The Origins Of Thunder Team

The Origins of Thunder Team – Part One, “The Crucible Incident”

It was a dark daycycle on the Republic Survey Cruiser “The Honest Mistake”. News had come from Coruscant via Hypernode transmission of a dramatic shift in power that stood to shake the galaxy down to its very core. Chancellor Palpatine, following his triumphs safely shepherding the Republic through the dark times of the Clone Wars, had declared the re-organization of the government to form the First Galactic Empire.

Conspiratorial whispers among the crew revealed a decidedly humanocentric regime change was making its way through the ranks of the new Imperial Navy. Huddled around a small table in the crew quarters, a motley group of gentlebeings was discussing their future.

Ostensibly the xeno-relations section of the cruiser, the six beings represented a wild array of races. Boru Ghent, A spindly Duro, pored over a datapad blueprint of the cruiser, while Claven, a rotund little Sullustan peered over his shoulder. Grod, A decidedly seedy looking Rodian was engaged in conversation with the pair, quietly discussing the quickest way to the hangar bay. Sliss’Tak, a colossal Barabel, was crouched next to him idly eying his compatriots, seemingly attempting to decide if any of them might be edible. A human, dressed in a snappy ensigns’ uniform entered the room, followed by a humanoid clad head to toe in exo-armor, his helmet visor smoked black permitting no view inside. A nametag on the breastplate read ‘Delsento’.

“Well gentlebeings,” Ensign Flash Meltdown said, “It appears that we may not be welcome aboard this vessel for very much longer. You, due to your race, and me, due to my… Um… Well that’s not important. What’s important is that the reorganization of the republic brings with it limitless possibilities for a group of… free thinking beings like ourselves…”

“You broke something in engineering again, didn’t you?” Claven ventured.

“Look, I’m almost positive that they’ll get the plasma fires under control before it slags the main drive reactor control.” Flash countered. “Besides, the first part of the plan is in place. Mr. Ghent has managed to get us the pass codes between here and the hangar bay, and on the last maintenance cycle Grod rewired a ship to ignore the main flight control autopilot, which means we have a clear shot out of this mess I’m in, er, I mean, WE’RE in.”

+++

The plan was simple, a quick dash through the service levels, up one transit lift and straight across the corridor and into the hangar. It being third watch, the passageways would be mostly deserted. Nevertheless, they had amassed an eyebrow-raising amount of personal offensive and defensive gear, including hostile environment armor. Due to Delsento being a member of ship’s security with access to the ship’s armory, the group was, if anything, absurdly armored and horribly beweaponed.

The group was emerging from the service tunnels when Flash pulled up short. “There’s FOUR security officers guarding the hangar. Give me a moment to think.”

“What’s to decide? There’s four of them and…” Sliss’Tak growled, while looking at the rest of the group, “…um…More of us.”

“Fair enough. Follow me.” Ensign Flash said before stepping into the passageway, hand hovering over his holster. “Greetings, Gentlebeings!” He called cheerfully.

The idly chatting security detail turned to face the group and one stepped forward. “Halt! Until further notice this area is…” He never had a chance to finish his statement. With one smooth motion, Flash drew and fired his pistol. The blue stun bolt sizzled through the air squarely hitting the speaker, driving him to his knees. The other guards scrabbled at their holsters, one pulling out a comlink. With a roar, Sliss’Tak charged them, lashing out with his fists and his tail (which, he confided later, no-one expects). Stun bolts tore through the air, one flattening Claven. He collapsed with a squawk, beginning a long career of spending nearly every firefight blissfully unconscious. Delsento opened up with a massive salvo from the forearm-mounted heavy cannon he’d mounted on his suit. Between the copious, and mostly wildly inaccurate, stun bolts and the hulking Barabel wading through them, the security detail were all stunned senseless in short order.

“A common mistake,” commented Grod, as he nudged one of the unconscious men with his boot, “They were unprepared for the ferocity of our onslaught.”

While Delsento and Flash rifled through the unconscious beings’ pockets, the rest of the group hurried into the hangar bay, Sliss’Tak carrying the limp Sullustan. Inside, two starships sat on their launch cradles. A medium range scout vessel, and the distinctive disc of a battered YT-1300. Flash entered the bay, fastening something to his shoulders, with Delsento close behind him, idly rummaging through a wallet.

“Excellent! Two ships – things are looking up!” Ensign Flash marveled “Here’s the plan, Mr. Ghent, Sliss’Tak and I will take the scout, while Delsento, Grod and Claven take the freighter.” Claven moaned feebly as he regained consciousness. “You’re okay to pilot, right Claven?”

“Oh, sure Ensign, sir, whatever you say.” Claven muttered sarcastically.

“That’s Captain, I’ll have you know,” Flash countered, casually pointing to his epaulets, “Says so right here.”

”You STOLE those epaulets.” Grod snorted.

Flash grinned. “Hey, possession is 9/10ths of promotion. Lets get moving.”

The group split up, piling into the two vessels. Aboard the YT-1300, Claven hurried to the cockpit. As he strapped himself in, he began flipping toggles and pressing buttons, with apparent increasing anxiety. Grod leaned over the back of his chair. “What’s the problem?” He asked.

“I’m getting no response here – it’s like the ship is still locked down.” Claven explained.

“Well sure, I only had time to mess with the scout ship,” Grod said, frowning. “That being the case, why the heck are we over here?” Grod, Claven and Delsento looked at each other for a moment, then dove for the exit.

+++

Aboard the scout vessel, things weren’t going nearly as smoothly. Boru Ghent and the newly-self-appointed Captain Flash were arguing about who got to fly the ship, discussing the various depths of experiences and qualities of each other’s skills, personal habits and increasingly improbable genealogy. “It’s a simple matter of speed and skill,” Flash said hotly, “You saw the speed out there when I drew on the guards.”

“Whatever, Ensign,” Boru said flatly, his hand darting for his holster, “Let’s see it again.” His blaster whipped up, sending a stun bolt slamming past Flash’s shoulder.

“You missed.” Captain Flash smirked, centering his pistol on Boru’s midsection.

“Er, yeah…” Boru said, eyeing the bore of the pistol.

Meanwhile, Sliss’Tak curiously examined all the bright flashing keypads and shiny buttons. Brow furrowed in concentration, he slowly mouthed out the words printed on the keys. He reached out with a scaly claw to push a button…

+++

Outside the ship, Claven, Delsento and Grod dashed across the hangar bay floor to the landing ramp of the scout vessel. With a sudden shriek, the warning klaxons in the hangar bay wound up and a series of yellow strobe lights began to flash. Ponderously, the massive hangar bay doors leading to space and freedom began grinding closed.

“Not a problem,” Claven said, “I have the codes for this bay, give me a moment.” He dashed for a data terminal on the far wall. As Grod and Delsento ducked aboard the scout ship, Claven furiously typed into the terminal. With a shudder, the hangar bay doors ground to a halt, remaining open barely wide enough to allow the scout ship through. Suddenly, the screen flickered and blanked, throwing up a screen reading "Access from this port has been terminated by main security. Have a nice day." He ran for the scout ship. “Folks, I think they’re on to us. Get ready for company!” He shouted, as he made for the cockpit.

Moments later, a large security detail entered the corridor leading to the hangar, two of them hauling along a crew served heavy repeating blaster. As the detail fanned out and they brought the heavy repeater to bear, Captain Flash and Delsento appeared at the head of the entry ramp. “Aim for the heavy weapon generator!” Flash shouted. Delsento’s cannon roared, and the generator shattered, sending the security men around it flying. Those not sent sprawling by the explosion immediately began firing stun bolts at the ship. The staggering amount of energy slammed into the pair at the head of the ramp, knocking them sprawling. Grod slapped the hatch control, and as the ramp closed, he and Sliss’Tak pulled the two unconscious bodies into the hold.

“Go! Go! Go!” Claven shouted, strapping himself into the pilot’s seat in the cockpit. Mr. Ghent reached for the main ion drive levers, and Claven’s eyes widened in shock. “Wait, not like that!” He scrambled for the control yoke, desperately slapping at the launch cradle release panel. With a roar, the sublight engines lit the interior of the hangar with a brilliant blue glow, and the security detail frantically dove for the exits. The ship sprang off the cradle, crazily spiraling towards the narrow gap left in the hangar bay doors. “Ohcrapohcrapohcrapohcrap…” Claven muttered, desperately fighting to align the narrow axis of the ship with the open doors. With a horrible scraping crunch, the lower section of the ship impacted the left door, tossing the group around the ship like a bunch of Corellian marsh beans in a can. The ship blasted out of the hangar, shooting from within the blooming detonation.

Back in the hold, Grod and Sliss’Tak had brought Captain Flash around to consciousness, and were attempting to revive the still unmoving Delsento. “We’ll have to get him clear of this armor to see what’s wrong,” remarked Grod, reaching for the clasps on the chest plate. As he worked the catch free, a trickle of sand ran across his suckered hands. “What the…”

+++

At the gunnery station aboard the Republic cruiser, four crewmen furiously plotted their targeting solutions, bringing the ship’s turbolasers to bear on the escaping scout ship, while the Captain of the vessel looked on, snarling out orders to launch a retrieval team to capture any survivors.

+++

As they lifted the chest piece free, the helmet came loose and rolled across the floor. The group was assailed by a horrible stench, and more sand poured out across the deck plates. Coughing and gagging, the trio recoiled from the miasma coming from within the suit. “Whoa, that’s not right…” choked Flash. “What did they hit him with?”

The foul odor dissipated enough that Captain Flash, Grod and Sliss’Tak were able to lean in to view what would no doubt be the mortal remains of Delsento, if the smell was any indication.

“Um, I was pretty sure that it wasn’t weapons fire that did this…” Ventured Grod after a moment, “Besides, I’m pretty sure Delsento was a human and that, my friends, is not human.” Within the body of the suit lay a small crumpled form in a stained robe. Slowly, two glowing yellow eyes opened deep within the recesses of the robe, and glared at the three beings looking down at it.

+++

Stay tuned for the next installment of The Thunder Team Chronicles: The Crucible Incident!

…Will the crew escape with their lives?

…Just what happened to Delsento?

…Will the rest of the crew actually start calling Ensign Flash ‘Captain’?

All this and more in part two: “Something falls off”!

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License