Title: Out from the Shadows Author: whiskers Challenge: Your character must walk a mile in someone else's shoes. Summary:: Sometimes when you take in the perspectives of someone else, it doesn't always change your mind, but it will change you. *** The Corellian-made corvette sat in deep space, unmoving save for the slightest hint of residual motion. It was the night cycle aboard the ship, the bright white hallways cast with dark grey shadows as the lighting had been dimmed. The walls of the cabin of Jentin Kinaus was filled with light, almost hurting the young man's blue eyes. He stood from his bed and adjusted his black hair so it stayed behind his shoulders. He rubbed at his square jaw, feeling the slightest hint of a beard upon his chin. 2320, the chronometer read on the wall. The time for action had come. The first hint of nervousness hit him as he removed the blaster pistol from its hidden compartment in a desk, his hands shaking and mind racing. Remember your training, he thought. His days at the Imperial Academy on Carida were not the days that shot their ways through his mind. It was the last year and everything that had happened during it. In the cabin next to his was the main engineer for the ship: a Quarren male named Akels. The squidhead was a practical joker and always quick with a quip. Jentin remembered one time when Akels had gotten him good, somehow hardwiring his cabin's door to open randomly in the middle of the night and turning the lights inside to their maximum brightness. It had taken a week to fix the door and he still hadn't managed to repair the lights. Jentin suppressed a laugh. Despite the Quarren's jocular mood, he was deadly serious about the Rebelllion. "We and the Mon Cals had always been rivals," Akels had told him over a few ales one night in the crew lounge. "Then the Empire comes and agitates the whole thing up. They even got some so riled up that they sabotaged the shields around the whole planet just so the Empire could go and send in the slavers." The Quarren's facial tentacles riled in what Jentin would only classify as some sort of revulsion and he downed another drink. The Empire had always looked down upon alien species. Jentin knew this from a very young age and thanked whatever divine beings that existed that he was born human. He didn't necessarily agree with the Empire's stance on the subject and it hadn't been the reason that he had joined the crew of the Veritas. The Empire had still been reeling from the Clone Wars, a conflict that was started by numerous alien being against the already corrupt Republic. Certain restrictions had to be enacted to keep those that had been desperately wounded by the actions of said alien species to prevent outright genocide. Jentin walked down the hallway and passed another door and then another. Each of the crew members had come to the this ship, to the Rebellion, for their own reasons. He paused beside one door. Alli Vela was in those quarters. She had joined that rebel cell because her mother had been murdered by Imperial stormtroopers while attending a peaceful protest on her homeworld. Order. That was the main thing that every single member of the crew had been striving for in some form or the other. Each of them were looking for the randomness and pettiness of the galaxy to be defined and reshaped: Corrupt politicians making decisions that went against the welfare of the citizens. Rogue soldiers carrying out their duties to keep the peace by overstepping their boundaries. Each of these was why the Empire was formed 15 years ago and why Leco Daam had joined it. He had been a bright student and always quick in the mind. His words were well chosen and said; always the right thing to say at the right time. When it was time to leave secondary school behind and head to higher education, he remembered what the mandatory recruitment test had recommended for him when he had taken it years before: Intelligence. Leco walked past the cabins of the rebel crew that he had infiltrated. Nearly a year of work had been for naught, as no matter how close to the crew he had gotten, the name of their benefactor had eluded him. He had even sliced into the computer records one night, only to find nothing that could be of any use to Imperial Intelligence. His primary objective had been a failure, but his secondary goal could still be fulfilled. His footsteps echoed slightly off of the corvette's engine room walls. The room was dark, lit only by the blue glow of the main reactor. It was unmanned, the skeleton crew of the ship not enough to man it at every hour of the day. Doubt set itself firmly in the Imperial agent's mind as he removed the small explosive charge from his pocket and began to place it on the hyperdrive motivator. Traitors though they may be, the crew of the ship had been friendly to him and accepted him as one of their own. Despite the political differences that they had unknowingly shared--at least on their part--he had come to count several of them as friends. He knew them well enough to know that they wouldn't be taken by the Empire peacefully. They would fight against the overwhelming odds that the Empire would throw at them and they would die trying, taking as many Imperials out as they could. That would be their decision, though. Their road to a martyrdom that wouldn't even be remembered in five years time. It was their own fate in their hands, and his own were as clean as they could be. Daam's false reassurance did nothing for his own conscience as he placed the small bomb onto the casing of the hyperdrive. He stepped out of the engine room and headed towards the escape pods. The corvette had no hangar and thus no way to hold a smaller vehicle for him to steal and flee, so the small escape pods would have to do until the Empire could pick him up. He checked the chronometer on his wrist. Only a scant ten minutes had passed since he had activated the hidden HoloNet transceiver inside of his quarters and the small Imperial force stationed a system away would soon arrive. The escape pod's airlock door slammed shut behind him and with it went the last bit of the Jentin Kinaus persona that Leco Daam had crafted for the mission. The friendships that Jentin had made were real enough, but Daam could never find it in his heart to mourn traitors. And yet when the Imperial corvettes arrived in system, large wedge-shaped ships that would have passed for miniature star destroyers if it weren't for the blade-resembling protrusions that jutted off of its side, and opened fire upon the rebel craft, part of him wished that the stubborn crew would have just surrendered. They would be interrogated for any information that they knew, and that interrogation would go into torture at one point, but they would still be alive at the end of the day. The rebel corvette fought back as valiantly as it could against the might of the Imperial raiders, red blaster fire clashing with the green being spewed by its foes, the ship moving as fast as it could to find a clear lane to escape. And there was the moment that he knew that Alli had discovered that the hyperdrive had been tampered with. The ship kept its forward trajectory before veering off to port. The Imperials must have anticipated such an action, however, as they focused their fire on the rebel ship. Small explosions hit the corvette as its shields failed and still the rebels on board kept firing at the Raiders. Of course the crew would keep fighting to the bitter end, Daam thought solemnly. Another explosion rocked the ship from the engine compartment as a turbolaser shot connected. Then another as the small connector between the large engine pods and the rest of the hull. Chain reactions issued through the corvette, bright orange plumes of flame that erupted out into space before dying in the cold vacuum. The debris from the ship floated listlessly in space. "Rebellion escape pod," a voice said over the comm system. "You've activated an Imperial transceiver on board. Confirm your identity or be boarded. He gave them his name and serial number and then waited as silence followed on the comm while the captain of the corvette no doubt checked his credentials. "Agent Daam, we'll be picking you up in a matter of minutes. Welcome back." Leco took one last look at the remains of the corvette that he had served on for several months and with it the last resting place of people that could have been his friends if they had only been able to see the reason that was the Empire. They hadn't and now they had paid the ultimate price for their treason. The Imperial agent leaned back in the acceleration couch of the escape pod, secure in his crash restraints and watching as one of the Raider-class corvettes moved in closer to recover him. It was good to finally be home.