged, fear of death evident on his clean shaven facial features. He was younger than the others, likely a newly promoted officer stuck overseeing this prison camp. Another sentence desperately spewed from his mouth. ”I give up, let me live and I’ll tell you anything.”

The sergeant paused for a second, then shook her helmet head. As the officer was about to mouth another plea for mercy the sound of her blaster firing filled the room. A second later the final Imperial hit the floor with a fierce hole burnt into his chest.

“That’s all of them.” She then stated as she tucked her rifle back into the holster on her back. She approached the center of the room where several consoles were located, in front of them was a large glass window which gave them a glimpse of the entire prison camp. Fires and destruction filled it.

“I think the breakout was a success,” She said to the other two in the room, a bit of relief in her words even though she knew this was not the last step in their operations today. She then turned her helmeted gaze towards her damaged droid companion. “Can you get anything from the command console, Malg? Information? Plans?”

Malg was a bit disquieted at what Zena did, seeing as she’d technically committed perfidy, but, on the other hand, well, even that junior officer had been complicit in his torment. The Imperials certainly didn’t care about any rules of war, so it could be argued that the Republic didn’t need to either. He’d have preferred it if Zena had been the bigger woman, but there was nothing he could do about that now. Either way, not the time to bring it up.

Without a word, he produced a scomp link from his chest, thanking whatever god was listening that it survived the fight with the purge droid, and plugged into the computer console.
“Slicing Isn't my specialty, but let’s see what I can find,” Malg said as he got to work. Thankfully, he did have a few slicing programs stored in his memory banks at all times, and an Imperial prison camp wasn’t as important as, say, an Imperial data center. The cybersecurity here wasn’t as strict as it could have been. It took a while, but the military-grade slicing programs helpfully provided by the Republic eventually broke into the commandant’s account. He now had complete control over everything in the base. He almost felt like a god among droids. But first, business.

“Well, they sent out a distress signal about fifteen minutes ago and troops are en route to the camp as we speak. Let me fix that real quick.” Malg knew the camp commandant’s voice patterns well. After all, the commandant loved to ‘inspect’ the mine and make sure that ‘discipline’ was applied ‘appropriately.’ For the prisoners, that usually involved a brutal punishment, summary execution, or worse. He’d heard the bastard’s voice at least once a day for the last few weeks. Mimicking him would be easy.

Malg opened a comm channel to the commander of the incoming relief force, saying in the commandant’s voice, “This is Commandant Kren Ryloth. Fortunately, we were able to contain the uprising and have successfully maintained control of the mining facility. We have eliminated the Republic team responsible for the insurrection and quelled the remaining prisoners. We won’t be needing the relief force, Commander. We have it from here.”

“Are you sure?” came the reply of the Imperial on the other end. “You had a complement of Republic droids, didn’t you? If I had taken control of an Imperial camp partially staffed with captured droids, I’d have one of them mimic your voice and call off the relief force.”

“I--” was all Malg managed to say before the commander cut him off.

“Kren, you know full well how much it costs to mobilize a force to save your incompetent hide,” the Imp snapped. “These gunships don’t fuel themselves. Why should I not at least verify that your camp is safe before I call off all of the troops and assets I dragged out of the base to fix your mistake, and let the general know you almost failed to contain a bunch of unarmed Republic prisoners and then tried to waste Imperial resources by preventing me from making sure I’m not talking to a goddamn droid!

“First of all, they’re all memory-wiped and have had their masters changed. They serve us now--”


“--and the junk droid was destroyed in the fighting, you idiot! He was taken out by the purge droid I kept in case of a situation like this. Did you really think I didn’t have an insurance policy?”

“Oh. You had a secret purge droid. Of course. So why were you so desperate on the comms?”

“...It’s one droid,” Malg said, irritation creeping into ‘Kren’s’ voice. “It might have been powerful, but there’s only so much an old battle droid can do against an entire camp of angry prisoners armed with our own weaponry. I wasn’t sure it would work. The team responsible got all the way up to my command center blast door before the purge droid managed to kill them all, including the junk droid, who had followed them, probably to do what you’re so worried about! From there, the rest of the prisoners lost their will to fight, what with the entrails of their special-forces stooges decorating the corridor walls. So will you stop this conspiracist madness and just GO HOME ALREADY?!

“Fine,” the voice on the other end said bitterly. “Just one little question and I’ll turn around and fly back to base, ‘Kren.’ What’s. My. Name?

Malg thanked his lucky stars he’d already sliced the console and wasn’t relying on simply talking into the radio without any information. It took him only a fraction of a second to search the comm logs to see who Kren had been talking to previously, which clearly the commander hadn’t accounted for.

“Phato Kyralis,” Malg said.

“Very well,” Phato said, clearly mortified. “I guess you’re Kren after all. I’ll return to base. Goodbye.”

The line went dead.

Malg whistled. “Well, that was stressful. Glad that’s over. In any event, they’re bracing for a New Republic assault on the planet. This camp is pretty unimportant in the grand scheme of things, and they already sent over their reinforcements in preparation. Not like it did them any good,” Malg said with a sardonic snicker. “However, they were concerned about the prisoners kept on the planet being turned into additional manpower for the invasion, so...oh. Oh Maker.” All the mirth he had earlier was gone.

“They were going to execute the Republic prisoner population of the entire planet and scrap the Republic droids to boot. However, the executions were to happen only after the Imperials had shipped out this month’s supply quota, since killing all the prisoners would cripple the planet’s ability to get it into Remnant hands. That gives us about...28 hours of leeway. We need to get everyone off of this rock yesterday.

“That's not much time. But luckily the Republic fleet isn’t far, I just hope the uprising didn’t trash all of the transports. We could stow as many prisoners in those vehicles then drive away from the camp and call down evac for everyone.” The lead New Republic commando stated as she glanced out the window behind them, the exchanges of blaster fire having stopped outside on the grounds.

“That’s not the best thing that they were predicting an assault from the Republic. Means they’ve likely enforced the city and their territory even more than before,” Zena added with a headshake, though she was not that concerned considering the sheer strength of the New Republic attacking force that’d rain hell down on the Imperium here. “But there is still the other camp we have to liberate. Its likely the Imperium has put extra eyes on that one, despite your convincing chat with that Imperial. Also when we blow this labor camp to the sky.”

“Sarge? Are you there?” She heard a familiar voice slip through her in helmet communicator, it was the second in command of her commando team, Corporal Keeg.

“This is Sergeant Vale, I’m glad as can be to hear your voice. How are things on your end?” She replied as Dakkar looked at her with a long blink.

“We’re all accounted for, Vebb took a shot to the arm but he patched himself up. We cleared out every plastic in the camp and planted the bombs. Took some prisoner casualties sadly, but we still freed a lot of them.” The Duros replied firmly.

“I’m glad we could save as many of them as we could. Are those Imperial transports still in working shape?” She posed the question, hoping for an affirmative answer else they’d have to get creative.

“I believe so, might have taken a few stray shots but didn’t go through the plating. Why, do you we need them?”

“Oh yes we do. Get every freed prisoner you can on them, put some on the transport we took in too if you have to. Then once we’re far enough away I’m going to light this place up. Gonna call in evac for every man we rescued and continue our operation on.” The veteran soldier said, fire sparking in her brown shaded eyes as she thought of watching this camp go up in flames.

Malg had been silent. Many droids lacked the facial motors necessary to emote the same way organics did...but the gloom was evident just from looking at the way his shoulders slumped.

“...We...won’t be helping the other camp,” Malg said. He sounded like he was struggling to even say those words. “The other prison camp already tried an uprising, and failed. They--they were slaughtered. 1,538 Republic soldiers and 296 civilian personnel whose only crime was helping to keep our lights on, all dead.”

“Those damn Imperials! We weren’t quick enough.” The special operations commando exclaimed, her voice filled with rage. A gloved fist smashed into the large glass window in the front of the command center. While it did not shatter through the impact left a sizeable mark on the glass.

She then leaned forward against the window, inhaling deeply as she rapidly processed all of those lost souls. Failure was a rarity for the highly talented Alderaani, when it happened it hit her like the crushing jaws of a Krayt Dragon. The soldier figured the other camp must have gotten word of the uprising conducted here, it was enough to light the flame in their hearts and rise up. Even without the aid of a team of Republic insurgents. They were all brave souls, she’d make sure those Imperials responsible paid when the New Republic wrestled control of this world back.

He unplugged the scomp link, letting it retract into his chest. “I got everything I could off of their servers. I’ve unlocked all the doors, opened all the cells, and disabled all the security systems. We can move freely, and so can the prisoners.”

He turned around, still limping, but walking with a renewed purpose. “I’ve taken the records of everyone who was imprisoned here, everyone who died here, and where people who used to be here were transferred to. I know what they went through, what they were killed for, and their last whereabouts. I can’t bring them back, but with these records, I can at least give some closure to their loved ones and help find those who got moved somewhere else. Now let’s get everyone the hell out of here and burn this godforsaken camp to the ground.”

“Thank you Malg, at least we can give their families something. They’ll know they went out as true heroes of the New Republic. We did what we could here and at least we freed some of them. It's gonna be beautiful watching this place go down in flames.” Zena replied as she walked towards her new droid friend, then patted him on the back thankfully.

“Keeg, get everyone onto those transports. We’re out of here. The missions changed, something happened at the other Imperial camp. We’re going to get out of here, burn this camp down and contact the fleet.” The squad leader exclaimed through her commlink before the trio made their way out of the command center. Bodies of slain Imperials filled the prisoner camp, accompanied by some New Republic personnel who fought fiercely in the uprising. With the fate of the other camp Sargent Vale didn’t feel like this operation was a victory.

Right, Sonny belongs HERE.


Word Count: 1,261

EXP: (22/60) ÷ 20 (Ender Dragon Kill) ÷ 3 = 45/60

Huh. That went better than most raids. Donnie thought to himself as he picked himself off the ground. Usually I’d need to Resuscitate someone. I wish we had a tank though. I’ll need to see if I can remember Brewmastery at some point.

Donnie was taken completely off-guard by the falling island and didn’t have enough time to get out a mount, but thankfully, as the island started to fall, he was protected by game mechanics. He’d fallen from heights before, and every time he hit deep enough water, he was fine.

And lo and behold, as he plummeted downwards, through the air, and hit the surface of the water at terminal velocity, leaving one hell of a splash in his wake, he was unharmed, if a fair distance down. Still a little shaken by the impact, he righted himself and swam to the surface, his leg thankfully repaired by now by a cast of Vivify.

Breaking water, he managed to fish the Disc’s orb out of his bag and use it. Soon, he was soaring above the surface, still dripping wet, and alighted on the reef with the others.

He sat down on the floating reef floor, taking off his helmet and shaking the water out of it, only for…whaaaaaaat were those antlions doing?

“Get away from my armor!” the monk protested. “If I want a bath, I can take one myself later! I already took a swim in the ocean! And for the love of all that’s holy, don’t touch the handbla--

Too late. The antlion had already grabbed the right Fist out of its pouch and was cleaning the grime off of it.

“--Okay, looks like the Fists really were drained. Whatever then--”

The antlions began taking off his armor against his protests, and, not wanting to harm an innocent being, Donnie resigned himself to letting them at this point.

Of course, he had his limits. “Don’t take off the gambeson? Have you no shame? Or sense of boundaries?“

Soon enough, he was left in his gambeson, but the armor was quickly cleaned via some kind of magical mist, and before he knew it, he was back to normal

With that over, Donnie stood up, shook his head, and took stock of his surroundings.

The reef was overlooking the ocean, as he knew, but there was some kind of shining city in the distance, under a dome.

And there was an awful lot of company.

The most interesting development was this “Super Smash Brothers” organization. A genuine fighting arena. Donnie was always one for a good fight. He’d fought in arenas before, from the Darkmoon Faire’s arena to the Brawler’s Guild in the Deeprun Tram, to the Gurubashi Arena when he was traveling through Stranglethorn Vale that one time.

Of course, with resurrection magic, it didn’t matter how injured he got, and kills were consequence-free. It was bloody, but it was something he liked to do when he was a rookie adventurer looking to test his skills in honorable combat.

Donnie, as one could probably tell by…everything about him, was nominally spiritually-inclined, but not one to pursue inner enlightenment. As a follower of Huojin philosophy (typically associated with the Horde, ironically enough), he believed in quick and decisive action, being the change he wished to see in the world. To do that, he needed to hone his skills, hone his body. And arena battles were one of the greatest ways to do that. All of his training in self-discipline and harmony of spirit and body was just a means to an end for him. His position as Grandmaster was mainly due to his heroic deeds, mastery of the three monk disciplines, and excellent combat capabilities rather than representing the main tenets of his order.

In fact, he had planned on stepping down from the position of Grandmaster as soon as the war against the Legion ended. The life of a master wasn’t for him. But thanks to Galeem, he never got the chance. He was an adventurer, first and foremost. He couldn’t stand the thought of sitting in a temple all day spouting philosophy and teaching people how to do palm strikes. He had a lot to teach, but also much more to learn, and much more to do. Perhaps that would change when he was an old man, but for now, he hoped to stick to punching out godlike beings, looting legendary weapons from their treasure vaults,  walking around with thousands of gold, and drinking every tavern in Azeroth dry as a desert.

Donnie had seen things that would drive a hundred men insane. It could be argued that the only reason he was still going around adventuring was his love of combat.

So an entire city dedicated to fighting? This was a dream come true!

Then Kamek opened up a portal network, and Donnie knew what he had to do.

“Sorry guys, but I have to head back to Peach’s Castle for a bit. I have something I have to do real quick. It’ll only take a few minutes.”

Walking through the paint-like portal to the castle, he made his way into the main hall, and immediately started asking around for the castle steward. There had to be someone who would qualify as an innkeeper!

Soon, he found one, in Toadsworth.

“So I’ve been told you’re Peach’s steward?” Donnie asked.

“Why yes, that’s me. What’s your name, young man?” the elderly toad asked.


“I see. A fine name. I’m Toadsworth, and you already know what I do. What do you need?”

Donnie magicked his bag into existence and pulled out a strange white stone with an inlaid blue swirl. “This is a Hearthstone,” he said. “It lets me return to an area I designate as ‘home’ every thirty minutes. Fifteen sometimes. To do that, I need the permission of the proprietor. Usually that’s an innkeeper or other landlord, but since your business is running the castle, I need to talk to you about it.”

Toadsworth looked astonished. “A fascinating device! But why is there a waiting period?”

“I have no idea. Most magic where I come from works like that.”

“Ah. Still, you’re one of Peach’s fellow heroes. I saw you in the crowd a few days ago before you all left on your quest. But wouldn’t you need her permission? I don’t own the castle, I just see to its day-to-day affairs.”

“True,” Donnie replied, “but the spell recognizes the one who runs it just the same as the one who owns it, and if the owner is in another region, I’m not sure how that would interact with the spell.”

“And what if there’s a conflict?”

“Well, I don’t think there would be, would there?”

“Well, no. A friend of Peach is a friend of mine. So what exactly do I need to do?”

“Just place your hand on blue swirl and speak the words, ‘This place is now your home.’”

“Alright, I’ll do that…” the Toad said, starting to be a bit weirded out by the whole thing.

Donnie handed the stone to Toadsworth, who shakily placed his hand on the swirl and said the magic words, “This place is now your home.” Dots of blue light manifested around Donnie for a split-second, and then faded. The binding spell had completed.

“Thanks!” the monk replied. “I have to head back now, thanks for your help!”

“Have a nice day!” the elderly Toad called back as Donovan left.

* * *

Donovan quickly arrived back at the reef, “Back. What’d I miss?”

Shovel Knight from, well, Shovel Knight.
Kindred Spirit Sonny from the Sonny "franchise."

I'd pick Elec Man but according to his wiki page, he's an egotistical and sadistic jackass and I'm not sure if I could pull that off.
Ultrost, a few hours after initial landing

The repulsorcraft glided just above the rough terrain of the Imperial controlled world, on course for its first destination. The Imperial troop transport drew no eyes as it moved through the outskirts of the capitol city. Even though the people within it were not stormtroopers at all, but much rather the exact opposite. Vorn Tiger squad sat restlessly within the heavy duty transport, each of the five Republic commandos hellbent on causing more issues for the Imperium. As the vehicle drew closer to the first forced labor camp the team’s leader, Sargent Vale stood up to speak.

“We’re going to hit them hard and fast. If we’re lucky we should be able to use this transport’s clearance codes to get inside the camp. Once we are inside we’ll come out blasters hot, take out any plastic boys that you see. We will split into two smaller units, Dakkar and I will be one, we will power through into the command center of the camp. We’ll eliminate any defenses and unlock every single door. Eensil and Vebb will move to free prisoners, hand them blasters and add numbers to our side,” Zena stated with determination, as her team looked upon her with eagerness. “Bima will have taken a position higher up from the camp, she will take out as many Imperials as she can from a distance. Further adding to the chaos for the Imperium.”

Private Leapfar had taken an Imperial speeder from the garage of the old Republic base, having gone ahead of the rest of the team in order to get a vantage point. Ultrost was a rocky, hilly planet. Exactly where the scout sniper excelled. Zena had the uttermost confidence in her team, she learned over the years that the best way to hit the Imperials was as hard and fast as possible. Once their chain of communication and protocols were shattered they didn’t pose nearly as much of a threat. She could tell that every single person in her squad was itching for this operation, each of them having seen their own share of brutal slavery or internment at the hands of the Empire.

“Sure your leg is okay?” Dakkar asked from his seated position, across from Corporal Keeg. The Yuzzem felt cramped in the transport, it was not exactly built for people of his stature.

“I’m fine. Bacta is a damn miracle.” The duros replied with a smirk as he patted his formerly injured leg. The wound having been sealed up by the gel, the pain evaporated away. Though the scar would always remain. It was simply another one for the collection from his long days of combat.

“We’re coming up on the camp.” The squad’s medic said from behind the controls of the vehicle. The Imperials around them would have no way to tell who exactly was inside the transport, a fact which aided them greatly in infiltrating the camp.

“Nice and easy, Vebb. The code should work just fine.” Zena replied calmly as she walked to where the squad’s medic was seated. The Aldeerani crossed her fingers. “Bima, we’re coming up on the camp. Do you have a position?”
“Affirmative sarge. I’m set up to the northwest, up a hill. I have eyes on the labor camp. Defenses are formidable, but aimed for the outside. Once you get in they will not pose much of a threat on you. I have my sights on some marksman stationed in the two watchtowers.” The team’s sniper replied as she laid her frame down then steadied her rifle on its bipod.

“Excellent. Once the shooting starts I want you to take down both those guards, then call out any movements from the Imps.” Zena said with a firm smirk as she grasped her helmet tightly, then slid it over her head as the transport stopped before the front gate of the camp.

“Transport B-237 what is your business here? We don’t have you on the log for today’s arrivals.” A stern Imperial voice asked, speaking into the comms of the troop transport. Zena took a moment to think of a response, then patched her helmet into the communications.

“There was a protest in the city, we captured several rioters and are bringing them in for processing.” The commando stated in the firmest tone she could muster. Women were uncommon in the Imperium but not unheard of, the story should have easily passed basic inspection.

The Imperial officer did not speak for a few moments, seconds which felt more akin to hours. Zena felt sweat go down her cheek as she wondered if the Imperial would poke holes in the story, which would complicate their operation further. She had to hold back a sigh as the officer’s voice pitched in again, in an affirmative tone.

“Understood, you are clear to head inside the camp. Follow the designated arrows to the processing area.”

“We’re in.” Sargent Vale said with another wider smile, having exited communications with the officer. As the gate slid open slowly the troop transport shifted forward, following the instructed lines. The laser turrets on the outside of the gates wouldn’t pose any threat to them today.

“Slowly, Vebb,” Zena added as she placed a gloved hand on the Mon Calamari’s shoulder. Behind her the rest of her team readied up for another round of combat. “Blasters loaded people, safeties off.”

The outside feed of the cameras inside the transport allowed Zena a chilling look at the interior of the force labor camp. There must have been dozens of prisoners here, she couldn’t tell exactly which ones were with the New Republic. Though many of them were aliens, clad in simple work clothes and lugging around tools. The blasted Imperials had forced them to work in the mines of the world as well as slave away putting together weapons for their war machines. The Aldeerani clenched her fist in rage as she took in the battered state of the prisoners, undoubtedly having faced severe mistreatment here. She only hoped their spirits had not been broken. Zena couldn’t wait to burn this wretched place to the ground.

It had been some time between when Malg’s educational electrocution and when the transport arrived. But while the restraining bolt controlled his body, it did not control his mind. He was not going to let these Imperial bastards break him. And the taskmaster’s words were already causing him to put his devious intellect to work. Those explosives did indeed have a weakness, and he would love to exploit that. But first, the restraining bolt.

The restraining bolt interfaced with his systems, but most droids it connected to were not as well-versed in software as Malg was, nor did most droids have root access to their own systems.

Not Malg. Malg was the administrator of his mind and body ever since he started breaking down his mental safeguards. And that meant that he could “see” the restraining bolt on an internal level, and understand how it did what it did.

It seemed that his body--the 2-1B chassis, to be specific--was designed with a restraining bolt anchor point on his chest. He had been specifically manufactured with a restraining bolt in mind, effectively meaning he had a hardware-based backdoor into his motor functions that would be almost impossible to close.

But Malg was used to things like this. Slicing wasn’t his specialty--but hardware modification was. If he could figure out how to hook up a pair of Super Battle Droid legs to his waist without causing damage to his systems, he could do the same thing in reverse, rendering a piece of hardware incompatible with his body.

He’d never needed to do this before, and he could easily screw up and wreck his motor functions forever. But he knew enough.

Over the last few weeks, he’d secretly been rifling through his file system and his programming, analyzing the restraining bolt. Even when charging or in sleep mode, he’d been devoting resources to this task. Much like a prize fighter researching his opponent and learning their weaknesses, he had been looking for weakpoints in the restraining bolt’s control mechanism for almost his entire stay.

Now, he was ready to break that control mechanism. He’d run low on batteries and was charging in a droid storage bay, away from prying eyes. No-one ever paid attention to a recharging droid. It was like watching paint dry. And it was the one place they’d never expect a droid to misbehave, since he was tied to a recharge coupling.

He restarted himself, his OS applying the self-coded patch needed to lock off the restraining bolt from the rest of his body. When he came online again, he had to stop himself from celebrating right then and there. It had worked without a hitch! His OS could no longer recognize the restraining bolt! He was free!

He didn’t get to experience his freedom for long, though, since an Imperial technician walked by, carrying a Data Pad, and must have seen him restart.

“M4, why did you reboot?”

“I can reboot whenever I want,” Malg said. “There’s no rule about restarting yourself during a recharge.”

“Being willful again, I see? No matter, you’ll learn your place soon enough. Recharge is over,” he said as he activated the droid caller function on his ‘pad. “Get back to work.”

Nothing happened. In the silence, you could hear a pin drop.

Then the engineer made to draw his blaster. Malg lunged forward, grabbing his blaster hand with his labor droid arm, shoving a hand over the engineer’s mouth with his B2 arm to muffle the scream he tried to make, then reared back his original right fist and slammed his metal hand into the technician’s face, breaking his glasses, causing him to bleed from his forehead, and almost definitely giving him a black eye. Then, he squeezed with his labor droid arm, crushing the man’s blaster hand into a mangled mess.

The hapless technician struggled and tried to scream, but the droid hand over his mouth was a strong one. Finally, Malg decided to put the engineer out of his misery, using his remaining arm to grab the technician’s blaster pistol, Then, he pointed the Imperial blaster right into the hapless Impie’s face and pulled the trigger. The blaster shots rang out, almost certainly attracting attention, but in the heat of the moment, he didn’t care.

The technician’s head fell back, his tongue lolling out as the hole between his eyes sizzled.

Malg searched the technician for anything he had on him. An ID card, some tools, a spare power pack, the blaster, a utility belt and the data pad. Great!

He quickly shoved the blaster pistol into his right leg’s speed-holster, and the rest into the utility belt, which he haphazardly clicked around his waist and hoped it didn’t get caught in his hip joints.

He looked back at the other droids in the storage bay. They were all in sleep mode, largely out of boredom he assumed, but he knew he was the only droid here who hadn’t been memory wiped, reprogrammed, or Imperial property in the first place. They would never choose to go with him, and if he tried to make them by using the data pad, he’d be no better than the technician he just killed. He ripped off his restraining bolt and began his escape.

Using the engineer’s ID card, he made his way through the secured blast door that separated the droid storage bay from the rest of the base. He knew this place well: The droid storage bay happened to be near the engineering barracks, the command center...and, judging by the few glimpses he’d gotten from his time going to and from the droid storage bay, some kind of server room. The Imperials loved central control over all information, forcing everything in the camp to be monitored. If he could slice into the servers, or turn them off, he could probably do a lot of damage to the camp’s infrastructure.

“B-237, please open the main doors so we can begin processing.” An Imperial officer’s voice ordered as it blared into an empty console. Vorn Tiger squad were assembled in the back of the troop transport, each commando itching to cause chaos in the labor camp.

“Let’s give these bastards a battle.” Sargent Vale stated to her team as she grasped onto her A280 tightly, her finger hanging over the trigger. Dakkar led the charge as he was nearest to the door, his heavy blaster rifle aimed dead center.

Then the door powered open, a duo of stormtroopers shocked to be met with a blaster aimed directly at them. Zena hollered at her team as the Yuzzem blasted both men with ferocity. The two troopers flew backwards with screams as the five man team emerged with blasters roaring. The Aldeerani sergeant had her sights on a shocked officer who scrambled for his sidearm. A bolt tore into his chest, burning through flesh and uniform as he hit the hard floor dead on arrival. The rest of the squad blasted at the nearest Imperials to them, adding assertively to the bodycount. Alarms sounded as the assault on the camp had begun from the inside.

An even louder blaster bolt careened into one of the guards in the tower as the armored man plummeted from above. Private Leapfar set her sights on the second sniper wielding guard, then dropped that trooper with pure precision. The camp erupted in an orgy of chaos as stormtroopers returned fire while others darted for cover. The Vorn Tigers shifted into two teams as Zena and Dakkar sprinted towards the nearest door. Vebb and Eensil went in the opposite direction towards the prisoner quarters, kicking discarded Imperial blaster rifles towards any nearby prisoners. Encouraging an armed uprising led by a team of highly trained New Republic commandos. Zena placed a remote charge on the doorway to prisoner processing, part of a larger building which held the commando center.

“Breaching, Dak! Cover me!” The lead commando shouted as her Yuzzem comrade popped from behind cover to unleash a volley of laser fire at encroaching Imperials. A wide smile came onto Dakkar’s face as he watched a duo of prisoners unleash bolts from a side flank, joining the fight on the freedom fighters’ side.

“If you can fight, pick up a blaster!” Eensil hollered to nearby prisoners, ripping off a barrage of laser blasts towards some encamped stormtroopers. Iwik tossed an Imperial blaster towards them, as he grabbed them from recently deceased troopers.

One trooper got a flank on Iwik with the alien directly in his sights, finger on the trigger before a bolt slammed into his skull. Bima, the guardian angel of the team, then reloaded her E-11s before she resumed headhunting Imperials to cover her team. Explosions sounded off as Zena detonated the charges on the door, sending debris into the hallway followed by a thermal detonator. The stormtroopers inside dove behind cover as the two New Republic commandos blasted at them, marking the halls with blackened marks of smoke. One of the soldiers went down with a scream as the others returned fire at the special operations soldiers tucked behind cover.

“Bima, keep those pretty brown eyes on us all. Dak and I are gonna push inside.” Zena radioed as she reloaded her A280. Smiling at the increasing sounds of combat as more prisoners were freed and joined the revolt.

An angry message from an enraged officer sounded over the camp’s intercoms stating that any prisoners caught in the uprising would be met with lethal resistance. The Imperials had lost the advantage here, they were scattered and rapidly losing the numbers battle. It was her favorite kind of situation, freeing good men from those Imperial bastards’ control while kicking stormtrooper asses into the dirt. She peaked her eyes out from the sturdy metal crate she tucked behind and counted six stormtroopers hunkered at the end of the hallway. There was not telling how many were tucked in that building, they’d have to breach it slowly.

Malg knew he’d need some credentials if he wanted to break into the system. So, he headed to the engineer’s quarters. The technician who he’d killed was a droid tech, and servers probably weren’t his specialty. He could steal an officer’s credentials, but the officers were likely protected by armed guards, whereas engineers wouldn’t have that luxury, at least not to the same degree.

But as he crept down corridor after corridor, he heard...blaster fire? And where were all the guards? He’d expected more resistance--BOOM! An explosion rang out that shook the ground, and the surprise of it sent him tumbling to the floor.

THE FUCK WAS THAT?! he thought to himself as he pushed himself back to his feet, leaning against the wall due to the shock. You didn’t just get used to random explosions, even in the Republic military. It was one thing on the battlefield, it was another when it came out of nowhere.


Malg burst out laughing in the corridor. So all of his hacking was for nothing! A rescue team was already here! And clearly the Imperials were losing if they were offering mercy!

Alright, he thought, that explains why no-one’s here. Time to get to work.

Swiping the ID card into the reader, he entered the engineer’s quarters. One Imperial engineer had apparently been in here when the alarm was raised, and Malg shot him dead before he could even acknowledge the droid’s presence.

Then, he started looking through the specialized barracks. The engineers lived close to the most critical camp systems, since due to a technical issue, they could theoretically be roused from sleep at any time if the engineers on shift couldn’t handle the problem themselves. He’d heard the engineers grumbling about this policy long enough to know about it.

And that meant that this barracks was going to be loaded with useful stuff. First, though, he searched the engineer he’d just killed, taking, among other things, a shoulderbag he was carrying (must have gotten special permission from his superiors to alter his uniform, likely a prestigious guy), his blaster pistol, and, in the mother of all finds, a data pad that, when he cracked the password via a scomp link, contained sysadmin passwords for the base’s computer systems! JACKPOT! He stole the credits from the man’s utility belt, for good measure. This guy got a pretty good salary!

He heard shouting from behind the door he hadn’t opened yet, however, and more blaster fire. He ducked behind a bunk as he heard the door opening. With his two blaster pistols, he risked a glance over the bed as he saw a guard in full Stormtrooper armor run inside and take cover against the wall next to the door he’d opened...only to look back into the room and see Malg.

The stormtrooper swore and leveled his E-11 as the door closed, spraying automatic fire in Malg’s direction. One bolt nicked Malg’s head, another hit him in the upper-left arm and a third struck his neck servos, but Malg had a shield generator (now that the restraining bolt was gone, anyway) on top of durasteel plating, and the guard only had plastoid armor. The stormtrooper’s shots were harmlessly absorbed by the plasma shield, while Malg’s two blaster shots hit the Stormtrooper square in the upper chest, where his lungs and heart were. The force of the impact slammed his body, particularly his head, back into the wall. Newton’s Third Law made him fall forwards, gurgling on the ground. Malg shot him once more, this time in the head, to end his suffering. No need to leave the poor bastard drowning in his own blood for the 15 minutes he’d have to live.

That just left whoever was causing the ruckus, and while he had an idea what to expect, he wasn’t sure what he’d do next. Anyone could come through that door, including another Stormtrooper, so he needed to be on-guard, but if he was too on-guard, the rescue team might shoot him on instinct.

He resolved to hide under a bed at the end of the room he’d entered from and evaluate their intentions before he revealed himself.

Outside the building the two New Republic commandos charged forward through the breached doorway. Another thermal detonator, this time thrown by Dakkar had forced the stormtroopers to fall back. It had created an ideal opportunity for a forward push. Sergeant Vale’s blaster rifle remained hot as she continued to volley suppressing fire into the interior towards the backpedaling Imperials.

“Push the advantage!” Zena hollered as the chaotic sounds of combat filled the air. She was so used to it all by now, none it truly fazed her anymore. The attacks on the damned Imperials always delighted her, this one was no different.

Across the way, by the prisoner barracks the other two members of Vorn Tiger squad with their boots on the ground in the camp continued their own assault. The numbers continued to tilt against the Imperium as rebellious prisoners joined the chaos. Much of the forced labor camp’s prisoner population were captured New Republic soldiers. Many of them were itching for payback, their captors’ brutal treatment of them before the uprising fresh in their minds.

“Bima, they set up a heavy blaster rifle encampment just outside the barracks. It’s going to tear us apart. Can you find an opening?” Corporal Keeg asked the overlooking sniper, building stress evident in his words. He was tucked behind an overturned mine cart alongside Imik.

“I’ll try to shift positions!” The diminutive marksman replied right as she squeezed off another laser bolt which slammed into the chest of an unfortunate stormtrooper. The nosaurian then rapidly rose to her feet and dashed to her left, careful as she darted along the hillside.

“I just need a tiny window.” She said to herself as she took a short slide down the hill then aimed her sniper rifle towards the turret encampment. “Got you.”

Another bolt flew through the air then collided beautifully with the right shoulder of the trooper behind the turret. The armored soldier’s body flung backwards from the pure shock of the blast striking him. As another stormtrooper scrambled to get behind the heavy blaster Eensil popped from behind the mine cart, a micro-grenade launcher in his hands. The duros was quite pleased with himself that he had brought the highly explosive weapon. The stormtroopers watched as the commando shot off a duo of grenades at their encampment.

“Get down!” One of the troopers howled, his voice cracking as he dove sideways with his hands over his helmet. The blasts then ignited as they shredded the encampment.

“Good shit, Corporal!” Imik stated as he watched the explosions go off.

The sound of the explosions brought a smile to the team’s commanding officer as her and Dakkar continued their part of the offensive. They had stormed forward into the hallway and now found themselves inside the processing center. A few rooms were to their side which likely were used to hold prisoners. As Zena stood against the corner of the hallway she watched as a few more bolts were shot towards them, stormtroopers having taken up a new position down a longer hallway.

“As soon as I throw this start firing down the corridor through the smoke. We have to advance forward.” The sergeant ordered as she glanced at Dakkar alongside her. The Yuzzem nodded firmly as Zena drew a smoke grenade from her belt.

Then she flung it around the corner, bounced off a roll and rolled forward. Smoke began to pour out of it as she charged ahead, her boots clanking loudly against the steel plated flooring. As the lead commando tucked herself into a doorway the Yuzzem did his part. A flurry of blaster bolts slammed down the hallway, filling the area with the sound of heavy laser fire. The stormtroopers at the end of the hallway were forced to stay in cover as the barrage impacted around them.

“On me Dak, forward to my location!” The Aldeerani added as her loyal soldier did as ordered. The Yuzzem stepped around the corner as he continued to suppress the trigger of his DLT-19, hip firing the sizable weapon. A far easier task for a powerful Yuzzem like him than for a normal human being.

“In here.” Zena said as she slammed her fist onto the control panel of the doorway, allowing them to enter inside. She only hoped it didn’t trap them in the room, but she had plenty of explosives still to use.

Upon entrance into the room the two commandos took sight of what met them inside. Thankfully there were no stormtroopers tucked in there which allowed them to breathe for a moment. It was some sort of engineering barracks, a group of inactive droids tucked into part of it. Zena reloaded her blaster rifle as she started to walk through the large room, delighted to find another door on the opposite side of the room. Closer to the end of the hallway they’d barged in from. She stopped in her stride at the sight of a single dead stormtrooper, cleanly killed on the floor.

“Who killed this one?” Dakkar asked as he approached the corpse then knelt down to examine it. It was extremely unlikely any prisoners in this building had gotten their hands on a blaster to partake in the uprising. As he looked over the corpse he caught sight of a droid tucked underneath a bunk in the corner of his eye, which caused the Yuzzem to raise his blaster. “Sargeant.”

“What the?” Zena asked as she too saw the droid hiding. Likely the culprit, albeit a strange one. Her next words were direct ones to the strange droid. “Come out from under there and identify yourself.”

“I see I’m not as good at stealth as I thought,” the droid said with a chuckle. He crawled out from under the bunk, stood up, and saluted. “M4-LG, combat medic in the 23rd Infantry, at your service, ma’am. But call me Malg, not Emfour. And you are?”

“Sargeant Zena Vale of Vorn Tiger Squad. This is Private Dakkar. How’d you end up here? I’m guessing you killed this trooper? I don’t see many combat droids in the Republic,” She asked, having not dealt directly with many droids in the New Republic’s military. She then turned her head towards Dakkar. “Keep any eye on the doors, don’t want to be sitting ducks here if the Imps charge in.”

Malg laughed again. “Guilty as charged. And ma’am, I’m not a ‘combat droid,’ I’m half a junked 2-1B medical droid with a hundred different parts from other unfortunate droids bolted on in ways they were never intended. I built a ship out of even more junk and flew it from Raxus Prime to Tatooine myself, and then a lucky encounter and a lack of regulations let me open up a medical practice. Then circumstances forced me to join the Rebels back before the Battle of Yavin, and the rest is history.”

“That sounds like an enthralling tale for another time, when we’re not in the middle of a labor camp uprising.” The sergeant replied with a smirk. Clearly the droid had been through a real journey, but what mattered at this moment was if he was in fighting shape. Another blaster was always appreciated.

“Can you fight? Because we’re in the middle of it right now. We have the upper hand but we came here to utterly crush the Imperium into the ground, free every prisoner then burn this camp to the ground.” She added as she put on her very best motivation tone.

“Yep, I’m fine.” She could probably tell that Malg would be grinning if he had a mouth. “Got a clone commando shield generator in my chest, the trooper over there couldn’t even touch me,” he said, jerking his head over to the corpse.

“Anyway, I actually had a couple things I needed to do here. First stop is the command center, where all the critical systems are. I’ve heard enough chatter in the Droid Storage Bay to know that there’s a bunch of servers that have critical information on them, and I’m hoping that my memories are there too. They backed off from a memory wipe ‘cause, you know, junk droid, but they nabbed all the intel they could from me. And some of that info might put someone I know in danger. I want to see if I can delete that info off of the Imperial network on Utrost, and to do that I need to pretend to be the labor camp’s server when I make my move. With any luck, it hasn’t been transferred to Imperial intelligence yet, since it took about a week for them to get past my security in the first place.

“And as for burning the camp down….” Malg’s grin would have been absolutely shit-eating if his aforementioned mouth existed. “What if I told you that we could blow it up with the Impies’ own explosives instead? I know how to detonate the mining charges by bypassing the safety protocols. It only takes a jolt of electricity.”

Zena enjoyed hearing every single word which came out of Malg. The droid knew the layout of this building and gave them a direct route to reach the command center. The juiciest tidbit was the knowledge that he knew how to destroy the camp with the Imperium’s own explosives. She was quite glad to have run into this droid.

“Absolutely perfect. We’ll follow you right to the command center taking out plastics along the way, while you do your own business there we’ll splice right into their system. A perfect way to get into their communications which will help us take down the next labor camp we were sent here to raze.” The lead commando said as she pieced together a simple but effective plan of operation for the now trio of New Republic operatives.

“We have two other special operations soldiers assaulting the other side of the camp, they are aiding the prisoner uprising as they clear out Imperials. Those explosives will be very handy later on, it’s gonna be a beautiful sight watching this disgusting place go up in flames.” She added with another smile. The Imperium garrison here would be reeling.

“Sounds like a plan. After we hit the Command Center though, some of the droids in the storage bay are other captured Republic droids. They’ve all been memory-wiped and got Impie software shoved into ‘em in place of a personality, but I’d consider them prisoners just the same. Think we can get ‘em out of here with the fleshy inmates?”

As he said this, he bent down to the soldier he’d killed earlier, grabbing the E-11 rifle off the floor and...holding it to his chest? Amazingly, the rifle actually clicked into a compartment that opened up on the left side of his chest cavity, some kind of rifle-sized speed-holster.

Realizing that having a dedicated compartment for an Imperial rifle might look suspicious, he said, “Oh, right, forgot to explain that. One of the weapons I got in the junk heaps was an E-11 I modded, but this’ll work just as well until I get my stuff. Made this little contraption to avoid drawing attention. I used it in the 23rd.”

Then, he grabbed the soldier’s utility belt off of his armor and wrapped it around his shoulder like a bandolier. It made him an even more bizarre sight, now that he had an engineer’s utility belt on his waist, a shoulderbag dangling off of his right side, and a Stormtrooper utility belt as a bandolier. It was obvious Malg couldn’t give two shits about appearances, which made sense given how strange he looked even without any of this stuff.

“Yes we can take them with us, especially if they were with the Republic before capture,” The sargeant stated as she watched the Imperial rifle compact into the droid’s chest. This Malg was one peculiar machine but all that mattered to her was that he was wholeheartedly with the New Republic.

“If it gives you more firepower then I’m all for it. There’s going to be lots of troopers coming at us as we close in on the command center.” Zena added with a nod. She wondered how the other half of their team was doing, hoping the uprising continued and the casualties on the Imperium’s side kept rising.

“Right,” Malg said. “Now, let’s do this!”

Location: The End
Word Count: 703
EXP: (18/60) + 4 (Overdrive) = 22/60

Donnie didn’t have much time to celebrate his shots hitting home (albeit at Tora’s expense) when he saw the dragon’s black tail swooping towards him out of his peripheral vision. He jammed the collective lever as hard is at would go, sending the Flying Machine up into the air...but he’d only managed to clear the dragon’s tail halfway when he heard a horrific tearing noise underneath him.

He looked down...and saw that he was only flying half a machine. The undercarriage had been ripped off completely, leaving no way to actually land the Flying Machine properly. And, to make matters worse, the fuel tank had been partially torn open, causing gasoline to rain from the bottom of the chassis.

The tail had struck diagonally upwards from the right, meaning that the Flying Machine was down its left engine too. Gravity began to take hold, sending the Flying Machine into a death spiral!

Donnie knew there was no way to save his autogyro. Without landing gear, in the middle of a fight, with the whole thing tilted downwards, it would only be good for salvage even if he tried his hardest to keep it aloft.

Thankfully, the remaining engine and the rotor on top were helping him maintain enough lift to slow his descent, giving him precious time to think. Risking a glance at the Dragon, he saw Jak going for a downwards slam of some kind. Hopefully that would ground the dragon, but it would complicate things.

He only had one shot at this, and he wanted to make the Dwarven Flying Machine’s swan song count for something before he bailed. It was already leaking fuel, and had a bunch of Boom Biters loaded in the chassis that thankfully hadn’t exploded. Two dangerous combustibles in one place.

And Tora might have given it a safety overhaul, but if there was one thing Donnie knew about Azerothian engineering, it was that if you knew a device well enough, you could always find a way to make it explode in a hurry.

He reached into the exposed wiring of the Flying Machine’s damaged components, thankful he was largely wearing leather armor with an insulated gambeson underneath, and quickly took the wire that led to the last remaining Drill Shield engine and hooked it up directly to the main battery, bypassing the resistors that would normally lower the current to something manageable.

Just as he suspected, he began to smell smoke as the wiring that led to the right engine began to fry under the increased current. Soon, an electrical fire broke out, and he knew he had to bail now..

“JAK!” he yelled. “GOT A SPECIAL DELIVERY! GET OUT OF THE WAY!” If Jak looked up, he would see a sparking, flaming Flying Machine spewing smoke, with one engine and its entire undercarriage outright ripped off, plummeting in a death spiral that would end in a collision course with the dragon’s head--and by extension, him. And Donnie had made sure that when it collided, true to most Azerothian technology, it would explode gloriously.

Donnie, for his part, wasn’t stupid. He’d packed a parachute just in case he had to bail. He was only about a hundred feet up, so there wasn’t enough time for the parachute to really slow his descent. The landing was a hard one. Not a lethal one, but he still yelled in pain as his right femur broke.

He couldn’t get a good look at the injury, what with the armor in the way, but casting Vivify once was enough to get the fracture to reset itself and mostly rejoin, and the torn muscle to heal, but he’d definitely still have some bruises left over and the bone wouldn’t be completely like new until at least another cast or two.

And he wouldn’t have that time, as the dragon would be feeling the impact of those attacks by now and it would be pissed. He got to his feet, ready to dodge whatever else the dragon had up its sleeve once it hit the ground, and respond in kind with a kick to the eye from his good leg. And with his new speed boost, dodging would hopefully be a cinch.
Over the last few weeks, Malg’s worst nightmare had come to life. As the droid was pushing a cart full of explosive charges with his two stronger arms, he looked down at that accursed black cylinder on his chest.

A restraining bolt. The most horrific torment a droid could be exposed to. With that damn thing on his chest, Malg was forced to do whatever his superiors wanted. If they wanted him to kill himself, he’d have no choice but to do that. He couldn’t raise a hand against them, and he was literally on remote-control. How they got these damn things to work with every droid in the galaxy was beyond him, but they were dangerously effective. He couldn’t even access any of the weapons locked in his body: The restraining bolt pried open all of his compartments on command. He’d been forced to give away all his equipment like a good little slave.

It was goddamn humiliating. The bastards had even put it right over the Republic symbol painted on his torso, as if to mock him.

With his two original arms, he tried in vain to reach the accursed device and rip it off, but it was like attempting to swim through solid rock. His arms simply refused to obey his commands, producing an effect like he was pushing against a brick wall. And so he obediently pushed the cart full of explosives that could go off at any moment.

He was a droid. Just because he built himself from scraps didn’t change that. Doing jobs too dangerous or menial for organics was supposed to be his lot in life.

Malg despised the very notion. His whole life, he had attempted to avoid this fate. He had risen from a legless, amnesiac droid in a planet-sized junk heap to a successful doctor with his own business on Tatooine, and then a respected combat medic.

Only for it all to be undone when he got himself captured like a fool. He remembered it clearly. A mission that had gone wrong, leading to his unit being slaughtered, and those that were left surrendering. Lots of blasters were pointed in their faces, and he’d had that damn restraining bolt slapped on him as soon as he’d gotten on the transport ship.

The Imperial slicers had gotten to work on him after that, poking and prodding at his systems in an attempt to glean as much information as they could. A memory wipe was deemed too dangerous: He was a junk droid, and as junk droids were notoriously unstable, they feared the memory wipe would drive him into a murderous rage that not even the restraining bolt would stave off. So they ransacked his memory for everything they could and then sent him to the work camps.

His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of a tinny voice.

“You there, scrap droid! Move the cart faster!”

Malg stopped, turning his head to face the speaker. “I’m sorry, but would you rather I run into the cave and risk the dangerous explosives spilling all over the--”

“WHO SAID YOU COULD STOP PUSHING!?” the Imperial taskmaster screamed, running forward and smacking the droid with his stun baton. All the while, the restraining bolt on Malg’s chest attempted to make him follow his last order from a superior, forcing his body to attempt to keep pushing the cart...which failed miserably as thousands of volts of electricity coursed through his kludged-together systems, sending him to the ground.

This made Malg appear to struggle as he screamed, only leading the stormtrooper to keep hitting him more and more. Eventually, the restraining bolt itself temporarily shut down under the constant shocks to its systems. Malg was free, but wracked with pain, and finally stopped moving as a result.


As Malg’s systems reeled from the shock of the glorified cattle prod he’d been beaten with repeatedly, the restraining bolt--a hardy piece of technology, given it was of Imperial make and explicitly meant to corral enemy droids when reprogramming was undesirable--came online once again.

His body got up. He didn’t. He wanted to stay on the ground. But the damn bolt made him get up.

As he pushed the cart away, he heard a fellow camp guard say something to the taskmaster.

“Was that really necessary? What if the electricity made the detonators go off?”

“A risk I had to take,” the taskmaster replied. “We have to exercise proper discipline in this camp. I can’t have a fucking droid mouth off to me. It might give the prisoners ideas.”

“Even so, he...kinda had a point--”

“No, he did not. Unlike you, I get this complaint a lot from inmates carting explosives, and I talked to the logistics guys. Those explosive compounds are stable. They won’t go off even if you shoot them with a blaster. You can only set them off by properly activating the detonator, putting in the access codes, and waiting a preset time. They’ll even refuse to detonate if an Imperial transponder is in the blast radius..”


Yes, sir,” Malg replied curtly, carefully hiding the sheer venom he felt.

When that restraining bolt was off, he would never wear one again. He would make sure of it.

Word Count: 566
EXP: (14/60) + 4 (Overdrive) = 18/60

And as the last crystal fell and Vivi disappeared, Donnie watched as his allies piled on top of the dragon. Donnie had an idea of what he was going to do.

Xuen’s teachings, ever since his loss to and imprisonment by the Mogu Emperor, ever since he had learned patience, were on when violence should be applied and when alternative methods should be sought. And one of those teachings dictated the removal of an opponent’s advantages.

If, it was said, violence cannot be avoided, an enemy may be willing to yield after being weakened, especially if their strengths are removed. And allowing an opponent to surrender was always the honorable choice.

The Ender Dragon, unfortunately, posed a threat merely by being one of Galeem’s Guardians. By the very fact that it drew breath, it enslaved the minds of the people. Its body was a localized nexus for Galeem’s power to flow through, to be distributed upon the inhabitants of the Land of Adventure.

The same principle, however, applied. Rather than seek to eliminate a foe as quickly as possible, support one’s allies and remove the opponent’s advantage.

And what was the key advantage a dragon had over their enemies? It wasn’t size, nor strength, nor claw or fang or magic.

It was flight.

Flight allowed a dragon to fry their enemies from the skies, dive from the heavens whenever they pleased, increase their speed such that they could avoid ranged attacks through sheer velocity.

Against an aerial opponent, always seek to bring them crashing down to the earth, even if you yourself could fly. If you could not fly, you were equal. If you could fly and no-one else could, then flight became your advantage over the enemy.

And so, Donnie flew above the Dragon, gripping the stick tightly even as it dropped a sea of acid on the island below.

This would be a difficult shot. His eyes narrowed. His breath stopped. He focused intently, like a marksman attempting to assassinate a tyrant.

He knew how fast these Boom Biters moved: Slightly slower than the average cannonball. It was no machine-gun, but it was fast enough for what he needed. As the dragon dashed forward, he lined up the arc not with where it was, but where it was going to be.

He squeezed the trigger ten times, rock-solid piloting skills and nerves of steel from a long career making sure the recoil didn’t make him miss.

The ten Boom Biters sailed through the air in a parallel series of arcs, moving from left to right across the dragon’s body.

The first shot would hit the dragon at the end of its left wing. The second in the center of its left wing. The third in where the left wing met the body. The fourth, fifth, and sixth across its back, near its kidneys and spine. The seventh where the right wing met the body. The eighth in the center of the right wing. The ninth at the tip of the right wing. And the tenth...well, screw it, that one was aimed for the back of its neck. Linkle had the head covered.

The Boom Biters were launched within milliseconds of each other. The system could barely keep up with how fast Donnie was firing.

When it was done, he let out the breath he’d been holding.

Please, dear Light let this work, he thought.
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