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 Post subject: RS Plot 17a
PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:38 am 
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<cue theme music>

Six weeks have passed since COMPNOR crashed KESHOC STATION
into its parent planet. The plague released from the impact spread
aggressively across the world, infecting the human and non-human
population within hours. KESHOC proved to be only the first as
outbreaks were quickly reported at nearly every major transportation
hub though out the galaxy.

The NEW REPUBLIC, struggling to provide relief for the countless
suffering and dying from this strange illness, have yet to discover a
cure. CORUSCANT has become a quarantined world in the hopes of
holding back the plague while a cure is sought.

Meanwhile, the EMPIRE has reemerged from their corner of space to
the aid of the dying worlds; offering an apparent cure and the hope
of survival. World after world has pledged their allegiances to the
EMPIRE out of desperation or from Imperial coercion, and the NEW
REPUBLIC has become dangerously fragmented while the EMPIRE
once again becomes the dominant force in the galaxy…


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


*beep*

“Pilot’s log, Lieutenant Brya Jaa’roo. Day… actually I’m not sure how many days it’s been since we lost contact with Command. What’s left of Black Force Squadron-- myself, Agent Monroe, and Flight Officer Nyret – are coming up on the twenty-first hour of recon duty. So far no Imperial activity detected in the system. We’re scheduled to rendezvous with the Sacul near the third planet in about…”

*pause*

“... sith... eight hours from now. Monroe and Nyret should be making their way back from the far side of the system-- hopefully they’ve had a more interesting time. Closing in now on the moon of the gas giant to scan for, as Colonel Loran put it, ‘anything useful’. Lieutenant Jaa’roo out.”

*beep*

Sliding her flight helmet off, she ran a gloved hand through her long brown-dyed hair and tucked several wayward strands behind her ears. With a tired grunt she dropped the helmet into her lap and slumped down in the seat. She hated how cramped the X-Wing cockpit was compared to her DeathSeed. The only saving grace was that in an X-Wing you were able to take your helmet off without suffocating.

“Alright Scon,” she muttered to the droid nestled in the socket behind the cockpit as she gripped the controls and locked the fighter into a stable orbit around the planet ‘above’ her. “Let’s get this over with as soon as possible and regroup with the others. Hopefully the Sacul’ll be on time so I can get out of this crate, report to Loran, and then have my seven minutes of shower time.”

Scon warbled, recalling several showers during which she’d elapsed the seven minute limit and then some.

“I seem to recall -you- creating several distractions to keep the techs busy so you could soak in your oil baths a few minutes longer…” she replied, lazily directing the fighter’s sensor package to scan the surface of the moon.

He made another comment regarding her bathing and ended with a wolf-whistle.

She shot an irritated scowl over her shoulder to the droid beyond the canopy. “Two words, Scon! Memory wipe!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Two escape pods, New Republic signatures. Hard landings. No life signs.

“Black Two to Black Lead.” The comm system burst to life.

“Lead here,” Brya replied, twisting her hair back up into its netting and replacing her helmet. “Little busy at the moment Monroe; I’ve found the remains of two escape pods on the moon of the gas giant. Their beacons ID them with a Calamari cruiser. The poor devils didn’t stand a chance after the impact…”

“I think we may have found the source of those pods, Lieutenant…”

She froze. “Where?”

“Near the asteroid belt in sector one-eight-five. It’s not pretty.”

“On route now,” she replied, pulling her fighter out of orbit and punching the engines to full power.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Alderaan’s ghosts…” she whispered, her jaw unconsciously falling slack.

The smoldering remains of dozens of vessels and hundreds of fighters had been scattered across several kilometers of open space. The countless bodies of crews -- some whole, some not -- drifted through the debris; expressions of terror, panic, and surprise, frozen on their faces for eternity. Broken, twisted hulls of Mon Calamari cruisers and Remnant Star Destroyers composed the largest of the wreckage while Strike-class cruisers and GR-75 transports, still burning amidst their spilled cargo containers, dotted the area.

It took the lieutenant a few moments to register the comm’s tone. “Lead here…” she whispered, the sudden dryness of her throat reminding her to swallow.

“Black Two here, Ma’am.”

“Report.”

“We’ve identified several of the Imperial vessels and all three of the Star Destroyers. The Victory-II’s ID as the Revenge and the Annihilation. The Interdictor IDs as the Dominator.”

“And ours?”

“The, uh…” Monroe hesitated a moment before continuing. “The Calamari cruisers were ID’ed as the Mediator, the Defiance, and the one in front of you, uh…”

The hesitation in his voice made her chest tighten. Her gaze was fixed on the broken wreckage of the cruiser beyond her fighter’s nose -- its hull blacked with countless scorch-marks and cavernous holes from internal explosions nearly detaching the stern from the rest of the massive ship. “The what, Monroe?”

The reply was preceded by a heavy sigh, “it’s the Vindicator.”

Brya could only sit in stunned silence, not even registering the emergence of her wingmates from the debris field and their fall into formation with her fighter. The Vindicator… she had been the home of Black Force Squadron and the had been the primary vessel of New Republic Intelligence since the quarantine of Coruscant… personally commanded by General Airen Cracken. The Director of New Republic Intelligence, their friends, their squadmates, but most importantly, one of the most critical departments -- especially now -- had been wiped out.

A dark cloud descended upon all that remained of the New Republic’s Intelligence agency.

The comm. cracked to life again, this time with Brya’s voice; certain and determined. “We still have a mission to complete people. Monroe, scan the debris for any life signs no matter how faint. Nyret, start checking out those GR-75s; I want to know if there’s anything salvageable we can use. When you’ve finished, rendezvous with me at the stern of the Vindicator. We need to know if there’s anything left of her computer core that can be recovered. We have less than seven hours before the Sacul’s scheduled to arrive and I want some good news to report.”

The pilots clicked an affirmative before heading back out into the field.

Scon moaned sadly as Brya slowly looked up from her tear-stained lap. Gripping the controls tightly, she began maneuvering through the drifting debris towards the cruiser.


Last edited by Bowman Gavin on Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: RS Plot 17a
PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:30 pm 
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Written with Face writing as Face.
======================================

The X-Wing shuddered mildly as the magnetic clamps latched on to the fighter’s S-Foils.

“Docking sequence complete,” the Sacul’s voice chimed as the hangar doors slid shut. “Compartment repressurization complete in fifteen seconds. Welcome back Lieutenant Jaa’roo.”

Brya sat quietly with her hands in her lap as the hiss of atmosphere slowly became audible. The shock of the seeing the destroyed Vindicator was beginning to wear off but the image had been burned into her mind. She shook her head to clear the images. There was no sense dwelling on what had happened. What mattered now was the survival of the living and the precious cargo waiting to be salvaged.

Popping the canopy hatch, she took a deep breath of recycled air as she removed her helmet. Placing the helmet on the floor of the cockpit she stood up and swung a leg over the side of the fighter.

Scon let off with a series of whistles as the he began lifting from his socket

“No, stay with the ship,” she said, unzipping the front of her black and dark-gray flight suit, revealing the lighter gray tank top beneath. “I want to get back out there after the Colonel authorizes a salvage mission.”

The R2 unit let out a two-tone raspberry as he began lowing back into the socket.

“Showers and oil baths can wait,” she said flatly, gathering her hair and tying it back into a ponytail. “That core’ll contain a tremendous amount of valuable data that can’t be allowed to fall into Imperial hands.”

Scon blatted again.

“You’ll live,” she muttered as exited the small hangar.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Sacul… location of Colonel Loran,” she inquired without looking up from the datapad containing her report.

“The Colonel is in his office,” Sacul replied, the disembodied voice following the Lieutenant as she ascended the ramp towards deck one.

“Thank you.”

“Shall I inform him of your arrival?”

“That won’t be necessary.”

“Understood.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Taking a deep breath, she stood at attention and pushed the chime to the office door.

“Come in person who is obviously not a Wraith,” came a muffled, but clearly fatigued reply.

She waited under the door finished opening before entering. The Colonel, looking even more tired than his voice sounded, was seated behind his deck, glancing over the pad in his hand.

“Lieutenant Jaa’roo, reporting in.” she said, the fatigue in her own voice slipping in. “I have the results of the sensor scans of the immediate area.”

Face glanced up from his desk to see the bedraggled looking pilot holding out an identical looking datapad to the seven that were already cluttering up his desk. “Is there anything I need to read now, or can it wait?”

“Uh… in short, sir, there are at least several dozen cargo containers that can be salvaged – mostly containing food, power cells, and other assorted machinery that may come in useful. The Vindicator…” she swallowed hard. “The Vindicator, like the others, is beyond hopes of repair, but her central computer appears to be intact. Recommending an attempt to salvage--”

Face’s head came up sharply again. “Are you telling me that there’s an NRI computer core out there?” His eyes grew hard. “Please tell me you left someone guarding it.”

Brya’s head jerked back slightly, unprepared for the sudden burst. “I... I have Black Two and Three flying recon around the site, sir. They’ve been ordered to call in and open fire if so much as a stray heat signature appears in the area.”

As suddenly as it appeared, the steely look vanished from Face’s eyes, replaced for a brief moment with fatigue. “Good work. Brya isn’t it?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good job Brya. Although next time, feel free to call this in via the comm. An intact memory core is too valuable to waste time with proper procedure and form filling.” He smiled easily. “Plus it means I don’t have to read the rest of these reports.”

He stood fluidly. “OK, take the co-ordinates to Piggy on the bridge. I’ll be with you shortly. Where’s your X?”

“Docked in the port wing, sir.” she said, taking the pad back from him.

“Feel like riding this one in the Sacul?”

“If it’s all the same, sir, I’d rather personally supervise the recovery of the core. However, I will defer to your orders.”

Face smiled easily. “We’ve got a few people on board who are a bit more technically minded than either of us. But we’ll see what we can manage.”

“Sir,” she clicked to attention before turning and exiting the office.


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 Post subject: Re: RS Plot 17a
PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 3:29 am 
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Location: Between here and there
“What a mess,” General—Colonel Corran Horn commented aloud to his astromech as he piloted their X-wing through the maze of debris filling the battlefield.

The colonel was still getting accustomed to the new ranking system and the structure of Task Force Renegade. It was strange having Wedge answerable to no one but his own conscience and military stratagem. That was a testament to how much the New Republic had fallen apart, with mere generals having complete autonomy over their own starships and bases. It was disconcertedly similar to the Empire’s own fracture into warlords, battling for their own little piece of the galaxy.

Corran could only hope that things would fare different between NR military leaders. Each of the splintered military cells would have to work together lest they spell an easy victory for the rapidly unifying Empire. But with Wedge at the helm of their new Task Force Renegade, the colonel was confident they’d find an easy ally in any other NR cell they could work with.

Colonel. It still felt like a demotion, despite Wedge’s insistence that it was merely a “rebranding.” On the other hand, his new rank did come with a new responsibility. He now supervised—from a distance—High Flight Squadron and its newest leader, Major Halley Kadorto. Corran’s role was that of advisor and mentor and it required no paperwork. He liked that.

It was also taking him a bit more time than the rest of the Task Force to get used to the new way of doing things because he’d only just returned from a month abroad on an important yet unavoidably ill-timed Jedi journey to regain his lost abilities in the Force. He’d left the disaster at Keschoc Station and a galaxy just beginning to see the spread of a new disease and returned to a nation torn asunder by a plague and a new Empire rising to regain its foothold as a cruel savior.

He hadn’t even finished de-booby-trapping his room yet from all the welcome gifts Janson had prepared for him.

The forward defectors on Corran’s X-wing flashed briefly as what looked like the remains of a space toilet bounced off of them. Nearby, a frozen body spun lazily, its rent flight suit a testament to a mercifully quick death.

“X-wing on our six,” his new executive officer Dru reported. Or Major Dru Kargin, as the nameplate on his office door now proclaimed.

“I see her.”

It was also strange not having Janson—now Lt. Commander Wes Janson—as his XO. But it made sense. As his importance as a squadron slicer and engineer had grown, Janson had unwillingly neglected his duties as a pilot and flight leader. He had to choose one or the other, and between dealing with people or machines all day, he’d obviously chosen the latter. He was now the Chief Engineer, or Chief Nerd, aboard Krayli’s Valour, yet still somehow always underfoot for Rogue Squadron. Despite his focus away from the cockpit, Corran knew he could still call on the lieutenant commander to help him out in a scrap.

“Greetings, Lieutenant Jaa’roo,” Corran hailed the incoming snubfighter. “Colonel Loran informed me that you’re the boss today. Awaiting your orders.”

“Thank you, colonel,” Brya replied, the comm distortion not quite masking the edge in her voice. “Most of the Vindicator’s superstructure has been shredded, so we should be able to maneuver our way in fairly close to the memory core, which was protected by several still-intact decks. We’ll go EV at that point. Hope you’ve got your deep spacesuits on.”

“Of course. I always wear mine. It’s so comfy.”

Corran’s remark was met by silence.

Dang it, Corran, she just lost her whole starship!

The colonel cleared his throat. “Sorry, on to business. Once Red and Keyta get here, that is. I’m just the brauns of this operation.”

Whistler blatted something.

“Shut up.”


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 Post subject: Re: RS Plot 17a
PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 2:37 am 
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Location: The Batcave - England
I said something here that no longer applies!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Face sat in the captains chair on the Sacul, unconsciously drumming his fingers on the armrest. Kai was expertly weaving the large assault transport through the wreckage, following Brya’s X-Wing, and those of Colonel Horn and Major Kargin. Face hid a smile at the new ranks. Corran still wasn’t convinced he wasn’t being demoted, despite Wedge’s insistence. Tyria had taken it well, although Face knew it was only a matter of time before he caved in and bought up their constant battle to outrank the other. He shrugged internally, as long as he did it on the Sacul, so Tyria couldn’t mess his hair up with the Force or something equally childish.

He leaned back in the chair. No matter how comfortable it was, it always felt weird being in command, and sitting back, watching and directing the action. He itched to be out there with his pilots, but knew that he’d be nothing more than an extra body in the way. Red, Keyta and Dru were certainly technically competent enough, and Lieutenant Jaroo certainly had her head screwed on. Despite the disparity in ranks, he was happy to let her run the operation.

He glanced at one of the readouts on the command chair, where Piggy had thoughtfully put a countdown to arrival. Still three minutes of flying time. He sat back once more, his mind restless. Closing his eyes, his thoughts flashed back to eight days previous.

***

“General, we’ve got thirteen, repeat one-three ImpStars in orbit!”

“Where’s the first fleet?” Wedge barked, his eyes scanning the new holotank in front of him. One of many brand new technological advances his new ship was making him get used to. This was the last leg of their shakedown flight, and they’d just dropped out of hyperspace into Coruscant’s orbit, into what looked like a warzone.

“I… I don’t know.” Lieutenant Denn, the Bith sensor officer replied, as her fingers flashed over the controls. “I’m…” Her face paled behind her sensitive goggles. “I’m picking up a lot of debris. A lot of Mon Cal and Golan Battlestations, as well as Imperial….” She paused. “Sir… there appears to be enough debris for the entire first fleet to be gone.”

Wedge wheeled around to star at Denn. “You mean to tell me the entire Coruscant defence fleet is destroyed?”

“Yes sir.”

“General!” Ensign Bullers called out, her voice tight. “Reports are coming in all over. The Second and Fourth Fleet are stating they’re under attack. Third Fleet isn’t responding. About 50% of the Taskforces are reporting they’re under attack from Imperials.”

Wedge’s stomach tightened. “Scramble fighters, get them in close escort formation. Sound battlestations and get General Horn and Colonel Loran up here now.”

“Already here Wedge.”

Wedge spun around to see an equally grim Corran and Face walking quickly across the command bridge.

“Sacul’s prepping to launch, I’ve got a few minutes to get down there. What do you need?” Face asked, his expression tight.

“Corran, you and the Rogues take point...” Wedge whirled back to the holotank, highlighting a cluster of enemy ships with a gesture. “Strike through here, the Valour will follow...”

“General?” Bullers’ voice called out once more, this time making no effort to hide her fear. “New signal. It’s from Admiral Ackbar, it’s on all NR channels.” She tore her eyes away from her console to stare right as Wedge. “Sir, it’s the Omega Red signal.”

Wedge blinked, trying hard to assimilate all this data. “Verify Omega Red?”

“Confirmed sir. The code matches that in the database. It’s a genuine signal.”

“What’s Omega Red?” Face asked, surprised at the startled glance that Corran and Wedge were sharing.

“I’m surprised you don’t know. It’s the ultimate bug out code.” Corran explained. “It means that the NR has come under irrevocable attack, and there is no chance of regrouping and counterattacking. Basically, it means run and hide, and do what you can to survive to fight another day.”

“What?” Face’s shock fought through even his actors training. “You can’t be serious, we can still come back...”

“From what?” Wedge’s voice was sharp. “Look around Colonel, we’re one of a handful of ships in the area. Coruscant is quarantined, we’re up against thirtee... fifteen ImpStar Dueces....” he corrected himself as another two ships appeared on the holotank. "We have no contact with any other fleet, and what little we do suggests they're as frakked as we are. We can't stay..." He paused, his eyes searching the holotank for inspiration. None came. “It’s suicide.”

Face’s jaw tightened, but he nodded tersely. “Understood.”

“Sir!” It was Denn once more. “Three ImpStars will be in firing range in 30 seconds!”

“Lieutenant Haa'diin , plot us a course out of here... Rooloomboor, fire up the MAC, target the nearest ISD. Give them something to think about before we leave.”

“MAC will take two minutes to warm up.” Emtrey translated from the Wookiee weapons masters rumblings.

Wedge opened his mouth to speak, but was interrupted.

“It’s OK General.” Katerina Allistre, the captain of the Valour, responded. “We can take 90 seconds of ISD punishment. They won’t even take the shields below 70%.” Her voice was even, but the pride in her ship was obvious.

Wedge nodded his thanks. “Make sure all of the fighters are back on board. Divert all weapon power bar the MAC to shields.”

“Already done sir.” The tone was professional, but Wedge could still detect a note of ‘don’t tell me how to do my job’ underneath. She was truly her fathers daughter.

“Haa’diin?”

The Quarran’s fingers were flying all over the console. “I’ll have us an escape route in 20 seconds. Only missing the final variable of our position. Once I have that, we’ll be ready to hype on your mark.”

The giant ship began to shake under the onslaught of the three massive ships, each one more than twice the size of the Valour.

“Report!” Allistre barked.

“Shields holding. 93, 92, 91%”

“MAC?”

“45 seconds!”

“Weps, target the central ISD. Fire as soon as you’re ready.”

[Aye sir].

“Transfer shield power from the belly shields, they’re not under attack at the moment.”

“Shields at 85, 84... Power transferring. Dorsal shields back up to 92%.”

“Navigator?”

“Ready when you are ma’am.”

“I prefer Captain, or sir at a push.”

“Aye Captain.””

[MAC ready, firing... now.]

The giant prototype magnetic accelerator cannon which ran the length of the 700m ship shuddered, as a 200 tonne metal slug was accelerated to 80% of the speed of light, flashing out of the front of the ship to plough into the central Star Destroyer. The forward shields collapsed in an instant, the slug continuing through, punching through the armour of the gigantic ship, shredding through to the reactor. In three blinks, the reactor overloaded, and the ship exploded in a giant fireball.

[MAC offline.] Rooloomboor reported. [ETA 90 minutes until ready to fire.]

“Sheilds at 73%!”

“Sir?” Katerina turned to Wedge, a slight smile on her face.

“Get us out of here.”

“Helm?”

“Hyping in three, two, one....”

***

Face’s attention was bought back to the present as a soft alarm chimed on his console. They were at the Vindicator.


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 Post subject: Re: RS Plot 17a
PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 2:15 pm 
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A Gav, Dru, and Red collab - behold!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


The silence was always what impressed upon her the most. Even when the wired charge that had been set was triggered, causing the encapsulating gel to super heat and slice through the shard of metal, there was no sound. Maneuvering in carefully, Red gave a stiff, but careful tug to the now loosened edge of jagged metal that had once been a part of the Vindicator’s hull.

*tsk* “Clear.” *tsk*

The rest of the EV team had moved out, and with a deft motion, Red gave the piece one more pull, gently letting its imparted momentum carry it out of her hand. Gently spinning and joining the field of debris that surrounded their area of work. The work had been painfully slow, but she was confident that the opening she had just created would allow for much safer passage further into the structure.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Alright people, lets get started,” Brya said as she floated in after the techs. As the team, comprised of Brya, Dru, Keyta, Red and two techs from Valour entered the computer control room, each activated the magnetic plates in their boots, allowing them to properly walk throughout the compartment.

Each tech carried with them a bulky, but portable data core. In lieu of a full removal of the Vindicator’s central core , it had been decided the mission was to recover what data they could, and then destroy the hardware. While it might have been easier to simply cut the entire core, Brya had insisted this course was a better first option, and had Face’s blessing.

“The emergency generators appear to be intact. Try to get them up and running.”

“Aye, Lieutenant.”

Keyta and Red exchanged brief nods, an unspoken understanding between the two passing as Red moved over to the generator station. Shifting as best the EV suit would allow, she was the only one not carrying a data core, instead equipped with an EV pack that contained a variety of tools.

While she popped open an access panel and began the manual boot sequence, Keyta had turned back to Brya and Dru.

“Should we begin preparing the portable cores for the data extraction while Red works?”

Brya looked up from the datapad tethered to her forearm and nodded. “There should be a junction box behind the panel to the left of the main computer terminal that should allow you to plug in.”

Dru had been keeping an eye on Red’s actions, but was quick to nod is consent. He had noticed Red was moving more jerkily than her suit would account for, a residual stiffness from her shattered clavicle he suspected. Everyone had their residual issues, he noted, as he had to resist at involuntary shudder as his passing glance at the cables tethering Brya’s datapad to her suit brought a flash of pain across his own memory. An idle rub to the arm of his suit, he moved to un-shoulder his own portable core. As he worked on getting the core cables prepared, he sent a check out to Corran.

“Colonel, how are the structure integrity scans coming?”

There was a pause before the reply crackled over his head set. “No signs of major fatigue, I have Whistler monitoring for any incoming debris that might give you a shake, but so far we’re clear.”

Just as Dru finished his preparations, a set of lights off their flank flickered into existence, and from the grin Red was sporting under her helmet, he knew they were part of the core system.

Making her way towards the main terminal, Brya keyed in her access codes and brought up the system’s directory. However, all her attempts to move anything beyond the file structures resulted in large red symbols denying her access.

“Problem?” Dru asked, clunking up next to her.

Byra’s fingers hovered over the keyboard. “They were completely caught off guard...” she whispered.

“How can you tell?”

“If there had been any sign of Imperial ships, the other cruisers would have set up a defensive line while the Vindicator would have made her escape.” She pointed to the flashing security lockout, “This lockout was done in a rush. The proper procedure would have been to completely wipe the core to prevent the data from falling into enemy hands.”

She sighed, momentarily fogging up her helmet. “Whoever did this was either rushed or overly paranoid-- not that I fault them. We can probably break the lockout with a little time in order to copy the files but the encryption requires the access codes of an admiral or a general.”

“Would Corran still have his codes? And if so, can we enter them for him? If not, it’s going to take a while to slice...” Keyta was not thrilled at the prospect of pushing their air limit, nor risking being in the floating segment longer than they needed. Normally she’d have known what to do with the system, but under the new command structure, she was unsure what protocols had been changed and how NRI had changed its policies fully.

As if on cue, Corran’s voice came over the common channel. “Brace yourselves, incoming debris and I can only clear so much of it.”

Instinctively, four sets of knees braced, and while Corran managed to redirect or destroy most of the threat, the group was still given a solid jolt as fragments impacted the superstructure surrounding them. The two sets of knees that hadn’t braced found themselves flailing for handholds before bouncing off of whatever surface was in front of them.As the tremors subsided, they were met with a ghostly groan as the ship’s superstructure absorbed impacts from the larger fragments.

Brya’s eyes widened in concern. “Firstly, time seems to be running short, Ma’am; secondly, the system will need his voiceprint and it wouldn’t accept it through a comm.”

She paused. Leaning back over the console, she pulled up the terminal’s access logs.
A few moments later the flashing red symbols turned green and disappeared. Turning back around, she was met by several confused stares. She glanced back and forth before she shrugged with a mixture of sheepishness and resignation, “there was a tech who had a thing for me, not original with his passwords, long story...”

Dru arched an eyebrow.

“Ok then,” she said, clearly wishing to move past the event. “We can skip the ship’s operating system and such, concentrate on personnel logs, sensor data, and see if you can locate the primary directory that contains all the data Intel was carrying.”

“Doesn’t take a genius splicer, just a thief.”

This time, the looks shifted over to Red, who’s cheery interject was accompanied by a slight smile, still present under her helmet.

“What? How do you think I figured out the password for the Sacul that time Face caught me in the engine room?”

While the others rolled their eyes at their engineer, Brya simply stared at Red, as an expression of injury appeared for only a moment.

“Right... a thief,” she said as she disabled her boots’ grip on the floor plates and pushed off towards the compartment door. “Begin the download as soon as you’re plugged in. I’ll be checking in with Colonel Loran.”

“Um... Red,” Keyta said, pointing to the terminal’s screen. The screen had stopped flashing, but the last ling of text, in the space for the user’s password read “il0vebrya”

It was Red’s turn to suddenly look sheepish, a color akin to her hair creeping over her face and rather visible, as Brya turned and moved away from the group.

“It was supposed to be a compliment...at least it always was on Tatooine....” was all Dru and Ketya heard, barely muttered through the local channel.”Better go check the generator, don’t want it cutting out on you during the dump.”

As Red retreated back over to the generator, Keyta and Dru could only exchange sympathetic looks, before getting back to the business at hand.

“Alright, you two,” Dru motioned over the techs on loan from the Valour “Lets get these hooked up.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Brya had made accessing the Vindicator’s memory core straightforward.

What was considerably less straightforward was getting anything out of it.

Or it out of anything. Dru glanced down at his hands as they worked a computer console below him. Working in a real spacesuit -- not one of the cushy flight suits to which he was accustomed -- had always given him the eerie feeling of being more or less detached from everything outside his helmet, and as he peered down through his faceplate at the refracted image of his gloved fingers awkwardly stumbling about the keypad he couldn’t help but wonder for a moment if they were really his.

“Try that,” his voice crackled through the comm.

Following the sort of eerie pause that only utter vacuum could provide, Keyta’s voice came back. “Still nothing.”

Dru cursed under his breath. NRI had not been complacent about the security of their information, even when someone could provide authorization codes.

“Something wrong, Major?” Lieutenant Jaa’roo’s voice this time, she must have come back in from contacting Face.

“Wrong?” Dru started, “I guess you could say that. The core’s in great shape, near as I can tell. It’s been equipped with its own internal power generator, so it’s plain to see that it’s up and running. It responds to commands, and I’m able to log in.”

“That all sounds like good news…and things we knew already.”

“Right. And it would be, I expect, but it won’t talk with these smaller cores. Seems that must be what NRI had in mind for any sort of salvage should the ship be lost. Right now, we’re only finding convenient ways to blow it up. It needs something that reads more like a proper core that it would interface within an authorized data dump”

“Please don’t blow up the core.” The distortion over Jaa’roo’s voice made it tough to tell if she was deadpanning or ordering.

“Well, if we do nothing, it’ll blow on its own in another day or two. They’ve rigged it to explode if it ever loses generator power, once it detects that it is on emergency power -- probably figuring that if its lost its internal power, it’s a complete loss. So we can’t just shut it down and start cutting it out.

“I think we could save all the crucial data if we could interconnect the data units, to mirror a larger system, then pulling from the operating system, which should allow them to be safely removed without powering down the system.”

“Should?” Dru noted a steel in Brya’s voice that suggested a low tolerance for disappointment.

Colonel Horn’s voice interrupted. “Can’t we just cut it out while it’s running, and space-walk it over to the Sacul without shutting it down?”

“Well...” Dru paused, “...yes, I think. It wouldn’t be quite so straightforward, as the unit’s larger than Sacul herself. And we’d need to do some delicate cutting -- one of Valour’s repair tugs has the laser for it. Then we’d need to tow it to the Valour, mount it in a cargo hold, and hook it up to a fuel source.”

“Seems like that would get us some spare parts while we’re at it…we were just pressed to ensure that we secured this core as top priority” Brya added.

“Which I would vote, we have, Lieutenant.” Red cut in, “If we got the Valourover here and run a full salvage, plus it provides the security we’d need for the core. On the walk in, I saw loads of stuff we could use in a pinch: power cells, comm antennae, even some whole turrets floating around out there. I mean, correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think we’re like to get a fresh shipment of replacement parts any time soon.”

“She’s right.” Corran had his Colonel’s voice on. “I’ll ask Sacul to get on the wire back to Valourand call her in for the salvage.”

“Yes, sir,” the lieutenant’s voice came back, “In the meantime, we’ll go with Major Kargin’s recommendation. As soon as you get the smaller cores interfaced, begin the data dump. A salvage site this rich isn’t going to stay this quiet for long.”

“Agreed. Carry on, Lieutenant.”


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 Post subject: Re: RS Plot 17a
PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 3:29 am 
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Occurs in the middle of the last story.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Kapow! Kapow!

Dual pairs of orange laser bolts shot out, disintegrating two chunks of space debris into a cloud of sparkly dust before they could impact with the Vindicator’s carcass.

Shooting stuff is fun, thought Corran, especially when it’s not shooting back.

The colonel redirected the hulk of an Epsilon Transport.

Or sticking on you like a glob of Janson’s honey-glazed Meat Surprise.

He zapped the remains of a TIE Fighter.

And his mind went back.

*********

Whister screamed at me as the green laser bolts reduced my aft shields to nothing. I spun my golden X-wing back toward my attackers and showed them my teeth.

They scattered at my vicious reply, but I knew their break in pursuit was momentary. It was six against one and these guys were playing with me for sport.

I dove for the opening, but Whistler screamed again as the Nebulon-B frigate’s tractor beam swept out again to catch my dancing starfighter. I edged beneath its grasp and juiced extra power into my thrusters, driving hard for the fast-closing gap between the Imperial starship and the planet’s dense layer of atmosphere. The frigate had expertly used its turrets, tractor beam, and TIEs to force me toward the planet, and now tendrils of flame were igniting my s-foils as I tore along the barrier between air and space, creating more friction than my snubfighter was designed to handle.

I gritted my teeth and gripped my flight yoke so hard my knuckles went white. My astromech’s warning rose into a shriek as the frigate’s tractor beam reached for me again.

The gap narrowed. And closed. I shoved the flight yoke hard forward, nosediving the X-wing directly toward the planetary surface just as I felt the frigate’s tractor make one last grasp. The snubfighter shuddered under the competing gravitational force but chose to obey the combined force of my X-wing’s thrusters and the planet’s pull.

Flames streaked up from the nose of my starfighter and blocked my view of the blue-green world.

“Whistler, get me on an entry trajectory!” I ordered, but there was no need. My faithful astromech had already taken control of the craft and was angling the bow of my ship at just the right angle to prevent it from burning up on entry into the lower atmosphere.

I glanced down at my radar screen. The six TIEs had dropped into entry trajectories behind me, but they were fortunately just out of firing range. Getting down to the planet was my last option, and it wouldn’t seem like much of one once I got down to ground level and back into their targeting reticules. But I could only hope that I could outmaneuver long enough to pick them off one-by-one, which in itself seemed like a near-impossible feat, or somehow lose them, which sounded entirely impossible.

Yet the Force couldn’t have led me to this planet if just wanted me to die.

My mind drifted back further, several days earlier and just a week after Keshoc.

******

“YOU WHAT?!”

I involuntarily jerked back at the explosion of Wedge’s voice.

“I need to take a journey. A journey in the Force.”

“Cut the hocus pocus bantha poodoo, Corran. What is it you need?! A vacation? R&R? Retirement?!?!”

I took a deep breath. “Wedge, I know it’s ridiculous. I know it’s the worst possible time—“

“You bet it is!”

“I know the disease is spreading. I know things are starting to fall apart. But I’m being directed by a higher power.”

“What could be more important than saving lives and protecting your squadmates?”

“It’s the Force that’s directing me to go on this journey, Wedge. I’ve never heard it this clearly since I lost my connection with it. It’s calling me to go somewhere, and I can’t ignore that.”

Wedge gave a long, deep sigh. I could see the strain on his face that this past week had wrought. I didn’t need the Force to sense the battle of emotions going on inside his head.

“Corran, you’re a Rogue Squadron general and dedicated to our cause more wholeheartedly than anyone I know. But I also realize that you’re a Jedi, and even that takes precedence. I always knew this could happen. That you’d be called away to another life, even in the prime of your starfighter career.”

“Wedge, I’m not saying I’m going away for good. Heck, it could be a day. Or a month. I don’t have a clue, and that scares me to death. But it scares me more to deny the Force’s calling, because every day spent in opposition to it could be a step closer to the Dark Side.

The general sagged into his chair, looking worn and ragged. “At times I’ve envied all you Jedi’s abilities, but I’ve never envied your missions.”

“To be honest, Wedge, there’ve been times these past weeks when I’ve happy to have lost connection to the Force. At first I felt blind, but then I felt free. Free of that responsibility. But now I know the Force still has something in store for me, and I must obey.”

“Then who am I to get in the way of the Force? Go, and with my blessing. If it means anything in the whole metaphysical mumbo-jumbo scope of things.”

“Thanks, Wedge, it does.”

I saluted and left.

******

Now as I plunged toward an unknown planet with death on my tail, I once again doubted the Force’s calling. What was I doing here, so far on the Outer Rim of the galaxy that I had no discernable map to follow, just a vague niggling of which coordinates to type into the nav computer? The only starchart I had of this region showed a little-known supernova with a giant blank spot behind it. It was through that supernova and into that blank spot I had flown. And now here I was, cut off from radio contact with the rest of the galaxy and having no idea what I was flying into.

To be honest, I hadn’t been expecting an Imperial frigate.

The orange fire on the nose of my craft cooled to a white fan of air moisture as I rushed toward the planetary surface. I pulled back on the yoke and angled up before I could hit the ground. On cue, a pair of enemy laser bolts flew past me.

I shot around the peak of a snowcapped mountain, hoping my starfighter’s superior atmospheric maneuverability would rule the day, but the TIEs stuck on my like Jabba slime on Threepio.

Sith. These guys aren’t rookies.

I banked hard, straining the joints on my s-foils, and managed to catch the last TIE in line lagging behind. One of my laser blasts sheared off the top section of his starboard wing. He reacted but regained his control and avoided smacking into a rock pillar.

I dove into a narrow river canyon and saw a flash of light in my rear monitor as the damaged TIE failed to negotiate a lateral turn with only one-and-a-half wings.

One down. Five million to go.

I pushed my throttle forward, flying as dangerously as I dared around the blind twists and turns of the deep gorge. Whistler gave an encouraging whistle as the TIEs began to drop behind.

I might just survive this yet.

I grinned, then felt the corners of my mouth sag as I abruptly burst out of the canyon into expansive, marshy flatlands.

Yanking the flight yoke hard, I spun around and plugged the first TIE out of the mouth of the canyon. It burst into the flames and dropped into the swamp, but the other four TIES immediately nosed up out of the gorge and scattered.

Whistler screamed and I hit my thrusters. My fishtailing maneuver had dropped me dangerously close to the ground.

The Imperial pilots used the lack of cover to their advantage and dove at me from every side. I tried to get back to the cover of the canyon, but I couldn’t fly straight for more than a second before a laser blaster would hit me.

A lucky shot with a proton torpedo, and the TIEs were reduced to three. But they came on with a vengeance, their lasers piercing through my shields and tearing off my port s-foils.

I spun crazily in a cloud of smoke.

“Rogue Lead, going—“ I started to call through my commlink before remembering I was alone.

Pushing a button, I ejected Whistler, then reached for my own ejection lever. I didn’t realize my X-wing was upside down.

The ground rushed at me like the fist of an overgrown Weequay I’d once upset in a bar. The ejector seat righted itself before it made impact and the repulsar lifts engaged, but it was only the soft marsh sludge that kept me from becoming flatter than an Ewok sumo wrestling with a Hutt.

It still hurt. A lot. I choked as the mud jammed its way into my nostrils and mouth. I clawed for the surface, and sputtered as my head broke free. Retching horribly, I managed to clear the ooze out of my air passages and draw a breath.

I wiped the mud out of my eyes and looked for the helmet that was supposed to have spared me all this unpleasantness. It was nowhere to be seen in the sea of mud and reeds. A column of smoke marked the remains of my X-wing in the distance. A pile of metallic rubble marked where my astromech had impacted with a boulder, his ejector seat failing to perform its duty. And the iconic whine of Twin Ion Engines marked the circling carrions as they searched for my carcass to feed upon.

I sank back into the mud. I’d lost my ship. My droid. I was alone and hunted. And my squadron was halfway across the galaxy, making a heroic effort to save it as I wallowed in a swamp, following a vision I’d had that now seemed like it could have just been a nightmare brought on by Myn’s attempt at making snack wraps.

I wanted to die. And hated the fact that I might get my wish.


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 Post subject: Re: RS Plot 17a
PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:51 pm 
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There's more to come... however, I have been distracted at work by, well, work... so thought I'd post what I've done so far!

Hopefully, the concluding part will not be far behind!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Sacul, this is Rogue Lead.”

“Go ahead Rogue Lead.”

“Is your Boss there Kai?”

“Er, Rogue Lead, we regret to inform you that Grand Admiral Kaiu’kes has no senior officer.”

Corran’s grin came though despite the comm distortion. “In that case Sacul, can I speak to Wraith Lead.”

“I’m here Corran.” Face cut in on the comm channel. “How’s it going?”

“Do you want the technical answer?”

“If I wanted an answer that was long, complicated and where I understand every third word, I’ll speak to Dru.”

“Good point. In a nutshell, it’s looking difficult. Lieutenant Jaa’roo has managed to get access to the core, but we’re locked out from any data transfer. Something to do with the configuration of the security so it won’t allow mini dumps of data, at least, not on the security clearace that we've used."

“OK. Would higher access help? My security codes might be valid?”

“Apparently, it requires voice access to get a higher authority, and not via commwave. You’re good Face, but even you can’t make sound travel across a vacuum. And that’s if we ignore the fact that being in a vacuum without a space suit isn’t the greatest idea in the first place.”

Face sighed, his mind whirling over the unfamiliar territory of technology related problems. “So, it’s a bust?”

“Dru’s hooking up the mini cores together to act like a bigger system. He thinks he might manage to fool the mainframe into thinking it’s just a normal back up.”

“See, when you explain things, it makes sense!”

“And I didn’t even need action figures.”

“I’ll get you for that.”

“Fair enough. However, my thought was, if we could get some heavy equipment out here, we could cut the core out of the Vindicator, keep the power hooked up, and transfer it straight over to the Valour.”

“That makes sense. Probably a lot of other stuff to salvage too.”

“Your chief engineer made the same comment.”

“You can take the girl from Tatooine…”

“If you contact the Valour, I’ll get Black Two and Black Three to watch over the Vindicator and I’ll start to survey the area more.”

“I’d recommend you still look at Dru’s solution though. A site this big is not going to remain a secret for long.”

“That’s what Brya said.”

“She’s got a good head on her shoulders that one.”

“Sounds like you’re gearing to poach her.”

“Me?”

“You.”

“I don't know what you're talking about. Anyway, I'll send Kat and Shadow out in the A-Wings to help search the area. They’ll have the callsign Ghost 5 and Ghost 6. I’ll get Piggy to compute a search grid for the three of you. When we get some more pilots, I’ll have Piggy get them involved too.”

Corran’s snort of amusement was heard clearly over the comm. “The adventures of Rogue Leader, ace pilot and junk yard tourist.”

“That’s affirmative Rogue Lead. Sacul out.”

Face threw a glance to Piggy. “Let me guess, you’ve already calculated the optimum search pattern, taking into effect the A-Wings speed, as well as recommended sensor ranges and flying times?”

Piggy’s slight bow of the head with accompanying soft smile was all the reply Face needed.

Face smiled in return before swinging his chair towards Kat. “Kat, contact Lieutenant Jaa’roo, update her on the plan, make sure she realises she’s still in command of her portion, but the mission’s suddenly got a lot bigger. Tell her that her new point of contact on the Sacul will be Piggy, and then get suited for A-Wing recon.”

Kat pulled a slight face. “It’s been ages since I’ve flown an A-Wing.”

“Then I’ll have to ensure it’s back on the training schedule.” Face replied, the arch in his eyebrow showing he was only slightly kidding.

“Aye sir.”

“Nice one Kat!” Kai stage whispered, only to have the nearest datapad bounce off her head.

Face sighed. It was going to be a long mission.

***

“Colonel?”

Face was bought out of his revere by the sudden appearance of the Sacul’s computer generated image onto his personal screen. Her image was still that of a human female, the facial characteristics a mixture between Tuatara Lone, and Wynessa Starflare, two of the most beautiful human actresses in the galaxy, both of whom he’d worked with a lifetime ago. “What is it?”

“Sir, with your permission, I’d like to enter a new course.”

“Since when have you called me sir?”

Sacul sighed, an amazingly human expression. Face hid a smile, the Sacul’s personality seemed to be more fully formed than some actual people he’d dealt with. “Oh Facial One, can I please enter a new course?”

“I never said I didn’t like it.”

“Face!”

Face grinned. Throwing a quick glance over at Kai and Piggy, both of whom were doing a bad job of pretending they weren’t interested. “OK Sacul, I’ll bite. What do you want?”

“I’m currently analysing all the sensor data from Rogue Lead, Ghost Five and Ghost Six. Ghost Five has just sent some information back regarding a transport vessel that was involved in the battle. It seems some of the cargo is still intact.”

“Which is different from the other few dozen identical reports how?”

“This freighter contains very high spec electrical goods.”

“Are you giving me the full holo here?”

“Colonel, please allow me to be slightly mysterious. It seems only fair, as the rest of you frequently engage in theatrics and deception.”

This time Face couldn’t contain his laughter. “OK, this had better be worth it. How long is this going to take us?”

“Fifteen minutes, tops. Less if Kai pays attention.”

“I heard that!”

“Piggy, comm Lieutenant Jaa’roo and Colonel Horn and let them know we’re going on an errand. We should still be in comm radius. Once that’s done, take Sacul’s co-ordinates, and plot a course.”

“Colonel?”

Face sighed. “Yes Sacul?”

“I’ve already plotted the course. We’re good to go on your word.”

“The word is given.” With a sudden burst of speed, the assault transport spun away from its watchful position, and arced gracefully through the debris.

“Hey!” Kai exclaimed, her hands clear of the control yoke. “What gives?”

“Sacul, are you flying yourself?” Face asked, not bothering to hide his amused confusion.

“You’re well aware that I have the capabilities, I just usually let Kai do the flying. I will freely admit that she is the better pilot. Something I find confusing, as I can process significantly more data per second than she can.”

“Watch it!” Kai warned, her eyes narrowing. “You can go off people you know.”

“No offence Grand Admiral.” The Sacul’s tones were soothing. “This is just something rather important.”

Kai sat back, her arms casually folded, mollified for now. “OK, as long as Face doesn’t dock my wages for not doing anything.”

“I don’t usually.”

Fortunately for Face, he was watching Kai, and so had ample time to dodge the incoming datapad.


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 Post subject: Re: RS Plot 17a
PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 4:33 pm 
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The port airlock of the Sacul hissed closed, as Face and Sparks pulled the bulky container into the confined space. The Colonel had decided to suit up and grab the required cargo pod himself. Part of him was curious as to the nature of the Sacul’s surreptitious request, and part of him was just anxious to get out of the captains chair and to do something.

The flight to the location was also an eye-opener. Although technically proficient, the movements lacked the grace of when Kai was at the controls. Still, it was handy to know that the Sacul could handle herself.

The pod was a little under two meters long, and only 0.7 meters wide. Face hung there in the zero-gravity of the airlock, and threw a look at Sparks. The droid shrugged, another very human expression. Face laughed once more behind his visor. It seemed all the non-organics in his crew were picking up more mannerisms by the day.

There was a tapping at the airlock window, and Face turned to see Rrowv. A quick ping, and a glance at the indicator showed the pressure had equalized. The gravity was still off, and Face assumed that the large Togorian had bought a repulsar cart for the cargo. The inner door slid silently open, and Face’s suspicion was confirmed as the feline slid the cart underneath the floating casket.

“Clear?”

“Clear.” Face confirmed. Slowly, the gravity returned, and the hovering Lorridian touched gently down. “OK Sacul, what did you make me get?”

“Not here.” The disembodied voice of the Sacul returned, the lack of screens in the airlock the only reason why her image wasn’t accompanying her words. “Rrowv, can you please take the container to the computer lab?”

Rrowv cocked a furred eyebrow at Face. Who shrugged and nodded in return. “Rrowv will do this, Rrowv isn’t sure why, but Rrowv will play along.”

Two decks and several swear words later, the pod was wheeled into the computer suite. As Face entered, the terminals on the large, central console in the room silently retracted into the surface, leaving a long flat table. “I guess that means we’re putting it there.” He threw a glance over his shoulder, to see Piggy and Kai follow complete the prying procession.

“Please.” Sacul’s image responded from one of the other terminals.

As Rrowv hefted the pod onto the table, his muscles flexing slightly under the light strain, Face turned to the Sacul’s image. “OK, are you gonna tell us, or make us open the box like a lifeday present.”

“I’d rather see your expression when you opened it. My security cameras are monitoring for prosperity.”

Shaking his head in amused exasperation, Face threw a glance at Rrowv. “All yours Sergeant.”

Rrowv shrugged, extracted a fusion cutter from his belt pouch, and broke the seal.

The lid of the pod slid slowly off, clattering to the floor with a noticeable clang. Noticable, unless you were staring inside the pod. There, as if lying in state, was the Sacul.

Face blinked. Then blinked again. Lying inside the cargo pod was a human female with very recognisable features. Features which were a blend of Tuatara Lone and Wynessa Starflare. Features that belonged to a computer generated image, but were somehow in flesh…

“Sacul?” Kai asked, her mouth dropped in astonishment.

“That’s me.” The Sacul responded, her face lit up with a smile.

“I can see that…” The Twi’lek replied, her lekku twitching in confusion.

“Piggy, could you please attach a neural biowire cable from this terminal to the cranial input slot. It should be accessible slightly behind the left ear.”

“Certainly.” Piggy responded politely. The gentle giant of a Gammorean gingerly took the lifeless form from the pod, and lay it on the table. With dexterity unheard of from the rest of his species, he attached the complex cabling system, and stood back.

“OK Sacul, you’ve had your fun… what’s going on.” Although Face’s voice was still humorous, there was the underlying steel which the Wraiths had worked out meant business.

“I commissioned a Human Replica Droidto be made in my likeness.”

“They cost at least 9 million credits.” Face pointed out.

“Well, you remember how the 7.3 billion credits were ‘liberated’…” the Sacul paused to wink at Kai, “…. From the Datuls?”

“Yes, and I remember that the first portion was to be used in repairing you and the Arrow.”

“Exactly!” the Sacul replied, her image beaming. “And so I took 10 million credits from that, and, through a variety of shell companies, dummy corporations and false identities, I arranged for a HRD to be created in my likeness. It has a full positronic processor, as complex as my own, as well as an internal database, SCOMP socket interface, as well as internal communication equipment so we can communicate within 50 klicks of each other.”

“How did you learn how to do all of that?” Face asked, his eyes narrowing in suspicion.

“I copied you.” Came the smug reply.

“Ah.”

“So, once I saw the transport which was carrying the HRD was in this battle, I had to go and check! And here we are.”

"You do realise the the Widow and Orphan fund was therefore shorted by 10 million credits?"

"I used the remained 250,000 credits to do a little investing. After 72 hours, I gave the W&O fund 15 million credits, and closed the accounts."

Face pinned Kai with a look. "No."

"But..."

"No!"

“So, what’s happening now?” Rrowv asked, his eyes flicking from the Sacul to the HRD and back repeatedly.

“Now I’m copying my personality matrix, as well as core skills into the positronic matrix in the HRD.”

“How will this work?” This was Piggy, who was still gazing at the millions of lines of code which was flashing through one of the terminal screens.

“When the HRD is onboard, our positronic processors will be linked, like a dual processing core. All of the onboard functions will be calculated by both matrix’s at once. By my calculations, it will increase the speed by 75%. If the HRD is hardwired into my systems, then that figure should increase to 85%.”

“And when it’s not on board?” Face asked.

“Then the HRD and myself will operate as individual entities. Once the HRD is back in range, then the memories of both units will be copied across, forming a whole once more.”

“This is weird.” Kai shook her head in bewilderment.

“No argument from me.” Face agreed. “So, when will the data be copied across?”

“Now.”

The voice came from both the terminal screen he was looking at, and from behind him.

“Gah!” The Wraiths spun in unison, looking at a bemused looking Sacul.

“Wow, this feels great!” Sacul smiled, reaching up to tug the cable from behind her ear. With a smooth motion, she smoothed the slight flap down, once more creating the image of perfect human skin. Once more the voice came from both directions.

Face flicked a glance at the monitor screen. The Sacul was still there. “What the…?”

“Colonel.” Sacul smiled. “I have two of the highest specification positronic processors working completely in tandem. I’m quite capable of rubbing my head and patting my tummy, and doing a trillion other things at once.”

“OK, new rule.” Face exclaimed, pointing a finger at Sacul. “When YOU’RE in the room…” he whirled to point at the Sacul’s image, “YOU’RE not!”

“Deal.” And the Sacul’s image winked out.

Face turned to face Sacul. “You’re my ship?”

“That’s correct. Would you like a demonstration?”

“Not necessary.” Face shook his head. He closed his eyes, before casting an imploring glace at the ceiling. “Sacul…” he sighed in defeat. “Welcome to the crew.”

“Thank you Colonel. It’s a pleasure to be here.”


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 Post subject: Re: RS Plot 17a
PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 3:12 am 
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“Ghost 5 reporting in,” came Kat’s voice over Corran’s commlink.

“Ghost 6 ready for her free shopping spree,” Shadow called in from her A-wing cockpit.

“Welcome aboard,” Corran greeted. “It’s a great day for a junk yard tour. The current temperature outside is a balmy minus 455 degrees, and there is no rain in the forecast…ever. If you look to your left, you’ll notice a bevy of shattered starship and starfighter hulks, from Star Destroyers to GR-75 transports, packed full with goods for the taking. And if you look to your right, you’ll notice the shattered remains of the Mon Calamari cruiser Vindicator, former flagship of the New Republic Intelligence agency. Oh, and look, folks, we have something special for you today. It’s a rare glimpse of spacesuit-clad scavengers in their nocturnal patterns. Just watch how their metallic mandibles chew through the tough skin of those starship decks.”

The colonel felt a twinge of guilt at making light of what had to have been a horrific battle with thousands of lives lost. But while on the job, it was important that he and his comrades maintain a level of detachment from all the death and destruction surrounding them so that they could do their jobs without distraction. That was his military persona at work. Yet his Jedi side wanted to grieve for the shattered lives and wonder if there could be a better—and realistic—alternative to these ceaseless wars.

He cleared his throat. “On a more serious note, scan, identify, and holovid everything you can and upload your list to the Valour when it arrives. We don’t have a lot of time before the pirates and marauders will be in on us like a flock of mynocks.”

“Roger that, Gener—Colonel.”

“Affirmative, Rogue Leader.”

Corran zeroed in on one of the Vindicator’s turbolaser batteries. It appeared intact on the outside, but as Whistler scanned through the data flowing in, he gave a negative blat.

“Bummer. The Valour could always use a spare one of those.”

He goosed his X-wing into a partially-intact cargo bay as the two A-wings jetted off to inspect a blackened KDY TRIREME-class Corvette. Scanning with both his scanner and his search light, Corran rotated his X-wing slowly around the bay, inspecting a collection of scattered cargo crates and equipment.

Whistler beeped his approval.

“Agreed. Looks like we got enough stuff in here to keep our X-wings repaired for a few months of battle. Or build a rickety squadron of Die-wings.”

Whistler laughed with a series of toots and whistlers. It was good to have the little guy back. It had cost six month’s pay a few years back to buy a device large enough yet portable enough to backup every detail of Whistler’s memory and every nuance of his personality acquired since they’d met many years ago back at CorSec, but it had been entirely worth it. Corran had also been fortunate to find an R2-D2 model in good condition amidst Valour’s droid stockpile, and it’d only taken a couple days of transferring data and applying a green trim paint job before Whistler had been brought back to life after falling to his death a month before.

Corran thought back to that night. The physical shock, the cold, the head trauma, and the 12-mile crawl through the thick swamp as Imps sought to end his life made his memories as blur. The clearest thing he could remember was that it was one of the longest and weirdest nights of his life.

******

Janson slapped a piece of toast in front of him. “What would you like on your cake. Some wedgemite? Hmm?”

Without waiting for a reply, the portly general slathered a glop of brownish-green goo on the bread in front of me.

Wedge, across the table, poked uneasily at the ‘seasoned’ slice of toast in front of him. “If I eat this, will I be a cannibal? Cannibalism is against several of my religions.”

I sniffed at the wedgemite and almost retched. I tried to push the toast away, but my hand sunk deep into the gooey spread, all the way up to my elbow. Crying out in the horror, I tried to release my arm with my other hand, but fell forward, sinking up to my armpits in the muck.

A light flashed over me, and I heard what sounded more like a Cygnus medium transport engine array than a Sienar twin ion engine. Perhaps a Lambda- or Sentinel-class shuttle. That meant the TIE pilots had called in reinforcements.

I kept crawling through the mud in the pitch blackness, the coldness seeping into my limbs. The temperature had dropped with nightfall, and a cloud cover had blocked out any light from the supernova or moons above. I couldn’t see where I was going, but my internal compass seemed convinced that I was at least heading in a consistent direction.

And I kept going and going and going, long after I had reached what I’d thought to be the barrier of my strength. There was nothing else I wanted to do more than just stop and sleep and slowly die from exposure in my slumber, but the feeling of being hunted kept my motor functions churning. My conscious will to survive was gone, but my unconscious self-preservation honed with years of life-or-death combat kept my body drawing from inner reserves of strength I was unaware I had.

It wasn’t long before I could hear the whine of 74-Z speeder bikes. It was strange how I could identify their engines so easily when my mind wandered in and out of conscious awareness of my surroundings. I ceased my movements and sank low in the swamp whenever they drew near. Just a little further away, I could hear the occasional blasts of TIE fighters as they presumably fired at heat sources their infrared radars picked up. Fortunately, there was a lot of big animal life out here.

They’d better be careful of their targets or they might shoot their own men on the ground, I thought, my military mind seeming once again sharp despite my decreased mental capacity in all other areas.

The speeder bikes moved on, and I slogged ahead, the mud sucking at my limbs the way Janson’s Meat Surprise sucked at any serving spoon dipped into its murky depths.

“No. I don’t want to!” I insisted.

“Corran, eat your Corellian kale. You want to grow up big and strong, don’t you?’

My mom spooned a big gallop and maneuvered it toward my mouth.

“Ewww, gross! Don’t make me eat that!” I demanded, making a horrible face at the goo she was holding up with tendrils of slimy kale leaves dangling off the spoon.

“Please, don’t!” I cried as she forced it into my mouth.

I sputtered, lifting my face out of the slimy ooze of rotting vegetation. Something large moved past me, splashing through the water with heavy footfalls, and from the sounds of its breathing it was definitely not human. I didn’t care, though. It could eat me if I wanted. In fact, it was kind of nice to have non-Imperial company for once. I called it Bob. But Bob didn’t care either, and sloshed away, ending our brief camaraderie. I never saw Bob again.

“Are we almost there yet?” I whined.

“Only five minutes closer than when you last asked…five minutes ago,” my dad chuckled at his own joke as he stared through the onslaught of rain hammering against the enclosed landspeeder’s windshield.

The rain came down even harder with great sheets of muddy brown water that made it virtually impossible to see anything of the road ahead.

“Honey, the storm’s getting worse. Maybe we should find a traveler’s rest to spend the night at,” my mom suggested.

“Dear, you remember what happened the last time we did that. I was up all night killing beetles and water serpents because you couldn’t sleep with them in the room.”

“That was just that one place. I think we need to stop. I’m exhausted, too. See, there’s a sign for an inn,” she pointed at something I couldn’t see through the thick mud covering the windshield.

My dad grunted, then turned the flight yoke of the landspeeder.

My mom took my hand, and I sleepily walked into the inn’s lobby.

“Corran, stay here until we get our bags into the room,” she said, sitting me down into a chair.

Water squished out of the cushion as I sat down, and I wondered if the previous occupant had had some sort of accident. I turned toward my mom to complain, but she was already gone. I slid down onto the shag-carpeted floor and picked up two action figures that had fallen under the caf table. They were a swamp slug and a dragonsnake, and had them valiantly fight to the death.

“Come on, sport,” my dad held out a hand as he appeared. “Our room is ready.”

I took his hand and he led me down a long corridor. But the shag carpet kept getting deeper and deeper, its fibrous strands tangling around my legs. My dad had to drag me by my arm.

“Corran, pick up your feet.”

“I can’t keep going. I’m stuck.”

“No you’re not. It’s all in your mind, soldier. Pain, debilitations, obstacles…they’re only barriers for you to climb,” my commanding officer yelled at me as a tried to pull myself out of the well shaft. “If you can’t find any footholds in the wall, then sithin’ shoot them in, soldier! Nothing can get between you and victory, and if I ever hear you say the words ‘I can’t’ again, I’m going to shoot you myself! I’m not going to have some yellow-bellied landlubber in my platoon!”

The soggy walls of the well sagged under my weight, and I fell flailing into space.

Then my hand hit something hard. Rock. I deliberately scrapped the back of my hand across the rough granite, tearing open my skin on the shards of quartz. The pain was bringing back my awareness. I grabbed the rock with both hands and heaved myself onto it, pulling myself out of the murky pool.

“C’mon, sport,” my dad was saying again. “Just up these stairs and around the corner and you’ll be in bed.”

I struggled up the steps, putting one foot in front of the other. I stumbled on the last few steps. I just wanted to lay down right here. They looked comfortable. This was good enough.

“Upsey-daisy. Your mom’s waiting to tuck you in.”

Driven on by the power of his voice, I made it to the top of the stairs, wondering why we just didn’t take the turbolift, and shuffled into the motel room.

I could see the bed. It’s big, soft mattress. It’s giant, fluffy pillow. The sheets and blankets folded back. And my favorite rocketship pajamas laid out for me.

My mom held out her hand to guide me to it, but the moment I grasped it, it turned into silt, and I felt myself snatching at the air. Again and again the scene played, sometimes with me making it all the way to the bed before I found myself back at the door again.

“Mom, make it stop! Make it all stop!” I screamed.

And suddenly my mom was gone, and there were other people in the room. Two of them rushed forward and pulled me up by my arms. Their grips held fast.

“Quick, get him into our house. He barely looks alive.”

“Heh, are you sure it’s human? Maybe it’s a really skinny swamp rugget.”

“Shush. Help me get his legs.”

“Do you think he’s who the Imperials were searching for?”

“Of course! Who else?”

I felt myself being lifted and was dimly aware of being carried into a room and laid onto a soft surface.

“Jin, fetch the doctor. He should be at the—“

I heard nothing else as I closed my eyes and fell fast asleep.


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 Post subject: Re: RS Plot 17a
PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 2:16 am 
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Not long after Sacul comes to "life".

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

She had never found Major Kargin’s seemingly endless supply of techno-babble to be anything short of sleep-inducing. How the General-now-Major had made it into command - or even why he chose the path – would never make sense to her; the man seemed like he’d be happier left in the bowels of some dilapidated starship until he could make it run like new. Brya shook her head within the protective confines of her helmet. Whatever the reasons, he was still her superior officer and his oddities had gotten the central core to talk to his makeshift… thing.

However, while the download was underway, the brass aboard the Valour had decided that the core itself was too valuable to leave in the wreckage, or to destroy, and had ordered it prepped for extraction. Until the Valour arrived with the additional teams required, Byra was the only team member available to begin the initial physical evaluation.

Turning a corner, she pointed her dual wrist-mounted floodlamps down the corridor. According to the ship’s layout, the bay containing the massive central computer core lay just beyond the door at the far end. She sighed to herself as she glided over an exposed conduit in the floor. She’d never been this deep into the Vindicator before and she disliked having to rely on the map loaded onto her datapad. Reaching the end of the corridor, she twisted in midflight and landed feet-first on a reinforced blastdoor with two silent clicks.

She scowled. Unless the ship had been boarded, protocol didn’t require the computer core to be sealed off. There had been no signs of a boarding party, and the ship’s logs had verified that no unauthorized personnel had been aboard since the emergency jump from Coruscant. She looked ‘up’ back down the corridor and sighed again. “Certainly not making this easy, huh?”

Taking a step off the door and back onto the deck again, she keyed the comm. embedded in her glove, “Jaa’roo to recovery team.”

“Recovery team. Keyta here.”

“Our friends decided to take the extra precaution of cutting off physical access to the core. Any chances you can lift the blastdoor in Corridor B?”

There was a momentary pause and a burst of static before the Captain’s voice came back. “Shouldn’t be too hard… looks like-- yeah, no encryption on this one… looks like he just locked the override to this stations.”

“Odd… how long until you can get it— ”

A sudden tremor in the floor interrupted her as the heavy blastdoor began rising from the floor. As soon as edge of the door cleared its lower channel, a sudden force pushed her backwards, leaving her flailing for any handhold to grasp against the ever increasing force. Her hand brushed against a length of metallic hose-tubing thrashing about in the storm. Gripping it tightly, she braced herself and grabbed the life-line with both hands.

“OPEN THEM ALL!!!” she shouted over the deafening howl that surrounded her, threatening to carry her away and violently shatter her. “GET THEM ALL OPEN NOW!!!!”

Within moments, the howl of escaping atmosphere diminished and the pressure pushing against her subsided. In her nearly supine position, she again looked down towards the opposite end of the corridor to discover a floating pile of debris consisting up whatever in the corridor hadn’t been attached.

“Sorry…” Keyta voice apologized.

Without replying, Brya righted herself back up and took several slow, controlled breaths to slow the furious beating in her chest.

“Lieutenant? Are you alright?”

“Thank you for the warning…” she replied holding back her desire to seethe at the Captain.

“The ship’s internal sensors are down. I had no idea—”

“No need to apologize, Captain,” Brya said between breaths. “It should’ve occurred to me that sealing off the bay would’ve kept all the atmosphere in as well…”

There was another pause. “The Major reports download progress at thirty-five percent. It’s slow, but the data’s coming through steady.”

“Understood. I’m entering the bay now," she said; the calm in her voice returning as her heart rate returned to normal. “As soon as I finish my analysis I’ll call you back.”

“Roger. Recovery team out.”

The catwalk’s grating provided less surface area for her boots to latch on to, so she took her steps slow as she approached the railing that circled the outer edge of the catwalk. Taking hold of the railing, she glanced over the edge and couldn’t help but whistle at the sheer depth of the abyss beneath her.

The core spanned a good forty decks from top to bottom, with Brya only a fifth of the distance from the top. The bay itself was a constructed as a hollow shaft surrounding the sides of the core with a good ten meters of clearance.

What she failed to notice, however, was the infrared beam she’d severed as she’d entered the bay.

Remembering that she was here to do a job, she turned and slowly made her way towards an access console station mounted in the bulkhead. With no chair in sight, she had no choice but to stand as she keyed in her access codes to unlock the console. Instead of the console granting her access as Captain Keyta had assured her it would, the screen flashed a solid red three times before powering down.

Brya cursed and dropped her fist on the keyboard.

As if to punish her for her unsavory language, the catwalk beneath her suddenly lurched violently.

Fearing another decompression, she turned and gripped the railing for dear life. Staring down at the bottom of the shaft, she saw that it was no decompression as the base of the core silently ignited and exploded.

“Uhh…” she stammered, trying to find her voice. “Keyta…”

“Keyta here. How’s the—”

“Run…” she whispered slowly backing away from the railing as several more explosions went off; each sequential detonation rising up the massive height of the core at a moderate pace.

In horror, she slowly looked up towards the four large blisters in the bay’s ceiling— the blisters that held the core’s emergency reactors. In an instant, the realization of the seemingly carelessness of the bay’s lockdown hit her. It had been on purpose… it was a trap! Lure an Imperial team in with a seemingly defenseless central core, wait for them to crack the bay, and then detonate the core… and then every power reactor to scuttle the ship.

“Ru—what??”

“RUN!!” She yelled, finding her voice again. Turning and taking several long steps, she shut her boots down and pushed off from the floor, launching herself back down the corridor from where she entered. “Rip the datacores from the interface and get out of there! NOW!”

“I don’t understand, what’s—” Keyta’s transmission suddenly died in a burst of static.


Last edited by Bowman Gavin on Wed Apr 21, 2010 5:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: RS Plot 17a
PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 5:39 pm 
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Written in order of most facial hair:
Dru, Gav, Face, and a three-way tie of Shadow, Mish, and Red.
(I may be ill, but I’m not -that- stupid)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Report!” Dru barked. The increased vibrations throughout the area where they were working sent judders to the point that they were having issues even standing up right.

Keyta whirled around, her face a picture of shock. “I’ve no idea, I was talking to Brya, and then she starting shouting something about running.”

She paused, waving her gloved hand clumsily towards the end of the control room. “And I’m guessing that flashing light is bad.”

“Where was she?”

“The central core bay.”

Dru bit back a Huttese curse word, then a High Galactic cure word, then for added spice, a Bocce phrase of dubious origin. “I bet she tripped a security measures, and set off a self destruct.” He whirled, pointing at the technicians. “Purdy, Djemah, get those datacores unplugged, rip ‘em now!” He started gathering his tools. “We’re leaving!”

“Self destruct?” Keyta responded, her clumsy fingers in her vac-suit taking time to collect her portable computer.

“This is the NRI’s ship. Stands to reason that there would be extra security at the core. Want to bet against a self destruct mechanism?” Dru hammered a series of commands into the console in front of him as Purdy, Djemah, and Red tore cabling from the tops of the datacores as quickly as their vac-suits would allow.

“Major, there’s more cores here than people!” Purdy’s voice was filled with panic.

“Just pitch them down the hallway. Get out of here!” Dru stepped to the side, the odd “clang” of his magnetic boots reverberating up through his suit, and lifted a datacore. Quickly taking aim, he gave it a solid shove and briefly watched it sail down the corridor.

“Recovery team, this is Sacul,” Piggy’s voice crackled through the comm. “Is something exploding down there?”

Dru flicked his comm unit to the common channel. “Affirmative, we’re evacuating. No contact with Jaa’roo. You’re going to have a handful of spacewalkers looking for a ride in less than sixty seconds.”

Glancing down the hall again, Dru watched as the rest of the team began their clumsy run down the metallic corridor before starting for the door himself. A sudden blast of force hurled him through it, slamming him into Red and tearing one of her boots from the floor beneath her. He grasped at her arm as she flailed for balance, his feet desperately seeking a home.

“The ceiling!” Red called out, struggling to point to it.

“I’m trying!” A painful second later their rotation stopped as a wall found Dru’s boot. Looking up, Dru saw Red at a ninety-degree angle, as Keyta lent a hand to restore her balance.

“Go!” Dru shouted into his comm. “I’m closing the door.”

Red offered him a glance as though she was trying to decide to argue the point, but then thought better of it. Another blast a few meters from the door could send enough hot gasses to vaporize them all.

Shadow’s voice crackled over the comm link. “Boys and girls, I think we’re about to have some guests for dinner...” Shadow muttered as she watched several invading ships break out of hyperspace directly above the debris field. “Correction, I think perhaps we might be the dinner.”

~~~~~~~~

It was, Face mused for a second or so, amusing how a simple operation could turn into banta poodoo in a matter of seconds. “Ghost Five, Wraith Lead. Talk to me.”

Kat’s voice came back, slightly strained from performing evasive patterns. “We’ve come across an Imperial picket force. Carrack cruiser with accompanying TIE Escort. They snuck up on us, using a derelict ImpStar for cover. Ghost Six managed to wing a TIE, but they’re regrouping, and not straying too far from the Carrack.”

“Sacul, Rogue Leader.”

“Go ahead Rogue Leader.” Face responded to Corran, noting in the back of his mind that the HRD Sacul had just slid easily into an auxiliary station at the back of the bridge.

“Sacul, give the Ghost’s to me. Three ship shield grouping. Should be able to annoy the Carrack enough for Jaa’roo’s team to get out.”

“Agreed. Kat, Shadow, follow Corran’s lead.”

“Aye sir.” Shadow’s response was filled with confidence. She’d obviously been practicing in the A-Wing more than Kat.

“And can someone tell me what the sith is happening on the Vindicator!”

~~~~~~~~

Brya burst through a floating cloud of debris and hit the opposing wall hard. Quickly reorienting herself against the intersecting corner she bolted off again. Reaching the end of the short corridor, she slapped her boots back on again and began running as best she towards the control room where she’d left her team.

Without breaking pace, she ripped the datapad from its clasp on her forearm and flicked it on. Left... right... left... then straight to the point where they entered.

With the directions firmly burned into her memory, she tore the device free and left it to pinball off the corridor’s walls. Nearly tripping around the next corner, she hoped the rest of the team was closer to getting out than she was.

~~~~~~~~

“Hope, you’d better be awake!”

A steady stream of warbling nearly overloaded Red’s comm and ears, a heavy sigh managed in between the heavy breaths that were starting to develop as Red pushed the limits of the EV suit along the… bulkhead? She wasn’t even sure what surface she was on anymore, only that progress was slower than anyone liked as they pushed towards the cut entrance that would free them from the Vindicator’s wreck.

“Okay, okay... yes, ‘how could you be sleeping at a time like this?’. Listen! Get the cockpit ready for a quick entrance. Got it? And if you can get any closer, it would be appreciated.”

Clicking back to the common frequency, Red checked in with the others and also began to scan, ensuring the cores they had been dumping onto were still drifting ahead of them. “Everyone else has an astromech that can prep their ride, right?”

Nods were spotted all around, except from Purdy, who now bore an even more pronounced look of panic.

“Dru, how good of a hacker is your little bot?”

“How good?” came the response, “She asks me, ‘how good?’”

“That is not a stellar reply.” Red replied, the adrenaline pumping through her system and making it work at three or four times its normal brain function allowing her to note with a wry smirk that ‘stellar’ was exactly where they might all end up.

“Did she not ask me?”

“Still not so great...” Red’s voice became terse. How was it that Dru did not understand the immediacy of the situation?

“She did ask me! ‘How great’ indeed! Pah!” There was a pause in Dru’s voice, as though for drama, during which Red frowned. Angrily. Then the voice continued, “Purdy’s craft is sliced and diced, I think you’ll find, and ready to go at that. There’s just no need to ask, ‘how great’! Please. ‘How great’!”

Lore, the astromech in question, warbled somewhat smugly.

Dru smiled at the astromech’s proclivity for getting people riled up as his fingers slid across the small control pad for the door. Of course, all the doors had been set to lock open in the event of a self destruct, likely to maximize the damage spread, and the cache of variably stolen, borrowed, and legitimately earned access codes in his memory was beginning to wear thin. “Wraith Lead, Rogue Five. I need a code.”

“What sort of a code?”

“The sort of code you’ll have to kill me for telling me.”

“You know I’ll have to kill you if I tell you,” Face repeated wryly.

“Well, choosing between you and a proton bomb, I’ll take a fair fight with the deadliest man in the galaxy.”

“You do know how to flatter. Try ‘leaves fall in the springtime’.”

Dru glanced sideways at the control pad, filled only with numbers, picked six-four-two-three-zero, and was rewarded with the door sliding solidly shut.

Spinning round, Dru crouched against the door, disabled his boots, and kicked off down the corridor with all his might.

~~~~~~~~

Meanwhile, where the action was thick, Shadow and Kat were busily flying complicated curves and spiraling loops in an attempt to gain something of fair ground. It wasn’t working, but they both felt a little better for the try.

“Rogue Lead, this is Ghost Six, can we get a little distraction here?” Shadow ground out while pulling a turn that made her just a tad queasy. “We’ve got plenty of targets, but not enough guns for a set up!”

“Roger Ghost Five. I’m a bit stuck, but I’m sending over Black Two and Three.”

Just then two X-wings joined the party, swooping in with guns blazing. They made for a perfect distraction and took out two TIEs a piece while Shadow and Kat regrouped.

“Okay Kat, ready to try that thing we talked about?”

“No, as a matter of fact I’m not, but you aren’t really giving me a choice, are you?”

“Nope! On the count of three. One, two..... three!”

The A-wings broke away from each other, looped back around, and swerved back in a near head-on collision. Each was followed by a pair of ties, and at the last moment, the A-wings split just a few feet off course, barely missing each other and causing the ties behind to crash.

“Just don’t ever ask me to do that again without a lot more sim time...” Kat exhaled, looking around to find more eyeballs. Her eyes scanned the sensor scopes, looking for targets. She gulped slightly, as more and more enemy signatures flickered to life. She was looking for targets, she'd found almost certain death.


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 Post subject: Re: RS Plot 17a
PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2010 2:48 pm 
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Black with twinkling lights, the stars were his only companions. Theran was drifting along next to the Krayli’s Valor, his breath the only noise around him. The past several weeks had taken their toll on him, and he needed to get away from the rest of the rebel crew. “Republic crew.” He corrected himself. Even after the events on Keshoc Station, he still called them rebels from time to time. Perhaps he needed more time.

“Time, how little I’ve actually had.” Mused Theran, his mind drifting over to what he had discovered when getting his replacement eye. The prosthetic eye looked normal except for the fact that iris was metallic silver, but aside from that it was fine. It was the doctor doing a physical before the surgery that worried and confused him. He could still clearly remember the conversation.

“Well Lieutenant it looks as though you’re good to go, aside from bruised ribs and an error on your medical files, you are fit as a Chandrilaan Fiddle.”

Shocked that an error was on his medical records, records he had taken from his own personal files when he had defected. Theran quickly sat up just a little straighter.

“Doctor, what do you mean error, my file should have been completely accurate.”

“Well, it’s really simple actually. When you must have copied the file your blood type was incorrectly changed your blood type to O, but you are an AB blood type. Simple mix-up in the system, I’ve seen it happen before.” Calmly answered the doctor, before leafing through the file that he was holding, stopping on a page and tapping it with his pen he looked backup at Theran. “You also have remarkably good bone density and one of the largest antibodies. Did you know that you could be dropped off almost anywhere and not require an inoculation against common diseases.”

Theran could hear the doctor talking, but it was getting farther and farther away from him. Theran hadn’t ever had any inoculations against diseases. Aside from one they gave him when he joined the academy, he hadn’t had a single one. The reason being his immune system from Nar Shaddaa was unstable and he required the stable environments of ships to not get sick. He had never been the healthiest kid growing up and it wasn’t until he was in the clean environments of Imperial warships that his frequent trips to the medical bay stopped.

It was a hand on his arm that broke him out of his thoughts, looking up he saw the doctor looking down at him with a question clearly written across his face. Quickly thinking Theran responded before the doctor could ask him about what distracted him. “Sorry doctor, I was thinking how nice it was to be able to see out of both eyes.”

It was also plain to see the doctor didn’t completely believe him, but he didn’t push the subject. “Well either way, you’re cleared to leave. Oh and Lieutenant, when you get a tattoo next time check with me to see if it regulation. I’m putting a not in your file that the tattoo behind your left ear is from your Imperial enrolment. But if your officers want it removed you’re going to have to get it removed. As for the one behind your right ear, it meets standards and is fine.” With that, the doctor gave him a pat on the shoulder and left the medical bay for Theran to get dressed and leave.

Theran knew something was wrong and when he walked out of the med bay, he quickly made for his quarters. Turning a corner to sharply he almost ran down Lieutenant Terah. Barely sparing her an apology his continued on his way. The look she shot him, could have peeled paint, but he needed answers that he didn’t have.

Once in his room he had Tone record behind his ears so he could see the tattoos. When they were played back, he saw an Imperial emblem behind his left ear and 1204 behind his right ear. Slumping to the floor he started looking himself over from head to toe. Almost five minutes later Theran threw his helmet across the room in a fit of rage. He didn’t have a single scar on his body aside from the once he had gained on Keshoc.

Taking a deep breath he left for the medical bay. Taking note that no one was in the bay, he quietly activated a 2-1B medical droid.

“Greetings sir, how may I be of assistance?”

Looking over his shoulder quickly, Theran told the droid what he needed. “I need you to date how old I am.”

The droid just looked at him for a moment before answering. “Sir, I’m not sure I understand why you need that information.”

“My friends don’t believe me, and I need medical proof of my age. And I don’t want a copy of my entire medical history. Now, can I get that information?”

The droid seemed to think the matter over. “Very well sir, but I will have to note this in the log. Now come with me.”
The procedure barely took a moment. However the droid was clearly confused by the information that the procedure gave out. “I’m sorry sir, but it looks like our equipment is malfunctioning. It states that you are seven years old. I’m sorry, but could you come back at another time?”

Shocked at the information, Theran already suspected that the equipment wasn’t faulty. Too many things were pointing towards a fact that he instinctively knew to be true. “That’s not a problem, my friends will probably forget all about arguing over my age in a day or so.” Quickly thanking the droid, Theran made his way out of the medical bay.
As he stepped out, he found himself face to face with Colonel Loran. Quickly snapping to attention, Theran tried to ignore the cold sweat that was forming on his skin.

“Lieutenant, anything wrong, we might need to deploy at any time.”

“No sir, just checking in with the medical droid. I wasn’t feeling well and he told me I needed more rest.”

Facejust shook his head at Theran, the look of amusement and reproach clearly visible. “Theran, you need to get more rest, working on your X-wing all the time isn’t healthy. We have mechanics for a reasons.”

Letting his shoulders drop in what he looked was a accepting attitude. “Yes, sir. I will try to spend less time on my snub-fighter. “

Theran barely had time to think before he felt Face clap him on the arm before giving him a small grin. Startled by the action, he stood there dumfounded as the Colonel walked away, giving THeran a parting shot as he turned a corner. “Don’t forget to get better acquainted with the Rogues and Wraiths.”

Tired from his experience Theran made his way towards the hangar, never noticing that Face had come back around the corner as he left the hallway. If he had, he would have seen Face slip inside the medical bay.

Now just an hour later, Theran found himself floating outside the ship. Worried about what the future held for him. Barely seven years old, a clone, Theran knew he was clone. It all fit, the changed blood type from universal donor to universal receiver. You need your clones to live, and having them accept any blood was a good way to help that. His boosted immunities and the fact that he didn’t have any scars also pointed to this. Theran could remember breaking his arm and having the bone come out, it left a scar on the underside of his arm, a scar that he didn’t have.

So he just floated next to the Krayli’s Valor, his body and mind at rest. Waiting for the inevitable, trying to think of a way to deal with the situation. The stars were his companions, most he had found didn’t like to go EV unless they had to. But Theran found it liberating and enjoyed it more than any vacation could ever offer him. So he continued to float, his body paralleling the Valor. His anchor wire attached to a maintenance clasp.

_________________
"Your generic TIE grunt is just plain suicidal. And the TIE Defender jockey is bloodthirsty. But the TIE Interceptor pilot, he's suicidal and bloodthirsty..."


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 Post subject: Re: RS Plot 17a
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 4:06 pm 
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Written by Face, Gav, and Red
======================================


“Report!” The order was barked as the soft warning alarms echoed over the bridge.

“Sensors make out a Carrack Cruiser, ID’d as the Whiplash making its way through the debris field. Rogue, Black and Ghost have taken out its TIE escorts, but the debris field is too dense in that area for a straight enough flight to get a target lock for torpedoes.” Sacul responded, her right hand motionless on the controls. Without looking closely, Face guessed that the two Saculs were somehow hardwired together.

“I’ve been listening in to their comm traffic, Rogue Leader has Black Two and Three making abortive runs on the Whiplash’s engines to try and slow it down, but it doesn’t appear to be working.”

“We can take a Carrack.” Face commented, fervently hoping his optimism wasn’t misplaced. “They’ve got 10 turbos and 20 lasers. We can outmaneuver them and drop a sithload of torps.”

“The Whiplash has us significantly outgunned.” Piggy pointed out.

“Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.” Face pressed the internal comm-unit on his chair. “All personnel to battle stations. Wraiths to the bridge, Firestorm to the turrets.”

He threw a glance over his shoulder at Sacul. “Try and raise Lt Jaa’roo me, I need to know what’s happening!”

~~~~~~~~

“I’d really like to see everyone in their rides; this isn’t a valet service you know.”

Corran’s voice was tense, but Red appreciated that it wasn’t panicked or yelling. They had hit the last turn, and the opening was visible up ahead, including the occasional light show from around the edges to indicate just how hot things had gotten.

“Alright, everyone in and we rendezvous with the rest of the flight. No lollygagging or check, you’re going to have to trust that your astromech got everything going properly.”

Dru heard confirming clicks from his entire group, but there was one still in question. “Brya, where are you?”

There was a pause, before the sound of static filled his link. He saw the look of dread that had formed jointly on the team’s faces, but was quick to mitigate the result of this indicator. “Static means there is still a line to connect to. Keep moving.”

As if the universe sensed the attempt to maintain control, the bulkhead in front of the group that lined their last few yards to freedom blew out, sending shrapnel into the hallway and opening ahead.

A pressurized spray of blood mixed with shards of helmet-visor cut across Keyta’s vision before she realized that the cost of escape had been Crewman Purdy’s life. Time seemed to freeze as she watched his body fall backwards, the minimal grip in his boots failing as the force of the impact slowly carried him back into the depths of the ship.

She barely registered Dru’s shout to press forward, snapping back to reality as a hand grabbed her arm and roughly pulled her forward.

~~~~~~~~

Byra sprang off the corner and sailed down the corridor leading to the control room. The comms had become nothing but static, effectively blinding her to the status of her team. Another explosion rumbled through the ship.

The straight line to freedom was just around the next--

“Oomph.”

-- closed door.

Her rebound was quickly halted as her boots gripped the floor plating. Approaching the door again she slapped controls. Nothing. Furrowing her brow she slapped it again. Still nothing. A feeling of terror griped her; the only door out had been sealed.

~~~~~~~~

“Colonel?” Piggy’s voice was calm and controlled, but Face wasn’t sure if that was the mechanical filter, or the Gammoreans own implacable exterior. “I can’t get Lt. Jaa’roo. Major Kargin states...”

“Put him on.” Face interrupted.

“--king piece of merd!” Dru’s voice cut across the channel, obviously in the middle of the engineer’s rant.

“Dru!”

“Face? What’s going on?”

“We have a Carrack class cruiser inbound; it’ll be in firing range in a little over three minutes. Black Force Two and Three and playing tag with it, but they’re not slowing him down enough.”

“Tell me some good news.”

“That WAS the good news. Sensors show an even larger Imp force on the way. No solid data yet, but profile suggests at least an ImpStar Duece.”

“Anything else?”

“We’ve got about 5 minutes to clear the area before the Vindicator’s core goes up and kills us all.” Face paused, his eyes flicking over the data. “Please tell me you’re all there.”

Dru’s voice returned strained. “We lost Purdy. We’re manhandling the core into the mini transport. Djemah will take off once that’s done, and the rest of us will launch in our X’s.”

“Brya?”

“No sign. Sorry Face. Look, I gotta...”

“Go. Get moving, and keep in touch.”

“Kargin out.”

Face slammed his fist down on the armrest. This was not going according to anyone’s plan!

~~~~~~~~

As the comm connection to the Sacul cut off, Dru was at least greeted by one promising sign in this whole fiasco. Up ahead, Djemah and Red had managed to herd the datacores together and Red had lashed them all into a bundle with a line produced from her pack.

He saw all of this just in time as they reached the edge of the opening.

“INCOMING!”

A large shard of debris slammed into the edge of the opening, causing the entire structure to shake and physically rotate several degrees.

The sound of a scream cut to static hit Keyta, Dru, and Red’s ears as a fragment that had broken off a larger shard dislodged Djemah’s boots, forcing him out into open space. The static signaled his immediate contact with another piece of debris and the end of the short trip.

“Red!” Keyta’s shout dragged Dru’s gaze away from the grisly sight of another person lost to where the engineer was now pressed against the opposite side of the opening, her one hand clinging to the bulkhead edge, the other hanging onto the bundle of datacores.

At first, he feared the worse, thinking that they wouldn’t be in time to pull her in, seeing what looked like a plethora of cracks in her suit visor; but as he and Keyta rushed over and pulled her back to a controlled potion, it became apparent that the cracks were actually bits of shattered plasteel floating within her suit.

As her feet found a firm place and the momentum of the impact lost its hold, Red finally managed a breathy comm reply. “Thanks...it just shattered my shoulder brace....I’m fine....really.”

Keyta looked like she was about to protest, having seen the wince that was forming on the engineer’s face, but instead muttered into the comm as Dru scouted to ensure there were no more immediate debris risks before they engaged their paths to the waiting X-wings.

“Should have done bacta instead of insisting on letting that shoulder injury heal naturally. Don’t care if we’re low on medical supplies.”

The brief exchange was cut short as Dru chimed in. “We’re clear, go!”

~~~~~~~~

An alarm beeped in Byra’s ear piece: three minutes remained before the explosions reached the reactors and set off a chain-reaction throughout the ship.

She’d doubled back down the corridor in an attempt to get as close to the Vindicator’s outer skin as possible. As luck would have it, she’d stumbled across one of the observatory halls scattered across the ship.

She glided into the room, grabbing the edge of the large conference table - the only thing in the room actually bolted to the floor - to bring her to a stop. However, the glimmer of hope was quickly snuffed out as she realized that there was nothing in the vicinity to smash through the thick view plates.

The alarm beeped again.

Two minutes.

~~~~~~~~

“Status report.”

Piggy’s hands moved impossibly fast across the console in front of him as Face leaned forward from his chair. “Rogue and Ghost squadrons are all accounted for, but the Whiplash isn’t slowing. They’ve brought the TIE squadron down to 40% strength. Two minutes to core explosion.”

Face seemed to mull over the information, before standing and moving to look over Kai’s shoulder. “Get jump coordinates prepared with the Sacul and send them to all ships, and get them to our people at the Core. They’re going to have to jump straight. Aim for a multileveled jump so we can...”

“Give them more trails to follow but have a hard-to-find rendezvous point we’ll all meet at. Got it boss.”

“You can’t read my...”

“...mind, Kai.” Sure boss, keep thinking that.

“Tell the Valour to get out of here unless they want to become the salvage.” Rolling his eyes, Face was once again in his chair, mind whirling around the plan. He didn’t like running, but they had no choice. A direct conflict would only add more of their number to the debris field and leave the cores venerable once again. They had to at least get that data out.

~~~~~~~~

“Hope, take the coordinates and get out, now. Clear the debris and start your jump.” Red hadn’t even bothered to remove or open her EV suit, thick gloves fumbling over the console of the mini transport that had previously belonged to the now lost techs. She had volunteered to take over the transport and entrust Hope with her X-wing.

~~~~~~~~

*beep* One minute.

Brya’s gaze was fixed on the thick layer of transparisteel that separated the cold vacuum of freedom from the cold vacuum that held her captive. One by one she watched as the fighters holding back the Imperial forces broke off and bolted into hyperspace. While she was confident that the rest of her team had managed to escape, she had accepted the fact that she was going to die here.

The scarlet numbers on her visor’s HUD ticked down the seconds before the reactors would explode and vaporize the ship and everything nearby.

She hadn’t expected it to end like this.

The numbers were suddenly drowned out by an intense blast of light that bathed over the entire hall. Reactively, Brya threw up her arm to block the bright light. Her comm cracked to life with a series of relived yet ecstatic tones.Peering over the top of her arm, Brya made out the silhouette of an X-Wing just outside the transparisteel plating.

Another series of tones sounded. Her eyes widened as she recognized the sound of a target lock. In one fluidic move, she turned, grabbed the edge of the table, and slung herself underneath it just as the section of platting above here exploded with cannon-fire.

Without waiting for the shower of debris to subside, Brya pulled herself out from beneath her shield and pushed off from the floor with as much force as she could muster. Reaching the open cockpit, she strapped herself in and slammed the canopy shut.

~~~~~~~~

*beep* Zero.


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 Post subject: Re: RS Plot 17a
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 4:11 pm 
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Written with Face.
======================================

One Hour Later...

Face’s fury was almost contained beneath his actors cool, but even his trademark control leaked anger. “Lieutenant Jaa’roo. Please explain to me how you managed to set off a booby trap which ended your away mission with the death of two technicians and only 35% of the data retrieved?”

The pair was in Face’s office at the rear of the top deck on the Sacul. The Valour hung off in the distance, the two ships floating silently in the middle of interstellar space as the Taskforce licked its wounds.

Brya stood stone-faced, her own emotions behind similar containment. There truly was no best way to answer the question, so she chose directly. “There was no way to foresee the trap, sir, and nothing showed up on scanners.”

“And you didn’t stop to think that perhaps the New Republic Intel flagship might have had an extra layer of security?”

"Yes sir. However," she swallowed. “I did not account for something so... simple.”

Face gritted his teeth in frustration. “Then consider it a lesson learnt. One with too heavy a price.”

“Yes sir,” she replied, still emotionless.

Face’s eyes narrowed. “Dismissed.”


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 Post subject: Re: RS Plot 17a
PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 12:00 am 
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Written by Red and Gav
======================================


There’s no sense continuing to beat yourself up, Brya reasoned as she descended the ladder between the rear of the Sacul’s first deck and her second deck. It could’ve happened to anyone. Regardless, two men were dead because of her failure to notice the trip-beam.

Reaching the bottom of the narrow access shaft, she stopped and leaned back wearily against the opposite wall. As her back hit the bulkhead, she momentarily wondered how the Gammorean Wraith managed, if at all, to make it up to that part of the ship. Sighing, she bit the inside of her lip. Perhaps a shower would help wash away the gnawing feelings guilt.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

From somewhere roughly underneath where Brya had stopped in her descent from the elusive entrance to Face’s office, the sound of something dropping followed by a string of Huttese curses would break the silence.

Just around a corner and on the ramp that continued down to the engineering bay on deck three, Red crouched a moment with her newly re-bandaged shoulder hunched forward slightly. She had gotten a new plasteel cast that encompassed her entire shoulder from her neck, down over the upper part of her bicep, leaving the arm partially immobilized.
After an argument with not only Shadow but several other Wraiths, they had once again conceded from forcing her to accept a bacta treatment for old injury. However, they had only conceded after having her also sling the rest of her arm against her chest for a few days to ensure she hadn’t cause any more harm.

Now, she knelt over a spilled container of rivets and other parts that she had been attempting to move to one of the storage lockers, attempting to collect the errant parts with her one good hand without loosing balance.

“Need a hand?” she heard a voice ask.

Looking up, Red nearly fell as she adjusted her bent knee to keep her balance, her unrestricted hand having to catch herself. This of course, cut of her instinct response of “I’m fine” and as she turned a shade approximately the same color as her hair, a faint nod was managed. “I wish I could say no, but I think that would be beyond even my pride.”

The other reason for the flush was recognizing Brya standing above her, and the memory of her horribly timed mannerism regarding the password on the NRI data core.

Gathering up several of the furthest scattered rivets, Brya nodded at the cast. “How’s the shoulder?”

Flipping the box over on its base once more, Red managed to use the lid to roll together a chunk of the spilled parts, beginning to lift small handfuls back in.

“A bit sore, everyone’s mostly over reacting because I refused bacta, so it looks like I have some horrible injury over a dislocation.” The shrug that accompanied the comment was lopsided, but Red didn’t wince, implying that she was being fairly honest in her assessment.

An awkward silence fell for a moment as the normally chatty engineer kept her gaze trained on the floor and picking up the woefully small handfuls of rivets.

Brya didn’t mind silence; an Intel officer’s life largely involved silence - either while during covert ops or reading people who tried to remain silent. Something was upsetting the engineer, but she given Brya’s current state of mind, she decided to leave it be.

It only took a few minutes to gather the spilled parts back into their container.

“I don’t want to sound patronizing,” Brya started, “but do you want help carrying your load to... wherever it was you were headed?”

“Uh, I think I can get it....I tripped, you see....” Red indicated to a wide strap that was slung across her good shoulder, leaning down to place the lid back on the container, before sliding a series of knots that fell from the base of the strap and hooked around the boxes corners. As she straightened, it allowed her to prop the box on her hip. “Tripped on the edge of the ramp.”

Making a final adjustment, Red finally managed to work out whatever it was she had been mulling during the earlier silence. Brya had started to turn and leave, however, so her carefully planed comment turned into a quick blurt. “I’m really sorry!”

“For tripping on the ramp?” she asked, confused. “I mean, tripping can be a real Frotz sometimes, but...”

“No, no....” Red had gone from sheepish to confused in the moment that Brya had responded, but managed to slow herself down and take a breath as she interjected. “For calling you a thief earlier. I don’t know you that well yet and you’ve had a lot happen, and I shouldn’t have been so joking about that. I’m from Tatooine… we’re not the most, socially tactful people sometimes. But I wanted to say, I’m sorry.”

“Don’t worry about it Lieutenant,” So that’s what it was. In the mad dash to escape the doomed cruiser, Brya had nearly forgotten about the remark. “It was an honest misunderstanding.”

“Please, call me Red.”

Red had no doubt that Brya was not 100%, but then again she suspected she would have been pretty shook up herself considering all of the events that had occurred. So, while there was a nagging worry Brya was still upset with her on top of everything else, Red didn’t press much further and took the comment at its face value. “I hope you don’t mind, but I had Hope get together with Scon to get your fighter cleaned and tuned up. I told Hope not to mess with anything unless Scon approved it. Kinda the only way I could think to make up for being a Koochoo.”

Brya mentally made a note to look up the term ‘koochoo’.

“Uhh, yeah, that sounds fine. Scon knows fairly well how I like things…” Reaching back, she released the binding holding her hair together, letting the brown length fall to her shoulders, “If you’re alright, I’m going to go shower, pass out, and try to come up with have-crazy scheme to get off the Colonel’s bad-list…”

Red gave a small nod, stepping aside so Brya could get ahead of her, since she was stopping at a locker not that far ahead of where they were. “I hear you on the fresher.”

A mental note was made regarding the Colonel’s bad-list, deciding not to pry despite her curiosity. “Get some sleep and feel better. I have to get the bridge; Piggy said that he had something I needed to see.”

“Some day you’ll have to tell me how the Gammorean makes it up to the Colonel’s office...” she half muttered, the fatigue beginning to overtake her.


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 Post subject: Re: RS Plot 17a
PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2010 9:52 pm 
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Making the final leg of the trek up the ramp to the bridge, Red was becoming suspicious. She hadn't seen Sparks anywhere around the engine room, nor had the Sacul been particularly talkative to her.

It wasn't normal.

Then again, what was these days.

Careful not to catch her shoulder on the final corner, she could see Piggy's form standing near the captain's chair, blocking her view of where Kai would be sitting forward in the pilot's seat.

"You needed me, Voort - is it about Sparks? I haven't seen her since getting back on board and..."

Piggy had turned around and stepped slightly to the side, revealing a partial view of Sparks standing near another figure, while Kai lounged in her chair. He was...grinning? Kai was just about vibrating with some form of giddiness. Sparks even looked like she was anticipating something. Trailing off, Red took a moment to now inspect the other figure who stood on the deck.

"Surprise."

The noise just about sent Kai spilling from her chair, had Piggy jumping back a step and Sparks actually clamping her hands over where her auditory receptors mimics ear holes as the one armed engineer let out a shriek and just about knocked over every person standing between her and Sacul's human replica droid. The teammates were convinced she was having an attack of some sort, but the single outburst was followed by a nonstop stream of babble and the largest grin they had seen on Red in a long time.

"Hey, careful...woah!"

Sacul found herself fending off the single armed grip that Red took hold of her with, but not in time to prevent a quick turn by the engineer who then deftly activated and opened a panel on the side of her head behind the neural connection that had downloaded her personality, exposing a circuit and interface board through her hair. As she knelt to try and get away, Red followed, eyes darting over the exposed workings.

"I knew it! I saw the code lines in the maintenance logs and knew you were trying to get something, but this! I can't believe it - oh, it has the advanced dual processor up link for improved sync speed - look at that, I've never seen such authentic synthskin and hair, the follicles are actually implanted through to the substrate and have mimic roots! Hey, is that a..."

"RED!"

The shout as Sacul managed to scramble over Face's captain's chair and away from the reach of the engineer broke the stunned silence and immediately seemed to calm and simultaneously embarrass the engineer. Red stopped, her cheeks flushing as Sacul closed the interface and smoothed her hair, attempting to regain her composure. Red was the first to speak, as if anticipating the possible comment.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry...that was incredibly invasive...this isn't a piece of machinery to tinker with. It's you. Sorry...I'm just...this is amazing!"

Sacul cast a knowing glance at Red, before clearing her throat and looking around the bridge.

"Why don't we go talk down in the bay. Sparks, care to join us?"

Sparks gave an affirmative nod and followed the pair as Sacul calmly strolled off the bridge with Red almost skipping behind her, obviously barely containing her outburst.

Blinking slowly, Piggy finally turned towards Kai, who had relaxed from the startle and was once again lounging in her chair.

"Get it?"

The Twi'lek feigned a hurt pout, a finger deftly pushing a button on her console, cuing a frozen image that signified the start of a holoclip with Red entering the bridge at the start of the moment that had just taken place.

"Did I get it, he asks. Hef."

The Gammorean's lips curled into the toothiest grin possible.

"I think, my dear Kai'ukes, we have the perfect moment for future embarrassment. Shall we share with Face now, or save it for ourselves?"

It was Kai's turn to grin.

"My dear Piggy, let's hold onto this one for a time."

_________________
"I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person!"


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 Post subject: Re: RS Plot 17a
PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2010 9:29 pm 
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“ --even with the inflatable Bantha, you’d still need the heavy blaster and the three tons of duracrete.”

“I still say the duck-droid could pull it off with only an ion blaster.”

“And that’s why -you- are the Flight Officer and -I- am the field agent.”

The door hissed open, revealing a half-dead Lieutenant Jaa’roo. Monroe and Nyret sat facing either other, occupying two of the quarters’ three bunks. Between them sat a small dirty-white cargo barrel which served as a table, upon which were scattered several Sabacc cards. The room itself was nearly the size of a Wraith’s personal quarters, but instead of a single enclosed refresher station, two small “closets”, each enclosing a single toilet, sat in the corner closest to the door while a pair of sinks sat mounted just adjacent. The shower “closet” stood on the same wall against the far corner, with the three bunks opposite them. Lacking a proper closet for hanging uniforms, a make-shift line had been run between the toilet and shower walls.

Had they been aboard the Valour, less cramped accommodations would’ve been available, but such were the assigned locations.

Agent Hal Monroe, a short human of average build and thinning hair, glanced over his shoulder as Brya stepped through the door way and began unzipping her flight suit. “So how angry was Loran?”

“Don’t believe what the recruiters tell you, gentlemen,” Brya half-mumbled letting the dark flight suit slide off her into a crumpled mess around her feet, leaving her in a close-fitting black tank top and shorts. “Command is hell and every mistake you make could mean the difference between life and death.”

“So, ‘angry’ then?” Flight Officer Aaron Nyret, a young man barely out of his teens, piped in. Glancing down at his cards again, he discarded two and drew two replacement cards.

“Yeah, you could say that,” she sighed, kicking the discarded flight suit to the foot of her bunk.

A grin crept across Nyret’s face as he dropped his cards on the table. “Sabacc.”

In indignant response, Monroe tossed his cards over his shoulder. “Damn it all…”

“You could say that too…”

“You want us to deal you in, Lieutenant?” Monroe asked as he gathered his strewn cards back into the deck and began shuffling for the next game.

“As much as I would love to sit and take you both for all your worth,” she said, moseying past them towards the shower. “All I want is to shower, pass out, and not be woken up until the Empire’s beat back to their little sector of space again.”

“How ‘bout strip-Sabacc?”

“How ‘bout I shoot you?” she shot back, sliding the door open.

“Can I shoot him?” Nyret asked, a large grin of feigned excitement on his face.

“If you do, be sure to clean up the mess and frame a droid,” she said, as the door slid shut behind her. “The last thing I need is Loran coming down on me for blood all over the room.”

“Hang in there, Lieutenant.”


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 Post subject: Re: RS Plot 17a
PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 5:53 pm 
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”Command is hell and every mistake you make could mean the difference between life and death.”

Resting her forehead against the cold metal of the shower wall, she closed her eyes and turned her focus to the heat of the water as it relaxed the muscles in her shoulders. The steam rising from the shower floor clung to her skin before being washed away by the rivulets running down her toned physique.

There wasn’t much left to reflect on but she couldn’t help but dwell on the events since Coruscant and the lives lost along the way. She hadn’t asked to be put in command of Black Force, and she hadn’t asked to be lost in the middle of no where with the Rogues and Wraiths… but as painful as it was to admit, it was better than what had happened to the Vindicator.

Sighing, she tucked the hair in her eyes behind her ears and leaned back directly under the flow of water.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

The MAC had fired and obliterated the Star Destroyer in its path.

“Black Three to Black Two!” The comm system burst to life. “Lead is gone! What are our orders!?”

Brya threw her X-Wing in a wide spinning arc to port to avoid several large chunks of burning wreckage. “Two here! Monroe, where’s Nyret!?”

“Junior’s helping keep the TIE’s off Sacul’s back,” he answered back, followed quickly by a small bang and a short stream of Huttese curses. “I on the other hand am playing tag with a pair of Interceptors in a debris field.”

“Any sign of the Vindicator?”

“Director Cracken just jumped her out of the system. It’s just us, Rogue, and Wraith left.” A pause. “Got’cha you slippery Lylek!”

A shrill tone sounded from her instrument panel. “Spast!!” she shouted, forcing the controls as far forward as they would go. Her X-Wing dove sharply, narrowly avoiding the impact from a concussion missile. Pulling out of the loop behind the firing gunboat, she let loose with a volley of fire and the last of her proton torps into the vessel’s stern, destroying the gunboat before they had a chance to refocus their shields.

Another alarm went off. Another Star Destroyer had entered orbit nearby and was releasing several waves of reinforcements.

“What’s the plan, Lead?!”

“Stay alive for a few more minutes!” Brya cursed again as she switched to the fleet’s general comm channel.

“Black Lead to Wraith Lead,” she shouted, pressing her fingers against her ear-piece. “Reinforcements are being released less than two klicks away. The Vindicator has jumped away and we’re homeless. Requesting orders.”

The digital display on the comm unit suddenly sparked and the comm died.

“Oh no you don’t!” Brya growled, punching the unit. “I didn’t stay alive this long to get left behind over a broken radio!”

Another punch and the unit crackled to life again.

“... out of the system.”

“Wraith, please repeat!”

“We are transmitting jump coordinates to your squadron. Prepare for emergency jump out of the system.”

“Acknowledged!”

Scon screamed. An entire wing of TIE Interceptors was barreling down on her position.

Her navi-computer chimed.

Swinging her craft around, she watched four ships bolt from Coruscant.

The missile-lock alarm sounded.

She pulled the hyperdrive lever.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

The flow of water stopped.

Brya slowly opened her eyes. Damn you seven minutes of shower time.


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 Post subject: Re: RS Plot 17a
PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 11:52 am 
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Face rubbed his hands over his eyes, the fatigue threatening to overwhelm him. His debriefing with Lieutenant Jaa’roo hadn’t gone as well as he’d hoped. With the news that she’d been responsible for setting off the trap which had claimed the lives of Djemah and Purdy soured what should have been an excellent mission report. She’d beat herself up over it for a while, as all good commanders did. Even though it was an easy mistake, Face still felt angry enough to let her feel guilty for a while.

Kat was in the main computer suite of the Sacul, sifting through what data they had managed to pull from the Vindicators core. She, along with three of the Sacul’s four JN-77 analysis droids were sifting through the information, piecing together what they good. As vast as the amount collected was, Kat felt confident they’d have it sorted and filed within three days.

Face made a mental note to ensure that the Major didn’t work solidly for those three days, as she’d done in the past.

He rubbed his eyes again, and then shook his head, attempting to clear the exhaustion. He was only partially successful. Glancing at the chrono, he suppressed a wince. 23 hours straight he’d been up for. No wonder he was tired. He threw a look at the reams of data paused mid-scroll on his desk unit, as well as the small pile of identical datacards.

“Vape?”

A slight twitter sounded from the conference room adjoining the office, as Face’s R2 unit wheeled in. “Vape, can you stick all of the data on these cards into the mainframe, and transfer it to my quarters?”

The R2’s response was a questioning tone.

“I’m going to get about 30 mins kip. Wake me when it’s done.”

The rude blat of an answer made Face turn around. “Excuse me?”

“He said, you’re no use to anyone if you’re dead on your feet. You need at least six hours sleep, and ideally eight.” Sacul’s voice came from the conference room, the sleek HRD sat in one of the seats, her hands flicking across the holo controls as various maps and diagrams flicked at breathtaking speed through the projected light.

“He has a point.” Face yawned. “OK. Wake me in six hours. Deal?”

The triumphant whistle was all the reply the Colonel needed.

***

“Face?”

The Colonel turned over in his bed, the sheets twisted around his athletic frame. His eyes focussed on the chrono. Four hours sleep. “This had better be good.”

“Sorry sir.” Kat’s voice continued. “We’ve found part of a message. It’s from Elassar.”

Wide awake, the Lorridian threw his legs over the side, grabbing the nearest shirt. “I’ll be right there.”
***

Despite what she held, the Sacul was still a small ship. Face jogged the length of the neck, past the droid bay and round the corner of the arborutem. Just as he reached the spiral ramp up to the second deck, Red walked out of the engine room, her arm in a sling.

“What happened?”

“Dislocated shoulder after the Vindicator escape.” Red shrugged one handedly. “No permanent damage.”

“We out of bacta?” Face asked, his expression puzzled.

“No, I just didn’t want to take a dunk in one of the bacta beds. I spoke to Shadow, and she agreed to let me sling it up for a week instead.”

“Get some bacta.” Face responded with a half smile

“But Face, I’ve already spoken to Shadow and she said...”

“What makes you think this is a discussion?” Face cut her off, a slight edge to his voice.

“Sir.” Red responded, flushing slightly.

“I need you fit and well Red.”

“Sir.”

Face flicked her a glance. She was annoyed, but not mad. Tough. He didn’t want to deal with injuries because the injured party was too gorram stubborn. He nodded, and continued up to the computer suite.

***

“..zzzkkkk....o-called New Republic bear witness. The Empire will not stop unti .....zzzzkkk....is is a warning. Do not track us, do not trace us. Rogue and Wrai....zzzzkkkk...”

“Nice to be famous.” Kai’s murmur was faint, but even her throwaway line could not soften the hard lines etched around her eyes. A look mirrored on every Wraith in the computer suite.

Elassar. His right eye swollen shut, his left horn almost hanging off and his left leg ending in a bloody stump just above the knee. Their friend, their colleague, beaten and tortured.

“Anything else?” Face asked, his teeth clenched tightly.

Kat shook her head. “Sacul’s still cleaning the data. We probably only have about 20 seconds of a longer message, one in which Elassar appears to be reading out a long threat to the New Republic Remnant, and specifically us.”

“Any chance of...”

“Tracking or tracing it? Not a snowballs chance on Mustufar. This appears to have been sent to every NR ship out there. It’s surprising we don’t have our own copy. It’s propaganda, pure and simple. ‘Oh look, we have a Wraith, the New Republics most dangerous squadron, and look what we’ve done to it.’ They’re just using us as a tool to beat people down.”

“I take it back. Being famous sucks sheb.”

Face threw an annoyed glance at Kai. “I wasn’t aware your opinion was requested.”

“Hey, we’re all hurting too Face!” Kai shot back, uncharacteristically angry. “You haven’t got the monopoly on feeling mad.”

Face opened his mouth to respond, but bit down hard. “You’re right. Sorry.”

“What’s the plan?” Kat asked, her grey eyes bloodshot from too many hours working, and not enough sleep.

“The plan?” Face flicked a glance to Sacul. “Can you contact the Valour? Ask General Antilles for a meeting. All department heads.”

“Doing so now.” Sacul responded with a curt nod.

“The plan.” Face repeated. “Is we get organised, and we get recruiting!”


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 Post subject: Re: RS Plot 17a
PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 7:35 am 
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Location: San Antonio, TX
Feet dangling from her hammock, Red nodded to Hope as the R4 warbled faintly before rolling back and causing the Bantha leather strap that each of them held on either end to take up slack. As the leather tightened, it was actually the Sacul herself (A grin formed on the engineer’s face at the concept that with this new droid, Sacul was literally helping her) that came over, quickly punching a line of holes and then riveting two smaller pieces of leather that attached to a set of smaller loops of leather with a similar series of holes and a small buckles hanging from them.

“Perfect. Lets see if this works the way I want, then.”

Gingerly removing her arm sling, Red then unzipped her jump suit and carefully slid it off her bad shoulder to reveal the standard fitted black tank that she wore underneath. The other shoulder was shrugged off effortlessly by her good arm, letting the loose material fall around her waist.

“Shall I help you put this on, Red?” Sacul’s head canted excitedly, as if she was also enjoying the new ability to physically assist her engineer. Red wondered how long before Sacul learned to whine and slouch about the workload. Hope already had perfected a faint whining hum when she was ‘tired.’

“I think you better, tightening everything with one hand will not work so well, I suspect.”

Raising her arms for the droid, Red watched as Sacul leaned over and looped the longer, thicker strap just under her chest, carefully navigating so that Red didn’t have to raise her impeded arm too much. Red had to admit as he shoulder tolerated the movement, Face hadn’t been incorrect in his “order” earlier and at least she hadn’t blatantly defied him. She had made it very clear to Shadow, however, that she wanted the absolute minimal amount of bacta injected near the joint. It had eased the stiffness already, but she wasn’t about to have a full bacta treatment over an injury she’d worked with before. There just wasn’t enough and there were worse injuries to come, Red just knew it. Besides…

“You’re sure he’s not going to yell at you for this? I mean, he wanted bacta…”

Sacul’s comment lined up perfectly with the transition of her own thoughts, along with the droid carefully moving to secure the two smaller straps around the upper part of Red’s bicep. The end result, as fasteners were adjusted, was a flexible but restrictive sling that held her shoulder still and prevented any major torque motions without restricting the entire use of her arm. It also fit snuggly in an area where her jump suit was loose, allowing it to be worn under and out of sight. Face would likely figure it out eventually, but she had gotten bacta…

“How’s it feel”

Red carefully moved her hand, and sure enough her shoulder stayed put.

“Perfect. And the Bantha leather won’t rub my skin raw, or shatter like the plastisteel case I had earlier did in my EV suit. Remind me the next time I am able to send word that I owe Quint a big ‘thank you’ for sending me this in the last package of parts he passed along to me. This stuff is hard to find processed and cured once you get into ‘civilized’ worlds.”

Hope warbled something from where she had been watching the whole process, rolling off now that her need had passed. Standing, Red pulled up and zipped her jumpsuit once more, glancing around the alcove behind the engines she used for her quarters 90% of the time.

“Well, I suppose you want to go test run your new body some more, anything I can do to help while you settle in?”

The Sacul thought for a moment, foot tapping in a manner very similar to how Kat did when she was on the verge of a decode.

“Actually, I’ve been thinking where I want to install my dock…my body will need to synchronize, be scanned, and occasionally just power down for a break every so often. I was wondering, um….could I have it back here with you?”

It took Red a moment to realize that the Sacul was standing and behaving as if she was scared the answer would be ‘no.’ A few slow blinks, Red had a hard time repressing the grin that was forming, her throat cleared to try and build the drama. Maybe it was mean to play an emotional prank like this, but it was too easy.

“Well, I’m not sure what you’re asking…”

“Oh please, Red! I can put the station here, and it won’t take up space and I won’t snore…It’s just, I wanted to have the whole experience and I thought you’d be the best match…”

Red managed to cut off the stream of words, her hands rising halfway and a chuckle finally breaking loose.

“Sacul, are you asking to be my roommate?”

“Yes.” The trepidation was almost cute, Red decided not to tease any longer.

“Well, of course you can be my roommate.”

The crushing hug that followed her response put the new shoulder strap to the test, thankfully with a passing result. It didn’t help her breathe however, but once Sacul heard the wheezing plea for ‘need…oxygen…’ Red was released and allowed to regain her air supply and voice.

“I’ll start getting the station fabricated, but please understand it will come second to,”

“To Elassar’s rescue, I know.”

The comment drove home the reality for Red once more, the images that had been recovered by Kat intermingling with a sick feeling and images of a leg wrapped in fabric behind cradled in her arms as the squadrons had fled the doomed station not all that long ago. Thankfully, everything was quickly dismissed in a quick manner in order to remain focused on her current conversation.

“Exactly…We actually need to head up to the planning meeting that Face has called in the conference room, it’s going to start soon.

“Of course, shall we?”

Retrieving her data pad and giving one last test run on the hidden leather restraint, Red couldn’t help but get pulled back to the images in her mind as she followed Sacul out of the engine room.

I just hope that he’s still alive for all of this planning to mean anything…

_________________
"I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person!"


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