Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee, Bob Halula, and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:6:24) in the Ringali nebula: Ringali Station.
Captain Rhobert Dartanyn, Commander Dillon Hobbes, and Major Elayne Passik.

Major Elayne Passik had wasted no time in peeling off her orange pilot uniform. She stood beneath her X-wing feeling like she could use to shower for the following three hours. Her clothing was damp. As the adrenaline rush wore off, she felt tired. A drink was in her future ... or *several* drinks. Before she engaged in such activities, she made her way towards the small command center that was set up on the gas mining station. She knew there she'd find her commanding officer, Captain Dartanyn. As she made her way inside, she let out a sigh of relief. It was the first time in a long time where she was glad to have her feet on the ground. She nodded to him as she reported in. "Captain." She began.

"All squadrons have returned. We took some losses on our side. Knave Squadron will require technicians to repair the damages they sustained. It was an absolute mess out there, sir." They had been outnumbered from the very beginning. However, the Rebellion showed, time and time again, that numbers didn't matter. "We were able to take out countless TIEs as well as a Dreadnaught, a Star Galleon, two modified frigates, and two bulk Star Cruisers." She continued informing him. "A majority of our squadrons made it back thanks to the insane maneuvers of the Dancers." She couldn't very well call them 'insane bastards' to her Captain's face...which was much more accurate. "Now, if you'll excuse me, a bottle of whiskey is calling my name and I simply can't ignore it anymore." He knew where he could find her should he need her. Elayne never roamed too far from her X-wing. It was like a mental crutch for her. She needed to know she could *always* get away. Elayne quietly turned and exited the command center. She spotted those very same 'insane bastards' she had just been thinking of dancing to entertain the other exhausted pilots. Instead of joining in the celebration, she opted to find something to drink. Elayne lowered herself onto a bench in front of an expansive window. There it was; space. She brought the bottle up to her lips and took a swig.

As the Major relayed the information to him on the work the squadrons managed on the enemy forces at Chandrila, he was very much impressed with the overall accomplishments. His gut wrenched a bit as she noted the losses, as he knew this was just the beginning of what was going to be a very costly conflict. Rhobert marked down required support for the Knaves to have their equipment repaired, he would like to have as many of those craft as possible ready for the 39th Roving Line's foray into the system.

"Excellent, I'll get all the support we can to work on your ships as we have little other repair preparations we need to make. I'd like to have as many ready for the main counter attack as possible. " He made a mental note to tell her what he'd like the fighters to focus on in the upcoming battle, but realized he should probably just set some initial guidelines and let her handle the tactical application. She was certainly good at getting results.

He swiped a few of the ships back and forth between the strategic elements he had set up for the upcoming battle. Dartanyn wasn't throwing everything at the Imperials on Chandrila, but he certainly was giving them most of what they had was going to be up to him to make sure they didn't pay dearly for such an ambitious assault. He was nearly certain that the Empire had plans for whatever the Alliance brought to bear, he just hoped he was smart enough to outthink their nearly inevitable trap.

He stood up and walked over to the holodisplay in the center of the room and glanced over his notes one last time before bringing the machine online with a soft hum. Once it had done all of its startup routines, he keyed the toggle switch to begin recording. It was time to tell the fleet what plans he had...which of course wouldn't last past first contact with the enemy...but it was the principle of the thing!

"Captains and crew of the 39th Roving Line, the time has come for us to show our mettle and place some fear into the hearts of those that would terrorize and murder on the planet Chandrila. I have laid out a set of plans to have the fleet split into four elements. Three that will be engaging the enemy and one will be held away from the battle as to be ready for other situations that may arise in the next few days." Rhobert hit a button on the display unit to toggle his likeness away in favor of the order of battle for the upcoming engagement.

"The Strike Force will follow my lead into battle, and the remaining two forces will be held at a point in between an intelligence directed weak spot left vulnerable and the battle itself. They can be ready to react to a hole opened for exploitation at the battle or other contingencies. If you have any questions, send them my way and I'll answer promptly. Captain Dartanyn out."

Dartanyn issues, via trusted courier...separate orders to the following ships that were in the 'Not Assigned' section of the realignment for conflict:

The message reads: "In lieu of the initial orders sent via broadcast to the fleet, I am holding your ship along with a few others in points in or around the Chandrila Sector. Please be within a fifteen minute transit to the conflict point at any point you and your navigators agree is adequate. I am going to rely on these ships to be a secondary response team that can help if things go extremely wrong. If you receive no orders from Captain Dartanyn after two hours from initial contact message, return to your operational stations as normal. If you have any questions, please let me know."

He keyed the recording off and eased his shoulders back down, he hadn't realized he had tensed up during the briefing and hoped nobody watching would notice. It had been some time since he had directed a large scale fleet engagement, a very long time indeed...

Commander Hobbes of Blackguard Squadron listened to the rehash of the battle with the Imperial squadron. As he looked around him he saw too many empty seats of pilots that lost their lives in the engagement. What was happening on Chandrila was terrible ... there was no question about it ... and in fact helping people like that from Imperial oppression was why he joined the Rebellion, but he did not sign up for suicide missions. He lingered only as long as he had to, before exchanging a few words with his pilots, he went off to find Major Passik when he saw that she snuck out of the pilot's briefing. He spotted her on a bench, bottle in hand, which was an all too familiar sight among the pilots he had flown with since joining the Rebellion. "They weren't lying when they told me this was a hot sector," he said to her, before sitting down on the opposite side of her bench. He reached down and produced his small hip flask, unscrewing the cap and taking a swig of the whiskey inside.

Major Passik felt like a decade of her life had been shed off on the battlefield. Eight years were due to Knave Squadron, while the other were knocked off by the massive amount of Imperials. She needed fresh air...and a moment away from her job. She would review Captain Dartanyn's briefing when her head was screwed on properly again ... which wouldn't be for the rest of the night, per what her bottle of whiskey had to say. She was surprised when Commander Hobbes joined her. She was a very secluded woman, but her roughed up mentality changed that for now. "Never a dull moment, Commander. It's hard to believe that we're going back out there. No matter how you look at it, the situation is fucked. Upside down, inside out: *fucked*." Elayne turned towards him slightly. "You did good out there. I felt nothing but confidence in your Squadron. Knaves on the other hand... Well, we were all shitting our pants there at the end." She smiled and laughed softly. He'd been there to feel the heat...the fear that everything was going to go kaddywampus and they'd all end up dead.

"At least we'll be bringing some heavy stuff of our own this time," Dillon commented, referring to Captain Dartanyn and his capital ships. "Yeah. Those bomber jockeys are crazy. It takes a special sort to climb into one of those large, slow antiques," he said, as he would never allow himself to be talked into flying a Y-wing. He raised his flask again, taking another swig of his whiskey, before turning to look out the viewport at the swirling purple and red nebula gas. "Whomever had the idea to hide a base in here was brilliant. Safe from the Empire. Close to six core worlds and two major trade routes," he said, talking shop, before getting into the personal matters. Being the new officer around he felt out of place, but was looking to get settled in. If he lived through the battle he wanted to try and make the most of his time here.

She nodded her head. The odds were certainly going to improve next time. She laughed. "I agree with you. I'll keep my X-wing, thank you very much! I don't envy those folks." Her head turned away from him as she, too, looked out the viewport. She adored space which is exactly what had drawn her into becoming a pilot. The Rebellion came later on. "I was thinking the same thing. The location is a huge advantage. Besides ... it looks nice too." She forced herself to stop nursing her bottle, setting it aside on the ground. "It hasn't been long since you joined us, huh? How are you settling in? Is anyone giving you crap?" She adjusted on the bench until she was seated indian style. When she wore pants, as she frequently did, it was impossible to tell that she had lost both of her legs. She gave her attention to the Commander.

"Well my bunk light keeps flickering in and out, there's a leak in one of the overhead pipes, and the refresher doesn't want to flush," Dillon informed her, which seemed to be status quo for the old gas mining station that the Rebellion could barely keep together. It was cramp. It was dark. And there always seemed to be a stale smell in the air. "No one has given me any crap yet though. Privilege of rank?" he said, with a smirk, as he turned on the bench, matching her seating style, as he smiled across at her. "We've heard a lot about what you've all been doing. It's impressive to be striking at the Empire this deep in the core," he said, before raising his flask to her in a toast, before taking another swig.

Elayne's smile grew as she laughed. "Yep, sounds 'bout right. You gotta kick the bottom of the refresher. Four times seems to be the perfect number for me." She offered him some useful advice. She laughed again. "Privilege of rank indeed. I can't tell you how many times I got pranked as a cadet. Now I have the power to make those people suffer." She was kidding ... or was she? Her dark eyes had turned bright. The man was leading her mind away from a difficult battle. She slowly began to enter reality. She was flattered by his compliments and rose her bottle up to his flask in a toast. She drank, a much needed warmness hit her stomach. "Impressive, yes, but also difficult. There is never an *easy* win." She explained to him. "Replacements come and go so quickly in the Squadron that there are times where I don't bother to memorize their names. It wears on you...but you know that." She said, softly clinking her bottle against his flash. "What is your story, Commander? Tell me how you got *here*."

"I never lost so many pilots in a single battle before," Dillon confided, before screwing the top back on his flask and putting it away for the time being. If he had anymore he would quickly end up drunk, and that was no way to behave during his first sit down with the CO. "I was a pilot with a local security force on Fest when the Empire came," he said, remembering those crazy early days before they was an organized Rebellion against the Empire. "There were two options ... submit or resist ... and I chose to resist," he explained, as he shifted somewhat uncomfortably on the bench. A lot of the people he knew from this early days were gone now, but he was still here and that counted for something. "I ended up joining the resistance there, which ended up getting folded into the larger alliance. When the chance to command a squadron came I took it. I saw action in the outer rim ... the mid rim ... and now here in the coe worlds ... slowly moving towards the center of the galaxy," he said, with a smirk as he noted how he was progressively moving coreward. "You?" he asked, realizing that it was always a risk getting to know someone, with casualty rates so high ... particularly on the eve of a battle.

Elayne felt for him. It wasn't the worst bloodfest she'd been involved in. It certainly made the top five list. She patted him slowly with her hand on the back in an attempt to connect with him. She understood...really, she *did*. The woman dropped her hand as she listened to Dillon fill her in on where he'd come from. He'd been flying for awhile and he was no newbie in the Rebellion. She snickered. "You've been flying forever, old man. Workin' your way up the totem pole. Think you'll be Major someday?" She winked at him. "I can see why you're so skilled on the battlefield now. Anyone who was less wouldn't have been able to take the heat today. I'm glad to have you, Commander." She slightly clammed up when he asked about her. Though she had been involved in the Rebellion for some time, she found it hard to connect to people. It was even harder since the Imperial incident that left her legless. She smiled. "I was just a dumb kid playing around with a spaceship. I used to be a stunt pilot. Y'know, travel around, act like an idiot, get paid, et cetera. When I was fourteen, my mum told me to go join the circus... So I did!" Elayne grinned.

"In my traveling, I was recruited. It seemed like a better thing to do with my life at the time. If I'm going to die in my ship, I'd rather I die trying to make the galaxy a better place. I see that's a naive way of thinking, but, you know, 'hope' is what keeps the Rebellion glued together." She told Dillon, making quotation marks in the air with her fingers before dropping her hands into her lap. "And here I am, over a decade later. Don't ask how I became Major. I haven't an idea." She laughed.

"With the projected casualty figures I doubt I'll live long enough for another promotion," Dillion commented, bluntly as he stated the cold hard facts of starfighter combat. "Stunt pilot, eh?" he said, as he shifted closer towards her, a healthy glow upon his face either due to his happiness from her company, the whiskey he drank earlier, or the radiation leak in his bunk. "I once heard someone say that rebellions are built on hope, but it felt kind of corny if you ask me," he said, as he rolled his eyes. "You probably became Major because everyone else above you got shot down or flamed out," he said, as he tried to crack jokes to keep from dwelling on all of the empty seats and the memorials on the wall to lost friends.

Elayne accidently knocked over the whiskey bottle. It hit the ground and dramatically shattered. "Aw, even the bottles are shit here!" She pushed the shards away with the toe of her boot. She, too, found herself inching in closer to the Commander. His words were dark, and sadly true in most cases. "Nah, you'll get one more. We all deserve a promotion if we survive Chandrila." She scrunched up her nose, then laughed. "You know... You know... It is totally corny. I think we should change it. How about the Rebellion: built on blowing up mother fuckers?" She gave him a toothy wide grin. Elayne was feeling the buzz. She'd found her sweet spot. "Well, that may be true, but if anyone asks you, make up something epic I did. Like 'oh my gosh, Elayne saved Rebel puppies from a fire', I don't know." She continued laughing. Her shoulder brushed his while she shook from laughter.

"Well, let's blow up some Imperial mother fuckers tomorrow and see it how it sounds," Dillon suggested, as he seemed to have found a wing commander that was not the least bit uptight. He had some commanding officers in the past that were real sticklers so this was a relief. He was beginning to enjoy the thought of being stationed here. "Are there puppies?" he asked, as every time he breathed the stale air in the station he wondered if there were small animals defecating everywhere. "Are you going to be able to make it back to your bunk?" he asked her, as she seemed to have enjoyed her bottle before it shattered.

"Yeah! I like how you think!" That was the approach that she had. If she was going to die, then she was taking a hell of a lot of folks with her. The woman was laid back. She had learned, the hard way, how precious life was. It could end any minute...any second. For all she knew, an Imperial ship was headed towards them to blow them all to smithereens. Who knew. Slowly, the blue-haired woman stood up. "No... No puppies. Last time I tried to sneak one in, they made me take it back." It was hard to tell if she was joking or not. She could tell the Commander was being nice by offering her help. Though she knew she shouldn't exploit it, she decided to play the damsel in distress card. "I dunno. It's a long walk and my legs are preeettty tired. Care to walk with me?" She lingered awkwardly. Her upper teeth grazed her lower lip. If they both survived tomorrow, she hoped to get to know him a little better.

"Of course, Major," Dillon said, as he rose from his feet and offered her help doing the same. As they passed through the corridors of the gas station each corridor seemed more in need of repair than the one before it. Lights were out, access panels were exposed, wires were hanging, conduits were burst, and condensation was dripping. Morale seemed high on the eve of the battle as everyone wanted to do their part to ensure Rebel victory in the coming battle. "Well. Here we are," he told her, as they reached her bunk. He was not sure if he should make a move ... she had been drinking and she was his commanding officer. But, then again, they could die tomorrow.

The scene was more gloomy than that of a cheap dive motel someone might pay for an escort in. The smell was something Elayne would never get used to. Her brief time aiding Mug Zoran on New Alderaan had been a nice change...a change where she breathed clean air. The closer they grew to her bunk, the more anxious Elayne became. Dillon was a very nice man. She'd be lying to herself if she said she didn't want a little more than help to her bedroom. Intimacy wasn't easy for her. The loss of her legs made her extremely self conscious to the point where all she ever wore was pants. As long as she had her pants, she was confident. She paused in front of the door leading into her bunker. A code wasn't even necessary to access her private quarters, it was simply exposed. Elayne's eyes flickered over him, then a smile crossed her lips. "Ah, my shit hole." She declared, opening up the door. Her room was as simple as any others, only she had a slightly better crummy bed. The woman's room had some personalization to it. There were posters from stunt pilot shows she was proud of. It looked like she'd drawn something on one of the walls then painted over it. Perhaps the weirdest part of her room was the large plush bantha on her bed. She was far, *far* too old to be sleeping with stuffed animals. "C'mon. Stay awhile." She invited him.

She decided she'd test the waters. As she sat on her bed, she untied her bootlaces and removed one, then the other. Her socks came next, which, of course, would give him the first view of her cybernetic prosthetic feet. She rolled up her pant leg to her metal knee. Elayne turned to the side, grabbing a hydrospanner from her open tool box. She had invested in high quality cybernetics. It simply looked like a metal leg and foot, including toes. "These ol' limbs have seen better days." She remarked, adjusting until she was comfortable again. Now he knew Major Elayne's dirty little secret.

Dillon followed Elayne into her quarters, which was a very dangerous maneuver for an experienced man such as himself. "Alright," he said, as he looked for a place to sit that did not have anything on it. "I've never been billeted aboard a space station before. I guess this is what I can expect," he said, as he moved to get his head underneath one of the pipes that moved directly through the room. He had never had any reason to suspect that she had cybernetic leg, so when she revealed them it was a surprise, but it did not send him running towards the next bug. "War injury or circus mishap?" he asked, as he pulled out his flask, offering it to her, before taking a swig himself.

"It'll make us appreciate whatever comes next more, that's for damn sure. I hope the next place doesn't smell quite so horrible. A working refresher would be nice too!" Elayne was watching him from the corner of her eye. She was looking for a single sign that her special limbs weren't going to fly with him. There was nothing like losing your limbs to knock you down five notches ... or ten. She leaned over, taking the flask from him. She took a quick sip and offered it back before getting into it. "War injury. I was shot down on Imperial ground. Not a good time in my life, Commander. Not a good time." She shook her head. On second thought, she pulled the flask back and took another, even shorter, drink. "I'll need something a lot stronger than whiskey to tell you that story." She scooted forward until she was seated at the very edge of her bunk. When she gave him the flask back, her other hand rose and ran over the back of his slowly in a display of rare affection. "I could drink all the alcohol in this room and it wouldn't stop me from feeling nervous about tomorrow. If we're all going to meet our end on that battlefield, we might as well die semi-happy." Her hand brushed down over his wrist. It went halfway up his forearm before she stopped and withdrew. The Major was performing some maneuvers of her own, for this man hadn't cringed at the sight of her limbs.

"Well as long as the Empire can produce unlimited resources to throw against us we'll always be running ... always be hiding in cramped spaces like this," Dillon added, before taking a swig from the flask. His body temperature was beginning to rise from the whiskey, and a rosey color was coming to his cheeks. "Some other time then," he said with a smile, understanding her desire to keep the complete nature of the injury to herself. He had his share of war stories that he did not exactly rush to tell to everyone on the HoloNet. "Nerves are good. Nerves are what will keep us alive," he said to her, as he rose from the chair and moved to join her on the bed. He had enough whiskey now to feel bold enough to try it. He had been shot down before, and he was not thinking about while in a starfighter.

"Talking like that, you're starting to make me feel good about my metal legs. At least I don't feel the desire to stretch them in these cramped up spaces." In time, she'd slowly let him in on the events leading to her injuries. Though it had been two and half years, the mental wounds were still open. She had a hard time recovering...and an even harder time returning to the service. By then, she was so invested that she wouldn't stop until she saw peace. Her dark eyes followed him as he came to sit beside her. It was bold, but bold was not something she had a problem with. She turned towards him with a smile on her lips. "Do they? I'm feeling nervous right now and it has *nothing* to do with tomorrow." She inched forward towards the Commander with the intent of kissing him. To her surprise, she felt her heart beating in her chest. It was a reminder that it was still there and that it had needs. And so, she pressed her lips against his in a very gentle kiss.

"Then what's making you nervous?" Dillon asked, as if he did not know. But before he could say anymore she kissed him, which prompted him to bring his hand up behind her head to her to grab hold of her blue hair while their faces were combined. When the kiss broke he opened his eyes and smiled at her, as he decided that he *was* going to enjoy his time in this sector. "That's a very warm welcome, Major," he said, as he smiled at her and arched his eyebrow. His hand moved to her face, gently caressing the side of her face. She was beginning to give him something to live for, which always meant something bad was going to happen in the next battle if history was any indication.

Right then, that little heart of hers skipped a beat. She monetarily felt weightless. The kiss was what she needed without knowing it. It brought a kind smile to her face and the inklings of joy to her heart. Elayne chuckled, "Well ... this is a special scenario. If you pass the information along to your comrades, I fear I'll have a line outstretching the length of the hallway of people wanting their own 'warm welcome'." She outright laughed at that. Her face tilted towards his chin. Now this was a change she could get used to. Her own hands lifted to cup his face. She stared in his eyes. She darkly wondered how long it could last. How long could she find happiness with him before the Empire took it away? Perhaps her answer was a single night...or maybe she'd be lucky enough for years to pass before tragedy hit. "You shouldn't be alone tonight. Stay with me. The bantha makes a terrible big spoon." She said, referring to the plush on her bed.

"I think this is one mission that I don't want any wingmen for," Dillon continued to joke, as he continued to inch closer towards her. "You're right. *I* shouldn't be alone tonight," he told her, though he suspected she was really talking about herself. He placed his arm around her side and slowly lowered her towards the bed, but he went no further as sex would only ruin the mood. On the eve of battle both of them needed something more sensual than erotic. Not to mention that they would both need all of their strength and energy in the cockpit. He lay down, placing his head upon what passed for a pillow in this joint and again smiled at her. As he wrapped his arms around her to hold her close he placed another gentle kiss upon her. "Goodnight, Major," he said, as he gave her a reassuring squeeze.

Elayne burst out laughing. "Oh, no, no, no. Let's not bring the entire Squadron in here." She followed him down into the pathetic excuse for a mattress. The cockpit was more comfortable than this...but tonight...tonight it was made *better*. Elayne curled up on her side, assuming the little spoon position that she had been wanting. It was intimate. They were close, but it didn't feel erotic or smutty. The Major noticed that it wasn't the alcohol that was going to help her to sleep tonight, but Dillon himself. They shared a second emotionally fulfilling kiss which proceeded to make Elayne happier. "Goodnight, Commander." She rested her hand over his. It was that position that she fell asleep in on the fateful night before the battle.

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