Friend or Foe
Episode 12: Flight
The elevator doors opened in front of me. “Status!” I yelled at Iridom.
“The hyperdrive computer is starting up already, sir, but we cannot make a trajectory as long as we are on the planet.”
“Thanks. Are the starboard and port cannons warming up as well? We need them for fighter interception.”
“They are coming online as we speak.”
“Thank you. Helmsmen, get us into space!” I ordered. “Also try to divert as much power as we can to the shields, without killing the guns.”
Arako’ant asked if she and her padawan could help with anything.
“Has either of you been in a space battle? Or rather used a canon?” I asked.
She shook her head. Osam protected his master. “We may have no experience in space combat, but our actions are guided by the Force. We can anticipate better what the enemy fighters will do than your own shooters.”
“Aren’t you exhausted after that battle with that Sith?” I asked. “I need my gunners as fresh as possible.” Osam looked to his master, but she was silent.
“We can hold our tiredness longer off then any normal person. And we had already sometime to recover in the elevator,” he replied.
I looked at the Twi’lek. She was too tired, she just didn’t want to appear weakened in front of her padawan.
“Osam, you can take the top port cannon,” I said, and turned to the Jedi master.
“I think you better sit this one out, master Jedi,” I said quietly. “You are not yourself.”
She gave me a tiny smile to show her gratitude. I looked at the Mon Calamari again.
“You think you can wing it with three non-Force users?” I asked him.
“I better,” he replied grimly, and took off to the canons.
I looked at the Jedi master again and lay my hand on her shoulder. She raised her head. “You have seen more then you dare to share, I can see it in your eyes. It is okay to take a moment to rest. After we have gotten out of this mess, we can discuss why you are so tired. But if you will excuse me now, I have to lead an escape,” I said with a small smirk.
I turned to the bridge and saw that we had reached the edge of Malastare’s atmosphere. “Iridom, set a trajectory somewhere other than Tatooine. We need to shake off any trackers.” She nodded and ran off to the hyperdrive computer.
“Are the shields up?” I demanded to the crew. A positive response was thrown at me.
“Sith Imperial warships are on an intercept course, sir,” the shout came from the radarpost. “We are also tracking 20 Imperial fighters coming our way.” I switched comm to make contact with the board gunners. “We have 20 incoming, men. Make every shot count!” “Aye cap’tain!” came from the other three. Osam responded more calmly.
“Sith Imperial warships are on an intercept course, sir,” came a shout from the radarpost. “We are also tracking 20 Imperial fighters coming our way.”
I switched comm to make contact with the board gunners. “We have 20 incoming, men. Make every shot count!”
“Aye Captain!” came from the other three.
I looked at Iridom. “What’s the ETA for the board computer?”
“120 seconds, sir!” I looked at radar. I didn’t need to ask. “30 seconds till the fighters are here, sir.” I nodded in acceptance. It would have been too easy…
“Helmsmen, when the hyperdrive is ready, we jump, don’t wait for my order,” I said.
“They’re closing in!” Radar shouted. The first shots crossed the bow. “Evasive maneuvres! Gunners, fire when ready!” Then the fun began.
The ship turned 360 degrees around its axis. Luckily, the internal atmosphere was working properly. The shots came running across. Green hell was countered by red fire. We continued evasive maneuvers, trying to survive this fight just a little longer. A few fighters passed our bow, almost too close for comfort. Two direct hits made the Corona shutter. I was thrown a bit off.
“Are we holding?” I demanded to know.
“Shields at 80 percent sir!”
“How is the jump coming?”
“Still 60 seconds away, sir,” Iridom said with a worrying voice.
“Osam, how many of them left?” I yelled in the comm.
“15, sir. We are going as fast as we can.”
“Shoot and hit FASTER!” I said angrily. “What about the Imperial destroyers?”
“Still closing, sir.”
“Alright, Helmsmen, turn around and head straight for those destroyers! I want you to go head to head with them, maybe they will shoot down a few of their own. We’re going to play a little chicken, and we will be the chicken! When we’re close enough, I want you to drop under them straight down.” A questioning face looked at me. “We’re going to use the belly of that starship to give us a bit more cover.” Trichada still looked suspicious, but he began turning the ship around.
The two ships came in sight and began shooting as I’d predicted.
“If one shot hits us, sir, we lose the shields!” Iridom shouted at me.
“Well, then the helmsman should fly well.” I said with a morbid grin. A couple of shots flew by.
“Now ten fighters left,” radar shouted. We were getting close to the destroyers. Suddenly, we couldn’t hear shots from their laser cannons. Probably they want us captured alive. Or didn’t want to risk shooting down more of their own shooters.
“O no…” I said out loud as realization was setting in. “They are going to start up their tractor beams, if I am reading their motions correctly! Trichada, make the dive for the planet’s curve now!” We made a 270 degree turn, a few clicks away from the two starships to the planet. They must have known that we were going to use the planet, because the bolts of green said hello again to us. The fighters were still in pursuit after the maneuvers. Good pilots, popped in my head, too bad they work for the other side. We ran close to the outer atmosphere of Malastare. Short entering flames licked the bottom of the ship.
“Nice flames, Thrichada.”
“Sorry, sir,” and the man adjusted our angle.
A shot hit us, and I fell down. “Status!” I yelled right away.
“Shields are down, sir. One hit and we are destroyed!”
“Osam, fire everything you got at those Imperials!”
“7 left, Kaydein. We are going as fast as we can!” Shots flew across the bow again. The ship jumped away and ducked around to escape. We made a short jump forward that knocked me against the captain’s board. And then the stars became starlines.
Sweat came down the side of my face and I rubbed my soar chest. A short yell of excitement came from the crew. A smile ran across my face. “Well flown, Thricada! Well flown.”
A smile of appreciation came across the helmsman face. “Thank you, sir.”
“Now, back to business. What’s the damage?”
“Shield are burned through. So we need to repair those. For the rest a a couple of burn marks on the outside as damage. Energy cells are holding.” I leaned against the side of my desk. What to do… Our cover has been blown now. When we arrive at Tatooine, we’d need to do something about the ship.
I walked to Arako’ant. She was looking at the floor. I squatted down to look at her face. She seemed like she was lightyears away. I waved my hand before her face and a small reaction came across her face. The encounter with that Sith had shaken her more than expected. She looked at me. There was fear in her eyes. I gently helped her standup and escorted her to the conference room and gave her a chair. She sat down with the same, almost nonexistent response. A small “thank you” came from her blue lips. I poured some water in to comfort her. I grabbed another glass and poured in a large amount of Correlian scotch for myself. I drank it in one gulp. Osam entered the room and walked towards his master. She pushed him away for a bit. I waited a few more minutes, but curiosity and impatience were growing.
I finally asked. “What did you see?” Osam looked at me questioningly.
“Erlena only looked like that when she saw something through the Force she wished she hadn’t,” was my response. Arako’ant took a long drink of the water and shoved her glass towards me.
To be continued…