Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Brandon Barnes, Andrew J. Fowler, Christopher Levy, and Michael Whittaker.
Zero years after the Battle of Yavin (35:5:16) in the Alderaan system: New Beginning.
Corporal Jason Athol, Commander Derek Atio, Sergeant Major Rake Carson, and Lieutenant Ohmer Wilton.

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 The half crazed mountain man that had walked onto the ship had finally been replaced by the clean cut Imperial Lieutenant that Carson remembered from their raid, and Carson was thankful for that.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 stuff.

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 with Carson.

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. " 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 dorsal hull.

"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 thousand years."

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 his brain.

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 laser blasts.

"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 response.

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 now.

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 pilot.

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.

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