Log:Resistance: Cruise Control
The Corellian Engineering Corporation ZD-8000 luxury cruise ship Stellar Paradise is a lavish vessel filled with passengers on a tour of some of the most gorgeous locales in the known galaxy. It hops system to system, planet to planet, and between the natural space phenomenon and the paradise cities they take their customers to, the ship itself serves as a lavish vacation experience offering everything from gambling to the finest of dining experiences. The Stellar Paradise, however, has hit a bit of a snag. After jumping into the Redevar system, the cruise ship, its crew, and its passengers have all been playing host to the scum of the universe: pirates. After firing warning shots at the ship, one of the light freighters, the Kumumgah, has docked to allow a boarding party to take over and begin looting the ship and its passengers of all their goods. Acklay Squadron, consisting of six Z-95 Headhunters, and the YV-666 light freighter No Mercy currently patrol the space around the ship, watching for anything out of the ordinary.
The sudden transition of the Resistance's Black Squadron to real space definitely qualifies as out of the ordinary. Captain Broo Jantsk of the No Mercy barks out orders to his own crew and the Z-95s flying a defensive formation around the cruise ship. Both the freighter and fighters quickly turn towards the Resistance group and begin streaking towards them on an intercept course at full speed.
Ektor is musing aloud to Tenner, "So what you think the inside of a luxury liner looks like? I mean gold plated silver, for sure, but you think it's more of a fancy dress boat, or-" Whatever the other option was, as they return to realspace, he checks in and accelerates toward the fight. "Black Fiiive, S-foils open and cannons liiive. Hey, boss: what we blowing up, first?"
Emerging from hyperspace was always a risk. You never knew what situation was unfolding until time and space slowed and sensors had enough time to calculate and provide a good reading. "This is Black Leader, all call signs check in and adopt an offensive formation. We have to move hard and fast, and fear is not a factor we can tolerate. Our initial run will be their freighter." Poe said confidently while switching for his S-foils to open from their cruise position to attack. His weapons system displayed at once and the cockpit of the Incom T-85 Xwing lit up. "After the initial pass, split into threes and stay together. We'll juggle the freighter as we can. Black 7, 5 and 8 will make up one team. Kare and Elrych will be with me." The squadron saw as Poe's engines glow brighter with an expulsion of red energy, he was going in full throttle. "Go right at these thugs!"
And pop, Kare was back into normal space. "Black 4 good to go" she responds to Poe's call. She straight up deploys her s-foils and sets the scanners to fine detail as well as initilizing her targeting computer. "Roger that, Black Lead" she says before speaking to her droid "Brat, shields 60 front, 40 rear." The droid beeps unhappily.
"Silver 2, reporting in." Comes the young but clearly masculine voice of Elrych Cometburn, Jedi extrodinare. "Roger, lead. Forming up on you." As always he was in his agile Jedi Fighter, designed to intercept fighters and other attack craft head on. He takes a deep breath, turning up the music in his comfy cockpit and pushing the throttle as far forward as he can. His R2 Unit, baby whistles. "Don't worry about it, we'll be fine." He clears his throat, "I hope..." Reaching out he attempts to call on the force to lend him agility in this fight. He adjusts the shields appropriately for an initial pass.
Limia Bonechewer is nestled in the pit of her X-Wing, prepared to pick some bones. Her head shakes a couple times, jowls too snugged by the flight helmet to do /too/ much flapping whilst she tries in vain to rid her nose of a little tickle. Like a few females of her species, she's been a bit vain and proud of her stylish locks, narrow as the band that sprouts from her skull may be. Now is one of those times though when she wonders if it wouldn't just be easier to shave it off and be as nuissance-free as the men. Minor annoyance aside, 'Black Eight' glides effortlessly into formation after exiting the jump and answers Black Leader with a jabbering sound-off of her own readiness. Her nimble little fingers calibrate systems accordingly and mark the No Mercy as present target.
Ektor grins when Poe calls a frontal attack. "I like this plan. Direct, easy to remember." Waggling the wings of his T-85 in the approach, he slips onto Jessika's wing opposite the Sullustan rookie. Gloved thumb drums idly against the ergonomic flight stick, just to the side of the firing stud. As the pirate gunship draws into range, Black 5 howls past, laser cannons spitting with every bolts hammering into the defenses and leaving the shields flagging. The agile snubfighter executes a sharp rising turnaround, lining up for another pass at the No Mercy, as a pirate Headhunter fires fruitlessly into the void where Ektor had been heading, moments before. "I wanna stomp this guy's throat while the shields are down.."
Poe's Xwing streams past at a blinding speed after weaving through their screen of fighters. His shields take a hit but it left him practically untouched. He squeezed the firing mechanism, firing just as Ektor did and passing over head. He turned about, jerking his craft expertly and aiming toward No Mercy once more. "I agree. Black 4, Silver 2, and Black 8 focus on fighters. With our random attack pattern, the freighter won't know which way to shoot. Black 5 and 7, converge on the freighter for another pass!" Poe adjusts his throttle once more, shoving it forward to push his craft to its max speed once more. He lines up another shot and prepares for the trade off.
"Roger that. Take out that freighter and I'll fly CAP and keep the '95s off your tail," Kare calls out as she pushes the throttles full to the stops. The droid seems to like it as it makes a beeping sound like "Weeee" or it was screaming in bloody terror. Kare decides it was the former. She waits for her targeting computer, now switched to fine resolution, to center on the bandit and she fires. Bolts fly out and strike the small Headhunter and for a moment it seems to freeze, then blows in a fireball with debris flying in all directions. "One down" she calls out as she kicks the '85 around to stay in the fight.
Everyone is having such good luck with their runs it's got Elrych feeling a little bit of a pep in his, stick hand? Either way, the music has him pumped and that fresh high from the Force really is getting his blood vessels pumping. "Silver 2, Wampa 3". He announces and a concussion missile streaks out towards the No mercy. "Come on baby..." The red glow from it lights up the hull plating has is skims the surface and fails to lock. Elrych Sighs, the lucky strike was broken. Baby wirrs at his as he switches back to his cannons, "Yeah I know... you told me so. We'll get the computers calibrated when we get back to the ship..." "Silver Two moving to engage fighters." A flight of Headhunters attempt to stalk him, firing wildly at him as he twists an turns, adjusting the speed here and there in his agile fighter. "Yeah, you guys take care of that, Five... I'll help mop up these fighters." They needed to get this done quick.
Some little Sullustese oath burbles out under breath as her firing strikes shallowly across the freighter's shields. Too shallow to really pack a punch. "Copy, Black Leader" Black 8 swoops on over and banks around to realign with her new group of three - Black 4 and Silver 2 - but a sudden scream of warning from her sensors says she's not escaping retaliation. A solid blast from No Mercy aims to sever the right, lower S-Foil and punches the shield so hard that the little astromech squeals its own string of displeasures. Damage!
"Shields Bent...50" Limia reports with only a /tiny/ bit of tremor in her voice. It's not been a great start to the mission, but it could always be worse. Rather than dwelling on the ominous sounds coming from the droid and its ministrations to her defense system, the rook focuses on keeping pace with her new buddies and setting a new target.
Exiting hyperspace with the rest of the Squadron, Jessika Pava toggles her s-foils into attack position. "This is Black Seven, engaging." Setting a vector for the No Mercy, as per Black Leader's instructions, the T-85's four fusial engines flare brightly as she accelerates ahead. Adapting her positioning to be on Black Five's wing, Jessika groups up in the tri-based formation of a typical flight unit to both provide cover to her wingmates and to receive cover from them in turn. Centering the light freighter in her targeting reticle, Jessika waits until the distance has properly closed before a squeeze of the trigger adds her own fire to the mix of multiple laser cannon blasts heading straight for the enemy craft. "No Mercy's shields are down! Direct hit!" Moments later, she's receiving direct hits of her own as one of the Z-95's unleashes a pair of shots that impact hard on her shields. "My shields are down to half!"
Unprepared for the onslaught, Captain Jansk aboard the No Mercy watches in shock as his shields are damaged horribly in the onslaught of concentrated fire from the X-Wings of Black Squadron. Acklay One, who is singled out by Black Four in a split from the attack plan, is destroyed as the hammering of the X-Wing's shots pop straight through its shields and melt through the hull of the fighter. An explosion that's quickly snuffed out in the void of space leaves it a twisted heap of alloys that are bent outwards from the explosion from inside, and there's no trace of the pilot that, as his body is atomized by the fire. Now that the distance is closed, the combat becomes a frenzy of close quarters space combat, with Acklay Squadron and the No Mercy swarming around the Resistance fighters in what is now an even-numbered fight.
Ektor cants his head to a curious angle as Kare answers Poe in succinct verbal shorthand. "What language was that? I swear, you Republic types got another word for everything, yeah?" he grins before noting the first kill. "Nice shot... Drek, I forgot what number you are, Kare." The grin twists into a wince as his wingmates take a pair of hard hits. "Were you cussing, Lim? That sounded like cussing. You good?" Jessika's report of hull damage on the target is followed up with another aggressive run from Black 5. Cannons tear deep into the hull as Ektor screams past, the gunship briefly venting air from breaches in his wake. "Finish this bum off, yeah?" he drawls, promptly veering off to support his wingmates, deftly avoiding the fire of a passing Headhunter.
It takes no time at all for Poe to find his comrades in space, and they assume a good formation before Ektor slightly takes the lead to spark off several shots along the hull. Poe didn't wait to see the extent of the ship's endurance, he fired right after Ektor and followed his contrails about. He didn't see the explosion of the freighter as it first expanded outward before being consumed with fire that burned the rest of the oxygen from the vicinity leaving only the flash charred broken debris and a skeleton of a former freighter. "Nice job! Now let's mop these guys up quick. Stay in your wings and cover each other." Poe has to turn his body to find Jess, then looks to find Ektor and adjusts course to align with him again. He flips the proximity switch to turn off the small alarm and adjusts his targeting device when one of the fighters comes into view.
Right off from blowing the first Headhunter away Kare lines up the second. Dead on. She fires and the Headhunter slips off to the right causing her fire to go wide. "Damn, she's good," Kare mutters to her self as she fights her craft to stay on target. Lasers fly in her direction but they are way off and thus ignored. She maintains her focus on the second Headhunter, though her craft is way newer that other is pretty nimble making Kare work for it. They zig and they zag as Kare tries to line up the shot "Damn, she is really good," Kare mutters again.
Elrych Cometburn is hot on the tail of Acklay Three as the others finish up with the Mercy. "This guy is pretty good..." He says to himself as the Headhunter has him juking port and starboard, Pitch and Yaw changing with the wind. He gets a Tone though and fires, two bolts from his linked cannons. They're right on target but the Headhunter turns towards him just as they're about to hit, having hem impact on the edge of the shielding instead. "Awww, Drek..." Elrych says as the bolts start flying towards him when the Headhunter comes about and he starts to activly dodge until the craft passes by and he can attempt to get behind him once more.
Black 8 rolls sharply about-face to catch Headhunter 4 in her crosshairs, tracking it just a short while before sending a barrage of laser cannon streaming after its tail. The impact is visible, sparks fly, and Limia's head bobs vigorously with a little hoot of victory...until the anticipated explosion doesn't come. WHAT!? Somehow, the Z-95 limps along, all signs pointing to life. "Yubjimma k'pluc!" she exclaims in a way that confirms Ektor's suspicions and then to her astromech, who answers back with a status update. Shields at 80 percent. Acceptable. "On the mend" she announces to her wingmates and wheels around to get a visual on the others, then around again to revisit her former target and hopefully finish the job.
Sticking to the plan of attacking the freighter while the other elements engage the fighters, Jessika attempts to line up a second run against the No Mercy. She never has a chance. Black Five and Black Leader's fire completely shred the freighter to pieces, and a violent explosion as its power drive goes critical leaves it blasting apart into large chunks that go hurtling through space. Now only the five Z-95s of Acklay Squadron are left, and Jessika adjusts her heading to compensate. While she sizes up one of the fighter's, it's of little use. Ali restores some of her shields, but none of her jockeying around the debris and the other fighters can get her into a firing position. "This piece of drek is slippery.."
Captain Jantsk and his crew have little time to digest the violence of action Black Squadron brings to their ship before they simply no longer exist. They perish in the explosion of their freighter, just like Acklay One before them. The other fighters in Acklay Squadron aren't so unlucky, though, and are still in the fight. Acklay Two sends out a distress call to the Kumumgah, which has been docked with the luxury cruise ship the whole time, and sends another subspace transmission elsewhere. The Kumumgah, another Corellian Light Freighter, and a YT-2400 at that, detaches and swings towards the fight with its dual laser cannon turrets spinning forward in search of targets. Aboard, Captain Pranda Kon is giving orders for the engagement and blitzing towards the X-Wings.
Ektor spares a moment to veer after the Headhunter that had fired at him, sending a quartet of lasers after the Z-95 in an awkward potshot, before prompting aloud, "Hey, Bee-El: what you wanna blow up next, yeah?"
"All call signs, converge on the new freighter of the battle. Focus all you've got on them!" Poe addressed the whole unit and answered Ektor's question simultaneously. They could not allow the pirates to get the upper hand in this battle even if that meant ignoring fighters for a pass. "Once we do this pass, Black 4, 8, and Silver 2 resume fighter duty. Black 5 and 7 will stay with me attacking the freighter." Poe's craft took a heavy hit that left his shields at 50% according to his readout. "Alright buddy, work your magic back there. I'll do my best to avoid anymore hits like that." BB-8 warbles a reply back and disappears into his socket briefly. Poe comes about, centering on the YT-2400 once more. "Form up! We're doing this!"
A glance to where Poe is and Kare spots him going after the YT-2400. She banks Black 4 over and and takes a very long shot. More of an attention getter than really hoping to hit anything. But she does and there is the tiny-est sparkle on the shields of the freighter "Well heck. I hit it!" She giggles. "Backing you up, Black Leader" she com's as she dives in closer to both Poe and the freighter. As she nears fire erupts from the freighter aimed right at her. Shields sparkle and Kare gets jostled around in the cockpit. The other shots go wide "Shields blunted that, no worries. Still on it," she com's as she still dives right for the freighter.
Elrych finally gets the upper hand as he comes back around on Acklay 3. The Corellian smiles, eyes bright behind those shades of his streamin with sensor information. His music blares as the rectical goes green and he lets loose a volly that smashes right into the Headhunter with violent fury. However, it's of surprise to the Jedi as no explosion comes. "What that heck." The Headhunter appears to turn off and start away from the action. "Herm... well I think I'll let him go. Papa Jonn would approve, don't you think Baby?" The droid whistles an affirmative. Though as he's searching for his next target the cripples Headhunter comes back around and tries to sneak up on him, bolts wizzing past his shield. "I was being NICE!" He complains as he jukes away. The call to form up on the freighter comes in and Elrych has to rip himself away from attempting to finish off that fighter to push his engines to full throttle towards the 2400. "Roger Lead, Forming up."
BLAMBLAMBLAMBLAM, is the greeting card sent to Black 8's old friend, Acklay 4. If only that handsome Niem could see her now...
It's received as well as Limia'd hoped and fireworks ensue where once there was a Z-95, but even this sweet sense of accomplishment cannot lighten the heavy feeling in her gut when the Kumumgah comes out to meet them. <Ninety-three percent> her droid updates and continues to nurse the sizzled shield array toward full health. "Iggu jaja," she solemnly comments to her binary partner, then radios a "Black 8 Copies" and turns her back on the few fighters left to join in the run at the heat-packin YT-2400 "Following you at 8 o'clock, Black 4".
Attempting to engage Acklay Six is not going any better than it was the first time. Another of the pirate squadron disappears off her sensors, indicating that yet another has fallen to the Resistance fighters. As her shots go wide and Ali reports that a second freighter is joining the fray, Jessika tilts her flight stick to turn her X-Wing's port forty-five degrees from its position as both rudder control and a pull backwards sends her craft banking around to find the new threat that's joining in on the fight. "Acknowledge, Black Leader. Seven is with you." There's no sense in trying to maintain her pursuit of the Headhunter when there are bigger threats to worry about. When the nose of her fighter is aimed in its direction, she angles her flight stick to resume her last orientation.
As the Kumumgah enters range, it takes a glancing shot that does little damage to its shields. It responds in kind, sending a torrent of dual laser cannon fire from its turrets at the fighter that managed to touch it, and it's rewarded with much more damage than it took itself in a relative fashion. Acklay Four perishes to Black Eight, and Acklay Three takes parting shots before turning tail and heading for an escape vector that will allow it to jump out of this crazy fight. As the pilot pushes the ship's throttle as far forward as it will go, the direction that it's heading goes from being empty space to being occupied space as another six Headhunters drop out of hyperspace, looking ready for a fight.
"Kriff yeah, we're doing this!" Ektor returns to Poe's orders, banking for an attack run at the big armed freighter, even as another half dozen pirate fightercraft enter the system. Though his cannons are fired with great enthusiasm but to little effect. "...okay, well we're KINDA doing this," he amends, as more time is spent trying to avoid enemy fire than is spent aiming his own. Black 5 dodges and whirls away from each incoming salvo as a trio of Z-95s waste their shots after him, but he doesn't scratch the big target.
Poe leads the assault in this time but his window to fire shortens when the 2400 shows its agility and slips right from his targeting computer. He doesn't say anything, he just focuses on bringing his fighter around as the proximity from his sensors alerts him of the new arrivals. This isn't going well, but he doesn't make any adjustments to their battle plan. For this to work, three of them will have to take on the newcomers while they try to hammer this freighter again. "Black 5, Black 7 on me. Let's hammer this freighter. Let the fighters pass between us. Black 4, Black 8, Silver 2.. you all have more fighters to shoot at. Cover each other!" Poe engages his thrusters and shoves the throttle forward again. He's hungry for the freighter and wants nothing more than to tear it to shreds.
Laser blasts are flying every which way and as soon as Brat gets the shields repaired Kare gets hit again. Brat, of course, lets her know what he thinks of all this. "It's not like I am trying to get hit Brat. Just, well fix the things again." Brat realy lays into her on that as he does go about attempting to repair the shields again. Kare's X-Wing zooms past the freighter and she climbs, relative to the ship to get some seperation before she will turn Black 4 on it's tail and dive, not for the freighter but angles for one of the fighters. "Copy that, switching to the fighters" Kare replies.
Elrych Cometburn looks at the sesnors ans sees the ship actually breaking off now, maybe that headhunter had enough finally and was backing off. "Yeah... you run away, bantha kriffer. I won't be so nice next time." Once he gets a tone, he lets a volly of cannon fire, fodder? Something like that lash out against the 2400. They splash against the shields, shimmering slightly. "That's odd, Lead. THey must have extra Shield Power or something..." Or he was hitting it the wrong way, he was probably hitting it the wrong way. "Copy, back on the Fighters" He grumbles as he brings the arrowheaded interceptor about, "Kriffing Pirates, they multiply like bacteria."
Okay, so the party just got a little more wild. Limia Bonechewer gnashes her teeth worriedly while uttering a series of mumbly prayers and rocks her craft side to side as the assault they all face streams harmlessly over her wings. For now. She dips down a bit lower from Black 4's position and then fires the cannons. The Freighter's shields do more than shimmer. They kriffin BLINK, baby, but aren't frazzled out yet. At Poe's prompting, she veers off course and doubles back to join B4 and S2 in keeping the fighters engaged.
Despite the order from Black Leader, Jessika takes note that every member of Black Squadron turns on the Kumumgah and opens fire. With the majority of the Headhunters unengaged, she maintains her current engagement on Acklay Six. A squeeze of her gloved finger against the flight stick's trigger sends a rapid blitz of four shots lancing out from the tips of her fighter, but only one catches the craft and leaves its shields so dim that she can barely see them. They are dim, however, and she knows that another couple of shots could quickly turn the fighter from flying to dust. Ali's continued efforts restore her shields, and potentially just in time, as a warning from her BB unit informs her of multiple hostiles gunning for her. Weaving her X-Wing in rapid, twitch maneuvers, she thankfully avoids the hail of laser fire that streaks by and illuminates her cockpit in crimson. "I need some help with these fighters!" One X-Wing against eight Z-95s is not advisable, even with a Resistance pilot behind the controls.
Captain Kon aboard the YT-2400 takes a look at the readout before her and hikes one eyebrow. She only curses when both her gunners fail to find their mark, but she is not yet worried as the bulk of the pirate force begins to bear down on Black Squadron to make it a skewed fight in terms of numbers. The void is filled with fire from the craft, but these pirates are clearly not as experienced as some of the others that the Starfighter Corps has squared off with in recent times. Still, the combined firepower present is nothing to underestimate, as any number of aligning variables could quickly turn a fight they can potentially win into a horrible situation in the blink of an eye.
" I hear you, Lead," Ektor mutters over the comms, banking sharply to come around on the Kumumgah on Poe's left wing. "Did space just get kinda crowded up here, or is it just me?" the Tionese pilot wonders. He keeps on Black Leader's wing, not adding much firepower, but keeping the lead X-wing covered on that side.... mostly.
Poe's pass hammers the the Kumumgah's shields, but he sees no visible give yet. He's a bit frustrated as the pilot appears to be a bit more skilled than the others. Poe attributes that to the well designed craft though. As he is banking, a passing fighter engages him. It's a harsh hit that leaves his shields hurting, but still present. "Keep at it back there. I'm trying, buddy." Poe's craft seems to maintain its course though, and he twists to maintain some resemblence of a formation as they begin another pass. "Keep at it, everyone. They've lost the fight, they just don't know it yet!"
As she dives the nose of Black 4 sweeps over the Headhunter from earlier. Kare fires and the craft explodes. Still Kare flies on to charge right into the on coming Z-95s. Already selecting her next target. "Brat, how are you doing on those shields?" Which gets Kare an earful of disgruntled Droid speech. "Sheesh, I was just asking. What got your hydraulics in a dither?" Adding fuel to the Droids fire.
"Nope it definatly got crowded," Elrych says over the comm in responce to Ektor as he chases down the last fighter of the original half of the squadron that was here innitially. Before the rest of the group hypered in rather rudly to interup the slaughter Black Squadron was managing before then. THe shields get pumped, almost down but before he can manage another shot, one of the new ones is on his tail and he has to do some fancy flying to keep out of the way. Thankfully, the force is with him today as tingles run down his spine as the scarlet bolts fly past, thankfully not hitting his agile interceptor. Baby whistles, "What, you WANT me to get hit. I know you're getting bord just hang on and enjoy the ride till I need you."
Black 8 keeps herself as slippery a target as she can while keeping near to her senior wingmates. Acklay '6' seems to be a sure thing, but when she punches out those laser blasts, the blasted Headhunter rolls on its axis and veers out of the strike zone. The colorful streaks disappear in the abyss, useless. "Next time," Limia answers the disappointed warble-blooo issued from the rear. "Nice shot!" for Black 4's benefit as she cuts sharply upward to continue hounding the one that got away.
Jessika's not having much luck at all in this engagement. Save for the shot she sunk into Acklay Six, she hasn't been able to hit the broad side of a Death Star. The Kumumgah avoids her attempts at nailing shots, as an angled presentation amid one of its evasive maneuvers leaves her shots glancing off the shields with no more impact than light slaps that really don't help diminish them. Cursing under her own breath, a series of impacts against her own shields reminds her that the hostile targets around her aren't having as much trouble hitting their shots. Ali warns her that shield power is down to forty-three percent, and Jessika's jaw clenches enough that the muscles are definitive landmarks. It's an unnotable trait thanks to the helmet she's wearing, which hides such a feature.
The Kumumgah's evasive patterns leave it with little damage. The rest of Acklay Squadron is digging into the fight, although another of theirs perishes in combat. They might outnumber the Resistance pilots, but the trade off is one-sided in that they're taking all the losses, and that's a bad thing considering that the boarding party on the Stellar Paradise no longer has a ship to return to since the Kumumgah is engaged in combat and there's not a pilot among them. It won't be long before someone on board might get the bright idea to simply escape with the luxury ship. For now, however, it is a silent watcher of the combat between the valiant forces that have come to its rescue and the ones that sought to take advantage of it from the start. A fight the proverbial good guys are winning.
Ektor contributes another few blasts along the periphery of the Kumumgah's shields, to little result. He keeps formation, but growls over the comms, " I got an idea- and don't say no til you hear it! It's moving too fast to get a lock, but if we dumb-fire torpedoes on the next pass, at least something might hit. High risk, high reward, yeah?" Though with the fight swinging so firmly in Black Squadron's favor, such risks might not be needed. Over his shoulder, Ektor hollers at Tenner, "And how come you're so quiet? I ain't been hit ONCE, you oughta be happy, yeah?" R2-T10's fatalistic reply in binary gets a snort from the pilot. "I did NOT just curse us." A narrow miss from a Z95 provokes a knowing warble from the astromech.
Poe leads the assault again slamming hits against the shields of the 2400 and having some effect. He angles off to the right after passing its stern and takes a wide turn to come about. "You're welcome to give it a go, Ektor but my torpedos are still malfunctioning from the last op. I'll stick to my cannons for now." Centering up again, Poe adjusts his speed once more and shoves the throttle forward making the ship rattle with life. "How are we doing out there? Everyone okay?"
And another one bites the dust, er, vacuum. "Splash three. Doing fine." Kare com's out as she sweeps on past the expanding ball of debris. "Shields showing full, thanks Brat." And low and behold the droid actually sounds pleased. Kare continues on as laser bolts flash by, her eyes locked on the next ship she intends to go after "Keep an eye out for my six, Brat." Who responds with his usual sarcastic self. "I can replace you, you know." Which elicts a sound much like a laugh.
Elrych Cometburn is such a hotshot as he pulls around and continues to chase after Acklay 5. "Almost there..." He says, "Allllmost there..." And that's when Kare comes zooming in from three o'clock and blasts the thing to pieces. If it weren't for his training he might have had a fit right then and there. "Wah...?" He just blinks. "Thanks, I guess? Not like I need to make Ace any time soon, Kare-Bear." Yeesh. He shakes it off and turns to head after Acklay 6 who's a bit of a ways away. He tries a volly from distance but they go wide and flick before disappearing into the vastness of space. He pushes the engines hard forward.
Limia pumps an enthusiastic fist at the flyby of Silver Two who also takes shots at her evasive target, before letting fly her own salvo. The Headhunter dodges Elrych's pewpews at a cost, in that it chase them back within range of Limia's crosshairs and /that/ results in a flash of white and dispersal of pirate particles that shall pirate no more. The rook can chalk 2 on her killboard, but there's no sense in rejoicing yet. 6 Z-95s remain and the Kumumgah is still a menacing presence. "As fresh as a volcanic spring, Black Leader" Black 8 replies. And then, in case that lil Sullustan saying didn't quite translate, adds "Shields 100 percent" "Thanks for the assist, Silver 2"
Lining up on the Kumumgah, Jessika refuses to let the frustration of previously missed shots get under her skin. The combat is chaotic and they're outnumbered. The best thing she can do right now is keep her cool. As her BB unit continues tireless efforts to keep her shields stabilized and the deflectors operating correctly, Jessika forces herself to take her time on the next run at the Kumumgah, and to not shoot as soon as its in her sights. She waits, instead, as Poe and Ektor continue to engage it at their own intervals, and for that perfect timing where it's at the tail end of a maneuver. Only then does she assure her reticle is centered before a squeeze of the trigger spits a quad salvo directly at it. Three impact hard against the shields, and Jessika doesn't need an analysis to tell her that the freighter's shields are showing some wear. "This is Seven. Solid hits!"
Acklay loses two more fighters in explosions that leave the void of space littered with destroyed wreckage. The Z-95s are inferior to the new X-Wings in every way, and the differences in the skills of the pilots are beginning to show, too, as the Squadron is down to half of its original size. Even Captain Kon is unsure of the future of this fight as her vessel's shields continue to get lower, and yet the Resistance is still at full strength, albeit at the expense of some very busy astromechs. With the fight truly even, the shuttle carrying the Resistance's Army contingent is more than free to move in and begin its own boarding operations to remove the pirates not only from the system, but from the vessel they're attempting to extort for money and treasure.
"You're prolly right, Poe. Smarter to stick with the guns," Ektor admits, grudgingly. "Much smarter. Cannons ain't limited, only got so many torpedoes." Tenner honks in agreement. "Higher percentage shot, too." Tenner honks again. ".... I'm gonna try torpedoes," he decides, to a groan from the long suffering astromech. As his wingmates strafe the Kumumgah with lasers, chipping away at its defenses, Black 5 launches a pair of unguided torpedoes at the big freighter, trying to lead the 2400, but sizzling harmlessly across the vessel's bow.
Poe manages to fire but the pilot anticipates his pass this time. Poe's aggressive flying earns him the attention of three fighters, and he spins through the onslaught of fire and miraculously remains unhit. Poe's blood is pumping then and a big smile forms as he shakes his fist laughing. "Yeeeeah! Hahaha.." BB-8 tells him it isn't over yet, and to that Poe agrees. "I know buddy, I know. See if you can squeeze some more juice in our shields." "All call signs, let's do another pass on this freighter again. Focus all fire and see if we can encourage its shields to break! Form up on me for the next pass!"
"Sorry about that El. I am in a bit of a hurry. I just got a new bottle of Corellian whiskey in" Kare says after blasting his target. She continues on and for a fleeting instant another Headhunter appears in her view. A quick snap shot is taken before she banks to go after the Z-95, a miss but she wasn't really counting on it. More of a hope shot. A grunt as she turns sharply after the Headhunter and a whistle from Brat as she nearly exceeds the compensators. But then the call comes out and Kare grunts harder as she keeps the bank up and turns back to the Freighter again. "Roger that, Black Leader".
"Try again Xer, you'll get it eventually. Not like what you got will do anything to a RSD when and if it shows up." Elrych encourages as he plows a hard hit into Acklay 10, who as shot at him previously and away from the others. Of course that means 12 comes after him as soon as he does while 11 engages Kare. He's able to maneuver out of the way, sensing the shots before they come. He'd gotten really good at that these days, it was such an engrained skill for him as a Jedi. So very handy. He looks to his sensors and sees Ten limping along, stil alive but not by much. He moves in for another pass but Poe comes over the comms asking for another run on the 2400. "Understood" "I'll be back for you... nows your chance to run away." He says to Acklay 10.
"Odds're good enough for me," says the pilot ferrying that Army contingent, watching pirate after pirate explode and listening to what /sounds/ to be promising comm chatter. "Shall we?" And they do. (insert future Army entry point here)
Black 8 finds a new dance partner in this dogfight and tries to catch the wily snub-fighter as it arcs around from her 2 o'clock, but fails terribly. Sounds of frustration jibber on alien tongue inside her helmet and she jukes left, right, and can't quite manuever back to an advantageous position. On the contrary, she's become the prey and Black 8 is soon rattled by a return volley from Acklay 8. "AH" Limia yips, but a reassuring check shows the shields to be holding...for now. "75 isn't bad," she tells herself more than the droid who gets to work assessing the damage while she keeps up the acrobatics. "BLACK 8 IS ON THE WAY...got a little itch on my 6, though" Limia dips into a final turn to put the freighter back in her sights and reforms with the squad hoping to keep out of range of A8 in the meantime.
Watching Black Five miss a pair of torpedoes flung at the freighter, Jessika manages to sink another shot into it not too long after. It's shields are growing dimmer, but she knows that it's not too much of a burden on the freighter, because that's the same exact type as the Outrider, and it would be shrugging off these kind of hits, too. The torpedoes not so much, but the X-Wing's laser cannons? They're not doing a very good job of chewing through the ship's defenses. "This pilot is no joke, no matter what we use," Jessika's opinion is tacked onto the assessments made by her fellow pilots. She has little time to glance towards the battle that's continuing to unfold apart from the freighter, and concentrates more on shifting onto Poe's port wing. "Acknowledge, Black Leader."
The rest of Black Squadron is winning, too, and nothing seems to be changing that. Even if none of the pirates have punched their ticket in the last few moments, one is fleeing desperately from the Aethersprite which has left it shieldless and almost slag floating in space. The chatter about retreat has already begun, but Captain Kon is not quite ready to give up yet. They still have a chance to turn this around and make the Resistance pay for all the lives that have been lost so far. Hardheadedness and pride are a fatalistic pair of personality flaws to have together, and the captain has both in heavy helpings. Rather than abandon the fight with such numbers, she orders the continued engagement of the Resistance fighters.
Ektor acknowledges Poe's call, " I hear you, boss," But he clearly also hears Black 4. "You in the mood to share, Kare?" he grins as eyes fix on the target looming ahead. He snickers to Elrych. "No lie, yeah?" Idly chewing his lip as he bears down in formation, " I'm gonna lead him left with the torpedoes, this time, if he don't run into them, they're probably breaking right," he relays to the others, just before the missiles are fired. Once again, the bolts of fiery proton doom sear past the nimble freighter, flying out to detonate harmlessly once they have flown out of range. "Eh, drek."
Poe adjusts course to allow the other fighters to join his formation, then leads them toward the freighter again. The leeway he hopes to score against the freighter is lackluster though as most of the squadron seems to miss. This time Poe breaks his bearing and swears, but he doesn't hit anything in the cockpit. "Damn it!" BB-8 warbles the obvious and Poe tries his best not to snap at his companion. "I know buddy, I know. We'll just have to keep whittling it down--Whoa! Hold on!" Thick bolts of laser fire encourage Poe into evasive action as he is pursued and sought after with cannons. "That was close!" "Same teams again. Continue with the fighters, we'll try to whittle these shields down again! Ektor, Jess... Come on, we got this!"
Kare swoops in and fires as she nears the 2400. Solid hits were made and as she files past it she waits for a count then cuts all power, flips her ship so she pointing back at the freighter and still opening up the range. As she gets where she wants she throws the throttles back to the front, arresting her backwards slide and nearly stops before starting to inch back towards the Corellian ship. "Shields took the fire so they must be weakened" she says and gets ready for another shot.
Elrych Cometburn flips over to Missles with a twitch of his thumb and lets it fly when he gets his nose pointed right, but just as that happens Ackley Ten and Twelve are back on him, one even peppering his shields a good bit and bringing them down. The interceptor rocks as his missle flies way wide as the lock is broken. He laughs, "Well baby... here's your chance, yeah? Get to work on the shields." Then he's turning around to head back into the frey against the fighters. "Damn gnats..." He grumbles.
Oh, snap. Black 8 manages to stay out of the crosshairs during the run at this freighter, but her own contribution to the firestorm sails harmlessly by the craft's portside bow. Drat. Limia peels off her charge and seeks a smaller fish to fry. "I'll help get those fleas off your back, Silver 2" she repositions to draw some of the headhunters' attention off of Cometburn.
Their effort of concentrated fire is an abysmal display of missed shots, torpedoes, and a missile streaking off to detonate harmlessly. Her own helped none by striking empty space, and the Kumumgah's dancing leaves no doubt that the individual at the helm is no stranger to engagements like this. A seasoned veteran of the pirate life? She's not sure. What she does know is that the freighter before them has weathered a storm of fire and is still going and pumping out potential death every moment it's still flying. Rather than let it be a discouragement, she berates herself for the failure and uses the self-aimed anger as fuel to channel her focus into a fine point with the freighter at the heart of it all. There's no way she's going to allow this level of performance from herself.
The Kumumgah is not led or crewed by amateurs. While the No Mercy may have gone down within a short span of time, the YT-2400 is a powerhouse ready to cause pain to any of those that underestimate it. Acklay Squadron's relief gives them the breathing room to launch their own attacks on the Resistance pilots, but it doesn't help their situation. The pilots of the Resistance are too well versed in evasive maneuvers during their attack runs. Many have had practice running such risky tactics in much tighter confines than the void of space. Still, the battle is stalled at an even number, and the needle of advantage refuses to tip any farther in the Resistance's direction at the moment.
"Kriff it, I'm going in close," Ektor mutters, reducing his speed slightly in order to more closely match the wheeling 2400 for several seconds; long enough to match its maneuvering while pouring more shots into the freighter's shields. "They felt that one," he notes idly.
Poe was right behind Ektor on this run, but the pilot anticipated the shots so well that Poe had to give them props. Whoever was at the helm of this freighter knew exactly what they were doing with it. It's a shame they chose to be a piece of trash pirate, the Resistance could use pilots with skill like that. Poe angles off after Ektor again, having turned in a manner that he saw Jess plant her shots into the shields as well. "Great shots, guys! Let's come in strong again. I can feel their frustration with us.." Just like he could feel their frustration at fighting a skill pilot and tough as nails ship. If they did not tie this ship up and crush it though, the pirates would attack another day and that just was not an option. "Form up on Jess. We'll follow you in, seven."
Kare takes her shot, but they go just below the YT. She cuts the throttle so that she is just creeping in "Brat, I am going to hold station here. Keep an eye on those Z-95s and if they head this way, we will skeedadle." Brat beeps and Kare does just as she said. Though an eye flickers to the scanners now and then as she lines her fighter up for a shoot down angle onto the freighter.
Elrych Cometburn finds the Headhunter that did not heed his warning as he went on another run after the 2400 as ordered. He's limping along and attempting to find a target. Elrych comes out from above him and the craft explodes in a bright flash. "I told you to run..." Elrych sends the ship right through the hot and brief explosion just as Baby chirps that shields are back up to full, "Feel better? Good." "Splash one, Lead." On to the next. There's a instinct to flee thouh as WOMP echos through the ship and interupt his music, skipping it a bit as a bolt from the Kommugajuga blasts away a good chunk of his shielding. "You're getting a work out today, Baby. No more complaining, aye? Get going on those Shields again."
Whatever good shootin spree Limia had experienced early on in this fight seems to have sputtered out and she just can't make these shots at Acklay number 12. "Eejaaa," she complains to the astromech who's done ITS job just fine and gotten her shields back in working order. If it's got thoughts on her performance, it's kindly kept them to self. "Silver 2, Ok?" she queries after witnessing the hit.
The splitting of Black Squadron into two separate flights creates a lot more breathing room for the X-Wings, and while Jessika can't explain the reasoning behind it, it also seems to help, because as she lines up her next strafing run on the freighter, she finds these shots impact. Three of the four would have found a home, if not for the last second juke that leaves the other one reflecting off in a frustrating denial of damage. The shields of the freighter have diminished so low during this last concentrated effort, however, that Jessika can barely see them. "Black Leader, Black Seven. I can barely see this freighter's shields. They've got to be close to going down." She hopes. This thing has endured punishment and shown a wealth of luck in equal measure and doesn't have a scratch to show for it.
The Kumumgah's shields are almost gone. What little is left of their strength is almost nothing but a couple of pixels on the readout, and Captain Kon is forced to watch as yet another Z-95 is lost to the guns of a Resistance X-Wing. As frustrating as it is for the Resistance fighters to continuously do no damage to the freighter, the pirates find it just as frustrating that they seem unable to even put a single dent in the Resistance's numbers. A frustration that builds to a head and finally breaks the captain's stubborn resolve to see this through until at least one of them dies. They've only spent more lives in that effort, and the captain quickly orders a retreat that effectively leaves the pirate crew aboard the luxury ship stranded given their ride is turning tail and running.
Ektor brings his T-85 back around as Black Squadron makes its pass on the Kumumgah, as the pirate flagship turns and seeks to flee. "This Huttsucker waited too damn long to run for it, yeah? Pour it on, pour it on!"
Poe detects that the pirates are tucking tail, but he continues his assault by following Jess in. "Roger, seven! We'll give it another go. Lead us in!" As Black Leader is oriented toward the 2400, Poe obtains a good lock on it and squeezes the trigger mechanism emitting several bolts that shatter the oscillating shield and render it defenseless for Black Squadron's final pass. Poe closes his S-foils projecting himself into cruising speed to clear the vicinity of the freighter and loop left, cutting hard and watching as the pirate fighters flee. He has nothing to tag on though, even when BB-8 cheers about getting the shields back up. Poe watches as the rest of the squadron swoops in. "Nice shot, Silver 2.. way to finish it off, Jess!" Poe remains in cruising speed but is now taking casual manuevers to circle the space around the luxury ship. "Repair and regroup team. We're not out of the weeds yet. They may have survived our encounter, but they'll remember the day they crossed us."
Apparently that did the trick as Kare watches her shots punch into the freighter. But then, it keeps going. That is till everyone else fires and the last from Jess ends it. "Way to go Jess!" Kare says over the coms, not paying proper radio protocol much mind. "Roger that Black Lead. Repaired and heading back. Well done everyone!"
Elrych Cometburn notices the sensors and that all the Headhunters are blasting away from the battlefield at full burn, he smirks. It was better this way. What's a handful of Headhunters out there alone with greatly reduced numbers? Besides, killing was not the Jedi way. If they retreat, you let them go. Except that damn freightor. That thing was a terror, a hearsay, and needed to be stopped. He comes about hard and closes his eyes, reaching out with the force. Then, eyes flicking open he fingers the trigger on his concussion missile launcher. The Crimson warhead flies true and smashes into the Kumumgah with a large firery red explosion that lights up the void around them. THey might even feel the heat of it if they're clse enough. The concussion rocks the 2400 ripping off pannels and taring apart weilding. The thing STARTS to break apart, pieces flying off of it but it still pushes on, engine blaring at full. He prays to the force someone else can finish it.
Limia persists after the fleeing Z-95s, bringing up the rear in this final push with a few parting shots to send them off. Nothing sticks, but the sight of the pirate survivors turning tail and running eases that tense line of her brow a bit. "YEEEEEE!" she cheers on the sharper shooters and folds up her own S-Foils to signal she's heard the command to regroup, then does just that.
Fortune favors the bold, and in the case of the Kumumgah, the decision to retreat and turn away from the conflict is not a bold move. Smart, but not bold, and some galactic wheel of justice must be spinning somewhere behind the fabric of space and time, because it's this act that seems to create all the opportunities the Resistance fighters need to land their shots. Jessika watches as Black Leader, Black Four, and Silver Two leave the freighter so damaged it's a wonder that it can fly. Redemption is at hand for her, and it takes nothing more than a slight suck of breath in through her lips and a concentrated effort to squeeze the trigger on her flight stick rather than yanking it and throwing off her aim. The single shot that finds the freighter out of the four that spit from her four laser cannons punches deep through the engine compartment and sets off a chain reaction that causes the heavily-damaged ship to come apart in a bright flash that disappears as quick as it happened, leaving behind nothing but twisted wreckage in its wake.
The remaining five Headhunters of Acklay Squadron use this opportunity to reach their jump points, and like Acklay Three, who had abandoned the fight earlier, they jump to hyperspace and leave the Redevar system behind. It was once the site of their hope for a great payout. It's now the graveyard for their comrades. The pirates aboard the Stellar Paradise know that the fight has not gone well for their fellows out in space, and are now entrenching themselves on the luxury liner to resist the Army elements that are coming to free the civilians and the crew of the passenger ship. Their mission was never easy to begin with, but now they'll surely be dealing with pirates who feel like they have nothing to lose.