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ComNet > Imperial Navy > Archived Naval Story Board > Phoenix Wing: Smoke & Mirrors
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Topic:  Phoenix Wing: Smoke & Mirrors
Ibram Tyrol
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Ibram Tyrol
[VE-NAVY] 1st Lieutenant
[VE-VEEC] Journalist
Post Number:  1379
Total Posts:  1563
Joined:  Nov 2007
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  Phoenix Wing: Smoke & Mirrors
January 10, 2010 3:50:32 PM    View the profile of Ibram Tyrol 
Sarjah Cloud City, Geraps Sule

“One, this is two. We are Omega.”

Ibram slowly opened his eyes and stared out of the forward viewport. The view wasn't much, considering he was staring into the open maw of a waste disposal pipe, but the area was dark, lit only by the blue glow of the Sun. Of course, the sun wasn't really blue, the corporate environment guide warned, but that's just how it looks when seen through Geraps Sule's atmosphere.

Ibram shook his head as he sat up and adjusted his seat. Having an adjustable pilot chair was something of a novelty for him. Since he had only flown military grade starfighters, he was only used to the hard, straight back chairs. With these things though, taking a nap was actually slightly less than comfortable – heaven.

The Storm IVCloud Car, despite being a fairly robust design, didn't do much to help the stereotypes about the civilian security or local militia forces that tended to use them. Whilst faster than most craft operating in the atmosphere (probably so the pilots could run away quicker), it possessed no shielding, the hull was made of light materials, and its weapons armament was merely for show. Throw in a reclining seat, and you could hazard a guess as to what the usual pilots of these things were really doing.

Ibram slowly and quietly brought his modified Cloud Car to life (jokingly referred too as the Storm ½, because it only had one pod). As he waited for the final phase to begin, he brought out his datapad and opened the mission briefing file one last time. Not because he wanted to mind, but because Lieutenant Grey would find out if he didn't and find some new way to torture him.

As if having to listen to a briefing voiced by that bitch wasn't torture enough, he thought as he opened the file:


Sarjah City. Principle Skevon/Orveth gas refinery within the Geraps Sule gas giant, Lehon System. Owned by Blethern Gas Industries, this habitat is one of many scattered throughout the planetary body, and again through out the system. Unlike the more infamous Bespin Cloud City, this floating city/platform is more industrial focused, with a very corporate attitude and little room for tourists.

BGI supplies the Vast Empire exclusively with gas and supplies, at a very lucrative rate I might add, not that they deserve it. Unfortunately for us, they are also our only supplier of certain select gasses, and the refineries in this system are one of our most important assets. Naturally, we don't tell anyone this, as given the more confident corporate attitude that developed post-Palpatine, the greedy little fraks would wring us dry.

Ironically, they seem to be trying to screw with us anyway. Our latest intelligence reports seem to indicate that BGI are selling their wares to other parties as well, namely Thrawn and the New Republic. It’s a classic case of playing both sides against the middle, a trick which they probably stole from us in the first place anyway. Regardless, a la the Eastern Block, you are to go in there and create a reason for them to 'rethink' their illicit activities.

You and the rest of Viper Squadron will be smuggled into the system aboard one of our Freighters, the ‘Nothing to See Here’. You will be given access to supplies, ships and anything else you need, along with a list of targets you are to hit. Some of your 'replacements' will be VEI operatives who will help you when asked.

We'll work the anti-Thrawn angle from our end; convince BGI that he's not worth their time. You just make the New Republic look like the bogey men. The rest should take care of itself.

Have fun, and try not to get caught.
Lt. M Grey


Ibram sighed as the recording ended, replaced by lists, statistics and other miscellaneous info Intelligence thought him and his squadron would need. Viper squadron had been operating in the system for a week, and finally things were coming to an end.

The squadron hadn't adapted easily to this change of 'modus operandi', but the majority of those that had gone through the Typhus mission and hadn't died or left understood that this was something they just had to do. Cali had taken to her new role as XO with surprising vigor, helping the squadron get over the initial shock of what they had been a part off. Phineas had taken the longest time to get over it, and it took a combined tag team duo of both Anden and Ibram to get him out of his depression.

Let's see how many more people we lose to this happy-go lucky trip down bloodlust lane...

“All positions, report in,” Ibram voiced into his comm. The Cloud car pod was outfitted in the latest communication and stealth gear, so that Ibram could orchestrate the operation without jeopardizing mission security... or something like that. Ibram had zoned out towards the end.

“Position 1, ready.” That was Cali and her 'boys', Santa, Hakk, and Fallen Angel (Remember Ibram, codenames only). Her flight was used as the main 'recon' unit. Under the guise of making a token military inspection (Something that actually happened, apparently, and was given to people who weren't doing so well in their evaluations), they toured the facilities, just to make sure there were no surprises.

“Position 2, let's get this over with.” Typical Sicario, stubborn and resenting to the last. He and his flight were tasked with using New Republic fighters to covertly planted charges on several in coming and out going freighters, which again would blame the New Republic. Meanwhile. 'SiriSu' and 'Hogan' were sending fake com traffic to remote drones placed through out the system. Not enough to put the area on red alert, but it enough to keep the local executives spooked.

“Position 3, ready and waiting.” Anden had the rest of Ibram's flight on the Freighter, making sure the fighter's were prepped just in case, and that the freighter was in good order so that they could escape if needed.

“Position 4, Go.” Ibram hesitated as the final position reported in. For this mission Intelligence had made sure that their squadron was fully 'stocked', with all gaps filled. Unfortunately, that meant that he also received 4 'plants' – VEI operatives who would probably only be around for this mission, but knew enough to fit in with the whole 'squadron' dynamic. Their leader was a Petty Officer named Jarred, a small, lean man with a permanently neutral face, but sharp eyes. His 'cronies' as Ibram liked to call them were Heath, Scar, and Bones. Together they made one of the VE's finest and fierce Black Ops squads (or so Ibram was assured). Frankly, they just gave Ibram the willies. Jarred and his team were tasked with infiltrating the main facility, and planting charges in the central processing unit. That task was always going to be the hardest, so Ibram was all too happy to leave it in the hands of 'experts', although he shuddered to think how many innocents had already been 'neutralized'.

“All positions, this is Position 0, we're go for the operation. Let's make this look good, and hopefully we won't have to do it again.” Wishful thinking on Ibram's part, but it kept morale up.

Un-clamping himself from his hiding spot, Ibram flipped his pod around so that it was the right way up, and inched slowly towards the entrance of the waste chute. For some very technical and apparently 'cool' reason, Ibram was able to use one of the support pipes running up the side of this chute to trigger the explosives.

Ibram pressed a button that fired a wired communication link that attached itself to one of the pipes. For the hell of it, he counted to ten before sending the detonation signal.

“0, this is 3, I'm picking up something on sensors-” but before Anden could complete his sentence, Ibram hit the detonation switch. What happened next, historians would debate about for decades to come.

Some theorized that Ibram's assigned method of detonation (courtesy of the Vast Empire R&D division), whilst unique, wasn't properly developed so that, in theory, it could detonate any kind of specially crafted explosive, not just the ones planted by Ibram's team. Others from the new Jedi Academy set up by Luke Skywalker maintained that the force had guided Lieutenant Tyrol's actions that day, so that he detonated at just that time. Regardless of the cause, Ibram was momentarily stunned as the entire city seemed to shake and vibrate.

“Whoa...” he said into the com, “what's going on?”

“I don't know,” Anden sounded both puzzled and slightly anxious. “What the frak did you do?”

“I didn't do anything, I just flicked the switch like Jarred said I should,” Ibram replied, also starting to get anxious.

“Well you must have done something; the whole place is coming apart... and sinking! What the frak!?”

“Sinking!?” Ibram's mouth hung open, “What do you mean SINKING?”

“0, this is 4, er... 2... frak, this is Phin. What the hell's going on?”

“I don't know Phin, Ibram's broken the city. It's coming apart at the seams!”

“I did not break the city!” Ibram barked. “Anden, tell Jarred and Cali to get out of there. Phin, get to the freighter, we're getting the frak out of here.”

Kicking his engines into gear, Ibram bobbed and weaved through the metal canyons and corridors of the City. He could see the entire infrastructure shaking, and in some places collapsing around him.

Gunning his engines to full, he departed the dying city without looking back.


Ibram had barely stopped moving when he lifted the hatch on his Cloud Car and ran up to the command centre. Anden, Cali, Sicario and their respective charges were already there waiting for him, watching as Sarjah City shuddered and exploded violently as it descended into Sule's gassy depths.

“Sit rep Anden, what happened?”

“I honestly don't know. We registered our detonations in the central planet, but then we also got readings from the power distribution centre and one of the main docking ports.”

Ibram scanned the data as quickly as he could, “Do you think these are unforeseen secondary explosions? Could we have ignited a pipeline?”

Anden touched on of the displays, zooming in on the Stalk that ran vertically below the City.

“That's what I thought, initially,” he said. “But look here, there's a fire in the Uni pod, and several of the repulsorlift and tractor beam blocks have also been wrecked. We couldn't have done that... I don't know Ibram, I'm not trained for this, none of us are.”

Ibram was about to reassure them before the whole of Sarjah City blew up in an unfathomable explosion. Several of the escaping ships, along with any nearby platforms, collectors or storage tanks also went with it. Ibram hadn't seen an explosion this big since watching the holos of the Death Stars blowing up. He swallowed, unwillingly fixated on what was on the screen.

“How many people were in that habitat?”

For a while no one answered him, before: “Somewhere in the region of 10,000,” someone said from the entrance to the control room.

Ibram turned around to see the still neutral face of Jarred staring back at him. Outside in the corridor, he could glimpse the rest of Jarred's team standing in the hallway.

“Jarred... is this your doing?”

“No... sir. This was not our doing. It achieves the same results however; we will just need to inform Lt. Grey that she will need to step up the propaganda campaign on her end. Naturally the destruction of Sarjah means that the evidence we left behind has also been destroyed... as well as there being no one left to read it anyway.”

“Why you-” Phineas looked like he was going pound Jarred's face in. Luckily, Anden had somehow anticipated this reaction, and was already in a position to restrain him. Meanwhile, Jarred's team had already come up behind him to back him up, and others from the squadron were forming behind Phineas.

This is like some gang fight you see on those trashy holovids, Ibram mused before stepping in-between the two groups.

“Okay enough! This isn't helping the situation! Regardless of what caused what, we've done our bit and now we need to-”

“Er... Sir?” a calm yet confident voice called from the back. Ibram turned to see Cali sitting down at one of the monitoring posts. “You may want to see this,” she said.

Ibram pushed his way through the crowd to get to where his XO was sitting. “What's up?” He said.

“I don't know... Anden recorded a small New Republic flotilla entering the system just a second before you detonated. In the aftermath of the explosion, they contacted the system's central authority to see if they could help.”

That in itself wasn't unusual. Despite being a VE-exclusive trader, Blethern Industries was still a civilian body, with the Lehon system technically being a 'neutral zone' of sorts. Even though they couldn't buy gas here, the Republic could still visit. “So?” Ibram asked.

“Well, it's the flotilla itself, its composition is weird and... wait...” Cali went silent as she listened to a transmission coming over the comm. She frowned.

“This doesn't make any sense... Several fighter squadrons have just launched from the freighters... one of the freighters is actually a Nebelon-B frigate... whoa... they're blaming it on us.”

It was Ibram's turn to frown. “Us as in US personally, or us as in the VE?”

“The VE sir.”

Something about this wasn't adding up, Ibram mused. Sarjah City's destruction, this mysterious New Republic force, the blame they were placing on the VE. It was almost as if... Ibram's eyes widened in realization.

“Frak, this is a set up, they're trying to pull exactly what we were. Phin! Get everyone into their fighters, NOW! We need to get ready to repel invaders. Anden, find out if there are any VE assets in the system, contact them, declare a state of emergency. Feel free to tell them who we are, but not why we're here.”

“Sir!” Cali spoke up from behind him. “Several more New Republic ships have jumped, warships sir... they're saying they're taking the system under protective custody? I don't know what that means sir, but it sounds like a cover up for an invasion.”

Ibram sighed. This just got from bad to worse.

“Ok Cali, thanks, get to your fighter. Anden what have you got?”

“One Strike-class Cruiser sir... the Rising Sun. It's in the next system over. It has a complement of TIE Interceptors aboard... heh, it's Nazgul Squadron! They're on their way sir.”

Ibram smiled briefly, it was always nice to see some friendly faces. “Good work Anden, get to your fighter, I'll be along presently.”

Ibram swapped places with Anden as the older man ran to the other hangar deck to get into his fighter. Checking to make sure no one was watching, he typed in a secure frequency in order so that he could send a message he really didn't want to send...

ICS Mining Station: Monowi
Aboard the Corvette: Ferrum Umbra

Lieutenant Commander Geordi Atrasin sat in his ready room, finishing a quick note to the Atrus’ Chief of the Deck as his flotilla idled lazily near the ICS Mining station.

  I know you’re busy, we all are…but when the Wing Commander asks you to paint a new name on HIS ship, try and make it a priority.  I’ll see you in a few days, have the brushes ready.’

He thumbed the ‘send’ key and put down his pad, patting the wall he said, “You get to stay the Umbra a few more days girl…enjoy it.”

He stepped to the viewport and looked out at the assembled flotilla of fighters.  All of Phoenix Wing, sans Viper and Nazgul stretched before him.  He saw the red hand of Kaph, the blue star of Polaris, the gold collar of Aegis, and the white blast of Blizzard adorning the assembled TIE’s.

They jockeyed and manuveured themselves as they were loaded aboard the Tiamut.  Since this was a 'Black' op most regular naval forces were 'out of the loop'.  Will had been good enough to 'rent' the Tiamut to the VE for this run.

The flotilla's purpose was to jump into the Lehon system should extra force be needed to keep the BGI Executives in line, or if the timed attacks lured any ‘un-invited’ guests.

Intelligence wasn't expecting any trouble, but Atrasin was secretly hoping for some action. Life had suddenly and unexpectedly become boring with promotion. He hoped whatever higher powers might exist wouldn't damn him for hoping that Ibram sent a call for help and if they did…well, that was their issue.

The door pinged, “Come.”

His aide walked into his room holding a pad in his hand and a worried look on his brow.

“What is it?”

“Sir, we have a signal, it's from Lieutenant Tyrol.”

“Ah, Excellent,” Atrasin said as he stood up and took the message.  His smile faded.

Tersely he ordered, “Have the flotilla prepare for a hyperspace jump, Shields up, Red Alert, we're going in.”

His aide left to carry out Atrasin's orders.  Driver looked out as the Tiamut maneuvered into jump formation.  Nodding to himself he entered the bridge and sat down in the newly installed command chair.  He picked up the pad again and reread the message:  The shit has hit the fan. Get here now.

Subtle, Ibram, Very subtle.

The stars jumped as the two ships slid into hyperspace.
"Determining the appropiate level of influence in somebody elses war is never a simple matter."
  - Special Circumstances

1st Lieutenant Ibram Tyrol
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SC/1LT Ibram Tyrol/Viper 1/mSSD Atrus/1W/1FL/VEN/{=*A*=}{=*SA*=}{=*ME*=}{=*MAE*=}{=*FOCE*=}/[NER]
[This message has been edited by Atrasin (edited January 12, 2010 12:19:34 AM)]
[This message has been edited by Atrasin (edited January 12, 2010 12:20:54 AM)]
[This message has been edited by Ibram Tyrol (edited January 12, 2010 12:29:22 AM)]
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  RE: Phoenix Wing: Smoke & Mirrors
January 10, 2010 11:40:55 PM    View the profile of Drac 
Drac was settled in at his desk, filing one of the many reports it was now his dubiously joyful duty to make as Nazgul Squadron’s second in command. Honestly, he thought Driver and the rest of the coup group might have waited until they did just so they could sucker some more people into extra duties. Either way the ramifications of the Sarek missions and the events directly prior to it would resound in the Navy for a long time to come. He sighed, absently tracing the scar that now marked his forehead, crossing his birthmark about three quarters of the way up. He’d earned that souvenir in the melee that ended the Sarek debacle, courtesy of “Aurek’s” vibroblade.

Suddenly gravity seemed to shift, for just the briefest moment. Drac tapped out a few quick keystrokes, bringing the forward holocam’s view up on his viewscreen.  Just as I thought…the stars are scrolling by…we’re turning. That’s not good. As he watched, the view stabilized and then turned white as the stars whirled and elongated into the familiar patterns of hyperspace.

An alarm buzzer sounded in his comm unit and he quickly opened the frequency and heard Hunter on the other end, “Drac. Where are you?”

“On my way, I presume. Something’s gone south, hasn’t it?”

“Yeah, that’s for sure. An emergency beacon sounded in the Lehon system. We’re nearby, so we’re going in. Get the squadron together and meet me in the hangar as soon as possible. I’ll be trying to get some more intel on the situation.”

Drac reached for his pistol and settled it into its holster, “Will do.” It took just another moment to outfit himself with the rest of his standard combat gear- two combat knives, four grenades of various types, and his flight helmet. Then he set his comlink to the squadron frequency, “Nazzies, this is Drac. Drop whatever you’re doing now and get to the hangar on the double. We’ve got a top priority job to do.”

A chorus of acknowledgements came back, but he wasn’t really listening. He knew the Nazzies would get there in short order. Instead he left his room at a good clip, going quickly but with a more-or-less dignified stride. His destination wasn’t far, and it wouldn’t do to be running around like a terrified minnow. Still, though, it was an emergency and that called for a faster pace than usual. He went fast enough that others in the passageway were dodging him to avoid being run down. Seconds later he barged into the squadron’s ready room, an impersonal locker room temporarily assigned to them during their stay on the ship, and skidded to a halt as he nearly ran over several people. He steadied the closest one, saying, “My apologies, Leading Crewman Vender. Don’t stand so close to the hatch.” He measured them with a quick glance- all Leading Crewman, and all with that fresh, enthusiastic demeanor pilots seemed to have coming out of the Academy…well, except for the droid. That one didn’t show much emotion at all.

Furthermore, he recognized all of these pilots, not just Vender. They had all flown under him in training. Good. He returned their salutes, still crisp and precise even though they were clearly startled, and turned to his locker, speaking as he began to dress, “Welcome to Nazgul. You all know who I am, and I know who you are. Here’s what you need to know: I’m Nazgul’s executive officer. Warrant Officer Hunter Morrell is our squadron commander. When you’re out there, listen to us. Now, something’s come up and the squadron needs to be ready to scramble asap.” He paused, rotating one eye to study each pilot skeptically, “I assume you’re all checked out on a TIE Interceptor?” They all nodded. “Good. Get suited up and report in the hangar.” He zipped his flightsuit up, settled the helmet on his head, and left the room. Heh. I wonder what the newbies think of that little display?

Stepping into the hangar, Drac was pleased to find himself facing most of the squadron. Everyone was standing together, quietly discussing (or rather wondering) what was going on. Several were looking at the new TIE Interceptors hanging from the overhead launch racks and the techs scurrying around prepping them for combat. He snagged one of said techs as the man went dashing past, “You there. How long until these fighters are ready to fly?”

The man glanced up with a knowing eye and thought for a moment, “Sir, they should all be ready to go within five standard minutes. But they won’t be if I can’t do my part…” He trailed off suggestively.

“Right. Thank you, Petty Officer.”

Drac released the man and continued toward his pilots. All of them turned their attention to him as he stepped up. Arturo was the first to speak, “So what’s the situation, Nine?”

“Honestly, I don’t know much yet. What I do know is that a couple of minutes ago we received a distress signal from the Lehon system and are currently moving to assist. Since that’s just one system over, we don’t have much time.” At that moment Hunter strode into the room. “Sir. Do you have anything to add?”

“Not really, no. The beacon is a covert type- it gives no details. We need to be ready for anything. In order to do that, we need to be ready to launch as soon as we exit hyperspace. Mount up, Nazzies. Whatever’s going down, let’s make sure it goes down our way.”

A minute later Drac was strapping himself into the TIE Interceptor's cockpit. It didn't really compare to the Avenger he'd flown for so long- this panel looked almost comical in it simplicity and unadorned nature. He'd miss the firepower of the Avenger and it's speed, but the Interceptor wasn't a garbage scow. That coupled with the relative familiarity he had with the instrumentation from his work in the Academy made this one of his quicker pre-flights. The squadron ran their checks as well, with everyone reporting optimal performance on the new ships.

Ten minutes later the reversion alarm sounded. Stars snapped into view through the magnetic field holding space at bay. Hunter came over the com frequency, “Keep it together, Nazzies. High Command will have my hide if we break these beauties. Stick by your wingman and help each other out there- there’s no telling what we’re up against. Launch on my mark in four…three…two…one…Mark!” Nazgul squadron punched their clamp releases simultaneously and sixteen TIE Interceptors dropped out into space.

Word Count: 1095

Let's hit this hard and fast, Nazzies. Quick mission, very messy. Don't go beyond launch until you get the okay to do so.
SXO/SCPO Drac/?-1/S:147 Nazgul/W:1 Phoenix/mSSD Atrus/TF:A/1Flt/SFC/VEN/VE

He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep in order to gain what he cannot lose.
Drac's VE Wiki Profile:
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[This message has been edited by Atrasin (edited January 10, 2010 11:56:15 PM)]
[This message has been edited by Drac (edited January 11, 2010 12:07:06 AM)]
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  RE: Phoenix Wing: Smoke & Mirrors
January 11, 2010 6:39:38 AM    View the profile of SiriSu 
Tessa’s elation at having made it into Viper Squadron was enough to compensate for the droll task of sending fake coms to remote drones.  Not that she had expected nonstop action, but....she just preferred shooting at things in general.  Still, the New Republic would be blamed and she was playing her part. That’s all that mattered.

Yawning, she began to transmit a com.  I’m so tired. Phin you’re not keeping me up all night again tonight.  All I need is a neat shot of Echani Whiskey and my bed. Alone.  Sending the last com, her job was done. Time to sit back and wait for Ibram to do his.  Her mind lingered there for a moment. Ibram Tyrol was still very much a mystery to Tessa. He had barely spoken two words to her since she had become a Viper, and she wasn't sure he really knew she was there at all. 

Then the explosion came. Never seeing anything like it before, she wasn't sure she had actually seen it at all. They had been told to expect it; but no one had said, 'we're blowing up the whole damn city.'  The entire city shook and began sinking. “Hogan, did you see that?” Before the  Mon Calamari could reply, Phin came over the com: 'back to the Freighter everyone. NOW!'

Then she knew. No one had expected this. Something had gone wrong. Terribly wrong.  I don’t need to be told twice. Tessa cranked out back to the NTSH hoping  Hogan was right behind her.

Back at the Freighter, everyone crowded around the command center, watching as Anden and Cali studied the monitors.  Tessa was still very much in awe of Cali and hoped to stay in her sights. She had met very few female officers in the Navy, but Cali stood head and shoulders above the rest. Moments later,  Ibram  came rushing in, eyes ablaze, demanding to know what went wrong.  Anden and Cali seemed almost dumbfounded. It wasn't chaos, but there was definitely confusion.

And then it was gone.  Another explosion rocked the city and it completely disappeared from view. It all happened so quickly but it had seemed as if it had been in slow motion. Everyone appeared to have the same bewildered look. It's hard to conceive of an entire city disappearing before your very eyes. A city was there and then literally moments later, it wasn't. 

Tessa’s thoughts were on the loss of all the gas and supplies until Ibram, his voice almost desolate, asked how many lives had probably been lost. Tessa hung her head in a bit of shame. She hadn’t even thought about the lives that had been lost; and winced when someone answered '10,000.'  Bringing everyone back to reality, Jarred was making  a great point: with the right propaganda, the VE's hands could come away clean and fresh. All evidence was gone with the city.
Tessa’s head jerked up to see Phin , fists clinched, glaring at Jarred.  Phin, no. Please no, not now. Keep it together.  But Ib had gotten it under control. Too much testosterone around here.

Cali’s voice came from the back, beckoning Ibram. See boys, that’s how it’s done. Calm and cool. Sit back and learn.
But the calm didn’t last long. In a rush of information, Tessa learned that the New Republic had been playing the same game the VE had, and  they were now flooding comlinks everywhere blaming the VE and sending fighters their way. Well, well. Maybe they aren’t the bumbling band of idiots I thought they were.

Phin’s voice rose among the din ordering everyone to their fighters.
Tessa ran to her fighter, ready to fly in her first fight as a Viper.  All right, let’s go kick some New Rep tail.
[This message has been edited by SiriSu (edited January 11, 2010 11:04:40 PM)]
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  RE: Phoenix Wing: Smoke & Mirrors
January 11, 2010 8:42:02 PM    View the profile of Cipher 
Tycho Shorn was at the bar. He was leaned against a booth, staring at the waitresses in passing. No, he wasn't quite buzzed...not yet anyways. The hotshot rookie turned back to the topic at hand. The wookiee, Ruwe, and Arturo were deep in discussion over their drinks about the different abilities of a TIE Avenger over the TIE Interceptor. Like most in the squadron, they were at a loss without their prized avengers. To a pilot, his starfighter was like an extension of himself. The fact that it had been their fault that the TIEs were lost didn't really come into the conversation, although Tycho knew that they only had themselves to blame for the loss of their vessels. Shorn didn't know exactly what to think about the two of them. Ruwe was....a wookiee. He seemed to be easy going, but it was hard to tell with other species. Tycho's wingmate, Arturo, was a different story. Arturo was ever the orderly one. He liked to take chances, sure, but it was always a calculated risk. Calculating, that was Arturo. The man was a good pilot too.

The conversation began to grow a bit louder. And Tycho, looking back at a waitress, was startled out of his staring by the quickly heating conversation. He returned his attention to the table and saw that another pilot had joined the discussion, an interceptor pilot. "Oh, blast." Thought Tycho as Ruwe's voice roared over the surrounding area. Quickly, Tycho got to his feet.

"[The Avenger is far superior to the Interceptor, it's heavier firepower will annihilate the Interceptor with ease]" Said the wookiee.

"Not only that, but the Inteceptor is just not as high quality as the Avenger." Arturo put in.

The inteceptor pilot's face was speedily turning red. "Yeah? Well your squadron must have some pilot problems, looking at the likes of you two. They probably need a new draft of drivers. You may have a good craft, but I doubt you drunk peedunkys could fly it."

"Double blast, aw frag it." Tycho put a hand on each of his squadron members' shoulders and began to pull back, towards the entrance. "Hey guys, we should leave. Now."

"[Not yet, I haven't finished with this Nerf Herder.]" Growled Ruwe.

At that moment all three of their comlinks beeped simultaneously. Arturo and Ruwe stopped advancing on the now slightly frightened interceptor pilot and matched stares with Shorn. The hotshot rookie pulled out his own comlink and read the message. He responded in the affirmative and then looked up from the script at both of the other pilots, "Time to go?" Arturo took one last, scornful look at the interceptor pilot, nodded, and then followed Tycho to the exit. Ruwe backed off, still growling at the interceptor pilot.

"You guys know that we will have to be flying interceptors, if this is a mission?"

"[Shutup Cipher, before I unhinge your jaw.]"

"Point taken." Said Tycho. He honestly couldn't tell if the wookiee was joking or not.

That was the thing about different species. It was hard to read them. Sure he could tell what most humans were thinking from their body language, most civilian humans anyway. Wookiees, bothans, all those other aliens were very difficult to read. Shorn had once met a quarren, who had said something about blasting one of the Shorn families' vessels out of space for smuggling, with his face tentacles writhing furiously the whole time. Now he knew that that meant a quarren was smiling at something. Apparently, it had been a joke, since most traders considered the Shorn family business as always abiding by the law. What they didn't know was that Shorn's father had run an underworld arms contract with a mercenary group called the darkwolves. Tycho had actually met the leader of that group when he was younger. The man was a killer, an very intelligent one, with fiery green eyes that burned into your soul. Shorn hadn't liked that man much at all.

They didn't have to worry about getting into the appropriate gear as they wore their flight suits. It was really a badge of privilege. They did stop off at the flight locker to grab their helmets and other equipment. A few moments later everyone was gathered in the hangar room. Despite being new to the squadron, Tycho found himself a rank ahead of most of the newer members. Acing in Flight Academy had it's own privileges. Being promoted to Senior Crewman for one. Shorn didn't like to brag about it...much. The hotshot rookie saw several new faces, all leading crewman. Fresh out of the academy, just like himself. Well, Tycho considered himself a little better than a fresh grad. He did have a history of piloting vehicles. And it wasn't just his father's merchant shuttles he piloted either. Tycho really could say that he had around twenty-thousand flight hours. He had gotten his pilot's license at the age of fourteen and ever since then it had been all he wanted to do. As he had said at the age of seven, when his father took him on a private, two seater, fighter, "I like to fly!"

The briefing was quick. They were responding to a cover beacon. That was it. Shorn wondered what in the nine hells of the Corellian abyss they were getting into. They suited up and leapt into their TIE Interceptors. Shorn had a brief reminiscence of Flight Academy training as he clambered down the hatch, and then he was in the cockpit, running through a diagnostics check.

"You did get some go-juice in this thing right?" Shorn spoke over the com to the mechanics below.

"Yessir, she's ready to go." Was the response.

"Like hell she is." Muttered Shorn as he switched over to the squadron channel, "This is Nazgul Twelve here, on standbye." There was an affirmative and then Drac counted down. Shorn punched his docking release as Drac uttered "Mark". He was dropped into the inky blackness of space and felt a thrill run through him. This was his element.

Word Count: 1,016
Senior Crewman Tycho 'Cipher' Shorn
" Amidst the black skies, a link from past to future. The sheltering wings of the protector..."
FM/SCRW Shorn/Γ-4/S:147th Nazgul/W:1st Phoenix/mSSD Atrus/TF:A/1st Flt/SFC/VEN/VE [SoA](=*A*=)
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[This message has been edited by Cipher (edited January 11, 2010 8:43:50 PM)]
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  RE: Phoenix Wing: Smoke & Mirrors
January 11, 2010 9:41:22 PM    View the profile of Hunter-Morrell 
“I – I’m what?” Hunter stammered, nearly at a loss for words.

“You are now the Naval Logistics Officer. Congratulations.” Shazam repeated, giving him a quick grin.

Now, Hunter was speechless. Wordlessly, he collapsed in the nearest seat and pondered his new assignment. Just what the hell are they thinking?

“I’m going to have to resign as Nazgul Squadron Commander, aren’t I?” Hunter finally said, looking a bit dejected as he reached the conclusion.

“No, no. You’ll be able to keep your position. You’ll just have some added duties and a bigger office.” Shazam replied, another grin appearing quickly and disappearing just as quickly.

“I do have another question though.” Hunter said, pausing for a moment to figure out how to phrase what he was going to say next.

“Shoot.” Shazam said, misinterpreting Hunter’s silence.

“Just what the hell are you guys thinking?” Hunter blurted out, mirroring his thoughts from a few minutes before.

Shazam just stared at him for a moment before chuckling.

“I mean, on the very mission that we just got back from, I managed to somehow screw it up so badly that not only did we nearly lose the planet’s already wavering loyalty, but also every one of our TIE Avengers. I don’t think that’s the kind of guy you’re looking for.” Hunter said quickly.

“I know what happened. I was there, remember? So you’re saying you don’t want the job?” Shazam said, raising an eyebrow in surprise.

“I’m not saying that at all. I’m just saying that I don’t know if I have what it takes.” Hunter said, feeling very unsure of himself.

“Well, how about this. We’ll give you a probationary period of a month. If you perform your job duties successfully, we’ll keep you. If not, we’ll find someone else. That solve your dilemma?”

Mulling it over for a few moments, Hunter finally nodded and stood up. Hunter extended a hand to Shazam, who took and shook it. Offering one of his signature two-finger salutes, Hunter turned and exited the room. Pausing before he made his way back to Nazgul’s barracks, Hunter leaned up against the wall beside the door to Shazam’s office. Sliding down the hard surface onto his rear, Hunter put his face in his hands and massaged his face, still trying to take in what he had just been told. It had been only a few moments, when something seemed to change. It was subtle, but he, Hunter being Hunter, noticed it like it was right in front of him. The ship had changed direction. That means that something has happened. We wouldn’t change our course unless it was an emergency and something had gone wrong.

Shooting to his feet, Hunter pivoted on his heels and slapped his palm against the door panel to Shazam’s office and slipped in. At the moment he entered, Shazam was looking at his datapad with a small frown on his face and his brow furrowed in concentration. Yes, something had definitely gone wrong. Hunter stood still for a few seconds before realizing that Shazam probably had not heard him enter. Opening his mouth to say something, he was interrupted as Shazam looked up and gave him a nod.

“Why’d we change our course?” Hunter questioned.

“We have received a signal from an emergency beacon that originated in the Lehon system. We’re the closest ship, so we’re heading in. Round up Nazgul and head for the hangar.” Shazam stated quickly, as he set the datapad aside.

Hunter felt as if Shazam was leaving something out and started to say something, but decided against it. If I had needed to know anything more – if there is anything more – he would of told me. Backing out of the room, he pulled out his comm and opened up a channel to Drac, after the door closed behind him.

“Drac. Where are you?” Hunter said as he heard the telltale sound that signified that the person on the other end had picked up.

“On my way, I presume. Something’s gone south, hasn’t it?” Drac said, sounding slightly worried.

“Yeah, that’s for sure. An emergency beacon sounded in the Lehon system. We’re nearby, so we’re going in. Get the squadron together and meet me in the hangar as soon as possible. I’ll be trying to get some more intel on the situation.” Hunter said, trying to contain the strain in his voice that came from multiple things that were at least slightly stressful on their own, happening all at once.

A rustling noise issued from Drac’s end and he said, “Will do.”

Cutting it off, he slipped it back into his pocket and set off.

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  RE: Phoenix Wing: Smoke & Mirrors
January 11, 2010 11:21:34 PM    View the profile of Vender 
Adam Fene better known as Vender, had slid through the Academy with enough dignity to keep his chin up. His first few flight simulations were in his mind, skillfully abysmal. The tactics and strategies studied were keen in mind but tough to link together when it came down to executing split second decissions.

Still Vender believed he had made better progress than most of the other trainees. Not that it mattered, because in a real combat situation they would all be dead. Thank the stars for simulations. It would take a great deal more practice to take on the real thing, even though his instructors said he would have performed well in a modern day conflict. They reminded him that these were great battles, unimaginely massive and complex.

After two weeks of those meat-grinding simulations they decided to send him to a real squadron. He would be based aboard the Strike-class Cruiser Rising Sun until further notice. The pilots there maybe able to help him progress, these pilots from Nazgul. Vender knew he was about another hour away from the rendezvous with the ship, and he would be an official part of Nazgul.

Nazgul seemed to have a reputation within the VE. From what he heard they were the best in the Navy, flying TIE Avengers. It was silly to think they would let him touch one just yet, but that didn't rule out the possibility. Either way Vender would see what real pilots are capable of and that was relieving to him.

---- 1 Hour Later

The transport landed aboard the Rising Sun's hangar. The door opened with a hiss, and there stood his new Squadron Commander awaiting transfer orders. Vender walked down the ramp of the transport and saluted with the other three trainees that came with him.

The SCO walked up to Vender first. "Trainee Crewman Adam "Vender" Fene, reporting for duty." With a stiff, recycled motion, he presented the datapad containing transfer orders from the Naval Academy. The others did likewise as he went down the line.

"Crewman, you will be escorted to your quarters. Welcome to the Rising Sun. Report for duty at the simulators, at 0600. Dismissed." The SCO nodded to the officer that would escort the Trainees out, and lead the Crewman out of the hangar to their new quarters.

---- 20 minutes Later

He was now standing with the two other Crewman that graduated with him in angst. "I can't wait to see some action." Vender looked around the room, which was small. It contained 4 bunks as space was limited. "Thought I would have had my own room. I've seen outhouses on Endor bigger than these quarters."

Aurora and IG88719 were with him, as they were like company. Aurora almost smiled, but the nerve just wouldn't pinch. IG88719 seemed not to care and went on doing and thinking whatever it was that he did and thought about. "If you keep moving around like that..." Vender warned.

"What?" IG88719 focused on him.

I'll melt your skull into my fighter when I get my first kill. That's what. "Look I'm just tired." Vender decided not to make any enemies for now.

Vender didn't know the other pilots and admittedly was slightly intimidated by them. Vender found it strange that IG88719 was a droid, he had never seen a droid pilot before. "Is that thing for real?"

"Real as either of us." Aurora chimed. Finally. Vender always knew Aurora had to have some kind of personality. This may take more digging though, and now wasn't the time.

The droid looked at them without expression. IG88719 couldn't show expression very well, but getting to know the droid's complex subroutines for expression might clue him in better for the future. "No offense, IG88719."

"I am not amused." IG88719 replied.

Vender squared his shoulders and nodded. "Sorry. Time for shut eye. Long day tomorrow."

The droid turned toward the door. "I will take the opportunity to look around the ship. I'll be back to shut down for a bit."

"Suit yourself." Vender turned his attention to Aurora. "What about you?"

"I think you have the right idea." Aurora plopped down on one bunk, not really caring if it was the top or bottom. Not that it did. Droids didn't sleep and there were only the three of them. Vender decided to take the other bottom bunk on the other side of the room. "Cheers."

The lights went out, and a new day was waiting to dawn.

---- Day 2

It seemed early in the day yet, when the call came. Vender was standing in the locker room suiting up for a simulation run when his comm buzzed. Aurora and IG88719 botch checked theirs as well. "Looks like it's feeding time-"

Before he could finish, Draco came bursting through the door. The hell? Vender saluted and awaited a response, something had the XO rattled. “My apologies, Leading Crewman Vender. Don’t stand so close to the hatch.”

Vender nodded and took a few side steps.

“Welcome to Nazgul. You all know who I am, and I know who you are. Here’s what you need to know: I’m Nazgul’s executive officer. Warrant Officer Hunter Morrell is our squadron commander. When you’re out there, listen to us. Now, something’s come up and the squadron needs to be ready to scramble asap.” He paused, rotating one eye to study each pilot skeptically, “I assume you’re all checked out on a TIE Interceptor?” They all nodded. “Good. Get suited up and report in the hangar.” He zipped his flightsuit up, settled the helmet on his head, and left the room.

They all watched Draco briefly as he came as swiftly as he left. Vender was already in a flight suit, and zipped his up as well. "I guess this is it. Don't stop to take a shit out there, you might get your ass blown off. Or even worse, mine." With a quirky smile he put his helmet on and chased after Draco.

The hangar was crowded and noisy. None of the TIE Interceptors were technically his yet, as that honor might come later. Vender stopped in front of the one he was going to fly. I hate one night stands, but she's all I got before the ball drops. "Can't say I'll remember your name in the morning hun, but maybe we can just have fun this one time!"

After climbing into the Interceptor he got acquainted with the cockpit, which was just like a normal TIE. Vender her some squabble on the comm briefly before they shut up, as Draco was speaking.

“Keep it together, Nazzies. High Command will have my hide if we break these beauties. Stick by your wingman and help each other out there- there’s no telling what we’re up against. Launch on my mark in four…three…two…one…Mark!” Nazgul squadron punched their clamp releases simultaneously and sixteen TIE Interceptors dropped out into space.

Before Vender's Interceptor burst through the door into space, he couldn't help but agree. There was no telling, no preperation. This fight would be won on guts, blood, and passion. The instinct and privledge to fight would end with their beating hearts. I hope I can join those hearts, even if it just ends up being my soul.
TRN/CRW Vender/"Δ"  Flight 4/S:147 "Nazgul"/W1 "Phoenix"/mSSD Atrus/1st Flt/SFC/VEN/VE
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  RE: Phoenix Wing: Smoke & Mirrors
January 12, 2010 11:53:49 AM    View the profile of bjorkfrid 
The hangar of the Nothing to See was a wail of klaxons and alarms. The uncomfortable bright light glared with intensity into the very core of Cali'reharn's corneas. Her tan skin around her green eyes tightened in protest as she squinted to read the flight start-up diagnostic on her TIE-Interceptor console. The various read-outs blinked green as each element of her craft was registered as flight worthy. At least the mechanics had prepared Viper's fighters before they had embarked on their latest fiasco in the Cloud City of Sarjah.

All of the pilot's crafts had been given a thorough check whilst Cali and her flight had been inspecting the Blethern Gas Industries facility. Not that there had been much opportunity or time to inspect the corporation. Cali's lungs where still struggling with the exertion she had put her body through into in order to escape the collapsing floating city.
Cali breathed in deeply trying to bring back some order to her respiratory system. Her heart was jumpy, her back tense, her whole body knew of the impending combat she was about to face. With a grimace she gave the flight-stick a testing rotation, her hand tightened involuntarily around it. She knew it was her body's response to the shakes she felt throughout every single inch of herself. Resolutely she eventually lessened her grip and was reassured to find her gloved hands only shook in reverberation with the Interceptor's warming engines. Her other arm ached, still fragile from her actions in the Epsilon system, as she reached over to thumb on the fighter's com device.

“...pers report in,” Ibram's voice buzzed through her cockpit. “I want this to be nice and tidy, no mess. Clear?”

“Confirmed one. Three is good, Alpha flight.” Anden answered, the Vast Empire's homegrown talent hailing from the Rheagent system sounded confident. His presence had helped Viper regain a modicum of order after Lt. Grey's poisonous influence.

“Two, primed and ready.” Durzo, an unknown and untested awaited his first taste of real action.

“Four, won't be getting my hands dirty.” Arthur was clipped, no doubt he was still wrangled by his fatal error that had cost the lives of innocent passengers aboard a freighter caught up in the Badajoz confusion. No-one could be expected to carry that burden easily and despite her best efforts Cali had not been able to persuade him to take extended leave. He was veteran now and Viper could use all the experience it could get giving the turbulence it had undergone in recent events.

“Beta flight checking in for the fun.” It was easy to misread Sicario's lightheartedness as nonchalance but of all Viper's pilot his heart at bleed the most from their actions and responsibility or rather lack of it.

“Stardreamer here, I mean Beta two...” A new recruit, his accent betrayed him to be an outer-rim denizen. Nervous but keen to impress.

“Viper six will suffice crewman.” Ibram cut the poor pilot's verbal stumbling short.

“Seven, pray for those unfortunate to court our fury.” Tessa Fenn possessed a silver tongue, as Cali had expected for a Echani. Humans might claim that the Echani had the tendency to mince their words but to Cali, however, they spoke to the soul of the universe itself. Ancient tongues prophesying war and love.

“Eight here. Those some pre'y words ma'am.” Uris Hogan, gave a surprisingly vocal response but Cali was quick to follow suit and not postpone proceedings any further.

“Yamma flight,” The harshness of  the g-sound did not fit well in her Twi'lekian mouth resulting in the unfortunate pronunciation. In spite of her stubborn tongue she continued. “I can speak for my flight and Delta our engines are go.”

“Confirmed nine. We're to form up with Nazgul squadron and set up a screening line at whatever the New Republic are going to throw at us, ok?” Tyrol stressed the word Nazgul with enough emotion to signify contempt. Cali herself had never served with Vast Empire's most esteemed squadron. Compared to them Viper was more akin to th Navy's spurned heel. She wondered how Nazgul would handle working with such an unillustrious squadron. First impressions counted for a lot in the Navy, she hoped that despite reputation, Viper did not disappoint.

The Interceptors slipped with ease into the expanse before them. The sky was enveloped in clouds as far as Cali could make out, her cockpit was basked in a faint orange light. The atmosphere of Geraps Sule was heavier then normal, the natural gas permeated the air refracting the sunlight from the system's sun. The refratcion broke the natural light into a gorgeous and unreal shade of permanent twilight. Cali could easily appreciate why Sarjah had been constructed and her stomach tightened at the thought of all those who had only recently perished in New Republic's sabotage. She yanked her flight straps around her shoulder tightly in a brief outburst of anger. She was no fool, Sarjah had been destined to a heavenly grave all along. Had Grey seen through proceedings then the Navy would have been responsible for such a waste of life with Viper's hands on the trigger. A necessary waste, no doubt, as Grey would have phrased it. Maybe the horrible woman was part Echani. No, Cali decided firmly, Grey definitely just minced her words. There where no prayers.

Viper's Interceptor sliced the atmosphere with a noticeable sluggishness,. Not as smooth  in flight as compared to their natural terrain of cold vacum the Interceptor's suffered in atmospheric flight.

“...receive, repeat this is the 147th, Nazgul, do you receive Viper, repeat this is the 147th , Nazgul, do you receive Viper, please respond, this is...”

“Got you Nazgul, this is 1st Lieutenant Ibram Tyrol of 1-7-2 Viper squadron responding.”

“Glad to you have you at the party, see your bringing the same gifts.”

“You can't beat 'em. Viper, this is one, dial in Nazgul coordinates make sure you've got them locked as friendlies on your sensor... for now. Good to see you again Hunter” Cali's squadron commander allowed himself a rare chuckle of laughter to soar across the com channel.

“That's Warrant Officer 1st Class, Hunter Morrell to you Ibram, pleased to be flying with your squadron.” His brash voice clashed with Tyrol's controlled and crisp core world accent. To Cali, they sounded the polar opposites of each other. “I reckon we head up into the big black if we want to give these Reps a fight chance.”

“Agreed. They've always been iffy when it comes to fighting in the dark. You heard the Warrant Officer Viper point your noses to the sky and brace for interception.” Ibram cut his com off as he placed his craft into to a steep climb towards the darkening sky.

“New Republic, same old tricks.” Sicario chirped in, thick with sarcasm. “Follow my lead Beta.” The diamond-shaped cluster of Sicario's wing broke off in an even steeper climb. Sicario was never one to be outdone when it came to flying prowess. Cali sighed at the pointless display of machismo and clicked her com channel.

“Yamma, Delta form up, let's cover the fly-boys. Out.” She closed her eyes as gravity's force pushed against her chest forcing her back into the uncomfortable confirms of her flight seat.

Let's just see what these tricks exactly are.

SXO/SCPO Cali'reharn/?-1/S:172 "Viper"/W:1 "Pheonix Wing"/Atrus/TF:A/1Flt/SFC/VEN/VE
[MC:2] (=*A*=)

We fly
you die
[This message has been edited by bjorkfrid (edited February 6, 2010 8:33:37 AM)]
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  RE: Phoenix Wing: Smoke & Mirrors
January 12, 2010 4:31:04 PM    View the profile of Ruwe 
No good frakking interceptor pilot! Ruwe was more than pissed still at what the interceptor pilot had started mouthing at him. That little piece of Katarn bait would be strung out limb from limb by now if Tycho hadn’t interrupted! Ruwe took a quick calming breath. Then again though I would probably stripped of all my rank and booted out of the VE faster than droids slipping in Katarn shit.

Ruwe took a turn around another corner. He was headed for the briefing room with both Arturo and Cipher close on his heels. Ruwe rethought the argument back at the bar. Can’t believe I threatened to unhinge Cipher’s jaw. That is definitely not like me. Plus it don’t look to good on the whole Petty Officer look. Ruwe sighed again. “[Eh Cipher.]”

“Yeah Ruwe? What’s up?”

“[Back at the bar. I’m sorry for what I said about the unhinging of the jaw. Just that other pilot really ruffled my fur. Not sure why it bothered so much. But I appreciate you also digging me out of it before I did something really stupid to him.]” Like ripping him quite literally apart.

“Not a problem Ruwe. Forget it ever happened. Just repay me with next time’s tab.” All three of them chuckled at that. Not like I can’t afford it anyways with my new paystub. The rest of the way to the briefing room went uneventful. Most of it Ruwe spent taking calming breaths and a light meditative technique. It didn’t take long at all for them all to reach the briefing room. Once inside they all sat down and listened to their newest mission.

- - -20 Minutes Later- - -

Ruwe lowered himself into the cockpit of his TIE. As he sat in the chair, he noticed with considerable uncomfortableness that the whole cockpit was smaller then his old Avenger. Perfect. Nothing like cramped spaces to fight in. Ruwe started flicking buttons and checking sensors. Everything read green so far. Grabbing the yoke he closed his eyes. Imagining his own sim he juked left and right, pulled back into a steep climb, barrel rolled out to left, midway pulling out into a high G right turn. Just as he was about to have a ship in his sights he remembered he had to check in with the rest of his flight.

“[Beta flight this is Beta One. Roll call, check in.]”

“Beta Two, all systems green and go.” Beta two was a newbie to the squadron and to the flight. Went by the name of Summit. He was a Courlag which in and of itself was not remarkable, however this kid had a story.  Scuttlebut was he was off the grid for several years, doing what no one knew.  Even if his background was questionable, his piloting skills left nothing to the imagination. He was a very exceptional pilot even fresh from the academy.

“Beta Three, lets vape some Reps.” Slasher. Ruwe remembered flying with him way back before he had left Nazgul. Ruwe even remembered how him and G never got along the greatest. Probably still the same anyways unless they’ve finally buried the hatchet.

“Beta Four, standing by on green.” Another newbie and a female too. Rare these days to have a female pilot. Her name was Celina Yurhan. A human from within the VE. She, like her other academy graduate Summit, also had magnificent flying skills as well.

All good to go then.[“Nazgul Five reporting in for Beta flight. All systems go.]”I wonder what are the odds of us all making it through this together and alive. Before he could dwell on it long though, Drac piped up over his comm.

“Keep it together, Nazzies. High Command will have my hide if we break these beauties. Stick by your wingman and help each other out there- there’s no telling what we’re up against. Launch on my mark in four…three…two…one…Mark!”

Ruwe pulled his release handle and felt the familiar jolt of not being stationary. Ruwe punched his thrusters forward, and speeded out of the hangar alongside the rest of Nazgul Squadron. Twenty starfighters all were speeding towards the New Republic forces in the distance. Ruwe clicked his flight channel. “[Ok guys this is it. You were all told in the briefing what to expect. X-wings, A-wings, B-wings, and the like. Stick close to your wingman and you’ll make it through this. Take them out one at a time. Remember your training. There’s no room for error in a dogfight like this.]”

Ruwe waited in silence for a quick moment. The weight of his words and their situation must have carried pretty heavily with his flight. His flight all clicked their comms in confirmation. This is it. Don’t get dead guys. That goes for all of Nazgul and Viper. Ruwe opened his throttle more. Ruwe opened his flight frequency again. “[Two, you’re my wing. Keep the formation tight three and four.]”

Two’s agitated voice came over the comm. “Any particulars on what we’re taking on?”

Ruwe thought for a minute. We do have our pick on whatever we want. “[You guys up for a particularly hard challenge?]”

All three chimed in with nothing short of pure Nazgul spirit. The answers sounded something like, “You bet! Hells yeah! Hot damn!” Least that is what Ruwe could make out from all of them being said over top of each other. Ruwe smiled at their enthusiasm.

“[Okay ladies and gents. Target those X-wings. We’re going in hot and heavy.]”

“Woohoo! They’re going down! Bring the heat!”

Ruwe chuckled again. He flipped his comm over to Nazgul frequency. “[Ok Nazgul. Choose your targets. Beta flight has first X-wing flight. Good luck all and happy hunting.]” We’re going to need all of it we can get. Ruwe heard similar responses from the other FL’s and the like. Ruwe checked his sensors. Sure enough the first flight in the NR formation were X-wings. Typical NR formation. Flipping to Beta frequency again he made sure everything was green once more. “[Okay, ten seconds till engagement. All weapons are green and hot. Fire at will.]”

Putting his own words into action he gripped his yoke and squeezed the trigger for his laser cannons. Green lasers lanced out of all of Nazgul’s ships. Shields soaked up most of the barrage while a few slipped through to scorch hulls. Pushing his throttle to full he kept his finger down on the trigger. Letting off a surprisingly primitive roar he snap rolled to the right to avoid some of the incoming laser fire. The few that hit only scored the hull. So much for the shiny newness. Guess someone had to break them in properly.

Breaking through the formation, the X-wing flight split. Pulling up and turning he leveled out behind two X-wings. Checking his sensors Summit was right with him. “[I have the lead. You take the other.]” Lining up his reticule on the lead X-wing, he waited a quick second for the tone to sound off. As soon as it did he let off a flurry of lasers. The X-wing easily snap rolled to the right and high G turned. Using the lag, he followed. Isn’t going to be easy to get this guy. That’s for sure. “[Stay with me Two. One at a time remember.]”

“Roger that One.”

Ruwe bit down and pulled up a bit more and forced down the G’s that were pressing down on him. “[I’m going to get you, you NR piece of Katarn shit!” Just as the tone started to sound again, Kojar came from outside of the turn and started shooting. Must’ve dropped out of the turn and came back in at a better angle. The X-wing lagged as its wings were hit. Summit broke off again and was circling back around into formation. Ruwe switched to blaster cannons and fired when tone was ready. With satisfaction the X-wing shattered and blew to bits. One down and too many to go. That one was way too easy.

1342 words.
FL/PO2 Ruwe/B-1/S:147 "Nazgul"/W:1 "Phoenix"/mSSD Atrus/TF:A/1Flt/SFC/VEN/VE
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[This message has been edited by Hunter-Morrell (edited January 12, 2010 8:47:02 PM)]
[This message has been edited by Atrasin (edited January 12, 2010 9:27:42 PM)]
[This message has been edited by Atrasin (edited January 12, 2010 9:31:03 PM)]
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  RE: Phoenix Wing: Smoke & Mirrors
January 12, 2010 6:19:12 PM    View the profile of Willtconq 
Every time Will fell asleep, he would see the images from his last mission play back through his head. Recently, the experience had become more frequent. Today was no different, or was it night. Out in space, there’s no difference to him anymore, just the same old blackness of space outside the tiny viewport that could hardly be called a window. And Will just happened to get his room on the side of the hall that faced away from the local sun. The images flashed through his mind’s eye as Will struggled to grab a glimpse of shut eye that came only so often for an officer of the Imperial Fleet. First there was a crash of a ship as it skid across the desert landscape. In the dreamland, Will was forced to just stand by and watch, as it crashed less than ten meters away, gouging the rocky ground with a scar that refuses to go away inside Will’s mind. The image shifted, then he was staring at a man, a droid, a man, the image kept fading in and out between the two. Then the next he knew, the man/droid’s head had been severed from its place. Where it had been, was a piece of metal rod. Will recognized this; it was when he had almost ran over a droid in his last mission, literally knocking the droid’s head off its socket. Without any control over his own body whatsoever, it picked up the head, and the face stared back, imprinting its image into Will’s mind.

The image faded again; Will could feel himself tilting to the left, but the image did not focus again. At least nothing that showed him as tilting to the side. His eyes snapped open. The tilting was not happening in his dream. He blinked. The sensation of a slight need to fall to the side faded. Focusing on the viewport, the stars were scrolling past. Okay, so I wasn’t imagining things. Last I checked, we weren’t due for any course change for another 72 hours.  Guess resting hours are over. Time to get up. Walking over to the refresher, Will splashed some water on his face. A general alarm had started to sound all across the ship; it had already jumped to hyperspace. Looking at the swirling blue lights that swept past the viewport, Will was forced to think back to the images he had just dreamt about, but they only came up as blurry, grayish images. He didn’t dwell on them. He had already grown quite accustomed to them. As a result, like most military boys, he slept in a shroud of waking-sleep, the mind resting, but the body and the senses, still well aware of the surroundings.

The comm had beeped; Drac had requested that all Nazgul personnel report to the hanger. Will didn’t bother replying. He had intended to, but then the various acknowledgements that sounded before he could even cross the room to it made the action seem pointless. So will put on his flight suit, and stepped out.

The briefing was short. A covert beacon eh? Haven’t had that in a while. Before he got into the interceptor however, Hunter ran up and asked him for a word.

“What’s up?” Will asked calmly.

“I’m moving you over to Alpha 4. Pair up with Liquid. I believe you know each other?”

“Why the sudden change?”

“Well, in the last mission, you were temporarily paired up with DR. I know you didn’t mean to, but the fact is, you’re an officer, regardless how Nazgul may be the most elite squadron in the fleet. You have hundreds more flight hours than the rest of these guys. And it’s… a bit hard for them to keep up with you. Unless you hold bad a bit. And we all know, this is not the time to be holding back. We don’t even know what we’re jumping into. We’ll need all the help we can get. And the best thing to do would be to pair you up with someone that won’t hold you back out there. So I’m putting you with Liquid, another officer that recently came back from retirement. Good hunting.”

Will nodded in acknowledgement. What hunter said was true. DR was a good pilot, but nonetheless, Will had to look for the little bugger after crashing before the target zone. And having an old friend coming back to be your wingman isn’t such a bad thing.

Meanwhile, Hunter had walked off and was speaking to Ruwe, the big Wookiee furball. Will was too far to hear what was being said, but he could guess the topic. He was Beta flight’s FL, and now that he’s been moved to Alpha-4, Hunter’s gonna need a new FL. And Ruwe was the perfect candidate, big and scary on the outside, softy on the inside. He seemed a bit surprised at this sudden appointment, but he accepted it. While on the Sarek mission, Ruwe had displayed some great leadership qualities such as knowing when to assert and when to shut up. Will was glad he was given the opportunity to lead Beta in his place.

Taking the lift up to the gangplanks, Will walked past his new wingman, and took a seat outside his fighter. “How are ya doing, Liquid?”

“Sir.” Liquid said before looking up and smiling. “I remember you. You were still in Flight School the last time I saw you. Now look at you, First Lieutenant. Same rank as me. Time certainly goes by fast.”

“Heh, yeah… You were my Training Officer, before you retired. But that was a long time ago. Think you still got what it takes?”

“What’s that supposed to mean you little punk?” Liquid replied jokingly. “Don’t look down on the old man. Or it will be the last thing you ever see.”

“Good, I wouldn’t want you holding me back. Well, let’s go out and kick ass.” With that, they both dropped into their fighters and begun the preflight checks.

-(William the Conquerer)-
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  RE: Phoenix Wing: Smoke & Mirrors
January 12, 2010 6:34:49 PM    View the profile of Slasher 
Slasher rolls his Interceptor over on its wing and dives away from the X-Wings which were on his and LCRW Yurhan's tail. Glancing down at his scanner feed, Slasher sees that the newbie had hung in behind him.

looks like this one has got some talent...

Slasher flips the comm to select only his wingman, and comments,

"Pretty smooth Crewman,"

"Thank you Chief,"

"Don't mention it-- And break right!"

Although Yurhan may be a green combat pilot, she knows how to take orders, and instantly B-4 breaks to the right, narrowly avoiding the fire from the pursuing X-Wing. At the same time, Slasher cuts his thrust, allowing the X-Wing to shoot past him, intent on scoring a hit on Yurhan's Interceptor, quickly Slasher lines up his shot and fires, nailing the X-Wing with a blast from his cannons, penetrating the fighter's shields and scoring a hit on the number one engine.

"Ferglutz, that guy didn't show on my scope Chief,"

"You can't always trust just your scope Crewman, use visual scanning as well as the sensors, that's why you have those viewports on your fighter."


The X-wing moves off, trying to link up with his wingman, who had not managed to follow through the series of evasive manuevers Slasher and Yurhan had been engaged in. Slasher and Yurhan follow, trying to line up a shot to take out the fighter before he can join back up with his wingman.

Slasher looks down at his sensor readout, trying to get an idea of the location of all the other ships involved in the engagement, and notices a set of blips which are not yet identified as either friend or foe. Quickly he looks up and sees a squadron of Interceptors heading into the combat from another direction, heading toward both Slasher and his wingman, and also toward the carrier which had just deposited them, and which was moving to try and jump out of the system.

"Um... Chief... where'd those fighters come from?" comes the voice of B-4 over the comm connection.

Slasher is busy setting up his shot at the fleeing X-Wing, which was trying everything to lose the Interceptors, but was quickly finding out that as good as he was, Slasher was one of the most experienced pilots in Nazgul Squadron, and had spent his time in retirement flying fighters for a planetary defense force, and as he prepares to fire on the retreating fighter, he sees a familiar squadron emblem painted on the fighter, and recognizes that he has faced this squadron before. As the enemy Fighter explodes from the fire which his interceptor was dishing out, Slasher looks again out at the approaching Interceptors,

"You know Yur... I'm not sure... wait..." Suddenly Slasher flashes back to a previous engagement, and a flight of TIEs which had proved to be enemies... and switching over to the squadron wide frequency, he yells out, "Squint Test, Squint Test, Squint Test!!" hoping that someone in the squadron has served long enough to know that codephrase.

Switching back to his Wingman frequency, Slasher orders, "Yur, cut your thrust, and come around to engage those Interceptors, they look like us, but the New Republic has tried this before, they are actually Reps, we need to give the Rising Sun time to get out of here,"

"Roger 3"

Together Slasher and Yur wheel around to engage the incoming Interceptors, at the same time Slasher contacts the Rising Sun "Rising Sun this is B-3 of the 147th, there is a squadron of Interceptors heading your way, they are not friendlies, GET OUT OF HERE!" This is all Slasher has time to say before the squadron is on them, Yurhan is good, but with so little combat experience she is no match for them, she manages to take down one interceptor, before three of the Interceptors manage to score hits on her, and her fighter spins out of the combat, unpowered and severely damaged.

Slasher tries to contact her, but gets no response, switching over to the Squadron frequency he alerts the rest of the squadron what is going on. "Alpha 1, this is Beta 3, Squint Test confirmed, Beta 4 is out of control, seems unpowered and does not respond to requests for status." Slasher throws his fighter on its starboard wingtip, slipping between two enemy Interceptors and racing after his wingman's out of control fighter. "Need some help out here, we've taken down two of these guys, but a full flight is after the two of us, I'm not sure how long I can hold them off."

Slasher starts to barrell roll, then snaps out of it after 3 1/2 rotations, braking hard to starboard and diving, evading some but not all of the shots aimed at him, he glances down at his shield power readout,

40% left, this is not good, where's my backup?

Glancing out at the dogfights taking place between the VE fighters and the Reps, Slasher realizes how badly they are outnumbered, as his fighter shudders around him from another near miss, Slasher flies past Yurhan's fighter, and notices movement in the cockpit out of the corner of his eye, and as his fighter shudders again, he thinks,

30% left, she's still alive, and trying to get her fighter back up, we need backup... there is none, and this is gonna take some real fancy flying if I'm even going to survive.

Slasher talks out loud to no one in particular, forgetting that he is still on the Squadron frequency,

"No backup, 30% shields, and a hell of a lot of enemies... This is gonna hurt."
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  RE: Phoenix Wing: Smoke & Mirrors
January 13, 2010 10:55:26 PM    View the profile of Summit 
=== Ealier ===
With a burst of air the pressure seal on the embarkation walkway of the shuttle balanced out. Saul was a late arrival to the Strike-Class Cruiser “Rising Sun”. Saul, or “Summit” as he was often called, had just been reactivated within the empire, after years of being technically a wanted deserter. Summit walked off of the shuttle with his pack of essentials and gear, expecting he would have to go throw his gear on a bunk and head for a pre-operation briefing. This did not bother him, as he was actually looking forward to it. The flight to the Rising Sun was a nice quiet one, this mission was kept so under wraps that he did not even know exactly where he was. They traveled off the main routes, and took the longer routes to get to the Rising Sun. Whatever this operation was, they sure as hell did not want anyone following them.
Summit walked out of the hangar, and headed towards the squadron barracks. He began to wonder down a corridor, until he noticed something. He was completely lost; this class of ship was completely new to him.

“Excuse me, can you direct me toward the Star fighter pilot squadron barracks?” Summit asked a passing crew member.

“Sure, you head down this hall and make a left. Then you take the lift up to level…” the crew member began to say, until he noticed that Summit was really confused. “On second thought, let’s try this.”

The crew member walked over to a console on the wall of the corridor, and brought up a map of the interior of the Rising Sun. As the crew member entered information, a red line appeared on the map.

“Ah, so I take it that means ‘just follow the line’?” Summit asked, covering a laugh.

“Exactly, hell I will even have the panel beam the map over to your data pad.”

“That would be much appreciated.”

“No problem, are you new to the Imperial Navy?” The crew member asked, obviously not too busy with his duties.

“New to the Vast Empire Imperial Navy, yes. The Navy in general, not really.”

“Well, good luck. From what I hear, you fighter pilots have got a hell of a next couple of days ahead.”

“Great.” Summit laughed.

“Well, I have to get to my post or the Chief of the Watch will have my ass.”

“Then I guess I will catch you later.” Summit said as the two went in different directions.

Summit walked down the corridor, and browsed through the information that was beamed to his data pad; Squadron rosters, Fighter specifications, mess-hall menus, and Squadron com-link frequencies, and things of the like. He looked at his wrist communicator, and changed the frequency of its passive listening to the Nazgul channel; just in time.

He heard static, a clicking noise, and then a voice.

[[Nazzies, this is Drac. Drop whatever you’re doing now and get to the hangar on the double. We’ve got a top priority job to do.]]

Summit stopped, and looked down at the map on his data pad. The star fighter hangar was one deck below him.  He tightened his grip on his bag, and began to run down the corridor for the stairs.
Well… they said on the double… He thought to himself.

“Down ladder!” He said, raising his voice to make sure anyone on the deck directly below him would not begin to come up the very narrow stairs. He should have just taken the lift.

He definitely made an ass of himself, running down the corridors and all. Though it was his first order as a Senior Crewman, ‘get to the hanger on the double’ he did not want to be late. He arrived to the hanger, earlier than he ever expected, but noticed something awkward.

He looked at a Petty Officer in the hangar, “I just got called to report here, is there anywhere I can ditch my gear for the time being?” he asked.

The Petty Office opened the door to a storage closet, “This is about all I got, will it do?”

“Perfect, Thanks.” He replied to the petty Officer, who then went back to his duties.

Summit stood there, as Nazgul pilots began to fill the entry area, he was very anxious to begin his journey as a pilot in the Imperial Navy.

731 Words, it would have gone longer up to the present posts... but my computer decided to crap out at 1500 words and only save about 500... go figure.
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  RE: Phoenix Wing: Smoke & Mirrors
January 14, 2010 10:30:18 PM    View the profile of Atrasin 
…has hit the fan

Subtle Ibram, very subtle

The stars jumped as the two ships slid into hyperspace.

Driver sat in his command chair and mulled the meaning of Ib’s message.  It was not the code he expected.  In fact it wasn’t code at all.  It was a true expression of awe and fear, something he didn’t get much from Ibram Tyrol.

He punched up the Lehon System file on his holo-projector.  It gave him the co-ordinates of Ibram’s transmission. 

Geraps, just as expected…what the hells is going on

“ETA to Lehon, Mr. Ummik?”

The Umbra’s XO crisply replied, “Less than ten minutes, Commander.”

  G nodded absently, and turned to his Comm Officer, “Get me all four Squadron Commanders and the captain of the Tiamut on a secure link in my ready room, now.” He rose from his chair and strode across the bridge to his office, within moments the holos of the Wing’s remaining Squadron Commanders and Captain Reles Izon were shimmering before him.

“Gentlemen, we’re about to enter the Lehon System and something’s not sitting right with me.”

“Maybe it was the booze you had last night, I told you you couldn’t keep up with me,” quipped ENS Kane Ahriman, Kaph honcho.

ENS Xynen, Aegis SC, piped in next, “Bad Bantha Stew, boss?”

“Neither, it’s a feeling.  Ibram’s message wasn’t coded, and he cursed.”

“Really? He cursed”, asked ENS Blah909, Squadron Commander of Polaris, “He never does that?”

“I know.”

Captain Izon interjected, “Is this why we’re going in hot, sir? Because a fighter pilot cursed in a message?”

G flashed him ‘The Look’.  The capship man wavered a bit, he’d never served under LCM Atrasin before, but his temper was known.

“Yes Captain, Ibram Tyrol is a gentleman, and he rarely curses, most assuredly he does NOT curse in encrypted messages to his superiors.”

Breaking into what was rapidly becoming an awkward moment, ENS Dr. Mallard, leader of Blizzard Squadron asked, “Was he in any visible distress, sir?”
Driver broke his stare on the carrier’s CO and replied to his query, “Not much, not as if he was being forced to say it, which makes it even stranger.  Are all of you ready to hit it running?”

A chorus of ‘Ayes’ was the answer.

“Good, I have a bad feeling about this.  You four saddle up, we’re in system in less than five, expect company.  Captain, I need you to have those hangar doors open as fast as you can, we’re dropping out of hyperspace almost on top of Verla Klest. Also, tell Gunny Yson that his Space Troopers need to be aboard the Nebulax ASAP.”

The officer responded, “He’s had them aboard since we made the jump.”

“Good, he may be needed sooner rather than later.”


“OK men, you heard the lady go get’ em.  Kane, hold up.”

The other four officers flickered away until only the former Nazgul XO was left to speak to his former commander.

“What’s up boss?” he asked cheerily.  Kane was always in a good mood before a battle, it was during that was deadly.

“You and I have known Ib for a while; we both know how out of character this is for him.  I think its reeeaal bad.”

“I know what you mean boss; I got that same feeling when we had that little dance on the Visigoth a couple of months back.”

“Yeah, although I don’t think this will be as easy as that one was.  Keep your head on a swivel and let me know if you see anything ‘worthwhile’ out there.”

“You mean like big bad New Republic boogeys?” he howled.

“Yes, and you know what I mean.”

Kane nodded, “Yes boss, I know.  I’ll see you after this is over, you owe me a drink.”

“I do not.”

“Yes you do, remember that little wager about Jeg?” he asked.

“Damn, I hoped you’d forgot that. OK, OK.”

Smiling Kane saluted impishly, “When it comes to winnings, I never forget, Kane out.”

G punched the ‘Kill’ switch and returned to the bridge.  He’d had the engineers install a command chair that mimicked a TIE’s seat.  He’d added heads up displays and real-time holo projectors from all the scanners so he essentially had a fully interactive projection of the battlefield before him.  He sat down and strapped himself in, that was just for theatrics…always fun if the bridgeboys thought the old man was a little daft.


Ummik replied, “Lehon in ten seconds.”

G tensed up, “Let’s see what we’ve got.”

Ummik counted, “Three, Two, And One.”

The stars came to a shuddering halt as the Ferrum Umbra dropped into real space and promptly was struck by a wounded TIE. 

“What the hells was that! Who was that! Izon!”

The XO deftly retrieved the information he wanted, “It WAS a TIE/in sir, but not anything that’s ours. In fact the ID read ‘Varactyl’ Squadron.

“Varactyl? That’s a Remnant squadron, what the hells are they doing here?”

“That’s not all sir, there is currently a New Republic Nebulon-B frigate over Geraps Sule, one over Ding Briar and a DP2O Gunboat headed our way.” Reported Izon.

“Attack Pattern: Orenth, keep him off the Tiamut till she gets the fighters into the mix.” punching the comm button, “Anytime would be good Captain.”

“Launching now Commander,” Crackled the reply.

Driver swiveled to see the split bow of the Tiamut vomiting TIE/in at a heart-warming rate.  His heads-up sprang to life as fighter after fighter registered its transponder codes with the Ferrum’s Fire Control computer.  Incoming hostiles numbered 59 New Republic craft of various design 96 Vast Imperial TIE/in’s and twelve TIE/in of unknown origin.  The odds were good. 

“Someone get me an ID on those dummy TIE’s ASAP!”

The green pips that registered as Nazgul had engaged the enemy mid way between Geraps and Verla.  The dark blue pips of Viper had them still in the upper atmos of Geraps…not a good spot for a TIE.  Blizzard was making a bee-line for the closest Neb-B and its squadrons; Kaph was moving to engage the NR fighters alongside Nazgul.

“Mr. Ummik, I have a rather hostile craft headed right for me why have we not fired yet?”

“It’s not in range Commander, it slowed when Kaph engaged,” he reported in clipped tones.

“Well, let’s go meet him.”

Acknowledgements chorused, G punched up the Tiamut, “Captain, let’s go say hello to our new friends.”

Captain Izon looked stricken, “Surely you don’t suggest I take this CARRIER into battle against those two Nebulons?  We’re outclassed and now we have no fighters left.  Besides, the Lieutenant has charged me with the safe return of his vessel.”

Driver sucked his teeth and spat out the words like venom, “…and I’ll charge you with mutiny and have you shot on your bridge if you don’t engage…are we understood Captain?”

Izon physically jerked, as if slapped remembering the fate of the former captain, Demonic, “Yes sir, you are understood.”  The holo died away.

G turned to see the Tiamut bow over toward the nearest Neb-B.  He knew it may not last long, but he also hoped that he’d finish off this DP20 and be able to help. 

“Mr. Ummik, shall we dispose of this bothersome gunboat?”

“Aye sir, easier said than done, she out guns us.”  He stated as he flew from station to station.

“Then out fly her and hit her where she ain’t looking.”

Silas Ummik tried to not smile at the Commanders verbiage, but it was hard.  In his fifteen years aboard Imperial craft he’d known tactically more sound commanders, but not better men. 

“Keep her close so she can’t use her concussion missiles, boost shield power and try to take out her generators”

G thumbed the encrypted message pad on the armrest, tapped out a few lines and punched it, he turned back to the fray, “Polaris, cover the Tiamut, Aegis come help us with this bastard.”

The TIE’s of Aegis shot past the corvette and toward the incoming Rep ship.  Driver queued up the Aegis audio.

Keep that formation tight Delta-3”
“Inbound craft has shields up and full”
“No bogeys assisting, repeat NO bogeys assisting

The garbled and overlapping voices became tenser as the sixteen craft vectored in on the Corellian made craft.  G’s silent question of range was answered as the gunboat opened up on the fighters.  The pincushion of energy reached out and pricked the incoming VE fighters, several missed, several glanced off of shielding, several hit square.  If not for the flickering and now disabled energy barriers several Aegises would be going home in a vacuum tube.  They fanned out over the ship darting and stinging the best they could.

“Commander, we’re almost in range ourselves.” Stated Ummik nonplused.

Driver turned to the XO, seeing the beads of perspiration forming on his brow, he got the confirmation he sought, “It’s gonna hurt, ain’t it?”

The officer nodded, “Yes sir.”

“OK, let’s light this candle.”

The Umbra’s batteries turned and drew a bead on the incoming New Republic craft; the shots sprang from both ships almost simultaneously.

The impact did most assuredly hurt, it hurt a lot.  The Umbra was gob smacked by the smaller craft.  The shields buckled, flickered and died.  The lancets of energy tore across the port side of the ship. Great gaps exploded in the hull of the craft.  Ferrum’s shots impacted and twitched the shields a bit, but they held.  Chaos also exploded on the bridge.

Shields down, we’re venting atmosphere on Decks 5-12”
“Life Support holding, but iffy”
“Hyperdrive is down

G’s comms died.  The chair was useless now.  He slapped the restraint buckle and sprang to his feet, he found Ummik at his post, “How bad?”

Bloodied but still functional Ummik responded, “Still got some life left sir, but not a lot.”

Driver thought quickly, “OK, kill the power, put us in a drift, and make it look like we’re dead.  He’ll probably leave us be and concentrate on the Tiamut.  When he leaves do the best you can to get her functional again and get back into the fray.”

Ummik nodded, “Yes sir.”

“With comms down I’m no good here. I’m gonna mount up and try to direct traffic from out in the mix. You have the Conn Mr. Ummik, keep her together.”

The XO saluted, “Aye Sir.”

G punched the transfer of command into his wrist pad and logged it as he raced to the forward cargo hold.  He really, really hoped that the broadside hadn’t taken it out, or his game was over.  The cargo bay’s door slid open halfway.  They weren’t hit too badly and the hold looked jostled, but not in bad shape.  His Avenger hung from the mooring clamps he’d just had installed a week ago.  She was a little cleaner than when he last landed her, and everything worked for a change, but she was still the same.  He powered her up and dispensed with the usual pre-flight.  He detached the clamps and hung centimeters off the floor.  With the power down the bay doors wouldn’t open, and if they had there was no power to generate a mag field, so he had to pop it manually.  He keyed the bridge’s codes and instructed Ummik to blow the hatches, and to make it look like it was a secondary explosion.

The holds doors noiselessly exploded and drifted off.  Driver nudged his TIE out into the vacuum.  The damage to the Umbra was visceral.  Large flaming gashes rent the hull of his ship. Debris and crewmembers floated by.  He drifted along with the flotsam to mask his departure.  He powered up his fire control computers and reestablished his link.  The modified displays once again showed the friendlies and hostiles.  He was in the game again.

He keyed up the six Squadron Commanders, “Dice 1 thru 6, this is Shooter, I have the table.”

The code words let the SC’s know he was on the battlefield in his fighter.  The replies trickled in.

“Acknowledged Shooter, Dice 5 copies, we’re still with the Gunboat, she’s a tough nut, but we’ll crack her.”

“Dice 6 Copies Shooter, Neb-B almost in range we’ll see if we can put a hurt on’ em.”

“Shooter this is Dice 2, we’re having issues getting off Gerups, we’ve got uninvited’s here…will advise.”

“Dice 1 copies, little busy right now.”

“Shooter, Dice 4 shepherding a lost lamb, will advise.”

“Dice 3 occupado”

Driver nodded to himself and turned his Avenger toward Geraps, Dice 2 was gonna have the toughest time, so he thought he’d start there.

See Discussions Page.  2111 words

WC|CO|LCM Geordi "Driver" Atrasin/CVT Taskmaster/A-1/W:1"Phoenix"/mSSD Atrus/TF:A/1Flt /SFC/VEN/VE[=A=][=^SA^=][=^ME^=][=*MA*=][=FOCE=][MC1]{BWC}[NSR:1]{SAS}{SWC}
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  RE: Phoenix Wing: Smoke & Mirrors
January 15, 2010 10:53:45 AM    View the profile of Drac 
The first thing Drac did after powering out of the Rising Sun[i]’s fighter bay was bite back a curse. His sensors lit up, telling him everything he’d rather not have to know about the Lehon system and its current contents. The nearest blips were, of course, Nazgul Squadron and the [i]Rising Sun, both located just outside standard orbit of the gas giant. Another group of blips glowed with the distinctive green “friendly” color- these were rising out of the planet’s atmosphere to link up with Nazgul.  At a closer look they proved to be Viper Squadron. Heh. Imagine that. Driver and Slasher always talk about the bar fights and other trouble they used to get into with Viper. Let’s hope they’re better at flying than breaking up a cantina.

The next thing he saw inspired the near curse. Farther out in the system his sensors identified another capital ship, this one tagged with the distinctive red that marked it as a New Republic vessel. Further information identified it as a Nebulon-class frigate. That wasn’t so bad, since it couldn’t stand up to the Rising Sun in a one on one fight. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Two other ships appeared elsewhere in the system and a small key in the corner of his sensor screen totaled the line of blips heading their way from the Nebulon: eighty four. Seven squadrons of fighter craft versus their thirty two Interceptors. This is going to be…interesting.

Hunter’s voice came over the squadron frequency, “This is Nazgul One. Form up with Viper and prepare a screen to meet those incoming fighters. Remember: Break by pairs and keep your wingman alive out there. With any luck they’ll be doing the same.”

Drac answered, “Roger that, Leader. This is it, Nazzies. No heroics, but do your best. To you new guys: if you’ve ever had dreams about becoming an ‘instant ace’ here’s your shot. Just have a care that you don’t make one of the Reppies an ace. Everyone keep it together and we’ll sail through here with flying colors.”

The two imperial squadrons formed up without incident. As they were rotating to face the oncoming enemy ships, though, something caught Drac’s attention on his sensor screen. He switched to a command only frequency, “Nazgul Leader, this is Nine. Be advised: I’ve got ships coming up from several of the gas platforms- appears to be local patrol and security craft. They’re a mixture of space capable and atmospheric craft, but I’ve got no idea whose side they’re on.”

Another voice broke in, that of Viper’s commanding officer, “This is Viper Leader. Let’s just say the locals think we’ve done something we haven’t. Tread carefully until we can get that straightened out.”

Three minutes later the Vast Imperial flyers met the first wave of enemy fighters and chaos ensued. The first wave was made up of three squadrons: twenty four A-wings and a dozen X-wings. Two minutes behind them was another wave, made up of one squadron each of Y-wings, and B-wings. In the very back, screening the frigate, lurked two squadrons of E-wings. Just before they got into range, Drac heard Ruwe come over the com frequency, “One, Five. That second wave is splitting up into flights- looks like they’ve got several targets in mind.” Gotta keep that in mind, but there are other things to worry about right now.

Specifically, those things were the two A-wings attempting to work themselves into position behind him and his wingman. “Ten, break left.” As Stewart banked to port, Drac rotated his Interceptor and banked with him. He adjusted the angle, though, so that his ship went into a shallow dive. He eased off the throttle, letting Stewart pull out ahead of him in the hope that at least one of the enemy pilots would overshoot him while chasing the other imperial pilot. He found himself disappointed as lasers shot by to starboard, proving that the A-wings hadn’t been fooled. Okay, so it’s not your first time dancing. That’s fine. Punching his acceleration back up, he barrel rolled out of his flight path and rejoined Nazgul Ten just as the other pilot pulled up into an immelman.

“What next, Nine?”

The Mon Calamari thought for a moment, then smiled as he re-checked his opponents’ positions, “Reverse throttle hop to port, Ten. Wait a beat after I hit it to do it yourself- let’s see if we can dictate the steps of this dance.”

“Roger,” the pair banked left again, imitating their prior move except that Drac chose to climb rather than dive. As he hit the top of his climb, the flight leader not only cut his thrust, but reversed it hard. Stewart mirrored the move a moment later. Their sharp deceleration, courtesy of a very rare move that only TIEs can really perform well, was far more than their opponents had expected. The A-wings overshot the two Interceptors this time and began tumbling through a series of evasive maneuvers.

It wasn’t enough for Drac’s target. The A-wing accelerated to top speed in order to get some distance and, so doing, bracketed himself in the Mon Cal’s crosshairs. He waited a beat, got the lock, and triggered a missile. This time the A-wings great speed worked against it, as its maneuverability was diminished. Even so, the pilot broke as sharply as he could and managed to escape the missile’s blast. His copilot was less fortunate. Following the other’s lead, he broke and found himself an unwilling shield between his wingman and the missile. It impacted on the A-wing and detonated, smashing its shields and leaving the ship tumbling out of control as it vented atmosphere and flames.

A moment later Slasher’s voice came over the com frequency, standing out from the battle chatter, "Rising Sun this is B-3 of the 147th, there is a squadron of Interceptors heading your way, they are not friendlies, GET OUT OF HERE!" A quick check of his sensor board showed that the other pilot was right: a group of Interceptors with unknown IFFs was entering the fight and was obviously not on their side. Sithspit. That’s just what we need. “Careful, Nazzies. We’ve got enemies in Interceptors entering the fight. Take them out if you get the chance, but be wary of shooting friendlies.”

A minute later the Rising Sun completed its rotation to face back out of the system. It stretched, winking out as it shot into hyperspace. So. We’re on our own for a bit.

The next five minutes seemed to stretch out into eternity. Fighters and lasers zipped through the area and explosions stippled the space above Geraps Sule. One moment in that span of time stood out for Drac, and would continue to do so whenever he thought about the mission: He’d seen Senior Crewman Kyrios, Delta Flight’s new flight leader, desperately fighting to get a pair of X-wings off of his and his wingman’s tails. The man, true to his rather pompous nature, seemed to feel the need to vocalize his displeasure, “This will not do at all. Not at all. I’m being chased by enemy X-wings with nothing but a droid for assistance. Has the galaxy no sense of balance? With my luck, I will be killed by a peasant. Dreadful.” Drac was never sure afterward, but he thought he heard the very level headed IG88719 release the quietest of irritated sighs.

Kyrios must have reach the limit of his tolerance for the situation, as he banked out and came around for a head to head pass. Drac tried to get his attention, “Thirteen, what are you doing? You know better than that.”

Kyrios just scoffed, “My path is set. It would be an indignity to turn from it now.” Drac gritted his teeth, thinking, If that X-wing doesn’t kill him, I might just do it myself so I don’t have to listen to him anymore.

The Senior Crewman stayed on course, and began spraying lasers at the enemy ships. He managed to hit one, three bolts arraying themselves along its port fuselage. The X-wing’s shields flickered and the final shot got through. It left a black scorch mark on the ship’s flank and Drac saw the laser cannons on that side stop firing. He might just do it. Then the X-wings’ fire caught Kyrios’s Interceptor. It’s shields died quickly under the concerted fire, and scarlet bolts tore into the hull. The pylons supporting its solar panels must have gotten chewed up, because both panels bent and then wrenched away from the ship. The Interceptor’s ball cockpit continued on, sparks flying from the mangled pylons. Drac snapped at the pilot, hoping he could hear, “Eject, Kyrios. Get out of there.”

No reply came from the dying Interceptor. A moment later it must have hit some small piece of debris. Its engines died even as it rotated on its flight path. The front viewport swung around to face Drac as he paced it…a neat hole in the center panel formed the core of a web of cracks, revealing a dark and still interior. Kyrios was dead. “Sithspit.”

“This is Nazgul Fourteen. My wingmate is dead. Next directive?” IG88719 intoned.

Before Drac could reply, space flickered relatively near to them. Two ships had arrived out of hyperspace, their IFF tags proclaiming them the Ferum Umbra and the Tiamut. The latter of the two disgorged several squadrons of Interceptors as it began moving to engage. The Umbra, meanwhile, was already heading for one of the NR ships. Drac compared the two vessels and winced, knowing the Vast Imperial craft would not fare well against the New Republic warship. Another thought snagged his attention, Wait. The Ferum Umbra…that’s Driver! Just like him, too. I’d lay down fifty credits that he’s pissed as its possible to be right now.

All that had taken just a few moments. He replied to IG88719, “Delta Flight, this is Nine. Hook up with Five and Six and consider Five your flight leader. Good luck.”

At that moment a call came from Viper, “Y-wings and B-wings entering the atmosphere! They’re after something on the planet.” Several squadron commanders replied, and soon Aegis was speeding to intercept, along with a few pilots from Nazgul and Viper who were nearby.

“Dice 1 thru 6, this is Shooter, I have the table.” Drac checked his sensors. That had to be Driver. The old nutcase had actually jumped into a starfighter…and an Avenger at that. I’m going have to get him for that. He had too much fun telling me that we’re in Interceptors because we “broke our toys” for him to turn around and do that. A half dozen laser bolts flashed past. Right. Practical jokes for revenge wait till later.

Shaking his head, Drac hit the squadron frequency, “Okay, Nazzies. They cavalry’s here, but we’re still outnumbered. If you’re not taking care of the bombers, let’s make sure these fighters have a very bad day.” A report came in then stating that the two E-wing squadrons were beginning to head toward the massive furball over Geraps Sule, so Drac checked his sensors added, “You heard it, Nazzies. Kill these Xs and As, because company’s coming in Tee minus three minutes.”

Word Count: 1871

Nazzies: If you're confused about what to do, fight an A-wing or an X-wing (Remember, it'll be a tough fight.). We'll get to the E-wings here in a little bit.
SXO/SCPO Drac/?-1/S:147 Nazgul/W:1 Phoenix/mSSD Atrus/TF:A/1Flt/SFC/VEN/VE

He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep in order to gain what he cannot lose.
Drac's VE Wiki Profile:
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[This message has been edited by Drac (edited January 15, 2010 1:55:24 PM)]
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  RE: Phoenix Wing: Smoke & Mirrors
January 15, 2010 7:11:09 PM    View the profile of Summit 
Summit maneuvered his fighter into position next to Beta-One. For some reason, he was calm and was able to think.

I cannot believe what I am doing. I just got here and already I am going to get myself killed.

He did not doubt his flight abilities; he would do the best he could. What concerned him was that he did not know anyone in the squadron, did not know how they flew or how they gave orders. He would have to play it by ear.

“Beta One, Two. Forming up on your Starboard.” Summit called to Ruwe, his flight leader, over comm.

[[Affirmative Two; scanners show two bandits headed towards our location at four O’clock.]] Beta Two replied.

Summit saw it on the scanners too, but still felt it necessary to actually turn his head and look out the viewport, a nasty habit. He saw a dual “X” headed his way, the S-foils from two T-65 Wing Star fighters in combat mode. They were too far away to get a clean shot on the two of them, but it did not mean they could just ignore them. They were also too far away to shake them off, the Imperial pilots would have to wait until their enemy got closer to make any more. It was a gamble, but a necessary one.  Summit looked again, and saw only one “X” in space nearby. One X-Wing had disappeared, he was bewildered.

“One, Two. Visual with one of the bandits is lost. Scanners show it accelerating.” He called over.

[[Copy Two; it may be trying to flank us; Stay alert.]]

He kept one eye on the scanner, and one eye above him. The target that was accelerating, and began to flicker. “Piece of junk!” He yelled and smacked a console. He looked out the viewport in front, and saw a shimmer of light. A glare of some sort, the shine off of a Canopy of an X-Wing. The target reappeared, and was right on top of them.

[[Two, Break away!]] Ruwe yelled to Summit.

Summit grabbed the yoke, and attempted to break off, heading starboard to avoid any chance of colliding with his Flight Leader.
“Too Late!” He yelled, as he saw the X-Wing signature pattern in front of him. He snapped the yoke, in a last attempt to get away.
The flashback suppressor of the X-wing smashed into the Solar Array on the port side, shattering the enemy’s suppressor, and shaking the TIE Interceptor up a bit.

[[Two, you still there?]] Ruwe asked, sounding nervous about the answer that he would get.

Summit looked around the cockpit, and out the viewports. “I am here, Shaken up a bit, but good. I thought that was it, I guess something must have other plans.”

[[Right, let’s go get that bastard.]]

“Copy, his Flash suppressor smashed off. If we can get him to fire on us, it might blind him.”

[[I like it, let’s do it.]] Ruwe said, and found the fighter on the scanners. It was making a turn, and coming around for another pass. [[Break left, and fly into its path, let’s bully it into firing.]]

Summit liked that idea, his blood was pumping. This was nothing like training, the thrill of fighting your enemy in a team like this was somewhat new to him; he liked it.

He made the 270 degree turn, and faced the pilot. They would get to see his face, right before they blasted him out of existence. The two of them accelerated and headed in. Keeping their course straight, and staying just far enough away from each other that the X-Wing could not break off and get away.

[[Put full power to forward shields, we are coming into range.]] Ruwe said.

Summit saw the X-Wing unlock its S-Foils, this was it. “Copy.” He replied, as he reached for the shield controller.

Just then, something hit him; he was forgetting something that mattered; The other X-Wing! He took his hand away from the shield controller, and looked out the viewport. He could see it coming, zeroing in to its target; Beta-Leader.

“One, Bandit at your five. Break off.” He yelled quickly, as he saw Ruwe break off just in time to avoid the fire of the X-Wing behind him.

[[It was a trap! Good catch! Now take that bastard out.]]

“Affirmative.” He said, as he looked at the viewport of the X-Wing.

They continued towards each other, getting closer, it would be hard to miss at this range. He saw the pilot of the X-Wing in the distance jump forward in his cockpit, the pilot fired. Dual Fiery shot left the upper port and lower starboard laser cannons of the X-Wing, they off the lower port and upper starboard. Shot did more than blind the X-Wing pilot, it blasted away the lower port laser turret; it was completely gone. Summit took this as his only chance, they guy was blind and shaken, now was the time. He fired his laser cannons, in linked fire mode. Four neon shots smashed into the X-Wing, two were absorbed by the deflector shields, one blasted into the Astromech unit on the fighter and another hit the nose cone which smashing its sensor window.

The pilot saw the shots, and blasted off a Proton torpedo in an attempt to hit Summit, but missed. The X-Wing’s astromech unit blasted apart, and there was small explosion behind it. It blasted right through the deflector shield generator.

“One, its wounded. I am going to swing around and turn it into scrap. You good or do you want help you shake that T65?” Summit asked as he accelerated and turned 180 degrees.

[[I have got this one, take yours out and return to my wing.]] Ruwe said, with a laugh.

Summit almost felt bad, getting ready to take out the blind and wounded fighter, and then realized that he really did not feel bad at all.

990 Words
Senior Crewman Saul "Summit" Aquila
FM/SCRW Summit/B-2/S:147 "Nazgul"/W:1 "Phoenix"/mSSD Atrus/TF:A/1Flt/SFC/VEN/VE (=*BAE*=) [SoA]
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[This message has been edited by Summit (edited January 15, 2010 8:17:31 PM)]
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  RE: Phoenix Wing: Smoke & Mirrors
January 16, 2010 10:43:01 PM    View the profile of Santa 
"Here they come." Cali said. By 'them' she meant four X-wings that had broken off of the main enemy force and were now heading in there direction. "Look sharp, Yamma. Two, your with me."Santa flicked on a switch and his Interceptor's shield and weapons systems came to life. "Alright, then. Let's give them a run for their credits." He smirked and tightened his grip on his yoke.

The four X-wings coming at them split again into two pairs of wingmen. Santa and his wingman, Fallen Angel followed the two X-wings to the right. Santa's TIE rolled to the right in sync with Angel and he focused the X-wings into the center if his vision.

As both sides came within range of each other, the dark space between them lit up as green and red bolts traversed the gap between them. Santa kept on his course pointing straight at the X-wing in front of him. With each second they exchanged fire, they got closer and closer to each other until they were too close to pull away from their destructive path. There was no stopping now. Santa grinned. A few of the X-wings shots glance off of the deflector shields, and still he and the enemy NR fighter drove on. Whoever flinched first would be the loser of their risky dance.

Angel decided not to risk it any longer and pulled up and out with an Immelman. The other X-wing pulled up and began to pursue him. Huh, it looks like these guys aren't any old NR rookies. All of this passed through his head in the few seconds before he collided with his X-wing. 

"Get out if there, Three!" Angel said over the com.

Santa just laughed in response. Finally, when he was only meters away from his X-wing, he pulled away, rolling down and to the left. However, at that instant, the enemy fighter broke off, too, pulling down and two the right.

Santa swore and tried to pull up, but it was too late. They were going too fast and too close to each other to pull up in time. Thinking quickly, he began to barrel roll out of the way. There wasn't enough time to complete his roll, but it was just enough to avoid a head on collision. Their was a terrible shriek that reverbrated inside of his cockpit as his solar panel wing scraped through the X-wing's S-foils.

A red light began to blink in his cockpit and there was a shudder as it tried to stabalize itself. His TIE Interceptor wobbled haphazardously and he struggled for a moment to regain control of his fighter.

"Whew! That was too close!"

Angel's voice came in  through Santa's earpiece. "Three, are you alright?" He could here a hint of concern in the mans voice.

Santa turned around his Interceptor to see if he could chase down the other X-wing in it's moment of weakness, but was dismayed to find that it too had regained control just as quickly.

"Four, this is Three; I'm alright. It was just a scratch."

"Don't do anything stupid like that, again. Do you think you could help me out, here? I can't seem to shake off this X-wing."

"Your not alone on that, kid." Santa grunted. "I've got my own fly buzzin' in my ear." He pulled up into an Immelman and tried to flank his target, but the X-wing just followed behind him, putting him in it's sight. "Blast it!" he swore.

"Yeah, if you didn't notice, these are not your average wet-behind-the-ears NR pilots."

"I noticed."

Santa started to execute some basic evasive manuevers. He swore again when three more red laserbolts hit him from behind. A bead of sweat trickled down his forehead as he began to pull of some more evasive moves, stringing them together one after the other, desperately trying to shake off his pursuer.

Just then, a spot in space flashed and two ships appeared from hyperspace. From his HUD he saw that they were the Ferum Umbra and the Tiamut. One of them opened up a hanger and a from it poured a large group of TIE fighters. While it didn't look like it would be enough to overwhelm the NR forces, it would be enough to hold them off for a while longer.

"Reichert, I'm moving in on your position. If we focus our efforts on one of them, we'll have a better chance of getting out of here in one piece."

"Great, let's hope we can get some backup from those TIEs as well."

From above him, Santa saw Angel coming up behind his pursuer. A salvo of green lasers shot out from his Interceptor. The X-wing chasing Santa immediately evaded with a barrell roll. He took this opportunity to bank hard right and lock onto the X-wing. Squeezing the trigger, he watched as his shots slammed into his target. With the combined fire of the two Interceptors, the X-wings shields collapsed and the X-wings metal peeled away in a ball of flames.

Santa let out a sigh a relief that he didn't realize he had been holding. "Funs not over yet." he said. As he did so he spun around to face the other X-wing chasing Angel. "Four, I've got your back. Just keep him in line and I'll pick him off."

"Copy that, Three."

Once he was in position behind the X-wing, he waited until his targeting system confirmed a lock on. A quick beeping told him it had the X-wing locked on, and he firedwith a twitch of his finger. Green laser bolts struck the rear deflector shields of the X-wing. It rolled away quickly but it's shields were already taken down. A stray shot missed and accidentally hit his wingmate.

"Hey!" Angel snapped.


Now that the X-wings shields were down, Fallen Angel flipped around and fired the last few shots to finish it off. The fighter dodged and rolled, but his aim held true and his shots ripped apart the enemy fighter.

"Nice work, Four." Santa said.

Just then, the com crackeled to life and Cali's voice came rushing through. “Y-wings and B-wings entering the atmosphere! They’re after something on the planet."

"What would they want on the planet? They just bombed the crap out of it." he mused aloud.

"Gamma flight, follow my lead. Were going in."

WC: 1062
"Stay active, and we won't kill you."
FM/LCRW Ganis Santa Reichert/Γ-3/S:172 "Viper"/W:1 "Phoenix"/mSSD Atrus/TF:A/1Flt /SFC/VEN/VE
[This message has been edited by Santa (edited January 17, 2010 2:12:23 PM)]
[This message has been edited by Santa (edited January 19, 2010 1:36:55 PM)]
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  RE: Phoenix Wing: Smoke & Mirrors
January 17, 2010 12:04:26 AM    View the profile of Vender 
Vender had punched through the hangar door with the rest of Nazgul Squadron. It was quite a site, as he was the last to leave following formation. His sensors indicated a lot of traffic in the area. There was a Nebulan Frigate, with seven squadrons heading their way. Tall order, and I just wanted a warm glass of milk.

The comm buzzed, it was Hunter. “This is Nazgul One. Form up with Viper and prepare a screen to meet those incoming fighters. Remember: Break by pairs and keep your wingman alive out there. With any luck they’ll be doing the same.”

“Roger that, Leader. This is it, Nazzies. No heroics, but do your best. To you new guys: if you’ve ever had dreams about becoming an ‘instant ace’ here’s your shot. Just have a care that you don’t make one of the Reppies an ace. Everyone keep it together and we’ll sail through here with flying colors.” Miracles usually don't explode out of my ass, but I'm still hoping.

Vender keyed his own comm to his flight. "This is sixteen. What's the plan?" There wasn't much time to think of a plan. A large wave of A-wings and X-wings were about to smash their formation. A few had gotten into a scuttle with Drac. They were going to feel soar in the morning. Another group of X-wings had split up Delta flight.

Drac said quickly, “Careful, Nazzies. We’ve got enemies in Interceptors entering the fight. Take them out if you get the chance, but be wary of shooting friendlies.” Now it's a cluster. We're going to be sitting in our own shit here soon. I hate the stink of it!

Kyrios went wide to avoid a group of X-wings, and the flight followed. "Split into those X-wings. IG88 is with me. I'll keep an eye on you guys."

"Lets do this." The X-wings split as their flight split. Aurora took the lead in the offensive split, and the X-wings took chase. Aurora spoke up quickly. "Use a missile I've got distance on them."

Vender switched them over and keyed for one missile shot. "Pull up on my mark. Stay out of the blast." The X-wings started firing on Aurora madly. His TIE Interceptor rolled into a scissors briefly, and once out jigging as much as he could. This distracted the X-wings for a second but that was all Vender needed to get a lock.


Aurora pulled up into an immelman, making his escape. The missile caught the X-wing in back of their pair and exploded, sending one X-wing twirling off into space. Vender knew it wasn't out of commission just yet and went into the kill. "Get down here Aurora and cover me."

The other X-wing had followed Aurora into the immelman, but Aurora immediately went down into another scissors dive. With the TIEs better maneuverability the T65 was caught with his pants down. The shields on the X-wing were at about half from the missile blast, and when Aurora finally got the X-wing off his tail and turned in behind him, it only took a few shots. The first set took care of the remaining shields, and a second set of blasts caught the X-wings engine and tore it off. "I'm coming"

The spinning X-wing that Vender hit with the missile was running for home. No you don't. Probably trying to recharge his shields. By this time a few other X-wings were greedy enough to swoop in on the fight.

"Lead, we got a few on our six. A little help?"

Kyrios "I have them 4."

Vender was on single shot, firing mercilessly at the running X-wing. It was nearly out of range, but his shots hit home. In the distance the X-wing became stardust. "One less T65."

"Two less." Aurora chimed. It didn't matter though, as the X-wings seemed to be multiplying. Both Aurora and Vender were already going evasive trying to dodge the T65's that caught site of them.

By this time, Kyrios was in a head to head game of chicken with a T65 that was on their tails. Vender was up in a barrel roll to try and get on the T65's six, but Kyrios had already sealed his fate, as he said so over the comm. The head to head combatants fired at each other. There was a good view of it since Vender was inverted over them and could see clearly what was happening. This is bad. This is really bad.

Before Vender could say it, Drac did. “Eject, Kyrios. Get out of there.” He didn't even notice Drac was near. Everyone was so close together, yet so far away.

I'm not sitting around here to die. I got three T65's on my ass, and I still need to form back up with Aurora. IG88719 was making a move on the incoming T65's but things just seemed to get uglier.

“This is Nazgul Fourteen. My wingmate is dead. Next directive?” IG88719 intoned.

Delta Flight, this is Nine. Hook up with Five and Six and consider Five your flight leader. Good luck.”

If they aren't dead by the time we get there, or vice versa. Sure. No problem.. Not a problem at all.

Vender was getting a little bitter over the situation. Nazgul maybe full of experienced pilots but he could name 3 that weren't, and those 3 just had their situation go from good to bacta tank in less than 5 minutes.

Some comm traffic buzzed. “Okay, Nazzies. They cavalry’s here, but we’re still outnumbered. If you’re not taking care of the bombers, let’s make sure these fighters have a very bad day.” A pause. “You heard it, Nazzies. Kill these Xs and As, because company’s coming in Tee minus three minutes.”

Vender checked the grid and saw E-wings on their way. You can't be serious.

"Lets turn'm and burn'm Delta." Vender punched his throttle up and headed straight for Five's position. Hopefully the T65's would chase him long enough for IG88719 or Aurora to pick them off. Ruby red shots dodged past his wing, another past his cockpit. Getting a little thick...

1,022 words
TRN/CRW Vender/"Δ"  Flight 4/S:147 "Nazgul"/W1 "Phoenix"/mSSD Atrus/1st Flt/SFC/VEN/VE
Anden Beliam
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  RE: Phoenix Wing: Smoke & Mirrors
January 17, 2010 7:42:49 PM    View the profile of Anden Beliam 
Ibram, Roman and himself had been able to take out four X-wings fairly cleanly, but their win was short lived when they found themselves facing a full squadron of A-wings that had come out of no where.

“Take evasiv...” Ibram's shouted words had been cut off by Anden's ship taking a few hits and then his communications went dead. It didn't take long after that to get separated from his two wing mates. He figured that they too were having just as hard time as he was. That had been three minutes ago.

“This is three! I need some help here!!.” Anden said forcefully into his com. Nothing but static still replied back. His TIE was shaking worse than a trainee going on their first flight, and the three A-wings he had been dogging with for the last three minutes were still all above fifty percent on their shields.

They were good. He had to give it to them. Much better than he had anticipated. He was glad he was in his Interceptor, and not his old Tie. He would would be dead.

Don't think that

He knew he had to keep alive for just a little while longer, then Roman or Ib would be there to help. He pulled back and rolled off as red streams of fire shot past him. Fighting to keep one of the three A-wings in his sights he shot off quad-linked fire while trying to keep the two on his six from blasting his seat out from under him. His ship rocked again, shaking free the sweat building up in his hair and brow.

Taking in and holding his breath he fired once, twice and then a third time. As he exhaled the shields of the A-wing in his sights blinked to zero and the hull sparked and flamed for a moment before the ship began spinning on it's axis. He managed to see the cockpit explode and the pilot jettison to safety from the finished ship. Flying on instinct, barely even thinking he kept the remaining two fighters from besting him, but despite all his abilities he was not able to shake the them from behind him. His systems were all shot with the exception of what shields he had left and his cannons.

“Come on Ibram...Roman...anyone..” He picked up his visual scanning but couldn't make anything out with all the confusion going on. What he could make out as he sped by it was the Umbra sitting useless, he wondered if there was anyone still alive on board.

“Viper three to viper one or four, come in!- over!” he yelled, still nothing came back. He cursed under his breath as sweat glided his cheek inside his helmet.

Time for something new... Forcefully he wrenched his ship into a climb, killing all the power to his engine and used his thrusters to slide into a dive punching his engines back to life... only nothing happened. A light flashed telling him he was floating dead in space. He closed his eyes as the A-wings sped past him, grateful that they didn't crash into him. Reaching under his he grabbed his equipment bag and strapped it to the front of himself. Bracing himself he pulled the eject straps.

He blurred out for a few seconds as the g's tore at his body and when he came back to he was floating in space, then below him his ship blew to pieces as the A-wings had come back in full retribution. The shock wave pushed him further away from his new position of “comfort”. He kept his breathing smooth and easy, trying to clam down his heart rate hoping to increase the time he would be able to keep breathing air from his supply. Activating his emergency beacon, if there was anyone left to help him, he checked his blaster pistol while he waited. If friendlies weren't the ones to pick him up...he wasn't going to be taken easily.


Bright lights flashed through his eyelids, followed by the blacking out of light from the stars. Anden opened his eyes to very welcome sight. A shuttle was settling over him. Only there was one problem- it wasn't a VE rescue shuttle.

At least he wouldn't have to worry about running out of air.

He could feel himself being drawn in towards the ship and he tried to keep himself focused, ready for whatever may come. Keeping limp he closed his eyes, and waited.


“On your knees!!, hands behind your head!” A man yelled as soon as he hit the floor of the shuttle.

Anden did as he was told. He looked up to see four New Republic Soldiers aiming blaster rifles at him and an unarmed officer behind them. He was on his knees for a few moments before the officer spoke again.

“Ware, get his pistols and secure him.” The Officer said without taking his eyes off Anden.

“Yes Sir!” One of the armed men took a few slow steps towards him, but the idiot stepped in between the line of sight of his comrades. Anden took the opening and spun off his knees and too his right, his hands going down to his pistols at his sides. It said something that he was able to get a couple shots off and heard a couple of screams to go with them, then the flash of the stun beam followed immediately by blackness.

Officer Kelo shook his head in disbelief, but admired the gal of the move. They wouldn't kill the pilot as were his orders for anyone that was captured, but that didn't mean that he had to make things comfortable for him.

He glared at the two men left standing, “take him to cell 03, I'll have some questions for him when he comes to.”
FM/SCPO Anden Beliam/A-3/S:172 "Viper"/Wing:1 "Phoenix"/mSSD Atrus/TF:A/1Flt/SFC/VEN/VE
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  RE: Phoenix Wing: Smoke & Mirrors
January 18, 2010 9:46:34 AM    View the profile of SiriSu 
Aegis Squadron:
1-4: Kan Xynen, human male ; Centor Hhan, Togorian male; Zizi Lor, Zeltron female; Derden Xrap, chistori male.
5-8: Ral Dem, Mandalorian male; Marcus Trew, human male; Dekos Zar, Clawdite male; Der Zonn, human male.
9-12: Leta Ne, human female; Jsytor Guhn, Nohgri  male; Rori Qwo, Nautolan female, Hark Skysk, human male
24 hours earlier:
“Umbra this is Aegis 1 requesting permission to dock.”
The droll voice of an officer replied, “What is your pass code Aegis 1?”  The pilot’s voice came back “47823.”

“Copy that Aegis 1, you are clear to dock.”
The controller turned to the junior officer assisting him and sneered, “It looks like we’re taking garbage in today instead of dumping it.” The boy gave him a quizzical look “Sir?”  The officer pointed a boney finger to the viewport at the incoming TIE/INs.  “Aegis Squadron. They’re a bunch of scumbags, criminals and misfits every one of them I hear. Why they are allowed to wear an Imperial uniform is beyond me.”

It was true that Aegis Squadron was a rag tag group of pilots by Imperial standards, but they had been handpicked by SC ENS Xynen, a 45 year old Corellian male with a square jaw and enough muscle for three men. Xynen knew Aegis could fly with the best of them.  His pilots weren’t as mechanical and rote as a lot of Imp pilots, but that’s how he liked them.  They had all been picked from the dredge of the galaxy because they all had what this squadron needed: excellent reflex, a predatory drive, little conscience, and no fear of death. Aegis was used for ‘unofficial’ special ops. Jobs that, had they been discovered, HQ could easily claim innocence and blame a rogue squadron.

(A few hours later)

After Aegis was settled and had their gear stowed away, they had all gathered in the Commons choosing an area as far away from the other crew men and pilots as possible. Aegis liked to keep to themselves.  Xynen was lying on a couch with his eyes closed. Beside him in reclining chairs, Jsytor the Noghri male and Rori the Nautolan female were watching shockboxing.  The Mandalorian Ral Dem and the oversexed human male Der Zonn had wandered off in search of drinks and dates for the evening. Nearby Centor Hhan the Togorian, Derden Xrap the chistori, and humans Marcus Trew and Hark Skysk were playing sabacc.  ZiZi Lor the female from Zeltros and Leta Ne a human female from Coruscant had decided to stay in their bunk and ‘get some sleep.’  Everyone knew they weren’t sleeping, and they weren’t swapping recipes either.  But no one talked about it because no one cared.

== === ====
(2 hours later)

Xynen had continued to lie on the couch, eyes closed and ears open. The Sabacc game seemed to be getting interesting.  The more they drank, the louder they got.  Xynen didn’t have to open his eyes to see the disdainful looks the other crew men were undoubtedly shooting in their direction.  Xynen wasn’t at all tired. He just pretended to doze until the inevitable argument or brawl started so he could break it up before the ship’s security got there and hauled them away.

Hark Skysk had had too much to drink and the others were undoubtedly robbing him blind. Hark was an excellent marksman and pilot, but he was a lightweight drinker and a terrible card player.  Add them together and he made a perfect carcass for the card vultures.

Derden the chistori was recounting a story about something. It was hard to tell what it was about because all Xynen could hear was the snakelike hiss sound he made when he talked.  Derden didn’t have much in the way of personality, but he always had money so he was one of the first invited to the table.

The third player was the arrogant fly boy Marcus Trew.  With sandy brown hair and bright eyes he was popular with the ladies; but he wasn’t the most popular in his squadron. He wasn’t a braggart; in fact he didn’t talk to anyone very much. It was a good thing though because everything that came out of his mouth was bound to piss someone off. But if forced to name someone, Xynen would call him the best pilot in the group.

Centor, the Togorian consumed by the duties of honor and courage seemed to be the one cleaning up at the table tonight. Standing at just over 9 feet tall, the feline with sharp claws and teeth and the strength to crush a man’s skull with one paw was an intimidating figure, so he was left alone most of the time. Until tonight.

Xynen couldn’t tell exactly how it started, but he knew the sound of a fight starting when he heard it. He jumped up in time to see Marcus and the Togorian glaring at each other. Centor towered over Marcus and could easily bend over and swallow his head if he chose to. But in typical fashion, Marcus was showing his bravado full force and wasn’t backing down.

Xynen quickly moved between the two forcing them further apart. “What’s going on here?” 

Marcus spoke up first, “Tony the Tiger here called me a cheater.”
Centor replied in a controlled voice that betrayed a growl, “He is cheating and I saw him do it. I want my money back.”

Lucky for Xynen his men respected him because it helped him take control of the situation rather easily. Lucky for them too – he had saved every one of them from life in an Imperial prison. “All right, all right! Settle down, both of you or you’re going to end up in a holding cell. We report for duty first thing in the morning.  Now shake it off and go get some sleep.”

Centor persisted, “Sir, I want my money back,” to which Marcus spat back “Look kittykat, I told you I ain’t cheatin’!”  That’s when Centor punched him in the face and sent him to the floor. Xynen put himself in front of the Togorian and bent down to pick Marcus up,in a low voice no one could hear, he whispered “Marcus, I suggest you give him his money back. Are a few credits worth becoming his midnight snack?”

Marcus pushed Xynen away as he stood. Glaring at Centor he took some credits from his pile and pushed them toward the center of the table and then stalked away with the rest of his winnings.  Xynen smiled to himself as he watched Marcus walk away. Marcus wasn’t pissed because he had been accused of cheating, but because he had been caught cheating.

Xynen ushered the rest of the pilots out of the Commons followed by gapping mouths and condescending eyes.  What he knew that they didn’t was that Aegis was tight. Sure there would still be some anger in the morning, but by dinner Marcus and Centor would be mucking it up together and all would be forgotten.

=== == ==== =

Aegis emerged from their barracks and headed to the hanger bay for Xynen’s briefing. Centor came from behind Marus in the narrow hallway and bumped him into the wall as he went walking by. “Excuse me.”
“Yeah, no problem fluffy” Marcus muttered under his breath.

Just then the beautiful Zeltron ZiZi emerged followed closely by Leta Ne. Walking up to her, Marcus jibbed, “Hey ZiZi, ever thought about switching teams?” She just winked at him and in a coy voice said “No Marcus, I prefer a player with a home field advantage.”  Marcus laughed and walked on toward the hanger bay.

At the briefing, the pilots were pounding Xynen with questions. Xynen had been told very little about this job, but he knew enough to know the Reps had caught them off guard and Aegis was in the midst of a fight. “Look guys and gals, that’s all I know. Now get to your ships.”
Leaving the Umbra, Xynen flipped on his comm.: “All right kids, let’s go play Ring Around the Frigate. 1-4 take the port side, 5-8 take the starboard, and 9 -12 form a line down the topside and rear. Let’s go bring the hammer down.” Driver had told Aegis Squadron to keep a tight formation but he had already disobeyed orders before they had left the hanger bay and just told his fighters to fan out around the DP20.

As soon as the frigate saw them coming, it opened a vicious round of fire. Four took the first hit square on and was pulverized into space dust. Three and Seven each took a hard hit but they were still in the game; and Ten took so much damage he had to bug out. But they had her surrounded and hammered away at the shields until at last they were disabled.

Xynen took up a position on the aft and was firing away at the thrusters when, beside him, Number Ten Leta Ne took laser shots in each wing. There was too much damage to make a run for the Umbra but she wasn’t about to go out easy. Using what little control of her ship she had, she sent herself careening into the top of the frigate, leaving a gash in its hull. 

As soon as her ship had hit the hull, ZiZi’s scream came wailing over the comm.  Xynen knew he would never forget that sound for the rest of his life if he survived this himself. “Three get it together! The last thing Leta would want is for you to follow her into that hull. Now look sharp!”

The DP20 had started to list a little but it still hadn’t slowed fire very much – at all. Xynen then thought to himself, they’re not going down without a fight either…...
[This message has been edited by SiriSu (edited January 18, 2010 9:27:46 PM)]
[This message has been edited by SiriSu (edited January 18, 2010 9:31:56 PM)]
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  RE: Phoenix Wing: Smoke & Mirrors
January 19, 2010 6:47:18 AM    View the profile of SiriSu 
A lot can change in a matter of minutes.

Viper Squadron was on the move.  Tessa throttled up to head into the black sea with Hogan on her port side. “Okay Hogan, ready to throttle up?” Hogan's gruff voice came over the comm, ‘Copy that 7, on your…..what the hell?!’ Tessa saw it too. TAG had suddenly lit up and alarms were sounding.  Almost immediately,  Republican Bogeys started flooding into the upper atmosphere, red fire blazing.

This wasn’t supposed to happen. Imperial Intelligence had failed miserably so far, and now  we’re being duped by a bunch of scumbags. Just then, An X-Wing came bearing in fast and hard and zipped between Vipes 7 and 8 a little too close for comfort.  Tessa went into a ninety degree snap roll to avoid the incoming fire and get her bearings.  She leveled out only to find two X-Wings were on her tail.

Viper 7 started juking left to right to throw off their targeting. She went to full thrust and into a steep vertical climb, throwing her pursuers off just long enough to get some distance before they aped her maneuver.  Tessa came out of the climb and into an aileron roll.  By the time her uglies had reached her altitude she had completed a half roll and was going at them head on.  The first was just trying to level out and she got him in her sights. Not allowing Navcon long enough to target, she started spitting from her blaster cannons and filled him full of holes. A shot had taken out his engines causing the X to stall mid air and go into a fall.

The second X wasn't going to be as easy. This one had completed its maneuver and was coming in fast. Luckily it had gone into its climb a little further out and needed to close the gap before it started to fire.  Damn it Hogan, where are you? Tessa raged 2 seconds at the thought that her wing man had failed to stay with her. It never even occurred to her that he may be engaged in the same situation as she was; and perhaps he was wondering where she was as well.

Tessa let Navcon do its job this time, but it told her they were closing in so fast on each other she was going to overshoot her target.  She needed to bleed some speed.  She pulled back and barreled giving herself enough drag to slow down.  Navcon gave her the sweet sound of a locked on target so she fired. Her shots landed dead on making the X space dust.

Time to regroup with Hogan.  She found him engaged with his own Ugly.  Tessa fired into the X's aft causing the scumbag to shake just long enough for Hogan to take his shot.  Looking around Tessa could see Vipers engaged and fighting hard. The she realized, we’re on defense, not offense. Being outsmarted by the NR was bad enough, but to be outshot by them?  Not if she had anything to do with  it.

Tessa caught sight of some A-Wings that had broken away from the pack and were headed in the direction of the platforms with a couple of Vipes on their tail. “8, let’s go help these guys get rid of those A’s.” Not even giving her wing man time to respond, she was off.

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  RE: Phoenix Wing: Smoke & Mirrors
January 19, 2010 9:07:00 AM    View the profile of Slasher 
Slasher rolled his fighter around, looking for additional enemies, and suddenly realizes that almost all of the enemy fighters had already moved off from his location, moving to engage the enemy fighters which they thought would be a bigger threat than the two interceptors which looked like they were great candidates for a scrap heap.

I wonder why they decided to leave us alone, we would have made very easy targets for them, and they could add another TIE kill to their cockpits.

As he was thinking this, Slasher's fighter was slowly spinning, with no power to level out his craft. The last pass he had taken trying to defend his wingman's fighter had taken quite a toll on his fighter, he had thought for a moment that his fighter was going to fly apart around him as she trembled with the large number of shots which had been aimed at her. His shields had put up a great battle, but had finally collapsed under the strain, and several of the enemy shots had actually impacted on his wings, doing a fair amount of damage to the solar panels on them.

As he works quickly, trying to restart his fighter, Slasher hears an insistent beeping in his helmet, as he looks around he realizes that it is not coming from any of the instruments on his fighter, most of which are dark as the majority of the emergency backup power is being used to try and auto-repair the fighter's power transfer units from the fuel cells. It takes him a moment to realize that it is coming from his comlink, which he always tied into his helmet's comm unit when he was wearing his flight suit, because he never knew when his communications systems might go down, and it was important to have a backup. Quickly he grabs the comlink from his equipment harness, pushing the button to answer the call, and the voice of his wingman comes from his helmet's audio system,

"I was wondering when you were gonna pick up Chief, I was about ready to come over there and knock on your viewport."

"What's your rush Yur? I just saved your but and now your getting on my case because I won't pick up the damn comlink?"

"Well everyone else is out of range, and I figured you might want to know that my fighter is back up and operating."

"Full report."

"Shields are repaired, currently on standby and at 40% of normal capability, I lost both of my port blaster cannons, and my engine diagnostic shows that my deflector units for the Ion Projector are in pretty bad shape, possibly fused shut, so I'm going to have to be careful on those manuevers. How is your fighter Chief?"

Slasher looks down at his status board, which had just come back up on the emergency power as the auto-repair and diagnostic work had been completed.

"Well she says she's recovered from the electronic feedback damage caused by the enemy laser fire. It looks like the last few bolts took down my shields, and then they impacted on the solar panel retrieval system, but they were weakened just enough that they were bled off into that system, overloading all the connections. Should all come back up when I start drawing power again, let's see what happens."

Slasher begins to draw power from his fuel cells, and all around him the various systems on the fighter come back up,

"Well looks like we're back in the game, let's go look for trouble"

"roger that"

Slasher hits the comm as Yur forms on his wing and they begin to head back in to the fray,

"B-3 and B-4, are back in the saddle, got any business for us?"
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Ibram Tyrol
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  RE: Phoenix Wing: Smoke & Mirrors
January 19, 2010 4:18:41 PM    View the profile of Ibram Tyrol 
"Three? Viper Three do you copy? Alpha Three do you copy? ... ANDEN!? Where the frak are you?"

Ibram looked around desperately to see if he could find his pilot. Anden had been separated from the rest of the flight after a brief tussle with some A-wings. Due to the dense nature of the gas clouds around them, Ibram and Roman had managed to evade what A-wings they couldn't destroy. The same couldn't be said for Durzo however, the poor guy hadn't even acquired a weapons lock before he had been overwhelmed by tracer fire from above, and subsequently destroyed.

It would later be revealed that before he died, Durzo had never fired a weapon in anger outside side of his Academy training. When Ibram heard this many weeks later, it made him want to go and kick whatever he could get his hands on at the time, which included someones pet.

For now, however, the only thing occupying Ibram Tyrol's thoughts was the whereabouts of one of the few true 'friends' he had left. Nothing was showing up on this HUD however, and he couldn't raise Anden on the coms.

Come on you son of a bitch, don't you dare die on me as well, he thought frantically.

"Sir, Chief Cali'rehearn is wondering where we are, they need help," Arthur spoke quietly over the com channel. He was clearly anxious that they were going to get caught here, or that their friends would be in trouble without them, but he was also trying to avoid his Commanding Officer's wrath.

When Ibram didn't respond, he tried again. "Sir...?"

"I know the situation Petty Officer. Report to the XO and help out if you can, I'm going to continue the search."

"...Yes sir" Ibram took no notice as Romanflame brought his fighter about and headed to where the rest of the action was. Cali and the rest of the squadron were just beyond the atmosphere with Nazgul squadron, trying to stem the tide of rebel fighters pouring in from outside the system. Things had seemed extremely grim until Lt. Commander Atrasin had jumped in with reinforcements. Ibram could only view these events through his hazy sensor display, and bits of com traffic.

Ibram's search was momentarily distracted as a flash lit up the area. He couldn't see what caused it, but he could have made an educated guess as the IFF tag for the Ferrum Umbra winked out.

Fat lot of good that did, Ibram thought. Trust Atrasin to lose his own ship mere minutes into a fight.

“Dice 1 thru 6, this is Shooter, I have the table.” Atrasin's gravelly voice came in over the coms. Ibram ignored it, knowing that Cali would step in and identify them to the Wing Commander... he had always hated those stupid call signs anyway.

“Shooter, Dice 4 shepherding a lost lamb, will advise.”

The sheer cryptic, yet random nature of Cali's reply almost made Ibram come about to see what was going on. Almost...

Ibram's private com channel started to beep as continued his search of Anden, but again, he ignored this. After a few minutes, whoever it was inputted a command override and forced the transmission through, which meant it could only be one person...

"I couldn't help but notice it was your XO who answered the call," Atrasin said.

"You know how it is boss, duty calls," Ibram replied absently.

"I know what you're doing Ibram, and I'm ordering you to return to your squadron. He's gone."

"No he isn't."

"Ibram, I'm in no mood to play games. Return to your squadron... now."

"A little busy right now..."


At which point, Ibram simply snapped. It didn't happen often, as Ibram was usually an even mannered and patient person, but the events of the past month or so had pushed him to his limits. Pushed him, broke him, and pain stakingly put him back together... but not like he was before.

"NO!" He yelled. "Frak you Atrasin. I didn't sign up for this crap. None of us did! Not Tink, not Anden, Not Phin... and now look at us!? Going out in a blaze of glory, just like you and your dammed ego always wanted, but for what? WHAT!? Huh!? So you can make yourselves look good? So we can pretend that we're better than everyone else? Well we're not. There were 10,000 people on that city Geordie, Ten Thousand. I'll be dammed before I lose anyone else, and I'll be dammed if I let YOU get in my way."

Atrasin took so long to reply that Ibram actually thought for a minute that he had scared the older man off, or at the very least made him loose interest. But just as he was about to continue his search, his fighter was rocked by tracer fire, completely depleting his shields, but thankfully no hull damage. Ibram checked is radar to see who had fired on him. It seemed that Atrasin had actually spent the time hunting Ibram down, instead.

"This is your last warning, Lt. Tyrol," Atrasin said calmly. "Report to your squadron, or I'll kill you myself."

Ibram spent a whole minute wrestling with himself, before finally deciding that, even if he was better than Atrasin on the stick, he couldn't beat a TIE Avenger. Reluctantly, he turned his fighter about, and headed back towards the action. Atrasin pulled in behind him, just in case.


It took Ibram another ten minutes to find his squadron, so hectic was the battle in and around the gas giant. Cali tried her best not to sound too relieved as she filled her commander in on what had been happening.

"Despite Sarjah itself now a falling shower of debris," She said, "Geraps Sule still has plenty of resources scattered about the atmosphere, including more minor Cloud City settlements. I've just picked up a detachment of Y-wings and B-wings heading in the direction of the nearest cluster."

Ibram had to think quickly as the situation slowly deteriorated around them. With the Ferrum Umbra now firmly out of the picture, the Tiamut was now starting to suffer under the never ending blows of the Rebel capital ships.

"Right, lets head after those heavy bombers. It will get us out of this meat grinder, and who knows, it may even draw some heat away from the others," Ibram noticed that three pilots from Blizzard Squadron had been killed in the time it had taken him to say that.

"Gods know, they need all the help they can get," he finished. Bringing his fighter about on an intercept course with the enemy strike craft, he signalled the others to fall in behind him. As the squadron accelerated towards their target, some part of him couldn't help but think that this would be the last time he would fly together with them like this, but he couldn't pin down why.

By this time, Ibram was down to 8 out of 12 pilots. At the time, he had thought that pretty good. It wasn't until much, much later that he remembered that he had actually had 16 pilots at the First Battle of Lehon, with Jarred and his commando team making up the fourth flight. Upon further enquiry, it turned out that the four VEI operatives had perished not long after the squadron had abandoned the Nothing to See Here. Being glorified spies and assassins, there piloting skills weren't as good, naturally.

However, upon hearing the news, Ibram realised that he didn't really care.
"Determining the appropiate level of influence in somebody elses war is never a simple matter."
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[This message has been edited by Ibram Tyrol (edited January 19, 2010 4:24:35 PM)]
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  RE: Phoenix Wing: Smoke & Mirrors
January 19, 2010 7:48:29 PM    View the profile of Hunter-Morrell 
Since Hunter was Squadron Commander, naturally, he was the first one out of the hangar and so, he was the first to see what lay ahead for them. A mentally stable person would have felt fear, but unfortunately that description didn’t fit Hunter. Grinning as he realized just how outmatched they were, he steadied himself for the brutal fight that was sure to come. Opening the squadron wide channel, Hunter issued orders.

“This is Nazgul One. Form up with Viper and prepare a screen to meet those incoming fighters. Remember: Break by pairs and keep your wingman alive out there. With any luck they’ll be doing the same.”

As the rest of Nazgul obeyed, Hunter pulled back on his control yoke, raising his TIE to the top of the group. Watching his radar, Hunter kept his eyes on Rocketman’s position. A few moments later, Drac responded.

“Roger that, Leader. This is it, Nazzies. No heroics, but do your best. To you new guys: if you’ve ever had dreams about becoming an ‘instant ace’ here’s your shot. Just have a care that you don’t make one of the Reppies an ace. Everyone keep it together and we’ll sail through here with flying colors.”

Quickly, Hunter cracked his knuckles and neck, and proceeded to loosen his muscles by stretching slightly. Stiffness had no part in a battle and could get a guy killed because he could move quick enough to avoid a laser bolt. As Rocketman joined with him, Hunter panned his gaze across the stars ahead of him, picking out the positions of the squadron that were approaching them. A slight beep issued from his comm board and Hunter flicked a switch, moving to the command channel.

“Nazgul Leader, this is Nine. Be advised: I’ve got ships coming up from several of the gas platforms- appears to be local patrol and security craft. They’re a mixture of space capable and atmospheric craft, but I’ve got no idea whose side they’re on.” Drac said, as Hunter took in what he said and swiveled his gaze to his own sensor screen and double checking.

An almost instantaneous response came from Ibram, “This is Viper Leader. Let’s just say the locals think we’ve done something we haven’t. Tread carefully until we can get that straightened out.”

Great, just great. We’re going to have to watch out for those guys too and by the sound of it, we can’t shoot unless shot at.

Clamping down on a sigh that almost slipped out, Hunter watched the rapidly approaching A-Wings and X-Wings, and clicked an affirmative, switching back to the squadron channel in time to hear Ruwe speaking.

“–ne, Five. That second wave is splitting up into flights- looks like they’ve got several targets in mind.”

Hunter had just enough time to process that statement before they met the first wave.

---A short time later---

The fighting had been fierce and already Nazgul had lost a pilot. Cursing the enemy constantly, Hunter zigged and zagged through a dazzling display of laser bolts that he would of thought beautiful if he had been anywhere but there at that moment. Just barely able to keep up, Rocketman followed behind him. So far they hadn’t scored but one or two kills, as they were doing all that they could just to keep from getting killed themselves. If we don’t receive backups within the next few minutes, we’ll be decimated.

The pair had been separated from the rest of Nazgul for a few minutes and were fighting for their lives to rejoin the relative safety of numbers. For a moment, he steadied his TIE and, amazingly, one of the false TIEs swung into his line of sight, almost dead center of his targeting reticule. Speechless at his apparent luck, Hunter squeezed the trigger before he lost the moment and, instead of being rewarded with a clean kill, was nearly obliterated along with the false TIE as a gigantic ship reverted to realspace directly in front of him.

“Frak! Pull up, pull up!” he yelled to Rocketman as he yanked back on the control yoke.

A tense few moments followed as his TIE struggled to overcome the tremendous forces that were pulling on it as it changed direction. Almost scraping the shield of the vessel, Hunter barrel-rolled and retreated quickly, unsure of the ship’s allegiance. Unsurprisingly, Rocketman was already far ahead of him since the pilot had been nearly as close to the mystery ship as Hunter was. Hunter’s eyes darted to his sensor board as soon as he was out of any immediate danger and let loose a breath he hadn’t realized he had been holding. The ship was the Ferrum Umbra which, Hunter realized with a jolt, was commanded by Geordi Atrasin, the previous Squadron Commander of Nazgul and current Wing Commander. As he climbed higher, he also realized that it wasn’t alone as the Tiamut had also joined the fray as well. His recent doubts now evaporated, Hunter joined up with the now solitary TIE that held Rocketman. Surprisingly, none of the enemy fighters were even near them. As he looked out over the war torn area of combat, he saw that they were retreating away from the new arrivals. That’s perfectly alright with me. At least now I can actually figure out where the rest of Nazgul is without fear of being blown to pieces the moment I look away.

“Ok guys. Report in. I want to know who all is here and who is not.” Hunter said, keeping one eye on the Ferrum Umbra as it approached one of the New Republic warships.

As each pilot responded, Hunter and Rocketman linked up and made way straight for the Ferrum Umbra. After they finished, Hunter spoke again.

“Ok Nazgul. Form up on the Tiamut and join up with whatever squadrons come out of it. We need the help badly.”

Because the duo was a long ways away from the Tiamut, it would take at least a couple of minutes, if not more, for them to cover the distance. As they pushed their respective TIEs as hard as they could, they drew closer to the Ferrum Umbra, which had just fired at the Nebulons and been fired upon in response. Immediately, X-Wings and A-Wings swarmed the Ferrum Umbra almost at the same time as squadrons of fighters poured from the Tiamut. The two sides clashed in between the two pairs of ships. Hunter and Rocketman had almost reached the Ferrum Umbra when the succession of hits from both of the enemy ships took its toll, manifesting itself in a series of explosions that took the ship out of the fight for good. The blasts took Hunter off guard and, as he glanced at the dead ship, a full flight of A-Wings appeared out of nowhere and engaged them.

Snapping his attention back to the battle at hand, Hunter realized that he and Rocketman had nowhere to go. Nowhere to go that is, except into the wreckage of the Ferrum Umbra. They won’t be expecting that.

“Rocketman, head into the debris from the Ferrum Umbra. We need to get away from those fighters.” Hunter said quickly as he turned and raced into the aforementioned area.

WC: 1207. If anyone has any problems with this, just address the issue on IRC or over PM.
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[This message has been edited by Hunter-Morrell (edited January 19, 2010 7:49:56 PM)]
[This message has been edited by Hunter-Morrell (edited January 19, 2010 7:50:25 PM)]
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  RE: Phoenix Wing: Smoke & Mirrors
January 21, 2010 2:03:00 AM    View the profile of Shazam 
While all you folks are fighting, Shazam is with the Rising Sun, heading back to safety.  So this first section takes place after the Rising Sun bugged out of the battle.  The second portion should be up to date.

Everyone was going on as if nothing had happened; outside, the bridge was quiet, save the sound of some moving feet and hushed voices.  In the meeting room adjacent to the bridge, Commodore Shazam sat in a hunched position at the far end of a meeting table, one foot nestled tightly in his lap while the other tapped anxiously on the floor. 

The room, despite being nearly empty, felt heavy to the commodore as he drifted deeper into himself; his thoughts and self-judgments spilled into every piece of his being.  And, though the twenty-nine year old had been following conventional wisdom when he retracted the Rising Sun from battle, the voices in the air seemed to suggest that something egregious had happened...  He'd saved his crew, for sure, but...

Seven minutes, he thought, glancing up at the chrono.  He could only guess, but the safe, conservative presumption was that at least twenty or thirty pilots were dead by now...  Perhaps more.

The 'Rising Sun' didn't stand a chance out there though...

The reality of the situation was hitting him hard, and he could feel the weight of his decision, even though it was the "right" one, pressing down on him.  He knew, for instance, that more than likely, most of the people he'd just left behind (considering the opposition forces) were not likely to come back alive... 

Like a holo-album, memories or his colleagues played themselves out like a memoir.  He thought of Will, who he knew first in Kaph Squadron as an annoying recruit with a tendency to ask too many questions; but then his mind reeled forward, and he remembered the look in Will's eyes as he tried to accept the loss of his first squadron-member, the glossed-white coffin gliding with respectful grace toward the unknown...  Perhaps this would be the fate of Liquid? And Ibram? Atrasin?

People he respected, going out in a blaze of fire while he quietly escaped to fight another day?  His fist gripped a little bit tighter as his heart shrunk.

Either way, there's no way the VE is walkin away from that battle with a victory, he thought, considering his options...

A number of scenarios were working their way in and out of his mind, most of them unrealistic, but Shazam considered them all, crediting and discrediting all the while.  Each was ethically irreprehensible, but the most dubious and socially irresponsible of them was one that required, surprisingly, neither a crew nor a ship... 

Den would kill me, he thought over and over again, but as the seconds, then minutes passed, he couldn't help but think it was the only honorable option...  Besides, he reasoned, the only life I would have to look out for would be my own.  And, if I get blown away?  Well, doesn't' really matter to me anyway...  His heart was pounding, he realized; the air recycling inside the gray meeting room felt cool as his mind began to clear.  Resting his fist on the table, he took a deep breath...

Fifteen Minutes later, in the heat of battle.

Suddenly, the com channels were in a fury; the craft's appearance had shocked the battlefield. 

"Do we have an ID?" one of the SC's was trying hard to get an answer.  The craft had to have been fed it's jump coordinates only seconds before, because the craft's placement was simply impeccable.  Appearing directly on top of the fold in the very worst of the battle, the craft literally popped out of nowhere.  It was on top of them before anyone knew what to think.

"Watch yourselves!" a VE pilot chortled in surprise as the craft careened into the heart of things. Within seconds, the ship had closed into effective firing distance, and twenty or thirty fighters, all caught up in their own games of cat and mouse, were suddenly at its mercy.

From the viewports of the Tiamut, fighters seemed to be everywhere, but in the patchwork of the area, a hornet's nest had arisen.  There, the most intensive dog-fighting had been taking place, and the pace and direction had been whirlwind...  Yet, directly above that hornet's nest, and bearing down at speeds that left no time for reaction, was a stripe of silver and black... 

It was a common bit of gossip that said TIE Defenders were not only more expensive than an entire wing of normal TIE fighters- but more deadly.  With an acceleration rating of 155, it could easily outrun, outmaneuver, out-'do' any other commercial military fighter.  To see one in combat was almost unheard of, and as a result, most pilots weren't trained to fight against them.

Yet, here one was...  Levitating above the mess and swirl of battle, it just seemed to stare with black eyes and a hollow laugh.  Cold and black, the piercing stare of the viewport seemed to penetrate not only the hulls of the fightercraft below, but the very sensibility of their pilots, striking at nerve and soul alike.  It was like running across the path of a dangerous, wild animal: perhaps, if no one moved, it would lose interest and move on. 


"Evade! Evade!"  It could pounce...

Instead of the traditional splash of green, it seemed as if a torrent had been turned on as sparks and flashes of jade and azure ripped apart the dark material of space, tiding into the mess of battle below.  The six cannons, alternating regular and ion cannons, brought the hornet's nest to a fever pitch as craft on both sides darted in every direction to save themselves. The two A-wings that couldn't move fast enough, though, looked as if they'd been stunned, reacting as if knowing their fates. Both rebel fighters, completely unprepared for a forward attack, seemed to smash into a wall as their hulls bloated, then pinched in tight explosions that ripped, rather violently, the frozen scene back into a chaotic mess of bolts and debris.

"He's a friendly!"  A chorus of hoots and "thank the force"s flooded the com channels for a few moments.

The seemingly effortless dismissal of two veteran NR pilots was, to say the least, enough to get the attention of the hornet's nest.  Like angry, incensed insects, they were first scattered, but they quickly re-gathered- and swarmed.  Vectoring toward the nearest intercept with the defender, they cut circuitous and haphazard paths to try and get a shot.  The defender, cutting through the madness of their sudden, omni-present hatred, dodged and weaved, galloping as if the blades of energy chasing it were only blades of grass.  Cutting it's speed, the defender immelmenned with sickening ease; the pursuing fighters looked as if they hit a patch of ice as they slid past, pitching and re-vectoring to no avail.  Already, the craft was flying circles around them.

No NR craft would be able to simply chase the defender though...  They would have to try and side-swipe it or get a lucky forward shot, or maybe hope for a collision...  But a game with a defender, everyone was quickly beginning to understand, was no game at all...  "Catch me if you can," seemed less accurate than "catch me if you're lucky..."

The pilot of the defender, now committed to his decision, was unusually focused.  In other situations, he might have spoken, or made some kind of pilot-jock remark.  Here, though, he was doing everything in his power to keep his attention on the battle; his body was stressed to the brink as he tried to respect the power of his craft.  Banking at high speed was like being crushed, and his body, though fit and well taken care of, was at the mercy of the craft's inertia.  Sweating, but with a good grip on the control, he kept his mind clear as he chose the most economical routes, slashing between enemy fighter elements with as little movement as he could muster. 

He couldn't risk glancing at the radar, but judging on the never-ending rain of crimson all around him, he was pretty sure that he'd gotten someone's attention.  Perhaps, the pilot thought, this would give the others a chance to strike at the big guns...  A distraction worth lives, the pilot thought as his defender shot upward into a sharp loop, seven NR fighters in hot pursuit...  At least, the fighter pilot's heart didn't feel so small?  Yes...  That would have to do, for now...

Come get me, you pukes...
*Flash Was Here...*

NXO/COM Shazam/Phoenix 1-2/Phoenix Wing/mSSD Atrus/1VENF/VEN (=A=) (=*SA*=) (=MA=) (=*FOCE*=) [CBV*] [LoM] [LSM] [MC2] [VC:S] [SV*] [DSM] [KC] {Platinum Writing Medal}
[This message has been edited by Shazam (edited January 21, 2010 2:44:43 AM)]
[This message has been edited by Shazam (edited January 21, 2010 2:57:31 AM)]
[This message has been edited by Shazam (edited January 21, 2010 2:33:28 PM)]
[This message has been edited by Shazam (edited January 21, 2010 2:43:50 PM)]
[This message has been edited by Shazam (edited January 21, 2010 2:51:27 PM)]
[This message has been edited by Shazam (edited January 21, 2010 3:01:05 PM)]
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  RE: Phoenix Wing: Smoke & Mirrors
January 21, 2010 4:39:11 AM    View the profile of Vender 
“Ok Nazgul. Form up on the Tiamut and join up with whatever squadrons come out of it. We need the help badly.” Sounds like a regrouping. We're getting shot at like fish in a barrel.

Vender checked where the Tiamut was and grimaced. Something moved by fast. Extremely fast.

What is that? Do my eyes deceive me? Ions flashed across the battle in space briefly as Vender pulled up out of his barrel roll straight up into a higher plane of the fight. An A-wing came whizzing past his line of sight, and not missing the opportunity Vender squeezed off a quad shot into its underbelly.

To his shock it was a direct hit. Its shields must have been taken out briefly. the engines on the rear exploded and seemed to evaporate the entire starfighter right in front of him. A giant gas ball errupted shooting glass and bits of metal into the void in front of him. There was no choice but to plow through and hope his shields held. Hold together darlin, it's only our first date.

Vender charged through the explosion with his TIE Interceptor and felt the vibrations of the explosion against his shields, which were now taken down to roughly a quarter of their strength. Small pings and thunks echoed through the cockpit as he cleared the debree of the explosion. "Five, is that a Defender?"

There wasn't much time to talk as there were still a great deal of X's and A's swarming about, but now their attention was pulled toward the newest arrival in battle. The mysterious TIE Defender that came out of nowhere to shock and awe both enemy and allie.

Diving back down he squeezed off some random fire before shunting the rest into his shields to recharge them. To Vender's dismay it only brought them back to 50%. No one seemed to be chasing him anymore, and it was time to get back in the fight. His lasers were charging, but they wouldn't have the potent killing strength until they were fully charged.

If I can find one that's knocked up a little I might be able to take another one out. Vender rolled his fighter to get another view, and spied a target. A blackened beaten up X-wing raced towards Aurora's starfighter. He would need to do a split s to correct his angle if there was any chance of getting a shot off.

Rolling and pulling hard on the stick, Vender corrected his angle just as the X-wing let out a few shots at Aurora. Pulling the trigger, Vender forgot that his lasers were still locked in quad fire. The four beams reached out to space and smashed into the nose of the X-wing, cutting it clean in half. The pilot had just enough time to eject, maybe responding in shock to suddenly losing his schnoz.

His fighter pulled and jerked suddenly, and noticed his shields dropped at the rear. With a quick glance to his port side a lone A-wing was falling down to him. Maggot bastard! Vender pulled hard again into an immelmen, and then quickly into a split s hoping to lose the A-wing temporarily. It game him just enough time to shunt the rest of his laser energy back into his shields which now were holding at just barely 30%. That would block maybe one or two shots. "I'm going defensive. Shields low, I shunted all my energy to them. I'm a bullet with no gun."

The A-wing was back, hot on his tail. Vender cut his throttle and pulled into a scissor, and eased the throttle back up hoping to bring the A-wing in a little closer. They twirled in space again and again, crossing each other's paths. It was no use though, the A-wing was able to stay on his six the entire time. At least he doesn't have a shot, though. Gotta keep running.

In front of his path he noticed the scrap heap that used to be the Ferrum Umbra. He was drawing nearer to it, in the hopes that maybe some of the debree would get the pesky A-wing off his six. The larger battle was left behind him now, and the A-wing would get no pressure from Vender's wingmen. Where did they go?

Dead Flight Lead. So I got myself lost. Away from help. Got split up from my wingmen. There's a guy with a giant scythe (figuratively) chasing me, and oh yeah the Ferrum Umbra is a ghost now. That is beside the fact there are unidentified TIEs swarming around, including a Defender. At least I know who's in the Avenger. Yep, I think this can go into the nightmare category as far as first battles go. If I live.
FM/CRW Vender/DELTA  Flight 4/S:147 "Nazgul"/W1 "Phoenix"/mSSD Atrus/1st Flt/SFC/VEN/VE

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  RE: Phoenix Wing: Smoke & Mirrors
January 21, 2010 7:47:29 AM    View the profile of Slasher 
Slasher flew toward the growing fracas between the Vast Empire Naval forces and the New Republic forces, he could see the exchanges of fire between the different sides, and could clearly see the wreckage of what used to be the Ferum Umbra, however his eyes were quickly drawn a single Interceptor, the fighter had lost his wingman, and while he was trying his best to shake the A-Wing on his tail, the fighter just wasn't giving up, and while he was busy engaging that particular A-Wing, another was trying to line up a shot.

"Yur, there's Delta 4, looks like he's got some fighters on him and is trying to make a run for what's left of the Umbra to try and use it for cover. Wanna go give him a hand?"

"Slash, if they think they can mess with Nazgul, they're in for a rude awakening, let's enlighten them to what death is."

"Roger that, let's move"

Together the two interceptors accelerated to full speed, bearing down on the A-Wings that were after Vender. Hoping that they would be able to get there in time.

====Nazgul, Delta 4====

Nightmare, Nightmare, Stupid Sithspawn of a Nightmare, where is my Wingman?

Vender had continued to jink his fighter, doing his best to avoid the fire from the A-Wing behind him, but he knew that it was a lost cause, the A-Wing simply was faster, and it was unlikely he would be able to reach the Umbra.

This is stupid, my first mission, we're ambushed, lose my Flight Leader, can't find my wingman, and now I'm going to end up dead. This really sucks!

All of a sudden, without any warning another set of crimson bolts begins to rain on his fighter, and as he looks in the direction they were coming from, he sees another A-Wing, closing in to try and get a kill,

"Dammit, now there are two of them, what the hell can I do about that?"

As Vender rolls his fighter, trying to evade the bolts from the two fighters, he sees two interceptors approaching, and wonders,

Are these good guys or bad... With so many unidentified fighters flying around, it is hard to know who is on my side, and who isn't...

However the question of who was in those fighters was quickly answered, as green laser bolts flash past his fighter, impacting on the shields of the A-Wing fighters, one of the fighters can't avoid the bolts and is destroyed, the other manages to evade most of the shots, but decides that he isn't really interested in taking on three Interceptors, and quickly flees that particular section of the battle.

====Slasher's Fighter====

Slasher pulls his fighter into place beside the Nazgul Delta 4, and comms the other Fighter,

"Vender, status report?"

"Fighter's pretty banged up Chief, Flight Leader is dead, and I'm not sure where the rest of my Flight is."

"All right, effective immediately I'm taking Combat Command of Delta Flight, until the end of this engagement consider myself your Flight Leader."

"Roger that Chief."

The three of them bank their fighters back toward the combat, looking for the rest of Vender's Flight.

I have taken command of Delta Flight for in story purposes because their NPC Flight Leader is dead, and I am qualified to lead a combat flight. By stating I am taking Combat Command, it means that once this engagement is completed, or someone else is ordered to take over for me in this engagement, I will return to my Beta flight position
FM/SCPO Slasher/B-4/S:147 "Nazgul"/W:1 "Pheonix"/mSSD Atrus/TF:A/1Flt/SFC/VEN/VE
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  RE: Phoenix Wing: Smoke & Mirrors
January 21, 2010 9:20:36 PM    View the profile of Hunter-Morrell 
He had barely entered the debris field when a large piece of what was formerly a part of the hull of the Ferrum Umbra floated into his view. Calmly, he nudged his joystick to the right and easily zoomed around the fractured piece of hull. Rounding the edge of the debris piece, Hunter’s heart skipped a beat as something relatively small thudded against the hull. Instantly he recognized the object as his blood ran cold.

It was the body of a human male. The poor fellow was still in uniform and appeared to have the rank of Ensign. Despite not knowing the man, Hunter felt a slight sadness envelope him. Shifting his eyes from the gruesome sight, his eyes widened as he saw more of the bodies, drifting around aimlessly between debris. It was at that moment that the sadness that he had just felt evaporated under the heat of a blinding hatred for the enemy. Because of them, these beings would never know another day, another meal, another thought. For a brief nanosecond, all he could see was red and the only thought that was in his head was a mindless destruction of every New Republic force in the area. But that only lasted a nanosecond, before the hatred dissipated and was replaced by a cold numbness. Narrowing his eyes, he couldn’t look away from the awful sight. Not until his comm board lit up and sounded off.

“Lead, this is Two. What is your position? I was forced to pull out early because I was being chased by one of those enemy TIEs. I took care of it as soon as I left the debris field though.” Rocketman said, sounding a bit worried.

“I’m still inside the debris field currently. So far, I haven’t encountered any of the enemy, but that probably won’t last long. I probably won’t be able to find you at the moment, but find Ruwe and link up with his flight. You need a wingman and he’ll be glad to help.” Hunter said, thinking quickly, right before opening up a channel to the whole squadron and relaying the news.

He had just finished when a warning light started to blink and an alarm blared, signaling that someone had gotten a weapons lock on him. Quickly, he pushed the throttles as high as they could go and rocketed off. Looking at his sensor board, he saw that he was being tailed by an E-Wing.

Two minutes later and E-Wing was gone. Hunter, although completely numb, still had his piloting skills at hand and maneuvered his way through the graveyard, dodging objects here and there, always mindful of the presence of the E-Wing. Slowly, Hunter had egan to widen the gap between the two, until he had almost crashed into a rather large piece of blackened metal that had detached itself from the broken hull of the Ferrum Umbra. Sensing an opportunity, Hunter had twitched the joystick and, instead of continuing his path as soon as he rounded the obstacle, he had kept going around, emerging from the other side just as the E-Wing reached it. Letting loose with a barrage of lasers that caught the E-Wing completely off guard, Hunter hadn’t had even offered a smirk as the E-Wing barrel rolled out of the way . . . right into a small object that shredded through the pylon that held the right wing onto the cockpit. The E-Wing spiraled out of control until it crashed into the Ferrum Umbra, knocking another piece of twisted and blackened hull out of place. A quick, clean death. Frakkin idiot didn’t deserve it.

Shaking his head, Hunter finally took notice of the steadily chattering comm traffic. He picked up bits and pieces here and there, but couldn’t hear anything clearly, other than “He's a friendly!” Hmm. Apparently we have a newcomer that allied with the VE, or at least against the NR.

Intrigued, Hunter slowly emerged from the deadly debris field to see a mass of fighters dogfighting not far from where he was. He expanding his sensors, he frowned as he couldn’t detect any ship that would be powerful enough to elicit the response he had just heard. That is, until he took a second look at the mass of fighters, just in time to see the deadliest looking TIE fighter that he had ever laid his eyes upon, emerge from the seething mass like a laser scalpel cutting through soft tissue. As he watched the TIE tear through the NR fighters, Hunter realized that he was looking at a TIE Defender, a craft he had only had the chance to pilot once and it had been an experience he had yet to forget and likely never would. I envy whoever is piloting that thing. I envy them greatly.

Finally, a grin appeared on Hunter’s face as all previous feelings were forgotten and he rushed to join the fight, apparently forgetting that he was just in a TIE Interceptor and had no wingmate to back him up, save for the few VE TIEs that were mixed up in the bunch and the sole TIE Defender of the battle.

WC: 860. Meh. Not the best, but its good enough for now.
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  RE: Phoenix Wing: Smoke & Mirrors
January 22, 2010 12:46:50 AM    View the profile of Santa 
The Y-wing bombers had gotten a fairly decent head start in the time it took for Viper squad to form up and pursue them. Their TIE Avengers shuddered as they forces of the planet began to pull on them in their journey through the atmosphere.

As the remaining Vipers broke through the clouds, the NR forces could be seen about a half a click away. They were making a straight beeline to the next floating city. Santa and his squadron chased after them, passing over the remains of Sarjah Cloud City. He stared solemnly at the floating wreckage in the sky. Smaller explosions were still lingering effects of the catastrophe that had only occurred what seemed like forever ago, but in actuality was only moments ago. A bitterness that seemed unfamiliar to him filled his being as he watched helplessly as another sector of the once magnificent city fell away with another explosion. Slowly the sector began to lose its power supply and began to sink, falling deeper and deeper into the depth of the gas giant of Geraps Sule. From his birds-eye perspective, he could still see bright flashes of light of the city's law enforcement quickly trying to escort as many people as they could in their hover crafts to the relative safety of the inner floating sectors of the city.

Santa shook his head in dismay. "What could they possibly gain from this that would make them think they had the right to do this?"

Not surprisingly, no one had an answer to his question.

"Let's just stop those Y-wings before they reach the next city." Ibram stated.

Nodding, Santa pushed his fighter for all it was worth, and together the squadron closed the gap between them and the New Republic bombers. As they got closer, their IFF scanners picked them up. At first he was surprised to see that they had a full squadron of A-wings escorting them, but he quickly realized that any sane commander knew to send in a fighter escort to go with them, to ensure their mission a success.

"They've spotted us." Cali informed everyone.

"Vipers, delta formation. When we make contact, break off and try to hold back those A-wings. We can’t afford to take them all out, just thin out there numbers and go for the bombers. They're our top priority. I will not allow any of them to reach the next city. Is that understood?"

Santa grunted an acknowledgment along with the rest of the crewman in his squadron. Up ahead, half of the A-wings broke from their escort formation and made a wide turn to come to face with Vipers.

"Take them out!" Ibram's voice came through the com in Santa's ear. Immediately, both sides opened fire on each other and green and red bolts flew between them. He rolled as the enemy fire flew past his cockpit. He returned fire and was satisfied to see some of his shots line up and connect with the enemy's shields. A red bolt hit his starboard wing and he checked his console to see his shield meter flash red and drop slightly.

"Gamma, form up on me!"

Santa pitched his TIE and pulled up to form up slightly on her aft port side. Fallen Angel pulled up to her starboard side. Upon seeing the Vipers formation, the six A-wings broke off into three pairs. Two of the A-wings pulled up to them and they exchanged fire. They came close to each other and the A-wings weaved past their formation. Santa dodged to avoid hitting against one of them. Pulling an Immelman, they turned around for another round. Santa focused his fire on the closest one to him. The NR pilot rolled and tried to dodge his shots, but where ever he missed, Cali's fire would meet its mark. The A-wing didn't last long under the constant fire and its shields quickly gave way to the barrage of missiles.

Santa’s flight leader was about to deal the killing blow, when suddenly she came under a fusillade of red laser fire. It lashed at her like the tongues of a flame and she quickly dove and rolled out of harm’s way. Looking up, Santa saw two of the other A-wings had joined in the dogfight to cover their ally. Together they formed up on Cali and opened fire on her.

“One, are you?”

“Don’t worry about me, I can hold them off. Don’t let the other ugly get away!”

“Its shields are down; we can worry about it later.” Santa replied. “It’d be more efficient to take out these two now.” He flipped a switch, directing his com to his wing mate, Fallen Angel. “Four, concentrate your fire on the left one.”

“Copy that, Three.”

With that, Santa snapped a roll to his left and went after the two A-wings assaulting his flight leader. Angel swooped in from above and as soon as he had a lock-on on the left one, he let loose a volley of green shots. Santa also got a lock on the left ugly and he added to the fire on the small crafts shields. It evaded as much as it could manage before it pulled away from Cali.

“Shields are at ten percent.” She informed.

“Right-o, then, Angel stick with the other ugly. I’ll see if I can’t finish of this bugger myself.” Santa pulled away from the fight and went after the left A-wing. Its shields had already been taken down considerably, and it didn’t look like it could take another beating like that. He followed it through every evasive maneuver it tried to throw at him. The fighter was almost evenly matched with him, so Santa figured with its shields down, he could make short work of it with a few well placed shots. He fired unceasingly at the fighter, anticipating its moves before it could complete them. Finally, one of his shots connected with it and its shields dropped. Santa grinned. The A-wing pulled up with an alarming rate then, and he struggled with his yoke to keep up with it. His trail of green laser shots followed closely behind the ugly, until it got within a meter of its tail. Then, in a final attempt to elude its impending death, the A-wing tried to pull an aileron roll to the left. He caught it just at the last minute and adjusted his aim. A single shot clipped the ugly’s starboard wing and a small fire sprung up on its right side. It began to spiral out of control before it finally disintegrated when the fire spread to the fighter’s fuel tank. Santa watched as the NR pilot tried to eject, but was consumed by the explosion of his A-wing before he could make it out of harm’s way.

“Three, here. Target was eliminated.” He said into the com.

“Good work, Reichert.” Cali answered. “Get back up here and we’ll regroup with Ibram. Maybe he’s had better luck with his uglys.”

WC: 1,167
"Stay active, and we won't kill you."
FM/LCRW Ganis Santa Reichert/Γ-3/S:172 "Viper"/W:1 "Phoenix"/mSSD Atrus/TF:A/1Flt /SFC/VEN/VE
[This message has been edited by Santa (edited January 23, 2010 2:54:44 PM)]
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  RE: Phoenix Wing: Smoke & Mirrors
January 23, 2010 4:55:23 PM    View the profile of Vender 
Vender finally breathed a sigh of relief, once the A-wing had been cleared off his tail. "Thanks Slasher, I owe you one." He took a quick look back at the scrap that used to be on his tail, just a small mass of glint remained until the light no longer reflected it in his direction. That was when he notied another explosion, back by the Ferrum Umbra.

"You do now." Slasher noted. They were in a wide spread formation now, the three of them.

"Yeah. Hey, did you see that, back by the Umbra?"

"See what?" Slasher sounded curious. He probably was checking his HUD and IFF's. "Hunter is in the area. Might have been him." Vender started charging his shields, ready to forget that painful lesson.

"Beta Flight, get back in there." It was Hunter, coming up at full speed. "There is a fight to win here, if you haven't noticed. That Defender is powerful, but it won't take down all those fighters soon enough when those E-wings come through. I just caught one sneeking around."

Another TIE joined up in a beta pattern with Hunter's TIE. They were now five strong in formation again, heading back to the dogfight. Something happened though..

"We have company!" Slasher shouted.

Vender checked the sensors. Yeah. A squad of E-wings coming in hot and fast. Missile alarms started sounding. "They're using missiles at range. I'm turning to head into them, close the gap." That was a sound thought. "Beta formation, spread'm out."

"Roger." Vender confirmed. They turned and headed into the assault. At this range they could close the gap quickly enough to dodge the lock, possibly the missile. A chaff or flare would take care of it after that. The dogfight they planned on heading back into was actually moving toward their direction, which may help their chances currently. By the time they engage the E-wings, there would be more help. They were outnumbered anyway, but now they were about to be outnumbered by E-wings.

Missiles were fired, but only half a dozen. The rest probably had broken locks. They streamed in toward the five TIE's of Nazgul, and shouts were heard loud over the comm "BREAK NOW!" Vender broke into an immelmen and barrel rolled down from it, just nearly dodging the missile that was about to claim his life. The missile turned sharply back toward his position, and now E-wings were firing from his front. It was a lot of multitasking, but luckily in a fight like this he had already proved up to the challenge. While keeping an eye on the missile, he let a flare go once the missile came within half a klick. His front shields took a few splashes of red, and the missile exploded out of harms way. The E-wings flashed by and began turning for another assault.

"Still alive and ready to die." Vender commented. It was a good thing he had some time for his shields to recharge before hand, otherwise he probably would have been vaped by the head to head pass. Other reports said likewise. They were all alive, either by luck or pure skill. Vender knew what side of that he was on and decided to never brag about this part of the battle, or even mention it after this was over.

Pulling hard on the joystick and rolling, a simple split s turned him back into a slight head to head with another E-wing. The E-wing he had targeted was actually moving in on Rocketman, paying Vender no attention. Switching to single fire he squeezed the trigger firmly, and rappidly. Show'm what a ruthless bitch you really are, Jade. His shots splashed across the E-wings side, while Rocketman's covered the front. The E-wing showed little response as it flew straight after that with no reaction. "I think we might have killed the pilot."

Rocketman's voice remained serious. "Probably."

Vender adjusted his shields, and shunted a little extra energy to them. Just as he did, his world spun wildly without warning! "What happened? I'm a spin, I can't get out..! Shields down!!"

"Lucky missile shot! Hang in there Delta 4, get out of here!" Hunter's TIE swooped by and finished off a damaged E-wing, Slasher assisting in the kill.

"Roger that...!" E-wings came down on him within seconds of Vender regaining control. No That gave him an idea, and he quite simply diverted all power to the engines. Laser. Shield. He shunted the little energy he had left from his lasers to his shields, and adjusted his shields to aft, all in a heart beat. His speed quickly rose, and began to feel the G forces exert him into the chair. Blast off. Catch this.

There was little time to think. If he ran too far, an E-wing would most likely obtain a missile lock on him. If he stayed, it was likely they would put a shot through his TIE. Speed wasn't the greatest defense in this situation, but it was the only thing he had at the moment. Either way it was grim, and he would not last long. By keeping up his speed, he would not be able to recharge his lasers, nor his shields. Which meant he couldn't go offensive. But he could be a distraction....."Lead? Delta Four. I'm arming missiles...I'm likely about to die. But if I can scare them into breaking a missile lock. Maybe it will help."

"You've gone mad. Just head for the hills! DISENGAGE." Hunter sounded angry, "That is an ORDER."

"Yes sir." Vender rolled quickly and targeted a group of E-wings with a missile, and let nature take its course. The two dogfights began to merge, and soon he could see the TIE Defender everyone admired very clearly. In a beautiful sweeping motion it slashed through two X-wings as if they were nothing.

I should be dead anyway. I still owe Slasher one.. This is the best I can do, as a dead man. Better to live on the edge and take the chances our former brothers did years ago than turn tail up and hide behind a bush, pissing your pants. No I can't do that, I owe these guys. Vender fired his last missile. "BREAK hard Slasher! NOW!"
FM/CRW Vender/DELTA  Flight 4/S:147 "Nazgul"/W1 "Phoenix"/mSSD Atrus/1st Flt/SFC/VEN/VE

"Are you gonna bark all day, little doggy, or are you gonna bite?" - Mr Blonde, Reservoir Dogs
[This message has been edited by Vender (edited January 23, 2010 5:48:08 PM)]
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  RE: Phoenix Wing: Smoke & Mirrors
January 24, 2010 3:26:58 AM    View the profile of Romanflame 
After Arthur got the order to regroup with the rest of Viper Squad he noticed how few of us are.  When he found where they were he started tohead towards them.  The  closer he got to them the more dangerous his flight became.  He was almost  shot down by an A-wing.  Arthurs shields were at 10% when he switch power to let them recharge and made sure his quad lasers weren't active.  He did not want to lose power this early in the game, and watch as his fellows pilots die as he was floating helpless.

Arthur was good but he knew the NR pilot was better than him.  He was having a really hard time to stay out of the NR fire and staying alive.  Arthur pulled a hard right bank trying to lose him but he kept right on Arthurs ass.  Arthur tried to pull a large arch and hold it as long as he could for some reason  this worked he think the pilot was doing this to fool Arthur, but once Arthur was able to get behind him he let off a furry of fire  trying to get rid of his shields.  Once the shields were down and he got a quick lock he fired two missles that made contact and destoryed it.

He was wondering where his squad was after that battle.  He was completely shocked that he made it through that fight with his life, and think it was only by pure luck.  Then it hit him that he just did that whole fight solo, and really hope he would not come incontact with any other ships that wasn't fighting so he could let his shield recharge.

A few moments later

Arthur was glad to be among fellow pilots he felt as safe as he could possiable in combat.  He was following  the last of the Vipers towards the Y-wings and their A-wing escorts.  When Cali told them to deal with the bombers.  Arthur was going after the closer bomber when an A-wing pulled out and went right after Arthur, and he knew if he tried to take this A-wing on he would surely die.  He was thinking to himself that if this was a while ago he would welcome death with open arms and now his mind set was destroyed by all hes been through the last few missions hes been on.  He did all he could to stay out of range.

Arthur opened his com to the squad. "I really need help here I can't hold him off much longer."
FM/SCRW Romanflame/A-4/S:172 "Viper"/W:1 "Phoenix Wing"/mSSD Atrus/TF:A/1Flt/SFC/VEN/VE
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  RE: Phoenix Wing: Smoke & Mirrors
January 24, 2010 11:33:32 AM    View the profile of Summit 
The enemy was like a fish out of water, confused and disoriented. This would be a swift strike to end this little conflict and give Summit the ability to move on to other instances of combat. He maneuvered behind the wounded T-65 X-Wing, seeing as it could not fight back, he would have some fun with this one. He would fly over the aft of the fighter all the way to the fore, very fast and very close. He would then break off to port, and come about to line up sights; finishing the X-Wing in one blast of the four fully linked blaster cannons. This was the plan, now it was time to execute it.

“Beta One, This is Two. Give me a second to mop up this bent bird, and I will form up.” Summit reported to his flight leader over the comm.

[[Copy Two.  I am roping this one along; I can hold him for a bit more.]] Ruwe replied, while maneuvering the avoid fire from the X-wing that was pursing him.

Summit did just as planned; he punched the engines to flank speed, and held the yoke steady; blasting past the X-wing. Though he could not anticipate the next action, the X-Wing pilot reacted, and opened fire on Summit’s TIE Interceptor. Luckily, the shots were deflected by the shields.

“Frak!” Summit yelled to himself, as he broke off his path.
He put power to the blaster cannons, and linked them up. It was time to go in for the kill. The pilot of the X-wing looked around for the TIE, but could not see him; though he would soon. Summit came about and began to fire onto the X-Wing’s location, mostly missing. Though eventually the shots began to hit the fighter and tear it apart. The pilot was immediately shaken up and began to freak out. Summit heard static over the comm.

[[Crypter, Crypter, Crypter… This]] Summit heard as the static returned [[I am taking heavy fire, by bird is lost. I am punching out. Send a boat!]]

Summit laughed a bit, “Damn fool, no one will be able to come to get you.”

He continued to fire, as one of the thrust engines of the T-65 X-Wing exploded. The pilot ejected after securing all of his pressurized gear. Though in the end this was the last thing he would ever do. Summit soared past the pilot, and headed towards his flight leader.

“One, Two; Target neutralized. I am headed your way.” Summit reported.

[[Great! Lay down some fire on the X-Wing as a distraction so I can break off. Oh wait, Frak!]] Ruwe yelled.

“What?” Summit asked.

[[He fired a proton torpedo, I think I can stay In front of it.]]

“Don’t go getting shot down now, you’ll miss all the fun.”

[[Right]] Ruwe said with a laugh.

Summit punched his engines back to flank speed and soared towards the flight leader. Charging his blasters, he sent out a ping on the targeting computer. He wanted to make sure this was not a trap. There was nothing on the screen, it appeared clear; with the exception of the one fighter locked onto Ruwe. Summit was in visual range of Ruwe, and could see the torpedo flying towards him. Just then, he was the Petty Officer cut downwards, and go below the torpedo, looping backwards to get behind the X-Wing.

[[Come to my Starboard, and lock him in.]]

“Copy.” Summit said, and maneuvered accordingly.

Ruwe began to fire onto the X-Wing, which attempted to break starboard. Summit, noticing this, also began to fire. The X-Wing noticed the change in fire, and broke to port, catching the fire from Ruwe’s Tie Interceptor. Chunks of debris broke off of the fighter as the blaster cannons tore the X-Wing Apart. The pilot inside was doomed, and had no chance of getting out of this situation alive.
The Pilot reached for the ejection control, and pulled the lever; nothing happened. The shots from the TIE shorted the ejection level’s circuit. The pilot, thinking fast, hotwired the ejection; grabbing two wires, he sparked them together and the ejection system was online again. He pulled the level, and the cockpit exploded. The blaster fire from the TIE welded portions of the canopy to the cockpit, so the explosive charges that normally propelled the canopy away could not. The charges exploded, and there was nothing left of the pilot’s pod afterwards.
“Two, One. We are done here. Let’s go see what other trouble we can cause.” Ruwe said over comm.

“Copy One, I am on your wing.” Summit replied.

766 Words
Senior Crewman Saul "Summit" Aquila
FM/SCRW Summit/B-2/S:147 "Nazgul"/W:1 "Phoenix"/mSSD Atrus/TF:A/1Flt/SFC/VEN/VE (=*BAE*=) [SoA]
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[This message has been edited by Summit (edited January 24, 2010 1:25:12 PM)]
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