Marty showed the Droids to a cabin – even if they didn’t want to stay there at the moment – and went off to see how Kevin was doing with the repairs, Droids trailing along behind.
Kevin was finding that there wasn’t much. This wasn’t the Forgotten Realms, and it didn’t offer any easy shortcuts to manipulating matter with that kind of control or on that scale. He might be able to move a one or two of the ships – but repairing them was right out.
It might have been impolitic to force-choke the Admiral, but – at the time – he simply hadn’t been able to resist the joke. He hadn’t expected to get stuck somewhere long enough for Vader to put in an appearance – and he would, it WAS the Old Empire.
Oh well… Priorities for the computer. Power Distribution, Drives, Shields, Weapons, Structural Integrity and Life Support – with standard sub-priorities except for Life Support, which was a minimal priority.
That way the ship could still be cover even if there was a battlegroup waiting outside the mess.
He deployed the Thralls to help; they couldn’t do much on this scale either, but every little bit helped. He’d have sent the Hoslin droids too, but they really didn’t have the programming for this sort of thing without the support of the Hoslin. As for who was crew… Marty was the Captain, he was second-in-command, and the Thralls were crew.
Should they let the Droids know that – currently – the Sith were ruling the galaxy?
Marty voted against it, and he was captain at the moment. He didn’t think that they needed them riled up while they were in a dangerous situation. That kind of thing could wait until they were in open space. Still, they might wind up confronting Darth, at least on video, while leaving.
They let them know that the Sith had a power base.
(Computer) “Assuming concurrent repair operations: Power 2 hours, Drives 2.5 hours, Shields 4 hours, Weapons 3.8 hours, Structural Integrity 4.2 hours. Life support, backup power, structural damage, armor damage, bridge repairs and computer system restoration will require drydocking for repairs to be completed. Recommended that crew utilize backup supplies of life support until servicing can be done.”
That was surprisingly good. They could go for setting up an overlay to Faerun and working a grandiose mending spell – but it’d be tremendously expensive in terms of mana and absurdly conspicuous.
Kevin consulted Marty on the subject.
(Marty) “Vast amounts of power eh? That never stopped us before.”
(Kevin) “Well… You’re the Captain = but if we start pulling technobabel miracles here we may wind up in a star trek crossover or something though. Want to risk it?”
(Marty) “Nah, we came here to get someplace else, and going to Star Trek will throw our path out of whack.”
(Kevin) “Well, lets get auxiliary control up and running then, if it isn’t already.”
They had local sensors and the Ebon Hawks communications gear, so they set a Thrall to doing a little checking. It would be pretty awkward if they’d been surrounded while they weren’t looking, or were falling into a black hole or something.
It turned out that the auxiliary control room was deep in the ship near the engineering section – and the armor and shielding around that area were pretty much intact.
Outside, the Ebon Hawk’s sensors were picking up a lot of power systems outside – although most of them seemed to be in various stages of containment failure and likely to go critical in the ensuing years if they took too much damage. Most the debris was slowly orbiting the large pile of debris at the center of the wreckage… It looked like the sheer mass of the ships was creating a sufficiently large gravity well to be slowly sucking everything into a ball. Given a few tens of thousands of years, the whole battlefield might wind up a giant ball of metal.
Unfortunately, the instruments ability to scan past the debris field was limited by the sheer amount of debris and by the electromagnetic noise that was flooding the area. There were just too many old systems still active.
Perhaps they could use some of those as well?
(Kevin) “Computer? Are you still in contact with any of the other ships computers?”
Even if it wasn’t, it might still be worth broadcasting an “initiate repairs and return to port” command to any computers that were still active. It might do something.
(Computer) “I am still in contact with another twenty-six ships in the debris field that are on the “friendly” list. A computer hacking war is currently going on with twelve enemy ship computers in the area as well”.
Oh, that could be fun. They had the Thralls let their Smartclothes systems help out with that if they could (it might have some effect), let Limey enter thefray, and started rummaging through the fiction for passcodes and authorization phrases. After all, they’d been coming to the Old Empire, so they’d made sure that they had all the fiction available.
Ah-Ha! “The Secret History of the Republic”, a series from about 2060… The protagonists had barely missed the critical codes that could have granted them access to the enemy ship’s computers.
Hm. It looked like their ship had been on the Republic side in a conflict with group of primitive Force users specializing in mind control and telepathy.
They passed on the relevant codes.
(Computer) “Enemy ship computer systems taken over and now slave to local fleet command control. Orders for operations?”
(Kevin) “Initiate repairs first. As much as possible, focusing on ability to survive brief engagements and return for repairs.”
(Hoslin droid #3) “How were you able to do that? The best code breakers in the Republic would have required weeks of effort to have broken those codes. You managed it in a few minutes.”
(Computer) “Understood, designating Freedom as center of Fleet Command Control and distributing repair orders. Query: additional resources and droids may still be available on other derelict ships, shall I attempt to establish communications? Additional query: with databanks corrupted, coordinates of a suitable port for repairs are unavailable, please provide coordinates.”
(Kevin, to Droids) “I fear we have an unfair advantage: most of this stuff falls under ‘Historical Records’ as far as we’re concerned.”
(Kevin, to Computer) “Go ahead, try to keep it tight-beam though. The galactic situation is anything but stable. Hm. Ports… We might have to jump back to the New Imperium for that. Any ideas Marty? The Robots MIGHT be operating on that moon already, but I don’t think they have much of a shipyard. It might be worth pulling back to the new imperium though. You never know when a battlefleet will come in handy.”
(Computer) “Understood, maintaining secure transmissions.”
Marty had been doing the navigating… Still, the best location he knew of was the Kiris Asteroid Cluster in the Corellia system. It was mainly a location for pirates, smugglers and bounty hunters, but it’s biggest plus was that it was obscure and the approach was easy to hide in; you jumped in in the outer solar system and coasted to the belt on minimal power. Once in the belt, you made your way into the Kiris cluster. Docking fees were very high, but secrecy WAS at a premium in this time period.
Kevin was a bit appalled at that. They were doing enough smuggling to require port facilities capable of handling a major battle group? It was Star Wars and the Corellia system, but STILL.
Overall, it would probably be worth taking the fleet away and then coming back. They weren’t in THAT much of a hurry.
OK; once the ships were ready to move – unless there was a drastic situation change – they’d take them to the New Imperium, where there were lots of shipyards that were more than big enough to handle the job, and then they’d come back through and continue on their way… All those ships vanishing should distract most of the opposing fleet anyway. That would probably confuse the robots even more, if the time-zone cracks hadn’t already shorted them out.
The robots were apparently chalking it up to crazy mercenaries.
Marty couldn’t argue with that; they were DEFINITELY crazy.
It looked like the ships would have at least local drive within five hours.
(Marty) “How’s your mana, Kevin?”
(Kevin) “We’ve been using commercial gates and unpowered transitions since we left the Crusader Kingdoms. Mana’s no problem right now.”
Well, there were no handy transition zones available right now without having to try and fight their way through a battlegroup or two – and the odds of sneaking past with a fleet weren’t good. Besides, the computers had been friendly, and therefore got a rescue. There is no way Marty would let that be otherwise. Limey would never let him live it down!
Kevin set himself up with a view ahead, and sent the Thralls out to the outlying ships. One aboard each would help handle the edges of the gate as usual for big ones.
As usual, the plan didn’t exactly work out. With a little over an hour to go, the sensors started picking up tie fighter squardrons beginning to probe around the area. Behind them there were approaching gravatic anomalies, but at least those were still much further back.
Drat it… Well, they didn’t need much drive to pass a gate. Hyperspace jumps were still out of the question, but the sublight drives should be online for all repairable ships within twenty minutes.
Hopefully they had that long – although the Tie fighter groups were broadcasting:
(Imperial Broadcast) “Rebel ship, surrender now and we will take you into custody and spare your lives. Any attempt to hide the Force users in your group will lead to immediate execution of the rebels we have captured and the bombardment of the area, you have ten minutes to comply.”
Marty considered broadcasting some typical defiance.
Kevin voted for dead silence. After all, they only needed a little time and the Imperials couldn’t be sure that they hadn’t run into something and blown up while dodging the last set of fighters – unless Vader was already around… He might be. There was a sense of ill ease and foreboding that seemed to be coming closer as the gravity wells got closer.
Bother… They still had four ships that weren’t ready to apply any kind of thrust. The other thirty-five were currently ready for sublight, but only eighteen were capable of hyperdrive at the moment.
Well, there were tractor beams, and they didn’t need much. They could have those four towed for a few minutes. It wouldn’t be enough for an interstellar jump, but a short trip through a gate should be manageable.
(Kevin, to the Fleet Computers) “Right; We are now clearing out! Take helm commands from Captain Marty please! Ships with more power, we’ll only need a bit for this, so use tractors to assist those ships that need more time for repairs!. Marty, where will the best coordinates be?”
The droids didn’t have facial expressions, but somehow managed to communicate that they thought that Kevin, Marty, and the rest were totally mad anyway. They were busy preparing for battle…
Marty was picking the best spot for the ships to converge; minimal time given each ships available thrust… The Freedom would need to hold there so that they could close the gate afterwards… Someplace with a lot of space rock cover to explode dramatically when shot.
It was going to be tight; they’d probably have a few minutes of holding off fighters before they would be able to make the transition. On the plus side, it looked like he’d managed to arrange it so that they could cover each others blind spots. They were capital-class ships. Hopefully they could manage even if the fighters didn’t just class them as diversions.
Kevin started launching diversions – including one high-speed probe in the opposite direction, rigged to show relatively little engine signature – like any other small ship. Just like the Ebon Hawk. Complete with an aid request being beamed away from most of the Tie fighters.
The enemy might not be stupid enough to head that way, but it should sow a little more doubt.
As it turned out, about half the fighters took off after the probe. The remaining half started moving out to the perimeter of the battle site to form a loose encirclement.
Oh wait, this was Star Wars. They WERE stupid enough to do that…
(Kevin) “No tactics that can’t be properly appreciated by ten year olds! And that’s OLD Core Style Ten Year Olds!”
(Marty) “Hey, are you saying something about my native era’s schooling?”
(Kevin) “Nope! About pre-genetic-enhancement and short-lifespan humans!”
(Marty) “Well, I’ll give you that…”
The ships begin to move into formation, sheltering the ships unable to move on their own while keeping the firing angles moving. The Tie fighters noticed the movement and began to open fire at the ships – but it was already too late.
(Kevin) “And… Gating!”
(Marty) “Everybody fasten your seatbelts!”
(Kevin) “Leaving Old Imperial Temporal Sector for New Imperium Shipyards in five… four… three… two… one… NOW!”