Lionette had brought the assault group back too Visiok space for resupply. This area was the front lines in the war. Prince Azak Visiok had returned from a raid just the day before. The Visiok Clan had moved a mobile command center to the forward area so returning ships could report information, receive new orders and resupply without traveling to the rear areas thus causing delays.
Lionette had been given a message to see Azak in the briefing room before she resupplied and left again. Neeka, who had stayed behind on the command post went with Lionette to see Azak.
“What do you think he wants to see you about My Lady?” Neeka asked as they walked together to see Azak.
“I’m certain it is about some new strategy he wants my opinion on. I really don’t think it could be anything else. We have been successful with these tactics so far but the Empire will find away around them soon so it’s for the best to keep changing our tactics and allow the Emperor play catch up with us.” Lionette said.
“Maybe he just wants to see you because he likes you.” Neeka smiled.
Lionette smiled back. “I hardly think that the Prince would have me come see him just so he can be in my company.”
“You are very smart and wise My Lady but you know nothing of men.” Neeka said almost to herself.
Lionette looked at Neeka as they walked. Could she be right? Would he want to see her so badly that he would make up an excuse?
“Nonsense.” she said to Neeka.
They reached briefing room and Neeka opened the door for Lionette. Inside the room Azak stood behind the table going over various reports and maps.
“Ah, Lionette, I’m so glad you came.” Azak smiled. He walked around the table and offered her a chair. Lionette sat down accepting his hospitality. He pulled a chair over for Neeka as well and smiled once again. “I’m so happy your raid went well Princess and that you weren’t injured.”
“It appears your mission was equally successful Azak.” Lionette responded.
Neeka looked at both of them and smiled. The attraction they had for each other was obvious but being Royals they had to maintain a cool sense of decorum in public.
“What was it you needed to see me about?” Lionette asked.
“ I fear that we have been doing just what the Empire wants us to be doing. These raids have been far to easy and the convoys have all been escorted by second rate military vessels as well as using conscripted ships. On my last mission we stayed and brought aboard some of the cargo from the destroyed convoy.” he walked over and pulled back a tarp from a battered container. Lionette could see it was full of sand.
“This means we have both had the same idea, the convoys are meant to draw us out.” Lionette said.
“Then we are in agreement, the supply convoys are a ruse. They are most likely testing us to see what tactics we would use. I suspect that the attacking forces they have sent in have all been well stocked and don’t need any of the supply convoys that we have attacked at all. If you are in agreement about all of this then I would ask your opinion about what to do next.” Azak said.
“We have few options I’m afraid. We could attack their bases and facilities elsewhere in hopes of drawing them away to protect them.” Lionette noticed Azak’s expression and could tell he wasn’t in favor of this idea. “We could continue to stand and fight here. It would give us the advantage of not having to wait for supplies and eventually the Empire will have to start bringing in supplies for real and that will give us the opportunity to attack them causing them real damage this time.”
“Neither idea is one I want to implement but I don’t have a better one at the moment.” he smiled. Azak didn’t want Lionette to feel like she let him down.
“There is one more card in our deck Azak. The Rebel forces that I have been aiding are lead by several Jedi. They have offered us their help and I have accepted it. They are all excellent warriors but they tend to be unconventional with their tactics. I have decided to give them free reign in attacking the Imperial troops. If anyone can cause the Empire confusion and cause them to make mistakes it will be them.” Lionette said.
“I have trained under the Jedi as have you and I welcome their help. I agree it is best to let them do things as they see fit as long as we can be kept informed of what they are doing so we can co ordinate our efforts if need be.” he replied.
“I’m certain they would agree to that without hesitation.” Lionette said smiling.
Kllair stepped into the chambers of Adda Beddo. She felt uncomfortable in such lavish surroundings as these.
“Out here on the balcony.” Adda called to Kllair. She walked towards the balcony across the large room. Adda was sitting on a large pillow cross legged in the sun.
“You wanted to see me?” Kllair asked rubbing her arm.
“Yes Kllair, thank you for coming so quickly.” Adda rose and took Kllair’s hand welcoming her.
“I sense these surrounding make you…uneasy. In my order where I come from we are sworn to a vowel of poverty. We are only aloud to own what we can carry in our simple shoulder bag. That’s one reason we wear so few clothes. I only stay here as a sign of respect to Lionette and her people. These furnishings make me nervous as well. Like you I prefer things simple.” Adda said.
“So what is it you want?” Kllair asked.
“I want you and your crew to preform a very serious assignment for us. I think these times call for drastic measures.” Adda sounded uneasy.
“Look Adda, you and I both know where this is going. You know how I make a living and you find it disgusting but you still need us. Nobody finds it easy to ask us to kill someone but that’s why we’re here isn’t it? You and the rest knew we would be useful one day even if you didn’t want that day to come. Well Adda Beddo, it’s here. You didn’t ask for it but it’s still here. Who do you want dead Adda Beddo? “Kllair had put her arm around Adda’s shoulder.
Adda was uneasy just how calmly Kllair talked about what she did. She but her feelings aside and spoke.
“We…I want you and your crew to find out who is leading this assault on the Feloids and kill him. I want you to send a message to the Empire that we are willing to do what is necessary to end this conflict. We…I want you and your crew to do what ever you see fit to cause them fear. This decision is on me and me alone. You will answer only to me. I don’t want this decision to reflect on the others in anyway.” Adda was visibly uneasy with these orders.
Kllair grinned. “Not easy getting dirty the first time is it. I have to warn you Adda, unlike what people say it does get easier each time you give that order. You’ll see just how good we are and how many of your guys we can save by what we do.” Kllair said.
Adda looked at her still not sure she had done the right thing.
“I want you to prepare yourself Adda. When you find out what we have done you will think of us as monsters, but remember this above everything else…we’re your monsters Adda, we serve you.” Kllair turned and walked out of the room. Novuh was waiting in the hall for her.
“Well, what did she want?” Novuh asked.
“We have an assignment. We will only talk about it with Adda, no one else is to know.” Kllair smiled.
“Goody two shoes wants us to work for her?” Novuh asked surprised.
“Don’t be so happy about it Novuh. She’s not like us. This assignment will haunt her the rest of her life.” Kllair said firmly.
“She’s just weak.” Novuh said.
“No, she’s just civilized.” Kllair said looking back at Adda’s room.
“Timtam ! Timtam !” Granic yelled.
Timtam hadn’t been paying attention. She was worried about Hudd. Over the last few days she had heard rumors that the Empire was using conscripted ships in the convoys that the Feloids had been attacking. She wanted to ask Lionette to have her ships not fire at the type of ship that Hudd used but she knew that would be useless. Any ship that was considered part of an Imperial convoy was to be attacked without exception.
“What do you want? I’m right here.” Timtam yelled into the ship. She was standing under the last of the Freighters that was being converted into a raider. Granic was looking down out of the hatch just above her. “Hand me that spanner and those magnetic polarizeres.” he said less angry.
Timtam reached up and gave him the tools he had asked for.
“Did you attach those couplers to the fusion dampener yet?” Granic asked.
“Yes, red too red, green too green, just like you said.” she replied.
“Good girl. I’ll make you into a mechanical genius even if you are a stupid Feloid.” He said through clenched teeth as they clamped down hard on his cigar.
“I think you will too, I like working on these ships. It makes me useful so I can earn my way.” she said.
“Okay now push the button on the fusion dampener.” he said covering his ears and closing his eyes.
Timtam pushed the button. There was a second of nothing happening and then the whole console that they had been hooking up lit up and they could hear the ships computer humming as it ran the diagnostics on it. It was working perfectly.
Granic opened his eyes and looked down through the hatch at Timtam. She was jumping up and down clapping her hands.
“Hey Timtam.” Granic said calmly.
“What.” she asked.
“Knock that shit off.” he said.
Timtam stopped in mid jump. “Sorry.” she said still smiling at their success.
Hudd’s ship rolled hard to the left as debris from the exploding freighter to his right slammed into it’ hull. This was his third mission as a conscripted freighter for the Empire. Each mission he had flown he had taken damage. The three storm troopers that were assigned to his ship were fanatics born and raised to do the bidding of the Emperor. He wasn’t. He had no desire to die for the Empire. He had been formulating a plan to escape and now was his chance. He put the ship on auto pilot and made his way to the cargo deck.
“Stop ! Where are you going?” one of the storm troopers asked.
“There’s a warning light in the cockpit saying we have a fire in the cargo bay. I need to check it out.” Hudd replied.
“Get back in the cockpit, I’ll look.” said the storm trooper.
“No. I have to look for it. You don’t know what you’re doing.” he said.
“ I’ll go. Get back in the cockpit.” the storm trooper repeated.
Hudd tried to push past him but the storm trooper blocked his way.
“Listen, the fire could be anywhere. It could even be behind the walls in the circuitry. I know where to look better than you do. I can find it faster than you.” The ship was hit by something else, he couldn’t tell if it was more debris or someone was shooting at them. He knew he had to risk this if his plan was going to work.
“Where should I look?” the storm trooper asked. He sounded a little shaken now.
“Everywhere. It could be anywhere. I can’t explain the layout of the ship to you now!” Hudd said sounding panicky. “You can’t even smell it with that helmet on.”
“I’ll call the others to help look. You get back to the bridge and then you can tell us where to look from there.” the storm trooper said as he pointed his blaster at Hudd.
“Okay you win but if we all die it’s your fault.” Hudd said. The storm trooper called the other two into the cargo bay to help look for the fire. He smiled to himself when the storm trooper told the other two they had to remove their helmets. Hudd double timed it back up the ladder and into the cockpit. He only had about sixty seconds to complete his plan.
As soon as he strapped himself in he shut down the coolant to the left engine and throttled it to the maximum limit. The ship began spinning at a sickening pace slamming the storm troopers against the walls of the cargo bay. The left engine started to over heat and was shaking the ship violently. Hudd had never done what he was trying to do and wasn’t sure if it would even work.
The left engine blew apart sending the ship tumbling end over end. With all his remaining strength he reached forward and pulled the emergency purge lever that opened all the doors and hatches on the ship. The entire ship became a vacuum in a few seconds. The main loading doors opened in the front and back causing the everything in the cargo bay to be sucked out, including the storm troopers. After about ten seconds Hudd pushed the lever forward closing all the hatches once more. He let the ship continue to tumble helplessly away from the convoy with the remains of the destroyed engine still burning. Hudd shut down all the systems on the ship relying only on the air supply in the cabin area of the cockpit. The ship tumbled away as the battle continued. He didn’t turn on the power for quite a long time. He figured that the farther away he got the better his chances of being left for dead. After about three hours he decided to risk it. He knew there would be “Wreckers” lurking nearby and he was afraid they would pick him up before he could fire up his remaining engine and make for a safe place to hide. Hudd turned the switch that started the remaining engine. It had automatically shut off when the other one blew up. The engine started with no problem. This was one of the finer points of this old ship, it was tough.
Once the engine came back on line he stabilized the ship and stopped it from tumbling. He checked the scanners for other ships. He could make out a few just barely in range of the scanners but they seemed to be moving in separate directions. They were probably the wreckage of other ships floating aimlessly.
It was over, he had done it. His ship was half destroyed and he knew the Empire would seize his bank accounts and the money Lionette had given him. He could never return to his home. He had lost nearly everything.
“At least I’m alive.” he said to himself aloud.
“Not for long.” said the battered and bloody storm trooper as he lurched into the cockpit.
Mykala stepped onto the bridge of the “Halo Tempest”. One of the newly refitted raiders. Ceecee was doing her last checks before handing over the command to Mykala.
“Well, how’s she look to you Ceecee?” Mykala asked.
“It’s perfect. I outdid myself this time I don’t mind saying.” Ceecee grinned.
“How soon till we can leave?” Mykala said as she dropped into the command chair.
“We can go as soon as everyone is aboard I guess. I’m just doing double checks on a few minor things right now.” Ceecee said.
“Okay then. Call the crew so we can get moving, those Imperial ships aren’t going to blow themselves out of the sky.” Mykala smiled.
“It would sure save us a lot of trouble if they did.” Ceecee said almost to herself.
Bronski walked into the bridge and dropped his bag on the floor. “Everything ready?” he asked Ceecee.
Ceecee gave him a dirty look and pointed to Mykala. She was still mad that he gave her and Vee a hard time about their relationship.
Bronski couldn’t care less. He got the hint and turned towards Mykala. “Everything ready?” he repeated.
“We will be once the crew gets on board. As soon as Ceecee is done with her check list she’s going to call them.” Mykala said.
Bronski looked at his watch and then at Ceecee.
Ceecee saw him looking at his watch. “Screw you dumb ass.”
Bronski smiled at Mykala. “For a second there I thought she didn’t like me.”
“Why don’t you go and stow your gear? You really shouldn’t be distracting the chief engineer while she’s doing her preflight check on this ships maiden voyage.” Mykala said.
“Right. Give me a call when we’re ready to go.” he said. He picked up his bag and went below decks to find a room.
“This is going to be a long trip.” Ceecee said to Mykala.
“Don’t let him bother you, it’s just his way.” Mykala said looking over the controls.
“It’s just not fair that someone like him is still alive after all he’s done and Vee is dead. She never hurt anyone.” Ceecee said.
“It was just her time is all. Nothing is easy in this life Ceecee. We all loose people we love. I just think they would want us to remember them and then have a good life. It really doesn’t matter what happened in the past. Just know that she is happy and safe now. Your sister told you so, remember?” Mykala said.
“ I know Mykala, I’m just nervous. So much is riding on how well these ships work out. Who knows, I might be meeting up with Vee pretty soon anyway.” Ceecee said.
“Well that’s a nice thought.” Mykala smiled.
Matt looked at Pep one more time and waved. It would be quiet some time before he was with her again. He stepped inside the newly refurbished Raider the “ Hero”. It would just be him and Ragg plus a full compliment of Ragg’s men on the ship. They were all hand picked by Ragg and good at what they did. After everyone had settled in Matt took the command chair for this part of the journey.
“Okay, let’s take this thing out and see what she can do.” He said to the pilot. The Hero lifted off the landing pad with ease and moved forward. The pilot brought the nose up and began the climb away from the secret base.
Pep was alone on the upper floor of the control tower. She was nervous. She had been having bad feelings about Matt going on this mission. She clenched tightly on the guard rail fastened in front of the window and wept. She understood how Matt must have felt when she was gone for all that time without any way of knowing where she was.
She looked down at her hands and suddenly released the rail. She was shocked to see the rail glowing white hot where her hands had been. She quickly looked around to see if anyone had seen. The room was empty except for her. She looked at her hands to see if they had been burned, they were perfectly fine. She was suddenly very weak and stumbled over too one of the chairs in the room to rest. The rail was still glowing but not as much since she let go. Pep looked at her hands again, they were shaking. She had done it. Some how she had caused the rail to heat up to the point of almost melting it and not even have any redness on her hands where they should have been charred and blistered. She didn’t know what to do. She had to tell someone. Now that Matt was gone she wasn’t sure who to tell. Pep stood up and went to the rail on the other side of the room. She carefully put her hand on it and concentrated. “Hot, become hot” she thought too herself. She focused with all her might closing her eyes to avoid out side distractions. When she opened her eyes the rail was glowing even brighter than the other and her hand had actually pressed into the metal leaving an impression.
“What are you doing ?” asked Timtam amazed. She had come up to see if Pep was okay and saw her holding the rail with her eyes closed. She had moved over to her only to see the rail melting in Peps hand.
Pep released the rail in surprise. “Timtam, what’s happening to me?” she asked. Pep was frightened and took a step towards Timtam.
“Don’t ! I won’t tell.” Timtam had suddenly become frightened as well.
“Timtam, I won’t hurt you. I need your help.” Pep pleaded.
“I’m sorry…I’ve never seen anything like that before.” Timtam went to Pep and helped her back over to the chair.
“You have to tell somebody Pep, you have to tell Adda.” Timtam said excitedly.
“No, I’ll wait till Matt comes back, he’ll know what to do.” Pep said.
“No Pep. You have to tell someone now. They’ll be mad if you don’t.” Timtam was surprisingly insistent.
“Matt..” Pep began.
Timtam put her hand on Pep’s arm. “Shh, Matt’s not here Pep. You have to do this on your own. They might even think you and Matt new about it for a while now.”
Pep looked at Timtam and she nodded. She was right, she would tell Adda.
Suddenly Timtam stepped back and pointed at Pep. “It was you ! You saved us on that ship. You must have done something you can’t remember.” she was amazed.
Pep looked at Timtam worried. “What’s happening to me Pep?”
It was late and only the sentries were the only ones awake. Adda walked past them across the hangar bay without them even knowing. She had clouded their minds to make them not notice her. She walked to the far side of the building to a low sleek black ship. The wings were folded back to reduce it’s size making look as if it was some giant predatory bird just waiting for it’s prey to wander in front of it.
She stopped just feet away from it and looked slowly around the area.
“I’m impressed, I have no idea where you are.” Adda said smiling.
Kllair threw back her inadvisability cloak and stood up. The twins dropped down from the ceiling and crouched behind the ship like two “Katoes” watching someone new in the house. Elith unfolded herself from inside a box that was far too small for anyone to be in. Her contortionist skills aloud her to hide in the smallest of places that no one would think to check.
A panel from the floor popped into the air followed by Novuh who lept out from below it using her mechanical legs to propel her self upward. She landed gracefully and caught the panel with her mechanical arm and place it back in the opening with one fluid movement.
“Very very impressed.” Adda said turning to look at Kllair. “Very impressive indeed.” she repeated to the rest.
“This is my ship. It is a healers ship. It was designed to slip into areas where there might be someone that might not want you there. Our mission has always been one of helping others. Now this ship will be used by you and your crew Kllair. It is smaller than your ship but I think you will make due. It can generate a field that renders it undetectable so you can go just about anywhere in it. Be warned, it carries no weapons but it if fast to aid in escapes.” Adda said.
Kllair smiled and looked inside as Adda opened the rear hatch. It would be a tight fit but they could all find a place to at least sit once Adda’s supplies were removed.
“ Where do you want us to put your supplies?” Kllair asked Adda.
“All of that is medical supplies.” Adda wondered why they wanted to get rid of medical supplies.
“Uh, I don’t think we’ll be needing them.” Kllair said grinning. The twins burst out in their creepy stereo laughter. Novuh rolled her eyes and Elith grinned with an evil little smile watching the rest of the crew nervously.
It hit Adda what kind of creatures she was dealing with. They were a pack of killers on a leash. A leash they chose to wear, for now.
“If you need anything else please let me know.” she said looking at Kllair trying to ignore the others.
“I will Adda, and thank you for this opportunity.” Kllair said still grinning.
Adda turned and walked back across the hangar bay. The sentries still didn’t know she was even there.
The storm trooper hit Hudd in the jaw sending his reeling backwards. He hit him again and again. Hudd was trying to get to his feet when the storm trooper kicked him in the ribs causing him to roll over onto his back. Blood was flowing from his broken nose and shattered mouth. The storm trooper must have hung onto something until Hudd closed the doors in the cargo bay for him to have survived. He pulled Hudd up to his face. “You killed my friends, now it’s your turn to die.”
The ship suddenly jolted to a halt causing the two men to fall onto the floor.
“What the hell was that?” the storm trooper asked.
Hudd spit out a tooth and some blood onto the floor. He slowly looked at the storm trooper and smiled. “Wreckers.”
The storm trooper dropped Hudd and looked around frantically for a weapon.
“Where do you keep your blaster?” he asked.
Hudd sat on the floor leaning on one hand. “ You shit heads took them, remember?”
The storm trooper looked at Hudd angrily. “Okay smart ass, what do we do now?”
“Hey, you’re the big bad storm trooper, aren’t you supposed to protect citizens like me from them. Well, go get ’em tough guy, I’ll just wait right here.” Hudd had lost everything and just didn’t care who killed him now.
The storm trooper went down the hall to where the Wreckers were cutting through the hatch. Hudd pulled himself up into the command chair and carefully wiped his mouth trying to stop the bleeding. There was an explosion as the hatch was blown open and then a few shots from a blaster pistol.
“There goes the storm trooper.” Hudd thought. He spun the chair around slowly towards the hallway. Any second the wreckers would enter and either kill him on sell him as a slave. The first one entered the cabin. He was tall and wore bright red battle armor from head to toe. He took a few steps toward Hudd and stopped.
Hudd just looked at him and smiled. “Kiss my ass.” he said.
The man took off his helmet and put his hand on top of Hudd’s head. He turned it from side to side examining him.
“Call the medic, this ones wounded.” he said.
Hudd focused his eyes at the man in front of him. He had a thick head of dark hair and long bushy side burns. His ears were long and pointed. Then he saw the eyes. They had a very familiar look to them, like Timtams. He was Feloid.
“I am Captain Uhruk of the Ty clan. We are going to take you with us as a prisoner of war. You will be treated honorably as long as you co operate with us, do you understand? He said.
By some miracle he had been saved. He had lost everything but he would live.
“ We will put you on board our ship and tow yours back with us. As of now you forfeit all personal belongings until we decide what to do with you later.
“Tell Lionette Ty that you have Kero Hudd in custody, I think she may want to know. I am glad you found me.” Hudd tried to stand but couldn’t another Feloid entered the cabin and helped him back to the Feloid ship. A second Feloid officer walked in stood next to the Captain. “Do you really think we should send that message to the Princess?” the younger officer asked.
The Captain thought for a moment. “Send the message. I’d rather send it and be wrong than not send it and find out he was telling the truth.”
If you have enjoyed these stories please check out my first all original book series at Amazon.com. The title is Beyond the Crystal Heaven.
Once again thank you for your support.
Last Updated (Tuesday, 10 September 2013 02:05)