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Before - Legends The Old Republic: The Edge Between Failure and Success (Semi-OCs, Knights of the Fallen Empire-era)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by whiskers, Jan 16, 2018.

  1. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005
    Title: The Old Republic: The Edge Between Failure and Success
    Genre: Action, Drama
    Timeline: 3,631 BBY. Between Knights of the Fallen Empire and Knights of the Eternal Throne. Roughly six years after the core game.
    Summary: While the rest of the Eternal Alliance fights against the evils of Empress Vailyn, a plot from the rest of the Zakuul forces puts the entire Alliance at risk.

    Dramatis Personae:

    Amana Wentlas: Smuggler, Captain of the Dawn. (Human Female)
    Cipher Nine: Former Imperial Intelligence Agent (Chiss Male)
    Hondo Mereel: Mandalorian Bounty Hunter, Leader of the Rodian Resistance (Human Male)
    Jorren Vor-Lonn: Jedi Master, Commander of the Alliance (Human Male)
    M1-4X: Former Republic Military Droid (4th Degree Droid, Masculine Programming)
    Mako Mereel: Slicer, Mission control of Rodian Resistance (Human Female)
    Utan Rho: Former Republic Army Sergeant (Cathar Male)
    Xiann'me: Sith Lady, Former Emperor's Wrath. (Twi'lek Female)

    ***

    Chapter One

    "Amana Wentlas to my office. Repeat: Amana Wentlas to my office."

    The voice echoed through the building before dying in a loud squawk of interference. A young woman, just into her 30s, shook her head at the sound. In the three weeks since the former Emperor Arcann's attack on the Alliance's base, they still hadn't found the time or the equipment to fix the feedback in the intercom system.

    Amana stepped out of the cantina and into the open common area. The air was filled with humidity and the smell of oncoming rain. Past the still-unnamed mountain range in the distance, the conifer forest swayed under a greying sky. Under her light grey shirt, her fair skin prickled up in gooseflesh under the cool wind.

    "Great..." Amana grumbled at the thought of the leaks in her still damaged quarters. "Looks like I'm sleeping in my ship tonight."

    She walked towards the large cargo lift that led to the heart of their operations on Odessen; past sights that she still hadn't gotten used to seeing. Sith and Jedi mulled about together, Republic and Imperial troops gathered around a large table with the only fighting between them being drunken brawls. War made for strange bedfellows, she thought. She passed a Mandalorian flirting heavily with a Cathar soldier who seemed to be reciprocating his attentions. Literally in some cases.

    The office of Hylo Visz was a small corner in the larger Underworld Operations room, upraised from the others and with an entire wall covered with computer monitors. Hylo was sitting in front of one of the monitors, green Mirialan hands working frantically at it.

    "You wanted to see me, Hylo?"

    Hylo looked up from her work, the green eyes above the geometric tattoos of her species showing their fatigue. "Captain Wentlas, the commander has a job for you."

    Amana's hazel eyes shined. “He hinted at something the other day.”

    Hylo rolled her eyes. “I really don’t need to know that...”

    Amana chuckled. “I didn’t mean like that,” she said. “Something he said before he left.”

    “Well, either way, I selected you for it, not him,” Hylo said. “Though your name did come up.”

    "What do you have for me, then?" Amana's tone turned serious.

    Hylo pivoted in her chair to a holoimaging station and punched a few buttons. A planet appeared on the screen, jungle covering the majority of it.

    "Rodia?" Amana asked.

    "On target."

    The map zoomed in on a point in the world's western continent, revealing a large facility in the middle of a jungle clearing. Crates the size of rontos milled about while landspeeders were frozen in the movement of their hauls.

    "Our spies have discovered this facility in the jungles of Rodia." Hylo pointed to the shipping containers. "According to them, these crates are filled with a metal alloy that the Eternal Empire is calling 'Gundark'."

    A chuckle escaped from Amana's smirk. "Governments love their codenames, don't they? What's so special about this metal and why hasn't the Republic or Empire mined it in the past?"

    Hylo leaned over the holodisplay, staring intently at the image. "Looks like neither of them found any real use for it, but from what my sources have been able to piece together, if it's forged with the durasteel that they use for their Skytroopers, it could make them virtually impervious to blasters bolts."

    Amana whistled. "What about lightsabers?"

    Hylo shook her head. "Don't know." The Mirialan stood up. "According to Sana-Rae, it could prove more resistant to the blades, but she won't be able to give us a 'yes' or 'no' until she's studied it up close."

    Amana crossed her arms and leaned against a bank of computers. "So that's the job, eh? Get in the facility, grab a sample, and get out?"

    Hylo's eyes narrowed. "Part of it," she said. Her tone dropped to a near whisper. "The Commander's not going to leave anything to chance. You're going to go in, get that sample, find out where they're mining that stuff, and then you're going to blow it all sky-high."

    "I think I can do that."

    Hylo retreated away from the holoprojector and sat back down at her station. "I know you can, and you're not going to be doing it alone. The Commander has already selected a team for you and they've already been briefed."

    "Even better," Amana said. "Where are they?"

    "I sent them and the equipment to your ship just a few minutes before I called you in here."

    Images filled Amana's mind of her ship lifting off in the Ord Mantell sky, the traitorous Skavak behind the controls so many years ago. "You what?!"

    She didn't even give Hylo the chance to respond before she stormed out of the room. Within minutes she had crossed the bridge connecting the cliff-side Alliance base to the plateau where the personal ships were stored. Tramp freighters were docked next to the Defender-class Jedi transports and the Sith's Fury-class interceptors. Amana's ship was packed in between two larger transports. It was mostly circular--as were most CEC-made ships--with a rectangular cockpit jutting out from the middle and a large cargo crate docked to the port airlock. Amana ground her teeth at the sight of the open boarding ramp.

    The team that Hylo had assembled were standing about in the freighter's large common area. One of the blue-skinned and red-eyed aliens that the Empire had frequently brought in during the last war. He was wearing the dark grey plastoid armor of Imperial Special Forces across his torso. A long barreled blaster rifle hanged off of his shoulder. A human Republic army trooper stood at attention next to the holoprojector in the center of the room. Next to him was a green-skinned Twi'lek in bulky leather armor. Her eyes burned a fiery orange behind sunken eye sockets. A pair of lightsabers hanged from her belt.

    "Oh great," Amana said. "They sent me a Sith..."

    The Sith glared at her. "I am Lord Xiann'me, formerly the Emperor's Wrath. The commander may have placed you in charge of this mission, but I demand the respect that I have earned."

    "As long as you understand that I'm in charge and don't try anything stupid," Amana said. "You'll get your respect." She ignored the Twi'lek's smirk as she moved on to the Imperial sniper. "And you are?"

    The Chiss politely smiled at her and bowed his head. "I'm afraid that my name is a little difficult for humans to pronounce. You may call me by my former designation: Cipher Nine, formerly of Imperial Intelligence."

    "I'm pretty good with alien names, so..."

    "Nlurd'oloshu'rumorc."

    Amana stared blankly at the alien before finally smiling. "Cipher it is, then."

    Cipher Nine smirked. "It's better that way, Captain."

    She walked over to the Republic trooper. "And what's your story, Sergeant?"

    The soldier removed his helmet, revealing the gray-furred felinoid face of a Cathar. "Utan Rho, captain. Formerly platoon sergeant in the 2nd Republic Infantry."

    The hint of a suspicion formed itself in Amana's mind. "You didn't happen to bring your squad with you, did you?"

    Utan chuckled. "No, ma'am, just me."

    Amana smiled. "Thank the Force for small miracles, then." She turned to the others. "Anyone else?"

    "There's a droid powering up in your cargo hold. M1-4X, a military support droid, but that’s it."

    Amana arched a brow but shook the thought out of her head. "I don't know who let you in my ship without me, but let's just say that I'm very particular about her. She's already been stolen from me once, and I don't plan on letting it happen again."

    "I did," Xiann'me said with an annoying smirk upon her face. "With the storm coming, I didn't want our little excuse for a war droid to rust."

    Amana ignored the quip. "Hylo said you've already been briefed. That right?"

    "Eternal Imperial shipping facility on Rodia with a new metal," Cipher Nine said. "Infiltrate the base and find out their mines. We destroy both facilities."

    "Resistance unknown," Sergeant Rho added.

    She looked over the motley crew that had been assigned to her and smirked. “Well,” she said, “it looks like you all know just about as much as I do...”

    ***

    * Amana, Cipher, and Xiann'me are three of my playable characters in the Old Republic game, as is Jorren Vor-Lonn. Each of them are assumed to have gone through their class storyline, which isn't all that important for this fic beyond vague references.
    * Them being PCs that went through a plotted, Legends canon storyline, is why I call them "semi-OCs".
    * M1-4X is from the Republic Trooper's storyline and was a companion in it.
    * Arcann's attack on Odessen serves as one of the climaxes of the Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion pack. As the fic shows, the base is still not completely repaired.
    * Hylo Visz was first mentioned in the Timeline series of videos that promoted the game. She joined the Alliance in the KotFE expansion. She serves as the Alliance's chief underworld officer.
    * Amana being in a relationship with Jorren, the Alliance's commander, was first mentioned in my story: What Love Is, which takes place shortly before this.
    * Having the codename for the project be "Gundark" is a bit of an in-joke, as Amana's great-great-times whatever granddaughter lead a team named "Gundark Squad".
    * Skavak was the villain of the first arc of the Smuggler's storyline. In the beginning, he steals your ship and forces you to chase him down.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2018
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Fascinating start @whiskers =D= A motley crew indeed ;) which I have no doubt will become solidified through having to work together [face_thinking]

    Amana doesn't seem the type to put up with poodoo though even before it starts :cool: Even though the mission seems straightforward, you know it probably won't stay that way long. [face_laugh]
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2018
    whiskers likes this.
  3. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005
    I wanted the crew to be a microcosm of the Alliance as a whole. Republic, Empire, Sith, and Underworld. All we're missing is a Jedi. Like the Alliance as a whole, they're going to have to learn to work together. Also, as What Love Is and the game itself shows, Amana, Xiann'me, and Cipher certainly know about such diverse and motly groups.

    I don't think anyone in this group is! And of course this mission is going to get complicated: what mission doesn't?! :p

    Thanks for reading and Author's Notes for Chapter One are posted at the end.
     
  4. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005
    CHAPTER TWO

    The hum of the Hyperspace engines were the first thing that Amana heard as her eyes opened. Her cabin was dark save for a faint glow coming from the chronometer on her desk. The glowing green numerals cast long shadows throughout the room.

    She swung herself out of bed and rubbed at her eyes, grumbling at the early hour as she donned a pair of socks. She wore a thick pair of soft, red sleep pants and a sleep shirt, her sleep-mussed hair hanging limply down to her shoulders.

    “Kriffing Imperials...” she whispered. In her year working with the Alliance, she had fought with and even formed friendships with several of her Imperial and even Sith allies, but somehow the thought of them being on her ship still made her blood run cold.

    The door to her cabin opened quickly as she stepped out of it and into the main concourse and walked the short distance down to the ship’s kitchen. The blue-skinned Imperial was already there, his uniform replaced with what she could only assume was casual clothing for his people. He was sitting at the short table, a cup of caf in his hand.

    “I’m sorry, captain, I did not mean to startle you.”

    “Couldn’t sleep either, could you?”

    Cipher Nine shook his head. “One of the things I learned at the Imperial academy was how to go long periods without sleep.”

    Amana gave out a quick chuckle. “Nice trick,” she said.

    He gestured to a datapad in front of him, ignoring her amusement. “I was studying what we know so far about the facility on Rodia. And on Rodia itself.”

    “I know a little more than the basics,” Amana said. “Stopped there a couple of times, a long time ago.”

    A cobalt blue eyebrow shot up in amusement, causing a knot to form in Amana’s stomach. She’d revealed to much, she thought for a second. She had never been to the planet as Amana Wentlas, but had as Larena. She pushed the name out of her head along with the memories—kind and cruel—that it brought back.

    She stared into the pupil and irisless red eyes of the Chiss, wondering just how much he knew and what he’d do with the information.

    “Yes, well, the Imperials kept detailed records during their governing of the world after the Treaty of Coruscant. I’ll be covering this in the briefing in the morning.”

    “Anything on where we’ll be fighting?”

    Cipher pressed a button on his device, causing a flat map of the area to be projected in front of them. “Some,” he said. He zoomed out from the area where the base was, the grainy spysat images superimposed over the old map of the area. “A report by an Imperial security captain found the geography area suitable for smugglers, but nothing was done. Most of their time and energy was wasted on attempting to civilize the Rodian clans into something a bit less barbaric.”

    Amana scoffed. “No offense,” she said, “but you mean something a little more Imperial...”

    Cipher smirked slightly. “I will fully admit that the Empire has done some—shall we say—unsavory things in an attempt to bring order to the galaxy.” He made a slight motion towards the crew bunks where the rest of the team was sleeping. “A lot of it at the Sith’s bidding, to be fair, but don’t tell the Emperor’s Wrath back there that I said it.”

    Cipher Nine paused in thought for a second before his crimson eyes shined. “Of course, your Republic isn’t much better.” He pointed towards his datapad. “We were both on Belsavis around the same time… Tell me, how did you feel when you saw that the Republic had set up a prison planet so secret and so strict that the children of the prisoners were kept on world?”

    Amana’s face turned as hard as durasteel. “I can’t say I liked it, but it’s still better than what Darth Angral did to Uphrates!”

    “Something the commander must have told you at one point, I guess,” Cipher said. “A terrible tragedy, to be honest, but it was one Sith’s madness’s doing, not the Empire.”

    She scoffed loud enough that she feared that she would awaken the entire ship. “One and the kriffing same...”

    Cipher barely grinned“As I recall, he did that with the Republic’s own technology.”

    M1-4X walked into the room upon his three legs, the bulky battle droid’s yellow photoreceptors were glowing like the geothermal vents of Hoth. “You will not disparage the Republic that way! Project Planet Prison was designed to besiege a planet, not destroy it. In the report of the incident to General Suthra, our commander—then just a recently promoted Jedi Knight—discovered that it was an undercover Sith in the development team that turned it into a superweapon.”

    Amana’s lips spread into grin and she leaned back in her chair. “Pure pazaak...”

    Cipher stood up quickly and placed his caf mug onto the nearby counter. “You can be as smug about as you wish, but neither side in our war were completely blameless for atrocities.”

    She watched as he briskly walked out of the kitchen; a spook’s way of huffing out, she thought. She’d seen Theron and Lana do the exact same thing at times during war councils and it never stopped being amusing.

    “I could have handled that better, couldn’t I, Forex?”

    “Affirmative,” the droid said. “It is in my experience that alliances are held together by what you organics call ‘spit and wishes’ and this one is no different.”

    “You’ve been hanging out with Rennow too much...”

    Forex’s photoreceptors blinked rapidly as he emitted a hollow sounding laugh from his vocabulator. “Affirmative, Captain Wentlas, the Devaronian is quite a ‘character’ as Hylo calls him.”

    Amana took a sip from her own cup of caf. “Any suggestions on how to keep this group from falling apart, Forex? I’ve lead a ragtag group before and been part of a couple, but that pales to this...”

    “Negative, captain,” the droid chirped. With the sound of his metal legs clanking on the durasteel floor, he walked out of the room.

    “Well, thanks for that, then...” Amana whispered into her caf.

    Forex’s voice wafted in from the hallway. “You’re quite welcome, captain!”

    ***

    Lady Xiann’me wasn’t used to taking orders. She sat in the pirate’s common room on a couch that smelled of decades old tabacc smoke and spilled spirits, wearing her dark formal robes that would be placed into the incinerator the second that she returned to Odessen.

    Despite her discomfort, the Twi’lek’s full attention was on the holoprojector at the center of the room. A map of Rodia was projected above it, flickering slightly every few seconds. The captain and Dolosh were leading the briefing, the annoying yet deadly Republic droid nearby as some sort of liason.

    “If resistance on the planet is unknown, we must scout for ourselves.” She glared at the cat-man sitting next to her. “I’m stating that for the benefit of our grunt here.”

    The fur on the back of Utan’s neck bristled and Xiann’me relished in the rapturous feeling of anger radiating off of him.

    “You’ll see how ‘stupid’ I am once the blaster bolts begin flying, my lady.” The last words a barely audible hiss.

    “Perhaps,” Xiann’me added. “That said, the ratio here is a little off, wouldn’t you say?” She gestured around the area. “Three members of the Republic military—well, three only assuming that a privateering contract is legal (and it isn’t...)—to two Imperials.”

    Amana rolled her eyes in frustration. “I didn’t make the team, Hylo did.”

    “We’re still five hours out from Rodia,” Xiann’me said, “I have a suggestion for us.”

    Amana shrugged. “Be my guest.”

    “The last word I had from my sources in the Empire is that the 25th Imperial Special Forces Squad are currently on Malastare. It’s right on our way to Rodia.”

    Utan stood quickly, his whiskers pressed firmly against his cheeks. “The Skulls?” He turned to Amana like a whisperkit would to its owner when hungry. “You can’t seriously consider bringing them in?” He turned to Xiann’me and pointed an accusing finger at her. “You want to talk about war crimes?! Tell that to 4,500...”

    “Enough!” Amana shouted over him loud enough to make Xiann’me’s ear cones hurt. Her voice softened as she put on a facade of caring. “If you felt something was wrong with the team, you should have brought it up before we left, not now.”

    She zoomed out the holographic map to a galactic scale. “Besides, Malastare’s technically occupied territory, it’ll be too risky for our mission to land there even if we were picking up the commandos. We’re going to have to make do with what we have.”

    Xiann’me crossed her arms over her chest, her fiery orange eyes staring daggers at her nominal superior. “Then it’ll have to do,” she said. She gave an exaggerated sigh and stood up, storming her way back to her shared quarters.
     
    Thorn058 likes this.
  5. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005
    CHAPTER THREE

    Rodia was a large, green sphere through the Dawn’s cockpit viewscreen. Two of the jungle planet’s four moons were visible, reflecting Tyrius’s light into the void.

    Amana sat at her central command station, gloved hands clutching at the control yoke. Cipher was at the sensor console, the Chiss’s unnerving red eyes seemingly peering at the information in front of him. She didn’t need a computer screen to tell her what she saw. In front of the planet were the long and thin battlecruisers of the Eternal Fleet.

    “By the Force, I hate those things...” she whispered. Her eyes turned to the laser cannons at the tips of the two crossed beams that made up the fore of the ships. “Xiann’me, is that transponder that Hylo gave us up and running?” She hadn’t given the Mirilian a chance to tell her about the piece of tech that was now plugged into the sensor suite.

    The Sith’s voice was tired. “For the fifth time, captain, yes...”

    “Unidentified freighter,” an unfeeling and robotic voice squelched. “Please submit your identification and state your business on Rodia.”

    Amana subtly gestured towards Xiann’me. “This is the Resolute Raivor out of Brentaal IV. We’re carrying a shipment of machinery parts to Cyvent Incorporated in Equator City.”

    Seconds passed by in silence, Amana’s lungs burning as she held her breath. She spared a quick glance at the others in the cockpit, all calm and resolute save for the Sith. Xiann’me’s green fingers drummed on her console without sound. Her hazel eyes met Utan’s red as the Cathar sat at the weapon’s station, the unspoken question of if he should open fire to cover their escape hanging in the void between them.

    Resolute Ravior, you are cleared for landing at Wing 3, Bay 21 of Eastern Spaceport. Any deviation from this course will be considered an aggressive act and be treated accordingly.”

    “Thank you, Control,” Amana said. With the flip of a switch, she killed the transmission and turned towards her crew. “Holy shavit,” she whispered.

    Cipher Nine stood up from his station. “That was the standard Imperial landing process on this planet.”

    “Are you sure?” Amana said. “Seems pretty standard for any totalitarian government.”

    Cipher shook his head. “It’s the precise wording for any civilian ship entering Imperial territory,” he said. “The exact same script.”

    Amana shrugged. “If you say so.” She turned around and input the course into the autopilot.

    “I do,” Cipher said. The slightest hint of a grin tugged at the corner of his mouth. “Hopefully it isn’t the only leftover remaining from the Imperial occupation.”

    A laugh escaped Amana’s throat as she grinned. “Security systems,” she said.

    “Precisely.”

    “How much havoc can we wreak?”

    Cipher frowned. “A lot, but not if we’re going to be subtle about it.”

    “What about schematics, personnel and materiel at our target?” Utan Rho said.

    “We can easily do that,” Cipher said. “And it might not raise too many red flags.”

    “We should see if we can get a hotel room,” Utan suggested. “A freighter crew checking in for the night won’t be as suspicious as us staying in here.”

    Xiann’me nodded her head. “Will it be possible to slice into their systems from the hotel, or will you need to remain in the ship?”

    Cipher motioned back towards the rear of the ship. “I included several slicing tools in my kit,” he said.

    Amana scoffed slightly at the Chiss’s preparedness. It seemed that everyone knew about the mission before she did, she thought. And she was supposed to be the one in charge…

    ***

    The Eastern Spaceport of Equator City was bustling despite occupation. Rodians in various bright garbs walked down the streets and alleyways, muted in their movements and conversations. Strange yet appetizing smells wafted out of eateries as street vendors hawked their wares next to the road.

    “Anyone else feel like they’re watching a play?” Amana whispered.

    “Reminds me of how Rodia was in the early days of our occupation,” Cipher said. “Before they adjusted.”

    Utan Rho coughed slightly at the mention. Amana turned to him and saw the Cathar’s furred neck standing on end. “Unnormal normalcy… Common.”

    Amana nodded in agreement. The citizens of Ord Mantell near Fort Garrick all had the same fear in their eyes as the Republic and separatists had fought over their world. She licked her dry lips and clenched at her palms to prevent herself from lashing out.

    A sudden shouting erupted from the west; a screaming in the Rodian language, pleading for anyone to help. A lightly-garbed Rodian stumbled through the unmoving crowd, emerald blood dripping down from multiple cuts along his snout. Rodians in white armor chased after him, blaster rifles in their hands. A single droid followed them, its white plating and skull-like face identifying it as a Skytrooper.

    “Collaborators,” Xiann’me whispered to the rest of them.

    Amana’s hand instinctively went to the long barreled pistol on her hip. A sharp pain in her head stopped her before she could even reach the holster. The word DON’T burned itself into her mind, as sharp as a vibroknife. An image followed, of the Twi’lek Sith crushing at her throat until she fell to the ground.

    She cleared her throat and moved her fingers away from her weapon. “They’re only in leadership...” she whispered.

    “That we know of...” Cipher said.

    The enforcers slammed the terrified Rodian against the wall, blaster held underneath his snout.

    [We ask for your ID and you run?] The soldier shoved his captive down and gave him a hard kick to the midsection.

    [He’s not so fast now!] a second guard joked as his captive struggled to regain his footing.

    “We can’t just...” Amana murmured as the beating continued. She looked around at the others. Utan had lowered his head to avoid looking while Cipher and Xiann’me looked on with an uninterested glare.

    “We have to,” Cipher said.

    [You with the Underground?] the lead Rodian said. He pulled back his fist and let it fly into the side of his prisoner’s face. [Where are your friends now?]

    One of the Rodians in the group pointed at them. Amana’s heart froze as the bile rose up in her throat. He gave a loud laugh. [Is it them? They your friends?]

    The skytrooper walked towards them, blaster rifle held up close to the droid’s midsection. The other Rodian’s followed as the first continued to toy with his prisoner. Amana took a minuscule breath and adopted a passive posture. So many beings over the years had fallen for it, she thought.

    {Can I help you?} she said in Huttese.

    {Submit your identification for inspection,} the droid replied. The other Rodian enforcers flanked him, their own blasters out and at the ready.

    Amana put on her best fake smile. {Sorry for the inconvenience, sir.} She made the slightest gesture towards her pocket and the blaster located on the hip. {It’s licensed,} she said.

    She moved her hand slowly down and the skytrooper’s blaster immediately raised. Her hands jerked up.

    The droid nodded to one of his subordinates. [Gorten, take the lady’s ident.] He looked to the others before turning his attention back to Amana. [Shoot them all if they make any sudden moves.]

    Amana froze as one of the Rodians approached her. The sickly smell of the alien’s natural odor invading her nose. [No sudden moves…] he said.

    As he bent down to pick at her pocket an opening presented itself. His neck was open to a quick strike. It would be hopeless, Amana thought. If she moved at all the others would open fire, killing her and the others within a microsecond.

    [Here it is, boss,] the Rodian said.

    The skytrooper opened the folded leather and removed the identichip. {Serra Therran, then. From Denon?}

    A trick, Amana thought. {Brentaal IV, actually.}

    The droid stared at her and Amana hoped that her Sabacc face could hold up to his sensor array. {You and your crew were watching us discipline that Rodian. Let that be a lesson to you from the Republic… Tell your leaders that this is what happens to those who resist…}

    With a swift turn the droid leveled his blaster at the crying Rodian, still huddled up on the ground. The sound of his blaster firing echoed through the quiet market and muffled out the sound of blaster bolt hitting flesh. The captured Rodian slumped to the ground, forever stilled.

    {Your freight visa expires in three days,} the skytrooper said. He shoved the chip into her hand. {Make sure you’re off planet by then…}

    With the flick of an arm, the droid and his Rodian lackeys moved out, leaving the corpse behind. The market activity continued, the citizens simply moving out of the way of the body.

    “Holy shavit...” Amana said. She exhaled a long breath and looked around.

    “That could have gone better,” Xiann’me said. Her fiery eyes burned into Amana’s mind. “You nearly had us all killed...”

    Amana glared back at the Sith. “I may be scum, but at least I have a soul...” She glared at Cipher before turning her attention back to Xiann’me. “I couldn’t bear to just let that happen.”

    Utan cleared his throat loudly. “Can we continue this elsewhere? We’re drawing a crowd...”

    Amana looked around to see that the Rodians that had been uninterested in the abuse in front of them were no stealing glances at them. “Good idea. We’ll get to the hotel and then contact Forex on the ship.”
     
  6. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Chapters 2-3:
    Excellent debate about which side in a conflict has the higher moral ground :p [face_thinking] Is it the fault of one crazy megalomaniac or the entire regime that is to blame for any atrocities?
    Very well portrayed inter-team tension between the two sides.
    Amana has to be vigilant not to let anything slip out from her previous life in casual conversation. :oops:
    Wow, they certainly drew unwanted attention there! [face_worried] But hopefully not too much.
    I am enjoying Forex. He has a distinct personality. ;)
    =D=
     
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  7. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005
    I wanted a lot of tension between the two teams that have become an alliance. While Amana (and Cipher) have lead very diverse groups, I wanted to show that perhaps none of them have the leadership skills needed to fully lead the Alliance. So, we get them at each others' throats, arguing over the sins of the other side and insisting that anything darker than morally grey was not their side's true fault.

    I certainly want to show that Larena isn't all that dead inside of her, but at the same time, Amana is who she is now and she fully intends to keep that identity. Of course, all we know right now is the last name stays...

    A lot of this scene was influenced by the French Resistance portion of the video game Call of Duty WWII, including the Skytrooper testing her false credentials. To keep with the allegory, then, the Rodians in the Eternal Empire's service are akin to the Vichy.

    Thanks for reading and commenting!
     
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  8. Thorn058

    Thorn058 Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Jul 28, 2008
    I finished chapter one and want to keep going as you did a great job assembling your crew and draw us into their first meeting. Unfortunately I have to stop for the night and head to bed. I hope to read chapter two tomorrow and see how this team plans to insert themselves into the facility and achieve their goals.

    Really liked the Cipher it is line, great interplay between the characters
     
  9. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005
    Thank you. I wanted to make sure that we got a scene just of the crew and their squabbles.

    That's part of the reason why I made his actual name so convoluted, even for a Chiss name!
     
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  10. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005
    Chapter Four

    Compared to some of the places that Amana Wentlas had stayed in throughout her life, the mid-price range rooms of the Hotel Serich were opulent. The lumpy mattress of the bed were covered with clean lime-green sheets and the desk up against the tabacc-stained walls didn’t have to be pushed against the door for added security.

    There were two doors in the room; one lead out to the hall outside while the other connected to the other room that they had rented. It had been a simple enough alibi: a freighter crew on world for a few days wanting something more comfortable than their cots. The mattresses from the beds in the other room had been brought into the first one, leaving the second room to be their command center.

    Cipher was standing in the middle of the room, a rectangular device held in his hand. He moved it from wall to wall and floor to ceiling, the device making steady beeps along the way. The beeping grew louder as it reached the holocomm unit on the desk between the two beds.

    “Comm’s bugged,” he said. He walked over to the heavy equipment bag sitting on the other bed and pulled another device out. It looked like little more than a punchpad found on doors. “More than likely just to monitor incoming and outgoing calls. Standard stuff,” he said. Cipher sat the device next to the comm and punched in a code.

    "Scrambled it. Nothing to it.”

    Xiann’me stood up from her chair in the corner. “So both rooms are clean?” She looked around at the mattresses on the floor and the dark stains on the carpet next to them. “At least in your meaning of it...”

    “No tracking devices, actual surveillance equipment meant to record or transmit audio. Just the bug on the comm that I’ve taken care of.”

    Amana nodded, grateful. “Think it’s safe to contact Forex on the ship now?”

    “Not yet,” he said. “I’ve taken care of our line in here, but I’d still like to set up a more secure communications system in the other room.”

    Amana frowned and looked at the holocomm on the desk. “You said you scrambled it. That should be enough, right?”

    Cipher smiled. “Theoretically, yes, but when we have access to what we have, I’d prefer not to leave anything to chance.”

    She smiled. “Sounds good, then. Let me know when it’s ready to transmit.”

    A quick nod was all she got in reply from Cipher. She sat back down at the foot of the free bed. She looked around. Utan was on one of the beds on the floor, a cover on his civilian clothes and his back against the wall, asleep.

    “Feeling useless, Captain?”

    Amana turned around to see Xiann’me smirking at her from a corner. The Twi’lek crossed her arms across her chest.

    “A smuggler’s life is simpler than a spy’s,” she said. “I didn’t have to worry about anything other than scramblers and false transponders.”

    Xiann’me chuckled. “Perhaps that’s why so many are caught and killed compared to a spy,” she said.

    “No,” Cipher Nine said. The Chiss was carrying a load of equipment in his arms. “It’s because we have the funds to throw into everything, not just a fast ship.” He disappeared into the other room.

    “Point taken,” the Sith replied. She arched a tattooed brow towards Amana. “So, tell me, you were a nobody before the war and then you suddenly rise to fame as a Republic privateer. Why them and not the Empire?”

    She faked a cocky grin. “They paid first and better,” she said.

    Xiann’me chortled and turned back to her silent meditation.

    It was another fifteen minutes before Cipher called them all into the makeshift command center. The entertainment center on a stand on the back wall was stashed into the closet and replaced by a medium-sized holoemitter. Holo-databoards were up against the bare walls and most of the chairs of the two rooms were arranged facing the projector like in a briefing room.

    Forex was broadcast in miniature on one of the chairs and Amana suppressed a laugh. The bulky droid was the size of a pitten, looking very much like a child’s toy version of himself.

    “Did you do that on purpose?” Amana said.

    Cipher remained silent.

    “Captain, I must admit that it was my idea,” Forex said. “Even though, for the best propaganda piece, I should be the size of this entire room, this is not that and I thought it best to reduce my size on your end.”

    Amana headed to the front of the room. The other four members of her team sitting as dignified as they could in their hotel chairs. She pulled up the map of the base upon the holoprojector. “This is our current objective,” she said. “Before I begin, I have an alternate proposal.”

    The others looked on in curiosity.

    “When we ran into the patrol this morning, they mentioned something about a resistance.”

    Cipher raised a hand. “With respect, Captain, we’re here to take out the base, not liberate the planet.”

    Amana paced in front of the group. “Thought did cross my mind, briefly,” she said. “We need an army for that, though, and we don’t have one available. Except for them.”

    She watched as a bemused smirk crossed Xiann’me’s face.

    “The resistance and ourselves have a similar goal: obstruct the Eternal Empire’s operations on this planet.”

    The smirk on her Twi’lek companion had changed to feral grin at her suggestion. “Help the rebels and they help us...”

    Cipher nodded in agreement. “I’ve done work like this before and it should work.” He stood up and headed to a desk with a large computer upon it. “If they have kept the majority of the Imperial computer network like I believe, than I can look for any files that they keep about the resistance: leaders, attacks, crackdowns. Even a report on beings like that ‘unfortunate’ Rodian we saw this morning could prove useful.”

    “All right,” Amana said. She turned to Xiann’me. “I don’t know how you Sith do it, but can you search the Force for anything that might come in handy? Feelings, premonitions?”

    “I never focused much on that side of the Force,” Xiann’me answered. “I’m more concerned with bending it to my will. Yet, I will attempt this.” She stood from her chair and exited the room with a twirl of her cape.

    Amana turned to Utan. “Sergeant, after Cipher finishes, I want you, him, and Forex to compare our needed inventory with what we have.”

    The Cathar stood up and headed towards the window, looking out at the city below. “Will do, Captain.”

    “Now, what’s everyone want for lunch?”

    It was three hours later before Cipher was finished slicing into the system. The Chiss took a bite from his cold sandwich and turned around. “I’ve found something,” he said.

    Amana stretched her legs as she walked towards the desk.

    “They haven’t changed the Imperial network at all,” Cipher said. “They’ve deleted and added a bunch of user authorizations, but one of my cover identities is still in the system.”

    “Lucky,” Utan said.

    Cipher shook his head. “Not really,” he said. “Imperial Intelligence creates numerous cover identities for its agents, unless they did a complete format, most of the senior agents would have at least one identity to rely on. Even if it’s something as simple as a custodian.”

    Utan walked up behind them. “Is that what you are, then?” The Cathar spread his maw wide in a feline grin. “A janitor?”

    Cipher’s mouth curled upwards. “Mid-level office worker. It’s enough to get in and that’s half of the fight right there.”

    With a few quick clicks on the miniature keyboard in front of him, the database in front of them turning into a complete schematic of the base and the large facilities outside. “I’m saving a copy for us here at the room and I’m routing a copy to Forex back on the ship for study.”

    Amana looked at the map. “It almost looks like a standard shipping facility,” she said. She pointed towards a large addition on the north side of the complex. “Except for this. Refinery?”

    “Likely,” Cipher said. “The large hovertrucks outside probably ship it to the military spaceport. Then offworld to Zakuul or the like.”

    “Too bad they didn’t have the factory here so we can shut down the entire operation,” Utan said.

    “I can’t tell whether this is brilliant or idiotic,” Cipher stated. “You have the production along several different lines so individual workers at each facility has no idea about what goes on later in the line, but that requires so many workers...”

    “What about droids?” Amana said. “The whole damn Eternal Empire is full of ‘em.”

    “Well, there are no living quarters on site,” Cipher said. He pointed towards an outlying building next to the hovertrucks. “Except for this, but there’s no security measures at all like you’d suspect for slave labor or even conscripted civilians. I’d say these were barracks.”

    “Those Rodian flunkies or actual skytroopers?” Utan asked.

    Cipher shook his head. “I don’t know, their interiors aren’t included in what I’ve found so far.”

    The computer beeped softly. Amana’s eyes went wide.

    “That something we should be worried about?” she said.

    Cipher closed the map of the facility and pulled up a document onto the screen.

    “No,” the agent said. “In fact, this was what you wanted: information on the resistance against Eternal Imperial rule on the planet.”

    Faces of numerous Rodians flew past the screen, grayed out faces of what were likely members already killed passing by.

    “Hundreds of them,” Amana muttered.

    “That’s just who they know about,” Cipher said. “Estimate maybe a 2 or 3 to 1 ratio for those they don’t know about and subtract half a ratio...”

    “For false leads,” Utan said.

    “Correct,” Cipher said. “We’re looking at a sizable number.” He typed away at the keyboard in front of him. “Oh, this is interesting...”

    Amana leaned in closer, trying to read the words over the Chiss’s shoulder. “What is it?”

    “An internal memo. They’ve found where a member of the resistance lives and are going to strike in...” Cipher turned and looked at the chronometer off to the side. “Strike in about five hours.”

    Amana drew in a deep breath. “We’re going to make sure that they won’t...” She slapped the back of the chair in excitement, causing Cipher to glare at her.

    “They’re going to strike his house, it appears,” he continued. A few taps on the keyboard brought up a map that bisected the screen. “I’ll have a good nest on one of these buildings here. You, Xiann’me, Utan, and Forex if we need him can be milling about the area.”

    Amana frowned. “I don’t know about Forex,” she said. “The droid’s a good fighter, but he sticks out like a sore thumb.”

    Cipher and Utan nodded. “We should probably not bring him for this, then.” Cipher said.

    “He’s going to be really disappointed,” Utan added.

    “He’ll get his fill of combat soon,” Amana said.
     
  11. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005
    Double post, nothing to see here.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2018
  12. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Superb strategizing =D= =D= Team is focused and not snipping at each other ;)
     
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  13. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005
    There may or may not be more snipping to come... It's hard to tell with this group. :p Though that little joke with Forex wasn't all that nice...

    Thanks for reading.
     
  14. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005
    Chapter Five

    A soft rain fell over the permacrete streets of the Rodian neighborhood, the ping of the drops assaulting the sensitive ears of Utan. The Cathar brought his sopping cloak closer to his body, his hand feeling the hard plasteel of his armor underneath.

    At least it wasn’t Vjun, he thought. The Republic had fought hard against the Sith-allied families in the constant acidic rainfall with only the specialized weather gear from House Malreaux to protect them. He had led his squad to victory there and through the Daylands of Ryloth and far too many hellsholes to count. A little jungle rain was nothing.

    He stood in the backyard of an empty house, a single knee crouched in the muddy grass. Directly ahead of him was their group’s target. It was a simple house like so many others in the area, the grass had been recently cut and a pair of dirty windchimes sang in the breeze. Inside, according to the information that the Chiss spook had pulled from the Eternal Empire’s computers.

    A scoff escaped from his maw. They were probably walking right into an ambush. Intelligence had never been his favorite branch of the government. “Give me something that someone saw with their own eyes,” he grumbled to himself.

    Utan thumbed his throat microphone on. “We’re ten minutes from go-time, are you sure this is the right place?”

    A cool, calm voice answered him. “This is where and when the memo said,” Cipher said. The Chiss was two blocks away, holed up in the attic of the largest building of the area. Utan shook his head and tried not to think of how he managed to get in.

    He peeked around the other corner and saw Xiann’me standing straight against the wall of another house. Her head was bowed under her dark cloak with her hands crossed across her chest. Her image blurred and twisted in his mind, the only thing that prevented her from disappearing completely being the knowledge that she was there from the start.

    He returned to his original position and kneeled again. He removed his blaster rifle from his cloak. It was nearly a meter long with a vented barrel. The Cathar checked the fire selection switch next to the faux-wood stock and made sure it was set to “Automatic.” Amana was using her blaster pistol in the battle and the Sith would be using her lightsabers. While the Chiss in the attic could pin down the enemy with his sniper rifle, suppressing their fire on the others would be up to him.

    “Hovertruck’s coming in,” Cipher said. “30 seconds. Observe comm silence. My shot is the signal.”

    Utan clicked his comm twice in affirmation and waited. “Hovertruck” was a misnomer, Utan thought as he watched the open-topped armored vehicle stop in front of the house next the target’s home. A light repeating blaster was perched on top of the craft’s crew cabin, manned by a large Rodian.

    Nine Rodians surged out of the door in the back of the craft, each wearing the Skytrooper-like armor that the gang that had accosted their group earlier that morning had. They had the discipline of trained soldiers, the Cathar noted, each being covering the others as they disembarked. Veterans of many clan wars, he surmised. If shooting started they’d head behind the hovertruck, he thought, as the gunner with the repeater opened fire if they hadn’t been the one hit. He’d have to be the first shot, Utan thought.

    The Eternal Empire didn’t even bother to knock. The wooden door cracked open with a single kick and the armored Rodians stormed inside. Utan gripped his blaster rifle tightly as the sound of surprised screams filled the air. They emerged from the house a minute later, a bruised Rodian being carried out by his arms and legs. The rebel squirmed in the grasp of his captors, straining against them.

    “Fire the shot...” Utan whispered to himself.

    The captured Rodian cried out in futility as he struggled. A leg popped free as a boot came loose. The three-toed foot lashed out, slamming one of his captors low, causing him to collapse to his knees.

    “Cipher, take the Force-damned shot or I will!” Amana screamed through the comlink.

    “Not yet...”

    Blaster fire erupted from somewhere and slammed into the column of Rodians. A single, blue beam followed from above, leaving a streak of burning ozone through the air. The gunner on top of the truck collapsed in a heap.

    “Who shot first?” The Chiss’s normally calm voice was tinged with anger.

    Utan took aim at the armored Rodians and opened fire. Red blaster bolts hit the paved road, sending shards of hot duracrete flying into the air. The enemy scrambled away from his shots, pointing and shouting towards the armored hovertruck nearby.

    “Who else is shooting?” Amana yelled out. Utan watched as the smuggler briefly broke her cover and advanced closer, long-barrelled blaster pistol firing.

    The Zakuulian Rodians ran for cover, the occasional member of their ranks picked off by blaster fire. Utan advanced slowly to the front corner of the house, following Amana’s more unorthodox tactics.

    “Where’s the Sith?” he yelled out. In the corner of his vision he watched the hovertruck shake where it was parked. A small tremor that slowly but steadily progressed to the truck rocking on its axis.

    “Oh shavit...” Utan said.

    The hovertruck rose five meters in the air before ripping in half with an immense crack that shook through the neighborhood. The two halves stayed suspended in the air for seconds, dripping debris onto the duracrete like it had been a living thing newly eviscerated. The Rodians that had been using the hovertruck as cover scrambled as blaster fire neared them.

    Utan fired a burst at the fleeing Rodians and watched as one twitched and fell as a bolt hit him in the back. “We’ve almost got ‘em on the run!” he yelled out.

    The two halves of the trucks flew away from each other, one slamming into the road meters away and the second crashing into the top floor of nearby house. A swirling red blur flew after the Rodians and carved into two before it swung back.

    Xiann’me stood in the middle of a front yard, one hand outstretched while the other held an unused blade. The Twi’lek had abandoned her cloak and stood in the rain clad only in her black leather armor. She caught the thrown blade in her free hand and flourished her blades as blaster fire concentrated on her.

    Utan watched as the Sith raised her blades quickly, deflecting each shot towards her away with a simple swipe in the air. Blaster fire from himself, Amana, and whomever and fired from the buildings and corners nearby made short work of the rest of the Zakuul forces.

    He stepped out from his cover, hearing the cries of the mortally wounded Rodians and the frightened whimpering of the intended target on the grass of his front yard.

    “Drop the weapons!” a filtered voice called out. Rodians in mixed armor slowly filed out of their hiding places, weapons held at the ready.

    Utan lowered his rifle and watched as Amana did the same. Xiann’me glared at their captors before eyeing her compatriots.

    “Cipher, no shots unless something big goes down,” Amana whispered into her comm.

    The three were herded into the center of the road by the group of five Rodians. Amana had holstered her blaster and held her gloved hands in the air.

    “Hey, now,” she said, “I think you can see that we’re all on the same side here.”

    The lead Rodian’s snout twitched in what passed for a cocky grin. “And who’s side is that?”

    Amana gestured with her head towards the wrecked hovertruck. “Not them.” She slowly crossed her arms over her chest, a move that Utan felt was certain would begin a second firefight. “Now, uh, we gonna stand here all day and wait for backup to arrive?”

    One of the fallen Rodians near the wrecked hovertruck stirred and jumped to his feet. His white armor was singed with blaster impacts and he ran with a limp. A cry of terror escaped from snout. A single shot came from inside a house and the would-be survivor slumped back to street.

    The door to the house opened seconds later. Out from it stepped a lithe humanoid clad in gray armor with light blue trim. He wore the t-slitted helmet favored by Mandalorians over his head. He walked towards the group, holstering his two rectangular blaster pistols on the way.

    “I expected you to be here eventually,” he said. His voice was heavily filtered through his mask, but Utan could still pick up the Outer Rim accent in his voice. “But I’m a little disappointed that your commander didn’t come personally...”
     
  15. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Superb action and vivid details =D= Amana keeps her composure through all of it and her team thankfully follows her directions. It will be interesting to see how this encounter will play out in regards to the mission objective.
     
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  16. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005
    Her compassion is still getting in the way, but I doubt that's going to change anytime soon, but they are working together as a more cohesive unit now. As normal, though, I've made a clear contrast between the more cold and calculating Sith and Imperial characters and the more compassionate Republic-aligned ones, even though they're all fighting on the same side now.

    Thanks for reading and reviewing, WarmNyota.
     
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  17. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005
    CHAPTER SIX

    Amana stood in the middle of what passed for the Rodian resistance’s main base. It had to have been a warehouse once, judging from the rusted loading cranes and the array of broken windows high up. Small glowrods held in the hands of the Rodians around them were the only illumination save for the minimal moonslight that sneaked in through those windows.

    In the middle of the abandoned warehouse was a conglomeration of mismatched shipping containers, the faintest hint of light pouring out from the openings. The Rodian escorting her gestured towards the door wordlessly.

    “You still haven’t...”

    The Mandalorian turned around and raised a hand to shush her. “Not yet...” He voice was modulated so low that she could barely hear it. He made a gesture towards the windows and moved his hand towards where his ear would have been under his helmet.

    Amana, understanding, nodded.

    The lead Rodian opened the door slightly, the light pouring through the opening blinding Amana and the others. “In,” he whispered into her ear.

    The interior of the crates had been transformed into a long control center. Several throw rugs had been placed over the rusted durasteel floor and fabric covered the walls. A massive computer system sat at one wall, the width taking up nearly half of the first crate. A human woman sat in front of the console, tan-skinned and black haired. A cybernetic implant ran from the edge of her brow down her cheek.

    “These the people from the market?” she asked the leader.

    “One and the same, rid’ika,” he said. “This is Mako, my wife and our current mission control.” Mako gave the others a friendly wave before turning her attention back to the console.

    The Mandalorian warrior gestured for Amana and her team to sit in the room beyond the control center. A long table dominated it, with several chairs around it. The Mando sat at the long edge and pointed at the other chairs. Amana dutifully took a seat. The others followed. With a slow, deliberate movement he began to remove his helmet, disconnecting the air hose from the base before setting it down on the table.

    He was likely a few years older than Amana, his copper skin pocked with scars and black beard stubble. A long scar from from his left cheek to his forehead, the once brown eye in its path replaced with a cybernetic replacement.

    Amana gave a chuckle of recognition even as Xiann’me stared daggers at the man. “Hondo Mereel,” the smuggler said. “Formerly the most wanted man in the Republic.”

    “Until he betrayed and murdered Darth Tormen,” Xiann’me said. A slight smile played across her face. “I should be angry at you, but that was very well done on your end.”

    Hondo gave a curt and sarcastic bow. “The Republic offered a better deal: clean my name and rid the galaxy of a rabid kath hound that needed to be put down. But let’s leave the past in the past for now,” he said.

    “You said you were expecting the commander?” Amana said.

    Hondo nodded his head. “I’d hoped that word of our resistance against the Eternal Empire would have reached Commander Vor-Lonn. It seems that it has.” He smiled.

    Amana’s face remained neutral. “I’m afraid that it hasn’t.” She watched as Hondo’s smile faded. “We’re here on a separate matter.”

    “Damn...” Hondo said. “I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up, then. What are you here for, then? And why did you decide to try and stop a seizing of one of my men, and walking right into our ambush?”

    Cipher’s face betrayed his astonishment. “You’re ambush? Remarkable planning, but how?”

    Hondo’s eyes shone and he gestured towards the woman at the console. “You’re not the only one who knows how to slice into the Eternal Empire’s systems… Truth be told, we were hoping to get our hands on one of their armored hovertrucks, but your Sith put an end to that plan.”

    Xiann’me raised her brow slightly, her mouth curving. “Please accept my apologies,” she said in a mocking tone. “If you want me to, I can attempt to put it back together again.”

    Hondo smirked even as Amana shot the Sith a look. “There’ll be others, I imagine,” he said. The Mandalorian turned to Amana. “Which still leaves us with an unanswered question: why are you here and why did you try to help one of my men?”

    Amana took a deep breath. “Do you know about the facility in Sector Cresh-23?”

    Hondo shook his head. “I only know that sector has one of the largest restricted zones on the planet. You stick so much as a toe within 50 kilometers of it and you get shot.”

    “We sent a scout there about three weeks ago,” Mako said. “We were trying to confirm what we got from a sliced navsat view. The team lasted an hour in the jungle, never even got close.”

    “A navsat view?” Cipher asked. His normally controlled voice hinted at surprise. “The Alliance received such a view.”

    Hondo gave a quick look at his wife. “Do we have a leak?”

    Mako shook her head. “Not at our end, but I did send some feelers out to some old contacts I trusted,” she said. “You cleared it.”

    “Who’d you send them to?”

    Mako paused for a second. “Doran Lands, Tilop Borash, Qyzen Fess, and...”

    “Qyzen Fess, I know the lizard,” Xiann’me said. “He stalks around that Miraluka Jedi in our enclave like a duck follows its mother.”

    “Do you think he might have handed in the info to your boss?” Mako asked. She hid it well, Amana thought, but the smuggler watched as the slicer’s shoulders slumped slightly in disappointment.

    “Probably,” Amana said. “He took what he knew and probably asked around a bit more and then sent the info to Hylo.”

    “I can’t believe that he wouldn’t tell us, though,” Mako said.

    Amana suppressed a smile before it formed. The slicer had walked right into exactly what she needed her to walk into. “He probably thought that what was in that base was too much for you all to handle.” She paused and let the thought marinate in Hondo and Mako’s heads for a few beats. “I don’t.” She gestured towards Cipher.

    The Chiss stood up on cue. “We were told that this facility is protected so heavily for a very important reason: it takes a new mineral that the Eternal Empire has discovered, refines it and combines it with their own durasteel.”

    The agent removed a pocket computer pad and thumbed it on, revealing the larger schematic. “I was able to slice deeper into their systems—I had clearances leftover from the Empire that you don’t—so don’t feel inadequate. The reports we’ve received suggest that this new combination could make Skytroopers virtually impervious to blaster fire.”

    Holdo looked impressed. “So, you come here to stop it and find out about us and think it’d go a lot smoother if we helped out?” He raised his hand to silence the response Amana was about to utter. “First off, ask everyone out there: I don’t work for free. Since I don’t work for free, they don’t work for free.”

    “So this is about money, then?” Amana said. “How much are you asking?”

    Hondo shook his head. “This may surprise you, but I’m not looking for money this time. When I came to this planet, I was hired by one clan to help them against the invasion. One clan turned to two, three, and then more.” He sat back down and rubbed a gauntleted hand over his stubbled scalp. “Now, we have almost a third of all the clans of Rodia under our banner, and more will probably join us if we actually start to fight. Really fight, I mean, not skirmishes.”

    His natural eye stared deeply at Amana. “No, I don’t want money. I want your commander to come here with his armies and help us liberate this planet.”

    “I can’t promise that,” Amana said. “Only Commander Vor-Lonn can.”

    A slight smile appeared on Hondo’s scarred lips. “Then you do that,” he said. “Mako can patch you through.”

    “How safe is it?” Amana asked. She gave the computer and Mako a quick lookover.

    Mako scoffed. “It’s secure. You can have your Chiss friend look over my shoulder if you want.”

    Amana shook her head. “That’s not needed.” She gave the slicer the comm code and waited.

    It took nearly 15 minutes before Mako was finished setting up the call. “There’ll be a 20 second or so delay,” she said. “It’s the best I can do with having the signal bounce through half the planets in the Outer Rim...”

    “Sounds fine,” Amana said. She turned towards Hondo. “I’ll give an introduction and then you can make your pitch. I can’t guarantee he’ll accept.”

    The Mandalorian shrugged and placed his helmet over his head. “I can be very persuasive if I want to be,” he said.

    The filtered voice sending a chill up Amana’s spine. Mandalorians had always bothered her, she thought, even when she had one on her crew. It was the hypocrisy of such an honor bound society that lined up for the most dishonorable profession in the galaxy.

    “Watch out for them,” someone had told her once, so long ago. “They’ll be your friend one day and the next they’ll have a blaster at your back.”

    “Ready,” she said.

    With the press of a button Mako started the transmission. Amana counted down as the small holoprojector at the side of the console flickered to life. A fair skinned man with dark brown hair was shown in shades of blue light in front of her. He was wearing the armor-plated Jedi robes that marked his simplistic uniform. He attempted to hide a smile at seeing her, Amana saw.

    “Captain Wentlas,” he said. “Is something wrong?” A concerned frown formed on his face.

    “No, Commander,” Amana replied. “We’ve found a chance to achieve our objective easier, but you’re going to have to approve it, along with the rest of the council.” She paused and hoped. Ten seconds passed as her signal left Rodia and hit Malastare, then on to Denon, and another planet and another. Ten more as his reply made the same trip back to her.

    Jorren’s face betrayed slight confusion. “What’s the plan?”

    “There’s a resistance against the Eternal Empire here on the planet. They’re lead by a Mandalorian; name of Hondo Mereel. He claims to have a lot of warriors at the ready, but he needs something from you.”

    “Commander Vor-Lonn,” Hondo said as he entered the frame of the holocamera. “How nice to finally be able to speak with you.”

    Amana watched as Jorren’s face turned to a stony neutral. “It’s always good to see potential new allies,” he said. “I’m surprised I didn’t see you on Darvannis...”

    Darvannis… Amana thought before it popped into her mind. She’d been on some other mission at the time, but he’d been fighting them on that planet with Mandalore herself and most of the clans.

    “I heard from an old friend about that battle,” Hondo said. Amana could imagine a smile upon the warrior’s face. “I was a little distracted here to be there, though. It would have been a great victory.”

    “Too many died,” Jorren said.

    “They died well,” Honda explained. “But we’re not bouncing a signal through half the galaxy to talk about the past,” he said. “If your captain here wants my help with her mission, I’m going to need yours.”

    Jorren cupped his chin with his hands. “What kind of help are you needing?” he said.

    “I have a third of all the clans of Rodia behind me, couple large ones, too. Good fighters. I join your Alliance with them and in return, you give them a Rodia free of both the Empire and Zakuul.”

    Jorren nodded his head. “I can welcome you into the Alliance,” he said. “Liberating Rodia, though… I can’t make that decision on my own.”

    Hondo shrugged. “We don’t a liberated Rodia, you don’t get your little facility destroyed.”

    Amana watched as Jorren remained calm. “I’ll call an emergency session of the council,” he finally said. She didn’t know if it was the natural delay between the two points or his own thinking that made him hesitate. “Give me an hour.”

    “I hope to hear some good news,” Hondo grinned.

    It was nearly two hours before Jorren commed them back. His face looked haggard in the light, his his eyelids appearing heavy. “You have your army,” he finally said. “Within the next two weeks, you’ll have it.”

    Hondo looked around the room, at Amana and the others and to his wife before turning back to the holoscreen. “Two weeks is two weeks,” he said. “It sounds like your team needs my help now.”

    Damn you, Amana thought. “Look, if you aren’t going to help us, then we’re leaving,” she said. “And I’m pretty sure that Jorren will remember that.”

    She turned her back to Hondo and started walking out of the room. “Let’s go team, we’re leaving.”

    “She’s right, Hondo,” Jorren said. “I don’t help you until you help me.”

    The Mandalorian scoffed. “I’ve seen this team in action just a few hours ago, and I’ve seen a couple years ago, and they’re capable, but there’s no way they can survive that base without our help.”

    Amana chuckled and she saw Xiann’me’s eyes laughed silently. Cipher remained collected as normal.

    “Utan’s the only one I’m not sure of,” Amana said. “The three of us here, though? We’ve gone through things that are likely worse.”

    “My advisers and I chose this team because they’ve been through all nine Corellian hells and more,” Jorren said. “They have my full confidence.”

    A smirk curled his lip upwards. “Your band, however, if you were capable of taking over this planet, I feel that you would have done it by now...”

    Hondo stammered slightly, words denying the Jedi’s statement forming but never completeed. “Ah, fierfek he’s right...” He straightened up. “You’ve got your army, Commander,” he said. “How can I trust that you’ll keep up your end of the bargain?”

    Jorren bowed. “You have my word as a Jedi Master.”

    “To a Mandalorian, that doesn’t mean a lot.”

    Jorren nodded. “It’ll have to do.”

    “I guess it does,” Hondo said. He turned to Amana and the others as the conversation ended. “Does he usually keep his promises?”

    “Most of them,” Amana said with a smirk.
     
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  18. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Very nice interchange with Jorren. Love the undercurrent he had with Amana ;)

    Happy Hondo will get his army and Amana's team the help they need.
     
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  19. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005
    I certainly wanted there to be a subtext to Jorren and Amana talking. I'm glad that I was able to pull it off.

    Writing Hondo and the negotiations was a fun event, as both sides have something that the others really need, yet at the same time Hondo's in a really rough spot. Jorren's certain that his team can accomplish their mission on their own, but having more people would certainly lower the possibility of casualties. At the same time, Hondo needs the Alliance's forces to fully liberate Rodia. A very, very fun chapter to write.

    Thank you, once again, for reading and reviewing.
     
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  20. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005
    CHAPTER SEVEN

    For having such a bulky build, M1-4X was amazingly stealthy. Utan allowed himself a smile as the group walked through the Rodian jungle. He had taken a paint brush to the large droid himself hours ago, when as the entire squad and as many of Hondo’s Rodian lieutenants that he dared to bring in met. What was once bare durasteel with red highlights was now a mass of browns, greens, and yellow-tan earth colors. The stealth belt along all of their waists would disrupt scanners, and Forex’s new paint job would do well against visual scanning.

    The Cathar removed a pocket computer from his own camouflaged uniform. The Mandalorian’s wife had landed them in a clearing nearly six kilometers away while Amana had taken Xiann’me and a company’s worth of Rodians to another clearing. Ten kilometers left until they reached their rendezvous point and then another short hike would bring them to the very edge of the security zone.

    From the edge of the security zone it would be 50 more long kilometers until the reached their target.

    He looked around him at the company of Rodians that followed him, Forex, the Chiss Cipher, and Hondo. One had already begun to fall behind the others in his loose squad. A slight frown formed on his felinoid face. Company was an understatement, he thought. Probably less than half of them had any sort of martial training before they joined and they’d be lucky if a quarter of them were in any sort of military, clan militia or otherwise.

    How many of them would be left tomorrow after they all woke up from their first night of camping in the damp jungle? True, he thought, that the Rodians were more than used to the climate of their homeworld, but even the most acclimated individual would eventually tire. After that it was up to discipline and training to keep a being moving. His whiskers jutted out from his mouth as he grinned, thankful that no one could see it under his helmet. All that said, a hovertruck wouldn’t be bad, he thought.

    “You fight for the Republic?”

    The crisp Rodian voice snapped Utan out of his meditation. The owner looked to be a Rodian barely out of adolescence, the same age he had been when he had signed up.

    “I used to,” Utan said. “Now, I fight for the Alliance.”

    The multifaceted eyes of the Rodian shimmered in the light. “You wear the Republic’s armor, though.”

    Utan smiled and then gave a short chuckle to convey the gesture through his helmet. “In the Alliance, we tend to wear what we brought with us. Imperial troops wore their armor and Republic soldiers wear theirs. Even in the same units”

    His mind snapped back to Milagro, one of his first deployments for the Alliance. His original squad, all Republic, had taken heavy casualties trying to take a strategic hill and were replaced by the survivors of another platoon that had suffered the same fate. An Imperial platoon. Their personalities had clashed in their camp just as their white and black armors had, but on the battlefield, they had bonded together quickly.

    “Like my father,” the young soldier said. “Six years ago, he fought for the Thisren clan against the Tetsu.” He looked around and pointed out another Rodian nearby. “Like him. They were our sworn enemies, but now we fight for Rodia together.”

    A hint of curiosity formed in Utan’s mind. “What happened to your father?”

    The youth’s snout curled inwards. “The troopers took him three years ago,” he said. “Never saw him again.”

    Utan heard the screams of the Rodian man from earlier in his mind, the mind’s eye flashing back even further as he watched from slitted windows as the Sith Empire’s soldiers dragged the father of his childhood friend from their house and into a dark-colored speeder, never to be seen alive again.

    “I’m sorry,” was all that Utan could say.

    The youth remained silent.

    Utan kept walking, even as the young Rodian rejoined the others in the marching line.

    ***

    Amana slapped at an insect that lighted upon her neck, her gloved hand coming away in a small mess of goo and legs.

    “Ah, sithspit...” she cursed. She wiped her hand against a nearby tree’s bark and fumbled with a device on her belt. She removed a pair of small power cells and replaced them with new ones from her pack. “Oh,” she said as she noticed the Twi’lek next to her. “Sorry.”

    She had kept her usual outfit on for the journey, trading in her black vest for a green poncho. A large scattergun hung off of her shoulder from a sling. It’s ammo vest filled with shells and slugs of all sorts next to her belt.

    Xiann’me’s face remained neutral. “No offense taken,” the Sith said. “We Sith swear, too.”

    “So, what do you all say?” Amana asked. “Jedispit? Sadowspawn?”

    Around the pair, Rodians walked, suited in light armor and carrying various weaponry.

    “Not Naga Sadow, no,” Xiann’me said. “Though ‘Jedispit’ is amusing. No, our main swear that’s based off an actual person or group is ‘tolgrinsaari’.”

    Amana tried to run the word through her head and failed. “What in the hells does that mean?”

    Xiann’me shrugged. “A long time ago, likely before the Sith became the Sith as the galaxy knows us today, there was someone named Tolgrin and he did something so anathema to our teachings that all but his name was wiped from the records.”

    Amana shook her head. “So either he was the nicest Sith that ever lived or the worst.”

    The Twi’lek let loose a single chuckle. “Perhaps. Saying someone is a ‘tolgrinsaar’ insinuates they know the truth about him.”

    “So,” Amana said. “A heretic.”

    “Basically.”

    Amana sighed and checked her pocket computer. Ten more kilometers until they all reached the rendezvous point and it couldn’t come soon enough. “Here’s hoping that Vitiate gets the same treatment.”

    Xiann’me’s face froze as hard as durasteel. “I served as his Wrath for a year. Then I heard the rumors about what he was planning to do—what he DID do at Ziost.”

    A chill ran its way down Amana’s spine at the name despite the heat. She had never seen the destruction for herself, never smelled the ash and dust that had been that particular once-thriving world. Jorren had, however, and he had told her snippets of it after nightmares. What he’d no doubt left out was filled in by her own mind; it expanded the completely bombed out cities she’d seen in her career to a planetary scale.

    “Were you there?” Amana asked.

    Xiann’me shook her head. “I followed a lead that was little more than a wild bantha chase. When I returned, Arcann and his brother Thexan had already sacked Korriban.”

    Amana exhaled deeply. The twin brothers of the Sith Emperor Vitiate had come from nowhere, taking both the weakened Republic and Sith by surprise. She’d made her stand along with her pirate fleet near Dantooine. Six years did little to silence the screams of fear and pain that she heard as the majority of her fleet had fallen.

    “I tried to fight them,” Amana said. “I failed.”

    Xiann’me remained silent and kept on walking.

    “What? No snide remarks?”

    Xiann’me lowered her head. “As much as it pains me, to mock you for your failure would require me to mock my own, and the failures of too many allies.”

    “That’s a pragmatic way of putting it.”

    The Twi’lek gave a mock bow. “We Sith are nothing if not pragmatic,” she said.

    “So I’ve seen,” Amana murmured.

    The pair walked in silence for several minutes. Amana caught Xiann’me glaring at the Rodians walking next to them before she spoke again, her voice low. “Do you trust Hondo?”

    Amana looked around at the troops around her, hoping that the Sith hadn’t been heard. “I don’t know,” she whispered back. “I don’t have a reason either way, save for a gut feeling.”

    Xiann’me looked amused and concerned at the same time. “And that is?”

    “If he was going to betray us, he’d have done it already...”

    An uneasy look crossed Xiann’me’s face. “Perhaps,” she whispered. “Though it’s not like he’s never done this sort of thing before.”

    The aforementioned Darth Tormen, Amana thought.

    “Did you know Tormen?”

    Xiann’me shook her head. “I knew of him,” she said. “He was careless with the lives of his soldiers, sending them to die meaningless deaths. Sith should be pragmatic; able to send those lesser than them to their deaths for causes greater than they can understand, not throwing them to the slaughter for our own sick pleasure.”

    Amana’s mouth crooked open. “Somehow that makes sense and sounds horrible at the same time...”

    “Heh,” Xiann’me uttered. “Since you seem to know all about it, Captain, what was your ideal leadership?”

    Amana remained silent for nearly a minute. “When it came to large groups like this,” she said, “it was people already used to being independent. I gave them basic plans and strategies and generally let them have their own interpretations of orders. It worked well against what Imperial fleets we faced.”

    “And then the Eternal Fleet showed up,” Xiann’me said. “Machines that cannot panic and rout. It’s amazing we’ve been able to do so well against them so far.”

    Amana’s eyes fell to the ground. “We make do,” she said. “I guess that’s all we can do.”
     
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  21. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005
    CHAPTER EIGHT

    It hadn’t been easy moving 200 Rodians through the jungles, several kilometers inside of a restricted zone, but somehow they had done it, Cipher thought.

    The Chiss sat in a makeshift blind, electrobinoculars steady ahead at the Zakuul facility. An electric perimeter surrounded the large facility, invisible to the naked eye but glowing brightly in his enhanced vision. The perimeter was shorter than he thought it would be—nearly 10 meters away from the edge of the clearing compared to the standard of 20 meters. The jungle explained a lot, the Chiss thought. On their trek to the base, through the extremely large exclusion zone, his group had seen the evidence of numerous predators and prey species. With so much fauna nearby, false alarms would be constant at the standard length.

    The base appeared to be the same as it had appeared on the schematics that he had downloaded from the systems. The clearing was 600 meters long and 400 wide, the majority paved over in duracrete. A large refinery sat on the east side of the clearing, smoke that had been visible for kilometers billowing out of a single stack the size of the smuggler’s freighter. Droids currently paraded out of the building, driving small carts that were full of of medium-sized crates into the loading docks of the second, larger building.

    The shipping hub, Cipher thought.

    Outside of the hub were dozens of unhooked hovertrailers. Inside one of the loading docks of the larger facility was another trailer, a droid driver sitting still inside of the hovertruck. Given unlimited time, he thought, and having to rely on just the team that the commander and Hylo had assigned them, he would have sneaked aboard an incoming truck and fought their way in that way.

    His red eyes trailed over to the newest building on the lot. No one stirred outside of the large barracks. He had seen the Rodian guards pacing around the towers on each of the four corners and had evaded patrols from them in the jungles. That wasn’t the full extent of their forces at this base, he thought. It couldn’t be. There were skytroopers here, he knew it despite no confirmation. There simply had to be. And there had to be enough; enough to prevent the Rodians from thinking that they were the ones actually in charge here. Enough to prevent them from actually taking over if they somehow did get that idea.

    So, Cipher thought. How many would they need? The skytroopers had been devastating to the armies of both the Republic and Sith Empire, with highly resistant armor and powerful weaponry forged deep in the heart of the Unknown Regions. Cipher failed to suppress a shiver. The Ascendancy knew of many horrors that the rest of the galaxy was ignorant about in that uncharted space: the Nagai, Tof, Geroons and their masters the Vagaari, and strange biomechanical ships that fled at the first hint of being sighted. Yet Zakuul had surprised even them. His sponsor into the Empire as an intelligence liaison had remained silent on the issue, but Cipher knew that they couldn’t stay out of the war for long.

    Those were thoughts for later, Cipher thought. The Chiss checked the chronometer on his wrist. Three minutes until he was supposed to fire the first shot at the guard in the north west watch tower. He felt the weight of his comlink that was on his belt and swiftly put the thought aside. Two hundred beings in addition to some of the most skilled warriors in the Alliance would be more than enough.

    After his first shot the others would pour into the compound: Amana, Xiann’me, Forex, Utan, and Hondo. Each of them would lead a contingent into the yard, drawing fire and setting up a defensive perimeter. During the confusion, he would abandon his perch and follow Amana, Xiann’me, and Hondo into the buildings, looking for intelligence and setting their charges.

    Ninety seconds left.

    Cipher checked his target and stole a quick glance at his second choice and next target. The primary was leaning against the wall of the tower, blaster hanging loosely from its strap on his shoulder.

    Thirty seconds.

    The second will be tougher but still possible. She’ll react to the sound of the shot firing and might even see the smoke trail left by the burning ozone. If she’s well trained, she’ll take cover immediately. If not…

    Ten seconds.

    Cipher takes aim and feels the butt of his blaster rifle tucked in firmly against his shoulder. He aimed for center mass and inhaled. His finger squeezed the trigger and he finally allowed himself to exhale. He didn’t need to confirm his kill and simply moved his rifle towards the second tower. His target had moved, brought her blaster up and was scanning the area where her comrade had been hit. He breathed in again and fired.

    ***

    “Let’s go!” Amana Wentlas cried out her orders to the Rodians around her. They let out a battle cry that sounded like a symphony of F’nonc horns droning the same note. The smuggler gestured forward with her blaster pistol and charged with them.

    She fired blind shots towards the third tower, not caring if they connected as long as they kept the guard’s head down.

    “Get to cover!” she yelled out. Several broke out in a run towards the multitude of grounded trailers at the other end of the yard.

    Guards began to rush out of the barracks. The majority of them were Rodian, wearing the same armor as the toughs were at the spaceport days previously. Worker droids scattered as the space between the two was filled with red blaster fire.

    The trailers were close and Amana headed towards them. A Rodian in front of her was cut down with a blaster shot and for a second his face was that of a blue-skinned Twi’lek. Her mind’s eye took over, the physical ones seeing and understanding the reality around her, but she was far away.

    Nal Hutta… She thought. This is Nal Hutta all over again. I’m Larena again and those are Tubella the Hutt’s cronies.

    “No...” she murmured. She raised her blaster pistol and fired, hitting a Zakuul-aligned Rodian in the chest. She was a better fighter than she was then, the eight years had quickened her draw and honed her aim. She fired again and claimed the life of another Rodian.

    A red blaster bolt hit the ground next to her feet, kicking up dust and shards of duracrete. She fired again and again, missing most of her targets.

    “C’mon!” a filtered voice screamed at her. A gloved hand roughly grabbed her upper arm and pulled. Her boots skidded the ground before her legs instinctively moved with her momentum.

    A brief flash of pain flared along her back as she was pulled into the rough metal of a trailer. Hondo’s helmet was in front of her, an irate caricature of her face reflecting back through his black visor.

    “Get a hold of yourself,” Hondo intoned. “Get hold of yourself.” He looked her over for a second. “You hit?”

    Amana breathed heavily, each gasp ragged and pained. “I froze...”

    Hondo looked away, in the direction of the shipping hub, before turning to look at her again. “Can you fight?”

    Amana steeled herself. The flashbacks faded even as blasterfire still echoed in her mind. “Yes,” she said.

    She holstered her blaster pistol and pulled the scattergun off of her shoulder. She took several calming breathes before she could speak again. “Just the Rodians out there?”

    Hondo held his two blaster pistols close as he returned to cover. “No skytroopers yet.”

    The satchel of ammunition on her waist was heavy on her belt as she opened it. Inside were two separate columns divided into many rows. The shells inside were brightly colored: dark gray, clear with a bright glowing ball inside, the standard red, and a smoky black among others. She grabbed one of the latter shells and pushed into the loading slot of the scattergun.

    “Just one?” Hondo asked.

    “All I can use for this,” Amana said. She removed a paper packet from a pouch in her pants and tore it open with a bite. Holding the weapon up on its butt, she poured the contents inside the barrel. The tiny, serrated rings clinked their way to the bottom.

    “Move,” she said. Amana took Hondo’s place at the edge of the trailer and looked out. A large group of Rodians were bunched together, firing at their army. She leaned out again and fired. A hundred whistles filled the air as the projectiles exploded out of the barrel and into the massed troops. Screams filled the air as they fell to the ground; those still alive clutching at their bleeding wounds.

    “Forex is la...”

    Hondo’s exclamation was interrupted by a staccato of blaster fire coming from the north. The hiss of a rocket flying through the air was followed by an explosion and the screams of the frightened and wounded.

    “You were saying?” Amana said. She slung her scattergun over her shoulder and unholstered her pistol once more. “That’s our cue!”

    The smuggler peered over the battlefield as Hondo pulled a smoke grenade from his belt. Forex had emerged from the woods, the rotary cannon on his left arm letting loose a stream of fire. She pulled the comlink from her belt. “Amana to Utan, you’ve got this. Strike Team Three, you’re up!”

    With a quick heave, the smoke grenade left Hondo’s hand and landed in the midst of the enemy Rodians. It activated with a loud hiss, spewing hot smoke that overrode the species’s natural infrared vision. The pair raced from their cover, ducking low to evade the wild fire coming from the others before finally reaching the safety of the shipping facility.
     
  22. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Superb action and understandable Amana would freeze like that. Glad someone was there to get her back to reality and relative safety. This kind of begs/raises the question -- maybe she doesn't need to be in situations of direct combat. [face_thinking]