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"Clear," shouts Lieutenant Kane. "Comm. check?"
"Still reading you Able Squad," says Captain Brior as his voice crackles in the troopers' helmets.
"Copy. Alright, we're still three clicks out. Let's hustle." yells the lieutenant to his men.
"Can we reduce static in the signal?" asks Brior. "I want a clear transmission."
"I can try sir," replies the crewman. "There's a lot of interference down there."
"Sir!" yells Meade as he grips his blaster tight.
"A crashed recon droid!"
"One of ours," shouts Kane. "We must be getting close."
The men continue their trek through the frozen tundra, walking up several steep inclines. The frigid wind cuts through their heated suits as the lieutenant walks ahead of the squad.
"Well," shouts Kane as he reaches the top of the ridge. "I think this is it-"
"-I'd say we're here."
"What is that?" asks Darr as he walks ahead of Kane.
"Not sure," Kane says considering the structure. "The Emperor says 'jump', and that's what we do. Let's fall back, figure something out"
The team moves back to cover as Kane formulates his strategy. He thinks for a few moments until he finally breaks the silence of their redoubt. "Alright," he says looking up. "We're keeping it simple. Haas will cover the door from the ridge. Nothing in or out behind us, hollar if you see anything."
"Gotchya covered," replies Haas.
"Rest of us will go in. Keep tight, watch your corners," Kane says as he looks at his men. "Kalin, you have point, Darr bring up the rear."
The squad members nod their heads as they receive their orders.
"Sir, they've located a temple. They're making entry now," says a crewman.
The captain watches the displays intently, his hands shaking slightly as his eyes move back and forth looking at the screens.
"The Emperor will want a full report. Can you maintain the connection?" asks Brior. "After they've gone in?"
"Yes sir," he replies. "There's still some interference, but we should still have them."
The men make their way into the temple cautiously.
Only their foot steps echo as they move, quiet, yet seemingly ready to bring them doom at any point.
The men continue down several vast halls.
"Sir, look," says Meade rounding another corner.
As Lieutenant Sumner approaches the console he flips a few switches and the screens come to life filling the empty room with light. He hits several keys and smiles to himself. "Alright Kane", the lieutenant says slyly, "Let's see what you're up to down there."
"Well, which way?" asks Kalin. "This place is a maze."
"Orders sir?" asks Meade.
"Not sure," replies Kane. "We'll get lost in here if we lose connection."
He thinks for a moment. "This way," says Kane as he leads the men down a large hall.
"Sir, we're deep scanning the area and I'm getting something near their position," says the crewman as he studies the screen's readings.
"Right," says Captain Brior as he leans forward to speak into the transmitter.
"Squad, we're reading a heat signature near your current position," he says. "Be advised."
"Copy sir," says Kane. "Squad, keep moving."
Haas breathes out as the wind continues to blow the frigid air around him.
"I knew I should have brought something to do," he says to himself as he shakes his head.
Kane raises his hand to stop the squad as he spots a doorway ahead, which opens up into a large room.
The men get ready to clear the room, they grip their blasters tight and prepare themselves.
Kane nods his head and suddenly the troops jump into action.
Kane and his men eyeball the giant hall, watching for any movement.
"Corners, watch the corners," Kane whispers, almost as if to himself.
"What is this place?" asks Kane as he turns to look at the giant room.
"I think we're clear sir," reports Kalin.
"Careful now," says Sumner sarcastically, the console lights blinking in his face as he listens to the squad.
Suddenly a noise of falling ice echos throughout the large chamber, bringing the men to attention.
"Check it," snaps Kane.
Their heavy foot steps echo beneath them as the men rush towards where the noise came from.
"Steady," whispers Kane.
The men suddenly lunge over the pit, their fingers on their triggers ready to fire.
"Nothing," says Kane. "Nothing at all."
"Yeah," says a voice from behind them. "I wouldn't count on that."
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Check out my latest photonovel as of Oct. 27/17: Era of Darkness - "Lurkers" Part 1!