Dec 30, 2006
“There's not much we can do for them yet” Blake says, shaking his head.
“Unless we can get a fix on which of the hangar doors they're at. Then we can make sure that's the one we open. Other than that, flashing up some phoney hot spots on the internal security is about all we've got”
The ship lurches suddenly, interrupting.
“And of course, Kurt's gunners are doing their bit” he adds.
“Maybe forcing all the turbolifts to head as far away from that section as they can, but even that's pushing things. Unless we are very careful, they could all get killed”
Kanwarr roars a warning just before several showers of sparks leap from the frame of the bridge door.
“Sithspit” Torren hisses, “Faras, Wes, where are the controls for the blast doors?”
“I've got it” Faras calls, hitting the controls.
Immediately, triple-thick blast doors slide into place.
“That'll hold them, but they're going to be reporting us any second now” Blake warns, “I can't wait any longer. We have to start the emergency protocols before we lose access, Torren, get the others' location, fast!”
Nodding, Torren reaches out with the Force.
'Kistra, Cruix, where are you?' he thinks towards them, 'Look for markings on the walls or doors nearby'
Down near the hangar bay, Kistra and Cruix get the message. As she is closest to the door, Kistra is able to find the answer first.
Concentrating hard, she thinks back to Torren 'Hangar Bay access Aurek-Aurek-three'
Out loud she says to Tomla “It's all right, Tomla. We forgive you, and we're here to rescue you”
Tomla nods dimly but says nothing, almost as if she is still in shock.
Meanwhile Cruix continues his healing efforts.
Outside, the Freedom Star and the Pit of Despair continue to trade Turbolaser blasts while the ten surviving Sabre Squadron X-Wings strive to help by attacking from different angles in order to keep the Imperials from concentrating their deflector shields on the Freedom Star.
The attack is certainly keeping the Imperials busy, which is exactly what Arrisa had in mind.
On the backup bridge of the Pit of Despair, Torren relays the information to Blake.
“Here goes nothing” Blake says, keying the controls.
For a few seconds, it looks like nothing happened, then alarms start blaring.
“Is that good or bad for us?” Faras asks nervously.
“It's good” Blake assures her, “The door is open and we have a little more time than we thought we would. They designated the main bridge as the command centre right before I initiated the protocols so it will stay open for longer. As long as they don't know on the bridge which door it is, we can hold off on the comm announcement for a minute or so. That would give the others a little longer to recover”
Down at the hangar bay, Xan is the first to notice the force field around the door vanish and the door begin to slide open.
“Look, we can get thr-oww! Watch what you're doing!” he shouts at Cruix, who was pulling the shrapnel out and using the Force to help the boy heal.
“Come on, Tomla” Kistra says soothingly, helping the Ithorian to her feet.
“We're getting out of here. I said we'd be fine”
Tomla makes no comment, simply allowing Kistra to guide her through the door and into the hangar bay.
Those two are the first onto a large gantry overlooking the hangar bay itself. At various points the safety rails give way to ladders that will allow the group to descend to the shuttles some twelve metres below.
Valara joins Kistra and surveys the scene.
“Looks quiet enough for the moment” she observes quietly, “If there are any guards in there, they're being very quiet about it. I'll go first. If the coast is clear, bring Tomla down”
Kistra draws her DL-44 and nods her assent, then motions for Jayce to join them.
“We'll cover you as best we can” she says, “Jayce, over there”
Jayce quickly complies, moving into position as Valara starts to climb down.
All of a sudden, blaster fire rings out and Valara screams then falls from the ladder.
Taking careful aim, Kistra and Jayce both return fire, dropping the pair of Imperial Stormtroopers who just attacked her.
“Sithspit” Kistra hisses, “Jayce, can you see any more?”
Jayce's answer comes in the form of a blaster shot, which is followed by a muffled crash from somewhere below.
“Just that one!” he shouts.
“Right!” Kistra shouts back.
“Cruix, get in here! Valara's been hit hard and she needs help right now!”
Meanwhile, Torren, Kanwarr and Faras just finish cutting through the floor of the backup bridge as Blake activates ship-wide internal comms.
“Attention all escaping prisoners! This is Captain Wes Blake of the Rebel Alliance. Our people have control of the only open exit to the hangar bays. If you want to come with us, you have exactly five minutes from the end of this message to reach hangar bay access door aurek-aurek-three. Oh, and just in case the Imperial slugs are thinking of locking that section down, they can't because they're about to have a serious power failure. No-one get in the turbolifts. Have fun”
The words 'power failure' were Torren's cue to detonate the charges.
He wastes no time in doing so and the whole ship is rocked mercilessly. The lights all go out and several computer panels explode before red emergency lights come on.
Kanwarr and Faras are through the hole before the emergency lights finish coming on. Blake and Torren are a few moments behind.
“Come on, big guy” Torren says to his furry companion, “Let's get out of here”
Outside, the effect of the internal explosions is immediately seen. A great jet of flame streaks from the Pit of Despair's ion drives, its weapon batteries fall silent, and the shields flicker out of existence. The Freedom Star's turbolaser blasts strike the black Star Destroyer's bridge completely unhindered while the X-Wings obliterate several of the now dormant weapons arrays.
“They're not going to live this one down!” Arrisa cries triumphantly.
[“Who told him this was a good plan?”] DeeDee beeps angrily as a flurry of blaster bolts fly over her dome and are batted away by Stessa's dark blue lightsabre.
[“Telling Stormtroopers where we are is just ridiculous”]
Largely unconcerned by the fact that no-one who understands her is actually listening, she once again uses her internal fire extinguisher to throw up a cloud of concealing smoke before she and Stessa retreat towards the doorway, where Xan is already waiting.
“I hate the plan too” he says to DeeDee, “But this lot seem to trust him so we're stuck with it”
Oddly, no blaster bolts appear through the smoke cloud, though there is a definite sound of blaster fire being let loose. After a few moments, all falls silent, save the ominous hum of a lightsabre blade, and echoing footsteps.
“I have a bad feeling about this” Xan groans.
A few moments later, a gaunt white-skinned humanoid male with black hair and armour steps into view, a sulphurous blade at his side.
Immediately his eyes shift to Stessa.
“Chiss!” he yells, then calls upon the Force and makes a fist.
The crushing power of the Dark Side engulfs Stessa, who can only cry out in pain.
Without hesitating, Xan reaches out with the Force and hurls the largest thing he can find at the Dark Jedi; DeeDee.
She lets out an electronic screech and fires her integrated hold-out blaster as she is propelled into the target.
Her hasty shot only draws his lightsabre downwards, but that means that he can't bisect her as she hits him with such force that he drops his blade, loses his Force hold on Stessa and falls backwards about ten feet.
Trying to stop a rampaging Wookiee with a lightsabre is nigh on impossible, as a number of Stormtroopers are finding to their cost. Of course when the Wookiee has a trio of human companions, the odds drop to terminal.
Blake, Faras, Kanwarr, and Torren don't even slow down. They just keep running through the ship towards the hangar pay, blasting or de-arming any Imperial that gets in their way.
“ohacro waoo aoacworo wohowowh rhooaoacworc ohahaoac aoacwoahrc cacwoananc?” Kanwarr roars as he kills their twelfth trooper in the running battle with a deflected shot.
“Beats me, buddy” Torren replies, “Though usually they're not up against fighters of our calibre”
Blake and Faras grin at the comments, and the whole group just keeps running...
Down at the hangar bay, Cruix has safely reached Valara without being shot at, or more accurately without being hit. Another trooper took a shot at him but missed and was taken out by Kistra.
“Don't worry, Valara” he says, using the Force to heal her.
“I'll have you up and about again in no time”
As the healing power of the Force flows through Valara's body, she feels her connection to it deepen.
“Wow, that was intense” she gasps, “Thank you”
Cruix smiles down at her, then helps her to her feet.
“Don't mention it” he says, then turns his attention upwards back towards the rest of the group.
In the narrow cul de sac corridor, Xan and Stessa are engaged in a deadly duel with the white-skinned male.
“Your Thrawn destroyed my people” he snarls at Stessa, punctuating his words with an adder-quick thrust at Stessa's heart which she deftly parries, allowing Xan to counter with an overhead slash that is also sadly blocked.
“Ten thousand ships on fire” the male continues, in between blows “The entire Nagai fleet wiped out in one day”
All three blades lock together at that moment, allowing the Nagai to kick Stessa in the gut and send her reeling.
“My homeworld blasted to rubble!” he cries, advancing to strike again and is intercepted by Xan, who he dispatches with a vicious backhand.
“But now, Pas'tess'affaré, I will have my revenge!”
He plunges his lightsabre straight down at Stessa's chest but she acts faster, rolling clear and using the Force to propel her own lightsabre right through the Nagai's knees.
As he falls, screaming to the floor, Stessa finds her voice.
“You attacked us first” she declares, catching her breath, and recalling her lightsabre before continuing.
“Your people were a serious threat to the Chiss. We did only what was necessary to protect ourselves from you. The Chiss are never the aggressor people”
Coughing up milky blood, the Nagai snorts in contempt.
“Stupid schutta” he gasps.
“Thrawn... Thrawn tricked you all. He... he used the humans. They att... attacked us. We followed... followed them to Chiss space... and retaliated. That was... was when Thrawn told you... that we were... the aggressors. Your people... betrayed themselves”
Stessa shakes her head.
“You're lying” she insists, “Not even Thrawn would go that far. He would never be allowed to get away with it. He wouldn't throw his career away like that”
By this time, Xan is back on his feat, nursing a broken nose.
“Who is Thrawn” he asks, the words slightly muffled by his hand.
“Thrawn is a murderer and a liar” the Nagai insists, “His people destroyed mine and as long as I have breath in my body, I will have my revenge, starting with her”
Calling on the Dark Side with what may be his last breath, he reaches out and starts choking Stessa with the Force.
As her eyes roll back in her sockets and she is lifted helplessly by the throat, it looks like she is as good as dead until Xan reignites his stolen lightsabre and plunges it into the Nagai's chest, right where a human's heart would be.
The Nagai coughs once, then slumps back, and Stessa falls to the ground coughing and spluttering.
Further up the ship, Torren, Kanwarr, Faras and Blake come across a dark-skinned human woman with close-cropped hair who has just vanquished a Viper Trooper with a crafted sword.
Upon seeing them, she pulls the sword from his body and takes up a defensive stance.
“Who are you?” she demands.
Torren lays a restraining hand on Kanwarr's arm to prevent his great furry companion from doing anything rash.
“We're with the Rebellion” he says, “I'm Torren, and these are my friends. Kanwarr, Faras, and Wes Blake. I can feel the Force in you. Please, come with us. We can help you. What's your name?”
She eyes Torren suspiciously for a moment, then lowers her sword.
“Dayna” she says, “The Imperials killed my father and captured me after a long chase. I didn't make it easy for them but I still want them to pay”
Torren exchanges a look with Blake.
“If this works, the ones who hurt you will have met justice” he says, “And then you can move on. Fight without hatred. Seek justice, not vengeance, or the power inside you will destroy you and everyone around you. Sorry, we don't really have time for lessons on Jedi 101, but keep that in mind, ok? It will help you. Let's get going before any more Imperials decide to make this trip more interesting”
Dayna rolls her eyes at the sermonising but falls in with the group.
Things at the hangar bay are starting to get more complicated. Two more prisoners have arrived; a Rodian and a Quarren. Both are badly wounded, and being chased by Stormtroopers and an officer.
“Xan, get them onto the shuttle!” Stessa shouts, igniting her own dark blue blade, and the yellow blade of the Nagai to fend off the attacks from the troopers. She is able to deflect their first volley but it is obvious that she is having trouble even with the second blade.
The Stormtroopers redouble their efforts but Stessa is suddenly yanked aside by Xan's use of the Force.
“Look, lady” he says, “I may be a kid but I didn't get a thorough choking. You get them out of here and get the blind guy to fix you. I'll show the Imperials what I'm made of”
For a moment Stessa looks like she is going to argue, then Jayce comes back out of the hangar bay.
“It's all clear in there. We flushed another four troopers” he says, “We just need to pick a shuttle. I'll help Xan. He's my responsibility”
Wearily, Stessa nods, then escorts the Quarren and the Rodian into the hangar bay.
Igniting his stolen lightsabre, Jayce suddenly notices DeeDee. Recognising the usefulness of the droid in their escape so far although she appears to be offline right now, he uses the Force to pull her out of the firing line.
No sooner has he done so, the Imperials round the corner and attack. The two Zeison Sha easily deflect their blasts despite not being trained Jedi. The Force guides their blades.
Xan then uses the Force to help him lob a pair of stun grenades into the middle of the Imperial group, knocking the 6 Stormtroopers down and severely disorientating the officer, who cannot fire back effectively.
His shot is so far wide that it ends up in the wrong corridor.
With a nod of approval from his teacher, Xan once again reaches out with the Force. This time he touches the mind of the Imperial officer and says “You've been shot in the arm. You need to go to the medical bay”
The officer cries out in agony, drops his blaster pistol as he cradles his 'damaged' arm, and promptly flees.
“Nicely done” Jayce says approvingly.
Further up the ship, Torren's expanding group continues to race for the hangar bay, though their progress is being slowed by a number of dead bodies littering the corridors.
“Almost makes you wonder how the Empire managed to capture all these people in the first place” Blake observes, almost tripping over a severed head.
“oorhhoahoohucanro aoacworo oaacworaaowowa!” Kanwarr roars.
Noting the perplexed looks on the faces of Faras and Dayna, Torren translates for his friend.
“He said they cheated, and he does have a point. The Empire can't have had to face us all at once”
Further comment is put on hold as he and Kanwarr have to deflect a pair of blaster bolts from two black-armoured troopers who had been waiting in ambush.
Torren retaliates with a well aimed Force push that sends one trooper flying head-first into a nearby door-frame.
Kanwarr decapitates his foe on the way past with a powerful lightsabre strike.
“We've got to be getting close now” Faras says, almost pleadingly.
Blake's answer is drowned out by a loud scream from somewhere up ahead.
A split second is all it takes for him and Torren to exchange looks, nod, and change direction, taking a side corridor in order to reach the source of the screams.
After about twenty metres, they round another corner and come to the source; a willowy pale-blue-skinned female humanoid with a great crest of white hair atop her head, clad in dark blue robes, and shielding a child; a pre-pubescent girl with flame red hair.
Backing them into a corner, are an armoured Dark Jedi and a pair of Viper troopers.
“crqhuahcacro oaooohrarcwac anworahowo oaacahanwa raanoowhwo! crqhuahcacro oaooohrarcwac wwraoawo ohrcraaoac ooww orrawhohrarcrc!” Kanwarr roars and charges at the Imperials.
He easily deflects a barrage of blaster fire from the troopers and bisects the Dark Jedi coward, his white blade slicing up through his target's crotch, and his red blade slicing down through the head to meet in the middle at about the bottom of the target's ribs.
The pale-blue woman tries to hide the young girl's eyes, as well as her own. It is obvious that she is utterly terrified by the whole thing.
Following in Kanwarr's wake, Torren and Blake target the Viper troopers' weapons, disarming them and allowing Faras and Dayna to finish the job by using the Force to slam the troopers into the walls hard enough to knock them out through their helmets.
“crawwwo whoooh! wwooananoooh orrawhohrarcrc! Rchuwh!” Kanwarr roars, though the pale-blue woman seems too terrified to listen.
“They can't understand you, buddy” Torren says firmly, laying a hand on his great friend's shoulder, “But you did really well. Go on, we'll be right behind you”
Kanwarr looks at Torren for a moment then gives a single woof of assent and complies, allowing his friend to talk to the frightened people.
“Hi there” Torren says to the flame-haired girl and the pale-blue woman, offering them his free hand.
“My name's Torren. My friends and I are here to rescue you. We'll get you off this Force-forsaken ship and take you where it's safe”
The pale-blue woman seems unable to speak but the flame-haired girl's eyes are darting between you and Blake.
“Oh, wow!” she cries suddenly, “Look miss Zalli, It's Blake! Blake and the Jedi. Can I have your autographs when we get out of here? That's the only way my parents will believe that I met you”
Blake suppresses a chuckle and grins at Torren.
“Can't disappoint our public” he murmurs.
Torren nods, then turns back to the girl.
“Sure thing, sweety,” he say softly, “But let's get out of here first, ok?”
Neither the girl nor 'miss Zalli' need telling twice and fall in with the group as they resume their run for the hangar bay.
Down in the hangar bay, Kistra has joined Valara by the chosen shuttle, and with the aid of a requisitioned security kit, is working on getting the boarding ramp down.
“What kind of paranoid creeps lock their own shuttles?” Valara moans.
“The Imperial kind” Kistra quips straight back.
“Hold on, I think I've got it. Yep, I've got it”
The boarding ramp obligingly opens.
“Right, next we make sure this tub will actually fly when Blake and Torren get down here. Come on, let's see what we have to do with the computers”
Cruix, meanwhile is healing Stessa and the newcomers; the Rodian and the Quarren, and Xan & Jayce are standing guard at the doorway to the rest of the ship, along with the still-inactive DeeDee.
All of a sudden there is a great shout of the Force from around the corner and two humans come flying down that corridor and slam into the wall at great speed. One is female, with dark brown hair that falls almost the whole length of her back and intricate blue tattoos on her upper arms, thighs, and cheeks, and is wearing a leather tunic, shorts & boots. The other is probably male, and is wearing black robes and a mask.
Less than three seconds after impact, the male slumps to the ground with a knife in his chest.
The tattooed woman uses the Force to call the knife to her hand then suddenly dives closer to Jayce and Xan, a fraction of a second before the space she was just occupying is filled with blaster fire.
“Clouds of fire!” she exclaims, looking up at the two Zeison Sha.
“If you men are Rebels, make yourselves useful. Aid me against those approaching Imperials”
Her words are met by looks of bewilderment. Jayce and Xan look to each other then back down at her and start to laugh. The deep, jovial booming of Jayce and the adolescent laughter of Xan so not improve the woman's mood one bit.
She draws herself up haughtily and scoffs.
“Men. Obviously you're not from an enlightened matriarchal society so you are forgiven but we are still about to get attacked”
“Then if you will permit the males to defend you, my lady?” Jayce says sarcastically, dragging Xan past her.
“Cover me” he hisses, then calls upon the Force to guide his aim and draws his discblade.
He throws it just before he and Xan round the corner to see ten oncoming Stormtroopers...
Well, nine oncoming Stormtroopers now as one of them collapses with blood spurting from his neck when Jayce's discblade bounces off the wall and bites through the join of his helmet and armour and his carotid artery before returning to his hand.
Xan ignites his borrowed lightsabre and follows the discblade attack with a stun grenade that drops another five before blocking the return fire as best he can.
As one, the surviving troopers go for their grenades but are suddenly cut down by a hail of blaster fire from somewhere behind them.
As the bodies hit the floor, Blake, Torren, and Kanwarr can be seen at the far end of the corridor, holding blaster carbines.
“Nothing to it” Jayce says triumphantly, then turns to the tattooed woman.
“Now then, my lady, if it is not too much trouble, might I know your name?” he enquires with obviously exaggerated graciousness.
She glares at him then answers. “My name is Arianna Ka of the planet Dathomir. I appreciate your combat abilities and enquire as to your names”
“I am Jayce, and this is my young student Xan. As you guessed earlier, we are with the Rebels. Some more of our friends are down there in the hangar bay behind you, prepping our escape shuttle and the rest are almost here. This way”
Arianna looks at Jayce then quickly enters the hangar bay. The two Zeison Sha are right behind her. Looking down from the gantry, they can see Cruix, Stessa, and the Rodian boarding one of the shuttles.
“Ladies first” Jayce says, gesturing towards the nearest ladder, earning him another glare, though Arianna doesn't argue. She mounts the ladder and starts to climb down just as Torren and the others arrive.
He and Blake are still wearing their Imperial disguises, though they are now very, very dirty.
Kanwarr is carrying a large number of weapons and a human girl with flame-red hair.
Beyond Kanwarr are three women; two humans and an alien.
“Sorry we're late” Blake says to Jayce as Torren notices DeeDee.
“Traffic was murder. How are we doing?”
“We picked up six” Jayce replies.
“I think that means we won” he adds with a wink.
Blake just grins and Kanwarr woofs with laughter.
“Blaaaaake” a voice struggles forth from behind their group.
Immediately, Blake turns around and sees a badly wounded Clawdite reaching for him.
“All of you, get on the ship” he says, “I'll be right there”
He then walks back over to the Clawdite and kneels besides her.
“I'm sorry, Xev” he murmurs, “We'll get you out of here”
“No” Xev gasps, “Don't deserve... help. Blake... I'm so... Naboo... Travis. I... I...”
Racking coughs halt her words for several agonisingly long moments before she recovers and looks Blake right in the face.
“I'm so sorry. I told Travis about... about Naboo”
As the last word passes her lips, her hold on life gives out.
For a moment, Blake is stunned. He can't believed what he just heard. Only Torren's hand on his shoulder snaps him back to reality.
“Wes, we're running out of time” he says urgently, “Everyone else is down there, even DeeDee. We need to go. Now”
Blake nods, rising to his feet.
“You're right” he says firmly, “Let's get out of here and get back to Naboo while it's still in one piece”
One after the other, Blake and Torren slide down the ladder into the waiting arms of Kanwarr and Jayce.
“Everyone else is aboard” Jayce reports, “Xan just took the droid. Come on”
Neither man needs telling twice.
Side by side, Blake, Torren, Kanwarr and Jayce run to the shuttle. Kanwarr boards last just as there are several explosions from somewhere above them.
“crqhuahcacahwoc rhrcworaorahwhrr ahwh! aoahscwo ohwo ohworcwo rroowhwo!” he roars.
“I hear you, big guy” Torren shouts back from the cockpit, “Everyone get comfy, this is about to be a really bumpy ride”
As Blake settles into the pilot seat, Kistra looks up from one of the other control panels.
“We're fully fuelled and powered up” she says, “According to this, we have Stormtroopers coming in from all sides up above”
“Right” Blake acknowledges as he flips the switches to start the shuttle's take off.
“Kistra, give me shields. Torren, strap in and fire up the guns We are going to make one hell of a mess on the way out”
Torren grins and does as he is told.
“Hit those shuttles, I'm going to make the troopers keep their heads down”
Blasting away, the newly-stolen shuttle turns through one hundred and eighty degrees until it is now pointing in the right direction. During it's turn, three parked shuttles are blasted to scrap and dozens of ineffectual troopers are obliterated.
Blake then guns the drives and sets the shuttle screaming clear. A final salvo on the way out obliterates another parked shuttle and half the docking equipment.
Immediately, Kistra gets on the comm.
“All Alliance ships, this is the shuttle containing the craziest stunt-people in the galaxy. I don't know what this thing's official name is, anyway we pulled it off”
“What did we win?” Torren chimes in.
“A free ride home” Arrisa answers over her own comm board. “And a whole lot of praise. Come on back, and we can celebrate”
Fleeing the scene, the stolen shuttle is escorted out to the Freedom Star by the ten intact X-Wings of Sabre Squadron. Once all the smaller ships have docked, the Freedom Star makes the jump to hyperspace...
About three hours later, they emerge near Naboo. The new heroes of the Rebellion and those they liberated are ferried down to Theed in the Syren's Heart and the stolen shuttle to be congratulated but also to warn the Queen of the impending Imperial attack...
It's morphin time! ...Oh wait, wrong universe. Now where did I put my lightsabre?
Winner of "You Build the Character 16 - Wedge Antilles" and "You Make the ... Contest 3 - Elite Forces"