Rebel Squadrons

PSG Ta111: Curiosity

By GEN Damon Lightwind
Unit: Patriot Starfighter Group
Narrative, Jan 17, 2011
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Begin Log B2M3: Debtor’s Due

Damon Lightwind:

-= CRS: Aragorn, Main Hangar =-

Damon left the others in the Bar and headed for the hangar with the aftermath of the mission still weighing heavily on him. He agreed with what Castor had said about the term “acceptable losses” and that NO loss of life is acceptable. Quite frankly Damon found that phrase to be contradiction in terms and had a general disdain for its use. After learning of the loss of Commander Garant it only made him feel worse. Even more so since he was just off the landing wing of the base at then time it happened.
There was nothing worse than the powerless feeling he had at that moment. After arriving in the hanger he took up his favorite thinking spot and looked out among the stars. His thoughts raced as he tried, like many of his fellow pilots did, to reassess if there was anything that could have been done differently. Of course, unlike most of his fellow pilots, he had to think it out while they hit the Sims. For him this moment of solitude was comforting and it gave him a chance to pay his respects his way.
Damon was there for the better part of about 4 hours, and it had been a long day for him. But he couldn’t sleep. And at this point he didn’t even bother trying, because he knew it would be one of those nights. Part of him half expected Ray to come walking into the hanger hours ago, but so far… not even a sighting. His time on the Odin helped him learn to deal with loss, but he still took it pretty hard. Even if he didn’t know them all that well he still felt the loss of a fellow comrade no matter what their duty was. To him they were all a part of the team and each was as valuable as the next.
Damon’s quiet moment was abruptly disturbed by someone angrily hollering expletives. He turned to see where it was coming from, and quickly traced is origins back to where his Interceptor was. The very same one he just used. He made his way around it to find Captain Ra. Damon could see Ra was not happy, to say the least, and was glaring at that very Interceptor in question. He knew Ra had discovered the quick fixes he’d had to make and knew he had to explain. “Captain Ra. I’ve been meaning to catch up to you about this Interceptor. I’d hoped to discuss it with you over a drink, but…” He left the failure of the recent mission unmentioned.
Ra turned to him, and started to ask, “Who are you! Wait… Your Lightwind, aren’t you?”
Damon nodded.
“Okay. What the hell did you do! And why?” Ra asked glaring at him.
“Well, I can do better than just explain. I documented everything and included the diagnostic readouts prior to my modifications.” Damon answered as he handed him the datapad he’d had it all on.  Ra seemed surprised by his answer, took the data with a little bit more abruptness than necessary, and reviewed the information on it. “Well, at least SOMEone around here has some respect for my work! Thank you! I’ve heard of your mechanical exploits and should have known we’d cross paths at some point.”
Damon didn’t say anything, he just nodded in acknowledgment. “So based on what you had to do here, would you be willing to lend a hand from time to time?” Ra asked.
“I’d be more than happy to, and if you like, I’m not doing anything right now.” Damon replies.
“In that case let’s get to it. These babies ain’t gonna fix themselves!” Ra said with a snap in his tone.
Damon smiled, and the two of them talked shop while they worked on several fighters. Ra explained a lot to Damon and he showed Ra a few tricks to help keep them running, in turn. Even a few of his quick improvisations on making or fixing parts.
“Baler twine, duct tape, and chewing gum! Yes!” Ra exclaimed once as they talked.
For the next few hours they both seemed to enjoy not only their work, but each others talents as well as company. Damon found this to be very therapeutic as the night went on and though the tragic loss of Garant was still on his mind. The way he saw it this was going to help make sure the Aragorn didn’t lose anyone else. Or at least that was what he wanted to believe in his forebrain, but his hindbrain knew that it wasn’t the Aragorn so much as himself. He had a purpose, and that was to be useful. …any way he could be …by wrench or by flight. He knew from personal experience that not many could do this particular combination of things, and do them both with the same precision and care. In Damon’s eyes, though, it was just a way to help save lives. 

Taan Ronar
In retrospect, the news came as more of a shock than I would have expected. I guess it was because of the commando thing. To lose a soldier in battle is tough, but expected. But to lose one to a cowardly attack, by a fighter jock of all wasn't something I was prepared for. Strangely enough, I wasn't sad as much as I was angry, and that anger produced something I wasn't used to...fear. To any normal person, anger wasn't dangerous; at least, not as dangerous as it could be. Since I had come into contact with the Force, however, it was something I had to watch out for. Anger could turn a trainee Jedi to the Dark Side, and a Dark Jedi wasn't someone who would be welcome aboard the Aragorn.
The memorial service finished and the pilots dispersed, leaving me standing there with my thoughts. Although I hadn't had the time to get to know Commander Garant, I had trained with the shock troops a number of times and it disturbed me to know just how easy it was to have your life wiped out with one push of a button. Looking at the holographic picture, I stood up and saluted. "So long, Commander."


"So what do you think?"
"Of the next mission? It's risky, but I don't think we have a choice." I had my face in a glass of something fairly potent, and by this time I couldn't really remember the name of it. I dragged my head back up and looked at Mira. "We can't afford not to act on this information, not after losing the datacore."
"It should serve to take people's minds off the last mission, though." Mira ran a hand through her hair, obviously tired. "Look, I'm going to bed. I suggest you sleep that drink off before the next mission."
"Yeah, that's probably a good idea." I got up and stretched, a little stiff. A bit of training should fix that, I thought. "'Night, see you next shift."
"See you later, Taan."


My mind started to wander, not such a good thing during meditation. I started to think about the recent events. Surely it must have been possible to save the Bramble somehow, we just didn't get there fast enough. Petr was closest, he should have been able to stop them. He keeps bragging about being such a top gun pilot, why DIDN'T he stop them? Come to think of it, he didn't seem to be too worried about stopping the Advanced from attacking the Bramble. If he'd been paying more attention, maybe Garant would be alive right now...
Anger overwhelmed me. I could feel it in every cell of my body. Rage took over my mind and body, and before I could control it, I was leaping up off the floor. Screaming, I vented my anger at the first thing I saw, which happened to be a cup. It lifted off the bench and evaporated into a thousand pieces, many of them hitting me before falling to the floor. Now that the rage was gone, I slumped back to the deck, drained of energy and trying to come to terms with what had just happened.
The power I had felt could only be described as incredible, yet I knew exactly what was happening: I was being seduced. Seduced by something more powerful than I had ever encountered, and it scared me more than even the threat of this enemy of Grey. Getting up, I walked over to the sink and splashed my face with cold water, mentally apologizing to PM. Nobody expected them to have Advanced on board, least of all him. Sleep was probably the best thing right now, I decided. At least it would stop me from thinking.


Six-One, we have tugs pulling out of that Dread's hangar, advise you engage.
"Roger that control, engaging targets." There was nothing like a good firefight to get your mind off your problems, and this one was a mynock shoot. I just had to be careful not to fly straight into the damn things, they moved so slow. A quick volley of lasers dispatched three of them, and I pulled around to get rid of the final one in that flight.
All craft, be careful around those fighters. We don't want to lose any of them out of carelessness, especially after what it took to get them.
Acknowledgments came across the radio as I sent the last tug in that flight spinning into space, grinning. Hey, this WAS making me feel better. I buzzed the Dreadnaught's bridge, almost saying aloud: "Is this the best you can throw at us? Come on, give us a challenge!" At which point, almost as if they heard me think, a flight of squints launched from the hangar. Now I was ready for action, they were as good as dead.
Watch out, they're going for the cargo!
"I see it Four Lead! Don't let the tugs near them. I'll take the squints."
One by one, I hunted down the enemy fighters. It was time for vengeance. With the Dread's fire drawn away by the simultaneously attacking Greys, I had virtually no opposition. If I had ever had any doubts about killing people in space combat, they were wiped away by the last mission. Each laser I put into the back of a TIE took me one step closer to peace of mind, but I knew I'd never be fully at rest until these inbred sons of banthas were dealt with once and for all.
Before I knew it, the enemy fighters and tugs had been obliterated. The Dreadnaught was at shields down, and turned tail to hyper out. I managed to get a few shots in at its engine before it leapt into hyperspace.
Six-One, if you've got nothing else to do out there, you're welcome to come back aboard.
“Control, if you don't mind, I might just stay out here and stand guard until the loading's done."
Roger 6.1, we'll be waiting.


Lieutenant Commander Ronar to Admiral Efrata‑Landis' office immediately. Repeat, Lieutenant Commander Ronar to Admiral Efrata‑Landis' office immediately.
A small wave of "oohs" rippled through the bar at the announcement. I made a face to the offending people and walked out, wondering what it could be about. As I made my way down the maze of walkways, always a key feature in any Calamari Cruiser, I began to shiver. This seemed especially strange, as it wasn't any colder that usual. I tried to ignore it and made my way down to Castor's office. The hydraulic door hissed open as I walked towards it, and a voice wafted out from inside. "Come in, have a seat."
I cautiously stepped inside and sat down in the chair. It was surprisingly comfortable, but that didn't ease the slight discomfort I still felt from the shivering.


Dave Trebonius‑Astoris ‑ Flying 4.1: Y‑wing

Dave shook his head as he waited for his turn to launch.
Plucking crewless starfighters out of the float of space was not an easy task. There were things that could go wrong. Of course throwing in enemy ships and a giant minefield just generally made the situation worse. But there wasn't anything to be done, the boss said get starfighters, well, he supposed they'd get starfighters. Flying in a Y‑Wing also made it more difficult for him. Not that he had anything against the large ungainly craft… its just... they were… well… ungainly.
As he launched from the Saguaro, everything was chaos. He groaned softly to himself, ships flying every which way in his viewports, and the overwhelming presence of all the mines rendering his scope practically useless. From the flurry of voices on the comm it appeared that some of the other Greys were in a similar predicament. "I've got the tugs," he clipped out, and then settled in behind a tug formation and began blowing them out to pieces, one shot at a time. Just like shooting rats, he thought irritably.
Just as he was finishing off the tugs, the dreadnought belched and out came little Tie Interceptors, making an unfortunate mass strafing attack on the parked starfighters which they were fighting so eagerly to save. "NO!!!" came a shout over the comm, and the Greys in T/Is started firing madly.
Dave turned grimly toward the enormous minefield, and began shooting. One laser at a time.


Rensal "Bigfoot" Darklighter: Non-flying alternative p.o.v

I was lounging, as much as lounging could be had due to my injuries, in the Bar and Grill as Castor came in. I started to come to attention but he waved me back down. The rest of the Greys, though, snapped to attention with a chorus of "Sir!"
"At ease," said the Admiral quietly. He started to talk about the last mission. His tone was not angry or ashamed at how the mission went. It was the tone of a fellow pilot that lost a real close friend in battle. With this tone he made us realize it wasn't our fault. We had tried to do everything we could, and Garant and the Bramble had known this. "But rest assured, people, we will extract every iota of compensation from the enemy that the gods will allow. And even more if we can get away with it." Castor paused to let those words sink in a little. "And our first opportunity is coming up shortly."
"Oh?" New expressions came to the faces of the pilots who now looked like they were ready to get back into war and damage the enemy beyond repair in the name of revenge. I was drifting off due to the medicine and alcohol I’d had since my last bacta treatment. When we jumped into the system that was home to the Banshee base I was in the sims trying to develop some new tactics with the starfighters so we could be even more effective. I’d been going through some of these tactics with Alty, Ray and Tacomah, when we got hit by a blast from the frigate, and the sim unit I was in literally blew up from an overload. After spending two and a half hours in the tank I was released for some down time, and I was told I needed one more dunking in about six hours. As the pilots began to leave the briefing to get some sleep before the mission started Castor came over to check up on me.
"How are you doing Darklighter?"
"Not as good as when we left the asteroid field, but overall I should be certified flight capable in a couple more days. I’ve got one more dunking to undergo in six hours, and then it will just be a matter of time before I finish healing.”


End log: B2M3

Battle 2 Mission 4: Curiosity

“Big Brother, this is Banshee Scout,” Tacomah said into his com. He’d hacked his datapad to make his voice older sounding. “Clearance code, two alpha one one two hammer.”
Banshee this is Big Brother. Clearance code accepted. Where’s the rest of the family? Came back over the ship to ship.
“They got a little jumpy. Authorities tried to sting us. We found out and pulled a switch. Had to give up the base, but we got out intact.” Tacomah reported.
“We blew the core before we left.” Tacomah said. “If they got anything more than slag, I’ll be a bantha’s butt warmer. You’re safe,” Tacomah lied. “We’ve got a couple transports waiting outside the system ready to jump in so we can get these things out of here. All I gotta do is give ‘em a go. Apologies for the shell-shock.”
Understood. Bring them in.
“Banshee Braves, this is Banshee Scout.” Tacomah left his ship to ship open so the Dreadnaught could hear the conversation.”
Banshee Scout, go ahead. That was Castor’s voice. A clear signal to be very careful.
“Banshee Braves, Big Brother has us cleared.” Tacomah stuck strictly to the script. “He invites the aunts and uncles.”
Big Brother, this is Banshee Brave One. Castor said with a drawl. The aunts and uncles thank you for your hospitality, and apologize for hesitations.
Banshee Brave One, understand your concern.
Big Brother, on our way now. Out.

Tacomah pulled up and away from the Dreadnaught.


“Dreadnaught’s jumped!”
“They’ve abandoned their fighters!”
“No response from the hostile TIEs, sir.”
“Thorns, defend yourselves as necessary.”
Double clicks came over the ship to ship speakers.
“Admiral, there are two Interceptors and two Gunboats remaining.”
“Enemy Interceptors have been destroyed.”
“Launch the Brier!”
Control, this is Brier. We are go.
“Brier is clearing the docking bay.”
“Watch for surprises, folks!”
There’s no one out here but us!
Two two, cut the chatter.

“T-wing has docked.”
“Four-One. Why have you engaged the minefield?”
I’m bored.
Castor nodded, and Horvath didn’t pursue the matter. Dave was a sideways thinker, seeing things differently than most, and very often coming to conclusions that no one else could. He was an old hand at Y-wings, and carried tons of hours in them. He knew if he was outclassed. He always had on those occasions. And he always acted accordingly.
The Admiral watched closely as the mines started winking out one by one. There was something very strange about them.


“Control, this is Brier,” Lessa called into her com. “We are go.”
Aye, Brier.
Lessa turned briefly to her copilot who nodded, acknowledging that all the readings were well within specs. The Assault Transport gently rose off its cradle and slid forward. She felt when the launch tractor took its hold. As they slid toward the bay outlet the copilot called out the stats as his routine required. All was normal, so Lessa pushed her craft through the containment field. She flipped through the scanner hits and found her targets. Two Interceptors and two Gunboats. Man! That’s an awful lot of mine

Sliding up easily to the first Interceptor, while her co called the numbers, she engaged the docking tractor. She checked the scanners, and found nothing about the TIE that raised any warning flags. She frowned, though, when she check the tractor gauges. The starfighter seemed to be about nine percent heavier than a normal Interceptor. The commando made note of when the T-wing slid by, returning to the Aragorn. It had done the initial recon, and then gotten out of the way so as to not get caught alone.
“What’s up with that?!” Lessa asked when she reconciled the visual scene with the scanner hits, and saw that the lone Y-wing was engaging the mines. Who’s got the Y-wing?” Her co began punching buttons and linked his screen to the Aragorn’s tactical.
“That would be Dave Trebonius-Astoris.” He reported, and went back to watching his station.
Lessa nodded once, as her eyes narrowed, and then they were on the final approach to the Aragorn. “Saguaro, this is Brier.”
Go ahead Brier.
“I’m going to need the tractor up. This is going to be a tight squeeze with the two Gunboats. We may as well practice with the Interceptors.”
Roger that. Docking tractor at power. Engaging now.
“Throttle at zero.” Lessa called. “You’ve got the stick. Try not to scrape anything off the top.”
Understood, Brier. We’ll try not to make you shorter. Sit back and leave the driving to us.
“Roger that, Control.” Lessa leaned forward in her restraints, looked straight at the tractor control window where the controller and she had clear views of each other as the Brier slid by. She grinned, and poked her finger twice toward the controller as the window passed her side of the Brier. The silhouette of a man standing at that window clasped its hands in response, as if mock-begging for mercy.
As the Brier slewed around and stopped, the co called the numbers. “Drop the Squint.” she said when the cradle indicators were aligned. “Control, that’s one.”
Aye, Brier. Taking you back out now.



As the pilots ran on the flight deck, Castor noted some weary faces, the last one to arrive looked as if he’d been just woken – and he probably had been. He pointed directly at certain of the pilots, including the one that had just woken up, and said, “You’re standing down this time. Get some rest, but stay available.” The relieved pilot nodded tiredly, but did not leave the area. He found a place to sit on the flight deck where he could be more or less comfortable, but still close enough to the rest of the group that he could hear the briefing.
Castor continued, loud enough that the relaxing pilot wouldn’t have to strain to hear him. “Well, due to some sharp flying – thank you, Dave - along with a LOT of good luck, the mine field was discovered to be only a field of holoprojectors. When enough of the projectors were destroyed, the whole system crashed and we discovered a number of containers which had been hidden, and effectively protected by the mine field projection.”
The group made their appreciation known to Dave. Most clapping and whistling or making other sounds varying from respect to mock-disgust. Dave waved and smiled. Having eventually suspected the mine field to be fake, Dave had actually rested while easily popping the projectors. When the containers appeared, Dave was ordered back aboard the Aragorn to report.
“That Dread didn’t run off before because it was in any danger. We suspect that they went to regroup with the rest of their unit. If that IS the case, then we can expect company very shortly.”
“We’ve got our last currently usable interceptor, and we need this done quickly, so we’re going to use it. We need those containers inspected closely.” Castor paced in front of the group, and continued. “Once we have positive IDs on all of the containers, and have verified their contents, Brier and Thistledown will launch to collect anything useable. Considering the fact that they had it hidden, we’re pretty sure that we’ve got something worth hiding out there. And THAT supports our first assumption - that SOMEONE will be coming back, for one reason or another, which is why we’ve also upgraded the projectile load. But that gives you fewer, so use them wisely if you have to use them at all.”
“We lost the Six-Two Interceptor, and a Y. That Dread was a nasty customer, and we’ll need more firepower before we attempt to deal with another. All three of the pilots ejected and were recovered - thanks to the Thistledown. Ace, however, is sucking bacta for a few days, having ejected directly toward the Aragorn and almost, but not quite, missed one of the hull bubbles. The other will be released from MedOps in a few hours.”
“The Pit isn’t going to be finished with the new interceptors and gunboats for a while yet, and they haven’t been able to go over the Flight Two eyeballs, so we’re dragging out two of the spare fighters we’ve been sitting on. They’re prepped, ready to launch at a moment’s notice, and they’ll be listed as Flight Seven, which will escort Six One. If we have to, we’ll send out Flight Three and the Y - the T-Wing will pair with the Y from now on to complete that flight group.”
Castor continued, “Ra went over the Six-One Interceptor just now, himself, but you may want to run a quick pre-flight diagnostic on your squint for your own peace of mind.”
“Because of the injuries, we’re going to have to rearrange wingmates - bear in mind that this will happen anyway as we bring the new squints and guns up, and you’re going to have to hit the simulators to practice in those, as I’m told that the new interceptors are heavier and not quite as maneuverable as the two we have. Correction. Make that the ONE that we have. Things are starting to go faster, and I’d like to have as many of the heavier craft on line as soon as possible, keeping the eyeballs for spares. And since Ra tells me we’re a little tight on fighter storage space because of the new guns, the spare fighters that must will be moved over to the Dawn’s Hope.”
“So that’s what we have on right now. We want to scavenge what we can and see if there’s anything that we can use. Whatever else comes up, we’ll handle as we go. I WOULD, however, really appreciate not losing any more fighters, if you please. We got away with our hides intact, but I wouldn’t necessarily trust that to continue.”
“Lets get hot! Nest high, my Greys.”



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