QI’RA: Chapter Seventeen

A Rebel Force to Be Reckoned With

T-38 had never spent much time with Top Lieutenant Nienye alone and she didn’t want to get used to the idea, but for now, she would tolerate his presence.

Together they entered a small black craft called The Shadow that resided in the ship’s hangar along with a slew of other vessels. The Shadow was used only for missions of the utmost stealthiness. Its weapon arsenal was nonexistent and its two-person seating wasn’t designed for comfort but it would do the trick.

They shot out of the hangar at the lurching speed of an escape pod, momentarily floating in space before T-38, who was piloting the craft, hit the accelerator, sending the slender vessel flying through the asteroid field.

The console, glowing with a red light, gave them a panoramic view of the giant asteroids that surrounded them at every angle.

“So, which way do you think we should go?” T-38 asked.

Nienye pointed forward. “Straight is always the most logical answer when trying to locate something.”

T-38 sniffed indignantly before following his suggestion. They flew straight as a laser bolt, passing by the asteroids that loomed like dormant creatures in the dark vacuum of space. A bit of light reverberating from a nearby star made the asteroids glimmer like giant jewels. Despite herself, T-38 found herself appreciating the silent beauty of the field.

Nienye, recognizing her expression of wonder, smiled. “Yes. It is beautiful. They call these types of fields Star-Fields because they glitter like tiny stars from a distance.”

Keeping her gaze forward, she responded, “I can see why The Rebellion would have a base of operations here.”

As soon as she said that they rounded another asteroid and she quickly turned off the engine, letting the ship float in space, as they found themselves before what was undoubtedly a rebel base.

There were three asteroids tethered together by bridges in a perfect triangle. Each asteroid was covered in small cities glimmering with lights, a few X-Wings were patrolling the area, but what was more jarring were the Rebellion cruisers that were parked around the asteroids.

“This is bad,” T-38 said.

Nienye nodded. “We can’t possibly retrieve the coaxium. Not with these cruisers around.”

As if in response, the cruisers, one by one, began to turn, the X-Wings following after them and beginning to depart what appeared to be a trading outpost.

“Are they leaving?” Nienye asked in disbelief.

T-38 fired up The Shadow and turned back around, heading to Night Shade.

“This is the perfect time to strike. While The Rebellion goes to oversee whatever duties they’re involved in we’ll reclaim the coaxium and be gone before they can retaliate.”

A smile touched Nienye’s lips. “Luck is on our side.”

T-38 looked at him and for the first time in her knowing the young lieutenant, she smiled back at him. “Yes, it is.”

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