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Kyle walked silently up to the Crow. He looked from side to side, trying to spot Jan before she could hit him. When he was satisfied that he was in relative safety, he glanced up to the cockpit to see Jan punching away at buttons. She hadn’t noticed him yet, and for that he was glad. Kyle had deep thoughts through his head, trying to think up a good excuse for being gone for so long...
“Kyle!” Jan was almost happy to see him. “I got your message from Red, and the ship is ready to go. We are hot and ready to follow the freighter Ambrosia when she takes off for orbit.” Kyle got into his ship and strapped in for takeoff. All the while he couldn’t keep from thinking about Red, and how he knew so much. He must be a pretty smooth character if Jan trusted him. ‘I had better keep a close eye on him’ though Kyle.
Red looked up as the drone freighter Ambrosia lifted off and the tiny speck that was the Moldy Crow flew up near it. He stared for an instant, but it seemed a few minutes. One of his crew barked at him.
“Red, we gotta go, and we gotta go now!”
‘Yes’ Red though, they most certainly did have to get out of here, alive was the most preferable way. He glanced up again, watching the Moldy Crow as it hung close to the freighter Ambrosia. ‘Kyle’ he though, ‘You better make it there in one piece’.
Two Days Later…
The Moldy Crow sat in normal space over the planet Stuka. It looked like an eagle ready to pounce on its prey. It had been a day and a half since they came out of hyperspace. The dropped into normal space far from the planet and cruised in under normal engines to avoid drawing notice to themselves. Jan was loosing her cool from the long wait in the cramped cockpit.
“Come on Kyle” said Jan, “I’ve ducked too many patrols to be this cautious. You know I could shoot down or lose anyone or anything that tried to catch us on the way in.”
“Oh really?” Kyle quipped back, “Well what about an Imperial Star Destroyer, mark II?”
“You know what I mean!” demanded Jan. She continued, “I just mean that I think you being a bit too cautious on the way in. This place is so remote, that the Alliance could ice a squadron of ships, and the Imps wouldn’t even think about sending a rescue party for at least a week. And you haven’t said a thing about what happened back on Coruscant.”
“I have my reasons, Jan. I’m still not sure what too make of that Red fellow. Once we stop here and call on my old pal Scven Moruntal we will be on our way into the core to see what exactly is up with this whole situation. You know I don’t like it anymore than you do Jan, but this is the only way to proceed right now.”
The Moldy Crow cruised in on the planet Stuka. The ship dodged the Golan Orbital Platform and entered the atmosphere on the forested, unsettled side of the planet. It cruised in low, a few meters over the top of the canopy, and then settled down in a clearing about 40 meters wide. The cockpit creaked open and two heads were visible in the dim twilight.
“We will say here for a few hours.” Kyle said. “We better wait for darkness to fall on the major port. Since that’s where we are heading.”
“Yea and this gives me a chance to unfold my tangled shape.” Jan continued, “So why exactly do you want to see this old friend of yours anyway?”
“Scven is one of the old pilots.” said Kyle. He knows the core worlds better than anyone else I know. At least he did when it wasn’t concentrated Imperial scum…”
Just then a native animal came bursting out of the forest and charged right toward the two humans stretching their legs…
“Look out!” Kyle yelled. The four-legged beast continued to charge. It was all hunched over and looked like a hairless cat, a 450 kilo cat. Kyle pulled his Bryar out of its holder and fired two quick rounds. The first one missed, but the second never fired. “Stang!” was the cry that erupted from Kyle, his power cell was still drained, it had re-gained enough charge for one shot only, and he had missed. Two quick shots whisked pass his torso, and struck the cat some 10 meters from him. “Jan you’re a life-saver” he exclaimed.
“It wasn’t me” said Jan, “We have company, and not the friendly type.” Two squads of troops filed out of the dense forest behind the Crow. A few of them were armed with long, blaster rifles, equipped with heat scopes.
‘Well, at least they aren’t Imperial’ thought Kyle. The troops were police guards from the small outlying village of Sinyea, about 2400 clicks from Stuka City. “Looks like were skunked” Kyle whispered to Jan.
“Yea, well, maybe your contact will come through and bust us out of whatever hellish brig we get thrown into” Jan whispered back.
“Well we can always hope” said Kyle. He knew that Scven wouldn’t risk drawing attention to himself for Kyle alone, it’s not like the man owed him any debts. But maybe so, Scven might just come through for them. The Troops surrounded the two…
-- Stay tuned for Chapter Four!
-- By: Bill Conn