Raine slumps hard against the bulkhead and checks his wound. Blood leaks from the cylindrical burn just above his hip. Behind him a trail dipping from his wound leads Everson and his men closer. Raine fires a few clumsy shots back the way he came before stumbling around the corner.
Raine shouts over his shoulder as he makes his way down the hall, “It’ll take more then the guys you got to bring me in. Better wake up the whole fleet!” He fires again behind him.
Raine trips and falls. The deck is cold on his hands, so cold. Shots streak by Raine as he pushes himself up. His comm clicks on as he steps as he ducks under blaster fire and showers of sparks.
“How’s your heroic goose bait chase going, Raine?” Neeka asks, poorly hiding her concern.
Raine takes cover in a door frame and fires stun bolts back at his pursuers. Damnit Neeka, get them off the ship. I’m doing this for you.
Having cleared his path Raine hurries down the hallway holding his side. His vision blurs and Raine wipes a bloody hand across his eyes.
Neeka’s voice continues on the comm. “Raine?”
Raine stands in the middle of crossing corridor. He looks left and right. A close shot over his left shoulder decides for him and Raine ducks right. The corridor blurs again and darkness creeps in on his vision. Raine slams against the blast door at the end of corridor and jams the opener, but nothing happens. Raine wobbles and leans his head against the door, end of the line. He smiles to himself.
Neeka continues to call on the comm, the worry in her voice no longer hidden. “Raine!”
Soldiers round the corner and call for surrender. One fires, hitting Raine in the shoulder and spinning him around. The new wounds streaks blood down the door as Raine slides to a sit against the locked door. The soldiers advance, weapons trained on a motionless Raine.
The he hears is the muffled voice of Neeka, “Mada, Raine’s not responding on the comms.”
Thatta girl. Get away be. Be free.
Neeka’s voice fills his mind, “I won’t leave you. I can’t. I’ll back for you.”
Raine smiles and thinks of Neeka, “I’m alright. I’m…”
Raine’s world goes black.
Jonas squints as the X-wing in front of him flashes landing lights into the cockpit. Frost has started to grow across the transprasteel window and Jonas can see his breath now. He flips on the power to the short range comm.
“You rang, Raptor 4?” he jokes.
The young female voice of Raptor 4 quips back, “I’m not the one that needed a nap after our race. The tugg is here for your tow.”
“Copy that Raptor 4.” Jonas chuckles, “you know, I’m going to need a name so I can get your your prize. You know who I am, seems only fair.”
The comm crackles a little as the tugg grabs Jonas’ shuttle with a tractor beam.
“Sure,” Raptor 4 replies, “you can send that case of whiskey to Lieutenant Mary Ember.”
“Did you say Ember? Any relation to Roland Ember?”
“Roland? How do you know my uncle’s name? He died when I was young and no one in my family talks about him anymore.”
“Makes sense an Ember would be the one to just barely beat me. I was your uncle’s wingman back in the early days of the rebellion. I tried to contact your grandparents after he went missing but never heard back. Your uncle would’ve been proud to see you fly with such skill. But there’s something you need to know Mary, Roland isn’t dead, or at least he wasn’t when he went missing. The Imps have him in a prison called Lusankya. I’ve been trying to find it but now the bureaucrats need a scape goat and I’m getting locked up.” Jonas huff and looks away from the comm trying to gather his thoughts. The frustration with the futility of his situation raising his anger.
Mary’s voice breaks through Jonas’ internal gripes with a calming tone, “I never got to know my uncle well. Tell me about him.”
Jonas melts a little and starts, “I’ve know your uncle since we were kids. I’ll never forget the day we met…”
Mada hikes up an unconscious Neeka a little higher on his back and finishes tying the makeshift backpack around his waist. He can feel her strong connection to force as she mutters aloud, “I won’t leave you. I can’t. I’ll back for you.”
“Hang in there, Neeka, we’re not out of this yet. Now how do I re-enable… ah!” Mada flips a switch and activates the emergency beacon on the escape pod. “We landed a few layers down in the city, but that ought to pull attention here as we make our getaway.”
Mada drapes a cloak over his Chadra-Fan bundle and pulls up the hood. Stepping out into the walk away he looks up to see the damaged crisscrossing pathways above. A small crowd has gathered to gawk at the crashed escape pod, but few if any notice Mada as he masks himself with the Force.
Gathering his strength Mada leaps up the damaged pathways, hopping from out cropping to out cropping. When he finds a nearly abandoned walkway Mada walks calmly into the chaos of the city.
Neeka continues to murmur on his back, “Raine… Raine… be okay. Please be okay.”
“It’s going to be okay Neeka, we’ll make this right. But first we’ve got to get off the street. I’ve got an idea, I think I know where we are.” Mada reaches around and pats Neeka on his back.
Mada passes a familiar cantina and spots the singer he was hoping to find. He follows her quietly as she makes her way home. As she reaches to unlock her door, Mada steps from the shadows and pulls off his hood. She startles and then seems to recognize him. Mada holds up a hand and pulls back his cloak to show Neeka, “we need your help. You’re our only hope.”
The singer relents, “come inside and explain yourself.”
Mada steps inside as sirens streak toward the escape pod.
The Womp Rats will return in The Bacta War
Neeka & Mada = 30xp
Jonas = 20xp