An ear-piercing scream filled the Mimosa-Inahj homestead once again. A bedraggled being scooped up the helpless tiny infant who didn’t care or notice that his mother had tattered hair or black circles under her eyes. Only a week ago, Kooki’s jet black hair was shiny and glossy. And her eyes were bright, with a tinge of impatience. She waddled about her house eagerly awaiting the new arrival. A purple vest top stretched over her rounded bump. Just seven days later, her hair was unkempt, her eyes were barely open and stingy from sleep deprivation, she shuffled about slowly and her purple top had smears of milk and baby posset smeared over it. The source of her new image was now peacefully in her arms being soothed once again. Mostynn was finally here, and although she had previously given birth to twins three years ago, the demands of ONE newborn baby were hard to keep up with. At least when Poppy and Etty were tiny babies, they seemed to settle in their basket away from Kooki, as they seemed content with each other’s company. Mostynn liked to be held close and enjoyed the warmth and security and reassuring smell that his mother offered. Kooki reached for a long length of purple fabric and wrapped it around herself, snugly fitting her new baby inside and was soon wearing him inside the newborn carrier. It hardly seemed possible once her two girls had fit in there together. Soon the week old baby closed his eyes and fell back to sleep.
The Alderaanian mother shuffled slowly downstairs to make herself a steaming hot spiced caf and some nutty spread on toast. Everyone else was still asleep. Downstairs was surprisingly tidy. Her spouse’s mother had been staying with them for a while now and was keeping on top of the housekeeping. She had even made several homemade dishes and had put them in the deep freeze to ease the burden of Kooki cooking for her family- at least two months supply!!
There was nothing more to do. Kooki put her feet up on her footstool and sipped carefully at her caf. Suddenly her datapad beeped at her. Mostynn let out a loud breath as he started to rouse, but realised where he was and nestled in and was soon asleep again. Upon checking on her son, his mother gently blew the toast crumbs off his tiny wispy hair on his tiny head and picked up her device.
Kooki read the message and scrolled through. ‘Star Destroyer Bastion’ seemed to ring a bell in the back of her mind. She closed her eyes and vaguely recalled an officer she had met not long after the fall of Kagu Shi mentioning it was being used a prison. Right now she needed a plan. So Kooki grabbed her notepad and starting planning!
Andrelious quickly ate his breakfast. In spite of his son’s recent arrival, work hadn’t stopped and it seemed that Rian had need of the Ektrosis Aedile’s skills. From what he already knew, the mission involved an old Imperial-class Star Destroyer, a model of ship that Andrelious had served on many years ago. He suspected that his knowledge of such a ship was why the Miralian had sought him out for the mission.
After getting Poppy and Etty dressed in identical purple tops and black leggings, the former Imperial headed to see Kooki. She was relaxed on the seatee, feeding Mostynn who seemed to be happily slurping away.
“I’ve been asked to help with Taldryan business. I was going to have a quick cuddle with Mostynn, but I can see that he’s busy,” the Aedile commented.
“Your mother’s going to take the girls out today. I don’t know what she’s got planned but she’s not made them a picnic,” Kooki explained.
“She mentioned she’s taking them to Chyron. They’ll eat there,” Andrelious responded.
“What’s the mission, anyway?” the female asked.
“Something to do with the Bastion,” the Seeker answered.
“That’s the prison? What does the Consul want with that?” Kooki questioned, not mentioning that she’d recieved a similar communique.
“I’m going to go and find out. I’ll see you two later,” Andrelious stated, gently kissing mother and son on the forehead.
The Ektrosis Aedile clambered into his family’s shuttle, allowing himself a little smile at the collection of toys strewn around the converted passenger area.
His latest mission was about to begin.
It was emotional saying goodbye to Andrelious so soon after their youngest child was born. But Kooki had finalised the last details of her plan and smiled to herself. The girls were excitedly running about and Mostynn was in a fresh nappy and outfit. Licon was getting herself all organised too.
Soon it would be time to leave…
Some time later on Chyron, the twins were happily munching away on a couple of basket meals. Between mouthfuls they played with their miniature spinning toys that came with their meals. The colours swirled around as Poppy spun the top of her toy. Both girls were mesmerised by the blend of colours and began sipping at their juice boxes almost in unison. A few inches away, the spinning top ground to a halt as it caught the side of an adult-sized bowl of spaghetti and ground nerf meatballs.
“Again! Again!” the girls gleefully exclaimed.
Etty spun her spinning top this time and took a mouthful of a slice her flatbread topped with various toppings that she was sharing with her twin sister.
Meanwhile, a rushing about female had finally made her way to the Paragon and prepared for all sorts of questions and confusion.
A familiar feeling came over him.
Something didn’t feel quite right.
Before he could question anything a voice came from nearby.
“Fancy seeing you here,” she called out, in an almost singsong voice.
Andrelious’ jaw dropped.
“W…what are YOU d…doing h…here?” he stammered.
The response was just a smug smile.
Rian spotted Andrelious and came over to join him.
“Ah…Mr Aslar has joined us,” stated the female.
Rian also seemed startled at the latest arrival.
Unusually the female offered her hand out to shake hands.
“Licon Inahj! Pleased to meet your acquaintance.” she said with another smug smile.
Andrelious had certainly not been expecting to see his mother aboard the Paragon.
“Mum! Are you sure this is a good idea?” the Sith questioned.
“Andrelious Jongstram Inahj! I was using the Force a long time before you or any of your friends in Taldryan came along,” Licon answered, trying but failing to adopt a serious tone.
Rian shrugged. “Nobody on the summit was very comfortable with sending both you AND Kooki so soon after the birth of your son. We’re not entirely sure as to what’s awaiting for you on the Bastion. Your mother does seem pretty sure of herself,” he explained.
“She settled down with my father. I’m in my forties now. I didn’t even know she had a lightsaber until I was nearly ten,” Andrelious replied.
“Didn’t you ever wonder what I was doing for your father? Whenever he’s transported anything of value, I was his security. I may not have been fighting the kinds of enemy that you’ve told me about, but I’ve seen my share of action over the years. Even now,” Licon stated coolly.
“Alright. But it’s going to take me a little time to get used to this. You may be my mother but I’ve never actually seen you fight,” the Aedile sighed.
“Shall we let your Consul brief us now?” the grandmother questioned. Andrelious simply nodded in response.
“If you’ll remember when you assaulted that warehouse, Andrelious, you found parts for one of your Empire’s Star Destroyers. We’ve now found that Star Destroyer. It’s been in use as a prison over on Orth,” Rian began, pointing in the direction of a nearby moon.
“I knew there was a prison there, but we’ve mostly been avoiding the locals,” Andrelious interjected.
“From what we’ve been told, it seems Vishes orchestrated a mass breakout. Since then, his followers have been working on restoring the Bastion,” the Consul continued.
“Restore it? You mean they’re trying to get it back into operation?” the Seeker queried.
“Exactly. We can’t allow that kind of firepower. At least not in the hands of Vishes,” Rian answered.
“Do all of your missions have such long briefings?” Licon questioned.
“I’m nearly finished, Mrs. Inahj. Andrelious is one of my best men. He knows what to do,” the Miralian explained.
“Right. So we’ll need to get aboard. As you know I think that the Bastion is too valuable to destroy. I’m going to find a way to disable it until we can get our own crew together. The sooner we’re off this frakking Rebel thing the better,” Andrelious replied.
Rian simply sighed. He was used to the former Imperial’s rants about his flagship.
With the briefing out of the way, mother and son began their journey towards the Bastion.
“I loaded a new code into your IFF transponder. You’ll like the name I used,” Licon declared with a smile.
Orth’s orbit had taken it to the far side of Perune from Chyron. Andrelious did not like the idea of not being able to communicate with Kooki, but he remembered that Rian had assigned a pair of soldiers to watch his spouse and children from a distance; he doubted harm would come to them.
“Shuttle Stardust. You are approaching Bastion Prison. Please state your intentions,” a voice ordered over the ship’s comm.
“This is Stardust. We’re inbound with a team of security experts. Oh, and we’ve got some crates of beer,” Licon replied before her son could say anything.
“You sure that’s going to work? This is a military ship, albeit an old Imperial model,” Andrelious commented.
“Don’t be so fussy! If what Rian said is true, we’re speaking to a criminal. Criminals like beer,” the female responded.
“Stardust, you are clear to land,”
Licon’s smile grew a little wider. “See? Always listen to your mother!”
Despite being well accustomed to a strong-minded gloating at being right, Andrelious still looked sheepish at his mother being right once again.
“Are you sure you’re up for this?” Andrelious asked his mother.
It hadn’t been the first time he had asked her this. The aged female sighed heavily.
“Do you really think I would have come if I wasn’t?” She replied.
“Besides you don’t think I’m past it do you?” Licon smirked.
Andrelious chose not to answer and continued walking adjacent to his mother, an awkward silence looming over them.
“They’re definitely not the most organised. Nobody greeted us in the hangar,” Andrelious commented.
“It seems a lot smaller than I recall,” Licon added.
“We didn’t land in the main hangar. That’s why we’re heading this way; access to the interior of the ship is only available through the primary hangar bay,” the Seeker explained.
“I have been aboard a Star Destroyer, before, you know. Don’t you remember?” the female questioned.
“That was a long time ago, Mum. I was only two years old,” Andrelious responded.
Despite her exterior bravado image, Licon was a little nervous and apprehensive about entering a prison. There were hidden parts of her youth that she had preferred to keep under wraps. These were pre-Andrelious and certainly pre-Parck. Unbeknown to her son, Licon had been quite rebellious in her younger days and had a few brushes with the law, so entering a prison always made her a bit nervous and jumpy. Since then she had faced happy times, such as falling in love, and sad times, such as losing loved ones. But all emotions and experiences combined made up the enigmatic riddle that was Licon Inahj.
Licon thought it best to keep her head down and try not to draw unwanted attention to herself. The chill breeze that cast across the cool interior of this prison created the aged female’s silver hair to wisp at the ends. It was little things like this that appeared insignificant to most, but now in her autumnal years, they caused Licon to remember little memories from her past. It was those wispy strands of hair floating in breeze that Parck noticed about her in their early courting days. He would love the colour her hair would shine in the evening sun. This was almost a shadow of her former rogue self…
As a child, Licon had been kept hidden for being different in fear of being snatched by the Jedi. Years later she made her escape, but had learnt techniques to disguise herself. Licon would scrunch her hair back into a casual, yet scruffy ponytail, throw on a leather jacket and head out onto the highways with no plans on how her day would progress. Occasionally, a two-wheeled ride would screech to a halt beside her, without question she would hop on the back and within seconds would ride on the back for hours at a time.
Suddenly a rusting metal door clanked behind her, causing Licon to jump slightly and bring her away from her memories.
“You still with us?” Andrelious asked.
His mother nodded coolly.
“Yes dear. Miles away…Right! Are we doing this ‘thing’ then?” she enquired as she snapped back into reality, whilst scratching the air with her fingers.
Andrelious always found it quite surprising how absent-minded his mother would appear, but could spring back into action as if she had never been away.
“Not long now,” the Warlord replied.
They continued along the corridor. In the distance a uniformed officer was looking rather pleased at his takeover success, he failed to notice the approaching mother and son duo. Still gloating, he nudged past them, catching Licon’s arm as he did so.
“WATCH IT!” she yelled.
“WATCH IT YOURSELF!” came a gruff reply.
She prepared to arm herself with her lightsaber.
Their eyes met for a second…but it felt like much longer.
“Stendec?” the male voice uttered.
“Oh…my…days,” the female stammered.
“Mum?” Andrelious asked, looking very puzzled.
“Mum, eh? Someone’s been a busy girl, eh? Been a long time, eh?” the ‘Officer’ teased.
“A VERY long time…” Licon replied, her voice barely a whisper and beginning to trail off.
Andrelious looked at his mother, then at the stranger. He had absolutely no idea who the man was, but his use of Licon’s maiden name left no doubt to the fact that he was an old associate of his mother’s.
“Would you care to tell me exactly how you know my mother?” the Aedile demanded.
“Very long time ago, son. Probably about five years after Palpatine instigated the new order. I was in this dive cantina on Nar Shaddaa. I wasn’t older than twenty myself,” the mystery man began.
“Cut to the chase,” Andrelious snapped.
“Being a dive, a brawl broke out. Most of the girls ran off or hid under the tables, but this fiery young woman. She gave twice as good as she got. And when two thugs pulled holdout blasters on her…”
“That’s when the lightsaber came out,” Licon interrupted. “With the Jedi gone, nobody thought that those existed anymore. I dealt with those idiots, and Kinneas and I got out of there as fast as possible. Which was pretty quick in those days,”
“Kinneas?” Andrelious asked.
“That’s me. Kinneas Recfalque,” the man answered, offering his hand to Andrelious.
“Andrelious Mimosa-Inahj. Exactly what did you two do after getting away from there?” the Sith questioned, shaking Kinneas’ hand cautiously.
“It was before I met your father, Andrel. I was young once, you know? We both had certain needs,” Licon explained.
“So you’re still with Parck Inahj? That man knows his way around a deck of cards. I’ll give him that much. Guess he’s made of stronger stuff than I thought if he’s put up with you for so long,” Kinneas teased.
“Anyway, Mr. Recfalque, if you don’t mind, my mother and I are here on important business,” Andrelious declared, clearly becoming frustrated.
“You’d best get yourselves to the main hangar, then. They’ll be expecting that beer you promised them,” Kinneas replied, winking.
“They’re going to be pretty annoyed when they find out who we really are,” Licon declared.
“They won’t have time to be annoyed. We’re not going to complete this mission by standing around and talking. Just be ready. We’ll need to hit them hard and fast,” Andrelious explained.
As mother and son arrived in the main hangar, a small group approached them. Their leader, a female Human who looked around the same age as Andrelious, approached.
“You the crew of the Stardust?” she asked.
“Yes. I am Licon Inahj of Inahj Intergalactic. This is my son, Andrelious,” Licon said.
“We don’t need names around here. We were told you had beer. Where is it?” the woman questioned.
“We own the company, dear. Do you think we’re really going to lug the crates about? Our staff are bringing that through shortly. Along with the security experts. The beer’s just a bonus,” the older female answered, doing her best to remember her cover story.
A younger Human male walked over.
“You say you’re bringing beer and security experts? That’s a pretty unusual manifest,” he said.
“You want to double check? I’ve our manifest right here,” Andrelious stated, his hand heading for his silver hilted lightsaber. Spotting her son’s movement, Licon followed suit.
“So it’s like that is it?” the young male asked.
“Funny looking manifest!” the woman accompanying him stated, wryly.
It may have been a few years since Licon used her saber, but she was still able to swing her weapon around with confidence. The exhilaration bubbled inside of her, as if she had never retired.
“What do we do?!” cried out the younger male in the group, his inexperience came through in his nervous tone.
“SHOOT THE JEDI SCUM!!! AND FAST!!!” the female in charge yelled, trying to locate her blaster.
Andrelious eagerly swung his scarlet-blade around and lunged towards the female’s upper arm, but suddenly stopped, when he noticed the female retrieving her weapon from her boots. He flickered his eyes open and closed rapidly. It was just like seeing his spouse before him.
“Kooki,” he whispered under his breath.
“No time to be sentimental!” his mother stated, stoically.
“Listen to Mummy! She’s clearly past it!” teased the powerful female, now fully armed with her blaster.
Licon saw red and swiftly moved from one foot to another, swooping her saber as she did so. Her agility caused a fair amount of surprise within the prison.
“Past it eh?” Licon mused.
“Surely she should stay at home and knit.” continued the teasing.
The young male was in the greatest shock.
“Woah!” he called out.
“SILENCE! SHOOT THEM ALREADY!” his superior officer yelled.
Andrelious continued coaxing the young boy, trying to tempt his young mind to the ways of the dark side. Meanwhile, Licon plunged her lightsaber into the officer’s upper arm who immediately dropped her blaster to the floor as she roared out in pain.
“Not bad for someone who’s past it.” Licon hissed in the Officer’s ear.
Suddenly the young male grabbed his blaster with bravado which appeared out of nowhere.
“No one attacks MY SISTER!!!” he shot in Licon’s direction.
A blaster bolt flew towards the aged female.
Andrelious held up his scarlet blade, which swiftly ricocheted the blaster bolt back at the trainee into his torso.
He too roared out in pain.
“No one attacks MY MOTHER!!!” Andrelious shouted.
The mother and son prepared to flee the scene.
“Nice job!” Andrelious whispered to his mother.
“You too.” she smirked.
Looking back Licon knew the final word laid with her.
“For what it’s worth… I don’t knit…I CROTCHET!!!”
Weakily the female officer called out as loud as she could.
Her feeble attempt paid off.
Just as Andrelious and Licon started to run a guard charged in. The pair swallowed hard.
A male charged at the mother and son and barged between them grabbing their upper arms simultaneously.
“Ah! Two fugitives!! You’re coming with me!!!” a gruff voice boomed.
Licon’s smile distressed Andrelious and unnerved him.
“Just do as I say…and all will be fine!” the gruff voice managed to whisper under his breath.
“I’ll punish them brutally ma’am. Have no fear of that!!” he continued, talking back to the wounded pair.
Kinneas Recfalque continued ushering the ‘fugitives’ out of the room.
“Alright. Seeing as I’ve just saved you from two dozen heavily armed thugs, I think you owe me an explanation,” Kinneas began.
“We’d have been fine. I’ve dealt with enlisted soldiers, bounty hunters and even the occasional would-be Jedi. A few escaped prisoners wouldn’t have been a problem,” Andrelious replied harshly.
“Escaped prisoners who have been shown how to fight like professionals. Far deadlier than soldiers. They have the skills and the thirst for blood. A lot of those imprisoned here were locked up for murder, or worse,” Recfalque answered.
“How did you end up here, Kinneas?” Licon queried.
“I was actually working here before the breakout. Maintenance, mostly working on the various droids that helped enforce the old regime. When the breakout happened, one of the ring leaders approached me. Offered me twice what I was being paid what I was promised would be an easier job,” Kinneas explained.
“And is the job easier?” Andrelious asked.
The older male nodded. “Easy but also very boring. The old regime were nearly all killed in the fighting, and those who were left either managed to get away or switched sides. Vishes has just the right balance of credits and firepower.”
“That’s all very nice. But now Kinneas has told us why he’s here, it’s our turn,” Licon stated.
“Very well. I’ll keep it short. Basically, we’ve reason to believe that Vishes and his followers are trying to get the Bastion back into space. Obviously, neither the local government or my own employers want a criminal organisation with an active Star Destroyer,” Andrelious said, revealing a backpack containing a large ion grenade.
“Hmm. Military grade equipment. I’m going to guess that you don’t work with your parents,” Kinneas commented.
“Well, he is today, but I’m only here because he’s just become a father again. He normally brings his spouse on these missions. You should probably be thankful that she’s not here,” Licon replied.
Andrelious chuckled nervously, but he knew his mother was right. Kooki would probably have already killed Recfalque, along with many of his colleagues. With Licon on the mission instead, it seemed they had an extra ally, and had avoided a larger fire fight with a group of bloodthirsty convicts.
“Right. I’m afraid that I will have to escort you into the turbolift. There’s just too many holocams around here for me to risk letting you slip away so easily,” Kinneas explained, pushing a button in the wall. A nearby turbolift moved almost noiselessly to their level, its doors opening with a quiet hiss.
The trio stepped aboard, with Kinneas shoving Andrelious in the back for good measure. Once the doors closed, the older male side-stepped carefully towards Licon, handing her an old Imperial code cylinder.
“That once belonged to the captain. Gives you access to everywhere,” he said, noticing Andrelious raise an eyebrow at the device. “Now, be ready to bolt as soon as the doors open. I’ll do my best to act like the two of you managed to overpower me. Probably best that you get those Jedi weapons of yours out again,”
“We’re not Jedi. If my own father hadn’t hidden me when I was little, the Order would have taken me. Just like when they took his brother,” Licon answered.
“Time’s up, Stendec. Good luck!” Kinneas declared. Sure enough, the doors opened, revealing a long corridor filled with makeshift cells. Several of the cells had been blasted open from the outside, their occupants long gone.
Andrelious and Licon charged forward, their lightsabers activating simultaneously. Several enemies, spotting the onrushing pair, dove into doorways and began peppering the corridor with heavy blaster fire. The long, narrow nature of the corridor made things a little harder for the two Force users, and they too took refuge in an old cell.
Andrelious, deactivating his lightsaber, armed himself with his E-11, and immediately picked off one of the enemy with a well-aimed shot to the chest.
“Your friend wasn’t joking! These people are a lot tougher than I’d hoped they’d be!” the Aedile complained, ducking into cover just in time to avoid being cut down himself.
“Is this even the right level?” Licon asked.
“Let’s deal with one problem at a time, Mum!” Andrelious answered.
The level being the correct one was the least of Licon’s troubles. The only weapon she was armed with was her old lightsaber. She knew at this point that it was going to be as much help as a Miraluka doing a sight test.
The aged female spotted the blaster belonging to the latest casualty on the floor. Seeking deep into the Force she closed her eyes, crouched down and reached out her hand. Slowly, but steadily the blaster was retrieved and slid into Licon’s hand.
Andrelious smiled meekly at his mother’s skills. Even now she still amazed him.
Soon enough more strong foes began approaching the scene, scanning for the two ‘fugitives’. Luckily the walked past the doorway in which the mother and son were hiding in.
Licon rose to her feet quietly as possible, yet caught her heel on something, which caused a disruptive noise. The escaped prisoners looked around, but couldn’t see where the noise had come from. Andrelious ducked down as low as he could, trying his best to blend into the shadows. His mother went to follow suit, but didn’t quite make it and a military male grabbed her clothing by her upper arm and she dropped the blaster.
“And who are you?” a male voice huffed.
Andrelious acted impulsively and armed himself and aimed it in the direction of the much taller male’s throat.
“Leave her alone!” he boomed.
The tough looking male looked towards the short Warlord, refusing to lessen his grip on his captive.
He let out a loud guffaw, just as a team mate of his who looked equally menacing came along and used the handle of his blaster to knock Andrelious’ weapon clean out of his unawared hands, and proceeded to grabbing him in a similar way to how his mother had been caught.
“Oh look! Another one!” one of the male figures yelled.
“Looks like we found the fugitives!” the other exclaimed, proudly, before letting out another loud laugh.
Andrelious was actually speechless. Kooki would have known what to say and do. And she probably would make some mocking comment about her spouse’s height and how he had been caught captive…but she wasn’t here. So he closed his eyes and imagined he was with her and his children.
The doting father’s thoughts were interrupted by more chuckling, but this wasn’t a male laugh… it was a FEMALE laugh. He peeled open his eyelids carefully and spotted his mother laughing. She was always full of surprises.
By now the loud male laughing had stopped.
“What’s so funny?!” the armed enemy who held Licon with a firm grasp shouted.
Between laughs, Licon managed to speak.
“You…you think WE are the fugitives?” she uttered, bravely.
Rather puzzled all the men, including Andrelious in the room looked at the older female with a very confused face.
“Then you really are as stupid as you look!” she continued, refusing to show her inner fear and hope that her plan would actually work.
This looked like it touched a nerve.
Trying to ignore the baited comment, and still not letting Licon go, the enemy was desperate to know who these people were.
“Then who are you?” he boomed.
Rustling around in her pocket, Licon tried to locate something unique she had acquired a couple of decades ago. She grasped it in her hand tightly and tried to deeply connect with the Force. As it had been so long since she had been properly active, this was all very draining. Andrelious could feel her starting to struggle, but sadly was little he could do, so he hoped her plan would work so they could finalise their plans and get home sooner rather than later.
Moments later, Licon produced what looked like an ID book. She hastily opened it one-handed and displayed it to the male holding her.
“Licon Stendec…a nobody from nowhere. Latest recruit. And THAT… he’s my Apprentice.” she announced coolly.
Looking at the identification paper, sure enough that was exactly what it said and she was released along with her son.
“I guess you will be needing equipment?” the military males asked almost in unison.
“Indeed we shall,” Licon replied, not realising she had accidently dropped the ID paper on the floor.
“But could you be a love and reach down in there,” she uttered, helplessly as she pointed towards the shadowed doorway her and Andrelious had been hading in.
“I think I dropped my new blaster in there.” she continued.
It was very dark and bent down in a small space, the officer struggled to see.
“Oi mate! Come shine a torch in ‘ere. I can’t see owt!” he called out.
The other male had released Andrelious and went to help his friend.
“Quick!” hushed Licon in a loud whisper.
“Hand me your blaster!” she continued.
Andrelious quietly and obediently did so.
Two loud shots echoed and two lifeless bodies slumped into the darkness, as blood poured out the back of two heads.
“But…how?” Andrelious stuttered, almost a little afraid.
“Come now… this mission isn’t going to complete itself.” she calmly stated.
Andrelious noticed the unusual ID paper on the floor beside a dead man’s foot.
He bent down to pick it up and walked to catch his mother up. Glancing at the paper he turned it over several times in utter confusion…
It was blank!
“Mother! What in the name of Palpatine is THIS?” he asked.
“That’s for me to know…and you to not find out.” Licon said with a smile.
Andrelious just did what he did best.
Smiled obediently and asked no further questions.
Andrelious was finding out more about his mother as the mission went on. He’d never seen his mother use the Force before, aside from occasionally reaching for household objects, but here she was, acting as if she’d never settled down with his father.
“Right. I’ve had time to get my bearings. If we head through that door, we’ll be able to access a maintenance hatch to the main reactor. They probably won’t have guarded that too heavily, but if they’re really working on getting this ship spaceworthy again, we’ll definitely come across some kind of resistance,” Andrelious explained.
“We’ve then got the problem of what to do when we set that grenade off. They’re not going to ignore their reactor being sabotaged,” Licon added.
“If we make our way back to the hangar via auxiliary corridors, they won’t have the width to set up any kind of numeric advantage. The only real problem will be getting through the main hangar to the smaller one that we’re docked in. With a bit of luck, they’ll waste all of their men trying to catch us up here,” the Aedile replied.
The aging female nodded, but she wasn’t convinced. Her son seemed to be supremely confident in his own abilities, but they’d already come close to capture on more than one occasion; eventually, something had to give.
With their lightsabers active once again, Licon and Andrelious headed through the next door. A pair of guards were waiting on the other side, but neither mother nor son were in the mood for any more messing about and each stabbed one enemy straight through the heart.
“I always wondered where I got that move from,” Andrelious observed.
“Didn’t just think I’d teach you to read, did you?” Licon teased.
Andrelious smiled warmly. His mother had always had the knack of making him smile no matter how dire a situation seemed.
“Is that the ladder you were talking about over there?” the female questioned, pointing to a yellow ladder leading downwards through a large hatch.
Andrelious led the way down into the reactor room. On a fully working Star Destroyer, the reactor room could be staffed with dozens of personnel. With the Bastion having long been grounded, the area had been deserted for some time. However, the pair could hear a loud humming noise.
“It’s definitely being used again. It would be completely silent around here. That sound means they’re looking into getting it working again,” Andrelious explained.
“Stop worrying about that. I’m sure you can feel the people over there,” Licon responded, pointing along one of the engineer’s observation walkways.
“My turn, Mum,” Andrelious declared, deactivating his lightsaber as he made his way along the walkway. He quickly came across several people working on the reactor.
“Back away from the reactor at once,” the Aedile demanded.
One of the men just laughed as his colleagues kept on working, completely disregarding the Sith.
“Very well. You were warned!” Andrelious hissed. Focusing on his anger and hatred, he directed a burst of lightning straight at the man who had laughed, knocking him to the floor.
“Now I certainly didn’t show you how to do that!” Licon commented.
“Stop! Please!” a woman begged, amazed at how easily Andrelious had disabled her colleague.
“If the rest of you leave, my son and I won’t hurt you. Go!” Licon ordered.
The group nervously obeyed, not wanting to risk further defiance.
“Right. Let’s do this,” Andrelious declared, readying the ion grenade. Arming it, he placed it directly on top of the reactor.
As the mother and son team stepped away, the grenade exploded, an ion burst spreading along the length of the main reactor.
An alarm immediately started to blare out at full volume.
“Well, looks like we attracted some attention”, Andrelious commented.
Amidst the hustle and bustle, a couple of enemy soldiers exchanged a quick discussion.
“Look here. The end could be near for one or even both of us. But I want you to run and hide. Go with them. Find out insider information. Or take them hostage. Just do what you can, Shadow. You are the best man for the job!” the Lieutenant quickly explained.
“Righto Sir!” Shadow replied, with a quick salute.
“It’s been an honour to serve with you!” he called back.
“As with you!” Shadow’s Lieutenant said with a lump in his throat.
Shadow ran as far and fast as he possibly could and found the Mimosa-Inahj family shuttle. Luckily he found a gun turret at the rear and was able to conceal himself inside.
Meanwhile, Licon and Andrelious were hastily making their way through the labyrinth of a Star Destroyer. In such haste, nothing seemed familiar. The corridors felt very claustrophobic and trying to locate their shuttle seemed impossible.
After what felt like forever, the familiar sight came into view. But something felt strange. Not right. The mother and son were growing tired. It was time to go home.
Suddenly a tall armed soldier jumped out.
“RIGHT! Hands on your heads! Get on your knees! This is a hostage situation. This is MY ship now. Tell me your plans shortarse…or the old hag gets it!” Shadow yelled.
Andrelious and Licon swallowed hard.
They were doomed now.
“RIGHT!” Shadow began again, still in the same angry tone.
Without another word, his eyes rolled back and an exit wound exploded out of his face. A blaster bolt out of nowhere had shot through the back of his head.
“I don’t think so somehow!” came a female voice.
A blaster was returned to its special location.
The mother and son just gawped speechless, still in their hostage position.
“So that’s the thanks I get for coming to your rescue is it?!” the female asked.
“You didn’t think you could leave us behind did you?” she asked again.
“Us?” whispered Andrelious and Licon in utter confusion.
The female looked down at the black material wrapped around her.
“SHUSH!” Kooki hushed, loudly.
“I’ve just got him to sleep!”
Andrelious knew better than to argue with his spouse, and that she would be especially cranky with him if he awoke Mostynn from his slumber.
“How did you get here?” he whispered almost inaudibly
“I have my ways,” Kooki answered.
Without any further conversation, Andrelious took off, steering the ship towards the large hangar opening. The shuttle flew clear of the hangar, but the Aedile knew that they weren’t out of danger yet. Sure enough, a group of three TIE Fighters began to give chase.
Kooki reached over and switched off the comm. She was clearly not in the mood for a discussion.
Andrelious squeezed every last bit of speed he could out of the ship, but the TIEs were still closing in.
“Take the controls, mum!” he called out, sprinting through the shuttle to its rear turret.
The Ektrosis Aedile remembered his first visit to the Caelus system. That had ended with him in his ship’s turret, shooting down a TIE Interceptor. This time, he suspected, he wouldn’t scare off the others as easily.
Lining up his first shot, the former Imperial easily blew up the lead TIE. The two remaining enemies broke from formation and started to jink about as they approached, but their movements were straight from the first page of the Imperial training manual, and Andrelious had no trouble in eliminating them with further well aimed shots.
Moving back to the cockpit, Andrelious just nodded. He noticed Kooki snoozing in one of the seats as he took back the controls.
With one last check over his sensors, the Seeker made sure that the area was clear before jumping to hyperspace, their destination the Paragon.
The mission was done. If Andrelious had his way, the Bastion would soon be Taldryan’s.
“The ship got away. And we heard nothing from Shadow,” a man announced.
An older, taller man smiled as he took a long drag from his cigarra.
“Shadow was little more than a distraction. I’ve already checked. They’ve not noticed the tracker. They’re going to lead us right back to their fleet,” he explained.
The first man raised an eyebrow. “So? We don’t have the resources to attack a fleet. Especially now we can’t get the Bastion online in the near future.
“We don’t. But there are certain groups who do. I want you to go to Chyron. Tell Vishes that we have what Oligard wants,”