In a galaxy that had been scoured and scanned by a thousand civilizations before, Kholis Pisa stood unique in the simple fact that it was ordinary. It was a gemstone of blue in the sea of nothingness, far enough away from any mapped hyperspace lane that enslaving or colonizing it took more credits than its worth. Not even the Empire had bothered to subjugate the planet for its resources yet, leaving it as a free rally point for those that would oppose it, as long as you could get to it carefully.
But that means, there’s the wait time… Kaibus Threll thought do himself as he floated far above the cerulean marble in his A-Wing interceptor. On his nose, the corvette Bellshire also waited in silence to meet a less-than-reputable freighter that had happened to secure some Imperial hardware.
Hardware that would be most critical as his A-Wing’s comm channels went fuzzy again for the briefest of moments, which made his growl in frustration… Never had this problem in my old X-Wing…I miss Thumper.
“Lead, Two. Did your comm channel just go dead for a sec?” called out his wingman, who was hovering on the other side of the Bellshire being equally vigilant and bored as he was.
“That’s affirm, Two. When we get back, we’re taking these in for a full diagnostic.”
“Affirmative. Aaaaaannnd, timer is at zero, Lead. No sign of the transport.” Blinder Two called over. The other interceptor began a slow roll over the corvette’s spine. “Think they’re just late?”
Kaibus grimaced at the thought, because the Alliance needed all the tools and guns they could get, even if that meant having to head all the way back across the galaxy to Hoth so they could experience the deep freeze. “Maybe. Bellshire, Blinder One; how long do you want to wait?”
“Standby, our scopes are clear as well. If there’s no signs in the next hour, we’ll break orbit and…”
The sudden injection of a shining silver dagger into their view quashed the rest of their plan, and the black came alive in sheets of emerald fire. Kaibus slammed this throttle forward to full and yanked his control stick to his chest, “Contact! Confirm one Interdictor cruiser! Two, break wide and draw fire!”
But only static answered him, and the pilot had to choke down the lump in his throat, “Bellshire, give me a vector on any drain you make on their shields!” As the A-Wing completed its loop and came nose to nose with the Imperial crusier, now identified as Gravitiy’s Bane, Kaibus shunted power from aft shields to engines and blasted forward. Not even bothering with a sensor lock, four concussion missiles leapt from his interceptor and smashed headlong into the Interdictor’s bow shields. They weren’t much on their own, but the two turbolasers the Bellshire held on its midsection had picked the initial spot and were continuing to dig into it.
Unfortunately, because they faced an Interdictor, running wasn’t an option until the four massive gravity well generators on the Bane’s hull were smoking ruins. Its larger size made it easier to the Bellshire to keep striking it while it spun along its centerline to keep its own shields as charged as possible. But it was a losing match and Kaibus knew it; Gravity’s Bane simply had more firepower, so it wasn’t long until the corvette shook with a direct blow to its engine block.
“Damn! Come on! Break through!” the A-Wing jockey yelled into his cockpit as another quartet of missiles raced from his nose and slammed into the cruiser’s shielding. But one of them sent little metal shards and fire into the hull of the Imperial vessel.
“I’ve got penetration! Concentrate fire on the starboard fore-section!”
“Coming about, we’ll cut in from above, you hit low!” Bellshire called back, with the unmistakable sounds of sirens and yelling buried in the channel.
They’re hurting and hurting bad…we’ve gotta make this run count! The A-wing dipped and leapt like an unpredictable arrowhead as Kaibus snapped his interceptor around. The Imperial captain appeared to notice the newfound damage on his pristine vessel and had started a rotation away from the Rebel firepower. But the corvette came in charging, and red belches of turbolaser started to beat down the weakened shields. Even if he didn’t see the pinprick opening in the Interdictor’s shielding, Kaibus let loose his final salvo of missiles, and was rewarded with seeing them plunge into the massive gravity generator.
And just as accurately, the Imperial gunners finally scored a hit, tossing Kaibus around his own canopy like a rag doll. Try as he might to regain control, one of the A-Wing’s engines and its entire control surface had been blown away. Without the full thrust of the interceptor Kaibus now felt the infinite pull of Pisa’s gravity pulling him into the blue embrace. As his hull plating began to glow with the friction of re-entry and the horizon grew black, his last conscious vision was of the Bellshire breaking in half at the neck.
It wasn’t the overwhelming heat of atmosphere against metal that roused him, nor the A-Wing’s broken frame burying itself into a mile of sand. It was the drip of the night’s last dew onto his nose that woke him with a start. “Huh! Wha…how did?”
As his senses slowly put together the fact he wasn’t a red puddle, Kaibus took in the untainted air that swept freely through his cockpit through many holes and cracks. “Can’t believe this thing held up through all that…okay, I take it back, these speedtraps aren’t so bad.”
After wiggling every digit and flexing every responsive muscle he had, Blinder One let out a breath of reprieve, as none of his bones were broken. Granted, the blackish bruises now forming on his sternum and along his arms still gave him all new words to curse with, but the pilot had little time for concern, “If the Imps saw me go down, they’ll come looking…gotta get to a safe spot and hide out…”
For a moment, his mind introduced the question ‘for how long?’ But that was a future issue, and Kaibus had the pressing need of survival to deal with first. Popping the manual seal on the cargo compartment behind his left arm, he reached in and grabbed whatever supplies weren’t cooked by the crash, like a small blaster, some rations, and a thermal blanket. “Dammed hand-held comm unit is slag…wonder if this thing’s main radio survived any better.”
Kaibus climbed carefully over the jagged prow of the A-Wing until he found the panel access he needed. Without power, it took all his frustration and strength to man-handle the metal open and toss it aside. After clearing the sudden output of smoke now freed from his fighter’s corpse, he felt around through the wiring and fluid lines until at last, he grabbed the cylinder of the A-Wing’s main transmitter. Which was naturally bolted in tightly.
“Oh, to the hells with this!” he exclaimed, and simply shot the connecting bolt off the transmitter, catching it before it dropped into the jungle of wreckage. “Alright, now all I need is power….power, power,…wait.” His finger had traced around something rough on the supposedly smooth comm unit. Not damaged-rough like it was broken, but like a blemish or imperfection on a sculpture. And when he rotated the unit around, the small black cube attached to his transmitter began to flicker it single blue light. On instinct, Kaibus pulled the small parasite and tossed it as far as his arm could throw. The bug hit the sand and detonated a good few meters away, but it still tossed sand in his mouth.
“So that’s how they found us,” Blinder One surmised, which led him to a dreaded hypothesis; “If my fighter was tagged…sithspawn, who knows how many of our ships are compromised! I’ve gotta get off this rock!”
Only now did Kaibus pause to gauge his surroundings beyond being able to breathe. Looking back, his A-Wing had plowed through a dirt mound farther inland that changed its course like a pinball before hitting the sand and careening another solid kilometer until it had come to rest near the lapping tide of a body of water. Straight ahead, the beach stretched out beyond the horizon. On his right, the sand quickly gave way to marsh and soil, with a darkened forest well behind that.
“Guess I know where I’m staying tonight. Now, let’s see if there’s any useable power cells left for this blasted transmitter…”
Holy cow, when was the last time I put up 2 posts in a month?
A story you may have seen before: a dashing pilot crashes alone in an unknown and untamed wild. How will he survive? Will he ever be found again? And is he actually alone? I hope to bring you more soon to answer at least one of these.
I hope you all enjoy.