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Castles in the Sand

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Castles in the Sand

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Dawn was nearing as the first of Tatooine's twin suns was beginning to break the horizon.  Five shadowed figures moved stealthily in the false dawn, skulking into position.  The area had been carefully  surveyed in the days prior, and the groups leader, Oroxido Flyingrider, had rehearsed his group well on the mission at hand.

While Oroxido was by no means a Rebel sympathyzer, but he resented the Empire's presence here on his home planet.  Tatooine had been a refuge from the Empire, and the perfect place for a small time criminal like "Rox" and his crew to flourish.  But something had brought the Empire here in earnest, and it was putting a serious dent in his operations.  It was his intention on this early morning to make a dent in their operations.

If the Empire kept its schedule, which it normally did without fail, then three lambda shuttles filled with supplies were about to be landing outside of Bestine, to support the Stormtrooper Garrison there.  It was Rox's goal to take out this particular group of shuttles, hopefully throwing the entire garrison into a panic.  An Army is only as good as its supply line, he reasoned, and he was going to put this one in doubt.

To fullfill this daunting task, Rox and company aquired a pair of PLX-1 launchers from an arms dealer, and at no small expense.  An elaborate plan began to form, and Rox was only involving his top men, and his twi'lek girlfriend T'lirya.  Her job was the most critical, she was to remove the only obstacle to the operation, a pair of Imperial Comm operators occupying a security station on the outskirts of the city.  The station would be able to detect the five intruders, and would send a squad of Sandtroopers out to investigate, not to mention divert the supply shuttles.

Simply destroying the station would send out all kinds of alarms, and once again, the shuttles would divert.  Somehow T'lirya had to entice the operators to let her in the building, and once inside, she had to incapacitate them.  For a few weeks, T'lirya had been chatting with one of the operators, allowing him to think she was interested in him sexually.  Most men would shudder at the thought of having their girlfriend coming on to strangers.  Oroxido was so consumed with the mission that nothing else mattered.  Using his girlfriend in this manner was mission critical.

Oroxido paused behind a rock and looked at his chronometer.  It was all up to his little blue twi'lek now.  If she did her job correctly, he would recieve a message within moments.  All he could do now was wait.

T'lirya sighed as she neared her destination. Rox better follow through on his promises. Her friends told her he was no good, but she didn't care. She loved him.

She'd been watching the Security Station's Operators for a while now and knew their schedules. One of them should be stepping out for a break shortly--the one she'd been flirting with. Her thoughts drifted to the ring she'd be getting soon as this job was over and she smiled.

Hearing the swoosh of the door she quickly went into action.

"Morning", she crooned with a smile as she gently pushed herself off of the pole she'd been leaning against. "Was afraid I'd missed you this morning." Her hips swayed gently as she walked towards him. A few steps away she "mis-stepped" as the heel she'd loosened earlier broke off. He caught her as she slipped, and she smiled as his face flushed when she "accidentally" brushed against his hand as she "fell".

The ground was already hot and she squealed (really just for effect) as her bare foot touched the ground. "Liri!" he called out the name she'd given him as he scooped her up and pushed back inside the Security Station.

As he carried her in, the other operator looked up quizically. She smiled at him. "My ...  shoe". She held up the offending item and giggled.

He set her down and bent to check how badly her foot was injured. She leaned over as well, making sure the other operator got an eyeful. He jumped up and grabbed a med kit. After making sure her foot was fine, she smiled at them both. Putting on her best "innocent-look", she drawled "My HEROES! However can I repay you both?" She knew her plan would work when they looked at each other and one of them cleared a throat nervously. Shrugging her shoulders, she looked around the room. Nodding towards a door, she asked "What's back there?" She smiled when  they was confirmed it was the supply closet.

Taking the hand of the one who carried her she pulled him towards the door. Once inside she slipped her dress down and gave him just enough time to get "comfortable" before wrapping her arms around him and administering the dose from a syringe she'd hidden in the lining of her dress.

Watching his shocked face as he crumpled against the wall, unable to speak, she gave it a few minutes to work all the while giggling and crooning at the now unconscious man. Slipping the other dose out, she called to the other operator, inviting him to join in. Putting her arms around him and kissing as he stepped through the doorway she injected him and lept backwards as he fell. Pulling her dress back up, she flipped her lekku over her shoulders and exited the room.

Pressing the button on her personal comm, she cleared her throat and simply said "It is done."

Oroxido grew silently impatient.  The window of opportunity was quickly closing.  If the comm operators suspected anything, they all had very short lives ahead of them.  Suddenly his comm crackled, "It is done"

He turned and smiled at his group, "Its time."

They crossed the invisible boundary of the security station's sector.  Had T'lirya decided to double cross them, they were now being detected by one of the operators.  Rox shrugged off the notion and continued onward.  She loved him, he thought, why else would she agree to such a plan?  Of course, he had told her they were just disabling the shuttle, and it was very likely no one would be harmed, if the shuttle were even piloted to begin with.  All of it complete fabication of course, but it eased her mind.

He broke the silence when they reached their destination. "Here", he commanded.

If his calculations were correct, they would have to wait only a few minutes more.  He motioned toward the two men lugging the PLX-1 launchers.  "Get the Plex's ready."

They nodded in reply and began to get the heavy weapons ready.  Oroxido sat close, monitoring their progress. His wide grin turned into a nervous smile, as his mind began to race.  What if T'lirya had failed? Maybe they were being watched right now.  What about these men, would one of them talk? Can they really be trusted?  Rox's smile completely faded into near horror.

The stillness of the morning was shattered by the droning of several craft overhead.  Someone had shouted something like, Here they come, but Oroxido didn't even hear it.  He was stunned, staring at the incomming lambda shuttles in disbelief at what his men were about to do.

Suddenly, Oroxido realized his men were screaming at him.  "Rox! Am I taking this shot or what?!?!" screamed the man shouldering the weapon.  "Yes! Yes! Fire! Fire Away!!" He stammered.  A rocket trail streaked into the sky, followed quickly by a second.

The first shot tore into one of the wings of the lead shuttle, which quickly spiraled toward the ground.  The second rocket slammed directly into the nose of the second ship in line, causing it to explode violently into a fireball.  Quickly another two shots rose from the desert floor, one striking the third shuttles tail fin and the other exploding directly below it.  By now the first craft had plowed nose first into the sand below and burst into flames.  The third shuttle also sank from the sky trailing thick smoke behind it.  Oroxido and his men were already running at full speed toward their waiting banthas.

The group disapeared into the desert, confident they had gotten away with their deed.  But Oroxido could not shake an uneasy feeling in his stomach.

Bestine Central Communications Station

The shift was mercifully nearing an end for half the communications staff. Operator 3176 looked down at the radar screen showing all incoming and outgoing atmospheric traffic to Bestine. Three shuttles en route to the supply depot, right on schedule.

"Lambda 2471 Alpha final approach to Bestine Supply Center, acknowledge."

"2471, you are clear for landing, landing pad 301, welcome to Tatooine."

"Roger, 2471 landing at 301, have a good one Bestine"

The operator momentarily closed his eyes and rubbed his temples, thankful for the end of his 12 hour stint in the telecom room.

An alarm tone suddenly began to sound. "Bestine Station, this is Lambda 2471 Alpha, I think we have just been fired upon."

The Lieutenant of the watch rushed over to the Comm Station.

"2471, confirm, you are under attack?"

"Affirmative Bestine ..." Static .... "Mayday! Mayday! This is 2471 and we have been hit. Mulitple rocket trails. Bestine, we are going down hard!!"

The comm went silent. The lieutenant screamed "Scramble some gunships! I want to know what happened!" The Comm Center began to buzz with activity. Well rehearsed on what to do in an emergency, the operators sprung into action. The sector commander would be alerted, the entire garrison would be put on full alert, answers would be sought.

"How did they defeat our early warning system?" The Lieutenant thought aloud,"Someone contact the security station in that sector"

Sandtroopers geared up and mounted gunships, both to look for survivors, and possibly seek some retribution. Word had gotten out that one of the shuttles that went down was carrying a platoon of Sandtroopers. There would be hell to pay.

T'lirya let up on her comm and grabbed her broken shoe.  She neared the door, about to leave, when one of the monitors in the Security Station began to beep.  She'd just turned around to face the monitor when a proximity alarm sounded and then quickly grew quiet.

Momentarily stunned, she examined the monitor more closely. Movement on one of the screens caught her eye and she crossed to it. She spotted the images of a small group entering the secured area. Two of them are obviously carrying something heavy; she breathed a sigh of relief,  it's Rox and the guys. Everything else on the screen was clear.  T'lirya decides it's safer to hang tight while they get set up. Besides, if anyone comes into the area she'll see them and can warn Rox.

She watched as they set up the big guns. Rox got so lucky scoring those. He bragged about it to her for days. Suddenly, the stations comm started picking up voices.

"Lambda 2471 Alpha final approach to Bestine Supply Center, acknowledge."

"2471, you are clear for landing, landing pad 301, welcome to Tatooine."

"Roger, 2471 landing at 301, have a good one Bestine"

As she listened, she noticed a new heat signature on the screen, it was one of the rockets trailing toward the shuttles.

"Bestine Station, this is Lambda 2471 Alpha, I think we have just been fired upon."

"2471, confirm, you are under attack?"

"Affirmative Bestine ..." Static .... "Mayday! Mayday! This is 2471 and we have been hit. Mulitple rocket trails.  Bestine, we are going down hard!!"

Almost instantly explosions rocked the Security Station. The sound was deafening, T'lirya tumbled to the floor in shock and horror. Her mind raced and she realized that she'd just heard the shuttle explode. Tears began to run down her cheeks as emotion flooded over her. She just heard someone die!  Did something go wrong? Did Rox lie to her?
The comm activity increases dramatically. She suddenly realizes Bestine Station was attempting to contact the Security Station. T'lirya panics. Frantic, she scrambles to her feet and runs out the of the door and into the morning air.  What had she done?

The call to the 220th Platoon Headquarters went out early. The first arriving gunships found evidence of a small group of humanoids with banthas escaping into the desert. Lartys (Laat/i) are great ships but they lack range, and there was a tremendous expanse of desert in front of them. On the ground, the Sandtrooper squad leader surveyed the area where the rockets had been launched from. Footprints followed by Bantha tracks wound Northwest into the desert.

The Sandtrooper Squadleader held the comm set to his mouth and spoke,"Captain, they made their escape to the Northwest, we are going to need a long range patrol to follow them."

Major Robert Rogers Military Arsenal, Mos Eclipse, Lok

Krienz sat behind his desk in his low-lit office, hands behind his neck. He had just begun his day with a vigorous workout in the base fitness center when a call from Special Operations Command had  interrupted. A warning order had come from the Sector Command, and he was sending four operatives out to Tatooine for what sounded like a catastrophic incident. He had summoned his two best investigaters, and his two best reconnaissance experts to try to bring this mission to an end.

His assistant, Kyttn, appeared at the door with four rough and ready troopers close behind. A lambda shuttle was already going through its pre-flight as per his orders.

"Show them in Miss Kyttn"

Operatives Talon, Hellion, Ghost and Outlaw assembled before him, wearing serious faces. Krienz downloaded data from the incident to all of them and explained the mission objective, which was very simple: Find out who did this and punish them.

"Talon and Hellion, you are being assigned to the Security Station, find out what went wrong there. Outlaw, Ghost, you are headed into the desert to see where those tracks lead. I wish you all good luck and remember, Who dares wins."

With that, four troopers rose to their feet and went to work, leaving Krienz alone with Kyttn and his thoughts.


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