An even longer time ago, in a galaxy just as far away...
Nicole, Kira and Nalan dash out of a building coughing while a plume of smoke follows them out into the courtyard with people cowering or taking cover from the sudden explosion that had rocked the quiet afternoon air on Alderaan. Nicole is the first to be able to get the smoke out of her lungs, looking over her shoulder at the Imperial facility next door to the building they had just exited. Flames could be seen licking over the facility walls with smoke rising into the clear skies, a small smile on her face as she looks at their handy work while a series of other explosions can be heard across the city. Nalan tugs on Nicole's arm, still coughing slightly, while she motions towards a squad of Stormtroopers that have just exited the compound when one of the troopers point at them and starts moving towards Nicole and the others.
"Nice spot and I do believe it is time for us to be leaving."
"It does look that way..."
Kira manages to cough the last of the smoke out of her lungs while they start moving away from the stormtroopers before a sudden shout of stop urges them into a run to get away from the Stormtroopers in pursuit. After a brief sprint and a few quick turns to the left, they enter an empty street that looks like it has been cleared in a hurry. Nicole slows down to a stop while she glances around.
"I don't like this...I have a ba..."
Nicole is cut when suddenly two Imperial transport tanks roll into the end of the street with an AT-DP, blocking the exit while Stormtroopers fan out in front of them and the sound of the boots of the road behind them draw closer. Nicole glances at the others quickly, while looking around the street for cover.
"We seem to need a new exit plan, quickly into cover!"
Nicole dives into the cover that she spotted in the alcove of one of the buildings lining the road moments before the Stormtroopers open fire, with Nalan right behind her and Kira a moment behind that again. Kira was slightly too slow in getting off the bat and into the cover as she takes a blaster round to the stomach, causing her to collapse into the alcove with Nicole just being able to catch her.
"Careful now, I've got you Falcon 2, you good to stand?"
Kira nods slightly, her hand pressed against the wound.
"Yeah....Yeah, I will be, thanks for the catch Falcon Lead."
"Not a problem, we need to move through, can't stay here."
Kira and Nalan both nod at Nicole's words while they look for a way out.
"There just behind that market stand, you two see the alley?"
"Aye, can just see it Falcon lead."
"Good, on my mark we need to make a break for it before the other Stormtroopers flank us. Ready? Three...Two...One...Go!"
With her shout to get the three of them moving they dash out of the alcove, with Nicole and Nalan pulling ahead of the wounded Kira. Nicole quickly turns on her heel, sliding into the alleyway that she spotted with Kira and Nalan close behind her, all of them wearing civilian attire. They dive into cover in the alley behind a couple crates and baskets of fresh foodstuffs before Kira lets out a long ragged breath of pain.
"Hows that wound looking Falcon 2? You going to be able to make it to the safe house?"
"I...I'm not sure Falcon Leader, it's not feeling too good and I feel myself slowing down."
"We can't and won't leave you unless we have no choice..."
"You might have too...I will only slow you down, and you need to go."
Nicole glances down the alley, as she keeps an eye out for any stormtroopers approaching.
"Damn it Falcon 2. Falcon 3, go check the end of the alley for a way out."
Nicole looks at Kira while Nalan hurries down to the end of the alley on the opposite side to the one they entered it.
"You know what you have to do Falcon Leader..."
Kira and Nicole share a look, as they both think about what they have to do while Nicole starts to slowly draw her blaster pistol from her belt before Nalan comes running back down the alley towards them.
"We have a patrol of Stormtroopers coming, they will be here in a moment, we should probably get a move on."
Nicole nods slightly to Nalan, while still looking at Kira.
"You were a great wingman Falcon 2, may the force be with you..."
"And with you Falcon Leader, it was an honour to serve alongside a Jedi..."
Nicole nods slightly as she aims her blaster pistol and pulls the trigger moments before the stormtroopers turn down the alley at the sound of the blaster bolt.
FIVE WEEKS EARLIER
Nicole is leaning against the central terminal with the holographic map of a city on Alderaan projected from it, while she listens to the mission briefing from the Rebel Intelligence Officer.
"Ok then, this is going to be our best chance to get a shot at the Admiral of the 9th Fleet and the Firestorm, we can not let him escape and get away with the terror bombings he has ordered of the outer rim. The plan is as follows, we will be sending elements of Falcon Squadron as the front team with support from Intelligence teams going in with them and already on the planet, the mission will be coordinated from aboard the MacAlpine with General Skye taking the mission command role."
The Intelligence officer pauses for a moment while they look around at the assembled senior officers for the missions before they continue.
"Once Falcon has landed on the planet with the cover identities provided for them as a trader, they will contact the team already on the ground and link up with them in preparation for the raid. Once they have done this, and the go signal has been sent the raid on the Imperial training and equipment facilities will begin. Hopefully, we get the Admiral in these raids or at least draw him out. Field teams have discretion on how to proceed with the mission depending on the success of the initial raids, but the objective stands that the Admiral cannot leave the planet alive. Groundwork teams leave in four days with Falcon squadron to follow in four weeks to give the groundwork teams time to set up and do some recon. If there are no questions then people, you are free to leave, your squads will have been briefed so are able to start preparations."
Nicole nods slightly at the officers' words, pushing herself back of the central console and turning towards the exit of the briefing room and towards the outside of the temple. While she is walking the still cloaked General Skye catches up with her.
"Nicole, I've wanted to speak to you since you arrived, but you seem to always be busy."
Nicole glances over at her while they walk before she notices Nalan standing nearby and waves her over.
"Sorry about that, been busy with my squadron and with the other survivors, along with training Nal."
Nalan grins slightly at Nicole as she hears her talking about their training, coming up alongside Nicole to walk with them, General Skye smiles and nods to Nalan when she joins them as well.
"What have you been doing for your training, and would you say it's going then Nalan?"
Nalan glances between Nicole and General Skye before she answers.
"We have been doing a range of stuff, with every from piloting to command and then to firing a blaster to fighting in melee with hand to hand or aided by a weapon. And I think it's been going well, Nicole says I have good instincts and response when I'm focusing and that I've picked up what she is teaching me really quickly."
"Aye, she has been doing really well indeed. Started training with blades not long before the attack on our base, and she is already starting to advance to the more advanced forms."
General Skye nods slightly while she looks between them.
"That is good to hear, I'm glad that you have taken her under your wing then Nicole. It appears to be good for both of you. Also, I've noticed you've not been wearing your sabre visibly after you landed."
Nicole looks down at Nalan with a smile, her hand resting on Nal's head.
"Yeah I think it has been...it brings too much attention to myself, with it not visible, I have a chance to pass as just another pilot."
"But you have to remember you are not just another pilot, you are my daughter and a Jedi. You might think your lightsabre brings too much attention to your self, but you forget how much hope the sight of it brings to others."
Nicole glances over her shoulder at Fiona, with a sudden outburst at Fiona's words.
"You say it brings hope to people? All it has brought is suffering and pain to me, I was forced to hide who I was because of this symbol of hope and try to fit in with an authoritarian regime. Not counting the years of terror inflicted on the galaxy by the death of the Jedi who carried these Lightsabres as a symbol of hope in the darkest hours, for years I thought the Jedi where dead and guess what you are still alive. Along with the fact that my sister may as well be dead because of this symbol of hope!"
Nicole shakes slightly with her final outburst, while Nalan and Fiona look taken aback, a look of shock is in Fiona's eyes as well.
"Cecilia is dead..."
"She may as well be, she is an Imperial Loyalist and tried to kill me when I defected and has committed horrible acts in the name of the Empire as part of Shadow Squadron. She wants nothing to do with you either believing you to be dead and rightly so."
Nicole rubs the bridge of her nose slightly as she starts to calm down again.
"I'm sorry, I'm just tense and pent up with everything going on."
Fiona glances over at the marked out training area just off to their side.
"It's okay...you know what you need? You need to practice to vent."
Nicole raises her eyebrow slightly at Fiona while the three of them move over to the training circle, a few other people who noticed them moving towards it gather around the edges. Nalan leans against some of the crates while Nicole and Fiona both walk to the centre of the circle, with Nicole shrugging off her jacket and throwing it to Nalan to hold onto.
"So what is your plan then?"
Fiona grins slightly before she suddenly throws her cloak off her shoulders and onto the ground as she draws her lightsabre and swinging an attack at Nicole, which Nicole just manages to roll under coming up onto one knee of to the side.
"I plan to make you fight to let go of your pent up emotion and focus it."
With that Fiona takes another swing at Nicole who manages to just dodge again before she is forced to glance over at Nalan and her coat.
"Nal, top pocket, throw it!"
Nalan jumps slightly in surprise before she fumbles with the top pocket of Nicole's jacket before she manages to pull out her lightsabre from it and proceeds to throw it into the ring with a good arc to throw. While Nicole is waiting for her lightsabre, she is forced to dodge another of Fiona's swing as it flies inches above her back, before she launches her self upwards from her role using the force to pull her lightsabre to her hand and activates it while she swings it down at Fiona as she lands. Their lightsabres lock together between them with sparks flying, while they start to attract more and more of an audience. The two of them go back and forth across the training field with sparks flying whenever their lightsabres clash, with Fiona seeming a lot calmer and more controlled in her strikes, her entire body language seeming relaxed and passive while Nicole is a lot more active with her strikes and movements. Their duel continues with the pattern of Nicole attacking and Fiona blocking or deflecting her strikes with minimal movement on her part until Fiona suddenly strikes with lightning fast speed disarming Nicole and taking her feet out from underneath her forcing Nicole to the ground with the tip of Fiona's sabre inches away from Nicole's throat. Fiona smiles down at Nicole as she moves her sabre away before clipping it back onto her belt in the silence around the training circle from the skill displayed between the two of them, while she offers her other hand to Nicole to help her back to her feet.
"You did well, you have been keeping up your skills I see, that is good."
Nicole nods while she dusts her self off after getting up onto her feet with the help offered from Fiona.
"Thanks, and aye I have, but it is good to get to practice against someone else with a sabre."
"Aye, no amount of solo practice can make of for experience in sparring or battles."
Nicole uses the force to pull her lightsabre back to her hand before clipping it back onto her belt, while Nalan comes running up to the two of them with their jacket and cloak while the audience they gathered starts to disperse while talking amongst them self.
"That was so cool you two! I've seen Nicole practice sometimes, and she has started to teach me the basic forms but seeing it done like that was amazing!"
Nicole laughs softly at Nalans enthusiasm, while the three of them continue walking away from the training area and towards the parked squadrons just outside one of the Massasi temples, and towards the few remaining members and fighters of Falcon Squadron following Denevor as they all start to begin preparations for their mission to Alderaan.