War-machine Plans

The Velorios Asteroid-belt

Six B-wings sat there, in the background of empty space, darkness surrounding them and hiding their presence to other crafts present. Asteroids floated around them, shielding them even more from discovery.

The heavy starfighters were powered down to near zero, close to 10 % of power. Just enough power for life-support and passive scanners. Inside the starfighters sat 6 pilots, their attention riveted on their secondary monitors, ready to power-up and engage when the signal would be given.

Their mission was simple: wait, engage, destroy everything so that there was no witnesses, find their primary objective, disable it, wait some more and then hyper out.

Simple was the description of the mission, but the actual difficulty of accomplishing it ranged from extremely easy to extremely impossible, thought Marc "Prowler" Desrosiers. Instead of just a squadron of Gunboats, there might be a Star Destroyer with a full complement of TIEs onboard. Such a possibility exists, and we have a 37% chance of having one of those Impstars drop in to crash the party.

He sighed and looked down through the eyepiece of his helmet to the secondary monitor to his right.

There were no Imperial craft in the area. If so, a list with the name of the craft would appear, with its status and target written down to its right. He shifted to Rebel IFF scanning.

Six names appeared on his scope, Bucc One, Two, Three, Four, Five, and Seven. All had shields to 0%, but could turn them on instantly and have 200% power.

He switched back to Imperial IFF scanning.

2 minutes go by

Prowler's initial reaction when the M/CRV dropped out of hyperspace was to reach for the engine start button, but he stopped in mid-motion, remembering the orders at the briefing. Let them drop out of hyperspace and navigate for 4 minutes. Let them get comfortable and drop their shields. Then we'll attack.

Guardian's tactic was sound, but the waiting was extremely tense. Especially since the corvette was passing by at 2 km distance, still in firing range if it noticed the rebel fighters.

The corvette still had its shields powered up when the squadron of Assault Gunboats dropped out of hyperspace. The GUNs formed up on a high-stacked diamond and placed themselves fore and aft of the small spaceship, a traditional escort formation.

One minute later, the corvette's shield dropped to 50%, then 25% and finally they shut off.

" One here, I'm targeting the bridge... firing ions!" yelled Guardian, as trios of blue darts emerged from a dark spot in space, a half kilometer away. The ions shots rammed the section of the bridge, surrounding the front of the corvette with blue fire. Seconds later, the corvette was disabled.

Time to take care of those Guns!, thought Prowler.

He rammed the throttle to full power and turned on his shields. He then rolled left, avoiding a volley of green lasers coming his way. The GUN overshot and turned slowly. Diving hard and lowering speed, Prowler's craft came back up towards the GUN. Switching to torpedoes, he flicked the dual fire button and pressed down on the trigger. Two rockets rode out on jets of blue flame and plowed into the upper side of the Gunboat's shield. They plunged through and crashed into the transparisteel viewport, killing the pilot with razor-sharp glass shards. The GUN exploded.

Ruddering his fighter to the right and pressing down on the flightstick, Prowler's fighter slipped to starboard all while arcing downward.

A GUN came into view. Flicking his lasers to life, he fired them in linked shots.

They coalesced into one burst of supercharged laser and reduced the Imp fighter's shield all the way down to 64%. As he fired again in sequence, his lasers utterly consumed the Gunboat.

He glanced to his sensors, one Gunboat was remaining and its shields were down to 24%. An instant later, it disappeared from the sensor board.

Keying his comm, Prowler spoke up, " GUNs dispatched, Bucc Leader. Corvette is disabled, although you already know that " he said, grinning broadly.

" Acknowledged, Bucc Five. Let's wait for the Cor Darei. She'll be here any minute. "

Double-clicks came back as responses to his order and Guardian let out the breath he felt like he'd had inside him since the start of the mission. Glancing to his chronometer, he opened his eyes wide in surprise.

37 seconds! It took us thirty-seven seconds! Festering Sith, it felt like at least 2 minutes! Breathing a bit more slowly now, Guardian smiled, If it takes less time for us to accomplish a mission, I'm not going to complain. All it does is reduce the odds of one of us being shot down.

Clearing his throat, he spoke up again, " Oh, and by the way, guys. Nice flying out there, it took us 37 secs to fully take care of the Imperial threat. That's record material. Good job! "

Whistles came back over the comm, innocently sweet, as if the Buccaneer pilots already knew that they were among the best. Guardian snorted, It's a good thing they don't act like that around other people.

They have massive egos, and I already know that. But it's a very good thing they have good control over it.

As he finished his thought, a Correlian light freighter/transport dropped out of hyperspace and flew towards the disabled M/CRV. A female voice came over the comm, " Alli here, I've got Rico with 12 more of his guys in the hold. I've also got 7 crew techs to take over the CRV once its clear of danger. We might as well capture this ship, shouldn't we, Guardian?"

Laughing slightly, Guardian said, " Good idea, Alli. How long until they get the CRV?"

" Two minutes max. Rico has a new knock-out gas he wants to try out."

The CORT slowed as it approached the Victory Derra-IV. It docked almost immediately. Two minutes later, Alli spoke up again, " CRV is clear, Buccs. Crew techs are in place and are restoring power to the CRV. That'll take another 30 secs and then they'll get out of here."

Guardian clicked his comm twice and waited some more. The 30 seconds went by and the engines of the CRV ignited.

Guardian said, " Alli, are you hitching a ride with the Victory? "

" Yup, it'll save a couple hundred creds on fuel. So I might as well."

" Ok, see you in 4 hours, Alli. "

" Understood, Bucc Leader. Allista Ralter, out. "

The M/CRV shot to hyperspace with the B-wings in formation just behind.

Onboard the Liberty, 6 hours and 7 minutes later

Guardian sat in the ready room attached to the bridge. A glass of water lay before him, filled up to the half.

Picking it up, he drained it and then looked around.

Stryker and Jalb_k were seated to his left, talking in low voices. The Liberty's captain, Trevin Evert, was seated on the opposite side of the table. He was reading something on his datapad. Probably the report of the tech crew that took over the Victory. There was something really important onboard that CRV. I know it!

The doors on the other side of the room opened, revealing a Calamari male, who walked into the room.

Ra'kaat sat down at the "head" of the oval table.

" Gentlemen, "  he began, " approximately 6 hours ago, Buccaneer Squadron disabled a M/CRV, the Victory Derra-IV, during a ‘board and capture’ operation. This operation was initiated by Alliance High Command for several top-secret reasons. I may not divulge many of those reasons, but I may explain a few."

He cleared his throat, which sounded like a sneeze, by human standards.

" First of all. You've been authorized to know that, after several weeks of research and slicing Imperial Holonet transmissions, High Command believes that the Empire is starting a new major campaign designed to eliminate the Rebel Alliance. News like this doesn't really spark attention with the Alliance Military, since we've been at war constantly with the Empire ever since Yavin." Ra'kaat smiled tightly as all of the other people present chuckled.

" What does concern Alliance Military is the way that High Command believes that the Empire is going to try to deal with us. They believe that the Emperor has ordered the construction of a new war-machine.

While before we had no evidence to support this theory, we know do. Three well-known Cygnus Corp. Spacecraft designers were onboard the Victory Derra-IV. With them, were plans for a new superlaser, similar to the one that was on the Death Star. We do not know if the Empire is building a new Death Star-style Warship, or if they plan to incorporate this superlaser to a Star Destroyer.

" But for now, that is all we need to know. If such a plan was started, it is still in the planning development." Ra'kaat looked around, stopping to stare in each of their eyes, " If new information becomes available on this subject, I will inform you all immediately. Be certain of it." He glanced down to his datapad and then looked up, " Any questions? No? Good. Dismissed, gentlemen. "

The four junior officers walked out of the briefing room.

Admiral Ra'kaat sighed, If there is another Death Star, I'm shall assuredly lose many friends. I hope such a project never comes to term, by the waters of Calamari!

 

Jalb_k, Guardian and Stryker were all standing inside turbolift 2A, discussing their latest information briefing.

Jalb was the one speaking at the moment, " I still think that the Empire is going to go for a full-fledged Death Star-style battle station. The Emperor did it once, proof of his trying to bring the Empire's military even more under his control. Why wouldn't he do it again? "

Guardian shook his head, " I don't think so. The Empire lost its best military commanders when the Death Star was destroyed. I doubt they'll put the rest of their Admirals onboard a new battle-station, if they're even building one. The original Death Star was destroyed by two squadrons of starfighers, and such a loss was unacceptable. I really doubt they'll do it again. It would cost billions of credits, tons of manpower and could probably be destroyed by a taskforce of much less expensive starships. It's just not cost-effective."

Stryker coughed slightly, hoping to stall the way this conversation was going and said, " Well, I think that cost-effective isn't really a concern of the Empire. They've got enough money to make a dozen Death Stars over and they don't really take grave concern when lives are at stake. But, I'll admit that the fact that the Death Star was destroyed by only a few starfighters is probably going to affect the development of this new war machine." He glanced to his chronometer, " All right, let's get to the Lounge. We've got to celebrate the splendid success of Bucc in their last mission. "

The three pilots exited the turbolift as it hissed to a stop and opened its doors. They walked calmly towards the Lounge in silence.

Guardian spoke up, " Um, Stryker. What is going to happen to that M/CRV we captured? "

Stryker shook his head, " I don’t know. Most likely though, Intelligence will scan it, download its database, refit the corvette and send it out to active status."

Jalb_k smiled, " You know, that ship would be a nice little add-on to the Liberty-taskforce."

The two other squadron leaders smiled. " Yeah, " said Guardian. " Do you think that High Command would dispatch it to the Lib’s taskforce if we put in a request for it?"

" Probably, captured ships are often sent back to the forces that captured it. Unless it’s captured for an infiltration mission. This corvette wasn’t. I’m pretty sure we can get it," said Stryker, smiling openly.

" I’ll put in a request for it as soon as I see Admiral Ra’kaat. But for now, let’s forget the war going on around us and let’s go a have a drink."

Ten minutes later, the three squadron COs were seated in a booth in the Lounge, playing sabbacc and toasting all the ideas they came up with. The rest of the Renegade Wing was in the Lounge as well, drinking, telling stories, throwing darts, playing pool or courting the elegant female members of the Liberty.

For the first time since before many members of the Renegade Wing could remember, they were relaxing and enjoying their life. Such moments in the lives of these pilots, in the lives of all the pilots of the Alliance, for that matter, were rare. The pilots were grateful for the fact that they were able to forget, at least for a few hours, that the Galaxy was at war and that could die the next day.

They were grateful.

 

(following the events of the Lounge Tale : War-machine Plans.)

Tractor beams locked onto the dark hull of the M/CRV Victory Derra-IV.

The beams pulled it up close to hangar 3A of the CRS Liberty and after 27 minutes of being held against the hull of the ship by negative-alpha particles, clamps emerged from the rim of the hangar and took hold of the corvette.

After another half-hour, the Calamari cruiser went to lightspeed.

A new ship was part of the Liberty taskforce.

 

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[FOR YOUR EYES ONLY]

 

The Modified Blockade « Corellian Corvette » Runner ( M/CRV ) NightHawk ( known under Imperial rule as the Victory Derra-IV ) was captured by Rebel Alliance forces during an joint military/intelligence operation. Onboard the Victory was thought, by Alliance High Command, to be information on the Empire’s latest efforts to eliminate the Rebel Alliance. ( for information on this operation, read the Lounge tale : War-machine plans.)

Upon its return to the Liberty, immediately after being captured, the Victory was taken to the Alliance shipyards of Calamari. There it was disassembled, had its hardcore downloaded and sent to RADD ( Rebel Alliance Deciphering & Decryption ).

It spent two months under the watchful eyes of the Calamarian engineers, who during this time refitted it with the shield strength of a typical Lorinar Strike-class Cruiser, added two Taim & Bak turbolaser batteries and two ASG-class ( Anti-Starfighter-Gun) laser cannons to the weaponry of the ship.

Due to the quantity of refitting inside the starship, there is no hangar bay, the storage/cargo area is extremely small and the size of the crew quarters is greatly diminished.

The modifications of the corvette refine the possibilities of its missions to two classes : covert operations and the elimination of pirate bands in the Outer Rim. The modifications also restrain the autonomy of this ship. Due to the small interior, not many supplies can stored onboard and this creates a dependence on frequent re-supply missions.

During its repairs, Colonel Vince Stryker Rambo, commanding officer of the Renegade Wing submitted a request to Alliance High Command through Admiral Ra’kaat, commanding officer of the Liberty taskforce, asking for the transfer of the captured M/CRV, which was unnamed until then.

Ra’kaat approved of the request and had the next duty station of the M/CRV be among the CRS Liberty’s taskforce.

While the corvette was being sent to meet the Liberty, the new captain of the corvette, Cmdr. L.D. Mackie arrived and prepared to take his first military command.

When it arrived, he watched it fly to the command ship, through the Liberty’s bridge viewport. He described the short flight as, « As beautiful as the smooth gliding of a nighthawk.»

From therein comes the title of his warship.

And as the nighthawk, it can strike swiftly as well.

 

[End Report. Source : Alliance High Command.]

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