Log:Aldera Squad: Avishan Campaign I
Avishan is an icy world along the outskirts of the goldilocks sector of Alderaan's system. White from orbit, the snow and ice begin to look blue upon entry. To those veterans who had served on Hoth, it may have been a stark reminder of that landscape, though even more barren save for the ice mining facilities that set up on Avishan to ship fresh water to systems that lacked it.
Aldera Squad is making their way into orbit, following a trajectory from a recon probe droid that had marked a facility on the surface harboring military assets. The mission was to ascertain the presence of Panteer military forces and destroy them.
Aryn Cortess, who flies Aldera Three, rocks in place within the cockpit of her T-85 X-Wing. She is wearing a green flight helmet with its visor down, and a tunic, presumably, from the Jedi Order. Her focus is on the sensor readout and flight plan, but her droid is warbling about something concerning cold-weather lubrication being needed for optimal functionality. "I do not know, Cedar. Perhaps you should have mentioned something sooner, we could have scheduled a dip for you.." The droid makes a raspberry noise and it surprises a laugh from Aryn.
Flipping the live comms over to the VOX channel the squad shared, Aryn voiced, <<"This is Aldera Three, comm-check.">>
<<"Aldera Six here. Five by Five, Three.">> Comes Ejnar's voice over the comms. The Turbulence from entry into the frigid world causes him to rock a bit in the cockpit of his E-Wing, probably a bit more roughly than the X-Wings as it's a lighter craft and the Wind of Atmospheric flight might effect it more. His own droid, R2-5T rests behind his canopy, whistling a question to the pilot. "Yeah keep up the scans. Who knows what visibility is like and with this crosswind any landing is going to be a pain." He looks towards the temp readouts and whistles. He tightens up formation just incase anything were to go wrong.
<<"Lead, Three. You're coming in clear. Aldera Squadron, chime in.">>
Bors was eyes on sensors, lips pressed together and keeping his craft close to the others for the time being, shaking in his command couch for the urge to throw throttle to full. <<"Lead, Five, recon work. Full throttle, seek and report. Mamma's Boy, you're my wing. Three and Four are wing.">> throwing out commands while tapping at a display,
"It, anything?" The droid's response a series of annoyed clattering blats and one mournful lowing that draws a sigh from Lord Thul, adjusting descent and bringing a topographical overlay to sensors. "It's going to get loud if they note our sensor pings. Be careful."
Another annoyed blat and a roll of Bors's eyes before he edges closer and closer still towards the ice.
<<Aldera Four, check,>> Ban's steady, polished voice intones. The X-wing he flies is brought onto Aldera 3's wing when instructed, with frequent glances to the nav display to verify his position relative to the rest of the squadron.
Receiving the command from her Lead, Zacara Saronno reaches forward within the canopy of her A-Wing to key the comms panel. <<"Aldera Five reporting in. Copied, lead. Seek and report.">> She releases the switch, her left hand tightening around the flight stick as she pushes the throttle to max with the other. Golden engines glow above the frozen world as the A-Wing accelerates out of formation and forward of the squad, breaking to starboard to lay out initial reconnaisance.
The Espirion takes the craft a bit lower than before, flying toward a mountain ridge that pierces the cloud layers. The small craft is nimble, and could even risk flying low between the valleys if she or her commanding officers deemed it necessary. And any A-Wing pilot was certainly crazy enough to take that risk! This one, however, takes it safe for now as she passes over mountainsides that look to be polite enough in their angles to host possible facilities of any kind. A hand reaches to her sensors, twisting a dial to get a quick read of the topography ahead and below.
Ensign Saronno's interceptor blasts ahead of the pack, emerging from the entry and right into choppy air and the start of an arctic storm. Sensors were going all over the place, rendering an initial negative reading which might be relayed back had she received something more than 'AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH' from her equipment. The other fighters begin to experience the same thing, and readouts indicate the the fighters are experiencing fairly cold temperatures that could be dangerous if exposed to these conditions for a long period of time.
<<"Aldera Three copies all. Flying here is.. rough!">> Aryn sounds strained, although the encrypted channel gives her voice a robotic like sound, she seems to be fighting her flight pattern to try to fly smoothly. It just wasn't possible.
Nothing on sensors blip, but Captain Thul spots a group of R-41 Starchasers fighting through the storm on an intercept pattern for them, giving the team ample time to adjust their current tactics to respond. The opening joust was upon them though, and if Aldera Squad couldn't get the right vector, the Starchasers, numbering 10 in total, would have the home field advantage!
"It, see if you can clear this up, divert auxiliary power to life support and crank the temperatures." cringing some when his instruments start giving him fun sounds in his audio receivers that set his teeth on edge and his left eye tries to squint shut.
<<"Leader, squad, see if you can heat up your fighter before we get chilled on- OH! ZOUNDS!">> Language, Bors, <<"Squad, incoming, ten marks -- Starchasers. Flak spacing and see if we can thin them out!">> twisting his yoke and squeezing hard on the firing stud in the beginning of a spiral of crimson following the whirl of his craft into an aggressive forward spin.
<<"Wings, pair off, keep eachother's backs. Five, keep up your work or come back for a bit of a scrap, your prefrence!">> meanwhile the lead R-41 banks, five degrees, to their port, dragging them to the right of Bors's otherwise brilliant assault - giving the Lord a bit of gestural diplomacy when they can momentarily see through the other's cockpit bubbles.
Ejnar formed up on Bors as requested, the two E-Wing running close in the rough airways with each other. The Alderaanian Lord was getting a work out on the stick, a bit of sweat forming at his brow. Five Tee whistled something about having trouble getting readings. "Must be the weather buddy, keep trying." HE glances down at the gauges, "And get that deicer working properly. We're rated for space, this shouldn't be happening." Then there's the announcement of Starchasers, <<"Received Lead...">>
Ejnar rolls his ship in a wide barrel roll, coming about but slightly further away from Bors. As the R-41 banks, and Bors' scarlet death misses, Ejnar is positioned to follow up. He lets his ordinance fly, his own lancing red death zipping past the craft. "Ah hell..."
Ban Iskender draws and lets out a slow breath as the tally is called. Banking the snubfighter to face the loose formation of R41s head on, shields set down front. The joust comes naturally to him, and Aldera 4's cannons strike one among the enemy squadron twice, bringing down its shields. <<Acknowledged, Lead,>> he notes smoothly, sensing more than seeing Aldera 3's position.
With a blizzard between Aldera 5 and her squadron, her sensors didn't pick up the advanced warning of the attack. In fact they didn't pick up much at all, except that it was excessively cold. Zacara growls at her systems while she takes the A-Wing in a wide, lateral crescent-loop on a general path back toward her squadron, so that she'll eventually re-join with them. Getting close enough to be in comms range within the storm, however, she hears the calls from Aldera Lead and presses the throttle forward to full, coming out of the crescent turn and flying on a direct path toward the dogfight.
A golden streak bursts out from the tops of the clouds as Aldera 5's A-Wing swoops in from below, opening fire on the nearest R-41, making a micro-adjustement to compensate for the enemy's trajectory. Perhaps the ailerons were too cold or maybe it was pilot error, but the red laser flares shoot wide, making their journey toward Alderaan space. <<"Came back to check on you,">> comes her comm. <<"Didn't realize it was play time!">> Despite this, what little attention she can give goes to her systems as she attempts to get the scanning sensors back online.
Aryn's T-85 opens its s-foils and begins to fire, picking a part one of the R-41 Starchasers in the opening joust. The explosion comes quick, her fighter passing by it before the fuel cells expand the destruction and rain down debris. Aryn makes a 'eeek' face, looking back over her shoulder and moment and grimacing, <<"Three, splash One, I have two following me!">> Aryn could sense them there.
Among the joust, fighters crisscross and open fire. Bors has the leader and another fighter on him, Ejnar has inherited the XO and another fighter, Ban is in a trade-off with his intended target while Zaca and Aryn pick up tails, two fighters on each of them.
Meanwhile, below all the fighting, and where the debris from the destroyed R-41 is falling, rages an arctic storm, making the air choppy. Moisture collects on the wings of the fighters, forming ice-crystals as the jockey for advantageous positions.
Cutting engines and dropping like a stone to the terror of the R2 unit socketed behind him, Bors's foot stamps on a pedal that puts maneuvering jets on full power, kicking him over to knife-flight when the crossfire begins sweeping his way. Forward thrust returning and making the glide into a sharp bank.
Still heeling over into inverted flight Aldera Lead 'pulls up' into a half loop to bring him around once more, <<"Lead, squadron - call out if you need help. Mamma's boy, I have your six.>> leaving his own attackers to be tended to or to continue their grim work against him and making his best effort to put cross-hairs ahead before he squeezes again.
Shields opaque and 'tear' under the barrage, a marching line that runs over the lower hemisphere of shields then streaking past when deflectors are eliminated from the target, <<"They're naked, if anyone is free to dance.">> banking again, seeking to hold his place firmly in the fighters aft quarter, continued bursts of fire being sent to try and hem them in.
There is a rumble and shakes as a splash from light lasers on the Starchasers strafe across the protective bubble, tapping the shields of Ejnar's E-Wing. "Alright, forget the scanners, We'll locate the base after we deal with these pests. Focus on the shields."
He notices another starchaser angling in on him, looking to the other side where Bors is maneuvering and noticing the Leader still behind his Wingman. <<"And I got yours.">> He pulls back on the air break, pirouetting the craft into an almost flat spin. The old 'Cometburn' Maneuver he was taught a while ago. The lasers of the R-41 chasing him, slip past him wide as he pushes the throttle forward and comes from above. The starchaser Ace hasn't much of a clue as his heavy canons rip through the shields and hull, sparking a fireball filled with violently billowing black smoke. <<"Aldara Six, Splash One.">>
Ban Iskender evades the opening volley of his foe, allowing it to bank one direction without pursuit as the dragoon-turned-pilot banks the other in a. effort to drive one of the tails off of Alderaan 3. <<At your back, Aldera Three,>> he reports. Off channel, he notes aloud, "I daresay the banter shall take some some time to grow familiar."
The acrobatics of a dogfight are Aldera 5's favorite part, and against an R-41 she has the definite advantage here. Which is why it's all the more humiliating when R-41 04 gets a hit on her. Growling in frustration for the second time this mission, Zacara throttles down to ten percent, spinning the agile A-Wing around completely, then throttling up to 68 percent to match speed with the R-41. Aldera 5 lines up for a shot, cannon fire hitting both times. The enemy ship's shields flash and fizzle and Zacara does her best to keep in line with the enemy pilot for a follow-up to come.
Reaching forward, the red-skinned Alder-Espirion keys her comms. <<"Understood, Lead. I'm hit but I'm fine. When there are few enough to handle I'll break and search for that facility.">> The gloved hand releases the comm, moving back to the throttle in case the R-41 tries something fancy.
Aryn spins starboard to avoid being hit, the G's from the technique testing the tension of her chin strap. When the fighter leveled out and she had succeeded in avoiding harm, she saw on sensors that Ser Ban had taken to pursuing one of her tailing foes, but he had one of his own returning to engage him. She set up a shot hoping to intercept the shieldless craft, but the engaged afterburners the moment her targeting equipment made a tone and she squeezed the trigger. "Rats!" Aryn looks back over her shoulder and grimaces, earning another tail while Ban has managed to pick up one of her old.
The fight is intense, and another of the Starchaser squadron inherit a loss as their CO is destroyed by Lt Celchu's heavy cannons. The Starchaser stood no chance against the state-of-the-art weapons, or the impacts they made. Shields shimmer and are tested by the Starchaser squadron, but they've had no success against Aldera Squadron yet, who seems to be holding their 'ground'.
Keeping his pace, though it requires he match the far inferior speed of the preybirds in his sights, slamming the ethereal rudder to kick the E-Wing into a wild looking fishtail that pulls the fighter to one side when more fire angles on him, "I think they're upset." looking with quick flicks of head and eyes to tab on the others. "Oh. Well that's unacceptable."
His sudden break from prey, and further attention to their status results in another stream of fire screeching just abaft of the fighter engines and bringing him into an unexpected head to head with the foeman still behind Ejnar.
<<"Lead, Five, acknowledged. Keep dipsy-doodling.">>
A flick of his thumb changes weapons from cycling to massed fire that puts three bursts of overcharged energy through the midline of the fighter. A single shot that results in the sudden swelling of the craft as heat deforms and pressure builds to climax in the heavy fighter popping like a soap bubble filled with detonating power cells and ordinance.
<<"Lead, splash one. Mamma's boy you're clear.">>
<<"Dipsy-doodling, Acknowledged...">> Ejnar states as he just barely dodges some return fire, the lancing bolts zipping just past his shields and further into the atmosphere of the frozen wastes just as Bors obliterates them. Instead of getting fancy though, the experienced pilot takes a look around his wide canopy, noticing the Starchaser running after their A-Wing pilot. <<"I'm heading in after Five... they're dancing with one of 'em...">>
Ejnar levels out, gaining some altitude and then as Zacara passed underneath him, he barrels down on-top of the R-41, his heavy canons ripping through and causing the craft to explode in a brilliant bright yellow flash. The remains scatter about in thick black smoking fireballs.
Five Tee Beeps that shields are back to Max. <<"Six, splash two...">>
The longer the dogfight wheels on above the frozen world, the more Ban's inexperience in a cockpit begins to show. He still instinctively approaches a melee from a two dimensional perspective. The enemy pilot who had peeled off of Aryn attacks him from below, landing a hot to his shields. A mild frown creases his brows as Ban continues firing at Aryn's tail, narrowly missing the Starchaser with a salvo. <<A mild hit, I am hale.>>
Dancing with R-41 04, laser fire from Aldera 06 takes the enemy out of the contest. Zacara gives a quick nod of respect as she twists her A-Wing around, aiming herself toward Aldera 3's pursuers. Coming at one of them from starboard, R-41 03, the opportunity is almost too easy. A quick pair of cannon blasts - don't want to waste energy after all - ends the threat her princess. Reaching forward once more, she keys for comms. <<"Five. Got one off Three's tail. I'm going to try and shake these and get back on recon, before they have time to call their friends.">> Releasing the comm, the gloved hand slams the throttle forward, to '11'. If '11' wasn't on there by factory default, then it's been painted on with a marker.
Golden engines scream above the frozen storm as the A-Wing enters into a corkscrew-like spinning maneuver in an attempt to shake itself from the R-41's targetting computers. Ending the corkscrew with the ship leaning to port, she pulls up on the stick, bringing the nimble fighter around in a tight crescent-shape before levelling it off and making a break from the dogfight.
Aryn, again, performs another technique that ensures her craft's shields remain untarnished, and she engages the afterburners to chase after the tail pursuing Ban. <<"I am trying to engage Four's tail, but he is bloody fast!">> Aryn says, calm but not without a touch of excitement. She witnesses the destruction of one of her tailing foes, and comments, <<"Thanks for the help, Four and Five. We seem to be fairing well!">> Aryn takes a shot, misses, and sighs, rotating her craft and view to give chase!
More and more Starchasers are biting the arctic dust, raining down and disappearing into the white-clouded storm below.
<<"Lead, six, copy. I'll see if I can help clear the slow-pokes.">> a fusillade aimed to rip down the centerline of Bors's fighter from bow to stern creates a shield proximity alert that raises gooseflesh and pushes his arms forward to drop him out of the firing line. <<"Lead, five, six is your wing.">>
The X-Wings come into view and Bors continues his drop, threatening to risk skimming the tumultuous clouds below, creating a wailing keen from It behind him. The little droid extending its shock prod, a multi-tool and then a little plasma torch. Thrusting them as if the idea of just stabbing Bors and killing them both is a better fate than this.
<<"Four, steep climb, bank port.">> trusting on the specifically spectacular instincts of Lord Ban because he is firing already in a quartet of triple-blasts. The first halving shields, the second crushing out the R-41's defensive screen and leaving the way clear for wing to be sheared away and the final blast to drill into engines and turn the aggressor into fireworks and flak.
<<"Lead, splash two.">>
<<"Haha, slow pokes...">> Ejnar says in response over comms as he gains altitude and looks back down to see who's still following Zacara. One Starchaser has the bravery to continue the assault. So pulling back on the yoke he loops and comes back down in a dive from behind the sun and an clouds.
He takes his time, lining up his reticale sight. It glows green and he squeezes the trigger. Three red bolts lance out, thicker than the ones expelled from the slow poke X-Wings. They rip through the craft firing on their scout craft and send it into a spiraling stalling burning smoldering smoking grave on the ground of the frozen wastes bellow. <<"This is Six, Splash Three... You should be clear Five.">>
Ban Iskender evades a second torrent of fire from his pursuer, before hearing the instruction from Bors. Promptly, he breaks into a steep climb and banks as bidden. An instant later he sees the R41 go up in short-lived flames under Bors' guns. <<Well struck, Lead,>> he commends, reengaging and concentrating his own fire on Starchaser 7. His cannonade forces an artful evasion from his mark, which once more falls near, but burns past harmlessly.
Safe from attackers thanks to Aldera 6, and keeping the A-Wing over the clouds, the 'belly' of the interceptor teases the top of the storm while Zacara flies as close to it as she possibly can without being caught in it. She throttles down slightly, enough for Ejnar's E-Wing to keep pace, while keeping her priority attention on her sensors. Something blips and, lacking a droid to command, she taps the spot on the screen, holding the fighter steady with the other hand. Calling for a focused scan, the Espirion reaches for comms.
<<"Five to Lead. I've got something a dozen or so kilometers out. No visual from up here, but it's a heat source that shouldn't be there.">> She leans forward slightly, twisting a dial to request a secondary reading. <<"It's cooling. I think they've lost power. This has to be them. If we're going to avoid automated defenses, we need to do it before the storm lets their power come back online. Transmitting the flight path. Recommended that we pierce the storm, Lead.">> A few key presses and the coordinates have been transmitted to all of Aldera flight from the A-Wing's state of the art electronics systems.
Aldera Squad tip their noses to the storm and disappear into the white wall of shifting clouds. The loud noises of ice TINK'ing and TACK'ing against the hull is considerable. Aryn is so unprepared for it, she loses control of the ship momentarily, essentially falling from the sky. As alarms blare in the cockpit, she closes her eyes, calms her nerves, and draws upon the Force to steady the flight path. She is no longer using the mapped flight path but her own perception of those around her through the force. Cedar has ducked his small domed head inside the socket, hiding from the ice.
Several minutes of flying in this pattern, the squad emerges from the storm to less choppy air. They have visual of the installation. It's built into the side of a icy ledge, hidden if not for Aldera Five's computer scans. They make a hasty approach, capitalizing on the power being down to avoid automated defenses. Next step? Get into the facility and figure out what Panteer is up to!