A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. . . .
Shortly after the fall of the New Republic, the First Order has located the Resistance base on D’Qar. With the Resistance having little time to get affairs in order before evacuating, General Leia Organa orders an attack on Starkiller base.
While the Resistance makes their final attempt at survival, the General gives her best operative a final mission. Alder Miko, an exemplary pilot and sly saboteur, is tasked with the mission to scout abandoned rebel bases from the time of the fight against the Empire. Once a new base is found, report to Captain Corinna Thek on Bespin.
Alder, begins his search with the old Echo Base on Hoth. Time is all the Resistance has and it is running out. Will Alder find a suitable base before the First Order attacks the Resistance? Will the Resistance survive their most desperate hour? Alder’s ship, the Wraith, exits lightspeed over the planet Hoth…
Adrift in space, above the planetary atmosphere of Hoth, Alder Miko’s Mandalorian Pursuer-class Enforcement ship, the Wraith, prepares to initiate its cloaking device before entering the freezing temperatures below. The ship’s Voiced Intellectual Computer system, a.k.a. “Vim,” informs Alder, “Cloaking procedures almost complete. The Wraith will be hidden from possible First Order radar and tracking systems in T-minus three minutes and twenty-seven seconds, sir.”
“Thank you, Vim,” Alder replies as he begins the ship’s descent route, “scan the surface for the location of the Echo Base.”
“The abandoned rebel base, sir?”
Alder sighs, “Yes, Vim. Our orders are to find a suitable location for the remnants of the Resistance, remember?”
“Of course, sir. My apologies. I will begin scanning once we enter Hoth’s atmosphere.”
The Wraith slowly entered the cold climate of Hoth’s aerospace. Snow-covered mountains and wide-open icefields appeared in Alder’s line of sight. Grateful for not having to exit the temperature-controlled confines of his cockpit, Alder checks his scanning systems for possible life-forms and, more importantly, the location of the historical Echo Base.
Shortly into the voyage, Vim notifies Alder of the location of the Echo Base. Vim turns to face him hesitantly, “I also have found numerous life-forms inside and surrounding the perimeter of the base, sir.”
As the base materializes from the distant horizon, Alder notices a cluster of ships outside the entrance to the former rebel base, “Great… pirates!”
Before Alder can begin to re-route his escape, he notices two of the bigger cruisers begin to take off towards his position along with five other single-manned fighters, “Is the cloaking device functioning properly, Vim?”
“Yes, sir,” replied Vim. “According to my technical scan of the ship, all systems are functioning properly. I also took the liberty of scanning the incoming craft and my sensors indicate they have no knowledge of our presence.”
Alder sighs, “Good job, Vim. Switch the ship to manual flight. I’m taking over.”
Maneuvering the Wraith behind the nearest mountain range, Alder and Vim quietly wait as the ships fly past their position. All of a sudden, Vim warns Alder, “Sir! Close proximity alert! Impact in--” “CRACK!” One of the single-manned fighters side-swipes the Wraith, crashing down into the mountain range. Warning sirens and damage reports fill Alder’s flight screens. Luckily the ship suffered little damage, but now the other ships have been alerted to Alder’s location and enter attack speed.
“Vim, get us out of here!”
Whipping the Wraith around to begin exiting Hoth’s atmosphere, turbo-laser turrets near the base begin to fire at Alder, the two cruisers wheeling about to face their blaster cannons in Alder’s direction. Extremely close, the four remaining fighters come for Alder.
“It’s hard to stay cloaked, Vim, when you let them hit you!” Alder’s sweat flying off his upper lip in anger.
“My apologies, s-s-sir,” Vim stutters. “One of them strayed from my estimated flight pattern.”
Just before the Wraith exits the atmosphere, the rear shields deplete to 43%. Alder unbuckles from the pilot seat and shouts, “Vim, begin calculations for lightspeed. I’m gonna give us some time!”
Alder ran down the stairs from the flight deck into the cargo hold: there lies the Eta-2 Actis-class interceptor that Alder found on the junk planet, Raxus Prime, and restored. Alder climbs into the cockpit, “Vim! Seal off the cargo hold and open the hatch. Gotta stretch my legs a little.”
The screen activates and Alder puts on his headset, “Vim, put the status of the Wraith’s rear deflector shields on my screen:” 38%. The rear-hatch opens and Alder immediately enters space in attack-speed, shooting down two enemy fighters while focusing the main deflector shield to the front of his interceptor; without an astromech droid as a co-pilot, Alder labors to manually input everything. He notices the two cruisers exiting Hoth’s atmosphere and rapidly approaching, just barely dodging incoming fire.
“Vim! How much longer until lightspeed?!”
“An estimated one minute and fourteen seconds, sir,” Vim replied.
Alder flies past the two remaining fighters and switches full power to the rear deflector shields. He quickly whipped his starfighter around and launched two homing rockets towards the pirates barreling down on the Wraith. Deflector shields at 29%. Alder directs his fighter full-speed towards the cargo hatch, passing the depleted explosion of the remaining pirate ships he just destroyed.
The two cruisers had begun to fire upon Alder. “Re-open the hatch and make the jump to lightspeed as soon as the hatch closes, Vim!”
The hatch opens and immediately closes as Alder lands the fighter back to its resting place. “Wooo!” Alder pants as the Wraith enters lightspeed, “that was a close one.”
Vim replies, “Good job, sir. I have coordinated the ship to exit lightspeed near the planet, Crait.”
Vim’s calculating sound came over the speaker and Alder began making his way back towards the bridge. The calculating stopped and Vim returned with, “An old, heavily fortified rebel base. The planet is known for its salt mining facilities. I must inform you that General Leia has been waiting to contact you for approximately seven minutes, sir.”
“You tell her I was busy?” Alden scoffed.
As soon as Alden entered the bridge, a small figure generated from the holo-cron on the center console. “What are you doing, Captain? I thought I told you to be quiet with this? I expect this from Poe, but you Alden,” Leia scolded.
“I apologize, General. Vim didn’t calcu--”
Cutting off Alden, Leia shouted, “This is your mission - your responsibility - and we’re running out of time. Commander Dameron is preparing to buy us some time, but the First Order fleet has arrived. I need a location soon, we’re low on fuel after our attack on the Starkiller base.”
Glancing at the lightspeed monitor, Alden states, “I’ll be arriving at the next location in five minutes, General. Hoth was infested with pirates.”
“Expect a call back in twenty minutes, Captain,” Leia said. “Find the Resistance a new base. We must keep the spark in the galaxy alive.”
Alden salutes General Leia and the holo-cron dissipates. He slouches in his chair and readjusts the blaster pistol at his side. Hopefully, Crait will be the location the Resistance needs to regroup, rebuild, and sustain the hope for the New Republic to return to the galaxy, escaping the tyrannical rule of the First Order.
The old days of the Empire ruling the galaxy seemed so long ago that it almost felt as if it never happened. The destruction of Alden’s home world, Alderaan, was the first display of the Empire’s cruel means of “restoring peace and prosperity” to the galaxy - through fear and the enslavement of star systems. His family narrowly avoided mass genocide. Having to make a diplomatic mission to Coruscant for their friend, Bail Organa, the family decided to go into hiding and sneak aboard a transport to Mandalore.
Befriending powerful family members in the Mandalorian government, they were granted safe refuge. Alden’s parents assisted the remaining diplomatic parties, convincing them to fight for their independence and take back Mandalore from the clutches of the Empire. Sadly, Alden’s parents perished during the fight.
Orphaned, the Mandalorians, humbled in their chivalrous beliefs, agreed to take Alden in and raise him as their own. Years of training ensued and Alden was sent on many reconnaissance missions for the Mandalorians. When he was ready, he graciously left his new home and tasked himself with finding his old family friend, Princess Leia Organa.
Many missions for the Resistance later, Alden finds himself here. Now. Trying to save the one thing he has been training to fight for his entire life, what his parents died to support: The Rebel Alliance, now known as the Resistance. The same flame has kept hope alive throughout the galaxy all these years.
The Wraith came out of lightspeed with Crait now obscuring Alden’s entire field of vision. “Vim?”
“Already began preparations for cloaking procedures and the ship’s descent to the surface, sir.”
The Wraith entered Crait’s atmosphere cloaked and Vim began scanning for lifeforms. “Small, non-human life forms are detected near the outside of the base, but I do not detect any human or intelligent life at all, sir.”
“Well, that’s good news… Land in front of the base, Vim,” Alden said, slinging his blaster rifle across his back.
Stepping down from the ship, he focused a pair of binoculars on a solid view of the front doors, then readied his rifle. A few small crystal-encrusted creatures were observing him at the gate’s entrance and quickly retreated inside.
“Okay...” Alden remarked. He cautiously, moved towards the entrance, sneaking in between the small gap left open in the heavy metal gates. Looking back one last time at his ship, Alden was caught in a brief moment of awe at his red footprints that uplifted the white salt from the mineral-enriched ground. Using stealth, Alden quickly scoured the inside of the base and found that it had been completely abandoned. No one had set foot in this place, besides the mysterious crystal creatures, in years.
The holocron began to beep. Leia appeared tense but with a collected cool inquired, “Captain, what do we think of Crait as a base?”
“Yes, ma’am,” Alden stated, “Crait is a perfect stronghold for the Resistance to recover and quickly establish a new base.” He briefed her quickly on the stats of the planet.
She nodded, “Establish coordinates for a lightspeed jump near Crait!”
Returning her attention to Alden, Leia says, “Thank you, Alden. I knew I could count on you. Now if only Commander Dameron would listen to my orders and return to the ship.” She sighs, “He’s too focused on blowing up a Dreadnought to look at the bigger picture here. Well, make your way to Bespin and locate Captain Thek for further orders. She will be your commanding officer until you hear from me again, Alden. Trust her. She’s wise.”
Alden saluted and the hologram vanished. Next location: Bespin, located in the Lando System.
“Okay, Vim. Prep the Wraith for another jump to lightspeed. We’re headed for Bespin.”
To be continued...
A Fan Fiction Series By: Tim “Gold Leader” Keegan