The CR90 corvette Argo slid from formation with the remainder
of the tattered Rebel fleet in the Vergesso Asteroids. On the bridge,
Commander Atio looked over the transmission he had received from General
Sewell on Yavin 4. The orders troubled him for a number of reasons, but
first and foremost he did not like the idea of bringing the
still-damaged vessel into one of the most hostile war zones in the Core.
Regardless, he followed the orders and did not make them. An instant
later, the ship streaked forward, the field of stars condensing into a
swirling blur of light as the vessel entered hyperspace. The cup of tear
he had been drinking to relax splattered upon his trousers and the floor
as the decks rattled upon the old girl's entry into hyperspace. "Argh,"
he groaned at yet another series of misfortunes.
After its transit, the Argo emerged from hyperspace in its
destination ... an are of the core known as the Ringali Shell. The war
was raging in this region as the Rebel's insurgent activities had
succeeded in creating a full-scale uprising on the planet Ralltiir,
resulting in Lord Tion's recent blockade.
The sensors, still offline, from the recent battle in the Sesswenna
sector did little to ease Commander Atio's tension. He swallowed
nervously as he looked through the viewport, having arrived safely in
the Brentaal system. The terrifying sight of a Star Destroyer loomed in
the distance, sending a shrill of terror through his spine. "Get us into
the nebula," he quickly ordered. The vessel's engines, still quite
functional, cameto life as it accelerated at its top speed for the
nearby Ringali Nebula.
Suddenly, the Argo shook violently as the unmistakable sounds
of laser cannons splattering against the shields sent the crew into
action. The laser cannons began returning fire, but the topside
turbolaser was still offline. "Engine room," Derek blared angrily
through the comm as a TIE/ln starfighter erupted in a massive fireball
in front of the ship, "We're going to need everything you've got." By
now, beads of sweat clung to his forehead as two more TIE/ln
starfighters dove in for an attack run on the Argo. The lights
dimmed for an instant as their cannons struck the target, temporarily
forcing the ship to rely on emergency power.
Unexpectedly, out of the nebula a pair of T-65 X-wings cut through at
their top speed, their laser cannons tearing through the darkness of
space at the onrushing TIEs. Explosions ripped all around the corvette
as it pushed forward into the nebula, allowing the starfighters to
handle the job. "They won't follow us into the nebula," the Commander
assured everyone on the bridge as he began to rest easy for the time
With the homing beacon activated, the corvette slowly navigated from
waypoint to waypoint, following a complex course that would ultimately
bring them to the Ringali Shell Sector Command Base, a converted gas
mining station that had been brought by the Alliance into the nebula to
serve as a covert base of operations.
The EF76 Nebulon-B Solace came into full view first, escorted
by a small compliment of corvettes and gunships. It was a sizable force,
but not enough to do anything against Lord Tion and his Star Destroyers.
For months the conflict had raged throughout the Ringali Shell, all
orchestrated by the Rebel's venerable Sector Commander, General Akilist Volkov, but with Tion's forces cruelly laying waste to
the people of Ralltiir the tactical situation had changed and High
Commanded wanted to get their man out before he was cut off and lost in
an untenable situation.
The Argo came upon the station and maneuvered into position,
its dorsal docking hatch connecting with one of the many umbilical
docking ports that were extending from the station. With the docking
complete, Derek rose from his seat and walked down the corridor to the
turbolift. He had never met General Volkov, but he had heard the rumors
of course. The man was something of a legend by now, with his service in
the Clone Wars something he remembered well. He had hung on valiantly in
the Ringali Shell and he admired that. He did not know what to expect as
he walked towards the docking hatch. He was not sure if he would even
want to go, but he had his orders. Before heading onto the station, he
would wait for Trooper Rockturne.
The infiltrator appeared out of a turbolift just after him. Alanya
was dressed in her usual all black, moving silently along the deck as
soft grip boots brought her to Commander Atio, coming to attention.
"Sir. Reporting as ordered, sir." She said quickly, somewhat uncertain
of why he wanted her here, but she would not ask. She was dressed in a
one piece black thinsuit, the head portion pulled down around her neck,
leaving her face bare. Over that was worn a suit of Voyager light scout
armor, blackened of course to blend in with the thinsuit. It was a war
zone, and she wanted to be prepared, although she had gone light on the
weaponry, not wanting to raise too many eyebrows, settling for her
Merr-Sonn "Intimidator" and her multi-weapon, both of which were
suspended from her belt.
"Trooper," Commander Atio began nervously, "I want to make sure you
understand your orders before we board the station." He wanted to be
careful with how to word this, knowing she seemed to possess a literal
mind. "We are here to pick up General Volkov," he began to explain to
the Infiltrator. "General Volkov is to leave the station with us and be
brought back with us," he paused for a moment, "...by any means
necessary. Do you understand, Trooper?" The wording of his orders from
General Sewell was quite clear.
Alanya nodded. "Yes, sir. Does this mean I am authorized to use force
against the General or others if they try to interfere?" She asked as
she immediately regretted not bringing more weapons. But, such as it
was...she would have to deal with the situation. Adapt and overcome, as
"By any means necessary, Trooper," Derek replied, repeating the words
exactly as written in his orders. With that, he activated the controls
to the hatch. The panel above him opened and the ladder descended, and
he began to climb up into the hangar bay of the station. He looked
around and saw various starfighters and freighters. He often envied
those that were alone in the cockpit and had the freedom to control
their own destinies, but he was an engineer, not a pilot, and his recent
relaxed lifestyle caused him to doubt he could fit comfortable in a
cockpit that small.
Walking up to General Volkov with his back rigid, Sergean Praetorian
gave a crisp salute, "the Argo has arrived, sir."
Akilist came forwards from the confines of his study in order to
greet the Argo after getting word from Sergeant Praetorian of
their arrival. Knee high synthleather combat boots echoed the path of
the General as he strolled boldly down the command corridor towards the
direction of the docking bay receptionist lounge. Tan trousers
complemented the attire along with matching tunic and jacket. His hands
momentarily remained occupied at the hips as he struggled in in
desperate attempt to straighten his belt for presentable fashion. Long
strands of gray flowing hair fluttered freely behind him in order to
compensate the momentum that carried the General along at a most
leisurely pace. A casual glance down onto his tunic would allow him the
mental affirmation and reinforcement necessary as an imperishable
reminder of his service to the Rebellion. The pentacle of the red
ranking insignia that decorated the right side of his chest.
The aides of Akilist followed casually alongside him in perfect
stride as they made a quick right turn onto an adjacent corridor that
would lead them past Ringali Shell Sector headquarters primary command
post. A most daunting group they were and well aware of their duty as
officers where they. A slight turn of the head and brief dip of the chin
would give a silent acknowledgement to his personal aide and military
advisor, Sergeant Praetorian. It was by no mistake that Akilist
surrounded himself with an inner council much reflecting the viewpoints
and ideas of his own personal desires. This young and distinguished
officer had been hand-picked from the academies on Corulag by the
General himself. Relentless searches were exhausted of what remained of
the Old Republics most prestigious officers.
Standing boldly on Volkov's side was a relatively short man, but
rather enforcing by the means in which he carried himself. First
Lieutenant Rysh Terrcken and head advisor to Ringali Command Station
Intelligence. He had been revered as one of the most ambitious and
intellectual minds serving amongst the ranks of the Rebel Alliance.
Volkov had instilled much trust in this man and had learned to receive
his council on regular occasion. It was of no doubt that such officers
as the two men walking at his side were symbolic forms to the success of
the restoration of the Republic.
The receptionist lounge blaster doors hissed open accompanied by a
release of white vapor into the ozone as General Akilist Volkov strolled
gingerly along the hangar bay deck towards the crew of the Corellian
corvette Argo. Both hands raised with palms pointing upwards as
if in gracious honor to receive the members that began to emerge from
the docking hatch. "Welcome to the Ringali Shell"
Derek straightened into a more rigid posture, an unusual position for
him to take, but one that the situation seemed to call for. He
swallowed, trying to moisten his nervously dry palette, and then cleared
his throat. "General Volkov, sir," he began in his most diplomatic of
voices, "I am Commander Derek Atio of the Argo." He nodded to him
politely, before continuing. "I have orders from General Roons Sewell to
take you and your staff from this command and escort you safely to
Massassi Station on Yavin 4," as he concluded he again nodded, not sure
what the reaction would be.
Alanya was on edge, although she looked cool, calm, and relaxed. She
studied each person in the greeting party in turn, her blue eyes
flicking over them as sized them up, before her eyes turned to the
General, wondering what his reaction would be. She simply hung back,
behind Commander Atio to await the outcome of the statement.
Akilist leaned his head forwards as Praetorian whispered something
audible into the silence. He glanced upwards momentarily and held his
finger upwards as if instructing the young officer before him to excuse
him for a moment. After the transmission of the news, Akilist gave an
affirmative nod towards the crew of the Argo before complying. "I
see. This is an awkward circumstance and you arrive on such short
notice." Volkov wanted to resist with all of his effort before looking
away from the crew to collect his conscience. He then asked wearily,
"Where are the ships ambassadors? Reports from the Solace has
confirmed that your ship fell under attack during your descent into the
Derek looked over the General nervously, his eyes glancing towards
the Trooper for just a moment. "Yes," he began to explain, "It would
seem the Imperial presence in the region has increased noticeably." He
paused before continuing, choosing his words carefully. "That is why we
are here, General," he continued to explain his orders, "High Command no
longer feels this position can be held effectively. Therefore, I am
going to have to ask that you make yourself ready for travel. I 'must'
get you safely to the base on Yavin 4." He swallowed after stating this,
not sure how it would all pan out.
Volkov allowed his eyes to fix onto the permacrete plating of the
landing deck as he began to recollect on the effort and heart ache that
had been inserted to the war effort in the Ringali Shell. He walked
casually away from the landing party while allowing both gloved hands to
grasp the firm railing before him. He stared hesitantly out into dark
canvas of space that illuminated the viewport before his very eyes. The
magnificent color of the nebula alone cast the form of the General in a
darkened silhouette pasted against the backdrop of the glorious
manifestation of light that seemed somewhat organic in its own sense. He
then turned give himself a personal confirmation before turning back. He
then turned around to face Commander Atio after a mental conformity to
himself. He then began to break the silence of the room as he spoke in
somewhat of a cool and modulated tone of voice. "This nebula has served
as my home for what would seem to one an eternity. You expect for me to
just walk away from this project in the middle of the fight? What is
Senator Mothma up to?" Volkov then turned towards the line of aides that
rounded the hallway and ordered Praetorian to give the signal of the
retreat. Volkov would be what some may consider a mad scientist hence
his insane independence outside of the far reaches of any true
militaristic support, he maintained. With a simple suppression of the
right finger upon the communications activator on his wrist. "This is
Akilist. I need you to pack my things immediately. Expect my departure
within the next five minutes."
Derek exhaled sharply as the General seemed to be complying with the
order. In the back of his mind he imagined Trooper Rockturne would be
quite disappointed she would not get a chance to throw the man through
the airlock. "I cannot speak for Senator Mon Mothma, sir," he said in a
cordial way, "...but one can only assume that High Command did not want
to risk you falling into the hands of the Empire." His head tilted
slightly as he moved back towards the hatch leading back to the
corvette. "We have special quarters awaiting you, sir," he said with a
polite nod, electing to wait near the hatch for the General to be ready
to board the blockade runner.
Several personnel began to line the landing dock as they made a path
towards the Corellian corvette's docking hatch. All of the General's
personal belongings along with several repulsorlift tugs towing computer
equipment and hub, which he deemed important for intelligence. A
hardened expression formed onto the Generals face as the ruggedness of
his left scared eye bare its fleshy reminder of the battles of past
empires. With what seemed like the most ridiculous maneuver in his
professional career, Akilist reluctantly forced his foot downwards onto
the docking hatch ladder. His first step into a new era of Rebellion.
Atio's thoughts seemed to be spot on. Alanya relaxed as she stepped
back, her back against the bulkhead as she would allow the others to
pass. She maintained an eye on the situation, watching ever being who
came by. Perhaps she was suspicious if the thing would come off as
planned. But it seemed it did...although she was going to be sure that
she was the last person to board the vessel, and that everything was
there. She watched the General as he stepped down onto the docking hatch
ladder before turning away. Well, she had not gotten to throw him on
Derek proceeded down through the hatch into the top level of the
Argo. "This will not be an easy evac," he warned as he sealed the
hatch. He turned briefly to look at both the General and the
Infiltrator. "Trooper," he said to the young woman as he proceeded into
the turbolift, "Escort General Volkov to suitable quarters.
In the brief moment Derek had alone in the turbolift he steadied
himself, plastering a smile upon his face that he would use to boost the
morale of the ship's crew during the battle to come. He walked down the
corridor to the bridge, and by the time he arrived, the ship had already
uncoupled from the station and was preparing to exit the nebula. He gave
each crewmember on the birdge that he looked to a polite nod, his
cheerful expression designed to build their morale as best he could.
"Save the engines until we're out of the nebula," Derek ordered as the
battered corvette maneuvered through the nebula. Next to them, four T-65
X-wing starfighters from Corsair Squadron and four BTL Y-wing
starfighters from Knave Squadron came into formation. Hopefully, their
departure would be more uneventful than their arrival. But, Derek's eyes
widened as he saw what was arrayed in front of them ... an Immobilizer
418 cruiser had taken up station ... their hyperdrive would not respond.
"Interesting," escaped form the General's lips as the revelation
unfolded before them.
Suddenly, the ship was jolted as TIE/ln starfighters made their
attack run. The X-wings of Corsair Squadron moved into position and
engaged the TIEs in spectacular fashion. "We're no match for them" Derek
said as the Argo began angling downward, her engines accelerating
at full overdrive to move away from the cruiser.
"Additional contacts, sir" the operations officer yelled as they
seemed to be headed directly for a pair of Carrack-class light cruisers.
With only one battery operational and no sensors available to them, the
Argo would be quickly overwhelmed. The Argo used its
nimble maneuverability to turn back towards the nebula as the light
cruisers closed the range.
As the Argo approached the nebula, a force built around the
Solace emerged from the gas clouds. The Rebel frigate and her
corvette and gunship escorts began opening fire with their massive
batteries on the unsuspecting light cruisers. The force had been
assembled stealthily over the months and the Empire never would have
figured such a task group was contained inside the nebula. The corvette
Tranquility surged forward, her main batteries opening fire on
the light cruisers. Gunships Spitfire and Fury unleashed
their concussion missiles in sequence ... all headed towards the
The Argo spun around and joined with her sister ships as the
combined force of the Solace and three corvettes fired on the two
light cruisers. In a massive fireball one of the light cruisers exploded
violently, avenging many losses the Rebellion had suffered in the long
campaign in the Ringali Shell. The concussion missiles began to impact
the Immobilizer 418, penetrating her shields and shredding her hull as
the gravity well projectors went offline.
"That got her!" Derek cheered as they watched a beautiful fireball
erupt through the viewport as the interdiction force had been
dispatched. "Get us out of here!" he ordered, and almost immediately the
well-respected ship surged forward into hyperspace and embarked on her
arduous journey back to Yavin 4.