CR90 Pride of Owyhyee
High Orbit Over Daleem
Invasion of Daleem
So far, the plan had worked. The Rohlan’s Vision was taking most of the fire, no doubt due to the opposition believing Colonel Cortel to be onboard. It was, in fact, the Hoth JTF’s flagship and it would be an accurate assumption for her to be commanding it. It was that reason that Arcia decided to command the fleet from the Pride instead.
As the two squadrons of X-Wings did their best to protect the carrier, with heavy assistance from the Brah’tok Gunship “Challenger” to handle any flanking starfighters, the Pride did her best to deal as much simulated damage as possible to the Satele Shan JTF’s carrier. If the starfighters had nothing to return to, they would be out of the equation due to the electrical storms that now surrounded the space elevator within the upper atmosphere of Daleem.
“Colonel! Dorsal plating at sixty percent and dropping!” the tactical officer announced as the ship rocked.
She knew the reports were simulated, but she had to react as if they were real. This was the reason the skirmish was happening: to see how the JTFs would hold up in scenarios such as these in case they happened in real world situations. Cortel’s cybernetic eyes adjusted to the shaking and she snapped her gaze towards the Operations officer just as a bright light flashed from it, signifying the simulation of minor overload. The female stationed there cried out in surprise before realizing that she was marked as ‘wounded.’ Arcia threw herself towards the console to take over, shouting out orders as her fingers flew over the surface and sent commands through the rest of the ship.
“Full axis rotation to port. Fire all ventral cannons!”
The corvette lurched as the rotation began, followed soon after by the sounds of turbolasers firing their ion-cannon replacements. The rounds hit their mark as the Satele gunship fell to a violent halt, giving the Pride the opening they needed to strike at the “enemy” carrier.
They’re performing perfectly, Cortel thought to herself, a smile spreading across her lips.
Trepus Mining Facility
Four days post Invasion of Daleem…
“Reports read that minor repairs to the ships have been complete and the caves have been reinforced after Satele’s little attempt at breaching,” Edgar paced back and forth while reading from a data-pad.
Arcia sat at her desk, her hand on her chin to keep her head lifted. It was obvious she was lost in thought, but she did a good job keeping up with the reports Edgar read off. She snapped back to attention when her elbow lost its ground and slid off the armrest, to which she quickly recovered and stood up in a hurry. The Colonel made her way to a large window that looked out over the facility and gave her perfect view of the large caverns that housed most of the Hoth JTfs ground based equipment and troops, but remained wordless.
“Cortel, are you feeling well?” Edgar asked as he approached the woman.
Arcia let a small smile touch her lips. Edgar had started using her last name, per her request, rather than her first, when in the presence of others. With a deep breath, she turned and held out her hand to retrieve the data-pad the Force user held. He reluctantly gave it to her, and she ran over the data with her own eyes, committing most of it to memory.
“I am fine, Drachen. Mister Kingang, how is your team holding up? There may be some matters for you to attend to soon.”
Tisto jumped up from his chair on the opposite side of the room. “They’re perfect, ready to go. What do you got for us, Colonel?”
“I said I may, not that I do. I just need your team to be ready for anything. Go. Keep them that way, please,” Cortel stated with the wave of a hand, not bothering to look at the man.
Tisto and Edgar both froze, Drachen allowing a quizzical look to dominate his face.
“Ma’am did you say–” Tisto began, but was quickly cut off by Edgar as the Aedile pushed the Knight Commander out of the office.
There was definitely something wrong with the Colonel for her to absent mindedly say “please” to a subordinate.”
Once the doors slid shut, Edgar dropped formality. “Arcia, what’s going on? You never say ‘please’ unless you intend to hurt someone afterwards.”
Cortel looked up, almost confused at first, as if she were worlds away. “Did I? I didn’t notice…”
Her trail off definitely proved Edgar’s concerns.
The Aedile mentally noted this for later and proceeded to clear his throat to push through the awkward silence, continuing the previous discussion. “I am very pleased with how the troops handled each scenario. They performed better than expected.”
“Agreed, though I would like the fleet to continue exercises. Their response times could be improved. As for ground defenses, I will leave that to you. Find some way to slow any future incursions. They shouldn’t have reached the caverns that quickly,” the Colonel stated in a hollow tone.
“Agreed. I, in fact, was surprised they hit us in a place I didn’t think was a soft spot and it annoys me that I missed it. The best thing about this exercise is now I know where I need to redouble our efforts. It won’t happen again. The other thing that bothers me is you Arcia, what is going on with you? I know Turel and Mako took you off to the side after the debriefing. What did they say to you?” Edgar began to sound demanding, yet tried to keep it respectful.
Arcia looked up at Edgar, her tired eyes hinting at the lack of sleep she had been enduring. He could see her resist the urge to speak, but it was obvious she was fighting a losing battle within herself. He had never seen the Colonel this way before, not that he had known her for very long, but this was the most vulnerable he had ever seen the woman present herself.
“Something from my past…will be arriving soon. Something that will…change everything. That is all you need to know for now.”
“You understand that is not a lot for me to go on, right?”
Arcia stepped forward towards her Aedile and looked slightly upwards and into his eyes. “It is need to know.”
Edgar took a moment to bite back the response that lept to his mind and calmed himself. “Arcia, if you’re telling me that something is coming here that ‘will change everything’ and then tell me it’s on ‘a need to know’ basis, you must understand that out of pure concern of everyone here I must now be more than just a little cautious. Especially if this is affecting you this much. We might not have seen eye to eye so far but I will not let anything harm you or anyone in Hoth if it’s within my power.” The grey Jedi said with just the slightest bit of sincere emotion that even took him by surprise.
The Colonel’s eyes narrowed at his words and she took a step back. “Once the time arises, I would welcome your presence. For now…”
Arcia’s words faltered, as if she were struggling to say them. “For now it is of no concern and we have priorities to deal with.”
As if on queue, the chirp of the intercom sounded off followed by an excited and rushed message. “Colonel, there is a local woman here demanding to see y… hey wait you can’t go in……”
The office door was practically ripped open with such forced that it slammed against the wall. Both Arcia and Edgar jumped at the surprise and at the sight of a large, tall woman who barged into the room. The Colonel and the Savant were frozen in place.
The woman stopped just meters from the pair, breathing heavily and with her large muscles flexing. She was an imposing sight which was only broken when two guards tried to apprehend her causing her to shake them off like they were rag dolls, pinning them in headlocks under each arm. The rest of the guards had their guns drawn, but intelligently kept their distance. Still holding the guards in their locks, she spoke in a thick accent.
“I seek the man in command,” she bellowed. “I spied the battle that took place here in the last fortnight and your failure is unacceptable here on Solyiat. We have a saying that if the bear is at your front door, you are already dead! In my village a leader that would allow this would be punished severely and I demand to know who is in charge here!”
Without missing a beat Edgar instinctively pointed to Arica and meekly said “She did it!”
The large woman glared at Edgar. “She is not a man, silly one. Only a puny man would be so foolish.”
With actual amusement in her voice, Arcia took a step forward and had to nearly look directly up at the surprising height of the native before her. “I am in command of this installation, however I was in orbit during the battle of the mines. Is there something we can do for you, miss…?”
“You can call me Zoya. I am from the village south of there, by land bridge. I can see everything for kilometers. If you wish to survive here I can teach you how” the woman dropped the two security guards, almost forgetting that they were struggling beneath her, as she spoke, tossing a thumb behind her to represent the location of her village.
Both leaders looked at the woman then each other and without needing to say a word, thought the same thing as Arcia spoke up. “Miss Zoya, we are very eager to make this base secure and learn to live in this new environment. I believe you can help us. So if you are willing, I would like you to help us any way you can.”
The behemoth of a woman beamed with joy and excitement. “I promise madam! I will train puny men and they will not fail you again!”
A loud yell came from the open office door as Tisto leapt into the room, his fiery dreads trailing behind him. He positioned himself between Zoya and the Hoth leaders in a defensive manner, his saber at the ready. With an exclamation, Zoya bat the saber hand away and grabbed the young man by the shoulders, effectively lifting him from the floor.
“Your hair! It is fabulous! How do you keep it so spry?” the native questioned.
The Knight Commander looked to the Colonel and Savant, pleading with his eyes to help him as the woman carried the man out of the office and down towards the caverns. Arcia looked to Edgar, a smirk on her face as she waved a hand after them. With an exasperated sigh, the Aedile darted after the two, if only to ensure Zoya didn’t injure Tisto too much.