A seemingly endless barrage of
concussion missiles poured from the dorsal hull of the Victory I-class
Star Destroyer Renown. In rapid succession they impacted on the
surface of the planet Ralltiir, obliterating everything in its path ...
both civilian and military target alike. "I think it's time we get you
out of here, Corporal," Commander Derek Atio exclaimed, as the duracreet
above him collapsed into a fine, powdery substance that soiled him and
damaged his eyes. "I do not think this structure will last much longer,"
he observed, as he looked out the window at the growing fire and scores
of fallen soldier and civilian alike. The cacophony of screams was
unrelenting as a result of the Empire's ceaseless barrage against the
planet, whose citizens had been unilaterally declared as Rebels and
enemies of the Empire. He had been tasked with evacuating as many of the
Rebel personnel he could, starting with Corporal Jason Athol and those
in his care.
"You know Atio, I think I need to
re-negotiate that contract with Tong at our next chance, because I'm
pretty sure this is well outside the parameters of it." Jason responded
as he grabbed everything in range he could and stuffed it into his
ever-present backpack. Once he was sure he had what was required, it was
past time to be gone and back to the shuttle. Reaching down, he pressed
a button on his comm to send an evac signal to the others present. "Lead
Planetary barrages were pretty much the worst enemy of any soldier.
What could you do against a starship but hope and pray it didn't blast
you to hell before you got the chance to fight? Corporal Lovora Rikki had only been in a few serious
engagements so far, and this was her first time on a planet the Empire
had decided to lay waste to wholesale. Usually the weight of the Z-6
rotary blaster cannon gave her incredible confidence, but now it felt
like a big hunk of useless metal. All the same, it wouldn't be useless
for long; even with a planetary bombardment it was likely that ground
troops would be coming in to clean up anything and anyone that remained.
A few loyalists had already brought the fight to them, but it had been
easy pickings so far. The voice of one of her fellow commandos came over
the comm. "Clear, but I don't think it's gonna be that way for long.
Where's the Commander with the Corporal, Love?" Lovora gave a small
snort at the nickname she'd been given. Love. What a moniker for the
tomboyish girl who'd ended up a heavy weapons specialist, of all things.
"I'll check on it, Roller." Giving the Z-6 a heave, she headed in closer
to where the Corporal and the Commander were talking, addressing Atio,
of course. "Sir, we've got an open path, but probably not for long.
Squad is ready to move on your command."
Kanner Varrik pushed himself up off the
ground grunting as he did the first volley from the bombardment had
caught him in the middle of a Sabbacc game, it annoyed the piss out of
him since he was winning. "Looks like the game's been called on the
count of Imps." He said, as he scooped up what little of his winnings as
he could, and picked the discarded DC-15x rifle. He raised his comlink
and opened a channel, "This is Trooper Varrik reporting from the lounge,
what the hell is going on?" He asked over the comm.
The cockpit of the YT-2000 was
comfortable, and she had her legs up on the console, crossed at the
ankles as she enjoyed a slice of thin bread topped with a sweet
vegetable sauce, melted cheese and small bits of some local meat of
questionable origin ... but it was tasty! She had the ship parked quite
a distance outside the city that was even now being bombarded. A long
gulp of her glass of fruit juice, something of an addiction of hers,
washed down the food as pretty explosions lit the dark skies. She knew
people were dying by the score with each impact, but there was little
she could do about it. Eyes closed a moment before the comlink she'd had
implanted quite a while ago sent a message to sprocket. "So no
communication yet..." she murmured. Finishing her food, she tossed the
disposable plate in the recycler near her command chair and waited. The
signal had to come soon. There was no way they could last that long
under such a bombardment. She didn't mind mixing it up, but waiting was
boring. Flipping the comm on the low band she was told the team used
that would not be detectable by the ships in orbit, she spoke in a
slightly vexed voice. "I'm sure the scenery is nice ... especially with
explosions and all, but perhaps if you hurry there will be more than a
few squishy chunks left for me to pick up."
Derek flashed a worried glance to his
wrist chronometer, as he knew the TIE bombers would soon be making
another sweep of the city. Hearing the voices on the comm he went into
immediate action as he began to evac the tumbling structure into the
blood-filled streets, stopping only to brush the smoke from his face.
"Trooper Varrik, rendezvous at the following coordinates for immediate
evac!" he shouted over the comlink, before transmitting the coordinates
to Jane Minersha's ship to him. "Rikki, make sure Athol makes it out of
here. Nothing can happen to him ... he's too valuable!" he barked, over
his shoulders as he tried to raise Minersha on the comm. "Jane, start
powering up the main reactor, we've got to get out of here before those
bombers make another pass or we're all done for!" he warned her,
wondering how he had gotten himself into another mess like this.
'Too valuable? Oh he is not getting away
without an explanation for that one!' Jason thought to himself as he
stepped in to the cargo hold of the ship. "Derek! I am *not* leaving
those people behind." he yelled, emphasizing the not in that. "Rikki,
whomever you are get this bird in the air, I'll navigate. We're not
abandoning them." Jason's voice had an almost durasteel quality to it,
and he literally stalked to the navigation console.
"Yes, sir!" her words came through the
comm built into her helmet and she fell in close to Athol, making
herself not only an escort but an outright physical barrier between him
and whatever might potentially come their way. As they booked it through
bombardment and broken buildings for the cargo hold of the YT-2000, the
orders that came her way from Jason caused a moment of pause. "I...er...I'm
not...yes, sir." She was, of course, going to stick to the Commander's
orders above all else, and make sure that Athol was on the bird before
doing anything else. A swift toggle of her tongue swapped over to the
squad channel for her unit. "Mark is at the bird. He's requesting
navigation control of the ship, but he's here. Converge on my location
for evac." From the sound of it, the Corporal wanted to stick around,
but that wasn't part of her orders. As nice as it would be to save a ton
of lives, they had one to look after right now, and that was him.
Kanner squinted at the numbers from the
dim lighting of the emergency lights. It was a park not that far from
the base it's self. He turned, and started to run just then a wall
collapsed knocking him forward, the dust from the duracrete filled his
lungs. Kanner let out a long hack, before charging down the hall, he
tried not to think about the fact he left behind members of his unit.
That was when he saw it, a droid an astromecch pinned between some
scaffolding and duracrete. There wasn't enough time so he pulled his
rifle off his back, and aimed it at it's mid section, and fired a bolt
destroying it's memories, there wasn't enough time to do much else.
Kanner kept moving his boots carrying him as fast as he could, he
grimaced over the fact that he had to leave his friends behind. Kanner
kept moving the alarms were now going off all around the city, he tried
to steady his nerves before charging off down an alleyway. A few minutes
later he was running he could see a YT-2000 hovering beside an Imperial
statue, the irony wasn't lost on him as he glanced around for the CO
that made it there first.
Jane muttered, hearing Derek order her
around. She supposed that he was allowed to, since he *was* signing the
paycheck ... And so with a silent comm directly to Sprocket, and relayed
from him to the other droids on the ship, she fired up the powerfully
augmented reactor to the rather heavily modified 'cargo ship' and it
came to life. she kicked on her repulsors and the ship began hovering. A
flick of a toggle had the landing gear retract into the ship and she
looked up. The toppled statue of the old, wrinkled emperor was doing a
wonderful job of blocking her ship from whatever orbital weapons would
lance down at her. Spotting one of the team she recognized, she popped
out from under the shelter of the statue and kicked the ship forward
about thirty meters. Dropping the boarding ramp, she put the ship in a
hovering park and kept her eyes on the sensors. TIE Bombers weren't fun
to play with, but she had the weapons to deal with most Imperial fighter
craft. "Sprocket, keep those guns hot. If we have company, I want them
dead, not us!" She had no need to speak out loud to the droid, but she
heard his reply from within the ship. Keying up her comlink, she spoke
into it again to her would-be passengers. "Things are getting a little
crispy. You think you can take some pictures of the scenery while you
walk here?" She smiled at her own quip, but she was beginning to sweat.
That bombardment was getting closer...
"Damn it, Athol, we don't have time for
this!" Derek shouted, as he moved to the ramp of Minersha's YT-2000.
"These people can take care of themselves. I've got to get you out of
here while there's still something left of you to get out," he pleaded,
another glance to his chronometer once again. "Incoming. Five minutes if
they're on schedule, and those blasted Imps have a history of being
precise," he warned, as he waited at the bottom of the ramp for the
others to board her vessel. In the distance he could hear the faint,
distinct sounds made by twin ion engines. Perhaps they were going to be
early this time, he thought, grimacing somewhat as he scanned the
heavens with his blue eyes.
Kanner moved up the ramp of the YT-2000,
"I had to leave behind the rest of my unit buried beneath a ton of
duracrete. Not to mention the rest of my gear. It was a good thing I
never go anywhere without my lady." Kanner said, as he shifted the
DC-15x rifle the weapon dragging down along his spine as he started to
glance around the ship, "Really uh ... nice ship you have got here."
Kanner said, sheepishly.
When Kanner showed up, Lovora shifted
the Z-6 heavy repeater to one hand so she could offer one to him. She
was in full commando armor, helmet and all, but her somewhat shorter
stature and smaller frame probably made it clear there was a woman
beneath it even before she spoke up. "Yeah, it'll get the job done. Too
bad it comes standard with a comedian for a pilot." She joked a bit, but
once he was on, her tone became more somber. "Sorry about your unit."
She was resuming her position at the cargo door, the Z-6 hoisted into
both hands and ready to lay down a rain of blaster bolts in case anyone
tried to get aboard that did not belong.
Oh was he not happy, not a bit. When he
got to Brentaal, Tong and Carson were definitely going to be informed of
Derek's attempt to leave people behind. The last thing they needed was
for anyone to feel that they would be left behind. It was tempting to
hijack the navcomp and override the pilot, but for now, Jason was
stewing and fuming. Radio silence would be a good idea right now, so he
withheld the comments against Derek for a bit, until they were clear.
Once the last of them were aboard, Derek
slammed his hand down upon the controls that would raise the ramp behind
them. "Let's get out of here, Jane!" he yelled down the corridor, before
hurriedly running through her ship, meandering through the corridors
until he came to the cockpit. "Bombers coming in!" he shouted, as he
pointed out the viewport at the row of TIE bombers that were dropping
their proton bombs in formation upon the cityscape in the distance. He
flung himself into the co-pilot's chair, and immediately began powering
up the deflectors, even before strapping himself in.
She saw the incoming squad of TIE
Bombers with Fighters as escort, and grinned. Her quad laser cannons far
outmatched and outranged the Sienar Fleet Systems L-s1 cannons that
those models carried. She seemed casual in her movements, but not a
single one was wasted. "Attention passengers, this is your Captain
speaking. We welcome you aboard the Heretics Avenger. Please fasten your
restraints and remember to be kind to your flight staff. Our in flight
holo will be 'Desperate Escape from Imperial Bucket Heads' and it will
last until we break orbit. I hope you all enjoy your flight today. All
complaints should be given to Emperor Palpatine in person naked." During
her entertaining announcement, she had kicked the repulsors into full
power, retracted the boarding ramp, set the powered up deflector shields
to optimal power, and kicked the engines to full speed. She was not sure
who would be more terrified ... the passengers seeing her fling the ship
they were on straight at the flight of enemy fighters and bombers, or
the pilots of said fighters and bombers seeing this crazy ship shooting
like a dart right at them. "Open fire, all guns please!" she said with a
laugh, charging right in. TIEs had no shields ... she did, and her insane
laughter flooded the ship from cockpit to engine room ... and even the
external PA system.
Kanner followed the path to one of the
turrets, and glanced down the tube seeing that no one was down there, he
cursed beneath his breath. "Sith spit." Kanner slipped the rifle from
his back, and laid her down on the floor, before he started down the
turret well., and fell the last quarter of the way down into the seat.
He picked up the comm unit and turned it on as the maniacal laughter hit
his ear. That was when he tucked away the skifter into his right sleeve,
it made him feel worse he had been cheating but he needed the credits
for his little sister's treatments, he turned on the targeting system ,
and secured the last buckle in. "Turret is on-line, and operational uh..
Captain." Kanner said dubiously, he caught the sight of incoming
eyeballs, and started an open volley of shots which pierced the viewport
on one, and the second volley from the quad cannons struck a wing
sending it flying into a building. "I didn't mean to do that, honest!"
He grumbled over the comm unit.
Derek shielded his eyes as the cockpit
illuminated from the repeated blaster strikes against the deflector
screens. "Make for the nebula, Jane!" he shouted, stating the obvious as
he pointed at the large formation of red and purple nebula gasses
looming in the distance. Just then the Heretic's Avenger was
struck by something a lot stronger than a TIE fighter. In a frenzy, his
attention turned to his sensor readout and saw the menacing presence of
a Nebulon-B escort frigate hot on their tail. "Escort frigate," he
murmured to Minersha, as he rose from his seat and moved towards a
control panel. "I'll try and angle the deflectors!" he alerted her, as
he began shifting power from the forward shields to the rear shields.
Grunting in vexation, she felt the heavy
impact of the primary turbolaser from the Nebulon, which sent the rear
of the ship down relative to their angle in space. Checking the damage
readout, she growled... an eerily feral noise coming from her. "Alright ...
lets see how good these idiots can aim..." While no starfighter, she was
fairly sure that no YT-2000 had ever made quite the array of wild
maneuvering that she put it through in the history of the class. Rolling
dips, Rapidly banking climbs, and as random an assortment of
multi-directional barrel rolls would confound even the best gunner. It
probably helped them that they were going at breakneck speed *away* from
the big guns. Even TIE fighters would have difficulty outrunning them as
she made her way towards the Nebula. She knew the reasoning well enough.
Sensors in a Nebula were ... well ... terrible. Her sensor suite was nothing
to shake a stick at, and even her sensors were quite heavily impaired
within the swirling gases and eddies of a nebula.
Kanner's gloved fingers tightened down
onto the controls of the quad cannon the erratic movement of the ship
made aiming practically impossible. Kanner gritted his teeth as he tried
to get a solid lock on the eyeballs on their tail, "Damm it I'm a sniper
not a pilot jockey!" Kanner muttered beneath his breath into the comm
unit. The cannon shifted as he tried to steady his nerves then he
depressed the trigger releasing blast after blast, somehow he had
clipped one, which was enough to make him feel not as half bad. Kanner
turned the cannon towards the wingmate of the TIE pilot, he kept firing
letting the volley of shots in the wake of the cannon's movement. Kanner
pierced another cockpit and said, "Hey I ain't half bad!" He said with a
Basic ship controls, including weapon systems, were part of standard
training, but all the same, Lovora hadn't seen any since then and even
during training never felt comfortable with the damn things. When the
orders came down though she jumped into action and ran to one of the
panels, setting the Z-6 down beside her before strapping in. The helmet
was torn off her head in a hurry, revealing the matt of short, messy
black hair and the face of a young woman that most would have never
expected to end up hauling around the giant repeating cannon, but so it
was. "Ok Love...you can do this...just like that stupid training
program..." Utterly reliant on the built in targeting system, Rikki
focused on laying down a hail of fire at anything that looked like a
target, managing to hit relatively little. It didn't help that every
jolt and shift of the swifter maneuvers had her already pale complexion
getting worse, and her stomach doing flips inside her skin.
"I...hate...ships..." she muttered to herself, summoning all her
intestinal fortitude to focus on firing at the Imperial vessels.
Another heavy blast from the Nebulon-B frigate inflicted crippling
damage on the rear deflector shields, sending sparks flying into his
exposed face. "Gaah!" he screamed, his hands immediately moving to rub
at his eyes. "Corellians..." he muttered beneath his breath, hating the
way they designed their conduits. "I can't hold it much longer!" he
yelled towards, Minersha, bringing his hands back towards the control
panel. Though his vision slightly blurred, and in a mild bit of pain, he
remained at his post and continued to do his best to reroute power to
the rear shields.
"I want hazard pay from this!" Jane
yelled and with a curse she cut all engine power and let the inertia of
the ship carry them into the thick gasses of the Nebula. All that engine
power she shunted to the Forward shield array in a flurry of hand
movements and button mashing. A quick push on the left foot petal, and
an equally hard push on the right had the ship slipping backwards on
inertia into the nebula with all engine power re-directed to the forward
shields. If the rear shielding was taking a beating ... why not? They
would be fools to follow into the nebula with anything short of their
full fleet, and it would take them quite a while to get there even so.
To further avoid detection, she deactivated the guns, flipped off the
active sensor systems, and unless someone crashed into them ... they were