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 Post subject: RS Plot 18b
PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 5:14 pm 
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Location: San Antonio, TX
In preparation of the mission progressing - a new plot thread has begun!
___________________________________________

“Dad, can I use the holocam? Pleeeeeeeeaaase? I’ll be super careful, I promise!”

A tawny haired pre-teen boy came into central focus on the screen of the holocam, hopeful face staring through the lens as the focus shook a bit with the rumbling laugh of the current owner of the ancient recorder.

“Alright, alright Danison. Here.”

The screen shifted in a spinning motion as the cam was handed to Danison, bringing the sun worn, slightly aged face of a man who was in his late 30’s or early 40’s into focus. He had a mop of tawny brown hair similar to the boy who now held the holocam, marking him as the boy’s father. A call from somewhere outside of the recorder’s focus caused the man to turn his attention away from his son, who quickly followed with the holo’s lens.

“Zan, Danison, don’t go wandering too far from the oasis. We didn’t get a full account of the Sand People’s movements before coming here.”

The holo brought a striking image into view as Zan Terah walked across the sandy desert floor towards what a native of Tatooine would recognize as the Motesta Oasis, located just south of the Anchorhead settlement. One of the rare small bodies of water on Tatooine, some small semi-permanent shelters had been erected by visitors among the scraggly trees that surrounded the small lake that sat in the center of the oasis. The ground was also littered with mechanical refuse left behind by visitors, ranging from broken speeders to used up coolth packs, left abandoned in the sand around the pool’s shore, most already being reclaimed by the shifting sands of the desert.

“Of course, Faith.”

Following his father with the cam, Danison widened the lens focus to include a tall, statuesque woman with dark brown hair who was sitting on a piece of canvas in the shade provided by a large screen made from a piece of sunshield fabric unrolled out of a coolth backpack, arranged as a lean-to for protection from the blistering twin suns and heat. Several other coolth packs were stashed under the shade of the fabric, as well as what looked like a pair of miniature hammocks on folding legs. Each hammock contained a sleeping infant bundled in light fabric, with the same brownish hair as their mother.

Zan reached Faith and sat down, leaning to give her a kiss before casting an adoring look at the sleeping twins. Danison’s gagging noise at the kiss between his parents was audible to the recorder just before he swung around so that the lens was facing the opposite direction, where a pack of six children ranging in age from 17 to 7 were creating a noisy ruckus near the edge of the pool of water that sat at the center of the Oasis. Danison began running to join the crowd and caused the image to shake, a call from Faith coming in from behind him.

“Remember, keep clear of the water! Anyone who messes up that pool is on oil change duty for the next week,”

“Yes mom!” A chorus of affirmations came from the crowd of children, who continued what appeared to be a highly aggressive game resembling bolo-ball that involved a medium sized leather ball and improvised sticks, ranging from pieces of dead wood pulled from fallen trees to scraps of metal pulled out of the oasis sand. A pair of goals had been erected from similar scrap, although the object of the game did not seem fully connected to placing the ball into one of the goals. In fact, the children seemed more focused on roughing each other up as much as possible in the fight for control of the ball, often resulting in a noisy dog pile in the sand.

As Danison reached the point where he was ready to dive into the fray of children, the holocam came up short and jerked slightly before coming to rest on the smallest of the other children, the only one with red hair among the sea of messy sandy and dark brown heads of hair. She appeared to be opting for a purely hands on approach to the ball, getting knocked down by one of the two other girls in the group, the ball wrestled from her arms with a squeal. Looking up into the lens as she scrambled back to her feet with a laugh, she seemed perfectly amused by the apparent assault she had just suffered at the hands of her older sister as Danison stood over her.

“Tavi, I want to play. Can you take the holocam?”

The little girl gave a well practiced pout up at her brother, wiping sand off her cheek with the baggy sleeve of a heavily patched, obviously hand me down tunic top.

“Whhhhhhhy? I’m havin’ fun.”

“Please Tavi? I can’t carry it AND play. Unless you have some solution so that one of us can do both...”

The challenge seemed to spark something in Tavi’s eyes, a grin forming as the holocam was suddenly jostled and transferred into her hands, now focused up at Danison.

“Gimme!”

“Thanks, Tavi!”

The view shook for a bit, watching Danison as he dove into the fray, before spinning and moving in the direction of what appeared to be a half buried land speeder a short distance away from where Tavi first took over control of the recorder. The screen wobbled unsteadily in a manner that indicated a less experienced hand and the shifting gait caused by loose sand, but Tavi seemed able to keep a hold on her new prize.

Reaching the ancient landspeeder, the holorecorder shook again and turned so that it was now facing back towards the 7 year old girl, who was reaching up high and sticking her tongue out in focus as she set the cam on a ledge above her.

The lens refocused automatically as Tavi moved to one of the maintenance panels on the speeder, just inside the holorecorder’s range of view. Fingers slipped into the edges and feet braced on either side of the panel cover, she strained with all of her body before managing to pull the rusted covering free, spilling off the side of the speeder with a “Ooph!” and briefly disappearing from sight.

She was quick to scramble back up into view, disappearing up to her shoulders in the open panel as the loud ripping and scraping sounds echoed out of the space. As she fussed half out of view, Zan appeared on screen walking up behind her with an amused, but stern smile.

“Octavia, what have we told you about salvaging abandoned machinery?”

Tavi extracted herself just enough to cast a wary look up at her father, a messy bundle of old wires she had been pulling out clasped tightly in her small hands.

“Momma says not to do it...”

Zan had erased his smile crossed his arms with a stern look to his youngest daughter, although a hint of a smile was just visible, threatening to break out across his lips.

“And what do I say about salvaging abandoned machinery?”

Tavi fidgeted with the wires, a wide eyed, coy look forming as she watched her father’s stance shift.

“Dun get caught.”

“And?”

“Bad decisions dun get bacta?”

Zan nodded, still fighting to maintain his stern demeanour.

“That’s right...you don’t check that the power is off or that the systems are dead, that makes the salvage a bad decision.”

Tavi’s eyes widened, a protest bursting forth at the apparent chide.

“But Daddy, it IS dead! And no more chemicals, either.”

Zan was unable to keep his smile and laugh restrained, moving to recline next to his daughter and look into the open panel.

“Tavi, I know you checked. You’re doing good work. But remember, old machines are unpredictable. Your mother and I just want you to learn how to safely balance the risks. Now show me what you are doing.”

Tavi had relaxed significantly when her father joined her near the open panel, wrapping the wires into a tight bundle and carefully stashing them next to her.

“Gonna fix up the holocam, Daddy. So we can carry it AND play at the same time. So they won’t keep asking to take my place playing...”

Zan cast a brief glance up where the recorder rested before looking to his daughter with an sincere, but knowing grin.

“Ah...I see. You tell me how to help and let’s see what we can make.”

Tavi returned his grin before diving into the panel with an excited stream of chatter, her father moving to monitor what she was doing and patiently giving her instructions when she hit a snag. The holo continued on this scene for several minutes, until Zan finally straightened and assessed the pile of parts they had extracted.

“Is this enough, little Tavi?”

“Think so. Daddy, will you help me carry it back over to Momma?”

“Of course, Tavi. Do you want me to carry you, too?”

As Tavi began to collect the parts into her arms, she gave a fierce look up to her father at the suggestion for a moment.

“I can walk myself, Daddy...”

After a moment of looking at her father, however, the mean streak of independence melted into a look of absolute adoration developed.

“...But I want you to carry me.”

Zan instantly gathered his daughter against his chest and cradled her easily in a muscled arm. The other hand reached out and snagged the holocam, but failed to turn it off right away. The last few seconds of the image before it cut off came from where he had stacked it with the few parts that Tavi did not have held tightly to her chest, recording the peaceful face of his daughter as she cuddled tightly to him as they walked back across the sand.”

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

Watching the recording terminate on the screen of her datapad, Red felt the familiar ache for her family that always followed after she dug up a piece of her past. Every so often she would pull an old recording up from a protected partition on her personal datapad and watch through it before going to sleep. This was a newer aquisition, one her older sister had managed to get delivered to her via one of Dru’s intelligence connections while they had still been renegades.

She distinctly remembered that visit to the Oasis, not long after her twin brothers had been born. Their birth had shook up her status as the “baby” in the large family and she had been terrified of being lost in the mass of her siblings. She had also been terribly disappointed that they had the same color hair as her siblings. A friend in town had been insisting that she had to be adopted, since her hair was a different color from all her family. When the twins came along with more shades of brown hair, she had been heartbroken.

But none of the horrible things she feared that day had happened. Her father had given her a large amount of individual attention and watched over her as she designed and built a rig that allowed someone to wear their antique of a holocam in a slim, chest mounted harness. It hadn’t been perfect, but her father had helped her through the project as she needed. He even taught her how to use some of the more dangerous tools in the family shop, something her mother had fretted over. In the process she had confessed her fears about being forgotten to him, something she now knew he had been waiting for patiently during the entire process. After also telling her mother about her fears, who was adamant that she had “pushed you out”, both her parents had reassured her that even if she was adopted or they had more children, she was a beloved, important part of their family.

Setting the datapad down on a box next to her hammock, Red started up at the overhead in thought, murmuring quietly.

“Aliit ori'shya tal'din...Family is more than blood.” It was a Mandalorian phrase, but Red found it particularly appropriate for her own life.

Red rolled over and made herself comfortable. She would need her sleep before the drop out of hyperspace the next day into the Roche asteroid belt, where the current plan called for them to recover Cubber and Zraix.

This team and their missions were why she was here. The team was as much her family as the people in that 2D recording, the biological family that she kept a flimsy image of, folded and tucked right next to her heart. She missed her family of course, but she also knew that if her father was there at the moment he would give her the same patient look and comment as he had when helping her salvage the speeder in the oasis.

You’re doing good work, Tavi. Just balance the risks....

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


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 Post subject: Re: RS Plot 18b
PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2013 2:32 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 6:49 pm
Posts: 2199
Written by Red
----------------------


Turning from the navigation controls, Voort turned to look over to where Brya was adjusting settings at the primary pilot’s station on Sacul’s bridge. “Reversion to real space in ten minutes.”

“Preparing for reversion.” Brya continued her adjustments, a look sent over her shoulder to Face. “I believe the pilots asked for notification at the ten minute mark.”

Face nodded in agreement, activating the intercom unit in the armrest of his chair. “Gray Squadron, this is your ten minute warning to real space reversion. Deployment will occur one minute after reversion.”

Dru’s voice came back over the intercom, the sound of droids warbling and machinery shifting in the docking bay picked up in the background. “Affirmative, Face. We’ll all be ready to deploy on cue from the Sacul.”

The intercom cut off as Face swiveled his chair to where Sacul’s HRD and Ren were pouring over a data packet they had received from Zraix prior to departing the fleet. “Are you satisfied with the now triple check of the data Zraix sent us regarding the rendezvous, Sacul?”

Sacul nodded, her eyes remaining focused on the screen in front of her as she sorted through the file. “I just felt it was prudent to do a final check on the specifications. The hyperspace route that Piggy and the navigation computer generated should have us reverting to real space on the outer edge of the Roche asteroid field, furthest from the asteroids where the Verpine primary colonies are located. Once we have returned to real space, Gray flight will deploy and begin the enhanced radio frequency scanning for the low band frequencies that Zraix and Cubber encoded in this data package.”

Ren picked up where Sacul stopped speaking, turning to look at Face while Sacul continued scrolling through the data. “As best we can guess, these frequencies will act as a beacon, leading us to the container or vessel they will be waiting for us in, since they are not the standard frequencies most sensors passively scan for. We will be in a rarely traveled section of the asteroid field, but I would still advise activating the ship’s Nightshroud once Gray Flight has deployed. The ETA’s will have some natural stealth and protection from the field, but the Sacul is a bit too large for that benefit.”

Face gave another nod before tapping the comm buttons on his chair again, pulling up a direct line to engineering. “Is everything ready down there to receive and store whatever vehicle or package we will be retrieving?”

Red’s cheery voice piped up over the comm, her background noise consisting of heavy objects being forced around somewhere near her. “We sure are! Rrowv and Void are making the last adjustments to clear space for any potential cargo Zraix and Cubber bring along with them and we’ve managed to make enough space to possibly just dock whatever they’re flying or floating in. We’ve also prepped EV suits and Red Flight, sans Tyria of course, is standing by to get out and undertake a manual extraction if necessary.”

“Excellent. Keep keyed into the bridge and Gray Flight’s comm frequencies once deployment occurs so that everyone down there has a heads up to prepare and execute the contingencies.”

“We await your orders with bated breath, Oh, Faceman.”

Face rolled his eyes a bit as Red’s comm clicked off, directing his attention forward to the screen of hyperspace blurred stars out the bridge viewport.

“Time to reversion?”

Brya checked the chrono at her station. “Four minutes to real-space.”


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 Post subject: Re: RS Plot 18b
PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:21 pm 
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Written by Face, Gavin, and Red
---------------------------------




“Alright team,” Dru commed from his fighter as the hangars nestled in the Sacul’s wings began depressurizing. “Let’s make this a quick mission. Stay sharp, keep your heads down, and keep an eye out for anything unfriendly.”

A series of comm-clicked returned as the depressurization cycle completed and the hangar doors began opening.

“Standby to launch.”

---------------

A tone sounded from the ETA’s sensor display. Glancing down, Gavin flipped through the ID screens, searching for whatever had tripped the alarm but found nothing. Whatever was out there, it didn’t have a transponder.

“4F, analyze the sensor readings. Anything matching the frequency we’re looking for?”

The droid warbled quietly a moment before trumpeting an affirmative.

“Plot a possible source and plug it into the computer.”

A navipoint blinked into life on the sensor display. Turning the nose of his ship towards the point, Gavin keyed his comm. “This is Grey Two. Signal located. Stand by for confirmation.”

A few moments later, he spotted a small cylindrical craft anchored in a crevice on a mid-sized asteroid. As his ETA moved in closer, he recognized it as the Salon Pod from a Consular-class cruiser.

“Grey Two. The target has been located. Transmitting coordinates.”

---------------

“Initiating final docking sequence, verifying atmospheric seal integrity.”

After locating the Salon Pod amid the asteroid field, Gray flight had escorted the pod under its own power to the Sacul and were now keeping a protective escort over the pair of vessels as they merged. Even though security codes and vocal confirmation had been established with the Salon Pod, standard docking procedure under the circumstances had led Rrowv and Void to retrieve their prefered weaopns and take up guard positions near the airlock. They appeared relaxed, but Red knew that until they saw their teammates they were working under the assumption that something foreign and hostile could potentially come through the airlock.

Looking up from her station, Red knew that Cubber and Zraix would understand the necessity of the weapons, since visual contact had not been possible, due to the high level shielding standard to the Salon Pod. An alert sounded on her console, carrying Ren’s voice from the bridge.

“Final security codes have been verified.”

The confirmation that the codes belonged to those assigned to Zraix and Cubber was followed by Face’s voice.

“As soon as you have visual confirmation through the primary airlock, you are cleared to release the final security seal and welcome our teammates home, Red.”

“Aye, Sir. The Pod has opened their airlock, so we should know in a moment if we’ve been bamboozled or not.”

Red flipped her console to the external comm frequency they had with the Pod.

“Sacul to Pod, airlock integrity established. Please confirm airlock ‘green’ status on your end.”

There was a brief moment of silence before the familiar sound of Zraix’s voice came back over the comm.

“Airlock integrity confirmed by the Pod mainframe. Initiating entrance procedure for personnel and cargo transport, transferring airlock control to the Sacul’s systems.”

Rrowv had been listening in to the exchange and with a faint nod to Void and Red, moved to where he had a line of sight into the connection between the two vessels as Sacul’s outer hatch on the airlock opened, giving him line of site to the Salon Pod’s hatchway. A grin quickly formed on his face as he stared through the viewport on the inner door, his shoulders and stance visibly relaxing.

“Visual confirmation for Zraix and Cubber.”

Red keyed in the final commands to release Sacul’s inner airlock once she had made a final confirmation to the stability of the atmospheric seal and pressure inside the airlock, a faint hiss as the Sacul’s computer took over and Red triggered the inner hatch to open. Opening her comm line back to the bridge, the grin on her face carrying over the vocal communication.

“All clear, Face. We’ve got Zraix and Cubber back and all in one piece it appears.”

Red moved to join Void and Rrowv, who were already welcoming the two back to the Sacul, although she was quick to note a small box that Cubber had tucked under his arm as she approached the pair.

“Hey boys, good to see you again.”

Red had moved to greet Zraix first. She extended her hands so that she she gently gripped the Verpine’s forearms, a move that Zraix reciprocated so that their forearms pressed together briefly in a traditional greeting he had taught the human engineer early on in her career. “You seem to have kept Sacul together, Red. Please do not take my enthusiasm to look through her systems as an implication that you have been negligent in your duties.”

Red couldn’t help but chuckle at the Verpine’s literal commentary, appreciating that he had been making an attempt at humor.

“Of course not, Zraix, it’ll be good to have your eyes and expertise again. Good to see you, too, Cubber. So, what’s in the box and is it for me?”

Releasing Zraix’s arms, Red turned to give Cubber a hug, easily slipping the box from the slightly surprised engineer as she turned away. Cubber managed a chuckle, patting his flight suit in what she suspected was a move to ensure she hadn’t also picked his pockets.

“Always good to be back with familiar faces. As for the box, it is for you. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised you knew that somehow, but as for the content’s you’ll have to open it to find out.”

Red raised her eyebrow at her fellow engineer as she popped the seal on the box, her expression quickly turning to one of glee as she set the box down and threw her arms around the man in a second, far more exuberant hug and near squeal “Cubber! You shouldn’t have!”

Void and Rrowv looked as surprised as Cubber, moving to look into the box. Zraix preempted their question, his antennae moving in an amused fashion. “He found her a new type of animated metal sealant that has been formulated to a thin, unrollable tape configuration. A marked improvement in volume and efficacy over the canister application, and you need far less to achieve the same repair.”

The two shrugged as Red finally released Cubber with a kiss planted on his cheek before she moved to gather up the box and waved a hand to the pair, not giving them time to fully respond to her inquiry as she disappeared back into the main area of engineering. “I need to go get this in a safe place. Rrowv and Zraix, I believe there is other cargo that needs to be transferred over to the Sacul. You can get that started, right? Thanks!”

Cubber coughed a bit as he tried to unruffle himself from the hug and kiss, wiping his cheek awkwardly as he turned back towards the airlock. “Right, cargo...I’ll show you guys what we have. By the way, is there anyway you Wraiths can stop Red from being so happy all the time?”

Void rumbled a chuckle as the group headed through the airlock to the Pod, his head shaken. “I don’t think there’s a power in this universe capable of dampening Red’s spirit.’

---------------

“New contact!” Sacul’s voice called out across the bridge. ”130 klicks, bearing 325 by 43.”

Face’s eyes narrowed. ”Can we get an ID?”

Sacul’s response was tight. ”Usually no, 130 klicks through an asteroid field is a little out of our capabilities. But this time, there’re no problems.” She paused. ”It’s a Executor-Class Star Destroyer.”

“Sithspit.” Face jolted out of his chair, leaning over Sacul’s console. “Is it one of ours?”

“It’s broadcasting as the Malevolent.”

“I’ll take that as a ‘no’”. Face grimaced. ”Has it spotted us?”

“Unknown, sir.”

“Captain?” Varen De’mar interjected. ”Incoming communication. Standard NR and Imperial frequencies.”

“Can we receive without pinpointing out location?”

“Sure, we’re not talking, just listening.”

“OK Ren, Put it on.”

The speakers spluttered to life. ”Attention all Rebellion Units. This is Admiral Sheethen. There is no escape from this asteroid field without encountering Imperial units. Make yourselves known and surrender peacefully. You have 10 seconds to respond. There will be no other offer.”

The signal fell silent.

Ren adjusted his console. ”Sir, we have more contacts. Two look like ImpStar Dueces and at least one Interdictor.”

Face glanced at Piggy. ”Well?”

The large Gammorean shook his head. ”All routes I can find lead us through the Imperial formation. They have us boxed.”

“Keep working on it.”

“Aye sir.”

“Brya, what’s the status of the Nightshroud?”

“Still up sir. Unless they get closer, we’re as good as invisible.”

“Keep it that way. Get Grey Flight back on board and start manoeuvring away from that frakking SSD.”

“More contacts,” Sacul’s voice rang out.

“Oh for the love of...” Face’s cut off his own exclamation. ”Who? What?”

“No further capital ships.” Sacul closed her eyes for a moment, reaching out through the ship’s sensors. ”But they are deploying TIEs in a search pattern.”

Brya motioned to the viewscreen in front of her. “Face, flying through this is tough at the best of times... but...” She gestured. “This makes is almost impossible.”

Normally, the viewport would show the expansive view of space in front of the large craft, with constant streams of information flowing through the heads-up display with calculated trajectories, craft type, asteroid density, and too many numerous other nuggets of information all taken in by the pilot in a heartbeat as they made course corrections. However, with the Nightshroud up, the entire image was a black and white, slightly grainy display of their surrounding vicinity. Easy enough to fly slowly though, but when they were surrounded by asteroids, it was closer to suicidal than easy.

Face swore. “Shab.” He punched a button on his chair arm. “Tyria, report to the bridge ASAP.”

“On my way,” came her professional reply.

Less than 30 seconds later, the bridge doors wooshed open, and Tyria entered. ”What’s up?”

Face motioned to the pilot’s seat. “Flying with the Nightshroud up in an asteroid field is suicidal. Flying with it down is equally so. Can you take over from Brya? Perhaps the Force will give us an edge.”

“I’ll try.” She shot Brya an apologetic smile, as the younger woman vacated the seat. Piggy slid out of the co-pilot’s seat, moving to one of the ancillary consoles at the rear of the bridge to continue his calculations. Brya sat down in the co-pilot’s seat, the controls automatically shifting to her preferred configuration.

Tyria dropped into the pilot’s seat, her hands spreading over the controls briefly, her eyes closed. “OK. Let’s see what we can do.” Her eyes still closed, she reached for the gentle thrum of the Force, its constant power a reassuring guide for her. Opening her eyes to slits, she gently increased the throttle, and began to guide the craft.

“Face!” Sacul’s voice was urgent. ”The searching TIEs have broken their pattern, they’re heading towards us!”

“Confirm the Shroud is working!”

“Confirmed, I don’t understand it!”

Face’s brow furrowed in frustrated thought and then shot up in realisation, the same instant Tyria spun around, her expression shocked.

“There’s...” Tyria began.

“... another Force user out there.” Face finished grimly. ”Brya, the Sacul is yours. Sacul... Bubble Time.”

“Aye sir.”

In the centre of the Sacul, four cages, on separate sides of the ship, began to whir softly. The tracks each cage was on clicked into motion, and smoothly, the cages were bought together. Each cage contained an ysalamiri, the lizards native to Myrkr with their unique ability to push the Force away, creating a bubble where the Force simply did not exist. When ysalamiri bubbles combine, they increase exponentially. Though testing, the ysalamiri on the Sacul extended no more than 3 or 4 meters individually. When combined, the entire ship was enclosed, and hidden from the Force.

“Combination completed.” Sacul reported.

Face flashed Tyria a quizzical look. He received a slightly shaky nod of the head in return.

“TIE’s are returning to their search pattern... but they’re concentrating in this area.” Ren reported.

“Brya, can you get us close to one of the big asteroids and dock?”

Brya’s face paled, but she nodded. ”I think so.”

“Piggy, help her.” Face sunk into his command chair, his mind racing. “We need to find a way out of this, and damned quickly.”


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