Major Pek Eklon sat nervously in his seat in the cockpit of the
elderly space cruiser Mediator. He watched with anticipation
as the vessel emerged from hyperspace and he could finally see his
destination in the distance: the planet Brentaal. He swallowed,
wetting his palette before he addressed the naval officer seated
beside him, "Report."
Lieutenant Tristian Thorn took note of the cockpit displays and
casually glanced out the view port before stating the obvious to the
Major, "We have arrived in the Brentaal system."
The Mediator streaked towards the nearby planet Brentaal. The
vessel was ancient by conventional standards, having entered service
over a decade before the start of the Clone Wars. It was one of the
many holdovers from the Republic Judiciary, which had preceded the
mighty Imperial Navy, and the twice the age of its young Pilot
undertaking his first command. Its insignificance was precisely why
the Empire had chosen her for this important mission. For the
mission to succeed, the Mediator had to go unnoticed.
The plan to transport Major Eklon was perfect, or so the officer
at the Imperial Security Bureau would have liked to believe.
Unfortunately, the Empire had filed a counterfeit cargo manifest for
the Mediator, believing it would help her blend in with the
busy traffic in the region. The Empire erroneously reported she was
carrying medical supplies, which just happened to be the one thing
the rebels needed most.
Lieutenant Thorn looked down at Ensign Derek Furlong, the
co-pilot, "Is there any sign of our escort?"
Ensign Furlong checked the sensor display and detected no other
craft in the vicinity, "Nothing on screen..." The young Ensign's
report was interrupted by a series of beeps emanating from the
display he had just checked, "I have four fighters coming in at ...
Lieutenant Thorn was not overly concerned, as the Imperial Governor
of Brentaal had arranged for the Ringali Shell Security Force to
provide an escort, "Can you confirm that they're from Brentaal?"
"Attempting to confirm that now, sir," Ensign Furlong selected the
lead starfighter on his display and pressed a button to scan for the
craft's identification, friend or foe (IFF) code. Nervously, he
swallowed before reporting his worst fears, "Negative, sir ...they're
Lieutenant Thorn moved his hand to rub his right temple gently,
"Blast! Where is our escort?"
Major Eklon's face turned from confused to angry as he considered
the situation, "Rebels? In this sector? Impossible!"
"I'm afraid it is possible, Major," Lieutenant Thorn informed him,
before taking control of the situation, "Setting a course for Brentaal
IV and accelerating to maximum speed." He adjusted a series of controls directly in front
of him and the Mediator's engines roared to life as it headed towards
Brentaal IV, the primary planet in the system.
Lieutenant Fenig Durak, one of the fledging rebellion's new pilots,
examined the Mediator running for its life through her
cockpit. She piloted one of the alliance's new X-wing starfighters,
recently brought over by rogue designers from Incom. Incom billed
the X-wing as the best starfighter in the galaxy. She was not
ready to go that far yet, but it was a step above of her old Y-wing.
She activated her comlink to the other starfighters in
her flight, "Lock s-foils in attack position." With the order
issued, She herself toggled a switch on her overhead control
panel. The wings of the four new starfighters slowly opened to form
the distinctive X that gave the starfighter its name. "Accelerate to
attack speed," the Lieutenant issued order over the comlink next.
"Copy, Corsair Three," Lieutenant Bival Rhett replied over the comlink.
This would be Lieutenant Rhett's first mission for the rebellion, and he
was eager to see his first battle.
"Remember ... we need to capture her, not destroy her!" Lieutenant Durak warned over the comlink.
The flight of four X-wings accelerated to attack speed and headed
towards the Mediator. The elderly vessel was no match for
four state of the art starfighters, and they would soon be upon her.
In the cockpit of the Mediator, Major Eklon continued to
fill with rage, "This is intolerable ... absolutely intolerable! How
could this happen?"
Lieutenant Thorn turned to the
Major again, "It would seem the
rebels have established a larger presence in this region than you
have led us to believe."
"I assure you, Lieutenant," Major Eklon responded in a
condescending tone, "Our intelligence is nothing short of perfect." Just
as he had concluded his statement a flash of light illuminated the
cockpit as Lieutenant Durak conducted her strafing run on the
dorsal hull of the Mediator.
"Right..." Lieutenant Thorn replied to the Major in a sarcastic tone.
"Our shields cannot sustain another hit like that, sir," Ensign
Furlong reported, watching the shield readout flash on his displays,
"This ship just isn't built for combat."
"Target her engines," Lieutenant Durak interjected over the comlink,
"We need to disable her before she can reach that moon."
"Copy, Corsair Three," Lieutenant Rhett responded, "I'm beginning my
attack run now."
"Fighters coming in!" Ensign Furlong exclaimed. Losing his nerve, he
turned his head away from the display to look at Lieutenant Thorn directly.
"Evasive!" Lieutenant Thorn ordered as he pushed down
on his flight controls, sending the elderly Mediator
into an accelerated dive.
Lieutenant Rhett squeezed the trigger of his flight stick, launching a
proton torpedo from the nose of his craft. "Torpedo away!" he
exclaimed over the comlink.
The torpedo slammed into the Mediator's port engine, causing
a violent explosion that destroyed much of the vessel's aft section.
In the cockpit, the crew shook violently as the vessel came to a
sudden, abrupt stop.
"Report!" Lieutenant Thorn yelled to Ensign Furlong.
Furlong had yet to
turn back to face his displays. Looking at a readout of the ship's
hull, the gravity of the situation became clear. "We've lost our
port engine, sir. We're dead in space," Lieutenant Thorn reported grimly.
"We have no choice," Lieutenant Thorn instructed his
"Get them on the comlink. Inform them we intend to surrender."
"No!" Major Eklon interjected angrily, "Belay that order! There
will be no surrender!"
"We're dead in space, Major," Lieutenant Thorn reported, trying to
reason with him, "There is no point in us all dying here."
"We will repel the boarders," Major Eklon instructed defiantly,
"That is an order."
"Repel boarders?" Lieutenant Thorn questioned, "With what? This is an
unarmed transport vessel Major, just like you requested."
"I cannot be captured," Major Eklon stated bluntly, "I am too
important to the Emperor's plans in this region."
"She's finished," Lieutenant Durak said over the comlink, "Why
haven't they surrendered?"
"I'll make another run and finish her off," Lieutenant Rhett informed his
"You can repel the boarders then, Major," Lieutenant
"We are surrendering."
"No ... you are not," Major Eklon informed him. Eklon removed his
blaster pistol from his holster and immediately fired a shot at
"Ugh," was all Lieutenant Thorn could say as the bolt of energy hit
his chest. He slumped down in his seat, dead.
"Now," Major Eklon said unfazed, "Prepare to repel boarders."
Lieutenant Rhett squeezed down on his flight stick several times,
unleashing a series of laser blasts at the already damaged Mediator. One of the bolts smashed through the cockpit of the
Mediator, instantly killing Eklon and the young co-pilot. The
explosion that began in the cockpit soon spread throughout the
entire vessel. In a bright flash of light, an explosion ripped
through the entire ship and the Mediator was destroyed.
"Damn it!" Lieutenant Rhett exclaimed over the comlink, frustrated by the
accidental destruction of the transport.
"We needed those supplies," Lieutenant Durak replied in a
disappointed tone, "All craft return to base. Repeat. All craft
return to base."
Across the galaxy near the planet Bilbringi, Admiral Claudius Rodney
stood on the bridge walkway of the Imperial I-class Star
Destroyer Warspite. Rodney stood quietly, watching hundreds of small craft
head to and from the massive Bilbringi shipyards. Defending the
shipyards was different from the planetary suppression missions his
squadron recently completed, but it was a welcome respite.
The silence was broken when Lieutenant Meham'ohorovi'cloca, the
Chiss tactical officer looked up from her display. "Captain Anson,"
she reported, "There is a priority transmission for the Admiral."
Captain Tiberius Anson, the Warspite's respected commanding
officer, walked down the walkway towards the Admiral. "Sir," he said
quietly to avoid disturbing him, "There's a priority transmission
Admiral Rodney nodded to Captain Anson without speaking. He turned
on the heels of his feet and walked down the walkway to the holonet
transceiver. He stood there quietly as the holographic image of General Cassio Tagge.
"Admiral," General Tagge began, taking no time for formalities,
"There has been an incident. Ready your squadron for immediate
departure. Then, take a shuttle to Eriadu where you will receive
your orders personally."
"At once, General," Admiral Rodney responded dutifully.
The holographic image of General Tagge faded away just as suddenly
as it appeared. Admiral Rodney threw a quick glance to Captain
Anson, who had positioned himself to overhear the transmission,
"Alert all commands. Prepare for immediate departure. Then, ready my
"Right away, Admiral," Captain Anson responded, and then turned to
begin issuing orders to subordinates.
Admiral Rodney entered the turbolift and selected the hangar bay as
his destination. He paused for a moment wondering what the incident
General Tagge referred to might be. So much for a quiet defensive
assignment, he thought to himself.
In the hangar bay, Lieutenant Randi Trainor hurried aboard the
Lambda Shuttle Kwai. She had received her orders to ready the
Admiral's shuttle only moments ago. Settling into the cockpit, she
began flipping several toggle switches, beginning the vessel's
preflight warm-up. "Why are these things always so short notice?"
she asked, although she was the only one in the cockpit.
Also receiving her orders that day was Major Kerrie Kiley, Admiral
Rodney's right-hand man, or woman as was the case. The young woman
was dressed in a near black Imperial uniform, indicating she was in
one of the Empire's more elite branches of service. Rarely did
Admiral Rodney travel without her lurking behind him.
"Ah, Major," Admiral Rodney said with a slight smirk upon exiting
the turbolift on the deck of the hangar bay. "Has Ran got her ready
"Just about, Admiral," Major Kiley replied, looking over her
shoulder at Lieutenant Trainor in the vessel's cockpit, "Can you
give me any more information on what is going on? Captain Anson was
not at all specific."
"I'm afraid you know just about as much as me, Major," he said while
walking up the ramp of the shuttle.
"Strange," Major Kiley replied, following the Admiral up the ramp.
Major Kiley sat down in the cockpit next to Lieutenant Trainor, with
the Admiral taking a seat in the more spacious rear compartment.
"Ready?" Major Kiley asked.
"Ready," Lieutenant Trainor replied with a nod.
Major Kiley activated the comlink, "Warspite control, this is
the Kwai. Requesting clearance to depart."
Lieutenant Meham'ohorovi'cloca's familiar voice responded on the comlink, "Kwai,
you are clear to depart. Inform the Admiral that the squadron will
be ready to depart on your return. Warspite out.
"Acknowledged," Major Kiley replied, "Kwai out." She then
nodded to her counterpart, Lieutenant Trainor.
With Lieutenant Trainor at the controls, the Lambda Shuttle
lifted off the hangar bay inside of the Warspite. As it
dropped out of the hangar, the wings began to descend until the
vessel formed the shape of an upside down Y. When the Kwai
increased its distance from the Warspite, she activated the
vessel's hyperdrive and sent the vessel streaking across space
Lieutenant Durak removed her helmet as the cockpit of her X-wing
raised. She looked across the hangar at Lieutenant Rhett. She was
disappointed with herself. She should have known the extent of the
damage to the transport and stopped another attack run.
Lieutenant Rhett climbed down the ladder from his cockpit dejectedly. He
really did not want to have to deal with anyone. Lieutenant Durak
approached him, preparing to do her best to console the young pilot.
"Look," Lieutenant Durak said reassuringly, "It could have happened
General Akilist Volkov, the hardened warrior who had been tasked
with commanding the rebel base inside the Ringali Nebula, rushed
down the stairs towards the group of pilots. He had heard they
returned much sooner than expected and was eager to find out why.
"What happened?" General Volkov questioned Lieutenant Durak.
"Well," Lieutenant Durak began, unsure of how to report their
"I..." Lieutenant Rhett began, looking to take responsibility.
"We," Lieutenant Durak interjected to spare the younger pilot,
"Failed to realize the extent of the damage to the transport and it
was accidentally destroyed."
"Destroyed?" General Volkov questioned. His face sunk with
disappointment, the alliance needed those supplies.
"I'm afraid so, General," Lieutenant Durak reported, "It could not
have been avoided."
General Volkov sighed, "Very well, Lieutenant. I'll expect your full
report on my desk this evening. High command isn't going to like
"Understood, General," Lieutenant Durak said.
Once General Volkov had returned up the walkway, Lieutenant Rhett moved
closer towards Lieutenant Durak. "Why did you do that?" he asked.
"You're a good pilot, Rhett," Durak said reassuringly, "It was an
"Thanks," Rhett replied as his attitude seemed to improve, though his
inflection left Durak unconvinced that he believed her.
Admiral Rodney and Major Kiley walked down a long corridor towards
Grand Moff Tarkin's office on Eriadu. When the doors opened they saw
Grand Moff Tarkin, General Tagge, and a female Imperial Security
"Admiral," Grand Moff Tarkin said as he rose from his chair, "A
pleasure to see you again. I just wish it were under better
"What circumstances would those be, Governor?" Admiral Rodney
inquired, as he and Major Kiley walked towards the group, "The
transmission was rather vague."
"Yes," Grand Moff Tarkin said quietly, "It is not something we like
to advertise over open channels. Please, take a seat and I will
Grand Moff Tarkin returned to his seat between General Tagge and the
ISB official, while Admiral Rodney situated himself next to the
General, with Major Kiley seated beside him.
"An Imperial transport was destroyed near Brentaal today," General
Tagge informed the group, "It was attacked by the rebels. It would
appear that they have positioned themselves nearby. From there, they
can strike at the entire Ringali Shell. Not to mention the Perlemian
Trade Route and the Hydian Way."
"There's more," Governor Tarkin interjected, "The transport was
carrying an ISB operative. He was going to begin monitoring
Brentaal's government and recommending certain changes to bring that
planet into line. You are going to deal with the situation."
"Me, Governor?" Admiral Rodney questioned.
"Yes, Admiral," Governor Tarkin replied, "You are uniquely
qualified. These Brentaal nobles will respect you. You are
practically one of them. Do not forget who your father is. In
addition, should the situation worsen you have experience in
"Well, hopefully it will not come to that," Admiral Rodney
"Right," Governor Tarkin replied, "You will take full control of the
region. All Imperial forces in the region will answer directly to
you. You will have to maintain a careful balance, Admiral. You must
know precisely what level of force to apply in each situation or the
entire sector could crumble into open dissention. I am counting on
you to handle the situation."
"Of course, Governor," Admiral Rodney replied, taking a moment to
consider the situation that the Grand Moff had just placed before
"This," Grand Moff Tarkin said, motioning to the female officer next
to him, "Is Major Arden Zevrin from the Imperial Security Bureau.
She will be your liaison to the ISB and direct their forces in the
region under your control. Now, return to your command and move your
ships to the Ringali Shell immediately. Find and destroy the rebel
base. Pacify the local population."
"Understood, Governor," Admiral Rodney replied, sending a nervous
glance to Major Kiley.
"Bad news, General," the holographic image of General Vernan, Chief
of Alliance Intelligence, said to General Volkov.
"Isn't it always bad, General?" General Volkov replied.
"That transport your pilots destroyed," General Vernan continued,
"It wasn't carrying medical supplies after all."
"What?" General Volkov questioned in a confused tone, "My contacts
on Brentaal assured me it was."
"That is what the Empire wanted everyone to believe," General
Vernan explained, "It was carrying some important Imperial
bureaucrat. Apparently he was going to start clamping down on
"Well," General Volkov responded, "Isn't it good that we got him
before he could accomplish his task?"
"I'm afraid not General. All hell is going to break loose in your
sector. Word is the Empire is sending an entire squadron to your
region. High command is of the opinion that the Ringali Nebula base
should be evacuated," General Vernan reluctantly informed him.
"No," General Volkov replied, "We have invested too much time in
setting up this base. We'll be safe inside the nebula. From here, we
can strike at them throughout the entire region. Besides, if the
Empire mismanages this we'll be needed here to coordinate the
"General Volkov," Major Adwin Carrington, the Alliance Intelligence
officer for the region, interjected as he stepped into the room with
"Yes, Major?" General Volkov asked, turned his attention away from
the image of General Vernan briefly.
"Sensors indicate an Imperial fleet has exited hyperspace," Major
Carrington reported, "At least thirty ships, including a Star
"General..." General Volkov began to inform General Vernan.
"I heard," General Vernan informed him, "I am confident you are up
to the task, General. Good luck and may the Force be with you."