Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Jordan Bednarz, Andrew Douglas, Robert Dunmire, Christopher Fulk, Christopher Levy, Alexander Oliva, and Anonymous.
Zero years before the Battle of Yavin (35:2:8) in the Bpfassh system: Argo and Gilded Thranta and in the Sluis system: Ardent, Gilded Thranta, and Sluis Van (Imperial Garrison).

Commander Derek Atio, Trooper Zek Correson, Petty Officer Fariss, Lieutenant Quar Klynn, Trooper Jace Mereel, Lieutenant Riffa'rdac'olounasa, Trooper Alanya Rockturne, and Lieutenant Riak Wheeler.


The CR90 corvette Argo rested calmly in the jungles of the fourth moon of the planet Yavin. Standing on top of the ship, Commander Derek Atio watched as a maintenance crew worked on installing a new sensor array." That doesn't look quite right," he said as he knelt down on the top of the ship and took the hydrospanner into his own hands. His eyes narrowed as he focused intently on the series of wires and conduits that were connecting the sensors to the ship itself. With an odd series of grunts, he adjust several of them until he was satisfied with the results. He inhaled sharply, rising backup as he dusted off his trousers. "Well," he said as he turned to look at the maintenance technicians, "Either I've got the sensors online or we just got access to the nude Twi'lek channel on the holonet ... either way ... it's an improvement."

Derek smiled at them as he tossed the 'spanner back to the deck and climbed back down into his beloved ship. After working his way through the turbolift system, he arrived on Deck 3 and proceeded towards the meeting room. Once inside he turned to the intercom and activated the panel. "Mister Ardac," his voice resonated onto the bridge, "Check to see if our sensors are back online. Then join us in the meeting room." His thumb clicked to send a ship wide message, a shrill sound preceding it through the comm. "All available personnel," he said in an authoritative voice that blared through every corridor of the Argo, "Report to the meeting room."

Beneath the Argo within the Sigma-class shuttle Gilded Thranta, Zek Correson had been working on the mechanical hardware. He discovered numerous problems, and failures among the ship. He had been gladly able to fix it with R3-QT detecting what had become the issue with it recently. He briefly sighed over the malfunctions he had fixed the past few minutes. Suddenly, his comlink managed to pick up a transmission from his Commander. He settled for what he had fixed. Meanwhile, he got up from the floor, dusted off his hands on his slacks. He peered over to the jacket hanging on the rail till he slipped it over his upper body. He used a dry cloth to remove the smudge off his oily hands. He decided to make way to the meeting to check out the current status of the Argo crew. Lately, the pilot for the Gilded Thranta had not quite seen anything occur. He guessed patience was one thing he had to overcome.

"Aye Commander, all sensors up and running. Why am I getting HoloNet feed? Is that a Twi... Never mind... Reporting to the Meeting room." Ardac paused before leaving his station, It was more comfortable to him than his bunk. Every minute at the panel was solace. Aging joints groaned with the urging of muscles, and the Chiss headed back at a sharp clip.

Quar's bloodshot and dry eyes opened, and began to focus at the ceiling above him. The loud speakers within his private stateroom woke him. He rubbed his hand over his stubble chin, removing a piece of lint that was stuck to his face like Velcro. A loud yawn was emitted as he place both of his legs into the pair of pooled up pants bedside. Another light yawn was released as he pulled his pants around his waist and fastened them. His hand grabbed a stained white shirt from the back of dilapidated wooden chair and placed it over his torso. Blood, sweat, and dirt were embedded within the fibers of the white shirt. Quar grunted as he threw it over his torso, allowing the bottoms of the shirt to carelessly hang over his belt line. Quar adorned himself with his used and freely flowing brown trench coat. Finally, Quar removed his gun belt from over the dilapidated wooden chair and strapped it around his waist. His hand pressed the activator switch to leave the stateroom and he walked barefoot and silently to the meeting room.

It took Alanya longer than the usual time to get up the meeting room. Usually the Infiltrator was the first one there, but she seemed to be taking her time, or something was holding her up. She had probably arrive last, dressed in her usual black utility pants and black zip up pilot's jacket left open, exposing the grey undershirt. She would enter with little fanfare, seeming with something on her mind as she moved to take a chair, to wait for the Commander to show up. Tapping her chin idly as she waited.

Quar's careless stroll to the meeting room continued. He shrugged his shoulders a few times to allow his trench coat rest more comfortably on his shoulders. Two bloodshot eyes surveyed his surroundings as they finally settled on the room he was to be in. He yawned loudly as he entered the room, instantly spotting the other occupants in the room. Carelessly, he made his way to the chair furthest from the captain was to be sitting. He fell down into the chair and reached into his top pocket. Without a second thought, he pulled out his pack of cigarras and opened the Instinctively, he withdrew one cigarra between his thumb and pointer finger. He placed it just barely into his lips as his other hand fumbled through the trench coat's pocket for a lighter. Finding it, he brought it in front of his cigarra, lighting it with a few puffs to get the amber end glowing. Once successful, he placed the pack of cigarras and lighter on the table.

He thought about the few wirings that needed readjusting, and the hardware to be replaced. It would take time until he would salvage what he would require from the junkyard. He expected to have the shuttle entirely fixed by tomorrow. Despite only being a pilot for only the shuttle, Zek would not think he would be wanted for anything else. A single BlasTech DL-22 blaster was holstered along the thigh while the belt line consisted of assorted equipment like a grappling hook and a SoroSuub DH77 comlink and headset. He made his entrance to the meeting. He stood near the wall, leaning against it while both arms crossed over his upper form. He fixated his piercing chocolate pools over at the Commander and the screen behind him.

Wheeler furiously finished pulling on his highly polished crewman's boots, always one for the 'spit and polish' pomp and fanfare of a 'barracks' navy. He had not fully accustomed to the immense time demands that the new Commander had put on him. It was expected that a soldier/sailor's duty day would be a long one...but personal time was nonexistent on this vessel, it seemed. Perhaps it was just because he was new ... Wheeler wouldn't have the answer just yet. Boots now fully adhered, confident footfalls carried him through the decks of the Argo, until Wheeler arrived outside the meeting room. A quick moment was taken to address his starched utility uniform, before rounding the doorway and plunging headlong into the meeting...without doubt, and with much regret, it appeared as if he was one of the last to arrive. So much for first impressions.

Cobalt blues narrowed with disdain towards the gentleman, if he could only be called that, lighting a cigarra a few chairs away. A sharply drawn inward breath would hopefully garner the man's attention, as Wheeler hissed quietly, hoping to allow the Commander to continue the briefing..."Regulations don't permit smoking in duty areas of the vessel...personal areas only, or with the Commander's permission!" Wheeler knew the book. It's one of the few things a mediocre officer at best, could excel in.

The sizzle of cigarra paper was heard as Quar's attention was caught by Wheeler. He smiled politely as he exhaled his smoke toward Wheeler and winked. His attention then was turned over to the most important thing in the room, the female. He inhaled on his cigarra deeply and exhaled just as quickly as he inhaled. He then used his pointer finger to drop ash off of the tip of the cigarra onto the floor of the Argo. He smiled lightly at the female, visually admiring her, yet giving his audible attention to Derek.

Straight-backed and at full attention, Ardac wore discipline on his sleeve. The sterile, low-grade oxygen levels the Argo's life support systems coughed out, suitable and clean, attributed to the dimness of the Chiss' red eyes. They retained focus, which drifted between Commander Atio and the screens.

Derek nodded his head politely to those gathered, his eyes turning from the grouping to the viewscreen on the wall behind him. The planet Bpfassh was maximized on the screen, the planet Sluis Van and its shipyards highlighted for all to view. "Gentleman and 'Lady'," he began, his eyes quickly darting to the lone female present at the moment. "We've drawn a tough one," he said as he looked at the looming Imperial presence in the sector outlining various capital ships and starfighter defenses. "Recently," he continued to explain as the image of an Alpha-class Xg-1 StarWing appeared on the viewscreen, "these new starfighters, which we're referring to as 'Assault Gunboats' have been creating quite a hindrance for our forces." His eyes turned to the display and watched the ship rotate in the viewscreen, it was not like anything he had seen prior. "High Command wants to take a look inside of one of these ships," he nodded to them abruptly, "We're going to give them that look." He paused, letting the operation sink in. "We'll proceed to Bpfassh," he began to explain, "Where we will launch the shuttle and you will infiltrate one of their defense launch stations. You'll steal one if possible and then jump back to Bpfassh to rendezvous with us." After a few moments silence, he concluded. "Any questions?" He had hoped they were ready.

"Who's the pilot gonna be who gets to steal one of these bad boys?" Jace asked.

Throughout the entire briefing, he only caught on a few words before dwelling on his mind. Suddenly, the world shuttle was heard when they stated to steal an assault boat. It would seem his expertise in piloting is highly sufficient ... and valuable ... to this mission. He remained standing there looking at the crew members voicing their own questions and ideas. He did become lightly concerned, but he would not loose the chance of letting things lead to a downfall.

Wheeler was never one to hold back. As much as he had questions about the infiltration mission, it wasn't his area of expertise to remotely wander about. Instead, he would focus his queries on the Argo and it's position relative to the mission. "Sir, if we don't fully know the capabilities of one of these...gunboats, then wouldn't it pose a significant risk or chance that the hyperdrive won't be operational or the pilot won't be familiar with that equipment, in order to jump to rendezvous with the Argo? Might it not be safer for the infiltration crew, to make their getaway at sublight, before meeting at a pre-arranged rally-point with the Argo herself?

Alanya, instead of speaking up, remained quiet. Tapping her fingers on the table, staring at her hand as the digits thrummed softly. She seemed to not even pay attention to the briefing, instead simply gazing at her fingers as they worked upon and down upon the surface of the table. Usually she would of said something by now, as she was always the first with an idea. But now she remained silent, letting others speak.

"Correson is needed to fly the shuttle," Derek explained in reply to Trooper Mereel, "So if you survive that long you can fly the gunboat." He nodded to the Trooper before shifting his attention to Lieutenant Wheeler. "A stolen gunboat would not last thirty seconds in the Sluis system at sublight," he said rather dismissively, "And the Argo would last even less trying to rendezvous."

Quar obnoxiously dropped his cigarra to the floor and used his heel to extinguish it. He scooped up his pack of cigarras and lighter from the table, placing it into his brown trench coat's pocket. He leaned back in his chair, folding his hands over his stomach as his gaze shifted from the lone female to Atio.

Ardac's coolly calculating gaze shifted to Ensign Wheeler, the lids narrowing his field of vision, red slits to those who leered back. This gaze traveled to each individual in the meeting room ... his comrades, yes, but he was unfamiliar with most of them. He knew the Argo's systems inside and out, but it's crew were as alien to him as he, a Chiss, was to them.

Derek's attention shifted to the group once more. "We'll depart Yavin within the hour," he said as he concluded the meeting, "and then we will make the jump to Bpfassh." He forced a smile onto his face and wished them well. "Dismissed," he concluded as he exited the room and made his way towards the bridge, "...and good hunting."

Suddenly she spoke up, coughing slightly. "Sir, perhaps it would be a better idea, sir, if I were to pilot the gunboat." She put forward softly, before adding. "On Taanab I piloted one of the Sienar Skipray Blastboats. They seem very similar in most respects..." She said, her eyes moving over to Trooper Mereel before they returned to the Commander.

Derek turned as his attention focused on Trooper Rockturne as she made her request. He sighed sharply as his eyes darted down to the chronometer on his wrist. "Work it out amongst yourselves, Troopers," he said rather passively. "Just achieve the mission objectives," he said with an abrupt nod, before he moved towards the bridge.

Ardac rose abruptly and fell in behind the Commander, eager to return to his post. He had his doubt about this mission; he hoped for a more passive role.

The CR90 corvette Argo streaked from hyperspace into the Bpfassh system. Her war torn hull scratched and bruised with damage of every shape and size. In the distance, the desert world of Bpfassh loomed ominously, growing larger each kilometer the Argo moved forward. Their transponder, broadcasting that of a consular ship in the Royal Alderaan Civil Fleet, should buy them just enough time to complete the mission. Beneath the corvette the hangar bay doors slowly opened, providing just enough room the shuttle to depart.

If what the other Trooper had said was true she would know the systems of the fighter better than he. Jace hated to give up the chance to get into a cockpit again but the mission had to come first. Giving the woman a nod he spoke, "I guess you can have control of the Gunboat. I'll keep you covered in the turrets of the Sigma."

Alanya nodded her head. "Thank you Trooper. I can tell you wanted to be there, but it is best for the mission..." She said, pausing for a moment before she continued. "Besides. If the hyperdrive does not function, it would be a deathtrap. Perhaps I should of kept my mouth closed."

Inside the Sigma-class shuttle, Zek began to work out different corresponding digits and buttons along the panel. Disengaged from the hangar bay onboard the Argo, the Gilded Thranta would simply be lowered into the outer region of the planet called Bpfassah. He began to guide the shuttle among the controls towards the orbital planet. On course, he would be sure to make sure there was people taking position on the gunner seats. "Need a few volunteers for the gun seats. Thank you. Appreciate it." He continued on the course over to the planet. "Better hope things run smoothly, otherwise I may need to put one of my quick escapes," he thought.

Wheeler, sitting in the officer's lounge, was startled by the emergence from hyperspace. So startled, in fact...that the large slice of cake he had squirreled away as a snack from the midday meal, was now thoroughly smeared across the front of that freshly starched utility uniform...he stormed off to his quarters to find a suitable replacement.

Along for the ride once again, Ardac knew he was getting for too old to trudge through the mud with the commandos. He imagined the Commander's trust in his expertise should have been a compliment. Yet it was bittersweet ... technical advisor. He felt like a diplomat, there to instruct the heavy-handed commandos that some doors could be opened without breaching charges. But duty was duty, he settled into his seat in the shuttle.

Quar sat in the back of the shuttle, looking down to the boots on his feet. He smirked, looking at the laces all the way up. His hand checked the Morellian Weapons Conglomerate .48 Enforcer on his right hip, taking the weapon out of its holster. He pulled back the slide to make sure that the first round was loaded. His hand released the slide and placed the safety back on. With mild concentration, the weapon was placed back inside of the holster. He sighed lightly as he reached into his pocket, removing a small hand held data pad with the mission specifics. His eyes darted over the gathered intelligence, studying the maps and layouts.

"Prepare for the jump to light-speed." Zek announced over the entire shuttle, whomever decided to tag along. He setup the coordinates provided by his Commander from the navigation computer. When he dialed up the coordinates, he began to slowly engage the hyperdrive. Within seconds, the Gilded Thranta would disappear before the CR90 corvette.

Alanya was dressed in a suit of shadowsilk, cut to her form to eliminate even the smallest noise. From her belt hung her favorite multiweapon, the twist-lock emerging knife, weighted club end and slicewire pull out length made it a constant companion. Alliance Adjudicator Slugthrower was strapped to her thigh, the silenced slugthrower whisper quiet. Sometimes there was still a place for 'low' technology. She wore a full wrap around breathmask, her blue eyes closed as she concentrated upon the mission. Black rectangular assault pack was strapped to her back. She had left her Intimidator...she needed the room for other things. Besides, she needed to rely on stealth this time around. She opened her blue orbs, looking down at her hand as it flexed and moved slowly under the light and sound absorbing glove of shadowsilk.

Unlike his fellow Trooper Jace had skill...did not need all that fancy stuff. A simple blast vest, DL-18 and a DLT-20A was all he needed. Giving a nod to the pilot of the Sigma he made his way into one of the gun turret seats. As he strapped in his fingers slid across the controls of the turret powering the system up to life. He figured he had better get used to the controls. He most likely was going have to do a lot of shooting to cover the Gunboat.

Quar adjusted his blast vest which sat over the stained white t-shirt. He looked at the fully decked out shadowsilked female commando and eyed her curves. He smiled lightly as he closed his handheld datapad and leaned back in his jump seat.

The Gilded Thranta sped across the sector to reach the planet of Sluis Van. Once they entered the atmosphere of the planet, he would be sure to swiftly find some way to avoid any TIE fighters or perhaps a Star Destroyer. Hues peer over the radar to scan the area. Unsure exactly what he would come across, but he knew it would be clear since the Royal Alderaan Civil Fleet transponder would assist the Argo crew. He began to make his course over to Sluis Van where he would search out what Derek wanted them to be at, the shipyard.

Several hundred kilometers away from Sluis Van, one of the dozens of picket vessels that the Imperial Navy had in place to scan the hundreds of incoming cargo and transport ships, was the Vindicator-class heavy cruiser Ardent. The sensors officer aboard the Ardent signaled his commanding officer upon the arrival of the new contact. Immediately, a query was transmitted to the approaching shuttle, demanding a transponder beacon and inventory of cargo/passengers, as per standing operating procedure. In the meantime, the crew of Ardent remained passive. It was just one of hundreds of vessels they scanned on a daily basis. "Approaching shuttle, this is the cruiser Ardent. Please identify yourself, and state cargo and intentions for approaching Sluis Van." Bleary eyed, the communications officer in the adjoining station to the sensors officer, awaited a response. His shift was nearing completion; he had been on for close to twelve hours, and was anxiously awaiting his twelve hour relief.

From afar, the Gilded Thranta detected an Imperial cruiser approaching nearby, taking notice of the shuttle as it approached Sluis Van. He arched a thick brow to the voice spoken over the com. "This is the Gilded Thranta. Sending transponder codes now. Our destination is for Sluis Van and we're making drops of food and supplies to aid the Imperial troops upon the planet." Zek's intentions were to possibly make this lie sound reasonable so the shuttle could make a clear landing on to the planet. He was not a rookie. His past career consisted of smuggling priceless goods and illegal items to numerous syndicates and small-time cliques upon different planets. He would send the transponder codes over to the cruiser meanwhile he remained calm awaiting for a response of clearance.

The Imperial Navy certainly received the lion's share of amenities and supplies ... the signals officer felt a few pangs of remorse for the Imperial troopers slugging it through the surface of Sluis Van below. Although there certainly could be worse places to be a Stormtrooper; any place without supplies was a bad one. Hence, the shuttle would not be questioned or detained further. "Very well, Gilded Thranta. Give my regards with the supplies those below. Watch the winds on your atmospheric approach ... there's several storm clusters planetside. Take care." The Ardent changed course ever so slightly, coming off the intercept course it had maintained since the shuttle's arrival. Two circling TIE/ln starfighters clipped the course of the shuttle by about two kilometers, inbound on the Ardent.

With sigh of relief, Zek released a light breath past his thin lips. He continued on course, picking up speed to make their approach over to the planet's surface. "Thank you, I will. Take care." He grinned evilly before he followed the advice the Imperial officer had stated about Sluis Van's harsh conditions. He proceeded further towards the plant, keeping the shuttle on a steady pace meanwhile it experienced a light quake. "Hold on, boys. This could get a bit tricky." He had been in worse situations than this. As he bypassed the planet's atmosphere, he continued on course to find a platform to make his landing on.

Alanya gripped the restraints and held on tight. At least it seemed they were not about to get blown out of the sky before they touched down, a small mercy. She would not of been surprised if the transponder code they had been given was out of date. Luckily it seemed Intelligence had done it's job this time...

Quar listened to the radio transmissions confidently. He continued to look at the form fitting shadowsilk around the female, wondering what she would look like once those tight form fitting clothes were removed. He brought his wrist in front of his face, glancing at the time on his chronograph.

The chronograph would show the battle-hardened and tested operative that the local time was just before dawn, as intended. The eyes of the inhabitants below, primarily human and Bith, would require the most adjustment at this time period...hence the reason most attacks occur at dawn or dusk. Just outside the city of Dapani stood the staging facilities of the 443rd Assault Wing, as it's nomenclature stated on unit manning rosters. The equipment of the 443rd was spread out on a corner lot of the spaceport of Dapani, approximately 300 meters from the nearest civilian warehouse. Traffic at this time of morning was light ... and the worn tarmac of the spaceport was barely separable from the surrounding countryside. No fences were visible on the perimeter of the spaceport or even the Imperial compound there ... but two patrols were out, consisting of two guards apiece. These were visible on IR sensor scans, on the shuttle's display.

Correson located a perfect platform where he could land his shuttle. He slowly maneuvered the Sigma-class shuttle over near the platform, disengaging the landing skits. Gently, he set the piece of junk while gas released from the pressure system. Despite the look he had seen from the two guards glancing over at the shuttle, he would take a glance at the troopers seated in his shuttle. "Better hope you know what you're doing." Being the pilot of the shuttle, he would not be necessarily required to assist them.

Quar unhooked himself from his jump seat, his head turning to face the pilot. He smiled at the comment, his confidence creating an aura of conceitedness. "Get geared up, and let's move out," He said as he looked to his commandos. He buttoned up the brown trench coat, concealing both his weapon and the blast vest. He walked towards the exit ramp, grabbing a clipboard which contained some fimspat and a stylus connected to it.

Standing right at the bottom of the ramp, wearing grease covered mechanic's coveralls, was a humanoid with a deep, receding hairline and several teeth missing from his lopsided smile. The sort of smile that screams 'much less intelligent that necessary for working on sophisticated spacecraft.' "'Hey! Didn't expect you guys with the next batch of parts and supplies for another three days! Do you want me to wake up the base commander or the flight wing commander...or the security commander...or the maintenance commander...or the..." and the list went on, as the simpleton plodded on...clearly, it was not his job to be involved with the arrival of incoming supplies. He was just a nosy mechanic, poking his head into things. Speaking of poking, his head swung around the lowered exit ramp, straining for a glance up into the shuttle...hoping they heard his first statements...thinking they had not, he began to start again... "Hey! Didn't expect you guys for another..."

Ardac stayed back in the rear of the shuttle, out of plain sight. A Chiss on board wouldn't help the Alderaanian cover story any.

Alanya stood slowly, soft soled boots carrying her forward until she froze at the words of the mechanic like a statue. Staying completely still in the shadows of the shuttle. She would have to rely on Quar to deal with this one, as he was too likely to scream if he saw an Infiltrator charging down at him. Shooting him rather messily would not be a good option either. Somebody might miss him while the operation was going on.

Quar nodded and reached into his trench coat pocket, feeling a long cylinder shape. His hand wrapped around it as he continued to nod at the balding, toothless mechanic. His fingers removed the tip off of the cylinder and brought it to hide behind the clipboard. "Waking people up won't be necessary. See, my boss is riding my ass," Quar said as he gesticulated with his hands. He shook his head as he stood next to toothless man, bringing the cylinder off the clipboard and to his side. "See, take a look on my bill of laden!" He moved the clipboard in front of the man and shook his head. As the toothless wonder's eyes moved to the clipboard, Quar brought the small cylinder to the man's neck, pressing it in. A small surgical steel needle would exit the cylinder and enter the man's neck injecting a small amount of sedative.

Fariss the Mechanic's Assistant, 1st Class, slumped forward towards Quar, his knees buckling under him from the potent, fast-acting sedative. An audible gurgle emanated from the man's throat, as he tongue lolled about in a pool of saliva, the moisture bubbling when it mixed with escaping air from the man's lungs. His eyes remained open, but glassy and distant. He was unconscious within seconds.

Quar's arms wrapped around the mechanic, ensuring that he would not fall to the ground. The cylinder dropped onto the floor of the exit ramp. He pressed the clipboard against his chest as he dragged the mechanic down the ramp. He continued until he reached a small tool station on the docking pad. He released the mechanic, placing him against the small tool station. Once again, he reached into the trench coat's pocket removing a small baggy of spice. He opened the top of the baggy, sprinkling it on the mechanic's lips. With his thumb and pointer finger, he resealed the baggy, placing it into the mechanic's hand. Quar sighed loudly and looked towards the exit ramp of the shuttle, placing his hands back inside of his pockets. [d]

Only after Quar finished did she move to the shuttle's ramp, moving quietly down as she lowered her body down, eyes glancing from side to side. "Those guards. Do we take them or leave them?" She asked, her voice muffled somewhat by her breath mask. Doing two at once would be hard without alerting anybody. It could get rather messy. But she was not the one in charge of mission, after all. She kept her hands free for the moment, not seeing the need for a weapon just yet, as that would be chosen by what she was ordered to do.

Walk down the ramp, to a ship, hop in and start it up. As if it would be that easy...there were plenty of Imperials around who would not like very much having one of their toys stolen. She moved down the ramp and onto the tarmac, her soft soled boots silent against the ground. She would need to take out the sentries...but eliminating two at once without alerting the other patrol would not be easy. She glanced around, spotting some rocks by her foot. She crouched down
to her knees and picked one up. She lowered herself down, blending in with the darkness of the Tarmac as she heaved the rock as hard as she could towards the parked starfighters, to try and make as much noise as possible.

The Imperial Patrols were getting slack. They always did, this late in the night. The two squads of six men eventually broke into four of three, and wound down the higher the numbers on the chrono rolled. Two of the main groups moved out to the far perimeter, while those patrolling across the tarmac in a loose zigzagging pattern all but came to a stop. Near one of the Gunboats, two Imperials leaned against the outer hull. "Yeah, I keep submitting replacement forms for that heating coil in my bunk, but of course that gets shuffled to the bottom of some stack in a rancor pit. I'm freezing my a...hey, did you hear something?" A loud bang, the sound of rock on metal. The three loitering Imperials raised their blaster rifles, moving through the darkness between the starfighters. Their flashlights beams crisscrossed every few seconds, but it was not a perfect screen. "It's probably just an animal, but if it craps on one of these ships the commander is gonna have a bantha."

Meanwhile, Ardac sat in the shuttle cockpit, adjusting the seat until his back was the straightest and he had the most mobility.

Alanya moved the instant the beams turned away. She leapt up to her feet and sprinted flat out, the slapping of her booted feet on the ground minimized by their soft soles. She came to a quick stop behind one of the gunboats, pressing her back up against it's underside to avoid the roaming lights that threatened to expose her. Now they were in her territory, the starfighters provided her terrain in which to close the distance, and remain hidden. She moved against one of the gunboats, her back sliding along the hull as she unclipped the multitool from her belt and held it in her left hand. Right ring ringer slipped into the pull loop and silently emerged a length of slicewire, the deadly, ultra razor sharp material. She crouched low and moved forward silently, approaching the trio of imperials.

"There's nothing here man, it was probably metal settling or something." The trio stopped, two of them shouldering their blasters, the third still probing the shadows at random with the narrow shaft of light his flashlight emitted. "Metal settling? No wonder you're just a guard," One of them chided the other. "Hey, you're a guard too." "Yeah, but I'm in charge, and I say it was nothing. Let's go relieve Dagan's group, almost time for shift change." The group of three split up, two strolling casually up the center of the tarmac, the third ... the one in charge ... pulled out his radio. "Reporting. Shift's almost up guys. Gonna get a sabbac game started, let's wrap it up."

She listened quietly, and glanced around. No need to kill them if she could avoid it, would give her the advantage until the last second. She turned to face the gunboat she was leaning against and deftly climbed up it towards the cockpit as she retracted the slicewire with the thumb stud set into the multitool. She tried to cockpit window, but found it locked and flipped out the dagger, sliding it along the edge of the cockpit glass, looking for the locking mechanism that secured it.

Security guards, even Imperials, were not machines. They functioned in shifts, twelve men on at a time. At the shift change, six men would take a speeder at the far end of the tarmac and check in at the Imperial barracks. Twelve more would come in two speeders, the remaining six taking the spare back to base. It was a soft spot in the security, but in this desolate place in the woods, even the Imperial's notorious paranoia had grown slack. All the men were preparing to be off duty.
Alanya slid the dagger back hard, and there was a soft pop as the cockpit opened. Climbing inside as she folded the dagger back in she dropped back down into the seat, pulling down the cockpit covering. She checked the controls over once, a sweep of her eyes determined their function before she turned the power plant on, strapping herself in as she waited for the plant to heat up.

"Did you hear that?" "Are you kidding me, again? I told you, it's probably one of those big, nasty rats. We'll lay some traps in the morning." The guards slowed, turning back to head in the general direction of their parked speeder. "If it'll make you feel better, we can put up an alert. Then when we get back you can file a report. Miss the sabbac game." "Let's just go. Maybe it was nothing." "Yeah, maybe."

Alanya waited a moment longer before turning on the repulsorlifts and bringing up the landing gear. Ignoring the noise that it would make folding up into the undercarriage. She pivoted the Gunboat around in place. Thumb flicked over the weapon selector switch, bringing the missiles up. She had chosen this particular gunboat for a reason. A part of a squadron was always on alert like this, loaded and ready to go. She squeezed the trigger back, she did not need a tone at this range, firing the missiles point blank at one of the nearby gunboats before she kicked the engine into high gear.

"Do big rodents fly spaceships?" "What? What kind of question is that." A beam of light fell across the canopy of the starcraft as it raised up on its repulsors. In the dark of the tarmac, it was impossible to miss. The two guards stood side by side, dumbfounded for a moment, before the missile fired. It impacted one of the nearby ships, an explosion sending shrapnel in every direction, flames reaching for the sky. The force of the blast sent the two guards flailing, ragdolling into the tarmac, unconscious or dead. It got the attention of the four other men left over, one of which began radioing frantically. Somewhere in the distance, an alarm began wailing, its high-pitched keening filling the quiet night. Floodlights on every corner of the tarmac clanked on, flooding the area in bright light. But four blaster rifles fired haphazardly at a Gunboat was not going to stop it.

The explosion was Correson's signal. The shuttle's plant had been kept warmed. Raising onto the repulsors, he killed the exterior lights and then switched to the sub-light engine, taking the dark mass up into the clouds. He was an old hand, a steady pilot. The shuttle shook when it met atmosphere but the human managed to even it out, breaking away from the planet. Rockturne was on her own, he did not know her enough to have faith in her, but he was a Rebel ... having hope came with the job.

Already the Gilded Thranta might notice something was wrong. Instead of heading on the same trajectory as the shuttle she had turned away, taking a different route through the atmosphere, up into space. Alanya kicked the power from her laser weapons over to shields and engines, dividing the extra energy evenly. She would rely on missiles if she needed to fight. She was just looking to flee, after all. The edge in speed and protection should get her out of there. Wherever it was she was going.

Flee she would. At this time of night, only half the pilots were awake and on call, and the guards were in such disarray that information did not reach anyone in charge until Alanya and the Rebel's new Gunboat cleared atmosphere. By the time the pilots were in the cockpits, it was too late ... they did not have sophisticated enough scanners to follow the Ion trails, and the ship's transponder had been deactivated. It was a clean smash and grab, one more notch on the Rebel's belt and one more knot in the Imperial's noose. 

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