Rise of the Phoenix

Sesja 1
A Holiday Gone Wrong

The rented ship has just landed about 400 yards from the Electrogates to Mos Shuuta, in an area known as ‘The Metal Forest’ – owing to its regular role as parking area for ships not willing to pay the extortionate docking prices in the bays.

Sternik has mentioned he would like to investigate the cameras in the landing bay.

The crew of Ghost, including their VCX-100 light freighter, have also gone away soon after the exchange of fire in the streets of Mos Shuuta to pursue their mission – one that has not been shared with Max, Kameron, Uhn, or Sandon.

Max has done an extensive shop, now owning a very quiet & custom DL-44 pistol – which is an illegal weapon and a number of new clothing items to hide his looks.

Kameron has assisted Max in limiting his Imperial Officer instincts, but when the crew had to sell their Z95 in order to fix the capacitors on board their rented YKL-37R – her mood changed dramatically. She is currently still very unimpressed with the way things have gone.

This is when we start the First full session, having completed the Intro.

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Sesja 2
A Holiday Gone Wrong

With the rented ship now firmly on land in The Metal Forest, watches set up for the beginning of the teams stay here, and camera’s positioned in tactical locations to view approaching danger – the crew could settle down and relax a little.

With the crew adamant that the power couplings in their rented ship were sabotaged, Sternik was keen to getting his hands on the camera footage of their docked ship. To his surprise, someone has deleted the footage from the prior 4 days – thus both proving the suspicions of sabotage as well as enforcing a dead end on this investigation.

After some internal discussions, two key suspects emerged. Watoo, the trader who later sold a set of working power couplings in exchange for both a high price tag as well as the teams Z95 fighter, was the first. The second was far more worrying – an unknown entity, who wanted to force the team to either lose all their funds or be stranded in this location.

Sternik located one of the rebel cell’s contacts in Mos Shuuta, who was responsible for getting the ship prepped for their arrival. This led to two vital findings. The technical check on the ship was performed by Watoo’s men during the camera-blackout period, and (with the hope of reclaiming the Z95 still active at this point) that the Z95 has been moved to Besh’s warehouse and is under lock and key for further processing. The speed of this purchase surprised the team, who made a snap decision.

Whatever danger it might put them in, they must find out what led to the Z95 being sold THIS quickly (perhaps the Hyperdrive dataset wasn’t wiped, making it possible for whoever decodes it to track the journey’s back to one or more of Phoenix Cell’s safe havens?). That means potentially breaking into the only Imperial-Locked building in Mos Shuuta.

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Sesja 3
A Walk in the Dark

After deciding to investigate the situation around the warehouse, the squad went towards Mos Shuuta.

Having found a rowdy town on the way, with multiple possible distractions, the focus remained on locating a way into the building. One that was found when a loose ventilation shaft was reached on the northern wall.

Inside, a place only reached by Cameron at her second attempt (her first ending with her landing the the arms of Max Veers Jr. as her hand ‘unfortunately’ slipped off the edge of the vent), a series of unpleasant surprises hit the team. A full warehouse of Imperial Outer Rim Territories containers, enough to maintain a decent-sized garrison, filled the room – carefully watched by a number of cameras. An Imperial lieutenant was seen behind a desk, a commander typically in charge of 4 squads – a daunting view for those in hiding. All this meant that the goal of erasing the Z95’s jump data was abandoned.

After returning to the Metal Forest, the decision was made to spend the next day on preparing an emergency escape plan – Sandon was due to prepare food and materials to survive as long as reasonable. Max and Cameron chose to investigate whether there is a long-range antenna on top of the Warehouse and see if the weapon merchant sells thermal charges. Helmsman planned to get in touch with the rebel contact in Mos Shuuta, to get a better understanding of the Imperial presence in the town.

The next day could have barely gone worse, as far as findings went – although no shots were fired. The warehouse not only had a long-range antenna on it – it is also staffed by at least 6 Stormtroopers, ruthless invasion forces of the Imperium. The rebel contact said the position has been compromised and ran away. Watoo turned out to be a supplier of the warehouse, and rumour has it that Teemo the Hutt has a similar arrangement. At least Sandon managed to get supplies. To add to this, after a long day of bad news followed by worse news, a heart-to-heart conversation between Max and Cameron during the double sunset was interrupted by the arrival of Helmsman.

The call was made to get some basic information, prep for leaving, and evacuate the following day if possible – still remembering that only a week has passed of a supposedly month-long stay.

All again fell to pieces. A Tw’i’lek, already found to have been following Max and Cameron over the past day, appeared by the ship in the morning. Accompanied by 2 guards in mandalorian armour and 4 Gammoreans. All ended when Helmsman told Cameron and Max about the emergency evacuation jump coordinates and said he will meet the Tw’i’lek outside – with Sandon waiting on the ramp if needed. Max manned the defensive laser and Cameron sat at the cockpit for a speedy getaway if needed.

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Sesja 4
Sunset over Mos Shuuta

The unexpected visit from Teemo The Hutt’s men turned out to be a very fortunate twist, and the appropriately weary team only received what seemed to be an ally. Unknown to them, their actions over the previous few days have not gone unnoticed – but to all intents and purposes, it seems like those watching reported to Teemo the Hutt, who claimed to have been forced into an alliance with the Empire. A situation he is not very fond of – Hutts do not look lightly on having to report to someone, and Teemo already has his cousin – the great Jabba The Hutt to show appropriate respects to. So Teemo offered the team both some advice and a deadline – they had 2 days to cause whatever mischief they need to, in order to complete their visit to Mos Shuuta. His men would overlook their actions over this period of time, but after those 2 days this option will end and they will not have any options left. Teemo will act quickly and get rid of them personally. Unaware of the reasons behind the 2 day deadline, the team took the risk of taking Teemo’s promise of a ‘blind-eye’ at face-value.

They faced a difficult decision. Back in the Metal Forest, they sat down to make the call. Whether to risk exposing their presence and get to the hyperdrive data in the modified Z95 (thereby potentially saving the lives of the Rebel cell who loaned the ship to them), or to stay safe and just leave immediately – an option left open to them by Teemo the Hutt. They made the call. They stayed.

A hastily drawn-up plan to have two people get into the warehouse under cover of night, using a hidden entrance into Mos Shuuta and having their ship fly over the nearest hill piloted by Helmsman was prepped. Sandon left to get the necessary gear and a location from which he can shoot the transmitter on the roof of the warehouse. Helmsman returned their speeder and got his hands of detailed Tatooine maps from the surveyors (looking for a hiding spot), Max and Kameron went looking for an alternative way into Mos Shuuta. All worked perfectly well, and as the two suns fell behind the horizon, 3 members of the Phoenix Rebel Cell climbed into Mos Shuuta through the Shantytown. Inside the warehouse, with Sandon positioned on an opposite roof covering the transmitter in case things go wrong, Max and Kameron found the Z95 – surrounded by a series of motion detectors, as warned by Kameron a few days before. Aware of the presence of an Imperial Lieutenant, Max knew that once the alarm is triggered they will not have much time.

Kameron ran for the Z95, Max prepared to open the warehouse gates to fly out. The alarm went off, its deafening siren heard all across Mos Shuuta and the nearest few miles.

It took 8 seconds for the first Stormtroopers to appear in the doorway, opening fire. The warehouse gates began opening, the Z95 started to turn, and a thermal detonator rolled along the floor towards the Stormtrooper line – Max managed to jump and climb into the cockpit of the fighter just in time for a hasty withdrawal. An explosion shook the walls of the warehouse, and the Z95 took off – joining the rented freighter with Sandon & Helmsman onboard. Sandon confirmed that the Gammorean guards of Teemo the Hutt hid inside the barracks, and did not intervene – a blessing for the team, as it is them who control AA weaponry in the barracks.

Once in space, the team was meant to catch their breath and head for a safe haven on the other side of Tatooine. The moment of respite was cut short with the appearance of an Imperial ship, a class which none of the team have seen before. Not of the traditional KDY shape, but with Imperial symbols on its side. The open channel came alive:

“To all ships within hailing distance, this is Imperial-Starship Merciless. You are to land your craft in the vicinity of Mos Shuuta and prepare for inspection under the orders of the Imperial Security Bureau”

Responses came from two local spacecraft – together with Helmsman’s command to quickly retreat into the atmosphere, stay low, and head in formation for a spot he has chosen. A spot filled with hundred of narrow plateau’s and cliffs, with just enough space for the both the team’s craft to land.

Bottles opened, music was played, celebrations were permitted by squad leader. Sandon took out his bag of spice and shared it with the rest – without so much as a raised eyebrow from the usually quite official Helmsman. He, however, only enjoyed two stronger drinks and decided to retire to the ship – letting everyone else let loose without the commander watching.

Halfway through the first bottle (each), stories began. Tears of joy and released stress poured, mixed with honesty and spice.

To the surprise of both Sandon and Kameron, Max Veers Jr. showed he has a completely other string to his bow – as a chatty and entertaining partner-in-crime. He shared some of his stories of past exploits, with his recount of an alcohol-induced decision to sneak into a Tie-Fighter Dock & deactivate the holding arms before activating anti-grav to see if it will switch on automatically (a foolish bet that he lost) drawing particularly loud laughs. Some new names appeared from his past, including Scarlet, Silver, Smokie, and particular reverence was paid to a man he named as Tor – only described as the ‘greatest officer, most talented marksman, and best uncle’ Max has ever seen before or since.

As Kameron joined in on the honesty, some truth of her past came out. While she never regretted her escape from home, she did mention that losing contact with her older brother was something she never hoped would happen. But as she began flying with the pirate Aliant, she was left with little choice. In fact, her circumstances of joining the rebel cell are quite unusual – two extended series of nagging and negotiations between her and the then squad leader failed. She wanted to remain a pirate, spending all she earned quickly and foolishly and having no regrets about how she celebrates. The arrest and detention of Aliant and the crew of the Crow forced her hand – with no alternative but to either join the rebel cell or return to Bespin as a fugitive.

The usually silent and ponderous Sandon stuck to some of his memories of Abregado-Rae and his rum-runs to mid-ocean mining facilities. What was the greatest surprise of all, was that despite being under the heavy influence of spice and alcohol – Sandon’s shooting abilities excelled. While perhaps a shooting contest was not the best idea while drunk, drugged, and in a canyon – this very pleasant surprise made up for it. Sandon claimed this experience came from his short and sweet stint at an Imperial academy as a junior – a chapter in his life ended when he decided that sex with the academy commander’s daughter inside his office will make for a great celebration of failing his psyche tests.

The party went on into the early hours of the morning, but the team did not see the suns rise. Both on account of the shadows falling from the surround plateaus, as well as due to the fact that not one of them can remember what happened after around 1AM.

With sore heads, all began waking up.

As Kameron opened her eyes, she saw she is on the floor of her cabin – but under a duvet and with a pillow under her head. Perhaps the bunk was a little too high up. She was also utterly naked, which impressed her momentarily – she had the strength to prepare for sleep! That was when she saw her pillow on her bunk. Her aching head still resting on Max’s chest, she heard the rhythm of his breathing change. He woke up as well. Did they…? If only she could remember, at least she could form an opinion… Damn… She needed a drink.

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Sesja 5 - Part 1
The First Kiss

Four hours after waking up, Kameron firmly in Max’s arms, their silent joy was interrupted by a knock on the door. Considering this was Kameron’s cabin, it was only appropriate for her to be the one who opens up.

“You two ready to face life again?”

“Do we have to be?” – replied Max, not ready to face the Lieutenant in this… attire.

“Actually, not really. We have a few days to rest here – and decide what to do next. No patrols seem to be disturbing us, which is very nice.”

Kameron decided to join this exchange, “What are out options?”

Max, however, suddenly had a very valid obseration. “Perhaps we get ourselves sorted first, and talk once out?”

“Good call. I’ll wait for you here, 3 metres away at the table. Get yourselves sorted and come out.”

Forty-Five minutes passed until they eventually appeared and the table, where Sandon started collecting the Sabaak cards to make space. They knew they must get a message out to the Phoenix, before the crew of Ghost arrive in Mos Shuuta with the Identichip for Max. However, they had not the slightest clue how to do this. A mid-range transmitter was needed, so they were left with either a dangerous return to Mos Shuuta (where they at least had the location of their former contact, who already left the planet afraid of how things panned out) – or a trip to Mos Eisley. A larger town, definitely with people who have access to transmitters, but with no contacts at all.

The only time-pressure came, when they realised that Ghost could arrive essentially any day… So they chose to hide for a couple more days and then make the call. Laying low was needed at the moment, there was a lot of tension with the arrival of an Imperial Frigate in the orbit of Tatooine.

Max and Sandon spent some time building a shooting range, while Kameron searched the Z95 for any tracking devices. This was, of course, after they slept off their hangovers. She searched the Z95 four times… And luck would have it that on the fourth, she found a rather advanced tracking device concealed as a reserve colling rod – with an independent power source and an emergency signal lock, in case anyone tries to remove it. Her technical skills proved well-taught, and the tracker was removed. But this posed a new question – why didn’t they get caught yet?

R2 realised that the tracker stopped transmitting an hour before Kameron found it, and it now being three hours after that – Helmsman made the call not to run. Apparently, the receiver of the signal sent a ‘close transmission’ code to the tracker – the reasons for this were unknown, but it also meant they couldn’t identify the source of the signal. Well, if this was within near-orbit range and 4 hours on noone appeared, the chances of this being a trap were remote. So they began to plan for their trip to a transmitter. Helmsman informed both Kameron and Max of the location of the former contact – Baba’s Grill in Mos Shuuta. Hopefully, they would find some help there… But most importantly, perhaps they could find a transmitter in Mos Shuuta. Under cover of night, Kameron and Max left in the Z95.

The fighter landed between the plateaus of Mos Shuuta’s Shantytown. As they approached, however, they saw that the town was quiet and dark – perhaps curfew was enforced?

Luck had it, that underneath the ladder they used their first time around there was a concealed comm link – one which Max found. Credits got them access to town. More credits guaranteed the ladder will wait until they leave. And the shadows guaranteed their lives will continue for at least some time, as they saw a patrol of two Stormtroopers walking along the main street in Shantytown.

“I think the noise was from here…”

“What, that house? Probably a cat or something. Come on, my shift is over and plan to get some sleep before tomorrow…”

“Yes, Sir”

As Max and Kameron controlled their breathing and slowed their heartrates, they say the chance to move into town. On the edge of the plateau, there was the bridge linking the Shantytown with the town proper. As they approached, they saw that on the other side two further Stormtroopers were walking past. These looked different, their armour was slightly odd. Same colour, just different plate structure – one Max has never seen before. Due to the darkness, he couldn’t make out the insignia either… Something was odd here. In silence, they made their way past a couple more patrols to the power station – which was the direct neighbour of Baba’s Grill in the North-Eastern part of town. Baba was an old Rodian, whom they found sitting in his living room in the back of the Grill – pointing a blaster pistol at his throat. In the middle of his room, was a mid-range transmitter with a trap door in the ceiling to strengthen it’s signal. He was a rebel sympathizer, a small ray of luck struck Max and Kameron as he put his blaster pistol down.

The ray dimmed quickly, as the Rodian explained the side effects of activating the transmitter – it would mean diverting power from the power station, using an illegally prepared cable set down by the rebel contact. The house would light up like Coronet City. Max and Kameron didn’t know what to do – but Baba gave them one option. The only option. He will send the message they prepare 30 minutes after they leave. It was the only way, and he already led a long life. If he ends it saving someone, he will end it a happy rodian. Grudgingly, they agreed and thanked him. Max noted his name, an act like this deserved being remembered. They walked towards the door to get back out of Mos Shuuta.

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Sesja 5 - Part 2
An Unlikely Reunion

As they left for the door, a conversation happening in the small square outside stopped them.

“Well Lieutenant, looks like all that was to be achieved here has been done.”

“Yes Sir, however I’d like to continue with some interviews before the town is purged.”

“With Teemo the Hutt killed and his carcass on display in front of his so called palace, there is only one thing left to do. Make sure that Taidarian, Watoo is it?, tells you everything.”

“He is being transferred to the ship for further interrogation.”

The two men left the shadows. First, the white uniform of an ISB Commander. Next to him, a young officer of the ISB. Kameron’s heart sank, and her skin grew pale as a white star. She hasn’t seen her brother since he left for Imperial Young Officer Training 6 years ago, the same time she applied and failed to get into the fighter corps.

“Excellent. Well, that settles it then. At sunrise command the leveling of this shithole, if you need assistance from the ISD Nightmare bomber crews let me know – I will oblige. Now, I have matters to settle onboard my ship and my shuttle is ready. All the best Lieutenant, do your duty and I expect a report by tomorrow twenty-hundred hours my ship time.”

“Yes Sir, thank you.”

They two officers parted ways, one heading towards the landing dock and the other towards smaller streets and the makeshift Imperial Comms point in Mos Shuuta.

Kameron couldn’t hold it, but just as she was about to shout “Karran!”, Max stopped her. Seeing there is no way he will convince her this is a terrible idea, he decided to at least help her survive the encounter. He led the way along the shadows, following the ISB Lieutenant – who was now joined by two Stormtroopers, one of which was a Sergeant.

The cloudy sky made concealment possible, however each sentence uttered by the officer to his sergeant further convinced Max this was not a good idea. This was exactly what ISB Officers are famed for: ruthless observation skills, no mercy for anyone, and fond of making examples of populations.

“Sergeant, the gates are to be shut and the locks destroyed to make sure the electro-systems cannot be shut down. Once we are done, anyone who tried to run from the city is to be shot onsight. I’m not interested in any further survivors than that Taidarian and the two people in custody.”

“Yes Sir.”

The Sergeant left them, shifting his march towards the holding cages in the main square. Kameron walked around the corner and stood in front of her brother. Max by her side, weapon in hand. The Stormtrooper raised his weapon, Max raised his. Kameron bodyslammed Max into the wall “Don’t!”. Two shots were fired – one hit the wall behind the stormtrooper. The other, fired by Karran’s standard-issue pistol, burned Kameron’s left shoulder. She crashed against the wall, as Max raised his weapon again – but it didn’t fire. “Karran, it’s me!”, she managed to let out one phrase. Just enough for Karran to push the troopers rifle down and order him to stand down.

“Listen trooper – your gun went off by mistake, you tripped. Nothing happened – it was an equipment malfunction. I will vouch for that. Now leave and pass this on to others. I have gone to inspect the Southern part of town.”

A silent nod from the trooper, as he turned to face the incoming steps and halt them before they see too much. Pointing at Max, Karran finally spoke to the two rebels.

“You, the door to your right is open and the room is empty – open it.”

They went in to talk, but any exchange would be awkward. And so it was. Turns out Karran visited their father a couple months ago, to see how he is doing. This was while he was fully aware of being disowned. Kameron was missed at home, they hadn’t heard from her in a long time. Years. To the benefit of Max and Kameron, it seemed the ISB Officer was sure she remained a pirate and Max was some sort of co-pilot – he openly informed them he is hunting for a Z95 and the rebels who stole it from the warehouse.

However much both Kameron and Karran wanted to talk, the conversation had to end quickly – otherwise his absence would be spotted. His last piece of advice was for them to leave quickly – an Imperial Interdictor Cruiser is on the way to initiate a full blockade of Tatooine. Max opened the door in silence, giving the siblings as much time as was reasonable.

They parted ways, only exchanging a final nod.

Kameron moved silently, Max supporting her all the way to make sure the wound heals and doesn’t grow – an action made easier with the special Bacta ointment given to them by Karran. They flew slowly through the darkness, with Kameron steering and Max ready to take on the controls if need be. Back at the G720, the pleasant atmosphere quickly soured as Sandon and Helmsman saw the faces of both Kameron and Max. Within a few hours of the debrief, Sandon clearly knew something was happening – but Kameron had no intention of sharing the details. Neither did Max, this was her conversation to have.

However, they did find out they must leave quickly. Plans had to be changed owing to the emergency, so they decided to break the approach they planned and just leave the system. Engines were fired up, their machines rose and turned towards the sky – and thrusters were activated.

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Sesja 6 - Part 1
The Price of Joy

The formation, now consisting of a heavily modified Z95 (two-seater, with a Class 5 Hyperdrive engine) and a Gthroc-720 freighter (unimaginatively named G720), flew directly towards the Imperial Star Destroyer and the unknown class of ship – hoping to get past quietly with just a simple radio exchange. After all, they weren’t even sure what the nature of the Tatooine blockade is.

“Unidentified ships, this is ISD Nightmare, send over your transponder codes” – was the first message they heard on the radio. A quick exchange followed, resulting in the transponder codes being sent over (after all, it’s just a rented freighter!), and the Z95 with Kameron and Sandon onboard breaking formation and running silent. Thus came the moment of truth. “G720, reduce speed and prepare for inspection. Customs Frigate L-489 is approaching.”. Max hastily went to the back of the ship, muttering about the original plan of jumping while still within the gravitational pull of Tatooine, in order to hide the gear of all the other members of the team. The plan was to make it look as though Helmsman is the only one traveling (Max would spend the next few hours in a hidden compartment).

An elaborate game ensued, while Helmsman prepped all the jump data and informed Kameron of the destination coordinates. All went smoothly – long before the ISD activated its traction beam, the crew entered the swirling vortex of a hyperspace tunnel. Two hyperspace jumps and a few hours in sub-light travel later, the pleasant sight of three Corellian Corvettes and the Firestarter loomed in view from the darkness of the void.

While Helmsman delivered his reports to Commander Sato, the rest of the crew quickly made it towards Palpatine’s Lazy Eye – a favourite among most crew members of the Phoenix. As the music increased in volume and drinks began to pour (Bonteia herself joined the table, intrigued by both their return and the new arrival), the atmosphere became ever more festive with each consecutive drink. However, Max remained isolated among all this drollery. Concerned about the leisurely attitude of all those around him, and unaware of how much (if anything!) they know – he chose to avoid answering questions about his past, despite Bonteia insisting. When he found out that the crew of the Ghost had left not long before the G720’s arrival, he became only more concerned. He left early, briefly stopped by Kameron in the corridor for a quick exchange.

Kameron returned to the table, where more drinks came and stories began – after all, Phoenix Squadron have been quite busy while they were sitting on Tatooine, avoiding the Empire (a dramatically failing at it!). Two Imperial Convoys have been destroyed, enroute to an Outer Rim colony. Some gear was salvaged, so it turned out to be a double success – gear gained, and an Imperial Colony basically starved or forced to cancel their operation. Moreover, a mining facility in the Khooz asteroid belt (medium operation, providing some materials used in Stormtrooper Armour) was successfully overrun. Three officers were captured, one of whom divulged the location of another (larger) mine. He got a quick death. The plan was, to do a short jump and handle that mining facility before traveling to the Unknown Region to lay low for a little while – the Empire was growing more aware of Phoenix Cell by the week.

Max went to speak to Commander Sato, he wanted to understand what he is allowed to share and what remains a secret. He was not surprised that his lineage was to remain a secret known only by those who were with him on Tatooine. There were many people in Phoenix Cell who were on the receiving end of the Blizzard Force. However, Max’s overall past was not a secret, as many of those around him are defectors. He did, however, receive one vital piece of advice.

“Remember Max. There should be only one thought in your mind when deciding what to share and what to keep hidden – survival. Perhaps it will be easier to survive when building an ally by sharing something? Perhaps not? That is how you decide what to share.”

The former officer spent some time wandering, and met of the of the Firestarter’s Chief Mechanics. A young and helpful lad, keen to assist in acclimatising to Rebel life. He simply didn’t know, that Max’s concerns run deeper than pure ‘alienation’. He went to sleep. Not for long.

The alarms echoed across the ship at 01:14 Ship Time. “THIS IS NOT A DRILL. ALL CREWS TO BATTLE STATIONS, PHOENIX SQUADRON LAUNCH. REPEAT, PHOENIX SQUADRON LAUNCH IN BATTLE FORMATION AND ALL CREWS TO BATTLE STATIONS”. Max ran to the hangar, jumped into the familiar Z95, and launched to join the already prepped 3 members of Phoenix Squadron. Similarly, Kameron ran to her A-Wing (astromech already in place) despite having had a few. There was no other option, they were being attacked. The adrenaline helped bring her around a bit, but it was nowhere near what she needed…

Helmsman took on the lead, divided the 10-strong squadron into 4 units, told everyone to prepare. They were preparing to hold the enemy long enough for Phoenix Cell to jump into hyperspace. 8 Imperial Light Frigates loomed into view. Max was well aware that each one travels with two Tie Fighter squadrons – 8 strong each. It was not going to be an easy fight. Sandon took lead of the triad Sandon-Kameron-Max, and they broke off to their right – awaiting the Tie Fighters to be launched. The frigates slowly moved closer, still out of laser range – their heavy turrets silent and immobile.

The first Tie squadrons entered the void of space, leaving the frigate hangars. Over 40 Tie Fighters, and this wasn’t even half of them. Moreover, two of the three top pilots in Phoenix Squadron were drunk. The dog fight, once it started, was not pleasant. Max did all he could to visualise the battle and share the information with the whole squadron – but the inebriated pilots reverted to instinct. Phoenix 5 exploded, hit by the crossfire of the first two Tie squadrons. Garran Trel, 28 years old. Born on Dantooine to a farming family, always wanted to see Coruscant from the cockpit of a rebel fighter. Fathered a child on Corellia, left her there to keep her out of harms way.

Kameron swerved in a wide barrel roll with her weapons ablaze straight into the swarm of Tie fighters, flying through the explosions and relying on R2’s ability to divert shield power to protect them from the small debris. Max saw the chaos all around him, it was impossible to impose any coherent strategy – he reverted to his pilot instinct as well, having no options left. Exchanging frighteningly quick laser fire, avoiding head-on battles with squadrons, and forcing Tie fighters into crossfire scenarios, he squeezed every inch of power out of the Z95. But the drawbacks of an ancient fighter limited what he could do – often meaning he had to release his advantage in order to avoid fire from his tail and evading salvos. He managed to bring 4 fighters down, as far as he could see. Perhaps more.

Kameron, once free for a moment, saw a number of Tie fighters tailing Max. She also saw two Tie’s flying straight down onto Sandon. She chose to ignore the two squadrons going straight for her – a quick warning command shouted to Sandon and her A-Wing shifted towards those two fighters tailing Max. With both fighters down, and a brief ‘thank you’ on the comm, Kameron turned around to help Sandon. His A-Wing suffered a dangerous blast hit to his shield generator – any second his fight would be over.

“All fighters, this is the Corvette Haze, preparing to jump.” Before the commlink shut down, and explosion was heard – “SHIT! They hit the engines! FUCK! FUCK! All stations evacuate, I repeat, all stations: EVACU….” a second explosion came. The nearest area of space was lit up by the laser fire from the frigates, now in range. And by The Haze exploding. No escape pods launched. 96 crew. 3 years in Phoenix service. Captain Herdin Oorn, 46 years old. Former Line Commander of the Bespin Defense Fleet, defected after his brother was one of the 250 people shot dead during a peaceful protest on Geonisis. 53rd Legion, Dissidence Suppression Ops, Stormtrooper Corps.

“To all crews, this is Commander Jun Sato, commence emergency jumps in Protocol 56 directions. Phoenix Cell is broken, I repeat, Phoenix Cell is broken. Proceed with emergency protocol 56. May the force be with you all.”

Phoenix 8 exploded, crashing into a Tie fighter. A mistake in 8’s maneuver. Had one too many to drink… Thalon Y’drin, born on Tatooine 32 years ago to the a cantina-owner. He drew caricatures of Imperial Capital Ships on the side of his A-Wing. He also drew portraits of squad members for use at debriefings – his depiction of Helmsman’s nose particularly drawing laughs each time. Once, he tried to flirt with Kameron. He was never good at it, but she gave him time of day. She couldn’t just reject him, he was a nice guy…

“This is Phoenix Squadron Leader – copy. All fighters, proceed as ordered. Sandon, Max, Kameron – fall into formation on me. If anyone knows of a safe spot to hide – send me the coords and prep for emergency jump.”

Cameron’s R2 sent the coordinates to Nar Shaddaa, a known location where Kameron had enough contacts to hide in relative safety. From the Empire at least.

“This is Corvette Robin, copy Phoenix Command.”

“This is Corvette Dutybound, co…”

The next series of laser blasts tore through the hull of Dutybound. The last thing heard on the comm, were the screams of the bridge’s crew. 93 crew members, no pods launched. Captain Erton Hyde, Kameron’s first senior commander when she joined Phoenix. 55 years old, wife and two children onboard the Firestarter. He didn’t scream when the Dutybound was hit. His eyes just had enough time to fill with tears before the reactor exploded. Just enough time to understand it’s over.

The comms opened, it was Helmsman. “You ready???”, the three other members of this unit confirmed. “JUMP!”

As the stars turned to lines, and the tunnel into hyperspace opened, the 4 fighters left the site of carnage. Phoenix Cell was broken.

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Sesja 6 - Part 2
Unsafe Haven

The silence of hyperspace fell on the 4 pilots like a piston’s final thud.

“Report”.

“Max, copy.”

“Kameron, copy.”

“Sandon, shields down, but otherwise, copy.”

“Roger. We have 6 days in hyperspace, link up all cathodes and drip-feeders. Pass on orders to astromechs to initiate dosing sedatives. I plan to stay up another hour, so if you need me I’m here. Private channel also open. After that, link up with me via my astromech – he’ll wake me up.”

The crew confirmed, and began working on the commands for their astromech droids. Some trying their utmost not to think about what just happened. Fate, however, gave them 6 days of silence. It was a long journey, and most of the crew drifted in and out of consciousness throughout. Kameron and Max even managed to catch each other for a quick talk – Kameron remaining surprisingly upbeat. Some things just don’t sink in that easily.

Six hours before re-entering real space, astromechs began administering appropriate vitamins to the pilots. 4 hours before leaving hyperspace they returned to solid food, the reserves specially prepared for the end of long journeys under drip-feeding. The Smuggler’s Moon shined bright from the millions of buildings on the surface, most of the crew aware this is only the top level of 3 similar structures. Landing on the Eastern Platform, Level 212, Spire 56, the crew had only one thing on their mind – get safe and see what happens next. A week’s docking was paid, and taxi arranged, and the crew followed Kameron’s lead on where to get a hotel. Freeside Hotel was her favourite, still from her days with Aliant – the pirate captain who gave Kameron her wings.

In the room, once all the necessary arrangements were made (No, we don’t need to prep the evacuation engines of the room. No, it’s ok, no armed security guards just in case. What? Oh, no. No content-crushing storage compartments either), they sat down to decide what happens next. Noone wanting to discuss what happened a week ago, they focused on what happens next. All this time, Max seemed detached. Critical of the situation, clearly seeing the flaws made by the rebel leaders. What the heck didn’t they jump right after the G720’s arrival? Idiots.

A quick calculation gave them a number of steps. According to Protocol 56, they were to locate the possibility of sending an emergency long-range transmitter message to a particular location – confirming whether they are alive. The danger was that the receiving antennae were located on a planet partially government by a man who’s importance to the rebel cause was immeasurable. Senator Bail, of House Organa, the sponsor and supporter of Phoenix Cell. Yet again, a risk Max utterly could not comprehend they are taking. How are the lives of 4 people potentially more important than that of the man who supports a whole fleet?

There was more to do, Max still had his old credit chip from his days as Imperial Lieutenant – and Kameron knew someone who might be able to get at them if there is anything left there. She also knew an old contact in a particular Tavern who might be able to assist with the transmitter situation. If there is anyone who has access to a galactic-range transmitter antenna on Nar Shaddaa, his boss would know them. In fact, it would probably be her. No matter how Kameron did not look forward to asking for the help from the only person who terrified Aliant, it was the only thing she could do. Helmsman and Sandon stayed to work on encoding the message in the most complex way possible, while Kameron and Max left for town.

The contact proved true to his reputation, however owing to the heat of the credit chip, his fee was far higher than usual. 40% of whatever is on the chip, and 6 hours needed to complete this job. It was, after all, a locked account of an Imperial Officer recorded down as ‘traitor’. Max and Kameron left him with the job, as they traveled to Tenkar’s Tavern.

Typically loud music, a ratio of human to xenos of 50-50, a selection of drug-laced drinks on the official menu, and a seven-tentacle-armed barman greeted them upon entry. They went slow, with two simple drinks. Max’s training and need to survive clicked in, as he scanned the room for any threats in as inconspicuous a manner as possible. He saw many. Kameron saw one main one. The burly figure of Elias Crichel sat at a small round table in the corner, elbows on the table, speaking to a young man on the other side of the alcove sofa. At least 4 guards in strategic positions around him, blocking any realistic access without his explicit permission.

“He’s here, my contact. They guy in the corner there.”

A nod from Max, as he picked up his drink from the bar. Mr. Crichel stood up from his seat, dismissed his conversation partner, allowed himself a delicate smile, and began to walk toward Kameron and Max.

“Well, rarely am I this pleasantly surprised young Kameron. Let me start my asking you to accept my condolences. Aliant is sorely missed.”

Back at his table, they managed to come to some understanding – but as with all dealings with the underworld, it was not to be as pleasant as they’d like. Yes, they would be able to use the antenna at a certain price – however the… owner… has a specific rule. She gets to see the full and unencrypted message prior to sending. Knowledge is power, and noone knows this as well as she does.

Max was not impressed with this idea, an opinion he voiced when back in the room. Prior to this, however, they managed to pick up what was left of Max’s credits. 40,000 Credits, in cash. A… troublesome amount – unless well hidden or spent quickly. Ideally, both in that order.

The final exchange of the whole crew in their quarters ended up being very fiery. Many words were said, and most of them could be described as ‘too many’. As Max let his opinions out, as asked by Helmsman, and suggested alternatives to sending such a delicate message – at the same time criticizing the idea of putting the life of Senator Organa at risk – Helmsman cracked. His tirade went far, but what was perhaps most shocking was his revelation about why they cannot ignore this. And why it is the best pilots and the best ground & security operative in what was Phoenix Squadron in the room now. It’s because of Max. His blood and his genes. His fathers genes. They would allow the rebels potentially create fake keys which are gene-locked to senior officers such as Colonel Veers. Max was the first defector of such immense indirect value to the rebel cell.

The crew, tired and agitated, needed some rest. As dawn came for the fourth time in the last 20 hours, they laid to sleep in their rooms. Kameron’s smile from that morning did not return, Max fell asleep uninterested in talking, Sandon stayed up a while longer to finish working on his code, and Helmsman retired to his chamber quietly.

Max awoke a few hours later to find Kameron missing.

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