Log:Array Consortium: Civil Space Patrol
INSTANT ACTION! A recon flight belonging to the Atrax Guard is sprang upon by a Children of Kespan patrol - their comms are jammed for the moment, but if the enemy isn't destroyed, the quiet buildup on the other side of the asteroid belt might be all for naught...
The Business is in system for a meeting between Adhar and the other commanders - yes, for his birthday he gets to deal with those two - and the Serious Business is left to mingle with the flotilla of ships, many of whom are currently in a maintenance cycle. Gotta keep the birds in good order, after all. Hours pass in boring 'peace', and then...the alarms go off. Flight group, report to the hangar bay. Instant action is run.
In ten minutes, the four of you are shoved into fighters - Aola into Array One, the ship's single E-wing, with Sion and David put into the ship's two Vendettas and told to sortie out. Dol is sent along as well, to serve as David's turret gunner, while Sion nets another of the group, a Crewman Dellar.
The flight plan is uploaded as you strap in and launch, and the mission is brief: microjump to a waypoint just beyond the inside cordon of the Glittering Belt, halfway across the system, where a recon flight has been discovered by a Children of Kespan patrol. And that's no good...because if they return with word that other fighters have been seen in the system, they're going to search the /whole/ belt. And that's too soon. Your order are simple: jump in, destroy the patrol before they can radio alarm, and escort the damaged fighters out again. Good thing, of course, is that the recon flight still has its signal jammers.
And so you pile into your ships, power up, and fly out into the void, coded as Sword for this sortie. Emerging into the darkness of space, you have a moment to prepare and set coordinates.
Search and Destroy? Aola could swing that. Wrapped in her flight suit and firing up the Array One, the Twi'lek pilot leans back into the seat as preparation for the micro-jump. "Sword Leader to all callsigns," she comms as the other ships form up. "Prepare to engage the targets immediately, we need to make sure none of this group slip the net or get a call out."
With the demand for their services, Sion has been keeping her flight suit close to hand lately. Tonight, the caution is justified: A similar mission to her last has run into serious trouble! She loses no time pulling it on and dashing for the hangar. The helmet datafeed with orders tells her what she needs to know on the way there. Thank the Maker for good Array technology. And that's what she's climbing into, as well: The original AC starfighter. The name is as much a warning as a designator. Simulations have put this monster as capable of making mincemeat out of virtually anything its weight or lower, even in numbers, and it can punch well out of its weight class. It'll likely have that chance tonight. She's inside and getting the systems online and heated up within moments, though Crewman Veera Dellar had beaten her there. The older woman, a veteran security pilot, is boring holes in her back with dark, impatient eyes as she works. The Socorran senses it's likely not personal dislike, but Veera even /glares/ paramilitary! Sion doesn't keep her waiting long, and they're in The Black within moments, riding a surge of impressive engine power, pulling onto the course from the datafeed. <Sword One copies, Lead. All systems hot, and ready to rock.>
<<Let's see them bring their Preybirds out now.>> David muses, mostly to Sion in another Vendetta. Nobody seems to have prompted it. Oh, and <<Sword Two, reporting in.>> he adds quickly, gloved hands flying over the control panels. "You good, Marcis?" he asks of his gunner, who mans the turret while David flies. "How's it looking, Ones?" he requests of the astromech droid flying with the pair, as he moves the stick to join up with the other two fighters in the group.
The stocky Corellian spacer, Dol Marcis, scrambled impressively fast for a man of his age (and size) into the Vendetta as the gunner for Ironside. It would be the first time he was on such an active mission for the Consortium. Now, from the gunner's seat, he responds to his pilot's query. <<Affirmative, Sword Two. All is ready, targeting computer is online. Let's get this done.>>
For Dol's benefit, his first time in, consider the Vendetta: immense for a fighter, the ship is practically a small shuttle, and the two-person cockpit is quite roomy and comfortable. Consoles are modern, instruments top of the line. The ship has its own tasked reactor, however, and a pair of massive thrusters rated for transports - so there's a constant growl, low and in the background, but everpresent. You can't hide these things on a sensor display, normally; they show up with trumpets blaring, torches and pitchforks arrayed. But here? Near the asteroids, and with the Guard's ships blaring static, they can do the rare thing that is /be subtle/. It's like hiding a hurricane with a bigger hurricane. Because science.
The jump is made; Aola's fighter enters first, arriving not far from the edge of the belt, and therefore not far from the battle that is in the midst of going on: two heavily modified Y-wings, Longprobes bearing Atrax Guard IFF, are bravely holding off a quartet of what appear to be more of the Childrens' grim gray Preybirds, all of whom are spewing grim green lances from their wingtips and roots. Modified to have four heavy lasers, apparently. That's no good. The pilots of the old Koensayrs are truly talented, janking and rolling between laser blasts, their shields crackling with what energy they cannot avoid outright. They've carried an excellent fight, and given their own from fore cannons and turrets, but their hulls stream vapor from a number of hits and their shields can't hold out for long. Even the venerable durability of their line can't keep them alive forever.
Sion's boat leaps into formation off Aola's wing, prepared to deliver the fight at her leader's orders - but David and Dol? Well, that's a different story. Maybe it's user error, maybe it's the shoals of mass shadows scattering its course...but when Sword Three appears, it appears right in the middle of the blistering melee. Surprised and massive, the biggest body in the brawl.
For a moment - just a moment - everything stops, as if someone has turned the vidscreen in a seedy swoopers' bar to public broadcasting from bloodsports. Oh. My.
Well crap. Aola hadn't planned for a wingman to land himself in the mix quite so quick...and unprepared. "Kar-.." she begins her curse before shaking her head and jamming her throttle to full. "All wings, engage at will. Sword 2? Try not to get yourself and your gunner killed!"
The hyperjump is mercifully short. Sensors, when they emerge, show that the fight might not be. Four of the Children's mod-job Preybirds against two venerable Longprobes; those Guard pilots have to be good, to have lasted this long... assuming they weren't survivors of a larger squad of scouts.
Not a good thought; Sion pushes it to the back of her mind and focuses on what they /can/ do, not what time has made impossible. "Heat 'em up, Veera. We've got targets! Let's see if we can't split these vultures up!"
That's when she notices a rather anomalous blip in the middle of the whole mess. /Sword Two/. <Frell... Dave, Dol, break right and up! We're coming in high and aft! We'll keep them off your tail!> she comms. Tapping the control to fire-link the heavy lasers, she swoop down and opens fire on a Preybird that looks to be shaking off the surprise and trying to turn onto the intruding Vendetta's tail. Veera is already blasting away at a second Preybird that's slower to recover.
As luck would have hit, David is one of the pilots who did the recon flight, and it's definitely not the first time he's found himself in the midst of things immediately. <<Strap in, gunner.>> he comms. <<We're in the deep end already.>> Quick handling had him throw the shields up first thing, the cool blue hue briefly visible over the canopy before vanishing into passivity. From not being shot at. <<Sword 2 reporting, we found the enemy.>> he reports. <<Maybe if we don't move, they won't notice us.>> he tells Dol lightly.
Strapping in, Dol readies himself at the gunner's station, hands either side of the control array, thumbs poised over the firing switches. << I have a target on the monitor. Ready to fire on your command. >> he says to David Ironside.
Outside the viewports, the Preybirds of the Children continue to hail a derisive rain of fire in all directions but focused on the Longprobes. The situation is completely tenuous, considering the position they are in, he and Ironside. Itching to take matters into his own hands (the good ones, and the other as well), the stocky gunner repeats ...
"On your command."
The lads don't get a shot off on their way out of the furball, but their sudden appearance not only gives the two Y-wing crews a moment to breathe, but focuses the attention of the heavily armed Preybird upon their Vendetta. As the ship streaks through, a pair of green lances strike the vessel's rear shields, causing the bubble to flare brightly in that direction, but they fighter's mighty defenses hold easily still - and Sion, firing herself, is able to send a pair of blasts right past the escaping Consortium fighter into one of the enemy ships, battering their shields down tremendously.
If there's any response from the Children, or the Y-wings themselves, it is lost in the wash of static that now fills the comms. Comms jammers, after all. Suddenly nobody has a voice.
Into the fray the Array 1 goes, its blue-skinned pilot clenching the sticks hard as Aola draws up on one of the Preybirds and begins to open fire, bolts sizzling through the void but not quite managing to find their mark on the heavy craft. They were good, or good enough for the moment, but the chase was on now!
Sion winces at the blast of static that overwhelms her com system. "That's the loudest 'cut the chatter' I've ever heard," she mutters, switching to intercom. "Continuing pursuit!" She opens fire on the 'Bird she's chasing, but he's warier than she'd thought, narrowly evading the twin blasts. Veera has better luck: Her shot hammer the second Preybird, all but smashing its shields into nothing. It looks like maybe ten percent capacity remains on the fighter's dial. "That one's hurt. I'll keep on him! We can't let any of them get away!" she reminds Sion.
David nods at Dol. "How often do you wait for orders in a combat situation? See those Preybirds? They're blocking our view of all the other baddies in the system and they gotta go." he tells him. "Ones, I need you to tell me when our shields are about to go. And then, stop them from going." he instructs the astromech in the slot. Pushing the throttle forward, he puts actions to his words to Dol Marcis and starts blasting straight ahead, hoping to catch a Preybird with some destruction as the ship shoots away from the awkward position that was right in the middle of the enemy flight.
Dol focuses on the same target as the pilot Ironside, blasting away frumiously, shooting, and missing by a wide margin. The stocky spacer readies himself for the next round, belaying all banter and targeting another Preybird, preparing for his next miss. The computer shows a stylized ship on its display that rather reminds Dol of a game he once played in his youth, and the memory of such occurs to him now among the other, myriad random things as are wont to do in situations of high stress.
Thumbs poised, he is at the ready.
The next few moments of this furball are spectacularly violent as everyone starts shooting at everyone else; fighter combat tends to be vicious, but the next several seconds tends to be particularly so. Amongst the slashing of the guns, David and Dol take a number of shots from the Childrens' heavy lasers, though the sheer toughness of their ship's shields shine through - very nearly as tough as the two Y-wings that it has given support, it takes hits that should be shredding hull plating on lesser ships as it exits the immediate maelstrom and deals out significant punishment as it goes on. Sion and her gunner are similarly dangerous, nearly tearing away the shields from their target as well. All that damage is ever more magnified when the Guardsmen swing back around in their Longprobes and open fire on the knot, dropping the shields from several of the fighters and punching holes into their ghost-gray hulls. In just a moment of violent conflict, things are looking pretty grim for the Children.
But they keep fighting, breaking wide in multiple directions and moving to try and catch the Consortium fighters and their Guard allies in a crossfire...
Sion stays on her target's tail. That's about all she accomplishes. "That whole 'nobody escapes' idea? That might not happen..." she mutters, at least managing to stay with the jerk. Veera's similarly unlucky. "Dammit... stay with him! He can't outrun or out maneuver us. We'll get him... eventually."
The Vendetta is a fast ship for its size, and within moments David has escaped being the center of all the wrong attentions. Apart from the one that's been ahead of him, of course. Would be an awful pilot to just forget about David while he's shooting at him! So, this pilot keeps letting David chase him around while the pilot and the gunner fire bright colored lasers at his ship. "Put holes in 'em, gunner. Call it an order if you like it like that." he calmly states, index finger flexing on the weapons button constantly.
Focusing fire on the same target, the stocky spacer again volleys at the Preybird, striking it soundly and tearing it to shreds with cool zippy laser beams. The preybird explodes into a ball of fire as it is torn into pieces, the sound of it carrying even somehow through the vacuum of space.
Weaving, tracking, chasing. The Twi'lek pilot hunts her mark, seeking that moment of timing where she can squeeze down on the triggers and fire off the triple guns into the Preybird. Her shots hit, ripping through the hull and disabling the engines of her target. He was out of the fight, she didn't need to kill him nearly as much as she had to deal with other targets, so with an exhaled breath Aola turns the E-Wing and banks towards the next Preybird she can get in her sights.
The furball continues in lethality, if not quite the intensity of fire - as Sion and her gunner miss their shot, the lads have much better luck; their target goes up in flames, just as Aola drills through the stern of her chosen Preybird. Plumes of glowing blue gas pour from its engines, whose glow flickers and dies as it begins to drift, slightly off kilter, into the void.
The remaining three open up on Sion and the Guard pilots, but a combination of bad marksmanship and excellent piloting denies them any joy. Things look worse and worse for the would-be hunters...
The petite blue Twi'lek didn't really make for the most intimidating huntress to those who met her in person, but Aola was another story behind the controls of her fighter. Rushing forwards, the fighter chases after her next, scoring a few savage blasts into its hull but not enough to put this one down. Not yet.
Sion opens fire again, this time managing to tag the stubborn Preybird. Something plainly gives inside the enemy fighter, sending sparks flying out through a new hole in its skin. "Ha! I got him!" It's not much, but it's a moral victory after this long chase. Veera abandons her longtime target and backs up Sion, smacking the wounded 'Bird again. "Stay on him! He's trying to bug out!"
David passes the Vendetta through the spreading debris of their former target, dispersing the chunks harmlessly into space. <<Sword 2, down one Preybird, he dutifully reports, taking the time to tell his droid to work on those shields. A few beeps and whistles come out of his dashboard panels, the droid clearly already working to get the shields up. "Target ahead." David calls to Dol, a blip approaching on both men's helmet displays. Before long, David is already opening fire as the astromech reports a 50% increase in shielding. "Good work!" the pilot compliments the droid.
The stocky spacer chooses his next target through a combination of com chatter, common sense, and good, old fashioned looking through the viewport. <<I'm on him!>> he says.
Depressing the firing buttons with all his might, Dol shoots a volley of red streaks at the wounded Preybird, its own weapons now down, as it attempts to flee the situation at hand. His blast connects, and the ship explodes into a veritable cloud of debris and fire.
As more of their ships fall, either to their former quarry or the newcomers, the remaining two Preybirds break and move in two different directions at top speed. Assumedly they're trying to escape the jamming bubble the two Longprobes emit, and being much faster than their quarry, this is possible - but they're still without shields, and it's only their skill at the stick that will save them on the way out.
The Y-wings are on them. Though lagging behind significantly, the two ships open fire upon their departing pursuers, shredding armor plate and superstructure - but they do not destroy the ships, nor do they damage any interior systems. The two remaining birds press on.
Aola's chase and weaving continues, another crippling blast loosed at a target. Not quite enough to detonate the solid Preybird, but the ship looked like it would rip apart or outright explode if her foe banked the wrong way at this point. When a bolt from David's ship finishes the vessel off, she clicks her tongue and runs it over her teeth. That still -totally- counted as hers.
"Two left!" Sion turns to chase down the second escaping Preybird, Aola having claimed the first. True to her record tonight, getting on his tail is all she manages to do. Sometimes it just seems like the universe is against you... or the universe's shoddy underpinnings, at least. Veera's shot strike home, though, and the Preybird's course flattens out, rather like a dead thing's drifting progress. "This one's done running!"
Sion nods, disgusted with herself. "We'd better not leave them hanging here. They might get these ships fixed enough to call for help."
<<Mind if I tag in, Leader?>> David suggests to Aola, having swung the ship around to join her post-almost-kill, already lining up the shot on Aola's barely-functioning target. <<Just that there's so little for us two to do, otherwise, you know?>> he adds, having essentially turned the tide of his very own battle just before. Squeezing the trigger, he passes alongside Sword Leader through the cloud of debris. << I'm willing to give you.. a quarter credit on that one. We'll just have to hash it out on the Business, right?>> he suggests, the chuckle that follows barely picked up over comms.
Dol locks onto the drifting target, but overcompensates slightly for the momentum of his own ship, firing a little wide of the quarry. He swears under his breath, a mild expletive, but it lacks force or conviction. The stocky pilot recognizes that it is a simple matter of time before this whole predicament is over.
Indeed, it takes little time for the Guard Longprobes to play misercorde upon the remaining fighters - swooping about, their dual pass destroys the two disabled fighters, leaving naught but wreckage in their wake. Suddenly, static clears from the comms, and a woman's voice, grim and slightly tight with pain, sounds in your ears.
<< Consortium fighters, this is Able Leader. Gods of blood, you really saved our arses out here! We will /not/ forget this. See you back at base. >> With that, the fighters turn and proceed to make their exit course.
<<The disabled fighters are up to the Guardsmen Sword One, Sword two. Our job is done.>> Her words are barely out of her mouth before she spots the destruction of the fighters. Well, that answers that, but this -was- a war after all. Banking her ship around, she's already signalling for 'Bee-Boop' to set the path back to the Business. Dave's words? They bring a little twitch of lips and Lekku alike. "I'm thinking it's the other way around Sword 2. And we won't talk about that jump." Grin still on her lips, Aola opens the comline. <<Able Leader, this is Sword Leader. We're forming up and heading back. Fly safe.>>
Time to head home.
<Glad to help, Able Leader... and I hope MedBay's waiting back home, for you and yours,> Sion coms back, wincing in sympathy. <See you another time, and glad of the chance.>
<Don't waste time, do they?> Veera comments, noting the destruction of the remaining fighters. The Guard certainly takes no prisoners.
Sion, for her part, honks the Vendetta around to follow Aola's lead home. <Copy, Lead. We're right behind you. Nice flying back there, you and Two both.> Her own part, she knows, barely rates a word.
David grins. <<Like I said, we can discuss it on the Business. I'll maybe let you have a third.>> he teases as he falls in line and moves towards the exit coordinates. "You did good, Dol. First time?" he asks, genuinely interested. His gloved fingers tap in the vector coordinates and soon, they's gone.
Dol Marcis powers down the turret, the soft light of the targeting computer growing dim as it shuts off. He unharnesses himself from the turret's chair, and returns to the copilot's seat next to Ironside. <<I've had my share of run ins with pirates and such, but, yes. This is my first time in a coordinated strike. Glad it's over.>>
With that, a million pinpoints of light become a blur into the blue swirlies of hyperspace.
It's only a moment in the dimension above, but with the adrenaline dump it might as well be a million years. Back across the right side of the asteroid belt, the pair of battered Longprobes head toward the Guard's flagship, while the Business awaits the two of you - a landing, pats on the back, and a debriefing. Aola gets to write an AAR...and likely the boss will be giving out a little something-something for doing things incredibly well, incredibly quickly.
All in a day's work for the Consortium's stick-jocks.