Log:Black Squadron: Tiptoe Thru the Tulips
Black Squadron is deployed from the surface after being mustered for a proximity alert. Proximity alert meant there was suspected enemy activity in the system, and special forces were being sent to investigate it. Poe already left the surface to join the task force assembling on Havoc 1, which left Jessika in charge of the patrol.
All fighters launched from the hangar and Poe's holo-form appeared in their cockpits, standing in a black flightsuit and looking annoyed. "Hey team, listen up. I've sent you coordinates just outside of long range sensors. Check that spot out and scan around. The Admiral has ordered fleet vessels to stay in place, we don't want to tip anyone off. You'll need to link up with the comm-bouy if you plan to stay in long-range comms with us. There's too much drek in space that might scramble it up otherwise. I'll be on the horn if you need me, and I've got the navigator ready to micro-jump if it's something substantial. Pretty Boy, out.">>
The fighters were just coming out of atmosphere now.
"He didn't even give us a chance to respond, Ailee. I think those General pants are getting too big for him," Jessika speaks only to her droid in the confines of her snubfighter's cockpit. Left hand on throttle, right on stick, Jessika guides her craft at the designated angle to exit atmosphere most efficiently. The helmet mounted cuing system painted over her visor indicates it before her eyes. <"Black Two to Black Squadron. Tight formation until we reach the comm-buoy. From there, we'll spread out into a defensive formation. Bubs will perform recon sweeps around our flight path and extend out with each sweep. Sound off, boys."> They're a trio of individuality today. Jessika can't remember the last time there was only one X-Wing in formation.
<<Hey, you didn't even wait for me to say anything back!>> Ektor complains at the faded Poe-logram, ineffectively. Somehow the same thing sounds like a bad idea when Jess says it, and a very good idea when Ektor does so. <<Arright, Black.. Three, outta the air and into the black.>> Auxiliary power is sent to engines, to keep pace with the faster fightercraft of his wingmates.
Tapping his foot alongside one of the rudder pedals, Bors nods to Poe's brief, humming to himself happily while his output is muted, smiling as if he were about to be on a simple Datunda stroll in the House Gardens on Delaya. "Hunnerd' thousan' parsecs of lonely space... holdin' back t'morrow... someday I'll jump along, and hyper home... But ol' ties and companions... y'never leave alone." drifting to humming again until Jessika's voice interrupts his musing.
<<"Copy Two, Bubohrs moving on reccon.">> the A-wing lurching forward with a press of the throttle and wheeling of controls brings him directly above Black Two's canopy, inverted and with barely centimeters apart while he matches speed. There's a brief moment that one hand comes off the controls long enough to give the major a wink and a finger-gun. One could almost hear the 'click' of his tongue when his thumb waggles before he twists again, slowing long enough to slip in at the X-Wing's four o'clock, to ride out until it's time to sweep.
It does not take long for them to engage impulse speeds that leave the fleet in their wake. Exploring the rest of the system is a scenic duty many pilots volunteer for just to get some flight time. While to the more casual fighter pilots, this route seemed routine, Black Squadron had an invested interest in paranoia. Understanding that even the beautiful things held a degree of danger to them.
Moving beyond the scope of long range sensors meant the team had to transition off the war-network to monitoring their own sensors. This is a common practice for deep space squadrons. Casual squadrons were keen to stay linked with their mother ships for a more intensive view of their 'battlefield' and it made it easier for command to issue orders. Out here? They were on their own.
<"Alright, boys. Eyes open. We're not out on a picnic. Command wouldn't have sent us if they thought it was regular phenomena."> Glancing down to her console, Jessika's eyes sweep across the interface request from Havoc One. "Ailee, establish link with Havoc One. Feed our data to them. Bounce it off the comm-buoy if you have to and shut down all non-integral systems to boost the signal, too." Her BB unit quickly complies, doing things at a fraction of the time it would take her. Links are established with Havoc One, while the X-Wing's non-essential functions, like landing gears and cargo hatches are turned off to give extra power to the craft's systems. <"Black Two to Havoc One, how copy?"> She wonders if they'll even be able to talk in real time.
A green light gives indicators for the buoy link as they approach and then Bors begins a hard ovaline sweep around the other two craft. Tapping a switch to extend his sensor cup into place and pulling it to rest over one eye while he flies. A blink and then... "Oh..." flicking a comm-switch,
<<"Something on scope...">> frowning a little as he widens his pass, <<"Hark I see them come from three directions on path made to intercept...">> moving further and tapping the controls as if that might make sensors work better when. More pings on his systems and signature reads come up.
<<"Two, Five incoming, duo of Headhunters and a trio of old 65 X-Wings...">> chewing his lower lip, <<"I think they want to have a jubilee, as they are on direct intercept.">> Oh most joyous day! A jubilee! Kaloo Kallay!
Ektor sends a binary signal back in response to the Havoc 1's request, that reads, <Why, so you can cut me off, again?> Then he grants the request, because baiting your CO isn't a game to be played for too long. A turn of his head to peer out through the canopy. << I don't see drek->> he mutters to Bors. <<What heading, yeah?>>
Poe shakes his head at the binary response, his hand coming up to massage the bridge of his nose before he just laughs.
Just as Bors said, three different headings all locked onto the squadron's position. Bors' successful scan broadcasts the headings, thankfully, answering Xer's question. Two T-65 Xwings approached from the center most heading, 2 Z-95 Headhunters from the 3 o'clock degree heading, and a third T-65 pushing /hard/ from the 9 o'clock.
A lagged response answers Jessika's comm check. It's robot Poe! Xer's favorite! <<"Black Two, this is Havoc Actual. I hear you, over.">>
<"Havoc Actual, Black Two. Recon reports times five bogeys inbound on our position. Moving for intercept and further information gathering. Break."> Jessika angles the nose of the X-Wing towards Bors' A-Wing and his current location. Given his speed, she's not worried about him getting into a tango with the five craft, but one doesn't take chances. <"Bubs, back to formation. We'll orient with Tion in the center."> Immediately sharing that information, Jessika aligns her craft onto Ektor's starboard and glances from the viewport of her craft towards the body of his. <"We'll try to shake hands and see what happens."> She puts distance between herself and Ektor, ensuring that if the craft try to split apart, they'll be able to adjust in both attack and defense positions.
<<OH, THEY WANNA PLAY,>> Ektor exclaims with a mad cackle as the readout shows the five unknown fighters converging on their position in a broad arc. <<Arright, Jess, lets go in alllll friendly like.>> Auxiliary power is switched from engines to weapon systems, nose cannons activated.
<<"Copy that, returning to formation.">> swinging the fighter around to make for Jessika's position, throttle to maximum to close distance with the other black fighters. Singing again to himself...
"So ol' man... gimme endless time, ne'er let these ties sever... Heavens know all this foolin' round..." quieting again and waggling his wingless craft to the pair before slewing around and rolling on inertia until alongside Ektor before thrusters light again.
It becomes clear then there is to be no handshake. NO HANDSHAKE!
S-Foils lock to attack position, and sensors detect the fighters have initiated their shielding. Poe's voice responds, robotic and lagged. <<"You're authorized for deadly force if they show intent.">> This is shared just as red lances of laser light discharge from wing tips, though the shots miss and are intended to scare the fighter pilots away.
Civilian Channel: <<"Get out of here filthy Republic dogs. This is our find, fair and square. We won't tell you again.">>
<"Havoc Actual, Black Two. Bogeys have engaged. Upgrading status to targets."> Jessika toggles her s-foils into attack position and lines up on the targets coming at them. <"Spot two freighters docked beyond the fighter screen. Pirate activity potentially in progress."> Jessika toggles over from the Republic net to the broader civilian net. <"Attention unidentified craft. This is Major Jessika Pava of the New Republic Defense Fleet. Identify yourselves immediately and prepare to be scanned. Ensure your IFFs are on."> Have to go through the song and dance to make it all official, deadly force be damned. And then they fire at them. She toggles back to Black Squadron. <"Black Squadron, you are weapons free."> Firing warning shots at an identified military official? Not the smartest thing those people have done today.
<< I see it, Jess. This looks like a smash and grab, a crew harvest, or a smash and grab crew harvest.>> Then he gets called a filthy Republic dog. OH. OH. Civilian channel: <<NOW you rekked UP. NOW you rekked UP. NOW you rekked UP.>> For emphasis, he adds, <<You have rekked up, now.>>
<<"Can never be polite can they...?">> the frown deep in his voice and Bors adjusts his sensors and throws auxiliary power into forward shields. Flipping over to civilian channels as he begins the careful selection of targets. T-65? Headhunter? What shall be the entree and which the sorbet?
<<"I do believe that thou hath most thoroughly rekked up, gentlebeings.">> Nodding towards Ektor's canopy. He sure told them and rightly so!
<<"You think we're going to back down? There's five of us, three of you. You should've stayed near your fleet.">> The small squadron flies in formation rounding about to engage the trio of Republic fighters. <<"This time we won't miss!!">>
They spread out into an attack formation that screamed 'GET 'EM', the classic L'ulo L'ampar tactic that worked sixty percent of the time, all the time.
They were wrong. The combined craft miss Black Squadron by a good margin, while focused fire from the three New Republic craft tear one of the Z-95's to shreds before the pilot can blink. She's of no help in the exchange, but Ektor and Bors take care of it. The break takes place and Jessika jukes out of place, refusing to give their targeting computers time to line up for another pass. Two break off with her, and Jessika's measured, but quick changes of plane and positioning keep her out of their sights. They simply can't keep up with her in that moment, and Aille informs her that her compatriots don't take so much as a shield bump during the exchange.
This time they won't miss? "Eh, that's what they all say," Ektor mutters, as he guides the light bomber in a deft run on Jessika's wing to hammer a Z95 that tries to evade Black 2. When Bors finishes the crippled fighter off a moment later, Ektor drawls over public comms, <<Listen, I don't count too good, but I don't see five of you, yeah? Unless... you was counting the hundred pieces that used to be a Headhunter.. but then that'd be more like a hundred and four to three..>> The counterattack of an old T-65 is dodged with a maneuver so smooth the Y-wing looks lazy.
HUD indicators go green and Bors's brow furrows, lips in a white line, "Mother guide my spirit to find forgiveness for the lives that I must take to preserve others." The twin foreward cannons begin spitting crimson darts that march up the nose of the headhunter that had managed to evade Pava's attack. No shields to defend it thanks to Ektor an a pair of those shots core into the engines,
"Father guide my hand that it be the righteous and the aegis for those who cannot take up arms. Let me be wicked so they remain pure. Let me seek redemption so that they need not." Shields indicating contact as the snub fighter detonates behind him.
<<"Bubhors - confirmed kill...">> Mother forgive him. The response by the pirate fighters forces him into a swinging twist that becomes a Z-turn on his way back around, flicking a toggle to switch to ordinance.
<<"Rekk you!">> The pirate replies to the former(?) pirate, Xer. They chase after the group in tandem, and in tandem, miss collectively. It's glorious!
Civilian Channel: <<"Dad.. dad, hang on, it's the New Republic. They're here to save us, I TOLD you they'd come. -- Hello? Can you help us? Someone has boarded our ship, and they're mean. They shot my daddy, and he's hurt. I don't know where my mom is. We're stuck in the control cabin. Please, help us.">>
The fighters round about doing their best to cut Black Squad off from the freighters and their operation.
<"Havoc Actual, Black Two. We have traffic from the civilian freighter. Sounds like a young girl requesting help for her father. Prep search and rescue for immediate microjump to our position once we've cleared the area."> Jessika toggles over to the civilian net, and broadcasts to the freighter itself. In the process, she maneuvers beind the T-65 chasing her and attempting to find some advantage in the battle against a far superior craft. <"Civilian freighter, this is Major Jessika Pava."> Her targeting computer gets a lead on the enemy craft, and Jessika maintains her cool while lining up her shot. A squeeze of the trigger sends a quarter of laser fire smashing into the craft attempting to evade her. In the darkness of space, it explodes. <"Make sure you keep the control cabin locked. Do not open it for anyone. We'll send someone to help as soon as we can, okay?">
<<Oh no, now it's TWO hundred and three to three- we're only making it worse for ourselves, yeah?>> Ektor 'laments' as Jess annihilates an enemy X-wing. In her wake, Ektor hammers the Z95 that had been on his squadron leader's tail, driving it off with heavy hull damage. He lets it run, avoiding a quad blast from one pirate X, and rocking lightly with a single hit from a second. The plea from the civilian freighter gets a grimace,but he only responds off comms to his droid, "Genius, is it just me or did 'It's the Resistance' have a better ring? New Republic don't got the same.. snap, yeah?"
Children. These pirates were threatening children. Cold settles over the Alderaanian lord, eyes turning to ice and voice breaking somewhat as he looses his general air of pleasant jocularity... forgetting his comm is open...
<<"Mother REKKERS...">> barked out over civilian channels. no time to try and acquire locks, watching Ektor's shots nigh disabling the other Headhunter - but it's clear that he's upset and his shots fly over one Z-95 wing and then below the other. White knuckled on the controls and muscles standing out on the sides of his jaw.
<<"Black Two, Havoc Actual. Captain Javos is prepping Havoc squad to respond. We'll be jumping to your location as a show of force. Stand by.">>
Another two craft down, the X-Wings find they're suddenly outgunned and numbered. BUT THIS IS THEIR HAUL! They pursue Xer, blasting at his stern but only landing one hit. One pilot messes up, broadcasting on open channel. <<"REKKING HUTT-SUCKERS, HOW DO THEY MOVE LIKE THIS?!">>
Civilian Channel: <<"I understand, Major, ma'am. Please hurry, my daddy is bleeding..">> Her voice cracks over the line and she starts to cry before the line cuts out.
<"Acknowledge, Havoc Actual."> Jessika's hand leaves the throttle briefly to once again switch her channel. <"Black Squadron, mop up these last. We need to clear the area so that they can get search and rescue onto that craft immediately."> There's nothing but cold ice in her tone of voice, indicating some sense of anger at the situation. Not enough to ruin her professionalism, but enough to channel through in the way she speaks.
Ektor drawls lazily in 'helpful' response to the X-wings on his tail. << I'm glad you asked, there's two answers: First of all, it's called 'talent'. Second, you *really* gotta avoid pissing HER off->> just as Jess slashes across his tail, blasting one of his pursuers. Cackling, Ektor veers about and takes a flurry of shots at the stricken craft, carving through shields and into the aged hull. <<And THIRD of all, fly a wishbone. I guess that makes three things- listen, I already said I weren't good at counting, yeah?>> Bors rages, Jessika goes ice cold, Ektor cracks jokes.
Hunting was the new way, for New Alderaan. Mercy was for soldiers. Predators need be put down; the Headhunter he had failed to end before remains in Bors's sights while heavier fighters dance. Eyes narrowing to slits while his reticle goes green once more, "Mother forgive you, Father condemn you..."
Crimson bolts briefly link the pair before a golden ball of flame and shrapnel that blows into a ring as the A-Wing speeds through. He starts to speak, but his teeth only click together. A hiss rushing between them as he starts to angle back around.
<<"Copy Two... Cleaning up.">> hate in his words.
Proximity alerts sound in the cockpits of friendly ships alerting them to an incoming mass. A moment later, a Carrack Cruiser slipped into view in a bright flash of blue ion impulse engine contrails and light. Shields shimmer down as a series of fighters join the fray, zipping into view. <<"Blue Leader, standing by. -- Blue Two, standing by.">> Then Suralinda Javos' voice came over comms. <<"SAR One, standing by. Testor, we're making our approach under escort.">>
Civilian Channel: <<"Daddy look.. all the ships are coming here for you. Daddy? Stay awake, Daddy, please don't die..">>
OPFOR Channel: <<"This fight isn't worth the cred. Bug out..">> The pair of T-65s make for a quick exit, beating feet to escape.
"You think you're just going to ruin that girl's life and get away with it?" Jessika mutters it under her own breath, throttle forced forward to full so that the snubfighter is maxing out its speed in attack configuration. The fusial engines burn bright in the vacuum of space, showing she's got all the juice pumped to them that she can. "Ailee, feed the coor--," She halts the command she's about to make when their Carrack cruiser slips into view. There's no cutting the X-Wings off, now, but she doesn't care. Her targeting computer tones, and Jessika squeezes the trigger on the yolk, lighting the forward section of her snubfighter up crimson as the lances of red streak out to pierce through it. It's obliterated by the fire, leaving only one left.
When the cavalry arrives in the form of Havoc, Blue squadron, and the medical shuttle, Ektor let's out a slow breath. "Never gets old." As Jess cuts down one of the remaining pirate snubs, the survivor accelerates in flight faster than the light bomber can match. On a whim, he switched to torpedoes, and without a lock tries to anticipate the (bad) pirate's course, sending a pair of blind fired proton explosives screaming after the T-65. And he nearly hit. A last instant evasive maneuver avoids the torpedoes. "Drek." But there's Blue Squadron! <<Yeah, rekk em rough, Blue!>>
"Noo no... Not that way..." Bors growls, once more his shots going wide on this bout, chasing after the errant rogue X-wing. Almost wishing he had had time to lock missiles while he slaps at his side panel, attempting to get on the heavier crafts backside when the Blue Squadron fighters join the fray.
<<"Ne'er do wells what find glee in the harm of innocent shall deserve no quarter, lest they find escape and refuse to amend the nightmare ways that they've embraced...">> growling in a breath, <<"Void take you and cast your names to oblivion.">> watching the fireworks as they happen.
Blue Squadron accelerates ahead, the blue A-wings intercepting the fleeing X-wing. One overshoots it, performing a complicated positioning technique where it turned about to face the fighter head on while the other Blue A Wing (Blue 2) sent a salvo of laser bolts across its stern. Blue Leader fires head on, shattering shields and canopy, the craft implodes as both A-Wings speed toward the freighters with the U-Wing (SAR 1) close behind.
<<"Havoc Actual, this is Havoc Leader, we're deploying now. Commencing close quarters operation.">>
<<"Roger, Javos. Clear them out.">>
SAR-1 docks and the team storms aboard.
Civilian Channel: <<"There's so much laser fire. Help my daddy!">> The girl screams, clearly frightened. <<"Daddy?.. Daddy?! Daddy wake up! No, nononnoooo.">>
Several minutes pass. Javos voice is heard over comms. <<"Havoc Actual.. ship's clear of hostiles. No casualties on our end. We got to the civilians: our medic is trying to resuscitate the father. Stand by.">> The medic tries three times to shock the male back to life. The third sticks. <<"Javos here, we've got the father back.. sustaining him to get back to the hospital. Over.">>
<<"Black Squad, Havoc Actual. Escort SAR-1 back. Good work, today. Havoc Actual out.">>
The Y-wing signals back to Javos << Say, did the kid's mom turn up?>> Afterward, he starts rambling, <<No lie, them docs is really something else, yeah? Heh- Hey, Jess: you remember that time you was in the bacta tank? Hey, could you hear me when I was hollering at you? Poe said I should stop cause you couldn't hear me, but I think you could->> Ektor guides the light bomber back around to resume formation with the X and A-wing of Black Squadron, letting power drain from weapons to feed the engines. With a lazy exhale, he drawls, "No Drek, Genius: I am soooo glad I ain't gotta pay for my own torpedoes in this bird."
<<"Havoc Actual - Black Seven, requesting permission, once we're confirmed off mission, to dock and check on the wounded man and his daughter?">> Bors had a number of things for moments like these. Tragedies need a balm and even with a parent lost and then regained there would be something still of the shock and fear residing.
That's why he had little plush nerf, bantha and even a few wampa tucked into the A-wings miniscule cargo hatch - jammed in with his emergency supplies.
<<"I think his daughter might appreciate meeting others of those who had rescued her.">> breathing through his nose, calming himself. There's a need to heal, as much as he had helped kill this day. Rebuilding after so much had been torn down. Maybe Jessika would find a reason to avoid such a thing, but mayhap Ektor would come with. Gentleman and a Pirate.
<<"Yeah, we got her,">> Javos replies on the private net. <<"Bit black and blue, but she's tougher than she looks. A few hours in the bacta, she'll be a new woman.">>
Poe's voice crackles over the private channel for Black Squad. <<"I have no issue with it, Black Seven.">>