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Topic:  VEN: Counterpunch: War
DeepSix
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DeepSix
 
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
February 1, 2013 1:31:57 PM    View the profile of DeepSix 
OOC:
VENI NPC Post


Alarms, blaster fire, screams, muffled explosions - they could all be heard from both close by as well as deep within the facility. The Arkanian female however chose to disregard them for the most part. They did not concern her after all. They did however let the alien know that the rest of her team was at least partly responsible for all those noises. The latter had escaped from the closely guarded room as she knew they would and were now no doubt trying to complete their mission as again Irya Pael had no doubt Ensign Grey would push them toward that goal at no matter what cost.

So sickly predictable, the woman thought as she continued moving as calmly and unperturbed as ever. It wasn't until she heard the sound of approaching footsteps that she stopped. Unlike the previous time however, the footsteps were numerous. Too numerous for her to deal with using conventional methods, Irya realized. The brilliant Near Human realized that she only had 3 choices: to turn back and hide, to stay put and fight or stay put and await capture.

Slowly the Arkanian dropped to her knees and placed the blaster on the installation's sterile floor. She raised her arms high in the air before bringing them close together behind her head. It was in this submissive position that the Dominion squad which had come running from deeper within the facility found the VENI member. They raised their carbines and approached carefully, uncertain whether it was a trap or not.

"Do not move", the squad leader - a tough as nails looking individual - growled menacingly as he approached with small but steady steps. "Where's the rest of your team?" the man further inquired as he got even closer. Irya Pael merely gave him a sinister grin as she looked him straight in the eyes, not at all looking intimidated by his muscular body which almost rivaled Drazin's, his shiny armor which on the left pauldron showed numerous "x"es, nor even his rifle which was aimed unmoving right at her pretty silver haired head.

"Team?" the woman questioned calmly. "I have no team... I work alone", she followed just as serenely. "We know there's more of you... What are you scheming?" the squad leader inquired after almost pushing his rifle's barrel against the woman's pale white skin. "You... would not understand", Irya sighed deeply - the very end of that sigh being accompanied by the smooth clinking sound of something fragile hitting the hard floor beneath. Some of the squad members turned to watch her. Others jumped back in surprise. The team leader however merely strained his head so as to look past the crouching woman and see the object which rolled harmlessly from the Arkanian's side.

"What's that?" the man asked suspiciously, yet at the same time managing to maintain his cool. To his question Irya Pael simply smiled back meekly. Her smile grew larger as the seconds passed by until finally her lips parted and a laugh - a rather sinister laugh - echoed throughout the crowded corridor. "What's so funny?" the burly man asked again, not sure whether the woman was just playing a sick game, whether she was insane or whether this was some ploy meant to distract him and his team from the real threat posed by her companions.

"Fifty five, fifty six, fifty seven, fifty eight, fifty nine... Sixty!" Irya managed to count once her laughter had died out and her facial expression returned to the same cold and calculated one she usually bore. "Tell me boys - don't you feel like just lying down and you know... dying?" The Arkanian female asked grimly all of a sudden. At about the same time some of the members in the squad began buckling in pain and falling to the floor mere moments afterward. Their still opened eyes were bleeding on the once clean floor beneath them. Even the squad leader felt his strength leave him as he found himself kneeling on the floor just in front of Irya, his legs no longer able to support his full weight.

"What did you do?" the man managed to utter in a mere whisper, his eyes already wetting up with the warm liquid normally found coursing through the rest of his body. "I thought it obvious... I've killed you", the Arkanian female replied, picked up her own blaster from the floor and confidently stood, allowing herself to temporarily tower over the yet breathing members of the squad. The Dominion troopers were still dying when the woman began moving once more - casually stepping over their corpses and soon to become corpses.

"You bitch!" the squad leader managed to curse her a final time before his head impacted the cold floor underneath, his eyes now still, bloody and lifeless.

OOC:
WC: 805
AAR: Seeing how the story is going to end soon, I figured I'd best go ahead and do the scene I've been itching to do since I first decided to go with such a char. Nothing of note happens, other than the fact that the Arkanian moves forward, and does so at the expense of an entire squad of ID Stormtroopers. The squad leader will not have a helmet equipped, and if any of the other members do... then the virus can find its way through their filtration systems. I'll explain more of this IC should the opportunity to explain as much will present itself.
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
Cabby
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
February 1, 2013 5:34:28 PM    View the profile of Cabby 
The 22 year old cruised next to her wingmate, looking for an opportunity to clear the way a little more. Her green eyes scanned both the space in front of her and her targeting computer. Looking up she saw Dunny, her odd new CO. He was dealing with quite a few TIE’s. That didn’t worry her though. What worried her was the one TIE behind him, the one her didn’t seem to have noticed. Fletcher pulled away from Makenna, making up her mind in an instant. He’s gonna owe me she thought with a grin.

      Fletcher had always operated on last ditch, jeopardous plans. Her hot head got in the way of her calculating mind, and her choices were often compromised by pride, and confidence. In hindsight perhaps another route would have been better, Flether probably should have left well enough alone, but the heavy blooded cabby - from which she got her callsign- inside of her screamed to action. Fletcher wheeled around and accelerated towards her new opponent. Just like the last time, she thought to herself with a determined grimace. Only now, she had an exit strategy, a perfect plan. Fletcher felt in control as she surged forward towards the TIE that was on Dunny’s tail. She hopped the spook the Dominion’s TIE Fighter, a tactic that worked well in races. Swerving violently towards another racer normally caused them to stop, to veer off course.

    “Comin’ through,” Fletcher said half to herself, half to Dunny as she broke through the space between his fighter and the one of his tail. Dominion’s TIE jerked backwards, caused to suddenly break as Fletcher cut him off. She turned sharply and shot towards her new target, which had lost all interest in Dunny and now had all gun’s trained on her. A shiver ran down her spin and she rushed forward. Fletcher bared her teeth as she diverged from a shot at her, before lining back up with the other, locking onto him on her targeting computer. She pulled the trigger and watched in shocked horror as she hit her mark and the craft went up in flames. A sick guilt dropped heavily in her stomach as she steered away from the wreckage.

    Fletcher was taken by surprise as her ship was hit on the side. Her shield protected her fighter, but it didn’t stop the force from blowing her into the shards of the Dominion’s TIE. From the corner of her eye she could see someone take down the TIE that had hit her, but her attention was drawn away from that as she was jolted upon impact. Fletcher tried to regain control of her TIE. She was thrown against the side of the cockpit and she gasped loudly as she felt her shoulder crunch uncomfortably. Fletcher ground her teeth together as she steered out of the wreck, trying not to jostle her shoulder more than she had to.

    The young girl groaned in pain as she rolled her shoulder back, wincing at the sickening pops and the grinding feeling. She blinked rapidly, trying to keep back tears. Before becoming a pilot Fletcher had lead a pretty rough life, she had broken her knuckles in fights more times than she could count, she had crashed in races more frequently than others, but nothing in her life had been like what she felt now. She shook herself, trying to forget the throbbing pain. Pain she could deal with easily, just breathe. But never had she encountered this kind of guilt. The simulator had prepared her for the stress of a battle, but it didn’t come anywhere close to preparing her for the feeling that tagged along with the knowledge that you had just put an abrupt end to someone’s life. Knowing that they would never take another breath, never look upon the face of their loved ones, never smile, never laugh, never cry again.

    “Don’t cry darn it,” Fletcher growled at herself, a mixture of remorse and pain had made their home in her chest. She rolled her shoulder again and snarled again at the sharp daggers of ache. “Come on Fletch, don’t be a baby,” she reprimanded herself severely. Fletcher would not break down her first time flying, she refused.

    “You alright?” came Makenna’s voice over their channel, full with concern. A tear rolled down her cheek and Fletcher blinked them back.

    “Yeah,” she took a few deep breaths. “Yeah, I’m good. I might have messed up my shoulder. But I’m okay.”  Fletcher swung her TIE around to meet up with her wingmate. She ground her teeth together. “I think I just saved your butt Dunny,” Fletcher said to the man, trying to keep the pain from lacing with her words. “You’re welcome,” she said a little cockily, grinning despite the pain that was now climbing down her arm, and dancing along her fingers. 


OOC:
wc: 813
AAR: Fletcher saves Dunny's butt, shoots down her second TIE and as a result  hurts her shoulder.
FM/SCRW Cabby/Cobalt 11/ S:50 "Chlovi"/ W:101 "Blade"/ISD 'Adjudicator' TF:A/2FLT/SC/VEN/VE
Honeydew
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
February 2, 2013 12:17:53 AM    View the profile of Honeydew 
This deployment had not been kind to Iron Ten.  First engagements hardly were, and Bloodmoon was doubtless no metaphorical cake walk for even the most experienced Vast Imperial pilots.  Still, the fledgeling Commando had proven yet successful at the arduous task of not getting shot down and smeared across the moon's surface into a smouldering rut of twisted metal and charred organic matter.  So far, she had kept her head down and mostly stuck to watching Dawn's back.  This sort of behaviour would earn no medals or commendations, nor was it likely to earn the right to paint multitudes of fancy kill-counting decals on her Interceptor.  It definitely helped keep both pilots alive, though, and that was more or less what mattered.

Now Joamer had given the order to land: something about an ion cannon being tossed back and forth between him and Edge.  Iron Ten remained more or less silent as her Interceptor gradually lowered.  Slowly, Iron Ten eased back her Interceptor's throttle, careful to maintain a comfortable distance from Dawn and avoid landing on top of him.  Cutting the high whine of the Interceptor's ion engines left only the dull, warbling thrum of repulsorlifts that held the craft aloft, only to lower it to the dirt in the span of a few seconds.  All was silent for a fleeting instant as the Twi'lek checked her armour seals.

The subsequent release of the Interceptor's top hatch pulled the commando firmly against her restraints as the cabin depressurized to match the low-atmosphere conditions at the moon's surface.  The sensation passed quickly, restraints were released at the press of a button, and a weapon was nearly forgotten in the subsequent rush to dismount.  The Twi'lek had to double back for her DC-17m: the little beast even without additional attachment's to weigh down a pilot's equipment.  With weapon carried in her off-hand: the right, she clamored upward to the Interceptor's exterior to join what was no doubt the entire rest of Strill by now on the moon's surface.

The landing was harsh, a product of both inexperience and the unusual gravity of a moon, and punctuated in a stumbling halt.  Iron Ten slipped into formation with the rest of the squadron in time enough to hear Joamer's spoken instructions.

"Any questions?"

Iron Ten busied herself with loading her rifle as one of her colleagues ... voiced his concern.  She couldn't say she liked the tone, and as a result felt no sympathy when he was reprimanded.  Still, she hung onto Joamer's words nonetheless, as the point applied to each and every one of them in a way.  The click and following whir of her blaster rifle loaded and charging snapped the commando's attention to the weapon and reminded her that she had somewhere to be.  Taking an instant to glance about the assembled squadron as it formed into flight-specific fire teams, Iron Ten hesitated before moving off to link with Cresh at the rear of the pack.

The Twi'lek in motion decided to break her silence and, being out of comfortable speaking range with Joamer, thumbed the closed-band communicator that served as Strill's squadron comms.  "Lead. Iron Ten."

A short pause preceded the return which broke through the moderate static caused, presumably, by their target's interference with communications.  "Go ahead."

"Ehm," she began into the inside of her helmet, choosing her wording, "I am noting a little interference with our comms already.  Nothing ... significant, but I have to ask.  Can we expect it to get worse?"

It was Edge that replied, in the patient way with which one regards innocent inexperience.  "The short answer is 'yes'."

"Oh," the acknowledgement came low, and addressed to the inside of a sealed helmet as opposed to being broadcast for the entirety of Strill to hear.

Iron Ten turned to counting her footsteps as the squadron trudged forth, making a neat division in her attentions between walking and scanning for threats.  The commando pondered in the pause of moving and scanning, then thumbed her communicator again. "How much worse?"

Edge's voice again broke the moderate static in her helmet. "We're looking at anything from a total communications blackout to visual interference inside the facility."

"I see. And-" Iron Ten was cut off when Edge called, "My one o'clock. Five enemy contacts, maybe four hundred meters."

Strill Squadron held their collective breaths, and another voice broke in, "I see them.  Lead?"

The reply was prompt, Joamer wasting not even a fraction of a second. "Everyone down.  Let them go, Strill."

The next couple of seconds was a flurry of rattling plastoid armour and ground-rustling movement as the assembled collection of commandos hunkered as low as one possibly could without sacrificing mobility.

Iron Ten would be the first to speak.  "Did- ... did they see us?" She wasn't about to straighten up to try to see what was going on.

It was a woman that answered, probably Bright from the front.  "They're moving off. I think we're fine."

"Alright," Joamer affirmed from somewhere at the middle of the pack, "Let's get moving."

More clattering and rustling of armour followed as Strill legged it in stages, according to their standing order of march.  Bright and Edge went first, moving as close to silently as a being in Stormtrooper armour could possibly be.  At Edge's okay, Besh followed.  Then, Aurek in its own methodical way.  Cresh took up the rear, with Iron Ten trying desperately to balance speed and stealth.  The squadron moved in steady, watchful bursts.

"If we are running across patrols," Iron Ten observed quietly into her helmet microphone, "we must not be too far out?"

This comment was met only with a void of static.  Iron Ten left it to contemplation whether it had been lost in interference, or if it was just that nobody else was particularly chatty.  Back, it was, to counting footsteps and scanning for threats.

"Target in sight," the voice was muddled by interference and ambiguous, but the words were still discernible,  "845, maybe 850 meters out."


OOC:
1005 words of recapping and dialogue, with a smattering of "Oh look, whitehats!" in there.

AAR: Iron Ten dismounts and moves on with Strill and displays a fair deal of chattiness.  They come within visual distance of the ID's jury-rigged ion cannon, and are holding short for Joamer's go-ahead.

I jump around a lot, trying to give the post a sort of "flurry" feel.  I would very much appreciate input on how I did with that.
FM/SCRW Honeydew/Iron Ten/S:58 "Strill"/W:101 "Blade"/ISD-II Adjudicator/TF:A/2Flt/SC/VEN/VE
DeepSix
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
February 3, 2013 2:03:50 PM    View the profile of DeepSix 
Lock on beeps and klaxons alike blared in each Vornskr craft as the elite pilots both targeted their approaching ID pilots as well as found themselves targeted in return. The first strike on either side would consist of a missile volley meant to both diminish the opposing side's numbers as well as hope to demoralize and scare them off.

"They're still coming", a pilot observed calmly after noticing the enemy TIEs made no attempt to dodge or break off their attack. Neither the pilot in question nor any of the other members of his squadron however believed this to be strange. In the face of danger it was often a better idea to risk it all and fight rather than turn tail and run.

This principle may not have fully applied in most circumstances and certainly not when considering the larger battles fought by the gigantic capital ships that shadowed the very stars. The idea did on the other hand apply pretty well as far as dogfighting was concerned. Just like a simple game of chicken, the winner was often the participant knowing both when to keep going as well as when to turn away. Problem was that turning away too soon often resulted in showing one's back to the opposition and that frequently turned out to be a major - and usually final - mistake.

The Vornskr pilots knew as much and thus made no attempt to veer off and break their attacks. The approaching ID forces however also seemed to have consisted of above average pilots, as their too managed to maintain formation and approach as if the targets painted on them were of no consequence at all.

"This should be good", another pilot mused only seconds before systems indicated optimum range of fire - a moment that neither side failed to notice nor take advantage of. Concussive missile were once more sent flying through the emptiness of space, moving from one group to the other as both VE and ID pilots hoped to manage as many kills as possible.

No sooner had the missiles launched that all Vornskr pilots began evasive maneuvers - looping, diving, barrel rolling and in three distinct cases speeding up towards the enemy's missiles, hoping and believing their craft's agility would prove superior to that of the missiles coming their way.

Time slowed down and breaths were held in as all eyes were split between the scene that could be observed outside through their viewport and the tiny red blips that menacingly got closer to the green ones that found themselves tightly packed inside the small monitor linked to the sensor packages.

Bursts of light and heat briefly disrupted those sensors as the vibrations sent through the empty space lightly shuddered the advanced crafts caught in the blast zones.

The squadron's CO was still alive though and he immediately requested a status report. One by one the other pilots answered until a pause was suddenly noticed. In most squadrons the leader would've no doubt attempted to retry contacting the member in question but Seth knew that would've been pointless in this case. He was not the only one either - in fact all other members of the squadron knew all too well what must've happened to the silent pilot.

"Another devil returns home", the blond VEN officer muttered as he took back control of his Avenger and angled it towards the ID force's scattered fighters. "Let's not send him off alone", the squadron's XO commented as he too made his way to the closest ID target he could find. The other pilots remained silent, whether out of respect for their fallen colleague, or anger towards the ones that robbed him of his life, or perhaps simple indifference towards that particular loss.

Such was the way of war after all - one side always had to lose in order for another to call itself victorious. As much as sacrifices were feared and even dreaded there were still individuals that understood that such sacrifices were in fact also necessary. A bloodless victory held little meaning and was unlikely to last in time. A win baptized in sufficient blood and death however - that was something that both sides could learn from.

As far as the veterans pilots in Vornskr were concerned however, that was already a lesson they went over again and again as previous colleagues and friends fell alongside them whilst flying in different squadrons. Some hated themselves for being unable to do anything about it. Others were happy and relieved that they were still standing. All however were united by their feelings of anger and revenge.

"Leave none alive", Qorbin instructed in a cold voice as he dropped behind one of the enemy Interceptors - his finger itching to send out crimson bolts of destruction as soon as he would get the weaker craft fully in his sights.

OOC:
WC: 815
AAR: The force I've mentioned in my previous post turns out to be better than expected. A salvo of missiles is exchanged and one of Vornskr pilots kicks the bucket as a result. Enemy casualties as well as continuation (and conclusion) will be dealt with in the next 2 posts I plan on pulling off this week.
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
Serpent
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
February 4, 2013 8:40:21 AM    View the profile of Serpent 
OOC:
VENI NPC Post


The Bloodmoon facility’s laboratory ‘room’ was in fact a great chamber that spanned several floors.  Scientists and lab technicians worked at consoles at the front of the hall, while yet more assistants and doctors marched the metal walkways above.  From there they could look down at the massive vats that dominated the far end of the room.  Each of the frosted glass cylinders resembled cloning tubes, and that was pretty much what they were.  Not copying anything as mundane as a humanoid, though, but copying the much more volatile and complex genetic sequences of a virus that would ravage whole sectors and leave billions dead.

It made Doctor Rakelle Vice’s heart swell with pride.  From her side office, she studied the hologram of the genetic code that floated above her desk, marvelling at the fruits of her labour.  Reports and updates spilled in from the vats, noting the cell cultivation and reproduction rate.  All too soon her creation would be ready to unleash on the Vast Empire.

That is, if those idiots in orbit could hold the VE’s Second Fleet at bay long enough, or the clowns of Ziel’s security forces could contain the insurrection happening in the base at this very moment.  Vice was not concerned for her own safety, of course, or even for that of her scientists.  No, it was her legacy that she wanted to preserve, the legacy of her genetic genius that was contained in the virus.

Suddenly she looked up from her desk, through the glass walls of her office and to the main doors at the front of the lab.  Vice, and indeed all of her nervous staff, could hear the sounds of gunfire beyond.  Here they come... She mused, smiling.

Suddenly the doors flew open, and the dead body of a Stormtrooper fell through, a gaping blaster hole in his chest explaining his life’s recent termination.  As the scientific staff closest to the door gasped in horror and fell back, three figures marched confidently inside.

One was a rather average-looking man, but Vice read the curious intellect in his eyes as he swept the room.  A fellow scientist to be sure.  The other two were not, however, for they, both women, surveyed the room as if looking for threats, studying the inhabitants rather than the technology.

“Everybody down on the ground!” Roared the lead figure, the taller of the two women.  Doing so she swept her blaster around, gesturing to everyone in sight.  The woman’s keen eyes picked out everyone crouching in the shadows, and her fellows gestured with their guns for the scientists on the raised walkways to come down and join those cowering on the floor.

“Which of you is Doctor Rakelle Vice?” Demanded the tall woman once all seemed subdued.

A few frightened eyes flicked to the lead scientist in her office.  Vice rose from her desk, left the room, and crossed the floor of the main lab to the three figures.  “I am she,” The Dominion geneticist declared.

“Is this her?” Asked the lead VE infiltrator, and the scientist member of her team nodded in confirmation.  “Excellent.  Dr Vice, you are coming with us.  Please surrender without a fuss,” Said the woman firmly.

Vice’s confident smirk broadened.  “And if I refuse?” She asked.

“You will be taken by force,” Said the other.

“Out of an enemy-held facility?  Tell me, will I be conscious and screaming your location to every soldier in earshot, or do you plan to stun me and then carry me out of here?”  Vice was amused by both options.  Had these VENI fools not thought this all through?

“You will come quite peacefully,” Said the other woman calmly, “For in just twenty-three minutes this whole area will be vaporised by a Fission Bomb.  Leaving with us is the only way you will leave alive.”

“You’re bluffing!” Declared Vice instantly, alarmed by the thought of all her hard work being annihilated.

“No,” Said the other calmly, “I’m going to complete my mission or kill everyone trying.”

The words hung in the air.  Vice could even see the sudden fear and worry on the face of the VENI scientist.  Clearly this was news to him, but did that mean that the enemy leader was bluffing, making it up as she went?  No, she did not seem to be lying.  Vice was well-versed in reading others, and this woman... she... she had no fear!  She was deadly serious, and utterly prepared to slaughter everyone, even herself, to ensure the Bloodmoon’s fall.

Vice moved to open her mouth, about to speak, and that was when the hidden security team burst into action.

Placed among the scientists on Ziel’s orders and with Vice’s approval, the elite Team 23 provided by Dominion Intelligence leapt up from where they were pretending to cower on the floor.  All six of them drew hidden blaster pistols from beneath their white lab coats, diving behind computer consoles and monitoring stations for cover as they opened fired.

Chaos ensued.

-----

Grey saw the flurry of movement and reacted instantly, snapping off shots as she ducked behind a terminal.  She had expected something like this (it is, after all, exactly what she would have done were she in charge of this facility), but her companions were not so fast.  Corporal Elsek was a half step behind, the diminutive woman moving quickly and firing back on reflex.  However, Doctor Argolo Frayne was caught flat-footed by the attack and did little more than yelp in surprise and drop to the ground, his hands over his head.

Ensign Grey only half noticed the spray of shots that chased the scientist as Frayne scrambled for cover.  Without even bothering to check on him, she leaned around the computer beside her and squeezed off a trio of shots.  One went wide, one hit a cluster of data cables, but the third caught a Dominion agent in the head, downing the woman instantly.

Return fire drove Grey back into hiding, and as she did so she noticed Elsek making a move.  The Corporal darted from cover, quick as a flash, and she sprinted off to the left.  Using one of the massive virus cultivation vats for cover, she came to a stop and fired off a few shots.  Another enemy went down.

From six on three to four on three, Grey realised that their odds of victory were sharply increasing.  However, the fight was far from done.  She saw a Dominion agent make a break, perhaps trying (as Elsek did) to get into a flanking position and a better angle of fire.  Grey tried to shoot him as he moved, but two of his fellows gave him covering fire that forced her to abort.  When the fire on her position ceased and she got a chance to look again, she realised too exactly what her foe had been running towards.

The Dominion Intelligence agent stood in the open, Doctor Argolo Frayne held in front of him, pressing a blaster pistol to the scientist’s temple.  “Whoever you are, time to give up!” He declared in a gruff voice, the threat clear.

The firing stopped, as did the screams of the enemy scientists who were caught in the crossfire of the brief but brutal fire fight.  Grey stared, seeing the determination on the agent’s face and the fear on Frayne’s.

“You are quite good,” Said the Dominion agent, looking over his hostage’s shoulder.  “Tell me, who are you?”

“I am Grey,” Said the Ensign simply, watching Elsek out of the corner of her eye.  The other VENI operative was poised ready to strike.  “And you are?” She asked, determined to keep him talking.

“I am Sergeant Yuri,” Said the other, “And I have heard of the Greys of VENI.  Tell me, are you the Grey?” He asked, being as in the dark as to the appearance and even gender of the famed Chief of the Vast Empire’s feared Naval Intelligence division.

“If the Captain were here, you’d already be dead,” Promised the Ensign.  “Now what do you want?”

He pressed his gun further into Frayne’s head, making the scientist wince.  “Surrender now, or your friend dies!” He said.

“He’s not afraid to die,” Said Grey calmly.

“Yes I am!” Protested Argolo, his eyes pleading with her to save him.

The Dominion Intelligence agent smiled.  “Oh come on!  You can’t win, you must know that.  Surrender while you can.  Take my offer now, because every second you wait, Dominion security is coming closer.  Give up while you can and I may order them to spare you!”  And at that point, Yuri’s eyes darted to the side, “And tell that other one to wait where she is!”

“Stand down, Corporal,” Said Grey, inwardly cursing that Yuri was so observant.

“Now,” Continued the enemy sergeant, “Lower your weapons while my remaining men relieve you of them.  And no funny business!  This room is rigged with explosives and...”

He never got a chance to continue, for Grey had finished weighing the situation.  There was only one conclusion and that was to end this now.

Grey fired, and Yuri slumped to the ground, dead instantly.

Frayne stood there, having felt the heat of the shot as it passed within a centimetre of his face and struck his abductor clean in the left eye.  The Doctor dimly heard several more shots, as at the same time Elsek and Grey leapt into action.  Shots rang out, people fell, and the remaining three rival Intelligence agents were no more.

He blinked.  It was over.

“You could have killed me,” He said to Grey, his voice and body numb.

She shrugged.  “At least you would have avoided their tortures.  Now, where did our prey go...” And so saying she scanned the room with her keen eyes.  Spotting the Dominion’s lead scientist, who had retreated to her office, the Ensign said, “Doctor Vice!  You are now ours.  Follow my exact instructions and you, and your research, shall survive.”

Meekly, eying the corpses of the security team, Rakelle Vice emerged, hands raised in surrender.  “You want my research?” She asked hopefully.  “I can continue to work on it for VENI?”

“No,” Said Doctor Frayne.

“Yes,” Said Ensign Grey, drawing a disgusted look of shock from her team’s scientist.  “Do we have a deal?”

Vice nodded.  “I shall need some of my more experienced staff too,” She dared to say.

“So be it,” Grey allowed.  “Select three to defect with you.  Dr Frayne, kindly ask them a few testing questions to ensure that they are geneticists.”

“Only once you and I have spoken about this!” Countered Argolo.

Suddenly Grey’s pistol was in his face, and for the second time in as many minutes the scientist felt himself at the mercy of a ruthless intelligence agent with no morals what so ever.  “Now, Doctor,” She ordered firmly.

“Very well,” Frayne replied darkly and got to work.

Within two more minutes the VENI team had their new scientists, and departed the lab area.

Now they needed only escape the Bloodmoon facility with their prize.

OOC:
1845 words.  And another objective achieved!  Now they need only get free before the other half of the team blows the facility to pieces!

After Action Report:  Grey and her team assault the labs, killing the Dominion Intelligence team hidden there disguised as scientists.  This done, Grey offers Dr Rakelle Vice a chance to defect along with three of her top people, and she accepts.  That VENI want Vice’s horrific research for themselves really shakes Dr Frayne, the team scientist, but for now he is going along with it.
SCAP/LTJG Pherik “Serpent” Zail / VSD Brilliant /TF:Aurek/2Flt/FC/VEN/VE
[SoA][LoM][NAR][E][CBV][SoV][MiD][1NS][GWC][MC1][VC:E][CC:1][=*Eng*=][=*BO*=]

"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
DeepSix
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DeepSix
 
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
February 4, 2013 10:31:09 AM    View the profile of DeepSix 
OOC:
VENI NPC Post


The Arkanian scientist heard the blaster fire in the distance and correctly surmised that at least part of her team managed to reach the labs before she had a chance to. It did not matter though. the VENI agents may have killed off the eggheads but they would not have dared destroy the virus using conventional methods out of fear of infection and death.

The best thing about an intellectual's mind was that a similar minded individual could easily understand it by merely gazing upon the former's work. There, hidden beneath the surface of words, rhymes, mathematical equations or even genetic genomes, the true nature of a man could still be found. Thought processes, stages of preparation, degree of bravery (or fear) and most important of all - the ability to pull off that which at some point seemed but a distant dream.

Irya Pael did not need some ID scientist to explain her how or why she made a virus. What she needed was the virus itself for it was that deadly creation that Irya could prod, slice and synthesize until such a time that she would understand how it came to be. What elements were used in its making, what strings already evolved from the original one and what more strings could further evolve given time and a little helpful nudge in the right direction.

Besides, in the Arkanian's experience actually talking with another so called genius led only to arguments - most of which unable to ever be resolved without a few million credits worth of research or some insignificant race on some backwater planet used as lab rats. That wasn't the only problem either - from what brief interactions the Near Human had with others at least partly sharing her interests, Irya was unimpressed with their linear way of thinking.

It was as if they could see a goal and merely did everything in their power to reach that goal. They did this in a most simplified fashion however, trying to reach point B using a straight line beginning somewhere around point A. It was not wrong of course... Heck, most self proclaimed scientists actually promoted this sort of simplicity, hiding it under the guise of efficiency: least amount of resources required for optimum amount of benefits.

That however was not the way Pael's brain operated. To her getting the answers was as crucial as actually learning what they were. Experimenting with new genetic samples, trying out new methods - some of her own creation - and if needed be sacrificing as many sentient life forms as required. The challenge, as well as the sweet taste of success upon conquering that challenge... to the Arkanian that was the greatest addiction of them all, far surpassing anything else mere mortals may dream up next.

Interesting, the not fully sane woman paused and pondered after entering the lab. There were scorch marks on the walls made by blaster fire as well as a few stiffs resting in small pools of blood. What struck Irya as odd however was the fact that inside the lab there were still a few living scientists as well. Knowing Grey, the woman would've assumed such witnesses - civilians or not - would not be spared.

There however they stood - cowering and quivering in the shadows and behind larger pieces of expensive looking equipment. "What happened?" the woman asked plainly as she effortlessly raised her blaster in an attempt to further make herself seem more intimidating than her appearances may have otherwise led the eggheads to believe.

None of the remaining scientists spoke however. They appeared too shocked or scared to open their mouths and offer explanation of that which occurred not so long ago in that very same room.

"Aaah!" a female scientist cried in pain as a blaster shot caught her squarely in the chest, sending the unprepared Human to the floor. There the injured ID civilian quaked and shivered for a few more seconds before her body grew still. "I don't like repeating myself..." Irya Pael explained as she targeted another weak looking scientist.

"Wait! Wait!!!" the frightened man managed to utter as he brought his hands up in both defeat and submission. The man quickly proceeded to tell Irya everything that had occurred once Grey and her team barged in. It was not a hard thing to do, having happened only minutes before and given the traumatic nature of the encounter all the details that he was able to discern in the fighting were still quite vivid in his mind.

"I see", Irya muttered as she lowered the blaster and made her way to the center of the room, towards the vats she knew contained the virus that the Vast Empire was so frightened of. She approached the nearest console and began typing. Given the fact that the virus did not affect Humans, the fact that the labs were supervised both electronically as well as by undercover military personnel on site and also the fact that Rakelle Vice was a fairly arrogant specimen, there were no passwords or firewalls that required hacking - not that the Arkanian had not already prepared for such scenarios beforehand. Just in case, she thought as she recalled the brief detour she ended up taking instead of rushing straight for this place.

Within seconds the vat before her gulped what looked like air bubbles as from another console directly linked to it a small vial popped out. With a great deal of confidence the Arkanian approached and reached for the greenish looking vial. She brought it closer to her face, and stared at it once it was at eye level. She still wanted to analyze it, understand it and exploit it to her own ends but she knew this was neither the place nor time for such things - not if Grey was honest about there being a fusion bomb ready to put another giant crater into the surface of the crimson moon.

Not giving the other ID scientists another look, the woman casually strolled right out of the labs, disappearing in the corridors beyond. Escape was now her priority and thankfully she had already seen to securing such a way off that rock. The only questions were whether she would encounter any obstacles along the way and whether those obstacles would be found wearing ID... or VE uniforms?

OOC:
WC: 1065
AAR: Irya Pael finds her way to the labs shortly after all the commotion dies down. There she shoots one surviving scientist and questions another - finding out about all that transpired upon Grey's unwelcome visit. She next acquires a sample of the dreaded virus and then disappears, her actions once more shrouded in mystery. I expect I'll be making 2 more VENI posts as well, one from Pael's perspective and another from Hayek's - not necessarily in that order.
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
DeepSix
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DeepSix
 
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
February 4, 2013 11:57:36 AM    View the profile of DeepSix 
The experienced pilot required no more than a few seconds to line up his TIE Avenger with the enemy's TIE Interceptor. The very moment the two crafts were aligned a stream of laser fire erupted from the Avenger's L-s9.3 cannons. The targeted Interceptor struggled to evade but there was no escaping the blond VE officer on his six. A mere handful of seconds passed by agonizingly slow as blow after blow weakened the shields until finally the latter were no more. The next hits that struck hard and true incinerated the Titanium alloy hull, melting through until finding the reactor underneath. When the two different types of energy made contact, the enemy craft turned to space dust and metallic debris.

But that was just one kill and Seth Qorbin knew there were still others actively trying to do him and his squadron in and that prospect did not particularly please him. The man turned to acquire another target and even moved to intercept it when another TIE Avenger swooped in from out of nowhere and turned the Interceptor into scrap.

All throughout the tiny amount of space the two groups silently claimed as their personal battleground such occurrences repeated themselves again and again as Vornskr pilots used their superior speed and maneuverability to first deal with the weaker crafts, leaving the Avengers for later.

It was for all intents and purposes a solid tactic. For one it diminished the number of guns that could be used to target them or their allies. It also removed unnecessary distractions from the field of battle. Most valuable of them all however was the fact that it robbed the enemy Avengers of support, all the while striking fear and confusion in their midst.

Such were the tactics Vornskr pilots were taught to use in order to rise even further from anonymity and towards fame - or in their case perhaps infamy instead. Strike first. Strike hard. Start with the weakest link. Stop only when there was no one else left flying.

"And another bright bites it!" an enthusiastic voice announced the destruction of one of the enemy's Avengers. The pilot in question was merely taking the lead though as Seth knew both himself and the remaining pilots in his squadron would soon enough target and prey on any enemy fighters still around.

"Blade Actual", a voice coming through the comm channel suddenly interrupted the blond officer's musings. One glance at the comm system quickly revealed that the voice belonged to the pilot flying as Jexxel One.

"What's wrong?" Qorbin inquired as he made good use of his multitasking skills - at the same time turning to target a seemingly lone and vulnerable Interceptor. "The enemy's pulling back, sir. There are still pockets of resistance where the fighting's still thick but overall the enemy's starfighter screen is closing in on their own ships."

The Onderonian's eyes narrowed as he processed the new information. It did not surprise him that Markus Wolfrott, Jexxel's CO, discovered as much. Seth often believed part of the man's success at pulling off great traps was owed to his ability to notice things and subsequently read into those things before usually forming a rather accurate conclusion.

"They're turning tail already?" Seth asked unsure what to think of this. Granted the Vast Empire appeared to hold the upper hand for the time being but the Imperial Dominion was still not that badly beaten yet. Their main ships were still intact and there were still enough starfighters and smaller support ships to allow them to keep on going for a while longer.

A retreat at this point in time would've been smart as far as the former smuggler was concerned but at the same time such a course of action would have also been very uncharacteristic of any major self appointed galactic power. Unless the ID had already finished preparations to launch their virus against the VE and eventually the entire galaxy, killing off every sentient species other than Humans. If so then a retreat at this point would've indeed been a very good idea on their part.

Then again such a scenario implied that the VENI team sent on the moon's surface failed. Thanks to his connections in unseen places Seth knew both that a team was formed to deal with the biological threat as well as knew who was in charge of that team. He wanted to go himself but knew his talents would best serve the Empire if used from the sealed cockpit of a starfighter. Still... to think that the so efficient Ensign Grey failed and allowed the enemy to complete their goals - the notion was hardly impossible... just very hard to believe.

"Keep me informed", Qorbin eventually answered. "Let me know if any craft leaves the moon's surface", the Lieutenant added. He knew that either the VENI team would come up for air should they manage and complete their mission... or the enemy would do that instead should the latter have managed to fend off against the VENI agents. Regardless of which was true, Seth found himself wanting to know the answer. Especially given the drastic changes one particular outcome may have upon the entire galaxy.

"You're getting sloppy boss", Aria's voice next rang over the squadron channel and the VEN officer grinned after realizing yet another kill was stolen right before his very eyes. "I'm merely giving them a small handicap to even the odds", Seth joked as he returned his attention to the fighting he still had to deal with for the time being.

OOC:
WC: 929
AAR: Sorry for the double post but since we're rushing the story's end and given the fact I still have some posts in need of writing as part of both VEN branches in order to complete certain side stories... I'm hoping you'll all be forgiving this once.

That said I'm continuing with the fighting I started previously whilst also adding in a few elements that will tie in with Trykon's eventual decision to pursue the enemy upon their escape (and the starting of Death) as well as with the VENI plot - namely their escape from the moon.
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
Dunny
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
February 5, 2013 2:24:29 AM    View the profile of Dunny 
The battle for Bloodmoon was in full swing. Destroyers, Frigates and Corvettes filled the space above the moon, and the green streaks of Turbolasers, the blue jolts of Ion blasts and the red trails of missiles and torpedoes filled the space in between the two armoured battle-lines, a deadly firestorm that no sane being would ever seriously consider entering. The Adjudicator dominated the battle, massive and overbearing as she pounded on the hull of a Victory-II Class Crusier. Below, near the surface of the moon, tiny green streaks and blue ion trails told of another, smaller battle raging far below.

For almost two decades, all battles of this size had been fought between two factions: The large, dagger-shaped monsters of the Galactic Empire versus the hodge-podge forces of the Rebel Alliance. This conflict was drastically different from anything that had been fought in the past – it was a ‘blue-on-blue’ war, without a single Mon Calamari cruiser in sight. This was a purely Imperial battle, and as massive Star Destroyers squared off, the agile, fragile Twin Ion Engine craft of the two Imperial forces fought a highly mobile war, screaming through manoeuvres impossible by any Alliance craft. Blindingly fast, utterly devastating.

Twin Ion Craft, known as TIE’s, were the symbol of the Empire’s war doctrine. Faster and more agile than anything around, they were lightning quick, well armed, and almost completely defenceless if anything struck them. It made for quite a light show, the blue ion trails dancing and intertwining as the fighters jostled for position, occasionally joined by green traces of laser fire or the red explosion of a Concussion Missile. It was a knife-fight, at close to point-blank range, where any mistake, any misstep; the slightest errant twitch of a hand on a joystick could mean an instant death.

For Sam Jack Dunn, the rookie commander of Chlovi Squadron and a part-time Imperial Assassin, this was nothing less than home. He spotted a red blip on the sensor screen to his right and immediately pulled the two-handed control yoke back hard. The dagger-winged TIE Interceptor he flew, its solar panel wings adorned with cyan ace stripes that showed he’d made at least ten fighter kills, climbed sharply and looped up over itself, flying upside-down in the direction he’d come from a scant second before, the highly advanced Twin Ion Engine screaming a ear-splitting warcry that no-one would ever hear.

Peering through the transparisteel canopy at the front of the ball-shaped cockpit with ice-blue eyes, the fighter jock’s gaze fixed itself on a single metallic glint in the space ahead, brighter than the stars that filled the backdrop of space. His eyes narrowed just like the targeting computer located in the middle of his control yoke as they both locked onto their target, and a minute adjustment of the control yoke brought the rapidly-approaching fighter into his line of fire. He could see it now, two large hexagonal wings around a ball-cockpit that matched his own perfectly. A TIE Fighter.

The pilot of that outdated craft was good. He’d managed to throw his fighter into a dizzying dance of evasion to out-race the concussion missile that Sam had thrown his way, doing far better than his now-dead wingmate, but with his concentration entirely on the missile up his tailpipe, Sam had been able to waltz unfettered right up to his hapless victim, ready to put four emerald-green lasers right into the cockpit. He hadn’t expected the bugger to actually somehow manage to dodge his carefully-laid ambush and, just to rub some salt into the wound, get that fighter behind him!

He loved it! His foe’s craft was outdated, fragile and packed less than a third of the firepower his own did, and none of the protection. It was slower and less agile than him, but the pilot obviously knew every single inch of his craft and had learned every single advantage and limitation it held. The smile on Sam Dunn’s face, hidden by the jet-black blast helmet that all TIE Pilots were required to wear, was wide and honest as the elusive little fighter jinked just a little to port, spoiling his targeting solution and showing another feat of skill.

They’d already been dancing for half a minute, Sam constantly on the attack and the little fighter eluding him every time he got close to a target lock. The fighter must have been fitted with tiny thrusters along the wings, because the agility and precision it had displayed was as stunning as it was aggravating. It wasn’t every day that Sam Dunn found something that could evade even better than he could, and he was finding the exercise both exhilarating and frustrating. It couldn’t go on for much longer, though, he had his elusive little foe right in his sights.

“This guy’s beautiful.” Sam said to himself as he adjusted instantly, his fighter flying upside-down as he tried to predict what his opponent would do next, knowing that he only had to get right once to be able to finish this waltz. He jinked to starboard, then dove a little, his fighter climbing even farther above the target purely on a hunch. Sam Dunn has always had a talent for prediction, and it served him well now, as the fighter mirrored his move exactly. His targeting computer reported a solid lock, the fighter’s outline immediately glowing green on his screen.

He fired at the exact moment that his opponent did, his thumbs jamming on the triggers just as a pair of emerald-green laser bolts spat out from the chin of the opposing fighter and lanced towards his ship. Even as the first four bolts shot from his Interceptor’s wings, Sam was jerking his control yoke hard to starboard, barrel-rolling in a disengagement to get him out of the opponent’s line of fire. He could have just activated his forward shields to absorb the two bolts, but TIE craft had powerful lasers, and Sam didn’t want to develop any ‘sloppy’ habits.

He considered shields to be the tools of cowards, and as he rolled clear of the enemy’s fire and heard the beep of his targeting computer that told him his opponent was slain, he inclined his head in a silent salute to his fallen enemy. The pilot had flown beautifully, despite his outdated craft, and he’d earned Sam Dunn’s respect. Still, beautiful flying hadn’t made up for the technological disadvantage, and only the living could appreciate such flying. Dead, he reflected to himself, was dead. He once again was astounded at how responsive Cobalt 1 was. He liked the craft.

It was small, agile and deadly, like the daggers he favoured in personal combat. He keyed the comm mounted in his fighter and reported “Got ‘em,” just a second before his wingmate, John “Kilroy” Varl, likewise reported the same. Over the Squadron channel, other members of his team were reporting that they’d taken out their targets, and Sam was gratified to hear that only a couple had scored their two kills before him. In under two minutes, two entire squadrons of Imperial Domininon TIE’s were nothing more than collections of scrap metal and dead pilot, annihilated by the new Squadron.

All except one lone fighter.

The lone surviving TIE Fighter must have somehow slipped through the net that the 50th Squadron had cast, desperation and terror lending the outnumbered, outmatched pilot an animal cunning. Sam Dunn, still buzzed from the vicious dogfight and trying to process all the kill reports at once, didn’t notice the hostile TIE that slipped in behind him until his targeting computer blared out a warning: a hostile had locked onto him! He didn’t pause to think or strategize – the moment his ears picked up the sound, his hands were already moving on the control yoke.

His Interceptor decelerating sharply as he dove into an evasive Wotan Weave to try and shake his pursuer. He diverted all power from his weapons into the Twin Ion Engine, knowing that he didn’t need to attack: His opponent was outnumbered by a factor of more than ten to one – one of the 50th would swat the last fly from the black for him. He switched seamlessly from a Wotan Weave into a Skywalker Loop, climbing sharply as he fired his ion manoeuvring jets to tighten the loop even more…but he needn’t have bothered. Screaming in came a TIE Interceptor.

“Comin’ through.” The warning came over the Squadron channel, and though Sam Dunn didn’t recognize the voice, his helmet’s Heads Up Display told him that it was Cobalt 11. If his memory was good, that meant Cabby had come to the rescue. He watched on his sensor screen as the green blip screamed in on a direct intercept course straight towards the target…fast, aggressive and with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. Well, he mused to himself as he watched green bolts lance from her fighter and slam straight into the ball cockpit of the foe, it was certainly working.

Right up until the moment that she kept going through the expanding debris field of the fighter she had just killed, her deflector shields sparking blue and white as they absorbed the energy of the supercritical reactor. The debris from the fighter, though, passed straight through the deflector shields and sent the fighter spinning away. His breath caught in his throat for a moment as he began to worry that he’d lost a pilot already, but after a moment the little Interceptor righted itself.
“Are you allright?” He asked, trying to keep his tone controlled. Alive didn’t necessarily mean unharmed.

[[“Yeah, I’m good. I might have messed up my shoulder. But I’m okay.”]]
Well, it could certainly have gone a lot worse. It wasn’t a clean kill, but one thing was for sure – those two TIE Squadrons were history, and not a single member of 50th had been shot down. For a first fight, it wasn’t too shabby at all.
[[“I think I just saved your butt Dunny. You’re welcome.”]] Cabby added, with a mischievous grin Sam could hear as clear as crystal. He chuckled and shook his head.
“Good shooting, but…try to remember to dodge next time, Cobalt 11.”

First blood to us. Sam thought triumphantly as he snap-rolled back into formation, his sensor screen informing him as the rest of the Squadron’s Interceptors also began to move back into a standard patrol formation around him, and the comm. channel was filled with exclamations of joy. Chlovi’s first real battle couldn’t have gone better – they’d punched the enemy formation hard, then tore them apart before the TIE’s could recover. The hard training, evidently, had paid off in full. He felt proud of every single one of the pilots under his command. They’d risen far above his expectations for them.

Four days ago, his Squadron had not even existed. For fully half of its members, this was the first time they had been in a real battle in a TIE Interceptor. They’d only had a couple of day’s training before being thrown into battle, and even Sam Dunn had only been in one full-scale battle before this. And yet, they’d already taken out twice their number.
“Team, that was flawless. Our first victory. I’m proud of every one of you. C’mon, let’s go find us some more Dominion bantha-botherers to kill.” He sent over the comm., before checking his scanner.

Only to find that there was absolutely nothing. He couldn’t see any other fighters on the little screen to his right. No enemy fighters on radar. No allied fighters, either. That couldn’t be right, he knew that the rest of Chlovi Squadron were formed up around him, they should at least show up on the screen. He tapped the screen with a gloved finger, his brow furrowed in puzzlement, before it came to him. There was only one explanation for a sudden and total sensor failure. Something was jamming him!
“We’re about to be stung! Break Break Break!”
Too late.

OOC:
WORD COUNT: 2,000
AAR: The rest of Chlovi eliminate their targets, and Dunny finds himself starting to enjoy the challenge. The team doesn’t have time to celebrate their first victory, however, as they get ambushed. But whom are these mysterious ambushers? Stay tuned and find out…


OOC:
128th Imperial Dominion Interceptor Squadron – SCO “Seeker”


At the outskirts of the battle, just outside the gravity well of Bloodmoon, twelve little metallic shapes appeared into existence without any warning. One moment, their little bit of space was empty, and the next, it was full of titanium alloy and murderous intent. Twelve TIE Interceptors floated in the void, each surrounded by a large circular contraption that appeared to have a pair of massive engines at the top and bottom points. The hyperspace booster rings were old technology, rarely seen since the Clone Wars. The fighters were instantly linked to the nearest Star Destroyer via their inbuilt communicators.

The TIE Interceptors looked different to the rest of the craft in the battle. They were painted in a light durasteel grey that covered even their solar panels, a uniform colour that was broken up by distinctive markings on each of the fighters. The fighter that rested in the front and center had no less than twelve royal blue pinstripes on each solar panel, and inside, the pilot’s durasteel grey helmet was covered in blue pinstripes. No other Interceptor in the galaxy bore those markings. This, then, was Seeker, the most infamous Squadron Commander since the legendary Baron Fel himself.

He looked at the battle that waged both above and below his Squadron with a veteran’s eye, an eye that had gazed over more battles than the man could care to remember. Hidden beneath the durasteel visage of his flight suit’s helmet, his expression was grim as he looked upon the devastation that the enemy was wreaking upon the Dominion’s fleet. The sight of war and devastation was not new to him: He had been present at the treachery of Gerrard V, where the 128th’s former squadron commander Kasan Moor spat on her Imperial oath and revealed herself a traitor.

He’d been present during the victory on Hoth, where his Squadron, still under suspicion, had been thrown into a suicide mission to slow down the fleeing Rebel escorts. There was no glory in surviving that nightmare. He had even been there, above the forest moon of Endor, during that fateful day when their beloved Emperor was slain, and it was the efforts of his Squadron that saved the ISD Stalker, their original mothership, from the forced of the hated Rebellion. Of all the battles and disasters he had seen, the spectacle unfolding before him reminded him most strongly of Endor.

It was a full-scale fleet action, with no less than four Imperial Star Destroyers and dozens of support ships taking part. Seeker’s veteran instincts told him one inarguable fact about the battle that he was seeing: The Dominion was losing. A soft, heartfelt sigh left his lips. The idea of protecting a biological weapons plant left a foul taste on his lips, but orders were orders, and has he had been forced to demonstrate again and again for distrusting superiors, he was nothing if not loyal. He tapped the comm-panel on his fighter’s dashboard and sent a short, terse message.

“The Saints have arrived. Give us a target.”

[[“Hah! Give us a challenge is more like it. I’m sick of dealing with these VE neeks.”]]
The voice that sounded over the Squadron channel was female in cadence, filled with confidence and bloodlust. Her words carried a distinctive Nar Shadaa drawl, and the comm screen at the top of the cockpit canopy of Seeker’s fighter identified her as Saint Three, but even without the accent or cadence, he could recognize the sheer aggression of Clint anywhere.
[[“I concur. They place too much faith in their technology and not enough in themselves.”]]

This voice was in the calm and measured tones of an Eriadu accent, and from the barely disguised yawn it was quite clear that the Squadron’s 2nd in Command, bearing the callsign ‘Trophy’, was already bored with the situation. Seeker felt the corner of his lip tug in the ghost of a smile. They had a point – so far, the Vast Empire forces they had been facing possessed an overwhelming technological advantage, but many of their pilots simply lacked the experience and skill that the 128th did. New recruits, he guessed, to replace the losses inflicted in the early invasion.

“Don’t get cocky, you two. A second-rate force wouldn’t be winning-“
His admonishment was cut off by an incoming transmission over the command commnet, sent by the ISD Virulent with their orders. He immediately stopped talking and listened up – orders were orders, and they had jumped in-system to fight, not to bicker.
[[“128th, this is the Virulent. We are pulling out – targets being uploaded to your targeting computer now. Strike hard, then pull out.”]]
Seeker’s grim expression began to fade as the corner of his mouth tugged into a small, determined smile.
“Your will be done, 128th will engage. Out.”

Glancing down at the sensor screen to his right, Seeker could see one squadron of hostile TIE Interceptors holding high orbit above the Bloodmoon facility, as well as an Interceptor and Bomber squadron providing escort for the nearest enemy Star Destroyer. There was no hesitation – his orders came immediately over the Squadron channel, his tone authoritative, his Coruscanti accent lending a clipped and precise air to his words. No single Squadron would be a match.
“Besh Flight, engage escorting Bomber squadron. Cresh Flight, the Interceptor escorts are yours. Aurek, on me – the ones above the facility are ours. Close in.”

[[“Saint 5 here, moving to engage.”]]
[[“Saint 9, closing for the kill.”]]
Even as he heard the acknowledgements, Seeker’s gloved hands moved on the control yoke of his own Interceptor, the lightweight fighter responding instantly to his commands as it pulled a tight turn to starboard and dove on an intercept vector with the hostile squadron, which appeared to be mopping up some TIE/ln stragglers. Without shields or concussion missiles to slow the fighter down, the sleek, dagger-winged Interceptor flew like a thing possessed. He opened up the throttle, and the machine streaked forward, racing at 125 MLGT and climbing.

[[“Jamming successful. Surprise will be ours.”]] That was Cloak, Saint 4, whose acceptance into the 128th was largely due to his excellence at ambush. His fighter’s jamming suite, ripped out of a pair of New Republic A-Wing Starfighters, was enough to render the advanced sensor systems and communications network of most fighters utterly useless. Now, unless someone saw them coming through their fighter’s viewport, there would be no warning of the impending doom.  Seeker’s smile widened as he lined up his fighter against a pair of Interceptors that had strayed slightly from the main formation, his targeting computer switched off.

“Seeker to Flight. Stoop and sting.”

OOC:
Word Count: 3,006
AAR: Introducing Saint 1, also known as Seeker, and the 128th Imperial Interceptor Squadron.
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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Dunny
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
February 5, 2013 2:25:07 AM    View the profile of Dunny 
Sound doesn’t carry in space. No-one heard Alderaan blow up as the Superlaser ripped through the planet’s core. When the Death Star was destroyed, the survivors of the Battle of Yavin didn’t hear a thing. Every star pilot to have met their end in the cold, black vacuum of space did so unheard; with no atmosphere to carry their dying scream. When Cloak’s TIE Interceptor opened up with no less than six laser cannons right into the ball-cockpit of Cobalt 2, John Sheridan died without a sound. One moment, he was there; the next, there was nothing but silent fire.

With their sensors down and the forward-facing canopy of their cockpit allowing them no vision to the sides or rear of their fighter, the only pilot of the 50th that saw John Sheridan’s passing was Justy Tyler, the pilot of Cobalt 3, whom was holding position almost directly behind what had just been the most veteran pilot of the Squadron. Justy was not a brave man: He had joined the Empire out of laziness, hoping for a nice, safe desk job. He also had a decidedly average opinion of his own piloting skills. His only thought was simply ‘I’m outmatched.’

This thought was followed almost immediately by another, as the horror of what had occurred started to sink in. The most veteran member of the Squadron, the one whom had survived the longest and faced the most battles, the irascible, unkillable old man who had turned dodging into an art form, had just suddenly and unceremoniously been blown into space dust right in front of him. The new thought looped through his brain over and over again, seeming just a little louder and more insistent each time. Shocked, traumatised and terrified, Justy thought to himself ‘I don’t want to die.’

Before he realized what he was doing, Justy’s hand was moving from the control yoke and onto the throttle, pushing it as far forward as it would go as his composure snapped. The thought pounded in his head, repeating over and over as his fighter zipped out of formation and streaked back towards the ISD Adjudicator. ‘I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die…’ he said to himself over and over. He didn’t need his sensors or sound to know that John’s killer was following him. He could almost feel the targeting computer seeking him out, hunting him.

He threw his little starfighter into a sharp climb, his hands pushing the control yoke hard to starboard as his fighter sped into a sharp, lightning-quick snap-roll. He was rewarded with a few more precious moments of existence, as a torrent of brilliant green laserfire lanced through the black of space beneath him, just where he had been a moment before. Justy’s world was nothing but heart-crushing terror as he started to hyperventilate, his flight suit’s life support working hard to keep the oxygen flowing into his panicking brain. Inside his gloves, his hands were virtually swimming in cold sweat.

Each passing second, he threw his fighter into another wild manoeuvre; each second, another salvo of deadly emerald lights just barely missed him. Each breath that his hyperventilating lungs dragged in was a miracle, a testament to his coward’s instincts and his will to survive. Attack was unthinkable, retaliation naught but a distant dream. The pilot assailing him was a force of nature, on his tail every step of the way. One didn’t strike back against a hurricane, and the constant stream of laserfire lancing through the space all around him seemed like nothing less than a hurricane to Justy.

[[“Justy, what the hell are you doing?!”]]
That was his wingmate’s voice – Tony Vincent, better known as ‘Shiv’. For a single, glorious moment, the jamming that was affecting Justy’s sensors faded, and he could see the battle clearly on his sensor screen. He could see the familiar yellow blips of his Squadron Mates. One, Tony, was quickly racing towards him. The others…
…no, that couldn’t be right. There was no way there could only be six left – not this quickly! The Squadron lost four fighters in as many seconds! The fear rose up in his throat again, and Justy screamed.

“NOT ME! YOU HEAR ME, YOU MONSTER? YOU WON’T GET ME!”
Justy diverted every bit of power his Interceptor’s reactor was putting out into the engines, and his craft shot ahead like a blaster bolt from a carbine, streaking ahead faster than even the durasteel Interceptor behind him was expecting. For a moment, he was convinced that he was dead – everything had gone silent. There was no more warning scream from his sensors, no voices on the comm, no blaster bolts flying around him. There was nothing but silence and peace. Justy had made it. He’d gotten out. He lived.

It wasn’t until he came into visual range of the ISD Adjudicator, and the flight control officer demanded to know why the rest of his Squadron wasn’t reporting in that the guilt hit the young fighter pilot in the gut like a sledgehammer. He’d abandoned them – left them to die in order to save his own skin. He looked down at his hands, and saw that they were shaking. He was able to bite back the first sob, able to speak long enough to report.
“They’re…they’re getting killed out there. The Grey Death has come for them.”
The tears flowed.

OOC:
Word Count: 900
AAR: After watching John Sheridan die, Justy panics and flies for his life. The fact he actually out-flies a member of the 128th totally escapes him, as the realization that he has just abandoned his team-mates hits him. One thing’s for sure: Justy is out of the fight.


Vakma Sekhmet, the Imperial fighter pilot best known by her callsign of ‘Clint’, felt her heart race in her chest as she made her second kill of the day, her exultant cry of victory matched by a fresh spike of adrenaline as it crashed through her veins. Her green eyes, the pixelated, revolving irises a clear sign of cybernetic enhancement, picked up the slightest telltale flare of an ejection seat. ’Oh no you don’t,’ she thought to herself as she pulled up on the control yoke, pulling her Interceptor into a Segnor’s Loop, flying back to the speeding ejection seat.

The targeting computer couldn’t track a target that small, but her enhanced eyes wouldn’t have any trouble. She toggled a switch on her targeting computer, linking the six laser cannons mounted in the Boneyard to fire at the same time. Her gloved thumbs pressed on the trigger, and six emerald green laser blasts lanced through the pilot, strapped into the ejection seat and trapped. The death was instantaneous, and Vakma’s eyes lit up as she notched up another kill in her mind’s body count. She didn’t count merely ship kills anymore, not unless she was certain the pilot also perished.

She saw the survivor, her next victim, bolt like a startled tauntaun and smiled tightly as she watched Cloak’s Interceptor take off after it, a moth attracted to a brightly burning flame. The kid could use a chance to stretch his wings, so Clint let the implied insult slide – besides, with Cloak chasing after the runner, that would leave more kills for her while the kid was dragged out into the middle of nowhere. Perfect. She felt a malicious grin tugging at her lips as she spotted another fighter out of the corner of her eye, and moved towards it.

[[“I’m on the leader.”]] That was Seeker, the Squadron’s commander. The commander of the enemy’s unit was his by right, and Clint didn’t grudge the grizzled old man his prey…much. The man, with his outdated sense of honour, would commit himself to a long and difficult duel against what would doubtless be the most experienced pilot of the opposing force – leaving all the easy pickings to her. A shame, but at least she’d be able to rub her higher kill-count into the commander’s face. There would be no challenge here, and she’d resigned herself to simply enjoying the needless slaughter.

She saw Trophy’s victim eject from the doomed fighter moments before the shields failed and dozens of emerald bolts ripped through the titanium armour, and nodded to herself. The score was one all. Her newest prey’s fighter, however, was scratched and dented all down the starboard side, already showing battle scars. Easy pickings, she decided, as she angled her targeting computer and licked her lips, snap-rolling into place behind her chosen victim. If she was lucky, she’d come out of this with five kills – another ace day.
“Little thing, I am Clint, the Ace of Aces. By my hand, die.”

OOC:
Word Count: 500
TOTAL WORD COUNT: 1400
Another Chlovi bites the dust – though there’s no way of knowing whom at this stage.
The four pilots of the 128th’s Aurek Flight have chosen their targets.
SAINT 1: Seeker: Targeting Dunny.
SAINT 2: Trophy: Targeting Twitch.
SAINT 3: Clint (The Ace of Aces): Targeting Cabby
SAINT 4: Cloak: Targeting Justy.

These are the 128th Imperial Interceptor Squadron, a team of aces that will show Chlovi how experienced pilots really fly. Their fighters are faster and more agile than ours, and instead of missiles, they have a full battery of six laser cannons.
FOR THOSE TARGETED: When a Saint has you in their sights, there is no time for anything but evasion. Use every trick in the book to try and keep out of their sights. Remember that they won’t fall for simple tricks, so feel free to use your imagination.
FOR THOSE NOT TARGETED: Chances are, someone’s gunning for your wingmate. This is the perfect opportunity to try and shoot a Saint in the back and take the pressure off your ally.

Your sensors are useless and your targeting computer won’t even warn you when they’ve got a lock, so you’re going to have to rely on your communications skills to keep each other informed as to what is going on. Do your best in your given role, and my next post will let you know how well you’ve done. Make no mistake, this is a test of yourselves, of your team-work, and of how much you’ve learned over the course of this mission.

Good luck, everyone.
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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DeepSix
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
February 5, 2013 1:59:31 PM    View the profile of DeepSix 
OOC:
VENI NPC Post


Reeza Hayek was crouched low behind a door frame with Drazin towering above her - the two of them ensuring the corridor opening on the other side would not get crowded with enemy forces anytime soon. on the other side of the door Trathras similarly kept watch and ensured no enemies would have a chance to approach in one piece. So the trio stood for what felt like forever as far as the pilot was concerned until finally the youngest member of the team could hold in it no longer and parted her lips to speak:

"On second thought I don't really want a hero's death after all. Boring looking people will show up, hold a few boring speeches about duty and honor, then go on about saying how unbelievably awesome I was and how they were privileged I flew for them. Then they'll promote me a few ranks and award me some fancy medal and finally they'd lower a pretty but empty coffin in the cold ground of Abrae. Then..."

The pilot was going to continue when the bulky Sergeant looked at her straight in the eye and simply blurted out "It's a classified mission." Reeza looked at him expectantly upon hearing this and no further explanation. She blinked several times as she stood silent and continued waiting. When she finally realized that explanation would not come after all she gave up and asked just what the man meant.

"There will be no funerals. Our service records will reveal that we eventually died in other missions sometime in the following months and eventually those very records will become lost until such a time that not a single trace of us will be left anywhere within the Vast Empire's archives. We'll be... erased."

"Say what?" Reeza asked dumbly, not really believing what she was hearing yet not really doubting the veracity of the statement either. "Uhm, Trathras thought so too. Trathras not mind though - Trathras' death will be fitting given Trathras' life", the fur covered fellow grunted as if on cue.

"Oh!" the pilot slumped her shoulders upon hearing the other's agreement. "That actually sort of makes sense", she continued in a calmer manner. Getting up to her feet Hayek winced in slight pain but still managed to stand straight. "What are you doing?" Drazin asked as he still ended up looking down at the woman.

"I'm busting out of this joint", the wounded Human female stated matter-of-factly. "I figured I wouldn't mind dying on some gods forsaken moon that could in the future turn out to be a great tourist attraction... So long as I got a hero's death with all attached benefits to it - well I could almost live with that knowledge. Or die with it rather... If there'll be no such benefits though then I sure as heck ain't gonna waste my good looks and awesome skills only to be forgotten by everyone else."

"If only things were that easy", a different yet at the same time fairly familiar voice rang from somewhere outside the room and all eyes turned to cover the still empty corridor. A single blaster was visible first and as it slowly crept into view, a female hand and finally a blonde head followed.

"Grey-girl!" Reeza chirped as she recognized the lead VENI agent now carefully making her way to the other three. The pilot could also recognize Corporal Elsek as well as the geeky doctor and a few other folks she was pretty sure she didn't help ship in.

"And Doc too! Dang... I get shot for one minute and you go ahead and find yourself a whole new bunch of people to play with. So typical!" Hayek joked as she left the room and crossed the corridor to meet the other group of people.

"We have less than seventeen minutes to reach the Nightdancer and leave this place" Ensign Grey announced simply, intentionally choosing to disregard the pilot who seemed to have regained most of her spunk from earlier - as annoying as that may have been.

"Finally! We're finally in agreement Grey-girl!" Reeza smiled and almost jumped for joy... until she actually tried to and realized - painfully so - that perhaps that was not the best way to show her eagerness after all.

"Move out", Ensign Grey commanded simply before adding a foreboding "Double time!!!"

OOC:
WC: 728
AAR: Went ahead with a post centered more around dialogue rather than more action as I figured I may as well unwind the atmosphere a bit... as well as provide a bit of contrast for the final post which will have more action, thrills and unexpected turns of situation.
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
Trykon
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
February 5, 2013 5:48:39 PM    View the profile of Trykon 
Excerpt from Poison, Politics, and Proton Torpedoes: A History of the War Between the Vast Empire and the Imperial Dominion

Chapter 27: Imperial Navy, the next generation

At the height of the Interregnum Period, warfare in space was a deliberate, strategic affair.  With three dimensions available to commanders, infinite tactics were possible, but as a result of the vast distances involved in any combat, it took a long time for any tactical choice to play out.  Even with the advances that had been made in technology – hyperdrives, ion engines, turbolasers, etc. had all improved greatly – the pace of naval battles had not changed much since the earliest days of the Galaxy-spanning Old Republic.  A competent naval commander, then, didn’t react to what his enemy was doing at any given moment.  Rather, he gave orders designed to counter the moves his opponent had not yet set in motion.

The Battle of Bloodmoon pitted two such commanders against each other.  Leading the Vast Imperial Second Fleet was Commander Wyl Trykon, the Chief of Naval Warfare of Lotaith’s Imperial Navy.  The remnants of Tilsec Prime’s Imperial Dominion Navy, meanwhile, were commanded in the field by Captain Ramius Raizo, a veteran of the original Imperial task force which carved out the Dominion from the so-called Unknown Regions, during the reign of Emperor Palpatine.  Raizo was an Old Guard Imperial: he had earned his commission under the Emperor, and his long career – from Academy to command – was very much typical of the pre-fragmentation Imperial Navy.  Trykon, by contrast, was a young, dynamic leader who had excelled in the crucible of the Vast Imperial Navy’s meritocracy, and had risen quickly through its ranks.  Bloodmoon, then, was not only a battle between two different successor states to the Galactic Empire… it was a clash between two different ideologies of command.  The winning faction would have a much stronger claim in the ongoing wars of reunification, true enough, but the winning commander would shape Imperial Navy doctrine for decades to come.  And in some ways, that was the more significant triumph to be won on that day.

Raizo’s command style was based on the old model: officers were well-educated and given nigh-absolute authority over their subordinates.  Their subordinates, meanwhile, were well-trained as specialists and lived in a constant state of competition with their peers and in perpetual fear of displeasing their superiors.  Trykon’s style reflected the Vast Empire’s values, which were quite different: a greater proportion of command officers in the VEN had risen from the enlisted ranks, and while their authority was just as absolute as their ID counterparts, VE naval officers relied more on encouragement than threats to foster esprit de corps in their subordinates.  Meanwhile, the enlisted crew members aboard VEN warships were often cross-trained in multiple disciplines, and were simultaneously encouraged to think creatively about problem-solving.  Initiative - and above all, effectiveness - were prized above all other qualities in the Vast Empire’s Navy, from the lowliest Crewman to the highest Admiral.  And the Battle of Bloodmoon was, in part, a test of that doctrine’s efficacy in waging warfare.

***


The Bridge of the Imperial Dominion’s Imperial I-class Star destroyer Reactionary
The Bloodmoon System
The Imperial Dominion

Captain Ramius Raizo stood, straight-backed, at the center of the Reactionary’s bridge, watching his crew scramble about as they coordinated the retreat he’d ordered.  “Scramble” is perhaps not the right word, Raizo corrected himself.  The all-Human, all-male bridge crew moved quickly, but they didn’t appear panicked.  They were professional, even when running away from a losing battle.  A flash of pride warmed Raizo’s chest, before a cynical thought occurred to him: Of course they’re calm while retreating… they’ve had plenty of practice lately in running away from losing battles!

Raizo’s carefully neutral expression soured.  The retreat was another painful reminder of just how disastrous the war with the Vast Empire had gone.  The Dominion’s Navy was all but destroyed.  The most modern, most powerful warships had all been wrecked or captured at the debacle above Abrae, leaving only two Star Destroyers and a handful of support craft.

Raizo cursed himself for missing that battle.  The damned doctors had told him he couldn’t delay the radiation treatments any longer, and his commanders had assured him there would be plenty of mopping-up operations for him to be a part of, after the VE lost their naval headquarters.  So, reluctantly, he had stayed on Tilsec Prime, in the hospital, while his friends and colleagues and his home – the Star Destroyer Regressive – burned in the skies above the VEN’s moon.

“Sir, the Bombastic lost rear shields momentarily, and one of her main engines has been disabled,” Raizo’s Executive Officer said, interrupting the Captain’s reverie.  “She cannot keep pace with the rest of the fleet,” the officer continued.  “Your orders?”  The man did not suggest any course of action.  He merely waited patiently for his captain’s response.

Raizo knew his options.  He didn’t care for either.

Option one, he could leave the Victory II-class Star Destroyer behind.  If he ordered the rest of the fleet to flank speed, they could likely escape to hyperspace within three minutes, unburdened by the need to slow down and cover the partially-crippled BombasticBut with Bloodmoon lost, and no communications from the weapons laboratory on the moon’s surface, Raizo thought, the very survival of the Dominion now depends upon the coming confrontation at the Sollamens Asteroids.  The more warships he could bring to that fight, the greater his odds of stopping the Vast Imperial invasion before it reached Tilsec Prime, and if he abandoned Bombastic, the VE would swarm the ship and destroy it for sure.

That left option two: keep his fleet on station around Bombastic until the injured ship could limp to safe jump distance.  That would mean approximately ten more minutes in the Bloodmoon System, surrounded by enemy vessels, and while it might save the Victory II-class vessel, it would also open up the possibility of more of his ships becoming crippled or even destroyed by the surging VE forces.

He knew his options, sure enough.  And he liked neither.

“Slow us down,” he said after a moment.  “Order the fleet to reduce speed to match Bombastic.  We’ll need that ship at the Sollamens.”

“Aye sir,” came the XO’s obedient reply, and he moved off.

Ramius Raizo resumed his silent vigil in the center of his bridge, and returned to his private reflections.

OOC:
1,071 words.  Another experiment with different POVs/voices.  First, a history book written in the future about the VE/ID war.  Then, I introduce the ID fleet commander: an old-school Imperial (who is fighting a cancer-like disease) named Captain Ramius Raizo.

AAR: A future historian notes that the Battle of Bloodmoon is in some ways a clash between ideologies as much as it is of Navies: a sort of battle for the soul of what it means to be Imperial.  Then, back to the battle: the ID commander orders his fleet to slow down, to try to save the injured ID VSD Bombastic.  His motives are simple: the more ships he can get to the Sollamens Asteroids, the more chance he'll have of crippling Second Fleet when we arrive there.
CNW/CDR Wyl "Trick" Trykon/ISD Adjudicator/TF:A/2Flt/FC/VEN/VE

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

TRN/AD Trykon/DJO/VEDJ
Hades
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
February 6, 2013 1:12:20 AM    View the profile of Hades 
The battle still raged fiercely, but it was akin to a low burning fire: it still burned and crackled loudly, hot enough to sear unexpecting victims, but reaching the last stages of its life as it ran out of fuel.. It was often in these closing sections that the outcome of a battle was secured or overturned, and commanders had to be wary of that peril.. Though it was not so dangerous here. True enough, a big enough slip up on the part of the Fleet Commander of the VE - Trykon - could lose the battle, but minus that there was little that would turn the clash from defeat into victory for the ID.

Word was trickling down, now, through the various stages of command to the enlisted. The word was that the Imperial Dominion had begun their retreat, realising now that the battle was lost. The Hangar bay was still a hive of activity this late in the battle, with damaged fighters and shuttles getting repaired as well as the added chaos of escape pods being dragged in and survivors that needed immediate treatment being laid out on the hangar deck to be stabilised before they could be moved to the medbay. The constant vibrations of the Adjudicator's turbolasers did not help the organised chaos subside.

Amidst this hive stood a Squadron Commander without a Squadron who, with some seniority and an excellent knowledge of TIE fighters, had taken command of several mechanics to apportion them to each particular TIE and help them figure out what was going wrong. Under his guidance, it was running smoothly. For some reason the head mechanic in the hangar bay had positioned himself under an opening shuttle and had several bones broken by the lowering ramp - an unfortunate affair by any means, leaving mechanics without a single authority. Some of them had got to work, using their training and experience to help them, but other more junior mechanics sat there dumbly, gaping until Hades came along.

Right now, the Master Chief was making sure the TIE's got the best possible repairs -- he knew the damage a faulty fighter could do -- and making sure the mechanics at least did their bit to keep the hangar orderly and well-disciplined. "Master Chief! Master Chief!"

"Yes?" Hades turned; sharp gaze focusing on the one who'd called out. It was a mechanic he'd sent up to the medbay to check on the head mechanic.

"We've just gotten word that the Imperial Domi-"

"I sent you to check on the Head Mechanic, Crewman, not to hear gossip about the battle." Hades waved away what he thought to be idle chit-chat between crewmen.

"He's fine, but I thought you'd like to know that the ID is retreating!" The crewman managed to blurt out, before retracting back into his shell of silence, fearing reproach. Hades' green eyes examined the man for any sign of a lie or uncertainty. He found none and, to the Crewman's relief, turned away, dumbfounded.

A million thoughts went through his head at once, foremost of which being the fact that he had not participated in the battle and secondly that Vrail could have escaped. He vaguely heard someone else call his name, but did not respond. The sound persisted, though, and Hades turned his gaze up from the ground to the offending mechanic. He was asking about some power converter or other, and was not expecting what came next. Hades’ eyes burned with a fury he’d not often experienced before, a gloved fist coming up and slamming into the panel of the closest TIE fighter. The sound was rather loud for a simple punch and, while undamaged, the fighter in question vibrated with the blow. Ignoring the pain, Hades turned and stalked away from the mechanics, seething about the realisations.

At first he blamed Trykon, the Chief of Naval Warfare for not allowing him to fly during the battle, but following a logical train of thought his anger turned only to himself. He had been captured, it was his fault and his fault alone. Not Trykon’s, not the mechanics who’d needed his help, not even the dastardly Lieutenant Okyr Vrail’s – No, Hades did not have anyone to blame but himself.  A dark expression covered his handsome features as he walked briskly down the corridor, a menacing energy about him. He had been so close to ensuring the death of one of his most hated rivals and yet he’d been foiled. He was almost certain now that Vrail had survived the encounter..

A Chief Petty Officer was walking down the same corridor in the opposite direction, and Hades stopped the man. “What news from the bridge?” He asked abruptly.

“I beg your pard-“

“I asked you; what news from the bridge?” Hades cut him off coldly.

“News of what?” The now confused CPO responded.

“Your grandmother.” He retorted sarcastically, “the battle you imbecile; what Imperial Dominion ships have been destroyed?”

“I only handle Engineering, Master Chief. I wouldn’t –“ He was cut off again as Hades once more stalked away in a dark fury. Did nobody know anything? Hades was frustrated with himself most of all, but to a minor extent the incompetence of others. Normally, the Master Chief was a fairly understanding and patient man, but given his current mood, incompetence was exacerbated.

Continuing his angered journey, Hades reached one of the numerous turbolifts, slamming the button for the barracks. With a painfully slow hiss, the doors closed and elevator shot into motion, taking Hades directly to the floor he’d chosen. As the lift doors open, he stepped out and breathed in deeply, calming himself down somewhat. One way to look at it was positively, which was not a quality of Hades’, but he tried. Benefits? I’m alive and free, and I took down Vrail’s ship. Those were two pretty good benefits to Hades, though he was reminded that he’d failed to kill the villain as he’d hoped. He didn’t know that for certain, but he was fairly positive that Vrail survived as well.

Fate had a way of playing tricks on him that way.

--- --- ---

Fate had a way of playing tricks on everyone, it seemed. Varys’ expression contorted into one of rage as he learnt of Team 23’s demise and their failure to do.. well, anything really, other than slow the enemy down. Varys did not wait for anything else, he was barking orders into the comm. Before the bodies of team 23 had gone cold. “All teams converge on the exits! The VENI team cannot be allowed to escape, I repeat, all teams converge on the exits!”

Ziel looked at Varys with a dangerous expression. “You forget yourself, Varys. I’m in command here.”

Varys turned very slowly as he stopped, colourless eyes regarding the head of security with contempt. “You never were willing to gamble. Maybe you’ll think twice in the next life.” Varys raised his compact blaster pistol and fired, the bolt impacting the head of security perfectly between the eyes. Ziel slumped like a ragdoll, and Varys turned away, continuing to make his way toward the exit.  He knew he had at least four teams left – five if team 10’s comms were malfunctioning as he assumed – and of those four, two of them were closer to the exit than the VENI team could possibly be. Luckily for him, Ziel’s teams had already been sent ahead of them so no-one witnessed the Head of Security’s death.

Varys was so caught up in his thoughts that he almost failed to notice a figure scurrying across his path. He raised his blaster and fired quickly, three shots in quick succession tracking the fast moving figure. He missed, though, and the figure – it looked like a woman – disappeared behind a corner. Varys broke out into a run, diving into a roll as he came around the corner, bringing his blaster up to fire – at nothing. She was gone. “So that was the straggler..” Varys murmured, more curious than angry at losing her. She too had been heading for the exit. “Interesting.”

Varys knew VENI operatives were highly skilled and independent, but this didn’t seem like a coordinated movement. It seemed more like a lone-wolf style tactic, which was not common in VENI’s arsenal. Varys brushed the analysis of tactics from his mind as he continued toward the exit. He took the side route, so as to avoid any potential VENI teams between him and the exit. It was faster too, and known to few people in the facility. Without further delay, Varys came out around five meters from the exit. Three teams had taken cover in various location, with a fourth coming down the corridor rapidly towards them. This was good – more than a dozen men all up were now between the VENI team and the exit. He’d like to see them trick their way out of this..

--- --- ---

Petty Officer 1st Class Lyle Nyhun of the magnificent ship Reactionary was a complex man. With close shaved black hair and ice blue eyes, he was quite an intelligent looking individual. To anybody else, he looked like an underpaid, unrecognised Petty Officer in the Imperial Dominion’s navy, working in Starfighter Control as the assistant Starfighter Control Officer. Little did most know,  his name was actually Ripheus Kane and he was born to a wealthy family on Anaxes. After his parents had died, Ripheus had bought himself a TIE Interceptor off the black market and customised it to suit him – he’d soon mastered the controls.

Nyhun – or Kane – was not only a pen-pusher, but an ace starfighter pilot known colloquially as the Red Viper. He’d become an ace in the Vast Empire’s starfighter corps. Strangely enough, he was now in the Imperial Dominion.. Or so it seemed. Ripheus Kane, callsign ‘Nighthunter’, was a VENI agent undercover in the Imperial Dominion.  Out of all the VENI agents, few had attained the level of infiltration that Kane now enjoyed. His mission? Report on tactics used by the Imperial Dominion and, where possible, sabotage their efforts. In his position as Assistant Starfighter Control Officer, that was far from hard.

During the entire battle, he’d made sure that each of the Dominion’s squadrons had somehow experienced a malfunction with their docking controls and thus delayed their addition to the battle. The best thing was it could not be traced to him – if anyone, it would be blamed on his immediate superior.

When the order to retreat came through, Kane knew exactly what he could do. Surviving TIEs would be docking sometime soon, and their docking clamps could malfunction (again), causing them to drop the fighters onto the hangar bay below. There was no way that it could be traced to him again, because his superior thought that the PO1 did not have access without his authority to the docking clamp controls. Luckily for Ripheus, he was not only a fighter ace, but a qualified slicer too.

“Mr. Nyhun!” Kane pretended to be annoyed at the deliberate mis-pronunciation of his fake name.

“With all due respect, it’s Nyhun, sir. Not ‘Neehaan’.” The agent responded tiredly.

“It’s whatever I want it to be, clear?” His boss, Warrant Officer 2nd Class Kurt Vymn was in much the same position as Kane’s assumed identity – underpaid, unrecognised and frankly, going nowhere. But, while Kane was pretending.. Vymn wasn’t. “Now, we’ll have a heap of fighters coming in – stay on your toes, I’m going to get a caf!”

“Yes sir.” Kane responded obsequiously. Inside, he was laughing. It was no wonder that the ID had lost this battle, with idiots like Vymn around. He’d effectively opened himself up to a whole range of court martials that Kane could use much to his advantage.. Though he’d not think of denying the Imperial Dominion the pleasure of having Vymn under their command; but if it came to it, the evidence could be used to blackmail the bullying Warrant Officer.

Turning his thoughts from the blackmail, Kane looked at his sensors. The entire fleet was slowing down to wait for the Bombastic. Whoever was in charge knew their stuff, true enough. The more ships the ID could muster for the eventual ‘final’ battle between the VE and the ID, the better off they were. As a Starfighter Control Officer, there was nought he could to to assist the Bombastic in dying. He could only watch and interfere with their fighter patterns to a minor extent, lest he reveal his secret. Crossing his fingers, the agent hoped that the VEN ended up eliminating the damaged Star Destroyer.


OOC:
Wordcount: 2,104

AAR: A post from three view points. First, Hades finds out the ID is retreating and is furious that he's missed his chance to make sure Vrail was gone once and for all. Secondly, Lieutenant Varys turns treasonous by shooting Ziel and taking command of the facility, ensuring all guards are headed for the exits after he takes a pot-shot at the Arkanian on her way out, and finally introducing Ripheus Kane, a VENI agent undercover aboard the Reactionary who has been helping the VEN in subtle ways..

Chief of Naval Training, 54th Squadron Commander

SCO | ESN "Hades" | A-1 | S:54 "Gundark" | W:101 "Blade" | ISD Adjudicator | TF:Aurek | 2nd Fleet | SC | VEN | VE
CNT | ESN "Hades" | PLF Cappadocious | VENA | VEN | VE

VENI

[MC1] [CBV] [CAR] [BWC] [HNS] [SWC] [NSM] [LoM] [CC:2] [DSM] [1NS]
{INTER} {SfrM} {XenMA}  (=*SWC*=) {AFM} {HypM} {0Gee} {INFL}

DeepSix
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DeepSix
 
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
February 6, 2013 10:51:55 AM    View the profile of DeepSix 
"Not me too... Oh gods, not me too..." a shaky voice muttered in the enclosed cockpit of an ID TIE Interceptor. The pilot was a last minute addition to the squadron of far more experienced veterans and he could tell since first he was assigned there that of all the members there - he was the weakest one, in both skills... as well as spirit.

"Please not me... Please not me..." the young fellow repeated the same mantra, hoping that if any benevolent gods were watching over him then they would deem it worthwhile to spare his miserable life. In exchange he vowed to himself that he would leave the military and return to a calm, albeit boring life as a farmer.

Images of a wide green valley, with lots of trees and plenty of bountiful fields appeared before his eyes. The darkness of space turned to a vividly colored blue, with smudges of white slowly crossing their surface. The deadly turbolaser blasts exchanged between the two fleets also disappeared, in their place the man now feeling a comfortable warmth.

Even the frantic chatter over the comm slowly faded away, replaced instead by the relaxing sound of laughter nearby. The ID pilot turned his head around and for the first time noticed a pretty brunette that waved back at him lovingly. She pointed back towards him and the man realized that the gesture was not meant for him but for the two cute kids playing nearby. The latter two nodded and continued laughing as they ran towards him.

On reflex the man dropped to his knee and opened his arms as if to welcome the two younglings when the whole scenery began to darken all of a sudden. At first the man believed that a sudden storm was upon him and his family but after looking up towards the azure sky the individual's eyes grew large and fearful as burning explosions could be seen everywhere. Fire began raining from the sky, instantly turning to ash anything it touched.

The once green valley turned into a dark crater, the once tall trees now mere stumps of charred wood. The rich fields had also been reduced to nothing but ash and somewhere in that huge pile a couple of tiny skeletons could just barely be distinguished. The man turned to look at the woman but she was nowhere to be seen. In her place another figure stood amongst the smoke and shadows.

The apparition wore tight black clothes, some sort of insignia pinned on his left chest and a patch denoting something that the man could not clearly make out. Two red eyes gleamed back at him through the darkness and the man felt himself growing numb as fear and dread overtook his senses. Twice the man blinked, partly to keep the tears within and partly to keep the soot outside, yet both times the dreadful vision seemed to get closer and closer - the second time the man reopened his eyes the figure in black standing right before him.

It was then that the man finally noticed the thing's head was covered in a flight helmet not all that different than the one he was provided by the Imperial Dominion upon being offered the privilege of flying a TIE craft. For a few endless seeming moments the weak pilot stared back at his own terrified face that was reflected off the helmet's visor. The man was still staring when a couple of dim red dots began to grow... and grow... and grow some more until they seemed even larger than regular Humanoid eyes. Those red eyes were filled with neither satisfaction, nor hate nor even anger. Aside from the vivid color those two eyes looked quite lifeless and void...

"Gods!" the man whispered as his consciousness returned to the present, where his new squadron was still being annihilated and he was still being chased by a stronger foe. Overwhelmed with fear the ID pilot powered down his weapons, lowered his shields and turned off his engines, allowing the momentum he had already gained to continue pushing him through space.

In the larger Fleet battles surrender was often requested or perhaps simply delivered in a more elegant manner, by using the comm system and actually negotiating the terms of the surrender. Starfighter jocks however did not have that luxury. When a fighter pilot wished to surrender he was forced to turn off all his systems so as to show the enemy that he was vulnerable and that he as such expected a merciful response in exchange - namely being ignored and eventually tractored in as a prisoner of war.

The nameless ID pilot released the heaviest sigh he ever held in as the Avenger tailing him shot past him and instead turned its attention to another member of his squadron. For a few brief moments the man thought he made it... He believed that he evaded death... He hoped that the VE would not judge him too harshly for simply following orders... He never saw the four emerald blasts coming his way as a different Avenger took aim and fired...

"Interceptor squadron all but wiped out", a confident voice announced through the Vornskr channel.

Such was the nature of battle and of dogfighting in particular... A lot of pilots believed in various gods and deities before joining and running through their first real combat mission. Many still held on to that belief even after surviving several close death encounters. Most however ended up understanding a different truth. A harsher truth - that there were in fact no gods leading them in battle and shielding them from death. No, on the field of battle each pilot was his own god. A god of death and ruination...

OOC:
WC: 963
AAR: An enemy pilot loses his cool and beings hallucinating. He tries surrendering but ends up getting wasted anyway. The rest of his squadron shares the same fate, meaning Vornskr will mostly have to deal with just more Avengers in the next post.
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
DeepSix
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DeepSix
 
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
February 6, 2013 1:18:02 PM    View the profile of DeepSix 
OOC:
VENI NPC Post


From the shadows Irya watched as the Human from earlier - the one that tried to shoot her dead - passed her by. All the while she tightly gripper her blaster and aimed it at the other's head, knowing full well it would be quite an easy task to just squeeze the trigger and put an early end to the individual.

She held back however. For starters there was nothing to be gained by killing the man. Vengeance had never interested her in the slightest after all. Plus there was also the matter of complicating Grey's plans as a bonus. Regardless of whether the ID troops would deal with the infiltrators or whether the VENI team would manage to rip right through them - Irya had nothing to gain one way or the other. If anything, she would be most pleased if both sides wiped each other out. Barring that it was not a bad idea to at least slow each other down enough to die in the ensuing explosion.

Once the Human's footsteps grew distant enough, the woman pulled out of her hiding spot and returned to the brightly lit corridor. Rather than following the ID male however, Irya Pael instead made her way to the main turbolifts - the destination she was aiming for from the start.

~~~~~~~~~~

Ensign Grey's group was still rushing towards the exit when Corporal Elsek - the infiltration expert who was leading the way - suddenly stopped in her tracks. "How many?" Grey inquired as if not only understanding the reason for which they stopped but also realizing the situation was in all likelihood not that great if the experienced infiltration specialist believed they would be unable to deal with the others all while managing to remain mobile in the process.

"Not sure", the other woman replied in a lowered tone of voice. "A lot?" she continued in the same tone of voice. At this point both Frayne and Hayek turned to look at each other, lack of understanding yet also a hint of suspicion apparent in their gazes. "A lot of what?" Reeza asked doubtfully, as if not really all that keen to actually learn the answer she was demanding.

"Enemies."

It was Trathras who replied bluntly yet at the same time in a seemingly helpful and uncynical manner. "Oh right... enemies", Reeza nodded understandingly. "Just curious but... why the heck are we heading towards the enemies!?" she cried out louder. Before she had a chance to get a reply from anyone else present, one of the geeky ID scientists bolted towards the exit, hoping that the enemies would cover him and then keep him safe from the bunch of lunatics he was forced to travel with.

The man barely managed to make half a dozen steps before a blaster was heard going off and his corpse ended up sliding forward a couple of feet. There was a fuming hole in his back and doctor Frayne realized that Ensign Grey's outstretched blaster pistol was similarly fuming at the end. Part of him was glad that a so called scientist that helped create such a dangerous weapon met an only befitting end. Part of him felt like gloating to Grey, about how he tried to oppose her decision of bringing these good for nothings along in the first place. Despite such strong feelings however the man also found himself feeling pity for the gunned down individual. He never learned his name nor his exact specialty. Come to think of it, Argolo Frayne knew next to nothing about the man other than the fact he was some sort of intellectual that ended up working for the Imperial Dominion.

If things would've turned out differently maybe Frayne too would've ended up sharing a similar fate. Maybe he could yet become such an individual... No! the man thought as she shook his head sideways. No, there was no way in all of nine hells that he would ever become a freak the likes of Rakelle Vice or Irya Pael. Unlike those two monsters in Humanoid bodies, he was different. He had principles. He had morals. He had... hope.

"A pity... I could've further used his services", Rakelle Vice muttered to nobody in particular. "He also made fairly decent caf as well". Ensign Grey turned to look at the woman in the eyes and for a few moments the two just stood there staring at each other. There was a certain coldness and indifference that both women recognized in each another.

Unlike the naive VE male doctor however, Ensign Grey knew fully well that which she was and that which she could yet become. Unlike Frayne she had long since accepted and even embraced her dark side. She no longer feared that which she may become for she rather doubted she could become something even worse...

Blaster fire suddenly came from further ahead, the bolts hitting and ricocheting against the floor and walls. Everyone took cover and began considering their next course of action.

OOC:
WC: 837
AAR: Pael has almost reached her final destination. Meanwhile the rest of the team are faced with the majority of the guards still alive and able to move. One of the ID defectors has also decided to re-defect when presented the opportunity and that leads to him getting shot in the back by Grey.

Right, so sometime tomorrow most likely I'll post my final VENI post as well as final VEN post. The two will be sort of connected at one point so as to make transition into Death and possible future VENI stories easier.
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
Rikky
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
February 6, 2013 7:01:08 PM    View the profile of Rikky 
OOC:
Strill Post


“Target in sight,” someone said quietly over the com. “845, maybe 850 meters out.”

“Get out of sight, Strill,” Joamer said in response. There were clicks of confirmation over the com, and Tik followed Canin’s lead in diving behind a nearby boulder.  Enemies, he thought to himself, his heart quickening. Hostiles. He honestly didn’t know what do think of the situation, except that suddenly the armor was way too hot to be comfortable

“Alright Strill, this is the first firefight you’ll be in together. We’ve got the advantage right now, we’re the only ones who know we’re both out here. So do as I say and you’ll make it through this.”

There was a pause, four seconds that seemed to slow down for Tik until all that he could perceive was an eternal roaring behind his ears. The gun felt heavier than it had before, like gravity had a higher grip in the one spot Tik was rooted to.

“Cresh, move farther out West, behind that boulder over there. Aurek, we’ll head behind that dune Eastward of our location. Besh… As point, you get the fun part in this. You get to be the bait. Spread out, move forward, take cover, and fire on the enemy. While you’ve got their attention, the rest of us will move in and flank them from both sides. They won’t know what hit ‘em.”

The idea was simple. If all went well, Strill would eliminate the enemy targets before they had a grip on the situation. But three pilots to nine guards seemed rather one-sided in Tik’s book; every story he was ever told where soldiers were outnumbered in a firefight ended on a rather sour note. He swallowed it, though; as much as his brain screamed, Danger! there was simply nowhere to go other than forward. Xanin and Negom split off from him, and they gave ten feet each in between each other.

“On the ground, get a bit closer before opening fire,” Xanin said through the com, to which Tik immediately complied. He crawled up to a small rock, and after taking a quick peek around the corner decided he was more than close enough. 50 meters, about, He thought to himself, gripping the barrel of the rifle tighter. This gun has a range of 120. More than close enough to… injure. He felt his heart quicken, felt the sweat on his upper lip, felt a nervous energy that came from the chill that ran up and down his spine. He was ready to fight. He was ready to flee.

“Ready?” Xanin asked him through his com.

Go, his mind whispered to him.

He brought his rifle up over the rock and fired, the first stunningly red streak through his vision that he would see that day. It ended at the feet of one of the enemy Dominion soldiers. The soldier’s reaction was delayed, the conversation they were having cut short by the sound of blasterfire and an inexplicable scorch mark beside his boot. He looked up and saw Tik. And Tik fired again. And again. And again.

And then they seemed to understand. The remaining Dominion soldiers scrambled to get cover, and suddenly the air was full of angry red streaks dancing all around him. Like a kicked hornet’s nest it took a moment before retaliation came, and then hell truly broke loose. Tik ducked behind his rock, suddenly very aware of how close the bolts were getting. He lifted the rifle up over his head and fired blindly toward the enemy, not wanting to risk his head to keep a bunch of brutes occupied. He was aware of chatter on the com, but it didn’t apply to him. So he kept firing, ignoring the scorch of an enemy blaster bolt grazing his knuckles, pulling the rifle down only once the power cell was out. He popped the dead cell out and popped in another.

Taking a deep breath, he chanced a glance around the edge of his rock. The first thing he noticed was the new scorch marks all across the ground, his rock – everything in the open, really. Six unmoving Dominion bodies were on the ground, with two others still firing at the bolts coming in toward them from nearly every direction. The door to the facility was open, another soldier still holding it open for his comrades. Suddenly the soldiers broke their fire and ran for the facility, heads down and rifles still tight in their grip. Tik brought his gun up to his face, and took aim at the Dom at the door. Suddenly everything was calm, and he took a deep, easy breath before firing. The bolt hit home, red light disappearing into the door guard’s chest. He fell to the ground, and the other two soldiers jumped over his body, dragging the downed Dom in as the metal doors to the facility slid shut.

And like that, the battle was over. And I’m still alive. The calm from before remained, eery and odd even to part of himself, a part almost completey detached from what Iron Six felt now. It’s over, and I’m still alive. The melted plastic of his left glove had cooled now, the joints of several fingers now  fused together and immovable. He removed the glove and noted the blistered skin beneath with a bit of confusion. He could feel it, but didn’t care all that much.

“Roll call!” Xanin called through the com. “Five’s alive, where’s Six and Seven?”

“Six here,” Tik called back faintly. He imagined an Eight called, and was  surprised by the silent gap after him.

“Seven? Iron 7, respond.”

Iron Six walked in the direction that Iron Seven headed off to, scanning around for a black figure. He wasn’t all that hard to find, though Tik had to look for a long moment to comprehend that he was there, crumpled oddly against the ground beneath the shadow of a scorched rock. Tik placed him flat against the ground, his limp form light in Bloodmoon’s gravity. The hole in Negom’s visor was almost invisible against the scorched skin behind it, but Tik understood well enough.

“7’s KIA,” he said simply, rising from the body and heading to where Strill began congregating. The battle’s over and I’m still alive. Xanin relayed the message, and Joamer sighed and nodded at the news.

“One down. Well… We still have the drop on them. Let’s take this cannon and shove it down their throats, Strill. Move to the door, go. Aurek will storm the front door, and in the meantime I want Besh and Cresh to move around the back and see if you can’t find another entrance. And a word to the wise…”

Joamer unclipped a small pouch from his belt and handed it to Iron Ten. Inside was a thermal charge, deceptively small for something that carried such a large punch.

“There’ll be another entrance there, whether it was built to be or not.”

OOC:
Word Count: 1,164
AAR: Strill gets the drop on the Dom soldiers guarding the ion cannon. With some flanking flair, six are dispersed and the rest retreat into the cannon's facilities. Iron Seven is dispatched in the fight, and Tik experiences shock.

Iron Ten is given some explosives, and Strill prepares to raid the operating room with a two pronged attack.
FM/LCRW /Iron Six/S:58 Strill/W:101st Blade/ISD-II Adjudicator/TF:B/2Flt/SC/VEN/VE
Serpent
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Imperial Baronet

 
Serpent
 
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
February 6, 2013 7:57:10 PM    View the profile of Serpent 
Pherik ‘Serpent’ Zail watched the chaos of the Battle of the Bloodmoon unfold before him in the panoramic viewport of the Brilliant’s bridge.  Here and there his keen eyes picked out flashes of explosions, arcs of turbolaser fire, and the glint of sunlight on steel.  It was as terrifying and brutal as it was spectacular and magnificent.  However, he was not so blinded by the mixed glories of battle to fail to notice the pattern of activity in the enemy fleet.

His First Officer, Vagen Eosel, approached and confirmed what Zail had been witnessing.  “Message from the Adjudicator, sir.  The Imperial Dominion fleet is disengaging.  They will be in position to withdraw in a little over eleven minutes.”

“Thank you,” Said Serpent.  So, the end of the battle was in sight.  As ever the conclusion of such an encounter created a mixture of emotions in Zail.  On one hand he was glad that the fighting was ending and that he and his crew had once again survived.  However, there was always that pang of regret, like a missed opportunity, where he wished he had more time to... to... he was not even sure what.  The sight of any surviving enemy ships made him believe that he had failed somehow.  He longed for a decisive win over their enemies, not this piecemeal chipping away at their fleets.

Next time, he promised himself, the next time I face the Imperial Dominion I shall crush them, and none shall escape.  The Vast Empire has bigger fish to fry than this backwater faction!

Before that, though, the current battle had to be resolved.  Looming large in his line of sight was the Enforcer-Class Cruiser Cyclonus, a ship barely two-thirds the size of his own Victory II-Class Star Destroyer and hopelessly doomed.  The smaller warship was now trying to pull back with the rest of its armada, seeking the shelter of the enemy flagship, the Reactionary.

The Cyclonus would not get that far!

“Their rear shields are down to twenty-seven percent!” Called the Brilliant’s Sensor Officer.

“Continue focusing fire on that area, Mr Yandeer!” Serpent ordered smoothly to his Gunnery Chief, watching the sustained barrage pounding their target.

“And order our TIEs to continue hitting the same area!” Added Vagen Eosel.

“No, belay that,” Said Zail firmly yet thoughtfully.  Looking at his XO, he asked, “If our roles were reversed, and it was us speeding away from a larger foe who was pummelling our rear shields, what would we do?”

“You mean, what did we do?” Replied the First Officer, recalling their time commanding smaller ships, like the CR-90 Defiance.  “We tended to channel shield power from other parts of the ship, particularly from our... front...” He said, trailing off as he realised what his superior was getting at.

Serpent smiled.  Having commanded a range of vessels both large and small was giving him an informed way of looking at tactics, and he was pleased that Eosel remembered his basics too.  “Have Shock and Awe Squadrons come about and strike the front of the Cyclonus,” He ordered.

The First Officer nodded, and relayed the command to the Com Officer.

For a few minutes the offensive continued, and the Cyclonus was not going without a fight.  Even as it moved to rendezvous with the rest of the Imperial Dominion Fleet and escape the Brilliant’s wrath, it fired back continuously.??The deflectors of Zail’s ship absorbed the damage with minimal effort, and he found himself glad that he had ordered the Brilliant to take a break from the fighting and regain some shield strength before returning to combat.  It was a cautious move, and an overly cautious commander was a poor one.  True leaders knew when to be careful and when to be bold, and though Serpent was still learning to walk that fine line it seemed he had made the right call this time.

Then, suddenly, his introspection was shattered by a flash of light upon the enemy warship.

“Report!” He barked at once, hope surging through him.

Shock Squadron reports that, on their last attack run, several of their torpedoes got through!” Came the excited reply of a Junior Bridge Officer.  “The Cyclonus’s super-structure has taken damage, and their bridge has even been hit!”

“Order them around to strike again!” Ordered Vagen Eosel quickly.

Meanwhile Serpent turned to the tactical hologram.  He stared at the image of the enemy cruiser and watched as this new battle damage was uploaded into the display for his analysis.  “They are slowing!” He declared, feeling victory draw closer with every passing moment.

The news poured in thick and fast after that, and Zail knew that it was over.  The eports from various bridge stations were like music to his ears, an avalanche of victorious updates.

Shock Squadron confirms further multiple torpedo contacts!  Direct hit on their bridge!”

“Their rear shields have now collapsed!  Reporting explosions in their main engines!”

“The Cyclonus is now spewing escape pods!”

“Massive secondary explosions among their port side!”

“She’s going critical!”

At that last one Serpent ordered his ship to withdraw, satisfied that it was well and truly over.  The only thing left for him was to sit back and brace his eyes for the amazing flash of light that signalled the end of the Imperial Dominion warship.  As he squinted at the burning ball of superheated metal and gases, he heard his command deck erupt in whoops of joy.  Zail permitted the breach of bridge discipline and allowed himself to smile and share in their sense of triumph.

As the racket died down, he turned back to the tactical display, and saw that the enemy fleet was now completely withdrawn and ready to jump to hyperspace.  There was no way that the Brilliant could reach any of them before they fled, and so he and his crew could now declare their part in the Battle of the Bloodmoon to be over.

“Sir!” Said Dev Mishima from the Com station.  “Incoming transmission!”

Serpent marched over to the man, looking down at him in the crew pit beneath the command walkway.  “Who from, Mr Mishima?” He asked.

The Petty Officer looked about nervously.  “You know,” He whispered mock-conspiratorially, “And I know.  But what you know is something that I shouldn’t know, and neither should the rest of the crew.  So I am telling you and then forgetting it, which is easy since, to my knowledge it never happened.  Right?”  And so saying he winked in an exaggerated fashion several times.

Zail sighed.  Never trust an idiot with a secret, he mused.  “The VENI shuttle is returning, I take it?”

“Just so,” Said Mishima.

“Angle around to retrieve them,” Ordered Serpent, acting in his role of the Naval Intelligence Fleet Liaison.  “It’s time to see how well they did...”

OOC:
1133 words.  And my contribution to Counterpunch: War is at an end!  As such I threw in a comment about the recovery of the VENI team, but have avoided stating who is on board the thing, as that subplot still holds some mystery....

After Action Report:  The Brilliant completes its victory over the Imperial Dominion warship Cyclonus just before the rest of the enemy fleet withdraws.
SCAP/LTJG Pherik “Serpent” Zail / VSD Brilliant /TF:Aurek/2Flt/FC/VEN/VE
[SoA][LoM][NAR][E][CBV][SoV][MiD][1NS][GWC][MC1][VC:E][CC:1][=*Eng*=][=*BO*=]

"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
Hades
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Hades
 
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
February 6, 2013 10:00:55 PM    View the profile of Hades 
EXCERPT - The Battle for Bloodmoon;
An Historical Account by Garrun Yalt, Chapter XI


"The Battle for Bloodmoon had always been unbalanced, even if only slightly in the Vast Empire's favour - they had a cohesive team that worked well together and unlike the Imperial Dominion, had adapted the Imperial-style command structure to be streamlined and inclusive, reflecting the need for teamwork in modern space combat. While the forces under the young Chief of Naval Warfare - Commander Wyl Trykon - embraced this team spirit, their opposition under Captain Ramius Raizo adhered to the strict traditional leadership style of Palpatine's Galactic Empire.

Both forces were well equipped, well trained and highly motivated. It could be argued that Captain Ramius Raizo's forces were not as comprehensive as those of the opposing Commander's - for instance, he commanded an Imperial-I class Star Destroyer, while Commander Trykon led from an Imperial-
II class Star Destroyer - but more or less in numerical and mechanical value, the forces were evenly balanced. The traditional Imperial leadership, lending absolute authority to the officers with little inclusion of the enlisted ranks was by then an outdated system and, while effective in some ways, against an evenly matched enemy it became quickly evident which style of leadership would take the day.

There are various anomalies, though, as to how the Imperial Dominion lost a few of their ships - mayhap not enough to overturn the result of the battle, but enough to weigh down the scales in favour of the VE just that little bit more. In particular, two ships - the Tartan-class Patrol Ship
Scythe and the CR-90 Corvette, Spiked Fist.

The
Scythe engaged and destroyed around half a dozen Vast Empire TIE-fighters, but midway through the battle was reported to be experiencing reactor spikes. Shortly after this report, another report came in that said the Scythe's reactor had blown and the ship itself was lost with all hands, including Lieutenant Okyr Vrail, Scythe's Commanding Officer. It is not certain where this explosion originated from, whether a maintenance flaw or a lucky shot, though rumours circulated regarding a saboteur..

The second ship to present an anomalous account of the battle was the CR-90
Spiked Fist, which was on rearguard duties during the beginning and middle of the battle. However; shortly after the Scythe was lost, the Fist disengaged from formation and broadcast an overriding authority code that freed it of any responsibility whatsoever. Strangely enough, Lieutenant Okyr Vrail was later reported to have taken command of the Fist, despite being listed as lost with his original command.

Whether the demise of the
Scythe and the early retreat of the Fist are connected can only be surmised, but it might be worth noting that the Spiked Fist's commanding officer, one Lieutenant Amik Juntru was not seen after the battle of Bloodmoon, despite the fact his ship survived.."

--- --- ---

"Now listen, Vrail, you can have the ship. You earned it." Juntru smiled, speaking amicably now that he was confined to his quarters, "Just let me off at Tilsec Prime and I'll forget all about it."

Vrail raised a trimmed brow. "I don't like the implications of what you're saying, Amik. Perhaps you'd like to revise your statement..?"

"I.. I won't say anything about what happened here. I promise! Just let me go!" Juntru was almost begging now, a quick change in composure.

"I still don't think that statement's complete, Lieutenant.." Vrail sighed, "Perhaps you'd recommend me for an Imperial Cross, and a promotion to Commander.. You do think I deserve it, don't you?"

"What?" Juntru's eyes widened, but he caught on fairly quick for such a dimwitted being. "Oh, yes of course!"

Vrail slid a datapad and a stylus across the small desk, a pre-written mission report by Juntru. Of course, Juntru hadn't written this. Vrail had. "Sign off as Commanding Officer, if you'd be so kind. After all, it was your."

"What?! I didn't write this.."

"Evidently not. Sign it."

Essentially, the report recognised Vrail's extraordinary tale of survival and leadership despite being badly wounded, and recommended that he receive a double promotion as well as an upgraded vessel. A glowing report also accompanied the recommendation for Vrail's reception of the Imperial Cross. "I.. well.. fine." Juntru relented and picked up the stylus, writing his signature before entering his personal security code to ensure the report was official.

The quiet hum of the hyperdrive in the distance was the only sound as Vrail took the datapad back and scanned it again, just to double check that he had covered everything. His cruel eyes lit up with approval at the wording - how could he not like it, he had written it and made it sound like Juntru, too. Sometimes Vrail allowed himself moments to commend his own genius.. this was one of those moments. Okyr, you're going places, he thought with a smirk. Looking up, he saw Juntru eyeing him curiously, Amik.. you're not. Sorry.

"You'll drop me off at Tilsec Prime, then?" He questioned.

"Not quite.." Vrail murmured as he stood, turning to leave the room. He eyed the Sergeant standing guard. "Lock him in the airlock."

"W-what?" Juntru spluttered, "Why would you do that?"

"I thought it obvious - oh, that's right, I'm talking to Amik Juntru." He glared at the imbecile, cold eyes unforgiving, "I'm sorry, I thought I was talking to an intelligent being. I'm putting you in the airlock so that when we come out of hyperspace, I open the airlock and you die. Simple."

"But-"

"Sergeant, do it now if you please." The armoured stormtrooper nodded solemnly and picked the struggling officer up, hoisting him over his shoulder. A small man, Juntru could not resist, but managed to shout abuse all the way down the corridor as the trooper carried him away. With a feint sound of a seal opening and closing, the voice was silenced.

Vrail permitted himself a smile, now. "Bridge, this is Lieutenant Vrail." He brought his comm. up to his mouth to speak, "bring us out of hyperspace for a short break. Engineering says the hyperdrive is overheating.."

"Aye sir." The response was short; the crew of the Spiked Fist knew he was infinitely more dangerous than Juntru, and had shaped up their act fast. The shift in gravity told Vrail that they had exited hyperspace, and he quickly made his way to the bridge. A mix of curious, fearful and interested gazed fixed on him as he did so, cold eyes regarding the tactical displays. A small system with an uninhabitable planet and a wasteful asteroid field was their current location, unnamed aside from a number. System 1307. It made no difference to Vrail, though.

"Vent all the airlocks if you please." Venting the airlocks was a routine process for most ships - it ensured that all airlocks had an even amount of oxygen in them, even if it mean no oxygen and ensured the airlock sensors were working. A quiet thunk indicated that his command had been obeyed, and the airlocks were resealed.

"Airlock pressures at optimum levels. No sensor defects, sir. The extra heat signature in the port airlock is gone too; it was probably just an anomaly in the central atmospheric conditioning generator, but it's gone now."

Vrail nodded, satisfied with the day's work. He was sure at least some of the fleet would survive but, with the code he'd transmitted, he was exempt from all forms of punishment. A perk of the job, he supposed.. "Communications Officer, please send the latest report by Lieutenant Juntru. My own shall follow once we have reached Tilsec Prime."

"Aye Captain."

Vrail smiled again - Okyr was his name and efficiency was his game. He'd not allow anyone to stand in the way of his progress. Not even VENI, not even the great Captain Ramius Raizo. Vrail would rise above and beyond all those mediocre officers - with Juntru's falsified Report, he was just that one step closer..

OOC:
Wordcount: 1,370. Just finishing up my Vrail stuff for War, and cementing his place in the next Counterpunch arc!

AAR: First a look at the battle from a historical perspective - mirroring Trykon's idea - that relates to Vrail's fate in the battle of Bloodmoon. Then a snapshot at how Vrail has effectively taken command of a CR-90 corvette and, if Juntru's falsified report about Vrail is successful, will gain a larger ship again (maybe even replace the captain of the Bombastic if it survives.) This post really shows how ruthless the ID Intel Agent is.


Chief of Naval Training, 54th Squadron Commander

SCO | ESN "Hades" | A-1 | S:54 "Gundark" | W:101 "Blade" | ISD Adjudicator | TF:Aurek | 2nd Fleet | SC | VEN | VE
CNT | ESN "Hades" | PLF Cappadocious | VENA | VEN | VE

VENI

[MC1] [CBV] [CAR] [BWC] [HNS] [SWC] [NSM] [LoM] [CC:2] [DSM] [1NS]
{INTER} {SfrM} {XenMA}  (=*SWC*=) {AFM} {HypM} {0Gee} {INFL}

Avalar
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Avalar
 
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
February 7, 2013 2:27:21 AM    View the profile of Avalar 
OOC:
Strill NPC, Pert


Penom “Pert” Rtaq was only a Leading Crewman, and it showed. Though, he was happy that he was able to be alongside his Squadron Commander. The man seemed cold, but he clearly knew what he was doing, and that helped make the situation somehow seem less dangerous than it already was. The fact that the VE Navy entrusted Strill, a green squadron, with such a mission was strange to him. Sure they had had ground training, but to take an ion cannon and point it towards the stars? It seemed a bit much to him personally.

Now as he was taking his position behind the dune alongside Joamer and Bright, he could feel the pressure. They were already down by a couple squadron members.  He hoped they wouldn’t lose anyone in this firefight, but he had a feeling that someone somewhere along the line was going to drop.

He’d soon find out.

When the firefight finally did break out, Pert was barely aware of himself. Though he was more than nervous, he had always had a way of calming himself for certain situations. Some said it was in his blood, but he knew better than that. Nobody could just pick up a gun and run. No. He had the training before he became part of the Navy, and he was merely tapping into a mindset that had taken years to develop. It was easier for him to deal with life when all he cared about was making his shots hit every target every time.

Then, when the first conflict was over, Pert allowed himself to breathe. He heard the chatter of the com and heard the words, “KIA”. He shook his head to himself. Another one down. Who would be next? He sighed and followed Joamer and Bright as the 58th met up. Pert glanced around as Joamer handed a thermal charge to Honeydew and gave the commands for Besh and Cresh to head around and create their own entrances in order to storm the facility. Pert turned back his attention to his SCO as he stated that they’d be taking the front door. Should have expected as much. He was with the big guns after all.

Besh and Cresh quickly made their way around the building. Pert waited patiently, their coms relatively silent as the other two groups found their positions. First Besh reported, “In position.” Not many seconds later Cresh soon came in with the same reply. Joamer glanced at the two beside him before replying, “On my mark.” Pert readied his gun and glanced at the people beside him, wondering if he would see them after this. The facility was small, obviously built for a single purpose. Once they blasted the walls, the chaos would begin. Pert hoped that he wouldn’t get caught in the crossfire.

Silence ensued as they all waited in anticipation for their SCO to give them the go ahead. The coms were even silent for once as they prepared for their, hopefully, final confrontation.

“Now!” Joamer called through the com. He busted through the door, and the explosions went off simultaneously, rocking the facility and its inhabitants. The sound of screaming was already emanating from the scientists there. The three guards plus a couple others that had been inside began to open fire. Pert threw himself to the side, making himself a smaller target in such a small space. The room could only hold about 20 people at most, so the options for cover were not the greatest. He watched as the chaos of the small room played out.

Cresh had done well to storm their side. The bodies of the Dom scientists were scattered around their feet. Whether they were unconscious or dead, he did not fully know. Besh on the other hand seemed to be thrown off by the general chaos. Many of their shots were missing the mark completely. Pert turned his attention away from that though and found his target guard. He breathed in, holding his breath and letting the background symphony fade away as he marked his target for dead. The melody of his specific shot ringing out from his gun and finding its mark was always thrilling to him.

And then it was over.

It had all been too fast really. The small room had made the chaos of the three-pronged attack too simple. The explosions had caught them off guard; forget the fact that many of them were scientists and not soldiers. Pert glance around, stepping over bodies and pointing his gun at anything that moved. When it became clear that no more shots were being fired, Joamer finally said the words to help them relax, “Room secured.” Their SCO glanced over at Edge, “They’ll have reinforcements coming to get us. Edge, take Iron 7 back to his fighter. Rig his fighter to explode after we get out of here. That will help us get away,” Edge nodded and made his way out of the facility.

As Strill was beginning to unwind and wait for Joamer’s next orders, Pert walked over to the ion cannon controls, looking over the readings. Though he was not the most familiar with the specific technology, he noticed something odd. The readings for the ion cannon were not adding up at all. The power levels were slowly climbing higher and higher, and suddenly the color from his face drained as it became clear that their mission was quickly going to come to a very immediate end.

“Joamer—”

OOC:
WC: 917

AAR: Strill leads a three-pronged attack into the ion cannon facility which ends rather quickly. The guards are dead and the scientists either dead or unconscious. Joamer orders Edge to go set up a trap for any reinforcements that may follow them. Meanwhile Pert has discovered that something is amiss with the cannon itself.

OOC: Helping Strill with their arc.
SXO | SCRW Avalar | Iron 2 | S:58 Strill | W:101 Blade | ISD Adjudicator | TF:A | 2Flt | VEN | VE [SoA]
Cervidae
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Cervidae
 
[VE-NAVY] Senior Crewman
 
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
February 7, 2013 3:23:56 PM    View the profile of Cervidae 
The grin on the woman's face couldn't have been any larger. As her Interceptor pulled right past the Cobalt 8, almost every last bit of her breath stopped itself right at her lips. It stayed there for minutes longer than the woman could even remember before it finally broke out and let out her smile. They had done it. Her cheer filled the cockpit's silence, giving the space the energy of a hurrah as her mind raced to catch up with just happened. The trick was such an incredible feet for a pair of rookies. It typically would have been an absolute struggle for anyone due to the fact that it involved so much trust and yet, the women were alive and the targets went down. Absolutely no hesitation on either side -- the trust was as real as the cold sweat of pure adrenaline sliding down the pale nape of Cervidae's neck. The excitement was getting to her much faster than she was expecting, especially as she could feel herself drifting to daydream on the accomplished trick.

As much fun as it was to feel the pride that she probably rightfully deserved to feel, the nagging feeling that this battle was far too easy was eating away at the back of her mind like a persistent parasite. The Fighters were only Suicide flyers, meaning that they a distraction for only one of two things: an oncoming attack or a retreat. Her eyes darted from her screen towards the other points of sight on her craft, quickly checking her surroundings before turning her attention to her wingman. Anita Calfall was truly a gifted flyer, especially in high-pressure situations. Then again, what was to be expected from a girl who had flying in her blood? It would absolutely be a treat to see how she was going to develop with more experience...

Cervidae Sandor shook the thoughts out of her head, turning her attention towards the battle. The dance of emerald green lasers shifting into a fiery red explosion as Fighters went down was almost as poetic as it was intimidating. Regardless of how much of an easy target that her opponents were, the amount of teamwork that the pairs were demonstrating felt surreal. Perhaps it was the bliss of flying that was painting this battle much more romantically than the true facts of the situation, but it seemed to fit the bill. They were basically rookies, all of them. From their commander to each of the flyers, it was a very green squadron... Yet, they remained flying. And, for the most part, everyone seemed to be unharmed. They had managed to each get a handle of their crafts and take down a threat... It was becoming very hard to focus, especially as the adrenaline of the Slip still surged through her veins.

Her hands gently caressed the yoke of her TIE, almost as one would to reward a pet for it's good deed. Her Interceptor was a domesticated beast, with all the control and speed that came from enhancements. Her lips mouthed out silent praises as her fingers adjusted the configurations of her craft. The amount of pressure she had been putting on her engine would soon begin to show and Cervidae wanted nothing more than to avoid any complications as the skirmish began to burn out like an unattended fire.

The woman made sure that her shields went back to their previous positions, gently pressing her screen as she made quick work of her current adjustments. All of her systems flashed beautiful health, keeping the woman smiling proudly as she danced her hands over the dashboard of her Interceptor. Yes… All we need to do is fall back into formation and return to the ship.  Her power indicator was beaming back proud readings of 80%. Cervidae felt at peace, but only slightly. The whole situation wasn’t sitting well with her, despite the fact that the victory was already declared. Dunny seemed confident in his voice as it echoed over the comm, yet even that didn’t convince her. With a shake of her head, her grip moved to her yoke and she tried very hard to focus. It was funny how quickly her gut flipped flop over the situation at hand. One moment, she was perfectly content with everything and the next thing she knew she was in doubt about the whole situation.

Something had to be setting her off, that’s all she knew. Yet, how much of that was paranoia and how much of it was just her nerves was still unknown to her. Gray eyes looked up at the comm, checking to see if it was still on the private link. If just flying just wasn’t working to help her relax, maybe a little friendly conversation would help settle her nerves... “Hey, 8. I was right: you handle your craft beautifully.” She pulled her shoulders back, sitting up straight as she moved her attention to her sensors. For a moment, just as any moment before, the blips of allies held a steady glow but then something seemed to shift to the strange. What once read as a full squadron now showed a fast-fading empty monitor. Cerv felt her heart sink, absolute terror filling her system as Chlovi members vanished.

They were all there. She could see them right outside of her window. “Where are they…? Twitch, we’ve got a very, very serious problem. My systems aren’t reading anything. Tell me it’s just me.”

[[“It’s not just you.“]]

Out of all the things to happen on this flight, a system failure. Her sensors flashed an empty screen, almost taunting her with a farce that she recognized. Something was blocking the 50th’s connection to the Adjudicator… And just as the twelve gray ships came into existence, the realization hit that something was happening far much bigger than the Chlovi was prepared for. Breath caught itself in the woman’s throat, her hands starting to chill under her gloves. Something was incredibly wrong and it wasn’t until the first Chlovi flyer went down and Sam’s voice was shouting in their ears that it occurred to her that they were being attacked by an unnoticed enemy. A string of profanities escaped the woman’s lips when her breath unhinged itself from it’s lock and it threw her into instant survival mode. Anything that had such control over a opponent’s systems was something she knew perfectly well that she couldn’t handle, and there was only one thing to do now: escape. Cerv glanced up at the comm, staring at it as Dunny’s message rung in her ears [[“Break Break Break”]]

“Twitch. Thank gods comms still work. Only safe port is the ship. Can’t risk flying those ships close to base. I can’t read a thing on my screen. We’ll never know if they’ve locked onto us… “

[[“No attacks, just flying. I got it. Sharp movements and everything.”]]

Cerv’s eyes glanced out, watching the newfound enemies tear apart the squadron in an almost individualistic style of attack. Where the Chlovi were supposed to hunt together, these new enemies preferred to hunt one-on-one. A glimmer of hope flashed in the woman’s eyes as Cervidae turned her attention back to Twitch as she sharply turned her Interceptor out of the line of a ship’s fire range. “Look at the way they fight; it’s personal for them. Individualistic kills rather than splitting it with a wingman. Looks like one has their sights on one of us…” The Saint 2, almost right on time, pulled from his finished target and seemed to drift over to where the two ladies were flying.

[[“So, we out-fly them, we’re in the clear?”]]

Cervidae nodded, mostly to herself, “Right.  We shake ‘im off and fly back to base. We’ve got company.”

[[“I’m with you.”]]

You’d better be. Cervidae shook herself into motion as the enemy’s Interceptor opened emerald green hell fire on the two.  Cervidae broke off hard to snap-roll out of the way while Twitch climbed her craft higher. As she did, however, the ominously gray Interceptor followed the woman’s lead up, openly showing whom he had picked as his target. [[“Looks like it’s me he wants.”]] Cervidae could have sworn she had picked up on a little pride in her wingman’s voice, as if she was hoping for this challenge. The brunette smirked, nodding as she directed her beast to safety. It seemed as if Anita was looking for more fun after the Slip worked out as she had directed.

“Better you than me. With your control, you’ll have out-runned him twenty times over before he even knows what’s up. Careful, though, he may have you locked.”

[[“Got it. Watch my back, though; chances are I’m still going to need him distracted.”]]

“I’m on it.”

As Twitch began an incredible display of sharp turns and near random movements, twists and turns dancing around failed strikes, Cerv pulled around and started off after both her wingman and her wingman’s attacker. It wasn’t going to be like before when Twitch found herself in danger. As opposed to suicide flyers, the new flyers were there to be the reason for the distraction. The idea was intimidating and, yet, Cervidae couldn’t help but feel excited. She knew very well that underestimating any of them would lead to absolute destruction, just like the Chlovi who fell at the hands of the other members. And there were only four of them! A sharp breath escaped her lips as Cervidae continued after the two and occasionally turned behind her to watch closely on her own six, just to be sure the other Interceptors were distracted by their own battles. 

To be perfectly honest, Cerv was impressed with her wingman’s ability to remain unpredictable in battle. If Cervidae predicted that Twitch would fly left, she went right. If the Cobalt 8 seemed to be dipping down, it quickly maneuvered itself up high. If she could remain this unpredictable to her own partner, than it is was only fair to assume that the enemy was having a hard time following her. From what Cervidae could see, he seemed to have already given up on attempting to follow the girl and fly the path that he was predicting that she would go. Yet, any time she got too close to his ideal line of fire, an oddball trick was thrown in his face and Twitch got away fast. Her wingman, Cervidae mused, was incredibly impressive when the situation called for it. She was an absolutely gifted flyer, and this proved it.

The Senior Crewman watched for just a moment or two longer before her eyes locked onto the enemy Interceptor. He still seemed more interested in hunting for Twitch, giving Cervidae a little window of movement. The way he acted, it was almost as if he was just expecting for her to abandon her wingman in the face of trouble. Perhaps with pairs like Justy Tyler and Tony Vincent, the idea of abandonment would be a fair assumption, but not today. Cerv had made her own promise to herself that she would bring Twitch back safe and sound, and that’s exactly what she was going to do. Everything felt vaguely familiar, however, as Cerv’s attention went off from the technology and straight to the man she could see right in front of her. Almost like the simulator she was in just a few days ago, it couldn’t have been more obvious that Raptor: Disaster! was going to be playing a valuable role in protecting these two. And, from how Twitch was flying, it was obvious that she had picked up on that as well. But, luckily for Cervidae, she had discovered how successful she could hit a target without actually having to lock onto it. Gloved hands moved to smooth buttons on her yoke and a steady stream of lasers flew to make contact with the enemy Interceptor.

Damage wise, it was minimum if at all, but the FACT that someone else was a part of this fight seemed to wake the Saint up. From the way the craft seemed to handle itself now, it was obvious that he was really not expecting for another Chlovi member to stay a part of this battle. “You’re not taking her. Not today...” Cervidae mumbled under her breath as she focused her attention on sending another string of fire to him. Again, another hit, but it was becoming obvious that it was only acting as a wake up for the flyer rather than actual critical hits. Well, it seems we know where they put effort into their shields..

Twitch’s voice rang in her wingman’s ears, a reassuring thing as Cerv continued to fire munitions. [[“At least it’s a distraction, right? We’re almost near base; keep pulling his attention away from me!”]]

“Roger that.” Cervidae kept firing, but the Saint wasn’t going to remain a stagnant target for her. Most of her later munitions failed to even come close to him, but it was shaking him off from his focus. It was becoming very apparent that he was expecting to take out the Cobalt 8 before getting any type of resistance. It was as if the hunter was becoming the hunted, if that cliché could be used. Unfortunately, the Saint 2 was a much better protected ship than the distraction detail that was flying only minutes ago. Had they still be up against them, Cervidae probably would have gotten another kill to add to her list. But, rather than think of that, Cerv remained rigid in her focus. At any moment, he could decide that he wasn’t going take anymore of her barrage of munitions and turn to take her. But, at the slight hint that he was going to turn, Cervidae was ready to break off his tail and fly out of his range.   

She had managed to harass him long enough to get him to break his focus off Twitch, which was the goal. As long as she and her wingman could continue to fly wildly, they could break off from his interest and return to the ship safely.  There was no more time for games anymore, just pure survival. “To the ship?”

[[“To the ship.]]

OOC:

WC:2,373
AAR: Coming down from a little Slip high, Cervidae attempts to get a handle on her excitement as the 128th Squadron comes to light and begins it's utter destruction of the green 50th. However, although the obvious action to undertake is to return to the ship, Cervidae will not fly back alone. So, in attempts to free the Cobalt 8, Cobalt 7 dogs after her wingman and the Saint 2. Twitch has maneuvering out of a line of fire down extremely well, but Cervidae still attempts to distract Trophy. For obvious reasons, the Saint wasn't expecting his target to have backup. And, for a really good stroke of luck, she managed to pull Trophy's attention off Twitch and fly off. 
FM/SCRW/Cervidae/Cobalt 7/S:50 "Chlovi" W:101 "Blade"/ISD Adjudicator/TF:A/2FL/SC/VEN/VE [SoA]

"The world is not a wish-granting factory; you must earn what you deserve."
DeepSix
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DeepSix
 
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[VE-ICS] Pirate Swabbie
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
February 7, 2013 3:48:56 PM    View the profile of DeepSix 
OOC:
VENI NPC Post


A confident grin was plastered all over Varys' expression as he watched the hail of blaster fire being shot in the one corridor where most of the VENI agents were now hiding in like trapped rats. The unnerving infiltrators had managed to keep one step ahead of him all the time but things were different now. Now he and his men had the distinct advantage.

They had the numbers. They had the guns. They had the tactical position and most importantly they had him to directly guide them so as to ensure no further blunders would be made. As far as the man was concerned the situation he found himself in could yet be salvaged provided he could kill off - or less likely, maybe even capture - some of the VENI agents.

Their progress and success thus far could easily be blamed on the former CO's negligence and inability to properly command his troops. A shame alas that the latter would be unable to stand proper trial back on Tilsec Prime, but Varys would make sure to try and salvage the man's reputation as much as he would be able to. A few facts would perhaps slightly change in his reports - such as the manner in which the former commander was gunned down by one of the VENI operatives and how driven by both duty and revenge, the Head of Security took it upon himself to valiantly take hold of the situation and turn things around... as befitting a man of his skills and talents.

It was all bound to go down perfectly and new opportunities were bound to open up to the intelligent and ambitious individual. "Grenades!" a trooper shouted and everyone immediately reacted and took cover as the distinct sound of metal hitting metal could be heard faintly echoing throughout the main entrance hall. Instead of going off with a loud bang and a blinding flash of light, the grenades merely began hissing weakly - thick white smoke emptying from their contents and all throughout the room.

"They're trying to sneak past us... Fire! Keep firing!!!" Varys shouted and clenched his fists tighter, the man knowing this would likely be the climax - the moment he would take down the VENI rats and in so doing ensure an even brighter career ahead of him.

The echoes of blasters firing once more spread throughout the room, the colored bolts barely visible through the artificial fog however. "Aagh!" a trooper standing a few dozen feet from Varys cried as he dropped to the floor and by the sounds of it did not get back up afterward. They're coming, Varys told himself as he blindly fired in the general direction the VENI team would likely emerge from.

Blaster fire was still being exchanged between forces unseen in all the smoke when a light tremor shook the entire facility. The echoes of a few explosions from somewhere on the higher levels also reverberated throughout the entire installation and Varys instinctively looked up and wondered what that could be.

Enemy bombers? Possibly, though the facility's shields should've still held for a while longer. Plus those explosions did not sound like hitting the armored plating outside but rather felt like something was blowing up from inside. But what? And why? Was this supposed to be VENI's getaway diversion? If so it was neither impressive nor even efficient either.

Before the man could give the issue more thought, shades in the dissipating smoke slowly became clearer and the Lieutenant aimed at those. Again and again he fired and the man smiled once he noticed one of the larger shadows shudder after being hit. Even through the clearing smoke however Varys was still able to somehow see the shade turn towards him and point something his way. It was a long something. Almost as long as a-

The man barely had time to realize the answer when a splash of red suddenly grew before his eyes. The color was soon enough accompanied by a warm sensation. Next, wetness could be felt accumulating around his forehead. "Damn!" Varys cursed as he felt his body dropping to the floor, the entire world around him going dark and silent...

~~~~~~~~~~

"Move! Move!! Move!!!" Ensign Grey instructed as the team made its way through the rain of fire and toward the exit. She knew that stopping to take the enemies out first would've been both hard and entirely unpractical given the deadly package she had left on the Nightdancer. Normally if things were different then she would've retreated further back in the facility and there she would've prepared traps and ambushes to further diminish the enemy's ranks once they would come looking for her.

Since that was not an option however she had no choice but to order everyone to put on their masks and run like hell for the exit. Both Frayne and the captured scientists were placed in the middle so as to both better protect them and also help better keep an eye on them. Corporal Elsek led the way, followed close behind by Reeza Hayek and Trathras, with Sergeant Drazin and herself securing the formation's rear end.

"Seriously!?" Grey heard a familiar voice crying out all of a sudden. "Twice in one frakkin' day?" the Ensign heard the haughty pilot exclaim and finally it dawned on the VENI agent that the youngest team member had been most likely shot once again. Well at least she was still alive, which Grey could not state about one of the other researchers she had liberated. Jumping over his corpse the agent pushed forward, knowing that escape was just within reach.

~~~~~~~~~~

Irya Pael smiled as she tilted the shuttle's control yoke forward, slowly bringing the ID craft out of the hangar in which another two shuttles now burned away - the result of the Arkanian woman's discovery of her own craft's weapon controls. It was the facility's secondary hangar bay that the woman had been aiming for all along, ever since she discovered the facility's blueprints as well as found out that there were present shuttles currently docked there - the information not even classified in any of the messages she read whilst the rest of the team were busy searching for the virus' recipe.

These shuttles would be the quickest way off the rock - if not necessarily the safest as well. The reason that the woman couldn't simply run over to the turbolifts and take a ride there was that she first needed to access a different part of the facility from where she would be able to reroute power from the doors normally blocking access. Even with her limited knowledge of engineering it was not hard to cut the isolation off a couple of wires then crossing them together so as to achieve the desired effect.

The reason she decided to shoot down the remaining shuttles was to ensure that she would not be followed by neither the ID nor VENI, provided the latter would attempt to take a different way out. Flying had otherwise never been a problem as far as the Arkanian scientist was concerned. She was no fighter jock and could likely not compare with neither Hayek nor Grey inside a craft's cockpit. Be that as it may, she knew enough to get by and manage to safely run away when the situation called for it...

~~~~~~~~~~

"What's that?" Elsek asked as she turned to look at the shuttle not hover above the facility. There were still other fighters and bombers even further above but those seemed to either be engaged with ID counter-forces or otherwise trying to avoid the installation's few firing flak guns that remained operational.

As Ensign Grey turned to face the looming craft, a thought just would not leave her mind - what if the one piloting was known to her? Granted the chances were higher it was in fact the base commander and his elite staff trying to make a run for it. It could also be some messenger sent in to deliver viable samples of the virus to the fleet. Given her obnoxious ability to stay alive and keep popping in when least expected however, Ensign Grey just could not dismiss the Arkanian female either. Not given what she already knew of the woman. Not given all she didn't know about her...

"Hey, what's he doing?" Reeza asked after turning to face the crimson sky as well. The VE pilot watched as the shuttle tilted forward and gulped loudly - fearing they were both seen and out there in the open with nowhere near enough cover fire to protect against missiles, turbolaser or even heavy blaster shots. To her surprise however the shuttle turned further away and instead opened fire on the group of Stormtroopers that had amassed outside the facility's entrance. The latter had followed the VENI group outside and were otherwise trying to hunt them down - being slowed down only by Drazin and Trathras who returned fire from a larger rock formation a short distance off.

"Is that ours?" Reeza asked a different question. "Oh, oh... is that the Silver Bitch out there? Think she'll drop down and give us a ride if we raise our thumbs and promise to pay her afterward?" Nobody answered though. Instead everyone's eyes were still glued to the metallic sheen of the craft hovering in midair. Everyone saw the shuttle turn back to face them after having decimated the Stormtroopers and everyone feared they would be next. Surprisingly though no shots were fired.

Whether this was because the pilot allowed them to leave on purpose or because a VE Interceptor took a few pot shots at the shuttle showing hostile on his IFF - the answer to that dilemma would remain a mystery for Grey's group. At least for a while longer at any rate...

One thing Ensign Grey promised herself was to fix her mistake - find Irya Pael, capture her if possible or terminate her if not and next bring her back to the Tower. She took the alien out from her comfortable little prison and she would be the one to bring her back when the opportunity would finally present itself. Soon... Ensign Grey thought to herself as she rushed alongside the rest of her team back to the Nightdancer - and to their own escape.

OOC:
WC: 1733
AAR: Varys has the team cornered but fails to prevent their escape - dying instead in the attempt. The Arkanian scientist's goal is at long last revealed - a simple shuttle to take her off the rock. As the VENI team exists the facility and rushes to their own shuttle, Irya ends up giving them a helping hand - though it remains uncertain whether she intended to immediately afterward make Byss cheese out of them.
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
DeepSix
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DeepSix
 
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
February 7, 2013 5:25:23 PM    View the profile of DeepSix 
Pitting TIE Avengers against other TIE Avengers was bound to lead to a good show and that was indeed the case as the nimble crafts flew past one another, always turning, always breaking, always diving and always shooting. Killing such targets was not an easy feat yet slowly but steadily the VE squadron began widening the advantage gap they already possessed thanks to the initial missile salvo which took out two ID Avengers.

In their attempt to protect their Interceptor cousins, the better equipped squadron ended up losing two more crafts thanks to opportunistic attacks made by the more zealous Vornskr pilots. Now, with no more Interceptors close by to provide them with support as well as given the unfair eight to eleven odds, the ID pilots found themselves reconsidering their odds.

To Seth Qorbin however those odds were not nearly as unknown or uncertain. The man knew his squadron possessed the advantage and knew they had all been trained to readily exploit that advantage. He had more pilots, greater morale but most importantly he was confident in the skills honed by the men and women under his command. He knew that sooner or later the ID fighters would begin to drop faster and faster until there would be none left.

Should they stay and fight their fate would be sealed. And should they turn tail and run then their fate would similarly be sealed as there were few things as dangerous as a bunch of Avengers hounding a few targets, shooting missiles, firing laser bolts and if in range also using the tractor beam to further impose an unfair edge. The way the VEN officer figured, he would at most lose one, possibly two more pilots assuming the others were skilled enough. And if that was not the case then he could yet finish the remainder of the battle with but a single casualty tarnishing his record.

"Sir, contact leaving the planet's surface!" Markus notified Seth and the latter immediately switched channels to thank the man for the update. "Sitrep?" the Wing Commander requested and the other Squadron Commander replied calmly "Standard Lambda-class shuttle now exiting the moon's atmosphere. She has a couple of our guys on her tail though."

"Where's she heading?" the blond Lieutenant inquired, unsure of the small vessel's cargo but feeling quite certain that whatever it was mattered. The only question was to whom? Their side? Or the enemy's? "Understood", DeepSix acknowledged the information relayed to him and switched the comm channel off.

Part of him knew that his presence alongside the other Vornskr pilots could help the latter both stay alive for longer and also kill off the enemies faster. Part of him however also knew that the shuttle leaving the moon could prove important. Perhaps even more important than yet another possible casualty. Even if that casualty was an ace pilot...

"Overlord, you have command while I'm away", the man relayed to his XO after finally deciding to go and check things out for himself - the paranoid side of him turning out too strong to resist. "Acknowledged", came the prompt and calm reply of the squadron's XO. The man asked no further questions - not where the CO was going or why he was going there in the first place. He, like the rest of the squadron for that matter, believed in Qorbin. Maybe not his ability to handle administrative duties... but most of the other things concerning the blond individual.

It was not particularly difficult to remove himself from the engagement, all enemy fighters being too busy to lock on to him thanks to the rest of his squadron that had stayed behind. It was also not all that hard to avoid any other fighters along the way either, especially given the fact that most had pulled back and got closer to their retreating cap ships. Still, even with the Avenger's exquisite speed it still took the Lieutenant a few minutes to intercept the shuttle that in the meantime had managed to shake off her VE pursuers.

"Dominion shuttle, state your cargo and intent", DeepSix demanded knowing that if the passengers were friendly then at least one of them would recognize his voice - as she had heard it plenty of times before throughout other missions. Even if her orders were to maintain radio silence or otherwise not divulge her identity, Seth knew the woman leading the VENI team would be able to give him some sort of signal that it was her in that ship. He knew that she was well aware of his skills in a starfighter and doubted she'd be willing to risk her neck otherwise...

"Dominion shuttle, I will not ask again", Seth spoke again and waited for either a reply or some other sign. He was still waiting when a bright flash of light coming from his left distracted him and forced him to slow down a bit so as to be able to turn and get a better look at the origin of said light - which was too strong to be a mere star, but instead bright enough to maybe turn out to be the exploding core of one of the few Star Destroyer present. That was not the case however...
Imperial Network Star Wars Image

What the hell? was what the Onderonian pilot asked himself as he stared dumbfounded at the sight before his eyes. He had see small scale explosions before. He had also seen starfighters, bombers and shuttles exploding. He had seen corvettes, frigates, cruisers and Star Destroyers blowing up occasionally upon getting critically damaged. The man even saw what orbital bombardment could do to a region's environment. Nothing however prepared him for what he saw when he stared at the moon that only minutes before was very round and for the most part intact - barring the many craters and ridges crossing its surface.

So enthralled the man was with the sight of the destruction before his eyes that he failed to pay enough attention to the shuttle ahead of him when the latter engaged its hyperdrive engines before the Avenger pilot had a chance to cripple it. Sithspit! the man cursed as he further slowed down and turned to fully face the now much redder Bloodmoon. It took almost a full couple of minutes for the sensors to start working properly again and when they did Seth was able to see some more contacts drawing away from the now uninhabitable moon.

"Adjudicator, open up a channel with the Captain", the Wing Commander requested. The operator's confirmation was prompt but the connection was only established after about another minute or so. "DeepSix, hold on... I'll make a Fleet wide announcement momentarily", Trykon spoke and the comm channel was flooded with renewed silence once more.

What the heck happened down there? Seth couldn't help but ask himself as he continued staring at the moon - the sight simply fascinating as far as he was concerned...

OOC:
WC: 1159 (plus a picture worth a thousand words? )
AAR: Vornskr squadron continues dealing with the ID Avengers. The exact outcome of this encounter I shall reveal at the start of Death. DeepSix learns of a contact leaving the moon and decides to go in pursuit of it - thinking to either guard it if it's the VENI team or bring it down if it's anything else. He fails however, instead being too preoccupied with the sight of half the moon being incinerated. This means Irya Pael has managed to escape into hyperspace. She'll return at some point though...

After the explosion - when the scanners (all scanners, both ours and the ID side's *hint for Chlovi to maybe use in their successful evasion of the Saints*) the WC also notices contacts putting more distance between themselves and the moon. These contacts would likely be the Nightdancer and Strill. The first would've managed to escape with only a couple or so minutes left to spare. The latter would've managed to escape completely unaware of the explosion about to take place - so once Death starts they'll be able to consider themselves damn lucky to be alive.

You'll notice that there are a few other loose ends spread around both this post and the previous one. Not saying all of them were intentional, but at least part of them were indeed meant to be ended without any clear conclusion one way or the other. Reason for this is to act as a cliffhanger basically and help connect this story with the soon to start out Death.
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
Trykon
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Trykon
 
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
February 7, 2013 7:29:03 PM    View the profile of Trykon 
Bridge of the Adjudicator
Bloodmoon System


The capital ships of the Vast Imperial Second Fleet seemed momentarily to increase their rates of fire, like pack-hunting animals howling and pawing the ground because they sense their prey’s imminent escape.  Sure enough, moments later the remaining Imperial Dominion vessels stuttered in pseudomotion and jumped to hyperspace, leaving only empty space through which the final blasts of energy streaked, harmless.  A lone proton torpedo curved lazily for a time, still dutifully seeking a target, until finally it struck a piece of debris and exploded.  The resulting flash lit up the suddenly-still battlefield for a single heartbeat, as if some cosmic holographer were documenting the war-torn scene for posterity.

On the bridge of the Adjudicator, Commander Wyl Trykon watched the last enemy capital ship icon blink out of existence on the tactical hologram, and he knew that the Battle of Bloodmoon was over.  Some scattered starfighter resistance remained, but those few Dominion pilots would be gone soon enough: any who flew advanced crafts with hyperdrives would follow their fleet, while the rest of the stragglers would be killed or would surrender, soon enough.  But while sighs of relief and little whoops of celebration sounded all around him on his flagship’s bridge, the Kuati Chief of Naval Warfare maintained his silence.  No doubt, the battle would be categorized as a victory for the Vast Empire.  But was it really? he thought to himself.  How decisive was this action, really? he wondered, as his gaze again came to rest on the image of the slowly-spinning moon, with its secret weapons lab.  Did the VENI team succeed in its mission?

But then, even as he looked questioningly at it, the hologram of the moon distorted, and several new color-coded icons came up.  The data feed from the sensors began to scroll along the side of the image at high speed – thousands of numbers went by too quickly for Trykon’s brain to process – and then the holo just… froze.  Trykon opened his mouth to ask what the malfunction was, but before he could speak a bright light flooded the bridge from the port-side viewports.  Fighting the instinct to turn toward the light source, Trykon grabbed the holotable’s edge, shut his eyes, and widened his stance.  “Brace for impact!” he yelled as loudly as he could.  “Brace, brace, brace!”

Only one thing Trykon could think of was capable of producing a flash that bright, and soon after the flash the ship was struck by a roiling shock wave, confirming his suspicion.  The vacuum of space was not an ideal medium for transmitting such forces, but still, the fission explosion was powerful enough to generate a wave of energy and debris so powerful that when it hit, the 1,600-meters-long Imperial II-class Star Destroyer rolled over onto its side.  Trykon’s stomach lurched as the deck seemed to fall away beneath his feet, but soon the inertial dampeners caught up with the unexpected movement, and the comforting regularity of artificial gravity returned.

Panting, Trykon released his hold on the holotable, and opened his eyes.

Despite the shockwave and the battle, the bridge looked… surprisingly normal.  A few crew members had lost their balance, and the medics were still attending to a couple of casualties, but overall, his people seemed okay.  The only oddity was that those who weren’t injured were all staring through the port-side viewports, their mouths agape.  Trykon frowned, and followed their line of sight with his own eyes.

In contrast to his bridge, the Bloodmoon looked… unsurprisingly abnormal.  The blood-red moon was where it was supposed to be, but it was smaller than it had been just moments before.  A huge chunk had been blown out of the surface where the bomb had gone off, and large pieces of the planetoid were drifting away from the truly massive crater.

“You could have mentioned that, Grey,” Trykon muttered under his breath, thinking of the being who’d replaced him as Chief of Naval Intelligence, and who had obviously ordered the VENI team to use a fission bomb to destroy the Bloodmoon facility.  Never mind the fact that VE pilots had been in the area when the bomb went off.  Never mind the fact that Trykon had planned on using the moon as a forward operations base and staging area for the next stage of the invasion.  Never mind the fact…

Abruptly, Trykon’s train of thought was derailed by a memory: he thought suddenly about the day he had revealed his identity as the Chief of Naval Intelligence to Dracule Mihawk, who was then the Chief of Naval Warfare.  Drac had raged then, and Trykon had patiently accepted the Mon Calamari’s ire, secure in the knowledge that his own actions were necessary for the preservation of the Vast Empire.  No doubt the new CNI feels the same way now that you did then, a voice reasoned in his head.  "No doubt," Trykon whispered aloud, his tone still angry.  With an effort, he pushed aside his feelings, vowed to be gentle when he screamed at the new Captain Grey, and focused on the task at hand.

“Report?” he called out.

In response to their captain's call, the stunned crewers turned away from the viewports and went back to work.

OOC:
876 words.  I was waiting to see what would become of that fission bomb...  Having it go off changes things just enough that I've decided to post what I've been working on, and work up another post to close the story a little later, after PHAB Comp officially ends in... 7.5 hours or so.

AAR: The Dominion fleet jumps to hyperspace, leaving several destroyed capital ships behind, as well as many of their starfighters.  [Precise numbers of both will be detailed in my next post, the final of the story]  Before Trykon can get into the nitty-gritty of mopping up the fighter hotspots and starting the post-battle analysis, Bloodmoon explodes.  The shockwave is massive, and rolls the Adjudicator onto its side [though it will affect different vessels differently, depending on their relative sizes and orientations and their distance from ground zero].  Quickly, Trykon gets his crew back to work.

Not a whole lot happens in this post that hasn't already been mentioned.  Important things to note:

1.) The timing of events.  The ID Fleet escapes, leaving many TIEs behind.  THEN the bomb goes off.
2.) Because of that, Chlovi/Strill/VENI can still be dealing with ID figher threats, even after they react to the explosion.
3.) Read Deep's post: the explosion disrupted everyone's sensors, which is a good thing to take advantage of as you take your last actions of the story.  In addition, he mentions an address to the fleet from Trykon, so I'll be working that into my own finale. 
CNW/CDR Wyl "Trick" Trykon/ISD Adjudicator/TF:A/2Flt/FC/VEN/VE

[SoA][SoV][BWC][NSM][E][NAR][HNS][DSM][SWC][1NS][VC:B][LoM][VC:S][NC][GWC][VC:G][CoB][CC:3][2NS][LSM]
(=*AE*=)(=*SAE*=)(=*TG*=)(=*SCFE*=)

TRN/AD Trykon/DJO/VEDJ
Hades
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Hades
 
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
February 7, 2013 10:14:02 PM    View the profile of Hades 
Hades was still fuming when it had happened, pacing up and down his quarters with an admirable amount of fury burning in his eyes. So close, yet so far.. He'd missed the on opportunity to eliminate his nemesis once and for all, as well as avenge Tuk'ata's defeat. "Frak it!" He utilised the Cularin swear word only in times of great anger.. and this was one of those times. His fist had begun to throb after his powerful blow against the TIE fighter, but his anger drowned out most if not all of the pain. He was snapped out of his blind rage by first the vibrations then the movement of the Adjudicator's deck. He couldn't describe what exactly happened, all he knew was that he was flung across his bed and into the wall on the other side.

Nursing his bruised skull, Hades sat up slowly. "What the shab?" He had no clue how  it had happened. Have we been hit? Are we venting atmosphere? No, it couldn't be that. He'd been on ships that had been hit before and nothing had been like this.. In fact, it reminded him of a shockwave. Yes, that was it! Hades emerged from his quarters and looked up and down the corridor. No-one was there, though a disgruntled mouse droid was going around in circles. It seemed the shockwave had sent its sensors haywire.. Speaking of, Hades noticed a flicker in the lights. Strange.. Hades was determined to find out what it was. However; something he'd failed to notice in his earlier rage was that the deck was no longer vibrating with the powerful blasts of the turbolasers that had been firing so rapidly during the battle. That meant that either they'd surrendered of the ID had fully retreated. Given the last thing he'd heard of the battle, he doubted it was the former.

Whatever was happening, though, it was worth checking out. Carefully skirting the Mouse-droid's erratic movements, Hades jogged down the corridor to the turbolifts. He keyed the closest one open and hit the button for the bridge. Strangely enough, the turbolift's screen said it was at engineering, going downward.. Hades flicked the malfunction aside as insignificant. When it opened on the bridge, the screen now showed that it was at the barracks. What the devil is going on, Hades mused. Emerging on the bridge, though, he found their sensors were only just calming down after being in a similar predicament - multi-coloured dots of all kinds plagued the tactical readouts and numbers scrolled furiously across various screens at a rate too fast for any normal eye to decipher.

"For blast's sake, what in the blazes is going on-" He may have been rather out of line, emerging on the bridge so suddenly, but even the ever-observant Chief of Naval Warfare seemed too preoccupied by what had just happened to issue one of his usually cutting responses. Hades had stopped almost midsentence as he saw what everyone else had been staring at. The Bloodmoon was indeed in the right place.. but not all of it. There were chunks of moon floating away from it and the Bloodmoon itself was a good size smaller than it had been when last Hades had checked. "Well I'll be." The young SCO murmured quietly.

"Sir, what just happened?" Hades eyed the Chief of Naval Warfare warily. The man looked shaken, which was strange coming from Trykon, of all people, but his composure had not deserted him. He still had a gaze that could burn through armour plating and a tongue equally as effective.

"An explosion on the Bloodmoon's surface." Trykon narrowed his eyes accusingly at Hades' - it was clear that he was not in a good mood and had been just as in the dark about the proposed explosion as Hades had. Hades, being VENI, was the closest one at hand linked to Grey and his machinations and by default received the suspicion. The next words implied that the Commander knew more than he let on - as always. Hades paled somewhat. "Origin unknown."

"Origin unknown.." Hades repeated quietly. Grey, he realised with a half smile. You bloody genius.

"I'm about to make a fleet-wide broadcast, Master Chief." Trykon uttered as he turned away, grey-green gaze refocusing on the now resolved tactical display. "You may wish to hear it, but I must insist that you stop barging onto my bridge so rudely.."

"Understood, sir." Hades responded calmly, eyeing the tactical display. There were numerous red blips on the readouts, but nothing concentrated or major; they were essentially the left overs for the VE to mop up, fighters and bombers that did not have enough time to get back aboard their ships or whom had been tasked with the suicidal duty of protecting the rear. The VE fleet, on the other hand, seemed largely intact, though a few yellow flashing lights indicated certain ships had sustained a significant proportion of damage to their hull or even other sections of the ship. The blue blips out there were now converging on the outnumbered red blips.. The largest part, the hardest part of this battle was over, and the battle in its entirety was soon to be complete.

And Hades had done nothing. The MCPO lowered his gaze in disappointment, but kept the tactical readouts in sight. I wish I was among them, he thought bitterly at the blue blips.

--- --- ---

The hangar on the other hand was chaos. No longer organised, the sudden loss of gravity had had a far more severe effect on the busy bay in which Hades had made himself useful before he found out that the ID was retreating. Returning fighters had slammed against the floor or ceiling of the Adjudicator's hangar bay, damaging some of the TIE racks and injuring around half a dozen people that had been scurrying around the bay. No serious damage, but it was enough to make it inconvenient. The head mechanic, who'd been on a bed in the med-bay, had been thrown up and off his bed into a wall, making his injuries worse.

Tools had flown across the bay and knocked unwary mechanics on the head, leaving bruised skulls and black eyes all around as well as smashing into one of the atmospheric control panels. Fortunately, only a little maintenance was required and the hangar bay hadn't vented itself, therefore saving hundreds of lives. All in all, the shockwave had shaken the large majority of the people in the hangar bay, who now scurried about once more, this time lacking most senses of order as they tried to figure out how to get everything back to the way they had been doing it before the shockwave. It hadn't even been that powerful, the shockwave - but it certainly had done some damage, even if largely superficial.

Engineering hadn't suffered as badly as the hangar, with only one or two injuries, none of them in any way crippling. However, one engineer had been hurled from his post and accidentally keyed the temperature control, which abruptly increased the engine temperature and forced all of the engineers to rush back to their posts and struggle to get the temperature back under control, which, being Trykon's crew, they managed to do in record time. Overall, there were many people throughout the Adjudicator that were wiping sweat of their brow and exhaling a nervous breath, or indeed some just happy to be alive.

Others still, like the head mechanic, wished they weren't.

OOC:
Wordcount: 1,283.

AAR: Hades experiences the shockwave and rushes to the bridge to find out, just in time to catch Trykon's fleet-wide broadcast. Also, a look at how the shockwave affected the busy hangar and engineering sections detrimentally, though the skilled crew of the Adjudicator managed to keep it under control.

Chief of Naval Training, 54th Squadron Commander

SCO | ESN "Hades" | A-1 | S:54 "Gundark" | W:101 "Blade" | ISD Adjudicator | TF:Aurek | 2nd Fleet | SC | VEN | VE
CNT | ESN "Hades" | PLF Cappadocious | VENA | VEN | VE

VENI

[MC1] [CBV] [CAR] [BWC] [HNS] [SWC] [NSM] [LoM] [CC:2] [DSM] [1NS]
{INTER} {SfrM} {XenMA}  (=*SWC*=) {AFM} {HypM} {0Gee} {INFL}

Joamer
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Joamer
 
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
February 7, 2013 11:10:10 PM    View the profile of Joamer 
Hearing his name called out in a worried voice, he walked over after motioning to Bright with a hand signal to check the outside. He knew they did not have long before possible reinforcements arrived. The time they had been given without hostile fighters coming down on-top of them worried him, something was obviously very wrong. Years of experience were screaming at him something was wrong.

Glancing at the various readouts on the monitors he frowned as training he had rarely used came back to him. Something about the power levels seemed odd, nothing he could see indicated it could of been sabotaged but he still had to voice his thoughts. "Could it be sabotage, maybe. That would not explain these readings though, why do such a slow build up like this. Judging by these readouts the cannon has been on buildup for hours possibly days now. Building a slow charge, for one big blast. Possibly enough to take out the Adjudicator when the time was right."

"These readings are red lined though, it's like they missed their moment to fire." Pert said as he typed something into one of the terminals. "Frak, they did not use their command ship for the sensor data. Looks like their comm ship was damaged sometime during the battle, so they lost sensor feeds. Without those, on a tight beam transmission nothing else could cut through the interference."

"Those crazy fools built this as a one off weapon, it had to fire at a certain time and burn out the generator otherwise it goes into overload. They were trying to shut it down, but it's gone rogue now it can't be shut down." Joamer looked up suddenly as realization dawned on him. "Strill, back to the fighters! On the double MOVE!" He shouted as he pushed his squadron out the main door as they took off at a hard jog. It would be a grueling run but they had to clear the area before the cannon overloaded fully.

He fell to the back as he kept everyone in front of him, he saw Bright pushing the ones beginning to struggle ahead of her to keep them moving. He would not leave anyone behind, no matter what. He had done it too many times, and he vowed right now to bring everyone home.

"Edge." He said slowly, his breathing was easy but fast. It was obvious he was not as young as he used to be. "Can you program a quick course for sevens fighter? We need it to leave the atmosphere and quickly travel away from the main battle, but far enough away to clear any debris that might be from the exploding ships up there. Then have it cut its engines, so rescue and recovery can pick it up sometime later?"

"Frell, you are fahrbot you know that, and I'm an fekkik to follow you. Give me a few minutes, least that is easier than rigging this thing to blow." Edge said over the comm a few seconds later, luckily they had cleared the interference enough for the transmission to go through.

He knew most fighters had some form of slave circuitry installed, made it easier for their home bases to recall fighters when their pilots were too badly injured or had outright died. It was part of the old Empires ideals, fighters were more valuable than their pilots. Even now in the new Empire, some things has not changed. Right now he was just glad they could save his body, and when they had time allow him to be buried properly.

"Launch him when you are done, we won't have time to before we get back. Fire up your fighter too, I want off this moon as fast as possible this place crawls." Joamer said as he put a hand on Xanin's shoulder and kept pace with him. He knew most of the pilots were not used to physical exertion of this magnitude, he would need to draw up plans for daily exercise once they got back.

The minutes passed quickly, as he wondered when the cannon would explode. From the readings they saw it seemed only minutes, but now the minutes had kept ticking by and no explosion. Which was good, a blast of that sort would likely fry their fighters electronics if they were just lucky.

He knew they could not push the squadron much more, everyone was beginning to falter. This pace was harsh even on the old army dogs in the group. He considered slowing down as he saw someone up front stumble, and for a moment thought against it as he saw two others suddenly grab the trooper to steady him. "We can do it Strill, our ticket home is almost in sight. Let's prove to the unbelievers an unorthodox group can push through the hardships and get the job done."

He did not think his impromptu speech did much, but they only needed to keep going a little bit more. His HUD was indicating the small clearing was only a few hundred feet in front of him. Stumbling through the semblance of rocky tree like objects they emerged into the clearing where their fighters sat waiting with low hums coming from all of them.

"Man your fighters, go to green and launch. We don't have long." He said as he rushed up to Edge just as the man jumped down from Negom's fighter.

"It's done, it's not pretty but it's done. She'll launch in thirty seconds and head somewhere below the moon. Her beacon won't start broadcasting till we send out a coded signal, so hopefully no one will come around and pillage her cargo." He said as he walked over to his own fighter and began climbing up the side of it.

Looking around Joamer saw most of the squadron either inside their fighters bringing their engines online, or in the final stages of getting inside. It was not easy climbing the exterior of an Interceptor in full armor, but it had to be done. They needed to have some sort of ladder installed if this was going to be their lives in the future.

Jogging over to his fighter he slowly made the climb himself and dropped inside. Removing Lurk's egg and his particle rifle he locked them in place and quickly brought his engines back to life. Easing power into his repulsorlifts he eased her off the ground and followed Iron 6 into the air.

"Form up, hard burn away from here. It's time we get off this rock." He said into the squadron's comm channel.

Pushing his engines to max he leaned back in his seat as the slightly nimble fighter screamed for space. That place in the pit of your stomach that warned you something bad was coming was turning flips right now. He knew they had to get away and fast. He felt the shock-wave before his systems started acting up, a moment later his fighter tried to stale but luckily they had only been touched by the tail end of the ion cannons explosion.

"First explosion of Strill squadron, too bad none of us got to see it." Edge said in a half mumble.

"Oh, don't worry. There will be others, have no doubt about that." Rikky said with a slight laugh.

Joamer looked at his sensor readout for a moment in disbelief, what he saw was coming from the moon and coming on fast. "What the frak, that's not possible." The chatter died fast as they heard the worry in his tone. "BREAK BREAK BREAK! All fighters, full burn and scatter!"

He had no time to look at anyone else, but he knew the shock-wave that was coming would disorient all of them. Flying in close quarters would be suicide. Pushing the stick all the way forward he heard his fighter scream at the sudden course correction. He saw on his display his squadron breaking off into different directions, a moment later the shock-wave hit them.

His sensors lasted only a second before they shorted out, his readouts for his weapons, and power systems sparked once then died. The worse part was full loss of control over the fighter itself. Chopping the throttle to nothing, and setting the auto-stabilization he leaned back in his seat and held on for dear life as the fighter began a death roll. Luckily the wave passed them quickly, leaving them mostly disoriented but still alive.

Grabbing the controls again he punched the throttle to full and turned off auto-stabilization. Feeling the fighter he eased back under control as some of his systems came back online. He considered shouting a oorah over the comm but thought against it, hearing his comm crackled then suddenly a voice shouted an insane war cry he half smiled as someone stole his idea.

"Frak me, what was that?" Someone asked a few moments later.

Bringing his fighter around in a slow loop he cut the engines as he starred at what was left of the underside of Bloodmoon. He knew the squadron was forming up around him and doing the same, the dead silence that echoed through the open comm channel was frightening.

"Did we do that?" Xanin asked quietly a few moments later.

"I doubt it, I hope we did that would be an epic ending to our first mission but somehow I really doubt we caused that. Everyone fall in, any serious damage report it to your flight leads. Flight leads report in to me." Joamer said as he waited for everyone to run checks on their own fighters. Bringing his fighter back around he eased her throttle to the mid-point and headed towards the beacon for home. Seeing their ship ahead of them he blinked slowly and said, "Well, that is one thing that unnerves you. An Imp-II trying to barrel roll."

He saw the Adjudicator on her side for a long moment before she righted herself. He could almost visualize the ship shivering suddenly as she realized what had almost happened. Seeing the squadron forming up on in their own wings, and then in formation with him he brought them slowly alongside their mother ship.

"Iron lead to Adjudicator, reporting in. Setting up for a CAP and awaiting orders." He did not know where her close combat fighters were currently, but he had no real desire to go take on the remaining Dominion forces. Sadly, being back in comms with the higher ups that choice was out of his hands now.

Breathing slowly he realized for the most part his first mission as commander of a fighter squadron was coming to a close. It was not text book, nor was it perfect. In fact he would probably get flak for his decisions during the debriefing but he got as many of his squadron home as he could. They ones flying with him were still alive, and that was enough for him.



OOC:
WC-1837. Strill does not get to fire the Ion Cannon after all, but it does explode which was probably epic. However none of them saw  it, congrats and a big REALLY? to VENI for one upping our own explosion. I know Bloodmoon was an eyesore(Pun intended for those of you in the know.) But, wow folks. Squadron is currently in CAP formation and awaiting orders. Thus ending our objectives.

This is Strill Lead, Commanding Officer of the surviving pilots. Signing off.
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.
Twitch
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
February 8, 2013 12:36:52 AM    View the profile of Twitch 
It had worked? Multicolored eyed widened in surprise, and then delight. A loud yip of excitement echoed throughout the small space of her fighter. IT HAD WORKED. Excited merriment threatened to overwhelm Twitch as she continued flying, joining back into the formation, before she let out a light embarrassed cough. She had not been wrong in trusting this new woman, this new wingman. A successful slip would have been hard enough amongst vets that had been flying with each other for years, but for a rookie team who’d been flying all of an hour together to pull off it would have been impossible. A double slip? She wasn’t sure such a thing was even heard of.  She sobered a little. The fighting was not over yet, and facts were still to be faced. They were suicide flyers. Fighters meant as a distraction. A distraction for what though? She sighed and the twitch that had earned her the nickname caused her head to jerk to the side in agitation.

Anita’s eyes narrowed. “Where are you? What are you? she scanned her screens, smiling as excited cheers entered her ears from her fellow squadron mates. Had they forgotten that the people they had just killed had been a distraction? Then fear and confusion caused her heart to race as one by one, the blips that represented her team vanished from her sensor screen. Eyes narrowed. She quickly went through every trick in and out of the book she knew to try and get the technology to work again. ”Twitch, we’ve got a very, very serious problem. My systems aren’t reading anything. Tell me it’s just me.”

She could hear the wishful hope in Crev’s voice, and sadly, Anita could not feed it.  It’s not just you she cringed at the abrasive and cold that meat her ears. She hadn’t meant to be abrasive to the woman, but annoyance was washing over her fear, clearing her mind. Her mind whirled. It was too much of a coincidence that both of their systems were down, down and none of the tricks to reboot them had worked which meant one thing. “Ambush.” She looked out of her cockpit window. This was so much like the Nebula simulation in the academy. Crev we have… she trailed off seeing members of the squadron go down. Tears and fear fought to over whelm her before anger and determination won out again. NO. NOT HERE. She would not fall today.
“Twitch. Thank gods comms still work. Only safe port is the ship. Can’t risk flying those ships close to base. I can’t read a thing on my screen. We’ll never know if they’ve locked onto us… “ Twitch nodded, even though her wingman couldn’t see it. Something told her she was dead soon if it wasn’t for communication. To anyone who was attaching from afar, without knowing the circumstances, it would seem like the pilot of cobalt 8 was suddenly losing her mind as she randomly spun in air and then dived, exiting the formation. Animals can since predators, and humans were nothing more than animals.

They were intelligent animals, but animals none the less. She did her best to put intelligence to the side, to allow carefully honed instinct to take over. She stroked the control yoke. Let the fear in, breath in, now own it, use it. Her Master’s voice guided her through. She was going to have to remember to send him a particular profitable gift when she survived this, and she would if the gods willed it. She kissed her forefinger and middle finger together and touched her heart once more. “No attacks, just flying. I got it. Sharp movements and everything.”

“Look at the way they fight; it’s personal for them. Individualistic kills rather than splitting it with a wingman. Looks like one has their sights on one of us…” She did watch, with a morbid fascination. What was it about human nature that made the call for blood run so hot? She shook her head. As one of the enemy ace’s followed Cabby and another started heading to her and Crev. Stupid human pride made her want to engage, to answer the challenge and come out on top. A certain sense of self-preservation called that side of her an idiot and beat it into a corner. “So, we out-fly them, we’re in the clear?” She stated it as a question for no other reason that she wondered if her partner would be in accordance with that plan. She felt like a small chlovi kit who bites off more than one can chew. Cocky, and then when things gets tough, backs off when it realizes that it’s pack is not with it. Still, she liked breathing more than not and she was alright with backing down.

“Right.  We shake ‘im off and fly back to base. We’ve got company.” The enemy that had been heading towards them had caught up.
It took all of twenty seconds for twitch to realize that she was his target. She chose that moment to cut all power from her engines. The rapid deceleration that had thrown the other targets off hadn’t worked on this one. He stayed on her like chlovi to a fresh kill. She snarled. “Looks like it’s me he wants.” There was a certain feeling that rose up, at being picked as this man’s target. Pride was the closest word to describe it. She was afraid, but still, this was a challenge, and she accepted the thrown glove and would slap him in the face with it. Truly she was torn between following in Justy’s ion trail, fleeing the battle for the safety of the ship. Still, she was a prideful creature, and her parent’s child besides. She would not leave her wingman, her team to die to save her own skin. She would not choose that dishonor.

Her wingman picked up on that part of her that was feeling prideful at being picked, even going so far as to throw a half joke. “Better you than me. With your control, you’ll have out-ran him twenty times over before he even knows what’s up. Careful, though, he may have you locked.” It was almost like Crev was taking pleasure in pointing out the obvious. No. that wasn’t fair. She was worried and a good person, a good wingman, the kind of woman who would make it far in the military, the kind you wanted on your side. She was just trying to have Twitch’s back. Twitch well, twitched.

“Got it. Watch my back, though; chances are I’m still going to need him distracted.” And with that, Anita engaged in a giant game of tag, and she was not planning on being it. To be it would to be dead. And the way this guy hunted her reminded her of her first lesson with her masters. He was toying with her, and she with him, and it was a very dangerous game. Crev better have her back or she would haunt the woman, and her descendants for an eternity.

Twitch began an intricate dance, transferring her movements to the control yoke, and by extension, her fighter took the dance with a grace that no machine should have. She smirked; pulled power from engines to her shields; just in time too as she felt her craft take a hit. Her shoulder jarred causing her to cringe but without missing a beat she hit the panic button, pulling the yoke to her stomach, bringing her craft straight up. She was flying inverted now. She gave a rude gesture to the man in the enemy cockpit.

Probably a bad idea. He stopped toying. Crev Now would be a good time for that distract…never mind you’re on it she laughed. No fear, no uncertainty to taint the thrill of this deadly chase. She was gone into the calling of her blood. She watched with a critical eye seeing where the weaker spots of the shield were. A few more precious moments later, and she determined that with the hit of the panic button, they would make it.

Her heart stopped as below, half the moon disappeared into a bright orange light. She was momentarily blinded and distracted by the disappearance of half the moon. ” “At least it’s a distraction, right? We’re almost near base; keep pulling his attention away from me!”
She would let the shock of the explosion sink in when she and Cervidae were safe. “To the ship”

“To the ship” Anita came up beside her wingman as they made it to the safety of the ship.

OOC:
Word count: 1,453
AAR: Twitch is targeted by Trophy. They start out toying with each other. Twitch relies on her martial arts training, making her craft do things that no machinery should even be able to do. But despite her unpredictability, she is still being toyed with. Crev comes to the rescues, taking some heat of her. The two rookeis could be in trouble but the destruction of half the moon gives them a good distraction and they manage to escape.
Hades
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
February 8, 2013 1:33:52 AM    View the profile of Hades 
It was unbelievable. Hayek had a smart remark for almost anything (at least, what she considered to be smart), including the recent run in with whom she termed the 'silver bitch'. But she was still stunned as they legged it back to the Nightdancer. She couldn't decide whether she liked Irya for getting rid of the stormtroopers or whether she still thought Irya had done it out of convenience ran than her inherently helpful nature.. Given past interactions, anybody would believe the latter over the former but recent events had made Hayek reconsider what she knew of pretty much anything. The pain of her second wound of the day was really getting to her, especially since they hadn't had time to stop and administer proper anesthetics, and it was exacerbated by all this running they had to do. Reeza had a stich, both her wounds were aching, her eyes were foggy and her head pounded from such constant and intense noise.

Sometimes Hayek had given up on things; school projects, sleazy boyfriends - but a culmination of the things she was now experiencing tempted her, in a little voice, to give up on life. It tempted her to sit down among these rocks and die with the horrid place that was Bloodmoon. But somehow, she kept running and running until the Nightdancer's beautiful form came into sight. Only Hayek would call it beautiful, being a shuttle an all.. but she had an attachment to this fighter. Stumbling the last few steps, Drazin caught her arm and led her aboard. Grey, being one of the most surprising of them all, had proved herself to be fitter than almost all of them combined, and was - unsurprisingly - aboard already. The woman seemed rather flushed for a change.. or was that just the pilot's vision fading into red? She didn't know.

"Move, move, move! We've got no time!" Grey had already started the engines. Hayek could hear them whining with power. Those were her engines, and Grey had started them up.. Hayek might have taken offence if she wasn't dropping in and out of consciouness. All aboard? It seemed so, as the ramp raised. Where are Trathras and the Doctor? she realised urgently. A ragdoll came flying through the steadily closing ramp and slammed onto the floor, skidding until it came to a halt. Was it a missile? A dud explosive? The ramp sealed with a thunk, but the shuttle had lifted off even before that. It was then Hayek realised that it was the doctor! She almost smiled.. but how?!

She did not see Trathras anywhere, and realised what had happened. The experiment, whom everyone considered the least humane out of the team even given Grey and Irya's cold apathy to suffering, had done the most decent thing out of any of the team members. He'd literally hurled Doctor Frayne onboard the shuttle, knowing that one of them would make it.. and one of them wouldn't. It made Hayek sad; she'd developed a kind of teddy-bear affection for the big man. Yes, she thought of him as a man and, given what he just did, she refused to think of him as anything less than a great one. Hayek passed out with watery eyes, blackness engulfing her as Sergeant Drazin knelt with the first-aid kit, tending her second wound. She had no idea why she'd survived and someone as selfless as Trathras hadn't.

--- --- ---

Grey had watched Hayek carefully and, determining she didn't have it in her to make it, began lift-off procedures. To her frustration, Drazin had helped her aboard. Trathras and the Doctor Frayne were lagging behind further still, Trathras not so much, but the good Doctor could not keep up with the fitter counterparts of the VENI team. She determined that Trathras might make it, but Frayne would not. Not a total loss then. Figuring her assessment was done, Grey returned to the cockpit and began to lift the shuttle off, confident Trathras would jump aboard.

But what she didn't assess was the fact Trathras had gone back for the Doctorm and now carried him fireman-style over his shoulder, sprinting full speed. The big cyborg realised that he wasn't going to make it so, utilising his augmented limbs, Trathras did the only human thing he could. He sacrificed himself for the Doctor, hurling the small man through the gap in the closing ramp, satisfied in seeing him disappear into the Shuttle. Trathras was simple, but a smile crossed his face. He had done well..

Grey piloted the shuttle like a madman - or woman - burning for the relative safety of outer space. A few bandits latched onto their tail, and Grey pushed the yoke in various directions, weaving to avoid the faster fighters' blaster bolts. With an increase and subsequent decrease in temperature, they burst into the blackness of space - though it was red, influenced by the Bloodmoon's color - and saw the carnage. Grey was not impressed, amazed, or disgusted, merely pleased that she saw more VEN forces intact compared to the scattering of fighters that read ID IFFs.

But they'd escaped not a moment too soon; a flash of light reflected off nearby wreckage and Grey knew what was coming - "Everyone brace!" Sergeant Drazin, Corporal Elsek and Grey all knew what to do.. Frayne did not.

Sergeant Drazin used his body weight to hold the unconscious Hayek down while holding onto the bulkhead, and Elsek held the edges of the seat, already strapped in. Frayne just stood up dumbly and said, "I beg your pardon?"

The shockwave hit in perfect unison with Frayne's question and it would have been hilarious had it not shorted out or sent haywire all of the Nightdancer's sensors. Grey cursed and tried to wrestle the shuttle back under control, to no avail as she heard a thunk from behind her. Then another thunk, and another. The Ensign grimaced but finally the shockwave had passed and its EMP effect with it. The Shuttle's systems booted back to life slowly, but surely, and Grey was relieved to see VE fighters speeding toward them on the readouts..

It wasn't often Grey allowed herself the pleasure of relief, but she did now, leaning back in her seat as the shuttle followed a course toward the Brilliant. We did it.

OOC:
Wordcount: 1,083

AAR: THE VENI TEAM ESCAPES, but only by the hair of their.. posteriors. Unfortunately, Trathras is left behind, but the Cyborg and the least prone to humane things, saves Doctor Frayne in the process. The Nightdancer is now en-route to the Brilliant.. Mission accomplished!

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Chief of Naval Training, 54th Squadron Commander

SCO | ESN "Hades" | A-1 | S:54 "Gundark" | W:101 "Blade" | ISD Adjudicator | TF:Aurek | 2nd Fleet | SC | VEN | VE
CNT | ESN "Hades" | PLF Cappadocious | VENA | VEN | VE

VENI

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

Cabby
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
February 8, 2013 1:38:52 AM    View the profile of Cabby 
[“Good shooting, but…try to remember to dodge next time, Cobalt 11.”] Fletcher barked a laugh in response to his comment. She gripped the yoke and steered back into formation along with the rest of Chlovi as Sam spoke again. [“Team, that was flawless,”] her shoulder throbbed uncomfortably as if to remind her that it had not been in fact flawless. [“Our first victory. I’m proud of every one of you. C’mon, let’s go find us some more Dominion bantha-botherers to kill.”] She felt pride grow warm in her chest; not long ago she had been a taxi driver, a racer and a gambler: a criminal and a talented one at that. Now she was a pilot with a purpose, someone to be reckoned with. Fletcher shifted and adjusted herself in her seat, trying to find a more bearable position rest her arm. The young woman was having difficulty keeping it at a tolerable angle. A feeling told her that she had broken something, but she hopped that it wasn’t the case. If she had been injured to that extent Fletcher knew that there would be many calls for her to stop flying until it was healed. Fletch’s gaze traveled to her scanner and nearly did a double take. It was blank as nothing else. Not one measly dot on it.

    “What the-” Fletcher began, reaching a finger out to tap on the screen. Her movements halted when it suddenly dawned on her. Things like this didn’t just fail without warning. Before she could find the words, Dunny found them for her.

    [“We’re about to be stung! Break Break Break!”]

    Fletcher reacted with a second delay as she forced her right arm to move. From her shoulder to the tips of her fingers was nearly numb save for shoots of intense pain that traveled like fire under her skin. She ground her teeth together, feeling her jaw click under the pressure. Fletcher could see the squadron’s formation shatter like glass as the new fighters came in fast towards them: twelve of them. Fletcher’s eyes were drawn to the royal blue stripes on each and her brow furrowed. She knew what that meant from somewhere, she just couldn’t remember what it was. But, she decided as her fighter speed away from them, whatever it was it wasn’t good news for Chlovi. “What the hell is going on Dunny? Or anyone really care to explain?” Fletcher called over the com, hopping but not counting on an answer. Fletch swung her TIE around to face the action just in time to watch as one of her squadron mates was murdered. Her breath stopped in her throat at is it had turned into led. She hadn’t known the man, never shared a conversation with him before, perhaps she had passed him once or twice before but that was where their relationship ended. Yet now, faced with his sudden death Fletcher felt a deep and painful grief for him. She didn’t even know his name.

    Fletcher took a shuddering breath, the air catching a few times before blowing past her now bleeding lips. They had been chewed raw out of nerves and her bottom lip had spit nearly clean down the center.  She could taste blood on her tongue and it made her stomach churn. Fletcher’s eyes darted to her sensors out of habit before looking back out into space. A moment later Fletcher yanked her TIE around and screamed the other way. The Imperial fighter pilot who had just killed her squad mate had obviously set her eyes on Fletcher. She wanted so badly to swing around and shoot but she knew that meant certain death. So she few fast away from the other, swaying sharply as she went trying to throw off any targeting computers. Suddenly two flashes of brilliant green erupted from the TIE behind her and flew uncomfortable close to her fighter. Fletcher could nearly feel the lasers heat as she yanked her TIE into a nearly sideways to avoid the impact. A lock of hair fell into her face and clung to her forehead, Fletcher could feel the sweat dripping down the back of her neck as she flew. Two more startling rounds of green flew at her; this time on the other side and Fletcher was forced to repeat the sideways movement. “You’re having a right laugh aren’t you?” Fletcher growled deeply, her voice rumbling deep in her chest. “Well you want to play, let’s play.” Fletcher would bet any amount of money on the fact that this woman had probably never driven a cab, or raced in her life. Fletcher grimaced, that meant, she’d have to think like a lunatic cabby. 

    Fletcher pushed forward fast, knowing her tail would quick their pace as well. A blaze of green danced by her again and instead of dodging like she had before, Fletched dropped like a stone. The Imperial fighter shot passed her, which gave Fletch a quick moment to shoot off in another direction. But the other was a much better flyer than Fletcher had counted on, and it was no time at all before she was back behind her. Fletcher swore loudly, and angrily. She dodged continuously, never staying in a straight line, weaving through an invisible course. Her flight suite rubbed against her bare skin, just a wife-beater beneath it to take friction. The Imperial fighter continued to make Fletcher dance, making her twist this way and that. Fletcher became more and more frustrated as the game continued. Blood pounded in her ears, blocking out any other sound, she could only hear her breathing, shallow and staggered. Another bright streak of green tunneled through space and hit her fighter. Fletcher jerked and turned sharply, her shoulder taking the sudden movement with a force that made her call out in pain. It crunched again, and if it wasn’t broken before, it was now. Fletcher bit her lip hard, drawing more blood, to stop another cry of anguish. A tear slipped down her cheek and settled in the corner of her mouth. She opened her lips in a deep gasp and she could taste the salty water on her tongue.

    Fletcher continued to fly, though a deep despair had settled in her chest, heavy and painful. All control in her arm had been replaced by white hot pain agony. She took a deep shuddering breath and half dodged again, her fighter was moments away from destruction, and Fletcher knew that if she ejected, no mercy would be spared. She’d be dead either way. It would take a miracle, and although Fletcher had a lucky hand, she wasn’t counting on it. With a flick of her finger Fletcher turned the com on. “Well Chlovi,” Fletcher choked back the pain laced with her shaking voice. “It was good fun flying with you, just wish it could have been longer,” She turned again, the Imperial fighter right behind her. Her shoulder felt like it had been set on fire. “And you know what they say: the brave may not live forever, but the cowardly do not live at all.”

OOC:
wc: 1,186

AAR: Chlovi is taken by surprise and fletcher breaks away. She watches a member of Chlovi shot down and is than targeted by Clint, the same one to kill John. She does her very best to avoid being hit, but her shoulder worsens and the outcome doesn't look great, but Fletcher has accepted that.
FM/SCRW Cabby/Cobalt 11/ S:50 "Chlovi"/ W:101 "Blade"/ISD 'Adjudicator' TF:A/2FLT/SC/VEN/VE
Trykon
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  RE: VEN: Counterpunch: War
February 8, 2013 2:28:16 PM    View the profile of Trykon 
Command Bridge, Adjudicator
The Bloodmoon System
The VE-Occupied Territories

“Report” Trykon called out.

The veterans of the Adjudicator’s bridge crew snapped into action, as if a spell had been broken.  They turned away from the viewports in unison, and worked at their stations for a moment.  Seconds later, Trykon’s Executive Officer had a preliminary report.

“Looks like a fission explosion, on the moon’s surface,” Commander Zhar Bacredi confirmed.  “Shockwave hit us at a very inconvenient angle, but ship seems to be okay.  Minor injury reports, but no significant damage.”

Trykon let out a breath.  We were lucky, he thought to himself.

Bacredi continued: “The electromagnetic interference from the blast temporarily overwhelmed sensors and communications, but systems are coming back now.  Doesn’t look like any other ships in the fleet were taken out by the shockwave, either.”

“Were any starfighters?” Trykon asked, his concern evident in his tone.

Bacredi hesitated.  “Aye.  We don’t have a count, yet, and we don’t know how many were Dominion and how many were our pilots… but there were fighters in the blast zone when… when it happened.”

“Right,” Trykon said with a frown.  “I want to know when systems are back to optimal, Mr. Bacredi.  And I want to address the fleet.  While I’m doing that, send a long-range secure holo transmission to Abrae: I need to consult with the NCC, as soon as possible.”

“Aye sir,” the older man confirmed, before turning on his heel to make the preparations.

“Sir, what just happened?” a vaguely familiar voice called.

Trykon turned toward the interruption with a scowl, and to his surprise discovered a VE pilot standing by the rear lift.  His brain took a moment to confirm: it was Master Chief Petty Officer Demetrius Aita.  “An explosion on the Bloodmoon’s surface,” he answered carefully, squinting at this interloper as he remembered the man worked for VENI as well as the Starfighter Corps.  “Origin unknown.”

The formerly-MIA VENI asset echoed the phrase quietly, but Trykon decided he had more pressing duties than talking to a recovered pilot with divided loyalties.  “I’m about to make a fleet-wide broadcast, Master Chief,” he said dismissively, and turned to look again and the tactical display, which was working again.  “You’re free to stay and hear it, but I must insist you follow protocol in future.  Barging onto the bridge is rather rude, you know.”

The pilot made an embarrassed acknowledgment that Trykon didn’t fully hear, because his Communications Officer was holding up a polite finger for his attention.  Trykon crossed to the communications foyer at the rear of the bridge.  “Ready?” he asked Lieutenant Evir Norith.

“Yessir,” Norith said softly, “but we also have urgent traffic incoming from our Squadron Leaders.  I have Blade Actual for you,” he said, indicating his headset.

What now? Trykon wondered.  Deep knows what’s expected of him.  He grabbed the headset impatiently, and keyed the transmit button: “DeepSix, hold on… I’ll make a Fleet-wide announcement momentarily,” he said curtly.  He flung the headset back at Norith.  “Mr. Norith, call over to Mr. Notra at Sensors.  Ask him if the TIEs are still engaged.”

Seconds passed.  The two bridge crewers shared words.  Then after about a minute Norith looked up.  “All remaining Dominion fighters have either surrendered or have withdrawn to hyperspace, sir.”

“Very good.  I’m broadcasting now,” Trykon declared, and walked over to the holorecorder.

Norith nervously nodded to indicate the channel was live, and Trykon started to speak.

“Gentlebeings of the Second Fleet, we did it.  We have successfully wrested control of the Bloodmoon Corridor from the Imperial Dominion.  One more hyperspace jump, and we will be in their home space.  One more hyperspace jump, and we will be clear of the Tangle and free to hit them wherever we choose.  And that means we are just one hyperspace jump away from ending this war!”  He made a fist to punctuate his words.

“The Dominion fleet is bleeding,” he said after a pause.  “It’s time to run them down, and make the kill.  That means time is of the essence, as we repair and resupply.  Now, the Bloodmoon facility is not available as a forward base,” Trykon said wryly, “so we will have to pull back to Kamlott to regroup.  But I want us to make this quick, Second Fleet.  Take on supplies and replacements, and offload wounded, and then we press forward to the next system.  Ship captains, you’ll have orders transmitted to you momentarily.”

He flicked his eyes over to Norith, to indicate he was almost done.  The Comms tech nodded in understanding.  “The Navy hasn’t seen a fleet action this big since Belgaroth,” Trykon said into the holorecorder, “and during that battle we lost nearly as many people and ships as the enemy did.”  He frowned sadly, but then raised his head defiantly and looked straight into the lens.  “But not today.  Today, we destroyed at least six enemy capital ships, and damaged a handful of others so badly that I wouldn’t be surprised if we found their burned out hulls scuttled in the next system!  Today we brought the Dominion’s Starfighter Corps right up to the breaking point: they lost TIEs to our forces at a rate of almost two to one.  This was the day we turned the tide decisively in our war against the Dominion, people.  Tomorrow, after a quick refit, we bring the war into its final stages.”

Trykon walked out of the holorecorder’s field of view, and Norith dutifully cut the transmission.

OOC:
913 words.  And that's it!

AAR: Trykon address Second Fleet, congratulating them on the most successful large battle in recent VEN history.  He orders all ships back to Kamlott (the planet at the other end of the Bloodmoon Corridor, near the Vectra System and Navy HQ) to make battlefield repairs and resupply.  ASAP, 2nd Fleet will smash forward, beyond Bloodmoon, to the mysterious system called the Sollamens Asteroids...

...and that will be the subject of the final story in the Counterpunch arc, subtitled Death.
CNW/CDR Wyl "Trick" Trykon/ISD Adjudicator/TF:A/2Flt/FC/VEN/VE

[SoA][SoV][BWC][NSM][E][NAR][HNS][DSM][SWC][1NS][VC:B][LoM][VC:S][NC][GWC][VC:G][CoB][CC:3][2NS][LSM]
(=*AE*=)(=*SAE*=)(=*TG*=)(=*SCFE*=)

TRN/AD Trykon/DJO/VEDJ
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