The Photonovel Alliance
EXECUTIONPart 5





The Avenger moved into station alongside the Executor in order to make communications. Asteroids flew across the ships, crashing dangerously into the bridge of the Stalker.


    



Needa spoke to Lord Vader via hologram. Unlike Admiral Ozzel, Vader was not keen on bringing officers from their ships.

NEEDA: Lord Vader, we pursued the Millenium Falcon from Hoth and managed to get some TIE fighters away before she entered the Asteroid Belt.






Commander Nemet stood out of holographic range and watched and listened. Like all officers in the Imperial Navy, he was suspicious of Lord Vader.





LORD VADER: What of the pursuit now Captain?

NEEDA: We spotted her once again several minutes after the entry, which was the last time they appeared on any of our scopes. Considering the ammount of damage we’ve sustained, they must have been destroyed.






LORD VADER: (Via hologram): No Captain, they’re alive. I want every ship availiable to sweep the asteroid field until they are found.

NEEDA: As you wish Lord Vader.






As Needa finished giving his report to Lord Vader, Major Bryl entered the bridge. He was still in combat uniform.





COMMANDER NEMET: Major? Nice to see you. Congratulations on the success of the mission.





Bryl’s face tightened.

BRYL: This is no longer war. It’s massacre.






NEMET: What are you referring to Major?

BRYL: Everything. We are no longer fighting an honourable war! When it comes to shooting unarmed prisoners and executing captives…well-






BRYL: I know we are on the righteous side…but I tell you sir, there is nothing righteous about shooting prisoners in the back of the head.





NEMET: That is enough Major. We may not agree…but we do not question nor voice our concerns. Surely you are aware of that.





BRYL: I mean no ill mood towards the Empire, I just feel that our conduct in this Civil War is becoming somewhat questionable.





Lieutenant Britton listened from nearby.





Lorth Needa overheard the Major’s raised voice.

NEEDA: Major!






NEEDA: Now! What is this all about?!

BRYL: Forgive me Captain. I was outspoken and beyond the mark. It has just hit me…this latest of our ’victories’






NEEDA: How do you mean Major?

BRYL: We go in and we conquor and we maim in an attempt to crush the insurgency and the rebellion? But who really wins?






NEEDA: Major! I will have none of such talk aboard my ship. Is that understood?!

BRYL: Yes Captain.






NEEDA: There is a time and a place for such talk. And on the bridge of an Imperial warship is certainly not the place.





BRYL: Yes…sir. I understand.

Needa walked off, he had other business to attend to. Business that was far more important than his Major’s conscience.






BRITTON: Major?





BRYL: Do not take to heart what I have said Lieutenant. I spoke out of line and out of mind. War is a horrible thing. War can make the sanest of people…well…insane.





Major Bryl walked off from the bridge, leaving a stunned bridge crew.





As the Executor moved out of the asteroid field, the Avenger continued onwards, her gunners successfully destroying any dangerous asteroids.





On Vader’s orders, Lorth Needa deployed a squadron of TIE bombers to work alongside the bombers from the Stalker.





The TIE bombers carried out bombing raids on the larger asteroids, hoping to determine whether the escaped freighter had taking to hiding amongst the asteroids.





Captain Needa and Commander Nemet left the bridge deck and made their way to the Captain’s quarters beneath the bridge.

NEEDA: Lord Vader seems to be leading this personally.

NEMET: What do you think happened with Admiral Ozzel?






NEEDA: To tell you the truth, I have a horrible feeling about Ozzel’s fate. We all know Lord Vader’s temper. I just hope for Firmus’s sake that he doesn’t make any mistakes.





NEMET: Lord Vader is a liability to the Squadron! Sending the ships into an asteroid field. Even the bloody Jedi knights in the Clone Wars, even Jedi like Skywalker wouldn’t have been so reckless!





NEEDA: Enough Commander. I happen to agree with you, however I do not believe we should voice these concerns. All I know is that once we have found the Millenium Falcon, we need to recover out of the asteroids and make repairs.





NEMET: We have suffered considerable damage to the underside, where there are fewer batteries. But, the Chief Gunner has certainly excelled himself. I would put him forward for commendation if I were you.





NEEDA: I shall certainly consider it.

Needa paused, he thought as he heard the guns firing once again, indicating that more asteroids were heading towards the ship.

NEEDA: Damn this! I would be interested to know exactly what is going on aboard the Executor.






NEEDA: I bet Piett is loving it all! Admiralty! New rank and command.





Needa and Nemet walked into the briefing room of the Captain’s Quarters.

NEMET: You don’t like Piett very much do you?






NEEDA: It’s not that I don’t like him, it’s just that he has an uncanny ability to slide blame and responsibility to others. He is not like us Ferdas, he is not a Clone Wars veteran. He hasn’t had the experience, he lacks what others have.





NEMET: Admiral Ozzel would have probably questioned this decision about entering the Asteroid Field. I tell you sir, this modern Navy is dangerous. This war is putting those who are reckless into positions of great power.





At that moment Major Hainsa entered.

HAINSA: Dangerous words Captain. Dangerous thoughts.






NEEDA: (irritated) Major, I don’t know what goes on in the ISB, and frankly I don’t care, but in the Navy we have the courtesy to refer to senior officers as ’Sir’.





HAINSA: Well… Sir,…I understand the concerns of old veterans of the Clone Wars like yourself. I respect your traditional views…but it doesn’t mean that it is right to voice them.





NEEDA: Major, I could potentially have you reprimanded for sneaking in on a conversation between two senior officers.

HAINSA: And…Captain…there are those who would like to hear what you and your Commander have just been saying.






NEEDA: What my Commander and I were discussing were our reservations about the current policies. There is certainly no law condemning such discussions.

HAINSA: Well Captain-






PETTY OFFICER: Forgive me sir. Compliments from the Officer of the Watch, but we have located the Millenium Falcon.





NEEDA: Right, I’ll be on my way to the bridge! Send a Priority Signal to the Executor!





The Avenger had spotted the Millenium Falcon the moment it left the Asteroid Field.





NEEDA: Command on the bridge. Helmsman, both engines full ahead, we’re not losing them this time!





HELMSMAN: Aye Sir. Both engines rung on to full ahead.





The gunners of the Avenger were highly skilled and scored a hit on the Millenium Falcon, damaging its rear shields.





NEMET: They’ve been hit.

NEEDA: I want them captured. Not destroyed!






NEEDA: Ops, inform the gunners to disable only. I want them alive!

LIEUTENANT BRITTON: Aye Sir.






NEEDA: Has the Executor been informed?

COMMS OPERATOR: Yes sir.

NEEDA: Good, alert all commands, get the boarding party ready.






The Millenium Falcon dived, getting itself in the blind arc of the destroyer’s main guns.





LIEUTENANT BRITTON: She’s dived sir! She is in the turn now. At red 45, Elevation 24, tracking right to left!

NEEDA: I have lost visual!






The freighter banked to the left and swung around.





And then with a sudden surge of her engines, the Millenium Falcon turned inbound towards the Avenger





NEEDA: He’s moving into attack position!

DECK OFFICER: He’s too low sir!






The Millenium Falcon swooped low and rose up towards the bridge tower.





NEEDA: Shields up!









The Millenium Falcon was now on a collision course directly with the bridge deck. All seemed lost! If the vessel collided with the bridge deck, the command tower would be littered with bodies. It would be disasterous!





Alarms blared as the Millenium Falcon pulled up at the last minute, just missing the bridge windows.





Everyone raised their heads slowly.

NEEDA: Track them! They may come around for another pass.






LIEUTENANT HARKIN: Captain Needa, the ship no longer appears on our scopes.





NEEDA: It can’t have disappeared! No ship that small has a cloaking device!

HARKIN: Well there’s no trace of them sir!






At that moment one of the crew in the crew pits called up.

CREWMAN: Captain, Lord Vader demands an update on the pursuit! What should he be told?






Silence fell across the bridge. Needa braced himself. Letting the Millenium Falcon go when it was so close was an unforgiveable error. He knew he would have to apologise to Lord Vader.





NEEDA: Get a shuttle ready. I shall except full responsibility for losing them and apologise to Lord Vader. Meanwhile, continue to scan the area.

NEMET: Yes Captain Needa.






Captain Lorth Needa took a deep breath and then walked from the bridge. He left Commander Nemet on the bridge and in command. Needa knew full well that he would have to except any punishment dealt by Lord Vader…



EXECUTION
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