Dorrin stared at the mottled ball of blue, green, brown, and white below them, looming large after the microjump. He glanced at Molly, who was back at the Legacy’s controls. “Y’sure you can handle landing this thing?”
“It’s just like landing a shuttle, Dorrin. Except about ten times bigger.” She smirked at him. “We’ll be fine.”
Hangar Bay, Five-Star Legacy
Logan approached his ship, getting ready to walk up the entry ramp.
A soldier on guard approached him. “Sir, temporary quarters have been arranged for you.”
“What?” Logan turned. “I was going to look over the damage, see if I could start repairing some of it.”
The soldier shook his head. “Standing orders; this ship is to remain untouched until it’s been fully inspected.”
Logan bristled. “This is my ship, buddy. Are you telling me I can’t touch my own damned ship?”
Nylan tried to smother a yawn and took a long swallow of caf, glancing at Indy. “Looks like Tag was wrong about Janet making it up here.”
Indy shook her head, still watching the feeds from Aten-Re. “First time for everything. Go to bed, Nylan. Rather have you sharp for tonight than keeping me company now.”
The Jedi considered this and glanced at the chrono. 0657. He could hit the sack for a few hours…she was right. Better he be sharp when he was actually on the watch later than falling asleep in a chair behind her.
“All right,” he said, and got up. “G’night, Admiral.”
Trevvik strode into the Stormcrow like he owned the place, calling loudly for his brother. Suddenly Mark appeared before him, looking very surprised to see him. Trevvik stood, swaying unsteadily, chuckling at the bewildered look his appearance had produced from his older brother, and couldn’t be happier to see a grin spread across his face.
“What the heck – Trev?” Mark rushed at him like he’d tackle him, but in spite of the drink, Trevvik was unmoved by his fierce embrace. Wrapping his big arms around him, he laughed and slapped the smaller man across the shoulders. “What are you doing here, you big bantha?” he exclaimed, backing away to see that he had indeed returned apparently unscathed from his Vong hunt.
A bright light and the pounding of his head brought Logan MacKenzie to consciousness, which he immediately regretted. Throwing an arm protectively in front of his face, he groaned and tried to blink away the glare.
He shouldn’t have even been alive. Forget the smoke inhalation, never mind the blow to his head when he was launched into the forward consoles after the first engine blew. Forty seconds in hyperspace without plotting a course first was probably the most stupid thing he had ever done.
But he was alive. Barely.
“I was wrong,” Amanda said as the shuttle touched down.
“I was wrong. Or we were wrong. We never, ever should have left.”
“And that’s why the force brought us back, right?” her fiancee asked from the copilot’s seat.
She shook her head, and looked at him. Only when she stared into his eyes, instead of looking out the viewport, did he realize the pain she was feeling. Not physical pain, but emotional. “You misunderstand me. Something has happened here. I don’t know what but it’s so much stronger than what was pulling me back. Something has happened that’s…”
Dorrin Drake stepped onto the bridge of the Legacy just as Davil Bullian shut down the holocomm. He arched a brow at the engineer as he took a sip from his mug of caf. “Who was that, Dav?”
“Ari,” Davil answered, heading back over to the console he’d taken over a few days ago, when the group headed out on maneuvers on the edge of the Xenea system. “She’s…I think she’s starting to break, Dorrin.”
The Legacy’s XO’s brow arched higher. “Your sister? Not a chance. I’m sure she’s all right. Probably still feeling echoes of a few weeks ago. Serpindal, Ion, all of that.”
“Maybe,” Davil said, frowning slightly.
Something started beeping on one of the sensor boards, followed by proximity alarms a moment later. The crewman manning the board, maybe two or three years older than either of his superiors, looked sharply toward the two men. “New contact, broadcasting emergency distress beacon, range four thousand klicks starboard.”
Logan MacKenzie frowned, sitting up in his bunk. His ship had never exited hyperspace that violently before – at least, he amended to himself, not since he replaced those faulty power couplings that had been giving him trouble over the last few months.
He checked the chrono. Six hours way too early. Continue reading
The sun was just creeping up over the horizon in the east, the sky blood red, promising another storm in the very near future. Arilyn lay in bed, awake and sweat-soaked, staring at the view outside her window without quite seeing it. The dreams had come again. They always came. Continue reading
When Tag had finished, Les stood silent for a long moment, eyes closed, contemplating all that she had said. Her words comforted him more than anything anyone had said to him lately. He wanted to believe them – he did believe them. Yet there was a side to him that remained guarded, cautious. At last he opened his eyes, and looked the Jedi in the eyes. If these people were willing to give him another chance, so was he. Marcus Leslye Wyler bowed his head and replied simply, “Yes, master.”
AF Quick’n’Dirty (or, this is what we’ve all forgotten)
It’s been twenty-five years since the death of the original Death Star at Yavin IV. The Aurora Force has spent the better part of the last two decades operating in the Kartuiin Sector, Rimside. The new Republic is still scrambling to respond to the new, looming thread in the galaxy posed by the Yuuzhan Vong, who have already attacked Helska, Sernpidal, Dubrillion, Garqi, and Dantooine. Within the Kartuiin Sector and its immediate environs, Xenen has already been attacked once, a feint designed to test military forces in the Kartuiin Sector. Though the day ended with the Vong leaving the system, New Republic forces—and their allies, the Golgan Defense Forces under the command of former Aurora Force XO, General Carlos Delong—learned from the Vong attack that they were wholly unprepared for what they faced. Since then, GDF installations have suffered attack as well and word has reached the Aurora Force that one of the Vong commanders is none other than former Aurora Force flag officer Alexander Kerensky, now become the Vong commander known as Deimos. The fighting forces of the New Republic in the Kartuiin Sector, through engagements with the Vong, has been cut by roughly 70% in the past four months. Commanding officer of New Republic forces in the Kartuiin Sector, Admiral Indiana Bridger, in the wake of the resignation of her former XO, Kirghy Lommax, has selected a new executive officer, General Janet Skyy Wyler, lately returned to New Republic service. Admiral Bridger has put out a call to all former members of the Aurora Force, inviting them to return to their commissions and benefits for the duration. Most have not answered the call.
The sector and its allies are in dire straits. Planetary defenses throughout the sector cannot withstand sustained attack and the fleet is spread dangerously thin. Worse yet, the enemy has intimate knowledge of the commanders he faces. The Republic forces, however, are aware of Kerensky’s transformation into Deimos. His oldest child, his daughter Natasha Kerensky, has escaped her father’s shadow and fled to the only people who may be able to help her: the men and women of the Aurora Force. The teenager holds the key to taking down Deimos and weakening the Vong operating in the Kartuiin Sector, which the New Republic increasingly views as expendable.
Forces are in motion at Golgan III, where Carlos Delong has prepared some nasty surprises for the Vong invaders in the Aten-Re system. With Aurora Force commando and starfighter support, GDF naval forces have engaged the Vong at the important Aten-Re waypoint.
Meanwhile, New Republic forces including Guardian patriarch Robert Delong and his wife Talia as well as the New Republic Sixth Fleet under VA Michael Bullian are on their way to Ithor to blockade the system against an impending Vong invasion of the peaceful world.
The fate of trade agreements, such as treaties between the Republic-held Kartuiin Sector and the independent Namis system, remain unknown. The impending Vong threat has strengthened ties between the Sector government and that of the independent Golgan III, however, even as relations between both the Sector and Golgan III and the New Republic become increasingly strained. The reckoning is coming…
Random notes/kind of important miscellany
- Existence of the Aurora Force Fourth Fleet no longer officially disavowed; the Hole is now a known element of the Aurora Force’s fleet structure.
- Tempest Control is now an elite military police and intelligence gathering organization independent from but working with New Republic Intelligence and local authorities.
Reinstated to active service
- General Janet Skyy, NRM Forces – Kartuiin Sector XO
- General Tag Rendar, NRI Sector 27 – Senior agent
- Commodore Dalsuna Losoda, NRM Forces – Aurora Force Fleet Command Research and Development
- Commander Robert Drake, NRM Forces – Kartuiin Sector, Tempest Control CO
- Colonel Alex Grentarii, NRM Forces – Kartuiin Sector, Aurora Force
- Major Howdern Harm, NRM Forces – Kartuiin Sector, Aurora Force
- Major Robyn Hoode-Scarlett, NRM Forces – Kartuiin Sector, 58th Urban Commandos
Recruited to Active Service
- Captain Marcus Wyler, NRM Forces – Kartuiin Sector
- Lieutenant Trystan Chase Kel-Solan, MD, NRM Forces – Kartuiin Sector
Deaths and Losses
- Aurora Force Fifth Fleet, no known survivors
- Jedi Master Jinx Katarn
Current disposition (as near as I can figure) of New Republic/Aurora Force forces in the Kartuiin Sector
- AFFC Home Guard, Flagship ISD-II Dashan, all in-system at Xenea. Imladris undergoing major repairs.
- Second Fleet on escort duty out-system (Blue Rose under General Jeff Sparks on escort to Kartuiin).
- Third Fleet on patrol duty out-system
- Sentinels Pickett Group, Flagship Five-Star Legacy in-system at Xenea on maneuvers. Most ships are at the edge of the system as of this writing.
Tag frowned a little, moving to the side and seating herself on the reed mat, cross-legged. She brushed a few stray hairs out of her face and stared at Les for a long moment, as if choosing her words carefully. “You’re Marcus Leslye Wyler, son of Marcus Wyler and Janet Skyy, the nephew of Trevvik Wyler and the brother of Asya Wyler. You’re Chase Kel-Solan’s best friend and your baby sister’s hero. You’re part of the second generation of the Aurora Force, part of the legacy we’ll leave behind when we’re gone.” She paused, then said more softly, “You’re the padawan Jinx Katarn failed and the second student I’ve taken on since Indiana Bridger herself—the only one I’m not related to, too.” She smiled wryly. “You’re still you, Les. You’ve just…seen more, felt more, experienced more. It’s part of growing up. Not easy by a long shot, but…it’s part of the deal.”
It was a question that haunted him. At those times when he thought he had a grasp on the answer, he felt as though he were hiding the real, rock-bottom truth from even himself. So he replied as best he knew how, even if it made sense to no one.
Tag touched Les’s shoulder gently. The grip of the small woman was warm, firm, and she squeezed his shoulder before just letting her hand rest there. He’s more lost than I thought he was. Deeper into that dark place. I shouldn’t have sent him home with his folks tonight. I should have made him come home with me. She silently drew a deep breath and exhaled it slowly, finding her own center as she felt a fleeting sense of guilt that came from her, not from him. Too late to change that now.