Summary: Set just after the Battle of Yavin. Rebels v Imperials v Pirates. Original characters. Action/adventure short story. - STAR WARS - REBEL TRANSPORT "Fates at Junction" Chapter 1 “DON’T MOVE OR I’LL SHOOT,” said Cal Hawke, peering through the starlit gloom at the intruder, blaster pistol wavering in his grip. The gruff pilot blinked several times to make sure he was not imagining things in the hot night. That had been one blue-ale too many. Distant voices and the beat of a sync band still thrummed from the cantina across the other side of the landing plain. No, there was definitely someone there, crouched beneath the access ladder to Soley’s transport, a tool of some sort in one hand. It was just a skinny teenager, or not human. The head looked a little large and round for a human. “Put that down and back up,” said Cal. The stranger threw up one hand. He snuffled. It sounded like snuffling. “Uh-huh, it is no problem. I just made a mistake.” The mumbling reminded Cal of Sullustans. Then he spotted the large round eyes and the distinctive jowls. Definitely Sullustan. He had not dropped the tool. Cal identified the outline of a holdout blaster pistol at his hip. “You are not an Imperial are you, friend?” said the mouselike alien. “Doesn’t matter. I know the guy who runs this rig.” The Sullustan took a step toward Cal. “Listen to me. It is not what you are thinking. The Imperials are taking over all the mining operations…” “I noticed. New boss, same old kriff,” said Cal, still aiming his blaster. “No, this is different. They are doing something bad. I am not stealing anything… and we all have to do something – we stick together, is it not right?” “Look, pal, that’s none of my business. You some kind of rebel?” The scoundrel froze for a long moment. Then he gulped. “Uh-huh, of course not. Someone is just paying me to know where this ship is going. Friend, what the Empire is doing here will be bad news for everyone…” “Hey, you!” barked a harsh voice through a helmet pickup. Cal spun to see four stormtroopers in full white battle armour. Blasters aimed at both him and the Sullustan. “Drop your weapons. What is going on here?” Cal instantly sobered up and complied. He knew better than to mess with the Empire. The troopers marched up and surrounded them. The Sullustan gave Cal a searching look then let his small pistol drop to the sand. Cal noticed the tool had completely disappeared. “Uh-huh, I am just making friend…” said the Sullustan. Without warning a trooper cracked the short alien across the jaw with the butt of his rifle. The Sullustan gasped and crumpled. Cal flinched but resisted the urge to do anything more. “Is that right?” a sergeant with an orange shoulder pad challenged Cal. “I…” Cal saw no need to get involved in this business, “I thought I knew him.” One of the troopers consulted a datapad as two others inspected the transport. The leader fixed Cal with an inhuman stare through his military helmet. Cal shifted but did not falter. “What’s your business in Junction?” barked the Imperial. “Starminer pilot. Bring in ore from the belt… for exporters.” “Asteroid dodger, huh?” said the stormtrooper with contempt. “You like to live dangerously?” “Look, Sir; a Sullustan is on the list,” said the trooper with the datapad. “And this is one of the contracted transports,” said another. “For the live run?” said the leader. “Yes, Sir.” “Alright, that’s it. We’re taking him in.” The troopers grabbed the Sullustan, who was still moaning from his blow, and shackled his hands. The sergeant rounded on Cal. “What did he say to you?” Cal scratched at his stubble, then made a decision. “Not much. I asked his name… turns out he’s not my guy.” A trooper whacked the Sullustan in the back with the butt of his rifle and he yelped. Cal winced and said, “Is that really necessary?” The leader took a step toward Cal and poked him in the chest. Cal matched the sergeant for height and was probably broader in the shoulders. A harsh life working the asteroid fields by day and brawling in city cantinas at night had toughened him well for a fight, but Cal did not retaliate. “That’s right,” hissed the Imperial. “This is none of your business. Be a good citizen and just walk away.” Cal walked away. He found his own rig, flopped onto his smelly bunk in the back, and tried to get some sleep .