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Old 06-30-2006, 04:38 PM   #146
machievelli
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Escape

The man read the terse message from Coruscant, then shut off his reader, looking out over the city.

It was all starting to come apart. The thrice damned Jedi had ruined over ten years of work without even breaking a sweat. The report from Bothuwai had told him that the GTA had subpoenaed all files regarding Wayfarer’s business records there after the corporate office was raided. His only chance to escape was to cause as much carnage as he could and pretend to die in the process.

He considered his subordinates here on Corellia impartially. None were irreplaceable. In fact their deaths would give intelligence a reason to stop further investigation. He tapped a button on his annunciator, then rose to go to his office to clear the evidence.

*****

Breia walked into the Council chamber. “We don’t have a lot of time, Padawan.” Desical snapped handing her the pad. Read that and come with me.”

Breia had learned at an early age to read and walk at the same time. Her father had been doing it all her life, and she had copied him-

She stopped.

“Ramadora’s memory includes the following statement from Drubba the Hutt’s file. ‘Chairman chief test pilot Darshan Solo has become inquisitive. His wife Holani must not discover the secret of Wayfarer Corporation. Shuttle rigged to crash. Solo on life support crippled‘.” She took a deep cleansing breath.

“Solo, let’s go!” Desical snapped. She nodded, following.

They reached the nerve center of the investigation. Reyes and Kreil along with Meeri and Sienna were going through the stacks of papers.

“Another one.” Meeri commented. “This one is the assistant to the Prime Minister.”

“What do we have so far?” Desical demanded.

“In the navy we have seven admirals including the heads of Buships Buweaps Commanding officer Planetary defense and deputy chief of ONI. In CIA we have three of the Deputy directors.” Reyes reported.

“Which leaves mother as the only deputy director not suborned?” Breia asked.

“Her and Deputy Director Prentiss. Padawan Solo. ONI has been notified, as has your mother-” Reyes spun as alarms went off.

*****

Prentiss grinned as his team approached Holani Solo’s office. The final nail in little miss Solo’s coffin had been delivered to him just a few moments ago. He pointed at Seela as they approached. “Arrest her for complicity.” He ordered. The man assigned by Deputy Director of Personnel Hostan moved over, signaling with his rifle for her to stand.

“Now.” Prentiss turned to ask the team leader what that meant. This meant he got to see the bullet that killed him.

Holani heard the blast, and was in motion slapping the annunciator and ducking before the door came in propelled by an explosive charge. She popped up, and her burst cut down the three men that charged in.

She relaxed. The man that remained popped up and she spun to fire.

*****

Breia grasped her chest. “Mother!” She spun, Sienna coming after her.

“Solo!” Desical shouted, but they were running so fast he wasn’t sure they had heard.

He chased after them arriving on the landing pad as Hawk Flight took off in a ground hugging course toward the center of the city at almost mach 3.

Meeri came running out right after him. “Master! the ringleader is-”

“Tell me in the air!” He ran to the nearest courier, Padawan Sani of Naboo.

Meeri spoke for several seconds. In the middle of it, Desical turned, headed instead to the Capitol Complex.

*****

Admiral Tran looked up, having only a second before his deputy shot him down. The man came in, and slammed down the all systems alarm. “All stations, Jedi are attacking the Naval Headquarters. Protect the Citadel at all costs!” He kicked the body aside as he sat at the computer.

*****

Captain Cracken heard the alarm, looking up with the placid way he had. Then he stood from his desk. He pulled the pistol from his desk drawer, and walked into the computer bay. At his instructions, the technicians locked their equipment with the code he provided, then hurried through a concealed exit he had already scouted. Once they were clear, Cracken sealed it behind them to conceal their escape route. He then lit a cigar, and sat down to wait.

It was later discovered that a combined team of twenty man ONI operatives and thirty Raiders armed with full combat gear and armor had been ordered to seize the building. They entered BuPers to carry out those orders. There was no record of what actually occurred from that point on.

There were no survivors to report it.

Three days later when the wreckage of the destroyed building was finally cleared, Nial Cracken was awarded yet another Parliamentary Cross.

This one was posthumous.

*****

Logos had been better prepared than his superior. He already had a team of operatives that had been collating the information for delivery to Prentiss and Director Maron. Among them was Major Tori and his internal security team. The fifty men assigned to kill them were slaughtered.

*****

“Sir!” The communications officer aboard Star Trader spun. “General alarm! The Jedi are attacking the Citadel!”

“That is crap!” Freya shouted.

“Maybe, sir. But all ships in the system have orders to blow the monastery into dust!”

Freya took less than a second to decide. “Helm place us 200 meters above the Monastery now!” She ordered. “Marine Commander on my monitor!”

She spun as the monitor came up. “Major Donstan, someone in the Citadel has sent an alarm that the Jedi are attacking the Citadel. “I am going to place this vessel in the path of any projectiles or missiles to protect the monastery.”

Donstan looked at her. “Understood, sir. Your orders?”

“Launch all assault shuttles. If the Jedi open fire on you, you have my permission to blow them to hell. If not you will land in the Citadel, and secure the complex. Once you have, place yourself under the authority of my father or whomever he directs.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Sir! Signal from Frigate Flagship Lancer!

“On screen.” Freya turned around. She looked at the face in front of her. “Admiral Dodonna.“ She said.

Admiral Sala Dodonna, commanding Home Fleet glared at her. “Star Trader, what the hell do you think you’re doing?”

“Acting with honor, Admiral.” Freya snapped. According to her scanner, they were a kilometer above the Monastery and dropping.

“To hell with your honor, Captain! Get that piece of garbage out of our line of fire!”

“Aunt Sala, you can kill me. But that is the only way I am moving.”

The woman glared at her. “On your head be it, Niece.” She turned, but left the screen active. “Weapons lock onto Star Trader. If she does not move in the next three minutes, you will open fire and shoot through her if necessary.”

“Sir! Frigate Salutation is de-orbiting!”

“What!” She turned, punching her monitor control to get the sensor reading. The old Frigate Salutation was dropping into atmosphere, heading- “Get that maniac on my screen now!”

The screen lit, and Commodore Koori Solo looked up. “Not now please, Admiral. I am busy.”

“Doing what?”

“Well I think Captain Dodonna said it best, Admiral. Honor must be served.”

“Get that ship out of my way or so help me I’ll kill you!”

He looked up from where he was working with a sad smile. “You know Sala, when your family told you not to marry me, I always thought it was the career move that made you decide.

“I see now that you are a cold hearted bitch who is more interested in the stars on her collar than love, family, or truth.” The frigate settled down fifty meters to starboard of Star Trader, a shark beside a whale. “Take your best shot.”

*****

While they had been instructed not to talk, the six A4 units defined that as ‘audible to the humans around them’. If they hadn’t they would have never finished their discussion of Cornet’s weather.

A4C3 had just suggested that using Bertram’s random index might be a way to save the program when another unit hushed him. The cockpit chatter was run on their internal communications system

-Shuttle 7, do not, I repeat do not land at Admiralty Science Center. Admiral Costi has reported an attempt by Jedi to attack and destroy the Citadel. Immediately turn to 215, proceed to University Science Center-

Jedi? All of them had A4d9s memories. This included several years of being in almost constant contact with the Jedi and especially three of them.

The Jedi wouldn’t do something like that!

The decision took even less time than Freya Dodonna’s similar decision.

A4L7 slid to the door to the flight deck, swarming through the door followed by one other. The shuttle suddenly dipped, then spun on it’s axis, the throttle punching through mach 2. A moment later the three man flight crew were passed pedipalp to pedipalp and literally glued to the aft bulkhead.

“What are you doing, L7?” demanded A4J2.

“Going to help the Jedi of course.”

“Without being asked?”

“We were asked.”

“What?”

“Breia Solo and Sienna are enroute to CIA. When they left the Jedi compound, they told A4d9 to get a move on.”

“Well they didn’t tell us personally to go.”

“Will we be able to finish this argument in the next 14 seconds?”

“I doubt it. Why?”

Because we now have seven seconds before we hit the Citadel at the main office level.”

“Then never mind.”

The shuttle hit the 8th floor main office level travelling at almost mach 2. The bow shredded as the three tons of spacecraft smashed in the three meter tall windows. Being more resilient than a human pilot the three droids sustained almost no damage in the impact.

“What now?” J2 asked.

“We need to get some weapons.” C3 replied. Every A4 suddenly received video of a dozen Raiders charging toward them.

“We’ll have to take them from those men.”

*****
The problem with a suspected coup attempt is that any organized action is automatically assumed to be part of the plot. The actions of Logos’ defense inside CIA, the Salutation and the Star Trader, and the sudden reaction of shuttle 7 from the latter vessel fit the criteria.

Sala Dodonna watched the time tick down. At one minute fifteen seconds, she order the ships hailed again. They came up on split screen.

“Captain Dodonna, Commodore Solo, you will move your vessels in one minute seven seconds or we will be forced to open fire.”

Freya looked serenely back at her favorite aunt. “Admiral, I refuse. You might as well open fire here and now. When you do, remember that you will be killing my sister as well when you do. Blood is thicker than water. Captain Dodonna out.” The screen section went blank again.

Solo merely looked at her. “Sala, my sister is down there as well.” He looked sad. “Of course I never had any hold on you before, so why should now be different?” The entire screen was now blank. Both ships sat there unmoving, every sensor and weapon deactivated.

She stared at the screen. While her face was an iron mask, her heart was torn. No Koori. I wanted to marry you, be the mother of your children. She looked at the chrono. Instead I get to be your executioner.

The time ran down. One minute, Forty-five seconds. Thirty seconds. Twenty seconds. Ten...nine...eight... seven-

“All ships, this is Admiral Dodonna. All weapons on standby. Until the situation on the surface is clear all ships will await my orders. No one, I repeat, no one will fire. I will blow the first ship that locks weapons on any target without my orders to hell.

“All Home Fleet Marines units, prepare for drop. Landing zones are the Citadel, and the Jedi Monastery complex. Rules of Engagement are Sigma. Administrative landing with no hostility assumed. Weapons loaded and prepped, but on safe. You will not fire unless fired upon.”

She considered the wreckage her career might very well be in. Then sighed, shrugging her shoulders. It would have made family reunions hell.

After all, blood is thicker than water.

Besides, Maybe Koori still had feelings for her too.


Debacle

A coup depends on confusion. The conspirators are always a small group, hoping that inertia will stop the bulk of their possible enemies from coming down on them like a hammer. When it works, there is merely a change of leadership, and things go on as before. If not...

“What do you mean they aren’t shooting!” Admiral Costi who was Commanding Officer Planetary Defense screamed.

“Sir, Admiral Dodonna has ordered her ships to lock down their weapons.” His aide reported. “She has also ordered Marine drops on the Citadel and the Monastery with the same conditions.”

“That bitch!” Costi had done what the signal from his leader had ordered.

It had been so clear! The government was corrupt. Only a strong leader with the military behind him could fix the problem

When the fleet at Noral reported illness, they would use the canister as proof that someone in the Corellian military and GTA was supplying weapons to the Neshtori. Enough proof had been secreted in the files to at least keep people wondering as the loyal men in the military moved in, replaced the Parliament with a better organized committee, and withdrew from the GTA.

The plan they were using now was a long shot second best. Accusing those interfering Jedi with the coup attempt would give them time to destroy the files that would damn them, and remove the problem in one stroke.

It hadn’t worked out that way. The conspirators within CIA had been rounded up very quickly, though they had finally dealt with that Solo bitch. But some computer genius had sealed all of the files under Admiral Tran’s access code, and that stupid deputy chief had killed him before they had found that out. They would have to literally go through the records file by file, and they would never be able to find them all!

The plan had assumed that the officers below Costi and in home fleet had been prepped to understand why this was going to happen and obeyed him. They should at least still obey orders that seemed lawful, but three senior officers had so far refused to do so. Instead that damn Admiral overhead had ordered her Marines landed! Even now there was a cordon around the Jedi Monastery, and three probing attempts had been repulsed with heavy losses.

Those Marines inbound to the Citadel would come in cold, but they wouldn’t come in stupid. If they succeeded in taking the Citadel Command Center, a full investigation would revel his complicity.

Almost eleven years of work ruined!

“Order Marines approaching the complex to stay away. I want a missile dropped on that damn monastery this minute!”

“Yes sir. “ The aide checked his pad, then leaned over the annunciator. “Capital Squadron, you have a red pill target, I repeat, a red pill target.” He painted the hill where the monastery sat.

*****

“Sir, we’re getting a wave off from the Citadel.” The pilot of the lead shuttle from Star Trader reported. They were at least two minutes ahead of the next wave.

“I don’t care if the Secretary of the Navy is ordering us off, land this ship on the Command dock.” Major Donstan ordered.

Ten seconds later Donstan, the shuttle, and forty men were dead when a chain gun opened fire as they entered line of sight.

The battle of Cornet had begun.

*****

“All Marine units approaching the Citadel, weapons free, I repeat weapons free!” General Cantor ordered. The combined shuttles of ten frigates and twenty corvettes went to full speed, and countermeasures fought against ground systems to get them to their target.

In a number of cases, they failed.

*****

“Sir, snub fighters approaching!” The sensor officer shouted.

Commodore Solo turned, looking at the ships racing toward him. “Armament?”
“Five are anti fighter, four antishipping.” The sensor officer paled. “Sir, three have antimatter weapons aboard!”

*****

Guns blazed as Salutation opened up. She was an older design, and her chainguns were obsolete. But she was still an efficient warship. Several hundred rounds per second streamed out as she defended herself. Star Trader moved from her position to line ahead, and laser light also ripped the sky of the planet. The ships rigged to kill other fighters were ignored as the weapons ripped into the formation. Five exploded, crashing in the woods outside the city, but the other two dived for cover behind their consorts. They raced in, the shock waves of mach seven fighters shattering trees and houses below them. The anti-shipping fighter popped up, firing all four missiles, and died a second later. The last antimatter armed ship followed them in. The three surviving anti-fighter craft punched their throttles full, passing it.

The technique is called rolling back the enemy fire. You fire not one or two but as many missiles as possible. The enemy can kill one or two a second, but every second the weapons and craft not killed are closing.

Salutation ran out of time. Her guns killed the last nuclear missile carrier before it reached firing range at the expense of allowing two missiles to slam into the old ship. Debris exploded outward, and the ship staggered, her lift and drive systems stuttering as it tried to compensate. The frigate turned, staggering half a kilometer away from the monastery before the drive failed, and it plowed into the ground at 200 KPH.

*****

Breia flared the courier out, landing on the Intelligence center roof. She charged down the ramp, running toward the stairwell. Silent agents armed to the teeth watched her pass, an ebon nightmare followed by a blood red one.

She stopped, looking toward her mother’s office. The corridor was torn by weapons fire, the door and it’s frame were just gone. She walked toward the scene, looking at Seela crumpled against the wall, the bodies of six men scattered where high velocity shells had thrown them. Logos was dirty and grim. His armor dented by ricochets that had knocked him down, He saw the approaching figures, stepping in front of them.

Breia ripped off her helmet, bouncing into his arm. “Move.”

“Breia-”

“Damn you, move!” He lowered his arm, and she walked into the room.

Holani lay there, curiously shrunken in death. Someone had covered her face, and Breia knelt lifting the coat. She pulled off her glove, running her hand through the soft hair, then bent, kissing her cheek. Then she stood, the glove sliding back on.

“She got them all.” Logos said from the doorway. “We weren’t in time to help.”

“I don’t blame you.” Breia’s voice was gentle, though her eyes burned with fury. “The Prime Minister’s assistant has a lot to answer for.”

He looked at her. “Breia, you’re about three pages off the script.” He took the pad he carried, and handed it to her. She read it, then again in unconscious imitation of her mother. Then she thrust it back into his hands, put her helmet back on, and stormed out.

*****

“Sir, the fire is dropping in quadrant seven.” The marine pilot reported.

“Use it.”

“Fire is diminishing in sections six and eight.” The countermeasures officer reported.

The shuttle and the four behind it banked sharply, suddenly finding themselves a clear area. The Command building was less than five klicks away, about as many seconds at this speed.

The pilot used the hot zone method, firing retro-rockets less than a second before they would have overshot the building. Everyone was slammed into their restraints as it went from mach three to zero in a ten G blast. The shuttle slammed down, and the men poured out. The instant they were clear, the pilot bounced it fifty meters in the air, dropping toward the ground within that safe zone so others could come in. The entire process took less than five seconds from retrofire to dive.

“Sir!” A Marine pointed at the A4 droid that was busy with one of the guns in section six. As they watched, the droid lifted out the still firing gun, then threw it over the side of the building. The feed tube snarled, then shattered, dropping the gun to the ground ten floors below. To their right, a second A4 was dealing with a gun in section 1 in the same manner.

“You!” Captain Hostin shouted. The droid turned.

“Sorry Captain, I have to finish destroying the system.” It reported.

“Who the hell told you to destroy those guns?” He raged.

“A4L2 did sir.”

“Who the hell told him to do it?”

“No one, sir. We decided that you needed help after the first shuttle was destroyed.”

“We?”

“The other A4 units from Star Trader.” The droid replied. “Why? Were we wrong?”

Hostin decided to save it for his report.

*****

The A4s had the advantage that as droids they were ubiquitous. There were droids everywhere and no one really paid attention to them. The Raiders on the tenth floor had been wrapped and hanging before they had even known they were under attack.

Three floors below Hostin, Marines assigned to protect the building were rigging mines along a corridor when two A4s rolled toward them. Before they could stop them, one raised a plasma rifle. “Surrender or die.“ It said. One of the men dived for his weapon. The men were carbon vapor before they could scream. The rooms on both side of the corridor exploded into flames, then were quenched by the emergency fire suppression system.

“Notify the others that corridor 7-L-2 is clear.” One of them ordered.

“Damn!” The droid that had fired the plasma rifle rotated his eyes surveying the damage. A plasma rifle fires a bolt of fusion plasma, and is usually used only outside a building and by an armored trooper because the bloom raises temperatures by several hundred degrees from the muzzle in a sphere about two meters around on firing. Both of his forward legs and pedipalps had been fried, the legs fused where they had been actually forward of the muzzle. “I think I’ve just crippled myself!”

“No worries.” The second A4 began working on the legs, dismantling the outer shell. “We’ll have you back on your feet in a jiffy!”

*****

“Sir, they’re already down to level seven.” The aide reported. Costi looked at the ceramacrete overhead. They were in the bunker beneath the building, three floors below the ground level. It should have taken at least 20 minutes to clear the floors they had, not five.

“Have the men been told to fight to the last man?”

“Sir, it appears that some A4 droids are doing it. They cleared the Tenth through eighth floor before the shuttles landed.”

“Order all A4s destroyed on sight!”

*****

A4L2 stuck an eye around the corner on the sixth floor. “Another mining operation.” He reported. He set his travel wheels, and rolled around the corner. A hail of gunfire ripped through the droid, and it rolled to a stop, smoking.

-Severe damage-

-Road wheels inoperative-

-System shutdown imminent-

-Query. is this death?-

-Shutdo-

The other droid hurled grenades, blasting the men into gobbets. Before it passed the destroyed droid, it ran a pedipalp over the shattered frame, then clutched his weapons tightly. He rolled on past the bodies, hungry for revenge.

*****

“This is Jedi Courier Padawan Sani of Naboo on approach.” Meeri reported. The Parliament Hall loomed as they approached.

“Jedi Courier, this is the Parliamentary Guard. You are ordered to withdraw.”

“Parliamentary Guard, we are here to arrest a Parliamentary member.” Meeri replied. “We will not withdraw.”

She dived the ship as a chaingun on the roof fired, missing them by centimeters.

“We cannot land under fire.” Desical said. “Weapons active.”

The courier jinked frantically, her own chainguns ripping apart the guns that tried to kill them. Four minutes later The guns had been destroyed.

*****

Breia felt a rush of pain, and looked frantically. The Medical Center long term care building was erupting in a fireball. “Sienna?”

“On it.” She punched the communications board. “This is Jedi Courier Hawk Flight. What just happened at the medical center?”

“Hawk Flight, Marine Shuttle 421 assigned to Frigate Eastwing was shot down and crashed on top of the medical center. We have a lot of casualties here, so if you don’t mind?”

“Thank you. Hawk Flight out.” She looked at Breia. The girl’s face was stone. Her father and mother killed in less than ten minutes.

*****

Desical used his sword to shear through the door leading downward, and Meeri ran to keep up as he charged down the stairway. The office was on the top floor, and he stormed toward the door. He reached it, touched the handle, and felt-

The old man spun, setting his hand on Meeri’s chest, and using the force threw her the length of the corridor. Just before she hit the wall, an explosion vaporized the man.

She staggered to her feet as a dozen Parliamentary Guards came running down the access hall. The man she had come to arrest screamed. “Kill her!”

*****

Breia gasped. “Take the controls!” She screamed. Sienna flipped the switch, smoothly taking control as Breia screamed, curling up in a fetal ball. They were almost at the building, and as she watched, a man ran out onto the landing pad, running toward Padawan Sani of Naboo.

She armed the guns, and put a burst into the engine compartment. The ship settled, smoke pouring from her damaged engines. The man stopped, looking at the approaching ship.

Suddenly Breia sat up, flicked the switch back, and aimed the ship as if she intended to ram it into the building.

“Breia!” Sienna screamed.

As the man dived for the pad, the ship flared out, landing less than a meter from him. Breia was up, charging toward the ramp.

She ran down it, the man leaping to his feet to run toward the stairway. She tackled him, slamming him to the deck. She spun him onto his back, and began beating his face with her fists.

Sienna reached her, catching the upraised arm.

“Let me go!”

“Briea-”

“He killed my mother! He killed my father! He killed Meeri! He tried to kill my brother!” She screamed wordlessly, her fist still trying to punch down through his head into the deck. Only Sienna’s strength stopped her.

“Don’t give into it!” Sienna begged. “Breia, please.”

The tug of war suddenly ended. Breia stood, then stormed to the edge of the building. Sienna looked at her, then at the sobbing man at her feet. “Prime Minister Foren, I arrest you for high treason and mass murder.”


'To argue with those who have renounced the use and authority of reason is as futile as to administer medicine to the dead.' Now who said that?

From the one who brought you;
What we die for...
Acceptance
KOTOR excerpts
Star Wars: The Beginning
Star Wars: Republic Dawn
Return From Exile

Last edited by machievelli; 06-30-2006 at 04:43 PM. Reason: typo
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