Log:Alderaan: Much ado
The Zeta had a head start on the rescue party, heading out through Delaya traffic, blending into the come and go of freighters and shuttles. Wings down and cargo secured against the belly - showing standard IFF and providing appropriate codes as they make for their designated jump beacon.
Within? A mystery. House Rist? Salza the most likely, but they report their flight from attack on the manufacturing plant they had been picking up cargo from, several requests for expedited transit, and at least one for armed escort.
As soon as Nerys was back on her feet and back on solid ground, she took off at a run to get the ship ready to go, "Belate, get the ship ready to do. We're on our way back, you get ready to jump if they decide to take another ship." Nerys left the rescuing and such to the Jedi and friends, heading directly for the transport they had brought with them, driving it back to the warehouse, now that they had no reason for stealth, waiting for the group to meet up so they could take off heading for the ship now carrying the cargo they wanted.
Ban Iskender had met Aryn back at the transport, the freighter's power-up sequence already underway. The gentleman Jedi had primed all weapon systems, giving the vessel a choice of dual lasers or an ion turret once underway.
<<"Ban, it is Aryn. Can you prep the ship? We are heading back to the landing zone so we can get airborne and track a runaway.">> Aryn climbs ronto the speeder with Nerys to ride back to their landing zone. The triage she began was taken over by emergency services, which were called by the group of frightened, half dressed females they dropped in on in the locker room.
She was relieved to find that Lord Ban had everything ready by the time the ladies got back.
<<"Repeat, unknown hostile force attacked our shuttle - we need planetary defense escort until we reach the nav beacons!">> The Zeta's passage remained, for the moment, delayed while customs craft interdicted physically to run their scans.
In the cockpit of the transport when Ban, Aryn have gathered - sensors coming online begin showing comms traffic and scans of patrol speeders washing over the freighter. Nerys's own comms flickering, indicating a request for IFF transponder codes.
At least they were no longer in a factory's changing and shower room. Things could have become more awkward. But is being scanned by local authorities much better?
The group separated, Nerys high-tailing it to the Tai, "Belate, get that comm jammer online, we may need it." Nerys ran full tilt towards the ship, the ramp popping behind her as she headed for the cockpit, "Jim, patch the other ship into our systems so we can send them whatever we find." The Tai was soon zipping off of the pad, screaming out into atmosphere (thank you, Kadi!), "Alright, looks like the target's held up at customs. I can jam their comms, not sure if that will make them more of a target for security or less." As for the Tai, she showed her usual IFF, a neutral transport shuttle and medical rescue craft (thank you Sesti!).
Ban Iskender voices to Aryn while vacating the pilot's seat and occupying the gunner's station, "Would you guess that a direct appeal to system defense prior to hostilities would be worthwhile?" A nod, and he is opening a channel to the Delayan flight authorities, <<"Delaya system defense, this is Alderaanian transport Cophrigin Echo. Signals are being forwarded of a designated Zeta class transport implicated in multiple actions of kidnapping and treason. We strongly request that the ship in question be ordered to hold current position, pending your inquiry.">>
Cophrigin Echo is a Clearwater Class Calamari light freighter, which might as well have been a medium freighter given its imposing size. It was not the speed demon Nerys' ship was, but Calamari designs had their quirks too. Aryn made it to the bridge and sat in the large chair, taking control of the vessel and triggering the ramp to rise. She watched the Tai rush off and smiled; Nerys was a trooper and let nothing stop her. Ever. Aryn respected that.
Blue flames emit from the belly of the Echo, her large size lifting up, rotating, and transitioning from heavy VTOL to jet engines in a not so subtle manner. Massive ion outputs on the engines grew bright as Aryn pulled the throttle back to put them into the sky. She triggered the landing skids to rise, turned off the repulsors on their belly, and triggered their shielding, including the redundant shielding, one of the quirks of the Calamari; such a paranoid race. The engine output is enough that it rattles the interior of the vessel and places Aryn firmly against her seat.
"I think they intend to slow us down or persuade us from following."
<<"Cophrigan Echo - this is Delaya traffic control.">> A momentary pause, pregnant even if one wanted to use the overused phrase, before they continue, <<"We receive your signal and scans of the craft in question are showing only five life readings and mass that checks out with technical components...">>
The ship hangs there, in the void, over the Zeta class while it idles, with all of the sensation about it of pure anticipation. <<"We are issuing them a stand order for now, pending cross-reference.">>
<<"Delaya control these are terrorists attempting to steal new equipment promised to house Salza, they attacked our craft, they attacked the facility we were docking at. We have to run!">>
<<"Negative sta-- STAND DOWN!!">>
The Zeta suddenly surges forward, shields online and some very non-standard turrets coming online along the dorsal and side facings of the craft. The patrol ship, caught off guard, can only pull clear to avoid collision while alerts over general broadcast go out and demands for the ship in question to stand down.
This was one of those days when Nerys seriously considered buying a droid who actually knew how to make use of the weapons on the Tai. But alas, no, and so Nerys simply used what she had to work with and threaded the needle between the security ships and the freighter traffic, trying to bump her ship up against, or nearly so, the shuttle trying to escape. She had heard the comms from the security force, and her own voice came on the line, "The cargo container affixed to their hull has the kidnap victim, that's why you can't read them on your scans." Nerys looked to Belate, who had bounced up into the copilot's seat. He was a grown droid and didn't use a //socket//, thank you very much. "Work with me, Belate. Where they go we go. if it looks like they're trying to power down for hyper, I guess Kadi will have a few more dents to bang out of the ship."
Ban Iskender activates fire control for the dual lasers turret as the villainous shuttle fails to bluff their way through customs, a d settles for trying to run for it. A cautious first salvo- wary of collateral damage- is avoided by the ebon shuttle. Green eyes narrow a tick as he focuses on the task at hand.
Aryn flies the craft in relative silence focused on weaving through the traffic and bringing them toward the higher altitudes. When they pass a column of clouds, Aryn yanks the throttle back to force them closer with a roar of defiant engines. "I believe we are in range, Ban.." She calls over to the Dragoon without looking his way. Aryn brings up the combat display and the bridge darkens, and holo-projected details become prominent. They take a hit, but the shields seem to absorb it without much ceremony.
It's panic firing, to say the least - twin laser turrets opening fire at the three ships interdicting it - the customs patrol craft veering off with shields struck, straining to maintain power. The cargo craft actually turns harder than it should, with some visible flare of the thrusters when they're jammed over hard.
<<"We are a cargo transport and these are clearly pirates! We will not be held and allowed to be taken like this!">> the ship surges, fending for itself as its other systems begin coming online - sensors easily noting hyperdrives prepping and emergency signals sending ships scattering.
Well, if Nerys needed to ram the ship, she supposed she'd have to ram the ship. "You keep an eye out, B!" Nerys, bringing the weapons systems online, which, was a terrible state of affairs, let's be honest, continued to maneuver the ship so try to keep it from escaping. Perhaps she should have strapped bowcasters to the nose of the ship, not that it had a nose, because saucer ship, because the shots she fired went absolutely nowhere useful. "There's got to be something we can do to stop them! I haven't got a gunner on board! And if I have to magboot walk myself onto the hull and shoot it myself, we're in real trouble!"
Ban Iskender answers Aryn, "Understood, my Lady. Commencing fire." The continued protests of the fleeing Zeta earn a terse exhale. <<"You are assassins and kidnappers, seeking to abduct a highborn lady, and your protests are as transparent as they are feeble, *sir*.">> The second salvo missed as well, and the nobleman admits, "Alas, the scoundrels are finer pilots than liars."
Aryn triggers a broadcast for the local area after linking into the comm buoy. A flickering image of herself appeared in holo-form. <<"Good folk of Delaya, friends and kin.. I am Princess Aryn. My companions and I are tracking down terrorists tied to the abduction of a highborn Lady from House Thul. We are unable to bring them in ourselves. I call you to service. Help my companions and I capture this foe and save this innocent life so their kidnappers might face justice. I am broadcasting our target for all to see. Thank you for your service-- Alderaan Endures.">> Aryn's image cuts out and she sets the craft to max speed.
"Perhaps we may recruit more superior pilots and firepower." She calls back to Ban.
The transport continues to weave, even getting clear of the YT class freighter while shots splash against shields, absorbed and deflected. Trying to get a clear run to make for lightspeed as a pair of old R-41s lift from orbital patrols to make for the escaping craft.
While turret fire is levied still at the Tai and the Echo, blue ion blasts begin striking the Zeta's shields.
<<"IFF Codes read - your Highness, Delaya Customs is providing fighter support. R-41s Silver-Squadron wing engaging.">> A break at last it seems as the fightercraft wheel in, and begin sending surrender orders to the craft that continues to make it's attempt to escape.
"Well, I'm not trying //that// again," Nerys offered, as Belate chirped his disdain at Nerys' weapon skills, "You go and give it a try if you think you can do better!" That shut him up, well, at least it stopped him from heckling her. Belate was still chirping his outrage at his ship being //fired// on, "Yes, I KNOW we should have brought Jax! Stop sideseat piloting!" But even if Nerys was not about to try firing on the ship again and even as she heard the call that support was incoming, she was not about to give up the chase and the Tai continued to duck and weave, trying to keep the Zeta hedged in.
Ban Iskender's focus on the skirmish had brought an intent frown to his eyes. It is a stern expression which only warms once Aryn makes her eloquent appeal to the Alderaanians of Delaya. A small smile touched his solemn face, and as the Starchasers of Silver Squadron join the fight, he switched fire control to the ion turret, raking the Zeta shuttle with a stream of blue energy. "My Lady.. true hearts will ever rally to a good cause. An no cause is better than that heard in your voice. Admirably done."
<<"Thank you, Silver Squadron. Please, continue your pursuit. We are doing our best to keep them boxed in.">> Aryn does just that, putting their craft in the path of the shuttle and trying to divert its flight path as much as possible. It is relieving to see so many answer her call, and Ban's words make Aryn's cheeks go red slightly. "Let us hope our rally is enough to bring this filth to justice. I do not fancy chasing them across the galaxy for whatever nefarious deeds they have in mind for Lady Thul."
Boxed in, and desperate, the Zeta opens fire still, reversing thrust and attempting to change angle still. Hyperdrives reporting primed on sensors but with no angle to take to escape. For now at least.
<<"At you service, High-- Two! TWO! I'm hit!">> shields flare, threatening to buckle from one ship and then the next fighter,
<<"I'm hit as well! Stay on him! Stay on target!">> the spiraling pair break hard to either side, ion fire going wide of the twisting craft or only splashing just against the Zeta's shields, though even now those begin to flag with the repeated shots.
<<"Let us leave and no one has to be hurt, we will not submit to this piracy - using her codes for this! Don't let them kill us, Delaya control!">> the voice sounding more desperate as they look for an escape vector.
Aryn positions the Cophigrin in the way again, using its bulk size and bulwark to draw fire while the fighters do their thing. She has a weary eye on the shields, concerned that they were approaching half now, but they were so close to stopping these guys and putting an end to this foolishness. "Stay on them, Ban. We are nearly there! I can feel it."
Evasive action by Silver Squad pays off as they manage to evade the continued fire from the Zeta class's non-standard defenses. Boxed in yet by the Echo when it had just given the Tai the slip. No more comms go out, as its shields collapse under the assault of the ion blasts from the fighter crafts.
It focuses on movement, trying to get clear still. Persistent cusses that they are.
<<"Customs control, require backup, deploy second wing.">>
<<"En route, Silver - deploying from closest zone. Stay alive silvers!">> A good notion, helped when the customs shuttle banks in, it's own ion turrets opening up to help.
<<"Silver, Your Highness, Honored Ally - this is Delaya control - we're in position to assist.">> striking the zeta class, sending blue lightning across the hull, sparking but still -somehow- functioning.
Nerys was trying, she really was, but there were simply too many ships on the field, and despite her despite to do whatever was necessary to stop that shuttle, she was caught between not wanting to risk destroying the ship and its cargo on the one hand, and on the other, the need to keep a promise she had made to a certain Greystorm that she would always come back. And so, she did not full on ram the ship, but in avoiding that, she also failed to get in its way. Here's to hoping the other ships would do what she couldn't.
Ban Iskender's turret has an instant in which to reposition and strike the vulnerable Zeta shuttle, but the dragoon is feeling rather lacking as a gunner, this day, and the shuttle's irregular maneuver leaves him with nothing in his target area. "Finish them, Silvers," he bids quietly, off channel.
"It is okay, Ban. Today we are the shield, not the sword." Aryn positions the ship ahead of them again, this time there's a soft collision that rocks the Cophigrin from impact. Proximity alarms begin to sound within the bridge, but Aryn smacks the switches to the off position and listens to the computer intone the warning about hull integrity. <<"This should be your moment, Silver Squadron. Bring them to justice.">>
Bring them to justice.
Not without a little help from a YT-2400 and a behemoth Clearwater keeping the ship penned in, forcing it to remain in realspace while the last of the ion shots from the patrol craft and the snub fighters force the Zeta offline.
<<"Reporting full ionization. Customs you may begin your docking attach and hatch-break. We are on station. Relief inbound.">> Silver one performs a flyby, waggling its wings at the Echo and the Tai while the onboard droid works at the shields to bring them back to full,
<<"Silver two, thank you both for the assist. We will have reports sent to you, you are granted docking pads Oh five and one six on Delaya if you wish.">>
A police action, a ship with men and women wearing colors of house Salza, confused, outraged and even when brought to the starport utterly flabbergasted when the form of Vesaiya Thul is brought out of the shielded cargo container. Chained, shackled, disheveled and sobbing with relief for her rescue.
Neryes breathed a sigh of relief, as she the call came that the ship was dead in the water, space, you know what I mean. She glanced over at Belate, who was clearly still judging her, "I'm sorry, Belate. Even I wasn't that brave." But then security was taking the ship into custody, and she came back on the comms, "Be aware that the target of their kidnapping attempt is within the cargo pod below the ship. We do not know her current medical condition." But they had a doctor for that!
Aryn landed the ship at the designated zone and saw to the recovery of Lady Thul. She wanted to ensure the Lady was given back to her family. A call was made to her cousin, Lord Bors, to inform him of what transpired. With any luck, he will be able to make it out there to see her back to kin.