The Mission

Mandi Hall

"Drop her in!" The R2 astromech droid was lowered
slowly into the X-Wing. Jox smiled. "Great work, boys.
We're almost set." Chilton Jox was a great leader..At
least, he liked to think so. He graduated second from
the flight academy. Right behind..

"Hey, Jox!" Jaina jogged into the docking bay, smiling
brightly. "Great work! Thanks for getting the R2 set."
She paused for a moment to catch her breath, bracing
herself against the X-Wing with her hand. 
Jox blinked as Jaina's hand smudged oil on her craft.
"Oh, here. Let me call someone to wipe that up.."
"No," Jaina responded quickly. "I mean, it's okay. I
want it there." She glanced at him and grinned. "No,
I'm not insane."

Jox chuckled. "Darn Jedi mind probes.."
Jaina held up her hands in defense, her right palm
still black with oil. "No probes. Honest. I just know
you. And I know what you'd be thinking. And I'm not."
Jaina shrugged and turned away from Jox to examine the
print. "If I were crazy, you'd be the one leading this
mission, eh?"

"Right," Jox said, looking down at his hands. "Hey, we
should probably get started."
Jaina pulled on her helmet and nodded. She climbed up
into the cockpit and settled in.
As the canopy closed over Jaina, she watched Jox head
off to his fighter. She'd spent a lot of time with him
at the flight academy, and she usually found him to be
a pleasant person. He was fun to talk to, and had some
interesting stories. But Jaina wasn't a fool. She knew
she couldn't trust him. He was a ladder climber, and
right now the only thing in his way was Jaina.
Friendly fire was a possibility. She thought it was a
bit extreme, even for Jox, but she would watch out for

"Hey, R2. Keep an eye on Jox. Rogue 2."
The droid responded with a series of chirps.
"Yes, I know he's on our side. Just let me know if his
targeting sites 'accidentally' land on us."
The droid's beeps sounded a little reluctant, but
Jaina ignored it. She fastened her crash webbing and
started up the X-wing.

"All right, boys," she said into her intership comm.
"It's showtime."
The docking bay doors opened and the X-wings filed out
into space.

"Engage hyperdrive." Jaina liked working with
navigation computers, but of course X-wings aren't
equipped with them. The R2 units were programmed with
the jump co-ordinates.
Jaina pulled a lever and the stars in her viewshield
became distorted as she entered hyperspace.


When the ship returned to normal space, Jaina's
eyebrows rose. An unfamiliar planet loomed very close

"What's that?" she asked the R2, a slight edge on her
voice. The droid seemed to hesitate before beeping a
soft reply.

"What do you mean 'What's what?'? What's that planet
doing there?" Jaina glanced over her shoulder. "And
why aren't the others coming out of hyperspace? We're
not in the right place, are we? What did you do?"
The unit didn't respond.

Jaina pulled the X-wing into the planet's orbit.
"Well, if you won't answer me, I'll land here and find
a droid who will. You're going to the closest scrap

She brought the craft down through the upper layers of
atmosphere. Jaina started searching for a radio
channel to communicate with an authority about a
landing site. 

The R2 started beeping frantically.
"What now?" beepbeepbeep. "The engine?" Jaina let out
a deep sigh. "Don't tell me.."
"I asked you not to tell me that!" Jaina pulled
sharply on the throttle and received a sputtering
reply. She grunted in frustration and started trying
other levers. "Come on, come on.." The ship was
falling towards the planet.

Jaina closed her eyes and reached out into the Force.
Maybe she could levitate the ship safely to the
ground. Or at least find some sort of guidance for
another course of action.

Nothing. Jaina's brow furrowed and she bit her lip.
She tried concentrating harder, reaching further.
Still nothing.

She opened her eyes. Wide. The planet's surface was
zooming up at her. So she did the only thing she
could. She screamed.

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