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Old 12-08-2000, 12:09 PM   #15
nova_wolf
Jedi Guardian Fenrir
 
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Aboard the NFX Oracle
Posts: 1,164
Below is the new improved Chap 1 of Problem, although, it does of course still require a lot of work.

As the blue light show of hyperspace faded away, the small strike group came out barely tens of metres off the convoy, a little closer in the case of one star fighter, who came out straight in to one of the transports, taking it with it. Slightly further on, the blast radius hit the sturdy shields of the main ship of the group - the ‘Endeavour’, a new class of Calamari ship, designed to take on larger craft, and this was to be it’s first real field test..
The captain of the new ship was a respected man, who also test flew the modified corvette into battle against Imperials. He looked highly concerned, which was noted by most as the norm for him, and what gave him his eye for details, that made him such a successful officer, but today there was a more tense air about him, as if he knew full well that his career was about to take a major down turn...
“Tell all fighters to scramble. As per orders - Ys take on the convoy, Xs run interference. I want to keep our two gun ships here, just in case,” he ordered across to the comms officer, who then relayed the instructions to the rest of the group .
He looked round and out of the bridge’s window, to see the red glow of fighter engines moving towards the convoy, and the first signs of blaster and ion fire from the vanguard Y-wings as they started their run against one of the heavy cargo haulers. A little to the left, and he could just make out what appeared to be a swarm of Mynoks, which soon made themselves known as TIE Fighters, betrayed by the signature emerald coloured blaster fire, as they started their own attack run, against the Y-Wings.
He turned to the comms officer, and issued orders for Black group to cover the Y-Wings.
All was fairly peaceful at present, going as any hit-and-fade should, but he just felt that something was a miss. Considering the outcome of the past few operations of this kind, he wasn’t about to take any chances. As such, he asked the Flight Leaders to check in and report, but to no avail. They didn’t see anything out of the ordinary either. Comms officer wasn’t picking up anything beyond the star fighters and convoy’s chatter. What ever was going to happen was going to hit hard. That left only one other option to look in to.
“Sensor station - do we have any contacts in range we should know about ?” he continued.
“Sensors aren’t picking up any thing in terms of major escort at present. One Escort Carrier, two Corvettes, one Strike Cruiser, four TIE Fighter squadrons and 1 TIE Interceptor squadron. Coast looks clear.”
“Excuse me, can you repeat that ensign......”
“One Escort Carrier, one Strike Cruiser, two Corvettes, five TIE squadrons - four...,” was as far as he got before the captain burst in with, “five - how in Kessel can they field five TIE squadrons with only one escort carrier around ? It’s capacity is two at most !”
He let the implications of this sink in for a few moments. What ever was waiting was about to rear it’s head. Instinct kicked in, and he was about to issue orders for a withdrawal, when the Sensor Officer piped up with, “Err - captain, we have a large trace coming in, approximately four ships, and they’ll be here in two minutes.”
The captain muttered, “Well - its really gonna hit the fan now.” In his mind, all he could see where the pictures from the briefing of the last two assaults, and the ship that tore in to star fighters and corvettes a like. And as if to confirm his worst fears, the sensor officer then again spoke up, “And one of the traces matches that of the one uploaded before we left the fleet. It’s on it’s way, and will be the first to arrive.”

Out in the battle field, the X-Wings were coping well enough, having suffered minimal losses, and the Y-Wings had managed to disable two transports already, although there were a good many more to go.
Red Leader turned his X-Wing around, and was bracketing a TIE-Fighter in his sights, when a ship came out of Hyperspace not far off the ‘Endeavour’. He promptly forgot the TIE. The flight group comm channel was suddenly alive with general panic over the new arrival. Unfortunately for some pilots, they paid a little too much attention to it for their own good. Black Three was among those pilots.
“Ouch - is that what I think it is ?” exclaimed Black Three in fear.
“That would be an affirmative. Pay attention to what your doing.” replied Black Leader.
Unfortunately, Black Three had not kept an eye on his quarry, which by then had taken advantage of those precious seconds of lack of concentration.
The TIE Interceptor had dived straight down, and continued on. He was far out of Black Three’s sight, right below him, and then kicked his engines hard in to a tight one-eighty turn.
Black Five threw out a warning, “Three, pay attention, you got two squints converging on your position....”
Three heard, but the damage had been done. The Interceptor came up from below, but Three only saw the one keeping in tight behind him. The second squint fired across his hull, causing nothing more than carbon scoring on the TIEs painted on Three’s fuselage. But his intent was never to score a kill. That pleasure was for the TIE that Three had let slip.
Expertly corralled in to position, the Interceptor below had a perfect lock on, and enjoyed the moment. Switching to Quad-Link, the Interceptor took his time, and fired one shot.
“Where the hell did he come from !” screamed Three. “Help me out - I’m being herded in here... help !”
He didn’t stand a chance. The quad shot burst through his weakened shields, and hit his torpedo payload. The Interceptor flew on, through the cloud of flame, only sustaining a blistered paint job. So another Rebel became a martyr to the cause.
Elsewhere, Black Leader was conversing with the Endeavour.
“Wow - ‘Endeavour, you do know what just dropped in, right ?” cried out Black Leader.
“Black Leader, we know, and we are re-thinking. But we are going to try to give you more time. This convoy is simply too large to let go.”
“But the ‘Endeavour’...”
“...was designed specifically to take on this threat. We’ll handle it - you just take care of those fighters. We’re going to get between it and you. That should give you enough time.” stated captain, not quite convinced of his own plan.
“We’re in too deep to turn and run now,” he murmured.

This was not a good turn of events. They had to disable this convoy. It had been a while since the Alliance had any success. They needed to disrupt the local Navy, no matter what...
“Red Leader, we have TIE Interceptors heading your way from the newly arrived escort carrier. You take your Xs out there, and fast - okay !” came booming through Red Leader’s headset.
“You’re the boss,” replied Red Leader. He switched his comm channel to group, and then joked “You heard him Reds. We have to leave this party, and go crash someone else’s - you up for it.”
“Well - I was kinda looking forward to the present set of company....”
Very funny Red Three, we all know you don’t like Interceptors, Red Leader mused.
“That was more of an order than an invitation Red Three. Break by pairs, and stick to your wing.”
“And don’t forget to stay out of range of their frigates - the cross fire will have you in a moment,” came the wise voice of Green Leader.
“Cheers Green Leader - duly noted, but Granny already knows how to suck eggs,” replied Red Three, in his usual up-beat tone.
“Just make sure she don’t choke on them eggs Red Three...,” was Green Leader’s last comment before the two groups parted company.
And so, they turned tail, twelve X-wings streaking their way across the star field, directly at the Interceptors, except one didn’t quite make it...
“This is Red Five, got twin eyeballs on me - need assistance. Red Six, where the hell are you ?”
“I’m here with you little bro - hold on... Damn it - where are you ?”
“Help me I can’t... hold...... it.................”
And then the sound dreaded by all flight group leaders broke out across the airways - a cry of pain, followed by static, punctuated only by a particularly large doom bloom to one side in his peripheral vision.
“BROTHER !!!!!!!!” screamed Red Six.
Red Leader knew the feeling - his brother died sixteen months back in a recon against an ‘obsolete and deactivated’ dreadnought fleet yard, which had half the Imperial Navy in wait behind it, and a newly refurbished defensive perimeter. He had to split and leave him behind, he had to warn the rest of the fleet, but his brother, of all people to leave behind....
“Red Six, break off and fly the coop - your no use in this condition.”
“Negative Red Leader - this is for my broth...”
“Do not disregard my orders - go home !” he thundered, adding in a more feeling tone, “Please. Warn the rest of the fleet - don’t let your brother’s memory die with you...”
After a quick shuffle of thoughts, Red Six's reply come across the air waves, “Fine. Co-ordinates input - see you guys later.....”
And so two of twelve were down, and the Interceptors were still out of range..
“This is Red Leader, Captain, any chance of some back up - some A-Wings may be ?”
“You know I can’t manage it - I explained this before we left.”
“You tell that to the rest of the fleet... wow - Red Two - split hi-lo, bracket him on the run...”
And so the two groups met, and Red Leader was the first lost. The Interceptors first barrage scored one kill, and heavy damage on three other ships, although the X-wings scored three kills, but then a second wave of Interceptors appeared behind the first - they had been hidden from sight, and thanks to some top notch flying, from sensors too. That wave then finished of the three damaged X-Wings, leaving but half the unit after the first ten seconds of engagement. Not good terms to start off on in any melee.

A focal point of many of the lances of red and blue turbo tower bolts was a one of the smaller Corellian ships, the ‘Ranger’. It was quite amazing that she had stood firm for so long, although her engines had failed, and she’d drifted into real trouble.
“Endeavour, the Ranger is getting pounded. We’ve gotten ourselves caught between the two Strike Cruisers. Can you hear us !” called out the Ranger’s Lieutenant.
He had immediately taken charge after the Captain hit his head, and been incapacitated.
Unfortunately for them, the larger, lead frigate of the whole assault decided to join in to improve the odds.
“This is a joke. They already have us pinned down - why bring that into the equation.”
All the staff knew what he was saying. The Corvette ‘Ranger’ was not going to see the other end of this mission.
“This is Y-wing Green, we have a lock on the Strike Cruiser, hold on.”
“Negative. Don’t approach. Extreme fire zone. We can’t risk..” Too late.
“Aaarghh - Green Four, aim for their bridge - ion it...”
The Corvette’s bridge was now silent, all officers watching as fighter after fighter mis-judged the crossfire, bar the voice of Green Leader urging his futile assault against the three ships. The Corvette’s Lieutenant looked out of his depth, and that was fair enough considering. He was still watching the ships firing out of the view screen when a bolt hit the bridge, and finished the Corvette off. It was now a funeral pyre, burning brightly yet quickly, smoke billowing from her wounds.
“The cross fire from those three ships is to much - their range is simply too good, and these Interceptors just retreat back the moment we go after them, but then we can only focus on one at a time - we need back-up....,” exclaimed Red Twelve to the Endeavour, watching the destruction of ‘Ranger’ from his X-wing cockpit.
His statement fell on deaf ears, as the Endeavour’s first taste of battle was turning out to be sour...

“It’s got us broadside now sir - and she’s bringing all guns to bear !”
The Endeavour was now caught in a cross fire herself, and was feeling beyond worse for wear because of it.
“Transfer all power to those shields. We have to at least try to survive long enough to run.”
“We have a new signal coming in off the port side, but our IFF is down..”
“Well then - bring it up on my monitor, and we’ll take a look,” was all that the captain could say.
A simple ‘hit-and-fade’ which had suddenly gone disastrously wrong, as had so many such operations of late. In actual fact he didn’t really need to know what had just arrived. In the end, the only ship that mattered was the one currently pounding the hell out of his Lieutenant Calamari Cruiser, a ship designed to take on the very aggressor ripping her to shreds at this very moment.
“Sir, Red Nine says it’s a Victory class Destroyer - but as the IFF is down, we don’t know whose command it is..”
And that was all the Comms Officer could say, for he was now dead. The majority of the ion fire from the last volley struck the Endeavour’s comm array, sending a massive feedback surge which blew out half the bridge’s consoles, killing the Comms Officer, showering sparks all over the bridge Yet in the back ground, you could still hear the voices of many of the fighter pilots, all of whom were screaming in pain, or calling out warnings that simple couldn’t be heeded in time.
“Fire crews to the Bridge - repeat....” was now the cry in the air. There were not enough ships in the task force, not enough star fighters for a screen and not enough crew left for this ship.. “Damn Imps. Some one patch into comms.....warn the fleet...... someone wanna......” Looking round, it was obvious that he was actually the last one left on the bridge besides the Star fighter Co-ordinator, who had enough to deal with.
“Never mind,” he muttered, “ you - tell the star fighters to run”.
The Fighter Co-Ord Officer looked up, and stammered, “What - they’re the only back up we have left against that thing !”
“Don’t you think I know that - but we’ve already lost fifty percent of our units - they can live to fight another day...”
“But sir ! What about the convoy ?”
“Do it. The convoy is no longer a viable target. Get the fighters to get word to the rest of the fleet,” he said, feeling a distinct sense of lost pride and defeat weighing too heavily to handle.
“These Imps keep doing this, and we haven’t been able to take out one of those things. Well - I’m going to do it here and now,” he muttered, before adding aloud, “Tell all remaining personnel they have five minutes to evacuate - after which, if we’re still in one piece....”
He expected the officer to butt in, to retort again, but it’s almost as if he were reading his intentions, as all he said was “Aye sir - order issued. Force be with you,” and then sprinted across the demolished bridge to the door, and sealing it.
“Come on then you kriffing swines - how about this for a thorn in your side......”

“Sir, they are severely crippled, and appear to be listing. It appears she has even given the order for her star fighter support to flee. Should we tell out units to follow, or...”
The tall character in the middle of the bridge looked down at the sensors station from his walkway above, and merely nodded, whilst adding, “We may as well. Those star fighters are only going to try to inform the main Rebel fleet. I’d rather this was a quick assignment”
And so the order was issued, and Tau group Gunboats went in pursuit of the fleeing Y- and X-wings, destroying two straight off who were a little slower on the up take.
“Close in, that ship may still be salvageable. I am sure that the intelligence division would love the chance to get their hands on one of those. Issue the order for our assault shuttles to launch.”
“Yes sir........ err, sir, there is an unusually large amount of activity coming from that Calamari Cruiser - it’s launching life boats and shuttles, and appears to be... turning...”
The destroyer captain looked down again, as peacefully as before, with a quizzical look on his face, “Well - which way is she turning ?”
“Well, she is turning towards us, and she appears to be.... her main engines are powering up !”
The captain suddenly went from cool, calm and collected to panic stricken. “I thought you told me Tau had sorted out her engines - they went off line - you told me so yourself - how can they have them online so fast ? We’re too close - REVERSE ENGINES !”
The ship tried to pull out of the way, but she was broadside on the Rebel ship, and at that moment, the ship’s proximity alarms went off, and as did the front half of the ship’s hull.
From it’s vantage point a few clicks off, the forgotten, recently arrived, Victory class destroyer saw the front, dagger shaped end of the Lieutenant Cruiser, with her main engines blazing away, slice through the main pylon of the Imperial’s latest and greatest invention. The light from the blast was only just compensated for by the Star Destroyer’s view screen, it being of such intensity.
“The Rebel’s had finally managed to take one out, but could the cost be said to have been worth it.” he mused to himself quietly. And what they didn’t realise was that it was the ‘Nebulon’ - the first of her class. Shame she couldn’t have lasted longer.
“I did tell command that he was not quite the command ability his exterior suggested. Shame really, it was such a nice ship..”
“What do we do about the survivors - Rebel and Imperial ?” asked the Flight deck Officer, “Should I dispatch a recovery crew ?”
The admiral looked back out to space at the fleeing Imperial construction convoy, and thought for a moment.
“Sir ?”
“Yes, although if you come across Captain Afril, ensure he is to be incarcerated on return for gross negligence.”
The engine block from the rear of the cleaved capitol ship was still glowing bright, although how the power core could be functioning still was beyond him. Small explosions ripped the hull of the Mon Calamari vessel, as it’s integrity failed, exploding outwards, like a Dewback carcass left under the might of both of Tatooine’s suns, the gas forming under the skin in pockets, bursting through, taking it’s flesh and sinew with it.
And as he continued to stare out of the transpari-steel window, he saw the recovery procedure commence, and the convoy jump to hyperspace, on their way to the construction facility where a replacement would soon be complete for the recently dissected capitol ship, and then more besides.

I have decided that I am going to do this book as such :
I'll finish Problem first, then go back round and add names, then improve on the current level of descriptive writing, and ensure to make any suitable changes as I go (spelling, grammar, re-wording for beter effect...)
I'll do the same for all 3 books.

And, just to whet your appetites, here are som other snippets from following chapters...
(Sorry to have made this post so long...)

From Chapter Two
“Well - tough. There is nothing we can do. These Nebulons are simply too well designed for any assault we can mount with our present inventory, unless we have more capitol class support, but then again, the Endeavour - the best ship in the fleet short of Home 1, only managed to take one out by ramming it. What the hell is Star fighter Command supposed to pull together.”
The office was the standard easy to set-up decor, for moving fast when trouble struck, although the view from the window that Madine was gazing out of was quite splendid. It was nearing Sun Down, the sky lit in purples and oranges, with the black forms of shuttles and the local Birds of Prey visible low in the sky. The current base was situated just off a cliff, so the reflection from the relatively calm sea added to the kaleidoscope of colours before him.
That wasn’t exactly the response Madine wanted, but then again, he didn’t seriously expect much in the way of enthusiasm, as moral had been dropping steadily, and the Endeavour incident meant an all time low had been reached.
“I’m not asking for the whole of the command to come together and go all out on a rampage tour of Nebulon bases, but to try and get your tech boys to think the problem over.”
A fair enough proposition, but then again, it was a lot to ask.....
“Us ! The Mon Calamari built a beautiful ship, top of the line - and it was ripped to shreds ! There is no star fighter ever designed that could handle anything that size, and I can’t see that changing in the next few months. We have a few capitol ship designs we never got round to taking further - but we don’t have the funds, the facilities, and in the time period we’re talking abou.....”
That was it. He turned from the window, hammered down on the desk with both fists, and looked the Alliance Commodore in the eyes.
“Yeah - okay ! We were both at the meeting, and both saw the footage. We get the point, but you could at least try to take a positive attitude to this problem !”
Silence - not a comfortable one at that. Damn - what designs could possibly be sitting around partially finished that could stand a chance anyway. And if the Mon Calamari couldn’t do it, then how could they...
“What about the Corellians. They’ve given us gun ships and corve..”
That sentence went like a detonator to a baby.
“Under extreme duress at that ! Do you have any idea what we have to go through in order to get a handful of those ships every year ! Vader only knows how we are gonna replace the two mauled along with the Endeavour. Apart from the fact that Corellia is watched almost as closely as Coruscant, meaning the moment they start to build larger ships, it’ll be noticed, the Corellians simple don’t build ships of the scale we’re talking about.”
“Kuat Drive Ship Yards ?”
Bang goes enough detonator.
“The birth place of the Super Star Destroyer and the Firespray class Patrol vessel - that place couldn’t be more Imperial if it were an official navy facility.”
“You’re not helping”
Bang.
“Well, I can’t help, that’s why. Your going to have to come up with another solution. Sorry - but that’s how it’s going, although as I said, I’ll go through the archives, and see what I can find, but I’m not promising...”
“Anything. As you said - that’s the way things are going.” And with that, he left the office, more agitated than before, and no closer to a much needed solution.

From Chapter Four
“You got those bodges done yet ?” she teases him.
Hook, line and sinker, “Bodges ! What are you saying. It has taken me ages to set up all the system add ons. This isn’t easy lil’ lady. You wanna......”
She had lost interest already. He took too much pride in his work. Then again, she has had her own moments.
“Okay. It’s been two days. Slicer-freak says that the coast is still clear, although he mentioned something about some rattling of the sabers of the locals. Appears someone tipped of the ‘Imperial Forever’ populace of the possibility of a base.”
Oh great, he thought. Another little potential detonator in the works. Chances are the usual good citizens will be carrying out their own flyby searches of the planet looking for the base. Although the additional traffic could be good come the get away.
“I’ll be at the meet point as discussed last time. Do you want me to check your ‘bodging’ ?”
That was below the belt, but well timed.
“Nah - think I’d rather let a Jawa check it.”
Nice recovery girl. She rarely lost an insult match.
She shut off her comm link, cutting off his irate ranting about how many ways that was offensive to him. She had to get moving. The arranged meeting place was seven clicks away, and the arranged time was in two hours. That was going to be tight, especially with angry vigilante mobs out and about looking for Rebel cells.
Grabbing her bag, she breezed out the door, not worrying to lock it, and left enough to cover the bill. She had wondered about living a tip, but decided against it. It would only come out of her wages rather than her expenses like last time.
Outside, and the first wrinkle in the plan showed. An angry mob of mostly Weeqauy workers had lynched her speeder, which had been parked across the street, but was now being driven by the drunken group.
With no other transport around, she walked a few blocks, and turned the corner to find a rather nicely unattended swoop. There was never going to be a scenario in which she wouldn’t have taken it.
Gunning the engines for all they were worth, which felt a lot, she took off down the street. Looking behind her, wrinkle number two appeared - the swoop wasn’t the only one. Two others were now tailing her, shouting various insults in old Corellian.
Great, she thought, just what I needed, they even know the territory to boot.
And at that time, a picture of the Weequays came to mind. That was far too tempting an idea to not try.
The swoops kept with her as she wound in and out of the streets. They were good. Shame she had to lose them, the competition was better than any other in a long time.
One of them drew a hold out blaster, and put a hole in the corner of the building not two inches from her head as she banked round at a junction in the road.
This was getting ridiculous. Where on Verpinal were they ?
As if answering her, the tell tale sounds of an angry mob were audible a few streets down.
The throttle was open as far as it was going to go, and yet her pursuers were gaining. She rounded the corner, knocking over a group of empty cages as she went, and came face to face with the mob. She looked at them, and shouted, “Rebel Scouts ! Help !”
The mob must have thought it Emperor’s Day. The all pulled out blasters, and screaming a nonsense war cry, turned the speeder in the direction gestured by the new arrival, and headed off. And a few moments later, the swoops came round the same blind bend.
She stopped to enjoy the fireworks display as various blasters were fired, and soon, more swoop gang members had homed in on the ruckus. That was the cue to leave for the infiltrator.
Checking the swoop’s controls, the gauge said she had enough fuel to make the trip a few times over. Shame the chronometer didn’t. This whole affair had lasted twenty minutes. The engineer was going to enjoy himself on this subject.

“Where the hell is she ! Women - they always stand me up. I should give up on them all together.” the engineer muttered to himself, not quite sure whether he was joking or serious.
Then, as if on demand, an elongated dirt cloud appeared coming over the hill, followed closely by the signature whine of an overheating swoop engine.
She has nothing if not a great ability for grand entrances. At least she had arrived, be it ten minutes late.
When she finally pulled up, she discarded the swoop, and tried to run her fingers through her now seriously knotted and grubby hair. She looked at him, and he smirked. Before he could actually ask, she glared at him, adding only, “Don’t ask. Lets just say that we lost the security deposit on the speeder.”
He wasn’t about to push the subject any further, and besides, she had just boarded the shuttle. After a quick chuckle, he joined her aboard the shuttle, in silence, and that is how it stayed until they were ten minutes from the target drop.
As for the shuttle itself, it was now pitch black in colour, and even the view window was black tinted. Any one without the engineer’s training would simply assume the occupants to be very in to the colour black, but the more initiated knew it to be stealth armour - not something the Imperial Requisition board gave out too often. That was just externally. The shuttle was now the largest proton bomb ever. Not that suicide was the plan. Two escape pods had been replaced with inspection scooters.
When the time came, the shuttle was to be flown in, and left to drop in to the facility. A fireworks display that would be visible for a few clicks, and worthy of Palpatine himself Shame they didn’t bring a camera really.
The reply to that very thought was “I don’t really think that our director would see it as a worthwhile secondary objective. Anyway, chances are the flight recorder on the Stormtrooper transport will catch it all.”
He sighed deeply, “Yeah - but it just isn’t the same.”
This was becoming a really surreal conversation, a little too surreal considering what they were about to do.
A small red light bleeped. They had arrived.

What do we think (yes - I know, the swoop chase needs lengthening and improving.) ?

------------------
Nova Squadron, the Elite B-Wing flight group stationed aboard the Nebulon B Frigate 'Oracle', home of the tech library.

'No capitol too large, no corvette too armed. NOVA squadron, for ALL your extermination needs. Our special at the moment - SSDs (See our work with the Iron Fist !) !'
Commander Jon 'DFMD' Adamson - leader of Nova Squadron (B-Wing ID = 'The White Witch')
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