Both The Manipulator and The Valentine were blasting their way through hyperspace and were by now nearing Coruscant. Both Captain Trapp and the newly promoted Captain Field had been briefed on the plan and had ensured that the plan was announced to all of the men on board both ships.
In one of the smaller hanger bays, R.K. Blast pressed a button to lower the boarding ramp to the small F.I.S. shuttle he would soon be using to try and get aboard the F.I.S. flagship.
Padfoot stood behind him and wished him luck as he walked up the boarding ramp. Blast turned back to him and replied,
“You too. We’re all going to need it this time.”
With that, he walked into the shuttle and the ramp closed behind him. Padfoot turned and walked away, leaving Blast to prepare himself for what was about to come.
All over the two ships, every man was preparing to play his own individual part in what was set to be the biggest and possibly final battle of the war.
Over Coruscant, The Calm Before The Storm had finished re-fueling and had detached itself from the Space Ring and was now suspended, floating a short distance above it’s sister ship.
On board The Desolation, all was calm. The F.I.S. troops slept, guards silently patrolled the corridors and the commanders were all in their quarters, most of them too, asleep.
As it happened, Iadsgb was restless and couldn’t drift off into the land of dreams, so instead he sat in his chair, gazing out at the stars and the planet below, trying to doze off. He was tired, they all were, but that night he just couldn’t sleep. As he sat there he nodded a few times, almost dozing off but waking himself up with a jolt each time his head fell.
On the bridge, it was Fixer’s shift to patrol and keep an eye on the night-shift officers.
He walked up the catwalk and looked out at the planet below.
Beautiful and bright it shone like a star from the billions of lights in the city. Reflectors floated in orbit around the planet, beaming artificial sunlight onto the daylight side and leaving the nighttime side in darkness.
The nighttime side was currently facing the Space Ring, as the Ring orbited the revolving planet in a counter-clockwise direction and currently was on the opposite side to the reflector mirrors.
As Fixer stared, he thought about everything that had happened the last time he’d been to Coruscant. Jelli had nearly died, Daue Jogl and Null 9 ‘Denser’ had both been killed, but most importantly, he had betrayed the U.R.S.. He wondered about what he had done and what the consequences might be because of it. He could tell that the war was coming to an end. Who would win though, was a different mater entirely.
The U.R.S. cruisers exited hyperspace above Ruan, the neighboring planet to Coruscant, so that Blast could fly ahead in his shuttle.
Padfoot and the other leaders watched from the bridge as the borrowed F.I.S. shuttle zoomed away from them, heading for the Capital planet they could just about see in the distance and then once it had grown to the size of a pinprick in the sky, left to get themselves ready for the assault.
For Blast, it was a very nerve-racking and lonely journey. All alone in the tiny shuttle, he had plenty of time to think, although he came to realize that this wasn’t ideal, as he started worrying. Fretting about what might happen if the plan didn’t work or for some reason they should fail. What would happen then? What would he do?
As he sat in the pilot’s seat, he calmed his mind, taking deep breaths and forcing himself to concentrate.
Following the tracking device, he got ever closer to Coruscant and then ahead, spotted the F.I.S. ships. The Desolation was still attached to the Space Ring and it’s sister ship was still hovering a little way above, out of the way.
‘Here goes.’ R.K. thought to himself as his shuttle started it’s approach towards the enemy’s capital ship.
On The Desolation’s bridge one of the pilots called out, “Sir?”
Fixer heard and strode over to the catwalk and leant over the railings to talk to the man below.
“We’ve got a shuttle wanting to board sir.” The pilot answered.
“One of ours?”
“Does it have a clearance code?” Fixer checked.
“Hold on a second.”
The pilot typed a message requesting the shuttle’s security code onto his screen and on board the shuttle, the message flashed up on Blast’s display. He typed the code in as a reply and sent the message back again.
“Let’s hope this works.” He muttered aloud.
“The code is correct sir, but this shuttle was due to be scrapped months ago.” The pilot stated questioningly and looked up at his commander.
“Hmmm…” Fixer thought. “It must have be repaired and sent back.” He concluded. “Let it dock.”
In the shuttle, Blast watched as another message flashed up stating he was clear to proceed.
“Yes.” He cheered quietly. “Thank the maker.”
He continued to pilot the shuttle towards the ship and looked up at the huge capital ship with trepidation as he flew in it’s enormous shadow towards the hanger bay he was due to dock in.
He piloted the shuttle through the forcefield across the entrance to the bay and slowly touched down in the deserted hanger.
He turned off the engines, pulled out his comlink and began sending a holo-message.
In one of the hangers on The Manipulator, Padfoot, who was surrounded by the other leaders and a collection of troops, answered the message and the small blue image of R.K. appeared.
“It’s worked. I’m in.” the projection told them in a hushed tone and they all cheered.
“Yes! Well done, Blast!” Padfoot congratulated. “We’re on our way.”
Padfoot made to leave but Blast collared him.
“Sir?” he asked turning back to him.
“If you see the doctor, Turso, anywhere, I want him alive.” Blast told him.
“Yessir.” His second in command nodded.
The hologram fizzled out and Padfoot started shouting orders to everyone and as they raced around doing as they’d been instructed, Padfoot sent a message up to the bridge where Captain Field was waiting for the order to take them back into hyperspace.
The leaders all clambered aboard a U.R.S. shuttle in preparation and as soon as Padfoot gave the order to Field, who in turn passed the message over to Captain Trapp, both cruisers suddenly lurched forwards into hyperspace and began the short journey to Coruscant.
In The Desolation’s hanger bay, Blast quietly and swiftly exited the shuttle and ran over to the door. Drawing his pistols, he waited momentarily and then touched the keypad to open the door. It slid open and the U.R.S. leader checked both directions down the corridor.
All was clear so he set off at a brisk walk, heading for the elevator shafts.
Every time he reached a corner, he paused and poked his head around it to check that the coast was clear before continuing on his way, sneaking through the numerous corridors.
He encountered several guards on patrol, always in pairs, but managed to avoid detection, hiding in doorways or sneaking through the shadows. He didn’t want to have to use any violence because he knew he’d have to save all his energy for if Iadsgb put up a fight. He also knew that if he killed anybody, he’d instantly draw attention to himself, which he didn’t want. For the plan to succeed, he needed to remain undiscovered for as long as possible.
He came to a particularly wide corridor and after following it for a few minutes, it grew into a semi-circular clearing with four doors at regular intervals around the curved wall: The turbolift bay.
There were two guards milling around, waiting for a lift to arrive and Blast kept well back so as not to been scene as they waited. After a minute, one of the doors made a BING sound and a little green light above it flashed on as the door swooshed open. The two guards stepped inside and the door swiftly shut again.
As soon as the guards had vanished from sight, Blast moved forwards and pressed the button to call a lift to his level.
“And three, two, one…” Captain Field spoke aloud into his comlink which had been patched into The Manipulator’s tanoy system as both U.R.S. cruisers exited hyperspace.
There, a short distance from them, were the F.I.S..
Sirens began to wail on The Desolation’s bridge as the automatic warning system kicked in to alert them of the new cruiser’s presence.
“Sir!” the captain rushed over to Fixer, who had been speaking with one of the pilots.
“What’s happening?” Fixer demanded.
“It’s the U.R.S. sir! They’ve just come out of hyperspace!” the captain hurriedly explained.
Both men raced over to the window and looked out just as fighter jets started to swarm from the hanger bays of both The Manipulator and The Valentine.
“Sound the alarm!” Fixer commanded and the captain rushed off to do as he’d been told.
Suddenly the air between the F.I.S. and U.R.S. cruisers heated up, as cannon fire and fighter jet flack filled the space; The United Systems had begun their assault.
THE END IS NEAR! BUT WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT? FIND OUT IN PART 17! COMING THURSDAY 25TH JULY!
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