Log:Mission 07: Plow the Road

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{{LogBox | LogTitle=Plow the Road | Location=Landscape of Wabani | Participants=Ektor, Ambrosia Greystorm, Jessika Pava, Karas Darkwing, David Ironside, Sar Yavok, The Resistance | OOCDate=May 28, 2018

The mag rails carve a stark, straight line across the dun landscape of Wobani; rather than work around the deep canyons and wind blasted mountains of the planet, Imperial engineers had cut a straight line from start to finish, blasting, bridging, and tunneling through any terrain in their way. Though now loyal to the First Order, the infrastructure still has a pronounced Imperial character, right down to the blocky quad laser anti-aircraft turrets that preside over the arrow-straight rail lines at precise intervals.

The prison train is propelled along the mag lines like it were shot out of a rail cannon, crossing mountainous ground that is too rough and too windy for an airfield of any size. This stretch of too-rough, too-windy terrain is where the battered Resistance fighters who had punched through First Order defenses must fly, clearing out the turrets designed specifically to blow them up, to open the way for a pair of Sentinel-class shuttles to land on a supersonic train before they all plow into the side of a mountain.

Just another day in the Resistance.

Green 2 has seen better days. One nacelle sparks and flickers a weak  orange, and carbon scoring along the aged hull shows the punishment it has weathered to reach this point. Ektor reports <<Arright, I'm reading.. six double-A turrets in our target landing zone. Hey, somebody who's heard from the shuttles- they want us to hit the train with ion cannons when it gets here, or they wanna land outlaw-style while it's moving?>>

<<Don't know, I'll ask 'em.>> David Ironside replies, turning dials and flipping switches in his near-pristine N-1 starfighter. Apart from one shot, all of the direct hits to the fighter were blocked by shields, and even then the droid behind the canopy is working his ass off to get those back up as well. <<Drop 1, this is Gold Leader again. You want us to stop that train, or are you gonna risk landing on the move?>> The pilot keeps the fighter near the others, knowing dropping too soon will only draw the anti-air fire.

Jessika is not entirely tuned out to the banter playing over their communications network, but she is disinterested in the nature of what's being talked about. All Jessika wants to hear is the magic 'e' word, so her itchy trigger fingers can get to work laying waste to First Order assets. She's barely holding together a neutral expression, because beneath the surface, Jessika's all raging emotions.

"Case, monitor the bands for search and rescue operation chatter. You let me know the second they find Snap." She manages to say it without choking on the words, even despite the lump that has yet to abate. The R3 unit beeps her reply. Jessika knows she can spare the time since the shields have returned. The chaos hasn't started yet. Gold Two shouldn't be so ready to get into it, though. The fighter's fuselage is peppered with fire from TIEs.

Blue Leader is flying top cover for Green Squadron, even the white and blue A-Wing shows a little damage but nothing crippling, it's operating at full capacity. Checking the sensor displays to see what all they are going to be going up against. Still as he is receiving the IFFs of the others of their attack group, Karas takes a breath as he gets ready to engage.

<<Thanks for holding our hands, Gold Leader>> Drop One answers back, peering out the viewport as they barrel along, more or less in the center of their escorts. <<Feelin' mighty safe...be feelin' safer though if you fly folk can keep those turrets from blastin up our noses. I'll see how close I can get to our speedy little target, but imagine a sitting duck's much easier to net than one still flappin, yeah?>> He eyes the misty haze below with a touch of trepidation, but a glance at the crystal clear terrain map rolling across the gridlined screen bring a small comfort. The mag rail is shown in red. Just follow the red.

He calls out to the passengers with a shav-eating grin. "You boots ready for some turbulence?

The automated anti-aircraft turrets thrum to life as unauthorized vessels enter sensor range. The volleys of emerald laser fire begin even before the automatic warning is broadcast: <<You have entered restricted airspace. Prepare for detainment.>>

<<Arright, Green Two.. going in.>> It's debatable whether the start of his dive was deliberate, as the attack run coincides with a flicker of engine glow, but once diving, the Y-wing cuts through the atmosphere dodging ground fire deftly, and annihilating the first turret in a precise volley of cannon fire. Ektor tries to snap off a shot at the next turret in line, but can't manage it. <<One down, yeah?>>

<<Roger that, Drop 1. Good luck.>> David switches to the other channel again. <<All wings, Drop 1 is totally fine with us pulling that train's emergency brakes.>> David pushes the control stick forward, coming in after Green 2. Squeezing the trigger, all is lost as the most damage he does is to the turret the Y-Wing just took out a minute before. Pulling back, he makes room for the other aircraft, going around in a tight arc. Train's still on the move, after all.

The sky fills with fire, and Jessika dives. It's not a very evasive maneuver, because she doesn't juke or try to weave in a way that keeps her craft on a hard-to-predict path. She gets her fighter into range, and as her shield shimmers from a glancing blow, she returns that fire. Both bright, red lances smash through the second anti-aircraft turret and make it explode in a spectacle so much more satisfying than those that play out in the vacuum of space. Jessika rolls her fighter in the heavier environment of the atmosphere, finding the effects of gravity on her limited by her restraints, and sets herself up to make a strafe on the next turret. Case tweets that the shields are holding, and Jessika locks her eyes on to the next target waiting for destruction.

<<Gold Two to all fighters, there are TIEs above us trailing the shuttles.>> Jessika quickly relays the information given to her by her R3 unit and double-checks her own instruments to ensure the information is accurate. Not that she doubts Case.

The throttle is pushed forward full, pouring power into the engines of the A-Wing. Karas grip on the controls of the fighters control tighten just a little bit, seeing where the others of their attack force is attacking. Lining up his shot so that he can take out one of those turrets, <<COpy that Gold Leader>> Karas says into his comm. Incoming laser fire is racing towards him, the white and blue A-Wing weaves and juke through the laser fire, though one shot hits right beneath the A-Wing, a loud bang rocks through the small Interceptor. Watching his shields vanish, Karas grits his teeth and fires as he takes out the turret that hit him.

Three quad laser turrets maintain their rising storm of anti aircraft fire, even as the shuttles begin their descent. In addition to the trio of TIE/fo craft descending from the upper atmosphere which Case spots, the Resistance targeting computers also read the mag train for the first time; a dozen kilometers south and approaching fast.

<< I hear you, Gold Two.. Turret Four is out->> Ektor reports after skimming the rocky ground in his Y-wing and loosing another destructive volley from the forward cannons. <<Scopes got two turrets left before this track goes into a tunnel. What's the split, yeah?>>

"Best we make this quick before our fleet gets hit with Calderos reinforcements," the Pilot of Drop One grits his teeth as the transport rips through the misty haze shrouding the moutains and plunges headlong over a crest toward the now-visible rail line. Drop Two is immediately behind it, just a few meters above. "You boots ready to hold tight?"

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Whether they are or not, the turrets are errupting and a few alarming shapes blip onto their radar. Metamorphic shards explode off the mountainside portside, thankfully too far away to clip their wings while falling. The two transports continue on their semi-suicidal run, awkwardly weaving the best they can to get close to the intercept point. So far, so good.

<<Once we nab this machine, we'll have less than 4 klicks before this train smashes us into the next cut>> Drop One warns over comm. <<We don't kill that engine by then, I'm breaking away. We'll have to get'er on the next stretch>> His eyes are big, face twisted over shoulder to eyeball Greystorm and her contingent as they bounce around in their seats.

David listens to the report of incoming TIEs. <<Roger that, Gold 2. I'm heading after the TIEs.>> He pulls the control stick to the other end, breaking out of his approach to the train. The trio of TIEs incoming has already opened fire, David manages to dodge the first volley but the second does take out his shields. A quick push on the control stick sends David down, then back up to take on the TIEs from a position where they can't fire back. His volley smashes into the lead TIE of the three, breaking pieces out of the side panel, but it keeps flying, after adjusting for evasive maneuvers.

Jessika doesn't break off immediately. The important targets right now are the turrets, because Green Two needs to begin their run to disable the train, and trying to dogfight in anti-aircraft fire is not something any of the pilots wants to do. Jessika wants nothing more than to go up against TIEs, though, and so she's quick to line up after evading an incoming barrage of fire. A squeeze of the trigger puts one turret out of commission in an explosion of durasteel and fire. She rolls, again, to the other side of the track, the one that she started on, and lines up her second shot. Another squeeze of the trigger sees a repeat performance, with the last turret ceasing to exist as anything more than a burning hulk of wreckage.

<<Green Two, you're clear to begin your run on the train. Gold Two is moving to engage pursuant craft.>> Pulling back on her flight stick, Jessika brings her fighter into a broad loop that leaves her turned upside down as she starts racing towards the atmosphere. A steady roll rights her, and puts her on a flight path to intercept the oncoming craft. "Case, keep your sensors peeled for the horizon. We probably tripped a warning system when we engaged the anti-aircraft turrets." Cutting like a knife through the atmosphere, Jessika feeds her fighter more speed and is pushed back into her flight seat from the forces exerted on her as a result.

Karas sees the three new blips on his sensors, he notices those are TIEs. Shaking his head, <<Alright we have incoming moving to engage TIEs.>> he calls over the comms. With the turrets destroyed, the A-Wing is seen streaking off and breaking right heading in a westwardly trajectory. Pulling back on the stick the A-Wing begins climbing and as the fighter does, it's still closing in towards the incoming TIEs. Watching as the lead sees what he is doing, it tires to evade, but as the A-Wing rolls and dive, Karas presses the trigger, firing off some rapid shots, blowing out the shields, but no damage to the TIE itself. Karas keeps on it.

<<You losers miss me?>> remarks the space Southern-accented voice of Captain Sar Yavok. The black and green-painted Y-Wing comes swooping in from behind the pack of TIEs. He's got a quick bead on the undamaged TIE, but one of the baddy's wingmen spoils everything. Sar's target breaks off, and the other member of the trio sends a few shots into Sar's shields.

Winds are high, the unforgiving cliffs of Wobani's mountain range loom to either side of the track as what started as a desperate dogfight is swinging quickly to the Resistance's favor.

<<Hey, good to see you, Cap,>> Ektor greets Green Leader over the comms as he guides the battered old light bomber along the mag rails, flying straight at the oncoming train for a harrowing second and a half, loosing the ion cannons and sending blue lightning crackling visibly along the train and track from engine to tail, before swerving abruptly up into the skies with a tight smile. << Mark is a sitting duck. Drops, you're up.>>

David smirks when he hears the gruff Corellian voice. <<Captain, glad you could make it.>> He does a sweet loop, targeting the TIE with the parts missing. Coming up from below, he lights up with the signature green blaster bolts, striking the TIE's bottom hull. But only barely, a couple of the bolts even glancing off the rear. David clenches his fist, the N-1 zooming up behind the TIEs, the trio not managing a shot at him, thankfully.

Arriving at maximum engagement range, Jessika sets sights on the lone TIE trying to line up a strafing run at Blue Leader. She warns the enemy craft off with a sudden streak of fire from her own craft that goes blitzing by it in streaks of red that light up the front of the fighter and the canopy. It's nothing more than a distraction technique and a wake up call that this is not a fight where the Resistance pilots are outnumbered. It's a brash move, though. Any element of surprise she has is technically ruined. She can see little more than red, however. Her bloodlust is high, and all she wants is to blast the TIE out of the sky for Wexley.

The A-Wing rolls tightly as it climbs, chasing after the TIE, the energy coming from the engine nacelles brighten up quite a bit. Pushing the fighter hard, Karas isn't holding back and as he lines up his next shot, he fires again. Red streaks of energy lances through the void of space, and as the shots hit, smoke and fire can be seen from the TIE.

Sar Yavok slides the yoke hard to the right, pulling the Y-Wing into a tight spin and avoiding a flurry of incoming TIE fire. Leveling out, Green 1 dips down before pulling back up; an attempt to decelerate. Succeeding, he's managed to end up right behind his original target. Pressing the firing nub, a hail of bolts erupt from Green 1's cannons and tear into the enemy TIE.

It's right panel array is torn away and the crippled fighter begins spiraling toward the ground.

<<Copy that, Green Two>> Drop One responds and confirms acknowledgement from Drop Two before both transports swoop in tandem toward the frozen train. Upside: the criminal-packed tram is no longer bulleting along toward the tunnel. Downside: it's a tram. A lengthy but relatively narrow string of cars, and they are a pair of formidable transports - big enough to haul their armored cargo and the handful of pre-identified prisoners they're here to retrieve.

<<Looked a lot bigger from far away>> Drop Two cracks to Drop One's pilot, who replies <<Sorry to disappoint, Baby>>

It's gonna be a tight fit.

Ya know. If they get close enough to try. A sudden buffet of wind catches Drop Two's laughter in her throat and rocks the transports violently. Drop Two's angle of approach has been thrown off and a last-minute correction narrowly avoids crashing through the smoldering wreck of a turret. Compared to the nimble fighters, this bitch is ungainly and the pilot makes a last minute decision to abort landing attempt #1. She peels off and makes a long loop around to reorient and stabilize.

Drop One, on the otherhand, acts like there's an impatient General on board his craft and just goes for it. In this instance, fortune favors the bold.

"Sumbitch!" The pilot yelps as the ship 'touches down' (smacks into) with all the force of Greystorm's angry shouts. Hard. The transport's occupants get jostled by the sudden maneuver, but the docking kiss holds and it clings like a tick to the train's side.

Somehow the fact that one of the TIEs went down put Dave in the remaining two's adjusted flightpath. Alarms go off in the cockpit as the two open fire, but mercifully none hit. <<Drop 1, this is Gold Leader. Nice landing, I'm sure that'll buff out.>> he jokes, because if that man doesn't spend the next month cleaning the shuttles, Dave's gonna be shocked. David directs the fighter -just- over the train, giving the shuttles a salute with two fingers. <<Good luck down there.>> he mutters as he flies back into the fray.

Ektor's engines flicker again under the strain of his rapid climb through the atmosphere, and for a weightless moment, Green 2 loses lift. The ion engines lurch back online and the aged snubfighter resumes it's dash back toward the fight.

The fighter she's been engaging has taken a lot of damage thanks to another Y-Wing engaging into the fight, and as it breaks off and tries to flee, Jessika refuses to let it go. It's crippled, which means she's hot in pursuit, and despite the fact that it's too easy to slip in behind it as it tries to make its escape, and that it can barely even avoid the incoming fire, she feels nothing but determination and satisfaction as she lights it up with a bolt of fire that causes it to erupt in flames and debris. She banks off before she passes through it and turns back towards the rest of the fight, where others are engaging still. <<Gold Two, scratch one.>>

<<Well done, Gold Two,>> Sar comms across to Pava, taking a quick look at his scanners. He spies the remaining TIE and does his best to draw a bead, and he swears this almost never happens; he shoots too quick and misses completely.

The dance between both the TIE and A-Wing is still ongoing, both doing their best to out do the other, and Karas isn't allowing the TIE to escape him. Though as the Tie tries to jink and climb, Karas keeps on his original flight path. His targeting system lights up with a lock on and the right laser cannon swivels up in the direction of that TIE and Karas fires with the cannon at a 90 degree angle blowing up the TIE. <<Splash one Eyeball.>>

<<Drop Two to Drop One, I'm back on track...literally>> Drop Two's pilot cautions as she approaches from the rear this time, cruising along the rail for the scenic route while using the train itself as a bit of a wind block. The dropship swerves at the last moment to slip around and hug up alongside the rear flank. Like Drop One, it latches tightly over one of the doors, but doesn't power down.

Drop One is likewise 'on' and ready for abrupt departure should it be needed. Inside, there's orderly chaos as troops scramble to cut their way in and ready the stun grenades. <<Thanks for pavin the way, Corps>> Drop One issues to the SFC <<We'll take it from here. Just uh...don't go too far?>> A tiny thumbs-up may or may not be seen pressed against his viewport, aimed at the sky.

Ektor climbs and climbs on the strength of one engine nacelle, lining up an excellent attack vector on the surviving TIE. <<Coming up on you from ground side, Gold Leader; I got- sonuva->> Ektor abruptly curses, and breaks off the attack as the last TIE pilot (Alpha Leader) makes a brilliant maneuver, using every iota of maneuverability to put Ektor in his sights, only narrowly missing the battered Y-wing. "That Hutt-sucker is good," he mutters, grudgingly.

<<You got what now, Green 2?>> David chuckles as he watches the TIE chase after Green 2. The fact that its pilot is preoccupied means David gets a free shot at him. And of course, that means the TIE pilot does crazy maneuvers to keep on Green 2's tail, causing all of Dave's blasts to go -just- wide. <<Oh, nevermind. I see what you mean.>>

"Who is this kriffing pilot?" Jessika tries to get him in her sights, but he banks and twists up in avoidance, causing a hard break because the angle that she's coming in at is just wrong to pursue him well. She cuts her speed, but has to deal with looping around versus trying to pull a zero-g maneuver. <<Standby.>> She's going to get this fancy wannabe if it's the last thing that she does.

The A-Wing rolls through eh explosion and the laser cannon rights itself. Karas hears the com chatter of a TIE pilot who's giving the others problems, he banks hard left and begins giving chase. Karas isn't far from the enemy fighter and as he gives chase, Karas continues to remain calm, <<I'm on him.>> he says into the comms and as the pilot does a split S, Karas follows, almost losing him, but he's not easily evaded and as the TIE dives, the A-Wings laser cannons track and lower down and he fires destroying the TIE. <<Splash Two>> he calls into his comm. <<Enemy bandits cleared Drop 1 and 2.>>

Alpha Leader, weaving and maneuvering among five enemies with such skill that not only does the TIE remain in the air, it remains on the attack, laser cannons cooking the atmosphere outside Green 2's cockpit. Yet against such odds, no pilot can prevail for long. As Karas' A-wing finally puts an end to Alpha Leader's fight, the Resistance pilots note their adversary ejecting from the doomed fighter, moments before the fiery death of the TIE, leaving the sky firmly in the hands of the Resistance, as the fight within the train is just beginning...