Operation Manka Cat

2 ABY – 06 Echo – 28 Zheliday (Ktil) When Kantarra signed on with Ban-San Transport, she made a promise to Gok-tok to protect the crew. So when R3-M3 fell into Imperial hands, she knew what she needed to do. She also knew if she told Cheebs or Cable about her rescue mission, they might want to delay or come with her. She couldn’t protect them where she was going, and she feared Remme couldn’t wait. So she left alone under cover of darkness and set off on her to find the ship’s droid captain. 

After travelling some distance to the south of the crash site (the direction she’d last seen the Imps going), she came upon an Imperial encampment. Without being detected, she concealed her bike a short distance away in some scrub brush, left most of her arsenal in the sidecar, and stealthily approached the camp, finding natural cover just outside the camp from which she could observe. The camp consisted of a series of large containers dropped there that served as bunkers and field ops for a small number of imperial officers, special ops soldiers and stormtroopers. They did not appear to operate as established units; instead, the whole operation appeared to have come together hastily. There were also a number of Ubese moving in and out of the camp, which strongly suggested to Kantarra that this was the same group responsible for Remme’s disappearance. Tie fighters flew regular maneuvers over the area, and two shuttles moved personnel back and forth between the camp, the Casisto and the Gozanti. 

After many quiet hours of recon, night fell and Kantarra hatched a plan to get herself into the camp. She returned to the bike and, with a little work, managed to remove a small piece of metal from the bike’s rear housing. While keeping low in the scrub, she tossed the metal scrap up in the air and targeted it precisely with her blaster, creating just enough sound and lights to attract the attention of the troopers. She then concealed herself and, with one hand on her blaster and the other on her knife, she listened and waited. The first trooper to come along surprised her by making less noise and arriving more quickly than expected. She still got the jump on him, but only once he was in engaged range. She slashed at him with the knife, and it was over quickly and quietly. The second trooper was less stealthy and she was able to take him out with her blaster. His proved a bit easier to clean up, so she removed as much blood as she could from it and did her best to conceal the carbon scoring before putting it on. She grabbed the trooper’s imperial-issue blaster, left all of her own behind in the bike’s sidecar (with the exception of the easily-concealed stiletto), and proceeded on foot to the Imperial encampment. 

“Thank god stormtroopers are dumb” would be Kantarra’s primary thought for the next several days. She returned to the camp and assumed the identity of RT-32, one of the stormtroopers she had killed. No one else in the camp seemed to know this trooper well enough to question her probably-not-very-good impersonation. Again, they didn’t seem to be a unit that regularly worked together. When others noticed that her partner was missing, she made up a story on the spot that they had encountered a manka cat. She said that she had survived the encounter and she cited an imperial protocol as the reason she had returned to base rather than looking for her comrade. While no one seemed to question that decision quality, the guard, including Kantarra, was ordered to fan out and search for the missing trooper.  No one knew where he was better than Kantarra, who killed a little time before returning to camp with the body. As it turns out, being surprised and slashing at someone with an dagger creates a pattern of damage that looks convincingly like a manka cat attack. Everyone in the camp was shocked and terrified to discover that there was such a creature on the loose in the area, and security was increased in the camp. Terrified troopers slept in their full armor, a practice that helped Kantarra more easily conceal her identity. Little did they know that the manka cat was in their midst. 

For the next couple of days, Kantarra managed to embed herself in the Imperial camp, keeping her helmet on whenever she was around others. Her experience with the ISB helped her flawlessly impersonate a stormtrooper while hating every moment she had to spend in that armor. She was able to gain some intel, though, and became more and more convinced that she would find Remme on the Casisto, if only she could get on board. Unfortunately, the troopers seemed to stay in the camp and never board the shuttles to the .

2 ABY – 06 Echo – 33 Zheliday (Ktil) The one time she was ordered to board a vehicle, it took her back to the crash site of the Thrifty. It was strange visiting the site with the Imps, seeing evidence everywhere of Cheebs and Cable having returned to the ship recently to scavenge what they could. There was little of use left for the Imps to recover. Still, the plan was to cable the remains of the Thrifty to a shuttle and haul it away, so Kantarra made sure that the hatch “fell off” before that happened, just in case her friends still wanted to recover it. At one point while she was working on the Thrifty and keeping watch on the tree line, she thought she saw someone fall in a ditch, so she assumed Cheebs and Cable were still around and doing as well as ever. She could also make out something else in the distance near the same spot — something large, round and metal. She hadn’t thought much of it, but was shocked when it started firing on the other troopers. She managed to avoid the line of fire herself and was more than happy to see a few more imps taken out. 

After the episode with the Thrifty, the Imperial mission ended quickly and the camp was evacuated in stages. The general sense Kantarra got was that, whatever the nature of the mission here had been, it was a horrible failure and everyone was now in a hurry to mop up evidence and get out. While the camp was being packed up, there was a moment where Kantarra saw two special ops soldiers escorting Remme on board a shuttle. She made up a story on the spot about why the droid shouldn’t be taken aboard the , making a scene while trying to get Remme’s attention. However, when she saw the restraining bolt fastened on Remme and realized that no one else was buying her story, she gave up, passing off the episode as the result of sleep deprivation. She knew, however, that she needed to get aboard the Casisto. 

In the final stage of the evacuation, Kantarra made it aboard a shuttle to the . Once on board the Casisto, she fell in with the other remaining troopers who had not been killed in either of their trips to the Thrifty site or fallen victim to the manka cat. She proceeded through the ship, noting locations of computer terminals, turbo lifts and escape pods, eventually arriving in a large assembly room. The room was, in fact, far too large for the small number of officers and troopers who assembled there. After a minute or two of waiting, the room fell silent as a dark cloaked figure entered through a blast door — the same cloaked figure Kantarra had seen strike down Lorrick on Tython. Hatred seethed through her, but she remained outwardly calm beneath the stormtrooper armor. The figure called Commander Romand forward and proceeded to make a speech about the failure of the mission and the shame that the commander had brought upon the . The only bright spot, apparently, was that they had destroyed the “flea” of a ship that followed them everywhere — a possible reference to the Porgatu. He ordered the bombardment of the planet. Kantarra felt the entire ship shudder violently as a storm of ion weaponry was unleashed on the planet below, and she hoped that Cheebs and Cable were safe below the surface. Then the cloaked figure drew his laser sword and struck Commander Romand, who instantly collapsed into two smoking heaps of flesh. The cloaked individual named Field Officer Sing the new commander and then turned dramatically and retreated through the blast door. Newly-made Commander Sing began organizing a retreat from Kitl back to Salliche and asked who among the remaining troopers was in charge. When no one answered, Kantarra made herself commander of their unit and negotiated at least 45 minutes before their evacuation off of the Casisto. 

Making good use of her limited time, Kantarra stopped on her way out of the room alongside Romand’s lifeless remains, went down on one knee out of “respect”, and pocketed his code cylinder before heading to the nearest computer terminal. There, she located the detention cells on level six. She could not access information on what was held in each cell, so she used the cylinder to access cells one-by-one. Thankfully — and very strangely — the ship was like a ghost town, and there was no one around to observe her exploits. Along the way, she discovered a cell with a number of crates in it that were filled with artefacts with markings reminiscent of her blade. Then she located a cell full of powered-off droids including Remme. She used the stock of the blaster to break off the restraining bolt and powered Remme on. Remme immediately and happily recognized Mission Commander, and they made their way together to one of the escape pods that Kantarra had spotted earlier. Before entering the pod, Kantarra gestured at the terminal nearby and asked Remme, “Do you want to leave them a present?”  Remme beeped excitedly, plugged in, and issued an old Republic command that turned off all of the ship’s engines and propulsion systems, as if the ship were being put into dry dock. Then Kantarra and Remme left in their escape pod, doing their best to guide it to a different spot than where the Casisto was beginning to crash to earth. It was an incredibly rough ride down, but the two survived without any serious harm. After a long walk, they found Kantarra’s bike where she had concealed it and, with Remme in the sidecar, they followed the tree line and made a triumphant return to the Porgatu. 

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