Before Silver Swarms of Ships *RELOADED* [Dear Diary 2014] Diary Complete!

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Goodwood, Jan 2, 2014.

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  1. Goodwood Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2011
    star 4
    Title: Silver Swarms of Ships
    Author: Goodwood
    Timeframe: Before the Saga, KotOR-era
    Character: Chak Ravartin, Teish'ala, Atton Juyode, various OCs
    Genre: Diary Challenge
    Summary: A wet-behind-the-ears fighter pilot flying for the Marine Corps navigates his way through the Jedi Civil War, experiencing the heights, hazards, hatreds and horrors of a galaxy at war. Far from the world of his birth and where he learned to fly, he will fight and possibly die for the preservation of civilization. (Note: This is a reboot of an old diary and relates to the novella Saber Battalion)

    __________________________________________________________________________________

    Pilot log, entry one, 3958.2.7 BBY

    It's only been a couple of days since I've received my first posting, I reported to the 23rd Marine Starfighter Squadron just as it was leaving for the front lines, and my stomach still hasn't quite settled. We had a quick stopover in the [REDACTED] system for a series of orientation flights, during which we practiced a few maneuvers and got to know our wingmates a little better. My squadron leader, Lt. Commander Juyode, seems to know his stuff and I'm grateful to be his backup man.

    The commander of our Marine ground forces, which consists of the 3rd Marine Battalion, is another story in and of herself. The rumors flying around about her are enough to make a guy shudder, but I can't tell if it's awe or fear. But she's called a meeting of the task force's Marine officers for a general briefing, starfighter pilots included; five will get you ten this is going to be about our overall mission. I hope but don't expect that she'll address any of these rumors, but here's hoping.

    The rumor mill is also churning out juicy bits about our enemy. Everyone knows that almost all of them are traitors, those who had fought alongside Revan and Malak against the Mandalorians, but now they're attacking us? I don't pretend to understand it, but thankfully I don't have to. Those new silver ships, swarms of them I hear they're using, those are all I have to understand, and only to the extent necessary to blast them to free-floating hydrogen.

    Dunno why this entry is so filled with vitriol. I'm normally a laid-back sort of guy, as superstitious as any swoop racer out there. But the enemy has been wreaking havoc for a few months now, and I couldn't wait to finish getting through flight school so I could show them just what a Coruscant swooper can do when he's good and riled. Anyway, I've rambled enough for now, even though my XO says it's important for an officer to keep a record of their thoughts and feelings. I don't see why, but maybe meeting with the captain will bring a bit more context.

    For now, this is Ensign Chak Ravartin, signing off.
    Last edited by Goodwood, Dec 26, 2014 at 3:42 PM
  2. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    Great to see a KotOR diary
  3. Thumper09 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 9, 2001
    star 4
    Fascinating start! I'll be curious to see how Chak does with adjusting to his unit and being in the war. Like him, I'm also wondering what their overall mission will be, but I'll wait and see if details come out of the general briefing.

    I like that he's superstitious. :) That could be an interesting side to him. Great post!
  4. Goodwood Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2011
    star 4
    Thank you for the comments, @Thumper09 and @earlybird-obi-wan.

    The diary will actually intersect a previously-published story of mine, Star Wars: Saber Battalion fairly early on, but in the end will go quite beyond that. A fighter pilot can go pretty far in a year's worth of combat...if s/he survives. And superstition can be found among most fighter pilots of history and even in the modern age.
  5. TrakNar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2011
    star 5
    Looking like a good start. Can't wait for the briefing.
  6. Goodwood Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2011
    star 4
    Pilot log, entry two, 3958.2.10 BBY

    The briefing got pushed back a day due to some SNAKU with Admiral Hetton, who wanted to get in a few more training runs with his gunners and the chief engineer of my ship, the Stalwart Defender, needing to go over the hyperdrive systems once more. It's a real nightmare that I am extremely grateful is as far above my pay grade as a skyhook is from my homeworld's surface. I've only been a Marine for twenty months now, and beyond learning how to fly they really didn't have time to teach us much about military protocol. I guess this is all supposed to be something we learn from simple experience. One of the less junior pilots in my squadron told me that Academy officers get the benefit of what she called "midshipman school" or something like that.

    Us fighter pilots took the extra time to mingle a bit with some of our counterparts from the Navy squadrons assigned to the task force, which we did in the junior officers' mess over the midday meal. Thankfully, it seems I'm far from the only one who either has a lucky charm, or performs some sort of small, unobtrusive ritual before going into the cockpit. During my swooping days I would always give the rudder controls a good pair of kicks before powering up the engine, and this habit seems to have carried over to when I'm in my Aurek fighter, getting ready to launch. And there's the shard of flawed gemstone that a girl I used to like gave me just before...well...yeah. Let's just say that so far, it's also brought me a considerable amount of luck, both in the cockpit and out. As it happened one of the Navy fliers, a Twi'lek female with the 52nd judging by her unit patch, was shooting me furtive looks from behind her lunch. I'm unsure what she was getting at, or if she had even realized I was able to pick up on her apparent interest.

    I may be a raw recruit, but I'm not that raw.

    Anyway, we did end up having that briefing, a day late and a credit short. I managed to arrive for it fairly early, and was told by a tall, dark-skinned commander named Bimm to take a seat near the back of the auditorium. Within a few minutes the rest of my unit had arrived. It was several minutes more before the rest of the officers from the Third Battalion showed up, and another one until our CO arrived. Man, I gotta say, if the rest of the battalions in the Corps have leaders like ours, this war's in the bag. Though most of us wore our BDUs, with Commander Bimm and the other commanders in service greens, Captain Laera Reyolé strode in wearing the full set of formal dress regalia. And I wasn't the only one to catch sight of the chrome-plated tube that hung from her white belt, a tube that, from its adornments, could only be a Jedi's lightsaber.

    I found myself goggle-eyed as she began to address the gathering, informing us of what she envisioned for us as a fighting unit. She told us that, despite the fact that ground-pounders and fighter jocks were considered by the brass to be separate entities, for the purposes of her tenure as commanding officer, we were to consider ourselves compatriots in all the ways of Marine Corps tradition. She showed us an order from the Commandant of the Marine Corps himself, Voskel Dun'vei, stating that she had been given a free hand to plan and carry out her own operational directives, explaining to us that this meant we would always be on the attack. On top of that, she also stated in no uncertain terms that our goal, first and foremost, was to kill Sith. Fortunately, I have a good memory for histrionics, so here's her exact quote: "No being ever won a war by dying for their homeland. They won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for theirs!"

    I think I'm going to like serving under Captain Reyolé.
    Last edited by Goodwood, Apr 6, 2014
  7. Goodwood Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2011
    star 4
    Pilot log, entry three, 3958.2.12 BBY

    After passing through [REDACTED] sector on our way toward the front lines, the task force dropped out of hyperspace within spitting distance of a cluster of outsystem comets. Since the 23rd is still a fairly green outfit overall, or so I've been told, Captain Reyolé wants us to put in some more stick-time. For this occasion we were paired up with the 52nd Navy squadron and told to "play tag" with them amongst the rock and ice of the star system's Oort cloud. With powered-down lasers, obviously. I think I'm a pretty darn good flyer if I do say so myself, but these Navy pukes were trained from the start with ship-to-ship combat in mind, while us jarheads are mostly tasked with less glamorous roles such as close support for ground troops or surprise ambushes behind enemy lines.

    On the bright side, it wasn't a complete fiasco. On the more pragmatic side, however, we've got a bit of catching up to do in order to get up to the level of the 52nd, and Commander Juyode told us during the debrief that we could expect our Sith opponents to be just as good if not better in a dogfight. "One on one you might be able to get them," he had said, "but they prefer to stack the odds against their opponents. We're neks going into a swarm of mynocks; we may bag quite a few, but if we don't work together as a unit, in the end we'll be just as vaped."

    When we were dismissed, that Twi'lek woman who had eyeballed me a few days ago (and who had, incidentally, shot me down twice during our runs) caught up with me on my way to the junior officers' mess. We ended up having a nice meal together, mostly discussing tactics and (with a big grin on her green face) how she was able to get on my tail so easily. Something about being predictable and not being aggressive enough, I'll have to remember that. We wrapped it up with a promise to see each other tomorrow at breakfast, apparently she fancies giving me poodoo about my inexperience, but thankfully she's not a schutta about it

    Thankfully, she's the same rank but with a bit more experience under her belt.
    Last edited by Goodwood, Apr 6, 2014
  8. Goodwood Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2011
    star 4
    Pilot log, entry four, 3958.2.17 BBY

    They bombed Telos IV yesterday.

    Admiral Saul Karath came out of nowhere with a huge armada, parked it in orbit of the planet, and demanded its surrender. The Telosians refused, and after brushing aside what defenders the planet had, the Sith just...obliterated the entire surface. The task force—the whole damn Republic—is in shock. Millions are dead. Countless more are hurt, homeless, forced offworld, all three...there's a monumental relief effort underway, but...it's just so...I'm at a loss for words, which is saying something.

    I mean, just a few days ago I had met and become friends with this knockout of a woman who loves flying just as much as I do, enjoying a relatively uneventful spell in the war. And now Teish'ala and I are both struggling to bring some sort of sense to what has happened. She's got this gleam in her eye, like a hunger for vengeance has awakened within her, and I'm wondering if I should just give in and indulge that feeling with her. But when Captain Reyolé called the Marine officers together to discuss what was going on, she told us plain as day that we mustn't give in to hate. We have to follow orders, focus on our jobs, and watch each others' backs. I wonder if I could convince Teish'ala to transfer into my unit, but of course she'd have to leave the Navy first.

    Something is brewing, in any case. We also just got the news that the Zabrak homeworld of Iridonia has fallen to the Sith; Kar Yun, callsign Shabu Ten, is from there and he's not at all happy about this development. Anyway, I have to go; we're supposed to be going over some tactical updates in a few minutes.
    Last edited by Goodwood, Apr 6, 2014
  9. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

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    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Hi! I like the business-like and concise tone of the diary. I like the commentary about his squadmates and commander. :) =D= on the details you have about the various systems and conflicts. :cool:
  10. windu4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2008
    star 4
    Tag please! I've actually been reading this with great interest but it seems as if I've neglected to post in here.
  11. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    Great entries with all the details about his squadron, the missions and the references
  12. Goodwood Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2011
    star 4
    Pilot log, entry five, 3958.2.19 BBY

    Yesterday we made port call in the [REDACTED] system in [REDACTED] sector, which is only a few parsecs from the current planes of contention. Commander Juyode explained that this was what the brass call a "show of force" to "reassure the citizenry" that the military is watching out for them. So, with our ships in orbit over the system's sole inhabited planet, an agriworld with mining interests supporting a significant Republic outpost and orbital defense facility, we starfighter pilots are charged with flying combat aerospace patrol. We take it in turns by squadron (there are six with Admiral Hetton's task force), with each unit going out for a few hours, coming back to the Stalwart Defender for rest and refueling, until it's time to go back out again. As it happened, my unit was not slated to go out until today.

    This resulted in me missing out on the chance to experience some actual combat, for as the Force (or simple happenstance) would have it, it was within a few hours of our arrival that the 55th tangled with a small Sith scout ship and the sextet of escorting starfighters. The resulting furball was the first action of the war for us, and the tally speaks for itself; the recon patrol was annihilated and the Navy pilots didn't get so much as a scratch. Teish'ala looked distinctly put out at having missed out, but I'm of two minds; I'm both nervous at the prospect of my first battle, yet excited all the same by the prospect. While my training was oriented differently, aggressiveness is something they drilled into me from day one of flight school.

    Well anyway, today it was our turn to conduct patrols, and with the oddball rotation the 23rd ended up pulling two patrols. Both proved to be almost as dull as watching flimsiplast dissolve in water, relatively speaking, as the Sith seem to have decided not to stage a follow-up strike. Maybe the 55th scared them off, or maybe they're just waiting for us to leave, I can't tell, and despite any attempt to put the situation out of my mind, I can't help thinking about it. Perhaps I just need to experience combat for the first time, and get it over with and out of my system. If that's the case, the sooner it happens, the better.

    Right now I'm exhausted, so it's time to sign off and hit the rack.

    ______________________________________________
    @windu4 @Nyota's Heart @TrakNar @earlybird-obi-wan
    Last edited by Goodwood, Apr 6, 2014
  13. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

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    =D= =D= Very real-to-life mixed emotions about going into combat and being relieved not to. [face_thinking]
  14. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    I am glad he didn't have to go into combat. Great entry showing his thoughts
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  15. Thumper09 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 9, 2001
    star 4
    Chak is experiencing quite a bit between the training, his budding relationship with Teish'ala, the patrols, and the prospect of his eventual first time in combat. It's fascinating seeing those things from his perspective. I like how the pilots in the different squadrons are learning to work together despite their different training and approaches to dogfighting.

    The Telos IV bombing was a shocking event that seemed to hit the characters pretty hard. I'm curious to see what the Siths' plans are and if/how Telos IV will fit into them.

    Great posts!
  16. Goodwood Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2011
    star 4
    Pilot log, entry six, 3958.2.22 BBY

    There's an old Rickard Whipstaff quote that, ever since I heard it early on in flight school, has stuck with me: "Whatever deed hath gone unknown in war, is a deed oft overlauded in peace."

    It seems to me that what inspired him to write that line, if anything, must have been bitter firsthand experience, because it's starting to ring uncomfortably true within my mind's eye. Here we are, out on the edge of civilization, risking our lives on behalf of a galactic government that can only see us as numbers in a datafile. I don't necessarily fault the Republic for this attitude; if anything, my experience thus far as a Marine has told me that this is par for the course. But it does cause me to wonder just where within this broad tableau of conflict I fit. Ensign Chak Ravartin, service number 4503-3682SF, has thus far accrued a total of five hundred and three hours of flying time on Aurek-class tactical strikefighters, with thirteen of these under what is optimistically referred to as "combat conditions." In peacetime, that's a lot of flying in only half a year of service, but during war, it's nothing special.

    So what does all that mean? As a fighter pilot I get paid an extra fifty percent more than others of my grade, and any time spent in the combat zone gets me an extra twenty percent on top of that princely sum. So, assuming I survive the war—or my term of service—I'm looking at a pretty handsome pile of credits. Of course, those credits aren't worth a pound of bantha poodoo if the Sith win and take over the galaxy...but I'm rambling now, and if anyone decides to read this log at a later date (even if it's only me), this will hardly interest them. So, back to the war.

    We left the [REDACTED] system yesterday after having beaten off a half-hearted attack; a single Interdictor-class cruiser and its fighters had attempted to probe the outer system, but the 53rd Navy flyers were on patrol nearby. The furball was not so one-sided this time; though we didn't lose anybody, a pair of Aureks got badly shot up and another was lost, its pilot going extravehicular. The Sith force had been bloodied; while the 53rd's second and third flight kept their interceptors at bay, the first flight had gone in for a torpedo run at the cruiser; it was this wave that got hit bad by counterfire. Lieutenant junior grade Tennis Umber is still floating in a kolto tank, but he's expected to be back in the cockpit in another day or two. Lieutenant senior grade Sen Korve, the 23rd's XO who flies in Shabu Five, told me after the fight that he thinks this was another feint and that once we leave, the forces already in-system should be able to hold any further probes.

    Of course, that doesn't mean they'd have a chance of stopping an all-out assault, but from what I can tell, there are much more important worlds in this sector that would be more worthwhile for the Sith to take and hold. That's not much comfort for me, as now I have to wonder what will happen if the brass are wrong. Will the Sith treat every world they come across like Telos IV? That is to say, are they embarking on a scorched world policy? I just don't know, and that scares me. The sensation makes me feel hollow whenever I think about it, wondering if at some crucial point, I'll lose my head completely and make a mistake that hands victory to our enemies, and another planet burns because of it. Is this normal? Will this feeling pass?

    I don't have an answer for that yet. However, I'm not entirely without options. There's an excellent gym available for use by the Marines stationed aboard Stalwart Defender, and one of my instructors told me that if my mind starts to wander too much, to go and find the nearest object and just start punching at it. Ironically, this was the same person who quoted Whipstaff whenever he thought it necessary.

    Well, that was long-winded, so I'll wrap things up here and go massacre a speedbag.

    _________________________________________________________
    @Thumper09 @windu4 @Nyota's Heart @earlybird-obi-wan @TrakNar
    Last edited by Goodwood, Apr 6, 2014
  17. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

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    =D= Excellent job conveying the uncertainty and justifiable concerns of someone on the frontlines.
  18. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    Great thoughts about all the soldiers fighting the war for the leaders who are comfortable and far away in their offices
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  19. Goodwood Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2011
    star 4
    Pilot log, entry seven, 3958.2.25 BBY

    This is it, what they trained us for; we're going into combat.

    It's all part of Captain Reyolé's new operational plan, which she only just revealed to her officers. I don't know all the details, and it's probably a good thing, too, because our part involves a rather long hyperspace run into Sith-occupied space on a hit-and-fade to the recently-captured [REDACTED] system. Along with Teish'ala and the 52nd Navy squadron, we're going to infiltrate the asteroid belt where a small shipyard and repair facility are located, and smash it to bits with laser cannonfire and torpedoes. In the briefing he gave us, Commander Juyode laid out the plan: the 52nd, callsign Dalus, will serve as escort for the 23rd Marines, callsign Shabu (that's us), while we do the heavy hitting. We'll be entering the field on two separate trajectories, and utilizing a recently-developed tactic called the scatter formation.

    If all goes well, we'll be in and out before anyone is the wiser, and our target will either be obliterated or put out of action for a good amount of time. It's definitely ambitious, and from what Lieutenant Korve told me after the briefing, this is the kind of thing us Marine flyers are meant for: to hit the enemy where they are weakest, cause as much damage as we can, and get out before our foes can react. Well, I better start listening to him more intently, because as of now I'm in Shabu Six and flying as his wingman.

    Going to cut this one short, as we're pads-up in twenty minutes. If there aren't any more entries in this journal...well, that question pretty much answers itself, doesn't it?

    _________________________________________________________
    @Thumper09 @windu4 @Nyota's Heart @earlybird-obi-wan @TrakNar
    Last edited by Goodwood, Apr 6, 2014
  20. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

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    Sounds - if not exactly easy :p - straightforward. Hope everything goes as expected.
  21. Goodwood Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2011
    star 4
    (Please forgive the suddenness of this update, but it's plot-relevant)

    Pilot log, entry eight, 3958.2.26 BBY

    We made it, and we gave the Sith a sound drubbing!

    The jump to the target area was a long one, clear across to [REDACTED] sector, but we managed to enter the asteroid field undetected. The 52nd took their way in and we took ours, and while they ambushed a badly-damaged Sith cruiser and its small escort, vaping the lot, we unleashed baradium fury onto the facility designated Cobalt J-27. I personally destroyed a large bulk cruiser full of war materiel, the debris from which crashed into the dockyard and wrought further havoc! At the same time, Lieutenant Korve sent a pair of photon torpedoes zooming neatly into a fighter hanger, blowing it up from the inside out before its occupants could man their ships! Neither squadron lost a pilot, though someone from the Navy squadron did get their fighter singed when that cruiser bought it.

    Fortunately, the trip back to the task force wasn't quite so long, as they had moved off to the [REDACTED] system in anticipation of the second phase of the operation. So, as soon as we returned and went through the debrief (Teish'ala gleefully informing me that she had vaped one Sith interceptor and emptied her torpedo magazine into the cruiser's engines), it was sack time. So now, feeling quite well-rested, we're about to man our ships once more as the main attack begins. This time, resistance is expected to be heavy; according to Commander Juyode, there's no chance of us pulling this off unnoticed like last time. In fact, we're the vanguard for this attack, riding shotgun on the 3rd Marine Battalion and their landers.

    The briefing was crystal clear: this isn't just some behind-the-lines bash-and-bolt where it's just us fighter pilots who are in danger. An entire force of ground troops are depending on us to keep the skies clear of the enemy, and in the 23rd's case, to rain death upon any reinforcements that threaten the Marines planetside. We'll see how this compares to the fight at [REDACTED], but for now, I'm feeling okay. A bit nervous, but ready to do what needs to be done.

    Pads-up in fifteen, wish me luck...

    _________________________________________________________
    @Thumper09 @windu4 @Nyota's Heart @earlybird-obi-wan @TrakNar
    Last edited by Goodwood, Apr 6, 2014
  22. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    Great action packed entries.
    He has to be lucky. I want to see more entries;)
  23. Thumper09 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 9, 2001
    star 4
    Nice to see Chak made it through his first fight on a high note and with some confidence. Teish'ala's excitement about how she did in the fight was fun to read about too. :) The upcoming battle sounds like it'll be quite intense and have more factors come into play such as the ground forces needing protection and the lack of the element of surprise. Hopefully he and the rest can pull it off and come through safely. Great posts!
  24. Goodwood Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2011
    star 4
    Pilot log, entry nine, 3958.2.30 BBY

    Wow, what a half-week this has been! Get comfy, because this entry's gonna be a long one; I just haven't had the time to write anything with everything that's been going on. So, where to start...

    The battle to liberate Iridonia from Sith control hadn't been planned as a major fleet action. Far from it, in fact; the Marines were just supposed to loot the supply base and blow up what they couldn't carry off as well as the facility itself. And their job wasn't that difficult, not with a Jedi Knight taking point and single-handedly clearing out the command center. Rumors are still circulating that Captain Reyolé took on and killed a Sith marauder on her own, but she's not exactly forthcoming. I wouldn't expect her to be anyway, and I couldn't imagine what it would be like to take part in single combat. When you're in a starfighter, you're taught to think of the enemy only in terms of ships, to not dwell on the fact that there's a living being flying that silver interceptor. Flying and fighting is much easier when you can detach yourself from the implications, so you shut down that part of yourself and only let it loose when you've got some down time, like we have now.

    Anyway, here's what I've been up to:

    Flying once again as Shabu Six, I stuck with Lieutenant Korve as we protected the Marines on the ground. As they fought their way into the base's interior he, I and Shabu Four strafed a column of Sith troopers who were marching into what must have been a half-arsed counterattack; there were only about fifty or so, not enough by far to take on an entire battalion. The run seemed to take the fighting spirit out of the remaining Sith forces, for they soon began to quit the field, or so I'm told. It wasn't long after that when things really started to get hairy, though, for no sooner had we pulled up to resume our combat aerospace patrol than the code phrase came over the comm. An enemy fleet had decanted from hyperspace right on top of the base, and that meant we and the 52nd had to strike for space to try and hold them off while Admiral Hetton's task force attacked from behind. You have to admire Captain Reyolé for realizing that this was a possibility and coming up with the solution.

    As we ascended, my nerves flared up; we were outnumbered more than ten to one, as each Sith cruiser carried four squadrons of interceptors, and I wasn't too thrilled with those odds. We would be coming at them head-to-head, lasers meeting lasers, and though we had an advantage in our shielded Aureks, there were a lot more of hem than there were of us, and it was our job to hold the line until the rest of the task force could engage. But then something strange happened. I can't exactly describe it without sounding all mystical and such, but here goes: as we closed to range, it was as though a friend were speaking into my ear, using my own voice, and assuring me that I would not only survive the coming dogfight, but acquit myself well. All anxiety seemed to vanish as my hands became rock-steady on the controls, and the focus of my thoughts seemed to sharpen to a razor's edge. And when the order to fire torpedoes came, I obeyed without hesitation, netting my first two kills.

    From that first volley, the battle descended into a fierce melee, the likes of which I had never thought possible. Not even seeing old holovids of the Great Sith War, or documentaries about the Mandalorian invasion, could have ever prepared me for witnessing and participating in the sheer chaos that followed. I protected my wingmate as best I could as we plunged into the swarm, occasionally lobbing off more proton torpedoes at the enemy cruisers as our own capital ships joined the fray. Watching the Stalwart Defender initiate an alpha strike—that is, firing all of its weapons at once—into the nearest Sith vessel was downright frightening. Even so, that voice continued to ply my ear, helping me to remember my training and focusing on staying alive while dishing out as much damage as my little fighter could.

    Eventually the last enemy cruiser was neutralized, as were the remaining fighters; many had been destroyed before they could launch. My tally settled at four, I and the rest of the starfighters landed aboard the Defender and took stock of the situation. In the debrief, I learned that out of the 23rd and 52nd, we had only lost three fighters, with two of the pilots succeeding in going extravehicular so that we could pick them up. Shabu Eight got a dunking in kolto due to exposure along with Dalus Three, Teish'ala's wingmate. Dalus Eleven wasn't so lucky, as he went up with his fighter in that first furball. Teish'ala herself seemed to be more disappointed by the fact that her tally for the day had only been three, making us equal in score, than she was for the loss of one of her comrades. But I suspect she's keeping up a front, unable or unwilling to share how she really felt. I don't blame her.

    That wasn't all, however. We also learned that an ensign with the Third Battalion's Aurek Company had obtained intelligence on the Sith Empire's next target: the world of Rodia. So, while we fighter pilots slept off the effects of the battle in orbit of the Zabrak homeworld, the task force joined up with Vice Admiral Dodonna's Second Fleet in order to mount a defense. And what a force it was: another Centurion-class battlecruiser, thirty-four Hammerhead-class cruisers including the admiral's flagship, and more than seventy Foray-class frigates backed up by half a dozen wings of starfighters, including the 4th and 16th Marine Starfighter Squadrons. We needed every bit of that force too, to meet the incoming attack, for the Sith brought no less than thirty of their best ships full of fighters of their own, backed up by a number of escorts of smaller classes. If I had thought the Iridonian action was big, this was orders of magnitude larger. But before we departed for battle, we were all told the secret to our one-sided success during the previous engagement: a Jedi power known as Battle Meditation.

    Turns out we needed it just as much for this fight, too. While Teish'ala and the Navy fighters took on the Sith interceptors directly, the 23rd and our fellow Marines struck at gaps in the enemy lines of battle whenever they presented themselves. Into these holes we poured volleys of torpedoes that punched through shields already weakened by massed turbolaser fire from our frigates. Our shots boiled off hull plates, blasted gun turrets, and detonated secondary explosions deep within the enemy cruisers' hulls. The battle was still raging when we had to head back to the Defender to refuel and rearm, so that by the time we returned, there were still targets to be had. On our way back to the flanks of the enemy fleet, we tangled with a squadron of Sith ships, and my tally went up another two notches. It was a curious moment in itself, for they hit us at an odd angle that had me as the vanguard of the squadron when we turned to meet their attack. But again, I can't take full credit for it.

    In a move that I wouldn't have expected, however, the Sith armada conducted a wholesale retreat as we struck out to harass their line. As it had happened at Iridonia, their withdrawal was chaotic, which allowed the massed Republic forces to inflict still more damage. And because of this, the 23rd Marines can add another enemy cruiser to its unit scoreboard. When the last Sith vessel in the system had been either destroyed, disabled, or run off, we were called back to our ships to once more rearm, refuel, and patch up any battle damage. We couldn't be sure if the enemy would regroup for another try, as (or so most every veteran was telling us) they certainly had the resources to mount an even larger offensive. In any case, the caution proved to be unwarranted, at least for the time being.

    When we counted noses at the start of the debrief, Commander Juyode seemed to be a bit taken aback at the fact that we had not lost a single pilot. The 52nd, I learned shortly after, had also gotten through without a scratch. Much of the Republic's forces, it transpired as the day wore on, had been spared; only a handful of frigates had been lost, with more damaged, and there were few if any casualties among the cruisers and battlecruisers. It was an outright miracle, above and beyond what the Iridonian fight had achieved, and even Admiral Dodonna was unable to hide her joy when she presented the combined fleet with a summary of the action. So, within the space of a few days, we liberated one world and prevented the fall of another.

    How do I feel about all this? Exhausted, but optimistic, and damn proud of myself, my squadron-mates, and the Corps. In the end, it sounds to me like maybe we've got a chance to win this war after all, but I'm not going to waste what little down time we can get. When I'm done writing this entry, I'm going to send off a letter to my folks (censored, of course—Lieutenant Korve told me that I don't have to do that for my flight log, as it's encrypted anyway) and then ask Teish'ala out for a few drinks.

    I've got a feeling she won't say no.

    _________________________________________________________
    @Thumper09 @windu4 @Nyota's Heart @earlybird-obi-wan @TrakNar
    Last edited by Goodwood, Apr 6, 2014
  25. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    Exciting and detailed report. And good to see no losses
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
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