Corvette Argo emerged from hyperspace in the Thuris Sector.
The small craft's hull was pot marked with battle damaged. It had
seen better days. If it were possible for a vessel to look tired,
surely this craft would be showing all the signs. It had been only
twelve hours since the ship left Dantooine after hurriedly taking on
scant supplies, replacement personnel, and a new commando unit. The crew
were still getting used to one another. They had seen their share of
the war and they were tired. It would take everything they had to
survive and get through this mission.
On the bridge
of the Argo, Commander Derek Atio sat nervously in his command
seat behind the pilot and co-pilot. "Phew," he sighed in relief, "We
made it." He was never quite sure if the old girl would survive the
trip through hyperspace. He half expected the vessel to prepare to
enter hyperspace and instead for the engines to fall off. He had
received orders while on Dantooine to proceed to the Thuris Sector
... nothing more. As much as he disliked vague orders he hated
having his vessel sitting exposed in Imperial space more. "Sensor
scan, Mister Ardac," he ordered quickly.
upright, working the appropriate controls, powering up the Argo's
scanners, for a passive sweep. "Sensors are go, Captain," The old
Chiss replied coolly. "Initial scans show nothing ... no activity,
in the system." Ardac leaned forward, incase he missed something.
"I don't want
anyone getting the drop on us," Commander Atio explained, "Bring the
shields and weapons online."
up the shield first, and then the weapons. "Weapons and shields
online, Captain." A beep, coupled with an indicator light, blared on
Ardac's comm panel. He turned slightly, addressing the Captain.
"Sir, incoming transmission from the Revel Frigate Comfort."
Commander Atio said in relief, "Patch it through."
Ardac keyed on the comm, opening the channel to the Comfort.
face of General Roons Sewell appeared in the viewscreen in between
the pilot and copilot. "Ah Commander Atio," the General said,
"Listen Derek ... I'm going to have to make this quick. We had to
get off Dantooine in a hurry and we're about to duck into an
asteroid field for cover. We'll be in the dark for several hours."
The General paused and sighed at the situation, "Look. We all know
your situation, but you've got the only ship in the area. You've got
to get down to Azrid. There's a small base down there. Get in. Find
out what the hell the Empire is up to out here. Get out. I wish I
had more Intel, but I don't even know where they packed my clean
underwear. Get to it Commander. You know what has to be done.
General," Commander Atio replied, "Argo out." The Commander
stood from his chair on the bridge and sighed. He was tired, but
they were all tired. He would get them through this ... somehow.
"Mister Ardac," the Commander began as he exited the bridge, "Take
command. I'm going down below."
had always been rather boring for Tong. It meant that he either was
not doing what he was being paid to, or he was being paid to sit
around, and that was worse. He had not moved from the small cot that
was his for most of the twelve hours, and all of that time had been
spent cleaning his weapons, and putting his kit back together.
Aami was knelt
beside Zev's cot wrapping a bandage around his injured ankle. She
secured the bandage with a pin and closed her medical case as she
Zev sat up in
his bunk after Aami finished with the bandage, flexing his left
ankle to check the wrapping. "Thank you Sergeant, that'll be all."
cross-legged on her bunk. Her blaster was in its myriad component
parts, spread out across the tightly drawn sheet. A recently used
deck of cards occupied the far corner of her bunk.
Leo Kincaid sat
against the wall with a bundle of supplies and a checklist, counting
and recounting blaster packs, medical supplies, tools ... he looked
bored, but he took his job seriously, people's lives depended on it.
took a deep breath as he approached the barracks. He had not had the
chance to properly meet the unit and this was not the way he wanted
to do it. "Everyone settled it?" the Commander asked as he stepped
into the center of the room.
deck!" Miranda swung her feet over the end of her bunk and stood up.
Standing at ease with her hands behind her back, her left wrist held
in her right palm.
Tong glanced up
as he slid the power pack back into his disruptor pistol. "Good as
they're going to get in deep space." Apparently, he was not one for
raised his right hand towards Miranda and nodded several times,
indicating for her to "relax." "I'm afraid it's time to go to work,"
Commander Atio said as he motioned with his hands for everyone to
gather around, "We've just received orders. We have got to get into
an Imperial outpost down on Arzid. Don't ask me for Intel ... I
don't have any." He sighed and looked at each of them, "Yeah ... I
know this isn't how we all like to do things, but we drew this and
it's on us." His eyes focused on Captain Tong, "Have your squad
ready in fifteen." His head then looked over at Kincaid. "Oh and
Leo," he added as he started to walk back towards the bridge,
"You're going too. We're short on supplies."
A soft growl
escaped Tong at the thought of no intelligence, but he lit a cigarra
and looked around the barracks at his squad. "You heard him. Kit
inspection in ten. Move." And with that, he started gearing up.
instructions, Miranda quickly reassembled her rifle. Practiced hands
quickly connected components, assembling the rifle in moments. Her
combat suit was pulled on quickly as well as gathering the rest of
unit's heavy gunner sat with his eyes closed, and his head leaning
against the barrel of his BlasTech T-21 light repeating blaster. His eyes
drifted as he heard the order to gear up. The large Cathar known as
Corporal Seekith Shardin, "Seek" for short, stood up and started checking his
silently in response to Tong's order as he finished replacing his
left ankle boot.
Aami stood up,
quickly tied her hair in a ponytail and slid on her helmet. She put
on her medical backpack and picked up her A280 blaster rifle.
twisted into a look of surprise, then a grimace, he was not happy
about being in the field. He sighed and relaxed before gathering
what was needed: pistol, bag, and pack.
emerged back on the bridge. He dropped like a sack of potatoes back
into his seat behind the pilot and copilot. "Mister Ling," he
ordered, "Set a course for Arzid and enter a low orbit."
piercing eyes of foulmouthed Corellian pilot Tashi Ling narrowed on
her commanding officer fiercely. The proverbial loose cannon of
protocol, the woman wore no discernable uniform and would just as
soon tell you to pound fodder for looking at her the wrong way and
manage to *not* drop the cigarra from between her lips. Turning her
thoughts of choking the man with her bare hands, she refocused on
the controls of the Corvette as it swept down towards the surface
and into the atmosphere. She handled the controls deftly,
maneuvering in low to remain as far below any scanners the Empire
may be running, eyes panning the viewports keenly.
Ardac," Commander Atio began authoritatively, "Scan the surface of
the planet. See if you can't find this Outpost."
initiating planetary scans." Ardac's hand movements were
skillful, and had not slowed with age. As soon as the words left his
mouth, the scan was sixty-percent complete. A moment later, he chimed in the cool,
calm tone he often carried. "Sir, the planet is mostly covered in
giant mushrooms ... except for one clear-cut section in the
northeast quadrant. There is a walled in compound with three
structures, one of which is giving off some major energy readings.
Think we've found our base, Captain."
Ardac," Commander Atio said with a sense of genuine glee. It had
been painless ... so far. "Mister Ling," he continued, "Take us in.
Try and finding a clearing to land. Not too far from the base. Some
of those ground-pounders might be allergic to mushrooms."
plummeted into a scowl, but she let it go. Taking a long draw on her
cigarra, the tip glowed bright red for a moment. When she exhaled,
the smoke came out of her nostrils and she grumbled "Those filthy
Imps. I can smell them over the smoke. I'm sick to think we breathe
the same air." More to herself, she smirked, shifting the control
column to push the ship further towards the fungi-covered canopy of
the planet surface. Two hundred meters from the base was a large
enough clearing to set the craft down...barely. Tight squeeze, she
decided, but pursed her lips and pushed on. The Corvette slid to a
smooth halt above the clearing, the repulsors angling downward and
reducing gradually in thrust to set the ship comfortably down. As
the landing gear emerged from its respective bays, they touched down
carefully with the subtlest of bumps. Leaning back in her chair,
Tashi plucked the cigarra from her lips, snuffed it out on the arm
of her chair and flicked it across the bridge. "We're heeere" she
Tong had moved
to landing bay, and as soon as word came down that they were on the
ground, he lowered the ramp, and stepped out into the night. With
the cloud cover over head, there were few stars, and no moonlight to
speak of. The sounds of local wildlife could be heard, but they
certainly were not anything that the rest of the galaxy offered.
Razor bushes and arachnors were not common though. There was the
smell of rain in the air, and almost a drug induced vision of giant
mushrooms creating a forest for them to pass through on their way to
the target. Tong's EE-3 came up, and he peered through the scope
while he gave a soft order. "Alright, let's move out."
Aami walked to
the ramp and stopped, her A280 in hand, very worried of the safety
of the group. She walked down the ramp to the dark planet's surface
as images of the enormous flesh-eating spiders that dwell in the
thick dark mushroom forest filled her head. The thought of them made
her skin crawl.
descended the ramp, staying low. Sweeping her rifle, she scanned the
surrounding jungle. That is if a bunch of overgrown mushrooms could
be considered a jungle. She took up a defensive position at one
corner of the ramp.
Zev got to his
feet, his gloved hands reaching up into the compartment over his
bunk. In a moment, they removed an E-11 blaster rifle, lifted from
the corpse of a dead Stormtrooper on a previous mission. With that,
he double-checked his E-11s power pack and hurried down the ramp
behind the others.
Kincaid was the
last of the group to walk out, almost apprehensively, his hand
tightened on the still holstered blaster pistol fearfully, a supply
bag on his back, with two empty supply bags tied on. He looked
around nervously, but kept close to the group. After staring at one
of the giant mushrooms for long enough, he quipped, "We need any
Quar rose from
his seat walking down the ramp of the Corvette. His hands were empty
except for a small satchel that he clutched in his left hand. As he
exited the craft he adjusted the comlink in his ear. His eyes
scanned around the terrain of the planet. His nose crinkled at the
smell of the growing fungus and decay.
his trademark feline smile, Seekith Shardin moved
swiftly down the ramp of the Argo. Being that he was the last
one off, there was not much left to cover. He looked at Captain Tong
and winked, "That's the last of us, sir. We're clear."
point, our intel, supply, and medic stay in the center, Ordo and our
other rifle, flank them, watch out for them. Seekith has rearsec. No
sound on the way in. Move out." And with that, he was moving, like a
ghost through the mushroom stalks, headed for the west wall of the
towards the center of the formation, allowing his legs to carry him
swiftly. He brought his satchel to attach to his olive drab mission
towards the compound, head swiveled towards the surrounding forest,
worried, sweaty hand still clutching his pistol.
silently over the terrain keeping a careful watch to the left side
after hearing several strange noises in that general direction as
she clutched her rifle tightly.
towards the left side of the formation, his right hand thumbing the
safety off his E-11, his eyes alertly drifting over the unfamiliar
surroundings. He looked towards the middle of the formation. "I bet
you haven't seen fungus like this since your last girlfriend, huh
Quar?" He said this in his typical, joking manner, a smirk on his
and quietly, Miranda's attention focused on the right flank. She
listened for odd sounds as much as attempting to peer into the
Seekith took up
the rear of the group easily keeping pace. He made sure to spin
around and clear behind them every four to eight seconds. He muffled
a small chuckle as heard Zev ribbing Quar.
Those who had
reason to venture to Arzid, an obscure world in the Outer Rim known
only to few, the greatest threat would seem to come from the
arachnor, a large spider-like creature. However, visitors should be
keen to keep at least one eye focused on the fauna below the large
mushrooms. With no warning a tentacle suddenly shot out from beneath
the brush. Its target was the knee of Zev Ordo. Instinctively it
wrapped around and tightened its grasp, impaling his flesh with
sharp barbs that dug in deep. Just as suddenly it retracted with
another force to pull him to the ground and drag him towards the
In an instant,
Zev felt a sharp pain in his right knee. Before he realized what had
happened, he was on his backside, his E-11 dropping to the floor
beside him as he flailed his hands about instinctively. As he fell,
he yelled out to rest of the squad "Ahhh"
Tong halted at
the sound of commotion behind him, and a second passed while he made
sure he did not have a threat in front of him, and then his dead
eyes whipped around, his voice a growling whisper. "Cut him
expressed only shock, and he froze in his boots, despite the fact he
had a blaster attached to his hip.
In one motion,
Miranda spun, sighted the "vine," and fired. It was only after the
shot that she had time to think about what she had just done.
The sound of a
sizzle was heard as the blaster bolt tore through the tentacle,
severing it. The remained of the dead tentacle were firmly impaled
in Zev's knee with the added affect of a goo-like substance gushing
from the creature's wound.
Quar took a
look at the action and shuffled away. In his
movement his foot went into a puddle of what appeared to be
excrement from some sort of animal. A frown came across his face as
he stared at the substance on his boot.
excitement and then the blaster fire, Seekith spun back forward,
looking down his sites at the bedlam. That look of, "ah damn it"
spread onto his face. Their position may have now been given away.
ran to Zev's side and took off her medical backpack and pulled out a
small metal case with special medical items. She took out a syringe
and filled it with a strong painkiller and set it back down. She
turned to him "This might ... I'm not going to lie it will hurt."
She pulled the tentacle off him the barbs ripping his flesh a
little. She picked up the
syringe and quickly injected the painkiller. Aami placed the empty
syringe in the case and pulled out a disinfecting
cream that she opened and applied to the wounds rubbing it in
carefully trying to keep him form loosing too much blood. She put
the tube back in the case and took out gauze and a bandage and began
to wrap the injury. Aami tied the bandage and helped him up. "I
suggest you don't run and let's hope you don't break out in some
allergic reaction." With that she closed her case and placed it back
in her backpack.
"The only thing
I'm allergic to is fat Rodian women," Seekith jokingly interjected.
Zev winced as
she removed the "leftovers" from the vine-predator and rubbed the
cream onto the wound. The burning pain of the wound persisted
momentarily before quickly dissipating. His right hand grasping his
E-11, Zev used the shaft as a modified crutch to help himself up. He
turned to Aami, nodding once before grumbling, "Thank you...now
let's keep moving. Who knows what's going to be alerted to our
happens when you make fun of my love life?" Quar commented with a
smile on his face. His eyes were fixed on the ground rubbing the
animal excrement off of his boot as he began to retake his position
in the formation.
The trip to the
base went off without a further hitch, fortunately, and it left them
in the mushroom line, eyeing the west wall. "Simple assault plan. We
set charge and breech. Our three principles stay here ... cover the
actual breach from flanking. I'll stand rear sec. The other three
sweep and clear the whole thing. It's ugly, it's not easy, but it's
simple, and if we hit hard enough, and fast enough, they'll think a
platoon was raiding. Can your knee handle that Ordo?"
Zev stood a few
feet from Tong, his hands clutched to his E-11 anxiously. Quietly,
he asked the Captain, "You want me to provide cover fire, or you
want me going in there? This knee is just fine, and personally, I
like the smell of burnt plastic from up close."
"If you can
handle it, I want you leading the other two in. Two up front, one at
the back. I don't care about prisoners either. Get set. Breach in
three...two..." Tong pitched the satchel charge against the wall as
everyone else got in position. After "one," He turned his eyes away
from the wall, and detonated the satchel charge, hoping it would
tear a large hole in the wall, and make the breach easier.
explosion tore through the thin durasteel wall creating an
eight-meter gap in the perimeter fence. From inside the central
structure an Imperial officer and one Imperial Stromtrooper emerged.
From the rectangular building in the northeast quadrant of the
compound three Imperial Stormtroopers emerged. They had heard the
explosion, but had no idea what was going on. "We're under attack,"
the Imperial officer yelled. The three Imperial Stormtroopers by the
rectangular building turned their attention towards the explosion,
while the Stormtrooper next to the officer took up a defensive
posture to protect the man.
the smoke dispersed, Zev turned to the other two troopers. "Stay on
my ass and keep firing!" With that, he turned back to the hole and
took off through the breach, his eyes looking sweeping the immediate
area in front of him, his E-11 stock dug into his shoulder, fingers
at the ready for first available target. His destination was the
followed Zev inside, staring down the sights of her rifle. Sweeping
to one side, to cover the flank her first targets would be the three
guards. Sighting on the first one to come under her crosshairs, two
rounds were fired off in quick succession.
barreled through the breach, staying tight on Miranda. He quickly
caught site of the three Stormtroopers looking their direction.
Shooting his large repeating rifle from his hip, he let out a
constant stream of blaster fire at the Stormtroopers, a loud and fierce war cry
escaping his lips as he did.
finesse while others preferred brute force. In this case both proved
to be effective. The carefully placed shots by Miranda impacted the
first Stormtrooper that emerged from the barracks. He was dead
before he knew what him. The stream unleashed from Seekith's T-21
rained down upon the other two troopers, riddling them with blaster
bolts. They soon joined their commander, dead on the ground. The
remaining Stormtrooper aimed his E-11 at Seekith and fired off
wildly. The Imperial Officer who was standing next to the trooper
panicked and ran back inside the central structure.
been strafing on the troopers at the barracks when the laser bolt
grazed across his rear end. His head snapped forward in surprise
seeing the last trooper. He had mistakenly assumed that since he was the last
commando through the breach, some one in the front of the charge would have been covering their
With a quick
pivot Miranda fired another pair of rounds at the remaining trooper.
Stormtrooper was still squeezing the trigger of his E-11 when the
bolts impacted his chest. The weapon fired wildly into the ground as
his body joined the others on the ground. There was now no sign of
any Imperial activity outside of the three structures.
Officer franticly run inside the central building and what seemed to
be all of the Stormtroopers dead on the ground, Zev grinned and
called out towards the Captain, "All clear, Cap'n, come on in!"
Seekith came to
stand back to back with Miranda, still clearing his field of vision
with his rifle. He extended his left free hand back over his
shoulder in a fist. "So that's two kills a piece? Right on!" He
waited for her to hit it back.
into a crouch, centering her sights on what appeared to be the
barracks. "Celebrate when we're out of here." She did not care about
how many kills, just completing the mission with as few friendly
casualties as possible.
slightly. No casualties. It was a start. He came into the base, his
weapon up as a precaution as he linked up with the squad. "Ordo,
stack up with Nielson on the northeast structure's door. Pitch a
stun grenade in and clear it. Seekith, with me. Same thing on the
northwest's door. We clear both hard, get the special people in
here, let them do their jobs, and we go home. Any questions? Medic
and Supply, post at breach point, cover central structure. If
anything tries to go north of it, it dies. Understood?"
at the central building, Zev looked towards Nielson, his E-11 still
at the ready. "You heard the man." With that, he set off towards the
northeast building, searching for any sudden movement.
followed a short distance behind, ensuring she did not cross into
his line of fire.
Zev stood to
the right of the door, his left hand reaching onto his belt for one
of the two stun grenades he had clipped on it. He turned to Nielson,
"You open it, and Ill throw it...on my count." He thumbed the
activator, the grenade set for impact.
the heel of her boot out to kick in the door, and then spun off to
after the door swung open, Zev hurled the stun grenade into the
building. He turned his head away as the grenade impacted, exploding
on contact. Ordo stepped inside. He quickly realized all that was
inside was a mess and a head.f
Tong stacked up
on the door, a hand on the latch, ready to open it. He gave a nod to
his partner shortly afterwards, letting him know that the door was
coming open. The captain made sure he was clear of the door, and
then pushed it open and turned away, listening for the bang of the
Seekith let his
T-21 slide to his back, on its sling, as he moved after his Captain.
By the time he reached the door, he already had his stun grenade in
hand and was heaving it through the open door. His momentum
brought him to the other side of the door, rifle back in hand.
Tong hit the
room, his weapon seeking targets, but saw none. They needed
optiwands for this. It would have saved most of this equipment to
know there was no contact inside. Perhaps the engineer could do
something with the stuff ruined, and the power packs could always be
recharged anyway. "Regroup, prepare to assault and clear central
structure. Supply, get in here. Northwest building. Steal anything
that isn't bolted down." And with that, he headed outside, to wait
for his squad to regroup so they could hit the last building and be
Kincaid heard the order and jumped up from his prone position behind
a mushroom trunk and took off jogging through the hole, pausing for
a moment as he drew his blaster pistol, still nervous about running
into an Imperial compound. He jogged along the perimeter to the
west, keeping the wall to his back, slowing down as he neared the
building he had been instructed to. "Nice cleaning job, guys..." He
stepped through the door very carefully, pistol pointed at the
ground. Upon seeing that he really was okay, the pistol went
back in its holster and he ran to the nearest supply rack, clearing
it all onto a pile before pausing. He inspected one of the blaster
rifles and his face turned sour. "Nice going ... fried. This is
junk!" His eyes rolled and he packed it anyways, even scrap metal
had its uses, one bag was filled with various weapons and tools,
another with food, pausing to inspect the ready-to-eat meals. He
chuckled, not giving away what was in them, then finished filling
the second bag up. "We're good to go." He smiled, as he struggled to
stand with a load of new equipment, eager to leave.
"Stack up. And
go. Clear the thing hard and fast. Ordo and Nielson in, Seekith
trailer. Move!" Tong was hustling to a cover position, just off
center from door and five meters back. "Supply, get back outside
with the medic, and cover our evac."
towards the central building's entrance, his left hand coming up to
grip the E-11's underside. With his momentum carrying him, Zev
kicked his left foot outwards to slam into the wooden door.
in right behind Zev. Her gaze quickly swept the room. Locking onto
the Officer, another pair of rounds barked from her rifle.
blaster bolts tore through the back of the chair and tore through
the Imperial officer. "Ahh," he screamed in pain as he slumped over
dead. "Lieutenant," a voice said over the comlink, "What is going
on? Repeat. What is your situation? Over."
Seekith was the
last one inside. He propped himself against the door, covering the
entire room with repeating rifle.
Zev's eyes went
wide for a second, realizing what just transpired over the comlink.
He quickly turned to the doorway, calling out "All clear! Get in
here ASAP and get what we need, we don't have much time!"
You have two minutes. We dust off in two minutes, thirty seconds.
Everyone inside the outpost. Ordo, stay with Intel, Nielson, Seekith,
get back out here and make sure we stay secure." He turned, and
faced north, aiming to keep that sector secure.
perked at the order. His feet swiftly carried him towards the
computer room. Upon entering he noticed a few bodies littering
throughout the facility. His attention returned to the computer room
which he was heading to. Upon enter the room Quar walked over to the
main terminal. His left hand reached inside of the olive drab pouch
located on the front of his vest. Out came a small datapad with a
few cables dangled from the rear. With a silent 'thud' he set the
datapad down on top of the computer terminal. Quar then moved to the
side of the computer terminal, wedging his foot behind it. He then
used his leg muscles to push the console away from the
wall. He grasped the cables from the back of the datapad and hooked
it directly into the input of the Imperial terminal. Quar remained
there as he took the datapad into his hands and began scrolling
through several Imperial log in screens. He gritted his
teeth as he thought for a moment of the proper login and ID. He shook
his head lightly as he reached back into that olive drab vest to
remove a sealed envelope. He brought the top of the envelope to his
teeth and clenched down on the tip, clearly ripping the top. Quar moved his gloved hand to remove the contents
and that information
was entered into the datapad. The screen danced for a few moments as
information began to flow freely. The datapad began recording the
information, which was being accessed. He then crumpled up the paper
in his hand and placed it back inside of his vest. "Almost done,"
Quar announced. The datapad screen confirmed that information and
files had been transferred. He yanked the cords out of the back of
the terminal and then wrapped the cords around the datapad. In
single movement Quar stood and set the datapad back in his vest. The
crumpled paper soon found its place in the same vest pocket. "Let's
we need dust off at the outpost. It's cleared, a safe LZ, but we
need you here now. Mission accomplished." He didnt waver from his
post, just moved his hand enough to get to the com.
unit lit up as the ground team's commanding officer contacted the Argo. "Commander, ground team is ready for dust-off."
Commander Atio began as he leant forward in his chair towards her,
"Lift off and bring us to them."
Tashi was in
the middle of lighting another cigarra when his voice violated her
eardrums yet again. Chocolate pools flickered to him for a fraction
of a second before she shifted in her chair. A bit of fast work on
the panel in front of her and the repulsors were firing hot. A
gentle tug on the controls and the craft lifted up as if it were
weightless. The ascent continued until they had cleared the highest
points of the canopy. Rotating the repulsors horizontally created
forward movement and the craft eased forward without a hitch. Across
the 200 meters in a matter of seconds, Tashi's eyes scanned the
ground for their makeshift rendezvous point. When the temporary LZ
came into view, she nodded her chin towards it slightly. "Going
down" she mumbled, and brought the Corvette into another gradual
hover before lowering her gently. Precarious balancing kept the ship
about a meter off the ground, included clearance for the still
Zev ran towards
the ramp of the Corvette, checking over his shoulder to ensure no
one was left behind. "Come on, let's get outta here!"
Aami had her
arms full with boxes of medical supplies "A little help here" She
stumbled a bit and walked onto the ramp.
quickly, stepping aboard the ramp, before he turned and kneeled
down, his weapon pointed towards thhe ground in a safe direction
while he covered those that were still boarding. "Mount up. Move."
peddled to the Argo, still covering their extraction. As he made it
up the ramp,
his eyes grew wide as he snapped around in excitement, "Do I smell
Leo Kincaid ran
towards the ship, balancing both freshly filled bags of supplies, a
slight look of terror on his face. Star Destroyers tended to do that
to rebels, especially non-combatants. He dropped his bags once he
boarded, bending over, hands on his knees to catch his breath. "The
party was fun, but I'd like to leave before it gets crashed"
the right flank as they covered the ground between the buildings and
the ship. She was still on guard against other guards that might be
towards the ramp of the Corvette, his left hand brushing against the
inside of his vest, just double-checking that the datapad was indeed
there. He laughed once to himself, "Wouldn't want to have to come
With all his
men loaded, he slapped the close button on the ramp. "Get secured
away for a rough evac. Strap in. I don't know if the pilots are
trustworthy yet." And so the Cuy'val Dar were all happy and alive.
flashed with a mix of irritation and concentration as Ardac's gaze
shifted from the pilot's cigarra back to the vast control panel laid
out before him. He was at home at the controls, and preferred his home
smoke-free. Just as his lips moved to form a complaint, a sensor went
off. His eyes widened a bit at the message the unit displayed ... and he
instinctively heated up the weapons systems, and readied the shields.
"Commander, sensors indicate a Carrack-class light cruiser hovering in orbit. Just sitting, like a Mynock. Orders?
Systems read green across the board."
Commander Atio shouted as he heard the report, "They must have
issued a distress call. Ardac ... get the weapons online." He turned
his head towards Tashi and addressed her quickly, "Tashi ... get us
out of here!"
digits were a blur as he ran through all necessary protocols to get
the Argo's weapons ready. Firing solutions and the like were
already rolling across the screen as he switched aiming from auto to
manual. "Guns are hot and ready to fire on your order, Commander."
Unfazed by the
presence of an enemy craft, the greater response of Tashi's came by
the mere usage of her name. Her eyes widened a bit, half rolling
"Finally" she muttered. Moving the cigarra to the side of her mouth,
both hands hit the controls and they were lifting beyond the safety
of the foliage. A bit more abruptly, the Corvette lurched forward,
skimming as tight an arc towards the atmosphere as the ship's design
would allow. "Hope everyone remember to fasten their crash
restraint" she mused, one corner of her mouth lifting as she
envisioned the crew being tossed around the bay along with all the
cheap eatery food wrappers and disposable cups.
The Carrack-class light cruiser began firing upon the Argo as it emerged from
the planet's atmosphere. The turbolaser fire impacted the ship's
shields and caused considerable damage to the jury-rigged system.
She could not take much of this!
together," Commander Atio said to the ship nervously. His head then
snapped forward towards the co-pilot, "Return fire!" and then to the
pilot, "Set a course for the Vergesso Asteroids and get us out of
The corners of
Ardac's eyes creased, a hint of worry and as much as he would show.
Their shield took the full brunt of the blow. He rerouted what extra
power he could to the shields, before leveling all of the Argo's
quads on the Carrack-class. He opened fire, hoping to cripple
the ship quickly so they could make a getaway. "Shields sustained
damage, operating at forty percent and dropping. I don't know if we
can hold them for long, Commander." As soon he was able, he fired
again, the lasers streaking across the darkened sky-like lances.
batteries impacted the shields of the Carrack cruiser some
effect, but by no means could compare to the damage being inflicted
on the Argo herself. As the vessel prepared its escape the
Imperial craft continues its seemingly endless barrage.
rerouting as much power to the shields from all unnecessary systems
as I can...we have three standard minutes, by my estimation, before
the shields fail completely. Weapons firing at
seventy-seven-percent..." The Chiss unleashed another volley of
blasts. He spared a glance to the pilot, hoping for some of that
tight maneuvering he knew she could pull off.
were already working the nav computer. When it produced the results
she was hoping for, she began prepping the engines for hyperspace.
"We have the coordinates...everyone say a prayer..." she said.
we're in for a bumpy ride ... shields holding, but not much longer.
I knew we shouldn't have fixed them with gum." A smirk touched his
lips, a faint show of confidence that they were going to make it. He
fired again, with all the Argo had in her.
flared to life on the rear of the Corellian Corvette Argo.
Suddenly the vessel prepared to enter hyperspace and surged forward
... no more than fifty meters. The indicator alarm on Tashi's panel
would indicate "hyperdrive malfunction."
"I just fixed
that thing," Commander Atio exclaimed and rose from his seat. "Take
evasive," he ordered as he proceeded down the corridor towards the
turbolift. The turbolift shook violent as he made his way down to
engineering. The vessel was holding up under the stress of the
attack as he joined the technicians in the repair of the hyperdrive,
which was being held together with something that looked like gum.
"Gentlemen," Commander Atio politely explained to them, "Now would
be a good time..."
blast from the Carrack cruiser penetrated the Argo's
shields and impacted the hull. The entire vessel shook violently
from the impact.
"Damm it Ardac!
I told you to put more then five credits worth in her" Tashi's brow
knit. "Hang on to your arses" she called, and with a shove on the
column, the Corvette reeled into a sharp dive with a few barrel
roles in for good measure.
power to sub-lights. Fore and Aft shields at twenty-two-percent.
Weapons systems are at sixty-percent and dropping. Sir, might I
suggest we throw rocks at them? It couldn't hurt." Ardac worked with
cool precision at his controls, despite the tight spot they were in.
His stomach lurched slightly as the pilot rolled them.
tried to maintain his balance, but was thrust against the hyperdrive
panel they were trying to repair.
The impact of
Commander Atio on the panel somehow forced some circuit back into
place and in a flash the Argo lurched forward into
hyperspace, streaking across the Outer Rim towards its rendezvous in
the Vergesso Asteroids.
Seekith Shardin took a deep breath,
holding it for a few seconds before letting it out. His adrenaline
high had just worn off. They had escaped the carrack cruiser over
Arzid. Those who had just finished the ground portion of mission
stood in the armory. Seekith had already stripped off his pack and
its attached repeating blaster and had started to work on his armor.
He winced as he suddenly remembered the blaster burn he had received
across his posterior. He glanced over his shoulder and could see the
hole burnt across his pants.
Aami, after taking off her medical
gear and vest, tiredly headed towards her bunk. She lay down
covering up and fixing her pillow, sighing as she went.
Seekith was soon down in the
barracks of the ship. The problem with the Corellian Corvette was
that there was so little room for individuals that most of the
commandos had to share one large room with lots of bunks. He nodded
to Aami as he passed her bunk and then crashed down onto his own,
just a few feet away. "Yaaa! Gorramit!" He immediately shot back up,
only to bump his head on the bunk above him. He quickly rolled over,
one hand grabbing his head, the other grabbing his rear.
Aami jumped up and ran to him. "Are
you okay!?" she asked him in a concerned tone as she helped him up.
She saw the burn on his butt. "Ouch! Why didn't you say something to
"...I forgot?" he asked with a
smile. "You were off...ducking somewhere and i still had two
buildings to clear. I wasn't about to stop and have you bandage my
Aami laughed and smiled at him,
"Well let's get that fixed right now. Lay down on you belly."
Seekith chuckled while gesturing at
the bed as he spoke, "I don't even fit on this thing when I lay on
my back, let alone on my belly."
"Okay fine then. Lay on my bed. It
is extra long, even though I don't need a long bed," Aami pointed to
"How the Hell did you get an extra
long bed? Man, I'm the tallest person on this ship. Fierfek! Oh
well, let's get this looked at." Seekith stood up with a grumpy look
on his face. He then turned around and started to bend over, his
hands resting on the tops of his thighs. The very mild burn could be
seen through the hole in his pants. "...just look at it here." His
butt floated several inches from her face as he waited to hear the
She pulled her medical backpack out
from under her bunk and then she examined his wound. "Hmm ... I
would say that is a first degree burn but it's not bad at all. I can
treat it easy." Aami chuckled a little and opened the backpack.
Seekith had not turned to look back
yet, "First degree burn? No way. It's just a little toasting back
there. It's all fur anyways. You're just seeing my singed hairs."
Aami ignored his comments as she
searched the backpack pulling out a tube of burn ointment. "Okay,
hold still please." Aami rolled down his pants enough to get to the
burn as she popped the cap. Pouring some in her hand and rubbed it
on the burn. Placing the tube back into her pack, she then pulled
out gauze and some medical tape and began trying to bandage the
"Holy Hutt!" Seekith screamed as he
felt the cream hit his butt. Before she could get the bandages on,
he had snapped around and was protecting his buttocks with both
hands. "Hey! It's fine. Just Singed hairs. Hairs! The skin is fine."
He stomped his foot with each syllable, "Leave it alone! You already
got the cream on it, it'll heal up...the fur will all be stuck
together now, but it will be fine."
Aami sighed with a sad expression
and walked out the door with her head hanging. Her medical bag still
Seekith sat down on the bed, his
rear-end hurting just a little less. He peered into her medical bag
while she was gone and took the chance to take some bandages for
later. They were already in his pocket before she returned.
Aami walked back into the room and
to her bunk holding a bottle of medicine for a headache. She sat
down, popped open the bottle and took one. "Ugh! My head is killing
Seekith reached his hand out
silently asking for a pill for himself, "The mission get to ya?"
Aami placed a pill in his hand. "No.
It's not that. It's just ... Ah never mind, it's nothing." She lay
back on her bed.
"Nah, tell me! What's the worst that
will happen? I'll laugh at you and call you names?" Seekith took the
pill and waited for her answer.
"It's just that I get bad headaches
occasionally." Aami sighed and stared up at the top bunk that was
"I do too sometimes ... usually
after I get them after something broken over my skull though. What
brings on yours?" Seekith asked.
"Anything," Aami closed her eyes and
yawned. Her eyes reopened as she quickly sat back up, "I need to
"Baah! Battle's over. Take a nap.
It's the best thing to do after one." Seekith looked down for a
moment and then turned his head back up at her with a quizzical look
on it, "Was that your first battle? I don't really know much about
"That was my first real battle,
yes," Aami laughed a little, "What's there to know? I'm the medic
and I'm small. There you go."
"What?! That was really your first
battle?" Seekith excitedly started spiting out questions, "Wow! Were
you scarred? Were you excited? What did think? Are you ready to jump
right back into the heat and kick some one in the face? Tell me
"Whoa slow down! One at a time!" She
looked completely confused from all the questions. "Now let's try
this again. Yes that was my first battle and no I wasn't too
"Not scarred? I was terrified my
first battle. At least for the first seventeen seconds of it. After
that, it was greatest rush I had ever had. I was guarding a space
port in the Corporate Sector. We got hit by terrorists. I just stood
there in shock for a few seconds. Then I pulled my blaster and just
let loose. Before I knew it I was in the thick of it, literally
throwing bodies around. Man, what a fight! Was it anything like that
for you?" Seekith said.
"Yes it was a rush of adrenaline."
Aami scratched the back of her head. "Any other questions you want
to ask me?" she asked as she stood up and stretched.
"No, no. I'm just surprised. I mean
I figured a small girl like you..." Seekith caught himself and back
tracked with a sarcastic tone that made it so you could not tell if
he was joking or serious, "not that it matters. But no prior combat
training ... Most people in your position would have frozen up."
"Uh..." Aami blinked a few times.
"Well I guess you have to be tough in situations like that." She sat
back down and crossed her legs. "But I guess everyone can't be
Seekith smiled as he leaned back
against the post of his bunk, "You're a tough little one aren't you?
And here I was getting ready to offer to be your Alien-Shield, but
it looks like you've got the guts not to need me."
Aami laughed a little. "Nope don't
need a shield." She yawned again, "Still gotta stay awake."
"Well I need a shield. Mind if I
pick you up by your belt and use you some time?" Seekith lifted up
his left arm and swung it around like he had a rag dog blocking for
him, "Use you to deflect off all the blaster bolts coming my way. In
case you haven't noticed I'm a big target and I need all the help I
Aami's mouth dropped open. "You
can't be serious!" She sat up quickly, "Who would heal you after
"...Captain Tong? He seems like the
nurturing type in an, I'll beat you to death with your own arm
kind of way." The Cathar chuckled at his own joke, causing his
mutton chops to bounce. "Well, if our tough little medic ever does
get scared, you may use me as your shield. Better yet, just always
use me as your shield. That way if I ever get hit, you can plug up
the hole with your finger and I can keep on shooting."
"Great!" Aami explain sarcastically,
"'cause that's why I join the Rebellion. To have big smell fur ball
bleed all over me."
"Fine then little one," Seekith
chuckled, "Why did you decide to be a medic for this wondrous
Rebellion of ours?"
"Do you know why I do what I do?"
Aami asked, "I do it because the Empire killed my mother who was a
nurse on a Rebel frigate. She was killed a long time ago during a
raid on a base when I was young." She looked around at the Corellian
Corvette. "Heh ... it's kind of funny really." She then looked at
him again, "that sort of is the summary of my life. But I don't want
to bore you with meaningless facts."
Seekith leaned back again, his face
taking on a more serious look, "Hey no! It's not meaningless. We are
nothing more then a sum of our actions and experiences. You should
get some rest though. I don't think they will need to be debriefing
you. But me..." Seekith stood back up and stretched a little bit. "I
should get moving to the conference room."
"Maybe you're right," Aami yawned
and blinked a few times. "I am a little tired after that." She laid
back and looked at him "It was good meeting you Seekith. Maybe we
can get together tomorrow and talk more over lunch?"
Seekith gave her the kind of wink a
big brother gives a little sister. As he walked by, while headed
towards the door, his left hand snapped out and ruffled up her hair,
"Of course I'm right. Now go get your beauty sleep!"
Aami laughed as he messed up her
hair. "Hey cut it out." She laughed and smiled. "Okay I will." She
grabbed her covers, pulled them over her and placed her head on her
A gloved hand lifted to
brush a few rogue strands of straight brown hair back from her face.
From her perch halfway under a bulkhead, curled with her booted feet
propped up against the panelwork, Tashi Ling worked meticulously on
a bit of wiring, hoping desperately both it and the Corvette would
hold out for a bit longer. Her work area laden with discarded
cigarra butts, she inhaled, filling her lungs with the smoky poison
and loving every minute of it.
Derek Atio approached Tashi from behind. He had been secretly
carrying on with the beautiful young pilot for several weeks now and
he had been careful to not let the rest of the crew find out. As he
approached her from behind he wrapped both of his arms around her
and ran his hands over her smooth stomach. He closed his eyes and
sighed tiredly. It had been a long day and they had only barely
survived. "Let's go to bed, Tashi," he said pathetically, as he
moved her back against him tightly.
flattened as she eyed the wiring and with a wary sigh of
resignation, turned to look over her shoulder with tired eyes. She
plucked the cigarra from her mouth, lifted a foot and crushed it
against the thick rubber sole. "I'm coming" she mumbled, running one
of the black leather gloves over her ponytail. "I need a shower
first" she added, the strain of the mission evident in her voice.
long," Derek said quietly as he moved his face down towards the back
of her neck. He adjusted her ponytail and kissed the back of her
neck sweetly. He turned to walk back towards his cabin and then
stopped suddenly. He turned his head over his shoulder and looked at
her for a moment, smiling. He then nodded and disappeared down the
corridor towards his quarters.