Jared was being ushered down the hall by the Admiral, and more and more people were joining them. High-ranking officials, weapons specialists, elite pilots, and worker droids. Some of the lower officers were dismissed from the group. Jared was surprised, it seemed like everyone was there.
D’Tan and Cid arrived from their training, and Max clambered along at the end of the group. There was a silence of anticipation, a little murmuring, and speculation as to what this new toy was. Most supposed it was a ship. A good ship, and so many were anxious to see it.
They came around the corner to face a nondescript blast door, which would open into the docking bay and where this secret was being developed. The Admiral entered the code and the door slid open. Many held their breath as they looked in and saw...
Nothing. It was empty.
“What the hell?” exclaimed Jared, “Where is it?”
There really was nothing but a few tools, some crates, and a control console. But that was what the Admiral had intended.
“Please, come this way,” The Admiral said, as he ushered them into the docking bay so all could see...what? “General Uthat, if you would.”
Mar stepped forward to the console and the Admiral looked out the starport to the star, the central star of their home system, Angosia.
“Would you mind telling me what’s going on here?” Jared said, for he was not impressed with this silent show of nothing.
“Ah yes,” Mar said, “We had to test the final shielding of the ship. It seems to be holding very well. May I present you with...the Angosian Star.”
“Wonderful,” Jared said, “But, where is it?”
“There.” The Admiral said.
“There. In the sun.”
Everyone seemed to strain their eyes to look into the star, almost oblivious to the damage it may do to their eyes. The only ones who seemed inattentive were D’Tan and Cid, for they knew where it was.
The mass could see a black dot as something emerged from the middle of the sun and they visually tracked it for a while. No one was able to gauge exactly how fast the ship was going, except Cid.
“It’s coming in fast, almost attack speed!” he exclaimed.
The huge saucer-shaped ship appeared, and quickly too. It was heading straight for the ship, coming in as if on a collision course. Except for the Jedi, people were nervous and noticeably jumpy as it came in, skidded to a halt, gear scraping as it landed. Of course, everyone started to scramble out of the way as this huge ship set down.
“Mar”, the Admiral exclaimed, “grow up!”
This ship was something to marvel at. The docking bay was big enough to hold 30 normal ships, and the roof was raised up higher. But the Angosian Star filled the bay. The lights gleamed off of the thick, shiny armor as the ship let out its final exhaust and the entry ramp lowered.
“Come, let’s tour your ship, Jared.”
Jared was so astonished he would have burst, but being his normal self, he remained silent, for his training always stuck with him, and he couldn’t keep from running his hand over the smooth hull of the ship as he passed underneath it to the entryway.
Once on the ship, one thing occurred to him.
“Uh, Admiral, where would we get a schematic of the ship? It’s a little, uh, big.”
“Oh,” Mar replied, “There’s one on the wall here. You should be able to find a console every once and a while, but knowing you, you’ll find your way without one.”
“Thanks,” Jared said, with a bit of sarcasm in his voice.
“Oooh, sir,” yelped Max, “There’s an interface here, I’ll plug in and find out what I can on this ship.”
“You do that, Max,” Cid said, patting Max on his metallic back, “Just be sure to get me a technical readout.”
“No need for that,” interrupted Mar, “There’s a copy waiting in you’re quarters here.”
“My quarters?!” exclaimed Cid.
“Yes, all of you have your own quarters. This is a small warship, with a lot of punch. You all will be stationed here. Of course the lower officers will have to share quarters, but none of you are that.”
“Oh, how wonderful,” groaned Gannon, “You’re gonna strand me out here, and I won’t be seeing a well-stocked bar or a tough game of sabacc for a while.”
“You should try deck 7,” Mar said, “There’s a small bar there, and yes, there are sabacc tables.”
Obviously everyone seemed satisfied, except for one person. That was D’Tan. He’d be away from his Jedi training for quite some time.
“Oh, and to keep you primed, there’s a training center down one deck,” Mar said, almost reading D’Tan’s mind. “Just to hone your skills.”
Mar turned to face D’Tan.
“And there’s plenty of those Jedi training items there too.”
Admiral Danar probably stocked them full of training remotes and ball bearings, for he would certainly know how quickly D’Tan went through them.
“Now, let’s take you to the bridge of the ship.”
The bridge was spectacular and spacious. Displays hummed, panels blinked. Jared drew his attention to the captain’s chair, as he was impressed with the luxury of this warship and its bridge.
Cid tapped in almost immediately at his station to get a readout of all the systems. Yep, the latest advancements were all there; the Phase Shielding, the metaphasic shielding, the Hyperlance warheads, the rapid-fire cannons, and enough maneuvering thrusters that they could go all-out through an asteroid field and not take a scratch. But, of course, this was one tough little ship, it wouldn’t scratch easily.
Max settled in to his personal interface and plugged in to interpret all the data. He had been unsuccessful at the other computer, having a long talk with it and running into all sorts of errors, mostly on his part. D’Tan had his seat to the left of Jared but no true controls.
Gannon was given a seat towards the front of the ship and more to the side. He observed that there were no important controls there; they obviously were trying to keep him isolated where he couldn’t get in the way.
Darus was not impressed at first by the fact that he wouldn’t be placed in any gunner’s well, his second home, and that the guns were mainly automated.
“Where’s my turret? Damned it, I’m a gunner, not a bureaucrat!”
But his mood softened some as he was given a place at a console behind Jared’s chair. From here he would control the shots of each gun with his good aim and with the newly engineered targeting system, it could fire more accurately than he could ever have without such aid. He’d have to thank Cid later, for it only needed one-tenth of a second to acquire a lock on a moving target with him at the controls.
After a full ship diagnostic, Cid noted the two empty consoles towards the front of the ship. They both had controls for piloting the ship. Also, the chair to the right of Jared, occupied by the first officer, was empty.
“Admiral,” Cid said, “where is the rest of the crew?”
“They’re on their way,” the Admiral replied, “Their shuttle will arrive later today.”
The intercom buzzed, and the Admiral replied.
“Sir,” the dispatcher said, “Peliar Zel has just fallen under assault by Imperial forces. Reports indicate that it’s Anorax’s fleet.”
“What’s the status of the fleet?” Danar asked.
“Sir, the fleet is still recuperating from the last attack,” the voice said, “we haven’t much to use.”
“Thorn Squadron would be ready to go now, sir,” D’Tan interjected.
“And we have this ship,” said Jared confidently.
“But we haven’t the proper crew!” cried Mar.
“I’ve confidence in the people here,” responded Admiral Danar, “And we’ll make do. Jared, Mar, take the pilot controls. Prepare to launch. Buzz Thorn Squadron, too.”
“Already done, sir,” said Max, who had almost been forgotten.
The Admiral was settling into his chair, but he, like all the others, knew that the odds would be against them. They had a new ship, yes, but would it be enough? Only time would tell.
As the group jumped into hyperspace, they all hoped that like the Rebels on the other side of the galaxy, a few starfighters and some courage would bring them through as well.