Successful missions typically had command elements in
a state of euphoria. They were likely to be almost
bearable for people who worked for them. Dagon typically
didn't experience that euphoria and uplifting moment.
Maybe it was because after one of his most successful
missions, his entire team had been killed by the very
people that had sent him on the mission. Now he sat in
the conference room of the sector command, slowly
swirling what remained of a cup of dark coffee, while he
smoked a cigarra. He had not put back on a uniform,
though that was no real surprise. He couldn't think of a
time where he had actually worn a Rebel uniform. He was
in his typical mercenary garb, non distinct grey
tactical pants, boots, armor, his slugthrower carbine
absent, but his disruptor pistol was holstered on his
left side. He wondered if this was going to be a simple
debrief, or if he was going to get another ass chewing.
Major Elayne Passik was feeling the most recent
Rebellion successes. She was seated in the conference
room chain smoking one cigarra to the next. The war as
never ending and she anticipated where her Squadron
might end up next. It was Commander Xergo who would
determine the fates of everyone today. Elayne had
managed to dress half-way like she was supposed to. The
uncomfortable tan pants of the Rebellion uniform clung
uncomfortably to her body. She spent most of her time in
her jumpsuit within the cockpit of her ship. This
portion of her job responsibilities was her least
favorite. She'd rather stream the meeting into her
bunker where she could wear whatever she damn well
pleased. A black tank top showed off the various tattoos
decorating her arms, as well as her own personal
collection of old scars. The woman was growing
impatient. Where was Xergo? Between her and Tong, a
cloud of smoke was beginning to hang in the air.
Commander Xergo was late. Perhaps she had been
feeling the state of euphoria a little too much. Late
night celebrations turned into an early morning
hangover. She arrived at the meeting looking a little
less perky and neat than usual. Her datapad was tucked
beneath her arm lazily. "Hello everyone," she greeted
them while hearing ringing in her ears. The first matter
of business was the debriefing from yesterday's mission.
Both Monoceros and Tong were present, but she chose to
center her attention on Tong, as she did not entirely
trust her other comrade. "Did your team work well?" She
asked him, having not paired the two before. "What went
well? What didn't?"
Commander Dillon Hobbes was dressed in his blue
flightsuit, as he was expecting another sortie later in
the evening. His flight helmet was folded under his arm
as he studied the faces of everyone in the meeting.
Everyone had worked hard during the battle of Chandrila,
but he knew it was only the first step in driving the
Imperial forces from the oversector. The ships they
destroyed would be replaced quickly enough, and they key
officers they eliminated would be replaced through
promotion. The Empire seemed to have limitless
resources, but every missing pilot from the last
briefing would be sorely missed in the battles to come.
"Team worked well enough. Working in such a small
element is always going to increase the risk of an
operation, and limits how large an operation we can
undertake. Rescue of sympathizers probably netted you a
great deal of positive propaganda, and taking out senior
leadership will create some confusion while they
transition people into those roles. But the actual work
being done on planet is still going to get done. The
Storm Commandos aren't going to stop just because the
general on planet is dead." He knocked the ash off of
his cigarra into a disposable cup and shrugged. "We
could target those elements, but it will be a
concentrated effort, and probably mean that my team will
have to stay on Chandrila for an extended period of
Iyah listened to Dagon's report. It seemed that her
decisions had not come back to bite her in the ass. She
was still growing comfortable with being a Commander.
Learning was part of the job. "You're right about that.
The Storm Commandos are continuing to assassinate people
left and right. I sent a group of Rebels to the surface
to attempt to round up what assemblymen are still alive.
They are high profile targets that the Commandos are
certainly going to attempt to capture." It was worrisome
that Hanson had yet to report back. It had been so long
since she had contact with Hanson's team that she was
beginning to fear for the worst: the Commandos had
killed them. "What would you have us do next, Captain?
We're working to establish a presence on Chandrila. It
may be necessary to keep your team there for an extended
period of time."
Yeoman Mug Zoran stood silently behind Commander
Xergo, taking notes on the briefing should she need them
later. It was his hope that the recent victories at
Chandrila would prompt command to send reinforcements so
that the current frontline units could be cycled out. He
frowned slightly as the subject changed to the missing
unit sent to the assembly, as those were many of the
troopers from the Alderaanian contingent he had been
recruited from. As he listened to the Captain and the
Commander go back and forth on preparations for the next
operation, he took a step forward, to ensure all details
were properly recorded. After the mission to rescue
sympathizers on Chandrila and then to infiltrate the
Imperial cruiser he had hoped they would not be up for
another cloak and dagger mission. He had just gotten the
scent of the dead Imperial's uniform off him after days
of refresher time.
"The easiest way to back the commandos off of the
more vulnerable Rebels on Chandrila is to start to
target them directly, force them to go on the defensive
and to attempt to hunt down those that are targeting
them." He took a long drag off of his cigarra and then
shrugged. "But it will be a long, protracted campaign.
Is there any intel on their numbers operating on the
"I had sent a team of Rebels to the surface some
hours ago to see about removing these vulnerable
Rebels... However, they have not checked in since they
reached the Chandrila Assembly in Hanna City. Since we
knocked out the power, I'd hoped our men could get in
and get out relatively easily. I have a feeling we'll
need to send additional men..." A bad feeling had sat in
Iyah's gut for some time. She listened to Dagon, slowly
nodding her head. "Yes, here." She removed the datapad
from beneath her arm. Several swipes later, she had a
page reflecting the intel they'd collected so far. It
was a traditional army style; two armies, eight corps,
all concentrated in the largest cities of Chandrila.
Additionally, there was a company of Storm Commandos to
deal with. She handed him over the datapad so he could
review the information himself. She had a lot to
consider in her next move.
The holoprojector in the conference room suddenly
flickered to life with the old symbol of the Fulcrum
agents. Once the technician confirmed the authenticity
of the signal, which was incoming from a safehouse in
Hanna City, the image of Kat Hanson slowly flickered
into life. "Commander Xergo?" she asked, looking ghastly
and discolored despite the limited color ability of the
projector. "The Rebel team sent to the assembly hall was
completely wiped out by the Storm Commandos," she began,
her body still trembling, and trace elements of blood
still upon her body and in her hair.
reported, with some difficulty, as she moved both of her
arms around her body. She was cold ... traumatized ...
in shock ... and not making any sense whatsoever. "They
have the assembly. The team has been wiped out," she
repeated, before lowering her head in defeat.
From behind Commander Xergo her Yeoman looked equally
concerned as he looked on at the holoprojection of the
trooper. He made a point of recording the transmission
to ensure that they would have it playback if needed. He
hoped that whatever it was that had destroyed the
troopers was not going to be the next threat that they
faced. He swallowed nervously, as he lowered his head to
pretend and make notes in the datapad to prevent the
others from seeing just how unnerved he had become.
"Who else?" Dagon's voice was calm, commanding. A
different version of the command voice that he had
employed during the rescue of the sympathizers. It was
harsh enough to rattle people out of shock sometimes. He
took the datapad and scrolled through the information
quickly. One hundred or so Storm Commandos was a tall
order, and would certainly be a protracted effort.
Unless they could get the company where they slept,
which would be unlikely because their leadership
wouldn't want to create such an easy target. And their
ability to reinforce almost endlessly meant that until
the Empire decided that Chandrilla wasn't worth the
effort, they probably wouldn't be able to get their
presence completely removed. But the Rebels could shift
the focus of the Empire's best away from their offensive
tasking to trying to keep themselves alive and fight for
Commander Xergo's head snapped towards the
holographic image of none other than Yekaterina Hanson.
The relief Iyah felt lasted as long as her last breath.
Something very bad had happened. Even the crappy quality
projector let Iyah know that from the beginning of the
transmission. It was as she thought: the other Rebels
were dead. She grimly listened to Kat's transmission.
The woman was terrified...was that blood in her hair?
Iyah's body tensed. It was Tong's commanding voice that
snapped her out of a very brief panic attack. She put
her arms behind her body and readied herself. "Hanson,
who else?" She echoed Tong's question with the worry in
the room increasing. Hanson needed to be taken off of
Chandrila immediately. She looked to her Yeoman. "Zoran,
the next transport back to Blue Haven needs to be
Kat paused as she heard the question from Captain
Tong, whom she recognized during her period on Rhinnal.
She still felt the cold of that arctic world at night.
"A woman ... with seemingly incredible power ... and
laser swords," she explained, her voice nearly cracking
at various points, as she attempted to explain what she
had seen. She was too young to remember the Jedi, and
they were all but gone from the galaxy by the time her
earliest memories had formed. She had never seen an
Inquisitor before, nor had she heard the term bandied
about. Her primitive description was the best she could
hope for. "She ... she tore the men apart," she
explained, before bringing her hand up to the side of
her head. It was only then that she felt the blood
within her short hair. She cringed, and felt embarrassed
that they were seeing her in such a way.
"Yes, Commander. I'll see to it," a nauseated Yeoman
Zoran replied, before using it as an excuse to leave the
command center. As the durasteel blast doors closed
behind him he leaned back against the bulkhead and took
several deep breaths. From what he had overheard from
Kat and it sounded like an awful lot like what Iyah had
described happening to Commander Atio. He took a few
moments, perhaps longer than he should, and ordered the
Gilded Thranta down to the planet Chandrila. He then
ducked into the nearest refresher, splashed some cold
water on his face, and steadied his breathing. Once he
felt himself again he quietly moved back to the command
center for the rest of the briefing, giving a silent nod
to the Commander that the ship had been dispatched.
"I would clear her off Chandrila immediately. Her
element is gone, no reason to keep her on planet." He
took another long drag off of his cigarra and shook his
head. He really didn't like Force Users. They made his
life difficult more times than most other groups early
in his earlier days, and his work against them had
landed him in a torture chamber. Some of those scars
were still visible. "If the inquisitor is already on
planet, it increases the risk for anyone who goes with
me. Targeting their primary direct action capability,
and their counter insurgency capability is going to draw
the Inquisitor's attention immediately. Anyone who goes
down to that planet needs to understand that the risk
factor increases exponentially."
The description which Kat provided was disturbing.
She recalled the rescue mission where they had
successfully saved Jelena Rodney ... and lost Derek Atio.
The man had been a close friend. Iyah had taken his
death hard, but Kat mentioned that this one had laser
swords. The Inquisitor which she had seen used a whip.
She stuttered to think of *another* Inquisitor. Iyah
could hear Mug escape to see that her orders were
carried out. She wouldn't send him back to the surface.
Their daughter needed her father. She took a deep breath
and collected herself for the remainder of the briefing.
The recent development changed things a bit. "She'll be
off immediately and I won't be sending her back." She
assured Dagon. She felt terrible for those destroyed by
the Inquisitor. An image flashed before her eyes of
Derek's death and the feeling of helplessness that
filled her when he made the ultimate sacrifice. "The
presence of the Inquisitor is not going to make many
people very inclined to go with you. How many people do
you need, Tong?" Her eyes lifted over his head towards
Ashori. "Monoceros, under the new circumstance, will you
join Tong's team again?"
Commander Hobbes listened to the reports from the
surface of Chandrila, which caused him no end of
consternation. Whenever they defeated an Imperial force
it seemed the Empire would just roll up its sleeves and
throw something more powerful at them. "Commander, right
now the Imperial fleet is still in disarray, but for how
long?" he asked her, as he stepped forward, having been
one of the ones to fight so dearly in the space battle
of the other day. "Whatever we're going to do we have to
do before they regroup. We suffered losses too, and I
dare say we might not be able to break their blockade
again if called to," he said, as he took a moment to
acknowledge everyone in attendance. "The Empire lost
more ships than us, but they can replace them. What we
lost is irreplaceable," he reminded them, sounding like
a wet blanket.
"No more than a twelve man element. As far as getting
on and off planet, we won't be asking the Navy to break
a blockade to extract us. We'll either have to go to
ground and spend some time on the run, or run their
blockade like any other smuggler. But there is no chance
that this will be quick, unless of course we're ambushed
as soon as we get on planet. Then the whole problem will
either be solved or we wont be around to worry about
it." There didn't seem to be any problem with the notion
for him. The irony was almost too great for him to
handle though. He knew that it was going to be difficult
to find people with the right skill sets to volunteer
for this, and his unit was pursuing other operations.
The idealists were suddenly too afraid to live up to
their ideals, but the mercenary who couldn't have cared
less about the Rebellion, or its grand hopes and beliefs
was entirely willing to go back to a planet embroiled in
low intensity kinetic conflict that had turned extremely
nasty just to hunt the best the Empire could put on the
ground, to include a Force User. His opinion of
idealists didn't exactly go up at that.
Ashori had been silently listening to the briefing.
An Inquisitor had arrived on Chandrila. While she had
never been up close and personal with one, she had heard
stories that kept some folks up at night. She wasn't
really fearful of the Inquisitor and didn't mind joining
in on a mission where she may not come back. "Yes,
Commander." She responded. It was back to Chandrila for
her...this time...it would be significantly more long
term. At least now she'd learned not to try to get Tong
to high five her!
Commander Xergo looked at Commander Hobbes. She had
the support of the X-wing, Y-wing, and A-wing Squadrons.
She needed to utilize them. They had been making so much
progress. He made a good point. The Imperials were going
to replace what had been destroyed. She nodded her head.
"Then we should continue the attack on the Imperials.
Major Passik, I want you to take all the Squadrons and
stop the Imperial fleet from re-establishing the
blockade. I would like for you all to leave as soon as
possible. Every moment we wait, the Imperials are
rebuilding." She didn't like backpedaling. She
understood that Tong's team was going to need time.
There was no quick resolution for Chandrila. She sighed.
"Okay. I will collect you the best people I can. I can't
guarantee you that I'll be able to find twelve people
who are willing to step foot on a planet with a
confirmed Inquisitor sighting. If you happen to run
across her, bring me back as much information as you
can. If a time arises where you can kill her ... take
the shot." The galaxy didn't need anymore Inquisitors.
The tale Iyah had recounted about the death of
Commander Atio still left a nauseated feeling in the pit
of his stomach. He did not envy Captain Tong, Ashori, or
any of the other volunteers who were off to Chandrila to
do battle with the witch. As the Commander verbally
issued orders the starfighter wing, he made an effort to
transcribe them for the record. It seemed to him that
the battle of Chandrila was only beginning. He looked
towards Ashori, offering a half smile, as he decided she
was braver than he thought. Braver than him at least.
"Send me the files of the people you pull so I can
review them before we go back down to Chandrila. I am
going to have to raid your armory here before we leave,
but there won't be much time. My team needs to be back
on Chandrila before the Empire makes it hard to move
freely to the surface." He took a final drag off of his
cigarra and put it out in the disposable cup, which he
left on the conference table, taking his coffee cup with
him. He knew he was going to have to employ some very
interesting tactics that often made the Rebels
uncomfortable, but then, that was nothing new at all to
him. The fact that he got results was the only reason
this command structure hadn't tried to throw him into a
Commander Xergo had some work to attend to
immediately. She knew Dagon was right. The longer they
stood around fiddling their thumbs, the more difficult
Dagon's team's work would become. "Please, take whatever
makes this easier. I will find your men now." The
meeting was reaching its conclusion. She wandered back
towards the center of the room. "Commander Hobbes, Major
Passik, I expect you to head out immediately. We can
waste *no* time now. I will let you know if your
Squadrons are needed elsewhere." With that, she turned
her back and moved towards her yeoman. She let the
seriousness fade off of her face and the paleness show.
"I... I wonder if it's the same Inquisitor who killed
Derek..." She whispered nervously. "I need you to stay
Yeoman Zoran looked at the Commander, but she did not
have the reaction that he expected. "How many do you
think there are?" he asked her, not that she would know
any better than he. The last thing he wanted was to see
her torn apart the way she had described had happened to
Commander Atio and Kat had described happening to the
troops on Chandrila. "Oh. Don't worry. You'll get no
argument from me," he told her, as he gave her a
reassuring smile and a polite nod of his head. If he
could do anything to keep out of this upcoming mission
he certainly would. "I've collected all of the notes,
written all your orders, and begun preparing a report on
Hanson's transmission," he informed her, dutifully, as
he was filling out the role of Yeoman quite adequately.