Star Wars: Cruise Control | Scene 5.3

“Surrender immediately! You’re under arrest for violating Imperial Code 4762!” the trooper in charge shouts across the ice at Tcho from the side. “You have disobeyed a direct order from a duly appointed Imperial official!”

The end of the skating rink near the slopes is much less crowded. While Tcho is relieved that the Stormtroopers have shown restraint as far as firing goes, he is concerned about them changing their tactics now, and the ice has proven far more difficult to move across than he expected. He considers his options, settling on one that is far less appealing than running. Taking on a squad of Stormtroopers would be madness, but maybe he can take their leader out quickly and then get out of here before they make it off the ice. He had not known there were Stormtroopers on this ship, but now that he has seen this group, he thinks it likely there are others. He may need to evade them as well, but that is a problem for later.

Tcho raises his hands a little, calling out, “Whoa! Bit of a misunderstanding here!” He gives up trying to dash across the ice and calmly makes his way toward the side of the rink that the sergeant is on. “We can talk. You said you had some questions?” Tcho keeps one eye on the troopers themselves, trying to decide the best way to do this. Maybe if I am between them and the sergeant, they will be less inclined to shoot at me, for fear of hitting their boss? He discards that idea, settling instead on using the sergeant for cover against the troopers. Tcho takes some comfort from the observation that this side of the hill has no passengers playing on it, so no one will be endangered by whatever the troopers end up doing.

Renault remains cautious, not entirely trusting the target. But given that the alien is looking to turn himself in, he pulls his foot back from the ice. The blue-skinned guy keeps his gloved hands up and nods with his head towards an opening in the railing farther down. “I’m just going to head there, okay?” Renault acknowledges this and moves toward the base of the sled hill to accept the surrender.

Tcho steps off the ice onto artificial snow, heart pounding and palms sweaty. This is not his preferred way to resolve the situation, but he is committed to it now. Whatever happens, there is no going back from this. Outwardly calm, he walks toward the approaching sergeant. As he passes a post, his proximity triggers the chairlift to start operating. With a clanking of chains, the first suspended bench, the one with the caution tape across it, starts up the hillside. 

The subject seems to be compliant, but Renault is still a little wary at first. He sticks to the script, following procedure. “All right, I need you to put your hands on your head. We have some questions about the moff’s cargo. Someone matching your description was tampering with it.” The alien jinks a little as he approaches, dodging a chair coming by, but he raises his hands higher. This guy had an opportunity to run just now, and he didn’t, Renault thinks. He just got a little startled earlier. He glances over his shoulder to check on the status of his incompetent troops and frowns again. KT-287 is crawling off the ice, gasping about needing a break. I just need to bring this guy in and request a new Ape Squad. These guys are a bunch of idiots.

Tcho watches the sergeant carefully, knowing that he has to incapacitate him quickly. In the moment when he turns away, Tcho steps in close enough to be cuffed. Close enough to stab. He palms his punch dagger and flicks his wrist to trigger the poison reservoir, then brings his hand in fast in a slap to the sergeant’s back, just below the scapula. The sharp blade slams through the armor, piercing through to the fascia below. The delivered sedative does not have the desired effect though. Standing up close to the sergeant, Tcho now sees the man is bulkier than he thought. Probably a double dose could have taken him down, but the dagger is too small to hold more than a single. The soldier grunts at the hit and then growls in anger. Not wanting to be shot, Tcho wraps an arm around the other man’s in a lock so that he does not have space to pull up his rifle. Unbeknownst to him, though, vibroknives are part of the regular Stormtrooper kit.

Renault knows the subject needs to be in a condition to be questioned. He tells himself that a vibroknife is mostly non-lethal as he whips his out and slashes at his target. The alien jerks backwards, getting his body out of the way of the blade and releasing him. Renault follows through by smashing his knife’s handle into the alien’s hand to jar the weapon out of it. His enemy is not fazed and stiffens his hand to jab at Renault, but the sergeant is well-versed in hand-to-hand combat and knocks the blows away.

UE-664 sees the sergeant try to knife the subject. That is not proper procedure, but he knows better than to question his squad commander when he is in one of his moods. He makes his way across the ice, getting within range for effective stunning. Renault shouts at him, “Subject is resisting arrest. Move to flank.” UE-664 moves into position and brings his rifle up to get the alien in his sights just in time to see a spray of blood from Renault’s knife ripping across the Pantoran’s chest and neck. Ooooh, that looks bad! Sarge is going to get reprimanded for that later, for sure. The nasty cut ends at the base of the alien’s jaw, just below the ear.

Hot blood streaming down his neck, surrounded now, Tcho begins to wonder whether peaceful surrender was ever actually an option, or if they were just going to drag him out of here to beat up somewhere else. He needs to aim for the armor lining to hit a thinner place. The neck seems the best option. The needle glove also holds only one dose of sedative, but maybe if he delivers it straight to the carotid… Tcho takes a bit of a leap, intending to jab his stiffened hand into the taller man’s neck, but the move does not go at all as planned. The sergeant ducks down, and at first Tcho thinks it is to avoid his strike. But when something solid slams into Tcho’s back mid-jump, he realizes that the other man was dodging away from the chairlift. His muscles protest the new bruising, but Tcho grabs onto the bench, content to ride the lift away up the fake mountainside. 

Back below him, the sergeant throws his knife down in disgust and pulls up his heavy blaster rifle. “Capture or kill, I don’t care!” he growls to his underling. “We’ve got to take this guy down.” Tcho turns away, ducking behind the seatback, but it is little protection from the bolt of hot plasma coming at him. The blast burns across his shoulder, and the pain overwhelms Tcho’s senses. He slumps the rest of the way over onto the bench, unconscious.

The chairlift carries the subject away. Renault evaluates the slope, but it is way too rough for him and his troopers—trooper—to climb. They need to find a turbolift or some other way up because if they hop the next lift, they will be forever one step behind. Renault turns around and frowns. The civilians down here are starting to look panicky… maybe because of the blaster rifle fire. It is going to take some time to wade through them. That blast looked like it knocked the alien out; maybe they can just wait for that bench to cycle all the way back down here.