"Wait wait shut up!"
Jessika yelled back at the screaming worried passengers. She was trying to hear someone speaking over the comms. Another nameless transport pilot was trying to communicate back to the Raddus.
"Admiral, we're taking fire! Do we turn around?"
Holdo replied with,
"No, you're too far out. Full speed to planetfall! FULL SPEED!"
The pilot would never hear the response as he was obliterated right after his transmission. No matter what little evasive maneuvers the pilots could pull off, they were no match for the super-destroyer’s turbolasers. It must've been like shooting fish in a barrel for the FO gunners. The radio chatter coming through Jaycob’s newly-claimed helmet started to dissolve as more and more transports were taken down.
"We're almost...there! Just hold on!"
Jaycob exclaimed as he dodged another turbolaser shot.
"If something doesn't happen soon, Crait is staying abandoned."
"Hold on a second, look!"
One of the officers pointed at the Raddus. The massive hulk of a cruiser began to accelerate, preparing the jump to lightspeed.
"What the hell is she doing? Running away?"
Jessika asked. Jaycob was about to explain why this wasn't the case, but then realized that she was still unconscious when Holdo proved her loyalty. But what Leia's successor did next sealed the deal. The remnants of the transports were spared as the turbolasers now concentrated on the Raddus. It was the First Order's last ditch effort to protect themselves, but it was too late. With the push of a lever, Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo sent the Mon-Calamari cruiser, Raddus, into lightspeed, ramming the Supremacy and splitting it into uneven halves. The First Order Navy was reduced to nothing but stardust, let alone five Star Destroyers.
Jaycob and Jessika were left dumbfounded, their jaws both dropped. That was it. The U-55s were left undeterred on the final stretch to planetfall. After the chaos that resulted, only five transports remained.
The Resistance regrouped inside one of the salt mine facilities. Jaycob didn't expect that an abandoned rebel outpost would be settled on top of a massive salt deposit. When he first set foot onto the mineral floor, he took in a deep breath and scanned his surroundings. All that was left were a few driller vehicles and containers filled to the brim with the red ore. All of those who were knocked out from the small mutiny were fully awake and aware, as other Resistance members had to fill them in on what they missed. Jaycob found amusement in seeing the looks of confusion and guilt on their faces, as they realized they were wrong about Holdo. Just like Jaycob had been.
On the other hand, as soon as Jessika stepped out of the transport, she searched for Poe. She didn't have to look too far as his ship was docked right next to theirs. He was sitting on one of the unloaded cargo crates with a blank look on his face, staring at a wall that wasn't there. But as soon as he laid eyes on her, he broke out of it. He shot out of his seat with a wide smile on his face.
He laughed and met her halfway to embrace her in a gigantic bear hug. He spun her around a time or two and set her down, his hands on her shoulders.
"I thought you were gone! As soon as I woke up, I couldn't find you and I-"
"Hey hey, I'm here. I'm fine. Thanks to Jay, we made it out alright."
Jaycob was across the way, helping unload what limited cargo they had left. Poe called out to him,
"Thanks Jaycob, you kept your promise."
He set down the last crate from his transport and turned his head.
"We're not outta this yet. The FO is marching to our doorstep and we're at a dead end."
Poe let go of Jessika and nodded in agreement. He looked around for some form of leadership, but seeing as both Leia and Holdo were deceased, there were none.
"Wait, so who's the commanding officer?"
He asked. Jaycob scratched the back of his neck and looked around.
"I-uh, I think that's you."
The leftover soldiers and pilots all gathered around, encasing the new leader in a circle. Poe glanced at each one of them, thinking of something to say that would lift their spirits. But, he was having trouble. The odds were not in their favor, the First Order still held military supremacy over them in both number and firepower. All the small band of rebels could do now is wait.
"I'm not gonna sugar-coat this..."
"...our chances are slim. But they are there. If we can get a signal to our allies in the Outer Rim, we might be able to fight another day. But if not, this will be the end of the Resistance. As soon as that door gets breached, the Resistance's downfall begins. How much time it takes for it to happen however, that's on us. Forget our differences, we're all fighters now. The first thing on the agenda is to unload our cargo, make due with any leftover ordnance, and set up our defenses. Now, let's get to it."
Mumbles of encouragement came from few, and everyone rushed to their tasks. Jaycob finished unloading his transport and headed over to the base's armory. Brushing off cobwebs and salt ore, Jaycob was able to find several hidden compartments that stored small arms and grenades. He called for attention to his location, and tried to get every Resistance member a weapon of some sort. The selection varied from smaller blaster pistols like the DH-17, and bigger rifles like the A280.
Handing the weapons off one-by-one, Jaycob took notice at a datapad on a table across from him. The device was covered in dirt and dust, had a long hairline crack across the screen, and was out of power. Jaycob followed a power cord from one of the computers brought from the Raddus, and inserted it into the tablet. The device whirred faintly and lit on. On the screen, were multiple folders containing all the information regarding the abandoned rebel base. But before Jaycob had a chance to investigate any further, a yell from a Resistance soldier alerted him of danger.
An Xi-class light shuttle with a pair of TIE fighter escorts were approaching towards the massive mine door. Any Resistance member that was close to the door started to fall back signaling for it the be shut. Jessika manned the control room and activated the closing procedure. However, the gate needed 30 seconds to shut completely, and judging by the distance and speed the First Order ships were approaching, it seemed like it would be too late.
"Go go! Move! Get that shield door down!"
Poe commanded. The TIEs fired a barrage of green into the hangar, sending soldiers flying into the air. Jaycob was hit in the back by a solid chunk of salt that exploded from a nearby mineral container. The hit barely made him stumble, but it made him unaware of the shuttle hitting the rocky floor, and sliding into the mine, leaving its top fin scraped off. Jaycob rolled out of the way in the knick of time to avoid being hit by one of the side wings. However, others were not so lucky. The entire area was disoriented, with recovering Resistance struggling to get back up on their feet. Some lay face down dead, their blood blending in with the color of the salt. Others sprung up to their feet clutching their weapon in hand, and firing at the shuttle cockpit, hoping to get a lucky shot on the pilots.
Jaycob was one of the lucky few who regained their strength quickly, and fired a flurry of blaster fire into the shuttle's cockpit. He pressed as much force onto the trigger as he could, letting his rage consume him. He was determined to kill whoever was piloting the shuttle; for Leia, for Holdo, for Jax, and for everyone he saw disappear in front of his eyes at the hands of the First Order. For Tallie.
"No! Wait, don't shoot! It's us!"
A recognizable voice yelled in response to the blaster fire.
"Hold your fire! Hold your fire!"
Poe ordered, and the blue and red light show was over. Jaycob aimed his sights on the pair of hands that shot up in surrender, but lowered his guard as soon as the faces of Rose Tico and Finn came into view.
"Finn? Rose? You're not dead! Where's my droid?"
The spherical orange and white astromech rolled out of the mangled wreckage beeping enthusiastically.
Poe celebrated, giving his companion an artificial belly scratch. The small morale boost the reunion gave the group was brief, as Rose asked,
"Is this all that's left?"
Jaycob nodded and replied,
"Yeah, this is it. The plan was going well, until they started firing on us. Our transports dropped like flies."
Rose and Finn disembarked from the shuttle and approached him.
"We tried to shut it down, but we were betrayed. We were about to be executed, but then everything just...exploded."
"We had to escape the starship on this stolen shuttle. When we saw the thing split in half, we realized what happened."
"...welcome to the party. We're stuck here until our allies can come through."
"Allies? What allies?"
Rose and Finn stated in unison. They glanced at each other.
"Is Rey here?"
Jaycob shrugged as he didn't know the answer, then let Poe take his place in the conversation.
"I still have the tracker, but it hasn't done anything yet."
Poe held up a cloaked binary beacon that he removed from his wrist. Finn responded with a gloomy expression. Rose took notice and changed the subject.
"So what's the plan?"
Jaycob waved them over and said,
"Over here, we gotta get you armed."
The pair obliged and followed him to the armory while the rest of the Resistance went to work on other duties. While Jaycob and Finn foraged for any leftover blasters, Rose picked up the datapad connected to the computer and turned it on. She accessed the files and tapped around.
"Guys I think I found something!"
Finn and Jaycob hurried over.
"According to this manifest, this base is equipped with a planetary shield. They won't be able to hit us from above!"
"Yes, you're a genius!"
Poe must've overheard, as he burst into the room.
"Rose? What do ya got?"
"Rotting munitions, rusted artillery, and some half-gutted skim speeders."
Poe shook his head and looked towards the gate.
"Let's just pray that big ass door holds long enough for us to get help."
The ground began to shake, as if a small earthquake had erupted. The surface shook so violently that the salt crystals from the storage containers began to fall out and dust from the ceiling rained down. The indigenous species of crystal foxes, also known as Vulptices, started to panic, prancing to and fro trying to seek shelter from what was thought of as just a tremor.
A look through the base's main gate periscope discovered something much more devious than such. A gigantic cylindrical tube inside a trapezoid housing was being hoisted by three tug-ships of some kind. Six AT-M6 walkers accompanied by a smaller AT-walker battalion flanked both sides of the weapon. And above it all, was Kylo Ren's shuttle.
"A battering ram cannon. Miniaturized Death Star tech, it'll crack that door open like an egg."
Finn stated grimly.
"Is there not another exit out of this facility?"
Rose questioned. BB-8 and a dirty-gold protocol droid, approached into the spotlight.
"BB-8 has analyzed the mine's schematics. This is the only way in or out."
"We need to buy time for our allies, and it seems like the only way to do that is to take out that cannon."
Jaycob announced. Jessika, having been quiet for most of the briefing, nodded her head in agreement and turned to Rose.
"Speeders. You said we had speeders right? We'll use those to take out the cannon!"
Rose shot a worried glance back at the pilot.
"They’re not exactly top-of-the-line. Most of them are missing components that are needed to even start."
"Well, they're worth a shot. What are they anyway? T-47's?"
"Oh boy I wish. They're not airspeeders, they're skimspeeders. V-4X-D ski speeders to be exact. Here, take a look."
Rose handed the datapad to Jessika. Upon seeing the vehicles, her shoulders dropped.
"These are pieces of trash. But it totally beats just waiting here. Where are they stored?"
"On the upper-levels, they get deployed through this sling-shot mechanism."
Jessika could hardly stand still. Jaycob could tell that she just wanted to get in and start flying. The upper-levels were accessed by a single elevator lift that ascended to the base's hidden hangar. Jessika marched onto the lift with her right fist held high.
"I need twelve pilots to be part of the speeder squad. Who's in?"
Jaycob was surprised that Jessika took charge right away. That same gleam of determination and fearlessness he saw on the Raddus before the mutiny, was back. But it also worried him, since that whole plot turned out to be a disaster. But seeing as the Resistance was all out of options, this seemed like the only way. Jaycob stepped forward and jumped onto the lift, to the left of Jessika.
"I always got your back Sky-sis."
Jaycob joked. She grinned as her best friend took the invitation as quick as he did. It comforted her knowing that he truly was family. But her grin turned into a smile as Poe also stepped forward and climbed aboard the lift. He flanked her other side, standing triumphantly on her right, with her hand in his.
"We've both got your back."
Jaycob rolled his eyes at Poe's statement, seeing it as just a piggy-back off of his comment. He moved his head behind Jessika's and whispered to him,
"Really? Couldn't think of anything more original? She is your girl after all-"
Jessika planted her left elbow into Jaycob's stomach, causing Poe to lose his stern expression with a snicker. Jaycob was taken aback by the sudden playful strike and clenched his abdomen. He bit his lip turned around.
Jessika questioned. Soon, more and more pilots came out from the crowd, stepping onto the platform and standing behind her, both physically and figuratively. All thirteen speeder spots were filled as the pilots were sent upwards toward the hangar. Some of them included: Nodin Chavdri, Finn, Pamich Goode, Nien Nunb, C'ai Threnalli, and Rose. Those who weren't chosen remained on ground level and made their way to the turrets and trenches, gearing up for the ground assault.
"So, what's our callsign?"
Jessika looked upwards as if trying to remember something. But once the lift reached the hangar floor, the name clicked right into place.