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Topic:  Tuk'ata: Counterpunch: Pestilence
Trykon
ComNet Marshal
 
Trykon
 
[VE-DJO] Adept
[VE-NAVY] Lieutenant
 
Post Number:  2011
Total Posts:  3784
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  Tuk'ata: Counterpunch: Pestilence
September 28, 2012 3:54:31 PM    View the profile of Trykon 
It was three hours before local dawn, and a late-night squall had settled over the central landmass of Tilsec Prime, concentrated over the capital city of the planet, from which the leaders of the Imperial Dominion ruled their interstellar polity.  Most of the metropolis’s residents slept fitfully, under curfew in their homes, but in the middle of the broad avenue fronting the Governor-General’s Palace, a lone figure stood defiantly, braced against the gusting wind and staring at the mansion’s ornate façade.

To an outsider, the mysterious man with the athletic frame and the hard look in his eye might have been mistaken for some rebel assassin, but no one born on Tilsec Prime could fail to recognize the familiar, striking facial features of the highest-ranked elected official in the Dominion’s government, Premier Donnel Zaqarian.  To all the citizens of all the planets of the Dominion, he was unmistakable.

But, though the Dominioners would no doubt have recognized the man (if they had been allowed to wander the streets at night in a time of war, which they were most definitely not), they would probably not recognize his behavior.  The career politician was always resolute on the holo-news shows, and comfortingly self-assured; the lone figure in the rain who wore Premier Zaqarian’s face seemed pitifully indecisive, in comparison.  He took halting steps toward the Palace’s front doors, before seemingly thinking better of it, and retreating back to where he’d begun.  And then he repeated the strange, pathetic little dance-like movement, again and again.

At length, he took a deep breath, and straightened to his full height.  Suddenly, the attitude from the holo-shows was back, and the figure crossed the avenue at a steady pace, marched up the long staircase, and knocked on the huge portal three times.  Almost immediately, the intricately-carved double doors opened, bathing Zaqarian in a bright light.

An E-3PO droid stood in the vestibule, as if it had been waiting.  “Welcome, Premier Zaqarian,” the droid said with its flat, vaguely prissy voice.

Zaqarian harrumphed, and shouldered his way past the silvery droid.  He shed his overcoat, and made a point of shaking off the rain directly over the hideously expensive (and aesthetically hideous) carpet, before handing it to the droid.  “Where’s Karstok?” he demanded curtly.

“Governor-General Karstok is expecting you.  Follow me, please.”

As the protocol droid tottered off with his coat meticulously folded over one of its arms, Donnel Zaqarian raised an eyebrow.  It was virtually unheard-of for anyone – no matter his or her socio-political standing – to “drop in” on the Governor-General at home.  It wasn't exactly prohibited by law, but it was more or less understood to be the way things were.  That Karstok was anticipating the Premier’s visit – despite that unspoken rule – underscored the gravity of the situation facing the Imperial Dominion, and the extent to which that situation had altered the balance of power on Tilsec Prime.  “He’s weak,” the Premier muttered under his breath, as his self-confidence soared at the realization, “and he knows it.”  A gust whistled outside, like the very winds of change, ready to transform the Dominion.  Zaqarian smiled at the thought, and followed the droid.

They passed through the main receiving chamber, which seemed cavernously empty in the gloom of the late hour, and then paced down a grandly appointed hallway until they came to a small room: Karstok’s private study.

The droid opened the door, and then stepped aside.  “Premier Donnel Zaqarian,” the silvery automaton announced.

Donnel scoffed, and then shoved his way past the protocol droid again.  “Governor-General,” he bit out, sketching an abbreviated bow.

Silence greeted him in response, and Zaqarian straightened to consider the scene, and his options.

Governor-General Vasilov Karstok was an impressive – and dangerous – man, Zaqarian knew.  The gaunt off-worlder had come to Tilsec twelve years before at the head of an Imperial Navy task force, and announced that he was Emperor Palpatine’s vice-regal representative.  He’d then laid out grand plans: the Unknown Regions would be explored and conquered, and Tilsec Prime would become the cosmopolitan capital of a full-fledged client state of the Empire.  The extravagant promises of prosperity and power for those who cooperated with his rule – and the thinly-veiled threats toward anyone who might've been thinking of getting in his way – were fairly typical of newly-appointed planetary overseers.  But unlike most new governors assigned by the central Imperial bureaucracy, Karstok had proven capable of actually following through on his words: he'd actually done everything he said he would do, and he did it all with a brutal efficiency.  Within a year, three new populated systems had been integrated into the Dominion, several trade agreements with regional powers had been finalized, and all domestic opposition to Karstok, the Emperor he represented, and the New Order Palpatine had ushered in had been ruthlessly snuffed out.

So, when Zaqarian saw Karstok, sitting behind an unassuming metal desk and gripping the desktop so hard his knuckles were shining white in the subdued lighting of the little room, his throat went dry.  Piercing, intelligent blue eyes stared back at him, from over a sharp, aristocratic nose and a cruel mouth, and the thin lips were not smiling.  The uncomfortable silence stretched out, while the protocol droid quietly hung the Premier’s coat on a hook near the door designed for that purpose, and then discreetly took its leave.

When they were alone, Zaqarian spoke again.  “No, Karstok: you can’t intimidate me, not this time.  I want answers.”  He drew himself up to his full height.  “The people of the Imperial Dominion deserve answers,” he amended.

The Governor-General’s eyelids seemed to flicker, but he never blinked.  “Premier,” he said, drawing out the syllables and relishing the triphthong, continuing the formal courtesy of the exchange-of-titles, as if the tension in the room had not become stifling.  He rose as he spoke the word, and bent in a stiff-but-proper court bow.  He sat again, and resumed his iron grip on the desk.  When he looked up, his eyes found Donnel’s again.  “Answers…”  He seemed to consider the word for a while before continuing.  “I’ve just received word from the fleet.”

“Well?” Donnel asked, impatiently.  “What happened?  Did we take out their command-and-control, or not?  Were our losses bad?  Tilsec Prime has bled for these wars… You can’t keep the Legislature in the dark any longer about the fate of our young soldiers!”

The Governor-General’s nose twitched once, and then he grimaced.  “I can’t...” he repeated softly.  He seemed to taste the words as he mouthed them, and a serene smile broke out on his face, as if the flavor reminded him of a favorite dish from his childhood.

Zaqarian’s eyebrow shot up again.  “What’s the matter with you, Governor-General?” he asked, unconsciously slipping into the formal mode of address as the thrill of power politics gave way to genuine confusion, and the first stirrings of concern.  “What’s happened?”

Still, the most powerful man in the Imperial Dominion remained stock-still, his hands clutching as his desktop, as if he were desperately afraid.  Zaqarian didn’t know what to make of it: Vasilov Karstok, scared stiff?  After long minutes of baffled observation, the Premier decided it must be shock.

For a split second, Donnel Zaqarian wished he'd brought the other leaders of the populist movement with him, so they could see the supposedly-omnipotent Vasilov Karstok brought low by fear.  But he instantly thought better of it: though he wanted desperately to reverse the balance of power between the Premiership and the Governor-Generalship, Zaqarian knew that it was not the right time to make his move.  The military was still fiercely loyal to Karstok personally, and only his access codes linked the Dominion's rudimentary HoloNet with the rest of the Galaxy's.  With the fate of the invasion fleet known only to him, it would not do to seize power from the man.  Not yet, anyway, Zaqarian thought.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t have a little fun.

Resisting the urge to smile, Zaqarian walked around the desk, approached the shell-like husk that was once the feared leader of the Imperial Dominion, and pulled back his hand.  “Snap out of it!” he yelled, and slapped Vasilov Karstok hard across the face.

Or, he would have, if the cadaverous dictator hadn’t suddenly exploded up out of his chair with a well-practiced grace, effortlessly side-stepped the blow, and countered with a vicious right hook of his own.  Stars exploded behind Donnel Zaqarian’s eyes as Karstok’s fist slammed into his temple, and he suddenly found himself looking up at the ceiling.

A fuzzy round shape obstructed the view.  It was Karstok’s head, he eventually realized, and as it came into focus it started to speak.  “You 'snap out of it,'” the Governor-General spat, and he punctuated the final plosive consonant with a kick to Zaqarian’s ribs.  The Premier doubled over on his side, and vomited.

Karstok waited until the noise died down, and then continued: “The fleet is gone!  Gone!  Do you hear me?”  He kicked at Zaqarian again, and the man coughed as he nodded in the affirmative.  He heard him.  “The so-called Vast Empire knew we were coming.  They even guessed where,” Karstok seethed.  “Or, if they didn’t guess, they were told.”  He bent down, and again his snarling visage filled Donnel Zaqarian’s out-of-focus field of vision.  “Has your inexcusable insolence and insubordination driven you to outright treason, Donnel?”  A cold eagerness burned in his eyes, as if he were daring Zaqarian to confess.

“N- n- no, G-governor-General,” Zaqarian managed to stutter, through the miasma of his own sick and blood.

“We’ll just see about that,” Karstok promised savagely.  “The Vast Empire is a perversion of the New Order,” he continued, his voice feverish, “and someone – someone here – has betrayed us to them!  Xeno-loving rimward separatists!  And someone has chosen them over civilization.  So be it.”  The fuzzy face floated out of Donnel Zaqarian’s vision.

The room seemed to grow darker, and fear swept over Donnel Zaqarian.  “What happens next?”  The man who had been the most powerful elected official in the Imperial Dominion wasn’t sure if he’d whimpered the question, or screamed it at the top of his lungs.

“Next…” repeated the Governor-General, calculating.  “No doubt the Vast Empire will strike back, thinking their counterpunch will take us unawares.  And if you were ruling the Dominion, Donnel, perhaps it would.  Thankfully, you are not.”

Unseen behind Zaqarian's crumpled, battered body, Vasilov Karstok smiled.  “I rule, here.  And as long as that is true, the New Order will never be overturned.  Not by aliens.  Not by criminals.  And not by traitors who sully the name of Empire.  When they come - and they will come - I will be ready for them.”

OOC:
1,787 words.

After Action Report: After their fleet's defeat at the Battle of Abrae, the leaders of the Imperial Dominion meet.  Governor-General Vasilov Karstok teaches a pointed lesson to a populist politician, Premier Donnel Zaqarian.
CNW/LT Wyl "Trick" Trykon/VSD Brilliant/TF:A/2Flt/FC/VEN/VE

[SoA][SoV][BWC][NSM][E][NAR][HNS][DSM][SWC][1NS][VC:B][LoM][VC:S][NC][GWC][VC:G]
(=*AE*=)(=*SAE*=)(=*TG*=)(=*SCFE*=)

TRN/AD Trykon/DJO/VEDJ
Trykon
ComNet Marshal
 
Trykon
 
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[VE-NAVY] Lieutenant
 
Post Number:  2012
Total Posts:  3784
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  RE: Tuk'ata: Counterpunch: Pestilence
September 28, 2012 3:58:25 PM    View the profile of Trykon 
It had been weeks since the Imperial Dominion’s failed attempt to invade Abrae, and still, the clean-up efforts dragged on in the space around the headquarters of the Vast Empire’s Navy.

From the forward bridge viewports of the Victory-II class Star Destroyer Brilliant, Delak Martell stared out at the Vectra System, his features contracted into a scowl.  From the awe-inspiring starscape, the sharp-eyed former starfighter pilot picked out several points of light which were brighter than their fellows, and which seemed to slowly move, and he recognized them as the running lights of distant vessels: various shuttlecraft, and lumbering, debris-laden barges.  He distinguished over a dozen of the hard-working ships before he lost count, and then his gaze was drawn to a dark, arrow-shaped absence of stars, a huge geometric shape slicing through space: the massive super star destroyer Atrus.  He marveled at the majestic battleship for long moments, and then snorted quietly in disdain.

“What in hell are we still doing here?” he muttered, with a sigh.  Brilliant and the other ships of Second Fleet had been called in to reinforce the Atrus’s armada (the defensive First Fleet) when VENI had caught wind of the imminent Imperial Dominion invasion.  Martell had no problem with that.  After all, the concentrated VE forces had soundly defeated their foes, in a decisive demonstration of superior strategy.  But the thing that the Brilliant’s Executive Officer could not understand was why, in the weeks since that battle, Second Fleet’s orders hadn’t yet changed.  Aside from an emergency sortie to blockade a disease-ridden colony world, the Vast Empire’s main offensive naval fleet hadn’t moved since winning the most one-sided and decisive victory yet in their faction’s war with the rival Imperial Dominion.

What are those jokers on the Naval High Command doing?!, Martell thought viciously.  It’s like they’re too scared to leave port!  Once again, he remembered the performance review he’d received the week before from his commanding officer, Wyl Trykon (who’d served on the Naval High Command in two different roles, over the years), and his cheeks burned.  Recalling the cold Kuati captain’s precise, cutting words, Martell replied to the critique aloud, as if Trykon could hear him: “I may be bluff and unimaginative, but even I know that this is a mistake.  The best defense is a good offense, in grav-ball just as well as interstellar war,” he grumbled.

“Mr. Martell, you’re a poet,” the familiar cold voice responded, from just behind him.

Delak Martell felt the adrenaline spike in his system at the sudden interrupting of his thoughts, and it peaked as he recognized the Kuati’s accent and bone dry tone.  His shoulders shot up in a cringe, and he closed his eyes for long seconds, holding his breath.  “Captain,” he began, turning around, “I—”

“You didn’t know I was back aboard,” Trykon finished for him.  The older man’s grey-green eyes were unyielding.  “I can see that.”  He took a step past Martell, and looked out the same viewports the younger officer had stood at for so long, oblivious.

“Sir, I—”

“You want to apologize,” Trykon spoke over him again.  “Don’t bother.  Oh, I am disappointed by your childish monologue,” the captain continued, when he saw his XO’s momentary look of mingled surprise and hope, “to be sure, but your analysis – unimaginative as it may be, and as bluffly delivered as ever – has the virtue of being more or less correct.”

Martell had the wherewithal to hold his silence.

“I appreciate candor in my command staff, Mr. Martell.  My comments in your review were not meant disparagingly; they were meant to inspire you to improve.  Regardless, you’re getting your wish.”  And with that, the captain spun around and paced away, down the central command walkway towards the aft areas of the bridge.

Martell sputtered for a moment, then followed, awkwardly loping along to catch up.  “Sir?  What did you mean, my wish?”

Trykon stopped short, and again faced his young XO.  “We’re taking the fight to the Dominion.  All hands to stations, Mr. Martell; I’m about to address the Fleet.”

***


Evir Norith, Brilliant’s communications chief, gave a thumbs-up, and Trykon’s holographic likeness was broadcast to every ship in the Vast Empire's Second Fleet.

“Gentlebeings, I have just come from Naval Headquarters, where I met with Vice Admiral Krazanr and Captain Grey,” Trykon began.  “Captain Dracule Mihawk has been called away for a special assignment, and as his Executive Officer I hereby assume temporary command of Second Fleet, to continue until further notice.”

To the right of the holorecorder, Norith’s eyes went wide at the news.  Trykon continued, unphased: “Naval Intelligence has managed to recover most of the astrogation logs from the Loyalty’s navicomputers, and those data points have revealed the route the Imperial Dominion invasion fleet used to get from their space to ours - a route previously unknown to us, which cuts through the hyperspace-disruptions which surround the Unknown Regions.  Armed with this information, we have prepared a massive counterstrike, consisting of multiple probing assaults by diverse elements of our own forces, culminating in a full-scale invasion of the Imperial Dominion home worlds.  Orders are being transmitted to you now.”

Trykon waited a beat, and when Norith nodded to confirm receipt of the data packets from his opposite numbers aboard the other ships of the Fleet, he went on.  “In the first stage of our plan, Halcyon Warrior will lead the main body of the Fleet to the star system designated T-8-chex, which we now know is a critical staging point along the main trade route use by the Dominion.  Your orders are to jump in, and destroy any and all vessels present, as well as any other ships which enter the system.  You will also be provided with the coordinates for the surrounding stops along that trade route: all of those systems are to be cleared of all shipping and settlements, as well.”  His grey-green eyes seemed to smolder with an unnatural fire.  “We are going to wipe out their merchant marine, and starve their border worlds, in a bid to destabilize their central authorities.  Details are in the formal orders just sent to you, ship captains.  One final thing I’ll add, for the record: with Captain Mihawk gone, Pherik Zail will be acting-captain of the Warrior, and he will have autonomy over his task force for this mission, since I’ll be taking Brilliant away on a separate mission.”  He paused, and frowned.  “Less than a month ago, the Imperial Dominion tried to swallow up Abrae, but they bit off more than they could chew.  Thanks to your efforts, they choked on their foul ambitions.  Now, with this counterattack, we grab hold of their collective throat, and we squeeze.  You have your orders.  Trykon, out.”

OOC:
1,128 words.

Counterpunch - a new, multi-story arc - has begun.  This thread (called "Pestilence") is the Starfighter Corps story, for Tuk'ata Squadron, which will be temporarily assigned to the Brilliant for this tale.  While the rest of the fleet assaults the Imperial Dominion along the only known trade route, in a traditional border-crossing attack, we will proceed along the route they themselves used to invade, which they will probably assume we still do not know about.

After Action Report: After long weeks, VENI has managed to extract all the intel from the Loyalty - the Allegiance-class super star destroyer the VEN captured from the ID at the Battle of Abrae.  That intel has revealed the existence of a second route into Imperial Dominion space from the plane of the Galactic disk, which was previously unknown to the VE.  That's important, because the ID home worlds are in the Unknown Regions, surrounded by "The Tangle" - a series of naturally-occurring phenomena which interfere with hyperspace, and seriously complicate travel in or out.  Armed with that information, and with the sudden mysterious disappearance of CNW Dracule Mihawk (IC, that is), Trykon assumes command of Second Fleet, and orders the attack to begin.

Please see the OOC discussion thread for more information, Tuk'ata.  Happy posting!
CNW/LT Wyl "Trick" Trykon/VSD Brilliant/TF:A/2Flt/FC/VEN/VE

[SoA][SoV][BWC][NSM][E][NAR][HNS][DSM][SWC][1NS][VC:B][LoM][VC:S][NC][GWC][VC:G]
(=*AE*=)(=*SAE*=)(=*TG*=)(=*SCFE*=)

TRN/AD Trykon/DJO/VEDJ
[This message has been edited by Trick (edited September 28, 2012 4:08:56 PM)]
Maroy
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Maroy
 
[VE-NAVY] Master Chief Petty Officer
 
Post Number:  519
Total Posts:  718
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  RE: Tuk'ata: Counterpunch: Pestilence
September 29, 2012 11:54:55 PM    View the profile of Maroy 
Maroy sat in the squadron barracks, idly playing around with her datapad for the seventh time that day. The Naval Intelligence 'debriefing' crew had long since completed their interrogations into the disasterous shakedown run that brought Tuk'ata into contact with the Dominion cruiser Scythe. The revelation that the Scythe had returned to the battlefield undetected, and either knew the Navy's comm codes or could override their frequencies, visibly disturbed even the VENI officers. The Navy switched the codes again, as usual, but not even rumors of a follow-up mission came up. Even VENI operations tended to generate a rumor or two in the Navy's complex social web, so Maroy had to assume the matter was being ignored.

Hades in particular had developed a grudge against the Dominion captain. His shock at being called out by name by Lieutenant Vrail became especially poignant when their Squadron Commander, Ryn Kerdi, abruptly stepped down and requested an extended leave of absence. Hades, being acting-XO, was the highest-positioned officer of the squadron Vrail had openly mocked. The official paperwork for the SC, XO, and FL positions were still being processed, but Hades was effectively in charge.

The question of why their fighters were in such a bad state came to light quickly once the remaining members of Tuk'ata began investigating. The deck chief told Scral in private that he had discovered a few of the mechanics had been bribed to sabotage the fighters as a practical joke. The sabotages weren't supposed to have been life-threatening, since the mission wasn't supposed to involve combat. The source of the bribes refused to show itself, probably to avoid being tried for murder, but Maroy had a feeling the Razors were involved. Apparently one of the Razor's Avengers came up with a missing engine, but the deck chief refused to say more on that. The chief put the guilty crewmen to work repairing the fighters, which were now significantly more damaged than when they were brought in the first time. Command had sent another squadrons' worth of brand-new Interceptors which had only just arrived that morning. Hades planned on the squadron doing a full check on them later in the day.

Scral stepped out of the refresher, dressed in his flight suit. The two of them were heading down to the simulators to get some flying time in. Nothing drove them insane more than being grounded, and they hadn't been even been able to do patrol duty with their fighters nearly destroyed. Scral in particular had lapsed into his usual crazed mood, although he seemed to be slowly getting better as time went on.

The man cleared his throat. "Ready to go?"

"Of course." Maroy snatched up her datapad and slid off the bunk. "Any particular scenarios you had in mind this time around?"

"I was thinking we could try the Scythe run again. I think I know how we could have taken him out without losing anyone."

Maroy smiled. The entire squadron had come up with loads of ideas for taking out Vrail. Most of them had been fairly straightforward, but a few were almost Regents-level in craziness. "Sounds good."

They reached the complex without troubles, since luckily Scral knew where was going. As they queued up for the Interceptor simulators, a familiar face emerged.

"Maroy! What's up?" Lunei grinned.

The Twi'lek smiled back. "I was about to ask the same thing. What were you doing in an Interceptor simulator?"

"I was just doing some follow-up work. They just certified me for an Interceptor a few days ago!"

"Nice, congrats!"

A loud beep interrupted them. Maroy glanced around quickly and noticed that nearly everyone in the room was doing the same.

"Must be orders." The other pilots nodded.

She got her datapad back out and quickly scanned the message. Wait. What?

She glanced up and opened her mouth to say something, and realized that Scral and Lunei had done the exact same thing.

Scral motioned at her. "You first."

"I'm a Flight Leader, Tuk'ata's been transferred to the Brilliant, ol' Drac has been called away, Trykon is in charge, and we basically need to be there now." She motioned back at Scral.

"Same. It seems I'm Besh's FL now." He turned to look at Lunei.

She glanced down and read it again. "They must have gotten something mixed up. It says I've been transferred to Tuk'ata as Cresh 2, effective immediately." She looked up at Maroy. "Like I said, I only just got approved for an Interceptor!"

"Maybe Fat Dog or whatever his name was finally got sick of you." Lunei didn't reply, and Maroy suddenly realized that with Tuk'ata's survival rate...

"Well, I guess that means you're in my flight. We need to meet up with the squadron-" She glanced down at her chrono. "Run."

As they rushed toward the hangar where the rest of the squadron was probably gathering, Lunei ran headlong into a tall Blackguard pilot. He stopped walking and extricated the girl.

"Where are you going, Loony? Our Bombers aren't due for an inspection today."

"Didn't you hear? I fly an Interceptor now. Interceptors are cool."

He looked at her as if she was crazy. "Why? It's just another big hunk of grey."

Lunei jabbed right back. "Actually, I've been thinking about painting it blue."

"Why? You're not a doctor." The man stopped for a second and looked puzzled. "Wait, what?"

"Sorry, I must've hit you harder than I meant to." She smirked and dashed past him, with Maroy and Scral close behind.

They skidded to a stop inside the entrance to the hangar. Most of the squadron was already gathered there, and Hades was leaning back, with a snarky grin on his face. "What took you so long? We were just about ready to take off without you." He turned to the rest of the squadron. "Check in with your new flight leaders and then head out as soon as you get clearance. Captain Trykon is waiting."

Maroy noted the two newer pilots heading over to her. The human pilot had replaced Rathin, the Tuk'atan who had died in the engagement with the Scythe. The second, the Cerean, was Ryn's replacement. Both had zero combat experience.

"Names, ranks and callsigns."

The Cerean's hand shot up in a salute and he answered first. "Leading Crewman Vash-Ta-Nar reporting. Callsign Shadow."

The human duplicated the maneuver. "Crewman Jak Harkiss reporting, ma'am. Callsign Torchleaf."

Two completely green recruits. Wonderful. "I trust you two know how to do a preflight check?" They nodded. "Do it and get going. I'll be right behind you." The two pilots nodded, and Maroy motioned to Lunei. "You too, Petty Officer." She gave a brief salute and figured out which TIE was hers.

And Scral's flight is all vets. She sighed. Well, at least it'll be interesting, and I have Lunei.

OOC:
WC: 1138 (yes, that was on purpose. Totally.)
AAR: Recapped some of what the squadron has been doing lately and got everyone to the hangar.
FL/MCPO Maroy/C-1/S:26 Tuk'ata/W:58 Javelin/ISD-II Halcyon Warrior/TF:A/1FL/SFC/VEN/VE (=*A*=) [GCM] [CBV] [IG] [MC2] [MC1]
Grey
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Grey
 
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  RE: Tuk'ata: Counterpunch: Pestilence
September 30, 2012 4:18:55 AM    View the profile of Grey 
She was not important, only the mission was.

Hair dyed black, dull eye-liner and bland lipstick applied, the woman who stepped off the shuttle was a far cry from the eye-catching beauty who haunted the Tower on Abrae.  It had been a long time since she had been on a mission away from the VENI base, but the tricks of the trade came back to Ensign Grey quickly.  Almost as adept as a Clawdite at changing her appearance, her features were now utterly average and forgettable.  Perfect for blending in.

Falling into line, she joined the dozen or so other Crewmen and Leading Crewmen who were arriving for assignment on the Victory-Class Star Destroyer Brilliant.  For the purposes of this mission she held the latter rank, a far cry from her actual full officer commission, though even the ‘Ensign’ part of her name was hardly real.  As far as the regular Vast Empire Navy were concerned, there was no ‘Ensign’ Grey, and never had been.  She did not appear anywhere except in secretive Naval Intelligence files.  She was a ghost.

“Leading Crewman Saja Brin!” Cried a deck officer, who stood with a datapad checking off the new arrivals.

“Here!” Called Ensign Grey, raising a nervous hand.  A couple of nearby people glanced at her, and she averted her eyes, as if scared by the attention.  Shyness was a wonderful tool for diverting the interest of others.

“You are assigned to TIE support tech teams,” Continued the deck officer, barely looking at her.  “Take your gear to your quarters,” He said, handing her a flimsy with a location on it, “Then report to Chief Ayles.  He already has his hands full prepping the newly arrived Tuk’ata TIE Interceptors, so get there sharp and lend a hand!”

“Yes, sir!  Right away, sir!” Blurted Grey, offering a strange half nod, half salute as way of acknowledgement.  The veteran Intelligence agent could feel the smiles and amusement of the other crewmen present, as they brushed her off as some goofy tech with no social skills.  Ah, how easy it was to play to stereotypes!

Taking her duffel bag, Grey hurried with a deliberately awkward gait across the hangar and into the maze of corridors beyond.  It felt good to be back on a VSD, for it had been a while since she had last served on one.  Not since she had joined the Vast Empire.  Not since she had defected from Imperial Intelligence.

No, mused Grey, defected was not the right word.  That implied choice.  She had made no choice.  In fact, before that fateful day, when her own people had tried to kill her for knowing too much, she had never made a choice in her life.  Like all agents of the Ubiqtorate, she was trained to obey and nothing more.

Agents are not important, only the mission is.

It was the lesson drilled into her since she was barely ten years old, when she had been recruited from the decayed streets of the run-down planet Metellos.  And she had swallowed every word, memorized every lesson, and believed completely in what she did.  She was a spy, an assassin, a tool to be used, and nothing more.  Nothing else mattered, and she was content.

Now she had a new master, someone else commanded her talents.  Captain Grey had taken her in, made her his Adjutant, and he had placed so much trust in her.  She alone knew what he knew.  She alone knew the full details of his plans.  Even his secret identity was known to her.  Ensign Grey had never felt so useful, so valued, as she was now that she was serving the Head of VENI.

But the same rules applied.

She was not important, only the mission was.

Her current mission was of paramount importance.  She knew exactly what was coming.  This campaign against the Imperial Dominion was crucial to the long term survival of the Vast Empire, and with so much at stake, Captain Grey felt that he could only trust her with overseeing its success.

She would not be alone, however.  VENI had other assets on board the Brilliant.  First among them would normally have been the former Captain Grey, her master’s predecessor, the Brilliant’s CO, Wyl Trykon.  However, the current VENI Chief had been explicit about keeping his old friend in the dark on this one.

Ensign Grey did not question why, of course.  Did Grey not trust Trykon?  Was he keeping secrets from the new Chief of Naval Warfare to protect him or something?  She did not waste time on idle speculation.  For now, she had a job to do.  She had to avoid Trykon and make contact with other VENI Agents on board, and give them their secret orders.

She reached the quarters assigned to her, a bunk room she was to share with three other crewmen.  Fortunately, none were present, allowing her to swiftly unpack without distraction.  Before heading off to report to Chief Ayles, she went to the bathroom and checked her appearance in the mirror.

She touched up the make-up, checked the thoroughness of her hair dye.  All was perfectly and amazingly dull.

“You are nothing,” She whispered to her distorted reflection, “Only the mission matters.”

She turned and marched briskly from the room, having memorized the layout of the Brilliant as part of her mission prep and using that knowledge to make unerringly for her cover post.

As Ensign Grey strode down the corridors (making sure to look nervous and intimidated by the size of the ship), she noticed someone coming the other way.

It was Captain Trykon!

With total control of her actions, Grey averted her gaze, working it into her meek demeanour, and continued towards him.  She seriously doubted that he would know her for they had never met, but as a former Head of Naval Intelligence he was cleared to see the documents pertaining to her.  It was a risk that the current Captain Grey was willing to take, and now was as good a time as ever to test Trykon’s knowledge.

They passed each other on opposite sides of the corridor, without comment or even a sideways glance.

Ensign Grey suppressed a smile, and continued on her way.

-----

Wyl Trykon reached the end of the corridor, his mind lost in thought about the upcoming mission, when something stirred him from his musings.  He stopped at the turbolift, frowned, and turned to look back down the corridor from whence he had come.

He saw a dark-haired Leading Crewman reach the far T-junction and turn right, vanishing from his sight.

There was something oddly familiar about her...

OOC:
1108 words.

After Action Report: Captain Grey’s Adjutant has arrived secretly on the Brilliant.
Hades
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Hades
 
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  RE: Tuk'ata: Counterpunch: Pestilence
October 1, 2012 12:04:25 AM    View the profile of Hades 
"It will be done, sir." The young Squadron Commander responded, before the transmission was severed. The first thing he did was to access his datapad and send a memo to both Scral and Maroy, informing them of his choice of Flight Leaders and their current orders. He highly doubted they'd be pleased, but he needed veterans and with Ryn not around, he had to rely on them. A few other things -- like transfers to fill empty boots -- were on his agenda as well. Once he'd finished keying in the last transmissions, Hades grabbed his gear and broke out into a light jog on the way to the hangar. He had hardly any time to spare, but when he got there he found he was first.  The other members of Tuk'ata filed in eventually and Hades dropped easily into his newly repaired -- properly repaired -- Interceptor, running through a half-preflight check. He didn't have time for full preflight procedures.

"Running preflight now.." It was Maroy.

"Forget it, Maroy. We don't have time. Cut them short." He responded, quickly but not unkindly.  "Alright Tuk'ata, engines on." He was greeted in response by the muffled screams of the twin ion engines so characteristic of these fighters, slightly lessened by the cockpit of his own starfighter. Everything sounded good as the roar increased. "Engage thrust on three."

"Chief, I'm still waiting on one man." It was Scral, Besh Flight Leader at present. Disapproval was evident in his voice as he growled the perpetrator's identity, "My new wingman."

"Follow us as soon as you can." He replied after a short pause, before continuing. "Engage on my mark, Tuk'ata. Mark." Like a choreographed sequence, the squadron poured out of the Warrior's hangar bay, small ion engines flaring as the unorthodox squadron pulled away from their mothership and toward their new assignment. Hades decided it was time to elaborate a little on their objective. "Alright, Tuk'ata, listen up." He waited for the three green flashes of light that told him the channel was secure. "As you know, we've been reassigned temporarily to the VSD Brilliant under Task Force XO Lieutenant Wyl Trykon. Some of you may have heard or seen Trykon's transmission -- we are taking the fight to the enemy and retracing their entrance route."

As an afterthough, he added over the squadron frequency: "which, more than likely, is the same route Vrail used to come in." He heard naught but silence over the comm. His squadron members were still fuming over Vrail's escape and he had the unpleasant feeling that, true to Vrail's word, they would be seeing each other again soon. But next time we won't be so unprepared. Hades vowed silently.

"I want his head." It was Scral, a few moments behind them.

"All in good time, Scral." He murmured, mostly for his own benefit. “All in good time.” Hades was cut out of his vengeful reverie by an unfamiliar female voice squawking intrusively over his comm.

“Tuk'ata lead, this is flight control aboard the Brilliant.”

“Go ahead control.” Hades responded, slightly miffed that his reverie had been interrupted.

“You are cleared to land in the starboard hangar. It's a tight fit as you come in, so watch your speed.” Control warned. Hades smirked at the innuendo.

“I always do, control.” The SC responded, only partially joking. There was something familiar about that voice. “Tuk'ata lead out.”

“What was that about?” Maroy muttered suggestively. Hades grinned.

“Never you mind, Cresh Leader. Concentrate on flying straight.” He retorted cheekily, before checking his sensors – Scral and his wingman were finally on their tail, albeit a long way back. He estimated Tuk'ata would be out of their fighters before Scral touched down. He also noted that his new wingman – A-2, Dawn – was listing slightly the left “Dawn, tighten formation.”

“Aye Chief, my bad.” Dawn's voice came back, as Hades' sensors picked up Dawn easing closer to his proper position. Satisfied, Hades focused his gazed forward. He could see the Brilliant now, a slate-grey spear jutting into the endless darkness of space, as if trying to tear the mottled black asunder.. An imposing ship to say the least. Hades had always preferred the look of the Victory-class; much more fearsome, in his opinion, with more sharp angles and such. Yes, he mused, like a spear. The dangerous visage that the Brilliant bore was made all the more fearsome by the reputation of its commander. While Hades had met Lieutenant Trykon twice – once as a green senior crewman aboard the SMC Surprise and again as a Training Officer with VENA – he barely knew the man, but knew of him. Sufficed to say he had an outstanding reputation for cold efficiency.. A shiver ran up and down the young Squadron Commander's spine.

Brilliant's dead ahead.” Hades spoke to Tuk'ata on their frequency, eyes still glued to the fearsome apparition that was the Brilliant. Everybody had seen a Star Destroyer before, but seeing this one here, just sitting there alone was spooky to say the least. The ship looked deceptively quiet. Hades knew that it would be a hive of activity aboard, though.. Trykon probably chose the position of his ship very, very precisely. “Scral, how far behind us are you?”

“I'll land around thirty seconds after you've touched down.” Scral came back.

“Tuk'ata, be advised,” The female voice of Brilliant's flight control. Hades picked up an energy spike coming from the very same ship and noticed a flare in the engines. They're moving! He realised with a flash, “the Brilliant is underway. Get aboard ASAP.”

“Understood, control.” Hades replied tersely, before raising the rest of Tuk'ata on the comm again. “You heard the lady. We are running out of time,” He gritted his teeth as he increased speed, “step on it, Tuk'ata.”

His sensors picked up the rest of Tuk'ata matching speeds with him, but now they were flying at top speed which meant that Scral would not be able to catch them unless they slowed down again. This will be a close one. The Brilliant loomed ever-closer in his viewport, and he could now see the hangar designated for Tuk'ata. He indicated it to the rest of Tuk'ata and aimed the four sharp points of his solar-panels toward the small entrance-way. “Tuk'ata lead, we recommend reduced speed.” Flight Control voiced loudly. He could see that some of Tuk'ata were falling back, not game enough to go in as fast as Hades.

“If I had a credit for everytime a girl thought that,” he muttered to himself. He reduced speed a little, but the hull of the Brilliant now filled his viewscreen, framing the rectangular hangar. He began pulling back on the throttle now, slowing down – but for all intents and purposes, it looked to be too late. His fighter was still hurtling toward the hangar. Milliseconds before he plowed into the rear wall of the Brilliant's fighter bay, Hades' fighter came to a complete stop. “Another perfect landing.” He could hear people chattering across the comm – some people berating him, others cheering him on. Flight Control and the rest of the Brilliant were silent, though, which led him to wonder whether or not they kept track of what went on inside their hangars. The bright-eyed man climbed out of his fighter rapidly, an easy smile on his face as the rest of Tuk'ata began to land.

----

“Sir, Tuk'ata Squadron is..” Martell hesitated, not quite sure what to say about Tuk'ata. Fighter Pilots were reckless, but it seemed their Squadron Commander had a larger dose of that insane juice.

“Is what, Mr. Martell?” Lieutenant Wyl Trykon asked calmly, cool tone enough to send ice into the veins of even the warmest soul.

“Mostly aboard, sir.” Martell ventured, still not quite sure what else to say.

“Mostly?” Trykon raised an eyebrow, a hint of annoyance creeping into his tone.

“The majority of Tuk'ata came aboard at unbelievable speed. Especially Tuk'ata lead.” Martell let acid lace his words, making his disdain for the recklessness of Tuk'ata obvious. “There are still two pilots en-route. They said something about being delayed on the Warrior, sir.”

The Task Force Executive Officer contemplated in silence for a moment, calm gaze regarding Martell. “As you were, XO.” He responded finally, as if nothing had happened.

Delak Martell turned away from his Captain, slightly disgruntled that he had not exacted harsh punishment on the troublesome Tuk'ata squadron, but intent on overseeing preparations for their hyperspace journey.

OOC:
Wordcount: 1,421

AAR: Tuk'ata is aboard the Brilliant, with the exception of Scral and his new wingman. Hades contemplates a few things en-route and comes screaming into the hangar recklessly. Delak Martell, the XO, makes his report to Lieutenant Trykon.

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SCO | SCPO "Hades" | A-1 | S:26 "Tuk'ata" | W:58 "Javelin" | ISD Halcyon Warrior | TF:Besh | 2nd Fleet | SC | VEN | VE
XNT | SCPO "Hades" | PLF Cappadocious | VENA | VEN | VE

VENI

[MC1] [CBV] [CAR] [BWC] [HNS] [SWC] [NSM] [LoM]
{INTER} {SfrM} {XenMA}  (=*SWC*=) {AFM} {HypM} {0Gee} {INFL}

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[This message has been edited by Hades (edited October 1, 2012 12:05:45 AM)]
Trykon
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Trykon
 
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  RE: Tuk'ata: Counterpunch: Pestilence
October 2, 2012 3:01:05 AM    View the profile of Trykon 
Hosk Av’Vast’s fur rippled in disdain as the Bothan commander of Dire-cat Squadron watched the undisciplined pilots of the other unit – Tuk’ata Squadron, according to one of the technicians puttering around – land their fighters in the Brilliant’s main hangar bay, one at a time.

The first dagger-shaped TIE Interceptor had rocketed into the crowded, disorganized hangar, stopping less than a meter from the far wall before settling into an empty rack.  It had been the grandstanding move of a show-off, and Hosk had been infuriated to notice a look of admiration and even approval in the eyes of some of his own squadron’s pilots.  Worse than being disorderly, it appeared this other pilot might be popular as well, and there was hardly a personality combination that Hosk Av’Vast hated more, since, as a member of a species many associated with the New Republic, he had only achieved his own command position through hard work, discipline, and relentless networking.  From the moment the first Tuk’ata pilot pulled off his stunt, Hosk identified him as a rival and threat.

And the other landings were no more promising.  Two or three Flight Elements managed to land "by the book," in formation and at a reasonable, matching speed.  But most of the duos came in separated from each other by many meters, with each wingmate flying at a different speed: some were tentative, and some flew almost as ludicrously fast as the first pilot.  Hosk curled back his lips in a silent snarl, as the last Tuk’ata made it into the hangar just before the stars outside stretched into lines, and then were abruptly replaced by the swirling blue and white lightshow that was hyperspace.

The newcomers leapt out of their cockpits and gathered in animated discussion, and as they did, the Bothan SCO turned around and called his own pilots: “Dire-cat Squadron,” he mewed, “form up on me.”

Instantly, the other eleven pilots of Dire-cat dropped what they were doing and formed ranks behind their CO, organized by Flight.  He’d instilled discipline in these flyers, at least.  Now it was time to give a demonstration of what discipline looked like to their new partner squadron.  “Dire-cat Squad, forward, march!” Hosk said.

With machinelike precision, the twelve pilots of Dire-cat Squadron moved out, their expressionless faces strangely lit by the swirl of hyperspace just beyond the hangar’s grav-con field.  Hosk marched them up to the knot of laughing, roughhousing Tuk’ata pilots, and then halted them.  The sound of twelve sets of boots stomping down to attention in unison echoed in the hangar, and the noisy Tuk’atans quieted down warily.

Hosk forced himself to smile, in the broad, non-threatening way that Humans seemed to prefer, since most of the other squadron seemed composed of the furless creatures.  When none of them spoke, Hosk took the initiative: “Welcome to the Brilliant, Tuk’ata Squadron,” he said.  “My name is Chief Warrant Officer Hosk Av’Vast, and we, “ he continued, with a slight nod toward the block of pilots behind him, “are Dire-cat Squadron.  I look forward to serving with you all.”  He paused, struggling to censor his next words: “And, perhaps, watching you transform into real Imperial pilots.”

OOC:
531 words.  I wanted to give Tuk'ata a foil to play against: I hereby introduce Dire-cat Squadron, led by a Bothan with a big chip on his shoulder and something to prove.

AAR: With all of Tuk'ata aboard, the pilots meet their fellow TIE Interceptor Squadron stationed aboard Brilliant for this mission: Dire-cat Squadron.  The SCO of Dire-cat - a Bothan who's chosen the clan name Vast, as in Empire - greets them warmly, but with an edge that betrays his disapproval of the way they arrived.
CNW/LT Wyl "Trick" Trykon/VSD Brilliant/TF:A/2Flt/FC/VEN/VE

[SoA][SoV][BWC][NSM][E][NAR][HNS][DSM][SWC][1NS][VC:B][LoM][VC:S][NC][GWC][VC:G][CoB]
(=*AE*=)(=*SAE*=)(=*TG*=)(=*SCFE*=)

TRN/AD Trykon/DJO/VEDJ
Hades
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Hades
 
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  RE: Tuk'ata: Counterpunch: Pestilence
October 2, 2012 12:25:45 AM    View the profile of Hades 
Hades knew from the moment the sound of boots on the deck had caught his attention that there would be trouble between himself and Av'Vast. His knowledge was affirmed by the way the man spoke, the way his fur rippled imperiously; hell, even the way he stood identified him as a threat to Hades and Tuk'ata. A rival, albeit four pay grades above the Commander of Tuk'ata. As befitted the addressing of a Warrant Officer, Hades saluted sharply -- a skillful show of drill and ceremony which would undoubtedly surprise Av'Vast, given his evidently low impression of Tuk'ata. Hades began his rebuttal politely

"Thank you for the warm welcome, sir. We of the Tuk'ata Squadron are also looking forward to working with the Dire-cats," He paused for emphasis, "and perhaps watch you follow in our footsteps of becoming real pilots. A learning experience for us all!" Av'Vast's fur rippled dangerously, and Hades could tell he was infuriated by the younger, more handsome Squadron Leader's impertinence. "Tuk'ata, on me!" Hades called back, offering Av'Vast a sweet smile before brushing past him amid curious glances from the Dire-cats. Hades' cheerful walk and confident manner almost literally bounced around the hangar as he called to no-one in particular: "Ah, such fun to be had!"

Av'Vast was fuming. He turned around to shout after the man, but thought better of it. Now was not the time to try some petty revenge stunt. He caught one of his pilots furtively -- admiringly -- glance at Hades and snapped. "Crewman Mayn, eyes front if you please!" The crewman in question immediately snapped his gaze back forward, allowing a ripple of satisfaction to ease through the Chief Warrant Officer. He knew they were the better squadron, even if Hades was popular with the pilots. Meanwhile, Hades broke out into an easy chuckle as Dawn hurried to catch up with him.

"Chief, you showed him!" Dawn stated, a hint of awe in his voice.

"That I did." The SCO responded light heartedly, before adding "Now pray to whatever greater power you believe in he doesn't try and court-martial me for insubordination.."

A few laughs emanated from behind them before a hush fell over those following him. For a moment he thought Av"Vast had come after them, but his fears proved to be unfounded as he turned to see the newest addition to their squadron loping after them. Scral's wingmate. Hades craned his neck, but could not see Scral. "Crewman!" He barked, "Where's Chief Petty Officer Scral?"

"He was right behind me sir, but he said he was having engine troub-"

"Son of a.." Hades swore. Just like Scral to pull something like this. Hades had taken the liberty of checking over all of their fighters before coming aboard. There had been no faults at all, especially not engine trouble. He saw the Crewman looking up at him in what appeared to be fear, and the rest of the squadron waiting to see his reaction. "Alright. Good to have you aboard, Crewman."

Without waiting for a response, Hades set off again in the direction of their bunks. His boots clicked against the finely polished hallways – the corridors aboard the Warrior and indeed the Atrus had been immaculate, but these were somehow.. more immaculate. It spoke volumes for Trykon's focus on discipline. His eyes darted around the corridor and caught on a woman coming the other way up ahead. She had blue eyes and black hair – for a moment he was reminded of Ryn thanks to those blue eyes, but when he met eyes with the woman he instantly removed the Ryn-likeness. There was.. well, nothing in her eyes other than eyeballs. No emotion, no thought.. nothing. It was like looking at a blank file; you simply couldn't read her. Her uniform denoted her as a lowly mechanic and Hades narrowed his bright eyes subtly as she made eye contact. Her gaze held his for just moment before she averted it, just like any other mechanic when faced with an NCO of Hades' position.

He shrugged the thought of the woman off and recalled the voice he'd heard. He knew her from somewhere, if he saw her face he'd know her even better. But where was it from.. Hades snapped out of his thoughts as his eyes registered a sign he had made sure not to miss – one that denoted the quarters assigned to Tuk'ata. Funnily enough, there were quarters opposite as well that looked to be inhabited by Dire-cat squadron. A mischievous smile crept across Hades' handsome features as some not-so-legal ideas popped into his head. He shook them out – but retained the smile – and entered the room. It was smaller than their quarters on the Warrior. The SCO's room doubled as his office and the XO's room as little more than a walled-off bunk. Communal refreshers were just outside. All in all, it was a step down. Tuk'ata was never too concerned with that anyway. With a shrug, Hades marched into his room and dumped his bag on a small chair. He picked up the datapad that sat on his desk and examined it briefly before stowing it with his other assortment of datapads and chips..

With an exasperated sigh, he let himself fall back onto his bed. It wasn't too hard or too soft, so Hades was pleased with his quarters. His pleasant mood was lightened even more by that fact that DeepSix and his beloved Razors where going to be far away for the duration of this mission, aboard the Warrior. Given the trouble that Tuk'ata had been and the amount of paperwork that, by effect, got sent to Deep's desk, he had no doubt that their WC was just as pleased as they were. A quiet knock on the door broke into his pleasant mood. “Come in” he called easily and sat up. It was Maroy. “Ah, Master Chief. Do you happen to know anything about Scral's-”

“No.” Hades raised an eyebrow at her firm response.

“Are you su--”

“Scral didn't tell me anything, but maybe it was engine trouble. Did you consider that?” She retorted tersely.

“Cut the crap, Maroy. I checked all our fighters; there were no malfunctions whatsoever. What he did is considered desertion and he's liable to be court-martialed once I transmit back to Abrae what happened.” Maroy's lekku twitched. Was that surprise?

“You haven't contacted Abrae yet?” It was evident she thought that Hades hated  – or at least held a grudge against – her and Scral.

“No, and I don't plan to.” Hades let out a sigh, “Scral is unstable. He's smart too. So that leads me to one of two conclusions; First is that some form of trauma, a fear of combat or similar led to him shirking duty.”

Maroy seemed uncomfortable. “And the second?”

“The second is that he deliberately faked engine trouble to benefit Tuk'ata. Given the way his mind works, I wouldn't put it past him.” Hades gauged Maroy's reaction. Her lekku twitched. How distinctive, Hades thought bitterly. He couldn't read Maroy like he could others. Twi'leks..

“Thank you, Chief.” Maroy murmured quietly, and a tense breath she had been holding seemed to release itself and lower the tension.

“For what?” Hades got up and turned away from her, pacing to his desk and rummaging through some of his stuff.

“For not condemning him.” She said simply. Hades paused in his rummaging. He could tell by the faint sound of the door closing that she was gone, and he let out a sight. What are you doing, Hades?

OOC:
Wordcount: 1,278. Come on, Tuk'ata -- get to posting!

AAR: Hades sees Av'Vast in the same way that Av'Vast sees him -- a threat, a rival. He has a short exchange with the CWO before heading to the crew quarters. En-route he learns of Scral's deception and ponders women, before confronting Maroy in the barracks about Scral's intentions.

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SCO | SCPO "Hades" | A-1 | S:26 "Tuk'ata" | W:58 "Javelin" | ISD Halcyon Warrior | TF:Besh | 2nd Fleet | SC | VEN | VE
XNT | SCPO "Hades" | PLF Cappadocious | VENA | VEN | VE

VENI

[MC1] [CBV] [CAR] [BWC] [HNS] [SWC] [NSM] [LoM]
{INTER} {SfrM} {XenMA}  (=*SWC*=) {AFM} {HypM} {0Gee} {INFL}

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[This message has been edited by Hades (edited October 2, 2012 10:06:12 PM)]
Scral
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Scral
 
[VE-NAVY] Chief Petty Officer
 
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  RE: Tuk'ata: Counterpunch: Pestilence
October 4, 2012 11:23:38 PM    View the profile of Scral 
OOC:
This is a min-arc story that details the decision Scral has made, and introduces Joamer who is being transferred into the Navy.


The Interceptor's cockpit was quiet, except for the regular soft beeping of the monitors and the gentle thrum of the twin Ion engines. Known by only a few as Trimik Dyr'Jin, husband of Evelyn Reistlin the man more commonly known as Scral sat in his fighter and watched the Brilliant jump into hyperspace without him.

He had lied to his new wingman about having engine problems, in truth his engines were running perfectly. He had to break away from the squadron, he was a cancer to them especially at this moment in time. He was a damn fine pilot, one of the best. That went without question for most, but right now they needed someone who could lead them. Not someone who would go off in search of a fight and leave them behind to be destroyed.

No, what they need is someone who can build them from the ground up. Someone they would learn to trust and would blindly follow into Hell and back knowing they would come out of it alive. Scral thought to himself as he felt his fighter turning towards Abrae.

He already knew his course of action, the resignation papers were signed and sitting inside his flight suit. The other set of papers confirmed the man he had asked all those months ago to help had graduated from the Academy and was currently residing onboard the Brilliant




  --Four months ago, Tadath local time 2230 hours. Last Chance Bar, Sianet City. Tadath.--

The man sitting at the bar was resigned to his fate. The glass in front of him contained some off world mixture call root beer on some planets, nearly impossible to find or convince the customs authority it was not alcoholic at all. Convincing anyone he was a pilot who did not drink was nearly hard enough. In truth he should be drinking, heavily all day long. With the memories he carried he should stay in an alcohol induced haze for the rest of his life, but he did not drink so the memories stay with him full force all the time.

He knew the squadron was beyond his help, he could not build them into a cohesive fighting force on his own. He was a pilot, nothing more and nothing less. He was not a leader that could inspire people to follow him into a sticky situation and come out the other end in one piece. Looking down at his glass he knew the course he would have to take, he just wished he could find another way other than to ask him.

He did not bother to look up as a man stepped up next to him quietly. He did feel the rain drops coming off the floor length leather coat the man took off and tossed onto a chair next to him though. The small Strill who glided off the man's shoulder to perch herself starring intently at Scral unnerved him but he kept to his glass and did not look up. He had not seen Joamer for almost three years, since that fateful day when Evelyn burned alive.

"So, get this. Funny story." Joamer said to the Strill, but loud enough and pointedly enough for Scral to know it was for him. "I'm on Naboo, enjoying my retired married life when suddenly a message comes through. Using an emergency line only reserved for a few people in the Galaxy. From my own brother-in-law whom I've not seen nor spoken to in three years."

He saw the Strill look at him for a moment before becoming bored and growling at the bartender. The man seemed to understand perfectly what she wanted because a few seconds later a saucer of milk was placed before her. The contented purring filled the room as the Strill began laping up the milk with abandon.

"Is she ever going to get bigger?" Scral asked quietly, Lurk was the same size the last time he had seen her.

"No, she was the runt of the liter when I found her. She will probably outlive me, but she will stay that size for the rest of her life." Joamer sat as he sat down and ordered a Corellian brandy. "So, what is so bloody important I had to come back to a planet I'm not much liked in anymore?"

Scral avoided looking at the particle magnum resting on Joamer's right leg, he knew the man had a long blade sitting somewhere on his body with at least one other weapon hidden somewhere. Not to mention the Strill was quite capable of simply ripping off his face at a moments notice. He knew the next few minutes could very well be the end of his life.

Breathing slowly and trying to stay cool and collected he said, "I'm sorry for what happened to her, it was my fault above anything. I kept pushing her to be more, fly further, faster, harder."

Joamer stayed silent as he took a sip of his brandy, after a moment he said, "You should read some of the letters she wrote home about her time with you. At first you were some cocky upstart trying way too hard to show off, then you both just became inseperable. She looked up to you, always said you would always be better than her but she still tried to beat you at every turn. You turned my baby sister into a woman who knew exactly what she wanted, what made her happy, she chose that life and nothing we could do would even turn her from that course." He was silent for a time before continuing, "I don't blame you Trimik, I never have. Sure I miss her, but when she died I lost a brother too. So I ask you, my brother. Why did you summon me here?"

"I have a group of people that need your help." The words were almost identical to the ones used by Rizzit all those years ago to entice him to join the army. They worked then, and he knew Trimik was one of the only people in the Galaxy who could use them and actually get them to work.

Joamer was silent for a time before he began laughing slowly, then more loudly. Scral saw Lurk look at and glare at both of them for disturbing her milk induced sleep, but after a moment she just layed back down in the saucer and passed back out. "So, you want me to give up my retired married life. To spend the next few years in the Navy helping another group of people to not kill each other?"

"That's the gist of it, yea." Scral said as he ordered another root beer, and another Corellian Brandy a moment later as Joamer downed what was left of his in one swallow.


OOC:
WC- 1143. Scral sets the stage for Joamer to show up, and begin to explain why he is not good leadership material.
Trimik Dyr'Jin
Callsign Scral, Chief Petty Officer,
Besh Flight Lead, Besh 1, Tuk'ata Squadron

FL|CPO Trimik "Scral" Dyr'Jin|B-1|26th Vast Imp. Fighter Squadron "Tuk'ata" |W:58 "Javelin"|mSSD Halcyon Warrior |TF:A|1FL|SFC|VEN|VE
[MC1] [MC2]x2 {=A=} (=^TG^=)
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."
Maroy
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Maroy
 
[VE-NAVY] Master Chief Petty Officer
 
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  RE: Tuk'ata: Counterpunch: Pestilence
October 5, 2012 5:32:05 AM    View the profile of Maroy 
Scral jumped ship. It still hadn't quite sunk in, after all they'd been through. He'd explained it all to Maroy well in advance, of course, but she'd never really accepted that he was actually leaving. Now that he was gone, though, the feelings of loneliness that had dominated her days after Cayden died started to creep back in. She didn't know the guy Scral was supposed to be sending them, although she'd heard of him from an acquaintance, and she couldn't really call anyone else in the squadron a friend. Lunei was there, of course, but she had more things to worry about than her flight leader. Maroy smiled briefly, in spite of her mood. In fact, she already seems to be making some friends of her own...

-----

Lunei bent over her bunk, laying out the contents of her pack of belongings. She glanced over at the bunk next to hers and noticed the boy sitting there, the new pilot assigned as Scral's wingmate, was staring at her. He immediately averted his gaze, becoming intensely focused on a small medkit he had pulled out of his pack. Lunei gave a mental shrug and continued to unpack. She pulled out the final item with a flourish, and glanced over to catch the pilot looking at her again. He went back to studying the medkit, but it was obvious he hadn't actually pulled anything else out yet. The girl smiled and swung her legs over to face him.

"Need any help unpacking?"

The pilot shrugged and hesitantly made eye contact. "I think I can do it myself. Thanks."

"What was your name again?"

"Tracen... I mean, uh, Tracen Klitopm. But everyone calls me Mynock." He looked down at the ground.

"How come?"

"I specialized in field medical training, back on Lotaith, before I signed up to become a pilot. I... tend to get carried away when I'm looking after a patient." He sighed. "People get exhausted just watching me, sometimes."

"Come on. It can't be that bad." She smiled again and held out her hand. "The name's Lunei. Lunei Taneg."

He met her gaze again and shook her hand. "Nice to meet you."

A third human pilot swung in between them, carelessly dropping down on the girl's bunk. "Pleased to meet you too, Lunei." He smiled roguishly. "Oh, and you too, Mynock." Tracen cringed slightly and looked down again.

Lunei chuckled a little at the newcomer's audacity before shoving him back off the bunk. "Excuse me, but you might want to at least introduce yourself before assuming you can share my bunk."

The man got up off the floor and grinned. "Jak Harkiss at your service. Callsign Torchleaf." He sat down next to Tracen and casually looped an arm over the latter's shoulder. "Sorry about that little jab, bud. It was rude of me. How can I make it up to you? A drink, maybe?"

Tracen seemed startled for a second, but eventually he picked his gaze back up to meet Jak's. "You could start by getting off my bunk."

Jak laughed and stood back up, leaning against one of the corners of Lunei's bunk. "Tough crowd, you lot." He smiled mischievously. "I was planning on going over and playing a little prank on those Dire-cats across the hall. I've got a 'malfunctioning' mouse droid that I was planning on letting loose. Either of you in?"

Tracen shied back again, but Lunei looked up at Jak with a skeptical but not wholly hostile expression. "You realize how much trouble you'll be in if they catch you, right?"

The prankster's grin widened. "The trick is to not get caught."

"I'd say there's a roughly 47% chance of that happening." Vash-Ta-Nar, the Cerean, walked over. "I would report you, but the most likely outcome of that would be an even bigger degradation of this squadron's reputation."

Jak's tone betrayed his annoyance. "Come off it, Vash. You know Corellians have no use for odds."

"I guess that's why you Corellians are so eager to join up with the inferior New Republic."

Lunei stepped in. "Well, I'm from Corellia too. Maybe I can even those odds a bit." She matched Jak's earlier grin. "I'm in."

"I thought that accent sounded Coreward." The male Corellian resumed his own smirk. "Looks like it's just you and me, then. You get the vents."

"I'm on it." Lunei grabbed a hydrospanner someone had left out. "Oh, and Jak?" She tossed the hydrospanner. "Don't get any ideas."

He deftly caught it. "Wouldn't dream of it. It would be a shame if you beat me up just so Tracen had someone to practice on."

"You're crazy, you know that?"

"Oh yes. If I wasn't, this would never work."

-----

The panicked yells of Av'Vast's normally orderly squadron indicated that the operation was a complete success. Doubtlessly someone would come by and investigate later, but they wouldn't be able to pin anything on Tuk'ata. The two pranksters had covered their tracks well.

OOC:
WC:830
Just a quick bit of CD expanding on some of Tuk'ata's NPCs. I promise I'll do an actual serious post at some point.
FL/MCPO Maroy/C-1/S:26 Tuk'ata/W:58 Javelin/ISD-II Halcyon Warrior/TF:A/1FL/SFC/VEN/VE (=*A*=) [GCM] [CBV] [IG] [MC2] [MC1]
Trykon
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Trykon
 
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  RE: Tuk'ata: Counterpunch: Pestilence
October 5, 2012 3:04:57 PM    View the profile of Trykon 
When the last of the pilots shuffled into the amphitheater, Ensign Iphigen Le Roi took a deep breath, tapped the door control twice to close and lock the portal, and then dimmed the lights.  Twenty three TIE pilots stood in the darkness, each in front of one of the spherical room’s individual desks, murmuring amongst themselves.  Iphigen cleared her throat pointedly, and the low-level hum of quiet conversations fell into silence.

The junior officer made eye contact with Lieutenant Trykon, and the Brilliant’s captain nodded curtly: it was time.

“Pilots, my name is Iphigen Le Roi, and I’m Brilliant’s senior Starfighter Control officer, callsign 'Control' for this deployment.  Captain Trykon,” she said, nodding toward the back of the room where the Kuati officer stood stoically with arms crossed across his chest, “has asked me to brief you on the coming mission.  Please take your seats, and we’ll begin.”

There was a ruckus, as chairs scraped across the deck and flight-suited beings collapsed into them, and then another outburst of unsettling quiet.  “Thank you,” Iphigen said stupidly.  Come on, Iphi, she told herself, there’s no need to be nervous.  This is your moment to shine in the spotlight, not wilt under the attention.

“Although we captured the Imperial Dominion’s flagship a few weeks ago, the Loyalty’s Dominion crew managed to wipe most of the ship’s main computer before our boarding teams could wrest control of the bridge,” she said, gaining confidence as she rediscovered the familiar rhythm and cadence of the briefing room.  “But, three standard days ago, Naval Intelligence managed to decrypt the section of the Loyalty’s data banks that was not fully erased, and the decrypted information is… significant,” she finished, choosing understatement and indicating her choice with the pointed arch of a single, delicate eyebrow.

Flight suits rustled as the twenty-three pilots fidgeted.  Briefly, Iphigen considered the missing pilot – a Chief Petty Officer, and Flight Leader in Tuk’ata Squadron – and her gaze flicked to Captain Trykon, still standing at the back with an unreadable frown on his face.  The Kuati didn’t have a reputation for being particularly forgiving, and his distaste for unprofessionalism was well-known throughout the Navy.  Gods help CPO Trimik Dyr’Jin, Iphigen thought to herself, when next he sees LT Wyl Trykon.

The Starfighter Control officer turned her thoughts back to the task at hand, and pressed a button at the base of the holo station mounted toward the front of the amphitheater: a holographic map of the Galaxy bloomed into being, with millions of tiny points of light marking the various star systems.  The view zoomed in, until the familiar starscape that was Vast Empire Space was all that could be seen.

“As you all know,” Iphigen continued, “the Imperial Dominion attacked Abrae directly, but, even though Naval Intel was able to predict the attack, even VENI was unprepared for this…”  She pressed another button, and the view zoomed in further, highlighting the Vectra System (location of the moon Abrae, the VEN’s base of operations), and then tracing a line out from the system in red.  “That red line is the route the Imperial Dominion invasion fleet took to get to Abrae,” she said, “reconstructed from the data in the Loyalty’s partially-wiped astrogation computer.  It’s unremarkable, in and of itself, that they chose to approach the system from outside the plane of the galactic disk,” she continued, as the holo zoomed out to follow the line up and over the relatively flat disk which held most of the Galaxy’s stars, “but as we follow their journey backwards, we see their route takes an unexpected turn.”

She activated the next sequence in the presentation, and the view followed the red line back toward the galactic disk again, but when it rejoined the Galaxy somewhere in the Unknown Regions, the line then bounced between a half-dozen star systems, before ending deep in an area known to be controlled by the Imperial Dominion.

“As you can see,” Iphigen said, “the Imperial Dominion launched their attack from within their own space.  Before now, the Vast Empire has assumed – on very good intelligence – that there was only one route in or out of the Dominion’s territories: the trade route centered on the T-8-chex system.  Hyperspace travel is obstructed all around the Unknown Regions by a series of anomalies which most of you have no doubt heard called ‘The Tangle.’  Well, it appears,” she said drily, as she surveyed the map, “that there is at least one other hyperlane into the Unknown Regions, one that safely cuts through The Tangle, and one that we knew nothing about.  And one,” she added, “that the Dominion knew we knew nothing about.”

“And they must continue to think we are ignorant, for as long as possible,” Trykon interrupted.  Some pilots half-turned in their seats to stare up and back at the ship captain.  “That is why the rest of the Fleet is raiding T-8-chex: we must keep the Dominion occupied along their main border worlds, convinced our counter-invasion will follow that traditional route into their home territories.  But while they are drawing attention there, we need to very quietly scout this new hyperlane, here.  If we can, I intend to use this 'Secondary Route' to strike back against the Dominion, and end this threat once and for all.”  At the last syllable, the Kuati’s features twisted into a grim smile.  “Carry on, Ensign Le Roi,” he said mildly, and then he turned around and left.

“You heard the Captain.  Our mission is to scout this Secondary Route, with a view to using it in a few weeks’ time to invade the Imperial Dominion itself.  We are only one ship, to try to keep a low profile for as long as possible.  But we are the Brilliant, because if and when our activities are discovered, we should be able to handle any token forces the ID Navy has stationed along this supposedly-secret hyperlane.

“In half an hour, we’ll drop out of hyperspace at the edge of the first system along this Secondary Route.  The Loyalty’s computer didn’t have any information on the system, other than its coordinates, and a numerical designation.  Apparently, the ship visited one thousand, one hundred, and thirty-eight systems between this one and its last navicomp reset.  So, we’ll call this the 1138 System.

“When we revert to realspace, both Tuk’ata and Dire-cat Squadrons will launch.  Dire-cat, you’re on Combat Aerospace Patrol: screen the Brilliant from any emergent threats.”  Iphigen noted the Bothan SCO of Dire-cat’s reaction: he seemed disappointed, but eager not to show any emotion.  She couldn’t fault him for either half of that response.  “Tuk’ata, you’re on scouting duty for this first system.  A median line approach – passing close to all the system’s planets – has been ruled out for this sortie: there’s too high a chance that the Dominion has sensor-and-comm stations deployed along this route.  Instead, Captain Trykon wants you to execute a return orbit fly-through.”

Just in case the TIE jockeys didn’t remember the difference from their Academy classes, Iphigen reminded them: “You’ll plot a course that takes you in toward the system’s star, orbits the star once, and then slingshots away from the sun back to our original entry point, where Brilliant will be waiting.  This way, you can slip in and out without being detected by any Dominion agents or droids, and any unanticipated Dominion defense ships will have a hard time pursuing you with the loop around the sun.  Your run will give us valuable information, and we can then decide whether a more targeted search is in order, or whether we should move on to the next system along the route.”  She looked at the twenty-three faces of her pilots - they looked determined - and she smiled.  Not too bad, Iphi, she told herself.  Then, the SCO of Tuk’ata – Hades was his callsign, she remembered – winked.  She pretended not to see it, and brought the briefing to a close: “If there are questions, I’ll take them now, and then you should all get to the hangar and start your pre-flight checklists.  We’ll be at the 1138 System in less than half an hour.”

OOC:
1,361 words.

AAR: Ensign Iphigen Le Roi, the Starfighter Control officer aboard Brilliant, briefs the pilots of Dire-cat and Tuk'ata Squadrons.  Tuk'ata is instructed to do a return orbit fly-through (NOT a median line fly-through) of System 1138, the first star system the Brilliant has to scout along the secret Imperial Dominion hyperlane they used to invade VE space.

The technical information in this post - about scouting techniques and The Tangle that obstructs travel in/out of the Unknown Regions - is taken from the Unknown Regions supplement for the Star Wars Roleplaying Game.  See the story's discussion thread for more details, or to ask questions.
CNW/LT Wyl "Trick" Trykon/VSD Brilliant/TF:A/2Flt/FC/VEN/VE

[SoA][SoV][BWC][NSM][E][NAR][HNS][DSM][SWC][1NS][VC:B][LoM][VC:S][NC][GWC][VC:G][CoB]
(=*AE*=)(=*SAE*=)(=*TG*=)(=*SCFE*=)

TRN/AD Trykon/DJO/VEDJ
Joamer
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Joamer
 
[VE-ARMY] Sergeant Major
[VE-NAVY] Chief Warrant Officer
 
Post Number:  822
Total Posts:  996
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  RE: Tuk'ata: Counterpunch: Pestilence
October 7, 2012 12:53:21 AM    View the profile of Joamer 
Two silent shadows watched the assembled squadrons file out slowly. First came half of Tuk'ata squadron, then Dire-cat followed them in orderly lines. To Joamer they seemed to be trying a bit too hard to show everyone they were united, try as they might they could not completely mask the sideways glances some of them gave members of their own squadron. Over the next two minutes the rest of Tuk'ata squadron filed out.

"You see those last two?" The voice of Rain said quietly a few moments after the room became quiet. "They did not even care what was happening."

He could only nod a few times, he felt a tiny tug on his shirt as Lurk uncoiled herself from behind him and climbed her way up to his shoulder. Preening much like a cat would she surveyed the nearly empty room as her eyes found the man known as Wyl Trykon. He heard her grumble low in her throat, to him it had the sound of acceptance. Though, it could of easily been mistaken for her stomach growling for something to eat.

"You know if you two plan to become part of that bulkhead, they do get cleaned weekly." Trykon said as he continued to study a few notes scattered on the table in front of him.

Shaking his head slightly Joamer ran one finger over Bright's hand for a single moment before pushing off the bulkhead and walking down towards the man. He felt Lurk crouch down on his shoulder as she studied began studying him as they walked down, he hoped she would not do something drastic and go for his face. Sadly, she was prone to do that at random. Some people she just refused to like no matter how hard they tried.

"I would ask if that thing bites, but judging by her eyes I know the answer." Trykon said as he reached into a bag mostly hidden by the table. "Luckily, I was told you two would be bringing them. Rumor is, the only thing harder than separating you two is keeping you away from those critters. As such, I will simply bribe them both."

Dropping two saucers onto the ground he leaned over and poured milk into both, nearly instantly Lurk glided down from Joamer's shoulder and landed near one of them. A moment later a sleepy Shadow crawled out from inside Bright's jacket and did the same. He knew Bright would be smiling, and trying very hard not to laugh lightly. Shaking his head he said, "Traitors, both of you. Bribed by milk."

"Good intel, saves lives." Trykon said mostly to himself, it sounded like a lesson learned the hard way a long time ago.

Nodding in agreement Joamer stood up a hair straighter and said, "Reistlin Joamer, Chief Warrant Officer number 36706. Tuk'ata Squadron."

Stepping forward and standing a slight bit more at attention Bright said, "Rain Alli'A'isha D'Jonoc Te'Reistlin, Warrant Officer Second Class, Callsign Brightstar, Tuk'ata Squadron."

"Yes, I know who you both are. Naval personnel don't wear military issue jack-boots, or wear jackets that hide their ranks from their own squadron. So, recon first before joining them openly. Sneaky, but judging by both your records it's to be expected." Trykon said as he glanced at the Strills who began growling over the last few drop of milk that ended up on the floor. "Reistlin, Hades will no doubt confirm this with you but you are assigned Besh Flight Leader, Besh 1 or Tuk'ata 5. Miss Reistlin you are Aurek 3, or Tuk'ata 3."

"Call me Brightstar, please." Bright said as he bent down to pick up Lurk and Shadow after they had thoroughly cleaned up the milk.

"I believe you two have a squadron to meet and flight suits to be put on." Trykon said as he turned back to one of his charts laid out behind him.

Turning to Rain he motioned slightly and let Lurk climb up onto his shoulder were she began cleaning herself while making sure she got every last drop of milk stuck to her fur. Reaching the door he held it open while she walked through, he heard Trykon say from inside the room "One last thing, that finger rub you gave her. What did it mean?"

Starring out into the hallway, and glancing at his wife for a long moment he considered not replying or even lying to the man. He never liked people in authority who got the job because they knew someone. However, to him Trykon seemed like someone he could learn to trust.

Turning back into the room he looked at him and said, "A few things, in this context just watch." He saw Trykon look down for a moment as he digested this new tidbit of information about the two of them, a moment later he turned back to his charts.

Looking around the room one last time Joamer stepped into the hallway and stepped up next to his wife. Staying quiet for a few seconds he looked over at her as she seemed to be thinking about something, he knew in time she would tell him so instead he simply said, "Well, let's go meet the troops."

OOC:
WC- 875. Bright and Joamer meet Trykon, and discover a little secret about Dire-Cat Squadron. They also learn their Strills can be bribed, however I still suggest not trying it.
Joamer Tremaine Reistlin
Chief Warrant Officer, Flight Leader
Besh Flight, Tuk'ata Squadron

FL|CWO Joamer|B-1|26th Vast Imp. Fighter Squadron "Tuk'ata" |W:58 "Javelin"|mSSD Halcyon Warrior |TF:A|1FL|SFC|VEN|VE
In memory of Ghost squad, we will never forget.
Hades
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Hades
 
[VE-NAVY] Senior Chief Petty Officer
 
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  RE: Tuk'ata: Counterpunch: Pestilence
October 8, 2012 7:10:13 PM    View the profile of Hades 
Hades had learned long ago to be welcoming and suspicious of competition, so naturally he was suspicious of Dire-cat. To remedy that suspicion, he had snuck over to their communal comm. terminal and placed a monitoring chip in the back, where no-one would ever find it. Checking over his datapad now, he saw that several of them had accessed the terminal, but only a few had gone to anyone other than relatives. Two were suspicious -- one made a transmission to a blocked frequency on Arkania, while the other simply transmitted a blank message to.. well, space. It had no direction, no receiving terminal. Either a stupid blunder or a clever ploy.. A quiet knock on his door, followed by the hiss of the door's mechanism roused him from his suspicion. "Boss, there's a briefing in five."

It was Maroy. Almost simultaneously, his datapad beeped with an incoming transmission. Hades smiled wryly at Maroy, "I believe I've just been informed. Thank you, Master Chief."

Maroy nodded and took her cue to exit. Hades sighed and picked up the datapad. Sure enough it was a majority message detailing the briefing and location. I wonder why I had such little notice, Hades mused with a slight frown. He shook it off and stood up, already dressed, and headed out of his office. The barracks were deserted -- everyone was already en-route to the briefing. It didn't take Hades long to catch up, and he soon saw the distinctive green of Maroy's headtails. The marching sound of boots caused Hades to glance back -- it was Dire-cat squadron. Hades increased his pace and came level with Maroy. "Here come the Mire-cats" He murmured to her. She glanced back and smirked, but it seemed she wasn't quite here. Probably because Scral was gone. He knew she knew more than she let on, but he was satisfied that Scral was not the idiot he seemed to want everyone to think he was.

Soon enough Tuk'ata filed into the briefing room. Hades asked no questions during the briefing, but he finally recognised the woman. An officer, no less.. His eyebrow rose. He knew her from a long time ago. A very long time ago. He smirked to himself and as her gaze met his he winked, rewarded only with a flicker through her eyes before she moved her gaze onward. He regarded her now with a curious gaze, more than a girl he once had. She had his eye now, although she may not have known it. She had his attention. Hades refocused on the briefing, making sure that he remembered key details. When it was over, however; the young SCPO followed the rest of his Squadron out – not before noticing two suspicious-looking shadows, though. Tuk'ata happened to have left just after Dire-cat, so the less-organised squadron was stuck behind the bunch of straight-backed pilots with chips on their shoulders for almost the entire walk back to the hangar.

Tension was rising; Hades could feel it, but he managed to keep his squadron under control for now. Tuk'ata emerged in the hangar bay, which was a frenzy of organised chaos. Mechanics scattered to and fro, various deckhands making sure everything was clear before re-emerging into real-space as Hades guided the ragged yet storied squadron toward their fighters. He had received word of Joamer and Bright's  transfers barely hours ago, but now as Tuk'ata began piling into their fighters, he saw two figures who could only be described as out of place heading toward them. “Fresh meat for the grinder,” he muttered. Truthfully, he would have preferred to have Fyston and Scral back, but just having Tuk'ata up to full strength was a good sign in his book.

The man spoke first; looking self-confident and wary of competition as he saluted Hades. “Chief Warrant Officer Joamer Reistlin; Besh Leader.” Hades saluted in return – as was befitting as CWO. It was the woman who spoke next, looking less.. aggressive than her partner.

“Warrant Officer Second Class Rain Alli'A'isha D'Jonoc Te'Reistlin. Most people call me Brightstar.” They repeated the salutes and Hades nodded.

“Welcome to Tuk'ata, sir, ma'am.” Warrant Officers were the lowest rank referred to as 'sir' and 'ma'am' respectively, and even though Hades was technically their superior in position, rank still warranted respect. “Brightstar, you'll be A-3. Joamer, it seems you already know where you'll be.” Hades didn't miss much, and the fact that Joamer was so sure of being Besh leader either meant he'd  seen Trykon before-hand, Scral had told him something, or both. “I have no doubt you're aware the engine trouble our previous flight leader experienced..”

“I am.” Joamer replied curtly; it was obvious he didn't want to divulge anything more than that. Hades eyed both of them warily.

“I don't know how you folks did it in the army. Frankly, I don't care.” He saw Joamer shift uncomfortably. “But you're in my squadron now. In my squadron I don't expect much, but among those expectations are loyalty and respect. What's given is returned.”

Joamer eyed him again, as if sizing him up, before nodding slowly. “We have approximately 15 minutes before reverting to real-space. I suggest you familiarise yourself with the rest of your wingmates and run over pre-flight checks and what-not.” Hades continued, half turning to glance at his own fighter, “Again, welcome to Tuk'ata. I'm sure it will be.. interesting

Hades nodded once more amid wary gazes from both army transfers as he now completed the turn and marched toward his fighter, intent on doing a variety of pre=flight checks and diagnostics. Av'Vast had other ideas, though, as he approached Hades. The young SCPO sighed. “You think your squadron is untouchable, don't you..” The Bothan hissed, fur rippling with displeasure. “You think you can make a fool out of my squadron with games and get away with it. Yes, pretend like you don't know; ignorance suits you. But out there-” he jabbed a finger toward the hangar exit, “it's real. It's not a game. And I doubt your poor excuse for a squadron will last two minutes against any real resistence.”

“I've no idea what you're talking about.” Hades feigned ignorance about the prank. He had some idea of what had happened of course, and a better idea of who had done it, but it was amusing to see him so angry. “And if we're not going to survive two minutes,” he sighed nonchalantly, “I hate to think how long you will... sir

“Longer than you, human.” The Bothan spat, some of his faults showing through in anger. The man stalked off, seething, while Hades climbed into his fighter, grinning. Running through pre-flight checks and watching the lights come up green, Hades was pleased.

“Alright, Tuk'ata,” He announced over the comm as red lights began to flash, indicating their proximity to System 1138. “Let's get this show on the road.”

OOC:
Wordcount: 1,159

AAR: Hades attends the briefing and recognises the SFC control officer, before having an encounter with Joamer and a run-in with the lovely SCO of Dire-cat. Mostly CD, but Hades and Tuk'ata are now in their fighter and the Brilliant is just minutes away from real-space.

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SCO | SCPO "Hades" | A-1 | S:26 "Tuk'ata" | W:58 "Javelin" | ISD Halcyon Warrior | TF:Besh | 2nd Fleet | SC | VEN | VE
XNT | SCPO "Hades" | PLF Cappadocious | VENA | VEN | VE

VENI

[MC1] [CBV] [CAR] [BWC] [HNS] [SWC] [NSM] [LoM]
{INTER} {SfrM} {XenMA}  (=*SWC*=) {AFM} {HypM} {0Gee} {INFL}

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Brightstar
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Brightstar
 
[VE-ARMY] Platoon Sergeant
[VE-DJO] Uninitiate
[VE-ICS] Privateer Captain
[VE-NAVY] Warrant Officer 2nd Class
 
Post Number:  696
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  RE: Tuk'ata: Counterpunch: Pestilence
October 9, 2012 4:12:28 PM    View the profile of Brightstar 
As soon as Hades had walked away, Bright turned to Joamer and let out a heavy sigh. "I know you are only here as a favor to Scral, and that you have no intention of making any friends," She started, looking up at her husband with violet eyes. "But could you please refrain from making enemies on the first day?"

She knew that it was likely that he wouldn't listen to her, Joa had always had his own way with people. Not all interactions were good, some were, but at this moment she could tell that he was still trying to adjust to being back on active duty. He looked at her with a raised brow, an expression that she knew was telling her that she should know better. She rolled her eyes and started walking toward her fighter.

"I thought we were both here as a favor to Scral." He said bumping her shoulder with his own.

She shook her head. "No, I am here to keep you from doing something stupid like getting yourself killed." She smiled up at him. "Hades doesn't seem so bad, I actually almost like him."

He gave her a look and she continued to smile. Shaking her head again as she reached her fighter she shooed him away to his. They were here to do a job after all. There was no point in waisting time.

Bright watched as he made his way to his own fighter before she began to get ready to climb into her own.  Before she had the chance she caught a glimpse of a man walking steadily toward her. He was army, he had to be with that long striding gait and the tense way in which he carried himself. He didn't openly look around, but even at this distance Bright could see his eyes taking in the entire hangar.

He wore the standard issue flightsuit like it was a foreign article of clothing and he ran his finger around the collar of it. Perhaps it chaffed him. As he drew closer, Bright could see that he was as tall as Joamer with a smaller build. His face bore a series of burn scars and she wondered how he'd gotten them. Finally he stopped three feet in front of her.

"Can I help you?" She asked, putting on a mask of polite intrest once again.

He looked at her with piercing brown eyes and nervously ran a gloved hand through his military cut brown hair. "Name's Fallon Mirinis, callsign Edge." He said in a voice that was softer than what Bright had been expecting. "I guess I'm your wingman."

Bright looked him over. The rank on his flightsuit indicated that he was a Petty Officer first class. Meeting his eyes again, she saw in them recognitions of sorts. Had she met him somewhere before?

She sighed and held out a hand. "I'm Bri---"

He cut her off as he took her hand to shake, "I know who you are. Only ever seen holo-pics of you, but how many groundpounders out there have bright red hair and purple globes?" He smiled at her, a sad smile. "It's nice to finally meet you in person Brightstar.

Bright blinked and then nodded. "Uh... Nice to meet you too, Edge." She said. Well at least he hadn't saluted her. She'd hated the formality in the Army and she already didn't care for it in the Navy. "Look we better load up, before they leave without us. Can't have that now can we."

Fallon nodded and turned sharply to head to his own fighter as quickly as possible. Bright shooke her head againg and took a deep breath. "Somehow I get the feeling that this is going to be a long....ah hell I don't even know how long we'll be here for." She scowled as she plopped into her seat and shoved on her helmet.

She ran her preflight checks with practiced ease and thanked whatever deity was listening  for the time she had put in in the simulator. It wasn't like she'd never piloted an Interceptor before, it had just been a long while. She'd been pleased when the routine had come back to her. All her check came up green and she smiled with a nod.

“Alright, Tuk'ata,” Hades voice announced over the comm as red lights began to flash, indicating their proximity to System 1138. “Let's get this show on the road.”

"Tuk three ready to go boss man." Bright replied. Might as well be ready for anything.

OOC:
Word Count: 761
Bright has a conversation with Joa indicating that she doesn't want to make enemies or even rivals so soon. She meets her wingman, Fallon Mirinis aka Edge, who is also another transfer from the army. Now she is ready to get rolling.
FM|WO2 Brightstar|A-3|26th Vast Imp. Fighter Squadron "Tuk'ata" |W:58 "Javelin"|mSSD Halcyon Warrior |TF:A|1FL|SFC|VEN|VE

"For your sake, I really hope that isn't a challenge."


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CAP'N|Captain Bright|Hellcat|Eyesore|OSK Company
[This message has been edited by Brightstar (edited October 9, 2012 4:15:08 PM)]
Maroy
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Maroy
 
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  RE: Tuk'ata: Counterpunch: Pestilence
October 9, 2012 10:43:24 PM    View the profile of Maroy 
After she confirmed that her three flight members had filed into the hangar, Maroy scanned the area where Scral's Interceptor normally sat. The fighter they had brought in to replace his looked almost exactly identical, but the pilot examining it seemed almost nothing like Scral. The man had the stance and build of a stormtrooper, a look only gained through a long service as one of the Vast Empire's ground forces. He reminded Maroy of one of the other pilots in Tuk'ata, Edge.  The latter had been in the Army as well before he transferred to the Navy.

"Cresh, go ahead and get your preflight done. I'll join you in just a minute." Vash, Jak, and Lunei quickly saluted and jogged over to their fighters. Maroy's eyes followed them for a moment before she walked over to where Scral's friend was examining the outside of his fighter. "Something wrong?"

He gave a quick glance her way before returning to glaring at his newly assigned Interceptor. "They expect me to fly in this flimsy thing?"

"It's a standard-issue TIE Interceptor. They do have shields, you know."

"They're still held together with prayers and duraglue. I'd much rather fly my ARC-170." He stopped obsessing over the fighter and turned to meet her gaze. "You're Maroy. Scral told me I could trust you."

Maroy nodded. "And you're Joamer. Scral told me you were coming." She looked over his shoulder and saw a head of red hair disappear inside a TIE farther down the line. "He didn't mention you were bringing your wife, though."

"She says it's to keep me out of trouble. I think she also really misses the excitement. Bounty hunting isn't as fun of a job by yourself."

Maroy's comlink interrupted the man. [[Maroy, we're ready to go. You coming?]]

"Give me one more second."

Joamer waited for her to put the comlink back. "If we survive these deaths traps, we'll go get drinks. And you can tell me about what my brother has been up to lately."

Brother? Apparently Scral didn't tell me everything.

"Sounds good." And you can tell me how you and Scral are related.

He began climbing into his TIE, and Maroy quickly pulled her way into hers. She started up the computer systems and skipped the preflight checks she knew wouldn't have changed since she checked out the fighter last.

[[Alright, Tuk'ata, let's get this show on the road.]] Demetrius.

[[Tuk two standing by.]] Isaac.

[[Tuk three ready to go boss man."]] Brightstar.

[[Tuk'ata four prepped and ready.]] Fallon.

[[Tuk five ready to go.]] Joamer.

[[Tuk'ata six is green.]] Tracen.

[[Tuk'ata seven awaiting your signal.]] Darian.

[[Tuk'ata eight standing by.]] Eli.

"Tuk nine armed and ready." Me.

[[Tuk ten armored and deadly.]] Lunei.

[[Tuk'ata eleven prepped for launch.]] Vash.

[[Tuk twelve, ready to party.]] Jak.

Twelve Tuk'atans, ready to go.

[[Control, this is Tuk'ata Squadron requesting permission to launch, over.]]

[[Copy, Tuk'ata Lead. You are clear for launch. Good luck.]]

[[Aurek Flight is away.]] Hades, Dawn, Bright, and Edge shot out of the hangar, maneuvering into a diamond formation with the Squadron Commander in the lead.

[[Besh Flight is away.]] Joamer seemed to slip easily into the flight leadership role as his four fighters took off and formed up behind Aurek.

Maroy quickly clicked the comm, hoping her own pilots wouldn't have any trouble. "Cresh flight is away." She kicked in the repulsorlifts to get the TIE into exit position and then hit the throttle. She smoothly glided in behind Eli's Interceptor, watching the targeting computer's display closely. Lunei sailed into position on her starboard side, followed quickly by Vash on her left. Jak wedged himself in comfortably between them. "Cresh flight is clear."

[[Time to get busy, Tuks. Here's the flight path for our sensor run. Stick to your flights, we need to stay as tight as possible to avoid being detected.]]

Her display lit up as the computer traced the coordinates Hades transmitted to them. They were going to hug a path that gently curved toward the sun, bypassing the majority of the large objects in the system, dive into a tight orbit around the sun, then use that orbit to slingshot themselves back toward the Brilliant. In theory they should be able to pick up the presence of any significant Dominion presence on long-range sensors without getting close enough to alert any sensor emplacements to their presence.

They flew in silence for a few moments before Joamer interrupted it. [[You know, I'm sure I could find us a Venator-Class Assault Cruiser. Then we could fly the ARC-170's, or any of the other half dozen fighters that baby carried. This bloody destroyer carries 24 coffins, least the seats are comfortable.]]

A few scattered chuckles and derisive snorts came in over the comm, most noticeably from Jak and Bright respectively. Hades quickly cut in. [[Cut that chatter, Five.]] He paused for a long moment, waiting until the channel was silent again. [[You're supposed to save it until after we clear comm range.]]

And thus, the bloody mission began the same way it would end: filled with the sound of laughter.

OOC:
WC: 855
AAR: Maroy quickly exchanges an introduction with Joamer, and then the squadron launch.
FL/MCPO Maroy/C-1/S:26 Tuk'ata/W:58 Javelin/ISD-II Halcyon Warrior/TF:A/1FL/SFC/VEN/VE (=*A*=) [GCM] [CBV] [IG] [MC2] [MC1]
Trykon
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Trykon
 
[VE-DJO] Adept
[VE-NAVY] Lieutenant
 
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  RE: Tuk'ata: Counterpunch: Pestilence
October 10, 2012 12:19:13 AM    View the profile of Trykon 
On the bridge of the Vast Imperial Victory II-class Star Destroyer Brilliant, Lieutenant Wyl Trykon stood at the forward viewports and stared out toward the distant sun of the uncharted 1138 System, frowning.  The Brilliant was holding position at the extreme edge of the system; 1138’s sun was so far away it was only marginally brighter than the countless stars which surrounded it.  The twelve pilots of Tuk’ata Squadron – who had launched some hours before to scout the star system – had long since passed beyond visual range, but still, their commanding officer stared after them, worrying.

Trykon knew that while he stood stoically staring, the officers and crewers behind him were surreptitiously stealing glances at him.  He hoped that they would write off his hours-long vigil as a quirk of personality: another example of the calculating strategic thinker’s occasional aloofness.  But he knew that the longer he held his position, the more some of them might begin to suspect the truth: the Kuati was concerned about Tuk’ata, and their mission.

The twelve TIE Interceptors were almost due back in sensor range, according to the plan, and Trykon was anxious not only to see them again, but to hear from them: what had they seen on their long, arcing orbit around that distant sun?

Chances are good that this system is empty, Trykon told himself, not for the first time.  Most likely, they’ll return with nothing to report.  But even as the thought ended, his anxiety waxed full.

As if on cue, a subdued beep sounded from the communications foyer at the bridge’s aft, followed a moment later by the hurried footsteps of Delak Martell, Trykon’s Executive Officer.  Trykon turned around, and asked preemptively: “What is it, Lieutenant?”

Martell kept his tone even and professional, but it was obvious from his expression that he was struggling to contain his excitement: “Tuk’ata Lead reports signals traffic, emanating from the fourth planet in the system.  Lots of traffic,” he added.  “He was reluctant to guess, but when pressed he estimated a fully industrialized world with multiple settlements.  Obviously, the TIEs were out of sensor range to view the planet directly during their pass, but the sheer volume of communications they picked up is pretty convincing.”

“Did they record it?” Trykon asked tersely.

“Yes sir.”

Trykon was already moving, pacing down the command walkway toward the comm foyer.  Martell hurried after him.  “Play it for me.”

***


While the Tuk’ata pilots came aboard and were debriefed, Trykon listened to the audio recordings they’d snagged from the space around System 1138’s fourth planet.

System 1138 is decidedly not empty, his mind concluded in an I-told-you-so tone as he switched off the playback.  It appeared that the fourth planet – which the locals apparently called “Kammlott” – was a thriving world of some 1.7 billion inhabitants, all Humans.  Their heavily-accented speech was still recognizably Basic, and the soundscape Tuk’ata had recorded included bombastic advertisements, a constant stream of updates about something called “Clout Levels,” and several inexpertly encrypted governmental transmissions from the planet’s two major nation-states referring to “the offworld delegation.”  Trykon drummed his fingers on the comm station desk, as he digested the new information.  “1.7 billion people, likely the descendants of a lost colony from the days of the Old Republic, are living on a resource-rich planet a single hyperspace jump away from the Vast Imperial Navy’s headquarters on Abrae, in a star system we didn’t even know existed until we managed to capture the flagship of our enemy’s invasion fleet, which, by the way, means those enemies do know of its existence,” he said aloud, just to make sure he could sum it all up in a single sentence.  He sighed.  The mission to scout the Imperial Dominion’s invasion route into VE Space had just become a lot more complicated than he’d hoped.

***


Back on the bridge, Trykon’s doubts were well-hidden, as he barked orders to his crew.  “Ms. Le Roi, my compliments to Tuk’ata Squadron: they did well.  Recall Dire-cat Squadron, now, but have all fighters on alert.  Mr. Martell, I want a hyperspace jump, if you please, taking us as close to the fourth planet – as close to “Kammlott,” I should say – as we can get, then full power to sublight engines.  All fighters will launch the moment we return to realspace.  I want a show of strength, people, and then I want to send a message to the planet surface: tell them the captain of the Victory II-class Star Destroyer Brilliant wants to speak to the Kammlotti with the highest Clout Level.”

OOC:
761 words.  Sorry to rush this, but real life waits for no man.  See discussion thread for details.

After Action Report: Tuk'ata Squadron returns from their scout run with astonishing evidence that the fourth planet in the 1138 system is inhabited by an unknown human culture.  They call their world Kammlott, they have a strictly hierarchical society (based on a system of power-and-prestige measurement they call "Clout Levels"), and not only does the Imperial Dominion know about them already (which we can infer from the ID fleet having passed through 1138 on their way to Vectra), but it also appears from intercepted transmissions that there may be ID representatives in negotiation with the planet's leaders!
CNW/LT Wyl "Trick" Trykon/VSD Brilliant/TF:A/2Flt/FC/VEN/VE

[SoA][SoV][BWC][NSM][E][NAR][HNS][DSM][SWC][1NS][VC:B][LoM][VC:S][NC][GWC][VC:G][CoB]
(=*AE*=)(=*SAE*=)(=*TG*=)(=*SCFE*=)

TRN/AD Trykon/DJO/VEDJ
Hades
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Hades
 
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  RE: Tuk'ata: Counterpunch: Pestilence
October 11, 2012 1:12:30 AM    View the profile of Hades 
The trip was uneventful; while they picked up communications traffic that indicated a populated planet in the area, they hadn't actually seen anything on their slingshot-run. Hades sighed absent-mindedly as the dozen Tuk'ata pilots flew in perfect formation, engines flaring as they sped up away from the star. After the transmission to Starfighter Control -- the ensign he had met before -- the journey was more or less filled with a boring survey of their sensors and slight comm. chatter between the pilots. Hades didn't mind the chatter; it was good to have them getting to know each other and, although he was sure Chief Warrant Officer Av'Vast would disagree, it raised squadron morale. If you knew who was watching your back, you were much more likely to be confident and precise. Either that, or nervous depending on the skill level of your wingmate. He was fairly confident in Isaac's skill, more so in his own, but that was called arrogance and while he was arrogant, Hades didn't like to show it too often. A little cockiness made you elite, too much made you an air-headed nincompoop.

"Sitrep, Dawn." Hades broke his own silence by contacting his wingman.

"Nothing to report, boss. Just stars, planets and more stars. Oh, did I mention planets?" The response was sarcastic, but not negative. Another thing Hades liked was humour, and most of his squadron took part in that. A grin crossed his features as he eyed the slightly strange controls of his interceptor.

"Cut the chatter, 2." Demetrius responded light-heartedly, "We can't have the Dominion find out the valuable intel we've spent the better part of two hours establishing."

"Cut the chatter, Tuk'ata." A harsh comment came over the communications. Starfighter Control. Hades mock-grimaced.

"C'mon, ma'am. Don't be a buzzkill." He jibed.

"For that to happen, Hades, you'd have to have a buzz that could be killed." Her response was cutting and witty. Hades grinned widely, even though he was caught off-guard and indubitably owned by said remark. He liked a bit of wit in a woman. "Anyway, Lieutenant Trykon sends his regards. Job well done, Tuk'ata, return to the Brilliant. We'll be jumping shortly. Dire-cat are already aboard."

"How quaint," he remarked in regards to Dire-cat being aboard. "We're en-route. ETA ten mikes."

"Roger that, Tuk'ata lead. Control out."

"You heard the lady. Let's give them our best speed." The last remark was unnecessary; the fact that his fighter's engines flared and the small craft shot forward would be enough of a statement to the rest of Tuk'ata. His sensors showed the rest of them hard on his tail and he smiled; while Joamer didn't seem too keen to make friends, he had already merged well into the Tuk'ata mindset. Hades didn't mind who he was; he was a good flight leader and pilot. The Brilliant grew in his small viewport, slate-coloured hull as ominous as any bright coloured, poisonous animal. "Tuk'ata," Hades began. He had an idea, "I'm not making this an order, but it would ruin Av'Vast's day to see us scream into the hangar in perfect formation and stop with inches to spare."

"I'm in!" Dawn.

"Heh. Why not, Av'Vast seems like a nasty character." Brightstar.

"Sure." Fallon, Bright's wingman.

"If you kill us, I will kick your impudent backside." That was as much of an acknowledgement he'd get from Joamer, probably. "But I'm in. So is Besh flight."

Hades thought he heard Eli mutter something, but it was lost as Maroy chimed in. "Me and Looney are in too." She hesitated, as if consulting with her other flight members, "As is Cresh."

Hades smirked. Av'Vast would get a nice surprise. "Full speed ahead, Tuk'ata." The hangar loomed in his viewport, all he could see was the Brilliant and its main hangar bay now. With a flash, the hangar's walls were flickering past him. He applied as much braking and reverse thrust as he could, now, his fighter speeding toward oblivion but just -- and only just -- scraping to a stop before it became a fiery inferno of wreckage and Hades' guts. He didn't need to check his sensors -- he knew that the rest of Tuk'ata were right behind him. Climbing out of his Interceptor, Hades had a huge smirk on his face. Everyone was watching them including, he noted with some satisfaction, Dire-cat squadron. As they were on high alert, they were required to stay near their fighters. Tuk'ata piled out of theirs, most of them sharing Hades' smirk. The young SCPO could feel Av'Vast's icy gaze from across the hangar, and it only made him all the more satisfied.

"He doesn't look too pleased," Dawn said as he stood opposite Hades, who was leaning back casually with his arms crossed.

"He's never pleased." Hades retorted.

"That was some stunt you pulled." A cold voice announced from beside him. Joamer. Hades straightened and snapped off a salute, returned by the army transferee.

"Aye, sir. Figured we may as well darken Av'Vast's day if we can't brighten it." He was respectful of higher rank, but there was the glint of independence in his eyes that would make most superiors uneasy. "How'd your fighter hold up?"

"As well as a house of matches can. Not too bad." Joamer responded. Bright sidled up to them now, standing protectively by her husband's side.

"You're not making trouble, are you?" She asked with mock concern.

"Me?" Joamer feigned innocence.

"Yes, you. Your middle name is trouble after all."

"Ah, no. That was a mistake at the infirmary when I was born. I was actually supposed to have 'Handsome' as my middle name, but they mixed me up with some other child."

"You do realise children aren't named at the infirmary?" Bright retorted.

"I never said that I was." Joamer assumed an offended expression before grinning, and then realising Hades was there, at which point his grin faded. "Anyway, take it easy Hades. Your gun-ho attitude will get you into trouble in high places one day."

"Me?" It was his turn to feign innocence, "my middle name is Handsome. Nobody wants trouble with someone named Handsome."

Hades was rewarded with a small chuckle from Bright and a smile from Joamer. "That's the spirit." Joamer said as he moved off.

Hades smiled to himself -- he liked being able to relate to his squadron, even if it was about middle names and mistakes in the infirmary.

OOC:
Wordcount: 1,133

AAR: Tuk'ata has returned from their scouting run and, in characteristic fashion, come screaming into the hangar -- much to the displeasure of Av'Vast. Hades manages to have a joke with Joamer and although his cold exterior is still up, the younger man can feel that there's less tension now.

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SCO | SCPO "Hades" | A-1 | S:26 "Tuk'ata" | W:58 "Javelin" | ISD Halcyon Warrior | TF:Besh | 2nd Fleet | SC | VEN | VE
XNT | SCPO "Hades" | PLF Cappadocious | VENA | VEN | VE

VENI

[MC1] [CBV] [CAR] [BWC] [HNS] [SWC] [NSM] [LoM]
{INTER} {SfrM} {XenMA}  (=*SWC*=) {AFM} {HypM} {0Gee} {INFL}

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Joamer
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Joamer
 
[VE-ARMY] Sergeant Major
[VE-NAVY] Chief Warrant Officer
 
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  RE: Tuk'ata: Counterpunch: Pestilence
October 11, 2012 2:16:25 PM    View the profile of Joamer 
The slingshot around the sun was slightly less uneventful than his squadron commander had reported, but to someone like Joamer and for the members who had been doing this for too long it was nothing quite out of the ordinary. Walking back to his fighter he looked at the starboard side solar panel and grimaced as his wife stepped up next to him. She was not saying anything but he knew she was fuming currently, he had done something to save another pilots life but it had nearly cost him his own. The issue he had was he had done it without thinking, he had risked his life for people he did not care about.

"What's the butchers bill this time chief?" Joamer said as the deck chief squatted below his fighter and removed a panel. "Half your starboard panels are electronic toast, two of the main harnesses are scorched, and one looks to have internal damage. Starboard engine is a bit sluggish on start up now. My recommendation is to strip her down and rebuild her starboard side from scratch. But, since we are jumping in six minutes, we'll get the engine back up to green status. Surviving what comes next with negative feedback and reduced power levels is up to you."

"Thanks chief, do your best and I'll try to bring her back in one piece this time." Joamer said as he turned to see Maroy walking up drinking something.

"Let me get this straight, Vash from my own flight started his approach a degree off center and was then losing thruster control. So, instead of letting him become a burnt piece of bantha toast you dropped inside his orbit and pushed him back out." Maroy said quietly, she seemed to be going over the maneuver in her head trying to improve upon it.

He did not need to look at Bright to know she was now trying very hard not to hit him with something hard. Maroy on the other hand looked like she was consulting some mental book of things, trying to figure something out. Joamer himself only waited, he knew if he spoke again it would probably be the spark that ignited an inferno.

"You know, if I did not know better. I'd say that was a Regents maneuver." Maroy said quietly with a frown.

He looked at Bright for a moment before saying, "It was at one point, it was removed from their flight books because it proved to be... how did old Dax put it. 'Too insane, and vastly too stupid to ever try again.' Scral was not born with the insanity of Regents, I had to teach him that."

"Of all the hair-brained, half-witted, stupidly insane things to go and do!" Bright said through clenched teeth. "You were never a Regent, oh yes you wanted to be them. You even helped turn RAIDERS into an army version of them, but you were not one of them. Now, stop trying to bring back their legacy!"

Stomping off he watched her go over to her fighter and fight the urge to punch the cockpit window hard. Maroy only nodded slightly as thought about what he had done again. He knew she was trying to work it into some mental log about maneuvers they could do again and survive the trip.

He watched as the man who called himself Edge spoke to Bright for a moment quietly, Joamer fought the urge to go listen on on their conversation but he knew the temper of his wife needed to be cooled by someone that was not him. He saw the man chuckle slightly before walking towards them slowly.

"You two going to be ok?" Maroy said softly, so no one but they would hear.

Looking down at her, he smiled briefly before saying, "We'll be fine, we used to do stuff like this all the time. It's just, in the two years we've been married we've both changed so dangerous things are not as well liked anymore."


"Your wife has a temper, how you tricked her into marrying you, I don't know but you have a wild Gurrcat on your hands with her." Joamer looked at his wife and smiled for a moment as he remembered his first meeting with a Gurrcat. The man looked at Joamer for a moment then nodded, "I was right, your file does not list your home planet with any real evidence but that proved it for me. You are a Corellian, I knew from the way you fly but that proved it."

Joamer looked over at the man and said, "I was, a long time ago."

"Did I mention he was a Wraith before he was a RAIDER?" Bright said as she walked up and stopped in front of all of them.

Shaking his head he looked over at the countdown timer and grimaced. "Time for chatting is over. All pilots, three minutes till jump. I want green status and exit upon immersion from hyperspace. Move it, squadrons!" Joamer shouted as he looked over the hangar bay. Walking back to the group he nodded to Edge and Maroy as they both ran to their fighters.

"This is not over, boy." Bright said quietly, "Don't get yourself killed today, otherwise I will be very angry with you."

"I'll try my best, little girl." Joamer said as he half smiled and climbed up the gangplank behind his fighter. Dropping down into the cockpit he keyed on the start up sequence and felt the starboard engine shudder slightly before slowly reaching green status. Snapping on his helmet he said, "Tuk 5, show two green."

"Tuks, upon exit I want a show." Hades said.

The moments passed quickly as Tuk'ata squadron keyed in that they were ready. Joamer idly tapped his fingers on his leg as he waited, a few moments later he felt the ship perform the micro jump then barely a second later they jumped back out into normal space. Punching the throttle he was only a second behind Hades as they shot out of the ship.

"Not fast enough, old man." He heard the voice of Bright in his ear a few seconds later.

Smiling he said, "Besh flight, on me on me. razzel dazzle, let's go up and over." The Academy trick was old, and normally only used during ceremonies but it was fun to watch. The ship command had said they wanted a show of strength, well to him showing off was strength. It proved you did not worry about whatever forces on the ground would throw at you. Right now, he only worried about one thing and it was not the people on the planet below.


OOC:
WC-1117. Joamer looks over his damaged fighter, and has a conversation with Maroy about the insane maneuver he pulled off to save a pilot. Bright gets angry, and Edge finds out a secret about Joamer's past.
Joamer Tremaine Reistlin
Chief Warrant Officer, Flight Leader
Besh Flight, Tuk'ata Squadron

FL|CWO Joamer|B-1|26th Vast Imp. Fighter Squadron "Tuk'ata" |W:58 "Javelin"|mSSD Halcyon Warrior |TF:A|1FL|SFC|VEN|VE
In memory of Ghost squad, we will never forget.
[This message has been edited by Joamer (edited October 11, 2012 2:20:28 PM)]
Maroy
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Maroy
 
[VE-NAVY] Master Chief Petty Officer
 
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  RE: Tuk'ata: Counterpunch: Pestilence
October 11, 2012 5:17:37 PM    View the profile of Maroy 
The strange distorted tunnel of hyperspace glowed outside the hangar as the Tuk'ata pilots began reentering their fighters after inspecting them for damage. Every fighter had been a little scorched from flying close to the sun, but their shields were fully replenished by the time they were ready to go again.

Hades gave them their brief, open-ended orders. [[Tuks, upon exit I want a show.]]

And then the Brilliant reverted to realspace with a crack, replacing the ethereal shifting patterns with the backdrop of a very close planet. The twelve fighters immediately rocketed out of the hangar, breaking into flights. Besh immediately began a series of loops and dives, cavorting in a crazy but controlled pattern. Aurek started out in a more traditional formation, but after a few seconds they executed a joint roll that spun the entire formation around. Maroy was at a loss for what to tell Cresh to do until Jak offered a suggestion.

[[Go nova!]]

Lunei laughed, and after a few moments Maroy remembered. An old stunt first-year Academy pilots would do in simulators to practice reaction speeds was to fly straight at each other and then roll into an Immelmann at the last second. The idea was that you either you learned to think fast, or you killed your classmates. Repeatedly. "Going nova" was never attempted in actual fighters because of the high likelihood of crashing and killing every pilot involved. Of course, Tuk'ata was a bit more skilled than a bunch of early-term Academy freshmen. Hopefully.

[[If you are referring to the Academy training maneuver, Torchleaf, I would not recommend it. The chance of survival is-]]

"Eleven, cut it out. You know Corellians hate knowing the odds. Let's go nova!" Maroy hit the throttle, putting her some distance away from the other pilots in her flight. She designated a specific point and sent it to them, and then waited until they were all in position. "Ready?"

Without waiting for a reply, she pointed her fighter straight at Lunei's and went to full engine power. The targeting computer 's display flashed a rapidly shrinking distance to the imaginary point. As soon as she hit the maximum safe distance, she rolled to the side and pulled up as hard as she could. The four fighters barely missed each other, rolling out in opposite directions to form a four-pointed star. A cloud of cheering emitted from the comm as the rest of the squadron applauded the maneuver.

"Thanks for the suggestion, Twelve."

[[Any time, ma'am.]] She could easily picture the elated smirk he was likely wearing.

[[Looks like the Dying-cats over there didn't get the 'make an impression' bit.]]

The twelve fighters of Dire-cat sat motionless, floating alongside the Brilliant in a formation that was probably tuned down to the last micrometer. A Dominion squadron could easily have done the same.

Joamer was the first to call them out. [[Maroy! Mirror mirror!]]

Maroy clicked her comm to acknowledge and a smile crept into her face. "Cresh, follow my lead." She maneuvered lazily toward the Dire-cat formation, flying directly under them and then inverting out within ten meters of their Cresh flight leader's TIE. She brought her fighter's cockpit around until she looked straight at the helmet of the other pilot. She waved briefly, and the other pilot slammed their fist into the side of the cockpit in response. The other six pilots in Av'Vast's Besh and Cresh flights soon found their visibility similarly obscured. Aurek joined them in the maneuver a few minutes later.

Av'Vast's irritated voice soon accompanied the silence. [[Tuk'ata Lead, would you please order your pilots to remove themselves from my squadron's flight path?]]

[[Negative, Dire-cat Lead.]] Hades replied. [[You should be flattered that we're imitating you.]]

Flight Control's calm voice abruptly interrupted the budding argument. [[Nice synchronized flying, Tuk'ata and Dire-cat. We didn't realize you took time to plan this out.]]

The Bothan's indignant tone came through clearly even through the distortions of the comm equipment. [[We didn't-]]

[[Later, Av'Vast. Right now you both have orders straight from Captain Trykon himself. Dire-cat will screen the Brilliant while Tuk'ata escorts the Captain's shuttle down to the planet.]]

As Flight Control began relaying the flight path data, Joamer's voice came over the channel. [[You hear that, fuzzball? We got honor guard.]]

[[I'll make sure to note your little display in my report to your superiors, Tuk'ata.]] The Dire-cat's commander spat out the last word, letting its echo die away before he stopped transmitting.

Dire-cat grudgingly began to form back up near the Brilliant, opening a path for one of the Brilliant's five shuttles to begin its descent.

OOC:
WC: 772
AAR: Tuk'ata puts on a show and gets assigned to escort Captain Trykon's shuttle to the surface.
FL/MCPO Maroy/C-1/S:26 Tuk'ata/W:58 Javelin/ISD-II Halcyon Warrior/TF:A/1FL/SFC/VEN/VE (=*A*=) [GCM] [CBV] [IG] [MC2] [MC1]
Brightstar
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Brightstar
 
[VE-ARMY] Platoon Sergeant
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  RE: Tuk'ata: Counterpunch: Pestilence
October 12, 2012 6:22:09 PM    View the profile of Brightstar 
Bright never thought she would see the day where a Nova maneuver was used outside of a simulator. So it was both surprising and awe inspiring when she witnessed Cresh Flight take the innitiative and actually perform it. She may not have had time to get to know the pilots of Cresh, but her respect for their abilities grew drastically, she also thought they were all crazy, but that seemed to be just about the norm in this squadron.  In the back of her mind she knew that if she'd been given the choice she would never have attempted such a risky and dangerous maneuver, and perhaps that made her weak, but at least she, and the person she was performing it with, would be alive.

"And here I though Joa was insane." She muttered not realizing that she was still broadcasting to the rest of Tuk'ata.

"You married him, doesn't that make you insane by association?" Edge's distinctly calm voice asked, the distortion of the comms making it seem as if he were laughing.

She rolled her eyes, but realized that he couldn't see her. "You should ask him how long it took me to marry him, Army policy not withstanding." Bright replied wryly.

A few moments later the whole of Tuk'ata was inverted and mirroring the flight path of Dire-cat. Looking down at Dire-Cat three as he flipped her off, made a smirk rise to her lips. Instead of goading him on, she mearly shrugged in what she hoped appeared to be apologetic. Not that she was, she just didn't want to make any enemies unless she was forced to.  She was actually relieved when the formation was over.

"Okay Tuk'ata form up on Captain Trykon's shuttle, Staggered Diamond." Hades voice carried through the channel. It was commanding, but edged with amusement, lending to the belief that perhaps he'd found pleasure in showing up the Bothan SC of Dire-Cat. 

Grinning herself, Bright took her postition to Hades left as Dawn formed up on his right. Edge, her wingmate fell in easily behind and to her right. Aurek Flight was formed up in front of the shuttle, so if anything came at them, they would be the first line of defense. She shifted in her seat and kept her eyes focused on both her viewport and her scope. Today was a bad day to be just getting comfortable in a fighter once again.

She couldn't be sure where Joa and the rest of Besh Flight had fallen in, but she hoped vehemently that he didn't do anything else that would qualify him as insane. Two years of marriage were not enough to break him of such tendencies. Bright would have liked to say that she didn't worry about him, even at peaceful moments, but she would be lying.

They hit atmosphere with no resistance. To some pilots that might be great, and they would likely be feeling safe, but for Bright it was worrying. "Too easy, I don't like it." She said.

"Ah too many years pounding the ground Brighty, relax a bit." Dawn said, his voice grating on her last nerve.

Amazingly the violet eyed woman bit her tongue and didn't respond. Maybe it was because she'd spent so many years as a Stormtrooper. But she didn't think so.  As they continued down she wondered if maybe she was just paranoid. It wouldn't be the first time she'd been accused of being so. Granted, at those times she'd had every right to be.  "Scope is still empty." She said over the comms.

"Same here. Keep your eyes open, efectively we are in hostile territory." Hades replied. He seemed all business now, his voice short and clipped.

It didn't take them much longer to reach the surface. Tuk'ata followed Trykon all the way down before Hades ordered them to all pull up hard full throttle. "Make 'em scream boys and girls."

Naturally Bright did as she was told and pulled hard on the yoke before she rammed the ground and shot back up hot on Hades trail, her twin ion engines literally screaming behind her. She'd hate to be on the ground having to hear that. Her own ears were sensitive enough, even with the helmet on. She didn't want to imagine what it would be like outside of her Interceptor.

"Well at least she knows how to scream." An unfamiliar voice said, voice distorted by the frequency of the comm channel. Bright's jaw clenched, was he saying that she couldn't fly.

"I'm...I'm so staying out of that one." Joamer replied with a stuttered crackle.

"Not likely!" Obviously the laughing voice of the Twi'lek Flight Leader of Cresh.

"I'm so glad I can be of some amusement." Bright replied drily.

"Cut the chatter Tuk'ata. Lets head back to the Brilliant." Hades once again sounded in control.

Following her SC back up through the atmosphere and through the cloud bank, Bright wondered if her flying was so bad that she deserved that comment about knowing how to make her engines scream. Up, up, up, they continued until they burst out of the upper atmosphere of the planet and into orbit. There was the Brilliant waiting for them in all it's glory, and for the first time, Bright thought that maybe it wouldn't be so bad living on a star destroyer.

Closer and closer she loomed, and finally the entrance to the hangar bay was visible. Almost there. The red head hoped that she wouldn't have to do another stunt before she was free of this suddenly constricting cockpit. She was relieved that they were allowed to just simply land on their racks and lock down. She was beginning to think that Joa was right about these machines. Coffins with shields. And she was suddenly unsure of her own ability to fly it.

OOC:
WC: 972
AAR: Tuk escorts Captain Trykon down to the surface of the planet and returns to the Briliant. Bright suddenly begins to second guess her ability to pilot her interceptor and we discover that she may be phobic of small spaces.
FM|WO2 Brightstar|A-3|26th Vast Imp. Fighter Squadron "Tuk'ata" |W:58 "Javelin"|mSSD Halcyon Warrior |TF:A|1FL|SFC|VEN|VE

"For your sake, I really hope that isn't a challenge."


Imperial Network Star Wars Image
CAP'N|Captain Bright|Hellcat|Eyesore|OSK Company
[This message has been edited by Brightstar (edited October 12, 2012 6:23:42 PM)]
Joamer
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  RE: Tuk'ata: Counterpunch: Pestilence
October 13, 2012 1:14:13 AM    View the profile of Joamer 
Normally an Interceptor would be kept at emergency yellow standby, which meant the reactor was still warmed up and could be at full power in a matter of two minutes. However, since Joamer's fighter was being worked on it was being brought down to reactor black status. Sitting in his cockpit he watched as the power levels dropped finally to negative, a few of the gauges still fluctuated but they were only from sensor ghosts and the electromagnetic interference from the ship itself.

"Interceptor 298710-1C black status confirmed. Besh flight locked down." Joamer said as he stood on his seat and pulled himself out of the top hatch. After a moment he sat on the top of the fighter watching part of the deck crew beginning to remove panels off the starboard side of his ship.

Looking over the hangar bay quickly he noticed his wife getting out of her fighter a bit quicker than normal, and to him her eyes held a strange glint to them. Looking to the other side of the hangar he could see Dire-cat squadron milling around each other, straightening each others uniforms and generally making sure everything was in neat orderly locations. Shaking his head he climbed onto the gangway and slid down the ladder to the deck below.

Taking one last look at their rival squadron he looked at the deck chief and said, "So chief, I know there must be a pool on which squadron is going to win the brawl that is no doubt coming."

The man stopped what he was doing for a minute and looked at Joamer then sighed, "Four to one odds, you lot lose."

Chuckling slightly Joamer said, "You do know three of us are Army right, and two of us have cybernetics?" Shrugging the man went back to looking at readouts of his fighter while his crew continued to strip off the starboard panel and supporting hardware.

"Tuk'ata all home and safe, our package was delivered." Hades said into a wall mounted communications panel.

Feeling a vibration in his feet Joamer swore as he realized what was about to happen. Looking at Hades both men reached out to grab a support as the vessel veered sharply away from the planet.

"I suggest everyone hold on, our pilot is in a mood today." Hades said, as the ship's pilot ignored sanity and jumped them into hyperspace in the middle of a solar system. Luckily the ship was big enough and the inertial dampeners were high enough to absorb most of the shock, but Joamer and every other pilot could feel the ship strain for a moment before it relaxed.

"Someone get the pilot's name, pulling a stunt like that in this barge could be useful in the future." Maroy said as she walked up as the rest of Tuk'ata began milling together.

"I doubt a Class Victory II Star Destroyer can be considered a barge." The now grating voice of the Bothan squadron commander of Dire-cat said a few seconds later.

"Oh look, it's the rabid puppy squadron." One of the Tuk'ata members mumbled quietly, but loud enough to be heard by both groups. To Joamer it sounded like Harkiss, but he could of been wrong.

"What brings you lot to the underbelly of Imperial society, fuzzball?" Joamer said staring straight at the Bothan, he had always hated their species and this one was making no attempts to rectify that situation.

"You will address me as sir, pilot." The short ball of hair said angrily.

"No, no I won't." Joamer said smiling, he could feeling the mostly disapproving stare his wife was giving him but he chose to ignore it for now.

"Then I'll have you court marshaled for..."

"For what exactly? He's escaped from Imperial prison twice, and been demoted four times. I don't think he cares much anymore. Now, unless you had something better to do than insult my pilots I suggest you push on. Before I unleash army boy here to make himself a new hat." Hades said suddenly. Joamer refrained from opening his mouth to make the comment Bothan's make very bad hats, shoes yes but hats no.

The room was quiet for a long moment before the soft thumping sound echoed around them. Turning to the left Joamer saw Dawn crumpled on the floor, his face was ashen and almost lifeless, before he could move three of the squadron moved before he did but none faster than Mynock. The young man moved quickly over his body, his fingers checking multiple areas while he held his wrist in the other.

"Gods, he's freezing." Maroy said as she felt her forehead.

"Good, when he dies there will be one less of yo..." The Bothan's words were cut off as the distinctive sound of Joamer's particle magnum being switched off safe filled the hangar.

"Please, finish that sentence. I beg you." His voice was solid ice as he held the particle magnum a half foot from the creatures head.

"We need to get him to the medical wing now, his pulse is fading." The very strong voice of Mynock said suddenly cutting through everything else that was happening.

With out another word the squadron began moving, Edge picked up Dawn in his arms and began jogging towards the medical wing with Bright and Maroy running in front pushing people out of the way. Walking backwards Joamer kept his magnum aimed at the Bothan's head for another moment before lowering it and running out of the room.

"This is not over, Army Scum!" The shrill voice followed him into the hallway.

Catching up to the squadron as they skidded into the medbay, two doctors looked at as Edge sat Dawn on an empty table while Mynock grabbed medical equipment and began shouting in medical gibberish. Soon most of the room was in organized chaos as the medical staff began working.

Leaning against a wall Joamer watched the spectacle unfold for a moment before he saw Bright walking towards him with a deadly look in her eyes. Before she could reach him he heard a throat clearing a few feet away as Edge motioned him over to an occupied bed.

"Joa, remember her?" He said softly.

Looking down at the young woman laying still on the bed he narrowed his eyes for a moment before he recognized the face. "She was part of the medical staff that treated us when we left Thyveck, she saved my squad's lives. I owed her green beer from Naboo, I never could track her down to give it to her though."

"Ensign Sarah Jane Smith, lost her battle with cancer about six minutes before you folks came in." A doctor said as he pulled a sheet over her head. "We can cure many things nowadays, but there are still some things that take them too young. One of the finest field medics I have ever seen."

Walking away from the table quickly he grabbed his wife's hand and led her out of the room. He would not let the squadron see him lose it, the most important thing anyone had ever taught him was to never let those who depend on you see you lose it. "We have three bottles of that Corellian Ale from 425BBY, they are being opened tonight. You can also tell me why you don't like being in that cockpit now, too."

"Let's get those bottles, and you can tell me about her. Then I'll tell you about that flying coffin." Bright said next to him as they walked towards one of the storage rooms that held their personal gear.

OOC:
WC-1277. Joamer's fighter is being stripped apart. They had another encounter with Mere-kitten squadron, and Dawn is very ill.
Joamer Tremaine Reistlin
Chief Warrant Officer, Flight Leader
Besh Flight, Tuk'ata Squadron

FL|CWO Joamer|B-1|26th Vast Imp. Fighter Squadron "Tuk'ata" |W:58 "Javelin"|mSSD Halcyon Warrior |TF:A|1FL|SFC|VEN|VE
In memory of Ghost squad, we will never forget.
[This message has been edited by Joamer (edited October 13, 2012 6:07:02 PM)]
Maroy
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Maroy
 
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  RE: Tuk'ata: Counterpunch: Pestilence
October 15, 2012 9:02:40 AM    View the profile of Maroy 
Despite the otherwise morbid mood surrounding Dawn's collapse, Maroy couldn't help but smile over Tracen's frantic behavior. I guess that's why they call him Mynock. Tracen shouted orders at the nearby medical personnel, several of whom were so surprised that they obeyed without protest. He was a blur of motion, constantly scanning his patient or fiddling with a drug injector. After a few minutes he slowed to a stop.

"What's the verdict?"

The medic looked back up at Maroy, abruptly back to his usual awkward self. "Huh? Oh. I still have no idea. It doesn't seem to be space sickness or some kind of physical trauma."

"Well, we did just spent a dangerous amount of time exposed to the raw output of a star. Did you try treating him for solar radiation poisoning?"

He stared at her like she was an idiot. "Of course. That was the first thing I tried, but it doesn't seem to be having any effect. Was there anything wrong with his TIE that might have caused it?"

Maroy whipped out her comlink. "Tuk'ata, this is Maroy. Is anyone in the hangar at the moment?"

Vash-Ta-Nar, the Cerean pilot in her flight, responded. [[I am, ma'am.]]

"Can you do a quick inspection of Dawn's fighter for me? Let me know if anything's off. Especially the shields."

[[Right away, ma'am.]]

She put the comlink away and cast a worried glance at the prone form of Dawn. "Is there anything I can do?"

"Until I figure out what's wrong with him, there's nothing I can do."

Maroy wandered back to the squadron's barracks to wait out the comparatively short journey to the next system. As soon as she reached her bunk she checked her datapad and noticed a very recent message from Joamer. The message was an invitation to join him and Bright over a few bottles of Corellian Whiskey, and while the Twi'lek didn't quite approve of drinking so soon before they were all going to climb back into TIEs, she did want to take the time to discuss some things with them. She replaced the datapad and prepared to leave the room.

"Where are you and your lovely lekku off to in such a hurry?" Jak walked in through the doorway with his usual grin.

Maroy felt a pang of loss at his words, and her hurt expression quickly removed his smile. He was quick to apologize. "I'm sorry, I didn't know." Silence reigned in the room for a moment. "Have you seen Joamer by any chance?"

"Why do you ask?"

"Oh, I just thought I'd just say hello and introduce myself."

"Actually, I was on my way to-"

She was momentarily interrupted by Vash contacting her. [[I completed the inspection as ordered, ma'am. The only things outside normal deviations were a few hairline fractures in the fuel housing and an outdated driver for the Target Acquisition Realtime Display and Interface System.]]

"Please, just use the acronym next time. So no problems with the shields?"

[[Negative, Master Chief. The shields were functioning within a typical five percent of normal parameters.]]

"Okay." She sighed, and was about to put the comlink back away when a thought struck her. "Wait... did you say fractures in the fuel housing?"

[[Affirmative, Master Chief. One of the deck crew insisted that they were probably harmless, though. Is there a problem?]]

"Hopefully we just averted one. Tell the crew chief that Dawn's TIE is not fit for use until those fractures are fixed. Maroy out."

She quickly made her way to the medbay and burst through the door. "Tracen? I think I know the problem. Scan for the kinds of radioactive gasses used in TIE fuel."

He quickly selected a different scanning device and began altering its settings. The machine beeped at him, and his face lit up. "Yes, I'm picking up a significant amount of radioactive gas in his system."

"Can you treat him?"

"I can treat it, easily, but it will take a while."

"How long?"

He shrugged. "A few weeks, if we're lucky."

"We'll be arriving at the next system in just a couple hours." Maroy sighed. "Can you at least let the actual medical staff take care of him for a while? We can't afford to lose two pilots."

"Umm... okay. Yes ma'am."

"Don't forget. We don't know what's in this next system."

OOC:
WC:725
AAR: Just a bit of CD, and identifying the cause of Dawn's collapse.
FL/MCPO Maroy/C-1/S:26 Tuk'ata/W:58 Javelin/ISD-II Halcyon Warrior/TF:A/1FL/SFC/VEN/VE (=*A*=) [GCM] [CBV] [IG] [MC2] [MC1]
DarianRogue
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DarianRogue
 
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  RE: Tuk'ata: Counterpunch: Pestilence
October 20, 2012 7:07:59 PM    View the profile of DarianRogue 
Well, I wonder what’s in store for us next, besides an ID officer that now has a personal grudge on us. The mission had been interesting and frightening all together, and now Darian had no idea what would happen. Why did that man know Hades’s callsign? If he knew that, he could just as easily have found out anything else.
I’ll think about that later. I have some writing to do.

---------------------------------------

“And so did I arrive on my home planet of Bakura, emerging from the shuttle a different man than when I had left. I was a military man now, and not many people on the planet, at least in my home area, knew from that. My family certainly didn’t; they supported the Vast Empire and its sovereignty, but never really wanted anything to do with it directly. Seems I crushed that dream for them.
“Despite what I had since become capable of in my TIE Interceptor, despite what stunts I had pulled, despite my impressive piloting ability (I thought), I was powerless to stop the reason I had come. My uncle on my father’s side was sick, bedridden, dying. It saddened me. He and I were close, almost as close as my father and I. At least I’d be able to see him, one last time, before he passed on.
“And so I did. I visited him in the hospital where he was being treated, but despite all the marvels of modern medicine, there were no visible signs of improvement. He told me that he was proud for taking up the service, and that my parents were not proud was disgraceful; he told me I would become great. He also told me that ‘the truth will soon be revealed.’ At the time, of course, I wondered what he meant.
“But of course, as with all things, I came to understand.

“But you may have been wondering”

---------------------------------------

Suddenly, Darian was called from his writing by a beep from his datapad. It was a message from Hades, now the Squadron Commanding Officer of Tuk’ata.

---------------------------------------
Tuk’ata,
Get to the hangar. We have to get to the Brilliant ASAP. Move out.
--Hades
---------------------------------------

…Could it be time? Darian had long felt that something was off. There had to be an important mission to carry out soon, a counterattack after the Battle of Abrae. The Imperial Dominion had been given enough time to lick its wounds, and the Vast Empire was certainly done licking its own. He didn’t know what it was, but it was just an intuitive feeling. Perhaps this was what he had been waiting for, the sense of foreboding he had felt coursing through his veins for the past time.
He quickly packed all his stuff and rushed double time to the hangar. He was on time, and he formed in with the rest of Besh flight and Tuk’ata as B-3 for the transfer over to the Brilliant, now equipped with newly-repaired Interceptors. This should be fun. A much smaller ship waits for us.

---------------------------------------

“Ngghhh,” said Darian, if you can call that saying something. I don’t know if I was comfortable with a crazy stunt like that. I hope Hades doesn’t make us do that on a regular basis. At least they were finally in their new home. It should be interesting. I am waiting to see what our mission is.
And his wish was answered, in due time, though only after a confrontation with Dire-cat Squadron. I have a feeling this is going to be a long standing rivalry. Our recklessness against their order. Darian sighed at the situation, and his mood was only worsened by the revelation of Scral jumping ship. Would be best not to anger Hades now. Would be best to not even talk to him now. In the end, though, his spirits were quickly lifted when he found out exactly what was going on and what their mission was.
An unexplored route, huh?

---------------------------------------

Two missions passed, one for scouting, one for escorting, and various things happened along the way. Darian was enjoying the thrill for two reasons. A new set of systems, unexplored. The possibilities did wonders for his imaginations. Secondly, despite all the excitement, he had to face the facts: he was bored. And soon there would be something big happening, and he wasn’t going to miss it even if another relative died.

OOC:
WC:734
I am just sooooo so sorry it took so eff-ing long to get this out, and for overhyping it, and for it being short.
AAR: Catch up to present, and Darian thinking about how he wouldn’t abandon the VEN for the next while even if something happened back home. (Not that he would ever abandon the VEN… you… you know what I mean.)
FM/PO1 DarianRogue/B-3/S:26 "Tuk'ata"/W:52 "Javelin"/ISD-II Halcyon Warrior/TF:B/1 Flt/SC/VEN/VE (=*AE*=) {GrAt}
Joamer
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  RE: Tuk'ata: Counterpunch: Pestilence
October 28, 2012 12:11:17 AM    View the profile of Joamer 
Tilting the silver flask back slightly he let the amber coloured liquid flow over his tongue for a moment before swallowing. Lowering the flask he caught the deck chief starring at him for a second before walking over slowly. Resting the flask on his leg he felt the fabric of his flight suit rub against the port-side solar panel of his Interceptor as he rotated his shoulder, trying to work out a kink brought around by old age.

"I've known hotshots aplenty in my time here, ones that thought they were the best, ones that tried to be the best, and ones that just got others killed." The man said slowly as he stroked an upper part of the same solar panel like an old friend. "You however, you just go against the regs full bore. None military issue side-arm, worn openly at all times, an open marriage to someone in your same squadron, both parties having very dangerous pets, and not to mention drinking outside designated areas."

Smiling slightly Joamer offered the flask to him before resting his hand on his life-support equipment sitting next to him. "I was pulled out of retirement and forced into this, least they can do is cut me some slack."

Raising the flask in acknowledgement the chief took a slash before closing his eyes and savoring the liquid. "Whyren's Reserve, never thought I would taste this again in my lifetime."

"Retirement taught me a few things, one I am way too rich to be doing this job, and two I have very expensive tastes." Joamer said as he shut up the datapad he had been working on.

"You forgot rare tastes." The man said as he took another slash before handing back the flask. Not missing anything he added, "You've been in here for hours staring at that pad, what's got you troubled enough you would be away from that lithe wife of yours?"

"For one she is sleeping, or fixing something in the engine room." Joamer said as he tucked the pad behind his belt. "Orders from someone high up in the food chain, apparently a few of us are to come up with a plan to teach pilots how to be army dogs."

"Now I know why you are drinking something that rare." The chief said as he sighed slowly while looking over his hangar bay at the various tasks being performed by his crew. "Not full on tactics I hope?"

"Luckily no, just more on ground survival in case they are shot down over land." Joamer said as he finished off the flask and slipped it into a pouch on his weapons belt.

"No, don't stack them like that you are... stupid fraking rooks." The chief said as he waved at Joamer and stormed off.

Shaking his head slightly Joamer watched the man walk off as he felt the ship preparing itself to exit out of hyperspace. Most people could not feel it, but to someone like him that had spent most of his earlier life aboard one ship or another you could just tell the subtle nuances that preceded entrance or exit of hyperspace.

Staring at the closed external hangar bay doors for a moment he again wondered what he was doing back in military service before he noticed the trio of Dire-cat pilots walking into the hangar. Their once perfect synchronization was now broken slightly by one of them seeming a bit off kilter, his blood shot eyes told of a late night and a few too many drinks. Watching them beginning a preflight check before their combat aerospace patrol he went down to pick up his things but stopped as he heard the ship wide broadcast signal from the captain.

"Exiting out of hyperspace, CAP pilots exit once preflight is complete. All others pilots report to briefing in one hour... Belay my last." A long three seconds went by before the captain shouted, " Action stations! All pilots scramble, set condition one throughout the ship. Port side guns open fire!"

Feeling the ship shudder for a second he saw the external blast doors opening to the port side of a ship continuing to fire on them. Bending down he grabbed his life support equipment and began strapping it on as the chief walked up and began an emergency cold start of his Interceptor.

"That's something you don't see every day, an Nebulon-B escort frigate taking on a Victory II and thinking she can go toe to toe." The man said as Joamer locked his helmet into place and climbed up the walkway before sliding inside his fighter.

"You never know, she may get a lucky shot off." Joamer said into a frequency used by the deck crew. Setting the fighter for an emergency cold star he felt the engines kick out quicker than normal as the reactors spoiled up to nearly overload. "Tuk 5, show two green. Launching."

Punching the throttle he narrowly avoided two of the other squadrons fighters as everyone raced out of the hangar to begin fighting back. Switching his weapons systems on he angled over the Brilliants main gun batteries and began searching for something to shoot.

"Chief, I'm seeing fluctuations in the hangar bay field down there. What happened?" The voice of the Captain said over the comm link Joamer was still monitoring.

"Those blasted sons of Bothans got off a lucky shot, main generator is shorting out. Shield is failing, blast doors are sealed. Two minutes till we can launch more fighters."

"Guess I'm going solo." Joamer said to himself as he angled his Interceptor around and followed the trio of Dire-cats.

Checking his scanners he saw multiple red blips flying towards them as the larger vessels began pounding each other at close range. Angling in beside one of the other pilots he adjusted a few power settings as they raced towards the enemy.

"I know the Victory II is a powerful ship, but you have to admire the beating that Nebulon frigate is taking and what she is dishing out." Joamer said to no one in particular.

"Agreed." One of the Dire-cats said a moment later. "Wait, I just agreed with the army brat."

"Don't worry, I won't tell anyone." Joamer answered as they closed in one the other fighters and broke off into smaller flights to open fire.

Flipping his Interceptor around he saw no one was behind him so he angled back around to close with one of the Dire-cats that were alone currently. Following the fighter he watched as the man tried to get a firing solution but was constantly denied due to being too close to his target.

"Cat six, break hard right when I say." Joamer said as he adjusted his weapons power settings slightly.

"I don't take orders from you." The man said angrily.

"Either break right when I say, or I'm going to get out of this cockpit, come over there, rip your arms off and beat you to death with them!" Joamer shouted at the child pilot for a moment. "Now, break hard right!"

He saw the other Interceptor hesitate a moment before it broke right fast, squeezing the trigger gently he watched as green bursts of laser fire reflected over the shielded enemy Interceptor for a moment before they cut through and ripped into the cockpit. Breaking to the left he felt the shock wave from the fighter exploding as he joined back up with the lone Dire-Cat.


OOC:
WC-1250. Joamer drinks expensive whiskey. Random mutterings about things, and finally some action.
Joamer Tremaine Reistlin
Chief Warrant Officer, Flight Leader
Besh Flight, Tuk'ata Squadron

FL|CWO Joamer|B-1|26th Vast Imp. Fighter Squadron "Tuk'ata" |W:58 "Javelin"|mSSD Halcyon Warrior |TF:A|1FL|SFC|VEN|VE
In memory of Ghost squad, we will never forget.
Maroy
ComNet Member
 
Maroy
 
[VE-NAVY] Master Chief Petty Officer
 
Post Number:  537
Total Posts:  718
Joined:  Feb 2010
Status:  Offline
  RE: Tuk'ata: Counterpunch: Pestilence
October 31, 2012 11:28:02 PM    View the profile of Maroy 
Maroy rushed into the hangar just as the blast doors slammed shut, sealing the Brilliant's remaining twenty Interceptors inside. She quickly singled out the deck chief and dodged the frenzied engineers running in and out of the hatches and doorways.

"Chief, status update!"

The man sighed and shouted a reply over the commotion. "Nebulon-B was right on top of us when we hypered in! Lucky shot damaged the hangar forcefield generator! Reistlin and the Direcat's CAP flight made it out before that!"

"How soon until the field is repaired?!"

"At least another two minutes!"

Maroy took refuge behind her Interceptor and pulled out her comlink. "Cresh, I need you in the hangar now."

"Is this quick enough?" Jak strolled into the hangar, Lunei and Vash close behind him.

"I love you three. Okay, get in your fighters and keep your preflight down to about thirty seconds. We need to be ready to launch as soon as the blast door opens."

They saluted and scrambled through the chaos to their Interceptors.

"Tuk'ata Lead, this is Nine. Hades, you there?"

[[I read, Maroy. The rest of us are on our way now.]]

Maroy climbed into her own fighter and bypassed all but the most critical startup checks. She confirmed her own Interceptor didn't have gas leak, like the one that took Dawn out of the fight. "Tuk'ata Nine here. Cresh is ready to go."

[[Tuk'ata Lead here. Aurek and Besh are accounted for and ready to fly.]]

The flight controller answered over the squadron channel. [[Copy that, Tuk'ata Lead. Pilots, we'll have the blast door opened in just a moment. Standby.]]

The blast door began opening, but the hangar's containment forcefield stuttered and then abruptly vanished. The air in the hangar began rushing out through the widening aperture, taking along equipment and crewmen alike. One crewman flailed desperately and managed to grab one of the wingtips on Maroy's interceptor, and his frightened eyes looked right into her helmet for a single moment before he lost his grip and disappeared into space. The forcefield finally kicked in again, just before the majority of the equipment was lost.

[[Bridge to Hangar. Status report!]]

[[Bridge, this is Petty Officer Philk. The containment field failed when we overrode the blast doors. Chief Rekkan and about seven other crewmen were lost in the decompression.]]

[[Can we still launch the fighters?]]

[[Affirmative, Bridge. Tuk'ata, Direcat, you are clear for launch. Mind the debris.]]

[[Roger that,]] Hades replied, followed closely by Av'Vast's [[Affirmative]]. The two squadrons, minus Direcat's Aurek, Besh, and Cresh '3's and Joamer, slowly maneuvered their way through the cloud of sharp engineering equipment and lifeless bodies and rocketed out into open space. Direcat formed up in a fighter screen to intercept the oncoming Dominion Interceptors. We've got two squadrons of Interceptors, and they have one. Victory-II class Star Destroyer against a Nebulon-B. Piece of ryshcate.

[[Tuk'ata, the Nebulon, the Pax Magellanic, has deployed a squadron of Bombers. Intercept them as fast as you can, Direcat will deal with the enemy's Interceptors. With the current damage to the Brilliant, our shields can't take more than one salvo.]]

Hades sighed over the comm. [[I copy, Brill...]] He trailed off, and then Maroy thought she heard a gasp. [[...I'm picking up a Tartan patrol cruiser on the edge of my sensor range. By the gods- It's the Scythe!]]

[[We don't read anything, Tuk'ata Lead. Your sensors must be defective.]]

[[No! I see it-]] He paused for a second, drawing a single sharp breath as if he was building himself up for a huge choice. [[Tuk'ata, on me. Direcat will just have to deal with the Bombers for now.]] He broke formation and began flying towards a cluster of asteroids in the far corner of the battlefield. Maroy hesitated for a moment before following.

The Cerean was the first to object. [[Sir, the chances of us catching Vrail even at maximum speed are twenty-two thousand to-]]

[[Shut up!]] Several pilots shouted in unison.

The Direcat Squadron Commander quickly caught onto what Hades was doing. [[This is treason! Mutiny!]] Maroy could picture Av'Vast's fur rippling with anger. [[I will personally see that you are all court-martialled if we survive this engagement!]]

Jak interjected. [[Hey, I don't know what's happening here, but believe me, I had nothing to do with it.]]

Joamer, who hadn't originally formed up with them, suddenly burst into the conversation. [[Senior Chief Petty Officer Aita, stand down. This is your bloody squadron, you can't abandon them to go off on some personal vendetta.]] Hades' sharp breathing was the only reply. [[If you want him, then let's discuss it after this skirmish. If you've not noticed I'm filthy rich, and funding insane ideas is a hobby of mine. Now, till then get your head in the game.]]

Hades' TIE reluctantly slowed to a stop and turned around. [[I'm sorry. I'm not sure what over me.]] Maroy could hear the disappointment and frustration in his voice. [[We'd never be able to catch him in time, anyway.]]

[[If you ladies are finished, I believe we have a date with some Dominion Bombers.]] Maroy could almost see Jak's trademark smirk as they broke formation and looped back at the mass of fighters emerging from the Nebulon's hangar.

OOC:
WC:876
AAR:The hangar doors open, but the forcefield fails and a good portion of the hanger crew and gear get sucked out into space. The squadrons launch and the Nebulon-B, the Pax Magellanic, deploys bombers. Hades picks up Vrail on radar but eventually decides not to pursue.
FL/MCPO Maroy/C-1/S:26 Tuk'ata/W:58 Javelin/ISD-II Halcyon Warrior/TF:A/1FL/SFC/VEN/VE (=*A*=) [GCM] [CBV] [IG] [MC2] [MC1]
Joamer
ComNet Member
 
Joamer
 
[VE-ARMY] Sergeant Major
[VE-NAVY] Chief Warrant Officer
 
Post Number:  826
Total Posts:  996
Joined:  Sep 2007
Status:  Offline
  RE: Tuk'ata: Counterpunch: Pestilence
November 6, 2012 12:26:22 AM    View the profile of Joamer 
Ignoring the fighters in front of him, and the bombers now beginning a run on the Brilliant, Joamer closed the distance between himself and the enemy cruiser. He refused to consider the thought that she may well be the Pax Magellanic. He knew that ship, he was there at the Fall of Arcadia with the Million Voices, and her sister the Halcyon Promise. He still saw the Midian Breach on fire when he closed his eyes at night. She stayed behind to ensure they escaped, five thousand souls burned so the survivors of Arcadia could make a run into the unknown regions.

Bringing his Interceptor in dangerously close he saw the deep cut markings on the port-side of the ship. Triple row scorch marks that looked like a wild animal had taken a furious swipe at her. In fact it had been pieces of the Hunter Gratzner exploding as she collided with another ship to protect the Pax Magellanic. That had taken place two years before the fall of Arcadia though, long after the Clone Wars had run their course, and the Empire had taken full control over the Galaxy.

"Good to see you again, old friend. Till the sun rises, and the night reigns." Joamer said after he made sure his commlink was turned off. Swinging his Interceptor around in a tight arcing loop, he wondered if anyone inside that ship was looking out at this moment, and if one of those eyes recognized the maneuver he was doing. If so he hoped they still remembered the Fall, and the innocents claimed by a senseless need and desire.

"Besh flight, this is Lead. On me, let's take out those bombers." Joamer said as he clicked his commlink on.

Clearing his mind as the fighting continued, he tried to forget the faces that continued to come to him from the past. Things that still haunted him, and things he could never change came to him unabated and unchallenged. Lost in the memories he cursed as a bomber got a shot off at the Brilliant, tapping the left rudder he brought his Interceptor in line and fired, a moment later the bomber became nothing more than space dust.

"Brilliant, you fraking morons. You want to get off your rear ends and actually join this party? We could use some fraking help out here!" He shouted into the commlink after his frustration got the better of him. This battle had been going on long enough this should of only been a quick survey mission before they jumped back into hyperspace.

"Fine, you want help then how about this army boy. All fighters, emergency landing." The Captain's voice said over the commlink a few moments later.

Spinning his Interceptor around he saw the Brilliant coming around quickly in line with the Pax Magellanic. Narrowing his eyes he noticed the intercept point would be the connecting spar of the smaller ship. He knew the Victory II would survive, even be able to jump into hyperspace afterwards, but the bombers would be the biggest threat.

"Oh frak me, don't tell me they are doing what I think they are doing." Hades said after a moment.

"Looks like it." Joamer said slowly.

"All ships, Guarded Burn!" Maroy shouted suddenly.

"Most of us don't speak Regent, Maroy." Hades growled slightly, now a bit annoyed with the constant talk of the dead squadron.

"Frontside escort formation, punch a hole through to the Nebulon, then go over or under. If you survive, combat landings." Joamer said as he saw Besh flight getting into formation in an outstretched diamond.

Looking at his screen, he saw even Dire-cat getting into formation around them. Which was not easy due to the surviving enemy bombers and Interceptors still buzzing around them. Every few moments someone would break formation and do a short chase, sometimes scoring a few hits before retreating to the escort line.

"She's closing in, all pilots maximum burn, full shielding on front. I'll see all of you in tartarus, Joamer you are buying the first and second rounds." Hades said as the two squadrons began their escort and attack run.

"Not likely, I'm not going to die today youngin." Joamer responded.



OOC:
WC-704. CD, then the Brilliant who has an insane captain decides to begin a ramming run on the Pax Magellanic. Can anyone else spot how many times I referenced a certain TV show? Cause, I lost count... Love those ship names though.
Joamer Tremaine Reistlin
Chief Warrant Officer, Flight Leader
Besh Flight, Tuk'ata Squadron

FL|CWO Joamer|B-1|26th Vast Imp. Fighter Squadron "Tuk'ata" |W:58 "Javelin"|mSSD Halcyon Warrior |TF:A|1FL|SFC|VEN|VE
In memory of Ghost squad, we will never forget.
Maroy
ComNet Member
 
Maroy
 
[VE-NAVY] Master Chief Petty Officer
 
Post Number:  538
Total Posts:  718
Joined:  Feb 2010
Status:  Offline
  RE: Tuk'ata: Counterpunch: Pestilence
November 16, 2012 1:17:23 AM    View the profile of Maroy 
"Cresh, we're going in hot. Keep your engines red-lined, clear out any bombers getting too close but don't stray too far from the formation. We've got to make sure the Brilliant makes it through in one piece."

[[Roger that, Maroy. I've got your wing.]] Lunei rolled her fighter into position behind her flight leader.

[[Nine, this isn't really a by-the-book maneuver.]]

"Of course it is, Eight. Remember those playbooks I was handing out on Life Day that nobody took?" A few of the pilots chucked over the comm.

Here we go. All of the Brilliant's surviving fighters formed a spearhead in front of the accelerating Star Destroyer. The Pax seemed to have finally realized what the larger ship was doing and was starting to move away, but the Vast Empire vessel compensated effortlessly. The Dominion fighters began desperately attacking, but there wasn't enough of them left to do any permanent damage.

Maroy watched the targeting computer's distance display shrink rapidly as she approached the doomed Nebulon. Its handful of turbolasers and laser cannons shot randomly through their formation, but the majority of the shots missed and impacted on the Brilliant's reinforced forward shield. One Direcat took a turbolaser blast and exploded.

[[All fighters, prepare to pull up and over on my mark.]]

The Twi'lek tightened her grip on the controls and kept her eyes forward. They were going to be cutting it awfully close.

[[Mark!]]

The formation of Interceptors snap-rolled upward in near-perfect unison... except for Tuk'ata Eight.

"Eight, pull up!"

[[Maneuvering thrusters are offline! I can't change course!]]

"Shut down the engines! Full restart!"

[[I'm trying, I'm trying!]]

The Interceptor's engines dulled and the fighter began to slow down for one moment. One moment was all the space he had between himself and the much more massive Brilliant. A small fireball, barely noticeable against the imperial-grey hull, was the only indicator of the Tuk'atan's demise.

[[I'd really hate to be the viewport washer right now.]]

Maroy felt like finding the pilot who said that and slapping him, but the larger collision drew everyone's attention. The Brilliant impacted the Pax in a brilliant explosion of flaming atmosphere and vaporized metal, effortlessly splitting the smaller ship in two. Each half drifted away helplessly, leaking atmosphere throughout the middle section. The very tip of the Brilliant's hull was scorched, but the shields had held. All turbolaser fire ceased and the Dominion fighters retreated from combat range.

[[Vast Imperial Star Destroyer, this is Captain Pyke of the Dominion vessel Pax Magellanic. My vessel has sustained heavy casualties and irreparable damage to its main hull. I'm not so fanatically loyal to the Dominion that I don't know when I'm beat. I hereby surrender and relieve myself of command, effective immediately.]]

[[Under what conditions?]]

[[A ride on your way out would be nice. Don't worry, we're not going anywhere any time soon.]]

[[Copy that, Pax. Tuk'ata, Direcat, return to the hangar immediately.]]



Dawn down and out, one more Tuk'atan dead... Does it never end? She sighed and leaned against her fighter. Of course it doesn't. We're part of a war machine, fighting against other war machines. Wars exist to kill people. And nobody's immune. Not even heroes. She took a quick visual sweep of the hangar. Everything was in complete disarray after the decompression incident. The Brilliant simply didn't carry enough crew to keep replacing its losses. More victims of this stupid conflict. Why can't we all just be civilized beings and only kill the people that don't really matter to us?

Her depressing train of thought was finally interrupted when Lunei walked over. "Hey, you okay?"

Maroy shrugged, clearing her face and leaving her dropping lekku as the only visible sign of her depression. "Yeah, I'm fine. Just thinking over how this mission's been going."

"You're not planning on giving up and leaving, are you?"

"No."

The girl sighed helplessly and walked off.

But right now I really, really want to.

OOC:
WC: 657
AAR: the Brilliant rammed the Pax, which surrendered immediately afterward. Tuk'ata Eight (presumably Eli already left) and another Direcat died. Moved time forward to the ship en-route to the system with the lab.
FL/MCPO Maroy/C-1/S:26 Tuk'ata/W:58 Javelin/ISD-II Halcyon Warrior/TF:A/1FL/SFC/VEN/VE (=*A*=) [GCM] [CBV] [IG] [MC2] [MC1]
Joamer
ComNet Member
 
Joamer
 
[VE-ARMY] Sergeant Major
[VE-NAVY] Chief Warrant Officer
 
Post Number:  827
Total Posts:  996
Joined:  Sep 2007
Status:  Offline
  RE: Tuk'ata: Counterpunch: Pestilence
November 20, 2012 3:30:26 AM    View the profile of Joamer 
The oppressive atmosphere of the typical naval bar annoyed the older man sitting at a table alone. The off-white walls, the bright lights, the cheery music, if you could call it that coming from the jukebox in the corner, even the light banter between crew members annoyed him. He avoided them like the Naboo plague, talked to no one, and openly drank from his own bottle of whiskey corellian make.

The routine of this lifestyle, coupled with the regular stale missions had his patience worn thin. Even the last surprise attack did little to bring him out of his stupor of hatred and annoyance. He saw only one or two people toasting the recently dead crew members who had been sucked out of the hangar bay doors as the forcefield failed. In the army they remembered the dead, learned from how they died and kept them alive in memories and songs sung in bars. Here, though, the dead were forgotten and life went on as nothing happened.

He hated it, and he hated them. More pointless deaths, crushed and forgotten beneath the jackboots of the Imperial legion. Draining his glass he closed his eyes and wished he could just leave this place, but he had given his word and in the end that is the only thing a man had he could depend on. Honor has its own price, that price is only seen in times of stress. He had forgotten who first said that to him, but the man's voice came back clear as day now he could just not put a face to the words anymore.

"You drink alone?" It was not really a question Maroy said quietly as she walked up. He knew she would eventually show up, she wanted more information on Scral and how they were connected. Out of everyone in the squadron he thought she would be the more likely one not to forget the dead.

"The past haunts me, Corellian whiskey helps quiet the ghosts." He said softly as he pushed the second glass towards her he had prepared for when she did show up. Closing his eyes again, he tried to block her out like he tried to block everyone else out.

"You know I've read parts of your file, nothing there said you were like this." She said quietly as she took another sip of the whiskey.

"Like what, actually human?" He said as she opened his eyes and looked at her for a long moment. "I've had a lot of commands in my life. Looking back the Clone Wars were the least of my ghosts, you know I was there at the fall of Arcadia? Bet my file does not have that tidbit of information in it." Looking down he poured himself another glass and raised it to his lips, "Someday I may even come to terms with that." He said very quietly.

"What happened?" She asked.

"Delta base zero." He said simply.

"My Gods... how many?" She asked as she drained the glass in one swallow.

Shaking his head he refused to answer, he knew the answer but he would not speak it out loud. It was something he would have to live with for the rest of his life, and someday he would have to answer for. For now though, he drank to keep the ghosts at bay. It worked better when he was not annoyed with his current situation.

"Wonderful, it's the kittens again." Maroy mumbled loud enough to be heard halfway across the bay. Pouring another glass she glared at the squadron just entering the bar. "Don't forget your synthohol, don't want you girls to be unkempt." She nearly yelled across the bar as she raised her own glass and downed it.

"Easy now, this whiskey goes to your head quickly." Joamer said as he filled his own glass.

"I propose a toast!" Maroy said as she stood up, "To the honored dead, long memory to those left behind. God speed, may your travels bring you a tall ship and a star to sail her by." The toast left most of the room quiet, but those few who understood the reference stood and raised their glasses Joamer included.

After everyone drank Joamer looked over to see the Dire-Cat squadron glaring at both of them, none of them had stood or even acknowledged the toast nor the well wishes for the dead. Draining his glass, he sat it down and walked away from the table. After a moment he noticed Maroy next to him quietly say, "What are we going to do?"

"I'm going to pick a fight, enough of this posturing."

Walking quickly over to the ground he looked around for a moment and settled next to a man nursing a frilly pink drink of some type. Breathing out quietly he settled his feet lightly on the ground and motioned around the room then said, "Everyone here but you lot, gave the dead one last honor. What makes you more special than the rest of us grunts? What makes you above the men that died so you could be here sipping your pink umbrella drinks?"

Leaning down to the man in front of him he said, "You know what I think it is? I think you believe you are prettier than I am. I'm going to fix that by breaking your nose on this bartop." Standing back up he grabbed the man's head and smashed it into the bartop three times before tossing him into his friends. "Next time anyone proposes a toast to the dead, you give them the courtesy and respond. Or it will be your neck next."

Grabbing his mostly empty bottle of whiskey from his table he walked out of the silent bar with Maroy close behind. After a few minutes Maroy asked, "Is this what it's like being in the army?"

"No, that part comes later when they get drunk enough to come find us. Or we get thrown in hack for damaging imperial property, but that is fun too." Joamer said as he handed Maroy the bottle and continued to walk.


OOC:
WC-1022. Joamer deals with ghosts of his past, and picks a fight with Dire-Cat squadron.
Joamer Tremaine Reistlin
Chief Warrant Officer, Flight Leader
Besh Flight, Tuk'ata Squadron

FL|CWO Joamer|B-1|26th Vast Imp. Fighter Squadron "Tuk'ata" |W:58 "Javelin"|mSSD Halcyon Warrior |TF:A|1FL|SFC|VEN|VE
In memory of Ghost squad, we will never forget.
Trykon
ComNet Marshal
 
Trykon
 
[VE-DJO] Adept
[VE-NAVY] Lieutenant
 
Post Number:  2095
Total Posts:  3784
Joined:  Feb 2011
Status:  Offline
  RE: Tuk'ata: Counterpunch: Pestilence
November 20, 2012 2:06:03 PM    View the profile of Trykon 
Premier Donnel Zaqarian forced himself to smile, as the holocamera’s bright fill lamp came on, nearly blinding him.

“Premier Zaqarian,” the journalist babbled excitedly, “can you tell us how you expect this meeting with Governor-General Karstok to go?”

Two months before, Tilsec Prime’s most famous populist politician would surely have answered with a civil-but-telling critique of the policies of the Imperial Dominion’s absolute ruler, which probably explained the eagerness with which the reporter asked his question: a potential challenger to the throne (so to speak) was a great story, especially in a society where the press was so tightly controlled that it could very rarely transcend the role of propaganda.  Unfortunately for the quality of political discourse in the Dominion – and for Donnel Zaqarian personally – a lot had changed in two months.

Zaqarian’s smile broadened, and his response was immediate and impassioned: “I anticipate another fruitful exchange with the Governor-General, and I remain committed to his Security Plan.  He has my full support.  We’re gonna win this thing.”

The journalist seemed to sag when he realized he wasn’t going to get a juicy quote, and he waved at the cameradroid to turn off the light.  As the man and his droid turned away, Zaqarian let out a quiet sigh of relief.  He knew that Karstok’s security thugs sometimes posed as everyday citizens, including members of the press.  If the reporter had smiled, or nodded with approval, it was likely he was actually a domestic spy.  As it was, he was probably just a pawn of the Governor-General’s government, rather than a paid, deadly agent of the regime.  Pawns and killers, all of us, Zaqarian thought, as he turned around and walked up the stairway to Karstok’s door.

The E-3PO butler took his overcoat, and led him to Karstok’s study.  The whole time, Zaqarian tried desperately not to remember his life as it had been, back before he’d confronted the Governor-General and learned that the Dominion fleet had been defeated.  Back when he had hope, for his career and for his homeworld.

“Ah, Donnel,” Karstok said absently from his desk as Zaqarian and the droid entered.  “Sit down.”

“Governor-General,” Zaqarian said with a bow, before following the command.  The droid tottered out.

“It took them longer than I anticipated, but the Vast Empire has finally invaded,” Karstok began, still staring at the bank of monitors built into his desktop.  “Their Second Fleet attacked T-8-chex, and I’m getting fragmentary reports from the other border worlds: it looks like they’re leapfrogging from system to system, burning everything in their path.”  He exhaled, slowly and audibly, in something close to a sigh.  Premier Zaqarian kept silent, waiting until he was directly addressed.  “It’s surprising, this level of wanton destruction, coming from the Vast Imperials.  They’re always so keen on preserving their image as the kinder, gentler incarnation of the Empire…  Why do you suppose they’re going all take-no-prisoners now, Donnel?”

The Premier straightened in his chair at his name, as if he’d been struck.  “I don’t know, Governor-General,” he said hurriedly.  As he heard how pitiful he sounded, he added, “Perhaps the attack on Abrae angered them?  Or maybe it was more successful than we thought, and their fleet leadership has changed due to casualties?”

Karstok’s cadaverous features had frozen as he considered the notions.  Eventually, he began to nod, ever so slowly.  “Perhaps, and maybe.  Our spies in the VE have gone silent, save for a few low-level agents at the periphery of their chain-of-command… someone in their counterintelligence services has gotten very efficient, all of a sudden.  Without our spies reporting, I can only guess.”  The Governor-General sounded… regretful, almost.

“Our network of agents was our deadliest weapon!” Zaqarian said, aghast.  Too late, he covered his mouth, terrified that the outburst would offend the volatile Governor-General.

But Karstok didn’t seem to mind.  He continued, with the same faraway look in his eyes: “Not our deadliest,” he murmured.

Zaqarian swallowed in a suddenly-dry throat.  “Bloodmoon?” he whispered.

That word seemed to bring Karstok out of his reverie.  The skeletally-thin man blinked, and stared straight at Zaqarian.  “Bloodmoon,” he agreed.  “The facility is working on a new formula.  It’s nearly complete.  If they finish their work in time…” he trailed off, and smiled evilly.

Zaqarian finished the Governor-General’s thought, in his head: …then a plague like no other in the history of the Galaxy will be unleashed on the Vast Empire.

***


The moon hung in space, orbiting the bright-red gas giant in silence.  The deep crimsons of its craggy surface were bathed in red light, and the shadows were like rivulets of congealed blood.  From a tiny viewport with multiple panes of convex transparisteel, built into the wall of a massive crater at the end of a five-impact catena, Doctor Rakelle Vice looked out on the red-on-red landscape, and frowned.

Doctor Vice was an epidemiologist, who’d served a tour of duty in the Imperial Dominion’s Army.  She had experienced the horrors of war herself, in diverse theaters across the Unknown Regions, and as a survivor of the Plague Wars, she knew the threats facing the Dominion.  She was certain that the cause she served – the preservation of Imperial law and order in this chaos at the edge of the Known Galaxy – was just and right, and she was a firm believer that a noble end justified ruthless means.  But still, every now and then, she had doubts about the work she and her team were doing on Bloodmoon.  Every so often, most of the time after viewing a batch of test subjects, she would lose her certainty, and it was during those times that she braved the kilometers of narrow, twisting corridors with their double-strength blast doors at regular intervals, and walked all the way up to the surface level, where she could gaze out this small viewport, and remember the universe outside this grim place.

And so, she looked out at the red mountains, and tried not to see the test subjects’ skin lesions, erupting.  She looked out at the red valleys in shadow, and tried not to see their open sores, weeping.  She listened to the silence, and tried not to remember the shrieking howls of unspeakable anguish.  And she looked up at the stars and wept.

Then, a while later, she wiped her eyes and walked back down into the heart of Bloodmoon, to get back to work.

OOC:
1,068 words.

AAR: Premier Zaqarian is forced to support Governor-General Karstok, but the ID leader is uncertain of how to proceed, now that VENI has unmasked and eliminated most of the ID's spy network.  Their hopes are pinned on Bloodmoon, a bioweapons facility developing a plague designed to wipe out the VE.

Okay, guys.  This is why this story is named Pestilence: the Imperial Dominion has a secret bio-chemical weapons lab on a moon in a system very near to Tilsec Prime, codenamed Bloodmoon.  The facility is a few short minutes away from Tilsec Prime's large garrison force, at hyper, and the system it's in is the terminus of the "Secondary Route" that Brilliant is exploring.

Orders: Brilliant enters the system, and begins a survey using her fighters.  Tuk'ata, you should discover the facility, somehow (I have full confidence in your creativity).  VENI personnel, if you want to jump in, now's the time.  The lab may maintain communications silence at first, hoping the VE ship leaves, but once they know they've been discovered, they'll call for help.  Brilliant cannot hope to destroy the facility (which is deep underground) before overwhelming ID forces arrive, so it'll have to withdraw.  The trick, here, is to make sure we leave the system either knowing that Bloodmoon is a bioweapons lab, or else leaving behind a covert presence (VENI agents, maybe, somehow?) that can discover that fact after Brilliant is forced to withdraw.  Toward that end, I'll specify that the moon has a very thin atmosphere... enough that a simple breath mask would probably be sufficient to survive on the surface.
CNW/LT Wyl "Trick" Trykon/VSD Brilliant/TF:A/2Flt/FC/VEN/VE

[SoA][SoV][BWC][NSM][E][NAR][HNS][DSM][SWC][1NS][VC:B][LoM][VC:S][NC][GWC][VC:G][CoB]
(=*AE*=)(=*SAE*=)(=*TG*=)(=*SCFE*=)

TRN/AD Trykon/DJO/VEDJ
[This message has been edited by Trick (edited November 20, 2012 2:06:28 PM)]
Hades
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Hades
 
[VE-NAVY] Senior Chief Petty Officer
 
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  RE: Tuk'ata: Counterpunch: Pestilence
November 20, 2012 10:58:06 PM    View the profile of Hades 
A few hours ago,
En-route to Bloodmoon
------

"Damn it!" He slammed the hydrospanner against the curved solar panel of his TIE Interceptor angrily as his efforts resulted in failure again. A qualified Starfighter Mechanic, Hades knew how they worked and better still, knew how to upgrade them. Precisely what he was trying to do here was unclear until one saw the datapad that was plugged into his fighter's main computer. In most vehicles, you could personalise the various settings for a better or more efficient experience. Tweaking, or tuning a TIE Interceptor was notoriously difficult, and playing with the levels -- between acceleration and speed -- could be dangerous. If you fed too much into the engines, they would overheat without use and the cables would melt, but if you fed too little they wouldn't start at all.

Right now, the Squadron Commander was trying to coax as much acceleration out of his TIE as the Interceptor made possible -- potentially more. To do this, though, he'd have to sacrifice some power to his weapons and increase power to the weapons -- again, a difficult task due to the sensitivity of power outputs and such. The young pilot bit his lip, preparing to hurl his hydrospanner across the deserted hangar and this dastardly datapad with it. He'd just noticed his ordnance launchers were drawing far more power than he thought prudent, and was about to adjust it when he heard the hangar bulkhead hiss open and the sound of boots on the floor. Click, click, click. Hades was in no mood for pleasantries and he knew most of his Squadron were at the bar or recuperating, so he slid silently into his interceptor and closed the hatch behind himself.

Watching out the viewport, he could see someone at the far end of the hangar. He appeared to be a mechanic, playing with one of Direcat's own fighters. Intriguing, Hades thought as he leaned closer to his viewport to get a better look. He was doing something to the ordnance launcher, it seemed. While Hades didn't wish Direcat well for their orderliness, their discipline and the hydrospanner they seemed to have stuck up their behind, he didn't hate them - they were his allies. The mechanic left the fighter and went on his way, while Hades opened the cockpit and climbed out quickly, jogging toward the Dire-cat Interceptor. It was then he heard a quiet beeping emanating from the ordnance launcher. His features creased into a frown and he bent down so he could see -- a shaped charge placed inside the missile tube! More than that, it had a countdown.

Ten seconds to go! Hades turned and sprinted the direction the mechanic had been, diving over some crates and huddling against them as he counted to zero. At zero an explosion rocked the hangar. The Interceptor's warheads had been destroyed, as had the fighter itself. It was enough to vaporise the Interceptor and damage the next in line, but not more than that. Hades cursed as he saw the damage and now sprinted after the mechanic. Left or right? Hades followed a hunch and went left, heading toward the 'freshers.  The young Squadron Commander caught up to him just as he was leaving the 'freshers -- now dressed as a bridge officer! -- and tucking a compact hold-out blaster into his uniform pocket. He saw Hades and offered a polite smile, evidently hoping that the man had not seen anything. Hades was not swayed quite so easily.

"Give me the weapon." Hades ordered. He only realised he was unarmed when, as he got within a few feet of the man, the mechanic-turned-bridge officer pulled the blaster and aimed it squarely between the young Squadron Commander's eyes. Hades cursed himself for being so stupid. He also noticed the hold-out blaster had a silencing attachment on it, and in fact it was a disruptor. Things went from better to worse, then.. Not quite. The man had made a mistake by allowing Hades within arm's reach and as he flickered his gaze over Hades' shoulder to see if he'd been followed, the cross-trained fighter pilot slapped the pistol out of the way and tackled the man low, lifting him up by his legs and slamming him down against the solid floor. The disruptor scattered away and Hades moved over the saboteur for a finisher, only to meet with a kick to the face, which sent him stumbling in the same direction as the pistol. He cursed and ran for the small weapon, but found his legs pulled from under him by the saboteur, who'd not yet stood up but was trying to.

Hades kicked back with his foot, impacting the man's nose and eliciting a bone-shattering crunch from the impact area. Poor guy, probably wouldn't breathe properly ever again. Hades kicked out a second time, knocking the saboteur away and scrabbling toward the disruptor. As he reached for it, a boot planted itself in his stomach and Hades felt the air knocked out of him. Not letting that deter him, he placed his hands on the ground and scissored his legs to sweep them under the saboteur who, with blood pouring from his nose, slammed to the ground. Hades finally grasped the disruptor and whirled it in the direction of the saboteur, who'd managed to get back to his feet. Wiping the sweat out of his eyes as he stood up as well, Hades glared at the man. "Don't even think about running. I'll put two in your arse and one in your head for good measure."

With that in mind, Hades pulled his comm from his pocket and raised the bridge. "Bridge, this is Senior Chief Petty Officer Aita. I have a saboteur in custody."

"The explosion in the hangar bay was deliberate?" The man on the other end hissed. "Very well. Watch him. I'm sending a team of marines to take him into custody."

Hades lowered the comm back into his pocket. It was at the moment that the comm in his ear squawked -- one no-one but him and another aboard this ship knew about. "This is Ensign Grey. I've already located his quarters and uncovered his orders from the Imperial Dominion, along with a lot of juicy information. He is no use to us alive." The voice was clear, crisp and female. "Eliminate him."

Hades grimaced, wondering if the man was more use to them alive. But it was true, they knew his objective and his origin, there was little else they needed him to tell them. While moral debates between non-existent sentient right's activist raged in Hades' head, his resolve had hardened and pulled the trigger. Thwap, the man dropped without a sound. Perfect head shot. Nudging the body to see if there was any semblance of life in the saboteur, Hades face remained expressionless. Even as the Marines arrived and the Warrant Officer in charge glared at Hades.

"He was supposed to be alive!" The man fumed. Hades regarded him with an unmoving emerald gaze, cold and piercing yet unemotional.

"He ran." Hades lied simply. Orders were orders.

----
Present,
Arriving in the Bloodmoon system
----

Word had gotten around quickly, how Hades had stopped a saboteur from his attempt to kill the bridge crew -- for why else would he be wearing a Bridge Officer's uniform and carrying an illegal disruptor? -- but also how he had killed the man. Rumours were spreading that it had been in cold blood, that the saboteur hadn't run. The XO had berated him personally for losing such a valuable asset. Apparently, the marines had searched his quarters and found no intel of value. Hades had simply taken the lecture stoically. As he entered the hangar, he received one or two glances of disgust from Av'Vast's group, a few fearful from mechanics and a number of unsure, wary glances from his own Squadron. "Alright, Tuk'ata, we have our orders. Scout this system for a reported Imperial Dominion presence, nature unknown. Mechanics have managed to clear the wreckage of Direcat's destroyed fighter, but unfortunately for us-" Hades placed emphasis on unfortunately, making sure they knew he was being sarcastic as he smirked, "-Direcat still cannot get out of the hangar. When they do, they'll be assigned to.."

Hades coughed quietly and his smirk grew, stifling a laugh exaggeratedly, "escort duty. An important job by all means." His smile showed he didn't think much of it. "Anyway, in your fighters Tuk'ata! Make your engines scream, just to show we are feeling sympathy for our Direcat.. 'relatives'."

Amid a few laughs and gazes, Hades paced to his fighter and dropped inside the cockpit, running a pre-flight check. All systems came up green, and the usual chatter of Tuk'ata was somewhat subdued. Either from the knowledge of a Saboteur or indeed from the fact Hades had killed him, Tuk'ata was pondering a few things. A drop in his stomach told Hades that they'd arrived, in addition to the appearance of proper, unstretched stars outside the hangar bay. "Alright Tuk'ata," Hades opened a Squadron-wide comm. "Let's make some noise!"

OOC:
Wordcount: 1,525 -- and I'm back!

AAR: Hades encounters a saboteur and engages him in hand-to-hand combat before managing to secure the disruptor and receiving orders from the XO of the Brilliant to keep him alive, amid orders from Ensign Grey to kill him. He kills the man then uses the excuse that he was running. A few hours later, rumours have started to spread and the Brilliant has just come out of hyperspace.

Hades has ordered Tuk'ata to essentially 'rev their engines' to exaggerate the fact that Direcat is still grounded. Get to work

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XNT | SCPO "Hades" | PLF Cappadocious | VENA | VEN | VE

VENI

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{INTER} {SfrM} {XenMA}  (=*SWC*=) {AFM} {HypM} {0Gee} {INFL}

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Maroy
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Maroy
 
[VE-NAVY] Master Chief Petty Officer
 
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  RE: Tuk'ata: Counterpunch: Pestilence
November 21, 2012 9:32:15 PM    View the profile of Maroy 
Maroy kept a close eye on Hades as he joked about Direcat's predicament. I don't know how he can be so cheerful right after murdering someone. I know Hades has a ton of hand-to-hand training, so he could've taken the guy down even if the spy had ran. She sighed. Whenever weird things happen around here, VENI is always involved.

She didn't laugh or cheer as they boarded their Interceptors. With Direcat grounded, we're going to be the only fighters out there. The only targets. And there's a good chance there's going to be some resistance, so... this is really going to suck. As she slid into her fighter, she had to slap herself a bit mentally. Focus, Maroy, focus. Nothing matters but the mission right now. Your squadron needs you. The other pilots made a big show of their pre-flight checks, spurting exhaust fumes into the hangar and filling the deck with the loud hum of ion engines.

[[Tuk'ata requesting permission to launch.]]

[[Permission granted, Tuk'ata. Let us know what's out there.]]

The fighters kicked in the repulsorlifts and hit the throttle, shooting into space in formation

[[Alright, Tuks, you know the drill. Aurek and I will be checking out the moon for any ground-based installations. Besh, Cresh, you get the upper and lower hemispheres of the planet. Look for any monitoring stations floating about and destroy them if necessary. We want to keep them in the dark as much as possible.]]

"Copy that, Hades. Cresh, spread out, wide sweep. All shield and weapons power to sensors. With Direcat down we've got a lot of extra space to cover."

[[As ordered, Nine.]]

[[Copy that.]]

[[Will do.]]

Even though they could still reach each other with comms from nearly halfway across the system, Maroy always felt lonely when they had to separate. It was reassuring to be physically close to a friendly, a comfort to know they had your backs. Without them space felt empty. Cold. She watched Lunei's fighter, which glinted with reflected light from the blood-red gas giant, shrink and shrink until she couldn't make it out amid the stars. She felt so alone.

After a few minutes of miserable quiet Hades broke the comm silence. [[Besh, Cresh, you have anything yet?]]

[[Nothing here.]]

"All clear on our end." Of course. We're still out of sensor range of the planet, and that's where they'd hide any listening posts or monitoring stations. Gas planets at least make visual targeting difficult.

[[Tuk Four here. Sensors are picking up something.]]

Hades sounded surprised. [[What've you got for us, Four?]]

[[Looks like some kind of simple automated signal, judging by the repeating pattern. Probably harmless. I need to get a bit closer to analyze it.]]

[[We'll be right there. Probably just some surveying probe, but we can't be too careful in enemy territory.]]

They flew in silence for a few more minutes as Aurek swooped in lower to investigate the moon's surface. Besh and Cresh continued their assigned flights, but didn't find anything of interest.

[[Signal just stopped. Didn't have enough time to get a good reading, but it definitely came from the northern terminus of the moon.]]

[[Nice work, Four. The Brilliant's moving in to investigate.]]

[[Wait... I'm picking up something! Oh gods! It's an entire-]] The comm abruptly cut to static as red icons began appearing all over the targeting computer near the moon.

[[Abort mission! Everyone back to the Brilliant immedia-]] Hades' message was cut off as a laser blast from the moon's surface lanced up and hit the back of his fighter. The Interceptor spun around several times before it lost momentum and began plummeting toward the surface.

"Frak! Signal must've been them calling for help. Anyone got a visual on Lead?"

[[He's still alive... but he's not adjusting his course. Blast knocked him out. He's going to... he's going to crash.]]

Hades... such a promising Squadron Commander, and just like that they take him out without a fight. Two more Tuk'atans dead. Frak it. Frak it all. I can't deal with this anymore. I'm done as soon as this is all over. "Everyone get back to the Brilliant! There's nothing more we can do! Anyone got a reading on those Dominion ships?"

A coughing Bright answered. [[I've got some scans, but I don't know if I can make it. My fighter's damaged.]]

"Besh, can you cover her?"

[[Besh on me on me, razzle dazzle. Protect her!" Joamer nearly shouted as he banked his Interceptor hard and punched the throttle to full]]

"Cresh will be there in a sec. Hang on, Brightstar, we're on our way."

She flew toward the moon, watching helplessly as the Dominion fleet closed in on the surviving member of Aurek. It was going to be close, and unless the squadron could keep the TIEs off Bright, the whole mission would have been a complete failure. Damn it. This is not good.

OOC:
WC: 818
AAR: Tuk'ata investigates the system and discovers some kind of installation on the moon, but the Dominion fleet arrives and Hades and Tuk'ata Four are both shot down. The rest of Tuk'ata begins regrouping to cover Brightstar as she delivers the data to the Brilliant.
FL/MCPO Maroy/C-1/S:26 Tuk'ata/W:58 Javelin/ISD-II Halcyon Warrior/TF:A/1FL/SFC/VEN/VE (=*A*=) [GCM] [CBV] [IG] [MC2] [MC1]
[This message has been edited by Maroy (edited November 21, 2012 9:33:13 PM)]
[This message has been edited by Maroy (edited November 21, 2012 9:51:57 PM)]
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