Star Wars: Division

Chapter 12

As Concordia's sun slipped from its perch high in the clear sky, it glowed red behind the canyon. It wasn't dark quite yet but the valley was now swallowed in the shade of the canyon's shadow. Now would have been the ideal time for Walon to sneak across the valley but in the off chance of a random speeder coming through during the six hours between his decision to infiltrate the compound and now, he would be ready.

It was nerve wracking, just hunkering down out in the open up against the wall just mere yards from the gate clearly in range and sight of the turbo lasers. But Walon wasn't as exposed as he felt. Equipped on his belt was a stealth field generator. He was effectively invisible to the naked eye and as long as he stayed perfectly still, no sensors would detect him. The equipment was far from perfect, any movement faster than a slow walk would distort the stealth field and expose him. It had made the slow creeping across the valley floor to the outer wall slow and arduous.

Though he couldn't rush to his post, he also didn't have forever to get there. Walon had keyed a remote jammer on the compounds sensor relays to mask his movement, leaving him roughly a forty-five minute window, assuming a technician inside the compound didn't realize the sensors were jammed. Walon managed to make it within his window, if only by mere seconds.

He glanced over at the chronometer on his HUD, quietly groaning as the sixth hour turned but not all seemed so bleak. Along with the coming of the 18th hour came the second routine arrival of another mysterious speeder. His waiting would paid off the minute he would spot headlights. Walon watched the time go by and with each passing minute, he felt his nerves building. For the past three days this eighteenth hour speeder was never late. Could he have something to do with it? Had he somehow been detected? Where did he slip up? The questions wreaked havoc in him mind, and suddenly he felt very hot inside his helmet. No he couldn't have slipped, it was just pre mission jitters. It was normal for any young soldier like him but Walon was special. He wasn't like most young Mandalorians. He was calm with a chilled persona that made him far matured past his age of twenty-six. It was one of the main reasons Naja Lovac ever recruited him to the Prudii Kad. He knew how to blend in and keep calm when the time called for it.

Walon breathed deeply, summoning his inner calm to freeze the blood coursing uncontrollably through his veins. Dusk was begging to set in, with the suns light merely now becoming a red mist in the cooling air. Then the lights appeared. Four beams of light shone before the nose of the speeder. As slow as he could manage, Walon shifted his stance, getting off of his stomach and crouching low, ready to pounce. He'd only have one shot at this and even then, he would be perfectly visible for more than a second. The speeder was larger than the first with four passengers already on board. The rear of the craft was wider and Walon could spot a foot of clearance from the edge to the tarp covered cargo in the back. His moment finally came. The speeder reached the gate, slowing to a complete stop. Walon made his move, not waiting to hear the mechanics of the gate sliding open. He moved carefully on stiff legs un cooperative legs. He cursed under his breath from the annoying tingle that pricked at his legs from laying still for all those hours. The gate was nearly open by the time he reached the rear of the craft. Carefully, Walon clambered onto the back. He knew the sudden movements distorted his stealth field but it didn't matter. The cargo in the back served as perfect cover from the Mandalorians on board the speeder. With only few seconds to settle in place, the speeder moved again, this time at a far slower rate. Walon hugged tightly to the cargo as the speeder passed through the gate and into the inside of the compound. A building was situated close to the inside of the wall only mere yards from the gate. Walon dove off the side of the speeder, crashing into a roll directly behind the small structure. Walon skid to a halt then jumped to his feet. There was no use in creeping about slowly under his stealth field generator any longer. If anyone happened to see him while he dove from the speeder, it'd be better to blend in quickly amongst whatever crowd he could hide in. He powered down the stealth field generator on his belt and quickly moved behind the shed like structure and its neighboring building. Now further into the compound, Walon emerged from the shadows into the midst of surrounding people.

The compound was like a small town with market tents established in high traffic areas. The citizens seemed like any normal townspeople. Some wore selective plates of Mandalorian armor, all painted in dark hues of grey and black. Walon smirked behind his helmet, at least he in his pure black armor would fit in just fine amongst crowds. Many of the clan had dark hair and olive skin, no doubt from living under Concordia's harsh sun.

Walon posted casually against the wall of a building overlooking the market. Utilizing both his sharp eyes and the range finder on his helmet, he scanned the crowds around him. As he searched about, he frowned. Every face around him was either young and oblivious or old and extremely tired with age, and none of them were men. Some of the elders were male, but well beyond the years of a soldier, even for a Mandalorian. Women and children all walked about as if nothing was out of the ordinary, as if the prospect of war never came to mind. He searched about for any sign of gathering soldiers or caches of weapons but not a single sign of either was in sight.

"Odd," Walon muttered. It was all very troubling to him. Clan Viszla was known for its sheer number of soldiers and allied mercenaries, yet not a single one could be found. Walon moved through the compound thinking he'd come across one at any moment. But none were there to be found. However he did know of at least one within the compound and still had to know for sure; was Tor Viszla somewhere inside the walls?

During his observations from his post in the cave, Walon had identified possible high value locations, if Tor Viszla was in the compound, he'd be in one of those locations. A large two story structure in the heart of the compound had seemed undisturbed by a grand majority of the clan. A large banner was draped across its doorway sporting the image of jagged talon. If Walon had to guess, it was where Tor called home. He made his way to the edge of the market place until the building was in sight. It was the only building with more than one level. Its second landing was a balcony that observed the entire compound, the perch of a king looking down on his subjects. Walon studied it from a distance, there were no guards, nor any sign of life about the building. It seemed abandoned, members of Clan Viszla passed by as if no one even knew it was there.

More and more, it seemed unlikely that even Tor Viszla was inside but Walon had other possibilities. Off to the east along the wall of the compound was what Walon deduced to be an armory. He remained as discrete as possible, sticking to the dwindling numbers of roaming citizens. With the sun retreating further and further behind the hills with every minute, he knew he couldn't remain anonymous within the walls much longer. He spotted the armory from a distance and casually made his way in its direction. Then he heard voices. A window to what seemed like someone's home was wide open. Even without his surveillance system installed in his armor's computer, he could make out the conversation through the stillness of the compound.

"But where are you going?" demanded a woman. Her voice wasn't stern but laden with grief.

"I can't tell you, you know that," replied a man impatiently. "I'm only back for the last of the cache. Thought I at least owed you a goodbye."

"Is that supposed to make me feel better?" she spat with spite.

"Just be honored that I am doing the Chieftan's noble work," the man said. Walon's eyes narrowed with focus. This was what he came for.

"So the rumor's aren't true, Tor isn't gone?" he woman asked.

"Not after tonight," the man replied. From inside, footsteps carried away from the window.

"Pert, wait!" called the woman. "So that's it, you're leaving?"

"Ship's leaving, nothing else to say." The door to the home slid open off to Walon's right. Grumbling a curse under his breath, he quickly engaged his stealth field generator and crouched low a mere two yards from the open door. Light poured out from the house but was suddenly blotted out by a lean figure in dark Mandalorian armor. Long, greasy, black hair hung below his shoulders. In one hand was a blaster rifle and in the other, his helmet. As he passed by Walon, the sly Mandalorian studied his profile. The high forehead and hooked nose was a dead giveaway, he was Walon's mark, but definitely not Tor Viszla.

As Pert Jerok continued down the lane, Walon followed him, creeping slowly enough to remain invisible. Jerok was boarding a ship o somewhere and the Prudii Kad operator was going to find out where. Pert obliviously led Walon to the rear of the compound.

From his days of observation, Walon had taken interest in the landing pad. He spent many hours watching the small pad where a Starfighter sat dormant. No one went in or out and for all three days, it never moved. Instead, the speeder Walon had rode in on waited with three dark armored Mandalorians already boarded. The men said little to each other as Pert Jerok joined them in the passenger's seat. Strapped down in the rear covered by a tan tarp was another large pile of cargo, no doubt the cache Pert had let slip of. Walon moved as quickly as possible to not disrupt his stealth field generator. As the engines whined to life, he clambered in the back. This ride was going to be longer than the first but he had to know where this cache and Pert Jerok were going. As the speeder left the compound, it picked up in speed, soaring above the valley of the canyon. Walon clenched onto the back, struggling to remain on board from the force of acceleration. The ride was far from smooth as the repulsor engines bounced the speeder about with the various bumps of the terrain. Once or twice, Walon attempted to peek under the tarp but nearly lost his grip of the speeder each time. For what felt like ten minutes, Walon struggled to remain on board. The speeder shot like a blaster bolt into the mouth of a canyon and slithered along its curves like a serpent. Finally the speeder slowed down as the canyon suddenly widened into a bowl. The speeder came to a halt and voices became audible over the engines.

"About time, time to go" bellowed another dark Mandalorian as he ran down the entry ramp of a freighter. Walon slowly slipped off the back of the freighter and crept away from the lights of the awaiting ship. He knelt by a formation of rock and watched as the six members of Clan Viszla all tore away the tarp and loaded large crates one at a time up the ramp. Using his helmet's HUD Walon zoomed in his view for a closer look at the labels coded onto the grey, metal crates. He couldn't read the codes there, he'd have to access a computer with decryption software. Walon activated his visual feed recorder as he watched each crate get carried into the freighter. Finally they were down to the last crate. Five of the Mandalorians boarded the freighter then the ramp closed. The sixth stood on the cargo bed of the speeder as he watched the freighter lift off the ground, climb above the canyon walls then shoot off into the night sky. Walon stood from his position, deactivated his stealth field generator and drew his Westar 20 from its holster. The remaining member of Clan Viszla approached the pilot's seat of the speeder but never made it to the seat. Walon aimed carefully then fired. Wailing in pain and surprise, the Mandalorian toppled over the side of the speeder and crashed onto the ground.

Groaning, the Mandalorian grasped his shot leg and looked up at Walon, standing like a ghostly silhouette in the moonlight with his blaster still smoking. The Mandalorian growled as he quickly clawed at his own blaster pistol in its holster. Walon took no time at all aiming then firing another shot. The red bolt struck the man in the arm, burning straight through his grey flight suit. Dissuaded, he dropped flat on his back, moaning in pain.

"You'll pay for that!" he growled through his screams of pain.

"You'll pay far more if you don't tell me what I want to know," Walon said with a sharp tone. The man's groans contorted into labored cackles.

"You're wasting your time, you'll get nothing from me." Walon knelt down close to the wounded man, his Mandalorin 'T' inches away from the other's as he grabbed and pulled him up by the collar of his flak vest.

"I've got all the time in the world, now let me show you what I'm going to do with it."


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