Outer Haven: White Sun Rising (New Alderaan)
Posts: 2
  • Posted On: Nov 8 2013 5:37pm
CNS Providence, Ready Room
Columex Orbit, Commonality Safe Zone

“New Alderaan has gone dark.”

It was an unexpected declaration, to say the least. Admiral Chang Wu had returned planetside to serve as a liaison between the naval forces in orbit and the newly formed High Command. With such close proximity to Reaver space, the news had travelled slowly, but word was just beginning to arrive from Obroa-skai concerning the recent political developments, and suddenly Captain Anton Yemin found himself, for the first time in his military career, somewhat out of his depth.

“What do you mean, sir?” Yemin asked, puzzled by the way Chang had phrased the statement, “Is it a Reaver incursion?”

“We’re not sure what it is, Captain,” the Admiral responded, his holoimage flickering in the dim lighting of Yemin’s ready room, “All we know is that no messages have been received from the world in two days.”

“Unusual, to say the least,” Ptolyevich chimed in. She stood behind Anton and off to the side, out of sight from the point-to-point holocall.

“Agreed,” Anton nodded in her direction before turning back to the Admiral, “What does this mean for us, sir?”

“It means shore leave is cancelled, Captain,” the Admiral replied, and for a moment Anton could see a flicker of pain in eyes of the man from Sinsang. This was not his choice, “Reassemble your crew, you’ll be heading out with a small task force within twenty four hours.”

“Yes, sir,” Anton saluted, unable to contain the frustration on his visage as well as his superior.

“I know you and your men have been through hell,” Wu said, “But New Alderaan is critical, not only to the war effort but to morale for the entire region. We lose Jutraal, we lose hearts and minds.”

“Understood, sir,” Yemin nodded, and he did, as much as it pained him to admit, “We’ll be underway as soon as possible.”

“Let us hope this is a milk run, Captan,” the Admiral added in a tone of true earnestness, “But just in case I’m sending the Tranquilite and the Ood Bnar, as well as a wing of Corellian gunships. Maybe your men can finally get that R&R they have coming amongst the Alderaanians.”

“Yes sir, thank you sir,” Anton nodded, then saluted.

“Good hunting, Captain,” Wu said, returning the salute, “And may the Force be with you.”

“Captain Yemin, out.”

And with that, the two officers severed the connection. This would not be an easy announcement to make, though Anton had little doubt in his crew’s willingness to comply. It was a terrible feeling, sending young souls into battle, to live or die by their wits and chance. Admiral Chang trusted in the Force.

Even having seen what it was capable of up close, Yemin found no such comfort in mystical superstition. As far as he was concerned, the Force was just a scientific phenomenon that had yet to be fully explained. Shaking his head, he knew those thoughts would draw nothing but ire from Grand Master Askrima, but Zark had been missing for nearly a month now, and the people were beginning to give up hope that he would ever return.

“You heard the man, Commander,” Anton said at last, dispelling the reverie in exchange for logistics, “Get me the Tranquilite and the Ood Bnar on comms.”

The support vessels he had been assigned were both Majestic-class heavy cruisers, considerably smaller than Captain Yemin’s Providence, but they had teeth on them. Anton hoped it would be enough.

If the Reavers had hit New Alderaan, it likely wouldn’t be.

Shortly after his request, two figures appeared at the holodisplay, their resolution grainy and incoherent. It was likely a result of the point-to-point optical communication units Ossus had been outfitting its ships with at as quick a pace as they could. It was inferior to typical holocomms, but so far at least seemed safer.

“Captain Yolek, Captain Mensc,” Anton saluted, addressing the commanding officers of the Tranquilite and the Ood Bnar respectively, “I’m sorry to cancel your no doubt well-earned leave, but a situation seems to be developing on New Alderaan and we’re the cavalry. Here’s what we know so far…”

CNS Providence, Combat Bridge
Approaching New Alderaan, New Alderaan System

They had reverted to realspace as far out as they could without making a sublight approach impractical. Yemin had ordered action stations before the reversion had even took place, and as the two heavy cruisers reverted and formed up on his wing, Anton knew that his contemporaries had done the same.

“Not picking up any activity on long range sensors,” Ptolyevich reported, “Reports indicate no Reaver presence, but hails to the local defense force have gone unanswered, and we’re still unable to raise the planet.”

“Understood. What about-”

“Power surge from the surface!” came a call from the bridge’s pit.

“Has there been some sort of natural disaster?” Anton wondered aloud, “Can you get readings-”

“Brace for impact!”

The shot glanced the Providence’s bow, sending electrical surges rippling up the Star Defender and sparks flying throughout the combat bridge. Several stations blew in a shower of fire and electricity, severely wounding several members of the bridge crew.

“Status report!” Ptolyevich roared, stealing the words from Anton’s winded mouth.

“Ion blast from the surface, ma’am!” a shaky voice replied, “New Alderaan is firing upon us!”

“We’re being hailed!”

“Put it on-screen,” Anton commanded.

“Attention Ossan forces, you are violating sovereign Black Sun space. By order of Vigo Vasj Draygo, you are to come about and return on your original entrance vector. A warning shot has been fired, we will not issue another. So says Jutraal. So says Black Sun.

“Black Sun?” Ptolyevich whispered loud enough for Anton to hear.

“In other words, this is a hostage situation,” Yemin replied, turning to issue orders to his shaken crew, “Get sublight operational and get us out of range of that planetary cannon! Send message to the task force, have them form up on the Providence while we reassess the situation.”

None of them had been prepared for this, and yet to his surprise Anton found himself sighing in relief. Every one of them had so immediately assumed the Reavers must be involved, it had not even occurred to consider a domestic threat.

“Alright men, let’s go to work.”
Posts: 837
  • Posted On: Nov 8 2013 8:09pm
So here's the thing.

The Ryn Nation, as nations go, is not really much of a nation at all. It's more like a . . . a club. Yeah, a club – no, a spacers' club. A Ryn-only spacers' club, with no real benefits, but a hella ton (that's a “very large number of tons” for you uninitiated out there) of contacts. Granted, none of those contacts really have much of anything in the way of wealth, power, or clout . . . except, if you follow the chain of contacts far enough down any path, eventually you'll get to the Ryn Fleet.

Ah, the Ryn Fleet.

So here's the thing.

The Ryn Fleet, as fleets go, is not realy much of a fleet at all. It's more like a . . . well, a club. A spacer's club. But unlike the Nation, the Fleet is not Ryn-only, not really, not anymore. The Fleet is captains-and-crews-only. The Fleet is one big network of folks with wealth, power, and clout . . . or what passes for those things out in the Rim, at any rate.

And it's massive. Truly massive. The Fleet started as a political stunt by the Cooperative to get Ryn workforces committed to rebuilding the Coalition East and managing Onyxian refugees, but it's been a long time since those humble beginnings, and a lot has changed since then.

The Ryn have changed a lot since then.

To look at her, nobody would suspect that Bhen was anything but an ordinary Ryn. She worked in starports, all across the galaxy, as unskilled labor. It didn't matter that she could rebuild a hyperdrive with her bare hands and a spare spanner. It didn't matter that she could make CEC parts work with TransGalMeg ships. It didn't matter that she didn't need to know what the schematics looked like, because she could make it work again anyway.

What mattered, was that she didn't have the credentials. What mattered, was that “that's not an approved modification”. What mattered was that she was Ryn, and this was not her Fleet. And that's exactly the point. There's nothing spectacular about Bhen; she was just another ordinary Ryn.

But there is nothing ordinary about an ordinary Ryn anymore.

That's why, when Black Sun enforcers showed up at the New Aldera Starport in captured Jutraalian hover tanks (still sporting the blast marks from what must have been a heated fight to capture them), Bhen knew just what to do. By the time the first brute tore down the security door to the New Aldera Traffic Control Center, Bhen and her new charge were in the sewers, working their way from the starport's terminal access complex to the main communications tower half a kilometer away.

“What's your name,” Bhen asked, holding her spanner like a knife in the absence of any proper weapon, crouching low and intently scanning the tunnel ahead for any signs of intrusion.

“Uhh, Greg, ma'am,” the older human managed to get out, still shocked and confused by what was going on. “Gregory Radagast.”

“Can you access the maintenance terminal in the comm tower?”

“Uhh . . .”

Bhen stopped, turning her fiery stare on the man, watching him melt before the intensity of her every action and word. “Can you do it?”

Greg nodded quickly. “Yes, ma'am.”

“Call me Bhen,” she ordered, returning to her trek through the duracrete tunnel.

“Just Bhen?” he asked, apparently not familiar with Ryn naming traditions.

Her demeanor shifted visibly at the question, but she didn't lose sight of her goal, pressing onward. “Bhen Sahalan, if you absolutely must know. But just 'Bhen' will do for you, stranger.

“Now,” and like that she was back to mission discipline, “when we get to the tower, I'm going to need you to bypass the security alerts and get me access to a hyperwave transmitter.”

“Sorry, lady, but somewhere in here, I'm going to have to ask you 'why'?”

Greg seemed to be getting his wits about him, which was just fine as far as Bhen was concerned. A coward ready to piss his pants at the first unanticipated ruckus wasn't going to do her any good. “About five minutes before I came and got you, I heard word from a cousin working deliveries in the Market District that the local police station had been bombed and men wearing body armor with the Black Sun logo were marching the streets, disbanding gatherings and forcing everyone back to their homes.”

Bhen paused and turned back to look at her human companion, genuine sadness in her eyes. “Your world's being occupied, Greg.” And then she was back to the mission, yet again. “If you can get me through the security and to a transmitter control interface, I know some people I can call, real quiet like. But if we're going to do this, we've got to hurry. So what do you say, Traffic Control Officer Gregory Radagast: do you trust me?”

She looked back at the human and gave him the warmest smile she could muster.

He returned it weakly. “I don't think I have any other options.”
Posts: 2
  • Posted On: Nov 9 2013 1:18am
CNS Ossan Grace, Bridge
New Alderaan System, Black Sun Territory

The Ossan Grace was on fire, and Captain Trutski could not put her out.

She was a DP20 frigate, otherwise known as a Corellian gunship, and the Ossan native had only been her Captain for a few months, yet as consoles sparked and exploded all around him, he could not help but feel as if his entire life had been leading up to this moment, to this command. It would be his last, he now knew. Nothing to be done there.

The middle aged man sat at the helm station, having sounded the general evacuation several minutes ago. Most of the crew were either dead or in escape pods by now, and Trutski could only hope these Black Sun dogs were not so vicious as to blow innocent noncombatants out of space. Somehow he doubted it.

The frigate was listing to starboard, but there was not much the Captain could do on his own to stop that now. The task force had beaten a hasty retreat the moment their commander had realized that the planetary defenses were not only still online but very hostile. While they had been planning their next move, Black Sun had struck.

It was an old Imperial I-class Star Destroyer, more than a match for their task force were it not for the presence of the Providence, and so it had adopted unconventional tactics. It had swung around the darkside of a nearby world and plotted a trajectory that would take it broadside-to-broadside, not with the Strident-class Star Defender, but with one of the heavy cruisers.

The Ossan Grace’s squadron had been assigned to the Tranquilite, and as the surprise of the sudden desperate assault caught the entire group off guard, Trutski had been forced to make a call. The DP20s were fast, fast enough to react where the Tranquilite could not. He should have bugged out, establishing a flanking position and hitting the destroyer hard, but that was not what he had done.

Instead, Captain Trutski had position his ship in between the two vessels, taking the brunt of the Black Sun’s turbolaser fire. The star destroyer had made quick work of the gunship, and now it was all the Captain could do to keep her from crashing headlong into the heavy cruiser he had been attempting to protect.

“Capt….ski…” nearby the ship’s comm station still crackled in its last throes of life, “...andon ship...ay again, aban…..ip…amnit man, can you….tain Trut….”

Gritting his teeth, he began to cough uncontrollably as a haze of smoke completely engulfed the bridge. It would not be long now, but if he complied with protocol there was still a clear and present danger that the scuttled vessel would ram the Tranquilite before its reactor overloaded. Trutski could not allow that to happen.

As he continued to wrestle with the helm controls, he gazed out the viewport and caught a glimpse of what he believed to be New Alderaan. She was only a speck of light in a sunbeam, but she was brighter than the stars around her and it was the right trajectory.

In his last moments, Trutski marvelled at how so small a thing could cause such chaos and tragedy. It seemed almost as if the Alderaanian people were cursed. They had lived in relative wealth and security for millennia as behemoths of the Republic, and in the past several decades they had paid a heavy price for their idealism.

It was a burden Trutski was happy to shoulder, even if for just a while longer. As if on queue, he heard a sudden whoompf from behind him, several decks below. Speak of the Sith, he thought to himself, closing his eyes. He had led a good life, a sailor’s life. This was not the end, merely a new beginning.

The bulkhead doors melted behind him, and then came the fire.

CNS Providence, Combat Bridge
New Alderaan System, Black Sun Territory

“There she goes, sir,” Ptolyevich breathed, tears of rage welling in her eyes as they both gazed out at the brilliant flash of light in the distance.

“Prepare to receive survivors,” Anton snapped, still cursing himself for his foolishness, “Get me some firing solutions on that star destroyer!”

How had he missed it? The Commonality officer had not expected any naval assets to be in play. There had been whispers about the nefarious Jutraalian underground, and even in the backwater of the Outer Rim the name Black Sun was well remembered. But Anton had been surprised enough that they had been sufficiently organized to take control of the planetside government.

Manning a star destroyer, however, was another story. This had likely been a long time coming, and the recent political upheavel had given them the perfect opportunity. Many of the most prominent Alderaanians were on Obroa-skai, hammering out the final details of the Commonality. Those that were left…

Well, it seems Jutraal still had its supporters, no matter what the Alderaanian bloc within the provincial government would have had the rest of the League believe. As far as Ossus had been concerned, Jutraal had died with Chaddwick Fearsons, a mixed blessing given the Shadow Jedi Master’s surprising show of philanthropy toward the Ossan cause in the end.

There had been no shortage of intel on the Alderaanian naval disposition, but having a star destroyer in your possession was one thing. Being capable of fielding the manpower necessary to operate one effectively, that was something entirely different. Yet Anton could tell the destroyer was near-fully manned, and the ship operators were not unskilled.

As it slingshotted past the task force, it began to engage in evasive maneuvers (as much as a star destroyer was capable), minimizing the axes along which the Commonality forces could effectively fire.

“All batteries target its hyperdrive!” Yemin called out, leaping down into the pit to personally oversee his weapons’ station, “Don’t let them get away. Tractor beams!”

If Black Sun was holding New Aldera captive under its yoke, it seemed only fitting that they take some hostages of their own. Gazing out the viewport, he did not need the sensor station to tell him that the destroyer was spooling up its FTL engines and plotting a course through hyperspace.

“Acquiring target!” the declaration came from the bridge officer in charge of manning the vessel’s tractors, “We’re too far out, sir. We need to get close-”

Before the woman could finish her sentence, the star destroyer seemed to suddenly stretch as it lurched forward, gaining the impossible momentum necessary for hyperdrive travel.

“Blast!” Yemin cursed, “Keep an eye on long range sensors. They may have made a microjump, and if so this isn’t the last we’ve seen of that particular pain in the ass.”

One frigate lost, and nothing to show for it. This rescue mission was not off to a good start. Silently, Anton begged the Force for a miracle. They would need one, if they were to liberate an entire world from Black Sun’s tyranny with such a rag tag force.

Captain Yemin never thought he would live to see the day, but a part of him missed Reavers. At least they were predictable. Black Sun, however…

Black Sun was anything but.
Posts: 837
  • Posted On: Nov 10 2013 6:38am
So here's the thing.

People gotta eat. So while “Black Sun” and “The Commonality” were busy measuring dicks and trying to blow up each other's shit, Captain Flabbergast and her motley crew approached the planet of New Alderaan at rather a leisurely pace, answering all of the hails from the planet promptly and following all of the stated protocols without delay.

It was just an ordinary medium freighter, hauling a hold packed full of nerf jerky to the little out-of-the-way world. Flabbergast hated the stuff, personally, but she loved to haul it. No freezing equipment necessary, none of that bulky carbonite packaging required. Just one solid block of merchandise, ready for offloading and sale.

The captain pondered the system's civilian traffic for a moment. The ruckus on the surface seemed to have thinned out the space lanes a little, but Black Sun wasn't stupid. Okay, well, Black Sun was stupid, but not that kind of stupid. They understood how money worked, how to keep the credits rolling.

There would be no disruption of New Alderaan's civilian traffic. She doubted the new Vigo would even try changing the planet's name, despite the apparent Jutraalian sentiments of his regime. Making people change their star charts all over again just tended to piss off spacers, and that was bad for business.

Business . . . aww, hell.

Captain Flabbergast had just realized those Black Sun bastards would have surely hiked up import tariffs by now! This was going to cut into her profit margins so bad . . .

She wondered if she could get her special guest to reimburse her for lost profits? “Hey, Iffis?”

“Yeah, yeah, almost there!” the jittery Squib blurted out, frantically typing away at the datapad he'd plugged into the freighter's comm station.

“No, it's not that,” Flabbergast began, already having second thoughts about bringing it up to the oddball Squib. Maybe she should just wait until she got out of system and call HQ . . .

“I've got it!” Iffis exclaimed, raising his hands in self-praise and accidentally dropping the datapad, which pulled the cables out of the station and sent a loud clang through the bridge as it struck the deck. “Oops . . .”

“Well hurry up before we get too close to the planet and they pick up the signal!” the Captain scolded the temporary crew member. She didn't like unexpected guests on her ship, but the “hazard pay” she'd been offered was just too good to pass up. Plus, it was for a good cause, she supposed . . .

“Hang on, hang on,” Iffis mumbled to himself, plugging the datapad back in and checking to make sure everything was still in order. “Yes! We're good!”

“Then drop the package and shut that gadget down! I'm not getting put in a Black Sun prison over this.”

Iffis typed a short command into the datapad, and the prerecorded message went out through the ship's temporary, secondary, tight-beam transmitter. It was a bit of an odd angle, and the relative motions of both the transmitting and receiving vessels had to be accounted for exactly, but Iffis looked rather pleased with himself, so Flabbergast took it as a good sign.

“Message away!” he exclaimed, still typing away. “Powering up the micro-hyperwave-transmitter,” he informed, still typing away. “Shielding looks good; there should be no detectable leakage for the planet to pick up.”

Should be?” Flabbergast repeated, horrified by the uncertainty inherent in the comment.

Iffis paused, perking up as he considered the question. “Well, I mean, I've never actually tried anything like this before. I suppose there's some chance New Alderaan Customs or something is doing a focused sensor scan on us at just the moment I push the 'transmit' button. What, you want me to abort the whole thing?”

Grumbling, Flabbergast looked over the Squib's shoulder, as if looking at the incomprehensible mess of code and readouts would somehow make it safer. “Just do it already!”

“And . . .” Iffis made a big show of pushing the button with his index finger, “done!

“. . .

“. . .

“I don't think we're dead yet. Seems to have worked!”

* * *

None of them suspected. Not a one. Greg Radagast had been praised for bringing the group remote access to the hyperwave transmitter. He'd made a sheepish attempt to give Bhen credit, but they wouldn't hear of it and he let the issue drop quickly.

Five or six of the younger ones were admiring the case of rocket launchers stacked up in the corner, praising the New Aldera Security quartermaster for her part in getting the anti-tank weaponry to them. The Ryn who'd saved her life when the first squad of Black Sun enforcers rolled in hadn't even been allowed into the meeting.

Bail Vox, the Alderaanian native who'd quickly rose to lead the group of freedom fighters, had probably already forgotten that it was his Ryn mechanic who'd put him in contact with the other big names in this group here. He certainly didn't realize that more than a dozen other Ryn had worked behind the scenes to make sure he'd be the one supported by his countrymen to take over.

Bhen smirked at the thought of it all. If she were a human, like most of the people in this room right now, she knew the thought would have angered her. How can't they see what's happening here! she would have raged. Why won't they give us the respect we are due! she would have gone on.

But Bhen was not human. She was Ryn. And it was precisely because of that fact that she and her fellow Ryn were capable of doing what they had done. It was precisely because these people couldn't see how valuable the Ryn were to them, that the Ryn were able to be of such value.

Anyone else would have been stopped by the Black Sun enforcers and interrogated. Anyone else's motives would have been called into question by their supposed friends. Anyone else's schemes would have been discovered. But not the Ryn's.

The Network was invisible. It couldn't be anything but that, made of Ryn as it was.

“We've made contact with three more cells on the outskirts of town,” a doe-eyed youth reported excitedly.

More Ryn maneuvering, of course. Bhen knew two of the Ryn responsible by name. She doubted anyone else in the room even realized they'd been involved.

“Now that we've made contact with the Commonality -” Bail began, and Bhen thought through the Ryn Fleet, “- we can coordinate our attacks on the ground installations with their push into orbit. All we've got to do is wait for an update.”

The update they were waiting for, of course, was almost certainly being delayed until the Ryn task force being assembled had worked out a plan of attack with whatever ships the Commonality had sent this way.

That would surely get lost in the after-battle shuffle as well, leaving the Ryn and their Network to soldier on, unseen and unheard.

* * *

Ryn Construction Fleet Hephaestus, in orbit of some backwater world, a few hundred light years from New Alderaan

Colonel Ellen had transferred to one of the smaller fleets specifically so this sort of thing wouldn't happen again. She wanted to be done with fighting. She wanted to be free of the entanglements of command, free to wander the stars without the burden of the lives she'd cost the galaxy.

But fate would not release the killer of Athan Sahalan. She would suffer every day for the blood that was on her hands.

The little work fleet was still receiving up-to-the-minute hyperwave transmissions from the little band of freedom fighters on New Alderaan, informing them of such mundane things as Black Sun foot patrols and the number and type of ships landing at the New Aldera starport.

The Colonel had already gotten an “operative” (just some random volunteer from the fleet) on-world, who had confirmed to the loyalists that the fleet was receiving their signal. She'd already sent a message through the Coalition HoloNet to the Commonality capital at Columex, but given the reports of recent Reaver activity in the region, the message would be taken by courier ship the last leg of the journey, so it was likely they hadn't even received her report yet.

This wasn't really the sort of thing that the Ryn usually got themselves involved in, especially not without backing from the Cooperative government, but this was different.

This was about Black Sun.

And a Ryn never passes up a chance to punish anyone whose sordid history includes the establishment and operation of slave breeding camps. So the Fleet Elders had decided that, as limited as their resources were, this was a fight the Ryn had to enter.

The data burst from their “spy ship” (some random freighter captain who'd agreed to ferry their eccentric Squib volunteer in-system, pretending he was a crew member, for a modest fraction of the fleet's discretionary allowance) had already arrived and been analyzed. The civilian-grade sensors of the medium freighter couldn't tell Ellen much about New Alderaan's captured defenses or Black Sun vessels in-system, but it was more than nothing.

The quick ping of the system's hostile assets was only a secondary objective, anyway. The important thing had been to get a ship in-system that could deliver a message to the Commonality task force present, and the colonel wouldn't know if that had been successful unless or until the Commonality commander managed to contact her.

It was a race against the clock now. Ellen was sure she could muster some support from the Cooperative military if it came to it, but her little escort group was here, now, and every hour that passed, Black Sun was entrenching itself further at New Alderaan.

She looked at her fleet roster one more time, trying to judge how many of the light and medium escorts she could pull away and still leave the construction ships with an adequate defense. Her own ship, the Corona-class frigate Reverence, was certainly the newest vessel in the entire fleet. They could spare a Carrack-class, maybe the Rascal, and one of the converted Dreadnaughts could be pulled off of manufacturing duty. Their combat systems were kept in operational order, but Ellen would feel better if the non-combat crew was offloaded before they set out. She'd have her pick of the corvettes, gunships, and patrol craft, as well.

She just hoped the makeshift task force would be enough. “Communications, signal the following captains to break from the fleet and assemble at waypoint one. We need to work out a squadron formation before we get the call.”

* * *

CNS Providence, Combat Bridge
New Alderaan System, Black Sun Territory

The communications officer, diligently checking local channels for any useful information, was simply stunned when his console indicators lit up out of nowhere. They were receiving something, something big. It wasn't a normal hail, not like that at all. It was, well, it was a data dump. The ship's buffers were soaking it up, and the moment the signal (which he'd already back-traced by trajectory to a rather unassuming civilian freighter on approach to the planet) cut out, he extracted the file for study.

It was a holo-message!

“Captain,” the officer spoke up, excited by the possibilities. The young man had grown up on stories of the intrepid R2-D2 and his message from the beautiful, regal Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan. “We've just received a holo-message from a passing civilian freighter, tight-beam signal to avoid detection from the surface. Shall I play it, Sir?”

Captain Yemin nodded to the young man, turning his attention to the bridge's main holo-display. “Let's see it.”

”Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi; you're my only hope,” he thought as he pressed the button to play the message . . .

Only to be met by some Ryn woman in a military uniform. “This is a message for the Commonality task force within the New Alderaan System. Do not respond directly to this transmission, as the signaling vessel would be targeted as a collaborator by the Black Sun forces in-system.

“I am Colonel Ellen, commander of the Ryn Defense Forces assigned to the Hephaestus construction fleet. We are currently stationed approximately four hundred light-years away from New Alderaan, and are in position to deploy as many as fifteen light and medium capital ships to assist in the routing of the Black Sun forces present in that system.

“In addition, we have access to outgoing communications from Loyalist resistance forces organizing planetside. Upon receiving their initial hyperwave transmission, I dispatched an operative with a key phrase to survey their operations, and confirm the authenticity of this Loyalist cell. That key phrase was transmitted through the Loyalist comm line less than three hours ago, assuring both their identity and commitment to this task.

“As you view this message, I will be assembling my task force in anticipation of your return communication. Attached are the galactic coordinates of the Hephaestus fleet. If you can establish communications directly without alerting Black Sun forces to the presence of allied vessels nearby, then do so. If not, I suggest you dispatch a courier ship along the route to Columex, and have it alter course after leaving the system.

“Allied ground forces are aware of your presence and are laying plans to disable as many ground based defense installations as possible to make way for your approach toward the planet. They await only a message from another operative supplying them with a timetable for action.

“As New Alderaan is a Commonality member, I of course defer to your command. We await your reply and stand ready to render what assistance we are able. Colonel Ellen out.”