The dull roar of the Obsidian Eagle's engine echoed through the ship as it moved through hyperspace with only the occasional beep and rattle of various objects quickly stacked in the cargo holds. The blurred image of the overhead light slowly came into focus as Jento blinked trying to bring himself around. He moved only to find that he was restrained on whatever he was laying on. Turning his head to look around he realized he was on his brother's ship. "What the hell..." He struggled a bit, finding he wasn't restrained as much as he was secured to keep from falling off the bed. He managed to wiggle a hand free to unlock the belt and sat up slowly, slightly dizzy. Swinging his feet to the floor he he heard footsteps and instinctively reached for his missing blaster, finding only an empty holster which felt odd to his left hand. Pulling the glove from his hand he realized it had been replaced.. "Glad you could finally join us, thought you might sleep the whole way," his brother Darien chuckled holding a glass, quickly draining to before moving to Jento's side. "Where are we, what is going on?" Jento said looking around still very much out of it. "We are on our way to the Darkscale cruiser to drop off the rest of what I managed to pull out of that wreck you called a museum. Luckly for you, you weren't there admiring your collection." The ship shifted for a moment, the familiar sound of it emerging from hyperspace. A few moments later the comm beeped, "Looks like you were right, they didn't follow us but I think we shouldn't try that again," the broken accent of Krytin informed the two. The battlescared YT-2400 dodged asteroids as it flew towards the engine light of the cruiser in the distance. Gritting his teeth as he planted his feet on the floor, "Alright, what the hell is going on, why are we out here and where is my fighter," Jento said with the all too familiar scowl coming over his face. Darien's face shifted quickly from the broad grin he was wearing to a smirk, "Typical, I pull your sorry ass out of space and the first thing you worry about is that precious fighter of yours." Pointing towards the rear door, "If you must know, the cockpit.. well what is left of it, is back in the cargo hold. I wouldn't worry about doing a flight check though since most of that bucket is still floating around Rori... with a bit of you as well," he chuckled pointing towards Jento's hand. "I take it you don't remember what happened." The ship jolted and the clank of the docking clamps signaled that they had connected to the cruiser. Darien put his hand on his brother's shoulder, "Come on, we need to get this stuff unloaded so we can get moving. Lizardboy won't want to hang around here long." Jento steadied his feet and nodded as they headed to the cargo hold, the hiss of the docking doors opening ahead of them. "We do not have long. Sssensorss sshow alliance ssshipss on the edge of this sssytem. It will not take them long to find usss out here." Gowron barely looked up at Jento before grabbing a large storage container and walking back through the doorway. A cargo droid rolled in grabbing a pallet and loudly lifting it out of the ship. A piece of hull clanked as it hit the floor, falling from the poorly stacked pallet. Jento stooped down to pick it up, from the familiar black paint he knew it was from Omicron One. Running his finger along the jagged edge he started to remember... The sleek little ETA-2 fighter sped towards the green moon of Rori. "Tac-com this is Omicron One, starting patrol vector six." "Roger Omicron One." The comm beeped in Jento's helmet. This was the last patrol of the day before he was taking a week off to work on an exhibit he'd finally received the last piece off. He turned his head to look back towards Naboo, memories of the glory days, blazing through this part of space when the squadron was at its prime. He still had some great pilots which had filled the roster since many of his former squadmates had retired from flying.. some not by choice. A great deal of his life had been spent in this very cockpit along this same space lane, he rounded the patrol buoys almost out of habit. A series of beep and clicks brought him back to reality and the display flickered inside his helmet. "What is it A6?" as he leaned forward pressing a few buttons increasing his scanning range." "We are detecting hyperspace signatures on the far side of the moon," the translation of the whirls and beeps read inside his helmet. Alert alarms immediately began to sound, "Battle stations, Rebel ships emerging from hyperspace in your vicinity Omicron patrol," the comms piped up in his helmet. "Roger that," Jento griped the controls, flipping the weapons on and the winglets unfolded. The slight grin on his face quickly faded as a Mon Calamari cruiser followed by several X-Wing squadrons appeared from hyperspace. "Oh shit!" He quickly banked away from the emerging fleet back towards Naboo followed by the streaking bolts of red blasterfire. "Tac-com launch all fighters, launch all fighters!" he screamed over the comms but knew it was probably too late. They'd emerged too close to the planet and with the ISD Invictus having left to re-enforce the fleet around Endor the situation wasn't looking good. Jento looped his ship around, if he was going down, he was going to take a few with him. Rounding out the spiral he was met with the hailfire from at least 6 X-Wings, several of which found his shields. He was distracted by the blue glow of the cruiser's cannons now firing on the planet. He banked and began firing. His ship twirled and veered taking out many rebel vessels before the sheer numbers overtook his shields and the light of his fighter's engines flickered. "Ejecting..." A6's display showed before the display flickered and Jento found the silence of space and the entirely too close wing of a Rebel ship. Luckly for him, rebel pilots don't have the same hobby of shooting escape pods as he did. As the pod drifted slowly from the planet the second and third Mon Calamari cruiser join in the assault on the planet. Jento's gloved hand pressed against the cockpit window as he watched helplessly while the cruiser pelted the planet, targetting the command center most likely. He leaned back in his seat looking for a moment at the emergency beacon switch and thought, "I'll be damned if those rebels are going to capture me. If they want me, they can come...." and he drifted unconscious. R2-A6 didn't have quite the same opinion of the hopeless of the situation as Jento. After his faithful pilot drifted off he went ahead and scanned the area looking for any signs of some friendly ships.. finding just the one he was looking for... *** Jento dropped the piece of hull peering out the window toward the Naboo system far off in the distance. "Any sign of the others?" "Not yet. The Alliance forces are just starting to move off. We've been keeping radio silence hoping they won't notice us out here. We've seen a few ship enter the system and from what we can tell a few seem to have Imperial IDs but without giving away our presence we can't really be sure who they were and whether they've survived," Darien replied stacking the last crate and patting R2-A6 on the head as he walked over to stand next to his older brother. "I'm guessing that Endor didn't go well.. they'd never risked attacking Naboo so openly with the fleet amassed only a few jumps away." Jento turn rubbing his temple with his now artificial hand. "We need to leave this place and find what is left of the 47th. I know there are some still alive down there.. I can feel it." "Don't start going all Forcey on me.. you know I don't like all that poodoo." He tapped on the comm, "We're all set down here lets go." "Akkownledged," Martokk replied and the ship banked preparing to jump to lightspeed. "Still want to preach to me about dealing with all these risky folk?" Darien smirked thumping Jento in the back. "Oh, and look here..." he walked over pulling back a cloth littered with some fine dust and debris. "I managed to get your Nalagorn, luckly the elevator was still working and I knew if I didn't get it you'd try to sneak back down there to look for it." He hit one of the keys and it errupted in an aweful out of tune mass, "it might need a bit of... adjustment." Jento shifted looking at one of his last purchases before joining the Army and turned to stare out the window before the tunnel of hyperspace erased the Naboo system and they sped on their way. "We'll find you..." his teeth clinched and his eyes shifted from their normal icy blue turning yellow.. "and we shall make them pay." Silence hung heavy in the large cargo bay. The lights glowed dim as the ship shifted through hyperspace. Various bits of debris, paintings, and old books hung in the air surrounding the shrouded form of Jento sitting crossed legged levitating slightly off the dull floor plating of the hold. "Not now.." Jento calmly said as Darien quietly entered the hold. He floated upwards uncrossing his legs until he feet touched the floor and rose to stand. Turning to face his brother his pale yellow eyes seemed to burn in the dim lighting. "I'm still searching for them." "Searching, you'd do better to come up to the bridge and help us try and comm someone on the radio. You have just as many contact as I do... just well... easier to contact on an open channel." Darien replied plucking a book from the air before all the various objects floated down to rest back on the floor. "I highly doubt that we'd want to be transmitting on Imperial frequencies." Jento through back the hood of his cloak, picking up a glass pouring himself a shot, offering the bottle towards his brother who gladly leap over to accept. "Besides what are we going to say? Oh I know... Calling all stranded Imperial soldiers of the 47th IEF. Yeah that wouldn't go unnoticed at all." "I didn't say it was a good plan, I just said you'd do better," his brother replied quickly drinking his shot and pouring another. "It's not like there anything left down on Naboo to defend now anyway, the base was in ruins. If you'd not moved your bunkers so far away from the city there wouldn't have been anything left to salvage. Those cruisers were targeting the bloodly base directly, and from what I could tell from the craters, with more firepower then they unleashed on Theed." Jento set his glass down and moved over to open an old box he recognized. "I thought you'd find that one soon," Darien commented watching Jento open the case. Jento wiped his finger across the locking mechanism clearing away the dust and debris before entering the combination. The locks clicked and Jento slid the top of the case open reaching inside pulling out the base of his old lightsaber, still disassembled from when he'd taken up using his blaster rifles again. Grabbing a few objects and crystals he shut the case and perched atop it assembling the saber. Flipping the switch the familiar call of the red blade echoed in the hold as he pointed the tip toward the viewport. "There might be nothing to defend... but there is plenty to avenge. But this will not be a battle which has a frontal assault and for these sorts of plans we need to gather those who made it out alive and find someplace secure." The cargo bay door opened again and Gowron's towering figure entered slightly stooping through the doorway. "We ssshould arrive at Nal Hutta sssoon." He glanced at Jento who had flipped off his saber as Gowron spoke. Jento smiled hooking the saber on his belt and clasping his hands behind his back. "Execellent." He turned towards his brother, "Come we have plans to make." Slapping the energy clip into the rifle, Jento aimed peering down the length of the barrel. "To your liking... Major?" the slender bluish green Rodian asked still sculking from the light, even thought the whole alley was barely lit enough to walk. The air was think and misty, a typical clear day on Nal Hutta, even the light seemed dirty and tainted. Jento glanced over at the little Rodian with narrowed eyes, his finger still on the trigger. "This rifle is junk, nearly as old as I am..." he turned it on its side rubbing a finger across the setting controller. "But it looks like it will fire straight." He dropped the weapon back into the bin. "I'll give you 250 for the lot, 150 for the clips." Pulled his hood back up, "So thats 400.. for an old friend." The little Rodian looked like he was going to object for a moment, but instead held out his hand in which Jento placed the cred chip. "Just the answer I was looking for. Have them taken to my ship at once." He spun on one heel and walked calmly from the alley back towards the landing pad. *** "What the hell is this?!" Darien shot his brother an angry glance. "Did you buy all this for your musuem? Well I cerntain hope not, cause if so we can just do a quick fly by and push it towards the planet hoping it lands in the crater where it used to be." He threw the rifle to his brother, who caught it mid air, finger already on the trigger. "He must have collected these from some old battlefield." "Oh I suppose you'd rather charge in with some brand new issue Imperial rifles. Yeah no one would notice those when they find them laying around?" He looked the rifle over then tossed it on the table. "These are perfect. They work, they are untraceable and they were cheap. It doesn't have to look pretty in order to put a hole through someone... I believe that's your saying, is it not?" The comment was met with a silent rolling of the eyes from Darien. Jento walked to the doorway and pressed the comm button. "Martokk we are loaded, set course for the Kessel system." Jento walked to the back of the cargo bay as the last of the loaders were hurrying out, pushing the last one with the tip of his boot, "Get off my ship, I could have loaded all this myself in half the time." He threw a credit slip out onto the catwalk causing the four workers to immediately start fighting over it. Jento pulled his pistol, blasting each one in the head. "And thus, the customer is alway right," he held up his hand and the credit slip flew back to him and he slammed the door shut. Darien just shook his head, drink still in hand. "Well you could have at least left the money for whoever is going to have to clean that mess up." Jento looked over, "Why.. I have no idea what mess you are talking about," he said grinning slightly. "Plus I'm sure they are already picking over the bodies, that will be worth more than a cred slip." "You're not all that keen on this sneaking around business, I take it," Darien downed his drink pouring himself and Jento one. "Don't remember the good ole days of back alleys and dark dealings? No one discovering you were there... rather than a dead pile where you left off." "Oh please, spare me the journey through history," Jento took a swig of his drink and held up looking at the glass with a distainful look. "We nearly landed on a body when we got here, I hardly think they'll notice three fresh ones." He looked out the window as the ship banked lining up for the jump to hyperspace. "That won't be the last pile of bodies we'll leave behind." Jento sat down heavily in his chair pulling out a datapad from his coat pocket, setting his drink on the table. "So whats in Kessel, you have that look on your face," his brother asked clearly starting to feel the effects of his drink... which he'd be indulging rather then helping with the loading of the ship. Glancing across the table, Jento pressed a button on the padd and a holo-image appeared above. "He is," he gestured towards the image. "You remember Obiradd. I had sent him out there just before I went on my own patrol, orders from Central Command. We'd both thought the orders a bit odd.. well at least dull. I'm now starting to think the squadron was seperated in different sectors on purpose." He flipped off the display, "We need to locate him..." "If he even made it out of here. There was always a heavy Rebel pressence in that system," Darien remarked pouring the last of the bottle into his glass. "With so many of their forces at Endor, and then what attacked Naboo, I highly doubt there was much out in Kessel. Besides, if it'd been too hot he'd called for backup..." Jento looked out the window again. "And he's going to want a piece of this when we go to take back what is ours." Electricity arched across the trooper's body as he writhed in place tied to the bulkhead. His eyes both now closed and burned he man pleaded, "Please no more... I swear I know nothing.." His head turned trying to locate his tormentor, but really having no idea where the man was now standing. "Just kill me if that is your goal.." his voice trailed off. "Oh no my young friend, I have no intentions of killing you. At least not yet." Jento touched the man's arm with the back of his hand. "You see, I think you do know something..." force lightining leaps from Jento's fingertips running across the man's face. "Now tell me where the ETA-2 was heading last.." Jento demanded with clenched teeth. "Enough Sssscelestusss!" Gowron hissed walking through the cargobay door. "You are making a messss of my cargo bay. If you are going to torrrture everyone you find out here. Then find a place which issss easssier to clean up." The tall trandoshan walked up to the rebel as he gasped for air, taking his face in his large scally hand turning him as if examining an object. "What makesss you so certain thisss pilot knowsss anything of your missssing pilot?" "He gone all Forcy again.." Darien flippantly commented from his perch atop a stack of cargo containers across the bay. "Soon as we brought this guy on board he's been hovering over him. If you ask me this guy is probably telling the truth, he knows nothing of what happened to Obiradd." Darien hopped down running his fingers through his hair, "Hell I doubt he's seen anyone out here, he looks to be all alone, probably scavenging." "Then he'sss of no ussse to uss at all," Gowron hissed quickly flipping his wrist breaking the rebel's neck. Turning back to face Jento, "We've been out herrre for daysss now. There isssss no sssign of Imperial sssshipsss, not even of a recent battle. The longerrrr we delay the betterrrr the chancesss the enemy will forrritfy themssselevess. We need to gatherrrr what ssssuport we can and attack!" Jento sneered looking briefly at the now lifeless body hanging on the wall, "Something is still not right... I could sense Obiradd until we made the jump to lightspeed. And then nothing... no trace.. no whisper... nothing." He walked to the window pressing his hand to the glass, the maw swirling in the distance. "Gowron is right... at the very least we should sneak back onto Naboo and see if any of the others have had the same idea. We could hitch a ride on a transport or freighter... say we are merchants looking to setup shop. I'm sure the security won't be that tight now. They are bound to be spread pretty thin. Long as you don't wear your greys they shouldn't ask too many questions... well not enough that we can't lie our way around them." Darien chuckled at his last line, remembering a few encounters in the not so distant past. "I know A6, but orders are orders, even though they seem pointless and absurd," Jento said as the two moved into the Starport. Jento had his helmet tucked under his arm, buckling the belt of his flightsuit. A6 let out a melody of annoyed clicks and rolled up to the loading arm which lifted up and into the astromech socket of Omicron 1. Jento watched as the droid settled in. For some reason he never trusted anything about his ship to be done without his own personal supervision, whether it was paranoia or habit he'd long since forgotten, but all the Starport tech knew he'd be there with a fine tooth comb to make sure everything was exactly as it should be. The undeniable sound of a BARC speeder echoed through the launch bay just as Jento was clamping shut his emergency kit hatch and he turned to see his XO walking it. Obiradd's hair was obviously wet and little beads of water were running down his face. Jento almost chuckled as he pictured Obi riding under the Theed waterfall as he'd seen him do so many times in the past. The two of them had served together for many years now. Jento thought back briefly to several years ago, a very green Obiradd Lee's first launch into space, not far off of his wing. This boy is going to be a pilot... Jento remembered thinking distinctly. And he definately earned his wings. He didn't get any of the easy training assignments, no clean up duty... Jento made him do it all the hard way. "You have to do it the hard way the first time, after that everything will seem easy," that was Jento's words of encouragement to the greenhorn Obiradd back then... and he turned out to be one of the finest he'd ever flown with. "You ready to go?" Obiradd asked reaching up to wipe some of the water out of his eyes as he walked up to Jento with his normal half grin. Jento almost kidded him about driving through the rain but instead replied, "Always. You know me," and turned around running his hand along the wing as he put on his helmet and got ready to climb aboard his fighter. Something didn't feel right... like a sick feeling, but Jento had ignored any dealings with the Force for so long, he wasn't going to let it distract him on what seemed like nothing more than a very dull patrol mission in a spacelane he could fly with his hands tied behind his back. Hopping up into the cockpit and turning on all the flight systems, the lithe little craft hovered off the ground. R2-A6 beeped across the ship's com and the translation displayed inside Jento's cockpit, "All systems normal, flight patterned established. Ready for launch." "Rock and roll, A6," Jento replied as he pulled back on the throttle and launched out of the Starport. Once clear he reached down and flipped his com system to the normal squadron frequencies waiting for Obiradd to chime in as they headed for space. Jento looked out the window watching the lush green landscape of Naboo grow smaller and smaller into the blue sky was replaced by the inky blackness of space.. and he got that pang again in his stomach. "Hey Jento, can you hear me ok?" Obiradd chimed in breaking Jento from his admiring of the planet below. Blinking a few times Jento replied, "Yes I can Obi, are you ready to do this?" It was really a silly question since both of them had flown a similar patrol mission hundreds of times, but every mission was considered important once it started and this was no exception especially with the battle at Endor. "Always," Obiradd replied. His ETA-2 painted all black with a narrow blue stripe moved in behind Jento's as they moved along the standard planetary patrol lane out of Theed. A red light flashed on the console letting Jento know they'd passed the outer beacon. "Tac-com, this is Omicron patrol, we are clear of the launch lane, proceeding to assignment." "Roger Omicron 1, Tac-com out." "Good hunting Obi, see you back at the bar in a few," Jento banked aiming his fighter toward the patrol beacon in Rori orbit. "You too Jento," Obi replied as his fighter prepared for the jump to lightspeed. *** Jento placed the broken control arm in one of the open crates he'd been digging through securing the lid. He clasped his hands behind his back and walked back towards the bridge.
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