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Combat Information Center

History of Wolfshead Squadron

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

 

The beginnings...

The Rebel forces had been thrown out of their last sanctuary, the world of the perpetual snows, Hoth. It was not a complete disaster, though. Most of the people and equipment were successfully evacuated, thanks to the sacrifice of the terrestrial troops and the pilots from several elite squadrons, who managed to contain the Imperial attack long enough for the transports to take off and to escape. Nevertheless, on Hoth died the last hope to find a shelter, a home, for those who insisted in opposing the overwhelming power of the Empire. If they had been found even there, in the most forgotten place of the universe, there wouldn't be any place for them to rest while Emperor Palpatine kept ruling the galaxy's destiny.

 

Separated in several groups, implacably hunted by the Imperial forces, under the direct command of Darth Vader, constantly jumping from a place to another, spending more time on space ships decks than walking on firm ground, the Rebels survived and kept spreading their cause. Even with all the efforts of the Imperial propaganda, news from their incredible victory at Yavin and other actions all throughout the galaxy were being known in every inhabited world, moon or asteroid cluster. There was hope for those who wanted the freedom rather than the Emperor's peace and order, and secretly, noiselessly, the Rebel Alliance received more and more support from all those places. People from a hundred different races came to join the Rebel cause, wherever there was an agent to recruit them. Supplies, food and fresh credits were also received. The Rebel leaders had now the resources they had always prayed for.

The battle of Yavin had convinced them that one of the keys to final victory was their ability to attack, suddenly and deadly, whenever and wherever it was needed, with their fighter squadrons. An important part of the Alliance's new resources were dedicated to improve that powerful weapon and new units were created as soon as there were new ships and pilots available.

 

[From Wolfshead Sq. IntO's records]

We don't have too many records about these times, with the exception of our most veteran pilots’ tales. See POVs Shadow's games, the impressive Stars in his eyes, (Moose's history) and The Big Company.
 
 

Months after the escape from Hoth, one of this fighter squadrons was accomplishing a dangerous mission in the same heart of the Empire, the Sesswena sector, were its capital, the world once known as Coruscant but renamed Imperial Center by the Emperor, was located. This was Preying Mantis Squadron, a unit composed exclusively by human women and other female beings, flying the newest fighter of the Alliance, the B-Wing. As powerful as this craft was, it was hard for the pilots to get accustomed to its lack of maneuverability and speed, feeling that they were more vulnerable before the Imperial TIE fighters. Mantis' pilots had accepted the challenge, though, and leaded by Commander Sherry "Shok'wave" Krenzel, used their B-Wings to bring fear and confusion to those places that the Empire considered safer. For a whole month, they kept attacking convoys and outposts in this sector, a day in Svivren, the next in Uvena, the other maybe in Corsin or Bortras. The main objective was distract the Imperial attention from the Mon Calamari system, where something was happening that would change the course of History: Calamarian luxury vessels were secretly being transformed into warships and transferred to the Alliance Fleet, providing them with the firepower to fight the Imperial Star Destroyers face to face.

Preying Mantis Squadron succeeded, and the transfer of the Calamarian cruisers was accomplished unnoticed by the Imperials, but these courageous women paid a high price. Finally, they were discovered and their mothership, the Nebulon-B Frigate Mantiss, was ambushed. Desperately, Preying Mantis pilots defended their ship and their own lives. They barely managed to break the blockade the Imperial ships had disposed, just to find a new hostile force at the destination of their hyperspace jump. It took them three weeks to return to a more or less friendly space in the Outer Rim. All that time they were closely pursued by Imperial vessels, and they had to fight every parsec of the trip. When they were intercepted by one of the first Alliance Calamarian cruisers, the Independence, the Mantiss was damaged beyond repair, her crew severely decimated, and only six pilots from the squad survived. Her callsigns were Shok'wave, Foxfire, Shadow, Angelrose, Cybercat and Joker, this last wounded when she was forced to eject from her B-Wing before the overheated engine exploded, less than five kilometers from the Independence. Only fragments from the reports about their mission could be recovered from the Mantiss' databanks. Shok'wave declared that the main computer had been destroyed during one of the last battles, when a salvo of proton torpedoes hit the bridge, killing the captain and most of her crew. They had linked what remained of the navigation computer to one of the B-Wings' for the last three jumps.

 

[From Wolfshead Sq. IntO's records]

I've checked out the records several times, with the help of the computer, and it's almost incredible that the Mantiss was able to return as crippled as it was. The first time I inspected these data, I asked Lt. Rammes, chief engineer of the Joan d’Arc, to give me his opinion. More recently, I've invited Lt. Boradelis, our chief engineer in the Wolf's Den, and now in the Wolf's Lair, to make her own study. Both her and Rammes agreed with the analysis of the experts summoned by the tribunal: the destruction of the Mantiss’ main computer was not deliberate, but the consequence of the chained explosions and the fire that followed when its bridge was hit. The wounds on the hull were undoubtedly caused by Imperial torpedoes, and they were very close to definitely destroy the ship...
 
 

The survivors were exhaustedly interrogated, in an attempt to reconstruct what had happened during the month the Mantiss had spent in the Sesswena sector, and during those dramatic three weeks escaping from the enemy. Those were difficult times, the Alliance was about to start a win or die campaign against the Empire and the security was more important than ever. Furthermore, the months of prosecution after Hoth had made the High Command even more paranoid than usual. Commander Krenzel, who had taken the command of the Mantiss along with the squadron after her captain's death, her pilots and the crew officers were put under suspicion, and confined to the Independence until it was possible to determine if they had managed to escape by their own ability, or if they had negotiated with the Empire. In that situation, while they expected the arrival of the shuttle carrying the members of the tribunal, another ship called asking for a rendezvous with Independence: The Happy Jack, the first and in those times only Imperial Class Star Destroyer captured by the Alliance, home of Blue Squadron. Its commander was Matt "Blackjack" Krenzel, coincidentally Shok’wave’s husband. He was in big surprise when he saw what remained of Mantiss, and learned that her wife could be accused of treason, but that had nothing to do with the presence of the Happy Jack there. One of Blue Squadron's Y-Wing scouts had run into an Imperial convoy, heavily escorted, and its sensors had picked up signals from high technology equipment. Blackjack had ordered an immediate attack, figuring out where the convoy's next jump point would be, with instructions to capture at least one intact transport. That was not possible. The Imperial fighters opened fire against their disabled transports, evidently with clear instructions of preventing the Rebels from taking any of them. Nevertheless, the Happy Jack rescued an escape pod with part of the crew of one of the freighters. After being shot at by their own escorts, they were considerably cooperative. They didn't know their final destination point nor a big deal about their cargo, except that it was something called SLAM, that was being tested on standard TIEs Advanced. Blackjack was sure that this meant the Empire was about to launch a new generation of fighters, and that it was of vital importance to find where they were constructing them.

The Admiral commanding the Independence accepted to start a investigation, an a small group was sent, disguised as smugglers, to find out what they could in the only place of the galaxy where any information could be obtained for a price: Nar Shadaa, better known as the Smugglers’ Moon, property of the Hutts. The team was composed by Foxfire (chosen because her contacts with nomad tribes and other not very legal groups), and three of the unassigned pilots that were on the Independence waiting for destination: Vyper (recently commissioned for active duty by the Starfighter Command, because his first hand knowledge about the Imperial navy), Psycho (who was still an active member of the Rebel Intelligence) and Granite (the one who would provide and pilot the best ship for operation, his modified Skipray Blastboat Bannockburn). They found a lead pointing to Kessel system, and a bunch of bounty hunters, who recognized Vyper and tried to put their hands on the considerable reward offered by the Empire for their former elite pilot. Psycho managed to find a way to have himself transported to the hidden Imperial facilities (in the cargo compartment of a freighter, rented to the Hutts, carrying supplies and slaves for Kessel’s prison and mines first, and probably the secret base later, if the information they had paid for was true), while the rest of the team escaped and returned to the Independence. They arrived in time to presence the Imperial attack on the Independence and the Happy Jack. This last had been followed after their raid on the Imperial convoy by one of the escort assault transports. Its crew had been able to trace the Rebel Destroyer's jump destination and called for reinforcements before jumping itself (trying to catch up with the Happy Jack before they had a chance to jump again to a new destination). With that action the captain pilot showed an uncommon initiative and courage, but the only reward for him and his men was death. They had barely the time to launch their torpedoes against the closest target before being vaped by the fighter screen disposed around the two capital ships. This target was the now abandoned Mantiss, which exploded when the first warhead impacted on its tortured hull, still containing the frozen corpses of most of her crew. Minutes later, several Imperial ships dropped from hyperspace. The attackers had not expected the presence of the Calamari Cruiser, and that was what saved the Rebels from being defeated. They forced the Imperials to retreat, disabling and capturing one of their Nebulon-B frigates, named Watcher, during the combat.

What Foxfire's group had discovered was enough to convince the Admiral to move the two vessels (after making basic reparations on the captured frigate and camouflaging it with the intention of recovering it later) to Kessel system boundaries, in the hope that Psycho would succeed in his attempt. When his call was received (he had attached a comm-relay, provided by the Rebel Intelligence, to the communications system of the transport that had brought him to the secret factory, so it transmitted its origin coordinates before jumping out of the system) the Rebel force was at a short hyperspace jump from their target. The Independence, the Happy Jack, Blue Squadron and what remained from Mantiss Squadron, its losses covered by those unassigned pilots, launched an attack on the Imperial facilities, located on a forgotten planetoid named KS-31. (Beside Foxfire and Joker, several of today's Wolfshead pilots participated in that mission: the already mentioned Vyper and Granite, along with Moose and Iceman, and flying with Blue Squadron there were Hardrive and Sparks).

The attack was a complete success and the Imperial installations were destroyed. With the information supplied by Psycho at a later time, the Alliance Intelligence could learn that what was being constructed there was the first series of the Missile Boat, a project impulsed by Grand Admiral Thrawn, intended to provide the Imperial fleet with the most powerful fighter-bomber of all times. The few prototypes that were briefly put into service caused terrible damages among the Alliance vessels, but after the destruction of this factory the project was suspended.

 

[From Wolfshead Sq. IntO's records]

It has been a mystery why the Empire never continued with the construction of the Missile Boat, but I have my own theories, shared by some of the Intelligence analysts I've met so far.

It's not a secret that the Emperor had never fully trusted in his Navy, aware that the military never would see him like one of them, but a politician, even with his terrible powers. It was only the fear to these powers and the presence of the Emperor's best server, the cruel Lord Vader, what kept the Imperial armed forces united and under Palpatine's command. He wanted them to feel vulnerable, be sure that the possibility of mutiny or rebellion was unthinkable for his officers. When he allowed the TIE Defender project to develop, he discovered that this caution was not excessive. The Defender's creator, Admiral Zaarin, used the advantage provided by his new weapon to rise against the Emperor and look for the power for himself. That cost the Empire a big amount of time and resources, until Zaarin's menace was neutralized, and that not mentioning that the Alliance made a good use of that breath to grow stronger and become a bigger threat than Zaarin's fleet ever was. The Missile Boat prototypes were used mainly against Zaarin, and when he disappeared the Emperor ordered to retreat the active units and closed the project, following Darth Vader's advice. Why? The TIE Defender and the Missile Boat were a completely different concept not only of starfighters, but of what a fighter pilot was for. A group of competent pilots could represent a major danger in possession of such a ships, as the experience with Zaarin and its TIE Defender had proven, one too high for the Emperor to take more risks. Grand Admiral Thrawn had never shown any symptoms of becoming the next one to rebel, but he wouldn't be given an opportunity to become one. Emperor's last order for Thrawn was to take his fleet and initiate a campaign to discover, and take for the Empire, all those inhabitable planets beyond the limits of the galaxy, the space known so far as the Unknown Territories. Thrawn was true to this order, even after the Emperor's death, and that is another mystery. My own suspect is that the hand after the Grand Admiral's exile was no other than Lord Vader, who saw in Thrawn a possible adversary, as it happened months before with Prince Xizor (leader of the criminal organization Black Sun). A rival to fight for the Emperor's favors, or an enemy when he tried to take the throne for himself, both can be the true. He'll never return from death to tell us the truth… I hope (I'm sorry for Skywalker, though).

At any case, the Missile Boat and the threat that it would have meant for the Alliance was suppressed, and that's what it matters.

 

White Squadron

That victory was the beginning of a new story. The tribunal decided to drop the charges against Shok'wave and her people (no proofs against them were found), and the creation of a new unit was approved: White Squadron was born, from Preying Mantis’ ashes and the participation of all those temporary pilots, who unanimously requested to be accepted in the new unit. The Imperial frigate so recently captured, Watcher, would be their mothership. An skeleton crew was transferred to the vessel, instructed to put it into service and immediately return to Alliance space. But they did not.

When the Empire selected the planetoid KS-31 to install their new factory, they did it for several reasons: Kessel system was naturally protected by the Maws, a cluster of black holes that made the navigation impossible but through certain routes, which could be relatively easy guarded (but not perfectly, as the Rebel penetration proved); the traffic towards and from the facilities could be masked among the constant flow of transports to Kessel’s prison and mines, which also provided a near source of supplies; and last but not least, KS-31 had a colony, no more than three hundred persons, who could be used as slave workers. After the destruction of the facilities, Psycho's last report, before stealing an stormtrooper transport to escape, let the Rebel warriors’ hearts freeze: Lord Vader had ordered to blow the planetoid away, eliminating what could remain of the assembly lines and the technology they had been developing there, and all the non-Imperial witnesses. The colonists had been condemned to die along with the gray and green dusty stone they had insisted calling home. White Squadron and the crew of the Watcher decided to disobey their orders and to do what had to be done, trying to save the colonists, although they all knew it would be probably a suicide…

What happened then is part of the legend. They managed to rescue all the colonists up to the last being, to destroy or seriously damage several of the capital ships composing the Imperial fleet that was sent to destroy the planetoid, and they did not suffer a single casualty. The only explanation for what looked like a complete and unexplainable miracle was given by White Squadron's commander: they had been helped by a Jedi Lady, named Joan d’Arc, who was dead since eight hundred years ago… This incredible tale can be found in our Reading Room, with the title Joan d’Arc.

 

Joan d'Arc and Yoda

 

[From Wolfshead Sq. IntO's records]

When I was commended with the task of writing the report of the rescue of the colonists from planetoid KS-31, I talked with all the pilots and crewmen who had been present in that action, checked the records of the battle over and over, and revised all the historical data I could find about the Jedi Lady Joan d’Arc, to check and complete what Shok'wave told me. When I finally closed my files and signed the report, I had to admit it: I believed.
 
 

That rescue became a symbol for the Rebel Alliance, convincing those who doubted about their real intentions that they would fight for all those who suffered the oppression of the Empire, even if they were simple colonists and the risk was immeasurable (actually, only the success saved White Squadron's commander from a new martial court, but that was not to be mentioned, of course). The frigate received the name of Joan d’Arc, and a permanent crew was assigned to its service. One of the most promising captains of the Rebel Fleet, Rahne Orris, was designed to command the ship. The same shuttle that brought Orris on board also carried refreshment pilots, Hardrive (previously with  Blue Squadron) and the brothers Torpedo and Tzadkiel. Tales from those first days are A Toast and Vyper's Sidetrip.
 
 

It started a golden age for White Squadron. They were assigned to the most dangerous missions, which they accomplished accurately and efficiently, even when they interpreted their orders more or less freely. The balance between Shok’wave’s instinct, her pilots’ abilities, Orris’ talent and his crew's professionalism was the key for their success.

The Joan d'Arc

Some pilots, as Shadow and Cybercat, decided to abandon the squad and return to civilian life, others were recruited wherever they were found. The High Command always respected the decisions taken by Shok'wave and her second in command, Foxfire, when they accepted new members in the squad who were not sent by the Starfighter Command. This was the case of Ibero (Something is happening in Yavin IV) or Drake (The Seizure), just to mention some of the best documented non-standard recruitments, but there were others like them (check Arachnoid's bio in the Ready Room).

A mention apart it deserves the history of one of the more emblematic pilots of the squad, Michael "Vyper" Stauber. As many other Rebel pilots, he started his days as a flier in the Imperial service, but instead of defeating shortly after abandoning the Academy, as it was more or less the common case, he had earned the membership of one of the most famous Imperial squadrons, the Black Knights. What made him change his loyalties had join the Rebel cause? That was a question that his partners and higher officers always made, but he never fully answered, not everything at least. Until the day when the past reached the present, and he could not turn his back any more to who he had once been, and those he had once loved. Dreams and Memories is his tale. Other pilots who had to face the truth about themselves were Iceman (Addiction) and Hardrive (Scanned). Fortunately for all of them, White Squadron first, and Wolfshead squadron later, were not only a combat unit, but a group of friends, real and true friends, always ready to hear your story… or save your neck when you had a TIE on your six.

 

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"I feet a great disturbance in the force, Like millions of voices cried out in terror, then were silenced." -- Obi Wan

 
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Last update of this page: 21/01/2002 - 13:34