The Photonovel Alliance


“Yes, there were four of them” says the soldier. “As well as a group of rebels.”

“We counted at least 5 or 6, but we didn’t have enough men to pursue them.”

“We were out gunned,” he admits. “It looked like they were armed with A280-”

“Enough,” says a firm, but sly voice. “Tell me more about the four men.”

“Tell me exactly what you saw.”

Dreya sighs heavily. “The uncharted ice planet was risky, but then the Emperor contacted Brior and wanted a squad sent down. We should have abandoned the plan,” she says looking down, thinking about the mission. “Brior chose to continue on with it,” she says. “It’s never by coincidence if the Emperor is involved, and Brior just couldn’t say ‘no’.”

“His duty was to the Empire,” says Kalin sternly, looking away from the group.

“His duty,” replies Dreya, “-was to uphold justice, and he attempted to do that. And it costs him dearly.”

“Do any of you understand that?”

“We don’t know where they sent him,” Jai clears his throat. “Anorial, the Cerean, doesn’t want to make a move on him.”

“It would be too costly for us,” says Dreya. “We don’t have the means or man power to risk a rescue operation on an Imperial prison. We’re spread too thin as it is already.”

“How do we know it’s all true?” asks Kane, facing the woman. “Last time you showed up, you cost me a friend,” he says with a dry rasp in his voice. “Remember that? So don’t talk to me about things being too costly.”

“It was never supposed to happen like that. You know that, Kane.”

“No,” he explains. “I don’t know that, Dreya!”

The woman looks at him.

“For all I know, you and your rebel friends’ operation on that planet went just as planned.”

“I wonder what Darr would think of all this?” interjects Haas sarcastically. “He’d probably see things a bit differently, given his current perspective.”

Meade shakes his head. “We wouldn’t know what his opinion would be either way. He signed up for the job, he knew anything could happen. We did the same exact thing. What does matter is how we continue, and what will happen to Brior.”

“You don’t have the means to grab Brior, and we’re still trying to get intel on his location anyway,” says Jai. “I know Anorial wants to hit an Imperial convoy soon, like something real high profile,” whispers the man. “He needs insiders to get us close or help with the speeders or something. I’d be willing to bet if you-”

“That’s off the table,” says Kane.

“What are you going to do then Kane? Keep having me tell you every little thing the Alliance does? And for what?”

Dreya sighs as Jai continues speaking.

“One day, you’re going to want to continue with your lives, and you’ll have to stop running. And when you do, maybe having some friends along the way would help.”

“Wroth,” says Dreya. “We have to get back to base. It’s going to be hard explaining your actions. You know that”, she pauses. “Consider it Kane. Consider what Brior is feeling right now, and you just think about it. There’s only so far you can run from the Empire.”

“And you can’t go back again.”

“I don’t know what she’s on about,” smirks Kalin. “That’s the rebel in her. Always looking for moral justice and stirring up emotions. And besides, we’re as good as gone. They’ll never find us on this rock.”

“I believe I’ve discovered the location of Able Squad.”

“A gathering of insurgent scum took place recently, and our network there indicates they seem to be privy to information relevant to Brior.”

“Sumner, I want you to take your men and move on Ethna. If Kane and his squad are there, find them, and then kill them. Use all means necessary.”

“You’ll receive a transmission soon with all relevant information. Understood?”

“Yes ma’am,” replies Sumner, opening his mouth to say something, but quickly closing it.

“Something to add, lieutenant?”

“Uh, Colonel Elliot,” says Sumner. “Well, I just thought-I might make a request?”

“And what would that be?” asks the colonel cooly.

“It’s been sometime since I was aboard the Aberrant Dawn, ma’am,” he says, thinking carefully through what he had rehearsed several times. “I-I was wondering if my regards might be sent to Corporal Volgrin. She should be off-duty at about this time,” he swallows hard.

“Corporal Volgrin?” says Elliot with distaste, searching for why such a request would be made. “Am I your messenger Sumner? Am I-”, she pauses.

“Volgrin, you say?”

“Yes ma’am, Corporal Volgrin,” replies Sumner. “I haven’t heard from her for quite some time.”

She chuckles softly to herself. “I’ll have someone send along your regards to her, Sumner,” she says, with an empathetic tone.

“And if you succeed in killing Able Squad, I’ll make sure you both get a well deserved time of leave,” smiles Elliot. “-Together.”

“They don’t trust me,” whispers Basso to himself. “They don’t hear what I’m saying.”

He blinks several times.

“Listen to me,” he says softly, a quiet echo down the corridor. “Listen to me!”

“What if they tracked me here?” he asks himself. “What if they’re listening?”

“Can you hear me? Are you watching? Waiting? To make your move?”

“No, Elliot let me out. She let me out of the cage. She wanted to see where I’d go. What if they’ve tracked me. They’ve tracked me.”

“Did you hear that?”

“They’ve tracked me.”

“Hey!” says the man.

“Are you okay?” asks the other being.

“They followed me. The landing, and the escort, and then I lost them. I jumped ship you see,” he laughs. “I’m fine. Fine.”

One of the soldiers approaches the man, “Are you okay?”

“Yes?” replies Basso as he turns to meet the men.

“Basso, is that you?”

“Yeah,” he says, his voice suddenly losing any note of character.

“Hi?” says the rebel, looking at the now stable man.

The Nemodian shifts his head, watching Basso carefully. “You are okay? The-”

“I’m perfect,” he pauses. “Why?” asks Basso forcefully.

“Do you require medical attention?” asks the Neimoidian.

“We just heard you,” says the soldier. “-Talking, that’s all.”

“Yes, I’m fine.” he says plainly, passing by the two men.

“Never been better.”

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