The rain was like a torrent now, pouring down in sheets from the shingle rooftops three and four stories above. What little glow the evening sun offered the countryside around Keldabe wasn't visible here. Only the marginal glow of the city's lights reflecting off the clouds above remained. Near total darkness dominated the back alleys.
The squad size group approached two by two, shoulder-to-shoulder through the narrow passageway. Their armored boots treading as lightly as possible against the dirty cobblestone. Weapons shouldered, the group came to a stop as the passageway opened. Their sergeant silently motioned for the group to take a knee as he scanned the area. The way opened into what was once possibly a place for pedestrians to rest and the tenants of the looming apartments to sit and talk. Now the widened intersection to the entrances of several alleys branching off in this place had degenerated into a spot for the locals to dump their trash and escape pursuers with the maze of escapes offered. Piles of junk and bags of garbage littered the scene. The sergeant checked the scanner strapped to his wrist again: one obvious blip remained stationary just inside a covered alley to their right. The other had vanished from his sensors soon after the marks had turned from their course toward the star port. Turning to the mercs behind him he signaled with his hand one target ahead. Beginning with three, he made a quick countdown.
In an instant burst, the nine mercenaries rushed from their position. As each left the alleyway they moved abreast to the left of their sergeant creating a firing line and rushed forward towards the target. Before even half of them had reached his position Valok Haal leaned forward and fired his .48 calibre pistol. One merc, a Devaronian, was lifted from his feet by the massive slug that ripped through his chest. The bullet proceeded to nearly tear the arm off the human that was passing behind him. The mercenary's scream of horror echoed off the stone walls as he lay trapped under his dead comrade's body's and stared at his quivering fingers.
Before the bodies of their teammates even hit the dirt the other seven members of the mercenary crew had darted to cover and all opened fire. The hail of their bolts sent Valok ducking back under cover.
Quickly and methodically, two mercenaries at a time would move forward from one cover position to the next as the others rained fire into the edge of the stonework building Haal hid behind. Valok leaned out and fired a couple of shots but couldn't get a clean aim. Slowed by the blind fire coming from the alley the mercenaries hunkered down behind whatever they could find. The Sgt. unclipped a grenade from his combat vest and yelled from behind the crushed remains of some now unidentifiable kitchen appliance he'd found. "We're not here for you Mando! Tell Us Which Way Drakus went and we'll let you live!"
Haal's answer was quick, twisting around the corner and squeezing a shot into the combat helmet of the nearest Merc, dropping the Aqualish with a thud.
The mercs all instantly return fire. The sergeant cursed to himself and activated the grenade in his hand.
Behind them, under a pile discarded trash that they passed, Ralin kicked off the bags of garbage that concealed him. The sensor cloak being generated from his wrist gauntlet masked him from the mercenaries personal scanners. Both heavy plasters drawn, Ralin instantly targeted the mercenary sergeant. A blaster bolt into the back of the man's head sent the live grenade rolling by the feet of his comrades. One of the mercenaries, a Trandoshan, spotted it and tried to flee. Ralin fired both blasters into the aliens chest. The grenade detonated next to the other two mercenaries who had been next to their leader before they even had a chance to face the new attacker. The last two mercenaries, peppered by debris and knocked from their positions darted for the nearest exit. Ralin cut one down as Valok moved in and shot the other. Both were dead before they hit the cobblestone.
Valok's eyes were wide, adrenalin pulsing through his body. " Damn..." he whispered to himself and he took in the carnage of the scene. His fist was locked around the grip of his pistol, knuckles white and drained of blood. His eyes were fixed on the half hollowed out skull of the Aqualish merc he'd shot.
He shuddered back to reality has Ralin's gloved hand gripped the shirt around his shoulder. "Wake up." Valok stared into bleak T-visor of Ralin's helmet for a moment before taking a deep breath and refocusing. "I'm alright." Ralin patted the younger man's shoulder stiffly. "You did good kid. Search him" he pointed to the charred remains of the mercenary leader. Valok shuddered slightly, the man's body had been blown against the far wall by his own grenade. It was hard to tell where his scorched flesh began and burnt clothing and armor ended. Gritting his teeth, Valok went about the grim business.
A single blaster bolt to the temple of the Trandoshan who was barely breathing ended his suffering. Then Ralin walked over to the young human who is still pinned under the body of the Devaronian. The youth was straining to reach the blaster carbine he'd dropped, the blood from his disfigured arm and dead partner awash in the rainwater that pooled around them. Ralin lowered himself down onto his heels. "Who sent you?"
The youth continue to grope for his weapon, his bleeding fingers clawing into the rough stone. Ralin holstered his blaster and then slowly slid the youth's weapon even further from reach. "I'll ask again boy, who sent you to kill me?"
The rain made it invisible, but the red in the boy's eyes betrayed his tears of pain and fear. "It was just a contract, we flew in to do a job that's all I know - that's all any of us knew!"
"Who was the contracting agent. The middle man."
"I don't know. I swear I don't know!"
Ralin nodded his head. "I believe you." In a swift motion Ralin's wrist mounted fighting blades sprang to extension and pierced the mercenary's heart. With a twist, the young man bled out in seconds. Retracting the blades, Ralin stood and walked over to Valok. "Find anything?"
"Well they sure as hell aren't from Mandalore. Think this one is Corellion." He handed over a identity chip and charred datapad.
Ralin examined the chip for a moment. "The rest of the galaxy hires us to come from off world to do their dirty work, makes sense hire unaffiliated mercs to do your killing for you here."
"You think Mandalorians want you dead?"
"Only thing that makes sense. There are bloody days coming to Mandalore; politics brings the worst out of all beings. Some smell power like blood on the air, and they'll always find those willing to follow their banner. Let's search the rest..."
Before Ralin could finish lights flashed down from above; an armored speeder hovered over them, the colors of the Mandalorian Protectors painted across its hull. Troopers from the Mandalorian militia police appeared from the alleys and leveled their weapons. "Make no sudden movements" boomed a voice over a megaphone from the speeder above.
"Relax" said Ralin to Valok. "Maybe Fenn can give us some answers about this.
*Let me know if I need to edit anything. My aim is to be taken to Fenn Shysa who will question me about the dead mercs and try to recruit me to his bid to become Mandalore. Anyone who wants to be a Mandalorian Protector this would be a great in for you, you can help me and Rev investigate who these assassins are and why they wanted me dead*