QI’RA: Chapter Eighteen

Pressing the Advantage

Qi’ra sat aboard Night Shade patiently, but anxiously, awaiting Nienye and T-38’s return. To her surprise, they returned in less than twenty minutes and thankfully with good news. Great news, to be exact.

Now, standing in the hangar, with Qi’ra’s small but mighty force of female warriors, they were concocting a plan.

“The Rebellion’s rebel cruisers are leaving the trading outpost, meaning the greatest time to strike is now,” T-38 relayed to her.

Qi’ra nodded. “And clearly they didn’t take the coaxium with them.”

“Exactly,” Nienye seconded.

“Please tell me you surveyed the rebel base and assessed the forces we would be dealing with,” Qi’ra said.

T-38 and Nienye looked at one another sheepishly.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t,” Nienye replied quietly.

Qi’ra sighed with exasperation.

“We got excited once we saw the rebels leaving,” T-38 said next. “We wanted to get back to you as soon as possible so we can catch whoever is at the base by surprise.”

“How do we know we’re not heading to a formidable enemy?” Qi’ra spoke loudly. “How do we know that there isn’t an army of rebels waiting for us? How do we even know they didn’t see you?”

“If they did, they would’ve found our position by now,” Nienye stated bluntly.

“We have to take this chance,” T-38 said. “It’s now or never.”

Qi’ra’s jaw clenched. “You’re right.” She turned to the female warriors surrounding them. “Let’s go! Get into your ships.”

The female warriors saluted her, adjusting their blasters, grenade-lined straps, and close-combat weapons as they poured into the black ships lining the hangar’s walls. Qi’ra, accompanied by T-38 and Top Lieutenant Nienye boarded her own vessel; a slender craft that was the shape of an angular arrow by the name of Dart.

Solaar, as expected, was piloting the craft but this time she was also equipped with a blaster of her own. Apparently, she wanted to be ready to defend herself in case she had to.

The eight black ships, led by Qi’ra’s Dart, poured out of Night Shade‘s hangar on one single mission; retrieving the coaxium. They sped through the asteroid field, following T-38’s directions as she led them to the base. It wasn’t long before they found the base which seemed mostly dormant until they drew closer. There they began to see the dregs of movement.

“Fire on the base!” Qi’ra ordered.

At once the eight crafts formed into a V-formation before flying over the cities clustered on the asteroid fields, firing at everything they could see. The unaware civilians on the base were caught by surprise as the ships’ barrage of laser fire rained on them from above, leaving behind a fiery path of destruction.

“Fly around for another pass,” she said.

And they did too, unleashing even more terror on the clusters of buildings as they flew by overhead once more.

“Do you know where the coaxium is?” Nienye asked.

T-38 was already looking at her wrist where a hologram featuring the city below could be seen. “It’s down there somewhere, but so is heavy resistance,” she announced.

Qi’ra’s templed bulged. “Enfys Nest is surely down there,” she said quietly.

A second later, as if snapping from her thoughts, she placed a hand on Solaar’s shoulder.

“Find a place to land,” she ordered.

T-38 looked at her. “We’ll be heading into a war zone,” she told her.

“Get ready.”

Qi’ra pulled her solid black mask over her eyes and ponytail. It was the mask she used when conducting important missions when she used to be a top lieutenant. With this mask, she injected fear into the hearts of her enemies while remaining incognito so that no one could identify who she really was.

Her sight was darkened due to the cloth obstruction but not limited, for there were sheer layers of dark cloth where her eyes were, allowing her the ability to see.

Nienye and T-38 did the same, the black masks covering the top halves of their faces sending a chill down Qi’ra’s spine.

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