Fly, Fly, My Pretty, Oh Please Fly

 Date: 2 BBY (2 years before the Battle of Yavin).

Kei Siluis leaned against the metallic wall that kept him imprisoned. For the past three months, his days have been the same. Day in and day out, it all rolled together like clock-work. Breakfast at 0700 GST (Galactic Standard Time), Lunch at 1330 GST, and Dinner at 1900 GST with very little time outside. Every other day he’d be allowed out. He’d spend his time working on his cardio. Inside of a personal cell that was six by eight feet, he didn’t have the most room to run around. When he was stuck in his cell, Kei spent time reading the Galactic news when it passed around, and anything else the local libraries spared. Which was very little, yet he took what he could.

That’s one of the biggest things that Kei really enjoyed. Reading. Literature had always been one of the big things that kept him sane. At age fifty-four, Galactic Standard Years, he has had quite a selection of them placed under his nose. Mostly they were weapon catalogues. That was his father’s past time, which he handed down to him. By age seven, he could dismantle and put back together any basic pistol in under forty seconds. He practiced with it every day. His father said that it was important that he knew exactly how something worked that he put in his hand to kill someone – if he didn’t, how would he be able to trust it?

His father was a local gun merchant on the planet of Thustra. It was odd place for a young boy to grow up. The locals, the Sephi, were nice enough to him. He felt slightly out of place but paid little attention to it. By the age of sixteen he had taken over his father’s business. The locals didn’t mind him, and from time to time Kei had met a Mandalorian who happened to be passing through. They were a strong folk, silent. They admired what he knew with a gun, nicknaming him ad’kyramu. He never understood what that word meant, but he kept it close to him. Mainly because several Mandalorians had come by and addressed him as such and someone in that thick of armor, you didn’t mess with. At all.

Now, here he was. Several decades later inside a jail cell, just his own voice to entertain him, without even a blaster to pass the time. Letting out a sigh, he ran down the side of his graying hair and continued to click his teeth. The small vibration from inside of his jaw rang against the sides of the walls. Bouncing from side to side, it was all that kept him sane some days.

All he was in for was for having a pair of blasters without the correct permits. Of course, being in Imperial Space, that was going to help his case. Ever since the Rebellion formed, everyone was being labeled as one. If you didn’t have all the right credentials, then you’d be on their hit list or, in Kei’s case, slapped in a jail cell for whom-knows how long. All that was obvious to him was that he was going to have to find some way to get out of this little predicament. He had been thinking about that for the past few months.

It was obvious that even though this planet, Skye, was in the Outer Rim, the Imperials didn’t waste too many resources on making sure the residents of the establishment were secure. Kei knew that much. If he wanted out, he’d need a stroke of luck to get everything squared away.

Few things to note about his cell, and the first thing that’s most obvious is that his cell’s door is lined with a set of force field barriers. Two guards were required to go in front of his door, sign off in letting him out, and allow it to fall. Once that happened, he’d be given a pair of stun cuffs and escorted to where ever he was sent to first. That normally happened when he was placed outside, or going to trial; meals were given to via a small port on the side of the wall.

Second, was that a small holo-cam was on constant surveillance. Kei had no idea what was on the other side of the viewport. All he knew that it was constantly watching him, swerving back and forth outside of the cell, looking in. Through the use of the illegal currency within the prison, he had found out most of the guards’ duty hours. They changed shifts every seven hours, and some posts were unguarded for at least four minutes. That gives him not a lot of time to rush from location to location, or even to secure a usable escape route.

Last, he remembered that the prison location is about an hour speeder’s ride from any local city. If he had any sense, he wouldn’t attempt to escape. He could just wait another set of months, wait and see if the jury agreed in his favor that he wasn’t “Rebellion” material. Of course, that was if the system had any freedom in any form. Knowing how the Imperial Courts were run, he’d be dead by the end of the second month.

Looking down at the floor, he spat onto the ground and stood up. Going over to where the barrier was, he leaned against the wall and crossed his arms. Every seven minutes, an Imperial trooper would pass by with a rifle in hand and casually walk by. Once and a while, one of the troopers would glance in his direction. There was very little interaction by the troopers here. Kei didn’t mind with that. The more silent these Stormtroopers were, the less he’d be seen as the quiet inmate. That’s how a dozen other people saw him. Just that quiet old man with a fascination with blasters.

Of course, in this galaxy, was it such a crime to have that fact?

Coughing into the shoulder of his orange jumpsuit, he adjusted parts of his sleeves and tugged them back into place. Kei also slid his hands over the side of his right shoulder, going to adjust his hair. Part of him was shocked not to find his mane hovering over his shoulder blades. When he arrived, they decided to shave all of it off. Kei looked straight into the man who held him into the chair, and dug the razor in. The man was like all the rest of the troopers, stone-cold and vicious. That day, Kei swore he’d find exactly who he was. That man would pay for ruining years of perfecting.

With a personal vendetta nicely established on day one, Kei knew he’d be here for a while. As he went to turn around and head back to bed, a small shake throughout the building sent him to his knees. Recovering quickly, he placed his hand on the wall to steady himself. Everywhere, he felt like the planet had broken in two.

After a few seconds, an alarm sounded and began blaring throughout the prison. Lights went out, and Kei was left in his cage alone, minus the barrier.

Staring at the front of the area, he was dumbstruck at what happened. Was this just a trick? Imperials finding sport in setting the inmates free, then hunting them down? Kei hadn’t seen them performing any sort of sporting event yet. He knew the idea wasn’t too farfetched, mostly with the Imperials. He’s heard the stories.

Before he shook himself awake enough to take that first step, a trooper immediately showed up to block his path. “Freeze!” His mechanized voice did just that, freezing Kei in place as they stared down each other. Normally he was barely stunted by a man pointing a carbine at him. Of course, he usually had his own pistol of his own to defend himself. Good old, even odds. Right now, unarmed, there wasn’t much else he could do other than comply. “Hands behind your head,” the trooper continued, “do it now!”

Not finding any other way out of his entrapment, Kei did as he was told. Slowly getting down to one knee, both hands cupped on the back of his head as the trooper took a few steps in his direction. Just as he was inside of his cell, a random convict joined the trooper at the entrance. Before the Imperial knew what was going on, the man yelled wildly and fired off three inexperienced shots. Two of the shots landed down the back of the trooper, he went down quickly. The third blaster round was unneeded and landed a few feet away from Kei’s kneeling form. Blaster fire hadn’t freighted him in a long time, but the way the man fired off the shots gave him chills. I guess, even in this dangerous, there are always those who don’t enjoy the occasional range to practice their skills.

The man stared at Kei. Their eyes met and the rush of adrenaline had taken over the man’s senses as he waves his blaster around and rushed away from the cell, screaming, “Freedom! Up-rise! Take the fight to the captors!”

If all it was a company of inmates who didn’t know how to fire, the Imperials didn’t have much to worry about when rounding everyone back up. Dead bodies are easier to keep track of. Kei also doubted that most of them were paid to keep them alive.

Keeping low to the ground, he slowly scooted over to where the trooper lay down face down. The burning metal from the wall and the trooper’s armor mixed together. Stinging the front of his nostrils, he flipped the armored fellow over and began searching him for anything useful. Other than the blaster, the man had a stun baton, which he also grabbed, and a spare comm-link  All Imperials trooper’s comm-links were implanted into their helmets. Since Kei had avoided most contact with these officials, he didn’t know too much about their armor set. His only study had been where they’re most vital, armor wise.

Checking the charges of the E-11 blaster carbine, he flipped the switch to fully automatic and made his way to the entrance. Outside in the hallway, everything was chaos.

Shouting came from both sides of him. Behind him, where the trooper had come from, he heard the metallic clicking of boots marching together. Whatever was ahead of him, he was almost certain, without a doubt, behind him would land him back in his cell. Or in a morgue, since he had acquired the use of a blaster rifle.

Taking a deep breath, Kei rushed forward and made his way down the path. Everything around him was red, alarms blaring on both sides of the wall and bounced around him. Kei’s ears were screeching mildly. Over the years, he had grown use to firing off blasters without any protection over his head. The alarms didn’t do much for him to feel.

Left, right, another left, Kei bolted as fast as he could down the hallways. He hadn’t run into much resistance or anyone of the other inmates. All Kei found were hallways littered with bodies of both Imperials troopers and inmates. The smell of burning flesh planted itself deep into Kei’s senses. He could taste it into the air, feel the air that was cut from the burning bolts that had been fired off from both sides.

Kei also found it odd that he had avoided most of the fighting so far. Every so often, after every new entrance he had entered, he stooped down near a corner and assessed the area. There wasn’t much left. Cell doors powered down, troopers or inmates dead, inmates no longer in their cages and the air stained with the smell of burning flesh. Whatever fighting had taken place, he continued to miss it.

Shifting his way along the floor, he thought of where he was going. If he remembered correctly, this was the direction that the guards had always taken him to enter the outside recreational area. It was where Kei spent most of his time jogging back and forth from force-field fence to fence. If he wanted to find out what was going on, and where to go from here, he’d have to start there. It was his best shot.

After three more hallways explored, Kei found himself at the open door to freedom. The weather outside was set perfect for the day. The weather was rain with roaring winds that didn’t let up against his cheek, which forced him to place a hand over his forehead to get a clear view of what was going on. It was clear, the weather was perfect.

Both sides had nestled into the recreational area. Troopers on one side, firing at a set of inmates that had stationed themselves around propped up tables for make-shift barricades. Half of the inmates were focused on the impending Imperial Troopers, while the other half were occupied with, and this shocked Kei immediately, a landed 3-Z light freighter. Better known to Kei as the Feisty Tauntaun. She was a beautiful sight for sore eyes like his.

At the base of the ramp, Kei wasn’t surprised to see a Visskass, Kei’s trusty first mate Doshan. He stood at the ramp with a concussion rifle on his chest, firing out at inmates that had attempted to get close. A few fired in his direction. All he had to do was duck out of the way, and fire away as they stepped closer. Viss stood at seven foot four, slightly larger than the average Dosh. He was colored a sandy brown scales, he pushed against the raging rain and assortment of inmates that had attempted to overrun him. Finally, looking up, Viss and Kei met eyes.

Viss celebrated very little, waving him over with a wild hissing roar. Kei did his best to plan out a set of organized running to Viss’ position. The Trandoshan first mate knew what was already running through his head, and turned his attention to the oncoming waves of people. Firing a shot after another with his concussion rifle, they were flying by the three’s and four’s. Rushing forward at the opening gap, Kei avoided shot after shot of stray blaster bolts by the Imperials troopers. After laying down some covering fire from Viss, he at last made his way to freedom.

The two didn’t share any celebration of Kei’s return. Rushing up the ramp, followed by Viss, Kei shouted as he began to run the ramp back up, “Get those engines revved! I want to see the stars ten minutes ago! Make it happen!”

Viss didn’t ask questions, responding with a quick hiss, and pounding his way down the corridor. Kei’s first plan of escape was manning a turret quickly. Taking the one on the left, the one facing the crowd, he swiveled in the chair and began to unleash hell on the opposing forces. Most of them ran as soon as they heard the air quickly being heated by the turret’s bolts. Taking down about ten inmates, and nearly fourteen troopers, Kei felt the seated ground below the ship’s landing gears rise and the ground ran away from him. As he swiveled again to face the ground, letting out a few more shots, the ship completely turned in the opposite direction and fired away into the sky.

Kei watched as the rain battered his view-port. Observing as all the mountains began to fall under his gaze, along with the prison that he called as his residence. It was over.

For now, at the very least.

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