Rebel Squadrons

(44:4:9) FC Narrative 7: The good, the bad, the ugly

By FA Dave Trebonious-Astoris
Unit: The Rebel Squadrons
Narrative, May 26, 2007
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-=Main Bridge of the Victory II-class Star Destroyer Peril, orbiting Blerthmore, 44:3:34,08:17=-

The day shift had begun a few moments ago. Fleet Commander Dave Trebonious-Astoris was pleased to see that the entire crew complement was already at station, looking alert and ready for a new day. It was difficult to retain that high of a standard of awareness during a long defensive deployment, and Dave had no doubt that the Peril's role in sector defense was going to last a considerably long time. It was necessary to keep the crew on its toes, so it would be prepared for occasional bouts of combat. Three days ago, the crew had behaved admirably in its victory over the pirates of the T'Seran system, but that was already in the past. Since then there had not been anything but the monotony of patrol.

Dave was somewhat less bored than his crew. While the Peril's patrols were certainly not exciting, the vessel also served as his mobile center for operations. He was kept busy directing the patrol schedules of the other ships of his task group, as well as supervising the repairs to the Blerthmore installations that were still only partly operational after the savage Imperial attack that occurred more than a month earlier.

The door to the bridge hissed open softly and General David Vaughan, the Logistics Officer for the Republic Shield, strode into the room. Dave sized him up and determined that Vaughan must be bringing him good news. Logistics Officers were rarely excited.

Sure enough, as Vaughan approached Dave, he smiled, then seemed to remember himself and put together a hurried salute. He quickly launched into his subject. "Admiral, I have something outside to show you that I think you'll want to see."

Dave could not quite suppress a smile. "I have heard that before, usually in seedier bars in the Outer Rim."

Vaughan laughed good-naturedly. It was not common for the Fleet Commander to break into humor. "Hopefully, Admiral, this is more appropriate. Might I have permission to instruct the Commander to change the Peril's bearings?"

Cyril Octavius, the ship's Executive Officer, looked at Dave for confirmation. Dave nodded at his cousin, "Of course. Cyril will do what you ask."

Vaughan walked closer to Cyril, muttering to him quietly, evidently hoping to keep the plan a surprise. Dave shrugged, despite the fact that he normally disliked surprises. He was feeling generous this morning.

Within moments, the Peril's ponderous bulk rotated in space, bringing the Eagle's Nest shipyard facilities into view in the frame of the viewport. And in front of the shipyard, heading directly toward the Peril, was a gleaming Strike-class Medium Cruiser.

Vaughan looked triumphant as he grandiosely gestured toward the viewport. "Admiral, I proudly present to you the Republic Shield Strike Cruiser Halberd. She was cobbled together from the ruined hulks left behind at the Battle of Blerthmore, and now stands ready to serve at your command."

Dave's smile broadened into a grin. "This is fantastic, Vaughan. She will make an excellent addition to our task group. You and your whole office are to be commended for getting the Halberd into service so quickly. You beat your own estimated time of completion."

Vaughan nodded. "We did. I knew we would, but I didn't want to tell you in case we wouldn't. Logistics Office trick, you know."

-=Deep space outside the Minos Cluster, 44:3:35,22:57=-

Admiral Castor Efrata-Landis smiled evenly and adjusted his helmet. "This is Grey Leader to Patriot forces. We have the convoy on our scopes now and are prepared to take over escort. Thanks for bringing them this far."

"Acknowledged, Grey Leader. May the force be with you," came the reply.

"Nest high, and soar with the gods!" Castor cried back in his traditional benediction.

Castor rolled his X-wing over to the side, and nosed over a bulk freighter. This particular freighter was carrying hundreds of tons of prefabricated construction components which were desperately needed at the Blerthmore repair site. Castor smiled to himself. The operation was going well. Dave would be pleased. Castor continued to call him Dave, unconcerned about the separation of position between the two of them. Well, he continued to call him Dave when he wasn't mockingly calling him sir, a game that the two enjoyed playing.

All around the convoy, X-wings, Y-wings, and Z-95s whirled and dove around the lumbering freighters, as if joyful with their speed and maneuverability. Castor knew that the pilots were just keeping themselves focused, a task which became increasingly difficult after long hours in the cockpit. At the very tail end of the convoy, the bulbous Strike-class medium cruiser Apostate sliced smoothly through space. Constantius Julian, the Apostate's captain, had been quite insistent that his vessel should take up the rear of the formation. Castor's relationship with him had been very smooth, and Julian was certainly grateful for the fighter escort that Grey was providing.

Just then, Julian's voice came over the comm. "This is Captain Julian. We are scheduled to arrive in Greeop in about 8 hours. Pray that they are an uneventful eight hours. Keep your ears and eyes open. Apostate out!"

-=Main Bridge of the Strike-class Medium Cruiser Apostate, entering Greeop system, 44:4:1,07:00=-

With a sudden burst of incandescent light, the Apostate reverted to real space in the Greeop system, not far from Blerthmore. Captain Julian was instantly issuing orders. "Sensors, how many ships do we have?"

The sensor operator seemed pleased with himself. "Exactly the number we are supposed to, Captain. All freighters have arrived safely in the Greeop system. Admiral Landis reports that all of Grey is go and green, but eager to take a shower."

Julian smirked. "I bet they are. Pass along a job well done."

Just then, communications piped up. "Captain, we are receiving a hail from the Peril."

"Well, put it through. We don't want to keep the Admiral waiting."

Dave's face materialized on the strike cruiser's main viewport. "Welcome home, Captain Julian. I see that your mission was a success. Congratulations."

Julian bowed just slightly, and straightened with a flashing smile. "Thank you, Admiral. I'm happy to turn over the New Republic relief convoy to you."

"I am happy to take it," Dave replied. "Anything interesting happen on the journey?"

A smile tugged at the corner of Julian's mouth. "Admiral Landis requested me to tell you that you may find out about the details over a drink with him."

Dave's eyes narrowed, but his effort to appear displeased was only partially successful. "I suppose I will have to humor him, then. Welcome back, Julian."

With that, Dave's image blinked out.

-=Main Bridge of the Victory II-class Star Destroyer Peril, orbiting Uio, 44:4:2,14:24=-

Dave stared out the main viewport of the Peril at the beautiful moon Uio, which orbited the planet Blerthmore in the heart of the Greeop system. Although Uio had no vegetation and in fact no atmosphere at all, it possessed the severe beauty of a barren moonscape. White rock covered the entire surface of the moon, and it seemed to gleam with light. Today, the Peril was supervising the final repairs to the Aegis Communications Control Station, which was the only man-made structure on the entire moon. In the years before the Battle of Blerthmore, Aegis had served as the major communications hub for the entire Republic Shield. The entire complex had been annihilated in the Imperial attack, and weeks of repairs had been required.

Lieutenant Rebekah Gosling looked thoughtful. As the communications officer of the Peril, she had a special interest in Aegis. She turned toward Dave, who was standing near her station. "Admiral, I'm very excited for the ACCS to come back online. It's going to drastically improve the speed of our long-range communications."

Dave smiled at her. She was growing increasingly familiar and informal with him, and he wasn't sure whether he was more disturbed that it was happening or that he didn't seem to mind it. "Yes, Gosling, it will be a major boon for us. And a sign that we can repair whatever damage the enemy thinks they can inflict on us."

Gosling grinned. "We're resilient."

Just then, lights lit up at Gosling's station and across the command walkway at the sensor station. Octavius spoke up first. "Admiral, unknown CR-90 Corvette has just entered the system and is heading directly for us!"

Gosling followed up, "They are hailing us!"

Dave, perplexed, gazed down at the sensor station. "Put them on the main viewscreen, Gosling, I guess."

Immediately, an image phased into view on the main viewport. A man with blazing red hair in his late thirties appeared, sitting in a command chair on the bridge of the corvette. "This is the Shadowblen. Per the orders of General Hawkins, we demand your surrender!"

Dave gawked at the man on the display, taken aback.

Admiral Rahj Tharen, an old friend and the second-highest ranking officer on the Peril stepped up behind him and elbowed him gently.

Dave coughed, frowning at Rahj, but seemed to snap out of it. "Ah, Shadowblen. That is quite a name to live up to, Captain. I will of course surrender when the superlaser peeks out of your main cargo hold."

The captain looked confused. "We don't--- ahhhh, you. The general didn't tell me you had a sense of humor, Admiral."

Dave looked icy. "I do not. Welcome to the fleet. Fall into orbit behind the Peril." Dave chopped his right hand through the air, and Gosling abruptly ended the communication.

Rahj looked amused. "Nicely done."

-=Planetary Governor's Mansion, New Morea City, Tarsonis, 44:4:9,10:45=-

Dave was in the midst of a pleasant brunch meeting with Voss Aluin, the President of the Combined Colonies of Tarsonis, when his communicator decided to offensively interrupt. The week had been quiet, so he was apparently due an interruption. He just wished it didn't have to come when he was having the kind of meal that he usually did not get to have - unrushed.

He looked up at Aluin and sighed. "Forgive me, Madam President, but I really need to check in with my ship. Somebody there thinks that something is important enough to interrupt our lovely brunch."

Aluin smiled, "Duty calls us all, Admiral." She rose as he got up and stepped out of the room.

Turning to a communication station, he set up a direct hololink with the Peril. Rahj's form materialized in miniature scale on the station's emitter pad. "I'm sorry to interrupt, Dave, but we got bad news."

Dave frowned, then looked around the room to make sure he was alone. Aluin's aid had discretely made himself scarce. Perfect. "Go on, let me hear it."

"Exactly ten minutes ago, a meeting of all the planetary governmental heads of the Dotani Sector concluded." Rahj paused briefly, and Dave knew the next part would be the worst. "In this meeting, they unanimously decided to voluntarily accept the suzerainty of the Imperial remnant, in order to free themselves from the danger of Imperial attacks."

Dave hissed. "Fools! They preemptively assume that we are going to fail them!"

Rahj nodded. "Essentially correct. I think they heard about how small the Greeop Defense Force is, and decided to throw in their lot with the Empire. The Aurora Sector is right on their doorstep, after all."

Dave looked grumpy. Rahj was of course correct. The Dotani Sector most closely bordered Aurora, the bastion of power of the Imperial remnant in the quadrant. The defection of Dotani meant that the RS could not hope to keep the Imperials contained in Aurora and that the Imperials could threaten the Rimma Trade Route, which linked Greeop to Coruscant. Of course, it would presumably take some time for the Imperials to take advantage of Dotani's defection. All these thoughts passed through Dave's mind in an instant.

"How did we come by this information?" Dave asked.

Rahj smiled grimly. "The Dotanians informed us themselves. They apparently felt duty-bound to inform us, if not to remain loyal to us." At that moment, Dave heard a faint warning beep come through the comm. Rahj's figure looked to the side.

His smile disappeared. "Dave, another message coming in. Apparently the T'seran pirates in the Tarla Sector are causing problems again."

Dave sighed. He did not like what he was going to have to say. "Tell them to avoid the pirates as much as possible, and to avoid making deals with them."

Rahj raised an eyebrow. "Just like that? And what do I say when they see through that response and realize that we're essentially abandoning them?"

Dave had to leave Tarla to itself for now, he knew. It hurt, but the Imperial menace in Dotani needed to be checked first if at all possible. He looked up at Rahj and responded gravely, "Tell them... tell them that we will return."


2LT Ganner Rysode - Sat May 26 2007, 9:21pm
Interesting and well written
FA Dave Trebonious-Astoris - Sun May 27 2007, 11:45pm
Why, thank you!