Rebel Squadrons

(44:2:27) Dragon Squadron Combat Narrative, VSG101

By COM David Vaughan
Unit: Vigilance Starfighter Group
Squadron NL, Dec 28, 2006
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The X-wing starfighters of Dragon Squadron scream out of the MC80 Star Cruiser Ad Astra, and swarm about the larger vessel, as they coalesce into a more organised formation in preparation for battle.

Brigadier General David Vaughan adjusts his throttle and vector, before calling across the squadron comm channel a message heard many-a-time at the onset of battle: "Form up; enemy dead ahead . . ."

As he calls out the infamous "lock S-foils in attack position" instruction, the wings of all Dragon craft split into their distinctive X-shapes, as they prepare to engage enemy forces.

A flurry of activity cuts through the comm systems of the New Republic fighters, as the Strike-class medium cruiser Kayak trades blows with an Imperial-class Star Destroyer, before being ripped apart from the inside in a fiery explosion which shocks all witnesses of the event into stunned silence.

Over a thousand people have lost their lives in that instant alone, before the battle is fully joined.

Meanwhile, the Calamari Cruisers Ad Astra and Rebel Fist lead the ambushed forces, consisting of a handful more Strike Cruisers to engage the formation of the enemy interdiction force, which consists of an Imperial-class Star Destroyer, an Immobiliser 418 cruiser, a Victory-class Star Destroyer, as well as Strike-class medium cruisers and CR90 corvettes.

Long-range turbolaser blasts lance out across the void from the larger vessels of both factions, glancing off deflector shields or scoring explosive impacts underneath overloaded defensive layers of energy.

The pilots of Dragon Squadron cut through the combat zone, hammering into enemy forces, as the very best that Renegade and Intrepid have to offer on hand are sent forth to defeat the interdiction effort, in a desperate bid to reach the capital before it is too late. Before the Imperial attack force succeeds in crushing the remaining system defences, and razing the capital of Task Force Republic Shield, the New Republic's defence against Imperial incursions from this region of the Outer Rim.

Brigadier Vaughan sends red energy bolts through the busy combat zone, impacting against the enemy forces swarming about the area like angry insects. The TIE Interceptors are proving to be vengeful opponents, banking heavily and spinning around rapidly, while unleashing torrents of green energy which overloaded shields and melt hulls of unfortunate Rebel Squadrons fighters who fall into their firing solutions.

Major Jair Karredo is having none of that, as he ploughs through the group of Interceptors, guns ablaze, systematically converting the group of TIEs into flaming fireballs, and scattering their atoms about as he turns to burn his path through more.

"Gunboats heading for the cruisers, boss!" crackles the voice of Major Kane Redron, Tactical Officer of the squadron.

"I copy, Four. Dragons, pull back to the Ad Astra . . . looks like they're starting their bombing runs. Bait and switch fallback manoeuvre."

The X-wings of Dragon Squadron curl in space and thread their way back to the cover of the Ad Astra's heavy guns, goading enemy targets to pursue while wingmates deal quick blows to the TIEs who fall for the bait. But on and on the Dragons head back towards the cruiser to enact more active defences than the cruiser's guns, which are themselves pounding the surrounding space with thick red bolts, intercepting warheads and Imperial targets alike as the X-wings rush back to assist the command ship.

The squadron takes up position as close guard for the Mon Calamari Star Cruiser as the mobile enemy forces initiate their bombing runs -- TIE Bombers, Assault Gunboats, Delta-class DX-9 transports and Gamma-class ATR-6 assault transports lumber in from the direction of the Imperial capital ships, intent on destroying the command ships of the reinforcements as they attempt to reach Blerthmore.

As a storm of comm chatter co-ordinates the defences, the X-wings of Dragon Squadron unleash blue fireballs which rocket to meet the wall of incoming torpedo-launching craft. Intrepid forces further out contest the more nimble TIE starfighters, who are themselves attempting to protect the bombing forces from the starfighter defences hovering near the Ad Astra. With good reason: the X-wings of Dragon Squadron are aggressively defending against the Imperial assault force with cannons and warheads blazing.

Brigadier Vaughan flies toward the oncoming wall of bombers, blasting fighter after gunboat after fighter, melting TIE hulls and sparking gunboat shields. Off to the right of Dragon Leader, Major Kane Redron finishes setting an assault gunboat's cockpit alight with internal fires from a quad burst and unleashes torpedoes at a group of lumbering Imperial transports that are dutifully firing round after round of blue warheads towards the Calamari Cruisers the X-wings are defending. Shields ripple and splash, hulls melt, and explosions rock through the blackness of space as Kane finishes turning the group of transports to atoms with his adept gunnery skills.

Explosions of craft on both sides of the battle punctuate the tangling dance of swarming starfighters and broiling dogfights, as the fast-moving fighter screen for the Imperial bombardment forces arrive to prevent them from being slaughtered as quickly by the ravenous X-wing forces.

Lieutenant Redfren, still fairly new to the squadron, sweeps his starfighter around in a swift turn before raining a red hail of cannon-fire onto an assault gunboat, which fails to execute an evasive manoeuvre quickly enough, shattering into hundreds of pieces of fiery debris, the fuselage melting into a blob from the heat of the explosion. The double-hulled forms of Imperial TIE Bombers soon suffer the lieutenant's wrath, as his crimson laser blasts tear the curved wing off one of the bombers, while cutting through the warhead launcher of a second, causing the detonation of the ordinance within, engulfing the bomber's wingmate in the ensuing chain-reaction.

Exulting with pride as his accurate shots, Lieutenant Redfren performs a quick victory roll with his X-wing, before realising that a squadron of TIE starfighters have noticed his devastating run on the bombers, and are angling in to deal with him as the serious threat he had proven himself to be.

The TIEs and gunboats slip past other defending X-wings, some taking hits in doing so, but pressing on regardless, intent on taking out the X-wing pilot who burnt a path through their comrades. The gunboats lock on multiple warhead locks, which Redfren tries desperately to break, jinking and juking his starfighter about erratically, while the TIE starfighters finally form up and launch waves of sizzling green energy into his shields, which soon overload and collapse while the gunboats unleash their missiles . . .

Moments before the Imperial warheads rip through Lieutenant Redfren's fighter and tear it apart, the Tatooine-born pilot knows the game is up, and pulls the ejection lever, rocketing away from the scene of his near-death.

Struggling as he is against the Imperial forces, Major Redron witnesses the spectacle, and notes the ejection seat flying up and away from the battle, bearing the pilot aboard from immediate danger and out into dubious safety. He puts a call through the comm system back to the Ad Astra, informing them of a pilot down and requesting a search and rescue team to pick up the extra-vehicular pilot as soon as possible.

'As soon as possible' may not be for quite some time, as the battle rages closer and closer to the Renegade command ship. Medivac teams stand by and ready with recovery shuttles, waiting for a break in the fighting to launch from the Ad Astra's hangar to locate and recover friendly pilots floating dangerously through space.

Brigadier Vaughan finds himself in the thick of the battle near the Calamari Cruiser, as he flies about, torpedoing enemy transports and blasting their blackened hulls with lasers until they vent atmosphere and flames ignited by his plasma bolts.

A nearby assault transport swoops by overhead, forcing Vaughan to pull out of the climb he was performing, and then evading the deadly turbolaser batteries that fire from the hostile transport craft at him. Major Redron sees Vaughan's plight, and finishes blasting a gunboat into oblivion before turning to engage the ATR-6 transport.

The assault transport's shields are hammered by Kane's laser-fire, before collapsing completely under the explosion of his blind-fired torpedoes that leave scorch marks along the ventral side of the transport, which performs barrel rolls to avoid presenting a stable target for his X-wing's targeting computer.

After performing a quick snap-roll, Kane lines up for another shot, ignores his confused targeting computer and uses only his innate targeting skills to launch two blue torpedoes, which streak out towards open space, seemingly not aimed at the intended target . . . until the assault transport unwittingly intersects the torpedoes' path. By aiming not at the craft, but where it would be, Kane turns the once-lethal vessel into a smouldering ruin as the Nergon-tipped torpedoes detonate, tearing through the hull of the craft, and leaving a smouldering shell of hull to hurtle through space forever as it follows its inertial path out of the combat zone and out into the expanse of the Greeop system.

Leaving behind the high-velocity wreckage of the Imperial troopship, Major Redron is thrown against his seat restraints as his X-wing shudders from heavy laser-fire. Looking about frantically, as he tries to evade the sudden interference, he spots a second ATR-6 vessel bearing down on him, turbolasers blaring away, intent on blood. Despite his evasive efforts, a few more of the powerful shots smash into his shields, which dissipate, leaving his naked hull to bear the brunt of the powerful blasts.

Brigadier Vaughan witnesses Kane's beleaguered starfighter being hammered by the powerful assault transport, and sends some torpedoes of his own at the transport, which forces it to shy away from the concentrated attack on Major Redron, for the moment at least. Brigadier Vaughan keys his comm:

"I've got your back, Four, head back to the Ad Astra to recharge your shields."

Garbled with static, Kane's reply is heard: "Copy Lead, head-- . . . --ack now, on-- . . . way . . ."

As Kane slowly curls his battered starfighter back around towards the relative safety of the command ship, Vaughan moves into position between the damaged X-wing and the enemy assault transport, occluding any clear shots for the Imperial gunners, who would dearly love to get in some finishing shots on the shieldless fighter.

However the assault transport is not the only Imperial craft in the area that is aware of the situation, and before they know it, Vaughan and Kane are surrounded by a wave of assault gunboats and TIE Intercepts angling in for both of their fighters.

As the tell-tale streaks of several reddish missiles fly in towards their fighters, Vaughan only has enough time to scream "EJECT!" to Kane before throwing his own ship into jarring evasive manoeuvres, causing the inbound missiles to overshoot his craft while he turns to blast them out of space.

Major Redron's reflexes and Vaughan's last-minute warning are all that spare him from death, as his ejection seat rockets from the doomed fighter as several missiles incinerate the X-wing, exploding through the cockpit as green lasers from the Interceptors sizzle through the debris of his ex-ship.

After detonating the final homing missile with his craft's laser cannons, David swerves about in an attempt to break free from the tangle of enemy starfighters, to send out an EVA pilot signal to the Ad Astra with co-ordinates for Major Redron's outbound ejection vector.

Despite these individual losses, the battle seems inconclusive, as neither side seems to be gaining an obvious advantage of the other. The Calamari Cruiser Ad Astra progresses through the battlefield, locking on and concentrating turbolasers onto the enemy Strike Cruisers, thinning their shields as they fight back the zealous Star Cruiser.

Further afield, Intrepid forces manage to successfully drop the Interdictor Fleshrinder's deflector shields, and the attacking B-wings begin leaving deep, dark scores across the hull, as torpedoes burn through armour plating before exploding within.

Noting the achievement, Renegade forces surge forward, to help bring down the behemoth interdiction vessel, the main obstacle preventing reinforcements from reaching the besieged capital of the Rebel Squadrons.

Major Karredo receives the call to assist Intrepid forces bombing the Fleshrinder, and moves to remove some more threats to the Ad Astra. With a few well-placed proton torpedoes, he quickly annihilates the last of the transports bombarding the Ad Astra's shields, and pinpoints the gunboats presenting the most serious threats in the area, which he launches his craft upon mercilessly and shreds to pieces with X-wing's laser cannons.

"Can anyone give me a hand over here?" the easily-identifiable quasi-Coruscanti speech patterns of Brigadier Vaughan cut across the comm. Karredo stops observing the thinning shields of the Ad Astra and spots the General's X-wing racing across the combat zone, a host of TIE Interceptors and gunboats drawn along in pursuit.

"On my way, One. Just keep those squints trailing you and I'll take care of the rest."

"Oh. Naturally I'm leading them on intentionally," the Brigadier's straining sardonic tones emanate from Jair's helmet speakers, betraying the true gravity of Vaughan's situation, as he struggles not to be blown to bits by the pursuing fighters. "I'll, uh, I guess I'll just keep them following me then, shall I?"

Grinning at Vaughan's attempt at levity, Karredo tightens on the trigger, directing waves of red energy bolts which lance through the formation of TIE Interceptors and fighters ceaselessly firing green bolts of energy at his squadron commander. As he overshoots the enemy formation, the explosion of detonated ion engines communicates the level of damage he has inflicted on the enemy forces, having taken out almost a dozen in that single run alone.

Curling his fighter around, he angles in on the remaining pursuers, sending blast after blast of red energy, which turn each remaining TIE to slag as they attempt to draw a bead on Vaughan's retreating X-wing.

Having removed the last of the immediate threats to Vaughan's life, he contacts him, "Two to One . . . you should really be shooting some of these bastards, too, you know."

"Oh, ha ha." Vaughan's voice sounds shaken from the ordeal, but clearly attempts to inject some wit or strength back into his voice. "I'll be sure to take that under advisement, Two. At any rate, I think the B-wings might need some assistance taking down the Interdictor. After you?"

"Oh, after you, General. I wouldn't possibly want to steal any more of your–- wait!" Karredo cuts off as he realises the group of stars in the distance are actually the glinting radiator panels of a squadron of TIE Interceptors, bearing down directly towards him.

"Two: full evasive!" Vaughan barks into Jair's ears, as he complies with the order automatically. "They're angling in to get you; just keep yourself out of trouble and I'll pick them off your back."

The Major throws his craft into an unpredictable weave, but realises that some of the Interceptors are heading for Vaughan, also. "Negative, One, they're after both of us. Let's take them together."

Clearly not pleased, but acknowledging the situation, Vaughan replies "Copy, Two. I'm almost on you."

The two X-wings fly and fire in tandem, devastating the oncoming formation, throwing the Interceptor formation into disarray. More and more rush onward, only to be turned to slag by the Dragon pilots' lasers. For while the Interceptors have the advantage of greater numbers, they unknowingly fight two pilots who fly perfectly in synchronisation with each other. For Dragon Squadron are the elite of the Renegade forces, if not the entire task force, and the Imperial pilots are battling two of the leaders of the elite squadron: the squadron's commanding officer, and the squadron's former commanding officer. And both commanders have trained together, fighting on each other's wing.

It is a fight that the Imperial pilots cannot win, for while the two pilots might not necessarily be the best, they work exceptionally well as a team, and burn through the ranks of the enemy fighters, as the battle rages beyond them. There is very little chance that the Imperial pilots pitted against the two Dragon commanders will have any success. However, the fickle thing about chances are that they can still happen, no matter how small the probability.

The squadron of enemy TIE Interceptors tangling with the two X-wings have been cut down to half that number, and the odds for victory continue to tip in favour of the X-wings with each exploding Interceptor. However the Imperial cause is aided by the stupidity of one of the Interceptor pilots, who banks his craft to the left as Karredo banks his to the right.

The two craft smash together, completely annihilating the Imperial craft, but also overloading the shield systems of the X-wing, and causing extensive damage to the ship's propulsion and stabiliser systems. And this is the point where luck runs out.

The remaining Interceptors open up their cannons and send an endless steam of green bolts into the partially-disabled X-wing, setting it alight and melting hull before the entire starfighter explodes in a bright orange explosion.

From his vantage point in the middle of the melee with Karredo and their adversaries, Vaughan witnesses the fireball as it reaches outward from the core of his friend's ship, before dissipating into the airless vacuum of space. With a lump in his throat, Vaughan suffers a momentary lapse of concentration, before throwing himself upon the triumphant Imperial pilots, distracted by jubilation at their hard-fought victory.

Their satisfaction is the death of them, as Vaughan swiftly makes that a reality. As the expanding fireball of the final TIE Interceptor dissipates into the vacuum of space, the Brigadier contacts the Ad Astra.

"This is Dragon Leader; I've got another downed pilot over here!" Punching in the co-ordinates, he waits for an acknowledgement, before continuing, "The co-ordinates I just sent, unknown ejection vector." He ignores the voice inside that reminds him that he hadn't seen an ejection seat before the explosion.

"We copy that, Dragon Leader. You boys have managed to clean up the area out there. We're launching search and rescue shuttles now. Tactical reports that you need to get closer to the Fleshrinder, and help poke holes in its hull. Control out."

"Copy, control. Over and out."

With a grim expression, Brigadier Vaughan tries to locate the rest of his remaining pilots, who have become spread out towards the Imperial flotilla, as the battle has progressed back onto the Imperial lines, clearing the space near the Ad Astra and its support ships, allowing downed pilots to be recovered by rescue craft.

But you didn't see Karredo eject . . .

Vaughan shakes the thoughts from his head. He has a job to do, and the perils of ejection are numerous. No good would come from dwelling on it now. The rescue crews would recover Karredo, along with Kane, and Redfren in time. And too any other pilots who had been shot down, even the enemy ones, eventually. Intel did love fresh meat to interrogate, and the recovery of any surviving Imperial pilots left behind after at battle's end would be prioritised after all friendly pilots had been recovered.

Beyond the microcosm of the battle that was Karredo and Vaughan's skirmish with the TIE Interceptors, the overall battle seems to be going in the Rebel Squadrons's favour. This is ultimately confirmed and realised as the Interdictor Fleshrinder's reactor goes critical, engulfing the entire vessel in a shuddering chain-reaction of fiery explosions that rip the starship asunder.

As if to highlight the event, the two Imperial corvettes meet their ends as torpedoes, freed up from striking the Interdictor, punch through their hulls, causing twin suns to burn brightly in concert with the Fleshrinder's death knell briefly.

The is the turning point of the battle, and nothing much more matters beyond this. With the interdiction field down, Renegade and Intrepid reinforcements, up until now held back from leaving Tarsonis due to the hazardous Imperial interdiction efforts, are free to make their jumps to Blerthmore, and through to the main battle zone.

For the men and women involved in the fight, the rest of the battle matters a great deal. But these are mere players in the conflict, unable to see that the truth of the battle had already been decided. The interdiction effort has failed. While it partially exceeded in preventing reinforcement from reaching the capital in a timely manner, fully intact, it proved unable to stop it entirely.

A series of capital ships revert from hyperspace on the boundaries of the combat zone, before recalculating exit vectors and flicking back into hyperspace. While the main part of the battle with the interdiction force has reached its climax already, there are still details that need to be addressed.

Such as the Star Destroyer Exterminatus, and its non-trivial support forces still heftily throwing their weight around in the battle. If the reinforcements break off their fighting and proceed to Blerthmore, the Exterminatus's forces will simply follow behind, and outflank the outflankers.

It is decided by the generals onboard the Calamari Cruisers in the battle: Renegade forces will stay locked in battle with the remaining Imperial forces while Intrepid forces rush to Blerthmore to help bolster the defences there, in an attempt to save their capital from annihilation or capture.

Beyond the battle is not considered, as an Imperial-class Star Destroyer alone presents a major obstacle, not one guaranteed to be overcome. And while the forces battling it have defeated Star Destroyers in combat before, it is usually through some brilliant tactic, or undercover operation, or blind luck that they are defeated, and it is never a guaranteed outcome.

Especially when heavy losses are still taken, such as the Nebulon-B2 escort frigate Celestial Fury, which strays too close to the enemy formation. Its shields are ripped from it, and any and all Imperial bombers and fighters in the vicinity rush to pellet the frigate with as much massed firepower as they can muster.

And evidently they can muster quite a bit, because the Celestial Fury follows in the path laid down by the Strike Cruiser Kayak.

In the minutes after the torpedoes and laser blasts that rained upon the Celestial Fury caused its demise, the battling intensifies near the Imperial formation. And Renegade starfighter forces have been unexpectedly reinforced, as suddenly dozens of TIE starfighters blips vanish from the sensor readings one by one.

Brigadier Vaughan is not the only pilot to notice the mysterious vanishing of enemy targets, but he is the recipient of the cheerful comm message of General Pasiechnyk, known among the pilots as 'Heavy'.

"Vaughan, 'ole buddy, how are you hanging out here?"

A disbelieving smile comes unbidden to Brigadier Vaughan's face as he realises the commanding officer of the Renegade forces -- who should be by rights directing forces from aboard the Ad Astra's bridge -- has taken to the field in a starfighter once again.

This isn't the first time the General has disregarded his own safety, and that of his division and standard procedure, but Vaughan is still surprised to see the General's B-wing rocketing through the combat zone towards him.

"Well, we were doing alright for ourselves until you showed up, at which point you started hogging the targets," the squadron leader replies, acting more cocky than he really feels, in an attempt to lift his -- and all forces listening -- spirits up. Morale has been waning as the battle rages on, and more and more losses are sustained.

"Heh, well, I figured I should come on out here and show all of you how it's done. And now that we've disintegrated our decent share of these fighters, let's let the Strike Cruisers get eaten up by our cap ships. What's the payload status of you girls out here?"

Vaughan suppresses a laugh, and dutifully reports his warhead status. His mind wanders as the rest of the pilots report in their weapon counts. The enemy starfighter forces are decimated, but the Star Destroyer Exterminatus still has some considerable support, with the Victory Star Destroyer Prudence backed up by two Strike Cruisers waging their war on the Ad Astra and its support ships. It isn't until he hears Heavy chiding one of the Dragon pilots for not using their torpedoes that he resumes paying closer attention to the comm channel.

"Now, let's leave the remaining fighters to the rest of the squadrons to handle. Saddle up boys, let's go join our assault squads and hunt ourselves a Star Destroyer."

It seems Heavy has assumed battlefield command, and Vaughan is happy to oblige him, even though he senses a reckless undertone to his attitude. He surmises that it is probably for show, though, and not indicative of any instability in the General's mental state . . . right?

The General's B-wing lurches to full speed, and the X-wings of Dragon Squadron dutifully follow, lining up in formation behind him.

"Ok guys, we all know that these beasts aren't all too nice. So, let's do some proper strafing. Keep an eye on where the fire is coming from, keep moving around, and when you've got the right timing sweep across and let loose a payload into those turrets. The fewer of those we've got, the easier our job will be in the long run."

The fighters start to get deeper into the firing range of the Exterminatus, and the climate changes accordingly. The usual blackness of space becomes increasingly shot through with green turbolaser blasts, as the gunners onboard the greater vessel try to track and hit the darting starfighters drawing closer to it.

The X-wings, led by a B-wing, rain a hail of destruction upon the Star Destroyer's gunnery emplacements, many of which buckle and explode despite their protective shielding, as torpedoes detonate upon the energy shields, causing local power fluctuations.

Suddenly Heavy calls back over the comm system.

"Ok guys, we've got our selves a tightly defended little spot I'd like to make a hit on. I'll fly in first, send a payload and draw some of the fire. As I'm heading through send your payloads in. We'll need a large dosage to do some damage to their hangar."

Vaughan frowns at that, noting the shield strength of the Star Destroyer's hangar bay outweighs any possible damage the X-wings' complements of torpedoes can provide, even with a B-wing supporting them. He keys in his comm to question the order.

"What we have won't do hardly a scratch to their hangar with the layered shielding and mag fields guarding it." To lighten his request, the squadron commander injects some sarcasm, "Not to mention this is my squadron, which I would like to have a bit more command over, please?"

Without missing a beat, Heavy replies. "I have a feeling we'll have a window of opportunity coming our way here, as I do believe we'll have some new company exiting, giving us enough of a window to send in enough to do just enough damage to have them on damage control there."

As if on cue, a wave of starfighters launch from the Exterminatus's hangar bay.

"NOW!" comes the screamed command, and all pilots in the vicinity obey at once, sending streaks of blue warheads into the hangar.

And then it is time to worry about the Interceptors that fly beyond the explosion, hammering the attacking X-wings suddenly. Major Calista Fairbright, despite her successful series of attacks against TIE Bombers earlier in the battle, is unable to prevent copping an overload of green laser blasts, which tear through her ship's shields and threaten to tear her to pieces, too.

Fortunately she knows when to call it quits, and is goon flying from the wreckage of her starfighter on an ejection seat, hurtling away from the Exterminatus.

Brigadier Vaughan swears, and calls in another EVA report, while trying to tackle the wave of enemy starfighters, when a bright green burst from the Star Destroyer's turbolaser battery flashes nearby . . . and suddenly his controls go slack.

Not just his controls, all systems seemed to have suddenly gone offline. Sensors, comms, weapons . . . even his astromech has shut down.

Frustrated, Vaughan lashes out in anger, his fist denting the control panel.

Drifting through space, away from the combat zone, Vaughan lacks even tactical information, and has no idea of how the battle is progressing. He hopes that someone will notice his absence from the battle and call for a recovery crew, but there is nothing to do until that time except stew in anger and frustration.

One thing he is thankful for, is that he won't show up on Imperial sensors as an active target. The only thing he has to be concerned about is if Imperial forces are triumphant . . . in which case he would be in danger of capture and interrogation. But Vaughan is confident that Renegade forces have the battle under control. If not, he carries a blaster pistol onboard for that very eventuality . . .

But Vaughan is hopeful that he won't be forced to kill himself to evade captivity, as he is confident that Heavy can lead the squadron in his absence. Kane and Karredo have been shot down, so it is good that the General is participating in risky behaviour by flying into battle, instead of remaining aboard the more secure bridge, where he really ought to be.

Vaughan consoles himself with those thoughts, and tries to avoid thinking of the nagging doubts he has about his ejected pilots' fates, as he waits for the battle to end and for his craft to be located and rescued by friendly forces.

And beyond Vaughan's disabled X-wing, backtracking along his exit vector, the battle rages on.


Brig. David Vaughan
Dragon CO


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