Alexander should have known something was going to happen as he rushed through the Ghost as their latest heist went up in smokes with an Imperial Star Destroyer closing in with TIE Fighters in close pursue as he stopped short at the ladder and yelled to the roof gunner. "That was too bold a move, Kanan, think before you try this craziness again!" He booked it down as Kanan fired a few shots before Hera jumped them into hyperspace, the familiar look greeting them as Kanan got off the gun and spoke to the crew.
"Told you we'd get away."
"With the shipment." Sabine pointed out as she took to arguing on the fact. "You said we'd get away with the shipment." Alexander rolled his shoulder as he added his piece, something Hera would have scold Kanan on to start with.
"Kanan, our resources are at an low point, everything." He motioned with his fingers as the other crew spoke up, starting with Ezra.
"Food..." Sabine spoke next.
"Explosives..." Hera finished that line of thought.
"Fuel..." She tampered with the ship a bit more as she explained. "We need to make some money, or we might as well put the Ghost in storage." The cockpit was quiet as they thought about a plan before Kanan suggested it.
"There's always Vizago's job." Zeb grumbled as he inquired.
"So we're arms dealers again?" Kanan gave a short hum before he returned the question.
"More like arms re-distributors." That didn't smooth well over Zeb as he grumbled once more.
"Come on..." Zeb huffed as he continued in his venom. "We don't even know what kind of weapons we're talking about here." Ezra kicked in as he spoke.
"Hey, if it puts food on the table and frees up some time for, oh I don't know, Jedi, then I'm in." Kanan pushed Ezra back into the chair as he turned to Hera.
"Say I am, what then?"
Kanan nodded as he continued. "I already know the mission. Let's head to the spaceport." Landing near Lothal, the party divided up as the automated system spoke up to the number of ongoing races.
"Now boarding Star-Commuter Shuttle ST-45, bound for Garel." Chopper chatted and grumbled a bit as Zeb commented offended.
"How rude..." Ezra clocked the droid before sitting down, Alexander shaking his head as he scoot to the end as another joined their ride, the Minister Tua and someone else as she spoke upon entering.
"This way, Mr. Wabo." Zeb and Ezra shared glances as the Minister continued. "We have seats in the front." They sat down, but it was clear that the Minister was not TOO pleased to be hearing an alien language instead of Basic, rolled her eyes and slightly shouted. "Where is that translator!?"
"Coming, Minister." A gold-plated protocol droid with a silver leg stepped on in as it motioned for another to follow. "Come along, Artoo." The R2 astromech rolled on behind the protocol droid to join the Minister as Kanan finally joined, jumping in with Sabine and Zeb glancing at each as the final boarding call was made, the hatch closing as he strode on by, avoiding Chopper who was trying to kill Ezra at best while Alexander just lightly rested as the droid pilot spoke.
"Sentients, please prepare for takeoff." The shuttle ascended before leaving orbit, entering hyperspace soon after while Chopper pestered Ezra some more, Ezra doing rather well acting the part of a disgruntled droid owner, even with one as old as the C1 astromech. Wabo spoke and the protocol droid translated as he would.
"Amba Wabo is most honored, you are joining him on Garel, Minister Tua. And, uh, if I might add a personal note..." Her brows frowned, but it was ignored as Ezra started a fight with the droid, pushing it back some as he angrily stated.
"Will you cut it out! You have plenty of room! Stop crowding me." Chopper didn't take to it as he zapped Ezra twice, the young man thudding on Alexander who gasped as he slightly grunted at the similar-aged youth as Kanan, after looking at them, grumbled his own piece of it.
"Kid, how 'bout you get that rust bucket under control?" He sat back down and moved from the violent droid as Ezra, stumbling to get up, peered over the seat and yelled a bit.
"Mind you own business!" The droid shocked Ezra again before Kanan stood back and made a complaint.
"Hey, pilot. Isn't there some rule against droids in the passenger area?" The pilot did, in fact, know of such a rule and spoke to Ezra with a huff.
"I am sorry, sir, your astromech must proceed to the back of the craft." Ezra makes a point as he complaint about it.
"Hey, if my astromech's banished, then those two astromechs are banished too." Sabine knew what was happening as Alexander added his own input before the protocol droid could correct.
"Sir, the gold, humanoid droid with the silver leg is a protocol droid, they are NOT astromech, I have to tell a lot of people the clear difference between the two!" He motioned his point with a chop to the hand as Minister Tue tried to ensure they stayed, though was very impatient about it.
"Pilot, these two droids are with me, and I am on imperial business."
"Sorry, ma'am, but these are imperial regulations." No loophole to exploit as she sat in her anger as the protocol droid tried and failed to appease the situation, but it was too late as they were both sent to the back.
"Oh, this is so humiliating." The protocol droid spoke as he walked to the back with the astromech in the back. "Trust an astromech to ruin everything." The R2 unit whistle and beeped as the companion question, though the other rebels didn't hear it. "Secret mission? What secret mission?" Alexander may need to splice into those droids to see what he could find out as Wabo spoke once more, but the Minister didn't understand him before Zeb put him in with a grin.
"Hello. Excuse me." The minister folded her arms in disgust as Zeb continued. "I couldn't help noticing your predicament. If it's of any help, my ward here is quite fluent." Sabine was quite the actress as she started.
"Oh, I would never presume... Though it would be good practice for my level five exams at the Imperial Academy." She tried to deny it as with a 'no,no, but I couldn't', clearly, the time to fake such a behavior was quite impressive, but the Minister fell for it in relation as Alexander spoke to Ezra.
"Eyes open, we don't need to cause too much of a scene than we already have caused."
"I don't think we need to worry too much, Chopper will keep those droids back there without anything going wrong." They both nodded as Sabine was able to translate with success with a minor adjustment to the translation as the pilot spoke again.
"Sentients, we are approaching Garel. Please prepare for landing." The Shuttle jumped out of hyperspace and zoomed onto the planet of Garel, landing in a bay where the party departed, the rebels catching sight of Imperial troopers close by as the Minister thanked Sabine.
"My dear, you did a great service to your Empire today, now focus on those level fives."
"Oh, I will, minister, It's been a great honor. Thank you." As the Minister joined the Stormtroopers for Bay 17 with Kanan rushing ahead, the true prize was in Bay 7 as the rebels headed on out, Ezra taking to the roofs while Sabine, Chopper, Zeb, and Alexander took the land route as Ezra spoke to his master about the idea of Jedi training.
"Kanan, I thought you were gonna teach me Jedi stuff. So far, all I'm doing is thieving, and I already knew how to do that."
"Just get to bay 7, open the door, and we all get paid."
"So we steal to stay alive. See?" Ezra shook his head as he continued in his passage through the vent. "Told you I already knew this." He made it to the top and peered out to the city around him before heading for the direction of Bay 7. He breathed before he started to leap across the roof tops and past several vehicles before he made and entered the vent again to the near-empty bay as he called it. "Okay, I'm in Bay 7." He dropped to the ground and unlocked the door to Zeb clapping.
"Well, Kid, you pulled it off."
"Was there any doubt?"
Alexander graced that before either Sabine or Zeb could. "Ezra, I know you and you have a bad habit of faltering at the last moment, Sabine will not be pleased with that." He chuckled as both Sabine and Ezra shouted 'Hey' without realizing it while Zeb just laughed at the statement as Hera called over the comm while the four of them headed over for the cargo with Kanan heading to the other side.
"Almost there." The hanger door opened to the Ghost landing and Hera continued. "Do we know what exactly Vizago has us stealing yet?" Zeb made the mistake of opening one and quickly drew back as Alexander took a look, gasping as well with widened eyes.
"Oh, crap... T-7s..." He grimaced as he looked at Zeb. "These are not just some idle thing, and if the Imperials want these, we are so screwed." Ezra made the dumb inquire as he was clueless as Sabine pulled one out.
"I don't get it, what is so bad with these?" What none of them expected was Alexander gripping Ezra's shoulder and shaking him up.
"T-7 Ion Disruptors are BANNED by the Senate, not for their abilities to take down and short-circuit a ship, but what they CAN do to organic life, these things are not OKAY, Ezra!" Alexander released the now-dizzy teen as he wheeled to Zeb. "Zeb, I also know of what these things did to you, we can't leave them in the hands of the Empire."
"Not the time, Alex." Kanan spoke as he grabbed the disruptor and returned it to the crate, closing it. "Get 'em aboard before company comes." Regardless of their opinions at the time, they started to load the disruptors onto the ship...
On the other side of the operation, Minister Tua questioned. "There is nothing here. Where are my disruptors?" R2 inquired as the protocol droid corrected him.
"Yes, she said disruptors. Now hush." Wabo started to yell and groan as the droid translated. "Apparently, the cargo is in bay 7, so Amda Wabo wonders why we are here."
Minister Tua spoke the truth as she knew it. "The girl told me 17."
"In Aqualish, a translator can easily confuse 7 with 17, if she is an amateur." Chopper soon arrived and spotted the party as the Minister commanded.
"Well, there's no time to waste. Take us to bay 7." Chopper beeped in inquiry as Hera gave him an objective.
"Well, stall them." Chopper did so as he charged over, slamming into R2 and beeping in its aggravated tone.
"R2-D2, I told you before to watch where you are rolling!" Chopper attempted to threaten, but R2 was prepared as Chopper backed up from the shock prod, the protocol droid trying to dissuaded the issue after the lot of them got back onto their feet. "You appear to be malfunctioning again. Really, R2-D2, apologize." Tua stopped short as she knew the droid.
"Wait. This is the C1 droid that caused our translator to..." Realization filled her eyes as she commanded in response, now knowing that she was mislead. "To bay 7, double time!" The Stormtroopers rushed ahead as Chopper whistled in worry as he chased at the party...
The last of the disruptors were being pushed to the Ghost as Kanan shouted. "Hurry! We've running out of-"
"Too late!" Ezra spotted the massive number of stormtroopers coming their way as Alexander spotted them too and put on a neutral face as Ezra whispered. "We've busted..." The troopers came to a stop as the lead shouted.
"Hands up!" Zeb was calm about it as he held his hands up with Alexander doing the same as he followed a short distance behind as Ezra asked.
"What are you two doing!?" Zeb and Alexander said nothing as they got closer before Alexander asked.
"What's the issue here, gentlemen?" Wabo groaned and mumbled as the protocol droid translated.
"Amda Wabo says those crates contain his disruptors." Zeb took over as they soon stopped before them.
"Uh, must be some mistake. Can't possibly be disruptors in there 'cause they're illegal, right?"
The minister took the moment to speak in a harsh tone. "That's irrelevant. We're going to search your crates." Zeb shrugged as Alexander did the same.
"Be our guests."
"Forward!" Two stormtroopers marched past the pair before Zeb spoke up in a whisper.
On second thought..." He snatched the two and hauled them back before he shouted. "You want disruptors, you gotta come through me!" Alexander joined the battle as Zeb pulled free his bo-rifle, Alexander wasting no time in dealing shocking punches, despite his smaller size to the troopers as Zeb just taunted. "Never again! You're trying to shoot me? You missed!"
Kanan yelled to Ezra during the firefight. "Get those crates aboard the ship, now!"
"Uh, right." Ezra started to push the last of it as Kanan fired back to help out Zeb and Alexander as the minister had quite enough of the alien supplier while the two droids spoke with each other.
"Brigands, R2. We're surrounded by brigands. The mission is doomed, and so are we." R2's head turned to follow Chopper who made a hasty retreat through and soon followed with his protocol droid companion yelling after him in pursuit. "What? R2! R2! Where are you going?" They continued on as Ezra and Sabine loaded the last of it as the droid continued. "Following that droid?" R2 beeped in reply as his companion continued. "Well, he certainly seems to be on a mission, so you had better accelerate yourself." Back in the hall, Kanan called out.
"Spectres Four and Seven, time to go!" Zeb shook out of it as Alexander landed well from a well-placed roundhouse kick.
"...Right." Zeb booked it with Alexander following behind, stopping on the ramp to fire at the Stormtroopers' legs and arms as Kanan continued.
"Spectre One to Ghost. We're good to go."
"Going." The ship lifted off as Zeb waved for Kanan to jump to which he did as Alexander holstered his rifle and the hatch closed, allowing the freighter to take off, Alexander wiping his brow as Sabine spoke up.
"Oh, look. Chopper made some new friends." Chopper grumbled as the protocol droid spoke up, the same ones that were with the Minister, now were on their ship.
"I am See-Threepio, and this is my counterpart, Artoo-Detoo." R2 replied the same as Alexander walked over and looked over the droids as Threeio continued. "I was translating for Minister Tua when we were attacked by thieves like, uh you." That was the moment that Threepio was surprised and fearful of the large Lasat and Kanan as the Ghost went further out, Zeb looking over the scene as Kanan spoke.
"We have company. Imperial droids." He turned to Alexander who was checking over the protocol droid to request. "Spectre Seven, let's get a couple of restraining bolts on these two." Despite Sabine's more time on the Ghost, her tech skills were somehow surpassed by Alexander who agreed.
"Understood, Five, could you snatch some, I need to make sure of these two fully."
"Got it." Sabine scaled the ladder as Kanan turned to Erza and Chopper.
"Spectre Six, Spectre Three, keep an eye on 'em." Erza smirked as Kanan scaled the same way.
"Right. That'll happen."
"Excuse me, sir, but this is a terrible mistake." Erza rolled his eyes as the protocol droid tried to state its plea. "My partner and I are in service of Minister Tua of Lothal and..." Alexander rolled his eyes as well as the droid just followed Erza for a bit while the astromech... watched as Alexander started to work on him, Zeb speaking as he inquire.
"Kanan, a word?"
"Can it wait? If I don't confirm our rendezvous with Vizago. We'll have done all this for nothing."
"Yeah, about that..." Zeb rubbed the back of his head as he stated his case on it, unaware of the astromech's head popping open and a small radar activing as Alexander raised a brow to it as he glanced at the two point and smirked with a quiet 'I see'. "Maybe this time, we don't sell to Vizago, eh? Maybe, we get those out of circulation instead." Sabine scaled down and spoke.
"Least we got 'em out of imperial circulation. When I was translating, I found out they were shipping those T-7s as prototypes... so the Empire could mass-produce them on Lothal." She leapt on down as Kanan turned back to Zeb with reassurance.
"See, Zeb? Perfect crime. We steal weapons for the Empire and sell them for credits we desperately need to keep this bird flying."
"Oh, hey." Sabine started as she gestured to the droids. "If we need credits, maybe Vizago will buy those two droids." Alexander shook his head in disappoint as Kanan agreed.
"Yeah, good idea." He headed up as Zeb still wore a concerned look, Artoo hiding his radar back in, as Alexander spoke.
"Okay, everyone, clear out for a bit, I can handle this just fine, this isn't the first time I have dealt with droids." The four of them looked at each other before they left Alexander to his work, attaching a bolt to Threepio first and crouching down to Artoo, glancing about before he smiled in glee, turning back to the astromech. "Man, I have never actually seen the real deal, a Nabooian astromech hero." Artoo beeped in alarm, but Alexander spoke otherwise. "Hey, hey, no need for that level of worry, I am not trying to foil your plan, you are lucky, I shut the chatterbox up first, now then..." Alexander sat down and ran a hand on the smooth surface. "If this goes the way I think, I need some aid, I still need the bolt on you for appearance, but you know any good traps that could work with T-7s?" The droid paused before going into a rant and Alexander nodding with glee, this was going to be epic...
Aboard the Star Destroyer Lawbringer, Kallus had his back turned as the Minister was addressing him as he inquired first. "Describe the thieves."
"I saw six, an adult male, two juvenile males, a juvenile female, an old C1 droid, and a Lasat." Kallus's brow raised as the Minister continued. "Honestly, Agent Kallus, I didn't think there were any Lasats left." He thought about it before he thought about one and smirk as he turned.
"A few, Minister..." He knew the band and knew that they were primed for capture. "...Only a few..."
On the Ghost, Ezra overstepped his limit for the day as Zeb shoved him out. "...And stay out!" The door closed as Ezra charged it, knowing it was locked at well.
"You can't do that, it's my cabin too!"
"Ezra? Come in here." The youth huffed as he punched the door one final time as he found both Hera and Alexander in the cockpit.
"Hera, Zeb booted me from my own-"
"I know, but maybe you could cut Zeb a little slack today."
"Oh, the way he cuts me slack?" Ezra's aggression was off-the-charts, but both remained calm as Hera spoke.
Do you know what a T-7 disruptor is, what it does to an organic being?" This caught Ezra offguard as he replied.
"Uh, no." Alexander then spoke up as he turned in the seat.
"T-7s... those pieces of tech are not for the faint of heart, nor the noble." Alex continued as he explained it to Ezra. "True, they can take down a starship easily, disabling them, but the reason for the ban on them is become of what happens to organic life when hit with such an attack." He shook his head in a huff as he rubbed his temples. "They kills organics in the worst way, slow and painful, atom by atom, disintegration. Those are the same type of weapons used on the Lasat people on the planet of Lasan, that is what Zeb witnessed when the Lasat people ended on that world." Both were quiet as Hera didn't attempt to shush him or anything to stop the speech as Ezra looked terrified and concerned. "You may have thought it was an idle reason, but it hurts BADLY, to see your own kin suddenly die by such a weapon, THAT is why they were banned in the Senate, it is too dangerous a weapon to use and hold." Alexander turned back as he finished. "So, cut Zeb some slack and understand this, he had his reasons for it and we have to respect that."
He rubbed his head in grief as he reply in seating. "I-I guess I could cut him some slack." Hera clapped his leg as she smiled to him.
"Good man." She decided to change the subject as she asked about the training. "So, how's the Jedi training going with Kanan?"
"Jedi training?" Ezra spun in his seat as he commented. "Never heard of it." Hera sighed as she commented.
"We'll see about that..."
"I do hope you are not planning on mauling Kanan, Hera, that would make him LESS valued in your private moments." The Twi'lek glanced at Alex with a small grimace as Alex continued with a chuckle. "I am just saying..." The Ghost jumped out of hyperspace as Ezra commented on the planet, Lothal.
"Home, sweet home." They primed up as they descended on the site where the transaction was going to happen as they gathered in the cargo bay with Hera and Kanan debating something.
"...Can we discuss this later?"
"That's fine, love..." Hera commented as she stood at the bottom with Kanan following. "...But we will discuss it." He sighed as Artoo made a number of sounds as Sabine translated, unaware of Alexander's own skill with understanding droid.
"Oh right. This R2 says its real mission was to make sure the T-7s never reached the Empire, and that his master will pay handsomely for their return." Kanan hummed before he replied.
"I'll think about it." Zeb sighed as well as he inquired.
"So, we're not selling the droids, but we're selling the T-7s? We don't even know who Vizago's buyer is."
"We know it's not the Empire, and I already made a deal with Vizago. So let's get these crates off the boat." Unaware of the crew, Threepio sent out a reply for help, and the message went straight to Kallus, who headed there to take the rebels in the act. Vizago opened up a crate and hummed in approve.
"Oh. I can make some beautiful music with these." Zeb huffed as he scowled.
"They're not that kind of instruments!"
"Ah. You just have to know how to play them. And how to play those who want to buy them." Kanan was not impressed before Alexander spoke.
"You want the disruptors, YOU have to buy them, you also follow through with your payment, otherwise these disruptors are not yours to sell, period." Vizago chuckled as he strolled over.
"Finally, someone on your crew who understands business." Kanan sighed as he replied.
"Let's just get this over with." Suddenly the sound of something coming closer caught both Alex and Vizago's ears as they turned to see what was coming, Alexander pulling out his scope before he spotted the threat, to Vizago's surprise and the others too.
"Gozanti-class cruiser with two All-Terrain Defense Pods, Imperials." Alexander grimaced as he continued. "I personally blame fearful and terrified droids for this one." Vizago grimaced as well as there should have been Imperials unless...
He whipped about and shouted at Hera. "You were followed!"
"That's not possible!"
"Tell it to the Empire!" Vizago rushed about as he ordered. "Leave the rest, we're gone!" Kanan stopped him short as he grabbed the Devaronian by the arm.
"You haven't paid us."
"Cikatro Vizago doesn't pay for half a shipment." Vizago ripped his arm free as he continued. "And he doesn't pay for trouble with Imperials." The vehicles started as he finished. "My friends, I hope you live to bargain another day. And if you don't..." He gave an 'eh' as the vehicles headed as Alexander rushed forward and then shouted.
"Then tell your client that they are going to have to deal with faulty weaponry then!" Vizago looked confused before Alex pulled out a detonator, pressing it as the tops of the crates that Vizago grabbed exploded off to the weapons sparking and their circuits fused, the panic evident as Vizago tried in vain to fix the damage as the vehicles left, the Ghost crew surprised as Alex explained. "Universal detonator, its goes more than hundred yards, anything I tampered with goes haywire, one-time use though." Sabine whistled as the crew turned to the incoming Imperials before she inquires to Kanan.
"Shouldn't we be going too?"
"We can't let these disruptors fall into imperial hands." Kanan looked to Sabine as he spoke. "Sabine, destroy the guns."
"Ha. Now you're speaking my language. I'll go get my gear." She rushed to the ship before she spotted the two droids coming off, Artoo moving over to the crate before providing a number of sounds as it lifted one of the disruptor as Threepio exclaimed in surprise at the tone of 'joining the crew' the astromech was motioning as Sabine took off her helmet and understood the whole thing. "Of course. Overload the disruptors, and boom!" She patted the astromech in glee. "Good call, little guy. You can join our crew anytime."
"Well, short my circuits." Chopper retorted as well as Kanan rushed over with the crew as he filed it out.
"Hera, help Sabine open the crates. Ezra, Zeb, Alex, line 'em up!" He lifted a disruptor as he glanced to the cruiser. "Meanwhile, I'll deal with the walkers." The walkers were dropped as they started to approach, one's cannons firing as the ground shook from the impact, Kanan getting to work as he fired once and the attacking walker went down without an issue, but the second one managed to blast him back, Hera distracting it for a moment as Kanan was lifted back onto his feet and they took cover as the cruiser landed some and unloaded its regiment of stormtroopers and a familiar agent as he gave the order.
"Advance and fire." Threepio made the attempt to be 'rescued' as he called out.
"Thank you, thank you, I knew some form of rescue would arrive. I told Artoo, but he thinks so ill of stormtroopers." That didn't help as they opened fire and the protocol droid scuttled back in horror. "Wait! Don't shoot! Don't shoot! You're here to rescue me!" Zeb and Kanan looked at each other before returning to fire back as Hera called out.
"Chopper, ready the ship for takeoff!" Chopper paused as he watched a sliver of Hera pass by the rocks with the AT-DP following her before he headed for the ship. Zeb took out a trooper, but Kallus was not deterred as he spoke as he stepped over the body.
"You! Lasat!" He pulled out his rifle and it extended out with electro-prods on both ends, the Lasat coming out of cover to glare as Kallus handled the weapon and thrust it forth in a challenge. "Face me!" A simple lookover prompted Zeb into action as the trio still behind called out.
"You idiot!" This went unheard as the two clashed with war cries, their mastery of the shifted weapons quite a sight from a first glance as Zeb knocked Kallus off his feet and angrily spoke.
"Only the honor guard of Lasan may carry a bo-rifle!"
"I know!" Kallus cackled as he continued. "I removed from a guardsmen myself." Kallus's movement gave him a defining edge as he could outmaneuver Zeb's heavy set as he taunted the Lasat. "I was there when Lasan fell. I know why you fear those disruptors. I gave the order to use them." The taunt worked as rage filled Zeb and he continued his berserker stance, but Kallus was more calm, collected in the face of such a threat, the trio withdrawing back to better cover as Kallus struck Zeb once and twice with pride and success in his veins as Zeb looked ready to drop if he overdid it, Kanan huffing as he commented.
"That fool Lasat's gonna get himself killed."
"What else is new?" Alexander commented as Sabine finished."
"Okay. We're ready." The three rushed over as they pulled the cart and shoved it toward the advancing stormtroopers while Sabine, Artoo, and Threepio shove the last one at the At-DP, resulting in a massive explosion on both sides, shaking the whole place as stormtroopers went flying as the whole crew was blasted off their feet, unbalancing Zeb and allowing Kallus, more steady, to strike a third blow and brought the Lasat down on his knees, prepared for a killing blow when Ezra, pulling in something else at the sight, got to his feet and shouted.
"NO!" Without warning, Ezra used a massive Force Push, blasting Kallus far back into the rock and rendering him unconscious for the moment, surprising both Ezra and Kanan as Hera got back up herself before Kanan spoke.
"Spectre Two and Seven, get the kid aboard."
"Right..." Ezra just gazed at his hands as Alexander grabbed him with Hera as she continued. "Move, all of you, now!" Kanan rushed over to help Zeb out.
"Zeb! Come on, big guy. We gotta get out of here. Zeb?" The Lasat was not responsive, but his grip on the bo-rifle returned, reassuring Kanan as he helped the big guy onto the ship with Threepio whining a bit more as Hera called to the astromech.
"Chopper, get us out of here!" The ship took off with Kallus, dusting himself off a bit, watching as the ship left orbit and Sabine removed her helmet as she asked.
"Will he be okay?" Zeb groaned for a moment before he responded.
"...Yeah." The Lasat was slowly helped up as he thanked the wrong person for the save. "Thanks, mate. Appreciate the save."
"Sorry, Zeb, but Kanan was knocked to the ground, if there is someone to thank, it's Ezra." Alexander pointed to the similar youth. "I have never seen a more successful Force Push like his on the spur of the moment." Kanan raised a brow at the comment before he shrugged it off and spoke to Ezra.
"Your formal Jedi training starts tomorrow, Ezra." The crew was in high hopes, but that didn't relieve them of their droid hitchhikers...
Alex worked to triangulate the source coordinates for Hera as he took over for a bit, Zeb's injures a bit more painful and needed a full medical attention before he arrived to the location and scanned it over, pausing before he spoke up to the comm channel he made with the astromech. "This is the transfer point, your master is a bit late." The R2 replied and Alexander nodded. "I don't mean it like that, I just want to understand if it is true or a trap, you know, nothing is certain among these times." R2 moaned in concern as Alexander correct his tone. "Sorry, my own ideas and beliefs, now where is..." Another ship jumped out of hyperspace and Alexander spotted it, a CR90 corvette, and raised a brow as he got a scan off it, looking it over before he looked about to the ship as he piloted it to dock. "Kanan, your presence is requested at the starboard airlock with See-Threepio and Artoo-Detoo, repeat, Kanan, starboard airlock with droids in tow." He glanced at the name of the ship he got, the Tantive Four, knew who was in charge of the ship. "...Organa... never expected you to be the owner of two very fine and well-traveled droids..." He got out of the cockpit seat and rested in the passenger seat as Kanan met with his mysterious owner of the droids. A well-aged man greeted him as he then gave Kanan a massive amount of credits.
"That's very generous, sir."
"Well, I'm very fond of these droids." R2 beeped as Kanan returned the gesture.
"Then, I'm glad we could return them."
"The simplest gesture of kindness... can fill a galaxy with hope." Kanan paused as he questioned it.
"Isn't that... a Jedi saying?" But the man give no room to question it as he rested a hand on Kanan's shoulder.
"Safe travels, my friend." Kanan dismissed it as he bowed to the man.
"Safe travels." He headed on his way with the credits as the man looked to Threepio in question.
"You didn't tell them my name."
"Of course I didn't, Senator Organa. But this entire ordeal has rather stressed every one of my circuits. Permission to shut down?" Organa turned and agreed.
"Granted." Threepio went off to rest as the man crouched beside Artoo. "You record everything, old friend?" The astromech beeped in reply as Organa continued. "Good. We'll focus on the Imperials later." He moved to the front as he continued on, fishing a clip out for data. "For now, show me what you have on your... rebels." He inserted the clip as he found a recording also in the droid's system and, curious, listened to it.
"Greetings, I apologize for tampering with the droid, but I have never actually seen the real life model that not only fought in the start of the Clone Wars, but has such a legacy that I am amazed with its great existence. I also... understand why, his master has changed and he had to find a new master to continue his rebellion. I can only say this... I will celebrate Empire Day with a different meaning, the meaning of life free from the Empire one day." The recording stopped, but Organa just chuckled as Artoo did the same while downloading its data on all, but one of the rebels.
"Well, we have gained one true ally, only time will tell which one it is..."
Kanan peered past as he commented, a gut feeling that something wasn't right. "No guards on the door..." He and Zeb booked over to the door and the Lasat spoke.
"Just set the detonator so we can get the Wookies out of here." Kanan pulled out such a device from his belt as he rigged it onto the door, the sounds rather quiet and the tension loomed over them as he calibrated the right setting as Zeb continued. "Least, things seem to be going smoother than our last op." Their thoughts were halted as Ezra came in shouting with Alexander behind him, Zeb snarling. "Karablast, these kids are blowing another op!"
"It's not an op, it's a trap!"
Alexander took the moment to speak as well. "We got an ISD bearing down on us right now!" This caught their attention as that meant that Hera sent them to warn the team, just as the door opened to storm troopers, Ezra taking the moment to shout.
"Run!" The troopers tried to capture the four of them, but Ezra blasted the detonator, exploding the path as they took to running, having gained a small advantage. "We need to warn Sabine and Chopper, but they've jammed the comm."
"They'll follow the plan, it'll be fine." Kanan stated as Ezra spoke again.
"Yeah, because the plans goes just great so far." In another section of the ship, the astromech chattered as Sabine spoke as well.
"Chopper, stop grumbling and work that gravity generator." The party rushed on forward as the opposite passage was then filled with more troopers and someone else as Kanan shouted.
"Don't stop!" Ezra wore a worried look as Sabine spoke again.
"I've got the backup ready..."
"Push off, now!"
"Now." The ship suddenly stopped applying gravity as space gripped their bodies, Ezra rather unprepared for the transaction, but the same was for the Imperials as they were disoriented, the party blowing past them with ease as Sabine commented. "Artificial gravity is down for two minutes." They breezed on by as the man tried to get them, getting the handle of the weightless situation as Ezra and Zeb struggled to stay in front. Kanan took the moment to ask while Sabine loaded the controls with explosives.
"Doing okay, kids?"
"Are you kidding!?" Alexander chuckled as he commented, bouncing off the walls with ease while his covered knuckles still sparked from impact with a few of the troopers.
"The question is not that troubling, you really have to get a grip on things within seconds." Within the time to escape the storm troopers, Kanan called out again and the gravity returned, Ezra getting helped up as they ran for it, Sabine inquiring in concern.
"Where are the Wookies!?"
"No Wookies, Sabine, man the nose gun, Chop, tell Hera to take off!" Sabine agrred as the party headed for the way, Alexander helping Ezra out when Zeb slightly pulled him back, but that was their downfall as the Imperials caught up, the man grabbing Ezra while several Troopers tackled Alexander before more filed in to fire on Zeb who pulled out his weapon before yelling.
"Kid, get out of the way!" Ezra struggled, but the grip was tight.
"I'm trying!" Alexander struggled as well against his stockpile, Zeb taking on a sorrowful look as he exclaimed.
"Sorry, kids...!" They exchange a look as Zeb whispered the last line. "You did good..." The door slammed shut, leaving the pair of youths struggling from the capture, their ride home just leaving them behind with remorse...
Hera nodded as she exclaimed to the crew. "There, airlock shut." The Ghost detached, releasing itself from the transport as Hera continued. "We're out of here!" Zeb didn't feel like joining as he leaned against the closed door and slumped to the floor, feeling terrible at what had just happened. "Chop, jam their tractor beam!" The Ghost flew away from the hanger as Hera guided them out before the Star destroyer commander spoke.
"Attention, Rebel Ship, surrender or be destroyed, this is your first and last warning."
"Blow it out our exhaust vent... literally. Sabine?" The girl smiled as she pulled out a trigger and activated the explosives, blasting the Star Destroyer from the inside as she grumbled.
"Ugh, I can't see it from here. How'd it look?"
"Gorgeous, Sabine, as always." Kanan remarked as they flew further away before Hera launched them into hyperspace, finally in the clear as she sighed, Sabine and Kanan joining her as Kanan spoke. "The whole thing was a setup."
Sabine questioned it as she asked. "Do you think Vizago was in on it?"
"He'd sell his mother to Jawas for a couple credits, but we're a source of income for him." She fold her arms as Zeb joined them. "Even odds, he didn't know..." Zeb took his seat as they sat in silence before she continued. "Those kids did alright."
"They did okay..." Kanan turned to Zeb, clearly not noticing the distress on the Lasat's posture. "Where are they?" Zeb hesitated as he turned it around.
"I... thought they were with you?" That didn't sound good as Sabine spoke up.
"Zeb, what did you do to them?"
"I didn't do anything to them!" He turned his face as he whispered in grief. "That ISB agent grabbed them." This lead to a panic as they shouted.
"Those kids got grabbed, okay!" Hera was pissed as she used his full name.
"Oh, come on, we were dumping them off after the mission anyway!" His tone turned back to grief as he continued in a woeful tone. "This saves us fuel, they'll go easy on them, they're just kids..." Hera and Kanan shared a look at the turn of events and what to do now...
The agent walked up to the cell where Alexander and Ezra were locked in, finding that, while Ezra was sitting with his pack to his side, Alexander was running through all the stuff he had, sorting it out with questioning looks before the man spoke, stepping into the cell. "I am Agent Kallus of the Imperial Security Bureau and you are?"
Ezra's reply was defiant as he spoke. "Jabba the Hutt." Kallus raised a brow, but before either could speak, Alexander spoke otherwise as he glanced behind, drawing both of their attention.
"No, Trace, you are not Jabba, we have had this debate for months now, you can not fool mister Ironhand so easily again, when you did, I had to clean up your mess from faking an ID, so no, Trace, you are not, once more, Jabba the Hutt." He returned to the sort as Ezra plead his case.
"Look, I just met those guys today, I don't know anything."
"You're not here for what you know, 'Trace', you're here to be used as bait upon our return to Lothal."
"Bait? You seriously think..." He let out a 'wow' as he continued. "You're about as bright as a binary droid, they're not gonna come for me, people don't do that."
"Hard to tell at times, to be honest, Trace." Alexander continued as the attention was grabbed again. "People could either be helpful or be complete Banthas about it, there is no telling with people." He nodded, putting the things back as Agent Kallus seemed to close the gap before dusting off a portion of Ezra's attire before Alexander extended out his pack to the Agent. "Are you planning to take our things as well?"
"Well, I suppose that it would actually be wise, just in case, you have any tricks up your sleeves." He walked out before he spoke to both the guards. "Search them, and secure them here." The storm troopers did so as they entered the cell, aggressively taking Ezra's stuff since he was resisting, but lightly took Alexander's stuff and searched him before they found nothing and left the cell, the door shutting as Ezra grumbled.
"You need to go warn them, Ezra..." He pulled out the cube and glanced at it. "What was I thinking..." He got up as Alexander leaned against the wall as the young man grumbled. "And of course, the only thing I managed to hold on to is this worthless piece of..." He growled as it didn't open to him before he threw it at the cell wall, Alexander just watching as Ezra was heated before he spoke.
"Such emotions are bad for your blood, though I can't judge you as I have done the same thing, so mad and upset that it just seems aggravating, so please, calm down for a bit." Ezra looked peeved before he took the advise to heart and breathe, bringing his hands up in a thinking positon, Alexander resting on the wall before he heard... a click, raising his eyes to the box that was... moving its corners to the sides before it started to float up, its pieces coming off as the center hovered there before it displayed something. "Oh, snap... didn't see that coming..."
He kicked off from the wall as he watched as the display spoke, giving a message in the form of a aged man. "This is Master Obi-wan Kenobi, I regret to report that both our Jedi Order and the Republic have fallen with the dark shadow of the Empire rising to take their place." Ezra's brow moved as the message continued. Ezra spotted the message and gasped in amaze as it continued. "This message is a warning and a reminder for any surviving Jedi, trust in the Force." The message stopped as the object put itself back together before Ezra spoke, standing up and pointing in shock.
"No way, Ezra, that was all you, I had nothing to do with it at all, put it away." He quickly scooped it up and hid it as they resumed their places, now certain that there was a LOT more going on at hand and that was not good in the long term if used the wrong way...
The Ghost flew through hyperspace as Zeb denied the idea. "No, no, no, no way!" He continued in his rant. "You cannot be serious!"
Hera put forth her argument as she stated. "It's our fault, they were there."
"Come on, Hera, we've just met those kids, we're not going back for them." Sabine looked to the side in grief as she spoke as well.
"They'll be waiting for us." She shook her head as she gave a sorrowful look. "We can't save them..." Hera turned back in grief before Chopper spoke up, Zeb demanding on what the droid just said.
"What, what did he say!?"
Hera smirked as she spoke. "He voted with me." Two for two and the deciding vote went to Kanan as Hera continued. "That's two against two, Kanan, you have the deciding vote." He debated this, his vote would pull them back into the fray or leave to trace for more clues, his gut starting to tell him... that the ship was going to need its two stowaways for the actions to come...
Back on the Star Destroyer, Ezra's attempts of threats were rather... weak to be exact, luckily Alexander was actually good with backup. "...And you bucket heads are gonna be sorry..."
"Trace, calm down, you are not suitable to be yelling at the storm troopers like that, remember your..."
"No, this is against a nephew of the... Emperor, this must be... heard!"
"Trace, calm down, this will... Trace..." A loud thud hit the ground with the shuffle of feet. "Oh, shoot, Guards, he is suffering from something, get in here!" The storm troopers wasted no time in opening the cell and rushing in, only for Ezra and Alexander to escape as they turned around, suddenly spotting the small device in Alexander's hand as he stated. "Sorry, it was a case of the dramatic, but I am not leaving you without a small prize." He tossed it and it emitted a shockwave, knocking them out as the door closed, Alexander not locking it as he stated. "Find the gear, get with the chaos."
"I can get behind that!" They rushed out of the detention ward and headed for the armory, picking up the packs and readying for action when Ezra picked up one of the helms, and though Alexander gave a face, they stopped as they listened in on an Imperial transmission through the helmet.
"...delay was insignificant, the transport ship Agent Kallus diverted will dock on Kessel within two hours, the Wookies will be offloaded to work spice mine K76..." The transmission was interrupted as they heard a Stormtrooper.
"Stormtrooper LS-zero-zero-five, reporting to Agent Kallus."
"Sir, the prisoners are gone." Both of them gave a thumbs up as Kallus returned the call.
"How did they get aboard!?"
"Sir, the rebels didn't free them, they...uh." Anymore was cut short as the pair sneaked into the vents, surprising as Alexander stole a E-11 rifle off one of the racks and followed Ezra through the vent as the comm returned.
"I don't know how the rebel ship approached without alerting our sensors..."
"They came back...!" Ezra jolted up and slammed his head into the metal, groaning as he listened some more, Alexander keeping close. "I don't believe it..."
"Order all stormtroopers to converge on the lower hanger, I'll meet them there." Ezra quickly thought up a plan as he activated the commlink and spoke, hoping to buy some more time for the crew.
"This is Trooper LS-one-two-three, reporting intruders in the upper hanger, sir, I believe the lower hanger is a diversion."
"Maybe, maybe not, Squads Five through Eight, divert to upper hanger, the rest converge as ordered." Ezra shrugged as he stated.
"Well, every little bit helps." He continued to crawl as Alexander chuckled to himself, they had come across a mouse droid beforehand and, he tampering with its coding, sent it on a small 'errand', the turn of the rebels just a sweeter deal...
The Ghost landed in the lower hanger, the Headhunter still on it, as the party rushed down the ramp as Hera spoke. "Find Ezra and his friend, I'll be ready." Sabine spray some stuff near some of the crates and joined the run into the interior of the Destroyer as Kanan spoke.
"Hold this bay till we get back."
"And this time, try not to leave until everyone's back aboard." Zeb plead his case as he slowed to a stop.
"That was not my fault!"
"Well, that's debatable." The voice came from the vents as someone landed in front of Zeb, wearing a trooper helmet so Zeb acted on reaction and slugged the person in the face, toppling them over as another face appeared from the opened vent, Zeb grimacing as the figure spoke.
"Strike two, friend, think you should have removed the helm before anything else." Ezra got up before he unloaded into Zeb, taking the helmet off.
"First, you ditched me, then you hit me!?"
"How was I supposed to know it was you, you were wearing a bucket!" Ezra tensed in anger, before Kallus came running down the way, the party, including Alexander who slipped out during the exchange, rushed for the hanger as the helmet was hurled at the agent who knocked it aside as Kanan called it.
"Spectre One to Ghost, we've leaving!" The team fired some shot off, hitting some of the troopers coming in as the others took cover, Alexander keeping a steady aim as he knocked some off the docket, as they entered the ship, Ezra attempting to make a lasting impression, but Zeb grabbed his shoulder as he yelled.
"Oh no, this time, you go first!" Ezra was pulled in fast as Kanan called.
"Ghost, raise the ramp!" The ramp closed behind Kanan as the freighter rose up in the air, Kallus commanding the troops to direct their fire.
"Aim for shield generator and engines, do not let them..." He stopped as he took in the paint on the floor, lifting it up to smell and getting concerned before he called out. "TAKE COVER!!!" The resulting explosion, engineered by Sabine, pulled cargo and troopers into the vacuum of space as Kallus called out. "Turn on the shields!" A Stormtrooper, still outside the room, pounded a fist into the controls and the shields turned on, wasting precious seconds for the troops while the Ghost flew out once more and jumped into hyperspace, Hera sighing as the door opened to both Alexander and Ezra, Alex taking a seat as Ezra leaned on the frame.
"Welcome aboard... again."
"Thanks..." Ezra rubbed his head as Alexander started to tinker with the blaster rifle, removing its ammo before getting to work, as Ezra continued, returning to the lean. "Thank you, I really didn't think you'd come back for me." Hera smiled as she adjusted the systems.
"I'll get you both home, I'm sure your parents must be worried sick." Hera stopped as Alexander started to make a chopping motion near his neck as a sign of stopping beforehand, but Ezra still replied as he looked down.
"I don't have parents..." Alexander raised his arms before setting the rifle down and flicking a finger across his palm as Hera wore a saddened look on her face as Ezra, lit up a bit, as he swayed the subject off. "...And you've got somewhere else to be." Kanan and Sabine entered the cockpit and Alexander removed himself as he leaned behind the chair of Kanan's before the youth continued on a thought. "I know where they're really taking the Wookies." The silence still filled the air, so Ezra continued. "Have you heard of the spice mines of Kessel?" The reaction was widespread as they exchanged glances, Ezra barely catching them all before Sabine turned in her seat to explain, Alexander's tampering the only things still consist then.
"Slaves sent there last a few months, maybe a year." Hera turned as well as she put the grim news on top.
"And for Wookies, born in the forest, it's a death sentence." Ezra looked among the party there before he exclaimed.
"Then I guess, we better go save them." Alexander smiled as the party turned to him before Sabine asked.
"We've come this far, might as well finish the job." Alexander stood up as he remarked, loading the clip back into the weapon and holstering it onto his pack.
"Well, guess it's time to start hurting the Empire, if you need me, Phantasm One is on standby." He saluted with two fingers before heading out, Hera smirking as well as she turned to the computer.
"Setting course for Kessel." Kanan lingered in his gaze before turning front and center, leaving Ezra to debate his position. They jumped out of hyperspace and Alexander boarded his Headhunter with a smile as he linked up with the Ghost.
"This is Phantasm One, reporting for duty, Ghost."
"You are clear, Phantasm One, let's see what we can do." Through the cloud cover, the crew attacked the standing garrison as the rest of them prepped for combat.
Zeb took to scaring Ezra a little bit as he started. "Try not to get dead." Ezra glared back as Zeb jabbed at him. "Don't want to carry your body out." The ramp opened and Kanan, Ezra, Zeb, and Sabine jumped off the Ghost that came to a safe distance for departure, before running into cover behind some crates, the stormtrooper presence increasing slightly as Alexander made several strafing runs on their numbers, avoiding the Wookies as Kanan and Ezra nodded before the young man snuck around the side while the party divided the attention to them, the Wookies watching the firefight as Ezra got into their midst before the leader spotted and growled in their native tongue as Ezra cleared it up.
"Hey, hey, I'm here to help." The leader converse with the others as Ezra undid the bindings, the leader looking at his hands before more joined in the release, surprising everyone when they took down the remaining stormtroopers were routed, but the victory was short-lived as TIE fighters flew up form the clouds below and started to assault the Ghost, Alexander banking and taking out one of them before they rose again, this time with a Imperial Gozanti-class Cruiser as it lifted from the clouds and fired on the Wookies, injuring some as the ship came close, the TIEs driving the Ghost off as Alexander spoke over the comms.
"I don't have the firepower to handle that cruiser, you need to take out whatever that thing is going to unload on you, I'm going to help the Ghost!" The Headhunter flew on by as the ship landed and unloaded its force, led by Kallus once more as he gestured to the prisoners and rebels.
"Take them down!" The stormtroopers charged forward as the rebels retreated some, the firefight going on as the lead Wookies was hit and both Ezra and Zeb rushed over to him as Zeb confirmed the injure.
"He'll be okay, I've got him." Ezra turned as Zeb hoisted the lead away to see that the youngling Wookie, still bound, was being chased by a trooper away from the main party, he wearing a determined look before he followed the crew to the cover while in the sky, the Ghost was contending with the TIEs with Chopper manning the guns, Hera shouting as Alexander joined her and helped take out a few more TIEs.
"I can't maintain position!"
"We don't have too much breathing room up here, Spectre One, we are going to have to try something crazy!" Alexander grunted as he barrel rolled from a TIE volley before looping and downing the bother. "What's your plan!?" Back on the ground, Kanan spoke as they took cover.
"Go! Lead the TIEs away and give yourselves maneuvering room!"
"I am not leaving you behind!" Kanan looked to see large-metal containers and thought of an idea.
"No, you’re not. We’re running a 22-Pickup." Sabine glanced at Kanan and inquired with a tone.
"You have a better option?" Zeb had the OTHER idea on mind as he voiced it.
"Jump into the pit and get it over with?" Hera was a bit more optimist as she acknowledged.
"All right, I’ll be back. Make sure you’re ready, Phantasm One, focus on the fighters for now."
"Understood, I am coming in!" The comm chatter halted on the ground as Kanan adjusted himself with Ezra asking.
"22-Pickup." He asked nervously, pressing into the thoughts. "Care to let me in on the secret?"
"Kid, I’m about to let everyone in on the secret." He stood up and the feeling returned as Kanan stepped into the open and dodged blaster fire as if he knew how it was going to hit and moved as his mind registered the shots, Kallus calling for a halt as Kanan pulled out the components before attaching them together and pointed it out, the blue beam surging out before he stanced with it, Ezra's amaze strong with the Wookies as well as the Imperials looked at each other in worry, even Kallus looked at unease as the sound of the saber hummed across the facility before Kallus commanded.
"All troopers, focus your fire on-- on the Jedi." The Troopers fired, but Kanan blocked and deflect the shots that would have hit him, the Wookies suffering less injures as Kanan called out.
"Time to go!"
"Right." Zeb called it as he motioned the Wookies to the place. "Everyone, into the container!" Ezra watched as the leader tried to reach out for something and he knew the answer, glancing over the crates before making his decision as he booked it for the youngling, Zeb and another spotting him as the crewmate called out. "Kid, stop! Karablast. I swear, if he’s left behind again, it’s not my fault!" They motioned the Wookies in as Hera continued to get support from Alexander, but one of his wings was blasted and he grimaced, the pressure getting too high as the TIE behind him riddled him.
"Well, bantha fodder... you guys just wrecked my ship..." He groaned as he engaged the thrust and lined the ship to another TIE before flipping the ship and popping the hatch, firing a grapple onto the Ghost as he spoke in the face of the zooming speed. "Like I said, never leave home without a grapple." It latched on and he undid his buckle, falling fast before retracting the line and riding the ship as the Headhunter smashed into the TIE to Hera yelling.
"I'm okay, darn Imperials riddled my ship, now I am currently on the hull, so give me a sec." Alexander turned around, the grapple returning as his boots locked in and he pulled out his new rifle. "Let's see how you like your ship wrecked..." He fired, holding tight as the TIE were unprepared for the additional fire coming from the freighter while on the ground, Kanan spoke up in the deflected blaster fire.
"Zeb! Hera's coming!"
"Get in, you furballs, now!" The Wookies acknowledged it as Zeb returned fire some before he shouted to Kanan, the Wookies rushing into the container. "Kanan, I think you inspired the kid into, well, doing something like you would do!" Kanan understood as he continued to block while on the other side of the compound, Ezra caught up to the Stormtrooper before calling out.
"Hey." The Trooper turned, but Ezra was ready, drawing on the same feeling before he leapt over in a inhuman way before landing before the youngling and quick drawing his shock sling, knocking the Trooper off the platform as he turned to the Wookie. "Gotcha!" He undid the bindings, unaware of Agent Kallus coming close. The Ghost flew in as Alexander turned his attention to the Troopers below, sniping them as they came while the container with the whole group was shut and grabbed by Hera with her speaking.
"Magnetic seal locked." The container shook some as the lock was complete as Zeb grumbled.
"I hate this part." The Ghost soared up and to the clouds while Ezra finally got the bindings off to be confronted with Agent Kallus.
"It's over for you, Jedi." Both stared at each other as the ISB agent continued. "A master and an apprentice, such a rare find these days."
"I don't know where you get your delusions, buckethead. I work alone."
"Not this time!" The Ghost floated up from the cloud cover as Kanan stood on it, lightsaber out as he stared down Kallus, the agent taking a few shots, but they missed with the exception of the deflected one that sent him over before Kanan called out. "Jump, kid!" Both the youngling and Ezra leapt off the platform and onto the Ghost, Kallus left to both stare at the leaving sight and kick the trooper that didn't fall in the first place. The crew all aboard as they conversed in the cargo bay, reuniting father and son together as Ezra just looked at it and felt... empty, Alexander joining him before he pulled him to the corridor, leaving the crew to their things among the Wookies.
"Well, we did it... mission complete, right?"
"Yeah..." Ezra seemed taken out as Alex folded his arms. "I'm... sorry about your fighter."
Alexander shrugged as he commented. "I'm going to miss that piece of work, was the first Starfighter I ever flown..." He breathed as he looked at Ezra. "We going to keep a tight lip about the whole thing?"
"Maybe..." Ezra didn't know and Alexander couldn't blame him, a lot has occurred and now, they were stuck with each other for the time being as the Ghost crew procured a ship for the Wookies and the leader left some parting words that Sabine translated.
"Uh, he says if we ever need help, the Wookies will be there." The leader rubbed Ezra's head as he bid farewell to the youngling whose name was actually Kitwarr.
"Good luck, Kitwarr. Try to stay out of trouble." They bid farewell as Zeb remarked.
"Look who's talking." He walked over to the airlock as Ezra looked down, Alexander saying nothing for the exchange.
"So… I guess you drop us off next?" The hatch closed as Zeb remarked.
"Uh, yeah." He cleared his throat, but it did little to ease the tension. "Finally, right?" He chuckled a bit, but Ezra was not in the mood for chuckling as Alexander followed him.
"Right..." Sabine and Zeb walked on as Kanan sighed, clearly this was going to affect them all as he headed up, Ezra waiting at the ladder before the ship shook from the detached of the Wookies, Alexander spotting the steal as Ezra 'accidently' lunged forward and snatched the saber with a minor apology, waiting for Kanan to pass before he put it together and looked at it, Alexander remaining still with a smirk.
"Score: Jedi wanderer: zero; Lothal streetrat: one." Ezra chuckled from the minor pun as he pulled it back apart and stashed it in his pack as the ship headed for Lothal and settled down near the tower where Ezra made his home as he readied up, glancing a smile to Chopper and Sabine who looked sad to see him go as he talked to Zeb.
"So, uh, see you around?"
"Not if we see you first." Zeb chuckled as he slugged Ezra a good one, but the departure weighed on him more as he commented.
"Don't worry. You won't." Zeb's good-nature look turned to confusion as Alexander leapt on down and patted the big guy on the shoulder.
"Don't worry about him, he is not too good with farewells, see you soon." He patted twice before following Ezra down where Hera and Kanan waited for them before Kanan spoke.
"I think you have something that belongs to me." Ezra pulled out the strange object and tossed it to Kanan who caught it, despite its altered form, as Ezra shouldered his pack, Alexander doing the same as he also messed with his new blaster.
"Good luck saving the galaxy." Ezra headed off with Alexander close behind as Kanan looked down to the device, its turned corners the very answer he was looking for as Hera voiced the same.
"He opened it. He passed the test." Kanan gave a glance before returning to look at the fading presence of the duo heading for the spire, far in the distance...
"You know..." Alexander said as he scribed out a name on the blaster with a combat knife, its worth well found with him to give it a proper name, as he continued. "This is one day I never thought could have happened." Ezra glanced at Alex as he finished up the name, 'Alpha', and put his tools away as he handled the blaster rifle, removing the clip as a precaution. "Think about it, an actual Jedi, on a crew of people that dislike the Empire, they all have their reasons, but they made a difference when it came down to it."
"Yeah... they did." They entered the spire and headed to the room as Alexander continued to the lights activating to them.
"Are you... perhaps afraid, curious, or is it uncertainty of what to do now?" Ezra pondered the same as he looked at the room, trinkets and helmets stolen over the years as he dove deeper to feel another with them as he asked.
"What's the Force?" Alexander turned as well to see Kanan, he making no moves as Kanan explained it.
"The Force is everywhere. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together. And it’s strong with you, Ezra. Otherwise, you’d never been able to open the Holocron." The youth turned fully as he seemed to demand, though the empty feeling was being filled in as they spoke, a meaning more than idle theft and survival.
"So, what do you want?"
"To offer you two a choice." Kanan gestured to both Alex and Ezra as he explained it out. "You can keep the lightsaber you stole, let it become just another dusty souvenir." He gestured to the whole room before turning it to him. "Or you can give it back and come with us, come with me and be trained in the ways of the Force. You can learn what it truly means to be a Jedi." Though it was directed to Ezra, Alexander understood the offer as Ezra asked.
"I thought the Empire wiped out all the Jedi."
"Not all of us." Ezra stares at the saber with Alexander doing the same from his seat before they turned to find that Kanan disappeared as Alex spoke.
"Darn Jedi, they can just disappear and reappear wherever they want." Ezra debated this before he spoke up, looking at Alex with a solemn look.
"It's better, much better than just waiting for the next steal, we could make a difference and we could see more of the galaxy, this is a big chance, Alex, I think... we should do it."
Alexander put his hands up with a smile. "Very well..." He stood up and lightly slugged Ezra. "Well, if getting with them gets me a new fighter, then I am not one to brag." Ezra rolled his eyes as they headed back out, sealing the room as they made for the Ghost...
Kanan rested in his room before he extended his will into the holocron as it opened and played the message hidden inside, the same one of Master Obi-wan Kenobi. "This is Master Obi-Wan Kenobi. I regret to report that both our Jedi Order and the Republic have fallen, with the dark shadow of the Empire rising to take their place. This message is a warning and a reminder for any surviving Jedi: Trust in the Force. Do not return to the Temple. That time has passed, and our future is uncertain. We will each be challenged-- our trust, our faith, our friendships. But we must persevere, and in time, a new hope will emerge. May the Force be with you… always." It stopped short as the door opened to Ezra who walked in to Kanan standing, Ezra returning the lightsaber while Kanan assured him that he is now welcome aboard the Ghost, Alexander actually taking to the cargo bay as there were no more rooms where he can easily rest, Sabine and Hera tried to get him to sleep in a more normal room, but after a short chat, they came to the agreement that his skills were in the vehicles, it was a bit better to be on hand when the need comes up. Their adventures just getting started among the crew of the Ghost...
Alexander Highwind, last name his own sadly, wasn't too sure WHY he even wanted to go to Lothal in the first place as he jumped out of hyperspace in the cockpit of a modified Z-95 Headhunter, but he shrugged as he zoomed in, smiling as his transmit codes were still good with the Empire as he came closer, staying the massive vessel of a Imperial Star Destroyer fly over the Capital City. "Strange, the Empire doesn't do too much in this section of the Outer Rim, what's a Star Destroyer doing out here?" He shook his head as he opened a channel to a friend of his. "Hey, Ezra, you still kicking down there?" Static filled the channel as he got closer to the planet, it didn't last too long as a voice came on.
"Alex! Where have you been?"
"You know, flying the galaxy, still haven't found a ride for you yet that you would like." Alexander's tone changed as he looked at the tracker of the comm that he gave Ezra when they first met a year ago and it was moving fast toward the city. "Bridger, you better be NOT going into town to see what you can steal again, are you?"
"It's a big change, who knows what the Imperials have that we could take off with!"
"You are a terrible influence, Mister Bridger." Alexander rolled his eyes as he sighed. "Well, whatever actually goes down, I will be at your hideout, getting some things adjusted and repaired." Ezra agreed as Alexander brought the Headhunter down by the tower that Ezra has been living in for some portion of his life and shut it down, popping the cockpit open and jumping out, dusting himself off as he pulled out the tool kit that he carried with and started to rework the laser cannons. "One day, that guy is going to be the death of me..." He finished reworking the weapons and testing the systems to ensure that they worked properly, but what he didn't realize that he was going to be dragged into something a lot bigger than he had to deal with in the past...
After causing a bit of mischief in town through a stolen comm, Ezra scaled up one of the structures and overlooked what the Imperials were doing. They were now readying crates of departure as he commented. "Almost feel bad for them... Almost..." He stopped as he felt... something, looking back to the Imperials as he commented. "That was weird... I..." He stopped and sprung up as he looked in the direction of the feeling, seeing someone standing in an alley, narrowing his eyes to see what exactly was different about him as the man looked about as well, Ezra dropping down as the man looked up toward his position and then proceed to move, Ezra watching as the man stopped, patted twice on his leg before a large, ape creature walked behind him, standing by some crates, as the man pressed on and turned, switching hands as he tapped twice on his blaster to someone in a helm who tapped three times, Ezra opening his comm as he spoke. "Alex, I got something, we may have some company in the theft section."
"Ezra..." The young man watched as the helmed person turned and walked, Ezra allowing a small 'interesting' slip through his lips as the person stepped close, but walked away as well after tossing something, the rider reaching out in question before a strange sound increased in frequency. "You better not be..." Alexander couldn't say anymore before the speeder bike exploded, Ezra's face turned in amazement as Alexander then shouted. "Ezra Bridger, tell me you DIDN'T blow something up!!!"
"I did nothing..."
"Get those crates out of here! Keep them secure at all costs!" Ezra quickly shut the comm off as he smiled.
"All costs, huh? I like the sound of that." He booked it across the rooftops in pursuit of the speeders, going through town when they were stopped by the same man backing a speeder up.
"How's it going?" The man jumped off, kicking the lead off his ride before pulling out his blaster and shooting the other off before engaging in a firefight with the last driver, getting backup from storm troopers that Ezra was amazed as the troopers couldn't offer too much support before the large ape came from a slit nearby and busted the four while their attention was on the man, both straightening up as Ezra took the moment to steal one of the bikes with a smile, surprising both as he commented.
"Thanks for doing the heavy lifting!" He backed it up, dodging the swing of the creature as it snarled.
"After that kid!" Ezra booked it past the Imperials as the two got on the other two bikes and engaged in pursuit as Ezra handled the machine through the corridors before the helmed person jumped from one of the buildings, getting atop one of the crates as Ezra looked back in worry.
"Pretty gutsy move, kid!" Ezra drove the bike to throw off the hitchhiker, but they were steady as they pulled out a pistol, Ezra now worried as the person spoke. "If the big guy catches you..." They pointed at the joint and fired, dislodging it from the bike as they continued. "He'll end you. Good luck!" Ezra smiled as he sped forward, lighter now as the person took the crate elsewhere while the two chased him. He turned a corner and saw more storm troopers in his path, but he didn't give in, saved from blaster fire by the man close behind, taking them all out as Ezra looked back in question.
"Who are these guys?" He looked back forward and gasped, he was heading into a populated section, but he was not turned as he maneuvered the bike through with ease, the two of them following as the man commented.
"Who is that kid?" Ezra made out of the city with the pursuit still going on as the patrol soon joined, that was the time when Alexander, overriding the shut off, started to load into Ezra after he got hit once and flew onto the other road, dodging the vehicles coming toward him while the two fought the Imperials.
"Ezra, you better NOT be doing something VERY stupid right now!"
"Um... depends, I, uh, am going through a tunnel, I... can't hear..."
"Ezra, if I fly by and see YOU doing something VERY dumb, I will rip into you, you crazy fool!" Ezra chuckled uneasily as an explosion happened behind him, he looking to the side as he grinned and sped up, the man slowing down before catching back up, flying over the barrier and sending sparks up, blinding Ezra for a bit before he came to a full stop, resting on the bike before he looked at the man, stopped right in front of him, heedless of Alexander.
"Who are you?"
"I'm the guy who was stealing that crate."
"Hey, look, I stole this stuff... w-whatever it is, fair and square."
"And you made it pretty far..." The man was clueless as to the TIE Fighter coming in as he continued. "...But I've got plans for that crate." Ezra glanced up and smirked. "So today is not your day." He answered it with a hum as he reached for his controls.
"Day's not over." The man paused before he rolled his eyes.
"Oh, wonderful." The TIE came in with a strafing run and the man jumped away from the bike as it exploded and he watched as the TIE flew away before he sharply glanced to the other side where Ezra drove to with a smile as he waved.
"Have a good one!" Ezra then sped off into the fields, but grimaced as the TIE was on his tail. "Whatever's in these crates must really be worth it..." He ducked as the TIE fired at him. "...Better be worth it!" The TIE made another attempt to blast him just as something else blasted the TIE out of the sky, the Headhunter doing a loop and matching Ezra's pace as Alexander spoke, tilting the snub-fighter to the side a tad so that Ezra could see the anger in Alex's brow.
"You are so dead when we get out of this!" Ezra just beamed before he looked back and grimaced just as the bike erupted into flames, Ezra rolling forward as Alexander shouted. "Ezra!"
"I'm fine!" He got up and looked at the crate as he dashed over to it, it still intact as he grimaced about more as the Headhunter doubled back. He was going to call out before a voice said otherwise.
"You want a ride?" Ezra glanced behind the freighter that brought the man with to see more TIE fighters inbound. "Kid, you have a better option? Come on!" He booked it over to the crate and activated its hover mode as the man yelled to leave it behind as the TIEs closed in and started to shoot at him, but he prevailed as he gave it a running start and lifted it up, holding on as the crate flew up and landed on the ramp to the man's amaze as Alexander shouted, the man hearing it as well.
"I'll try to buy you time, just get out of here now!" The Headhunter blasted one TIE and its ally doubled on the snub-fighter while the other two kept with the freighter, the pair boarding the vessel as the ramp closed behind Ezra as he found himself with the trio he saw in town, opening the crate to E-11 blaster rifles as he remarked.
"Do you have any idea what these are worth on the black market!?"
"I do, actually."
"Don't get any ideas." Ezra held out the rifle in hand as he stated.
"They're mine." The ape took the weapon as he snarled at Ezra.
"If you hadn't gotten in our way..."
The man took the time to divide them as Ezra spoke. "Too bad, I got to them first."
"It's not whose first, it's whose last." Ezra wore a angry look as the man continued as he headed for the ladder. "Keep an eye on our friend here." The ape fold his arms as Alexander spoke again, surprising them as he spoke.
"Of all the people I just had to be friends with, it's one that is a pickpocket and now, a bloody thief of dangerous weapons, why am I even friends with you?!" Ezra grimaced as the silence hung over them before the sound of the TIE disappeared and Alex sighed. "Because you are my friend and I will lay my life down first to help keep you safe, hold on, I am going to get those two boogies off your tail!" Inside the cockpit, the man met with the Twi'lek pilot as she started.
"You said this was a routine op, what happened down there?" The astromech, makeshift pieces and parts ensuring its continued operation made its sounds as the man replied.
"Chopper, please, it's been a difficult morning."
"He has a point, love, we've got two TIE fighters closing in with a Headhunter close behind." The TIE made their presence well known as they fired on the freighter, the Headhunter following them into the clouds before he lined it up and blasted a TIE out of the air as the man commented.
"Hera, how about a little less attitude and a little more altitude?!" The pilot swerved to the side as the last TIE tried to take out the ship, the pilot of the Headhunter looking down before looking behind to two additional TIEs closing in, looking back forward as he zoomed in stride with the lead TIE, the man sighing as he commented again. "If I didn't know better, I think you did that on purpose."
"You knew better, we wouldn't be in this situation, seriously, Kanan, what happened?" Kanan glanced to the security camera as he commented on the stowaway.
"He did..." Back in the cargo bay, Ezra explained to both of them with Alexander joining in.
"Look, I was just doing the same thing you were, stealing to survive."
"That is quite the statement, SIR, do you even think before you say something COMPLETELY out there!?" Ezra grimaced as the ape spoke up.
"You have no idea what we were doing, you don't know us." Ezra shoved the ape back as he growled back.
"And I don't want to, I just want off this burner."
"Please..." The creature got close after Ezra jumped off a crate. "Nothing would thrill me more than tossing you out while in flight." Alexander howled and the ape backed up some, as did the person in the helmet.
"YOU DO THAT AND I WILL PERSONALLY BLAST THAT TRASH HEAP YOU CALL A SHIP INTO DUST!!!" The pilot raised a brow as she heard the statement as well as she turned back to piloting in surprise.
"A kid tripped you up, must be some kid, spill it." Kanan turned in his seat as he tried to change the subject.
"Aren't you a little busy at the moment."
"Spill." The ship swayed to the sides as the TIE fired and caused the whole ship to shaking, dropping the ape creature on top of Ezra as he groaned.
"Get off... Can't breathe."
"I'm not that heavy in this gravity." The creature got off as Ezra overstepped his limit.
"Not the weight, the smell." The creature snarled at him as Alexander spoke.
"...You are an idiot..."
"You don't like the air quality in here, eh? Fine, I'll give you your own room!" The creature manhandled Ezra and brought him up to a small room and hurled him into it before closing the door and standing guard over it as the chat continued in the helm.
"...Kid sounds impressive." Kanan jumped forward as he exclaimed.
"You're not thinking what I think you're thinking."
Nothing swayed Hera's position as she fiddled with her ship. "He held onto a crate of blasters with a pack of troopers on his tail."
"Because I was there to save him!" He started to list off negatives about the kid onto his hand. "He's a street rat..." He cast a glance to the display before back to Hera, missing the detail as he spoke. "...Wild, reckless, dangerous, and..." He stopped as he looked and found that the bay was empty. "...Gone?" He turned to the comm as he inquired with the TIE firing on the ship while the Headhunter often made trick moves and throwing the fighters off before trying to damage them or destroy them in vain in risk of hitting the freighter. "Zeb! Sabine! Where's the kid!?"
"Calm down, chief, he's in..." The door opened and found that Ezra had escaped."...here" They looked up to the vent opened and grimaced as Kanan repeated the question.
"Zeb? Where is he?" Ezra crawled his way as Zeb replied.
"Well, he is still in the ship..." Sound filled the interior as Sabine commented with a sigh as Ezra continued his move about.
"Oh, he's in the ship, all right." Hera seemed to be impressed as Kanan unbuckled himself as the fighters continued their pursuit in the helm.
"Very creative, sounds like someone I used to know." He groaned as he headed into the ship, the fighters getting close before the Headhunter and TIE whizzed past the freighter and Ezra, crawling into an unstable portion, fell into a room and pulled himself up into the seat and looked out, to his shock, a black abyss of small lights as the two fighters flew on by, the Headhunter getting the upper hand as it barrel-rolled and managed to get behind the TIE as it chased it toward the ship.
"I'm... I'm in space!" The TIE got a few shots in before the Headhunter destroyed it as they flew past. "And I'm about to die!" The interior was in chaos as the pilot started to make preparations for the jump into light speed, Alexander triangulating the same as his ship locked in the coordinates as well through a data interface as Ezra was met once more with his captors, the person removing their helmet to reveal themselves as female which he made an attempt to flirt, but he was sadly grabbed and held as they jumped to hyperspace, Alexander following suit as the Headhunter followed the coordinates with some minor adjustments...
The ship jumped back out as Ezra was brought to the bridge. "Let go, you can't keep me here, take me back to Lothal!" Zeb snarled as the pilot Hera spoke.
"Calm down, that's exactly what we've doing." Before anymore was said, Hera's face twisted in fear as another ship followed them as the Z-95 jumped out of hyperspace and she started. "This is the Freighter Ghost, stand down or we will fire."
"I would like to say, shut up." Hera was taken back as Ezra listened. "Look, the guy on your vessel is my problem, but I only have a one-seat fighter here and I just haven't gotten him a ship of his own, so... I'm afraid we're stuck at an impasse." Alexander rubbed his temples as he sighed. "Well, the good news in all this is that the fact that TIEs can't jump, a flaw in their 'superior' design."
"Plus, the Ghost can scramble their sensors so they won't even recognize us." Ezra was taken back as he commented in amaze.
"That's... pretty cool..." He returned to his panicked tone. "So, just drop me and my blasters outside Capitol City and..."
"They're not your blasters." Sabine said as she and Kanan had opened the door to the cockpit.
"And we're not going back to Capitol City. The job's not done." They flew toward the opposite side of the planet and landed down on the surface as Alexander got out of his fighter and watched as the Ghost settled some distance from a small settlement as Ezra walked down and looked at it before he noticed that Hera and Kanan were going somewhere else with one of the crate.
"Hey, where're they going?"
"If I told you, I'd have to kill you, oh, and I might just kill you anyway." Alexander shook his head as Sabine was next with a crate of her own.
"Grab a crate, pull your weight." Ezra sighed as he joined them in their unload as Alexander spoke up.
"Don't get in over your head, friend, I'll be messing with some of my fighter setting, this thing was just too strong for my initial adjustments." He returned to the Z-95 as the trio headed into the town, the number of dwellings before them before Ezra spoke up again.
"Lived on Lothal my whole life, never been here."
"The Imperials don't advertise it."
"Locals call it Tarkintown."
"Named for Grand Moff Tarkin, Governor of the Outer Rim, he kicked these folks off their farms when the Empire wanted their land." It was a sad affair to be exact, no one deserved it, but the Empire was not too pleasant as they take what they want, all for the purpose of 'galactic peace', more like galactic domination as Zeb spoke once more.
"Anybody tried to fight back, got arrested for treason." The sun started to rise as Zeb called out for food, the people clamming for it while Ezra, conflicted now, headed back to the ship, Alexander working on his ship with a sigh as he started, hearing Ezra coming back.
"I tell ya, this sort of repair job could easily be killer if done the wrong way, luckily, I know how to fix this small error the right way, eh?"
"I...I just can't." Erza sat down a a stone as Alexander popped his head out of the cockpit. "This is not right to me, this 'good nature' stuff, I work alone, it always has to be for myself... right?"
"Let me guess, grub for the people?" Ezra nodded and Alexander shrugged as he returned to work. "It is smart to think that you must be a loner, to not be burdened with others and their issues, but that is a loner's point of view, one who shouldn't be affected if innocent people are involved, you are far from being a loner, you have a heart of gold, you just haven't been able to show it to the right people." Ezra thought softly as Alexander finished his repairs. "There, that should stabilize the blaster output greatly, no more overcharge for the time being." Ezra barely heard Alexander as he just stared at the town before the nagging feeling returned, the same one that hummed to him in Capitol City as he spared a glance to the opened hatch and got up before entering the ship as Alexander continued. "Now, we need to talk, Ezra Bridger, about your..." He stopped as he found Ezra gone, looking about as he inquired. "...Where did you go...?" Ezra spared him no mind as he ascended up into the ship and looked about, following the feeling before it pulled him to a door, placing a hand on the door before he pulled out his tools and started to unlock the door, something passing by to his senses before it opened and he entered, taking in the seeming less room and sitting on the bed as the feeling guided his hand.
"Oookay..." He patted around as he felt... something hollow. "Weird..." He got back up and crouched to the hidden thing under the bed, it opening to him as he plucked a small cube from it, gazing it over as he commented. "Might be worth something..." He pocketed it before pulling the thing out to find the second thing, pulling it out and observing it before he gripped it and it activated to his surprise, a blue blade coming out, he lightly swinging it as he was amazed by it. "Whoa..." He held it up with a look of amaze and glee before the door opened and his face dropped as the man known as Kanan spoke, stepping into the room.
"Careful, you'll cut your arm off." Hera and the astromech were also there as Alexander joined the party with a raised brow. Ezra glaring at the mech before he attempted to explain himself.
"Look, I know you're not gonna believe me, but it's like this thing... wanted me to take it."
"You're right, I don't believe you."
"Wouldn't be the first time, though." Alexander spoke as he inquired. "Best give the man his lightsaber, it's not a toy, guy."
"Lightsaber... Isn't that the weapon of the Jedi?"
"Give it to me and get out." Alexander shook his head as he departed with Ezra, who returned the ancient weapon and followed him down into the mess as Sabine spoke.
"Not too good at following directions, are you?"
"I think it is a natural occurrence for him, especially when I'm involved." Sabine chuckled a little as the two joined her on the counter.
"Never been my specialty." Ezra opened with the most obvious question.
"Who are you people? I mean, you're not thieves exactly." Sabine gestured with a tilt of the cup as she explained it.
"We're not exactly anything, we're a crew, a team, in some ways, a family." Ezra was quiet that Sabine picked up on as Alexander cleared his throat in the same tension before Ezra asked.
"What happened to your real family?"
"The Empire, what happened to yours?" Before anymore could be said, the door opened to Zeb as he spoke.
"Kanan wants us in the common room." He tapped on the astromech's casing as Sabine put the cup down. "If they tries anything, sound the alarm or shoot them." The astromech made a grumble sound as the creature retorted. "Shush, just watch them." Alexander rolled his eyes as Sabine walked past them both before she stopped and spoke again.
"Sabine. My name's Sabine." Ezra's eyes lit up, but he was stopped short by the astromech, frowning as Alexander crouched down and checked the droid out.
"Quite the design on you, you have got a lot of parts and pieces mixed and matched together in this case of a body, I bet your owner likes you just like this, right?" The droid replied with a aggressive whistle, but Alexander just raised a brow as he returned the comment. "Such a bittersweet droid, I bet that tongue of yours is rather fond of... getting told out or some form of threat, or do they just let you be a rebellious astromech?" Ezra face palmed as the droid seemed to fight to Alexander's rather neutral argument...
"We have a new mission." Kanan started as he explained it. "Vizago acquired the flight plan of an imperial transport ship full of Wookie prisoners."
"Most of these Wookies were soldiers for the old Republic."
"I own those hairy beasts." Zeb remarked as he joined with Hera and Kanan. "They saved some of my people." Hera agreed as Kanan inquired.
"If we're going to save them, we've got a tight window, they've been taken to an unknown slave labor camp, if we don't intercept this ship, we'll never find them. Now, I have a plan...but." Anymore was interrupted with a loud bang and they turned to the small closet in the common room, Kanan opening the door to Ezra listening in, falling forward to everyone's surprise before Ezra, in a moment of panic, jumped for the vent, but Zeb caught him first and pulled him out, hurling him to the floor as he scowled.
"I ordered Chopper to keep watch!"
"Not much could have been done, great grey one." Alexander mused as he and Chopper stepped into the room. "This one has been VERY tricky to keep under a leash for too long." The astromech chattered here and there as Zeb snarled as he approached menacingly toward the thrown Ezra, being stopped short.
"Can we please get rid of him or them!?"
"No, we can't..." Ezra's face lit up some before Sabine finished. "They know too much." He released in disappoint as Hera helped him up as Alexander just sighed.
"We don't have time to take them home anyway, we need to move now." Hera continued to walk as she spared a glance. "I'll keep an eye on him." Alexander sighed as he headed out, boarded his fighter and joined the Ghost in flight, warping to the same location that it was heading for. In the spare time, Ezra tried to make idle chatter.
"You know, this whole mission thing is nuts, I'm not against sticking it to the Empire, but there's no way I'd stick my neck out this far, who does that?"
"We do." Ezra made to huff before Alexander spoke up.
"Think about it very carefully, this is a learning experience, get some understanding from it if you can, buddy." They dropped out of hyperspace as the Headhunter stuck with the Ghost as Hera addressed the transport.
"Imperial Transport 651, this is Starbird coming inbound."
"State your business."
"Bounty, we captured an additional Wookie prisoner and have transfer orders to place him with you." The voice on the other side sounded unsure of that.
"We have no such orders." Alexander held back as two TIE fighters were released and came toward them as Hera continued.
"That's fine, we already got paid by Governor Tarkin, if you don't want the oversize Mauna, I'll jettison here, let you explain to your superiors why the Empire has one less slave." The TIEs came on their tail as they waited before the voice came back.
"Permission to dock, bay 1." The Ghost docked with the shuttle as the Headhunter docked on the other side of the ship, Alexander strolling in as he took a seat, musing as he shared his thoughts.
"I don't like this... something is... off." Alexander turned back as he shared his thoughts with both of them. "I don't know why, but I think that this whole thing is a trap."
"What makes you think that?"
"Timing..." Ezra and Hera looked at each other as Alexander continued. "Something about this whole thing is timing, it's off, it took those guys a moment to reply to our bluff, I just don't feel... okay with this whole setup."
"Come on, relax, nothing bad is going to happen." They waited before Kanan spoke through the comms.
"No troopers, security saw-" The signal went off as Hera attempted to raise them.
"Spectre-1, come in." Nothing so she tried another. "Spectre-4? Spectre-5?" She shook her head. "Yeah, comms down." Alexander glanced up in fear as he spoke.
"No, they are not down, more like being jammed." Ezra looked down in wonder before he spoke.
"Something is coming..." He glanced up to the right as Alexander and Hera followed his gaze and, lo and behold, the trap sprung as an ISD, a class-1 model, suddenly jumped in, Hera speaking in worry.
"That's an Imperial Star Destroyer!"
"This whole thing was a setup!" Ezra spoke as Alexander remarked.
"And we, like fish, bit the bait perfectly for them." The ship drew closer as it made to capture both ships in its hanger.
"You need to board the transport and warn them, both of you." Ezra's shock was apparent as Alexander just grimaced.
"What, why don't you do it!?"
"I need to be ready to take off or none of us stands a chance." Ezra tried to argue his chance as Alexander just listened.
"No, no way, why would I risk my life for a bunch of strangers?
Hera was beyond composed as she seemed to shout at the one arguing. "Because Kanan risked his for you, if all you do is fight for your own life, then your life is worth nothing, they need you, Ezra, they need you right now!" This left Ezra split between two paths as the Destroyer loomed ever closer. "Listen, our crew boarded that transport to selflessly rescue Imperial prisoners, they have no idea they walked into a trap, no idea what's coming." She placed a hand on his shoulder as Alexander stood up and waited at the door. "You need to go warn them, Ezra."
"No, it's too late for them, Hera, we should run now while-
"You don't mean that!"
"I do, I swear I do..." He looked up to the ship in fear, but then... bravery as he stood up to book it." ...Which is why I can't believe I'm doing this!" Alexander followed suit as Hera commented to the running pair.
"I can." Hera looked back forward to the TIEs awaiting them... should they fail in this mission gone wrong, TERRIBLY wrong...
They were led out to a sizable barracks on the outer rim of the Ylissean wall as Lissa spun and stretched out her arms to the place. "Here we are! The Shepherds' garrison. Go on, make yourself at home." It was not the best type of home that they could have asked for, but it meant something as Christian plopped down on a seat while Alexander finished off his cinnamon roll, making a mental note to get some more for the road or whenever he could, commenting on the garrison itself.
"It's nice, Lissa, though is it just you, your brother, and Frederick or...?" Before more could be said, a voice spoke up from somewhere behind Lissa.
"Lissa, my treasure!" From one of the other rooms rushed out a young girl, probably of a similar age as Lissa, dressed in a noblewoman's pink attire as she embraced Lissa in what could be termed as a flying hug. "Are you all right? I've been on pins and needles!"
Lissa was more at ease with it as she spoke. "Oh, hey, Maribelle!"
"'Oh, hey' yourself! I've sprouted fourteen gray hairs fretting over you!"
"Aw, you worry too much." Lissa continued the hug as she continued. "I can handle a battle or two! ...Although I could do without the bugs and the bear barbecue..." She shook a little in the memory as another joined them, a bare-chested Fighter with yellow hair sticking out like it was wind-swept back as he leaned on the doorframe.
"Hey, squirt! Where's Chrom? I bet he had a rough time out there without ol' Teach and his trusty axe!"
Lissa took this in stride as she grinned a little. "Oh, so you're 'Teach' now, Vaike, is that it?" Lissa giggled a little as she continued. "And here I thought people were just born lacking wits. It can be taught?"
"Ha! Never doubt the Vaike!" He stopped before he replied again, clearly on to something. "...Wait, was that an insult?" Before anyone could say, another joined them, a gray-haired Pegasus Knight who walked over and spoke with worry in her eyes.
"Beg pardon, but when might we see the captain?" Maribelle spoke as she commented on the dismounted woman.
"Poor Sumia. She's simply been beside herself with concern..." She sighed as she briefly continued. "Her eyes were scanning the horizon all day during training. ...She might have earned fewer bruises fighting blindfolded."
Lissa took this in glee as she smiled to Sumia. "Aw, Sumia, that's so sweet of you to worry about Chrom." The woman stammered a bit, giving Alexander the feeling that her feelings are more than idle, professional relations.
"Worry? Well, I... He's our captain and our prince-of course I'd worry!" That didn't change the minds much before Vaike spoke again, noticing the two now in the structure.
"So, who're the strangers?"
"No one's stranger than you, Vaike... But allow me to introduce Alexander and Christian!" Lissa swept an arm toward them as Alexander bowed and Christian jumped up and gave a thumbs up. "They both joined the Shepherds. Chrom's made Alexander our new tactician and Christian's got one heck of a fighting skill. You should see all the tricks they got up their sleeves!"
"Oh yeah?" Vaike smiled as he straightened up in pride. "Can they do this?" Before all of them, Vaike emitted a loud belch and grinned, the room was quiet before a louder belch came from Christian as the youth smiled in pride before he got swatted by the back of his head as Alexander spoke, eyes closed with a frown.
"I'm sure that Vaike was in the wrong with that, but you are not allowed to encourage such behavior, we are not a bunch of ruffians, we actually HAVE a level of dignity." Alexander shook his head as he continued. "Apologies, Lady Maribelle, I can't keep my own ally in line every time, but I can be sure to try and keep the 'rude' gestures to a minimal." Maribelle cleared her throat as she returned the words.
"Well, while I cannot condole such behavior, I am pleased to know that someone has the level of understanding that can attempt to keep a 'noble' head about such things, but still, it doesn't change much." She departed as Alexander watched her leave before Sumia spoke.
"Don't take it to heart, you two. Maribelle warms to people slowly."
"Or burns too quickly!" Lissa laughed a little before she spoke again with a smile. "But yeah, just give her time." The door outside swung open once more as Chrom stepped in, Frederick following suit as Sumia spoke up.
Ah! Captain! You've returned! I was-I mean, we were so-" Before anymore could be said as she walked over to Chrom, one of her boots stepped on a stack of papers on the floor and suddenly she tripped to the ground, the party drawing back in surprise as Sumia got back up and dusted herself off.
"Sumia! Are you all right?" Chrom sighed as he asked. "...Those boots of yours again?"
"No! I mean, yes! I mean..." She then sighed in embarrass as Chrom shook his head before he spoke again.
All right, listen, everyone: in the morning, we'll be marching to Regna Ferox."
"Regna Ferox?" Alexander asked and Sumia answered the question, shortly forgetting her small event.
"A unified kingdom to Ylisse's north inhabited by barbarians, or so it's said."
"Warriors are what they are, and we'll need their strength to quell this new menace." Chrom hummed as he continued to explain. "Typically, the exalt would request such aid in person. But given recent events... Well, the people might worry should my sister suddenly leave the capital." They all nodded as Chrom finished. "So the task has been passed to us. Now, this mission is strictly voluntary. So if, for any-" Before Chrom could finish, Lissa cheered with a raised hand.
"Me too! You'll be needin' ol' Teach along for such a delicate mission!"
"I'll go as well." Christian jumped at the sound of the voice with a few others as they looked about, but they were clearly missing the large-orange suit of knight armor, Alexander the only one realizing the source coming from thin air, a black-haired man with closed eyes, understanding that whatever gave the man the ability to be a phantom, it is involuntary. "...What? I've been here the whole time!" Alexander shook his head as he turned back to Chrom and raised a hand with Christian.
Sumia was more unsure as she stammered. "I... I, um..."
"It's just that... I'm not sure I'm quite ready for a proper mission just yet. I'd probably just get in the way."
Chrom nodded as he spoke, arms folded "Well, you could stay behind the main group, and if a battle is met, just watch and learn?" Chrom wasn't too certain as he continued. "Your choice, of course. But some lessons can only be learned on the battlefield."
Sumia stammered as she pressed her pointer fingers together. "W-well, if you think it wise, Captain."
Chrom gave a smile as he stuck a thumb up to Sumia. "Just stay by me and you'll be fine."
"Oh, yes!" Sumia attempted to hide her excite, but it was vainly hidden to Alexander and Christian who gave a face like 'you pining for him?'. "I mean-Yes, sir, I'll doo that!" Soon, at the break of dawn the next day, the able members headed out and headed to the north as the first step to get to Regna Ferox before they came to a long trek to which Chrom spoke.
"Is everyone ready? We've a long march ahead." Before any could speak, a voice spoke up from far behind.
"W-wait for me!" Soon, a green-armored Cavalier came charging up the way atop of his horse before they came ot a skidding halt and the messy-haired man on the creature panted as Chrom was taken back.
What am I the last to hear about this expedition to Ferox?" Before Lissa could question it, Alexander spoke instead.
"But the one who was meant to tell you was Vaike..." He growned in annoyance as he whipped about to the Fighter, Vaike's face jumping to nervous fright as Alexander spoke. "Did you forget to inform this man that we were heading for Ferox, Vaike?"
"The Vaike never forgets!" He rubbed the back of his head as he continued. "...I just don't always remember, is all..." Lissa groaned as well as she spoke.
"I swear, you'd forget your own name if you weren't constantly saying it yourself! Speaking of which, are you SURE you remembered your axe this time?"
"Hey! That was one time!" Vaike once again rubbed his neck as he chuckled uneasily. "...Okay, twice, but training sessions don't count. Anyway, I got it right here." He brandished a Iron Axe and smiled. "Teach is loaded and ready for action! Glad to have you along, Stahl, ol' buddy."
"That makes one of us." The man sighed as he laid on his horse. "I was in such a hurry, I had to miss breakfast! There were muffins, and cakes, and..." He gave another sigh as he finished for the time being. "Well, I can tell you all about it while we march..." Christian raised a brow before he asked.
"Your name is Stahl, right?" Before Chrom could say anything, Christian reached into his pack and pulled out a small ball of cloth before handing it to Stahl. "You're lucky, I was not starving for these three muffins, two strips of bacon, and a piece of sausage, you can have it."
Stahl looked inside and smiled. "You must be Christian and the silent guy must be Alexander, thanks for saving me some food." The party shook their heads as Stahl started to munch on the food before they arrived to a wide river, bridged over with wood, but the more pressing issue was the shambling corpses that they quickly spotted to Chrom's scoff.
"Gods, have the Risen spread this far?" Alexander turned as he addressed the name.
Frederick was the next to speak as he readied his lance. "We needed a name for this new threat, so the council gave them one."
"Everyone, remember what we're up against!"
Vaike gave a laugh as he stated his willingness. "They'll remember ME once I drive my axe into their..." It was at the point that he reached for his axe, but stopped short as he gripped empty air, his face widening in fear and surprise before Christian, getting the feel of it, spoke up.
"Chrom, you lead them into battle, I NEED to help Vaike with his weapon!"
"Keep to the rear, then! The battle is nigh!" Christian quickly sheathed his blade as he dashed to the back, grabbing Vaike as he helped search for the weapon as Alexander opened it up with a slow advance, the two Cavaliers not too okay with it, but the fruit was bore as the Risen came for them and they closed the gap before the Risen could even get a strike in, their numbers dropping as Alexander kept them back for the same reason, also keeping in mind Frederick's small notion that the correct weapons were used, lances for the swift swords, axes for the long lances, and swords for the sluggish axes, a weapon triangle to be more exact as the battle pressed on, the ghoulish enemies giving them little time in countering and fight back once they started to press through the north, the forts on both sides of the small bridge working out for them and the Risen. Their battle was better as Vaike yelled 'Whoa! My axe!' before he rushed ahead and showed off his strength without doubt, a near equal to Christian, as a woman in glasses joined them from behind, wielding a Fire tome, but that was a mistake for Alexander as he dodged out of the way of a swung of an axe blade, nearly getting him as he dropped his Thunder tome by mistake and found himself confronted by their leader, leaving him to dodge as Chrom and the rest didn't see what was happening as some of the Risen took to taking their attention.
He attempted to draw his sword, but it was barely out of the scabbard when a sudden strike came and slamming into the metal, cleaving it from his grip and dropping it to the ground as he grimace before he jumped back to the leader charging, the world to him slowing as he thrusted out a hand and steadied it with his other hand before the electricity sparked his palm before he called upon his power. "You want some power, take it!" The thunder orb formed and enforced itself before he blasted it, the creature first feeling the impact before the blast back came, sending Alexander skidding back as the Risen slammed into another, Christian was fighting it when his eyes widened as the leader and its lackey seemed to freeze in the air before they both erupted in a storm of thunder and lightning, the Shepherds covering their faces from the sudden burst while Christian made a mad dash for Alexander before gripping his shoulders and speaking, eyes wide.
"Focus, Alexander, get it under control now!" Alexander quickly glanced at his friend as the thunder lingered, but the power calmed as his hands, though still fine, were not covered anymore as the gloves were nothing more than rags as he slipped them off and replaced them quickly as he got up. "What happened!?"
"The Risen leader came for me and I was not focusing right, my tome and sword were knocked out of my hands by sheer luck." Christian relaxed as he nodded as Chrom spoke, his eyes searching for the source of the sudden storm that started to fade slowly.
"Finally, and good riddance! But if they're appearing this far up the Northroad..." The meaning was not lost on them as Frederick spoke.
"Then no path is safe. We'll need to stay wary." They continued on, heedless of what even created that sudden burst of magical power, even Miriel was baffled as she tried to check through her book and saying that it was a new 'phenomenon'.
Their path continued on into a grassy field when Chrom, Alexander, Lissa, and Christian stopped short, Alexander speaking. "Well, what do we have here?"
"Hey, is that what I think it is?" They walked closer to see a pegasus standing before them, but something about it was off as Chrom spoke.
"It's a pegasus, all right." He glanced to the side and noticed that it's rear right leg seemed to be limping. "I think it's hurt. Let's just have a look here..." But his approach must have spooked the poor thing as it reared back, using it's wings to support it as it kicked its front legs at Chrom, he dodging the attack by quickly backing up. "WHOA! Down, girl! Easy there!" But nothing was working before Sumia quickly approached.
"Captain, one moment!" She gets closer and before everyone, she tripped on nothing and dropped to the ground before getting back up and dusting herself off as Chrom asked.
"Sumia! Are you all right? ...Those boots of yours again?" Both Alexander and Christian face palmed as the same situation played out before them.
"No! I mean, Yes! I mean..." She sighed again as Chrom warned her.
"Well, come no closer. This beast is crazed!"
"It's okay, Captain. I can handle this..." She breathed before she approached the creature, extending out her hands as she spoke, care filling her eyes. "Shhh...Easy now, girl. I won't hurt you." Those hands slid across the pegasus's muzzle and it calmed down to her touch, positioning herself into the wing's span as she continued. "Shhh..."
Alexander was surprised as he asked. "How did she calm it so quickly?"
Lissa was more amazed as she cheered. "That's incredible, Sumia!"
I've never seen anything like it." Chrom was quite impressed as he folded his arms to Sumia replying.
"Oh, it's... it's nothing. Really. I just have a way with animals, I guess."
"I should say so!" Chrom smiled as Sumia returned the smile.
"You all go ahead. I'll dress her wounds and catch up as soon as we're able."
Chrom nodded as he continued, the chat siding to Chrom and Sumia. "We can make time to wait for you."
"Thank you, Captain. But I can manage. Every moment is precious when all of Ylisse is in danger." After a moment of pause, Chrom agreed.
"Right, then. Be safe, Sumia." She salute as the party continued in their path.
"As you command, sir." She returned to the pegasus and started to dress any and all of the wounds that she could find, involving the leg, a part of the back, and a joint of one of the wings as the party continued on into the frigid domain of warriors and rulers...
The night started to hang heavily on their bodies as Lissa paused to be upset with the whole thing, clearly not having enough of a time outside as people would like to believe. "I told you—it's getting dark already!" She swatted at some out coming bugs as Alexander and Christian just watched her with Chrom and Frederick. "...Ech! And now the bugs are out! Noisy, disgusting bugs that buzz around and crawl all over and bite you when—" Sadly, that was the part where a bug flew into her mouth and she started to make sounds, not thinking of releasing it from her mouth as she spat about, it getting out just fine, but she may have some remains of its tumble still in her mouth.
"Aw, come on now, Lissa." The behavior of Chrom, away from the battlefield, seemed to be caring, but also brotherly to Lissa indeed. "Hardship builds character. Want to help me gather firewood?"
Lissa, however, spat some more before she made a sound akin to swallowing, not even aware. "...I think I swallowed it..." She shook in disgust as she continued. "I'll pass on finding firewood, thanks. I think I've built QUITE enough character for one day!"
Alexander gave a small chuckle before he spoke. "We should probably think about food. I don't know you all, but I'm starving."
Yes, I should think a little hunting and gathering is in order." Frederick spoke as he asked. "Now, who wants to clear a campsite?" Christian and Alexander volunteered as they worked to get a proper site for a fire and Alexander worked to set the fire while Christian and Chrom helped Fredrick hunt something down, Lissa unaware that the moment that Alexander attempted to lit it, his hands... started to puff out flames and he raised a brow as he looked at his hand before focusing it, fire surging from his hand as it lit the site up and he glanced at his hand, covered in a pair of gloves that he got from town, to see it was smoking, some of the fiber missing as he passed it off as something to look into later when the hunting party returned with... a bear... It didn't take too long before they stripped the bear and started to cook the meat before Chrom, biting into the meat, let out a happy sigh.
It's been too long since I last had bear meat. Delicious!" He paused as he asked Lissa, who was eating one bit. "What's wrong, Lissa? Dig in."
"Pass!" Lissa looked ready to haul as she held her stick with two fingers. "...Gods, couldn't you spear an animal normal people for once? I mean, come on! Who eats bear?!" She groaned as she placed the stick back down and glanced at Chrom. "You're meddling with the food chain. Right guys?" When no answer came, she glanced over with her question again. "Uh, guys?" Whereas Christian was stuffing himself with bear, Alexander finished off a piece before he replied to Lissa.
"It is only messing with the food chain if you are taking too much from the environment, one bear will not change the land too badly, and we made sure it was male." Lissa wore a confused look on her face as Alexander shrugged. "Eh, just being hungry right now, sorry, Lissa." Alexander resumed his eating as Lissa sighed.
"I suppose a person would enjoy just about anything after not eating for days..."
Just eat it, Lissa. Meat is meat."
"Since when does meat smell like old boots?!" She took a whiff of it and her face made a disgusted look. "Wait, I take it back-boots smell better!"
Every experience makes us stronger, milady. Even those we don't enjoy."
"Is that why I DON't see a small piece of bear on your side, Frederick?" Alexander's point of observation caught Frederick as he coughed a bit.
"Me? Oh, well... I'm not hungry. I...I had a large lunch! Yes, quite." Lissa was in disbelief as was Christian as he, at times, pointed his stick at Frederick and the Great Knight looked like he was faltering to the meat. The night went on as they decided to rest for the time being, the fire doused out to prevent anything bad occurring before Chrom, as if on que of something, woke up and looked around with a single word.
"Huh?" It was strange, something was... out of place, like something was going to occur, something... abnormal in his gut as Lissa stirred as well with a yawn.
"What's wrong, Big Brother?" Chrom turned to face Lissa as he still had the confused look on his face.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to wake you, but..." He took a moment to check again, the feeling sticking to his stomach like a bad rash. "Something is amiss..."
"Define 'something'." Chrom took a few steps as he looked back.
"I'm not sure... I think I'll have a look around." Lissa quickly got up as she spoke, sharing her mind with Chrom while the other three slept on.
"Not along, you won't!" She quickly grabbed her stave and joined him as he ensured the Falchion was still on him. "I'm coming too!"
Chrom gave a small laugh before he replied. "Thanks, Lissa." They headed off into the depths of the darkened forest as they listened for anything, but nothing was heard; no owls, no insects, nothing but their trending steps before Lissa spoke.
"It sure is dark... and quiet." She looked around, hoping to find something, but nothing came out, nothing appeared as Lissa looked about in a slight bit of panic. "Where did the birds go?"
"Something is wrong here..." Suddenly, the whole land shook in a tumor as Lissa cried.
"Gods, what-" The tumor increased as the land felt like it was tearing itself apart. "Agh! What is this madness?! Lissa, stay close!" Lissa crashed into Chrom as he held tight before he spotted, in the distance, something very wrong as several trees began to fall, whatever causing it coming their way as chrom spoke. "Lissa, run." She could only reply with a gasp of confusion before he pushed her down the way. "I mean it, go!" She started to run as he shortly followed in the run, the ground behind them cracking open before lava surged from below and rained fire balls all over the forest, running from the flames and incoming blasts as Chrom took the lead. "Hey! This way!" They branched left and leapt off a small cliff, just as a fireball slammed into their escape, leaving them panting from the run as they watched the forest burning in the short distance before Lissa, glancing up, noticing something else and shouted in fear as she pointed at it.
"Chrom, what IS that?!" Chrom quickly glanced to where she was pointing, just as something akin to a enormous eye opened in the sky and dropped two things to the ground below, the fall alone should have killed them, but they got up and glanced at the two with red eyes and black mist flowing out the mouths.
"Lissa. You'd better stand back." The two things stumbled out of the foliage before one booked it straight for Chrom to which he countered, dodging the axe swing and slashing through the thing's torso, his eyes widened as he didn't hear a thud, a sharp glance yielded the same as the thing creepily twisted its head before swinging from the side, Chrom blocking the attack before shoving the thing backward, readied his blade and leapt toward the thing, plunging Falchion through as the thing squirmed once and died in a puff of black mist, Chrom holding still for a bit before a scream caught his ear. "Lissa!" The other one had approached her and raised its blade to kill, but none expected another fighter to enter the fray through the same way as the monsters, their speed putting them right in time as they blocked, saving Lissa and Chrom pausing in his rush as the metals rubbed against each other, Lissa looked up in surprise as she took in her saver before said being glanced to the side and spoke.
Chrom took a moment before agreeing. "...Right!" He let out a war cry which drew the thing's attention, a poor choice as its blow lessened on the figure to attack Chrom, but both swordsmen slashed through the fiend as it faded to mist, the battle won as the being sheathed their sword with Chrom inquiring. "Quite the entrance; What's your name?" The figure looked back once before the sound of galloping filled the air and Frederick soon arrived with Alexander and Christian right behind him.
"Milord! Milady! Are you hurt?"
"Frederick! Alexander! Christian!" Alexander grimaced as the blazing flames yielded to more of the monsters that Chrom bore witness to, some the same while others were abnormal twists of standard soldiers, all wearing masks with ghastly air pouring out their mouths.
"Are such horrific creatures commonplace in these lands?"
Chrom readied once more as he spoke. "They're not from Ylisse, I promise you that." That was a concern, if they were not from Ylisse, could they be from Plegia or someplace... far wrong.
"No one is injured, then? Thank the gods..."
"Thank the masked man who saved me! If it wasn't for him, I'd be..." But a turn around yielded an empty space as the figure had disappeared from sight. "Hey, where did he go?" Christian and Alexander briefly caught sight of the figure, but it was less than expected as Frederick readied his lance for battle.
"We can worry about him later, AFTER we put these...things...to the blade. Eyes open, now. We know nothing about this enemy." They nodded as they engaged in battle, Alexander taking note of the nearby forts that skirted the destruction of the sudden eruption. Their efforts were furthered aided by one of the other Shepherds, a Cavalier by the name of Sally, and some bumbling bard called Virion, though his skills with a bow were quite impressive, just not enough to save him from a severe kick to the head by muscly and ARMORED legs that Sally possessed, Alexander and Christian made a note to not get on her bad side too much. They fought through the terrifying hordes that came for them, but they were no match, until they faced the 'leader' of the horde, a creature that nearly resembled a Fighter as it scowled and roared in rage, like a frenzied animal as its target was Chrom for some reason, all of them, once they set their gaze on Chrom, seemed to have target him in general, the others just the ones closer when it came down to it, but like its minions, it fell just the same as it faded to dark mist. The battle won as the saver of Lissa returned, something off about them as Frederick spoke. "It seems all the creatures are vanquished. This young man took care of the others." Alexander was not too sure about this 'man', just something about them was off other than their silence, but what?
Lissa was more grateful as she thanked the figure. "Um, I never got to thank you... for before." Lissa was wearing a shy expression as she thanked the man. "So... thank you. You were very brave."
Chrom also joined in this as he spoke. "You saved my sister's life." He rested a hand on his chest as he gave his name. "My name is Chrom. Might I ask yours?"
"You may call me Marth." An odd name, but Chrom drew back in confusion as he asked.
"Marth? After the heroic king of old?" An actual legend then as Christian looked interested while Alexander was puzzled as to why that name, using the name of a renowned hero would draw too much attention as Chrom continued. "You certainly fight like a hero. Where did you learn your way with a sword?"
"I'm not here to talk about me." 'Marth' spoke as they gestured to the destruction that currently surrounded them. "This world teeters at the brink of a horrible calamity. What you saw tonight was but a prelude." 'Marth' paused before continuing. "You have been warned." It was the wrong choice of word, but it was clear that 'Marth' wanted them to focus on the oncoming threat was coming as 'Marth' roundabout and headed out as Lissa stammered.
"Huh? What's teetering where now? Hey, wait!" But it was too late as the figure disappeared into the shadows as Alexander spoke his thoughts.
"Not much for conversation, is 'he'?" He didn't know why he would emphasized on the gender of the being, but it was just that, something to him was off and Christian nodded as he added his own.
"Does he see himself as some 'foreseer' or something, what with that warning?"
"It appears that his skills lie elsewhere." Frederick commented as he sheathed the lance. "I wager we'll hear his name again... But for now, I'm more concerned about the capital. We should make haste." They nodded as they headed for the capital with the two new members in the party, though Virion was taking EVERY chance to try and flirt with Sully, but she just wasn't having it as they headed on through the trees and to the city in the distance as dawn soon started to rise to their approach...
Entering through the city gate, both members took it all in as Sully took Virion elsewhere in the city as Alexander commented on the place. "So this is Ylisstol, capital of Ylisse..." Alexander was amazed at the amount of people that filled the shops, the smiths, and the market as they proceed in their daily lives. "I've never seen so many people!" Christian gave a approving whistle as well as Frederick glanced about and sighed in relief.
"It appears the capital was spared the chaos we encountered, thank the gods. I see no evidence of the great quake." He hummed in pondering as he pressed on the location. "It must've been limited to the forest." Lissa sighed as well as she was delighted at the sound of it.
"Well, that's a relief!" Suddenly the people started to gather toward the main street as someone called out.
"Look! The exalt has come to see us!" They all turned to the way where a woman in wondrous garbs strolled through the street with an entourage of Pegasus knights and other members as Alexander glanced at her for some time before he turned his head to Fredrick.
"The exalt is your ruler, yes?"
Frederick nodded as he answered the question. "Yes. Her name is Lady Emmeryn."
"Is it safe for her to walk among commoners like this?"
"The exalt is a symbol of peace-Ylisse's most prized quality." He adjusted the helmet that he held and moved his hair a bit. "Long ago, at the dawn of our age, the fell dragon tried to destroy the world. But the first exalt joined forces with the divine dragon and laid the beast low." He finished with a end as he smiled a bit. "Exalt Emmeryn reminds us all of the peace we fought for then." Chrom also added his own input.
"With Plegia poking at our borders, the people need her." He smiled as well as he continued. "She's a calming presence, when some might otherwise call for war." Alexander nodded as he understood, a beacon of hope and peace, a soothing presence to ease those who call for battle to settle and think, he frowned a bit as the thought crossed his mind that her reign must have been painful to start with before he smiled again.
"Then the Ylissean people are indeed lucky to have her." That was the moment when Lissa spoke up with a smile with a surprise.
She's also the best big sister anyone could ask for!" Alexander's brows raised up in surprise as Christian took a moment to process it in his words.
"Yes, I imagine she..." It hit him hard as he was aghast in shock. "Wait, what? She's your..." He pointed to both Chrom and Lissa in utter shock as Alexander rubbed his temples in amuse. "But wouldn't that make you and Chrom..."
"The prince and princess of the realm, yes." Christian was completely shocked as Alexander merely shrugged his shoulders. "You remember Chrom's name and not this?" Alexander shook his head as Christian remained vocal as he flung his arms out in a 'ARE YOU KIDDING ME' stance.
"You said you were 'shepherds'!"
Chrom chuckled a bit as he spoke. "And so we are... in a matter of speaking. We just have a LOT of sheep."
"First question... what is that wonderful smell?" Alexander sounded as he looked around and smelled the air, Frederick smelling the same before he let out a small laugh.
"Why, that would be a Ylissean cinnamon roll, I didn't know you had a taste for such a sweet treat."
"So... could I have one?" The party chuckled a little as Chrom handed Alexander a small pouch of coin to Alexander and the tactician disappeared for but a moment before returning with a swirling, doughy treat in hand as he happily started to bite into it before they continued through the palace gates, and straight for the Exalt who stood up and smiled as she stepped on down from the throne to greet them.
"Chrom! Lissa! Welcome home." She gave a hug to both for them before turning her attention to Fredrick and nodding. "Oh, and good day, Frederick." The Great Knight bowed as Emm continued, a regal Falcon Knight, a higher-grade Pegasus Knight, joining her as she continued. "How fared you all?"
"Well-we shouldn't have any bandit problems for a while."
"Wonderful. and our people?"
"Safe as they can be, Emm." Chrom wore a worried face as he continued. "But we still need to watch the borders. The brigands crossed over from Plegia."
"Forgive me, milord." The Falcon Knight bowed as she commented. "My pegasus knights should have intercepted them." Chrom held up a hand as he spoke in return.
"No, Phila. Your duty was here, with the exalt."
"And besides, we had plenty of help!" This was the moment that Emm tilted her head to the two that stood behind Chrom, both bowing as Emmeryn spoke.
"Ah, you speak of your new companions here?" Chrom nodded as he introduced the two.
"This is Alexander and Christian. They fought bravely with us against the brigands. I've decided to make them both Shepherds." Emm smiled as she thanked the both of them.
"It sounds as though Ylisse owes you a debt of gratitude, both of you."
"Not at all, milady!" Christian's positive mood was countered with Alexander speaking then, cutting Frederick short as he spoke.
"However, Your Grace, I would like to speak my mind on the matter." The room quieted as Alexander continued with a sorrowful look. "While it is true that Christian and I have aided in the safety of Ylisse's people, I fear that, in our lack of memories, we were not sure who or what we were prior to Chrom lending us a hand, Frederick could attest that the possibility that we could be brigands or, worse, Plegian spies, is there, but that is the error, it is only a claim yet to be understood." Chrom wheeled to Frederick with shock.
"Frederick!" The Great Knight rubbed the side of his neck as Emmeryn inquired, her face still the peaceful figure that they looked upon.
"Yet you allowed them into the castle, Chrom. Do these two have your trust?" The next words would determine their fate and it was actually in the positive.
"Yes. They risked their lives for our people. That's good enough for me." The soldiers returned to their positions at ease for if Chrom trusted them, they were truly believed.
Emmeryn acknowledged the same as she spoke. "Well then, Alexander and Christian... It seems you've earned Chrom's faith, and as such you have mine as well." Alexander bowed as he thanked her.
"Thank you, Milady."
Emmeryn turned to Frederick and thanked him for his devotion. "But thank you, Frederick, for your prudence, as always." Frederick nodded, despite the fact that he didn't vocally say a thing on the matter, Alexander had only summed it up for him. "Chrom and Lissa are blessed to have so tireless a guardian. I do hope they remember to mention that from time to time..."
"They occasionally express something akin to gratitude, Your Grace." He stopped for a bit before turning to Phila. "Phila, I ammuse you've heard about the deathly creatures we encountered, yes?" The Falcon Knight gave a solumn nod as she spoke.
"Yes, milord. They've been sighted all across Ylisse." They all grimaced at the sound of it, who knows how many of those freaky monsters are currently wandering the realm and terrorizing the people. Emm spoke as well as she looked to Chrom.
"Chrom, we are about to hold council. I was hoping you could join us." Chrom nodded as he replied.
"Of course." Chrom and Frederick followed Emm down the way as Lissa smiled and spun to the pair remaining.
"I think that's our cue, guys! C'mon, there's a place I want to show you." Both shrugged as they followed Lissa out and to the place they could call home for the time being...