Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Cynthia Calderon and Christopher Levy.
Zero years after the Battle of Yavin (35:6:27) in the Ringali nebula: Gilded Thranta and Ringali Station.
Commander Derek Atio and Lieutenant J. J. Raineri.

Commander Derek Atio lay on his back underneath the Sigma-class shuttle Gilded Thranta, which was docked inside the hidden Rebel base deep within the Ringali Nebula. The middle-aged human male was wearing the soiled remnants of his Rebel uniform, which was becoming increasingly soiled by the leaking oil that was spilling from another ruptured conduit on the ventral hull. "Blast!" he curses, making several adjustments with his hydrospanner that did not seem to be having any affect. Growing increasingly frustrated, he attempted to wipe the sweat that had accumulated on his forehead, but only succeeded in smearing grease upon his face. He was told to expect a co-pilot to assist him in his blockade running in the Ringali Shell, but if he did not get the shuttle repaired they would not even make it out of the docking bay.

J. J. Raineri strode on in. Duffle bag decorated with all sorts of alternative looking badges that had been stitched on. Goggles resting on her forehead, coveralls hung low on her hips, the arms wrapped around and tied. The pant legs bloused at the calf high boots. A white muscle shirt, hair pulled back in a low pony tail. Errant strands of her bangs fell on either side of her tanned face. She was slowly chewing on what would appear to be some sort of gum. " Problems?" That husky rasp of a voice ebbed out.

"Problems? Nothing but problems..." Derek bemoaned as he slid out from beneath the shuttle, and awkwardly rose to stand in front of her. His uniform, comprised of a two tone brown jacket, brown shirt, and matching pants were tattered, stained, and in desperate need of a wash. He had been on his back for hours doing everything he could to nurse the last bit of life back into the old girl. He wanted a better ship, but anything more advanced would draw unwanted Imperial attention. "Commander Derek Atio, pleased to meet you..." he said, with a charming smile, as he extended a filthy hands towards her.

Most would have cringed and avoided that hand. But from one gear head to the next, J. J. was right as rain. Hand grasped in a firm shake before she dropped the duffle down. " so, this is what I am suppose to be co-piloting?" Brow rose curious.

Derek looked over his shoulder at the shuttle, which was likely older than the young woman standing in front of him. He could definitely see why anyone would be less than thrilled with the prospect of being assigned to this ship. "It doesn't look like much, but..." he paused, bringing his hand up to rub at the back of his head as he tried to convince her it was not an unworthy assignment. "When it does work, it gets the job done, and most importantly it doesn't draw any unwanted Imperial observation," he concluded, with a genuine smile as he tried to size up exactly who was in front of him.

"Sounds like just what we need" Admittedly. J. J. stood 1.68 meters, not too short and not too tall, her body was that of slender toned frame. "What do you need help with?" As long as the money was good, they would do just fine.

"I think I got it," Derek said, turning his back to her to look at the puddle of lubricating oil that had formed beneath the shuttle. No longer a steady flow, there was now merely nothing more than a series of subtle drips. "Well, I got it as good as I'm gonna get it..." he said with a laugh, turning his attention back towards her. "So what's your name?" he asked, hoping there would be some pleasantries before they headed out.

"J. J." She offered out, her eyes were on that slow drip. "J. J. Raineri" She offered out again as she stepped towards the shuttle and crouched down to peer under the belly.

"Well, J. J.. I'm pleased to meet you," Derek said with a pleasant smile, reinforced my a nod. Looking her over he immediately saw that she was more attractive than most of the smugglers he had come across since being assigned here, and the fact that she was human made all the difference. Still, he was a professional and attempting to make a pass at her was a good way to end up in the brig. "She's all loaded up with cargo we need to get down to Ralltiir," he informed her, not looking forward to the assignment. Ralltiir was under the heaviest blockade in the region.

"You ready for that?" Having information that Ralltiir was dangerous at this time. Snagging up her duffle bag J. J. stepped towards him, waiting for him to lead the way. "What else do we need to know?"

"Unfortunately, we won't know what we're up against until we arrive in the system," Derek revealed to her, lowering his head with some hesitation. Ralltiir was by far the most dangerous of the six planets in the Ringali Shell, and it was not the most ideal candidate for a first mission with his new co-pilot. "Let's get aboard," he said, not wasting anymore time, and scrambled up the ramp that ultimately led to the shuttle's cockpit. The back was filled numerous crates filled with weapons, explosives, rations, and medical supplies that would be used by the Rebellion in the ongoing operations on the planet. Once in the cockpit he strapped himself in and began toggling switches to power up the main reactor, which was not exactly a quick process on such an old, tired craft.

J. J. took a moment. Quick survey of the area before following him on into the shuttle. She dropped her bag nearby, securing it. She settled in in the seat next to him and strapped on in. Eyes scanned over the control panel. Taking it all in and becoming familiar. Then her hands began to set the shuttle to ready.

After what seemed like what me a false start, the Gilded Thranta emerged from the hangar of the Rebel base and entered the vast gasses of the Ringali Nebula. Their visual flight options were limited and all that could be seen were the multi-colored gas pockets that formed the nebula. While it kept the Empire at bay, it was no easier for the Rebels to navigate, and only a series of pre-programmed waypoints allowed them to escape unhindered. "You'll get used to this," he said, as he removed his hands from the controls and allowed the auto-pilot to do the work.

There was a bit of jostle and stuttering at the start but it made it through after several minutes had passed. Derek had got comfortable, auto piloting it. J. J.'s attention flicked over the scenery briefly before looking over to the man she barely knew. " So how did this pairing happen?" Curious how she was chosen for this drop off.

Privately, Derek was pleased to have someone with her physical attributes confined to the seat next to him for these voyages. It sure beat some of the others he had flown with over the past year, but he certainly would not be that over about his feelings towards her. "Don't ask me, J. J.," he said, having always avoided the personnel decisions. "I guess someone in Support Services command thought you'd be of some use to me..." he said, turning his head to offer a subtle grin.

"Mm." J. J. shrugged. Peering out the front window. The view was always beautiful and scary. Though she loved it to be honest. "Possibly, this isn't the first time is it?"

"First time?" Derek repeated, with a hint of laughter, imagining a hundred different meanings the question could have had, before choosing the most obvious. "No. I've been doing this run for months. This is always the boring part," he said to her, as the nebula gas began to dissipate and stars slowly faded into view. "But it's about to get more interesting..." he warned, turning the auto-pilot off and taking manual control of the craft.

J. J. took it in. Relaxing once more. She would settle in, her thumb lightly flicked over the pistol hammer lock and once more. "Good. Not fond doing runs with the the less salty."

Suddenly a red light began flashing on their display indicating the proximity of another craft. "TIE fighters coming in!" he alerted her, as he shifted over his right shoulder to begin programming their coordinates into the navcomputer. "Get those shields up!" he pleaded with her, while his attention focused on getting them out of there.

J. J. leaned forward immediately. Hands flicked over the toggles, switches and what not. Putting the shields on line. She was checking for any heavy guns she could utilize.

The newly activated shields flickered as incoming laser blasts from the fighters impacted, causing the cockpit to flash with violent bursts of light. "This happens every time. Believe it or not ... I'm used to it," he said, as he attempted evasive action with the lumbering craft. An instant later the nav computer activated and the coordinates for the Ralltiir system had been activated. "Hang on! I'm going to make the jump to lightspeed," he warned her, but in actuality gave her very little time as with his next action he thrust his right hand forward and sent the shuttle into hyperspace. The stars instantly disappeared and they now found themselves surrounded by the streaking blue column of hyperspace. They had left the TIE fighters behind, but would have new obstacles when they arrived in Ralltiir.

J. J. was shoved back into the seat. Holding on for life for the time being. This was his ship, she did not argue with his wisdom. Eyes were ahead and then on the controls, readying to take over if needed. "You got it."

"How much damage did those fighters do to our shields?" Derek asked, as he unstrapped himself from his seat. With the autopilot engaged and them now in the safety of hyperspace, he was free to move to the control panel behind them to check the status of the reactor and determine if the repairs they undertook had hold.

"Its a few bumps and bruises, nothing that's going to keep it doing what it does." J. J.'s eyes read on the control panel.

"I'm going to go check our cargo," Derek informed her, content that everything was in order in the cockpit. When he arrived in the rear compartment he found that, surprisingly, the cargo loaders had managed to secure everything properly and nothing had shifted. Feeling quite exhausted after a long day's work, he took a seat and began fumbling about beneath him for the bottle of Alderaan Ruge he stowed away. "You want a drink?" he asked her, yelling down the corridor into the cockpit.

Nodding. She continued to keep things situated. When he returned, she regarded him with a smile. "Definitely." She shifted slightly in her seat to get comfortable as she waited for that offered drink.

Derek placed two glasses on the table in front of them, both of which probably could need an adequate washing, but the alcohol would sterilize the glasses and prevent any ill health affects from consuming it. "To Alderaan..." he said bitterly, as he offered her one of the last glasses of Alderaan Ruge anyone was likely to drink.

"To Alderaan" She replied in that same husky rasp. The glass was taken up, toasted and a slow sip. Enjoying the taste of it for the time. "How long you been doing this?" Curious.

"For the Rebellion?" he asked, rhetorically, as he took a sip of the Alderaan Ruge. "Less than a year. Working on broken down ships? Feels like all my life..." he said, half-jokingly and half-serious, finishing the drink, and placing the empty glass back down on the table. "You?" he asked, before refilling his glass.

"As long as I can remember." She shrugged. " My father helped the rebellion...'til he was shot down couple years ago." J. J. downed the rest of her drink.

Derek flinched momentarily, a nervous grimace coming over his face as she mentioned the death of her father. Without asking, he moved to refill her glass, before offering a toast. "We've all lost people in this war. I'm sorry for your loss, J. J.," he said with genuine emotion, before clanking his glass against hers.

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