Ice Prison Rescue
Rating: PG

Bethany Handcuff

Authoress' notes: The following story takes place during the Yuuzhan Vong war. Please read and enjoy all of my stories, please leave me feedback, public or via email. ahandcuffgirl(at)yahoo(dot)com

Alema Rar raised the macrobinoculars to her goggles and and observed the prison.  She needed the goggles because her eyes would freeze without them.  The current temperature was about fifty degrees below freezing, with winds about thirty klicks an hour.  At least it wasn't snowing right now though.  Still, Alema Rar didn't like the freezing cold conditions one bit.

She was wearing heavy cold-weather gear from head to toe.  It was white and light-gray to blend in with the snow and ice on the ground.  Her hood even had thick sleeves covering her sensitive lekku.  The gear was supposed to be rated to over seventy degrees below freezing, and wind over fifty klicks an hour.  In spite of the rating, Alema Rar's poor lekku were freezing, and the rest of her wasn't much better.

The reason she was observing the prison was that the Peace Brigade slime were holding about two thousand prisoners there.  The scarheads weren't expected to pick them up for several more days.  With a small window to act, Alema Rar, along with twenty-four special-ops troopers, had been sent to free them.

I had to notice that Peace Brigader on Abiimir, Alema Rar thought as she shivered in the cold. 

"I hear that about a thousand klicks north of here the temperature is all the way up to freezing," Lieutenant Koflan said cheerfully from the snow next to her.  He practically had to shout to be heard over the wind.

Alema Rar lowered the macrobinoculars.  "More like three thousand," she responded gloomily.  "And the wind would still be blowing forty klicks an hour," she added as she shivered slightly from the cold. 

The Peace Brigader had been easy enough to notice.  The rest of the cantina's patrons were a depressed lot of sentients, no doubt from HoloNews showing the destruction the hordes of scarheads tearing their way across the galaxy had sown.  The skinny, forty something year old male human however, seemed quite content with the state of affairs.  The contrast was easy to pick up with the Force.

At first Alema Rar had just wanted to wipe the carefully guarded but smug grin right off his face.  She voiced her plans to her companions, three humans and a Noghri, just in case they wanted to help out.  Then Lieutenant Koflan had to suggest that the slime might be Peace Brigade, and therefore might have some intelligence.  Military, at least.

So instead of breaking a few of his bones in a cantina fight, she had lured him outside with a smile and a few whispered words.  Then she and her friends hauled him off to a more secure area, and found out if he knew anything.  Between a growling Noghri flashing her claws at him on one side, and Alema Rar pretending to seduce him from the other, he was spilling his guys in no time.  It turned out that the frakkin' scum regularly delivered supplies to a Peace Brigade prison.  He has just made a run, and they had about two thousand New Republic citizens.

Naturally, since she reported the details of the operation to the New Republic command, they tasked her with the mission.  Luckily the fellow had told them that the prison had very little defenses, and less than fifty guards.

The prison was just a few buildings above ground.  One was a command center, with an observation post above it, and a HoloNet communications antenna on top of that.  The observation post was perhaps five meters above the command center, and the comm antenna ten meters above that. 

The second, and largest, building was barracks for off-duty guards, and storage.  The third building was access to the prisoners, who were kept below ground, in twenty hundred-person units.

There were supposed to be eight-to-ten guards in the command center, plus four more in the observation post.  The guards rarely went into the prisoner areas, and never patrolled outside.  They delivered food to the prison, and the prisoners took care of themselves.  The main security feature was the deadly cold, along with the fact that none of the prisoners had any sort of footwear, and only minimal clothing.

If they escaped, they would die from the cold in a matter of minutes.  Anytime the the doors to the prison area were opened, the command center and barracks blast doors were closed.  If the prisoners caused problems, then their unit could be opened to the elements as well.

After observing the prison a bit, Alema Rar and her soldiers decided on sending a small team in to take out the four guards in the observation post, and the HoloNet antenna.  Then the other team would storm the command center.  Between the two teams they would also keep the rest of the guards pinned inside the barracks if necessary.

Alema Rar took a deep, frosty breath and reached out with the Force.  None of the guards in the observation post seemed to be looking their way.  In fact, they didn't seem to be too alert at all.

She nodded towards Lieutenant Koflan, then climbed to her feet, and began slowly moving forward in a crouch through the deep snow with her six Noghri.  They were moving into position to attack the observation post.  Lieutenant Koflan's team of a dozen would be following them, to hit the command center, and hold the barracks.

A two person sniper and observation team was a little over three hundred meters away.  Further out were two more pairs of troopers, with each pair manning a rocket launcher, and also acting as observers.

It was a lot for her to handle, but fortunately Lieutenant Koflan was happy to help her out.  The Noghri mostly needed everyone to stay out of their way.  Alema Rar had almost sent them ahead on their own, but the Force had told her to go with them instead of Lieutenant Koflan's team.

Nearly ten minutes later Alema Rar and her team were in position.  She gave her comlink a quick double tap to alert Lieutenant Koflan.  She received a single beep of acknowledgment, which she responded to with another tap of her comlink.  Since Lieutenant Koflan's team consisted of nine Humans, a Wookiee, a Devaronian, and another Twi'lek, they couldn't move quite as fast as six Noghri and a Jedi.

When Lieutenant Koflan finally alerted Alema Rar that his team was ready, she immediately signaled the Noghri attack, and dashed forward the last dozen meters.

With the knee-deep snow pressing in on her lower legs and feet, Alema Rar wasn't quite able to leap onto the roof of the command center.  She was able to get high enough to pull herself up though.  Three of the Noghri stopped at the base of the wall, and propelled their comrades up.  Then the second three quickly reached down and helped pull the first three up.

While the Noghri were climbing up, Alema Rar reached out with the Force, and made sure the guards in the observation post above her hadn't noticed them.  They still didn't seem to be paying much attention to anything.

The most important thing was to make sure they didn't get a distress call off.  The problem was, Alema Rar didn't know if the observation post could send one, or just the command center.  That meant they had to take out the four Peace Brigaders in the observation post before they had a chance, just to be sure.

Alema Rar and her twenty-four special-operation soldiers had arrived in system in an old converted passenger liner.  It could easily hold twenty-five-hundred passengers.  It couldn't land on this iceball though.  They had two smaller transports that would ferry the prisoners to the passenger liner.  One could carry close to two hundred people.  Alema Rar and her team had landed in a second transport that could carry up to forty people.  The passenger liner and larger transport were hiding behind a moon three planets out.

A few moments later, one of the Noghri was on the ladder, his hands on the hatch leading into the observation post.  Alema Rar was hanging off the side next to him.  The hatch was locked, but it only had basic security.  The Noghri had it unlocked in seconds.  He glanced over to her, and Alema Rar nodded her head in approval.

As he opened the hatch Alema Rar squatted on the ladder in preparation.  She had her blaster carbine across her chest, attached to her combat vest with a pair of straps.  The carbine was specially modified so her lightsaber could be attached to the underside of the barrel, as a bayonet.  There was a switch just above the trigger that would ignite the lightsaber.  The moment the hatch was open, she leapt up and through it, igniting her lightsaber as she did.

The four guards must have thought they were receiving visitors or something.  They stared at her dumbly as she slashed the nearest one across his midsection with her lightsaber bayonet.  The other three Peace Brigaders' eyes went wide with shock as she shot a second one, then stabbed a third one in the heart.  Before she could take out the fourth one, he dropped out of his chair with a hole in his chest from a blaster fired by a Noghri coming up through the hatch.

"Antenna!" Alema Rar shouted as she hauled the Noghri the rest of the way up through the hatch and shoved him aside.  She quickly jumped back down onto the roof of the command center.  Another Noghri had already found the communications cable.  Alema Rar cut through it, and anything else that looked important.

Then Alema Rar let out a sigh of relief.  At least now the frakkin' Peace Brigaders can't call for help.  Now they had to get into the command center.

Alema Rar dropped back down onto the snowy ground, and was joined by the two demolitions troopers.  They quickly began setting up their explosives on the command center's blast doors.

A handful of seconds later, the bomb was ready.  The two demolitions troopers announced it over the comlink as they stepped around to the side of the command center.  Alema Rar glanced around to make sure everyone else was out of the way, then joined them.  She could sense nine or ten people inside, but none of them were near the doors.  They were definitely alert, but none of them seemed to be panicked.  Maybe they didn't know they were being attacked.

The bomb exploded five seconds later.  Alema Rar and the two demolitions troopers went back to inspect the damage.  There was a crater about thirty centimeters deep, and perhaps a meter across.  The demolitions troopers quickly began setting up a bigger one.

Alema Rar stepped over to check out the barracks' blast doors.  The Peace Brigaders had to notice a bomb going off on their command center.  The ones in the barracks should be coming out to see what was going on—probably with blasters firing away.

The barracks doors remained closed though.  Alema Rar was about to see how her demolitions troopers were doing when she saw the doors leading to the prisoners opening.  Then she felt the prisoners inside start to get very worried.

It took Alema Rar a moment to comprehend what was happening.  The frakkin' Peace Brigaders are going to freeze the prisoners to death!

Alema Rar muttered a curse and rushed back to the command center blast doors.  The two demolitions troopers had the second—bigger—bomb set.  Before they could ignite it though, Alema Rar's communications trooper commed her.

She told her that someone inside the command center identifying himself as Captain Jakkobs was trying to talk her.  She also said that he was broadcasting over an open comlink, so they could all hear him.  Alema Rar thanked her, ran through a quick Jedi calming exercise, then switched comm channels.

"This is ... Commander Alema Rar of the New Republic," she said over the comlink.  She bit back a few more choice words.  She didn't identify herself as a Jedi either.  They didn't need to know that right now.

As she spoke, she reached out with the Force to get a feel for the people in the command center.  They were mostly worried, and a little scared.  None of them seemed to be on the verge of panicking though.

"I'm Captain Jakkobs of the Peace Brigade," a human sounding voice replied.  "I assume you're here to free the prisoners.  They'll start freezing to death in about ten minutes.  You can try and save them, or continue attacking us.  If you do choose to continue this attack, then I'll make sure as many of them die as possible."

Alema Rar could use the Force to block the cold from the entrance to the prison, but she knew she couldn't keep it in place long enough to ferry all the prisoners to the passenger liner — especially if the rest of the Peace Brigaders in the barracks chose to start fighting.  She felt like she could get into command center in ten minutes.  The problem was, Captain Jakkobs was very confident he could kill the majority of the prisoners.  Alema Rar had come here to rescue them, not win a pointless battle against some Peace Brigade thugs.  She had to listen to the Force for guidance.

"What will you tell your Yuuzhan Vong masters when you don't have their prisoners?" Alema Rar asked.

That definitely caused a reaction.  They were very concerned about what the scarheads would do to them if they didn't have two thousand prisoners for them.

"We've got a supply ship due in the morning.  We'll just hitch a ride, and disappear somewhere," Captain Jakkobs said confidently.

Alema Rar thought a moment.  Admiral Kre'fey had made it clear she had to either rescue the prisoners or scratch the mission as expeditiously as possible.  There was no way she could still be here in the morning.  She certainly didn't want to spend the night freezing her lekku off.

"Piloted by a skinny human," she replied.  "About forty, blond hair?  Goes by the name Koddy?"

There was a noticeable pause over the comlink.

"Yeah," Captain Jakkobs replied fearfully.

Even though they were speaking over a comlink, and she was wearing a cold weather mask, Alema Rar flashed a predatory smile.

"Koddy ain't coming in the morning, Captain.  We've got him locked up," she told him.

"Ronko shavit," Captain Jakkobs responded in denial.

Alema Rar chuckled.  "How do you think we found out about this place?" she asked.

There was another noticeable silence over the comlink.  Alema Rar could sense the Peace Brigaders' dread as the realization sunk in. 

"Frakk," Captain Jakkobs finally replied in dismay.

Alema Rar waited several seconds before replying.  "There's only one ship leaving this rock before the scarheads show up."  She wasn't sure exactly when that would be, but since the prison was at capacity, she didn't think it would be very long.  "If you surrender, I'll allow you to be on it."

Once again there was several seconds of silence over the comlink.

"We surrender," Captain Jakkobs finally responded.

"Good," Alema Rar replied quickly.  "Open the blast doors of the command center only," she instructed him.  Then everyone will walk out single file."

"Yes Commander," he answered dejectedly.

Alema Rar quickly switched comm channels and instructed Lieutenant Koflan's team to stay in position, covering the barracks.  Then she told four of her Noghri to get ready to go into the command center with her.  She wasn't about to give the Peace Brigaders a chance to surprise her.  She told the other two, and the two demolitions troopers, to handle the people coming out of the command center.

As the blast doors began to open, Alema Rar's senses — including the Force — were alert for danger.  The moment there was enough space, she rushed in, carbine with deactivated lightsaber leading the way.  She immediately began sweating from the increased temperature.  Four of her Noghri were right behind her.

"Hands up!" Alema Rar screamed as she swept her blaster down the line of people walking towards her.

The seven men and two women instantly stopped and obeyed.  Alema Rar reached out with the Force to sense if anyone else was inside.  When she reached the last Peace Brigader, she stopped.

"Is anyone else in here!?" she demanded, pointing her blaster carbine at the woman's chest from less than a meter away.

Two of the Noghri moved past them, searching the building.

"N — No," the woman answered, trembling as her eyes followed the Noghri a moment, then went back to Alema Rar's blaster carbine.

Panicky people weren't the easiest to read with the Force.  Considering Alema Rar didn't sense anyone else though, she believed her.  Two more Noghri kept hustling the rest of the Peace Brigaders through the blast doors.

"Do you have any weapons on you?" Alema Rar asked her in a slightly calmer voice.

"N — No," she answered, still trembling.

Alema Rar reached down and opened her overcoat to cool off.  "Do you know how to operate the controls for the prison and barracks doors?" she asked her.

"Ye — Yes Ma'am," the Peace Brigader replied, slightly more confidently.

 

Alema Rar swung her carbine underneath her left arm, out of the way.  Then she stepped forward and began searching the woman for weapons while one of her Noghri covered her.  When she finished, she pulled out a pair of binders, and slapped them around her wrists in front of her.

"Let's go," Alema Rar said, pushing her back towards the interior of the command center.

The woman was in her mid-twenties, several centimeters taller than Alema Rar, with black hair.  She was also a few kilos heavier than Alema Rar.

Alema Rar took the woman into the control room while the Noghri swept the building for Peace Brigade holdouts.  There was a stack of blaster pistols on one of the desks.  The woman stayed away from them without being told.  She was practically trembling with fear.  The problem was, Alema Rar needed her thinking rationally for the next little bit.

"Hey, what's your name?" Alema Rar asked her as he sat her down in a chair at the control panel.

The woman stared up at her for a few seconds.  "What?" she asked, holding her cuffed hands defensively in front of her.

"What's your name?" Alema Rar repeated, trying to calm her with the Force.

"Sairri," she finally answered.  "Sairri Stavver."

"Well Sairri," Alema Rar said as she sat down a chair next to her, between her and the blasters on the desk.  "I need you to take a deep breath and relax okay.  No one is going to hurt you."

Alema Rar opened her overcoat all the way as she watched Sairri take a couple of deep breaths.  She also sensed her calm down somewhat, although she was still highly agitated.  Alema Rar assumed it was from being captured.

Before Alema Rar could say anything else, the two Noghri that were searching the building entered the room, and announced it was clear.  They also told her they had found a small weapons closet that had about ten blaster rifles, ten pistols, and two E-Web heavy repeating blasters in it.  They said there were some grenades and extra power packs as well.

Alema Rar instructed them to take the E-Webs and anything else they needed, and have Lieutenant Koflan deploy them as he saw fit.  Then she had to calm Sairri down a second time.

"Now Sairri, I need you to close all the prison doors, but leave them open about half-a-meter, okay.  Can you do that?"

"Yes," she replied, leaning forward and reaching out towards the controls with her cuffed hands.

Alema Rar kept alert for deception from her through the Force.  The control panel was laid out in a simple graphical design.  The main doors for the prison were easy to spot.  There were additional doors several meters inside the main ones.  Each of the twenty housing units also had a pair of doors. There were also controls for the barracks and command center doors, as well as communications.

Sairri slid the doors closed, leaving them slightly open.  "I'm not sure exactly how far open they are," she explained as she leaned back.  "But that should be about half-a-meter."

"Thanks," Alema Rar told her.  "How many people are in the barracks?"

"Um, I'm not exactly sure," Sairri answered.  "I think about thirty-five or so."

Alema Rar had no interest in fighting nearly three dozen Peace Brigaders, even if she had superior troops, and position.  "Can you keep the barracks doors closed from here?"

"No," Sairri replied.  "They can be opened or closed from here or there."  She looked down at her binders, and fidgeted in them a bit.

Alema Rar thought she seemed to be about to say something else, but she remained silent.  The Force was prompting her to find out.  "You have something else to add?" she asked firmly, influencing her with the Force at the same time.

"Um, there's about thirty guard droids in the barracks too," Sairri said softly.  "We keep them hidden from the scarheads."

Alema Rar's eyes went wide in shock.  Frakk!  In a split-second she had activated her comlink.  "There are guard droids in the barracks.  If the doors open, treat the forces inside as hostile.  Repeat, there are about thirty guard droids and thirty-five Peace Brigaders in the barracks, if the blast doors open, treat them as hostile."

There was a chorus of acknowledgments from her troops.  Alema Rar ran through another Jedi calming exercise.  She had two dozen special-ops troopers, with two rocket launchers and two E-Webs.  There was no way she could evacuate two thousand prisoners with the droids and Peace Brigaders nearby.

Next Alema Rar contacted the transport that they had arrived on.  She ordered them to power up, and get to her position as soon as possible.  Then she contacted their bigger transport and passenger liner, and ordered them to head this way as well.  The liner would go into a low geosynchronous orbit so the two transports wouldn't have to travel far to ferry the prisoners back and forth.  Then Alema Rar turned her attention back to her prisoner.

"Let's go," Alema Rar told Sairri, taking her by her upper arm.  After a few steps towards the door, Alema Rar let go of her so she could zip up her coat again.  A dozen meters or so later, they arrived outside, back in the freezing cold.

Lieutenant Koflan had moved the captured Peace Brigaders into the prisoner area, and had the two demolitions troopers and several prisoners keeping an eye on them.  He had three troopers in the observation post, and two more on the roof of the command center. 

One of the E-Webs was just to the side of the command center, as close as they could get it and still cover the barracks blast doors.  The other one was just inside the prison doors.  The rest of the troopers were spread out in the snow.  The sniper and rocket launcher teams were still in place as well.

Alema Rar activated the comlink that was built into her hood.  Then she began issuing orders.  "I want Lieutenant Koflan and five people inside the outer prison doors.  I want four people in the observation post.  The sniper and rocket teams stay where you are.  The two people on the E-Web next to the command center stay there.  Everyone else I want inside the command center."

There was another chorus of acknowledgments as they moved to obey Alema Rar's orders.  Instead of heading for the prison though, Lieutenant Koflan came to her.

"We've got quite a few prisoners inside that claim to be military.  They want to help.  I told them I'd pass the message along," he told her over the howling wind.

There were ten blaster rifles and ten pistols in the command center's weapons closet, plus the blaster pistols in the control room.  Alema Rar knew that military could mean anything from highly trained crack-commandos to remote reserve militia that only cleaned up after natural disasters.  She didn't have time to find out what sort of experience they had, and she wasn't about to give someone a weapon for the first time in ten years if she didn't have to.

"Tell them thanks, but we have everything under control right now," Alema Rar replied.  "And make sure the Peace Brigaders that we captured don't cause any problems."

Lieutenant Koflan acknowledged, and headed towards the prisoner area.  Alema Rar took Sairri back towards the command center.

"I want to talk to the people in the barracks," Alema Rar told her once they got back in the control room.  "And tell me who's in charge over there."  As she spoke, she opened her coat again, and began pulling off her gloves.

"Um, it should be Lieutenant Grienn," Sairri replied as she reached towards the controls.  "Go ahead," she said, nodding towards Alema Rar a couple of moments later.

"This is Commander Alema Rar of the New Republic," she said over the control panel comlink.  "I would like to speak to whoever is in charge of the Peace Brigaders in the barracks."  At the same time, Alema Rar reached out with the Force to get a sense of the people in the barracks.

She also pulled her overcoat and hood completely off, and put her regular comlink headset back on.  That left her in her cold-weather-combat jumpsuit, thick outer pants, and boots.

There was silence.  Alema Rar looked questioningly at Sairri, who glanced at the controls, and nodded her head in consent.  After several seconds, Alema Rar repeated the message.  The third time, she added, "I know you are receiving this."

"This is Lieutenant Grienn," someone finally replied.  "Talk."

"Lieutenant, in case you haven't noticed, my forces have taken over your command center.  If you surrender, then you and your people can leave this rock aboard my ship.  If not, then you can stay and explain to the scarheads why you don't have their prisoners."

Alema Rar didn't mention that she knew about the droids.  After several seconds of silence he replied.

"Okay," Lieutenant Grienn answered.  "We surrender.  We're coming out."

Alema Rar listened to his words over the comlink, and did her best to sense his intentions with the Force.  She was sure he was lying.  He didn't feel like he had given up.

"Actually I need to alert my forces so they don't open fire," Alema Rar quickly lied.  "I'll contact you in a couple of minutes."

There was a brief pause.  "Okay," he responded.  "We await your signal."

Alema Rar sensed he was still deceiving her, but not lying that time.  Maybe that meant he had believed her lie.  She quickly switched comlinks to talk to her troops again.

"The Peace Brigaders in the barracks are still hostile.  If the blast doors open, treat it as an attack," she announced over the comlink.

There was another chorus of acknowledgments.  Then Alema Rar contacted her transport to get its ETA.  The pilot told her they would be there in about three minutes.  Alema Rar told him to pull up the map of the prison complex on his HUD, and ensure he knew which building was the barracks.

Once that was done, Alema Rar had about three minutes to kill.  One of her Noghri was by the door of the control room, and the rest were near the command center blast doors.  Sairri was sitting silently in the chair, looking down at the binders on her wrists again.

"So, why did you join up with the Peace Brigade?" Alema Rar asked her.

Sairri paused a moment before replying.  "My husband joined, and I went with him," she answered with a shrug.

Alema Rar noticed she said went, and not came, implying that she wasn't with the Peace Brigade anymore.  "So where's hubby now?" she asked casually, hoping he wasn't in the barracks.  Sairri probably wouldn't be as cooperative after she blasted her husband into little bits.

"He died a couple of months ago," she replied softly.  "On Ylesia."

Alema Rar idly wondered if she had killed him when they had captured the Peace Brigade Senate and that traitor Pwoe.  "So why are you still with them?" Alema Rar asked her.  "Do you believe the scarheads are going to win?"

"I don't know," Sairri responded, seemingly to both questions.

 

Alema Rar could sense she really wasn't sure.  She however, was very sure, at least about the outcome of the war.

"The scarheads are going lose," she told Sairri firmly.  "And you'd better believe it."

Sairri didn't respond for several seconds.  When she did, it was only to change the subject.  "I don't think Lieutenant Grienn is really planning on surrendering," she said.  "He's really a believer in the cause."

"Me neither," Alema Rar agreed with a nod.  "That's why I talked them into waiting before they came out."

"Are you a Jedi?" Sairri asked her, changing the subject again.

Alema Rar had only used her lightsaber in the observation post.  She had used the title Commander with dealing with the Peace Brigaders.  She didn't think she was famous enough to be known my sight, especially with all the cold-weather gear she was wearing.

"What makes you say that?" she replied out of curiosity.

"Isn't that a lightsaber?" Sairri asked, gesturing towards the durasteel cylinder attached to the underside of her blaster carbine.

Alema Rar glanced down, slightly impressed she had recognized it in such an unusual location.  "Yes, it is," she responded.  "And yes, I am."

Sairri remained silent for a few seconds.  "Can't you just kill everyone in the barracks with a wave of your hand?"

Alema Rar couldn't help but burst out with laughter.  "Not quite," she answered.  "If a Jedi could kill with a wave of their hand, we would have already won."

Before Sairri could say anything else, Alema Rar received a comm.  It was the pilot of her transport, telling her that he had arrived at the prison complex, and was hovering in place.  She told him to stand by.

While she had been chatting with Sairri, Alema Rar had been going over her plan in her mind.  She was sure that Lieutenant Grienn wasn't planning on surrendering.  However, she wasn't quite ready to slaughter them all based solely on what she felt through the Force, and Sairri's opinion.  She flipped her comlink over to broadcast to all of her troops, and the transport.

"This is Alema Rar.  The barracks blast doors will be opening in a few moments.  If anyone sees droids, or is fired upon, then everyone, including the transport, is cleared to return fire, is that understood?"

There was a chorus of acknowledgments.  Alema Rar made sure the transport crew understood, as they had the most firepower.  It had a pair of starfighter-grade laser cannons, and a concussion missile launcher.  Far more than enough to deal with thirty guard droids and as many Peace Brigaders.  Once she was sure everyone knew what to do, she told Sairri to contact the other Peace Brigaders again.

"Alright Lieutenant Grienn, my troops know that you are surrendering, you can come out," Alema Rar said over the comlink.

"That took quite a while," he replied.  "I hope you weren't setting up an ambush?"

"Not at all," Alema Rar lied smoothly.  "My communications equipment simply isn't working properly in the cold."

"I see," Lieutenant Grienn answered.  "Well, if you're ready then, we are coming out, unarmed, please don't shoot us."

"We're standing by," Alema Rar replied cheerfully.

The instant she finished talking, she let go of the transmit button, and turned back to Sairri.

"Can you make the blast doors open faster?" she asked her.

"I — I don't know," she replied, looking at the controls.  "We've never tried to find out."

"Well, if they try to close the doors again, make sure they open all the way," Alema Rar instructed her.

"Yes Ma'am," Sairri responded obediently.

Alema Rar really wanted to be outside in the fight with her troops, but she knew she could do more here.  She did start putting her overcoat and hood back on though.  A moment later, she heard the transport's laser canons shooting, and a few seconds later, its concussion missile launcher.  At the same time, she felt the Peace Brigaders in the barracks dying.  Even though they were the enemy, it was hard to feel so much death through the Force.

The shooting was over in about twenty seconds, although it seemed like much longer.  Finally there was silence.

"We're going in to check for survivors," Sergeant Vikkors announced over the comlink.

"We're with you," someone else added.

"Let's go," Alema Rar told Sairri, gesturing towards the door with her blaster carbine.

By the time they made it outside, several more troopers had moved into the barracks.  Alema Rar had no trouble seeing parts of at least a dozen guard droids scattered about, along with quite a few bodies — and parts.  She activated her comlink, and began issuing more orders.

"I want the transport on the ground as close to the prison as you can get.  Leave two people in the observation post and the E-Web by the command center covering the barracks.  Sergeant Vikkors, once your team is finished clearing the barracks building for threats, let me know.  Lieutenant Koflan, let's start loading up prisoners.  Leave the Peace Brigaders for last," Alema Rar instructed them.

There was another chorus of acknowledgments as they began obeying her.  Then Alema Rar turned to her prisoner.  "Barracks," she told her, gesturing towards the open blast doors with her carbine. 

As they walked, Alema Rar reached out with the Force to see if she could sense any Peace Brigaders still alive in the barracks.  By the time they reached the barracks, Alema Rar was pretty sure there weren't any left alive.

The transport set down with its ramp just a few meters from the prison doors.  In minutes Lieutenant Koflan had it filled to capacity with rescued prisoners.

It took them nearly three hours to get all of the prisoners, plus the Peace Brigaders, onto the passenger liner.  Alema Rar had her troops salvage as much of the weapons and equipment as they could from the barracks and command center.  She had also had her two demolitions troopers blow the control room up so it couldn't be used again.

Alema Rar waited until the very last transport to leave.  It was the smaller one she had arrived on.  Besides her, only, Sairri, the other eight Peace Brigaders they had captured, and her special-ops troopers were aboard.  There were also some containers of equipment they were taking from the prison, including one with several hundred sets of binders, stun cuffs, shock shackles, and even slave collars.

As they took off, Alema Rar had the pilot blast the observation post into twisted wreckage.  Then she had him shoot through the open blast doors of the command center, just to make sure the Peace Brigade couldn't use the place again.  Finally they headed for the passenger liner.

Alema Rar and two dozen commandos had rescued just over two thousand prisoners from a Peace Brigade prison, and hadn't had a single injury, much less lost anyone.  She sat silently contemplating that.  For the first time since the beginning of the war, she had been on a mission, and no one had gotten killed.  After a few seconds, she began crying softly to herself.

"Hey Alema Rar, you okay?" Sergeant Vikkors asked from the seat next to her.

"Yeah," she lied, quickly covering her eyes with her goggles so he wouldn't see her tears.  "I'm fine,” she said in a clipped tone that stopped him from commenting further.


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