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ALLIANCE INTELLIGENCEChapter 15ALPHAS





Alliance Intelligence: Chapter 15: Alphas


    



As the conflict between the Empire and the fledgling Rebel Alliance deepens, the galaxy prepares itself for the possible outbreak of Civil War. But not all inhabitants minds dwell on the seemingly unavoidable war.





Jaig Landow, brother of rebel hero Hank Landow, peacefully continues his studies in the ways of the Force, trained by former Jedi Master Qwarr. However, little does he know that he will be called upon to use the skills he is learning now to defend his friends sooner than he expects…





Meanwhile, a close call with the bounty hunter Bane Malar on Tatooine left Col. Airen Cracken severely injured but, after only 1 out of the 4 doctor-required weeks of rehab, began to insist to be returned to the field…





Prompting his closest friend, Hank Landow, to approach Gen. George Naht, head of Alliance Intelligence.

———“And what is it I can do for you today, Mr Landow?” the general inquires.

“It’s about Air…Colonel Cracken, sir. He was seriously injured on our last mission, but won’t take any time off. He’s determined to get back in action, despite the effect on him”.

———“So he is a good soldier. What is your problem, Sergeant?”

“I’m worried for him, sir. Since Jaas was killed, he’s thrown us into one mission after another, always taking the worst of it. He’s trying to win this war by himself, and its hurting him, sir. Physically and mentally.”






“And what do you want me to do about it?” the general asks.

———“Just put our squad on forced leave. Keep us at base. We all need rest, but he needs it most of all”.

“Very well, then,” Gen. Naht turns to Nien Nunb, his right-hand-Sullustan. “Did you take that down? Team Beta is on forced leave for a month”. Nien motions to his databoard. “And the mission to Rocco 9? Reassign it”. Nien shakes his head. “What do you mean everyone else is busy? Alpha Team isn’t! We haven’t done anything in ages!”

———“Are you sure that’s wise sure?” Hank cautiously asks. “You haven’t led a combat op in some time.”

“Nonsense! I’m as good as ever, better even! How did you think I got this job, being lazy?”

———“No, sir,” Hank sighs. “Of course not”.






Two days later, our story begins, as an Imperial patrol marches through the streets of Rocco 9, the only spaceport on a planetoid of the same name. Just another stopover for intergalactic commerce, Rocco 9’s unpredictable weather has rendered most business ventures implausible, but has been long rumored to house a prominent prisoner transport station for the Galactic Empire.





And it is that station that Gen. George Naht is leading Alpha Team to find and liberate.





Nien Nunb, who has been moniterring the parade, turns around, giving an all clear signal with his hands, as he doesn’t speak a bit of Basic, and Sullustan is terribly hard to understand.





“All right”, heavy weapons specialist Arnold instructs the pilot Tiree. “Get out there and blend in.”

——“You, know, I’ve been thinking about this, Arnie, and I’m having second thoughts,” Tiree stutters. “This isn’t my usual work. I could get hurt out there, or worse!”






“Shut up, Tiree,” Arnold slams an Imperial helmet down upon the timid pilots head…





And drags him out of the alleyway, pushing him towards the Imperial patrol…





But Tiree stumbles, attracting the attention of a stormtrooper who was lagging behind the patrol.





The trooper raises his weapon towards Arnold, who, despite protests from George, draws his own blaster…





And cuts down the trooper, attracting the attention of the whole patrol.





“What do you think you’re doing?” George yells. “Don’t you understand stealth?”





Arnold has no time to answer, as he is assaulted by a massive alien, controlled by the patrolling Imperial squad!





George races back to Nien Nunb, who is yelling in his Sullustan tongue.

——“What are you trying to say?”

“Blurrr! Wupwup nagga yussa nay…”






“Never mind. Just everybody run!” With that, the fearless rebel General turns and flees down the alley.





Nien promptly follows, leaving just as the alien behemoth barrels into demolitions expert Orrimarko…





The contact brings the brute tumbling to the ground, just as the rest of the stormtrooper patrol enters the alley.





In the chaos of the ensuing chase, no one notices that Tiree has slipped into the Imperial ranks.





The terrified rebel tries to stay out of sight as the stormtroopers struggle to locate the missing rebels.





“You there,” the commanding officer gestures at Tiree. “Did you see where they went?”

——“N..n..n..no, sir,” he stammers in reply.

“Then lets head back to camp. At least we got two of the scoundrels”.






George and Nien watch as the patrol departs.

——“Is Tiree’s scanner activated, Ceefour?” George asks his droid, which whistles an answer back. “Good. We’ll set forth in the morning to meet Pops and Hogan at the landing sight. Everything is going according to the plan”.






However, all is not well with George’s plan. After being caught in a freak thunderstorm, the three rebel fighters that were headed to meet him have all been shot down. The first pilot to recover is former Imperial Lt. Angus Hogan, who crawls out of his ruined fighter into the rainstorm outside.





Gathering his bearings, Hogan rushes to the nearest wreck to free his comrade…





Pulling Davish “Pops” Krail to freedom.





“Thanks, laddy,” the older pilot is breathing heavily. “Where’s Jek?”

——“I saw him go down just over that hill,” Hogan replies.

“Good. Let’s go get him and…” Pops is cut off by the sounds of an approaching motor. “Scratch that and take cover!”






As the two pilots run to safety, the source of the noise becomes apparent, as an Imperial strike force runs out to finish their job.





Hiding behind a mound, Hogan is beginning to panic. This is the first ground combat of his career.

——“What do we do now?”

“Wait,” Pops replied, as a signal beeps over his comlink. “And when the shooting starts, grab your helmet and run like the whole bloody Empire’s behind you.”






As if on signal, the third pilot, Jek Porkins, appears over the hill, dragging along his massive rotary canon.





“Y’all get down now!” he shouts…





Before opening fire on the incoming Imperials.





Taken by surprise, the flurry of blaster bolts blows away the front line of Stormtroopers…





Giving time for Hogan and Pops to make their hasty escape.





Later that night, Arnold and Orrimarko arrive at the secret transfer station, only not as the liberators they intended to be, but as prisoners.





In the hours before curfew, they gather with several fellow prisoners to watch as the camps Imperial forces turn out to welcome to newly arrived shuttles.





The first shuttle carries Imperial Detectives James Marquand and Richard Watts, along with their escort, Trooper Shade. The duo of investigators is quite impressed by their seeming importance.





“I must say, old chap, this is quite considerate of you,” Marquand informs Colonel Ulrey, the stations commanding officer. “My partner and I are deeply honored by this showing of…”

——“This isn’t for you, detective,” Ulrey snarls. “It’s for him.”






Marquand turns around to see the troops snap to attention at the crew of the 2nd shuttle…





Storm Commander Kueller, an elite soldier and one of the few clones trained to the point of taking on a and capturing a Jedi…





And he has come to personally transfer his newest victim:





The Whipid Jedi Master K’Kruhk.





The next morning, we return to the plight of the three rebel pilots, as Hogan awakes, shocked to find himself covered in snow!





“Pops, where did this all come from? It was raining just last night!”

——“Rocco’s weather is extremely volatile,” the elder rebel explains. “It’s malarkey like this that keeps the place from being useful for anything but hiding prisoners. Speaking of which, we’ve fallen behind schedule. We need to be at the rendezvous in exactly four hours, and it’ll take five to get their on foot”.






“So lets get moving…” Pops pauses when he realizes one of the trio is still snoring away on the ground. “Porkins! Get up! It’s time to go!”





“Huh, wha…” the sleepy pilot snaps awake. “Ya woke me from a darn good dream, Pops”.





“Yeah, well you’ll have plenty of time for dreaming later, laddie,” Pops looks out at the terrain ahead. “We’ve just got some prisoners to free first”.





Elsewhere, Nien Nunb has also awoken to find the world covered in snow.





Awakening his General, the two rebels and their droid pile into their speeder, zooming across the plains towards the rendezvous point.





“Nien,” George muses. “We really need to find away to communicate. You see, you seem to understand me just fine, but I can’t make hind nor tail out of anything you say.”

———“Mumf ja nazzer,” Nien shakes his head.

“Is that no? Maybe you should write it out on the data pad,” George fumbles to find the datapad, distracting Nien from driving. Ceefour beeps a frantic warning…






But it is too late. The speeder careens over the side of a hill, throwing its occupants out into the snow!





“Muzzle gadget,” Nien mutters under his breath.

——“Ugh. Ceefour, do you have the datapad?” an exasperated George asks. When no reply comes, he angrily turns himself around…






To find his astromech upside-down in the snow.

——“Well, what a wonderful start we’ve gotten off to,” he mutters. “Nien, get Ceefour out and have her help you fix the speeder”.

“Mawf woot woot nunka”.

“Yes you!” George orders, having gotten a good impression of the meaning of “mawf woot nunka” over the years of working with Nien..






-The air support has been shot down and the three pilots forced to travel to the rendezvous on foot. Meanwhile, commandos Arnold and Orrimarko have been captured by Imperial forces and are now held prisoner in the very camp they were sent to liberate!





On the edges of a frozen pond, the two rebels converse with their fellow prisoners. Arnold, ever impatient, is already about to snap. And when and approaching Imperial guard starts calling his name, he does.





Whirling around, Arnold tackles the guard, slamming him onto the icy ground!





However, upon doing this, he is shocked to see a familiar face beneath the helmet.

——“Don’t you recognize, me, you oaf?” rebel pilot Tiree wheezes. “I think you broke like, at least three of my ribs.”

“Shut up, Tiree,” Arnold grunts, helping his disguised fellow soldier to his feet.






“They’ve called Ori in for interrogation,” Tiree explained. “They’ve got Detective Marquand in there waiting. He’s the Empire’s best interrogator.”

——“Sounds like fun, man,” Orrimarko sighs. “I can’t wait”.






Inside the garrison, Orrimarko is led down the corridors into an interrogation room by Colonel Ulrey and the visiting detectives.





“I must digress, Colonel,” Detective Marquand turns to Col. Ulrey. “The vast majority of this equipment is highly illegal.”

——“Surely you realize, detective, we make laws to govern the rabble of the galaxy, not ourselves. I’m sure you will find these devices quite successful in your interrogation”.






“I’m sure,” Marquand replies as Orrimarko is strapped onto a deadly looking table. “But I brought along my own tools. I’ve found that these rebels respond much more to mental anguish than physical pain”.





As Orrimarko prepares to be tortured, rebel pilots Hogan. “Pops” Krail, and Jek Porkins have arrived at the rendezvous, and have been waiting now for three hours for the arrival of General Naht. The sun is high in the sky over Rocco 9, rapidly melting the snow that had covered the ground just hours before.

—“You think he gone and got himself lost?” Porkins asks, with a yawn.






“Wait!” Hogan sits straight up. “I hear a motor!”





Sure enough, George’s speeder careens over the hill, coming to a screeching halt inches from where the pilots were sitting.





“Right on time,” George proclaims, as he stumbles out of the speeder.

—“You’re three hours late, sir,” Pops replies as he salutes his general.






“Nonsense. Your timepieces must be broken,” George answers. “Now let’s get down to business. The plan…”





“Actually, sir,” Pops interjects. “I have a plan I think you might want to listen to.”

——“Very well, then,” General Naht has long ago learned to trust Pops’ judgment.






“I’ve been looking at the scans of the base. The main garrison has a skylight. Jek, Hogan, and I can blast open the main gate with the explosives you brought, creating a distraction so that you and Nien can grapple onto the roof of the garrison, enter through the skylight, and take hostages”.





“Sounds brilliant,” George replies. “In fact, it’s exactly what I was going to do anyway. Now let’s get moving”.





As the rebels move in on the base, Detective Marquand’s psychological interrogations have failed to get any information out of Orrimarko or Arnold. Colonel Ulrey has grown impatient.





“Your methods take too long for my tastes, Detective,” the sadistic officer growls. “I think I can be more persuasive”. Turning to a nearby rack, he picks up deadly-looking device Marquand has never seen before.





“Colonel, wait,” Marquand protests. “Mental anguish takes some time to set in, I would advise leaving these two in solitary confinement with no light access for…”

———“We don’t have time for that! Their fellow rebels could be attacking any minute!” As if on cue, a massive explosion shakes the very foundation of the Imperial garrison.






Outside, Stormtroopers rush towards the smoke and fire at the front gate…





Only to be gunned down as Jek Porkins storms into battle!





“Mayday! Mayday!” one trooper rushes to report in. “We have been breached! Hostiles at the gate…”





His alarm is promptly silenced as Pops joins Porkins in the shootout.





Back in the chamber, as alarms sound, Troopers Kueller and Shade rush into the chamber.

——“There’s been an explosion at the gate, sir,” Shade reports. “We’re under attack!”






Col. Ulrey shoves his way past Detective Marquand.

——“It seems like these scum are no longer of any use to us…”






Above his head, Gen. Naht and Nien Nunb peer down through the skylight.

—“I think we’ve waited long enough, Nien,” George decides.






And as Ulrey prepares to lay a lethal blow upon his prisoner…





Nien crashes through the skylight, blaster blazing!





The Sullustan crashes to the floor as Gen. Naht scales a rope down after him, opening fire on the shocked troops.





Kueller turns to flee, but is promptly knocked out when Tiree wildly flails his helmet into the Trooper’s face





Kneeling in surrender, the shocked Detective Marquand gasps out a question.

——“Who are you?”






“My name is George Naht,” the general replies. “And I am in control now”.





Sure enough, outside the garrison, the Stormtroopers have all either surrendered or been cut down. Hogan frees the gracious prisoners…





While Porkins fires jubilantly into the air. The rebels are victorious!





A short while later, the rebels supervise the newly released prisoners as the tidy up the conquered base, locking up the surviving Imperials and searching for any useful gadgets.

—“See,” Arnold approaches Tiree. “I told you everything would go fine”.

“Yeah, well I’m staying a pilot from now on,” Tiree grumbles. “And I still say you broke one of my ribs”.






Just down the hall, Gen. Naht is conversing with Orrimarko.

——“I just to thank you again, man,” the Commando is saying. “You showed up just in time.”

“Of course I did, Corporal,” George replies. “And please, address me as sir”.






At that point, the conversation is interrupted as Nien Nunb races up to the general, waving his arms frantically in the air and yelling incoherently in his native tongue.





“What’s he saying?” George asks Orrimarko.

——“Umm…something about a beacon. Umm… it seems the Imperials sent out a distress beacon and…they have reinforcements on the way. A lot of reinforcements”.






“No matter,” George shrugs off the news.

——“What?”

“Send out our beacon. Soon we’ll have some reinforcements of our own”.






On a not too distant moon, Jaig Landow sits tranquilly on the ground, as Master Qwarr speaks to him, calmly.





“Let the force flow through you, Jaig. It is all around you. Can you feel it?”





“Yes, Master,” Jaig concentrates. His training has progressed rapidly in the last months, but despite his growth in the Force and his bond with his new Master, he continues to feel a dark presence, and, remembering the words of Inquisitor Tarsus the last time they fought, fears that the kindly Weequay Jedi is hiding something from him.





“Good,” Master Qwarr smiles. His new pupil has excelled in every way possible, perhaps, Qwarr thinks, allotting for the past mistakes he made during the Clone Wars. Suddenly, a shrill alarm disturbs the tranquil setting.





“What is it?” Jaig asks.

——“A beacon, from your friends in the Rebel Alliance. It seems our services our required”…




ALLIANCE INTELLIGENCE
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