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Ardent
9 September 2006, 07:51 PM
My footsteps echoed down the vaunted corridors of learning at the Corulag Academy. The rest of my class would be at graduation practice right now. I should probably be there too, but I had a more pressing matter to attend to. I hurried along my way, checking to make sure nobody was following me and that none of the underclassmen took too much interest in the 4th year cadet who wasn't at practice.

I slinked through one of the many side passageways at the Academy, eventually coming out in a small courtyard where refuse crates were normally stacked. In a shadowy corner stood what I assumed was my contact. I approached the figure and whistled low to catch its attention. I was momentarily shocked when a 2nd year female cadet stepped out into the courtyard to greet me.

"You must be Thorne. I'm Agent Lyse. We can speak at ease here, I cleared the courtyard of bugs an hour ago."

"Uh, yeah. I'm Thorne," I managed. Well, at least sneaking away to rendezvous with a good-looking 2nd year cadet would be more salvageable than any other load of bantha poodoo I could come up with.

"I have some good news and some bad news, I'm afraid. The good news is that Alliance High Command approved you and you'll be extracted soon. The bad news is that the Foster team assigned to extract you decided your graduation would make the best distraction, so that's when your extract will be." She smiled faintly, shrugging as if to settle my unspoken confusion.

"So, uh...during my graduation? I'll have to skip it?"

"Oh no. They want you there. They're going to conduct the extraction during the end of the ceremony, but aside from that I don't have any other details."

"Okay...okay. What do I need to do?" I asked.

"Prep your rucksack and then dump it here tonight at 0200 standard. Don't worry, it won't get picked up by the trash droids...I'll be here to handle it."

"But you're a second year--" I began.

"--with talents the Academy isn't aware of," she finished. "I'll be here. Just make sure you get your ruck here. If you don't I can't guarantee it'll be aboard the extraction transport for you."

"Right, I will," I mumbled, still a little confused.

"Remember: they'll be here tomorrow, Thorne. I hope you're ready, and may the Force be with you." With that, she disappeared back into the Academy, as quickly and quietly as a Defel. I stood in the courtyard for a good twenty minutes before it occured to me I should probably get to practice before anyone realized I'd skipped out entirely.

*****

Because of nerves and having to be up at 0200 to drop off my ruck, I didn't sleep at all that night. I was so nervous I could barely contain myself as I donned the rank-less Imperial uniform given to me for graduation. The hold-out blaster I'd hidden in a ceiling tile came out and was strapped just inside the sleeve of my tunic. I wasn't sure I was ready to use it, but I'd been trained to here at the Academy.

Forming up with the rest of my class I must have looked unusually uncomfortable, although everyone had a bit of nerves so for the most part my discomfort was ignored. Some of my friends mentioned I looked as pale as a Brentaal noble, which drew a chuckle from the rest of the platoon.

As the ceremony began I kept trying to look around and spot my would-be rescuers. With the friends and families of various cadets assembled on the parade grounds it was difficult to spot anyone out of place. They all looked out of place by Academy standards. As the first staccato of the Imperial March fell and my platoon began its pass in front of the Headmaster's Box I noticed a light transport floating about a kilometer above and to the east of the Academy's parade grounds. That was unusual.

Having practised drill and ceremony so much I didn't really need to concentrate on the parade march and the rest of it continued without anything abnormal occuring. The Lieutenant that was in charge of our platoon began to call us forward to receive our diplomas and the Ensign's rank badge. My name was called and I moved forward, saluted and accepted the diploma and stood stoicly as the badge was pinned to my chest by a young Sub-Lieutenant. I saluted again, waved to the crowd and returned to my place in formation. I was getting really anxious waiting for my would-be rescuers to show up.

As we began the march off the parade grounds it happened. A massive blast at the far end of the Academy and a cloud of dust billowed up. Panic ensued as bystanders and other civilians ran about in a panicked mass. A second explosion a few seconds later didn't help things at all. The officers began yelling orders and the platoons dissolved in an attempt to help the civilians out of the Academy. A scruffy-looking old guy brushed up against me, reeking of alcohol, and said under his breath "Lyse sent us, you're with me, kid." I followed this stranger through the crowd as he made his way in the direction of the blasts, a surprisingly simple task.

Pulling me through a passageway behind the headmaster's stand, he rushed me through a winding maze of doors, dead-ends and passageways until we exited the labyrinth about a block east of the Academy's main entrance. There was a speeder waiting there and he threw me in without much ceremony, gunned the throttle and sped off towards somewhere.

As the speeder swerved wildly through the streets the sound of sirens reverberated through the city. We sped past security forces and emergency crews alike, our speeding ignored in light of the occurance at the Academy. We made it through to what looked like a public park in minutes and my driver didn't slow down, plowing through the gate and heading full speed towards the pond in the center. I panicked, thinking the driver had lost it. Until I heard the heavy hum of repulsor engines and the transport I had seen earlier dusted over the top of us.

Just as our speeder reached the edge of the pond, the transport's belly hatch dropped open, my driver cut the throttle and we skidded out of control into the cargo bay of the transport. The hatch came up behind us and my dishevelled driver finally took a second to look over at me.

"I'm Ketch Bilker. Welcome to the Rebellion, kid," he said with a grin.

Crymoon
10 September 2006, 01:39 PM
I'm not sure if you want any comments but as I'll take the silence as an allowance.

I'm no writer. I'm no painter neither.But I know what I like.

And I liked it. It had a good rhythm and some minor things that I love as the descriptions of action that read like action and slow moments that are slow. There is tension in proper moments. - All in one - reallty great from the technical point of view.

But now the "but" - Would the RA really use so much power and resources for one rescue of an academy student? We don't know why should they do it - is he really that good? does he have any special information? We couldn't he just sneak out? There are few unanswered questions that left me with a dilema - do I want to read more to have those answered or was it the end and I'm really disappointed.. :P

I don't know the asnwer, yet... But I bet you do... So tell me.

Ronin
11 September 2006, 01:42 AM
Good stuff mate!
I particularly liked the end; nearly piloting the speeder into the lake but the Rebel transport (of course) being ready to catch them with the ramp. :)

Will there be more to come?

Ardent
11 September 2006, 06:58 AM
Perhaps. I had written it as a one-off but there's certainly a chance that I could write more.

As far as using a lot of resources...I dunno, honestly. The Alliance seemed to waste a lot of resources on silly stuff in the OT, so I see no reason why they wouldn't send a team with a few packages of detonite, a starship and a landspeeder to collect an Imperial defector.

coldskier0320
13 September 2006, 08:56 AM
Also, he might not have been the only defector that got picked up that day.

Crymoon
13 September 2006, 09:54 AM
I was thinking about it and I have found a few reasons for taking that cause of action. So hereby I revoke my first comment about strange behaviour of Rebel Alliance. :P

Well look at it from a marketing point of view - The Empire can't even hold his own cadets. They got stolen right in the middle of great celebration with hunderets of military personel (if only teachers and guests) and not only noone was able to do anything.. mosty of them didin't even notice what happened..

Of course the Empire would call it a cowardly terrorist attack but the rumours will get on their way.

Ardent
15 September 2006, 09:03 AM
Indeed. Unfortunately I have...a lot of beer to drink this weekend (that's probably the best way to put it) so I doubt I'll be writing anything coherent. So it'll be a while yet before an update.

PsychoInfiltrator
7 October 2006, 11:11 AM
I just noticed this now...:o

It is a nice one-off story, that leaves plenty of questions to be answered. Call me selfish, but I want an update.


Indeed. Unfortunately I have...a lot of beer to drink this weekend (that's probably the best way to put it) so I doubt I'll be writing anything coherent. So it'll be a while yet before an update.

Hopefully, when and if it comes, it will not take me quite so long to realize it exists...

gmjabreson
7 October 2006, 03:34 PM
nah, that's not a waste of resources. Look at the Defection of General Madine. Han Solo with the Falcon, Rogue Squadron as fighter support, a stolen Lambda shuttle (which how many of those did they actually steal anyways?).

I liked it, really good reading. reminds me of many of the short stories from the Adventure journals.