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ComNet > Imperial Navy > Archived Naval Story Board > VEN: Counterpunch: War
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Topic:  VEN: Counterpunch: War
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
December 15, 2012 10:13:27 PM    View the profile of Xanin 

Xanin walked out of the briefing room. It would seem that this squadron’s ideals, or at least its SCO’s are on par of the Rebel Alliance’s one. And these ideals were what he respected in the RA, and the main reason he chose the New Republic over Sate Pestage’s Empire. But he still didn’t trust any of the governments, still questioning his own decision as to why did he join the Vast Empire. And even though Strill’s leader could be an honourable man, the squadron might become cannon fodder nevertheless. Such tactics were always used in every established military organization. Such as the Vast Empire.

As he walked with a hastened pace towards the armoury he remembered that he had his trusted pistol that he brought with him. Xanin always despised rifles and carbines, finding them clumsy and having too much of a recoil. The SR pistol that he carried since his first days in the NR became his weapon of choice, regardless if he was boarding an enemy freighter or if he was defending his own. Even in bar fights it always came in handy, and its scope could be used to pick off targets. Of course Xanin never got to use it much, spending most of his life in a fighter, choosing that over boarding enemy ships. But it would seem he would have to get start using it more, considering that his squadron is an Army/Navy hybrid.

As he entered the Strill’s barracks he brought up his bag and took out his SR pistol. Looking up he saw Utan. The man was finishing packing up. Xanin put his bag back under his bed and made his way to the exit. Why don’t I leave… it’s pointless, we’re probably ARE going to be used as cannon fodder, Joamer said it himself, none of us might make it back… he thought to himself But then, that’s the life in the military, being at a constant risk…

As he made his way through the corridors he kept on wondering what’s the actual, not school, life is going to be in Vast Empire. Xanin suspected that most of their time they’re going to be thrown into ground mission. He hoped that they will manage to survive and perhaps be as successful as the NR’s Wraith Squadron, though he did realize that the Wraith Squadron was made of much more experienced troopers and seasoned veterans, coming all the way since the rebellion. I guess we can only do our best…

As he entered the shooting range he found most of the squadron already there. Xanin walked to the table with the Strill carbines, picked one up and loaded it. Picking an empty shooting lane he entered it and took aim. Trying to calm his breathing he closed his eyes. You can do this… he kept repeating to himself, as he slowly slowed his breathing. Opening his eyes he looked through the weapon’s sights, aimed at the target and pulled the trigger. The automatic fire caused an unexpected amount of recoil and the gun went flying towards Xanin’s head. “Frak…” he muttered to himself as he stumbled backward. As he regained balance he aimed again, this time trying to brace himself for the recoil. He noticed that the first shot hit straight on target, but all the other ones were spread around the wall and the ceiling. Taking a moment to breath in he did not expect an abruptly welcome from his SCO.

“What’re you doing, in battle you aren’t going to have time to ‘breathe’ and ‘calm’ yourself… you will only have enough to time to straight up aim and shoot.” Joamer said as he took out his revolver-looking pistol, quickly aimed and shoot twice. Both shots landed somewhere on the target, the wound that would’ve been dealt being quite severe. “It takes practise, but you have to aim and shoot quickly, otherwise you’ll die… ‘breathing in’ and ‘preparing yourself’ is for snipers and the lot. We’re commandoes, we don’t do such things...”

“Yes, sir.” Xanin replied, startled by his SCO’s sudden behaviour.

“Don’t call me sir.” Joamer said as he holstered his weapon and walked away.

Xanin looked at the target and then at the carbine. Placing it at the desk in front of him, he took out his SR pistol, took aim and shot. Damn… he thought as the bolt missed the target marginally. Taking aim again he shot again. He smiled as he saw the bolt hit the target, even though the wound would have been minor.


“Alright guys!” Joamer shouted after a few hours “That’s it for now. We’re going to get some last-moment sleep before the NHC assign us a mission, but if you wish you can stay here and continue practising, which I wholeheartedly recommend.”

Hmm…. Xanin thought to himself, lowering the carbine. Having two weapons, other than his pistol, at this disposal he thought he was going to like the carbine more, considering its rate of fire, and its more lightweight and less clumsy structure. Regardless that he was missing most of his shots he managed to score the most hits with his own pistol, though he was often reminded by the 3 instructors to keep practising the carbine or the rifle, as that was the weapon he apparently was going to use the most. We’ll see about that….

Xanin placed both the rifle and the carbine back the armoury table and exited the range. Heading back to the barracks he couldn’t help but to feel exhausted. He suspected it was the lack of adrenaline for the past couple of hours, as the flushing kit he had been ordered to use didn’t do such a good job, but he was sure that this last sleep before their first mission would get rid of some of it.

There are always the adrenaline injections though…

WC: 979
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"I don't always desert my teammates. But when I do, they all die." - Xanin
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
December 15, 2012 11:51:53 PM    View the profile of Dunny 
Sam Dunn cursed himself as he was called out on getting his wingman’s name wrong. Still new to the Squadron and even newer to the realities of command, he felt like he was juggling everything at once, and now he’d gone and gotten the names of his pilots confused. He shook his head, knowing he could ill afford to let frustration and stress get the better of him now – not in what was essentially a match to establish the 50th’s place in the pecking order of Blade Wing. It was always the way with fighter jocks when they got transferred. Sam Dunn wasn’t about to let his team down.

He forced out a sigh, pushing the frustration and anxiety that he was feeling out, as he calmly tilted his fighter a little to the left and glanced out of his viewport, looking for the fighter on his tail. After a split-second of searching, he had a visual on it again, to his port side and high. He wasn’t even thinking about the evasive manoeuvres that kept him only one step ahead of his pursuer anymore, his mind on other things. Sam always seemed to fly better when he was distracted, and he was on top of his game today. He kicked his fighter’s topside ion jets into life and launched into a vicious spiral dive, dropping out of the opposing fighter’s line of sight for a single second.

He maintained the dive only for a couple of seconds, though, just enough to be on the same vertical plane as his wingman, whom he reminded himself was Zorne and not some other name, before he pulled up just as sharply and broke hard to port, in the direction of the ion trail that he could see out of the corner of his eye. Zorne’s Interceptor also turned in towards him, and Sam knew that this would be the most difficult stunt he was likely to ever pull. He lightened his grip on the control yoke, adjusting his flight with minute tightening and loosening of his fingers as he diverted power to his engines and his weapons.

The adrenaline coursed through the young ex-convict, and inside the privacy of his helmet he smiled to himself. His shields were only barely on, and he was on what was practically a direct-collision course to the only nearby ally, in a tiny bubble of metal. The fact that the whole thing was a simulation was mere technicalities, mere detail. He allowed himself to be convinced by the realism of the cockpit and the viewscreens around him, and allowed the fear of death to guide his hand and make his movements steadier. As Zorne began the countdown, Sam’s grin widened, rolling his craft so that the belly was facing Zorne’s craft.

The grin promptly disappeared as a large push from Zorne’s shields forced his fighter spiralling away, forcing the man to look on helplessly as the three TIE Interceptors came together in a brilliant orange collision of fire and superheated metal, with Zorne’s ejection seat shooting away from the conflict. That, Sam thought to himself as he regained control of his somehow undamaged fighter. That…had not been part of the plan. Not even slightly. Sam sighed to himself as he realized that he’d overestimated the new Squadron. They’d only been training two days together, after all. They’d need more time before being ready for a real fight.

“We’ll get it next time.” He said on the comms as Zorne reported in, just before the simulator cut him out. He checked his sensors and quickly located the blaster bolts and ion trails of the battle beyond. A quick calculation told him that by the time he got to the fight, it would be already over. He couldn’t even see who was on what side – he couldn’t see the fighters themselves, just the ion trails they left behind them. At least he’d taken care of the last of the Interceptors. Now, he would have to trust his team and the training he’d given them to see them through to the end.
“This is One – I won’t be able to get to you in time. Kick their ion drives for me.”

With that, he settled down into the chair of his cockpit and stretched out.

AAR: Dunny, though saved by Zorne’s selfless action, is still out of the fight, too far away to be able to make a difference in the end of it. As he watches helplessly, he just hopes that the training and stress the new unit has gone through in the past two days is enough to see them through.

Tony Vincent was very much a part of the fight, however, as he broke hard to starboard in order to get into formation with MCPO John Sheridan, Cresh Flight’s veteran commander. A former smuggler, Tony knew how to handle a ship, even though he was used to things much larger than the hyper-agile TIE Interceptor, and the responsiveness of the craft still caught him by surprise every now and then. This was one of those times, and he had to correct before he performed a complete loop, somehow managing to end up in formation with Cobalt 9. He kept one eye on the power reading gauge – he’d taken a hit early in the fight, and he knew he was slowly bleeding power through the top-port wing.

Surprisingly, Cresh Leader’s own fighter was completely undamaged, despite the hail of missile fire the man had been subjected to by the two TIE Bombers and their unexpected bombardment. For a moment, with one of the Vanguards destroyed, the jamming that was stopping them from communicating and targeting the enemy was temporarily lifted, as the hostile’s jamming power was cut right in half. He knew that wouldn’t last, not with a TIE Vanguard still in the fight, so he made sure to keep the message he sent short and concise.

“I’m on your 10, Cresh Lead. Got a power fluctuation, but I can handle it.” He injected just a little fake confidence into his voice, making up for the uncertainty he was feeling. Up until a few months ago, he had been a shuttle pilot for the Stormtrooper Corps – he was still new to the Imperial Navy, and still felt uncertain about whether or not he was actually a good enough pilot for the elite Starfighter Corps. He shook his head, trying to brush aside his anxieties, and put his mind on the task at hand: Keeping Cresh 1, whom he knew was definitely good enough as a pilot to make the grade, from getting shot. That was something that he could focus on. Don’t let him get shot.

Just as soon as he spoke, the remaining TIE Vanguard screamed in from up above and slid into place behind Cresh Leader, blasters screaming. Tony gritted his teeth as he angled his fighter in behind the opposing fighter, and realised with a grimace that his targeting computer was being jammed by the target. He was going to have to do this manually. He spotted Cresh Leader’s fighter flicker blue as the first array of brilliant emerald laser bolts from the Vanguard splashed against the full-rear shields of his craft. An answering volley of fire stabbed from Tony’s Interceptor as his thumb jammed onto the firing stud, trying to get the enemy to break off, but his own blasts likewise were deflected by the shields of his target.

The Vanguard couldn’t win a fight like this, not on his own. Tony lauded the pilot’s bravery, but unless he had something up his sleeve, the bravery was entirely suicidal. He’d be able to take down the Vanguard before its single laser cannon could destroy Cresh Lead’s TIE Interceptor – there was simply no way that the little guy could win in this situation. Unless…
Tony Vincent saw it just a moment too late. The TIE Bomber from before, the one with the disabled missile rack, was coming at Cresh Leader head-on. The Veteran pilot dove hard, but sandwiched in between the two opposing craft, he didn’t have a chance.

A burst of fire shot out from the chin guns of the TIE Bomber at the same moment that the pilot of the Vanguard jammed the trigger down. Caught between two volleys of laserfire with shields in only one direction, there was nothing Cresh leader could do. Tony watched as his fighter went up in a firestorm of green lasers. Grimacing, he growled in impotent rage and fired off all six missiles that he had left at once, even without a targeting solution. The TIE Vanguard nimbly dove aside, evading the fire, but the Bomber wasn’t so lucky, hit dead-on by two of the missiles and going down.

He whooped in celebration, taking his hands off the controller to punch the air in victory for but a moment. That moment, however, was enough, and Tony’s face went pale as he realised that the still exploding bomber and his own TIE Interceptor were on a collision course. He dived hard, barely getting his craft out of the way of the wreck. Breathing out a sigh of relief, he smiled to himself. He’d at least avenged Cresh lead and kept the numerical advantage squarely on their side. It was three against two, now.
Still jammed, he never had any idea that a missile was coming until the simulator cockpit went black.

AAR: Cresh Lead goes down to a Corellian Slip, and Tony takes down the damaged bomber…before he himself gets taken out by none other than Jexxel Leader himself. Jammed, he has no way of knowing the missile is coming until it is far too late.

Markus Wolfrott smiled tersely to himself as he watched the enemy’s rearguard element go up in flames, the improved Corellian Slip working like a charm. Fix the pilot’s attention with something that can’t actually hurt him, and blind the target to the attack coming from an unexpected angle. The ECM TIE’s were pulling their weight, even with their reduced speed and armament. He pulled back on the control yoke, sending his fighter out of the dive he’d pulled in order to get a clean lock on the opponent from afar, and checked the scanner to the right side of his dashboard.

The two remaining fighters were off to starboard, obviously getting back their bearings after the sudden loss. Checking his remaining ammo complement, he saw that he only had four Concussion Missiles left in his arsenal. It would, he thought to himself as he kept an eye on what the opposition was doing, have to do.
“Form up on me. Let’s finish this.” Though Chlovi Squadron’s comms were no longer working, thanks to the jamming of Cresh 4, he was under no such restriction. They would see how far the 50th’s vaunted teamwork would get them without the ability to communicate with each other.

[[“In position, lead.”]] Cresh 4 replied as the Vanguard dropped into place next to his own bomber. Markus tapped the side of the control yoke with gloved fingers, thinking up ideas of how to finish those two remaining fighters, when they decided to force the issue themselves. The two TIE Interceptors of 50th Squadron banked hard and came in, at high speed, on an intercept course, directly to the port side of them.
“Move up and engage – keep them occupied long enough for me to get a clear shot.”
With their sensors and comms jammed, there was no reason why he shouldn’t be able to sneak up on the Interceptors.

He smiled as he slowly reduced power to the engines and swung around wide, punching data into his targeting computer as he did so. It had been a close fight, but now it was finally over…

AAR: Markus prepares his final gambit against the remaining fighters of Chlovi Squadron.

SCO|SCPO Sam "Dunny" Dunn
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ISD Adjudicator|TF:A|2FL|SC|VEN|VE

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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
December 16, 2012 12:22:42 AM    View the profile of Trykon 
Bridge of the Imperial II-class Star Destroyer Adjudicator, near the moon Abrae
The Vectra System
The Vast Empire

Wyl Trykon stood at the starboard viewports of the Adjudicator’s bridge, near the Weapons Coordinators’ Station, staring out at the gas giant Tague.  Swirls of orange and ochre gases crashed into each other throughout the turbulent atmosphere, and great spots of crimson marked persistent, continent-sized storms.  As he watched, a spear-like front of white clouds raced across the surface of the globe, and penetrated one of the most prominent of these red spots.  The white cloud-spear seemed to disappear, sucked into the violence of the storm and utterly ripped apart.  Well, that’s not an encouraging omen, Trykon thought to himself, frowning.  But then, a moment later, the blood-colored spot began to lighten, and its rotation slowed.  After a full minute, the spot had dissipated altogether, leaving only the mottled oranges and yellows that marked relative calm on Tague.  Trykon even thought he could see a few wisps of white cloud, here and there.

“Okay,” he said quietly to himself, nodding at the distant planet.  “Okay.”

Abruptly, Trykon spun on his heel and walked back to the communications foyer at the rear of the bridge.  “Mister Bacredi, it’s time,” he said to his Executive Officer.

The older man nodded, and bent over the internal communications panel.  “All stations, this is the XO.  Submit final readiness reports, and stand by for an address from the captain.”  He scanned the monitor, as the various departments checked in: Weapons and Defense were the first two to respond, followed by Medical, and then the dutifully-thorough technicians in Engineering.  It took another thirty seconds, though, for Wing Commander Seth Qorbin to finally report the readiness of all six squadrons of starfighters.

“Is my flagship ready, Commander?” Trykon asked, the barest hint of impatience coloring his tone.

Bacredi winced, knowing he would have to have a word with Qorbin, who’d have to have a word with the Squadron Commanding Officers, especially of Chlovi Cat, Jexxel, and Strill.  But he was quick to give the appropriate response: “The Adjudicator is fully at your command, Captain.”

“Thank you, Commander,” Trykon said.  He stepped up to the hologram pod, and nodded at the comms tech before beginning his address to the Fleet.  “Gentlebeings of the Second Fleet, it’s time to bring the war to the Imperial Dominion,” he began.  “Their leaders are small-minded bigots, who revel in the abuse of absolute power.  Their leaders are cowards, who use germs and poisons to murder innocents.  Their leaders are incompetent, wasting the lives of their soldiers, pilots, and officers in poorly-planned and disastrously-executed fratricidal campaigns against other Imperial scions.  We go to war today to end the threat of those leaders, once and for all, and to liberate the people trapped under their rule.  Imperial citizens everywhere must unite, if we are to retake the Galaxy in the name of peace, justice, prosperity, and equality for all.  That unification begins in earnest, right now.”  Trykon nodded again to the technician, and the Ensign cut the transmission.

Trykon strode briskly to the center of his bridge, Bacredi a step behind him, and he swept his gaze over the crewers in both pits, all looking up expectantly.  There were Humans, Gran, Duros, Twi’leks, a Trandoshan… all united under his command.  “What do you say we end this war?” he asked them loudly.

Smiles broke out all around the bridge.  “Sounds good to me,” Bacredi said from behind him.

“Lieutenant,” Trykon called out to the Helm Section, “I believe you know the way to Kamlott?”

“If I get lost, sir, I’ll just follow the crowd,” the helmsman said wryly, referencing the twenty-nine other warships of Second Fleet, which had been gathered for this assault.

“Excellent,” Trykon said, and he turned to his Second Officer.  “Ms. Blondeau, signal the Fleet.  We’ll enter hyperspace on my mark.”

“Aye sir,” the soft-voiced woman said, before nodding to the Comms chief.

Trykon took a final moment to consider the great campaign upon which they were embarking.  The Imperial Dominion was in many ways the opposite of the Vast Empire... the distant regime was a model for all the worst excesses of the Imperial model.  This was, in some ways, a clash of ideologies - a battle for the soul of what it meant to be "Imperial."  And on the other hand, their bio-weapons programs were a clear and present danger to every citizen of the VE.  Ideology aside, the choice was to kill or be killed.  And when the Kuati Commander thought of the beings with whom he served - from the fresh-faced young kids straight out of the Academy, to the veterans with decorations or with black marks on their records - he had no qualms about making his choice.  Kill, he thought grimly.  “Three, two, one… mark,” Trykon said, and the Second Vast Imperial Fleet jumped to lightspeed.

819 words.

AAR: Time is up, and the Second Fleet jumps away from Abrae, to invade the Imperial Dominion!

To review: our route will take us first to Kamlott, then through two uninhabited systems, then finally to Bloodmoon, and the entire transit should only take somewhere around 2 hours.  I'll answer any questions in the discussion thread!
CNW/CDR Wyl "Trick" Trykon/ISD Adjudicator/TF:A/2Flt/FC/VEN/VE


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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
December 16, 2012 1:40:42 AM    View the profile of Maroy 
Maroy groaned in dismay as Eight went the way of Nine in a cloud of fire and debris. At least we're still even. Darian and I against another Vanguard and a Bomber.

She could barely make out the fighters in question amid the beautiful starfield. For a moment the two Jexxel ships were there, but after a moment the Bomber vanished and the Vanguard began approaching more rapidly. He'll probably try to flank us... But without our sensors, spotting him is going to be almost impossible. Vanguard first. She instinctively went to inform Darian of her plan, but the static from the comm quickly reminded her why she was going after the Vanguard in the first place. I hope he catches on quick.

She reached combat range and began firing, but the Jexxel fighter was quicker. It dodged her fire and looped about in a seemingly random direction. She began following when it executed another random series of rolls, loops, and turns, barely staying out of her crosshairs. Maroy attempted to follow again, but became disoriented and lost track without a sensor to confirm its location. When she had regained her bearings, she noticed the ion trail of the Bomber closing in as the Vanguard slipped into Darian's aft arc.

Maroy watched helplessly as the Bomber zeroed in on her wingman and launched three missiles in quick succession. The trio of projectiles streaked in toward Six, who was still completely oblivious to all but his pursuer. The Vanguard, seeing his prey panic, rolled into position directly behind him and prepared for the kill.

The first missile slammed into the Vanguard's shields, overwhelming them. As a credit to the pilot, he immediately realized his error and began maneuvering away as fast as he could. He almost cleared the blast when the second missile's proximity sensor went off, bathing the unshielded fighter in flame. The third missile finally closed in on its intended target, but Darian was ready this time. The shields became momentarily visible as he hit his panic button and the last missile detonated. His shields all but vanished, but they had done their job. His hull was mostly unharmed. The same could not be said for the unfortunate Vanguard, as its remains scattered in all directions.

Maroy immediately reactivated her targeting computer and comm unit. "Six, are you okay?"

[[Had a bit of a roasting, but I think I can make it. Let's take out that Bomber.]]

Maroy targeted the sole Jexxel survivor, suddenly realizing just how much she'd missed having sensors to work with. Darian formed up behind her as they sped toward the nearly out-of-sight fighter. A warning blared in her ear as the computer detected three more missiles targeted at her. He was probably planning on switching the third's target to Six as soon as he got a lock. There was no way they could repeat their earlier avoidance maneuver, not at this short range. She was probably going to die, and if he could manage it, he would take Six too. But if it's a choice between whether one of us dies or both, I choose just one.

"Remember your suggestion earlier about flying in a straight line?"

[[You were right, it was a really risky plan. Why?]]

"Because we're going to try it now. Stay behind me and get ready to break." She ignored his half-hearted protest and locked onto the Bomber with her own missiles. The computer only managed a partial lock, but it was all she had time for.

"Good luck."

She fired all of her remaining secondary armament at her target and hovered her hand near the panic button Dunny had convinced the simulator technicians to add to all the pods Chlovi used. Two of the missiles colided mid-flight, destroying two of hers and one of his, but the other two homed in. Darian took the hint and jumped out from behind her fighter, already beginning to pass her up and open fire on their attacker. She couldn't see if any of her own missiles were going to hit.

She slammed the button, throwing all power to the shields just in time to take the damage from the first impact. She held a brief, foolish hope that the shields would hold out and she'd make it out okay, but that hope vanished just as quickly as the shields did when the final missile hit. She flinched as the TIE shook with the force of the explosion, and then the screen blanked. Everything became almost excruciatingly still. She ignored the flight analysis and pulled herself out of the simulator cockpit. She had no idea if her gambit had paid off. As she swept her eyes over the room, she noticed everyone, even the visitors who didn't belong to Chlovi or Jexxel, were completely silent and staring attentively at the tactical feed from the simulation. Despite the varied species represented in the crowd, even she could pick up on the uncertainty and expectation that permeated the air. Nobody seemed to notice as she strode over and joined her companions in one of the corners.

The three remaining occupied pods opened simultaneously. Wolfrott, Jexxel's leader, remained expressionless as he stepped out and joined his squadron. Darian's beaming face told the waiting crowd all they needed to know, and Dunny's smirk fully comfirmed it.

The simulator technician looked up from the terminal. "Chlovi wins the exercise. Petty Officer Rogue's fighter was critically damaged and would have been destroyed in the explosion if the simulation had not ended immediately when commander Wolfrott was shot down, leaving commander Dunn as the only surviving fighter."

Dunny approached Jexxel's commander surrounded by the cheers of his squadron. "I'll admit, Wolfrott, you were a bloody brilliant opponent. This might be a Chlovi victory in the official records, but it was very nearly a tie in my book." He offered his hand and smiled. "If you put up anywhere near this good of a fight on the mission to come, the Dominion doesn't stand a chance."

The man took the offered hand. "I thought for sure we had you once we'd knocked out your communications. It appears I underestimated your training. And your crew." A hint of a smile crossed his face. "I'm glad we'll be flying with you, not against you. You beat us fairly, but if you insist, maybe we'll settle this once and for all when this mission's over. Just our squadrons, no tricks, no surprises."

"Bet on it." Chlovi's commander turned to the attentive and still silent squadron he commanded. "Even a technical victory is still worth celebrating, don't you think?"

The squadron cheered again as Maroy and Dunny began outlining plans for a brief break from training. They knew that if the squadron members were going to truly work well together, and trust each other, they were going to have to spend some time getting to know each other outside of the cockpit. Sam extended the invitation to Wolfrott, but the latter politely declined.

"We lost too many pilots to you right at the start of the sim. I'm going to be drilling my squadron as much as possible, and with luck, I'll still have a squadron when the Dominion are through with them."

As Maroy followed Dunn out of the room, her mind returned to the moment when she'd resolved to let herself be shot down to buy Darian time. That's what I should be able to do. I should be ready to sacrifice myself when the time comes. But that was only a simulation... I don't know if I'll be strong enough to do that when the time comes. And if I'm not... people will die because of me. And out of all the fears that had collected in her mind, that was the one she just could not let go.

WC: 1317
AAR: Darian and Maroy struggle with the remaining Jexxel pilots before the former is damaged and the Vanguard is accidentally destroyed by friendly missiles. Maroy sacrifices her fighter to bear the brunt of the bomber's attack, and Darian succeeds in taking it down with him. Chlovi barely wins the scenario, and after a short but friendly exchange with the Jexxel commander Chlovi takes a short break to rest.
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
December 16, 2012 1:46:35 AM    View the profile of Serpent 
Pherik ‘Serpent’ Zail stood at the front of the bridge of the VSD Brilliant, feeling energised in a way he had never felt.  He was nervous, he was excited, his every sense and feeling was tingling with an adrenaline high.  Zail was eager to take the fight to the Imperial Dominion, and to lead his new ship into battle.  Savouring every minute, he let the vibrations of the powering engines shudder through him.

Serpent had commanded a larger ship once, but the ISD Halcyon Warrior had just been a temporary command.  This was different.  The Victory-Star Destroyer on which he now stood was truly his, from the crew to the deck plates.  He vowed that he would lead them well.

The clang of leather boots on the gleaming command walkway told him of the approach of his XO, Vagen Eosel.

“Message from the Adjudicator, sir,” Said the Kel Dor.  “We depart in exactly five minutes.”

“Excellent,” Said Pherik, anxious to be under way.  He had gotten little sleep since coming on board two days ago, but somehow he felt strong and energetic, as if he could take on anything single-handed.  “Mr Mishima, put me on to the crew!” He ordered to the Com Chief.  He wanted to address all the personnel of the Brilliant.

“This is Captain Zail!  May I have your attention please?” He said, his voice strong but serious with the responsibility of command.  “I have been your commanding officer for just forty eight hours.  I have earned this post, I have earned the right to lead you all in battle.  But I have not yet earned your respect.  That will come in time, time that the current war has not allowed us.  So now I find myself simply asking for your obedience.  I must ask that you fight for me, and that you follow my orders.  Do this, do what your training and professionalism has prepared you to do, and I promise you that we will come home, and our enemies will not!”

Serpent glanced around the room and saw several bridge officers nodding in approval at his words.  He hoped that the rest of the crew was doing the same.  After a suitable pause he went on.

“Before we depart,” Pherik said, “I wish to start a new tradition for this ship and its crew.  On the eve of battle, I want to say something.  It is an old spacer’s prayer, from the Azure Imperium, used through the Unification Wars in millennia past:

We, the brave, who sail the stars,
In the black of space we roam,
Travelling both near and far,
To defend our Empire and our home.

Our faith we place in ship and crew,
Brothers and sisters throughout the Fleet,
Our strength together will see us through,
And our many challenges in victory meet.

Now we go, the galaxy calls,
And our enemies shall surely fall!

A few of the bridge crew were saying the words with him in low voices, but most just listened for now.  It was Zail’s hope that, in time, the whole ship would grow accustomed to the poem and say it with him.  He knew that a little ritual could do wonders for crew unity and morale.

“Miss Samasl!” He said, turning to his Helm Officer.  “Prepare to jump the moment Commander Trykon gives the word.”

A few moments passed, and then the voice of the Chief of Naval Warfare began to echo through the ship, and indeed every ship throughout the Second Fleet.  Trykon’s words were strong and inspiring, focusing all who heard on the goal of taking down the Imperial Dominion.  Pherik took heart at what he heard, glad to serve under a commander who kept his eyes on the task at hand.

No sooner had the CNW finished speaking, than the order to go was received.  The Brilliant accelerated to beyond the speed of light, and he could tell from the mood on the ship that everyone was determined and ready to go.  Was it from Serpent’s words, he wondered, or Trykon’s?

Zail guessed that it did not matter.  All that mattered was that it would not be a good day for the Imperial Dominion.


When they and the other vessels of the Second Fleet reverted to real space, Serpent’s eyes were quick to take in the sight of the planet before them.  The fleet had emerged with perfect placement and coordination above the Bloodmoon.

The place was well-named indeed.  Zail looked down on the blasted surface of rusty-red canyons, their crimson colour enhanced by the red glow from the gas giant that the moon orbited.  Blood it was, the colour of the liquid that flowed in the veins of the billions of VE citizens whose lives would be forfeit if the Second Fleet failed on this day.

“Reading three vessels in defence positions above the weapons lab, sir,” Said First Officer Eosel at his side.  “A paltry force of two Lancer-Class Frigates and an Enforcer-Class Picket Cruiser.”

Pherik knew the trap of overconfidence, but he still could not resist the smile that came to his lips.  “Three ships?  Against this Fleet?  Overkill indeed, but I find myself in no mood to be merciful.  Signal Commander Trykon on the Adjudicator and inform him that we are moving in to attack.  Let’s make this short and simple, people!”

As the bridge crew rushed to carry out his orders and move the Brilliant into striking range of the Imperial Dominion vessels, Serpent walked over to his Com Officer.  In a low voice, he said, “Mr Mishima!  Send a message to the non-existent shuttle in the Secondary Hangar Bay.  Tell them they are cleared to launch.”

“Yes, sir,” Said the Petty Officer and sent a message that he then immediately wiped from the ship’s logs.

Zail smiled.  It was all going according to plan...

977 words.  Going back to what CNW Trykon was saying recently about giving our ships a unique flavour and history, I came up with a tradition for the crew of the Brilliant.  On the eve of battle they will recite an ancient Anaxsi naval poem.

After Action Report:  Serpent gives a rousing speech to the crew of his new ship, and then the Brilliant jumps along with the rest of the Second Fleet, ready to take the fight to the Imperial Dominion.  They arrive at the Bloodmoon, and launch the VENI landing ship while getting ready to fight the meagre defenders of the weapons lab.
SCAP/CWO Pherik “Serpent” Zail / VSD Brilliant /TF:Aurek/2Flt/FC/VEN/VE

"It isn't the killing, you know.  It's the beauty of battles that I love - the choreography and the challenge of executing everything
just right - and the challenge of matching your wits against a capable opponent." - Gilad Pellaeon
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
December 17, 2012 4:46:41 PM    View the profile of DeepSix 

The shuttle ride from Abrae to the VSD Brilliant was for the most part uneventful. The shuttle's passengers were also uninteresting - or so at least Irya Pael thought after analyzing them all in turn. First, there was Ensign Grey - an appealing Human specimen from what she could gather from the reactions of others. The blonde female though was ever so predictable, almost every move she made most likely serving a purpose... a purpose that may not even have benefited her directly, but rather her owner, the elusive Captain Grey. Whereas the latter was smart enough to keep his distance from Pael and limit their direct contact for as much as possible, the Ensign sharing the non-color designation was in the Arkanian's eyes a mere extension of his will. Nothing but a housebroken pet...

Then there was the large Human specimen that didn't seem to be much of a talker. Given his extensive muscles and visible tissue scarring, the mad scientist could only assume he was one of the more unintelligent members on the team. From what she could gather the man had a certain way with weapons, though she was still not convinced that alone was enough to balance his no doubt many other faults...

Frayne was another fellow that Irya had previous knowledge of, the two of them having interacted on a bunch of different occasions in the past. The interactions in questioned though tended to end in frustration for Frayne and disappointment as far as the Arkanian female was concerned. The human male had the right idea, seeking answers in the very fabric of life, but rather than unearthing those answers with everything in his power... the man showed hesitation. He showed fear. He showed a moral conscience.

Time and time again had Irya attempted to convince him that a true scientist should not be afraid to search for answers anywhere, anytime and most importantly with any means necessary. If a few lives had to be sacrificed in the pursuit of such science then so be it. If a few stomach turning experiments needed to be conducted to find various genetic limitations in order to figure out ways to expand them later... then so be it. If a few weak species needed to be cleansed in order to earn the founding necessary for some other experiments - then so be it!

No matter how obvious all of this was, Frayne was apparently unable to see it. Or maybe he was just unable to accept it - the Arkanian wasn't sure which possibility was more pitiful... The smaller Human female sitting between Irya and the other so called scientist seemed unimpressive from almost every point of view. Pael assumed that she, like the big fellow, had some skill that was vital to the mission. Either that or maybe she would just act as bait? A small bait would come in handy after all - not too small so as to appear unappealing, but not too big either so as to risk losing it in a single shot.

The creepy thing seating at the very back of the shuttle showed the most initial interest from Pael. That is until she realized that the specimen was for all intents and purposes... a failure. So VENI decided to play gods and create a super soldier - a most logical and acceptable endeavor as far as Irya was concerned. The experiment alas ended in failure, as Trathras' very existence clearly showed.

There was nothing wrong with that though. A scientist often had to make mistakes in order to reach the correct answer. A scientist however also had a moral obligation to investigate, terminate and eventually dispose of the failed attempts before trying anew. Why then was this Trathras allowed to live? His ability to follow complex orders was heavily questionable. His temper also seemed unstable, meaning he was a danger to not only enemies, but friendlies alike. Irya Pael looked at the sad excuse of a living thing and scoffed...


"Right-o!" the redhead Human female spoke casually after the Brilliant announced they were clear to launch. She could've just clicked the comm unit a couple of times in acknowledgement or even deliver a standard "Acknowledged" instead but doing that would've been expected of almost all pilots and if one thing could be said about Reeza Hayek, then that thing was that the young pilot was anything but ordinary.

She must've barely been in her twenties, yet Reeza had already managed to fly freight haulers, pleasure yachts, CR90s, gunboats, fighters, bombers, shuttles and dropships alike. She was a bloody natural and excellent no matter the circumstances. She also got bored very quickly though, always seeking new thrills to sate her adrenaline with. Because she was that damn good though, the brass tended to afford her special privileges not ordinarily bestowed upon normal pilots. Not that her attitude annoyed them any less...

Switching the comm channel to shuttle-wide, Reeza announced "Good afternoon ladies and gents, this is your pilot speaking. We've just received a green light from our gracious hosts, inviting us to get the frak out and stop abusing their hospitality. We'll be sent flying out the hangar in a few moments, with our destination - the beautiful and exotic Bloodmoon facility, the Dominion's dream resort, where nightmares are made viruses and horrors turned to lethal pathogens. I hope you'll enjoy the flight and don't forget to get lots and lots of souvenirs!"

The redhead smiled and clicked the comm channel off before activating the sensor mask, next the engines and pushing the yoke forward, sending the Nightdancer out into the merciless space. This pilot's job would be a fairly easy one - just fly in a straight line and avoid detection as much as possible. The other pilots, engineers, medics, gunners and officers left behind though - their jobs would be a whole lot harder. And soon. Very soon...

"Let's get this party rolling!" Reeza shouted once more as she led the shuttle straight for the dangerous facility. She'll need about three minutes to get there at top speed, following another thirty seconds to a full minute before she can actually find a place to land and unload the creepy folks that she carried in the back. Piece of cake, she thought as she kept on smiling even as the Second Fleet deployed its starfighter contingent and prepared to engage the few ID defenders.
WC: 1074
AAR: First part shows the mad scientist initial impresions of the rest of the team. Second part introduces a young ace pilot that will be delivering everyone to the station. Given the fact that there are only three defenders and that they wouldn't really have a lot, if any starfighters around, also the fact that they're slow and the fact we've got a lot of forces about to engage them... I assume the ride to the station will be fairly smooth. The real problems will most likely begin after landing, when security will be sent to investigate / stop us. Feel free to make use of the pilot using the shuttle's turrets to do some damage when that happens
WC/LTJG DeepSix/Golden One/S:38th Vornskr/W:101st Blade/ISD-II Adjudicator/TF:A/2Flt/SC/VEN/VE [=*TG*=] [=*VIM*=]

TRN/JRN DeepSix/DJO/Training Sect/VEDJ
[This message has been edited by DeepSix (edited January 13, 2013 4:51:30 AM)]
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
December 18, 2012 9:26:25 PM    View the profile of Trykon 
When the Second Vast Imperial Fleet dropped out of hyperspace in the Bloodmoon System, it seemed as though the invaders had chosen an opportune moment to attack.  Two Lancer-class Frigates and an Enforcer-class Picket Cruiser were the only Imperial Dominion ships in the system, and only two squadrons of first-generation TIE fighters rose from the moon itself.  Many in the VE fleet assumed that victory would come swiftly.

Wyl Trykon did not.

“Signal the fleet: maintain formation and drive hard toward the moon.  Launch all fighters.  They are not to engage the capital ships until further notice.”

Orders were relayed, and the thirty warships of the armada continued to bear down on the Bloodmoon.

Zhar Bacredi, Trykon’s Executive Officer, cleared his throat quietly.

“Something on your mind, Mr. Bacredi?” Trykon asked mildly.

“No sir.  Just… waiting.”

Bacredi was an experienced naval commander.  He knew as well as Trykon did that Dominion reinforcements would be coming.  Only when those bolstering forces arrived would the relative balance of power be truly established; only when they arrived would the battle truly begin.

“I have new contacts reverting to realspace,” the call rang clearly across the Adjudicator’s bridge, barely three minutes later.  “Twenty-two vessels, all Dominion!”

“Wait’s over,” Trykon mused, and then he called for a tactical hologram.  The three-dimensional representation of the battlefield shimmered into being, and twenty-five angry-looking red icons marked the positions of the Dominion fleet, already beginning to close with his own forces.  The three small ships, which had been holding position, seemingly hesitant to engage the invaders, had formed up with the twenty-two newcomers, all traces of indecision gone.  Trykon heard Bacredi gasp when he noticed the two ships at the center of the Dominion formation: Imperial I-class Star Destroyers Virulent and Reactionary.  The Kuati Chief of Naval Warfare only barely contained his own surprise: the projections assumed the Dominion would bring a single Star Destroyer to this battle at most.

“Task forces are to form cone formations,” Trykon ordered his communications chief.  “Besh will support Champion against Virulent; Aurek is on us, and we’ll take the Reactionary.”  He spun to face his XO.  “Mr. Bacredi, I want the First, Second, and Third Squadrons of the Wing kept close, for combat aerospace patrol and as a reserve.  Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth are to carve out air superiority over the facility on Bloodmoon, and Fifth is clear to take out targets of opportunity.”  Vornskyr and Jexxel were more than adequate to defend the Adjudicator while she was surrounded by her task force, and Trykon didn’t want to commit Krakana to battle until he absolutely had to: most of the bomber pilots were still green kids.  Meanwhile, it would be a trial by fire for Chlovi Cat, Gundark, and Strill, who’d have to deal with not only the antiquated TIE/Ln starfighters of the moon’s garrison, but also with the lurking Lancers.  They’ll be alright, Trykon told himself, wishing he could believe it.  Many of the pilots were personal friends, and all were promising young beings with bright futures ahead of them.  Well, not all of them have bright futures, he thought grimly as the first long-range turbolaser fire erupted from both sides.

“Aye,” the older commander acknowledged, and turned to coordinate the starfighter squadrons' movements.

Trykon studied the tactical holo, and frowned.  The Battle of Bloodmoon would be much harder-fought than he had hoped.  But he had no choice: the facility on the moon had to be destroyed, and from here the fleet could invade Dominion home space directly.  One way or the other, the outcome of this battle would begin a new stage in the war between the Vast Empire and the Imperial Dominion.

614 words.  Short and to the point.

AAR: Barely three minutes after Second Fleet arrives at Bloodmoon, the Imperial Dominion's rapid response force hypers in.  It's much bigger than expected, and includes two Imperial I-class Star Destroyers, which is double what the worst-case scenario assumed they'd be able to send.  We've got our work cut out for us, as we must defeat this fleet before we can deal with Bloodmoon, and before we can push on and invade the Dominion proper.

This is the last hurrah of the ID Navy's mobile strength.  That is, in some ways, awesome news, but it also means that they'll be fighting tenaciously, as well as intelligently... They're trying to bleed us, and then escape to their prepared defenses in the next system, at the Sollamens Asteroid Field.  Trykon assumes they'll try something of that kind, so he's also going to order 2nd Fleet to fight intelligently, and cautiously - we CAN'T afford to lose ships, here, if we hope to press on with our invasion.  Keep all that in mind as you write this battle.

Last thing, a list of the ID ships (this can be adjusted at need; if you have thoughts bring them up in the discussion thread):

ISD I Virulent
ISD I Reactionary
VicStar2 Bombastic
VicStar2 Ravisher
VicStar2 Punisher
VicStar2 Rager
8 unnamed Nebulon-Bs
2 unnamed Lancers
1 unnamed Enforcer
Tartan Scythe (Lieutenant Okyr Vrail)
3 other unnamed Tartans
4 unnamed CR90s
CNW/CDR Wyl "Trick" Trykon/ISD Adjudicator/TF:A/2Flt/FC/VEN/VE


[This message has been edited by Trick (edited December 19, 2012 8:03:47 AM)]
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
December 20, 2012 3:35:55 AM    View the profile of DeepSix 
Seth Qorbin... was bored. The blond officer was standing in the hangar deck, in front of his Avenger and just enjoying a cig. Once the fighting would start there'd be no way of knowing when he'd be able to relax like this again. Especially since only debriefings, memos, status reports and a whole other bunch of paperwork would need to be filed in - occasionally in double or even triple forms even.

To make matters worse Krieg, Bacredi and Trykon could also end up seeking him out as well, only to bore him with whatever issues that even they wouldn't really consider all that important to begin with. For now though there was no danger of that happening. All three individuals would be needed on the bridge, and until the battle would start and finish, they would be unable to leave that place. Seth grinned as he pondered on this fact - the higher one got on the chain of command, the harder that chain tightened around one's ankles... and in some rarer cases even one's own throat.

But such were the curses of command, and luckily Qorbin did not yet have to worry about such things. The Onderonian human was right where he wanted to be at the moment - surrounded by agile hyperdrive equipped fighters and other crack pilots also. And if he stopped to count those outside his own squadron as well, then there were also the members from Chlovi, Jexxel, Strill, Gundark and Krakana.

Each squadron had a role to play and each squadron had trained hard in those past few days in preparation for this very battle. Chlovi and Jexxel used the sims and played war games against each other, Gundark and Krakana on the contrary obtained permission to take the bombers out and actually fly around with them, so as to gain a better feel for the crafts, their possibilities and their limitations. Vornskr and Strill were about the only two squadrons whose training regiment was somewhat odder.

Joamer managed to gain permission from someone to use the Adjudicator's lower decks to turn his pilots into sweaty, smelly zombies that caused the rest of the crew to stand back and turn away both their gazes as well as their noses too. Had Qorbin been the caring type, he may have inquired more as to the purpose of such exercises, but that not really being the case, the WC allowed Strill's CO to just do whatever he damn pleased.

That was pretty much the same attitude that the man took with his own squadron, which was the reason for which the pilots from Vornskr Squadron could be seen all around the ship - drinking, smoking, gambling, flirting and picking fights with others. As far as they were concerned, they were already the best and no amount of last minute training could possibly change that. Thus whilst the pilots from Strill were avoided on account of looking goofy, the ones from Vornskr were avoided on account of being total asses.


"Sir, we're almost ready to jump out of hyperspace", Vornskr's XO mentioned as he approached his CO, whom was still smoking even then. "So the fun's finally about to start, eh?" the latter spoke casually as he glanced around the hangar one more time. The pilots were boarding their own crafts, the techies were either asking questions, signalling green lights or still tinkering with supposedly minor things. There were also droids, cargo lifters and boxes of ordinance lying around.

One tiny explosion here and the whole ship could blow, and since it was in hyperspace being pursued by 29 other ships, it wasn't entirely impossible for some of the other ones - or even all of them - to also blow up. Now that would've been the end to the galaxy's quickest invasion yet. Since Qorbin was on that first ship though, the man couldn't quite continue entertaining that thought process, amusing as it may have started out...

"Alright, get everyone else inside their birds and let's just prep for the mayhem", Seth sighed as he put out his newest cig and turned to check his shiny Avenger. He already saw the grease monkeys powering it up as well as loading it with missiles so he knew it was ready and gearing to go. Unlike some of the other squadrons, the Navy officer did not instruct the mechanics to paint any distinguishing marks as far as his own Vornskr was concerned.

He knew that most pilots enjoyed keeping tabs of their kill count just as he also knew that the ones that most enjoyed this tradition were his very own pilots. The arrogant pricks liked to stare at those tiny symbols and most of all they liked being seen staring at those tiny symbols. Seth's Avenger however showed no such markings - not because the man was against this habit, but rather because he simply could not recall exactly how many kills he had managed throughout his career.

Some other squadrons, like Chlovi, also sported stripes of various colors - setting them aside and identifying them as members of the same squadron. The more notoriety the squadron achieved, the more they would be recognized throughout their own fleet and eventually even throughout the enemy's fleets as well. There was no sweeter feeling for a pilot than to be recognized, admired and dreaded at the same time by both friendlies and enemies alike. Whatever pilot was managing that... well that pilot was definitely doing something right.

On this matter Seth actually stopped to consider whether he should paint his squadron's fighters gold or not. Whilst a bunch of golden fighters would've certainly been enough to draw the enemy's attention, he also figured that too much such attention would become a bad thing pretty fast. He thus decided to keep his squadron's fighters metallic grey so as not to draw unnecessary attention... or locked on missiles.

The man slowly made his way inside him comfy fighter and closed the hatch behind him. He hooked in his helmet and next strapped himself to the chair before running pre-flight checks. When he was through and all systems showed a satisfying green, the man opened his squadron comm channel. "This on? Testing, one, two! Testing! Alright people, this is Gold Leader. In a few short minutes we'll drop out of hyperspace and deploy within the Bloodmoon system."

He paused, but quickly continued "We're going behind enemy lines and striking the Dominion where it hurts - or so at least our commanders assure us. Politics and big picture aside, I'm asking you to concentrate on one thing and one thing only - shooting down anything not showing as friendly on your IFF. You have already proven yourselves as the best the Vast Empire can offer, but you have not yet proven yourselves against one another. Who here is top dog? Who here has it in him to stand above all others and proudly proclaim himself the deadliest ace? Glory to the victor, honor to the dead!"


The Adjudicator shook as it dropped out of hyperspace. Less than thirty seconds later the first fighters were already screeching out of the hangar bays and out into space. Orders would no doubt come soon enough, and as soon as they would everyone would take positions and do that which they've been trained to - fly, fight, kill and at times also die for the benefit of the Vast Empire. This was war after all and war... war never changed.

WC: 1256
AAR: Some CD descriptions followed by our arrival in system and launching of the fighters. Decided not to engage in the same post so as to give a better sense of time as the two fleets would close in on one another...
WC/LTJG DeepSix/Golden One/S:38th Vornskr/W:101st Blade/ISD-II Adjudicator/TF:A/2Flt/SC/VEN/VE [=*TG*=] [=*VIM*=]

TRN/JRN DeepSix/DJO/Training Sect/VEDJ
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
December 20, 2012 7:32:23 AM    View the profile of Dunny 
“Sorry, but I ain’t gonna throw ya at a bludy plague factory that I know is tailorin’ a weapon just ta kill non-humans. Yer good pilots, an’ I ain’t gonna let ya just toss ya lives away like that.”
Looking up from a battered, wide-brimmed hat with ice-blue eyes, the man whom spoke from behind a large, Alderaanian Gar-wood desk didn’t look the part of an Imperial Officer at all. His tanned face was pockmarked in nicks, cuts and scars, some old and some still fresh. His jawline was covered in stubble and his brown hair, from where it poked up from under the ridiculous hat, was messy and definitely longer than regulation.

He was wearing a similarly battered, stained and damaged sweatshirt, revealing that his arms were just as scarred as his face, and the Imperial Cog and Prisoner Barcode tattoos on his shoulders, reminders of a harsher, less civilised time. His jet-black jackboots were propped up on a mat placed on the desk for just that purpose, and he leaned back in his chair, looking at the four non-human members of the 50th Vast Imperial Starfighter Squadron with a soft, apologetic smile on his face. The man looked to be anything but a leader, as he casually lounged in his office without appearing to have a care in the world. Even his accent, soft and lyrical, sounded nonchalant.

He lifted his legs off from the bench and leaned forward, adopting a more traditional sitting posture as he absent-mindedly adjusted the brim of his hat, meeting the gaze of the four pilots – two of whom were in full uniform, and two of whom had adopted a more casual approach – and sighed softly. His eyes were ringed with dark shadows, and his desk was surprisingly clear of paperwork. Someone hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before, apparently.
“Yer all confined to the Adjudicator until Bloodmoon’s fallen. When the threat is gone, I’ll put ya back on duty. No arguin’, yer no good ta me dead.”

The disappointment on their equally tired faces was so obvious that even a Miraluka could see it, but the stern look on the man’s face made it clear that he wasn’t going to brook any questioning. The pilots looked tired, their uniforms were crumpled and it was plain they’d been training hard. The smell of sweat filled the room – even though everyone in the room’s hair was slightly damp from showers, there obviously hadn’t been any time to change uniforms. The man gave another apologetic smile, and dismissed the four pilots. The three-eyed Gran looked crestfallen but understanding as he filed out. The grey-skinned Duros managed to keep his expression hidden, and the female Cerean just looked angry.

The fourth member of the team, a green-skinned female Twi’lek in a complete but slightly crumpled Imperial Officer’s uniform, however, remained behind. The man leaned back again, tilting the brim of his hat upwards to meet her gaze, the corner of his lip twitching upwards in the softest ghost of a smile. He had a feeling he knew what was coming, so with a wave of his hand, the man bade her speak, a single eyebrow raised to the sky in mute protest at the debate that he just knew was coming.
“All right, Maroy; let’s hear it.”

The reply, as he expected, was immediate. Maroy crossed her arms over her chest and matched the man’s gaze with a steel-cold look of her own, her jaw set in defiance.
“You’re going to need me on this one, Dunn.” Maroy told him flatly, stating it not as a challenge, but a simple fact. Maroy was Dunn’s 2nd in Command, and she had been entirely instrumental in setting things up and training the new recruits whom had only just been placed on reserve: Were it not for her help, Dunn would never have gotten anyone in the team ready to head out for the battle ahead – and they both knew it.

Dunn let out a sigh, closing his tired eyes for a moment as he gathered his thoughts, still able to feel Maroy’s steady gaze. When he spoke, it was with slightly exaggerated patience, his voice sounding every bit as tired as the man himself felt.
“Ya do realize that right now, on that moon they’re makin’ a plague designed specifically to kill you, yea? If they release it, and yer out there, then yer dead.” He paused, and shrugged, as if to demonstrate the finality of that fact.
“No second chances, no evading – dead. Yer too good an officer to lose to a dirty trick like that.”

Dunn knew that if he was the one on the other side of that desk, nothing he could say or do would change his mind, and from Maroy’s body language, the exact same thing applied to her. He had to at least try to get her to change her mind, though, to make sure she thought things through.
“I could just as easily get killed by a stray turbolaser blast, too. The 50th needs me, Sam. They need their XO for their maiden fight. I’m not going to let them down. If that means I die…well, I know what I signed up for.”

Sam Dunn knew when he was defeated, so he simply nodded his head.
“Yeah.” He spoke softly, admitting the point aloud so that she could hear. “We are going to need ya out there. S’true. Okay. Find me three reserve pilots – human, fer crikey sake – then get the Squadron down to the hangar. We’ll be leaving hyperspace soon, and I want to make sure our fighters are good to go and, y’know, ramble on for a few minutes.”
Maroy nodded and turned sharply on her heel, stepping out of the room. The automated door closed behind her, and Sam Dunn slumped a little in his chair, and looked again at the paperwork on his desk. He sighed.

“Bloody ‘ell. Ain’t leadership meant ta be all minions an’ medals?”

He reached with a gloved hand towards the comm panel on his desk and tapped a few buttons, putting out a call. Trykon had said that his team would be working with Gundark and Strill. He didn’t know Gundark’s leader all too well, but Strill Leader…
Sam Dunn had only spent a single mission as a member of the Stormtrooper Corps, and he had been carried out on a stretcher (and spent the remainder of his time in an Imperial Medcenter), but even in that short time the leader of the infamous RAIDERS Squad had made an impression. The man was always up to something – Dunny had learned not to underestimate him, or his unorthodox, sometimes even crazy, schemes.

“I know you’re up to something, old man. I want in.”
The reply came sooner than Sam would have expected – after only about five seconds, the voice of Squadron Commander Joamer Restlin sounded through the speaker built into his desk.
[["Just the usual, I'm sure that moon has something tasty to take control of. I want Strill to have a record right off the bat, so one or two Lancer frigates under our belt would be nice. And no, before you ask I'm not dismissing my none-humans. Even if set foot on the moon our suits provide protection."]]

Sam nodded. For some reason, Strill Squadron had acquired twelve sets of advanced Storm Commando armour: armour that had advanced environmental seals, providing protection against the elements. In theory, they would protect against plagues, too. Dunn decided to smile and nod – he assumed that Joamer knew what he was doing. If the man was wrong, it was his (or, more accurately, his team’s) funeral. Sam wasn’t about to meddle in another Squadron’s affairs. Except to learn their plans.

“Seems legit. Okay, nah worries, I can babysit Gundark an’ pick up the slack. Make sure ya kill something big an’ impressive fer me.”

[[“Will do. See you in the black.”]]

With that, Sam shut off the comm, and finally managed to drag himself up from the chair he’d been lounging in ever since the simulation had ended. He removed his hat from his head and placed it on the desk, rolling back his shoulders as he did so. They were damn sore today, but he shrugged it off. He’d had worse. He picked up the shiny black helmet resting on his desk, tucked it under one arm, and stood for a moment, getting his bearings. Time to compose himself, and get to the hangar bay. He started walking towards the automated door that led out of his office, and for a moment, paused.

I’ve got a bad feeling about this. He realised to himself, shuddering. He had a gut feeling that something nasty was going to happen. Last time he’d felt like that, a thermal detonator had gone off not less than five meters away from him, and he’d spent six months in an Imperial medcenter. He forced his nonchalant smile onto his face, and tried to put a spring into his step. There wasn’t any point in scaring the newbies. Besides, if he was convincing enough, he’d fool himself into thinking everything was allright, too. Hopefully, it’d work.


The launch bay assigned to the 50th Squadron was large, there could be no doubt about that, but it was by no means as expansive as the main landing bay of the Imperial Star Destroyer, Adjudicator. High above, hanging from launch racks near the roof, were no less than twelve Imperial TIE Interceptors, every one of them straight from the factory at Belgaroth. Painted in jet-black, the dagger-winged craft cut a distinctive, intimidating figure as they waited patiently in their berths. In three columns of four, they were divided up according to their Flight, with Aurek Flight on the left, and Cresh on the right. The first two craft of Aurek and Besh flights had a long, cyan stripe along each solar wing-panel. However, only the front craft of Cresh Flight bore the stripes.

Looking up at the collection of fighters made Squadron Commander Sam Dunn feel small, standing on the flight deck far below. Each of the fighters were surrounded by catwalks, fuel lines and struts that made them look as if they were gift-wrapped. The young ex-convict felt a sense of wonder as he stared up at them, realising that they were all his to command; his responsibility. He’d seen them individually as they were maintained, and as he had installed the panic button into them himself, but that wasn’t the same as seeing the ultra-fast weapons of war all racked together, ready to be launched at the enemy.
I’ve come a long way from dodging hungry cons back home. He thought to himself, a small smile on his face.

He was dressed properly this time, wearing the armoured flight suit that had served Imperial pilots well ever since before the infamous Battle of Yavin, twelve years ago. His chest and back were armoured, and the box mounted to his chest-plate housed and protected the life-support system that would keep him alive in the black of space. The Rebel Alliance of old and the New Republic that followed it didn’t bother with such things, since their fighters had a full life-support system, but Sam felt more comfortable in heavy armour. Besides, he liked the idea that when he used his fighter’s ejection seat, the vacuum of space wouldn’t just kill him instantly. It gave him a feeling of security.

Staring up at the fighters up above, however, was starting to give him a sore neck. He turned his gaze back to the ground, and to the eleven pilots lined up in front of him, all of them in similar uniforms, their full-face helmets tucked under their arm so that he could see their faces. There, front and center, was Maroy, looking tense but hiding it well. He nodded to her minutely, and she nodded back. He had total faith that she’d do a good job – she always did. He immediately spotted Aurek flight, the only flight to not have been bolstered by a reserve pilot. John Sheridan, now his wingman, stood tall and proud, a veteran who stood with the easy confidence of an ace pilot. To his right was Justy Tyler.

Dunn wasn’t sure about the man. He was a better pilot than he – or anyone else, for that matter – realized, but the man’s cowardice was going to be trouble. He’d moved the man to Aurek where he could keep an eye on him. Beside the young pilot was Tony Vincent, another veteran pilot whom he could rely on to watch Justy’s back. For some reason, he was the only one other than Dunn who could see the potential in Tyler. If they could convince the man that he wasn’t a useless, lazy slob who was going to die, then he’d make an excellent pilot.

Behind them was Besh flight. Darian was another confident, skilled pilot, but his cynicism and sarcasm hadn’t endeared him to all of the other squadron members. Dunn wasn’t particularly worried, however – he knew they’d get used to the man’s eccentricities. Sam personally found the man entertaining to be around, and enjoyed a good joke with him. Karl Jaghatai was next in line. Solid, obedient and a stickler for the regs, he was the epitome of a typical Imperial fighter jock – cocky and assured, but disciplined at the same time. He’d do just fine. Then was one of the newbies, the one they called ‘Twitch’.

Flying TIEs was in her blood, and it showed. She stood tall and proud, her fiery red hair tied up in a bun to keep it under control. He’d read her file, and knew that she epitomised the ‘everyone’s their own worst critic’, saying. Hopefully, this mission would help boost her self-confidence: She had a lot of talent, if only she could see it. After that, was Zorne. Old blood, practically navy royalty by now, he’d served in the Empire of old, and he served in the Empire of today. Sam had put him in charge of Besh, because he knew the man would be able to keep the newbies alive and watch their back. John was good, but…eccentric.

Then, there was Lunei. A good friend of Maroy’s, and one of the Tuk’ata survivors whom had been shipped over to the 50th. She was a Corellian spacer in Imperial uniform, with all the casual skill and cocky confidence that implied. Sam definitely had time for her, and wasn’t worried about her at all. She’d do just fine. The people that did worry him were next in line. Fresh from the Academy and only just introduced to the Squadron, the only thing he new about them was what was on their dossier. Both had a pretty shady history before joining up with the Vast Empire, both were already experienced pilots, and both had graduated with distinction from the Naval Academy.

That was where the similarities ended. Elizabeth Fletcher was a cloud car pilot from Bespin with a history of road rage and gambling – but she took to the skies like she was made for them. Makenna…Makenna was a bloody pirate. An actual pirate, whom had eventually jumped ship to the Imperial Navy. Sam was pleased to see he wasn’t the only ex-con in the Squadron. Sam also didn’t miss the fact that Maroy had recruited only females – and only attractive ones, at that. Was she trying to marry him off? Sam decided to be wary: that could be trouble. After he made sure to re-memorise their names and dossiers, he nodded. Time for the speech.

“Allright people, listen up. For those of ya who know me, welcome back – nice to see most of ya showered after the sim. Tony…grab some de-odorant from Justy. Fer all our sakes. Fer those of ya who don’t: I’m Sam Jack Dunn, and I’m ya new boss. That’s right, me. I know, I know, I have trouble believing someone was enough of a bloody idiot to trust me with eleven pilots, too.

This scruffy rabble is supposedly the 50th Vast Imperial Starfighter Squadron. Don’t be fooled, yer all here because ya – somehow – graduated in the top 5% of yer Academy intake. Ya’ve all got the potential to be the best pilots this galaxy has ta offer. That’s the scary thing. The brass didn’t just trust me with four aces and seven graduates. They trusted me with four of their best aces, and seven of their brightest graduates.

What the bloody ‘ell are they even thinking?”
With a casual grin on his face, the man brought the palm of his hand up to his forehead, and slapped it lightly. Some of the newer recruits appeared shocked by his utter lack of professionalism and casual self-deprecation, but the veterans, especially Darian and Maroy, had all seen it before. He was pretty sure he could even see the man trying to hide a chuckle. Makenna, on the other hand, looked confused. Her brow was furrowed in concentration, and that was definitely not a smile on her face. Good, Sam thought. He was making them think.

“They weren’t obviously.” Muttered one of the new replacements. Anita, thinking that she was being quiet enough for him not to hear. It was almost too much for Darian and Justy, who had to work hard at fighting down the urge to chuckle. She noticed Sam’s raised eyebrow, and suddenly went slightly pale, probably expecting some kind of reprimand. Instead, the commander just chuckled softly, a broad smile on his tanned face, and nodded his head, conceding the point. He turned his head slightly to look at her.

“Probably. I mean, crikey, I spent the first 18 years of me life as a convict. I’m surprised they even let me fly an Interceptor. An’, as ya can tell, I’m the most professional man in the Empire. But I guarantee ya this: If ya can survive a mission stuck with the worst Squadron Commander in the Empire – me – there’s no doubt that you’ll do fine with anyone, Anita: Because if yer gonna survive my nerf dren, yer gonna have ta learn ta work together, ta rely on each other, and ta think and act as a team. If you learn to trust only one person in this Squadron, make it yer wingmate.”

That was the most important thing, as far as he was concerned. The 50th had only been given two days to bond and form teamworks and learn how each other flew…and that time had just been, for a good portion of the pilots, reduced to a mere twenty minutes. He looked at their faces, and in them he saw a mix of emotions. Amusement, puzzlement, annoyance, and fear. They hid it well, but he could see it on just about every one of their faces. Crikey, he knew he was scared. A green unit on their maiden run in the middle of a warzone – it wasn’t going to be pleasant. Still…better than losing half his team to a bloody plague. Not that he was going to let it show. He was the Commander. He had to appear confident. Or at least nonchalant.

“In around 20 minutes, we’re dropping outta hyperspace in orbit of the Imperial Dominion’s Bloodmoon facility – a plague factory. There’s people already moving ta take the facility – that ain’t our problem. Our problem is making sure that the fleet guarding it regret the day they ever tangled with us. Ain’t sure what we’ll be doing yet, but we’ve got Interceptors, so they’ll likely be sending us against enemy fighters. I’m gonna take a wild stab at air superiority. Maybe even bomber escort. What I DO know is, this is a stand-up dogfight: Our only concern is ta clear the skies around us of fighters. I want everyone ready ta launch in 15. G’on, get movin’.”

Sam Jack Dunn waved them off with his hand, before turning and stalking his way over to the 50th’s Pit Crew Chief, the ever fabulous Flamingo the Hutt. Seeing a Hutt serving in the Vast Empire was extremely rare – certainly, Sam had only ever encountered the one, and this Hutt was…well, the eyeshadow, lipstick and feather boa explained far more than Dunn could ever adequately express. The Hutt towered over him, but Sam approached Flamingo fearlessly – the two had already spent a bit of time together modifying the ‘Panic Button’ into the 50th’s fighters, and had developed a decent working relationship. The two already had a healthy amount of respect for each other, and as they shook hands, Dunny’s fingers were only numb for two minutes afterwards.

“H’chu apenkee, o’ grandio lust.” He said smoothly in Huttese, a slightly more formal greeting than was entirely necessary, but he recognized that whilst the fighters was his, the hangar that he was launching them from was the Hutt’s domain, and a little respect to the one who kept his fighters in good condition never went astray. The Hutt smiled, and boomed out a greeting of his own, the sound echoing from the hangar doors. Flamingo lived large and loud, and Dunn could definitely respect that of the Hutt.
“Chowbaso, pateesa. Jah Tee Teesaw Kava Foonta.”
Sam smiled to himself and nodded in acknowledgement – so the fighters were all ready to go. He’d had his doubts when he had been told that his pit crew was a Jawa clan led by what had to be the most fabulous Hutt in the entire galaxy, but he was coming around to the idea.

After all, he’d been raised by a Gand, so he knew perfectly well how useful a diminutive size was when it came to dealing with the cramped confines of maintenance hatches and access panels. Even as he spoke, he could see three of the diminutive creatures squabbling over what looked like the tracking system of a concussion missile. The little critters were mechanical geniuses, and he knew if anything could fix his fighters in a tight spot, it was them. So long as Flamingo could keep their kleptomania under control.
He raised his eyebrow slightly.
“Va foppa hataw ge wontahumpa?”

The Hutt boomed with laughter, amused by Sam Dunn’s mostly light-hearted question. The launch bay echoed with the sound of wet, slimy merriment, and the Hutt clapped Sam’s shoulder playfully – he was pretty sure he felt something break. He coughed for a moment as the air left his lungs, and spent a moment gasping for breath, but his smile never once left his face. A playful pat on the back by a Hutt, though akin to being hit by a speeder bike at high speeds, still wasn’t anything near the worst pain Sam Dunn had been through. He simply grinned, and waited for the Hutt to respond.
“U kulle rah do kankee D’emperiolo, Dunn. Tagwa, pateesa.”

It had only seemed that the two had been chatting and engaging in pre-fight banter for a couple of minutes when the 10 minute alarm klaxon sounded, warning the crew that it would be ten minutes before the Adjudicator exited hyperspace. Not long to get up to his fighter and get ready. Sam looked at the fabulous Hutt apologetically, and nodded in the direction of the turbolift that led to the upper level, saying a quick goodbye as he did so.
“Inkabunga! Soong tee-tocky. Twoos pa reeta bah flootah.”
With that, he turned towards the turbolift and headed off at a job, crossing the distance of the hangar quickly. Booming behind him came the Hutt’s farewell.
“Mee jewz ku!”

Within a minute, he was up on the main catwalk that crossed above the entrance hatches of the twelve Interceptors assigned to the 50th Squadron, and he stepped towards his with precise, sure footsteps. He may not have been around the block as long as people like Joamer or Zorne, but he’d spent enough time tinkering with his fighter in the hangar to know how to find it without any problems. He smiled to himself as he descended down the short ladder and into the ball-shaped cockpit of the TIE Interceptor, settling comfortably into his seat and the wampa-fur cover that he kept over it. Everyone had their personalisations. Darian, for some reason, had a towlette dispenser in his fighter. Dunny had his seat cover.

The cockpit was small and cramped, and covered with controls, screens and other little odds and ends. The Vast Empire, somehow, had managed to fit an improved reactor inside the machine, as well as a shield generator, a pair of missile launchers, and the ammunition with which to use them. That was impressive enough, but the truly amazing thing was how neat it looked. Sure, the cockpit was cramped, but there wasn’t any of the visible wiring or circuitry that was the hallmark of Rebel Alliance ships, nor was there anything out of place. He smiled as he nestled himself in nice and comfortably, letting the bucketed seat adjust minutely to his body shape. The fighter was still new, and the seat hadn’t quite been ‘worn in’ yet, but he didn’t mind. For a man who’d had his armour melted into his flesh and kept fighting, a slightly too hard seat was nothing.

Once he made sure he was comfortable, he began to power up his machine. First, he punched in the security code on the unlabelled keypad to his right, letting the machine know that yes, he was authorised to start it up. The codes changed often, and Sam Dunn didn’t mind the extra moment’s delay. It made Imperial fighters a little harder to steal. After a moment, the boosted reactor whined to life, and little lights began to blink on, one by one. The sensor screen lit up, but remained blank, still awaiting data from the Adjudicator, and the throttle screen was fully purple. That was good – if it was showing that his ship was anything but stationary, he was going to have a problem. He reset both systems with a pair of button presses, just to be sure.

Next up was the targeting computer. The first button he pressed started up the information readout screen, which immediately picked up the nearest fighter – Cobalt 5, and began to display a red image of it, along with information on its type, armament and other useful information. Sam paid it no mind, as he knew the capabilities of VE-mod TIE Interceptors by heart. Everything seemed to be working, and he quickly checked it over before moving onto the next two screens, the power management one. Pressing the appropriate buttons with his right hand as he fed power from the reactor into the systems, one by one, he watched as the power indicator began to highlight on each of the systems, showing them in yellow one by one.

He kept the shields offline, for now, since he didn’t want his deflector shields to try and push him away from the launch rack, but he fed power into the targeting systems, sensors, communications, the Twin Ion Engine (though he kept it idling, for obvious reason), diverting the raw power from the powerful reactor at the fighter’s heart to each of its systems, bringing the deadly war machine to life. Within a few minutes, every single system that was meant to be on, was powered up and showing nominal readings. The Hutt hadn’t lied – everything was undoubtedly satisfactory. Hell, the machine purred like a well-trained warbeast, waiting patiently for the right time to strike. He patted the dashboard of his new fighter, and smiled softly.

“Yer mine now, Cobalt One. Let’s make a good team, huh?” He said softly to the machine, before looking up through the top hatch and into the glowing orange eyes of the Jawa mechanic that had positioned itself at the entrance, ready to act on any problems he reported. He gave the creature a thumbs up gesture, which it quickly returned, before a second jawa appeared with a stepladder, and moved up towards the top of the hatch before letting it slide shut. In a single moment, he was all alone inside the craft. He nodded to himself, his leg bouncing with excited anticipation as he lowered his helmet over his head. He looked up at the communication screen, and waited. He didn’t have to wait long.

[[Launch in T-Minus 3 Minutes]]
The words flashed in yellow on his screen, and he nodded to himself, tapping the comm system to link himself up to the Squadron channel.
“This is Cobalt 1. All fighters report in.”
His voice, with its signature Kathol Outback accent, sounded in the helmet of every single pilot of the 50th Squadron, and he didn’t have to wait long until they replied, one by one, in perfect order. Even the recruits didn’t miss a beat – obviously, academy training was still every bit as effective as it was when he himself went through it. First, John checked in, and then, one by one, the rest of the squadron reported their readiness.
“Cobalt 2, green.”
“Cobalt 3, the new targeting comp is working a lot better. All green.”
“Cobalt 4, ready and waiting.”

That was his flight, Aurek Flight, all ready to go. The four Interceptors were arranged in single file on the one rack, each one waiting for the one in front of it to be launched before it could itself head out into the cold depths of outer space. To his left and right, the other two Flights were similarly preparing their craft and awaiting the signal to advance. He listened in as Besh Flight followed suit, listening for the tone of their voices to try and get a feel for their current mental state. He needn’t have worried – even the newbies were still professionals, members of the elite Imperial Starfighter Corps.
“Cobalt 5, ready.”
“Cobalt 6, moistened and ready.”
Sam was tempted to ask Darian what the hell he was on about, but he decided to let it slide. A part of him was actually afraid of what the answer might be. He hoped it was to do with the towelettes. Oh, how he hoped.
“Cobalt 7. All green.”
“Cobalt 8, green light.”

So far, then, so good. Anita, Cobalt Eight, sounded composed – that was good. He nodded to himself as Cresh Flight checked in. These were the ones he was worried about – the flight was fully half composed of green pilots fresh from the academy. He listened in carefully, trying to gauge what how they were coping with the pressure.
“Cobalt 9, all ready.”
“Cobalt 10, let’s do this.”
“Cobalt 11, ready to go.”
“Cobalt 12, green and mean.”

The two new members of Cresh Flight sounded confident, even eager, but Sam Dunn couldn’t tell if they were genuinely looking forward to their first brawl, or if they were trying to hide their nervousness with false bravado. Either option was equally likely, and Sam decided he’d made a good call with putting Zorne in charge. The veteran was a father figure to the squadron, someone who was good at looking after those under his charge. If anyone was going to be able to look after the two and get ‘em out alive, it was Zorne Kisgart. Sam nodded to himself – he’d done the best he could. He’d trained those he could, kept those at risk of the plague out of danger, and he’d made sure that the replacements had someone reliable to watch their back.

For better or worse, the 50th Vast Imperial Starfighter Squadron were all green for their first combat sortie. Sam Dunn reminded himself that this was technically his second sortie in a TIE Interceptor himself, and smiled softly. Nothing like a trial by fire to see if he was good enough, and he actually found he was looking forward to the challenge. He’d done all the prep work he could, now it was just a matter of killing things. That, at least, was something he was entirely comfortable with doing. He grinned, and tapped his finger on the throttle to a tune he could vaguely remember from back home – a ballad about a convict who had died resisting the Timbra Ott’s government in their rise to power.

“Seth, this is Dunn. 50th are all green and ready to go. We await your command.”

The command did not take long in the making, and soon, the red light at the top of the hangar turned yellow. Three seconds to launch. Dunn tightened his grip on the control yoke slightly, and closed his eyes for a single second, gathering his wits and letting the pre-battle adrenaline course through him. He was going to have to keep his head for this one. Soon enough, the light turned green, and he was sent hurtling forwards as the catapult tossed his fighter forward, and quite literally spat it out of the launch hangar. He angled the control yoke down and pushed the throttle forward, speeding down and out of the Adjudicator’s belly.

“Cobalt 1, this is Adjudicator. Your objective and sensor screen is being updated now. Work with Strill Squadron to escort Gundark Squadron to objective point Aurek, then stay on station and engage enemy starfighters. Be advised, heavy fire zone ahead.” That was the flight control officer, updating the Squadron’s sensor and objective screens with data from the Adjudicator’s massive sensor array. So far, he thought to himself, so good. He glanced at the screen, and saw the familiar blips of the rest of the squadron taking up formation on his six. There was a moment as they adjusted their formation, then it was simply a waiting game as Strill and then finally Gundark Squadron cleared the hangar. Sam found himself getting a little bored in the pause, but thankfully, Cobalt 12 fixed that.

“So Dunn, how many sorties is this for you?” Her tone was inquisitive, and he could tell she was trying to figure him out. He’d hoped they’d use the time to talk to each other, since he’d established himself as unreliable and that the best use of their time would be to get to trust their wingmate as much as they could. Sam, selfishly, was happy for the distraction, and decided to indulge the new Squadron member’s curiosity.
“Thirty-Eight, simulated.” He answered casually, the smile on his face perfectly audible in his voice as he saw Steel 1, 5 and 9 launch out from the hangar simultaneously, followed by the next three fighters.

“How many combat sorties?” Makenna pressed, stressing the second last word of the question to emphasise her point. She obviously didn’t care about training runs, she just wanted to know how experienced he was in battle. He decided not to mention his year in the Stormtrooper Corps, nor his experience as an interdiction officer with the Timbra Ott Police Force, flying V-Wings against things far more advanced. He’d already gone to the effort of painting himself as unreliable to trick the squad-mates into thinking they had to rely only on each other, so he decided he might as well see it through.

“Haha, two. Including this one.”
He chuckled to himself at how bad that had sounded, and decided not to mention the fact that on that sole previous mission, he had decided to take on an entire flight of B-Wings solo, and after some of the most insane flying the Vast Empire had seen, managed to take three of them before he himself had his TIE Interceptor shot out from under him. Her reaction, though he couldn’t hear it, was undoubtedly priceless. At that moment, he saw the bombers of Gundark Squadron launch, and nodded to himself. Time to go.

“Allright, Chlovi, form up in an escort pattern around Gundark. Keep an eye on your sensors and if anything comes into your area of responsibility, don’t chase it too far. We’re on escort duty, not air superiority.”
That would change drastically soon enough, Sam Dunn knew. He really couldn’t wait.


AAR: Sam Dunn puts the nonhuman members of the 50th on reserve, fearing the effects of the plague, but Maroy decides to come along anyway. After a quick scheme with Joamer, Dunn heads down to the hangar to brief the Squadron, plus its newest members. He leaves a stunning and inspiring (no, really) impression, and has a quick word with the hangar’s crew chief. Then, it’s time to get into the fighters. After launching into the black, the 50th form up around Gundark, ready to escort them into the belly of the enemy.

CHLOVI VETERANS: Your post should cover your reactions to the sudden roster changes, the pre-flight speech and your flight prep and launch. Use the time to re-acquaint yourself with the controls and cockpit layout of the TIE Interceptor. Flight Leaders, try to give your members something to work with in your next post – interaction is a must.

CHLOVI NEWBIES: You’re fresh from the academy and you’ve just been put in quite possibly the least inspiring Squadron in the fleet. That’ll give you some interesting stuff to work with. This is your first assignment, your first battle, and your first time in your own Interceptor, so don’t forget to familiarize yourself with everything before you go!

This is the first real Story post for three of our members, so let’s help ‘em out and give them some support, 50th!
SCO|SCPO Sam "Dunny" Dunn
Cobalt One|S:50 "Chlovi" W:101 "Blade"
ISD Adjudicator|TF:A|2FL|SC|VEN|VE

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[This message has been edited by (edited December 22, 2012 2:44:01 AM)]
ComNet Member
[VE-ARMY] Sergeant Major
[VE-NAVY] Chief Warrant Officer
Post Number:  846
Total Posts:  996
Joined:  Sep 2007
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
December 21, 2012 2:34:20 AM    View the profile of Joamer 
The room was quiet except for the soft hum of the ship herself as Joamer shut off the comm link. Leaning back in his chair he tried to  forget the troubles Dunny was having with Chlovi squadron, or his own inability to assume the roll of commander like he needed to.  Joamer knew the man had a sick plan of making the squadron depend on themselves more than him, in a way it would work but the moment  they found themselves they would understand they did not need him. It was a double edged sword, and he felt Dunny was about to get both  sides at the same time.

He knew just a few years ago he had been like Dunny, and hoped the man would understand in time how to properly lead a group. The road ahead of him would be harsh, but he believed he would eventually find his way through it.

His office was small, not much more than a storage room build next to the quarters he shared with his wife. He could hear sounds coming from the door the lead into that room, but he chose to ignore them.  The came from his wife putting on her own  armor. Those sounds spoke to him, for a moment he wanted to gather their items and just leave. Steal one of the shuttles and just run  away again. This was not his fight, he had stopped fighting for the Empire a long time ago. He had only returned due to a promise, and  now he had been dragged in with another promise.
This time he was about to lead another group of men and woman into hell, and some of them would not make it back. The ones that would would be changed forever, and they would place they mark on his soul. He would carry that burden with him, along with all the others. It was a price you paid being in command.

He knew her armor was much like his, years old and extensively modified to suit their needs. The best modification they had designed  was a self enclosed life support system, the oxygen canisters were located in easy accessible hatches in the back of the armor. With  those the problem of a TIE fighter being nearly vacuum inside the cockpit was fixed. A lot of his own money went into purchasing armor  for the squadron, and having it modified to include the life support systems. The personal shields, and much of stealth systems had to  be removed, but a true commando relied on other skills to survive. To him it was a fair trade off, they armor would bring one or two of  them back that would of not normally survived this mission.

Glancing at the armor resting on the chair in the middle of the room, even from here he could see the deep seated dings and scratches  marring the surface. Even after a fresh coating of reflec he could see the age the armor had on it. Looking down he thought for a  moment about letting those memories in, but then decided against it, he had other things to do than get lost in time, he sighed as he  delayed putting the rest on. The chestplate, helmet, shoulder pieces, and vambraces were the only thing he was not wearing currently.  His weapons belt was in place, but his vibro knives and particle magnum sat on the desk in front of him. His pulse rifle was propped  against the front of his desk out of his view, he knew the cockpit would be tight but the squadron needed the firepower their rifles  would bring. His long hair was pulled together into a flat knot, so it would not interfere with the seals on his neck-piece.

The only other occupant in the room was his Strill, who was sitting on the top of the armor covered chair glaring at him. He knew he  could not bring her, even though he badly wanted to. She would die in the vacuum of the cockpit, and having her die on this mission was  not something he wanted to think about. The eyes that were turned to him reminded him much of a sulking child, and he knew she was  sulking. Lurk was extremely intelligent, understood most everything that was said in her own way and could even respond through body  language and her own vocal sounds. The bad part was, he knew he needed her for this one. She was much like his right arm when things  became dangerous, he could count on her to pull off the surprise attack that could pull them through one more minute.

The pod he had used to bring her down through the upper atmosphere of his last high altitude low opening jump did not get packed with  their things. It was specially designed to hook into his armor, and life support equipment. Situated on his back it was out of the way  of his normal movement and most of his weapons. Luckily Lurk was the runt of the liter so he doubted she would get much bigger than she  already was. He had stopped telling her he was sorry, the sulking and very quiet whimpering was pulling at strings she had tied to him  a very long time ago.

He heard the door open and his wife step into the room silently. She was wearing most of her armor except for the breastplate and  helmet, the body suit hugged every corner like it was designed to so he avoided starring for too long. After a minute of her tapping  her finger on his thigh she said, "Shadow's pod is not working, some of the internals were damaged during the move. So we are one less  Strill for the journey."

"Two less, Lurk's pod was not packed. It was something I completely forgot about." Joamer said slowly, trying to put another sorry  tone into his voice for his friend.

"You know, sometimes you really baffle me. You can ramble off just about every piece of equipment the squadron has available, yet you  can't remember that I packed her pod. It's in crate M5-23 you dolt, now go get it and finish getting ready, briefing is in twenty."  Rain said as she stomped off, or tried to. The jack-boots were designed to suppress sound, the door closing however was not that quiet.

Standing up he walked over to the chair and ignored the now preening Strill as he strapped on his breastplate, then the vambraces and  gauntlets. The gloves he slid behind his belt as well as clipped his helmet on top of them. Turning around he picked up his pulse rifle  and slipped the combat sling around his neck before sliding it behind him. Picking up both sabre knives he watched the light play out  over their length for a moment before sheathing both. Grabbing his particle magnum he checked the charge on muscle memory alone and  slid it into the holster on his right hip. They setup felt odd to him for minute, he had not been in full armor with this much weaponry  in a long time.

Walking to the outer door he watched it slide open as he glanced out into the corridor. Several crewmembers stopped for a moment and  starred at the strange sight, rumors by now said there was a new special unit on the ship but till now on one had seen what that unit  would really be like. Joamer breathed out gently as he watched them watching him, their eyes taking in every detail and memorizing it.  He knew shuttlebutt would spread this tale far and wide in the next hour, whistling slightly he saw them jump as Lurk glided to his  shoulder and settled into her usual spot.

Stepping into the corridor he turned on his heel and headed towards the storage room that held the rest of their crates, as well as  some of the squadrons equipment that had arrived but he had not had time to train them in. Walking with a purpose he fell into the easy  rhythm that had been drilled into him for years, his jack-boots made almost zero noise on the floor plating, his armor was designed to  not let off any sounds, every edge had been padded and folded in a way that any movement would remain nearly silent. He could not avoid  the gazes of the crew members he passed though, when they saw him they stopped and openly starred. He wished he could give the squadron  capes, that would make them even more odd looking. He knew ARC squad wore something similar, he wondered what it would take for Strill  to get something like that.

Stopping at a closed storage room he entered a combination known only to a few and stepped inside. The medium sized room held racks of  weaponry, and electronics. In stacks spread out in the room held crates, some full of ammunition, others held various other items he  knew the squadron would need during certain missions. The room itself was designed to withstand a very large explosion going off inside  it, specially designed support braces, and state-of-the-art pressure release systems would insure the ship would not suffer a major  problem if the more delicate items in the room suddenly combusted. The crates those items were security sealed, and had their own  safety features installed. Some of the items in this room he did not trust to the ships general population, and that included the  master-at-arms.

Walking to the back of the room he checked his personal crates till he found the correct one. Opening it he reached inside and pulled  out an solid black egg shaped box. Much like a small backpack in size, reaching behind him he felt it click into hidden grooves built  into his armor. After a moment he tapped a key sequence into the wrist readout on his gauntlet and found the two systems merging  together.

"Well girl, looks like you are going after all. When you go in, be a good girl, be quiet, and stay sharp. If things go to plan in  awhile you will get to chew someone's face off. Patience though, the timing must be perfect." Joamer said softly as he turned his head  to see his Strill chirping quietly mostly to herself. He knew she understood what he was saying, but she chose to ignore him and only  preen more as she was finally allowed to go with him. "You are like a kid and a speeder ride sometimes." He said softly.

Walking out of the storage room he keyed in the access code again and heard the door seal itself. Turning around he walked in the  direction he had been coming from and headed towards the squadron's private briefing room. Tapping a key on his wrist pad he knew he  was almost late, but hopefully the late comers would be there before him. What he had to say needed to be heard by everyone, and the  way he was dressed might make the difference in someone not fully trusting in a weird order he would end up giving them. If they saw  what he truly was, maybe it would save one more of their lives.

The corridor was fuller than when he last walked through it, apparently word had spread quickly that more of these strange people were  being seen headed in the same direction. He saw many of them give a small nod of their as he passed, then continued their work. Some of  them even snapped a quick holo, he knew one or two of them would be for the memorial wall that was located in a certain area of the  ship.

"Excuse me." A voice behind him said suddenly. Turning on his heel he saw a young and very short Twi'lek looking up at him, the  coveralls she wore were stained much like a mechanics, and the tools she wore around her waist indicated she was one of the duct rats  that crawled through the smaller sections of the ship fixing problems. "You are going down there, yes?"

He knew secrets were rarely kept on a ship, even one this size. Kneeling down so he was eye level, he saw her smile at Lurk for a  moment before he said, "Yes, my squadron and I will be setting foot on that moon."

"I heard they are creating something very bad for us none humans. Hurt them for me, hurt them for all of us, monsters like that need  to be destroyed." She said before she turned to walk away, after a moment she stopped and said over her shoulder "Also, bring back her  too. I have really good milk if you bring her back." With that the small Twi'lek vanished into an access hatch leaving the corridor  silent as everyone watched him.

Standing up he turned around he began walking again. Everyone stepped to either side of the corridor as he passed, and everyone was  silent as word of what had just happened spread ahead of him. He wondered what stories would be created in as little as an hour for  those few seconds, leading by example had a bad habit of making you into something a lot larger than you actually were.

Taking a calming breath as he stopped in front of the briefing room door, he keyed in a code into a side panel and stepped into the  open door. A moment later the door closed behind him, and sealed itself. He heard a soft beep from his wrist panel that said the  security systems were in standby mode, if this had been a secretive mission specially designed systems would activate and shielded this  room from almost every type of listening device possible.

He saw eleven heads turn to look at him, they all wore similar versions of the armor he had on. The only real differences were from  his Bright and Edge. Their armor was modified slightly differently, hiding other weapons, or equipment they would need. In his wives  eyes he saw a gleam that was half for him, showing him what she felt for him deep down inside, and the other half was for what they  were about to do. He knew she had missed the excitement that was about to begin. Luckily for him no one stood up, or saluted. He was  glad a few of his rules were being followed.

Stepping down the aisle he recognized the two newest additions to his squadron, he knew their names and what was in their files but  who they were personally he did not know them. Stepping up onto the raised platform he looked over at the nine sets of eyes looking at  him, the other two sets were busy looking over data pads with information pertaining to what they were about to go through.

"From the looks I can assume a few of my rules have been passed down to the newest additions to our dysfunctional family. I'm sure the  information I've been telling the others over the past few days has been passed on too, and that is a good thing. Know, from this  moment onward your lives are in danger. Trust is something we all must learn from each other, I can not promise I will bring you back  safe. But, I swear I will bring you back if you fall. That is my biggest lesson, and one I will always keep." He said to everyone  listening. "Now, for a few oddities we will be dealing with. In the air, our flight leads will still be Dawn and Xanin for the time  being. On the ground however, we will be using what is coined in the army as fire teams. The fire teams can change moment to moment,  but their leaders are Edge, Rain, and myself. If either of those two give you an order you follow it like it came from me, split second  decisions will keep you alive, so learn to react before thinking."

Pulling a chair from behind the desk he sat on it with the back against his chest. Looking down he glanced at a few of the datapads a  few of the squadron held nervously in their hands. After a moment he said slowly, "A tradition my old squad had was what is known as  death letters. If you fall it is your last words to us, to friends, to loved ones. When we leave this room for every mission a canvas  bag will be located by the door. Drop your pad in there, and if you fall I will personally take it to whoever you address it to. This  life is very dangerous, and I've been next to some of the finest men and woman this Galaxy has to offer, and I've seen some of the  finest fall next to me."

Leaning over the chair back more he smiled out at his squadron, "Now." He said slowly, "Time for that thing you all hated during  school. We have two new comers to our little mental institution, as such I think they should introduce themselves. And of course,  ladies first."

Kara slowly stood up and walked to the front of the room, her whole body shaking as she felt the eyes of everyone in the room staring  at her, then she slowly turned to face the squadron.

"H-Hello everyone... I-I'm Kara M-Moon..." she stammers out, face red out of embarrassment.  "I-I was born on a G-Gozanti Cruiser, th- the P-Persephone... I... I s-spent most of my l-life going from ship t-to ship, stowing away amongst the c-cargo.  I... I didn't have a  s-single credit to my name in my whole l-life.  I e-even had to stow away on th-the ship that brought me h-here so I c-could j-join the  academy..."

She takes several deep, nervous breaths, brushing her heair back with a sweaty hand.  "I j-joined the N-Navy because I've a-always been  in s-space.  It's... it's all I r-really know.  Th-that and how l-lonely m-my life was.  G-going from sh-ship to ship... n-no f-friends  to h-help or c-comfort me... I w-wanted it t-to all end... s-so, as a b-birthday g-gift to m-myself, I s-started to think a-about  enlisting... to escape th-this l-life that I've b-been living" she continues, brushing her sweaty palms onto her armor leaving smear  marks on the leg pieces.

"I c-considered j-joining the R-Remnant or the R-Rebellion... b-but th-they were t-too "official" f-for me... t-too big... t-too d- dangerous... So, I s-searched the H-HoloNet at a f-free p-public access t-terminal on C-Coruscant and r-read a-about the N-New R- Republic's b-battles with a s-small Imperial s-splinter f-faction.  S-so, I stowed away on s-several t-transports, t-trying to f-find  it.  F-Finally, one of th-them led me h-here, t-to Abrae... so, I d-decided th-that the V-Vast E-Empire was r-right for m-me..."  She  exhales a pent-up breath she had been holding in when she finished, sweat resting on her brow as she continues to shake a bit, staring  at the faces in front of her.

She gulped, taking in a deep breath and continues.  "I-I'm n-not v-very g-good at f-flying... b-barely p-passed the f-flight exam in  B-Basic T-Training.  I h-have z-zero c-combat f-flight experience, b-but s-several h-hundred h-hours s-simulator experience.  I-I've  h-had a l-little t-training w-with an a-assault r-rifle and s-sidearm p-pistol."

She stops, trying to piece together what she's going to say next, since she already said that she hadn't a credit to her name ever  until she enlisted.  "I-I w-was d-discovered b-by a s-security officer, p-prior to t-take-off, o-on one o-of th-the ships I-I was on.  I h-had t-to f-fight h-him off b-before h-he h-hurt me, or w-worse..." she chokes a bit, closing her eyes as she relives the moment in  her head, several tears streaming out of the corners of her eyes.  "I k-kicked h-him i-in the ch-chest.  H-he... he s-stumbled ba- backwards, and f-fell onto a c-crate.  H-His r-rifle f-fell to the g-ground and I... I p-picked it up.  I-I n-never f-fired a w-weapon  before, s-so I p-pressed th-the t-trigger d-down and emptied th-the entire m-magazine i-into h-him..."

She takes another deep breath, relaxing her shoulders and continues speaking.  "I sh-shoved the b-body into o-one of the c-crates and  t-took his w-weapons, th-then e-escaped the sh-ship and j-jumped onto a-another one b-before it t-took off" she sighs, wiping her eyes  then looks at everyone, taking several breaths before finishing.  "I-I h-hope y-you all d-don't h-hate me f-for d-doing wh-what I h-had  to d-do t-to s-survive..."

Motioning for Lurk, she sensed the need and glided over to Kara before settled down on her shoulder and nuzzling her neck. The  squadron was quiet for a long moment as they digested what they had just heard. Kara seemed at odds with the Strill nuzzling her neck,  but eventually she reached up and gently patted the creature.

"Hah! Serves that bantha's mother right, gave him a good lesson. You go girl!" Someone in the squadron shouted suddenly, pretty soon  everyone else joined in and began cheering. He knew it was half in sympathy for the nervousness she felt and the other half was in  sincere praise at what she had done.

"Kara, stick close to me. Watch what I do, and you'll get through this." Joamer said very quietly as he leaned down to her. Coming  upright again he said, "And now, for our next nugget."

He scooted up from his chair stiffly, clearly not used to the Storm armor at all. The black of the armor clashed and accentuated the  paleness of his skin. The armor clinked hollowly on his thin frame as he walked to the front. He gave a sharp salute to Joamer, but  Joamer did not return it. Instead he smiled thinly and addressed the squadron, leaving the young man saluting him. "My first deployment  was in Wraith squad, two weeks of heavy fighting lead us to be relieved by reinforcements. At the time the commanding officer of the  next unit came up to me to ask who was in charge, I saluted him seeing the much higher rank. A moment later a sniper blew his head  clean off. I want that to sink in for everyone, if I see a single hand fly up I will personally shoot the person wearing it. The other  outfits can salute, but we can not. A snipers job is hunt officers, and anyone being saluted is an officer to them. So, unless you want  to see someone's head explode in front of you, leave your arms down."

Motioning to the young man to continue, Joamer looked down at the floor. After a moment he dropped his hand slowly, then turned to the  squadron. Taking a deep breath he said, “I am Crewman Tavrus,” he began, trying to stand as straight as possible in front of the audience. “I  was born and raised on Corellia. I lived on a farm for half of my life, and moved with my family to the city for the other half. I  excelled in school, and was accepted to several rather prestigious universities on the Core Worlds. Instead, I decided to join the Navy  and fight for my Empire.”

He gave a thin smile at the squadron and nodded, waiting for Joamer to give him leave to take his seat again. “Why is it that you  decided to join?” He asked instead. Being nervous around the squadron would be a very bad thing when things really turned bad, he wanted everyone to feel comfortable as possible around each other before hand. Otherwise, how can you trust the person next to you with your life if you are nervous about speaking to them.

“W-well, I, ah,” he fumbled for words, not expecting the extra info to be necessary. He shifted uncomfortably in the over sized suit.  “I’m loyal to the VE, and my own brother’s in the Stormtrooper Corps. Has a good record too, I’ve heard… And well, I didn’t want his  service to be a determining factor in my own, so joining another branch would do well enough to keep us separate, allow me to  distinguish myself, and still be able to fight for what I feel is right.”

He regained his composure again at some point, his gaunt face returning to the professional demeanor he wore before. He looked to  Joamer and gives another tight-lipped smile, trying to ignore the strength of the man’s stony gaze as he waited for permission to  leave.

Looking over the two newest members of his squadron Joamer studied them for a long moment, he could see the innocence in both of them.  The youthful outlook on life that was not tainted much by death, lose, and heartache. He considered leaving them here, going on without  them. Telling them this was not the life for them, but it would be wrong. They signed up, and accepted the challenge of what was to  come. If they survived they would be on the cutting edge of something the Navy had never seen before. They would see the Galaxy with  new eyes, no longer clouded by petty jealousy or political scandal. They would be soldiers, and be able to stand for themselves and  know what they wanted.

Whistling once, he nudged Lurk's head as she glided back over. "Return to your seats, Crewman see Edge before you sit down. He's going  to adjust your armor for you, I don't want anyone making anymore noise than they have to." Watching both of the young pilots for  another long moment he looked over at his squadron for maybe the last time. "Time till departure, fifteen minutes. Final prep is now,  get your last minute things in order. If you need something added to your kits, ask Edge he's our quartermaster. Be on the flight line,  in ten. Begin preflight when you get inside your Interceptor."

Standing up, he waited for everyone else to do the same. It was not calling them to attention but everyone was on their feet. "We are  the five eight squadron." He said loudly, "Stand to your orders, you're trained for this, you are ready for this. Trust in those beside  you, and in way or another you will get home. Five eight, dismissed!"

The walk to the hangar where their fighters were stored seemed to take forever. Bright was beside him, so close their bodies almost  seemed to be one. He had his fingers interlaced with hers, and did not want to release them. He had a sick feeling if he did he may  never grip them again, he knew it was only his nerves playing up like they always did before the action began, but the thought still  crept into his head.

Walking into the hangar bay he saw on the other side Chlovi gathering underneath their fighters, but he ignored them. He noticed  several of his own squadron making their way to their respective ships. Pulling Bright away from the crowd he wrapped his arms around  her and rested his forehead on hers. No words were spoken, none were needed. Everything the two of them needed to say was being said in  that moment. He knew people were staring, open relationships were at best frowned upon in the Navy, at worst laughed at. The Hangar  however was eerily silent on this day, everyone knew what was about to happen and how bad it was about to get.

"You are Dawn's wingman, if he slacks take over for Besh flight." She only nodded in understanding as they both gazed into each others  eyes. "Once we touch ground, I'm relying on Edge and you to carry most of the weight. These kids may be pilots but they don't know anything about ground combat. If everything goes according to plan, we will do something we've only dreamed about doing." After a moment Lurk leaned forward and chirped quietly as she rubbed her face against Bright's for a long few seconds.

"Pilots, five minutes till exit from hyperspace. Begin final checks." Someone from the bridge said over the comm.

Letting go of her they turned away from each other and walked to separate ladders and began climbing. Stepping down the gangway he  went to climb the shorted ladder to the top of his fighter when we heard his wives voice a few fighters down shouting, 'I love you."

Putting the one foot on the first step he stepped up and shouted back, "I know."

Climbing to the top of the fighter he unstrapped his helmet, the pod and the rifle from his back. Handing all three to a Jawa perched  on one of the wing supports he dropped inside and looked up as the small creature handed him the rifle first. Turning around in his  seat he stored it behind him, making sure it was strapped in place securely. Reaching up he grabbed the pod lightly and set it slightly  behind and to the side of his seat. Removing a double hose from the side of the pod he attached it to his own armor and set Lurk inside  the opened egg shaped device. Scratching her head once, he closed the pod and made sure the atmospheric seals engaged.

Breathing slowly he tapped a few buttons as his fighter began coming to life . Looking over the displays he waited till everything  showed green across the board. Glancing at another screen he saw the readouts from his squadron beginning to show green as well as  everyone got situated. Reaching over his shoulder he gripped the restraints and pulled them over, securing the safety harness into  place he popped his neck slowly as he looked up to see the Jawa patiently sitting on the edge watching everything. Nodding once he  reached up and grabbed his helmet before slipping it over his head and locking it into place. watching his own HUD come to life, he  checked the life-support systems again before turning off the HUD and turned on the comm.

"Strill squadron, report any problems. Signal on green." He said through the helmets commlink. He doubted anyone would have issues, The Hutt and her Jawa crew were extremely odd but very good at what they did. However the smell of his cockpit left him quite glad his life support systems were closed loop. Having to smell that for an hour or more would drive him to a suicidal run into one of enemies cruisers.

"Only issue I find is the smell, someone tell those blasted Jawas they are quite good at making things work much better than normal. However, they need to stop using out cockpits as a place to dump toxic waste. I think my filters may clog just sitting here." The voice was someone he did not recognize without a face to go with it, but he had to agree. The smell was truly awful.

"Adjudicator actual, this is Iron Lead. Strill squadron reporting full green." He said, speaking directly with Trykon. He knew it was  slightly against protocol but he felt it was right.

"Something on your mind, Commander?" The voice that came back a few seconds later was quiet, like he was speaking softly so no one  else would hear him.

Joamer could hear the worry he was trying hard to mask though, smiling slightly he said "Not much, just wanted to let you know we are  hosting a sabacc game when we get back. Open invite for you, and your second. Oh, tell that bugger he still owes me ten credits, so  don't get killed cause I want them back."

"Will you get out there and shoot something, your objectives have been relayed to your computer." Trykon said as the comm link shut  off.

"Hey Dun, you reading me?" Joamer said into the wings shared frequency. The reply was slow in coming, but it eventually come Dunny  seemed to have his mind on other things.

"What do you want, old man?" He said through the link.

"Stay at the higher altitude, and we'll cover Gundark lower down. Once the annoyances are out of the way, they can peel off and leave  the CAP to us. While you're up there scan for other surprises they've landed, I'm sure we'll find something nice to play with." Joamer  said.

"Sounds good." The reply was short, but Joamer knew Dunny had other worries right now.

Switching frequencies he said, "Alright folks, listen up. The current objective is simple, Chlovi and us will cover Gundark going in.  Don't get caught up in the bigger fight, our job is to burn hard for the moon. Chlovi will cover us from the higher altitude, while we  cover Gundark closer below. If you see something tasty and can fry it, do so but remember. These buggers are going to be playing smart,  so fly smart."

After a long moment another voice came over the commlink, this one was one few of the squadron had heard before. Joamer knew it was  coming though, he was waiting for it. "Joa, I think now's a good a time as any for this." Edge said softly. Joamer knew the contrast  would cause confusion for the squadron, no one ever expected a man like Edge to have a soft voice.

"This is a snippit, of a poem written a very long time ago. Take it to heart, and it may save your life." Joamer said.

After a five second pause, Edge said "Cannon to the right of them, cannon to the left of them, cannon in front of them."

"Volley'd and thunder'd; storm'd at with shot and shell, Boldly they rode and well." Bright continued almost singing it, her tone held  a deep sorrow though as she remembered many battles this could have been written for.

"Into the jaws of Death, into the mouth of Hell, Rode the six hundred." Joamer finished. The poem was old, the dating was hard to know, but their best guess was around two thousand years before the Clone Wars. The meaning itself had been lost, and so had the  battle it was written for. However, the meaning was clear enough. They were riding into Death. And some of them would not be coming back.

"Fleet, squadrons. Immersion to real space in ten seconds." The ship comm said suddenly.

Joamer felt the ship shudder slightly as she exited hyperspace. Waiting a half second he gave the repulsors power and lifted off the  rack supporting his Interceptor. Edging her forward slightly he tilted the nose down and said, "Strill squadron, on me. Make me proud,  boys and girls." Punching the throttle he shot through the forcefield narrowly missing other fighters from the other squadrons.

My head now REALLY hurts, but! WC- 6001. Sorry Dunman, you know it was coming.

What happens is, Joa gets ready. He briefs the squadron and our two newest members speak about themselves. He tells them if they salute him they get shot, cause saluting is bad. Then they exist the ship heading in a hard burn for the moon.
Joamer Tremaine Reistlin
Chief Warrant Officer, Squadron Commanding Officer
Aurek Flight, Strill Squadron

SCO|CWO Joamer|Iron One|Squadron: The 58th  "Strill"|Wing: 101st "Blade"|ISD-II  Adjudicator |TF:A|2FL|SFC|VEN|VE
[CC:P] [SoV] [LoM]
In memory of Ghost squad, we will never forget.
ComNet Marshal
[VE-NAVY] Captain
Post Number:  337
Total Posts:  558
Joined:  Jun 2011
Status:  Offline
  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
December 22, 2012 4:15:44 AM    View the profile of Grey 

As the Nightdancer shot towards its goal, Ensign Grey stood in the cockpit, leaning past the pilot for a good view of the terrain.  The Bloodmoon was a place of death, and not just because of the Imperial Dominion weapons lab located there.  As the place rose large in her vision, Grey took in the sight of the bleak landscape, dull red and lifeless, crisscrossed with canyons.  Even a brief exposure to the thin atmosphere would require her strike team to wear breathmasks.  An irritant, but hardly a major obstacle.

“Nice holiday spot,” Quipped Reeza Hayek, the VENI pilot that had joined the mission during their brief stay on the Brilliant.  “After we take this place we should convert it into a hotel and cash in on the tourism!  Add a few pools, gymnasium, and maybe even a nice big grav-ball court...”

Grey suppressed the urge to berate the redheaded woman for her continuing flippant attitude.  The VENI Agent had known Hayek’s demeanour before accepting her to this assignment, but had accepted it as the price for the pilot’s elite skills.

And more to the point, mused the Ensign, one more misfit in this team would hardly spoil the mood.  Between criminal genius scientists and genetic aberrations, she had certainly assembled a VENI unit for the history books.

“I have run a check of the breathmasks,” Said a voice from behind Grey.  “They all check out and we will be ready to go the moment we land, ma’am.”

The Ensign turned to behold the diminutive Corporal Elsek, one of the few level heads on this mission.  “Excellent work,” Grey told her.  “Glad to see some professionalism.”

“Thank you, ma’am,” Said Elsek, her voice level and controlled.

“Woah!” Said Hayek suddenly, drawing the instant attention of the other two women.  “We have got a party going on upstairs.”

Grey frowned, but as her keen gaze darted to the scanners, she understood at once what the pilot meant.  A plethora of hostile transponder signals were filling space above the Bloodmoon and advancing on the Second Fleet.  Their numbers were close to the equal of her own force, and she saw not one but two Imperial-Class Star Destroyers in the Imperial Dominion armada.  That was even more dangerous than the Navy’s worst-case-scenario.

“This changes nothing,” Said Grey quickly, noticing a flicker of distress on the faces of her fellows.  “The Second Fleet will do its job, as shall we.”

As she spoke, the senior VENI Agent forced the pride from her voice.  Yes, the two massive fleets would clash and it would be a slaughter, but the real job would be down on the Bloodmoon.  Even if the Second Fleet failed, as long as the ID weapons lab were destroyed then this day would still be a victory for the Vast Empire.

No, wait, that was not true.  As Grey’s keen mind continued to analyse the situation, she realised that such was not the case.  This was the Second Fleet, pride of the VE Navy.  If it fell - here, today - chaos would follow.  There may not be much of the Imperial Dominion left, but plenty of other regimes would be only too happy to capitalise on the Vast Empire’s weakened state.  The Fleet had to succeed, just as the VENI team did.

There were two sides to this conflict today, and both were crucial.

“Continue on to the target landing site,” Said Grey after her reflection.  “Let’s get on with this,” And to herself she added, and hope that there is still a Fleet for us to return to when we are done.

“Easier said than done, Grey-girl!” Said Hayek.  “We have incoming fighters!”

“Is the Sensor Mask on?” Asked the Ensign quickly.

“What, do I look like a technologically-challenged Evocii or something?” Replied the pilot rhetorically.  “I had the frakin’ Mask on since we cleared the Brilliant’s hangar, but that only blocks our sensor signature.  These four must have got a visual on us.”

“Dive!” Ordered Grey.  “Head down into the canyons for some cover!  And everyone with gunnery skills get to the turrets!”

“Turrets?” Asked Elsek, confused.

“This shuttle is modified with three gunnery positions, linked into the external weapons,” Explained Grey quickly.  “One here beside the pilot, two back in the main hold.  They are connected to an aft laser canon and quad lasers port and starboard.”

“One minute to intercept!” Called Hayek, for once not adding a clever comment.

“Let’s go!” Ordered the Ensign, and prepared to fight their way clear to their landing on the Bloodmoon.

760 words.

After Action Report:  The VENI shuttle Nightdancer is now flying over the Bloodmoon towards their landing spot, as the Second Fleet prepares to battle above.  Despite their Sensor Mask, the shuttle is visually spotted by a quartet of TIE Interceptors, who are now giving chase to attack.
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
December 22, 2012 7:36:13 AM    View the profile of DeepSix 

"You know, I've just realized that a few burnt splotches on these canyon walls would help with the tourism business. We'll just need to add a pod racing office to the mix. Ah, but next we'll have to think of a slogan too..." Reeza Hayek mumbled as green laser bolts could be seen flying past the shuttle's cockpit. "Something without blood though..." More bolts outflew the craft and disappeared on the moon's surface. "That'd be too cliche, you know?"

The moment the shields began flickering and thus indicating at least one hit was successful, Hayek pushed the yoke to the side, sending the shuttle spiraling towards the ever so approaching canyons beneath. "Miss Hayek, what are you doing?" Ensign Grey managed to ask in a still calm sounding voice. "Giving them a headache of course. Or was that us? Us, them... stop sweating the little things, Grey-girl. Have you even finished thinking of a proper slogan for our pod racing business? I'm telling you, a good slogan is all we need to get the thing started..."


"What's going on? Is everything okay?" doctor Frayne asked as soon as he saw the Corporal returning from the cockpit. "Everything's fine doc", the woman assured him before she made her way over to the mass of scarred muscle and whispered something in his ear. The man merely nodded and unstrapped himself from his seat. Together with Elsek he made his way to the side of the shuttle, where each individual monopolized a terminal on either side of the vessel.

Frayne stared wide-eyed, unsure what was happening but the Arkanian and the genetic failure showed less surprise. In fact Frayne could even swear he saw the white haired woman yawn whilst the fur covered aberration grunted and grinned in a sinister fashion. No doubt the good doctor once more questioned his sanity at that moment. Worse still, it was unlikely it would be the last time during this cursed mission.


"What the?!" Hayek exclaimed as she noticed a red blip disappearing all of a sudden. "Stop shooting down my course's decorations dammit!" the redhead yelled at the back of the ship. Upon turning her head to do so however, Grey could see that the younger woman wasn't actually angry though. No, even as she shouted Reeza was in fact smiling, her tone jovial as ever.

"Miss Hayek!" the VENI agent called out as she stretched her arm and finger to point at the cockpit's viewport. "Huh?" the pilot asked before she turned back to see what was happening outside. "Oh, nearly forgot!" she laughed as she pulled back on the yoke and stabilized the shuttle a few tens of meters from the ragged surface found at the bottom of the canyon they were just about to enter.

Normally it would've been a terrible idea to fly a shuttle through an unknown canyon - the ship's size and mass making it less likely for the pilot to manage evasive actions in time. Doing this also made the shuttle an easier target to hit as well. On the other hand it also made the pursuers easier to take out too. And besides, Reeza Hayek was not your average pilot. She showed no hesitation whatsoever when approaching the canyon's walls or diving towards the very surface beneath or just suddenly spinning from one side to the other.

"We should so do this again sometime!" the redhead chirped as she finished tilting the shuttle on the side, in order to pass through a narrower crevice. Two of the other pursuers met their demise when they tried following the larger vessel - the Nightdancer's aft canon proving itself quite useful when picking off close distanced targets.

"Grey-girl, make yourself useful and shoot the port and starboard guns on my mark", the cheeky pilot instructed the mission leader. Whether Ensign Grey was happy with that or not, the woman did however prepare to fire both gun emplacements as told.

As the shuttle slowed down, so did its shields began flickering violently. Reeza kept smiling as she waited. And waited... And waited some more until all of a sudden she pulled up and shouted "Now, Grey-girl!" The more experienced agent was already waiting for just that signal so it was easy enough to act immediately.

It was only after the shuttle's viewport no longer showed the red walls around it, that Ensign Grey understood what just happened. The pilot had purposefully made herself a target so as to encourage the lone pursuer to approach, even as the latter struggled to avoid Drazin's aft shots. Upon suddenly pulling out of the canyon, the lone fighter had no choice but to either follow immediately - and be destroyed by the rocks and debris now falling thanks to the two quad laser blasts shot by Grey herself... or stall, avoid the debris and in so doing end up right in Drazin's crosshair as a result. The Ensign wasn't sure exactly which occurred, but the pilot's cocky "Sucka!" shout let her know that the final pursuer was no more.

A good thing too, as it meant that there was no longer the danger of being shot down as a result. Or so at least Grey hoped as she glanced over to the smug looking female pilot.

"Give me a minute to get back to our initial drop site and you'll be ready to roll. In the meantime... thought of any good slogans maybe?"

WC: 910
AAR: Pick up from where Grey left off - the pilot's heading for the canyons whilst Drazin and Elsek go man the gunnery stations in the back. A pursuers gets toasted before we hit the canyons and after some fancy flying two more bite the dust, being hammered by the shuttle's aft laser cannon. Last one is destroyed upon escaping the canyons and heading back towards the station and the initial landing coordinates. ETA 1:30.
WC/LTJG DeepSix/Golden One/S:38th Vornskr/W:101st Blade/ISD-II Adjudicator/TF:A/2Flt/SC/VEN/VE [=*TG*=] [=*VIM*=]

TRN/JRN DeepSix/DJO/Training Sect/VEDJ
[This message has been edited by DeepSix (edited January 13, 2013 4:52:03 AM)]
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
December 22, 2012 8:43:17 AM    View the profile of Serpent 
Not for the first time, Pherik ‘Serpent’ Zail wondered if maybe he was developing multiple personalities.  It seemed like there was two of him, each seeing the pros and cons of each situation very differently.  Now, with the arrival of the Imperial Dominion fleet in space around the Bloodmoon, the two sides of himself went to war once again.

As the enemy armada emerged from hyperspace, one of the Zails reacted with dread.  Twenty eight capital ships now faced off against the VE’s thirty.  This simple mission had now turned into a true battle, a real life-or-death struggle that would take a lot of hard work and a lot of sacrifice to resolve.  Thousands would perish on both sides, and maybe Serpent himself would be one of them.

However, the other half of Zail’s personality reacted to the coming battle with delight and excitement.  Here was a worthy foe, a grand challenge to match himself against!  Fear was for the weak, this side of him said, it was time for great deeds and great glory!

That second side seemed not to care for the loss of life involved, and though he abhorred it, it was that Zail that he had to embrace.  He was the Executive Officer of the Second Fleet, and he could not show fear in front of his crew.  Bold in the face of the coming conflict, Pherik drew himself to his full height and said, “Mister Eosel!”

“Yes, sir!” Said his XO, ready and able.

“Advance us towards the enemy, keeping formation with the Vengeful,” Ordered Serpent, striding to the tactical hologram and noting the Strike-Class Cruiser close by.  As the Second Fleet’s two taskforces began to receive their orders, the Alderaanian swept his gaze across the hologram depiction of the battle.

“There!” He said to the Kel Dor First Officer at his side, spotting something in the enemy formation.  “That pairing of Dominion ships there on their flank.  I want to draw them out and engage those two.”

“The Victory II Star Destroyer Ravisher and the Nebulon-B Frigate Howling Hydra,” Said Eosel, his deep voice muffled by his breath mask as he identified the targets.  “Very good, sir.”

No sooner had he spoke than the XO walked off to talk to the Com Officer, relaying the chosen targets both to their escort, the Vengeful, and to the VE flagship Adjudicator, which would be co-ordinating the Second Fleet.

Zail heard the voices of department heads around the bridge as they prepared for battle, and Serpent watched as the two colossal fleets drew to within striking distance of each other.

A few shots lanced out in the night, and the Battle of the Bloodmoon was underway.

Like all battles in space, the beginning was silent.  Weapons roared quietly, and shields blazed without noise, and Pherik observed just how odd and wrong that was.  He had never got used to that aspect of Naval combat.  The only sounds one heard in space was when you were losing, when your ship was attacked.

“Launch Shock and Awe Squadrons,” Said Zail, noting the spread of fighters being launched from their opposite numbers.  They were not yet within weapons range of their two chosen foes, and Serpent knew that the dance of fighters had to be played out first.

For this battle the Brilliant’s TIE squadrons had been configured as one of group of Interceptors and one of Bombers, and as Pherik watched the display, he saw the Interceptors (Shock Squadron) take the lead over their slower fellows.

The TIEs met their Dominion counterparts, and suddenly the space around the Star Destroyer was alive with high-speed dogfighting.  As Serpent watched, he could not suppress the feeling of helplessness that came over him.  He could not affect the outcome of starfighter battles, an arena in which he had no experience, and just had to hope that the Brilliant’s new Wing Commander (who he had only met for the first time the day before) was up to the task.

A single fighter winked out on the tactical display.  One of his own.  First blood to the enemy, he thought sadly.  A bad start, but only a start.  There is plenty of fighting to come.

“Entering weapons range!” Called his Gunnery Chief, Petty Officer Kol Yandeer.

“Focus fire on the Howling Hydra!” Ordered Zail.  “And order the Vengeful to do the same,” He added.  If their firepower combined could finish off the Nebulon-B quickly, they could turn their attention to the Ravisher.  It was that VSD2 that was the real target.

The bright green turbolaser shots caught Serpent’s eyes, turning his gaze from the display to the bridge viewport.  Quad turbolasers and heavy turbolasers shot off towards the nearby Nebulon-B Frigate, which lay in the shadow of the larger Ravisher.  Immediately, both Imperial Dominion vessels began to return fire.  They had the exact same idea as Pherik, trying to pick off the weaker of their foes, so their shots were aimed right at the nearby Vengeful.

“Move us into the path of the Ravisher’s fire,” Said Serpent.  “Shield the Vengeful as best we can!”

“We’ll take a lot of damage if we do that, sir,” Noted Mr Eosel, as if Zail did not already know that.

We can handle it,” Said Serpent.  “And I am not about to risk the Vengeful where I would not risk ourselves.”

A moment later, Helmsman Ysanne Samasl rotated the massive Brilliant and guided it into the position that the Captain ordered.  Immediately Pherik noticed the difference, as the ship took heavy hits and shields flared up brightly from dozens of impacts.

Zail grimaced and braced for the damage to come.  The race was now on.  The four ships now began to slug it out, and Serpent preyed that his new Star Destroyer could hold on.

967 words.  The actual battle has begun for Serpent’s ship, but I shall not now be able to finish it until after my Christmas holiday!

After Action Report:  The battle begins, and Serpent has commanded his ship, the Brilliant, and the Strike-Cruiser Vengeful to engage a duo of vessels on the Imperial Dominion’s flank.  They are now locked in battle with the Victory II Star Destroyer Ravisher and the Nebulon-B Frigate Howling Hydra.
SCAP/CWO Pherik “Serpent” Zail / VSD Brilliant /TF:Aurek/2Flt/FC/VEN/VE

"It isn't the killing, you know.  It's the beauty of battles that I love - the choreography and the challenge of executing everything
just right - and the challenge of matching your wits against a capable opponent." - Gilad Pellaeon
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
December 22, 2012 1:32:48 PM    View the profile of Avalar 
It seemed like just yesterday that Makenna had been in the academy, flying in simulations of hell. In fact, it was pretty much just yesterday that she had been a trainee. Though her simulation test in the nebula had gone worse than she imagined it would, she had taken extra time to study and build herself back up. Her pride wouldn’t let her settle for losing like that. Sure she had “technically” landed two kills, but that ended up as an unintentional suicide. That was not how people were supposed to fly in real battle. And she sure as hell intended not to land a single bit of friendly fire ever again.

But that was in the past now. Instead of being in simulators, she was on a ship called the Adjudicator, and the size of it still made her a bit wary. Her band of pirates had been in large ships before, but it still made her feel strange to be in such a place. She was more used to the smaller ships her band had flown. This ship allowed for more room, which meant more people and more places for people to hide out if they wanted to. Though Makenna enjoyed a place where stealth could be achieved, she also knew that other people could make use of it too, and the only reason she was even nervous about that was because she knew what she would do if she wanted to sneak on board and do some damage.

Of course, she was also confident she could spot someone sneaking around if she was looking for it. So instead of paying attention to that, she turned her attention to her datapad. On it was her full name, Makenna Avalon Aleshire with her callsign “Avalar”. Looking at the callsign, she felt her heart drop a little. Her hand immediately went to the chain around her neck that she tried to hide as much as possible. She glanced around. Nobody was in the room with her, which was perfectly fine. ‘Kenna preferred to be alone when she thought about why she had taken on the callsign Avalar. To everyone else, it was a misspelling of her middle name, but they didn’t know what it really meant, not unless they were familiar with the callsign. She had already been given funny looks for it, and she could have sworn she heard someone talking once in a hallway, speaking of her callsign and a squadron that ‘Kenna had heard about before.

This was not the time to be thinking of the past though. One thing that most other new recruits didn’t have was a background of her kind of loss. Sure she might have been a pirate, but she had been in battle. She had watched friends die right in front of her, and she had made choices about who to help and who to leave behind. Granted, it was nowhere near like what a full-blown battlefield looked like. She knew that, and she knew that no matter how much she would prepare herself for death all around her, it would still affect her mind. After all, the ultimate death of her pirate band had already made her susceptible to their ghosts.

As she pondered all of this quietly to herself, the door suddenly opened. ‘Kenna raised her head quickly, trying to make it look like she hadn’t been brooding. The person at the door was not someone she had expected. It was a green Twi’lek, and an unfamiliar one at that. ‘Kenna’s eyes searched her over for her rank, and though she quickly caught on that this Twi’lek was a much higher rank than she, Makenna stayed sitting.

“Makenna A-Aleshire?” the Twi’lek seemed to stutter very slightly but then recovered.

“Aye. That is me,” What do you want?

“My name is Maroy…” the Twi’lek seemed to not want to mention her last name, “I am the XO of Chlovi Squadron. Congratulations. You’re now a part of Chlovi Squadron,” Makenna stood at this, knowing full well that she had been moved to the ship only for reserves.

“Is that so? What changed?” ‘Kenna asked.

“We need humans in the squadron, and your file looks good. One of the shining stars of the academy,” At this, Makenna stood straighter and smiled.

“So they say, and they’re right to think that,” Though I could have done so many things better. Maroy didn’t seem to want to give an answer to that reply. Instead she spoke again as she turned on her heel.

“Details are on your datapad by now. We’ll be leaving very soon. Get what you need and meet Chlovi Squadron in the hangar,” and with that, she left.

The whole exchange had been… odd. While on one hand Makenna knew that she was just doing her job, there was something strange about her clipped speech that didn’t seem quite normal. For all she knew though, maybe that was how the Twi’lek spoke. It was also weird that there was a Twi’lek still in a squadron. Makenna didn’t live under a rock. She knew the rumors about the details of Bloodmoon, and she knew that humans were needed especially for these missions. So why there was a Twi’lek risking her life for this, she had no idea.

But that wasn’t the problem. No. Avalar had heard Maroy seem to waver over her name, as if purposefully missing her callsign. Maybe she was being too paranoid. After all, there was only one name she knew of to watch out for, and Maroy wasn’t that name. Then again, squadrons never consisted of one person. They consisted of many.

Aw hell, why am I lurking in the past? I’ve gotta get going!

Avalar grabbed her datapad and scanned it quickly. So she was Cobalt 12, part of Cresh flight. They were going to be watching over another squadron named Gundark. Seemed a simple enough mission. Hopefully there wouldn’t be any complications. Yeah right. There are always complications. She thought to herself as she made sure her flight suit was on properly. ‘Kenna checked her life support and grabbed her helmet. Her hair would just have to fit inside. She didn’t have time to put it up fancy. Wouldn’t be the first time I’ve had this problem.

She made her way through the halls quickly, glancing at everyone she passed. There was nobody that she didn’t meet eyes with. She didn’t believe in not being aware, not since the accident. Hell, she’d make sure to memorize all their faces if it wasn’t for the fact that there were too many faces to memorize.

Soon she was in the hangar. ‘Kenna looked around and spotted a group of people who seemed to be gathering together. She then remembered that she didn’t know any of the members of Chlovi at all. How was she supposed to know it was them? Suddenly the confidence she had was a bit shattered as her mind felt the need to suddenly make her realize she was about to fly with people she didn’t even know. Were they good pilots? Were they friendly? Would they mind the way she talked?

“Shuttup,” she whispered to herself. It was unlike her to be nervous in such situations, but of course this wasn’t any normal situation. She was about to fly into death with these people. It was the trust factor that she questioned more so than a social one.

And she was eager to meet her new SC.

The figure of the green twi’lek gave away the location of where the Chlovi pilots were gathering. ‘Kenna made her way over just as some other flight members were. The bunch was an interesting group and all human save for Maroy. She glanced around at everyone, trying to get a sense of what kind of people they were. Eventually Makenna made found herself beside a woman with tan skin and green eyes. Upon further investigation she was also heavily freckled.

“Hey. What’s your name?” Makenna asked, approaching her. The woman glanced at her and her outstretched hand.

“Fletcher,” she said, only offering her last name. She took her hand and shook it.

“Makenna Aleshire. My callsign is ‘Avalar’ though,” ‘Kenna said smiling.

“Avalar? What does that mean?”

“Oh it’s a misspelling of my middle name, Avalon. Unfortunately it sorta stuck,” Makenna shrugged it off like it was nothing, “So, what flight are you?”

“Cresh 3 or Cobalt 11 apparently.”

“Really? I’m Cresh 4,” Makenna smiled, “So how long have you been flying with the squadron then…?” but Makenna trailed off, feeling as though this woman looked too green to be a veteran. Her rank was also the same as ‘Kenna’s and it occurred to her then that the woman looked a bit familiar.

“I just got assigned here,” she said, “This is my first time flying since the academy.”

“Mine too,” well this was not exactly helpful. Fletcher was to be her wingman and neither of them had flown into battle before. Of course Makenna didn’t blame Fletcher for that. She blamed the strange assignments on the higher ups. Who would put two newbs together to be wingmates?

Her question was soon answered when their SC appeared. He was scruffy looking and Makenna felt a sense of distrust for the man. As he talked she raised an eyebrow, confused as to how such a man could become Squadron Commander at all. Was this a joke? This had to be one of the Chlovi flight members practicing stand-up comedy before they flew into death. They were just doing this for the newbies because they weren’t supposed to know any better. Or maybe it was some tactic for morale? And yet everyone seemed to be either serious or smiling, as if this was completely serious.

Though she wanted to leave right then and there, she kept herself from it. Maybe this Dunny character wasn’t as horrible as he was making himself out to be. Maybe he had flown way more times than any of them had, and this was just part of his leadership. ‘Kenna decided to give him the benefit of the doubt until she had an appropriate time to ask questions. Soon he was giving them their orders and waving them off, so Makenna hurried over to her fighter. She smiled and touched Cobalt 12. A name. What would be a good name? Even if this was a temporary assignment, she wanted to give a name to her fighter. It had been a tradition to name the stolen ships in her pirate band by composing a poem, and she was not about to break tradition, even if they were gone. She began to rack her brain, fitting together a poem to define the name for her TIE/In, and when she had a start, she began reciting to herself.

“Amidst the shadow shroud of space, glittered with dots of gaseous light, I look upon sweet sorrow’s face, and feel the breath of death’s delight. Crimson glows the past behind, and crimson glows the blood spilled now, but while we paint canvas’ demise, I look above and wonder aloud. Who will keep the death toll slight, and whom stands by while others fall, and what’s that star that’s shining bright, and I look and I am filled with enthrall. She’s one of many others there, all the fearsome fires aside, she glows with bolts of emerald shots, among the backdrop of eventide. And while I question who I am, and what is right and wrong with man, I cannot help but understand, that I have stayed while others ran. So even when the ghosts return, and shadows come and they deride, I lock and aim and shoot them down, staying alive by eventide.”

Makenna smiled and closed her eyes, “Eventide. That is your name. You will fly me through the night and shadows. I trust you,” Though I can’t say how much I trust my squadron.

Without any other delays, ‘Kenna thrust herself into the cockpit of the TIE/In, now named Eventide to anyone who asked her. She began running her pre-flight checks whilst familiarizing herself with this specific fighter. This was no simulation, and making sure everything checked out would be more crucial than anything. Soon everything was green, and she felt her stomach drop slightly as the knowledge that she would be flying into chaos crept onto her bit by bit. But she tried to pay attention as Dunny called for everyone to report in. She waited until her turn and then said, “Cobalt 12, green and mean.”

The wait until they launched was excruciatingly long. Was it always going to be like this? ‘Kenna seriously hoped not. She’d rather be doing something with her hands or thinking of something else. She touched her neck, knowing the chain was still there, holding the card that acted as a dog tag to the person she had befriended and watched die.

“In your place, Vanity,” she whispered quietly to herself as she grabbed the yoke and waited until finally they all shot out of the hangar. The adrenaline pumped in her ears as she felt her body adjust to the fighter. Simulations were extremely realistic, but nothing could compare with the actual feeling of flying. Real, honest flying. As the initial fear of flying settled down, she followed her squadron as they all gathered into formation. She glanced at her sensor screen as it updated and showed everything at current. Then she looked up so she could visually see everyone around her. The one upside of Chlovi Squadron was the cobalt line on their fighters, making it much easier to tell each other apart unlike her stupid sim run.

Makenna decided this was the time to ask her burning question so she fired up the comm, ““So Dunn, how many sorties is this for you?”

““Thirty-Eight, simulated,” Makenna’s face dropped slightly.

“How many combat sorties?” she prayed this would be a relatively large number.

“Haha, two. Including this one,” well that was it. Her respect for him was gone. This was going to be more hell than she imagined. Here they all were, about to get into a terrible situation, and their SC was inexperienced and seemingly insane. Well, she guessed that she would have to take Dunny’s advice and trust at least her wingmate. If nothing else, she would keep her alive and she hoped Fletcher would keep her alive in return.

“Allright, Chlovi, form up in an escort pattern around Gundark. Keep an eye on your sensors and if anything comes into your area of responsibility, don’t chase it too far. We’re on escort duty, not air superiority.”

‘Kenna sighed slightly at this and followed suit with everyone else, surrounding Gundark squadron after they appeared. She looked on at all the other ships that were entering the fray, and while their only job was to escort another squadron at the moment, she had a feeling that was not going to be the end result at all.

WC: 2,508  Forgive me for flitting about with my sentences and topics. I am out of practice. Also I attempted dialogue with characters and apologize if I used them incorrectly.

AAR: Enter Makenna Aleshire who is fresh out of the academy and is quickly ushered into Chlovi Squadron as Cresh 4. We also learn that her callsign is related to a former SC of another squadron. As Makenna gets her assignment and enters the hangar to meet her new squadron, she finds that not only is her wingmate fresh out of the academy but her SC is also inexperienced. She names her TIE/In Eventide, and as she enters space with everyone else, she finds out that this is only Dunny's second mission. Chlovi then forms around Gundark in escort formation.
FM/SCRW Avalar/Cobalt 12/S:50 Chlovi/W:101 Blade/ISD Adjudicator/TF:A/2Flt/VEN/VE [SoA]
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
December 22, 2012 5:10:57 PM    View the profile of Scooter 
Kara sits there, half-listening to Tavrus speak, half-paying attention to the strill still nuzzling her.  She looks at the strill and sighs, closing her eyes, slowly nodding at the quiet words her SC gives her.

Nice first impression Kara... I think you barely convinced them you're even an adult...  Kara watches as Joamer retakes the front of the room and starts speaking again, sighing as Lurk glides back to her master.  You are definitely going to die... you have no idea what you signed up for, Kara.  For all you know, this could all be one big set-up to have you killed.  Oh wait, no it's not.  Because you're nothing.  You've always been nothing... and you always will be nothing! her mind yelled at her, tears forming back into the corners of her eyes.

When the squadron is dismissed for final prep, she stays back as she watches others drop datapads into the basket, and when she reaches it, she hesitates and continues past it, heading after everyone else.  She checks the pistol on her hip, making sure the magazine was loaded, then returns it to it's holster.

She was the last person of Strill to walk into the Hangar.  She caught sight of another group of pilots, but quickly walked past and made a bee-line for her fighter, climbing up to the top and she takes her rifle and helmet off her back, setting them next to the hatch opening as she drops inside.  She then grabs the rifle first, storing it behind her seat, then takes her helmet and puts it on, securing it to her armor.

Kara took several breaths before calming her nerves enough to where she could start powering everything up.  Remembering images from the reading material she studied for hours, as well as the simulations she flew, she checked to make sure her instruments matched those for ideal flight conditions before sighing, waiting for the order to come through to launch.

It's not too late, Kara... you can still leave the fighter and turn your back on this way of life forever... her mind chided her, trying to get her to give up like she had always done in the past.  You know the soldier life isn't for you.  Your parents wouldn't want that, would they?

She stopped everything; moving, breathing, everything stopped in her cockpit when she thought about her parents.  Another tear squeezed out of her eye and trailed down her cheek, unable to be wiped due to the helmet.

After several minutes of sitting in silence, Kara finally sighed, flipping several switches and turns her comm on.  She managed to connect right as Edge started reciting the poem.

She listened the poem, listening to each word as it rang loudly in her head, the sudden realization dawning on her that she was going into her first real battle ever, and that there was a very good possibility she wasn't coming back.

Kara nearly yelped quietly as the ship exited hyperspace, gripping the yoke tightly, and flipping on the power for the repulsor pads.

"Strill Squadron, on me.  Make me proud, boys and girls," she heard her SC speak before he raced out of the hangar.

She gulped, then pushed the throttle forward, bolting out after him, quickly turning to port to barely avoid colliding with another Interceptor.  The spacer quickly checked her IFF and located her commander, flying over to where he was and forming up on his 8 o'clock.

Oh, you're the SC's wingman on this mission?  Interesting indeed...  Hope you don't screw up like you did in training~ her mind goaded her, trying to ilicit a response from the young pilot.

She gave in and spoke aloud "Y-you b-best sh-shut up i-if you kn-know what's g-good f-for y-you..." She clapped her hands over her mouth when she realized she just spoke into the Squadron comm, face blushing deep red out of embarrassment.

"What was that Iron 2?" the voice of her Squadron Commander rang out over the comm.

She immediately clammed up, embarrassed even moreso now since it was Joamer who had replied.  She sighed and responded shakily "N-Nothing s-sir... J-Just t-talking t-to m-myself..."

Kara immediately switches her comm off, trying to focus on her flying.  She looks over to her right and watches her wingman fly next to her, trying her best to match his movements.

You know you can't match him.  He's a way more seasoned pilot than you ever will be.  Heck, you won't even survive this mission.  You know that.  Your squadron knows it.  You can just end it now.  Full-on nose-dive into a bomber down below...

She had accidentally flipped her comm back on while trying to match Joamer's movements, tears falling down her cheeks inside her helmet as she listens to her mind berate her.  "I... I kn-know... b-but I-I c-can't j-just do th-that to th-them..."

"Talking to yourself again, Scooter?" one of her squadron mates, Dawn, asked.

She blushes a deeper shade of crimson again, shaking a bit now, her fighter starting to tremble as it starts to edge closer to her Squadron Commander's.  "Y-Yes s-sir... s-sorry sir, it w-won't h-happen again..."

"Um, Scooter, I'm not a 'sir', not yet at least" he replied, chuckling a bit.

"S-sorry a-again... I-I'll j-just... sh-shut up n-now..." Kara stammers out, noticing she's getting too close to Joamer so she jerks her fighter to the left rather aggressively.

"Watch it, Iron 2. Don't crash into anyone" Iron 1 replied to her.

"Y-Yes s-sir..." she blushed again, trying to stabilize her flight line a bit.  Go ahead... tell him about how you really killed that guard.  Tell him what happened to your parents.  Tell him-  She shut her mind out, trying to focus on her flying after she noticed herself drifting to the right again.

"S-sir?  I... I'm h-having s-some i-issues k-keeping m-my f-fighter s-straight..." she stuttered nervously, her face as red as a red giant, sweat now coating the insides of her gloves.

"Your fighter should be working fine, the mechanics told me everything was working perfectly. Is there something wrong?" Joamer replied.

"N-no s-sir... j-just that, u-uhhh... I-I'm n-nervous, s-sir..." she sighed.

"And you should be. First mission gets to everyone. Stay close and follow my lead. I'll help you through it."

Kara feels several tears start to well up again as she responds softly.  "I-I'm a-afraid, s-sir... a-afraid th-that I w-won't b-be good e-enough... th-that I'll b-be a d-disappointment t-to you..."

"The only way you'll disappoint me today is if you let them kill you, Two. And from your story earlier I know that's not going to happen."

She sighs, closing her eyes for a moment.  Your story is full of holes... eventually they'll see them all.

Kara sighs again, shaking her head as a tear falls down her cheek again.  "... I w-wasn't c-completely f-forthc-comming in m-my s-story s-sir..."

"I thought as much. We're not Chlovi, I don't expect you to open up all your secrets to me just yet."

"Y-Yes s-sir... I... I j-just th-thought I sh-should l-let y-you kn-know that... I..." she stops, choking a bit, then sighs.  "I'm s-sorry, s-sir..."

Joa's voice dropped to a concerned murmur. "What's wrong?"

She gulps, knowing she just dug this hole, and sighs.  "I... I d-didn't l-leave a D-Death L-Letter... I... I h-have n-no one t-to leave one t-to..."

"Your family?"

Kara shook her head, softly saying "K-Killed... t-twelve years a-ago... n-no s-siblings either... n-no one..."

Joamer was silent for a moment. "Stick with me. I'll do everything I can to keep you safe. Do you trust me?"

She sniffles a bit and nods, knowing he can't see her, but does it out of reflex.  "Y-Yes s-sir..."

"Trust yourself above all else, but you can always rely on me in a pinch" he replied.

She rolls the words over in her mind, smiling slightly, sniffling again.  "Y-Yes s-sir... th-thank you..."

"Now come on. No dying on me today."

She smiles more, nodding her head, speaking a bit more confidently.  "Y-Yes sir!"

WC: 1352


WOO.  Okay.  Awesomeness.  First post on official story.  YAY.

AAR: Kara just introduced herself and sat down, feeling mildly awkward about the strill nuzzling her neck.  She half-listened to the remainder of the briefing, then slowly made her way to the hangar.

After an unremarkable pre-flight check, the squadron launches out of the ship.  Kara immediately starts having problems, minor though... like unsteady hands, lack of confidence, and all that.

She talks to her wingman/Squadron Commander, Joamer, and reveals something she left out before to him.
Leading Crewman Kara Moon reporting for duty!!!

FM - LCRW Kara "Scooter" Moon - S:58 Strill Squadron - W:101 "Blade" - ISD-II Adjudicator - TF:A - 2Flt - SFC - VEN - VE
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
December 24, 2012 7:52:21 AM    View the profile of DeepSix 
The space above the Imperial Dominion's installation was calm and tranquil as Seth Qorbin shot out of the Adjudicator's hangar. He could see it on his scanners that the other members of Vornskr squadron followed his lead, as well as also notice that the ship's other squadrons were also pouring out. Not just the flagship's either, but of the entire assembled fleet. The green blips on the scanning equipment kept multiplying and multiplying until the screen was full of them.

Then again the same could also be said about the ID forces - streams of starfighters poured out of their hangar bays and either headed down, towards the moon's surface; headed towards the VE fleet; or of course stayed behind to guard their own armada from bombers and similar threats. Since both factions received similar training and made use of similar equipment it wasn't really a surprise that one's moves almost mirrored the other's.

The Wing Commander knew this wouldn't be a battle easily won by either side. He also knew that it would be individual skill and cunning that would matter the most. Furthermore, the Onderonian human knew that whoever would manage to tilt the tide of battle in their favor early on would have a bigger advantage throughout. It was as such imperative to be as aggressive and deadly as possible right from the start - and as far as those two conditions were concerned, Seth really didn't worry much as far as his own pilots were concerned.

"Golden One to Gold Squadron... show me some fireworks people!" DeepSix instructed as he turned his Avenger towards the impressive enemy armada. He considered pushing forward and spearheading the attack, but quickly decided against that course of action. No, the blond officer would instead wait for the brunt of the VE and ID forces to clash before he would engage his own squadron in the fray.

The decision was questionable however. On one hand it increased his squadron's survival rating by not making the pilots immediate targets. It further improved their odds of catching enemy fighters by surprise, as such making it easier to take them out as a result. However it also risked the lives of the other pilots involved. Part of Qorbin felt bad about that. The other part - the much larger one - knew however that sacrifices were both expected... and at times even needed in times of war. Everyone knew what he or she was signing on for so Seth's trace amounts of pity did not in the least cloud his better judgement.


"Kill them all!" roared Jyauk Tillar, veteran CO of Crickey Squadron - one of the best in ID space - as the man valiantly led the attack against the invading VE forces. For weeks he had trained his pilots for that very moment, as well as the chance to avenge his faction's shameful loss back in the Vectra System. Back then the VE knew they were coming and waited in ambush. This time however the tables were turned and the man fully believed the outcome of the battle would also play in a similar fashion.

Yes, once the ID would crush the VE fleet here, they would proceed with their long-in-the-making plans of eradicating the alien trash as well as the alien lovers. Only pure human specimens would remain and when that would happen order would finally return to the galaxy. The other Imperial factions would join under the Dominion's banner. The treacherous rebels - the ones that would evade public executions - would surrender and admit their foul ways. Once peace and harmony would rule once more, the united human front would be able to concentrate on expanding their influence throughout the galaxy, building colonies where there were none before, or taking them from the extinct native populations.

History will remember Palpatine as the one who created the Empire, but history will also remember that it was the Dominion's efforts that led to a golden age throughout the entire galaxy. At least that's the sort of brainwashing propaganda that the ID forces were fed daily by their superior officers. Not all believed it of course, but who dared voice their concerns out loud?

"Kill them all!!!" Tillar repeated after finally getting his targets within weapon range. Similar commands were no doubt issued by other commanders as well, on both the ID's side as well as the VE's. Missiles and bolts of green and orange lit up the darkness of space, putting the stars lighting to shame. The battle for Bloodmoon had truly commenced...


"Give it another minute and you're all clear to engage", Seth let the rest of the squadron know. The pilots were already getting restless, itching to fly out there and prove themselves as top hounds. Qorbin knew this as well. He was well aware that once he would give the final order, the other Avengers would dive straight for the mayhem, seeking their prey and fully intending to bring 'em down in a splash of fire, heat and color.

"Silver One, you good to go?" the Wing Commander asked Markus Wolfrott, Jexxel's CO. "Don't worry sir, we'll make sure none of them passes us by", the latter assured Seth. The confidence in the man's voice was also rather refreshing and Qorbin wondered whether Jexxel had already formulated a plan for just such a scenario.

"Steel One, how's things on your end?" the blond Lieutenant next asked the bomber squadron that was left behind. "Itching to go sir. Wouldn't want Gundark to take all the fun", was Lurek Zalis' prompt reply. The man's enthusiasm was admirable but both Qorbin - and no doubt his higher ups too - knew that the pilots in Krakana weren't as skilled as the other ones. They'd best be used when the fighting would die down and the enemy would be forced to stretch their forces too thin to properly be able to protect all their remaining cap ships. That's when fresh reinforcements would make the biggest difference...

Nodding in satisfaction, DeepSix again switched channels - this time to his own squadron. "Alright gents... it's showtime!" he grinned as he diverted full power to the engines and moved straight toward the large bundle of flying crafts, missiles and laser bolts. The place was a mess and he was going to make it even messier...

WC: 1062
AAR: The main starfighter presence on both sides makes its way to the center of the battle. After a couple of minutes of standing by, Vornskr also heads in the fray. Jexxel stays behind to protect the Adjudicator and Krakana awaits new orders whilst supporting Jexxel's to-be-revealed-plans. Fighting and killing can now commence!

A reminder however - most of you are still green and even if that's not the case the squadrons themselves are newly (re)formed so keep an eye out on how you describe these battles. I trust you also remember the ages old rule about "1 kill per post"? I'm willing to overlook it so long as you keep things fair and realistic given your circumstances. I'm willing to do this so that your squadrons will this way truly become the elites you want them to become in the future. Do however note that should this be abused I'm taking back this opportunity and reinstating the initial "1 kill per post" ruling.

My suggestion in this regard is to talk things through either on IRC, through PMs, on the squadron channel or wherever else you want, so that the action depicted by one member will smoothly carry over in the post of another member. This though is like I said merely a suggestion.
WC/LTJG DeepSix/Golden One/S:38th Vornskr/W:101st Blade/ISD-II Adjudicator/TF:A/2Flt/SC/VEN/VE [=*TG*=] [=*VIM*=]

TRN/JRN DeepSix/DJO/Training Sect/VEDJ
[This message has been edited by DeepSix (edited December 24, 2012 9:52:17 AM)]
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
December 24, 2012 2:51:59 PM    View the profile of Cabby 
Fletcher’s fingers wrapped around the thin silver chain that hung from her neck, and with a tug, she pulled the necklace over her bun. “I’m in,” she announced to the men sat around the table and dropped her lucky-charm into the center of the table, adding to the existing pot of rings, spare keys, and a few coins. She placed her cards face down on the table to wait. It hadn’t been hard to find people who were interested in a game: someone had even had the cards for sabacc, so they had set up and got to work. Fletcher was a gambler born and bred, but the men she was playing with looked as if they’d been around the block a few times, and if one was to compare looks, Fletcher would have been written off long ago. Fletcher was the only woman among the 10 men who were all gambling together, and she stuck out like a sore thumb. Her messy dreadlocked hair was held in a bun on the top of her head, her bangs pushed to one side so her vision was not impaired by the brown locks. Her heavily freckled and deeply tanned skin held evidence of rough past behavior; existence of said behavior was confirmed with one look at her hands: her knuckles severely scarred and her fingers kinked and twisted from repeated fractures. On her left shoulder was a tattoo of a large Velker, a winged creature found on her home planet of Bespin: It wrapped itself around her shoulder and bicep, its head resting on her collar blade. Her mother had once dreamed about her beautiful Elizabeth, petite and delicate, betrothed to some nameless man, but the dream was shattered when her first name was shed and her shoulder’s broaden, and she lost her feminine curves to smooth muscle.

Moments ticked by quickly as one by one the other gamblers through something into the hand pot. The silence gave her time to survey her opponents. A few of the older men had lines of perpetual anger clawed into the folds of their skin, lopsided scowls with equal lopsided gaits. The others were older than Fletcher but they had not yet encountered enough to make their eyes hard. They’re shoulders were broad and faces strong, carrying themselves with an air of strength. Personal, Fletcher preferred the company of the elders; they were far more interesting to be around. “Anyone wanna call?” Around her, faces showed the slightest signs of wavering, clues she had taught herself to notice. When she had raced, body language of another racer was sometimes more critical than actually being a good pilot. So Fletcher kept her features impassive, her shoulders squared and back tight. She caught a few men sneaking peeks at her, to try and catch her up, try to find her tells, but she merely blink back at them. Half of the group folded, and Fletcher allowed herself to smirk a little.

There was shuffling as people shifted the suit and value of their cards. Fletcher sat still, unmoving spare for her eyes, which slowly wondered the group. She met the gaze of a younger man, not much older than her. Fletcher recognized him from the academy, and he seemed to recognize her as well. Only moments later he folded as well and a ghost of a grin flew over Fletcher’s lips. The only ones left in where herself and 4 men. During the drawing phase, Fletcher flicked her fingers towards the deck and pulled a card, and place one of her old cards at the bottom of the deck before sitting back. She brought her foot up to rest on the bench next to her, and leaned onto her knee.

Everyone was silent for a moment before simultaneously laying their cards face up on the table for all to see. “How the hell are you doin’ this little lady?” sighed the man seated across her. A Cheshire cat grin fixed itself on Fletcher’s face as it became apparent that she had won the 3rd game in a row. She returned to a normal sitting position and leaned forward to bush the hand pot towards herself. 

“I’ve got a bit of a gambling problem,” Fletcher shrugged at the man as she placed her necklace back in its rightful place around her neck. The young girl slipped her new rings onto her fingers and held her hand up in front of her face to inspect. “Back home I was a bit infamous. I mean I wasn’t wanted or nothing, but people around the track and the casino knew who I was,” Fletcher handed back the card to the dealer and sat back down.

“Well I’ll be damned: A sweet thing like you?” the speaker looked her up and down in disbelief. Fletcher grinned back and flexed her muscles. 
The man from the academy spoke up then, leaning forward into the center of the table: “I heard someone say you were a cloud car pilot?” Fletcher nodded, confirming the truthfulness of the question. “And you raced?” Again Fletcher nodded and the man sat back, looking mildly impressed. Before coming to be a pilot for the Empire, Fletcher had been a cabby –which was the origin of her callsign-, a racer and a full time gambler. She had been addicted to the rush of winning, and slowly she had dug herself deeper until the only option was to jump ship. She owned the loansharks far more than she could play back, so they followed her to another city where a chase broke out. Fletcher was sure she would have been arrested had the Empire not stepped in to bail her out. Apparently her flying had caught the eye of a recruiter.

“Elizabeth Fletcher?” The use of her first name made the girl in question turn to look up at a green Twi’lek woman. Fletched arched an eyebrown and stood up so she was face to face with the other. Only people in high places addressed her as Elizabeth.

“That’s me, what can I do you for?” Fletcher rested a hand on her hip.

“My name is Maroy,” the Twi’lek introduced herself. Fletcher nodded in acknowledgement to the name.” I am the XO of Chlovi Squadron, the squadron you are now a part of, congratulations.”

“Well that’s sudden,” Fletcher said, a bit taken aback and she picked her jacket up from the table. She turned to address the table: “Sorry lads, duty calls.”

“Details should be on your datapad. We’re leaving soon, so get your things and meet in the hanger,” Fletcher nodded a farewell and watched Maroy walk away.

Fletcher followed suit quickly as she scanned the datapad. “Cobalt 11, part of Cresh flight, alright,” she said aloud to herself before breaking into a jog.


Fletcher placed her helmet at her feet and her hands went to the bun at the top of her hair. With her dreadlocks in that style she wouldn’t be able to place her helmet on, so she pulled the elastic out and shook her head, her dreads falling around her face. Fletcher gathered the dreads and tied them into a low bun that sat directly on the nape of her neck. Satisfied with the style, Fletched picked her helmet up and rested it on her hip. She was oddly calm at this point; Fletcher never felt nerves until she was in the cockpit, it didn’t feel real till then. The young woman scanned the group around her: all human, save for Maroy. She studied the group, looking for tells, but her survey was interrupted by a voice. “Hey. What’s your name?” Fletcher glanced towards the speaker. Fletcher stood a bit taller than the other girl, whose hair was a deep auburn streaked with blonde. Fletcher met her brown eyes with her own green ones.

“Fletcher,” she offered her hand to the other.

“Makenna Aleshire. My callsign is ‘Avalar’ though,” the other introduced herself, and Fletcher returned the smile in kind, though she raised a brow at the mention of her callsign.

“Avalar? What does that mean?”

“Oh it’s a misspelling of my middle name, Avalon. Unfortunately it sorta stuck,” Fletcher chuckled; it wasn’t a horrid callsign, better than cabby for sure. “So, what flight are you?” Makenna questioned. Fletcher shifted her helmet to her other hip.

“Cresh 3 or Cobalt 11 apparently.”

“Really? I’m Cresh 4,” Makenna smiled, “So how long have you been flying with the squadron then…?” Fletcher would see her smile faulter slightly.

“I just got assigned here,” Fletcher said, “This is my first time flying since the academy.”

“Mine too.” Fletcher blinked slowly a few times and then a smile split her face, this was going to be interesting: two newbies as wingmates. Fletcher was about to respond when a man strutted towards them, and stopped in front of the group. He was shabby, with a tint of crazy in his eyes… Fletcher couldn’t help but like him. She liked people with a story, and there was no doubt that this man had one hell of a tale. Fletcher stood up tall next to Makenna, whom she felt tense beside her. A quick glance towards the woman told Fletcher that her wingmate was not Sam Dun’s number one fan. But as his little speech continued Fletcher found herself more and more enthralled by the sheer absence of any professionalism. Sure, he had an air about him that said he had no clue what he was doing, so they were probably all doomed, but at least Fletcher would get a kick out of it before she hit the dirt.

He waved them off and Fletched turned on her heal. She was itching to get a good look at her TIE, but she stopped short and turned to get one more look at everyone. Nodding to herself Fletched continued on her way to Cresh 3. Soon she was standing beside the craft, and after ghosting her hand along the side Fletched swung into the cockpit. “Hello my sweet,” she greeted the machine, and danced her crooked fingers on the controls. Fletcher busied herself with perflight prep, and finished just in time to check in. “Cobalt 11, ready to go.” She leaned back in her seat to wait. Fletcher could feel the adrenaline already pounding by her ears like a steady drum beat. She was so ready. She breathed deeply as Makenna asked their SC a question, and Fletcher snorted at the sound of disdain in Makenna’s voice. “Don’t you worry your pretty little head Avalon,” Fletcher laughed. “I’ve got you’re back.”

“Allright, Chlovi, form up in an escort pattern around Gundark. Keep an eye on your sensors and if anything comes into your area of responsibility, don’t chase it too far. We’re on escort duty, not air superiority.”

Fletcher nodded to herself, and looked over the controls one last time. She was ready as she’d ever be for this. She followed suit with the rest of the squad, surrounding Gundark squadron once they were visible.

WC: 1,826

AAR: Fletcher is playing a rousing game of sabacc against a group of men, and winning of course. We learn about Fletcher's old life as a cabby, a racer and a gambler. Maroy interrupts the game and informs Fletcher that she's been assigned to Chlovi. She makes her way to the hanger where she meets her wingmate Makenna and her new SC who she takes a liking to. Finally she's in Cobalt 11, and rip roaring to go.
FM/SCRW Cabby/Cobalt 11/ S:50 "Chlovi"/ W:101 "Blade"/ISD 'Adjudicator' TF:A/2FLT/SC/VEN/VE
[This message has been edited by Cabby (edited December 25, 2012 2:34:36 PM)]
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
December 25, 2012 4:43:08 PM    View the profile of Rikky 
Even though the armor was now correctly adjusted for him, Tik was uncomfortable in the unyielding suit. Even more so in the cockpit of the Iron 6. He was used to the comfortable flight suits he was trained in; the clunky plastic material seemed much more annoying to him, making more noise than the hum of the Interceptor's engines as Strill squadron flew through space. He decided not to dwell on it for now though, making a mental note to talk to his new SC about it later... Maybe. Joamer was a little more intimidating than he had hoped for in a commander.

His radar showed Chlovi in front of them, heading right toward the moon. And off quite a-ways, the battle had just begun. All he could see was a multitude of bright lights in the distance, but he knew both by lights flickering out on the radar and by his own intuition that death-dealing was underway. Same as you, Tavrus, he thought to himself. Only you might not just be doing it in a cockpit when all of this is done. He thought he’d rather be out there in the thick of things, able to do just what the simulators he’d trained in prepared him for.

"Ignore the fireworks boys and girls," Joamer said through the com, cutting into the silence of the cockpit suddenly. "It's not our fight. Gundark is our baby sister squadron. We will go down there and protect her like we would protect our own family."

"What if we've never  had baby sisters?" Tik asked, feeling more than a little snarky at the mention of sisters, having only brothers in his life.

"Well you do now, and she's right in front of you."

Feeling sufficiently chastened, Tik returned to radio silence. The viewport turned red as the moon's thin atmosphere scrubbed at the squadron's speed, and he eased off of the thrusters to get to a more surface-friendly speed going like everyone else. The deep noise that came with fighting terminal velocity eased away, to which Tik sighed in relief. Keeping in formation was difficult with the adjustments being done, and after a tolerable speed was met Tik found himself straying farther out of the group than he'd anticipated. "Iron 6, don't drift too far out," Xanin, his flight leader, called through the com.

"Copy Iron 5," Tik said back, adjusting himself uncomfortably inside the cockpit as he got back into formation.

“Strill Squadron, this is Cobalt 1,” The intercom chirped suddenly. “Copy?”

“This is Iron 1, to Cobalt 1, what’s the situation?”

“We’ve got some Imp Doms on our six. We’re going to break off and take ‘em out. Can you handle escorting Gundark by yourselves, Iron 1?”

“Capable and eager,” Joamer said back. “Godspeed, Chlovi.”

Chlovi Squadron broke formation and headed back up the way they’d come, breaking off in unison and turning toward the dots coming ever closer on the radar screen. They were out of sight almost immediately, but Tik could tell right when they engaged from the suddenly erratic movements of the enemy blips.

“Besh, Cresh, take the rear of Gundark. Aurek will take point.”

In the back again, Tik thought as he moved himself into position with the rest of Strill. He edged to the right of Xanin, ending up at the edge of the formation, and therefore being on the back-right edge of the entire group. First to get shot at, last one to the expected action. How fun. He’d stew in silence though; no need to get in bad with the squadron now, especially being the one of the freshest members of the group. He definitely wasn't

“Stay sharp, Strill. We’re getting close to the base.”

WC: 617

Strill hooks up with Chlovi and Gundark, and they all head toward the moon. Chlovi breaks off to deal with chasers, and Strill continues to escort Gundark to the base.
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
December 26, 2012 4:12:05 AM    View the profile of Maroy 
Dunny had asked for three human replacements from among the fleet's reserves, and fast. She probably could have simply pulled up a list of candidates and messaged them their orders, but she decided to visit them in person to deliver the news. It let her get a bit of a feel for the pilots she was putting in harm's way, and helped to emphasize that Chlovi was built on trust. If the squadron didn't have near-complete trust in each other from day one, they would be doomed from the start.

She'd scanned through the list and selected the first three names that popped out at her. They were all exemplary trainees, of course, but she was interested in more than just their piloting ability. They weren't exactly the most outgoing members of the navy, it seemed, but they'd probably do just fine.

The first pilot she'd snagged was Anita Cafall, or 'Twitch'. She'd caught the woman at the tail end of a particularly arduous simulator exercise and delivered her orders to be placed as Karl's wingmate. As noted in her file, she exemplified the virtue of striving for excellence to the point of obsession. Even after the sim she had been eager for another, bigger challenge, and Maroy had been happy to oblige. With luck, she'd be a positive influence on the talented but unambitious Karl Jaghatai.

The second pilot she selected was Elizabeth Fletcher, or 'Cabby'. Her file noted that she generally preferred to be referred to by her last name only, and although Maroy didn't want to antagonize the human, she was interested in seeing just how strongly that preference was. The tough, if slightly eccentric, woman had masked her annoyance well enough, a skill probably obtained through games of chance like the one the Twi'lek had interrupted. She could tell that the woman possessed an adventurous spirit under that calculated exterior; she'd make a great addition to Chlovi.

The final pilot, Makenna Aleshire, would probably have escaped Maroy's notice if she hadn't glanced past the first few lines of information to see the woman's callsign. She apparently had a history of piracy, disrespect for authority, and... the callsign 'Avalar'. That was a name from long ago, from a squadron long disbanded. And, more specifically, from a woman Maroy had never particularly gotten along with. The woman she'd left, alone, in charge of an insane bunch of pilots. The records of what happened afterward were still light on details, but the squadron had been quietly closed shortly afterward. It was one of the Twi'lek's biggest regrets, not reconciling with her. And now, out of nowhere, was a different woman bearing the same callsign. Coincidence? It seemed unlikely. In her short, overly cautious meeting Maroy had picked up on the pride, the slight disdain for authority. But nothing relating her to the woman Maroy knew as Vanity. Regardless, she went ahead and placed her in Chlovi while she still had time.

All in all, they were acceptable replacements for the three other aliens Maroy had grown familiar with over the last few days. She'd made a point of apologizing to each one in person after they were dismissed, and Talen had privately confided that he wasn't wholly disappointed with Dunny's decision. After all, dead spacers tell no tales.

Three-Eyes, on the other hand, had been as unreadable as ever, quickly bouncing back from his disappointed expression to his normal level of enthusiasm. Whatever was going on in his mind, he seemed to have gotten over the order to stay behind.

Kaitlyn was hit the worst by it. She was clearly angry, but still managed to keep her voice even and her reasoning mostly logical when she explained what a stupid idea it was to leave three team-trained pilots behind. With their combined cunning, Maroy wouldn't be surprised if the three of them managed to find a way to join the fight without violating their orders to stay on the ship.

The Twi'lek maintained formation with the rest of Chlovi as they sailed toward the blood-red moon. They had to match Gundark's speed, and raw speed would be in less demand than overall agility over the next few minutes, so Maroy had taken the opportunity to reinforce her lasers' strength with the excess power from the engines. She carefully monitored the tactical feed on her sensor screen, pulled directly from the Adjudicator's powerful sensors. She attempted to keep track of all the Vast Empire and Imperial Dominion fighters anywhere near them, but there we just too many blips to see all at once.


Maroy snapped out of her distraction and realized that Dunny had just called out her number. She checked her comm and realized she was still set to a private channel between the two of them. She was about to apologize, but then she picked up on the slight trace of vulnerability in her commander's normally carefree-sounding voice. "What is it?"

He hesitated, as if he was trying to decide whether to admit something personal or not. The moment quickly passed, though, and his voice took on its normal tone. [[Two squadrons of normal TIEs coming at us from behind. Get everyone ready to break formation. I'll alert Gundark and Strill.]]

She wondered what he had been about to say. Probably just nervous from being in command, she reasoned. "I'm on it." She switched off the channel and found the one reserved for Chlovi specifically. "Cobalt, this is Five. We've got two squadrons of standard model TIE fighters approaching, distance five klicks and shrinking. Get an attack plan together with your flight or wingmate and prepare to break on Lead's mark."

WC: 944
AAR: Hinted at some loose story threads, and gave Chlovi an opponent for the next few posts.
FM/WO2/Maroy/Cobalt 5/S:50 "Chlovi" W:101 "Blade"/ISD Adjudicator/TF:A|2FL|SC|VEN|VE (=*A*=) [GCM] [CBV] [IG] [MC2] [MC1] [VC:B] [LoM] [CC:P]
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
December 27, 2012 4:54:13 AM    View the profile of Twitch 
Anita stared at the hologram of her father with a loving smile. Her voice was filled with excitement at being in a new place, following in his footsteps, and excelling. Already she had been recognized as one of the stars of the Academy, having reached the top 5 of her class. “I haven’t really had much of a chance to get to know anyone yet.” she shrugged nonchalantly, as if to say that it would come with time. The hologram of her father arched an eyebrow. He would turn his head to look into what Anita knew to be the other room. After a second, her father would look back at her.

“Your mother wants me to tell you to stop shutting yourself in your room. You room is fine and your uniforms are fine so stop obsessing. It’s a large ship. Go. Explore.” her father said all this in an exaggeratedly high pitched voice as he winked at her, causing his daughter, and his favorite child to giggle. “She’s right you know. These people are going to be your wing men, your family. You can’t take the galaxy onto your shoulders by yourself, no matter how hard you try.” he paused and growled. “Don’t give me that look Missy. You have my stubbornness, sure, but there are some things you just can’t do on your own. As a pilot it is imperative that…” he trailed off and shook his head. Anita had been mouthing along with him. True, he had instilled the wing man concept into her young brain. “Alright little miss smarty pants. But mark my words, you are going to have to stop being so shy. Go out and have a drink with the other reserve members at the very least. You can’t let the fear of losing someone stop you from getting close to them. This is life, we all die sooner or later.”

Anita crossed her arms and shrugged. She had always been shy. She trusted her wingman, Trisha, with her life, at least in the sense of having her back out there. She was a cocky thing, but in the academy she had proved she had the skill to back that cockiness up. But on the ship, outside of missions and with her emotions? With her emotions was a different matter entirely. It was one thing, trusting that your wingman knew what he or she was doing in a dog fight. It was an entirely different matter, wondering if your wingman was judging you as a person based on your actions. If she kept telling her self it didn’t matter, and that she didn’t care, maybe one day, she would believe it and stop being so stiff around people. ”I know dad. And I will…sooner or later I just…I don’t know. I’ve always been shy. I blame you.” she winked and giggled at her father’s affronted look. She missed her mother and father, so much, already. It felt like years since she had seen them.  She silently told herself that if she made it back from this war, that she would never yell at the twins for getting in her stuff again. “Anyways. Give mom and the twins my love. I gotta go. I have to meet Trisha in the simulators” she smiled, doing her best to hide the worry.  Her father gave her a knowing nod of the head before the hologram bleeped out. Anita took a deep breath, letting the smile fall from her face. She looked to the com guys, gave each a nod of the head, before turning and leaving the room, heading to the simulations. It was hard to believe that at any minute, she could get pulled into the war, replacing someone who had died.

Her eyes closed for a moment as she gathered her wits about her. They were headed straight to the Bloodmoon. Rumors were, there was a plague factory there. With as many alien pilots that they had, and as anti-alien as the enemy was; it was only reasonable to assume that Anita and her fellow graduates would be getting called in from the reserves soon. She frowned and toyed with the idea of cancelling the sim. She wanted to run. She needed that mind numbing calm that came only when she had run a few miles. Her mother was right, her uniforms and room were fine. She head to the gym, planning to run until she couldn’t run any further, and then to keep going. But then guilt welled up. Trisha and she needed all the practice they could get, and this simulated run had been planned for a while.

She arrived in the room and smiled at her wingman. ”hey, you ready?” she tilted her head at the almost relieved look in the girls eyes. it seemed the girl had thought Anita would be a no show.

“yea. Let’s take out some Imperial scum, yes?”
Both girls climbed into their simulators.
Word count 821.
AAR: Anita talks to her dad, kind of a "I love you, just wanted you to know if I don't come back" seeing him one last time deal. She doesn't know what her role will be yet, but two and two make four, and bloodmoon plague factory plus anti alien sentiment makes "I'm getting called in soon."


They had just finished up watching a repeat of their simulation, and Anita was still feeling unsure about it. Granted she had done better, learned from her mistake of last time, and she had managed to keep her wingman alive this time, but she could have done better, taken out more enemies.

Trish had been a wild card, shooting first and asking questions later. And yet, for all her lack of care or aiming, the other pilot had somehow managed to not shoot a single friendly fire. Anita wondered if her inability to act first, if her over thinking everything, was going to hinder her in this career. She smiled and shook Trisha’s hand as they parted ways. Anita put her helmet on the rack and went to watch the simulation again with a frown on her face.

“Anita Cafall?”

Anita would turn and stare at the green Twi’lek before her. Her head tilted to the side and she moved a piece of her fiery red hair out of her eyes. Her blue eye would arch slightly, while the green narrowed. “yes ma’am. What can I do for you?” the confusion was replaced by intrigue. Who would hunt her down? She felt the spasm in her eye, and hoped that it hadn’t been too noticeable. She didn’t want this woman to think she thought she was better than her or something. The twitch was more from annoyance at herself.

“My Name is Maroy.” she paused and returned the Salute. “ You are being reassigned to the Chlovi Squadron. Congratulations”

Already? Anita nodded. “Thank you ma’am”
“ We are moving out soon. Your data pad will have the information you need. Grab your stuff and meet in the hanger” The Twi’lek nodded and walked away, leaving a partially confused, and partially excited human behind.

Anita watched the Twi’lek walk away before kneeling down and getting her data pad out of her bag. She would skim through it as she walked towards the hanger.

Anita would wait by her TIE, cobalt 8. She was listing to the male next to her going on about the ID traitors and how he couldn’t wait to take them out. She was about to ask if he had a little sister. Trish and him seemed almost identical in personality.

“Say, I never did ask your name, did I? I’m Karl Jaghatai.

Anita’s eyes twitched and she took the offered hand. Anita Cafall. A pleasure to met you.

“what’s wrong with your eyes?

A low growl. She wanted to deck him. Instead she sighed, and took her hand back. What’s wrong with your face?” she replied with an annoyed tone. She hated when people questioned her eyes. It’s not like she had said, “hey mom, hey dad, can you pass down Gran’s bi colored eyes when I’m, born. I would really love to have people stare at them.” She muttered under her breath, sighed again. ” sorry. I was born with them. It’s a trait that passes down every couple of generations on my dad’s side.” she shrugged.

“hey no problem. I could have asked a bit more tactfully.” the male, Karl, nodded and fell silent, much to Anita’s relief. After another minute though, he would start talking again. “So, what flight are you?”

She sighed again and moved her bangs out of her hair. A sure sign to those who knew her well that she was getting agitated. She gently scolded herself. She really wasn’t a cold person, she was just awkward. She had promised to attempt to make friends. And so, she would try to play nice. “Besh 4”. she shifted her body weight from foot to foot.

“Really? You’re my wingman then. I’m Besh 3”

Anita nodded. “cool. How long have you been with the squadron”

”not to much longer than you really. Two days I think? We’ve been running simulation after simulation after simulation, so time is kind of running together.” He explained. He nodded to the front. “that’s our crazy leader now.”

She would turn her attention as a man began talking. She would listen with first disbelief ten worry, then a determined look. Great. They were going to die. When he asked what the superiors had been thinking, She would mutter under her breath. “They weren’t, obviously”

Karl would cough, grinning, his shoulder moving in a silent laughter. Several others were doing the same. Anita would meet her commander’s eyes with a blush on her face, but defiance and acceptance in her eyes, ready for the reprimand that never came.
Instead, she was met by a chuckle and another speech of agreement. So not only was he the most undisciplined leader around, he was a convict. Instantly she reprimanded herself. Maybe he had been starving and stolen a lot of food or something. Who knew why he was a convict for 18 years. She sighed and shook her head. She would turn her head to look at Karl. What he said about wingmen made sense. Her dad had been giving her the same speech for as long as she could remember. She would nod a silent “yes sir.”

She listened as he got past the personal stuff and into the actual briefing, a look of confusion and fear crossing her multi colored eyes. Twenty minutes. Twenty minutes was all she had to observe, adapt, respond, and overcome Karl’s fighting style, her lack of experience, actually being in a real war zone and get this lump out of her throat. Great. Fantastic.

She quickly found her TIE, strapping herself in. She moved her bangs out of her eyes and pulled on the helmet before it could fall back into her eyes once again. Her hands roamed over the yoke, and a pleased smile flashed. She was finally in her very own fighter.

This was the moment she had been waiting for her entire life, it seemed. She had done a million simulations between the academy and now, worked on a hundred interceptors with her mother, but even then, they had only been either grounded or simulator TIE, never one she could call her own. She couldn’t help but take an extra minute to study her TIE.  It would need a name soon.

Her hands roamed from the control yoke to the sensor screen. It was blank for the moment, as she had yet to fire the craft up. She quickly did that, going through her preflight check list with an extra caution she hadn’t used in the academy. It was true she knew what she was doing, but the extra caution came from this being her first time in her own fighter.
“Cobalt 8, green light.” She replied when her turn came, surprised to find that she meant it. She was ready. Her smile widened. She was actually looking forward to this challenge. Her hands went back to roaming over the various controls and screens. They stopped as she took notice of the big red button. Her head tilted and an eyebrow rose. She would switch her com link to the private one between Karl and herself. “hey cobalt 7. Quick question. What’s the red button do” her voice would be obviously carious, and it would be obvious she wanted to push it to find out rather than ask.

“The red button? Oh the panic button? Yea, it’s a panic button. It’s basically an upgrade that Dunny did to all of our interceptors, that is unique to ours. It takes all the power from, well everywhere, and routes it to our engines to give us a last ditch effort as long as it is pressed down. when you release it, it restore power back to where it's suppose to go. Tell me you aren’t already thinking about using it, cobalt 8. I don’t think I can have you as my wingman if you’re a coward.”

Anita growled. No, I am NOT thinking about using it. I was just carious. I’ve never seen a panic button on an interceptor before. And you don’t have much of a choice in me being your wingman, at least for this run. Sorry but I’m your wife. For better or for worse, you are stuck with me.”

Relax Cafall, it was a joke. there was an odd tone to his voice. “My wife?”

Anita blushed and shook her head, twitching again. You know what. It was the first thing to pop into my head so shut up.” she muttered, obviously embarrassed. She blushed harder when laughter came across the com link. Laughter that didn’t belong to Karl.

“alright you two love birds, time to get to work. And Cafll. You might want to double check that you’ve switched channels next time. That was Darian.

She nodded, her face going blank as she stared at her sensor screen. She switched her channel, taking Darian advice and triple checking that she had actually switched this time. “so, what is the plan?”

Word count 1486 for a total of 2308 words.
AAR: Anita gets her assignment and meets her new wing man. she peeks her head out of her shell, engaging in some light banter, showing that once she lets her inner guards down, she can be a fun person. It's just a matter of getting them down.
OOC: This is my first time posting anything like this. I hope I played Maroy and Karl okay.
[This message has been edited by Twitch (edited December 27, 2012 5:05:19 AM)]
[This message has been edited by Twitch (edited December 27, 2012 6:52:25 AM)]
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
December 28, 2012 10:37:42 PM    View the profile of Joamer 
Looking out his window Joamer watched as light smokey clouds were pried apart by his portside wing strut. He could hear the fighter beginning to complain about the increased drag from the atmosphere, and he knew things were going to go very bad for his squadron quickly once they fully got into the battle.

Making a few adjustments to his inertial dampeners he keyed on his commlink and said, "Strill, listen up. I know everyone got a taste of atmo flight in the Academy, but few of you have ever faced combat like this. Your fighters are going to be sluggish and difficult to control, the aerodynamics of the Interceptor is next to nothing so you are going to have to rely on your repulsors to stay airborne. Remember your port and starboard panels, they are going to act like huge sails if the wind picks up so remember that."

After a few seconds of steady flight both squadrons entered the lower atmosphere of Bloodmoon, almost immediately he felt his fighter fighting him for control as the upper atmospheric winds tried to rip him off course. "Increase speed, Aurek full sensors up front try to get a good read on the facility for Gundark. Slave your sensors and feed the data to them so they can have targets on the first approach. At thirty meters pull up fast and take out targets of opportunity if you see any, keep moving at all costs. Their AA guns should be opening up once we hit below one hundred meters. Sensors show a squadron doing a lazy patrol on the outskirts of the facility, no doubt waiting for us. Wait, scratch that. They are moving to intercept, all fighters ahead flank."

Pushing the throttle to full he felt the Interceptor begin to complain loudly. For all her technical wonders she was simply not made to fly in atmosphere. "Facility coming up in fifteen seconds, Besh Cresh relay sensors from Gundark and pick up any targets they missed. On the first run ignore the fighters, if we get one decent run in we may win the day. After pull-up stick with your flight but be mindful of the AA guns. Try not to hit anything that looks like it might blow up half the thing, remember we have people down there." He said as he watched the distance to the ground decrease quickly.

The seconds ticked by slowly as did his heart, for all the excitement about flying this only brought him back to his earlier days as a younger man. A few moments later he felt the flak from the anti-aircraft batteries begin to fire on them. "Aurek, pull up hard. Spread out two by two, Iron 2 stay on my wing do not hit me please."

Pulling back on the yoke he felt the ground pulling him in for a kiss he would not enjoy. It seemed to take longer than usual but finally his Interceptor pulled away from the facility below him, a few moments later he heard explosions going off as Gundark got off their first salvo. Intermittent explosions happened seconds later as the two remaining flights of Strill found targets of their own.

"Most of the visible AA guns are gone, some sensor towers too. Having an experienced squadron helps a ton. From what scanners say anyways. Since their remaining guns went dark, I think we overloaded their targeting computers. Don't expect the quiet to last long though." The voice of who be believed to be commander of Gundark said over the comm. "Increasing altitude to increase range on sensors. Brass five, eight, ten, and eleven. Setup for another run once we get a good scan of the facility. Their targeting computers should be adjusting now, prepare for more flak."

"Strill, relay my location if you can." Joamer said as he noticed Iron 2 finally joining back up with him. He had seen the young girl pulling up before he called for it, but would not say anything about it. The Interceptor was a coffin in normal times, flying one in atmosphere even thin atmosphere made it worse than a coffin.

"Will do, Strill Lead."

"Flights, report status." Pulling back on the yoke he felt the Interceptor complain as he tried to get in line with an enemy fighter that was being the slow one of his flight.

"Contact!" He heard Xanin shout over the comm suddenly. "Multiple targets from three hidden hangars one klick out. Looks like, eight fighters. Might be older model TIES with three Interceptors mixed in."

"Frak, party crashers. Chlovi, this is Strill Lead when can you get here? We've got something bad coming down on us. Looks like another squadron is joining the insanity." Joamer said as he pulled his fighter around to face the incoming fighters.

"Busy here, will be awhile." The voice of Dunny came back seconds later. "I'll relay a message for a squadron or two to join you though."

"Gods damnit, squadron form up. We'll take them together, stick with your wingman!"

"Strill, activity from the facility. Gunports opening... oh gods." The comm went silent as Joamer saw a fighter explode on his starboard side.

He felt his fighter begin to shake as the facility began to fire anti-fighter laser blasts at them. He knew Gundark would be moving away to get another bombing running in line but it would take time, and there was no way he would fight the incoming fighters combined with the ones they were currently playing with above the facility. Trying to fight them and still survive the anti-fighter blasts they were thankfully not targeted at anything, would be suicide with nearly two-to-one odds.

"Took them long enough, guess they were waiting to launch before they opened up again. They are blind-firing in parts of the facility, a couple sensor towers are still operational. Probably got a few hidden ones, to annoy us." Joamer said as he pushed his throttle to max and keyed his shields for full front, the idea he had was moronically stupid but it was the sanest option they had currently. "Gundark, get out of here, come back when Chlovi and the other squadron can support you. Strill form up on me, we need to lead the fighters away from the facility and Gundark. Go to full throttle and put shields full front, we are going to go straight through them. With our speed we may get a lead on them and gain some distance from the facility to deal with them."

He did not hear the executive officer of Gundark's reply, but he hoped the young woman had a level head on her shoulders. With the commander killed it was up to her to keep her squadron alive, somehow he doubted she would listen. They were out for blood now, and bomber pilots were anything but sane. Seeing his squadron form up behind him, he watched the other fighters in the distance closing in on them. He they would begin taking pot shots at them any time now, but with their shields full forward he hoped no one would suddenly decide to explode. With the way his luck was holding out, he doubted that would be the case.

WC-1086. Strill and Gundark get above the facility and take out the first set of targets, only to realize it had hidden emplacements. Gundark's SC is killed and they are told to leave and come back when Chlovi joins us. Strill decides to lead the incoming fighters away from the facility in hopes it will buy Gundark time to get away.
Joamer Tremaine Reistlin
Chief Warrant Officer, Squadron Commanding Officer
Aurek Flight, Strill Squadron

SCO|CWO Joamer|Iron One|Squadron: The 58th  "Strill"|Wing: 101st "Blade"|ISD-II  Adjudicator |TF:A|2FL|SFC|VEN|VE
[CC:P] [SoV] [LoM]
In memory of Ghost squad, we will never forget.
[This message has been edited by Joamer (edited December 31, 2012 5:44:51 PM)]
[This message has been edited by Joamer (edited January 8, 2013 6:36:14 PM)]
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
December 29, 2012 12:12:06 AM    View the profile of Hades 
The blade moved closer and closer to his skin as the masked man asked repeated the same line again and again - what is your next target? With the same resilience, Hades spat in his face, green eyes burning. He would not give in to these men. They were nothing but schoolyard bullies all grown up.. The pain they inflicted was only physical. In no way would they cut him with their wit or emotional insight. A chuckle escaped bloody lips, angering the dimwitted giants further and the blade plunged perilously close to his skin, breaking the flesh adjacent his right brow. Searing pain blinded the young adult's keen eyes, as his vision faded to black..

..Hades awoke to a similar searing, but somehow different. Blurred vision prevented him from seeing anything but orange. One thing he could pick out was the heat. But from what? His vision began to clear and he realised he was still trapped in his seat - he hadn't ejected before landing, and was still alive. That either said something for his landing skills or the safety of the Interceptor he'd cherished so - and he highly doubted it was the latter. As his eyes depicted the scene before him, he figured out that the heat and the orange colour were both coming from the ground that his smashed windscreen was facing. Strangely enough, flecks of bright neon coloured flame flecked at the outside of his vision. Shab, he thought, the power cells! The pilot slammed his gloved fist down on the restraints' emergency release and was immediately set free - at least one thing worked right.

The flame was spreading quickly now, fueled by leaking components of his fighter. The Squadron Commander knew he had to get out - fast - or suffer the same fate as the Interceptor. Looking around, his emerald eyes caught sight of the pack underneath his seat. My survival pack, Hades mused as he slung it over his back, pulling the foldable sniper rifle from beneath the survival pack as well. From what sensors had detected about this planet, he'd need a breath mask to operate properly -- well, that would be sorted once out of this death trap. Hades slammed the butt of his rifle against the hatch, which opened easily enough. He pulled himself up and out of the fighter, rifle first, and leaped off the burning wreck. A strange smell had reached his nostrils by now - a familiar one, though. It was a caustic smell that he knew to associate with things that were decidedly bad. This in mind, the young but talented Squadron Commander ran like the wind. A crack split the quiet, and a concussion wave swept him off his feet and into a small gully, whereupon he felt yet another gust of heat from the exploding fighter. There goes too much love, Hades thought bitterly to himself, lamenting not the loss of his fighter but the fact he doted on it far too much.

The next thought he had was his survival instincts cutting in - standard survival procedure was to stay near the wreckage, make yourself easy to find and provde a source of shelter from the elements. Hades did not, in enemy territory, want to be easy to find. He had to keep moving. That was the only way to keep himself alive, both because of the threat posed by enemy hunter-killer teams that would undoubtedly be on the look out for them, but also to keep his mind occupied, away from the dire nature of his situation. Fear was the mindkiller, or so they said. Hades did not need fear right now. A quick pan of the horizon told him there were more than just his fighter out there - so he started off toward the nearest column of smoke, in the hopes he might find and rescue another Tuk'ata survivor.

About an hour later, after having changed his mask, Hades was approaching a ridge. Sounds of blasterfire reached his ears and the human, not a stranger to battle, immediately dropped into a prone position, at first thinking it was directed at him. After a moment frozen there, he had realised the fire was coming from over the ridge. Hades army crawled upwards, reaching the ridge and just peeking his rifle over. Through the scope, he could see stormtroopers and for a moment his heart leaped, thinking that the VE had already sent in the marines.. But it dropped as he noted their armour variations and markings were not VE standard. Imperial Dominion. He nearly cursed aloud, but thought better of it as he picked up what was happening. Someone had sheltered in the wreckage of a VE fighter and was now firing at the troopers. Red light lanced back and forth before a Stormtrooper rushed forward and dragged a disheveled looking pilot out into the open, blaster to his head.

A Dire-cat pilot. Not Tuk'ata. It still struck Hades as unfortunate that he had been captured, but at least it wasn't one of his pilots. His pilots were his priority, and this man was beyond saving. The ID troops were at least a platoon strong; even the multi-talented Hades could do nothing against that many. He cautiously retreated from the rocky ridge and gave himself a moment to think. To think and observe. Scanning the horizon again, he found a small formation of rocks that would, in his opinion, be invisible to those in the air. Anyone with two braincells to rub together would work that out too, so logically it's where his pilots would head. He hoped he'd at least trained them that well. He owed it to them to check, at least. More trudging, then. Hades grimaced, now glad that he'd placed physical fitness as one of his top concerns.

Everything pays off sooner or later, Hades mused silently as he set off in that direction. At one point, the Squadron Commander dived into a small alcove as the sounds of repulsors reached his ears. Too far to spot him, the ID gunship had swooped past him toward the other crash sites that Hades had eyed on the horizon. The danger downed Tuk'ata pilots were in constantly nagged at the SC's mind as the rock formation got closer and closer, potential fates were like an organised whirlwind of chaos haunting his mind. Had he been too inexperienced to lead a squadron into battle? Was this all his fault? Grimacing, the Squadron Commander shook his head to dispel the thoughts of insecurity. They would not help him now. Regret was not something he needed.

Putting the self doubt behind him, Hades trudged on. It was only when he'd nearly reached the rock formation that a sound drifted over the faint breeze. Hades cursed and broke into a sprint, vaulting over a waist-high rock outcrop and falling flat behind it. Seconds later. the same gunship shook the ground and teased sand from alcoves as it rocketed overhead intent only on one thing. The rock formation. It was only logical that the Imperial Dominion would look at the most obvious spot and, while invisible from the air, the formation was visible on foot. It didn't take much to spot it and therefore figure out where everyone would technically be heading. As soon as the gunship was out of sight, Hades broke from cover and made his way cautiously but quickly toward the formation.

It hadn't taken long to surround and herd the pilots - there were three of them - into the center of the formation, an open space. It appeared one of the pilots was wounded - a girl, direcat by her shoulder patch. The other two Hades recognised. Jak..He identified the first, a human who'd been too cocky for Hades' liking. And.. Vash. The Cerean was easily identifiable, but Hades did not know him well. It seemed that two Stormtrooper officers were discussing what to do with the wounded girl, but Hades could only catch part of the conversation from his vantage point.

"-more of a burden. No use as a hostage-"He heard from one.

"-think Command will agree. Vrail wants at least four-" This caught Hades' attention. Vrail is here. Hades began to trail off into thought, fantasizing about the possibility of slotting the closest thing Tuk'ata had to an Arch-Nemesis. He doubted it would earn him any medals or official recognition, but it would certainly satisfy a personal vendetta. A Squadron's revenge.. Cutting into his thoughts, the Stormtroopers began to move,  herding off the two uninjured survivors and forcing the injured Dire-cat girl to her knees. Hades grimaced and almost turned away. Almost, but not quite. The stormtrooper officer who'd mentioned Vrail pulled out a blaster pistol and unceremoniously fired, the bolt flashing briefly in a deadly display of energy. Just like that, the Dire-cat pilot crumpled in a lifeless heap. Hades felt frustration welling up inside him and had to restrain himself from shooting the officer who'd just killed one of his comrades in cold blood.

Hades moved his foot slowly, repositioning so he could get a shot if necessary. Maybe he'd meant to take the shot, maybe he didn't, but regardless of his intention, his boot dislodged a loose rock and drew the attention of the very same officer. Hades cursed - now he had to take the shot. The Verpine thudded silently as he fired, recoil negligible and accuracy amazing. The Officer's helmet cracked and the officer himself fell back, as lifeless as the pilot he'd killed. By now, though, the other troopers of the man's platoon had caught on and were firing arbitrarily at his position, milling forward in a semi-organised leapfrog. A break in the fire came none too soon and Hades again broke from cover, sprinting back the way he'd come as blasterfire scorched rocks around him. A shot came so close that he felt the hair on his eyebrows being singed. Vaulting over the same rock he'd taken cover behind to hide from the gunship. Hades peeked back over it to see the platoon emerging from the rock formation steadily, advancing on his position. A few shots with his Verpine impacted several troopers and downed them, but there were just too many.

His Verpine clicked - it was empty. He cursed and slung it, drawing his standard issue pilot's blaster and letting off a few shots. Another trooper fell, and it seemed he injured a few more. He registered the rising sound of the gunship quickly, but not quickly enough and an explosion blew up his cover and sent him flying.. The last thing he saw was the ground rushing towards him as he was flung almost a dozen meters by the force of the blast. Crack. Things went dark on impact.


Hades awoke in a brightly lit cell, no furniture or alcoves to give him desirable shadows. He worked best in the shadows. Where am I? Was his first thought. Judging from the make of the cell and the lack of sound, as well as the distinctive pull of artificial gravity, he'd guess he was in space somewhere. If Vrail was in town, Hades would wager on being aboard his ship - what was it called? The Scythe, Hades recalled vaguely. A ship that had caused him such loathing. How long had he been here was  his next question.. Hours? Days? Weeks? He'd certainly been out cold for a long period of time, but he was still in his uniform flightsuit - without any of its extras, though.

A door hissed open on the far side of the chamber that was his prison, and a bulky looking man entered wearing ID uniform. He carried a food tray and placed it down on the floor, before proceeding to move closer to the young Squadron Commander. Hades began to move, but with his entire body aching, his slowed reflexes did not move him in time to avoid the steel-tipped boots crashing into his abdominals with excessive force and dropping him further to the flaw. Blows rained down on him for what seemed like hours, but just as abruptly as it had begun, the beating stopped. Hades groaned and uncurled from the ball he'd formed instinctively, deciding that despite his injuries, he was hungry.


Hades had no idea how long he'd been here. Day and night were non-existent in this cell. The lights were on at the same brightness throughout his imprisonment, so two became one and his fitful sleep was usually interrupted by a beating or, if he was lucky, just by the man delivering his food. He hadn't been asked any questions, yet, so he'd assumed that they'd been busy questioning others, although it was more likely they'd simply been wearing him down for interrogation. He had no doubt he was not being imprisoned by anyone from the normal part of the ID - he knew ID intelligence was involved, especially if Vrail was part of the mix. But Hades was resilient, just as on Nar Shaddaa. Overgrown schoolyard bullies held no sway over him. VENI plays a dangerous game, Hades reminded himself. Someone had once warned him never to get involved in intelligence work. Hades did not regret it.

A hissing sound caught his attention. The lunchlady - Hades' affectionate name for the man who delivered the daily lunch with beatings - perhaps? It was indeed the very same. But he held no lunch this time, only a pair of stun-cuffs. He was followed by two similarly bulky men. Hades was alert enough to come to the conclusion that they were going to take him somewhere. While resistance would have showed rebellion against his captors, he was more intrigued through the fog of fatigue and pain than he was rebellious. One of his talents when he was on Nar Shaddaa was his ability to think and act clearly while fatigued or in pain - and it showed here as he presented his wrists to the clearly confused Lunchlady. Every time he'd come in before, Hades had given him a good bruise or two in return. He said nothing - how unusual - as he led the Squadron Commander down the corridor of what Hades now recognised as a small ship, probably around Tartan-size.

After a few short minutes of this, the four of them arrived at another nondescript door, which slid open silently. Inside, Hades saw a table with a chair on either side, with restraints on one. He doubted he'd get a medal for guessing which one was his. The Lunchlady shoved him roughly inside, following him closely and making sure he sat down in the right chair and tapping a control that locked him into what Hades was not sure what to call - a piece of furniture or an instrument of torture? His debate of what name to give the chair was again interrupted as a smaller individual entered. He was not bulky like the others, but he was not skinny. He wasn't tall, but he'd easily match Hades' height. His ice blue eyes held an intelligent, cunning gaze that met Hades' own with a similar intensity.

"Squadron Commander Demetrius 'Hades' Aita." The man smirked as he said Hades' name.

"Scumbag Vrail." Hades replied coolly. The smirk disappeared, and it was Hades' turn to smirk.

"I see our brute has been to work on your face. I hope you're not too obedient." Vrail spat back.

"They may torture my body, break my bones, even kill me. Then they will have my dead body, but not my obedience." Hades quoted calmly, smile unwavering now.

"I never was one for quotes. Understanding an enemy, yes, but never quoting him." Vrail had calmed down easily. "Who said that,  just out of curiousity?"

Hades performed a shrug - or tried to. "Someone much smarter than you."

"How positively spiteful. Must we be so rude to each other? We're not so different, you and I."

"Well there is the matter of me being much better looking." Hades responded, deadpan. "And more witty. You're more brutish, I'd venture."

"Perhaps so." Vrail's lip twitched slightly. "You work for VENI, don't you?"

"Now which little mynock would have spun you that tale?" Hades pulled off a disbelieving smirk.

"I have my sources."

"I'm sure you do. Fortunately for us, your sources feed you osik like that. No wonder you're losing the war.." Hades chuckled, but was cut off by a gloved backhand to the face. Vrail seemed to lose his temper easily, despite being cunning and intelligent. Hades would never admit that, though. It'd just inflate his ego to immense proportions.

"You've no idea. The Vast Empire thinks we're finished, don't they? Well they're certainly in for a surprise." Vrail half smirked now, and Hades glared into his eyes, thinking.

"You mean the pitiful reserve fleet we know you've got? Please." Hades bluffed, putting two and two together in a guess that might just be pulled off. The twitch in Vrail's lip told him he was right.

"You can't possibly know numbers." Vrail hissed, "your little sortie is doomed."

So Vrail knew they were coming back. Hades chuckled to himself - this wasn't much of an interrogation. He was getting more information than Vrail was. "If that helps you sleep at night."

"Just so." Vrail paused, then changed topics. "Where are your agents in our fleet?"

"I'm a fighter pilot. I don't know anything about agents." Hades sighed tiredly.

"Fighter pilot, hm? Squadron Commander at just 22 that carries a Verpine and was raised on the streets of Nar Shaddaa? I really doubt you're a simple fighter pilot." Vrail hissed.

"I never said I was 'simple'," Hades spoke slowly, patronisingly, "I was inferring YOU were simple."

"I'd noticed."

"Could have fooled me." Hades attempted to shrug again, much to Vrail annoyance.

"We can solve all this unpleasantness if you just..tell me where your agents are? Do you know about the facility on the Bloodmoon?" Vrail paused, eyes blazing.

"We can solve all this unpleasantness if you go frak yourself, too." Hades retorted.

"We're getting nowhere. I don't like to use more.. barbaric methods, but I will."

"Ah, you've only just noticed? Yesterday's holo-news ran a special on it-" Another gloved backhand cut Hades off, which only caused him to burst out laughing. "You hit like a Jawa."

Vrail raised his hand again as Hades stared defiantly at the enemy intelligence officer. With him being so easily goaded, Hades had no idea why the VE had not won already. Vrail was interrupted by a slight shuddering in the deck and a transmission squawking over the comm. "Emerging from hyperspace now - enemy battlefleet is in the system, Captain to the bridge."

Vrail gave Hades a lingering look filled with venom. "Looks like the cavalry's here, friend." Hades winked playfully, "best make your last hours count."

"We're not finished here!" The ID officer snapped venomously, before turning and storming out. The VE was here. Hades grinned to himself. Now was the time to put his plan into action. Escape was within reach.. Not only that, but revenge.

"Watch your back, Vrail." Hades whispered to no-one in particular. "My friends are coming for you."

Wordcount: 3,249. Sorry for making you all read through that, but I had to catch up!

AAR: Hades basically crash-lands on Bloodmoon right at the end of Pestilence, then survives for a few days before being captured and spending all this time - up till the present - in captivity, with attempts being made to break him, but none of them succeeding. Hades finally meets Vrail, Tuk'ata's Arch-Nemesis, and Hades constantly one-ups him. Now the VE is here, Hades has plans for escape.. and revenge

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[This message has been edited by Hades (edited January 13, 2013 3:51:53 AM)]
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
January 6, 2013 4:04:28 AM    View the profile of Serpent 
Pherik ‘Serpent’ Zail watched the kaleidoscope of colour and light, as another thunderous series of impacts splashed against the shields of his ship.  From the front of the bridge, he could look out across the main hull of the Brilliant, at where its arrow-shaped prow was aimed at their two foes.

The Victory II Star Destroyer Ravisher and the Nebulon-B Frigate Howling Hydra, hanging at the edge of the Imperial Dominion fleet, had eagerly risen to his challenge.  The two of them were angling their fire at the Brilliant’s escort, the Strike-Class Cruiser Vengeful, but Serpent kept ordering his Star Destroyer to get in the way.

“They are manoeuvring again,” Warned his XO, Vagen Eosel.  “They are determined to fire past us and hit the Vengeful.”

“As we are intent on hitting the weaker of them,” Observed Zail, watching his gunners fire a steam of turbolaser shots at the Howling Hydra.  This game of ‘chase the weak link’ was exhausting but there was little choice.  “Keep trying to get in their way while maintaining optimum firing position on the enemy frigate.”

“Yes, sir,” Said the First Officer, and passed the order along.


First to act on the order was the Helmsman, Ysanne Samasl.  She had spent a career in the driving seat of ship after ship, but the last couple of days had been something altogether different.  The Bakuran woman had never piloted something the size of a Victory-Class Star Destroyer but she had taken to the challenge with the courage and professionalism for which she was known.

She was already prepared to act when the Captain ordered the change in position.  She had kept a careful eye on the orientation of the enemy cap ships relative to their own, and Samasl knew exactly what was expected of her.

Her hands keyed in the course change with deft flicks of her wrists and fingers.  At her command, the Brilliant rotated fifty-seven degrees on the horizontal plane and an ever-so-slight but vital twelve degrees on the vertical.  This off-set the change in the position of the Ravisher, and its fire once again hit her ship instead of its escort.

Ysanne allowed herself a tight smile at the manoeuvre.  The other VE ship, the Vengeful, was also in motion, but she had anticipated their course change perfectly.  The Strike Cruiser was soon able to resume exchanging fire with the Nebulon-B Frigate Howling Hydra, but now did so while shielded by the Brilliant.

Over to you, Kol, she thought.


Chief Gunner Kol Yandeer just loved working with a Helmsman who knew what she was doing.  He had, in the past, served with pilots who could not hold their ship steady in the slightest, and it made the jobs of those men and women in the turrets next to impossible.

Fortunately, such talentless people did not serve on the bridge of Star Destroyers.

Yandeer watched as the Brilliant re-oriented, feeling the hum of the engines in the deck plates beneath him.  On the scanners, he saw the three-dimensional image of the battle and observed the change in position of his ship and its foes.  The re-alignment now allowed both his ship and the nearby Vengeful to combine fire on the Howling Hydra, but the two enemy ships were forced to divide their fire.  Perfect.

“All gunners focus on that Nebulon-B Frigate,” He ordered from his bridge station, sending the message to both the ion cannon and turbolaser gunners under his command.  However, only the those turrets able to hit the front and port firing arcs could bring their fire to bear, so he added, “Starboard gunners, fire at will at the Ravisher.  Let that VSD know we haven’t forgotten about it!”

Yandeer wore a headset, and no sooner did he give his order than affirmative confirmations from his subordinates were rattled off in his ear.  Satisfied, he turned his attention to the combat sensors and watched as the shots rained upon the Howling Hydra.  The Imperial Dominion vessel was withering under the intense fire from the Brilliant and the Vengeful.

The Nebulon-B Frigate’s shields were collapsing fast, far faster than the Brilliant’s shields were being eaten away.  If they could keep this up, Kol knew, they could finish the Hydra quickly and then turn their combined fire on the larger threat, the Ravisher.

Of course, for that victory, they would also need starfighter superiority.


Dev Mishima was the next to respond to the order.  The cocky Com Officer saw the change in ships’ positions and the changed angles of both the Brilliant’s and the Vengeful’s firing solutions.

Opening a channel on the com frequencies of Shock and Awe Squadrons, the Brilliant’s TIE complement, he told them of the new no-go areas of the combat.  Friendly fire was, regrettably, a reality of war, but Captain Zail was big on keeping it to a minimum.  In order to remind them of this point, Mishima listed the co-ordinates and added, “So boys and girls, stay the frak out of the way!”

“Thanks for that, Brilliant,” Came the deadpan sarcastic reply of one of the Squadron Leaders.  “That would never have occurred to us!”

Dev smiled, but did not respond.  He loved chatter, but even Mishima’s mouth was kept to a minimum during a battle.

Besides, there was plenty of other chatter flying around the Second Fleet that required his comments and attention.


Vagen Eosel watched the progress of the bridge officers, as they responded as a smooth team.  Helm moved the ship, the Gunnery Chief re-organised the weapons to compensate, and the Com Chief ordered their starfighters out of the way.  It was nice and efficient, a fine example of grace under the pressure of combat.

“Manoeuvre completed, sir,” Said the Kel Dor XO, turning back to Captain Zail at his side.

“Excellent,” Said the Brilliant’s commander, and though it was a good word it was not actually filled with any appreciation.  Zail was too focused on the battle, and his reply was quite distracted.

That was okay with Eosel, though.  The Captain did not need to heap praise on his crew for simply doing their jobs.  Zail merely needed to command, and it would be done with a high degree of skill and efficiency.

And that skill and efficiency, the XO knew, was why the Vast Empire would win.

1057 words.  With this one I had two goals.  First, to describe the importance of position and firing angles in a seemingly straight-forward capital ship slugging match.  And secondly, I wanted to show how different bridge officers have to respond in different ways to a single order.

After Action Report:  The Brilliant, and the Strike-Cruiser Vengeful continue to battle two capital ships of the Imperial Dominion.  The Brilliant absorbs fire from the Victory II Star Destroyer Ravisher, while both the Brilliant and the Vengeful pummel the Nebulon-B Frigate Howling Hydra.  The Hydra’s shields are now failing.
SCAP/CWO Pherik “Serpent” Zail / VSD Brilliant /TF:Aurek/2Flt/FC/VEN/VE

"It isn't the killing, you know.  It's the beauty of battles that I love - the choreography and the challenge of executing everything
just right - and the challenge of matching your wits against a capable opponent." - Gilad Pellaeon
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
January 6, 2013 11:03:26 AM    View the profile of DeepSix 
Few things in life were as exhilarating as rushing into battle... The knowledge that in a split second everything could end. The belief - misguided or genuine - that everyone was actually fighting for a cause larger than themselves. The acceptance of loss and regret as comrades fell one after another. The willingness to push through regardless... There were most certainly beings, and even entire species, that believed as much.

Said individuals glorified battle. They dedicated poems and sang hymns in its honor. They dubbed those fighting in such conflicts warriors. The surviving ones they further called heroes, whilst the fallen ones were merely accepted as martyrs. To these people, fighting and dying in battle was in a strange and twisted sense of the word - tradition.

Seth Qorbin was not amongst such believers though. He agreed with the fact that few things were as invigorating as rushing into a fight, but he had entirely different arguments however. It was not glory that drove the man, but rather the surge of adrenaline that flooded his system. Some may have indeed been fueled by duty, by bravery, by loyalty and by other valiant emotions... In his experience though, most were instead pushed forward by blind obedience. By fear. By a primal urge to fight even if only for the very sake of fighting alone. Others still were instead driven by some dangerous form of psychosis...

Seth for instance was driven by a combination of boredom and ambition - a mix that even the man himself did not fully comprehend... nor particularly cared to anyway. The pilots he was directly responsible for also fought for their own reasons. Some did it because they were ordered to. Some because they wanted to prove something to others. Some because they needed to prove something to themselves. Some because things simply turned out that way. Regardless of the reasons for which they were there and about to engage a strong and worthy opponent, no Vornskr pilot had any doubt whatsoever in regards to that which needed to be done. They all knew full well what was expected of them... and they all flew straight for it.


Concussive missiles shot out from the warhead launchers attached to the Avengers as soon as the superior crafts got within shooting range of the main enemy line. Given their speed, odds were most pilots would be able to secure another enemy lock and manage a second shot before they'd get close enough to engage in regular dogfights.

That was where the Avenger and Defender squadrons could do most damage - right in the middle of enemy fighters, with plenty of targets to go around. Things were no different for Vornskr Squadron - its pilots would similarly try to get in the middle of the fray and once in position... decimate any fighters that did not beep green on the IFF scanners.


Blade Wing's Commander did not even bother smiling as he watched his second missile strike true and deadly - same as the first one before it. By now the Onderonian pilot was used to taking out enemy fighters so he no longer bothered himself with keeping count. What was the point after all, other than bragging and boasting to the other pilots? Whether the blond Human matured somewhere along the way, or simply lost interest was something nobody really knew for a fact.

What everyone else, including the higher ups, knew and still trusted was that the man's talent in a fighter's cockpit was the same as ever. Unlike Seth's ever changing moods and at times questionable decisions, his skills never once waned. No matter what role and position he was given, the VEN officer never once stopped getting results. And now would be no different, he thought to himself as he pushed right through the entanglement of allied and enemy fighters alike, ignoring both until he almost reached the other end.

That's when he slowed down and suddenly dove, his glance instinctively moving to his trusty scanners in search for nearby targets. He would attempt a few evasive maneuvers whilst getting the hang of the situation around him and then he would start doing that which he did best - preying on the weaker pilots.

"I'd sure like to see Chlovi or Jexxel pulling off something like this!"

Seth recognized the voice. It was one of the pilots in Besh flight - the same one that witnessed the Chlovi-Jexxel game. The same one that ridiculed both squadrons that time also. Knowing him, DeepSix could only assume that either he managed some amazing kill or... actually no, knowing him that was likely the only reason that the man would've boasted so enthusiastically over the squadron channel.


Warrant Officer Jorran Thrang, flying under Vornskr colors as Golden Eight was indeed having a field day. The man had taken out three enemies via concussive missiles even before he got in range to engage the Imperial Dominion fighters up close and personal. Once he was close enough to do that however, the cocky Human applied and reapplied the same simple tactic over and over again.

First step was finding an enemy fighter. There being hundreds of them flying around all over the place, that was hardly an issue. Second step was to get on its tail and get close enough. Since most enemy fighters were either Interceptors or even regular TIEs - and a few models in between - that was again not an issue given the Avenger's superior speed and maneuverability. Third step was to "catch" the targeted enemy with the tractor beam and hold it in place for one to two seconds. That was all the time that the man needed to proceed with the fourth and final step - either shooting the temporarily incapacitated enemy with a quad laser burst... or launching another concussive missile close enough so it would be impossible to evade. Once the enemy fighter was downed, Jorran would just rinse and repeat.

A quite simple tactic by anyone's standards, yet also a very efficient one as well given the fact that the man had managed to take out three more fighters in about as many minutes since joining the fight himself. Clearly the individual not only understood his squadron leader's teachings regarding weakness exploitation... but in fact quite enjoyed putting those lessons to good use, fully making use of his own strengths all the while fully making use of his enemies' weaknesses.

And to think that the battle was just getting started too...

WC: 1092
AAR: First part is some philosophical rambling. Second part very briefly describes how Vornskr Squadron will likely start the battle. Third part mentions your fearless leader finding a spot around which to begin acting. Fourth part shows one Avenger tactic used by a cocky and somewhat annoying pilot. Since Vornskr pilots are trained to fight individually, expect to see different tactics for different pilots in the future.
WC/LTJG DeepSix/Golden One/S:38th Vornskr/W:101st Blade/ISD-II Adjudicator/TF:A/2Flt/SC/VEN/VE [=*TG*=] [=*VIM*=]

TRN/JRN DeepSix/DJO/Training Sect/VEDJ
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
January 10, 2013 9:18:32 PM    View the profile of Serpent 

Doctor Argolo Frayne felt the shudder through his body as the shuttle Nightdancer made a hard touchdown on the rocky surface of the Bloodmoon.  The scientist winced, and fought the rising tide of nerves growing within him.  For the hundredth time in the last hour he cursed the clause in his Service agreement that had obliged him to join this fiasco of a mission.

He sat in the main hold of the shuttle, surrounded by the nut-jobs that made up the rest of the Naval Intelligence team.  Frayne was flanked by the massive Sergeant Drazin on one side, and the strange being known as Trathras (who seemed to be mumbling something to himself) on the other.  Close by was the Arkanian scientist Irya Pael, who Frayne had taken an instant dislike to.  There was a fine line between genius and insanity, and while Argolo put himself firmly on the good side of that line, he feared that Pael had crossed it.

As the shuttle’s engines powered down, the other three members of the team emerged from the cockpit.  Firstly came Ensign Grey, the team leader, followed by the infiltration expert Corporal Elsek.  Last came the pilot, cocky Reeza Hayek, commenting on their rough landing as she did so.  “It’s not my fault!  It’s the shock absorbers on this thing!  Where’d you find this antique shuttle, Grey-girl?”

The VENI team leader ignored the comments and instead addressed the team.  “Okay, we are secure.  We’re in a canyon three point two klicks from the weapons lab,” Said Grey, precise as usual.  “Starfighters from the Second Fleet are attacking the facility, providing a distraction.  We will infiltrate under their cover, but the window of opportunity is narrow.”

“We are entering the lab while it is being assaulted?” Asked Doctor Frayne, his fear growing by the moment.

“Makes sense to me,” Said Sergeant Drazin, taking it all in his stride.  “The explosions and destruction will keep the occupants too busy to notice us.  As long we don’t get blown up ourselves we’ll be fine.”

“Uh-huh.  Most re-assuring.  Thank you,” Said Argolo, but his sarcasm was not picked up by anyone.  Instead, Grey merely continued.

“Okay, everyone.  Grab your gear and put on your breath masks,” Said the Ensign.  “We go in two minutes.  Move it people!”


Doctor Frayne was, for some reason, among the first off the shuttle.  With a harsh-looking V-shaped breath mask over his face, the scientist took controlled breaths as he walked down the shuttle’s ramp.  The air from the tank on his back was stale though clean, and once he had got his breathing rhythm he took a moment to survey his surroundings.

Stepping off the ramp onto the Bloodmoon, he went into the analytical frame of mind which all scientists possessed, studying every detail.  The ground beneath his feet was rust-orange, chalk-like in its consistency.  When Argolo stepped, particles of the rock broke off and floated up like a puff of red mist about his feet.  The canyon spread out before him, and he craned his neck to look up at the sheer sides.  The cliff-face was jagged and uneven, clearly formed by seismic activity rather than water-based erosion.  That would fit, as Frayne’s prior studies of this moon had indicated no liquid water at all.

And above, in the night-black sky of the Bloodmoon, Argolo saw the brilliant flashes of light that could only be a battle.  A big battle!

“What, may I enquire, is going on?” He asked to no one in particular, speaking into the microphone built into his breath mask.

“A massive ID fleet jumped in just as we were coming down,” Said Corporal Elsek nonchalantly.  “I hope our people can prevail.”

Doctor Frayne struggled to keep his breathing steady as the news further frayed his already tattered nerves.  “And if they can’t?”

Elsek shrugged.  “Then we have no way off this moon, and are dead regardless of whether we complete our mission or not.”

Argolo began hyper-ventilating.

“Easy, easy,” Soothed Trathras of all people.  The strange man came to the Doctor’s rescue, laying a supporting hand on his shoulder.  “Be taking controlled breaths.  Good.  Be not worrying about death.  If misfortune to befall any of us, no doubt it be Trathras.  The fates not be liking me, I think.”

Frayne only half-heard the words, focusing instead on asserting his control of his body.  Slowly he calmed, and nodded his thanks at Trathras.

As he did so, he caught sight of Irya Pael standing close by.  The Arkanian was smiling at her fellow scientist’s discomfort.  Argolo threw her an evil look, and then turned away.

“Everyone ready?” Asked Ensign Grey, for some reason being the last to emerge from the shuttle and descend the ramp.  The rest of the team gave nods or voiced affirmatives, and so the VENI agent said, “Let’s go!”

And so the team began its march.  They hugged the canyon walls, moving at a brisk pace, and following a natural rise up the side of a cliff.  The journey was a harrowing one for Doctor Frayne, the one hundred meter drop beside the trail very much not to his liking.  He began to sweat nervously inside his breath mask, and though other team mates offered words of encouragement, he could feel the snide amusement of Irya Pael.

Eventually, the VENI team emerged from the canyon and found themselves among a rise of jagged rocks.  Moving among the towering red edifices (which, though naturally formed, seemed oddly monolithic), and group kept to the shadows as they advanced on the Imperial Dominion weapons lab a klick away.  Argolo was glad it was close, because the pace set by Ensign Grey was a tough one and he was tiring rapidly.

Eventually they reached their goal.  The facility was a large plasteel block of a fortress, nestled in among a crimson-coloured hill of rocks.  The VENI team used the nearest rocks for cover, as they crouched low and surveyed their target.  Around the lab, Vast Imperial TIEs danced and weaved, hitting the installation’s AA batteries.

“So,” Asked Frayne, “How do we get in?”

Ensign Grey did not answer with words.  She merely gestured.  With one hand singal the team got to work, and the infiltration of the Bloodmoon facility was underway.

1047 words.  And yes, obviously Grey was the last out of the shuttle as she was checking on her hidden bomb.

After Action Report:  The VENI team lands on the Bloodmoon and advances on the Imperial Dominion lab.  Doctor Frayne is extremely nervous about the mission, and though finds the unlikely support of Trathras, Frayne is getting no help from Irya Pael.  The two scientists do not like each other.  Eventually they reach their goal, and the VENI team are now ready to enter.
SCAP/CWO Pherik “Serpent” Zail / VSD Brilliant /TF:Aurek/2Flt/FC/VEN/VE

"It isn't the killing, you know.  It's the beauty of battles that I love - the choreography and the challenge of executing everything
just right - and the challenge of matching your wits against a capable opponent." - Gilad Pellaeon
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
January 12, 2013 4:08:59 AM    View the profile of DeepSix 

"So how do we get in?" the nerdy looking Human asked when at long last their goal was withing sight. The young pilot turned to him and gave the man another look-over - clearly he wasn't used to this sort of thing, she figured based on his looks, his attitude thus far and most recently the deep breath he had to take right in the middle of that very sentence.

In a strange way he wasn't all that different from her though - she too looked fairly frail and delicate, especially when compared to specimens such as Drazin or Trathras. Furthermore, she too kept whining and bitching about having to accompany them as well, even though she was technically just their brilliant, awesome getaway pilot... "If I end up dying here, I'm so coming back to haunt you Grey-girl!" she joked - or not? - a few times over as they crossed the rust colored canyon.

Ensign Grey though did not appear to be bothered by that prospect. No, even as Reeza Hayek kept blabbering off... again, and again, and yet again after that, Ensign Grey had managed to maintain a professional and dignified appearance. A rather remarkable achievement as far as the Arkanian team member was concerned. Were it up to Irya Pael, then the younger pilot would've been forced to come back as a ghost quite a few times already.

"You know, I could easily get us in there... I'll just go back to the shuttle and bring it in close enough to blow a few holes in those walls. Well, be seeing ya!" Reeza Hayek enthusiastically spoke and made to turn around when a strong hand grabbed her shoulder - in so doing preventing her from actually carrying out that plan of hers.

"No need", sergeant Drazin blurted out in a plain, calm, blunt and oh so very intimidating voice. "Or I could stay here... Staying here isn't all that bad after all... Me and Grey-girl can talk more about our future business after all..."

Drazin gave a small nod before he approached corporal Elsek. The latter looked so small when standing next to the walking, breathing mass of muscles that seemed to constitute the entirety of the sergeant... The two of them first exchanged silent glances, then muffled whispers and finally knowing nods before the corporal rushed forward, using the rocks as cover, and the sergeant pulled off the large sniper rifle he had been carrying across his back ever since they left the shuttle.

Good ol' doctor Frayne just stood there and watched as everything occurred, part of him still very much nervous about the whole thing, but part of him also mildly intrigued by the prospect of not only witnessing a live military operation - but actually being part of one.

Trathras was less excited about the whole thing. The strange looking fellow merely reached inside his furs and after a bit of struggling managed to pull out a pair of macrobinoculars. He brought the pair to his eyes and intently followed corporal Elsek's progress, as well as checked out the facility's outer perimeter.

He however was not the only one doing the exact same thing however. Unbeknown to all, save maybe Ensign Grey, the Arkanian female was also checking out the area ahead of them. She however was not forced to rely on any other form of equipment to do as much though. No, thanks to her cybernetically enhanced eyes, Irya Pael had little difficulty seeing clearly all the way to the facility's walls. The initial purpose of this particular enhancement was to work in a lab without the constant need of a magnoscope. The Arkanian woman smiled as she found yet another use for her pricey self-improvement...

"Hold there", Drazin calmly instructed and everyone around him turned to look at the man. The Human doctor and the pilot could only see the bulky musclehead squeeze the trigger twice in quick succession, each time a bolt of incandescent light shooting forth and disappearing somewhere in the distance. Trathras and Pael however were able to see even more.

Upon looking back at the weapon facility, and following the first shot's trajectory, they could both see an armored Stormtrooper hitting the wall behind him and slowly peeling off it as if in slow motion. In less than a second later, the other Stormtrooper that was standing guard only a few feet away was likewise propelled against the facility's wall before his limp form slowly hit the ground.

Trathras proceeded to once more scan the facility's outer perimeter, no doubt checking for any more potential targets/threats. Irya Pael however remained focused on the two downed Stormtroopers. She zoomed in on their bodies as much as her eyes could allow, and thankfully that was enough to notice that the second guard was shot in the face, as made evident by the burnt and enlarged helmet vizor.

Zooming back out, the Arkanian glanced over at the prone sniper a few feet away from her. Now there was a dangerous specimen, Irya thought as she began considering various possibilities and complications involving the unaware sergeant.

"At the door now", corporal Elsek's voice came over the comm. "Lock is using a standard Imperial high encryption algorithm. I can crack it within five minutes", the woman followed before cutting off the channel.

"Everyone, move forth. Trathras, take point. Drazin, provide cover till we're halfway there then follow along. Everyone else, advance in single file formation, using the rocks as cover whenever possible", Ensign Grey instructed.

The furs covered specimen immediately reacted and rushed forward, putting away the macrobinoculars and instead reaching for his weapon. Ensign Grey followed next. "Hey wait up, Grey-girl", was Reeza's way of saying she was right on the other woman's tail. Doctor Frayne took a little longer to understand exactly what was happening however. He heard the Ensign, he saw the other team members rushing forth and yet he wasn't entirely sure what he needed to do himself.

He looked around and noticed only the large sniper, still standing prone and covering the area ahead of them... as well as Irya Pael, who was still giving him a strange smile. It wasn't necessarily an evil looking smile, as much as just plain creepy as far as he was concerned. The man instantly gulped and rushed after the other people. As much as he did not want to further endanger himself by rushing towards the enemy, he just couldn't shake the goose bumps he was getting from standing in Pael's presence.

As if reading Frayne's mind, Irya Pael's smile grew even larger as she watched the fellow scientist run after the others. She kept smiling even as she started walking herself. The Arkanian female considered prepping her equipped shotgun but figured that would not be necessary yet. If anything were to happen then either the sniper would deal with it, or the genetically engineered failure would get the chance. And if not, she at least hoped the three others before her would serve as decent enough organic shields...

"Less than two billion permutations to go", Elsek notified everyone over the comm. Most would have no idea just what exactly that meant, but a few however would on the contrary realize that within the next two minutes or so the lock that the corporal was trying to hack would finally give way and allow everyone passage inside. That's where the real fun would wait after all...

All sorts of thoughts ran through everyone's minds. Some thought of strategies and tactics. Some thought of the battle above. Some questioned what other sinister clauses they may have unknowingly signed. Some continued considering the value of the moon as a tourist attraction after the dust would finally settle. Some were simply curious as to the exact nature of the research handled by the Dominion - and the ways that research could be used to further even darker goals. Some also had trouble thinking of a single thing at a time, their minds instead a hive of screams and whispers. This was the team that was about to enter the Dominion's secret facility. This was the Vast Empire's best hope against the biological threat contained within...

WC: 1373
AAR: Some descriptions regarding the various chars and their interactions throughout the post. Also, Elsek separates from the group and pushes forward on her own. Drazin picks off two distant targets with his sniper rifle. Elsek proceeds to hack a lock that's meant to open some side door to the facility. Grey orders everyone else to hurry to that location, with Trathras taking point.
WC/LTJG DeepSix/Golden One/S:38th Vornskr/W:101st Blade/ISD-II Adjudicator/TF:A/2Flt/SC/VEN/VE [=*TG*=] [=*VIM*=]

TRN/JRN DeepSix/DJO/Training Sect/VEDJ
[This message has been edited by DeepSix (edited January 13, 2013 4:52:59 AM)]
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
January 12, 2013 3:18:37 PM    View the profile of Honeydew 
" ... Strill form up on me, we need to lead the fighters away from the facility and Gundark.  Go to full throttle and put shields full front, we are going straight through them.  With our speed we may get a lead on them and gain some distance from the facility to deal with them."

A single, understandably simple but horribly impersonal click of Iron Ten's helmet microphone answered the command as the pilot pitched her Interceptor onto a subtle, but necessary course correction to hold formation.  The pilot's attention moved briefly to the deflector shields' readout, and her right hand followed with not a sound other than the rustle of jet-black, Storm Commando armour.  Systematically, she drained the Interceptor's shielding to reallocate power almost exclusively to the front: leaving just enough in reserve to take a glancing hit or two from behind.  An afterthought told the pilot that, in close quarters, missiles weren't the best idea.  She thought briefly on pulling power from the "chin"-mounted warhead launchers, but decided to avoid gratuitous toggling and returned attention to the forward viewport.

The pilot's hand moved to the throttle control, and she steadily increased to avoid falling out of formation with the rest of the squadron.  With the throttle up came increased noise of the Interceptor's thrusters: the distinct and admittedly somewhat satisfying 'scream' that, for years upon years upon years, had been so closely associated with Imperial fighters.  Additionally came increased resistance in the Interceptor's control yoke and borderline alarming vibrations of the fighter, making that blasted atmospheric drag just that much more noticeable.

Though the Twi'lek would have much  preferred a deep space mission, for complete lack of atmospheric turbulence and minimized pull of gravity, she had no choice but to take this with steady, thin-lipped determination and ... at least seem like she knew what she was doing.  The cockpit restraints and armour, at least, held her knees from noticeably shaking.

The Twi'lek hadn't more than ... half a second, maybe a second, to contemplate the oncoming mixed-TIE squadron sandwiching Strill between itself and their pursuers; green starbursts erupted from several of the oncoming TIEs: pot-shots, taken at distance in hopes of hitting something.  Her vision was momentarily washed as a bolt glanced the Interceptor's shields and passed overhead, probably close enough to mark a noticeable burn on the fighter's armour.  The pilot didn't think, at a glance, that she could see anyone else severely hit, burning, or otherwise ... and as close as she was flying to Dawn's wing, she most definitely would have felt his craft explode.

The pilot squinted inside her helmet, just for moment, and hovered the index finger of her left hand over the trigger on her Interceptor's control yoke, linked to the wingtip cannons.  The roar of cannon fire: a short flurry of, maybe, four shots replied to the incoming fire, but she doubted she had actually hit anything.  Her finger squeezed the trigger again, and wingtip cannons reported another burst of three shots: not exactly clean misses, but neither direct hits.  The Twi'lek decided to hold her cannons until she could take better aim ... and before someone yelled at her.  For now, she would just hug Dawn's wing and wait to blast through the middle of their Imperial Dominion friends.

Quick note: Okayso, I didn't hit my 800 word target (This slack will be picked up on my next post <_<.) And since I didn't do any collaborative work and whatnot here, I kept the writing specific to one character and left the post more or less ... well, wide open.
Also WC: 550
AAR: Strill's new addition complies with Joamer's latest order, receives Imperial Dominion pot shots, and takes a few of her own without really hitting anything.
FM/SCRW Honeydew/Iron Ten/S:58 "Strill"/W:101 "Blade"/ISD-II Adjudicator/TF:A/2Flt/SC/VEN/VE
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
January 13, 2013 4:49:08 AM    View the profile of DeepSix 
"Can't shake him... He's everywhere... Lead, I need ba~"

The pilot's voice was suddenly replaced by the ominous sound of static. An endless hissing sound that all those listening in knew all too well what it implied - they'd just lost another one. Another colleague. Another wingman. Another friend. The Dominion squadron maintained a moment of heavy silence, trying to both adjust to the loss of someone they knew as well as trying to come up with a new plan that would prevent further casualties.

"Lead, this is Five. I'm in pursuit of the fracker that took out Seven", a new voice echoed through the squadron channel. "Six, you're with me. Eight, flank him while we deal with him", the same voice instructed in a confident tone. "Good hunting, Ripper", the Squadron Commander wished his second in command. Though the loss of a pilot was a heavy blow to morale, avenging that loss often helped balance things out. With a three on one skirmish there was also little doubt that the comm would soon enough buzz again, only this time around bearing joyous news instead.

"That's it... Six, hold him there whilst I get a lock on him", the same voice instructed once more. "Just a little longer... Just a little bit... Sithspit!"

"Six, you and Eight try to sandwich him while I strike from the side..." As the seconds passed by in silence, the rest of the squadron couldn't help but keep their breath as they otherwise engaged VE targets of their own. "Son of a three legged kath bitch!... Six, slow down... Six, slow down! You'll overshoot him at this rate!!!"

"Eight, fire away... Doesn't matter if you hit him or not, maybe you can scare him off... Six, he's right on your tail... Pull up! Pull up now!!!"

"Lead, the xeno-lover took out Six", came the SXO's frustrated voice through the comm channel only a few seconds later. "Eight, form up on my wing. We'll get this bantha fracker yet..."

"Emperor's black bones, where did he disappear to?" The tension filled silence weighed heavily on both the squadron's XO as well as all the other pilots listening in. "What the?... Got a lock on me... Beginning evasive maneuvers... I'll play decoy, Eight you take the opportunity to riddle him with holes..."

"What's taking him so l~... Eight, it's a feint! It's not me he's after, it's you... Pull away and start evasive maneuvers, I'll get to you in a second..."

"Can't turn... Fighter's not responding to controls... Ripper, he's using a tractor beam!" the other pilot managed to speak in an agitated voice. "Ripper, get out of here!" the pilot managed to stay in a clearer and more confident tone.

Once more the sound of static covered the squadron channel before the Executive Officer pitched in: "Eight's craft is history but he managed to eject in time. I can see his distress signal on my scanner. I'm going to... No!!! Frack! Frack!! Frack!!!"

"The bastard just rammed Scorch with his fighter. He's a damn animal... A savage beast..." Ripper announced the death of his last flight member. "Ripper, forget him", came the Squadron Commander's shaky reply. "Regroup with Cresh flight and assist them with cleaning out the trash."

"But I..." the XO tried to fight back before the CO repeated in a firmer tone "Ripper, it's an order!"

"Understood... Five moving to join up with the others... ETA forty sec~... Lead, the bastard's on my six trying to get a lock on me. Beginning evasive action."

"Ripper, hold on! Cresh flight, move in to provide cover fire!" was the CO's panicked order upon hearing the nasty turn of events.

"He clipped my left solar panel... Can't shake him off... Sithspit! He's got a solid lock on me..." The man paused for the briefest moment before he added in a voice filled with understanding, frustration and regret "Sir, it was an honor!"

And just like that, the comm channel once more hissed empty, the static yet again sending shivers down the spines of those that were listening in. "By the gods..." a tiny, shaky voice uttered in disbelief. The gods however were no longer present in the skies of Bloodmoon. They long since turned their backs on everyone, sending instead terrible harbingers of death and destruction.

"Target neutralized", a calm and collected voice spoke in a different squadron's comm channel. The squadron in question? The Vast Empire's 38th "Vornskr" Squadron. A squadron that allowed its prey to neither run nor hide...

WC: 753
AAR: For a while now I've been wanting to write a post using only enemy dialogue. Rest assured that this was purely an experiment of mine and will not become the norm in future posts. Different experiments in the future are however possible...

That being said I basically describe an unidentified Vornskr pilot wreaking havoc on a regular ID flight element, trying to emphasize the ID squadron's reaction to the losses sustained as well as the viciousness of the Vornskr pilot.
WC/LTJG DeepSix/Golden One/S:38th Vornskr/W:101st Blade/ISD-II Adjudicator/TF:A/2Flt/SC/VEN/VE [=*TG*=] [=*VIM*=]

TRN/JRN DeepSix/DJO/Training Sect/VEDJ
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
January 13, 2013 5:43:57 AM    View the profile of Hades 
Lieutenant Ry Ziel was a man who left little to chance. His parents had died in a casino robbery aimed to fund Rebels and he had never been appreciative of any form of gambling since, leading him to be a very orderly, cold and unexciting man. It was probably why he had  snagged this particular job. As head of security for the Bloodmoon facility, the Lieutenant held the power to remove 'chance' from his day to day dealings. But this entire fiasco had made him rather displeased. This was not conforming to his orderly plans, much to his frustration. Between the squadrons above and the ships still above them matters were, for the most part, out of Ziel's control. It did not please him at all. "Sir,  the defense wing's second flight has been wiped out as they were making their report. Their transmission was cut short, but they were probably just informing us-"

"Corporal, are you a gambling man?" The busy control room fell silent. Most here knew about the Lieutenant's aversion to gambling and his opinions pertaining thereto.

"N-no sir." The corporal stammered in response.

"Keep it that way, and stick to your trade. You are at the comm console, not in a casino. Do not make assumptions." He responded coldly. "Play me the last transmission from second flight."

"Sir, I don't see-"

"No, you don't see, you obey. Do it, Corporal." Ziel snapped. The corporal, suitably chastened, went to work and soon had the  last transmission of the now destroyed second flight of the Bloodmoon's defense wing. With a burst of static, the harsh sounds cut into the dead silent control room.

"--Second Defense Leader, we are taking fire. The fighters are protecting --" The transmission dissolved into static again before the recording ended. Ziel's intelligent, dark eyes narrowed. The recording had revealed more questions than answers and it did not please Ziel any more than the chaotic firefight that raged above the seemingly innocent planet.

"The enemy fighters were protecting something. But what?" Ry murmured, more to himself than anyone else. Perhaps a simple fighter term. Protecting their flanks or similar. Ry mused to himself, but perhaps not. Ry, not one to take chances, turned to the now terrified communications' officer, the corporal he'd given a tongue lashing earlier. "Get me First Defense Squadron."

"Yessir." The Corporal responded obsequiously as his hands darted over the controls, before a flashing green light indicated he was connected.

"Defense Leader, this is Control. What were those fighters protecting?"

"I'd assume their own hides, sir." Came back a strained voice, "We only launched after 2nd Flight had been eliminated, to assist 2nd Squadron."

"Do not assume, Commander. Send a flight to scout the surroundings of the facility with a 10 click radius" ZIel responded brusquely.

"Sir, we're a little busy with enemy fight-"

"Just do it, Commander." The Lieutenant responded tartly before severring the transmission with a stormy expression.

"Sir, we could have just launched a-"

"How many times have you applied to be an officer, Sergeant?" Ziel cut off the offending speaker, responsible for starfighter control. The Sergeant's face fell.

"7, sir."

"Seven, you say?" The Lieutenant raised an eyebrow. "And how many times have you been rejected?"

"I.. Seven, sir." The Sergeant responded quietly.

"Indeed. Seven times you have been deemed unfit for higher command, Sergeant. Until you are, I'd encourage you to stop questioning my orders." The sergeant in question murmured a 'yessir' in response, the humiliation bringing colour to his cheeks. "Get me four squads of security personnel."

The order was directed to no-one in particular, but it was his  XO, an ambitious, silent second Lieutenant, who obeyed, speaking inconspicuously into his wrist comm. "Four squads of personnel to the command center. Immediately." The XO, a 2nd Lieutenant Buckrion Varys, was not a noticeably man. He was small of stature and quiet of manner,speaking only when absolutely necessary and even then only offering short, contrite statements. He was beyond efficient, a highly intelligent, organised man who had earned Ziel's confidence the day they'd met. He made the perfect XO.. And fit the mould for more than that. He was a very.. 'Shady' man. The sound of boots against the artificial floors caused Ziel to turn around, whereupon he saw the four immaculately clad and perfectly arranged four squads he had requested.

"Sergeant Major," Ziel addressed the lead Stormtrooper. "I want you and your four squads to be on the utmost of guard. One squad will be in with the scientists, the others will be constantly on the move throughout the facility."

"Are we looking for something, sir?" The Stormtrooper asked stoically.

Ziel shot a thoughtful glance at the communications' console, considering for a few moments. "No." He shot back finally, "Not yet. Stay sharp."

A respectful salute came from the squads in turn, before they about-faced and filed out of the room to their various objectives. Ziel, a former Stormtrooper himself, had left the chaos of the ID special forces for a commission he knew he deserved and a posting that should have brought him far more order in his life. So much for that idea. After the scum of the Vast Empire had been mopped up and dealt with, Ziel would transfer out. Maybe he'd join the reknowned intelligence of the ID.. He was certain they'd be more orderly. "Why didn't Intelligence predict this earlier?"

The question was again to himself, but his shady XO responded. "They might have and in their infinite wisdom, failed to tell us."

Ziel shot Varys a questioning glance. It was not often he spoke out so boldly. "Perhaps, Lieutenant." A beep from his wrist comm interrupted his thoughts, and he impatiently answered. "Well?" He questioned darkly, expecting it to be the  flight he'd sent to investigate.

"Lieutenant, I must protest!" Came a nasal, weak sounding voice, "Why are we being treated like prisoners? Your storm soldiers are most impolite!" It was Doctor Hi, one of the most brilliant human scientists in the entire facility... But by all means a cowardly being, more fragile than a Kaminoan's neck.

"Stormtroopers." Ziel corrected impatiently,

"Yes, those." The Scientist came back dismissively, "They're disrupting my concen-"

"May I remind you, doctor, that this facility - and by extension yourself - is under military control and as such you will cease with your objections. They are there for your own protection." As Hi came back with yet another indignant remark, Ziel cut him off, "Control out."

"Doctor Hi oversteps." A voice came from behind him. Ziel turned, finding the source to be Buckrion. How had he snuck up so quietly?

"Indeed he does, Varys." Ziel responded uncomfortably, before a silence descended upon the two of them. Varys was regarding his superior with those colourless, disconcerting eyes and an air of danger. Ziel turned the silence into frustration directed at the hapless comm officer, "What in the blazes has happened to my investigative scouts?!"

"n-no word from them, sir."

"Well send one from the reserves, damn you."  The orderly Lieutenant snapped. The Corporal, knowing better than to talk back now, obeyed immediately.

"Scout away sir."

"Good.." Ziel responded, stroking his chin as he began to calm down. "Keep me informed of their progress."

Wordcount: 1,192

AAR: Introducing a villain to the VENI plot. Lieutenant Ry Ziel and his ilk are the personnel that man the Bloodmoon weapons facility.. Ry has figured out that something is going on and has put four squads on alert, prepared to deal with whatever threat they may face. His XO, 2nd Lieutenant Buckrion Varys, may have more about him than his superior knows.. Doctor Hi, a human scientist and a brilliant coward is among the leading experts in the biological warfare field but is an annoying prat VENI peeps, you now have a flight of TIE's looking about.. So stay undercover

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[This message has been edited by Hades (edited January 13, 2013 5:49:20 AM)]
[This message has been edited by Hades (edited January 13, 2013 5:50:35 AM)]
[This message has been edited by Hades (edited January 13, 2013 9:56:40 AM)]
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
January 13, 2013 2:16:05 PM    View the profile of Rikky 
Tik was sure if it wasn’t for the gravity dragging his ship down like a writhing bantha was attached to the bottom of his ship, he could put up a fight. As it was, he was fighting both the yoke for control and trying not to get blasted in the air at the same time. He was in the thick of the fight, and it was definitely more intense than in the simulator.

For one, it was not silent. He could hear the scream of the TIE fighters, and moreover he could feel the movement of the ship. No longer was it him watching the outside move; even with the inertial dampers he felt like some sort of invisible hand was pressing him back into his seat, a feeling that was light but terrifying to him. He was there, in a dogfight. There was no do-over. He moved more power into his shields more as a knee-jerk reaction than anything else.

A hit rocked him out of his thoughts, and he was in the pilot’s seat again. “Oi! Watch your six!” someone called over the com. He flicked his eyes over to the monitor for a moment to get a feel for the situation. It was a mass of green and red boiling over one another, but there was definitely a ship that had Iron 6 in its sights. Pulling up hard and far to the left, Tik went for a spin that would get him out of the enemy’s sights. Then he climbed, watching his Gravity sapped his speed, but he wasn’t going to move power from his shield. Not with someone ready to knock him out of the sky so close. And boy howdy was the enemy close.

“This is Iron 6, got a Dom right on my tail. Assistance requested.”

“We’re all a little busy right now,” someone said back; he thought it might have been Brightstar. He made a mental check to get everyone’s name down later. “Just… Gorrammit, hang tight Iron 6.”

Not much else I was planning on doing, He thought, very nearly saying it over the com. Until he realized he seemed to have come to a near-complete stop in his upward movements. Suddenly, bright red letters began flashing as his whole view halted, and reversed. – STALLING - Suddenly he wasn’t looking at space; he was looking at the craggy landscape of Bloodmoon - STALLING - and a TIE fighter right on a collision course with him.

He pulled his yoke hard to the left and pulled back on the accelerator, to avoid crashing into the incoming fighter still heading straight and true for Tik’s. Only there was no response.  - STALLING - “Oh hell,” he said to himself, jiggling his yoke and flicking at the control switches in panic. “Frak frak frak frak…”
The Enemy seemed to think it was a game of chicken they were engaged in, and refused to budge from its course. - STALLING - Bolts bounced off the shield as they came closer and closer, a spectrum of colors bathing the cockpit in an unearthly glow. Tik could see it happening, their shields shattering against one another in one instant, their ships colliding in a spectacular fireball that would end just as quickly as it started.  “No, no nononononono – “

The systems went green, and Tik punched the accelerator forward, yanking the yoke as hard as he could. At the same time the enemy pulled the opposite direction, the ships not five feet from crashing into one another. Tik exhaled deeply and leveled off, trying to calm his nerves before re-engaging. “Hohoho my goodness,” he said to himself, getting back into the battle by examining the field in the radar.

The red dot that had been following before was now above and behind him. Tik was not in a good spot. The dot swooped back into position, and Tik was not going to let him get the jump on him again. Exhaling deeply, he diverted power from the shields to the engines, and dropped down further, gaining speed in his descent before going for a sharp turn to the right…

“Iron 6, this is Iron 3. Nothing fancy if you can manage, this guy’s in for a hell of a sandwich in about three seconds.”

Flicking his eyes to the screen, he could see what she meant. Just off to the side of both him and the engaging enemy was Iron 3. Instead of taking a break turn, he banked lazily instead, letting the Dom think he had the better of him. One second red dot was on his screen just behind him, then it blinked once and was gone. A breath he didn’t know he was holding escaped, and he readjusted himself in his seat.

“Many thanks, Iron 3.”

“Don’t mention it. Now let’s turn this thing around; get in formation and we’ll get back in that mess.”

WC: 822
AAR: Tik is taken by surprise by the differences between the simulator and real combat. He turns power up on the shields, and gets into it with the enemy. After stalling and nearly crashing into the engaging ship, Bright comes and helps out. They form up and get back into the fray.
TRN/CRW Rikky/?/S:137 “Raptor”/W:46 “Shield”/PLF Cappadocious/TF:TH/3Flt/VEN/VE
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