Alderaan. The Past. Bes Erinda hugged her daughter as she strapped her into the Transport seat. The parents around her were frantic and their children sensed the fear of an unknown future. The terrible and desperate haste as children were bundled into transports with little more than the farewell tears of their parents to comfort them ended as the Transports launched for space, some chancing hyperspace from inside the atmosphere.
Bes Etanni looked out the window of the Transport as it breached atmosphere for free space.
"Phasma!" She pointed out the window at the intense plasma bolt flash in the moment the transport ship jumped to hyperspace and looked around desperatly for someone to tell. "Phasma!"
Aldaraan Civilian Emergency Transport One Six Five Five stalled and dropped out of Hyperspace, the Gravitational shock of Alderaan's destruction changing the equation.
The ship drifted in the dark for what seemed like hours until the familiar sound of a tractor beam flexing the hull with its audible subharmonics. The children cheered as they were rescued from whatever had gone wrong with the hyperspace jump.
A huge ship, bigger even than a Star Destroyer loomed before them filling the view of every window. The Transport was pulled into a docking bay where it landed.
Bes Etanni watched as the terrified attendant came and calmed the children while the pilot opened the outer hatch before the pair departed through the Exit. Etanni saw the flash of plasma for a moment but could not see where it had come from.
An Imperial Officer came aboard and surveyed the children.
"Hello Children!" The Officer looked about, counting their number. "I am Lieutenant Piet."
"We will be departing shortly to visit a Star Destroyer." A helmeted imperial pilot in black slipped past him into the cockpit of the transport and the outer hatch sealed. "Who here knows what a Star Destroyer looks like?"
Several children made a spear point with their hands touching at the fingers and Lieutenant Piet nodded as the sound of the Transport engines became audible.
"All right," The engines roared to life and the transport slowly departed the Death Star for its destination. "Everyone strap in."
"Any questions?" Bes Etanni raised her hand to catch his attention. "Yes...you have a question...and your name is?"
"Phasma." An unfamiliar family name. Piet scanned her image and tagged it with the name. "And your first name is?"
"Etanni." Bes Etanni forgot her question. Phasma Etanni. Lieutenant Piet notted the name and moved to the next child.
Phasma Etanni woke from the memory to the sound of the alarm claxon. The Rebel fleet had reached Coruscant.
"Sir!" The Bridge officer appeared from nowhere as Kylo Ren struggled to stand. For some reason he felt pain. "Sensors indicate a handful of small Rebel Alliance vessels emerging from hyperspace."
"And?" The Officer understood the request fot further information. "The Millenium Falcon is amongst them."
"Good." The Interdiction had prevented the arrival of Rebel Alliance Capital Ships. "Launch TIE fighters and begin targeting their remaining vessels."
Kylo Ren headed for the launch bay. He would personally destroy the Millenium Faclon.
Chewbacca disengaged the hyperdrive of the Millenium Falcon appearing above Coruscant in a turbulent storm of Ion Cannons as First Order Star Destroyers unloaded the full force of their power into the Rebel Alliance vessels still emerging from Hyperspace.
Something was very wrong.
"Where are the Capital Ships?" General Calrissian surveyed the Battlefield. The Capital Ships had failed to materialize from hyperspace. Overwhelming fear made all the more terrifying by the realization that the loss of half the fleet included General Organa Solo and her damn gold protocol droid that seemed to shadow her like a rarely silent guardian. Lando brought up the fleet communications.
"Large Mass Interdiction has just taken out our Capital ships." The Rebel Alliance had lost. "All remaining vessels begin withdrawal from the system."
An Ion Blast burned through the Millenium Falcon hyperdrive and Chewbacca howled in fear as they were reduced to sublight engines only. They would not be going anywhere.
"I know. I Know." Lando Calrissian looked for an exit. "There!"
"Chewbacca..." Lando pointed at a medical frigate far beyond the edge of the battlefield. "Get us docked with that medical Frigate before they make the jump to Hyperspace." Another ion blast ripped through the sublight engines tossing the burning wreckage of the Millenium Falcon into a tumble. Chewbacca grabbed Lando who suddenly found himself thrown from his seat against the bulkhead, the pain overwhelming his senses and rendering him unconcious.
Its going to be all right Chewie. Luke focussed on steadying the Millenium Falcon, pulling the small Corellian vessel out of the debris field toward the Medical Frigate. Luke looked at R2-D2. "Inform the Frigate Crew that the Millenium Falcon has been disabled and General Calrissian is injured." The blue and white Astromech quickly manouvered out of the Patient Recovery Suite and headed for the medical ward computer occupied by the nearest ranking officer.
Jyn Sybo looked up from the medical ward database at the R2 unit that had for so long loitered by the Injured Luke Skywalker and now communicated directly with the ship.
The Millenium Falcon drifted into range of the Medical Frigate and shuddered as a tractor beam grabbed the dead vessel pulling it to the docking hatch.
Chewbacca carried the unconcious and injured Lando Calrissian through the wreckage of the Millenium Falcon and upward through the access hatch into the airlock of the medical frigate to the awaiting Medical team.
Chewbacca growled at a medical droid that they could cut the Millenium Falcon loose and he growled again with some great regret as the shudder of the Millenium Falcon being cut loose from the Medical Frigate to die in space like garbage cast adrift before the jump to hyperspace vibrated up through the airlock. She was gone.
She was gone. Luke swept the battlefield for any trace that Leia had somehow miraculously survived the Large Mass Interdiction and turned away as the Medical Frigate jumped to hyperspace. The grief and loss burned at him as he struggled to steady himself against R2-D2. Another member of his family was gone.
Chewbacca entered the medical ward and growled at the sight of Luke Skywalker struggling to stand.
"I'm all right Chewbacca." Luke looked up at the grieving Wookie. "I'm sorry about the Millenium Falcon."
"I know how much it meant to you, and Han, and Lando." Luke smiled at a memory. "Even Leia." Chewbacca embraced the withered old man before him and growled at the true loss they shared.
Rei watched the A-Wing carry Finn away from her and she felt an odd sensation as though she not see him again. Rei focused on a stray TIE fighter that had lined up on her and Fired. It flashed with an explosion fed by the pod atmosphere.
"Red Six closing on the Super Star Destroyer."
Finn's designation. Rei hoped he had a plan. The loss of the Capital Ships had just tipped the balance in this conflict. The plasma cannons of a TIE fighter glanced off her shielding.
"That was close." Rei turned toward the Super Star Destroyer evading the intense laser fire coming directly at her.
Rei made the A-wing dance. A nudge with her A-wing and a TIE fighter she now raced side by side was knocked directly into the Plasma Cannon Fire coming from the Super Star Destroyer.
Rei's A-wing slipped between laser fire leaving a trail of dead TIE fighters in her wake, the Super Star Destroyer swelling to an enormous size as she closed the distance.
"Red Seven closing on Target." Rei swung the A-wing through a three hundred and sixty degree tumble and flopped on to the landing deck of a shuttle bay with landing gear out.
"Lets see them beat that one." Rei was out and moving fast. The Instruction holocron had described the technique.
Stormtroopers opened fire on Rei as she ran past them and vanished down a corridor becoming a blur.
"Red Six closing on the Super Star Destroyer!" The A-Wing approached the great vessel from behind. Its colossal engines, lit with the nuclear inferno that pushed the vessel forward, and TIE fighters screamed, the sound of them audible across the void of space, as they pursued. He had heard the order to retreat. And he had ignored it. There needed to be someone to stay and fight. Finn flew into the very structure of the vessel. He knew the secrets and weaknesses of every Imperial vessel. And deep in the infrastructure of the Super Star Destroyer, between the engines, there was a landing bay. Small, isolated, and unoccupied by anything other than a Technician Inspection Environment: A TIE. In the true sense of the anacronism, It was the weaponless origin of every TIE fighter design that followed.
The A-Wing touched down on the landing deck and the fighter canopy slid open. Despite the obscurity of this landing deck there was always a chance of discovery.
Finn alighted the fighter, dropping onto the deck.
The Technician Inspection Environment looked up to the task. A simple catch and the TIE opened ready for a pilot. Finn was lifted into the small vessel and the pressure hatch sealed. The TIE lifted from the deck and manouvered in the crowded space until it aligned with an open access conduit that led deeper into the infrastructute. Slowly Finn moved forward down the inspection conduit toward the Reactors.
The Reactor was huge. It loomed ahead of Finn like an unborn Death Star in its womb. There was no destroying it but it was held in place by restraints to prevent the reactor from being pushed forward through the ship ahead of the Drive. They were strong where they needed to be strong. Finn operated the exterior arm and placed the charge.
The TIE settled on the Technical Operations deck. Finn contemplated returning to his A-Wing but he knew the Technical Inspection Environment could sit in the Main Drive with the engine burning hot and it would survive. The drive shuddered and tore loose, surging forward through the superstructure sending a quake through the entire ship.
Finn powered up the TIE and flew out into space in a straight line acted on only by the planet's gravity. What this TIE didnt do well was manouver in space. In the infrastructure of a star destroyer its micro tractor beams could grab at the surrounding superstructure and move the TIE in relation to that environment. Out here there would be the occasionable chunk of ship debris and the gravity well of Coruscant dragging him down from orbit.
"Rei!" Finn hoped very much that she would hear him through the storm of ship to ship communications in this chaotic battlefield. "Any time!"
Finn monitored the conflict zone from the safety of the Technician Inspection Environment until the shadow of a small vessel manouvered above the TIE and clamped on. It wasn't any of the Imperial designs he had seen.
"Rei?" The vessel and its cargo manouvered until they were lined up with the Super Star Destroyer currently ripped in half by a reactor and drive section propelling itself forward toward the planet Coruscant. "Can you get me to it before it hits the Atmosphere?" The death-toll would be substantial.
The TIE surged forward. The second thing the Technician Inspection Environment wasnt designed to was protect its technician from substantial acceleration. Finn took a six gee hit, blacking out.
Finn woke to the disturbing sensation of being shaken awake.
"I'm okay." The TIE was being shaken side to side by the vessel clamped on above it. "Sorry! Must have blacked out." They were over the reactor and its drive and starting to take atmospheric friction. Finn activated the TIE tractor propulsion systems.
"I suggest you release my TIE." The vessel cut the TIE loose and Finn manouvered forward across the Reactor surface. "Every drive and reactor section is designed to be manouvered through the Star Destroyer superstructure under its own power during assembly."
"The Technician simply needs to interface the TIE to the drive," Finn found the connection point. "And you effectivly have a giant spaceship engine attatched to a tiny little pilot pod."
"Interface is good." The drive revealed the manouvering thrusters that it had not used in years and began its slow climb back out of the Atmosphere. "Its working." The engine was still descending but slowly it began to resist the Innevitable. The drive slowly leveling out until it seemed to skim just above the City that occupied the Planet. They still were a long way from climbing out of the gravity well.
Finn watched his companion manouver the small craft that rescued him to match his slow ascent. It landed on the reactor and clamped down. The canopy slid back to release the pilot.
Kylo Ren climbed down from his fighter and pulled his lightsaber, igniting its red energy corona.
"This is a long time coming." Finn watched as a madman somehow struggled against the atmospheric disturbance created by the colossal starship engine to stay on his feet and walk toward the Technician Inspection Environment that Protected Finn from certain death in the same situation.
"You know you cant get at me in here." Finn hoped it were true. The Lightsaber was an unusual weapon. It created a field that distorted the field of its target, using its own energy against it. It was entirely possible the Lightsaber would be the weapon that would slice through the hull of the TIE.
"This is where you die Traitor." Kylo Ren was barely audible over the chaos around them as he proceeded to push the point of his lightsaber into the surface of the TIE and smiled as the blade's collision with an otherwise indestructible object erupted with energy release. It would happen. Soon.
Finn contemplated his options. The engine would continue its rise out of the atmosphere for a while.
Finn considered detatching the Technician Inspection Environment and manouvering as best he could. It instantly put distance between the TIE and Kylo Ren.
"Not to bright Solo." He hated that name and Finn knew it.
"My name is" Rage filled Finn's opponent. "...Kylo Ren! "A second option came to mind. Finn activated a tractor beam and it grabbed a hold of Kylo Ren like a parent restraining an angry child.
"I have you now Solo!" Finn laughed and Kylo Ren suddenly became calm. Finn needed to break Kylo Ren's focus now.
"I hear the Millenium Falcon was destroyed. Do you think Chewbacca Survived?" Ren ignored it. Not enough. "Pity about your Mother. That interdiction took out her Capital Ship." Ren opened his eyes.
The pitch black airlock was quickly illuminated by the red glow of an old light saber revealing to Lando Calrissian the full extent of his situation. Lando pushed the point of it into the hull until it was half the red glowing blade length into the wall, a stream of molten metal eliciting an equal measure of sweat from the man weilding the weapon.
To be continued...