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Topic:  Surprise: The Vast Empire Strikes Back
Trykon
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Trykon
 
[VE-DJO] Journeyman
[VE-NAVY] Chief Warrant Officer (CWO)
 
Post Number:  1020
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  Surprise: The Vast Empire Strikes Back
December 9, 2011 6:35:28 PM    View the profile of Trykon 
“One more victory like this one and we’ll lose the war,” Wyl Trykon said to himself, the cynical quip muffled by his standard-issue TIE-series helmet as he guided his Defender-model starfighter around yet another large cluster of wreckage.  Four days after the successful fight to repel two separate-yet-simultaneously-arriving invasion fleets from Belgaroth, and the star system still looked like the immense battlefield it had been.  The Vast Empire’s recovery craft, which ranged in size from shuttles to gargantuan fleet support barges, had replaced the warships of a few days before, but as the armada of clean-up vessels flitted to and fro between the planet and the orbiting shipyards, Trykon could not help but notice the uncanny similarities between their choreographed chaos and the tactical formations used by the ships of war which had made the mess in the first place.

And there was plenty of mess still left to clean up: debris needed to be cleared from the planet Belgaroth’s orbital path, and from the system’s shipping lanes, and from the shipyards complex itself; salvageable wrecks drifting all over the system needed to be recovered and refitted for service; and the Vast Empire’s warships, almost all of which had been significantly damaged in the hard-fought action, were still being triaged for necessary repairs.  Trykon knew, too, that the hardest job of all was still being done by the search-and-rescue teams: after four full days of operations, they had transitioned fully from the exciting, heroic work of saving sentient lives, to the grim, grisly business of recovering corpses.

“Too many corpses,” Trykon muttered, and he readjusted his course again, this time to avoid a huge, jagged chunk of some dead Star Destroyer’s hull.  Several small salvage ships had landed on the twisted mass of durasteel, and as the TIE Defender accelerated past them, two of them half-turned to present their cockpit viewports to face the passing curiosity.  Like a murder of Kuati carrion crows disturbed from their feast, Trykon thought, grimacing under his helmet.

But then, those sights – and the emotions they evoked – were behind him, and a much more uplifting scene suddenly filled Trykon’s octagonal viewport: an undamaged, 450-meters-long, dagger-shaped Imperial warship hung in space ahead of him, accompanied by a patrolling flight of four TIE Interceptors.  The vessel was a Strike-class Heavy Cruiser called Surprise, and she was Trykon’s new command.

Surprise, this is the Revenant,” Captain Wyl Trykon said after keying for an open channel, using his personal fighter’s proper name.  “I’ll be landing in the bow hangar; I want all the senior officers assembled in the command-deck conference room within half an hour.”

“Aye sir,” came the reply.  “Bow hangar approach, cleared.  Senior Staff in one half hour.”  Trykon did not recognize the youthful communications officer’s voice, but that was to be expected, for he had only taken command two days before, and since Surprise required a crew ten times as large as that of his last ship, many of the rank-and-file crewers were still unknown to him.  “Welcome home, Revenant,” the officer added informally, before terminating the connection.

“Home,” Trykon repeated dully, thinking of another planet ringed by other shipyards, far away from Belgaroth, lost years before to traitors and occupied by rebels ever since.  Suddenly, the Kuati exile was awash in long-suppressed emotions: grief, shame, guilt, and an unquenchable anger.  With an effort, Trykon reminded himself that while the communications officer needed to be disciplined for his informality, the man was not the appropriate target for Trykon’s pent-up aggression.  No, that target is the New Republic, he thought to himself.  And as he settled his Defender onto the cramped hangar deck of his new ship - an undamaged heavy cruiser outfitted as a commerce raider and tasked with bringing the fight to the New Republic’s merchant fleet after the Battle for Belgaroth had left a relative power vacuum in the area - Wyl Trykon’s lips curled up into a cruel smile.

OOC:
656 words.

After Action Report: The Surprise is going hunting.  But this is just a short introductory post.  I'll wait for posts from anyone else who's coming along for the ride (Serpent, I know you're in that group), and then we'll get started in earnest!
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SCAP/CWO Wyl Trykon/SMC Surprise/TF:B/1Flt/FC/VEN/VE
XNT/CWO Wyl "Trick" Trykon/PLF Cappadocious/VENA/VEN/VE

[SoA][SoV][BWC][NSM][E][NAR][NS:H][DSM][SWC]/(=*AE*=)(=*SAE*=)(=*TG*=)(=*SCFE*=)

TRN/JRN Trykon/DJO/VEDJ
Hades
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Hades
 
[VE-NAVY] Senior Crewman (SCRW)
 
Post Number:  35
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  RE: Surprise: The Vast Empire Strikes Back
December 10, 2011 2:56:46 AM    View the profile of Hades 
Hades was scoping out his new TIE interceptor on the hangar deck of the Surprise. It was his first ship and he meant to take care of it. With a cloth in one hand and some glass-cleaner in the other, he began to polish the transparisteel cockpit, wiping off any offending gunk or hand prints left by the careless mechanics. Bloody mechanics, Hades thought to himself, they do their job. No less, but no more either. He growled to himself, finishing polishing his cockpit screen.

Now what. Hades circled his fighter, testing the panels for stability. He went around the back and peeked inside the Twin Ion Engines. Everything seemed to be in order. He crouched down and checked the bottom of his fighter, running his hand along the indents and bumps on the hull. It was a beautiful piece of technology, he thought. He came out from under the fighter and climbed into it, sitting in his pilot's seat.

He went over a check of all the flight controls, making sure each and everyone was in perfect order. He flicked a switch, activating Hover mode. His fighter floated a few feet of the ground, and Hades flicked the switch back, setting his fighter back down with a quiet thud. Satisfied everything was in order in his cockpit, Hades adjusted his seat to make it as comfortable as possible, before climbing out. The soles of his boots clanged against the deck, and he took one last look at his fighter before striding off.

Hades wondered where they'd be going; he volunteered for this mission without knowing where they would be headed or why. He had signed up because it gave him a chance to serve under Trykon - the famous training officer. Hades had read up on his career, and was in awe of this man. He hoped to do at least half as well as him, and the best way to do that would be to learn from him. Hades saw the TIE Defender settle onto the hangar, almost scraping his polished Interceptor with it's strangely shaped wing. Hades growled thinking it would be one of the pilots coming back from patrol.

"Hey, you! Watch where you're landing that thing, would ya?! I've just cleaned and repaired my fighter, I don't need hot-shots like you..."

Hades trailed off as he saw the figure emerge from the cockpit. His face paled and he snapped off a sharp salute.

"Sir, apologies, sir!"

OOC:
Word count: 411. A short post, introductory.

After action report: Hades checks over his TIE Interceptor aboard the Surprise, and Trick lands his own Defender slightly too close for Hades' liking. Hades jumps to the offensive until he sees that it is Trick, not some crewman of Shock or Awe Squadron.
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Senior Crewman Hades, Nightshrike Squadron

FM/SCW "Hades"/A-2/S:82 "Nightshrike"/W:245 "Scimitar"/ISD Iron Duke/TF:A/1Flt/SC/VEN/VE

(=INF=)(=1vM=)

"This is not a cattle market in Shaum Hii, Lieutenant Tschel. This is the bridge of an Imperial Star Destroyer. Routine information is not—repeat, not—simply shouted in the general direction of its intended recipient. Is that clear?"
-Gilad Pellaeon to Tschel
[This message has been edited by Hades (edited December 14, 2011 7:04:12 PM)]
Serpent
ComNet Initiate
Imperial Baronet

 
Serpent
 
[VE-NAVY] Petty Officer 1st Class (PO1)
 
Post Number:  169
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  RE: Surprise: The Vast Empire Strikes Back
December 12, 2011 8:29:00 AM    View the profile of Serpent 
Pherik ‘Serpent’ Zail strode onto the bridge of the ISD Halcyon Warrior, surveying the command centre with something akin to pride.  He always loved Star Destroyers, and as a kid fantasized about commanding one.  Recently, he had taken a big step towards that goal, as he was now the XO of the awesome warship.

He sighed.  Yes, he was proud of his new position, but it had come as a result of the disastrous Second Battle of Belgaroth.  A victory for the Vast Empire, yes, but a costly one.  He wished his promotion had been a happier occasion, but the whole fleet (what was left of it) was too engaged in clean-up efforts and funeral services to give Zail the fanfare he desired.  He accepted that, knowing that there were more important things in the Navy than the ego of one Petty Officer.

Walking swiftly to a work station, he collated the reports from the department heads that he had requested earlier.  The Halcyon Warrior had survived the recent engagement better than some ships, but there were still days of repairs and resupply to be done before the Star Destroyer was battle ready once again.  Serpent had overseen the efforts thus far, but now that was at an end.

Downloading the reports to a datapad, he headed to the Captain’s office and was let inside after announcing himself.

Captain Mihawk sat at his desk, up to his fishlike eyeballs in reports, and Zail felt bad for being about to add to his superior’s burdens.

“The latest updates from the department heads, sir,” Said Serpent.

“Just add it to the pile, Mr Zail,” Said Drac, sounding weary.  Composing himself, he turned to his new first officer and smiled.  “You have done well, Pherik.  You have quite effectively buried me in reports,” He joked.  “However, I need someone a little sharper than a bureaucrat as my XO.”

“Is that why you approved this temporary transfer, sir?” Asked Zail, curious.  He had been informed just yesterday of his pending re-assignment, and had wondered about why it had come so soon after his promotion.

The Mon Cal officer nodded sagely.  “Being First Officer of a ship this big is an awesome challenge, Mr Zail, and I need to know if you are truly ready.  One way or the other, Trick will get you in shape.”

Zail nodded.  Trick, also known as Captain Trykon, had requested Serpent to serve temporarily as his XO on his new ship, the Surprise.  Zail had met Trykon back at the Academy, where the Kuati had been Serpent’s instructor.  Evidently he had made an impression, and was glad of the chance that he had offered him.

“Thank you, sir.  I am due to depart for the Surprise immediately, if I have your permission?”

Mihawk nodded.  “Of course.  Give my regards to Trick.  Good hunting, Mr Zail.”

“Sir!” Said Serpent, offering a sharp salute and departing swiftly.

-----

The shuttle had to dodge around the debris from the recent battle in order to reach the Surprise.  Zail looked out of the front of the small craft, and stared at the warship that they were approaching.  The Strike–Class Heavy Cruiser, curved and sleek, was not as large as a Star Destroyer, but there was something so very attractive about its deadly and compact design.

Slowly, Zail’s transport glided into the hangar, and he stepped out to survey the vessel that he was to serve as first officer of for the immediate future.

“Petty Officer Zail!” Said a fresh-faced crewman who was waiting for him.  “I am to escort you to the bridge!  Captain Trykon is waiting for you!”

“Lead on,” Ordered Serpent, barely acknowledging the young man as he glanced around at the Cruiser’s hangar, noting the presence of a full squadron of TIEs.

They marched swiftly through the ship, and Zail found himself instantly feeling quite at home.  Clean corridors, gleaming white and full of the harsh angles and corners that Imperial designers found so pleasing.  No, the Surprise was not as grand as the Halcyon Warrior, but Serpent knew at once that it was a fine vessel, and worthy of his respect.

Finally they reached the bridge, and Zail beheld the nerve centre of the newest warship in the fleet.  Young men and women of various races moved to and fro about their duties, their uniforms spotless, their minds sharply focused on the task at hand.  Nothing spoke to Serpent’s view of a ship more than how smoothly organised its bridge crew was, and Zail nodded in approval.  Captain Trykon, it seemed, ran a tight ship.

“This way, sir,” Said his guide, gesturing to the captain’s office.  Zail was still unused to being called ‘sir’ as we was still a non-com, but as the ship’s First Officer it was right for him to be called by that honorific.

Zail dismissed his guide and they keyed the door chime.

“Come!” Barked a crisp human voice from within.

The door opened, and Serpent entered.

“Petty Officer 1st Class, Pherik Zail!  Reporting as ordered, Captain!” He announced.

And so it began.


OOC:
849 words.  Serpent has arrived, ready for action!

After Action Report:  Zail has recently been made the First Officer of the Star Destroyer Halcyon Warrior and he is still new to the role.  So it is that he has been transferred to the Surprise, to serve temporarily as the XO under Captain Trykon.
FO/PO1 Pherik “Serpent” Zail / ISD II Halcyon Warrior/TF: Besh/1Flt/FC/VEN/VE
[SoA][=Eng=][MC;2][LoM]
Trykon
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Trykon
 
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  RE: Surprise: The Vast Empire Strikes Back
December 13, 2011 8:33:42 AM    View the profile of Trykon 
“Ah, Mr. Zail,” Captain Trykon said warmly, crossing the well-polished floor of his not yet fully-furnished cabin to shake Serpent’s hand.  The petty officer visibly relaxed at the informal gesture, though the change was both slight and temporary; as soon as their hands parted Serpent returned to a position of attention.  Trykon couldn’t help but compare Serpent’s guarded posture to the easy-going attitude his former XO had known to use in private.  Well, Artur Phylas was your best friend, Trykon reminded himself, besides being your second-in-command for most of your Navy career.  It takes time to achieve that kind of familiarity with a new XO.  Just give this kid a chance.  “Welcome aboard Surprise.”

Serpent smiled shyly.  “Thank you, sir.”

“You’ve familiarized yourself with the ship?”

“Uh, yes sir.  Still a little spotty on the lower strata of the crew roster, but not for long, I assure you.”

Trykon’s lips twitched in a half-smile.  Good sign, he thought.  I say ‘the ship’ and he thinks of the crew.  “That’s fine, Mr. Zail.  I haven’t memorized all 1,972 names yet, either.  I was more interested in your opinion of the vessel itself.  Do you think Surprise is up to the task at hand?”

Serpent’s eyes narrowed, then brightened as he began to answer excitedly: “Oh, yes sir.  I’ve familiarized myself with the ship’s systems in full.  From what I can tell, Surprise is perfect for the coming mission.”

“‘Perfect’ is a strong word,” Trykon said, careful to keep his expression neutral despite the fact that he wholeheartedly agreed with the assessment.  “Your reasons for using it?” he asked, allowing a tinge of playfulness to color his tone, tacitly signaling his encouragement to the eager-to-please petty officer.

To Trykon’s delight, Serpent took the cue.  “Yes sir.  Perfect,” the younger man reiterated, and he smiled again, more broadly this time.  “After what happened here,” he explained, shaking his head slightly in a subtle gesture that managed to indicate the entire battle-ravaged star system which stretched beyond the bulkheads in every direction, “the New Republic and Remnant are both going to be licking their wounds.  They each lost a significant force, and even if they go totally defensive while they replace the losses their local battle fleets sustained, for the foreseeable future their respective merchant fleets will still have to operate without sufficient protection within our sphere of influence.  It’s a situation that cries out for a ship rigged as a specialty commerce raider, sir...”  He paused for emphasis, and glanced significantly at Trykon.

“Now, as luck would have it,” Serpent continued wryly, “most of our Navy’s Strike-class Medium Cruisers survived the recent fighting; they were conspicuously absent from the battles at Coveway and here at Belgaroth, held in reserve elsewhere.  But while the Strike class is noted for its versatile, modular design, and has seen some limited success in the commerce raider role with various factions, what this situation really calls for is something with gravity well projectors: something capable of interdicting shipping.”

“But Interdictors are so expensive,” Trykon broke in, sharing the faintest trace of a conspiratorial grin with his satisfyingly shrewd new Executive Officer.  He wasn’t briefed on anything but the Surprise’s specs, Trykon marveled.  He’s put this together using deduction alone.

“Quite right, sir,” Serpent agreed.  “Prohibitively so.  But most Interdictors have multiple gravity well projectors, fed by multiple generators, and it would be much cheaper to modify an existing vessel to carry a single genny-projector combination.  Luckily, there’s one fairly common design that’s known for being easy to modify: the Strike-class Medium Cruiser.”

Trykon nodded.  “I’ll stop you right there, Mr. Zail,” he said, holding up a hand.  “Yes,” the Captain nodded, “the gravity well module has been a long time in development, but I cannot comment on the scuttlebutt that the Navy had foreknowledge of the dual attack on Belgaroth.  I’m sure you understand.”  He waited for Serpent to nod, and then continued: “So, the gravity well module is what makes Surprise “perfect,” as a commerce raider?”

“Yes sir,” Serpent said.  “A gravity well generator and projector, which is a totally new addition to the class, and there’s still enough space left over for two main hangars, each holding a squadron of VE-standard TIE interceptors, and a third hangar in the bow module for boarding shuttles.  She really is the perfect commerce raider: she can catch anything she’s powerful enough to destroy, but anything powerful enough to destroy her is too slow to catch her.  The New Republic merchant marine won’t know what him ‘em.”

Surprise,” Trykon said winsomely.  There was a moment of quiet as the two contemplated each other.  The petty officer held his silence, but his shoulders seemed much more relaxed than they had been when he first came into the room.  “Mr. Zail, I like you,” the captain said finally.  “Let’s go introduce you to the rest of the command staff, and then we’ll get this ‘perfect raider’ underway.”

OOC:
825 words.

After Action Report: Captain Trykon tests his new XO, and Zail in turn proves himself knowledgeable about the Surprise, a representative of the Vast Empire's new configuration of Strike-class Medium Cruiser: a commerce raider variant which employs a gravity well generator and projector, as well as two squadrons of TIE Interceptors and a contingent of shuttles for use in offensive boarding actions.  The pair then depart for the last "Senior Staff" meeting the crew of Surprise will have before they leave the Belgaroth System to begin their raid into enemy territory.

For subsequent reference, Surprise's two squadrons are the 334th Vast Imperial Starfighter Squadron, called Shock, and the 471st Vast Imperial Starfighter Squadron, called Awe. 
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SCAP/CWO Wyl Trykon/SMC Surprise/TF:B/1Flt/FC/VEN/VE
XNT/CWO Wyl "Trick" Trykon/PLF Cappadocious/VENA/VEN/VE

[SoA][SoV][BWC][NSM][E][NAR][NS:H][DSM][SWC]/(=*AE*=)(=*SAE*=)(=*TG*=)(=*SCFE*=)

TRN/JRN Trykon/DJO/VEDJ
Hades
ComNet Novice
 
Hades
 
[VE-NAVY] Senior Crewman (SCRW)
 
Post Number:  42
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  RE: Surprise: The Vast Empire Strikes Back
December 14, 2011 8:05:10 PM    View the profile of Hades 
Demetrius Aita, better known by his callsign, Hades, sighed to himself - less than a day aboard the Surprise and he had already made a fool of himself. He had unwittingly yelled at the commanding officer of the Surprise, which - much to Hades' relief - was taken fairly lightly. Trykon had reprimanded Hades, but not too badly. He had warned Hades that shouting at a superior officer was not a good career choice. Hades had nodded stiffly at that point, whereupon Trykon had winked playfully and said conspiratorially.

"You're lucky I'm not Commodore Atrasin" Trykon had said, referring to the Commodore's reputation for exacting harsh punishment for any breach of regulation. Hades had smiled despite himself as Trykon had walked off, and couldn't help but feel his respect grow for the Ship Captain. However; Hades still was screaming at himself inside his head. Was he insane? Yelling at a Superior officer like that? He was lucky this time. But the damage was already done, and looking back on his failures would not make them any better. Hades growled bitterly to himself and paced the hangar deck, passing the neatly arranged squadrons of Shock and Awe.

It was a fine vessel, the Surprise, and Hades was quite proud to be on it. Given Trick's reputation, he was surprised his application for this mission had been approved. Approximately a week out of the academy, Senior Crewman Demetrius Aita was still persistently seeking approval – and, hopefully, the promotion that came therewith. His ultimate dream was to Captain a ship of his own, just as Trykon did. He didn't care if it was a CR-90 Corvette or an Imperial Star Destroyer – he just wanted to prove himself a capable leader, and be in a better position to restore order to the galaxy. A uniformed crewman was lounging near his starfighter, in a wrinkled, baggy naval uniform. He looks like a sack of potatoes Hades thought to himself bitterly.

He walked past the crewman, not taking a second glance. It was not his place to assess the crewman's uniform, nor was it his place to be thinking like this. He may be a senior crewman, but he had a long way to go before he could even begin to take on the responsibilities of command. Hades grunted to himself, as he once again came level with his fighter. He knew that to reach a position of command, Hades would have to work his way up through the ranks – he would probably have to command a Flight, first, then a Squadron, and continue his journey from there. As it stood, most positions were filled – the Battle of Belgaroth had left a lot of openings, but Hades had been too late to fill any of them.

He didn't mind – as long as he was allowed into combat in his fighter, he could distract himself from his ambitious dreams of command. He looked over his fighter for the dozenth time in the past hour, checking that nothing had mysteriously broken itself in the 8 minutes since he'd last checked. Nothing had grown legs and walked away, fortunately enough, nor had it broken itself. Hades nodded, again satisfied with the state of his fighter. Being a pilot was enjoyable, and Hades didn't dispute that. Despite his dreams of command, he wanted to prove himself as a pilot – an ace, before he was promoted. He knew he could do it – he just needed an opportunity to go into battle. Perhaps this was it, aboard this Strike Cruiser. Perhaps this was when Hades would attain 'ace' status. Hades snorted to himself amusedly; an ace senior crewman? Yeah, right. He shook his head slowly. Yes, he'd come to the conclusion that he was having delusions of grandeur.

He walked off in the direction of the 'freshers, wondering to himself if there was some regulation in the VEN that restricted 'delusions of grandeur' to officers. It certainly wasn't a crewman's place to think highly of himself. Hades grinned at his own sarcastic humour, unashamedly amused by his wit. He began to whistle absentmindedly, in good humour as he approached the 'freshers. He passed another fighter pilot on the way in, and quickly approached the basin. He put his hands under the running water and splashed some of it on his face, before toweling his features dry again. Hades looked at himself in the mirror, seeing his youthful, 21-year-old face staring back at him. His green eyes seemed to gleam in the artificial light, which was a little disconcerting. Hades again shook his head – Bah, I need to get into combat, he thought as his mind wandered. He turned on his heel and exited the room, heading back to his fighter.

When he reached it, he checked it AGAIN. Anyone watching him would say he was obsessive-compulsive when it came to his fighter. This was not entirely incorrect. Again satisfied, Hades walked over to a nearby crate and sat on it, pulling out his datapad and examining the layout of a TIE-interceptor, studying it carefully. He glanced up every now and then, comparing the diagram to the real thing. It was a beautiful fighter, he thought, and he couldn't wait to use it in real combat.

OOC:
Wordcount: 881. More character development than anything.

After action report: Hades examines his fighter for the twelfth an thirteenth times, musing about his dreams gaining approval, of being a ship captain and his delusions of grandeur. He is patient, but anticipating the battle to come with great ardor.
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Senior Crewman Demetrius "Hades" Aita, Nightshrike Squadron

FM/SCW "Hades"/A-2/S:82 "Nightshrike"/W:245 "Scimitar"/ISD Iron Duke/TF:A/1Flt/SC/VEN/VE
(=SWC=)
[XMA][AFM][INF]


"This is not a cattle market in Shaum Hii, Lieutenant Tschel. This is the bridge of an Imperial Star Destroyer. Routine information is not—repeat, not—simply shouted in the general direction of its intended recipient. Is that clear?"
-Gilad Pellaeon to Tschel
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Ryn
ComNet n00b
 
Ryn
 
[VE-NAVY] Leading Crewman (LCRW)
 
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  RE: Surprise: The Vast Empire Strikes Back
December 15, 2011 6:13:36 PM    View the profile of Ryn 
“So you’re sure we aren’t getting this temporary assignment because we are in trouble right?” Ryn walked next to her fellow Nightshrike pilot and recent academy gradate, Hades. The two of them had been given a temporary leave from the squadron to assist Captain Trykon. According to their squadron commander, the assignment would give them some much needed field experience while they were between missions of their own. Ryn figured she should have been honored or something, but she just couldn’t shake the uneasy feeling they were being sent away for a more disciplinary reason.

“No, Deep is right, we need some actual combat experience, and we may actually get it here.” The genuine excitement in the mans voice was hard to miss. “Cheer up, at least you didn’t spend your first day here yelling at the commanding officer.”

Ryn had arrived a day after Hades due to some mechanical issues with her TIE interceptor. Luckily, the broken hyperdrive energy converter just required a quick part switchout. Probably went faulty because the interceptor sat in the hanger so long before it got assigned to her. Apparently on one of the first things Hades did upon arrival was to insult Captain Trykon as he arrived in his TIE defender, which was a ship Ryn would love to take out for a ride. It seemed luck when she arrived that he had been in the hanger checking his TIE, only later did she find out he’d been essentially standing vigil by the thing out of boredom or duty.

“Okay, sure. I mean I’m happy to be here and all, in fact I can’t wait for the mission to really get started.”

“See that’s the spirit Ryn.”

They continued to walk. The Strike-class Heavy Cruiser was smaller than the Atrus, which they had just left. Ryn liked the smaller cruiser, it had speed and she liked quality over quantity in a vessel.

“Well do you think you can tear yourself away from your TIE long enough to show me around. I don’t think there’s much else to do while we wait for the mission to start.”

Hades shrugged. “Sure why not, although we are fairly restricted as to the areas we can go in.”

She smiled. “I’m sure there’s at least one lounge open to the likes of us.”

It had been a while since she just relaxed. After joining the navy she’d been on the go so much that her whole life and become a blur. Tests and new certificates, meetings and simulators were just thrust into her day keeping her busy and she had forgotten what it was to just lay back and have fun. Not that anyone was going to let them have too much fun, both pilots had a mission to complete very soon.

“You’re going to get me in trouble one of these days aren’t you Ryn?”

She smirked, thinking of how long it took him to respond. Ryn threw her arm around the other pilots shoulders.  “Oh come on Hades, today is a lovely day in the brig.”

OOC:
Word Count: 512
FM/LCW Ryn/B-3/S:82 "Nightshrike"/W:245 "Scimitar"/ISD Iron Duke/TF:A/1Flt/SC/VEN/VE [VM]
Trykon
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Trykon
 
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  RE: Surprise: The Vast Empire Strikes Back
December 16, 2011 8:33:12 PM    View the profile of Trykon 
The main conference room was just aft of the Surprise’s bridge, and was large enough to accommodate the thirty or so beings who made up the upper tiers of the ship’s command hierarchy – the group Captain Trykon informally referred to as his “Senior Staff.”

It was a diverse group.  Nearly as diverse as the Galaxy itself, Trykon thought, nodding to acknowledge the salutes being offered all around him – by arms which ended in hands, in paws, in claws, and in tentacle-like appendages – as he made his way down the length of the room to the head of the conference table.  And in this diversity lies the Navy’s greatest strength: these beings, working together to share strengths and minimize weaknesses, will forge a new Empire – Vast in fact as well as in name – that stretches across the stars, offering order, peace, prosperity, and justice to all.  He smiled at the thought, and motioned the assembled company into their chairs.

They sat, but the Captain remained standing for a moment longer.  “Thank you all for joining me,” he said, “and I don’t just mean for another Senior Staff meeting.”  The beings who were new all looked a little uncomfortable to be sitting with their CO still on his feet, but those who’d served with Trykon before smiled politely at the small joke, their attention focused for the serious point that would likely follow soon-after.  Trykon didn’t keep them waiting, and neither did he deviate from his habitual speaking pattern: “This mission is critically important for the war effort, and I knew I needed the best of the best to see it through.  Well, the best of the best,” he said earnestly, sweeping his gaze down both sides of the table to meet every single visual receptor and sight organ in the room, “answered the call.”  His point made, Trykon lowered himself primly into his own seat, and folded his legs neatly.

He leaned forward, and continued.  “Our enemies critically underestimated us, and they paid a terrible price for their hubris four days ago.”  He let his lips curl into a smile that he knew would be disconcerting, especially for anyone who knew him only by his reputation.  “But though both the Remnant forces and the New Republic are hurting – we effectively destroyed the local offensive capabilities of both of them – they are not yet dead.  For all the damage we did, the victory here four days ago has really only bought the Vast Empire a few short weeks of advantage, at most.  After that, our enemies will have shifted other forces to the area, made repairs, and rebuilt their fleets.”  He shook his head as if to erase the thought.

“The time to strike is now,” Trykon said, picking up his tempo, “while they are still reeling from their defeat.  Our own losses four days ago were substantial, and we do not have the forces at hand to turn their rout into a counter-invasion.  But we do have Surprise.”  His predatory smile widened.  “For those of you who have not yet met him, this is Petty Officer Pherik Zail,” Trykon said, indicating the Human male on his right, “my XO for this mission.  Mr. Zail, if you’d care to take over?”

“Yes sir,” Serpent said, nodding enthusiastically.  “We have surprise, in more ways than one.”  The younger man turned so his voice carried down the length of the table.  “This ship, along with five other Strike-class Medium Cruisers, is going to come as one hell of a surprise to the Galaxy.  Some of you are well aware of the reason for this,” Serpent said, glancing at a couple of the engineering heads and their specialist staffers, “while others among you may have only strong suspicions.”  His eyes came to rest on the COs of the starfighter contingent.  “Since we’re leaving the system immediately after this meeting, and the risk of security leaks is therefore low, the Captain has granted me permission to confirm the rumors: the Vast Empire has developed a new module for the Strike-class Cruisers, which does contain a single functional gravity well generator and projector.”

There was a rustle of general fidgeting as officers either reacted to the news, or reacted to the open sharing of the highly-classified information.

Serpent waited a beat for the disruption to settle, and then continued: “Naval Intelligence has confirmed that neither the Remnant nor the Republic know that we’ve perfected these modules.  And, even better, Intel thinks that they’ve successfully hidden these six particular cruisers for so long that nobody outside of our own Fleet Command even knows the Vast Empire still has them.”

Captain Trykon interrupted before Serpent could go on: “Despite their losses, they think they’re safe!” he said with undisguised contempt.  “They know our offensive power was blunted four days ago, same as their own.  But they don’t know about these six ships: Surprise and her sisters will be all the offensive power the Vast Empire needs for the next three weeks.  We will seize this opportunity to destroy our enemies’ merchant fleets, with a series of independent raids deep behind their lines.  And when we return home, the New Republic and the so-called ‘Imperial’ Remnant will finally have gone from hurt, to dying!”

Trykon stood abruptly, and there was a general din as thirty officers rushed to follow suit.  “Mr. Zail!” Trykon barked, and the XO snapped to attention.  “Make ready to get underway.  I want a jump to the outskirts of Belgaroth, and then another to the Hirisi System, with both squadrons on alert to launch the moment we arrive.  It’s time to unleash our Surprise on the New Republic merchant marine.”

OOC:
944 words.

AAR: The mission is spelled out.  Surprise is going to raid deep into New Republic territory, taking out merchant shipping.  Simultaneously, five other Strike-class cruisers will carry out similar attacks against both the NR and the Remnant.  This is the culmination of a long-term VE strategy.

The five other ships outfitted with the Interdiction Module:
Hunter, Predator, Raider, Stalker, Success (our sister ship, operating in the same general vicinity)

There wasn't an elegant way to communicate the needed information in the body of this post, so here's a description of the major Senior Staff officers of Surprise, in list form:
Captain - Trick
XO - Serpent
Head of the Communications Dept. - Evir Norith, Human male
Head of the Helm Dept. - Akin Leep, Gran male
Chief Pilot - Lerak Drackon, Human male
Chief Astrogator - Eslara Brin, Twi'lek female
Head of the Sensors Dept. - Kath Notra, Twi-lek male
Head of the Weapons Dept. - Minia Wolfe, Human female
Chief Gunner - Zark, Trandoshan male
Head of the Defense Dept. - Mort Roth, Human male
Head of the Engineering Dept. - Sal Myrtle, Human male
Team Leader, Interdiction Team - Triz Bukk, Zabrak female
Chief Medical Officer - Docker Gibbs, Human male
SCO, Shock Squadron - Ryssa Kavos, Human female
SCO Awe Squadron - Galvan Ives, Human male
Imperial Network Star Wars Image

SCAP/CWO Wyl Trykon/SMC Surprise/TF:B/1Flt/FC/VEN/VE
XNT/CWO Wyl "Trick" Trykon/PLF Cappadocious/VENA/VEN/VE

[SoA][SoV][BWC][NSM][E][NAR][NS:H][DSM][SWC]/(=*AE*=)(=*SAE*=)(=*TG*=)(=*SCFE*=)

TRN/JRN Trykon/DJO/VEDJ
[This message has been edited by Trick (edited December 16, 2011 8:35:34 PM)]
Serpent
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Serpent
 
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  RE: Surprise: The Vast Empire Strikes Back
December 17, 2011 4:18:45 AM    View the profile of Serpent 
The bridge of the Surprise was, at first glance, small, certainly compared to the Star Destroyer bridge that Zail was used to.  However, over the last few days, as he had grown more accustomed to Captain Trykon’s Strike-Class Cruiser, Serpent had grown to like the more intimate layout.  Bridge officers and work stations were closer together, communication was easier, and it enhanced the teamwork of the crew.

Standing at the front of the bridge, Zail stood with Trykon, looking out at the void of twinkling lights beyond.  The star system that they were in was unremarkable, exceedingly so.  A handful of gas giants, a dying red dwarf star, and an asteroid field with no valuable minerals to speak of.  The Hirisi system had been scouted by an Old Republic probe centuries ago, and promptly forgotten.

However, they were here because the red dwarf star was a common feature in the hyperspace route of Republic merchant vessels in the area.  It was only a matter of time before one of the ships was ripped from lightspeed by the Surprise’s gravity well projector, and the first battle of their expedition would begin.

In many ways, though, the waiting was the hardest part.  They had lurked for two days already, running endless checks and drills to stay sharp, every man and woman on board forcing themselves to be patient.  The tension on the bridge was palpable, as everyone felt that something big was about to begin.

Zail glanced over at Trykon.  His new CO was slightly shorter than Zail, but still had a commanding presence, which he effortlessly combined with a friendly demeanour.  Serpent had not quite figured Tyrkon out yet, but they had gotten on well so far.  “Sir...” He began, glancing at a nearby bridge chrono.

“I know, Pherik,” Said Trykon.  “My shift is over.  I just want to wait here a little longer,” He explained, his grey-green eyes locked firmly ahead, at some point in space that only the Captain seemed able to see.

“I promise to contact you as soon as we catch something,” Pressed Zail, “But I can take the bridge for now.  There is no need for you to be here.”

“I know,” Said the other man.  “However, I am not tired, and even if I return to my room, sleep will elude me.  I might as well remain here.”

Zail could understand the other man’s attitude.  If this was his new ship on its maiden voyage, Serpent would also want to be there the moment its baptism of fire began.  However, Zail also knew that exhaustion could be fatal in any officer, and as XO, he had a duty to speak his mind.  “You have gotten precious little sleep since we left Belgaroth, sir.  You must be tired, whether you know it or not.  Get some rest, sir, please.”

The hint of a smile tugged at the edge of Trykon’s mouth.  “Have you been keeping track of me, Pherik?”

“That’s my job,” Replied Serpent firmly.  His father, Captain Zail, had served as a First Officer at the Empire’s height, and had taught his son all the tricks of the post.

“Fine, you win,” Said Trykon with a sigh.  “The bridge is yours, Mr Zail.  If you need me I will be...”

The Captain did not get a chance to finish, for suddenly the bridge’s Sensors Officer, Petty Officer Notra, spoke up.  “Sir!  We have a contact!  Ships emerging from hyperspace on bearing 312 by 261!”

Serpent felt a rush of excitement as he and Trykon’s eyes darted to the location indicated.  There!  Some distance off, they saw a cluster of white and green vessels in the distance.  Already they were recovering from their shaky hyperspace reversion and angling away from the Surprise, moving to make a run for it.

“Action VI – Class Transport,” Said the Twi’lek Sensors Officer firmly.  “Plus four X-Wings flying close in escort formation.  Transponder identifications show all five vessels as New Republic affiliated.”

Zail took all this in, and knew that, while no foe was ever to be taken for granted, this was about as easy a prey as they were likely to get.  Perfect for the Surprise’s first blood.  “Orders, Captain?”

“Commence the attack,” Said Trykon firmly to his XO.

Serpent needed no further encouragement.  “Helm, intercept course!  Raise shields, power weapons, all crew to battle stations!  And launch the TIE Squadrons Shock and Awe!”

And with that, their campaign against the New Republic was underway.

OOC:
745 words.  And so it begins...

After Action Report:  After interdicting a dull system for two days, the Surprise has snagged a Republic transport and four X-Wing escorts.  The VE warship will now commence the attack.
FO/PO1 Pherik “Serpent” Zail / ISD II Halcyon Warrior/TF: Besh/1Flt/FC/VEN/VE
[SoA][=Eng=][MC;2][LoM]

Exodus
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  RE: Surprise: The Vast Empire Strikes Back
December 19, 2011 12:25:05 AM    View the profile of Exodus 
Well, this is new. One of the men standing on the bridge of the SMC Surprise thought quietly to himself as he stood off to the rear of the bridge, making sure to keep out of the way as he looked around with wide, blue eyes, having never before seen the bridge of a capital ship. Given that he had served for the better part of a year in the Vast Empire’s armed forces, this was little surprise, as often only true veterans were permitted to step onto the command bridge of an Imperial Warship. The young man was fully aware of the honour being afforded him, and was very careful to make sure he didn’t do anything to show disrespect. For a man who was infamous for his informal, casual attitude, this was something new, and he was having a little trouble getting used to the idea of standing on ceremony.

He was doing a better job than usual, however – his white Naval Intelligence uniform was surprisingly clean and well-pressed, without even a single blood-stain, and the racks of throwing knives resting in the holsters at his hip and shoulders were polished to a beautiful sheen, as were his knee-high boots. The appearance of his uniform, however, was at odds with the appearance of the man himself. His hair was messy, highlighted with various shades of brown, red and possibly even purple, and definitely over regulation length. His jaw was flecked with stubble that seemed to persistently cling there, and his tanned face was covered with tiny nicks, cuts and scars – some fresh, and some obviously ancient.

Despite the way that he was standing ‘at ease’ with his feet shoulder-width apart and his gloved hands clasped behind his back, and the disciplined, blank expression on his face, there was something about his posture, possibly the slight hunch of his shoulders and the way his legs appeared to be tensed to bolt at any moment, that betrayed the slight discomfort that he was feeling. He almost – almost – managed to put up the dignified and mysterious façade of a Naval Intelligence Agent, but in the end he just looked like a boy who’d been allowed to sit on the front seat of the landspeeder for the first time, only to realize that the driver was drunk. On his uniform, he wore four medals, as well as the ‘Elite Squad Member’ badge that was only worn by members of the top Stormtrooper squad in the Vast Empire. It was a collage of contradictions.

At the front of the bridge, the captain of the ship he was on, Wyl Trykon, conferred with Serpent, one of his bridge officers. The Naval Intelligence man knew them both – he’d become good friends with Serpent during their time serving together on the Halcyon Warrior, and Trykon had been his mentor ever since he had first enlisted in the Vast Empire Navy, all the way back to his time in the academy. On leave from his current position in the Stormtrooper Corps, he was standing on the bridge of the Surprise, Trykon’s new ship, as a personal favour. He wanted to kill things, Trykon wanted an outside perspective on how he was doing things as a Ship Captain. It was a win-win. Of course, he suspected an ulterior motive, but as a VENI man, he knew everyone had one. Regardless, Trykon was one of the few men in the VEN that he trusted.

This thoughts were broken without warning as the Sensors Officer called out, his raised, urgent voice making it plain that something was happening. The VENI agent stepped forward, tilting his head to one side as he listened to what the bridge officer had to say.
“Sir! We have a contact! Ships emerging from hyperspace on bearing 312 by 216!”
Suddenly, the man felt a lot less stiff and awkward – his pulse picked up just slightly at the prospect of battle, and his right hand clenched into a fist, the movement unnoticed by the bridge crew as he stayed in the sidelines. Still, no confirmation that it was the enemy…yet. Best to keep listening.
“Action VI Class Transport, plus four X-Wings flying close in escort formation. Transponder identifications show all five vessels are New Republic affiliated.”

At that news, the agent’s strategic mind kicked into gear.
Four New Republic Starfighters escorting a Freighter. The group was too small to be a large-scale movement of items or personnel, and the presence of the freighter made perfectly clear that it was no mere patrol, unless the freighter was far more than it appeared. That was unlikely, the NR were more likely to use a proper gunship on their own turf. They’re trying to travel under the radar…in their own territory? That means that whatever that freighter is carrying, it’s important. Even if not, their navicomputer and navigator will have star charts, patrol routes, base locations – a veritable goldmine of intelligence. Either way, that freighter needs to be taken…intact.

The spook stepped forward as Wyl Trykon gave the order for both Shock and Awe Squadrons to launch. 24 Interceptors was overkill, but an easy victory would at least be good for morale. The agent continued his advance until he was standing about a meter behind his mentor’s shoulder, and pointed at the freighter on the readout screen, his lips curling into a predatory smile. That ship – he wanted it. His unsure, uncomfortable posture shattered in an instant, replaced by a cold aura of calculated malice.
”That freighter is moving something… Something in small quantity, but important enough ta warrant a line fighter escort. I want it – and the navigation data that freighter has. Requesting permission to lead a boarding party to take that ship, sir.”

His voice carried a strange accent – a tone from somewhere far beyond civilized space. His eyes were hidden by a mirrored, reflective visor that covered the upper part of his face entirely, and on each of his hips and shoulders he boasted a rack of five throwing knives, honed to a razor edge and perfectly balanced. The blades, and the DL-44 Heavy Blaster strapped to his thigh made his role in Naval Intelligence abundantly clear. This agent was a wetwork specialist. A hunter, assigned to track down those who were deemed to dangerous to live…and terminate them.
His gaze fell upon the sensor blip that represented the enemy freighter, and hidden under his visor, his eyes narrowed slightly.

The ship, and everyone aboard, had just fallen directly into the sights of Agent Exodus.

OOC:
1,089. AAR: Exodus wants that Freighter's crew and cargo intact.
[This message has been edited by Exodus (edited December 19, 2011 2:02:18 AM)]
Trykon
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Trykon
 
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[VE-NAVY] Ensign (ESGN)
 
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  RE: Surprise: The Vast Empire Strikes Back
December 19, 2011 6:55:38 AM    View the profile of Trykon 
Commander Jeth Borall was a decorated veteran of New Republic Starfighter Command, and had served faithfully against the Empire since the early days of the Rebel Alliance.  And yet, for all the accolades he had earned over the course of a long and impressive career, he had steadfastly declined every offer of promotion that would take him away from the cockpit.  So it was that a pilot who had the outline of a Dreadnaught-class Heavy Cruiser stenciled onto his hull alongside thirty TIE fighter outlines found himself leading a single flight of X-Wings on a routine escort mission.  “As boring as this is,” he muttered to himself, “it’s still better than flying a desk.”

His astromech hooted despairingly in disagreement.

“What, Screech, you’d prefer to be plugged into some base computer all day?”

The R-5 unit started to blat dismissively, but then the sound warbled into an insistent, high-pitched chirping.  The main monitor was suddenly flooded with sensor data, and Jeth Borall suddenly had more immediately pressing concerns than his career choices.  “We can’t be off course,” he began to say as he scanned the scrolling data, “but there shouldn't be any stellar masses in Hirisi along this heading, you're right.  Unless…”

But before he could act on his realization and warn the other pilots in Green Flight, the automatic safety shut-off on the hyperdrive activated, and his snubfighter crashed through an incandescent wall of white light and into the outer reaches of the Hirisi System.

Directly into an Imperial ambush.

Borall cursed when he saw the preliminary tactical summary begin to scroll by as Screech counted enemy vessels, and immediately he threw his craft into a hard, banking turn to starboard.  The other members of his flight matched him, but the Action VI freighter Salvation was much slower to follow. He keyed his comm: “Green Flight, S-foils to attack position.  Salvation, find an exit vector and push for the edge of the interdiction field!”

He flipped a switch.  “Well, Screech, you completed the summary yet?  How bad is it?”

The droid blatted and beeped in a staccato rhythm.  The ship coming up on their rear quarter looked like a Strike-class Cruiser, but that didn’t make any sense.  Strikes didn’t have the necessary equipment to pull ships from hyperspace.  The power required to create a hyperspace shadow roughly equivalent to a mid-sized star was not insubstantial; expensive gravity well generators were only found on specialty ships designed for interdiction.

Well I guess that’s no longer true, he thought, as Screech identified the sole capital ship in the system as the Surprise, a Strike-class Medium Cruiser from the Vast Empire’s Navy.  They found a way to make it work.  Screech whistled shrilly.  “I see them,” Borall said.  And then, to his pilots: “Two full squadrons inbound.  Squints, looks like.  And the big ship’s from the Vast Empire; the fighters’ll be shielded.”

“Orders, One?” one of his pilots asked.

Scatter, and run away, Borall thought, but he knew he couldn’t give the order.  Even if escape were possible – which it wasn’t, as long as the interdiction field was in place – he was duty-bound to protect the Salvation, and the unusual cargo she bore.  “Keep them off the freighter,” he said, striving to inject a note of confidence into his tone.

“Copy that, One.  Four, form up on me.”

Both squadrons of shielded TIE Interceptors slashed forward, chasing the slowly retreating NR force, and just before the Imperials were in weapons range, a voice filled Commander Borall’s cockpit.  “This is Captain Wyl Trykon of the Vast Empire.  Surrender and be boarded, and you will not be harmed.  Resist, and you will be destroyed along with your ships.”  A crackle of static indicated the Imperial had finished his speech.

Borall frowned.  “You know what Salvation’s carrying, Greens.  Surrender isn’t an option.”

“Copy that, boss,” Green Three said.  “We’ll cover the twelve to starboard.”  Borall thought he could detect a smile and a shrug underneath the matter-of-fact way Three said it.

“Good hunting, Three.”

And then the last fight of Commander Jeth Borall’s career began.

OOC:
680 words.

AAR: A little from the perspective of our foes.  The X-Wings of Green Flight are protecting the Action VI freighter Salvation, despite the impossible odds against them.  This indicates there is probably something of value aboard the NR freighter.  Trick wants the ship captured intact.  The fighters, if they resist, are to be destroyed.

Assignments for pilots:
Shock:
1 - Ryssa "Carver" Kavos
2 - NPC
3 - NPC
4 - NPC
5 - Ellesmere
6 - NPC
7 - NPC, or Fyston if/when he joins
8 - NPC
9 - NPC
10 - NPC
11 - Ryn
12 - Hades
Awe:
NPCs, led by A1 - Galvan "Icy" Ives
Imperial Network Star Wars Image

SCAP/ESGN Wyl Trykon/SMC Surprise/TF:B/1Flt/FC/VEN/VE
CNT/ESGN Wyl "Trick" Trykon/PLF Cappadocious/VENA/VEN/VE

[SoA][SoV][BWC][NSM][E][NAR][NS:H][DSM][SWC]/(=*AE*=)(=*SAE*=)(=*TG*=)(=*SCFE*=)

TRN/JRN Trykon/DJO/VEDJ
[This message has been edited by Trick (edited December 19, 2011 6:56:26 AM)]
[This message has been edited by Trick (edited December 19, 2011 6:57:41 AM)]
[This message has been edited by Trick (edited December 19, 2011 4:34:03 PM)]
Hades
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Hades
 
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  RE: Surprise: The Vast Empire Strikes Back
December 19, 2011 7:36:54 AM    View the profile of Hades 
Hades smiled slightly at Ryn, as they talked he responded and acknowledged, but his mind was concerned with the action to come. As Ryn tried to drag him off to a lounge Hades shook his head, not wanting to take his mind off the mission ahead. Ryn frowned at him, waiting for an explanation.

"I want to keep-" Hades was cut off by the shriek of the battle sirens calling them to their fighters. Hades grasped Ryn's forearm in a comradely grip and nodded at her. "I'll see you out there."

She nodded in return and Hades turned, sprinting off to his fighter as the constant shriek filled his ears. A red light flashed somewhere indicating the Surprise's state of battle readiness. Hades scaled his fighter, opening the top hatch and dropping into it, running rapidly through the pre-flight checks that had been drilled into him in Flight School. He activated his repulsors, his TIE hovering slightly as he did so.

Hades yanked the controls and increased the throttle, sidling out of the bay before shooting off, having got out just before the first of Awe squadron, grinning as he heard squawks of disgruntled pilots as he buzzed them slightly too close for their comfort. Hades' grin faded as his comm beeped, the voice of Ryssa Kavos, SCO of Shock Squadron, coming through his helmet.

"Senior Crewman Hades, if you wish to be 'Senior' anything for much longer, I suggest you stop buzzing my pilots. We're not Rebels after all" Came her crisp, clipped reprimand. Hades grinned slightly, but kept his amusement out of his voice.

"Roger that Ma'am." Hades responded, non-plussed, "It won't happen again" he finished, a grin widening across his features. Kavos did not grace him with a response, and the line between them went dead. So much for courtesy Hades thought bemusedly.

He shook his head as if to clear his thoughts, and focused his gaze on the void that was space - only it wasn't a void. His eyes drifted past the New Republic ship and onto the fighters. 24 - including himself and Ryn - against only four X-Wings and the freighter? Sure it was a trap. Every one of Hades' senses told him that it was, so he eased back on the throttle as Shock and Awe both rocketed past him in formation. Hades followed Awe- the second squadron in line - and joined their formation , leaving distance between him and them so he would not get in the way of their formation, whilst he saw Ryn come up alongside him to his rear left.

He heard the comm crackle and her voice came over his helmet. "Why haven't you rushed ahead of those guys yet?" Ryn questioned, curious.

Hades grimaced. What would he say, that he had a bad feeling about this? Perhaps. Hades shrugged, more to himself than anybody. He chinned his comm in response. "Let the two squadrons have their glory," he said, pausing. Ryn sensed his hesitation and pushed it.

"Why? What's wrong?" She inquired. Hades grimaced and bit his lip, contemplating. He took several moments to respond as they tore through space behind the two squadrons.

"I feel.. I've just got a bad feeling about this mission," Hades said. He felt embarassed that he was letting his hunches get in the way, but he knew he would eb all the safer for it. "I'll let Shock and Awe go first - the two squadrons of them would be more than capable of taking care of four x-wings and a transport.

"You should warn them," Ryn urged him. Hades coughed and laughed sarcastically.

"And tell them what? That I've got a bad feeling about this?"  Hades grimaced. Four X-wings flying escort for a freighter with no stock defenses of any kind - not even armour!, he thought to himself. The Action VI may be cheap, but even the NR can't afford to lose ships after Belgaroth. Hades frowned.. well, he had his orders. He would carry them out. But he would be cautious.

Ryn had not responded, but now she did. "I..I don't know. I guess you're right. Perhaps it's just a hunch." She told him reassuringly. Hades grunted his acknowledgement, lost in his analysis of the situation. Ryn was gaining speed, so she barrel rolled over the top of Hades' interceptor and ended up on his rear-starboard side.

Hades again took little notice, acknowledging that she was there, but not doing more than noting it in his mind for later use. He focused on the shapes ahead of him - Shock and Awe, and beyond them, the four X-wings and the Action-VI class transport. The X-wings knew they were severely outnumbered, so seemed to be stalling for time, allowing the transport to head off.

Action VI... a sudden thought occurred to Hades - it could have been modified, as the pirate interceptors were, to hold defenses such as turbolasers. He opened a channel to the bridge, along with Shock, Awe, and of course Ryn.

"Surprise, this is Ni-" Hades hesitated, realising he was seconded to Shock for this "Shock 10, Callsign Hades." he paused, unsure of what to do next.

"Go ahead Alpha-2." A voice came back to him.

"The thought's just occurred to me - the Action VI may be modified with weak to moderate defenses - perhaps even turbolasers." he zoomed in on the transport, which seemed reasonably nondescript. "it appears that there are welding marks on the hull at points 223 and 227, which suggests the hasty addition or removal of something-" Hades frowned.

"The transport may not be as it seems. It may be just a hunch, Surprise, but I'd rather not lose lives because I failed to express my hunch. Requesting that Shock and Awe proceed with caution, Sir" Hades said as respectfully as possible, a wince coming onto his face as he awaited the response.

They could, as his superiors, choose to disregard his hunch entirely, but Hades was glad he had put it out there, just in case it actually was true. He zoomed in on the welding marks again - there were four of them, resembling those that would be made on a hatch of sorts. A frown once again creased Hades' features as the TIEs rocketed closer to the transport, noticing the X-wings protecting their main ship.

Hades bit his lip, and waited, keeping an eye on his HUD inside his helmet, waiting for the response from the Surprise.

OOC:
Word Count: 1,085

AAR: Hades is called to action and seeing what they're up against, thinks it's too easy, relaying his concerns about the potential disguised nature of the Action VI to the bridge of the Surprise.
Imperial Network Star Wars Image
Senior Crewman Demetrius "Hades" Aita, Nightshrike Squadron

FM/SCW "Hades"/A-2/S:82 "Nightshrike"/W:245 "Scimitar"/mSSD Atrus/TF:A/1Flt/SC/VEN/VE
(=SWC=)
[XMA][AFM][INF]


"Your generic TIE grunt is just plain suicidal. And the TIE Defender jockey is bloodthirsty. But the TIE Interceptor pilot, he's suicidal and bloodthirsty. When you see a squad of those maniacs flying your way, you'd better hope your hyperdrive is operational."
-Kyle Katarn
Imperial Network Star Wars Image
[This message has been edited by Hades (edited December 19, 2011 7:40:43 AM)]
Ryn
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Ryn
 
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  RE: Surprise: The Vast Empire Strikes Back
December 19, 2011 9:14:00 AM    View the profile of Ryn 
Ryn felt the pull of the harness on her chest as they left the hangar of the Surprise. She was temporarily part of Shock squadron flying as Shock eleven. She had only be introduced to the squadron commander in passing on the way to her cockpit. Ryssa "Carver" Kavos looked like the type of woman you never found at a bar, and regardless of where you did find her you knew better than to mess with her.

Hades was near her wing when he called in his warning to the commanders. They were still waiting for an acknowledgement from command. The kid had good eyes, now that he spelled it out Ryn could see the marks across the hull of the Action IV plain as if they were advertisments for the shipyard that did the work.

"Caution is so advised Crewman, your SC has been informed, good hunting."

Ryn smirked then flipped on the private comm. "Nicely done. Now what say you and me end our career in diplomacy and get to shooting things?

The squadron formed up and Ryn watched as Awe took a flanking position in a starboard direction from her location. They would disable the transport while Shock focused on keeping the X-wings busy. Ryn couldn't have asked for a better assignment.

The X-wings were sturdy and accurate but not very fast. The TIE interceptor she was sitting in could out run those oddly shapped birds any day. The squadron broke into flights each set of four taking on "one X-wing. The fact that this looked too easy, just served to convince Ryn it was going to be anything but.

Carver took on the Green Leader, at least thats what her readouts were indicating their squadron was calling itself.

Ryn broke port to fall into a barrell roll, trying to get a better angle on her designated X-wing. Taking this thing on in turns could be effective for one  of the TIE pilots, but the thought occured to her that a strategic plan would get their work done a lot faster.

"Hades. Come about in a long arc and get around the other side of this guy. I'll fly him right into you."

The click on the comm was enough of an acknowledgement as she saw Hades and his wingman take off towards the open skies. This is going to be fun.

OOC:
  word count: 405 I kinda figure these guys are going to be more difficult to take down than we think, but that's just something to consider.
FM/LCW Ryn/B-3/S:82 "Nightshrike"/W:245 "Scimitar"/ISD Iron Duke/TF:A/1Flt/SC/VEN/VE [VM]
Hades
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  RE: Surprise: The Vast Empire Strikes Back
December 19, 2011 9:20:50 PM    View the profile of Hades 
Hades clicked his comm in acknowledgement to Ryn's suggestion - Hades didn't mind her suggesting a plan, even though she was one grade below him on the payscale. They were both equal in his eyes, regardless of difference in payscale. They were both on the squadron and therefore were both equal on the battlefield. They both needed each other. Hades grinned as he saw what she had in mind.

He pulled his TIE into a curve, to starboard, pulling 'up' slightly and away from Ryn, rocketing on a diagonal intercept course with the Surprise, to get enough distance between him and the x-wing to achieve what Ryn would be trying to do. His wingman followed him closely, and Hades forgot the rivalry that most squadrons held against anyone but their own squadrons. What mattered now was that they were all on the battlefield watching each other's backs. He checked his combat display - he confirmed that his distance was right before turning his curve to port, bringing his fighter back around in an arc that would leave him behind the x-wing Ryn had designated.

He followed the arc, his wingman close behind him. His readouts showed the Surprise edging forward - close enough to be of assistance if it were needed, but not close enough to be endangered by any concealed Turbolasers or such that may be on the Action VI, or by the four x-wings that were now engaged with 24 TIE fighters. Hades' features curled into a slight smile as he saw how the X-wings fought with desperation.

He opened his comm again as he continued his arc, transmitting to the squadrons as well as to the bridge - as an afterthought. "The X-wings seem to be desperate. Something valuable must be aboard the freighter, else I suspect the X-wings would have fled already." He bit his lip

"I am assuming command wants the freighter intact, so I recommend going for the engines, Sir." he said, addressing Awe leader, who clicked his comm in acknowledgement. Hades was fairly certain that soon enough, the SCO's and the BO's would grow tired of his suggestions and sharp eye for detail, but he would do what he could to make this operation smoother - not that it was his position to. He was supposed to fly a fighter, shoot down bad guys, and follow orders. Hades grunted to himself and pulled out of his arc, looping back around to face the direction in which Ryn would be coming from.

His readouts saw her flip, ending up behind the X-wing and peppering him with laser blasts. The X-wing juked left and right as it was inexorably driven toward Hades and his wingman, who waited like predators for prey. Hades grinned as the X-wing sped toward him.

"Ryn, when I blow the X-wing, break to starboard. I will be breaking to what is your port." He said, knowing that him and his wingman would break to the right which was Ryn's left, so as to avoid a crash after the explosion that blew up the X-wing. Ryn acknowledged, and the X-wing continued speeding toward him, as if trying to deter Hades with his head-on vector. Who was this X-wing kidding? Hades lived for this kind of thrill. He floored his throttle, his TIE fighter shooting toward the X-wing. He opened fire with his wing blasters, green laser lancing out toward the X-wing. Ryn's peppering had taken out his shields already, a fact for which Hades was thankful.

The blasts clipped the X-wing's left-most s-foil, sending it into a barrel roll of death. Hades loosed another volley as it hurtled toward him, breaking right at the last second. His TIE was almost take out by the debris that exploded outward with the impact of his latest bolts, an explosion - of quite large proportions given the size of the fighter - rocking his TIE. Hades checked his readouts again to make sure Ryn had made it out okay. For a second Hades could not locate her and he feared the worst, but then he picked up her signature which was partially shielded by the debris of the x-wing.

As he looked around, he noticed that the X-wings had all but vanished, leaving only one of the X-wings - who was locked in combat with more than 3 TIEs.. he was holding his own fairly well, but he could not outmatch the speed and maneuverability of three shielded TIE interceptors. It was only a matter of time before he was destroyed. Even as the thought crossed his mind, Green leader's X-wing burst open, struck by a warhead from Shock leader.

Hades grinned. "Good thinking, Ryn." he said through the comm to her, commending her tactics that had so easily overwhelmed the fighter of the New Republic. And this, he thought, is why the Rebels will never win. Because pilots like Ryn did not serve the Republic. Pilots like Ryn would not necessarily win the war, but by the Empire they would help more than they would be given credit for.

Hades curved his fighter back around, as Ryn joined formation off his left wing. They shot off toward the Action VI, all caution being thrown out the door as Awe Squadron buzzed around it like angry hornets. Sure enough, the welding marks opened up and a single laser turret - like those aboard the TIEs themselves - appeared from the gap.. It opened fire with red laser, spitting danger toward the squints of Awe squadron. Fortunately, Awe had been on the ball and reacted rapidly, diving underneath the transport and coming up on the far side, looping back around to strafe the turret. Their proximity and their speed prevented the blaster from getting a lock on them, Hades noted. Clever.. he thought, knowing he would have done the same.

Finally, the turret exploded outward as a lucky shot severed the weapon from the ship's hull, causing only minor damage to the Action VI. The TIEs swarmed around it, blocking its escape as the Surprise moved closer, like a giant Krayt dragon approaching its victim. Compared to the tiny TIE fighters, the Surprise did in fact seem that big. Hades grinned, but caught himself. He had grinned, because it had been so easy.. but then he had frowned, because it had been too easy. Hades opened a channel to the bridge.

"Sir, requesting permission to join the boarding party?"

OOC:
Wordcount: 1,071.
AAR: Hades, Ryn, and the rest of the TIEs make short work of the X-wings, while Hades' suspicions about the modified nature of the Action VI appear to be correct. It did not pose much danger regardless, and was easily subdued. Hades figures there is something aboard the transport that is valuable, and requests to join the boarding party, given his skill in SWC, infiltration and martial arts.
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Senior Crewman Demetrius "Hades" Aita, Nightshrike Squadron

FM/SCW "Hades"/A-2/S:82 "Nightshrike"/W:245 "Scimitar"/mSSD Atrus/TF:A/1Flt/SC/VEN/VE
(=SWC=)
[XMA][AFM][INF]


"Your generic TIE grunt is just plain suicidal. And the TIE Defender jockey is bloodthirsty. But the TIE Interceptor pilot, he's suicidal and bloodthirsty. When you see a squad of those maniacs flying your way, you'd better hope your hyperdrive is operational."
-Kyle Katarn
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Trykon
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  RE: Surprise: The Vast Empire Strikes Back
January 2, 2012 8:59:35 PM    View the profile of Trykon 
Wyl Trykon stood stilly in the center of Surprise's bridge during the brief firefight, and stared out the forward-facing viewports at the distant flashes of blaster cannon fire.  He had chosen his crew well, and drilled them relentlessly; he trusted that they needed little supervision to deal with a single flight of X-Wings, and knew he needed to appear confident in this situation, more than indulge a sudden whim to micromanage his people.  Throughout the combat he moved only once, to give a soft-spoken order to his executive officer, Pherik Zail: "Remind Icy to go easy; we want that ship intact, and the crew alive," was all he said, referring to the CO of Awe Squadron, tasked with disabling the freighter.  Then, he resumed his vigil at the bow, until a few minutes later the last X-Wing pilot was killed.

Almost immediately, the communications team was fielding requests from crewers who wanted to accompany the boarding party: engineers wanted a look at the modifications to the Action VI; Doc Gibbs wanted to be on hand to tend any wounded, in any situation, even New Republican civilians; and even a couple of the more colorful pilots in the two squadrons requested the duty.  The captain of Surprise couldn't help but smile at the enthusiasm evidenced by the sudden surge of activity at the internal comms station, but he knew the situation required professionalism.  He strode over to Petty Officer Evir Norith, the human in charge of communications, and gently cleared his throat; sometimes, barking orders was unnecessary.

"Hold one, Leader," Evir said into his headset, and turned to face his captain.  "Yes sir?" the comms man asked Trykon with the easy charm and polite courtesy which seemed inborn in him.

"All requests to join the boarding party denied for now, Evir," Trykon said.  "Except the doctor; he's insufferable when he thinks I'm keeping him from patients.  Put him on the second shuttle, and wait to launch until Agent Exodus returns to the ship.  The spook and the surgeon can fly over together in the second wave, after the shock troops.  And speaking of shock troops, is Dread assembled and ready?"

"They're suited up and standing by in the bow hangar, sir."

"They're clear to launch.  I want to know what that ship is carrying, Evir, and I want the passengers alive."

"Yes sir.  Awe Leader, you are to escort Shuttle One to the Salvation for boarding operations," he said into his headset, before flicking a switch and continuing, "Shuttle One, you are go for launch.  Directives and rules of engagement for Dread Squad unchanged from brief."  He turned again to his captain.  "Shock?"

"Combat Aerospace Patrol, Evir, like we planned.  They need to be sharp, in case our interdiction web catches any more flies.  And make sure all the pilots know we'll be sending a second shuttle shortly; no need to contact Exodus, he knows the plan already, and should already be on his way back."  And with that, he left the man to do his work, and resumed his vigil at the center of the bridge.

So far, so good, he thought to himself.  And then he grimaced.  Which tends to be the last thing I say to myself before everything goes to Hell.

OOC:
545 words.

AAR: For this first boarding action of our raiding mission, the initial action is going to be handled by volunteers from our sibling Division!  Dread Squad, aboard Shuttle One, is going to board the NR freighter, escorted by the NPC Awe Squadron.  Shock Squadron, you guys fly CAP in the system, alert for new threats/evaluating your performance and/or my decisions, in-story. 

Don't worry, Navy, the action'll pick up for us again soon.  This is a bit of an experiment in interdivisional cooperative story writing, guys, and it's very exciting, but there are bound to be some kinks at first, so bear with me.  Navy people: I'm going to start a new thread for this story in the Navy Main ComNet, for OOC instructions/discussion.  Army people: I'm going to do the same in the Army main.  This is a great opportunity to kill rebels together, guys!  Let's make it work!
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SCAP/ESGN Wyl Trykon/SMC Surprise/TF:B/1Flt/FC/VEN/VE
CNT/ESGN Wyl "Trick" Trykon/PLF Cappadocious/VENA/VEN/VE

[SoA][SoV][BWC][NSM][E][NAR][NS:H][DSM][SWC]/(=*AE*=)(=*SAE*=)(=*TG*=)(=*SCFE*=)

TRN/JRN Trykon/DJO/VEDJ
[This message has been edited by Trick (edited January 3, 2012 7:56:40 PM)]
Havock
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  RE: Surprise: The Vast Empire Strikes Back
January 4, 2012 9:39:44 PM    View the profile of Havock 
Dread squad sat in full stormtrooper armor shoulder to shoulder, staring at their own reflection sitting across from them in the small transport. Jack hated this part, the waiting part. They had been given their orders and ripped from their previous assignments to report to an experimental project, the Surprise.

Two years of her life had come and gone jumping to unknown places and wearing stuffy armor. Now she was the assistant squad leader of a cobbled together group of men and women who'd shared only a few words in the armory before sitting uncomfortably close together on a transport.

"Sergeant Jacaranda?"

The blond haired woman turned slightly to her right, just enough to see her squad leader in the perepheral vision of her HUD. "Jack is fine, sir."

Sergeant Major Grimm nodded. "We really haven't had time to get aquainted have we? This ride will be bumpy but I think we need to establish some fire teams. If we need to break up, I want very little confusion."

"Aye Sergeant."

Jack secured her E-11 and stood keeping her hands on the handles above the troopers heads. "Alright Dread, eyes up here. We have our orders, get in, secure it, keep it clean. Clean as in no blood, keep those blasters on stun. Before we get there check your weapons, comms and panties. Make adjustments and get ready to do this. If things get hairy over there we will split into fire teams. Reaper's team will be Jori, Lightning and Monfam. Leaf, Horse and Moor you guys are with me."

She squeezed herself back into her seat and started her pre-landing checklist for herself. These ops never went as smoothly as they were planned. She had been a trooper long enough to know that. Objectives were more like suggestions from high command on how a mission could be implemented. Jack knew that in the field things got gritty and dirty. She loved those moments, when the decisions were made, for better or worse, and there was no going back.

"You give an inspiring speech, Sergeant." Grimm commented with a dry sarcasm.

She slammed her energy pack back into the rifle. "I like to think so sir."


OOC:
Okay Army Boys and Girls. We are on the transport heading to our objective. Obviously give us a feel for your character and interact. You have standard troopy gear not SCOPE not personal loadout. Once we get to the merchant ship lets go Tantive IV on their ass, hoo-rah!
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Serpent
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  RE: Surprise: The Vast Empire Strikes Back
January 4, 2012 10:39:54 PM    View the profile of Serpent 
The reports came in from the pilots of Shock and Awe Squadrons, confirming that all four Republic fighters had been neutralised and that the transport was secured and ready for boarding.  Upon hearing the news, Serpent felt a surge of relief.  He did not really expect that the enemy, outnumbered four to one, would pose any real threat to the highly skilled pilots of the Vast Empire, but he never took a battle for granted.

Zail cast his eyes to Captain Trykon, who had barely moved or spoken during the engagement.  The CO of the Surprise gave no hint of pride about how his people had performed.  Serpent then stood aside as the Captain spoke to the Communications officer, Evir Norith, and gave the commands for the boarding action to begin.

Soon, Zail was watching as Shuttle One launched, racing through the void to the Action VI Transport that was still surrounded and menaced by their TIE Interceptors.  Several of the TIEs were breaking off to patrol the area, and the view of space before them suddenly seemed oddly peaceful now that the firing had ceased.

Stepping over to a console, Serpent took this time to check some figures.  He called up the statistics of the recent skirmish, a plethora of numbers that seemed disproportionate to how brief the encounter was.  Navy life, Zail knew, was a curious mix of guts and brains.  His heart told him that the Surprise had a fine crew, but cold hard figures would be required by High Command to back this up in official reports.

His cool blue eyes scanned the details.  Reaction times, power usage, launch times for the TIEs, all pretty mundane stuff, but all within accepted parameters.  Satisfactory for the easy skirmish, but no real indicator of how the crew would perform in a real battle.  What had just transpired had not really involved the Surprise itself, it was a simple fighter encounter.  Would these smooth figures be the same in a capital ship engagement?  He certainly hoped so.

Zail was just about to conclude his checks and walk away, when he noticed an anomaly.  The computer display automatically colour-coded the statistics in accordance with a series of Navy-wide approved parameters.  The vast majority of what Serpent saw was a healthy green, but a handful stood out as red.  He frowned.  Weapons power?  Why the frak was that so high?  The Surprise had not fired a shot!

Serpent glanced over at the viewport and saw the shuttle still making its way to the transport.  He had plenty of time before the boarding action was done, and so he decided to investigate this oddity immediately.

He walked across the quiet bridge to the post of the Chief Gunner, a Trandoshan who shared his race’s customary large and muscular build, with olive-green scales that went quite well with his uniform.  Zail wrinkled his nose at the reptilian alien’s distinct aroma, and addressed the man.

“Mr Zark,” Said the XO.  “I have a question regarding the recent encounter.”

The Trandoshan turned to face Zail, towering over him.  “And what would you like to know?” Asked the Gunnery Chief.

Keeping a neutral face, Zail corrected the other. “I believe you mean, ‘What would you like to know, sir’,” He said firmly.

“Sorry, sir,” Growled the Trandoshan, though Zail could not tell if the alien was annoyed or if he simply always sounded like that.

Moving on, Serpent said.  “You powered up the weapons systems once the enemy had been sighted.”

Zark nodded.  “As per your orders, sir.”

“True, but your power usage was awfully high.  Did you request extra power for the turbolasers?”

The alien nodded again, his great size exaggerating the human-like gesture.  “Yes, sir.”

“Why?” Asked Zail.  “Your men had no targets to fire at, why would normal power levels be insufficient?”

“The weapons can handle the extra power,” Stated the Trandoshan.  “I therefore make it a habit to boost them whenever we are in battle.  Just because we could see no capital ships,” Added the alien testily, “Does not mean that they would not arrive.  I was merely being prepared for the worst, sir.”

Serpent decided at once that he did not like the other man’s tone, but he was not about to make a big deal of it, yet.  “I understand your wanting to be prepared, Mr Zark,” Said Zail at last.  “However, this ship takes a lot of power to function, especially when the gravity well generator is operational.  You will stick to approved power levels when in combat, and save emergency power reserves for when the battle gets desperate, as determined by either Captain Trykon or myself.  Clear?”

“Yes, sir,” Said the Trandoshan, his dark eyes burning as they met Zail’s.

“Excellent,” Said the XO.  “Thank you for your time, Mr Zark,” And with that he turned and walked back to the front of the bridge to rejoin the captain.

Zail tried to push the Trandoshan from his thoughts, but somehow he knew that he and the Gunnery Chief were not done.


OOC:
843 words.  Just a little bit of fun on the bridge.  I figure that, as XO, Zail will have to deal with awkward crewmen.  So I picked one of the NPCs provided by Trick on the Surprise’s wiki page and thought I’d start some inter-crew hostility!

After Action Report:  The space battle is over, and there is a lull as the the boarding of the Republic Transport begins.  Serpent does some number-crunching and checks the stats of the Surprise’s crew, revealing over-zealous power use by Zark, the Trandoshan Chief Gunner.  Zail had words with the alien, who promptly takes a dislike to the Alderaanian.
FO/PO1 Pherik “Serpent” Zail / ISD II Halcyon Warrior/TF: Besh/1Flt/FC/VEN/VE
[SoA][=Eng=][MC;2][LoM]

Coadster
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  RE: Surprise: The Vast Empire Strikes Back
January 5, 2012 7:06:17 AM    View the profile of Coadster 
Dorian scooted a little further away from the stormtrooper next to him, not that the scooting made any difference. Teri? Jeri? Something like that… Not that it really mattered; after this little soirée, Dorian would go back to his tedious and easy guard assignment on Hoth keeping the wampa and tauntaun from any wanton smugglers happening to come along.

  He felt a little canned in the transport, crammed like armored sardines in a plasteel container. The hangover didn’t help much, but thinking about it only brought it to the front of your mind. Daggit, you went and thought about it. He knew the perfect cure for it, of course, but he wasn’t sure how his present company’d take it. He applied pressure to his eyes, the ringing discomfort just beyond. Ah, the hell with it.

The missus in the squad stood and gave a bit of a speech, heartwarming and all that. Actually, he wasn’t being completely fair. Truth be told it wasn’t that bad, got right down to the point as a matter of fact. The shorter the better, he liked to think. He wished it helped his headache, though. From his belt he removed a small flask and took a finger of whiskey into his mouth, letting it sit a moment before swallowing. It burned on entry, and warmed his belly on impact. Ah, he hoped his sweet relief’d last. He took the sergeant’s instructions and set his own E-11 to stun mode; it might leave a nasty burn, but at least their blood won’t be boiling.

“Ay, Mizz Jack,” he called out, bringing attention to himself, unnecessarily. He suddenly felt like he should have just enjoyed another swig, but knowledge was power, and indecisiveness was a big killer on the field. But then, so was being entirely sure of your decisions. He mentally digressed. “Who’ll I be goin’ with? Ah know I ain’t the prettiest here, but ah hope ya don’t plan on puttin’ me in front to scare ‘em in check.”

“Why don’t you go with the Sergeant Major, Scratch?”

“No grim prospects there, ah hope.”

His joke seemed to have missed the audience, and he lapsed back into silence. He took another quick shot when he thought no one was paying attention, and sat back for a moment, eyeing himself in the mirror. What’re you gonna do now, Dorian? he mentally asked his reflection, finding that once again it had no answer for him. He sighed and closed his eyes, flinching at the cool wind he felt against his face from a vent above him.

He wondered what his brothers were doing out there on the farm. Were they still on the farm? He hadn’t got a message in so long, he wasn’t sure. He supposed it was more his fault for not sending a message, but it what was a man to do? He made a mental note to ask how things were topside for the fifth time this year, and let the thought ebb away into mental oblivion. He was done thinking about his parents, about his brothers; it was useless worrying, and there wasn’t much he could do about it but send the checks like he always had anyhow.

When’re the damned doors gonna open…?
TRP/PVT Coadster/2SQD/1PLT/1COMP/1BAT/1RGT/VEA/VE [ES1][RAWR]
(A9)
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[This message has been edited by Coadster (edited January 5, 2012 7:08:49 AM)]
Heliwer117
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  RE: Surprise: The Vast Empire Strikes Back
January 5, 2012 6:23:44 PM    View the profile of Heliwer117 
He hated alcohol. Hated every kind of booze out there. Also didn’t like cigarettes. In fact, Lieu Monfam hated practically every vice in the galaxy. Never touched a drop of whiskey or a hooker, never set foot in a casino, never played sabacc or any card game except solitaire, and never enjoyed the feeling of being packed close to people he probably wouldn’t see after the mission. Just another average day. Oh yes, the assistant squad leader ( Jacaranda, wasn’t it? ) had a pretty little speech. Not like he had heard better or worse.

Moor was sat across the way, next to the boozing trooper. Lieu decided now would be a good time to ask that question he was thinking of.

“Excuse me.” He called. “Sergeant Moor?”

“Mm?” said trooper grunted as he checked his gear.

“I understand you have a desk job training troopers?”

“What about it?”

“Well I-”

“Why do you want a desk job?” Grimm asked. “You became a stormtrooper just to be behind a desk?”

Monfam glared over at his group leader. He had heard about Reaper when he signed up for the mission, about how he was a decorated and distinguished soldier, having served for a long time in the corps. It made him sick. No one in their right mind could love this occupation unless they were solitary throughout their life, not becoming friends with the people around them. The sergeant exhaled with frustration. “Because I’m tired of all this fighting. I’ve seen my friends die around me, pals I knew since boot camp obliterated in the blink of an eye. I’m am done doing the grunt work. After this mission, I’m gonna be one of those desk jockeys.”

That was the end of Lieu’s conversational mood. He merely checked over his own armor and made sure his own E-11 was set on stun. Maybe somewhere sometime onboard the ship I can shoot myself in the leg. Then I can get a desk job for sure. There was an unrulely man sat next to Sergeant Jori Lekrif who was cautiously taking a sip from a flask. The scent of whiskey was strong, at least for him it was. He could have said something, but he didn’t feel like it, leaving Dorian to his own devices. There was a small shudder through his body as the shuttle began docking procedures. Soon, they would be on board a Republic ship and probably half-way to hell. Just another day.
TRP/SGT Heliwer/2SQD/1PLT/1COM/1BAT/1RGT/VEA/VE
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"Any problem on Earth can be solved with the careful application of high explosives. The trick is not to be around when they go off." - Valkyrie
Skarr
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  RE: Surprise: The Vast Empire Strikes Back
January 5, 2012 10:29:45 PM    View the profile of Skarr 
The shuttle was approaching the Republic shuttle at a fast pace. The troopers were fast trying to get to know each other. Dread Squad had been a cobbled mess, mostly made of troopers that did not fit in any other place. Sergeant Moor himself should not have been there, but Artemis had been trying to get himself a mission for a long time. His contact in the High Council gave him this. The squad really did look rough under the new shiny trooper armor they wore. One of them was even a tree! A frakking tree! Moor thought. But, he was not there to complain. After all, the grizzled Sergeant himself had requested something fun and trying to get his blood boiling again. He missed the rush of battle. Now though, he was viewed as more of a liability on the field when he could be passing on his knowledge to trainees.

Jack had already informed them of the fire teams they would be split in. The woman had declared that Leaf, Horse, and Moor would go with Jack if the squad had to separate. Moor sighed. The left the fireteam with a younger veteran who was amiable enough, the tree, the nice lady who Moor was afraid would turn into a bitch at any moment, and himself. He did not much like the odds, but he had seen none of them fight before. For all he knew, the amiable veteran was a prodigious badass. Jack just might turn into a bitch, but hopefully for the good of the squad. Hell, even the tree might show that she was a lot more to handle.

“Excuse me,” a voice said, “Sergeant Moor?”

Artemis grunted as he looked up from his gear.

“I understand you have a desk job training troopers?”

Of course, some sith-spawn had to bring that up, he thought annoyed. “What about it?”

“Well, I-” the young trooper, who Moor now recognized as Lieu, was cut off by Reaper. Moor stopped listening after that. Believe me, kid, the desk job is not worth it. For five years, Artemis had been stuck at the desk, filing useless paperwork that would never raise a blaster to the enemy. He liked training the younger troopers, but even then, it still was nothing compared to the thrill of battle. None of those troopers had ever known what is was like being behind enemy lines with barely any ammunition and no armor at all with which to protect themselves.

In fact, the armor Moor wore now irritated him far beyond anything he could think of. He had always hated the normal trooper outfit. He was not claustrophobic by any means, but the helmet made him squirm. He was used to using his own senses in battle. He did not need the fancy HUD that the helmet provided, nor did he really need the protection. If he couldn’t keep his damn head down in the first place, what was the point of even being out on the field? Artemis was used to being on a mission with less that stellar gear. His black ops career had ensured it. There were times when he had to work with planetary militias that only used slugthrowers. Fancy equipment did not make him happy. He vowed to ditch the helmet as soon as possible.

Either way, the Republic transport was coming up fast. He double checked his blaster’s setting to find that it was still on stun. One less thing I have to worry about. Moor readied the plasma cutter in his hand. It was his job to saw the edges of the door once the ship’s airlock was sealed. Hopefully, he would not catch a blaster bolt to the chest before he was able to get out of the way. The Republic would be waiting for them. Hell was waiting Dread Squad on the other side of the airlock, but it would be Hell running in fear of them, not the other way around.

OOC:
Word Count: 666 and I'm not shitting you. Seems a bit fitting with my final words though. Anywho, I never realized how nice it feels to write with someone other than Skarr!
SL|CoT:A|PA/SGM Skarr/1SQD/1PLT/1COMP/1BAT/1RGT/Tadath/VEA/VE [CDS] [ES2] {RES} [IH] [VT] (3.1) (1.1) (A5)
Norith Skarr
Sergeant Major, Vast Imperial Army
Squad Leader, Eclipse Squad
Platoon Adjutant, Wildcard Platoon
Commander of Training Assistant, Stormtrooper Corps


"May God have mercy on my enemies, because I won't" General George Patton
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[This message has been edited by Skarr (edited January 5, 2012 10:33:23 PM)]
Garryll Gates
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  RE: Surprise: The Vast Empire Strikes Back
January 5, 2012 11:08:12 PM    View the profile of Garryll Gates 
Grimm stood up as the shuttle shook, the boarding craft docking with the freighter with a clank and hiss. The huge boarding claw anchored the craft to the merchant like a tick, and the boarding tube began fighting for control over the freighter’s airlock.

The Stormtroopers on-board with him got to their feet, more or less. Two of ‘his’ men ifor this op didn’t exactly inspire confidence - a man was drinking on the shuttle, for the love of the Force. Another wanted a damn desk job, but the rest were basically unknowns.

At least his assistant seemed capable. Jack was the woman’s name, and she’d seen her share of life, it seemed. He’d only managed to thumb through a few dossiers before the call to battle stations had resonated through the Surprise and he’d had to get a totally unfamiliar squad together. Now, they were only moments away from combat - a word that had defined his adult life, one war or battle or conflict he’d been flown into to help resolve.

The Stormtroopers flicked their fire-selection switches, changing to stun-fire if they hadn’t already. Grimm’s finger rested on the trigger, and he tapped into the squad comlink.

“Alright Dread, we’re going in as hard and fast as you can go on a freighter this size. Shoot straight, and drop anyone who’s got a weapon,” Grimm gave his orders quickly. Some of the troopers weren’t terribly excited-looking, but the old man of the crew - Moor - was practically shaking in anticipation.

Moor seemed like a man in the same mold as Grimm - lifetime of service, and always on the frontlines, though his dossier had said he’d had the misfortune of some desk jobs for the last few years.

“Locked in, Dread!” the pilot’s voice drawled. “Cut in and give ‘em hell!”

The pressure equalized and Moor stepped up, his plasma cutter in hand. After a moment, sparks flew into the cabin as the veteran began sawing at the doors. Grimm waited patiently as the man went about his work. Behind him, several of the troopers shifted nervously, the waiting playing with their nerves.

With a hiss, the plasma cutter finished its job, and the door sizzled at its edges, glowing red from the intense heat.

“Door’s out, chief,” Moor said, tucking his plasma cutter away and drawing his E-11.

“We’re about to breach, Captain,” Grimm said into his long-range comlink. “In three...two...one.”

Grimm’s boot impacted the door and it shifted out of its seat, and slammed to the deck. He shifted back, and Jack tossed a concussion grenade through the door. The captain had wanted the crew alive, but Stormtroopers weren’t going to give any guarantee as to the state of the prisoners.

The grenade exploded, and Grimm led the charge in. Mixed-up monster squad or not, it didn’t matter. Once the cards were down, Stormtroopers were the cream of the crop for busting doors in and taking names.

Company Adjutant of Phoenix Company | Platoon Commander of Wildcard Platoon | Elite Squad Leader of Blackjack Squad | Acolyte of the Dark Jedi Order

ESL/1LTGarryll Gates/3SQD/1PLT/1COM/1BAT/1RGT/Tadath/VEA/VE [RoM][ICE] [IH] [CCA] [BC] [SRP] [AS-1] [ES1] [CoS] [EW1] {RESx3} [ESC09] [RoTx2] [CRoS] [AoT] [CoZ][CoDS][VT][CRoM][KAD](3.1)(1.1)

TRN/AD Gates/Lopen/VEDJ
For Tadath, for the Empire.

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Serpent
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  RE: Surprise: The Vast Empire Strikes Back
January 5, 2012 11:15:02 PM    View the profile of Serpent 
The X-Wing’s shields collapsed under the withering hail of shots from the Vast Empire TIE Interceptor.  As the pilot lamented his choices in the final combat encounter of his existence, the barrage of blasts tore through into the hull of his fighter, ripping through the metal and penetrating to the engines.

The resulting explosion spread through the X-Wing, igniting the small amounts of atmosphere in the cockpit, and giving the dying vessel a spectacular blast that made the TIE pilot smile in victory.  As he wrenched his fighter away to find another target, he ignored the wreckage of the downed enemy.

A large chunk of that wreckage, the mangled remains of a wing and an attached fusial thrust engine, were thrown clear of the blast.  Tumbling through space, devoid of atmosphere to slow it down, the debris hurtled a few kilometres.  And it would have travelled further, had it not reached a cluster of nearby asteroids.

The large chunks of rock, hardly numerous enough to be called a true asteroid field, were a small and easily ignored feature of the Hirisi system.  None of the nearby clashing Vast Empire or New Republic forces registered them with any significance.

The crumpled X-Wing wreckage smashed into an asteroid, shaking the rock hard enough to alter its course and hit one of its neighbours, disturbing the peace of the small cluster of rocks.

And in the depths of the asteroids, something registered the activity, and stirred...

-----

Kath Notra, Chief Sensors Officer of the Surprise, frowned at the readings before him.  Since the space battle had concluded and they dispatched a shuttle to board the Republic freighter, he had been monitoring to ensure that no enemy reinforcements were coming.

What he saw on the monitor was certainly not the Republic.  In fact, he was not sure what he was looking at.  “Sir!  We may have something here!” Said the Twi’lek, calling over the ship’s First Officer, Pherik ‘Serpent’ Zail.

The XO approached, coming to stand beside the pink-skinned Sensors Officer.  “A little more specificity, Mr Notra,” Said the Alderaanian firmly.  Serpent had been cultivating a tough demeanour since becoming the First Officer of the Surprise, and worked hard to project it at all times.

“Strange readings, sir,” Said the Twi’lek, pointing to the display on the console before him.  “Here, this cluster of asteroids, about six klicks out.  It appears to be a sudden spike in heat and energy, and its growing.”

“Could it be enemy contacts, or just a natural occurrence?” Asked Zail, wondering what it could be.  Heat and energy were markers for ships, but there were usually other readings too.  Could it be some strange new sensor mask that the Republic were experimenting with?

Notra shrugged.  “Unknown, sir.  All I can confirm is that we have been here for two days and, up until a few minutes ago, there was nothing happening among those asteroids.”

That was all the XO needed to hear.  “Thank you, Mr Notra,” He said.  He marched swiftly across the bridge, to the forward viewport where the Captain was standing.  He relayed what Notra had told him, and the CO of the Surprise agreed that it was worth checking.

“Send some TIEs to investigate,” Said Trykon.  “And tell them to be careful!”

OOC:
546 words.  A quick post to introduce what I have dubbed a ‘side quest’ for our pilots while the boarding action is going on.  Anyone wanting to take their TIEs into the asteroids has three days to do so.  Make a post about receiving your orders, travelling there, and checking the place out (though, for now it’s all quiet and you find nothing).  Then, after the weekend, I shall post in the Strikes Back discussion thread what is in the field and the carnage can begin!  The side quest will conclude within a week so we can move on to other things.

After Action Report:  The recent fighting between the Republic and Vast Empire has disturbed something lurking in the asteroids of the Hirisi system.  Concerned by the strange readings, the Surprise is going to send TIEs to investigate.
FO/PO1 Pherik “Serpent” Zail / ISD II Halcyon Warrior/TF: Besh/1Flt/FC/VEN/VE
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Dusk
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  RE: Surprise: The Vast Empire Strikes Back
January 6, 2012 12:44:21 AM    View the profile of Dusk 
Troy suppressed a cough. The nice lady at the front was speaking. He actually wasn't paying here any attention unless she called his name. "Leaf, Horse and Moor you guys are with me." 'As if on cue.'

He lifted his arm and hit a few key, three blips appeared on the HUD's mini-map. Leaning out without jostling the troopers around him to much, he located the two other troopers he was with. The vet seemed like he would be a bit rusty, but from how the man moved and carried himself, he could tell that Moor didn't like the armor. The plant on the other hand, he recognized the name from a message he got from one of the people he met honing his skills back on Tadath. 'I wonder how that Dusk is doing anyway, he showed some potential.' Thinking to himself.

'I always think to myself that each NR that I kill was involved in the destruction of star-base Meta. It does let me release the anger, but I need to let go.' He saw just the thing. The trooper next to him kept taking short swigs from his canteen. Taking of his helmet troy ran a gloved hand over his shaved head. Leaning over he whispered, "Give me a swig or I'll report you to little miss tight ass upfront." Seeing a slight bulge in the troopers eyes and a slight choke, Horse was handed the drink. Taking a large swig he felt it go all they way down warming his extremities and giving him a jolt that went through his whole body. Handing the trooper back his canteen, he slipped the helmet back on.

The airlock secured the transport to the enemy vessel. “Locked in, Dread!” the pilot’s voice drawled. “Cut in and give ‘em hell!” Everyone stood, Moor went to the front. Horse shifted to his other foot, changing his blaster setting to stun. Moor finished his work, “Door’s out, chief,” He said, tucking his plasma cutter away and drawing his E-11.

“We’re about to breach, Captain,” Grimm said through the long-range comlink. “In three...two...one.”

Grimm kicked the door in and Jack tossed a concussion in after. It detonated and the group moved in. The SL was first in and first to fire a shot. The rest of Dread rushed after him. Troy's HUD picked out three different targets, not needing to lift his blaster, he hip-fired three blast. Stunning each one. A few more shots rang out, but the hallway was secure. "Five... Six... No Seven..." Numbers were called out as they counted the men unconscious on the ground and brought them all to a small pile. The hall broke off in two directions. Horse called out, "Orders sir?"

OOC:
Word Count: 469
"We're not retreating, we're advancing in a different direction."
~Xephos

Smile!!! Tomorrow will be worse.

TRP/PVT Dusk/2SQD/1PLT/1COM/1BAT/1RGT/VEA/VE
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Ryn
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  RE: Surprise: The Vast Empire Strikes Back
January 6, 2012 7:41:23 PM    View the profile of Ryn 
The transport carrying the stormtrooper squad passed slowly in Ryn's viewport. The fight had been quick and almost a non-event. She pitied the pilot that got that assignment, their last assignment. She had to wonder if she would be given an order like that one day, if she would know beforehand it was a death sentence.

Ryn snickered into the comm as Hades request was denied. "Better luck next time bud."

"He didn't exactly say no."

"Well he certainly didn't say yes either."

Both of them had entered into a patrol formation with their respective wingmen. Ryn didn't even know her wingman's name, he was just shock 10 on the comms. This had all happened so fast. They were given an assignment to make them less green, yet all she felt was an emerald glow from the pit of her stomach threatening to make her vomit right in her helmet.

she wanted adventure and excitement, with a touch of responsibility on the side. It would appear she got her wish. Dreams were funny things. Everyone has them, they motivate people to do things they never thought possible. They push people over the obstacles that they place in front of themselves. Yet for every wish granted, a new challenge appeared.

Ryn wished she could get away from her family, be her own woman instead od the cardboard cutout they desired. She got her wish, and now she was sitting in a cockpit with one inch of imperial durasteel between her and the vaccum of space. Things could be worse,she mused, they could be shooting at us.

The merchant transport had gone eerily silent since the destruction of their x-wings. It was like a man stunned after getting sucker punched by his date.

"Why haven't they launched more fighters?" She wondered out loud to the open comm.

A silent static was her only response for several minutes. "I think they're up to something." That was Hades, she was starting to become used to his voice. Something about going through the academy together had given them the basis of a camaraderie that she hoped would be a friendship. Ryn could use a friend outside of the ones she left behind.

"Did you see that?" Hades voice broke through the silence again.

Ryn blinked and checked her instruments. Nothing looked interesting in the least. "I'm thinking, no."

"Watch the two-seven quadrant, something's moving."

She leaned in closer to the targeting screen. "Aye, those are called asteroids."

An exasperated hiss came over the comms. "I know that Ryn, watch them for a minute there's a blip."

She shook her head and turned back to the screen. The asteroids had their own appearance which was an off blue color, meaning neutral target. Greens represented her fellow pilots, and reds were the things she got to shoot at.

She typically liked the shooting she got to do, except when she had time alone in the cockpit with only her thoughts to keep her company.

A red blip made her nearly jump out of the chair if not for the restraints she may have in fact don that. The dot was there for just a moment, not more than a few meters from an asteroid. It lurked there as if it had been hiding behind the space rock to avoid detection.

"What the frack is that! Hades..."

"I'm on it, contacting command now."

OOC:
Word Count: 565
FM/LCW Kathryn 'Ryn' Kerdi/B-3/S:82 "Nightshrike"/W:245 "Scimitar"/ISD Iron Duke/TF:A/1Flt/SC/VEN/VE [VM]
Trykon
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  RE: Surprise: The Vast Empire Strikes Back
January 7, 2012 2:11:56 PM    View the profile of Trykon 
"Any change?" Captain Trykon asked from over Kath Notra's shoulder.

"No sir," the Twi'lek replied, his brain tails twitching with what might have been frustration.  "A Flight from Shock is approaching the last location of the pseudo-contact, and they report similar sensor half-pings, but I still can't tell you what would produce readings like that."  He shrugged slightly, and Trykon knew the absentminded gesture was even more eloquent than the officer's spoken words.

"Carry on, Mr. Notra."

The crew doesn't like not knowing what's going on, Trykon thought, and I can't fault them for it.  He glanced at his young Executive Officer.  I wonder how he's taking the uncertainty.

The captain withdrew a couple of paces.  "Pherik," he said quietly, and his XO dutifully stepped up for a close-in, whispered conference.  "Options?"

The promising young officer responded in the same lowered tone of voice: "Three, that I can see.  Ignore the strange sensor information until and unless a clear threat reveals itself.  That seems... unwise."  Trykon nodded his concurrence, and Serpent went on: "Or we could go the other way, and make flushing out whatever's lurking the priority, and surround the entire area with TIEs; we have the ships to do it, if we leave ourselves and the stormies' shuttle bare."  Trykon frowned.  "Uh, yes sir, that option doesn't seem prudent to me, either.  Really, what you've ordered seems best: a single flight can reconnoiter and evaluate, without much risk to our overall fighting strength."

"Well-considered, Serpent," Trykon reassured the always eager-to-impress officer.  "I agree that my orders are logically sound, but command isn't only about logic; leaders must listen to their instincts, as well.  My gut tells me something's very wrong, here; those pilots are in danger, and I never like putting my people in harm's way."

Serpent lowered his head in a gesture of acknowledgment, agreement, and respect.  "Yes sir," he said unhappily.  "Shall I route another-"

"No, Mr. Zail," Trykon interrupted.  "Sometimes, there's just no course of action wholly without risk."  The decorated veteran sighed heavily.  "Carry on with the operations.  But make sure both squadrons are prepared for anything: they may need to scramble for a new threat from the interdiction field or from the asteroid fields, or they may need to get aboard in a hurry if we need to withdraw."

"Withdraw?"  Zail's tone was incredulous.  "In our moment of victory?"  His eyes darted to the viewport, where the disabled Action VI freighter hung helpless in space.

Trykon's frown twisted into a grimace.  "We can call this a victory when we've withdrawn to hyperspace with all our people alive and the enemy crew in captivity," he said more harshly than he'd intended.  "As I said, something isn't right, here, Serpent.  And we need to prepare for any eventuality.  Get to it."

"Yessir," Zail said, snapping off a salute and moving to organize the transmission of the vague warnings that were unfortunately the best the bridge crew could offer their pilots.  Both officers knew the starfighter jockeys occupied a spectrum, ranging from green and nervous to the complacency specific to veterans of too many milk runs, and both knew that both extremes of that spectrum were potentially fatal.

What are you? Trykon asked in his mind, unsure if the question was meant for the strangely-behaving New Republic freighter, or for the mystery in the asteroids.  Silently, the captain of Surprise resumed his vigil at the viewports, and frowned out at the stars.

OOC:
576 words.

AAR: Trykon is nervous about the anamolous readings coming from the asteroid field, and knows his new XO probably is, too.  Mostly character development, but pilots, you can feel free to respond however you wish to vague warnings from the bridge to "be careful" and "be prepared for anything": sarcasm, fear, frustration, etc.
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SCAP/ESGN Wyl Trykon/SMC Surprise/TF:B/1Flt/FC/VEN/VE
CNT/ESGN Wyl "Trick" Trykon/PLF Cappadocious/VENA/VEN/VE

[SoA][SoV][BWC][NSM][E][NAR][NS:H][DSM][SWC]/(=*AE*=)(=*SAE*=)(=*TG*=)(=*SCFE*=)

TRN/JRN Trykon/DJO/VEDJ
Crest
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  RE: Surprise: The Vast Empire Strikes Back
January 7, 2012 3:43:32 PM    View the profile of Crest 
“Orders, sir?” a man nicknamed ‘Horse’ called out.

The squad leader, a Sergeant Master Ban ‘Reaper’ Grimm, responded, “My team, go left. Rest of you will go right.”

The squad leader, Sergeant Jori Lekrif, Sergeant Lieu Monfam, Corporal Dorian "Scratch" Sauls  and Private First Class Trent ‘Lightning’ Durrant, himself, broke off the rest of the squad.

“So...” Lightning started.

“No,” Monfam responded.

“Please?” Lightning pleaded.

“Cut it you two. Stick to the mission. Lightning, take point. Monfam, rearguard.,” interrupted the squad leader.

“Copy that, boss-man,” Lightning responded.

The hallway that the squad leader had chosen was one long death trap. It was a straight shot for fifty meters and then turned sharply to the right. And there was a certain trick that was almost as old as the first time an Action VI was boarded.

“Boss-man? Ya see that turn over there? It’s, well, the only turn in this hallway. I’d almost guarantee that there a hostile there.”

“And your point in telling me is?”

“Just so you’re prepared for the concussion grenade.”

“Don-”the squad leader got to say no more than the first three letters of his order before Lightning tossed the concussion grenade out. The grenade went flying through the air, before bouncing neatly into the turn, so that it did not affect the stormtroopers.

A moment and a bang later, one hostile fell neatly into stormtrooper’s hallway.

After firing a stun bolt for good measure, Lightning remarked, “See? What’d I tell you?”

Monfam retorted, “I still would say that it’s a lucky guess.”

“You’ll see, sergeant, you’ll see.”

“Back to the mission, you two.”

“Rog’, boss-man.”

Lightning calmly turned the corner, without even bothering to raise his weapon. This hallway had always been clear in every boarding action he had executed, and this one was no exception.

These blasted New Republicans are too blasted predictable. Too bad none my fellow stormtroopers don’t have my background. If they did, this ship would be taken over so quickly, the New Republicans couldn’t even blink and it’d be over.

“Lightning, do you mind keeping your mind on the mission? We’re not out on a walk through the museum,” said the squad leader.

“I know this ain’t a stroll through the museum, boss-man, but this hallway’s always clear.”

“Always? How many times have you boarded an Action VI?”

“Uhhh... I think I’ve lost count. Check my former charge sheet.”

“Your charge sheet?” Monfam asked.

“My former charge sheet. I ’twas a pirate, captured by the Vast Empire. The Vast Empire gave me a clean sheet, in return of ten years of stormtrooper service.”

“What year are you in?”

“Nine years and ten months.”

“We can have history lessons later. Off we go on the mission,” interrupted the squad leader.

Meekly complying, Lightning pulled out in front of the team, and walked down the waiting hallway.

OOC:
WC: 474. Just a short post to get me into the action.


Edit: fixed a place where I mis-read our instructions. Thanks, Val,
Edit2: Added Coadster to the team. Again, thanks go to Val, for walking me through this.
TRP/PSC Crest/3SQD/1PLT/1COM/1BAT/1RGT/Tadath/VEA/VE (A1) [ES1]

Blackjack Infiltration Expert

"If you're in a fair fight, you didn't plan it properly"

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[This message has been edited by Crest (edited January 7, 2012 5:45:01 PM)]
[This message has been edited by Crest (edited January 7, 2012 5:49:51 PM)]
Valthir
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Valthir
 
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  RE: Surprise: The Vast Empire Strikes Back
January 7, 2012 6:33:15 PM    View the profile of Valthir 
The arrogance of the trooper was astounding. He prattled on endlessly about information that Jori had no business knowing, and then decided that because he had been on a similar ship before, that he knew exactly where their opponents were going to be holed up at.

I would call him an idiot, but that would be an insult to idiots everywhere. The man is a lunatic, no, worse than that.

He ground his teeth behind his helmet, his only outward display of anger. The few times that he spoke, he levelled his voice off, keeping it neatly within the range of “calm.” Despite his rising irritation, he kept quiet, following along just behind the Squad Leader. All the while, Lightning, as the man insisted on being called, ran his mouth. Jori was thankful for the privacy of the comm system built into their helmets. If it wasn’t for that, every enemy within a hundred foot distance would know exactly where they were. As it was, only they were forced to endure the torment.

His attention was drawn to the Squad Leader as the man managed to quiet the loudmouth that was on point. It seems that the man - Reaper - seemed to be just as irritated by Lightning as Jori was.

At least I’m not alone there.

Jori’s eyes flicked out to each depression in the wall, expecting a rush of enemies to come pouring out at any moment. Lightning tread onwards ahead of the group, his grip loose on his gun. Jori watched him with distaste, noting each and every flaw with a hypercritical eye. He already didn’t like the trooper and it wasn’t too difficult to deepen that dislike.

They began to approach a corner, the end to a corridor that had stretched on almost endlessly. Strangely enough, they had encountered almost no resistance, outside of a random enemy or two. Jori frowned as he thought about it. It was strange, very strange. Normally, borders would hit waves of enemies, all intent on repelling them as soon as possible. Yet they had faced almost no one. During his musings, he had wandered up to the front of the group, just behind Lightning. He watched the corner, studying it as they approached. A cold trickle of unease wormed its way into his mind.

Jori spoke up, his quiet voice breaking the silence,“Reaper. Don’t you think it’s odd that we have yet to face any opposition of merit? Isn’t it standard procedure to instantly try and repel all boarders? We should have been hit with waves of enemies by now.”

“Yes, I was wondering that as well. Hold, troopers. We take this corner slowly. There’s no telling what’s around it.” Grimm replied.

Jori could almost hear the frown distorting the man’s features. Yes, he knew what Jori knew. He heard a scoff and Lightning resumed moving, breaking away from the frozen Stormtroopers.

“They’ve never attacked here before. I’ll just walk around this corner and - AHHH!’

He had spoken as he moved, striding away too quickly for Jori to grab him. Jori lunged forwards as Lightning rounded the corner and realized that he was facing a hallway filled with armed crew members. The quickest of them let off a few shots that very nearly took Lightning’s head off. He yelped and tried to dart back, only to be very nearly dragged off his feet as Jori and Grimm caught up to him.

The comm system lit up with Grimm’s bellowing, “Are you fecking insane?!?!? You nearly got yourself killed!”

As Lightning muttered apologies, the pair roughly tossed him behind them. Monfam and the other trooper quickly raced forward and laid down fire to stop the mass of enemies from surging around the corner. One of them launched a concussion grenade around the corner, leaning around and taking a few shots in the aftermath of the blinding flash.

“I count ten targets at the least, probably fifteen. Two are down. The hallway is relatively clear, so they’re taking cover in the doorways. What next, sir?” the trooper reported, his question laying heavy on the group as they recovered their wits.

OOC:
Sorry, Crest.
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Valthir
Adept of the Dark Jedi Order
Privateer of the Osk Company
Assistant Squad Leader of Blackjack Squad

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Havock
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  RE: Surprise: The Vast Empire Strikes Back
January 7, 2012 7:29:40 PM    View the profile of Havock 
We have contact. Grimm's hushed voice came over the comlink. All Jack could think was lucky bastard. The assistant squad leader was on point with Moor, Horse and Leaf were taking up the rear.

They were heading aft on the transport towards the engine rooms and cargo holds. Given the typical mandate of the vessel the cargo holds would most likely prove to be filled to the brim. At least Jack assumed that was the hope, that they had intercepted a useful transport and her ass wasn't about to get shot at for no good reason.

"Moor."

"Aye Sergeant."

She slowed her pace and paused as they approached an intersection and held up her fist signaling the other troopers to do the same. "We need to route them to one location. Once we stun them we will need to lock them in a closet or something."

Moor looked at his ASL for a long moment. She could only imagine the things going through his head during those moments. "I ran a sim like that, well sent down the plans to the programmers. Actually it was more of an approval I gave..."

"Moor." He looked up. "Get to the point."

"We need bait."

Jack nodded thoughtfully. They needed to send someone running towards where they wanted the merchants to end up. "Hey Leaf, you like running right?" Jack clapped the fellow trooper on the shoulder. "Sure you do."

She pointed at Horse and paused wondering how he got such a callsign. She was distracted wondering if it was some kind of a odd shape to his face or other part of his anatomy.

"You need something Sergeant?"

"Hmm? Oh right Horse. Scout down that hallway see if you find a room with a locking mechanism we can hack. We will cover you at a distance."

The man seemed to wobble slightly as he saluted and made his way down the corridor. The unsteadiness didn't return but the tightness in Jack's stomach increased.


OOC:
I'm sorry for the shortness, have to run out to a party but I didn't want to leave you guys hanging since I'll be grading HSC posts all day tomorrow lol
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Serpent
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Serpent
 
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  RE: Surprise: The Vast Empire Strikes Back
January 9, 2012 10:50:59 PM    View the profile of Serpent 
There was a palpable tension on the bridge of the Surprise, as there had been before they had snagged the Republic transport out of hyperspace.  Any hope of the brief starfighter battle relieving the tension had been dashed by the twin dilemma that immediately followed it.  Troopers boarded the shuttle, and meanwhile a handful of Interceptors headed for the nearby cluster of asteroids.

Serpent could do nothing for the warriors boarding the shuttle.  Such man-to-man was not his forte, but the burgeoning problem with strange readings in the asteroids was.  Though he stood by the side of Captain Trykon, Zail’s eyes kept drifting back across the bridge, to where the Twi’lek Sensors Officer, Kath Notra, sat at his post.

The pink skinned alien was staring at the energy signatures that had been detected, determined to make sense of them.  “There is something I am missing...” Mused Notra.

Despairing of making sense of it all unaided, the Twi’lek accessed the ship’s records and struggled to find anything of note on the Hirisi System.  It was a place with no inhabitants, no colonies, not even an automated mining post.  The entirety of the system’s history was summed up in a few short entries, mundane records made by the handful of probes that had passed through in the past thousand years or so.  None had detected the odd readings that the Surprise had.

Notra sighed, and was about to give up, when it dawned on him to open up the investigation.  He checked quickly to see if there was anything of interest in the records for neighbouring systems, his fingers moving fast across the console as he raced to find something useful before the TIE Interceptors reached the danger zone.

There!  A record from the height of the Empire, about a vessel that went missing in this sector.  It was a research vessel from the Imperial Navy, lost in this area of space and never recovered.  And it was carrying...

“Sirs!” He called in alarm, “We have trouble!”

-----

Yawa Nur, a member of the Surprise’s Awe Squadron, guided his TIE into the small clump of asteroids.  A handful of other Interceptors had accompanied the Duros officer, as they moved among the dark rocks and glanced around with both eyes and sensors.  The heat readings that had drew them initially were not much stronger even this close, and they came and went like sensor ghosts, impossible to pinpoint.

“Anyone see anything?” He asked into his helmet com.

“Nothing here, sir,” Came a reply from one of the other TIEs.  By the voice Nur guessed that it was Ryn, also known as Shock Eleven.  “I had something earlier, but...”

Nur nodded at what the female human was saying.  The contacts just seemed to come and go.  What the heck could be causing it?  “Just keep your eyes peeled for anything odd,” He said.

And then, at that exact moment, something odd leapt out at him.

It was a two-meter long black bug, propelled by natural gases vented from its body (and, when used, producing the strange heat signatures).  The massive beast, easily the size of Nur’s TIE cockpit, leapt upon the Interceptor and glared at the Duros through the window.  Pincers dripped with corrosive acid, and Nur just knew that it would be able to melt and rip through his hull if given a chance.

“Evasive!” He yelled into his com, warning his fellow pilots as more of the insects leapt from the asteroids at the TIEs.  On reflex, Nur began firing, but it did no good.  The beast was already at his cockpit window, and with his canons mounted on the wing tips, they had no chance of hitting the bug.

“Curses!” He spat, as the monster began to bite into the transparisteel viewport.  The Duros was worried, but just then his wingman dived past, squeezing off a couple of shots at the bug.  The creature roared silently in the void, wounded but not actually slain by the laser cannon impacts.  However, the sheer force of the blasts was enough to dislodge it from Nur’s TIE, and he accelerated quickly to escape the bug’s immediate pursuit.

“Let’s get out of here!” Called Nur into his com.

The other pilots heard him, but it was too late.  The monstrous insects were all over them, and they were too busy to flee.

-----

“Scree!?” Exclaimed Captain Trykon in horror, as Kath Notra gave name to the creatures now attacking their TIE Interceptors.

“You’ve heard of them, sir?” Asked Zail, confused.

The Kuati man nodded, his face grim.  “They are monsters that prey on ships in their home of the Vergesso Asteroid Field.  There is no way we should have encountered them here.”

“We can’t deal with this now,” Said the XO.  “We have to get them out of there!”

The Captain agreed.  Things were getting out of hand...

OOC:
813 words.  The monsters have pounced!  They are Scree, a favourite of mine from the days when I played the Star Wars tabletop roleplay game.  Orders are to flee, TIE pilots, but if you want to slaughter a few, go right ahead!

After Action Report:  The Sensors Officer, Kath Notra, has found out too late about the presence of Scree in the asteroids (left by a lost research vessel).  The giant space insects have pounced on the TIE Interceptors sent to investigate, who are now trying to flee.
FO/PO1 Pherik “Serpent” Zail / ISD II Halcyon Warrior/TF: Besh/1Flt/FC/VEN/VE
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Ryn
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Ryn
 
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  RE: Surprise: The Vast Empire Strikes Back
January 12, 2012 4:33:08 PM    View the profile of Ryn 
"Are you kidding me???"

Ryn yanked the controls, having to make several sharp turns to avoid hitting an asteroid, wingman or the Scree now surrounding her. The insects had sprayed out of the asteroids like a plague.

"Shock Eleven, those blasted things don't seem to care we are shooting laser blasts at them."

She had noticed, it was hard to zero in on one particular bug to know exactly how many shots she had scored on the Scree. What she did notice was that she had squeezed of at least forty volleys all hitting a contact and not a damn one of the insects had released its grip on life.

"Awe lead this is Eleven. Any confirmation on what kills these things?"

The strained response came a few moments later. "You hit them enough they go splat Eleven. Our orders are to get back to the Surprise. I suggest you focus on that."

He was right. They were grossly outnumbered by the space bugs. She didn't want to think about what would happen if they swarmed the hull, her visibility was crap as it was. The entire squadron was engaged in evasive maneuvers, dipping and spinning in a synchronized dance of survival. The Scree flew as any creature designed by nature to call caverns in space their home would. The fact that they made no sound at all due to the vacuum of the black starfield around her, just proved to make them all the more terrifying.

"I'm going to have nightmares for decades after this." She spoke into the comm to no one in particular.

"Woot!" Hades voice broke through the sound of her heart pounding in her ears.

"What exactly do you have to be cheering about?"

He laughed. "I finally squashed one of the bastards."

"And how did you manage that?"

"Hell if I know, but it was fun enough to keep trying."

Ryn rolled her eyes and gritted her teeth as she tried not to become some bugs dinner. Although she had to admit that she would probably suffocate from the exposure to space before the bugs actually digested her. Then the thought of slapping herself for even thinking that wandered into her mind.

She had to admit that if her goal in joining the navy had been to explore strange new species and places, at least one of those requirements had just been met.

One of the members of her flight screamed over the comm. Ryn held her ear until the end of the exclamation. "Shock Nine? Status?"

Ryn started to switch through channels to get a better signal through the haze of the battle. There was no reply.

Her eyes scanned the navigation read out to find Nine. Once her eyes locked in on the small blip she made the course adjustment and amped up the speed as much as she could in the congested asteroid field.

"Ryn?"

She growled at the comm. "Its fine Hades, just stay alive, I'm going to get a visual on Nine."

She reached the location, still having to move and fire to avoid allowing the Scree to latch on to her hull. There was no sign of a TIE interceptor or anything other than clusters of bugs and asteroids. The transponder shouldn't have been malfunctioning, they had all run systems checks before they launched. She supposed something could have been damaged in the brief engagement with the X-wings.

The sudden realization of what she was actually looking at dawned on Ryn leaving her numb and her TIE floating in space for several moments. One of the tell tale wings on a TIE interceptor poked its way out of a group of Scree in a frenzy. The group she was looking at wasn't together getting to know each other better. They were feeding...on Shock Nine.

"Okay, okay, okay. Time to go." She took a deep breath and pulled the yoke still numb from the trauma of what she was looking at. The only thing she knew without a doubt was that she didn't want things to end the way they had for Nine, it made her sick to realize she didn't even know the pilots name.

"Hades, time to go, I don't care how many you want to kill, evasive now."

OOC:
words: 712
FM/LCW Kathryn 'Ryn' Kerdi/B-3/S:82 "Nightshrike"/W:245 "Scimitar"/ISD Iron Duke/TF:A/1Flt/SC/VEN/VE [VM]
Trykon
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Trykon
 
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  RE: Surprise: The Vast Empire Strikes Back
January 12, 2012 6:52:21 PM    View the profile of Trykon 
"What's happening?" Serpent asked again, letting his impatience color his tone.

Kath Notra's lekku were pulsing slightly, betraying his own frustration.  He gesticulated at the Sensor station's main monitor.  "I can't make anything out clearly except our own ships," he complained, "and then a bit of a partial read every time one of those things maneuvers."

"Okay, so... what about our ships," the Executive Officer prompted.

"All transponders still active, and they're making their war back, more or less, but their flight paths are all... erratic.  It looks like they're totally evasive.  I just can't see what they're evading.  Some of them are shooting, sometimes, but damned if I know how successful they're being."

"Communications," Serpent called out, "get me Shock Leader."

But his attention was called back to the sensor screen as Notra spoke up again: "Sir, I just lost the transponder signal from Shock Nine..."

For a brief moment there was quiet, as the significance of that observation sank in for both of them.

"Get them back, Mr. Zail!" Captain Trykon cried out suddenly, abruptly ending his aloof meditation and turning from his position far up at the front of the bridge.  His mouth was contorted into a grimace, and his jaw muscles were taught.  It almost looked like the man was in pain.

Serpent hesitated.  "Yessir.  The fighters, sir, or the boarding team?"

"Everyone," Trykon said with a fierce urgency.

"Yessir!" Serpent said again, and he jogged the few paces to the Communications station.  "Emergency withdrawal," he ordered.  "Last fighters back should be escorting the boarding shuttle.  Tell Dread Squad to get a move on: any crew, cargo, or intel of value needs to be secured now.  Let's get what we came for and get out."

"Sir, I'm sorry to interrupt," Kath Notra interjected, "but I've got something else, here, you should know about: huge energy spike from the Salvation.  Don't know what's happening, over there, but it might be her main reactor's lost containment."

Serpent felt the blood drain from his face.  "What?"

"Like I said, sir, i can't be sure.  It doesn't look exactly like a reactor going critical, but that's the nearest phenomenon I can compare it to.  It could be some sort of weapon charging up, I guess.  Whatever it is, there's a lot of energy all of a sudden, and it's building up to something."

"Get them back, Mr. Zail.  All of them.  Now."  Trykon's voice was insistent.

"Aye, Captain."  So much for our "easy" first action, Serpent thought, and for a moment he wondered how Surprise's sister ships were fairing on their own missions.  Were they also confronting monsters and mysteries?  Had they already lost service members, too?  Before the end of the campaign, he felt sure, there would be plenty of it all to share between the six ships.  Serpent frowned as the thoughts raced by, and he returned to his duties.

"Time until the reactor goes?"

"If that's what it is, they have nineteen minutes until the built-up energy outstrips the capacity of the containment system on an Action VI," Notra said.  He looked up expectantly at the Executive Officer.

Serpent took a deep breath.  "Communications, tell the boarders they have ten minutes to extract whatever they can and get out.  All fighters are recalled; emergency landings.  Defense, boost power to deflectors.  Astrogation, standby for jump to hyperspace.  Let's finish what we came to Hirisi to do."  And then, he thought, let's leave this hellhole, and never come back.

OOC:
580 words.  Trykon's kind of weird, from Serpent's perspective. 

After Action Report: in addition to the Scree, we have a new threat: there's a massive energy build-up aboard the New Republic freighter.  Could be a sabotaged reactor by a desperate crew, or some kind of weapon, but whatever it is, it's more trouble for the crewers, pilots, and troopers of Surprise.
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SCAP/ESGN Wyl Trykon/SMC Surprise/TF:B/1Flt/FC/VEN/VE
CNT/ESGN Wyl "Trick" Trykon/PLF Cappadocious/VENA/VEN/VE

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TRN/JRN Trykon/DJO/VEDJ
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