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The Republic transport shuddered against moderate turbulence as the chaotic blue blur of hyperspace flashed by, duly illuminating the rows of viewports running down the vessel’s oblong hull. Halfway down the bulk Ranger engisn Syal Antilles, known by most as only Lysa Dunter stared out into the vast unknown that was hyperspace, suffering from the inescapable plague that befell so many soldiers. Boredom. For the past forty-eight hours she’d been trapped within the overcrowded transport, along with nearly two thousand other crew from the Third Republic fleet, flying nonstop from Corellia to Kuat. At first, she had tried to sleep the journey away, as she was technically an officer, albeit an ensign, afforded her some limited privacy. She’d been granted quarters separated from the bulk enlisted housing, shared with four other female ensigns. The treatment granted her the ability rest for hours at a time without being disturbed, but after nearly two days of constant bunk time the energetic young woman felt if she got any more sleep, she, might start tearing her own hair out. Instead, she distracted herself idly by the viewport cleaning her pistol for the third time.

“All personnel, please standby for the captain’s announcement.” A robotic feminine voice announced over the ship’s intercom. Syal glanced up from her polished barrel. Maybe they were getting close to their destination. She checked her chrono. Yes, they had been enroute for almost the entirety of the predicted forty-three-hour flight. She quickly began assembling her pistol as a more masculine, and organic voice replaced the first, reverberating across the entire transport. “We shall be reverting to realspace over Kuat in an estimated fifteen minutes. Have your equipment and belongings properly packed for safe airlock transfer. We will be docking onto the Defender first, followed by the Indomitable, the Mothma, the Mon Sasorra and finally the Ralroost. If you have been assigned to an escort corvette or gunboat please disembark at your vessel’s lead-ship. You will be transferred from there separately.” His piece said the captain cut off the intercom bringing silence back to the halls.

Syal glanced towards her small bag containing all her worldly goods. Most of which were her spare uniforms. She hadn’t unpacked, there had not been space or need too, which meant she had nothing to do for the next twenty minutes, plus however long it took to reach the Ralroost down at the end of the disembarking list. Sighing she began disassembling her pistol again. A loud knock on her cabin hatch distracted her. Weird Syal thought, normally her cabin mates just barged in unannounced. “Enter.” She said, curious as to who might be calling. The portal buzzed open and there stood a young man, roughly her age with wild dark hair and a Ranger’s indigo flight uniform. Now that piqued Syal’s interest. She had thought she was the only Ranger onboard. It was strange, that on such a cramped ship she could have missed his presence, but to be fair she’d spent most of the time in her cabin, leaving only for the refresher and meals.

“Mind if I come in?” He asked from the threshold. Syal affirmed her consent and he stepped inside. “It took me awhile to track you down, I only half believed it when I heard there was another Ranger pilot onboard.” He explained as he plopped down in the rack opposite her. He extended a hand which Syal shook. “Tiom Rordan, and you are…?”

“Lysa, Lysa Dunter” Syal answered quickly, using the name that she’d chosen to conceal her identity as daughter of one of the most famous pilots in the galaxy. The exchanged the usual pleasantries custom to Corellia. Finally, after a short pause Tiom brought up what they were both thinking.

“Assigned to the Swords as well I assume?”

“Vibrosword Twelve, that’s me.” Syal huffed, the low placing as number twelve marked her as a replacement, but only Tiom grinned.

“And I’m Sword Eleven, I guess that explains why were a both traveling from Corellia to Kuat. Though…” He paused, a light of confusion in his eyes. “I don’t remember you from the academy. Were you not in Boresk Training Company?”

Syal shook her head. The training companies were large, big enough that it was possible to not know everyone who participated but she recognized why they’d never met in an instant. “I was in Rondo Compony, a month behind yours.

“Oh,” he paused, and Syal knew what his next question would be before he spoke. “Why are you back from leave so early?”

The first awkward silence hung between them as Syal tried to determine that answer herself. Mixed feelings of betrayal, personal responsibility, selfish pride, and the unease of her somewhat precarious situation warred in her mind. All of it surmounted by the simple fact that she couldn’t tell this Tiom Rordan the truth. She fished desperately for a cover story, and decided on one that was close enough to the truth that she wouldn’t forget or flub the details in its no doubt numerous retellings. “I dunno,” she said at last. “Family trouble. And I guess I wanted to get into the action. No reason to sit around for a month doing nothing.”

He seemed to accept her vague explanation, and thankfully did not try and pry further. Instead, he surprised her with a different, rather candid point. “That wasn’t very smart of you.”

Slightly miffed Syal raised an eyebrow at the remark. “Really?”

Tiom held up his hands defensively. “That came out more insulting than it should have. Its just, I’ve been told Rangers don’t get two seconds of personal time after their first mission. We’ll be bounced from one end of the galaxy to the next solving disputes and fighting and helping. There’s a reason why they give us a month of personal time before deployment, that’s all.”

Frowning Syal considered his explanation. She’d heard similar rundowns of Ranger life from veterans, but she’d always thought they were exaggerating for effect. After over forty hours of doing nothing she felt she would appreciate some non-stop duties. Whatever the case it didn’t matter now, she’d already been deployed, and her days of leave were forfeit. Syal was saved a response when the blue swirl of hyperspace slowed and formed into a sea of tiny pinpricks of light against the inky blackness of eternity. For a moment the transport hung in space, and then the sublight engines kicked on and the ship lurched forward, making course for the large Mon Cal cruiser at the center of the Republic fleet. They had arrived at last!

Tiom jumped to his feet, an eager light in his eyes. “I need to go get my things. I almost forgot we were so close to Kuat. So, can I meet you again down in the airlock before we report to Squadron Leader Hardus? We might as well do it together. What’s your name again, Lysa right?”

Syal finished reassembling her pistol and shook his hand again. He seemed a good man. Eager to please and pleasant, if somewhat blunt about his thoughts and intentions. She found herself glad he’d sought her out before they arrived on the Ralroost. It gave them a bit of familiarity, and support. Two rookies who could learn the ropes together instead of being thrown to the wolves alone amidst an unfamiliar environment. “That’s right, I’m Lysa and you’re Tiom. See you down there, Ranger.”

He waved as he left, just as Syal’s three cabin mates returned last minute to collect their belongings. Syal checked her chrono again and was surprised to see the captain’s earlier estimate had been slightly off. It had been almost twenty minutes.

The war behemoths of the Republic rested like slumbering whales, suspended within the void. There were near fifteen in total, and they made up a large proportion of the Third Republic Fleet assembling over the emerald green world of Kuat, halfway between the twin moons. They were a motley sort, so unlike the regimental ex imperial and First Order fleets where every ship was made and designed purpose built and symmetrical. Among the unregimented Republic forces Liberty Class Mon Cal ships drifted close to Nebulon-B frigates, intermingling with a pair of old Providence-class destroyers. Even a large, conspicuously out of place Victory-1 star destroyer hovered in close proximity to the centerpiece MC80 cruiser, from which Admiral Frimus Nantz flew his flag. In-between them all rested nearly thirty different support ships, corvettes and gunboats sticking close to their larger charges as a child would to a parent. There they waited patiently, just within Kuat’s gravity well for the remainder of the fleet to finish repairing and refitting in the great Kuati shipyards that ringed the ancient planet below.

One such ship, a sturdy Bothan Assault Cruiser, christened the Ralroost reclined against her mooring restraints as EV suited dock hands prepared the final touches for the ship’s release. She’d spent the last two months strapped down over Kuat, being refitted with shiny new guns, powerful shielding, and dedicated active and passive scanners. Meanwhile a full compliment of crew, nearly fifteen hundred in total had been arriving daily, filling the empty cabin space, and manning the necessary stations in preparation for lift off. Within Ralroost’s forward bridge a flurry of activity was taking place as new officers took their positions, running system checks and numerous checklists. At the center of it all Captain Traest Kre’fey stood ramrod straight, his hands clasped neatly behind his back in the perfect position of parade rest. Only his tufted ears moved, twitching this way and that as he observed the goings on. Nothing escaped his sharp hearing, and judgmental gaze, and more than one young officer felt the hair on the back of their neck stand straight when the violet eyes fixed on them. The bridge, and the rest of the larger crew were made up of a roughly even mixture of bothans and humans, with several other races mixed into the larger whole. They worked steadily, and Traest found himself unable to find complaint in their competency.

His veteran crew were largely dispersed after the Ralroost was decommissioned, and were spread out amongst the four Republic fleets or outright retired. Instead of the expert crewmen that’d served under him before, Traest found himself commanding a majority green crew, with only a spattering of aged familiar faces amongst the sea of youth. Circumstances as they were it was unavoidable, Traest had no one to blame but himself. Still, watching them at work lifted some of the anxiety he’d been feeling over the past week as the academy fresh officers had streamed aboard.

“Sir, the Yard is prepared to release tethers at your order.” A young bothan female, a junior grade lieutenant and his new communications officer swiveled in her chair to face Captain Kre’fey. One hand held ready on her headset to send the reply back to Yard Control.

The bothan gave the woman a slight incline of his head to show he’d heard and said. “Excellent lieutenant, inform them to standby and await instructions. Helm, fire repulserlifts and prepare for launch, five degree climbing gradient, ten percent forward thrust. Conversion, route power to the engines, and raise soft impact shields, Navigation route a course to put us alongside Starshield and Voidtrotter. Commander Jaeger, if you would be so kind, inform the crew, we’ll be departing in two minutes.”

“Yessir!” Came the chorus as the bridge made the last minute preparations.

The Ralroost roared to life, a tiny vibration could be felt underfoot as the engines provided life to the repulsers that would get them clear of the yard. At the command panel an older human male pressed a button, projecting his voice across the Ralroost to all the waiting crew. “All hands this is Commander Jaeger, prepare for launch within two minutes and standby for further orders.” Leaving the console Commander Sarl Jaeger joined Traest on the raised dais running between the two crew pits, folding his arms and letting his gaze wander the busy bridge. “They aren’t doing half bad for a bunch of freshies, I was right when I said you were underestimating them. Seems like you owe me a drink.”

The bothan Captain raised an eyebrow at his Executive Officer’s comment. The human was grinning, and although human expressions still mostly eluded Traest he knew a playful jab when he heard one. Sarl Jaeger was a longtime friend, and trusted right hand man, and perhaps the only being onboard the Ralroost who felt comfortable teasing the ship’s captain. Sarl was one of the few veterans Traest had insisted upon returning to his command. It had taken a considerable amount of string pulling, but in the end he had succeeded in getting Sarl as his EO once again. Traest spoke, a hint of humor in his tone. “Aren’t you getting a little ahead of yourself Commander? I would hardly consider this adequate evidence; we haven’t even left the docks yet.”

Sarl shrugged, noncommittedly. “Ah, perhaps sir. But I know a good bunch when I see them, they’ll prove me right in the end, just you watch. Isn’t that right Lieutenant Renwar?” The Commander’s gaze snap locked onto the Tactical Officer who’d been none to discreetly eavesdropping on his superior’s conversation.

The young man flushed bright red, a telltale sign of human embarrassment among other emotions Traest knew. “Yes sir, I mean, uh, sorry sirs.” Renwar stammered, uncertain what he should do under the fierce gaze of his leaders.

“Attend your station, lieutenant.” Traest’s tone carried a soft growl of warning, but little else. The kid was only just over two decades old, and unlike the rest of the bridge crew, tactical was the closest to the dais, with little to do other than watch and listen. Captain Kre’fey couldn’t really blame him for losing focus. Renwar stuttered a second apology and went back to monitoring his empty display screen.

Traest returned his attention to the forward viewport, everything was ready, and the silent countdown in his head ticked down to zero. “Are you ready, Commander?” He asked of his EO, the human was very pointedly not looking at him, his face twisted in barely controlled mirth.

It took an extra second for Sarl to recover but eventually he nodded. “At your command, Captain.”

“Very well. Comm, have us released.” The bothan at the communications station relayed the order, and a brief moment later a metallic clunk could be heard as the magnetic clamps holding the Ralroost in place released.

“We are free floating sir.” The bothan helmsman supplied before pressing the forward throttle. “Underway!”

Traest felt a small shift as the ship glided forward and the artificial gravity readjusted to their forward movement. At long last, after nearly four years he was back aboard his bridge. Surrounded by loyal men and women on a Republic warship, making course for the stars. The bothan inhaled the recycled air and released it with a grateful sigh. It had been far too long.

@Sep I finally got them done. I understand you had some trepidations about canon and originals, but hopefully everything will be acceptable. Of course, they aren't exactly the same as their canon counterparts, having some striking differences beside ages and histories, but I felt it was appropriate considering the adjusted timeline.

Y'all seem to still be going, I've finally had a bit of free time and put together my characters.@Sep Am I safe to assume you are still accepting?

I didn't really have anyone specific in mind at the moment, but characters such as Jacen or Jaina Solo, or maybe Syal Antilles. Big names like those from legends.

Well I'm hooked. One question however, will we be restricted to OCs, or are cannon characters an option?
I like Garner’s haughtiness! He seems full of himself in the way a lot of younger people are when they’re not quite self-aware of their flaws and foibles—it’s very true-to-life! I particularly love that he’s putting on airs—his character feels youthful in a really genuine (if awkward to live through) way.

Thank you. I'm glad you noticed. I've been itching to try my hand at a realistic child character again, as I find them significantly more challenging. So hopefully Garner proves to be a success on that front. Anyway, anything you'd like changed with the CS?

I took the liberty of matching y'alls formatting.

@Fiscbryne If I may, where will the RP be starting out at? Right after the crash, directly before, a bit after? I'm just interested so I can accurately determine how much I add to the backstory.
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