Big things are coming...
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Squadron Legacy, Chapter 6
Author's note: If you did not catch the note at the end of last chapter, the location has been switched from Fondor to Vanquo. Also, the ship Liberty has been switched to the command ship, the Courageous. These changes play an important role in the coming chapters.
Chapter Six: Conflict
Kohath was trying desperately to hold his fighter in formation with Mize and Le’kk. Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t as adept at formation flying as he had remembered.
“You stupid no-good excuse for a pilot! Why can’t you stay in formation!? I will have your tail when we get back to the Courageous!” Mize’s voice shouted over the intercom.
“Yes sir! I apologize sir, I just-” Kohath started.
“Apologize nothing!! Get back in formation before I ship you to some backwater planet to fly shuttles for the rest of you career!!”
“Yes sir!” Kohath returned, concentrating as hard as he could to stay in line with Le’kk’s starship.
Kohath’s stomach rumbled. Lunchtime.
‘If that lunatic Captain Mize hadn’t moved up the timetable, I could have eaten a nice dinner,’ He thought, carefully handling the control column.
Suddenly, a warning began to sound on Kohath’s instrument panel.
“Looks like we’ve got some company,” Mize said in his usual disapproving voice, “Let’s go check it out. And Carmi, you better stay glued, do you hear me, glued, to Laina. Not that I care about you, but you wouldn’t believe the amount of paperwork that I would have to fill out if you died.”
Kohath really wished he was back with Tyren at that moment.
Looking out over his starboard wing, Kohath could see the unidentified ship. It was somewhat larger than a starfighter, but seemed to be moving very quickly.
Mize and Le’kk were very well aware of it also.
“Sir, it looks like some sort of gunship,” Le’kk observed.
“It’s a Mandalorian Teroch gunship,” Mize stated, “Prepare to engage, lock in on him!”
“Courageous control, we’ve spotted a Mandalorian craft in orbit over Vanquo, we’re engaging.” Mize informed the controllers, while leading the other two fighters in a turn to intercept the lone craft.
Suddenly, the Mandalorian craft wheeled about toward the Republic fighters, unleashing a deadly spray from its twin laser cannons.
Yellow arcs of blaster fire streaked past the three Aurek fighters as they ducked and weaved their way toward the bogey. Kohath made sure that he stayed as close to Le’kk’s fighter as possible.
Kohath heard Toval speak for the first time over the mike.
“Ghost leader, we see the enemy fire, support is on the way.”
A fresh burst of fire from the Mandalorian ship sent the Republic fighters wheeling to the left. Kohath felt a slight jolt as a piece of shrapnel tore into his right wing, leaving a large dent.
“Split formation,” Mize ordered, “Don’t do anything stupid Carmi.”
“I’ll try sir.” Kohath replied.
Kohath saw Mize’s Aurek twist violently back to the right, and he blasted toward the Mandalorian ship with guns blazing.
Le’kk pulled her fighter back hard, sending into a near vertical climb.
“I’ll go high,” She informed them, continuing the maneuver.
“I’ll take low,” Kohath stated, without much of a choice.
Kohath rolled his fighter upside down, and descended a ways.
“Whew, at least we’re done with that formation for now,” he thought silently.
Deciding he had gone down far enough, he pulled his fighter back up, aiming toward the approaching Mandalorian ship. He could see that Mize was closing on the ship at a breakneck pace, still firing. Mize rocketed past the gunship, the impact from his blasters blistering across the enemy’s shields.
The gunship turned to target Le’kk, but she was too quick for it. With a nimble banked turn, she also fired on the Mandalorian craft. The stark grey alien ship seemed to be able to take quite a bit of damage for its size. As Kohath bore down on it, he could see strange symbols painted on it. The Mandalorian crest. Mize had stated that it was a Mandalorian craft, but this drove the fact home to him. They were a part of the war.
These were no pirates that could be easily outwitted. These were the Mandalorians. The armored individuals that thrived on battle. The ones who would kill without hesitation. The men who did insane things to prove their manhood and worth during war.
With a quick boost of the thrusters, the Mandalorian craft suddenly turned to face Kohath. He was caught off guard by the maneuver, and found himself at the wrong end of two enormous laser cannons.
Explosions immediately burst out around him in a blinding display. The little Aurek bounced and jolted amongst the blasts, shaking Kohath back and forth in the cockpit. Alarms and flashing lights lit up the cockpit, in addition to the flashes from outside. Still aimed at the gunship, Kohath loosed a few bolts from his rapid-fire lasers, and yanked his stricken craft up.
Without explanation, the fire from the oncoming Mandalorian craft stopped, and it shot by under Kohath with a roar, once again vibrating his damaged Aurek.
Turning his head, Kohath could see blaster fire impacting on the grey hull of the gunship. Then, a muffled explosion sounded, and a plume of smoke appeared behind the Mandalorian ship. Kohath then saw Tyren and Toval streak by, passing the gunship and Kohath.
“Boy am I glad to see you guys!” Kohath exclaimed with a grin.
“We’re not out of the woods yet,” Le’kk observed, “He’s turning to run. We need to get him before he can report anything."
All five Aureks rejoined, and accelerated after the smoking gunship. Kohath checked the damage to his fighter. His shield was dangerously low, and his hull integrity was only at three-quarters. It appeared that his tracking system had been damaged, so he was forced to rely on visual tracking.
A small stream of blood ran down his chin. Kohath wiped it off with his glove, assuming that he must have bitten his lip when he was bouncing around in the laser fire. Kohath’s stomach rumbled loudly again. Maybe some extra rations were given out to those who were wounded…
“Toval, you go around his flank and hit him with a proton torpedo.” Mize ordered, “The rest of us will be ready to cover you if this hutt-spawn tries to lock on to you.”
“Roger, Captain,” Toval replied, edging his fighter forwards, and to the right.
The Mandalorian pilot had no intentions of giving them an easy time. The cumbersome gunship swung deftly in a zig-zag pattern, obviously pushing its limits. But Toval stayed right on its tail, expertly anticipating each turn, and using his fighter’s superior maneuverability to his advantage. Each turn growing closer, it became obvious that Toval was going to be the victor.
Without warning, the Mandalorian craft swung about, and began spraying the group with its last remaining blasters.
Automatically, the group quickly split formation. Toval immediately fired the torpedo, sending it streaking toward the gunship. The glowing torpedo blazed toward the Mandalorian craft with blistering speed.
“FOR MANDALORE!!” Came a hair-raising cry over the Republic frequency, and then the Mandalorian ship exploded into flames. A brief moment later, an intense blast sounded as the ship burst, sending debris throughout the sector.
Tyren circled the remains of the Mandalorian ship, an eerie glow flickering through his cockpit. Flames were still burning from several large chunks of the ship. The surrounding space was polluted with oil traces, fuel, other liquids, and metal chunks.
Suddenly, deep red droplets appeared all over the canopy. Tyren’s expression turned to horror as he realized that this was the blood of some Mandalorian crew member. As he continued flying, the droplets streamed back over the canopy, and disappeared back into space.
The explosion still rang in his ears, and slowly, he realized that Mize was speaking over the intercom.
“I don’t care who he’s in a meeting with, I need to speak to Admiral Karath now!” Mize shouted through the mike.
The controller of the Courageous did not seem to be responding as Mize desired.
“But sir,-” The controller started.
“If you ‘But sir,’ me one more time, I will have you in the brig until your eyes rot out! Get me Admiral Karath!”
“Yes sir, right away, sir.” The controller resigned.
Tyren looked outside once more. The clean Aurek fighters from earlier that day had vanished. In their place were dirty, stained ships, streaked with dust, exhaust, and blaster holes. In such a short time, the beautiful scene had become a center of violence and death.
Tyren knew Kohath had been extremely lucky. A direct hit to his ship from one of the cannons would have blown it up. If he and Toval had gotten there just a few seconds later… Tyren didn’t want to think about what almost happened. A sinking feeling hit Tyren’s gut and he felt like vomiting.
“Sir, we’re picking up multiple ships entering from hyperspace,” Toval reported to Captain Mize.
“The Courageous is sending another squadron to relieve us, that’s probably them.” Mize replied.
“Sir, they’re coming from the opposite side of the planet, they can’t be from the Courageous.” Toval informed the Captain.
“That can’t be good,” Le’kk observed.
“We need to check this out now,” Mize quickly realized. “Kohath, I want you to hyperspace back to the ship, I can’t afford to lose anyone today.”
“But sir, I-“ Kohath started.
“You’ll thank me one day kid, don’t argue anymore, just do what I said.”
Mize seemed strangely out of character.
And with that, Kohath peeled off from the rest of the group, and headed to the jump off point.
The rest of the fighters formed on Mize, in an echelon formation. Just as they had begun to advance their throttles, the unmistakable sound of ships dropping out of hyperspace rang out.
Tyren had never seen so many ships in his life. It seemed that thousands had appeared above the planet all at once. Enormous, rumbling command ships, smaller carriers, frigates, corvettes, gunships, and hundreds upon hundreds of tiny fighters. Their intense glow dominated the region, blotting out stars, systems, and planets beyond. Buzzing with activity, the mass of ships seemed almost unreal. Swarming the planet, the larger ships began to open their drop doors.
Tyren saw thousands of tiny crafts drop from below the enormous ships. They seemed to fall like a heavy rainstorm toward the planet below.
‘Bombs?’ Tyren thought. ‘No, they’re Basilisks!’
Tyren had heard the stories of the war droids that were ridden by Mandalorians. Fiercely maneuverable and extraordinarily small, they were a menace in space and on the surface.
Tyren knew that this was not going to end well.
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Last edited by Sithspecter; 10-02-2011 at 01:27 PM.