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Saga - ST Beyond the Saga Shroud Of The Fallen

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by ReadyComicsRoll, Jul 15, 2020.

  1. ReadyComicsRoll

    ReadyComicsRoll Jedi Padawan

    Registered:
    Dec 29, 2017
    Title: Shroud Of The Fallen
    Author(s): ReadyComicsRoll
    Timeframe: Beyond the ST Saga, 62 ABY
    Characters:
    • Avin Sosin, Human Male, Ship Captain and Smuggler, Born 31 ABY
    • Malia Vost, Devaronian Female, Weapons Master and Muscle, Born 27 ABY
    • Nima Fenn, Twi’lek Female, Engineer and Ship Mechanic, Born 36 ABY
    • Dimsol “Dim” Olwed, Duros Male, Pilot, Born 17 ABY
    • Levi Talus, Male Clawdite, Slicer and Information Broker, Born 26 ABY
    • Kayln Dar, Female Zabrak, Medic, Born 29 ABY
    • Beyza Ruri, Human-Mirialan Hybrid Female, Jedi and Archeologist, Born 40 ABY
    Genre: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi, Adventure
    Summary: The first in a "trilogy" that follows after the ST Saga. Rey and Finn have established a new Jedi Order, with the help of other Jedi that have come out of hiding. The New Republic has restored, but the lack of faith from past mistakes leads to the formation of the 2nd Galactic Empire. Both governments briefly clash, only to realize that the cost and collateral damage is too high. A peace treaty is formed, but something far more dangerous is about to awaken from deep within the Unknown Region. Enter the crew of the Noctiluca, who find themselves stuck in the middle of a conflict that will forever change the galaxy.
    Notes: Would like to turn this into a fan film someday. Was guarding this for a while, but decided to at least share early chapter with fellow fans.

    Star Wars: Shroud Of The Fallen

    After years of conflict
    the REPUBLIC and
    2ND GALACTIC EMPIRE
    have put aside their
    differences and signed
    a treaty, ushering in a
    new era of peace.

    To ensure that it lasts,
    REY has formed a new
    Order with the help
    of the remaining Jedi
    throughout the galaxy,
    that have heard of her
    heroic exploits, and wish
    to help teach a new
    generation of students.

    Beyond known space
    an ancient evil stirs. One
    powerful enough that even
    the late EMPEROR PALPATINE
    avoided the deeper reaches of
    the Unknown Regions, out of
    fear of what he would find…​


    Unknown Regions, 62 ABY

    The dimly lit cantina housed a wide variety of patrons, from smugglers to gamblers, and everything in between. Dancers and drinks alike provided solace to those that would frequent their company, hoping to bury whatever burdens they walked in with, if even only for a moment. Some, however, were there for business, waiting for their next job from anyone with the right amount of credits. Regardless of their reasons, everyone seemed to enjoy the rhythmic beat of the music that pulsed throughout the hub, almost hypnotic in nature. It was poetic even, given that many felt it was the heart of the space station.

    Brown eyes surveyed the area, taking in every little detail as a mug periodically met the ship captain’s warm fair lips. A BD unit was perched over his right shoulder, playfully attempting to break his concentration by tugging at his messy brown hair, like a tooka-cat vying for attention. He gently poked at the droid to acknowledge it, but never lost focus on the task at hand. Visibly exhausted, and a little worse for wear, he let out a heavy sigh.

    Right as he was about to leave his seat, the captain spotted the Ottegan within the crowd, closely followed by the captain’s Devaronian partner-in-crime. The well-armed maroon woman pushed the nervous merchant onward, blowing rogue strands of purple hair, free of her ponytail, from her face. She appeared just as tired and beaten, but even more annoyed than the captain.

    The Ottegan was practically shaking by the time he reached the captain, beads of sweat rolling down his elongated pale ochre face, well aware of the situation he had found himself in. The captain shook his head, the disappointment in his eyes only further filled the merchant with a sense of dread.

    “A-Avin, my friend! I’m so happy to see you...,” he nervously chuckled before turning his attention to the Devaronian, “...and you, Malia, m-may I say you look as radiant as ever? Even the twin suns of Tatooine pale in comparison to your glory...”

    He was hoping to find sympathy, only for her to return a piercing glare, her dark brown eyes making it obvious that she had none to spare.

    “Cut the bantha crap, Jendo. You’re not smooth talking your way out of this one,” Avin assured him, leaning further back in his chair.

    Returning his attention to Avin, who still looked less than pleased, Jendo tried his best not to stumble over his words, having an increasingly hard time keeping his composure as he went on.

    “I heard y-you ran into a bit of trouble on that last job,” he stated, a sad attempt at sounding concerned.

    “I understand that smuggling is a dangerous profession, and that it’s not uncommon to be the unfortunate victim of pirates out here in the Unknown Regions, but we had an agreement and you must understand that I have a business to r-run.”

    Avin narrowed his eyes, causing Jendo to flinch.

    Clearing his throat, the Ottegan declared, ”The goods were not delivered. I don’t blame you or y-your crew for what happened, but I can’t pay you for an incomplete job either. You can keep the credits I’ve already g-given you, as a sign of good faith, considering all of these years we’ve worked together. In return, I expect that my cargo will be returned to me as soon as possible.”

    “Yeah, not happening.” Avin responded, remaining stoic to ensure that Jendo understood that he was being dead serious.

    “I’m going to keep the credits you gave me AND I’m going to hold onto your cargo until I can find a buyer, but my crew and I are keeping every last bit of the profits. Call it ‘stoopa taxes’, if it makes you feel any better, because I know that you set us up!”

    “Avin, you know I wou-” before Jendo could get a word in, he was cut off.

    “I’m not going to sit here and let you continue to talk out of your exhaust port. The fact that we have so much history is the only reason why I haven’t spaced you already. Hell, you’re lucky I’m not letting Malia have her fun.” Avin took another swig of his drink, then added, “Beedee, if you would be so kind, please play back the holovid for our ‘friend’ here.”

    The droid sprung to life, happy to oblige. Its holoprojector lit up, beaming the image of Jendo before the group.

    “...I’ve provided the coordinates for the dropoff, along with a small payment upfront, on behalf of my employer. You’ll receive the rest when the job is done. Leave no survivors, as this can’t be linked back to me, but please leave the ship intact. I’ll need whatever cargo they are carrying, in addition to my own. Oh, and do try to keep the ship in one piece. I already have an interested party waiting, and you’ll all be rewarded quite handsomely for doing so.” The transmission came to an end, leaving Jendo speechless, and a bitter look on Avin’s face.

    “I've been backstabbed and shorted credits before, it comes with the territory. I’ve almost come to expect it at this point, but what kills me is that I never thought you’d be among the laserbrains to try it. Why did you do it? Who put you up to this?” Avin demanded.

    “You have to b-believe me, I didn’t have a choice!” he pleaded.

    “Some of the gangs were tired of their people losing jobs to you and your crew. They said you were always too self-righteous, refusing to get involved in slave trafficking or work for any of the bosses, as if you are better than everyone else! They wanted to exploit my connection to you and threatened to kill me if I didn’t find a way to take you out of the picture!”

    Scratching at the bristles on the side of his face, Avin huffed and responded, ”We all have a choice, Jendo. You can’t blame anyone else for making the wrong one. Maybe the next time you’re hired to kill someone, you’ll at least have the choobies to do it yourself...”

    Jendo felt the barrel of Malia’s DG-29 blaster pistol press against his back.

    “Since you failed to do YOUR job, I’m sure word will eventually get back to your ‘employers’, if it hasn’t already, so you’re as good as dead. If I were you, I’d get as far away from here as possible, and never look back. Maybe you’ll even be lucky enough to be gone before any of the gangs even realize it…” nearly speaking through clenched teeth, it was clear that Avin was livid at this point.

    “If we EVER meet again though, the gangs will be the least of your concern. Are we clear?”

    The merchant nodded his head in agreement, only to then hang low in shame. Jendo turned away from the captain and faced towards the exit. Malia holstered her pistol and took a seat next to Avin.

    After a few steps, Jendo stopped and looked over his shoulder, hoping to say one last thing, “I just want you to know that it was never personal. You’re right, I was a coward, and I’ll always remember your last bit of advice…”

    As the final word left his lips, he reached into his cloak, whipping around to point an EC-17 hold-out blaster directly at Avin. Malia’s eyes went wide as she quickly reached for her weapon, but was too late.

    The sound of blaster fire sent everything in the cantina to a grinding halt. Smoke rose from the hole in Avin’s cape, where the bolt ripped through. Startled gasps and stunned faces surrounded the scene, unsure of what just transpired. Jendo suddenly fell to his knees, his face crumpling up in both pain and confusion. Looking down, it was clear that he was struck by a blaster bolt, square in his chest. The blaster fell from his hand as he collapsed onto the floor, eyes glazing over, exhaling for the last time.

    Avin stood up, revealing the A-180 blaster pistol that he clenched tightly, previously concealed behind his cape. Tilting his head towards Malia, she met his blank stare.

    “I swear to you, I checked him thoroughly for weapons! I don’t even want to imagine where he might have pulled that thing out of!” the Devaronian exclaimed.

    A tense moment of silence was shared between the two, only to be broken up by hearty laughter, as the cantina returned to normal. It wasn’t the first time that such violence had broken out there, and it likely would not be the last.

    The two made their way to the exit, but not without slamming a fistful of credits onto the bar. “Sorry for the mess…” Avin winked at the bartender, finger-gun pointed, as he and Malia walked out of the cantina.

    It had been a long day of twists and turns, both were beyond ready to return back to the Noctiluca, for some well deserved rest in their respective quarters on the ship.

    “How did you know he was going to pull a stunt like that?” the Devaronian inquired.

    “To be honest, I didn’t, but it always helps to hope for the best, while preparing for the worst.” Avin’s face turned somber for a moment.

    The sting of betrayal was never a feeling he could get used to, but if followed him around, like an old friend.

    “I should have known that ‘choobies' line would set him off. I guess my ‘winning personality’ just has that effect on some people,” Avin answered with a low chuckle, doing his best to convince himself, as well as his friend, that he was okay.
     
  2. ReadyComicsRoll

    ReadyComicsRoll Jedi Padawan

    Registered:
    Dec 29, 2017
    Heart racing, short of breath, the young woman tried her best to briskly navigate through the crowded corridors and past the busy shops, constantly looking over her shoulder. Her blue eyes quivered, hoping that she was no longer being followed. It felt like she had been running for a lifetime, her pursuers never far behind. At this point she remained conscious through sheer force of will, questioning how much longer she could continue this game of predator and prey.

    Pulling the hood of her cloak further over her head, she tried her best to conceal her straight black hair and much of her face, save for some of the symmetrical facial tattoos that adorned her fawn fair skin. The station was an easy place to vanish in, blending among the people around her. She prayed it would be enough to keep her safe, until she could come up with a proper plan.

    It was hard to focus, her mind being pulled in a million different directions, considering all possibilities and potential outcomes. That’s when she saw them, her heart sinking into the pit of her stomach, two well-dressed individuals that easily stood out from the rest of the crowd. The human pair appeared from around the corner, a man and a woman, just ahead of her, both brandishing chrome F-11D blaster rifles. Stopping dead in her tracks, she turned in place, walking back in the opposite direction, hoping that she wasn’t being too obvious. She felt trapped, picking up the pace, unsure of what to do next.

    No longer paying attention to her surroundings, the young woman slammed right into the back of the person in front of her, bouncing off of them, nearly knocked off of her feet.

    -

    “Hey, watch where you’re going, will ya?” Avin barked, turning around to face the clumsy individual that had just run into him.

    He quickly checked his pockets and other loose items, making sure that nothing was taken, a typical pickpocketing trick that he was all too familiar with. Noticing that he had stopped, Malia also shifted to face the stranger, single eyebrow raised.

    “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to. Sorry to have bothered you.” the young woman apologized, shaken.

    She quickly looked back, hoping that the commotion wasn’t drawing any further attention than it already has. “It won’t happen again. I’ll be on my way,” she hurried, squeezing between the two.

    Confused, Avin watched the young woman brush past. There was something off about the situation, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it. Before his thoughts could dwell on the matter any further, the static of his communicator grabbed his attention, a familiar voice heard over the channel, “We’re about ready to head out. Nima just returned with the spare parts and other supplies we needed, and the ship has plenty of fuel.”

    Avin raised the communicator, slightly distracted, “Yeah, thanks Dim. Malia and I will be there in a minute, just have to check something out first…” his voice trailed as he returned the communicator to his belt.

    Out of the corner of his eye, he caught the two operatives, now shoving their way through the crowd, following in the same direction as the stranger moments ago, like a couple of kath hounds on the hunt.

    “Oh no… I know that look,” Malia groaned, rolling her eyes, aware of what she was sure to happen next. “You aim to misbehave, don’t you?”

    The corner of Avin’s mouth curved into a mischievous half-smile. He coyly answered, “Me? Never. I’m hurt that you would even suggest such a thing.”

    He motioned for Malia to follow, both now giving chase. He made sure that they both hung far enough back so as to not alert the pair ahead of them, but still keep them within line of sight.

    “Don’t you find it odd that there is so much interest in just one person? They looked clean, official even, and had decent firepower. Doubt they are Bounty Hunters, so that can only mean traffickers, and you know I hate traffickers,” Avin pointed out.

    “Sure, but do we really need any more heat from the gangs in this sector? They already tried to have us killed.” Malia tried to reason with Avin, but he wasn’t going for it.

    Although he never showed much interest or care in others, beyond his own crew, she knew that slave trade was a sore spot for him, despite never fully explaining why.

    “You said it yourself, they already want us dead, so how can we make things any worse?” he quipped with a shrug, still maintaining his stride.

    -

    She couldn’t seem to shake her stalkers, even worse, noticing that they were closing the gap. With her cover blown, the young woman had few options left. Panic had set in and now only once voice, one directive, echoed loudly - RUN! Bursting into a full sprint, she wanted to put as much distance between them, trying her best not to collide with anyone else. Her muscles ached and tears began to well up in her eyes. She refused to believe that this would be the end.

    Screams filled the long hallway as a voice in the distance commanded, “MOVE! OFFICIAL IMPERIAL BUSINESS!”

    Letting off a warning shot, the crowd parted in fear, providing the operatives with a clear path down the long corridor to their target. The young woman banked past the corner, but her luck had finally run out, a dead end. She turned to face the direction she had come, slowly walking backwards toward the wall, ready to make her last stand.

    The two operatives finally caught up with her, blasters trained and ready to fire. “You should have known there would be no escape. You can either come with us, peacefully, or die where you stand. It matters little to us which you choose.” one of them stated, coldly, as they slowly crept closer.

    -

    “I wouldn’t be too sure about that…” a voice called out, a mechanical whirring sound following immediately after.

    The two turned to face Avin and Malia. Avin was armed with his ST-W48 blaster rifle, while Malia was sporting her Z-6 rotary blaster cannon with a devilish grin on her face, almost as if she was inviting the operatives to try something foolish. BD-7 even joined in, lense focusing in a menacing manner, while revealing a stun zapper from one of his legs.

    “Now we heard you going off about being Imperial, but the last time I checked, you don’t have any authority out here. So, you’re either full of it, and you slaver scum have upped your game to bluff and intimidate people, or you’re both legit and completely out of your depth.” Avin motioned his head in Malia’s direction before adding to his speech, “Either way, you’re going to drop your weapons, so that we can get to the bottom of this, or my friend here will enjoy a little target practice, and I guarantee she won’t miss.”

    “It matters little to us which you choose,” Malia mimicked, in a very mocking tone.

    The operatives locked eyes, one nodding to the other, before the pair lowered their weapons to the floor, raising their arms to the ceiling. “You are interfering in the apprehension of a criminal wanted by the Empire. Her crimes are classified and we’ve been provided proper authorization to bring her to justice. If you surrender now, we can ensure that your punishment won’t be as severe as it will be if you continue to obstruct us any further,” one of them warned.

    “Ha! Still not buying it. Imps travel in larger squads, and I doubt the Empire would go through so much trouble over a kid, so let’s try this again,” Avin scoffed.

    Quickly activating their wrist communicator, the male operative quickly shouted, “Requesting backup on my loca-” their words cut short as they were shot down by Avin. The remaining female operative leapt toward their weapon, but suffered the same fate as their partner, as Malia let loose a hail of blasterfire.

    “Damn! It wasn’t supposed to go down like that.” Avin exclaimed in frustration. He looked to Malia with a tinge of concern, as she shifted her rotary cannon back in place with the sling on her back. “Looks like we’re not getting any answers after all, and I’m not hanging around to ask their friends.” Malia nodded in agreement.

    Redirecting his focus to the young woman, Avin cautioned, “You better get out of here, kid. We may have bought you some time, but reinforcements can’t be too far behind.” As Avin and Malia turned to leave, the young woman called out to them, arm outstretched, “Please, take me with you! I have credits!”

    “Not enough to cover this kind of trouble.” Avin lamented. “I’m sorry, but I’ve already risked enough.”

    “10,000 credits! Just please, don’t let them take me!” nearly on the verge of tears, she pleaded.

    There wasn’t enough time to truly mull it over. It was obvious that she was not the real threat, but a victim in all of this. The money was good, if she truly had it, but who knows what further consequences bringing her onto the ship would have. He looked to Malia for guidance, but she appeared just as conflicted. Letting out a heavy groan, he insisted, “Fine, show me.”

    Rubbing her eyes, they lit up. The young woman threw a bag to Avin, “5,000 now, and the other 5,000 when we’ve made it to safety.”

    Smart. Avin thought to himself, while hastily checking to make sure that the amount appeared to be close to the credits that the young woman claimed. Nodding to Malia, the three made a break for the hangars.

    They deftly navigated their way through the busy hallway, passing by several shops and merchants that lined it. Halfway to their destination, Avin retrieved his communicator and attempted to contact his pilot, “Dim! DIM! If you can hear me, start up the ship, NOW! We’re coming in hot and need to get the hell out of here!”

    “What did you do this time?!?” Dim rebuked, not happy with having orders barked at him on such short notice, especially when it sounded like trouble.

    “Story time will have to wait. Just be ready for us. We’ll be there before you know it! You’re the best!” Avin shouted before cutting off communication.

    The hangar was nearly within reach, the trio making great time until they rounded the last corner. Waiting on the opposite side of the hangar corridor, however, stood over a dozen Imperial Stormtroopers, waiting, blasters trained on their location. A single officer motioned towards them, yelling “FIRE!”

    Several bolts of red energy zoomed past, many narrowly missing their intended targets, unfortunately catching innocent bystanders within the crowd that were in the line of fire. Those that remained fled the area, trying to survive the onslaught. It pained Avin to see it, but he knew they had to continue on, or share the same fate. As Avin and Malia made their way to the ship, they noticed that their client was no longer with them. The two slid, as they stopped and wondered what was going through her head.

    Tears streamed down the young woman's face as she repeated to herself, “No more.”

    Dropping her cloak, her robes were revealed as she pulled a long silver and gold rod from her side. A glowing beam of yellow light erupted from both ends of the hilt, as she ignited her lightsaber, deflecting what bolts she could back at the Stormtroopers. There were too many for her to take on all at once, in her current state, but she knew she had to try.

    Eyes closed, she mustered up what power she had left to center herself and feel everything around her, as she continued her defense. There was so much pain, so much suffering, and it stabbed at her like a knife. Stopping for a second to reach both hands out in front of her, she altered the air around her, feeling the pressure build up until she released the wave at her assailants, sending them all flying backwards. Already drained of energy to begin with, her last-ditch effort caused her to collapse to the floor.

    Without skipping a beat, Avin and Malia scooped up their charge, rushing to the ship before the Stormtroopers were able to recover from such an impressive attack. Dim already had the boarding ramp lowered and ready, as they scrambled onboard. “We’re in! LET’S GO!” Avin called out to his pilot, the ramp raising back up in response.

    Engines roaring, the YT-2800 lifted off of the ground as more Stormtroopers made their way into the bay, firing on the ship, to no avail. The light freighter may have looked like it had seen its fair share of adventures, but it was going to take a lot more firepower than they currently had, in order to penetrate the double-armored exterior hull plating.

    The Noctiluca zoomed out of the station’s hangar, only to be met by multiple TIE Fighters, eager to shoot them down. The shielding held, but wouldn’t last much longer under constant strain. “Any time you guys would like to hop on those turrets and take out those TIEs would be really great right about now!” Dim bellowed over the speaker.

    “I’ll take her to Medbay. Grab Levi and make those Imps regret ever coming to this sector,” Avin directed. Malia called out for assistance, as she scrambled up the ladder, their squadmate sliding down the other seconds after.
     
  3. ReadyComicsRoll

    ReadyComicsRoll Jedi Padawan

    Registered:
    Dec 29, 2017
    Flipping a switch on the console before her, Malia adjusted her seat, swiftly placing her headset on. Metal doors parted above her, the station lifting from within the ship and into the fray. She was momentarily taken aback by the vastness of space. Regardless of how many times she has seen it, it was always a sight to behold, breathtaking as it was overwhelming at times. A TIE raced past, immediately snapping her focus back to the fight. Firmly gripping the turret controls, they hummed to life as the weapon systems finished initializing.

    “Today’s the day. Your reign is finally coming to an end, and I can’t wait to rub it in your face!,” a voice boasted over the headset.

    Malia couldn’t help but smirk as she managed to clip one of the TIE’s wings before responding, “Please, I could take out more targets in my sleep. Just stick to your sniper, Levi. At least there you’d stand a chance, and even then it’s only a matter of time…”

    Playful jabs aside, the healthy rivalry between her and her squadmate is what helped forge their friendship so long ago, often providing levity, even in some of the most tense situations.

    The damaged ship exploded into a brilliant flash of light, as it was struck by another blast from the turret. Malia claimed her first point in the little game between the two, finishing what she started. She shouted triumphantly, adrenaline already coursing through her veins in response. Although she didn’t actively seek out confrontation, she revelled in putting an end to it, and was quite gifted in various means of doing so. It was on the battlefield where she felt the most alive, truly able to show off her knowledge and skills, as much brain as she was brawn.

    It was for this reason that Malia was considered an oddity among her people, as it was typically the men of her species that longed to wonder among the stars, chasing adventure, battle, or a little of both. The women of Devaron were the ones that held seats of power, providing direction and level-headedness that was otherwise lacking from their counterparts. Malia, however, had the best of both worlds, which is why she couldn’t remain on her homeworld, eventually becoming a member of the Noctiluca’s crew.

    “I wouldn’t count your credits just yet! There’s still plenty of time for me to show you how it’s done!” Levi asserted, with an air of confidence about him. Another TIE spiraled out of control before erupting, this time thanks to his efforts. The score was now tied, but there were still a few tenacious Imperials left, as Dim continued to try and shake them.

    -

    The remaining TIEs swarmed around the Noctiluca, like hungry mynocks, while Avin carried the young Jedi over his shoulders, not far from the Medbay doors. He was sore all over, the additional weight not doing him any favors, but pressed onward. Just as the two were about to enter, a Zabrak woman with tanned brown skin raced out, trying to see what all of the racket was about. Startled by the sight of Avin and the unconscious person he was carrying, her instincts rapidly kicked in, “Quick, put her on the table.”

    Avin followed the good doctor’s directions and gently laid the Jedi on the examination table. BD-7 jumped off of his shoulder, landing next to the young woman’s head, lenses constricting to convey sadness. The Zabrak scrambled for her tools with one hand, while trying to pull her long wavy brown hair into a messy ponytail with the other. Her previous experience as a medic, before joining the crew, made multi-tasking a breeze. She was used to working under pressure. “What happened?” she inquired, checking the patient’s pupils.

    “She was being hunted by the Empire. Not sure why, but there was a whole squad, and those TIEs out there, that want her bad - dead or alive.” There was unease in his voice, worrying not only about the mysterious stranger he helped save, but also about the potential fate of his crew.

    “Any wounds I should know about?” the woman inquired further, her eyes never leaving her tools as she continued.

    Avin huffed, rubbing the back of his head. “None that I know of. She managed to deflect every blaster bolt that was fired at her, and then some. She put her life on the line to protect the people of the station, that the stormtroopers had little regard for. Threw them all back and then passed out immediately after.” He had a lot of respect for the unconscious Jedi. To sacrifice so much, despite her own misfortune, was admirable, although not exactly practical.

    The medic paused for a moment, caught off guard by Avin’s statement, brown eyes darting from left to right. “She’s a Jedi? Out here?”

    “I’m just as surprised as you are, Kayln. I thought they were all too busy keeping the peace in the Core Worlds, maybe as far out as the Outer Rim, but never in the Unknown Regions.” Nothing about the situation added up, with only more questions forming by the minute.

    Kayln reviewed her holopad, anxiously tapping her right foot as she read. She was relieved by the results, but there was always the nagging feeling that one day it would be a member of the crew on that table, and there would be little she could do to help them. She shook the image from her head. “She just needs some rest. She’ll be fine for now, as long as we make it out of here in one piece.” As if on queue, the ship jolted slightly from the continued strike from the TIEs.

    “Just let me know if anything changes.” Avin requested, hurrying out of the Medbay and back to the cockpit.

    He was proud of how well his crew was handling the situation. It was well beyond what they were used to. Taking on ornery pirates or scavenger ambushes were welcomed at this point, by comparison. Stopping just short of the co-pilot seat, he planted himself in front of several monitors, pushing down on one of the buttons tied to the ship’s coms. “How are we looking in there Nima?”

    Sweat glistened off of the Twi’lek’s light blue skin, spots of grease covering her face, lekku, and arms. The top half of her coveralls were tied around her waist, allowing her to squeeze between some of the deeper engine parts. Hearing Avin’s voice boom from the speaker, she pulled herself away to face the camera above, nose scrunched up in irritation. “She’ll hold, Avin. She always does. No major damage yet, and I’m hoping it will stay that way, because I JUST went through the trouble of fixing the damage from our last few jobs.”

    “I hear ya, Nima. If not for you, we would have been space dust a long time ago, so don’t think your hard work goes unnoticed and unappreciated. Next time we make port, we’ll celebrate in style. Good food, endless drinks, and I’ll buy. Until then, I’m sure Malia and Levi will quit toying with the Imps in a few, and then we’ll be long gone from here.” Avin assured her, ending the call. Turning from the monitors he hopped into the co-pilot seat, observing one of the ship’s main terminals.

    “What’s the plan?” The male Duros’ eyebrows lowered over red eyes, focused and steadfast, outmaneuvering the enemy ships as he spoke.

    “Well, Dim, once those TIEs are taken out, we jump.”

    “No druk. I mean do you have a destination in mind?” Green fists squeezed tighter on the ships’s controls. Duros were already known as excellent pilots and avid space explorers, and Dimsol was certainly a shining example of that fact. As serious as he may have appeared outwardly, he was as calm as a still lake. He had to be, otherwise the slightest mistake would result in a very tragic end for the crew.

    “Between the Empire and the gangs, I think it’s time we lie low for a little while, let the sector cool off.” Avin closed his eyes, cycling through locations in his mind.

    He wanted to avoid the Core Worlds and Mid Rim, considering that the Empire controlled many of the worlds within those regions. Then it hit him, eyes snapping open. “Nar Shaddaa isn’t exactly my first pick, but it’s a great place to disappear. Besides, we still have cargo we need to offload, and I can think of a few buyers that might be interested.” Avin paused for a moment, eyebrows raised and lips curled into a slight grin. “..or we could always head somewhere into Wild Space.”

    Dim shuddered at the thought. Wild Space had more than earned its name, somehow more lawless and dangerous in some sections than the Unknown Regions. He’d rather take his chances among the scum and villainy that could easily be found throughout the Hutt controlled moon. At least there you knew what you were up against, most of the time.

    “Nar Shaddaa it is…” Entering the info into the navigation computer, the device generated several potential hyperspace routes, before selecting the best possible one, locking it in. Starting up the com once again, Avin announced, “Fun and games are over. Hyperspace is calling our names.”

    -

    Malia pursed her lips to form a pout, in response to her captain’s order. She heard Levi cheer as he shot down another enemy ship. Sad that it all had to come to an end, she effortlessly took out the three remaining TIEs, bolts ripping through the hull of each. Levi's whole body slumped in his chair, arms hanging at his side, mouth agape, in awe of the carnage wrought by her speed and precision. “Sorry Levi. I wanted you to feel as if you were doing well, like you had a chance, but you heard Avin.” She fought to keep from laughing, fairly certain that Levi was still sitting there, stupefied.

    The gunners flipped the switch to their stations, both receding back into the ship. Meeting at the entrance to the turret ladders, a sharp-dressed fellow, short black hair parted to the side to match, pulled himself up to address his rival. A forced smile was plastered on his fair light skin, his right eyebrow twitching as he combed a hand over his thick mustache. “Fair is fair. I’m going to go broke at this point…” He placed a few credits in her hand, which Malia snatched, beaming with the smuggest grin imaginable.

    “A pleasure as always.” Malia teased, taking a slight bow. “All clear!” she shouted, in case the sudden silence didn’t give away the situation. There was never any doubt of their success, but their departure was long overdue.

    -

    “That’s what I like to hear. Brace yourselves people...” Avin clapped his hands, rubbing them together before placing one over the throttle lever. In the blink of an eye, an Imperial Star Destroyer appeared before the Noctiluca, dropped out of hyperspace. Although the hull was painted to emulate the look of the Venator-class, of the Galactic Republic Era, the ship itself was an Imperial II-class Star Destroyer, a remnant from a darker time in the galaxy’s history.

    Dim skillfully veered the ship to the right, barely missing the cruiser.

    “Are you serious?!? Would it be too much to ask if we could catch a break already?” At his wits end, Avin’s heart was practically pounding through his chest at this point, jaw clenched tightly.

    Dim accelerated further, pushing the ship’s engine to its limit. “We have to get clear of the ship. Hold on!” The crew was in over their heads.

    Whatever business the Jedi had with the Empire, it was serious enough that it called for them to utilize considerable resources to handle her. Dim and Avin hoped that the Star Destroyer didn’t notice them on arrival, but the warship’s turrets proved otherwise. The Noctiluca continued to rock, enduring the barrage, the pilot dodging as many shots as he could. The captain watched in dismay as more TIEs were deployed from the massive ship’s hangars.

    “Punch it!”

    Avin looked at Dim, eyes wide at what his pilot just suggested. “I’m all for going the reckless route as much as the next guy, but if we jump to hyperspace now, it could rip this ship apart!” Avin cautioned. Dim calling for such desperate actions caught him by surprise.

    “Yeah, and if we don’t, that behemoth and those TIEs are guaranteed to. We have to chance it. Just trust me on this one!” Dim implored, brow furrowed, eyes softer than before, beseeching the captain to go along with the plan.

    Avin did trust him, with his life, and that of his crew. A part of him knew that there was no other way out of this, and that Dim wouldn’t have brought it up otherwise. Pushing the lever forward, the Noctiluca vanished in an instant.