Star Wars: Darkness Rising: The Threat Within Chapter 15

Chapter 15

Finn flew the Star Dust toward the landing field.  Captain Phasma sat in the co-pilot seat and Rose sat behind her.   As he came around the tower, he could see the large black ship in the middle of the landing field like a large inky stain on the ferrocrete.   Beyond it was the hangar that held the tie-fighters and shuttles.  

“What is that?” Rose asked when she saw the ship. 

“A Ravager class corvette,” Captain Phasma said.  “It’s been modified for covert operations.  Perhaps they are going to give me an actual command.” 

“Maybe,” Finn said as he extended the landing gear.   The comm unit sounded and he absently reached out flipping it on.  “This is the Star Dust,” he said. 

“This is tower control.  You are to alter you landing status.  You are to land on pad twenty A,” a voice said. 

Finn was applying more power to the repulsors lifting the ship before he replied.  “Affirmative.” 

“Control,” Phasma said, “This is Captain Phasma, status?”

A different voice came over the comm.  “Captain Phasma, this is General Dene.  There are two Jedi in the facility.  They are escaping out onto landing pad 20A.  You are to pin them down until backup arrives.  We want them captured alive, if possible.” 

“Yes, General,” Phasma said and got out of her seat.  “Get us up there, Finn.  Put landing ramp at deck level, three meters off station.” 

“Yes, captain,” Finn said and orbited the tower going up as he did.  They came to the landing deck that had a large 20 A on it.   He lowered down so that he was hovering a short way away from the landing pad.

Lowbacca could feel the heat from the fire.  Nothing was coming through that inferno.   They were now trapped.   He picked Rae up under his arm.  She was fading, the adrenalin leaving her body.  He hoped that they weren’t that high up when he approached the door.  He keyed it and nothing happened.  He growled and sliced through the control box with his lightsaber then through the hydraulic line.  He pulled the door open on its track.  

As the door opened, he became aware of the whine of repulsors.  He looked to see a freighter hovering meters away, its landing ramp down.  There was a stormtrooper in chromium armor with a large rifle aimed at him.   The trooper fired a blue bolt at him.  He brought his lightsaber up just in time to block the bolt and send it back at the trooper.  It hit the armor and dissipated with no apparent affect.

Phasma sneered.  She always wanted the chance to try herself out against a Jedi.  She was mildly confused as she was taught that Jedi did not use red lightsabers.  She flipped the setting the rifle then opened fire on the Wookie

Rose stood up and leaned over the seat looking out at the Wookie and young girl it held.  “They’re children.  She’s going to kill them,” she said. 

Finn gripped the controls tight, causing the plastic to buckle again.  He knew this wasn’t right.  He was on the verge of standing up when he looked at Rose.  She met his eyes even though she couldn’t see them through the helmet. 

Rose could see he was tense, even though the armor.  She felt her next words would seal her fate as she saw her reflection in the black lenses of the helmet.   “This isn’t right,” she said.  “They will torture them and kill them, just like the Wayhill line.  Just like anyone else who opposes them.”  His hand slapped the controls and he was off moving before he was even aware that he had made his decision.  She never knew that they could move that fast.

Finn bolted out of the cockpit and into the corridor that lead into the cargo bay.  He ran and leapt over the landing ramp, coming down quiet, not that it would have mattered with the noise from Phasma’s rifle.  He turned in time to see the Wookie get grazed by a blaster bolt as he tried to shield the girl he held. 

He didn’t think, he just ran.  At the last second, he lowered his shoulder and hit Phasma square in the back sending her flying off the landing ramp.   She cleared most of the distance to the landing pad, her gun flying out of her hand and across the pad. 

Phasma scrambled trying to get a purchase on the edge of the pad.  She glanced over her shoulder to see Finn standing there staring at her.  “You traitor,” she snarled as she lost grip and fell.  She had the presence of mind to reach behind her to grab her cable and sling it out so that it wrapped around a support for the landing pad. 

Her momentum was changed as the cable went taunt and she swung toward the building.   Her last conscious view was of the wall coming very fast to stop her movement. 

Finn looked at the Wookie.  “Come on,” he yelled and waved him to come.   He caught sight of the other set of doors onto the landing pad opening.   Two stormtroopers came out scanning the landing pad and seeing Lowbacca and Rae.  They aimed their rifles and began to fire. 

Lowbacca was confused by what had just happened.  Who was this person, why were they appearing to offer help?  He saw the stormtrooper’s head jerk to the side and turned to see more stormtroopers spill onto the landing pad.  

Finn was impressed to see the Jedi deflecting blaster bolts from the stormtroopers then he reached up and pulled a lever recessed in the frame of the landing ramp.  A long narrow panel opened.  An E-web heavy repeating blaster lowered on a hydraulic boom.   Finn grabbed the handle and turned it to point at the stormtroopers. 

Lowbacca was beyond tired and had his fur singed several times by incoming blaster bolts he had not been able to block.  A new louder sound echoed across the landing pad as the first bolt put a hole in the side of one of the stormtroopers.  A steady barrage of fire from the stormtrooper on the ship cut down the stormtroopers and put rounds into the open doorway forcing anyone else in there to keep out of sight.  

He did not see any more stormtroopers but kept a steady rate of fire into the open doorway.  Finn was relieved to see that the Wookie had finally made up its mind and started running toward the ship.   The Wookie barely made the three-meter gap between the edge of the pad and the landing ramp.  Finn reached out and grabbed the Wookie pulling it onboard before it fell. 

Lowbacca’s heart stopped when he felt himself falling backward.  The Stormtrooper caught his arm and hauled him into the ship as if he were a youngling.  He saw the trooper reach up and push a lever in and the E-Web retracted into the hull.  

“Go,” Finn said and keyed the sequence to raise the landing ramp.  He caught a good look at Rae’s leg, or what was left of it.  He ran up the ramp behind the Wookie.  “Over here,” he said and ran to one of the walls near the door leading toward the cockpit. 

“DOCTOR!” he yelled down the hall. “We have wounded.”  He pressed part of the wall and a bunk folded down.  There was medical equipment in the space over the bunk.   “Put her there,” he said to the Wookie. 

Lowbacca was still not sure what was happening.   A shorter human with slightly slanted eyes and dark hair pulled back in a loose ponytail came running down the hall and into the cargo bay.   She stopped when she saw the Wookie and stared at him like she had never seen one. 

“Not him, the girl,” Finn said and ran toward the cockpit. 

Lowbacca put Rae onto the bunk and stepped back.   Rose gasped when she saw the missing leg.   “At least it is cauterized,” she muttered.  She began opening cabinets looking through them.  She wished she had known this was here, she would have familiarized herself with it.

The deck tilted beneath her feet as the ship moved.   She almost fell when the Wookie grabbed her arm and held her steady until the ship’s inertial dampening field corrected.  “Thanks,” she said.  She watched as he grabbed the belts on the bunk and strapped Rae down. 

Finn dropped into the pilot’s seat.  They had to escape now.   Finn new that he had to reduce the chance that they could get a quick response after them.  

He made the Star Dust orbit around the tower.  As it moved, he flipped switches and rerouted power.   When the ship cleared around the building, he could see the black form of the Ravager Corvette.  He didn’t stop to consider what he was doing and depressed a button on the control yoke.  

A panel slid down on the front of the Star Dust’s outer hull just under the bridge.  A pulse of light and a proton torpedo shot toward the corvette.   The torpedo’s impact tore through the bridge’s windows and detonated.   Finn absently noticed fire spilling out the open gangway under the ship as he changed the Star Dust’s position. 

He could see pilots and ground crew running in the hangar trying to launch the tie-fighters.  He saw what he was looking for and fired another torpedo.    This one hit a rack of ordnance.   The resulting explosion blew the walls out and the roof into the air.    He banked the ship around and eased the throttle forward, wanting to get out of the city and stay close to the ground to avoid the anti-ship batteries that circled the city. 

Phasma shook her head as she hung from her cable.  She heard more than saw the hangar explode.   Light spilled out around the edge of the tower, casting a sharp shadow across the city.   The Star Dust moved into view and fly across the city.   “Traitor,” she snarled.  

She keyed her communication toggle with her tongue.  “K7, online, epsilon, revan, osora.  Acknowledge.” 

There was silence for a moment.  “Acknowledged, Captain Phasma, override codes received.  Orders?”

“Kill the pilot and land the ship,” she said, almost spitting in the helmet. 

“Orders received.  Kill the pilot.” 

That done, Phasma eased out cable from her belt unit to lower herself from where she hung.  There was going to be hell to pay and she was not going to have someone rescue her to face it.

K7 wondered what had happened.  It had been powered down for several days.  Something was up because Captain Phasma gave him his override code that kept him from harming Imperial personnel.  He stepped out of his niche in the wall.  There was movement in the cargo hold.  He would have to investigate it after he landed the ship.  

Finn groaned as he saw the sensor readings change.  They had erected the city’s forcefield to trap them inside until they could mount way to take the Star Dust down.  He caught movement out of the corner of his eye and felt a pair of hands wrap around his throat.   “I don’t know what you did to upset Captain Phasma, but she gave strict orders to kill you,” K7 said as it squeezed Finn’s neck. 

Finn could feel his airway closing off as he was lifted out of the seat.  He tried to grab his side arm but K7 shook him like a ragdoll.   Finn was more angry than frightened.  He grabbed one of the droid’s hands and tried to pry it loose.  As strong as he was, the droid had more strength.

K7 pitched forward, driving Finn into the console and pushed the control yoke down so that the ship lost altitude.  As fast as it had started, the attack was over, K7’s grip loosened on his neck and then the unit was pulled off him. 

Finn coughed and looked over his shoulder to see the K7 unit slumped against the communication station’s seat with the Wookie standing over it.  He opened his hand and showed circuit board and wiring.  “What have you done?” K7 asked from where it sat. 

Lowbacca growled something at the K7 unit then pointed out the view screen.  Finn turned and pulled up on the yoke.  The ship shuttered as it scraped along the top of a building, knocking in part of the roof as it did.  “Thank you,” Finn said and turned his attention back to the controls.  “How is the girl?”

Lowbacca said something but Finn didn’t understand.  “Sorry, I don’t speak wookie,” he said as he looked at the scanner readout. 

“You aren’t the only one,” K7 said.   “I want to know what it did to me.  I cannot move.” 

“Power down, K7,” Finn said.  He changed the direction of the ship. 

“No can do.  I will not accept your orders traitor.”  K7 was quiet a moment.  “You are a traitor, right?  I can’t think that Captain Phasma would have ordered me to kill you otherwise.” 

Lowbacca pulled a communicator from his belt pouch and growled into it.  “Thank the maker,” MTD voice came back through the communicator followed by Lando.  “What is going on, Lowbacca? Are you and Rae ok?” 

Finn ignored them as he flew around the city following the sensor readouts.  There, the forcefield projector.  It stood taller than the buildings around it but not nearly as tall as the tower.  It was in the middle of a residential district so that ruled out using the proton torpedoes. 

“What do you mean that you were rescued by a stormtrooper?” Lando said over the communicator. 

Lowbacca growled something and aimed the communicator at Finn.   “I am busy trying to get us out of the city,” he said.  

There was noise on the other end of the communicator as Finn lined up on the projector.  “You’re Finn?” Lando asked. 

Finn didn’t answer as he juggled the odds in his head.  “I hate using this,” he said.  He flipped a few switches and pulled one of the triggers on the yoke.  From either side of where the torpedo had launched under the bridge a double bolt of energy erupted.  Both bolts tore into the shield projector.  Several smaller explosions erupted down the length of the projector’s tower.   Finn held his breath as the tower sagged then collapsed, falling into the street and the yards beyond it.  One of the houses was hit by debris and he could only hope that no one was hurt. 

“Ok, you are definitely a traitor,” K7 said. 

“The shield just dropped,” Lando said.  “Where are you going?” 

Finn looked at the wookie then at the communicator.  “Away from here,” he said and pushed the throttle forward, racing over the rooftops and treetops beyond the city.  There were a few blaster shots at them as they passed over the edge of the city from the defensive cannons.  Most of them were for use against capitol ships and not something easily hit or track a ship as small as the Star Dust.   Only a few of the smaller bolts hit the Star Dust, their bolts splashing harmlessly against the shields. 

Lando watched as the Star Dust shot by overhead.  He powered up the repulsors and rose into the sky.  “Do you have an escape plan?” he asked.  Nein kept his attention on the scanner looking for anything approaching them as Lando turned the Lady Luck and followed the Star Dust. 

 “Once we get past the planet’s gravity well, I plan to set course for Republic space,” Finn answered over the communicator. 

“Sounds like a plan,” Lando said.   “If only it will be that easy.”

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Shawn Bennett

When I was 7, I saw Star Wars: A New Hope in theaters a week after it opened. My parents were nice enough to take me and I have been a fan of Star Wars and almost all science fiction in general. I am an amateur writer who has been published for contributing flavor text to a RP game. I also have a copyright on a novel I hope to be able to publish sometime soon.