Star Wars: Darkness Rising: The Threat Within Chapter 17

Chapter 17
Finn leaned back against the seat and closed his eyes.  He sighed and unlatched his helmet.  He set it aside and pulled off his gauntlets.  He heard someone coming up behind him and looked back. 

Rose stepped around the K7 unit and sat down in the copilot’s seat.  “You ok?” she asked. 

Finn shrugged.  “Well, I am now wanted for treason, sedition, and murder, so other than that, I am fine.” 

“Well, you are among company,” Rae said from the doorway.  Lowbacca ducked in and set her in the seat that K7 wasn’t collapsed against.   “Really ought to thank you two for saving our hides.”  Lowbacca nodded in agreement.  “You’re Finn, right?” 

Finn nodded.  “This is Dr. Rose Tico.” 

Rae nodded to Rose as she turned her seat around.  “I’m Rae and this is Lowbacca.”

Rose watched her.  “What are the Jedi doing in Imperial space?” 

“Looking for him,” Rae said gesturing to Finn.   “Or rather looking to see if it was really Imperials that tried to kill General Calrissian.” 

Finn looked at Rae and Lowbacca.  “Well, he is lucky he had the cloaking device,” Finn said. 

Rose sighed.  “Are you going to tell me what happened to your leg?” she asked.  

Rae looked down and blanched a little seeing the stump of her leg.  “We fought our former master,” she said.   Lowbacca growled softly, not a word, but a sound of displeasure. 

“Your former master?” Rose asked. 

“Our master was Ben Solo.” Rae said and was quiet for a moment.  “I am having trouble getting my head around the fact that no one knew he had been living a double life though.”  She looked over at Lowbacca then at the others.  Rose and Finn looked confused and Rae could see it.  “I think you would call him Kylo Ren.” 

Finn’s eyes widened a bit.  “Lord Ren is the second in command under Emperor Snoke.” 

Rose looked surprised as Finn.  “So, a Jedi Master was second in command to the Empire?” 

Rae sighed.  “Not like it hasn’t happened in history before.   His grandfather was Anakin Skywalker, a Jedi and member of the Jedi Council.  He became a Sith, betrayed the Jedi and served Emperor Palpatine as Darth Vader.”  She looked back to Lowbacca.  “We need to get back to Yavin.  We have to tell Master Skywalker and the Council.” 

“Another Skywalker?” Rose asked.

Rae nodded.  “Luke Skywalker.  He is Anakin’s son, Leia Organa-Solo’s sister and Ben’s mother.” 

“You probably won’t have a planet to go back to for long,” K7 said. 

Rae looked to the droid.  “What?”

K7 hummed to itself and made a sighing noise. “I probably shouldn’t have said that.” 

“What is going on, K7?” Finn asked. 

“Like I am going to tell you, traitor,” K7 answered.

Finn glared at the droid and something caught his eye.  He stepped over the droid and looked at the communication console.  He activated the controls and read the screen.   “Well, this just got worse,” he said. 

“What?” Rose asked and walked over so she could see what he was looking at. 

“They are mobilizing the 14th fleet.  If I remember right, it was in dry dock after its shakedown cruise.” 

“How is it getting worse?” Rae asked, as she started to get up then thought better of it.

“They are mobilizing the 14th to destroy Yavin 4,” Finn said. 

Lowbacca spoke and looked at Rae.  “How do you know that?” she translated. 

“The Star Dust is an Imperial Covert Operations ship.  Because I had just gone rogue, no one had thought to start changing codes or had time..   The comm computer picked the orders being transmitted to the fleet and the recall order for the crew,” Finn said. 

“The republic has fleets.  They should be able to stop it.” 

Finn looked at them.  “If they can get there in time.  The 14th is composed of 10 Star Destroyers.  Captain Phasma and I were witness to them doing an active test when the 10th fleet was on their shakedown cruise.  Together they can destroy the surface of a planet within a few minutes of coming into range.” 

“What is it with the Empire and destroying planets?” Rae asked, remembering the weapons from history.

Finn shook his head.  “It won’t destroy the planet.  But it will sterilize it clean of life.   They can go in and reseed it a few years later.   No point in wasting resources that the planet could provide.” 

The pilot’s console beeped.  Finn turned and sat down in the seat.  “One minute to hyperspace exit.” 

The Lady Luck dropped out of hyperspace a few kilometers from the Star Dust.  They were several billion kilometers away from a supergiant star, drifting in its dust ring.   Lando flew the ship closer to the other. 

“Is everyone ok?” Lando asked once the comm came online.

“We are fine, Lando,” Rae asked and glared at Lowbacca when he started to say something.  “Though we might have kicked the viper’s nest.”

Rae sighed.  “They figured out we were Jedi.  If the transmissions that Finn picked up are correct, then they are mobilizing a fleet to destroy Yavin 4.” 

“How long until they get there?” Lando asked.  

“All the ships of the fleet have Class 1 hyperdrives,” Finn said, “It will take them about twelve hours to get the fleet mobilized.” 

“Class 1’s,” Lando sighed.  “We need to warn them.  We need to find a Republic outpost and get a message to them.”

“It won’t work,” Finn said.  “The Empire has been infiltrating the Republic for over a decade now.  By now, agents have already been alerted to what happened and to target us if possible.  Not to mention that if they can’t do that, they will interfere with communications as to make them unintelligible or unbelievable until it is too late.” 

“How do you know this?” Lando asked.  

“Sir, to clear the air.  I am a clone.  From the time I left the tank, I was trained on espionage which is why I was outside of Imperial space.” 

Rae and Lowbacca looked at Finn suspiciously.  “How do we know that this isn’t a ruse?” Lando asked over the communicator. 

“The Clone Wars started because Palpatine manipulated both sides and then used the clones to turn on the Jedi,” Rae added. 

“These clones were not created with the hidden orders,” Rose said. 

“Who is that?” Lando asked, “Is that Mars?” 

“No, Lando,” Rae said.  “This is Dr. Tico.” 

“General,” Rose said, “I oversaw one of the clone facilities.  And Captain Phasma is not here, Finn pushed her out of the ship at the tower.”

Lando was quiet.  “Sir,” Finn said, “We need to do something or that fleet will drop in on Yavin and wipe it clean of the Jedi.” 

“Why are they so keen in killing the Jedi?” Lando asked. 

“Because they are Sith,” Rae said, “We fought one.” 

Lando ran a hand over his hair.  “Can you outrun the fleet?”

“Yes sir.  This ship has a Class 1 hyperdrive,” Finn answered. 

“Ok.  You go to Yavin.   I will go to Coruscant and get Leia to move on this.”  He was quiet a second.  “Did you get the information you went in for?”

Lowbacca growled something and went to the communication station.  “He did,” MTD translated over the comm.  “He is going to transmit what they were able to get from the mainframe of the computer system.”  Lowbacca growled something else.  “Yes Lowbacca, I will transmit back my Wookie database.”

Finn began to run calculations on the ship’s navigation computer.   After a few minutes, he heard MTD speak over the comm.  “The information has been retrieved,” MTD said to Lando. 

“Twelve hours?” Lando asked. 

“It would be safer to say we have a 10 hour head start,” Finn said back.  “Here is our course and I also plotted one for your ship using old Empire hyperspace routes.  It might buy you a little time getting back to Coruscant.  Just remember that there may be people there gunning for you by now.” 

Lando looked over the courses and sent them to BX.  BX ran the calculations then green lit them.  “Ok, Good luck and may the force be with you,” Lando said. 

Finn watched as the Lady Luck jumped to hyperspace then he engaged the engines and did the same.  “How long until we reach Yavin?” Rose asked. 

“Five standard days,” Finn said.  “The others should reach Courscant in a little over three days.  It is just about two days travel from Coruscant to Yavin.” He looked to Rae and Lowbacca.  “I would not lay hope that they will be able to get a fleet to Yavin in time to mount a defense.” 

“There is a fleet around Yavin already,” Rae said. 

“Unless they have at least two dozen capital ships, they are not going to slow the 14th down,” Finn said. 

Rae and Lowbacca exchanged a look.  “Then we need to get there in time to get people evacuated,” Rae said and Lowbacca nodded in agreement. 

Lowbacca growled something while looking at Finn.  “Lowbacca wanted to know what you want to do with the droid and he also wanted to know you managed to destroy the corvette.” 

Finn shook his head. “I don’t know what we can do with it.   Its programming was supposed to make it loyal to Captain Phasma and myself.  I always suspected that there was an override.  Apparently, there was because it tried to kill me.” 

“I was loyal to Captain Phasma, no you.  You were just crew,” K7 said. 

Finn made a face.  “I don’t really care.   It might have information so I would avoid destroying it.”  He looked at the controls.  “As for the other question, the Star Dust was outfit as a covert operations ship.  It was designed to launch surprise attacks that could cripple or destroy larger vessels.  It has a paired set of turbolasers and a proton torpedo launcher.  I had enough Tibana gas to power the turbolasers for six shots and six proton torpedoes in the magazine.  I need to reload the torpedo magazine.” 

Rose looked at Rae.  “You, young lady, need to lay down.” As Rae opened her mouth, Rose made a silencing motion with her hand.  “Jedi or not, you just lost a leg.  That bacta cuff needs to be hooked to the filter and pump so that the contaminated bacta can be filtered off and for that to happen, you need to be laying back in that bunk.” 

Rae started to say something again and Lowbacca hauled her out of her chair and growled at her.  “Fine fine,” she said with a huff. 

Rose watched them walk down the corridor.  She turned to Finn and put her hand on his shoulder.  “I have the feeling it is going to be a lot harder for us soon.  Let’s stick together and maybe we will get through it.” 

He looked to her then nodded.  “Thank you.”

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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.