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Hello, I'm an Imperial

Posted on Wednesday February 3rd, 2021 @ 8:34pm by Rhea Nyx & Sol Harizzo & Typhon Celeste
Edited on on Wednesday February 3rd, 2021 @ 8:54pm

Mission: When a Hutt Laughs
Location: The Bolt Hole
Timeline: MD10-18:42

Captain Celeste was unhappy with the way he was to approach the denizens of Grey Wing, it was something that given the chance he would have preferred to do via a comm link to start with. It didn’t make sense to surprise a group who made their living often making other people dead. He was slightly more reassured by the cadre of Shock Troopers who sat around him in the troop transport, normal Storm Troopers would have made him feel okay these troopers had all received special training based he believed off of things the Clone ARC troopers were taught, at least that was the case if he was to believe the Admiral.

Typhon smiled if you were to believe everything that the Admiral told you, then you would also believe he had access to a fully functional cloning facility somewhere out here on the outer rim. Stifling a giggle he shook his head, it was just too far fetched for anyone to have such a thing outside of Kamino. Next the Admiral would be trying to convince him that they were walking amongst Jedi without knowing it.

“Two minutes until the Lost Hope arrives” One of the troopers spoke in a clear but fairly monotone voice, none of these troopers had any semblance of personality; they were on a mission or nowhere to be found aboard the Imperial Star Destroyer under Celeste’s command.

The nerves started again as he realised once more that he was about to burst in on a group of trained killers without warning, in a place that they believed safe and unknown by anyone else in the galaxy. Sadly for Grey Wing as it was for many others in the galaxy the Vethen Hutt Family knew a great many things that they were not supposed to and they often used that knowledge as currency to bend people to their will.

Right now he was a message from the Admiral and the Vethens. A message that was meant to convey there would be nowhere in the known galaxy that the Grey Wing Mercenaries could go that wouldn’t be found.

He shook his head again as the trooper started counting down from sixty. Unlike the Admiral he was under no illusions who needed who in this relationship after Moff Traylen was offended and recalled his Interdictor it had left Admiral Tailis’ forces at the mercy of other remnants. Already there were three damaged Star Destroyers out there that had fallen foul of situations that weren't planned in advance. The fleet needed this Interdictor and Celeste knew that Grey Wing were the only people with the skills to pull this off available to them, and now it was time to make or break their relationship with Grey Wing.

He shifted his focus back to the count down.

“3”

“2”

“1”

“Go”

The transport lurched up from the ground where it had been for the past 8 hours having dropped in earlier in the day, the pilot sped towards the hangar of Grey Wing’s base and flew neatly through the mag con field.

The door at the front of the transport dropped open with a clang and row of Storm Troopers with red striped armour ran out holding their blaster rifles to their chest. Clearing the way for Captain Celeste to make his way down the ramp at his own pace, above them, the Imperial Star Destroyer Lost Hope appeared above the Bolt Hole in perfect geo-synchronous orbit.

“Captain Harizzo” Celeste saluted the former Imperial Officer “I bring the regards of Imperial Sector 442’s Admiral Trudeu Tailis and the Vethen Hutt Family, your message of failure to procure a Gozanti Cruiser for your forthcoming mission we have been sent to underline the importance of your mission and to provide you with the assistance you greatly need.”

Sol Harizzo blinked. Moments before he stood in the hangar alone waiting for the other members of his team to arrive, still not quite believing what he was seeing his blaster had cleared his holster and was pointed at a good number of Storm Troopers.

“I suggest no one moves,” He said quietly as his brain slowly worked its way through the scene before him processing the words the Imperial Officer had spoken. “Until I figure out what the hell is going on.”

Minutes earlier, Rhea stood in the makeshift ops centre, eyes locked onto the holotable as she flicked through schematics and maps her mind working out details that were needed. In addition to preparation, the exercise served to help settle the ever-growing feeling of uneasiness she felt ever since she came back to the bolt hole a few days ago.

Even as she tried to find what it was she was missing, it did not appear to be in the schematics and maps on the table; at least it proved to be elusive so far, as did the reason for her uneasiness. She’s lost count how many hours she’s spent pouring over the information in the latest stint, but at least it helped settle her mind somewhat. The fact that they were due to leave in less than an hour and she still had that deep knowing that she was missing something didn’t help. She rubbed at the bridge of her nose allowing herself to close her eyes in an attempt to recollect her thoughts and figure out what was going on.

‘Something’s coming….’ the thought popped up in her head for what seemed like a hundredth time since she'd gotten back to the bolt hole. Rhea looked up and around sharply, her hand on one of the holsters housing her weapon as her eyes scanned the room.

“Vague much?” she muttered to herself as everything appeared to be clear. Rhea didn’t like dealing in ‘vague’, ‘vague’ was what got people killed, or at least severely injured. She shifted her attention back to the holotable, but couldn’t really shake the feeling of an impending threat. The last time she felt like something was off in such a way and dismissed it, she ended up paying a heavy price for her mistake.

Glancing at the doorway and back at her helmet, Rhea grabbed the helmet; putting it over her head she headed outside. Maybe she just needed a change of scenery for a moment or the threat was outside, but surely Sol or someone else would’ve raised an alarm by now she figured.

Outside she engaged her helmet’s scanners as she glanced around, up at the sky, everything seemed to be in order. One would think it’ll help settle Rhea more, instead it worked to put her on edge even further. She hated that feeling, not knowing what the threat was or where the threat was coming from but knowing with full certainty one was coming, and soon. That was possibly the worst possible tactical position one could be in because it meant one had to be ready for virtually anything. Fortunately for her, the Protector was no stranger when it came to these things. Not that it made her feel any more at ease over the years, but she did learn to trust her instinct a lot more.

She took in a long breath and let it out slowly. Everything seemed to be in order here as well, for the time being, anyway. perhaps it was the calm before the storm. Reluctantly Rhea turned to go back inside when a glint far ahead caught her attention. She paused, her helmet’s scanners picking up and zeroing in on the object in a split second. The last thing she expected to see next was an imperial transporter speeding past and into the hangar as a Star Destroyer appeared above the bolt hole.

This certainly was….different.

Rhea swore, throwing out some colourful phrases in Mando’a as she checked her vambrace which was still linked to the computers in ops, there was no advance warning of the ISD showing up or the transport. Which means they’ve bypassed the systems or someone currently at the bolthole let them in. She wasn’t sure which was worse right now, but it signalled she and Sol had a major problem on their hands right now. Suddenly whatever edge and uneasiness she felt ever since she landed back at the bolthole made sense.

‘We really need to tighten security around here,’ She filed that thought for later, focusing on the hangar, her helmet’s scanners gathering the data she needed as she broke into a run heading towards the hangar. She forewent alerting Sol they’ve got incoming, given the way the shuttle burst into the hangar with Sol there, Harizzo probably already knew, so it was pointless to state the obvious over comms.

Rhea slipped her Westars out of their holsters and silently moved inside the hangar blending in with the shadows. The Mandalorian threw a calculating glance around, assessing the situation as she made a move taking cover behind one of the huge fuel tanks. At least no one was shooting yet, and she wasn’t about to be the first one to start. If the Empire came in here with an element of surprise, this was a wasted opportunity for them to use it to kill off Grey Wing, which meant there was another reason for the flashy entrance.

She caught the backend of Celeste’s address to Sol and frowned, not liking what she was hearing. ‘Underline the importance’ were certainly choice words...Sol’s response made it clear he wasn’t expecting this either. Which meant the Empire’s arrival in such a style was likely a message from Vethen more so than just an assist. Rhea was liking this less and less.

‘I would love to have a chat with you,’ she thought with a frown; not that Vethen would hear the Mandalorian in any way right now, but having a chat with the Hutt was definitely an option Rhea would pursue once this was over.

Rhea Nyx weighed wanting to see where this particular altercation in the hangar went before she did anything drastic like tossing a couple of explosives into the fray. But she also needed to figure out a way to let Harizzo know she was nearby. Something a bit more subtle than her usual flair of weapons-fire resulting in a heap of bodies in her wake, especially when it came to dealing with the Imperials. That would likely cause more issues Grey Wing didn’t necessarily need right now. Hutt involvement definitely made things a bit more complicated than Rhea would’ve liked. Imperial involvement on top of this didn't help matters.

Rhea closed her eyes taking in a long silent breath, she let it out silently as she made a decision and put her weapons back into their holsters.

“Until *we* figure out what the hell is going on,” Rhea’s voice called out as she moved away from the fuel tank and stepped in to direct view of everyone in the hangar.

She could feel the tension rise even higher in the hangar at her appearance, but no one moved to point weapons her way just yet. She was well aware the armour she wore made her a threat regardless of the weapons she carried on her person. To minimise the possible threat, the Protector held her arms slightly up away from her sides, palms facing towards the intruders her fingers spread wide to show she was making it harder for herself to reach for a weapon if she had to as she strode through the hangar. Something told Rhea weapons wouldn’t give the answers she or Sol needed here, this required a more diplomatic approach.

The Protector felt the troopers tense up with every step the Mandalorian made towards the group, but they remained where they were, ready to jump into action if necessary. It seemed the troopers were under orders not to shoot anyone here, at least for now, Rhea observed. At least they were better trained than the usual bunch Rhea had tussled with most of the time. The fact that these weren’t the usual contingent of Stormtroopers, followed by the fact that they made no move to attack further drove the point across that something more was going on here.

“How ‘bout you fellas put your weapons down; we all relax and you help us sort this one out without violence?” the Mandalorian woman spoke evenly as she joined Sol by his side and turned her head to glance at Sol then back at the Imperial Captain and the troopers he brought along. The irony that it was the Mandalorian in the room calling for forgoing the use of brutality to resolve an issue, wasn’t lost on Rhea.

She wanted to say her own weapons would remain holstered, but it was hard to sound convincing about that when you were known for essentially being a walking weapon yourself. Rhea hoped her keeping her hands away from her weapons was enough of a point, because she wasn’t about to put on a show and remove her armour in front of this particular audience just to be seen as less of a threat. Not that it was the armour that made her dangerous. Given her experience and the heightened tension in the hangar, it was very likely that all those present were acutely aware of that.

As she watched the Imperials, her mind naturally shifted through various possibilities and ways the troopers can be taken down quickly if it came to that. But, Rhea knew that it was the last resort and as much as she wanted to hurt anything Empire-themed, this wasn’t always the best option. Especially now that she was working with Grey Wing.

Like Sol, Rhea Nyx also wanted to know what was going on here, she was acutely aware that weapons won’t give quicker answers in this case. But she was also certain that this latest development definitely changed things going forward and she had no intention to remain on the sidelines, not if she were to keep Grey Wing safe going forward.

Captain Celeste plastered a smile to his face that did not match the feelings inside of him, so far at least their interaction had not descended into bloodshed. The arrival of the Mandalorian was an unexpected turn, their intelligence-gathering efforts had not uncovered her whereabouts. Typhon mentally chastised himself as he realised how stupid they had been to overlook the fact she hadn’t gone anywhere, he made a mental note to have the intelligence officer undergo some remedial training as soon as he returned to the Hope.

“Certainly the more the merrier” He waved for a stormtrooper to get another chair for him “I was not expecting the famous Protector here with us, I hope we have not put too much of a crinkle in your day Rhea.”

“May I call you Rhea?” He asked earnestly “It is such a pretty name, much prettier than other names I’ve heard you referred by.”

The Protector let out a small chuckle appearing unfazed by his comments. It’s not like she was hiding that part of her past too hard these days. It still didn’t sit well with her to hear her name said by an Imperial, but given everything else that so far hadn’t sat right with her lately, this was a very minor issue.

She made it a point to know the names of everyone who’d set foot at the bolt hole, usually well before they’ve done so. The fact that this guy pretty much just walked in here with an entire assault team of stormtroopers and a Star Destroyer hanging above the bolthole was a much bigger concern right now. The Protector was keen to find out more about all of this and the Imperial across from her. Rhea tilted her head ever so briefly as she watched the man, the fingers of one of her hands briefly flexed slightly as if she was running them across a virtual control panel keying in a command.

“You know my name; it seems appropriate you tell us yours, Captain...” she spoke, her voice even. She was mildly curious to find out how much of this Imperial’s comments were mind games, how much he actually knew, how useful he could be to her and Sol and what made the Captain tick. Not to mention what the Hutt connection was.

Celeste smiled and then bowed. Rhea tilted her head slightly at the move, he was definitely not the typical Imperial she usually ran across, which was a major factor in him still being alive at all right now.

“I am Captain Typhon Celeste Commanding Officer of the Imperial Star Destroyer Lost Hope, more affectionately known as The Hope by those who crew her.”

“It is a pleasure to meet you and Captain Sol Harizzo”

Rhea filed away that piece of intel for later. She bit back several sharp retorts reminding herself there was likely a lot more on the line here than she could see right now.

“I’m sure it is...” the Protector responded evenly. “I hope we didn’t put too much of a crinkle in your day, Captain” she added, her tone carrying just a smidge of irony to avoid sounding insulting.

Sol watched the pair speak as he tried to make sense of what was happening, he knew that somehow a whole Imperial assault team had made their way to the bolt hole unannounced and blasted through the door. On any other day he would have been inclined to start shooting first and ask the questions later, today though his gut was telling him to take a different course through this. Despite the obvious fake smile on his face that formed part of this showboating he could see that Captain Celeste was deeply troubled by the position he found himself in.

It wasn’t natural for this man, it wasn’t his way.

Filing that away for another conversation he finally broke his silence.

“How exactly do you plan on assisting us?” Sol’s gaze moved around the room “If you want a hint it could start with sending your troopers back where they came from. Just having them breathing my air is making my trigger finger itchier than you or I would like at this time.” He gestured towards the Storm Troopers.

The Captain turned his attention back to Sol.

“Ah, as direct as I was led to believe by the Vethens, not a great negotiator” He added half under his breath.

“We have procured a Gozanti Cruiser for you and a squad of my finest Storm Troopers to assist you on your endeavour” He made a hand signal and moments later the Storm Troopers filed back into their assault craft “Your mission is of vital importance to the Admiral, and it simply must succeed.”

He paused for a moment before smiling a more sincere smile and adding.

“As such you will need to stow your itchy finger a while longer.”

Inside Sol was livid, he was angry that the Hutt knew about this place, angrier still that she had shared that secret with one of the many Imperial Remnant Factions that would sell their grandmother to a Hutt for a leg up over one and another.

Anger welled up inside him. Once again he found himself at the mercy of others machinations, that was one of the reasons he had left the Empire behind.

Rhea listened to Celeste’s offer, considering the options that were available to them as she turned her head to look at Sol before refocusing back on Celeste. At this point given the limited intel she had right now, there weren’t many options that wouldn’t end badly for Grey Wing.

“We *could* kill him now...and the Troopers,” Rhea spoke addressing Harizzo as she still watched the Imperial, “*should* kill ‘em,” she added with a shrug, her voice appearing casual. “However, chances are...that ISD up there has orders to erase the whole moon out of existence, and possibly deal with the rest of Grey Wing in a similar manner should the ship fail to hear back from Captain Showboat here soon,” the Mandalorian added point-blank as her tone shifted to a more serious note.

“I don’t know about you, Harizzo, but that doesn’t seem like a good alternative to me,” Rhea said, reminding herself and Sol that there was more at stake than just their own lives. Besides, it didn’t exactly give them the answers they needed right now, nor did it help their position in any way. For the moment, she kept that to herself, much like her intention to find out more about the people they were about to hand over a massive ship to.

Rhea’s words punctured Sol’s anger like lasers popping a star fighter’s shields. She was correct they had very little choice in the matter, they had to go along with whatever the Imperials wanted at this point.

Sol raised his hands to indicate surrender before speaking.

“The Mandalorian is correct, we seem to have little choice here but to dance to your tune.”

“How do you want to play this?” He asked Captain Celeste.

“Well considering how you have reacted to us, I think it may be best if your crew don’t see much of the Hope. We will send the Gozanti Cruiser down to pick you up within the hour and you can all spend the journey aboard the ship ready to launch when we drop you off.”

Sol nodded. Rhea raised an eyebrow, not that it would be seen underneath the helmet, her humourless brief chuckle, however, could be heard quite clearly.

“Understood Captain Celeste, now if you don’t mind. Get the hell out of my base.” Sol said with a smile he didn’t feel plastered on his face “You and I will discuss this meeting at length in the future.”

The Protector remained silent, to say more now would be a mistake, she needed more intel on Celeste and the group he was a part of before she could risk a proper tete-a-tete with him without endangering the rest of Grey Wing. For now, she, Sol and their little team of operatives had a job to do. Rhea suspected they’d probably be needing more than just a distraction to help skew the odds in their favour given the latest developments. Her mind was already shifting through possible options as Typhon Celeste took his leave.

 

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