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bright_ephemera
06.20.2012 , 04:28 AM | #83
44. In which Nalenne kills time (and wampas) on Hoth

Hoth rejects science’s tools
And suspends ecological rules.
The fauna all eat
Exclusively meat
And declare all biologists fools.



Hoth. The Empire technically didn’t need Nalenne out this way, since the whole Hoth operation was supposed to be a matter of dribbling out a few resources to keep a lot of the Republic’s resources tied up.

But sometimes you just want a hot sweaty melee in the snow.

Through some argument process Nalenne could not divine, Pierce won and Vette lost such that Vette had to come down to the surface. Broonmark, of course, volunteered, as did Quinn. Jaesa was still mad at Nalenne and had holed up in her quarters with comic books. No matter; Nalenne just wanted to go kill some stuff.

She swept into Dorn Base with her entourage and was greeted by Captain Yudrass himself. The Chiss had dropped whatever his actual work was to scramble a welcoming party for the Wrath.

He bowed deeply in greeting. “My lord. It is an honor. Is there any way we can assist the Wrath?”

“Yeah. I’m looking for stuff to kill. High challenge, high population density if you can manage it.”

“…‘Stuff.’”

“Yeah. Whatever you’ve got. I’m just looking for a good scrap.”

Yudrass looked over at a fellow officer, then looked back to Nalenne. “Yes, my lord. Our strategic operations are currently in a tight balance; we have the Republic where we want them. A larger offensive would convince them to withdraw; a major loss would badly drain our resources.”

“Is there a fight somewhere in this line of thought?”

One of Yudrass’s entourage stepped up and whispered something. “Yes, Wrath,” said the Chiss. “There is a former White Maw cave some ways to the north that has been overrun by a very large number of small wampas. Whether it is a new breed or simply some strange pack of young ones, we cannot tell. But removing the infestation would be a great help.”

“Awesome. Carry on.” She ignored the baffled look on his face as she proceeded to the lift.

The party mounted their speeders – 2V-R8 had finally gotten the mechanical customizations to handle a speeder with some degree of finesse – and headed out to work.

Broonmark hesitated at the entrance of the cave. He waved a hand around and drew it toward his proboscis. “We smell many wampas,” he said.

“Double the wampas, double the fun,” said Nalenne.

“And hundred times the wampas, Sith clan?”

“A hundred times the fun.”

“I’m not sure I like that reasoning,” said Vette.

“Sissy. C’mon.”

The cave was busy, and Nalenne liked that. She carved on ahead with Broonmark while Vette held back placing blaster fire and Quinn moved around, scouting weaknesses to call and harassing the more dangerous beasts.

In time the cave opened into a large chamber that had signs of previous human habitation – some metal structure supporting the ice walls and ceiling, a few crates on the ground. And quite a few representatives of the beings that had driven the humans out. Nalenne sang a battlecry and jumped right in.

The little wampas were fast and vicious. It was fun. Nalenne wondered whether they were younglings. Not that it mattered either way; they died like any other enemy.

Three of them broke from the frenzy and started galloping toward Quinn. The sight yanked at her stomach a bit. “No!” she shouted, and instinctively vaulted away from her current engagement to take down the middle one. The other two wampas brought themselves up short and spun to face her. “Look at me, you overgrown rodents!”

“My lord,” yelled Vette. “Mad at him. Remember?”

Nalenne parried one wampa’s swing and coughed. “Right. I mean, yes, carry on, overgrown rodents!”

“My lord,” yelled Quinn indignantly.

“Oh, like you need the help.”

The beasts were savage and not a one was smart enough to die on the first four or five should-have-been-fatal wounds, but eventually Nalenne ran out of targets. The smell of blood and saber-scorched fur was heavy in the confines of the cave. It was good.

She cast off her outer coat and flopped down on the hard-packed floor. Cold, beautifully cold. Probably deadly with a few hours’ exposure, but for now the ice was the finest feeling imaginable against her feverish skin.

She opened her eyes to see Vette leaning over her. “You’re kind of weird, you know that?” said the Twi’lek.

“Bah. I bet Broonmark likes ice-lounging. He understands me.”

The Talz shuffled to her side and looked down at her. “No, Sith clan is weird,” he blorped.
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