They floated in space for a short while after leaving the station, trying to figure out how to get back Rebeka tried to plot the course again to return. But the Navicomputer was unable to plot the course. Then the Ship begun plotting the course of it’s own accord once more. Again pushing the engines to it’s limits, then just as before when the engines were pushed to there danger spikes, they arrived outside of the Nebula. They then plotted a course for Starfire’s Battle Group on the edge of neutral space. After a couple of days travel, they reached the battlegroup and were given permission to land on the Hearthfire. The ships were less busy now the Refugees had been moved on. Shrada had stayed on to help for the chase after Taivus, as had Taylen and Bob. Even U’tl had come aboard the Hearthfire to see what help he could be.
They met Stebe on the bridge with the captain.
“You have returned, do you know where Taivus is?” asked Stebe.
“We know where he is.” Sad Rebeka.
“Then we’ll discuss it in the briefing room.” Said Stebe, gesturing back into the hall and across into a conference room. “So, what have you found?”
“It’s hard to explain.” Said Rak.
“No it’s not, he’s in the Hapes Cluster.” Said Rebeka.
“Then we’re defeated before we’ve even started then.” Said Captain Starfire.
“Not at all, what kind of attitude is that for a captain to have?” Said Rebeka.
“A realistic one. The Hapes Cluster is a natural fortress in space, there are only two ways into the hapes cluster and both are likely to be heavily guarded. There is no way six ships would get even close to invading the cluster with the fleets of the Empire protecting the ways in.”
“She’s right. We’ll need more than six ships.” Said Jace.
“Perhaps if the republic had intervened in the first place.” Muttered Rebeka.
“I agree, to leave the people of Hapes to there fate is irresponsible.” Said Stebe. “But that does not mean the Republic failed to act, only that they couldn’t. The Hapes Cluster was neutral territory, The empire can do with neutral territory as they see fit. Any attack by the Republic on the empire would restart the war and kill billions.”
“Under the treaty, Neutral territories are to be left alone by Republic forces. They cannot intervene, even if the empire invades the neutral systems. They backed us into a corner and nearly defeated us. We can’t afford another war at this time.” Said Captain Starfire.
“We need to get to the Hapes Cluster, it’s our only chance.” Said Rebeka.
“How? We have no ships, no troops, and no supplies.”
“I’m sure something will turn up.” Said Stebe positively.
“Seems like you know more than your letting on.” Said Rak.
“The Force has guided us here, I told you of these coordinates captain because this is where we needed to be.”
Suddenly alarms blared and navigation asked for the captain to return to the bridge. They all filed out back to the bridge.
“What’s the situation?” asked Starfire.
“We have several ships coming out of hyperspace in front of us.” Said the scanner officer.
Several dozen ships appeared before them, slowing to normal speeds. A huge fleet of ships, Etti Class Cruisers mostly, the last ship to arrive an invincible class Dreadnaught named the Resolute.
The fleet had seen a great deal of action it seemed. Many of the ships seemed barely functional, but still the Indrexu Confederation emblem was displayed proudly on there hulls.
“Who are they?” asked Captain Starfire.
“Scans indicate the ships are of the Indrexu Confederation. The Resolute is hailing us.”
“Put it through”
Then Angela Krin appeared before them in a hologram. Rebeka gave a wave, but Krin didn’t seem to notice.
“This is Admiral Angela Krin of the Indrexu Confederation fleet.” She said Somberly. “I have been instructed to request sanctuary.”
“Why is that?” asked Stebe.
“The Sith Empire has declared war on the Indrexu confederation. We are no match for them. I have Regrettably been instructed to leave with what ships I had and request sanctuary of the Republic.”
“That is Regrettable, unfortunately we are not in a position to offer Sanctuary.” Said Stebe.
Rebeka was shocked by the admission.
“We do perhaps have another offer for you, if you and your captains would like to come aboard. We’d very much like to discuss this with you.”
“I’ve been instructed to find Sanctuary, if you can’t offer us Sanctuary then I will take the fleet elsewhere.”
“If you look to the Republic for sanctuary, you will not return to your homes in your life time. It might be quicker the way we plan to do it.”
Krin considered this, sizing Stebe up in the process. “Very well, myself and the captains will come aboard.” She said, and signed off.
“I’d appreciate it if the Republic captains would also be present, Captain, as well as the four of you. You know Terrn well, you may be able to contribute something to this meeting, it also might help Angela to see some familiar faces.” Said Stebe.
When they arrived at the meeting room the meeting was already under way. The captains were already into a full debate about Stebe’s suggestion. The Republic Captains couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t help those in a similar situation to them, while the confederation argued that the Republic was not intervening so why should they. Krin remained quiet as this went on, giving only a brief nod when Rebeka waved at her, still sombre at the loss of her home.
“This is getting us nowhere.” Said Stebe loudly, silencing the voices. “Captain Starfire, is there no one friendly in the republic that could offer aid?”
“Admiral Kien was the only chance we had.” She said. “I launched a rescue on Kessel to rescue one of my comrades, Admiral Kien tried to rescue us and both he and the man I went to rescue were killed during the attempt. There will be no help coming from the Republic now.” Everyone but Rebeka noticed the sharp glance she gave them. The debate went on, Both Rebeka and Rak putting there opinions across when there was a breath.
“There’s too many voices in this room.” Said Angela, the first thing she’d said. Stebe and Nacene agreed, and each picked a captain to remain behind while the others left. The captains were put out, but nothing was going to be resolved if people were talking over each other.
“You’ll have to forgive the captains, many of them are tired of war.”
“Shouldn’t be commanding a military vessel then.” Said Rak.
“A lot of our military deals with pirates and small incidents like the Tempest incident. We are not trained to fight armies.”
“It won’t matter if you don’t try. The Scourge will take control of the cluster and the galaxy will fall shortly after. Doing nothing is what made the Cluster and your worlds fall. Even if we fail, it might be the push needed to get others involved.” Said Rak.
Krin sighed, “You can consider us even,” she said to the others. “I’ll fight your war Master Jedi, but none of my men will be forced into it. I’ll give them the choice.”
“It would help you in the long term Admiral, Hapes is strategically close to the Indrexu spiral, and I’m sure the Hapans would be most helpful to there liberators.”
“I’ll talk to my people, see who is willing to try. But this attack will fail if we can’t set up supply lines.” Said Krin.
Supply lines were not all that tricky to set up thanks to the people the Dawnstar crew had dealings with. Vago the hutt promised to help in exchange for the last of the crews favours with him. Durgo also saw the profit in supplying a war effort, and Rebeka’s own funds from her business on Tatooine was able to buy enough ships to supply the effort once it had got a foothold. Jace tried to contact the Makin clan, but heard nothing back from his call to arms. Three weeks of planning finally came to fruition. During that time, Taylen expressed to Rebeka how he met Nacene and the mistake he made when he was still young. The Lost Cause was the name for himself rather than the ship, and despite feeling like he moved on, still had a picture of the pair of them together. It was apparent to Rebeka that Nacene had similar attributes to Rebeka in her youth, which was perhaps why she and Taylen got on so well.
The plan was that the initial attack in the Lorell System would be carried out by the Indrexu confederation. The Republic forces would then gaud the Empire into attacking them before declaring all out war. The Dawnstar with Stebe would then attack the station, taking control of it to give there ships the codes to enter the Hapes Cluster proper, They would then either try to destroy or make the imperial fleet retreat. They must then move on to Darruvia, where they will contact the Hapan resistance. The goal of the war was to liberate the people of Hapes and find Taivus.
Once they’d entered Hyperspace, Jace told First of the plan, who remained uncommitted as always. Rebeka Meanwhile had followed Taylen to Nacene’s quarters, remaining there for a few minutes to see if she could hear anything juicy. After Four days of travel through Hyperspace the war was finally begun. The Indrexu Confederation was openly engaged with the Sith Empire once they left Hyperspace, a little way off from the battle.
“Captain, if you would.” Said Stebe, Captain Starfire gave a nod and ordered the Hyperdrive disabled and the pilots to send them into a slight spin.
A few moments after that they were hailed by one of the Imperial ships.
“This is the Accuser to Republic vessels, you have entered imperial territory, by order of the treaty of Coruscant you will return to Republic Space or your presence will be considered an act of war.”
“This is Jedi Master Stebe of the Republic vessel Hearthfire, our Hyperdrive was damaged during our journey and we have been thrown off course. We will comply once the Hyperdrive has been repaired.” She said. “Not that you would come anywhere near us anyway, given the cowardice of imperial captains and there crews. You might consider it a victory if it were a civilian transport, but a fully armed battlegroup just makes you terrified of the challenge, doesn’t it.” She added, and signed off before they could respond.
“Do you think he was angry?” asked Stebe.
“Probably.” Said Rak.
“Several imperial ships have broken off the attack and are heading this way,” said the scanner officer.
“Captain, order your ships to power down weapons, keep the shields up.” Said Stebe.
“Do it.” Said Captain Starfire, acknowledging the order.
The Harrowers approached menacingly, then begun to fire.
“Take Evasive action!” ordered Starfire.
“Now we can enter the fray, open comms, power up all weapons.” Said Stebe, “This is Jedi Master Stebe of the Hearthfire, your actions have declared war upon the republic, and are a violation of the treaty. Cease your attack.”
The empire refused, and so they joined battle. “We’ve done all we can, we have to hope it doesn’t cause all out war.”
“Then let’s go.” Said Rebeka, hurrying with Stebe and the rest of the crew to the Dawnstar. They took off into the battle, heading directly for the station. Jace and Rak shot down a few fighters as Rebeka avoided ships to land the Dawnstar on the station. Before she’d even landed several imperial troops and War Droids entered the hangar, Setting up to defend the station. They lowered the ramp and came out shooting. Rebeka hadn’t reloaded before coming out, Jace firing grenades off with his grenade launcher blowing up several of the defending forces, and peppering shrapnel in the others. Rak took out 3 of the stunned soldiers and wounding a fourth. Lanyef took him out along with a second. The Imperials returned fire, catching Jace with a shot as they moved out, Rak and Lanyef avoiding blaster fire. As Rebeka Blasted another two troopers, Stebe deflecting away bolts coming at Lanyef and Rebeka. Stebe lifted one of the wardroids with the force, throwing it against the back wall, smashing it to pieces. Jace drew his Rifle and blasted another four troopers, then blasting the remaining war droid, but failing to get through it’s shields.
“Someone get an ion gun!” he called. Rak blasted the droid several times, the strength of his blaster enough to destroy it. They hurried to the Hangar door into the main station, opening the door to reveal the second wae of defences. They’d all noticed the imperial symbols warn by the soldiers bore a dagger intersecting the emblem, the symbol of the scourge. There was no doubt now the scourge was in control of the Hapes Cluster.
Rebeka suddenly felt a brief moment of fatigue from nowhere, but managed to recover quickly as the troopers fired on them. Stebe cut down a soldier as Jace blasted several troopers with rifle fire killing 4 troopers as Rak moved in, firing on one of the War droids, Lanyef blasted the remaining trooper as the droids returned fire, grazing Rebeka. Stebe lifted one of the war droids up, smashing it into the other in a cacophony of twisting metal and sparking circuits. The imperial officers tried to hold them back, Jace killing one with a shot to the chest. He and Rak taking out a Second and a Third, And Rebeka blasted the last. Stebe motioned for them then to follow her into the lift and head up to the control centre.