After agreeing to follow Sessra to Mizar, they headed to the spaceport. They made a quick stop so Prauf could say goodbye to Jhemon. Aquila was there and made another teasing pass at Kor while he waited for his friend. He was relieved when Prauf finally reemerged and they left.
“Was Aquila giving you a hard time again?” Prauf laughed.
“You keep saying she’s only teasing but I’m not so sure,” Kor mumbled, red-faced with embarrassment at her none too subtle innuendos.
Prauf leered at him. “Well, maybe you’ll have fun taking her up on it.”
“I hate you.”
They docked the speeder in its compartment and got the Whimsy powered up. Sessra signaled them on the comms. “I’m transmitting the coordinates for the outer part of the Mizar system to you. We can rendezvous there and you’ll be able to get an overview of the entire system before landing.”
Kor shrugged, then answered. “Sure thing. Sounds good.”
Sessra’s ship lifted off and they followed him into the sky. They were just about to clear the outer atmosphere when both of them gasped at the sudden sense of danger that washed over them. Kor stabbed at the shields while Prauf activated their guns.
No sooner were they done than a massive starship dropped out of hyperspace, blocking their path. It was a New Republic Mark II Starhawk Battleship. Kor felt his jaw drop in dismay. A battleship?
Sessra’s ship, tiny by comparison to the battleship bearing down on them, turned suddenly and jumped blindly into hyperspace. “Brave little snot,” Prauf muttered.
Their comm came to life. “Jedi ship Whimsy, this is the NRS Galaxy Herald, Captain Cedron Wolfon, commanding. You have committed an Act of War against the Republic. Lower your shields and prepare to be boarded. You have 30 seconds to comply or we will open fire.”
Kor gritted his teeth. Even with all the improvements they’d made to the Whimsy, it was no match for a Capital ship. If they tried to fight they’d be destroyed but he didn’t have any intentions of surrendering either. He glanced at Prauf. “Remember how we took out the Claw?”
Kor nodded at the open, unprotected docking bays on the Galaxys Herald. Captain Wolfon must have been so sure of his victory he hadn’t bothered putting his ship on red alert battle stations or raising shields or anything. “Want to try it again?”
Prauf stared at it for a moment then grinned like a wolf. “Oh, yeah!”
Kor gave him an answering grin then hit the thrusters, aiming the Whimsy for the nearest landing bay on the Galaxy Herald.
“Captain! They’re attacking!”
Captain Wolfon, resplendent in his formal dress uniform swung around in surprise. “What?”
The young Lieutenant pointed at his screen. “They’re on an attack vector and accelerating.”
Wolfon stared at the screen. “What are they thinking? They can’t possibly hope to win.” He swung around. “Commander, open the comm again.”
She nodded. “Channel open, sir.”
“Whimsy, this is Captain Wolfon. Stop this suicidal attack right now. Don’t force me to destroy you.”
The Lieutenant suddenly sat forward in alarm, staring at the numbers on his screen. “Sir! They’re not attacking. They’re trying to board us!”
Wolfon glanced over his shoulder in disbelief. “Don’t be ridiculous.”
Emergency klaxons went off. “Intruder alert, intruder alert. Hostile forces have boarded the ship, Deck 115, Landing Bay Nine. Intruder alert, intruder alert.”
Kor sprang out of his seat, heading for the passenger ramp. Prauf was hard on his heels. They pounded down the ramp slapping at switches as they ran. The moment their feet left the ramp it cycled closed. Ports opened on the belly of the ship and anchors were fired into the deck. Designed to keep the ship from blowing away during storms, they would now keep the Whimsy from being blown out into space when they started attacking the larger ship from the inside.
The deck crews were still recovering from the shock of the Whimsy’s sudden entrance. Kor and Prauf didn’t give them time. They hurled themselves at the shields holding in the air, slicing through them with their lightsabers. They sparked and went out. Suddenly all the air in the landing bay was being sucked out into space. Hull rupture alarms went off and massive doors began to swing closed to contain the breach. The Jedi moved to slice through the giant hinges, preventing the doors from closing.
One of Morg’s advanced lessons covered a Jedi method of surviving in a vacuum for extended periods. Putting it to use, they were able to move and attack while around them New Republic crewmen were gasping for air or being sucked out into space.
Pressure doors were dropping everywhere throughout the giant ship but they were no match for their new, improved lightsabers. They tore through them like tissue paper.
Knock out some power conduits and stuff but don’t destroy it completely. We’ll meet at the bridge.
Prauf waved acknowledgment and they split up.
It was a replay of their attack on the Claw. Once inside the ship, all its mighty armaments were useless against them. The crew couldn’t muster enough men to fight back against them either. Pressure doors were blocking them and as Kor and Prauf cut through the walls, power conduits, and electrical systems, the ship began suffering massive equipment failures, lights went out, life support suffered, and some sections of the ship lost artificial gravity, sending the hapless crew spinning through the air.
It took ten minutes for them to slice their way through the ship and rendezvous at the doors to the bridge. They were sealed but their lightsabers made short work of them. They were met by a hail of blaster bolts as they stalked onto the bridge. Every one was stopped or turned back on their attackers. Before he knew what was happening, Wolfon found two lightsabers at his throat.
“Surrender,” he gasped. “I surrender!”
They glanced at his men.
“Drop your weapons,” he hissed at them. “Now!”
One by one they obeyed. Weapons clattered to the deck and they raised their hands.
Prauf held the Captain while Kor searched out some restraints to cuff the bridge crew. They led Wolfon to the ship’s intercom. They inclined their heads sternly.
He licked his lips and nodded, then keyed the mic. “All hands, this is Captain Wolfon. The Jedi have captured the ship. I say again, the Jedi have captured the ship. Lay down your weapons before they destroy it and us with it.” He repeated it three times before they were satisfied.
They cuffed him beside his bridge crew then spent nearly an hour going through the ship destroying every weapons system they could find, blowing out the control consoles with their lightning bolts. They even went outside the ship to physically destroy the largest weapons. By the time they were done, the Galaxy Herald could make the jump to hyperspace but that was about all she could do. It would take a major shipyard at least a year to repair all the damage they’d inflicted.
They returned to the bridge, taking a video crew with them. The crew took a video of the fried controls, shattered pressure doors, and destroyed weapons. On the bridge, Kor positioned Captain Wolfon between him and Prauf, then told the video crew to begin recording.
Once more they reiterated their unyielding desire to remain free of any government. Kor emphasized that the old Jedi order had become so hidebound and set in their ways they were destroyed in a single day by an attack they never saw coming, and a large part of that was because they’d bound themselves to a government that was so big and overbearing there was no realistic way to fight it. Kor and Prauf had no intention of being caught in the same trap. They swear to oppose any galaxy-wide government because such governments always crush people’s freedom. They’ll also oppose any government that is trying to become a galaxy-wide government.
Once the video is made, they send a copy to Jhemon and wait until he releases it to the galaxy through his contacts.
Before letting Wolfon and his crew go, Kor and Prauf tried their hand at creating Force software to hold the ship’s controls in place until they got the Whimsy out of the landing bay and free of the Galaxy Herald. It was one of Morg’s more advanced lessons, one they’d had to repeat numerous times. They still didn’t understand all the nuances, but since this one was fairly simple, they were able to create and program it without too much difficulty. They put it in place, uncuffed Wolfon, and left the bridge.
When they reached the Whimsy, the landing bay it was in was open to the vacuum of space so they had to use the airlock to board it. It was the first time since they’d bought the Whimsy that they’d had an opportunity to utilize it.
“That was interesting,” Kor said as the airlock doors swung open. “Kinda cramped in there, though.”
“Yeah, kinda. Do you think anyone will pay attention this time?” Prauf asked as he followed Kor to the bridge. They powered up the Whimsy and took off. From the outside, the Galaxy Herald hardly showed any damage at all.
Kor finished programming their course for Mizar before he answered Prauf’s question. “I don’t know. I hope so but people can be stubborn, especially if they’re in positions of power. I don’t know.” He punched the controls and the Whimsy jumped for the stars. He swiveled his chair around. “I wonder if the news has anything to say about all this yet?”
Prauf shook his head sadly. “Why do you this to yourself? You know a lot of them are going to twist everything we do and it’s just going to make you mad all over again.” Nonetheless, he followed Kor back to the mess and plopped down to watch. The results were pretty much what he expected.
Describing the situation as “dynamic”, GBS, PAN, ORA, and CORE were accusing them of committing a blatant Act of War against the New Republic. As far as Kor could tell, none of them bothered to play their video. Instead, they were agitating for an all-out invasion of Aubreta to capture the Jedi. Jhemon had spoken to them remotely, reminding them the Jedi didn’t live on Aubreta. They only used it as a neutral meeting ground so their true home planet could remain safely hidden from the public.
ISN, GON, ORN, and DNB were reporting the news “as details come in” and cautioning against declaring war on the Jedi. The Republic battleship had captured their entry onto the bridge on security cameras with full color and sound. It made for very dramatic viewing with lightsabers and blaster bolts everywhere, which was what prompted Kor and Prauf to add it to their video. The independent stations were showing that clip over and over again as they pictured the New Republic demands in a draconian light and urged “calmer heads to prevail”, whatever that meant. LITE-G, always the outlier, was urging the Jedi to overthrow the totalitarian New Republic so each planet could go its own way in perfect freedom and harmony.
FOR was congratulating the Jedi on maintaining their independence from the hateful New Republic as well as renewing their demand that the Jedi join the First Order in their quest to restore law and order to the galaxy.
Kor finally flipped it off. Prauf eyeballed him. “Had a belly full?”
“Yeah.” He sighed. “At least they’re not questioning whether or not we’re real Jedi anymore. I think we’ve finally gotten that point across.”
The console dinged to alert them to their arrival at Mizar.