It was 22:30 hours aboard the Liberty. A thoroughly exhausted
Lieutenant Jeff "Spectre" Mitchell wandered into the Lounge. He
was still dressed in his flight suit and had his helmet tucked under
his right arm. His short brown hair was totally disheveled and generally
he looked as though he'd been in a losing battle with a wampa. His
entire body was sore and he had a dull, throbbing headache.
There were a few patrons in the Lounge on this evening, but no
one Spectre recognized immediately. He'd been on board the Liberty
for two weeks and was still getting to know names and faces. Spectre
shuffled his way over to the bar and sat down on one of the free
stools. He put his helmet on the empty stool beside him as Mixer
rolled up and asked what he'd like.
"Double Corellian whiskey please Mixer, straight up with no ice,"
he replied wearily. As Mixer brought him his drink, Spectre pulled
a datapad out of the front pocket of his flight suit. He clicked
the device on and slowly read its contents. His drink arrived shortly
thereafter and he took a swig. The whiskey tasted very good, and
after his second swallow he could feel the soreness begin to slowly
fade from his aching muscles. As he resumed his reading, Michael
"Vidster" Videlka strode into the lounge. He saw Spectre immediately
and made his way over to the bar.
"Spectre! Good to see you," Rogue Squadron's XO said, taking the
free seat beside the newest Corsair pilot. "I heard you were flying
today, for real. How did it go?" Vidster took a quick glance into
the contents of Spectre's glass, trying to contain the look of surprise
that appeared on his face. "Not very well I gather, you don't drink
hard liquor very often," Spectre looked away from his datapad and
managed a crooked smile as Vidster sat down.
"Well sir, I'll tell you, I've never spent 5 hours straight in
an A-wing before. I think the A-wing cockpit has to be the single
most uncomfortable place in the entire universe," Spectre concluded,
draining his whiskey and turning off his datapad. Vidster laughed.
"Yes Spectre, I think you're right. I'll take the roominess of
an X any day," he replied, smiling. "Let me buy you a refill and
you can tell me what happened. Why did the mission take so long
anyway? Looked pretty routine from what I saw of the briefing,"
"Well, it was routine right up until the party crashers arrived,"
Spectre said, taking a sip from his newly refilled glass of Corellian
whiskey. The ache in his muscles and his head had become nicely
dulled at this point. "As you know, Blindman, Kallysto and I went
out to rendevous with the supply freighter Replenisher. We
all thought it would be a good opportunity for me to get some flight
Three A-wing starfighters gracefully rose from the deck of the
main hangar bay aboard the CRS Liberty. They paused briefly,
obtaining flight clearance from the controller on the bridge. Then,
in tight formation, they sped out into the blackness of space.
Nestled in the cockpit of his A-wing, Spectre quickly checked his
systems. He set standard presets for his ELS system and double-checked
the mission objectives. The freighter Replenisher was due
to arrive within the next few minutes. Buccaneer Squadron had run
critically short of warheads and required immediate resupply before
they resumed offensive operations. The trick was to ensure that
the supply transfer went ahead without interference. Spectre concentrated
on maintaining a tight formation with his CO and XO as the three
fighters began their racetrack flight pattern around their command
Spectre let himself relax slightly and he settled back into his
seat. The A-wing was a little cramped, he was still getting used
to it. He was beginning to fall in love with the little craft though.
His longing for an X-wing was slowly starting to fade. Generally,
Spectre was really glad to be back in the cockpit of a starfighter
again. Suddenly, the soft chime of his comm system interrupted his
daydreaming. Blindman was calling.
"Corsair Lead to Corsairs Eleven and Three... I've just received
a message from the Liberty. I have some bad news. Looks like
the Replenisher has run into hyperdrive trouble two sectors
from here. We're going to have to go provide cover while they make
repairs. You should be receiving nav coordinates now," Blindman
"Acknowledged Corsair Lead, preparing for hyper jump," Kallysto
"Roger, receiving coordinates now," Spectre called over the comm
channel. He banked his fighter over to the left, following his two
squadmates. Several seconds later the trio of starfighters simultaneously
jumped to lightspeed, their escort mission now a rescue mission.
Spectre drained his Corellian whiskey in one long, final pull.
He set the glass down on the bar with a dull thump. He wasn't feeling
any pain anymore.
"So that's how this particular mission started to go to the dogs.
Needless to say, it got worse, a lot worse," Spectre said. Vidster
let out a laugh.
"I bet I know what happened next. You arrived at the rendevous
coordinates and were jumped by an Imperial fleet." he said, with
"Pretty much, although I think a single Imperial fleet would have
been a lot easier." Spectre said. "As it turned out, everyone and
their uncle was out to ruin our day..."
The three A-wings exited hyperspace after a brief trip. They slowed
and acquired their target, which lay five kilometres ahead. Blindman
opened a comm channel to the freighter.
"Freighter Replenisher this is Corsair Leader, what's your
status?" Blindman called.
"This is Captain Emmryson aboard the Replenisher. Are we
glad to see you. We were getting a little worried sitting here in
the middle of nowhere. Our hyperdrive is still offline. It blew
shortly after we started the final leg of our jump to the Liberty.
Our engineer is still trying to fix it. It appears we don't need
anything in the way of extra parts."
"That's good news Captain, we'll stay on station here and cover
you. We can call the Liberty if any serious problems arise,"
Blindman responded. "Keep us informed of your status and let us
know when you're ready to hyper out."
"Roger Corsair Leader, will-do." Captain Emmryson answered, sounding
much happier than he had several seconds earlier.
Blindman switched comm channels back to the one reserved for squadron
"Corsairs Eleven and Three, assume standard patrol pattern around
the Replenisher and maintain radio silence. We don't want
to broadcast our presence here. This is open space and we're near
an Imperial patrol route. Break radio silence only if we are attacked,"
"Roger Corsair Lead," Spectre called back.
"Yes sir," came the response from Kallysto.
The three fighters neatly split their formation and assumed racetrack
patrol routes around the stricken Alliance freighter.
Spectre took another glass of Corellian whiskey from Mixer. He
was feeling really good now.
"So, we spent about an hour flying around, waiting for something
to happen. We kept close eyes on our fuel status and kept our speed
relatively low in an effort to conserve. Just as we were getting
totally bored and on the verge of falling asleep, things got messy...fast,"
he continued, sipping from his newly refreshed drink. Vidster smiled.
"So how many Star Destroyers dropped out of hyperspace on you?"
"None actually...to start off." Spectre replied. "The pirates came
first, followed by the Imperials about fifteen minutes later...
Spectre had been getting drowsy. He tried to fight it, but his
eyes just kept getting heavier and heavier. Suddenly, he was saved
from a nap he couldn't afford to take. His body flooded with adrenaline
as his threat-warning indicator went off with a sharp wail. He quickly
checked his sensor displays. Three Y-wings and a pair of transports
had dropped out of hyperspace nearby. Kallysto was the first to
break radio silence.
"Incoming raiders! Bearing 210 mark 36, 5 klicks out," he called
to his wingmen.
"I've got them Kallysto," Blindman answered. "Spectre, ID those
transports and ensure that they aren't friendly. Take 'em out if
they aren't. Kally and I will keep the Y-wings off you."
"Roger Corsair Lead, starting intercept now," Spectre responded,
the cobwebs now completely erased from his mind. This was it, his
first taste of real combat as a Corsair pilot. He pushed away the
nervousness he felt and let his automatic instincts take over. Configuring
his ELS for speed, he broke out of his patrol pattern and raced
for the incoming transports.
As he bore in on the unwelcome arrivals, he heard Blindman issuing
instructions to the freighter captain, telling him to get moving
and start evasive maneuvers. Spectre checked the charge status of
his shields and then selected his missile launchers. He set them
to dual fire mode and acquired the lead transport. He continued
to bore in, flashing past the tight formation the transports had
formed. His sensors rapidly classified the ships and indicated that
they had raiding parties aboard.
Knowing what he had to do next, Spectre held his course and put
some distance between himself and the pirates. Then, he banked up
sharply and turned around to head back. After a few seconds that
seemed like an eternity, he entered maximum range and his crosshairs
changed to yellow and then red. He loosed two pairs of missiles
and then rapidly acquired the second transport. After getting a
solid lock, he fired another two pairs of missiles at the second
ship. The two transports attempted to turn away from the incoming
warheads, but they weren't fast enough -- the missiles slammed into
their shields, eliminating them entirely and causing significant
Spectre slowed his fighter and switched over to lasers. He reselected
the first transport and lined it up in his sights. He squeezed off
several shots as the transport desperately tried to weave and jink.
Spectre's determination paid off and the pirate ship exploded in
a brilliant flash. He smiled in satisfaction at his first kill.
He flipped on his inflight map, to quickly check on Blindman and
Kallysto. He noted that they were locked in a furious furball with
the three pirate Y-wings, but seemed to be holding their own. Then,
he checked his sensors and found that the second transport had resumed
its attack run and had actually opened up on the freighter with
ion cannons. Spectre smoothly brought his ship around and after
travelling a short distance to catch up with his quarry, opened
fire, causing the pirate to break his attack run and go evasive.
Spectre continued pounding with his lasers until the transport exploded.
"Corsair Lead, this is Corsair Three. The transports have been
destroyed. Do you and Kallysto require assistance?" he called.
"Negative Spectre. We're doing fine. Stick close to the Replenisher.
Captain Emmryson tells me their repairs are almost complete," Blindman
responded as he triggered a final laser blast that resulted in the
death of the second pirate Y-wing. "We should be able to get out
of here shortly."
"Roger," Spectre answered, doing a quick sensor sweep of the freighter.
Its shields had been knocked down a bit, but it was still in good
shape. He continued to monitor the progress of his wingmates and
smiled as they quickly dispatched the last pirate fighter. Spectre
hoped that they'd get away without further interference. His hopes
were dashed as his threat sensors indicated the arrival of multiple
problems. He switched to his map to see what was coming their way
next. Two Victory-class Star Destroyers had arrived practically
on top of them and each immediately launched TIEs. Seconds later,
several more pirates arrived, three more Y-wings and two more transports.
He called to Blindman.
"Corsair Leader, we're in big trouble here. I show a squadron of
TIE fighters inbound and more pirates. Suggest we get the heck out
of dodge?" Spectre said. He checked his fuel gauge at the same time.
He didn't like what he saw.
"Negative Spectre, we've got to stay and fight. The Replenisher
is still not ready yet," Blindman called back, with a distinct edge
to his voice. He was worried about their chances too. "I'm going
to call the Liberty and see if we can get some assistance
ASAP. In the meantime, stick to the freighter like glue."
"Roger sir. Just to let you know, my fuel status is not good. I
estimate that I've got ten minutes of fight left before I'll be
a sitting duck." he responded.
"Acknowledged Spectre. Kally and I are in about the same state.
Let's just do our best. Looks like reinforcements are out of the
question though. The Imps have thrown up a jamming field. My long
range comm system is useless."
"Terrific, Corsair Leader. Guess we're on our own then. Engaging
transports now." Spectre answered. He didn't know how they were
going to get out of this one. He knew one thing though, he wasn't
going to get captured again. With great determination, he wheeled
around and started for the incoming pirate transports.
"Wow, that must have been some fight," Vidster said. He drained
his glass. "How the heck did you get out of it? Things must have
been pretty bleak," he asked, looking amazed.
"They were. I'm amazed I'm sitting here now," Spectre said, also
finishing his drink. "I had to simultaneously fight three enemies.
I tried to concentrate on keeping the transports at bay while dodging
fire from the pirate Y-wings and the Imperial TIE fighters. I was
flying purely on instinct," he continued. "I also had one eye on
my fuel gauge the whole time. After what seemed like an eternity,
we received word from the Replenisher that they were fixed
and ready to roll. Blindman, Kally, and I then concentrated on disengaging
safely. We followed the freighter out shortly after it left the
area. I was having flashbacks to my capture the whole time while
I waited for my hyperdrive motivator to come online," Spectre said,
causing Vidster to grin.
"I bet. Well, that was some story. Talk about a baptism by fire,"
Vidster said, fishing several credits out of his pocket. "Your drinks
are on me, you deserve them," he continued, giving Spectre a pat
on the shoulder.
"Thanks sir. It was intense, but I can honestly say it's good to
be back in the fight. I really can't imagine myself anywhere else,"
Spectre said, rising from the barstool and gathering his helmet.
"Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go shower and then sleep
for a week." Vidster let out a laugh.
"Sure thing Lieutenant. Catch ya later."