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Posted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 2:01 pm
A tall, dark haired officer stared out of a porthole. He watched as two ships emerged from an asteroid field. The first was a new type of warship. Similar to a Mon Cal Cruiser in appearance, the Phantom-class warship was a remarkable sight. It was the second largest ship in the Rebel fleet, dwarfed only by the HOME ONE. Although smaller, it was twice as powerful. It carried seventy turbolasers fire linked with seventy ion cannons. It also included forty torpedo launchers amidships facing fore and aft as well as one hundred point-defense laser cannons.
The second ship was a refurbished Dreadnaught-class Heavy Cruiser. Damaged in an ambush by Rebel ships, the crew abandoned ship in the face of a reactor overload. The captured Cruiser became an Assault Frigate for the Alliance arsenal. Soon the Redemption would join the rest of the Alliance fleet.
As he was staring at these ships Commodore Praigs, “WHAT ARE YOU THINKING,” interrupted his thoughts!
Captain Arkov Bane turned calmly to face an aging Bothan soldier. “I’m thinking we need one type of ship instead of four." This new fighter, Bane referred to, was a new design. A Y-wing pilot, in the hopes it would replace other star fighters, had created this new fighter. Nicknamed Rapier, this ship had the speed to match a TIE Interceptor, the weapons to match a Y-wing, and the shields to match a B-wing. The Rapier could also outmaneuver most every fighter known to exist.
“Well we don’t have the funds for this! The Alliance is practically broke!” Praig responded.
“The Alliance can’t be that broke, besides the Raipier isn’t that costly.” Bane said. He turned to point at the asteroid field and said, “I can build a fleet of star fighters and other ships from that field. The Phantom is proof of that. If you don’t like the idea for building enough Rapiers to distribute throughout the fleet, then you and everyone else who doesn’t like it can go straight to hell.”
That’s insubordination you little son of a -!” before yelling that last part Admiral Ackbar came in and said, ”Sit down and stow it. I’ve heard enough from you.”
“But sir, I-“
“But” nothing! The yelling coming from this office could be heard two corridors away. Bane,” Ackbar said as he turned his attention from Praig, “explain to me this idea in detail.”
Bane began explaining to Ackbar that having four types of fighters was rather stupid, especially since each one cost more to build than the next. The Rapier could fill all the rolls.
It would be used as an assault fighter because of its array of weapons. It could engage any other fighter sent to intercept it and expect victory. The Rapier was the most maneuverable craft in atmosphere thanks to its micro thrusters and maneuvering flaps. A single squadron of Rapiers could decimate an entire wing of TIE’s under the right leader.
As he finished Bane sat in a chair while his peers thought. After a moment Ackbar spoke up, “That is a good idea. How long will it take to finish your first batch?”
Bane thought for a moment, “It’ll take about three months for prototypes them four more months for general testing. We’re talking almost a year for the first squadron of experimental’s. After that it would depend on money and supplies, and on how fast we could build a squadron of them.”
Ackbar nodded, “Good until then have your men repair the ships I’m sending. When they’re repaired the can stay as extra protection.” At this Praigs fur rippled in anger but he said nothing. “Thank you Admiral, I must warn you that imperial patrol ships do skim by this system once a week, so it would be best if both of you were on your way” Bane replied.
Commodore Praig stood and showed Bane and Ackbar to the door. Once he was confident they were far enough away from his office, he took his anger out on one of his guest chairs.
“Admiral, why did you authorize my request?” Bane asked Ackbar when they were in the turbo lift.
“Because I saw the sense in having a new fighter to weaken imperial strongholds and because I don’t want to lose the Alliances best officers” Ackbar replied.
“I’m glad you agreed with me on the Rapier issue, and I appreciate that you think I’m a good officer.”.
The lift stopped on docking bay level. Bane walked Ackbar to a sleek, flattened ovoid shuttle. A standard Mon Cal shuttle looked like a miniature star cruiser.
“She’s the Krakana". Ackbar said at Banes shocked look. "It’s fully armed with six auto-track laser cannons and an independent shield generator. The lasers are very well hidden.”
“Well, it’s a beautiful ship. I’m over there.” Bane said as he pointed over there.” Bane said as he pointed towards on average the bay. Sitting in the front of the bay was a battered, scarred, beat-up old Cloakeshape fighter.
It reminds me of the Falcon,” Ackbar replied with a chuckle, “Condemned.”
“Yeah, well, the Falcon is a rust bucket compared to my ship. Everything beneath that hull is state-of-the-art. Bane replied.
“It may be state-of-the-art, but the Millennium Falcon is still a good ship. Besides, it’s not what the ship looks like or what’s in it, it’s the pilot that makes a ship what it is.” Ackbar said. He shook Banes hand and walked up the shuttles ramp.
Bane watched the shuttle leave the boy when he said to no one in earshot, “Good-bye my old friend.”
Bane turned and walked towards his fighter. He slowly climbed up to the cockpit using the fighter’s handholds. He lowered himself down into the cockpit’s seat and powered up the systems. Then, with the engines online, Bane asked for launch clearance, “Flight control, this is Captain Bane requesting clearance to launch. Personal flight code Tango Sierra one, waiting for voice analysis confirmation.”
A moment later the voice of the flight controller came through his headphones, "Voice analysis confirmed, you're clear for departure."
"Roger control, departing now." Bane responded.
The Cloakeshape rose up on its repulsorlifts as its thrusters kicked in to propel it through the ships magnetic containment field and into the cold weightlessness of space. Bane maneuvered the small ship towards one of the few navigable routes into the asteroid field. In order to keep his skills as a pilot up to par, he chose to take the most dangerous and least traveled. The ship came to the edge and Bane kicked the engines into high gear and dove right in.
He flew on, twisting and turning his ship in order to avoid being hit and smashed into tiny bits. On occasion, he threw the throttle forward as hard as he could in order to make the fighter dive straight down to avoid asteroids he couldn't fly around. Nearly ten minutes later he emerged in the center of the asteroid field to see one of the two largest asteroids of the entire field. Bane turned his fighter towards the larger of the two, his base of operations. The ship made half an orbit and he turned the fighter to a small opening disguised as a collapsed cavern.
As he passed through the opening, his viewport seemed to shimmer. The shimmering effect came from a holographic field hiding the true opening that was over a kilometer wide. Inside the asteroid base, there were hundreds of fighters, transports, freighters, and capital warships. Several of the warships heavily damaged from combat. The ships included a Mon Calamari Cruiser, a Nebulan-B Escort Frigate, and two Corvette-class ships, one Marauder-class and one Corellian-class. The damage to the Mon Cal was extensive; nearly every exposed surface covered in burn marks from weapons fire. The Nebulan-B was missing its bridge and half of its hangar bay. The two Corvettes were less damaged, but they still needed significant repairs.
As Bane docked his fighter, he saw his executive officer walking towards him. "What can I do for you Commander?" Bane asked.
Commander Jasset Chonce' saluted as he came to a stop. "Sir, we received a call for you over Hypercom. It was Admiral Jenae Williams; she wants you to call her A.S.A.P."
"Alright Commander, get these ships repaired and placed in defensive positions. I have a bad feeling things could get bad. In the meantime, put in a call to our forces and get them to tighten the perimeter around the system."
''Yes sir. Oh, and the first batch of Rapiers was delivered. Now we get our pilots to test them, right?" Chonce' asked.
"Yes, assign our best pilots to them A.S.A.P. and have them trained to fight in this asteroid field. Now, let me get this call to the Admiral placed. I will catch up with you soon."
Chonce' saluted as Bane walked towards the direction of his private office. The Commander turned around to see the bow of the Mon Cal Cruiser slip past the holographic field and gasped. The damage he noticed from the bow alone made him aware of how much time would have to be spent on this one ship. As he watched the ship slip all the way into the open hanger of the asteroid base, the other ships came through one at a time. Each one seemed to be in worse shape than the one before it. Oh well, we have jobs to do. Can't stand around all day wasting time.
Six months later.....
Arkov Bane sat in his chair wondering when the other shoe was going drop. He had received information his base would be attacked by the local Imperial governor. The enemy ships were not powerful enough to take on the base defenses. After all, most of the governor’s ships were old Dreadnaught Heavy Cruisers and Neutron Star-class Cruisers. He had a few Carrack-class ships as well as two old Victory-class Star Destroyers. Bane could scare up enough ships to take out all of the Governors ships in a single battle, but he would prefer to capture those ships and add them to his forces. The little chat he had six months prior with Admiral Williams had been sobering. It had also been pleasant. The sister ships to the Phantom were complete and ready for combat. Unfortunately, as she had told him, he would not be getting them any time soon. Each one needed to be put through their paces, lightspeed and sublight drives tested, and their weapons needed to be shot to make sure they wouldn't explode, and most importantly they needed to have their crews tested and tried in a combat scenario.
Every day Bane struggled with the need to convince his people to come in on the Rebellions side more noticeably. Even Bane had been hearing of rumors about a new Imperial battle station being constructed. This new Death Star would be completed in less than a year, and yet his people would still not commit to the Rebellion's cause any more than they already had. Creating a warship to look like a Mon Calamari vessel was as close as his government would get to fully supporting the Rebels. That was the whole reason Bane had decided upon being a pirate/smuggler as his cover.
He had gathered a large group of ships and people from various parts of the Galaxy in an effort to form a strong core of those he could trust. Most of his ships included small freighters and combat vessels like Corellian Corvettes and even a few Kaloth Battlecruisers.
After nearly a year he had captured even more ships and sent some of them back to his people so they could reverse engineer the design and build more. This eliminated his problem of capturing more ships to use. That was how he came across his first flagship, the Corellian Support Frigate Hit This!.
Everything culminated into Arkov Bane having a large fleet of pirate/smugglers. He took many jobs for lowlife’s and cutthroats. He also took jobs for civilians and very wealthy governments. After two years as a pirate/smuggler, he had been given a job to capture a small fleet of ships carrying weapons and supplies to a slaving ring. Bane had never liked slavers, so he took the job willingly. This had attracted the attention of the Rebellion, which is what Bane's intel network had suggested would happen. Once the mission was complete, the weapons were turned over to a ship that would take them to a Rebel outpost. Bane smuggled a tracking device among the weapons, which would activate upon the weapons being exposed to sunlight.
These weapons were shipped to Yavin 4. Bane sent several of his best ships and his best pilots to make a peace agreement with the Rebels and ask for his operation to be included among the Rebel forces. The Rebels had accepted him with caution, but they were ready to bring his small force of ships into their numbers. Now, the Rebellion had few combat warships and even fewer trained personnel. Bane's people had trained him well, and he felt that bringing his people and the Rebellion together would be just what was needed to further hasten the Empire's fall.
A knock came from the other side of Bane's office door. "Come in."
Commander Chonce' walked in and presented Bane with a datapad. "Sir, they are coming."
Arkov stood up from his chair with grim determination. He would fight this enemy and he would win. He walked out of his office with Chonce' right behind him and made his way to the hangar bay. "Commander, are the ships ready for battle?"
"Yes sir, all ships are ready and waiting. We have ships on the perimeter and ships waiting to launch from the base right now. We are just waiting on you and a few straggler ships. There has been no word as to when the ships will arrive, but we are assuming they are on their way right now." Chonce' replied.
Bane took everything in and quietly contemplated his next several steps. First, he would have to get his base defenses out of the asteroid field and into open space. Second, he would need all the ships from the perimeter ready to swing in and hit the Imperial's flank. Finally, Bane had to try to keep as many people as he could from dying. Fortunately, he had the Phantom and the new Rapier-class fighter.
Minutes later as his ship docked aboard the Phantom, Bane received a coded signal from the Bridge requesting his presence immediately. Bane sighed to himself as he increased his pace from a fast walk to a jog. Two turbolift’s later he was in the heart of the ship, the Bridge Command Center. "What is it Lt. Higgins?"
Lt. Higgins looked up from her console to acknowledge his question. "Sir, the Imperial ships have dropped from lightspeed and have taken an aggressive stance. They have seen us and are not moving to engage. We think we detected a Hypercom signal emanating from the lead Battle Cruiser."
Bane looked at the tactical screen to assess the locations of the Imperial ships and sure enough, they were not moving to engage. Instead, they were standing still. The Imperial commander had ordered a defensive posture to protect against assault. Bane thought for a moment, wondering if he should commit his forces to combat. "Commander Chonce', order group two to engage the enemy. Send four squadrons of assault fighters with them. Sensors extend your scans to cover the outer edge of the system in case they called for backup. Communications signal the Base and tell them to continue the evacuation but do so cautiously. The Imperials may have called for back-up and they could come around behind our defenses."
The officers and crew had readied the ship for combat in a very efficient manner. The weapons were primed and ready, the fighters were in launch positions, and every person on the ship was ready. Now they had to play the waiting game and see if the enemy had indeed called for assistance. Bane looked at the combat display to see fourteen of his ships including the Freedom of Calamari, the repaired Mon Cal Cruiser, move to engage the Imperial ships. The display showed the two Victory Star Destroyers, three Dreadnaught-class Cruisers, four Carrack-class Light Cruisers, and the six Neutron Star-class Bulk Cruisers of the Imperial Governors fleet. His own forces were slightly less auspicious, but still quite capable of holding their own against the Imperials. With Corellian Support Frigates, Corvettes, an old Acclamator-class Cruiser, and the Mon Cal Cruiser should be capable of easily defeating the opposing force. He watched as the ships closed with the Imperial fleet. He saw the enemy launch fighters and pull back into an even tighter formation to defend themselves.
As Bane focused on the fleet before him, the sensors lit up with more contacts. "Sir, Imperial ships twelve hundred meters to starboard: two Imperial Star Destroyers and ten support ships. I count three Nebulan-B's, three Tartan-class Cruisers, and four Strike-class Medium Cruisers. They are launching fighters and maneuvering for a better fire angle."
"Okay, call group three for intercept and open gun batteries. All weapons target rightmost Star Destroyer and have support ships target the leftmost. Let’s keep them busy," replied Bane. The weapons officer did as he was instructed and activated the main weapons. Bane watched as the new threat began to withdraw as his ships fired upon them. Apparently, the enemy commander did not expect such a withering barrage from 'surprised' Rebel ships. The Imperial ships had already launched their TIE fighters and were attempting to outflank Banes few remaining ships.
"Captain, sir, we have finished launching our fighters and they are engaging the Rebel fleet. Enemy fighters consist of X and Y-wings, Z-95 Headhunters, Cutlass-9's, ARC-170's and Uglies. We have confirmed two enemy groups, one full of small vessels such as Corvettes and small Frigates with only two heavy ships and the second group consists of the Frigate, the two Corvettes, and that Mon Cal Cruiser we are engaging. Unfortunately, that Cruiser has more weapons than we expected. The two Corvettes and the Frigate are engaging the Blood Lust; they are not faring well. Already we have them trying to retreat behind the Mon Cal. Our other ships are requesting to pursue. What shall I tell them sir?" asked Captain Norick's executive officer. Norick was in charge of the sector fleet and had just received orders to supply the sector Moff with any assistance he might have needed. Moreover, in this particular instance the assistance was in the form of wiping out the Rebel scourge in the Moffs own star system.
"No, do not pursue the ships. Move us around front of the Cruiser to cut off their escape and lock Ion cannons onto the vessel. All of our pilots are to engage the Rebel fighters with all vigilance."
Posted: Mon Dec 24, 2012 2:08 pm
The Captains XO saluted and went to give the orders. As he turned around to gaze out of the viewport he noticed the Rebel Cruiser was not trying to run, nor was it trying to keep itself from being out-flanked. The Captain thought for a moment he was dealing with an unlearned enemy combatant. Is it possible these Rebels know so little about space combat they they do not even know how to properly save themselves? Just as he was about to order his ships to commit to destroying the small force of Rebels a group of enemy ships emerged from lightspeed.
"Commander, report! How many ships have arrived?" asked the Captain.
"Sir, we have fifteen ships out of lightspeed off our starboard quarter. I count two more Mon Calamari Star Cruisers, three Mon Calamari Light Cruisers, two Nebulan-B Frigates, three Munificent-class Star Frigates, and five Corellian Corvettes."
"Damn, where are these ships coming from!? Why are they fighting so hard!?" Screamed the Captain. "Alright, send our support craft to engage the new arrivals along with the Ravager. Helm, move us over to the Governors fleet to give them our support."
"Sir, the Imperial ships are moving off to engage our secondary fleet. The lead Star Destroyer is maneuvering to engage our main fleet. Orders sir?"
Captain Bane glanced at the tactical display to verify his XO's reports. So far all of Bane's forces were holding their own against the Imperial ships. His main force was mainly older Corellian built craft such as Corvettes, gunships, frigates, and some old Clone War era cruisers and Consular-class ships. They were old, but they were quick and accurate with their weapons. While they may not be as powerful as the Imperial ships they were facing, they were a lot harder to hit and were packing illegal weaponry. Currently, the Imperial ships were feeling the sting of those illegal weapons. With the enemy splitting their ships into two forces, he was now ready to spring his trap.
"Communications, send the following signal on an open channel: 'Dinner's ready.' Then stand by to send the retreat signal. We are going to pull out."
"Aye sir, broadcasting now." replied the Comm officer.
Bane looked to the tactical display once more to see the new disbursement of the of all the forces. A moment later a small force of ships dropped out of hyperspace led by three Cruisers exactly like the Phantom. The Wraith, Spectre, and Ghost led the assault force of medium and light cruisers on their first live fire mission. Bane looked at the ships enter the battle smoothly and engage the Imperials on all three fronts.
"Alright, contact all ships and order the retreat." Bane said.
Bane watched as his fleet started jumping to lightspeed. The bridge displays showed nearly half of his fleet was away with only his smaller support ships remaining. As he continued to watch his fleet disappear, the battle against the Imperial forces still raged. He was proud to see his people’s newest fleet ships taking revenge against the Emperors war machine. With the three Phantom-class Destroyers, twelve Defiant-class Cruisers, twenty Nebula-class Frigates, and the forty Renegade-class Corvettes taking apart what was left of the Imperial force Bane was content to leave the battlefield. The screen flickered as the Phantom made the jump to lightspeed and to the safety of the rendezvous point.
Commodore Thrace, commanding officer on board the Wraith, watched as her fleet skillfully destroyed the Imperials one ship at a time. She had long waited for the day when she could have her taste of revenge from the Imperials. She had been serving as a second lieutenant aboard an escort cruiser when the Imperials destroyed her home. Everyone she had known as a child was now dead thanks to the Empire and now she was thrilled to kill every Imperial here because of it.
Thrace had given orders before the battle to destroy every ship and accept no surrenders or take any prisoners. After all, the Imperials were issued the same order when her home world was reduced to ash. Her displays showed her vessels fairing very well against the Imperial Star Destroyers and her support craft were holding up against the other Imperial ships just as well. One by one a silhouette representing an Imperial vessel disappeared as it was destroyed. Before too long there were only a handful of enemy targets left. The Star Destroyers were still in the fight and were on verge of joining their fallen comrades.
The TIE fighters were becoming fewer and fewer as well thanks to her Renegade-class Corvettes. Each of the small Corvettes was outfitted with anti-starfighter weapon systems and heavy shields to withstand conflicts against larger, more powerful ships. The standard weaponry of a Renegade-class Corvette consisted of twelve dual barreled laser cannons, eight turbolaser cannons, four ion cannons, and ten missile launchers. The missile launchers held a variety of missiles including Proton Torpedoes, Concussion Missiles, seeker-rockets, and flack missiles. At only two hundred meters in length, this vessel could defeat any other ship its size. This was her peoples answer to the Lancer-class Frigate and the Corellian Gunship, each designed as an anti-starfighter vessel.
Possessed with a lingering desire to see every Imperial suffer, Thrace ordered her fighters to launch and chase down the remaining TIE’s and destroy them. Her screens registered the launch of the fighters and showed them taking after the unshielded TIE fighters. Her fighters, designed for quick and powerful strikes, hunted down the enemy craft with a vengeance. She personally thought they were beautiful. Swept forward wings sprouted ion cannons on the wing tips, while powerful laser cannons were snug under the wings close to the fuselage. With an appearance of a bat, these fighters were fast, agile, and extremely deadly.
The Commodore continued to watch the screens as the enemy tried to retreat, but with the asteroid field behind them and her fleet in front of them there was nowhere to run. It was not long before only two of the Star Destroyers remained, badly damaged as they were. The Commodore gave one final order to the fleet before ordering her ships to withdraw. From the three Phantom-class ships launched six missiles, unique in their design, each one was capable of collapsing a target in on itself using a powerful gravitational field. These were the first missiles used in a real engagement and Thrace hoped they would perform well.
“Sir, we’ve lost all communications with Engineering! Hull breaches along our forward ridgeline have compromised our hull integrity and we have systems going out everywhere. We can’t jump without tearing ourselves apart!” Lieutenant Meads reported to the new commander. With the captain dead and most of the Star Destroyer in flames there was no way first Lieutenant Gates could salvage the situation. Most of the senior officers either were dead or incapacitated, so command fell to the next highest-ranking officer, Gates. It was his first tour aboard a Star Destroyer and he was now regretting it. Surrender or abandon ship were the only options available. So far all attempts to contact the enemy had failed so surrender was unlikely. Abandon the Star Destroyer and hope the other Star Destroyer was jump-capable was now their only option.
“Alright, get a comm channel open to the other ship and tell them we are evacuating the ship and intend to scuttle it. Then inform all personnel to get to the escape pods and hangar bay to abandon ship; we’re done with this fight. Give me a ship wide communication channel.” Gates ordered. The communications officer nodded his head and carried out the order while the rest of the bridge crew began the evacuation. “You have ship wide channel open.”
Gates took the headset from the officer, “Attention all crew, we are abandoning ship. If you can make it to the escape pods do so now. The helm officer will be rotating the ship to give all pods the best chance of survival. All dorsal pods will launch first, followed by the ventral pods and all remaining shuttles and support craft. Wait for visual verification, as that will be your only warning. That is all.”
Gates made his way to the corridor and to the turbolift intent on getting to the hangar bay and hold a ship for as many crewmembers as he could cram aboard. He had hoped there would be a Sentinel-class landing craft available. Along the way he grabbed as many people as he would need to help operate the craft and escape with the highest chance of survival. Upon arriving in the hangar he was relieved to see a good lack of panic on the faces of many among the crew; a testament to the Empires training protocols. Gates boarded the nearest of two Sentinel-class ships with his crew and began the pre-flight check as one of the crew began mustering evacuees aboard. Gates took a final look at the ships visible from the hangar bay as the massive vessel began to roll allowing the dorsal escape pods to fire.
Knowing they would only have moments before they could he activated the comm system and contacted the other ships in the hangar. “Okay, listen up people; this is how this will happen. I will stay behind and issue the launch order to each ship so we don’t have a snafu. After each vessel launches you will move out of the way to either port or starboard to give the next ship in line a clear opening. You will then keep your vessel between this Star Destroyer and the enemy, if they see any of your ships they will send more fighters to try and kill us. Understood?” Gates received a chorus of affirmatives before the field in front of him changed to see the enemy fleet once again.
He watched as the stars rolled by to bring the asteroid field into view. He switched the comm channel open and began giving out the launch orders. One by one the ships left the hangar in a very orderly fashion. Skipray Blastboats, Gamma-class assault shuttles, DX-9 transports, Lambda-class shuttles, lightspeed-capable TIE’s, and finally the first of the two Sentinel-class landing craft were away from the ship in record time. Before he could launch his ship he noticed the enemy fleet coming into view again, but this time they were not firing their turbolasers. He saw instead the trails of large missiles heading towards both Star Destroyers and he felt an odd sensation come over him.
“All ships go to lightspeed NOW!” he ordered. Seconds before the missiles hit he pushed the throttle forward and launched his ship out of the hangar as fast as it would go. Then, without thinking, he threw the lever sending the ship into hyperspace just as the missiles impacted the primary hangar bay.
“Well Commodore, how many ships did you lose?” asked Bane. He had contacted the Commodore soon after his ships had made it to the rendezvous safely. Though he had ordered another jump to a second set of coordinates to prevent any spies from tracking his ships after the first was completed. He had lost a third of his bases fighter craft along with many of his smaller support ships were badly damaged. Several of his Corellian vessels had nearly flown themselves apart during the hyperspace jump.
“Captain, we were fortunate this time. We lost no ships, not even a single fighter. I do have a lot of personnel with broken body parts and bruised egos, but no loss of life.” she replied. Thrace had managed to destroy all the Imperials and left no survivors according to her report, but Bane had left several spy satellites operating so he could see everything after his fleet pulled out. He uploaded a file to her via a tachyon burst she would receive shortly.
“Well Commodore, your ships were truly remarkable. I personally cannot wait to have the rest of my ships arrive. I mean, having a force of Valkyrie-class ships would be a great benefit. And our newly trained marines will come in handy as well.” Bane continued to talk as she looked at the information packet he sent. Her face fell at first, and then she began to turn red, as she got angry. “Damnit! Damn, damn, damn, those Imperials to all the Hells of Itharia!” she exclaimed. “I will hunt them down and kill every one of them if it is the last thing I do. I swear it! None of them shall live if I have anything to say about it.”
“Commodore, calm down. You had no idea they could pull this off. I suspected they might have had reinforcements, but never that they would pull off a feat like this. You must learn to handle mistakes with more control if you wish to advance. Learn from your mistakes, trust in your ability to command and make decisions based from experience.” Bane may have a lower rank in the Alliance military, but he had seniority over her.
“Sir, with these escapees our existence will be known. Your cover in the Alliance will be blown and we will have the Imperial fleet on our doorstep once again. We must hunt them down and destroy them. They will have gone to the closest planet so we must return and destroy them at once. I can have my fleet ready to go in minutes; all I need is your authorization.” Thrace responded.
“Commodore, our ships look enough like Mon Calamari Cruisers thanks to our allies and our fighters look like Uglies to fool most any Imperial. Besides, with any luck they will believe it is simply a new battle group of Mon Calamari ships.”
Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:49 am
“But sir, if they trace any of the ships electronic signatures they will know we are not part of the Rebel fleet. The signatures will confirm our hull plating is not of Mon Calamari design. If that happens they will figure out where the metal comes from and send another, more powerful fleet to attack what is left of our people. We have to do something to protect our people.” Thrace responded.
Bane knew she was right, but he also knew they did not have the strength to take on the sector base and the Moffs home planet. Now, if he had another twenty Phantom-class warships then he could entertain the idea. However, even he was not one to wipe out a larger portion of a population just to get rid of a few survivors. That would make him just as bad as the Imperials who had ordered and carried out the Base Delta Zero on Cornel. His people had trained him to do what was necessary in times of severe stress or danger. In this case, however, such measures were not needed. The new warships had done well and had not taken any losses, so with the support of allies and their home guard defenses any Imperial force would not have a good chance at winning a battle against a Triad fleet.
“Commodore, for now, we will wait for confirmation before we actually DO anything. I will send this and your report to High Command and let them deal with it. Until then, keep your fleet hidden and out of sight.” Thrace just looked at him with a discontented look. Fed up with not being able to fight on a constant basis, the Commodore was ready to jump out of her skin with anxiousness. However, all she did was salute and terminate the transmission. Arkov readied his report as he thought how best to continue this charade as a smuggler and pirate. His forces were growing faster than he expected. With half of his pirate fleet engaged in hit and run attacks on Imperial civilian shipping lanes and the other half hitting Imperial transport ships he was getting more captured vessels and more Imperial cargo than ever before.
At the same time, he was also getting more and more smuggling opportunities than ever before. He was buying more freighters and small transports from Corellian and Sullustan merchants and modifying them to be faster, more heavily armed, and even better able to take on Imperial ships twice their size. These ships, his own private militia, would rally to his call at a moment’s notice. And with the Rebellions previous losses at Hoth and elsewhere, he may just have to send some of his people into combat on the side of the Rebels.
Arkov had read reports indicating Separatist holdouts in certain sectors were slowly losing ground. This meant to him an opportunity to try to convince them one more time to join the Rebels or join his side and fight for the Rebels as mercenaries. He would do his best, again, but even he held little hope of getting them to join. “Oh well, we will see what comes of this” he thought to himself as he finished compiling the report.
Lieutenant Gates stood at attention as the Governor debriefed him on the recent, disastrous, campaign to destroy a Rebel base. He had reported the whole story to the Governor as well as to his ranking Imperial officer-in-charge of the base. The Governor had refused to believe his fleet as well as the back-up force was utterly defeated by a ragtag group of Rebels. Though Gates had assured the both of them the Rebel forces were hardly ragtag, neither wanted to believe it. Gates could not help but think the Governor was a fool. He had seen these ships destroy two sets of Imperial forces. Granted many of the Governors ships were damaged and battle scarred from the Rebel base defenders, Gates’ own forces were fresh and even more powerful than the Governors force. Moreover, both groups were still soundly defeated.
“Well, it had to have been incompetence on your Captains part to allow such a tragic defeat to occur. My people are trained to deal with this threat and from what you say; they were doing a fine job until your ships came along. I knew it was a waste of time to call in your ships. However, we will deal with that later. A representative from Imperial Center will be arriving in a few hours to debrief you and the survivors. Until then, consider yourself confined to quarters. Have you any more to add to your statement?” asked the Governor.
All Gates could do was shake his head and salute as he was led away by Imperial Stormtroopers. He had survived much and was now being treated as a prisoner by this sector Governor who thought he was the Empires gift to the galaxy. Pompous nerf-herder he thought to himself. His crew had similarly been detained and debriefed. The snatches of conversation had told him the Governor had not believed the Rebels could amass a powerful force capable of taking on and defeating Imperial Navy vessels. But his crew had seen the destruction of their forces and witnessed the defeat of the Emperors fleet ships.
Posted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 4:45 pm
Bane watched the expected vessel emerged from Lightspeed and take a defensive posture in the dead space. There were no star systems, trade stations, or even a remote satellite anywhere in the vicinity. It was a perfect place for the meeting with the leftover Separatists holdouts. The first one had arrived in an old Munificent-class Frigate. Bane knew this leader would be more apt to listen to what he had to offer. Tam Vssir, a member of the old Banking Clan and last holdout of his people, was known for his ability to judge a good opportunity and seize upon it quickly. Bane had high hopes he would be able to sway Tam over to his cause.
In order to facilitate a more peaceful meeting, Bane had given the Separatists the option of arriving with either one small, powerful vessel, or their own personal capital ship. Tam had apparently opted for the second choice. Bane himself had opted for a third choice: a modified Arquitens-class Light Cruiser. Larger than his own personal Corellian Support Frigate, yet less intimidating than the Phantom.
In the time it took for Tam to board the Jokers Folly, Bane knew it was a 70/30 chance of Tam agreeing with the plan. Unfortunately, he would need the rest of the Sepratists to join him. "Greetings my old friend! It does me good to see you again! Tell me, why the need for such secrecy? And why the limitations for the meeting?", Tam said as he greeted Bane warmly.
Bane responded, "Greetings, Tam, it is good to see you as well. I have something very important to discuss with you and I wanted to meet with you first before the others got here. To be honest, you will not like this much at all."
Tam though for a moment before responding. He had known Arkov Bane for several years, taught him several strategic maneuvers for hiding his ship, and even helped him and his mercenary forces hide on a few occasions. "What is it you think I will not like?" he asked cautiously.
Bane took a breath before he answered, "Help me defeat an Imperial fleet poised to destroy the Rebellion."
Tam looked stunned for a moment, then his booming voice cried out in laughter, "Haaaaa haaaaa haaaaa!!!! You always knew how to make me laugh Arkov, now please, the truth this time."
"I am telling you the truth Tam, the Rebels have found another Death Star and are getting ready to strike. The Emperor knows this and has a secret fleet positioned to destroy them. I only recently obtained this information. I need the help of you and your Separatists allies to destroy the Imperial fleet so the Rebels can destroy the Death Star battlestation. Will you help me by supplying the necessary ships?"
Tam turned from Bane and began pacing back and forth in the small room. "Arkov," He started, "you have been a great student to me, a good friend and sometimes, even a wise councilor. Now you would have me help those who would bring the Republic back into existence when I have fought so hard to keep both the Republic AND the Empire from meddling in the affairs of those sectors who wish to keep to themselves!!! How could you ask this of me?!?! I have fought and lost many battles, lost many friends. And everytime I strike the Empire the Rebels get blamed. The only thing the Rebels have done for us is allow the Empire to ignore us and let us build our forces up. We still have no hope of ever defeating the full might of the Empire, but if they ever come after us they will lose many of their ships in the process. We are not ready, and we cannot aid you in this foolish quest."
As he finished speaking Bane turned and looked out the porthole to see the stars. He began to stroke his short brown beard he had started growing. He had a feeling Tam would use a similar excuse. Now he would have to appeal to Tam's sense of duty. It was a low blow, but this was the only way he knew to get him to agree. He lowered his head as he turned to Tam and began speaking, "I understand your resolve. I get it, I really do. I will take what ships I have and fight the Imperial fleet myself if the others also do not agree. When I am killed and the Rebel fleet is destroyed then the fate of the galaxy will be in your hands.The Rebel fleet will be traveling through hyperspace to a system on the outer edge of the galaxy. The Imperial fleet is said to have at least two Interdictor Cruisers to pull them from lightspeed and hold them in deep space long enough to either destroy them, or whittle down their fleet so they will not have the strength to destroy the Death Star. Once the Emperor has killed the fleet, he will undoubtedly turn his attention to those worlds who openly and even covertly supported the Rebellion. He will destroy them with his Death Star and once the galaxy is secure from any more Rebel activity he will turn his attention to the remaining Separatist factons. He will hunt you down to the ends of the galaxy with his new toy and he will do all he can to eradicate you. Thank you for your time. You can go back to your ship and await the others or, with your decision made, you can go back to your base." As he finished speaking he walked toward the door to go to his quarters.
Tam was staring at the floor during the first half of Bane's speech, yet when he mentioned Palpatine destroying worlds which supported the Rebellion and then going after the remaining Separatists he began to feel stirrings of worry. He watched as Arkov walked out of the room with a look of determination and despair on his countenance. Alone in the room with only his thoughts to keep him company, he sat at the table and wondered what he should do.
“Are you certain the Rebels know nothing about this? It would, after all, hamper our destruction of them.” Admiral Leyta’an asked.
As Vice Admiral in the lower echelons of the vast Imperial Navy, Leyta’an had been in service to the Empire since he was a teenager. He had served in many posts during his 20 years in the navy, including the Mid-rim and some limited Inner Rim postings. This command would take him farther out in the galaxy than he had ever been before. This would be a true test of his command experience.
“Admiral, the Rebels are clueless about this build-up. Many of the Star Destroyers come from reserve fleets out of deep Core sectors. The support ships are coming from all across the Mid-rim territories. The Rebels will get reports of the ships’ disappearance from some sectors of course, though they will not think the removal of these vessels will be of any real consequence.”, replied High Admiral Kent.
“You are now in complete command of 15 Imperial Star Destroyers and 100 support ships ranging from Tartan-class Patrol ships to Strike-class Cruisers. The Interdictor Cruisers assigned to this task force come not from any sector fleet, as they are quite new out of the shipyards. You will have assured passage through many of our sectors without any question. You will maintain communications blackout until you are on-station. Upon arrival, you will launch a single shuttle that will proceed to the location outlined in this briefing packet. After launching the shuttle, you will immediately assume combat formation and have the Interdictors begin drills and warm-up exercises. They must be ready to pull the Rebel fleet from lightspeed at all times. Is this understood?”
“Yes Admiral Kent, I understand and will follow these orders to the letter. For the glory of the Empire I serve.” Vice Admiral Leyta’an saluted before the hologram of his superior officer as the transmission ended. Yes, he thought to himself, Imperial High Command would welcome me as a hero for destroying the Rebel scum. He looked out to the assembled fleet before him and felt pride swell in his soul as he realized the significance of his role. He would be responsible for destroying the Rebels’ spirit. It would be glorious.
“Captain Bane, you have asked us to come here in order to pilfer our own forces just so we can aid the Rebellion in a battle. You have lost your mind if you think we will join in this battle.”
“I concur with my esteemed colleague, for once. I have few combat warships capable of even defeating a small sector fleet, and you would have me give all my vessels to you in order to fight a fleet full of Star Destroyers? You have truly gone mad.”
Bane glanced up to see the two Generals preparing to walk out the door. He had failed with Tam, now he was about to fail with his last hope. He had one last move available to him. “Alright, you leave me no choice. I had hoped to avoid telling you this, so since you insist on leaving without the full story I must divulge this secret.”
That stopped them in their tracks. Slowly they turned and looked back at Bane seated in his chair. They watched him rise and activate a screen on the wall. The image was that of the incomplete Death Star battle station. The image was several weeks old. Bane began speaking once both Generals recovered from seeing this threat.
“What I would like from you both, including Tam Vssir, is your help in preventing the destruction of the Rebel fleet. The Rebels will be assaulting this Death Star in less than two weeks. Their hyperspace route will take them past this star system, which is where the ambush will take place. The Imperial fleet assembling here is completely unknown to the Rebel Intel network. It is my personal belief these Star Destroyers are from somewhere in the deep core, otherwise my contacts would have some idea of which system is missing a Star Destroyer.
“I need as many ships as I can put together in order to keep the Rebel fleet from falling into this ambush. The goal is not the complete destruction of the Imperial force, just to prevent the Interdictor Cruisers from powering their gravity projectors. I will be bringing every ship under my direct command, capable of combat into this fight. I am asking for your help in this matter because if you do help me, then any ship your forces disable or force to surrender will be yours. You will have a target rich environment. Just think, what if your ships manage to capture an Imperial Star Destroyer? Or, perhaps one of the Interdictors? Ships like those would bolster your already powerful fleets, and the gravity generators on the Interdictors would fetch a hefty price on the black market. Bottom line, if the Rebel fleet is destroyed before reaching this Death Star then the entire rebellion is doomed. Once the Death Star is fully operational it will hunt down all opposition to the Empire.”
Bane looked at the myriad of expressions pass over their faces; from confusion to greed, from greed to melancholy, then finally to resigned defeat. He had them, now was the perfect time to play his last trump card. He only hoped it would convince them. “I also have a copied recording from the local sector Moff. I will play it for you.” Bane touched another console and a hologram of the sector Moff appeared. The footage showed the Moff speaking with someone off screen and describing in detail how happy he would be when the new Imperial weapon would be complete. How when it was finished and had cleansed the Rebellion from the galaxy he would be overjoyed to watch as the remaining Separatist’s factions would be hunted and destroyed. As the recording was finished, he looked closely at the two generals. He could see anger, rage, and a calm resolve for outright murder on their countenance.
“Are you certain the Imperials intend to trap the Rebel fleet?”, asked General Tambor.
“Positive.”, Bane replied.
“In that case, you have my support.”, General Tambor decreed.
“You have mine as well.”, agreed General We’Eton. “When will you need our ships?”
“I need them sent and assembled at these coordinates. My ships will be waiting for yours. Though, some will arrive shortly after your fleets are in position.” Bane said as he moved around the table and handed them information packets. He shook their proffered appendages and showed them out. Once they were a safe distance away from the office, he let out a loud sigh and slumped down in one of the guest chairs. This old cruiser, unlike other ships, had not been designed for comfort, but it suited his purposes for the time being. Now if he could get Tam to agree to send his fleet then all of his pieces would be in place. Moreover, he could really give the Imperials a proper beating.
Tam Vssir sat in his quarters waiting for the holonet connection to go through. He knew his master would jump at this opportunity, yet he was worried it would be considered bad idea. Personally, he despised turning down a request for aid from one of his closest allies. He commanded many ships, had several thousand combat droids, and could field over a dozen Lucrehulk-class Battleships with ease. Now he was waiting on his only master, Lord Madness, to weigh in. He had hoped to contact him sooner, but the Lord had left explicit instructions on when to contact him. Now, as he waited, Tam could only hope he would say yes to this ground-breaking proposal.
As Arkov made his way to his quarters aboard the Joker’s Folly, his wristlink chirped, demanding his attention. “Sir, sensors are registering a ship approaching. Its design is that of a Lambda-class shuttle. It is hailing us.”
Bane turned around in the corridor and began walking toward the bridge while tapping his wristlink to respond, “Okay, what are they saying?”
The bridge officer replied, “The pilot says he has an informant on board who wishes to speak with you regarding the upcoming operation.”
“Understood Bridge.” Bane said as he turned around and headed to the docking port. As he made his way to the starboard docking port he felt the slight shudder of the Lambda making connection with the docking hatch. He was curious as to who was on the shuttle. As he entered the corridor with the docking port his eyes widened when he saw his visitor.
In the depths of space off the beaten paths of hyperlanes and computer-projected course corrections lay a very large gathering of vessels. Many of these vessels looked as if they had not received proper maintenance in many years. On the other hand, other ships appeared to have come right off a factory assembly line. Gleaming with new paint and armor plates, these vessels were a stark contrast to the old Separatist forces.
As Bane looked at the amassed ships he could only imagine what the Imperial commander would say when these ships surprised the Imperial fleet. Though, he had also hoped Tam would have shown up as well. If Tam Vssir had agreed to send his fleet there would be an even greater chance of a complete route of Imperial forces. Alas, Bane would make do as he always did and use actual cunning instead of brute force to win a battle. He had the entire operation planned and had asked the two Separatist leaders to look over the plan and give him their input. So far they had not contacted him with any negative or selfish comments. Bane took this to be a good sign.
"Sir, scopes detect a very large force of ships emerging from lightspeed at extreme sensor range. They are not broadcasting Imperial ID, yet they are not broadcasting as friendly either."
Arkov Bane turned to his Sensor Officer just as the Communications Officer piped up, "Sir, I have Tam Vssir hailing us. He wishes you to forward him the battle plans so he can get his forces into position for the attack."
Bane smiled inside. "Let me talk with him directly, put it up an the main monitor."
A moment later the image of Tam appeared on the bridge viewscreen. "I apologize for being late Arkov, I needed time to remember where my honor was. I have brought as many ships as I could on short notice, I even have a few that would prove useful in the upcoming engagement. There is one more ship I am waiting for though, they promised to meet me here so we could jump together."
"It is alright my friend, I am happy you were able to come and share in the spoils of war. I am sending the battle plan to you now, simply disperse your forces with the others for the assault. As far as this other ship, what is so important about it?"
"The vessel carries 4 fighter squadrons which have been invaluable to me recently and could prove to be a great asset in this fight. I have received the plan. I see you are going after the 2 Interdictor Cruisers using just a handful of craft? Tell you what, allow me to send my two Venator-class ships to support your vessels. This will give you added firepower when taking the Imperial escort craft. My Venator's can over power the escorts long enough for our ships to get in and deliver prize crews to the Interdictors. How does that sound?"
"Alright, I can work with that. Let's hope your wayward ship gets here in time for the jump. We cannot afford to wait for them."
Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 8:14 am
Gates looked around the hallway for more guards before continuing. Breaking out of his room was easy, getting past the Stormtrooper detail had been the difficult part. Now he was almost to the docking bay and freedom. Gates felt like cannon fodder. This Governor was an idiot for not seeing the truth when it was staring him in the face.
Gates made his way across the mezzanine to reach the docking bay doors and peered inside. The Sentinel-class shuttle he arrived in was being moved, but the other Sentinel was still there. He could see two guards outside the ship and another guard in the cockpit. He would have to be quick in order to take the guards by surprise. Gates set his stolen blaster to stun and casually walked into the hanger as if he owned the place. He was almost to the Sentinel when he bellowed, “Attention!! Who allowed that trooper into the cockpit? There are strict orders in place by the Governor himself not to allow any personnel on board these craft unless they are being transferred. Get that trooper out of that ship at once. No, wait, I will do it myself.”
It was all Gates could do to keep a straight face as the troopers nearly knocked each other over trying to get out of his way. He walked up the ramp and into the ship drawing his gun once he was sure the other two troopers were out of eyesight. He entered the cockpit and fired two stun blasts into the back of the trooper. Turning he sealed the door and began retracting the boarding ramp to prevent the other two troopers from trying to enter the Landing Craft. Gates sat at the pilot station and began an emergency cold start sequence to bring the weapons and engines on-line.
It took only moments to bring the engines on-line, however the whole time he could hear the alarms going off signaling his escape from his room as well as his stealing the ship. The two troopers outside had now been joined by another squad of soldiers and they were working diligently to open the Landing Craft. He could not allow that. The engines whined to life and he brought the weapons to bear on the nearest open door. Arming a concussion missile, Gates targeted the opening and let loose two missiles. The first missile hit the side of the doorway and went through the wall to detonate in the hallway. The second missile made it through the door and impacted the opposite wall where it buried itself into the building and opened a very large hole into a second hangar facility.
The shockwave from each successive blast caused the Landing Craft and the troopers trying to break in to get flung into the center of the massive hanger. The Sentinel’s repulsorlift engines whined to life as Gates lifted off the hangar floor and used the ships thrusters to rocket towards the opening and into the sky. Gates had the navicomputer working a hyperspace solution before he launched in case of any interference by the Governors space forces. Sure enough he needed that head start.
Just as he cleared the atmosphere his sensors registered the approach of a squadron of TIE fighters. This is the last thing I need, he thought to himself as he primed the ships main weapons. His main concern was simply getting far enough away from the planets gravity well long enough to jump to hyperspace. A Sentinel-class vessel was only as fast as a Y-wing starfighter and could not out run twelve TIE-class fighters. Gates knew he could not out run the TIE’s, he could only try to fight all twelve of them, which is what they wanted, or he could try to simply survive their onslaught. The timer ran down and he saw he still needed three minutes to reach a safe distance to jump to lightspeed, but the TIE’s would be on him in less than two.
Thinking quickly he disconnected power from the laser and ion cannons and disabled two of his four shield generators and shunted that energy into his engines. The next thing was going to be a little more difficult. He had to find the master hyperdrive safety override and disable it so he could jump to lightspeed while still in the shadow of a planetary body. Disabling the weapons and shield generators bought him another twenty seconds before the TIE’s were in firing range. Working quickly he called up the hyperdrive schematics and looked for the shut off procedure for deactivating the safety protocol. Once he thought he found it he locked the controls in place and headed for the hyperdrive unit.
Gates felt the first shudder as laser blasts hit the shields just as he entered the engineering compartment. Recalling the schematics in his mind he opened a panel and began to disable the safety mechanism. Just as he finished disconnecting the safety there was a WHAM WHAM and that was followed by a loud SPANG. Gates knew then a portion of his shields had just failed. He needed to get back to the cockpit fast before the TIE pilots knew they had breached his shields. He left the panel open and ran towards the cockpit as fast as he could. Just before he reached the hatchway he was knocked to his feet by what felt like a massive impact. He got up only to be knocked down again by a volley of TIE fighter laser fire. He crawled into the cockpit on his hands and knees too weak to get up and reached for the console. His hand found the hyperdrive lever and pulled it back as hard as he could. Not seeing the stars elongate, he could still feel the ship vibrate as his vessel slipped into lightspeed.
He sighed with relief when he felt no more shudders from laser impacts knowing it was smooth flying for now. As he slowly rose to sitting position he felt a wave of dizziness overcome him. Putting his hand to his head he felt a warm slickness on his fingers. He pulled his hand away and saw blood on his fingers. I must have a concussion.
Gates looked over and saw the still unconscious form of the trooper he stunned and realized he needed to either dispose of him or recruit him in his defection. Gates crawled over to the trooper and removed his helmet. Gates stopped as he thought he recognized the soldier. There was something familiar about the man lying on the deck. Gates could not remember well at the moment due to his head beginning to throb painfully. He knew he needed help so he began trying to wake the soldier. Realizing if the soldier was still unconscious even after the run-in with the TIE’s then Gates would need to resort to some other means of waking the soldier up.
Gates reached his hand down to grab the trooper’s right hand and he gave the index finger a good, sharp twist in a direction fingers were never designed to go. That succeeded. The soldier woke with a start, his face twisting up in pain as he realized his finger was near broken. Gates let up on his finger and looked him square in the eye.
“Trooper, what is your designation?”
The man replied, “K711386 sir.”
Gates looked at him and suddenly everything clicked. “You were stationed aboard the Ravager as part of our Stormtrooper battalion? What were you doing aboard this ship?”
Trooper K711386 replied, “Sir, I was trying to get out of the Governors palace. He is mad. He was going to hold every one of the survivors accountable for his losses in the asteroid field. He offered as many people as he could find amnesty if we would admit it was the bridge officers and ship captains’ fault his vessels were destroyed by the Rebels. From what I heard there was a lot of survivors who were going to agree to amnesty. He was going to execute the rest as a favor to the Imperial Intelligence rep from Imperial Center. I was aboard the Sentinel you flew out of the Ravager’s hangar.”
Gates did not want to believe his ears. An Imperial Governor was going to kill innocent personnel because he was embarrassed his force was lost to the Rebels! Gates wanted to turn the ship around and kill the Governor himself for ordering his crew’s executions. “Alright soldier, I need to get patched up and then we need to get the ship fixed. It was shot up during our escape. I am sure I have a concussion and since you are the only one of us who was wearing protective gear during the escape you should be well enough to help me. After that, we need to determine the amount of damage the ship took and repair it. Then we can look for safe harbor. Okay?”
Trooper K711386 nodded his head, “Yes sir Lt. Gates. Let me get the medkit and see what we can do for your head. By the way, it was you who shot me wasn’t it?”
Gates looked at him a little sheepishly, “Yeah, I shot you. I had no idea you were a friendly. What is your rank and name by the way?”
“Master Chief Milner, just call me Chief.”
“Okay Chief, let’s get to work.”
Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:04 pm
Arkov stood at the end of the briefing rooms conference table waiting for his final battle plans to be vetted by the Seperatist Generals. It was simple and to the point. He would have his ships mixed in with the Seperatist fleet and spaced around the Imperial armada forming a 4-pronged pincer movement. Each strike group would be led by a Phantom-class Cruiser and have an almost even number of Lucrehulk-class Battleships and Providence-class Destroyers acting as supplimental capital ships. The Lucrehulk Battleships would be the fighter carriers and the Providence Destroyers would blast their way into the formation of the Imperial force, strafing any and all ships that came under their gunsights. His fightercraft would lure the Imperial TIE's away from the main battle and keep them busy while the capital ships tore into the Imperial formation. The smaller cruisers like the Munificent-class Frigates would hang back and protect the aft flanks of each strike group while using their long-range prow turbolaser cannons to target and destroy the smaller Imperial escort craft. As the battle progressed and his forces not really trying to simply destroy the Imperials, simply keeping them off-balance, he would spring his trap. Once his scanners got an accurate fix on the two Interdictor Cruisers, 2 small fighters would jump to lightspeed just out of communications range and signal 3 shps each.
These ships would then proceed to different jump points and jump to lightspeed on their way to join the battle. One of these three ships would act as a shield and absorb all incoming fire, and that ship would be a Venator-class Star Destroyer. The second ship would need to engage and knock out the Interdictor Cruisers shields and weapons, Bane had decided to use an old Victory-class Star Destroyer for that job. The third and final ship in the trio would capture the Interdictor and put a prize crew aboard it. And the largest, best equipped vessel Bane could think of was an Acclamator-class Assault Cruiser. Once the 3 ships dropped out of lightspeed near their respective targets, the Venator-class Destroyers would orient themselves to block as much incoming fire from the Imperial ships as possible while the Victory-class Star Destroyer brought down the Interdictors defenses. Once the Acclamator Assault ship began taking over the Interdictor the Victory Star Destroyer would lend its shields and weapons to the Venator in order to keep the prize crew safe while they re-initiallized the Interdictors systems and pacified the ship.
During this battle, Bane would need all of the ships working together toward a common goal. This goal would have to be the utter destruction of every single Imperial craft in the area except for those ships his people managed to capture. He doubted he could get them to stop for anything less than total destruction anyway. He would simply have to make sure he was on top of his game during the battle and not let the enemy out-think or out-fight him. He had to be the rallying point for the Seperatist Generals and show them that loyalty and faith were not something to dismiss lightly.
While waiting for comments from his allies Arkov's wristlink beeped, demanding his attention. "Sir, scanners detect an old drone barge coming out of lightspeed. It is on an intercept course with General Vsir's command ship."
Before he could respond Tam spoke up, "That is the ship I was waiting for. Please patch me through to her captain."
Arkov gave the order and waited as a small hologram of an aging human male appeared on the holopad, "Greetings General, we came as fast as we could. Our mission was a success and we have reviewed the data you provided. While I know my pilots have no real qualms about going into combat against a full armada, I cannot help but wonder what support we will have."
"You are of course justified in your worry. May I present my old friend Arkov Bane, he is the one leading this campaign. I have complete faith in his plan and will in fact be asking you to join his attack group for the battle. WIll that be a problem Captain Valdez?"
"No sir, General, no problem at all. In fact I cannot wait to show Captain Bane what my people are capable of. Is this okay with you sir?"
Arkov nodded his head, "I have no problem at all. Tell me, what type of fighters are you bringing into the battle?"
"I have two squadrons of heavily modified Z-95 Headhunters and two heavily modified squadrons of R-41 Starchasers. My carrier is also equipped for combat and can take on corvette and light cruiser types. Though we prefer to not have it enter combat at all most of the time." replied Captain Valdez.
Arkov began trying to find a place for this ship in his forces, he already had enough ships and support vessels in his group and therefore really did not need this new addition. Four modified squadrons of Z-95's and R-41's could help protect his flanks from any lucky TIE fighters that made it through the guantlet of defenses. The carrier could even be used to support his corvettes if it really had the firepower Valdez claimed it did. He had nothing to lose, so he gave the coordinates and sent over a copy of the battle plan to Valdez and his carrier.
"I have recieved the transmission, I would like to review it and get back to you with questions regarding formations and individual ship strength. I didn't survive the Clone Wars by trusting a plan before studying it." Valdez then terminated his communication.
Bane turned towards the Separatist Generals and began further explaining the plan. "Each strike element will send the droid-controlled Providence-class vessels into the middle of the Imperial formation. They will charge in at full spead and slash through the enemy force firing at the closest Star Destroyers. Once they have made the first pass, only those ships that can still fight effectively will turn and re-engage the enemy fleet. By that time, the 2nd strike element will have dropped from lightspeed and will send their Providence -class vessels controlled by droid crews to use the same slash attack as the first strike group. Each group will use this tactic only once, and only the battle-ready vessels will re-engage the Imperial force.
"All capital-class ships will target the Star Destroyers and all smaller support craft will target the Imperial escort vessels. Our lightspeed capable fighters will drop out of hyperspace in three waves. Each wave will fire two volleys of tropedo's or missiles at the closest Star Destroyer then instantly break away to engage the TIE fighter squadrons. All fighters without hyperdrive will be launched during the Providence's attacks. Remember, our goal is to cause as much confusion as possible and keep the Imperial armada focused on us while our real targets move into position. We want our targets to be far enough away from the main battle that when we spring the trap they will have no way to get reinforements.
"As I am sure you all know, the Imperials will be using grade A weapons and shields while many of our ships will not have similar strength. We must work together to defeat this force. We will concentrate our fire on one target at a time, destroy it, and move to the next. We will group ourselves together and overlap our shields to protect ourselves from incoming fire. We will move our ships as a group and continuosly reposition our ships to keep the Imperials thrown off-balance. The enemy is expecting a surprised Rebel fleet, what we will show them instead is an organized, effecient, and ruthless killer. We will lose many ships, many lives, and we will even lose friends and comrades, yet we must not waver in our reslove. When the enemy kills one of our ships, we kill three of theirs. When we finally spring our trap, that is when we unleash the full force of our fleet. Are we in agreement?"
Arkov Bane looked at the three Generals each in turn, seeing their nod of approval and ever-increasing glee at their chance at dealing a powerful blow to the mighty Imperial war machine.
Posted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 6:01 pm
Gates looked out the viewport of the damaged transport to see the wedge-shaped Star Destroyer belonging to Vice Admiral Rogriss. According to Chief Milner, Vice Admiral Rogriss was really the only one he trusted to do the right thing. Chief was on the comm with the landing officer of the Star Destroyer awaiting permission to land. He only hoped they had enough time to form a rescue and save the remaining crew members before their execution. The ship began moving and forced Gates to pay attention to his surroundings again. "Well, what do you think he will say Chief?"
Chief Milner simply turned his head and smirked, "Admiral Rogriss will not believe it at first, but he will take my word for it. He knows me and my reputation. I told you I worked for him before, what I did not mention is that I was his personal guard when he was given the rank of Vice Admiral and before that I had been assigned to one of his 1st postings as my first assignment as a Stormtrooper. He has always been fair and balanced; never one to lose his head during combat, become overly aggressive, or even over-commit his forces to a battle when he should withdraw, the Admiral earned my respect and trust long ago."
The Sentinel was just passing through the barrier which kept the vaccuum of space out of the landing bay as Chief finished speaking. He put the landing gear down and glided on the repulsors to a spot designated by the landing officer. Admiral Rogriss could be seen just entering the bay with a Stormtrooper escort just as the ship settled down to the deck plates. Chief locked down the engines and slowly rose from his seat gathering his helmet and rifle. "Come on Lt. Gates, lets go. We don't have much time."
Posted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:02 am
The Imperial Admiral stood on the observation deck and observed the massed ships under his command. Fifteen of the most powerful vessels in the Imperial Navy floated in the blackness of space surrounded by one hundred secondary support craft all on station awaiting the Rebel fleet. His two Interdictor cruisers waited on the outer edge of his fleet ready to pull the enemy from hyperspace on his order. He had cleverly arranged his small fleet into three distinct combat groups with each group capable of operating in smaller sub groups. One Star Destroyer would have several smaller support ships as escorts and could detach from the larger force to track down and destroy wayward Rebel craft.
Each of the three main combat groups would act in support of each other while the TIE squadrons would rove between the groups. When one TIE group fell below a certain combat strength then another group would replace it. He had also ordered the TIE Bombers to stay back out of the main fighter groups and take up flanking positions as close to the projected hyperspace emergence point of the Rebel fleet as he dared. He figured the Rebels would not have enough time to raise their shields before his pilots launched multiple torpedo and concussion missile barrages from two directions at the same time. If the TIE Bombers managed to destroy a few of the Rebel ships then so much the better.
His well-trained ship captains led him to believe he could count on them to follow any order short of surrendering their ships. However, he knew he would incur losses among his fleet no matter how he positioned his forces. He would have to either defeat the Rebels using the ships at his disposal, or barring their complete destruction, destroy enough of the Rebel ships to encourage them to abandon their feeble plan to destroy the new Death Star battle station. Either way would mean heavy losses for his forces seeing as he did not have an exact make-up of the Rebel fleet. Still, fifteen Star Destroyers and one hundred support ships should make any opposing fleet commander tremble with fear of confrontation. He almost could not wait to engage the Rebel force and send them packing.
Arkov stood before the viewport and gazed at the assembled force. He had managed to put together a force large enough to threaten any fleet that would be on the other end of his gun sights. Arkov knew this force would barely be adequate to engage the Imperial fleet poised to stop the Rebels, but destroying the Imperials was not his primary goal. Keeping them from pulling the Rebels from lightspeed was the main goal while capturing the Interdictors as close second. He needed these ships gathered from the coffers of the remaining Separatists to make sure things went his way. He would allow the Separatist forces to inflict as much damage as they wanted so long as he accomplished his mission.
After some slight revisions to his combat strategy, he decided his plan was foolproof enough to keep the majority of his people alive. The first battle group would drop out of hyperspace just out of the Imperial fleet’s weapons range and use coded pulses disguised as droid command signals to relay the disbursement of the Imperial force to the remainder of the fleet. This would allow Arkov to redeploy the rest of his ships as needed in order to defeat the Imperials. The coded pulses should trick the Imperials enough due to the fighter compliment composed mainly of droid fighters.
General Vssir would command the first battle group and send the information back to the main fleet. After he sent the intel, his orders were to slowly approach the Imperial formation and get them to attack. He would try to draw the enemy fighters into combat and engage the Star Destroyers with his four Lucrehulks and six Providence cruisers while his smaller gunships, corvettes, and frigates lent capital ship support. Arkov knew the limitations of the Lucrehulks and Providence cruisers would be problematic for his fleet. After all, a Lucrehulk could only bring to bear maybe half as many heavy cannons as a Star Destroyer while the Providence cruiser had almost zero forward weaponry. Its main advantage was its large fighter capacity and decent broadside weaponry.
Arkov was under no illusions that he would lose many ships on the Separatist side as well as losing many of his smaller support craft he himself had committed to the battle. Almost half of the support craft came from his privateer fleet. These ships consisted mostly of Corellian vessels of the Corvette and Gunship classes. He did have several Corellian Support Frigates as well as a few older Consular-class vessels with modest armament. Because of his attachment to Corellian products he even had several modified Clone War-era Corvettes such as the CR72. He kept each vessel lightly armed with a dorsal quad-turbolaser cannon turret, a medium Ion cannon on a ventral turret, and four single barreled laser cannons to ward off enemy fighter craft.
Each of his other Corellian-built craft were better armed with heavier weapons such as torpedo launching mechanisms, concussion missile launchers, more powerful Ion cannons, and more numerous turbolaser cannon turrets and emplacements. Even his smaller Corellian freighters had heavy weapons and faster, more powerful engines that the famous Han Solo would be envious. Arkov Bane did not solely rely on Corellian designs though he favored them quite heavily; he also had many stolen and legally purchased craft such as Marauder-class Corvettes, Kaloth Battlecruisers, a few very ancient Kruk Battlewagons, Carrack-class cruisers, Acclamator-class assault ships, and a few old Arquitens-class frigates. His peoples Home Guard Fleet consisted of far newer craft. Each of the ships in the Home Guard Fleet could take on enemy craft with twice their armament and size and still expect victory.
Based on the Mon Calamari cruisers used by the Rebellion, these ships could easily slip into Rebel territory and operate with impunity while appearing menacing enough to individual Imperial craft. Banes people had studied the design of the Imperial Star Destroyer closely and determined it was a powerful vessel riddled with flaws. With its command tower too exposed while it also did not have enough weaponry to cover it from aft attacks. It lacked anti-fighter weapons and depended heavily on TIE fighters for defense while at the same time it had few torpedo or missile launch mechanisms.
The military looked everywhere for a good design to base a new conceptual warship on and found the lumpy Mon Cal cruiser as the only viable solution as far as size, power generation, and adaptability. Spies had worked closely with Rebel Mon Cal scientists and came up with ways to increase armor, power generation, and weapons capacity on the older Mon Cal ships that were originally luxury liners and colonization craft. Taking note of these improvements, the military leadership on Banes home planet took things a step farther, ordered the large vessels built with an eye for standardizing the improvements, and issued a secondary order to build smaller, standardized support ships for each large cruiser.
As Arkov looked at these new ships, he could not help but notice how each of the smaller craft managed to both supplement the larger warships as well as act as their own capital ship by themselves. The immediate support craft for the Phantom-class war cruiser was the smaller Defiant-class battlecruiser. It had almost half as many weapons and fighters, but it could easily stand up to a Star Destroyer and hold its own for a limited time. Though smaller than the Phantom, it was much more maneuverable and agile. It did have a slightly larger concentration of aft weaponry than its larger sister-ship in order to protect the larger ship from pursuing craft.
Arkov turned his eye to the escort for the Defiant-class, the even smaller Nebula-class frigate. The Nebula had an almost perfect balance of speed, agility, maneuverability, and weapons. It lacked an internal hangar for starfighters though it could carry twelve fighter craft on external docking ports. With its compact size, the Nebula could take on Strike-class cruisers, Carrack-class light cruisers, and even the Nebulan-B frigate with ease and expect a victory. With its weapons at equidistant locations, it had an almost perfect three hundred-sixty degree field of fire. Each bank of weapons contained turbolaser cannons, ion cannons, anti-fighter flack cannons, and missile launchers.
The Renegade-class gunship was perhaps Arkov’s favorite. The gunship was faster than any ship its size and more heavily armed than the famed Corellian Gunship. It was equipped with both anti-fighter flack cannons and long-range laser cannons for destroying waves of enemy fighter craft. For engaging larger foes, it was equipped with four banks of heavy turbolaser cannons, ion cannons, and multiple torpedo launchers. Working in groups, these small craft had been successful in simulations against larger Victory-class Star Destroyers, though they did still require larger craft to successfully engage an Imperial-class and expect a victory.
Just out of the corner of his eyes, he noticed the first strike force accelerate into hyperspace. He hoped Vssir would accomplish his objective. He did after all loan a single Phantom-class cruiser and its supplementary support vessels to his strike group. He would find out soon enough at any rate. He turned to the comm officer, “Inform the rest of the fleet they are to go to Yellow Alert and be ready to jump the second we get confirmation of the Imperial positions.” The comm officer nodded an affirmative and turned to carry out his orders just as the sensor officer reported a contact dropping from hyperspace.
“What do you make of it Ensign?” asked Bane. The sensor officer looked back to his screen and read out the report, “Sir, scans say it is a small KDY yacht. It is armed with medium laser cannons and a small missile launcher.” Bane looked out the viewport wondering why his visitor was coming back in a different ship and why she was cutting it so close to his launch window. “Communications please inform the pilot to land in the same hangar bay as before and observe the same rules or we will blow them to smithereens.” Bane turned and began the journey to the hangar to meet the most intolerable excuse for a human.
He had just made it to the hangar when she exited and walked toward the lounge area just off the main hangar adjacent to the pilot’s ready room. Even he had to admit she was physically attractive, though mentally she was definitely quite insane. One must have allies he told himself, even the crazy ones. As he walked into the room he smelled her perfume, and he began to feel just a trifle nauseous from it, it was too sweet for his liking. “Hello again, did you forget we are about to go into battle? The last thing I need right now is more distraction for my crew! I told you I would win the conflict and keep the Imperial fleet off your tracks, but you coming here twice in just weeks apart, well it is too much.”
She gazed down her nose at him as if he were beneath her, and in her eyes he probably was. “Oh come now my dear Arkov, after all the support I’ve given you one would think you were being ungrateful. I am merely here to supervise the battle; I intend to see just what I have been buying with all those pilfered credits that I funneled into this project. Without me you would not have the ships you needed in order to even attempt this little exercise.” Her icy tone would normally have left certain men, and even some women, shuddering in terror, not Bane. He had faced death more times than he could count, this woman only succeeded in making him wish he could put her against the nearest bulkhead and blow her brains the through the wall.
“Look here you insane, spoiled whelp, I am very grateful you convinced Tam to join my cause, but you are sadly mistaken if you think I would have even hesitated to go it alone. Yes, I needed more ships, yes you provided them, but this is the end of our little deal. I deal with this force you so kindly put in my lap nearly a month ago, kept me waiting on the intel as to when they would be on-station, and then you want to watch as I kill your fellow loyal Imperials? No deal, now get back on your ship and high tail it out of here before I shoot you and throw you out the nearest airlock. The galaxy might very well be better off without you in it.”
Just as his nemesis was about to respond, there was a ping from his wristlink, the voice on the other end said, “Sir, we are receiving telemetry from General Vssir, you might want to take a look at this in person.” Bane raised his wristlink to respond and then remembered his guest had not taken her eyes off of him. “You need to leave before we go into battle, the last thing I need is for my people to get jumpy about having you on board. If you aren’t off this ship in ten minutes I will shoot you myself and throw your carcass off feet first.”
She simply smiled at him, a cold, calculating smile that lacked any type of warmth or mirth. Bane had a feeling he had just made a big mistake. He had only seen smiles like that mentally insane and unstable beings that lacked compassion and every moral value known to exist. Before he could leave, she spoke, “Arkov Bane, I know where you come from. I know of your role in this war, I know of your people, and most importantly, I know how this would look if your oh so precious Rebel friends found out about our little arrangement. There will be a price on your head so large both the criminal fringe you made into friends as well as the entire Rebellion will track you down. I have voice recordings, perfect footage for visual evidence, and my ships travel logs. You do not scare me; in fact, you could say nothing terrifies me in the least.
“You know I want the Rebels to kill my opposition, you know I have given you ships to fight with, and you know I am capable of a great many things. I chose you because you are the best weapon for the job. With each weapon comes a safety mechanism. Your mechanism is your supposedly hidden homeworld. Your allies in the outer rim will fall easily as will the rest of your pitiful people. If anything happens to me, a brand new fleet my own personal warships will invade your Triad and take no prisoners. I will stay and watch the battle, you will allow this or the fleet attacks. You make my presence known and the fleet attacks. Do you understand?”
Before Arkov could formulate a response his wristlink chirped, “Sir, did you receive last transmission?” Arkov looked at his female guest while he responded, “Yes I received the message, and I am on my way.” To the cold, unrepentant woman he said, “Get back in your ship and monitor the battle in your cabin, I will have the external feeds piped to your comm systems.” With that, Bane left the hangar and jogged to the bridge to overlook the intel from Vssir.
Alarms began going off on the bridge of the Star Destroyer Savage announcing the arrival of unknown vessels. Admiral Leyta’an looked up from his reports perplexed. “What’s going on? Sensors, report!”
The sensor officer turned toward his superior, “Sir, ships dropped out of hyperspace just on the edge of our sensor range and outside our weapons range. Scans indicate a forty percent probable match to the Rebel fleet we were waiting for. However, there are too few vessels and only a small percentage are of Mon Calamari design. The rest are old Lucrehulk and Providence-class ships with a smattering of smaller escort craft.”
“Are they outside the range of our TIE Bombers missile range?” asked the Admiral.
“Yes sir and they have also spotted the bombers and are launching their own fighter spread,” responded the sensor officer.
Admiral Leyta’an looked to the comm officer and ordered him to order the Bombers back and out of range of the unknown ships. Turning to his XO he asked, “How long until the Rebel fleet is scheduled to pass through the sector?”
The XO replied, “About two standard hours, give or take a few minutes. Are you thinking of sending one of our battle groups to wipe out those ships?”
The Admiral smiled. “Yes I am, in fact, order group three to pull ahead and engage those ships. If they were an advance scout for the Rebels it would be best to determine that during an interrogation. Order the captains of group three to take a few ships captive, maybe one or two of the smaller ships and some of their fighters if possible.”
As the XO went about relaying the orders, Admiral Leyta’an looked at the ships on the holographic monitor. He saw many droid fighters forming up to defend the great Lucrehulks while the smaller ships formed a spherical perimeter around the old transports. Without the fighter screen, those ships would be easy prey. What troubled him however was the lack of Mon Calamari ships. In a far corner of his mind he was almost convinced this was a trap, yet a part of him rationalized the lack of Mon Cal vessels was due to the main Rebel fleet being two hours away. If only a few ships were detached to help safeguard the scout force, then that could very well be reason enough for so few ships.
On the other hand, when had he heard of Rebels sending so many ships to scout an area? All those droid fighters, the old and slow Lucrehulks and Providence ships as well as the lack of the iconic X-wing and Y-wing craft he had learned so much about began to gnaw at him. He was still lost in concentration when his XO came beside him. “Sir I do not think these are Rebels. I recognize one of those Lucrehulks as the Tyrant’s Test. It belongs to a group of old Republic-era Separatist holdouts in the Outer Rim. I know this because of the redesigned bridge tower and comm arrays.”
The Admiral looked at his XO in surprise. “How do you know about those details? Did you ever serve on the Outer Rim?”
“Yes I did sir. I was on a Victory-class Star Destroyer when that ship and several support craft ambushed us. They drove us off, though not before we caused severe damage to the Tyrant’s Test portside landing bay and destroying two of the attacking support frigates. In my opinion sir, this may be an attack by the Separatists and not the Rebels at all. See here, the fighters they have launched, mostly ‘unknown types’ and droid fighters. The other fighters are clearly identifiable as old Headhunters, V-19’s, a smattering of Y-Wings and some old P-38’s. The ‘unknown types’ could very well be Uglies and therefore some may be very dangerous while the others could very well be harmless to skilled TIE pilots.”
Admiral Leyta’an looked up from the hologram and stared out of the bridge viewport to see group three ease into firing range and began peppering the supposed Separatist ships with turbolaser fire. As he watched, he noticed the lone Mon Cal cruiser move forward and fire upon two of his Star Destroyers forming the leading edge of the assault. Other Separatist ships returned fire at alarming rates. He became transfixed as he paid close attention to the slugging match between the forces.
Tam Vssir sat in his chair as he observed the battle raging around his small force. His droid fighters were the perfect defense for TIE fighter strafing runs. The TIE squadron leaders learned quickly not to engage his battleships with anything less than another capital ship because the droid fighters swarmed any fighter ship that entered weapons range. Though after only a few runs the TIE fighters left his larger cruisers alone and let two Strike-class cruisers and a Tartan-class patrol cruiser enter the combat zone to pick off the droid fighters. Vssir responded by pulling a Defiant-class ship and three Munificent-class frigates from his rear lines forward to engage the Imperial threats.
This move forced the Imperial commander to send a Vindicator-class Destroyer to support his smaller cruisers, which Vssir met with two Bulwark-class ships and three Corellian Support Frigates. “Navigation, set course for the nearest Star Destroyer and get us just inside weapons range. Once on station give me a forty degree down angle so more of our weapons can target the ImpStar. Communications, tell the other Lucrehulk captains they are to follow us and copy our maneuvers precisely. Weapons, I want firing solutions on the nearest Star Destroyer. Disable it if you can, destroy it if you cannot. Fighter control, keep our Vulture droids for defense and release all other droid fighters to pursue enemy TIE’s.” Vssir ordered.
Aboard the modified drone barge Xephyr Captain Valdez, Wing Commander of the Knight Fighter Group, looked at his assembled pilots. Valdez commanded four squadrons of fightercraft: Red, White, Blue, and Black Knights. Red and White Knight squadrons consisted of Z-95 Headhunters while Blue and Black Knights were near mint condition R-41 StarChasers. Captain Marcus of the Black Knights raised a hand and asked, “Sir, when we revert to real space, will we still be defending the larger cruisers? Or can we engage the enemy directly?”
Valdez smirked and answered, “The plan was just changed in fact. Our orders are to launch and go to hyperspace on our own. We will emerge from lightspeed and target the nearest Star Destroyer with torpedoes and missiles. If we can take just one Destroyer out of action, things will be a little easier on the rest of the fleet. More than likely we will not see any dogfighting for at least four, maybe five minutes after we revert. The TIE’s will have been drawn away to engage the rest of the fleet and the fighters which are not hyperdrive capable while we swing around and hit the fleet from dead aft.”
The Blue Knights flew twelve R-41 StarChasers recently liberated from a slavers ring operating in Wild Space. The slavers made the mistake of trying to hijack a troopship belonging to Tam Vssir. Vssir sent the Knights to take it back and teach the slavers a lesson. Valdez originally had the Blue Knights flying Cloakshape fighters during the assault, but when they found the slavers hideout and found forty-eight near mint condition R-41’s in a hangar Valdez decided to ditch the old Cloakshapes and take the R-41s.
As fortune would have it, the Knights first strafing run against the slavers base had succeeded in destroying the connecting walkway to the hangar from the barracks thanks to secondary explosions from a volley of missiles aimed at the slavers command center. The command center was blown sky high while secondary explosions from power conduits blew out support struts and caused the walkway from the hangar to collapse. The following runs destroyed the barracks and the main power conduit to the defense turrets. Valdez ordered the troop transport modified to carry the Cloakshape’s while his people transferred the R-41’s to the Xephyr.
Now that the fighters had a new paint job, in the colors for the Blue and Black Knights, he could not wait to see his new fighters in action. His own squadron, the White Knights, flew heavily modified Z-95 Headhunters. Each fighter came armed with two laser cannons, two concussion missile launchers (with four missiles), and to round out the weapons package an ion cannon was affixed under the nose. The Z-95’s power core was not strong enough to power the fighter with the ion cannon attached, so Valdez used outlaw techs to replace the power core with a stronger unit and use a smaller ion cannon as well as custom built hyperdrive units which would not use as much power.
The chosen laser cannons fired faster with greater accuracy thanks to improvements made by outlaw techs. The outlaw techs even boosted the fighters’ thrusters to provide better speed and maneuverability. Unfortunately, due to the added weight of the ion cannon, missile launchers, and the hyperdrive unit the enhanced maneuverability and speed put the fighter just a few steps above the original factory specs.
Valdez hoped he would not lose any of the R-41’s before he could modify them. They already came with ion cannons and missile launchers as well as laser cannons, Valdez wanted to increase their speed, agility, and shielding more than anything else. The R-41 seemed like a very capable fighter even without modifications.
One of the Red Knight pilots, a Sullustan named Keiv Khoak, raised his hand and asked, “Sir, what about Xephyr? What will happen if we are not close by to protect her?”
“Good question Keiv. We must have faith that Arkov Bane and his forces will protect her on our behalf. The crew knows how to fight their ship just as well as we can dogfight. I have complete confidence in this crew’s ability. They will be fine. The mission will require us to operate without capital ship support for an indeterminate amount of time. The ones in charge think that the arrival of the capital ships and the launch of all non-hyperdrive equipped fighters will pull most, if not all, of the TIE fighter support from the enemy fleet giving us an unprecedented advantage. Any more questions? No? Then saddle up, glory waits for no one.”
With that Captain Valdez turned and climbed the ladder to his shock white Headhunter and eased himself down into the cockpit. His fighter, like all the other Z-95’s in his squadron, were painted a very bright white; so bright was the white it was almost pure. In stark contrast to the color of the fighter were the markings of his personal kills, over one hundred symbols of various fighter ships in all. He sealed his canopy and lit his engines, already waiting for his pilots to report in so he could launch and lead his people to another victory, or a costly defeat. Over his headset, the rest of the squadrons began checking in. After all pilots reported ready, he gave the order to launch. As he cleared the bay, he was able to see one of the groups jump to hyperspace.
Admiral Leyta’an watched in near horror as another Star Destroyer from group three blew up in spectacular fashion. The first Star Destroyer taken out made him angry at the lack of skill that ships commander possessed. The second Destroyer obliterated had shocked him out of his anger just as one of the enemy Lucrehulk-class ships exploded into three distinct pieces. That eased his conscience somewhat until he saw the third Star Destroyer go up in flames. One of the remaining Star Destroyers suffered from ion cannon bombardment and repeated strafing runs while the Separatists lost only six capital ships. His group had lost nearly all their original fighter screen, half of the support craft, and three Star Destroyers to concentrated fire from twelve ships.
The fact the Separatists were putting up such a fight made him wonder why they were even here. They had stayed far too long for a simple hit-and-run mission. With the destruction of three Star Destroyers and many smaller escorts, why did they not simply leave? It was not as if his Interdictors were keeping them from escaping. His thoughts, interrupted by more alarms going off, forced him to turn in the direction of the nearest alarm. “Report! What is going on now?”
From the crew pit, his sensor officer looked to him, “Sir, we have more enemy ships out of hyperspace bearing ninety degrees dorsal and they are oriented directly towards our ridgeline.” As soon as he finished speaking, the entire command tower rocked violently by a massive shockwave as one of the smaller Strike-class cruisers riding in a high flank did not have its primary shields up. Admiral Leyta’an steadied himself against a console and saw red and green energy beams raining down on his Star Destroyer.
“Helm, roll the ship ninety degrees to present our starboard weapons! Fire control, as soon as you have a target, open fire with everything you can! Are they launching fighters?”
His sensor officer looked at his board as the ship began its maneuver and reported, “Yes sir, enemy vessels have launched fighters! Detecting multiple old designs as well as numerous droid fighters. Scans indicate fighter composition to be Z-95 Headhunters, Cloakshapes, and Dianoga –class fighters as well as Uglies and a mix of Y-wings. The fighters have taken up a defensive formation around the enemy ships.”
Admiral Leyta’an looked at his XO in exasperation. “Do you recognize any of these ships Commander?” His XO looked at the screens again and shook his head. “No sir I do not. However, there is something strange about the Uglies in the new group. They apparently have the same exact configuration as the Uglies in the first group of ships we are still fighting. Scans report exactly three different types: a large two person craft, a single seat midsize version, and an even smaller version. They share the same hull type, wing configuration, thrusters, and similar weapon systems.”
Around him the ship shuddered from another explosion as another escort ship exploded from enemy weapons fire. This time it was a luckless Carrack-class light cruiser. “All ships engage enemy formation! Send our fighters out to screen us as we press the attack!” That was Admiral Leyta’an’s last order as the engine bank from the destroyed light cruiser misfired from a final power surge and rocketed into the side of the command tower. The impact did not destroy the tower, but it did cause the Admiral to lose his balance and fall off a railing into the crew pit headfirst. His neck snapped on contact with the deck and he died almost immediately.
As the remaining Imperial ships mustered to attack the newly arrived enemy threat, there had been little concern given to the surviving Imperial ships from group three. The damaged Star Destroyer limped away from the main battle on emergency power while the last remaining Star Destroyer tried in vain to cover its escape. Three Separatist ships surrounded the Destroyer and poured turbolaser fire into its remaining shields while droid fighters constantly strafed the command tower. One of the Separatist ships suffered damage from return fire and lost control, plunging into the forward ridgeline of the Destroyer. The Providence-class ship snapped in half as it hit.
The bow plowed deep into the Destroyer and pierced through to the hangar bay while the stern tumbled end over end into the base of the command tower.
The power core from the Providence-class ship suffered a breach and caused a cascade failure, which led to the engines going critical and exploding. The blast half incinerated the command tower while the explosion itself caused the dying hulk of the Star Destroyer to brake in half, spilling crew and flotsam in multiple directions. The few surviving Imperial escort ships scattered and attempted to retreat to the main fleet. Fighter attacks succeeded in turning back escaping Imperial ships to be tractored and hit with ion cannon blasts. Boarding craft loaded with droids and living troops launched to capture the ships from the Imperial crews while the larger, less damaged ships moved to attack the rest of the Imperial fleet.