Log:Array Consortium: The Bloody Feast
Stepping up efforts to try and push the Kandaka Blades, the Consortium executes what they believe is a simple combat patrol - but ends up revealing the flagship heading the efforts of the murderous pirates in the sector!
The contract offered by the Brotherhood has, at this point, been completed - that is to say, with a hearty thank-you and a number of credits pushed our way over time, the last of the arms (short of special gear that we have yet to move) is now complete, and the station's self-destruct measures have been activtaed, leaving only a twisted hulk where Bannix Station once stood. Or floated. Whatever. But that doesn't change the fact that the Kandaka Blades are still in the Inner Cluster sector, or that there's really no force among the planets of the sector to really do /that/ much against them. While they do not work uncontested, they are slowly - and obviously - winning the fight to establish themselves.
This is bad for business, among other things, and so Adhar has decided to continue hunting the Blades where they 'live', so to speak. Tonight, Y'toub is left behind, and the mighty form of the Serious Business cuts through space near the Cona system like a shark in deep water, prepared to war against the monsters lurking out there. Adhar wears the tight-fitting shape of an Array flight suit, the faceless helmet hanging off the back of his hip - he looks out at the void, having made orders for Gambler and Array wing to prepare to go out an reconnoiter the spacelanes just inside the outermost area of the Cona System, where the Blades are said to be operating. Close, but not violating sovereign territory, the Business has clearance to enter Arconan space only if the Blades are detected.
"Gambler Wing, Array Wing," radios launch control over the link, "This is Dealer. You are cleared to launch - repeat, you are cleared to launch. Bring us some targets."
Dr. Chaze has come along for the ride because, well... even if she can't shoot things, if one of the people who /can/ shoot things gets themselve hurt in the process of said shooting? She can put them together again.
Besides. If some fool decides to try and board them and comes within arm's reach of the ghostly pale one? They'd regret it.
But for the moment, she's sitting crosslegged on the ground of the ship, leaning back against a corridor wall and at the moment? She's entertaining herself with a can of pressurized cream. Why? Because it gives her something to do while she waits to be needed.
It's been a while since Sion was in a real cockpit, what with her duties. But it's a welcome change. "Gambler Two has two starts, all systems green, Dealer. Good to go. Launching in three... two... one... GO!"
The deadly fighter, thirty years old if it's a day, still lifts free of the deck like new, and is through the magcon field and out in the void in seconds. Sion glances at the sensors. "Coming to course point-three-five."
Dosk was ready in his new Array flightsuit, checking out the systems. Not too long ago he was doing this for the Resistance, but hadn't had a chance to fly the E-wing yet, only N1's, K-Wings and Y-Wings on his combat missions. This seemed like it would be a fun experience. As the order is given. He eases the throttle up to gauge its throttle. Eventually smashing it forward and sending the ship gunning out of the hangar. <<Array 2, clear. Moving to form up>> He radios, doing a couple spirals after the hangar is cleared.
Once more in the sealed flight suit, Aola was in the cockpit of the Reaper as it powered up to take flight. <<Gambler 1, green across the board and launching.>> The fighter's twin-ion engines shriek fills the hanger before it's lost in the void of space while the TIE Avenger sweeps to join the other fighters. "Lets get ready to hunt some blades!"
Pash Danigo is off doing his smuggle thing somewhere in the galaxy, so some attention tonight falls on an eager young Sullustan who's been in Adhar's employ for the whole of about a fortnight. Jiminy Tang sits snug in his E-Wing, buckled in tight and brimming with adrenaline. <<Array Three here, all systems go!>> After flipping a few switches, the fighter rises from the launch bay, engines powering up to thrust it into open space. Hands at the controls, Jiminy can't help but let a childish giggle escape him.
Atria is on the bridge, but in the crew pit at the gunnery officer's station. She's wearing her light duty armor, though her helmet has been replaced by a headset for communicating with the Business' gunnery crews. Into the headset, she says, "Alright, gunners. Keep sharp and I'll call your vectors. We'll show those Blades what the Array can really do."
A chorus of ready signals fill the panels of Atria's gunnery station, and Adhar watches as the quartet of advanced fighters streak out into the dark. "Really need to get more of those," he murmurs as he watches them escape the Serious Business's distant nose aperture - and once they are clear the ship's gravitic envelope, they are given permission to jump.
"Gambler One, good to see you!" Sion calls. "Gambler Two, coordinates recieved and locked in. Pulling the little magic levers in three... two... one..."
The drive howls, and Gambler Two vanishes into hyperspace on its mission. The Blades had better hold on to their socks with both hands tonight.
Aola simply grins and gives a thumbs up towards Sion that was almost certainly unseen before her own craft makes the leap to hyperspace and surges towards the target coordinates. Things were going to get violent today, but they were as ready for it as they were going to be. Blasters were charged, torpedos were loaded, Aola was back in the Reaper and ready to make the fighter live up to its namesake.
<<Array Leader copies, See everyone on the otherside, Array Squadron engage hyperdrives in 3,2,1>> Dosk radios, an arm on the yoke while another engages the hyperdrive. Using a third to take a swig from the flask he stashed in his flightsuit. Hopefully there werent cameras in here.
<<Array One engaging hyperdrives.>> Jiminy's stubby little fingers poke at the controls and push forward the hyperdrive engager with a little more force than the casual pilot might. This is one of his first combat missions. His time to shine! And as the craft enters the brilliant embrace of hyperspace, he lifts both arms in triumph, just as one might the moment before the making a big descent on a roller coaster. Hopefully there *are* cameras in here.
Atria makes final checks on her gunnery crews, then settles in for the jump to hyperspace. She keeps an eye on her scopes, however. Have to make sure she's ready to start calling firing solutions just in case there's an ambush waiting on the other side.
Hardened pros and happy rookies - the armed assembly make the jump together into Teke Ro's outer reaches, but a short jump thanks to their powerful hyperdrives. In ten minutes the bright blue of the travel dimension darkens into the cold void of space, and the four ships drift through the darkness, the tiny eye of the star system burning far away.
Nothing immedate, but sensors will do. Time to sweep.
And as their sensor domes sweep the void with radiation, they are all instantly rewarded - seven or eight contacts, all closing in on a larger ninth. Sion's keen eyes and keener touch on the controls manages to get profiles; eight fighters, a shuttle of some kind, and what looks like a bulk transport, possibly as large as an Action IV. The distance makes a little difficult....
The transition back to realspace is smooth. Sion takes a moment to check her position, smiling faintly at the result. "Right on target... and here come the others."
She widens her sensor range and sweep. In a few seconds she's rewarded. "Gamblers, Arrays, I have contacts! Roughly eight fighters, along with a shuttle that I can't get an ID on. They're moving in on a bulk transport of some kind. Bet we're about to see our pirates in action," she says, already altering course to intercept.
"Gambler One confirms," Aola speaks as her own TIE sweeps around on Sion's wing. "Focus on the fighters until we can accertain who the other ships belong to, we don't want to be accidently shooting non-combatants who are in the wrong place at the wrong time." With that, she guns the thrusters of the interceptor towards the likely suprised pirate fighters.
As the ships begin to emerge from hyperspace, including Dosk's, the announcement being transmitted is heard. <<Copy Gambler 2, picking them up as well, moving with to intercept.>> He says into the headset, shoving the thrusters forward as his E wing begins losing distance from the TIEs.
Popping into realspace, it's hard to say what Jiminy might have been expecting. He leans forward, body tense, both hands clenched on his controls and ready to light up the sky if it comes to it. Instead of a firefight, which would actually be weird to jump directly into, he's met with blips on his screen. <<Oh! Array 1 forming up on you, Leader.>> He settles back with a sigh and pulls behind Dosk, just to the starboard side of the other E-Wing. Thrusters are ignited and away he goes.
As soon as the sensor information makes it to her station, Atria begins running vectors and updating firing solutions. The targets are currently out of range, but she wants to make sure the gunners are ready as soon as the targets enter effective range of the turbolasers and Adhar gives the order to open fire.
Oh, there are fighters, all right - a squadron of ships follow an Action IV obviousy studded with gun emplacements, but they aren't the usual Z-95s; a trio of Y-wings and /five/ of what are unmistakably X-wings follow the ship in escort formation, the heavier fighters with S-foils closed. That's not good...nor is the fact that your active pinging has drawn their attention. Harsh sounds fill comms in a general broadcast, and the drives of the fighters begin to glow brightly as they prepare to peel off and intercept.
"This is different... I make three Y-Wing fighters and five /X-Wing/ fighters!" Sion exclaims, seeing the computer readouts. "Maybe we've got the wrong folks. Trying to get transponder readings now..."
"Shields up and weapons charged, prepare to engage if fired upon," the Twi'lek speaks, Aola taking a breath before she flicks her comlink. Shooting at X-Wings just didn't feel right, but if they were a genuine threat? They'd deal with it. <<This is Gambler 1 to unknown spacecrafts. Identify yourselves and state your business.>>
<<Array Leader here, They're moving to intercept with us, we will see soon enough, All wings get ready, Make sure those Y-wings dont get close to Serious Business or they could cause Serious Damage!>> Dosk radios to the others in the group. <<Array 1 get ready for possible engagement, we'll know once those TIEs close in ahead of us.>> Felt weird for the Codru'Ji himself, following a pair of Avengers to intercept X-wings and Y-Wings.
None of this feels weird to Jiminy, who is right where he belongs. <<Copy that, Array Leader.>> He starts to power up his combat systems, just in case, but has an itch in his trigger finger that may be a sign of things to come. Like how some people feel an oncoming thunderstorm deep their joints.
The fighters peel off indeed, though they're a bit slow to get out of position - on the other hand, the transport's guns are not. Suddenly the void is filled with crimson lances as the bulk crusier looses a storm of laser fire, quad-guns pumping away...too far from the four pilots to do pinpoint damage, but /plenty/ enough to keep them away.
More roaring and hissing on the comms. The source of the communication is not the fighters, but the transport itself.
"They've peeling off? What in the..." Sion veers off as space around her is suddenly filled with crimson annihilation. "Watch that transport! It's got enough firepower to make our lives short!"
She gets on the horn. "Dealer, we have multiple contacts: Three Y-Wings, five X-Wings, a shuttle, and a large transport with enough guns to start a local in-system war. If you could come lend us a hand?"
Well, they gave them a chance to identify themselves and they used it to fire on them. Either these guys were the enemy sought, or they were enemy by action now. "Array wing, target the Y-wings first, they're slower moving and pack the punch to harm our larger craft." Aola instructs over the commlink, "Gambler 2, we focus on the X-Wings and keep them off their backs until the Array is done. They've got the numbers, we've got skill and better tech. Watch each other's backs and we'll have these guys." With that, the Twi'lek's TIE swoops in to engage, green laser cannons blazing. Hopefully the transport would be more hesitant to fire while their own fighters were engaged.
Dosk ensures his throttle is maxed for a second time as Aola's communication is sent through <<Copy Gambler, you read my mind, moving to engage with Y-Wings. You heard em Array 1, stay close and be vigilant.>> He transmits as the E-Wing alters angle a bit as it makes its way more towards the Y-Wings, performing a slow roll while moving to engage.
Jiminy follow's Dosk's E-Wing in it's roll to intercept the Y-Wings. <<Copy, Leader>> He remains steady at the controls, flicking his gaze between the scanners and the space in front of him. He breathes in, then out, slow and steady like he was taught as a child. To keep from overexciting himself. To keep calm.
Aaaaand we're off to the races! "Finally," Adhar says, grinning with a sudden, sharklike ferocity - this is the first time the Business will see combat, and the captain is /all/ about it. "Navigation, spool the hyperdrive, make the jump as soon as possible - Chief Foster, prepare to fire on that transport as soon as we enter the system. Point defense guns to produce anti-fighter screen." His eyes are like bonfires now, and the grin manages to get yet wider. "Let's show them what we can do."
Meanwhile, the fighters come around - slowly compared to the Avengers, and the Y-wings remain in formation. S-foils deploying, the X-wings begin blazing away with their guns, but their accuracy is far from perfect - only two begin to make their marks. And now...resolving from hyperspace, the great form of the Serious Business manifests physically into the world, spewing death as Atria directs it. For every gun the transport has, the Serious Business has three. And it. Is not. Pretty.
Well, it is. Aesthetically. But not so much for the pirates.
As soon as the Serious Business arrives in the system, Atria is using the sensor information to direct the gunnery crews on their targets. "All turbolasers fire on target designated 'Big Bogey'. Point-defense, targets 'Bogey 1' through 'Bogey 8' are yours. Give them something to think about if they get too close. Bogeys 1, 2 and 3 are bombers and take priority." No sooner are the orders out of her mouth than the turbolaser batteries open fire on the transport filling the space between the two large ships with lances of green energy.
Sion split-Ses as one of those X-Wings tries for a deflection shot, and scissors up to try a quick shot of her own, her lasers spitting crimson death. "Staying with you as best I can, One!" she calls, rolling to try for a tail. "I've got another of these X-Wings trying to crawl up my tailpipes!"
The Reaper sweeps in as the other craft swarm her wingmen, Aola's ship untargeted for the moment. It was a good enough opportunity to strike and make the most of the window. Even as the bigger ships engage in their one-sided battle, the blue-skinned fighter pilot brings her TIE sweeping behind the X-Wing chasing Sion and jams down on the triggers. The irony of -her- using a TIE Avenger to fire upon an X-Wing is not lost on her by a longshot, but it wasn't cause for hesitation.
As Dosk and the other E-Wing close the gap even further, the shooting commences. The Y-Wings opening up at the approaching squadron, though not doing much but causing a hint of blue as their rounds skim the shields or outright miss. The center fighter/bomber is the four limbed beings initial target, dipping his fighter down and unleashing the three heavy lasers squarely onto the target before pulling up to try and begin another lineup as well as attempting to avoid more return fire. Depending on the assessed damage, he leave it up to Jiminy 'Cricket' Tang to either try and finish it off or chose another.
Jiminy doesn't see any fire coming his way, or at least nothing he needs to immediately steer away from, which means he has a chance to better time his attack. Not that waiting is exactly what he wants to do now. Nevertheless, he watches Dosk unleash his heavy lasers on the lead Y-wing, then follows up with a blast of his own on the same ship. Twice the damage, twice the explosion, right? After firing, he continues on his path until it seems like he might collide with one of the other crafts. That's when he jolts around the enemy, pulling his craft up, over, then down on the other side to ready himself for a tight turnaround. It's a hop. Like a cricket. His signature move.
It is perhaps unto the summoning of a dark god that the Serious Business arrives amid the enemy flotilla; by themselves, the quartet of starfighters would have a hard time running torpedoes on the severely upgunned bulk freighter, even if they got through its fighter screen. The Business, however, has absolutely no trouble doing away with it - indeed, as it materializes into realspace, the gunners find Atria's swift and accurate calculations piped to them immediately, and the forward batteries and their single cannons spew a flood of green light into the starboard bow of the Action IV, shearing through its drive section, and its up-armored hull as if it were made from nothing but tin plate. Explosions bloom wherever the guns pierce its skin, and in seconds there is nothing left of the massive transport but a miniature sun's fading afterimage in the eyes of all, and a shockwave that breaks one of the unfortunate Y-wings in half even as the other two are fallen upon by Dosk and the rookie.
The remaining Y-wings barely have time to get their shields up as their far larger charge is erased from existence, but even then they find themselves under heavy assault from the E-wings. Dosk's heavy guns shear through the fighter-bomber's heavy shields, tearing at its hull but not destroying it, while Jiminy's guns manage only to tear at Dosk's target a little further. Still, it's enough to get the bombers running hard away from the X-wings as best they can, though they've got no chance to escape them.
Meanwhile the X-wings do their best to try and savage the Avengers, but perhaps the surprise of the strike cruiser's appearance throws them off; their guns' blasts barely land anywhere near the meteoric fighters, and once the Serious Business's point-defense guns start spewing death in their direction, they promptly break and take off in five different directions. The guns of the Avengers hammer at their shields and hulls, but their armor holds even if their courage does not.
"All right," calls Adhar over the comms, the pleasure of victory rich in his voice like a wine all its own. "Gambler, keep close by in case those X-wings change their minds - Array, take those bombers down, and we'll take the shuttle."
Sion moves to form up on the /Business/ in the wake of that storm of destruction. "Wow... nice shooting, Dealer," she says softly, impressed. "Ganbler Two is flying cover now. Looks like our former targets are headed for parts unknown, and fast. Arrays, are you both okay?" She knows she doesn't need to ask about Aola; the Twi'lek pilot could fly through a blender without problems.
There's an unseen pout on Aola's face behind the shroud of her helmet. The Avengers could easily run down and catch the X-Wings before they made the jump and the E-Wings could serve for defence, but she won't go contradicting Adhar this time. Exhaling a breath, she wheels the Reaper back towards the Business to provide the requested cover. <Understood, I doubt they're in a hurry to come back after that show.>
As the Array's Flagship unjumps and makes near immediate, devistating work of the enemies main ship, Dosk cant help but glance over for a short second to admire the glow. After Jiminy's followup approach, and the E-Wings loops to re-engage, he takes note of the now fleeing bombers. With the explosion large enough to take out one, just two remain. <<Array 1, take out that wounded Y-Wing, its almost done, Ill make a pass at the other.>> He radios, breaking off from their paired formation slightly to angle on the unwounded ship and unleashing a volley once again that manages to hit it squarely.
<<HOLY WOAH!>> Jiminy is not professional enough to hold back the awe that erupts within him at the sight of such destruction. He is, however, able to complete the hop and whip himself around to align with the rear of the wounded E-Wing. <<I'm on him, Leader,>> he calls to to Dosk, before letting loose with his heavy laser cannons again, the result of which lights up his kid-on-Christmas-morning face.
"Absolutely," says the captain over the comms. "We send five of what I assume are their better fighters screaming into the void, we'll have made our point." The point, apparently, is that OURS ARE BIGGER THAN YOURS. The Y-wings fall victim swiftly as well, blossoming into fire under the continued assault of Dosk and young Jiminy. It would appear, indeed, that all is well beneath victory's banner.
Meanwhile, Adhar looks /supremely/ pleased at the performance of his ship - and his crew - in the face of the current situation. He's never seen that kind of destruction, either, and frankly it's got him a little awed as well. "Keep point-defense emplacements trained on those fighters," Adhar instructs Atria, when from the other crew pit a woman's voice chimes from the sensor consoles.
"Captain, another ship is entering the area, capital mass signature!"
"Scan it," Adhar calls, "Tell me what we're dealing with."
"Unknown, captain," calls the crewman in reply. "But it's definitely a warship of some designation. It looks like...yes! It's an assault frigate sir, pattern unknown!"
It leaps into realspace far enough away from the Serious Business to be out of its guns, but not too far for its shape to go unseen. Lit by the dim light of Teke Ro and its own running lights, the ship's silhouette is easily picked out against the night: once a ancient Dreadnought, its structure has been expanded with booms and additional superstructure, covered with cannon blisters and a pair of massive tail vanes that give it vaguely the apperance of some angular spacegoing fish. It stands there in the dark as the X-wings pass it, providing cover as they leap into hyperspace. A threat, made just by existing.
"That...is a much bigger ship," Aola breathes, her words spoken to herself and yet heard over the com channel. Where had the blades been hiding that? In itself it was a tempting target, but not one they were ready for right this moment.
As the target once in his guns is now no more, the blip disappearing on the scanners from Jiminy's ship is noted and the Dosk looks through his helmet, banking the craft to note the following explosion. With the Y-Wings effectively elimited. An immelman is performed to head back towards the other squadron and the Business. <<Great Shot Array 1, all Y wings down, lets loop back to regroup.>> He orders while looking around the cockpit before hearing Sion's announcement. The added blip is then noticed on his sensors and he takes note, it was not close at least.
"Bigger, but not necessarily better," says Adhar, though his expression is grim. "Ten credits say we can outgun her - but I'm not sure if we can outlast her. Return to the bay before they decide to start shooting." He looks to shield control, commanding that the fore shields be lowered so the rest of you can enter. It's then that the comms crackle to life.
<< Sseriouss Businesss, >> a hissing, angry voice sounds over the link. << Thiss iss Arassk, captain of the Bloody Feassst, leader of the Kandaka Bladesss in this sssector. You have fought well ssso far, and we sssalute you - but your contract issss done. We have sssought to keep our hosssilitiesss to a minimum, but if you meddle further in thisss sssspace we will bring the full wrath of Bando upon you. Thisss isss your only warning. >
"Sir," calls the sensor officer, "The shuttle is jumping away. What should we do?
"Leave it," Adhar replies. "And don't reply to that jackanape in the cruiser. What's he doing?"
"Bloody Feast is charging its hyperdrive," replies the sensor officer. "She'll jump in ten seconds."
"Good," says Adhar, frowning as he watches the great ship's leap into the hereafter is reflected in the lens of his prosthetic eye. "Right, then. Once everyone's on board, scan for survivors. Then plot a course for Cona - I'm sure the Arconan authorities will want to hear about this one."