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ALLIANCE INTELLIGENCEChapter 13TURNING POINTS





On the frozen world of Annesland, Col. Airen Cracken underwent a dangerous mission to rescue former Imperial Leutenant Hogan from the Imperial Prison Camp there. However, the rebels were betrayed and General Quasile departed along with Imperial pilots Hans Kott and Cpt. Oxixo; with Cracken, Havi, and Klaatu mechanic H’Larr in tow. Suddenly, however, an explosion rocks their shuttle, sending it crashing to the icy ground below…


    



On the ground, Cpt. Oxixo slowly searches through the burning wreckage of the shuttle, where he encounters Quasile’s new personal bodyguard, one of the elite Storm Commandos.

——“Has the General been escorted to saftey, Sargeant?”

-“Yes, sir,” the Commando replies. “He sent me back here to find you and Captain Kott”.

——“I’m looking for Captain Kott myself. We had a disagreement before the crash and haven’t seen him since”.






The duo is then greeted by another trooper, who rushes up to them.

——“Sirs, the prison bay was breached in the crash, we can’t acess it”.

-“Well, do so at once,” Ox orders, “We can’t let them escape”. Meanwhile, the Commando Sgt. has recieved a message on his com.

-“The General requests your presence sir, there’s an incoming transmission from the base. I’ll keep searching down here”.






Elsewhere in the wreckage, the prisoners have been freed by Cracken’s plan B, a reprogramed pit droid that he had smuggled onboard the General’s shuttle. However, the brave rebel colonel was seriously injured in the crash.





“Sir,” Havi worriedly asks his wounded leader, “What do we do now?”

———“Find a way back to the camp,” Cracken groans. “The extraction plan is downloaded into the droid”. Having said that, he promptly passes out.






Moving quickly, the remaining rebels follow the pit droid, named Doc, to the hanger bay, where they load Cracken onto a speeder…





And drive off in the direction of the camp.





Little do they know, everything they have just done has been observed by Hans Kott. After witnessing his beloved Empire murder unarmed prisoners in order to capture Col. Cracken, the pilot has decided he no longer wants to be a part of Palpatine’s schemes.





Watching the rebels flee, he quickly devises a plan to get offworld unnoticed.





Donning an outdated Stormtrooper unifrom, the disenfrachised fighter ace, accompinied by his loyal astromech steps out into the cold unknown, no longer certain of where his destiny lies. All he knows is what he leaves behind…





The smoking rubble of his tragic past.





Back at the camp, Com. Klink’s requested bounty hunters have arrived, prompting Hogan to take drastic measures. He leads his allies to the stack of crates in the hanger, as instructed by Cracken before his departure. Upon opening, they are revealed to be filled with all manner of blasters.





But they are spotted by a guard.

——“Hey! What’s going on over here?”






Willix promptly silences him. The prison break has begun.





Inside the Imperial bunker, the alarm sounds. Commander Klink instantly regrets sending one of his two bounty hunters out to General Quasile.





The remaining hunter, the ill-tempered Trandoshan Bossk, rushes up to the officer.

——“It lookssss like your defensssses were not as good as you claimed, Commander,” he hisses.






“Well, shut up and do something about it,” Klink snaps. “I’’m not paying you for nothing!”





And so the Imperial forces charge out of their bunker into the snowy battleground that awaits them.





The troopers rush to mobilize the camps canons…





Opening fire on the rebels below.

——“Somebody take that thing out!”






His order is promptly carried out by Ing Jusack, an acrobatic Duro thief.





Elsewhere on camp, Commander Klinks forces find themselves slowly being overwhelmed, as Klink has sent half of his men to the crash site.





One fighter, however, remains undaunted. Bossk, having already taken down multiple targets, now sets his eyes on Jafar Willix.





The prisoner’s cheap blaster does little damage to the reptilian hunter’s armor and Bossk slams him into a wall.





“Die, rebel sssssscum,” the Trandoshan hisses.

———“Not today!” Willix kicks as hard as he can, and the fight begins anew.






Meanwhile, on the walls of the compound, the conflict is drawing to a close…





As Klink, realizing defeat, surrenders.

——“It seems I am your superior again, old friend,” Hogan attempts to reconnect to his former ally.

-“I was never your friend!” Klink shouts back.






The standoff is interrupted when a dueling Bossk and Willix crash into view, distracting Hogan.





At that moment, the treacherous Klantoonian reveals himself as he and Klink tackle Hogan and the slippery ice sends all three toppling off the wall!





While Klink falls, Hogan manages to grab the ledge, and the Klantoonian holds on to him.





“You, too Jak?,” Hogan sighs, as the traitor draws a knife to end his mission.

——“That’s your problem, sir”, Jak smiles. “You trust everyone ‘til it’s too late”.






But, just as Jak is about to kill the former Imperial, Willix shoves Bossk one last time, taking them over the edge…





And Jak with them.





Hogan is helped to saftey by his Nicto companion and second-in-command, Hieker.

——“We won, sir,” he smiles.

-“Yes,” Hogan whispers, his mind dwelling on the three friends he has just lost. “Yes, we did.”






Due to the snow interfering with communications, General Quasile remains unaware of the recent happenings at the prison as he approaches Cpt. Oxixo.

——“We’ve confirmed the prisoners escape, Ox. I believe they have taken your friend as a hostage. Now you need to come in, we’ll need you for the hunt”. The pilot doesn’t respond, simply staring down at his feet, in stark contrast with the icy ground. “Ox, no matter what happens, you can’t blame yourself,” the General continues. “And besides…






From what I’ve heard, this man Fett’s the best there is…”





In a suit of borrowed armor, Hans trudges through the frozen wasteland on the trail of the escaped rebels, in hope that they will have a way to get him off planet and reunite him with his brother.





But Hans is not the only person seeking the rebels. Not too far away, General Quasile has gained the help of bounty hunter Boba Fett to orbanize a massive manhunt, unaware of what has transpired at the prison camp.





Cpt. Oxixo, Imperial fighter ace, has other reasons to seek out the rebels. While General Quasile believes the Captains closest friend, Hans Kott, has been taken hostage, Oxixo himself is deeply worried that Hans has followed the path of his brother and defected.





All he knows for sure is that he must beat the mysterious bounty hunter to his quarry…





Meanwhile, Hans has discovered the rebels stolen speeder, discarded in a snow bank. From there the trail leads to a nearby, icy cave, which he promptly enters.





His footsteps echo throughout the cave, alerting The rebels, who are tending to the injured Cracken.





H’larr goes to investigate, is shocked to see a fully armored Stormtrooper. He rushes to defend himself…





But the trooper quickly pulls off his helmet.

——“Stop! I am not a foe! My name is Hans Kott and I wish to speak to your Colonel”.






H’larr warily leads the stranger back to Cracken’s sleeping form, where his identity is verifyed by their pit droid-turned medic, Doc

——“We understand your wishes, Mr Kott”, Doc asserts, “But at the moment I will not allow you to wake the patient. His condition is very serious. But while you are here, you can make yourself useful by helping Master Havi find another way out of this miserable cave before the rest of your Imperial firends arrive. I doubt they will be as friendly as you”.






Speaking of Imperials, one of the scouting parties organized by Boba Fett has also discovered the abandoned speeder.





And, with all coms down, sends a man rushing back to report.





A report that is much needed,as the main search group has grounded to a halt.





General Quasile approaches Boba Fett, as he struggles to free an entrapped trooper.

——“I apologize for the delay General,” the stuck trooper reports. “We are preparing blasts to clear the damage caused by the avalanche”.

-“But wouldn’t that stand the chance of causing a second avalanche?” Quasile asks.

—————“That’s what I’ve been trying to say,” Fett mutters.






“But it no longer matters,” the Cerean General stops the argument. “One of your scout groups has reported in. They’ve found the speeder”.





It takes only a short while for the Imperials to arrive at the sight of the wreck, and Hans’ poorly disguised trail is not hard to follow.





And it leads straight to the ice cave. Before anyone enters, however, General Quasile pulls Ox aside.

——“I don’t know if I can trust the hunter or his scouts, Captain. Their orders did not come from me. I want those men alive. Ensure that it happens.”

-“Of course, sir. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

——“Good. Now go”.






“We’re going in,” Fett orders. “All troops, stay behind me.”





The echoes of the troops footsteps awake Cracken. Giving no time to explain the situation or Hans’ presence, Havi simply tells his officer that they’ve found a second way out, and must get to it at once. He has a plan to delay the enemy.





Boba Fett leads the troops through the winding tunnels of the cave, when all are startled by a sudden roaring sound.





Hans’ droid has started a cave-in!





Ox pushes out in front of Fett as sheets of ice crash down from the walls and roof of the cave.





Fett and the troops are all trapped or crushed beneath the ice. Ox, ignoring their cries for aid, soldiers on…





Only to be confronted by what he fears most.

——“Don’t take another step, Ox,” Hans Kott bluntly asserts himself, pointing his blaster at his closest friend.

-“What in the Emperor’s name do you think you are doing?” Ox shouts back.






“I’m leaving,” Hans answers calmly. “And you’re not going to stop me”.

———“Why? This is treason Hans! You know I can’t let you escape. Why are you doing this?”

-“I’ve seen the horrors the Empire is capable of. I’ve seen their disregard for life! And you have too. I never would have thought you,my best friend, with all your love of the law could stand for these violations”.






“The Emporer is the law Hans! He has brought order to this galaxy the likes of which it’s never known! And your friends there, they stand against that. They’re the ones destroying the order, bringing war to the Empire’s peace!”

——“What good is peace at the cost of freedom?” Hans asks.

-“We are free! Free to be orderly and peaceful. Free to live our lives without fear of war, of…”

——“And instead we fear Palpatine, and his crushing grip on every aspect of everyone’s lives,” Hans interrupts. “I can’t be a part of this oppression anymore. My conscience can’t take it”.

-“And your conscience can take what your rebellion will cause. It’s already doomed, Hans. But if it goes on any longer, think of all the lives that will be lost. All the innocent lives! What about them! Do your terrorist friends even care? I doubt it!”

——“I’m sorry, Ox….”






Hans never gets a chance to finish, as a second, unplanned cave-in sends a wall of ice crashing down between the two friends.





When Boba Fett frees himself a few minutes later. He finds Ox resting his head against the ice and decides that it is best not to bother him while they wait to be dug out.





While, at the other end of the cave the weary band of rebels heads back out into the frigid temperatures, now with two injured humans in tow and still very far from the camp. And it is 2 hours past extraction time.





That two hours has proved too long for General George Naht of Alliance Intelligence to wait. As snoq once more begins to fall, he orders his extraction shuttle to land at the Imperial’s prison camp.





“The all-clear hasn’t been signaled yet,” Naht commands his team, which includes Cracken’s own best friend: Hank Landow. “This may be a trap”.





But the rebels soon find that their plan has been carried out.





And Hogan informs them of Cracken’s fate.





And so the rebels head back to their ship.

——“Mr. Hogan will ensure that all of the liberated prisoners and captured Imperials leave safely in the base’s shuttles”, Naht adresses his men once more.

-“So then we go and keep Airen from getting turned into a popsicle… again,” Hank interrupts.

——“Again?”

-“I guess we forgot to mention that in the report for that job….”






But, as the rescue shuttle heads out in search of the wayward Colonel, his condition is not getting any better.





“I don’t think Air will last much longer in this weather, Doc,” Havi worries.

——“Actually, I’m more worried about you, Master Havi,” the droid replies. “Cold-blooded species such as yours are not meant for these environments. It is a miracle you have survi….Wait. What’s that sound?”






The dejected rebels look up to the welcome site of Gen. Naht’s graceful shuttle as it swoops down towards them.





As the troops exit the shuttle, Havi and H’Larr run towards them.

——“You got here just in time!”






“That’s my job,” General Naht smiles. “You’d all be dead ten times over without me. Get everyone on board, quickly!”





And so the shuttle departs, leaving behind the frozen world of Annesland.





A short hyperspace jump later and the shuttle arrives in the snowy mountains of a planet in the Alderaan system, the site of the rebels main transit base.





Here, they are greeted with a warm welcome from both old friends and new (those just liberated from Annesland)





And one important, unexpected guest: the recently defected Admiral Akbar himself!





As Akbar tries to speak, Cracken is surronded by medics, but the Colonel bids them leave:

——“See to the others first. I’ll be fine”.






So the medics instead turn to the other injured human, whom Sila Kott finally catches a glimpse of.





“Hans!” he calls out, running to his brother’s side.





“Brother…” Hans manages to groan, before the doctors shush him.

———“I’m never going to leave you again, Hans,” Sila promises. “Never!”






As the two brothers are reunited, Admiral Akbar finally gets a chance to congradulate Cracken.

——“A jolly good show you but on there old boy! Truely stellar work”.

-“Just doing my duty, sir,” the Colnel replies. “But I do have one request.”

——“What’s that?”






“My next mission. Could it be somewhere……a bit warm?”



ALLIANCE INTELLIGENCE
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PRISONERS OF WAR
 
Chapter 13Chapter 14
BOUNTY
 
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