Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee, Sean Brandt, Christopher Levy, Jaina Roberts, and Sarah Riggs-Shute.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:2:2) in the Essesia system: Retributor and Vegranian, and in the Ringali nebula: Ringali Station.
Lieutenant Allegra Ames, Captain Tiberius Anson, Commander Derek Atio (death), Sergeant Reilly Judah, General Bri Quabil, Sergeant Avary Renault, Lady Jelena Rodney, High Inquisitor Serine Thanor, Flight Captain Randi Trainor, and Commander Iyah Xergo.

Commander Derek Atio sat in the co-pilot's seat of the Lambda-class shuttle Vegranian as he looked out at the massive dagger shape of the Executor-class Star Dreadnaught Retributor through the shuttle's viewport. "Well, someone is compensating for something," he said, with a soft laugh, as he tried to lighten the mood before the operation. His brown eyes looked towards Commander Xergo in the pilot's seat, and he offered her a half-smile of encouragement. "Remember, they're expecting us. Just fly casual," he said, with a nod, before lifting the tunic of his uniform to give it a whiff. "Ugh," he groaned, as he caught the awful scent that was permeating off it. It smelled like someone had died in it, because they had. "It's too bad we didn't have time to wash these Kuati uniforms," he complained, as he pressed several buttons on the control panel in front of him to transmit their IFF to the command ship. "Retributor, this is shuttle Vegranian, carrying technicians from Kuat Drive Yards," he said, doing his best faux Coruscanti accent to sound how he imagined an Imperial officer sounded like.

It had been a tense ride towards the Star Dreadnaught Retributor which held Jelena Rodney. Commander Xergo's mind was, as it always was, in motion. She considered the worst situation, the best situation, and everything in between. Because of that, she'd spoken few words to Commander Derek Atio. She snickered at his comment when the Dreadnaught came into sight. "I don't appreciate you talking about my penis like that, Commander," she flashed a grin in his direction before focusing one more. As he reminded her, she remained calm. In Vegranian, they didn't look suspicious. They were guests to a party, who were about to unexpectedly start some shit. She maneuvered the ship carefully towards the docking bay of the Dreadnaught. She sniffed the air. Her little nose twitched. There was a wonderful combination of stenchy smells occupying the cock pit. There was the death scent of his uniform. Her own smelt like Great, Great, Great, GREAT Grandma Xergo had died in it. The material was stained with a flowery scent that made her want to throw up. "You're telling me. Why did I get the one that smells like dying old people and flowers? You coulda fit in this one." Vegranian carefully landed. She could already see Stormtroopers. As sheep in wolves' clothing, Iyah wasn't worried about them. Phase one was going well. Iyah quickly killed the engines of the ship. "Ready?" She mimicked his Coruscanti accent.

General Bri Quabil stood within the makeshift command center. Hands resting heavily upon the rounded metal edge of the strategic data counter. Deep green eyes stared at the readouts that trickled in before her. Lips were curved downward from worry. A second attack on a star destroyer was foolish and that is what she was counting on the imperials to be thinking as well. She realized that she was gripping the edge of the table too hard, releasing her grip, she peered down at her aged palms that now had a red line where the metallic table edge had pressed into them. "Do we have fighters on standby by?" The details of the mission were known only to those who absolutely needed to know but command could be ready to help if possible and if the need arose...which she had no doubt that it would. For now all she could do was watch and hope that the Force was with the commandos.

Sergeant Avary Renault sat in the back of the Vegetarian, his own stolen uniform no more pleasant than the ones the others had draped themselves in. Tall and rather lanky in build, the KDY outfit didn't exactly fit like a glove either, but it had been the closest of the ones they'd acquired and was passable enough to get by with. The lack of a blaster rifle in his hand was slightly unsettling, with the DL-44 hidden beneath the coveralls being one of few enough weapons they were carrying into what by all rights was a downright suicidal mission. Yet again on a covert operation to try and save someone, the precise sort of thing Avary hadn't trained for, not to mention the potential loss of life all in the name of saving some individual. While the Rodney girl was at least more valuable than some run of the mill soldier, it was still, in his opinion, a waste of resources and personnel.

For the time being, though, Avary kept silent. The exception came when the two in the cockpit put on their accents, which drew out a light chuckle from the core-world native, who's own true accent was the epitome of a well born Imperial.

When the shuttle landed, Derek moved to get up from his seat when he heard an awkward and unfortunate tear. The Tetan Commander was a bit too large for the KDY uniform that had been provided and they did not stand up to their first real test. It was an inauspicious start to their mission. He moved to back of the shuttle, ignoring the tear, and instead focusing on a holographic model of the massive 19,000 meter long warship. "We are here in the hangar bay," he began, stating the obvious, as he created a red line that moved from the hangar to the medical bay. "We have to get to the medical bay. Corporal Athol has provided us with a transmitter that will block their comm systems to provide a distraction once we're ready to evacuate," he explained, giving them a moment to study the plans, before terminating it. "There are over 300,000 crew aboard this vessel. If we act like we're supposed to be here, we'll blend in, and no one will suspect anything," he said, attempting to reassure them, before moving towards the rear of the transport. "Uh. Xergo, could you carry the tools?" he asked her, quietly, as he feared bending down to pick them up would leave him in an even more precarious position.

*Uh oh*. The sound of the tear ripped through all of time and space. It was like Derek's ripping uniform foreshadowed the fall of mankind. Iyah wanted to laugh like some elementary child. If she allowed herself to begin laughing, she feared she wouldn't be able to stop. Comedic relief would only hide her concerns for so long. She stood, forcing herself not to take a peek at the damage. Instead, she lingered over the holographic model and tried to suck every bit of information from it as she could, like she had been for the time leading up to this rescue mission. The task only seemed semi-Herculean when Derek spoke. She kept her head leveled. Acting stupid only got you in trouble. She nodded her head. It would all go well, she told herself.

With the last makeshift strategy session out of the way, she began moving toward the rear. She couldn't help softly laughing at his request, "I got you," she said. She bent slowly, as if she was expecting her pants to give out just like this. Thankfully, they didn't. She rose with the heavy tool box in hand. She couldn't help peering towards his rear. It wasn't that bad.... But it was! "Let's get going. We aren't gettin' any younger." She anticipated saving Jelena. She knew what it was like to be a slave on a ship like this. She couldn't imagine what had happened to the poor woman. She headed out of the ship casually. She didn't shy away from the stormtroopers, making the occasional eye contact while going about her way.

Sitting toward the back of the shuttle, Reilly was focused on the data pad that she held in her lap. A bomb in someone's chest was far beyond her pay grade. Right hand moved over left as if she were operating on someone. Each movement carefully mimicked over and over. The only sound she made was when her movements weren't perfect. As that happened she scoffed and started the procedure over again. Dark brown hair acted as a shield on either side of her face, dangling down after having escaped the fastener that had tucked it under the cap of her imperial uniform. The rim of the cap completed the shield around her face making it difficult for anyone to see it even as the blue glow from the data pad added illumination. Hands made fists in frustration as she again was not happy with her imaginary procedure. Brown eyes glanced upward finally and looked around when Derek neared the back of the shuttle. It took her a moment to realize that they had landed. Her heart began to race. They were actually doing this! Reilly listened to what the commander was saying while she watched the holo. It had been years since she'd been on an imperial ship of this size. A hint of nostalgia rushed over her. The data pad was placed into the satchel that was next to her. Once the pad was secured she lifted the strap of the satchel and moved it over her head so that the thick fabric ran across her chest. Looking inside, she did a last minute inventory: bacta patches, bandages, scanners and a hold out blaster were all nestled neatly along with the data pad. She was as ready as she was going to be.

Watching Reilly going through her pantomime had been quite entertaining, but once the Commanders moved into the main body of the shuttle, Avary's attention was on them. He peered at the holoprojection as Atio went over the plan, one that they had drilled over and over and over again. Even as he stood, falling in to take up the rear of their little group, he could hardly believe that they were attempting something like this. He pushed such thoughts from his mind, though, walking with all the cool confidence of a man going about his work. The presence of the Stormtroopers and other Imperial personnel was really a rather familiar thing and some part of him felt the soft sting of homesickness. Just another thought to push away as they moved on, trusting the Commanders to lead the way.

During the Clone Wars Derek had served aboard a Venator-class Star Destroyer, but this was the first time he had set foot upon an Imperial naval vessel. Much of it seemed familiar, but newer, and the Clone Troopers had simply been replaced with Stormtroopers. The crew was still very human to him and he found it hard to believe how many young men and women had fallen for Imperial propaganda and enlisted in the Imperial military. Derek led the group of Rebels from the hangar bay, but not before stopping to commandeer a repulsor sled to place the large container of tools upon. The group then proceeded beyond the hangar into the nearest turbolift, which would run them down several thousand meters down the length of the Retributor until they reached the section of the ship that contained sickbay. So far, so good, he thought to himself, as he gave a brief, confident glance to each of them. He had become the old man in the group now that he was in his 40s and felt a responsibility to look after the young, inspired members of the Rebellion who were with him on this operation.

Off they went, casually making their way through the hangar bay. No one said anything. No one even raised their blasters towards the visitors. For a short time, it seemed like everything was going to work out. She deposited the heavy tools on the repulsor sled, moving it around with them as to avoid any more clothing mishaps. Inside of the turbolift, she mentally went over the map of the ship again. Everything had been set in motion at this point, but she wasn't about to let herself get cocky. The time spent in the turbolift seemed like a full life time. The next time it stopped, Commander Xergo felt like she belonged in this hellish smelling uniform. Somehow, they had arrived at the sickbay. Her heart was thumping quicker in her chest. All this time, and she still felt a rush. She didn't trust that nothing would happen. She remained alert, looking to Derek for his instruction.

So far, so good. Avary could hardly believe it, but they weren't in the clear yet. Even as they arrived at the medbay, his thoughts were on the next steps, the ones where things would become truly difficult. Infiltrating the ship was one thing; making their escape with a high profile prisoner was something else, far more risky than their boarding. For now, though, he trusted in the plan of the Commander. If the Academy had left him with anything it was a willingness to follow without question, and so for now, follow he did.

The sickbay aboard the Retributor was quiet, as if they had been expected. Doctor Pilaq Tohan, an Ithorian, was unexpectedly in charge of the massive Imperial warship's medical facility. He had from time-to-time aided the Rebellion due to a hatred of the Empire for what they did to his native Ithor. As the physician who delivered Jelena he had a particular bond and affection for the young woman, and reluctantly came to accept it was better for her to be with the Rebel cell than with her family aboard the command ship to be used as an ISB pawn. As the group of Rebels entered his sickbay, he gave them a polite nod, but spoke nothing to them. Then, with the aid of his large walking stick, fashioned from wood fell by a storm on Ithor, he moved to his office so when questioned what happened later he could truthfully say he did not know.

Jelena Rodney had not been informed by anyone that the Rebel were sending a rescue mission, but as she looked towards familiar faces like Derek and Reilly she panicked. "No, no!" she said, as she sat up in the bed, and brought her legs up against her chest. She wrapped her arms around her legs and leaned her chin upon her knees as she looked at them, terrified. "They have planted an explosive in my chest. If you move me it will detonate," she explained, before moving her right hand to shoo them away as if they were a pest. She was grateful that they had risked so much to attempt to rescue her, but she did not want to be blown up, nor did she want to risk injuring them either.

Derek exchanged a brief nod with Doctor Tohan before looking towards the young Jelena in the bed. "Don't worry, Milady. Corporal Athol has it covered," he explained, as he moved the repulsor sled further into the room. He opened the crates to reveal that they were actually one large container he planned to hide her in. "Just get in," he said, as his eyes moved down to the chronometer on his left wrist. It was nearly time for the transmitter to go off and cut Imperial communications. "We haven't much time," he told to everyone, as he waited. They were halfway home, but he knew getting out was always harder than getting in.

Reilly moved past the others, letting them handle the kid. As long as she was healthy she was of little concern. Instead she moved to the supply area and began grabbing a variety of new fangled items that the rebellion certainly hadn't had as well as the usual medical supplies that were always running short. Helena would have a nice bed of bandaged, medications and other items for a bed. Once the girl was loaded into the container Reilly placed more items on top of her, filling in every available space. They didn't get Sony chances at free supplies so the Sargeant was going to take advantage of this situation.

Visually, the Commander began taking in as much information as she could about the sickbay. All was quiet, except for the rhythmic sound of the good Doctor's walking stick colliding against the ground as he made his way towards his office. Her mind strayed for just a moment, concerned with what was happening back on Delaya while she was here. Life had been a never ending string of insanity lately. She moved towards Jelena, even against the girl's wishes. The weirdest realization dawned on her. She was Jelena's aunt ... sort of. She saved that to digest later, instead, nearing the bed. The single crate was prepared for it. It was the perfect disguise ... right? "Let me help you in, Milady." She didn't need to see the chronometer to know that time was running out. She handled Jelena carefully, slowly guiding her into the crate. Iyah quickly closed the top of the crate once more. Her eyes flickered to Derek. "We need to go," she said, as if she had to remind him. Concerned, she looked at her own chronometer, then towards the crates to reassure herself that the precious cargo was safe.

The team now stood at its most crucial moments. "Three, two...*one*." She counted down to the very instant when the transmitter went off. Imperial communications were out. No one wanted to suffer the same fate of Jelena, and so, it was time to go. Clinging to the side of the sled, she helped navigate it back out of the sickbay.

Avary only knew the girl from images and reports, so while the others went about the indelicate task of shoving her into the crate, he stood by the medbay entrance, just to the side of the doorway. Fortunately for them there didn't seem to be any undue attention coming their way, and once the girl and supplies were packed up, Avary fell in behind them once more, covering their rear as they made their way out.

Before Jelena knew what was happening an officer she did not know, about her age, was forcing her into some crate. "Hey! Wha-! Who are you!" she squealed, before she was uncomfortably crammed into the container with the medical supplies. Before she could speak further or get an answer of any kind the lid was closed and she was sealed in the darkness. She was terrified in the box that she would not have fit in even without the medical supplies. She was convinced that the bomb was about to detonate, ending her life, and potentially those of her would-be rescuers.

Derek checked his chronometer and it seemed they were right on schedule ... Captain Tong would be proud. Just then the transmitter activated and communication and recording systems began shutting down all over the massive vessel, creating chaos and disarray. "Double time it back to the ship," he ordered, as he placed a hand on the front corner of the container, as if he were a pallbearer at a funeral. He then proceeded from the sickbay back towards the turbolift, wondering if they would be able to pull this off after all.

On the bridge Lieutenant Allegra Ames' face flummoxed as she realized that communications were down and the monitoring stations seemed out of operation. "Captain Anson, sir," she barked, from down in her crew pit, as she looked up at the command staff. "Our intership communications are down. All our monitoring stations report null," she said, concerned, before taking her gloved hand and slamming the side of the monitor. Nothing happened and it appeared to be a real issue rather than a false reading on her screens.

Captain Tiberius Anson had been standing on the command walkway of the Retributor, visually inspecting the large array of ships that were moving about throughout the Essessia system when he heard the voice of his excitable junior officer. "Calm yourself, Lieutenant. Double check your system," he said, without turning to acknowledge her. When she confirmed the report, he moved to a position above her on the walkway. "It must be a manufacturer's error," he said, with a dejected sigh, fearing that the ISB had rushed this vessel out of the shipyard too quickly without a proper shakedown. "Send someone to find the KDY technicians to get working on this right away. They built it ... they can fix it," he ordered, before moving back towards the large viewport to resume watching the traffic.

Too bad for the KDY technicians, who were currently occupied with the task of making it back to the ship quickly. There was no time to explain to Jelena who she was. There wasn't any time for *anything*. This trip in the turbolift spanned over several life spans. Iyah tapped her boot on the floor idly. *C'mon, c'mon, c'mon* she repeated, mentally prodding the turbolift to move more quickly. It seemed to bend at her will, the lift stopping nearly seconds after she'd begun. The ship wasn't that far away now, but there was the scent of chaos in the air. It was easy to see that the Imperials had realized that their means of communication didn't exist at the moment. A certain amount of tension ensured that they were being watched like hawks. The wrong step, the wrong noise, could cause this whole operation to come crashing down.

Everything, including the blackout of the ship, was part of the plan. Unfortunately it was this part that made Avary particularly nervous about their chances at success. Still, like the professional he was, he choked back his concern and trusted the leadership, moving along as if they were doing exactly what they were supposed to be doing aboard the ISD.

Flight Captain Randi Trainor was once again at the controls of the Conqueror-class Darkened Oblivion. Serine did not say a word to her when she piloted her back to the Interrogator following the conference last week, and the silent treatment was continuing during this return flight to the command ship. She found herself being more like a ferry pilot as she delivered the Inquisitor to and from the flagship on a regular basis. She was able to do the flight with her eyes closed now, which was good, because her eyes *were* closed. "La la la la la," she said happily, as she flew towards the massive 19,000 meter Executor-class Star Dreadnaught blind. But then ... something was wrong. There was no bothersome message from the ship's Chiss tactical officer assigning her an approach vector ... not that she ever followed it, but they *always* came. "Uh. Chissy, ya there?" she asked, opening her eyes, as she activated the comm panel. Surprisingly all that returned over the comm was static. "Serry, they ain't talkin', but I'm goin' in anyway!" she declared, without waiting for orders, as she maneuvered into the massive dreadnaught's hangar bay. As the Darkened Oblivion landed she could see the crew scurrying about as if something was wrong.

Commander Derek Atio continued to move the repulsorsled down the corridor that led to the hangar bay. The Lambda-class shuttle they had arrived on was now in sight and he thought they were going to make it. "Almost there. Keep it together," he said to Jelena, as they moved towards the shuttle. He noted the Conqueror-class assault ship landing, but to him it was just another ship, and he did not associate it with the Inquisitor. He had many sleepless nights over the capture of Jelena, and it had even made him start drinking again, and now he hoped that he could get her home and have his first restful night's sleep since she was captured on Rhinnal.

Inside of the dark box Jelena was a bundle of nerves. The more they told her to calm down the more she felt afraid. She never remembered being this frightened in her entire life, and the tears began to flow like a waterfall. She had to forcibly bite her lower lip just to keep her cries of anguish from escaping the container she was packed into like a small fish. Obviously she could not reply to Derek, but if she could, she would have told him something expletive laden that was unfit for a member of the Alderaanian nobility to speak aloud. She closed her eyes, tried to focus her thoughts on her late mother, and find an inner calm that would steady her nerves ... but she *failed*. (d)

Iyah was always in motion. The sight of the hangar bay was relieving. They were *so close*. She had expected this mission to go horribly. After all, consider all the Imperials on the large dreadnaught that they had never stepped foot on before. Jelena had not been heavily guarded. It all seemed too sweet ... so when would it go sour? She registered the landing assault ship, though, nothing about it looked out of place against the other Imperial ships.

The Commander looked toward the crate where the most precious of cargo lay. She did feel bad for Jelena. It didn't matter what family she came from, being held prisoner would have some lasting damage. "We're almost there. Our ship is in sight." Her cool voice tried to soothe the terrified girl. "You'll be home soon." *Home*. Where ever that was. Iyah's thoughts began to slip, just for a second. A coldness seemed to fill the air. She couldn't tell if it was tension, or the climate of the hangar changing.

High Inquisitor Serine Thanor angrily paced the confines of her craft, the Darkened Oblivion, during their short route to the Retributor, not at all bothering to even strap herself in despite her pilot's infamously jarring taking off and landing procedures. She was infuriated by the Grand Moff's audacity to summon her for a verbal chastising for daring to go against his asinine and moronic commands. He was completely compromising his entire fleet by bending to the will of the wholly corrupt Major Zevrin. Not only was he putting all under his command in jeopardy, but the lives of countless others that he was carelessly executing due to Zevrin's control, and all to save the life of one insignificant traitor. It was beyond absurd and irresponsible, and yet, because of her loyalties to the Empire and the chain of command, she answered his summons despite him being unworthy of the grand title he wielded.

Serine did not realize anything was amiss with the operations of the Retributor, and was so absorbed with her own vile thoughts and hatred for her superior, that she barely even noticed Randi taking a dangerous and reckless course towards an open hangar bay. Suddenly the Inquisitor's thoughts were snapped away from her dark dwellings and refocused upon the situation at hand. As the ship began to land, it became clear that there was turmoil on board of the Retributor and mass concern as crew members were darting in every which direction. This was not at all normal operations and the Inquisitor was determined to uncover the underlying issue ... and potentially make an example out of an unfortunate officer. This was just one more failing of Governor Rodney, incapable of even keeping his flagship from imploding into chaos. With an irate growl, she slammed her hand down upon the ramp controls and impatiently waited until she was free to hurriedly stalk down the descending ramp. She proceeded to make her way towards the Governor's office all while recalling her distaste for the man. After this show of absolute incompetence, he would be fortunate if he even had a chance to add his own gripes to their soon-to-be heated conversation.

The moment she took a step on solid durasteel, she sensed something that she did not anticipate, an individual hemorrhaging fear and anxiety to an intense degree. The feeling of dismay and horror were so strong that Serine picked up more than just the strong emotions ... it was then that she realized they were coming from Jelena, and the girl was close by. Instantly her eyes scanned the disarray before her, and after but a moment, she noticed a small group of individuals quickly maneuvering a repulsorsled that was the source of the emotions she sensed. Eyes went wide with the understanding and awareness of what was about to transpire before quickly narrowing into a fierce glare. Her pace towards the fleeing group quickened tremendously as she unfastened the lightwhip from her belt. Suddenly there was a violet heavy crack as the many tails of the whip unraveled ominously within the air.

"Your pathetic ruse is over, betrayed by the fear of your captive," the High Inquisitor called out to them while gesturing to the boxes they ferried. "Surrender, the best you could possibly hope for is a merciful death, otherwise..." A quick flourish of the whip caused another intense sound to verberate through the hangar bay. "... your meager existence will be reduced to hollow screams of agony."

Commander Atio stopped dead in his tracks when he heard the voice of the Inquisitor. He swallowed awkwardly, his throat bulging against the ill fitting Kuat Drive Yards uniform. He turned to Commander Xergo and the commandos, before his eyes silently moved down to the crate containing Jelena. "There's no way we'll all make it," he said to them, as he assumed the role of a leader he never wanted. He was an engineer ... an alcoholic ... not a military man, but now here he was with his moment of destiny. "When I split the team to go after the ships on Kooriva it left Jelena practically defenseless. This is my fault. I'll handle her," he said to them, as his hands moved towards the QuickSnap 36T blaster carbine concealed beneath his uniform. "Get Jelena to the ship. Get her home," he *ordered*, before turning to face the Inquisitor that was behind them.

For a moment, everything *stopped*. There was no time, space, or anything else. You could feel the Inquisitor's presence like the tension before a destructive tornado. A black pit of despair opened up deep inside her heart, making for the perfect appetizer for the Inquisitor. *This is it*. She told herself, *this is the moment I die*. Unlike normal people, it was her death that flashed before her eyes. The flickering lightwhip. The absolute nothingness that was associated with dying. She saw Mug having to endure her funeral...and Callista... Commander Xergo simply didn't have the same courage that Derek did. It felt natural to work for self preservation. All these thoughts happened within seconds...seconds where the brave Derek Atio made his move. As soon as he spoke, she knew where he was going with this: *human sacrifice*.

Despite the fact that her instincts were leaning towards flight, her hand snapped outward and grasped Commander Atio's wrist. "You *can't* do this. We all have to make it home." He'd helped her escape the Imperials long, long ago. Without him, she may have still be enslaved or even dead. Her eyes felt hot. If she left him, she would never see him again. The Inquisitor was furious. Iyah didn't want to leave a friend. She objected to Derek's actions physically until he *ordered* them to go. Her hand weakly released him. There was nothing she could do. He turned, in slow motion, to face death. Her hands was shaking on the crate. "You *can't*..." She repeated. Duty was knocking at the front door. The good Commander had no choice. If they all died in the hangar, then all of their work would be for nothing. Her feet were as reluctant to move as the rest of her body.

Before going to confront the Inquisitor he stopped in his tracks when she protested, and offered her a reassuring smile. "Iyah ... when I found you on that Dreadnaught you were a scared girl, like Jelena is scared now ... she *needs* you," he said, as he placed his left hand on her shoulder. "You are a woman now. A *Commander*. Now get these people clear. They're your responsibility now," he said, before leaning his portly face forward towards her. He placed a soft a kiss upon her cheek, before pulling away and allowing his hand to caress her brown hair once. "May the Force be with you, but not with her," he said, making one last joke, before turning to meet the Inquisitor. Reaching into his satchel, which was meant to look like engineering tools, he produced the explosive ordnance that was brought in case they needed a distraction. Activating a group of three grenades all attached to a munitions belt, he rotated it several times in the air to build momentum, before hurling it in the Inquisitor's direction to buy the rest of the team time. The grenades were set to explode in midair rather than upon impact, as he knew the witch could simply toss them around like shockballs.

Reilly knew their options were grim even though she had no idea what sort of being was before them. She was evil, that was obvious even for the non-force sensitive mechanic. When Atio gave the order to move, move she did, aiding the repulsion sled toward the now lowering ramp of their shuttle. This was a disaster, one she wondered why Captain Tong was not directing personally and something she would ask him about should they ever meet again, but she would do what she could to see the mission to fruition.

Emotions crept into the soldier's mind. They threatened to derail her entirely. Commander Xergo had yet to move an inch when her close comrade turned around. His smile was anything but reassuring. Uncomfortable feeling made a home for themselves within her chest. He was going to die. That stupid, *stupid* man was going to get himself killed. The words he spoke were true. Jelena was like the Commander Xergo of the past. She recalled meeting Derek. She remembered how fearful she was to leave her captors. Iyah was frowning. She looked like she might cry if he pushed her any further. "Derek..." She said, savoring what would be one of their last touches. As much as she willed herself to touch him, to comfort him in his death, she couldn't. "You don't have to do this..." She whimpered. The kiss served as their final goodbye. Her hand reached out to grasp his uniform. He was too far away. Her fingers merely brushed over the fabric. His final joke rang out in her ears. "May the Force be with you, Derek Atio..." All she could do was listen to him.

"*Go*!" She yelled, prompting the Rebels right back into action. Everyone seemed to be moving much more quicker now that the Inquisitor had shown up. Iyah didn't allow herself to look back. The ship was ready to receive them, and so, that's exactly where she was going.

A disgusted look crossed the Inquisitor's face as she witnessed the intruder's affections that were overly sentimental in an off-putting fashion. "This pitiful display will be the undoing of your lost cause," her low cruel and bitter voice nearly dripped with acidity as she addressed them. The dim red emergency lights that faintly highlighted Serine's face would soon be overpowered by the bright steady glow of her ignited lightwhip that quickly reminded them of their dire fate. There was an uneasy feeling in the air as the Inquisitor posed herself to attack them but she was caught with the unanticipated explosive assault by the other. The moment she readied to lunge, was the moment the bombs were released. There was no time to halt her momentum, the Inquisitor's only action was to shield herself from the onslaught of damage as she burst through the destructive shrapnel clouds looking far worse for wear than a moment ago. There were multiple grievous lacerations across her forearms and legs that had ripped into her armorweave and were bleeding heavily. Serine had barely managed to protect her face and vitals with carefully placed arms and Force shielding which made her injuries unpleasant to look at, but not life threatening. It did, however, slow her down considerably, preventing her from immediately pursuing the intruders. Now the brunt of her ire would be directed at the man that dared to use such underhanded tactics against her.

Her fury was difficult to contain, the Inquisitor had not been injured this greatly in sometime, not since her life or death duel with her former master. Serine realized she would have to settle with crushing the life from this man, though the action would barely temper the rage that was boiling inside of her. It was clear that the High Inquisitor was heavily injured since she had halted her advance upon them, but she held herself well. It could be assumed that anyone else would have certainly succumbed, not just from the initial blast, but from the physical affliction that she was now enduring. A small pool of blood began to collect at her feet that continuously dripped from open painful looking gashes, however, her attention never once wandered from the rebel before her. With a low growl of anger and agony, she raised her right hand towards his direction as a disturbing rumbling sound filled the air. Soon Derek would find himself enveloped in sinister energy that lifted him clear off of the ground to float helplessly in midair. His movements were restricted, thus he could do nothing but await his demise.

"You ... you fool! You think you have won by merely delaying me?! Your actions mean nothing! I *will* find them ... I will *eviscerate* them. Now die." The splayed fingers of her right hand that was held out to him slowly curled into a fist. The sounds in the air intensified into a crackling horrible cacophony as Derek would begin to feel his body crush inwards in a ghastly and grisly manner.

Derek allowed himself to briefly believed he had won when the grenades exploded in close proximity to the target, but then he felt himself lifted off the deck through unknown means. He did not panic or beg for his life as he was able to see the Rebel board the shuttle and prepare to make their escape. He said nothing, but smiled reassuringly at the crew that he could see through the shuttle's viewport to let them know he had accepted his fate and was glad to see they would live on to fight. He closed his eyes, finding an inner peace, before he felt his rib cage collapse in upon himself, destroying his heart and lungs instantly. His body remained levitated in the air as it spasmed violently as he slowly and painfully died from the witch's machinations. Unable to breath and choking on his own blood he asphyxiated, the spasming stopped, and with that Commander Derek Atio had passed from this life onto the next. He had succeeded in his mission to rescue the young girl from the clutches of the Empire and his last thoughts were of a hope she would earn the life he had died to give her.

Explosions erupted directly behind her back. Iyah's imagination carried out the fight that her eyes couldn't see. She filled in the blanks with a horrific death, one that still wouldn't compare to the reality of the situation. She brought her own blaster out. It had been concealed in her uniform until she felt it essential. She barked out orders, "Ignore him. *Get in the shuttle*!" She aided her comrades in securing the box inside of the shuttle. Iyah moved forward towards the cockpit. As she sat, she was forced to face something she didn't want to see: Derek's death. Her hands moved over the dash board. She was preparing for takeoff as she had so many times before. Her mind was entirely on autopilot. What she saw would take time to fully register; Commander Atio, a man who didn't beg as his body collapsed into itself. Commander Xergo was breathing hard. Her focus had been derailed, though the shuttle was nearly ready to go. "" She said weakly. "*No*!"

Her hands changed position, instead falling over the controls for the gun at the front of the ship. She shot blast after blast into the dreadnaught's hanger, causing unspeakable damage. "I won't let you take him!" Of all the chaos she created, of all the wild shots, where was one shot that counted: hitting Derek's body. The Commander preferred to give him a quick burial than let any shred of him be left behind in the hangar. She feared that someone might humiliate his dead body, dismember it, or make a trophy from her good friend. The Commander was forced to stop firing before she overheated the craft. At that point, she left. The shuttle swiftly moved out of the wreckage of the hangar and into the black, endless space before them. Iyah could be seen, sitting at the cockpit, crumpled into a ball. Her head sat in one hand. Strands of her dark hair cast shadows over her face, making it impossible to see if she was crying or not. That day, she learned that lovers weren't the only ones who could break your heart.

The operation had been so near to a perfect success, all the way to the hangar. With the shuttle in sight, though, the unexpected had fallen upon them, something no amount of planning could have prepared them for; Sith. Commander Atio's valiant sacrifice was clear in Avary's consciousness, even though he hadn't witnessed it entirely. It almost felt wrong somehow, not having seen those final moments, but the mission was the mission. Pushing that sled up the ramp and into the shuttle, securing it as the ramp closed and making sure that Atio's sacrifice was not in vain mattered more than being able to recount the details of the man's death.

As the shuttle pulled away, Avary crouched by the sled, opening the container so that Jelena could find her way out. Mismatched eyes watched her, hints of accusation and disappointment hovering in them. "We sacrificed a good man and military leader to save you, maybe more. I hope you were worth it." Somehow that Imperial accent made the words all the more condescending.

As Avary spoke, Reilly's head jolted up, brown eyes glanced around the shuttle. She hadn't realized that Atio hadn't made it onto the shuttle. Her stomach churned. He'd sacrificed himself for the mission? That was unexpected. She felt cold, maybe it was numbness. Either way she hadn't felt this way since her family had been killed....her family....Atio thought he was her father. Reilly never embraced that nor sought to discover if her mother and father had lied to her. Sorry forced her to sit. Fortunately there was a side bench in the shuttle near her. Arms wrapped around herself in a hug. She choked back tears. How did the rebels determine which life was more important? Were they really any better than the Imperials? Her thoughts raced going from deep sorrow to anger. Then she remembered the being that was most likely the cause of Atio's demise. "What was that?" She whispered the words, not expecting to receive an answer at least not at the moment.

As word reached the command center, the general was shocked at the report she received. One casualty, Commander Atio. Green eyes that were filled with rage, sorrow and regret read the report quickly. "Raised into the air? How exactly...I want to see the team as soon as they are debriefed." The command centers slowly filled with a mood of despair as each person learned the fate of their Commander. Though only one man, Atio had been the commander for a long time and was the symbol of the downtrodden cell in Ringali. His loss would hit all who knew him hard. It was hitting Bri hard and she barely knew the man.

Jelena was released from the crate as soon as she was loaded onto the shuttle, and ran towards the cockpit behind Iyah to see what was going on. She felt cold ... unusually cold ... as the presence of the Inquisitor had affected her in a way she had never experienced before. She felt sick deep inside and it felt as if the Inquisitor were right in front of her, rather than outside of the shuttle. She wrapped her arms around herself and shuddered, before catching a glimpse of Derek. He was the Rebel she knew the longest, going back to her espionage days with Parka Pepper, and what she saw next would forever shape the rest of her life. She started to close her eyes and look away, but she caught herself, and forced herself to look on as she watched her friend crushed by the unseen powers of the Inquisitor. She did not say a word, nor did she allow herself to cry, but internally chastised herself for starting the series of events that led to this good man's death. She watched in horror as he died, vowing then and there to remember him, and honor him, for the rest of her life. She promised herself that good would come of this, even if she had no clear conception of how. When the shuttle cleared the hangar, she sunk into the chair, and lowered her chin so far that it touched her chest ... it was as if all the air had been sucked out of her. This was her fault ... this was all her fault ... and she would never be the same because of it.

The High Inquisitor had no choice but to watch her quarry escape to freedom for now, her wounds were far too severe to chase down some worthless rebels. Despite her many injuries, in a frenzied resentment for their getaway, she screamed in rage while violently slashing a series of equipment crates with the brilliantly glowing coils of her lightwhip. Splinters fiercely exploded outwards in every direction in a brutal display of mania. The High Inquisitor glared bitterly at the distancing stolen shuttle craft, a growing vengeful obsession began to take hold of her. This whole matter had now become extremely personal and Serine would make it her private mission to track Jelena Rodney down and ruthlessly shred every bit of flesh and muscle from her skeleton until there was nothing left but a ruined husk of a human being.

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