Rebel Squadrons

(44:3:25) Dragon Squadron Briefing Narrative, Dragon202

By COM David Vaughan
Unit: Vigilance Starfighter Group
Squadron NL, Feb 23, 2007
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44:3:25, onboard the Frigate Horizon, approaching Tarsonis orbit, Greeop system (Greeop Sector).

Major Olith Hesto stretched some life back into his limbs, as he headed to an observation platform to get a glimpse of the limb of the planet that the Nebulon-B Frigate was heading toward. He ran a hand through his hair and yawned, trying to complete the waking up process. This trip from the Subterrel Sector to RS space and back again involved a lot of boring cockpit time, and any chance at sleep was pounced on.

Despite that, he felt the need to join several other RS officers crowding around a viewport showing the half-covered-in-shadow blue world that was a veritable oasis in the darkness of space that existed beyond it. Even though it had only been weeks since the Subterrel Strike Force had left RS space, for the officers and personnel involved it felt an age.

While the escort role Dragon Squadron had been relegated to for resupply operation was seen by most, including himself, as boring and menial work, he allowed himself a slight smile, as the homecoming --- no matter how short --- felt almost worth it.

The true icing on the cake, though, was what the squadron's official commander-in-absentia had organised for them. General Vaughan had messaged Olith via hypercomm en route to the Greeop Sector and 'regretfully' informed him that the squadron had been called in a day earlier than it was needed, as the convoy was not ready for departure yet.

Olith grinned. The orders for the squadron to arrive when they did had come down from the Logistics Office, which meant that the General was treating the squadron to an unofficial period of shore leave on the accommodating world of Tarsonis. No matter that it was only one day of leave, the pilots would certainly make themost of it.

This was undoubtedly some kind of morale booster for the pilots, and probably some clever psychological game, making the pilots extremely ingratiated with him as he resumed his role as commander. Olith was sure that this was why Dragon had been the squadron in particular chosen for this escort role. He had enjoyed his brief stint as Dragon Leader, enjoyed it a lot, but it was only a temporary tenure, and the General would be resuming his rightful place at the head of the squadron. He tried to view it philosophically, but he couldn't fully deny that he wasn't pleased that his time in charge had come to an end.

Olith scratched his head, hoping he'd done a good enough job with the pilots. There hadn't been too much in the way of armed conflict seen in the current campaign as yet, so he had mostly been acting as morale officer.

A notification came through the ship-wide comm system announcing the arrival in orbit of the planet Tarsonis.

It was party time . . .



Planetside, Tarsonis

Brigadier David Vaughan stepped out from the administrative part of the starport and walked across the permacrete to meet with the pilots of Dragon Squadron in one of the spaceport's cantinas.

Commander Kane Redron, Major Olith Hesto and Commander Calista Fairbright had sought him out after planetfall, and he had delivered some news to them. Kane looked disappointed, Olith's expression was somewhere between disappointed shock and barely-restrained happiness, but Calista's expression . . . well, she had looked like she was going to deck him for his announcement. Thankfully she didn't, and the three had headed back to the rest of the squadron before Vaughan followed after them.

He sighed, and passed through the threshold into the cantina, trying his best to ignore the clich├ęd recording of jizz music emanating from tinny speakers at the back of the cantina, acting in counterpoint to the deeper murmur of conversation of the pilots he had called brother (and, well, sister in at least one case) over the past months.

He wasn't looking forward to this, but it had to be done. He felt obligated to deliver bad news (well, bad news from the perspective of at least most of the pilots, as far as he was aware) in person, rather than through the rumour mill or via electronic communication.

"Hey!" Vaughan yelled over the top of the background noise to get the pilots' attention.

A few of the pilots saluted him with their drinks in the air with merriment, while some continued their conversations in softer voices.

Despite the uninterruption of some of the conversations, Vaughan continued anyway.

"I invited you all here to give you a chance to stretch your legs and see a bit of civilisation before heading back to the front lines . . . and also to make an announcement."

The Brigadier looked uncomfortable, and only Olith, Calista and Kane knew why --- and each of the three had respectfully not passed on the news before David himself could do it.

"Effective immediately, I am stepping down as Dragon Leader. General Pasiechnyk has approved Major Hesto's appointment in my place. Congratulations, Olith: the squadron is officially yours in name as well as fact."

The room went silent with that --- none of the pilots who hadn't been informed prior to the meeting had the slightest clue this was coming. Neither, for that matter, did those who were told, up until a matter of minutes ago.

Moments later, it was question time, and Vaughan had a great deal of explaining to do . . .



44:3:26, onboard the Frigate Horizon, in deep space en route to Subterrel Sector.

After a day of revelry tinged with a touch of bitterness (for some of the pilots), and then an exhaustive night of recovery, it was back to business once more.

Major Olith Hesto prepared himself a cup of caf in a vain effort to stop his head from throbbing.

He was currently on a rest shift, but he would be required to cram himself into a cockpit soon enough. And by then, his head had better have stopped throbbing, or it would be an incredibly long escort shift.

The squadron's X-wings were crammed aboard the hangar bay of the Horizon, a ship that was really too small for an onboard starfighter complement, but it seemed the SSF couldn't afford to send the Resurrection II back from its place protecting RS holdings abroad. Why send a Victory Star Destroyer to do what a Frigate would be sufficient for? Olith had an answer for that: comfort.

Vaughan's decision to transfer out of the squadron had been taken hard by some pilots, and others probably hadn't really cared either way, but Olith was of mixed feelings about it. He felt kind of let down that Vaughan had decided to remain behind to tend to Admiral Trebonious-Astoris's needs, while letting the squadron fly off into battle without him. Even though he understood that the Logistics Officer should remain where he was needed most, it still didn't sit well with him.

Although, as Vaughan himself had explained at one point the previous day, the RS was in a desperate situation, supply-wise at the moment, and had pointed out that having sufficient shipments of proton torpedoes was more important than having him vaingloriously insisting on leading a squadron. Apparently Vaughan's expertise at scrounging supplies from seemingly nowhere was most needed back in the home territories. Of course, he would cop quite a bit of flak from the pilots if there were any torpedo shortages, having made that statement . . .

At the same time as feeling let down by the General, he was also pleased that it finally afforded him the chance to prove how much he could excel in the role of commander. He had pretty much been commander of the squadron for weeks before this. However, the differences between 'Acting Commander' and the real thing . . . well, there was a difference.

The caf started having an effect, and Olith could think more clearly once again. And then he remembered the mission profile, and wondered whether he should have maybe drank to ultimate excess and given himself alcohol poisoning yesterday. At least then he would have gotten out of the current mission . . .

The trip from the Greeop Sector back to the RS's staging area in the Subterrel Sector was taking a long time. Not as long as the unbelievably-long eight-day initial journey. No, the trip was much quicker, down to about one day of travel, now that most of the route had been charted more properly. But still, twenty-odd hours cooped up on a Nebulon-B Frigate, flying three hour escort shifts crammed in a cockpit with nothing to do other than stay awake and not run into anything . . . it was surely some form of torture.

At any given time there were three pilots from the squadron lazily cruising around the Frigate and the convoy they were escorting. While there were mercifully many parts of the trip that were sped through in hyperspace, there were unfortunately stretches that required slow progression at sublight speeds. Especially painful for starfighter pilots, who thrived on action.

He looked at the chrono and cursed Vaughan for not the first time since waking with a hangover earlier that day.

It was almost his turn to suit up and head down to the hangar bay.

On normal, decent-sized vessels, the squadron's X-wings were spaced out on their own landing gear. But on the tiny accommodation of the escort frigate . . . well, the X-wings were stacked upon each other like damned TIEs. The very thought was slightly insulting.

On the bright side, he mused, at least privilege of rank gave him his own quarters for the trip. Most of the squadron had to bunk with each other, something they weren't accustomed to on the Resurrection II, a ship that was intended to house two squadrons' worth of pilots, of which Dragon alone were stationed on.

He finally realised how much time had passed with his meandering thoughts, and after cursing Vaughan once more, headed down to the ready room in preparation for his scheduled three hours of solid tedium . . .

Maybe this was why Vaughan had quit. The bastard.




Brigadier Vaughan is transferring out of Dragon Squadron in fiction only. He will in actuality be returning to the Dragon Eleven spot, however his character will remain in the Greeop Sector until further notice. More information is available for Dragon Squadron members through their mailing list.

Some basic information about this mission:

1) It takes place half-way between VSG/RID/CD102 and VSG/RID/CD103 (so a few days after the former, and a few days before the latter).

2) The mission is versatile, being both a single-player and multiplayer mission. The maximum number of players is three.

3) The mission is to be run on Medium difficulty setting, with Collisions On, Randomise Off, and Unlimited Weapons Off (or anything else that could be construed as an unfair advantage).

4) Every pilot who flies the mission is expected to report their first run through the mission, whether pass or fail, including a brief summary of what happened (Did you win? Did you lose? Which ships blew up?). If you want to write a full-fledged narrative, then all the better.

5) This mission is intended for Dragon Squadron, however it is open to other pilots to participate in.

6) All reports are to be sent to either Brigaider Vaughan at david@melda.com.au or the squadron commander, Major Hesto at oliverthomaides@btinternet.com. Screenshots of the debriefing screen and details are to be sent, also.

7) The mission and accompanying files are located here --- http://www.rebelsquadrons.org/roster/itoddb/files/Dragon202.zip

8) The due date for this mission is to be determined by the new Dragon CO, however try to get it in as soon as possible . . . maybe within one week of this date (which would make the almost-due date the Twenty-Ninth of February, 2007). But don't wait until then; fly as soon as possible. Multiplayer runs are encouraged more than single-player runs, if possible.

9) There are various criteria for awards, beyond the obvious categories, so be sure to report as quickly as possible, kill as much as possible, and try to get as many people to fly with you as possible.

10) If you are intending to fly the mission multiplayer, make sure the mission is slot number 906 in your .lst files.



":)

Brig. David Vaughan
Dragon CO no longer, now Dragon 11

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