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Squadron Legacy, Chapter 2
Chapter Two: Too Easy
Tyren felt a smile come over his face as the fighters settled into hyperspace. How often he had dreamed as a boy of these moments, flying as fast as a particle of light, nothing able to catch him. But, thoughts of his childhood were quickly interrupted.
“Viper one to Viper lead, copy,” Kohath called to Tyren.
“Go ahead Viper one.”
“We’re picking up a small meteor shower in sector 2-0, so I’m going to vector us a little farther away. It’ll take us longer to get in orbit, but we’ll be able to check a larger area.”
“Sounds good, I’ll call it in.”
Switching to their long range frequency, Tyren keyed the mike.
“Liberty control, Viper flight would like to change destination from sector 2-1 to sector 3-3, due to a small meteor shower.”
“Roger, Viper. Destination change authorized, proceed as requested.”
Changing the necessary coordinates, the two fighters continued to blaze through hyperspace, closing in on their destination.
“Looks like we’re almost there. Viper one, once we are out of hyperspace, stick to me as tight as you can.”
“Roger, will do.”
The two fighters dropped out of hyperspace, and settled into real space with a slight bang. Nosing up, they swiftly moved toward the distant planet. Small particles of dust and debris swept occasionally over the fighters.
“Hmm… I’m getting some strange readings from the meteor shower up ahead, want to check it out?”
Tyren replied, “Right, I’m getting a few gargled blips on the scanners also, let’s navigate through sector 2 and take a look.”
The nimble starfighters smoothly banked to the left, and began a tight spiral toward their query. Easing out of the quick maneuver, the white and red spacecraft righted and started to enter the meteor shower. Small meteors and other space debris littered the area. Tyren felt several bumps buffet his starfighter as a few of the smaller rocks impacted on his hull. Scanning into the distance, he was able to make out a larger asteroid.
“Kohath, are you seeing that asteriod?”
“Yeah, I can’t understand that. It’s not on the charts, and we didn’t pick up anything on the short range scanner.”
“Keep your eyes out, I don’t like this.”
Something felt wrong to Tyren. An asteroid of this size should have been charted, especially given its proximity to the planet. And the scanner should have been able to pick it up.
“I’m going to call this in,” Tyren said grimly, keying the mic for long range comm. “Liberty, we’ve got visual on a--”
Tyren was cut short as a series of quick blasts shook his fighter.
“We’ve got bogeys, let’s split!”
Tyren activated the thrusters instantly, sending his fighter sharply right as he rolled upside-down. Despite the current danger, his body felt an incredible thrill as he preformed the maneuver. With a steady hand on the controls, Tyren’s head turned swiftly to catch a glimpse of their pursuer. He saw an older, but heavily modified Sullustian fighter scream overhead. “We’ve got him, no problem,” Tyren though to himself.
Then, the commander immediately cursed under his breath. Three more of the same type of craft whizzed by him, one coming so close that it rattled the small Incom fighter.
“Liberty Control, we’ve got pirates! Four fighter craft on scopes, bearing four-one-zero,” Tyren spoke sternly into the com, accelerating to attack speed.
Now, the first fighter that had passed the Republic pilots was turning back to attack again.
Tyren kept his eye on the enemy fighter as he swung hard right on the control column, flinging the spacecraft inverted, then pulling back forcefully to bring his AX-18 behind the other craft.
“Viper flight, we’re not picking up any readings from your sector, w-” The transmission quickly turned to gargled gibberish.
“What the--? Viper two, they’re blocking our com, we’ll just have to do what we can here.”
“You’ve got one on your tail, Viper Lead!” Kohath rasped into the com.
Tyren’s head instantly swiveled to the rear. One of the three fighters had broken off and was dangerously close to being in range. Laser blasts lit up the dark of space with bright red. Tyren instantly swung the craft down, the force of the maneuver pushing him up against the straps that held him in. He winced as the harness dug into his body, but had no time to feel the pain. Deploying all the slats and flaps, his fighter immediately slowed.
Not anticipating this, the other pilot shot right past the Republic fighter. Within an instant, the commander had already retracted the airfoils and was now the hunter.
But the pirate wasn’t going to give him an easy time. Weaving and ducking through the vast expanse around the planet, the enemy fighter proved to be a difficult target.
Tyren kept with the Sullustian fighter, twisting and rolling through the turns with even more agility. His targeting computer now had a lock on the other craft. Pressing a button on the control column, Tyren felt a slight jolt as the bay of his craft opened, and deployed one of his Streaker missiles. The missile deployed below the Republic fighter, gliding for a second, then igniting with a brilliant blue glow. The trademark blue streak formed behind the projectile as it sped toward its target with a whoosh.
The evading craft was simply not agile or well equipped to avoid the Streaker. Within seconds, the missile impacted the older ship, blossoming into a tremendous explosion that sent debris flying every direction.
“WOOHOO! Good kill Viper Lead!” Kohath congratulated Tyren over the com.
“C’mon, let’s get the rest of these pirates.”
While Tyren had been locked in combat with the previous pirate, Kohath had managed to split up the enemy formation, making it much easier for the well trained Republic pilots to pursue the bogeys.
“Right, I’ll go in first, stay on my wing and keep them off my six.” Kohath requested.
“Will do, you should be clear.”
The twin Republic fighters formed up in close proximity, and swept towards the pirates, now in disarray. The crimson striped spacecraft roared through the outer sector of the system, now both seeming to form one single unit, parts of the same being. As they passed perpendicular to the lower pirate ship, Kohath let out a burst of laser fire.
The green laser fire riddled the larger, older fighter. Without shields, it didn’t stand much of a chance. Turning slowly, and smoking heavily, the spacecraft began to accelerate towards the planet.
“Let him go, he can’t do much of anything in that scrap heap anymore.” Tyren suggested.
“Yes sir, he wouldn’t even be able to pay a Jawa to take that thing off his hands.” Kohath replied. “Now, let’s go get the other two.”
In unison, the two fighters swept upward, and streaked to where the remaining pirates were.
“Looks like they’re hiding on the other side of that asteroid we saw earlier.” Tyren noted. “We’ll sweep low over the surface to keep us off of their sensors.”
Changing course, Tyren mashed the pedal, and swung the control column downward and to the left. Pulling up his status on the multifunction display, Tyren did a quick run-through of the damage to his fighter. “Engines at 94%, hull at 87%, all systems good.” His shields had protected him from most of the damage, but not all. Still, not a bad turnout for destroying one bogey, and disabling another.
The asteroid loomed ahead. It had seemed so much smaller further away, but now the craggy brown rock dominated Tyren’s field of vision. He could make out massive craters and jagged edges of the giant thing. Pulling level in relation to the asteroid’s surface, the two Republic craft sped, racing just meters above the surface.
“Time to have some fun!” Kohath enthused as they approached the other side.
“Keep your eyes out,” Tyren warned. “They could have something unexpected for us.”
The two remaining pirate fighters came into view, seemingly idling.
“They’re preparing to jump, we scared them away!” Tyren rejoiced.
The Republic fighters slowed their pace, and banked slowly to get a better view. With an incredible bang, the two pirate ships accelerated and disappeared from the system.
It was over. The two Republic officers’ first space combat. Tyren reviewed the battle in his head. Pirates outside of normal hyperspace routes, the strange uncharted asteroid, and a transmission blockage. Still many questions to be answered, and the Republic would probably send a few more ships to investigate.
Still, they pair had not completed their primary reconnaissance mission, and needed to do so.
“Viper flight to Liberty Control, do you copy?” Tyren checked to see if the transmission was still blocked.
“Viper flight, what just happened? We lost all contact.” Came the reply.
“I’m not sure, Control. We ran into a few pirate fighters, but they didn’t prove to be a problem. We’ve also come across an uncharted asteroid in orbit.”
“Roger Viper flight, continue with your original mission. We’ll discuss details post-flight. If you encounter anything else out of the ordinary, report it at once.”
“Will do, Control.” Tyren replied. “Okay, you heard the boss, let’s finish checking out this sector.”
Three orbits and two atmospheric passes later, the Republic pilots were ready to head home.
“Sure had a time this flight, huh?” Kohath inquired.
“Yeah, we did real well today.”
“Naw, it wasn’t bad at all, it was almost too easy.”
Once again, lined up and poised to jump into hyperspace, the two sleek Republic craft thrummed with activity. Engines blazing, they sped off into the distance, back to the Liberty.
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