LegendsLog:Balmorra IV: Climax
A major naval engagement was underway in Balmorra. The Republic fleet had seized the initiative with a daring microjump and a four-hour battle had commenced. Sith spies had kept the Imperial fleet well appraised of goings-on above the key arsenal world, and a small advance strike force had been assembled: Darth Revan's own flagship, the Harrower-class *Lost Star*, a quartet of smaller Derriphan missile frigates, and the attached ten squadrons of Sith fighters.
The Sith strike force emerged from hyperspace in the Balmorra system near the orbit of the namesake planet's second moon, outside maximum weapons range as wicked winged Sith fighters are launched with deadly speed. The Mandalorian and Republic fleets are both diminished, the wrecks of five capital ships and scores of fighters drift in the cannon-streaked void between the remaining ships: four Mandalorian and six Republic. Missiles appear to have been spent, as only turbolaser volleys and fightercraft fill the space between the two factions.
On the bridge of the battered Republic flagship *Ganelon*, through a haze of thinning smoke and the stench of burnt circuitry, the junior sensor officer (the senior had been killed in the second hour by a missile salvo) reported aloud, "Captain- a new ship- five new ships in system. Four Derriphan-class, one dreadnought of.. unknown classification . The *Lost Star*. They're launching fighters!"
Standing upon the bridge of her prototype Dreadnought /Lost Star/, Lord Revan stares out the massive spread of viewports to the battle ahead. If she has an expression of delight or dread, it is not conveyed through the beskar mask that conceals the features of her face. The reflective visor shows brief glances of the bright flashes of explosions. A prompt turn from the view has Revan's cape favoring one side, and her urgent steps carry her to the communications console.
<"Bring up all frequencies. Push the Derriphans forward and we will loom behind. They need to think it a blunder and pursue."> Revan says. The officers assembled all salute, the senior among them speaking. "Yes, my Lord."
A blue holo image of Darth Revan appears on every ship. <<"Mandalore the Restorer. I am Revan, conqueror of the Mando'ade, and your new challenger. Before all present who can receive a transmission, I challenge you to combat until one of us lay dead. If you are the true Mand'alor, then the mask I hold..">> She raises Mand'alor's lost mask. <<"..must be a fake, and my duty to the Republic was left unfinished. Bring your best weapon, your best beskar'gam, and let us see if you are who you claim to be.">>
Revan's head tilts. <<"All Republic forces. You're given this single warning. Leave the system at once, or earn my ire. My fight is with the Mando'ade. Do /not/ interfere.">> Revan's image cuts out, and Revan motions with a gloved hand. <"Deploy the squadrons and order them to keep the boarding ships away from my ship.">
Seeshon is loaded into his fighter along with the rest of his squadron. He launches with with a few deep breaths, drawing the dark side into himself as he launches, his scanners quickly appraising him of the situation, he forms up quickly with the rest of his squadron. <<"Defensive formations, targets are boarding vessels, lasers only for now. We'll save the Torpedos for bigger targets." With that he's picking up speed, setting up an almost patrol like circuit, watching as his squadron split off into smaller wings. His attention is on the Republic, intent on seeing if they take Revan's offer to retreat.
The effects of the Sith arrival on the Mandalorian and Republic fleets could not be more different. The Mandalorian flagship- the gigantic Kandoshii-class *Restoration*- broadcasts frantic instructions to <<All ships: destroy the Sith! The advantage is ours- Fire, fire, fire!>> The squadrons of Davaab, Teroch, and Basilisk fighters break off from their duels with Republic craft, and race toward the two-pronged prow of the *Lost Star*. The Kandoshii and Kyramud heavy cruisers shift toward the Sith battle group, launch five troop transports, and push toward turbolaser range of the Sith, pursuing recklessly, batteries opening fire..
By contrast, on the bridge of the Republic flagship, Erchirion hears the report of the Sith arrival, and the subsequent declaration from the Dark Lord with stiff dignity, eyes narrowing on the sensor display. Under his breath, he observes, "No Leviathan." Drawing a long breath through his nose, the captain orders the comm officer to, "Cease fire. Recall all fighters. Signal all ground forces on Balmorra to evacuate immediately, and inform high command that we can no longer hold this system."
The orders are met with a moment's stunned silence, and the lieutenant at the comm console answers, "But sir, there's only five of them. We can't give up after all this.. we're winning-" Erchirion cuts off the protest with a sharp look, hands remaining clasped at the small of his back. "Recall all fighters, and do as I have commanded, Lieutenant. Helm: draw us back to Balmorra, to screen the withdrawal of ground troops." There is no answering transmission to the Sith, no message sent beyond the Republic frequencies. The wearied and outnumbered Republic fighter pilots offer no complaint to the order, returning to their homeships. The remaining cruisers and corvettes of the defensive squadron draw in close to the *Ganelon*, reduced to spectators as the invaders draw off to engage the other invaders.
"Lord Revan, Mando'ade ships closing fast. They've answered your challenge." The Captain says, standing behind the Dark Lord in a fine pressed red uniform with golden buttons. <"Engage the Mandalorians. Focus all fire one ship, then move to the next when it's destroyed.">
From the cockpit of a fighter, Kostas has settled in nicely and follows behind the Sith, Seeshon. <<"Kostas copies. Priority on the transports. Let's REKK THESE GUYS UP! OYA!">> Her fighter accelerates ahead, the red contrails of her ion engine outputs expanding with the sudden thrust of energy and propulsion. Green laser lances emit from her cannons, smacking a transport's shields and making the flicker.
Seeshon pushes his throttle, adjusting the inertial dampener as he picks up speed, he targets the nearest transport, watching as his fire hits the ships, shields on his first run, he circles quickly, watching his wing men as they two begin to circle the transport while keeping a watchful eye out for any enemy fighters as he swoops in for the kill on the transport.
The maneuvers of the Sith and Mandalorian fleets draw subtly away from Balmorra and its four moons as the fighter wings dash together amid a chaotic eruption of cannonfire. The initial joust heavily favors the Sith, as the Mandalorians- already wearied by hours of battle- lose nine fighters and a transport to the black hulled fightercraft. The /Lost Star/ hammers through the weakened forward shields of the Kandoshii flagship, scoring the armored forward hull in the first salvo. The quartet of Derriphans obey and lock onto the same target.
Aboard his own archaic battleship, Erchirion observes the new skirmish, while instructing comms to,A "Signal the Garrison fleet at Kuat. Advise them to take battle stations, should this prove a diversion."
Revan watches from the bridge now in reverent silence as the green flashes of turbo batteries all lock into place and begin to engage the Mandalorian capital ship. Her gloves hands come out from beneath her cape and clasp thoughtfully. Patience seems to be a common virtue with this Dark Lord who simply allows the field to set so she might see where the pieces fall.
<<"Hahaha! This rekker should've stayed home!">> The shields on the transport are shattered, but Kostas is being pursued by fighters. "Rekk, /I/ should've stayed home!" Her ship rocks her in her seat as sparks from an overloaded terminal indicate her shields are low! "Rekkin son of a..!"
Seeshon spins his fighter around, a quick blast of fire aimed at one of the transports, Seesh and his squad's fire smashes through their shields before his next shot hits directly at the ships engines causing an explosion that destroys the ship. Seesh swings his ship around to fire on the next target. He watches the big ships firing on each other with a frown, then he's focused once more on his next target, seeking to thin the enemies fighters.
The barrage of the *Lost Star*, combined with the missile volleys of its escort frigates smash through what shields the Mandalorian flagship had been able to restore, inflicting terrible damage on the sturdy warship. The Kandoshii begins to try and bank away, perhaps- too late- considering the folly of a headlong charge. The Kyramud battleships shift to target Revan's missile frigates..
The Lost Star begins to rumble with the retaliatory attacks from the Mandalorians, but when the Sith return fire again with the full group, the Kandoshii went up in a ball of glorious fire and flames. Debris shot off in every direction, much of which sparked shields. The explosion cast an orange hue upon the facemask Revan wore as she watched silently. <"Have engineering begin working on our shields, Captain.">
Kostas has just managed to get her shields back up only to have them collapse again. "Rekk me running, I HATE FLYING!" The Mando screams as she starts to move power capacitors around to bring her shields back up. She's not doing a whole lot of good right now!
Seeshon spins, turning on the last two Transports, he takes a deep breath. <<"Get those transports, use Torpedos if necessary.">> Then his ship rocks as he pushes himself further as he checks his shields. He takes a quick evausive action before turning to try and take out the Transports. <<"Keep your focus on those transports.">>
The catastrophic damage done to the *Restoration* has an immediate effect of the remaining Mandalorians. That was among the last of the Kandoshii dreadnaughts known to exist, and its loss sends the remaining pair of Kyramud battleships vectoring to try and escape the system. In the course of that intended flight, one Sith Derriphan frigate is hammered hard by Mandalorian turbolasers, but while it is grievously damaged, the tough ship remains in the fight.
Meanwhile, the first of several Republic transports appears on scopes rising out of Balmorra's orbit, grudgingly obeying the evacuation order.
"FINALLY!" Kostas yells at the console as the energy reroutes to shields and the bubble reforms around her fighter. A sudden jerk of the yoke has the fighter spinning to one side. That's a good trick. <<"Alright.. I'm getting back into this. What did I miss?">> She asks.
Kostas watches as a combined focused effort of Sith fleet barrage crushes another Mandalorian ship. The vessel is simply dissected into small explosions, falling back from its fleeing cousin. The Mandalorian in the Sith fighter smirks. They were a fool to oppose Revan, to oppose the Sith Empire! <<"OYA!">>
<"Hold position here. Perform a deep space scan and have crews overhaul on shield repair. I want my shields back up to full strength."> Revan walks along the central command aisle and above the working crews who diligently carry out her orders while not daring to look up at her from their control consoles.
The ships begin to retreat around Seeshon's ship wheels around, the engines flaring as the last of the transports is dealt with. <<"Alpha Squad, Weapons free, let's make sure they don't regroup.">> With that Seesh is running down fighters, laying down fire on each of them with ruthless efficiency. For now it looks like the battle is over, but for the body count.
This is a moment all veterans recognize: the moment a battle is decisively lost, and both sides know it. For the Mandalorians, there is a mix of panic, the crushing despair that their hopes of a restored Mandalore were misplaced, and they could choose to abandon the lost cause, or die fighting. Some die, others flee. For the Sith, there is the finish of a dying foe, and yet another victory won under the banner of Darth Revan. For the Republic, there is the unpleasant wonder of how long they can linger before the Sith get hungry.
Then, sensors contacts light up by the dozen. Foray-class corvettes, twenty Hammerhead cruisers which spit Aurek fighters by the squadron, and at the battle fleet's center, a mighty Inexpungeable-class command ship, the *Triumphant*, flagship of the Kuat garrison fleet. Erchirion's bridge crew is elated, all but the captain himself, who allows a rare flash of temper as he shouts for silence, before bidding, "Hail the Triumphant, NOW. It may not be too late.."
<<"Republic forces. I gave you fair warning to depart Balmorra and no harm would come to you. It appears that my kindness has been misjudged for weakness. I will correct that.">>
The Dark Lord returns to her perch by the bridge window and stares out over the expanse of the void. Her fingers begin to fidget idly, a sign that she was either thinking, or slightly nervous and weighing her options. <"Derriphans to the front. Simultaneous lock on their flagship. Fire everything. The heavily damaged one? All ahead full, aim it right for their bridge. Tell the /living/ crew to abandon ship.">
An unencrypted hologram transmits from the *Triumphant*, showing a slightly pudgy human male in an elaborate naval dress uniform, who reads a prepared speech with slightly less gusto than he had expected, after hearing Revan's threat. <<This is Governor Royadan Dellic. In deference to her prior acts on the Republic's behalf, the renegade Jedi Revan is afforded this chance to surrender. All vessels, engage.>> Only once that message is sent does the acting admiral allow, "Engines full speed ahead. All vessels forward. Open channel to the Ganelon."
Erchirion begins speaking the instant the connection goes live. His words are swift and firm. <<Admiral, whatever your objective here, I assure you it will not be met. An engagement on the enemy's terms will be catastrophic to->> Erchirion bears the indignity of having his signal muted. The proud Governor answers him with a sniff. << I was warned your resolve might be found.. lacking, Captain. My *objective* here is victory. Defeating the Sith once and for all. You may order your vessels to join me in the Republic's hour of triumph, if you have the nerve.>> Meanwhile the sixty three capital ships of the Kuati garrison fleet close on the meager five vessels of Revan's strike force, as if afraid their prize will escape. In return, almost baffling, a single damaged Derriphan accelerates to meet them, escape pods jettisoning, as autocannons begin spraying the void to ward off squadrons of Republic Aurek fighters.
"All crew jettisoned, my Lord.-- Ship is all ahead full, Lord.-- Automated laser grid is online, my Lord." Revan remains at the window, her hands unclasping only to reform at the small of her back. <"While they contend with the rushing vessel, have them commit to their course. All Derriphans have a lock? If so, fire every weapon they have on their flagship. Captain, I want long ranged ventral cannons to open fire. Begin targetting their corvettes. We will work our way up.">
<"Lieutenant, draw our squadrons back and tell them to focus only on destroying bombers and swarming corvettes that come into range. Mark priority targets so they do not interfere with our firing solutions.">
Revan turns slightly from the view. <"Communications, inform Lord Malak the time has arrived.">
Seeshon recieves the order and he and his squadron fall into the methodical work of bomber support, Seesh aiming for the enemy bombers while his squadron's support keeps fire off him. It's a comfortable situation that Seesh has been in hundreds of times before.
As the Kuati garrison fleet is drawn further out from Balmorra and its moons. The automated frigate on its doomed crash course is obliterated by the combined fire of a dozen Hammerhead cruisers. With the proud certainty of an amateur strategist, Governor Dellic sniffs, "A single vessel on a ramming attempt? This is the great Revan's best gambit? Keep the shields strong and fire all cannon once in range."
Erchirion woodenly closes the channel to *Triumphant*, and draws a long, slow breath through his nose. Informed that the Battleship has been ordered to join the advance, the Sephi captain shakes his head, once. "Instruct our battle group to hold position, and calculate a course to Kuat. If the ground forces do not obey, we will wait here to screen them as long as we can. But we will not advance." The words would read cleanly in a transcript, but given his voice and grim manner, all on the battered bridge obey as if he'd threatened to shoot dissenters.
Revan chuckles as they focus their fire on the single ramming ship, providing them with the time needed to retaliate with a wall of fire from her Derriphan frigates. Despite the soundless discharge of rockets and laser cannons, even the Lost Star's ventral cannons, the impacts seemed hurtful enough to cause some of the crew on the Sith ships to grimace. Revan observes that the original battle group has not joined the fray. She knows then that it belongs to Erchirion Tor.
With the fleet chasing Revan, the arrival of some 100 Sith vessels occurs in a series of rapid flashes and concludes with the arrival of the Leviathon. The Republic fleet is effectively cut off from escape now that Malak deploys his interdictors, trapping the group in place.
<"Open a line to Malak.">
Malak's image appeared, his smile sinister. "Darth Revan."
<"Lord Malak, engage the fleet and wipe them out. All of them."> Revan makes a single swipe with her hand, gesturing 'all.'
"What of the battle group waiting outside the fray?"
<"Allow them to leave. Someone should speak of this Republic failure. Let the Republic Command continue to ignore Erchirion Tor.">
"It will be done, my Lord." The image cuts out.
Erchirion Tor closes his eyes for a moment as the first wave of Sith interdictor cruisers begin to swarm out of hyperspace. It's only long enough for him to draw a single breath before cold blue eyes open again, and his words snap the bridge crew out of horrified silence as a second wave of Interdictors, Centurions, and swarms of Derriphans continue to arrive, beginning the summary execution of the trapped Kuati fleet. Erchirion's orders to his crew are stated in a hard, level tone. "Comms. Repeat my prior instructions to the Army transports, and the remainder of our battle group. They may prove more receptive, now. Initiate jump to Kuat once the last transport is away." Until then, the tall thin captain stands motionless on the bridge, hands clasped at the small of his back, feeling compelled to watch the sudden distant flashes that represent dying capital ships.
So ended the Battle of Balmorra.