“The Death Star was destroyed? How is that possible?” Noxoa , the head of Flame Squadron, said while stalking forward to the displays. The Iridonian Zabrak turned to the commander with an angry look on her face, hardly being able to be called an Iridonian as her normal pale skin turning a dark red. “There is no way this could have happened, not with a battle station of that size and power.”
“It was destroyed, Red 5 is said to have destroyed it with the help from a smuggler.” A human, with shaggy looking blonde hair, working at a nearby monitor said. “Commander, new reports coming in.”
“What is it?” Commander Meradin asked as she walked over to the monitor. “Did they take out the Emperor as well?” She added, her voice heavy with sarcasm
“No ma'am, there is word Grand Moff Tarkin was on the station when it was destroyed though but we have no confirmed reports yet. There is a message from high command though, 'All cells from the Gordian Reach are to evacuate and all other cells are to hit as many Imperial targets as possible to take advantage of the Death Star's destruction.' It also says that if we can't form a plan to take out the target of our choice with small if any losses we are to go about our original plans or to try and better the plan so we have as little losses as possible.” He said, the excitement at the implications of the Death Star's destruction getting the better of him.
“Ok, Havoc, new orders. There is an Imperial convoy moving from Mandalore to the Taris ship yards. The convoy is made up of three Tartan Patrol Cruisers and a group of four Tie-fighter squadrons as an escort moving with the Imperial Armored Transport you are targeting. You are to intercept the convoy and either take the munitions and supplies they are carrying and bring them back here so we can be better prepared for other OP's.” She continued. “You will be accompanied by two Gallofree transports to carry the supplies. If the situation is too much in there favor just return to base, we cant lost any more personnel.” She added
“Like it isn't already in there favor too much.” Lieutenant Emiani Spilcau, one of the other members of Ash Squadron, said, not even trying to hide the sarcasm in her voice. “They have three dedicated anti-fighter ships not to mention four squadrons of Tie's, how are we gonna pull this off with as little pilots as we have now?”
“The pilots that will be replacing those lost are already on there way to the barracks to get suited up, after they are ready you will need to leave for you mission. There isn't much time till the Imperials reinforce the convoy.” Commander Meradin said. “Dismissed.”
“Wait Commander how are we supposed–––.” Armin started
“I said dismissed Captain.” She said, cutting him off.
Turning around Armin stalked out of the command center towards the barracks with the rest filing out of the room after him. “She's crazy, we don't even have a plan!” Armin roared as he walked through the compound towards the barracks. Getting out of his flight suit, revealing his usual plain cloths he used between missions, and tying the arms around his waist so that if he needed to evacuate he could do so easily.
“Armin we can do this, we have done OP's like this time and time again, little information and have to plan on the fly; it will be fine like it always is.” Vasila, the female Miraluka said as she caught up to Armin. “I know your worried about what happened when we helped the Gladius, you couldn't have saved them no matter what.”
“And ya im worried, I don't know what kind of pilots these 'replacements' are. For all we know they could be kids there throwing into this war.” Armin said, shaking his head. “By the way why is it that you seem to always know whats going on in my head Vas? Are you a Jedi or something?” Armin asked with a small chuckle.
“Your not far off with me being a Jedi, all Miraluka are highly force sensitive.” She said with a small smile. “Its funny, most people just think that I can read minds rather than what I actually can do.”
“”What all can you do then?” Armin asked
“Not now Armin, there are more important things to go over. Also, Armin, you have to stop worrying so much. Just help us think of a plan to do this, Hinoka is already discussing a way to take out those Tartan patrols with Noxoa and Qasz.” Vas said, cocking her head towards where the rest of the group was about three meter behind.
“How can you hear them?” Armin asked simply as he tried to hear.
Vas smiled in response. “We should go meet the new members of Ash Squadron shouldn't we?” She asked as she skipped ahead of Armin towards the barracks. “Come on slowpoke.” She called before running off.
“Hey wait up!” Armin called before running after Vasila towards the barracks.
• • •
“How are we going to destroy those Tartan Patrol Cruisers? Its not like we have a Nebulon or even a Hammerhead cruiser with us to hit them, all we have as backup are Gallofree transports.” Noxoa said as her, Hinoka, and Qasz discussed what they might be able to do to get through the OP without casualties.
“We could use the A-Wings to lure the Tie's away, its something we have done plenty of times, then have some of Ash to run with your Y-Wings Nox while you make runs on the Tartan's.” Hinoka said, trying to figure out a way for the OP to work. “But if we do that the Transports might get away so we might not be able to do that.”
“What if, when we start our first run, we have Flame Squadron aim for the Transports engines? Mirage and Ash squadrons could run intercept on the Tie's and a distraction for the Tartans. If it goes well we can make it so that the transports are dead in space while we deal with the escorts.” Qasz said as they continued to walked towards the barracks.
“Hey wait up!” Armin called ahead as Hinoka turned to see him running after Vasila. Vas had always been close to Armin, she gravitated to him when she first joined the cell two years ago. Hinoka had always thought it weird, Vas didn't talk to many people when she first arrived, no more than was necessary, but when she was with Armin she seemed to be another person entirely.
Hinoka was always wary of people, no matter who they where, till they proved themselves to her; proved that she could trust them with Armin's life if she couldn't be with him again. To what Hinoka had seen Vas was an amazing pilot, being better than Armin who basically grew up a pilot, and even better than Paz or Wessi Drubli the twin Mirialan brothers who where the top of there class at the Imperial Academy before they left and joined the Rebellion along with Wedge Antilles and Derek 'Hobbie' Klivian.
“Hinoka.” Noxao said, snapping Hinoka out of her thoughts. “Now that your back with us Qasz her was going over another option.”
“Yes, as I was saying, I think that the way to get as few casualties as possible is to have Ash and Mirage Squadrons for a sort of wall for Flame. Ash and Mirage Squadrons would be 'hiding' a force of bombers, hopefully they will think its Flame squadron, while Flame comes from behind the Tartans and hits them with there proton torpedoes.” Qasz explained
“What about there sensors?” Hinoka countered. “If we do this they would know Flame Squadron is coming from behind and turn to intercept.”
• • •
“Your getting slower Captain.” Vas taunted as she ran around the next corner, still heading for the barracks.
Armin, searching for a way to get in front of her, turned early going down another hallway. Armin could guess that Vas would know that he did that, she seemed to have that enhanced sense no matter if she was flying or just walking around. As Armin ran around corner after corner, trying to get ahead of Vasila,on his way to the barracks. As he rounded another corner he saw Vas standing before the door to the barracks smiling at him.
“Guess you lost again captain.” She said with a broad smile.
“I let you win.” Armin said, while trying to catch his breath. “Do you think the others will be along to meet the new members soon?”
“Ya, they should be along soon but if not they will have to meet them during the flight.” She said going to the panel next to the door. “Now hurry up, they shouldn't see one of the Captains gawking at one of the other pilots as there first impression of us.” She added with a sly smile.
“You never cease to amaze me.” Armin said as he walked up to the door, ready to see what the Alliance had gotten for new pilots. “At attention Lieutenant, lets give them a good impression.”
“Yes sir.” Vas said, snapping to attention while failing to conceal a small smile.
Armin walked into the room as Vas keyed for the door to open, barely giving it time to fully open. “Oi!” He shouted as he saw the pilots standing around even after one of the captains of Havoc Group entered the room.
“What?” One of the Zabrak, a male with the black tattoos common for there race, in the room asked. “Buzz off techy, we need to get ready for an OP.”
“He isn't––“ Vas started before Armin cut her off.
“Not far off from me being a techy. But its better to know who might be giving orders before you throw names around.” He said as he walked up to the Zabrak. “Now im only going to say this once, my name is Armin Endris, Captain Armin Endris of Ash Squadron. Now, cadet, whats your name?” He asked in a commanding voice.
“Ya, and im the Emperor.” The Zabrak said. “Now if you would leave us pilots to our job, and leave that spare flight suit on your way out, I would appreciate it.”
“Aasos, shut up.” A female said from the other side of the room, the green skin and red spades tattooed under her eyes and along her cheeks defining her as a Mirialan; Armin didn't know what they meant but knew enough from Paz and Wessi that they represent the accomplishments she had achieved over her life. “If you can't tell that 'techy' is wearing the badges of a Captain. Aside from that I saw he get out of his ship when they came in before we where called into the barracks to get suited up.” She said as she snapped to attention. “Sorry sir, he only earned his tattoos recently.”
“No problem.” Armin said with a small chuckle. “The others should be making sure there ships are ready, lets go and do the same. We can make introductions during the flight cause we don't have much time. Come on, hurry up.” He added as he turned and, with Vas close behind, walked out of the barracks towards the hanger and the rest of Havoc Group.
• • •
“30 minutes till we make contact with the convoy.” Drukera said “Hey newbies, get ready.”
“Yes ma'am.” Armin said jokingly. “Take it easy Drukera, they might be young but they can fly at least.”
“For now. I guessing fifteen out of the nineteen of em will need us to bail em out within the first five seconds of the fight.” She replied. “At least we can try and have fun with that will trying to keep this plan afloat.”
“We CAN hear you ya know.” Aasos said over the comms.
“So?” Drukera asked. “Its not like you have shown any skill at flying so far. To me your just another brother trying to be something he isn't.”
“Why you–––?” Aasos started before being cut off by Vasila
“Hey, get ready we need to jump out in thirty seconds.” Vas said calmly. “Seems we where early so get ready to form up Mirage.”
“Copy, lets make this a clean OP.” Qasz said over the comms. “And Nox, be quick please.”
“Gonna try, at least I won't have three Tartan's gunning me down.” Noxoa said. “I swear if we lose no one the drinks are on me for a standard month. And not the cheep stuff, the really good stuff that the Moff's and Grand Admirals drink.”
“You heard her everyone, don't mess up and the whole Alliance goes broke in a day.” Armin said over the comms. “Alright five seconds, good luck everyone.” He added with a chuckle. 'I really hope those jammers work.' Armin thought as he eased the Solar Flair out of hyperspace.
“Alright all wings form up in a box around 'Flame'. Stay close but for the love of god don't clip someone else's wings. Mirage on the outside and Ash on the inside.” Drukera said into the comm as the two squadrons formed into a box around 'Flame Squadron'.
“Fifteen klicks out guys, gonna be getting fire soon.” Armin advised as he got ready for the battle at hand. Clenching and unclenching his hands around the controls of his ARC-170 he calmed his mind, he knew exactly what to do, and how to do it. He took a deep breath as he checked his readouts one last time, making sure they where perfect, before he settled down and got the battle underway. “All wings, lock S-foils in attack position.”
There where resounding snaps as the S-foils of the Solar Flair and the X-Wings locked into attack position, the A-Wing pilots arming there laser cannons as the two squadrons increased there speed as they dove onto the convoy. They where ten klicks out when the Tartan Patrol Cruisers and the Tie-fighter escorts started to turn towards the incoming group of fighters. As the distance rapidly closed three of the Tie-fighter squadrons broke off and started to intercept the group.
“Don't break until we give the signal.” Armin said over the comms as they Tie-fighters screamed towards them.
“This is where the fun begins.” Rusa, one of the new A-Wing pilots, said over the comms.
“Don't get in my way 'captain'.” Aasos said. “Would hate to accidentally take you out.”
“Aasos, just get ready and shut it.” Maya said from her A-Wing.
The Tie-fighters where closing in quicker than Armin had expected, must be using full power he thought. “Alright guys, break on my mark. Three..... Two.... One, break!” Armin said as he turned his ARC-170 hard to the right. “Pick a Tie and don't leave your wing-man.”
“I got one!” Paz Drubli said over the comms. “Get into the game brother, don't want to lose again do you?”
“Ya, ya just watch your tail.” Wessi replied.
Twin green laser blasts shot past the cockpit of the Solar Flair as Armin immediately rolled to the right, trying to get behind the Tie-fighter. “Hinoka, get that fighter off of us.” He asked as he took the ARC into a loop.
“Your fancy flying is making it difficult.” She shouted back as she shot the rear guns.
There was a bright flash behind the ARC as Armin looked back to see an X-wing flying by through the remains of the Tie-fighter that was behind them. “We need to get back out there Captain.” Vasila's voice came over the comms. “And give Hinoka a break, your fancy flying does make it difficult.”
“Ya, ya I–––“ Armin started before he was cut off by a welcomed sound over the comms.
“Mirage, Ash, Tartans are down.” Noxoa said as the members of Mirage and Ash Squadrons looked to see the three Tartan Patrol cruisers bursting into flame and proton torpedoes tore through them. “Gonna need help though, these guys seem to be smarter than most.” She added
“Understood, alright all wings make a b-line to Flame Squadron and cover them as they set up another run.” Qasz said over the comms.
“I can't shake em, I need help!” Aasos said over the comms.
“Right side Armin, hes got two on him.” Drukera said as Armin looked to see Aasos's X-wing being tailed by two Tie-fighters.
“I'm coming Aasos, just hang on.” Armin said as he rolled to the right and maxed the Solar Flairs speed. “Hinoka, im gonna take the one on the far side, when I blow past it try and get the other.” Armin said as he dove towards the two Tie-fighters.
Armin shot three bursts from the twin laser cannons on the wings, blowing the Tie-fighter on the far side into dust as he shot through where it used to be. There was a secondary flash as Hinoka vaporized the other Tie-fighter as they shot past.
“Thanks for the help captain, I owe you one.” Aasos said as he pulled away to help the others cover Flame Squadron.
“Try a few Aasos.” Maya said over the comms. “Now could you two stop making up and get over here? There are only a few Tie's left.”
“On our way.” Armin said as he dove towards the remaining Tie-fighters as they tried to flee. “Hey Flame, did you disable that transport?” Armin asked as he saw the last Tie-fighter get the ball cockpit in the center get vaporized, the two solar panels on the sides spinning off into space.
“Ya, the Gallofree's are already moving to get eh supplies.” Ruxee, Noxoa's gunner, said over the comms. “Got some good pilots from the start this time, nice change of events to be honest.” She added
“Ya, just got to keep em this time.” Armin said, his voice filling with regret.
“Hey, I think the fighters got more kills the the bombers this time around.” Vas said as she pulled next to the Solar Flair as they flew around the Gallofree's and the Imperial Armored Transport, in the case that reinforcements would come out.
“No, no, no.” Kovrux said over the comms. “Flame got more than anyone, those Tartans had at least seventy people crewing them. All you got MAX was forty-eight from those fighters.”
“That only counts as three. Its one ship one kill, no exceptions.” Koza, the new Togruta pilots of Mirage Squadron, said.
“Says the loser.” Kovrux replied.
“No that's how we have it Kovrux. One ship, no matter the size or class, is only one kill.” Noxoa said over the comms to the rookie Iridonian Zabrak. “But with that aside Flame would still have racked up more points, we got the Tartans out of the war and we stopped the Transport.”
“Anyone of us could have done that.” Vas said. “That doesn't count towards your points at all.”
“Ya and even if it did I would have won either way. I got ten on this one.” Paz said over the comms. “Seems I beat you again brother, you really need to try harder next time.”
“I would if you wouldn't swing down in-front of me as im lining up a shot on a TIE.” Wessi said
“Alright guys calm down, don't have much time left anyway.” Hinoka said over the radio. “Luminus, this is Havoc, any ETA on when you will be done?” She asked one of the Gallofree transports.
“Almost done Havoc, should have the rest on the Serenity within five minutes. Then we can get back to base.” The captain of the Luminus replied.
“Understood, get it filled ASAP, Havoc out.” Hinoka replied, ending the transmition with the Luminus. “Now that that's over with, we can get on to the matter of those drinks Nox.” She added with a laugh. “I think you might need to go to the Emperor to get that kind of money though.”
The only thing that was heard before everyone burst out laughing was the sound of Noxoa sighing.
• • •
“Was the mission successful Havoc?” Commander Meradin said as Havoc Group, the Luminus, and the Serenity, came out of hyperspace above Dathomir.
“Has ma'am, got the supplies with no losses on our side.” Armin said as the group, still protectively flying around the two Gallofree transports, flew towards the base.
“Excellent. You did well Havoc, you deserve a few days of RnR before the next OP. Command out.” She said before ending the transmition.