Carlos DeLong (BodoBaasJM@aol.com)

The Changeling rested in the maintenance tubes that connected each of the decks of the Imladris.  The encounter with DeLong had been only the second time that he had ever been surprised.  He had gotten used to encountering much looser morals in some of the other missions the Link had sent him on.  He would not make that mistake again.  Some of his spies had learned of the Jedi through stories told by Nylan Bridger.  The Link had decided that before the two cultures made contact, they would ensure their complete dominion over the New Republic by exterminating their greatest threat:  the Jedi.  For that matter, they equipped their foremost assassin with the ability to sense a Jedi, and the prowess to destroy that Jedi. 

 

It had all been well and good.  The Jedi were easily detectable, and the non-Jedi were ignored.  Until Assassin, in duck form (he preferred avian creatures) encountered Carlos DeLong.  A non-Jedi, but Assassin sensed that DeLong could, somehow, gain access to the Force when it was absolutely necessary for his survival and the survival of his team.  That made DeLong  more of a threat to the Link than any Jedi Master could ever have been.  He was unpredictable in what he could do.  Therefore he had to be eliminated.

 

But Assassin had plenty of time.  Right now he had to go and finish off Nylan Bridger.  Then he would continue his campaign of genocide against the Jedi.

 

Troy Nexus (Troynexus@hotmail.com)

     Crawling through one of the many maintenance tunnels traveling

throughout the Imladris like veins that went to every part of the

ship, Troy Nexus cursed himself for going along with the idea.

Quinton Meoss, the security com officer had told Troy of some

movement and strange happenings in the maintenance tunnels and air

ducts.  Meoss had always kept Troy in touch with all that went on

with the ship, giving him a better idea of the security level.

     "What am I suppose to be looking for again??" said Troy still

not use to crawling around in maintenance tunnels with tons of

electricity circulating around him.  "You tell me Chief!  All I know

is something's messing with the wires and machinery and I'm just

suppose to find problems while you check them out." said Quinton in

the safety of his own control room that was connected to all the

coms, sensors, computers, and cameras throughout the ship.  "Thanks..

That helps a lot.  If this is just another crazy feeling you got, then

it'd better pay off or I'll be looking for a new security com

officer." said Troy before hitting his head on a low metal plate

hanging from the tunnel ceiling.

    The comlink at Troy's side beeped, and laying on his back he

ripped at his com and pulled it to his mouth, still recovering from

the blow to the head.  "What is it now??"  "Troy?" came the familiar

voice of his long time friend and fellow commando Carlos DeLong,

"I've found the saboteur."  Forgetting about the pain, Troy's

thoughts cleared and focused on his voice, "So Who is it?"  "It's not

a who.. It's more like a what.  It's a shapeshifter that just tried

to get closer than I'd hope to get.  When I blasted it, it liquefied

and got into a Air Duct before I could stop it." Carlos explained in

a cool yet urgent voice.  "What?? Meoss you hearing this?" said Troy

racing through the many ways of dealing with a shapeshifter.  He'd

had the same problem with their kind back on the Imperial Scout Fleet

that dealt with aliens to often.  "All of it Troy!" said Meoss

before asking, "What floor you on Carlos?"  "Level 15."  Pulling up

the sensor radar throughout the air ducts, Meoss scanned the area of

Level 15 and found a fast moving object going through an air duct

towards the training gym.  "It's on it's way to the training gym.  No

one's in there cuz it's been refurnished.  I got the room closed off

by remote.  You guys want in there?"

      "Yeah.  Someone's gonna have to stop it.  Meoss, get on that

computer and close down all the air ducts after it gets into the

Training Gym, then get security with electro stunner rifles there.

Carlos.. If you'd care to join me.  I think we got a shapeshifter to

catch."  said Troy already heading towards the Training Gym through

the maintenance tunnels.

     Stepping out of a maintenance hatchway onto the Training Gym's dark

floor, Troy looked around at the mist that covered the ground.  The

room had no lights, and had been kept cold by orders of Troy to slow

down the Shapeshifter, and the electro stunner rifles to electrify it

to a state easier to be handled.  Flipping on his com Troy whispered

into it, "Meoss.. Where is it?".  "It's in there, I think it's trying

to get the door open."  Suddenly a sound of metal against claws came

from across the room.  The sound continued as the shapeshifter had

turned itself into a Rancor, not full size, but big enough to start

tearing open the door.  It had been caged in the room and wanted

out.

     Pulling out his blaster, Troy looked at the blaster realizing

what he was about to do.  Shoot at a 3 story bag of tooth and claws.

Rethinking his attack, Troy grabbed his duel sabers.  Flipping the

two dagger size dark blue sabers, Troy ran towards the beast and tore

through it's lower legs, cutting behind it's kneecaps.  The beast

screamed in agony before loosing it's balance at the liquid fluid

legs of the shapeshifter's natural form.  Rolling around in a liquid

form, Troy watched as it regathered itself and reformed into a insect

looking humanoid.  It's arms were thin and long, claws here hands

were suppose to be.  It swung at Troy with it's arms, and as pieces

were chopped off by his saber, a sharper and longer claw would

replace the old one.  Catching the light out of the corner of his

eye, Troy saw the Training Gym's door slide away, and shadows

carrying blasters came into the room and flipped on the lights of

Troy and the Shapeshifter cut away at another, drawing blood for

Troy, and taking off parts of the beast.

 

Indy Bullian (IndyBridger@hotmail.com)

     Nylan floated in the dark peace of unconsciousness, but was not truly unconscious.  As soon as he sensed the shapeshifter looming above him, he struck out with the Force, using it to separate the shape shifter into its atoms and binding those atoms so the creature could never become whole again....

     He came awake with several people standing over him.  One he didn't recognize, the others he knew.  Carlos, Troy, and Baron, and another man.  Nylan moaned softly.  "Get my cousins," he croaked.  "And then get me to bed."  His eyes slid shut again as he slid into a Jedi Healing Trance....

 

Bethan Leitbur (Raptor27@hotmail.com)

Baron turned to Bethan now and said, " Which one's real?"

 

Bethan shook his head, but kept his eyes focused on the Nylan standing, looking him over with his scanner.  Nylan now began to walk toward them saying, " It's me, Nylan.  The shapeshifter tried to pose as me to get to Indy."

 

Baron seemed to be considering this when suddenly Bethan's left arm shot up as a hand trigger popped out of the device on his forearm.  Catching it in his hand, he brought his thumb down on the trigger launching a disc shaped object with some kind of energy field surrounding it from the slit in the front end of the device on his arm heading straight at Nylan.  The disc passed through Nylan as if moving through water, though the disc did seem to cause him some pain.  The disc now reversed directions and came tearing back once again passing through Nylan and reentering the device through a slit in the back.

 

Nylan now showing much anger, reached out transforming his arm into a tentacle which wrapped around Bethan's throat lifting him into the air and slamming him against the wall.

 

Baron now reached for his blaster, only now picking up the situation, but as he was about to fire, the shapeshifter released another tentacle that knocked the blaster away and slammed Baron against the wall at the same time.

 

Bethan meanwhile had found that he could not break the creatures grip and reached for his knife in an attempt to cut the tentacle in two, but it only ended in vain as the knife passed right through.

 

Then barely conscious, Bethan reached for the device on his right arm and pointing his arm toward the shapeshifter, hit the panel just as he went unconscious.  The device emitted a pulse that upon hitting the shapeshifter, caused it to coil in pain, then it released Bethan who fell to the floor barely breathing.  The shapeshifter now grabbed its head as it began to revert to its blobish form.  It then took off down an air vent fairly slowly, as if it could barely concentrate, leaving Nylan, Baron, and Bethan unconscious in the hallway.

 

When Bethan came to, he found himself in MedLab, several faces staring over him, including Troy Nexus.  Troy quickly said as Bethan began to try to get up, " Easy now, you took a beating.  Now do you remember what happened?"

 

Bethan was still partly out of it, but he nodded, though the whole picture wasn't in his head just yet.  He mumbled, " Couldn't breathe.  Tentacle wouldn't break.  Hit the panel on my alpha nullifier, then it's a blank."

 

Troy paused, then said, " You hit the panel on what?"

 

Bethan, more awake now replied, " My alpha nullifier.  It temporarily shuts down the higher functions of the brain.  Most wake up after an hour or so.  Real effective on Jedi.  Must have hurt it."

 

Troy now said, " How'd you know you weren't shooting at Nylan?"

 

Bethan now got to his feet and stretching some said, " I figured that if the shapeshifter was unconscious, it wouldn't maintain its human form, besides, Nylan was too beat up from the last time to take it again."

 

Baron now ran into the room and said, " Sir, there's been another sighting in the Hanger."

 

Carlos DeLong (BodoBaasJM@aol.com)

It was a stroke of luck that the Changeling hadn't reached Nylan earlier.  It had been moving toward the Jedi's location when it had been surprised by Troy and Meoss.  While fleeing from them, it had taken a wrong turn in the tubes, and had wound up in the practice gym.  It had turned itself into a rancor and had tried to claw its way out of the gym, but Troy and Meoss had attacked it.  The Assassin was beginning to figure that this might be his last mission.  Strange, he had never failed before.  Why were these Jedi so different?

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Carlos ran toward the gym.  He hoped that Troy and company could handle the shapeshifter, but he figured that they needed all the help they could get.  He heard grunts and shouts as he neared the gym, and found Indy and a few others just arriving at the door, blasters drawn.  Carlos drew his DT sword and charged in with the rest of them.

 

They stopped short as they saw Troy fighting this large spider-thing.  Blaster bolts and sword swipes joined in with his lightsaber in a concentrated effort to blast the shapeshifter into a mudball.  But it just simply flowed with the shots and swipes. 

 

"I liked you a lot better when you were a duck," Carlos said.

 

The Changeling had managed to dodge most of the attacks, but it was being worn down.  Unable to kill the Jedi in the room, the Assassin flowed into a pool of fluid and drained down the vents.

 

Dack Mauldeer (Xwing884@aol.com)

            Scuttlebutt had passed around about a spy, traitor, something like that. Dack considered himself all right, since he was virtually one of the most powerful force-users in the galaxy, with his peacekeeping powers. Hey, he could emit concentrated bursts of energy from his hands, breathe in the vacuum of open space, punch and kick rapidly at a time, and also hover over any planet's surface. But, he didn't talk of it much. It wasn't that he tried to keep a low profile, it was the fact that he was never naturally one to brag.

            More rumors had passed through that the traitor was targeting force users. A shapeshifter, he had also heard. He decided to watch his back often...

 

            Dack winced as the sparks flew from the end of his hydrospanner.

            He had been working on his A-wing, modifying the weapon alignment, when he heard a scuffle.

            It had barely echoed in the hangar. A small shuffle of feet. Dack rose from his work, and looked around in the dark hangar. With a strange stomach-lurching feeling, he decided that maybe that working on his A-wing this late wasn't good...

            Then, he spotted it.

            "Quack!"

            Dack recoiled back as a small duck waddled up to his feet. The two exchanged a short stare. The duck was looking far up to the taller man. Then, the duck's eyes began to glow red.

            Dack stepped back. The duck started to grow, shift..... shapeshifter!

            The duck-now-turned-beast loomed over Dack, now over four feet taller than him. Dack instinctively lowered into a fighting stance. Nothing was said for several seconds, both sentients eyeing each other with anticipation. Then, the creature attacked.

            The bigger shapeshifter's claws flicked out, lunging towards Dack. At the last second, Dack dodged. Pulling a safe distance away, Dack threw his hands back and charged up some energy in the palm. The mammoth creature lunged again, but was met with a huge burst of blue energy in the chest. With a loud snarl, the beast was plunged back, hitting the hangar floor, and writhing in pain. The energy dispersed all over his/hers/its? body.

            With a hateful look, Dack began to hover up over the ground. He recoiled in disgust and blasted the creature again with energy. The shapeshifter's howls changed into a loud yell of anguish.. a humanoid yell. The huge form of the beast changed into something with smaller arms and legs. Shapeshifters needed to concentrate on their work at hand.

            Just then, the doors to the hangar opened, and the lights came on...

 

Baron (BaronCoop1@aol.com)

            God, it's here again. I used to love these days, but now I realize why my parents never really liked theirs. Birthdays suck. I'm at the bar today, and I'll probably be here tonight. I don't think anyone knows it's my birthday, and I don't care. I just want to gracefully and quietly add another number to my growing list.

            This is giving me time to reflect on the past couple of weeks, between missions. I've gone through a wedding, a dangerous confrontation with a ghost of my past, a shapeshifter, a bar brawl, a chance to see Indy in bacta, a visit by Indy's whole family, (one at a time of course), a chance to relearn my piloting skills, and I even managed to shoot down a few members of Rogue Squadron in the sims! (Thanks Mike) Man. If that's what goes on between missions, do I really want to go back into another one? You bet! It's gotta be safer than sitting here!

            I wave the bartender over for another drink.

 

Gerald Caridian (OVEREADER@aol.com)

Gerald responded to the resounding cry for assistance in the gym that was now coming over the intercom every two minutes. He grabbed his lightsaber, and a blaster, and shot off toward the gym. A group of other officers were there with him as the gym door slid open and they rushed in. Someone hit the lights, and the sight of Troy battling what appeared to be a rancor that grew limbs back invaded his attention. This must have been the shapeshifter everybody was talking about, the saboteur. But how do you capture one?

            Man, it's cold in here. I guess this might make the shapeshifter weaker, but he only seems to be stronger under these conditions. 

            How are we going to KILL this thing?

 

Deadmeet (Bubbakidd@aol.com)

            Life was dull, at least when all you have to do is sit back and watch some computer screens. Thank god Mike had come to Stormlight, Deadmeet would have gone out of his mind.  After the first day Deadmeet brought mike down to the more "sophisticated" holo room. The ones that you can actually feel the holograms.  Mike was impressed, especially since the standard holo's on ships just projected images.  So Deadmeet punched up his favorite battle and with drew his lightsaber, now it had a heavenly blue glow on it. "Nice," Mike said, "Yea, Iíve had a little time on my hands so i figured I wanted a different color than the standard green."

 

            After killing all the holo enemies 3 times and only coming out with a small scratch from were one of them turned a blaster on Deadmeet and he didn't turn around in time, they felt pretty good.  Once again after having Mikes spicy Chicken stir fry and complements pouring from Deadmeetís mouth about it they played a game of sabacc and went to check on the ship. "Enyo," Deadmeet said to his modified R2, "What is the current completion of the ship?" Current ship status is at 50 % completion. Super structure finished, main hull 50%, interior armor 70%, weapons/shields/docking bays not yet begun. "Thanks Enyo," Deadmeet said, "Well, we got 3 choices, A:  We can start doing manual labor on the ship ourselves, B: We can begin manufacturing more droids to speed up production, or C: We can go to sleep and see how far along it is tomorrow." "Hmmm," he replied, " I vote a little of A, a little of B, and a little of option D." Deadmeet asked, "What's option D?" "Me going back to the ship, seeing Indy, training Slate, and seeing if the next mission is about to start." Deadmeet considered, "Hey works for me, like i can really stop you. I'll just work on more droids tell you get back." And with that mike vanished leaving only a slight wind were he stood.

 

Bethan Leitbur (Raptor27@hotmail.com)

Bethan sat in the MedLab now, letting the doctor finish going over him.  It had banged him up some, although hardly enough to take him out for more then an hour.  He had heard the shapeshifter was either cornered or dead, either way, it would be good to have this behind him.  He had told Troy everything he needed to know, though he had kept one thing out.  The clincher as to how he knew which one the shapeshifter was. He had felt normal to him, while a Jedi would have sent bells off in his head.  It was better this way he figured.  Most people here don't know him, or don't like him, or both.  To allow them to know that he could sense a Jedi would add to their distrust of him.  Yes, better they not know.  Bethan's Survival Code: Rule 7, " Never let anyone know more about you then necessary."

 

Besides, they would only think that he was sent to kill off the Jedi onboard.  Such missions were suicidal, and he would never accept such a contract.  They wouldn't believe that though, and they would never quite understand why he was really here.  They were too naive, still seen too little battle.  He'd lived for fifteen years, with a new mission, new settings every week, and the Imladris felt slow compared to his old lifestyle.

 

If they only knew him.  Then they'd not only never question his loyalties again, but would know that he's the one guy they'd want watching their back in a firefight.  He could always open up, show them right now what kind of person he was but... no, no he couldn't let anyone in.  Couldn't let them be hurt.  Rule 4, " Keep your enemies close, and your friends out."  And these people, as much as he didn't want to believe it, would have to become his friends.

 

If only Lara was here.  Then things would be all right.  But she was the past and it needed to be buried.  No one would ever know about his greatest tragedy, his guilt, and that was that.

Carlos DeLong (BodoBaasJM@aol.com)

The shapeshifter had managed to escape Dack's attack about an hour before.  He was quite infuriating that way.  He spent that last hour in the maintenance tubes, resting in a fluid state and recovering.  These Jedi were the most difficult opponents he had ever encountered.  There seemed to be only one way to destroy this collection of Jedi:  destroy the Imladris.  He started to flow down the tubes toward the engine room.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

All of the Aurora Force had been given specific sections of the Imladris to cover.  By sheer coincidence Carlos had been assigned to patrol the engine section.  As he walked into the engine room to finish his last sweep before the next shift took over, the first thing he noticed was Chief Engineer Captain Batah Charazan lying on the floor out cold.  The second thing he noticed was a humanoid form hunched over the controls, setting the engines for overload.

 

"Hey!  Get away from there!"  Carlos shouted as he ran toward the intruder.

 

The intruder turned toward Carlos and started to melt away.  The Changeling was striking again, and looked to be in top physical condition.  Carlos was in pretty good shape, but he was beginning to get tired from all the patrolling.  He had fifteen minutes before he would be relieved from his post and could go to bed.  It would be a very exciting fifteen minutes.

 

"You.  Haven't you had enough?" Carlos asked.

 

"Never, DeLong.  I still have my mission."  the Changeling hissed as he flowed away from the panel and turned into a large man.  Carlos steadied himself and drew his blaster as he faced the Assassin down.  He drew a bead on the Changelingís head and fired.  The shapeshifter simply flowed aside.  Carlos threw the blaster away and began to attack the shapeshifter hand-to-hand.  He was a master of teras kasi, but he also knew its less known armed variant, teras ki.  The shapeshifter avoided all of his blows, and got in strike after strike as he wore Carlos down.  Finally, with a hideous laugh, the shapeshifter flung Carlos into the far wall of the engine room.  With an evil gleam in its eyes, the Changeling approached Carlos, its arms turning into sharpened blades.  Impossible situation.

 

The adrenaline level in Carlos soared of the scale.  Special sensors built into his ring recorded this, and the ring took the appropriate action.  Its stone glowed with a green light, and Carlos's eyes took on the same aurora.  He felt the Force flow through him.  He knew that he had to stop the Changeling, now.  With a loud cry he charged at the enemy, all his strength restored.  The Changeling tried to flow away, but Carlos grabbed him with the Force and did not allow him to transform.  Carlos dealt blow after blow, each one powered by the Light Side, each one destructive to creatures of the dark.  If anyone had been there, they would have seen his arms and legs move in blurs as he pounded the changeling back into the power core.  In one final blow, Carlos knocked the changeling backward onto the main engine.  The radiation surrounding it crackled and sparked as it flowed through the shapeshifter's body.  It let out one final scream and then fell forward, dead.  Carlos breathed heavily, his body weakening as the Force left him, as the thousands of years old mechanisms in his ring deactivated.

 

It was over.

 

Operation 1, complication set #6

Preparations

Indy Bullian (IndyBridger@hotmail.com)

   Nylan woke up on the couch in his cousin's quarters.  The rooms were quiet, empty.  He stood up slowly and rubbed his forehead.  He wandered through the corridors, feeling much better than he had before.  He caught some rumors as he wandered the decks--about Legend Wing, about the Echo Raiders, about a new run coming up....Nylan immediately marched to the CO's office and volunteered to ship out.

 

    Slate fired at the target.  He was happy to learn that he was as skilled with a blaster as he had been as a member of CorSec's upper ranking academy cadets.....

 

    Indy gathered her slicer's kit together.  She had a bad feeling about the upcoming mission, but she'd do her best anyway, because doing her best would keep them all alive.  She closed her eyes, trying to shake the dread that was creating a ball of lead in her stomach....something bad was going to happen, she just knew it.

 

Bethan Leitbur (Raptor27@hotmail.com)

Bethan sat in a sim now, flying his X-Wing through dog fight after dog fight.  He had decided to get a little flight time going since he had heard rumors of a half ground, half space assault, and he was planning on spending plenty of time on the ground, where they'd need him most.

 

He had been raising the levels until they could go no higher, but still he found them too easy.  He tried other scenarios but it was no use.  Something about the sim was bothering Bethan too.  As real as it was, he missed the feel of real space below him, the real feel of the chase seemed gone.  Perhaps it was just that he hadn't been in a sim for three years, but he doubted it.

 

He got out now just as Mike and Indy entered the room.  Instantly Bethan's eyes narrowed as Mike said to him, " Hey Bethan, nice job with the shapeshifter, want to run a sim with us?"

 

Bethan shook his head saying, " Nah, I've been in here for the last three hours.  I should get going."

 

Indy now jumped in, taunting Bethan to a degree, " What's the matter, afraid of a challenge?"

 

This riled Bethan.  No one was going to call him a coward.  " All right, half an hour, but then I'm out of here whether we're done or not."

 

Mike chuckled some and said, " OK, and don't worry, this won't last that long."  They all then got into their machines and the challenge was on.

 

Twenty-five minutes had passed now, and they were on their fifth round.  Indy was standing outside now, having been downed by Bethan for a fifth straight time.  Mike and Bethan were tied two a piece and neither were willing to fall short of the other.  Mike was in pursuit of Bethan now, if it could be called one.  Every time Mike was about to get a clear shot, Bethan pulled away, spun, or found some amazing way out of it.  Experience, was definitely on Bethan's side here.

 

Mike now dove in, trying to catch Bethan off guard.  As he turned to get the shot though, he found Bethan had slipped behind him and was firing.  Mike dodged with great skill, but had the left tip of his wing hit, causing slight damage.  The evasive maneuvers continued until Bethan hailed Mike and said, " Sorry, times up.  I got to go."

 

Bethan then got out of the sim as he shut it down and thanked both of them for a wonderful time and left.  Indy turned to Mike now and said, " Well, what do you think of him?"

 

All Mike said as he nodded his head some was, " He's good, I'll give him that.  His social skills may be lacking, but he's definitely good."

 

Mike Bullian (KngCaldor3@aol.com)

  Mike tried to suppress the fear in his gut as he got himself ready for the next run.  Mike had had a vision, a flash of fire and excruciating pain before nothingness.  He turned on the mini holorecorder on the bedside table and began to record a message.

  "Indy, if you're hearing this I'm dead.  I wanted you to know that i loved you and i will always be with you.  The ruby on the necklace i made you has a portion of my soul within it.  There's so much i want to tell you, but i haven't the time on this recording.  I want you to accept your heritage and start training as a Jedi, i know you've forsaken the Force, but you have so much potential and I don't want to see you waste it.  You will sometimes get feelings of my presence, that is because Iíll be there with you, at least in spirit.  I love you..."  Mike switched off the recorder and went up to the Imladris bridge.  He watched the sensors as a capital ship jumped in, 2 kilometers long, 1 wide and a half high, it looked a little like a Calamari Cruiser, but bigger and more symmetrical.  mike thought to himself "Good, they're here"  Mike thumbed the comm on a nearby station. "Cruiser Waterdeep, welcome, pull on up alongside."  The ship that arrived was a MC-100 Cruiser, the flagship for Legend Wing.  It was going to back up Aurora on the upcoming mission.

  "Hey Mike, haven't seen you since the wedding, how you been?"  Mike sat down at the comm station and transmitted.

  "Not bad Alex, you?"

  "Can't complain, you got one beauty of a ship here you know?" Alex was referring to the Waterdeep, one of the most advanced capital starships in the galaxy. "All those training rooms you thought to put in are great." Mike smiled, he had redesigned the interior of the ship and outfitted it better for a group of fighter jocks with many training gyms and simulators, LW pilots were the best in the cockpit, why shouldn't they be in top physical shape.

  "I thought you'd like it, you guys all ready?" Mike asked, needing to know whether AF had top shape backup.

  "Most everyone else is in the training sims, we're as ready as we'll ever be."  Mike smiled, Alex sounded enthusiastic, that soothed the fear that had nestled itself deep in Mike.

  "Okay, Iím gonna go log some sim time, see you in the cockpit tomorrow Alex."  Mike turned off the transmitter, but waited for his friend's reply.

  "See you then." Alex replied.  Mike left the bridge for the sim room and went through his preflight sim rituals, even being a Sedith master, he still had a few luck charms, every pilot worth his salt did.  Mike uploaded Hawk's memory and programming into his data storage computer, just in case something happened.  He plugged Hawk into the sim and hopped in.  A practice ruin was already in session, but Mike decided to join, virtually all of the Auroras who were flying tomorrow were working in the sims.  Mike got into the thick of things and enjoyed himself, relishing the workout.  Mike finished the sim run quickly and stretched before the next one was gonna start.  He figured he should get himself in top flying shape, the ground-pounders were counting on him for air support.  He stayed in the sim for hours until he was satisfied with his shape.

  Mike left the sim room and headed for the gym, it'd also be good to work up a good sweat and get tired so he would be able to sleep soundly.  He picked up his ebon staff and took off his shirt.  he went through a few rounds with a training droid and waited for another humanoid to show up to spar with...

 

Alex Vaca (Biitz@hotmail.com)

Alex walks down to the sim room where a couple other pilots were training.

 

I plug Tweak my R-5 into the simulator and pop open the hatch and jump in. "Cozy thing, Tweak get this thing started up on a escort sim." The droid respond in a couple of trps and beeps which roughly translated into" Yeah Yea trying hold you banthas." The hatch closes down, and everything goes dark for a moment before the buttons, switches, and screen lit up to fill the room with a eerie glow. Soon I was in a mission protecting the Waterdeep. I spent a good 3 hours in there before Tweak told me to get out. So I pop the hatch and get out, I head down to the mess keeping to myself, thinking about how weird Mike sounded. When I reached the mess I got a bantha steaks and some sorta mush. I played around with the food before it grew cold and I left it there for some droid to pick it up. I head down to my quarters. I reach them and head in, I strip of my clothes and hit the refresher. After that I fell asleep on my bed. In my dream I see a battle, then I see fire and death. I awake with cold sweat running down my forehead.

 

Indy Bullian (IndyBridger@hotmail.com)

            A squadron of mixed craft, mostly X-Wings, dropped out of hyperspace within two klicks of the Imladris.  The markings on them were mixed as well, but the markings on the lead fighter were unmistakable--an icy orb with the Alliance Crest and crossed lightsabers laid across it.  The Echo Raiders had arrived.

            There were several members of Aurora Force in the hangar, preparing for the mission, when the squadron arrived.  The craft set down in a tight formation, wingtips to noses.

            Indy looked up from where she perched on top of her X-Wing, getting Nylan acquainted with its modified controls and systems.  She waved to the woman who climbed out of the lead fighter.

            Commander Tag Rendar waved back, then shouted.  "Hello, the Imladris!"

            One of the deck-techs, someone by the name of Martieneco, waved.  "Hello, Commander Rendar!  That *is* you, Commander, isn't it?"  The deck-tech grinned.

            Indy frowned, perched above the cockpit of her fighter, but Nylan smiled.  He looked up at Indy.  "Jack Martieneco was on Hoth with us.  The "that *is* you" joke has survived."

            Indy still didn't understand, but she didn't push the subject.  She walked to the end of her S-foil and dropped to the floor, crossing the deck toward where the Echo Raiders were congregating.  Nylan followed her after a few moments.

            Tag was deep in conversation with Troy, who'd just come on-deck, so Indy looked at the pilots that had accompanied her.  She recognized one of them--Captain Astrid Burns--and that was all.

            Nylan walked up smiling.  "Hello, Echos!"

            "Nylan!"  One of the Echo Raiders exclaimed.  "Where the frig have you been, you mynock?"

            Nylan grinned.  "Here and there, Zephair, but I'm here now."

            Indy continued to look confused until she caught part of Tag's conversation.

            "...had to drag most of the original unit off of other duties or out of retirement to get enough flyers...glad you called, though...not any trouble..."

            Indy's expression brightened.  No wonder she didn't recognize anyone!

            "Hi Indy," Astrid remarked.  "Where's Mynok?"

            Indy shrugged.  "He's got to be around somewhere, Astrid.  Are these the original Echo Raiders?"

            "In the flesh," one said.  He was tall, with gray eyes and brown-gold hair.  He extended his hand.  "Lieutenant Jax Darel, at your service."  He kissed her hand as she went to shake his.

            Indy flushed.  "Lieutenant, I feel compelled to inform you that I'm a married woman."

            Jax colored and released her hand.  The other Echo Raiders laughed.

            Nylan clapped Jax on the shoulder.  "At least she's not an Imp spy, Jax!"

            Jax turned a hawk-eyed stare at Nylan.  "Don't say it."

            Nylan laughed.

            Indy crossed her arms and studied them all.  One of the pilots was a Trandoshan, another a small Wookiee.  The rest were human, but seemed to be from various worlds.  She could peg the one that had spoken first as a man of Commenor, simply by his manner, and then there was another man in the group who looked so much like him there was no possible way they could not be family.  Then, there were three that reminded her so deeply of Morcant that she was willing to lay odds that they were Alderaanian.  Two were unmistakably Corellian, and looked like twins.  There was another pair that she couldn't place to a world, but were unmistakably brother and sister.

            Tag motioned to the Echo Raiders.  "Captain Nexus, these are my original Echo Raiders.  Astrid Burns, Jax Darel, Ryan Miller, Cari Kisick, Rayn Miller, Terel Kisick, Ivy, Ben Balekin, Ilinniwara, Syyn Warchock, Keth Balekin, Kath Balekin, and Zephair Warchock.  They--" her gaze caught Nylan and she stopped short, falling silent.  She stood and stared at him, her entire body rigid.  "Excuse me," she said quietly, and walked toward her X-Wing.

            Troy looked at Nylan.  "What was that about, Captain Bridger?"

            Nylan shook his head.  "I'm not really sure, Captain.  Perhaps she had given up on me as dead."

            "Captain, she's flying in this assault.  I suggest you get over there and explain yourself."

            "That I will," Nylan said quietly, and walked over to Tag.

            Troy turned to Indy.  "Indy, will you please show the Echo Raiders to the empty ready room and to the block of barracks open on deck six?"

            Indy nodded, and began to lead the Echo Raiders away, glancing back over her shoulder at the two other Children of the Chintar'fin'na'cah, standing by Tag's fighter, staring at each other.

 

Mynok (mynok9985@aol.com)

Mynok stepped into the hanger to get ready and to his surprise there was his fiancť Astrid.

"Astrid, I missed you so much."

"Me too"

 

Mynok sat with Astrid.

 

" So you brought all the Echo's huh?"

" In the flesh."

" Well you ought to spend some more time here I really missed you."

 

He couldn't believe all the Echos were here. It had been ages since he had seen them all in one place. As he went to sleep he had a horrible dream. He saw Alderaan and saw it explode. He saw a face and in the background a light saber. His very own lightsaber. he say the face and recognized it as the dark Jedi he had confronted on Lantare. He awoke in a blazing sweat. he looked over and saw Astrid sleeping and thought to himself " somebody on this ship had something to do with my familyís death."

 

Indy Bullian (IndyBridger@hotmail.com)

     "Tag?"

     Tag turned and stared at Nylan.  "Why didn't you contact me?"

     "I...."  Nylan just shook his head.  "I'm sorry."

     Tag sighed.  "I thought you were gone forever."

     Nylan shrugged.  "I almost was."

     Tag looked at the ground, then up at him.  "Where have you been, Nylan?  You've been gone for a year and a half.  We gave up on you as dead."

     Nylan looked away.  "You don't want to know where I've been."

     "I hope that you don't think that we can just start over where were before," she said.  "Because we can't."

     Nylan's face fell.  "Why not?"

     "Because I've gone on with my life," she told him.  "I've found someone else."

     Nylan's eyes burned.  Somehow, somewhere, deep in his heart, he had always believed that Tag would wait for him....now he saw that no matter how much the woman cared, he *had* been gone for too long, and that had effectively destroyed their relationship.  "Can we still be friends, Tag?"

     Tag smiled gently and hugged him.  "You're my blood-brother, Nylan, and that's far more than a friend."

     Nylan took her hand.  "Can I buy you a drink?"

     "Before a mission?"  Tag laughed.  "Oh, Nylan, you know me too well.  Of course."

     The pair of ex-lovers headed for the bar.

 

Carlos DeLong (BodoBaasJM@aol.com)

Life on the Imladris had resumed some semblance of normalcy after the defeat of the Changeling.  The damage that had been done to the engines and the fighters had been repaired.  The Claw, however, had not been in such good shape.

 

Carlos had spent the better part of an afternoon crawling through his ship, fixing busted cables and cut wires.  The ship looked like a bomb had gone off in it.  He found out that he was not as good with a welder as he was with a blaster.  Or maybe it was the fact that he was still shaken by what had happened.  Not the fact that he had almost been cut to ribbons, been forced to die with the knowledge that he had failed to save his friends, but the fact that he could feel the Force when in serious trouble had him...spooked.  Granted, it was a feature that could surprise his enemies and friends as much it had him (he wondered what the Krayts would think of this development), but the way in which he had found it out was disconcerting.  He wondered what else the ring could unlock, what its secrets were.  Then he had to stop thinking about that and test Peregrine.  He reattached the last two wires, crossed his fingers, and flipped the ON switch.

 

"Freen!  KRizme!  Aooogah!  What on earth happened!"

 

"Good to see you back, Peregrine.  Some saboteur deactivated you and trashed the Claw.  Not very well, though.  The ship is back in one piece."  And a good thing, too, Carlos thought, if the rumors I've been hearing are true. 

 

The Peregrine's Claw would be joining the action, but without Carlos at the helm.  Once again, Peregrine would be flying the way he was designed:  alone.

 

Bethan Leitbur (Raptor27@hotmail.com)

Bethan sat on the floor of his room now in a meditative state, legs crossed, hands slowly moving through synchronized motions  His thoughts were focusing on the mission (or what he knew of it) and those involved.  The Echo Raiders were in his thoughts now.  This would be another first for him.  The Changeling had been new to him, and now this would be the first time he'd be on the same side of the Echo Raiders and not fighting against them.

 

He'd seen them in action before once some time ago ( he couldn't remember exactly when) and he'd barely made it out intact.  This Nylan he had saved seemed to know them, and that would require further inquiry.

 

His mind drifted back to battle tactics, strategy, and then suddenly, he was in his dream again, watching the capital burn from space.  He broke out of his meditation now and tried to clear his head.  Unfortunately, the image wouldn't go away, so he got up and headed for the bar.

 

He sat down and ordered a drink.  Then looking over to his left, he saw Nylan sitting and talking with one of the Echo Raiders.  Tag was her name?  His drink arrived now and he decided to go over and join them.  This would, after all, be the perfect opportunity to learn more about Nylan's connection to the group.

 

Walking over to them, he could hear them talking about old times in the Echo Raiders.  That did answer one question, Nylan was a part of them it seemed.  Bethan now said to the pair, " Is this a private conversation, or may I join you?"

 

Nylan looked up at Bethan and recognized him from when he destroyed the Changeling replicant.  He then said, " Sure, you helped me take on that Changeling, so I guess I can make an exception.  By the way, never  caught your name."

 

" Leitbur, Bethan Leitbur.  And you're Nylan Bridger, and if my information is correct, is Tag Rendar."

 

Tag nodded and said, " Well you're informed.  How long you been here?"

 

Bethan now turned toward Tag and said, " Less than Nylan here has.  But not by much."  He knew Nylan was a Jedi, and the very fact angered him, but he knew that this was another one who he shouldn't mess with unless necessary.

 

Tag now continued, " Where were you before that?"

 

Bethan responded, " I'm an ex-mercenary.  I was everywhere."

 

Tag seemed angered by this and said, " A mercenary?  Never liked them much.  They took out some good pilots of ours, and have no loyalties."

 

Nylan jumped at this slightly and said, " Tag, that's rather rude to say to Bethan."

 

Bethan put his hand up toward Nylan to let him know not to bother and then said, " It's all right Nylan, I usually get that response.  I also know just how good those pilots were that went down since I have flown against you once."

 

Tag almost leaped from her seat to strangle Bethan, but Nylan restrained her, though Bethan could see that Nylan had the same thoughts.  He then continued, " Had we known it was you we were going up against, we would have demanded more money for it.  I myself almost didn't survive.  I will say this though, I would never want to fly against them again after my last experience, and I hold a high respect for them."

 

Tag calmed down now slightly and Nylan seemed almost shocked.  This was the first time he'd actually talked to the man, but he'd heard that he was anti-social and had no respect for others, and this was definitely not the man he'd heard about.  He decided therefore to accept the compliment for what it was.

 

Tag though, was still suspicious. " If I may ask, when was this?"

 

Bethan leaned back in his chair now and thought for a moment, then replied, " When I'm not sure exactly.  I flew so many missions so frequently that I can't remember dates of particular missions too well, but I remember that it was an attack on a convoy, and you were escorting it.  We took heavy casualties though,  Wait, that would mean it was before the Battle of Endor because my entire team died there except for me, and I went solo after that."

 

Tag seemed to recall the mission now, and believed his story of respecting them.  This was a very strange ex-mercenary indeed.

 

The conversation went on for several more hours now, with the subject flowing away from Bethan and that mission to other things, and when they concluded their conversation, Nylan and Tag left leaving Bethan alone in the bar reflecting on the conversation.  " Perhaps not all force wielders were so bad after all?" he thought.  Then he shook his head and thought, " Nah."

 

Krig Larah (Avron@gezernet.co.il)

Krig Larah was walking out of his shuttle, surprised there was no one to

welcome him onboard. In the landing bay, he saw several X-wings, three

Y-wings and two Shuttles. Suddenly, he heard a voice coming from one of the

X-wings, like if someone was welding something.

"Hello?" he yelled and got near the X-wings, and so far saw no one.

"Anybody here?" He walked slowly under an out-dated X-wing nose.

He could feel that there was someone there. he walked slowly toward on one of

the X-wings, as suddenly he saw someone turning his head toward him.

"Hello there" he said.

"Hey" he now saw that it was a woman. She looked down her X-wing's S-foils

to him.

"You new?"

"Yes" he said and walked toward the back of the craft, until he was standing

right beneath her.

"Krig Larah, Call sign Ambious" he said and put his bag down on the floor.

"First Lieutenant Indiana Bridger Bullian," she said, "But friends call me

Indy".

"Pleased to meat you Lieutenant" he said and saluted with a large smile.

"You flatter me, mister Larah," she smiled and hopped of her X-wing, "A

salute for a mere Lieutenant".

"Well, I am new here," he said, "And I do need someone to show me around".

"Oh well" she said "I think we have some time before our next mission. We're

shipping out soon".

"I guess that excludes the option of taking a nap" he smiled and took up his

backpack.

"I've never been to a Calamari cruiser before," he said as they left the

landing bay, "It's huge".

"Ever been to a VSD?" she asked.

"No" he said. "And hoping not to".

"I have" she said.

"What were you doing onboard a VSD?" he asked in surprise.

"My blood sister commands a battlegroup and the VSD is their flag ship".

"A VSD in the Alliance?"

"Yes. The VSD 'Echo' was capture in a skirmish and refitted as the Flag ship

of the 'Echo Raiders' battlegroup".

"The one your blood-sister commands."

"Right".

"I've been to normal ISDs though. They are much smaller the VSDs".

"And what were YOU doing on an ISD".

"I used to be a spy for the Alliance. I was almost shot to death one day in

my shuttle and so I decided that if I don't want to end up like my parents

did, I better learn piloting officially in the Academy".

"What happened to your parents?" she asked.

"They were both spies for the old Republic. One day, when they were about

to return to base with stolen battle plans, their shuttle was shot from

behind and there was nothing they could do. They died that day".

"I'm sorry" she said.

"That's OK. I never felt the change. They were never there for me anyhow".

"Oh, OK" she said as they entered a weird dark room.

"The Bar" she said. "The perfect place to forget about your fights, battles

and rebellions".

Krig looked at the room quietly. Near the sabacc table he saw a few people

playing, two people sitting next to the bar, another woman sitting alone,

and two people standing next to and old holo-projector jukebox.

Indy walked toward the two man near the jukebox and Krig followed her.

"Hey guys" she said to them. "I'd like to meet Krig Larah".

"You can call me Ambious" he said after a short handshake with each.

"Ambious, this is my husband, Major Mike Bullian, and my older brother,

Lieutenant Slate Bridger".

"Pleased to meet you" Krig said and put his hands into his pockets, his

jacket drawn aside revealing his Lightsaber.

Mike looked at the metal cylinder for a second and then back at Krig.

"Yeah, you too" mike said.

Slate looked at Krig. "You are a little old to join the Aurora Force, aren't

you?" he asked.

"Well," Krig said, "I have been spying for the alliance for a few years".

"Oh" Slate said. He was sure that there is a somehow traumatic past inside

this new man. He could see it in the way he acted.

"Well it was nice meeting you. Maybe I'll see you guys tomorrow" Krig said

and was about to turn to the bar.

"I think you'll be seeing use much earlier then that" Mike said.

"Don't tell me!" Krig said.

"We're shipping out" The three of them said in unison.

"Well, I'll see you around then" he said and turned to the bar.

 

Next to the bar, he saw a lady sitting alone.

"Give me another one" she said to the bartender.

"I'll pay for it" Krig said. "Get me one too".

"Thank you" she gave him a big smile. "Gibai Antion," she said, "Just

arrived yesterday".

"Krig Larah" he told her and they shook hands. "Just arrived today".

"You fly, Krig?" she asked him as they got their drinks.

"Yeah. I'll take it that you too" he said and paid the bartender.

"Yeah, I do". she said.

"Great, maybe we'll fly together sometime" he said and finished his drink.

"Can't wait" she said and smiled.

She had brown eyes, and a long black-red hair.

She somehow reminded him of his little sister. He wished he could one day

find her and reunite with her. He always wondered what happened to her after

their big brother died. He was adopted by the Starhovers, who started

teaching him how to be a Jedi, but she could never be found.

She was alive though. He could feel it. It was just a matter of time before

he will find her. Or maybe, she would find him.

 

Beyond this point, our archives were lost.  If you have any documents after this, please e-mail klitzkee@student.gvsu.edu with them.

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