The full-body hologram of Admiral Hackssler rubbed his brow as the crew of the Express congregated in the lounge of the ship. Hackssler was a battle-hardened commander, captain of the Kraken, a newly liberated Nebula-class Star Destroyer, and a true-born Corellian.
With everyone in the room, and after all necessary introductions had been made, Hackssler gets right to the point, as though he, at that point, was rather involuntarily having his attention divided.
"Forrester's data has proven to be a gold mine of actionable intelligence against the Empire, and with Glaston's help we've been able to coordinate strategic assaults against vulnerable targets. For the time being, my task force has been concentrating on research stations and smaller tech facilities. The more weapons technology we can keep away from the Empire, either Empire, and use ourselves, the more likely we are to find the edge we need to win this war."
"After that SNAFU on Hoth, I've had reservations about sending you after another failed reconnaissance. I understand you were given incorrect coordinates and didn't get the right equipment. Some of your team suffered severe frostbite while exploring the remains of Echo Base -- it was lucky that Master Rane was able to single-handedly recapture the No Return. It's a pity he's been tasked to oversee the surrender of the Imperial group on Tandive III. We could've used someone like him on this one."
"I sent a task force to capture this particular facility. Forrester's intelligence suggested it was a small and discrete, third-party, non-Imperial. We didn't expect much resistance, but my task force has failed to report in and isn't responding to our communications. Recon-scouts I sent after them haven't reported back either."
"I don't know what's going on out there, but I have a feeling that I just lost a good many good men. I was about to write off the objective altogether when Master Rynah suggested I contact you. I don't like the idea of sending you on a suicide mission, but word of your exploits gets around. I do believe, now, that if anyone can go out there and bring my men back, and find that facility, it'll be the Midnight Express."
"The facility is supposed to be in the Omega 4 sector of the Expansion Rim, in the Umbara system. We've reached out to the Umbarans, and they've confirmed that there's a high-value target there, but won't share the details. Don't go in blind; if you have leverage with the Umbarans, use it. Assemble your team, be ready, then head to the Omega 4 sector."
"The Umbarans made contact some time ago, after the Kuari tournament, and have been feeding us critical intel. They've also given us access to some of their remote shipyards, for a price. I think they've been careful not to give enough to implicate themselves, but they are undoubtedly a central power and our only foothold in the region. They have a vast political and economic network, and some of the most highly trained infiltration units in the galaxy. They can hold their own against the Empire and if they align with us officially, they will pave the road for other major systems to follow."
Renk watches the exchange between Hackssler, Rotta, and Grey - a quizzical expression crossing his face whenever the Hutt speaks. As the conversation devolves into glares between Rotta and Grey, Renk clears his throat and steps forward.
"Ahem. Excuse me, Admiral, what additional information, if any, can you share about this facility? Are they producing weapons, munitions, armor, starships?" Renk asks, respectfully, "I'd rather not go in totally blind if it can be avoided."
"I wish I could give you more, but all I have is a list of targets. The Empire may be a centuries-old bureaucracy, but one thing they are good at is compartmentalizing information. Even working blind, the operation has been 87% successful, but every now and then...we hit a black spot. Our success has depended on fast and lean strikes while maintaining the element of surprise. If we wait to supplement our intel, we risk the Empire anticipating our next move."
"I'm sure the Umbarans know what we don't, but would rather not risk singeing their fancy coats in the backfire. The Empire could not possibly be operating in Umbara without their knowledge. If you can find a way to leverage that information, I'm sure you'll have everything you need to succeed."
"Couldn't say, but I can confirm that we are receiving fewer and fewer reports of sightings, specifically after the declaration of the New Order. If they're still around, they're either in hiding or their attention is focused elsewhere. All-in-all, a blessing; our men aren't trained to fight Jedi in the field."
Tag clears his throat. "Admiral, he means Force-users in general. Sith, those New Order clones, that sort of thing." He steals a glance at Tsilze, who's still looking at the screen intently. "The Vong apparently never really differentiated, or at least Tsilze's clan didn't." Tsilze nods at this.