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  1. 2021 RPF Awards Ceremony

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Star Wars CLOSED The Road to Episode IX: Black Squadron

Discussion in 'Role Playing Forum' started by Sinrebirth , Sep 23, 2020.

  1. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 26, 2016
    Jess and Zara (combo with @Sinrebirth and the wonderful, irresistible @Adalia-Durron )

    [​IMG]

    "Oh no! We're spotted!" Jess said. Rolo burbled frantically as the blasts flashed around the T-70. Jess pulled hard on the control stick to avoid the incoming fire. The x-wing swerved out of its flight path.

    "Accelerating to attack speed," Jess said, getting a visual on the TIE. "You got that dent fixed yet, Rolo?"

    The engines roared. Rolo made a sad boop.

    "Okay, well hang on, we're about to lead these guys on a merry dance."

    Now a beeped enquiry.

    "Anywhere but here! They must not discover Black 1 and Black 5..."

    She checked out of her cockpit screen to make sure Zara had the same instinct.

    *​

    "Kriff it" Zara cursed. The rogue TIE had spotted Jess and by association now, her. "Hang on Squirt, we gotta lead this buggar away to the big guns can get in." Looking over she noted Jess was now accelerating and moving to avoid incoming, Zara joined her, criss crossing hoping to confuse the Tie pilot and avoiding the incoming bolts. "Please tell me you have a plan Jess." She muttered under her breath.

    Squirt was panicking making Zara look to her screens. "FRACK IT!!" She saw eleven blips coming in fast, "Looks like our friend has more friends!"

    *​

    Jess arrowed toward the rogue TIE. Thankfully Zara was right on her shoulder, criss-crossing to confuse the enemy. It was surprised by such a direct counter-attack and Jess locked it into her crosshairs. She thumbed the cannons and her x-wing shuddered.

    The bolts struck the TIE and it erupted into a fiery blossom in space.

    Rolo screamed. Jess looked out. "Oh dear..."

    Eleven more enemy fighters headed right for her and Zara.

    There seemed little point maintaining comm silence now, but she needed to convince any listeners they were alone.

    "Err, Tinker to Princess - time to leave the ball?"

    *​

    Now she talks?" Zara muttered before opening her comm. "Not just yet, we've not even had a chance to dance with our new partners!" She closed it and spoke to her droid. "Squirt, double front shields and hang on!" '11/2' she mused, yeah, we can do this. She knew Poe would only choose the best, and that meant Jess had to be the best. She opened to her again. "You got this Jess, all guns blazing!" They had to give the others a chance

    *​

    Jess's brow furrowed with determination at the Twi'lek's urging. Come on, you can do this.

    The TIEs split into 4-ship wings and predictably moved to use their superior numbers to surround and outflank them.

    "Rolo, shields double-front," she ordered. The droid complied but hooted a worried enquiry about their exposed sections.

    "We're not running through," she replied, increasing the velocity even further beyond attack speed. "Presenting broadside aspect gives them a better target."

    She glanced out of the cockpit, watching the sinister eyeballs close in on her at breakneck speed. In moments they would be in range.

    "Tink to Princess," she signalled on the comlink. "Breaking out the moves... meet on the dancefloor... remember I'm left handed!"

    She hoped Zara understood her intention; to break out of the closing net, then circle round and rendezvous with each other again. And Jess was going to port.

    Jess slammed on the reverse vector brake-thruster of her port-side wing - a trick she had just learned from Dev - and immediately decelerated and turned hard left. Her x-wing skidded through space, the g-forces gripping her body even over the inertial dampeners as it halted and turned with astonishing speed.

    Gritting her teeth, she powered up and throttled out of the spin.

    The four closing TIEs on the port flank could not have expected this. Rather than chasing down a fleeing fighter, they now suddenly had an x-wing coming right at them.

    Jess blasted furiously as she overran the enemy fighters, looping to avoid a collision as she passed by and escaped out of the net...

    [​IMG]

    Zara was ready "Ok, let's dance boys." Zara grinned underneath her helmet, 'the infamous Poe Dameron move?' She'd only ever practiced it in simulation, but she knew it well and split seconds after Jess pulled it she did the same thing pulling hard to starboard and coming around even harder to face the enemy. Her teeth were still firmly gritted as she began swerving back and forth, even slightly up and down she avoided the incoming fire. The move knocked ones equilibrium around but as she'd practiced it Zara was quick to recover and began banking hard port to starboard as she poured single fire from all four turrets.

    She was coming in hard at the four TIE's before here and she could almost imagine the look on their faces as she'd turned and within split seconds two of the TIE's we hit and exploded. One took damage from its wing mate and pulled off the attack but Zara suddenly found herself playing chicken with TIE pilot. "Bring it." She whispered as she hunkered down over her control yoke. The TIE began to pull off as she fired furiously and she was able to catch it wing, sending it spinning away to who knows where. By this stage she'd shot through the group and coming out the other side. By her calculations there were still the three in the middle and the two that escaped, but she wasn't phased by that knowledge. Pulling back on her control yoke she did a full 360 degree overhead turn, spinning 180 degrees to be coming down on the TIE's from above and behind. Gunning her engines a she was gaining now and had them in her sights. They obvious rookie TIE pilots were severely being out flown and out gunned by them both. "I call that the two step, this is the waltz!

    *​

    In an instant half the TIEs were down, but Jess had taken some frontal hits and her shields were low - Zara had managed to take less damage, but only by dint of luck.

    There was a series of blips added to the display, and one large one - a Resurgent-class Star Destroyer. The surviving TIEs of this wave retreated towards the twelve TIEs that had been launched by the RSD, bringing the total of TIEs in the mix up to eighteen - and then the RSD for good measure released a second squadron to bring the numbers up to a round thirty.

    The six original TIEs gunned at full speed for to their oncoming allies, giving the two fighters a window to decide what to do.

    The only oddity in it all was the fact that the RSD had to round the planet; shouldn’t it have been here in the first place?

    *​

    Jess held on tight as her x-wing screamed through and past the incoming TIEs in a blinding frenzy of cannon fire. She got one for sure and clipped two more, she thought. Her adrenalin pulsed through her veins with the rush of the high-speed, extreme-close range dogfighting. Then she was suddenly in clear space again.

    Rolo complained from his astromech socket. Jess nodded, seeing the depleted shields and flashing alerts on her console. They had taken hits, but nothing vital, yet. She pulled round in an arc, relieved - but not entirely surprised - to see the Twi'lek had also come out safely and scorched a path of wreckage through the TIEs in the process.

    I'm damn glad she's on my side! thought Jess.

    Their pursuers had broken off. Jess was confused until she saw why. Another entire wing group of TIE fighters had launched and were closing fast. The ominous wedge of a Resurgent loomed like a titanshark in the background beyond them.

    In the few seconds of respite afforded to the Resistance pilots, Jess' mind was ticking over at high speed, considering.

    Why has that Resurgent appeared only now?

    She began to fear the worst. A trap. She bit her lip... thinking furiously what to do about it. One thing was for sure; the odds against them had just become much higher, and were still climbing. This was not a straight fight they could win. She considered the vicinity - there were still a lot of freighters and traffic shunting about in orbit. That meant cover from the big guns of the Resurgent. If they sped away and lead the First Order fighters into the maze of this proxy asteroid field, they would at least take their attention far away from Poe and the others.

    And perhaps survive long enough to do some good...

    She wondered what Zara thought. "Tinker to Princess; I think the clock just struck midnight. Time to leave the ball, before they see the pumpkin?"

    *​

    Zara was stunned when she saw the extra incoming reinforcements. "Where've they been?" She wondered out loud, "And why now?" Her lekku twitched and she knew that feeling

    'trust your instincts, trust your gut'

    Her fathers words echoed in her ears, along with her mothers belief and trust in the Force, she knew if she was fighting for right, the Force was with her.

    "Tinker to Princess; I think the clock just struck midnight. Time to leave the ball, before they see the pumpkin?"

    She blinked. She had vague memories of a fairytale her mother would read her, and she was sure that is what Jess was referring to constantly. If her memory served her right, the heroine had to leave a magical ball before midnight, but she couldn't recall a pumpkin but she recalled she lost something for her true love to find.

    "Getting out before I loose something, better ways to find a true love!" She responded, mentally noting she'd have to speak the woman about her metaphors

    *​

    "Okay, here we go," Jess breathed. Zara was on board with the plan. Plan? What plan? To drag the small First Order fleet away, and try and distract them from Dev, Tiber and Poe long enough for the mission to succeed.

    And stay alive.

    That last bit was always the tricky detail.

    Jess turned and accelerated back along the convoy of transports they had so recently used as hopping blocks to hide behind, weaving in between them to throw off the tracking sensors of the Resurgent.

    Her x-wing came close to clipping some of the great oblong behemoths, but she knew the closer she got, the harder it would be for the TIEs to follow.

    She chanced a glance both left then right, hoping to spot Zara making her own weaving dance.

    *​

    The TIEs were a cloud the dispersed over the freighters, their formation disrupted but their numbers still severe. The freighter train took the pursuit back towards the dry-docks, to the Raider, holding position on one of the open platforms -

    Poe clicked twice as they swept that way.

    Ready.

    He was suggesting they lead the TIEs his way...

    *​

    "What the?" Jess shook her head, hearing Poe's signal. That cannot be right. We are supposed to lead them away!

    Jess had flown with Poe enough times to trust his instincts when it seemed like he was about to do something crazy. But every now and then, she still had a moment of doubt... She hated to admit it in front of him, but what happened on the Raddus still affected them all.

    She banished the thought. Jess threw her faith to Poe, turned her starfighter and streaked at lethal speed along the flightpath he seemed to be commanding her and Zara...

    *​

    Zara was gunning her engines when the signal came through and she widened her blue eyes. "Is he serious?!!" She knew he was capable of many things and not all of them brilliant, but this took the Ryshcate!! "Ok, why not? Suicide is painless, so I've heard." She muttered before pulling her ship around hard and slipping in beside Jess.

    Painless.......she hoped…

    TAG: @darthbernael , @Jerjerrod-Lennox
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2021
  2. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Mod-Emperor of the EUC, Lit, RPF and SWC star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: Poe Dameron
    Undisclosed location, Kuat

    He watched as Jess and Zara swept by the Raider, leading over two dozen TIE fighters after them.

    The moment they were overheard, Poe shouted to BB-8.

    "Now!"

    The Raider erupted into an explosion, a self-destruct charge triggered and engulfing the platform, the corvette, and twenty TIEs. Three emerged from the cloud intact, wobbling as their shields faded and burn marks creased their solar panels. They swung away, giving the two X-wing pilots a chance to regroup and reassess.

    The big Star Destroyer, still on the other side of the freighter train, which was even now scattering to get out of the way, simply launched another three squadrons of TIE fighters, but they were a good five, six, seven minutes away. They had that long to decide what to do.

    Poe's comm channel suddenly was filled with sound. "What do you mean they've found us -"

    He cut-off, leaving them to their decision.

    But they would have time to detect that Tiber and Dev had made it to the Eclipse...

    Tiber's astromech had already popped itself free and rushed to find a console. The area was in the middle of construction, so he could pressurize it - which he did. With a tootle, he told the two pilots that they could leave their fighters; there was air. He also began frantically searching for a schematic for the Eclipse, to ascertain where the kyber crystal would be.

    The droid didn't notice that the space they occupied was more like a shaft than anything else. It seemed to run into the cavernous darkness either way - to the prow and aft of the dreadnought. It was only inside it they would realise just how massive the ship was. Seventeen kilometers of durasteel and death, it had been under construction for the better part of a year, and it had taken the old Empire years to construct the three that they had, but that Empire had been working on Death Stars and Executor-class dreadnoughts and all manner of other project at the same time.

    Each group had to regroup and reassess, and only so much time to do it before the First Order caught up with Jess and Zara, or discovered Tiber and Dev!

    TAG: @darthbernael, @Kurisan, @Adalia-Durron, @Jerjerrod-Lennox

    TAG: @HanSolo29 (continuing)
     
  3. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 26, 2016
    Jess Pava
    Undisclosed location, Kuat

    [​IMG]

    Jess clenched her fists around her controls as she passed close over the Raider, wondering what in the galaxy Poe had up his sleeve.

    She soon found out. The explosion cleared out almost all of their pursuers - the last handful spinning off into space and out of sight. Jess' face was caught between a grin of triumph and jaw-drop of amazement. Poe had had to time that perfectly - or she and Zara might have come out of that run medium-rare...

    No point dwelling on what might have happened. They had breathing space. Time to use it. Jess calculated; 5-6 minutes until the next wave from the Resurgent came into range. Another three squadrons.

    This was becoming a depressingly familiar dance, and she knew they could not keep it up forever - not even with Zara's uncanny skills.

    But the dreadnought was right below them. If they disappeared now, the First Order would think they hit hyperspace while they had the chance. An old tale of a pilot she revered - Han Solo - and a move he pulled to avoid a Star Destroyer, came to mind.

    "Rolo," she said, "power up the hyperdrive, but don't actually engage. Shut down shields, prepare to switch on the stealth field."

    Rolo complied but whistled with concern.

    "Well, I have an idea, but I need to let the others know..."

    She bit her lip for a moment, trying to figure out the signal to both Zara and Poe. Then she transmitted.

    "This is Chicken Little to the Mad Hatter; the sky is falling down! Tinker and Princess to go down the rabbit hole and join your tea party..."

    Rolo burbled doubtfully.

    "What?" said Jess, defensively. "They'll understand... I hope."

    She allowed the hyperdrive to reach critical point - enough to leave a sensor trace - then cut and switched on the stealth field. That would be the last thing any First Order sensor would pick up before she disappeared off the scope. She hoped Zara was watching and got the idea.

    Then she glided her T-70 down into the superstructure of the monstrous dreadnought skeleton. She was not sure exactly where Poe and the others may be, but her priority was to get out of sight and hide deep enough to avoid detection by TIEs sweeping above. She was surprised when Rolo reported a section where atmosphere had been activated outside. A clue?

    She set down the starfighter and shut down completely. Then she studied her surroundings, waiting for Zara.

    "Hmmm, if I were a kyber crystal, where would I hide?" she thought out loud.

    @Adalia-Durron @Sinrebirth @Jerjerrod-Lennox @darthbernael
     
  4. Adalia-Durron

    Adalia-Durron WNU Mod - Always Watching..... star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2003
    IC Zara Christa
    Following yet lost.



    Jess was erratic at best, and Zara was confused. "I could read one, can't read this girl!" she muttered through gritted teeth. Squirt spoke. "She's what? Hyperdrive?" She read again, "But we're not going?"

    "This is Chicken Little to the Mad Hatter; the sky is falling down! Tinker and Princess to go down the rabbit hole and join your tea party..."

    "ARGH!! " Zara let out a cry of exasperation. "I have no idea of this fairy tale!" But she did get the gist of what was being said when Squirt added something to her screen. The installation they'd done together earlier, the stealth, that's what she was doing.

    This was a fade and drop.

    She opened her comm. "Princess is a go." Anyone listening in would think they were jumping out. "Bring the hypers set to go, but we're not going, ready that stealth." She ordered Squirt. She allowed it to build up to the point of jump and that was seconds, "stealth,..........NOW!" she ordered as she cut the hyper, the whole time hoping the Force was on her side. Watching Jess, she followed and allowed her craft to glide along behind. Jess was putting down, that was a little surprising. Squirt alerted her to oxygen in the area, "wonder why?" She muttered as she touched down beside the woman. Looking around she couldn't see the other half of the team, "and I wonder where the others are?"



    TAG @Kurisan @Sinrebirth @darthbernael @Jerjerrod-Lennox
     
  5. AgentViper007

    AgentViper007 Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Mar 9, 2005
    OOC: A combo with @darthbernael and @Sinrebirth

    IC: Devereaux "Dev" Bombardier, Tiber
    Location: Horthav


    Tiber waiting in his X-Wing while Bones trundled off. He twisted his gaze from side to side, looking up and down the corridor, if something so large could be called that. But it was so long that the lights of their ships faded before the far end could be seen. ’Damn this place is enormous…’ he thought.

    Several minutes passed, the vast space, surprisingly for a snub fighter pilot, made him uneasy. Perhaps because all the ships he was used to flying in and out of were cramped, close in spaces and this was like being out in the black without actually being so. And then Bones beeped, telling him the area was pressurized. He trusted his little droid so he looked over at Dev, flashing his light, pointing at his canopy then at himself, to let the Y-Wing pilot know that he was going to go first.

    He broke the seal, there was a little hiss as the pressure between inside and outside the cockpit equalized and then he lifted it fully. The air tasted a little stale, as though it were still being pumped in but otherwise he felt perfectly fine breathing it. Unclasping his blaster rifle, he slung it to be ready to fire, then signaled Dev that the other man could open up and join him.

    Dropping the boarding ladder, he hopped to the deck and made his way to Bones, walking up to the little droid. He could see schematics flashing across the screen, ”Found it yet, little guy?”

    They did manage to fit to Dev's relief.

    However there was no sign of Jess nor Zara following them both in. Which meant it was up to him and Tiber he guessed to do something about this big beast.

    Another ground mission he thought sarcastically great.

    He waited in his Y wing after parking up as instructed by Tiber and waited. After it was declared safe he opened up the canopy, taking his helmet off and shaking his brown hair out. It did smell a little stale here but it would be better as they progressed.

    After checking his blaster pistol he headed over to Tiber and his droid to see what they had found.

    The droid tootled it's concern, and projected a map of the area. As it trilled musically, it told them this was where they were, and also where the Kyber crystal should be was about ten kilometers up the axial superlaser shaft - which is where they were currently!

    Tiber stifled a curse under his breath then looked down the shaft, realizing that it now made a deadly sense why the shaft was so smooth and, along most of its length that he could see, featureless. He turned toward Dev, ”I don’t feel like walking ten K, so back into the ships, to get there before they find us.”

    He turned to Bones, ”Lets go, little guy, back in your berth.” As his droid detached from the console and headed back to the fighter, he made his way to the ladder and clambered back into the cockpit, retracting the ladder and closing the canopy as Bones settled into place and the fighter began to startup again.

    Oh bloody fantastic, we are in a superlaser. This will be fun to tell Alaris, hey guess what I travelled up a superlaser shaft….

    "I very much agree" Dev responded, and as,Tiber headed back to his ship, Dev went back to his. Helmet back on he started Thunderbolt back up, there was a little grumble of protest from the engines.

    "I know" he said patting the top of his canopy "Hopefully we'll be back in space soon, give you a proper workout…"

    Bones was back in his seat quick enough, and they were taking off, flying into the heart of a superweapon. As they covered two kilometers, there was a infrastructure of girders and building work, which would be quite an impediment to weave through - very tricky flying, reminiscent of those pilots thirty years ago who flew through the second Death Star - but just a bit tighter!

    Tiber saw the infrastructure approaching, rapidly and tightened the harness holding him to the seat so he wouldn’t shift around as he jinked through the construction. Hang tight Bones, this is going to be close.”

    Adding a touch of throttle, he moved ahead of Dev before returning to the same pace, even a hair slower to stay within his reflexes ability to move the X-Wing without running into the construction. His hands stayed firmly on the stick and throttle as he entered the pipes, girders, and building work, the G’s pressing him this way and that as he dropped, rose, shifted left, and shifted right through them.

    This is interesting….

    This was obviously a work in progress ship judging by the construction, and now it was time for some fancy flying. Dev smirked, this was his forte. Most Corellians who took the skies knew a trick or two.

    Tiber moved ahead of him to take the lead. Hopefully Dev would'nt bash his Y wing on anything. Being a little slower here helped as he could move his Y wing into position before the obstacles came.

    Bobbing and weaving, a little tip sideways here and there, shaving through gaps by the skin of his paintwork. This was what Dev lived for, the thrill of flight.

    He was loving this.

    Another kilometer passed in an instant, and they had avoided that impediment. When two more were gone, Tiber's astromech screeched a warning -

    There was, high up in the top of the next section, a platform hanging down from the roof, with droid-workers completing work to the ceiling. The droids were focused, but if they weren't careful, they might see them -

    Tiber saw the droids, saw the platform and almost swore, this smooth bore was turning into a mazelike obstacle course. But there was little to be done, they had to reach the kyber, do their all to extract it, and escape. Thinking rapidly, ”Bones, you need to be my eyes…” he said, then doused all his lighting.

    Cockpit lights turned down too, he slowed to a speed that only made the sound of his passage slightly higher than a whisper, dropping as close to the floor of the shaft as possible, to pass under the platform. He kept his eyes laser focused on the dim display that Bones gave him, checking, double checking, triple checking the distance between the platform and the deck, squeezing his X-Wing through the gap and hoping the droids didn’t hear or see the motion.

    And then it all went to hell.

    Of course with no comms Dev had to anticipate what Tiber would do next. He hoped when he saw the platform hanging down that Tiber would just shoot through as Dev was close behind Tiber….

    He didn't anticipate that Tiber would SLOW DOWN! And this was the problem with using no comms, no astromech for Dev and no signals this time.

    Oh bloody hell…

    Dev managed to slam his throttle back, but not fast enough. As he tried to pull up he hit the X wing on top as he saw Tiber drift down. The force of the blow sent the Y wing into a spin. And he was heading straight for the platform.

    So I don't go out in a blaze of glory, I go out in a fireball as I hit a platform.

    When you eventually both come and join me Tiber and Poe I'm going to bloody kill you both. Again.

    Dev was going to try and at least get out of the spin and maybe dive down...but it could be too late.

    I think that date with Admiral Vonn is definatly off….

    The droids didn't see Tiber no.

    They did, however, see Dev and Tiber when the Y-wing crashed into the X-wing.

    The Y-wing spun, the X-wing buckled down. Dev would just about have time to right himself before he slammed into the ground, but he skimmed the roof of the chamber and his engines cut out as he dove down - but not the power to his repulsorlifts, weapons, and so forth.

    For Tiber, however, he was slowing, so wouldn't quite plow into the ground, but if he managed to get his nose up he'd only wreck his landing gear and repulsorlifts as he sped across the floor - but if he didn't, yes, he'd probably explode when the torpedoes were crushed -

    This time Tiber did curse, if they got through this he fully intended to have some words with the older pilot, preferably away from anyone else with rank to stop the ‘conversation’. He felt the impact against the top of his fighter, the back end bucking down. ’If he damaged Bones I’ll do more than talk to him…’ he thought darkly even as his hands moved.

    Feeding power to the lower set of engines he lifted the nose, wincing at the scraping sound, knowing there was damage to the underbelly but luckily not to the nose section where the torps were. That noise, and Dev spinning toward the platform had to have alerted the droids that were there. Sure enough, as he throttled up, a speed run was all they had left since Dev’s clumsy flying gave them away, he heard Bones chirping, ’Wonderful, those droids are transmitting something…’

    He could feel the X-Wing responding a little more sluggishly and knew that there was something wrong with the resulsorlifts, not to mention the feeling that something was dangling loose underneath, possibly the gear. He growled but punched the throttle, ”Tell that klutz...no, no don’t use that word...he better keep up. I don’t have time to stay on comms.” he told Bones, the need for full radio silence now gone.

    Dev did hear the comms but he didn't respond.

    He knew his time was up. His Corellian luck had run out.

    So Tiber blamed him? Ha! He wasn't the one who slowed down and caused Dev to crash into him. Dev may be like all Corellians arrogant but it seemed Tiber thought it was all Dev's fault. Let him think that when the Y wing was gone. He would probbably blame Dev even in death.

    Well then, better make this count. At least I can damage the superlaser shaft. That should slow them down for a while. I guess I failed Alaris, I will be joining you soon…..

    His engines were out and he could have used that split second to right himself….but he didn't.

    For the Resistance. For Corellia. For Alaris.

    Dev let go of his controls….

    And waited for the fiery death to come.

    TAG: @Sinrebirth , @darthbernael , @Kurisan , @Adalia-Durron , @HanSolo29
     
  6. Adalia-Durron

    Adalia-Durron WNU Mod - Always Watching..... star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2003
    IC Zara Christa
    Landed, but where?


    Opening her her cockpit and leaving her helmet on with the magfield on it activated she looked around. "You sure Squirt?" She asked her droid and was rewarded with a positive sound. "Ok..." She responded hesitantly, as she reached up and deactivate the field. She waited, it was either breathe or die, pretty clear. Thankfully, it was breathe and so she unclipped and removed her helmet, placing it on the floor of her ship. Jumping up to rest her buttocks on the back of her seat she looked around wondering why this area had oxygen and if so where was everyone? She turned to look further down the tunnel, there was no discernable activity and even that was strange. Then, without warning she was able to make out an explosion in the darkened distance.

    Her stomach lurched.

    This was a construction, things weren't meant to explode and logic told her that what ever just blew up as not Imperial. She felt sick, and a fleeting twist of her heart at the thought of who it could be. She looked over to Jess and wanted to call out to tell her, but what to say? Her eyes were drawn back, there was nothing there now.

    The mission might be a bust.


    TAG @darthbernael @Kurisan @Jerjerrod-Lennox @Sinrebirth
     
  7. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 26, 2016
    IC: Jess Pava
    Landed... in the belly of the beast

    [​IMG]

    Jess cycled down the x-wing and shut down systems. She looked across to Zara and saw the Twi'lek pop her cockpit open. The readings were right - this place had atmosphere. Jess slipped out of her flightsuit, donned her lucky combat jacket, and slid down the side of her T-70.

    Rolo detached from the astromech socket and rolled up behind her as she fetched a blaster carbine from the underside hold, then slung its strap over her shoulder. There was no telling what foes they would face inside this vast place, and she was determined to be ready this time.

    She gazed at the vastness of the tunnel, squinting past the glare of a nearby construction floodlight.

    "This is the shaft of a super-laser," she noted out loud, her knowledge of starship designs springing to mind. "And we're looking for a massive kyber crystal."

    She walked toward Zara, wondering where the rest of Black Squadron were, when the reverberations of an explosion echoed down the tunnel. It was like an ancient monster roaring. Rolo bumped up next to her in alarm and she laid a hand on his conical head.

    She looked at Zara. "That did not sound good."

    @Sinrebirth @Adalia-Durron @Jerjerrod-Lennox @darthbernael @HanSolo29
     
  8. Adalia-Durron

    Adalia-Durron WNU Mod - Always Watching..... star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2003
    IC Zara Christa
    What just happened?





    Zara watched as Jess disembarked and frowned, 'why would you remove your flightsuit?' She wondered, 'Doesn't bode well for a fast get away.' It wasn't her problem.

    ."That did not sound good."

    "Didn't look good from here either, something, or more to the point, someone blew up I think." She said, her voice full of dread. "I hope to the Force it wasn't our boys." She turned back. "And if it was, the Imps know we're here."

    She looked up and down the massive chamber and narrowed her eyes. "So this is supposed to work like a thumping big lightsaber?" She turned back to Jess, "Cause if it is, we're in the wrong place. Where the explosion was is probably closer to where we need to be." She had seen a lightsabers close up, knew how they worked. She pointed toward the end. "The crystal would be down that way and inside sort of. If the Imps know we're here, we're not getting anywhere near it." She stated resignedly. Her mind worked it through and the only solution to stopping this thing was.......to destroy it. She didn't want to say that out loud, not yet anyway.





    TAG @Kurisan @Sinrebirth @darthbernael @Jerjerrod-Lennox @HanSolo29
     
  9. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Mod-Emperor of the EUC, Lit, RPF and SWC star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: Admiral Vonn
    Kuat Central Control

    There had been an explosion aboard the Eclipse.

    He twitched, panicking that the Resistance had snuck in.

    Perhaps those two fighters hadn't jumped to hyperspace? No, it was too quick. Vonn couldn't call up the cameras in the area, but he did manage to replay the droid workers last moments - a Y-wing, and an X-wing? Of course, he rued. A four-pilot squadron. But he could hardly expect his TIE pilots to fill the innards of a Super Star Destroyer and not wreck it.

    He would need fighter aces.

    Keying the comms, he reached out to First Order Central . "This is Admiral Vonn of Kuat Command. I require a detachment of the 181st Fighter Group as a matter urgency." He paused, thinking about it.

    "And notify the Knights of Ren that I need to speak to them."

    TAG: No-One
    ---

    Eclipse, closer to the ships heart

    The explosion consumed Dev and his Y-wing.

    There would be nothing left of him to even collect, for his explosives ignited his fuel and blew it all to hell.

    For Tiber, the edges of the flame hammered into the stern of his fighter, propelling him down the chute towards the weapon itself. He bounced and rebounded more than once, completely shredding the underside of his X-wing. His wings snapped shut, and he slid, and slid, and slid -

    And stopped, hammering his head forward.

    He wasn't far from now from the emitter, the heart of the ship - the superlaser.

    One problem, which his astromech noticed with a mournful sound.

    The kyber crystal wasn't there.

    The housing it, was empty.

    ---
    Eclipse, mid-end

    The opening in the ship had been left so for the Kyber crystal to be delivered, as the final component before they shut up the hull and prepared for deployment.

    Zara and Jess wouldn't know that, of course, they'd simply have Jess's astromech plugged in, much as Tiber's had. It tootled that the weapon was at the very end of this seventeen kilometer long shaft, and they would have to fly to get there, but at the same time, it had confirmation of a detonation deeper in the ship, and unverified reports of Resistance pilots inside the ship.

    The security network update allowed Rolo to tell them that at least one Resistance fighter was believed to have been downed dodging the internal superstructure, with at least one unaccounted for. The entire shipyard was on high alert, and Kuat Control was putting out a call for reinforcements, ideally fighter aces.

    There no reports that their two X-wings were known, indeed the speculation was that a separate Y-wing and X-wing had snuck into the ship.

    So for a moment, Zara and Jess were free to do what they could.

    But they had no way of knowing if Tiber or Dev had died.

    TAG: @darthbernael, @Adalia-Durron, @Kurisan

    Salutations to @Jerjerrod-Lennox

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  10. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 26, 2016
    IC: Jess Pava
    In the belly of the beast

    Jess listened to the report from Rolo, her eyes widening. "Oh no..."

    She looked at Zara. One of the Resistance ships was down. It would be Dev or Tiber. It did not matter which. They had lost someone.

    The astromech finished his report of the immediate First Order transmission and Jess considered. The housing for the kyber crystal was at the end of the tunnel. It would be far quicker to fly there. But that is what just killed one of them. If Tiber or Dev could not slip through, she doubted her own abilities.

    An important detail; the First Order did not know they had landed and were not looking for them. That would change if they took off again.

    "We need more intel..." Jess said to Zara. "... to find a way to get to the crystal. We need to find a computer station and hack in, lock down its exact location."

    Rolo beeped his willingness to aid in this endeavour. Jess began searching for an exit at the side of the tunnel: a maintenance hatch or service door or anything... or even an auxiliary computer terminal that she might get be able to get to work on.

    @Sinrebirth @Adalia-Durron @Jerjerrod-Lennox @darthbernael @HanSolo29
     
  11. darthbernael

    darthbernael EU Community Mod, House was on fire, didn't do it star 4 Staff Member Moderator

    Registered:
    Apr 15, 2019
    IC Tiber
    Eclipse, closer to the ship's heart

    Tiber had a split second to see the explosion that consumed Dev. He’d been annoyed at the Y Wing pilot but not even Dev deserved to die in such a manner. All that raced through his mind in the split second he had before the shockwave hit his X Wing. It slammed his fighter to the deck, his head careening off of the display before him, knocking him out for a moment.

    When he came to, his fighter was twisted slightly sideways but afforded him a view the remaining length of the tube...to the empty cradle where the Kyber should have been. It took his befuddled mind a couple minutes to clear enough to understand what he was seeing. When he did he began cursing, like one of the groundpounders he hung out with when on ship. ”Frack, frack, frack…” he continued, slamming the flat of his hand against the lip of the display.

    ”Dev died for nothing…” he groaned. Somehow he needed to get word to Zara and Jess, if they’d finally been able to get into the Eclipse. If they could find the Kyber perhaps they could actually complete the mission, even if it cost them him as well as Dev. Looking around, he noticed the orientation of the X Wing. Bones, run the numbers, can we grind the curve until we get airborne?”

    Another couple minutes passed as he accessed systems that were still up, wincing. His fighter was in rough shape and he’d need foam or something if he was going to land on a carrier again. And then Bones tweetled. The information appeared on the screen and he nodded, ”Ok, buddy, hang tight, this is going to be shaky.” He brought up the throttles and winced again at the loud scraping sound that occurred after the engines overcame the inertia of the fighter’s mass dragging it along the shaft. It picked up speed as it scraped the shaft. And then it began to climb the side of the tube.

    He prayed to any of the Gods he knew that he’d hit the critical threshold for flight by the time they fell free of the curve. Faster and faster the X Wing moved, scraping, bumping over the small irregularities. And then the nose lifted, or fell depending on perspective, the closed foils biting the atmosphere of the tube. He let it fall for a moment until the scraping sound ceased and then pushed forward on the stick, lowering the nose from his perspective.

    He couldn’t close his eyes but his luck held out and the fighter, shaking as it was, stayed airborne. He maneuvered the craft toward the center of the tube before rolling it back upright. Descending slightly he pulled and rolled again, turning back to face toward the egress of the shaft. Bones chirped behind him. Lowering his eyes for a moment he read the message and realized the other two must have entered the shaft, as Bones told him that he could read the other two astromechs.

    He needed to get them a message, tell them not to come down this way, that the Kyber was gone but if he transmitted now, the FO would know there were others here. He pushed the throttle to the limits of what his busted up bird could handle without shaking itself apart and flew back down the shaft. He had to throttle back to twist and turn through the construction he’d jinked through earlier and knew he was approaching the others.

    ”Bones, once were close enough for a short range transmission, hopefully one that the FO can’t pick up, send Zara’s droid this message, Kyber gone, can’t land, have to keep flying, bird is trashed, Dev gone.”

    TAGS: @Sinrebirth, @Adalia-Durron, @Kurisan, @Jerjerrod-Lennox, @HanSolo29
     
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  12. Adalia-Durron

    Adalia-Durron WNU Mod - Always Watching..... star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2003
    IC Zara Christa
    In the Gates of Hell.



    'Intel' Zara mused. It was clear to her the Empire was yet unaware of their presence, she looked back down the shaft and lamented a loss she didn't even have clear in her mind yet. Who was it, what happened, and where did things go wrong? A sense of dread had washed over her. What if they'd both bought it? What if she and Jess were wasting precious time, cause there was no way they could carry a Kyber Crystal. Looking up and down the shaft again, she twisted her lips and a half smile touched them.

    "Tink!" she called, "They don't know we're here, and for all we know, both our team mates didn't make it," that thought was a stab as her guts but she pushed on, "If we can't take what fuels this thing, what say we break their delivery system?" At that moment Squirt began to warble a frantic message that flashed up on her screen.

    Kyber gone, can’t land, have to keep flying, bird is trashed, Dev gone


    Zara stared, Dev was dead, Tiber alive. "JESS!!" She yelled, "WE NEED TO LAUNCH, GET BACK IN YOUR SHIP!" She ordered, as her own hands flew over her controls, "Squirt, tell Jess's droid, that we need her point herself toward the end of the shaft for moment and dump all her torps, I'll do the same!!!" Closing her cockpit a movement caught her attention, it was the stricken X Wing, an ion trail gushing from it's rear and holding a straight line like its pilot had drunk too much Corellian Ale. "Squirt, tell Black one we're coming to just keep going." With that she lifted her craft off the deck hoping Jess was with her and turned it toward the direction Black One had come from. She had two, the Resistance probably couldn't afford to loose two, but she didn't care. "On my mark Squirt, both torps, give me HUD targeting." She wasn't moving fast yet, so she was able to aim, not down the centre, the chances of missing were too high, no, at the side. Two proton torpedoes would have be enough to not only damage but possibly blow a whopping great hole in the thing. That'd set the Empire back a bit, enough for them to regroup. She opened to Jess, "I'm about to dump my payload, you do the same, I'm going port, you go starboard, let's make a mess."




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    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 28, 2021
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  13. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 26, 2016
    IC: Jess Pava

    [​IMG]

    Jess blinked as Zara yelled at her to launch. What? Why? What was going on?

    There were times when you had to do as you are told and ask the questions later. Jess scampered back to her ship and picked up the data packs from Tiber's and Zara's astromechs. Despite the urgency of the situation, she paused a moment.

    Dev.

    Oh no, Dev. She cringed, remembering what she had said to Poe about him. She tried to think; was the last thing she had said to him a complaint about his clipping her fighter with his crazy Corellian trick? Could she have shown him more... compassion?

    Zara was barking orders again. And Tiber's damaged x-wing was limping back down the shaft. Jess had to put aside the feelings and get on with the job now. There would be time to process this later. She cycled into start up and prepared to launch.

    Zara was intent on launching her payload. Jess understood the reasoning but she hesitated. Ships could be rebuilt... even Death Stars... only the kybers were unique - especially one that big - and the mission was to destroy the kyber.

    As she followed after the Twi'lek, she switched to the wing mounted cannons instead. She wanted to save those two precious torps - just in case they found the real target. She had seen Poe take out an entire planet with just the lasers, aimed at the right installations, at Starkiller Base.

    And there was a grim satisfaction in raking the inside of the tunnel, lighting up explosion after explosion, her whole T-70 shuddering with the power of the unleashed blasts. Now she understood Zara's feeling. It was an outpouring of emotion, an act of revenge. However misdirected, it felt good to shoot back at the monster that had claimed their friend...

    @Sinrebirth @Adalia-Durron @HanSolo29 @Jerjerrod-Lennox @darthbernael
     
  14. Adalia-Durron

    Adalia-Durron WNU Mod - Always Watching..... star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2003
    IC Zara Chrischa
    Making a mess.


    She watched as Jess, a little slower than herself, followed suit. She positioned herself and allowed the struggling X Wing to move past before angling her ship to the left. "HUD Squirt." she snapped as the droid silently responded and her targeting system appeared before her. She moved it up and found a place deep into the structure before she pushed the fire button. Both Torpedoes shot forward, one after the other, she then began to fire quads at the same point. She wanted the piece to be so destroyed it would take them months to repair it, if not longer! This weapon could be galactic destroying, a game changer, they had to stop it.

    The torpedoes hit and massive explosions erupted. The First Order knew they were there now, no question. She spun her ship around 190 degrees to follow Black One opening her comm. "Two's on One's Six, Three's coming up. Suggestions on exit plan One?" She wondered if the damaged ship could find the power to jump, and if not. She didn't want to think about that one. Couldn't loose two team members, it's too much already.




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  15. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Mod-Emperor of the EUC, Lit, RPF and SWC star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: Admiral Vonn
    Kuat Drive Yards

    There were explosions ripping out from the Eclipse, and the Admiral realised, belatedly, that he had made an error. He felt the blood drain from his face as he computed the years of delay that had just been caused. It was considerably easier to build a new ship rather than repair it, and Vonn could imagine the blade of Kylo Ren at his neck. Or perhaps his invisible grip would crush his neck. Or a execution squad, shooting him to death.

    He swallowed.

    The three little X-wings would know the truth; that the Kyber Crystal was not yet loaded into the dreadnought.

    That they had been, inadvertently, been suckered.

    From inside a secluded part of the shipyards, Poe watched the Resurgent Star Destroyer advancing upon the Eclipse, a swarm of TIE fighters surrounding it, escorted by a Raider-class corvette like the ship they'd snuck in using. Twelve, twenty-four, sixty - seventy-two - a full wing. It was an obscene amount of enemy fighters. He swallowed, looked at BB-8, who made a mournful noise, and then, pulled up a holocam, showing Tiber, Zara and Jess inside the dreadnought. "Is this live?"

    BB-8 tootled; he had access to the FO comms now he was in the system.

    "So where is the Kyber?"

    He sent the data. "Of course," he said. "Patch me through to the others."

    The astromech warned that they'd be found.

    "Dev is dead, BB, we need to make sure his sacrifice wasn't for anything."

    He held up his comlink, abandoning stealth to speak to them. "Black Squad, this is Leader. I've found the Kyber - it's aboard a corvette, same design as the one we snuck in with. I'll try and find a way to help, but it's by that Resurgent. They know where you are, there is a wing of TIEs sitting on your position." He swallowed. "I'll figure something out, but try and get as close to the corvette as you can - one lucky shot, and the crystal will blow."

    BB-8 sounded forlorn.

    "Happy beeps, BB."

    He could hear a clatter of Stormtrooper armour down the hall; he needed to go.

    "May the Force be with you."

    He signed off, and was gone.

    TAG: @darthbernael, @Kurisan, @Adalia-Durron
     
  16. Adalia-Durron

    Adalia-Durron WNU Mod - Always Watching..... star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2003
    IC Tiber, Zara, and Jess
    Inside the Eclipse

    Tiber received the message from Poe, including all the data. Once again he cursed the explosion that had taken Dev and pranged his X Wing. He was in no shape to truly face a full wing of TIEs. He knew both Zara and Jess had received the same data and were mulling it over as well. He was flight lead so he needed to think, and quickly, to come up with some sort of plan.

    Taking a few moments and running options by Bones he came up with what he decided was probably the best choice of plans, given their limited options. He reached for the comm, opening it to the two of them. ”2, 3 this is going to be up to you, I hope you can be the amazing pilots you can be. I see one viable option.”

    He swallowed, ”I come out at the highest speed I can. Once in vacuum the ship should hold together better and I draw the attention of as many of them as possible. You two micro jump to the far side of the force there. Hopefully I can draw them away from the SD and the corvette, somehow you two need to destroy the corvette and the Kyber before they kill me. I’ve got the only torps left so if you can get me an open shot I’ll take it. But once we’re sure, or at least you two are, that it’s destroyed, we’ll jump to hyper. Any questions?”

    Jess shook her head as the implications of all the transmissions began to sink in. Three X-wings versus an armada, and they weren't bugging out... They couldn't bug out...

    Poe kept insisting they might not all come back from this mission. She had deep down always believed he would pull out a magic trick at the last moment. Hope was fading.

    But Tiber had missed an important detail.

    "Black Three to One; I'm carrying torps too!"

    The micro-jump was not a bad idea. Jess could probably work it out in her head. But still, taking out a corvette was a big proposition.

    "Black Leader... this is about time you usually reveal your cunning plan?"

    She listened, she scowled. 'Kill me?' She didn't like that. Then Zara cursed herself for using her torps already. "Acknowledged one" She responded grimly.

    Twisting her lips and giving a slow nod she opened. "Three, got an idea to confuse before we lose your payload." Glancing back to Squirt she spoke to him. "Send her droid details for 'hugging the bantha', make sure its detailed."

    She then opened to Tiber. "You got chaff One? Use it, they will think you are unable to jump and going, oh and dying is not an option, we clear?" Zara was well aware of the fact she had no right to give him an order of any kind, but it seemed she was doing it as this was twice now.

    Jess was asking for the reveal of the 'cunning plan' and Zara had to wonder if there even was one.

    Rolo flashed up the transmission from the Twi'lek. Jess recognised the idea instantly.

    When the Rebel starfighters had jumped to Endor and found themselves trapped with the Imperial fleet waiting, Lando Calrissian had order them to get nearer to the enemy capital ships. This was to thwart the Death Star's superlaser. Poe had used a similar tactic to avoid being pulverised in the FO TIE he had stolen with Finn from the Finalizer. They could use the same principle now.

    She knew the others would make fun of her bookishness; she had pored over the journals and accounts of all her heroes, memorising every move.

    She plotted the micro-jump mentally - sometimes she was quicker than the computer when everything was moving like this - then got Rolo to flash it back to the others.

    "This is Black Three: Okay, I get it, Two; let's hug the bantha. Here's the jump data."

    She knew it would only be a temporary reprieve. It would take time and sustained work to get through the defences of the corvette, before the decisive torps could be unloaded. And the TIEs were uncannily agile; good enough to hunt them down eventually. But the tactic meant they would only face several at a time rather than dozens at a time.

    They were going to have to win dogfight, after dogfight, after dogfight... and do so quickly enough to avoid being swarmed.

    While the other two were figuring out how they were going to deal with the TIEs and the capital ships, Tiber was slowly flying back and forth through the shaft, having Bones repair what he could. He’d gotten a little more maneuverability back with some quick fixes to the foils but there was no guarantee that they would stay viable once the ‘festivities’ kicked off. He heard Zara’s question, and the concern in it, even though she tried to hide it.

    Shifting through the menus on the flight display he searched for the chaff. Finding it he grumbled a little, the crash had taken out the lower dispensers but he could possibly shuttle the charges from the lower chambers to the upper so they could still be used, ”I have some chaff, yes, 2. I should be able to use it for a while, just don’t let them catch me before you’re done. I’d hate to have to haunt you for eternity.” he tried to insert a little humor in the response.

    ”Once you’re both ready, let me know and I’ll go play lame duck, not that I need to play the role much.” he told them. Turning his head he gazed at Zara’s craft as he passed them once more, wondering if she saw him as he looked at her. ”Focus on the mission, destroy the Kyber, no matter the cost. We can’t let them be able to use it.”

    He thought again, for a moment, ”Take out the fighters but the target is the corvette, Poe’s data says it’s where the Kyber is. Killing a wing will make you legends but you’ll be mythic if we take out that Kyber too.”

    She was glad he had something for distraction but as he went on, Zara allowed a predatory smile. "As ordered and as for haunting, not going to happen One. " Zara snapped back, she believed in ghosts the whole concept of haunting someone forever was a little disturbing. "Squirt, we got the calcs from Tink?" She spoke as she was turning her ship toward the corvette, and began to accelerate with her shields double front. "We ready Squirt?" The droid warbled a positive sound, indicating to her that they had the co ordinates now. "Ok." She opened to Tiber, "Do your thing flyboy, we're bugging out, see you on the flipside." She then opened to Jess. "Ready in 3, 2, 1.GO!" Pulling back the lever she jumped as starlines appeared for a moment only before reverting. They were out of range but not too far, she began to pull hard to port. "You out there Tink?"

    "Right with you, Princess. Get ready... we're gonna come out right on top of it!" Jess shoved forward the hyperspace engage and they made the micro-jump.

    An instant later they were right beside the corvette. Rolo screamed. Proximity alarms wailed. Jess pulled up hastily. They had jumped so close they were under the shields!

    They had only moments before the First Order re-acquired their signals. Then the defence turrets would start tracking, and the armada would be turning and hurtling after them again.

    Jess ransacked her brain for the cruiser schematics; the corvettes were well designed with robust redundancies against single-hit blow-ups. They had learned from the mistakes of the Empire.

    She pounded the flank of the capital ship, knocking out turret cannons as they began turning and tracking her. At the same time she swerved to avoid comms towers and sensor domes. It was seat-of-the-pants flying and her heart was in her mouth.

    She knew the Twi'lek would be doing the same. They had to get through these defences before Tiber ran out of time.

    "Black Three to Leader; we're at Aladin's cave, ready for you to pull out the genie!"

    She'd come out so close she felt like she could reach out and touch the ship, under the shields and almost undetectable for now, "good work Squirt! We're staying this close, so hang on!" The first thing she saw was a massive gun turret, she grinned. "Number one!!!" she fired single fire all guns, and moments later the unprotected gun blew as she roared through the debris. "Keep shields front!" she snapped as she rolled her craft to hug the hull of the corvette. "Its in this ship, I just know it Tink!" she commed her wing, "We need to make a mess of this!" Coming around under the craft she was able to see underbelly guns and took aim, firing almost indiscriminately. Things were exploding, she was under their shields she remembered and decided to continue to fire regardless. So as she went she began to blow holes in this craft, imagining the crew losing control of everything.

    A glance to her screen pinned where Tiber was, he was outbound with a good amount of the TIE's on his six, she couldn't think about that right now as she continued her rein of destruction.

    Tiber had been right, when he emerged from the atmosphere in the Eclipse into the vacuum of space, the flight handling had improved slightly. Of course, part of it was Bones jury rigging but still it helped. He swooped as close as he dared, to the wing of TIEs, daring them to take him, firing down their line as he passed. He knew he’d scored a few hits as he saw debris flying free with his shots before he banked as hard as he could, darting away from the flotilla of fighters and the capital ships.

    ”Bones, shields double rear!” he called out. Dodging and twisting the craft, he flew through the chaos of the entry and exit points of the system, out toward the free space of the deeper part of the system. Behind, he could feel the impacts on the shield, see bolts flying by the cockpit.

    He used the hull of a larger freighter to slingshot himself back toward the main formation. He pushed the engines as hard as he could before twisting the stick to cross their length at an angle, switching shields at a rapid pace to cover the angles of the incoming fire. He could see, out of the corner of his eye, that the corvette was being damaged but that was not his job, he had to draw the fighters away, as much as possible.

    Turning back out toward the outer system, he began dumping chaff here and there, blooming images on the sensors of the fighters, laying a trail of bread crumbs as he flew.

    The Admiral snarled as he recognised the X-wings had micro-jumped. They've overcommitted to the attack, and not screened the corvette. It's shields were useless at that close range, and the big Star Destroyer could hardly prune them off without -

    He didn't know what to do, not at all. Swallowing, he spoke up. "All forces, abandon the pursuit of that outbound X-wing immediately and come about - the corvette is under attack. Raider crew, all discretionary power to the engines, get to the fighters now."

    It was all he had.

    But then, it wasn't.

    A black ship arrived, not far from Tiber.

    As the fighters began to disperse, Tiber turned, trying to entice them back. And then a ship appeared. The sight of it was imposing even though it wasn’t one of the largest. Of course that could also be due to the fact that he was still flying a bird that was damaged. Something told him it wasn’t friendly and he turned away, working with Bones to take his X Wing to the edge of the fastest it could go in this condition. He flew in an arcing path that would, hopefully, bring him closer to Zara and Jess, without putting him directly in the sights of the TIEs, before that new ship destroyed him.

    Jess and Zara squirmed around the great wedge of the Corvette, skimming under the shields, sometimes close enough to reach out and touch the structure of the capital ship.

    The turrets tried to track them, but this close their X-wings would flash by quicker than the gunners could turn to keep up.

    It worked both ways. Jess would swerve to avoid one obstruction, only to find herself instantly heading into a new tower or comms dome.

    They were doing plenty of surface damage, and despite being flecked with minor blaster burns and dents from flying debris, her T-70 was still at optimal performance. Jess knew this could not last.

    The armada of TIEs would be incoming fast, and the dance could not keep going forever. When would the music end?

    She searched her brains for an answer. They had to get the kyber, it was inside the ship, through layers of hull and armour and bulkheads. Fighters were not good at taking out capital ships. Even a torp in the right place would only damage it.

    If only they could get inside, like they had with that behemoth's skeleton.

    Oh wait, I can get inside! she realised with dumbstruck awe. The exact same way the TIEs do!

    "Black Three to Two," she signalled, her voice wavering as the idea began to crystallise. "Did you see if the hangar bay doors are still open on that last pass? I'm thinking to deliver the torps where it will really hurt. Could do with wingmate..."

    She left the obvious statement unsaid. There was little chance they could get back out...

    "Hangar open, magfield up. You go, I'll distract out here." Zara quipped as Squirt reported something. Turning sharply Zara saw the radar dish and the shield projectors, she gave a half snort half chuckle as she opened fire on them both. Roaring through the explosions with her shields holding strong, it was then she glanced at what Squirt had reported and her eyes widened for a moment. "He's what?" She opened her comm to Tiber. "What are you doing, get the frack out of here!" She almost snarled, angry that he'd not jumped when he could have.

    The black ship fired, and the bolts chewed into the rear of Tiber's X-wing with unerring accuracy - with Force-accuracy. His ship screamed at him, but the TIEs were in-range of his weapons, at least -

    The Raider was burning, but it was still intact , even if its shields, comms and weapons were all down - indeed there was an exposed hangar, and the massive Kyber crystal was evident, glistening in the starlight -

    The Resurgent-class wasn't able to intervene, but the leading edge of dozens of TIEs were about to hit weapons range and the first caused the X-wings's targeting alarms to scream at the Resistance pilots swarming the Raider -

    Admiral Vonn shouted out across the First Order comms. "Accurate fire only! Massed fire could only hit the crystal, and it'll explode!" The TIEs held off, chastened, waiting until they were closer to Zara and Jess before opening fire.

    Jess heard the exchange between Zara and Tiber, and felt sympathetic daggers of pain in her heart. She had to make this work. She had to make sure this was not all for nothing.

    "Okay Rolo, we're going in on the next pass. Arm torpedoes."

    She weaved her x-wing between smoking turbo-laser turrets; Zara's handiwork clearing the path.

    She decelerated abruptly as she came to the edge of the Raider and flipped her trajectory back towards the hangar. The g-forces wrenched her body. Inertia-stabilizers were shutting down.

    Then she saw it, glittering like a giant diamond in the lights within the hangar.

    "Oh my Force... there it is... the kyber!" she whispered.

    Jess shoved forward the acceleration lever and unleashed a volley of laser cannon fire to clear her way. She arrowed straight for the hangar.

    As she clutched the control vanes, she flicked the safety cover off the torpedo launch and rested her thumb on the button. The auto-targeter flicked on, bringing up the display. It locked onto the crystal and the countdown began.

    Jess tensed and concentrated as the blasts and emotions swirled across space around her.

    "FRACK IT!!" Zara cursed. Something got through her shields and smacked hard into the port upper wing, the laser turret was mashed and useless. "Down to three......no problem." She snarled as she jerked to the side to avoid the burning wreckage of the Communications disc from her previous pass. "Get it done Tink, it's getting tense out here!"

    Tiber swore as the black ship opened fire, they were out to kill and they had extremely uncanny aim, which told him they had to be one of those space wizards and not the good kind. He set Bones to put the shields at 2/3rds back and a third front and start a random evasive pattern of flight, as well as could be done with the damage, keeping his hand on the controls to add even more randomness at a flick of them.

    He heard Zara’s call and a grim smile touched his face, ”You think I’m going to let you die out here on your own? To the nine hells with that…” he replied to her. The targeting computer began to beep, telling him the TIEs were now in range of his cannons and he began to fire whenever one came into the targeting pip, no matter where it was on the enemy fighters. He had the rear scanners keep a focus on the black ship behind him and if he survived this he was going to flip and loose all his torps on that thing.



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  17. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Mod-Emperor of the EUC, Lit, RPF and SWC star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: Admiral Vonn
    Kuat control

    There were a handful of moments where the Imperial corvette was suddenly illuminated through every window it had, a green glow emerging from the hangar, energy coruscating across the hull -

    BOOM.

    The Kyber crystal went up in a sphere of white energy.

    The Raider vanished.

    The Resurgent nearby suddenly shed its shields, and its lower hull was scorched clean of sensors, weapons and -

    The TIE pilots were blinded, and Tiber’s fire hit them -

    Zara’s fighter was thrown up and away, damaged -

    The Night Buzzard turned away from the conflagration moments beforehand, heading towards the Kuat control centre to enact preemptive punishment -

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  18. Adalia-Durron

    Adalia-Durron WNU Mod - Always Watching..... star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2003
    IC Tiber and Zara - just the two of us @darthbernael - this is going to be.........interesting.

    Kuat


    One moment Tiber was being chased by an angry transport, one that had unerring aim and the next his X Wing’s canopy went white with an explosion. As the light began to fade, he sighed slightly as the firing that had been hammering the back end of his fighter ceased. Risking a quick glance over his shoulder he saw that the freighter was breaking off, heading more toward Kuat.

    Turning back forward he could see that several of the TIEs had been hit by his fusillade of shots. He only saw one X Wing, which caused him to swear again and then he felt guilty that he felt relief when he recognised it as he drew closer to it. He pulled his fighter up alongside hers and told Bones to talk to her droid, ”Tell her it looks like we’re both out of luck for jumping out of here. We need to find something that will let us get our butts out of here before they decide to swat us from the sky.”

    When she'd lost the laser and Squirt confirmed that Jess had gone in, so she pulled hard away from the ship. If Jess was successful, it would blow, she just hoped the young woman was high tailing it out with her.

    Without warning her vision was blurred by a blinding flash of light that caused her to turn away at the same time as her ship being thrown away, end over end. Struggling blindly with the controls she was able to get a straight line happening when Squirt let her know she had serious damage and worse, no hyperdrive. She scanned her screen, TIE's gone, other ships leaving, one X Wing. "Squirt, who is that out there?" A message scrolled over her screen and as she read the transmission from Tiber, she realised Jess was gone. The young woman who made strange story book references, was dead. Zara closed her eyes for a moment as the sting of a tear threatened. Now as not the time to cry, but she would, over both the team’s losses. "Squirt, tell him I got nothing, no options." She opened her eyes and caught that he was beside her. It was only a matter of time before they were discovered and destroyed.

    The TIEs were scattered all over, the Destroyer was essentially blind on the underside, and the Kuati sensors wouldn't be able to make sense of anything for a long moment. All-in-all, they were completely in the clear - but had no hyperdrives to speak of. They would have to find a new ship in due course, but for now, they didn't have long to head to the surface.

    Tiber pressed the com button, reaching out on the frequency they’d been given to contact the Resistance. ”Home, Black 1. 1 and 2 bingo lances, bingo hyper capability. Going to ground. Will have our shielded beacons with us.” He told Bones to repeat the message until the FO net came back up and could catch the transmission.

    He switched freqs, to the Black Squadron one, ”Z, sent a message home. Not seeing anything we can acquire easily on our own, especially with our ammo status. Finding somewhere remote on the surface and waiting for pickup may be our best option.” He turned his fighter, weaving through the chaos, staying away from the areas of most activity. He had the sensors tuned so that they could find the most remote area that they could possibly put their ships down in.

    Zara was in shock she realised as her comm opened and she heard him speak. He was still alive, she was still alive and there was no real reason for it. She listened before slowly nodding and responding. "Copy." She wasn't in the mood for conversation as she banked hard to follow him. The debris field was everywhere, it was thick and chaotic and the perfect place to hide a couple of rogue X Wings. Her heart ached for the losses, they'd been a team, and she wondered if 'he' felt anything as she flew on instinct. Going down to the planet, it was a big risk, but they had no choice, she still had power, but no hyperdrive and fuel was running low.

    Indeed, the dogfighting had been draining on their fuel. They both had a beep; they would need to land in the next half an hour, which meant their range was even more limited. All in all, they'd succeeded, but the hard part of the mission was getting out. With a holed Super Star Destroyer, the kyber destroyed, dozens of TIEs wrecked and a Resurgent scoured on one hull, it would go down as a success...

    But whether that mattered to the two of them right now was another thing.

    Tiber had heard the strain in her voice, knew how she felt but there was not time to feel anything for all that had happened. They were both in extreme danger and he had to get them somewhere so they had a chance to survive. He had Bones scanning as he was sure she had her droid doing. When she spoke, he could tell she was trying to get herself under control as well. And then Bones beeped, agreeing with what she’d said.

    ”Then we’ll try that. Hopefully it’s remote enough we’ll be able to survive long enough to have someone, anyone from the Resistance find us.” He continued to dodge through the debris as they drew closer and then they were at the atmosphere, about to begin their descent toward wherever they could find. Which, of course, was when his display beeped that he only had a couple minutes more of fuel.

    Squirt reported something that caused Zara to frown. "Who told you that?" She asked to which her droid told her. So he was low on fuel, lower than her clearly and she began to think hard as they entered the planets atmosphere. "How many clicks before you go down?" She asked honestly. "Need about 50." She added checking her screens. The outcrop was covered in underbrush from what she could tell, but it was the only area with a solid base under it. Everything else was marsh land, the ships would sink within moments and then they'd probably follow closely behind. There was one issue, the area was deeply cover but it was on the edge of looked like a cliff face. "Squirt? How deep is the foliage?" She asked, a few beeps and whistles later her screen reported, 2 meters, not too bad. She waited for Tiber to respond.

    Tiber was shutting down as many unnecessary systems as possible to save fuel when Zara called back. He finished what he was doing and checked his remaining balance. ”I may have to glide a bit of it but it’ll be close, Z.” he replied. He was basically following her to where she’d picked out now.

    "Ok Squirt, we gotta get this right, transmit co-ordinates and get in front of our wing. The area is about 30 meters long and only 6 wide, this is going to be tight." She didn't want him to know that, this was going to be hard enough. She began her decent and slowed hoping he had enough to do the same "Stay on my six, Squirt is giving your droid details." She reported to him.

    Tiber saw the coordinates appear onscreen and smiled slightly as her fighter maneuvered before his. He slowly extended the speed brakes as she slowed, keeping himself behind her, throttling back as well, the fighter beginning to buck slightly with the damage it had already taken. ”Right behind you, following you in.”

    She didn't acknowledge the landing point was in sight and she was concentrating hard as things were always different in atmosphere. Flicking a switch she extended the landing struts as she slowed, the space was narrow but she knew the could do it. Lowering as she slowed she heard the scrub crunching beneath her as her craft sank into so soft plant life on the cliff edge. The edge she was very well aware of and a quick glance showed her waves of the ocean crashing below, way below. Eventually the X Wing stopped sinking when the plants beside the craft were at cockpit level. She sighed as she began to shut it down and opened the comm. "I'm down, you?" she asked with concern.

    Tiber had managed to get the struts out, but had to pump them out manually to save fuel. Which meant his shock harness wasn’t retracted fully when the fuel gave out about 20 feet above the landing spot. The bottom dropped out and the fighter slammed against the turf, through the tall grass in less than a second. The response to Zara came from Bones. The droid had cut itself free of the shaft it normally occupied and was currently trying to blow the canopy seals as, just as when Dev’s Y Wing had exploded, his helmet had smashed into the coming on the side of the cockpit and he was out.

    Zara frowned at Squirts translation, "Why is his droid answering? We're on the ground now?" She tried to turn around to look before opening to him. "Lead? Respond please?" She needed to keep this all business, not allow her personal feelings to lace their way in.

    No response.

    "Lt. Ordwgal? Please respond?" She began popping her canopy and reaching around to get her emergency bag containing food stuffs, essential items and medical supplies. "Squirt, get yourself out and find somewhere for us to set up a camp or something", she looked around as she stood and unclipped the back of her helmet around her lekku, pulling it forward and dumping it on her floor. The air was cleaner than she thought it would be, and the smell was rather, earthy. Standing she could see the local plant life, mostly grasses, were very tall, and the ship was almost covered now her S Foils were locked, should be easier to cover them more. Turning she tried to see the other craft and was more than a little surprised how close he'd gotten to her ship. Looking to the long grass and then back to his ship she made the decision to stay out of the long grass as long as she could, so with that in mind she climbed to the front of her ship and hit the button to close the cockpit just as Squirt jettison himself and began to move away. "Ok Zara, you can do this." She muttered to herself as she slung the bag over her shoulder and pushed it to the back before laying down. Slowly she edged over the cockpit and over the now gaping hole where Squirt had been, then standing and walking to the back of her engines. The gap to the nose of his craft was only a meter apart and she knew she could jump it, so she did.

    Once cleared she began to crawl up the nose of his ship to the cockpit and reached around to the almost secret button all pilots knew was there, pushing it as she tried to see what was going on. He was slumped against the side of the canopy, so when it started lifting his head lolled to the front. It was clear he was not conscious. "Wonderful." She muttered as she reached in and undid his helmet. She couldn't reach to remove it so the shimmied forward before swinging her legs around and splitting them either side of his seat with her rump on the edge of the cockpit. "Ok, stay still." She was talking nervously, for all she knew his neck was broken and this would end his life, she couldn't tell. So ever so gently she removed the helmet.

    Tiber’s head fell forward slightly, softly hitting the inside of her leg, near her knee, once the helmet came off. He didn’t move for a couple moments. And then a low groan came from his lips. Before he opened his eyes he felt the soreness in his neck, felt something soft yet hard, that wasn’t the liner of his helmet against his forehead. He heard the wind and knew his X Wing had to be on the ground. Slowly he opened his eyes and blinked a couple times. When his eyes focused he could only see about half the cockpit, at the bottom of his vision. Whatever his head was against was blocking part of his vision.

    And then he realized what his head was resting on.

    Sitting up suddenly, he fell backward, hitting the back of his head against the back of the seat, seeing stars for a moment. ”Sorry Zara, I, ummm, didn’t mean to be, uhhh, laying on your, uhhhh, leg.” He lifted his hands to hold his head steady, the stars fading from his vision and her leg was still there. Turning his head slightly, he groaned again at the pain in his neck as he saw that she was seated on the edge of the cockpit, one leg on either side of his seat. ”My head hurts…” he said slowly, trying not to stare, entranced by her sitting there.

    "Forget it." She carefully took hold of his chin as he seemed to be attempting to gain control again. "Not surprised your head hurts, you've got a nasty cut on it." She gently tilted his head to the side. "Stay put." Reaching around behind her she pulled her bag to the front and dug around in it, pulling out an antiseptic wipe. "This might sting." She warned as she dabbed at the cut to clean up the blood and get a better look at it. "It's not so bad, let me cover it." Going back into the bag she pulled out a bacta patch and proceeded to carefully place it over the cut on his forehead. "Now its just concussion we have to worry about, no sleeping for you for at least 12 hours."

    Tiber hissed as the antiseptic touched the cut but otherwise held still. He did feel some weariness as she applied the bacta patch, but the healing gel started to help with the stinging of the cut and he nodded slightly as she mentioned the possibility of concussion. ”That’s twice I’ve been knocked out this mission. Happened too when I was slammed into the shaft, when...Dev...bought it…” he finished, quietly, sadly.

    All of it hit him in that moment, all that this mission had already cost them. And it was his responsibility, he’d been leading them. He looked in her eyes, ”Z, I failed them. I should have done more, led us better, and now they’re gone.” he whispered.

    It wasn't his fault, she knew that. "No......things happen." She waved a hand dismissively. "If anything it should be Jess here taking care of you, I should done what she did, I shouldn't have dumped all my torps, I should have thought ahead. But I didn't and now she's gone and I have to live with that." She sat up to survey the area, the earlier weakness pushed down deep. "We've both got demons, but right now we need to get the ships covered and find somewhere to ......I dunno, hide?" She looked back. "Pretty sure you're concussed." She let her breath out slowly as she tried to sort out a plan. "OK, I have a camo net gun, not sure it will cover both ships, but pretty close in this long grassy stuff." She indicated over the side. "How about you get what you need, I'll jump down, catch you, get you somewhere and collect the stuff from my ship and get them covered?" Zara narrowed her blue eyes, "you aren't even comprehending me much less listening to me right now are you?" She was going to have to just tell him till his brain stopped moving about in his skull.

    He swung his head around slowly, surveying the area, trying to think. He heard what she was saying but at the same time it seemed like a buzzing sound. He looked down, looked back up at her, ”Need to get away from our ships. I’ve got a bugout bag and it has the emergency locators with the coded Resistance emitter frequency in them. Hope the grass hides the ships well.” He didn’t realize she’d said most of that.

    He looked over the side of the fighter, ”Not sure I can make that at the moment, but don’t want to fall on you and hurt you.” He banged the side and the boarding ladder fell down, locking into place. He grabbed the bag, his blaster rifle from its mount, and the medkit as well. Stepping over the side, his head spun for a moment and he almost fell off the side before he caught himself. ”Whoa!” he slowly made his way down the ladder, then looked at the shorter drop and sighed, time to get it over with.

    She was right, he wasn't listening, or couldn't focus to listen. Zara tried to help but it was clear he was determined to do what he had to do, almost in a robotic fashion. She looked to his droid, "He's not good you know, best get out of there and make sure he doesn't fall off the cliff or worse." The droid warbled a response as it freed itself. She did wonder what could be worse for a brief moment before standing, pushing her bag back and moving back to her own ship. "Ok Squirt, get yourself out and find somewhere for us to set up for a bit, hidden would be great." She lay down on the the wing strut she was able to open the storage compartment, pulling out the camogun and a second bag with survival supplies and a small tent in it, nearby Squirt departed. As she sat up she heard a cracking sound. Turning she frowned as she listened to the light breeze and the sound of rocks tumbling from what seemed nearby. Giving her head a shake she stood up and slung the second bag opposite to the first before estimating the distance and jumping off the wing. As she hit the ground there was another cracking sound and more rocks falling, she looked down.

    There was a massive crack forming under her feet and Zara suddenly realised the cliff face wasn't stable. Without warning it jerked, the ships shuddered and leaned sharply toward the cliff edge. "FRACK IT!!" She yelled as she struggled through the grass to get to the ladder of the second ship. As she reached it, she heard his droid nearby and found him at the bottom of the ladder. She looked down, the crack seemed to be following her as she wrapped her arms about his waist. "Don't have time for this, Come on, we gotta move!" She dragged him backward blindly into the undergrowth. Another thunderous crack and the ships leaned more, more falling rocks were heard and much bigger ones, as they were louder.

    Tiber heard noises, cracking sounds, and then squawked as he felt Zara’s arms go around his waist. He let go of the ladder as she pulled and tried to hold himself so he slid down as she pulled backward. As his feet hit the ground he pushed backward as she moved trying to help her get them both away from the ships. ”Bones, get clear and tell me when we’re clear of the cracking!”

    He heard Bones jets fire and saw the droid lift and fly past his head before hearing him hover slightly behind them. He pushed harder against the ground as they moved, trying to help them move further. ”Hope you got everything you need, Z, and your droid got free.” he called back over his shoulder.

    "Got it all." She snapped, her keen eyes forward as she dragged, the pair of X Wings tilting further and a quick look told her they'd cleared the cracking as the foliage was moving in front of them.

    Than it happened, the cliff gave way.

    Zara stumbled and fell backward as the vision of her ship, and his, falling over the edge was all she could see before her. The roar of heavy rocks crashing and tumbling down followed by the crushing of metal and transparisteel, something blew up as well. Beneath them the ground shook with the power of what was happening, finally dust rose as the sounds began to subside. "Frack." She muttered as she looked down the man in her lap, "Well, I think the ships are covered enough." She sighed loudly, "Think the First Order will think we were in them?"

    The cracking sounds had been increasing and Bones tweetled that they were clear as the foliage closed around them. And then the long grasses swayed wildly. He could see the busted up X Wing he’d just been in tilt and begin to slide. Most of the remainder he missed as Zara fell backward, pulling him with her.

    When she landed on the ground he suddenly realized where he was and hoped she didn’t see his blush. He cringed as he heard the shattering of their ships and the explosions but his mind also couldn’t get the feel of her pressed against him or her scent from the fore of his thoughts. He concentrated hard as she spoke both to know that he heard her and to try to not focus on the feeling of being where he was.

    ”Hope so. Don’t need them hunting us. But might be best to get as much room as possible between here and us as quickly as possible.” he said as he turned his head to look back at her.

    Bones tweetled at him again and he looked up sharply at the hovering droid, ”No, I’m not saying that.” he said, just as sharply as his look.

    Zara glanced between Tiber and the Droid, wishing she spoke droid.


    TAG @Sinrebirth
     
  19. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Mod-Emperor of the EUC, Lit, RPF and SWC star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: Admiral Vonn
    Kuat Control

    The Knights of Ren landed as the world below embraced night.

    He swallowed, well aware that he may be waiting for his death now.

    The personal enforcers of the Supreme Leader, Kylo Ren, he knew the Knights only be reputation.

    Ap'lek, Cardo, Kuruk, Trudgen, Ushar, and Vicrul.

    They were often deployed on missions without their Master, but they were renowned for their brutal nature. Several planets had fallen following their attendance, but usually at the expense of the traditional membership of the First Order military; for them to have to attend was a death sentence for the commanding officer who had failed.

    Vonn nonetheless intended to face his death with honour.

    Vicrul stepped forward from the others as they disembarked from the Night Buzzard, his scythe evident

    "My Lords," Vonn started. "The Resistance attack will merely delay the deployment of the Eclipse, when we find a new kyber crystal -"

    Cardo's hand held out and Vonn felt his neck tighten, cutting off his words.

    The Force.

    Continuing to step forward, Vicrul raised his weapon -

    And then froze.

    He turned to the others, and, as if they had each received a message that nobody could here, he turned back to their ship as the others headed back up the ramp.

    Breathing sharply, Vonn held his throat in surprise. "I don't understand -"

    He was being spared?

    His aide de camp was rushing over, a datapad in hand, as the Night Buzzard lifted off. "Admiral! The comms have cleared up! It's over all channels!"

    Taking back his senses, Vonn growled at the man shouting across the landing pad as if military decorum had died.

    "It's the Emperor!"
    ---
    Kuat Moon, somewhere or other

    He had managed to steal a nice and new TIE Marauder, a prototype assault ship design, though Poe had seen some on Batuu half a year ago. The current troop transport of the First Order was an awful box-shaped thing, so it followed that they would create their own version of the old TIE Reaper. The TIE Fighter had became the TIE Whisper; the TIE Interceptor the TIE Baron, and so on and so forth. Eventually the Marauder would replace that awful box thing.

    BB-8 made a negative mourning sound. He couldn't detect any trace of the others. Not Tiber, Zara, Jess or Dev.

    Poe released a breath.

    He had expected as much, but it wasn't what he wanted to hear.

    Tiber and Zara and Dev, he hadn't know them well but the pain was still real.

    As for Jess? His eyes welled up, and held his face in his hands as he breathed in and out.

    The astromech made a low noise, sidling up to Poe and leaning on his leg in the droid's equivalent of a nuzzling pet.

    Snap and Aryan would be here soon, he realized, with firepower.

    "Alright," Poe said. He pointed at the Eclipse, still vomiting debris. "We are going to go out of our way to blow that thing up. I want it gone. My friends died to keep that from terrorizing the galaxy and -"

    BB-8 suddenly stood upright, and released a panicked hoot.

    "What, what is it BB?"

    The droid told him.

    He played His words.

    Poe keyed the engines and took off, heading towards the jump-point at top speed.

    He needed to get back to Ajan Kloss.

    NOW.

    ---
    Kuat surface, nightfall

    The two of them were in a bad shape, but they were alive, and well.

    How much of their ships survival kits they had managed to keep on them was one question, but their droid at least could give them notice of local predators. It became obvious however they'd landed in some kind of nature reserve in the middle of Kuat City - a park, or perhaps a zoo. Which was a lucky windfall, but inevitably their landing would be investigated, though other pieces of raining debris had been evident as tiny streaks in the darkening sky.

    They would need to set up camp, settle in, figure out what they had, and didn't have, and needed.

    It was quiet, the darkness starred by the lights of the orbital shipyard and sweeping TIE fighters in the far distance.

    Bones abruptly tweetled in panic.

    Without explanation, he activated what was playing across all the comms.

    "At last the work of generations is complete. The great error is corrected. The day of victory is at hand. The day of revenge. The day of the Sith."

    That was the unmistakable voice of Emperor Palpatine.

    He was back.

    ---
    Aboard the Steadfast, elsewhere

    A fist squeezed, a First Order adjunct died, and Kylo Ren reached out, summoning back his Knights of Ren from Kuat.

    The failure of Admiral Vonn could wait.

    "Get me Pryde and Hux."

    He looked at the deceased form at his feet, and snarled in irritation.

    TAG: @Adalia-Durron, @darthbernael (combo), mentions for @Jerjerrod-Lennox and @Kurisan for Poe's reaction, @HanSolo29 too
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2021
  20. Adalia-Durron

    Adalia-Durron WNU Mod - Always Watching..... star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2003
    IC Tiber and Zara (Combo with Sinre and Bernael)
    Kuat surface, nightfall



    Tiber had managed to convince Bones that as long as Zara was around, while they were here, he’d be fine. Once he was able to do so, the droid took up station, sensors out to see if any First Order troops, fighters or whatever wildlife was here was approaching. As well he scanned for the best possible places for them to set up a camp if they were to be here for a while, away from anything that appeared to be a den for any big creature.

    He was just settling, trying to keep his focus, when Bones let out a warning and the audio began to play. When it played through he sat there, in shock. He’d heard that voice in old footage on the Net, surely everyone knew who that was. And then it hit him, their entire mission had been for naught. His head dropped between his knees and he groaned. ”We lost them for nothing, their sacrifice doesn’t matter if He is back.”

    Squirt was resting nearby, the droids tiny disc slowly circling as it watched its owner lower her counterpart to the ground. Receiving a transmission its dome began to spin as it let loose a series of panicked toots. The droids counterpart played what it'd just received.

    Zara stopped before the droid, not turning, but listening. Once the transmission completed she turned as Tiber spoke and slowly sat down beside her droid, leaning against its circular body, dumbstruck. "How?" She wondered out loud in a soft whisper, "My parents fought that war already."

    Bones keened sadly, affirming that it was on all open channels, and there was a lot of traffic on First Order lines now. Panic, presumably. He couldn't decrypt it, but he could note an increase in data flow. The stars rolled over head, watching and wondering.

    Zara looked to the sky, the vast endless sky. Tiber was right, but the both couldn't be defeatist. If the wanted to live through this, they had to move away from their destroyed craft, they had to get distance. She began to look around and noted a path as such that the droids might be able to move on. She stood and crossed to Tiber, bending and slipping her arm around his waist and his over her shoulder. "Come on, we can stay here." She grunted as she pulled him up to stand, "One problem at a time, come on, move your butt." She had to keep him awake and walking was a good way to do it.

    He grunted as they stood, leaning against her. He was distracted from the dark thoughts for a moment by the feel and her scent but somehow retained the sense to not tell her. Admitting he liked the sensation would most likely cause caustic remarks and him getting dumped on his butt. And she was right, after all. They had to keep moving and find a place to hole up.

    As they began to walk, he called out to Bones, ”You and Squirt get us somewhere we can be safe, I’ll be fine.”

    He turned his head slightly, catching her profile in the starlight, ”I just hope this isn’t a game trail.” he meant it as a bit of a joke as well as seriously but in his state he wasn’t sure how it came out. ”Thank you Z, for getting me out of my bird before it took that dive.”

    Zara snorted. "Yeah, like I'd do otherwise? I'd be stuck here alone not to mention the report I'd have to write." She readjusted her grip on his waist. "Just keep walking, cause if this is a game trail, we need to get off it asap." Even through his flight suit she could feel his body close to hers, muscles under her hands and arm, and that bugged her, she kept telling herself she didn't care but deep down she knew it was a lie.

    Time was abstract and how much of it they'd spent stumbling was another mystery to Zara, but the sky was lightening up, indicating the sun was coming up. Somehow she convinced herself that was a good thing, predators work at night mostly, don't they? She could hear the calls of what she assumed were bird life as the area woke for another day. In the distance she heard ships flying so decided to stop and see what she could. Finding a big tree she lowered her counterpart to the ground. "Stay put, I'm going to see what I can see." Moments later she was climbing a tree, something she'd done a million times as a child, but seemed a little harder now she was an adult. Once she'd reached a good strong fork she stood up, grasping branches as she went and gazed out back to where they'd come from. In the distance she could make out three ships circling and sighed. "They found our X Wings." She called down, "just hope they figured we were in them." Biting her lip she considered their next move before turning and looking the other way. "There's a really large fence about 50 or so meters ahead!" This image surprised her, "probably has a gate or something!" Immediately she began to climb down, jumping the last meter. "Come on, we have a destination at least."

    The trees parted as one would expect them to, and the two of them were confronted by a perplexed animal. It was a bantha, of all things, and it loomed over them, curious.

    It seemed as if it wanted to help.

    Zara had just slung her bag back on when the beast appeared, she stopped in her tracks her hand moving slowly to her blaster. "I'm no expert, but is that a Bantha?" her voice soft. She'd seen them in the Conservation park back on Bakura so recalled what they looked like. "I don't think they are native to Kuat." She added turning to glance at Tiber, "Aren't they from Tatooine?"

    Tiber started chuckling, in a low tone. ”We’re in a zoo.” he said, between the laughs. ”Hopefully whatever eats them isn’t in this same enclosure.” he stated, with a little less humor. Seeing that it was just docilely standing there before them, ”Maybe it’ll let us ride it, would help us get further away before they find our ships and possibly bring us somewhere that we could be safe for a time.”

    It leaned over them, smelling them. It could tell at least one of them was hurt in some manner, and it settled down to its knees to lower itself. It was being accommodating, but this was a very much domesticated Bantha, and the creatures weren’t necessarily particular aggressive anyway.

    Zara had never been good with big animals, on visits to her Aunts estate on Akrian, she'd even been afraid of the equines there. As it leaned forward, she backed up to the tree. "What's it want? What's it doing?" She asked in a nervous tone.

    Tiber loosened himself from her grip, reluctantly, as Zara backed away from the Bantha. He turned to Bones, asking if there were any other large creatures, especially predators, in the immediate area but received a message that they were safe, for the moment. He slowly approached the large herbivore, letting it get his scent.

    It lowed and shook it’s head but stood still, letting him approach. With it kneeled down he was able to pull himself up onto it’s back, swaying slightly as his head spun with the effort. Looking over to Zara, ”It wants to help, I think it’s been slightly domesticated. Which means it knows we’re in distress and need to find a place to rest. I’ll hold you if you’re worried or scared.”

    Her eyes widened. "I am NOT getting on that thing!"

    He smiled slightly, ”Ok, then you can walk along beside it and I’ll just take a nap up here.” he said as he crossed his arms behind his head, leaning back until he laid on the thick fur of it’s back.

    Zara gritted her teeth and her stubborn streak was way wider than he could have imagined. "Fine!" She leaned forward a little and grabbed his bag, slinging it over her other shoulder opposite to her own. "No problem, I'll just carry all this ..........stuff. I have managed to stay conscious the whole time, and you going to sleep? It could very well mean not waking up, but hey, by all means, sleep away." She adjusted the bags and stared up at him in defiance, her lips in a firm hard line. There was no way she was getting on that beast.

    The beast lowed at her again, shuffling around so it’s large head faced her, the soulful eyes looking at her. It raised it’s head up for a moment and let her notice the loosely dangling leg behind it’s mane. Tiber had passed out on it’s back before she’d even finished her comment. And his leg was twitching as he lay on the beast’s back, unconscious.

    Now she was angry. "Krifing hell! Damn you!" She cursed as she ripped both bags from her shoulders. The creature wasn't being aggressive, but that didn't mean much to Zara, she was simply scared of it. With her arms out to the side she moved around it. "Now you just stay there, and don't move and we will be fine." She said in an even tone as she moved, "That's good....boy...girl......whatever the hell you are.." Without taking her eyes off the Banthas she eased close to its neck area, her heart racing and sweat forming as her fear heightened. Reaching out she grabbed his ankle, this wasn't going to be pretty and may well hurt him more, but in her mind, it was her only option.

    She pulled hard.

    Stepping back as his limp body flopped to the ground and she dragged it away from the Bantha by his ankle, using both hands. "Remind me to kick your arse when you wake up!" She snarled

    As Tiber’s body slid from the bantha’s back, the creature tried to minimize the fall that would occur when Zara got him off. Still, as she finished pulling him from it, the back of his head made a Clonk! sound as it hit the loamy surface, leaving a small dish shaped imprint in the soil.

    As she dragged him, the loose soil and grasses began to accumulate along his free leg, making her task harder the further she dragged him from the Bantha. To make matters worse, while she was pulling, he began coughing, a wet sound, his body shaking slightly as he coughed. The effects were beginning to suggest more and more a concussion and with his face up he stood a good chance of suffocating on whatever was in his throat.

    She dropped his leg as they were far enough from the beast. She knelt down and dragged his legs back together before rolling him on his side, where he began to vomit. "There are so many levels I hate you on right now, I swear you live through this and will kill you and I will make it kriffin' slow." She muttered as brushed the dirt and mud from his body. It was clearly a concussion, "Oi, Tiber!! WAKE UP!!" She almost yelled as she brushed his hair back and began to put him in the coma position. She wasn't good with this and wasn't sure what to do next.

    Slowly Tiber began to come back to his senses. His mouth tasted foul, guessing he’d just thrown up. Someone was yelling at him and he didn’t understand why at first. Lolling his head toward the sound his vision began to clear. ”An angel, must be dead…” he muttered. And then he moaned as even that movement of his head brought pain.

    Turning his head he saw Bones blearily, ”Bones, head trauma…” he croaked out. His droid rolled over and scanned him, beeping and screeching. An armature extended and jabbed him in the arm, depressing the plunger and injecting some medicine. His head still ached but it felt a little dulled as the medicine filled his system. Turning back toward Zara, ”Sorry I fell asleep.” he mumbled.

    She waved the bad breath smell with her hand. "And the rest. An I am not angel, pull another stunt like that and I will be your worst nightmare." She said leaning over to get her bag and pulling out a canteen of water. "Here, wash your mouth out and have a drink." She sighed shaking her head.

    He took the canteen, swirling the water around in his mouth, then turning away from her to spit it out. Turning back, he chuckled weakly, ”Stunt? The bantha wants to help, and we could use a ‘friend’ here.”

    She sighed loudly. "For all we know he's the dinner for what ever is in this place and I am not so sure I want to be snack on top of dinner!" She shifted an comfortably, "It scares the hell out of me anyway." She looked down, confessing a fear is a weakness, at least she thought it was.

    Tiber pulled himself up into more of a seated position. Looking at her he could see the fear she had, even now there was a trace. ”What about it scares you?” he asked quietly.

    She looked at him, he looked terrible. "I think your condition is more relevant." Moving over to him she brushed the mud and leaf litter off the back of his head and shoulders. "We can just stay here till you feel better, if the Bantha takes off, we climb the tree and hope whatever comes isn't tall or hungry."

    The darkness of Kuat was deepening, and stars lit up in orbit. In their descent they'd slipped to the other side of the planet, but they could still see the shipyards for they encircled the world. Bones keened quietly, peering up, discerning which lights were ships or constellations. The droid suddenly wobbled on its feet, surprised by what it had detected.

    It screeched loudly -

    The Bantha jumped -

    Squirt shortly joined in as he found what Bones had found -

    Tiber was about to respond and tell Zara that her fears were just as valid as his physical injuries when the Bantha jumped at the noises coming from Bones. He glanced over, seeing that the droid was focused on the sky making him look up at the stars as well, trying to discern what it was that had set off his Astromech. Glancing at Zara as Squirt began screeching too he turned back to Bones, ”What is it little guy? What have you found?”

    Turning to look at Squirt before following Tiber's lead and looked up. Had help arrived?

    They knew what the Kuat shipyards were building on the this side of the planet!

    Together, they projected an image of the ship.

    [​IMG]

    A Megador-class Star Dreadnought.

    Another Supremacy.

    A mobile shipyard, capital and warship all-in-one.


    TAG @Kurisan @Sinrebirth
     
  21. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 26, 2016
    Jess Pava
    [Combo with @Sinrebirth ]

    [​IMG]

    3...2...1...

    Jess thumbed the trigger and the torpedoes fizzed away, leaving instant trails of white smoke inside the corvette's hangar.

    She slammed retro thrusters to arrest the forward momentum of the x-wing before it crashed into the far wall of the hangar. The starfighter spun like crazy and she was thrown against the straps of her harness.

    Jess knew this must be it. Her life flashed before her eyes...

    A procession of memories and places and faces flickered across her mind all in an instant. Her parents... the slavers... her obsession with Skywalker... the New Republic... the beginnings of the Resistance... everything that happened at Starkiller Base...

    For some reason she would never admit to anyone, her final vision was that of Poe's face. That smile.

    A spark ignited inside Jessika's soul. She could survive this. She had to! A sun-bright flash was spreading around her and the x-wing. The Kyber crystal had detonated, exploding its incredible energies.

    It all seemed to happen in slow motion. The glow was almost divine...

    She slammed forward the hyperdrive lever. It was still programmed with the last vectors and distance. That would take her into an equivalent microjump in whatever trajectory she happened to be facing. If she was facing a wall of the hangar... then impact and instant death.

    She closed her eyes.

    An eternity seemed to pass.

    There was not instant death.

    Rolo screamed. Jess opened her eyes and gasped. She had come out of the microjump inside the atmosphere of some planet.

    She had no time to think about that. The x-wing was terribly damaged. A wing hung off on the port side, and the upper blaster cannon was severed on the starboard. She was out of control, descending towards ground.

    Jess closed the s-foils to make the best effort at normal wings. The engines sputtered. She was racing towards the surface of the planet... Kuat, it had to be Kuat, she decided... at breakneck speed.

    She tried to lift the nose of the T-70, wrestling against gravity and inertia, the engines dying. Jess found herself piloting an extremely ungainly glider. She smashed buttons. Systems refused to respond. There was no way to slow down.

    She levelled out but the descent was inexorable. She was too afraid to look at the altimeter.

    "Rolo, prepare for emergency landing," she said, laughing at herself for the most obvious statement in the history of space travel.

    There was a reasonably flat canyon ahead, devoid of the structures that clustered the planet's surface. She was going to hit it, hard.

    She wondered about the microjump. What were the odds, in the middle of that crazy spin, that she would hit the hyperdrive precisely at the right moment to take it out of the hangar? 1 in 16 maybe? She prayed that whatever deity had watched over her at that moment, was not going to abandon her now...

    The x-wing plummeted on its course. She felt the bottom touch ground with an ear-splitting crunch. Then the slide commenced.

    Please don't blow up! she thought.

    The slide was noisy, and horrible, and it could only be likened to a scream.

    The canyon was in fact a metal concourse in Kuat City, but what could you do when you had just launched a micro-jump and were using the atmosphere to slow you down.

    It was a miracle she was alive.

    The miracle was expensive.

    And her X-wing was paying the price.

    She skipped off the edge and into, or rather, onto, a river, skipping across it as if a stone -

    Splash!

    YANK!


    With every 'skim' the X-wing arrested speed, but also threw her forward and then backwards -

    An s-foil spun away, then a second, then a third -

    She had one left when she hit the beech on the other side of the water, and slid into a hill of sand that left her cockpit part submerged...

    But she'd survived!

    Jess recovered, coughing, as the x-wing finally came to a halt.

    Correction: the ex-x-wing.

    She stared for a moment at the remains of the wrecked starship. She checked her legs and arms; no breaks. Apart from a pain in her back and shoulders where the grav-harness straps had dug in, she was unhurt. A miracle!

    The first thing Jess thought of was to call the others. She grabbed the comm controls but they were completely dead. The antenna would have been destroyed with the rest of the chassis anyway. She had no way to let them know she had - somehow - made it!

    She struggled out of the cockpit and called to Rolo.

    The "valley" was actually an artificial landscape - a steep-sided concourse. The cities of Kuat loomed above. There would no doubt be pursuers any moment. She grabbed her pistol.

    "Come on Rolo, we're leaving."

    Rolo tweetled triumphantly, and popped up, wobbling and then falling with a screech -

    He rolled into the sand, grumbling as only a droid could.

    They would suddenly recognize a gaggle of civilians in swimwear, and a speeder park behind it. They'd actually crashed into a public beech! A handful of the humans were already on their comlinks -

    "Oh, not good," breathed Jess, imagining the calls going out on those comlinks.

    She was going to need to get out of here, quickly. To where - well that part of the plan would have to wait.

    She spotted the speeders and made best speed toward them, Rolo trundling along behind.

    She kept her hand near the blaster pistol on her hip, just in case, but did not draw it. She did not want to cause a panic or hurt anyone.

    [​IMG]

    Rolo tootled triumphantly as he made it off the sand to the rocky hardstanding, and he turned his head to the speeder. He popped open a miniature scanning dish from his head, picking up transmissions, but he tweeted that he had no indication they'd been reported yet.

    He also beeped at one of the speeders.

    Do we steal one?

    Jess nodded with a pain in her heart. "We just have to get away from here first... away from the wreck. Then we consider the next move."

    She selected an open-topped one away from the crowds, partially shielded by the outlines of others so she could do what she needed without being noticed.

    "This one, Rolo, get in the back and keep a lookout!"

    She leapt in and reached under the console. They were wired in a similar way to aircars with the retros ignited from an electronic pulse. If she could just hotwire the thing quickly.

    Rolo just about managed to get in, but in-time for the speeder to shudder to life - and for an angry looking human in his swim-shorts to point aggressively -

    The droid screeched at her to go!

    If someone wasn’t reporting her, they would be now! Jess hit the accelerator and the speeder zoomed away from the resort area.

    "Sorry," she mumbled. "I'll try not to crash it..."

    The Resistance pilot needed to get her head together. Entirely too much sensory and emotional overload had occurred recently in her life. The crystal was destroyed. That meant the mission was a success. But the others...? She wished she could contact them to let them know about her, and in turn make sure they were alright. Zara had been right with her when the crystal blew. Could she have been caught in the explosive energy wave? And Tiber? Only now she remembered there was a fleet of TIEs after him, and there was that chatter of another ship suddenly emerging from hyperspace next to him.

    And, Poe.

    She could not even think about Poe without tears leaking from the corners of her eyes. That was too confusing, best put it into long-term data storage for now.

    As for Jess... I'm still alive, she thought. Let's try and keep it that way. Somehow, I've got to figure out a way to get off Kuat.

    Kuat!

    She wondered if this ranked as a more difficult place to get marooned than, say, Starkiller Base.

    Full of shipyards, though, she remembered. Surely that gives a Resistance pilot a fighting chance?

    She realised she looked exactly like a Resistance pilot right now. Now sufficient distance was between her and the crash site, she slowed and struggled out of her flight suit again. She dumped it into an outlet pipe at the side of the concourse - retaining her pistol in its holster on her thigh.

    "Rolo," she said. "Can you access this thing's navcom, see if there are any ship hangars nearby?"

    He tweetled a positive, and began to post up information. There were a few private garages, but there was also a degree of disruption across the local net, potentially debris from the orbital battle, and of course the comms backup. He couldn't guarantee the accuracy of anything - he beeped for her attention at what he was projecting, as the glove compartment popped open.

    A hangbag of local currency tipped out, all coins, rather than plastic, meaning, essentially, untraceable.

    Her stomach would grumble at her in frustration.

    It was late afternoon on-world, so the sun would be dropping now. She would need to find somewhere to stop, and potentially rest and eat -

    Jess spotted the coins and her mind began to process the possibilities.

    She hated to be a petty thief, particularly from some innocent person, but then she had already crossed that line when she took the speeder.

    They'll have insurance, she reassured herself.

    She could get some food, take a rest, lay low for a while to consider...

    Her stomach interrupted that chain of thought. Ohhhh, food. Jess was not only exhausted but ravenous. She quickly found herself unable to think straight. She was mentally shutting down, her battery needed recharging.

    Okay, she could manage one last rational decision before going on mental autopilot. Keep the speeder or dump it?

    It was good to get around quickly, but easily traced once it was reported stolen. She checked her surroundings - a pretty dark and uninviting part of town. Perfect. Seedy and possibly dangerous, but the kind of place she could lose herself for the night.

    She parked the speeder in a factory lot, then turned to Rolo. "Find a corner to hide round here. I'm going to take a look around and I'm afraid even a beaten up old astromech like you will be too valuable to avoid attracting attention. I'll see if I can get some food, rest, and a handle on what the First Order is doing..."

    Rolo complied, finding an alleyway for them to duck into. He also found a hotel room that was cheap enough to not reduce their funds unnecessarily, and a fast food joint between where they had parked and where they were heading. He rummaged under the speeder bonnet as he told her this, and triumphantly tweetled as he shut the engine up; in his clawed hand was the tracker which was installed in most speeders, and he twirled his body to hurl it at a passing rubbish-truck.

    Now they’d follow the wrong vehicle!

    He tooted proudly.

    Jess smiled as Rolo solved their tracking problem. "Great, we keep the speeder for now then. I must observe the speed limits; we don't want to get stopped by a patrol who then find the tracker is ripped out."

    Food and rest was still the overriding concern of the moment, however. Jess stuck her pistol in the back of her pants and lost the thigh holster. Best not to attract attention.

    Then she headed for the hotel.

    The hotel was content to let her stay without ID, and the food was a buffet, so she would have a chance to eat what she wanted. She was having a lot of luck, it seemed...

    The night was creeping by, and soon the sky waa lit by... something. Her droid beeped worriedly as it peered out the window of their room. He rolled out, so he could see what was in orbit more clearly.

    They were now facing the opposite side of the planet to what they had seen from orbit, so this part of the shipyards had been entirely obscured by Kuat’s mass until now -

    Jess switched on the holonet, to see what the First Order official news was saying... maybe get a clue as to the fate of the others.

    There was a brief mention of an errant transmission in the voice of the dead Palpatine, but more emphasis placed upon the Resistance terror attack on the shipyards at Kuat, which had killed several engineers and construction workers at the yards. It was all propaganda, but at present the main First Order officers - Supreme Leader Kylo Ren, Allegiant General Pryde, and General Hux - were unavailable for comment. Some member of the Supreme Council trotted up, but most of them had came to prominence relatively recently.

    But her droid suddenly rushed in, panicking. It knew what the Kuat shipyards were building on the this side of the planet! He projected an image of the ship.

    [​IMG]

    A Megador-class Star Dreadnought.

    Another Supremacy.

    A mobile shipyard, capital and warship all-in-one.

    Jess listened intently. No mention of the others - no appeals or threats for the public to report any crashed fighters. Maybe she had got away with the landing after all? So far. But... no mention of the others crushed her heart.

    Then the voice of Palpatine chilled her to the bone. The double whammy was delivered by Rolo. The astromech trundled in and made his report and the vision of the Megador filled her mind's eye and it all became too much. She sat down and closed her eyes and rocked.

    What was the point of fighting - or doing anything at all?

    All the things they had achieved, Starkiller Base, the Dreadnought at D'Qar, and now the Kyber... it never meant anything. Dev, Tiber, Zara... She just lost beautiful people that she cared about, and the evil just kept on building again.

    The capacity for evil amongst the sentients of the Galaxy just overwhelmed Jess with grief. Why was the light of goodness so weak? Like a candle fluttering against a hurricane...

    In this moment of despair, Jess felt like her candle would sputter out and die.

    Rolo keened mournfully and rode over. All they could do right now was sleep. He wanted her to rest, and recover, and they could face tomorrow together. He reminded her that she was alive, and Leia had always said that life was a weapon against the First Order - that they were the spark of fire that would ignite the flame of rebellion.

    One day.

    @Jerjerrod-Lennox @Adalia-Durron @darthbernael
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021
  22. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Mod-Emperor of the EUC, Lit, RPF and SWC star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: Rolo, Bones and Squirt
    Ten hours later

    Zara and Tiber did have one lucky discovery; a cafe for tourists in the National Park they had crashed into. It took their droids mere seconds to break the locks in, and they would have shelter, access to various food that was stored here for the day after, and even charging cables for the Bones and Squirt. They put themselves on watch, and their Bantha headed off to graze. The droids hooked in and picked up a map of the zoo, and confirmed they were in the Bantha paddock, which was sealed off from the carnivore exhibits - which mainly consisted of a pack of Nexu and a pair of Acklay, of all things.

    Similarly, Rolo kept watch for Jess, soothingly tweeting to itself to stay calm. He accessed local news feeds tentatively, conscious that the First Order BB-9 units were ruthless and if they caught wind that Jess was at this motel there would be a massive mobilisation. He slowly but surely sliced his way through the Kuati network, careful not to leave a single flag that would be noticed.

    Bones and Squirt did the same, and eventually, worked their way through the mainframe as the night dragged on, keeping an eye on their pilots, and the orbiting TIE patrols - which were standard, apparently, and generally paying attention to the First Order program of progress with the Eclipse and trying to work out how close that new Megador was to completion.

    Both sets of droids would discover that it had a specific addition to the standard layout that was completely sealed from data-access. It was a system that was so secret, only thirteen individuals in the entire galaxy had knowledge of it's full nature; all the members of the leadership council, Admiral Vonn of course, and finally the Supreme Leader himself.

    They wanted to know what the new technology was, because it was seemingly the only point of the new flagship to be finalised.

    They even knew the code-name for the new ship; the Capitol.

    It was about to be daybreak when the three droids suddenly trilled in joy.

    They'd just found each other!

    If Zara, Tiber and Jess weren't already awake - they definitely were now! The happy beeps told them all the three pilots needed to know, and the droids created a hologram connection immediately, even if they weren't fully awake.

    Black Squadron had survived!

    For the most part, anyway.

    TAG: @Adalia-Durron, @darthbernael, @Kurisan (combo)
    ---
    IC: Poe Dameron

    Pasana, then Kijimi, then Kef Bir -

    Rey had left them.

    Fled in Kylo Ren's TIE Whisper.

    They had no idea where.

    They had no wayfinder to Exegol.

    No Rey.

    It was over.

    With Finn, Chewbacca, Threepio, BB-8 and D-0 in tow, they made the lonely trek back to Ajan Kloss.

    For the five hundredth time today, Poe wished he had Jess, Tiber, Dev and Zara with him.

    TAG: No One
     
    Adalia-Durron and Kurisan like this.
  23. Adalia-Durron

    Adalia-Durron WNU Mod - Always Watching..... star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2003
    IC Tiber & Zara
    Lost in a Jungle and fighting - with each other! Big thank you to @darthbernael - Having such fun writing these two.
    And thanks to @Sinrebirth for creating the stage for this monster we've created to perform on! :p



    Sighing deeply Zara stood up. “Come on, the fence is that way and I think I saw a building of some sort. Didn’t see anyone there, I guess that’s good.” She was exhausted, bitter and angry. The Emperor was back and she wondered now what they were doing as her parents had fought that war and thought they’d won it. Picking up her bag she slung it over her shoulder and went to get his, but paused. “You good to carry your own stuff now?” She hoped he’d be able to as she straightened up only to find the bantha staring at her with its large brown eyes. “What are you looking at?”

    Tiber shook his head, there was still some pain but he could concentrate better now. He still needed to get his bearings on all the recent developments but that could be done as they moved. What he could tell was that Zara was irritated and he figured that was, at least, partially his fault. He glanced over at her, "I'll carry my stuff, yes, but you probably don't need to carry yours, your new friend should be able to do so easily and I doubt he's going anywhere."

    She shook her head, "Not happening, you want to take your chance....again. Be my guest." She turned to face the direction before looking back and letting out an exasperated sigh as she extended her hand. "Come on." It was very clear he still wasn't all there.

    He reached out, taking her hand in his. He hid a sigh, not wanting her to know how nice it felt because she was already exasperated, and he wasn't going to get her more upset. "It tolerated me, but seems to have attached itself to you." he said as he reached for his gear, slinging the rifle and tightening his grasp on her hand for a moment.

    Zara rolled her eyes. "That's nice." She quipped sarcastically as she released his hand. "It can keep it attachments to it's self. Come on, it’s getting light and we have to find somewhere to hide and hopefully get some rest." Gods she wanted to rest, walking for hours in the dark supporting him and their gear had taken its toll.

    He chuckled, but he could tell she still had some sort of issue with the Bantha. And he could tell she was exhausted. "If we find a building, hopefully it has food, and then we rest, you more than me." He said, as he began walking in the direction she was facing.

    She followed. "That's a big 'if' flyboy."

    "Well, we've got to hope. We made it this far and I'm not giving up now. I've got to get you out of here, at least." He said a little more firmly than he'd intended.

    “Me? Why me? Let’s get honest here. If you’d done as I asked you to do, I’d be alone, not so tired and getting myself out of here. Pretty sure Poe could have used your intel.” She snorted. “You should be out of here.” She watched as Squirt stumbled slightly. The droid had done well to keep going, she knew his charge would be dying soon.

    He kept walking, quiet for a moment. "Yes, you'd be alone. And I don't leave my people behind. Poe could have used my intel but I'm sure he knows enough now and I'd rather be stuck here with you than safe and worried about you until I knew what happened." he told her after considering all angles.

    Zara sighed loudly before turning and walking backward, she needed to face him to say what she wanted to say. “I’m not useless, I’m not helpless, and I am not hopeless. It’s nice you’d rather be here, but I could have covered twice the ground without you, and right now I might have even slipped into the nearest settlement without anyone noticing! Your worry would be your issue, not mine.” She turned and began to stride, she was angry, tired and just wanted to rest, and maybe eat a ration bar.

    He sighed and now it was his turn to hurry ahead of her and turn to walk backward. "Yes, my worry is my issue. I don't know why, especially when you're trying to be annoying, worry or care in some way about you keeps hitting me in the face." He was getting irritated now too and perhaps he wasn't saying things as well as he could but, damnit she was his wingman. "Do you think I planned my X Wing crashing out and getting knocked out just so you could 'carry' me for a time? No, I planned us getting to ground and getting moving as quickly as possible so we could get out of here. It didn't happen and I'm damned glad you were here to do so. But I'm doing better now and we're going to get out of here, your anger at me about it be damned." he said then turned and stomped off toward what looked like a building in the distance.

    Zara felt her temper flare, and he didn't know she had one that was almost legendary back home. "Don't you kriffin' walk away from me!" She ran and caught up, grabbing his sleeve to spin him to face her. "You're irritated!? Diddums! And I've seen the way you look at me, you could have planned this whole frackin' nightmare thinking 'ooh, I might get me a Twi'lek dancer!'......Keep dreaming! How I feel about you right now is utterly irrelevant, on every level!! I just want to get the hell off this rock and get some sleep, so in your own words, your irritation at me 'be damned!' " She strode past him, she needed space. As she walked, she felt her lekku twitching almost violently and reached over her shoulder to pull them both forward.

    Tiber growled; it was his turn to be irritated that she was walking away. He strode forward uncaring that she seemed to want space, she wanted to get this out then fine it would be out. He drew even with her, "Do you think I honestly care that you're a Twi'lek. If that's all you think of me about how I could possibly see you as a person then you're the one with problems with people. Yes, I have looked at you, I won't deny it, can't deny it, but it has not one damned thing to do with you being a Twi'lek, I admire you for your will, your skill as a pilot, who you are. Your beauty or any other thing like that comes secondary to the rest. Damn, that's arrogance and xenophobia to a high degree to assume I'm some playboy that wants a 'dancing girl'." He was truly mad now and he could almost feel the fumes of anger wafting off of him. Bones tweetled at him that his heartrate was getting too high, that the droid wasn't sure the meds for his head would continue working if he overexerted himself. He spun, "And don't you start, little guy. I don't care that my heartrate is up, if you hadn't said anything earlier perhaps, she wouldn't make such a stupid assumption. Frack it I do care about her but right now you can erase that from your databanks for all I care."

    Zara stared in disbelief, her brothers and sister had only ever stood up to her, most backed away with her being part of the Royal family. Headline of holo news about the infamous royal temper we common, and part of the reason she had to get off Bakura for a while. As she stared at him, she was torn internally. Had she misjudged him, had she crossed a line, had she gone too far and why did she suddenly have the urge to kiss him. She closed her eyes to gather herself. “I may have misjudged you.” She said, still breathing slightly heavier. She turned away and gave her head a shake, sorry was a word that didn’t come easily to her. At that moment the Bantha, who’d been following close behind appeared right in front of her. She stepped back from it, still afraid as it pushed its head forward to nudge her. “Get back!” she cried with her hands outstretched as it pushed. Zara stumbled blindly backward and hit something, no someone.

    He sighed this time, trying to force the anger back down. And then the bantha appeared, silent for such a bulky creature. He didn't see what happened but suddenly Zara was in his arms, her back pressed to his chest. Almost reflexively his arms closed around her abdomen and he breathed her in. His eyes, flew open though when he realized he'd kissed one of her lekku and his arms opened, holding her standing as he stepped back, "I'm sorry, I didn't, I...damnit yes I wanted to kiss you but not your lekku and not with us both mad." he stammered, both angry and now anxious that he'd gone too far the other direction in the moment she had been in his arms.

    Zara gasped and stumbled away from him, her hand reaching up to grab her lekku, it tingled. "You wanted to what?" She looked to the appendage she held, "You did what?" Now disbelief was all she had. For that brief moment she'd almost enjoyed his arms around her, almost. "Stay away from me, and don't touch me!" She began to stride away. "At all!"

    And now the anxiety evaporated, fully replaced by anger and shame. "Fine, I won't, ever again!" he responded, his anger making promises that he didn't know would be kept. But she'd just completely rejected him and it hurt. He snatched up his pack, re-slung his rifle, and brushed past the bantha. Branches broke as he smashed through them. At this point it was just get off the planet so this whole experience could be done and he could return to the solitude of his fighter. The building appeared in the near distance and he picked up his pace.

    They walked in silence for several more minutes, the bantha in tow as it seemed to have a 'thing' for Zara. She snorted, he'd been right, it was a building, a kiosk and looking in the transparasteel she could make out food on the shelves and drinks in the cooler. Turning she indicated to Squirt to break in, he protested a moment before a threat to have a memory wipe done. The door popped open and pushing forward she entered, listening for him to follow. Standing at the shelf she picked up a candy treat and closed her eyes, chocolate coated namana, rare and a brand she knew well. The fruit from home, the chocolate from her Aunts. How she wished she could talk to her mother; she'd always been able to talk through her problems but right now it wasn't possible. Her lekku still tingled and it'd been 10 or more minutes since his lips had touched it. Sighing she opened the cooler and got out some water looking at it. "Did you want some water?" she asked quietly.

    Tiber followed her into the building, ignoring her for now otherwise. He made sure Bones was recharged and then grabbed items from the shelves that could give him maximum energy with the least amount of excess fat or bad things. Once he had a selection, plus extras to store in his pack, he retreated to the far end of the building. When she spoke, he barely heard her, so quiet was the statement.

    He looked up, registering her for the first time since they had arrived there. Taking his trash and finding the receptacle for it he walked closer to her, "I'll get it." He said just as quietly, taking a water and returning to the distant spot even as Bones tweetled at him that he needed to talk to her. "Shut it, little guy. I don't want to hear it." He said, a tad brusquely as he sat again.

    Moving, Zara gathered more, there wasn't much in the way of healthy food. Her heart ached, she'd been wrong and she didn't know how to fix it. Wrong, that was new for her, and usually when her temper flared her siblings and parents knew it would all be over in a few minutes. Clearly Tiber didn't know that and there was a good chance he'd already written her off. Holding the namana bar to her chest she looked to him. "We can't stay here." she stated quietly.

    He looked up when Bones detached from the charging station, bumping him in the leg. "Hmmm? Oh...yes, you're right about that. That such a place as this exists means that people come by here and there's no guarantee when they'll return. I'm guessing there should be some way from here to the city and from there I'm sure there are ships we can acquire to get back and have this whole thing end." he said in one rushed go. He packed up what he had, stood, and went to one window, looking out. "That path there," he pointed, "seems to lead away from where we were so I'd say take it and see."

    She looked down. “I really need to rest, sleep. I’ve been awake for 25 or more hours.” Her voice soft and weak, almost defeated.

    Without turning around, he looked up at the sky trying to judge the time of day. Bones’ dome revolved back and forth then told him what he wanted to know. "Chances are that no one will be out here late so rest. You'll need it for when we may have to deal with anyone. I'll stay up and set the droids to keep sensors out as well so no one will surprise us." He went silent, standing where he was, just looking out into the Preserve and thinking.

    Zara gave a nod. "I'll find somewhere to put my shelter tent up, I'll leave you be." Brushing past she left the building, passing the bantha silently. Walking into the nearby forested area, she searched till she found a thicket, it was perfect. Silently she began to set up her little dome shaped shelter tent, nearby the bantha had followed as has her now charged droid. A lump in her throat, a rock in her chest, he hadn't forgiven her, he wasn't like her family. Tears pricked at her eyes as she worked silently till the simple structure was completed.

    Several long hours, long to him, passed. Bones kept him company but it wasn't the same. He kept gazing at the little thicket Zara had set her tent up in and he found himself almost walking to it on a few occasions but stopped himself every time, she didn't want anything to do with him, she'd said almost as much.

    And then Bones began spinning in a circle, tweetling a happy sound. He had to calm the droid down to get the information from him but when he did, he smiled, a weight lifted from his chest, Jess lived. He hadn't failed as badly as he thought. Until he looked back at the thicket, in some ways he'd failed worse than he thought. But she needed to know.

    Making his way to her tent he debated what to say but then decided to simply stick to what Bones had told him. He heard Squirt as he approached and he knocked on one of the struts but ignored the half-closed opening, "Zara, wake up! Wake up! Squirt has something to tell you, there is news." he said. He didn't hear anything from her so he sighed, hung his head, and walked back over to the building, leaning against the window and sinking down to sit, his arms around his knees.




    TAG @Sinrebirth @Kurisan





     
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  24. darthbernael

    darthbernael EU Community Mod, House was on fire, didn't do it star 4 Staff Member Moderator

    Registered:
    Apr 15, 2019
    OOC: Combo with @Adalia-Durron and @Kurisan

    IC Tiber, Zara, and Jess
    Kuat, two locations


    She woke with a start, sitting up and gasping in shock. Zara’s eyes were wide as her heart raced and her mind tried to grip that it had been a nightmare and not reality. “No.” she breathed rolling her hips toward the opening of the tent and almost ripping it open. Her mind was still caught in the half-dozed state and she had to make sure it was a nightmare, because in that he died. Crawling out she stood and scanned the area, the bantha was close, grazing and Squirt just at the door, his sounds almost asking ‘are you alright?’, then her eyes found him. Breaking into a blind run toward her new target, skidding to a stop almost falling to her knees before him, hands on her thighs. “I was wrong! Really, really wrong, and I was mean and horrible and I’m a bitch. I know it! Mum said one day someone would call me out on it, and she was right!”

    Tiber was half-dozing, more asleep than awake when Bones tweetled at him. He was tired enough that he didn't register what his little droid was saying before noise reached his ears. Before he could raise his head there was the sound of pounding footsteps, and then he heard her voice. He raised his head, emotions swirling inside as he tried to process what she'd just said. His eyes blinked and then shot open. His arms unwrapped from his knees, palms down on the ground, only and inch between their tips and hers on her knees. "Zara, we both said things I don't know we meant. But I respect when you tell me something." he said, beginning to pull his fingers back.

    Sitting down on to her calves she bit her lip. “I have a temper, it's short lived and usually gone within ten minutes of it coming out……” She lowered her gaze. “Then I think about the stupid things I said.” She looked up and shrugged. “S...s..sorry.” It still was a hard word to say for her, but it meant more when she did say it.

    He could tell how much it meant for her to say that. His eyes met hers, "Apology accepted." He said, "Just so you know," he continued, standing, taking her hands with him, and then pulling her into a hug, "I was wrong, not going to not touch you again, besides you need the hug." he didn't add that he needed it too.

    Zara stiffened slightly, she’d not expected this and was unsure how to take it. “Ok.” She almost croaked out. This had happened fast and she wasn’t sure what it meant but tentatively put her arms over his shoulders, allowing him to pull her close. It felt good, but scary. At that moment Squirt began to beep and chortle, she reluctantly pulled back. “I keep telling you, I don’t speak droid!” She said releasing him completely. Squirt kept ‘talking’ as she crouched down and looked up. “What’s he so excited about?” She asked as the bantha meandered toward them.

    Tiber chuckled. "You were really out of it earlier. So asleep you didn't hear me. We're not alone, Z. Bones and Squirt made contact with Jess's droid so she has to be alive and on the planet." He knew she'd be very pleased that they hadn't lost another squadmate.

    Zara’s eyes widened as she stood up. “Jess made it?” She was more relieved. “I’m so ……happy, and confused. How? I was sure…” She stopped. “Can we contact her?”

    ================

    "Hnngh, what?" said Jess as Rolo bumped into her bunk repeatedly, burbling away.

    The motel had not given the peaceful night's sleep advertised on the sign outside. Several fights had broken out in the corridor. There might have been a party on the floor above. Storm troopers had raided the place in the early hours. Jess had hidden behind a pillow, blaster held ready, facing the door and praying she would be left alone.

    Finally, she had dropped off.

    And now this! Rolo was relentless in his physical assault, shaking her mattress. She caught the alpha-numerical name of Tiber's droid in his beeps.

    Suddenly she was wide awake.

    "Oh my Force, you found the others!?"

    Rolo spun three-sixty degrees and trumpeted a victory fanfare.

    "Can I see them, now?"

    Again a happy succession of beeps. The hologramatic lens glowed and suddenly Jess was looking at Zara and Tiber.

    She burst into tears.

    Resting on her knees beside Tiber, Zara was thrilled to see Jess’ face being projected by his droid, Bones. She leaned forward slightly, “Where are you Tink?” she asked urgently. If they knew they could get there.

    Tiber smiled as he saw Jess in the holo. He leaned close to Zara, still aware of her need for space but close. He was glad they had reached Jess and she seemed ok, for now. Better off than they, at least she had a room and was in the city. ”Are you ok Jess?” he asked, seeing the tears.

    The Twi'lek calling her Tink, and Tiber's concerned voice brought on a fresh wave of sobs, but finally Jess regained her composure.

    "I... don't know exactly where I am. A city. I got lucky... one in a million shot, I micro-jumped blind out of the Corvette hangar and crashed here. Another millisecond and I would have wound up a kilometer under the crust!"

    She wiped her tears of happiness.

    "I'm so glad to see you two. You landed here too? My x-wing is totaled. I think I can find a ship to get us out of here though - this is Kuat after all."

    She looked up at her droid. "Rolo, can you triangulate coordinates with Squirt and Bones?"

    Then she returned her eyes to the hologram. "I got a speeder. If you're not too far I'll come and get you."

    A final thought came to her. "Do you know what happened to Poe?"

    Zara smiled warmly, she wasn't one for overly excessive displays of emotion, when she cried it was usually in private and silence so when Jess was so open about her own feelings, it warmed her heart. "We're in a nature preserve, or zoo, or something like that." She glanced at Tiber, "we crashed too, and lost our ships, trust me, there's a story for another time." She smirked, "Sure the droids can figure this out." She had no idea about Poe, where he was when the crystal exploded, no idea if he even made it. The fact that three of the four she was with were alive was a miracle already. She looked down at her flight suit, "need to get changed first, not sure this doesn't scream 'downed pilot' and I think they are still looking for us."

    At that moment the bantha moved forward and pushed at Zara's shoulders. "Oh for Kriffs sake, leave me alone!" She squirmed pulling away from the beast as it attempted to nuzzle her. "I don't like you, are you not getting that?"

    TAGS: @Sinrebirth, @Adalia-Durron, @Kurisan
     
  25. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Mod-Emperor of the EUC, Lit, RPF and SWC star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: Rolo, Bones and Squirt
    Later that day

    As it was, they weren't incredibly separate, and Jess could head to the Kuat City Nature Reserve in short order.

    The droids provided an update from the First Order that the Steadfast had chased the Resistance from Pasaana to Kijimi, a world they had enslaved, and then Kylo Ren had chased them to Kef Bir, by Endor, of all places, and then it had all became a bit confusing - the Supreme Leader was missing, and orders were now being directly given by Allegiant General Pryde, in the name of the Emperor himself -

    Apparently Hux was dead, exposed as a traitor to the First Order -

    In short order the astromechs led the three of them to a hangar that served the nature reserve; a lucky find, it included the freighter that the Reserve used to transport animals.

    Of course, the Bantha trailed behind Zara and Tiber, perhaps offered to carry them more than once.

    The droids broke the locks to the garage, exposing the innards of the building and the freighter.

    [​IMG]

    A Kuati Starwind-class transport, it was a useful find, and some luck after everything else.

    Their stealthy approach was interrupted by a lamentous noise from the droids, and Squirt projected the latest message across all comm's channels.

    It was coupled with footage of a Star Destroyer in red-trim with an oversized weapon protruding from where the main hangar would ordinarily have been. It looked like an over-sized Imperial-class Star Destroyer, but when a superlaser erupted from it's main gun to impact and destroy a world -

    The Resistance is dead. The Sith flame will burn. All worlds surrender or die. The Final Order begins.

    The skeletal words of Darth Sidious echoed across the channel.

    The Bantha, for it's part, not understanding entirely the consternation but aware that the ship meant it was going on a trip, stamped slowly up the ramp of the Starwind.

    TAG: @Kurisan, @Adalia-Durron, @darthbernael
    ---
    IC: Poe Dameron

    Into the Unknowns

    The Resistance had lost Leia, but gained Lando and a route to Exegol, thanks to Rey, and atmospheric readings, thanks to D-O.

    They had a chance.

    Snap had seemingly returned to Ajan Kloss less the B-wing and Aryan Graul, but Poe had returned to the Resistance less four pilots, three X-wings and a Y-wing; they'd not had time to sit down and have a full debrief. They'd get to it, no doubt.

    Well, if they survived the attack on Exegol.

    Jess, Tiber, Dev, Zara... and now Leia and Zorii and Babu... the latter two had undoubtedly been destroyed with Kijimi, and he choked back tears.

    He thought of all the pilots and friends he lost at D'Qar, and at Crait... all those who had followed him on the suicidal attack on Starkiller Base.

    He swallowed, and Finn commed him. He was with Rose, Beaumont, Connix and Jannah aboard their lander.

    "You alright?"

    Of course he could feel Poe in the Force; though Finn hadn't admitted to as much, it was pretty obvious to Poe, and Chewbacca, and it had been to Leia - to basically everyone in the galaxy except Rey, who was just... complicated.

    He took a deep breath.

    "I will be," Poe said.

    TAG: No-One, mention for @HanSolo29