Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Christopher Levy, Shawn Lovelett, and Michael Whittaker.
Zero years before the Battle of Yavin (35:4:6) in the Brentaal system: Brentaal IV (Cormond: RSSF Horizon Training Center and Verus Theus' safe house) and Sonthi.
Sergeant Major Jonas Garrett, Major Kerrie Kiley, Colonel Verus Theus, and Lieutenant Kenson Tyne.

The streets of Cormond were as busy as ever, with all manner of speeders and pedestrians going about their lives. One particular speeder hovered silently in an off-path alleyway, drawing no particular attention towards itself. Battered and burned, the vehicle was almost unrecognizable as an LAVr Chariot, a favored command speeder of the Imperial Army. A number had been stolen from the remains of the garrison attack, finding their way into less than savory employment. The speeder was packed with eleven armed individuals. Ten of them were rather thuggish in appearance, clutching their blaster rifles as they awaited the determined attack time. The ten men, mostly humans, occasionally glanced at the eleventh member of their group. He seemed military, they silently concluded, but they were not paid to speculate. Fifty yards ahead of the speeder was the RSSF Horizon Training Center, a major complex for the initiation of new police recruits. Sounds of drills, shouting and sporadic blaster bolts were heard from the walls, all a sign of a normal day in police training.

The armor Sergeant Jonas Garrett wore was battered to hell, but it was enclosed. The black visor glanced to the others there, as the MFTAS went online, cycling through the numerous people. He took in a breath of recycled air, as the speaker took in conversations. Strapped to his right thigh was an FWG-5, it's safety on, and along his belt were numerous grenades: Glop, Frag, Flash. He looked more like a bounty hunter, than a soldier. He felt as if this task was beneath him, yet he would never voice those concerns to his superiors for now there was only the mission.

There was light chatter among the Black Sun mercenaries in the speeder, mostly about firearms or women. The men continued to glance out of the Chariot's front viewport, awaiting any sign of their entry into the RSSF compound. Their talk fell silent as the whine of an accelerating repulsorlift was heard in the distance, steadily growing louder as it approached. Another speeder suddenly turned the corner of the main street leading towards the RSSF training center, swinging around at a great speed and pushing aside the smaller vehicles in the way. The burly speeder continued to accelerate towards the main gates of the training facility, and the Black Sun hired hands watched in anticipation.

A RSSF Sergeant threw up his hand at the oncoming speeder, peering at angrily beneath the visor of his blast helmet. "Halt!" he yelled as he stood in front of the gate, his hand moving down to pull the DL-18 blaster pistol from his holster. "This is a restricted area," he repeated in a loud tone, clearly annoyed, but not thinking it any more than a civilian who took a wrong turn. He was inexperienced, as most of the RSSF had never dealt with anything other than petty crime.

The guard's command would have no effect, and the speeder only continued to accelerate towards the front gates of the complex. No one was inside the speeder to heed the call to halt, as the vehicle had been preset with it's unchangeable instructions and final destination. A final burst of speed sent the speeder plowing into the unfortunate RSSF Sergeant, tossing his broken body aside without regard, and then the speeder crashed into the gate's barriers. The explosives hidden within the vehicle exploded with tremendous force, obliterating anything within the immediate radius of the blast.

An annoying alarm that was too little, too late began to echo through the compound, but it was barely audible over the sound of the tremendous explosion that ripped through the main gate. The guard post and those inside it were little more than ash, and all around half-dressed and underequipped RSSF officers began to scramble through the compound. They had nothing but stun grenades and riot guns that were designed to handle crowd control and the petty crime that plagued the city.

With that, the Chariot speeder now roared to life. A strong kick from the repulsors sent the speeder careening towards the gaping hole in the complex walls, and the vehicle rapidly covered the 50 yards to the target. The Chariot's front laser cannon opened fire, with crimson bolts streaking indiscriminately towards men and material. The Chariot bounded in the air as it reached the remains of the gate, sailing over the debris and rubble, before coming to a halt within the RSSF complex courtyard. The door slid open, and the mercenaries armed their rifles. Instinctively, they looked towards the bounty hunter-esque man to lead the way.

Jonas pulled the FWG-5 from it's holster with his right hand, flipping the safety off as he readied the weapon in one smooth practiced action. The left hand already had a flash bang off his nasty collection. He pulled the pin, and spoke loudly, the speaker carried the rest of the warning to the others, <Click> went his helmet, "Flash out." <Click> it went at the end of his sentence. He waited for the cook time on the weapon before giving it a good toss towards the last known location of the targets.

There were nine RSSF officers running towards the speeder as the laser cannons erupted, and two of them immediately were struck, their primitive armor not being able to withstand the thrust from the vehicle's powerful barrage. "Cover," one of the officers yelled as he moved towards a fallen piece of duracrete that had tumbled to the ground following the explosion. The grenade erupted catching them completely off guard and a further three officers were blinded by the blast, falling to the ground like useless rabble. That left four active troops who found what cover they could and began firing with their RSSF riot guns at the speeder. These poorly fashioned weapons fired the equivalent of concussion blasts that were the equivalent of stun grenades. Useless against modern armor, they nevertheless could provide a non-lethal jolt to those unprotected.

The Black Sun gunmen began spilling out of the cramped speeder, firing as they emerged. Their polarized goggles protected them against the disorienting effect of the flash grenade, though one unlucky mercenary was struck by a riot gun. Having only his street clothes to protect him, the man clattered unceremoniously to the ground. The remaining nine began spreading out: four remained by the speeder to provide cover fire for their peers, while the other five began shouting as they charged the position of the RSSF defenders.

Jonas stepped out on the duracrete, his boots falling heavy with every step he took, the MFTAS was online already highlighting targets as it scanned the surrounding area. He had already synched the FWG-5 with the targeting system. He fired off two pellets from the weapon, which within three meters of their target would explode sending out miniature flechettes. The left hand had already selected his second grenade, a fragmentation, once again pulling the pin, and counting down the cook time. Then with practiced ease he tossed the grenade, which by his calculation would land within a meter of the men hiding behind cover.

The minitaure flechettes made short work of the three RSSF agents that had been incapacitated by the early flash grenade, turning their bodies into something of an unrecognizable mass that would take DNA analysis to identify for the families at a later date. "Grena..." one of the agents cried helplessly, but it was already too late and the small metallic ball exploded in front of him sending shrapnel tearing through his exposed face. There were two agents who continued firing their riot guns, but one turned to pull his comlink. "This is the RSSF to all Imperial forces. We are under attack. Believe the attackers to be Rebel insurgents," he nervously stammered over the comm, hoping that someone out there would come to their aid. They were no match for the opposition they were facing.

The five gunmen continued their sprint to the two RSSF agents. One Black Sun mercenary was struck in the leg by a riot gun shot and he staggered for a moment before stumbling to the pavement. His companions closed the distance and jumped over the modest cover, brining the butts of their rifles down upon the two RSSF defenders. The four attackers by the speeder meanwhile trained their weapons on the various entry doors into the courtyard, prepared to open fire if further Ringali Shell officers dared bothered them.

The speaker, spoke quickly out, Jonas pointed at one of the agents <Click>"Secure the entrances with the explosives, you grab the rest, and follow me."<Click> went the speaker as he finished speaking. He was already headed towards the barracks, everything was going according to plan, but if they managed to get Imperial reinforcement they were going to be in trouble.

The two remaining RSSF officers in the courtyard attempted to resist, but were quickly overcome by the superior numbers of the Black Sun mercenaries. In the nearby barracks the remaining cadets were passing out their blast helmets and chest armor, but they were young and had only begun their training. Many began heading towards the back door in an attempt to flee, having signed up to arrest gamblers and drunks, not fight off terrorists.

Being trained to follow orders, the Black Sun gunmen quickly complied with the bounty hunter's request. One of the mercenaries picked up a satchel of explosive charges and dashed towards the courtyard entrances, intending on planting the devices to ward off any reinforcements from within the compound. Four other attackers grabbed the rest of the explosives and followed after their de facto leader, cautiously watching for any additional resistance. The gunman who was struck at the beginning of the battle staggered back into the Chariot speeder, manning the laser cannon in case further reinforcements arrived.

"We might as well piss on them," one of the RSSF officers griped as he smashed out a window from the nearby barracks and began firing ineffective stun bolts from his RSSF riot gun at the group. "This is useless! Retreat," he yelled as he threw down his gun in anger and began running the others who were attempting to escape out the back.

Jonas pulled a glop grenade from off of his belt, and once again pulled the pin, tossing it towards the back entrance, where it would clatter, and explode, entrapping the back entrance, and anyone within ten meters of the foul substance. Then with his right hand, he fired the FWG-5 towards the windows of the barracks, firing random shots into the windows, if anyone had popped up to try to be a hero, the MFTAS, and the targeting system within the pistol would do the rest. The Black Sun scum would follow orders, but he would have rather had an entire squad backing him up.

Many of the cadets who had been in a hurry to escape found themselves in the blast radius of the unforgiving glop grenade. Ensnared they began to panic, stabbing at the glop futilely with the barrels of their riot guns. The attempts had no effect, and the unfortunate young trainees were lambs to the slaughter.

The lone Black Sun operative diligently continued his explosive-planting duties, dropping off charges at the various entrances that led into the courtyard. The four behind the bounty hunter took sporadic shots at the back entrance of the complex, though the FWG-5 seemed to have already decimated the RSSF cadets. They waited expectantly for directions as to where to place their explosive payloads. The mercenary in the speeder meanwhile listened intently to the RSSF police channels, attempting to determine if Imperial reinforcements were inbound.

The speaker squelched as Jonas spoke, <Click>"Place the explosives inside at the support beams, then take the rest, and and go blow the walls on the detention center."<Click> He turned the FWG-5 on the last of the RSSF cadets, and released two shots.

Unfortunately the young cadets, male and female both, were thoroughly ensnared in the confines of the glop and could offer no resistance to the incoming flechettes. They were torn to shreds almost instantly leaving no living RSSF personnel in the once thriving facility. It was the darkest day in the long and prestigious history of the RSSF.

Grunts of approval indicated the Black Sun men understood their orders. Two of the mercenaries quickly set about placing the charges inside the support beams. They had carried out demolition jobs before, so this task was nothing insurmountable for them. The other pair dashed off towards the cell block, slamming charges against the wall and running back within a safe distance. "Charges ready!" In the confines of the speeder, the mercenary pilot though he made out the garbled estimated time of arrival of an Imperial Army squad.

Jonas holstered the FWG-5 into his hip holster, and turned back towards the speeder, stepping over a severed arm of an RSSF agent. It all happened in a matter of a few minutes, now all they had to worry about was they're escape. <Click>"Blow the walls on the detention center, let the prisoners deal with our friends."<Click> He said, as he was already half way to the speeder.

The roar of a Lambda-class shuttle could be heard overhead as it dropped from the upper atmosphere and began approaching at 100 kilometers per hour towards the smoking ruins of the RSSF Horizon Training Facility. Aboard were elements of the ShadowWhispers, which had been dispatched in response to the report of Rebel insurgents. The rear ramp of the shuttle descended as it was still in the air and the Storm Commandos in the rear already had an E-Web set up. A massive volley of repeated heavy blaster fire began falling from the heavens towards the Black Sun mercenaries as the Commandos homed in on their prey.

"Incoming!" The four Black Sun gunmen in the complex courtyard had only moments to react before the blaster fire began pelting their position. Two were struck immediately ... the lack of cover that had doomed the RSSF cadets now fittingly led to their demise. An explosion was heard from the cell block as the charges were set off, and the four gunmen from inside the compound dashed after the bounty hunter. The mercenary inside the Chariot began moving towards his approaching comrades, speeder door open; they would have to jump in if they wanted a ride out.

<Click>"I want prisoners,"<Click> Major Kerrie Kiley, the diminutive commander of the Storm Commandos, shouted from the depths of the Lambda-class shuttle Sonthi towards the gunner at the end of the ramp. They continued their heavy assault of fire on the Black Sun mercenaries that were running towards the speeder, but they refrained from firing on the speeder itself.

Jonas jumped into the back of the chariot as it approached him, he picked up the second piece of gear, from a wall. The mission parameters were simple, kill the RSSF, and leave the Imperials alive. He clicked the safety off of a DC-15x sniper rifle. Then he knelt by the entrance he had just jumped into, leaving enough room to pick up more agents as they went. He zeroed in with the scope, ignoring the targeting data coming in from his helmet. He took a breath in, and held it as he zeroed in on the E-Web cannon's power box, and fired factored in the movement of both the shuttle, and the chariot, he had seconds to make the shot, and did so releasing a single powerful blaster bolt.

Shouts were heard as the Black Sun gunmen all scrambled for the speeder. The two immediately behind the bounty hunter managed to jump aboard, but the pair behind them were far less fortune, cut down in a blaze of blaster fire. The lone explosive planting mercenary managed to climb aboard, as did one of the previously stunned attackers. All told, five Black Sun men and their mysterious bounty hunter leader were back in the Chariot. "Blow the support beam charges?" asked one of the group.

The E-Web's power box was struck by the blast from the DC-15x causing a minor explosion that rocked the shuttle and threw the operator of the E-Web realing backwards. "Oh forget this," the Commando leader muttered underneath her helmet as she pulled a circular tracking device from her utility belt. Major Kiley sprinted down the ramp of the shuttle as it flew in reverse towards the Chariot. She descended the ramp in mid air and with her left hand she grabbed hold of the support pylon and held onto it for dear life, her right hand surging forward to fling the tracking device down towards the vehicle. The tracker went active almost instantly as it left her hand, and if it latched on would surely lead them to their location.

Jonas replaced the rifle, back to the wall, and then hit two buttons, signaling the explosives within the barracks, and the detention walls to blow at the simultaneously, which would create a conflict of interest for the Imperials. The helmet's visor glared at the agent that asked the question, both objectives were accomplished, now all they had to do was simply escape with their lives, and he would have to give a debriefing, which would undoubtedly be filed away somewhere never to be seen again.

The speeder continued towards the barracks as the explosives detonated, rocking the already shaking Chariot. Pieces of ferrocrete pelted the vehicle, though the armor plating shrugged off any damage to the speeder. The pilot boosted the repulsors, bouncing the speeder over the rubble and through the still smoldering barracks. Within seconds the speeder was out in street traffic, weaving among oncoming vehicles, though the Imperial tracking device had attached itself to the Chariot's hull.\

The massive explosion that erupted sent shockwaves through the air rocking the shuttle, and causing the Commando to fall from her perch on the back of the ramp. Major Kiley's gloved hand gripped at the support rod of the ramp as she dangled precariously in the air from the craft. "Damn it, Ran. You're going to get me killed. Get us out of here," she ordered through her helmet's comm system. The shuttle began to make it's way back from whence it came, the Commando smiling contently beneath her helmet as she watched the Chariot move through the city grid in the form of a blue dot on the tracking display inside her helmet.

The speeder careened through the Cormond streets, with the pilot unaware the Lambda shuttle had withdrawn. A quick glance to his sensor screen assuaged his fear and the speeder slowed, joining in among the ranks of the midday rush hour. The Chariot continued for several blocks until it pulled into a nondescript side alley, stopping entirely just short of an industrial strength durasteel door. The pilot glanced at the bounty hunter companion. "We're here."

Jonas grabbed a backpack that had been laying in wait for them, and pulled the flap open. He pulled out a few charges, and started to plant them within the chariot at different spots within the chariot, moving quickly as he could since at this point they were now working within a limited time window. By the time the pilot mentioned they were at the location, he had finished, and discarded the bag. The speaker squelched as he jumped out of the chariot, <Click>"Everyone out."<Click> and removed a card from his belt, and swiped it the door. It hissed as it opened, and he went through.

The five remaining Black Sun gunmen followed after the bounty hunter though the door, which shut promptly behind them. The entrance led to the passage of the Cormond sewer system and within minutes, the group was wading through unpleasant waste, though totally hidden from prying eyes. Up above the speeder had been set to autopilot and the Chariot reversed from the alleyway, merged back into traffic, lazily drove along the streets and then promptly exploded.

The Storm Commando Major angrily punched her armored fist into the palm of her hand as she stood among the smoldering ruin of the RSSF Horizon Training Facility. The destruction of the speeder removed their one best opportunity to track the Rebels who had so mercilessly struck against the hapless local security. There were few survivors to be found, and the Rebels that were identified among the dead would tell no tales. There was satisfaction in killing a handful of them, but it was hardly an even trade. If they did not strike back quickly, it seemed the Empire had another blunder on their hands.

Colonel Verus Theus sat comfortably within an undisclosed safe house in Cormond, silently awaiting the evening news broadcast. Lieutenant Kenson Tyne stood silently in the back of the sparse living room, leaning against the rear wall with his arms folded across his chest. Both men were dressed in unremarkable street clothing, their attire of choice when deployed to the surface. The familiar jingle of the Imperial Holovision caught the attention of the pair and both watched the viewscreen intently.

A middle-aged male newscaster appeared on the screen. "Terror in Cormond today. The Ringali Shell Security Force was struck by an attack hours ago, as unknown insurgents stormed the Horizon Training Center. At least thirty-five police officers and cadets are confirmed dead. Ten were seriously wounded in the assault, and the casualty count is expected to rise. My correspondent has more details at the scene."

The viewcreen flickered as the location switched to the RSSF compound. A young female reporter now stood in front of the camera, with the ruined training center and rising smoke visible in the background. "The situation is still chaotic at the Horizon Training Center. Insurgents reportedly used an explosive laden  speeder to breach the main gate, enabling them to enter the compound. Witnesses stated the second vehicle was a Chariot model command speeder, several of which were stolen by Rebel groups following the devastating attack on the Imperial Garrison weeks ago."

The camera panned over the courtyard of the complex. Bodies were still strewn about; medics worked to stabilize the wounded, while the dead were left untouched. Several close-ups were shown of the fallen attackers. "The gunmen had links to the Rebel Alliance, according to information from Imperial and RSSF officials, and it is highly suspected that this group was also responsible for the Imperial Garrison attack."

Colonel Theus nodded in silent approval. He had passed along the fabricated evidence of Rebel involvement to Imperial ground commanders, who had readily accepted it as truth when they delivered the facts to the media. RSSF investigators would likely discover the Black Sun affiliation of the gunmen, though given that Imperial Intelligence often connected the Rebellion with the criminal syndicate, the revelation would not prove surprising.

"Despite the death toll from today's attack," the correspondent continued, "the assault could have been far worse. The gunmen were driven off following the prompt arrival of an Imperial relief force." The viewscreen cut to the video of a bloodied RSSF cadet being interviewed. "I don't know what we would've done if those Storm Commandos hadn't shown up. They...they really saved us back there." The cadet struggled with the words before a medic appeared in the frame to escort him away.

Lieutenant Tyne smiled to himself. He knew the rescuers were part of the ShadowWhispers, his prior assignment before being partnered with the ISB. Tyne was surprised that any of the attackers had managed to flee, given the deadly efficacy of his former comrades.

The viewscreen cut back to the station newsroom, with the middle-aged male newscaster. "At least five gunmen are estimated to have escaped the scene. Imperial and RSSF personnel are in active pursuit of the criminals, though if you have any information, please contact..."

Theus deactivated the news broadcast, with the blue glare of the screen slowly fading from the room. Standing from his chair, Theus turned towards the junior officer. "Good night, Lieutenant," spoke the Colonel as he left the room. Tyne waited for his commander to leave before shaking his head and smiling once again. The Colonel did not have to mention the 317th was behind the day's chaos ... he likely told very few about the plan. Yet it was clear to the Storm Commando that this was how their war was going to be waged, and he was satisfied with his knowledge in that.

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