Star Wars: Darkness Rising: The Threat Within Chapter 16

Chapter 16
Finn felt that they were far enough away from the city and pulled up taking the Star Dust through the atmosphere and out into space.   He applied more thrust and broke orbit.  He had the onboard navi-computer begin to calculate a course.   The dedicated computer was more effective than an astromech droid but it couldn’t help do repairs to the ship. 

Lowbacca growled and pointed at the sensor display.  Finn looked over to see two blips closing rapidly with the StarDust.   Finn focused the sensors on them.  “Interceptors,” he said.  He adjusted the sensors.  “And eight more behind them.” 

Lowbacca growled something at Finn.  “No idea what you said,” Finn said, “But, we just have to keep ahead of them for a little longer and we will be out of the planet’s gravity well.”  The ship rocked as a few blaster bolts hit the shields.  “It’s going to be close,” he muttered watching the readouts.  

“Hey kid,” Lando said over the comm.  “Transmit your jump to me, we will follow.” 

Finn pointed at the comm.  “You are going to have to do it,” he said to Lowbacca.   He really hoped that the wookie was as intelligent as they claimed.  

Lowbacca glanced at the readout that the navicomputer provided and began to speak.  After a moment MTD answered back in Wookie.   Finn looked at Lowbacca questioning.   Lowbacca said something and MTD answered over the comm.  “Hopefully it will take them a few minutes to come up with a translation.  We can do another jump at the destination.”

Finn nodded.  “Engaging in 3, 2, 1.”   Finn slide the hyperdrive levers forward and there was a warning whine from the engine and he pulled them back quickly.  “We should be out of the gravity well.”  He looked at the console again then began fiddling with the controls.  The sensors focused on a spot.  The image resolved out to be a Raider class Corvette. 

“Gravity well generator,” he said just as the ship rocked again by several impacts against the shields.   The sensors showed two figures had dropped in behind him. 

“Star Dust, this is Alpha leader,” a voice said over the ship’s comm.  “you are to kill your engines and prepared to be boarded.  Any other action will result in your destruction.” 

Finn looked over at Lowbacca.  “They are too close to us.” 

“Don’t stop, Kid,” Lando’s voice came out from Lowbacca’s comm. 

“You ready?” Lando asked Nein.

Nein nodded.  The two tie interceptors were only a few hundred meters in front of him and the Star Dust a few hundred meters beyond that.  Nein’s hands rand across the controls.  He grabbed a stick and moved it pulling the trigger on it. 

Another ship appeared on Finn’s sensor screen a second before the two tie fighters exploded into debris.   “Good, immediate problem solved,” he muttered.  “Keep up with us,” he said out loud and began to do calculations.  

“What’s the plan kid?”  Lando asked. 

“We have to take out that corvette,” Finn said. 

“We won’t make it to the corvette with those other interceptors chasing us,” Lando told him.  “And I don’t think the Lady Luck could damage it.” 

“We only have one shot,” Finn said, “We either take out that corvette or we’re stuck here.  This wave of tie fighters is just the first.  We bloodied them, they are not going to be happy.   I think that I have enough ammo left that I can take out the Raider.” 

“What about the ties on our six?” 

Finn looked at Lowbacca and pressed something under the console.  “There is a ladder recessed into the bulkhead just to the right of the cargo hold hatch.  Pull it out from the wall.  There is a dorsal and ventral turret.  Pick one.” 

Lowbacca nodded climbed out of the chair and ran out of the cockpit.  “Put your shields to your aft,” Finn said.  “I am going to have to put my forward to block the corvette in case they decide to shoot at us, and I hope that they do. Stay directly behind us, you’re providing cover.” 

Lando shook his head.  “I so hope this guy knows what he is doing.” 

Nein nodded and ran his hands over the controls again while he spoke.  “Yeah, I don’t have a better idea,” Lando said, “And I can’t just leave them here on their own.” 

A gun lowered form the belly of the Lady Luck and turned to aim behind them.  It fired causing the pursuing Ties to evade, though one of the blaster bolts bounced off a shield. 

Nein grumbled in dismay. “They are shielded too?” Lando asked.  

Lowbacca ran into the cargo hold to see Rae holding the doctor’s arm.  The doctor had a hypo spray in it.  Rae looked at Lowie, “What is going on?” 

Lowbacca saw the ladder recessed in the wall and might have missed it if he hadn’t been told it was there.  He grabbed it and pulled.  It swung out and the floor and ceiling moved with it revealing two seats and gun controls.  He growled quickly, gesturing at the front of the ship. 

Rae looked at Rose.  “I need to be awake,” she said.  “I will deal with the pain.” 

Rose sighed and pulled away from Rae.  “I don’t know what you are going to do.”  She pointed at the bacta cuff that was over the stump of Rae’s leg. 

Rae looked down and sighed.  “I don’t have to stand to fight.  Lowie, help me.” 

It only took him a second to figure out what she was wanting to do.  He grabbed her, hauling her off the bunk and lowered her down into the gun well.   He climbed up into the other one.  

Rae looked at the controls.  “This is pretty much like the controls on Mas… Ben’s ship,” she said, looking like she wanted to cry or puke.

Lando saw the ventral turret lower from the Star Dust.  It spun around for a moment then aimed back past them in the direction that Nein was shooting.  “I so hope they don’t hit us.”

Rae worked the controls designating the targets and took aim at them.  The two heavy lasers in the turret started to fire, alternating red flashes of light.  The targeting computer helped lead the target and one of the Tie fighters was hit four times.  The first two hits dropped the tie’s shield and the remaining two turned it into fiery wreckage. 

Lowbacca grunted something and began to fire on another of the tie fighters.  It tried to dodge but Lowbacca adjusted his aim and peppered it through, the heavy laser bolts breaking the shield and shredding the panels along the ships side causing it to spiral out of control. 

Lando chuckled as the number of tie’s chasing them dropped by two in as many seconds.  “Don’t get my hopes up,” he muttered.   There was a whistling alarm from BX.  Lando looked at the screen.  “When do Tie’s have missiles?”

Finn was concentrating on calculations for the attack on the corvette.  It would rely on the interceptors to destroy them as it didn’t have enough power to keep its shields up, operate the interdiction field and fire weapons.  He was thankful it could only do two of the three.  When he heard Lando make the comment about missiles over the comm he sighed.  He had wondered which tie interceptor variant they were using.  

“I would say it’s been nice knowing you,” K7 said. 

“Oh shut up,” Finn barked and reached behind him to run his hand along the controls at the other console.   

Lando saw on the screen two missiles approaching them quickly.  He took a deep breath and the sensors went offline.  Instinctively he hit the side of the panel and nothing happened.   He saw both missiles fly past the Lady Luck and the Star Dust.  

Nein said something and Lando shook his head.  “I figured that out,” he said, “Just keep trying to take those interceptors out.” 

Rae had a lock on one of the Tie’s that had fired the missile when her targeting computer shut down with an error message.  “What gives?!” she yelled.    One of the missiles flew by her turret.  

Finn pressed the internal comm.  “Sensor jamming.  They aren’t going to be able to use their targeting computers until their systems can figure out a way to cut through the signal.” 

“That is great, but how are we going to be able to hit them?” she asked. 

Lowbacca looked down and growled at her waving a hand. 

She looked up at him, her jaw dropping open.  “You did NOT just tell me to use the force,” she yelled.  She stared at him for a second as he had the audacity to laugh.  After everything they had just been through. 

“Use the force,” she muttered sarcastically and closed her eyes.  “The force flows through all things, connects everything,” she continued, though the sarcasm was leaving her voice.  “Feel the force flow through you.  The force is your ally.”  She took a deep breath then let it out in a long exhalation.  She opened her eyes.  “The force is my ally,” she whispered. 

Lowbacca did not need to look down at her to feel her centering herself.  He did the same, turning the controls. 

Lando watched as the shields on the Lady Luck were quickly depleting.  “This isn’t good,” he said.  He could see one of the turrets wasn’t moving and didn’t see any lasers coming from the other.   He was about to say something when both began to fire again.  Several of the laser blasts came mere meters from hitting his own shield.   

Kylo stood outside his burning corvette.   He glared up at the sky but there was not much that he could do with a planet between them.   He felt them both using the force, using it in a way that he had rarely felt them use it before.   In a dark corner of his mind, he was proud of them.   He made a face and turned to look at the I9O2 unit.  “When will the shuttle be here?” 

“five minutes sir.” 

Kylo cursed his luck.  He rubbed at the bandage on the side of his face.   “Alert me when it is about to land.”  He spun, his cloak flowing out behind him and walked back into the tower.

Nein stared at the screen in amazement.  Almost every laser bolt coming from the Star Dust was hitting an interceptor.  There was one that was directly behind the Lady Luck, trying to keep moving enough that the Star Dust couldn’t hitit.   He narrowed his eyes and watched the screen.  He pulled the trigger and the medium laser under the hull began to spit fire.  Several of the bolts missed but a few hit and the Tie jerked to starboard to avoid the fire only to get hit by fire form both of the Star Dust’s turrets and explode.

Nein said something and gestured toward the ship in front of them.  Lando nodded.  “I’d believe it.   During the battle to take Coruscant, I watched Luke use an X-wing and take out over two dozen tie fighters and the tie-bombers they were escorting in under a minute.   If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed that anyone could have done that.” 

Lando made an adjustment to the course following the freighter.  He hoped that the pilot knew what he was doing.  There were still more of those tie-interceptors that were heading this way. 

Captain Karet sat, resting on an arm as she studied the readouts of the ship coming at her.  They couldn’t get an adequate scan on the ship but from the display that they showed, they shouldn’t be much of a threat.  “Lieutenant, do you have any information on that ship?” she asked glancing at one of the sensor operators. 

“No Captain.  I ran it through our computer and all I came up with was dialog code I gave you.”  He didn’t look up from the scanner.  She knew that he was using visuals as the other sensors were being scrambled.  “They’ve adjusted course, Captain. They are coming straight on at us.” 

“So that is how they want to be?” She asked.   She sat up in her chair and leaned forward.  “Ensign, calculate a firing trajectory and fire two pair of concussion missiles from the port launcher.  You won’t be able to rely on guidance.”

After a moment, the young man looked over his shoulder.  “Course calculated, captain.” 

She nodded.  “Fire.” 

The ensign pressed a button and the noise of the first pair of missiles being launched sounded faintly on the bridge.   Karet watched the screen as the two missiles shot away from the ship and toward the approaching freighter.   Just as the second pair launched the freighter’s turrets opened fire.  The first pair of missiles were detonated harmlessly.   The second pair exploded close enough to ship that the shields registered an impact. 

Karet sat there in stunned silence for a moment.  Unless that ship had a way to bypass the jamming field it was creating, there is no way that a biologic could have hit moving missiles.  While they were projecting their field, they could run their shields or fire weapons but not both.  The shields should be able to hold against anything that a freighter could mount.  

“Helm, get us moving, best speed,” she said.  She looked at her own readouts.  “Keep the interdiction field going at full power.” 

Finn ground his teeth.  He had to recalculate since the ship started moving.  He was still surprised that the Wookie and girl had been able to shoot the missiles in flight.  They saw them before Finn had recognized what they were and had started shooting them before Finn could react. 

The Raider was moving away or trying to.  He knew that it couldn’t move fast while projecting the interdiction field.  The fact that it was moving away from them instead of opening fire on them did make him feel a little better.  It meant that they did not have information on the Star Dust.  It also meant that his calculations had to be exact.  

Finn wondered how far away the interceptor reinforcements were.  He didn’t dare turn off the jamming field until the interdiction field was gone.   His fingers moved over the controls and he took a deep breath.  This was all or nothing.  He pressed a button and grabbed the controls counting down from seven. 

Karet drummed her fingers.  “ETA on the Interceptors?” she asked. 

The lieutenant adjusted the controls.  “Estimate four minutes until they are within firing range of the freighter,” he said. 

“And where will the freighter be?” she asked. 

“Less than half a kilometer aft,” he said as he adjusted the controls again.

She frowned.  She didn’t like the idea of sitting here and letting that ship pound on them even if their shields could take it.  She was trying to think of something that they could do when the lieutenant interrupted her train of thought.  “What the..” he said. 

“What is it, Lieutenant?”

“I think they launched something at us,” he said. 

“What?”  She stood.  “What did they launch?” 

“It might be a proton torpedo,” he said. 

“Time to impact?”

“No more than fifteen seconds.” 

Finn reached zero and pulled the trigger on the control yoke.  The paired turbolasers fired five times.  As the last bolt left the gun, the first hit the aft shields of the corvette, splashing against the shields.   When the third pair hit, the first of the proton torpedoes hit at almost the same instant and the shield glowed harshly.  The next two pairs of laser bolts and torpedo broke the shield clearing the way for the third.  The third torpedo tore a hole into the engines of the corvette.   The fourth torpedo buried itself deep into the hull of the ship and exploded against the ship’s reactor.  

The viewports of the Star Dust darkened at the glare from the explosion.   Finn adjusted course.  “Oh my, I am impressed traitor,” K7 said.  Finn ignored it and reached back flipping several switches. 

The comm unit that the Wookie left there crackled to life.  Finn grabbed it.  “Jump now,” he said before anyone on the other end could say anything.  Finn pushed the hyperspace controls forward and stars streaked past the viewscreen. 

Kylo sat in the shuttle meditating.  “Lord Ren,” the pilot said. “I have received a communication from the Fortitude.  The Rapier has been destroyed and both ships have entered hyperspace.” 

Kylo sighed and opened his now yellow eyes.  “Not unexpected.  How long until the fleet is ready to leave?” 

The pilot was quite a moment.  “With emergency recalls, they should be ready to go within twelve hours.” 

That was not the information he wanted to hear.   He expected he would have to have a conversation before he could leave if it took that long. in a new tab) (This leads to chapter 17)

Novara Skuara

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.