Log:BHG: Picking the Bones II

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A dog fight above the ship graveyard.

OOC Date: April 29, 2021
Location: Jakku
Participants: Bounty Hunters' Guild, Clan Kora, Hahtavi, Evie Leven, Hadrix Kora, Zelo Parrai, Fae Renta NPC, Sumi Kora

Jakku, the back-end of the galaxy if ever there was one, and a place so hot and miserable that it could be a close cousin to Tatooine. Though, the biggest scars that decorate Jakku's surface are among the many, minor details that aren't shared between two planets. What scars?

The scars from the war. Graveyards that were the monster-sized coffins for thousands of soldiers. Massive cruisers stick out above the sand despite years of trying to bury them; bury the past. Arriving in small force, Sumi's squadron cuts through the atmosphere leaving contrails of white steam behind them. In a cloudless sky, there is only the desert to look forward to, and the dark shapes of old 'headstones' dotting this particular region. Salvage has been the income source for nearly a generation, and it's the reason the squadron is here today.

<<"All wings, this is Frogdog (Sumi in her E-Wing), check in and prep for combat.">> Why were they prepping for combat? Because their target corvette was hovering above the wreckage of old star destroyers, salvaging military-grade armor and supplies too large for common scavengers to run off with. It wasn't that they were picking the bones that caused the issue; it was that they are pirate slaver pieces of drek scavenging armor to outfit a dreadnaught from hell.

The Corvette, a Marauder, appears on sensors under the name 'Old and Busted'. Multiple signatures emerge from its front, as if it is vomiting fighters to intercept the squadron. They are not in range yet, but they've just oriented themselves toward the small group and went full impulse.

S-foils locking into attack position, the Ka'Shukalar swept in on Sumi's starboard side, while within Hadrix was tapping controls and bite tab checking seals on his flight armor, his customized dreadfinder suit. <<"Ka'Shukalar, reporting, Frogdog. S-foils locking. Systems online.">> voice rumbling over distorted comms while his astromech ran sub-checks.

"Going to hit something this time?" Greeza's voice on internals, smug sounding before the Ithorian mandalorian's translator drones, "I will do just fine, tail-head." "Fighting words."

All three laughing as their systems show green and they begin checking targets visually and cross-checking their scanners, the chugging 'rum-rum-rum-rum' of the Aggressive Recon fighter the sound of the ships passing.

<<"Nau'ur Gi, moving to wing. Shields up.">> The Nautolan Mandalorian Zelo Parrai breaks to the right in the flight formation, widening their shaped signatures as it's generally best not to fly so close when facing incoming ordnance. The battle last time had left a taste in his mouth that he remembered from the window where these slaver drekbeasts had first eluded him. This time he would do better. He refused to accept otherwise. Beneath the H-visor of his Mandalorian beskar, black-pool eyes move from displays to the skies themselves and he begins seeking out his target. Behind him, his R3 unit pings and chirps, prompting him to read the display.

<"Same as last time. Fix what I can't dodge, and let's hope I can shoot my way out of a firmaplast box."> Sunny dispositions in the Kimogila for Zelo PArrai.

It wasn't a TIE.

It wasn't a TIE, or even a Sienar product, but times have changed for one Evennia Kora, and the SoroSuub Preybird was her latest project. A ship to test her skills as a shipwright as much as as a pilot. Her flight? Family old and new alike, but people she felt comfortable around.

<<"Talon reporting, Frogdog. Locked, loaded and five-by-five.">> Her voice? Still that mixture of the refined Kuati accent with a little of this, a little of that. Fingers curling around various controls and constantly memorizing the *feel* of her console. If it were a TIE, she could fly it with her eyes closed. She's determined to get to that point with this ship, too. It was all a process, and the end result would be magnificent.

The ship itself? It moved like a bird in flight -- appropriate, given its avian shape. Swaying gently to-and-fro as the Empress moved into position on Hadrix's wing. Ever the dancer, always in motion.

Bringing the Tal'onidir down through atmo to this desolate world filled with the ruins of war .. it's like coming home to Manda'yaim, almost. Painfully familar arid wasteland, if more sandy. Slightly different ruins and not as old. Still, a place to be wary. Hahtavi adjusts his line of flight to keep his position relative to the rest of their flight and throttles back slowly to control his descent, leveling out gracefully in the familiar heavy fighter.

His head on a swivel as they say, and keeping tabs on his HUD, Hahtavi toggles his coms, <<" Tal'onidir check, copies over. >> A gloved hand missing a finger reaches out to adjust his scan, then he flips the safties off of his weapons systems to make them hot.

Behind him, Lily beeps softly and partly rotates her head section. The Kimogila's shadow races a bit behind the fast moving ship as they close in on the Corvette up ahead. Weapons ports have opened, active and ready for launch, indicating their status on his HUD. Shields are already up. Hahtavi doesn't fly without them.

<<"Rotworm here as well, Miss Sumi.">> Comes the posh tone of the noble in their number, Lady Fae. She flies the Y-Wing, taking the port orientation of Sumi's E-Wing.

<<"Good copy on all. Talon, this is your arena. Take point and remind these pieces of drek why you're the Empress of the Void. Everyone else, follow Talon in and engage when you're able.">> Sumi brings up the rear despite occupying a very fast vessel. Lady Fae drops back with ease, unable to keep pace with some of the faster vessels in the squadron.

As sensors began to ping, the team discovers just what constitutes the enemy squadron.

Two (2) Z-95 Headhunters, three (3) Dunelizards, two (2) Porax-38s, and two (2) R-41 Starchasers.

Heavily outfitted and seasoned pilots, they lacked the cohesion of a well-trained squadron, or the military awareness to capitalize on the initial rush. It's okay, Sumi thought, learning was about to occur.

<<"Copy. Talon I'm your wing.">> Hadrix presses down one pedal for the etheric rudder to curve him into a spiral around Evie while the gunners begin opening up on one of the R-41s ahead, <<"Targeting vehicles with ion weapons first.">> the lighter turrets spitting crossfire over the heavy cannons on the wings.

<<"Splash shields.">> hurtling still in the head to head with the starchaser and it's shovel-prow appearance. <<"Going to come back around, might pick up some friends.">> the heavy recon craft shaking while he works the stick - ready to make his first break maneuver when the time calls for it.

Even if he is making a particularly unfriendly Mandalorian hand gesture at the oncoming craft.

Zelo, from the far right reach of the squadron, swings further out, perhaps trying to bait some of the opposing pilots to pick him off, but he banks back to the left and cuts an aileron roll in the process, crossing beneath the line of his fellow pilots as he lines up a shot on a Porax-38. Gravity is different in flight than in the water, but this sort of maneuver was known to him before he ever touched flight controls; with comfortable ease, he splashes heavy laser cannon fire on his target, causing a nice near-craft sizzle as he takes some mileage off of their shields.

<<"Nau'ur Gi, hit Porax-38 number one, shields damaged, provoking an engagement.">> Zelo levels out and banks right, lifting up into the path of the Porax, or close enough to the Utapaun vessel to require a course-correction.

<<"Talon copies. Form up and listen up, boys and girls. 41s and 95s are top priority targets, those are our heaviest hitters out there, and I'd rather not let them get a chance to use those missles. Take your time, ready those shots and make 'em count. Keep the chatter loud. If anyone's in trouble, we should hear it before we see it.">> Evie commands; for those who haven't flown with the former First Order Flight Instructor, it's probably a surprise to see her shift over to a far more businesslike demeanor rather than her jovial self.

But, she is the Empress of the Void, and it's a title she defends dearly. Throttle engaged, she soars her Preybird forward towards the group of enemy fighters. Already planning her moves in her mind, and when she closes into range? One shot is fired to force her prey to dodge -- and said dodge is predicted perfectly to her second shot as the Z-95 starts to spiral out of control. A third shot is attempted towards the other X-Wing Precursor... but goes wide. The Heavy Lasers of a Preybird, while benefitting from the automatic gun harmonization protocols, still take getting used to for a girl more comfortable flying something else.

<<"Tango down, but don't let up the pressure now!">>

<<" Tal'onidir off your wing, Nau'ur Gi, over. ">> Unless Talon orders him otherwise, Hahtavi shadows Zelo's Kimogila at least initially, watching his vod's six as he comes in a second or so behind on a similar arc. The Manda'yaim native is frosty and focused, ignoring the vibrations and noise of his engines in atmo instead of vacuumn, intent on getting his target lined up in the HUD's reticle and securing lock. Almost as soon as he has tone, Hahtavi's firing his heavy laser canons. Coherent light spears the Porax, piercing the other craft's shields and fragmenting her into a firey explosion of debris!

The Tal'onidir veers, Hahtavi jigging and peeling off to try and avoid target locks in turn ere he's checking to make sure Zelo's clear. <<" Flight, Tal'onidir - one Porax kyrayc, over. ">>

As he comes around, Hahtavi takes a second to check on the rest of their flight and seek for another target himself, though he's still staying close enough to lend support to the Nau'ur Gi, watch each other's sixes.

The fight is on, and in the initial trade off, laser fire crisscrosses back and forth with misses impacting the desert with heavy, concussive THUNKs. Two pirates are shot down almost immediately, their crafts combusting and exploding before trailing down to the earth in fiery heaps of black smoke and despair. It didn't look like they had a chance to eject.

Sumi gets in a dust up with one of the Dunelizards, hanging on it like a tick and tagging it so hard its shields falter and shut down. There's hull damage, but not enough to write home about. In the chaos of the moment though, Sumi loses track of her opponent after catching a glimpse of Evie and Hahtavi doing work. It surprises a laugh out of her when she witnesses two foes go down as a result, but she's brought back to reality when her own vessel is tagged. <"Right, drek!">

Fortune favors and maybe the heavier craft's weapon loads and the sheer size of the fighter is intimidating enough... Or it could be the barrage of weapons from his wingmate that draws enough attention to cause the craft attacking him to show aim poorer than his own last action at his guns.

As they pass Greeza and Pheegus keep their sights on the original target, churning a web of plasma that finally brings down the fighter's shields while Hadrix engages port airbrakes that heaves the fighter around in a hard 180 that makes his droid wheetle and 'snrrraptbt!' in admonition.

"Shut up" Hadrix mutters, "Hah!" the Ithorian's translator managing a slight burst of excitement.

The heavy cannons open up again, sawing off one drooping raptor wing that sends the R-41 into a black spin that puts the cockpit in view of Hadrix's starboard cannon, resulting in a heavy bolt coring through transparisteel cockpit and flash-vaporizing everything not metal and plastic within.

Zelo's course bucks as the electric hiss of stung shields rewards the likely-too-bold-by-half course he'd taken. But it does put him in a nice plane of attack for the battle and, in accordance with Evie's guidance, Zelo is now pulling up on the rear of the remaining Z-95 with apparent stealth. The enemy ship is reacting to an attack but not particulary reactive to the Kimogila coming up behind it. Zelo raises his elevation to make sure his shot clears down and not up into his squadmates.

Twin Heavy Lasers cross the short distance with no arc, but much art, the first fracturing the shield and the second punching through to detonate something sensitive from within - munitions, or fuel storage. Either way, there is a small bloom of an explosion - small in the scope of a space battle - and a moment later Zelo is emerging through it as debris pings harmlessly off of his shield. Behind him, Reba Chirps and tweeps as she pushes those shields back to full function.

<<"Nau'ur Gi to Talon, no more Z-95 to worry about. Next priority targets?">> Zelo is on the hunt.

Evie's ship is rocked by a surprisingly accurate shot from her foes; but the shields hold impressively. The Preybird is earning points in her book so far! <<"Loving the fireworks, everyone. Let's keep up the pace, put the fear of Kora into these wasters!">> Evie chirps across comms as target after target is removed from her sights. Yes. She's definitely in her element here, and her flight group is proving themselves worthy of being in her presence! So, determined to lead by example with the Headhunters dispatched, she turns her attention on the remaining R-41. Giving chase, soaring behind, waiting for just the right moment and...


It's a flawless shot befitting her reputation. One more foe wiped from the battlefield, no remaining threat of missiles among their foes. Which means...

<<"Priority has changed, Koras. Let's thin their numbers hard and fast; any wounded animals out there are new number-one targets.">> She commands, smiling beneath her helmet.

It's in those seconds that he's trying to watch out for Zelo and keep tabs on what's going on around him, seeking a new target on Evie's orders, that Hahtavi finds that his jinking and coming around with a roll isn't enough to keep a bogie off his six. He doesn't even see the two ships firing on him, it happens so fast! Warnings flash upon his HUD and his reflexes are reacting even as the Tal'onidir is hit! The first shot takes out his shields and the almost simutanious follow up sears through the kimogila's controls! Electricity pops and arcs, a bright flash and suddenly he's lost systems! An awful stench of burning plastics fills his cabin - thankfully his helmet filters out the toxic air.

Behind him, Lil shrieks a piercing whistling in alarm as the R-2 unit nearly gets fried by the surging heat. <" Lil! Are you all right?! Can you do anything?? "> Hahtavi's gloved hands fight the Tal'onidir's controls, muscles straining to try and keep some control of his ship's sudden decent like a brick, <<" Flight! Tal'onidir's hit! ">> There's static over his coms, hard focus and suddenly gritting his teeth before Hahtavi hisses to himself, <" NOT loosing another ship, Haar'chak!">>

Lil makes unhappy noises, unable to stabilize or work on repairs in the too short time they have as the kimogila looses altitude - but she's trying! Hahtavi puts every ounce of his life's effort into refusing to give up this ship! He holds the Tal'onidir 's nose up by sheer force of will and maybe some luck too. Seconds slip by, adrenlin dumping into his bloodstream.

<" Lil, prepare to eject! "> Look out for his R-2 unit, damn it. But fate or skill looks to be on Hahtavi's side. The kimogila with black smoke piling out of her engines sluggishly responds and aligns herself to come in for the dunes belly first rather than nose ... Kora's newest tal'at'cuyir eats some dust.

Hahtavi's transmission earns Sumi's cold gaze, and she breaks off from her dance with the injured Dunelizard to pursue one of the crafts responsible for shooting down their Mando. Engaging afterburners, the E-Wing crosses the distance at supersonic speed, sounding like thunder when the craft broke the sound barrier with utter ease. A concerted effort to take aim was made before opening up with all three heavy laser cannons. Just as Evie ended the Starchaser responsible for taking out Hahtavi's shields, Sumi ended the Dunelizard that shot him down. The pair of pilots crisscross, leaving explosions in their wake.

<<"Splash one,">> Sumi says, angling to one side, <<"Got one on my tail,though. He's persistent.">> By Persistent, she meant he just took her shields to ten percent! Sumi goes into evasive flying to try to get away, simultaneously leading the poor fool back to the rest of the squadron.

<"Rain, track Hahtavi's descent. We'll need to get him following this. Don't want to leave him in a desert full of scavengers.">

"Bwee-fweeeeeirrip!" Heiyu's binary chatter translates on screens that draw six eyes to check through side ports to the sight of Hahtavi's descent. A snarling sound arising from Hadrix at the sight.

<<"Hahtavi, do you copy?">> forced to keep his eyes where he is flying, the Massive Mandalorian cannot keep watch, though Greeza and Pheegus do their best while the ship fish-tails and buzzes into an aileron that finishes with a tight loop through the fighters remaining.

"He's going to be hacked." private coms between the gunners seats, unable to look to one another - the mandos working directly under Hadrix can feel the other's tension. "Ori'kaden..." Really angry.

The rush of the big man's breath through gritted teeth is audible on comms and his gunners see the focus of his anger highlighted on sensors. The Ithorian swinging his cannon around to bite through one of the dunelizards, cutting through fuselage and sending the craft hurtling out of control while Greeza exposes the second for the main guns.

It's a curious sound. Twi'lek and Ithorian screaming in their respective voices, one a trilling alto the other a throaty warbling base... Mixed with the translator collar's banal and monotone "Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh" mixed in. Still going when the second dune lizard comes apart under the meteor shower of Hadrix's guns turning into a shrapnel cloud that sparks off of the ARC-170's shields when they pass through.

<<"Su cuy'Hatavi?"> Are you still alive? An animal sound made when Hadrix inverts to look at the sands below while Pheegus and Greeza try to get their wits.

Things are chaotic - moreso with fewer foes on the field, replaced by explosions and showers of debris - and the pickings are getting smaller as Zelo looks for his next target. The Nautolan finds it - in an ironic twist, his first target - in the Porax-38 he'd first fired upon, now in his sights and dead to rights. <"Well, there's something to be said for-"> Before he can finish the thought to himself, there's an unexpecte k-krisssh of static as something strikes the shield, pulling his attention from the crosshair - there weren't any enemies left! No... But there was an unfortunate sandtern, straying too close to the fight, or just trying to get back to its next, found the shields instead and startled Zelo just a fraction with his hand - enough to pull his shot far-wide from the Utapaun vessel. <"You have got to be KIDding me!"> But no. The Galaxy does not kid about birds.

As Zelo pulls around to line up another shot, he turns hard over and scans the desert, eyeing the small swath of disturbed sand where a Kimo may have ended up. <<"Still have comms, vod?">> No explosion... Hopefully a voice comes back. It has to, right?

<<"Tal'ondidir, hang in there! Remember your emergency landing protocols, we'll be by to pick you up shortly!">> Evie chirps -- she's not entirely sure the transmission will be recieved, but she's encouraging nonetheless. Also, Hahtavi is mentally pencilled in for piloting lessons. Defensive flying is her specialty, and she fully intends to pass along all of her tricks of the trade to the other fliers; the Vanguard was family, now Kora is family, and she fully intends to see them staying in the void rather than being shot out of it.

As it happens, though... the mental distraction of a fallen comrade is enough to slow her reaction speed. The final Porax blips across her vision, but she's just a bit too slow on the trigger to finish it off. <<"We can't let that Porax continue to pollute our radars, someone finish the bastard!">> Evie encourages, still doing her best to fly defensively. Even as Hadrix and his crew space the Dunelizards and she's reasonably sure one of the members of her flight will finish the job with the final bogey on her radar -- but it's only then that her attention will switch fully over to the recovery of her wounded -- hey, she's an optimist! -- brethren.

Sumi crosses back into the territory of her friendly fliers, but the Porax-38 proves a little too slippery even for their expert skills. So Sumi cuts back her speed and tips the nose up, coasting backward suddenly as the Porax adjusts flight to avoid smacking into the E-Wing. A sudden shift forward again, and she's hot on the Porax's stern, landing a trio of heavy cannon shots that pick the ship apart. Unfortunately, the explosion isn't seen, because all at once, the view is dominated by a wall of sand.


Not only did the corvette get away again! Now they were caught in a terrible sandstorm, and their companion was left to wait it out on the ground. Sumi's voice comes over comms as she's forced to find a higher altitude. <<"I can't see a rekking thing!">>-- <<"Hahtavi.. hang on.. we'll have to wait out this storm..">>

The ship hits with a bone cracking jolt and indescribable force! The sand buffers and the angle is good. You'd think he was a Navy pilot the way he slaps that bottom - but the Tal'onidir holds together! Dust and sand spray high into the air, then it's over.

Dazed for a second from the impact, Hahtavi hears Lil whistling an inquiry. A few deep breaths and then his helmet finally moves, <" I thought I told you to eject. "> An innocent sound from behind. <" Nevermind. ">> Everything but his location beacon is shut down. No shields anyway. <<" Lil, let's see how bad it is. Keep scan active and turned all the way up. I want to know if anything's coming our way. ">

A gloved hand reaches up to pop his canopy. Straps are released and his rifle grabbed. In a moment Hahtavi's boots hit the sand and he runs the few steps towards the back of his damaged ship. A tilt of his helmet up at the sky to watch his brethern dealing with the enemy ships. Maybe keep them too busy to finish him off. Hahtavi gets himself to work assessing the damage from the outside as Lil works on things from the inside. At least the black smoke has thinned and there's no fire.

Hadrix's voice coms over his helmet's coms, <<" Ni su'cuyi, vod. Ship's in bad shape. I'm whole, Lil's working, over. ">> Hahtavi gives a quick siterep as he opens up a panel. Evie's voice, a voice with a face he hasn't even met yet, <<" Hahtavi copies, Talon. Over. ">> Ut oh. The strong sunlight is suddenly blocked and Lil is shrilling a warning. Not going to get any repairs done with the sand storm coming over the mountains and bearing down on him in a hurry. <" Krif! I'm coming back inside. Seal her up soon as I'm in! "> The panel is secured and Hahtavi hustles to get back into his damaged ship just as the wall of dust engulfs everything.

Are they having fun yet?