Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Sean Brandt, Geoff Elder, and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:1:20) in the Essesia system: Esseles (New Calamar: Terril Naval Base), Grappler, and Senneth Imperator.
Corporal Sienala Pavo and Sergeant Avary Renault.

The Terril Naval Base outside the city of New Calamar on the planet Esseles was home to a seemingly neverending flow of ship traffic, as it was the prime military installation in the Ringali Shell. Starfighters, shuttles, and transports routinely moved from the surface to the Essesia force that was in orbit of the planet. The base also had the facilities to provide routine maintenance and repairs on some of the smaller capital ships that comprised the Imperial fleet. One such vessel, a Strike-class medium cruiser currently sat empty on the western end of the compound undergoing routine repairs and replenishment. Rebel agents had been monitoring the base's traffic, waiting for the right opportunity to insert a team to capture a suitable vessel. That time was now.

Sergeant Avary Renault double checked the A-280 blaster, making sure the readouts were displaying correctly and the power pack had a full charge. Satisfied, the weapon was slung over his shoulder and the Sergeant moved to the cockpit of the Lambda-Class shuttle, looking out past the pilot's position at the shipyard they were closing in on. The Strike-Class cruiser that was their target was well in view, which meant soon enough they would be docking, and from there the fun began. The mission was dangerous and, thanks to the particular parameters within which they had to operate, the team was down to two. Avary inhaled on a cigarra, indulging in a habit that he kept very casual. In the Academy most everyone, particularly the officers, considered themselves social smokers, and so he had become as well. With a drink or just before a mission, and that was all. "Let's hope those codes hold up. If they don't, this is going to be a very brief operation." The words coming out in a calm Imperial accent, his native way of speaking, as he went through the little mental preparations one often did before willingly diving into a life threatening situation.

Sienala smirked at her own thoughts. Things had been very frustrating since she rescued her slave sisters. They had not adapted well to freedom and stayed on Zan's ship most of the time. They looked to her for guidance for so much that she felt like a mother more than a friend. Still, they were safe, and eventually would come to understand their freedom.
Avary's words pulled her from her thoughts, "What? The codes? Right. Well, it's not like we can test them prior to use. I really would rather have a slice than a code. But that's just me."
She leaned forward, rubbing her forehead. Her thoughts drifting towards Zan and Sgloggo. They were so opposed to each other, it was becoming a terrible idea to have them close to each other. "Focus, Sienala," she said to herself. "Time for confusion later."

Avary chuckled at Sienala's response to the codes. "If the codes are old or wrong, we might get away with an excuse, if we're particularly lucky. Imperials aren't kind to those they catch slicing their security systems, though." In all honesty he was being overly optimistic when it came to what he said about old codes, but Avary wanted to make some effort to be reassuring. "Once we're aboard, things shouldn't be too difficult. There won't be any crew and security should be minimal, since the ship is in queue for service. All you have to do is get us docked, and be ready to fly that ship out of here as quickly as possible once we have it."

The young Twi'lek flew the shuttle towards the base opening the comms, "This is Imperial shuttle Senneth Imperator requesting landing permission." She then sent the codes. She took a breath to relax, her lekku flitting at the tips, but she tried to fly 'casual'.

There was a delay in the request to land as the codes were processed. Dead air filled the cockpit until, eventually, a voice came back over the comms. "Cleared for landing, Senneth Imperator." Rebel Intelligence had done their job in picking a target, it seemed, as the landing path that the control center for the shipyard relayed to the Senneth Imperator had them coming in right near the Strike-Class cruiser that the pair were on their way to take.

Avary, for his part, took up position at the back of the shuttle as they came in to land at the shipyard. It was his job, above all else, to make sure Sienala got aboard the cruiser and was clear to get it out of here and into Rebel hands. As he shifted the blaster rifle into a more readied grip, he winced slightly, giving a roll of his shoulder. It was a bit stiff from the injury he'd received the other day, but nothing he couldn't push through. Another few puffs from the cigarra and he stamped it out. Time to get to work.

Coming to land at the assigned place, Sienala still did not like it. That was too easy. Of course, the read on the Emporium had been too easy as well. Perhaps she was that good? No. She had her tool belt with her and goggles on her head and a blaster tucked into the back waist of her shorts. "Alright, let's go. I think I'm ready." Hitting the hatch button, she opened the hatch and offered for him to lead.

Avary gave a nod and, once the ramp touched the deck, he moved out, blaster at the ready. Truth be told the place simply wasn't well guarded. While the Imperials loathed to leave anything vulnerable, most of the ships here were too broken to be of use if captured, and those that could be flown never stayed long. It was part of why the rebels had to jump as soon as the cruiser they wanted showed up; within days it would be serviced and gone, and their opportunity lost. The hanger in which they had docked lead through a single door into a primary service hallway, which would in turn take them to where the cruiser rested. Avary moved to the door, back to the wall, peaking around to see if it was safe to move. He snapped back around out of sight, motioning to Sienala to duck back as well. A pair of Stormtroopers marched by, patrolling the hallway.

The young Twi'lek's reaction had her against the wall, sitting on her heels with blaster at the ready. She was trembling. This would be beyond a beating, this would be torture. And how does one manipulate someone when you can not see his or her face? This was getting far from safe. Yes, she just now realized, her life was in danger.

The panic began to set in and she tried to focus, tried to slow her breathing, but this was utterly unknown to her. Her first real mission in which she had no knowledge of anything. Meeting a contact and escorting her to the Rebel base was one thing. Breaking into the Emporium? She practically grew up there. But this, this was evil incarnate. This was a place full of people who wanted her dead. She stared past her weapon and focused on the floor, but the floor seemed to be moving. It tilted and waved, rolled like an ocean. She turned from Avary and was greeted with a visual display of her digested lunch.

Avary was busy listening to the clop-clap of the Stormtrooper boots moving past, leaving Sienala more or less out of his sight for a moment. He looked back through the door to make sure they were gone, then turned to motion for Sienala to follow him...only to see her back to him, retching out whatever she had eaten earlier onto the durasteel floor. A sigh escaped as the Sergeant dug deep to find some sympathy. A core world upbringing and training in the Imperial Academy left very little inside the man, but there had been enough to push him to the rebels, and there was enough there to have some concern for a Twi'lek who was obviously way out of her element. Moving from the door as quietly as possible, he took her by the arm, a gentle grab to get her attention. Pointedly not looking at the vomit, Avary instead focused his mismatched eyes of blue and black on the alien before him. "I understand if you're terrified right now, but at this point, we cannot turn back. We move forward, or we die here. Those are our options. Do you understand?"

There were tears in her eyes from the exertion of vomiting, but she nodded her understanding. Still shaking, she closed her eyes, took a deep breath and whispered, "We're going to get me a ship." She repeated this over and over, focusing on that one thought. She was quiet as she whispered it, barely audible, but there was a soothing cadence to the young woman's voice as she said her little mantra.

"Now," she said before returning to her mantra, but this time merely moving her lips to the words. There was a steely resolve in her eyes, but her body still shook in fear.

He watched her, searching for some sign that he could take confidence in, and eventually it was there. If the ship did it for her then it was good enough for him. Oh, the fear was evident, of course; Avary knew better than to expect it to vanish anyway. Of course the woman was afraid. Hell, he was, but he had training to fall back on and experience to aid it.
"Good. Let's get you that ship." He turned from her, shifting the blaster rifle back into a ready grip after a motion was given for her to follow. The patrol had moved on and so he lead her into the hallway and down to where the cruiser waited. The docking port that lead to the cruiser itself was dark, the lighting shut down to conserve energy while the area wasn't in use. Avary didn't take long to find the controls, activating the lights, revealing the hatch that lead to the cruiser itself. So far, so good.

While Avary fiddled with the controls, Sienala stood watch. Having become hypervigilant in her fear, she was noticing almost every movement, flicker of shadow and even the way the sound in the vents changed. But she was not about to allow herself to become a slave to her fear. Fear, it was a person, she could manipulate it, convince it to leave her alone, and she did. She told the fear what was happening and how the shadows and sounds were not people, but the steady operations of the base. There were no alarms raised, so there was no reason to think they had been spotted. She continued to explain to the fear what was happening and what would happen. How she would get in that cruiser and fly away as though she were the only person for whom the cruiser would operate.

It all seemed too easy so far, which often meant that it was. Avary carried on to the controls for the hatch, taking a moment to inspect it. There didn't seem to be a need for any code, which seemed odd, but not so far out of question that it bothered him. Just as he was reaching to open it, however, a voice came from the doorway behind them.

"Halt! Stop where you are!"

Avary swung around to see the two Stormtroopers in the entrance, who had evidently realized that at least one of the two intruders was armed. He brought up his own blaster and fired off a few bolts, striking the doorway, but at the very least it forced the two troopers to duck back. "Quick, move!" He shouted to Sienala. Unfortunately, it seemed her fear was not entirely unfounded.

Turning towards the hatch, she ran. She had dodged enough swats, thrown snacks and other strange things during her time at the Emporium that she went right into a swaying serpentine path into the hatch. She made bolt towards the cruiser, not looking back. Such actions rarely proved useful. She let Avary handle the firefight. Her job, get into the cruiser and get it started fast.

Killing the Imperials would be a nice bonus, but it was far from necessary, and so Avary simply kept firing off shots at the door to keep the Stormtroopers from coming through to reach them. A glance out of the corner of his eye caught sight of Sienala moving, getting through the hatch...good girl. He had hoped they could get away scott free, mostly because he was afraid the Twi'lek would freeze up if things went south. This was far from the worst, but it had taken less to ruin others before. The fact she kept moving was a blessing so far as he was concerned. Once she was aboard Avery followed. The Stormtroopers took their chance to come around and file in, firing at the rebel as he dove into the hatchway and hit the controls to close it behind him. "I hope she can figure this ship out rather quickly." Avary muttered to himself, the sound of blaster bolts smashing against the docking hatch door echoing behind him. It wouldn't take them long to get people in to cut through, and if that happened, they weren't likely to survive.

"It's a ship. Can you figure out a gun rather quickly?" It was almost instinctive how she powered up the cruiser. She had the mind of an astromech droid it seemed, only her knowledge was more intuitive. She flicked switches, hit buttons, punched a panel, and then turned to dive between his legs to roll down a corridor, shooting open a panel before diving into it.

One of the stormtroopers noticed this and took an aim at her and fired. Though she was practically dancing her way into the crawlspace behind the shot panel, the stormtrooper hit her in the ass. The girl screamed in pain but continued to crawl though that one leg was paralyzed.

"Pretend the ship is your wife and your making love to her," she yelled out before moving a lever into an override position. Suddenly, the ship lurched forward and started to move.

Avary grumbled slightly but bit his tongue in regards to the Twi'lek's reply. Instead he focused on exchanging fire with the Stormtroopers as best he could, though he did almost trip on Sienala as she went diving between his legs. The stumble had a blaster bolt smacking into the wall over his head. He ducked to the side, catching sight just as one of the troopers fired the bolt that found home in Sienala's backside. He returned fire, two shots catching the same Stormtrooper in the chest. Others, however, were beginning to show. "That hardly seems a fitting way to describe controlling a ship." Avary was no pilot, but after a few more shots at the troopers he went for the controls. It was a mess of foreign buttons and levers, but finally he found one that seemed like it should power up the engines.

Rolling her eyes at his comment, "Are you a virgin or something?" She rolled over, slammed another lever into position and the ship lurched more forcefully this time. Several of the stormtroopers were knocked off their feet by the sudden jolting movement. There was a scraping sound coming from outside as the docking hatch was being scraped along the outer hull.

"You hold on when you make love. Geez." She started to crawl her way out of the crawlspace, checking to make sure it was safe from blaster fire before she returned to the cockpit and strapped in.

"That is an incredibly inappropriate question..." Avary paused mid-sentence, turning as the Stormtroopers opened fire once more. He returned fire on them, trying to keep Sienala covered as she dragged herself into the cockpit. " this moment." He fired a few more shots then slammed the hatch shut, blaster bolts bouncing off the armored surface. The shaking of the cruiser as it dragged against the shipyard nearly threw him, but he grabbed onto a safety hold, managing to keep to his feet. "I'm well aware of how love making works, and last time I checked, it involved far fewer buttons and switches." Of course, his own thoughts and feelings on sexual relations were born from the more conservative habits of a core world upbringing.

"I didn't want them to know they were supposed to hold on. Don't they teach you core boys anything?" Shaking her head, she hit another switch giving the ship more speed. "You should go take out the trash and close the door before you let the cold in."

"They taught us how to serve and act like professionals, which is more than can be said for most." His slight frustration at her had boiled over slightly to his general feelings regarding most of those he now worked with. It was the one thing he truly missed about his service time with the Empire. All the same, she was right, despite how she might have worded it, and while Sielana manned the controls, Avery set about securing the hatches of the ship. It seemed like they had managed to steal the cruiser after all.

"I'm going to miss that shuttle," she muttered to herself, but now she had a cruiser to concern herself with. She started feeding the nav computer the data she had on the jump to lightspeed. "You should also be ready to start shooting back when you get here. I'm programming a path with lots of bouncing so we can have a chance to get to a jump point." And yes, she did start that after the nav computer was programmed, occasionally checking the sensors for incoming fighters to try and stop them.

With the cruiser locked down and secured, at least to the best that he could tell, Avary returned to the cockpit, sinking into an empty seat by Sienala. While the primary ship controls themselves were almost alien to him, the gunnery controls he could at least make some sense of. "Seems like a fair trade to me." The cruiser was a significantly bigger catch, though he could at least understand the connection between a pilot and their ship to some degree. The sensors were clear at first, but as Sienala set about altering the nav computer's course, several short range fighters blipped onto the readout.

"I suddenly have the feeling I'm about to do a pole dance for Mon Mothma." She swallowed hard, looking over the cockpit. "You do realize we're severely undermanned, right? We're missing about...oh...eight hundred crew?" She set the throttle to maximum, hoping the connections she switched into place held enough to get the power where it needed to be. "If we make it out of this alive, I seriously want my own ship. A Y-wing will do."

Avary frowned sharply, doing his best to sort out the targeting computers. It was the job of three or four crewmen, not one, and it certainly didn't help that he barely knew what he was doing.
"Yes, I'm well aware of how many it generally takes to operate this vessel, but thank you for the reminder." He wasn't grateful in the least, of course, the sarcasm more than evident. All the same, he did manage to get one turbolaser battery running. It was better than nothing, but it wouldn't do them much good for long. "I suggest you get us underway as quickly as possible, unless you have any more observations you wish to bring up before we get blasted out of space."

"Well, now that you mention it," she teased with a smile. Why was she not scared now? Because she was in a ship. She was home. With only the two of them, power could be routed to the nav computer, shields and engines instead of all that mucking about in the life support system. It might burn out their sublight drives, but those could be repaired. And sure enough, they were moving fast. Pressed into their seats as their speed increased, the ship twisted and turned in the course she had programmed to get to the jump point. "We should be getting to lightspeed in about a minute. Can you handle that?"

Avary, of course, had no clue what Sienala was doing with the ship, but learned soon enough. As she engaged the sublight drives and launched the ship forward, he gripped onto the seat's arm rests, forgetting about trying to man the weapon systems. If she was as good as she seemed to believe, then they wouldn't have much use for them anyway. "I don't imagine I have much of a choice. Get us out of here."

After several moments, the ship being rocked by the attacking defense forces of the base, Sienala got the okay from the nav computer that it was safe to make the jump. "Hold tight," she said as she activated the program. There was a sudden flash of light and all of space around the ship swirled into a streaking arch. The ship lurched slightly and they were suddenly safe.

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