Hyperspace is a sublimely comfortable oblivion.
The physical “you” does not exist. One can interact with his cohabitants within this Nirvana Context, but there is no connection to the “real” world except through complex technical recreations and misty overlays. Time has been beaten nigh death here. It crumples into a ball, clothed in Space it wraps tight around itself, squeezing into an impossibly tiny singularity that spans Infinity.
Lines of light streak across the cockpit, chasing themselves into the sharp points of stars. It’s that moment when you wake up, when reality resolves itself through the haze of dream, and you’re not sure you prefer the solidity.
The “Resurgence” hangs in space far ahead of us, surrounded by Star Destroyers. It is a Nebulon-class frigate. Massive compared to even my own colossal ship. I rest in the command chair, watching as the drama unfolds. It’s never easy. It’s never a simple “Hello, great job!”
Swarms of TIE fighters are belched from the destroyers, most around the Resurgence, and the others toward us. “Us” being the space we occupy now, ourselves belched from hyperspace into what is reality. The wall before me snaps to a view of our contact. I don’t even remember his name. I don’t care about this anymore — this “rebellion” against the dark by a light just as dogmatic. Hours earlier, Bariss had told me my girls were alive.
That’s all I care about.
Part and parcel — staying alive. The nameless commander of our “terrorist cell” shatters into static as klaxons wail and blasters whine. The screen shows the star field before us. Fighters swiveling through the three dimensions toward and around us. A heavy cruiser sensors identify as the “Raging Nebula” is closest. The Resurgence is far beyond. The Nebula launches a payload that skitters rather than blasts across our hull.
“E’chutta. Tor? Daze?”
Tor and Tommy had assumed point defense positions in the blaster cannon wells of the Spelljammer. Tor was already headed for the starboard observation dome, and before I could finish my sentence, he’d blown off two droids with his prayers to whatever gods the “Force” reveres. D243 (“Daze”) rolled back to the top-ship hatch and was mag-crawling across the hull toward the insectoid nuisances.
Me? I hoped they continued to be a mere nuisance. I twist a quick roll around the Nebula, and the combination of the dual lasers and Tommy’s blasters break through its shields with a warped pucker and a satisfying short-lived bloom of flame as we strike at its hull. The “Defiant”, Khalik at the helm, slips into our space, immediately firing upon the Nebula then hurling itself around it as we flank the cruiser.
Ahead, Y-wings flood from the belly of a Corellian frigate and engage the incoming fog of TIE and “advanced” TIE fighters. I haven’t had the time to keep up on the latest models, but the design was definitely new and the spectrum of their blasters indicated something different than the usually deployed starfighters. It didn’t really matter. TIE are quick and agile, and any upgrades to their speed and firepower wouldn’t significantly modify our tactics in this battle.
I’m the captain. I’m trying to coordinate our efforts. I’m listening to my crew, my comrades. It is a gauntlet between us and the Resurgence, and the Spelljammer is a lug of a bruiser, swaying through seemingly endless waves of attackers, narrowly avoiding his own blood being let while walloping them into rattling bags of metal bones that scream briefly then break open into ghostly clouds of debris.
We see Bariss ahead, looping through puffs of distintegrated Imperial metal, riding rails of fire pouring from his guns and missile bays. He’ll be fine.
The Defiant isn’t doing as well. Some lucky shots had nearly brought down its shields, and it was sound due solely to the genius of Khalik. It staggered beside us.
A Kuat Firespray-31 swoops by and hand instinctively goes to the sword. Then, I hear the barely-familiar voice of Doc Carson over our private patch. “Miss me?” I grin as he unleashes a one-two on another squad of TIE.
One last hard punch and the Nebula lurches, its lights blinking out until it’s naught but a silhouette of less-dark within a fading glow of warp fields.
A warrior dying in the cold, shrouded by the warm billows of his last breaths.
I catch a status on the main screen. “Network connection re-established.” I hadn’t even noticed. Tor is yelling at me through my personal commlink. He and Daze had taken care of the buzz droids, but he was more concerned with one of his “feelings” about what might occur on the Resurgence, still far ahead.
I nod to myself, then open a line to the Corvette half-ahead asking it to move aside. Bariss had gathered a squadron of loyal fighters, picking off the TIE nuisances that had been keeping it in check. It crawls forward. I bring up the console and punch in some commands. The engines roar and we jerk forward. Nobody can fire, we can’t maneuver, but in a fraction of a moment we’re between a Star Destroyer and the Resurgence.
Bariss is already there with what looks like dozens of Y-Wings. They descend on the command spire of the destroyer like tiny, angry angels. Bariss swoops under its shields (I gotta have him teach me that trick) and we see a recreation of what happened to the Raging Nebula moments before — on a far grander scale. Its command portals go dark, its signals blink out. Like a magician’s stage trick, the roaring dragon maws of its engine cones become cold, blackened, empty pots. The destroyer swings like an ill-hung toy on an infant’s crib-mobile, eventually settling into what by poetic chance is a downward triangle, stabbing in slow-motion through the space below us.
In the meantime, Khalik had arrived and glided the Defiant into the primary hangar bay off the characteristic “rudder” of the Nebulon-class frigate that was our destination. From aboard the Resurgence, he links into our manuevering systems and hints the Spelljammer on its entry vector.
A deafening grind/screech screams through the belly of our beast as we nick the bay door before settling down inside.
It’s when we make the mistakes that can kill us that we’re most alive.
Everyone unbraces and heads for the tongue of the cargo ramp. As I rise to follow, I notice a particularly perverse vid on one of the monitors, with the OSD indicating it’s being transmitted to the Destroyer we left far behind. Daze beeps as “she” rolls by me, dome turning, and I’d swear the reticule winked at me.
I laugh aloud and follow the rest toward the exit.
“Let’s make some mistakes.”