View Full Version : Defenders of the Status Quo

Jaden Luka
Sep 4th, 2010, 01:58:55 PM
"I have news for the forces of greed and the defenders of the status quo; your time has come and gone. It's time for change..."
- Bill Clinton

* * *

Aboard the Challenger

The canopy hissed, air escaping as the slight variance between the air pressure of the hangar and the cockpit equalised. A chill tugged at his skin as colder, space-exposed air replaced the body heat warmed atmosphere that he'd established during the brief flight from the Valiant.

A few days had passed since they'd tangled with the Empire (http://www.sw-fans.net/forum/showthread.php?t=21139); time for the convoy to regroup; for the pilots to recover and lick their wounds; and for what had happened to truely sink in. Many of the Jedi and technicians had ferried down to the surface (http://www.sw-fans.net/forum/showthread.php?t=21212) of Lethe, a world in the Unknown Regions where they'd elected to hide briefly, in search of a reprieve. In the meantime, the commander of the Challenger had called a summit of sorts: pilots, marines, officers, and anyone else with the inclination or curiosity to do so had made their way via fighters and shuttles into the bowels of the Wheel's newest ship.

Jaden let out a low whistle as he tugged off his helmet, and cast his gaze around the cavernous interior of the Venator-class Star Destroyer. Though only a small freighter's length over a kilometre long, the iconic Imperial wedge was much sharper and sleeker, and it seemed the entire length of the metaphorical 'blade' was dedicated to being one enormous hangar. He knew of the craft from history lessons during training, and general knowledge of course; he knew that such ships were designed as the workhorse carriers for the Clone Wars, and could carry over four hundred starfighters. Consigned to one small corner of that space, the half dozen squadrons of fighters that the Challenger carried seemed like a mere drop in a vast ocean.

In truth, Jaden had to fight a wave of excitement. Though he'd served for a few years in the Stormtrooper Corps, his assignments had always been planetside; this was the first Star Destroyer he'd ever found himself aboard. He chose the thought carefully, clambering out of his cockpit and vaulting over the fuselage onto the deck. He couldn't help the grin that formed on his feet as his boots landed heavily against the durasteel plates. "Never set foot on a ship this big before," he explained to a passing knuckle dragger who shot him an odd look.

"You'll get used to it," the technician grunted, paying very little attention.

Expression fading, Jaden raised an eyebrow at the crewman's apparently disgruntled mood; must've been a bit sour, he supposed, about having all those extra fighters to cater for, without an infusion of ground crew from the Valiant as yet. For a moment, Jaden mused over how regular an occurance this was going to be: would the Commodore want to consolodate his fighters all under one roof, or would he be content to leave them distributed between the two commands? Jaden had to admit; given his personal connection to the Valiant and her crew, he would be a little sorry to leave.

Helmet tucked under his arm, and his flight gloves in the process of being tugged off his fingers, he strode confidently through the midsts of the landed fighters, eyes idly sweeping around the bay. A glimpse of something in one of the neighbouring chambers distracted him: a fairly unsuspecting YT-2000 at first glance but, on closer inspection, with those damage dispersal patterns, and that customised comm array -

Jaden strode up to the fighter in almost awe. His fingers brushed against her nose, tracing across the stylised paintwork that identified her as the Astral Queen. There were a few new scorch marks on the hull; a few new dents; and a few signs of the odd patch job here and there. But she was unmistakably his. "What the hell are you doing here, baby?" he muttered, softly.

Amos Iakona
Sep 4th, 2010, 01:59:20 PM
"Baby?" The voice was gruff, but there was a mild hint of mirth laced through the words. "A bit informal, don't you think?"

Stepping into view from around the Queen's hull, Amos seemed uncharacteristically smug. It wasn't any new-found confidence or sense of self that was responsible: quite simply, he was just extremely proud of himself for having guessed that Jaden would recognise their ship, and had posessed the forethought to hide somewhere out of view so that he could orchastrate this very moment.

His hand clapped against the hull, a whistful sigh escaping him. "Dorn Force got reassigned to Bothawui," he explained. The story of the Queen's fluxuating crew and controllership had become increasingly complex of late, but with Jaden occupied in a snubfighter cockpit, the ship had found usage elsewhere in the Rebellion. "They pulled me off Naboo during one of their ops; I guess Glayde felt bad about leaving me stranded, so I managed to get her back."

Arms folding across his chest, he mustered a rare smile. "So it's Captain now, huh?"

Jaden Luka
Sep 4th, 2010, 01:59:42 PM
Jacen reflected the smile as a full-force grin, that stood in stark contrast to the empty threat that tumbled from his mouth. "Call me 'sir', and I'll kill you in your sleep."

It had been an odd few days, and Jaden was pretty sure he could count the emotions he hadn't felt on one hand. It seemed that the negatives were over for now however, and Jaden was glad that the Wheel had finally caught a break. Having his old ship and one of his oldest friends back was a massive bonus; add to that the arrival of Vansen Tyree - not only one of the few Captains that Jaden had ever respected, but also one of the few who'd ever managed to scare the crap out of him - and it seemed that galactic karma was finally in the mood to pay out on the good side.

Jaden jerked a thumb over his shoulder. "Briefing?" he asked.

Amos responded with a silent nod, and so the pilot led the way back across the bay, to where the swarm of flightsuited Rebels was slowly disappearing into a corridor that presumably led to the rest of the ship. Jaden was glad of the crowd: while he did have a huge amount of respect for Amos and his tracking skills, he'd rather not have to admit to the fact that he didn't exactly know where he was going.

Falling into file, and adjusting his pace to match the herd, he glanced sidelong at Amos. "So. You, Tyree... anyone else I might know or have heard of lurking around on this boat?"

Amos Iakona
Sep 4th, 2010, 02:00:00 PM
A frown momentarily creased Amos' brow as he gave the question due consideration. Ordinarily, he scarcely remembered the names of the people that he knew, let alone those known by other people, but as he rummaged around in his subconscious he did his best.

"Do you remember Tallen, the shapeshifting cat lady who was Glayde's old squeeze?" Jaden nodded. "She's around, somewhere," he explained, scratching an itch beneath the sleeve of his shirt. "I think Colonel Pressly was the XO on Tyree's last ship as well, so you might have met him when you did your stint on the Horizon?

Who else? Amos' frowned deepened. "No one else that I recognise, at any rate. Though there is some fairly high-up Alliance Intelligence guy hanging around the place. I never had dealings with him myself, but you and your fancy-pants Rogue buddies might have encountered him before. Subdirector something; can't quite remember his surname. Cereal? Venereal?"

Jaden Luka
Sep 4th, 2010, 02:00:18 PM
"Inirial?" Jaden contributed out of reflex, throwing in the first name that sprang to mind and lay along similar phonetic lines.

He blinked as Amos offered a grunt of conversation, the realisation sinking in. While he didn't have intimate, obsessive, 'I've read everything written about you in any kind of record or file, ever' type familiarity with the pilots in Rogue Squadron, he did know them well enough to be aware that Carré Inirial's surname wasn't exactly common, and had held a reasonable amount of prestige and status back on Alderaan. He also knew that, as far as Carré was aware, every single person that had ever been related to her had been vapourised along with her homeworld.

Jaden's pace quickened; he tried to squeeze his way through the crowd of pilots, searching for the tell-tale dark hair of the Flight Officer in question. He caught a glipmse of her, finally, as he rounded the corner; but alas, that glimpse was framed by the doorway of the briefing room to which the pilots had been told to report. Jaden stopped in his tracks, a sinking feeling forming in the pit of his stomach. If Amos' recollection of the name had been right, and if there was some familial connection between this Subdirector and Carré -

Frak you, karma, he cursed inside his mind, before stepping into the briefing himself at a slow trudge.

Carré Inirial
Sep 5th, 2010, 11:30:48 AM
By the gods, she was tired.

Some few, terrible nights of sleep and far too much alcohol had become her norm as of late. She'd have given anything to be able to see Kelly for even five minutes, but since they'd fled from the Imperials and regrouped, he'd been nowhere to be found. There had been a rumor of his reassignment, but nothing concrete in any of their mission briefings to date.

Carré frowned slightly and smoothed out her sleek grey flightsuit, fingers resting briefly over the Alliance seal embroidered onto her shoulder. Emerald green eyes cascaded over the pilots who were slowly assembling for the briefing, both her own squadron mates and those who had arrived already assigned to the Challenger. She hadn't seen Sin yet, and wondered if he was on his way or if he'd stayed on the Valiant to spend time with Chrys.

Out of the corner of her eye, she caught sight of Jaden and immediately straightened her posture. Tilting her head, she watched his expression become carefully guarded and felt a sinking feeling form in the pit of her stomach. She strode across the room to meet him near the doorway, offering a small smile and a salute. "You look like you've seen a ghost, sir...everything ok?"

Jaden Luka
Sep 5th, 2010, 03:02:20 PM
"I haven't yet," Jaden grunted in reply, "But I have my suspicions that you might, soon."

His frown deepened, and without overt action he guided her towards a space in the briefing room's ampitheatre of seating. Settling himself down, and gesturing for the Flight Officer to do the same, his mind set about choosing words carefully. "I don't know as well as I should, Carré," he said, his voice gentle: the tone enough to cut through the ambiance as pilots continued to file into the room, yet quiet enough so as not to be easily overheard. "I gather that things have been tough for you, emotionally; not just recently, but ever since Alderaan; and while I hate to be the one to sideswipe you with this, I'd rather you knew now, and had time to prepare yourself for it."

He placed a calming hand on your shoulder. "I need you to stay cool," he softly insisted, "But one of the officers assigned to brief us is a man named Inirial. I don't know who he is, or what, if anything, he means to you, but -"

His shoulders slumped; he was terrible as this sort of thing. His hand fell away, and he offered an appologetic smile at his ineptness as a leader. "I've got your wing, Phoenix," was the best he could muster.

Jamo Jakatta
Sep 5th, 2010, 03:21:37 PM
Jamo had already found his way into the briefing room and taken up a spot just a row short of the back. The seats around him were filling up with pilots, familiar and otherwise. With an arm stretched across the bank of the empty seat beside him, Jakatta made a half-arsed effort to see who else was filing in through the door. For the past ten minutes, he and Iyar been matching callsigns to faces – or more accurately to arses – to pass the time.

“You see anyone familiar?” he asked, cocking his head back towards the Zeltron seated to his right. “Still no sign of that little piece of Omwati tail I went through basic flight with,” he added, his head lolling backwards with a sigh.

Carré Inirial
Sep 6th, 2010, 01:14:21 AM
There were too many people around suddenly, pilots being their normal brash selves, calling out greetings to one another. The voices were overwhelming, but Jaden's presence and obvious concern managed to keep her from falling out of her seat.

Inirial...Intelligence briefing...officer...alive...

It made her head spin and the color drain from her delicate features. Knuckles turned white as they held the helmet tightly in her lap, mind sluggish under the force of old memories. Her parents, her brothers, nieces, nephews, and the few cousins who carried the Inirial name. All of them dead, she was certain, the day the Empire had destroyed her homeworld - and in turn her entire life.

"Thanks...I...appreciate the warning." Carré uttered softly, emerald gaze flat and expressionless as she briefly met Jaden's sympathetic glance. She even managed a faint smile and a nod before she gazed down at the podium and the people around it. She stared at every face, nearly jumped out of her skin every time someone with dark hair turned around and didn't look familiar.

Sanis Prent
Sep 6th, 2010, 11:33:53 AM
Of course, Layla's ass was too wide to fit in the dorsal bay, so I managed to park her in the secondary ventral one. Securing clamps moored us to the Challenger as a docking arm reached the secondary port on four deck. Cirr parted ways almost immediately, which was unusual, but he said something about getting tapped for a scavenging mission to Lethe. Honestly, we probably needed it in a bad way. I glanced through a viewport back at Layla from the Challenger and gave a low whistle. The number of pock marks, blaster burns, and the mangled port wing said plenty. We were lucky to make it out of there.

I said my brief farewells to Abarai Loki and Niyen, who both returned to Whaladon. A group of Alliance officers stepped in to apprehend the Imperial pilot we picked up on our little errand. I didn't wanna be in that guy's shoes, after all the hell we'd had to endure at the hands of the Empire's trap.

Even though I'd had my spell through the sonic shower and a proper sleep, I still felt exhausted. Thus, when I got the call for assembly in the briefing room, I cursed a bit beneath my breath.

"Can't I just catch one fucking break?"

I made an about-face in the corridor, and headed to where the directory said the briefing room was. This damn ship was too big for it's own good.

Ten minutes later, I strode into the room, catching a glimpse of a lot of familiar faces, but a lot more faces I didn't recognize. We were in a much bigger pond now. Seeking out the first familiar face, even if it belonged to an asshole, I parked it next to Jamo, and rode a little low in my chair.

"Just wake me up when they start talking, alright?"

Oisin Ocasta
Sep 6th, 2010, 12:46:25 PM
Chrys had gone to the planet. He'd not been particularly happy about that. Of course, if he'd actually mentioned something like those salvage worlds are dangerous, or, I'd feel a lot happier if I was going along with you, she'd probably think he was being creepy and overbearing. Instead, he thought such things in silence, sucked it up, and had flown to the Challenger with the rest of the squadron.

As he stepped into the briefing, his eyes swept the gathered ensemble of pilots, searching for any faces he recognised. As his eyes settled on Carré however, he found her deep in some sort of hushed conversation with Jaden Luka; given the vibes he was picking up, he decided it was best that he keep his distance, rather than blundering obliviously into a mynock's nest of whatever the hell it was they were talking about.

A snort of silent laughter escaped from him. And they say I can't do recon on people.

With a sigh, he picked an arbetrary seat only a row back from the front of the room, and dumped himself unceremoniously into it. "Yay. Another briefing," he muttered, half to himself and half to the pilots immediately around him, voice thick with irony.

Lucy Gray
Sep 7th, 2010, 11:09:39 AM
Kylie was glad to be back after her ordeal at ORD Mantell. While it wasn't what she had chosen, the time had force her and Tera to work together and she had ended up liking the woman, even though their personalities were different. Entering, she recognzied a few pilots from her own squadron and was relieved that they made it out of the battle with the Decimator alive. Other pilots were there as well and she assumed that they were from the Challenger. She took a seat next to Rogue 12, who went by the callsign "Echo".

"Chear up darling. At least you get to be seen sitting next to me."

She smiled to show that she was only half kidding. "It will do wonders for your rep."

Oisin Ocasta
Sep 8th, 2010, 04:56:26 PM
Under normal cirumstances, the approach of someone who could be easily summed up as a 'hot blonde' would fill Oisin with panic, and turn a mind that struggled to formulate coherant thoughts and sentences without trailing off ad getting distracted into a bumbling, nervously giggling wreck.

Fortunately - from a certain point of view - serving with Rogue Squadron, and alongside Valkyrie Squadron aboard the Valiant, had forced him to abandon his usual reclusive nature, and shoved him head-first into regular encounters with attractive women on an almost regular basis. As a defense mechanism, his brain had clamped down, and constructed an isolated little chamber of his mind. So while normally Oisin would be filled with panic, now the panic was isolated to a tiny little cluster somewhere in his subconscious.

As a safety feature to compensate for the increase in panic pressure in said cluster, a brief chuckle was vented from his mouth. "I'm sitting beside the only person who is even more of a Rogue Rookie than I am. I can just feel the awkward newbiness tumbling away from my reputation."

He flashed a smile, indicating that his sarcasm was in jest. "I heard that you and Razor made it back okay," he added, changing the subject. "Glad to see that you're in one -" He forced himself to wrench his eyes up from the not one but two where his eyes had instinctively gravitated. "- piece."

His head cocked to the side ever so slightly. "I feel the need to make some sort of joke about women pilots and their inability to read star charts correctly."

Tera Uolmi
Sep 13th, 2010, 01:24:48 PM
“Keep it to yourself,” Tera grunted, as she sat down on the opposite side of Kylie to Oisin. Though she was still sporting a supportive brace and grounded from flight, Razor wasn't about to miss a briefing from the Captain. The only thing that was keeping her sane was the thought of finally getting off of the Challenger in something other than a transport shuttle.

Lucy Gray
Sep 13th, 2010, 09:54:34 PM
"I feel the need to make some sort of joke about women pilots and their inability to read star charts correctly."

Kylie playfully slapped his arm and sat back. "Command didn't care for the 'There was a sale on Ord Mantell and I couldn't pass it up excuse. Especially after I came back without their shuttle. But the ship we came back with seem to cool their jets for a bit, so I don't think that I will have to take up that collection just yet."

It was getting pretty close to the time the breifing should start, so Kylie turned on her datapad and waited, checking through a few messages to pass the time away.