Log:Resistance: Bloody Hypothesis - Part I
A plea for help had come to the Resistance through an unusual source: a remote colony on Cophrigin in the Ash Worlds had sent an appeal for help directly to one of the Jedi. If they are to be believed, an entire automated invasion force was descending upon them, backed by Lianna SDF cruisers. The colonists are attempting to evacuate, but are pinned behind their planetary shield, unable to flee and under heavy attack.
Resistance Intel had been hesitant, fearing a trap; they could find no reason for so large a force to assail such an insignificant target, and there was no First Order chatter hinting at any such operation. As well, Resistance fleet command could not release the handful of capital ships that safeguarded Naboo, meaning that any relief force would be limited to a small number of fighters, an army group with a few combat vehicles aboard the landing shuttle *Messenger*, and whatever private assets could be scraped together. Yet, the potential loss of life if the plea is sincere was too great to ignore, so here they are, with orders to break through any planetary blockade, escort the army force to ground, and hold open an escape corridor long enough for the colonists of Cophrigin to evacuate.
Just another day in the Resistance.
A short trip through hyperspace ends with the abrupt realization that the attack is real and has been underway for some time. Two Guardian-class light cruisers, a Vindicator heavy cruiser (the *Battle of Ranroon*), and the ominously familiar Ton-Falk escort carrier *Indrexu's Shield* menace the bleak planet. Five full squadrons of various TIE craft are also in the void (Alpha and Beta squadrons of TIE/fo, X squadron of Bizarro drones, X2 squadron of TIE Bombs, and Chimera squadron of some unidentified new model), along with six AAL troop transports. Fighting a desperate holding action against all of this is a handful of outdated, outgunned Z95 Headhunters.
The moment the Valor arrives in system, Black Leader detaches from the pylon and angles off, the engines coming to life while the S-foils remain in cruise position. <<"This is Commander Poe Dameron of the New Republic Navy; We're here to assist. All Callsigns, converge toward Black Squadron and let's work together.-- Resistance, check in and form on my wing. We're helping the Headhunters first. We'll last a lot longer with friendlies helping us.">>
"I see them, buddy." Poe twists his craft with practiced grace and engages the afterburners. They needed to move quickly. <<"Poe, this is Javos aboard the Valor. We're not going to be able to withstand the amount of fire coming our way.">> -- <<"I know. Set your coordinates to micro-jump back out once all our fighters have disembarked. I'll call for you when we need you.">>-- <<"Understood, Commander. Suralinda, out.">>
Black Four frees itself from its resting spot to fall in after Poe. Kare in the cockpit maneuvers her ship in the trail of the leader, waiting to get the low down on what is going on. As Poe lays out their approach and what they are to do, she slides in along his starboard side and behind. A wedge will do and she is coming in hot with her foils open.
<"Black Four reporting, starboard."> Simply said, Kare is checking all her systems and assuring her payload is full.
The pylon lock opens and Black Squadron is released into space two by two. Tallie adjusts the knot of her white scarf, tugs on an adjustment of her helmet and toggles a display of what they will be facing. Habitual gestures that work her into battle mindset. <Roger that. Black 5 in port formation, Black Leader>
She lifts a thumbs up for the rest of the wing to see. "Here we go, Fiver."
Detaching from the Valor himself, Callax lifts off the pylon in Black Ten, and follows in along with the others in the task force - trailing behind, given the difference in their speed capacities. << Black Ten, boards green and guns hot. At your command, Leader. >>
Keying off the comms, Callax heaves a bit of a sigh as he gathers himself for the fight to come, mentally counting sun-kissed silhouettes of waiting death in the distance. "Right then," he murmurs to Fang over local intercom. "Let us sing them the song of our people, shall we?"
That is one sky /full/ of bad news; Nova Korell winces faintly as she sees it, but kills power to the magna-lock holding the fighter to the corvette and kicks in the main engines, swooping away from the /Valor/ to form up with Tallie. <Black Eleven, ready to turn and burn,> she comms. "Hope you didn't have any pressing plans, Jammer." The astromech blats derisively. Even if he had, the cause is the important thing here.
Zandra isn't in an x-wing as yet, but she's here. Why? Because it was a quick scramble and she was there and ready. Which means Blue 2 is there, maybe the only A wing in the group. <Blue 2, forming up,> she comms as she too scrambles out, and gets out to see what's there. "Wait, why did I come again?" she murmurs as she takes in the sight. "Oh stars."
Ektor emerges into the ongoing and one-sided battle with a low whistle. The Tionese is flying Gold 1, with Gold 2 piloted by his old gunner Mekil Colez on Ektor's right wing. <<Golds one and two falling in, yeah?>> A porcine grunt from Gold 2 affirms the summary.
Aboard the Resistance shuttle *Messenger*, the pilot states, <<This is the Messenger, beginning our descent toward the planet.>>
The battle swiftly grows to swallow the new arrivals, with Alpha Squadron veering to intercept, while half the TIE Bombs break formation at high speed and fly to intercept the Bunkerbuster, as the first probing volleys of long range cannons begin to gauge distance. For a moment, space remains dark, and then the void is full of cannonfire.
<<"Blue 2, I need you to engage your jammer until the Valor is gone. It will prevent the bombers from getting locks. Everyone else, follow me in. We need to free up our friends. More of us means a bad time for them.">> Poe reaches up to engage his s-foils, opening them up which slows his craft slightly. He finds his first target, blasting it with a hit before passing by. "Hang on back there, buddy!"
As Black Leader veers in on his target and tags it, Kare pulls a tight turn to angle in on the TIE's other side, coming in to offer some added fire while it is still compensating from Poe's greeting. Three shots hit and space is littered with a small explosion and debris as she rushes right past it to try to form back up and keep Poe in sight.
She pulls hard on the controls <"Joy! Contact down."> She looks back to see the blossom of color and illumination as Tallie scores a hard hit on her own target. A nod is given as she pulls back around to keep up with their attack run.
As the Major breaks formation, Captain Lintra drops out of their initial plane of orientation and breaks to starboard. Not a standard maneuver but they are once again facing the Droid TIEs who she thinks don't always deal well with the unexpected.
There is an initial contact and the roil of rapidly expanding gases as the first Bizarro explodes under the Major's lasers and Lt. Kun's.
"Did I mention that I hate these thing, Fiver?" She thumbs open the cap to the laser firing mechanism gunning for Bizarro two, red lasers lance the distance between them. "Hah. Well, three on them will leave them limping. On to the next target."
Now the thing about being in the back means that you can spot the nasty lads coming and get a bit of a jump - and a jump is indeed what Callax gets. Well, along with everyone else, as drone ships are exploding all around, but our hero (cough) pours on firepower into his chosen target, twin lances of red light battering down the shields to a threadbare shell. "Coming around," he tells Fang, "Keep an eye on the shields, darling. Let's not have our style trampled this time around."
<Sir, permission to try and knock out one of those flying bombs? Maybe I can get it to take a few of its friends with it,> Nova coms, seeing where those suicide boomers are going; right for their ride home. It'll be some trick, but it's worth a try. "Hang on, Jammer."
She pulls Eleven into a tight turn, angling for a tailing shot at a Bomb in the middle of the formation. The grouping is loose; this'll be a long shot. But her own shot is all but perfect, perforating the TIE's booster fuel tank and turning the flying suicide bomb into a fireball. Unfortunately, it's an unproductive fireball, as the nearest Bomb luckily evades the blast. <No joy, Lead. It was worth a try.>
Zan hears the command, and she doesn't even hesitate. <Blue 2, Acknowledged. Jamming now.> Her fingers move without thought as she speaks, and the Awing's jammer is in business. That might limit the communications for everyone, but Zan keeps an eye on the blip that is the Valor. Once it's safely out of system, she can turn off her jammer, right? That's the plan. Now she moves to follow after Tallie, zooming in with the speediness of the ship. She's far more comfy in the seat these days, as she fires at the tie that Tallie already crisped.
Ektor guides his Y-wing smoothly around a salvo of pursuit fire from an Alpha squadron TIE/fo, firing at one of the turbolaser armed 'backwards TIEs'. He misses, but the Gamorrean on his wing scores a hit on a damaged drone, destroying it with a triumphant grunting laugh.
With comms jammed, the reaction of the besieged Headhunters is unknown, but they move swiftly from mere survival, to going on the attack. One if the old fighters is destroyed in a hail of heavy cannonfire, but the others take revenge, and more.
The shuttle *Messenger* takes fire from a trio of TIEs, and the pilot instinctively calls for support, but the same jamming which just saved the Valor leaves the Sentinel pilot panicked but unheard.
Poe has angled his craft in a wide circle, using this to gather speed and watch as the battle takes place. He has to be quick to identify elements of the battle that are not going to plan, and make adjustments. When Poe takes a light hit to his craft, he turns to see what, but BB-8 assures him that it was a glancing blow; emphasis on the glance. Nodding, he turns back, initiates a twist in his flight routine, and glances down to see the Messenger taking some heat. Poe's unable to communicate the importance of that transport, but he can show it. Black Leader breaks off from the immediate conflict and increases his speed toward the three crafts engaging the Messenger. His first pass slams into one of the three, nearly buckling their shield and forcing them to break off. Poe chuckles, coming back around. "Alright... let's see!"
As they have their own attachments now, the fire strays wide of Kare and she rolls to the right, breaking formation just as Poe rockets off to help the shuttle. Kare misses that entirely and is quick to pull a tight turn, using what maneuverability her X-Wing has to get her into position upon the one firing at her, getting off two shots as she screams past it. They hit but not enough to drop the shields of her target, her tongue clicking sharply as she already begins the tight turn to return fire once more.
<"Black Four, contact hit. Not down. In pursuit.">
Explosions to port, explosions to starboard, "Here I am, stuck in the middle again. They get better every fight, Fiver," Lintra says abstractedly concentrating on the larger picture.
Lurid green bathes the cockpit as they take a direct hit and shields are down to half. "You know the dance - fix us, fix us up." Around them others take direct hits more severe than her own. Gloved hand tight on the throttle she flips them into a roll out of their present position, tracking the rest of the squadron on her left screen, target projections bracketing the nearest Alpha TIE attacking the Messenger. Targeting lines her up and they scare the daylights out of the pilot who returns fire as well.
The song of Callax's people, apparently, is a dirge. A salvo of laser fire strikes Black Ten amidships, shredding its shields and tearing up its hull all the way back to the bow. Immediately, sparks fountain from these near-mortal wounds; there's a loud mechanical shriek from the ship's droid socket as Fang takes a blast, and becomes his own pyre, the noble little droid killed instantly and now a husk burning away at his station.
Alarms blaring in all directions, the cockpit boards blazing with red and his fighter streaming flame and columns of smoke and coolant vapor, Callax closes his eyes for just a moment to mark his cybernetic partner's passing...but only just a moment. Death is coming for him as well. << Black Leader, >> he calls, every word flat and measured, << Boards are red and my astromech is gone. I can't stay in the fight. Returning to the Valor. >> Perfect teeth clench for just a moment, and he swings the ship around on an intercept course with the basecraft, flying as evasively as he can - and successfully manages to dock with the pylon despite the storm of laser fire around his ship. His fight, for now, is done.
Nova fires again, trying for another TIE Bomb... which is only damaged. "Feh... I'd better stop wasting time on these things and rejoin the squadron." Fortunately, Jammer is having better luck than she is, and warbles a reassuring message about the shields as Eleven pulls a split-S and hauls jets for the battle raging around the /Messenger/.
Zan keeps the jammer on, sorry Callax! She was told until Valor's outsystem. She circles around, dodging whatever is firing at her and heads towards the bombs at top speed, firing at one, in a very serious attempt to try to blow it up and maybe even have it hit its brethren. AT least if she can blow up one more, that's less damage they can do. The A-Wing is fast and Zan isn't frightened by the speed, taking her shots, and then flipping her ship around to streak back towards the main fight, because, she may be new, she may be inexperienced, but! she knows better than to let herself get surrounded by baddies by herself. Teamwork!
With TIEs swarming all around him, Ektor cracks a crooked grin as his shields are hammered by a trailing fighter. "Just like old times, yeah?" Spotting the besieged Messenger, he joins the push to drive off the pursuit craft, giving a victorious cackle as the fighter breaks off pursuit, and the Sentinal-class boarding shuttle is clear of pursuit, gliding into Cophrigin's atmosphere and vanishing from scopes.
The Bunkerbuster also vanishes in a micro jump, and in another vector, the unclassified Chimera squadron and the half dozen AAL troop transports also disappear into the planet's atmosphere, leaving 7 Bizarro drones, the TIEs of Alpha and Beta squadrons, and six more undeployed TIE bombs; the initial six had either been destroyed or raced blindly out of range.
Then, the quartet of larger ships begin a slow glide closer to the planet.
Black Leader shakes violently, then shakes again following another hit despite Poe's evasive techniques. "Well, do I worry about those?" Poe asks BB-8, sarcasm and humor all at once are lost on the droid that disappears within the socket to figure out what was sparking. He warbles in reply, that he's checking. Meanwhile, Poe responds to the abuse, tagging the fighter that broke off from the Messenger. "Yeah, I didn't forget about you, pal." A glance to the right reveals to Poe that his Corvette got away. Thank goodness for their A-Wing pilot. He lets off a slow sigh, and focuses his attention on the battle, waiting for the comms to come back up.
Kare does not give in and neither does her opponent. Rev is on catch up duty as he gets the shields repaired but not quite there. Black Four wings around quickly, twisting into a barrel roll to leave a strafing set of fire that brings the TIE's shields down to nearly nothing. There is a smile as she sighs though and shakes her head. "Keep it going, Rev. I want to see those shields green," she remarks over the comm with her R5 unit. The little green figure is moving its head back and forth, rapidly trying to solve the problem as his pilot moves him around at break neck speeds. "Good job," she intones as she listens out for the others to call out trouble.
Lintra loses herself in the fight, muttering occasionally at Fiver who tweets back at her as tersely - like an old happily married couple, they read each other.
"Hah! Where did that come from? You talk back to me all the time." They play laser tag with the Alphas each round a grim too even exchange. Fiver brings up their shields only to have them burned down to something less than half. It is Callax limping back to base that plays darkly in the back of her mind.
Catching up, Nova manages to wing a TIE trying to close in on the formation from behind. Jammer has a little bit better luck, restoring Eleven's shields to near full. "At this rate, I'll die of old age before I make ace... if this squadron of TIEs doesn't kill me first. I should just give Callax my fighter. He'd make better use of it."
With the Valor away - no sensors so Zan's depending on keeping an eye on it? Mostly. Or something. Anyway, with the Valor gone, soon's Zan realizes, she switches her jammer off. It's probably a surreal moment as everyone's sensors come back. Zan comms, <Blue 2 here, jammer is now off, so be careful out there. they're not jammed any more.> It might crackle a little as things warm up. Zan then guns her A-wing, aiming at one of the fighters that was firing at her earlier. "Guess now I get to try and extract some payback. I don't like it when folks fire at me."
Ektor cackles over comms, <<THERE you all are, yeah? I was starting to think I was talking to myself. Say, Pretty Boy: them light cruisers are moving into the gravity well, yeah? Me and Mekil gonna blow one up.>> His craft rocks with another hit to the shields, and the Tionese grins. "Genius, make yourself useful, yeah?"
Without the cover of Alpha Squadron, the Sienar drones are grinding down the system defense Headhunters, but are being ground down in turn, as attrition takes its toll on both sides.
With sensors restored, all ships will register an energy spike from the nearby planet, cause unknown.
Unable to sustain his current course, Poe had to face the music; his craft couldn't take anymore punishment. Additionally, Poe's injury was affecting him more than he realized, and as a result, he keyed his comms. <<"I've got to drop out of here. Captain Lintra, you're in comma--">> Black Leader is tagged once more, and the comms chatter cuts out. The fighter's engines catch fire, and the black and orange X-Wing plummets into the atmosphere. Poe Dameron has been shot down for the.. fifth--no.. sixth time! Greatest pilot in the resistance!
Kare is not having ANY Joy the past couple of exchanges and this last one rocks her hard. Rev lets her know shields have dropped and she curses below her breath. "Keep her steady, Rev. We still got contacts and..Poe.." As Poe suddenly dives towards the planet she catches her breath. <"Black Leader!"> That is when she realizes they are missing Callie too and her eyes widen. "Not good Rev, come on." She says and tries to keep herself and the others flying.
Status reports suddenly come crackling in, the holoprojection updating to show all the damage taken among the squadrons both friend and foe. The numbers are against them but when are they not. An Alpha TIE strafes Lintra and they play laser tag with neither of them so damaged that they drop out from the fight.
"Goddess," she breathes when she sees the report on Poe micro-jumping out of the fighter. Fiver whistles the reasons. Tallie whistles back in consternation. A good note in the exchange is Ektor going boom on the light cruiser that was preparing to go into orbit.
The plot thickens when two of the TIEs decide they have had enough of Black 5. The shake is so hard that Tallie bites the inside of her lip and they come out of it with no shields, damaged. "Take us evasive, Fiver! Get shields back on us." <Black 5 has taken damage will report after repairs>
Trying to clear Tallie's tail, Nova at least manages not to hit Tallie. The TIE, of course, flits away like nothing's wrong. And another TIE manages to tag her fighter again, the T-85 shaking under the assault. The shield gauge drops /again/, despite Jammer's best efforts. Some nights, the universe just seems to be against you. Or some invisible crappiness underlying it does, at least. Nova pulls up, trying to force the TIEs to overfly her. <You're covered, Five! Try to pull them down into atmo, where they don't maneuver so well!>
Caught up in this, she doesn't notice Poe's barely-controlled descent until Jammer clues her in. <Dammit! Lead! Lead, do you copy?>
At least Ektor's giving that light cruiser something to think about, at considerable risk to himself. And there's that odd power spike on the surface. Maybe it's something good. Force knows Black Squadron is overdue for some luck, with their history of bucking stacked decks lately.
Zan is trying to keep track of the battle, but she's still busy keeping track of her own ship, and the enemies firing at her. She comes around, dodging the shots aimed her way, and fires back, still trying to get through to deal damage enough to get rid of some of thse enemy fighters, but she's so far not succeeding very well. Her shots are well aimed, but the enemy pilot manages to dodge. Which leaves Zan juking her A wing to the left. It's only when she hears Poe's message, and then starts counting dots that she realizes that Callax is missing. "Oh, this is not good at all," she murmurs, swallowing tightly. "Not at all."
Ektor flies like Hell is on his tail, as R2-G13 warbles in terror as the Y-wing's shields continue to be chipped away by the TIEs screaming after the old bomber. "Don't cry yet," the grinning Ektor warns his droid. "I'm doing it, disable the reload timer, giving these Hutt-suckers a Tion Special.." Avoiding the cascade of point defense laserfire, Gold 1 looses a chain of four torpedoes which hammer through the Guardian-class cruiser's shields, inflicting crippling damage on the light cruiser. Cascading explosions begin to rock the vessel as escape pods start to jettison. Mekil in Gold 2 has less luck, reporting light hull damage with a porcine squeal. <<Go on, drop back, Mekil- I got this. One light cruiser down and out, yeah?>> Poe's report twists his smile into a grimace. "Hope we didn't just gear that guy die, yeah?" he voices to the mournful trilling of his astromech.
With the fall of Black Leader, luck has turned hard against the defenders, and the last three Cophrigin Defense Force Z95s, after a lengthy and valiant effort against the odds, fall prey to the heavy cannons of the Bizarro drones within moments of each other. The fight looks desperate, holding out any longer seems unlikely.. when the first of the colony transports read on the scopes.