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Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Battle of Endor 3


Aidan marched down the corridor on Home One where his squadron’s quarters were located to tell them the news. He wondered how they’d react, although he was pretty sure he knew. But it wasn’t every day that you were going to tell your squad-mates that they were going to have to fight a Death Star. Strangely enough, three members of Knight Squadron had been at Yavin and assaulted the first Death Star. Himself, Commander Murleen and Commander Simms. At the time Aidan had been a member of X-Wing Blue Squadron, flying under the call sign Blue Three. Blue Squadron only had six fighters to fly in that engagement; Blue Six had been lost to turbolaser fire and Blue Five got downed by TIEs. He remembered that Capt. Simms had also had to pull out due to battle damage from a turbolaser blast. After that, Ru, Flight Officer Harris (Blue Four) and himself had flown Combat Aerospace Patrol so that Luke, Wedge and Biggs could make the last trench run unmolested. When Vader had swept back in, he’d claimed Harris and almost shot down Ru and Aidan as well. Thinking of that still gave Aidan chills.
Walking through the arched doorway into the Knights’ quarters Aidan saw that they had all gathered together to hear what he had to say about the briefing. He told them everything, about the Death Star and the almost suicidal plan to destroy it. After he finished there was long, tense silence. And then it was broken by, as Aidan had thought it would be, Duo Matting.
“Emperor’s Black Bones! Halin damn you, you were right! I owe you twenty!”
That brought a relieved smattering of laughter from the pilots and then Ru spoke up.
“Let me get this straight. They want us to actually fly inside the Death Star, navigate through its superstructure and then torpedo the main reactor and get out before it explodes?”
“That about sums it up Commander,” said Aidan.
“I don’t about you guys but I’m in. A merry chase through the Death Star sounds great,” chimed in Duo.
The other pilots cast Duo disparaging looks and a couple threw some paper cups at him. Aidan held out his hands to order silence.
“Quiet! Look, I’m not gonna give you some pretty, patriotic speech because frankly I’m not very good at them and I respect you all too much as pilots and friends to make you suffer that indignity. What I will say is that if it is my doom to have to make a suicide run into a moon-sized space station…” he paused looking around at the eleven other Knights solemnly, “then I could think of no finer group of pilots to be flying with. I’m very proud of you all. Over the last year we’ve helped to steal a Star Destroyer from the Empire and we helped put a stop to their Phantom Fighter program. You know, when I first put this squadron together back on Kollador Base, I sorta had this idea in my head that I could make a better fighter squadron than Rogue Squadron. Well, I’ve come to realize that… we’re Knight Squadron and we’ve built our own legacy.”
Over the clapping and cheering he said, “Okay speech over. Now General Solo’s commandos will be leaving in a few hours for their part of the mission. After that we’ll only have a few days before we have to go as well, so I suggest you all get your affairs in order and get some sim time in. Do whatever you need to make yourselves as ready as possible because I think that it would be very good for our legacy if Knight Squadron could add a Death Star silhouette to our hulls, don’t you think?” he said with a rakish grin.

The Battle of Endor 2


Hours later, after three hyperspace jumps to make sure that the Aggressor wasn’t following them, the convoy and its starfighter escorts arrived in the fringes of the Sullust system. Spread before them was the largest massed Alliance fleet in the history of the Rebellion. Whistles and sounds of admiration could be heard on the comm.
“I knew that a call was put out, but I didn’t know how extensive it was,” murmured Aidan. A little more than a dozen Mon Calamari cruisers formed the core of the fleet. The largest of these was the Home One. 3,800 meters long and able to carry 10 squadrons of starfighters, it was the pride of the Rebel Alliance fleet. There were a few Dreadnoughts, also known as Rebel assault frigates, along with a couple of Carrack cruisers. Nebulon-B frigates and Corellian corvettes formed the rest of the vanguard. A single Lancer-class anti-starfighter frigate hung in formation with the other frigates and corvettes. A flotilla of armed freighters also mixed with the cruisers. As the Knights looked on, a Mon Cal cruiser moved forward enough to reveal, in pride of place, three Star Destroyers. A Victory-class, an ancient Clone Wars-era Venator-class, and the Imperial Star Destroyer Alliance that the Knights had helped liberate from the Imperials less than a year ago.
“Something’s up,” said Duo Matting from his black X-Wing, “There is no way that the High Command would risk gathering this many ships together, this deep in Imp space. Something’s way wrong with this picture.”
“I’m sure Command will tell us what’s going on when we board the command ship,” said Aidan as they closed in on the Home One, the flagship of the fleet.

-Knight Squadron-

As soon as he climbed down from his X-Wing Aidan grinned as he spotted someone he hadn’t seen in a long time.
“Wedge! Wedge Antilles!” he cried. Wedge turned and jogged over to where Aidan was standing at the base of his fighter and the two embraced briefly, after all they were men.
“Whooo! Looks like our Captain’s found love at last!” came the voice of Duo Matting from his X-Wing.
“Keep it up Lieutenant and I’ll have you spaced to fight the Imps with your pilot suit and your big mouth!” snarled Aidan.
“So you found yourself a Wes Janson as well? Force, let’s hope that they never meet or we’ll all suffer for it,” moaned Wedge.
“Yes. So how’re the Rogues? Is it true Command had you guys break up?”
“Yes, but there’ll be time for that later,” aid Wedge as Ru and Simms ducked under the wing of Aidan’s X-Wing, “Now’s the time for settling in and getting reacquainted.” As Wedge greeted Ru and Sims, Aidan cupped his hands and yelled his pilots who were beginning to disperse across the busy and crowded hangar bay.
“Knights, get your gear stowed and get some rest! I get the feeling that we’re all gonna need it.

-Knight Squadron-

The quarters assigned to Knight Squadron on Home One were communal so the pilots were forced to unpack together, a situation that lent itself to stubbed toes and hands and not enough free space to go around. Sovach roared as Ixgil accidentally kicked him on his way past.
“Heavyarms says watch where you’re going and that he hates this bed,” said Duo who had somehow, somewhere learned to understand Sovach’s native tongue. Indeed the poor Wookie’s feet stuck about six inches over the end of his assigned bunk.
“A ship this big, they should be able give us paired quarters at least,” said Xandris, a slight hiss in her voice.
“Yeah! Remember the Alliance?’ said Kellis Wessiri, speaking of the Imperial mk. II Star Destroyer they had helped liberate from the Imps and then had bunked on for a couple of months as it had run missions behind enemy lines.
“Now that was living in luxury! A lot better than the hovel I had back on Ord Mantell,” commented Duo.
“What I want to know is what the Alliance High Command is doing with this many ships here? What are they planning?” asked Lara, shaking loose her midnight-black hair from the ponytail she wore it in when she was flying. Lara had defected to the Alliance during the course of the Knights’ adventures onboard the Alliance.
“I’m tellin’ ya, we’re going after Coruscant!” said Duo.
“And I think that you haven’t had enough sleep lately,” said Triton from his bunk directly across from the braided pilot, “You obviously aren’t thinking straight.”
“No seriously! It’s the only logical answer as to why Command has built up such a large force.”
“Matting using logic? May the Force have mercy on us all,” snorted Chang derisively.
“Okay then, listen to this. The Imps are spread across the galaxy looking for us right? So Command decides that this is a perfect time to assault a high profile target? And what target is more high profile and important to the freedom of the galaxy than Coruscant itself?”
“Your theory is good, but it lacks several important pieces of information,” said Halin, the first time he’d spoken since the convoy escort mission.
“Oh? Then why don’t you enlighten us,” grinned Duo.
“First off, the sector fleet for Coruscant consists of 57 Impstars, reportedly led by a Super Impstar. That’s more firepower than this fleet could hope to bring, even if every ship in this fleet was a Mon Cal cruiser. You also forgot the Golan defense platforms with their proton torpedo launchers and the planetary shields, which, by the way, are strong enough to deflect ANY bombardment. In short, this fleet would be overwhelmed long before the Coruscant defense fleet arrived.”
“Okay okay, we get your point. But if we’re not going after Coruscant, what else is there? Corellia? Fondor? Kuat? Sluis Van?” asked Duo.
“My guess is that the Empire’s built another Death Star and we’re going to destroy it,” Halin said simply. Thick silence descended on the entire group. Even talkative and flirtatious Xandris was staring at Halin in shock.
“Whoa, don’t even joke about that,” Duo half-whispered.
“For all our sakes I really hope I’m wrong about it,” said Halin.

-Knight Squadron-

The next morning found Aidan catching up to Wedge just outside of the briefing room.
“Did you get the message as well?’ he asked by way of greeting.
“Yeah,” said Wedge simply.
“I can’t believe it! How could the Empire build another Death Star so soon? And why didn’t Intelligence find out about this sooner?”
“Well we didn’t find out about the original Death Star until it was almost too late,” said Wedge, “I suppose you can thank Ysanne Isard for that.” Aidan felt a lurch in his stomach at the mention of the feared Director of Imperial Intelligence. A moment later it was driven out of his mind as he and Wedge entered the briefing room. Dozens of Rebel officers and leaders milled about, mostly Alliance brass and squadron leaders. Aidan recognized Mon Mothma one of the leaders of the Alliance and Leia Organa. Han Solo and Lando Calrissian were also present, seated close to the large holoprojector in the center, accompanied by the wookie Chewbacca. He also recognized several Generals such as Riekken and Madine, as well as Admiral Ackbar, one of the Rebellions’ first legitimate admirals. He also recognized a familiar face that he hadn’t seen in many years.
“Commander? Commander Farrell is that you?” The man he was talking to turned and gave Aidan a once over then cracked a tight-lipped grin
“Rookie One, I didn’t expect to see you here, though I’m not surprised after what you pulled. Liberating Star Destroyers lends itself well to your reputation,” said Commander Farrell in a rough voice. Farrell was a middle-aged man with graying, black hair and an air of stern resolve about him. He had served in the final battles of the Clone Wars and had served the Empire loyally until certain distasteful missions forced him to defect. Turning back to Wedge, Aidan said, “Commander Farrell was one of my instructors just before I was assigned to Blue Squadron.”
“Actually it’s Colonel Farrell now,” remarked Farrell.
As they sat down with the Colonel to await the start of the briefing on the Death Star situation, snatches of other conversations drifted over to them.
“Well look at you, a General!” said Han Solo to Lando Calrissian. Taking in the dark-skinned man’s new uniform.
“Someone must have told them about my little maneuver at the Battle of Tanaab,” said Lando with a knowing grin.
“Well don’t look at me pal. I just said that you were a fair pilot. I didn’t know that they were looking for someone to lead this crazy attack.”
“I’m surprised they didn’t ask you to do it.”
“Well who says they didn’t but I ain’t crazy. You’re the respectable one remember?” At that moment a chime sounded indicating the start of the briefing.
“Let’s see what they have to say about this whole Death Star thing,” murmured Aidan as Mon Mothma stepped forward.
“The Emperor’s made a critical error and the time for our attack has come. The data brought to us by the Bothan spies pinpoint the exact location of his new battle station,” she said as a holoprojector in the center of the briefing table activated, a hologram of a forest planet and the orbiting Death Star appearing directly in the center, “We also know that the weapon systems of this Death Star are not yet operational. With the Imperial fleet spread throughout the galaxy in a vain effort to engage us, it is relatively unprotected. But most important of all… we’ve learned that the Emperor himself is personally overseeing the final stages of construction of this Death Star. Many Bothans died to bring us the information,” she said with grave solemnity, the look in her eyes seeming to dare anyone to make light of the Bothans’ sacrifice.
Stepping back from the table she gestured to one of the Mon Cal officers that had been standing off to the side.
“Admiral Ackbar please.”
The orange-skinned Mon Calamari admiral was dressed in a white uniform that looked to be tailored specifically for the officers of the Mon Cal warships.
“You can see here the Death Star orbiting the forest moon of Endor. Although the weapon systems of this Death Star are not operational, the Death Star does have a strong defense mechanism. It is protected by an energy shield which is generated from the nearby Endor moon.” As he said this, the hologram showed a yellow stream of energy project up from the moon’s surface and envelop the battle station.
“The shield must be deactivated if any attack is to be attempted,” he said as the holo zoomed to focus on the Death Star itself, “Once the shield is down our cruisers will create a perimeter while the fighters fly into the superstructure and attempt to knock out the main reactor.” As he finished, a blue dot flew through the station and into its central core. To add extra emphasis the Admiral shut off the holo just as the dot reached the center. Aidan leaned over to Wedge.
“As if the trench run was bad enough! Now they want us to fly inside that thing? Have they taken complete leave of their senses?!” he whispered fiercely.
“Shh,” hushed Wedge.
“General Calrissian has volunteered to lead the fighter attack,” said Ackbar gesturing towards Lando.
“Good luck,” said Han cynically, “ you’re gonna need it.”
“General Madine,” said Ackbar gesturing towards the General who stepped forward smartly.
“We have stolen a small Imperial shuttle. Disguised as a cargo ship and using a secret Imperial code, a strike team will land on the moon and deactivate the shield generator.” As the General said this murmurs began to break out amongst the crowd.
“Sounds dangerous,” commented C-3PO.
“Wonder who they found to pull that off?’ asked Leia. She got her answer a second later as Madine said, ‘General Solo? Is your strike team assembled?”
“Han Solo, a general?” asked Farrell quietly, “This is interesting.”
“Uh, my team’s ready but I don’t have a command crew for the shuttle yet.”
“Rargh!” said Chewbacca.
“It’s gonna be rough pal, I didn’t wanna speak for ya,” responded Han. At another emphatic roar from the wookie, Han turned to General Madine with his famous Solo Grin fixed in place.
“That’s one.”
“General,” spoke up Leia, “count me in.”
“I’m with you too,” called out a voice from the briefing room entrance.
“Hey, it’s Luke!” said Aidan nudging Wedge. Indeed, Luke Skywalker, dressed in a black tunic, walked down the steps and embraced Leia as Han and Chewie got up to greet their old friend.
“I’d say that things are about to get very interesting,” said Wedge with a grin. When the ruckus from Luke’s arrival quieted down, General Madine continued.
“Our starfighters will be divided into five fighter wings. X-Wing Red Group, Y-Wing Grey Group, A-Wing Green Group, B-Wing and X-Wing Blue Group, and Gold Group led by General Calrissian. Additional starfighters will stay behind to safeguard the fleet. Any questions? No? Then report to your duty stations. May the Force be with us all.

The Battle of Endor 1





Dramatis Personae

The Knights

Captain Aidan Hunter-Knight Leader (human male from Avalon)
Commander Ru Murleen-Knight Two (Human female from Commenor)
Commander Merrick Sims-Knight Three (Human male from Tanaab)
Ixgil-Knight Four (Duros male from Duro)
Lieutenant Halin Doran-Knight Five (Human male from ?)
Lieutenant Triton Doran-Knight Six (Human male from ?)
Lieutenant Duo Matting-Knight Seven (Human male from Ord Mantell)
Lieutenant Kellis Wessiri-Knight Eight (Human male from Coruscant) Lieutenant Chang-Knight Nine (Human male from Chiana II)
Lieutenant Lara Aran-Knight Ten (Human female from Coruscant)
Sovach “Heavyarms”-Knight Eleven (Wookie male from Kashyyyk)
Xandris-Knight Twelve (Faleen female from Faleen)

Arn Grimbo-Head Mechanic (Human male from Sluis Van)
Ecks (Aidan’s R2 astromech)
Blue (Ru’s R2 astromech
Zero (Halin’s R2 astromech)
Buddy (Duo’s R5 astromech)
Heavy (Triton’s R5 astromech)
Sandrock (Kellis’ R3 astromech)

Rebel Alliance
Mon Mothma (Human female from Chandrilla)
Admiral Ackbar (Mon Calamari male from Mon Calamari)
General Crix Madine (Human male from Corellia)
General Carlist Riekken (Human male from Alderaan)
General Lando Calrissian-Gold Leader (Human male from Bespin)
General Han Solo (Human male from Corellia)
Chewbacca (Wookie male from Kashyyyk)
Commander Luke Skywalker (Human male from Tatooine)
Princess Leia Organa (Human female from Alderaan)
Captain Wedge Antilles-Red Leader (Human male from Corellia)
Commander Arvel Crynyd-Green Leader (Human male from Alderaan)
Major Horton Salm-Grey Leader (Human male from Churba)
Captain Ten Numb-Blue Leader (Sullustan male from Sullust)
Colonel Jake Farrell- Vanguard Leader (Human male from Rental IV)
Lieutenant Tycho Celchu-Green Three (Human male from Alderaan)
Lieutenant Wes Janson-Red Five (Human male from Tanaab)
Lieutenant Derek “Hobbie” Klivian-Red Four (Human male from Raltiir)
Captain Kasan Moor-Red Six (Human female from Alderaan)


Galactic Empire

Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious (Human male from Naboo)
Darth Vader (Human male from Tatooine)
Moff Jerjerrrod (Human male from Coruscant)
Admiral Firmus Piett-Master of the Executor (Human male from Axxila)
Commander Rexler Brath-Onyx Leader (Human male from Corellia)
Baron/Colonel Soontir Fel-181st/Alpha Leader (Human male from Corellia)
Major Turr Phenir-181st/Gamma Leader (Human male from Coruscant)

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…



The Galactic Civil War between the REBEL ALLIANCE and the GALACTIC EMPIRE has reached a critical breaking point, as the Knight Squadron receives orders to rendezvous with the Alliance fleet at Sullust.

Little do they know that the Empire has secretly been constructing a new armored space station even more powerful than the first dreaded Death Star.

When completed, this ultimate weapon will spell certain doom for the small band of rebels struggling to restore freedom to the galaxy…


Space was filled with explosions and laser blasts as a green and black-striped X-Wing dove over the hull of bulk freighter. Inside the cockpit, pilot Aidan Hunter grimaced as he watched the battle raging around the convoy that Knight Squadron and Y-Wing White Squadron had been escorting to Sullust to rendezvous with the Rebel Fleet. To their annoyance, they had been jumped by an Imperial Interdictor Cruiser. Looking something akin to Star Destroyers, Interdictors were smaller and were distinguished by the quartet of gravity well generators spaced along its triangular hull. Thankfully, this particular cruiser only carried two squadrons of TIE fighters that were now harassing the fighters and convoy ships.
            “This is ridiculous! Knight Squadron, sound off and form up! Start flying like you were trained!” Aidan yelled over the comm.
            “This is Knight Two off your starboard,” answered a familiar voice. Aidan turned to the right and noticed the Blue and red-striped X-Wing of his XO Ru Murleen pulling up alongside.
“This is Knight Three flying toward you,” answered Cmdr. Merrick Sims.
“Knight Four off your port stern,” answered Ixgil, a new pilot in the squadron.
“Knight Five standing by,” said Halin Doran.
“Knight Six above you,” announced Triton Doran.
“Knight Seven standing by,” said Duo Matting.
“Knight Eight standing by,” said Kellis Wessiri.
“Knight Nine standing by,” said Chang.
“Knight Ten, standing by,” said Lara Aran
“Rargh!” roared Sovach from his cockpit, which the other pilots’ computers translated as, Knight Eleven standing by.
“Knight Twelve standing by,” said a sultry female voice that belonged to Xandris, another new pilot.

Taking a moment to make sure that his squadron was all there, Aidan looked out across the convoy at the TIE fighters dog fighting with the Y-Wings.
“Hang on White Squadron we’re coming in!” he said. As one the X-Wings dove toward the TIEs. The Knights tore into the melee, lasers shredding the Imperial fighters. There was a cheer over the comm. from the beleaguered Y-Wing pilots as the Knights scattered the remaining TIEs like billiards.
“Knight Leader, this is White Leader. If you can handle the remaining TIEs, we’ll try and drive off the Interdictor Warden.” However, as soon as White Leader said this, another White Squadron pilot broke in.
“Contact! Large contact coming out of hyperspace! Bearing 227 mark six!”
Soaring over a Blockade Runner, Aidan and his flight looked towards the direction that the pilot had indicated as a vast, dagger-shaped hull burst out of hyperspace. As the shape resolved itself, the blood that had been roaring through Aidan’s veins froze into ice.
“Oh stang…” he whispered, “A Super Star Destroyer.”
All of 12,800 meters in length and possessing enough weaponry to annihilate an entire planet’s surface by itself, the SSD terrorized planets beyond the capability for resistance. This also happened to include Rebel combat units. The lead ship of the class, the Executor turned a Rebel outpost into black glass and slag on its first mission without having to launch its fighters. It then arrived at Yavin to harray the evacuating rebels. Well did Aidan remember that as he had been there, flying with the surviving pilots of Yavin Base. And now a Super Star Destroyer had arrived here of all places. For a moment, Aidan just stared at the impossibly huge dagger-shaped ship hanging 500 kilometers from the convoy. Then his brain went back into combat mode and he began to formulate a plan. If they didn’t take out that Interdictor, the SSD could chew them up at its leisure.
“Executor-class Star Destroyer Aggressor identified,” announced a tremulous voice.
“Detecting fighter launch!” came the voice of another White Squadron pilot, “Reading six eyeball squads, two squint squads, two bright squads, and two dupe squads.” Said another pilot.
One hundred forty-four fighters. More than enough to chew the convoy to pieces without the Aggressor even firing a shot. Aidan swung his X-Wing around to face the Interdictor.
“White Leader, Golden Way, listen up! If we want to get out of here with our lives, we need to take out the Warden. Knights, we’ll torp the cruiser first and soften up the remaining fighters. Whites, you finish what we start with torps and ion cannons. All convoy ships, you can take some shots at the Warden if you want, but other than that ignore it and head out! Everyone understand?” A chorus of acknowledgments flashed across his screen as Aidan led the twelve X-Wings of Knight Squadron on a run towards the Warden. As they approached, the cruiser began firing its turbolasers at the fighters in an effort to destroy them before they could fire their proton torpedoes.
“Shields double-front! Transfer laser power to shields,” said Aidan as he juked and jinked his fighter to dodge the turbolaser blasts. His R2 astromech, R2-X2 or Ecks, squealed in protest.
“Hey if you didn’t want to come you could’ve stayed behind,” he remonstrated.
The Knights drew closer to the Interdictor, its turbolasers, meant for capital ship battles, not able to accurately target the oncoming X-Wings.
“Ecks, link the others targeting computers to mine,” said Aidan.
Ecks tootled an acknowledgement and Aidan’s targeting screen lit up, indicating the links with the eleven other fighters.
“Knights spread out and prepare to fire!”
The other starfighters moved away from Aidan, making it even harder for the cruiser’s gunners to target them. Centering his HUD on a spot between the four gravity well domes, Aidan waited as the targeting computer beeped, locking onto the target. As soon as it turned red and the tone became steady, he pushed the thumb trigger for his torpedoes. At the same time he said, “Fire!”
The comm. came alive with fire reports as 24 torpedoes streaked out across space and slammed into he Warden’s shields. The shields flared bright and then collapsed the reactor unable to stand up to the strain of powering the gravity wells and the impact of the torpedoes. The Knights skimmed over the surface of the Warden peppering its guns with laser blasts, however the real crushing blow was yet to come. The Warden’s gunners had been so busy aiming at the Knights, they had forgotten the Y-Wings. The Y-Wings may have been old and slow, but they could still pack a punch. Two-dozen more torpedoes flew out from White Squadron and impacted on the domes, stitching them with bright explosions. Another advantage of being slower than the Knights was that the Whites were able to launch a second salvo and follow it up with their ion cannons. As if that weren’t enough, some of the freighters, mostly the Corellian YT transports, launched concussion missiles at the Warden.
Aidan rolled over at stared up through his canopy at the blackened top hull of the Warden. Smirking he swung his fighter around and joined up with the other Knights.
“Gravity wells are down Captain. We can go to hyperspace as soon as the convoy is clear,” said Ru Murleen.
“Waiting on your orders Captain Tang,” said Aidan to the captain of the freighter Golden Way, lead ship of the convoy. Taking a moment to gaze back at the imposing form of the Aggressor, Aidan smiled to himself.
“Too little too late Aggressor.”
“All craft, prepare to jump into hyperspace on my mark,” came Captain Tang’s voice, “3, 2, 1, jump!” Aidan pulled back on the lever on the top-left of his console and the stars lengthened into white hot lines and then the swirling tunnel of hyperspace swallowed him, the Knights, the Y-Wings, and the convoy just as the TIE fighters from the Aggressor reached them.