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Saga - OT Out of the Shadows (An X-Wing-inspired series following the adventures of the 13th Roving Line)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by BaconHeadIthorian, Feb 24, 2022.

  1. BaconHeadIthorian

    BaconHeadIthorian Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    Apr 28, 2009
    Chapter 6

    [​IMG]

    The Imperial Star Destroyer Palpatine's Will loomed over the planet of Carida like an imposing warrior king on a throne of blue and green. The massive wedge-shaped vessel had been shrouded in darkness, but now gleamed white in the light of the yellow sun cresting the planet below. The ship hovered in recovery mode, retrieving a line of TIE fighters. These fighters were not the standard training flights arriving daily from the base on the planet below, but the veteran warriors of Razor Squadron, returning from Yavin IV. All other traffic was put in holding patterns, the main docking bay of the great vessel devoted entirely to the recovery of these valuable pilots.

    Two gleaming red modified TIE interceptors were the last flight pair to pass the magcon field of the yawning bay. The ships moved lazily on repulsors, but their angular lines, dagger-like wings thrusting forward menacingly, made them appear to be perpetually in motion. They were finely crafted weapons, reserved for the most accomplished, and equally deadly, pilots of the Empire.

    With the two ships settled down on the deck plating of the bay, the top hatches hissed with the sound of equalization and opened simultaneously. Two dark forms unhooked flight gear, dropping it unceremoniously back into the vacant cockpits for techs to retrieve, and clambered over the edge of their respective hatches, slowly descending the ladders pulled alongside their dormant craft. Around the bay the occupants of the rest of the squadron's fighters had done the same.

    Though some of these pilots were doubled over with exhaustion, without fail they picked up their heavy flight helmets and snapped to attention as the last two pilots hopped down to the deck. One of these pilots removed a decidedly non-regulation TIE helmet, emblazoned with an intimidating death's head symbol, to reveal the incongruous visage of a petite, dark-haired woman.

    Even more unusual was the fact that her wingman, removing a standard TIE helmet, was also female. The flaxen-haired executive officer handed her helmet to a properly submissive tech and looked around at the double row of storm troopers on either side of the pilots, saying, "Well, looks they've brought out the welcoming committee." Her voice, though soft, echoed oddly in the vast hangar.

    "I wonder if Syn will try to put us in the brig again?" She said in a voice only her commanding officer could hear.

    A slight smile tugged on the corner of the other woman's normally severe mouth. She kept her eyes forward, locked on the rotund Imperial officer approaching, but said out of the corner of her mouth, "I'll take that over his alternatives.”

    The corpulent officer, Peccati Syn, was attired in the gleaming white uniform of a Grand Admiral. He saluted the two pilots, and all of Razor squadron dutifully snapped to attention and returned the salute.

    "Welcome home, Razors," he said, rather more cheerfully than any of them expected.

    "I am sure you are all quite tired from your long journey, and I am equally as certain that you'd all like to get to a proper refresher station before debriefing, so I will dispense with typical protocol and allow you all leave until 07:00 tomorrow. Dismissed."

    Audible gasps of relief echoed in the bay, irritating the dark-haired CO of the Squadron. They should be stoic, accept reward and punishment as a warrior should. I will make sure to train them more rigorously, she thought ruefully. Her irritation turned to disgust when the admiral let his appraising eyes examine her.

    "Commander Gorbunov, a word if you will." He turned to walk slowly towards the exit, implying that she should follow.

    Sighing, the commander turned to her executive officer and said, "Get the men settled and set a sim training schedule beginning at 05:00 tomorrow. The admiral might have given them leave, but I have not." She paused before saying, "And get some rest Deacon, I have a feeling we'll be shipping out again soon."

    The blonde woman saluted smartly and moved off, ordering the men into ranks and heralding them out of the hangar, her voice rising above the whine of the TIE carousel lifting their ships into the neat racks above the hangar.

    The commander moved quickly, but not frantically, to catch up to Grand Admiral Syn. When she was side by side, they took several steps before he said simply, "It was a difficult battle, but I am glad to see you back in one piece."

    "We failed the mission." She stated simply, wanting to end the conversation as quickly as possible.

    Still looking forward, the admiral said, "Ludmyla, the mission was never intended to be a success. At least not in the way you see it."

    Stiffening noticeably, Ludmyla Gorbunov came to a stop, looking at the admiral with a severe inquisitiveness.

    Syn, ignoring the slight, turned and faced her, "Oh, don't doubt that we wanted to hurt them. And hurt them we did. But we never planned on eliminating the entire Rebel force. The survivors have proven far more valuable to us." He looked away wistfully, "Still, it's a shame that that corvette got away. I had rather hoped of making it into a personal shuttle."

    Shaking her head incredulously at the man's pomposity, Ludmyla regained her composure and walked with him to a turbolift. As the door slid open and they entered, she said in a steely voice, "You set us up? You sent us into battle expecting us to fail?"

    "Oh, not me my dear 'Myla." Ludmyla shuddered at his strained familiarity, "Lord Vader." He said with a casualness that implied obviousness.

    "The ‘Dark Lord'" he said derisively, "attended your little battle." He pushed a button on the control terminal of the turbolift and looked at her with a gleam in his eye that repulsed the warrior, "He was...quite impressed with your fortitude and your ruthlessness. This is a high honor indeed, to be so acknowledged by the right hand of the Emperor."

    Ludmyla couldn't quite tell if it was jealousy or ambition that laced the admiral's voice. She decided that she didn't want to know.

    The hum of the turbolift was the only sound for a few moments, but behind its high-pitched whine, she started to hear the pleads and cries of the pilots of the stricken ships Razor squadron had left behind to their deaths. Those cries had reminded her of... She pushed the thoughts away violently, directing the anger at her superior officer.

    "What was the objective of such a mission then? We took heavy casualties. I lost...I lost...valuable resources!"

    "We were able to install several tracking devices on the hulls of several pitiful Rebel freighters." The Admiral replied calmly.

    Ludmyla looked at him, bewildered, and then raised her eyebrows in awareness, "The TIE bombers." She said softly. That explains why they failed to destroy the Argent.

    "Very good." He said condescendingly, "Several of the new XX-25 tracking droids were installed in specifically modified torpedo housings. They attached themselves to the slow freighters that are unlikely to have sophisticated detection systems. During the battle...it is unlikely that they discovered this."

    The door to the turbolift hissed open, and the two walked down a long corridor ending in open blast doors leading to the bridge of the massive vessel. Walking out onto the catwalk overlooking the myriad officers in the command pits below, Ludmyla looked at the Admiral. He was standing tall, his hands casually clasped behind his back, illuminated by the light of the Carida sun pouring in through the panoramic transparisteel view ports of the Star Destroyer. He looked as pompous and self-satisfied as ever, as if posing for nonexistent holocameras.

    Looking out over the bow of his ship, stabbing like a sword past the horizon of the planet below them, he said, "We know where they are."

    He balled a hand into a pudgy fist.

    "And now we will crush them."
     
  2. BaconHeadIthorian

    BaconHeadIthorian Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    Apr 28, 2009
    Chapter 6

    [​IMG]

    Ensign Rhen "Chif" Chiffero walked wide-eyed down the long dark corridor. His head swiveled from side to side, taking in the sights around him. He'd never been on a ship this big before, and he had taken to exploring the corridors during his rare off duty hours. He'd been very busy in their first weeks assigned to the Star Tide however, so he still had many areas of the ship to examine. Though he should have been resting, as he was scheduled to pull an eight-hour escort duty that night, he was busy exploring the lower midship decks of the great ship on this excursion. The area he was in was commonly referred to as, "The Quarren Sector," and rarely received human visitors.

    Unlike the gleaming white corridors of the upper decks, this section of the ship was very dark, and even colder and more humid than the rest of the ship. The only lights in the great hallway seemed to be evenly spaced blue glow panels that diffused a wavering cool light reminiscent of dappled sunlight on a reef. Not that the young Tatooine pilot had ever seen a reef, or an ocean for that matter.

    Shivering, he paused at one of these panels. He leaned close enough to see his own reflection on the surface of the light, and he suddenly realized that it wasn't made of the fiberplast typical of such mundane devices. Rapping lightly on the surface, he said to himself, "Transparisteel." Shrugging, he continued, "Why would they use transpa.."

    At that moment, a hideous creature behind the panel leaped towards him, its many tentacles waving mere inches from Chif's wide eyed face, grotesquely splayed across the transparisteel. A beak snapped with such force that Chif screamed and fell back across the hall to the other side of the great corridor. Even at this distance, he still heard the sound resonate through the transparisteel and echo in the otherwise silent hall.

    Chif fumbled with his sidearm and tried to compose himself, looking around the empty hallway. He heard a laughter that sounded like boulders falling into a pond. Rounding the corner ahead, Chif saw the short, squat form of a small Mon Cal tech. He was wearing nondescript coveralls, but his flippered feet slapped wetly on the grated floor of the hallway as he walked towards Chif.

    "You're a long way from home aren't you kid?" The watery voice of the Mon Cal echoed.

    Finding his voice, Chif replied, "Wh..What was that thing?" He gestured with his shaking blaster towards the glowing blue panel.

    More laughter rumbled from the Mon Cal, "That? That was Qualaryeal'xyl. He's harmless. Just likes to play pranks on the rare human...or Mon Cal...that comes down this deep."

    "Q..Qualary..what?"

    "Just call him Icksy, the other humans do anyway." He shrugged and moved over to a dimly lit terminal along the wall. Using surprisingly dexterous webbed hands, he punched in a series of commands, and the hallway lights dimmed even more, dropping the corridor into near total darkness.

    Chif gasped as he investigated the once opaque blue panels and recognized a multitude of graceful forms floating in the midnight blue depths beyond. He looked over at the Mon Cal and saw only large liquid yellow eyes.

    "This is the ‘Quarren Sector.'" The Mon Cal said quietly. "They can't handle the blasted dryness you humans prefer as well as we Mon Calamari can, so they usually choose to remain down here."

    Chif was amazed at the graceful dance as Quarren swam by, some hovering momentarily to wave at them both, but most flashing by with incredible speed. Their bodies and gleaming uniforms were sleek and streamlined. What Chif had been so frightened by at first had been nothing but the tentacles and beaked mouth that made up the lower part of Icksy the Quarren's head.

    Chif gasped again when he noticed a few Mon Cal, in their streamlined white and gray uniforms, swimming by as well.

    The Mon Cal by his side said simply, "Some of us prefer an environment more like...home...as well." Chif saw his eyes reflected in the transparisteel as the Mon Cal continued, "These transit currents are faster and more convenient than most of the turbolifts in the ship, and they reach just about everywhere."

    "I've never seen so much...water...before" Chif said, amazed.

    "You haven't seen anything yet kid," The Mon Cal tech replied, "Humans are always surprised when they find out that fully a third of these ships are filled with water." He gurgled a laugh and continued, "I guess most of you just assume that we all travel around the galaxy just like you?"

    In the dark, Chif shrugged nervously. Then the young Tatooine native asked, "What's your name?"

    "Razzlemaksoloriaalis D'zlazleila"

    Chif gulped audibly, and the Mon Cal burst into his loud rumbling laughter again.

    Slapping the human on the back, he said, "Just call me Razzle"

    "All the humans do."

    The silence of the dark corridor was broken by the harsh sound of Chif's comm link.

    "Ensign Chiffero, report to conference room A-1756."

    The order echoed strangely in the hallway, and Chif noticed the light level increasing in the hallway. Though he could now see, he was a little disappointed as the aquatic display of grace and efficiency disappeared again behind the opaque blue light panels.

    He looked to Razzle, who was nodding in understanding.

    "Well Ensign, looks like we both have work to do." And he gestured to the end of the great hallway.

    Chif started walking with the tech and said, "Do the Quarren mind visitors?"

    Razzle laughed loudly again, and as they crossed into a new corridor, said, "Ensign, I think they rather enjoy company."

    The young human beamed a bright smile, and as the door closed behind them like a large iris, his voice echoed for a brief moment.

    "Call me Chif." He chuckled before adding, "All the humans do."

    In the now vacant corridor, the lights dimmed automatically, and behind them the denizens of the deep continued their work.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2022
  3. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 9, 2001
    Ah, we've gotten a look into the Imperials' deeper objective for that mission. Being tracked is definitely a huge threat to the Rebels in that fleet, and destroying that fleet would be a larger blow to the Rebellion than picking off stragglers from Yavin. Looks like the Razors and Commander Gorbunov have drawn Vader's attention too, which for her could be beneficial or dangerous.

    I liked seeing Chif exploring the ship and being so fascinated by what he hasn't had much personal experience with, like the large amounts of water and the water-based species of the Quarren and Mon Cal. Between Razzle and the Quarren, it looks like Chif has the beginnings of some new friendships.

    Great work! Looking forward to more. =D=
     
    BaconHeadIthorian likes this.
  4. BaconHeadIthorian

    BaconHeadIthorian Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    Apr 28, 2009
    Thanks Thump. I've had a lot of fun with this. Glad you're enjoying it!
     
    Thumper09 likes this.
  5. BaconHeadIthorian

    BaconHeadIthorian Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    Apr 28, 2009
    [​IMG]

    Corvalis walked with Pa-hon into the large round council chamber, noticing several Mon Calamari officers descending from steps directly opposite of them, steps that led to the bridge of the Star Tide. Casually glancing around the rest of the room, he saw fighter pilots, fleet officers, and several individuals he assumed were intel operatives, filing into the tiered room.

    He gestured to a group of his pilots, several obviously just back from active duty as they were still wearing the black and silver flight suits of Shadow Squadron. They saluted and approached, taking seats behind their commanding offer and executive officer.

    Directly behind him Susto Asos leaned down, "What's all the fuss about, Commander?"

    Pa-hon, still looking forward, replied, "Someone got word that you've got a case of Whyrren's Reserve stored in your X-wing's storage bin. They're going to court martial you for not declaring it." He turned to face the blanching young officer, and added with a grin, "We could clear this whole mess up straight away if you turn the contraband in to your superior officer."

    Corvalis, eyes trained on the Line Admiral Ieheeloonea, now entering the room, said softly, "Really, it's okay Gin. I always preferred a nice Chilastrian brandy to Correllian whiskey."

    "I wasn't offering it to..." The remainder of Pa-hon's comment was drowned out by a high-pitched, but not uncomfortable, tone, as the Admiral stepped to a central podium.

    The soft murmur of subdued conversation ceased immediately, and all eyes trained forward. Large Ithorian eyes scanned the hall, seeming to lock with everyone at once. Corvalis was always astonished by the Admiral's ability to address crowds while leaving individuals with the impression that they were part of a personal conversation.

    The Ithorian's large serpentine head moved from side to side slowly, and massive, yet surprisingly delicate, three-fingered hands clasped in front of him, dark against the gleaming white of his uniform.

    When he addressed the chamber, he spoke with two mouths located on the side of his "trunk." The effect was odd to people not familiar with Ithorians, as the stereophonic effect gave him two distinct voices. In the Admiral's case, one was a deep soothing bass, while a higher pitched, more modulated voice overlaid it with a pleasing harmonic.

    "It has been seven weeks since I took command of this fleet, and specifically this vessel." His long head swayed to acknowledge the Mon Cal officers standing on either side.

    "Though many of us have not been here long, we have already been through much together and are well on our way to building a storied career for the Star Tide and her crew." Polite applause and nods of affirmation answered him.

    The Admiral smiled, a gesture that, Corvalis noted, in Ithorians, seemed to be conveyed through the eyes more than the mouths.

    He continued, "We, the 13th Roving Line, serve the cause of the Alliance to Restore the Republic." He naturally and conversationally walked and turned as he spoke to engage all in attendance, "Some of you have been with the Alliance since its inception in the years following the Clone Wars, others..." He gestured to the Mon Calamari officers near him, and at the small Bothan who had appeared nearby, "Others are more recent additions to our growing forces."

    Corvalis looked at Pa-hon and raised an eyebrow. He had heard rumors that the Bothans had, like the Mon Calamari, finally thrown their lot in with the Rebellion, a risky move for the ever-shrewd Bothan council, but one that many felt was long overdue.

    He turned his attention back to the Admiral, whose voice began to build in intensity, and Corvalis noted many officers leaning forward in their seats. "New companions in our cause, but no strangers to the brutality of our adversaries, as uncompromisingly loyal and fierce in their determination to rid the galaxy of the plague of the Empire as the most hardened Alliance soldiers. With the influx of equipment, creativity, and spirit, the diversity and adaptability of our forces will overwhelm and confound even the imposing military machine of the Empire."

    Pausing briefly, he narrowed his typically serene eyes, and for an instant, Corvalis saw the fierceness of determination that set the Admiral apart from most of his people, "The Alliance will no longer be content to simply hit Imperial supply convoys and fade into the shadows. While this will continue to be vital component of our operations, The tides of war are changing. We are bringing the fight to the Imperial Navy itself. New ships of the line like the Star Tide," His arms spread to gesture to the room and encompass them all, "Are the backbone of our growing fleet."

    Murmurs of assent and nodding heads answered the momentary silence as the Admiral paused.

    Both of his voices veritably hissed, "And it is a backbone made of beskar."

    "It is my determination that a vessel as mighty as the Tide, and a force as courageous as the 13th, should be at the vanguard of any strike at the black heart of the Empire. As such, we are leaving the calm waters of the Tharkos system, and are now, until further notice, operating at a stage four security level." Pointing a finger slowly, he added, "Only the officers in this room are to know our final destination for this operation."

    Surveying the room, he said dramatically to the Mon Cal beside him, "Set course for Fondor, Captain."

    The room erupted in cheers and wide-eyed astonishment as the Mon Cals went to work immediately relaying commands up to the helm in the nearby bridge in the fashion of ancient sailors. Soon there was a barely perceivable shudder as the ship jumped into hyperspace, heading towards its ambitious target far across the galaxy. The Fondor shipyards were second only to the Kuat shipyards in production for the Imperial Navy. Many Imperial Star Destroyers, as well as the new Super Star Destroyers were produced at this vital facility.

    Corvalis looked at Pa-hon, who simply shrugged in astonishment himself. "I don't know how the crazy baconhead plans to pull this one off," Pa-hon said softly so the junior pilots sitting behind them wouldn't hear.

    Corvalis threw his head back and laughed, noticing the Admiral nodding confidently and looking directly at him.

    "Something tells me we're about to find out."
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2022
  6. BaconHeadIthorian

    BaconHeadIthorian Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    Apr 28, 2009
    Chapter 7

    Ludmyla Gorbunov towel dried her long dark hair as she pulled on a standard pilot jumpsuit. She wasn't sure whether she was more relieved to be out of her cramped TIE cockpit or out of the company of Grand Admiral Syn. Casually tying back her still damp hair, she picked up a datapad, shook her head and corrected herself, thinking, I'll take 14 hours in a TIE over the company of that sleemo any day.

    In the cockpit of her ship, she was in control, her destiny in her own hands. Even within the corridors of the Star Destroyer, she often felt like enemies were reaching out of the shadows to assail her. But in her fighter, she disposed of them with the cold calculation of a trained warrior. In the heat of combat, one lived entirely in the moment, every action immediate and critical. In her ship, she had always been able to outrun the past.

    Sighing, she attempted to read the datapad, but a tone sounded at her door. Exasperated, she pulled the zipper of her flight suit up slightly and stood, saying, "Enter," in a neutral tone.

    The door slid open to reveal Phillis Deacon, XO of Razor Squadron. The slender woman had apparently also utilized the refresher, as her hair too was damp, and her countenance far less pallid than it had been after the long hyperspace jump.

    She leaned on the door jamb with a bottle of Lomin Ale and two mugs tucked under an arm. She looked over at her friend and took the resignation as an invitation to enter.

    Walking over to the small transparisteel table, she set down the bottle and mugs and noticed the datapad. "Oh, a little light reading before bed?"

    Ludmyla raised her hand dismissively, "Just reading up on the new captain transferring in from the ‘Unkown Regions.'" Deriding the mysterious sector.

    "Anyone we know?"

    "Just some glitbiter named Carrek from Axxila. Served under that alien admiral Thrawn. Supposed to have been a hot stick in a fighter in his day. Apparently, he's been recalled to civilization to report on some new alien technology they've discovered.""

    Phillis shrugged and swept the datapad onto the floor.

    She poured a large foaming mug of the ale and slid it over to her friend, who shook her head but took it, cracking a smile for the first time in long while. Pouring an equally healthy draw, Phillis took her own mug and plopped down on a duraplast chair, raising booted feet to clank unceremoniously on the little table. Leaning back precariously in the chair, she raised her mug and said smugly, "To vaping Rebels...and admirals."

    She took a large pull of the ale, let out a refreshed sigh and said, "The boys are all down at the Eagle's Nest. I gave them the night off but told them to be ready for the sims bright and early."

    Ludmyla nodded after taking a decidedly more modest drink of her ale. She paused, looked at the mug, and said, "You didn't get this from the synth stores on the ship."

    Phillis flashed a feral smile, pulled her feet off the table and spun the chair under her. Arms folded across the back of the chair, now in front of her, she laughed, "I won it in a hand of Sabaac off of Kalam. The little monkey-lizard talks so much that it was easy enough to tell when he was bluffing.

    Ludmyla flashed a severe frown but couldn't hold it. She blurted out a laugh, shaking her head. "He does talk more than a Nemoidian on the rack," using the colloquial term for the interrogation techniques she often used in her work in Imperial Intelligence.

    "Maybe we should put Kalam on ‘the rack'" and ascertain the location to the rest of his stash. Clearly, this...is not regulation. She raised the mug high, letting the light illuminate its amber contents and took another drink.

    "You know Philis, we've talked about it before. You shouldn't gamble with the men." Ludmyla said with more annoyance than conviction.

    The blonde woman waved her mug and said smiling, "It doesn't hurt anything. I don't gamble with credits." She finished her ale and dropped the mug with a clatter on the table, "Plus, it's a good thing sometimes to just be, ‘one of the guys.'"

    "I've never been ‘one of the guys.'"

    "Really? 'Cause that's not what Jinsoo says. He's got fifty creds on your...gear...being bigger than his." Phillis laughed heartily, enjoying the ribbing.

    Ludmyla rolled her eyes, muttering, "Like that'd take much."

    Phillis’s eyes widened for a moment, but she quickly poured two more mugs of ale, despite Ludmyla waving a hand in protest.

    "Look, all I'm saying is it's not a bad thing to loosen up every now and then. We all know that we're going to be out on the front lines again soon. Why not make the most of the time we have." As if illustrating the point, she took a gulp and wiped her mouth crudely with her sleeve, smiling and waiting for her friend to respond.

    Ludmyla looked at her harshly for a moment, before letting a smile creep on her face. She raised her own mug and took a drink to the sound of Phillis slapping her knee in camaraderie.

    Philis triumphantly took another pull, as Myla said sweetly, "Fifty creds huh? I thought you didn't gamble with credits?"

    The blond pilot sputtered and placed the mug on the table slowly in a feeble attempt to stall, before saying with a smile, "Say, they teach you intelligence types pretty well."

    Ludmyla smirked at her, but Phillis continued, "Anyway, I said I don't gamble with credits. I can't say the same for them."

    Commander Gorbunov looked out over the top of her mug and said in an amused voice, "It's a good thing you don't. You already owe me more than your ship's worth."

    Commander Deacon leaned back in her chair, glancing up at the ceiling with a look of exasperation on her face, saying, "Look...about that little loan..."
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2022
  7. BaconHeadIthorian

    BaconHeadIthorian Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    Apr 28, 2009
    Corvalis Mierdrym walked slowly through the largely vacant corridors of the Mon Calamari cruiser Star Tide. As the Commander of the 13th Roving Line's fighter wing, only hours before large scale engagement, he had a lot on his mind, and sleep remained elusive.

    Though there was obviously no "night and day" on a starship, like their Imperial counterparts, most Alliance vessels allocated schedules based on a standard Coruscanti day. Of course, vessels the size of the Star Tide required round the clock attention by many thousands of crew members to maintain even standard cruising functions, and when preparing for an upcoming battle like the Tide was, multiple redundancies in crew shifts were common. But at this late hour, in this section of the ship, Corvalis found a solitude that reminded him of quiet nights on the shores of the Mierdrym, the inland sea that was the progenitor of his family name, and his childhood home.

    Walking through a little-used lounge on the lower decks of the great ship, he paused in front of an impressive row of floor to ceiling transparisteel viewports, a holdover from the great ship's days as a luxury liner. The Tide had just dropped out of hyperspace. Corvalis smiled to himself, knowing that his friend Admiral Gaivee must be on the bridge, even at this late hour.

    No rest for the weary
    , Corvalis thought with bitter amusement.

    He looked out at the stunning green and blue vista of Mrlsst as the Star Tide rolled gracefully into a high orbit. All he knew of the beautiful planet below was that it was the home of one of the most prestigious universities in the galaxy, and that the native Mrlssi were a peaceful race of avians, ostensibly neutral in the galactic civil war. Obviously though, the Mrlssi ruling council had to have Alliance sympathies to allow their system to be used as a staging ground for the upcoming raid on the Fondor Shipyards.

    He wondered how many Mrlssi children were gazing skyward at that very moment, seeing the gleaming ship in orbit, and dreaming of adventure among the stars as he had done so often as a child on an equally beautiful world.

    I hope they never have to learn the price of such adventure, he thought somberly.

    Looking at the viewport, Corvalis examined his own reflection in the dark room. The face that looked back at him was still youthful, his silvery Firrerreo hair still long and thick as was his people's custom. His white jacket, replete with silver buckles, gleamed even in the dark lounge. Always stylish, by outward appearances, Corvalis still retained the vanity of the Firrerreo nobility.

    Few bothered to recall (or even knew) that everything he had ever known had been lost to him when the Empire's Star Crash Brigade destroyed his homeworld, and that, as far as he knew, other than the hated Imperial Procurator of Justice, and betrayer of Firrerreo, Lord Hethrir; he was the only member of his race to survive his planet's destruction.

    Though he had always been an extrovert as a youth, and his style had been brash and cocky at times, the destruction of his homeland and the discipline and dedication he had found in the Alliance had changed the young commander. He had found a purpose in the Rebellion, but just as important, he had found what he had lost - a family.

    He felt a strong sense of responsibility to honor his old family as well as his new one, and he strove every day to keep the Firrerreo pride and honor intact while respecting his subordinates and superiors alike as brothers and sisters in arms dedicated to preventing the tragedy of his homeland from occurring again.

    And he mourned his fallen comrades as his lost family.

    He chose to honor both families with a resolute determination to do his part to make the galaxy a place where children, like the Mrlssi children below, would not have to be abandoned.
     
  8. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 9, 2001
    Allrighty, all caught up again. Great job! A strike on Folor is going to be big. If the Imperials in general are still expecting the Rebels to stick to their smaller scale hit-and-run tactics and not try something so concentrated, it might give the Rebel fleet some element of surprise to use to their advantage. If they can succeed, though, hitting Folor would be a massive blow to the Imperials. It could also change some things long-term by making the Imperials adapt to the Rebels' new tactics and possibly reallocate other resources in different areas as a result.

    Interesting peek into Ludmyla's and Phillis's situation and dynamics with the Razors. Ludmyla is definitely sharp, and she's going to be a tough opponent for anyone going up against her. (Just FYI, I think the first part of Chapter 7 got included twice in that post.)

    I hope that there were other Firrerreo who survived their homeworld's destruction, and that maybe someday Corvalis might run into them if there are. I can't even imagine how lonely that must be for him. I'm glad he's found a way forward and is trying to help others avoid a similar fate.

    Looking forward to more! =D=
     
  9. BaconHeadIthorian

    BaconHeadIthorian Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    Apr 28, 2009
    Hey thanks for the catch. That was a brain fart lol. I edited it!
     
  10. BaconHeadIthorian

    BaconHeadIthorian Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    Apr 28, 2009
    Captain Tannen Bochry tossed and turned in his berth, finally rolling over to the bedside table and touching a light panel, flooding soft light into his quarters. He ran hands through his sandy hair and blinked, adjusting to the light. He had been unable to sleep much since his promotion. There were just so many things running through his head: Training new recruits, finalizing a duty roster, obtaining proper support staff and equipment for his squadron, dealing with the squabbles between the competitive members of two old squadrons, going through command training, attending meetings. The list was endless.

    Though Tannen had always done his part to reinforce the stereotype of the cocky young hotshot Corellian pilot, for the first time, he felt truly terrified. Commander Mierdrym had told him, "It's because it's the first time you've truly been responsible for anyone's life but your own."

    Tannen had brushed that aside, he'd always had to save Icav's neck anyway. But in the middle of the night, when he couldn't get the thoughts in his head to rest, he knew there was truth in the Firrerreo's words.

    Tannen had never expected to be here. His career in the Alliance had hardly been model. The younger son of a wealthy Corellian merchant who had served honorably in the Clone Wars, he had always dreamed of adventure. But it was his older brother who always seemed to find it.

    It was Coban who was the top swoop pilot of Tyrena. It was Coban who was featured in the Holodocumentary "Grav-Ball Dreams." It was Coban who joined the Academy, graduating with top honors as a pilot and officer.

    Tannen had always been known as..."Coban's kid brother." While he had always admired his older brother, the realization at an early age that he'd never be able to surpass him, led him to try to find his own way...usually by getting himself into trouble.

    He had been expelled from schools, arrested for swoop-lifting and unlawful street races, kicked from sabaac clubs, and had become a general nuisance and embarrassment to his family, who, none-the-less, had always bailed him out of trouble.

    It was a testament to his roguish charm (and his family's influence) that Tannen never ended up in the spice mines. Through it all though, he and his older brother had always been close. Though he had the squeaky-clean image, Coban had always understood his younger brother's need to act out. He himself had never asked for attention and praise and found the expectations people placed on him to be artificial. Often, the two young Corellians had shared their desires to switch places.

    Tannen looked around at his uncomfortably spacious quarters and thought, I guess that’s finally come true.

    Tannen had no idea where his older brother Coban was. Probably on some backwater rim planet associating with glitbiters and scoundrels. His brother had inexplicably brought shame on his parents by going AWOL from his post soon after his prestigious graduation from the academy. Official reports stated that he had refused orders and struck a superior officer and displayed a "distinct lack of fortitude unbecoming of an Imperial officer." Tannen knew that this was a lie, as he knew no one as strong-willed as his brother.

    The disappearance of Coban reaffirmed Tannen's belief that the Empire was fatally flawed. Tannen firmly believed that Coban had refused to be a part of something he didn't believe in and had finally decided to make his own way in life. Unfortunately, making one's own way in a galaxy so polarized often lead to one ending up in the fringes of society, an outcast in "respectable" company.

    With both sons now an embarrassment to the family, Coban's father had cracked down hard on the young Tannen, enrolling him in an Imperial prep school. After a few years struggling in this environment, Tannen made a life altering choice. Looking for an escape from an overbearing father, Tannen had signed up with the Rebel Alliance.

    Far from being the idealistic young freedom fighter, Tannen had joined the Alliance to see the galaxy and do one of the few things he knew he did really well - fly.

    Unfortunately, what he didn't do well was follow orders.

    His early career as a pilot was spent in hack as often as in the cockpit. He was dismissed from several squadrons for insubordination, did a stint as a mess officer on an old freighter as punishment in order to win his wings back, and his assignment to Crimson squadron had been explicitly described to him as his "last chance."

    Amazingly, his career record in Crimson squadron had been virtually spotless.

    Tannen sat up in his bed and gazed out the angled viewport of his quarters, noticing the blue swirl of hyperspace flash and resolve itself into pinpoints of light. The ship had finally come out of hyperspace near Mrlsst to rendezvous with the rest of the fleet.

    Again thinking back to his days with Crimson squadron, he recalled the reason why his career had seemingly turned a corner. With Crimson squadron, Tannen had finally found a purpose, he felt that he was an integral part of something bigger than himself. The facilitators of this change, in his mind, had been the friends that he had come to know and love, the friends who had entrusted their lives to him, and who he had, amazingly, trusted with his own life in return. Friends like Tal'bu Gratlak, Gorbu Devronis... Anabeth Traloni, all of whom had died in the ambush at Yavin, and friends like Joryk Nightwalker and Icav Ribe, who were with him still to help pick up the pieces.

    Icav Ribe. The dark-haired Corellian had been his best friend from youth. The kid had idealized Tannen the way Tannen idealized his brother. An impoverished child of a single Corellian tapcaffe waitress, Icav had never had much. Though he was picked on often and had to work at a young age to help support his six brothers and sisters, he was one of the happiest and most optimistic people Tannen had ever met. The kid was amazing. Unfalteringly loyal, he joined up with the Alliance the same day as Tannen, saying simply, "Beats working the shipyards. Plus, you're gonna need a wingman to keep you out of trouble."

    While Tannen had dismissed Icav as a follower, the cheerful kid had indeed kept him out of trouble. He had been a skilled and trusted wingman and a true friend at a time when Tannen didn't realize that he desperately needed both. Icav was one of the few pilots Tannen had ever met who cared virtually nothing about kills, glory, or rank. The dark-haired pilot was happiest when he played his role and managed to get home to share drinks with his friends.

    It was friends like Icav who had turned Tannen's life around, opened possibilities to him, given him the focus and desire to accomplish larger goals than personal glory. He owed them everything, and Tannen knew he'd spend many more nights twisting and turning, worrying about how to repay them.

    Tannen rose from his bed and moved closer to the viewport looking out at the verdant planet Mrlsst. The fleet, of which the Star Tide was to be the flagship, had been arriving ship by ship for several days. At the terminator of the planet, he saw a Nebulon B frigate cruising towards the Tide. Much closer, he saw a Corellian Corvette flanking the mighty cruiser. At such a close range, Corvalis could still see the battle scaring that identified this ship as the Argent, the very ship he and Icav had brazenly commandeered from a cowardly and treasonous captain just two weeks earlier.

    He couldn't help but feel a little nostalgia for the Corellian ship as it effortlessly cruised by in the light of the Mrlssi sun, but he had no illusions of, or desire for, captaining the vessel. It had been given to a young captain straight out of Alliance Fleet Training.

    "Treat her right, captain," He whispered to the viewport.

    When he and Icav had captured the ship, Tannen had fully expected it to be the last act of a troubled career. He had been sternly rebuked by his squadron leader, threatened with court-martial, but had ultimately done what he felt he had to do given the bleak situation. And Icav, as always, was right by his side.

    When they had inexplicably survived the engagement (In no small part because of the actions of Shadow Squadron, Lancer Squadron, and the Admiral himself), he promptly gave up command of the Argent. Docking with the Star Tide, he had given himself up to authorities and was taken to the brig.

    Sitting alone in the cell, he had pondered his options, wondering if he could find his brother and possibly try to find a way to rebuild again. Never in his wildest dreams had he expected the line admiral of the 13th, Ieheeloonea Gaivee, to be his first visitor in his cell. More surprising was the Admiral's open admiration for both the initiative and audacity of Tannen and his friend.

    He had secured the prisoner's release from the brig, along with a promise to do all he could to get the charges against him dismissed, on the condition that Tannen accept new responsibilities with the loyalty and determination he had shown as a Crimson Squadron pilot.

    Tannen had readily agreed, though at the time, he had no idea that the "new responsibilities" would be announced mere days later by the Admiral's addressing of the line's fighter pilots. Tannen was to be promoted to captain and the commanding officer of a new fighter squadron composed of the remnants of Vortex and Crimson Squadrons, an honor that the awestruck Tannen could hardly believe.

    Equally awed, his friend Icav had been promoted to executive officer of the new squadron. While they retired to a wonderful celebration dining on ryshcake and Corellian whiskey with the pilots of Shadow and Lancer Squadrons, the true responsibility of his new role started to sink in as he watched the men and women he was picked to lead laugh and celebrate before going back to war.

    So it was that Tannen Bochry, small-time Corellian hooligan, swoop racing menace, and now respectable captain in the Alliance Navy, found himself staying up at night, worrying about how to construct a new squadron to bring to bear against the oppressive Galactic Empire.

    He thought to himself, It is a strange galaxy we live in.
     
  11. BaconHeadIthorian

    BaconHeadIthorian Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    Apr 28, 2009
    Chapter 8


    It was a summer night, but Felda could a crispness to the air that reminded her that harvest season was almost upon them. She hummed softly as she walked from the simple cabin to the stables, carrying with her freshly washed saddle mats to set out for the men in the morning.

    As she walked, the night wind picked up, and she could smell the ocean many miles to the west. The wrought iron gate of their little homestead swung back and forth, squeaking in the wind. Felda reminded herself to oil it in the morning.

    At that moment, she heard a rummaging noise emanating from the long row of stables before her. Sighing, she said to the night, "Heldar, If you don't get to bed, so help me, I'll have your hide!"

    "Pa told you you can't..." She rounded the corner with a strong gait, right into the pointed muzzle of a cold black blaster carbine. She screamed and flung the saddle mats into the air. There was an echoing crack and a blood red flash as the blaster ignited, followed by the heavy slaps of the mats hitting the dirt floor, and the heavier, wet, thump of the young woman following them to the ground.

    A strangely small and distant voice called out, "Hold your fire."

    The owner of the blaster, clad entirely in white armor that gleamed in the moonlight, nudged the woman's body with the toe of his boot. He rolled her over and then bent down, prodding the body lightly with his blaster.

    He cocked his head as if pondering something, until the trooper who had spoken came closer, examining the girl from where he stood.

    He continued, talking to a squad of troops in the stable, "She's no Rebel. But round up the other natives. They might be useful."

    The first storm trooper, still kneeling in front of the dead girl, heard the sounds of the booted feet running off towards the farm house. He closed his eyes, hidden behind the polarized lenses of his armor, and steeled himself to the sound of screaming children that soon carried on the summer breeze.

    Along with the persistent sound of a squeaky iron gate.
     
  12. BaconHeadIthorian

    BaconHeadIthorian Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    Apr 28, 2009
    The shining blue sphere of Thila floated serenely in a sea of stars. The nearly uninhabited world was a peaceful haven for old republic colonists who had grown tired of warfare and strife in the galaxy and had migrated to the outer rim world thousands of years ago. Here they found an oasis, and they lived simply in a non-industrialized society far away from the eyes of the Republic or the Galactic Empire.

    The elders had been fearful when, several months earlier, strange lights had illuminated the night sky. Though there were many more falling stars than usual, the strange occurrence had not been repeated, and life had returned, more-or-less, to usual. But those simple farmers, who looked to the night sky this night, were greeted by a strange, illuminated, wedge-shaped form among the stars. Few of them knew that their time of peace was at an end.


    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


    The bridge of the Star Destroyer Palpatine's Will was alive with activity. Crews worked aggressively to complete thorough scans of the planet below, launching probes, gathering real-time data while carefully analyzing it against the quite limited records of the insignificant planet contained in the old Republic and Imperial databanks.

    On the command catwalk above them paced an agitated Grand Admiral Syn.

    "Where are they?" He muttered to himself.

    Standing impassively behind the agitated Admiral was a man of impressive height and bearing, his dark hair clipped short, and his angular features austere and commanding.

    "It would appear, Admiral, that the Rebels have yet again... 'slipped the noose.'"

    The Admiral rounded on the taller man, barking, "It was a rhetorical question Captain Carrek." He glowered at the dark-haired captain but found it difficult to match the man's unflappable gaze. Feeling a bead of sweat begin to form on his brow, he broke away at a convenient sound from a station below him.

    Hopping down sprightly for a man of his age and size, he listened in as a ground commander reported their first contact with the indigenous population.

    A tinny voice said, "We have two civilians neutralized. One took aggressive actions, and the other was...collateral damage. We have rounded up the remaining villagers and are questioning them about the whereabouts of the Rebel base but, so far, they are uncooperative. It appears that they lack the sophistication to understand basic concepts of interstellar travel and military fortifications. We are holding here and awaiting reports from units at..."

    Grand Admiral Syn spun around to look up at the captain, still standing, arms behind his back, on the catwalk. "The simpering fools are hiding the Rebels."

    Captain Carrek pursed his lips slightly and said in an even tone, "Initial reports show these people to be pre-industrial." Moving over to a station surrounded by three nervous looking crewmen, he pointed at the screen and added, "Analysis indicates they don't even utilize internal combustion. It's highly unlikely that these people would intentionally harbor criminals in a war they don't even understand. If there are, in fact, rebels hiding among them, would it not be best to study the population? Interview their leaders? Take surreptitious genetic samples? We have the planet effectively locked down. If the Rebels are here, we can weed them out."

    He nodded thanks to the officer nearest him, and continued in a patient tone, "But it's far more likely that the Rebels simply abandoned this base far before we arrived. It is conceivable that the homing beacon was detected, and the base evacuated. The Rebels are reportedly quite industrious when it comes to evacuations."

    "Nonsense Captain. You have been too long in the Unknown Regions. No one sets up a base and dismantles it that quickly. The Rebels are here. My tracking devices clearly indicate that their freighters from Yavin landed here."

    The Admiral turned red as he continued, "As for the natives...They're human, aren't they? They are subjects of the Emperor, aren't they? They have a duty to serve the Emperor in all things. Whether they knowingly or unknowingly harbor criminals is irrelevant. They must have a sufficient reminder of what happens to those who thwart the will of the Empire."

    Pointing at the screen in front of him, he said to his communication officers, "Order these units to fall back to positions here, and here. They are to set up observation posts trained on these coordinates.

    Rubbing his hands together he hissed, "I want our troops...and those miserable traitors... to be able to witness Imperial justice firsthand."

    Ascending the stairs to the catwalk, he continued in an imperious voice. Turning to the captain, he smiled, continuing, "Captain, you will commence bombardment immediately."
     
  13. BaconHeadIthorian

    BaconHeadIthorian Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    Apr 28, 2009
    Chapter 9


    The mechanical device fell with a clang onto the white table. It looked like a Coruscanti spider-roach curled up in a sink filled with water - long spindly legs collapsed in around its roughly spherical body. The assorted pilots and officers gathered around the conference table looked up expectantly. Admiral Gaivee, flanked to his right by the Mon Cal Captain Edjleriak, captain of the Star Tide, and on his left by a platinum furred Bothan, surveyed the room with his passive Ithorian eyes.

    When he spoke however, his harmonic voices were anything but passive. "This is the key to our victory at Fondor." He said simply.

    Ignoring the questioning stares, the Admiral continued, "In our escape from Yavin, you may recall a squadron of TIE bombers launching attacking the freighters and the Argent in the early stages of the engagement.

    "How could I forget?" muttered Icav Ribe, rubbing his head dramatically where a missile blast had thrown him into a bulkhead on board the Argent.

    "At least it didn't damage anything important," Tannen quipped dryly.

    A few chuckles spread in the room, but most were intently watching the Admiral, hoping for an explanation.

    "This was removed from the hull of the Manollium Flame upon its rendezvous with the fleet." He gestured towards the insect-like droid.

    He continued, "Our analysis team is certain that this is a new version of the XX-23 S-thread tracker, capable of transmitting hyperspace boosted encrypted data over many hundreds of light years. Apparently, several of the TIE Bombers were equipped with these in order to track us."

    Tannen shook his head disdainfully, leaning over to Corvalis and saying softly, "Then the Empire knows we're here? How can we continue the attack?"

    Corvalis kept his eyes on the Admiral and smiled knowingly.

    As if answering Tannen directly, Ieheeloonea clasped his hands behind his back and continued sonorously, "As some of you know, the Flame is equipped with a magnetic resonance tachyon flow detector."

    A few of the younger pilots and officers were wide-eyed at the mention of the state-of-the-art equipment. The older among them merely nodded in understanding.

    "We were therefore able to detect the intruding device immediately and disable it with an EM pulse shortly after entering hyperspace and are relatively sure that the Flame was not successfully tracked to the fleet. Even if it were, the full security sweep of all ships participating in the evacuation of the Yavin IV base revealed no other devices, and the chances of the Imperials discovering our rendezvous point here at Mrlssi is very slim."

    Scanning the crowd, Admiral Gaivee saw the relief evident on the faces of his pilots. They were eager to strike a real blow against the Empire and would have been genuinely disappointed if they had to scrub the mission. He was proud of their enthusiasm, but buried deep under the sense of duty and determination lied a distinctly Ithorian love of life that was saddened by the thought that so many of his pilots were likely to sacrifice their lives in the up-coming battle.

    But looking into the eyes of his pilots, he knew they were confident and ready, and his intelligence team had gone to great lengths to limit the chances of a full scale Imperial reinforcement of the target.

    A dark-haired woman in a forest green flght suit caught the Admiral's attention with a raised hand. He nodded to her knowingly, anticipating her concern. The woman, surrounded by pilots in the same green flight suits, said in a soft voice, "What about the freighters that jumped directly to the base at Thila, Admiral. Isn't it likely that at least some of them were tracked?"

    "We are counting on it, Captain." The Admiral's double mouths curled in what Niobe Cordena could only guess was the Ithorian equivalent of a snarl.

    The Bothan intelligence officer standing next to him stepped forward, his platinum-colored fur rippling as he said simply, "The base at Thila was evacuated several months ago."

    The murmurs around the room pleased the Bothan. They had hidden that information well.

    "We have left a small facility run by droids and automated communication routines issuing random transmissions encrypted with older codes on the surface of the planet, and though our freighters did indeed head there from Yavin, once they arrived, they thoroughly scoured the ships, removing all tracking devices and then received encoded orders to cycle through a series of jump points before arriving at the newly constructed Alliance base... on the other side of the galaxy."

    Baring fangs in a much more menacing snarl than his Ithorian superior, the Bothan Intel officer added, "Our spies indicate that a large task force headed by Grand Admiral Peccati Syn is at this moment en route to Thila, leaving the way to Fondor clear, and Syn's fleet, the largest task force known to be active in the sector, effectively out of the fight."

    Niobe nodded in appreciation. Clearly, Alliance Intelligence had been working behind the scenes to give them the best chance possible to succeed. She liked knowing that each element of the operation was working in harmony to support the others, like a well-orchestrated symphony.

    The Admiral stepped forward again, saying, "I don't need to tell you how vital this attack is, not only for the damage we will do to the Empire, but for the morale of the entire Alliance. We have an opportunity to avenge Yavin and strike a blow into the heart of the Imperial war machine. This is a difficult and daunting task that is asked of us, but the 13th has never backed down from a challenge. Many have worked and sacrificed much to give us this opportunity. Let's not let them down."

    Clapping his hands together once, he continued, "Alright, you all have been running the attack on the sims, so you know what's waiting, and you know what you must do. The way is clear. We will burn the twisted and corrupted forest to the ground to sow the seeds of freedom in more fertile soil."

    Nodding at them all, he added, "May the force be with you."

    The pilots stood up, saluted their admiral, and filed out of the room, clapping each other on the back and talking amongst themselves as they headed to the simulators to go through one more practice run before the battle.

    As they filed towards the door, Admiral Gaivee, gathering datapads, said above the clamor, "Commander Mierdrym, Captain Bochry, Captain Cordena, and Captain Gahst, a word please."

    The four squadron leaders issued quick orders to their executive officers and moved to stand at attention before the Admiral.

    "At ease." He said with a smile.

    The four pilots relaxed slightly, hands behind backs.

    "Despite our efforts, we aren't completely sure what else is out there. Commander Ud'feyla here assures us that a local 'Fondorian Freedom' sect is planning something to coincide with our attack, but we can't count on anything."

    He glanced apologetically at the Bothan by his side, who simply shrugged stoically.

    He continued, "I want you all to be ready for anything out there, and though I know we all want this, if things get hairy, we will retreat. Even destroying four Star Destroyers is not worth losing the 13th."

    The four pilots nodded, and the Admiral started to continue, but a diminutive Mon Cal officer ran up to him and handed him a datapad. After pausing to read if for a time, he looked up at his four squadron leaders and his eyestalks drooped in sadness.

    "Thila has been bombarded."

    He slammed the datapad down on the table in a rare expression of anger that soon reverted to sadness.

    He looked over at Captain Edjleriak and veritably growled, "Alert the fleet. We make the final jump to Fondor in one hour."

    Looking back to his pilots, he growled, "It's long past time to put a stop to this."

    "Yes sir!" The officers replied enthusiastically.

    "Get to your pilots. Be prepared for launch in four hours."

    The Admiral, followed by the Bothan and several Mon Cals, exited, heading towards the bridge, leaving the four officers alone in the conference room.

    Tannen said to the room, "Well Feye and I are going to head down to the sims before she has to get back over to the Viper's Nest.

    The Twi'lek woman nodded and added in her typically sultry voice, "We really need a few more of these new simulators installed on the Nest. We'll see you two down there." The two captains exited, talking about tactics and shared ideas for the upcoming battle.

    As the sound of their conversation faded down the hall, Corvalis turned to regard Captain Cordena, who was apparently perusing through a datapad of her own.

    He cut the silence of the room, his words sounding small in the large, empty conference room. "I haven't had much time to talk with you since we were assigned to the Star Tide."

    Not looking up from the datapad, his fellow squadron leader said coldly, "We've all been busy. That's understandable."

    He ran a hand through his silvery hair, a nervous habit, and replied, "Niobe, I'm not exactly thrilled with the way we left things on Naboo."

    She lowered the datapad slightly and looked at him with dark eyes. "I'm sorry that you're not thrilled Commander, but remember you left." She angrily swatted a few curls of dark hair from her face. "Now if you'll excuse me, I have preparations to make. And so do you."

    She slipped by a disheartened Corvalis and darted into the gleaming white hallway, heading briskly down to the simulators.
     
  14. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 9, 2001
    Great job! I enjoyed learning more about Tannen's background and how Icav has helped him to grow as a person. I also enjoyed seeing the results of their little escapade with the Argent from the earlier battle. Glad they're not stuck in the brig and instead have the chance to try living up to the potential Admiral Gaivee sees in them. :)

    I feel bad for the people on Thila who have now become innocent casualties because the Imperials decided to shoot first and ask questions later. I was hoping Grand Admiral Syn would listen to Captain Carrek, but with how Syn was reacting to Carrek, it didn't surprise me that he didn't. The situation on Thila and the bombardment really drive home the differences between Syn's disregard for life and Gaivee's reverence for it.

    I hope everything pays off for the fleet at Fondor-- looks like things are about to hit the fan soon. I'm also curious to find out what happened between Corvalis and Niobe.

    Great job! Looking forward to more! =D= (Even if I'm slow in replying. [face_blush] )
     
    BaconHeadIthorian likes this.
  15. BaconHeadIthorian

    BaconHeadIthorian Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    Apr 28, 2009
    Thanks! Never worry about being slow to reply or needing to reply! I am just super happy you're enjoying it. I am certainly enjoying dusting this off and TRYING to make things fit a little better into current canon (I really DO enjoy your replies though lol)
     
  16. BaconHeadIthorian

    BaconHeadIthorian Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    Apr 28, 2009
    Ludmyla Gorbunov turned away from the terminal in her quarters, shaking her head in frustration. Phillis, reclined on the generic couch in the cramped receiving area, unceremoniously shoved what looked to be a Caridian crumpet into her mouth, and said around the mouthful, "Wha? Di dey repon' to ‘or ‘ranmi'on?"

    Ludmyla walked into the room and said, "Chew your food, Phillis." Her voice took on a mock harshness as she continued, "And stop getting crumbs all over the couch."

    She dropped into the room's plastiform chair with an uncharacteristic slump, and a ‘meow' heralded the arrival of her pet felinx, Talon, who promptly began to rub his ever shifting purple and blue fur against her leg. She looked down at the creature. It was a common Kuati pet. She had reluctantly agreed to care for it after the death of the ship's previous captain. While she had originally seen the animal as a silly burden, a clear sign of a weak need for affection, unfit for a vessel of war, she had, throughout the months, come to respect the beast as a survivor and a self-sufficient entity that never let her down.

    Something that couldn't be said for most sentients she knew.

    The felinx required very little other than food and warmth, and both were provided automatically in her quarters. Plus, she had felt that it softened her hard demeanor some, something that was occasionally useful. But deep down, she really just liked knowing there was something left in the galaxy to come home to, even something as insignificant as a silly animal.

    She pet the felinx idly and said seriously, "No, there was no reply to my transmission." She looked at the wall over Phillis’s head as if she were looking through it to some distant point.

    "There's something wrong about all this, and I hate that we're stuck here with this Hutt-slime Syn, flattening villages full of savages." She leaned forward in the chair, rubbing her eyes with the palms of her hand and muttering to herself, "The Rebels are planning something big. I can feel it. But where would they hit?"

    Phillis, who had just snatched another crumpet from the tray on the small table, said off hand, "I'd hit Fondor." She took a large bite and continued, "These scones are kriffing good Myla. Did you get them from Kalam?"

    Ludmyla snapped her head up to glare at her executive officer, "What did you say?"

    "These scones, they're delicious," Phillis said with her mouth full.

    "Forget the scones, you fat nerf. Why Fondor?"

    Phillis flashed an amused grin at her friend's agitation, and put her booted feet up on the low table and linked her hands behind her blond ponytail, affecting a pose of casual ease in stark contrast to Ludmyla's coiled tension.

    "Well, two nights ago I was engaged in a friendly little game of grav darts with Harkin, from Vengeance squadron." She paused, and cocked her head, "You know him right. Big quiet guy - former Sentinel pilot turned fleet command ****, ambitious enough though."

    Ludmyla motioned with her hand signaling Phillis to get to the point.

    "Anyway, he may be able to guide a cargo barge on repulsors through a Gotal cone forest, but he can't hit a holodart board for all the sand on Tatooine. He lost over fourteen hundred credits."

    Myla hardened her stare, "Where did he get that many credits? And moreover, didn't you tell me you don't gamble with credits?"

    Phillis flashed a feral smile and continued, "Anyway, I was thinking the same thing of course. What is a commander in Vengeance Squadron doing with over fourteen hundred credits while on tour?" She leaned forward and continued, "So I asked him. Apparently, the V boys did a stint over at the shipyards for ‘police action' before getting assigned to the Palpatine's Will last week. So, most of the squadron obviously engaged in some extra-curricular activities on Fondor."

    Ludmyla nodded knowingly, urging Phillis to continue. "Police action" in a core system like Fondor was an official sounding term most squadron commanders used to log R and R time. It allowed their men and women to collect duty pay while performing only minor procedural duties on a typically well defended and orderly world. It was commonly scheduled after particularly hazardous or intensive deployments. Ludmyla, though a stickler for proper procedure as an Imperial ISB agent, was also a pilot. She knew that Vengeance Squadron had seen heavy action recently, and that pilots needed to recover to maintain their edge. She didn't begrudge their leader's creativity.

    Phillis took another bite and added, "Apparently our industrious Harkin picked up some side work piloting a big Y-8 ore hauler back and forth between the shipyards and the refining stations. Made a few thousand, then doubled it, betting one of the quartermasters that he could make the run in thirty percent less time than their best pilot. A bet he won by slaloming that boat through an old abandoned scrap yard, according to him anyway."

    Ludmyla stared blankly, muttering, "Impressive," but clearly wishing Phillis to wrap up the story.

    "I'm getting to it Myla." Phillis said with a smile, obviously enjoying her friend's annoyance. "He told me that the ore haulers and dockhands at the shipyards say there have been large scale cutbacks at the facility, even with the construction of the new Executor-class ships there. Apparently, more cutbacks than are even in the official budgets and quarterly reports. It's why Harkin was able to pick up temporary work."

    "He also told me that the cutbacks aren't limited to workers. The defenses of the shipyard have been slashed recently. Rumors are that there is some big construction project going down at some secluded rimmer."

    Ludmyla added seriously, "Don't talk about that Phillis."

    Philis laughed and said, "Don't worry." And added slyly, "Guess that takes it out of ‘rumor' status though, doesn't it?"

    Ludmyla didn't crack a smile, "I'm serious, Phillis. Don't joke about it, even to me. It could get you in trouble." She softened slightly and said imploringly, "And please tell me that you've got more to go on than some glorified dockhand's report of military redeployments. I do have security access, you know."

    "Yes, I know that. But with Syn off on his wild bantha chase here, we're a bit cutoff from things, no? I'm only guessing, but I'd be willing to bet your agents are going through Syn lately. He is a Grand Admiral after all."

    "Don't remind me." Ludmyla sighed and admitted, "His command has led to...difficulties."

    In truth Ludmyla felt like a de-clawed Naboo tusk cat. She had always relied on a large network of agents throughout the galaxy to keep informed of quickly changing tides of the wider war. Since Razor Squadron had been assigned to Syn's fleet however, her duties had been shifted to fleet surveillance only, with most of her assets reassigned to lower profile Imperial Security Bureau agents. Despite her entreaties to Inspector General Ysanne Isard, she had been unable to create independent channels and, most galling, the Grand Admiral himself was expanding his influence within the agency. Yet another reason to hate him.

    As much as it irritated her, the Grand Admiral had the explicit favor of the Emperor. Unless of course, she could find a convenient way to surreptitiously display his utter incompetence in a way that would remove this latest hurdle in the path of her ascent.

    As it was, Ludmyla had to admit that Phillis' little holodart story was, frustratingly, the most recent news she had regarding Fondor, and though it could not be taken as fact, it did corroborate with reports she had viewed before their latest deployments: reports that, in her analysis, left Fondor, especially the outlying subsidiary shipyards, extremely vulnerable to terrorist attack. A very inviting target to those who had done a little digging.

    Standing up suddenly, Ludmyla said sharply, "Let's go Phillis."

    "What? Where are we going? We aren't on for another four hours."

    "Down to astrogation. I need your help plotting a few possibilities."

    Phillis hung her head dramatically, "Oh great. Some reward for solid investigative work, that is!"

    Ludmyla paused on her way out the door, motioning towards the table, "I let you eat Talon's biscuits, didn't I?"

    The felinx let out an annoyed whine, and Phillis turned a little green.

    "I hate you...both."
     
  17. BaconHeadIthorian

    BaconHeadIthorian Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    Apr 28, 2009
    Chapter 10

    [​IMG]


    Slowly and silently a small tug glided through space several kilometers above the pockmarked surface of one of the larger asteroids in the Fondor system. Most of the asteroids in the busy system had long since been mined out to fulfill the needs of the extensive shipyards orbiting the planet of Fondor itself, which was, at this distance, nothing but a tiny glowing crescent, lost somewhere behind the tug's powerful drive. But survey teams had recently charted the massive, ore rich body below. It had evidently been pulled out of an extremely eccentric orbit by the gravitational pull of the gas giant planet visible in the distance, but instead of spending the enormous amount of energy needed to move the large asteroid closer to the shipyards, or setup a mining outpost that would require the diversion of many transports and ore-haulers, a small subsidiary shipyard had instead been established.

    It had been the most profitable proposal, if not the most secure.

    To the pilot of the tug it was just one more inconvenience in a growing litany of hardships. The cutbacks at the shipyards had forced them all into brutally long hours. The hours would have been tolerable, even desired, if the consortium hadn't cut overtime pay in the process. Now they were forcing drivers to make the long journey from the primary shipyards to the subsidiary in sublight tugs, killing their average tonnage bonus due to the long transit times. Of course, complaining was out of the question. Running a rusty tug through the endless void for little pay and no appreciation was far better than being shipped off to the spice mines of Kessel.

    The tug pilot sighed and thought, War is hell.

    As the tug crested the terminator of the asteroid, the shipyards came into sight. Vaguely wedge-shaped forms, fully encrusted and linked in duriplast and steel scaffolding, gleamed like a massive, gaudy necklace in the light of a cold and distant sun.

    A tone sounded in the small cabin of the tug, and the pilot reached down to his comm array. He pulled the commlink to his mouth and clicked it on, broadcasting in a monotone voice, "Greyfort, this is 2K436, requesting clearance."

    He paused, listening to static, and then repeated, "Greyfort, this is 2K436...requesting clearance."

    He leaned forward and looked over the console of the rig, visually examining the Golan II battle station orbiting the asteroid far below. It was a formidable battle platform stationed to protect the small shipyards, but the dull gray ablative armor that gave it its name seemed to exemplify the lack of importance given to this post.

    They didn't even bother to paint it.

    The tug pilot was quickly reaching restricted space, and he was growing frustrated at the lack of response. He thought bitterly, I'm not going to get a security write-up because some washed up navy scow fell asleep at the controls.

    Jamming the comm switch, he said loudly, "Greyfort, this is 2K436, requesting clearance! Come in!."

    Immediately, there was a tinny response, "Negative 2K436. Cut power to sublights immediately and prepare for tractor."

    "Emperor's black bones! What is this about?" he said to himself, exasperated.

    He jammed the comm switch again and said in a voice heated by compounded frustrations, "Now look here you incompetent, scrapyard-watching, nerf herders! I've had enough of your kriffing games. These engines've been burnin' for eight hours and I'm not shuttin' ‘em down until I've hauled home the perfectly good ships you Hutt-licking sleemos have managed to ruin. Now you tell me why..."

    Before he could finish his ranting, the limited proximity warning sounded on his tug, and he literally ducked in his rig as four TIE Fighters screamed overhead, barely meters from his ungainly ship.

    "Whoa whoa whoa! Take it easy! I was only kidding!" He yelled into the comms. These navy guys sure have a short trigger! He thought while catching his breath.

    The speaker of his comm unit crackled and a different voice said severely, "2K436, you will power down immediately. You were already given clearance...ten minutes ago. Power down immediately and we might let you live long enough for interrogation."

    The tug pilot reached up and obediently pulled the emergency kill switch on his tug and set thrusters to station keeping. He looked out and saw the TIEs, now just bright dots of light in the distance, joining up with several others, as they sped towards the shipyards.

    This is…not good, he thought to himself.

    His ship shuddered slightly as a tractor latched onto his little ship. He hit the comms again and said in a much more subdued tone, "Greyfort, this is 2K436. Please. I have my union identification code and my security clearance data cards on me. Please allow me to transmit." He added weakly, "I have a wife and kids sir."

    His shaking hands fumbled with the data tape as he placed it in the reader on his console, but before he could transmit, he was blinded by a flash of light. He looked up, but instinctively covered his eyes. He saw a soundless blue-white shockwave emanating from the center of the shipyard. In its wake he saw the melting scaffolding of the great array, twisting and snapping as the encrusted and incomplete Star Destroyers drifted apart slowly.

    If it hadn't been so terrifying, it would have been beautiful.

    Before the stunned tug driver could react, the black void of space to starboard cracked open, and several large ships blocked out the stars. A Nebulon B frigate, several Corellian corvettes, and a massive but graceful vessel that looked like some great sea creature, began moving towards the burning shipyard, all surrounded by countless snubfighters.

    His ship shuddered again and began to drift. The tractor beam had let him go. He looked to port and saw wave after wave of TIE fighters scrambling from the Golan II station below, and it was only then that he realized that he was right in the middle of an eminent fire fight.

    He brought his knees up to his chest and crouched down in his unshielded tug and said bitterly to himself, "Maybe the spice mines aren't so bad?"
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2022
  18. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 9, 2001
    Finally back after a short vacation and getting caught up. :)

    Looks like things are about to hit the fan for everyone. Ludmyla and Phillis are pretty sharp to piece together the implications of the cutbacks and personnel movement around Fondor and realize what it might mean for their defenses and vulnerabilities. If they're going to get some astrogation numbers together, either for themselves or to confirm if the Rebels might have gone there, I'm wondering if they might be making use of those numbers pretty soon themselves, which wouldn't be good news for the Rebel fleet.

    The poor tug pilot is about to have a much different day than he'd expected to have. Sounds like someone else might have used his clearance earlier, maybe leading to the explosion in the shipyard as the precursor to the fleet's attack. I feel bad that he's unwittingly caught in the middle and about to have a front-row seat to a pretty big battle. Hopefully he can get out in one piece.

    Great work! Looking forward to the next installment! =D=
     
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  19. BaconHeadIthorian

    BaconHeadIthorian Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    Apr 28, 2009
    Thanks Thump! Hope you enjoyed vacation!!
     
  20. BaconHeadIthorian

    BaconHeadIthorian Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    Apr 28, 2009
    The little black and white R2 unit whistled softly, reminding Corvalis of the time. The Firrerreo pilot smiled and said softly, "Thanks Queue." He glanced down at the counter and said over comms, "All wings standby for reversion."

    Several tight beam comm clicks signified reception of the order, and as the counter approached zero, Corvalis pulled back on the small hyperspace levers. The marbled blue vortex broke apart into millions of brilliant star lines before shattering into tiny points of light.

    Queue warbled intently, and Corvalis noted he had already begun categorizing and bracketing targets on the display.

    "All wings form up." He said calmly. "Lock S-Foils in attack position." He reached up and flipped the switch, smiling as he felt the comforting drone of his blaster tipped wings splitting into the distinctive configuration that gave the X-wing its name.

    "It's nice to be back in the old T Six Five," Corvalis muttered to himself as his fellow pilots fell in beside him.

    Nestled behind the cockpit, Queue blurted an enthusiastic agreement as he simultaneously began feeding telemetry data to the squadron's other astromechs.

    Corvalis chuckled and said in a conciliatory voice, "Yes Queue, I'm glad to have you back too."

    Queue warbled proudly, and Corvalis noted the arrival of the Mon Cal Cruiser, Star Tide, two Nebulon B Frigates, and several Corellian corvettes.

    The 13th had finally come to Fondor.

    Several hundred kilometers in front of them, the broken framework of the shipyard drifted around a large gray asteroid, illuminated by the cold light of a distant sun. The scaffolding-like structure surrounding four partially completed Imperial Star Destroyers had been twisted and broken at a crucial structural juncture, and the entire assembly seemed to be broken in half and drifting precariously over the asteroid below.

    Corvalis knew better than to assume victory too soon though. Even though the tabana-laden, droid piloted tug sabotage seemed to have gone off perfectly, reports indicated that up to eight squadrons of TIEs could be stationed within the massive Golan II battle station protectively orbiting the asteroid.

    Though the TIEs themselves were likely older models, the Golan II battle station was a formidable opponent. The fighter screen, combined with the four Star Destroyers, that, though not running on full power, still had enough energy to power up several turbolaser batteries, constituted a deadly array of defenses.

    This fight would hardly be a cake walk.

    Pa-hon Gin reported in a deep calm voice, "There's a lot of emergency comm traffic, as expected. TIEs scrambling at oh-six-three mark seven."

    "Alright, we're going in as planned. Shadow Squadron, Crimson Dawn Squadron, stay tight. Lancers, when we engage the first wave, fire at targets of opportunity, but continue towards target Aurek. Vipers, stay with Lancer Squadron all the way in."

    He nodded to himself as Captains Bochry, Cordena, and Gahst acknowledged, then he continued, "Green and Silver Squadrons, you're on fleet defense as planned. Keep an eye out for any bombers."

    When everyone had confirmed, Corvalis checked range to targets. "Look sharp pilots. Here they come."

    Waves of TIE fighters sped towards them. Corvalis aimed instinctively, firing quad bursts at the swarm. He was rewarded by a tone as a single TIE detonated in a fireball in front of him. Several other TIEs met similar fates from the impressive barrage unleashed by two squadrons of tightly packed X-wings. Despite the wall of fire offered by the X-wings, verdant beams of destructive light lanced from the approaching swarm as they split to either side, slashing by the shielded X-wings, and attempting, with uncanny maneuverability, to pull in behind the slower rebel ships.

    But the X-wings smoothly broke into four ship flight elements, banking in wide looping turns, not even attempting to out turn the nimble Imperial ships. Instead, they covered each other in a wide radius, jumping on any TIE bold enough to dart into the fray behind a group of X-wings.

    Soon, the swarming dogfight became a series of half-hearted engagements, Imperial ships keeping the X-wings bottled up and covering each other, while refusing to engage en masse.

    Pa-hon Gin glanced at the data from his ARC-170's powerful scanners as his rear gunners pumped fire at TIEs that came too close. He noted the deployment of several more TIE squadrons heading towards the strike force of Lancer and Viper Squadrons, and said over fleet comms, "Viper Squadron, you have incoming. Come about and engage."

    Corvalis fired a stream of double linked bolts at a flight of three TIEs attempting to slip in behind Shadows Three and Four. The TIE's veered off, unharmed. A less disciplined pilot would have followed the TIEs for an easy kill...thereby breaking the chain and leaving all other pilots vulnerable.

    Instead, he continued his looping power turn and glanced at his scanners. He too saw the second wave of TIEs approaching the Y-wings and mixed ship squadrons of Lancer and Viper squadrons.

    "They're just trying to keep us defensive" he said over the comms. "We're going to have to make a break for it. On my mark, we head for the deck. Two, take Ghost Flight and head to... Two-one-six mark five-three."

    He paused briefly to confirm the location before barking, "Three...two...one...mark!"

    Though his X-wing banked sharply before opening the throttles with impressive acceleration for a big fighter, Corvalis received a warning that had often caused rookie pilots to freeze in fear, "Lead, you have a trailer." yelled one of the replacement Shadow Squadron pilots, a veteran pilot named Maxal Aylor.

    Corvalis heard the warning (and Queue's screeching) as the TIE behind him shredded his rear shields with a well placed shot.

    Before the TIE could finish the kill however, a ferocious Wookiee roar announced the arrival of Aylor's wingman, the fellow transfer, Thikawryoosh. The new Shadows swung in behind the TIE, quad cannons blasting through the hapless Imperial ship like Wookiee talons through a maroj melon.

    The wreckage of the TIE plinked against Corvalis's hull like hailstones, and the Shadow Leader balanced his shields, and offered a hearty thanks to the new Shadow Squadron pilots. One ARC-170 and four black X-wings blasted off at full throttle towards a small asteroid cluster above, while the rest of the two squadrons dove toward the craggy surface of a large planetoid below, TIEs gaining fast in hot pursuit. As Corvalis rolled his X-wing over and dived, he noticed that nearly all the TIEs had followed his larger group.
     
  21. BaconHeadIthorian

    BaconHeadIthorian Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    Apr 28, 2009
    [​IMG]

    Captain Cordena clicked a reply to Commander Mierdrym and checked once more to make sure all her Y-wings were in proper position before kicking in the boosters and heading towards the shipyard at full throttle.

    Though many in the Alliance were disdainful of the venerable BTL Y-wings, Niobe enjoyed the solid dependability of her battered old ship. Though it wasn't the fastest ship in the fleet, and it certainly lacked the graceful lines and aesthetic qualities of the NB-1S Royal Naboo bomber she had flown in her previous career, it had always brought her home in one piece; more reliable than most people in the young woman's life as far as she plotted it.

    Looking left and right, she visually checked her squadron, affirming their close precision formation flying, something in which Lancer Squadron took great pride.

    She clicked her comms to the squadron channel and said in a voice more suited for a Naboo opera house than the distorted Alliance comm links, "Lancers, stay on target. ETA two minutes."

    Over fleet comms, she heard Captain Gin's warning of incoming TIEs, and saw her escort, Viper Squadron, peel off to either side of the Y-wings, looping around to engage the threat.

    "Alright Lancers, we're on our own now. Let's drop one right in the pickle barrel." She exclaimed over the squadron channel.

    "Just like we always do." Replied Lancer Three.

    Niobe smiled fiercely as she switched on her targeting computer, bringing up a glowing display of the first shipyard encased Star Destroyer and its vital weak points. The range ticked down quickly as the twin Koensayr R200 Ion Jet Engines propelled her heavy fighter on at maximum speed.

    A calm voice intoned, "The Vipers have engaged the TIEs, twenty klicks behind us, Captain"

    Captain Cordena nodded to herself and acknowledged the report. It had come from a young, but implacable, ensign from Iriador named Fesevoa, a turret gunner on board Lancer Six's BTL-S3, the two-man version of the Y-wing.

    Niobe, not taking her eyes off her target, replied, "Gunners, keep an eye on them. We're beginning our run now."

    She reached down, flipped a switch on her console, and continued, "Switch your deflectors to double front, and assume attack pattern esk."

    The twelve Y-wings of Lancer Squadron loosened up their formation, fanning out impressively as they bore down on the Star Destroyer now looming ominously before them.

    Niobe noticed several repair craft and tugs frantically attempting to evacuate the area as the bombers streaked in. The two Star Destroyers, linked together by half of the skeleton-like shipyard, opened up on them with a spattering of underpowered green turbolaser fire.

    At this range, she could fully appreciate the precision and effectiveness of the explosive laden tug that had broken the shipyard in two. Sparks and venting atmosphere and fuel spilled out into space where the sabotage had occurred, and the force of the explosion had propelled the other half of the shipyard, with the other two Star Destroyers attached, several kilometers away, thereby cutting the potential turbolaser fire nearly in half.

    The Y-wings cruised in along the spine of the shipyard, forcing the enemy turbolasers to hit their own structure in their attempts to hit the incoming Lancers.

    When they reached the edge of the massive vessel, Niobe said calmly, "Break now, now, now."

    Captain Cordena, and half of the squadron's Y-wings, gracefully rolled their bombers over and slid in along a massive structural and supply spar linking to the Imperial ship's command tower. The remaining Y-wings cut across the axis of the great ship, drawing fire from the few fully functioning turbloasers.

    Niobe's targeting computer issued a solid tone, and her astromech droid issued telemetry data to the Y-wings behind her. She unleashed four proton torpedoes in rapid succession and pulled back on the stick, not seeing the blue trails as they streaked in toward the nearest shield and communications dome.

    A bright flash momentarily eclipsed the light of the stars outside her ship, and she knew her missiles had hit home. She smiled as she felt the vibration of the old torpedo loading mechanism beneath her as it rearmed her deadly ship. Momentarily, she saw a massive battle in the distance as the Star Tide and two Nebulon B Frigates were locked in a firefight with the Golan II Battle station. Still smiling to herself, she pulled back hard on the stick.

    When she swung her bomber around so that the linked Star Destroyers were in sight again, she let out a sigh of relief as she saw that not only had the primary shield generators and sensor domes been destroyed, but the entire command tower itself had been virtually disintegrated by the withering bombardment of proton torpedoes.

    Instead of the once looming tower, a great gout of flame rent the hull of the wedge-shaped ship, jettisoning a fantastic geyser of superheated plasma and vapor into space like spurting blood.

    The decapitated ship was held firmly in place by its durasteel crucible as the remaining Y-wings of Lancer squadron swept in bellow the hull of the vessel, unleashing a devastating barrage of proton torpedoes directly into the unshielded underbelly of the behemoth.

    Even from her vantage point well above the Star Destroyer, Niobe could see the impact flashes and the ensuing flames licking around the edges of the ship. She watched the massive girders of the shipyard as they melted and twisted under heat greater than the surface of a sun.

    Finally, just as the brutalized Star Destroyer broke free from its pyre, its main reactor detonated. Giant spears of superheated metal exploded in all directions, and a violent shockwave preceded them into space.

    The companion destroyer, still attached to the remains of the shipyard, was immediately pierced and battered by flaming wreckage the size of star cruisers. Lancer squadron, boosting away from the conflagration, managed to ride out the turbulence of the passing shockwave, pilots whooping and congratulating each other on a textbook attack run.

    Niobe allowed her pilots a moment of exultation before cutting in on comms, "Alright, good work Lancers, but we have more targets up here. Let's set up for dorn target."

    She paused before saying, "Don't expect it to be that easy again."

    As if answering her, a female voice snarled, "Lancers, this is Viper One, good work on that Impstar, but we've got all we can handle with these TIEs."

    The sounds of blaster fire and the whine of strained engines nearly drowned out the transmission of Feye Gahst, the commanding officer of the Sand Vipers.

    "Two squadrons have gotten past us. They are inbound in your direction. Your attack vector is not secure. I repeat, not secure."

    Captain Cordena grimaced and responded, "Copy Viper leader. We'll do what we can."

    She sighed and switched to the squadron channel, "Alright Lancers, prepare for ship-to-ship combat. Balance shields. Gunners, look alive and try to cover the A4s (referring to the single pilot versions of the Y-wing, such as the one Niobe herself flew). We break in two ship elements. Do not break formation for any reason."

    Several comm clicks signified comprehension, and she moved her Y-wings into a defensive staggered line in order to bring as many guns and missiles as possible to bear on the oncoming wave of TIEs.

    Before the wave reached them however, her astromech unleashed a barrage of frantic squeals. She looked down at her scanners...and her heart dropped.

    Before she could find her voice, the deep, unflappable voice of Shadow Squadron's Captain Gin echoed over fleet comms, "Imperial Star Destroyer entering system. Thirty klicks out. IFF designation...Palpatine's Will."

    For a moment there was a palpable silence on all frequencies, until Gin continued, "She's launching TIEs and several unknown fighter signatures."

    Niobe didn't have to view telemetry data to know that the newly arrived fighters would be heading Lancer squadron's way, and with all their fighter escort tied up their own battles, she knew the outcome was not going to be good.

    "Orders, Captain?" Lancer Twelve asked.

    "We're ready, Captain," The determined voice of Lancer Two echoed.

    She sighed and nodded, filled with pride and sadness at the loyalty and bravery of her fellow pilots and friends. On fleet channels she said, "This is Lancer One, we're in position and pressing on with the attack. Advise all wings move to escape the gravity well and retreat."

    She paused before saying something she hadn't said in a long time:

    "May the force be with you all. Captain Cordena out."
     
  22. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 9, 2001
    Excellent work! There's a lot of great action here, and that's a tricky thing to do with so many different groups involved at once, but you made it easy to follow.

    Y-wings are very underrated, and I'm glad to see them getting some of the limelight here. The Lancers did some significant damage and took out one, possibly two, powerful ships that the Rebels and others now won't have to deal with in the future. The Lancers are in a really tight spot now, though, and like Captain Cordena, I'm not sure even Y-wings are durable enough to get them all out of that. Looks like it's going to get pretty ugly for them.

    Great job! =D= Looking forward to more! :cool:
     
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  23. BaconHeadIthorian

    BaconHeadIthorian Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    Apr 28, 2009
    Chapter 11

    [​IMG]

    Colonel Val Easton drifted on repulsors out into the open bay of the Star Destroyer Palpatine's Will. He promptly slammed the throttle to full and rocketed out into open space below the yawning bay, breaking several Imperial protocols in the process. As he always was, he reveled in the sheer joy of piloting his old Alpha-3 Nimbus-class V-wing starfighter.

    The ship was a Republic era starfighter, more often seen in the hands of Hutt cartels or Black Sun security forces than the Imperial Starfighter corps, but the pilots of Vengeance Squadron had made a name for themselves in the old starfighters.

    As the Star Destroyer grew smaller in his wake, Colonel Easton clicked on the fleet comm channel, "Vengeance Squadron, form up. We have multiple contacts vectoring towards the shipyard."

    Several other V-wing starfighters fell in with their leader in a ragged and unpredictable line. The chaotic formation wreaked havoc on targeting sensors, as ships constantly crossed over each other within the roughly defined formation.

    One of the Vengeance pilots gasped as the battered and burning shipyard grew before them. "They've already kriffing destroyed it. We're too late."

    "Negative, Vengeance Three," echoed the imperious voice of Commander Ludmyla Gorbunov. "Sensors indicate that they have destroyed one Star Destroyer, severely damaged another. We are tasked with preventing further destruction and making them pay for their foolish terrorist attack."

    The V-wing pilot looked up instinctively and saw an impressive formation of TIE-Interceptors and TIE-Bombers, led by a single squadron of blood red fighters. The formation was tightly packed and precise, picture perfect Imperial Academy procedure.

    Colonel Easton's voice quickly cut through the air of intimidation that the more traditional Imperial fighters often provoked, "Vengeance is our name Gorbunov. We'll roll in on the hogs." He rolled his V-wing over and dumped discretionary power into the ion engines, streaking past the TIEs. He knew the maneuver would irritate the academy brats, especially the Interceptor pilots, so unused to having anyone challenge their legendary speed.

    Ludmyla's clipped tone belied her irritation, "I'm in charge of this operation, Easton. We do this by the book, or you can take your riff raff back out to the rim."

    "Riff raff?" one of the Vengeance pilots interrupted.

    Commander Gorbunov ignored the protest and continued, "Vengeance Squadron will enter the fray at six-three-eight mark four-seven. Dig out those X-wings and then engage those CR90s. Is that clear?"

    Colonel Easton rolled his eyes, but confirmed the order. Switching to squadron comms, he said, "Alright, you know the drill. Stay on me. The academy stiffs will take the glory, but we're gonna play in the dirt."

    Ludmyla Gorbunov watched the squadron of archaic ships burn off towards the fray, and shook her head disdainfully. She opened a private channel to Captain Deacon on her wing, "It's disturbing that this Carrek employs such...mercenaries in the name of the Emperor."

    "Well, you can't have it both ways I guess." Phillis replied, "You were able to talk the Captain into leaving the fleet, and the Admiral, at Thila precisely because of this...independent streak. Anyway, Thrawn must've seen something worthwhile in them." She chuckled and continued, "I don't have to remind you that we're all pretty much mercenaries in this little operation."

    "Don't remind me." Ludmyla replied in a clipped monotone. "Remember, you're the one that convinced me of this."

    Switching to fleet channels, she said calmly, "Bombers, set your course for that Mon Cal abomination. Razors, we take out those Y-wings before they can get to the rest of the shipyard."

    Phillis clicked an affirmative along with the rest of the TIEs and looked out her large round viewport to see the growing carnage before her. The Mon Cal cruiser and two Nebulon B frigates were trading fearsome volleys of fire with the besieged Golan II battle platform and swarms of fighters were visible only by lancing blaster fire and the intermittent flashes signifying their demise.

    She sighed, and checked the power to her weapons, reminding herself how much she hated always being right.
     
  24. BaconHeadIthorian

    BaconHeadIthorian Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    Apr 28, 2009
    Captain Feye Gahst snarled viciously as another TIE exploded in front of her. She burst through the debris and yanked back on her flight stick. Kicking in the ethereal rudder, she spun her ship around on its axis, scything laser fire back along her original flight path and catching another unfortunate TIE in one of its large solar panels.

    The Imperial ship tumbled in an uncontrolled spin, and Captain Gahst's head tails twitched with excitement as the TIE exploded in a brilliantly incandescent fireball. Another TransGalMeg Vaksai starfighter burst through the rapidly expanding cloud of wreckage, and the triumphant cry of Mikboria Kesyr echoed over the comms.

    "Nice shot, Mikbo." Feye looked to starboard and saw her fellow Sand Vipers forming up with her. "Looks like roughly one squadron left. They're bearing down on the Lancers."

    "You can't run from the Vipers!" The ebullient voice of Viper Six resonated over the comms as the squadron throttled up their two large and powerful KV4T-I "Doomtreader" engines and accelerated towards the TIE fighters.

    Feye Gahst, commander of the Sand Viper pirates and reluctant Rebel, saw her friend Niobe Cordena was in dire straits. Lancer squadron was caught between the remnants of the TIEs that the Vipers had fought, and the waves of incoming TIEs from the Star Destroyer looming ominously before them. There was a time, when faced with such odds, she would have cut her losses and run, but the bonds of friendship did funny things to people.

    She sighed and reminded herself why she didn't have many friends. They caused her to do silly things, like engaging in a frontal assault against the pride of the Galactic Empire.

    Her impossibly fast fighter gained on the standard TIE fighters, and she smiled grimly as her targeting computer flashed green. She hesitated, realizing this was her last chance to plot a convenient escape vector. Looking to either side, she saw her pilots unquestioningly following her lead, and she thought, There are some things worth dying for...and there are some things worth killing for.

    Coldly, she pulled the trigger.

    She preferred the killing.


    [​IMG]
     
  25. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 9, 2001
    There are interesting dynamics coming into play here as the new squadrons are starting to engage. Both sides have a unit with pirate/mercenary history that aren't fully integrated into the overall task force. With the Imperials, the Vengeance pilots seem happy to fight, but it's the other Imperial forces that aren't thrilled with their presence. With the Rebels, the Sand Vipers don't seem to have many ties to the cause of the Rebellion itself or particular loyalty to the organization, but are going to keep fighting here for more personal reasons. I'm curious to see if these different levels and types of cohesion will affect the fight (and hopefully help the Lancers get out of that tight spot they're in).

    Great work! =D=
     
    BaconHeadIthorian likes this.