The cargo container clunked into place alongside the Arc Hammer. The voices of Stormtroopers echoed softly through the metallic door as the airlock pressurized. This was it. The plan was simple: attach sequencer charges to the exhaust manifolds inside the Arc Hammer and cause an explosion large enough to destroy the factory ship from the inside. I had the explosives, I had the ammunition, I had met and bested in combat the strongest weapons the Empire had and yet I was still nervous.
The door slid open, and I shot a mortar directly through, catching the Stormtroopers behind it completely by surprise. The explosion rocked the container, but the clamps held firm and the airlock shielded me from any damage. The same cannot be said for the Stormtroopers, and I stepped over their bodies and entered the Arc Hammer. I followed the corridor inside the ship, and turned towards the aft of the ship.
I was heading upwards, following walkways past factory machines the moving parts of the ship. I reached a dead-end, with only one way to go: down, into the factories. I peered over the edge, looking for a safe way down. Two Dark Troopers looked back up towards me, their skeletal armour shining against the harsh bright lights set into the walls. Fuel canisters were scattered across the floor so I used a thermal detonator to explode them, throwing both droids against the wall and destroying them.
I found an elevator on the other side of the gangway, but the way was no safer now. As I reached the bottom, the manufacturing arm activated and swung towards me. Its laser powered up, and took aim at me. I threw another thermal detonator at the base, knocking the robotic arm off of its base. I scanned the room and noticed a camera - if they didn’t know I was aboard before, they knew now.
All the lights in the hallway ahead were out, so I had to activate my IR goggles to see the Stormtroopers waiting to ambush me. I fired almost blindly, the heat from the weapon discharge causing the IR goggles to show bright lights. I killed the sources of the lights - slower than I would have liked - and entered an engineering room. Large panels of electronics ran from the floor to the ceiling. A few panels displayed schematics of the Arc Hammer, and I planned out a route to maximise the explosion.
I slipped into an engineering tunnel that led to one of the engines, and peered into the room. Two auto turrets scanned the floor, but the tunnel had led me to a place around eight feet above the floor. I pulled out the repeater and took the two turrets out before lowering myself to the floor. The walls of this room literally were a part of the engine, with sections rising and falling. I left the sequencer charge against the far wall, closest to the exhaust.
Returning to the tunnels, I turned away from where I had come from and dropped into an elevator. Two Imperial Officers were riding inside, knocked to the floor as I fell in. I shot them both, and redirected the elevator to a point closer to my next target. The door opened to reveal rising and falling platforms, and I jumped across them to reach the trench that formed the direct centre of the Arc Hammer. I dropped down into the channel and ran back towards the nose of the ship.
The exhaust cut through the trench only twenty metres from where I landed, and I climbed up to observation platforms. Stormtroopers met their deaths up there with a flurry of blaster fire. A Dark Trooper stood against the wall, guarding a spot that looked perfect for a sequencer charge. It lunged towards me with a baton, but I dodged and watched it fall down to the floor of the trench. The droid’s legs shattered on impact, but I sent a couple of explosives after it to make sure it never got up again.
I placed the charge and moved to the other side of the trench, entering another elevator. Taking it down a couple floors, I emerged in a long corridor with some Imperial Officers inspecting fuel canisters. They weren’t aware of me until a blaster shot ignited the fuel, but by then it was far too late for them. I opened the door to the right, and entered a huge manufacturing room.
A conveyer belt ran through the centre of the room, and the floor was quickly filling with platoons of Stormtroopers. There was no way that I could survive a fight with that many soldiers, so I took the only way out I could see: I rode the conveyer belt. I had to duck and dive around to avoid the manufacturing process, but the speed of the belt got me away from the soldiers. General Mohc was not messing around, sending every troop he could afford to chase after me.
The conveyer sped up the further along it I travelled, and it soon threw me off. I landed hard on the floor, but was mostly unharmed. The corridors ahead were in complete darkness, but a faint light guided me to another engineering station. A section of the wall was broken into segments, and a series of buttons raised and lowered the segments. I arranged the wall so a corridor formed on the other side, and entered it through a door towards the other end of the room.This led to a mirror of the first engine, and I placed the final charge on the side of the exhaust.
My exit strategy now became the priority; the shuttle bay was on the lowest floor, directly below the engines. Taking the elevator down as far as it would go, I entered a cavernous area large enough to hold thousands of troops. Two Dark Troopers jumped up from the floor, rocketing up towards gangways. I shot at them with the assault cannon, knocking one out of the air. The other dodged the missile I fired, and shot one of its own in kind. The rocket missed, but the explosion was enough to knock me down to the floor.
The droid I had shot out of the air was returning to its feet when I landed, but it was damaged and began firing wildly. Most of the projectiles dissipated into the thick walls of the shuttle bay, but a couple hit the other Dark Trooper. Both Troopers were unsteady on their feet and moving slowly, so I took the easy shots and they crumpled to the floor. A haunting voice rang out throughout the cargo bay, taunting me.
“It's been a long time since I've challenged a man to battle. I'm glad my opponent is so worthy.” A single bay that had been sealed up to this point flung open, and an enormous black Stormtrooper appeared. General Mohc’s voice was emanating from within the colossus, but the bulging armour hid a wide range of weapons and defences as well as the human body. It raised the assault cannon, a heavily modified version of my own weapon, and fired a spray of plasma shots.
I dodged behind a bulkhead, the searing blasts leaving a burn on the wall behind where I was just stood. Peering out, I saw the battle suit’s shoulders opening up, revealing rocket launchers. It fired a barrage at me, and I sprinted across the open bay to get behind better cover. From there, I took my own shots and was relieved to see many land; this new Dark Trooper was slow with its increased bulk.
The downside was the thickness of the armour and the poise it possessed. Nothing I was firing at it seemed to be doing anything, but I was tiring quickly attempting to avoid the bombardment I was receiving from it. The Dark Trooper, sensing my fatigue, affirmed its footing and began charging the assault cannon. Plasma lightning shot around the armour, and the gun itself vented gas at the side. I dived to the floor, raising my own cannon in front of me and firing. Shot after shot pounded the heavy black phrik metal to no effect, until one. One stray shot collided with the gun, igniting the gas and causing the whole armour to electrify.
General Mohc screamed out in pain as the suit sparked. He fell to his knees, the suit crushing him with its intense weight. It clattered to the floor, still occasionally sparking from the huge discharge of plasma. The General was dead, but his project still lived on as long as the Arc Hammer still flew. I pulled out the detonator, checking that it was still functioning. All three charges came online at once, and I primed them. There was no turning back now; the bombs would explode within the hour, even if I didn’t remotely detonate them.
The cargo bay was wrecked from the fight with Mohc, with burnt and twisted metal marking the walls. A large door had been partially destroyed by a wayward missile, and was unable to shut properly. I ducked through the gap made by the battle, and saw an Imperial shuttle before me - a way out. I jumped aboard, activating the systems as fast as I could. The engines purred to life, and I pointed the shuttle into space, flicking the switch on the detonator as I did. There was nothing for several long seconds as I sped away, the small delay in detonation sucking all the breath I had left.
Then, it started. Sections of the hull began to buckle near the engines, spreading outward as fuel and weapons ignited into fire. The explosion ripped through the Arc Hammer, taking with it the last of the Dark Trooper project - for now at least.