"So, this is the Tuatha de Danaan." Drake commented, looking across the small submarine bridge. "Seems fairly secure."
He pulled a black metal helmet over his head, the T-shaped glass visor glowing slightly red, as the HUD adjusted to the light, uplinking with the Danaan's computer systems, giving him a constant feed of any part of the ship.
Teletha frowned, looking away.
"Well... we had a small... incident about a while back." she began, "One man and two traitors managed to take over our sub and nearly caused an international incident."
"Don't worry. You've got a Mandalorian on your side. Even if a similar man shows up, he'll have to kill me first. And I don't die easily." he smirked, as he adjusted his tactical shotgun, a bizarre weapon he had insisted upon. His voice crackled, distorted slightly by the helm's vocabulator.
"Is that why you picked the shotgun, Ensign? Instead of a standard pistol?"
The Mandalorian nodded.
"Considering the close quarters, and the way these old slugthrowers work, a shotgun's spread would be effective at close range. Plus, being able to use it as a club when I run out of ammunition makes it a perfect choice, though my vibroknuckler is my preferred weapon in melee."
Teletha nodded, before resuming her position.
"Our next mission is on one of the outlying islands. We received a tipoff about a terrorist organization trying to get ahold of of a chemical processing facility. They plan to control the nerve gas disposed there as a weapon."
Drake nodded, his helmet displaying the tactical information for him, having been calibrated to operate with their system.
"Seems like a standard fight. Captain, I request that I join your troopers on this mission."
"Denied, ensign. Your duty is security detail, not battling our opponents."
Drake frowned, shouldering his shotgun.
"As you wish."
The Mandalorian frowned, as he noticed something.
"May I ask something, captain?"
"Nerve gas like this is fairly easy to produce. Why would a bunch of pirates go through the effort to grab something as easily manufactured as this? To be quite honest, it seems almost like a trap..."
The captain shrugged.
"That's what I suspect as well. That's why we're sending in our Special Response Team. They'll spring the trap, and we can see exactly why these terrorists picked the target."
Drake watched silently as several of the Arm Slaves fought: the more advanced M9s against the RK-92s used by mercenaries. At least, that was what the data given to him by the sub's computer indicated.
"I wonder why they haven't tried scavenging some of your Arm Slaves. Assuming that I'm looking at the right schematics of this... Savage Arm Slave, your Gernsback is far more advanced. Tech this advanced usually winds up on the black market."
The commander turned, taking over the role of explainer for the captain.
"We have countermeasures to ensure such events don't happen, Ensign Belmont. Whenever an M9 is damaged beyond repair, we bombard it and destroy the components."
Drake nodded, opening the action on his shotgun, checking the barrel.
"Even with those kinds of checks, there's always a chance for something to wind up intact. Even Mandalorian equipment surfaces on the black market every now and then. And we take our stuff to the grave."
The commander coughed, as the Mandalorian's helm scanned him.
Commander Richard Mardukas, second-in-command of the Tuatha De Danaan. Further information downloading into datapad.
"Regardless, engisn. We take every precaution necessary. Hence why you're kept under watch."
"Hmm... still don't trust me. Commendable." Drake stated, turning back to the unfolding battle.
"Is everything alright, Ensign Belmont? Were you able to uplink your computer to DANA?" the captain asked, as the Mandalorian nodded silently.
"It's... sufficient for the time. I will need greater access later to perform my job better, but I can perform my primary task as outlined by my contract just as well with the current authorization."
"Contract? Is that all that's keeping him in check? Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to bring him... He could betray us to Amalgam."
"This is Urzu-1! We are engaging the enemy and- what the?" The comm crackled, as the still image of a black Arm Slave appeared next to the comm, before changing to the live feed, showing a strange blue Arm Slave.
Data insufficient. Unable to identify unknown Arm Slave.
"A Venom..." Tessa muttered, as an explosion rang on the ship.
In shock, she turned to the damage report, showing the starboard side had been breached by an unknown force.
"A boarding party on the capital ship while the forces are tied up elsewhere... impressive." Drake commented, pumping the first round of ammunition into his shotgun.
"Clearly this isn't just some smuggling ring or group of thugs. This might actually be a decent fight."
Another explosion rocked the ship, as Drake crouched by the bulkhead.
"Captain, this group will likely make their way to either the Arm Slave hangar, or the command center. It's likely a hijacking, since their boarding pods are closer to the bridge than the hangar."
Tessa nodded, taking a deep breath.
"What's your decision, Security specialist?"
"Have your men offer typical resistance, but have them minimize casualties to themselves. I'll deal with the ones that try to get to the bridge."
Mardukas glared skeptically at the ensign.
"Is this considered security in your country?"
"Never been a security guard before."
The commander turned to the captain, who sighed.
"I have no strategy for this. They managed to get past our ECS. They knew we'd be here." Tessa said. "We just have to trust Belmont. I hope these Mandalorians are as tough as he says."
"Oh, we are... and then some." He said, before opening the hatch.
"Activate infrared sensors. Prepare for low light mode." He said, before closing the hatch behind them.
"Opening comm for constant contact with bridge. If anything goes wrong, you'll know immediately."
Mardukas' frown deepened, as Tessa opened up a security camera in the hallway.
"What's he got planned? Even if he has Black Technology in that ridiculous armor, there's no way he can stand against two platoons. Not even Sergeant Sagara is that skilled." he commented, as the captain tilted her head, a strange melody filling the speakers.
"Taung!" Drake began, his voice barely an audible whisper, firing a shot into an approaching soldier.
"Sa... rang... Broka." he continued singing, each word increasing in volume and intensity, timing the shots to the beat of the strange war song.
"Mando'ade ka'rta." Suddenly, he began beating the butt of the shotgun against his armor, as a makeshift drum.
"What kind of song is this, commander?" Tessa asked, feeling strangely incensed by the tune.
"It appears to be some kind of war song. The tune seems to be invigorating." the commander's foot began to tap to the beat of the soldier's singing.
Tessa continued to watch as the man continued fighting, his movements in tune to the beat.
"Dha Werda Verda a'den tratu," Drake practically shouted, firing several more shots, keeping perfect time with the tune.
Tessa concealed a smile.
"It's almost like he's... dancing." she giggled, as Mardukas nodded, adjusting his glasses.
"It would appear he is. Truly unorthodox."
"Manda'yiam kandosii adu!" the song continued, as he dropped the shotgun, depleted of ammo, and fired from a pair of glock pistols, still in tune with the song.
"This song... is it helping him?" Tessa wondered aloud, as the last few soldiers fell, the song coming to an abrupt end as the last man hit the ground.
Drake breathed heavily, as if he was worn from the fight, disengaging the hatch, and stepping in.
"Well... that was a little more fun than I expected. May the souls of those brave soldiers find peace in Manda. May their families remember them. I know I will. They still put up a good fight."
He tromped in, before removing his helmet, revealing his sweat-stained face. He sighed, breathing in the cool air of the bridge.
"I apologize for taking so long. I'm used to a blaster, not this slugthrower. I also ran out of ammo, so I had to depend on the backup pistols for a time."
Tessa tilted her head.
"What was that song you were singing? It seemed to be some kind of war song."
Drake frowned, leaning against the control panel.
"Well, it's an old Mandalorian War song. In Basic, it translates to 'Rage of the Shadow Warriors'. Where I come from, it's often used as a war chant to build up our spirit. If you want, maybe I can do a report on the translated version. But, well... Mando'a has some translation problems. For example, Kandosii can mean ruthless and brutal, as well as indomitable and noble."
Tessa nodded, closing her eyes.
"So those words... they were... Mando'a."
"That's right. If you want, I could teach you some. It's easy to pick up. Plus, I bet it could come in handy should security ever be... compromised."
The Mandalorian turned towards the door.
"If you don't mind, I would like to return to my room. I have some things I need to analyze."
"Like how could the boarding pods have hit us at such close range. How could they bypass our scanners?"
Drake nodded, as the captain frowned.
"I think it would be best if you were moved to a temporary safe house. At least, until I can analyze why the Danaan was unable to detect those pods. Commander, could you give me all information regarding the geological structure of the ocean floor, as well as information about aquatic cloaking devices?"
The commander nodded.
"I will get them immediately."
"Good, I'll be in my quarters, then. Will they be in a digital format?"
"Of course, ensign. I look forward to your report."
Tessa nodded, turning towards the bridge controls.
"I think Belmont's right: I will go to a safe house for the time being. I wonder how Sergeant Sagara's doing."
The commander balked.
"There's no safer house than Sagara's. Besides, with him and Belmont on the watch, do we really have anything to worry about? I mean, Belmont just held off both platoons. Do we really need to worry?"
Mardukas tried to come up with an argument, but stopped.
"Very well, captain. If you're certain."
"In that case..." Drake scratched his chin. "I will need two pieces of equipment: my jetpack and R3-X5."
Tessa glanced at the Mandalorian. "What are your reasons?"
"I've have several dangerous mission in urban planets, like Taris and Coruscant. Greater mobility with the jetpacks would allow me to have the height advantage, as well as maneuverability."
"And the... R3-X5?"
"My personal droid. An R3 astromech. Originally designed for military applications. I've used him multiple times as an analysis unit. Besides, I think he's getting a little lonely without anyone to pester. Having myself, the captain, and the sergeant will likely make him feel a little more at home than stuck on my ship."
Tessa nodded, closing her eyes.
"In that case, your equipment is approved, ensign. We need to go to Merida Island for repairs, anyways."
"Ensign? A private word."
Mardukas closed the hatch, gingerly stepping over the corpses littering the hall.
"As you know, the captain is... delicate."
"She may be the captain of this submarine, but she's still a teenager. Ah, I remember those years quite well... So full of hormones and emotions..." The mercenary sighed. "Worst. Experience. Ever."
The commander's face twitched at the corners.
"Then you must understand what I'm about to tell you. The captain... well, she has... a fixation on this particular sergeant."
Drake nodded in comprehension.
"I take it Mithril has strict policies against fraternizing with coworkers?"
The commander nodded.
"That is correct, Ensign Belmont. I want you to make sure nothing... untoward happens to the captain. Do you understand?"
"Yes, sir. However, I have one question: what if the opposite happens? What if the captain makes an untoward move to Sergeant Sagara?"
Mardukas' frown deepened.
"Try to restrain her. There's no telling what may happen if you do, so be prepared for anything."
"Of course, sir! I will now retire to my bunk."
The commander returned the salute.
"Good luck, ensign."
Drake sat down on his bunk, before pulling out a small black box. Placing it down on a night stand, he pressed a button.
Immediately, the holographic image of Tau flickered to life.
"Greetings at this late hour, Master."
"Same to you, Tau. How are things on the Phoenix?"
The droid shook its head.
"Not good, I'm afraid. The sublight engines are burned out. It will take quite some time to repair them. The repulsors, however, are still intact. However, the reactor core will need materials we cannot obtain at this time."
Drake growled, before an idea struck him.
"I'll see if I can get a palladium reactor to use. How's Exfive holding up?"
"I've had to lock him in the restroom. He's getting bored with sitting around, and keeps hearing the chatter of the Mithril operatives."
"Get him ready for departure when I get to the base. I need him for a special mission."
"Now, tell me, Tau..." Drake said, his face darkening, "How goes the download of all of Mithril's data?"
A/N: I suggest you look up "Dha Werda Verda" on youtube, to truly understand how intense this song can be.
I'll tell you right now, I do have several arcs planned. This one is only at the beginning, but I'm trying to hurry the story as best I can to introduce the next arc. Right now, I'm trying to focus on Drake's interactions with Mithril and its operatives.
I do wonder how he'll treat a certain sergeant...