Title: Operation Slashrat
Jagged Antilles - January 5, 2010 11:31 PM (GMT)
Jagged tightened his helmet strap and stretched--as much as he could at least--in the cramped F-302. Twin Suns Squadron would be one of the first to strike the Galactic Alliance Second Fleet in what had become known as Operation Slashrat.
One of Twin Sun's new pilots, a Barabel named Sula, had suggested the name, after reacting to the operation's previous name with disgust. Grandmaster Skywalker had found the name fitting and, Jagged had to admit, he liked it quite a bit more too.
Regardless of the name though, the attack was one that no one was looking forward to. For many, the Alliance men and women in Second Fleet had been allies just a few weeks ago. Now they were about to embark upon a war that would leave far too many dead in its wake.
"Twin Suns, check-in," Jagged commed. "Long-range sensors have picked up Second Fleet coming out of hyperspace."
A litany of voices rolled through Jagged's com system. Jagged recognized Kiera, flying as his wingmate Twin Suns Two as well as Raza's daughter Sula and another Jedi, Cain. The latter had been accepted into the squadron last as a courtesy for the Jedi Council. He was a bit of a wild card, but one that would be easily watched by the other Jedi in the squadron.
When the last acknowledgement light winked on--courtesy of Spectre--Jagged reopened his comm, this time to all ships in the vicinity. "Twin Suns Squadron , Firaxa Squadron, begin accelerating at your maximum velocity now. Second Fleet will only be in the system for a limited amount of time while they readjust their navicomputers and calibrate them for the next jump. Fire every missile you can in one pass and then we'll regroup on the other side."
The two fighter squadrons immediately began accelerating towards a distant point in space ahead of the Alliance fleet. It'd take them a good ten minutes of full acceleration to reach that point but by the time they arrived, no targeting computer in the galaxy could get a reliable shot on them. Of course, the fighters would have a difficult time themselves which was the reason Jagged was having Spectre run a program to distribute targets evenly throughout the fighters. At least two fighters were assigned to every target; more for the larger Remnant capital ships.
"Approaching firing zone," Jagged announced some minutes later. "We've only got one shot at this guys, make it count. And may the Force be with you."
Twenty-Four starfighters streaked through space and launched a combined total of sixty missiles in the blink of an eye, all directed towards the Galactic Alliance fleet. As the fighters passed through the fleet, dodging whatever weaponry the fleet could bring to bear, explosions erupted around them.
The Jedi Civil War had begun.
Cain Warsell - January 6, 2010 02:34 AM (GMT)
Cain’s knuckles were white as he gripped the control yoke as tight as he could. Control wasn’t a problem with the crystals in the ships but flying at this speed into explosions tended to make Cain stress a bit.
He focused on his target using the Force and the ship responded to his commands without delay.
At the incredible speeds the Squadron reached on the way through the attack, nothing touched any of them. The Alliance barely had time to react at all.
“Twin Suns, form up and jump to the next rendezvous on my mark,” Jagged Antilles said.
Cain pulled the yoke and formed up as commanded.
The voice of a Barabel Paladin came over the comm, “Thisss one lovesss Operation Ssslashrat!”
Barabels always did amuse and confuse Cain, but the enthusiasm was well received by most.
Jagged’s voice came again, “Cut the chatter. Three, two, one… mark!”
Kiera Kenobi - January 7, 2010 03:47 AM (GMT)
One minute Kiera was restlessly passing the time, anxiously chewing her lower lip, and the next minute she heard Jag’s voice telling Twin Suns that the GA fleet was emerging from hyperspace, and Jag was streaking away. Kiera hit the thrusters, and then everything passed in a dream-flash of speed, drone missiles launching, and capital ships flashing by her canopy, as she kept pace with her wingmate. Before she could absorb it, it was over, Jag’s voice was counting down mark, and the stars streaked into hyperspace.
Kiera’s palms were still sweating when she emerged at the rendezvous point, but she’d waited barely a moment when a low voice came over her private com.
“How you doing, Gems?”
Kiera flushed at the comfort in Jag’s voice. Somehow he just knew how difficult it was for her being back in regular combat after all these years. He hadn’t distracted her before the run, but he sure was there for her when it was over.
“Glad that’s over, Solo, but ready for the next one.”
“That’s my girl.”
“Why, Commander, aren’t you getting a little familiar here?”
Jag’s chuckle came soft and low, and then he was suddenly all business again as he ordered Twin Suns to count off and tighten up the formation. Along with the rest of the squadron, Kiera complied.
And then the waiting began…again.
Viktor Saar - January 7, 2010 04:50 PM (GMT)
"And so it begins." Admiral Hagrid stood towering on the bridge as after action reports began flooding in.
Saar was on his own ship, seeing a hologram of the admiral, a small bluish miniature of the real thing hovering above the arm of his command chair.
"They're going to do this to us all the way through the maze."
Saar listened to the Admiral's words as a question popped into his mind. "How shall we proceed, sir?"
The heavily bearded Hagrid was quiet as his deep mind pondered the situation. "They're attacks are far more rapid than we expected. On the next jump, have our Loyalist starfighter squadrons deployed and ready to intercept."
"Admiral, might I also suggest that we have the A7-a's prepare for a mass volley with the new grutchin missiles?"
Admiral Hagrid's tiny blue specter turned toward Saar. "Might work. It's worth a try." He raised a hand to his beard, stroking it thoughtfully.
The holoimage disappeared and was replaced by the admiral's booming voice over the fleet wide comm. "All ships, prepare for the next jump. Commanders, have all missile stations prep with grutchin missiles. Fighter controllers, have all Loyalist squadrons deploy and escort us on the next jump. Admiral Hagrid out."
Saar made sure his own captains carried out their orders before relaxing into his command chair. The Paladins might have gotten the first lick in, but they damned sure weren't going to get away with it twice, not without a scratch.
Raza Sebatyne - January 7, 2010 05:32 PM (GMT)
At the next jump point, Raza was waiting patiently in his Yoda-class starfighter. "On your toez Tail Hunterz. Thiz one thinkz our prey is near."
All around him a motley collection of starfighters were formed up in perfect precision, engines warmed and ready, missiles good to go.
Tail Hunterz Squadron was nearly an all Barabel unit. Half of its members were Barabel Jedi, and perhaps most surprisingly of all, not all of them were Raza's kids.
"Acknowledged Tail Leader." A series of sisses followed on the comm.
"Green Squadron, are your claws ready for the hunt?" Raza asked with a grin.
"Copy that Tail Leader. Green Squadron is hot and ready."
Raza sissed to himself at his compatriot's words. Green Leader was an ex-GA pilot from Anaxes. He was one of the few non-Force sensitive pilots among the Paladins. He had volunteered his services to the Jedi after the end of the Five Year War, helping instruct the padawans in starfighter combat, serving as an instructor. Where ever the Paladins went, he went with them. And Raza knew personally that the man was an exceptional pilot, Force or no Force.
Raza let his squadmates chat to each other in the few remaining seconds they had before the 2nd Fleet would arrive. Unlike some squad commanders, he did not believe in comlink silence. These might be the last few moments of life these people had. It would be better if their last words were not 'check' and 'roger.'
Then he felt it in the force. The eminent arrival of a large mass of life. He gave the orders before the ships had even exited hyper. "Begin attack run."
The two fighter squadrons were at maximum sublight speed as the GA's 2nd Fleet materialized. Streaking toward the cloud of ships, Raza barely could make out the large blurs of five Remnant-class Star Cruisers. There would be other capital ships. The typical GA Fleet had ten Nebula-class Cruisers to flank the big Remnants, as well as various frigates and escorts rounding out the mix.
But it was the big ships that they would be targeting. The most lethal of the threats to Destiny.
The two squadron swept upon the second fleet in two blinks of an eye, breaking off into pairs as they targeted the capital ships. Raza's target ended up being one of the Nebula's. Just as he pressed the firing stud, he felt a ripple in the Force.
He launched all his missiles and snapped up sharply, his wingmate matching his movements precisely...and just narrowly missing the cloud of bomblets that exploded toward them.
"Grutchins!" Raza hissed in anxiety.
His fighter was going too fast for any maneuver, but luckily they were too fast for the chasing bomblets whose acceleration was no match for the starfighter's already maxed out top speed.
The ships of the second fleet were disappearing now. The attack run completed in a mere minute of combat. Before making their jump, Raza looked at the tactical screen and saw a dozen fighters pursuing, helplessly far behind. He noticed that both of his squadrons were still intact...and clear.
"All shipz, make the jump."
The starlines stretched and then dissipated. Coming out of hyper, Raza let out a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. "All shipz, report in."
He listened to the names and their statuses. Everyone had made it, but two fighters had been damaged.
"Tail 3, Tail 4, hang back. You've done enough."
"No. You will stay behind. Stick to the plan. Replacementz will take your spotz." Raza was laying down the law with his hatchlings.
Some might have suspected that, like any caring father, he simply wanted his children out of the fight and safely behind. But those who knew him knew better. If anyone's starfighter got damaged, they would be left out. There would be no exceptions. It was just luck that two of his brood had happened to fly into one of the concentrated attacks from an A7-a missile frigate.
Looking out his viewport, he saw the supply ship ahead of him. "Okay, letz rearm and regroup hunterz." He shot his starfighter forward and led the rest of them in.
Today was going to be a long day.
Viktor Saar - January 7, 2010 05:53 PM (GMT)
"Sir, data shows we managed to hit two of their starfighers with the grutchins, but they got away."
Saar nodded. "But we got a piece of them. This is still good news, it means the strategy can work, we just need to get the grutchins off faster." He nearly spit the last word out like a cuss word.
Then an idea popped into his head. "Jedi." He snapped his attention to the tactical station. "Order our Loyalist Jedi to board our A7-a and have them report to the gunnery stations. And do it fast! I want them behind the triggers before we make the next jump."
People scrambled as they relayed the orders. Saar knew he didn't have a lot of time. It took a while for the navicomputers to coordinate the next leg of their lengthy hyper trail, and a while still for the navigators to double check the readings, but he'd still be cutting it close. He thought about informing Admiral Hagrid of the idea, but thought better of it. If it failed, it would hurt no one. If it succeed...well, then all of the glory would be his. Viktor did not think of himself as a glory hound, but he was very practical. And this was a practical plan.
Even our Jedi fighters can't react fast enough for these lightning attacks. Our SRT's don't stand a chance, even with massed blind fire. The grutchins are the only thing. It has to work.
If not, then the incremental damage to their capital ships would continue, and by the time they got to the Paladin base, the fleet would be in a significantly weakened state.
Jagged Antilles - January 7, 2010 11:42 PM (GMT)
"Reports are coming in," one of the sensor officers aboard the resupply freighter announced over the com. "The Tail Hunters are clear; the fleet is moving towards our location."
Jagged flipped his side of the connection open. "Understood Supply One, thanks for the fuel and munitions. Keep yourselves safe."
"You too," the officer replied. "May the Force be with you."
The two resupply freighters, far slower and clumsy than the two squadrons of fighters that surrounded them, lumbered into a turn and shot into hyperspace.
"Spectre," Jagged said. "Watch our long range sensors and keep an eye out for the fleet."
The droid whistled an acknowledgement and Jagged reopened his channel to the rest of the fighters. "Alright, listen up," he began. "By now, the Alliance knows who we are and what we're doing. That means they'll be ready for us and will likely have some kind of defense prepared. I know we made off relatively light in the last round, but we can't expect that again. So I want you all to check your lines of fire, keep with your wingmates, and shoot straight."
A chorus of responses came over the speakers and Jagged nodded in satisfaction. Minutes later, Spectre whistled in alarm as Second Fleet dropped out of hyperspace. Long range sensors reported a variety of damage through the fleet, with a few smaller ships showing significant amounts of destruction.
Twin Suns and Firaxa Squadrons accelerated once more, their thrusters pouring through every ounce of fuel they could as they approached the fleet once more. This time, however, the fleet had changed formation with the Bornaryn A7 anti-fighter frigates making up the outer perimeter.
Spectre whistled an alarm but Jagged shook his head. "I see them, I know. But we can't divert from the attack; we have to push through."
"Why?" Spectre demanded. "We could easily cut to the side, avoid the majority of their anti-fighter weaponry and still inflict damage."
Jagged sighed. "I wish we could, believe me. But the threat to Destiny and to Reesh isn't going to come from the small stuff; it'll be the big cruisers. And we can't let those things arrive undamaged. We're going to lose people," Jagged continued quietly. "But it's part of the job; to make sure their lives mean something and not to waste them."
Moments later, the two fighter squadrons screamed towards the GA fleet, just as the fleet's quad-lasers and grutchin missiles burst into space. Explosions sent shudders through every fighter, shrapnel bounced off canopies and shields. The Paladin's launched their missiles once more and burst through the other side as their missiles hit.
"Hyperspace," Jagged ordered, all too aware that his fighters needed to out of the area fast. "Head to rendezvous; we'll regroup there."
"Is there anyone else behind you?" Jagged asked as another fighter arrived at the rendezvous point, a full ten minutes late.
"No, sir," the pilot responded. "I barely made it out myself, I was lucky I made it this far to begin with."
"Understood," Jagged replied quietly. "Get your ship back to Reesh for repairs." The com fell silent and Jagged leaned back in his chair as he waited for the freighters to refuel and rearm him once more.
"How bad was it?" Kiera asked, her ship docked next to his.
Jagged shook his head. "Bad. We lost five ships during the attack run. We think one or two of them may have managed to eject but we're not sure, and there's no way to retrieve them. Another ten ships took varying degrees of damage. Some of them can still fight or can be made ready to fight for the next run but the majority will need repair time. We're basically down to one effective squadron here. We might be able to make one more pass but that'll be it. By that point, our ships will be too damaged to continue."
"What about Reesh?" Kiera asked quietly. "Would it be better to hold onto the fighters we have?"
"I don't think so," Jagged said. "After this run, we should have enough time to get our pilots into new ships and get replacements."
The two lapsed into silence, each contemplating the enormity of the task before them. The damage Second Fleet had suffered so far was severe but had it been worth the cost of lives?"
Jagged shoved the issue to the side. The answer would reveal itself in the days ahead.
Cain Warsell - January 8, 2010 03:25 AM (GMT)
Cain sat in his fighter with sweaty palms and a pounding heart. The first slashrat run had been nerve-racking because of the speed and ferocity of it. The second run had that plus the cluster bombs and the loss of fellow pilots.
Cain and his wingman had approached their target at blistering speeds and were okay for a second. Soon after they released their own bombs, the Grutchins had found them. The two of them were hit but not crippled. Everything went by so fast that there was no time to see the fighters in the surrounding area.
Still Cain caught a few explosions in his visual field and felt the Force presences he hadn’t even paid attention to leave suddenly. Problem was there was still more to come.
“This is Techie, you still there Gambler?”
Cain’s voice caught briefly in his throat. That was Jena’s call sign. She was comming him on a private channel. He knew she was here but hadn’t allowed himself to think about her or anyone else for that matter. Now that he heard her however he discovered himself being extremely happy that she was still alive.
“I’m here Techie. I’m barely hanging on but still here. How about you?”
“Holding together okay,” Jena’s voice said.
“I’ll make you a deal, Techie. You make it out of this okay and I'll do the same.”
“You’ve got a deal, Gambler. Let’s finish this mission.”
"Check! I'll talk to you again on more solid ground."
"You got it."
Cain decided that he really wanted to talk with Jena again. Going to war with people had a way of making you see things more clearly. He for instance was starting to get a clearer picture of his future. There must be only a few minutes until the next run.
The rest of us will be okay, Cain thought. We'll have to be.
Viktor Saar - January 8, 2010 04:43 PM (GMT)
"Sir! We got five that time!"
"Sir, I have Admiral Hagrid on the com."
Saar looked over at the communications station. "Put him on."
"Rear Admiral Saar, my tactical officer has informed me that your gunners got no less that five kills." The admiral was wearing a big smile. "Tell me, what's your secret?"
"Loyalist gunners, sir. After the second jump, I realized the Loyalist interceptors didn't stand a chance, so I had all the Loyalist Jedi relocated to gunner stations on the missile ships. As you can see, it worked out much better. I'm confident that their kills with be much higher on the next jump."
"Especially when all of our missile ships will be manned in such a manner." Admiral Hagrid spoke off screen as he gave out the new fleet orders. "Good work Viktor. Admiral Hagrid out."
Raza Sebatyne - January 8, 2010 08:13 PM (GMT)
This was it. The last run. After this they'd rendezvous back at the Destiny. Everyone was formed up: the Tail Hunterz, Green Squadron, Twin Suns, and Firaxa squadron. They still had two more in reserve on the Destiny, their fail safe hedge in case things went really wrong with Slashrat.
According to Jag, five people had been lost on the last run. Raza didn't like the sound of that. On his last run, only two fighters had been injured. The GA gunners were rapidly getting better. If things kept up that way...
Raza's tail shivered with the thought.
He flipped open the com with Tail Hunterz squadron. "Thiz one haz an idea on theze grutchins."
"Let's here it Tail Leader."
Raza smiled at the sound of Azar's voice, one of his elder sons. "The GA gunnerz are firing as soon az they come out of hyper. Instead of just letting them take their shotz, letz take out their missilez instead."
"We'll have to be fast."
This time it was Varrel's voice, a Sullustan Jedi. "We can be very fast. Remember the crystal interfacez? When we sweep toward their shipz, we target the missilez and hit them before they explode into clusterz. With the Force, we can do it."
The rest of the Tail Hunterz gave their approval. They were all Jedi. Together, there wasn't a whole lot they couldn't do.
"Then itz a plan. When the fleet arrivez, we strike."
Sitting in the blackness of space, six hungry Barabels and six eager Jedi waited patiently. Raza briefly wondered what Krum and Zozope would think of their elder twin sisters taking their places.
He smiled to himself. No. He certainly wasn't playing the role of the protective father. He may have sent two children home packing due to damaged ships, but he'd gotten two more in turn. Sesha and Sohka were an inseparable pair.
I just hope I don't lose them.
Raza tried to wash away the feeling of attachment, but to be honest to himself, he was stuck with it.
He put his eyes back to work and stared out into space. Soon the enemy would be upon them.
Jena Skywalker - January 11, 2010 07:25 PM (GMT)
Jena was happy to be in the seat of her comfy TwinTail once again, but she wasn't too joyous about the situation calling for it, she reflected as the Twilight Surprise drifted amongst the other nearby ships waiting to come out of hyperspace. She sighed, apprehensive, not wanting to continue this but knowing it was necessary; the Paladins were only defending themselves. Still though, she didn't enjoy having to fight against the GA - she had never truly supported it, but it felt weird to actually battle the Second Fleet. She shook her head. We didn't ask for this. The situation was infuriating and saddening all at the same time.
But she tried her best not to dwell on her thoughts, because that was too much of a distraction. This was their last attack run, and it was the one in which they would likely suffer the most losses. She gripped the controls tighter and sucked in a shaky breath - then they were out of hyperspace, and she completely submerged herself in the Force.
The next few minutes went by fast; as soon as they emerged from hyperspace they were bombarded with attacks from Loyalist gunners. It seemed their enemies had gotten the hang of things now - their shots were more accurate, the missiles hitting the Paladin ships more than ever. As Jena flew she felt the shaking of her ship as it was hit, but beside that, she managed to avoid any damage to the Twilight Surprise during the whole attack run.
Damage to her ship, at least. But her heart was aching as she felt the Paladin lives around her disappear when the missiles reached their targets and destroyed the ships. It was hard to believe things had come to this - she didn't think things would ever be the same between the Jedi and the GA at this point, no matter what happened.
When only about three minutes had passed, Jena heard a voice in her TwinTail's speakers, though it barely registered in her mind; her focus was deep in the battle. "That's it, everyone; shoot to hyperspace and rendezvous at the Destiny."
She punched in the coordinates for the Destiny, taking in a deep, shaky breath. For now, at least, it was over; they no longer had to endure the tense runs where they lost their comrades to their new enemies....
But this day is far from over. When will it end? The thought haunted her as the Twilight Surprise shot to hyperspace, leaving behind the GA fleet.
Kiera Kenobi - January 11, 2010 11:51 PM (GMT)
The very first thing Kiera did when she docked with the Destiny, was beeline straight for Jag. She just needed to touch him, to draw on his strength. While in reality it hadn’t been that long since she’d been part of a regular squadron engaged in regular combat, Kiera had distanced herself from it so thoroughly that it seemed like a different person in another lifetime had so rashly flown an X-wing at Mon Calamari. Today had been…traumatic, and due to get more so.
As she leapt from her delta, Kiera saw Jag standing next to his ship, thoughtfully surveying what remained of the Paladin Squadrons. His face was solemn, but surprisingly (to her) she sensed nothing in him but a commander who regretted his losses while understanding that sometimes those losses were necessary. When he saw her coming towards him, Jag broke into a smile.
“Well, we bloodied their noses, and we’re not finished yet.” He said to her in a satisfied voice.
Kiera had heard this kind of thing before in the previous war, and it had always disturbed her, this kind of attitude. It was so…alien; a very different cry from the attitude she been raised to adopt when the necessity of taking life was thrust upon a Jedi. But now, whether it was her growth or her empathy with Jag, she understood it completely. It wasn’t callousness, but an acceptance of the necessity of what needed to be done and a distancing from it so that one could continue to do what needed doing. She took his arm in hers and ran her fingers along it.
“I don’t know about you, but I hope the caf is hot and fresh. I could use some.”
“Right over there.” Jag inclined his head and they went over to where the support staff were dispensing fresh caf and food to the weary pilots.
Grabbing a cup each, they made their way over to a secluded corner of the hanger, settled on the floor, and leaned back against the wall as they sipped the caf and let it revive them. Silence descended for neither of them wanted to discuss what had passed or what was to follow. Setting her empty cup aside, Kiera rested her head on Jag’s shoulder.
“So now we wait.”
“So now we wait.”
Viktor Saar - January 12, 2010 03:26 PM (GMT)
The remnants of the Paladin's last run failed to bring a smile to Viktor's face. With the whole fleet using Loyalist gunners on their missile frigates, they'd only gotten six kills. Viktor's group alone had gotten five kills on the previous run. Statistically they should have fared much better.
But then again, he hadn't counted on the Paladin's shooting down the missiles.
"Lieutenant Jenson, be sure to make a note about the grutchin's weakness to Paladin fire before burst deployment."
"Yes sir." The tactical officer dutifully added the note to the ship's battle log.
We need to make sure they don't get away with that again. But there was nothing they could do about that now. They had only one more jump to make. Reesh was next. According to the Loyalist's intel, the Paladin base would be there, along with the alien ship Destiny.
"Have all the Loyalist reported back to their starfighter squadrons?" Viktor asked aloud.
Jenson checked the hangar log. "Yes sir, hangar control reports all Loyalists have reported in."
"Good. Navigation, do we have the coordinates for the next jump?"
Viktor looked down into the crew pit and nodded before turning his gaze toward the helm. "Helm, as soon as the comm gives a green light on the fleet orders to jump, you are cleared to proceed." Finishing the necessary rhetoric, Viktor returned to his command chair, his focus turning casually to a tactical display.
The 2nd Fleet had been damaged by the four Paladin slash attacks. Most of the attacks were directed at their primary capital ships. And those results were a little disheartening. One Nebula cruiser was all but written off, having sustained critical damage to its life support systems, it was trudging by on one lung. Two of the Remnants had taken severe damage to their forward turbolaser batteries, both of them now running with little more than fifty percent of their total firepower. And spread out amongst the others was shield damage, malfunctioning turbolaser batteries and missile tubes, minor hull breaches, and one fractured bridge viewport. Of course those injuries amounted to very little, but it had still shaken morale.
The end of the game. Viktor thought. If Paladins really had a base on Reesh, and they were stupid enough to stand and fight, then the 2nd Fleet would show them what a real battle was. The firepower of thirteen capital ships could wipe of the face of Reesh five times over in just a thirty minute time span. Their precious Destiny would be a lifeless, scattered husk when the fleet was through with it. Another derelict moon on some forgotten backwater world. A grim reminder of the GA's power.
"Fleet has ordered the jump. Jumping now." As the helmsman spoke, the viewport erupted in white lines as they flew into hyper.
Raza Sebatyne - January 12, 2010 03:36 PM (GMT)
"How many shipz will be ready for the battle?"
The head fighter mechanic looked up at Raza, a box of parts in his arms. "Well with those four slash runs we lost eleven ships. The rest are all damaged...but it looks like there's only going to be seven that won't make it."
Raza bobbed his head. "Thiz one givez hiz thankz."
"No problem, Raza. I'm just sorry we couldn't do anything for the ones that didn't make it back."
Raza watched him walk off and counted his own blessings that none of his hatchlings had died. The scorch marks on the Space Eater told him had been all too close.
It wouldn't be long and they'd be back out in the thick of things. He decided he should go speak with his squad. One last pep talk before the fireworks began.
Alex Skywalker - January 12, 2010 04:44 PM (GMT)
Alex Skywalker stood above a tactical station as a holomap rapidly display the large influx of enemy ships. As a cloud of red dots, the GA 2nd Fleet looked rather large.
"Remember, hold fire until they are in position." Alex reminded the young Jedi who was manning the gunnery control station.
Reesh had a rather significant system of planetary defenses. Right now they were under Paladin control.
"They're coming right for us, just as planned."
Alex watched as the 2nd Fleet approached Reesh. With the Destiny no where in sight, the GA commander was probably worried that his intel had been wrong, that the Paladin base wasn't even on Reesh. As soon as they were in sensor range, they would know better.
Sure enough, just past the long range sensor mark, the 2nd Fleet continued their approach.
The Jedi at the tactical station marked their approach. "Initial ships entering target zone, Master Skywalker."
Alex nodded. He glanced up and saw Master Klo'ryn. She reassured through the Force. Everything is going as planned.
There was an old saying about that though, Alex could barely remember it. Something about 'When everything's going as planned: ambush.'
He smiled. Yes. But it is not us who will be ambushed.
"Sir, all of Second Fleet has entered the target zone."
Alex was calm. "Open fire."
Out in space, planetary ion cannons fired their beams at the looming GA ships.
Master Skywalker centered himself in the Force.
GA crewmen scrambled for footing as their capital ships shields struggled to withstand the deck shaking blows.
Alex reached out to the Destiny.
Loyalist fighters launched from their bays, streaming toward Reesh. Gunships and frigates prepared for ground assaults. The big capital ships readied themselves for orbital bombardment.
Now! The word projected across space to Master Drifus on board the Destiny. Alex could feel Drifus' return acknowledgment. At that, Alex was able to relax a little.
The Destiny was on it's way.
Jagged Antilles - January 12, 2010 10:11 PM (GMT)
With a flash of purple light and radiation, Destiny decanted from FTL right behind Second Fleet. Within seconds, her hangar bays opened, flushing dozens of Jedi fighters into space; her shields hummed into existence and her weapons discharged.
The Galactic Alliance Second Fleet, having just deployed the majority of its shielding power forward to defend against Reesh's planetary defenses, was entirely unprepared and the first salvo landed with devestating accuracy.
Small cruisers and frigates, their shields barely strong enough to withstand a capital ships' assault under the best of circumstances, found themselves hulled and damaged as Destiny's powerful weaponry cut through them.
A small smirk tugged at Jagged's face as he watched a series of explosions blossom throughout the fleet. It was hardly something to be happy about, war almost never was, but the Paladin's needed a win today. Anything else meant they would be wiped out.
"Alright," he said over the channel to his squadron. Twin Suns had been hit as hard as the rest and he had lost almost half his pilots. Firaxa Squadron had been even worse though and the two squadrons has been merged. "You all know the plan but let me remind you. We've got three squadrons of fighters from Destiny and our job is to break through to Reesh. The rest of the Jedi fighters have launched from Reesh and will be doing the same. Oh, and whoever inflicts the most damage will find a nice gift from me after this is all over."
"And what would that be," Kiera replied over the channel, as the two of them had planned earlier.
Jagged grinned. "That would be their own private room, on Destiny or on Reesh with one heckuva lot of steaming caf."
A couple of pilots cheered and Jagged nodded in satisfaction. They'd been through a lot but they'd do their job.
"Execute the plan," Jagged announced as he took his F-302 into a roll and dove right into the middle of the Galactic Alliance Second Fleet. Explosions buffeted his shields frome very side as Destiny and the planetary weapons fired at the fleet.
Seeing an opportunity, and knowing Kiera would follow up, Jagged dropped one of his drone missiles into the side of an Alliance Remnant-class ships. The ship's shields fluttered as they absorbed the blast. Energy was rerouted to boost the failing shields, but not before Kiera had dropped another drone into the hole, blowing a sizable whole into the ship.
Jagged spun his F-302 on its side as he slipped over the capital ship's hull, dodging what little fire was coming his way. He had picked the Paladin's opening strategy carefuly with the intent of letting their fighters do as much damage as possible why the GA attempted to reposition their fleet so they wouldn't hit each other if they missed.
It wouldn't last however. The GA may have been taken by surprise by the fierceness and firepower the Paladin's had brought to bare but it wouldn't last. Second Fleet, damaged as they had been by their journey through the Maze, was still far more powerful. All the Paladin's could hope to do was make the GA realize they weren't worth the near-destruction of an entire fleet.
As explosions continued to buffet his craft, Jagged hoped the GA would make up its mind sooner rather than later.
Cain Warsell - January 13, 2010 02:30 PM (GMT)
Muscles tensed and strained as Cain squeezed the control yoke as hard as he could. That wasn’t something that great pilots necessarily did, but then he wasn’t a great pilot. He executed a sharp turn to port and then fainted farther the port. His pursuer took the bait and Cain’s X-Wing executed a sharp loop back as he yanked the control yoke back. It wasn’t something that he likely would have felt good doing or even been able to do without the special crystal enhance connection to his fighter. No doubt it made pilots better because Cain was holding his own.
Before his opponent could recover, Cain was in position and fired. The burst of laser fire didn’t get through the shields but then it wasn’t meant to. They were meant to tax the shields so that the torps he released would have a chance of getting through. They did just that and the explosion tinted Cain’s view port as he pulled through it.
That’s two, he thought.
Truth be told he didn’t care for the room and such but it would sure be nice to have the most kills. After all, he had no love lost for the GA anyway.
The time on Destiny went by so fast that it didn’t seem like enough for a breather and they were out again. He hadn’t even talked to Jena for long but at least long enough to know she’d made it back. He wasn’t sure why, but that mattered more than it naturally should. Perhaps because she was always accepting of him no matter what. And now with no one having a reason to trust him, she seemed to at least a little bit.
His thoughts were stolen away as a lock alarm went off and he had more enemies on his tail. This time it was two. His grip got tighter again as his knuckles turned white. Still a smile crept its way onto his face.
This might be fun after all, he thought. That is if he didn’t get himself killed.
Otto Hetzer - January 13, 2010 07:45 PM (GMT)
Otto relaxed into a gentle climb in his CF-9z Crossfire starfighter. He could feel the chaos around him, the heat of laser fire, the imminent danger of death.
He laughed. Death was all around him. But I will not die today.
Was it a premonition, or simply deluded self-confidence? He gave only the briefest of moments to the thought before shaking it away. It was useless to hang on such philosophical points. He had things to do.
His fighter swung around in a sharp loop, falling in step behind a Paladin starfighter. The pull of the Force was strong around the other pilot. Otto casually aimed the crosshair's of his fighter, somehow knowing that the screen was indicating a lock, and opened fire. Crimson beams pulsed toward the enemy, smashing into shields then tearing straight through. Laser beams punched holes in the Paladin's wings and the fighter began to spin out of control.
One beam struck true, hitting the cockpit dead on.
A Paladin died.
Sending his fighter into a dive, Otto searched himself for remorse. He'd just killed a fellow Jedi. Months ago he might have called that person a friend.
Now we're enemies.
No. There wasn't any remorse. Everything he had thought he knew about the Paladins had changed. One of his closest friends, Raza Sebatyne, had tried to kill the Chief of State, and in doing so, also took Otto's sight.
His thumb punched down on the missile fire control button riding atop his joystick. Two drone missiles snapped forward with lurching speed, quickly enveloping another Paladin fighter.
This was war.
Raza Sebatyne - January 13, 2010 08:04 PM (GMT)
"Tail leader you have two Loyalists on your tail."
Raza heard the voice on his comm. He couldn't help from sissing. "Thiz one thinkz not for long."
On cue, Krum swept in behind the two Loyalist fighters and opened fire. A maelstrom of laser fire peppered their shields.
Seamlessly following the action, Raza shot down with his own fighter and decelerated hard, letting the two Loyalist fly by, then gun his engines, joining Krum in the hunt.
"On two...one...two-" Simultaneously he and Krum fired missiles, picking off both Loyalists. "Tailz taken care of."
This time Raza didn't laugh. Killing fellow Jedi wasn't the best way to spend a hunt. He could almost feel the pangs at each one's death.
"Tail 6, watch out for that gunship." Raza changed course, prepping missiles for an attack run. "Tail 3, follow thiz one in."
"Right behind you dad."
Raza and Krum corkscrewed in amazing unison, nimbly dodging deadly attacks.
"Missilez away!" Raza yelled.
Drones plowed into the gunship's midsection, plummeting through a weakened shield sector. The fiery blossoms swelled across the hull.
"Break attack. New prey."
"I see it." Krum replied. "Bridge run?"
Raza considered it. The Force smiled. "Bridge it iz."
Daniel Solo - January 17, 2010 01:14 AM (GMT)
Over the course of what seemed like a minute the Jedi Order had split, Daven and Ziara were killed, and the Paladins were being attacked not by some insidious enemy like the Mandalorians had been, but the Galactic Alliance. Daniel had managed to bring himself out of his self-imposed exile after Daven's death to help in the battle, and had let Alex Skywalker convince him to lead a fighter squadron against the Galactic Alliance.
Daniel had fought the Galactic Alliance Second Fleet as it made its way to Reesh, and took sick pleasure in watching the Destiny spring their trap on the GA. They had led to the Jedi split, as well as the death of Daven. Now they were attacking her friends and remaining family, and Daniel was close to forgetting the rules of the Jedi and slipping aboard the Star Destroyer and take out the leader of the fleet.
But his duties and his common sense won out, and Daniel instead focused his energies on staying alive and keeping his squadron out of harm's way. Leading Sinkhole Squadron, Daniel and his wingman, the Brubb Jedi Warq Yuval, pit themselves against a GA squadron that were trying to push down closer to Reesh.
Daniel reached out into the Force to try to sense if any Loyalist Jedi were among the squadron, only to find there were not. Daniel smiled- this way he could shoot them down without feeling any remorse.
Viktor Saar - January 17, 2010 03:42 PM (GMT)
This was not going to plan at all. Viktor couldn't help but shake his head in disbelief as he watched the battle outside his viewport. One massive leviathan was perched behind the second fleet and belching fire like some ancient star dragon. On the other side was the planet Reesh and its interesting planetary defenses. First off they shouldn't have been there, and secondly, they weren't standard technology.
"Something new." Viktor muttered to himself.
Yet everything about this operation was new. This was the first time they'd fought against Force users in who knew how long. He supposed somewhere in ancient history it had happened before, but sithspit, this was now. Things like this didn't happen now. They weren't suppose to happen.
And beyond the bloody treacherous jumps of the Maze and these Jedi attacks was this giant ship and this strange world with its similarly strange technology. Sensor reports showed their ion weaponry to be 25% more effective than there own. Plus there laser weaponry, which was more along the line of some sort of "pulse cannon" was just sheer astounding. It's range was on par with the most advanced long range turbolaser batteries, but without any of the loss in energy output. These "pulse cannons" were hitting their targets with the full effect of short range turbolasers.
The end result was far from unpleasant. It was turning into disaster.
"Sir, we lost the Rebel Dream."
Saar spun around on his heel. "What?" He couldn't stop himself.
The tactical officer glanced up with uncertainty. He hovered there on the edge, trying to determine if the question was rhetorical or sincere, then banked on protocol. "Sir, our sensors show that the Rebel Dream's primary reactor went critical from a barrage from the Destiny. All hands were lost."
This can't be. He was stunned. Drugged like a man hit with a tranquillizer. The Rebel Dream was a Remnant-class ship. It was one of the most honored vessels in the GA Fleet. The ship alone had seen more action than any other in service.
And now its dead.
"Sir, orders from Fleet Command."
Viktor turned his attention to the communications station and saw the small holo transmission of Admiral Hagrid.
"All units, ignore fire on the Destiny. Concentrate all fire on Reesh. I repeat, concentrate all fire and attacks on Reesh. Admiral Hagrid out."
What's he going at?
Viktor turned to the tactical officer who was waiting patiently for new orders. Currently their Remnant-class Cruiser was facing toward the Destiny. "Turn the Celestial Kiss 180 degrees to starboard. Recalibrate all turbolaser fire for taking out those planetary defense guns. Put all of tactical on tracking down their locations and coordinates with the other fleet ships to avoid overlapping targets." He raced through his thoughts which were now flying like preprogrammed racing pods. "And redirect our shields toward the rear as we spin around. Eighty-twenty."
Viktor straightened his shoulders and tried to return to his position as Rear Admiral Viktor Saar, second in command of 2nd Fleet, all knowing, all wise, commander of the deck. His men needed to see that. Yet inside he knew differently. Admiral Hagrid had just gambled on something, though Viktor couldn't quite figure it out. Did he think he could play on the Paladin's sentimentality? Was he letting his anger get the best of him?
"What are you up to?" Viktor kept his voice very low, he didn't want anyone overhearing him. "Why Reesh?"
Daniel Solo - January 17, 2010 07:41 PM (GMT)
Many Paladin Jedi pilots that were juking and weaving throughout the battlefield, pummeling the Galactic Alliance 2nd Fleet had chosen to pilot new, updated versions of Galactic Alliance ships, like the CF-9z Crossfire. Daniel, however, unlike his Sinkhole Squadron, felt more comfortable in a Jedi StealthX. Though heavily modified since it had originally been created during the time of the Killik crisis.
Even in battle, Daniel couldn't stop and laugh at the idea of the Killiks being a fighting force that could threaten the stability of the galaxy, especially since they had worked with the Galactic Alliance to fend off the Mandalorians. Their Prime Unu was a great sympathizer to the Galactic Alliance.
Concentrating once again on the glee of battle, Daniel fired a shadow bomb, which he used the Force to hurl into the lead fighter in the oncoming Galactic Alliance squadron, which had still been in the V-formation. The fighter's attention had obviously been focused elsewhere and didn't give himself enough time to evade Daniel's bomb, and the leader of Red Squadron was enveloped in a burst of fire.
Daniel's plan worked wonders- the remaining fighters in Red Squadron were disheartened with the loss of their leader and were momentarily loss of what to do. Before another fighter could take control, Daniel ordered Sinkhole Squadron to form up and pick the squadron apart.
Unlike his own fighter, Sinkhole Squadron was made up of X-Wings. It had first formed during the Five Year War with the Mandalorians, even participating in the final Battle of the Transitory Mists. It was an honor for Daniel to lead a squadron, and he wasn't sure he deserved it.
"Fighter on your left Hole Four!" Warq Yuval's heavy voive boomed in Daniel's headset and he looked over to see Hole Four evade a volley of fire from a member of Red Squadron that would have otherwise destroyed him had Yuval not warned him of the attack.
Yuval was a valuable Jedi, and an excellent fighter pilot. Daniel was proud to have him on his service, haven worked with him on an off throughout their time as Jedi, even graduated from the Jedi Academy at the same time. They had been close friends throughout their childhood, though hadn't worked together within the past six years for Yuval had participated in more direct confrontations with the Mandalorians while Daniel had spent months undercover.
Sinkhole Squadron had made it through their first attack on Red Squadron, only losing Hole Seven when their fighters had weaved through the enemy squadron.
"Turn around and form up to make another attack run!" Daniel ordered. As Daniel turned his fighter around to see Red Squadron forming up to face Sinkhole yet again, he noticed that including Red Leader that he had killed at the beginning of the attack, three other fighters had been lost. While they had lost three fighters, Sinkhole had only lost one.
Daniel smirked- perhaps the Galactic Alliance and their beloved Loyalists weren't so formidable after all.
Raza Sebatyne - January 22, 2010 02:19 PM (GMT)
Raza had been intrigued by the movements of the 2nd Fleet. Their big lumbering ships turned around toward Reesh, opening themselves to several devastating attack runs. At first he thought they must have been planning escape.
Then the whole fleet opened fire on Reesh.
The hunters were going for the kill.
The massive change in strategy, however, did not go without a response from the Paladins.
"Paladin forces, this is Master Luuja Sall..."
Raza could feel the Twi'lek's presence wash over him in the Force. Instantly his awareness became heightened, more focused, he could feel his attachment to the greater brood...the Paladins.
"...prepare to open yourself for a concentrated meld. We are going to focus together as one. All of us."
Immediately Raza understood the significance. Up until now, the battle meld had been held open and loose, most of the Paladin starfighters operating in wing pairs or as squadrons. But now they would operate as a full Jedi fighter wing...as one.
Raza opened himself to the Force more than he dared do otherwise. He drifted with the others as they floated together seemingly like clouds puffing across the sky. Yet in reality they were zooming around a chaotic battlefield at high speeds. What felt like casual drifts were the instant jerking maneuvers of the ships as they dodged laser fire and lunged past other ships and debris.
And like a drawing cloud on a blue swept sky, small cotton balls growing larger and larger as they combined into a towering mountain of puffy snow, the Paladin starfighters formed up into a massive cloud. But they were not a peaceful white stream of water vapor to be gazed at from the ground. No, they were a maelstrom gathered above a turbulent sea of destruction. This storm was bringing death.
Master Sall's voice came across the comm in the most serene, enlightening tone that Raza had ever heard. His senses were so in tuned that he felt he'd never heard something so beautiful.
"Now we attack."
He didn't have to ask what the target was...nor did he have to ponder through the possibilities as they narrowed on the scope. The target merely appeared in his head, like a name one struggled to remember and then suddenly pops into your head without even trying.
With that ease, the Paladin starfighters, Jedi and non-Jedi alike, swooped down toward the 2nd Fleet, sweeping past the frigates and gunships, out pacing the enemy starfighters, and piercing toward the heart of the enemy: a small group of Remnant-class cruisers, and the 2nd Fleet's flagship, the Norbert.
Jena Skywalker - February 4, 2010 06:19 AM (GMT)
Experiencing a Jedi battle meld along with the crystal interface during battle was something Jena had never felt before.... and she doubted she would forget the experience anytime soon. She had thought she was in tune with her ship before with just the interface, but it's like now that had been amplified tenfold; she barely even needed to keep her eyes open to be effective in the fight. The Force, and the senses of her fellow Paladins, was enough to render her a capable foe; she had never felt unity like this and it was truly amazing.
Without even trying, she dispatched a Loyalist with one of the Twilight Surprise's missiles, seeing the explosion of the ship right in front of her then moving onto the next target. She dispatched this one with ease as well, feeling a slight life force in front of her burn out as the ship was destroyed. While in the beginning of the battle, Jena had felt sorrow and guilt at destroying GA and Loyalist fighters, now the pain in her heart was lesser. She was.... getting used to it. Getting used to killing my former allies. That feels wrong....
She shook her head, dispelling the thought before it could start to gnaw at her mind. Not only did she not need the distraction, but the Paladins were closing in on their true target; the GA fleet's Remnant-class cruisers and the flashship itself, the Norbert. Jena's squadron was focusing on the Remnant-class cruisers more than the flagship, so she didn't pay much attention to the Norbert as she honed in on her target.
She, and the rest of her teammates. It was like they had one mind; one purpose. The state they were in right now was probably the most effective fighting status she had ever participated in before. In a matter of seconds they had already finished their first attack run on one of the cruisers, damaging it's shields greatly; none of their ships had suffered any damage. Before long they went in for another run; if the Loyalists had had any advantage in the battle before, they had lost it now with the Paladins' unity.
Cain Warsell - February 19, 2010 01:45 AM (GMT)
Battle melds and battle meditation weren’t something Cain was accustomed to being a part of. That being because he had been a loner for the past several years. The feeling and connection that he felt in this Paladin meld however was unbelievable and yet completely natural. He felt himself let go of his hands and allow the Force to truly guide his ship. The instructions seemed to flow at once from an inside and outside source. In reality it was him and everyone at once.
He followed on Jena’s wing as the team approached the next target. It was another Remnant-class cruiser. Cain followed in as they weaved in and out dodging the attempts of counter attack. It was almost as if the Paladin’s themselves were aiming the guns of the cruiser and intentionally missing. It seemed almost that simple. They targeted the shields and the gun emplacements, destroying and disabling them within a matter of moments. It seemed that way at least to Cain. Perhaps it was seconds or even hours in reality. It was difficult to tell. Shortly the ship was a memory and they were heading towards the next target.
The collective Force hammer that they had become was closing in on its next target. Just when it seemed nothing could touch them though, there were lock alarms blaring. Something had gotten the drop on them. Cain was surprised and could feel some others were as well but no one was worried for the outcome.
Viktor Saar - February 21, 2010 06:16 PM (GMT)
"No...no, no, NO!" Saar had lost all composure as he saw the destruction off to starboard through the crystal clarity of the bridge's vast viewport.
The Jedi had just taken out the Norbert. Second Fleet's flagship had just blown up into a blossom of flame and glowing debris.
Viktor saw the tactical officer look up from his display and cast a scared glance. In those eyes, Saar saw a man fishing for hope. It was at that moment, with the soul filled eyes of his tactical officer staring at him, that Viktor Saar realized he was now the acting commander of Second Fleet.
The thought struck him somber and his composure came back to him. His mind immediately shifted back to work, sliding seamlessly into his role as commander. He didn't have to look at the tactical screen to know what to do. Of its own accord, his mind suddenly realized exactly what Admiral Hagrid had meant to do.
"Inform the fleet to continue firing on Reesh and continue general course past its mass field envelope. We will break our way through and jump out of system...together."
Viktor held the tactician's eyes for two seconds longer, waiting to see them fill with relief of dread. Yet the tac officer simply returned to his station, relaying the command to communications.
Back to work per usual. As far as signs went, that was as good as he could've expected. The crew was calm.
Keep it together. He told himself.
The starfighters continued to attack, their amazing feats of maneuver and attack defied comprehension, yet the 2nd Fleet stormed on. The Destiny pummeled them from afar, but the attacks from Reesh itself were lessening. Slowly but surely the 2nd Fleet broke through the planet's gravity envelope and reached open space.
They were clear to jump out.
"Make the jump as soon as we have the fleet coordinates."
Viktor was nervous. They'd lost several ships...capital ships...since the Norbert exploded like a giant festival firecracker. Their losses were significant, but the fleet was relatively intact.
"Jumping to hyperspace now sir."
The stars flew into lines all across the viewport, stunning his unshielded eyes. "Close the blast windows."
The panoramic blur disappeared behind a curtain of gray durasteel. It certainly wasn't mesmerizing or beautiful, but what Viktor wanted right now was stability.
Too much was at stake.
The 2nd Fleet had just lost the Battle of Rishi Maze. Their Admiral was dead. Their flagship was destroyed. The Jedi victorious. Saar couldn't even contemplate the political consequences of this event. An independent fleet representing no recognized nation or people just defeated a Galactic Alliance Naval fleet. News didn't get any worse than that. A blow like this crippled the entire GA, making it look weak, and their enemies stronger.
Will the Paladins gain allies now? Will others feel emboldened to support their cause? Of course. There were already members in the Senate showing their support, especially the Wookiees. Who knew how many more would join them now.
And what about him? Would the GA turn it's back on him, lay the blame and failure at his feet and use him as a scapegoat? A sacrificial offering? He could see the headlines, the speeches...they would pin all the defeat on him so that they could skirt the blame from themselves. Better to lose one Rear Admiral than the the whole GA.
Back in Reesh, the Jedi celebrated as the GA ships left the system.
The battle had ended.
Soon they would mourn the dead, their fallen comrades. Jedi had died on both sides today, but as of the moment, they were happy that the killing was at an end...for the moment. The cold, detestable truth was the war would continue. Their victory at Reesh only served to help lengthen the war. Yet the Force could not let them do otherwise. As hard as it was to accept the deaths and the pain, the real truth was that they had no choice. They fought today so that, in time, a lasting peace would return.
Raza looked out his cockpit window and saw the carnage first hand. A frozen body in a GAN uniform floated by. It was a grim reminder of the reality.
In the distance, he could feel the pull of Master Skyalker. Alex was sending out the equivalent of a Force hug. Raza closed his eyes and returned the gesture. Right now all they had was each other. Together in the Force, it meant everything.