Log:Aldera Squad: Against the Odds
The microjump was completing and the hyperspace tunnel was resolving into stars, the distant planets of the Alderaan system and a cluster of ships bearing IFFs painting them as allies of Lana Panteer.
<<"Friends, we will be diving to the heart of them, we must keep their fighters from the bomber units and their bombers from the Bail Organa.">> Bors voice came distorted over the scrambled comms, jovial despite the tension, his E-Wing at the head of the chevron formation that the squadron had deployed in. Headed towards Lana's 'Light of Truth', the heavy frigate already making its ponderous turn towards the ships that were exiting hyperspace.
Alderaanian militia fighters, a number of independents and even some pirates being granted clemency for risking their lives in the name of a United Alderaan in their own mish-mash of craft joining the flight, <<"Our support craft are tasked with their bigger craft. Don't get greedy, don't get glory-drunk. Keep the way clear for mission craft to do their work. All wings, report in.">> a quartet of CR-90s come out of hyperspace shortly after the fighters amidst a swarm of Y and B-Wing bombers from Alderaan's limited stores.
Comms begin to rattle with unit sound offs come in response to Bors's command and formations begin to loosen.
Dropping into subspace and maneuvering into formation, Zacara Saronno lightly twists her flighstick, easily gliding the A-Wing into its proper alignment with the rest of the squadron. Reaching a gloved hand forward, she keys for her comms. <<"Aldera 05, in formation.">> Her hand moves to the throttle, keeping the interceptor throttled down to hold speed with the rest of the squadron and her yellow and green eyes sweep over her radar screen, making a mental note of all the players of the 'battlefield'. Without a droid to support her, she keeps her primary systems pulled up on her side screen, able to see the status of the power reactor, engines, ailerons, shields and weapon status with just a glance.
Eyes moving to transparisteel viewport, she glances at the distant specs and engine trails that she'll soon be mixed up in. <<"Primary orders, Lead? Ready and willing to fly recon.">>
Making up the Port Flank of that cheveron was another E-Wing clad in the Blue and Silver of Aldera Squad. <<"Aldera 06, reporting in.">> Ejnar Clechu announced over their secure and shared comms, swapping his shields to double front and bringing up his sensor report and targeting computer. <<"Understood, stay on target.">>
He looked up and away, visually scanning ahead of him as he loosened up on the formation some. His thumb clicked a button on the yoke, cycling through targets. Five-Tee whistled at him. "Hit the bombers first or hit the fighters? Probably their Bombers. The Cap ships can chew through the lancer."
<<"This is The Light of Truth, to all followers of The Usurper - you are given your chance to bring craft to a halt, power down weapons and shields and submit to be taken as prisoners of war. Compliance will gain Queen Panteer's notice, we assure you.">>
Fighters begin their approach, Z-95s screening A4 Y-Wings and a squadron of X-Wings bringing up the fore. Chasing them the gunships and the frigate itself. A pair of defensive claw formations meant to envelope the attacking fighters, tie them up for the bombers to try and get past.
<<"Lead, Five, primary orders as stated, keep their bombers from the corvettes and the Bail Organa, but expect to mix up with their screens if you have to.">> Bors's response is crisp and it comes just as the elongated shape of the MC80b flickers with pseudomotion upon its return to subspace.
<<"General Dune, on sight. Maneuvering...">> the hulk of a ship, not unlike Home One, already beginning to roll on axis to bank towards the enemy. Leaving only Alderaan's defending Nebulon-Bs to watch over the planet.
<<"Copy lead. Five's going in!">> With that declaration, Aldera Squad's A-Wing throttles to full, flying forward of the rest of the squadron and pulls itself upward on the Z-axis, barrel rolling to the left in a flourish as it breaks formation.
Flying for the X-Wing screens and throttling to eighty percent, Zacara depresses her laser cannons to bluff at the X-Wings. The shots clearly miss, but the intention was to draw them out of formation.
And it works.
Two X-Wings bank to their right to intercept Aldera 05, at which time Zacara throttles to full, jerks her ailerons hard to right, twisting her craft 'sideways' between the two intercepting X-Wings.
Bluff was through! Golden engines flare as she comes around to starbord, lining up a shot for what she perceives to be the lead Y-Wing. Her laser canons open fire, but the Y-Wing proves to be a bit more agile than she had anticipated. No matter, she was in it now, and wearing the devious smile of an A-Wing pilot thrill-flying.
Offer from the Lancer's CO clearly and stubbornly ignored, Ejnar pushes his throttle full forward, his E-Wing's engines flaring in long trails as the escort fighter rockets ahead. As Aldera Squad approaches the screening Z-95's, Ejnar looks over and down at the three squadrons. "Fighters are in the way, going to have to maneuver through to the Bombers..."
Rolling the craft over he then dives, his grip on the stick tightening as he does so. As he closes in, the space between craft seems tighter than he ha first inspected. He clenches his teeth. "Hold tight, Five-Tee we might bounce off shields here!"
Somehow, Ejnar executes the maneuver, slipping through their Fighter lines by a thin hair. <<"Through the screen, on their Leader!">> Ejnar announces to the Squad, pulling hard upright and reducing the speed to be just a bit more than the slower Y-Wings. He angles in on the Leader and fires, all three of his red canons splashing against and ripping through the Bomber/Fighter's shields. The remaining energy simmers across the hull causing burns, sparks, and smoke. Five-Tee whistles with excitement. "Rocked him real hard but Y-Wing's are tough. That's why we got a couple on the Hemelwacht."
<<"Break break, Raptor Squadron, Helix form and split them">> Bors calls out over comms while Ejnar and Zacara surge ahead, threading the needle past the fighters. The pirate uglies spinning off into the called formation to begin weaving into the X-Wings ahead of the militia Cutlasses coming up from the rear, crimson laser bursts filling space. Shields going opaque in places and armor being slagged from the hulls of ships in bright bursts of light and the first explosions claiming lives and machinery.
Then the fire of the Gods joins, the first fingers of the Organa's turbolasers reaching out to threaten the oncoming forces, trying to steer away the gunships escorting it and giving cover for the corvettes hovering around it like skates about a great marine predator looming through the inky depths.
The lead Y-Wing, forced to dive by Zacara goes up when repeated bolts from Bors's cannons strike the same point, again and again, piercing shields and smashing into the engine core to turn it into a blossom of fire, <<"Lead, Splas-WOAH!">> ion fire from the bombers turrets begin spraying into space, some of that striking along Bors's shields, sending crackling ball lightning around the oblong sphere of energy and causing sparks to fly,
"It! Lock that down!"
<<"This is General Dune of Alderaan. Panteer Forces, surrender now in the name of The Queen and you will be given quarter. Oppose us further and you shall know regret.">>
Flying in parallel to Aldera 06's E-Wing, Aldera 05 maneuvers similarly to the other until their own commander takes down the Y-Wing commander. Taking that as her cue to break off, Zacara brings her ship back in a tight crescent-turn to line up with the next one, but a sensor alert appears like a whisp of yellow smoke to her in her flight canopy before her ears can register the alert.
Evading hard to port, the silver and azure A-Wing dodges the return fire from a Y-Wing's backseatted gunner, and obliges with a counter-attack of her own.
Crimson Alderaanian firepower introduces itself to the rear gunner's face, though luckily for him (and unluckily for the allied forces), his shields catch it, the red laser that hit dissipating with a blue shimmer. <<"Engaging bombers,">> she says during her cat-and-mouse, though probably needlessly.
<<"You alright there lead? Hair not standing on end is it?">> Ejnar quips across the squad channel as he keeps to the rear of the Bludgeon 2, the Y-Wing far less maneuverable than his own craft meaning he could match it in speed. All it took was a good Pilot with a little bit of experience to understand the foresight of what the Pilot might try an accomplish in order to escape from his Heavy Cannons. He lists the craft quickly, avoiding his own blue and pink ion bolt meant for him.
He then levels out and his retical turns green. The bolt rip once more into the hull and rip the craft apart at it's tri-stricture. The engine nacelles fly off in opposite directions before the whole thing explodes.
Lord Celchu throttles up and turns away, scanning for his next target. <<"Aldera Six, Splash One Bomber.">>
<<"Can't shake him!">> <<"Shields out!">> <<"LOOK O-">>
Voices in the comms, intercepted and shared, the tension of combatants, their last words. Maybe moreso than ground fighting, the shifting snarls of fighters twisting around one another and interweaving through other formations may be more brutal. The long deaths of some, the short bursts of terror from others.
<<"Think I'll be tasting ozone for nary less a week...">> Bors twists through more ion fire, zooming in on the rear of a Y-Wing and loosing a barrage of cannon fire that tears down shields and digs furrows into the armor plating that burns white hot, liquid, freezing almost instantly like stalagmites thrust from the hull of the bomber craft.
More of the blue-white lances of energy sing close and more electrical discharge flies across the ethereal surface of the lead E-Wing when one of the gunners manages to lead the weaving spiral maneuver being employed to try and get around the incoming defense fire, <<"Tw-t-two wuh-whee-weeks!">>
The sight of the MC80 is enough to give the Lancer pause, a ship designed more to sweep fighter fields and damage bigger cruisers, but it and the gunships continue forward, the DP20 frigates firing clusters of heavy missiles that slam against the cruiser's shields, darkening them in points and gaining the attention of gunnery crews.
A batch of X-Wings being chased by Preybirds bank away from their squad towards one of the CR90 craft and nearly a dozen link-fired torpedoes cross the distance, crumbling its shields and leaving it exposed. But still more fighters erupt in flames. Under Panteer's flag and Cortess's
Further dodging gunner fire, pulling hard to port to avoid one ion blast, then again back to starboard to avoid another, the opportunity practically reveals itself as her dodging puts her sights nearly directly on Bludgeon 03, sparks still streaming from its hull in a rhymthic interval.
Narrowing her eyes to concentrate, Aldera 05 lines up then quickly jams her thumb down on the fire button!
Both canons strike true, finishing the Y-wing off before its pilots can even realize what had happened.
Zacara brings her ship around to find the next one as the screams of the pilots engaged in battle comes over the comms. She sees streams of colors coming from her helmet, having originated from the headset. Reds as pilots anguish, greens as some of them celebrate great shots, yellows as others panic. <<"Splashed a wishbone,">> comes her own words, tinged in light pink while she maneuvers around the dogfighting. The MC80 Bail Organa was special to her and she fully intended to see it back to port unscathed.
As Ejnar settles on Bludgeon 04, seeing it's shield being halved by Zaca on her way towards Bludgeon 03, he twists the nimble E-Wing Escort Fighter in a wide arch to give him some distance in order to come in on the slower Y-Wing.
Five-Tee whistles an inquiry as the cries of battle leak through the scattered frequency of comms traffic. "They're doing their jobs. We'll help them once the bombers are down. Craft is only as good as her Pilot... and well... their crafts and as good as what Panteer is putting out." He spared a glance out his canopy towards the flashes of light, zipping and zooting craft dancing around each other, and small explosions from the screen. The CR-90 loosing it's shields only increases his focus.
A green retical and those crimson red bolts lance out... and the Y-Wing dodges. <<"Oh, get squirly now will you. Lead, want this guy? Figure all that Ion Energy they're pumping into you might give you a little boost.">> Ejnar rockets past the Y-Wing as he throttles up, banking hard as two ion beeps rip past him harmlessly.
Still better than half their number remaining, the Y-Wings still better than half squadron strength and attempting to build an ion screen between themselves and the pursuing interceptors and attempting to weave around fire that threatens their flight pattern,
<<"H'-h-h'only fitting...">> Bors responds to Ejnar's jest, manually throwing emergency power into his weapon systems to begin an onslaught of laser fire on the wishbone that so cheekily managed to evade Celchu.
<<"Raptor lead, I'm bleedin' squadies, Militia, we need aid!">> another of the ad-hoc pirate fighters goes up even as their leader pipes up, blasted to shreds by combined X-wing fire.
<<"Blessings of The Mother reads, adjusting point fire.">>
The wounded CR-90 angles its turrets, firing point defense into the mass of snub fighters pursuing the pirate uglies, sending a pair of Panteer's X-Wings to the Hells of Alderaan, pushing its engines. Cannons swiveling for a new target when the Light of Truth suddenly erupts with cannon fire, a deluge of crimson plasma that vaporizes the forward section of the corvette, sending a sympathetic line of explosions along its spine before it comes apart. No escape pods visible leaving it.
<<"Father carry them home...">> Bors's voice on comms, distorted when he flies through the explosion of the Y-Wing that had fallen under his guns. Highlighted by turbolaser fire from the Organa responding with all of General Dune's fury, protecting the B and Y-Wing loyalist bombers headed straight towards the Lancer from the DP20 Gunship being forced to break off when its shields collapse and sections of the hull are rendered to slag.
Maneuvering forward for her next attack run, pink brows furrow as Zacara comes up with an idea. <<"Still with us lead? Bluff. I'm going to try and make an opening in their line. They're way too kriffing close to the vette.">> Throttling to full, Aldera 05's golden engines glow at full strength while she propels herself forward. <<"Try and distract them or something.">>
Bringing her ship laterally to starboard, the distance is still too great to move forward of the full Bludgeon squadron, so she starts to try and punch a hole manually.
Crimson blasts connect with Bludgeon 5, leaving a healthy shield alert for its two pilots.
Ejnar angles his vision up as he pulls back on the stick, entering a long loop back towards what's left of the Y-Wing Squadron. He levels out just as Zaca strafes past Bludgeon 05, lining up his own shot on the injured craft. The Retical goes green after he dances away from more ion bolts from S3 gunners. Then he squeezes the trigger. Crimson bolts lance out and smash through the rest of the shields, slamming into the hull and turning impact points in molten slag. The ship sparks then breaks apart and explodes. <<"Aldera Six, Splash Two. Thanks for the set up, Bluff.">>
Five-Tee then whistles urgently. Torp Lock warning flash across his screen. "Yup... here it goes..." He holds his breath.
Modified from their normal turbolaser loadout, the CR-90s flanking the Bail Organa have been hurling heavy and quad laser fire en mass where they can without risk of destroying their own. The Z-95s are mostly gone, like the pirate fighters that have launched in defense of Alderaan in exchange for their sentences cleared and their freedom restored. Only two still hold out hope for their promised reward. The Cutlass flying militia nearly to half strength while Panteer's X-Wings maintain much of their own.
<<"Lock! Lock! They have lock!">>
Sunkisser, the closest of the corvettes to the approaching Bludgeon squadron turns its guns too late when torpedoes are loosed. Six pairs that drawing azure lines between the bombers and their prey, each hammering against the Loyalist craft until shields collapse, then armor, then the hull is opened and the interior exposed to vacuum.
Another craft with all hands lost. Given a brief star as their funeral pyre before vacuum turns it to expanding shrapnel and more on the eternal darkness.
Then the Light of Truth is struck by a barrage. A fusillade of fire that sees much go past its much smaller mark, limning it in blazing red. But some strike true, some smash against the frigates shields and leave the ship exposed.
<<"Bail Organa, Assault Bombers! ENGAGE! ENGAGE!">> aboard the bridge General Dune has stood from the mobile command chair, looking through the main view screen with one fist raised before her chin, "Fire!"
<<"And you, Mama's Boy!">> is Zacara's response to him thanking her for the setup, for he also helped her to set up by finishing the hole she meant to punch in the Y-Wings' formation. Speeding past Aldera 06, Aldera 05's golden engines trail into the expansing mass of Former-Bludgeon-5, through the other side and forward of the rest of the bombers.
Bluff's A-Wing makes a long, lateral pass across the flight path of the enemy bombers. As she does this, she thumbs open the safety switch for her chaffe flares, then flips the silver switch that had been protected within from accidental bump.
Behind the azure starfighter, a tube-like compartment opens and it ejects a number of small packets, each bursting open into thousands of tiny specks of durasteel shavings, reflective duralloy sheets and electronic interference devices. This won't do anything to break a lock that isn't present, but it will be bright and annoying for a pilot in charge of steering and aiming a spacecraft. Particularly this close to the glittery bursts.
As the chaff continues to burst forward of Bludgeon Squadron, Aldera 05 levels off to come up behind them on another attack run.
Ejnar loops around, tuning out the screams and cries of dieing men and women aboard the gunship and corvette. They did their duty to their Queen, to Alderaan. He'd heard those cries before, it wasn't anything new. It was the nature of war, and conflict. Not that it wasn't sad, but that could be thought about later. Once the day was won.
Ejnar lines up on Bludgeon's 6's tail just as they turn towards the Bail Organa and Zaca moons them with her Chaff. He tsks several times before taring into the old model bomber and destroying it outright. As if exacting revenge for the lives it had just taken. <<"Was it worth it, Panteer? Aldera Six, Splash Three.">>
"Why can't you lock them, It?"
Bors's agitated question answered with a series of squawks and bleeps that sets his eyes rolling behind his visor and his teeth on edge, the death of another Alderaanian corvette weighing on him, watching the mixed squadron of loyalist Y and B-Wings getting past the fighter screen. Surging past the gunships and suffering withering fire that reduces their number from a dozen strong to a mere quartet.
<<"Zweihander, Organa, we're firing torpedoes.">>
A terse but distinct message mixed with the dying sounds of the speakers brothers and sisters, silencing one by one beneath the weight of gunship and frigate cannons.
On the heels of Ejnar's strike down comes Bors own, pinning another Y-Wing down its centerline, splitting off its engine nacelles and overloading the power core in a brilliant bloom of expanding light, <<"Copy, Six.">>
Torpedoes from the Loyalist bombers strike the light capital craft rendered bare by the Organa's turbolasers. The first pair smashing into the bow and blowing metal and escaping atmosphere from it. The next pair furrowing along the port flank, ripping open gouges that spew crew and detritus to the void. The final pair breaks her back, the softening and damage to its dorsal midline causing pressure to bow the Light of Truth before she starts to expand in her death throes.
<<"Panteer flag is down! Panteer flag is down! Loyalist forces withdraw to micro-jump coordinates!">> Cara's voice, elated, angry. One could hear her grip on a bracing stanchion in her tones.
Though she'd been flying fancy and pulling off crazy stunts, Zacara's thrilled grin had faded hours ago. Alderaanians were dying on both sides. Civil war was anything but. Even the victory over the Panteer flagship couldn't be celebrated now as her own forces needed to be covered for their exit vector.
<<"Five's covering,">> she simply states into the comm, turning away from the exit vector to engage and distract the nearest thing with engines faster than a Y-Wing. Cycling through her targets landed her at an X-Wing within firing and pursuit range, and she depresses her lasers to warn it off and potentially stop it if it needed to be stopped.
The X-Wing's shields glimmered with blue sparkles against the sparkly backdrop of her own dissipating chaff, Aldera 05's warning shot meant to divert it back to its own side of the battlefield.
The flash of the explosions across the Lancer Frigate as B-Wing Assault Bombers smash it to death flashes across Lord Celchu's face. The Order to withdraw is given and he pulls away from any Y-Wing he had been chasing.
Ejnar is right behind Zacara and catching as they speed towards the screen of X-Wings near their escape vector. He angles in on the once she tagged, doing so himself with his heavy canons. "Give him a taste of what's to come..." Perhaps getting ripped of his shields and spared only because of a tactical withdrawal may make them rethink his allegiances.
Though that might not be the case considering sfoil mounted canons lace out at him. He spins his craft on it's x axis, the streaks of crimson zipping harmlessly past into the void. As they reach their escape point, he pulls back on the hyper-levers and the E-Wing zipps into Hyperspace.
<<"Copy, Organa. All Wings - make for hyperspace.">> Bors's response succinct, giving a moment to watch the death of the Panteer flagship before he is alerted to a signal lock in his systems, <<"Two away.">>
The MC80 and the remaining CR-90s rotate slowly, the small corvettes falling back to be provided the cover of the Organa's shields while the defending fighters break off their attacks, throwing all power to shields and engines to get distance. Flying evasively under fire. The remaining trio of Panteer gunships begin to break off as well, disappearing before even their fighter screen can acknowledge. Their forms elongating and then flickering to hyperspace, away from further danger.
<<"Bail Organa, entering hyperspace.">> the heavy cruiser disappearing in like fashion, followed by the corvettes.
One X-Wing from Lana's forces is destroyed, torpedoes blowing it apart like a final sendoff when the fighters surge forward to disappear into the hypertunnel, moving for the far side of New Alderaan