Rebel Squadrons

(44:2:27) FC Narrative 2: The World is Falling

By FA Dave Trebonious-Astoris
Unit: The Rebel Squadrons
Narrative, Dec 14, 2006
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-=Quarters of Fleet Commander Dave Trebonious-Astoris, Domed Command Complex, Blerthmore, 44:2:27:03:10=-

There were figures dancing in the dark. Small, misshapen humanoid lumps with ghoulish yellow eyes were prancing around, mocking him. The scene was both bizarre and frightening at the same time. Dave tried to move toward the figures, but his feet were sluggish and unresponsive, as if mired in clay. He attempted to call out, but his voice caught in his throat. Then the figures turned toward him in unison and began walking toward him, and he felt that he was going to die. Quite suddenly, a klaxon began blaring, and the whole scene was dyed red from alarm lights. The figures abruptly vanished, and-

Dave awoke with a jolt. He was drenched in sweat, and his sheets were rumpled. More importantly, the alarm above the console in his bedroom was blaring out an emergency note and blinking red. The harsh red light filled the room each time the console blinked. Dave stumbled out of bed and walked up to the console, keying it to find out what was the matter. Before he could search the command holonet, he received a transmission from the Dome's Operations Center. The face of Vice Admiral Tyrell “Spokes” Borran appeared on the screen. “Admiral, we need you in the Ops Center immediately. Blerthmore is under attack,” he cried. His face was as white as a sheet, and Dave knew then that it was bad.

He quickly pulled on a uniform jacket over his pajamas, and then rushed out of his bedroom. As he reached the hallway, he was joined by Lieutenant Junior Grade Bodo Dent, who had been standing guard outside his quarters that evening. “Sir,” he began as he ran along beside Dave, “command holonet suggests that there are multiple capital ships attacking Blerthmore.” Dave gritted his teeth. “I am afraid you are probably right about that one, Lieutenant.” They ran on.

Entering the Operations Center, Dave found a scene of complete chaos. Spokes was yelling orders left and right, lower-ranked officers were scurrying about, and the giant holographic galactic display in the middle of the room showed the Greeop system. The massive cluster of red dots in the corner of the display made Dave’s heart sink before he got close enough to identify them. Dave ran up to the display and was quickly joined by Spokes. “Admiral, we have 33 Imperial capital ships and assorted fighters bearing down on Blerthmore. They have already destroyed and bypassed the system defenses and will be in orbit in minutes.” Inside, Dave blanched at this information. It was even worse than he had allowed himself to believe. He managed to maintain a stoic façade of serenity in his external features, but only just barely. Spokes pressed on, “I’ve already sent messages to Renegade and Intrepid, ordering them here as fast as possible. What should we do?” He paused, then immediately added, “you have command, sir,” remembering the appropriate phrasing for handing over shift command to another officer.

Dave nodded slowly, “I have command, Spokes. The first thing I want you to do is get all of my day shift officers here in the Ops Center immediately.” Spokes nodded and hurried to the communications’ console. Dave stepped up to the galactic display and took in the figures. The Imperial force was advancing in good formation, clustered around a Tector-class Star Destroyer. The core of the force was four Imperial-class Star Destroyers and two Victory-class Star Destroyers, surrounded by a host of frigates and light cruisers. The RS forces available were puny in comparison. The fixed defenses of Blerthmore consisted of one Golan-II station, two Golan-III stations, and the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Redemption, the Nebulon-B Frigate Shay’s Honour, and the Corvette Warder were at hand. Three ships and three stations against 33 ships.

As Dave was studying the display and formulating possibilities for defense, his Operations Officer, Lieutenant General Jon Anchorage ran up. He looked even more disheveled than Dave did, but seemed fairly calm at least. He examined the situation, looking grave. “Where’s the Peril, Admiral? We could sure use her up there right now,” Jon offered. Dave shook his head slightly. “I gave her to Admiral Tharen and he took her to Theseus as a symbol to reassure the colonists there of our dedication to defend them.” Rahj Tharen was the chief diplomat of the RS and was frequently away on such missions. Jon looked resigned. “I think they have consigned us to death, Admiral. There’s no way we can match their firepower.”

Dave shook his head vigorously. “I have hopes that Renegade and Intrepid will arrive on time to relieve us. Besides, our area shield is strong enough to withstand any bombardment. Unless they land troops, they cannot actually take the Command Dome. Contact Lieutenant Commander Ketan and have him deploy whatever troops he has here to defend the shield generator.” Jon nodded and moved off to send the order.

As Dave turned to the galactic display, he realized there was no time for much in the way of strategy. The full might of the Imperial task force was already bearing down on them. Glowing pinpricks of green light that represented turbolaser blasts appeared on the display between the lead Star Destroyers and the Golans. It had begun.

-=Bridge of the Nebulon B-class Frigate Shay’s Honour, 44:2:27:03:38=-

“Captain, we have a Victory-class bearing down on us, 35 degrees to port!”

Rejik Ursula, captain of the Shay’s Honour flinched visibly. Never before had his vessel felt so fragile. All around it an enormous battle raged, but he knew that his own contribution was limited. Unless he could get the Shay’s past these Star Destroyers and try to engage some of the lighter picket vessels of the Imperial force, the ship was just a pawn caught in a battle between giants. Ursula checked the battle display. “Roger that, Ensign. Bring us about to starboard and give me flank speed; let’s try to squeeze past the Victory – the, uh, Oppressor.” The course would bring the Shay’s in range of the Oppressor’s guns, but only briefly as it would then hopefully shoot past and into the clear.

The frigate banked to starboard and began its turn. Behind it, the Golan-II Castor, without the luxury of maneuverability, was pouring wave after wave of turbolaser fire into an Imperial-class Star Destroyer. As the Shay’s Honour passed by the Oppressor, it exchanged broadsides with the vessel, but neither was much damaged by the brief encounter. The frigate shot past the Oppressor, and Ursula was about to allow himself a smile.

“Sir! Incoming Tector-class Star Destroyer off our port bow! It’s too close!” The sensor officer sounded entirely panicked. The display showed the enormous Satanic Rage coming around the side of the Oppressor at flank speed; it was already almost upon them. Ursula blinked, not believing his eyes. “Are they MAD?! Push the nose down, dive us, we have to get out of the way!” The Shay’s Honour had only just begun to change course, however, when it was violently shaken by a collision. Warning klaxons blared all over the ship, mixed with the cries of shocked crew members.

“Hull breach in the connector!”

“Casualty reports coming in from all over the ship!”

“Engineering reports reactor failure imminent!”

Ursula screamed at the top of his lungs, “WE HAVE TO ABANDON SHIP! ALL CREW, ABANDON SH----”

He was not able to finish, as the Shay’s Honour exploded in a brilliant ball of incandescent flame.

-=Rebel Squadrons’ Domed Command Complex, Blerthmore, 44:2:27:03:45=-

“We just lost the Shay’s Honour,” Spokes reported mournfully. It barely registered on Dave. He was focused on one particular scene of the galactic display. “Spokes, magnify sector 03, around the Castor.”

A corner of the display switched to a close-up view of the Castor. The once proud station was listing to the side, clearly stricken. Two Imperial-class Star Destroyers were pouring fire into it relentlessly.

“The shields on the Severance are beginning to waver. Instruct all fighters in the vicinity to concentrate fire on its command tower. Send that order to the Castor as well, even though I suspect they have lost external communications by now.”

No sooner had the order been transmitted, however, than the shields on the Severance collapsed and its command tower exploded in a ball of flame. A brief cheer of “Huzzah” went up around the Operations Center as the Star Destroyer began to dip out of orbit, following the Castor in its lazy fall to Blerthmore’s surface.

-=Eagle’s Nest Ship Yard Repair and Service Facility, Blerthmore, 44:2:27:03:55=-

Corporal Alexander Voss cursed aloud and slammed his fist into a bulkhead, “Sithspit!” Voss was a repairman attached to the Rebel Squadrons’ chief repair yard, the Eagle’s Nest. Ten hours ago he had been working on repairing the MC-80 Valour in Dock 8. Now he was standing in the hallway of the station, just outside Dock 8, because the doors were sealed. The Eagle’s Nest was under attack.

Voss felt the rage mounting inside of him as he watched a pair of Strike-class cruisers and a Victory-class Star Destroyer make mincemeat out of the defenseless Valour. It was bad enough that they were getting beat up by Imperials. It was much worse that the Imperials were destroying defenseless ships in repair dock – and ships that he had been working on himself just hours ago, no less! He punched the bulkhead again, harder and reared his fist back to make another go at it.

Before he could unleash a third punch, however, his fist was grabbed from behind. He turned to see his friend, Corporal Elisa Huntington, peering at him through red-rimmed eyes. She had been crying, but her voice was calm and even. “Come on, Alex, we’ve been called to the mess for briefing. The RS is going to need a lot of things fixed when this is over. We have planning to do...”

-=Rebel Squadrons’ Domed Command Complex, Blerthmore, 44:2:27:04:00=-

“Brace yourselves for impact,” Dave shrieked out to the officers in the Operations Center as he watched the galactic display. The remains of the Castor were about to crash onto the surface of Blerthmore some three thousand kilometers away. He gripped the rail around the display firmly between his hands, but that didn’t prepare him for what was to come.

On a fully inhabited world, the crash of a Golan-II on the surface would have near-cataclysmic results. Fortunately, Blerthmore was fairly lifeless, but that was little consolation to the men and women of the Command Dome. The shockwaves from the crash ripped across the planet’s surface, and the Dome shook like a leaf. Power conduits snapped, consoles blew up, and part of the vehicle garage simply collapsed in a heap.

In the Operations Center, Jon helped Spokes to right himself. The lights in the room had flickered as power switched to alternate routing, but the room had survived largely intact. Dave got up beside Spokes, wiping blood off his forehead. “They’re going after Base Raptor now,” Spokes said quietly. Dave nodded grimly, not offering a response.

“Admiral,” communications officer Lieutenant Gosling called out, “we’re receiving a transmission from General Pasiechnyk.” Dave’s eyes lit up, could Renegade actually be close enough to help? “Put it on screen for us, Gosling,” he ordered.

“Ran into Star Destroyers and an Interdictor outside Blerthmore system; will be detained. More info as it becomes available. End report.”

Jon groaned and Dave just stared at the text, as if willing it to say something different. They were both snapped back to reality by Spokes, who yelled “Brace for impact!”

As the rudderless Star Destroyer Severance plunged into the ground and detonated, the trauma of the crash of the Castor was repeated. This time the Operations Center was not so lucky. The sensor console exploded, hurling two officers across the room. The violence of the shaking threw Dave into the galactic display, and before he recovered a beam of transparisteel shook loose in the ceiling above and fell on him. Dave fought to remain lucid, but his vision was quickly blotted out by blood and darkness. As he lost consciousness, his one thought was that the Rebel Squadrons would never be the same again.


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