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Encounter at Bie'Lek - Chapter 1

Written by: Hawkins and posted on: Sep 12, 2015


Encounter At Bie’Lek

By CM Hawkins

Chapter 1

Sergeant Redren was almost knocked sprawling as the crate behind him shunted forwards, rocked by the impacts of several heavy blaster shots. He glanced over his shoulders, engaging the holographic vision processors system embedded in his helmet. Data flooded in from all his squad mates and, despite the solid bulk of the crate behind him, a green-tinged vision of the hanger beyond was clearly visible. The multi-limbed battle droids were advancing slowly across the open deck, laying down a barrage of suppressing fire whilst closing on his position. Redren braced himself as more fire rattled the crate, and he wondered if it could protect him much longer.

Sinistra, Ikesony – Detonators, on my mark,” he barked. Their affirmation replies were instant, and he watched, waited, as the droids approached.

Mark!” he shouted, a moment before the droids stepped onto what his projector showed was a service hatch built into the floor of the hanger. The thermal grenades showed up as a red warning icon as they arced across his vision towards the droids. Sensing the threat, the droids turned, directing their fire towards the fallen support beam Sinstra and Ikesony were covering behind. He stood, bringing his own blaster to his shoulder. He targeted the ‘head’ of the nearest droid, hoping to damage its targeting array, and scored several good hits. Damn, these things were resilient.

Without the need for orders, more blaster fire came in from the far side of the hanger - Yifanth and Hekat adding the weight of their own fire to catch the droids in a cross fire. Targeted from multiple sides, the droids took a second too long to process the most efficient response and the detonators erupted at their feet. The droid nearest Redren was torn in two, the lower half melted and blasted apart, whilst the torso was flung towards the back of the hanger where it crashed into an inactive heap. The doors of the service hatch were torn open by the detonation, and the second droid tumbled down the hole. The Sergeant leapt over the barrel, switching his vision mode to MFTAS, enabling him see amongst the smoke and heat left by the explosion. He rushed over to the edge of the ruined hatch, and sprayed the darkness below with rapid-fire blaster rounds. His targeting systems searched for the droid, but even they were unable to detect any threat in the darkness and smoke below. Not wanting to take any chances, he unclipped his own detonator, primed it, and tossed it down. He stepped back, and waited until the vibrations of the detonation died away.

Squad, form up.” The four other members of his team closed on his position.

Time?” Redren asked.

Two minutes twenty until extraction,” replied Ikesony. Redren turned, and moved towards the back of the hanger.

Those droids held us up for too long, we must be quick.” Redren said as the squad headed towards the control room overlooking the hanger. He quickened into a run, and the squad fell into a well-practiced formation behind him. An open doorway led to a short, spiralling staircase up to the control level, which ended in a sealed bulkhead. Yifanth, a Duros who’s technical skills had been honed during his time as an unauthorised arms trader before his enlistment into the Stormtrooper corps, went to work on bypassing the security lock. It took him only seconds.

One forty five,” Ikesony muttered as they entered the control room, keeping track of the time left. The squad fanned out – Yifanth turned and covered the way in, whilst Sinistra and Hekat moved to the windows overlooking the hanger. Ikesony followed Redren over to the main console.

Downloading data now,” Redren said, drawing a holodisk from his belt and inserting it into the console. The programs encoded on the disc immediately activated and began downloading the data that was their primary objective.

Sergeant! Hanger deck, there!” Sinistra pointed with his blaster. Reden looked to where Sinistra had indicated. A glowing, bubbling line of melted deckplate was snaking its way across the hanger floor, beginning to trace the outline of a rough square.

Time to go,” Redren called, as the holodisk ejected from the console. He tucked it into his belt as he turned and led his squad back towards the hanger.

No sooner than had they stepped into the hanger, a loud klaxon wailed once, and the spot on the deck Sinistra had indicated kicked upwards. Redren felt the impacts through his boots, and a moment later the deck section launched towards the ceiling. The second battle droid clambered through the hole, its laser cutter still glowing at the end of a secondary appendage. One of the droid’s arms hung loose at its side, sparks spluttering from a torn servo mounting, but the other turned a still-functioning heavy blaster at the Stormtoopers.

Kriffing droids...” Redren growled as he brought his blaster up and dashed for cover. The squad scattered behind him as blasts tore into the deck where they had entered the hanger.

Its aim is off!” called Yifanth, “We should have been shreadded by that shot!” The shot had seemed pretty accurate, but Redren knew better than to question Yifanth’s knowledge of battlefield technology.

Will is be able to adapt?” He replied.

Unknown. It depends on whether its combat processors are undamaged!” Yifanth shouted back.

Thirty five seconds!” Ikesony grunted, sliding into cover behind a loading crane. The squad needed to get to the extraction transport now, and it would be tight if the droid couldn’t be incapacitated quickly.

Detonators?” Redren asked.

One left,” Hekat replied, the sound of heavy blaster fire almost drowning him out. Redren stood, firing towards the droid, and drawing its fire towards him. Yifanth had been right, the returning shots were pulling to his left, and the droid was struggling to correct its aim. That would give him the seconds he needed.

Use it, and when the detonation goes off, move to the transport.” Redren ordered.

Hekat primed and threw his detonator towards the droid, who immediately moved away, reacting quickly to avoid further damage that would reduce its already diminished combat capabilities. That was the chance they needed. The squad broke cover, and dashed towards their transport. The explosion behind them caught a container within its blast, causing it to burst apart. The secondary explosion rocked the floor and, ahead of Redren, Sinstra tumbled forwards as he lost his footing.

Get on your feet, trooper!” Redren growled, pausing to drag Sinstra upright. The deck beside him shuddered as blasts from the droid tracked towards them. “Move!” Redren shouted as the shoved Sinstra towards the opening hatch of the transport.

Chased by blaster shots, the squad hurtled into the transport as a siren began a steady countdown. The transport was already lifting off the deck and heading for open space as the entry hatch began to close. Redren ducked as a final flurry of blaster shots acted as a parting gift from the droid, and impacted ineffectively on the hull of the transport.

Only a moment after the transport left the hanger, Ikesony slumped into a harness-chai, and simply said, “Time.”


Commander Asus Haytha watched as the Stormtrooper transport left the station hanger, and turned towards the Aedgillis, a Nebulon B Frigate in service to the Emperor’s Hammer, part of the Imperial Star Destroyer Warrior’s Battlegroup. He weaved towards it, his TIE Advanced nimbly dodging the debris left over from the many antiquated starfighters that had protected the station and attempted to prevent the Stormtroopers ever reaching the hanger. They had failed. The Z-95s the unlicenced refinery operation has fielded in its defence had been pitifully maintained, and the pilots were clearly no more adept than an Academy rookie. The only surprise had been their numbers. Every worker in the station must have jumped into a cockpit and came out to try and fend off the boarding action. He had taken an impressive kill-tally today, the highest in his flight group, but he still felt slightly aggrieved that some of the glory had gone to his fellow squadron members. He smiled to himself – nothing like a bit of friendly competition to keep your skills sharp, he thought. Especially when you win. His only regret was that the challenge level had been poor.

The squadron had been able to jump in close to the station, gaining the element of surprise. The illegal refinery had been aboard a re-purposed factory station. The Emperor’s Hammer was in great need of resources, and confiscating that owned by criminal scum was a legitimate way to resupply. It had been an ideal field test for Rho squadron, now they were nearing the end of their proving manoeuvres – escort a small squad of Naval Stormtroopers onto the station. They were to gather an inventory, and detain the gang leaders. The rest of the personnel would be put to work for the benefit of the Hammer. Instead, they decided to fight. The fools hadn’t even tried to talk their way out of it.

In what would have been an embarrassingly slow time for an Imperial squadron, the refinery launched a flight of Z-95 Headhunters – a painfully antiquated craft these days. Even with shields, a single TIE Fighter could take several on at a time, never mind a flight of TIE Avengers. The first wave had been destroyed before they had gotten a klick from the hanger, and at least one of the next flight destroyed itself flying into the wreckage of those who had preceded them. And so it would have gone on, had a third wave not exited a hanger on the far side of the station and attempted to catch the Imperials unaware. They had, of course, failed. Ions had spotted them as they approached, and had broken to engage. However, the distraction was enough to let more fighters escape, until the three members of flight Three were outnumbered almost five to one. With additional fire coming from the stations turbolasers, the squadron pulled back, drawing the fighters away from the weapons cover of the station. A true rookie mistake. By that time, the Stormtrooper Transport was already en-route. The flight covered it as it made for the station. The Z-95s had swarmed all over it, but quick work by Suhail had turned each attack wave back, enabling Haytha and Ions to pick them off. Once cleared, a few passes at the station had destroyed enough turbolaser turrets to allow the Transport to reach the station safely. The squad amused themselves picking of the remaining turrets whilst the stormtroopers were inside. They had been allocated five minutes to gather the inventory data and capture the leaders. They had barely made it out within the allotted time, and Haytha wondered what had kept them. He cared little for Naval Stormtroopers, viewing them as beneath him, but they were usually an efficient group. They rarely cut things so close.

Haytha’s intercom buzzed.

“Rho 2 and 4, form on the Transport” Colonel Ions, Haytha’s flight leader, ordered, his voice slightly distorted by static. Lieutenant Colonel Suhail responded quickly, boosting his engines from his shield energy to get into position quickly.

“Two to Four,” Haytha called into his intercom, “Always first to do as the Colonel calls. Quite the lap -dog.”

“I can’t help how slow you are, Two,” Suhail replied, bluntly. Haytha smiled. There was no riling Suhail – he was as stubborn as a bantha. Yet, skilled with it. Despite his jibe, Haytha knew the speed of Suhail’s responce to the order wasn’t to lick the boots of his flight leader. He was just that fast. It irked Haytha that the only reason his kill count was higher today was because Suhail had done a better job of escorting the transport. Every Z-95 that approached was quickly turned away by Suhail, and any warheads launched shot down before he turned to the next incoming fighter. This had left Haytha and Ions to take down the fighters as they retreated to recharge their shields. At least Haytha had out performed Ions in that! He laughed. Friendly competition, he thought.

The flight formed up and Haytha had an opportunity to do a quick inspection of his squads conditions. Not one amongst them had been left with less than 50% shields. He frowned slightly when he noticed Suhail’s shield strength was already back to full strength. Had he recharged them already, or could it be he’d not taken a single hit? Haytha doubted that, but couldn’t entirely convince himself that it wasn’t a possibility. Despite being a member of Rho, a newly re-formed squadron still completing their initial active field trials, Suhail was an incredible pilot. Haytha would bet on Suhail over any pilot in the Emperor’s Hammer TIE Corps. Except perhaps for himself. Suhail may be skilled, but Haytha felt he had an edge when it came to having the will to win, the drive to take that extra risk that would snatch victory from even the most accomplished foe. He had yet to beat Suhail in the simulators, but then that was just playing – not the real thing.

Next time, Haytha thought, recalling Suhail’s last jibe, we’ll see who’s slow.

* * * * *

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