POV: Sympathy for the Darth
By Solo, Ibero, Rooster & Granite
If you have been granted with the required security level, you
may have read a certain report, stored in the New Republic Starfighter
Command Archives, which code is..., well, as we said, if you have
that security level, you can find out yourself. That report contains
the official version for the engagement between Imperial and New
Republic forces that took place in..., eeeh, you know, the security.
Well, what really happened there is slightly different. The document
you are about to read has been composed from Wolfshead Squadron's
pilots conversation at their private lounge on the NRS Wolf's
Den. They will never admit anything of this, so don't bother to
check it out. We have tried to portray their exact words and expressions,
so you may find non-standard uses of Basic language in some fragments
(you can't expect an Iberyan or a Caldanian, for example, to talk
like an Alderaanian or a Corellian). Enjoy.
[Wolf's Den, flight
simulators room, some time ago]
"Do you really think we needed to use the intercom relay amplifier
Solo looked slightly
worried as Sparks soldered the last wire to the electronic board.
"Sure, and besides;
who's going to find out? It's only us pilots in the sim room anyway. This
way we can play our own music while simming, and even broadcast it to
the other pods!"
"Yeah, a small
step for us but a giant leap for the alliance!" Solo replied with
"What if the
captain finds out?"
"Naah, the real
captain; Gen'yaa. She'll have us confined to dustmop wing for a
"I told you not
to worry, besides she never sets a foot near this place. No one will know!"
Sparks fastened the
last panel and turned a switch, powering up the sim control board. The
AI blooped happily, obviously glad to be online again and wondered if
it could be of any service.
"Let's try this
out now! Sparks, load the "Diplomatic summit at Sullust" scenario.
I'll take the lead A-Wing and you'll be on my wing!"
The two pilots quickly
readied the sims for the run, and as the hatch closed Solo pulled out
a small disc from a pocket of his flight suit. "Let's see if this
works" he muttered as he slid the disc into a slot cut in a shiny
new control module. He pressed the button marked "Play" and
grinned as he heard the familiar intro.
"Alright Solo! It sounds great!"
my mark Sparks: three, two, one..."
Outside the sim-room,
in every quarter, on the bridge, in the hangar, engine room, in every
part of the large warship one could hear the music:
me to introduce myself; I'm a man of wealth and taste..."
control tells me there's someone at the door, shall we let them
they can wait. Let's bag this Star Destroyer first."
Vyper opened the canopy
of his simulator, startled by the sudden irruption of music inside his
cockpit, played at an insanely high volume.
"What in the
hell is this??!!" He shouted towards Ibero, who was coming out from
his own pod with his face pale by the fright. Under his helmet, some new
hairs had turned white.
"It sounds familiar
to me!" The Iberyan pilot shouted back. "I think I heard it
in a holo about vampires, but I may be mixing the songs!"
me to introduce myself; I'm a man of wealth and taste..." The
singer was saying. The instruments were not played by Bith or Ithorian
musicians, that was for sure. They had to be a group of crazy Devaronian,
or more probably Shistavanen.
do like it!" Granite yelled, producing his Caldanian bagpipes from
under his seat.
"Uh, oh, and
I thought it couldn't become worse..." Joker said, although nobody
could hear her against the music and the not less noisy bagpipes.
Vyper noticed a red
light blinking above the door. Someone was trying to enter, but the safety
locks were on. He moved towards the entrance, but Arachnoid was already
there, trying to escape from the racket. When he managed to open the door
with trembling hands, he ran into the communications droid, A-PD5.
The strange looking protocol droid was shaking his head.
"I've tried to
reduce the input volume in my audio receptors," it said, "but
even at minimum level I'm getting my systems saturated!"
"Too bad for
you," Arachnoid cried out, "but move out of the way, you big
"I fear it is
not better out of this facility, sir! That... music..." The droid
spelt the word "music" with noticeable delay, as he had been
performing a full search into his language database looking for a better
word but so failing.
"... is being heard in the whole ship!"
Ibero and Vyper had
arrived to the door, while Joker was left behind, futily trying to take
the bagpipes from Granite's hands.
"Do you think
that the Captain is aware of this?!" Vyper asked to the droid.
"There's no doubt
about it, sir! The bridge is so far the worst place! The sound there has
made it uninhabitable for humanoids! Only Lieutenant Vaiweehanen doesn't
seem to be affected! He has got an unstoppable laugh attack, and he has
broken two screens with the uncontrolled lashes of his lekkus! I had never
seen such a behavior in a Twi'lek, if I may to point it out!"
Vyper asked, although he repaired that the droid meant the Twi'lek's brain
tails before Ibero answered. The Intelligence Officer looked back towards
the simulator pods, noticing only two still closed.
"Whose are those
"Solo's and Sparks'!"
Moose informed while approaching the crowd. "I've been trying to
manually open their units, but they have activated the "don't disturb"
"If Captain Gen'yaa
is coming this way," Arachnoid shouted, as everybody was being forced
to do, "they are going to be in trouble...!"
"Not only they,
sir!" A-PD5 interrupted. "The communications systems have been
affected! I've tried to break the link, but whatever Officers Tengroth
and Delinsky have done, it can't be fixed or corrected from the bridge!
That is one of the reasons for me to come here, after checking out the
systems have been affected??!!" Ibero repeated in disbelief.
"That is my second
reason, sir!" We are broadcasting that... music... all over this
"Great. All Imperials
less than five millions klicks from us are going to hear it." Vyper
said, his tone barely high enough to be heard over the music. Joker had
given up in her attempt to make Granite stop playing the bagpipes and
had started to sing herself. The four men and the droid noticed that she
actually knew the lyrics.
"Well, that is
my third and last reason, and the only one that is keeping the Captain
and her staff in the bridge! We have detected Imperial ships dropping
out from hyperspace! Captain Gen'yaa and Commander Schroeder have tried
to call you all, but evidently you have not heard your commlinks beep!"
The four pilots looked at once to their respective devices. They were
activated. Vyper took his and put it against his right ear, while covering
the left one with his free hand. Moving the volume to highest level he
was able to hear, not without difficulties, Foxfire's anguished voice.
"... your butts
into motion and run to the main bay! We've got a whole fleet out
"We've got to
move!" Vyper shouted, waving towards Joker and Granite, but they
just saluted back."
those two and go to your fighters NOW!"
what about Solo and Sparks?"
"They will possibly
miss the party they have started!" Moose finished.
Granite was perhaps
the only person unaffected by the deafening music blasting through the
ship. This was due to the fact that to play Caldanian bagpipes, it first
was essential to be able to ignore music totally. He didn't know what
the awful tune was, but he found that "Tarlidal Dalra", an old
piece about plague, suffering and war fitted rather well, though he occasionally
got the notes right when Joker tried to grab the bagpipes.
He was surprised to
find the bagpipes wrenched out of his hands by Arachnoid, who leaned over
and yelled in his ear.
"Get to your
slipped?" replied the Caldanian in confusion.
Arachnoid swore unheard
in frustration, then grabbed both Granite and joker, shoved them together
and yelled at them at full volume.
"HADN'T WE BETTER
GET TO OUR SHIPS THEN?" yelled Joker at the top of her lungs.
IS RIGHT." thundered Granite "LET'S GO. COME ON, LAD."
and with that, he and Joker rushed out of the room, an exasperated Arachnoid
The noise in the hangar
was even worse. Rather than just the ship wide intercom, the music was
coming out of the hangars loud PA system. Somehow it had even managed
to get the scramble klaxon wailing in time. The bay was surrounded by
a solid wall of sound, and inside they could see techs screaming and holding
their heads in pain. Arachnoid and Joker plugged their ears and Granite
started shaking a little.
"'scuse me a minute" said the Caldanian unhear and he ran off
down the corridor.
"What do you
think, too much for him?" asked Arachnoid
"Might be he
went off for some ear protectors."replied Joker "Hopefully he'll
bring us some too. I'm not going in there like this."
A minute later Granite
was back, carrying a large black bag.
"Where did you
go?" asked Joker.
"Had tae go to
the Armoury." replied Granite.
"What, have you
got some kind of sound supressor down there?"
"Aye, you could
say that." the two other pilots took an involuntary step back as
Granite pulled an autocannon from the bag. Clutching the weapon tightly,
Granite forced himself forward into the noise. He strode somewhat hesitantly
into the middle of the bay, and activated the weapon. The whine as the
up went unnoticed, but the deafening roar as the gun fired momentarily
cut through the music. Granite swung the autocannon around the bay, shooting
high up the walls at anything that looked even vaguely like a speaker.
In a few seconds the autocannon ran out of ammunition, but that was just
as well, as nearly all the speakers had been destroyed. Nearly all. High
up on one wall the large PA horn continued to blare out the god awful
noise. Even over the music, Joker and Arachnoid could swear they heard
Granite growl as he turned to face the one remaining noise source, throwing
away his autocannon as he did so. Quick as a flash, Granites sabre appeared
in his hand, and he hurled it overhand, embedding it deep in the PA system
and cutting off the noise with a strangled squeak. The noise gone, Joker
and Arachnoid walked over to where Granite stood still glowering and the
"I thought you
liked that music?" said Arachnoid.
replied the caldanian "but there's such a thing as too much. Now
lets go deal with the Imps."
you know the captains going to bill you for this damage, don't you?"
"Ye think I haven't
worked that out yet?" replied Granite as he headed for his
With the "noise
pollution" problem taken care of the pilots and hangar techs could
proceed with their pre-flight checks of the starfighters. Arachnoid had
just finished scrutinizing the hull of his A-Wing when Wolfshead CO, Foxfire,
arrived with Cardinal and Sacart from the elevator. The music was barely
audible here, but the "woohoo's" could be heard from the tiny
elevator loudspeakers. Foxfire wondered why Granite was holding a large
gun, but shrugged her shoulders, Granite always carried some item that
could create utter chaos and destruction, whether it was his bagpipes
or the Ewok Launcher.
those pilots and get over here! I'll run the briefing while the warheads
are being loaded.
With most of Wolfsheads
pilots around her she quickly explained the situation.
"Because of Solo
and Sparks ingenious tampering with the com-system we have a small imperial
fleet chasing us. Where are the two misfits anyway?"
"They were still
in the sim-pods when we left, there was no way we could could get through
Foxfire grinned wickedly
"Well, they won't
be there much longer, A-PD5 and Boradelis are working on that, and Captain
Genyaa has sent a couple of guards as "escort"."
has ordered us to find or punch a hole through the Imperial starfleet,
and to hold off the imperials while the Den makes it through. She told
me that if we die, she is going to court-martial every single one of us,
so let's not, ok?"
All pilots nodded
in approval of the brilliant plan; destroy imperial ships and don't die!
"Moose and Torpedo,
you will lead a flight of B-Wings each. Vyper, you'll have the X-Wings
and I'll provide cover in the A-Wings. Granite, is the Bannockburn prepped
Lt. Roo was enjoying
a quiet evening aboard the Wolfshead SAR SHU "Compassion".
She smiled grandly as she took a long sip from her large FT mug.
remarked to herself. "I just *love* a quiet evening in space."
She sat back in her
seat and prepared to return to the Wolfshead when a deafening blast interrupted
"What in the
name of..." she screamed as the sudden noise shocked her and the
FT landed on her lap. She took quick control of her SHU and ignored the
mess on her lap. Her approaching vessel indicator started flashing now.
"Doggone it anyway! Why can't I just have *one* peaceful night in
Rooster tried to radio
the Wolfshead. When she didn't get a reply, she turned the SHU toward
the nearest approaching blip and fired off a few rounds. The blip was
gone. She aimed at the second nearest blip and fired. The blip grew brighter
on her screen and her heart beat harder. She fired again. The blip continued
to become brighter and the monitor was telling her that it was approaching
Her right wing took
a hit and her SHU shuddered. She fired again and the blip was gone. Roo
was on full alert, though she did realize that the deafening blast was
gone and she could now hear the Wolfshead on her radio. "Wolfshead,
this is the 'Compassion'. Do you copy? There is a small Imperial group
headed our way. I got 2 but took a hit in the right wing. Need assistance.
I repeat. I need assistance."
Arachnoid pushed his
throttle forward and raced out of the main bay, levelling the A-Wing besides
Iceman's fighter. In front of them and slightly below, Hardrive was already
paired with Foxfire. The main screen was filled with data about the enemy
fleet composition. Two Nebulon-A Frigates, three Carrack Cruisers and
a growing number of fighters, including a flight of TIE Bombers. "Is
everybody as optimistic as I am?"
"No jokes, Nine,
this is going to be serious." Foxfire said, her tone indicating she
had fully adopted her Commander role. "All right, this is Wolfshead
Leader, flight A is in space. All other groups report."
"This is Two."
Vyper's voice sounded as self-controlled as usual. "Flight X is out,
too. Locking S-Foils in attack position."
"This is Three,
Honey." Moise reported. "Flight B is two in space and two more
"Why are those
"Let's say that
Granite and Joker had a last... exchange of opinions before climbing their
ships, but I see them coming now..." Moose interrupted himself when
the on-board computer warned that a new transmission was being received
on a friendly band.
"... Need assistance.
I repeat. I need assistance."
"Have you all
picked that? Rooster is in trouble!"
a probable position for the Compassion, and maybe three unidentified ships,
the size of an Assault Transport." Ibero informed. His X-Wing had
the same standard sensor array and electronics than the rest of the flight,
but the programs running on his computer and the interface with the R2
unit had suffered important modifications, allowing the astromech unit
to make extrapolations from incomplete readings. "The Imps must be
interfering her signal, but I think I have her at ten klicks. Transmitting
Vyper said as his computer confirmed the reception of the coordinates.
They were coming from a different direction than the main body of the
Imperial task force. "It seems that Rooster has run into their sneaky
group. That is lucky for us, we wouldn't have noticed them otherwise."
"But not so lucky
for her..." Sacart commented.
"All right, this
is what we do." Foxfire said. "Flight A go cover the Compassion
and take down the transports or whatever they are." Only the A-Wings
would be fast enough as to reach the Search&Rescue shuttle before
an Imperial gunner decided to have some practice on her. "Flights
X and B continue with the original plan. Good luck all of you."
[Wolf's Den's simulation
"They will open
now." Lieutenant Boradelis informed in her typical Calamarian grave
"All right. You
have permission to shoot at them, Lieutenant." Captain Gen'yaa's
voice sounded on her wrist transmitter. She didn't seem to be joking.
Solo blinked when
his canopy shut open without previous warning interrupting the simulation.
Boradelis' fish-like eyes and A-PD5's photoreceptors were the first thing
he noticed when his own eyes got used to the sudden illumination.
on?" Sparks asked from the near pod.
Boradelis said shaking her massive head. Cut that hellish music and I
will quickly explain you what is happening, and *why* is happening."
"We did what?"
Solo asked in disbelief barely thirty seconds later.
"You both are
arrested." On of the guards behind Boradelis said. "Although
it won't be for too long before the Imps or the Captain herself will kill
you." The man's fierce glance showed clearly that he would gladly
accomplish that order.
The two pilots obeyed
and abandoned the pods, the guards' blasters menacingly aimed at them.
at them," Boradelis said as she moved aside, "I'd force them
to hear that music of them at the same volume they have given us."
that to..." The same guard started to say, but interrupted himself
to lift his blasted to Solo, who was turning towards the pod. "Hey,
Solo exclaimed looking at the man as if he must have reached his same
conclusion on his own. "We can use it to take us out of this mess!"
"Of course yes!"
Sparks jumped towards his pod and opened the board. The confused guards
didn't know whether to shoot at them in that precise moment, or wait until
knowing what they were up to.
"Can I ask what
are you doing?" Boradelis asked.
Solo answered, while Sparks made new connections in the already half-dismounted
pod. "We can shoot the music at the Imps."
As the A-Wings peeled
off to head for the stricken shuttle, a large black shape emerged out
of space, trailing blue fire from it's engines.
it's all the same we you, I think I'd better go wi' the A-Wings."
Foxfire sighed. Granite was flying that hybrid Blastboat of his. But it
made sense. Bannockburn's SLAMs meant she could keep up with the
A-Wings, and even out run them for a short time. The Skiprays heavy weapons
would be very useful against the ships that were bugging Roo as well,
if they were assault transports.
"All right Granite,
stick with us."
"Way ahead of
you, lass." Bannockburns ion drives abruptly flared bright red as
Granite kicked in the SLAMs. Foxfire and the other A-Wings had to dump
more power to their engines to keep up.
said Hardrive as the fighters raced towards their rendezvous. "Do
you think Roo practices this 'damsel in distress' stuff?"
"No, I think
it's just her own fault for piloting an unmaneuverable, poorly shielded
virtually unarmed ship near war zones."
Meanwhile, Imp fighters
were learning some respect for the 'virtually unarmed' shuttle, as Roo
blasted another TIE fighter out of space. "That'll teach you to fly
straight and level." muttered Roo as she swung the ship around to
avoid the fire from an assault transport. The fighters were picking away
at her shields, and the fire from the transports wasn't doing her any
good. Normally, she'd have long since pushed the hyperdrive levers forwards,
but not expecting to go anywhere, she hadn't logged any co-ordinates into
the astrogation computer. It was chirping away happily at the moment,
trying to find her a path to anywhere, but it was certainly taking its
time. There was garbled traffic coming through on the squadron frequency,
but nothing she could identify. She only hoped someone had heard her mayday.
A TIE looped in behind her
and sent a burst at the the Compassion, Roo yanked back hard on the stick,
and the shuttles nose slowly came up, letting the lasers flash harmlessly
between the ships wings. The TIE screamed in at her, intent on circling
round for another pass, but Roo twitched the stick to the left, blocking
its path. The TIE rapidly changed direction and headed away towards one
of the transports. The size and weight of Roo's craft was one of the few
advantages she had here. No TIE pilot would even consider a collision
survivable. But even
so, it was only a matter of time...
"There she is!"
announced Iceman as he spotted the tell tale green laser flashes, and
the occasional reply of orange.
three Assault Transports, and maybe half a dozen fighters."
"All right, A-Wings,
form up on Roo. If anything looks like shooting at her, take it down.
We're primarily fighter defense. Granite, do what you do best."
"Cause as much
destruction as you possibly can. I wan't those Imps to be as thoroughly
annoyed and confused as Orris used to be."
A soft chuckle came
back over the comm "Ah think Ah can handle that."
of those AT's is trying to lock Roo up!" cried Iceman. Tough
as the shuttle was, she wouldn't withstand a torpedo barrage, and didn't
have a hope in hell of avoiding one.
A-Wings split up into
wingman pairs, while Granite activated Bannockburns extra set of SLAMs.
The system was highly unstable and shut down all the crafts beam weapons
while it was operating, but for a few brief seconds, it made Bannockburn
one of the fastest ships in space. And every Imperials worst nightmare
Granite pointed the
nose of his craft straight at the offending Imperial transport as the
drives let rip. The velocity indicator quickly span up past the 300 MGLT
mark as Bannockburn accelerated, the A-Wings following swiftly behind.
The big ships hull creaked and groaned horribly under the excessive acceleration,
and Granite kept one eye on the engine readout and one line on the range
mater. The engine readout had gone straight into the red when the SLAMs
were activated, but not quite far enough yet. Granite slowly counted the
seconds while the range ticked down. He'd never run the ship full out
for more than fifteen seconds. At twelve, the range to the assault transport
was down to two point five klicks, and the proton torpedoes started to
lock on. At thirteen he saw the flash of torpedoes being launched from
the transport towards the Compassion, and at fourteen Granite simultaneously
launched his own barrage and deactivated the drives. At the same time,
the four A-Wings opened up with their own missiles on the torpedo barrage.
Roo saw the lock light
flashing as she turned out of the firing run of another TIE. She turned
her ship as hard as possible towards the torpedoes, hoping maybe she could
know them down before they hit, but the shuttle was too slow, and too
big a target. She saw the streaks of blue in the corner of the viewport,
but knew she wouldn't be able to get her guns in line in time, but she
tried anyway. She was rewarded by seeing orange streaks lance out, turning
each of the torpedoes into a ball of light. Fractions of a second later
she saw a larger explosion at their source. As she watched, four A-Wings
swept past, firing into the group of TIEs that had been following her.
In the distance, a familiar dark shape was silhouetted against the exploding
"Damn, it's nice
to have friends" she said with a smile as she turned her ship to
help the A-Wings
[In the sim-room
on board the Wolfs Den]
"What do you
mean: shoot music?" Lt. Boradelis exclaimed, her large eyes wide
open in a sign of disbelief. Solo explained:
their systems we can hope to confuse them enough to let us escape!"
"Look what it
did to the Den!" Sparks continued, "What do you say, A-PD5?"
The droid stood still
for a fraction of a second, as if he was thinking.
imperial systems are no better suited than ours to deal with this kind
The Calamarian folded
her arms across her chest, humming.
how are you going to pull it off? Transmitting from the 'Den might incapacitate
our own fighters as well. Besides, the Imps are surely jamming us by now."
"That's why we're
bringing this with us! Let's find a B-Wing, Solo!" Sparks replied
as he yanked loose the board with the intercom relay amplifier. The sergeant
immediately brought his weapon up, covering the two pilots.
"You are under
strict orders not to leave the ship, in fact I'm taking you two to the
Brig right now!"
Boradelis tried to calm down the situation, we're surrounded by enemy
starships and these two might have a way out of here.
Rooster smiled grandly
as she saw her friends coming to her aid. A rogue thought crossed her
mind and the smile turned to a grimace. "Gee, I sure hope they don't
think that I'm always in trouble when I take the Compassion out for a
spin." She clicked the intercom on as she watched the spectacular
array of blaster fire coming from her friends. "It's beginning to
look a lot like the old Emperor's birthday... everywhere I fly!"
she sang into the mic. "Thanks for the help folks. We surely appreciate
abilities were known to be questionable. But one thing she knew for sure:
she KNEW this shuttle. And she could manage the large and heavy Compassion
admirably. A-wings were a different story. She preferred to not think
"Roo, you got
an incoming missile at your nine." Ibero warned. Rooster banked left
hard and locked on the incoming missile. When it got into her firing range,
she fired steadily at it until the indicator indicated that she hit it.
"Nice shot Roo!"
Ibero shouted over the intercom.
Always a pleasure to be shot at while completing a routine run. Ya think
they could leave me alone for just one nite? I mean, what's the deal here?
Do I stick out in space so blatantly that I'm a beacon for the Imps? I
always seem to have these problems. I really don't like this feeling of
being the "damsel in distress". Heck, I wasn't even out there
that far. I was still in our flight pattern!"
"I dunno Roo.
I'd check this out with Vyper when you get back. But for now, we still
have some work to finish.", Ibero commented.
[Wolfs Den, the bridge]
Lt. Vaiweehanen was
picking himself up from the floor, still shaking with laughter. These
pilot guys really went out of line sometimes, but this was hilarious he
thought. Besides, he kind of enjoyed the music, it was... funky. Now that
the blaring had stopped the rest of the bridge crew quickly took to their
stations. Captain Genya'a scanned the crew.
report!" She ordered, and was immediately followed by a chorus of
acknowledgments. The ship seemed to be largely unharmed by the recent
event, except one of the minor systems who complained about 'a headache'.
heavy static, Vyper's voice was heard on the bridge.
we are... heavy fire! ... holding those A-Wings? ... support!" <kshhh>
if you can do something about the interference. We need to coordinate
our efforts to get out of this mess!" Talina Gen'yaa motioned to
her first officer, Commander Wumb, join efforts with the ship's intelligence
The R2 unit squealed
about yet another missile trying to acquire lock on the X-Wing, Vyper
uttered a curse as he swung the ship around in an evasive pattern. Without
the A-Wing support the X-Wings were hard pressed in trying to keep the
B-Wings relatively free. Already he heard Moose's voice over the com:
off the attack, we need to clear space around here! B-Wings, form up in
pairs and let's vape some TIE's!"
[Wolfs Den. The sim
Boradelis saw a dangerous
glare in Solo's eyes, but before he had the chance to stop him the Corellian
had already gone into action.
"Hey sarge! Stormtrooper
right behind you!"
The trooper lost his
attention for a split second, which was all Solo needed. Lunging forward
he tackled the soldier right above the knees, sending him crashing to
the floor. After a short struggle the guard lay helpless as Sparks helped
Solo tie him up.
this, sarge! I'll make it up to you, I promise!" Solo said as he
stood up. Sparks gathered his tools and the customized electronics and
took a long look at the chief engineer.
"Are you with
us Lt.? You know that the Captain can have us court martialed for this,
even if we pull it off."
The raspy reply came
"If you don't
we're all dead."
find ourselves a B-Wing. Droid, look after the sarge will you. You can
let him out in ten minutes."
Moments later the
trio came into the hangar, it was relatively deserted now that most of
the ships were out. Mar Hanniuska and a couple of her Verpine colleagues
were hanging out in the workshop. Seeing Solo and Sparks stepping in she
raised an eyebrow.
Tengroth and Delinsky, are you done playing DJ's now? Thought the captain
would have had you two keel-hauled by now." Seeing a small bruise
on Solo's face she added:
"Guess she tried,
"We want the
B-Wing outside fully loaded, but we'll have the warheads emptied and replaced
with these." Sparks showed a handful of receivers, the kind every
starship in the galaxy used to relay internal ship communications (Macrosoft).
Mar's eyes glowed with anticipation,
"I think I know
what you're up to, it's brilliant! Come on guys, let's go to work. Xssphit,
you stay here in case the lady upstairs calls!"
"I'm on it!"
Ibero didn't wait for the targeting computer to calculate a firing solution,
his quad lasers fired once and the rays impacted on the unshielded imperial
fighter making it blow up instantly. All the X- and B-Wings were now tied
up in a giant furball, with waves of TIE's replacing their fallen comrades.
The bombers were getting through and had already launched a volley of
torpedoes at the rebel frigate.
Vyper dumped all energy
into his engines as he raced towards the streaks of blue heading for the
'Den, "just a liiittle closer" he thought as his finger flexed
The two men shouted at once, cramped to fit in a cockpit designed for
only one pilot. The first thing they saw when Solo, sitting on Sparks'
laps, was able to take the B-Wing out of the main bay, was a barrage of
proton torpedoes coming directly against them, and something
spitting fire after the warheads. Solo squeezed the trigger by pure instinct
and the laser cannons came to life. There was a big explosion, and the
B-Wing was in the middle of it.
"This is Two,"
Vyper said, "are you all right, whoever?" The signal emitted
by the B-Wing belonged to one of the reserves. The chances were it was
being piloted by one of the Verpins, or even by Lt. Hanniuska.
"Solo and Sparks
here..." Solo's voice answered. "We are fine, I think, although
this ship is going to need a good paint job."
"Are you both
in there?" Vyper asked in astonishment.
Sparks snorted. It was a good thing that Hanniuska had recalibrated the
acceleration compensator, so he did not feel all Solo's weight in the
turns, but breathing was a different problem. "We need to get closer
to their capital ships, and then we may be able to do something to make
our way out of this mess."
"Closer to the
caps... Four, can you help me over here?"
"I'll do my best,
Two." Ibero replied. "I'm a bit busy right now, but I'll check
my agenda for the next thirty seconds."
"I say we try
the two Nebulon-A." Solo proposed. "They are bigger targets,
and we don't know how accurate our shots will be."
"It should be
enough." Sparks said, while working on his partner's back over a
was my micro-welder. It can't be so terrible."
"Can't be? Next
time you pilot and I play with micro -welders on *your* back!"
"Do you think
you guys will make it to the target?" Vyper asked. The B-Wing's flight
was a bit too erratic for his taste.
"We'll do just
if... Watch out!"
Ibero's voice sounded. The TIE Fighter heading straight towards them lost
its right solar panel and flew away spinning out of control. Vyper vaped
his wingmen, before he had a chance to take his revenge on Ibero's X-Wing.
Most of the squad, including Moose's and Torpedo's flights of B-Wings
were trying to open
a corridor for Solo and Sparks, but it was closing over them really fast.
"Two klicks to
the first frigate, and three point five to the second one." Vyper
informed. "Is this close enough?"
"What do you
think, mate?" Sparks asked.
"I've been training
a lot. All ready back there?"
"As ready as
it's going to be. Cross your fingers when you shoot."
and... First volley, two on the first frigate! Locking on the other one..."
"All right, Wolfies,"
Sparks said through the intercom. "for your own safety, don't tune
the Imperial frequencies, I repeat, don't tune the Imperial frequencies!"
Granite wondered while maneuvering his Bannockburn for a new pass on the
two surviving assault transports. Foxfire's group was doing a good work
with their TIE escort, and Rooster was as safe as she could expect to
be flying a so crippled shuttle. Sparks' warning was too a temptation
for the Caldanian
as to ignore it. He performed an auto-scan on the Imperial frequencies,
and soon the codified chat of the Imperial pilots filled his headphones."
Are they going to say any inconvenience we should not hear, not even encrypted?"
Suddenly, the Imperial's
voices were overpowered by something infinitely stronger, overwhelming
and free of codification.
that's it, let's rock!!!!!"
[Wolfs Den, the bridge]
to torpedo impact... three, two, one, brace brace brace!" The young
officer kept his eyes on the display in front of him as he held on to
the railing. The warship shook when the explosives impacted on what
was left of the shields. Captain Geny'aa didn't even flinch, the Bothan
female barked out her orders,
"Tell the gunners
to wake up! The shields are not going to survive another barrage like
this one! What's the status on those frigates and cruisers?"
picking up a strange signal coming from the imperial frigates!"
"Put it on the
speakers!" <greatly reduced noise level>...please to meet you,
hope you guessed my na... The intelligence officer quickly switched off
the transmission when he saw the glare from the Sullustan first officer.
"Guess we know
now what those two morons in the B-Wing were up to!"
imperials have stopped firing, they seem to have a communication breakdown."
"What ever Solo
and Sparks did, it seems to work. I just might not court martial them
if we can get out of this mess. And you should feel lucky too, I'd have
you charged with helping escaped felons!" That last part was addressed
to the chief engineer, Boradelis. The Calamarian didn't respond, but she
lowered her forhead in an expression of challenge. The Twi'lek navO quickly
I have a safe hyperspace jump courseplotted out! Shall I relay the coordinates
to the fighters?"
The captain looked
us out of here. Tell the fighters to withdraw as soon as they can, we
need to pick up the damaged shuttle before making the jump."
Rooster had received
the instructions about not tuning the Imperial freqs., and wondered as
the rest of the pilots what that was all about, when suddenly the enemy
pilots seemed to become crazy, to be drunk, or both at once. The two surviving
assault transports crashed violently, one of them exploding immediately,
while two TIE fighters did the same in front of her.
"For all the
stars... what's going on???"
The astonished Lumi
noticed that not only the Imperials had lost sanity. Granite's Bannockburn
was about to be caught between the two colliding transports, as the pilot
had flown through the narrow space in the middle just an instant before,
spinning almost out of control and shooting with his cannons linked. An
Imperial fighter disappeared in a ball of fire as the modified Blastboat
crossed in its trajectory. Rooster could not appreciate if Granite had
shot down the TIE or just ran into it.
are doing is working!" Foxfire's voice said in her speakers. "What's
your status, Roo?"
"Could be worse.
The ship tends to turn starboard, what makes me think the etheric rudder
is damaged, but if I keep both hands on the yoke I can manage it and you
probably won't notice the difference with my usual piloting style. The
sub-light engine is working close to eighty percent, but I've lost the
"Great. Fly as
fast as you can towards the Wolf's Den and we'll cover you."
Rooster was already driving the Compassion in that direction.
"Flight A, this
is Leader, we are coming back to the Wolf's Den. Don't let any fighter
get close to the Compassion."
"It seems they
have trouble enough just to fly straight." Hardrive chuckled.
"Sure, but we
don't know how much time they'll take to recover of whatever Solo and
Sparks have done."
"I have a slight
idea about what it is that..."
is Eight." Iceman said. "There is something wrong about Granite."
"Are these supposed
to be news?" Arachnoid said.
is Leader." Foxfire called ignoring Arachnoid's comment, although
she fully subscribed it. "Are you copying?"
kept flying in an unpredictable pattern, good if it were under the fire
of a capital ship, but this was not the case. The Caldanian pilot had
to be suffering the same sickness than the Imperial pilots, although he
seemed to be enjoying it. Another TIE exploded and the Blastboat crossed
through the cloud of flamed gases turning it into an almost perfect ring.
Definitely, Granite was having fun.
"Oh, just so
perfect." Foxfire gave up. "We can't do anything about Granite,
and we better move away from him. I don't know if he notice the difference
between us and the Imps. We are coming back with the Compassion, all right?"
The rest of the pilots
acknowledged the order and turned towards their mothership.
[Space around the
this is Lieutenant Vaiweehanen." The voice of the Twi'lek officer
reached every fighter. "New coordinates are being uploaded to your
navigation computers. As soon as we recover the Compassion you are to
jump at your discretion."
"Copy that, Wolf's
Den." Vyper acknowledged. "What is your estimation of the time
until the Compassion arrival?"
if nothing else happens." Vyper thought the Twi'lek had broken into
laughter, but the line was closed before he could be sure. He made a mental
shrug and took a look at the situation around him. The Imperial lines
were a complete disorder, although many of the enemy fighters had returned
individually to combat, even in a disorganized way. They surely had cut
their communications before their heads exploded under the burst of Solo's
and Sparks' gift. He had no doubt that many of them had been left temporary
is Two." He called. "What do you think we can do now?"
"We have some
torps remaining." Moose answered. "It would be a shame not to
use them to increase their problems a bit."
too. All right, you've got one last pass on the closest Frigate. I think
there is room for the Wolf's Den to escape, but it's better to be sure."
OK, boys, link your computers with mine. I want you to launch your warheads
on my mark..."
"This is Ten."
Solo said. "What are we supposed to do?"
"Keep the music
[Wolf's Den's bridge]
Captain Talina Gen'yaa
shook her head. Things were easier when she only had to worry about her
own ship, the spy Corvette "Curious Cat", and a crew composed
in its greater part by Bothans. She had imagined that all these human
pilots were going to cause trouble, but they were leaving behind her wildest
expectations. Now she fully understood Captain Orris' wide smile the only
time they met, when Wolfshead Squadron was transferred to her new ship...
Her second in command,
Captain Wumb, interrupted her thoughts.
has just landed in the main bay." The Sullustan informed. "We
are ready to jump."
"Very well. Order
to energize the hyperdrives and let's get out of here. Ah, and tell the
forward gunners to aim at that Nebulon-A. With some luck, will leave a
disabled capital ship at our back." She turned to look again at the
viewscreen, while Wumb followed her instructions. Her expression was serious
and concentrated, but there was a bright of amusement in her cold blue
eyes. Her orders were to investigate traces of Imperial presence in this
sector. They had not only accomplished that mission successfully, but
sustained a battle
in numeric inferiority and damaged the enemy fleet without suffering any
considerable losses in return. Actually, if they were able to disable
that Frigate, the Imperials were going to be trapped in this area for
some time, perhaps enough for the High Command to send a task force to
finish the job. Yes, she was going to score some points off what had seemed
to be a complete disaster. Perhaps she would not arrest any pilot today.
[Space, outside the
Foxfire keyed the
comm as soon as she saw the Compassion settle on the hangar floor,
the Compassion is safely delivered home, let's clear the area."
"Nice you could
make it, A-flight!" Moose replied with some sarcasm, "We could
use some fighter suppression if we're to snuggle up close to that frigate,
you know! These interceptor pilots are no cannon fodder.. watch it 17,
you got company!"
him.. <scratch, screech> ..epons out!" Sacart was struggling
wildly with the controls, trying to keep the battered fighter out of the
line of fire. Suddenly the hail of green bolts stopped, glancing back
over his shoulder Sacart saw the interceptor explode and one of the A-Wings
narrowly evading the debris.
all clear now, better make that jump for hyperspace and head for home!"
Arachnoid waved his fighter twice before heading off in search of a new
The rest of the B-Wings
formed up with the X-Wings flanking them, the accurate fire from the A-Wings
kept the imperial fighters off their back for the time being.
"On my mark,
3, 2, 1, mark!" Moose pressed the trigger and watched as the torpedoes
whizzed away at their intended target. There was a chorus of acknowledgments
as the other pilots unloaded their warheads on the frigate.
blocked by Rolling Asteroids "Sympathy for the Darth", the gunners
on the imperial frigate had no way of coordinating their efforts to stop
the attack. Their individual marksmanship was admirable but didn't do
much to change the fate of their ship. While her interior shook with the
steady beat of drums and "woohoo's", the shields finally collapsed.
Not that many of her crew noticed it, most of them were struck with panic,
struggling to keep their sanity.
"Wolfs Den, this
is One. You have a clear hyperspace jump lane!" switching over to
squadron frequency Foxfire continued, "Alright, the B-Wings will
jump first. Moose, you're clear! We'll cover you, not that there is any
serious need for it. X-Wings and A-Wings, jump at your own discretion.
And can someone get our two friends in the odd B-Wing to jump too?"
Solo and Sparks were
rocking away in their rather cramped cockpit,
"Hey Solo! Look
what I found tucked away behind the seat!" Sparks held up a bottle
filled with brownish liquid in front of Solo's visor.
"Looks like Granite
has used the cockpit as a secret Malt stash, is there a bagpipe back there
Sparks crawled back
best he could, accidentally hitting a lever causing the B-Wings large
wing to start spinning. A TIE fighter venturing a little close to the
rebel ship accidentally got swatted.
else back here except the bottle."
"That's ok, we've
got some music here anyway!" Solo said turning up the volume some
more while evading incoming battery fire from one of the Strike Cruisers.
Sparks had a look around, checking the positions of the other ships.
like the others are leaving! Don't you think we should too? The 'Den is
about to jump and the others are on their way. Looks like they've managed
to disable one of the frigates too. Wait, Granite's left! His ship is
moving in the strangest way... it's...rocking!"
Solo checked the in-flight
map with some difficulty, trying to get Sparks' knee out of the way,
"Looks like we
should get a move on, we have the jump coordinates from the 'Den. What
do you say we turn off the music, hail Granite and get out of here. I
wanna get into hyperspace really soon, we're about to have some company."
He nodded towards the map were several groups of TIE fighter icons were
converging on their position.
"Ok Solo, I'll
hail Bannockburn." Sparks quickly turned down the volume, and switched
on the radio, "Granite,
Sparks here! Let's move out, the others have already left this party"
"Awww! Just when
things were goin' really well for once!"
Just as Solo was getting
ready to hit the hyperspace lever, Sparks cried out: "Stop! Give
me just a few more seconds, I have an idea!"
Sparks was working
quickly trying to use a portable fuel cell as a power source for the comm
relay amplifier, Solo caught on and started readying the small airlock
normally used to jettison garbage.
"Hey guys! What
are we waiting for?" Granite eyed the lone B-Wing, the music had
stopped and he was worried about the imperials getting their act together
before they had the chance to jump, time was running out as he heard the
usual coded chatter start again on the imperial frequencies.
[Inside the B-Wing]
go!" Sparks switched on the record player again and jettisoned it
through the airlock. "That
ought to cover our escape! Sorry about your record though..."
Solo grinned and hit
the hyperspace lever. As the stars streched out into lines of light he
heard the distinct sound of a liquor bottle being unscrewed, his grin
got even wider; this hyperspace jump was going to be just great. Granite
followed moments after, jubilating at the complete chaos they had left
[Later, on the Wolfs
The elevator door
hissed open and the two pilots staggered out, obviously terribly hung
over. They flinched from the stare they got from their CO, Foxfire.
"Ah, there you
are, how nice of you to come!" The Bothan's voice was sweet but she
couldn't hide the irony. Solo felt sweat trickle down his forehead, "I
was just explaining to Commander Schroeder here the importance of following
Alliance navy regulations, you know; like radio silence when on a mission!"
Captain Gen'yaa almost
shouted out the last part of the sentence. She managed to compose herself
before continuing, "I
would have you court martialed for jeopardizing my crew, but since you
were resourceful enough to "adjust" the situation I will let
you go, for now."
She said, with quite
a smile and a glance at Foxfire,
"However, I think
that your commanding officer have something to say, maybe you want to
take it outside?"
All Sparks could think
of was how good he knew Foxfire was at handling the crowbar.
I truly think you deserve this: You will be transferred to Dustmop Wing
for a period of two weeks, effective immediately!"
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