Chapter 25

Akari and Qui-Gon sat in their cockpit carefully considering their options.

"I'm sure you also sense that they are experiencing difficulty," Qui-Gon continued to press his argument.

"Yes," Akari replied, "I do." She sat with her arms folded across her chest, gazing out the window at the planet in the distance. Qui-Gon realized that her body language clearly told him that she was far from being receptive to his proposal. Outside in the void of space, hundreds of ships buzzed about Malastare, like insects around a hive. Suddenly, her eyes narrowed and she moved closer to analyze the new movement on ship's viewscreen. There it was. She signaled Qui-Gon to have a look and pointed to something unusual in the formation of the Re Clan battleships.

"Alright then," he muttered. "Qui-Gon to Squad Leader, are you picking up anything unusual from the battleships surrounding the planet?"

"Currently, everything is status quo, Master Qui-Gon." replied the squad leader.

"Check your sensor array on alpha gamma 2, no make that 3 pi and magnify... 4000," he suggested.

After a brief pause the answer came back.

"You're right, Master Qui-Gon, that is unusual." The squad leader kept the channel open to the Jedi as he called out the command instructions. "This is Squad Leader to all command leaders and all squad division pilots, we have rogue activity in sector alpha gamma, 3 pi above the surface. The most likely attack strategy would be pin point. For the novice pilots out there, that means they'll be camouflaging their attack by placing their larger ships in the way of the descending smaller ship. The draw back for them is that they'll have to attack in specific places rather than sweep over the planet. But they think that it will give them time to bring Malastare to its knees before we discover what they're doing... Thanks to our observant Jedi, that won't be the case."

Akari glanced up at Qui-Gon and he winked at her. She barely suppressed a smile.

The squad leader continued, "Our back up fighters won't be here for another day, so we're going to have to do this on our own. Listen to my plans carefully." I want every available Torrant Fighter on the front lines. I know you are smaller, but you're also faster and you'll draw their fire without getting hit as often as the bigger ships. Next, we'll bring in our three heavy cruisers. I'll lead the first one in my x-wing and the other two ships will follow behind. Once we get their attention, I want all mid-size ships to fan out. Draw the fire off their super-starfighters. Jedi Masters Qui-Gon and Akari will assist with this group."

"Acknowledged, squared leader," Akari responded.

"The point of this is to save as many Malastare lives as possible by distracting the Re Clan ships," added Qui-Gon. "This appears to be bad news, but if the Re Clan is already starting to ready an invasion, especially with a strategic attack such as the pin-point, then they must have regrouped behind a single leader faster than we expected."

"Keep all communications to a minimum. You have your orders. Squad Leader out."

Akari cocked an eyebrow as her eyes spoke volumes. "You want to fly now, don't you?"

"Is it that obvious?" he asked, not entirely surprised by she question.

"As the nose on your face," she smirked. Although they knew a battle was imminent, the Jedi didn't let their good-natured ribbing get in the way of their task at hand. Akari quickly got up and moved away from the pilot's seat.

Qui-Gon feigned a hurt ego as he dropped into the pilot's seat, "You don't have to insult me, Akari. I come from a long line of men with large nasal cavities. It's a tradition in our family..."

"That's not what I meant. And you know it, Qui-Gon," she said, strapping herself in. Akari was completely unfazed by his attempt to make her feel bad.

He strapped himself in and smiled, obviously amused. "Alright, there go the Torrant fighters... and there go the heavy cruisers... and... there's our signal, let's go."

Since Akari was riding shot gun, she checked the weaponry console prepared her plan of attack as the force of their engines took them off. Carefully, she aimed at the Re Clan ships as they roared up to meet them.

To be continued

Phantom Jedi: Thanks for the question. It helped me rewrite a bit of this chapter.

reforgedGaara: Thank you. That was a fun scene to write, especially for Callista.

A/N: Thank you for reading. I appreciate any questions or comments you may have.