Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Christopher Levy and Tara McLaren.
Zero years after the Battle of Yavin (35:6:6) in the Ralltiir system: Ralltiir (Salibury).
Commander Derek Atio and Valeria.

The sound of TIE/gt bombers could be heard screeching over the skies of Salibury, one of the war torn cities on Ralltiir. Commander Derek Atio, recently returned to active duty following his near-death experience with the Black Sun, navigated his A-A5 speeder truck through streets that were strewn with debris. Every bump in the road literally caused him to grab at his stomach, where his wound had not completely healed. He stomped on the repulsorbreaks as the image in front of him suddenly caught his eyes. A building, which looked like it had once been a shelter, had been struck by the TIEs and at least a dozen young children, some of them looking rather badly injured, appeared to be emerging from the debris. He could also make out several bodies in the carnage ... it was a stark reminder that they were in a warzone and that the Empire did not play fair. "We've got a problem here. Refugees ... children," Derek muttered over the comm to Valeria who was in the rear compartment of the truck, which was filled to the brim with weapons, rations, and medical supplies. Equipment the Rebellion badly needed if they were going to stand up to the Imperial war machine in the system. "Go check them out. See if there's anything we can do to help," he said to them, as his eyes glanced down at the chronometer. This area was scheduled for another round of bombing soon ... they had not much time.

"I'm still not sure why I couldn't sit in the front with you." There was mirth in her voice despite the grimness in the situation, but then Valeria was a rather mirthful individual. She would open up the hatch of the cargo truck and exit, her boots making a slight crunching sound on the rubble as she hit the floor. She was outfitted in her normal manner, the skintight Thinsuit worn beneath her leather jacket. It was practically a glamorous ensemble when juxtaposed against those who had survived a ruthless shelling from the Empire. She glanced around for a moment to locate the children he had indicated. Valeria lacked a soft spot for children, perhaps because of her rather...liberated upbringing. Not that she didn't care for people in distress, it just had little to do with their age.

Three children approached Valeria as she exited the speeder truck. Nine other children looked as if they were too badly injured to walk on their own. The 'leader' of the group, a young Human girl, smiled as she looked towards Valeria. "Are you a doctor?" she weakly asked, as she coughed slightly, perhaps the indication of a larger injury. There was death and destruction all around them and the stench of rotting flesh filled the air. This had once been a relief zone for refugees, but the bomb shelter was only large enough to fit a small handful of children. They just were not prepared for such level of destruction. In the distance, perhaps five kilometers away, another explosion could be heard as the Empire continued its punitive strikes.

"No...but I'll help." Valeria smiled gently, making sure to keep the slight look of insanity others glimpsed in her eyes from the expression, as she reached out a hand to tap on her wrist com and talk to Derek. "We'll need to ditch the cargo if we want to get all of them." She started to back towards the rear of the truck, looking towards the crates to identify which of them contained medical supplies. She then communicated with Derek again. "If you don't mind some...slight...damage to the truck I have a...trick...for offloading fast."

Derek flinched visibly as the explosions went off in the distance. It sounded like gentle rolling thunder at first, but now it was something entirely different. "Whatever you're going to do ... do it fast, Valeria," he said over the comm as he kept the vehicle's engine running. They were already behind schedule and they were in danger of becoming the next round of victims in this bombing zone. His eyes darted to the chronometer on the wrist as beads of sweat began to form on his forehead.

Valeria removed the crate of medical supplies she was looking for with both hands, letting it thud onto the ground. The smuggler did not close the rear cargo hatch, but did remove the tie downs which were keeping the cargo steady in the hold. Valeria would then hold up one finger to the wounded children as she rounded the side of the truck. She would get into the main cab and scoot over to take over the driving of the vehicle. "This will be quick, but you may want to exit. You're not going to like this." Valeria had a grin on her face. For Derek she did not bother to hide the manic look in her eyes.

"Oh why do I even bother," Derek moaned as he opened the door on his side of the speeder's cockpit and slid out to allow her to control the vehicle. As he exited the speeder he could see the full extent of the injuries to the children and an uncomfortable feeling began to wash over him. He let out a dejected sigh as he began checking over them, realizing some of the children would more assuredly die if they did not get immediate medical attention. But then his focus shifted to the growing sound of the bombs of the distance ... it seemed they had bigger problems.

"Okay, now what I need here is..." Valeria's silver-blue eyes scanned the horizon as she looked for a particular geographic feature. Since they were in the city, 'geographic feature' was a bit of a stretch, but ceaseless bombing by the Empire had made this urban landscape decided less flat. Finally she found what she was looking for, a large building that had been flattened by what was probably a proton bomb. She had done bombing runs herself in the past and probably would again, so she knew what that kind of destruction looked like. In this case her eyes were attracted to a 30 meter long intact section of ferrocrete that looked a lot like... "...a ramp." Valeria grinned and gunned the engines of the truck, bringing the utilitarian vehicle up to full speed. Anyone looking at her could see what she intended.

"Oh no..." Derek said in frustration as he could clearly make out Valeria's intentions. He lowered his face into his hands and shielded his eyes so he could not see what was about to happen. He had worked so hard to gather those supplies for the Alliance ... he had even taken a slug for them ... and now they were about to be carelessly dumped all over the bombed out streets of Salibury. "Blast her..." he muttered, as he continued to do what little he could with the one crate of medical supplies that Valeria had placed by the dozen wounded children.

Valeria caught air in what must have been a quite thrilling moment. The cargo truck had, for a few seconds, transcended its mundane origins to become a vehicle for a thrill seekers. It soared off of the ferrocrete ramp, crates of valuable supplies being strewn behind it as it flew, and it was easy to imagine Valeria giddy within. Eventually the dream ended, however, when the truck landing hard. The cargo truck must have taken some damage to its repulsorlift engines when it landed, but it did not do more than dent the undercarriage. Valeria would quickly whirl the vehicle around as she came barreling towards Derek. She had been honest ... that was probably the fastest way possible to empty a fully loaded cargo speeder.

Derek had a nauseous feeling from what had just occurred ... and while he had not watched what happened, he had certainly heard it. Cringing, he brought his face around to finally look at the crates of weapons and other equipment that had been strewn so haphazardly over the street. "Valeria, I've heard about this weapons depot in the Essesia system. You're going to have to come with me to help replace this stuff..." he told her vaguely as he grabbed one of the young children and began carrying him towards the vehicle. The sounds of the bombing grew louder and the TIE/gt could now be heard in the distance. "Come on, Valeria. Let's get these kids loaded!" he shouted as he placed the first one in the cargo area, before going back for more.

Valeria had just managed to get the truck stopped a few feet from Derek. Casually she would hop out of the truck, a smile on her face as she ran over to the children and took two out a time. She was a lot stronger than she looked, or perhaps the children were light. Either way she took one under each arm, getting the least injured ones out of the way first. She would have to be a lot more gentle with the one with serious injuries. "You do know that was the only way we were going to get the stuff offloaded in time." Over the smell of the burnt out rubble the Commander would be able to smell a rather soothing fragrance. Calming, even. It seemed to send a wave of reassurance over whoever breathed it in, provided they didn't try and resist it very hard.

No one had ever accused Derek Atio of being a strong willed individual and thus it was no surprise when the pleasing scent immediately caused a soothing sigh to escape his lips and a disoriented smile to form shortly thereafter. The poor man had been taken aback by the fragrance and suddenly he found it much easier to lift the children. They somehow felt lighter and by now three quarters of the children were safely aboard the speeder waiting for evacuation. Then suddenly a massive explosion about half a kilometer erupted and rained debris and shrapnel down upon them. Derek, however, seemed oblivious to it and continued with the orderly process of loading refugees aboard the truck.

Valeria would blink in surprise as she saw the change in Derek's attitude, apparently not certain what had happened herself. It was not something she did consciously, most of the time. She preferred to manipulate people on an even playing field. Valeria must have been on some level concerned with the stress the injured children must be feeling. Finally she would put the last of the children onto the back of the speeder truck. She got on it shortly afterwards, bringing the crate with her. "Okay, get in the front and drive! We've got to get moving!" She would close the hatch and see to what medical care she could provide.

Derek leapt into the cockpit of the A-A5 speeder truck and without even bothering to strap himself in he slammed on the throttle to accelerate the old truck to its maximum speed. Without the weight of the cargo the vehicle seemed to handle a lot better, but there were many rough patches of land ahead. Behind them a bomb fell, destroying the cargo they had worked so hard to get this far. It was a loss for the Rebellion in terms of supplies, but they had managed to save twelve children whose lives would have otherwise been snuffed out. He plotted a course for an evacuation transport that was headed towards one of the Alliance's safe worlds. That would be the best place for these children to start their new lives.

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