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
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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. "...at 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
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
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.