Argo slowly glided through space in the Vergesso Asteroids in
the company of dozens of other Rebel crafts. It was a ragtag fleet of vessels from all sorts of backgrounds ... piracy,
smuggling, private use, defense, and even Imperial service. The Argo was in far better shape than when she arrived, but by no
means had been restored to pristine condition. Still, the craft had
character and provided she could maintain flight control long enough
to avoid impacting one of the many large asteroids she was
navigating through ... she would continue to serve the Rebellion for
many years to come.
Commander Derek Atio walked down the
white corridor of the Argo. He had just returned from the
Nebulon-B Frigate Comfort where he met with High Command to
discuss the previous Mission to Arzid and learn of their next
assignment ... one of greater importance, but also of greater
difficulty. He stepped inside the conference room where the briefing
would take place and waited for the Intelligence officer to arrive.
stepped down the halls slowly of the Argo as he headed
towards the briefing room. Under his right arm he held a small
datapad which he pressed closely to his side. He too had bee at the
briefing with high command. Quar entered the briefing room and made
his way to the front. He set his datapad down on top of the table at
the front. Quar's hands pressed over his clothing as he cleared his
thoughts for the briefing which he was about to give.
The Astromech rolled
along behind, her third leg deployed to allow her to easily keep up
with the walking speed of the Lieutenant in front of her. Cheery
purple and white paintjob gleamed...she was in a better than usual
mood lately, whistling to herself as she went down the hallway,
punctuated by odd beeps here and there as she seemed to be making
her own humming music to roll along with.
Tong was seated in
the conference room, a cigarra in his mouth, and smoke curling
around his scarred continence. One tactical boot was up on the
table, and the thigh holster made more visible by the relaxed pose,
the disruptor pistol not slipping an inch. He seemed almost bored,
his dead brown eyes noting each person who entered, while he waited
patiently for the meeting to begin.
Sergeant Ordo sat in
the conference room at the same table as Tong, leaning back in his
chair slightly. His right arm was bent ninety-degrees on the arm of
the chair, his chin resting on his knuckles.
Quar removed his
brown cloth trench coat from off of his shoulder. He set it down on
the table beside the data pad. His eyes glanced over to R3-QT as she
rolled along. "Well we are all here, lets get started." Quar sat
down on the table and faced towards his audience of three people. He
tapped a few keys on his datapad, his eyes scanning over some
information. "Turns out we got some interesting information,
gentlemen. That raid produced some good intel. R3, bring up a map of
whistled from a low tone to a high tone, indicating that she agreed.
Probably the only bit of droidspeak that most organics knew, except
for it's opposite, the descending whistle. She trundled up into the
middle of the briefing room, and then retracted her leg and
holoprojector came up, casting a large perfect circle that was the
planet of Berea, before slowly zooming down into the general area of
the camp, although she added an insulted beep at being called just
any R3 unit.
Quar said as he crossed his arms over his chest. He glanced to Ordo
and Tong before looking to the projection of the planet. "This is
the planet Berea. It is mostly tundra with various mountain
terrains. So why are we interested in it?" Quar paused for a moment
as he stood up from his seat on the table. He allowed his arms to
drop at his sides as he began to walk to the projection. "Because we
have fifty or so of our fellow fighters housed here. Berea is a
prison camp for people which were captured. We have isolated one
camp on the planet that we ... Intel ... feel is most viable. Command
has agreed and therefore you boys will be liberating it." Quar
glanced over to Tong and Ordo once again as he paused for emphasis.
His hand slipped into his pockets as he looked back to the spinning
orb from the R3 droid. "The camp you will be liberating is a small
work camp. The work consists mostly of mining and this camp is about
to be shut down due to lack of minerals. This means that there is an
abundance of empty and dead shafts for entry." Quar took a step past
the droid to now be slightly past the center mark of the room. "Any
questions so far?" he asked.
Tong spoke up
without taking the cigarra from his mouth and without an emotion on
his face, or in his voice, "And just how many people are we rescuing
from this camp?"
Quar nodded at
the question. He turned to look at the floating orb in the room.
"There are fifty or so fighters as I have said. Command wants at
least one third. Moreover, I want you to notice the barracks. There
are three sets of barracks." Quar pointed at the three barracks in
the center of the projection. "We believe that the two larger ones
house at least twenty-five of our guys. They work twelve hour days,
so when you infiltrate one barrack will be full the other will be
empty." He took a step back as he stared at the projection. His
hands went to his pockets as he spoke again, "However, the smaller
barracks house is for the off duty guards. There can be anywhere
from six to ten of them
in there at
once." Quar looked towards Tong with his hands still in his pockets,
"Does that help?"
Tong did not
particularly like this idea ... too many prisoners, not enough
people to handle the job. But he said nothing about it. Complaining
never helped, particularly not to the intel officer. "Anything else
that would be pertinent for this errand?"
"Well, I was just
about to get to emplacements." Quar said as he nodded. "The front of
the base is in the southwest. To the northeast is a mountain range.
Southeast and southwest walls are shielded walls. You cannot
penetrate them. At the base of the mountain range is the entrance to
the mine shaft. There are three guard towers located northwest,
southeast, and southwest. Two men man each post, as far as we can
tell one is a spotter and the other operates an E-web heavy
repeating blaster. Also you have two roving patrols that can be
anywhere within the camp. Each roving patrol has two specially
trained creatures." Quar walked back to the front of the room as he
reached into his pocket for a cigarra. He removed the pack from his
pocket as he used his fingers to pluck one out. He placed it between
his lips as he sat next to his datapad again. He hand patted down
his pocket as he shook his head, "Damn I need a light."
QT, always the
helpful little rotund movable pack of tricks promptly opened a small
hatch on her front and extended her arc welder, turned the power
down to minimum and craned it upwards towards the man needing a
smoke. After all, he wasn't the only organic in the galaxy that
smoked. And while QT had no clue why they did such a stupid thing
with their frail organic bodies, it was not much of her concern. She
just did what she was told, and occasionally took the initiative,
sometimes when it was not needed.
Zev looked to Tong
and Quar, smirking slightly. "I thought this was the non-smoking
shrugged at his executive officer's comment, and slid over a pack of
matches. "Now I thought of all people, my XO would understand that
we don't play by the rules."
Quar puffed lightly
on the cigarra as the welder lit the tip. He inhaled on the tip of
the cancer stick before removing it from his mouth. He began to
exhale white smoke. Before completely exhaling he began to talk with
little wisps of smoke coming out of his mouth as he spoke, "Any
other questions or comments?"
"Gentlemen," Commander Atio said
from his seated position at the table, "I can have the Argo
ready to depart in a couple hours. We still have some repairs that
must be made before departure."
QT whistled as she
lowered the arc welder, and back into it's compartment, the door
closing neatly. She had to ay one thing about visiting high command,
they knew much better how to take care of a droid...nothing like an
oil bath and a paint touchup to make everything work just so. She
whistled to indicate that she was all for helping with the repairs.
The only part she had not liked missing.
"We will make the jump as soon as
the repairs are finished, "Commander Atio said as he rose from his
seat, "I'd better get back down to engineering."
hull of the Corvette Argo emerged from hyperspace in the
Berea system. After nearly a week of hurried repairs in the safety
of the Vergesso Asteroids, the small vessel was a more friendly
sight than when it departed Arzid with heavy damage. The crew had
been given another tough assignment and they suspected it would only
get more difficult from here on in. The frozen word of Berea loomed
in the distance: an ice-covered world filled with tundra and
daunting mountainous terrain ... a fittingly harsh location for the
Empire to place one of their forced labor camps.
On the bridge of
the Argo, Commander Derek Atio sat in his command chair
behind the pilot. He expected this system to be more defended than
Arzid and was keen to retreat at the first sign of danger. He leaned
forward slightly towards Lieutenant Thrum while his eyes focused
on Berea through the viewport. "Mister Thrum," he began, "Is the
false transponder signal broadcasting effectively?"
offered in response was crisp and precise, lacking of any doubt as
Lieutenant Thrum half pivoted his head around to his commander.
"Sir, online and functioning without issue."
"Well that makes
me feel a little better," Commander Atio said with some relief to
the pilot, "Approach the planet ... casually ... bring us
into a high orbit."
"Aye, Laying in
an approach vector, sir." Lieutenant Thrum's hands danced over
the controls laid out in front of him as he laid in, as had been
suggested, a casual approach course. With a subtle rising hum he
eased the ship into forward acceleration, laying into a sloping path
that would run the Argo into a high polar orbit, though he
was careful to remain easy on the engines output, no hurry, no rush,
just another passing civilian ship. "Laid in, sir."
As the Argo
entered a high orbit over the planet Berea, Commander Atio activated
the button for the intercom, "Captain Tong, We'll be landing in ten.
Get your team ready."
glanced up at the loud speaker, and shook his head. The team had
already been prepping and was onto the final kit inspection. Cold
weather gear and standard weapons load out. "Aye that." He spoke
into the comm unit and lit a cigarra while he waited.
the last flap of her backpack and set it beside her waiting KX-60
blaster rifle. The zipper of her snow-white parka remained unzipped,
and the hood rested against her back.
Zev sat in a
chair, his E-11 held in his hands. As he checked over his E-11 one
last time, he cracked a small smile at the Commander's message over
the comm. He had been on a mission like this once before, and he was
anxious to get this one underway.
Leo Kincaid was
seated against a bulkhead, cleaning an A280 blaster rifle. He still
had a pile to go through and catalog, in case anything was lost on
the upcoming trip. Lots of tools were scattered about, a grappling
hook standing out, and plenty of other equipment for climbing, as
the mission required some terrain navigating.
Lieutenant," Commander Atio instructed as he leaned back in his
chair and folded his hands, "We have the coordinates from Alliance
Intelligence ... take us in..."
Wes Thrum could not help the slow smirk that lifted into his lips as
he checked the ships' position one more time before he locked the
landing point in and rapidly tapped the required data into the
computer systems of the corvette. "Aye Sir, descending in three,
two, one...mark." Wes gave a gentle nudge to the ships controls and
nosed down towards the atmosphere, peeling off slightly to port as
the ship began its decent into the atmosphere of the planet slowly
coming up to meet them. As the Argo broke through the
atmosphere, her pilot kept careful watch on their decent angle and
speed, one degree off and they would overshoot their desired landing
spot by hundreds of kilometers.
As the Corvette
Argo touched down on the plateau in the mountainous terrain
high above Berea Commander Atio activated the control panel that
lowered the craft's ramp. He pressed down on the intercom once
again, "Good luck Captain. We'll be here when you get back."
Tong lowered the
ramp of the corvette to let his team off, his hand bringing the comm
unit back up to his mouth. "Just make sure to be ready to dust off
as soon as we do get back. Tong out." He nodded to his small squad,
giving the signal for them to fall in as he took his first steps
into the cold mountainous world.
instantly, Zev got to his feet, his hands placing his hood on his
head as he looked around at the rest of the squad. "Alright
everyone, let's move."
Miranda took the
right flank, as she stepped off of the landing ramp. There was
little to see besides the white mixture of snow and ice, and the
local flora. Still, it would be careless to leave one's guard down.
Her eyes scanned the right quadrant for Imperial patrols and other
Leo Kincaid was
trekking to the rear of the group, seemingly more comfortable, but
still obviously cold. His jaw seemed to chatter as he carried a
slightly heavier load than the rest. He was there for support and to
work as a guide, due to his familiarity with the fringe worlds. His
A280 blaster rifle was cradled in his arms, more as a precaution
blaster rifle off of the table, Zev brought up the rear of the
squad, hurrying down the ramp.
Tong led his
little band across the plateau, and towards the ventilation shaft.
He was looking forward to getting out of the open, and so the
ventilation shaft door was a welcome sign. As the team gathered, he
tried the door, and turned, giving a shake of his head. "It's
locked. Anyone have a cutter with them?" He was going to have a chat
with his team about the equipment that one of the shooters should be
carrying when this was all over. But before he could get to that, he
brought the butt plate of his EE-3 down hard on the lock, so as to
break the lock and give them access.
into position to guard the others while the door was unlocked.
once, looking at Tong. "I knew you had it in you, Cap'n." With that,
he opened both doors to the shaft, looking towards Leo. "Nielson,
you've got point."
With the doors
open, Miranda dropped down into the mineshaft. Pivoting around, she
swept the area for guards before calling the all clear.
hefted the doors aside and took a look around, a flash of
recognition coming across his face. "Alright guys, let's load up on
this mine car. It'll take us as close as we need to be." Kincaid
hopped on, only taking point because of his knowledge of the
particular car and the general layouts of mines. He looked
concerned, however, being in more danger than he was accustomed to.
with the idea of riding in a mine car, Zev followed Leo into the
mine, his E-11 at the ready, safety off. "Keep your eyes open
"Save the mine
car. We might need it for something else on the way out. We walk in.
It's a hell of a lot quieter." Someday Tong was going to have to
either kill the intel and supply officers, or train them properly.
"So out of the car, and get back on point Kincaid."
his head, but followed directions, making sure he had all his gear
tight across his back, his blaster rifle still in his hands, walking
out in front of the group very, very cautiously, following the glow
of the glowrod.
Needing both of
his hands to hold his rifle, Zev followed closely behind Leo and his
glowrod, the stock of his E-11 dug into his right shoulder.
took up the right flank, keeping an eye on the side passages.
Tong had taken
up the rear, his weapon up, one eye peering through the scope,
scaled back for short tactical ranges, the light amplification
working to his favor.
Leo followed the
gentle curve of the mineshaft before he stopped briefly, head half
turned, nonchalantly piped up, kind of quietly, as one friend may do
to another. "Hey, I got an idea..."
Leo, Zev quietly responded to Leo. "Well, don't keep it to yourself.
What is it?"
walking, "You don't suppose we'll be coming back this way with
someone, or a lot of someones, do you? If that's the case, we could
use that mine car as a rolling present. Sort of a parting gift, fill
it with explosives or whatever those crazy demolition guys do..."
Kincaid was not sure how plausible that sounded, but he felt it was
worth a shot in offering the plan.
Not a fan of the
idea, Zev quickly responded. "Who knows if any of us will be alive
for a return trip, soldier. Let's get through this, and worry about
parting gifts later...keep your eyes open."
his head again, not a fan of much any of this, but he was closing in
on the blast doors, with less than twenty meters to go, so he
started slowing down, as if his footsteps would wake someone. "Let's
get in first, eh?" He eyed the door nervously, unsure of how to
proceed next. "You got any ideas?"
"I don't suppose
you know how close the active shafts would be to this blast door, do
you?" Tong was irritated that intel had not mentioned this part of
the problem, but he kept his eyes on the rear. "Because a small
charge at the hinge might do enough to get us through, but I don't
want to alert the entire base we're here until we have to."
"What if we
bluff our way in?" Leo asked.
against the door to see just how much give it had. Provided enough
room, they might just be able to shoot the lock off. "You know..."
She fell backwards as the lock gave way, sending the doors flying
open. A soft grunt escaped her lips as she landed, unceremoniously,
on the ground.
Zev looked down
to Miranda, stepping past her, his E-11 rifle still at the ready. He
said in a slight sarcastic tone, "No time for a nap soldier. On your
already halfway to her feet when Zev made his unnecessary remark. On
the upside, she had the door open.
Kincaid tried to
stifle a laugh, as his eyes adjusted to the sudden onset of light,
scanning quickly for any hostiles.
"Move out. In a
hurry." Tong cast a quick glance over his shoulder, and waited for
them to start moving again.
room as he entered, Zev briefly glanced at the equipment.
Kincaid was not
a commando, or a spy, or anything impressive, but he hurried over to
the fusion cutters and grabbed a few, trying quickly to get them
packed in with his gear. Supplies were after all, his job. "We
Miranda took up
a position by the door while the others took up their own positions.
into the supply room, still bringing up the rear. "Grab the
rebreathers too." He glanced over his shoulder again. "Don't suppose
you could take a look outside...see if we can get to the barracks
without being spotted."
several rebreathers as well, putting them in his supply bag. This is
why it was never more than half full when he left. He obliged Tong's
suggestion, and crept up next to the large door, breathing heavily,
before trying to crack it open, just a tiny bit to peek outside.
Kincaid moved his head away from the door and looked back at Tong.
There is a barracks directly south of us, one on the west side, and
on the middle." He pointed to accommodate his directions, so they
would have an idea of where they were. "There's also three guard
towers, in every corner but ours..."
Not far from the
action, a smaller jailbreak was taking place. Leilia Sangre did
mental cartwheels as the door to her cell softly creaked open. Her
lips, tinged slightly blue from the cold, curled upward in a small
smile. "Hah...three minutes. Blasted Imp owes me fifty credits..."
Leilia peeked out the open door of her cell and, spying no guards,
left her cold, dismal cell behind.
"Ordo, can we
get to the barracks without being spotted, or do we need to go fast
and hard?" Tong asked.
Tong took a deep
breath, and moved up to the front of the formation for a moment, by
taking a long look out the door. It was going to be tricky, but they
could pull this off. "We're going to do this silently. One person
moves at a time, we get into the shadows around the barracks, and
check each one. We are not looking to engage. We just want the
prisoners. If not a shot is fired, I buy you all a drink. Nielson,
you're up first. Don't be seen, and move out. Supply, you are
staying here and covering the retreat. Any questions? First to be
checked is the nearest barracks."
being glad he was a non-combatant, "No questions here," he kneeled
in the corner of the room, against the same wall as the door,
blaster rifle at the ready. "I'll be here waiting on you guys. Good
her head outside, glancing around for patrols. Once clear, she would
move quickly to the eastern barracks. She kept her stance low and
made as little noise as possible.
Zev nodded once
to Leo before following behind Miranda to the eastern barracks.
Tong was the
last one out, still covering their rear, his footfalls silent as the
made their way to the east barracks. Once he was there, he motioned
for Nielson to check inside.
Taking a deep
breath, Miranda eased the door open. She moved inside quickly,
scanning the room. "Clear and empty."
center one. Quick and quiet." Tong kept his eyes up, sweeping for
sentries, and hoping he did not see any.
outside once more, closing the door behind her. Then, she took the
point position as she crossed to the center building quick, quiet,
and low to the ground.
followed to the center barracks, his head on a swivel in search of
Imperial troopers, his fingers on the trigger of his E-11.
Tong tapped the
trigger guard of the EE-3 once before heading after Zev. He knew
there was a fifty-fifty chance now, and if it were the guards, they
would slap a pair of binders on the door, and move on. If not, they
might just pull this off.
With everyone in
position once more, Miranda opened the door and stepped inside, her
rifle sweeping from side to side.
Leilia had been
making her own quiet way toward the main doors, her early years of
thieving and burglary keeping her light and stealthy on her feet.
She was not expecting the doors to open at this time of night, and
hurriedly glanced around for some semblance of cover to duck behind.
Not a second to spare, she ducked into the refresher unit, hardly
daring to breathe, right hand clenched tightly around the handle
nestled at the small of her back, in the event that things got
"We have someone
moving around. I didn't get a good look." Miranda spoke softly so
that only those with her could hear. Then, she moved quietly towards
"Ordo, get in
there and help clear the building." Tong waited for his executive
officer to move and then shadows of the building near the door. Tong
hoped the Rebels would be smart enough to keep their mouth shut,
because if they were not, it would be tough getting clear.
Tong's order, Zev stepped into the barracks, his E-11 quickly coming
up to aim forward. His eyes trained on Miranda, he quietly spoke "I
got you covered."
Leilia grit her
teeth, listening to the muffled voices outside in the corridor.
Maybe whoever it was would just pass on by. She clenched her fingers
tightly around her whip's handle, and restlessly shook out some
imagined tension in her useless left hand. This was not how she
planned on spending the night.
One hand grasped
the door handle to the refresher. Pulling the door open quickly,
Miranda's rifle came level on the stall's occupant.
became readily apparent to Leilia. One: there was not enough room in
the 'fresher to maneuver her whip properly, and two: the lady
leveling a rifle muzzle on her was no Imp. Naturally, she said the
first thing to come to mind, her gray-violet eyes blinking owlishly
in confusion. "Hey...you're not a guard."
Zev stepped to
Miranda's right side, to get a clear view into the stall. He trained
his E-11 on the stranger, barking out to her. "Get your hands in the
On the opposite
side of the center barracks an Imperial Stormtrooper passed by the
South entrance holding two Huurton's on a chain. They growled loudly
whenever they passed by. As far as he was concerned everything was
Tong was not
happy to hear that growling. Another thing left out by the Intel
officer. He whispered into his comm again, to the point that he
could barely hear his own voice. "We need to do this quickly. Get
those people out of the barracks. We can disarm and search them
With a nod,
Miranda turned and moved deeper into the barracks. "Alright people,
it's time to get off this snow ball. If you have any qualms, you're
more than welcome to stay behind." She then proceeded to open the
Laying on one of
the cots in the prison cell was a grizzled looking Shistavanen
Wolfman. Lieutenant Sarn Kielt started to stir, being woken by
sounds of some of the more restless prisons in the cell with him. He
had been wearing the same tattered red pilot jump suit for months
now. His stench had now mixed with the stench of all the other
prisoners. Sarn looked around the cell as he rubbed his dark furred
snout, trying to rub of the nightmares of his capture. Unfortunately
the nightmare had not stopped since he had arrived. He was still
waiting to wake up.
her right hand in the air, while her left, crudely wrapped from her
fingertips to some unknown point beneath her sleeve in what might
have once been white bandages, only managed to raise to half-mast.
"So...you planning on shooting me now, or what? Don't suppose I
could get out of the 'fresher first?"
Zev motioned for
Leilia to step out and towards the entrance of the barracks with his
E-11 before returning the barrel's aim to her center mass. "Come on,
you heard the lady ... get moving."
with that," Leilia replied casually, allowing her left arm to drop
as she moved in the suggested direction.
One by one
tired, beleaguered Rebel veterans began meandering out of their
cells. They were weak, malnourished, and tired. They had slaved all
day in the mines, but still had the courage and determination that
led them to become Rebels.
It took a minute
for his eyes to clear, but when they did Sarn shot up. The cell had
been opened. "...By the force." He snapped to look at the other men
in the cell, "Quickly, the doors are open! Move now! Go! Go! Go!"
The exhaustion of a full day of work melted off. Sarn was the first
out of his cell and he headed straight for the barracks door. He
pondered for a quick second on whether or not it was trap. At this
point though, he didn't care. He was either going to be free, or he
was going to be dead.
Tong had never
liked rescue missions for prisoners of war with a force this small.
It took too long, and everyone was at risk. As the Rebels made their
way out, he pointed them towards the shed that the commandos had
slipped in through.
"Come on people.
Move like you've got a purpose." Miranda ordered.
Tong took up the
comm unit a third time. "Ordo, help me cover out here, Nielson,
cover our rear." He kept his eyes out for the patrols, and hoped
they could clear the barracks fast so that they were just gone, and
would not have a running fight to get clear.
Tong's comm message, Zev stepped down the barracks towards the exit
and Tong's location.
idly, his blaster rifle still leveled at the door of the supply
shed, waiting nervously for his team to return with a large group of
Rebels and Rebel sympathizers. He began to silently pray that they
would walk through before any Imperials wised up.
smelled the flesh in the cold night air. They tugged on the
Stormtrooper who was barely paying attention to the situation. In a
flash they broke free of their grip and began running towards the
line of prisoners moving slowly out of the compound. One of the
Huurton's leapt into the air and tackled a Rodian prisoner to the
ground and began gnawing on the hapless victim's face. The second
Huurton grabbed hard onto a Zabrak's ankle and began to gnaw on the
hardened flesh. The snowy ground began to run red with bleed as they
made their presence felt.
Tong could only
grimace and shake his head. The guards would be coming for their
animals soon as it stood. He was out of time. His voice came back
into the com for a final time in a whisper. "We're going loud. I
repeat...we're going loud. Argo, get warmed up." With that,
he brought the EE-3 up, and fired on the first Huurton, in a quick
three shot burst from the carbine.
Huurton was fired as the three bolts impacted its side. It roared in
pain as it fell off the Rodian, who unfortunately had bled to death.
Zev heard the
blaster shot just as he exited the barracks, and instinctively he
took aim at the 2nd Huurton with E-11, squeezing off a pair of
The blaster fire
impacted the second Huurton whose death mimicked that of the first.
The poor Zabrak fell to the ground and grabbed his bleeding ankle,
no longer unable to walk.
out loud, approaching the wounded Zabrak with an air of irritation,
grabbing onto one of his arms without even stopping for an
introduction. "Let's go, I'm getting tired of this ice-block."
At the sound of
blaster fire, Miranda wove her way through the prisoners of war to
get outside. Things were going downhill quickly.
Leilia wasted no
time with formalities as she dragged the Rebel along, hoping to
avoid an outright confrontation as the wounded man was now occupying
her only serviceable hand.
Suddenly a loud
alarm began sounding throughout the compound. Lights went on from
each of the three watchtowers and began surveying the terrain for
the source of the noises.
"Ordo, get a TD
into the last barracks. Make sure we don't have to deal with more
than necessary." Tong ordered.
When he heard
Tong's order, not bothering to see if he hit his target, Zev took
off in a sprint to the third barracks, his left hand coming down to
the belt around his heavy winter coat, removing a thermal detonator.
In an instant, he thumbed the activator, setting it to impact.
As Zev was
running towards the third barracks he passed directly passed a
confused Imperial Stormtrooper who lost control of the Huurtons.
Upon seeing the movement he instinctively raised his E-11 blaster
rifle and fired off a quick series of random blasters at the Rebel
Zev grimaced as
the trooper's blaster bolt seared his right shoulder as he reached
the barracks. Reflexively, Zev dropped his E-11. In a moment, he
collected himself, remembering the active detonator in his hand.
Putting the pain out of his mind for a few brief seconds, his right
hand flung the barracks door open as his left hand tossed the
thermal detonator into the unsuspecting barracks. Almost immediately
after releasing the detonator, Zev stumbled a few steps forward,
bending down to recover his E-11.
detonator exploded inside the barracks, creating horrific damage and
incinerating the troopers who had just begun to wake from their
slumber as the alarm sounded.
Kincaid shut his
eyes hard for a moment, hearing the worst thing he could have
imagined. First blaster shots rang out, then alarms, then an
explosion. He stood to his feet and got beside the door, trying to
pry it open a crack to get a view of what was going on.
Sarn had only
been outside for a few second when the blaster fire finally started.
Zev, a Rebel commando, had just run by only to be clipped by a
Stormtrooper. Sarn charged Strom trooper, using the other prison for
cover, and tackled him to the ground. As he rolled off, he already
had the trooper BlasTech E-11 in hand. He quickly fired to shot
point blank into the man's helmet.
Stormtrooper was dead before he knew what hit him. Unfortunately,
that was the least of his problems as the Northwest tower began
opening up E-web blaster fire in rapid succession down towards Zev
and Sarn who had wandered into the line of fire of the northwest
section of the compound.
Just as Zev's
fingers grasped his E-11 from the floor, E-web fire landed just a
few feet beside him, sending cold patches of snow into air. Spotting
Sarn take cover behind the wall, Zev did not hesitate in following
into a crouch, raising her rifle to sight in the nearest of the
eastern guard towers. "Move people!"
"This is some
rescue!" Leilia shouted to no one in particular, growling with
effort to drag along the rather heavy Zabrak. "Blast...didn't you
guys have a plan for getting out once you got in?" Leilia cast her
gaze about almost frantically, looking for the safest course through
prisoners reached the supply shed and were eager to get out of the
line of the fire. In a moment they were through the first door and
had begun descending down into the mineshaft under the cover of
them moving up the shaft. Get them out of here." Tong was barking
into his comm unit, and when he was done, he did not bother to look
at his detractor. His weapon stayed up, covering them from at least
and gestured with his blaster rifle, "C'mon folks, let's move it
out". He took the lead and moved as quickly as he could with his
equipment, making sure to be careful enough to scan for any
surprises on the way back through the mineshaft. He stopped to look
back, wondering if they needed help, but realizing his mission, and
continuing forward, away from the camp with his line.
Seemingly out of
nowhere two additional Huurton's began rushing towards the
streamline of prisoners. The first Huurton leaped at a Human female
and immediately latched on her arm and dug its fangs deep inside.
Her scream was awful and echoed through the cold night.
Another Huurton was more ambition and pounced Miranda, the Rebel
trooper, his fangs immediately attempting to get hold of her blaster
Miranda hit her
comm, they needed out of there and they need out now. "Regroup on
evac route, now!" Her attention turned to the immediate threat, as
the creature's mouth came in, she swung the butt around to smack the
side of its head.
whimpered as the blaster butt smacked into its head. It shook its
head dazed and then bit back down upon the barrel with a snarl and
even greater veracity.
viciously to herself about crazy Rebels and half-baked rescue
attempts. She all but tossed the wounded man toward the exit point,
hanging back herself and allowing the other weaker prisoners to head
toward relative safety first.
Sarn snapped his
head to look at Zev, taking quick note of his rank, "Sergeant! We need to take out that E-web ASAP! You guy are running
the mission, you tell me what you want me to do!"
Zev placed his
back flush with the wall, bringing the E-11 up to his chest. He
turned to Sarn and muttered, "I'm not going to be very accurate with
my arm like this, so here's the plan...I'm going to put random fire
on that tower...you take aim, and make it count."
snapped around his E-11 at the ready just at the edge of the wall,
his face as serious as death, "Ready...!"
instantly, and fired another three bolts into the Huurton that had
one of his troopers pressed into the ground. "Ordo, throw smoke, and
fall back. We're almost done here."
The Huurton on
top of Miranda was blasted and fell to its death atop her, uttering
one last growl of defiance.
Kicking the dead
beast off of her, Miranda stood and scanned the area for other
immediate threats. Why did they have to have guard dogs? Well, if
she wanted easy, she would have stayed a civilian.
Zev looked to
Sarn after receiving the Captain's orders. His left hand moved to
his belt once more, unhooking a smoke grenade. "You heard Tong. On
my count, get moving. One...two...three!" In an instant, Zev tossed
the smoke grenade out into the open area where the retreat would
take place. "Go, go, go!"
Sarn sprinted as
fast as he could towards the shed.
Wincing as he
returned his left hand to the right shoulder wound, Zev began
sprinting towards the exit of the base, disappearing into the
now-billowing smoke filled area.
Stormtrooper who released the last two Huurtons emerged on scene.
Upon gauging the situation he leveled his E-11 at Kincaid, the Rebel
facilitating the prison break, and unleashed a volley of fire at the
backwards as he saw the trooper open fire. His job was only to
secure the safety of the prisoners, but from his prone position on
the ground he randomly fired between his the newly released
prisoners at the source of the shooting, his eyes closing almost out
of fear. After the reactive firing of about half a dozen shots, he
began to crawl backwards, shouting at the prisoners to run while
trying to get himself out of harm's way.
acquiring the new target, and firing another triple burst. This was
combat, a lovely fluid environment where things changed instantly.
He just hoped that the supply officer would make it after being shot
Stormtrooper dropped to the ground with a dull thud, impacting the
snow. The only threat left was a remaining Huurton who by now had
devoured most of the poor woman's arm.
As Sarn ran, he
came up from behind the last Huurton, and fired two quick bursts
into the center of the beast's back.
The Huurton to
fell to the ground and released its grasp on the woman's arm. Blood
began flowing profusely from the wound now that the pressure was
released and she fell to the ground in a state of shock.
Tong saw the
shots, and nodded slightly, at least that much was handled. "Get her
up and out of here. Move!" Tong fell back so that he could cover the
door to the shed more effectively, while the last of the people ran
me with this one." Miranda pulled a medpac from her backpack and
worked as quickly as she could to staunch the flow of blood.
Sarn quickly had
the girl back up onto he feet and helped her too the shed. Her blood
poured all over him, soaking his fur. "Lieutenant Sarn Keilt,
Alliance Starfighter Commander" he answered. He never had been to
found of the name Wolfman. He continued to carry the women through
the mines as the medic tended to her wounds. The women's howls were
fierce and shrill in his keen ears.
"We'll deal with
intros back on the Argo." Miranda kept moving along with the
Rebels had by now entered the shed and descended into the mines.
Most of them had made it, but a couple would need seriously medical
attention in the hours to come.
Leilia was quick
to follow the group of prisoners, quite eager to leave this icy pit
behind. As she ran along, she suddenly stopped, a dawning look of
horror coming across her features. "Damn it all! That guard never
gave me my money!" She muttered several colorful curses and actually
pondered going back and finding the idiot that had dared welsh on a
bet with her. Instead, she gave one last, sound curse, and moved
along, keeping with the hodge-podge group.
As the last man
was to safety, Tong backed into the shed, and finally into the
mines. But they were not safe yet, and he was not going to relax
until they were. "Argo, we have over a dozen people in need
of various degrees of medical attention, including my XO. So get the
bacta tanks ready, along with the engines warm, we're coming home."
He kept his face towards the camp the entire way, and as they got
everyone back onto the plateau, he shoved the mine car down to block
Thrum stabbed at the comm on his station and responded with a breath
of obvious relief at hearing the words sent in his direction. "This
is the Argo, roger that, engines are standing by." And just
as he had suggested, he rapidly flew through the short prep
checklist as he brought the engines out of standby.
depressed the intercom on his command console, "Medical team prepare
for the wounded as quickly as she could, setting up her medical
supplies and such. "Got to hurry."
Zev quickly made
his way back towards the entrance of the mine towards the Argo,
his E-11 still in somewhat limp right hand.
the Rebels along, "Twenty meters up the hill!" as he led them
towards the ship, huffing and puffing in the cold frigid air.
along the line helping those in need.
The group of
Rebels began to emerge from the mineshaft back into the cold
landscape of Berea. The mountain air being the first breath of
freedom they had in months.
carried the woman as he finally cleared the mines. She had finally
fallen unconscious from the pain and was now over his shoulder. He
huffed it up the hill until he finally made the crest and spotted
the Corellian Corvette. He nearly broke into tears at the site of
it, but his pride stopped him.
An eerie shriek
was heard in the air. Different from anything the group had
previously encountered. Suddenly green bolts of energy began
impacting the terrain near the group of Rebels. Two of them went
down almost instantly.
With her first
breath of fresh air in months, Leilia broke into a coughing fit,
dropping to one knee as she struggled to relearn how to breathe. In
the end, her weakness saved her life, as a green blast from a TIE's
cannon flash-boiled the planter's surface barely a meter in front of
her, directly in her path. "By all the..."
an anonymous Rebel yelled as the prisoners began running towards the
ramp of the Corvette. Former camaraderies were abandoned as they
pushed each other to get to the front of the line.
Miranda ran a
few meters from the line of refugees. Dropping into a crouch she
brought her rifle to her arm and waited for the fighter to come back
in range. It was painfully obvious that she did not have a
snowballs' chance in hell, but maybe she could provide a useful
checkout complete, all engines responding within expected
parameters...wait... " Wes' head snapped around to Commander Atio.
"Sir! TIE's! No idea where they came from! Tracking..."
Commander Atio cursed, "Order the topside battery to open fire."
turbolaser of the Corvette Argo began blasting randomly into
the cloud cover that obscured most of the sky. Several of the clouds
flashed when the blaster fire impacted, but there was no sign of any
The green blasts
were not at all welcome. They rained on his parade more than he was
willing to allow. Tong was more than willing to grab to two downed
men and drag them the rest of the way, which is exactly what he did.
"Get your sorry asses aboard, now!"
Sarn tried to
keep his calm as he sprinted towards the ships ramp. He slowed only
to help up fallen comrades as he passed. The tie fighters brought
back dark memories for him.
forgotten, Leilia sprang to her feet, dashing furiously toward the
ship's loading ramp. Out of habit, she latched onto the first
straggling Rebel she came across, half-dragging them toward the
ship. "Don't tell me you want to stay here? Let's go!" She shoved
the nameless Rebel in the direction of the ship, looking for more
stragglers. Not that she particularly cared one way or the other,
but it'd be a shame for these guys to go to such trouble just to
lose their buddies.
Just as the pain
in his arm began to slightly subside as the endorphins kicked in,
Zev hurried up the ramp, not interested in shooting at TIEs with
small arms fire.
over here and do something useful, grab one of these wounded and get
them aboard the Argo. Move!" He was getting a touch cranky,
which was rare for Tong.
The blaster fire
emerged from the cloud cover again, but this time the target was
different. The blaster fire impacted the Argo's topside,
causing considerable damage as the ship's shields were down.
Thrum's Teeth gritted as the Argo shook, and instantly he
scanned the readout in front of him for the request he already knew
was coming. "Sir, sensors are offline, we're blind here, and I'd
like to lift real soon..."
"Raise the ramp
in two minutes, Lieutenant," Commander Atio reluctantly ordered.
"Two minutes and
counting...mark." Lieutenant Thrum stabbed at the comm and
connected directly to Captain Tong. "Captain, we're lifting in two
minutes with or without, I suggest you all come home real fast."
Seekith had been
on guard duty that night. He had covered the returning prisoners
until he spotted the TIEs. He quickly ran back inside and switched
out his armaments. In a jiffy, he was back outside with a HH-15
rocket launcher on his shoulder. More prisoners filled past as he
waited for the second pass. He finally spotted the tie. He took aim
at the TIE and waited for a confirmed lock tone from the weapon. As
the high pitch tone pinged in his ear, he let loose the missile.
hearing the missile launch. Well, that much was covered. She quickly
returned to helping the line of refugees.
In a massive
explosion that illuminated the night's sky ... even with the cloud
cover ... the TIE/ln exploded in a fury.
to look at Captain Tong with a huge smile on his face. He yelled out
in triumph, "I made it go boom sir! Were almost clear! Let's lock it
bringing up the rear, and he dumped his two wounded onto the ramp,
before he turned to make sure that Neislon had made it aboard.
"Nielson, you have exactly thirty seconds to get aboard, or you will
be left behind. Move!"
up the ramp after the last of the prisoners. He moved to the
barracks to set down his weapon and prepared for take off.
widened as she saw the ship's ramp lift off the ground. Oh, she was
not staying here any longer! She made a last mad dash, and dove
headfirst toward the ramp, just managing to clear the edge and roll
across the deck.
up the rear, hitting the button to close the hatch behind her.
They were all
aboard now. Tong the last one to get his boots out of the snow as
the ramp hissed behind him. He took a deep breath, and lit a cigarra
in the insuring silence.
"Get us out of
here," Commander Atio barked at Lieutenant Thrum.
"Ten seconds and
counting..." an anxious little shudder ran down Wes' back as he
watched the display carefully and then he saw it, the hatch was
cycling closed."Thank the bloody Force. Let's get the hell out of
here." He punched the intercom with a smirk "Emergency dust-off in
five...brace, brace, brace." He mentally counted down five seconds
and throttled the engines of the ship, urging the hulking piece of
starship into the air once more, praying for no more interference
from their little TIE visitors earlier.
"You heard the
man. Hold onto to something." He took hold of the bulkhead, letting
his EE-3 hang from its sling. "Ordo, sitrep."
Leilia lay flat
on her back on the ship's deck, blinking half-stunned eyes upward at
nothing in particular. She automatically found something solid to
latch onto, as she was not in a proper seat.
finished setting her equipment and things and was ready for
Sarn made it
into the infirmary and spotted a medic, Aami. He brought the woman
over to the table and laid her down. The woman's gnawed stub was
still hemorrhaging blood, but not as bad due to Miranda's help. "Her
arm was chewed off. She is all yours."
"By what?" Aami
scrambled to the table and began to apply some antiseptic to stop the
Sarn had already
left the infirmary and had found the other prisoners. Hearing the
pilot's command, he grabbed hold of the doorframe and held on.
the woman with something to ease the pain and applied a disinfectant
then began to wrap her arm quickly. She then injected her with
The ship was
lifting clean enough and he pulled it around for an escape vector
the Lieutenant Thrum had played in his mind over and over again,
angling the thrust of the Corvette forward once more and urging
acceleration to the Argo, as the full force of the engines
took hold and the ship arched more or less gracefully into the cold,
dark sky of the imperial world that he was gladly leaving behind.
Two TIE Fighters
approached the Corvette Argo as she ascended towards space.
Unfortunately, with sensors disabled there was no warning and the
impact of the blaster fire rocked the already rattled ship.
shields up!" Commander Atio yelled at his bridge officer.
Wes gritted his
teeth and wove the starship off to the starboard and away from the
incoming fire, incase there was more shots inbound on the same
vector...he focused his attentions now, pulling up visuals on
different hull pickups, watching for what he could as he guided the
ship higher and higher into orbit. He snapped out of his momentary
diversion of dodging the incoming fire and reached over, thumbing
the shield controls online with a stroke of his wrist "Shields
charging, full capacity in forty-five seconds.
"Lay in the
coordinates back to the Vergesso Asteroids," Commander Atio ordered
as he rocked in his seat as the TIE's laser bolts continued to
impact the shields.
computations for the jump to lightspeed, entering that data now,
sir. We'll be ready to jump in three minutes." Wes' hands flew as he
divided his attentions between watching the hull pickups for more
incoming ships and the fire they might offer and entering the
figures for their jump to hyperspace.
Corvette Argo suddenly jolted forward into hyperspace.
Damaged, but not destroyed, the vessel had completed its mission and
survived to fight another day leaving the two TIE/ln fighters to
helplessly watch the ship limp home.
Atio leaned back in his chair and sighed. "It's going to take a
while to get those sensors back online," he explained to the
Lieutenant, "I don't like the idea of us heading back into an
asteroid field with no sensors."
Wes Revon Thrum let out, for the first time, a true sigh of relief
as it finally came to him that it was all over...he turned to look
directly at Commander Atio "Yes, sir. Might I suggest a detour to
the outer edges of the Glythe Sector in the Mid Rim? We could be
there within thirteen hours and Imperial presence is not overly
strong in the sector as it holds no huge military interest...it
would be good as a repair stop if noting else."
"We have orders
to stay in the Outer Rim, Lieutenant," Commander Atio explained, "We
also need to get these prisoners back to the fleet where they can
receive medical attention." He sighed before continuing, "We'll just
have to risk it."
"Aye, of course,
Sir. I'll spend some time reworking the hull pickups into a three
hundred and sixty degree visual so I can at least steer clear of the
larger asteroids when we drop out of hyperspace...the shields
shouldn't have too much of an issue deflecting the smaller ones
anyway if we back them up with some reserve energy." Wes turned once
more to glance slowly over the readouts in front of him and start
right in on his self-assigned task.
"I'm going down
below to get a report," Commander Atio informed the Lieutenant,
"Your relief should be here soon." The Commander rose from his chair
and exited the bridge. He entered the turbolift and pressed the
button to take him down to the lower level where the medical bay
"Aye, sir. I'll
hold things down until then." Wes stated.
Now that they
were safe in hyperspace, Sarn moved down the hall to head back
towards the ramp. He knew there were still wounded and he needed to
help. The BlasTech E-11 was still trapped across his chest.
Leilia winced as
she pulled herself up to a sitting position, cradling her left arm
close to her chest. The injury was five-months-old, acquired during
the incident that ended her in prison, but it still caused her
discomfort from time-to-time. "Blast it all..."
As Sarn made it
to the ramp, he spotted Leilia Sangre, propped against the
bulkhead. "Hey Lei! You made it!"
up toward he Sarn's voice, managing a semi-strained smile for the
friend she had made on the inside. "Yeah well, I'm kind of hard to
get rid of, you know...glad to see you've managed to make it out in
beside Lei while looking her over for injuries, "To bad we can't
same for you? Are these new injuries?"
Leilia shook her
head curtly, wincing as she attempted to move her left arm, making a
face at the grimy, sodden bandages completely wrapped around her
hand and disappearing beneath the long sleeve of her grungy prison
uniform. "No, not new. Just gives me a bit of trouble now and
again...my arm's probably acting up right now because it's finally
starting to thaw out." She laughed faintly, making light of the
Sarn managed a
polite yet rare smile before offering to help her stand. "I don't
know how well it will thaw in the cold of space, but we can at least
get a medic to look at. Let's go take a walk. You can tell me how it
originally happened on the way."
"Heh. Not much
to tell, really," Leilia demurred, but allowed the wolfish alien to
help to her feet and walk her toward the medbay. "I was stupid and I
suffered for it."
Tong took a
moment to light his cigarra before heading off to find his executive
officer. It was not a secret that he did not care about the cause of
the Rebels, but he did care about the men who served under him. He
figured that his executive officer would be in medbay, so without
bothering to disarm, he went to find the Sergeant.
Zev sat in the
medbay in his uniform pants, the shirt long since removed so he
could address the wound in his right shoulder. He shook his head
slowly in disbelief, muttering to himself. "Two missions in a
row...I must be getting old."
Aami walked to
Zev. "So what happened to you today?" She looked at his shoulder.
"Go lay down on the table." she pointed to an empty table.
Tong stood at
the door and watched for a moment, before moving to stand by his
executive officer. "You need to get back on your feet quick, because
we still have a lot of uninjured prisoners that need secured." And
that seemed to be as caring as he got.
from the turbolift on the deck with the medbay. He walked down the
narrow white corridors and popped his head into the room. "We lose
anyone?" he asked apprehensively.
Aami looked to
Derek. "Yes we lost three and two are severely injured." She waited
for Zev to get on the table.
Derek mulled the
numbers over in his head. They were bad, but not awful. He nodded at
Aami silently and then looked over the wounded.
Zev got to his
feet and walked to the table as Aami instructed, all the while
looking to Tong and nodding. "I won't let something this trivial
keep me sidelined long, Captain."
"Good, because I
don't want to have to search this tub for some stowaway with an
explosive coat." Tong nodded in turn and moved off, still smoking
and armed, to herd the non-injured prisoners into the brig. No sense
in letting them run about because he was short handed.
Aami tended to
his shoulder, giving him something for pain and wrapping the wound.
"You're good to go. It wasn't too bad so be grateful."
Zev looked to
Aami and shot her a small smile. "That's the second time in as many
missions. This is starting to become a bad habit, but again, thank
Tong made his
rounds, his EE-3 settling any question as to whether or not they
would go to the brig. Granted, none were happy about it, but Tong
just did not care and locked those that were not in the medbay into
out from the barracks just in time to see Captain Tong moving by
with the prisoners. With a quizzical look on his face he asked, "Hey
Captain. Are we taken them to the brig?
...until they are searched and screened. Good security, incase the
Imperials got wind of the raid." Tong had locked everyone of the
prisoners into the brig, and gave Seekith a nod. "Go check the
medbay, find out if any other are ready to be locked down after
being patched up."
"Yes, sir" He turned to head towards medbay. As he passed the armory
he grabbed a spare A280.
When his relief
reported to take his place on the bridge, he was just putting the
finishing touches on setting up the hull pickups from their default
positions to provide to him a virtual windows view around the ship,
should he ever have to fly manually and sensor blind again. Wes
stood and moved to trail in his commander's footsteps, moving to the
tubrolift after straightening his uniform top, stepping in and
punching for the medical bay, he was no doctor, of course, but at
least he could offer his novice assistance in simple matters.
slightly as they walked, eyes taking on a bit of a distant light.
"Well...I wasn't really the one that suffered at all..."
Sarn spoke with
a complete deadpan look on his face so that Lei could not tell if he
was joking or not, "Suffering for our stupidity was why we were all
there... wasn't it?
once, dispelling the rather morose expression from her face, and
chuckled briefly as Sarn's words. "You've got a point there."
Sarn helped Lei
into the medbay and over to one of the beds. He signaled to Aami
that they would need help.
Aami made her
way to Sarn quickly. "What is the problem?"
nodded to Lei, "She had had a long standing injury that never
received proper attention. Can you help her?"
her eyes briefly, glancing toward her furry friend. "Sarn here is a
mother hen, not a wolf. Seems to think I need looking after, but I'm
f..." the fates were against her as a particularly bad twinge in her
left arm made her wince. "...Fine."
doors hissed open quietly as Wes stepped free of their confines,
moving into the medical bay slowly Wes would take the pair of
injured being tended to and he would half nod as he glanced over to
Aami, the obvious medical officer in charge. "Anything an idle hand
can help out with..?"
all patched up but ill get some stronger painkiller for you." Aami
walked to a table and picked up an empty syringe then she picked up
a small bottle and filled the needle. She walked back and smiled.
"This should do it. I'll get a bacta tank ready for you."
Just the painkillers will be fine." Leilia's jaw was clenched
tightly, her tone brooking no argument on the matter.
"Alright but I
really recommend the bacta." Aami walked over to another table.
Sarn had spotted
Commander Atio in his uniform and approached. He snapped to
attention to the Commander's left side and waited to be addressed.
nodded calmly at Sarn. "I bet you're glad to be out," he said
cheerfully, "What unit were you in?"
answered, "Lieutenant Sarn Keilt, Starfighter Command. Seeker
Hrm, So busy at
her work, that Aami hadn't even heard Wes' offer to aid and took it
that she had it under control. He instead turned and moved over
towards Derek Atio and the Shistavanen he was speaking to, now was a
good a time as any to learn about the people he'd be serving with
and why not start at the top of the ladder? Wes made sure not to
become intrusive...he simply stayed off slightly to the side...though
habit forced him to fall into parade rest in such proximity with his
you," Derek asked Leilia over Sarn's shoulder, "What unit were
you in when you were captured?"
Leilia was about
to retort to the medic's recommendation when she was addressed by
the unfamiliar uniformed man. She glanced toward him briefly, before
averting her gaze toward the floor. "Sorry to disappoint, but I'm
not part of any unit."
"Not part of any
unit?" Derek asked as he scrunched his nose at Lei, "What were you
doing in an Imperial labor camp then?"
her shoulders with an air of nonchalance, leaning back and eyeing
the medical supplies near her bedside, among which was a roll of
fresh bandaging the well-meaning medic had neglected to use.
"Apparently, the Imps don't like it when their buddies end up dead."
Seeing that the
commander was moving on, Sarn turned to Wes. "So how goes the
Rebellion? I have been gone for three months. Have we made any head
silent as he observed the interaction between his commanding officer
and the ex-Imperial captives...seemed he did not need to be there
long before he had formed a mental opinion of the man he was serving
under because for some reason he seemed to suddenly be
satisfied...this was when Sarn spoke up in Wes' direction and he
focused those azure hues to the Shistavanen that addressed him,
keeping to his position of parade rest out of habit even as he
spoke. "Personally I'd like to think that it's going well, but its a
constant uphill battle, lack of supplies, shortage of fully trained
individuals...heck, before my crash course on Starship piloting the
largest thing I've ever piloted was a Sentinel-class landing
they'll have me back in the saddle quick. Get you guys at least one
more full training individual. That way I can give you some extra
cover next time you guys encounter some TIEs." Sarn stated.
the room and survey the injured. Spotting Sarn as the only uninjured
former prisoner, he approached. As he spotted Commander Atio, he
stood with his A280 in hand, waiting for a moment to speak. Seekith
took that moment to speak, "Commander. Captain Tong has order that I
take all non-wounded prisoners to the brig and search them."
"That would have
been greatly appreciated earlier...I've never had..." He stopped as
Seekith broke into the conversation and listened on in passive
silence for a moment, before he would turn his eyes to Sarn once
more and offer at least a sideliners bit of aid. "If we're in need
to retain them until they're searched and scanned, then why not just
go ahead and search and scan him...it would certainly be a faster
and more efficient use of our time and manpower..."
Sarn looked at
the Cathar with a quizzical look, "I was under the impression that
we had just been liberated. Or is this just a transfer of prisons?"
Lieutenant," Seekith said with an apologetic look on his face, "but
standard procedure to make sure that you guy aren't storing any
It made since to
him. But still Seekith had received a direct order from Captain
Tong. He glanced to Commander Atio and waited for his opinion.
At least Wes'
comment had gone under consideration. That was a good note stored
away in the back of his mind. Now, Wes Thrum may only be a
Lieutenant, but that did not mean he was not gunning for rapid
promotion. He would take any chance he got to prove he could think
on his feet and react to a changing situation.
through personnel records," Commander Atio suggested, "If they're
who they say they are ... get them a bunk." His attention then
focused on Leilia, "Not sure what to do about this one though."
Leilia sat up straight, undoing and removing her rather ragged
prison jacket, leaving her in a dingy sleeveless undershirt, and her
trousers and boots. Her right arm displayed a rather intricately
detailed tattoo of a serpent, twining about the entire length of the
limb. Her left arm was wrapped in grimy, stained rags that passed
for bandages, from mid-bicep all the way to her fingertips, which
she immediately began to peel away. The injury Leilia exposed was a
burn, yet went so much beyond mere burning to be classified as such.
The skin looked as if it had begun to melt from her bones and then
cooled while still extended in liquid rivulets down her arm. The
skin had partially fused at the bend in her elbow, making it
impossible to completely straighten her arm, the same occurring with
her thumb, partially joining it to her palm, and her last two
fingers. Her hand was frozen in a way as to suggest she's been
clinging to something when the injury occurred.
Wes diverted his
attention over to Leilia as she worked at her own wound and he
would wince empathetically, before his attention would note Derek's
words and then shift once more back to Sarn. "Sounds like that's an
approval. Let's go take care of the red tape and get this over
with...I'd prefer not to see an ally go from one brig to another so
fast if I can help it." He gave a mild smirk as he lifted a hand a
bit in a welcoming motion to Sarn.
Seekith responded. He moved to talk with Sarn as the discussed his
information. Seekith ran the scans of whom he was while as Sarn
described his previous assignments and such. After confirming that
he had been an Alliance member, Seekith started moving around the
room to check the personnel records of the injured.
"Let me know
when you're finished, Corporal," Commander Atio instructed, "I've
got to get down to engineering and work on getting the sensors back
online." Commander Atio exited the medpay and proceeded down the
corridor towards the turbolift.
Sarn turned his
head with a thankful not to Wes. He then extended his hand to him
and repeated his usual speech, "Lieutant Sarn Keilt, Starfighter
Command. Thank you for your help Lieutenant." He left of the sub
part as a courtesy.
Wes allowed a
mild grin to slip onto his lips at the unspoken courtesy granted to
him by Lieutenant Sarn. "Think nothing of it, sir. Lieutenant
Wes Revon Thrum, Pilot of the Corellian Corvette Argo, which
I welcome you to. Shall I show you to the quarters you'll be using
for the duration of your stay then, sir?" As he was reciting his
name, he had make a point to snap his feet together and fire off a
sharp salute to the Shistavanen sitting before him, even if he did
fall directly back into parade rest afterwards.
the salute with a firm nod. Sarn had never been one to show emotion,
but he had learned in the past several years that a lack of emotion
could lead to problems as well. "That would be great Lieutenant
Thrum. Perhaps on the way you could tell me about the ship and its
"Of course. I
would be happy to, sir. Please, this way, sir." Wes made a sweeping
motion of his hand before he would dismiss himself from his parade
rest position and moved to show Sarn the way out of the medbay and
towards the turbolift to give them more direct access to the section
of the Corvette dedicated to crew quarters.
Seekith had been
hovering over another of the injured, getting their information. He
overheard Sarn's intention to leave the medbay. Without turning
around, Seek spoke in a cheerful voice, "Lieutenant. Before you
leave, I will be needing that rifle."
Sarn looked down
at the E-11 that was still strapped across his chest. He had been
hanging there since the escape. He walked over to Seekith and set it
down next him. "There you go, Corporal. Thank you for allowing me to
Seekith stood up
and retrieved the rifle with a smile. He was genuinely a decent guy
and meant no ill will to any other member of the Rebel Alliance.
"Thank you, sir. It's good to have you guys back with us."
Leilia let her
arm breathe for a few minutes, pointedly ignoring the goings-on
around her, before snatching up the fresh bandaging besides her and
redressing her arm, her expression significantly more grim than when
she had first come into the medbay. Fresh bandage secured,
painkillers kicking into effect, Leilia gave a brief nod of
satisfaction, and swung her legs over the edge of the bed, eager to
get up and move on.
Sarn turned to
head in the direction Wes was gesturing as he passed Leilia, he
rested a hand on her non-injured arm. "You ready to get moving kid?"
Oh! Of course,
Lieutenant Sarn's friend...he stopped and turned around, standing by
at the medbay's exit for the both of them, hands folding in behind
his back and clasping gently together in pertinence.
her eyes at the nickname, more than ready to get out of the medbay
and find a place to clean up. "Don't call me kid, wolfie. Let's get
out of here."
before moving out of the infirmary. He spoke as he walked, "So
Lieutenant Thrum? How long have you been with the Rebellion?"
years Sir. I joined up after being rescued by a Rebel patrol shortly
after the destruction of the transport I worked on. This is my first
real assignment." Half-glance would be given towards Leilia as
they made their way towards the turbolift. "I'll make arrangements
to secure an analgesic cream for that arm of yours, Miss. Should
ease some of the pain."
seeing Lieutenant Thrum glance toward her, however briefly, offered
a faint smile, raising her hands in a noncommittal gesture. "Pain
don't hurt. I'll be fine." She lowered her arms and looked away from
the pair of military men, her jaw clenching briefly as if was in
pain, and judging from the way her left arm hung calmly at her side,
that was not it.
Sarn closed his
eyes as he walked, feeling the rumble of the engines. His eyes
opened again as they reached the turbo lift. "Ah. I did miss the
peacefulness of space."
"Yes. It is
certainly better than being stuck on that backwater Imperial ice
ball, I am sure." Wes allowed a mild chuckle as he summoned a
turbolift and those doors hissed open on request. He stood aside to
let his two companions enter before him. Only moving in once both
were within the confines of the transport tube. "I'm glad we were
able to get you all out of here..."
"As are we all
to be free. It will feel great to get back into the cockpit of a
fighter." Sarn surmised. "Lieutenant Thrum? Would you mind if I
asked where we are headed?"
herself be drawn from her inward thoughts by the turn of the
conversation, and her rather depressed expression turned to one of
downright sulking, arms crossed and bottom lip jutting out slightly
for added effect. "It's not fair, blast it all..."
"I was going to
show you both to a set of crew quarters, thought you might like the
opportunity to relax and recover from your ordeal. Unless of course,
sir, you had a different destination in mind...err..." Wes shifted
his attention to Leilia as she spoke, even if he almost missed it
due to the corresponding hiss of the turbolift doors cycling shut.
"I'm sorry, but...what's not fair, miss..? Miss...I'm sorry...I
never bothered to ask for your name..." bit of an apologetic smile
lit his features. It was not like him to forget stuff like that.
to scowl. "Leilia," she responded automatically. "And it's not fair
because I'm out fifty credits!"
At this, Wes
blinked in surprise. "Fifty...credits?" He could not help the soft
laugh that rose into his voice as he shook his head and tapped one
of the designators on the turbolift's control panel, to which it
responded by whisking silently through the ship towards their end
destination in the crew quarters section of the Argo.
guard. Should've known the blasted Imp would welsh out on me..."
"Who and what
did you bet over?" Sarn asked.
ever so softly under his breath, "This ought'a be good..."
casually. "There's this tall Imp with blonde hair, seemed to think I
was bluffing when I said I could break out of my cell...so...I bet
him I could pick the lock in less than five minutes. They
confiscated all my tools when I got there or the deal would've been
two..." Leilia huffed angrily. "Here, I go to all that trouble...and
he wasn't even on duty tonight! Like I said...not fair!"
door gave another, final hiss as it slid open to reveal that they
were in the lower decks of the Argo, Crew sections. Wes
stepped out of the turbolift and started down the corridor towards
the section dedicated to passengers. With room for 250 passengers,
there were plenty to choose from. He continued leading them down the
hall until he reached a point in the hall just short of a T-junction
ahead of them and turned to face the two individuals he escorted,
motioning to the rooms on either side of him on opposite sides of
the corridor. "These should do fine...the junction behind me leads
to a rec room and mess, as I'm sure you're more than likely dying to
eat something not Imperial rations. Figured it would be best if I
put you close by, for the sake of ease."
"Well, with any
luck. Hopefully one of those commandos paid him back for you." Sarn
stepped out of the turbolift and spoke to Wes as he followed,
"Thanks Lieutenant Thrum, This will do real nice."
"Heh, one can
only hope," this was muttered beneath her breath as Sarn engaged the
Lieutenant in conversation. When the lieutenant pointed out the
rooms he had chosen for then, Leilia immediately moved toward the
door to the left. "Well boys, it's been fun, but I'm about ready for
a real bed." She did not even wait to give or receive a goodnight
from either man, promptly disappearing through the door.
politely to Leilia, "Enjoy your rest!" Sarn turned to Lieutenant
Thrum, "And earlier I was asking about where the ship was headed?"
Wes seemed to
laugh at his own misread of the earlier question that had been posed
to him. "Of course, I can't disclose anything of a precise nature,
but suffice it to say, Sir, that we are headed for an asteroid field
in the Outer Rim. I'd tell you more, but I'm not privileged to
discuss the exact details of our orders. I'm sure every effort will
be made to get you and your companions taken care of with as little
pain and inconvenience as possible."
Sarn turned and
offered a tight salute to Lieutenant Thrum, "A pleasure to meet you,
Lieutenant. I look forward to seeing around on the ship. And if you
need any help furthering that piloting crash course, don't hesitate
Wes snapped to
attention the moment he saw Sarn move to salute him, though he was
careful not to beat him in raising his own hand and held that
position for a moment before dropping his salute. "Of course, Sir,
I'll keep that in mind, if you need anything at all in the way of
aid or anything else that I might be able to assist in, please do
not hesitate to send for me. Rest well, sir."
Commander Derek Atio stopped dead in his tracks as he turned the
corner leading to the next service corridor. What he saw before him
was a dismal sight. An overhead support beam had broken lose from
the top bulkhead and severed the power conduit leading to the Argo's sensor array. If they could not repair it quickly, the
vessel would soon be flying blind in an asteroid field.
his shoulder, the feisty twenty-four-year-old brunette regarded the
damage in mild amusement, her right hand lifting to scratch idly at
the side of her chin. "Well, there's your problem!" she remarked,
almost willing to take credit for pointing out the issue despite the
glaring obviousness...like any good mechanic. She sniffled and
began rummaging through the numerous pockets on her military cargo
pants in search of her cigarra pack. "Looks like a job for a Ph.D.
to me" she commented in the process.
"Yeah...well...," Derek said with a groan as he proceeded down the
corridor towards the fallen support beam. "We'll just have to do,"
he grunted loudly as he thrust his weight against the beam. It gave
out after some effort and collapsed to the deck below with a loud clank. The damaged power conduit was now accessible, split in
two with all interior cabling severed.
wry grin flashed over her face. "Oh look at that. You actually
can do something" she said, booted feet stepping over the beam
carefully. "And here I thought you just sat around all day and told
people what to do." Brandy brown eyes followed the cable to its
retreat in search of its location on the grid to cut power to it for
was a very capable engineer in my youth," Derek jokingly replied.
Although at thirty-one he hardly considered himself old he had
experience beyond his years like many beings that grew up in times
of war. "Does it look like something we can fix?" Derek asked
nervously, "We've got a new pilot and I don't know if I can trust
him flying blind through Vergesso."
Tashi had already traced the conduit and moved back down the hall,
stopping to look at him. "Tell 'em not to pass a bantha. I have to
cut the power to the whole array" she said, disappearing promptly.
Minutes later and she was back and on the floor next to the conduit,
tool box along side her. She sat down Indian-style, and wasted no
time with a wire cutter, stripping the rubber insulation off the
individual wires in order to reconnect them. The process was tedious
and time consuming, but far less time consuming then running
entirely new cable. She worked with surprising speed, re-splicing
ends and twisting them together, before holding them in place with
electrical tape. One by one, each painstaking line was repaired.
Derek adjusted his hydrospanner inside of an open panel. Suddenly,
power to the entire deck was cut. All systems for that level were
shut down and not even the emergency lights were functioning. In the
dark the sound of hurried ratcheting filled the silenced corridor.
In a moment power was restored and the lighting clicked back on. "Do
you think anyone noticed?" Derek asked sheepishly as he reattached
the plating over the access point he was servicing.
Without looking up from her work, Tashi murmured "I'm sure it made
everyone feel at ease. If everything was going right, well...then we
worry." A small infinity seemed to pass as she met the task head on
of reattaching severed ends. At long last, she slipped a plastic
jointed sleeve over the whole patch job and likewise taped it in
place. She gave it a final once over before getting to her feet.
"It's jury-rigged...just like everything else on this garbage wagon.
Here goes..." she muttered with a frown before disappearing back
down the corridor to the central grid location and turning the power
back on to the sensor array. She reemerged, looking to him
expectantly. "Say a few extra prayers..."
Commander Atio walked over to the nearest communications panel and
depressed the activator. "Bridge," he said calmly, "Report."
"We're coming up on the Vergesso Asteroids, sir," a voice responded
over the comm, "Sensors just came back online ... we also monitored
a momentary power loss on the upper level, sir."
"Phew," Derek sighed in relief, "Uh...don't worry about the power
loss. That was...nothing." He walked away from the panel towards
Tashi and smiled, "You may have just saved all our butts."
Tashi managed a grin but it was mirthless, somewhat level in
meaning. She finally treated herself to the cigarra she wanted,
lighting it up and leaving it between her lips before stuffing her
hands down into her pockets. "Great" she answered. "You can buy me a
brew when we touch down."
Corellian Corvette Argo emerged once again from hyperspace
near the Vergesso Asteroids. Safely home, the durable little craft
fired its engines and returned to formation with the ragtag
assemblage of vessels that comprised the Rebel Alliance Fleet.