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Saga - OT Mercy Flight (OCs) --COMPLETE

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Mistress_Renata, Sep 8, 2017.

  1. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    Mercy Flight --COMPLETE, 1/17/18
    Timeframe: 2 weeks after the Battle of Hoth
    Characters: All OCs
    Genre: Action/suspense/medical drama, squadfic
    Summary: A young Rebel pilot makes a desperate run through an Imperial blockade

    WARNING: Icky medical descriptions

    Notes: Ambri Merrin first appeared in Dreg Squadron.
    Inspired by the Nome Serum Run of 1925 and Michael Stackpole’s Krytos Trap.
    * * *
    Ambri Merrin took a deep breath to calm herself as the strange patterns of hyperspace swirled and coalesced into a crisp starfield. Even before her X-wing starfighter was fully out of hyperspace, her eyes were moving from her scanners through her entire field of vision, looking for enemy ships. There was at least one Imperial Class star destroyer, they’d heard, which meant potentially bumping into six full squadrons of TIE fighters. Although the Empire had no reason to expect an incursion, which meant more likely one squadron, split into several patrols. If they were lucky…if they were ridiculously lucky, they could slip past and get to the planet with the precious cargo intact.

    “Set S-foils to attack position,” said Lieutenant Dzin. Ambri frowned as she complied. Hymuth Dzin was more experienced than she was, and he outranked her. But in this situation, every millisecond counted, and from her experience, she knew that an X-wing was faster in its cruise position than it was in attack position. Granted, not much faster. But if they had to outrun TIE fighters, it might be enough.

    She wouldn’t question him. She’d been a full pilot for the Rebellion for all of three weeks. Dzin had been around since just after Yavin. The blue-skinned Duros pilot was skillful and aggressive. The two of them were temporarily assigned to one of the Rebel ships, The Patchwork Queen, a strange Corellian conglomeration (“the Ugliest of Uglies,” as its crew proudly called it), en route to their permanent assignment. There were no simulators to train in, but Dzin did his best to help Ambri, coaching her while on their patrols and diagramming different moves when they were relaxing in the tiny storage closet that was serving as their temporary quarters.

    Dzin wanted to make sure that their weapons were online and available if they did run into trouble. Ambri would have preferred to make a straight run for it. But it wasn’t up to her. She checked her position, flying just off his right. They were the only two. If they didn’t make it through…

    Ambri’s astromech whistled a warning. She glanced down. “Long range scanners show 4 marks, coming in at… 270.” She looked up. “No visual.”

    “Increase to full speed,” said Dzin. “No sign of a Star Destroyer. Must be on the other side of the planet.”

    “We hope,” muttered Ambri. She looked up. “Wait, there they are! Four TIE fighters!”

    “Four eyeballs,” Dzin corrected. “Keep running!”

    Ambri looked at the planet ahead of her, Kassallia, a neutral world, which had never been part of the old Republic and which wasn’t under the Empire. Doomed, if they couldn’t make it through. The TIE fighters were approaching quickly. In terms of speed, they were a good match for the Incom X-wing fighters. She increased throttle, matching Dzin’s speed. The TIE fighters were on an intercept course, and Ambri knew that they weren’t going to make it past. Their only hope was to fight. And that would be a mistake.

    “Shields to full. Hang on tight, Minni,” she said. Her astromech chirped, busily monitoring the various systems of the sleek craft.

    “Gold Two, prepare to engage,” said Dzin.

    Mentally, Ambri groaned. “Copy, Gold Leader.” The TIE fighters opened fire. Flares of green flickered across the X-wing’s shields. Ahead of her, she saw Dzin break to the left. She countered to the right, jigging a bit. If they kept to their current pattern, they’d meet up and she’d fall in to his left, although going the wrong direction.

    Dzin didn’t complete his turn; he rolled over his lower right foil and pulled his nose up to come at the fighters, approaching just off their flank, firing as he came. One of the blasts hit, and the right side solar panel came off the TIE Fighter. Ambri swore softly, trying to move back into position, eyeing the TIEs. They were breaking, too, left and right, coming straight at Dzin. He opened fire again, missing, but the TIE to his left didn’t. She saw a flare on Dzin’s left engine. Ambri rolled left to intercept, shooting as she did, straight into the ships. One was shooting back at her. She spared only half a glance at her targeting computer, continuing to shoot in one long burst as it flew across her path. The TIE exploded in a ball of flame.

    Dzin had his nose up, and he was climbing, with one of the TIE fighters in hot pursuit. The other one was coming straight for her. She jigged sharply to the left and climbed herself, trying to catch up with Dzin’s tail. Dzin was juking and twisting, but the TIE, built for maneuverability, matched him easily. Ambri shook her head. In space, Rebel pilots tried to avoid dogfights. They could match the speed of the TIE fighters, but they weren’t nearly as maneuverable.

    “I can’t shake him!” shouted Dzin. Minni whistled a warning. Ambri didn’t bother to spare a glance. There was one on her tail, too.

    “Minni, divert more power to rear deflectors,” she said. There was a rumble and her ship rocked. A hit, but so far the shields were holding. She sent off blasts at Dzin’s opponent, missing both times. “Leader, turn to point six-eight; I can’t get a clear shot.” He tried to comply, pushing down the nose and turning hard to his right. Ambri rolled quickly, keeping the TIE in her sights as it followed her wingmate down. She was in the blind spot now, and she fired a long burst, pushing the throttle to its max. The TIE was firing, too, torpedoes!

    “They’re locked!” shouted Dzin. He jerked sharply to the left, and the TIE tried to follow, bringing it across Ambri’s line of fire. It exploded in a ball of gasses and flame that was quickly extinguished in the vacuum of space. Ambri was forced to roll and turn sharply as another blast rocked her ship. The rear deflector shields were down to thirty percent. She cut her throttle sharply, and the TIE fighter shot past her, not expecting the maneuver.

    “I can’t break—“ Dzin’s voice broke off and there was a flash of light. Ambri choked back a cry of denial.

    Gone. Dzin was gone, with the precious cargo he carried.

    She took a deep breath. She’d taken out two, Dzin had disabled one, and there was one more still behind her and the stars only knew how many headed their way. Resolutely, she pointed the nose of her ship towards Kassallia and switched her foils back to cruise position. TIE fighters were difficult to beat in a dogfight, and she was now outnumbered. Another reason to avoid it. Getting sucked in only gave the Empire more time to send reinforcements. And they had plenty of those. She was Corellian, she didn’t need to know the odds to know that they were heavily stacked against her. The only hope now of succeeding in her mission was to run as fast as she could. She switched shield power to increase her rear deflector shields, and cut power to nearly every other system, feeding it into the engines.

    “All right, Minni,” she said. “We’re gonna redline it. Hold on tight.” She slammed the throttle to full, pointing straight at the planet. The acceleration slammed her back against her seat. What little intel they’d had in the briefing said that there were shields over three of the major cities, but the planet as a whole was unprotected. The X-wing shot forward, with the surviving TIE fighter hard at her back.

    Another warning from her astromech. She looked at the scanner. Four more TIE fighters, inbound. Great. And at the very edge of the scanner range, what was probably the Star Destroyer, moving to intercept.

    Probably launching even more TIEs. It would be a few more minutes before she’d be in atmosphere. She looked at the surface, blue and gray, with great swirls of white clouds—wait. She took a closer look at the clouds. Weather system. There were storms down there on Kassallia. Just what she needed.

    Ambri didn’t realize she was smiling as she headed for one of the angry swirls. Flying in storms was no fun, but X-wings were fairly sturdy. TIE fighters were not. Her ship could handle some storm gusts—probably—but theirs absolutely could not. That was one of the few strengths of X-wings over TIE fighters. TIEs were generally more maneuverable in space, but in atmosphere, with those solar side panels fighting against any kind of mild wind, they were like trying to ride a bucking kampok. In a storm, forget it.

    She fed more power to the engines, listening to a high-pitched whine of protest. They were at 105%, and she edged them up to 108%. She didn’t dare take them higher. In her former life, before she joined the Rebellion, she had been a (reluctant) test pilot for the Empire, pushing ships of every type to see what their limits were. X-wings could get to 110% before they suffered structural or system failure. She’d learned this the hard way. Her ship was pulling ahead, slowly, and the landscape of Kassallia filled her screen. The TIE fighter fired off a few shots. It was out of range, too far to get a lock for its torpedoes.

    There was a flare across her shields as she plunged into the atmosphere of the planet, and immediately the small ship started to buck. She eased up slightly on the throttle, trying to hold the controls as the various crosswinds assailed her. A few heartbeats, a few more…and the world went white as she plunged into a cloud. The winds were buffeting her, and her eyes were on her instruments. She was more or less blind, flying by scanners only and fighting the stick. But now she had a chance, a chance to lose her pursuers. She had to take that chance. Because, with Dzin gone, she was the only hope to save Kassallia.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2018
  2. DARTH_MU

    DARTH_MU Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 9, 2005
    Shakes monitor.

    To be continued, right?

    It can't be a one shot!
     
  3. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Mistress_Renata -- you are superb! at space-battle scenes! Total edge of seatness! =D=
    Ambri is very very adept. :cool:

    Too bad about Dzim and particularly the vital cargo. [face_worried]
     
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  4. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Yay, it's up!

    I'll second what Nyota said about your space battles. This one is truly wonderfully written, with enough detail for us readers to picture what is going on yet little enough that we don't lose the forest for the trees. In a way, it's too bad that Ambri didn't voice her opinion about how to handle the situation – as a former Imperial test pilot she probably knows better than Dzin what the TIEs' strengths and weaknesses are and how to take advantage of them. Good thinking about diving into the storm where they can't follow. At least her share of the cargo will hopefully make it to the planet!
     
  5. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 14, 2002
    Seeing WarmNyota's comment, I get to draw a word out of long-term storage.

    Superb.

    Great descriptives of your pilots, their environment, expanding Uglies from just starfighters to larger vessels, and Ambri's misgivings about attacking, versus just running for the planet.

    I like how you spelled out what Dzin had done to deserve the respect of not being questioned, rather than merely that he outranked her.

    Easy 10/10.

    PS. Nice aside about the Corellian not needing to know the odds. :)
     
  6. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    Ha, ha, hardly! It runs to nearly 50 pages in Word! If it was a one-shot, I promise I would have told you. Like many of my stories, it starts slow and builds (that seems to be how I roll...) I am thinking I should up to 2 posts a week, for fear that I'll still be posting when I retire, if I stick to 1x a week.

    Oh, thank you! [face_blush] I actually don't think I'm that great at battle scenes; they are very hard to write, since I've never been a pilot IRL... but it is Star WARS after all!

    And thank you, too, Chyntuck, for those nice comments. I should point out that she has very kindly beta-read this; pointing out not only plot holes and inconsistencies, but even punctuation and spelling glitches. Not enough nice things can be said about her! @};-

    Thank you, Sith-I-5! I hope I keep my grade up through the rest of the story! [face_blush] I did like the idea of the Ugly Queen... I suspect she is a smuggler/pirate ship gone (semi)legit. And we do get to see a bit more of Dzin in a flashback.

    Okay, part 2 of many, we learn how Our Hero found herself in this situation...
    * * *
    One day earlier…

    Ambri was grateful for the routine patrol. The Patchwork Queen was not a large ship, and at the moment it was crammed with beings from deck to overhead. In addition to the surly crew, there was a company of Pathfinders, a company of Engineers, ready to build things or blow them up as needed, and an entire regiment of light infantry. Plus herself and Hymuth Dzin, two fighter pilots to serve as escorts. All of them were destined for their permanent assignment, a ship called the Swan of Selonia, which meant nothing to Ambri, but which the Corellian crew had been debating heatedly. The original Swan was legendary, a royal warship from way back in the day when her homeworld still had a monarch. Most felt that another ship taking the name was an insult to the memory of the original, which was a museum popular with tourists.

    The Pathfinders, the infantry, and the small crew of Marines on the Queen were butting heads and flexing their muscles over who was tougher, the Engineers were doing stupid things out of boredom and ticking off the Queen’s crew, who didn’t want their ship ‘improved’, thank you very much. And everyone thought the pilots were stuck up and overprivileged, which was rather rich as far as Ambri could see. She and Dzin were just trying to stay out of the way and do their jobs. They’d had to share a room, given the lack of space, and were, in fact, in a small storage closet in the hallway off the hangar, where two cargo nets had been slung up as hammocks for them.

    Still, too many people in too small of a space, ghastly basic rations, tempers getting shorter…they were still a few days from the rendezvous. And so when she was sent to patrol the next hyperspace jump, she was glad for the peace of her cockpit.

    She looked around at the starfield as she came out of hyperspace. Nothing around for parsecs. The long-range scanners and her astromech confirmed it. Ambri exhaled, and forced her muscles to relax. Then she signaled.

    “Two Flasks to Queenie,” she said.

    “Go ahead, Two.”

    “Pot is open for bids.”

    “Copy that. Stand by for a new hand in 3.”

    “Acknowledge.” She shook her head in amusement. The Queen had been waiting for her signal to make their hyperspace jump, since it was next-to-impossible to communicate in hyperspace. Three times ten was thirty, so she could expect the Queen to arrive in 30 minutes. Now there would just be a long, quiet, rather dull wait. She should have brought a holonovel to read.

    Instead, she adjusted the couch to a comfortable position and let her mind wander, wondering about the new friends she’d made on Hoth and where they were right now. The Rebels had been forced to scatter when Echo Base was evacuated. Pilots being scarce, they’d all been parceled off to various places. She’d heard that the Rogues, the squadron founded by Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles, had been sent to a fleet of Mons Calamari ships. Her Sullustan bunkmate, Njasri Mffaka (usually called Jazz) had been sent somewhere else, somewhere in Sector Nine. Ambri smiled. Wes Janson must have been relieved to hear that. He was one of the Rogue pilots, and he had started up a prank war with Jazz. When Ambri had left, Jazz had been winning.

    After about fifteen minutes, a small warning sounded through her headset while her astromech began squawking loudly. Ambri frowned at the scanners. The Queen couldn’t be coming out of hyperspace this quickly? And from the wrong approach? She pointed the nose of her fighter towards the new ship and gasped. An Imperial shuttlecraft!

    She slammed the controls to bring her S-foils to attack position, and bringing her weapons systems online. “Minni, full power to the shields and balance!” Her eyes went from her scanner to the space around the shuttle. No escort? TIE fighters were short range, but there were other ships that would serve. The shuttle was alone.

    She heard a voice over her commlink, on an unsecured channel. “Hello? Is someone there? Please…this is Dr. Jai Daya of the Imperial Surgical Corps. Please…I need your help!”

    Ambri couldn’t reply for a moment, fighting down panic. What was the Alliance protocol when responding to an Imperial distress call? Why was an Imperial ship asking for help? Why was an Imperial ship asking her for help? She wasn’t even a lieutenant yet! Was this a trap? Was there a Star Destroyer or an Interceptor waiting to pounce? The Queen was in hyperspace, no way to send a warning. This whole situation was totally above her pay grade. Especially since most folks in the Rebellion weren't getting paid at all.

    Ambri took a deep breath. “Imperial shuttle, this is Gold Squadron of the Reb… of the Alliance to Restore the Republic. Power down your weapons.” It sounded official. She moved her ship a bit closer, bringing the torpedoes online. It was easy to establish a target lock.

    “I…I don’t have any. I’m on a mercy mission. Please…you must help me.”

    Ambri switched over to her interior comm. “Minni?” There was a pause, then a whistle as data started scrolling across Ambri’s internal screen. Imperial shuttle Trajan 78724, no weapons, one life form aboard, humanoid. Ambri chewed her lip. One lifeform meant nothing. There could be a whole cargo hold full of Imperial Security droids waiting to attack the Queen. Some damage to the shuttle, but nothing that would prevent it from reaching an Imperial base for repairs.

    “Shuttle Trajan, you are targeted. Explain your situation. Please know that any effort to attack will result in some very expensive ordnance coming your way.”

    The woman sighed audibly. “I’m part of the Imperial Surgical Corps. I have a shipment of medicine for the planet of Kassallia. There is a…a terrible plague there. Without this, the native population will be wiped out. The Imperial navy has blockaded the planet. My colleagues and I tried to run the blockade—“

    “Wait, hold up,” said Ambri. “The Empire has a blockade. You work for the Empire. You tried to pass the blockade?”

    “And they fired on us. My two colleagues…their shuttles were destroyed. I was able to escape, but this is all the medicine we have left. Please, can you help me?”

    Yeah. Way above my pay grade!


    * * *
     
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  7. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    LOL on the commentary about the bickering among the different military groups: Pathfinders, infantry, and marines. No wonder Ambri was glad to get to a place of peace and quiet only to encounter the buildup to an intriguing dilemma. Interesting that an Imperial medic team would be considered hostiles by the Imperial Navy. [face_thinking] More here than is obvious.

    Hmmm. I too would like to know what Jazz is up to. ;)
     
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  8. Hopefulwriter

    Hopefulwriter Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jan 6, 2016
    Exciting. Intense....wanting to read more. Good writing.
    Lynda V.
     
  9. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Did I mention while I was looking at your draft that I love *everything* about the Patchwork Queen? The fact that she's the "ugliest of uglies", the fact that she's carrying more people than she should, the fact that she apparently still has at least some of her original crew who like their ship the way she is without interference from engineers, thank you very much, and above all the fact that her call sign is "Queenie" :D

    Another thing I love about this story is how you give Ambri such a distinctly Corellian voice. "Yeah. Way above my pay grade!"
     
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  10. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    Glad you like it! I'm going to 2 days a week; this is so long I'm paranoid it won't make it up and I think 2 days is more than enough time for people to catch up, don't you think?

    I'm rather fond of the Queen, too... she was introduced in Dreg Squadron, and the idea of an Ugly capital ship was too good not to follow up on. Like the Millenium Falcon, she's sort of a flying junkyard. Unlike the Falcon, she actually flies! ;)

    And you are about to learn just what that is! (I know that at some point, Jazz rejoins Ambri, but for the time being she is off doing her own duty and plotting more ways to bedevil Wes Janson!)

    So, to readers and Loyal Lurkers, explanations are explained...warning: some icky medical descriptions ahead...

    * * *

    Now…

    Ambri couldn’t see anything through the storm clouds. According to the scanners, the TIE fighters had followed her in-atmosphere. She was fighting the controls, and nudged the small ship lower. The winds were strong here. A look at her scanner showed two of the targets disappearing from the screen. No way to tell what had happened. Probably one had been blown off course into the other, or maybe they’d given up? Didn’t matter.

    “We’ve got to get below the cloud cover, Minni,” she said. “Got any idea what the terrain looks like?”

    She got a negative in response, and she made a face. She’d just have to take her chances. With a wary eye on her altimeter, she continued to descend. When she finally got below the clouds, her heart dropped. Rolling hills, completely covered in snow. Oh, Seven Hells, it’s Hoth all over again! Ambri had only been on Hoth for four days, but she didn’t think she’d ever be warm again in her lifetime.

    To her left, a mountain range, strange hills like cones or the hives of Corellian wine-bees, tall and narrow with rounded-off tops, and the foothills ahead and to her right. It looked a bit like the pictures she’d seen of Kashykk. But snowier. Ambri edged the ship towards the mountains. Their caps were in the clouds, and might offer a chance for her to lose her pursuers. Looking over the plains, she could see more groups of rounded off hills, but nothing that resembled any sort of settlement.

    “Minni? Run a full spectrum scan, communications, power use, anything! We need to find someplace to deliver this stuff.” Dr. Daya’s briefing had been incredibly vague…

    One day earlier…

    The Patchwork Queen had not been pleased to jump out of hyperspace on top of an Imperial shuttle, even though Ambri’s torpedoes were still locked on it. Ambri was nearly out of her mind, having to listen to the warning howl of the target lock alarm for nearly twenty minutes. When Dzin’s ship had launched to join her, she nearly wept with relief.

    Dr. Daya had repeated her story to the Queen, who were just as dubious as Ambri had been. But they ordered her to land on board for further interrogation. This required a bit of shuffling.

    The Pathfinders had a U-wing, which was permanently parked on the top of the hull. There were two troop transports and the two X-wings, which normally took up every other centimeter of hangar space. The two X-wings were out, but they couldn’t ride outside the ship, since there was no way for the pilots to get access to the interior. So the troop transports had to be moved, since they could access the hatches from the side. Still, it took time. Then Daya had to land. Then everyone had to clear out of the hangar while the Marines and the Pathfinders took Daya into custody (after some squabbling over who had the authority and responsibility). Then Dzin and Ambri could finally land, carefully positioning their fighters for a quick launch. All in all, it was over three hours before everything was sorted out.

    She and Dzin were called into a small conference room. The Captain of the Patchwork Queen, Tersus Gram, was waiting for them, with his first officer, an felinoid Abyssnan named Arrawrr Hchch. There were also Captain Parnos, the dark-skinned human male who was the leader of the Pathfinders, and Dr. Galdaz, the doctor of the Queen. Ambri wasn’t sure what race he was, and felt odd about asking. Built bulky and round, his skin was a very pale but vivid pink, and he had four protruding eyestalks with oversized green eyes.

    Ambri briefed them on her encounter with Daya, telling them everything she knew, which wasn’t much. Then Dr. Daya herself was escorted in, with four edgy Marines watching her every move. Ambri looked at her curiously. She was middle-aged, light brown hair streaked with gray and pulled back into a regulation Imperial bun. Her skin was a golden tan, heavily creased from age and exhaustion, and her eyes were dark brown. She quietly took the seat indicated, accepted the glass of water that Hchch pushed towards her, and looked around at all of them.

    “So. You’re an Imperial Officer, flying an Imperial shuttle, and you claim to be trying to get past an Imperial blockade?” Gram folded his hands and leaned forwards, peering at her with sharp blue eyes. “Convince us.”

    Daya spread her hands flat on the table, looking down at them. Then she exhaled. “I am—was a member of the Imperial Surgical Corps. I was working as a researcher in the Infectious Diseases division, with several of my colleagues. We were transferred to a secret laboratory in the Deep Core, and were working with some viruses, particularly those which had been used as biological weapons in the past.” She looked around at the group and looked down at her hands again. “We were told that some of the specimens had fallen into Rebel hands, and that the Rebellion were planning to unleash them. We were working on a retrovirus which had originated on Batanga.”

    “What’s a retrovirus?” asked Dzin.

    “A retrovirus is…” She hesitated, trying to figure out how to explain it to laymen. “It’s embedded in another virus. For example, a common cold virus. If it is carrying a retrovirus, as it dies, it releases toxins, specific protein chains of RNA that can embed themselves in the DNA of its host, causing a mutation. Say, white blood cells or stomach lining. Your body sheds and replaces cells everyday by the millions; it’s natural. With a retrovirus, however, when your cells replicate, they replicate with the mutation. Depending on what type of retrovirus it is, it can cause all types of illnesses.”

    Daya took a sip of the water, and continued. “The Batangan retrovirus was embedded in a mostly harmless respiratory virus, the canidial virus. The embedded retrovirus was deliberately engineered, with the Tarsee’s immunovirus crossed with the bacteria for Paget’s dysentery.”

    Dr. Galdaz winced. “What a horrible death,” he murmured. “Was it ever used?”

    “We were told it was, used by the Batangans against their colonists on Sarawaksala. The records were very sketchy on details and on how a cure was developed,” said Daya.

    “How do you mean it was a horrible death?” asked Parnos.

    Galdaz cleared his throat. “It would have started off as a simple bronchial infection,” he said, “but as that virus, the canidial virus, died off naturally, the retrovirus would combine a hemorraghic bacteria with a virus that attacks the immune system. Essentially, the body would begin to…decay from within, the immune system attacking itself and the ability to regenerate blood cells or initiate clotting failing. You would bleed to death from your own immune system.”

    The room was silent. Daya sighed. “We’d been studying this disease,” she said, “and determining whether it could be used against Kassallians. We were told that the Rebels wanted to establish a base on the neutral planet of Kassallia, and that eradicating the native population would make it easier. Kassallia was not a member of the old Republic, and does not fall under the authority of the Emperor. And then, by accident, we learned…” She broke off, and looked away.

    “You learned that it was the Emperor who wanted an in to Kassallia,” said Captain Gram grimly. Daya nodded.

    “We got a new officer, a General Derricote.”

    “Derricote? Evir Derricote?” Ambri’s head came up. She blushed as the table looked towards her. “He was the head of the 181st fighter squadron. He had a reputation for being lazy and something of a slob.”

    “And very interested in bacteria and viruses, apparently,” said Daya. “He came in and took over our project. And then…and then he brought in prisoners. Kassallians. Said we wouldn’t know if our variation of the Rebel’s retrovirus was a threat without actually testing it. We thought…we really thought they were criminals, sentenced to death. We ran the tests. I brought…I brought copies of our reports. They’re on our datadisks.” She looked at Gram. “You confiscated them.”

    Gram nodded to Hchch, who punched some commands into the datacenter on the conference table. The group watched in horrified fascination as a holo unspooled, showing Kassallians, male and female, at various stages of the virus.

    Ambri had never seen a Kassallian before. They were humanoid, with head ridges similar to those of Trandoshans. Their skin seemed to be very pale, with a pinkish-lavender cast and occasional speckling along the back of the head and the sides of the throat, but apart from that their features were human.

    “I am told there is a human population on Kassallia, too,” said Daya. “About 15%. There has been some interbreeding. And this is how we learned that…that it wasn’t the Rebels who planned to weaponize the virus.”

    Ambri caught her breath as another hapless ‘specimen’ appeared, a boy, perhaps in his early teens. His skin was the same pink-lavender, with speckling. But he had hair on his head, a pale blonde, and eyebrows as well. She swallowed hard a few times as the holo showed the merciless progress of the disease, first coughing, then vomiting blood, and finally, black lines under the skin where the veins and arteries were deteriorating, blood streaming from nose and ears, and finally the eyes themselves, disintegrating into clotted dark blood.

    Hchch hissed and Dzin’s normally expressionless face formed a distinct scowl.

    “Some of my team were excited by the possibilities of a new weapon. But I and two of my colleagues, Dr. Richter Sem and Major Roussouni were appalled. We began working on a cure,” said Daya softly. “A serum that will neutralize the proteins as they are released after the initial virus dies off, and prevent them from implanting in the cells, with an additional protein that will embed itself and cause its own mutation that blocks the toxic proteins. If it is combined with an antibiotic, or bacta, chances of recovery are 100%.”

    “Bacta alone won’t help?” asked Galdaz.

    “No. In fact, if it is used without the serum, the progress of the illness is accelerated.” She looked at the silent group. “We made a small batch, then took leave, ostensibly to separate locations. In fact, we went to Tyassin. We rented a small lab and made as much of the serum as we could, synthesizing new batches from the previous ones. Then, we faked logs for three Imperial shuttles, and tried to make our delivery to Kassallia ourselves.” She stopped to wipe her eyes and finish her water. “We tried to bluff our way past the Immitis. The captain was not fooled. He sent TIE fighters after us. Sem and Roussouni were killed. I escaped, because I still had the hyperspace coordinates locked in from the last jump, I hadn’t changed my position. Jump in, see the devastation, jump out. That is when I ran into your pilot.” She looked at Gram.

    Gram hesitated. “Do you know what the Empire wants Kasallia for?” he asked. “They are neutral, why there?”

    Dr. Daya shook her head. “No. We were told we were blocking the Rebellion. When we found out the truth, I only heard Derricote say that this was a good chance to use it as a laboratory. They must have something else in mind, but I don’t know what.”

    She looked around the room. “Please,” she begged, “I know you account me as the enemy. But I am a doctor above all else. I swore an oath to heal and bring comfort to the afflicted long before I swore my oath to the Emperor. Please, can’t you help me find a way to deliver the serum to Kassallia? The virus has already been unleashed, and without this, millions will die.”


    Evir Derricote = Wiki link
    Corellian Wine Bees = Wiki link

    Abyssnan = fanon. Large, sentient Abyssinian cats.

    The Batangan Virus = fanon. Of course it was the Jedi who found the cure, information the Emperor would have suppressed, and the story was a collaboration I did with Jane Jinn, called Invisible Enemy, now lost to truncation, alas. LadyPadme and Emma3Jane were our scientific advisers, and gave us a lot of help figuring out how retroviruses work and how infectious diseases are tracked by medical researchers.
     
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  11. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    :eek: [face_nail_biting] Gruesome but superb details on the retrovirus and how it works. Now that we have the full story, it's totally even more crucial that the antitoxin /cure gets to Kassallia. They cannot afford to lose any of the precious amount! I love Daya's earnestness @};- and of course she is a healer first. And finding out the duplicity of the Empire willl probably have even further consequences after regarding her loyalty [face_thinking]
     
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  12. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    Thanks, WarmNyota_SweetAyesha. I did want to do this as a teaser first, but now you do know just why it is so important to get through the blockade.

    Of course, there wasn't necessarily agreement on that. So, since I've gone to 2 posts/week, we'll head back to the Patchwork Queen...

    * * *

    Gram nodded to the Marines. They helped Daya to her feet, and escorted her out the door and back to the brig. Ambri could see tears gleaming on the woman’s cheeks as she left. When she had gone, the small group looked at each other.

    “I don’t see what we can do,” said Gram. “Our orders are clear. We have to rendezvous with the Swan of Selonia and transfer personnel. They’re expecting us.”

    “Our overall order, however, is to win ground in the Outer Rim and the Mid Rim,” said Galdaz. “Not to mention winning hearts and minds.”

    “I don’t see how we’re going to win territory if Kassallia is a neutral world,” said Parnos. “Invasion of a neutral world by the Rebellion is all the excuse the Empire needs.”

    “But if they’ve blockaded the planet, they hardly need an additional excuse,” said Dzin. He looked at Galdaz. “She said the retrovirus was specifically designed to be used against Kassallians. Could it jump species to infect others?”

    “I don’t know,” said Galdaz grimly. “It’s not likely, but it might not take much. Biological warfare can be a potent tool, as long as you’ve taken steps to ensure that your own people are protected.”

    “They’d have made sure it couldn’t cross to humans,” said Parnos, glancing at Hchch.

    “There’s nothing we can do,” insisted Gram.

    “If the infection has already been launched, millions could die!” protested Galdaz.

    “We can’t take on a star destroyer. We haven’t got nearly enough firepower, and only 2 fighters. We’d need a fleet.”

    Dzin pursed what passed for his lips. “We must act, Captain,” he said. “There must be something we can do.”

    Ambri had been watching the holovid loop, watching people suffer and die over and over. Once she had served the Empire, believed that the Emperor was benevolent and only criminals were punished. And one day she’d learned otherwise. One day, she’d watched hundreds of innocents die without being able to do a thing about it. She had watched them die, knowing that she was unwittingly complicit in their death. And now it would happen again.

    “Could we run the blockade?” she asked.

    The others turned to stare at her. She blushed. “If we load up the fighters’ cargo holds; they can’t take much…but if we could even get some through, the locals could synthesize more, couldn’t they?”

    “Yes,” said Dr. Galdaz. “It wouldn’t be complicated.”

    Captain Parnos thumped the table, his green eyes flashing. “I’ll take a squad in the U-wing,” he said, “we’ll fill it to the overheads!”

    Dzin shook his head. “No,” he said. “A U-wing won’t be fast enough; you couldn’t outrun the TIE fighters. But our X-wings can.”

    “You haven’t got the cargo capacity!” protested Gram.

    Dzin shrugged. “If we empty most of the survival gear, we should have space. We might need to make more than one trip, that’s all.”

    Parnos frowned. “If you crash, you’d need the survival gear,” he said. Dzin and Ambri exchanged glances.

    “If we crash, there won’t be enough left of us to need survival gear,” said Dzin.

    Gram frowned. “I don’t like it,” he said.

    “Captain,” said Dr. Galdaz, “the Empire is planning genocide, in a particularly cruel and horrific way. We must do what we can to stop it.”

    “Two X-wings against a star destroyer?” said Gram. Hchch, the First Officer, cleared her throat, and finally spoke.

    “Sir,” she said in her high, harsh voice, “If Lieutenant Dzin and Flight Officer Merrin are willing to make the attempt, I do not believe we should deny them. The Imperial efforts at genocide are specifically mentioned in the Declaration of Rebellion, and we are sworn to oppose this. This is what we joined the Rebellion for. To stop such acts.” Around the table, the other officers nodded.

    Captain Gram frowned. He was Corellian, like many of the crew, and he didn’t want to mention the odds. Ambri knew they were slim. He sighed heavily.

    “All right,” he said. He looked at Hchch. “Have the X-wings prepared and loaded with the serum. Dr. Galdaz, work with Dr. Daya to make sure that there are clear instructions on how to prepare more and how to administer it. I’ll send word to the Swan and to the Fleet that our rendezvous will be delayed, and why. You two,” he added, looking at the pilots, “get some sleep. If you’re going to pull this off, you need to go out fresh. 12 hours from now.”

    The meeting broke up then, with everyone moving off purposefully. Ambri lingered just for a moment to look shyly at Captain Gram. “Sir,” she said, “thank you.”

    “Don’t thank me,” said Gram, grimacing. “You realize I’m probably sending you to your death.”

    “Sir,” she said softly, “I would rather die trying, than live knowing that I could have done something, but chose not to.”

    The man sighed, and ruffled his spiky gray hair. “Well, don’t die at all,” he said gruffly. “That’s an order.”

    Ambri smiled. "Yes, sir," she said.
     
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  13. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Very concise strategizing and weighing of options =D= Yay for Ambri & Dzin volunteering. I am impressed with Ambri's motives and readiness to act.
     
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  14. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    I didn't know that you'd had expert advice on developing the concept of the Batangan virus, but I found that the whole explanation was very plausible and realistic-sounding from the start – and yikes, it sounds terrible! I actually like Doctor Daya, she reminds me a bit of Galen Erso, working in an Imperial lab without truly understanding what is at stake... until she does understand and has to take a stand against it.

    Interesting debate among the Patchwork Queen's crew, and it all results in a very Corellian outcome. Can't take on the Star Destroyer with the capital ship? Sure, let's just send a couple of X-wings then! (Great use of the TESB quote by the way :) ) Ambri certainly is a very determined woman; and now that Dzin is gone she's going to have to carry out the mission all by herself.
     
  15. gizkaspice

    gizkaspice Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Nov 27, 2013
    Icky medical descriptions = awesome medical descriptions (gonna admit, i'm really biased when it comes to sciencey stuff, but I just loved reading that part and it was great!) I am also going to add myself to the Dr. Daya fanclub here---I just find her extremely fascinating and get a great sense of her personality through her words and actions.
     
  16. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    Ambri's got a bit of a guilt trip going, but everyone wants to do something!

    Well, Captain Gram knows his ship's limits. The Queen is nowhere near big enough to take on a Star Destroyer all by her lonesome. And it was the crazy Corellian who suggested the blockade run!

    I just saw Kingsman: The Golden Circle this weekend and realized
    that the depiction of the illness caused by the tainted drugs in the movie looks almost EXACTLY the way I envisioned this virus to act!!!! Now that is freaky hive-mind, right there!

    It's nice to be able to put a little science into science fiction, although SW is really space fantasy. I'm not very science-y myself; it fascinates me, but I don't always understand it. I'm always glad to have science-minded friends who can translate in a way that I can incorporate. Emma3Jane spent HOURS explaining this to me, bless her!

    Anywhoo... Tuesday morning, time for the next installment! Arriving on Kassallia...

    * * *

    Now…

    Ambri tried to get below the cloud cover. It put her a bit closer to the ground than she would have liked, considering that it was all unfamiliar territory. It was dark, although she was on the sunward sign of the planet. She seemed to be in a permanent cloud cover, then realized it was the snow evaporating into mist as it hit her deflector shields. “Have you got anything, Minni?” she begged.

    The droid hesitated, then burbled. Ambri looked at the data scrolling across her screens. Very, very low grade radio signals. She wasn’t sure she could hone in on those frequencies. Although there wasn’t any nearby chatter on the Imperial frequencies, either. Ambri chewed her lower lip. She could try to contact the planetary authorities, although no one had challenged her coming in. If she tried to broadcast, there was a chance her transmission would be intercepted, helping them pinpoint her location, and bringing a mad swarm of TIE fighters down on top of her. Okay. She’d respond if challenged, but she wouldn’t reach out.

    There were a few power spikes, not too far away. “Let’s check it out,” she said. It could be a settlement. Of course, it could also be an Imperial landing party. She moved across a plain, then realized it was actually some sort of lake or ocean, completely iced over. There were cliffs rising up from it, rounded off, with those clusters…clusters laid out in a regular…houses! Buildings! Steep domed buildings! Power readings were faint…

    “Minni, we need to find a spot to put down.” She cut her speed, circling the settlement. While the water was iced over, she couldn’t count on it being thick enough to support the weight of her ship. “Do you see any lights?” She was surprised when the droid whistled a negative. She pulled out, expanding her search. There was a road, leading along the edge of the cliffs. She went low, following it, looking anxiously for any sign of life. After a few moments, she spotted a clearing on a slope, between a few trees. About 18 kilometers from town, not too bad. Ambri exhaled.

    “Okay, we’ll land here,” she said. They touched down, with Ambri trying to get close to the treeline, hoping to camouflage her ship as much as possible. It was very dark and snow was still falling. She did a quick post-flight check. She was in pretty good shape. The shields had taken a beating, but they were intact.

    Opening the canopy was a rude shock—it was cold! Ambri winced. Dr. Daya hadn’t mentioned that this was an ice planet. She was wearing her regular flight gear, but if she’d known, she would have worn the heavier gear issued on Hoth. No big deal. But what to do? Should she walk into town to get help and leave the serum here or should she take it with her? If she left it here while she went for help, the ship might be discovered and then destroyed. But she didn’t know where she was going! What if she got captured while she was trying to get to town?

    She sat in the cockpit, frozen in indecision. She had spent her entire life up to now wearing a uniform and following orders. Independent action wasn’t something she was trained for. In her Imperial life, it had been discouraged, a reason for punishment, even. But there was no one here now to tell her what to do. What would Captain Gram do? What would Dzin do? She waivered, doing a quick post-flight walk-around of the fighter. The familiar routine settled her, and she took a deep breath.

    Okay. She would go into town and take the serum with her. It would save time and another trip. Right. She pulled open the cargo hold, and activated the repulsor lift, carefully easing it free. There were about twenty crates of the precious serum stacked on it. A backpack with additional doses was in it as well.

    Captain Parnos hadn’t been happy about emptying the cargo compartment. He had fought for the pilots to keep their survival gear, while Dzin objected. There had been a few compromises, in the end. A water filtration skin, a head lamp, a few protein packets, a very thin survival blanket, some cord, and a blaster with an extra power pack. Parnos had noticed Ambri eyeing the latter doubtfully.

    “Do you know how to fire one of these?” he demanded.

    “Uh…in theory.” The Rebel starfighter corps had been decimated after Yavin. Most of the fighters had been destroyed over Scarif, the remainder had gone up against the Death Star. Only 3 had returned. While many had flocked to the Rebel banner in the aftermath of Yavin, Ambri among them, training had been sketchy as Rebel command desperately tried to get back up to strength, particularly among the pilots. It usually took a few years at the Imperial Academies to train a pilot for fighter combat, and that was of those who had the skill to make the grade in the first place. But the Rebellion couldn’t afford to be that fussy. While they tried to recruit defectors from the Imperial forces, they also took pilots like Ambri, people who did run of the mill duties, flying shuttles or freighters, and gave them a crash course in combat maneuvers. There wasn’t time to train them in a lot of other things, and personal defense and blaster training was something her instructors had covered more in theory, rather than practice.

    Parnos rolled his eyes, but he didn’t have time to train her properly either. She learned where the safety was, got a review of the settings, and learned how to replace the power pack.

    She got the crates out and activated the repulsor lift, which bobbed gently a few inches above the snow. Then, she secured as much of her gear as she could, and made sure the head lamp was switched on. Gram had also ordered the two pilots to document as much as they could, and they’d each had a holocam attached to their helmets, so she made sure it was on and recording before sealing up the fighter as well as she could.

    “Okay, Minni,” she said, trying not to shiver. She’d wrapped the blanket around her torso, trying to secure it with her belt and her flak vest. She was hoping she’d warm up while she walked. “Set your long range scanners for proximity; if anything comes within 15 meters, signal me. If you see Imperials approaching in that range, take off and let me know. See what you can do about the shields, while you’re waiting.”

    The little droid bleeped an affirmative, then added a soft whistle. Ambri smiled.

    “I’ll be careful,” she said.

    She began the walk, pushing the repulsorlift before her.

    The snow was deep. It was soft and heavy, and came to the top of her boots. It wasn’t easy, trying to break a path, and she had only a vague idea of where the road back to town was. In fact, she couldn’t really see over the crates, she had to peer around the side of the load to see where she was going. The exercise was helping her feel warmer, though. The snow was coming down heavily, and there was a slight wind, which was the worst, as far as she could tell. The wind seemed to cut right through her. “It’s not that far,” she whispered. “Not that far.”
     
  17. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Whew, glad the shipment wasn't damaged and hope there's enough to duplicate. But first Ambri has to arrive safely in the nearest town. She's probably thinking if I never see another flake of snow again in my lifetime [face_laugh] :p
     
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  18. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    love your OC's and the exciting story. I hope Ambri will make it to a town
     
  19. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Difficult to tell what the best way to handle this situation would be – between the cold, the distance and the Empire overhead there doesn't seem to be an easy solution for Ambri to bring the serum to those who need it, and she doesn't even know if there will be a hospital in the settlement she found. She's really a Corellian, isn't she? Beat the odds of running the blockade, and now about to beat the odds of bringing her precious cargo to its final destination without even really knowing where that destination is.
     
  20. gizkaspice

    gizkaspice Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Nov 27, 2013
    "Going on a mission....damn it-- nobody told me it’s on an ice planet!" Should be a meme :p

    Ambri is developing into a very interesting character.
     
  21. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    She'll be shopping for a retirement condo on Tatooine or Jakku at this rate, that's for sure!!! :D
    She's got the famous Corellian stubborness! Will it get her through to the end?
    Thanks! So does she...

    I'm sorry, I totally forgot to post last night. I think I still thought it was Thursday. Ambri really, really hates snow.


    * * *
    Snow was something new for her. Where she’d grown up on Corellia, it was cold in the winter but there really wasn’t snow where she lived. There were ice storms, but nothing like this. She heard that some people played games in the snow or made castles and sculptures out of it. It was wet, and cold, and she couldn’t for the life of her understand why anyone would want to. And Hoth…Hoth had put her off the idea of snow permanently.

    Carefully she picked her way down the hill. The slope was steeper than she’d thought, and beneath the smooth sheet of snow it was lumpy. Suddenly she stepped on something which shifted. In a heartbeat she was on her back, sliding down the hill and rolling head over heels. After a frightening moment, she came to a stop, gasping for breath. Then, slowly, she sat up. She wasn’t hurt, but it was jarring. She was covered in snow, which was very uncomfortable. She got to her feet, trying to brush herself off, shooting a quick look towards the repulsor lift. It was drifting forward, using the momentum of her last thrust. The crates of serum were still intact, at least. She was shivering by the time she got to the road.

    Left or right? She squinted through the thick flakes, and closed her eyes, mentally going over her flight inbound and the place where she’d spotted what seemed like some type of habitations. It hit her, then. She was truly and utterly alone, and there was no sign of any civilization. She had always been surrounded by people, always in a city or civilization. First in the orphanage, then in Imperial service, now with the Rebellion. She couldn’t remember a time when she’d ever truly been alone, surrounded by so much…nature. Yeah, in a cockpit she was alone, but she always had her astromech and working communications. This…Ambri felt as if she was the only person alive on the entire planet. In the entire Galaxy. It was really quite terrifying. Who was she kidding? She was no hero. She was just a pilot, competent, yeah, but there wasn’t anything special about her. The image of the dying Kassallian boy came to her, and she shivered.

    She took a deep breath. “Focus, woman,” she scolded herself. “You’ve got a mission.” She had to get these crates through. And another memory came to her… frightened beings, huddled in the cargo hold. She had watched the stormtroopers march them down the loading ramp, had watched them marched away… she had watched them die and she hadn’t done anything to stop it, hadn’t even said a word of protest. Their deaths were on her.

    She was here, now. She wouldn’t fail the Kassallians as she’d failed the others. This time she was doing something. She looked along the road.

    Left or right? Left. She began to trudge through the snow, breaking a path, with the repulsor lift gently floating along in front of her.

    Left foot, right foot. So damn cold. Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot. From time to time she looked up to the sky, white flakes hurtling down at her. No sign of TIE fighters. Yeah. They couldn’t fly in this storm. It wasn’t much fun walking in it, either. But it screened her from the TIE fighters, so… of course, if they had landed ground troops…if they had AT-ATs…at least she wouldn’t be alone anymore.

    She didn’t know how long she walked. The snow had gotten inside of her boots and melted, so now her feet were cold and wet. Her socks were rubbing against the inside of her boots, and she wanted to stop and adjust them, but there was really no place to stop. She definitely didn’t want to have to take her boots off in this cold. A little further. A little further. She walked and walked. After what seemed like forever, she stopped to catch her breath. Breaking a path in the snow was harder than it seemed, but she’d made progress. She pulled out her datapad and checked her chronometer. Twenty minutes? She’d only been walking for 20 minutes? Frowning, she checked her distance from the X-wing. Just over one kilometer. Too slow. At this rate, she wouldn’t make it to that settlement until tomorrow.

    Keep walking. And she did. Left, right. Left, right. No TIE fighters. This was sort of boring. She didn’t dare call anyone. Experimentally, she made a snowball. It was supposed to be fun. She made it, eyed it, threw it at a tree…and missed. Yeah. Fun in the snow was definitely overrated.

    Left. Right. Left. Right. Her fingers were cold. Her arms were cold. Her feet were freezing, and the socks were definitely rubbing. Ow. Left. Right. She stopped to check the datapad again. Twenty more minutes. This was going to be a long trip.

    She walked for another forty minutes, resisting the urge to check the chronometer. The road went into a grove of trees, and steep hills to either side. Left, right, crunch. Abruptly, it all stopped. The repulsor lift was in the snow. She bent over it, pulling the remote from her belt. It was still activated. Ambri turned it off and then back on. Nothing. She went to the side, checking the control panel. Dead. The repulsor lift was dead. She pulled out the powercell, checking it for dampness, then re-installed it and tried to turn it back on again. Dead. Could be from the damp, could be from the cold... these were designed for nice, dry hangar bays, not wet cold overland terrain. Great. There was no way to carry all the crates individually. But she had to keep moving.

    For a few minutes, she stood, wondering what to do. There was no sign of anything or anyone nearby. Okay. She looked down at herself, then went through her pockets. In the outside pocket was the unitool, carried by all pilots and most Alliance personnel, something to make quick simple repairs. And what she really wanted was the vibroblade. She used it to cut up the cord from the survival gear that Parnos had insisted they keep, stringing it and knotting it into a long rope, which she could loop around the front of the repulsor lift. It was hard to do with gloves on, and her fingers were cold, which made it harder. But she managed it, in the end.

    With the rope, she started out again, dragging the lift behind her through the snow. Or trying to. The sledge was heavy! She put her whole weight against it, and slowly it shifted. Pull, pull, pull. “Aaargh!” She shouted from pure frustration, but the thing was moving. An inch at a time. Ambri growled and leaned in. Okay. I can do this. Slowly, slowly… slowly it began to move forward.

    Left. Right. Left. Right. This totally stinks.

    Left. Right. Left. Right. Am I there yet? No.

    Left. Right. Left. Right. She wondered how far she had come, then decided that there was no point in checking. Cold, cold, cold. Were there any Rebel cells based on desert planets? Or one of those beach planets that her friend Jazz had talked about? Ambri had never actually been to a beach. But as far as she understood, they were warm and people brought you alcoholic drinks with fruit in them. If she was able to finish this mission, she was going to seriously investigate transfer to someplace with a beach.

    Left. Right. Left. Right.

    She wished the Pathfinders were there. Most of them were pretty burly. They’d have no trouble pulling the load behind them. Or the Engineers. They’d have the stupid repulsorlift fixed. Or they’d build a new one out of branches and rocks and spit or something.

    Left. Right. Left. Right.

    Left.

    Right.

    So kriffing cold.
     
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  22. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Yikes, melted snow in her boots, how uncomfortable & accentuating the chill! Then the sled breaks so you have to manually pull it. [face_worried] Yuppers, a beach on a place like Fiji sounds pretty spectacular. I like the cooler temps associated with fall but the idea of feet! of snow :p [face_laugh]
     
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  23. Kalio_Dynkos

    Kalio_Dynkos Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 17, 2004
    You should be extremely proud of this thus far! Huge fan of star fighter stories, and you add in great characterization to boot. I'm hooked!
     
  24. gizkaspice

    gizkaspice Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Nov 27, 2013
    I think Anakin has a competitor now, but not with hatred of sand but hatred of.....snow :p "I hate snow! It's cold, wet and gets everywhere!!"

    The experience of Ambri encountering snow and her frustrations with it are well-described--you can just visualize her in this very unfamiliar environment struggling and it doesn't help at all that the journey through the snow is just endless. And of course being alone with past memories as your only company just makes the whole situation that much worse.
     
  25. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Snow brrrrr. Ambri is in hell and should get out of it
     
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