Log:Array Consortium: Wrecking Crew
Repaired and prowling space near Ralun for blaster-gas smugglers, the modified CR90 corvette /Workman/ and its escorts has been sighted by Guard probe droids monitoring comms traffic from the Glittering Belt. Consortium fighters are to jump from allied positions around Jaynat to the staging area and execute a rapid strike against the /Workman/ with the intent to destroy the ship and any other enemy craft.
Since the occupation of Jaynat a few weeks ago, things have been quiet; the Kespanian forces have kept to their orbits around Ralun and Sarkhai, but little by little, smugglers and others sponsored by the Consortium and other sympathetic groups have been sneaking in through the Sarkhaian planetary shield to deliver supplies to the increasingly beleaguered planet.
With no intent to break the siege, the Kespanians have sortied several of their lesser corvettes about the system to hunt down these ships, with increasing success - no less than ten smuggling ships have lost their lives to Kespanian guns in the past week and a half, and if the pressure isn't relieved, people are likely to abandon support of the Sarkhaians rather quickly. Thus, the Atrax Guard has requested that the Consortium dispatch a task force of its heavy Vendetta assault fighters, escorted by several kill-packs of lighter ships, to intercept the Kespanian corvette /Workman/ which has just been located by their sensor net in the Glittering Belt. The mission is simple: arrive via microjump into the area where the /Workman/ lies in wait for passing smuggler ships, close at high speed, and destroy it and any intercepting escort fighters before jumping out again to Jaynat and the Serious Business. The /Workman/ has already claimed fully half of the smuggler kills, so destroying it will prove something of a blow as the crews seem particularly skillful.
Dispatched from the /Serious Business/, Vendetta wing emerges from the yawning mouth of the strike cruiser's hangar bay. Led tonight by the Captain himself in Vendetta Leader, Sion Corvara flies Vendetta Two and the vitriolic Dug pilot, Vaplan Freekin, flies Vendetta Three. The three pilots have gunners on hand as well, ready to operate the massive fighters' gun turrets while they close on the target. David leads the support wing in his T-85, Bravado, with a pair of kill-packs on his wing.
<< Task group, this is Vendetta Leader. >> The captain's voice is slightly tinny over friendly comms. << Pilots, call in and report status. >>
The Vendetta fighters were a sight to behold, certainly they were powerful and could do the job. But despite her fondness for the new fighters, the blue-skinned flight group leader had opted (or been assigned) to the long-trusted Array One. She'd flown the E-Wing on many a mission and would hopefully do so for many more! With Bee-Boop in the droid compartment, the Twi'lek flew in formation at the lead for much of the journey, ready to scout or spot threats as needed. When they found the target however? The plan was fairly simple and she'd gone over it prior to departure. Array One and Bravado would fall into fast interception roles, providing escort and countering fighters to protect the slower Vendetta fighters while they close in for the kill. Of course, the 'Kill-packs' offered a fallback, but both the Ace pilots were well versed in dealing with dogfighting.
<<Array One reporting in. Green across the board.>>
<Vendetta Two, standing by,> Sion comms, pulling into formation and running a quick check of systems post-jump. Looks like everything's in the green. <All systems go, Lead. Ready to harpoon us a space whale.>
She glances back, giving a quick grin to her gunner. This is dangerous work... but it's seriously fun, too.!
<<Bravado One, same here.>> David reports in that slight drawl that happens to everyone when they're offering a report. He's comfortable in his cockpit, the R2 unit behind him slowly rotating its dome. "Don't worry about it, it's not like we haven't ever done this before. Besides, the heavy lifting is for -those- guys." he reassures the droid, with a slight head-tilt towards the Vendettas. <<Just point me towards the enemy.>>
<<This is Vendetta three, all systems green, guns hot.>> Vendetta Three, currently voiced by Kryll, replies over the comms after a quick systems check. Making sure the Vendetta is in proper position in the formation, he continues on course waiting for new orders.
<< Acknowledged. >> Adhar sounds vaguely amused for just a moment at these exchanges, before the kill-packs radio in and his voice hardens up once more. Stern before the slaughter. << All right, lock in navicomputers and prepare to jump on my mark. Three...two...one.../mark/! >> One by one, the fighters leap into hyperspace, skimming like stones across the dimensional barrier - and then, a few moments later, the whirling blue once more cures into the starry darkness of space.
The task force enters realspace to find, in the distance, their quarry: /Workman/ is a CR-90 corvette, fortified across its hull with slabs of heavy armor and fitted with multiple heavy guns. Seeing the ships in reality, it is clear that no renegade resistance crews them - these are mercenary boats, plain and simple. Floating peacefully in the great night, /Workman/ is not quite yet sure of what awaits it, but the wing of Preybird fighters surrounding the vessel break off immediately, gray raptors heavily armed and ready to intercept the newcomers that so brightly set off their passive sensors. For, whatever their power after all, the arrival of the Vendettas assures that the incoming task force cannot be stealthy.
<< All ships, this is Vendetta Leader. >> Adhar's voice is set in concentration as he brings his heavy ship to bear on the distant corvette. << Vendettas, stay on my wing and bring assault missiles to bear on the /Workman/, speed at three-quarters maximum. Gunners, focus firepower on the target. Escorts! Proceed ahead and tie up that fighter screen! >> In the dark the ships soar forth, each Vendetta a broad-winged beast; Adhar draws a deep breath as he prepares the targeting computer, ready for what is soon to come...
Violence, the threat of death and the risks ahead. All of it was potent as ever...but there was no escaping that little joyful thrill of the jump to hyperspace for Aola. She'd loved it since she was a child and it continued to this day. Of course, the smile on her lips that carried that same joy and confidence was shrouded from the rest of the galaxy by her Array helmet, but the pilot straightened up and gripped the controls as the formation shot into real space.
Already her droid was flagging threats, beeping warnings and assessments as the ship's weapons came to full charge. "Alright," she breathes, "let's go..."
<<Array One, moving in to engage!>>
On Adhar's wing, Sion adjusts throttle to maintain formation. <Suggest making our targeting runs from aft, Lead,> she says, recalling a conversation from a couple nights ago. <There's a hole in point defense coverage there. Vendetta Two is on your wing and ready to slice and dice.>
<< Vendetta Three, three-quarter max, confirmed and on your wing. >> Three forms up on Adhar's wing and throttles up to speed, << Missiles ready to cleanse the Workman of its infestation problem. >>
David comes out of hyperspace with his hand on the s-foil controls, barely coming into realspace before they split apart. A small grin forms on his face almost unconsciously at the sight of the fighter screen, the X-Wing already moving ahead of most of the Array group's fighters. He corkscrews out of the formation to the left, scanners already picking out a preferred target.
They're clear as day to Adhar, the trajectories that the Kespanian pilots are using to intercept the incoming attack group; at his slower speed, he is able to highlight tactical projections and relay them to the allied ships, giving all of them the advantage. << Turn 'em and burn 'em, >> he calls over the circuit, while the targeter locks in on the still-distant corvette. << Vendettas, increase to assault velocity once the fighters are engaged. >>
She'd done this a few times, acting as the vanguard and breaking the fighter defense around a target. Her eyes narrow on the leader of the counter-attack. Moving forwards, her E-Wing sweeps in and begins blasting away at her priority target. The bolts pummel the shield of the target, but the Twi'lek was still giving chase. Half-bait, half protector, Array One was in the fight!
Sion stays with Adhar and the rest of the Vendettas, letting her targeting computer do the work. This is a nerve-wracking part of the mission, trying to hold a steady course to give the computer the best chance to lock... which it does! <Two has tone!> she crows.
In the back seat, the gunner goes to work, hammering away at the corvette's shields with the Vennie's monstrously powerful laser turret.
David locks in on the fighter identified by his system, tapping a screen to do the thing. The icon changes color and David adjusts his trajectory accordingly, coming by with a diagonal strafing run of laser fire. As he passes, the first of his shots strike, fizzling out the shields after flaring them up brightly across the ship's hull. Noting it on a display, David turns his fighter around in a wide half-circle.
Freekin increases to assault velocity as the fighters start their dance, calling out to his gunner to open fire, he starts the process of locking his missiles onto the /Workman/. "Come on girl, gimme that sweet tone so we can open that ship up like a can." Freekin stares ahead with a laser focus, not wanting to be distracted by the enemy fighters, that his gunner's concern. "Steady, Steady.. give me a tone!" the ship shudders slightly as fighters try to take him out before he can launch. "What the drek! Don't they know we're busy here!?"
Instantly the space around the Workman has become a cauldron of fire, and all around glowing lances of bright plasma leap from the guns of the tangling fighters. Met with heavy fire from the incoming escorts, the hardy Preybirds find their shields and thick armor muchly needed as the guns of the Consortium pilots peel their defenses away; only a few of the six heavy fighters are able to come out of the mix with their defenses intact, and Workers 1, 2 and 6 find themselves suddenly mauled by the combination of the high-spec military fighters and the lesser vessels of the kill-packs. Be they civilian grade fighters, three ships in a unit working together are just as deadly as their nastier, high-tech cousins.
<< Target acquired, >> Adhar calls over the link, prepping his missiles for launch; so large are the heavy concussion missiles that only two will fit in each Vendetta, making it imperative that they strike true. << Missiles away! Launch, launch! >> Even as he spins the otherwise unwieldy ship dance-like through a cloud of laser fire, he looses the red lances made from the concussion missiles' particle sheaths, streaking away ahead to impact the corvette's aft starboard shields in a brilliant fireball. The thick web of energy that surrounds the /Workman/ flickers dangerously, its deflector envelope flaring brightly enough to be seen entirely on that entire quarter before fading away. His payload away, Adhar prepares the guns.
Weaving between fire as the space is filled with light. Making her way through the lances of deadly light, Aola's blaster cannons pummel through the shield of the fighter she'd been hunting and rips up their hull. Fire flares in the void, but she'd not quite hit it enough to destroy it yet.
Sion winces as a volley of fire from a defensive fighter slams into her tail section. Disgusting as it is that some low-grade rent-a-pilot in an outdated fighter seems to be able to hit her every time they try, she's getting used to it. She tries to concentrate on launching missiles...
And evidently the low-grade rent-a-pilot also manages to knock her aim off enough to waste half her missiles. She switches to guns and prepares to do this the hard way.
Her gunner is apparently just as shaken by the fire as she is. Sensing a trend here? Your instincts haven't deserted you.
As the sole X-Wing turns around, David glances at his radar and finds his mark again in the mass of fighters and the corvette. Circling around the capital ship dangerously, he pops up behind Worker Six and just.. unleashes laser blasts into the Preybird's rear. It's not pretty and it doesn't last long. Then it becomes pretty, like fireworks on the fourth of space-July, and David just passes his fighter harmlessly through the debris.
Freekin finally gets a tone, when he's about to start cursing out the targetting computer. "Good Tone! Torpedos away!" he waits till the torpedos are clear and then breaks up and away, allowing his gunner to engage any available targets or put fire on the Workman. He looks out of his cockpit to watch the approach, and confirms their impact. << Confirmed hit, /Workman/ shields down! >>
The wall of anti-capital missiles levied against the /Workman/ have served their purpose; the corvette's shields are brought swiftly down, and the result of that firepower is the /Workman/'s decision to escape. Drives flaring, the slablike corvette begins to peel away as its escorts begin to fall, blaring distress on all channels as its damage control crews hurry to try and get the ship's defenses back online.
Adhar, his missile tubes dry, flicks the 'MASTER GUNS' switch on his ship's yoke, informing his gunner that he will take the reigns as he brings Vendetta One around for another pass. At his skillfull hands, his fighter looses a salvo of flaring green light into the corvette's aft quarter as he passes; in their wake rents open in the armor, thick durasteel melting away. << All Vendettas, >> he begins, << Concentrate fire on my ta--aggh! >>
The source of his duress is one of the Workman's escorts, who, having broken away from the furball not far away, fires a solid salvo into Vendetta One's port quarter; the ship's powerful shields take he brunt of the heavy laser fire, but they collapse, and the armored skin of the ship's wing peels away to reveal radiator coils and power conduits beneath. "Damnation," he barks in the cockpit. "Wundee, get those shields back up or we're gone!" As R2-1D, the ship's assigned astromech, gets to work restoring the shields, smoke and flame pour from the wounds in the fighter's hull...
<Switching to full guns. Try to keep an eye out back there,> Sion suggests to her gunner, coming around for another attack run. At least she manages to /hit/ the corvette, even with only one cannon. It does put her ahead of the gunner tonight. In the back, the droid hums to itself as it works on restoring the Vendetta's shields.
Freekin inverts his high banking turn and comes back around on the Workman from another vector, giving his gunner a good line. "Gunner, fill that ship full of holes!" the gunner opens up, doing some more damage to the ship and Freekin breaks off, opposite of his last pass, rolling over and breaking low.
Streaming flame and smoke from the multiple wounds inflicted against its engineering section, /Workman/ yet still pulls ahead; damage control crews work to keep the ship going, though they yet fail to bring the shields online. << They're going to get away, >> calls Adhar, who brings Vendetta One around to put a fresh rent in the ship's heavy armor; a fresh plume of fire roars from the drive section, causing one of the ship's many thrusters to sputter and die. << All ships, focus firepower on the primary target! Do not allow that corvette to escape! >>
Meanwhile, David, Aola and the kill-packs are busy tearing apart the upgraded Preybirds, who though number half the Consortium's ranks are still taking heavy punishment without buckling. They are fully engaged now, though, and the Vendettas have sufficient room to try and put the final knife-blows into their fleeing target.
One more pass... and seconds to make it! Sion brings her fighter up over the top, looping down into a pass directly from the rear. <Come on, you murdering pig...> she snarls, unaware her mic is working on voice response, as the Vendetta's four heavy guns tear into the damaged corvette's engines and fuel cells.
Too close! She has to pull off, snarling in disgust. Surely she inflicted /some/ damage!
"Hold on gunner, we're coming back around for another pass on the..." he pauses, as the Workman starts to come apart, "Nevermind! Engaging enemy fighters! Guns free!" and Freekin banks around to try and support his friendly fighters by dropping into the engagement sphere. He gets a good lock tone and fires, but both fighters jig out of the beams. "Sit still you stubborn dreg, take it like you are told to!"
For all of Sion's thready luck, it is she who deals the coup de grace. As she passes, all four of her guns hurl bright green lances through a massive rent torn down the armor cladding the engineering section on the port side. For a moment, nothing, not even as she passes; then a single drive sputters and dies. And another. A third begins to gutter out, a red-flamed, windblown candle...but then it flares brightly, followed by the rest, and the entire back half of the corvette explodes. Instantly, /Workman/ is broken in half, its fore remnant spinning away from the force of the explosion, streaming vapor and fire and errant crew from its sundered decks, like a severed head tumbling down temple steps to roll away for the dogs to fight over.
Adhar can barely restrain himself from loosing a whoop at the sight. << Primary target destroyed, >> he confirms over the comms. << Good shot, Corvara. Now, let's get out of here - we have more contacts on scope, and we don't need to hang around further. All ships, evasive action! Spool hyperdrives and microjump to exit coordinates now! >>
With the Workman breaking up, and the call to haul over the comms, Freekin follows orders instead of hunting further even though he wants to. << Vendetta Three confirms, jumping! >> and with that he banks to the exit route and spools his drive up, quickly making the jump out.
<Whoa... I didn't see /that/ coming,> Sion coms, blinking at the carcass of the once-mighty /Workman/. <But he won't be doing any more patrols! The supply routes just got a lot more open!>
She hurriedly turns tail, spooling up the hyperdrive. <Two is outta here!> she coms, and the Vendetta simply vanishes into hyperspace in a streak of light. Only the debris of the /Workman/ remains to show there was a fight here at all.
Alas, for /Workman/, the cavalry has arrived too late; though a fresh wing of Preybirds are fast on approach, the task force is able to disentangle themselves from the knife-fight and get themselves away. The remaining ships of the Workman's guard aren't going to let them escape unscathed, however. As the formations break and ships head in every direction, Red Leader is struck by a pair of heavy lasers and destroyed immediately; Aola's Array One is raked with laser fire, damaging an engine as she pulls away, and Blue Three is given a hyperspace funeral as it is struck by a salvo as its hyperdrive engages. These losses will be calculated only in end, as the numbers are able to return and stories collated - if their pilots have escaped death, it is not known. Somber tidings, but the pain inflicted upon the enemy are more tan enough to make up for these losses in the bitter algebra of war.