Redemption - Part 4
The Noble Blaze came out of hyperspace and into a war zone.
“What the frak!” yelled Nora, scrambling at her controls. “What do we do?”
“Get to the turrets-“ Ellie started, but realized that Brin and Pah’li had already ran back to the quad lasers. “Nora-“
“What’s happening?!” Nora was staring at Ellie.
“Just relax and get on sensors. Tell me what’s out there,” Ellie said, pointing the ship into the heart of the battle and bringing the forward shields to full.
Nora brought up her sensor screen. “There’s a bunch of fighters… I don’t recognize them. Looks like snubs and some bombers. Wait… the computer recognizes them as A-9 Interceptors abd Scimitar Assault Bombers.”
“What are they broadcasting for transponders?”
Nora took a moment. “Nothing.”
“Okay, mark them as enemies. That feeds back to the gunners. Brin, Pah’li: strapped in and ready?”
“Brin’s on top,” came back Brin’s voice over the comm.
“Pah’li is in the belly turret, targets are red,” Pah’li came back.
“I’m dialing down the inertial compensator to 95%,” Ellie said, adjusting the control. Immeadiatly, she could feel the G-forces stronger, giving her a better feel for how the ship could manuever in the battle. “Who else is out there, Nora?”
“There’s about ten Y-wings joining the battle,” she said. “They’re broadcasting CBA.”
Ellie smiled. “Mark them as friendly, and get the leader on the comm. Gunners, here we go.”
The nose of the Noble Blaze dipped down, and the ship began a steep dive toward the nearest grouping of fighters. Ellie could see the bombers firing ion cannons at a group of five bulk freighters. One freighter was already disabled, with its captain shouting distress calls over the comm. As the Noble Blaze approached, six A-9 Interceptors formed a group and moved in to attack. Brin and Pah’li had already started firing before the fighters had organized their first attack run on the Noble Blaze, and two Interceptors exploded.
“Ellie, I have the Y-wing leader hailed,” Nora said, punching his frequency through to the cockpit.
“Noble Blaze, this is Blue Leader. Thanks for the help,” said the voice over the comm. He had an odd Core accent, and sounded calm and focused.
“I’m going to clear a path for the freighters to hit hyperspace,” Ellie said. “Can you take care of those Scimitar bombers so the freighters have a chance of getting out of here?”
“Roger that, Noble Blaze,” Blue Leader said, and a Y-wing formation streaked past and attacked their bomber counter-parts.
The A-9 Interceptors had regrouped after taking the first wave of casualties, and returned fire on the Noble Blaze. The ship shuddered as it took laser hits, and Nora glanced over nerously.
“Beta, you better be working on recharging shields,” Ellie said, glancing at the shield rating. It showed 80%.
Beta’s voice came over the comm. “Engineering here. Shields are holding.”
Brin and Pah’li each took out a couple more fighters, but the screen showed a mass of red- at least 25 or so buzzed in the viscinity of the bulk freighters, making it difficult for any escape. Ellie flew tight to the freighters, making her way to the front of the line.
“Frak!” Nora screamed, looking down at sensors. “A new ship just jumped in, some sort of crusier… it’s a Crusader-class corvette… and its launching more fighters!”
“We better get these freighters out soon,” Ellie said. “Get me the captain of the lead bulk freighter.”
Nora hit the comm controls, and a Mon Calamari voice came back.
“This is the captain of the Raggaduun II-“
“Captain,” Ellie interupted, “This is the Noble Blaze. I’m clearing a path. Have all ships ready the jump to lightspeed, and engage on my mark.”
“Affirmative,” came back the Mon Cal.
A swarm of A-9 Interceptors blocked the path to hyperspace. “Gunners, lock the quads forward. I’m gonna roll…” Ellie said as she dropped the ship between the bulk freighters and the fighters.
“What kind of roll-“ Nora started, but she soon found out. The quads pointed forward, blasting at full power, and Ellie brought the Noble Blaze into a barrel roll, juking back and forth in a random pattern, either destroying enemy fighters or sending them scrambling out of the way. After the last fighter in their path was destroyed, Ellie shouted into the comm.
Ellie immeadiatly sent the Noble Blaze into another steep dive, throwing her and Nora into the back of their seats, and narrowly avoiding the bulk freighters steep acceleration into hyperspace.
Nora checked sensors after Ellie pulled the ship back into a normal cruising speed. “They made it! The four freighters are gone!”
“That just leaves the crippled one,” Ellie said. “Blue group should be forming a defense around the freighter.”
“Looks like the fighters are giving up, they’re either heading back for the corvette or jumping into hyperspace,” Nora said, smiling.
“Blue Leader, this is the Noble Blaze. Looks like we did okay,” Ellie said as she checked the scope for Blue Leader’s Y-wing. And she found it- missing its starboard engine and falling into Dantooine’s atmosphere. “Blue Leader?!”
“Noble Blaze, this is the new Blue Leader. He’s been hit-“
Ellie didn’t bother listening to the comm. Instead she hit her thrusters to full, diverting power from the aft shields and quad laser cannons, and made an intercept course for Blue Leader.
Nora checked sensors and looked at the course Ellie plotted. “We’re going to be in atmosphere before we can get to him, Ellie. I don’t see what-“
“Nora, I need you to hold this course, until we get within a few meters of Blue Leader. Then kill thrusters when we get directly above the Y-wing.”
“Me? What are you doing?”
“I’m jumping onto the Y-wing.”
Ellie ran down to the port cargo hold, and checked the gauge on the cargo hatch in the floor. It showed that the Noble Blaze was now in atmosphere, and the ship’s computer had safely adjusted the vaccuum conditions. She checked that her lightsaber was secured to her belt and pressed the control to open the hatch.
The hatch slid open, providing a 2 meter square opening in the deck of the cargo bay. The wind made havok of her hair and clothes, and she calmly took off her robe and tied back her hair. She reached out in the Force, looking for Blue Leader. She found him, very much alive but probably unconscience, and he was approaching rapidly. Ellie stood on the edge of the hatch, eyes closed, trusting that the Force would tell her when to jump. She took a Jedi breath and waited.
The Y-wing was not yet in sight when Ellie stepped off the edge, but it quickly came into view as she began her free-fall. It was missing an engine and its astromech was destroyed, but otherwise appeared intact. It was making a slow lateral spin, clockwise, and Ellie pointed her body straight down, head first, trying to make up the distance between herself and the disabled ship.
She nearly missed her landing, her timing off with the Y-wing’s slow spin, and held on tight to the one remaing engine as her legs kicked wildly behind her. Ellie wished she had some magno-grips to help, but she had to settle for a slow crawl toward the cockpit of the small ship using a small boost of Force strength. When she got near the cockpit, Ellie’s hopes fell slightly: the astromech socket, along with the power and signal cable around it, had fused into a molten glob of black goo. There was almost no way the cockpit had any control of engines or thrusters. Ellie wouldn’t be able to fly the ship anywhere, and Blue Leader was trapped in his cockpit.
But Ellie decided that the cockpit was the only place that was safe and intact, and that gave her an idea. Reaching out in the Force, she began to feel everything inside of the Y-wing’s cockpit. She could sense the control yoke, the firing triggers, the astromech interface… and the ejection lever. Holding tight to the Y-wing, Ellie used the Force to nudge the lever forward…
The cockpit ejected from the Y-wing, its small thrusters blasting it skyward, and hurtling the Y-wing into an eratic spin. Ellie hardly noticed- she now dug deep into the Force, deeper than she had dared tried since leaving prison. She felt the Y-wing and herself, but also concentrated on Dantooine, its gravity pulling both her and the ship at a dangerous and lethal speed to the planet. She focused on that gravity and the Y-wing’s velocity, on her velocity, on the mountains and rolling hills of violet flowers on the planet… on the crew of the Noble Blaze… on Blue Leader… on the small hairs on her neck… on the memories of old friends gone….
She open her eyes and realized she was sitting on top of the Y-wing, legs crossed, both her and the ship perfectly still, hovering about ten meters above grassy plains of Dantooine. She allowed the ship to gently float down, making a soft landing in the field.
Ellie exhaled slowly. “I need to start making better plans,” she thought.