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RC-1162 09-29-2006 06:02 AM

[FIN] Galactic Conquest I: The Rise of the Imperials
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The 6 TIE fighters swooped down on their prey like a hawk on a womp rat, cannons blaring. Three X-Wing fighters split formation and dived apart, rocketing off in different directions, The TIEs followed, two for each X-Wing. Green lasers flashed and one of the X-Wings tore apart.
“This is Blue Leader,” yelled one pilot into his mike. “I’m trapped with Blue Five. I need assistance now!”
The TIEs fired and Blue Five’s ship exploded into a fireball of shrapnel.
“Hello? Hello, Base? I just lost Blue Five. I need instructions on how to proceed.”
Green lasers raked the craft and Blue Leader’s port top wing blew off, taking both the port engines with it. Blue Leader struggled to stabilize his craft. As he wrestled with the controls, the comm hissed to life.
“Blue Leader, set coordinates 7398 and jump, now!”
Blue punched the button and slammed his hand on the Hyperdrive switch. Space blurred and the handicapped X-Wing shot off towards Dantooine. Where Blue Lead’s ship was a few minutes ago, thousands of enemy lasers rocketed through. The TIEs turned and headed for the Imperial class Star Destroyer awaiting them.
The lead pilot, a Major in the Emperor’s Navy, bowed before Vader and made his report.
“All rebel targets have been neutralized, with the exception of one, who managed to make the jump to hyperspace in the nick of time.” he said.
Vader frowned slightly.
“These rebels never do anything through their own free will; they always receive instructions from their headquarters, which is why we had the jamming frequency in place. This pilot entered Hyperspace, which means the jamming was not properly organized.” Vader stopped. He was seething with rage. Now the rebels knew another of the Empire’s bases and they also got away with the plans to their new Super Star Destroyer and priceless information on the next conquests of the Imperial Army.
“Whoever is responsible for this foul-up will pay dearly.” he growled and turned and walked away.

RC-1162 09-29-2006 06:02 AM

Captain Wedge Antilles – Blue Leader – climbed down the access ladder attached to his X-Wing. Disheveled and exhausted, he made his way to the command room to Admiral Dodonna.
“Well, Captain?” he asked.
Wedge handed the Admiral five compact memory chips.
“We infiltrated one of their most secure ground bases and managed to copy all the information in the supercomputer. Seems they are planning to conquer seven more systems in this whole year. That’s big.”
“Yes,” confirmed the Admiral, plugging in the memory chips into their holo-interface. “That would indicate that the Empire has amassed a huge army with the manpower and efficient officers to pull off the operations.”
He went through all the information about their bases, resource locations and such.
“…But there is one thing I don’t understand.”
He turned to Wedge.
“It says here that the Empire is planning to build heavy transport ships in the next year after they have accessed the proper resources. If so, how will they get their troops on the surface? Smaller ships will take a huge amount of time with the army size requirements to take over a planet of an average size.”
Wedge tapped a few keys and typed in a password in the box that popped up. The screen changed and an extremely detailed schematic diagram flickered in front of them.
“What is this?” Dodonna asked, confused. He looked at the bottom of the hologram and read out aloud:
“‘Imperial Super Star Destroyer – Construction to end in approx 23 days’.” He appeared shocked.
“It’s a good thing I received hacking training at the academy.” Wedge remarked. “They haven’t mentioned where the construction site is, though.”
“No wonder they haven’t any resources. Good gracious! A ship like that is practically an adamantium fortress. There’s no way we can take it down.”
“We don’t need to take it down.” Wedge said. “We just need to take out the troops inside once they set foot on the planet’s surface.”
“Yes. Good idea, Captain.” Dodonna said. “You may leave.”
Wedge nodded and turned to leave. As he opened the door, however, Dodonna called out to him again.
“By the way, Antilles,”
Wedge turned to face the Admiral.
“You have been promoted to Colonel, congratulations.”
Wedge couldn’t believe it! He managed to stammer out a thanks and went to his pilot’s chambers, giddy with happiness.

RC-1162 09-29-2006 06:03 AM

All of the Rebel Alliance’s most revered leaders sat in the briefing room, Obi Wan Kenobi, Yoda, Admiral Dodonna and Mon Mothma to name a few. Dodonna stood up and walked to the holo-projector as the higher ranks of the Army and Navy joined them.
“A few hours ago, a strike team of the best fighter pilots was dispatched to what was considered a flourishing Imperial base.” Dodonna said. “The team managed to successfully set down on the planet and confirm our suspicions. They entered the base hoping to steal data and escape undetected. Unfortunately, the alarm was raised and they had to flee. All the pilots were killed in battle save one. Colonel Wedge Antilles managed to make the jump in the nick of time and he has brought us vital information about the Empire’s strategies.”
He switched on the projector and turned back to the crowd.
“General Caarlist Rieekan will now brief you on how to help protect the Empire’s next targets.”
A fairly young man about in his thirties walked up.
“I have gone through the information provided to us by Colonel Antilles and it appears that they plan to capture Kashyyyk in 5 days to enslave the Wookiees. It says that they have a large construction project going on and need skilled workers who will ask for less pay or none at all. We have to help protect this planet as we did once before. The Wookiees are valuable allies to the Alliance. General Yoda will lead the attack on the Imperials.”
Yoda nodded as everyone looked up at him.
“So, are there any questions?” Rieekan asked. There were none. “Alright, suit up, you'll be leaving in 5 hours.”
Wedge sat in his ship as it plummeted through hyperspace. He had barely got any rest when Dodonna called him out on a mission again. Wedge shook his head. He hoped it would work more smoothly than the previous one.

RC-1162 09-29-2006 06:04 AM

Three Alliance Frigates burst out of Hyperspace in front of Kashyyyk followed by thousands of fighter craft. Once he looked at the planet, Wedge knew he was in for a tough time. Surrounding the planet were four Imperial Cruisers and a thick cloud of TIEs.
“All squadrons, form up and report.” crackled Dodonna’s voice through the comm. Wedge shot out in front and his unit, Green Squadron, formed up in a battle formation and reported. Once all the squadrons were done, Dodonna gave the attack commands.
“Red, Yellow and Green Squadrons, engage the TIE fighters at point blank range. Try to draw their fire away from the surface troops and the Frigates.” Dodonna ordered.
Three groups of X-Wings broke formation and headed for the cluster of TIEs, cannons blazing. Even at such a large distance, TIEs were exploding every second because of their proximity. The TIE commander must have also noticed this as the TIEs began to spread out and firing back. Soon, all the fighters were engaged in vicious dogfights, both sides taking losses.
“Grey Squadron, break up and target the Cruisers.” Dodonna called. A group of A-Wings and Y-Wings flew off towards the Cruisers. Grey Squadron was the only attack group with 54 ships. Dodonna must have planned it especially for them. Next highest in number of ships was Blue Squadron with 50 ships. Grey Squad split up into groups of 18 and began strafing runs on the Cruisers. Some of the TIEs began to fire at them. As he neared the Bridge, Grey Leader got an idea. He increased his speed to full throttle and began firing at the Communications Tower. His pursuer sped up to match Grey Lead’s. Soon they were dodging other ships and minor obstacles like a chase between cat and mouse. As they neared the Bridge, Grey Leader prepared himself. Twenty metres from the bridge, he leaned back on his control stick and his A-Wing shot upwards. The TIE, because of its less maneuverability was unable to pull out in time and flew headlong into the Bridge, shattering the glass. People and droids spewed out of the enormous gash in the Cruiser’s skin. The Rebels’ first victory!
“All right, Blue Squadron, begin surface strafing runs. Get into Grey Squadron’s breach. Wedge pushed his ship up to its speed. 49 ships behind him followed, firing occasionally at incoming TIEs. Wedge and his Unit, with some advanced maneuvering, managed to make it into Kashyyyk’s atmosphere.
“Blue Squadron’s through!” Wedge reported. “We’ve broken their lines!”
“Green Squadron, cease fire and provide backup to Blue Squad.” Dodonna said.
10-15 ships broke off and followed Blue Squadron into the atmosphere.
Wedge came down to tree-top level and noticed many ships hovering above the trees. With a quick command to his squad, all of them shot off missiles at their targets. Several ships exploded, others stopped floating and headed for the forest floor. Blue Squadron shot ahead to the Wookiee strongpoint, flanked by Green Squadron. As they reached, they realized that even though the Wookiees had put up a good fight, they would lose if they did not do anything. Many transport ships awaited in the air and several TIEs flew around. The Rebel ships broke up and some started chasing the TIEs. Others targeted the transport ships, causing many to crash. The tide was turning, but for how long? Wedge wasn’t sure.

RC-1162 09-29-2006 06:05 AM

Vader clenched his fist tighter as he watched the Rebel strike on his ships. He was not happy with this at all.
“My Lord?” came a voice from behind him. Vader turned to face a young Lieutenant.
“Yes Lieutenant?”
“I have gone through the databases as you ordered me to and I believe I have found the traitor.”
“Who is he?” Vader asked, his anger increasing with the minute.
The Lieutenant turned and pointed at an officer in one of the crew pits.
Vader gestured at two Stormtroopers.
“Throw him into the cells; I have some business with him later.”
The troopers nodded and a few minutes later, the protesting officer was being forcibly dragged off the Bridge.
Vader turned to the TIE Commissions Officer.
“Deploy the strafing prototypes, Commander.”
The TCO nodded and spoke a few words into a microphone.
************************************************** ***
Yellow Squadron was cruising along at moderate speed in their Y-Wings, firing their heads off at the TIEs. Yellow Three split up from the formation to deactivate a few more TIEs when all of a sudden a burst of green light shot out from under his ship. He turned it around and saw three sleek, modified TIE Fighters. The lead fighter fired again and his ship was torn apart by the advanced lasers. The battlefield was now swarming with the TIE Advanced fighters, the Rebels were quickly losing.
************************************************** ***
Wedge took out another transport ship and was heading for the next when his comm. crackled to life.
“All units, this is Dodonna, break off and head home, we are losing ships fast.”
Wedge thumbed his mike on.
“But Sir, Kashyyyk will be captured by the…”
“Cut the crap, Colonel, do as you are told.”
Wedge understood that it was very serious indeed and ordered his crew to break off. As he exited the atmosphere though, he got a taste of the action. A group of fighters were zipping in and out, here and there, firing off to glory. Every second, there was an explosion involving a Rebel ship. As he made for the mother-ship, half of his Squad was picked off like flies without wings on a table. The ships ahead of him docked successfully. As he was about to enter the hangar, however, a TIE Av fired at him. The blast hit his port wings, blowing them both completely off.
“This is really bugging the hell out of me,” Wedge muttered through gritted teeth as he wrestled with his control stick to stabilize his craft.
“This is Colonel Antilles,” he said through the comm. as the Hangar doors closed and the ship revved its engines for the jump to Hyperspace.
“I request the isolation of Hangar bay 57A. My ship has suffered serious hits and I don’t think its stable enough.”
He popped the hatch and jumped out. Landing hard, he doubled over for a minute to clear his head, and then ran like mad for the Hangar door. He slapped the panel from outside and raced for the elevator. As he headed for the Briefing Level, he heard a muffled explosion. He looked down and shook his head sadly. Sad about the fate of Kashyyyk; and his ship.

RC-1162 09-29-2006 06:07 AM

Wedge sat sadly in the briefing room along with the other survivors. A disheveled Dodonna entered the room, followed by some of the Commanders.
“We have a lesson to learn from this battle,” he said. “The Imperials have much superior technology than us, so for the next week, we will be updating our technology. We have all our supporting planetary systems sending in their best technicians, electrical engineers and weapons designers.”
“But sir,” a young pilot called out. “We don’t have a ground base of our own yet.”
“We do now,” Dodonna replied. “Dantooine.”
Just as he said that, the ship burst out of Hyperspace and a dull green planet popped into view.
“It will not be a permanent base, as the Imperials will undoubtedly find us if we stay anywhere for long; but it will be a safe haven for us now.”
Twenty minutes later, transport shuttles and the remaining starfighters were spewing out of the bays and landing in their ground base. As Wedge walked down the ramp of his shuttle, he noticed about ten dozen new X-Wings in the enormous Bay. He hoped that Dodonna would grant him one of them, seeing what had befallen his old one. All the pilots gathered together and made their way to their new home for a week; maybe more.
************************************************** **********************
[10 days later]
************************************************** **********************
Dodonna stood with the guest techs and marveled at their handiwork. The X-Wings were severely modified using donations and parts supplied by the member planets of the Rebel Alliance. The only things that were same in the new crafts were the body shells, and even those had been extended a bit further to accommodate the new components. He turned to one of the techs,
“On behalf of the Alliance, I thank you very much, Mr. Jacob, for your excellent work.”
Jacob nodded and handed Dodonna a couple of memory chips.
“You are most welcome, Admiral,” he replied. “These chips contain the new schematics of these ships, I though you might want them.”
Dodonna accepted them and put them in his pocket.
“I sure would,” he said. “I’ll send these to the Incom Factories and ask them to produce these designs as the standard T-65 models from now on.”
“Good idea, Admiral, but you probably shouldn’t use the Type K missile in all the ships, they're kind of expensive.”
Dodonna nodded,
“Right, I’ll remember that.”
The techs shook hands with Dodonna and left for their shuttle. Dodonna went back to the tactical room where everyone was gathered.
As he entered, Mon Mothma was briefing them on the Imperials’ next target: Bespin; she had just finished, it seemed.
“Perfect timing, Admiral,” she said. “You're up.”
Dodonna turned to the people.
“I have good news for all the pilots: you now have completely state-of-the-art ships to use on behalf of the Alliance.”
A great cheer rang through the room; all the pilots were rejoicing like small kids. Dodonna nodded and spoke again,
“We don’t have time to lose, however; we need to depart immediately to get to Bespin in time.”
That was the cue: all the troops filed out of the room and headed to their posts with renewed confidence in their pilots. Soon, the reestablished pilots were rocketing away to the Command Ship orbiting the planet.

RC-1162 09-29-2006 06:08 AM

The Rebel Ship broke Hyperspace and entered the Bespin system. Almost immediately, the Bay doors opened and the new fighters spewed out, heading for the planet. As they boosted their crafts towards it, the comm. crackled,
“And Colonel Antilles,” Dodonna’s voice filtered through. “I’m putting you in charge of the tactical command for this mission along with me.”
“Acknowledged, Admiral,” Wedge replied.
As the ships entered the atmosphere, Wedge issued his first command,
“All units split up and land your ships on different landing pads. We should be as subtle as possible.”
The 120 ships scattered beautifully and headed to different landing pads set inside the floating city.
Back in the Command Ship, Dodonna sent another message to the group,
“We will be jumping to a spot a little close to the Sun in this system to minimize interference. If you need assistance, shout out and we’ll be there.”
“Understood, Admiral.” Came the reply.
The pilots sat in their ships for fifteen minutes doing nothing and Wedge was beginning to wonder whether or not the Imperials would come when their scanners registered a new Cruiser in the planet’s day-side: right in front of them.
“All ships move out and form up.” Wedge commanded as he brought his engines to life. The ships rose and shot into space in formation.
“Alright Blue Squad, get the Cruiser.” Wedge said. “Green and Red Squads focus on the TIEs, Gold Squad get back into the atmosphere and flank the City.”
Ships scattered, obeying the new leader. Wedge, as Red Leader, went after the TIEs with the Greens. A group of ships broke through the oncoming wave of TIEs and began strafing runs on the Cruiser’s surface.
With the new cannons installed by the techs, the Rebels had the advantage now. Every shot fired by them hit one TIE or the other. The Imperials were losing once again, but this time, Wedge was sure that the Rebels would win this battle.
In the Bridge, Vader felt his temper rising. He turned to his TIE Commander.
“Send the Advanced ships in. Now!”
The commander nodded and issued an order through his collar mike.
The Hangar doors opened and the TIE Advanced fighters rocketed out. However, this time, Wedge had a plan.
“The ships are out,” he said through his comm. “Group Blue A, send a couple of missiles in; Group Blue B, get in the others and set the time bombs.”
Blue Squadron split up and went to different Hagar arrays. Group A, targeting the hangar array on the Cruiser’s port side, obtained target locks one by one and launched their whole payload of concussion missiles into different hangars, everyone except Blue Leader, who saved his last 2 missiles for a future operation. With thousands of thunderous explosions, the Cruiser rocked and its port engines blew out, sending it reeling into the left, without any engines left in the port to stabilize its direction.
Just then, the Group B ships had safely landed in the Hangar Bays of the Cruiser. The pilots jumped out, armed with a backpack containing 5 time bombs and a Blaster Cannon. They set the bombs on the most vital components in the Bays: the power grids, missile storage compartments, un-launched ships, etc.
“Group B, are you done?” asked Blue Leader. “This has to be precisely timed.”
“Group B is done,” a pilot replied.
“Then get out of there, Phase 2 is commencing.”
The pilots scrambled back to their ships and exited the Bays. Blue Leader set his craft to hover in one spot and turned to face the Cruiser, which, by now, had almost made a full 180 degree turn away from the battle. He looked at his readout of the angle of the ship with respect to its initial X Axis position. When the reading hit 165 degrees, he initiated the time bombs. 5 seconds later, the time bombs went off. Another royal explosion and now even the starboard engines blew out. The inertia of the ship kept it turning towards the right. When the reading reached 178, Blue Leader launched his last two missiles at the port section of the ship’s rear. The concussions stopped the leftward turn of the Cruiser. Now it hung, dead in space, engines out and facing away from the battle at 180 degrees exactly.
“Okay fellas, Phase 3,” Blue Leader called.
All of the ships on Blue Squadron went to the Cruiser. They aligned themselves according to the Cruiser and landed on the it all over the place with magnetic clamps and shut down their engines. Blue Leader made sure all the ships were on the Cruiser.
“Okay, on three, One…Two…THREE!”
At the command, all the ships blasted their engines at full throttle. The combined thrust began to move the Cruiser slowly.
“Okay, looks like this is working,” Blue Lead called. “Keep it going.”
The Cruiser’s speed reading in Blue Lead’s cockpit scanner went up slowly. It finally reached 16000 kmph when the 5-minute timer he set went off.
“All ships, pull up.” He called. The pilots decreased their thrust and broke off. The Cruiser kept going into emptiness while Blue Squad rocketed back to Bespin.
“We’ve cut off their reinforcements and docking facilities,” Blue Leader reported.
“Excellent work, Blue Lead.” Wedge said. Head down and help Gold Squad to secure the city. Blue Squadron headed to the floating city, victorious, and landed on the pads, waiting to fill up their empty tanks.

RC-1162 09-29-2006 06:08 AM

Wedge fired and another TIE blew up. The Rebels were just inches away from grabbing their victory. The Imperial fleet was in disorder; the TIEs had no support from their Cruiser and they were surrounded by enemy ships. Suddenly, a Rebel Enforcer Cruiser popped into view: apparently the Pilots had called for backup. This confused the TIE Lieutenant as he flew around, trying to evade the ship behind him. They already had the upper hand; why call for backup? The X-Wings had stopped firing too; they were merely keeping the TIEs from escaping. Then, suddenly, about a dozen Y-Wings arrived on the scene, coming straight from the Rebel Cruiser’s Bays. Blue flashes suddenly streaked everywhere: ion beans from the Y-Wings’ cannons and their targets were the TIEs. Several minutes and a lot of firing later, all the TIEs were knocked out. Their circuits scrambled and weapons and targeting systems overloaded, the TIEs were sitting ducks for the X-Wings. Surprisingly, all the ship began moving towards the Enforcer; the X-Wings under their own power and the TIEs pulled by the tractor beam of the ship. After collecting its cargo, the Enforcer jumped into Hyperspace as if nothing had happened. By now, the Imperial Cruiser was long gone from the scene. Cruising along at 1000 mph, they were dead in space, trying to establish contact with their main fleet and the abducted TIEs. Vader turned and stormed off to his chambers, seething with rage. A young officer, unable to sense that Vader was in a mood, came up to the Dark Lord and said something he should have not:
“My Lord, it seems that the blasts from the missiles have destroyed some of the lower levers entirely, including your Personal Chambers.”
That did it for Vader, he let loose his anger. Gripping the officer’s neck with the Force, he raised him into the air.
“Your incompetence is the reason for that,” he growled and hurled the man across the Bridge. Vader turned and walked away to the Observation Deck.
************************************************** ****************
A group of Imperial Pilots surrounded by Rebel troops walked down the corridor to the cells. After depositing their load, the troops went up to the Cafeteria were the whole crew was assembled.
“I gave the order to cease fire because I had something special in mind with regard to the fight against the Imperials,” Dodonna said. “We can repair the TIEs we just captured and use them in attacks on heavily guarded Imperial bases.”
“Sir,” Wedge called. “What about the prisoners?”
“We will need them to give us any bypass codes or things of the sort we may require. For that reason, treat them nicely. They may spill everything on being asked; but some may require a little persuasion, but we’ll deal with that when time comes.”
Mon Mothma now came front.
“This battle will definitely lead the Imperials to change their course of action.” She said. “They might decide to attack a different planet rather that the one reported in our stolen data modules. Because of this, I see it fit that there should be a garrison of troops and a squadron of fighters on all of the targeted planets.”
“This decision requires all the forces to be very alert.” Dodonna said. “One garrison and fighter squadron cannot win a battle. They are there simply to provide primary defense to the planets. Should the planet you are on be attacked, send a message to the main fleet immediately then provide support to the planet till we arrive.”
The Cruiser rumbled and dropped out of Hyperspace. Several cargo shuttles carrying the disabled TIEs and Lambda class shuttles filled the temporarily very silent Hangar bay of their Dantooininan base.

RC-1162 09-29-2006 06:10 AM

The Rebel base was alive with the hustle and bustle of rushed activity. Rebel technicians worked hard to repair the TIEs back to factory standards and the Commanders were trying with all their might to get the POWs to talk but the Empire had done some excellent conditioning on their soldiers. They would not crack even under torture, to which the Rebels had to unfortunately turn to after their truth serums and mind games had no effect. Seeing this problem, General Caarlist Rieekan, now put in charge of the fleet by the Admiral instead of himself, announced a plan to bring in one of the most successful person in the Clone Wars. This mystery person was expected at noon, local time, that very day. Apparently he would also help them with the war effort when things were going against them. The Rebels went ahead with their work, bothered more about their schedule than the helper.
************************************************** **************
It was noon, the sunlight was softened by the clouds in the sky, making it seem like early evening. The grass was not moving at all, and the air was deathly still. Still, that is, until a new shuttle set down on the grass just outside the entrance of the base. General Rieekan walked forward to the now opening ramp and waited patiently for his guest to disembark. The new arrival was a tall man with brown hair and a beard to match. He wore long flowing robes of two different shades of brown again and he carried what gave a first appearance of a slender metallic tube at his waist. Rieekan shook hands warmly with the newcomer.
“Welcome,” he said with a smile. “We are most grateful to you for agreeing to help us.”
“My pleasure, General. I have a few aims of my own too,” Jedi Master Obi Wan Kenobi replied.
************************************************** **************
Space shook and another Imperial class cruiser appeared in front of Vader’s half-destroyed Command Ship. The technicians had finally managed to bring back communications with the main fleet, improving Vader’s mood considerably. The new cruiser maneuvered in front of the dead ship and cuts its engines. Vader transferred to the other Cruiser in his personal TIE fighter to get a Hyperspace-capable shuttle. Once the Dark Lord had left, the crews of both the ships were operating with much more relief. Several TIEs flying at low speed helped connect titanium-plasteel cables originating from the first cruiser, to the second. Once the cables were secures, the new Cruiser proceeded to tow the ship to the vicinity of the Hoth Asteroid Belt, near which the Empire had set up a small space station.

RC-1162 09-29-2006 06:11 AM

Obi Wan waved his hand in front of the Imperial Pilot, reaching out with the Force and touching his mind.
“You want to tell me what the Empire will do next,” he said in a commanding tone.
“I…want…the Empire will call a full retreat and begin work on their new TIEs.” The pilot replied soberly.
“Which are…?” Obi Wan asked.
“The TIE Bomber. They will use them in an invasion of Corellia.”
“Where is the fleet positioned now?” Obi Wan demanded.
“I don’t know”
Obi Wan reached deeper into the Imperial’s mind.
“They…they are just outside the Hoth Asteroid Belt, using the resources found among the rocks to power their productions.”
“Thank you,” Obi Wan said cheerfully and let go of his prisoner’s mind. The trooper immediately slumped down onto the chair behind him, exhausted.
Obi Wan turned back to Wedge,
“Well, Wedge, you’ve got your target. I would suggest a swift hit-and-run mission.”
“Of course, Master Kenobi, I…”
“Please,” Obi Wan interrupted. “Call me Obi Wan.”
“Sure, Obi Wan,” said Wedge. “Anyway, as I was saying, I had already taken the opportunity to prepare our strike team. We would appreciate it if you joined us in the battle.”
“What? You mean like in a fighter? No thank you, Wedge, flying is for droids, and overly excited youth.”
“Well,” Wedge said, a bit disappointed. “If you change your mind, let me know.”
“Of course, in the meantime, I’ll supervise from the main base comm. room.”
Wedge nodded and departed to his fellow strike-mates to deliver the target and plan of action.
An asteroid hurtled past the automated mining apparatus, nearly smashing it to pieces. It crashed into another piece of rock the same size and fragmented instantly, leaving behind shards of sharp metal ore and rock. Admiral Ben Dylan of the Imperial fleet shook his head slightly.
*This is dangerous. I don’t know why the Emperor didn’t have these machines programmed with artificial intelligence.* he thought.
He heard dull footsteps approaching and instantly knew who it was; he turned,
“Lord Vader,” he greeted with his head bowed in respect.
“What is your progress, Admiral?” the deep voice replied.
“We have already begun construction of the TIE Bomber prototype,” the Admiral said confidently. “In three days, it shall be ready for testing. If it is a success, we hope to begin mass-production within the week.”
Vader was silent for a minute and then he replied with a tone of satisfaction,
“Good work, Admiral. Keep up the progress and the Emperor might commend you soon.”
“Thank you, my Lord,” was the reply.
Vader left the bridge of the Cruiser and went to his Chambers to meditate. As the Admiral turned back to the chaos outside, however, the milk curdled.
“Admiral, we are picking up a squadron of Rebel vehicles on our scanners,” a junior technician reported. “They are approaching fast.”
“What!?” the Admiral exclaimed. “How did they find us?”
“That is irrelevant at the moment, Admiral,” answered his aide. “Our goal now is to protect the Cruiser and the machinery.”
“Send out all available TIEs, immediately!” Dylan ordered.
Sitting in his craft, hurtling along at Sublight 5, Wedge and his group cracked their knuckles with anticipation. About 3 dozen TIEs poured out of the Hangars on the Cruiser. Wedge’s group split up and half of them went in to deal with the TIEs.

RC-1162 09-29-2006 06:12 AM

Wedge’s attack force consisting only of 20 ships, one would think that the TIEs would be having the advantage. However, the Rebels were throwing everything they had at the Imperials and gaining the edge.
“Red 19 and 20, destroy the mining machines, they are crucial to this setup, then try to do some damage to the Cruiser.” Wedge called. Two ships from the group headed for the Cruiser broke off and fired upon the mining apparatuses. They blew up in seconds and the X-Wings crossed back and proceeded with their second order. However, as they went along, a TIE which was hit by another X-Wing came careening out of control towards the duet. Red 20 managed to go into a suicide dive and pull up, but Red 19 strafed right instead. The TIE collided hard with the X-Wing and it was the strength of the new alloy on the hull that kept it from disintegrating. However, Red 19 lost control of his throttle and it zoomed ahead at maximum speed. He wrestled with the controls, trying to avoid hitting anything. The Hoth Asteroid Belt proved too much for him; as he jerked his ship hard to the left, a speeding piece of rock hit his ship head on. The Rebels were now one ship short.
“Red Lead,” Red 20 called into his mike. “Jake’s ship was hit by an asteroid. He’s…gone.”
Wedge, about to begin a strafing run on the Cruiser, aborted his run and shouted,
“WHAT?! He’s an excellent pilot. We all are. How did he just smash into a rock?”
“An out-of-control TIE immobilized his throttle controls.”
Wedge swore loudly. Things were becoming too real.
“Keep going,” he announced. “Give them hell for Jake.”
The Rebels now began fighting with a new life. They coordinated strategy and worked in pairs or groups of 3 and destroyed several components of the Cruiser. As they were preparing to deal the fatal blow, however, another Imperial Cruiser materialized in front of them and a new wave of TIEs burst forth.
************************************************** *************
Admiral Dylan was seriously contemplating suicide when one of his techs spoke:
“Admiral, a new Imperial-class Cruiser has appeared in Sector Alpha-Two-Gamma. They are sending reinforcements.”
For a moment, Dylan joined in the cheers of the crew, then suspicion hit him.
“How did they know we were under attack? We never sent out any distress signal.” He wondered aloud. Just then, the ship rocked with the force of another explosion.
“What's going on?” Dylan yelled. “The Rebel ships are all on our visual field.”
“It seems you were right, Admiral,” replied his Aide. “The new TIEs are attacking us.”
“What?! Treachery! Murder! Who dared betray the Emperor?”
“They are the ships captured above Bespin, Admiral.”
Dylan really wanted to throw himself out of an airlock now. The very fact that Vader had not come charging to the deck for an explanation was a wonder to behold.
“We’ve no choice, send all available power to the engines and make a jump, NOW!” The Admiral ordered.
The lights went out as all the power was rerouted to the hyperdrive and sublight engines. The only illumination was from the flickering computer panels. Slowly, the ship began to move. It charged ahead, out of the Asteroid Field, straining its engines to the limit. As soon as they were clear, the Cruiser shot ahead into Hyperspace.
************************************************** **************
The moment the new Cruiser popped up, Wedge’s heart suck, but it rose up again immediately when his comm. cracked to life.
“Hello, Wedge. Enjoying the party?”
“Obi Wan!” Wedge replied, half-awed. “How did you get one of those?”
“Later, Wedge, We’ve a bigger problem here. I’ve sent out the TIEs we captured to help you out.”
“Call them back, Master Kenobi,” came a voice. It was Red 3. “They’ve started their engines. If I’m right about them wanting to jump to Hyperspace, we’d better stand clear.”
“You’re right,” agreed Obi Wan.
There was a brief silence as he gave the order through a separate comm. and the Rebel-TIEs pulled up and returned to their ship. Sure enough, Red 3’s hunch was right, the Cruiser had just enough power left and they had used it to flee. If there were any ships next to it at the time, they would have been torn apart.
“Let them go, we don’t have time to waste,” ordered Obi Wan. The Rebel X-Wings obediently docked on the captured Imperial Cruiser and it too jumped into Hyperspace, leaving behind a vast amount of wreckage to join the Hoth Asteroid Belt.

RC-1162 09-29-2006 06:13 AM

“Okay,” Wedge said as he descended from his starfighter. “Can you explain now how you got this ship?”
“Obviously, we…” began Obi Wan.
“…Captured it, I know. My question is *how* you managed to do that.”
“As you know, the Alliance is engaged on a broad scale; we received a distress message from New Agamar just as you left for Hoth, so we hightailed it there and slapped then hard.” Obi Wan explained as the rest of Wedge’s squad fell in step behind them. “Though, I won’t say it was easy. We took heavy losses on our side and unfortunately, lost Agamar in the process.”
“What?” Wedge said.
“The Imperials pulled a trick on us. Just as we arrived, they had another ship join them from the other side of the planet and transports carried Infantry units to the surface. By the time our battle’s tide had turned, we received a transmission demanding our immediate withdrawal or else one of the Agamar colonies would be vaporized.”
“Right, so you lost the planet.” Wedge confirmed. “How did you get the ship then?”
“We paid them back,” Obi Wan replied with a grin. “Just as we were about to leave, I ordered the captured TIEs out. They embarked from the port bay so that nobody could see them and doubled back after flying towards the planet’s atmosphere to make it appear as if they were a relief force. They stormed the Cruiser by force and captured the Bridge. Once done, the ship was ours, though, once again with heavy losses.”
“Right, do what’s our next plan of action?” Wedge asked.
“Right now we’ll lick our wounds and catch our breaths. If the Imperials strike again, we have to be at full alert.”
Wedge nodded and they parted ways as the pilots headed for their quarters.
************************************************** *******************
“You may rise,” said Darth Vader. Ben Dylan rose, relieved that Vader did not dispose of him as he had done with others.
“I am terribly sorry once again, My Lord, but we were not prepared for such an assault.” He explained once again.
“You have learned your lesson, Admiral, do not fail me again.”
Dylan suddenly felt a sort of seizure in his chest. For a second, he could not draw breath, but it suddenly passed just as it descended.
“Yes, My Lord. Do I have any further orders?”
“As a matter of fact, you do.” Vader replied. “You will go to Sullust and set up a base among the volcanic plateaus.”
Vader handed Dylan a datapad.
“All the information you need is in there. You are dismissed, Admiral.”
Dylan bowed and said,
“Yes, My Lord.”
************************************************** *******************
Space rippled and the Crusher, Dylan’s new command ship, appeared in front of the blue-red planet of Sullust. He gave the order and thousands of Lambda-class and cargo shuttles erupted from the bay. 5 hours after touchdown, work began on the Imperial transponders required to power such a base.
************************************************** *******************
The hologram vanished and Mon Mothma turned to Dodonna.
“They have begun work on a new base on Sullust,” she reported.
“Let them be, Sullust is a far out planet and building the base itself will take a long time. Once it is active, we will place it under scrutiny of the Bothans.”
“I agree,” Mon Mothma said. “However, we must not be flippant about this, I suggest we keep an eye on them just to be safe.”
“Done and done,” Dodonna replied.

RC-1162 09-29-2006 06:14 AM

Dylan gathered his commanding officers in the already completed control room, a week after the main landing, to discuss strategy.
“Our tactics have been too predictable and open in the past few campaigns,” he said. “The Rebels have superior tacticians and the Bothan Spy network on their side. I have put forth this point to Emperor Palpatine and he has agreed to train his best recon troopers for the same job on our side.
“We will divide our attack into three divisions. The four Victory class Star Destroyers that are completed will depart carrying how much ever TIEs they can hold. They will be closely followed by two Imperial Star Destroyers moving in on a separate target. These fleets will be a diversionary two-pronged attack. While the Rebels deal with them, we will make a main assault on Kuat, the engineering colony. Once Kuat is secured, the factories on the planet will churn out TIEs and Star Destroyers by the numbers.
“The diversionary forces’ main objective will be to keep the Rebels occupied long enough for us to secure Kuat.”
“Admiral Dylan,” called out a senior officer from the back.
“Yes, Commander Janus?”
“What’s to keep the Rebels from abandoning the diversionary forces while the main attack is in progress?”
“We have jamming satellites that will prevent all but Imperial-encrypted messages to be received or delivered by the planet.” Dylan said.
He looked around, expecting further hands to come up in doubt. When none came, he proceeded,
“Any more questions?” he asked; none came.
“Very well, we shall proceed with the battle plan…”
************************************************** *********************
“Dodonna paced up and down on the bridge of the Mon Calamari star cruiser donated to them by the Calamarians to aid in the war effort. His aide, a calm and cool Twilek, named Jalen, came up to him and spoke in perfect Basic.
“What’s troubling you, sir?” he asked softly.
“The Imps have been quiet for too long,” said Dodonna. “The Bothans cannot come up with anything other than the fact that they seem to be retreating and consolidating their forces. We know full well that the Imperials have always used brute force instead of advanced strategy. They never consolidate their forces. It is unnerving.”
“There is a first time for everything, sir” Jalen replied. “The best we can do is to keep our eyes and ears open and be prepared.”
Dodonna nodded and allowed Jalen to usher him to his quarters.
************************************************** *********************
Rain fell heavily on the cooler parts of Sullust, that is, on the wide open plains. And that was where the forward flank of the Imperial base was established. And that was also where Tard’orm’aonas, a Chiss native, was headed. On paper and to public knowledge, the Bothans were strictly consisting only of the natives of Bothawui. However, they were glad to use whatever resources were available to them and the glowing-eyed Chiss was one of their elites.
Slowly, he sneaked up to the outer perimeter. He took a glance at the fence, which was hissing and glowing in the rain. He drew closer cautiously and scrutinized the mesh. It was a laser fence, crisscrossing to appear like a standard force-field fence and superheating the drops of rain falling on it, causing the hisses and the erratic glowing of the fence. He shook his head softly, the Chiss race was more than prepared for things like this. He looked up and estimated the height of the fence to be around 5 meters. He took a few steps back and suddenly ran up to the fence. At the last possible moment, he jumped up and did a subtle somersault gracefully and landed with a soft splash on the other side. The fence cleared, he carefully made his way to the main building, staying aware for any mines or trip lasers. He reached the wall of the flank without any complications. Drawing his blaster, he popped the hatch and jumped into the control room. The Stormtrooper Sergeant inside was clearly not expecting any assault as his blaster sat in the wall mount across the room and he was lounging on his seat.
Two shots later, Tard’orm’aonas, or Dorma, to give his core-name, was hacking into the Imperial Information Grid. Several unimportant personnel logs flashed by; Dorma skipped them and executed the command to call up the battle action sequences. He inserted a data cylinder into the receptacle and downloaded all the Imperial logistics. Digging deeper, he reached the strategy analysis of the next battle. He realized the Imperials were much more organized this time around and that unnerved him a bit. He drew out his comlink and, after making sure that the scrambler was on, spoke into it.
“R5,” he began, referring to his astromech droid that he had left on his shuttle. “Prep the ship for take off.”
He received a beep in affirmation and switched off his comlink, satisfied. He carefully went back to the fence and, using the same tactic that he had used to get in, jumped out. He plodded through the heavy rain to where his shuttle was parked. He walked up the entry ramp, shivering slightly. He made his way to the cockpit and received a shock. His R5 unit lay in pieces on the floor; seeing this, he immediately knew that he had been compromised. He opened his shuttle comlink to make his report to the Bothans.
Behind him, in the cargo hold, two Stormtroopers quietly made their way to the cockpit. Dorma whirled around in the middle of his recital. He raised his blaster but the Imperials were too fast for him. He hoped the Rebels would figure out that they had to remain alert 110%. His last thought was that he had given his best to the Army he believed in.
************************************************** *********************
Commander Tryan, the Commander in charge of the base on Sullust, listened to his troops attentively. A good Commander always listened to each and every thing his units told him, and evaluated it seriously, and Tryan was far better than just good. He glanced at the Chiss corpse lying in the wet body bag and shuddered slightly.
“What did he manage to reveal?” he asked the Troopers
“Nothing much, sir,” one of them replied, his synthesized voice seemingly loud in the small debriefing room. “We believe that nothing about the plan was revealed.”
He slipped his fingers into his supply belt and produced a small data cylinder.
“We found this on him. I don’t believe it was uploaded to the Bothans after he copied it from out Info Grid.”
“Bothans?” Tryan asked, confused. “What do you mean?”
One of the Troopers pointed at a small insignia beside the Rebel Alliance logo: The Bothan Spynet.
Tryan cursed softly. If the Bothans were here, that meant that the Alliance also knew that they were here.
“No matter,” he said. “You have done well, keep this up and a promotion will be heading your way for sure.”
The troopers acknowledged his compliment with a nod, turned in unison and marched out of the room.

RC-1162 09-29-2006 06:21 AM

Dodonna shook his head again. The darkness of the bridge just made him sleepy and he could hear the strong temptation calling from his quarters. Part of him just wanted to fall in the nearest chair and drop off, but he kept going with his will power, and the occasional cup of Stim-Coffee. He filled another cup and sipped the steaming liquid silently. The other crew members were also on full alert, but with their flashing consoles, sleep was hard to come their way. For a moment, Dodonna envied them, not responsible for anything other than observing the radar, or sending communication signals, or controlling the engines. But the moment passed, and he realized every person was useful to the army. If a soldier quit, the Army was one short, and that one soldier could have made a difference. He was still in the middle of his revere when the klaxon went off. He was so startled; he spilled half his cup of Stim-Coffee onto himself.
“What’s going on?” he asked the comm. officer as he pressed a towel to his soaked shirt.
“We’ve received an emergency signal from Corellia. They’re under attack.”
“Right, give the signal for the crew to get ready. We leave in 30 minutes.” He turned to walk out of the bridge to find a change of clothes when the comm. officer called him back.
“Sir!” he called. “There’s another transmission incoming: the Imperials are attacking Bothawui too.”
Dodonna cursed. The Imperials were causing far too much trouble.
“Get Commander Jalen.” He ordered one of his guards.
“There is no need, Admiral,” Jalen said softly from behind. “I am here.”
Dodonna turned to him and spoke urgently.
“We have to organize ASAP. The Imperials are hitting two targets at once. Divide the fleet into two and take one unit to Corellia.”
Jalen nodded and brought up a logistics annex.
“Get more firepower to Bothawui. It is a key system as is its Spynet. Cause no damage whatsoever to the civilians.” Dodonna ordered.
Five minutes later, the troops were all reassigned and there was a hustle of activity. Dodonna took this time to excuse himself to his quarters and change.
Forty minutes after the first transmission was received, the Rebel fleet was whirring into gear.
Across half the Galaxy, so was the Imperial fleet.
************************************************** *******************
The Commander in Chief of the Kuat Defense Forces was not prepared for the Star Destroyers that suddenly loomed in the sky above them. Because of this, by the time the fighters were finally scrambled, the fast and agile Kuat Drives Mach III ships, the TIE Bomber Squadron had already destroyed half of the city.
“Send a distress signal and put everyone on alert,” ordered the Commander, forcing his voice to remain calm with much effort.
“Red Alert signal has been issued, Commander,” replied the officer. “But the Imperials have a jamming net in place.”
The Commander lost his patience and stomped his feet.
“Send a quarter of the Fighters to knock that piece of wampa dung out of the sky.” He growled in annoyance.
“Signal sent, Commander,” replied the officer after a few minutes at the comm.
************************************************** *******************
High above the planet of Kuat, the Mach IIIs were engaged in a full dogfight-only type of battle. TIEs and Mach IIIs blew up by the second. Amidst this carnage, nobody noticed the slick group of ships slipping away from the main fleet. They headed towards the moderately-sized, sharp-edge designed jamming satellite put out of harms way. It would not be that way for long. Hundreds of laser cannon blasts and three concussion missiles later, it really wasn’t that way.
“This is K15 Squad,” called the leader of the attack force. “The Jamming Sat is down, repeat, the Sat is down.”
************************************************** *******************
Back on solid ground, the officer got to work transmitting the distress signal at least once every minute.
“This is the planet of Kuat, we are under Imperial attack, require emergency assistance immediately!”

RC-1162 09-29-2006 06:24 AM

Dodonna was appalled. He had never seen such a weak attack force. Especially with which the Imperials were hoping to capture Corellia. He gave the order to scramble the fighters and sat in his seat on the bridge of his command ship. The Imperials were holding their own, but were steadily losing. He shook his head. Again, poor planning had lost a war for the Empire. As he sat, however, a nervous looking officer came up to him and spoke to him urgently.

“Sir, we have received a transmission from Kuat. It doesn’t look good.” He said, and handed Dodonna a filmsiplast readout of the transmission. Dodonna read it and swore to himself. Kuat was under attack by a large Imperial fleet. He remembered the report he had gotten from the Bothans: ‘Keep on full alert, the Imperials may use decoy attacks while focusing on a main goal elsewhere.’

“Give the signal to the rest of the fleet to break off and head to Kuat,” he ordered.

“They have also been sent this transmission, Admiral. Any further orders?” asked the officer.

Dodonna looked at the planet of Corellia, which was still surrounded by a cloud of Imperials.
“Make two capital ships here hold their position and provide support to Corellia,” he said. “Tell Commander Jalen to do the same, then take the rest of his fleet and go to Kuat. We need the shipyards of that planet. If the Imperials get a hold of it, we’ll never get it back.”

The officer nodded and rushed to the comm. to transmit the Admiral’s orders. Fifteen minutes later, the Imperials on Corellia were being mopped up by only two capital ships, while the rest of them raced to Kuat.
************************************************** *********************
The Commander of the Kuat Defense Forces thought he had fought bravely. But when you looked at the end, he had lost, enough said. Hands on his head, he and the other security forces and army troopers were being herded into cells, in a large warehouse, built to accommodate engine parts.

“Secure the planet’s night side and maintain the TIEs on patrol duty.” Admiral Dylan ordered from the same command base that the Commander of the KDF had used.
“The jamming satellite was knocked out, thanks to your incompetence…” he said, looking at a Commander, who was the in-charge of the jamming satellite control. He was opening his mouth to protest, but Dylan carried on,
“…hence, we can assume that the Rebels were alerted and are on their way here.”

“Admiral,” said a young officer, “The Rebels have advanced military techniques. What’s to stop them from storming our TIE Squadrons and taking back Kuat?”

“Their big hearts and their soppy heads,” replied Dylan and laughed. The officer stood quiet, not understanding.
“Never mind,” said Dylan, still smiling. “You’ll see when the time comes.”

The officer nodded and headed off for his duty post. Dylan turned back to his other Generals and began discussing strategy.
************************************************** *********************
The portion of the Rebel fleet under Dodonna tore through Hyperspace and dropped into the system of Kuat. Cloaking devices full on, the ships waited, hovering in space, for the remaining part of the fleet. Ten minutes later, 6 other ships had joined them, to add to Dononna’s 5.

Moving in unison, the fleet made their way to the planet of Kuat. As they moved, the Hangars on board opened up and X- and Y-Wings churned out, flying cover for the bigger warships. As they drew nearer, Dodonna saw a thick cloud of TIEs and two Star Destroyers waiting for them. They were too late. But they had to try.

He was about to give the signal to the snub fighters to attack when his comm. crackled to life.

“Good day, Admiral Dodonna,” came a cold, slow voice. “This is Admiral Ben Dylan of the Imperial fleet.”

“Why don’t you leave Kuat and pick on someone your own size?” Dodonna asked.

“Like you, perhaps?” came the reply. “In two weeks time, your fleet will be far, far lesser than ‘my own size’, as you put it.”

“What do you want? I thought you Imperials were all action and no talk.”

“Ah, that is where we have changed. You see, I grow tired of all this senseless killing.” Dodonna scoffed over the comm. and Dylan knew what it meant. “Disbelieve me if you will, but I do have a conscience of my own.”

“And yet, you put the lives of three planets at stake just to build up your fleet.” Dodonna countered.

“I realize that was a ruthless move on my part, but now that I have control over Kuat, I will give the signal to my troops at Bothawui and Corellia to withdraw; on one condititon.”

*Here we go,* Dodonna thought. “Name your terms.” he said

“You will order your fleet to pull off and return to your base, wherever it may be. You have twenty minutes to decide, exceeding which, my TIE fighters will get rid of you.”

“Does your conscience approve of giving threats?” Dodonna asked, desperately trying to think up a plan, but his brain had fused and was only enabling him to speak.

“No, Admiral,” Dylan replied calmly. “But it does approve of me trying to preserve the lives of my TIE pilots. You have twenty minutes.” The comm. went dead.

RC-1162 09-29-2006 06:25 AM

“Commander Jalen,” said Dodonna into his comlink. “You’d better listen to him. Give the order to your troops to retreat.
He received an affirmation as a reply and the capital ships under Jalen’s command slowly revered direction.

Dodonna opened a channel with Dylan.
“You are a smart man, Dylan, some would say scheming.”

“Glad you think so,” replied the Imperial Admiral.

“But know this,” said Dodonna with a confident air. “The Rebel Alliance will not sit idly by as you conquer.”

“I don’t think that will make a difference, Admiral,” replied Dylan. “Within two months, the size of my fleet shall double, and the very sight of my Battleships will intimidate your leaders. Now get out of here, before I scramble my fighters.”

Dodonna’s capital ship finally turned around and jumped into hyperspace.
************************************************** *********************
“I am most pleased with your performance, Admiral Dylan,” said the man in front of him. He sat in his ornately designed chair, or some would say throne, facing away from Dylan, staring out the window, set 75 stories high in the Imperial Palace. The chair slowly swiveled and revealed:
Emperor Palpatine.
The Sith Lord stood up and walked forward a few steps.

“Your Spynet is now operational, Admiral,” said the mottled old man. He made the slightest of signs and one of his Royal Imperial Guards, dressed in full red armor, came forward, escorting a humanoid reptilian species. The figure had green skin and sharp, curved claws. Though it was an alien, its features were like those of a man, a handsome man.

“This is Prince Xizor,” said Palpatine. “He is the overlord of Black Sun and has a vast Spynet of his own, second to none, equal to the Bothans. Do doubt, what you hear may be received by the Rebel’s too, but if you need any other…services, he will help you.”

Xizor, a Falleen, bowed slightly to Dylan and the Admiral returned it.

“Pleased to make your acquaintance, Admiral,” said Xizor smoothly in perfect Basic. “My services are at your dispersal.”

Dylan nodded. “I’d like your men to give me the exact whereabouts of the Rebel fleet every three hours. Would that be possible?”

Before Xizor could reply, the Emperor cut in.

“Discuss your business elsewhere,” said the Emperor. “I don’t think my chambers are your briefing stations, Admiral.”

Dylan bowed low. “Forgive me, My Master.” He said and the two figures quickly left the room.
Outside, in the turbolift, Xizor turned to Dylan and said,

“I’ll give you all the recon, you need, Admiral, but I want a favour in return.”

“Name it, I’ll try to help.” Replied Dylan.

“I want authorization to have surveillance on Darth Vader.”

Dylan inhaled sharply. He thought about Vader for a second: tall, black armored, Force-user.

“I…have to think about it,” said Dylan slowly.

“Take your time, Admiral,” replied Xizor, not looking at him. “I’m in no hurry.”

“May I ask why?” said Dylan.

The turbolift stopped and the duo stepped out.

“You may, Admiral,” said Xizor and looked at him. “But don’t expect an answer.”

RC-1162 09-29-2006 06:26 AM

Dylan knelt on one knee, head down, in front of the Dark Lord of the Sith.

“You have done well in bringing this to me first, Admiral,” rumbled Vader. “Had you given him access without me knowing of it, you would have been…dealt with.”

Dylan felt relief and fear at the same time, but managed to keep calm. “Should I deny him permission, My Lord?”

“While that would be the most logical answer, since we have our own Spynet, it would not be the correct course to take,” replied Vader.

Dylan was confused now. Here was Vader, telling him that the Empire had their own Spynet, and half an hour ago, the Emperor told him that Xizor’s Spynet was at his disposal. As if he could read the Admiral’s thoughts, Vader spoke.

“The Emperor thinks our Spynet is too…incapable.” said the Sith Lord. Dylan could hear the verbal sneer in his voice.

“What should I do about Xizor, My Lord?” Dylan asked, rising at Vader’s signal.

“Give him permission, but set our own recon on him,” said Vader. “Send our best commandos.”

Dylan bowed. “Yes, My Lord.”

Vader turned away from him and made his way to the exit. “You are dismissed, Admiral.”
************************************************** *********************
“The Admiral has given me his permission, Mystery Man,” said Xizor to the hologram in front of him. “No doubt Vader has his own surveillance on me now. You had better pay what I asked.”

“Don’t worry, Prince,” said the man. He wore a thick cloak with a hood that covered the top half of his face, but Xizor could make out a neat beard from under the shadows. The man’s voice was raspy, almost like a synthesized voice. “As long as you hold up your end of the bargain, I’ll hold up mine.”

Idle curiosity overcame Xizor. “May I know why you require these services?” he asked.

“I am sorry, but no,” replied the figure. “And I beg your pardon, but I have to leave, I have some pressing business to attend to.”

Xizor nodded. “I hope we can do more business together.”

“So do I, Prince,” replied the figure and the holocomm faded.
************************************************** **********************
Darth Vader smiled under his helmet. Xizor was no fool, he admitted. He liked to have a challenging adversary in this type of thing, since he had none who wielded a lightsaber.

“Can your technicians put a trace on that call?” he asked the Officer operating the comm. signal regulators.

“We’ll try, My Lord. But it will take a lot of time.” Replied the Officer.

“I am in no hurry. Go ahead, officer,” replied Vader.

He waited for what seemed like an eternity. He was sitting in his chambers, meditating in the Dark Side, when the officer came to him.

“My Lord, the voice was scrambled through a filter, but we managed to crack it and get a positive voiceprint on the person.”

Vader smiled again.
************************************************** *********************
And so did Xizor, at the report of his aide. The Rebels were clever, yes; he would give them that, but not enough to match Xizor.

“Good work, officer,” said Xizor and sat, contemplating his next move.
************************************************** *********************
Across half the galaxy, on a world known as Yavin 4, a certain someone cut his transmission with Xizor. The same someone opened another channel to Admiral Dodonna. Five minutes later, he was out of the great Massassi spire and into the dense jungle, on his way to the Great Temple. A polished tube hung at his side inconspicuously, and his long, flowing cloak billowed out behind him. He pulled back his hood, and there, in the filtered sunlight of Yavin 4, was Jedi Master Obi Wan Kenobi.

RC-1162 09-29-2006 06:27 AM

The security cam’s automated systems were put on stand-by. Under manual control, its lens zoomed and swiveled to best capture the image.
The image of Darth Vader and the Emperor.

“What is thy bidding, my Master?” asked Vader, head down with respect.

“You will take the new fleet and capture Chandrila,” the Emperor replied. No niceties there, as usual. The Emperor was known for his to-the-point attitude. Even with his pet, Vader.

“Yes, My Master”
************************************************** *********************
For once, Dylan was wrong. And for once, being wrong was a good thing. He has confidently said to Dodonna that in two months, the Imperial fleet would double. Well, it only took the massive factories of Kuat half that time to make the ships.
It was one month after Dodonna was threatened away from Kuat space. The Imperial fleet had increased at an alarming pace and there was nothing that could stand against it. No doubt the Rebels must have worried themselves silly trying to figure out which planet the Imperials were going to attack next. Dylan had scrapped the attack plan that the Rebels had managed to steal and was targeting planets at random; useful planets that is.
On receiving orders from Vader to attack Chandrila, he felt a new surge of excitement, something he had not felt in a long time.
************************************************** *********************
*This is too easy,* thought Dylan, as his TIE Bombers eradicated opposition and the drop-off shuttles transported groups of Stormtroopers to the surface to strengthen the hold. He was lounging in his chair when a transmission came through.

“…der att……need hel……possible,” was all he heard.

“Where did that come from?” he demanded.

The tech worked a few keys and replied, “Kuat, sir.”

Dylan felt his exhilaration draining from him to be replaced by a feeling of utmost dread. He sincerely hoped that what he thought had happened had not happened.

Call back the fighters and set a course back to Kuat,” said Dylan.

The tech gave the signal and 15 minutes late, when all the fighters were in the hangars, the Imperial fleet jumped back into hyperspace
************************************************** *********************
The planet looked peaceful enough, no Rebel capital ships, just as he had hoped. But there was something that did not feel right to him. Like the full contingent of Star Destroyers waiting right in front of them. Dylan had never ordered them to stand guard. And the warships were aligned in a way Dylan had never seen before. That wasn’t an Imperial Academy position.

“What’s going on?” Dylan heard a voice behind him. He turned to reply.

“My Lord, we received a distress transmission from Kuat while we were above Chandrila,” explained Dylan.

The Dark Lord remained silent. Dylan could not know for sure, but he was positive that Vader was searching the area with the mystic ‘Force’ that he commanded.
And sure enough, he was. He felt a powerful surge in the Force. His eyes jerked towards one of the Star Destroyers before them, and realized, it was time for another skirmish with his old Master.
************************************************** *********************
Obi Wan Kenobi stood in the bridge of the captured Imperial Star Destroyer. As soon as he had received Xizor’s transmission, he had taken his stolen Star Destroyer from the previous campaign and raided Kuat. The ground forces were easily disposed of, seeing that they were not expecting a full assault, not when the Imperial Fleet was at its maximum. Once in control, they had taken the Star Destroyers which were just finished and sent a false message to the fleet over Chandrila.

“Fire,” said Obi Wan casually through the comm. The 15 Star Destroyers under his command fired at the fleet in front of them in unison. In 10 seconds, the Star Destroyer behind Dylan’s exploded. The other warships tried to evade, but the Rebel-Destroyers were on them in no time. Dylan’s ship was under heavy fire for three of the the Rebel ships. Suddenly, just before it exploded, a Command-Level escape pod burst through and streaked for the surface of Kuat.
Obi wan went to the Hangar Bays of the upper level. The only personnel of the ship were those on the bridge and this place was resultantly deserted. He got into his shuttle and zoomed out toward the crash site of the escape pod. He had another chance to redeem his protégé. He would try his best to do so.

RC-1162 09-29-2006 06:27 AM

The escape pod streaked down into the uninhabited, thin forest of Kuat. With a resounding thud, it crashed, uprooting several trees and setting dry leaves aglow with temporary fire because of the red-hot friction-burned outer skin of the pod. As the skin cooled enough for the occupant to exit, a light transport craft landed outside the forest, which was not far off.
The LED inside the pod set near the door blinked, and Darth Vader popped the hatch and emerged, obsidian sheen mask gleaming in the sun. He could not remember being so angry before, other than the time Obi Wan left him for dead near the lava river.
Obi Wan. Vader clenched his fists in increased rage. The next time he saw Kenobi, the Jedi would wish he had never messed with him, the Dark Lord of the Sith.

“You don’t have to wait long, Anakin,” said a voice behind him. Vader turned, his rage increasing with the usage of his ole name. It seemed impossible that the burning hatred inside him didn’t swallow up the whole universe in a giant flash of flame.

“What do you want, Kenobi?” Vader said, through gritted teeth.

“My old friend,” Obi Wan replied simply.

“You and the other Jedi were never my friends. You just used me; used my power. With the Dark Side, I have no restrictions, save this armor. The armor which you made me wear, Obi Wan. If you were my friend, you would have pulled me away from the lava.”

“I came to Mustafar to help you; to turn you away from the Dark path that you strode, but you tried to take my life instead. I had no choice.”

“Don’t give me that, Obi Wan. You turned Padme against me! I lost all the people that I loved: my mother, my wife, my child. All because of YOU!”

Vader yelled the last word with the absolute apitome of hatred and lunged at Obi Wan, lightsaber in hand. Obi Wan ignited his own blade in the blink of an eye and blocked the cut; just barely. Vader swiped at Obi Wan’s knees, putting all his power in the cut. Obi Wan leapt backward a few feet and spoke again.

“You lost your mother to the Tuskens, Anakin. And even then, instead of helping your mother through the Force, you took revenge on them. You killed their women and children. The same fate has been dealt to you.”


Vader threw his lightsaber at Obi Wan, directed by the Force. Obi Wan slapped it away with his blade and it returned to Vader. The Dark Lord of the Sith jumped up in an aerial leap with his lightsaber in front of him. Had Obi Wan no side-stepped in time, the cut would have chopped him in half.

“You were the one who turned Padme away from you,” continued Obi Wan. “Your actions became unbearable to her. You choked her when you knew, full well, that she had nothing to do with me being there.”

“You made me distrust her, Obi Wan,” said Vader. “You were the one who endangered her life.”

“No Anakin! Had I not stopped you, you would have killed her on the spot.”

“I had no inclination to do that. I want to know from you how she died.”

“She dies because of you, not for you, but by your hand, Anakin.”

“DON’T CALL ME THAT!” Vader screamed and lunged again.

This time, they fought longer. Lightsabers flashed as the changing weather brought on rain clouds to cover the forest. A light shower washed down on them as they fought, lightsabers sizzling in the rain. They feinted, cut, lunged and jumped, Vader fighting to kill and Obi Wan to defend. Finally, they caught themselves in a saber lock and the blades sparked and spurred as they fought a battle of their own, to overcome the other.

“I did not kill her,” said Vader, the anger still apparent in his voice. “I want to know how.”

Obi Wan pushed harder and Vader matched it, keeping them in the lock.

“She lost the will to live, Anakin. She lost it because you lost yourself to her; because you turned to the Dark Side, away from her.”

Vader pushed with all his might and Obi Wan was knocked off his feet. The Jedi Master’s lightsaber clattered at Vader’s feet. The Sith Lord kicked it away into the bushes and raised his blade.

“I will avenge her death by killing you, Obi Wan.”

Vader jumped up and brought the blade down on Obi Wan.
And the Jedi Master had a blade to meet it. Vader stepped back, stunned. The hilt looked very familiar; then it struck him. He remembered the last image of Obi Wan he had seen with his unaided eyes: one of the Jedi picking up his lightsaber and walking away. That lightsaber now lay in his hands. Obi Wan got to his feet and called his own saber from where it lay and ignited it, and he stood, lightsaber in each hand, hissing in the rain.

“I vowed never to give up on you, Anakin,” he said. “I swore to myself never to let you die consumed by the Dark.”

“You will have to break that promise, Obi Wan,” said Vader, his mask covered with tiny rivulets of water, his cape soaked and clinging to his body armor. “I serve the Dark Side and the Emperor now.”

“Padme’s dying words were that there is good in you, and I know it too. I will bring you back if it is the last thing I do. I will do anything to bring you back, my old friend,” said Obi wan, trying to be sympathetic.

“I will never return to the Jedi, Obi Wan. Anakin Skywalker is now dead. I am Darth Vader and in this alias, I have realized me greatest dreams. I will not let you take it away from me.”

“I won’t take your dreams away from you or you away from your dreams, Anakin. I will just take you away from the Dark Side.”

“The blood of many Jedi rests on my hands, Obi Wan. I will never be able to come back even if I wanted to.”

“The Jedi are willing to forgive and forget. You need to give it a chance. You were the strongest Jedi ever, the one who would bring balance to the Force, the one destined to destroy the Sith.”

“I was. I am no longer. The prophecy did not speak of me in particular. It can be anybody, but it is not me.”

“How would you know?” Obi Wan asked in desperation. “You never-”

“How would you know? Vader countered. “How would you know that the prophecy spoke of me?”

“Forget the prophecy!” Obi Wan finally yelled. “Forget everything else. I want you to be my friend again. There is no more Jedi Council, thanks to you. No more Younglings, thanks to you. No more Mace Windu, thanks to you. No more Tara, thanks to you. But you are still dear as a brother to me and I am begging you, for the sake of your friend, renounce the Dark Side.”

Vader turned to where Obi Wan’s shuttle lay and he used the Force to shove Obi Wan down.

“I am done speaking, Obi Wan. I will never join the Jedi again.”

Obi Wan got to his feet and extinguished both his blades.

“Then leave, I won’t stop you.”

Vader looked at Obi Wan, lightsabers off and hanging loosely at his sides. The darkness in him pushed at him. He could end Obi Wan’s life with one careless swipe of his lightsaber, and he wanted to. But something stopped him, and he realized, however much he disliked it, that Obi Wan was speaking the truth: there was still good in him. But Vader would do everything to extinguish it. Only then could he master the Dark Side as the Emperor had done. He turned and walked to the shuttle.

“There is still good in you, Anakin,” called Obi Wan from behind. “I have felt it.”

Vader continued to walk, and 15 minutes later, the rain-drenched Dark Lord of the Sith was en route to Coruscant in Hyperspace.
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An equally soaked Obi Wan Kenobi was the only one who looked somber at the celebrations in the big warehouse. Everywhere around him, Rebels: men, women, aliens alike, rejoiced at their victory over the Imperials; at their success in thwarting the Emperor’s plans. But Obi Wan’s battle was not over. He looked up into the sky through the open top of the warehouse. His protégé was lost; again. But he would not give up. Whatever else he did, Obi Wan Kenobi would not give up, and that thought cheered him up a bit. Finally, he calmed down enough to pluck a glass of juma juice from the nearest table and begin sipping it.
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