Log:Array Consortium: Spoof 'Em
In order to trick the Kespanian forces on Jaynat to route troops away from targeted areas, a group of Consortium fighters arrive to destroy all comms and defense guns at Complex Nine, a small and strategically unimportant mining city on the planet - or is it? A strategy to convince the Kespanians otherwise is in effect.
There are ten mining complexes on Jaynat, each one a series of hermetically sealed domes and mining tunnels scattered throughout the cold and rocky canyons that cover the planet's surface. Relatively little water here - it's a bit like Mars, or at least a cold version of Arizona. What water does exist are in large collections of ice that stretch in veins through the planet's crust, marbling it in places like diamonds, thick with mineral condensate. It is this ice, among with many other more common industrial metals, that the miners in the domes collect; each of the complexes host from three hundred miners and their families in the smallest to five thousand in the largest, codified as Complex One.
There are five complexes currently under Kespanian control, and yes, Complex One is one of them.
Tonight, however, the goal is not Complex One but the far more diminutive Complex Nine. Complex Nine is one of the smallest complexes, collecting five hundred miners, personnel, and their families for a total of some fifteen hundred people. The goal tonight is simple: guarded by Sion and David in the ship's Hurricanes, Maebh - flying the lone TIE Striker in the hanar, Buster One - will with her crew drop comms- and sensor-scattering modules from the fighter's bomb chute across the countryside surrounding Complex Nine. Doing so will cut off the complex from the rest of the Kespanian-held facilities, isolating them. Why is this being done? No explanation is given...yet. One can only assume that Adhar knows what he's talking about.
The three craft are released from the bay and are on approach through the atmosphere, heading toward the location at the far southern end of the planet. The group, called Observer Flight for the operation, is under Sion's command. Fly in, drop jammers, take sensor readings and don't get killed. Simple enough.
<Mouthful Leader to Observers,> Sion comms as the three fighters approach Jaynat. The call sign wasn't her choice, and takes up radio time. <We're there yet! Stay sharp, Two; we're all the help Three's got. Three, not long now to Complex Nine. Hopefully we'll catch them napping. If not, that's why Two and I are here. Concentrate on your part of the mission; this is all for nothing if those modules aren't dropped on target.>
She noses the Hurricane down, piercing the upper atmosphere of the planet. The deflectors begin to glow from atmospheric resistance. <Comm silence from here 'til contact. Good luck, Observers.>
<Observer Three ready, check, check, roger.> Cap't Mae Moreland says aloud so the comlink can pick it up and transmit to the other two ships in the party.
Never having flown a TIE anything before, getting a grip on this ship was interesting and ... uh... educational.
Keeping in tight formation with the other two ships, Mae frowns slightly as she concentraits, flying this ship.
To her gunner, she calls back, "LOOK SHARP! Eyes peeled, we cannae trust these bantha bottoms! We are looking for complex ninner." Mae growls almost.
David has just enough time to report in before the comm silence is made to kick in. He spent the flight down to planetside familiarizing himself with the interceptor, possibly costing the team time, but, you know. Maybe now he won't immediately crash it when it responds to his commands. "Shields holding.." he mutters, mostly to himself. There's no droid around.
Outside, the air is cold and biting, but there is no snow, nor heavy wind - the three ships scream through the upper atmosphere, all three of them cutting the air smooth as silk. The landscape beneath, a dark sea of crags and canyons, shown in wireframe through sensor monitors and in the holograpic panoramas in the helmets of the Hurricane pilots. Maebh, of course, has not yet been fitted. Yet.
Descending into the lower atmosphere the roar of air outside the cockpits has calmed down, and now Complex Nine is not so far away - five thousand miles around the rim of the southern polar region, where a small ice cap exists. Sensors searching, if passively. All quiet still.
Sion leads the descent, passive sensors still combing the atmo for signs of that outpost. There should be some sign of it, other than map icons. She takes the Hurricane down low, skimming the planet's surface to try to stay beneath sensor dome emissions. Signals sometimes get lost in the local clutter of electromagnetic signals and terrain. Just a few thousand miles to go... not much of a flight in these speedy fighters.
Mae stays sharp and scans scans scans, constantly as she pilots the TIE forward towards the target. "NO itchy trigger finger back there, aye?!" she says to her gunner.
She gets a low laugh in return.
This makes the ol' Wroonian smirk. Come on come on..... let's get this party started, she thinks.
David keeps with Sion and Maeb'h at every turn, the lead's strategy not at all uncommon. He too skims the surface, throwing up dust behind the engine's exhausts. Probably not the best idea, but who actually uses their eyes to check for incoming, right? It's all electronics that don't pick up on flying dust particles. "Hope either nothing happens until we head up or something happens fast.." he monologues. To himself. It's therapeutic?
Time passes, and even though the Hurricanes must slow to allow the Striker to keep up with them, the three ships ply the skies as if born to them. Fifteen hundred kilometers away, the complex shows - or at least, comms traffic radiating from the complex does. Complex Nine is situated down in a canyon, so it won't easily show itself until the ships are much closer, but the comms traffic, that's loud and clear.
And it's also encrypted. Machine-like droning sounds over the comms for those listening, low and repetitive.
There's the signs she's been looking for: Sion's never seen a complex that wasn't a hive of incoming and outgoing transmissions. That cements the location... if not the content. This stuff sounds like droid chatter from a horror holofilm.
She cues up the computer's decryption program and begins recording. Best to at least try to find out what's being said. This is one time she really misses Jade.
From the cockpit of the TIE, Mae arches a brow. "That is annoying, eh?! No idea you had to press one for basic around here." she shakes her head and follows Sion, ready for anything. "SHARP GUNNER!!!!"
Everyone will have noticed that dull humming. No need to break radio silence over it, though Dave shoots a look over at Observer 1, wondering what she wants to do. Drop the TIE's payload here, and also why? David usually asks questions, but y'know. Nah.
The three ships draw near the target area, about a hundred clicks away - and as they do, it's clear that they've been made. The coded signals ramp up quickly in urgency, and more layer over one another; while what's said can't be determined, it's not necessary to know that someone's spotted them. Up ahead, the canyon in which Complex Nine can be found begins to light up with activity and power signatures, though what kind cannot yet be determined. It's on, though, for sure.
<All Observers, Lead here! So much for yelling 'surprise'!> Sion coms, seeing the hive of activity up ahead. <Three, you're up! Let's get this job done and get gone before we end up on the menu! I'm going to cut overhead for a better look... and draw their fire if they've got any to spare!>
That done, she kicks the throttle and surges ahead, intent on doing just what she said. The canyon mouth yawns ahead, and the Hurricane shoots straight down the middle, ion drive plumes lighting up the walls and roaring like the ship's namesake storm.
"FRACK!" Mae snarls, her usually pleasant looking sky blue face all frowny and serious.
"Blasted enemy bantha bottoms!" Mae says as she pilots the TIE into the mouth of the canyon. Laughter is heard from behind her and something that sounds to Mae like "bring it froot loops" .. though she isn't entirely sure... she's just glad the gunner is ready to go and has an itchy trigger finger after all.
<Roger that, Observer Leader!> Mae says over the comlink. "DO YOUR THING GUNNER!!!! FIRE AT WILL!!!" poor will, Mae thinks.
<<Wasn't me.>> David comments dryly, all comms back on. <<Weapon systems online, you guys do your thing and I'll do mine.>> Maybe if this pilot thing doesn't work out he can get into poetry. Like Sion, like Mae, his Hurricane goes into maximum overfast, pushing it into a canyon and rolling it to be on its side against the walls at every turn.
<Two, I've got eyes on a sensor cluster on top of the main dome. Feel like poking them in the eyescreen?> Sion coms, already nosing up to target the sensor dome. She pulls the trigger, tracing a near-solid stream of blue ionization at the cluster...
<<Already charging.>> comes the quick reply of the only man on this mission. David switches over to ion cannons when he sees Sion's craft do the same, releasing the payload when Sion pulls out of the way. <<Now whose systems are dull white noise?>> he asks when he confirms the second hit.
From the cockpit, Mae watches this in awe and wonder. Tears in her eyes, she sniffles. "That there is a thing of beauty! Why aren't you JOINING THE PARTY?!?!?!? ADHAR ISN'T PAYING YOU TO LOOK CUTE, BANTHA BOTTOM!" she roars at her gunner.
She pilots the TIE to keep close to Observer Leader and Observer Two. It's like a dance the three of them are doing.. all in formation. TIGHT!
The pair of Hurricanes spit streams of crackling ion bolts from their cycling cannons like hoses, converging into the heart of the antenna cluster jutting from the primary dome; suddenly a wash of electricity boils through the array, as well as the dome itself, causing a chain reaction of shutdowns across the complex. Even the drone guns, already made blind, fall silent as power is - at least for the time being - robbed from them.
Meanwhile, Maeb'h's bombardier releases a stream of units from the chute, finishing her work as the grizzled pirate lady flies through the canyon. "All done," she calls, "We can go!"
And so do the three ships depart, leaving the darkened dome behind them - silenced, blind, and yes, isolated from the others. A piece of immediate strategy has been well and effectively placed. Someone's going to have ice cream waiting.