Rebel Squadrons

(44:3:21) Dragon Squadron Briefing Narrative, VSG102

By COM David Vaughan
Unit: Vigilance Starfighter Group
Squadron NL, Feb 16, 2007
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Through the inky blackness of space a fleet of warships prowled.

The triangular shape of two of the largest ships was contrasted by the smooth lines of another large vessel, surrounded by many more boxy-shaped medium and light capital-class ships.

It was the Subterrel Strike Force. A fleet of ships charged with a single purpose --- to wreak vengeance upon the Imperial forces that had dared attack the capital of the Republic Shield on Blerthmore.

The forty thousand who died in the attack were represented by the formation of seventeen warships that crept through deep space, approaching the sector boundary of the origin point of the enemy forces --- the normally quiescent Subterrel Sector.

The Republic Shield --- more commonly known in the Outer Rim as the Rebel Squadrons --- had grown divisive over the years, with forces spread thinly to cover many different fronts and regions simultaneously with the forces at hand. However in the aftermath of the attack on the task force's capital world, the RS had become unified for a singular purpose --- to strike back at the aggressor Imperial forces, to crush and drive them to ruin, so that they could never launch such an incursion into New Republic territory again.

This solidarity was practical and symbolic and real, not just a politician's play on words. For the warships assembled for battle came from the many different holdings and divisions of the Rebel Squadrons, and was the second time an RS-wide strike force had been assembled for an invasion campaign. The first time was the incursion into the Tarla Sector, where the Tarla Minor Shipyards were razed, and an Imperial Super Star Destroyer ruined. It was with these memories of the triumphant Tarla Strike Force that the men and women of the Subterrel Strike Force proceeded to embark on their bloody-minded assault upon the enemy who had wounded the task force grievously.

On the largest wedge-shaped vessel, a General issued orders to another General, who then broadcasted detailed instructions to squadron commanders on several of the larger ships in the strike force.

Onboard the lesser wedge-shaped craft, the Victory-class Star Destroyer Resurrection II, the pilots of Dragon Squadron were assembled in a briefing room, watching the holographic representation of the commanding officer of the Vigilance Starfighter Group, General David Pasiechnyk.

He spoke to the assembled pilots onboard the Resurrection II, as well as the distant Calamari Cruiser Ad Astra, and the pilots located on the same ship as he, the Star Destroyer Redemption.

"Greetings, pilots. I bring good news. The weeks of mundane patrols and escort duties you have had to endure as we progressed from RS space until now are at an end. We are presently approaching the Subterrel Sector border. General Raven has ordered extensive reconnaissance sweeps to ascertain the situation out here. So many of you will get a chance to get away from the fleet for a little while. I have passed along more specific orders to your squadron commanders, so listen in to them. The time for payback is soon."

The General's image flickered and faded into nothing, and Major Olith Hesto stepped before the assembled pilots of Dragon Squadron.

"Okay guys, listen up. The Generals have prepared our specific orders. Now while some squadrons have been unfortunately enough relegated to patrol duty around the fleet, thankfully we're not one of them." he grinned, clearly pleased at delivering the good news, and winked at the only female member of the squadron, Calista Fairbright.

"That means it's time to stretch our wings a bit. Due to the nature of the current operation, we will not be in our usual X-wing starfighters, but will be using A-wing interceptors. If you don't like it, you're more than welcome to switch places with someone remaining behind to do a few more patrol rounds of the fleet . . ." he trailed off, gauging that this was not an option the pilots wanted to seriously entertain. Everyone was itching to get off the Resurrection II and see some action --- and not of the mundane, boring patrol kind.

"Okay . . . overall, we'll be performing sweeps through a number of locations that Intel suspects might have enemy forces. Or at the very least: bases, supply caches or other holdings. Information on your individual recon points will be provided to you shortly. But for now, a few things to go over about the operation as a whole . . ."

The Major stepped down from the podium, closer to the pilots in order to get their attention. Looking at them with a serious expression, he continued.

"Remember, this is a reconnaissance mission. We're trying to find out just how dug in the Imperials are in this sector, so that we can help mess them up in follow-up assaults. So to this end, bear in mind that your prime directive is information gathering. If you encounter enemy forces, you are not authorised to engage them unless it is absolutely imperative for you to do so. We will be trusting you to use your own judgement . . ."

He gave some of the more cocky and reckless pilots a knowing look.

"No matter how pissed you might be at what these bastards have done; keep your head cool and don't be stupid. You're not going to wipe out the entire enemy fleet by yourself, so anyone entertaining those notions had better lose them quick-smart."

The Major spoke sense, but the pilots were anxious for blood. And unhappy that this would not be the opportunity to do so.

"If we want to kill them all, we're going to have to be clever about this. Fly your missions and gather your data. No heroics, no stupidity. The data you collect must make it back here intact. Otherwise, you'll have wasted all our times with reckless and pointless assaults, and probably end up dead. I don't want to have to shoot any more coffins into stars."

Olith looked over the pilots to see if they understood him correctly. It appeared as though they did, with memories of the Battle of Blerthmore memorial service still relatively fresh in their minds.

"So fly your missions, make it back here in one piece, and we'll get sloshed at the bar while Intel works out how best to kill all of these rampaging bastards."

Olith then moved back to the podium, and collected various sheets of flimsiplast that he had placed there before the briefing, and handed them out to the various pilots.

"Here are your current orders. Don't lose them, or leave them lying around anywhere." he smirked. "You have about twenty minutes of time to get ready, then I expect to see you all assembled in the hangar. Dismissed!"

The pilots filed out of the room, scanning over their specific reconnaissance zones for the upcoming operation. Not that there was anything particularly interesting on the flimsis --- mostly just series of co-ordinates and boring data like that --- but the pilots scanned through them anyway, happy to have some opportunity to do some serious flying.

The last month had been a hard one for everyone, especially the pilots. First there was the massacre at Blerthmore, which tore the task force asunder, and then a very long time spent recovering and preparing for a retaliation operation. And then once the operation was launched, it had taken a long time to actually reach the destination --- it had taken eight days for the task force to traverse a distance that ought to have taken mere hours on a major hyperroute.

Due to the relatively unexplored and uncharted hyperlanes from the Greeop Sector to the Subterrel Sector, General Raven had taken no risks in blazing across the distance blindly --- too many ships had been lost by rookie commanders and pilots in the past for deciding to challenge the odds. Hyperspace travel was a dicey business, and only the foolhardy took foolish risks with it.

And so for the interests of making sure the entire fleet wasn't lost in a black hole or other gravitational anomaly, the entire strike force was forced to travel at sublight speeds for a great deal of the journey, while probes scouted ahead to help blaze paths through the barely-known hyperlanes they were using.

The downside of this sensible measure was that most of the pilots were stir-crazy by this stage. As the preparation of the reprisal operation had taken an agonising eighteen days --- during which time everyone was angry at the attack, and had no enemy to direct that anger at --- the travel time from the Greeop Sector to the Subterrel Sector had taken an unbearably long eight days.

Eight days of patrols and escort duty --- the pilots were ready to mutiny . . . anything to give them a chance to shoot something. It was very fortunate for morale that a proper mission had finally been issued, even if it were only reconnaissance.

For the pilots of Dragon Squadron, life on the Resurrection II was different to life on the Ad Astra, which most of the pilots were well-accustomed to. Smooth, organic-shaped architecture with creamy white walls had been replaced by harsh angles and a predominant grey colouration.

Instead of sharing the vessel with many other pilots, the squadron was the ship's sole starfighter complement. The hangar bay was originally intended to house two full squadrons of TIE starfighters. However, they hung on racks and took up much less space than the New Republic X-wing starfighters, which were bulkier and harder to pack away. So while Imperial forces could fit two squadrons onboard, the RS could only fit one. A very positive side-effect of this was that every pilot in the squadron had their own, fairly luxuriant (as far as military standards go) quarters, with no need for bunking with other personnel, which could be quite a cramp on privacy.

Major Hesto dropped some information back to his quarters before starting down towards the Victory Star Destroyer's main hangar bay. It was going to be good to get the hell out of the place for a little while, even if it were only flying reconnaissance . . .


Brig. David Vaughan
Dragon CO (On Leave)


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