Posted by: alexwinger | February 18, 2008

Life in the Imperial comm center

A few moments in the life of an Imperial intercept operator
Communications Center, Imperial Headquarters, Ariana

Solv Niider propped his chin on one hand and forced his eyes open. The young Imperial communications specialist hated quiet nights. He’d had quite a few since his arrival on Garos two weeks earlier. Staying awake was difficult when the underground freedom fighters weren’t up to much. When he’d gone through comm school a few months back, no one told him there would be nights like this.

Niider stifled a yawn and tapped a key on his workstation, changing the frequencies he was monitoring in his right ear about every ten seconds. Up the bandwidth. Down the bandwidth. Routine. Boring. I’m gonna get the recruiter who told me this would be an exciting career.

He hoped there might actually be some activity tonight. Earlier in the evening, the night operations chief, Lieutenant Wahl, briefed the ops about a shipment of supplies headed from the spaceport toward the Imperial Mining Center. Niider might be new to the comm center but he remembered his orientation and the overview of Garos’ Rebel underground. This was just the sort of target they’d go after. There was a good chance that their communications would reflect some increased activity.

Changing the frequency again, Niider’s index finger paused over the keyboard. Tap again. He could’ve set it automatically to scan the freqs, but the tapping kept him more alert. Tap again. Just before the new freq locked in, Niider caught the beginning of a transmission on the channel he was leaving. Quickly, he punched the minus key to take him back down ten clicks. Quiet. Where are you? I know you’re there.

uk> 2?

The channel crackled with static. Niider quickly keyed in the same frequency into his left ear, so he’d be able to hear a little more clearly. He pumped the volume up, hit the record button on his console, and began transcribing.

uk> 2?
ct> Go ahead, 2. :::control op sounds female:::
2> Team 1, 4 Bs just passed.
1> Any sign of the package yet, 2?
2> No. More Bs coming my way. Stand-by.

Niider called into his voice mic. “Lieutenant?” He glanced at the monitor to double-check the frequency even though he’d keyed it in at the beginning of the log. “I’ve got traffic on D12.”

“Good work, Niider,” Wahl called back. “Anything interesting?”

“Reports of scout trooper movements, Sir.”

2> By the moons…
1> What?
2> Big guns, 1. Move out. Move out now.
1> How many?
2> They found us. Force be with… :::explosion, transmission cut:::
1> 2? :::calls again, no response:::

Niider stared at the monitor. He swallowed the lump in his throat. He’d never heard someone die before. No one told him there would be nights like this.


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