The YZ-775 freighter New Beginning shook violently as it emerged from
hyperspace in the Alderaan system. "We're coming up on the Alderaan
system..." Derek yelled to the passenger hold of the modified freighter
as he sat upright in his chair and firmly grasped at his flight stick as
he looked at the nothingness beyond. "It's going to get rough he
warned..." as the sound of small pieces of debris bouncing off the hull
began to permeate through the interior of the freighter. His hands moved
to the overhead controls to quickly bring the deflector shields online.
He could not help but grimace as he looked at the debris field in the
distance, a somber reminder of a once great civilization that had been
flushed from existence. "Well if this doesn't convince him that Alderaan
was destroyed ... nothing will..." he muttered grimly to himself, as he
unfastened his harness and moved from his seat to give the rest of them
amble room to view the debris.
Jason had double-checked the NavComp coordinates, ensuring they were
actually at Alderaan. Upon seeing the debris field, he would reach over
and activate the enhanced deflector shield, ensuring they did not end up
space dust. Once they had settled into the usual chaos, Jason stood and
walked back to the passenger compartment. "I'll go let our guest know
we're here. Try not to get us smashed to pieces would you?."
Carson was standing in Ohmer Wilton's compartment, ensuring that he did
not try anything stupid. He had made sure Wilton had gotten a new
uniform, albeit one of a Rebel Commando. To be fair, it was the only
thing they had anyway. Not that it was too different from the uniforms
of the Storm Commandos, but he was still certain that the Imperial would
have some reservation about it. Regardless of this, Carson was pretty
sure the guy would be happy to have a clean anything. The half crazed
mountain man that had walked onto the ship had finally been replaced by
the clean cut Imperial Lieutenant that Carson remembered from their
raid, and Carson was thankful for that. Carson was not exactly a
stickler for military customs and courtesies, but he did despise having
a longhaired, bearded, and most of all filthy individual stinking up his
ship. Carson lit up a smoke and then tossed the pack over to Wilton,
along with the lighter. "Here, Wilton. Have a smoke. You're gonna need
something to calm you down soon." Carson's voice was still laced with a
bit of hatred, but he was more relaxed than he had been. He had off
balanced the commando enough to get him relatively emotional, but he did
not intend to put him over the top. The last thing they needed was an
Imperial Storm Commando going crazy on the ship and trying to kill
everyone. Especially, at least as far as Carson was concerned, since
Rake was the first man in line to die. "Enjoyed the last couple of days
not staring at a lonesome wall? I mean, hell, some people would pay for
my company, and you get to enjoy it for free."
The Imperial commando extended his hand, first catching the pack of
cigarras and then the lighter. He eyed the Rebel as he withdrew one
from the pack, placing it between his lips and setting it aflame. Taking
a deep drag, he broke his gaze to glance about his sparse quarters once
again. It had been a pleasant trip thus far, almost tantamount to a
vacation for Wilton, though the Imperial was still unsure as to the
endgame for his captors. "I know I've enjoyed sharing a couple dozen
meters with you," he replied matter-of-factly as he looked back towards
Carson. He did not particularly hate the man ... both were professionals
on opposite sides of the battlefield. He was still open to try his hand
in mortal combat if the opportunity arose, though given his current
circumstances, Wilton still exercised modest restraint. "What's in this
trip for you, Rebel?" Though it was said with a hint of the typical
Imperial sarcasm, he was actually curious for an answer.
Carson snorted a bit at the Imperial's question. "Not a damn thing, pal.
I'm here on orders and reluctantly at that." He paused for a second,
thinking about what he could tell the man. "On the level? We're supposed
to try to bring you over, offer you asylum and amnesty, as well as a
position in the Alliance. We're doing it for all Imperial prisoners who
hail from Alderaan. Not quite sure why, but that's what they told us."
Carson took another drag off of his smoke, letting his right arm rest on
the stock of his weapon, which hung loosely at his chest from its three
point sling. He figured they would be close to Alderaan by now, but
until one of their people came to get him, he would sit here and babysit
the prisoner. "And to be frank, I doubt anybody's ever enjoyed my
presence, so don't blow smoke up my ass."
"Prefer I'd just kick your ass instead?" The commando smirked at his
halfhearted challenge. Though the days aboard the freighter had
certainly been tense, they had not quite reached the level of the near
death standoff in Wilton's prison cell. The Imperial took another drag
off the cigarra and briefly contemplated starting a fire, though he
doubted he would get too far before his captor intervened. "And you are
all still so preoccupied with this...Alderaan plot. I will admit I'm
impressed by the effort, but isn't your time better spent elsewhere?"
His thoughts flashed back to his fellow cellmates, the logistics captain
and the Intelligence agent. While he doubted the agent would turn if
given the chance, the logistics captain was by no means made of stern
Carson stared at the Imperial, rolling the man's words around in his
mind. "You know, Wilton, I don't like you. You know that. But for your
own good, I'd take what we're saying about Alderaan a little more
seriously. This is no plot, and setting yourself up to believe that it
is is only going to make it hurt worse. That's my only advice on it. If
you don't want to believe me, then fine. You'll find out soon enough."
Carson did not elaborate any further, just sat there smoking. Quite
honestly, he was a little curious about the whole thing himself. He knew
it to be true, but he had not seen the ruins. He found it difficult to
fathom an entire planet being destroyed, though he did not doubt the
Empire's willingness to do it. But hell, if this guy did not want to buy
their line, it was only going to hurt him in the end, and that was fine
A firm knock resounded on the door, follow by the tenor voice Carson
knew all too well. "So, are you two done beating your chests yet? Or
should I ask for a bucket and some cleanser for the blood? By the way,
we're here. Don't mind the rattling, just the debris field. I did
reinforce the deflector though." Give them a moment or two to absorb
that info. "Coming out or staying in?"
Wilton slowly paced to the far corner of the room as Carson explained
the details of coming events. Impressive propaganda, the commando
rationalized, schemes that could surely have persuaded weaker men. Yet
in the back of his mind was the faintest hint of doubt, the sense that
something was amiss. It was a sensation not unfamiliar to men in his
profession, a certain feeling of unease before an ambush or a transport
crash. It was the specter of the unknown, of something being just beyond
your control despite your best attempts to grasp it. His reverie was
interrupted by the knock at the door, and he took another drag as he
turned back towards the entrance. "After you?" he said as he elaborately
bowed towards Carson, his arm extending towards the door.
Carson looked at Ohmer as he bowed. "Not a chance, pal. You go on out
there first, and I'll just walk right behind you. In case you get any
funny ideas, and all." Carson stepped well clear of the door to allow
Wilton to pass, slapping the door with his non-firing hand to indicate
to Jace that he could open it, the muzzle of his rifle coming up to bear
on Wilton's chest. He kept well clear of the man's reach, giving himself
plenty of distance to allow him time to fire if he had to. Wilton would
understand, of course, but that having been said, Carson did not care if
he did or not. This was a matter of safety. "Shall we?"
"We're coming up on their sentry ships," Derek Atio nervously reported
from the cockpit as he eyed a pair of TIE/ln starfighters that were
veering towards their location. His eyes veered down towards the
modified transponder that was broadcasting their identity as a chartered
research vessel. It seemed to be working, but he realized that it was
nevertheless restricted space and they could not be there for long. A
red light lit up on the control panel indicating there was an incoming
Imperial transmission, and he hopped back into the pilot's chair and
stuck his headset on. "This is the New Beginning. Chartered to conduct a
survey of...of...of...the debris distribution pattern from the
recent...Rebel destruction of Alderaan," he nervously stammered over the
comm. "...as well as the effects on the Alderaan system," he quickly
added, before terminating the transmission. "We got company. Can you two
hurry this up?" he bellowed, as the screeching sound of the twin ion
engines roared through the entire ship as the fighters passed over their
"Calm down, Atio. There is nothing to worry about. That transponder has
a valid code from the Academy on Corsucant. That's who my contractor is.
If you can't keep yourself calm, I'll sedate you and fly this myself."
Having stayed at the door, he was waiting for Carson and their...guest
to exit. Naturally, he would lead the way to the piloting compartment,
with the Imperial sandwiched between him and Rake. One wrong move would
be all it would take to let Rake kill the man, and if Rake failed, he
would be sure to finish it for him.
The Imperial flicked his finished cigarra into the nearby trash
dispenser, eyeing Carson as he began moving towards the door. Stepping
through the archway the commando gestured with his open hands towards
Athol, clearly indicating he carried no objects or dangerous intent. He
silently walked between the two Rebels as they proceeded to the cockpit,
glancing at the various bulkheads, consoles and vents along the way.
Escape options seemed limited, especially aboard a transport so small.
Entering the cockpit, the Imperial shuffled to the left-hand corner to
allow Carson to follow behind. Wilton folded his arms across his chest,
gazing out into the asteroid field. "And so, gentlemen, I am supposed to
see what exactly?"
Carson followed the Imperial out of the door and made his way forward to
the cockpit viewport, keeping his weapon trained on him the whole time.
As they approached, he took in the sight. For a minute, he thought they
were not there yet, but then he noticed the asteroids floating around.
No hyperspace lane that he knew of abruptly ended in an asteroid field,
and he knew they had just come out of hyperspace a moment ago. He stared
in awe, taking in the fact that an entire planet had been destroyed in
one foul swoop. He motioned for Jace to explain to their prisoner what
he was seeing, and maintained his position behind the prisoner. As he
watched, though, it got to him. His weapon drooped slightly, pointing at
the deck at Wilton's feet instead of at the man's chest, his mind too
overwhelmed to keep his business in focus.
"You may sit at the console and verify, but this is the remains of
Alderaan. As you should know, no lane would exit into an asteroid field.
Additionally, if you wish to contact anything other than an Imperial
ship or station, you may do so. I catch even the slightest hint of you
calling the Empire, and you'll be so full of blaster bolts before you
can utter a word that we'll use you for a practice dummy. Clear?" Yep,
his tone was a bit bitter and angry, and his left hand was already
hovering over his modified blaster. Definitely not the biggest fan of
the Empire, he would not need too much of an excuse.
The commando sighed to himself ... it seemed their charade was almost
finished. Moving slowly towards the pilot's station and leaning over the
burly figure, Wilton glared at Athol before turning his attention
towards the navigation computer. The coordinates were instantly
recognizable, a set of numbers he had entered many times on his travels
home. A slightly sickening feeling began developing in his chest, though
he attempted to push away the sensation of approaching dread. Wilton
straightened upright and moved towards the front of the cockpit, staring
out of the forward viewport into the black abyss now populated by chunks
of rock and fragments of debris. His eyes frantically began looking for
any familiar constellations ... he caught a glimpse of the tiny orb that
was Delaya, the planet a mere speck at this distance. Star clusters
seemed terribly fitting, as if they had always hung in the sky of this
region of space. "Bring the ship up..." he attempted to calculate the
angle, "forty-nine degrees, port side." His voice was strained as he
searched for some sign, any kind of foreign star or offending planet,
that would indicate this was not his home.
Sitting down in the navigator's chair, Jason would aptly adjust the
angle of the ship the requested forty-nine degrees and hold it there. In
the meantime, he began the requested scans the contractor wanted, which
would authenticate their mission and presence to any Imperial ships.
"Forty-nine degrees and holding. Amazing destruction, and well beyond
the means of anything I know of. See how that moon is out of alignment?
Looks like it's going to crash into the next planet over now in a few
The commando vaguely heard the Rebel's assertion about the jostled moon,
but his gaze and attention were firmly fixed upon the brightly burning
yellow circle now seen through the viewport. The star of Alderaan was
unmistakable to its children, with its hue and position instantly
recognizable to the residents of the planetary system. The man's
breathing became irregular, his lungs exhaling at uneven, terse
intervals. His knees began buckling under the weight of his muscular
frame, and his fingers strained as the contracted and attempted to dig
into the durasteel consoles upon which they rested. His mind refused to
comprehend the sight he was witnessing, and he closed his eyes in
response. The commando backpedaled slowly, attempting to calm himself.
His thoughts dabbled into the realm of rationality ... surely this was
some trick, some mistake, some kind of impossible course of events.
Surely the Empire...his mind then turned to his family, and his eyes
flickered open. In an instant movement he turned and grabbed the portly
pilot by the shirt, yelling as he attempted to swing the man around and
throw him into the navigator. Before he even released the pilot Wilton
then turned to charge at Carson, the nearest symbol of an enemy he had,
shouting in a rage as he advanced upon the Rebel.
Carson was caught slightly off guard, having been marveling at the utter
destruction of what had once been a planet of billions. He was brought
out of his reverie by the Storm Commando's impact, the force of the
man's charge slamming him up against the durasteel bulkhead. Because the
commando had impacted him at roughly chest level, Carson was unable to
raise his weapon to defend himself, and for a brief instant, he was
caught completely by surprise. The shock of the druasteel bulkhead,
however, brought him back to reality. Instantly, he slammed his right
elbow down on the back of his assailant, trying to shove him lower,
pummeling his kidneys with blows to soften him up. He let his legs sink,
backing up as much as he could against the bulkhead to gain distance,
and sprawled, literally falling on the storm commando to force him to
the deck. It was a textbook move, something taught to even local law
enforcement officials in backwater planets, but it would give Carson the
advantage. He would have the Storm Commando's back, and unless the man
could learn to levitate, so it would stay. As soon as he felt the impact
beneath him that signaled the end of their descent to the deck, Carson
flipped around so that his head was behind the Storm Commando's, as
opposed to down by his feet as it had been. He slid his right arm around
the man's neck, putting his elbow in front of his laryngeal protrusion
and wrapped it around to grab hold of his own left bicep. His left arm
he planted on the man's left shoulder for leverage, the hand pushing
against the back of the man's head. He was going for a blood choke,
trying to knock the man unconscious by interrupting the flow of blood to
Derek let out a pained groan as he was unexpected hoisted from his seat
and thrown across the control panel towards Jason. His husky frame
slammed into the panel and sent a blare of comm static as he toppled
over it quite clumsily. In response, the two TIE/ln starfighters that
had been observing them decided to circle back and make another pass.
"Will you get him under control!" he yelled, as his attention went back
to the comm panel. He switched the comm off from his hunched position in
front of the controls, but the damage might have already been done.
While Derek and Carson had been lax in their situational awareness,
Jason did not have a problem ducking under the attempted throw of the
pilot. Once clear of the impending tossed pilot, his blaster came out of
the concealed holster on his leg and was aimed at the duo. Should it
come down that Carson might even look like he's losing this battle,
despite the loss of the commando, Jason would be sure to fill him with
the promised blaster bolts.
The feral rage of the commando clouded his judgment, and he sank to the
ground under the weight and hold of the Rebel soldier. He strained
against the pressure, attempting to elevate himself, though he only
succeeded in hastening the constriction of his blood flow. His vision
gradually began closing in, the black edges closing in and obscuring his
eyesight as his muscles began losing their strength. Wilton slumped
further as he passed into blissful unconsciousness, temporarily escaping
from the horror that had become his reality.
"Uh. Everything is fine here. Over," Derek replied over the comm, as he
situated himself back into the pilot's seat and strapped himself firmly
in place. His eyes looked over his shoulder at the subdued commando as
his left hand crept up to cover up the comm. "Yeah. This was a brilliant
idea," he muttered down to Carson as he began to navigate the ship back
towards the hyperspace lanes. "We reviewed all the necessary data. We're
headed back to Coruscant now..." he informed the TIE pilots as his
temper began to boil. His cheeked reddened as he became quite flustered.
The TIE pilots did not seem to be buying his story however, as they
continually drew closer as they outpaced the freighter so that they
could conduct a more thorough scan.
Carson pushed off of the unconscious commando after holding him for
about a half a minute. "We don't have long before he wakes up," he said
to no one in particular as he readjusted his E-11. "Better be ready when
he does. He'll be groggy as hell, and he may well have shit his
trousers, but he might come up ready for a fight. There's really no
telling." Carson drug the unconscious Wilton out of the canted walkway
that separated the cockpit from the crew compartments and into the
larger, more spacious recreation room, where he placed him in the center
of the deck. He stepped back towards the door, making sure he had plenty
of room to stun the man if he woke up pissed off. "Who's the lucky
sonofabitch that's gonna wake him up, now? Better we do it now than let
him come to naturally." Carson shot a glance at the other two, waiting
for a volunteer.
"Inspection?" Derek repeated over the comm before he silenced the comm
once again. "I'm a little preoccupied, Sergeant," he muttered down to
the man, as his attention turned to the flight stick. The ship jolted
suddenly as a laser bolt impacted the dorsal shields and Derek looked
nervously to Athol. "That was no debris. They're shooting at us. What
kind of 'academy' did you get this transponder from? Some 'do it over
the holonet' school?" he groaned, as his hand reached across to the
navigation computer to begin downloading the coordinates back to the
Ringali Shell. Another jolt as a flash of light splashed over the
cockpit and he angled the ship slightly to port to briefly evade their
targeting scanners. "Hey. Next time ... let's go to Yavin" he cursed at
both the commandos sarcastically as he struggled to evade the incoming
"Oh come off it Derek. That was a warning shot and you know it. Calm
down and go help Carson. I'll handle the Imperials. All you are doing is
confirming their suspicions. Pilots." Rolling his eyes as he took over
the comm from Atio, a more calm and rational discussion began. "Imperial
TIE Fighters, my deepest apologies for the comm issue and the behavior
of my companions. We seem to have a native from Alderaan onboard that
was unprepared for the sight of his home in ruins by the rebels. The
data we have is a top priority for the sciences academy to determine
evacuation plans for the remainder of the system, and you can verify
this with the details I will be sending you shortly on this channel.
Once you verify, we would appreciate an escort to the lane so a return
can be made most swiftly." Switching the comm back to muted, his face
contorted as he felt sick from the half lies, and waited for the
Derek shook his head at Athol and unstrapped himself from his seat
before moving to assist Carson with the unconscious commando. "I don't
know anything about waking people up..." he muttered at the commando as
his memory flashed to his childhood. "Well, when I wouldn't get out of
bed back home my sister would just do this..." he said, as a cruel smirk
came upon his face. A moment later, his foot recoiled before thrusting
forward to kick the subdued commando straight in the genital area.
Cruel, but it should do the trick.
The commando woke with a start, bolting into an upright sitting position
on the floor. His left hand instinctively reached for a nonexistent hip
holster while his right hand searched his boot for the absent vibroblade.
A dull sensation of pain began spreading through his body, gradually
becoming more vivid and intense as he regained his senses. His blurred
vision began clearing and his eyes darted around the room, registering
the forms of Atio and Carson. Wilton's mind flickered to the scene he
had just witnessed, the destruction of his home, the murder of his
family. He looked away from the two Rebels, staring blankly into the
corner of the recreation room. Little seemed to matter to Ohmer Wilton
Derek Atio's hand uncharacteristically went to his holster and produced
his QuickSnap 36T blaster carbine. He knelt down next to the Commando on
the floor and placed the muzzle of his blaster against the side of the
man's head. "Now look, 'sir," he began, in a clearly annoyed tone that
reeked of mock courtesy. "I've been dragged to this debris field.
Roughed up by you. Shot at by TIE fighters," he said as he thrust the
muzzle of his blaster into his temple aggressively. "Alderaan was
clearly destroyed ... by the Empire. They used a 'super' laser that went
right through the center of the planet ... and boom!" he said, as spittle
flew from his mouth and headed towards the commando's face. "I want to
get out of here. So tell this man you believe us about Alderaan or I'll
put this laser through your brain. It's not 'super' but I assure you ...
it'll make your head explode all the same," he said, as he impatiently
awaited a response.
The carbine triggered the commando's tactical thinking. He eyed the
blaster, noticing the Rebel's finger was not on the trigger. The weapon
was tantalizingly close, and Wilton considered grabbing and dodging
before the Rebel could react. Yet the commando felt overwhelmed by the
need to understand what had happened at Alderaan, why it had been
destroyed, who was to blame. The rational part of his mind knew that no
one but the Empire possessed the resources to annihilate a planet.
Glaring at Atio and ignoring the blaster, Wilton slowly staggered to his
feet. "I need to think," was all the man muttered as he began walking
towards the door of the recreation room, daring someone to shoot him
down. His mind was swimming, drowning in the details of the last few
minutes. He began making his way back to his captive quarters, roughly
slamming into bulkheads on his path through the corridors.
Derek turned his attention to Carson as he slid his carbine back into
his holster. "Can I get us out of here now?" he asked, as his eyes
lingered towards the cockpit. The ship shook slightly as another cluster
of debris harmlessly defected off the shields. It was nevertheless a
disturbing sound that did nothing to instill confidence in the portly
Carson nodded at Atio. "Knock yourself out." He turned on his heels and
slid out the door, heading down the passageway to the prisoner's
quarters. Shook up or not, Wilton would not get any slack from Rake.
Truth be told, that would probably be best for him anyway, since sitting
around thinking about awful things tends to make somebody stress it
more, which was the last thing Wilton would need. Of course, that was
not why Carson would do it. His reasons were far less thoughtful, and
centered more around the actual enjoyment of ribbing the man any chance
he got. He punched the door panel, waiting as it hissed open before
stepping in. "Don't mind me, shithead," he said as he entered the
compartment. "I'm just here to watch you wallow in self pity all the way
back to the station."
After a few tense moments sending data and talking to the TIE fighters,
they had agreed to cease the inspection and provide the requested
escort. Since there was no blaster fire or loud squelching sounds coming
from the back, he assumed all was going at least marginally well, and
finalized the coordinates for the jump back to Brentaal. Once Derek came
back in, Jason would listen to him rant, and then slip back out to go
grab a nap during the transit.
Derek hurried into the cockpit of the YZ-775 where he was pleased note
the navigation computer was successfully blinking from his earlier
panicked attempt to get the navigation coordinates for Brentaal. Moving
forward he stumbled slightly as another piece of debris impacted the
shielding, but eventually made his way successfully into the pilot's
seat. "I don't think I'll be coming back here anytime soon..." he
muttered, as he strapped himself in before he made the jump to
lightspeed. An instant later, his hand moved forward over the hyperdrive
controls and the modified freighter surged forward into hyperspace
leaving the Alderaan graveyard in its wake.