kept a close eye on the counter set into the main console of the A-Wing she was
flying. Tag had asked her to
hand-deliver some orders to a particular asteroid base in the Hoth system,
saying that she was the only one trustworthy enough and innocent-seeming enough
to make the voyage. Indy hoped she
was right. She had taken the A-Wing
because it was fast and she knew how to fly the darn thing.
She would have liked to use a X-Wing, but there were none available.
tried to relax. There was still
another two and a half hours before she was due to set down.
her ship was jerked out of hyperspace. The
jolt was enough to send Indy’s helmeted head bouncing against her forward
console so hard that she saw stars. To
her horror and dismay, an Indictor cruiser hung above her. Indy’s hands flew toward the steering yoke and,
knocking the throttle up to full, looped tightly around and prepared for a blind
hyperspace jump—anything to get her away from the Imps.
ship shuddered, and she silently despaired.
They had her.
squeezed her eyes shut. The truth
serum that had been used on her was causing terrible hallucinations. She knew that even the greatest of New Republic and Rebel
officers before them could stand up to most kinds of truth serums—especially
the kind that caused hallucinations.
do these orders mean?” Her
don’t know,” Indy answered.
were they to?”
only half-answered that question. “Some
were they sent?”
one’s strong,” someone observed. The
voice was familiar.
all break in time,” the interrogator snapped.
“Who are you?”
Indiana. Corellian Security Force.
ID 774932,” Indy mumbled, numb.
will repeat,” the voice said again. “She
the voice said.
realized she’d heard the voice before. The
name oozed from her lips. “Kirtan
Sergeant Bridger. Kirtan Loor.
I’m glad you remember me. When
I was told someone had been brought in fitting your description, I just had to
come and see for myself.”
bastard,” Indy mumbled. Although
she’d only been at the precinct for a short time before joining the New
Republic, she had met Kirtan Loor and decided that she hated him.
“Got my parents killed. Got
Hal’s murderer off.”
don’t tell me you’re a clone of Corran Horn, Sergeant Bridger. I would have thought you smarter than that.”
opened her eyes. She guessed that
the two-headed rancor was Loor, and spat in his face.
Loor said. “Get her out of here.
I’ll deal with her later.”
closed around Indiana Bridger.
swung into Mike’s quarters. “Mike,
I need your help.”
is it?” Mike asked.
Indy. I sent her out as a special
courier—to help clear up this mess. She
was supposed to report in. She
hasn’t. I think that she might
have been taken.”
Mike grabbed his jacket. “Let’s
hurried through the halls together, Mike asked, “Why me?”
trust you,” Tag snapped, “and I know you.
I’m pretty sure that we can do this.
know Mynok,” Mike pointed out.
reached the hangar, and Tag dragged him over to her X-Wing. She climbed on top of it and began to dig around in the
cockpit for the items she kept hidden there.
“That doesn’t mean I think that he can do this.
The Imps really don’t know your face, do they?”
in any sector from here to Hoth,” Mike said.
Tag’s voice was muffled. “Then
my plan will work.” She climbed
down from the cockpit. Her hair was
now bleached blonde and her eyes were gray, and a livid scar ran from temple to
chin on the left side. “You’re
looking at Major Shane Janus, Imperial Intelligence, Lieutenant Shane.”
shook his head. “The way you two
think...are you two sure you’re not
grinned. “No more than
blood-sisters.” The smile faded. “Come on, let’s go.”
lay curled on a narrow bunk in a cold cell.
“Later” had come and gone. She
had been laying on the bunk for hours, feeling too terrible to move. The Empire had tried to torture information out of her, using
a combination of the truth serums and physical torture. She had no idea what sort of information she might have given
up. I have to get out of here, she thought. Painfully, she sat up, staring at her food tray.
Finally, she picked up the fork from her food tray and started in on a
small panel that she knew would allow her access to the door controls.
Imps are so stupid.....
All she could do was hope that they were stupid enough.
and Tag were closing on the Imperial Indictor cruiser Black
Sky. They had figured out a
cover—as Intelligence agent Major Carla Janus and her bodyguard Lieutenant
Janus Shane. No coincidence in the
naming—their cover had them both as Kuati.
Neither of them knew that an intelligence agent was already aboard the
cruiser, and that one of them would not be returning quite so soon from this
needed a break from it all. He was getting tired and the last thing he needed
was to hear more about the case at this moment. He decided to take his modified
X-wing out, hell it was the easiest way to relax. He grabbed his gear and put it
on and jogged to his X-wing. He got into it, made sure his R2 unit was secure.
He needed to get out of the ship before he went crazy. He took off and called
himself in to go on a patrol around the ship. That’s when he saw the shuttle
take off, he scanned it and it had no registry. He moved in and scanned it’s
contents and it said, Personnel. “Well that’s odd.” Raven mumbled.
“Griffon 9 to Imladris, Where is that shuttle going?” raven said into his
comm. A second later they responded with, “Imladris to Griffon 9, They have an
unregistered lift-off, land and Pick up your Tie Defender and Follow them. If
they are heading to the Empire we don’t want you caught in an X-wing, and we
can try and slice were there heading.” mumbling in the background and then,
“We’re working on it.. Please Hurry up Griffon 9. You don’t have long.”
Raven groaned as he headed in and jumped out of his X-wing. “C-ya Extwo, I
gotta go follow them.” The R5 unit twittered something. “Thanks Extwo.”
Raven replied. Raven changed into Tie Gear figuring it would be the smartest
Idea and climbed into his Tie Defender. He unclipped the IFF changer and radioed
in his IFF code so the Imladris could register him as friendly. Hopefully so
would any Imperials. He launched off and started following the shuttle. Then the
shuttle disappeared into Hyperspace “Sithspawn” raven muttered. Then raven
turned on his comm, “Grif...errr.. 8 of squadron 11524 to Imladris, Did you
slice it from them?” The Imladris responded “Imladris to 8 of squadron
11524, Negative. But you can try the Hoth system. Another shuttle left for the
Hoth system a while back. It’s possible that that’s were they’re heading.
And according on their last heading IS the Hoth system.. So try there.” Raven
sighed and mumbled to himself “God, not Hoth again.. Once was enough...”
“Roger that Imladris” Raven said into his comm reluctantly and plotted the
course, checked it twice and hit the Hyperspace lever.
Help!” Those words swirled
through his head after his abrupt awakening from his disturbed sleep.
He jumped straight up, his fine-tuned combat instincts having him in a
defensive stance before he had even assessed the situation.
wrong?” Tag said from the
doorway, looking a little concerned. Mike
hesitated before replying.
just a bad dream.” Even mike
wasn’t really sure of it, it didn’t feel like a dream...
it wasn’t, i can feel it.” Tag
replied somewhat cryptically.
Ohhhh, almost forgot for a second.”
Mike said, remembering that Tag was trained in the force.
Indy, you have feelings for her. I’m
surprised i didn’t realize sooner.” Tag
said, a look of sudden understanding spreading across her features.
Mike smiled, a pained smile due to the fact that he knew Indy might be
lost to him, but also he knew that he would do anything to prevent that.
“We’re about to drop out of hyperspace, try to compose yourself.”
I’ll be ready. That’s my
uniform right?” Mike said
indicating the black Imp Intel uniform hanging on the wall.
He put on the uniform and walked up to the cockpit.
about to drop out, so strap in.” Tag
said to Mike as he entered the cockpit. Mike
strapped himself into the copilot’s seat.
The swirling colors of hyperspace gave way to starlines and then stars as
they dropped in to the area of the Interdictor Black Sky.
Shuttle, this is Black Sky control, identify yourself.”
A voice came across the comm
is Carla Janus, Imperial
Intelligence, transmitting clearance now.”
Tag flipped a switch on the shuttle’s controls.
“Don’t worry Mike, it’s an up-to-date code.” The shuttle landed in the Black Sky’s landing bay.
Mike stepped down the landing ramp of the shuttle and looked over at the
group of TIE pilots on the other side of the docking bay.
He said low enough that only Tag could hear him.
“That’s Commander Radin, he knows me, we better hurry up.”
was getting changed out of his flight suit and setting his X-Wing up for the
next run. Soundly, his comm pad chimed. It was Mike, and he said he was en route
to an Imperial Interdictor. He said that Indy was being held captive on the
Interdictor, and that they could use another starfighter, as back-up. I said,
sure, I’d love to stick around on stand-by for them. I neared the location of
the Interdictor, but stayed out of sensor range, and I then waited. Waited for
the signal from Mike to help them in their getaway from the Interdictor.
I thought, “30 debris clouds, 60 shots fired, 30 Ties vaped... It’s
Corellian Whiskey time.”
EV and pulled a few bottles out of the X-Wings cargo bay, gave Toli some oil,
got back into my ship, pulled out my latest copy of “Starfighter Tactics”
and settled down to wait...
Orian could do was wait for the trial. He had been shuttled to the Calhoun,
where he would wait to be shuttled elsewhere. He inquired if he could bring a
friend along, but the answer was a strict “No” from some jerk in a fancy
suit and a bunch of little tags. Orian never got any tags. He was a 2nd
Lieutenant, whoopty do. Why couldn’t he have any tags?
days. Three days, four hours, twenty nine minutes and seven seconds to be exact.
How quickly things worked within the New Republic. The trial would last about an
hour or so and he would be sent to some spice mine, shot where he stood or
executed by some silly little droid with some silly little injection. Where was
Namon where he needed him?
eyes looked about the cell boredly. It was plain and simply. A small cot on the
floor, rusting metal walls all about, semi-running water and a triple-layered
door. Was this how the New Republic treated all people who committed treason?
Like it mattered to him at this point. He was going to die. His defense council
consisted of only commandos and Jedi. Things weren’t looking that great.
Twilight Colony ...
all that while ago and it was his fault.
knew why he was going to be executed.
Orian’s meal, a datacard arrived, with a reader.
Warily, he picked up the datacard and slid it into the reader.
Text began to scroll over the small screen.
that the guards don’t have their heads too far up their asses so that you
don’t get this. You did nothing
wrong. I know this, because I was
ordered to allow the destruction of the base at Twilight Colony—it was my
in for the public to know—I’m here to visit my blood-sister and some old war
buddies—Indy, Mike, Mynok, and so on. Unofficially,
I’m here to clear up this mess. I came here because of the saturation of people with
quote-on-quote “shady” pasts, i.e. Imperial defectors, bounty hunters, and
ex-smugglers such as yourself. I
figured at least one of you would get blamed for the destruction of the Twilight
Colony. Unfortunately, I was right.
have you know that the base at Twilight Colony was under my command.
It was a medical research facility, home of Operation: Aldera’s Ashes.
Because of the nature of Aldera’s Ashes, the destruction of the base
was necessary. It was the planned
end to the operation.
someone at NRI screwed up big-time, so big that I’ve spent the past month
trying to clean up the mess that they made.
If anyone is guilty of any crime, it is me, for allowing this to come so
see, Orian, you shouldn’t have to worry.
In fact, as soon as I return, I will demand your release.
Don’t ask where I am. You
don’t want to know.
Tag Erin Antilles Rendar
to Restore the Republic Intelligence
frowned. Who was this mysterious “savior” of his? Did he really want to know?
looked at his meal, then at the datacard and reader.
He reached for the tray, discarding the reader and datacard.
He’d worry about things when the time came.
hated vegetables, which was what half of his meal was. There was one slice of
meat, a piece of bread and the rest? Vegetables. All of it was VEGETABLES!! He
hated vegetables! Sure seemed that whoever was feeding him read his records and
noted his dislike for vegetables.
pushed the tray aside after eating the meat and bread and took the reader and
datacard back up. Again he read it, and again he carefully studied the name at
the bottom. Tag. Who was this “Tag” person anyway? Antilles, Rendar ... he
knew the first, heard a faint bit about the second but that was it. Was this
“Tag” person really related to Captain Antilles? Eh. Maybe not. Maybe just a
the reader aside, he gave another bored glance about the room, idly wondering if
a thermal detonator could blow door out ...
a man or a woman?
could this Tag demand his release and expect it to happen?
poured through his mind as he mindlessly munched on a cooked vegetable.
Tag and Mike, or should i say Carla and Shane, hurried through the
docking bay, neither of them wanting Mike to be seen by Commander Radin, who
would definitely recognize him. They
make it safely through the docking bay to the intersecting hallway, where they
met with the Black Sky's captain.
"Admiral Wessels, We need to speak with the prisoner."
Tag checked her datapad. "Indiana
Bridger, i believe." Tag put
away her datapad while Admiral Wessels summoned a nearby officer.
"Lieutenant, Take these two to the brig, they need to speak to our
new prisoner." The lieutenant
indicated that they should follow. They
made quick progress to the brig and were let in by the ever present cell guard. As they entered Indy's eyes lit up with surprised
recognition, but were stifled by a look from Mike, as if Indy was going to blow
their cover anyway. The door shut
and Mike said to Indy in a tone somewhat reminiscent of an old holovid biography
of Luke Skywalker.
"I’m Mike Bullian, I’m here to rescue you"
"It's about time!" Indy replied a little too excitedly
"Stow it." Tag said. "Indy,
resist a little, make it look like we're transferring you to a proper
Interrogation facility." At
that Mike pounded on the door to get the Lieutenant's attention.
"We're transferring the prisoner to Tervine Facility." Mike
said when the door opened, making a reference to one of the Empire's toughest
Interrogation Facilities. They
walked out and headed toward the docking bay where their shuttle was waiting.
When they walked through the door Mike noticed that Commander Radin was
still there, Indicating this to Tag and Indy they hurried, as Indy had just made
it to the loading ramp Radin looked over at Mike, recognizing him from when they
were both on the STD Crucible.
"Stop them, they're impostors!"
Radin yelled out, drawing everyone's attention to the three rebels trying
to make their escape. Mike noticed
that Indy was already in the shuttle and Tag was right behind her.
"Get out of here, NOW, I'll cover you"
Mike yelled to them and drew his blaster pistol.
He shot at Radin, hitting him right between the eyes.
"good, he deserved it anyway." mike thought to himself as the shuttle lifted off and blasted
away. Mike turned his attention to
the throng of imperial stormtroopers, led by someone that looks like Raven, wait
a minute, that IS Raven. He shot a
few times in that direction before blacking out, an obvious use of the force by
Raven. Just before blacking out
Mike sent a message to Kenta through the force.
“ Kenta, Indy and Tag are on the shuttle, make sure they get out all
was sleeping when he was jerked out of hyperspace, 20 minutes behind the
Shuttle. He looked around and realized everything that had happened instantly...
Indy was caught by this and tractored in.. so that’s what this shuttle was
doing. But who was in the shuttle. Well might as well do what he had to do. Then
his comm snapped on “8 of squadron 11524, this is Black Sky control. You have
clearance to land in Bay 6. Welcome back Admiral Ravon Dark. We will be awaiting
your arrival.” Raven was stunned, how the hell. And then he remembered... His
commission.. The Interdictor he was
on when he left the Empire. The Black Sky. Ravon thought for a second then said
in his comm “8 of squadron 11524 to Black Sky control, Thank you Lieutenant. I
wish to see the Captain on your vessel, and the roster, and lastly, the
passengers on the shuttle that would have landed about 20 minutes ago.” Ravon approached the landing bay with the normal procedures,
and landed his Defender like he used to. 1 barrel roll and hit the deck. Most
the pilots on board were amazed that he could successfully do it. He jumped out
of the cockpit and the tech’s ran to it and started repainting it. They still
kept his record I guess, he walked along the wall to the roster, and they
already added his name to it. His name was still number one on the Ace of Aces
plaque. “Old habits die hard I guess...” Ravon muttered. He turned around
and there was his XO, now the Captain on board. “Well well.. How are you...”
looks at his old friends rank “...Rear Admiral Thomas Wessels?” Ravon
smiled. Thomas smiled at him and said “Admiral Ravon... We thought you were
dead.... Oh, I’m fine, Sir.” Ravon said to him, still smiling “What did I
say about calling me sir?” Thomas started to laugh. “OK, OK. Ravon. So were
have you been all this time?” Ravon responded “Oh you know.. Here there... I
was on Yavin 4. Nice and quiet.. Avoided those pesky rebels.. You know.. the
usual...” Thomas still smiling said “Well we’re glad to have you back
aboard Admiral Ravon. Shall I have your uniform pressed and hung up in your
room?” Ravon shivered and said “I have to wear that again?” smiles “Of
course Thomas.. And make it quick.”
made Mike black out after he made the two wild shots and yelled “ENGAGE THE
TRACTOR BEAM! INITIATE THE GRIVTY WELLS! CATCH THOSE DAMN REBELS!!!” The
stormtroopers behind him ran up to Mike and two hauled him off to the Brig were
Loor would have some fun with him. Then perhaps Ravon would... The Tractor beam
slid into place overhead and engaged to the shuttle. The shuttle hit the chaff,
but luckily these men were experience and disengaged the tractor beam to wait
for the shuttle to get clear. The shuttle exited the field and the turbolasers
opened up, all expertly pointed at the engines to take them out. The tractor
beams started again as the shuttle left the chaff. Then the ship started moving
to try to catch the shuttle.
started abruptly out of my nap, awakened by Mike’s voice in a half-dream, and
instantly set the throttle to full power. Then I signaled a warning to Toli,
before racing towards the distant Black Sky. I went ahead and put full power to
engines, watching as the distance ticked down, and speeding along at 150 MGLT.
5 minutes, I was pretty they had picked me up on their sensors (Be disappointed
if they hadn’t, I was only 10 klicks away). I was relatively certain the 2
flights of Ties, and the flight of Squints coming towards me were not the
welcoming party, and that the shuttle being harried by those Squints about 3
klicks away wasn’t being escorted from the system. So, I (after charging my
shields all the way up) re-routed all laser power to engines, and plowed right
at the oncoming Ties.
picked a single Tie, and went directly at it, jinking to miss the laser shots.
He spanged off my shields and exploded as I raced past. The Tie flights
scattered around me, and I kept on course straight for the 6 Squints that were
going after the shuttle (with Tag and Indy aboard, who both had the sense to get
away from the Interdictor’s lasers and tractor beam, and were trying to get
out of the range of the interdiction field). The 12 Ties behind couldn’t keep
up with my speed of 112 MGLT, and the Squints were pretty much even, in terms of
speed. And they were far enough out that their shots were missing.
neared the harried shuttle, I primed my torpedoes and locked onto the squint
closest to the shuttle. I then fired a torpedo at it. The pilot was too focused
on the shuttle to notice when the spear of blue cut through his cockpit, but he
probably noticed the fact that he was dead pretty quickly. Then the 5 squints
turned and headed at me. Well, at least they are leaving the shuttle alone, I
thought. But then I saw the flight of 3 Tie Defenders launch from the bay of the
Interdictor. Oh shit.
I had 12 Ties and 6 squints behind, 5 squints ahead, and 3 T/D’s going after
the shuttle. All I need. So I steadily locked on and fired at each of the
T/D’s in turn, while I was only able to destroy one, it distracted the other
two for a while. While the T/D’s were occupied, I turned my attention to the 5
nearby squints, while the others were a ways off. I managed to destroy 3 before
the 6 other squints arrived. The Ties were still a few clicks behind them. I had
destroyed 5 more squints (and my shields weren’t looking good) when I heard
from Tag that the Defenders were closing on them, and locking on with
pulled away from the Tie infested melee, and raced after the T/D’s. I got in
behind one, and fired my 2 remaining torpedoes blindly at it, so he had no
warning when the first took down his shields, and the second took out his ship.
I then swiveled in behind the last T/D, which was within seconds of firing on
Indy and Tag, a shot that would surely destroy the battered shuttle. The laser
pangs on his rear shields soon distracted him, and we got into a classic
circling dogfight. I told Tag to punch it, and go as fast as she could at
sublight speeds. She only had 4 klicks to go before she was safe.
the 15 other assorted Ties and Squints showed up. Fortunately, they decided they
would rather take me out than go after the shuttle. Also fortunately, they
couldn’t hit me, because I was circling behind the T/D, trying to get a shot
in on him. Finally, I destroyed the last Defender. I then turned my attention to
the Ties, and had 4 of them destroyed in no time. With only 11 bogies left, and
my shields still at a reasonable level, I was feeling pretty good. Than I saw
the Interdictor launch all of the rest of its Ties and Squints. 20 more started
heading at me.
they were still a long way off. Indy was now only 2 klicks from the field’s
limit. I went ahead and destroyed all but 2 of the remaining 11, and those two
were hull-damaged and had already started back. The 7 new Squints were still 4
klicks off, and the new Ties were 5 klicks away. I told Tag to hurry up and
punch it. They did, and I watched as space twisted in front of them, and they
then disappeared. Horrified, I saw the Interdictor warp space and then start
after them, shooting above my ship, and narrowly missing. They had left their
pilots here, in their rush to stay hard after Indy and Tag’s beleaguered
shuttle. Well, I figured Indy wouldn’t have much to worry about, because these
Interdictors are real slugs in hyperspace. I radioed the remaining Ties to
either sit tight and wait for a New Republic shuttle to come pick them up, or
attack me and become new stamps on the side of my craft. They chose to sit
tight. I then sent a message to all nearby New Republic ships, requesting
transport for the Imps and backup for me. Then I entered hyperspace after the
Interdictor, who was chasing after Indy.
hate hangovers. Remind me not to try to beat the mechanic’s records anymore.
It simply can’t be done.
the morning guzzling aspirin, and then managed to get on my feet by noon. Of
course, I was in space, so there was no pesky sun to get in my eyes. No matter.
Something was bothering me. I had to check it out. I got into a computer
station, one of the big ones, not the little datapads. I checked in using my NRI
passwords, and was soon given a secure top-secret line directly into NRI
headquarters’ central archives. I began running background checks on my fellow
squad mates. Of course, I was doing thins to help out Orian, in his trial, but
curiosity made me check the rest. They all checked out. Former Imperials, old
Rebels, smugglers, the usual (usual in the New Republic Military anyway). Until
I came to Raven. There was nothing in his background. His record started with
his service to the rebellion. No history, no birth, nothing. I checked into the
code of the record, but it hadn’t been spliced. It simply wasn’t ever put
decided to check the older Old Republic records. Maybe they had something. They
did. It took longer to get into these records, because they were rarer, and
required more security to get in. But I made it, and I was soon looking at
Raven’s face on my screen. He looked healthy, but when I looked at the date, I
had to rub my eyes. This picture was taken over a hundred years ago! Astonished
I checked further. There was nothing. This time the code had been spliced. It
had been erased. I used his picture to get more records, and found out many
interesting things. Old Republic Jedi, General, you name it, this man had done
it. The last entry had been erased, but I was able to splice most of it back out
of the old code. It read “Raven Connell ******* to
********* left *** for Imper** Service. **** Soon promoted ******
shocked. An Imperial Admiral? Sure, I could handle a Dark Jedi Master, but you
only got to be an Admiral if you were really smart, or really cruel. I could
only guess which one Raven, or Ravon, or Ravan was. I decided I had to check
Imperial records. I would have to go to an Imperial garrison to do that though.
No big deal, these things are rarely secure. Yeah right. I did know one thing, I
had to do this by myself.
spent his hours wasting away two bottles of Sullustan gin. He was saddened
because of the news of Indy’s capture and now he drank away his
problems. He had once managed to drink two bottles of Sullustan gin and still
stand. But that was not the case now as he blacked out on the floor.
wonders into the bar on the Imladris. The mission is over and although a lot of
other stuff is going on he has nothing better to do. He isn’t a lawyer. He
doesn’t know where the others have gone. He doesn’t see the point in
visiting Troy Nexus and saying “hey, you got in a lot of trouble by the looks
of things”. So he went to the bar.
walked in he looked around to see who was there. It was fairly busy in there, he
recognized a lot of faces including Baron, propping up the bar. He looked like
he’d been drinking a lot. Also at the bar was Cody.
Cody,” Morcant called as he approached his commanding officer.
Morcant. You’ve decided to drop the Sir then have you?” he smiled.
we’re off duty now so I didn’t think it appropriate. I could call you Sir if
you like though?”
you do you’ll regret it!”
well, since we’re friends I’ll do that for you then. What’ve you been up
to recently? I thought you were just going to be a pilot but here you are in
charge of this sorry outfit. What happened? You lose a bet with high command or
we’re off duty now, lets not talk about the job. Come on, join us for a drink
over there” offered Torin.
laughed Morcant, “I’ll be over in a minute. I want to talk to Baron. First
of all though I should buy you a drink for your promotion. And I’m buying it
with my money. I know all the drinks are on you but you can’t get somebody a
celebratory drink on their tab can you?” As Cody moved back to the table he
had been sitting at Morcant moved over to Baron.
all right Baron,” you seem to be drinking more than a lot.
fine, just drinking so I don’t have to think about how long it is till this
unit falls apart.”
takes another swig at his drink and gestures the barman for another. Morcant
stands uneasily not knowing quite how to respond. As he is about to speak Baron
turns again and says, “You noticed the number of Jedi in the unit? You ever
wondered why? You ever been suspicious? Think about it. Just go and think.”
With that the conversation was over.
thoughtfully turned away. What exactly was Baron getting at? What did he mean?
Come on over!” came Cody’s shout from across the room, interrupting his
thought patterns. Morcant’s somewhat vacant look dissolved as he turned and
walked over to Cody and the other members of AF.
all this I’ve heard about Orian anyway? I’ve heard lots of bits and pieces
but I don’t know what if any of it is true.”
they drank and chatted till late...
dashed up the shuttle’s ramp, she saw Tag turn, drawing a blaster.
Indy grabbed a spare from near the hatch and dashed back out onto the
deck just in time to see Mike fall. She
let out an anguished cry. My
get in the shuttle!” Tag
bellowed. “We have to get out of
ignored her, firing at the stormtroopers that were already beginning to fill the
bay. She didn’t feel the pair of
blaster bolts that caught her in the thigh and arm, that sent her slamming into
the deck and into darkness, so intent was she on killing the stormtroopers.
As she fell, she heard Raven’s voice in her mind.
came around on the shuttle, lying across one of the benches in the cargo area,
covered by a thermal blanket. She
groaned softly as pain hit her in waves. She
heard Tag talking on the comm.
this is an all-Rogue’s call, if you remember what one of those is.
I need you to get every volunteer you possibly can and meet me in the
hangar. We got Indy, but Mike’s
been taken and Raven’s put his plan into effect.
You know what that means.” There
was a slight pause, and Tag caught her breath.
“I need you to go in my pack and get the datacard labeled A-A-117.
Get a reader, too. Make sure
everyone’s got combat gear; we’re gonna be going up against an Indictor
cruiser full of Imps, one of ours, and an Intel officer. Have a med team meet us in the hangar, too.
Indy’s gonna need a dunk in the sticky tank.”
voice came from the comm. “She’s
hurt that bad?”
Tag said in a brittle voice. “You’ll
have maybe ten or twenty minutes after we get in before we leave.
It all depends on how far the security guys in the brig have their heads
up their asses.”
sat up painfully, trying not to scream. Pain
shot through her left arm and right leg. She
barely stifled a moan. Getting shot
With her good hand, she held the blanket around her as she painfully
stumbled up to the cockpit and dropped into the copilot’s chair.
Tag looked surprised and angry at the sight of her.
“What are you doing up?”
coming with you,” Indy said.
hell you are,” Tag snapped. “You’re
gonna go for a swim in the sticky tank as soon as we get back.”
wouldn’t if you were in my place.”
gave her a withering look. “I’m
allergic to bacta.”
Even if you weren’t allergic, you’d still be doing what I am.
I’m coming with you.”
can’t,” Tag said stiffly.
voice came from the comm again. “Uh,
is that all you need from me, Tag? ‘Cause
if it is, I better get in gear. What’s
twenty minutes. Run, Mynok.
Rendar out.” Tag shut down the comm and continued to stare at Indy.
“Indiana Bridger, I am not going to just stand by and let you do this.
I had the strength to lose your cousin, but I don’t have the strength
to lose you, too.” Tag shook her
head. “If you were to be captured
again, Indy, and if we weren’t able to get Mike out, he would snap like a twig
in interrogation, Indy. He loves
you. He just never had the guts to
come out and say it.”
brow furrowed. “Mike loves me?”
nodded. “I can’t let you do
this. You’re staying aboard the Imladris
when we get back. I owe that much
to Mike to make sure you stay out of danger.”
don’t think he’ll be alive when you get back, do you?”
shook her head, her expression grim. “He’ll
be alive, I just don’t know what shape he’ll be in. Circular, maybe.”
know,” Tag sighed. “I know.”
seeing Indy safely off to sickbay, Tag took the datacard and reader that she had
asked Mynok to hunt down for her and headed to the brig. She stopped square in front of the two officers guarding the
door to Orian’s cell. “Release
the prisoner,” she said. “Or so
help me God, I’ll see both of your careers vaped.”
guards looked toward each other. “Starfighter
pilot?” One observed.
other nodded. “Starfighter
officer,” Tag snapped. “Now
open the door.”
he’s being held for crimes against the state,” one of the officers said.
Tag found him familiar-he had been with her at Twilight Colony.
gaze was withering. “Dimitri
Daskin, you know as well as I do that the young man in that cell is innocent of
I don’t even know who you are, but right now you look like an Imperial
Intelligence agent who’s been in a fight.
We should be putting you in
the brig with him.”
Tag sighed, realizing that she’d forgotten to remove her wig, contacts, and
the scar. She turned, removed the
items, her long auburn-laced brown braid falling down her back as she turned
back toward the two guards. “I’m
sorry, Dimitri. I forgot about the
young guard’s jaw was on the floor. “Lieutenant
Tag corrected absently. “Let the
prisoner go. He’s innocent.
She handed him the datacard and reader.
“There is a copy of the report I handed in to High Command after the
destruction of Twilight Colony. You’ll
notice the wording ‘All things went according to what we planned; the colony
was destroyed with minimal Alliance casualties...’.”
She motioned to the door. “This
young man has been implicated in the destruction of the colony.
If anything, we should be giving him a medal.”
open the door,” Dimitri said equally absently, staring at Tag.
other guard cycled the door open, Tag smiled at Dimitri.
nodded. “Good to see you again,
smiled and stepped into the cell.
had been laying on his bunk. He sat
up when he saw the short woman with the dark hair and bloody uniform enter the
cell. Her eyes were mismatched-one
green eye, one indigo. He shuddered
this the New Republic’s answer to Iceheart?
you ask, no, I’m not NRI’s answer to Iceheart.
I’m Tag Rendar, and you’re a free man.
Get your combat gear ready, Orian. I
need your help.”
was already on his feet. “Where
are we going?”
an Indictor cruiser called the Black Sky.
I believe a friend of yours is aboard as a prisoner.”
paled slightly. “Who?” he asked
as he ran the possibilities through his head.
Bullian.” Tag let that sink in
for a moment. “Indy’s in
sickbay, if you’d rather stay here, you can keep an eye on her.”
happened?” Orian asked.
explain on the way. Right now, you
people have a job to do, and I’m here to help.”
raced along the halls. He searched every where for available pilots. He had
found three so far Cody, Morcant, and Baron who was recovering from a hangover.
For that fact so was he. He raced finding two more recruits Troy and Deadmeat.
He needed more. As he ran frantically through the halls looking for
volunteers he thought of what master Skywalker had said to him. After
discovering that he may be related to one of the dark Jedi they had meet on
Lantare he had called the rebel commander. he assured him that he would do some
research on the subject. He also said that this could be the beginning of some
tough times in his life and to “Keep his head above Mon Cal’s waters. “
Now he was in the hanger he had wrestled up 20 pilots most of them mechanics who
knew how to fly what they fixed. He had also invited the three
best pilots from his own squad that was stationed in another sector.
Raven and Mike also flew with this squadron.
people we are going to be flying whatever we can get our hands on.” Cody had a
knack for briefings.
This means if you have any personal ships you will need to fly them,” Cody
Mynok here has called in his best three pilots from his own squad,” Cody went
Since he is the closest to Mike and Raven he
will lead the operation.”
Before he gives you the schematics of this operation I would like to introduce
the three pilots he has called in John
Rico, Evan Crum, and Aren San-Solo.”
began. “ OK as you can see we have an Interdictor cruiser, our objectives will
to be to rescue Mike and Raven as well as destroy the Interdictor.”
will have two flights each of ten pilots, the first flights job will be to
destroy the Interdictor’s shield projectors and gravity well projectors, the
second will fly cover.”
well get to your ships and may the force be with you.”
walked slowly to the hanger bay. this was going to be really fun.
ran to the hangar to join the other pilots.
Cody stopped him midway into the hangar.
I though you were just a commando, can you fly?”
I got my own personal ship in here. Y’all
ain’t leavin’ without me, ya he’ah?”
exactly can this ship of yours do, Carlos?”
Troy. He’s seen it in action
ran toward the sleek Surronian assault cruiser that sat in the hanger bay.
The Peregrine’s Claw outsized almost all of the craft in the hangar,
except for maybe the troop dropships. He
figured that the ship wouldn’t even need him to fly it; the droid brain
Peregrine could fly loops around most pilots.
Even so, he enjoyed getting behind the controls and flying the ship.
He walked up the ramp and into the cockpit.
we’ve got some combat action commin’ up. You ready, son?”
sir. All systems check out.”
be safe, Carlos did a personal check of the weapons.
The amount of sheer firepower that the Surronian engineers had managed to
cram onto this ship still amazed him.
had Peregrine fire up the ion engines, and the Claw joined the rest of the
squadron in space.
wait a minute, I’m unconscious, then why can i see everything, including my
own body?” Mike was confused by
this, until he realized that his spirit separated from his body and was free to
move. “i should get word to
Aurora” he thought as he channeled his mind into the force trying to transfer
a portion of his spirit back to the Imladris.
stop!” Mynok turned and a shocked
look rose to his face.
no, just outside my body, look, I don’t have much time.
I want you to use my fighter, it’s the modified A-Wing in the corner of
the hangar. My astromech’s in my
quarters, he’ll give you the key decoder if you speak the passcode “jones”,
the ship’s statistics are in it’s computer’s maintenance database.
I have to get back if i ever want to be in my body again but before I go,
tell Indy I love her, i never got the chance.”
will Mike.” at that Mike faded
away, a smile on his spiritual features.
got back in time to return his spirit to his body, now on an Interrogation table
on the interdictor Black Sky. He
woke up to see the familiar face of an old Imperial acquaintance, Kirtan Loor,
looming over him...
I just ask everybody to be careful when they take out the shield
There are going to be some of us in their as well remember.
shots. Oh, and we’ll get the light of dawn in there. She doesn’t
like much but she has a few tricks up her sleeve. Anybody needing a
welcome to join us.”
all boarded their ships Morcant gave a smile, “Its all go here
it. Not a moments peace but that’s how I want it.”
Light of Dawn lifted off of its pad and drifted out of the hangar doors. As it
left it turned and started the engines up full strength.
The Nav data flooded in from Mynok’s X-Wing and into the computers of
the Light. Morcant turned to the Navicomp. He plotted a new course, two hops,
the second more of a micro-hop. Just before he went into hyperspace he sent a
last message to the others, “People, I have a plan. I’ve plotted a course which will take me through them on a
feasible cargo route. The interdictor pulls me out of hyperspace and I give them
our sliced ships ID and ask permission to pass on and get out of there.
You lot turn up and I then ask for protection in the Rebel attack. They
then respond in one of two ways. They tell me to dock until the fighting is over
at which point we start the op. Alternatively they tell us to stay back and flag
us as a friendly. Either way it gives us some element of surprise. Especially
with some of the other tricks Una and Degmar have got rustled up in our
you at the Black Sky and may the force be with you and all that stuff.” And
with that the Light of Dawn engaged its hyperdrives. It accelerated and become a
blur just before disappearing from site.
Light finished its first jump Ralrra growled into the internal comm system.
check back here,” came Una’s reply.
ready Ralrra. Relax a little,” came Morcant’s reply after Degmar nodded his
transponder was keyed in. The ship would report itself as The Gambler’s Ruin.
A trading vessel registered in the Corellian system, captained by Deb Ranootie,
played by Morcant. As Morcant prepared for their next hop that would bring them
out near the Interdictor he stopped
a while in thought. It occurred to him that he seemed to act as captain more
than Ralrra did a lot of the time. Ralrra stilled controlled the business side
of things but in combat situations, which is what they were in most of the time,
Morcant gave the orders. It wasn’t anything that had been consciously decided.
It just ended up that way. But the crew were all happy so it wasn’t a problem.
remember that if our story doesn’t work we have to survive two or three
minutes before the rest turn up to cover us. Be ready and we’ll be fine.”
Morcant’s last warning was a sensible one. Their cover was plausible but not
infallible. They would have to hope that the imperials weren’t checking too
hyperdrive,” said Morcant giving the occupants barely enough time to prepare
for the brief lurch as the ship made its jump. Five seconds later they exited
hyperspace slightly before they expected. Well,
that was good. It meant that the Interdictor did still have its gravity well
projectors operating. They wouldn’t have to perform any kind of bluff to try
to persuade them they were on when they weren’t.
ship. Please Identify yourself and your purpose,” came the harsh down to earth
voice of the duty officer on the imperial vessel.
took a deep breath as he prepared to give his answer, “I am captain Deb
Ranootie of the trading vessel ‘The Gambler’s Ruin’. We are on route from
Demarkes to Larandor. We aren’t quite sure what we are doing here. The
hyperdrives cut out on us early. We apologize, our mechanic is heading down to
fix them now.”
Ruin, hold your current course and speed.”
seconds passed and then the officer came back on line, “We have confirmed your
identity and your route. Turn to this course to achieve the best place to make
your jump. If you deviate from that course you will be fired upon. A warning
shot first and then to kill.”
turned the ship on that course and started traveling. His course was currently
taking him closer to the cruiser. By the calculations that Degmar had done they
should be roughly between the cruiser and the incoming fighters when they
arrived. They sat patiently. One
minute fifty-eight since they had left hyperspace and then it happened. The
Light, or the Ruin as it was currently being called, was three clicks from the
cruiser. Two clicks in the other direction ships were exiting hyperspace.
Sky, this is The Gambler’s Ruin, we have ships that are coming towards us on
an attack vector.” As Morcant spoke he felt the ship rock. The ship was being hit by the occasional long range laser
shot from one of the fighters. “Black Sky, we are not able to engage in a
fight, we need protection.” With this Morcant turned the ship and headed
towards the cruiser towards the docking bays underneath. He could always use the
excuse that he wanted fighter cover as soon as possible.
can you see who that is firing at us?” The gunner was quick minded. The shots
were powerful enough to look like they were doing damage but not powerful enough
to have a chance of actually doing damage. It helped the argument with the imps
rrrrrraarr” replied Ralrra and Morcant smiled. Who else would it be?
all a confusing state of affairs. How this woman managed to just free him by
word of mouth he didn’t know. He just knew her name—Tag Rendar. She was an
odd woman, but a woman with command. Orian liked that in a lady. But at this
moment, it wasn’t time to be thinking about women. There were things to do.
Aurora Force never rested.
story itself was confusing. He barely understood it, but understood one thing:
Somebody needed help. Indy would be fine in the care of the medtechs and
droids and what-not, peacefully getting soaked in bacta—or whatever was wrong
with her. His mind was focused upon getting armed and ready to go. Somehow his
“friends” managed to get him out of his slump, now it was his turn.
liked playing hero.
the locker rooms he went, changed into some half-decent clothes, and then ran
down to the weapons facility. All he would need was a blaster. It’s all he
ever needed. Though it wouldn’t hurt to take a vibroblade and a thermal
detonator or two just in case ... which he did. Things might get ugly, and it
would be best to make things uglier.
wondered what ship he would get stuck in now.
was half-conscious as she drifted in the bacta tank. Her mind darted in every direction, but her thoughts always
returned to the same place, the same image—Mike, collapsing onto the deck of
the Black Sky.
She wondered how she could have possibly missed his subtle ways of
telling her he loved her. Was she that dense? Was
biggest question was—Did she feel the same way?
one was the only one she had an answer for.
had fallen for Mike the first time she saw him.
Whether it was fate or destiny or the Force or something else, she
didn’t know, nor did it matter. Something
inside of her was drawn to him like a magnet.
could have sighed, she would have. As
consciousness left her fully, she promised herself that when Mike came home, she
would tell him how she felt.
also prayed she would have that chance.
getting Mikes message through the force Mynok headed to Mikes quarters. He saw
his R11 unit sitting there silent. Mike had modified this unit so it could fly
his starship by itself. he had promised Mynok that he would build one for him
and upload his R2 Blipp’s memory into it. But now he had more important things
to do. He spoke the single word “jones” and Mikes R11 came to life.
hawk it is me, Mynok i need you to fly with me in Mikes A-wing.”
Bleep- blip beep.”
know he is not here we need to go get him so come on.”
Bleep blip blip beep bleep.”
had highly modified his A-Wing. He had added a droid socket so hawk could tag
along. Mynok joked with Mike often that this thing was a
casket with a hyperdrive. But hey it was the fastest A-Wing he had ever
Hawk fire up engines, lets go get Mike and Raven out of there.”
Bleep blip blip beep.”
Blipp will be all right staying here.”
and Blipp had become friends early in Mikes and Mynok’s career. he started up
the A-Wings engines and sent out an all call.
flyboys the person with the most kills buys drinks.”
heard lots of cheering.
go get Mike and Raven.”
ships sped out of the hanger and started there journey to the interdictor.
was sitting in the cockpit of Mikes A-wing thinking to himself en route to
rescue Mike when he heard some comm disturbance.
Mynok this is Tag me and Orian are going into the Interdictor and we are going
to rescue Mike, could you and your buddies do us a favor.”
replied “ Sure what do you need?”
need you and your fly boys to cover us and blow the gravity well projectors.”
opened a channel to all the ships in his rag tag bunch of pilots.
this is Mynok, I just got a message from Tag—she and Orian are going to land
on the interdictor.”
we have to do is fly cover and blow those gravity well projectors.”
heard a bunch of whoo-hoos from the flyboys who did not want to land on solid
ground. This was going to be more fun then blasting womp rats.
Loor, some would say that he looked like a younger Moff Tarkin, I’d say that
he looked like a demon from my wildest nightmares.
Of course my view is tainted by the excruciating pain and the maddening
dullness of the myriad drugs he’d inflicted upon me. Questions, endless questions.
“Who are you, Why are you here, Where are your friends, When did you
get the delusion that you could escape unnoticed, What is your problem, How the
hell are you resisting me!” As
you can probably tell, Loor was getting upset, but I will never break.
Another face surfaced in my vision, Raven, he dismissed Loor with a wave
of his hand and begun the process of my “Interrogation” all over again.
The same questions over again, obviously a show for Loor. Raven pried inside my mind, tearing information from me,
turning my whole being upside down, Oh how that hurt!
I screamed in agony over and over until i couldn’t hear myself anymore,
but i still would not break. Raven
dug into the farthest depths of my soul and twisted my entire spirit until I
couldn’t take anymore, finally, mercifully I blacked out, but this didn’t
end the torture, Raven jerked me to consciousness, healed my body, straightened
out my spirit, and started all over again, twisting, churning, bending, it felt
like i was being ripped apart inch by inch, maybe i was, i couldn’t tell.
This dragged on for what seemed like days, like i said before maybe, i
couldn’t tell. Finally the
torture abated and i heard words. “It’s over Loor, this one can’t be broken.”
That was Raven, he sounded disappointed, disappointed because he had to
do that to me? or disappointed because he couldn’t break me?
I wish i knew. I drifted
into a merciful healing trance as Loor and Raven left.
I wasn’t sure that i could ever fully recover.
I thought Raven was my friend....
thought I would miss the day on Lantare, or whatever that planet was called.
This is boring. At least that was exciting. Sure, it was the most excruciating
experience of my life, but I wasn’t bored. Shot, stabbed, whatever, not bored.
Whenever I start feeling I am immortal, I tend to get hurt badly. It usually
snaps me back to the present. Maybe I should stab myself with a pen to get over
sitting here watching Indy float around in this big vat of bacta. Have you ever
watched fish swim in a bowl for hours at a time? without actually moving? If you
have, then you know what it’s like. It’s not that I mind, far from it! Indy
saved my life (I think. I almost died so many times, it’s hard to remember)! I
feel honored to watch over her, and I’m kind of mad that I wasn’t able to
help any more, before she was hurt.
Mynok grabbed me, he told me I was needed for a rescue mission. I was on my way
to get a pilot and a ship to fly me to an Imperial world to look up Raven’s
past. Maybe it’s the NRI agent in me, but I have to know who I’m working
with. When I found out that the mission involved me flying, I politely reminded
the group that I do not know how to fly. Needless to say, I was embarrassed.
Hey! Not every New Republic or Alliance Agent is a hotshot pilot! I’m sorry I
don’t have the skills necessary to fly, but I’ll bet not many of the other
crew can splice a code quite like me, or can even think out a grand strategy
with as many subtleties, but enough about me. I knew that everyone on the ship
who knew how to fly was leaving, so I was stuck here. No big deal. I had plenty
to read on the ship.
was certainly catching up on my reading. Most of it was Old Republic records of
Raven, or Ravon, or Ravan, or whatever else he used to call himself. I read a
lot of his supposed past exploits while keeping watch over Indy. I couldn’t
tell quite what to believe. Was the story of his fighting off a band of Pirates
single-handedly true? That one happened 500 years ago. How about the one where
he extinguished a sun? I had no idea that he had such a long history. One thing
was certain. He was fickle. The records show Raven changing sides numerous
times, almost always to the disadvantage of the side he was previously on. This
is not encouraging, since I think he is currently on my side. I think.
down my datapad, and rub my eyes. God, I feel like I’m reading a Spiritual
Text. Raven sounds rather God-like. If you believe in that sort of thing.
Indy just move? I strain to see, but I can’t tell. She’s just floating
there. Hey, no biggie. I can wait till someone else gets here to take over, so I
can grab a quick nap. I promised myself no alcohol until Indy snaps out of it. I
hope she’s okay soon.
sat in the cramped cockpit of Mikes A-wing. A-wings cockpits were already small
with out adding a droid socket behind them. This one was really cramped. On
Mikes A-wings computer Mynok worked out the flight groups and their jobs. He
decided to make the A-wings and X-wings fly cover for the shuttle, they would
also cover the other ships who were more heavily armed but slower as they
destroyed the gravity well projectors. This was all done quickly before they
came out of hyper space and had to engage. Just as he thought that to him self a
voice came over the comm system.
Mynok this is Tag again we are in the system and waiting for you guys to
arrive.” Tag continued.
What is your ETA?”
Well be there in five minutes.”
opened a comm channel to all of the ships.
This is Mynok, get ready to fight boys Tag’s in position and were exiting
hyperspace in three minutes.” he continued
power up your lasers and get to it.”
heard cheers from all the pilots who had never flown in combat before. He
presumed these would be the first to die. As he exited out of hyperspace he saw
the over looming sight of the Interdictor cruiser “Black Sky”
powered up his lasers and went for the first TIE fighter in sight.
light of Dawn started heading in towards the cruiser, trying to
its way into protection, the cruiser opened fire. The first shots
Light and Morcant reacted swiftly. He put the ship into a dive
roll and corkscrewed its way out of the sights of the gunners.
like our trick didn’t work. You ready to piss off some imps,
you are Morc” came the reply with a touch of anxiety. No matter how many
battles Una took part in she was always anxious. she wasn’t worried that they
might get destroyed. She trusted her crewmates better than that. No, she was
just worried about how much damage she was going to have to patch up on the ship
after it was all over.
it,” came the message to Una. With that she flicked the switch that would
start the airlock cycling. She was suited up all ready and strapped onto a
safety cord. This meant that she would not float off into space if she lost her
grip. Not that she would have a grip. In her hands was the end of a large tube
approximately six inches in diameter. The
tube was connected to a large device which took up a considerable amount of the
room in the airlock. The apparatus was relatively simple and the majority of its
space was storage. Compressed air filled a chamber in the machine and as the
trigger mechanism was depressed the container was opened into the tube. The air
would get sucked out causing a motion down the tube. The other part was of
course that their was a projectile in its path which got pushed along with it.
projectile itself was about five inches wide by about twelve long.
It consisted of a small tank of compressed air for guidance and a small
but powerful modified sensor package. The sensor pack would give off signals
indicating another craft including transponder signals. When these were launched
they would travel off into space and after fifteen to thirty seconds activate.
The crew of the cruiser would probably assume ships incoming from hyperspace.
Friendly ships would have received the transponder codes so would be able to
mark them as space debris or whatever on their sensors.
started launching the projectiles. She made sure that they traveled in different
directions and as the light spun around taking evasive actions the small
packages were scattered across the battle area. As she was doing this she could
see laser blasts coming from other ships and also from Ralrra as he manned one
of the turrets.
was strapped into the port-side turret. A lot of ships had turrets above and
below but the light had gone for the somewhat different approach of having the
turrets on the sides. This created a larger blind spot between the two guns, in
a ring around the top, bottom, front and back of the ship. However the greater
angle they were able to turn towards one another meant a greater field of fire
where the two overlapped at the longer ranges. Ralrra was busily fending off the
fighters that were swarming around the Light. He took many shots but their speed
was making targeting hard. However the number of them around meant that it was
easy to find a good target. Ralrra took two of the interceptors down in the
first few minutes but there were still plenty about.
cockpit Morcant was busy trying to avoid the fighters. He was in
too busy dodging the blasts coming in to even try to line up
but the occasional shot at the Interdictor, a target large
that his forward fixed lasers could hardly miss it. As he jinked
juked he saw an element of four interceptors preparing for a
run. This was going to be nasty, their combined firepower could
penetrate the shields, and it was going to be hard to dodge them
of their angle of approach and speed. At that minute however an
came up behind them and while they were intent upon their targets
to loose off several shots to destroy two of them. The other two
hard to avoid the same fate and as he watched Mynok screamed
after one of them.
fight continued, the fighters slowly thinning out and giving Morcant more time
to think and more importantly more time to attack. “Lets make a run on the
interdictor. See if we can worry them a little shall we?” said Morcant as he
turned the ship towards the cruiser. He aimed it a little over the cruiser. That
way the gunners would have to track him rather than having a target stationary
in their sites. The turrets poured blast after blast of energy into their
shields, weakening them but not doing enough to get through them.
have a fighter coming up behind us,” Degmar stated calmly, “I should be able
to get rid of him. He thinks we’re distracted and is taking time for his
shot.” All the time Degmar was speaking he was manipulating controls on his
console. A screen in front of him showed the enemy ship slowly drifting in
behind them. He zoomed in further, he could see the pilot through the front of
his cockpit. The TIE pilot smiled, presumably at the thought of the kill he was
about to get. “Die laughing,” chuckled Degmar to himself as he pressed a
button. The screen in front of him lit up as two laser bolts appeared from
either side of the view and punctured the cockpit of the TIE.
laser at the back was not very powerful or adjustable but it was more accurate
than any of the others and was hidden so the fighters never knew it was there
until it was too late. It could not even be used often due to the overheating
problems. Most lasers on the outside so that they would cool quickly. This one
had most of its mechanisms inside the vessel so it needed time to cool or the
crew would all cook. A useful weapon considering the number of fighters that
tried to jump on their six.
Morcant swung the Light around for another pass at the cruiser his sensors
showed that the cruiser’s shields had failed. Time to be more discriminating
with their shots now.
Aurora Force ships gathered a little ways away from the Imladris. After a quick check in, they headed for hyperspace, with the
Light of Dawn taking the lead.
squadron was set upon by scores of TIE fighters, and a few TIE defenders.
The X-wings and A-wings worked to carve a path through the TIEs for the
B-wings, the Light of Dawn, and the Claw to make their attack runs on the
Interdictor. The Claw broke off
from the run to help the Xs and As hunt TIEs.
threw the Claw into spins and twists to dodge enemy fire. Peregrine, the ship's AI brain, handled the guns.
They made a lethal combination. More
than on TIE Defender got on the Claw's rear and suddenly found itself being torn
to shreds by turbolasers and missiles. The
TLs could each had a firing arc that resembled a half sphere.
No matter how Carlos twisted the ship, a laser was always on target.
Some of the fighters were hit, but their pilots ejected just in time.
and As cut huge rifts in the TIE swarms. The
B-wings made attack runs on the Interdictor's shield generators, blowing them up
and allowing the rescue shuttle to land. The
Interdictor's Turbo lasers were beginning to be a problem, though.
those TLs on the IC are causing us some trouble."
on it, sir."
maneuvered the Claw around for an attack run on the Interdictor. Peregrine adjusted the turbolasers to cover the rear, and
activated his advanced sensor system. The
position of all the TLs on the Interdictor were plotted.
Three points above the Cruiser’s surface were identified and targeted.
locked. Flash missiles will fire at
group. This is the Peregrine's
Claw. Turn away from the
Interdictor. I repeat, all ships
turn away from the Interdictor!"
copy, Claw. Heading away."
missiles streaked from the Claw toward the two points in space.
The resulting flash blinded the gunners on the Cruiser.
ships, the guns are out! Commence
the attack on the grav-field generators."
Claw led the strafing run of B-wings across the bottom side of the Interdictor,
firing torpedoes, turbolasers, and concussion missiles at the exposed
generators. The Claw liberally
sprinkled rockets and cluster missiles on the Interdictors guns.
Morcant, in the Light of Dawn, was doing the same thing with his flight
of B-wings on the top side. All
four generators were destroyed in a matter of minutes.
rescue shuttle leapt from the hangar bay and jumped into hyperspace. Several of the Interdictor's fighters, mostly the TIE
defenders, were still alive and were fighting the Aurora force. The Interdictor abandoned those fighters when it jumped out.
It took only a few minutes for the final slaughter of those pilots to
the less experienced pilots in the AF were talking excitedly. Carlos was subdued. This
had been his first actual combat mission in space. The resulting sensations that he had were the same as those
from ground pounding. Satisfaction.
Sorrow. Pleased that it had
gone well, sorry that the Imperials had wasted all those lives.
Enraged at how the Interdictor had just left the pilots behind.
is good that war is so terrible," he whispered to himself, "Lest we
should grow to fond of it." He
couldn't remember who had said that. Couldn't
remember. Story of his life.
The intercom beeped.
Peregrine said, "I have two messages for you. One is from General Skyy, asking to return to Salasia IVb
ASAP. The other is from Chryson
Shynar. For your eyes only."
Peregrine." Carlos hailed
Torin on the com unit. "General,
this is DeLong. I need to head back
to Salasia IVb for a while."
Carlos," said Torin, "When will you be back?"
don't know, sir. Shouldn't be more
than a week or two." He was
way off in that estimate, but he didn't know it yet.
Lieutenant. See you then."
turned the Claw to a new heading.
right Peregrine, take us home."
Claw entered into hyperspace, he read the message from his NRI contact, and
surrogate father, Chryson Shynar. It
was very enlightening.
promised the AF an absence of no more than a couple of weeks. He would not return for another month.
Aurora Force ~ The Rescue
fighter group dropped out of hyperspace before Orian and Tag’s shuttle and
proceeded to make trouble and Tag managed to slide the shuttle undetected
beneath the shield shell just as the shields went up.
“They’ll be sounding general quarters,” she said tightly.
“Lock and load, we’re not going to have much time.”
right. They set down in the hangar
and that’s when the internal firefight began.
Tag and Orian blasted away at the TIE fighter pilots and Stormtroopers
that suddenly were upon them. Orian
flung a thermal detonator into one formation and it exploded, sending bodies and
blood flying in every direction. “That’ll
keep them busy for a while,” he muttered.
pitched through the corridors, killing all in their paths indiscriminately.
Deep inside the prison sector, Tag suddenly pointed to a door.
“Mike’s in there. Blow
rolled her eyes and shot the door. It
slid open. “*That’s* how.”
She brandished her weapon and bounded into the room.
Mike was lying on an interrogation table, badly injured, looking terrible, and unconscious. Tag’s
hand rested on his forehead a moment before she said, “He’s in a Jedi
healing trance. Let’s get him out
of here.” She tossed her blaster
rifle to Orian and picked up Mike in a rescue-carry.
“Cover, and let’s go.”
bodies and a dozen thermal detonators later, they were back in the shuttle.
Tag settled Mike on one of the benches-the same one, in fact, that
she’d set Indy on when they were on their way back from here once
before-before dashing into the cockpit. “We should be able to punch through their shields from the
inside,” she barked.
was in the copilot’s seat; Tag in the pilot’s, and together, they managed to
manipulate the controls to make their daring escape.
Tag toggled the comm. “Get
those damned gravity well generators off-line!”
voice broke through on the comm, one that certainly shouldn’t have been there.
Is that you?”
eyes nearly bugged out of her sockets and Orian watched.
“*Del*!? What the hell are
you doing here?”
I think,” the voice answered. “The
gravity wells are out. I’m
heading back to the coordinates you gave me before you left Kindar.”
the A-Wings disappeared.
her up to jump,” Tag snapped to Orian. “I’ve
got to take care of Mike.”
nodded, still wondering about the woman who seemed to be little more than a
child but managed to have the bearing of....well....of something.
hurried back into the rear part of the shuttle to where Mike was as the shuttle
jumped to hyperspace. She noticed
that Mike was fighting his way out of his healing trance.
“That’s stupid, you know,” she said to him.
care,” he croaked. “Can’t let
them see me like this. Raven’s
medbay....there’s a tank....better they think I’m dead right now....”
frowned. “You would do that to
coughed, and some blood came up. “Easier
into that healing trance you go, Mike, even if I have to make you do that.”
squeezed his eyes shut. “Promise
me they won’t know.”
sighed. “I promise, Mike. They won’t know. No
one will know.”
Tag,” he mumbled as he slid back into the healing trance.
shook her head and sighed. “This
is going to tear everyone apart.....” She
glanced toward the cockpit. “Orian,
we have problems.......”
she was already wheezing and coughing from getting Mike into the bacta tank in
Raven’s medbay, Tag stopped in to see Indy.
was standing in front of the tank, staring at the young woman who floated there.
He half turned to see Tag. “Well,
well, well, if it isn’t Taggie Rendar.”
managed a bleak smile and hugged Baron. “Hi,
Stephen. Good to see you again.”
nodded. “Where’s Mike?”
skies,” Baron murmured. “Does
anyone else know?”
Orian and I, and now you.”
sorry, Tag. He was your friend,
nodded solemnly. “Aye, he was.
I’m afraid this is going to destroy your morale.”
shook his head. “Unfortunately, I
think you’re right.”
coughed and motioned to the tank. “How’s
give her another few hours. You
look like you could use some rest.”
walk you to your quarters,” Baron said.
not necessary. I’ll be fine.
Will you tell Torin about Mike for me?
I think it would be best of Torin made the announcement.”
walked to her quarters, surprised that Baron had believed her. The other NRI operative was usually extremely perceptive and
seemed to be able to tell when Tag was lying-which she certainly had been in
sickbay. She pushed open the door
to her quarters. Why did I agree to do this to everyone? Mike, you’re my friend, but Goddammit!.....
gaze jerked up from the floor. “Del!”
She hugged Del Sinowa, her beau, tightly.
“I didn’t think you’d make the trip.”
guys got lucky when I got pulled out of hyperspace back there. What were you doing,
shook her head. “It doesn’t
matter. My job.
It’s good to see you.”
held her around the waist. She was
much shorter than he was, but that had never been a problem. “How long are you still here?”
nodded slowly. “Then we have a
smiled, a true smile, for the first time in a long time.
uncharacteristically wore a perfect black uniform as he stood before Aurora
Force. He gazed at their
bleak-expressioned faces-especially those of Mynok, Kenta, Orian, and Indy.
“For those of you who haven’t heard,” Torin said quietly,
“Lieutenant Mike P. Bullian was killed during interrogation by the Empire.”
back corner of the room, Indy began to cry.
She retreated into Mynok’s arms, sobbing.
I never got to tell him I loved him I never got to tell him I loved him I
never got to tell.......
were quiet on board the cruiser Imladris. Because
of the news of Mike’s death, many were subdued. Mike Bullian had been an integral part of their lives, and
now that he was gone, presumably killed by Raven, the rumor was, things just
weren’t the same.
for Tag and Orian, things were different, but for another reason entirely.
stepped into the sealed medbay where Mike was still in the bacta tank, six days
after he’d been brought back to the Imladris.
“You think we should take him out of there now?”
rubbed her face and coughed. The
room was slowly spinning in circles. “That’s
why I called you. I can’t come in
contact with that stuff, so you’ve got to haul Mike out of there.”
nodded, and proceeded to pull Mike out of the tank.
There was a heavy silence in the room for a long time, except for the
draining of the bacta tank and their own breathing. Mike sat on the surgical table, wrapped in a towel and a
blanket. “Does anyone know?” he
shook her head. “No one knows.
Indy’s a mess, and although they don’t show it, Mynok and Kenta are,
too, I think. Everyone’s taking
this damned hard, Mike.”
smiled faintly. “I feel loved.”
well, unless you rise from the dead soon, we’re all in trouble,” Orian told
him. “We can only keep this a
secret for so long.”
looked around. “You have some
clothes for me?”
pointed to a bag sitting on a table. “Right
Mike remarked. “Here’s what
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