Rebel Squadrons

(44:3:22) FC Narrative 5: Balancing Act

By FA Dave Trebonious-Astoris
Unit: The Rebel Squadrons
Narrative, Mar 30, 2007
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-=Bridge of the Victory II-class Star Destroyer Peril, 44:3:20:19:43=-

Dave Trebonious-Astoris, the Fleet Commander, stirred restlessly. It had been seven days since the Subterrel Strike Force, containing the bulk of the Rebel Squadrons' capital ships and fighters, had departed the Greeop system. Dave longed to hear news from the strike force's commander, Commodore Michael Raven. He chafed at his enforced stay in the RS home territories while the bulk of his fleet was off fighting a major campaign light years away. He desperately would have liked the chance to seek revenge against those mysterious Imperial foes that had attacked Blerthmore.

Dave looked around the bridge of his command ship, the Victory II-class Star Destroyer Peril. Still, he thought, I am needed here for some issues. His eyes passed over Admiral Rahj Tharen, standing at the viewport, Major Cluj Alatar at weapons, Lieutenant Euric Vandalo at engineering, and Lieutenant Rebekah Gosling, at the communications' station. She was smiling at him. He favored her with a brief smile. Things were coming together nicely with his make-shift task group, the Greeop Defense Force. His staff from the Command Dome on Blerthmore had integrated well with his personal staff aboard the Peril, and he was getting used to working from a mobile command center. It was true that his forces had not been tested in battle yet, but he was confident that the Peril would work well with the three smaller ships under its command.

In fact, the week since the Subterrel Strike Force had left had been fairly routine and even dull. Repairs continued in the Greeop system around Blerthmore, but they hardly required Dave's direct attention. Instead, he had mostly been using the Peril as a center for diplomacy, moving from system to system to reassure local governments that the RS would continue to protect them in the wake of the Battle of Blerthmore. Dave's mental recapitulation of the situation was interrupted by the voice of Gosling. In an almost sing-songy voice she playfully announced, "Incoming message, Admiral. The planet Caelum would speak to you."

Dave swallowed the urge to smile. She was clearly getting tired of relaying messages from planetary governments and trying to keep herself amused, but that didn't mean he needed to encourage it. He waved his hand about in the air, "Rahj, go ahead and take this one." Rahj nodded and moved to a station so he could take the call personally.

While Rahj was busy chatting, Dave walked up alongside Commander Cyril Octavius, the XO of the Peril and his own cousin. Octavius nodded a greeting. "Cyril," Dave began, "I would like you to arrange some mock battles between Grey Squadron and our Axe Squadron to keep the pilots on their toes. I think Castor's people should be ready for that by now. Get in touch with him and set it up."

"Not a problem," Octavius began, "I-"

He was cut off by Rahj, who walked up to the pair with a look of disgust on his face. "Sorry to interrupt, Commander, but I think it's necessary." He turned to Dave. "Dave, it looks like Caelum somehow found out that we only have four ships right now. Their planetary senate is holding a debate tomorrow about whether Caelum can feel safe with such thin protection. I think we need to go there."

Dave grimaced. "I guess we probably do. Set a course for the Elenian system..."

-=Senate House, Homely City, Caelum, Elenian system, 44:3:21:09:53=-

In the region of space known as the Cadrel Expanse sits the Elenian system. In first orbit around the system's star is the planet Caelum, rich in natural beauty. The planet had been colonized by some of the first Hyperspace Explorers and was therefore one of the oldest colonized worlds in the entire Cadrel Expanse. Because of the age of the planetary government, the people of Caelum were somewhat distant to both the Galactic Empire of Palpatine and the New Republic, both of which they considered upstart governments. The planet had in fact only been convinced to join the New Republic several years ago after the Rebel Squadrons' victory in the Cadrel Expanse.

The planetary government was housed in the capital, Homely City, and the beating heart of the government was the planetary senate. Now Dave and Rahj stood in the antechamber of the Senate House, waiting their turn to speak to the Most August Senate of Caelum. They conferred quietly between themselves. "My contact in the pro-NR party here tells me that the opposition plans to bring a proposal to the floor to have Caelum withdraw from the Republic," Rahj whispered.

Dave blanched. "They do not seriously think something like that is necessary? Because we only have four ships? We can protect them."

Rahj shook his head. "I don't think such a proposal would pass, but it's concerning that they can even ponder it. It's also disturbing that they know our exact ship strength."

Dave's eye glinted. "Yes, disturbing. We have not publicized that information."

Just then, a page stuck his head into the room. "Admirals, the Senate will hear you now."

Dave nodded to Rahj as they walked to the door, silently reminding Rahj of the plan. Dave would take the floor personally and do the talking, hoping that the senators would be more impressed to hear from the Fleet Commander in person.


The main auditorium of the Senate House was neither especially large nor did it employ much technology, such as the floating bumper-cars in use in the Old Republic Senate. A simple, plain, yet imposing architecture prevailed. The auditorium was in the shape of a half-circle, with rows of seats rising amphitheater-style from the floor at the center. The seats were austerely simple, appearing to be made of cut, white stone. The Most August Senate of Caelum was not a very large body, consisting of only several dozen members. They all were currently in their seats, staring at the newcomers attentively. A robe-clad senator waved them toward the center of the floor, and then took his seat with his colleagues.

Without hesitation, Dave strode out onto the floor. Before he began to speak, he cast his gaze over the assembled senators, trying to look each one in the eye. Having measured up his audience, he began.

"August senators, it is right and appropriate that I am here to speak before you today. Several years ago now I came to you, at the head of the Republic Shield, when we liberated this system in the conflict known as the First Outer Rim War. I promised you then that the Republic Shield would be zealous in defending your interests and securing your safety. Years have passed and it has been deemed appropriate for me to again hold the reins of command. I am here again to assure you that the safety of Caelum is one of my chief priorities.

"And now I hear rumor that this most august body is deliberating on whether the RS can indeed provide safety for Caelum! Who has heard of such questioning? When has my organization ever given cause to doubt our resolve? More importantly, to whom would you turn should you attempt to move out from under our wing? Would the remnants of the Galactic Empire, rent by warlordism, provide a safe haven for a peace-loving planet such as Caelum?"

Dave paused for effect.

"No, I think not. I am here to tell you today that the RS is capable of defending this planet. Do not worry and speak amongst yourselves about how many ships I do or do not have at my disposal. I assure you that any foe who thinks of violating the sanctity of territories under the protection of the Republic Shield will meet swift death. I will brook no opposition and no invasion. I assure you, Caelum is safe."

As a smattering of polite applause filled the room, Dave bowed to the assembly, and then stepped back. As he did, the senator who had beckoned him earlier rose again. "Thank you, Admiral. The Most August Senate must now debate on your words. We ask for our privacy during this debate."

Dave and Rahj backed toward the door by which they had entered, then both bowed simultaneously again, and exited through the door the page had opened for them.

-=The Lambda-class Shuttle Procopius, 44:3:21:13:49=-

Several hours later, after having been informed of the results of the debate and feted at a great luncheon with several senators friendly to the cause of the New Republic, Dave and Rahj discussed the day as they were shuttled back up to the Peril. Rahj was shaking his head. "It's good that the discussion of the senate on whether Caelum should secede or not was quashed after your speech, but it disturbs me that debate was necessary on the subject at all."

Dave nodded thoughtfully. "It is a sign of the times, Rahj. People sense weakness. We have to make sure that the RS does not project an image of weakness. We need to bluster and bluff our way into convincing everyone that even after the Battle of Blerthmore, we are still too strong to be taken advantage of."

Rahj's eyes glowered. "More than that, somehow the 'Most August' senate found out exactly what our force consists of. Say, isn't your man Vandalo a Caelian?"

"Yes, he absolutely is," Dave raised an eyebrow. "Do you think he could be, ah, how shall we put it... less than loyal to our cause?"

Rahj's response was moderate but the hard glint in his eye was not. "I think he bears watching..."

-=Bridge of the Victory II-class Star Destroyer Peril, 44:3:21:22:09=-

Whereas earlier Dave had been restless, now he was beginning to feel a bit annoyed. It had been two full weeks since Colonel Marli had arrived on a mission from Admiral Ackbar to inspect the damage caused by the epic Battle of Blerthmore. The insufferable Mon Calamari was still flitting around the Greeop system, incessantly questioning his officers and inspecting every piece of equipment the RS had ever used. He showed no sign of letting up, nor of sending a communique to Admiral Ackbar recommending immediate assistance for the RS. This caused a considerable bit of stress to Dave, because besides being annoyed, he was also concerned that one of his officers might strangle the inquisitive inspector.

Dave sighed. Work must go on, he thought to himself wistfully. He was startled out of his reverie by a hand on his elbow. He turned and saw that Octavius was trying to get his attention. "Admiral," he was saying, "Gosling has Vice Admiral Borran on comms for you."

Dave rubbed his eye. I must be getting tired to have missed her voice, he thought. "Thank you, Cyril." Dave turned toward the crew pit and saw Gosling looking up curiously at him. "Route the call to my quarters, Gosling. Thank you."


From the comfort of his own chair, Dave looked at Tyrell "Spokes" Borran on his holo display. Spokes looked comfortable sitting on the bridge of the ship he was temporarily based upon, the Dreadnaught End of Days. The two were hammering out a schedule of patrol points for the Greeop Defense Force.

"Rahj has the Peril pretty busy running diplomatic missions right now," Dave sighed. "But now that we are done at Caelum, I think we are going to be leaving the Cadrel Expanse. I want you to bring the End of Days here so that the sector has a major starship for defense."

Spokes nodded. "I assume you'll want me to make Mercurius my main base?"

Mercurius was the chief RS world of the Cadrel Expanse, and had been named by Dave himself as the Second Planet of the Republic Shield. Behind only Blerthmore itself in importance, it contained a sprawling Command Fortress and blossoming civilian colony. It was the logical capital of the Cadrel Expanse.

Dave inclined his head slightly. "Of course. Mercurius is vital. Assure its safety above all else, but do plan out a patrol path and visit the other inhabited systems, waving the flag when necessary. You know the drill."

"We all do by now. I'll be in touch. Days out..." Spokes saluted as his image faded.

Dave checked his chronometer and sighed. He expected to hear from Commodore Raven and the Subterrel Strike Force any day now. Perhaps tomorrow.

-=Main War room of the Victory II-class Star Destroyer Peril, 44:3:22:06:08=-

"I do not want to hear your kriffing preaching, lectures, or advice that undermines the job that I am doing. I was unaware that the previous commanders of these vessels were utter morons, and they will be replaced. We are going to appoint members of the Righteous Indignation Division directly to the command positions of the remainder of the starships in the fleet except for the Redemption. They are the best commanders we have, and have trained for these situations before," Raven snapped out.

As Dave sat opposite the holographic images of Raven and Kaz, he felt himself growing angrier and angrier. Trained in the impeccably professional academy of the Old Republic, formed by service in the Imperial Navy, he was not accustomed to subordinate officers taking great liberties in contradicting their superiors. The conversation with Raven had degenerated from bad to worse. Now Dave was practically seething. He was normally so good at maintaining a glacial calm that the fact that he was so angry nearly shocked him out of his anger. But instead it just fueled his rage. Who WAS this guy anyway? What in the galaxy had he done by placing him in charge of a strike force?

Torn between doing something drastic, saying something unspeakably cruel, or just cutting the communications and flying out there to pistol-whip Raven himself, Dave's mind raced. His logical side finally pierced through the angry haze enough to convince him to not doing anything irreparable. It could not convince him, however, to show any semblance of his normally polite behavior.

"Fine," Dave shot back at the holographic image of Raven. "Do whatever you see fit. Greeop out." He stabbed the communications panel and the images across from him faded from view. Immediately he launched himself out of his chair and began pacing up and down the room, seething. His demeanor was that of a sabercat angry over having missed its opportunity to kill its prey.

The door silently slid open and Lieutenant Gosling entered. She eyed Dave thoughtfully. "It's uncharacteristic of you to explode like that."

At Dave's rage-filled stare she must have felt the need to explain. "Communications officer, remember? I monitor all major external communications," she offered, now sounding somewhat unsure.

Dave growled softly to himself, his voice still venomous. "Uncharacteristic, but the little wretch deserved worse than he got."

Gosling nodded slowly. "Maybe, but something is changing if he gets to you that much."

Dave finally stopped pacing. Her concern had a slight calming effect on him, but although his words were not outright hostile, they were still bitter. "I fear that we are all going to have to suffer more change than that before this campaign is done."


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