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This is not worth five percent of the Empireís treasury, let alone the moldy remains of some blasted Jedi camp! Nothing is worth sitting a mile down in an unnamed ocean listening to the Spannerís hull creak and hoping that the depth charges from the dear old Relentless donít come too close.




Yes, the Relentless is currently in low orbit over this unnamed watery-grave-in-waiting, presiding over god-knows how many fighters, that are currently dropping bombs just a little too close to my current locale for comfort. With luck, that major storm system thatís coming in will force them back to the Star Destroyer.


Itís not that Iím unused to being in trouble. Iím unused to being in this much trouble with this many people. I can look after a reasonably sized crew, and myself - but to suddenly have the entire crew of the Rose onboard, all saying ďTell us what to do now. Youíre the captain,Ē is too much, too fast. Blasted Meric had to stay back on the Rose Ė which I hope the Relentless didnít blast out of space while it was following the tracking device that came aboard the Spanner in M3-B3ís chest Ė and Val, the so-called second-in-command seems perfectly happy to leave me looking after things while he and Duvessa go scrabbling in the dirt at the Jedi temple.


Oh yes, the templeís here all right. But five percent of a desiccated corpse and antique clothing isnít going to do me much good, and it certainly wonít compensate for having my hyperdrive slagged down shortly before we had to go play submarine. So much for this ship being my ticket out of debt. Hmph. Iíll worry about debt if we get off this watery hole.


Gods, I hope Geehan can tell me what creatures down here might want to eat the SpannerÖ With the hyperdrive out of action, we canít even power the lasers and Iím sure we donít have enough giant-undersea-monster repellant on board to cover the entire hull.


I donít have time to kvetch, Iíve got things to do. I need to rig one of the scoops to pull oxygen out of the seawater. Artoo and Dev need to get to work on the hyperdrive. Maybe it can be salvaged. While theyíre busy, I hope Annison Seven can build us a couple of active-radar decoys. Something with a delay-switch and a compressed-air propulsion rig. I want some decoys to send out to the far side of the ocean before we try to blast our way out of here.




If it looks like weíre going to be here for more than a couple of days, food is going to become a problem. I had better ask Geehan to go out and find some edible creatures for us Ė the pressure suits Iíve got on board arenít much good at this depth, but I think Geehan can tolerate it. Maybe we can rig a trawl net that we can throw outside the shipÖ



If only I could warn the Rose, damn it! Iím sure Meric has enough sense to scan the area before he comes in, but I would be much happier if we could just warn them to steer clear. But at this point, I donít even know exactly where the Relentless is - never mind warning the Rose. The storm overhead is hiding us in a nice fat cloud of ionized particles, but thatís a double edged swordÖ


Wait. Ionization. Laser fire ionizes the atmosphere. I know the Relentless has cut loose with a couple of laser salvos. If I rig the Doppler sensors to pick up areas of low ionization Ė especially areas where the particle count drops suddenly Ė it would be a likely bet that the Relentless is close to over that spotÖ Especially once we send out some decoys. If nothing else, itíll tell me if the Relentless will fall for a dummy signalÖ


Iíve got to go talk to Annison.




Then I have to let Waithe, Rachel and Rran sock me on the jaw for drugging them. Maybe theyíll forgive me. Hah, a likely story. Maybe theyíll defer my drubbing until after we get out of this. If we get out of this.



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