With the comlink set to monitor the Imperial frequency, Morg lay down in the tight space of the access shaft beside the spotlight. Not only did it offer the best view of the landing pad, but the brightness of the light would prevent him from being spotted by the troopers. Even so, he still made sure that he was back out of sight of the hovering TIEs.
Down below he could see the Miss Teak, or the ship that currently masqueraded as such, squatting silently on its heavy gear.
The commander of the recently arrived stormtrooper squad strode along the port side of the ship accompanied by five members of his unit. The remainder of the stormtroopers surrounded the vessel and guarded the exits to the turbolifts. When the small party reached a point just below the cockpit of the silent ship they stopped. Morg’s vidmonitor showed the port side of the ship that was currently out of view of his lofty perch, and he watched as the Imperial commander drew his comlink from his pocket.
“This is Lieutenant Jeth Tarnell of the Imperial Port Authority to any of the crew of the Miss Teak. Respond immediately.”
Grinning to himself, Morg let Tarnell stew for a while. Nothing like riling up an Imp he thought. They owe us that much entertainment at least. The comlink crackled back to life.
“We know you’re in there, and you should know that you are surrounded. There’s a tractor beam to prevent your departure and I have TIE fighters placed aft of your firing arc so you see, there is nothing to gain by remaining silent. Offer co-operation and you will be treated leniently.”
Right, Morg thought darkly, and the Emperor’s gonna invite me to his birthday party. He waited for a few more seconds and just as Tarnell was raising the comlink to his lips gain, he opened the relay that would broadcast his words from the ship’s transmitter.
“Look, Lootenant,” he drawled in his best Outer Rim accent. “I ain’t sure what you think we’ve done, but we’re just here trying to sort out this damn hyperdrive then we’ll be out of your hair.”
“And who, exactly, am I speaking to?”
“Name’s Joth, Joth Moore, Lootenant. First officer.” He gave the same pseudonym he’d used while setting up this deal with that traitor Garn. “I still don’t get what the problem is though…”
“I’ll tell you exactly what the problem is Moore. We have reliable information that you are here conducting illegal business on behalf of the Rebellion and that is something that will not be tolerated. Now I will speak to your captain and we will arrange to board your vessel for inspection, is that understood?”
“Look Lootenant, you got this all wrong. I told you we’re just here trying…”
Tarnell had obviously reached the limit of his patience. “No, I am telling you Moore, put your Captain on the frequency now so that we can solve this without unnecessary bloodshed. If you do not comply within one minute, I will order the TIE fighters to dissect your ship from stern to fore and to hell with your crew.”
“Erm…” Morg tried his best to sound concerned. “OK Lootenant, just…hold on a minute there. I’ll erm, yea I’ll get the Captain for ya. Just hold on…”
“And no funny business Moore. I do not make idle threats.”
Morg had to stifle a grin before he replied, “No Lootenant, that’s fine. Ah, the Captain’s down in engineering helping to tie down this hyperdrive issue. I’ll patch you through, that ok?”
Morg could all but taste the smugness of the Lieutenant’s reply. “As long as it’s fast, your time is quickly running out Mr Moore.”
Oh that it is thought Morg as he placed the commlink down beneath the spotlight and hit the playback toggle. The pre-recorded audio began to play as a small red light began to flash. Morg quickly stood and edged backwards to the access hatch and his escape route, listening to the faux conversation through the ear piece he wore.
“What is it Moore? I told you we got a big problem down here and now is not a good time to be distracting me!”
Morg swung his legs out and down into the service corridor and began to run.
“Yeah sorry Captain, it’s just that I got an Imperial officer that says we’re somehow tied up in some Rebel business. I told him that ain’t…”
“Moore I don’t have time for this right now and…”
As Morg tripped the service corridor door, he slowed and slipped carefully into the flow of pedestrian traffic on the concourse, unobtrusively making his way towards the neon lit doorway of the Lazy Bantha cantina that stood on the corner.
“Sorry Captain but he’s pretty insistent that he needs to speak to you now.”
Walking close to the door of the cantina, Morg didn’t enter. He figured he’d be spotted easily enough and followed straight away so he just kept moving at a leisurely pace. Sure enough, three figures emerged from the gloom of the Bantha and began to follow behind him. They were good too. Innocuously chatting amongst themselves while maintaining visual contact with him.
“Moore I’m warning you, this is not the time for this convers…”
The audio suddenly blared warning sirens, and a muffled thump followed that would surely be heard by the Imperials outside the ship. The small thermex charge he’d rigged contained just enough explosive to be heard and felt through the pad’s surface, and releasing a small, theatrical cloud of smoke from the vents in the hull near engineering.
“Moore!” That was the Imperial commander, not sounding quite so smug now. “Moore what’s going on in there?” Morg felt a grin split his face as the three figures following behind him increased their pace.
“Lootenant, you need to get your men the hell off this platform…”
“No! Moore you listen to me…”
There was a louder, more substantial thud as the starboard main gear collapsed on cue.
“Sir!” The unmistakeable crackle of a stormtrooper’s comm. “Hawk 1 reports sensors showing an energy buildup in the engineering section consistent with a cascade failure of the reactor safeties!”
Faking the cascade failure electronically so it could easily be detected had been one of Morg’s crowning achievements.
“What? But they’re lying, this is just some kind of…”
“Sir I strongly recommend we evacuate the platform…now!”
There was the sound of what Morg was convinced was a scuffle and then running feet. Morg reached the turbolift to the lower levels maybe a minute or so ahead of his followers, and figured he just about had time to listen to the climax of the drama taking place out on the landing pad.
“Hawk flight, bug out, the LZ is about to turn hot! Break, all squads egress via your ingress points, ship is on a countdown. Something’s gone badly wrong in there! Move! Move!”
Morg heard the scream of the TIEs outside powering up and out of the Well and turned to meet the figures who’d been trailing him. As they approached he held up a finger to forestall any conversation.
“Just a coupla seconds please?”
The three figures, two women and a man, looked at each other briefly but held their distance.
“Senth Squad clear sergeant.”
“Aurek Squad is out Sarge.”
After perhaps a second or so that seemed much longer to Morg…
“Herf Squad clear…”
Morg just had time to flex his knees as the floor bucked beneath his feet. It was all he could do not to laugh as the three figures, caught completely unaware by the huge blast from the platform, stumbled against each other.
“And BOOM!” Morg mimicked an explosion with his hands. “The Miss Teak and her Rebel scum crew have become a footnote consigned to history.”
The shorter of the two women brushed the permacrete dust from her jacket and stared long and hard at Morg as she regained her balance.
“Well thanks for the warning Morg. Much appreciated.”
Morg mock saluted. “No problem Cap. Wasn’t much worse than one of Gaila’s landings.”
The second woman, pilot of the recently re-christened freighter Moonlight Shadow, shrugged. “Yep I’ve made worse noises.”
“Well at least it was fitting that Garn should lose one of his ships to get us off the hook.”
“Erm maybe we should make a move back to the spaceport now we’re dead?” Brett had been the last to recover from the effects of the blast in the Well but Sherra, their Captain, knew he was right.
“New boy’s got it right people.” She smiled to take the sting out of Brett’s current placeholder nickname and began heading towards the stairs as a stream of emergency personnel rushed by in the opposite direction. “These disguises are only gonna hold muster for so long when the hammer drops.”
She slapped Morg on the arm as he turned away. “Nice work up there Morg. Now the Empire thinks we’re dead and gone, we’ve got plenty of time to consider how to collect some recompense from Garn.” She moved off calling over her shoulder, “Ideas welcome once we break orbit.”
Morg nodded to Gaila and Brett as he too set off in a different direction.
I would SO not wanna be in Garn’s boots right now he thought, and didn’t stop grinning even after he reached the ship, because he’d thought of the perfect plan.
An excerpt from a forthcoming fanfic that was inspired after I began this image