His vantage point looked over the entrance of the jail building. Its massive walls sheer and standing at over five hundred meters in height. His field glasses took in the facade of the eastern side seeking out any weakness in the defences. There were none that he could make out from this distance, he would have to get closer.
Packing his gear into his belt pouches he worked his way down the escarpment, trying to be as stealthy as possible, using the twilight shadows as cover. Using the natural bracken and rocks he was a shadow morphing its way across the landscape. Like a finger of rock the ridge cut a line directly to the ground level of the jail, leaving a short sprint of about twenty meters to the wall itself. Within ten minutes Quo was crouching looking over the open area to the wall from the cover of an overhanging rock formation. Watching the ground around the base of the wall the only sound her could hear was the inlet and outlet valves on his breathing prosthetic pumping oxygen into his damaged lungs. It sounded like thunder to his ears. The only other sounds were the local wildlife, whistling and chirruping in prelude to their evening chorus. His eyes, never still, scanned the ground looking for any signs that there were alarms or detectors. In this light it would be difficult to ascertain.
Crouching low he moved quietly across the open ground, balanced on the balls of his feet as he moved fluidly through the night. Without warning beneath his right foot there was a click. Quo threw himself forwards, leaping a full three meters into the air, twisting and somersaulting as he flew. Landing gracefully he froze. Logically he knew he had just trodden on a mine, and should be picking bits of it out of his body, or bits of his body from the surrounding scenery, but nothing. Crouching low he waited. There was always a possibility that it was a delayed trigger, or a ‘jumping jack’. The three seconds he was waiting seemed like an eternity. A vibration from just below the surface briefly pre-empted the explosion of earth as the mine leapt from the ground. He dropped, flat to the ground, expecting the explosion and shrapnel impacts to hit him any second. Inside his head his brain counted the seconds....two......three.......four.... he risked a glance upwards from his prone position. Turning his head as his eyes scanned he watched the mine disappearing upwards, far more upwards than it should have done.
He watched as it cleared the height of the wall, exploding a split second later, murdering a small bird and approximately twenty roofing tiles. Standing and dusting himself down he started as a pin landed two inches in front of his feet. An eyebrow arched upward, the only sign that Quo had registered it at all. Well, he thought, there goes the element of surprise. Turning he craned his neck backwards, looking up, watching the falling masonry twisting and turning in the fading light. Moving across toward the wall he waited for the alarms to start. His cover had been blown, and there was now no way he would make it inside undetected.
The first impact from the roofing material hit the ground about thirty meters away from him. Bits of masonry and tiling struck in a staccato rhythm into the path that he had recently covered, the vibrations setting off several more of the mines buried beneath. The resulting volley erupted in all directions, some out to the surrounding country, a couple arrowing towards the jail wall, their journeys being marked by gouges in the brickwork, some of them even breaching the wall, disappearing inside. Again Quo hit the deck, narrowly being missed by another explosive device on its whirling track towards the young Zabrak. Shards of the masonry rattled down onto him, covering him in a light coloured dust. With a zinging noise it careened into the distance, rebounding away, further along the wall line, its impact setting off more of the over sprung devices.
The debris from the initial impact of the first land mine ever to achieve near orbit had registered on the automated laser defence system. Beams of white hot energy erupted from the batteries, their combined rate of fire lighting up the evening gloom. Quo watched as the evening erupted into a pyrotechnic display worthy of any provincial celebration. Laser bolts arrowed across the sky in all directions, with little or no directional control in evidence. Shots rained down in all directions as the blaster canons spun and danced on their mountings randomly. Quo pushed himself to his feet, and leapt fully thirty five meters to the cover of the rocky outcrop. Rolling into cover he watched as the pandemonium continued.
The more the mines erupted, the more the batteries fired, filling the space with smoke and debris, fragments and explosions rocking the outside of the wall as the bolts of light left scorched etchings along its surface. Several of the batteries momentarily concentrated their fire on a particularly vicious brick at the base of the wall, pulverising it into submission before it crumbled into dust. The sheer destructive force of the defensive barrage was wearing down the opposition of the stubborn invading jail with every volley. Quo could only watch in awe at the firepower amassed against the sedentary opposition.
A crack appeared at the point of the demolished brick, small at first, but growing with each passing second, creeping across the surface like a dark vine. Vibrations and impacts only hastened its course as it climbed aloft along the line of the wall following the line of least resistance. With every passing second the barrage inflicted further damage, the cumulative effect weakening the whole eastern wall at the point where Quo was watching. The ripple of destruction was spreading away from the epicentre, eruptions widening the area of damage. It was already halfway down the side, heading for the corner.
A crunch from above drew his attention. The crack had reached the top, and an offshoot had formed a pincer movement on the concrete of the wall at the top. Several laser bolts ricocheted against it rocking it forwards away from the jail building. With a roar it detached itself from the rest of the wall, the huge piece tumbling on its end as it fell. Twisting, seemingly in slow motion, it crashed back onto itself, fracture lines appearing in the face of the wall, dislodging several other large pieces which did their own damage on their plummet towards the ground. The blasters focussed on these large pieces, bolts rattling and shaking them as their energy dissipated through the jail.
Quo could feel the rumblings through his feet, the low growls of the tortured structure shaking his organs within his torso. Turning the ran, this muscles pumping as he put distance between himself and the impact site. He moved as a blur across the landscape, his only thought to get the frell out of there. His legs pounded, arms pumping, as he drove his body higher up the hillside. The only thing that was important now was getting himself a good distance away. Faster than seemed possible he was standing on the ridge overlooking the jail, looking dishevelled and more than a bit second hand.
The explosions continued for the next hour or so, the blasters continuing their tattoo on the structure, before they eventually toppled and fell into the growing rubble pile below. Ceilings of individual floors fell from above, crashing through the floors below, walls tumbled in all directions sweeping all before them. Eventually the dust began to settle, and the whole scene was revealed before Quo’s eyes. The whole jail had collapsed in on itself, aided and abetted by the defensive machinations of the weaponry. The survivors were scurrying backwards and forwards over the debris field, dazed and confused. He had been sent to infiltrate the place, and failed. He didn’t like failing, but at least another team wouldn’t required much help getting in. In his mind he was calling it a win, after all he had breached their defences.