The Calm Seas glided into the clearing, flared to cut speed, then gently set down.
“Rapid turn around!” the pilot shouted into the comm system while flipping a series of switches.
The whine of the repulsors cut out. With a hiss and a groan the full weight of the old transport craft settled onto its landing gear. The rear loading ramp was already descending to the gravel below as Trooper Recruit Gortanna Mar unbuckled his flight restraints.
A welcome gust of fresh air swept through the cabin. Long spaceflights and tight quarters left something to be desired, as far as he was concerned.
Give me a posting on the ground any day.
Mar had to squeeze past the tied down crates and cargo pallets to join the other new arrivals making their way to the side exit stairs. Three of his fellow passengers were from Starfighter Command: two Tech Recruits and a brand new Flight Cadet. One was from Fleet, a Sub-Lieutenant by the looks of it. Another Trooper Recruit was from Ordnance and Supply. Mar was the sole representative from Sumitra Sector Command.
Mar got to the opening and paused for a moment atop the exit stairs.
Tierfon. A secret fighter base. My new home.
The battered GR-75 transport was sitting in a clearing ringed by pine trees. The sky was blue with just a few light, wispy clouds. A pair of high contrails revealed the X-wing escort that had followed them to the surface. The starfighters were headed up, back out into the inky blackness of space.
Mar took a deep breath. Moderate temp, no humidity to speak of, and nothing but wilderness as far as the eye could see. A smile crossed his face as he took in the view. Down below, a cluster of people awaited the new arrivals, and binary load lifters were already busy with the cargo. Off to one side of the improvised landing field sat more pallets and crates, along with a small handful of mixed personnel, waiting to board once the transport was emptied.
Never a dull day in the Alliance.
“Excuse me, sir, I should like to disembark,” the mechanical tones of a protocol droid interrupted.
“Oh, yeah. Sure,” Mar mumbled, hoisting his travel bag and heading down the stairs.
Near the base of the stairs a serious looking Rodian female approached, bio-scanner in hand.
“Trooper Recruit Gortanna Mar?” she asked, sweeping the scanner up and down in front of him.
Mar nodded but stood still and quiet, knowing the drill. With an affirmative chirp from the device, her demeanor changed. She stowed the scanner, half smiled and extended her hand.
“Geela Ral, Sector Command. I’m First Trooper for Fire Team Blue 2. You’re with me.” The Rodian turned toward a trail leading away from the clearing. She was halfway into the trees before glancing back, “Oh. And welcome to Tierfon.”
“Thanks,” Mar replied, hustling to catch up. The landing field was ringed by partially concealed emplacements and bunkers. All of the weapons were aimed in the general direction of the newly arrived Rebel transport.
Ral noticed his attention. “Base security is our top priority,” she said.
“Makes sense,” Mar nodded. The Calm Seas had been met in space by an armed escort and a scanner-equipped freighter. The starfighters hadn’t been there to protect the supply ship. Quite the opposite, in fact. The freighter compared the transport’s unique subspace engine signatures to the database and cross-checked the recorded manifest versus detected cargo. Then there were the coded communications transmissions and passcodes. All were routine. Many layers of security provided for a defense in depth, right down to the mandatory bio-scans for all newly arriving sentients. A similar scan confirmed the identities of all new droids.
Two heavy speeder trucks, loaded down with new supplies, eased past the line of personnel moving up the dusty trail. They were headed up slope now, and Mar could see an observation tower peeking out above the trees ahead.
Ral gestured to a pair of armed troopers out in the trees, 10 meters off the trail. They nodded, gestured back, and moved out of sight. “First, we’ll get you to the quartermaster. Then show you to your bunk. Then get you something to eat.”
“Sounds wonderful,” Mar replied. He hadn’t noticed how hungry he was before she’d mentioned food.