We aren't doing good at all in our fight against the Empire. Everyday we lose more people to Imperial blaster fire, and not to mention we're losing ships faster than we can replace them. Our moral isn't helping either. We haven't won even the smallest fights against the Empire and even some pirate gangs have turned their backs on us. Everything started out so well and now we're on the brink of defeat. Hera of course refuses to surrender and we all stand with her, but now even I'm beginning to question our chances.
I woke up with a pounding headache and could barely open my eyes. Even when I forced my eyes open, they shut themselves tight. The lights were too bright.
"We need to get him to the medical bay, now!"
Medical bay? Why? What happened?
I tried to open my eyes again, but something was stuck into my arm then removed just as fast. Everything went dark for me.
"Is he alright?"
"He's stable. His armor stopped most of the shrapnel but some of it managed to slip through the..."
What was that last part?
I managed to open my eyes again and quickly raised my arm to block out the light, but then groaned in pain. I heard rapid footsteps and people telling me to take it easy.
"Where am I? What happened?" I asked.
"That's not important right now," somebody said to me. "Just relax and focus on recovering."
"Recovering..." I said, the room seemed to be spinning.
"You were hurt during an op," a medic, or somebody I assumed was a medic told me.
"What... happened?" I asked. The medical drugs were starting to kick in again. I could barely stay awake.
I must have passed out before anybody could answer.
Next thing I remember, I could hear the steady beeps of a heart monitor and I slowly opened my eyes. I only saw white; the ceiling, the walls, the floor, everything.
"You're finally awake," a familiar voice said next to me. Just hearing that voice made my heart leap a little. I turned my head to the woman who said that.
"Sabine?" I said groggily. I was so tired.
"The one and only. How do you feel?" she asked me with a small smile.
"Tired. Very tired," I said.
"Do you feel any pain?"
I shook my head.
"Good. That accident..." she suddenly stopped talking and she bit her lip.
"It was a failed op, again. We lost almost everybody in our squad this time. Wedge barely made it himself but he's alright. As for you..." She paused again and took a breath, "You were trying to cover everybody as they escaped to their ships. The Empire found us again and you wanted to make sure everybody made it. You were on your way to the Ghost and a buckethead threw a grenade..."
A lump formed in my throat.
"I've never seen anything or anybody fly as far and as fast as you did. I think you tried to jump away at the last moment but the shrapnel still hit you."
I looked back towards the ceiling and sighed. "Zeb?"
"He's alright. He helped you back onto the Ghost."
"Also safe. Kanan, too. He covered Zeb."
"How long was I out?"
"A couple days but I'm not surprised. The medics pumped a lot of whatever that stuff was into your system. And before you ask, nobody else knows you're awake. Can... can you stand?"
"I don't know." I replied.
Sabine stood up and walked out of the room for a moment, saying she would be right back. She soon came back in with a medical droid and he ran a quick scan over me.
"He'll be a bit unsteady since he's been out for so long, but he's healthy enough to stand," the droid said.
Sabine thanked the droid as it left the room and she helped me sit up. I felt like I was run over by a hundred speeder bikes.
"You can do this, Ezra," Sabine said as she helped me stand up.
I wobbled a bit but soon gained my balance again.
"My injury was that bad, huh?" I asked with a sigh.
"Some of the pieces found their way into your legs. Fortunately it didn't hit anything major," Sabine said with a small laugh of relief.
"Great!" I said.
I managed to get walking again and found a set of fresh clothes lying on a chair next to the bed. I picked up the shirt and checked it out. It was a grey shirt with forest camo pants to go with it.
"We couldn't save your normal clothes. We don't have the supplies to patch them up," Sabine said. "This is all we could get for you for right now."
"It's alright," I said, though I really wish I could wear my normal orange shirt. I finished getting dressed and Sabine led me to the command center where Hera and the rest of the group were waiting for me.
"Ezra!" Hera exclaimed as I entered the room. I received a couple hugs and some pats to the shoulder.
"Hey guys!" I said.
"Glad you're alright, man," Wedge said.
"I heard things got close with you, too," I replied.
"Not as close as you did obviously. If it wasn't for Sabine you wouldn't be here."
I looked to Sabine, "I thought you said Zeb got me."
Sabine looked away and wouldn't meet my eyes.
"I did," Zeb said as he walked up. "Sabine just called out that you were down. Nobody would have seen you."
I looked back to Sabine who still wouldn't meet my gaze. Then I realized something else that was bothering me and I could tell she was bothered by it, too.
"Where's everybody else?" I asked.
"Some people are back in their rooms, others in the mess hall and hangar; not a lot though. We're all that's left," Hera said sadly.
"We lost almost half of our people back there," Rex said. "We need more recruits and fast."
"Yeah but where will we get them? My family won't help us and nobody wants to join!" Sabine said bitterly.
"We don't have a lot of ships left either. We're down to our last transports and only two CR-90s," Hera said.
An argument of 'what we should do next' began and I started to feel dizzy again so I took my leave and left the room. I walked down the halls a little ways and came across a large window. I peered out and saw only stars.
"Polis Massa," Sabine said from behind me.
"We're at Polis Massa. It's our last spot and I'm sure it won't be long before the Empire locates it. Tension's been at its highest since that last mission."
"I didn't realize you saw me leave," I said then.
"Of course I noticed," she said. "I was about to head out of that room anyways and I saw you already left."
I nodded and looked back out into space.
"Is there any authorization to leave the base?" I asked.
I guess that caught Sabine by surprise because she was giving me a strange look.
"Not a lot but... You're not deserting... are you?"
"I don't know what I want to do anymore honestly," I said.
"I just want to... scout around I guess. I need some space to myself."
"Scout the base?"
"No... I wanted to just head out somewhere and get some space."
"Ezra what if we get caught by the Empire doing that? They could track us back here!"
"You said it was only a matter of time before they found us anyway. And I didn't mean go near any Imperials I just..."
"You just what? We save your life and now you want to leave?" Sabine snapped.
"No I... I didn't mean that!"
"Are you sure? Because pretty much everybody that's deserted said the exact same thing you just did!"
I didn't know what else to say. There wasn't anything else to say. Sabine turned around and stormed off leaving me alone at the window. I turned around and punched the wall, nearly denting the metal. It hurt like crazy but I didn't care.
I began making my way to the Hangar and found the Starbird waiting for me. We left it here about a year ago when we started losing one battle after another. We weren't supposed to be going out by ourselves anymore. Whoever went out had to be with their squad or crew. That was the last major executive order Mon Mothma gave before her transport blew up just a week later.
I boarded Starbird and began the startup sequence when I heard the cockpit doors open behind me.
"What do you want now?" I growled.
"Ezra don't do this... please," Sabine said.
"You were just yelling at me a few minutes ago," I said.
"I know but we don't want you to leave us! Not like this, we need all the help we can get!"
"I told you I wasn't deserting!" I snapped.
Sabine fell quiet as I glared at her.
"Hera saw your ship starting up... I got here as fast as I could," she began. "She didn't want you to go alone."
"She told you..."
"No I volunteered," Sabine interrupted.
I was silent for a while.
"Fine," I muttered before finishing the startup and piloting my ship out of the hangar.
"Where are we going anyway?" Sabine asked me.
"Like I said, I don't know."
I set the Nav computer to calculate random coordinates and pretty soon I had some coordinates. Before I could jump to hyperspace, my comms unit was going off.
"What?" I asked whoever was trying to contact me.
"Ezra, it's me, Hera. We just picked up something strange on our scanners. Some sort of beacon set to a frequency only we use."
"Alright?" I urged her to continue.
"I'm assigning you and Sabine to take a small crew of volunteers to check it out. You'll use one of our last CR-90s," Hera said.
I didn't want to leave my ship back in that damned hangar.
"I'm keeping my ship with me," I said.
"That's fine with me just go check it out." Silence for a few moments. "There's one more thing," she began. "This beacon isn't in any known star system. It's in completely unexplored space."
(Not the place where the First Order went)
"I'll recalculate my computer then," I said before shutting off the comms. My anger faded a bit.
"Ezra our corvette is here. They're ready and waiting on you," Sabine said.
"Coordinates locked on. You hear me over there?"
"Loud and clear, sir," the captain of the corvette said. "Let's be cautious. It could be pirates in a secret hyperspace route."
"Doubt it," Sabine coughed.
"Here we go. Follow my lead," I said as I pushed the throttle to maximum, throwing my ship into hyperspace.
"Well how long do we have until we get there?" I asked Sabine who was looking at the power monitors.
She sat back in her seat and sighed, "Two hours. That's four hours total with just you in here to argue with."
"You're still mad at me aren't you..." I said.
"What if I am?" she said.
"Look I'm sorry. It's just everything's been..."
"Hard for everyone, Ezra. It's not just you," she snapped, but her voice sounded like it was about to break.
"Just shut up, Ezra. If you want to leave everybody behind, then go ahead. I won't stop you."
"That's not fair," I countered.
"Nothing's fair anymore. Just going to have to deal with it," she said before storming out of the cockpit, but not before adding, "I don't know why I even volunteered to help you."
I just sat in the pilot seat in silence as the door slid shut.
I sighed and placed my head in my hands.
"Kriff, what's happened to everything? Why did this have to happen?"
Two hours later, my nav computer began beeping and I brought Starbird out of hyperspace right around where that beacon was. Seconds later my CR-90 escort appeared next to me. We were not too far from a star and judging by the scans it formed about 20 years ago.
"You guys alright over there?" I asked them through the comms.
"Yup. So far nothing on our scopes. What about you?"
"All clear over here," I replied.
Turns out they entire crew on that corvette heard my argument with Sabine, which only made me feel worse. They asked me about it and I couldn't hold it from them. These guys didn't deserve what everybody's been getting. Sabine's never returned to the cockpit this entire trip and I'm pretty sure I heard some banging from my room so I figured she was trying to break something. I thought back to Polis Massa and realized I couldn't recall ever retrieving my lightsaber. My hand flew to my belt and sure enough it wasn't there.
"You have got to be kidding me!" I yelled.
"What's wrong, sir? Imperials?"
"No it's just... I don't think I retrieved my lightsaber!"
"That's not good. Let's hope we don't have to go through any combat then."
"Agreed. Any eyes on whatever's been causing that beacon?" I asked.
"I got nothing on that either. This feels like a trap to me."
"I'm not sensing any danger," I said.
"Then we're clear?"
"That's not helping."
"Sorry," I said. I pressed a button for the ship-wide comms. "Sabine can you come to the cockpit? I could use some extra eyes up here."
Moments later the door opened and a still relatively angry Sabine walked in and sat in the copilot's chair without saying a single word. Instead she just concentrated on the scanners.
I had a quick mental debate whether I should say something or not and decided it best not to say anything to her at all.
"What you're not going to ask me if there's anything on here?" she asked bitterly.
"Well you didn't say anything did you? I took it as there's nothing here," I shot back.
"Hey you two calm down. We still have a job to do."
"He's right, Ezra," Sabine said.
"If you don't want to be here then you can leave! I can't deal with your attitude right now!" I shouted at Sabine.
"Since when were you all mature all of a sudden? Acting all grown up!"
I was standing nose to nose with Sabine right now, both of us blowing off serious steam.
"What's gotten into you?" I asked her.
"I don't know, maybe the fact that you were going to desert!" she yelled at me. "That you were thinking of leaving us! Leaving me!"
That got everybody on both ships quiet.
"Did I just hear that correctly?" a bridge officer on the CR-90 asked, clearly audible to me through the comms.
There was no reply so I figured the captain either nodded or shrugged.
I guess I had a shocked look on my face because Sabine shook her head and looked back to her station, sitting back down in her seat. I didn't move. I just stood there like an idiot and stared at her. Her shoulders jumped a couple times and I could feel her despair. Her anger was gone and replaced by sadness.
"Sabine I..." I tried to say and for once she didn't interrupt. I couldn't finish it. This was all too much to take in right now. Without saying another word, I sat back down in my own seat and sighed. We have lost so many of our friends to the Empire. Then people began to desert and that didn't help the situation.
"There's nothing here. Let's go home," I said.
"Wait just a second, Commander."
"What is it? Did you find something?" I asked.
"I think I know why we weren't getting anything on scanners."
He had my full attention now.
"Adjust course to 2-9-0 and look straight ahead," the captain ordered.
"2-9-0, got it. What am I looking for?"
"Something pretty big."
The Starbird finished its course change and I saw something in the distance.
"You guys stay here. I'm going in," I said as I pushed the engine throttle up to the max and sped towards the massive object.
We got close enough where I could slow down the ship and get a good look at it.
"Yeah... I see it," she replied softly.
"Any idea what this is?" I asked her.
"I don't know, but it looks like there's an open hangar door over there," she said pointing a little to the right of us.
"I guess. We're here to see what's going on after all," she said.
I flew the Starbird into the open hangar and landed it, though I had to engage the magnetic locks on the landing gear that Sabine and I installed the year before.
"We're going to need those suits. They still in their cases?" I asked her and received a nod.
We both suited up and I opened the boarding ramp. Immediately, the energy shield we also installed engaged to prevent any air from escaping. I stepped through the shield and immediately floated through the hangar.
"I think you forgot to activate your EVA pack," Sabine mocked.
"Thank you for that observation," I replied sarcastically as I activated the pack.
"We should find the command center. The power controls should be there," Sabine said then.
"Lead the way," I said.
"I don't know where it is!"
"Like I said, lead the way."
Sabine rolled her eyes at me and flew towards the doors. I wasn't very far behind her. She managed to get the other door open and we floated the entire way to the command center, which happened to be at the top of some sort of tower extending from the center of the station.
"This should be it," Sabine said. "Look for the power control console."
"What makes you think this place still has power?" I asked her.
"Well considering this isn't like that abandoned medical station and actually looks stable, I say our chances this station still has power is pretty good."
"That makes sense," I said.
"I'm serious! Kriff just chill out will you?"
I floated to another console and checked all the panels. "I think I found it," I said as I pulled a switch.
Immediately, the lights began to flicker and then lit up at full efficiency. The gravity also started up so we didn't need the EVA packs anymore. As for the life support that was going to take some time to fill the station.
"What's the time for the life support?" Sabine asked me.
"About 10 minutes," I said.
I received a transmission on my wrist comm from the CR-90 outside the station.
"Hey guys I think the power jumped on, you alright in there?"
"Yeah we're good. There's nobody here and this place is in perfect condition... surprisingly," I said.
"Ezra..." Sabine said. Her voice sounded breathless as she looked down at a panel.
"What is it? Did you find something?" I asked her.
She turned around and faced me directly.
"This isn't any ordinary station, Ezra."
"What do you mean?"
"Holy bantha guys you should see this from out here," the CR-90 captain said.
"What do you mean?"
"The station is huge!" he said.
"Sabine?" I asked her.
"Ezra this is an old Republic shipyard! The roster on here is still up to date and everything!" she turned to me as she said this. "It says here there's ships just on the other side from where we docked!"
"What kind of ships?" I asked.
"I don't know exactly, but we should check this out!" she said excitedly and she wasn't alone.
We both ran down several corridors, the power levels completely stable, and even the turbolifts were functioning at peak performance. Eventually we made to the correct hangar and we opened the door. Sabine just about dropped the datapad she grabbed from the command center at the sight.
"No way..." I sighed.
Right in front of us was a good amount of LAAT gunships and loads of resource crates and ammunition.
"Loot?" I suggested.
Sabine shook her head, "I have a better idea. What are our coordinates?"
I grinned already catching what she was thinking, "I'll call them."
Sabine walked over to the gunships as I tapped a button on my wrist comm.
"Ezra, is something wrong?" Hera asked.
"Actually I think we just found exactly what we needed. Come to these coordinates... and bring everybody."
"What did you find?" Hera asked.
"Gunships, resources, ammunition... Hera, I think we just found an old Republic shipyard!"