Nov 8 2013 11:25pm
Delaborde-class Star Destroyer Themis
, Phelleem sector
"It's dead," noted the warship's captain.
"But not dead enough," muttered Valeska, toggling through several command screens, "I want every molecule in that area utterly disintegrated. Continue firing."
The massive wedge of the Themis
gently spun on its z-axis to orient its prow to the shattered remains of the former Confederate corvette. The starship had went missing on a routine minor cargo run from Valinor to Jabiim, only to turn up later in the midst of a small Reaver squadron that Task Force Justitia now hunted. It hadn't been the first Confederation-built starship they had had to have destroyed, nor would it likely be the last. The star destroyer's massive banks of turbolasers' and ion cannons' fire converged on the fragmented remains of the Juaire-class corvette. Metal shards drifting from the hull disappeared under the intense heat from the Confederate warships. The ferrocarbon frame of the starship lasted slightly longer before it too vanished under the thundering fire from the warship. Across the battlefield, other elements of Task Force Justitia wiped up the remains of the Reaver-infested starships: a pair of Montcalms dissected a bulk freighter with their plasma drills, all while incinerating the thinly sliced remains with the frigates' batteries of turbolasers. Several Suffren-class cruisers combined their weapons fire to finally expel the remains of an infected Corellian Corvette out of the physical realm of this galaxy. The Abhean woman finally turned her eyes from the various holo-screens which had occupied her attention during the battle.
"Well, I'd call that a partial success," decided the formerly gunnery instructor.
"Because that star destroyer got away? You do realize that a heavily damaged Venator isn't likely to pose much of a threat to even most of our smaller worlds?" suggested the ship's captain.
"It's not the Venator's combat capabilities," replied the woman, "it's the infection it can spread. And really, a giant carrier like that hosting a menagerie of smaller infected craft is probably one an important ship to stop from spreading the virus everywhere. But you already knew my thoughts on the matter, so why provoke me?"
"Ma'am, we've been getting pushed rather hard," started the captain, "I think we have all got a fair amount accomplished, and I think you would have acknoledged that if we were facing a conventional enemy. I think the Reavers are getting to your head."
"Like an obsession?" questioned the former gunnery instructor.
The man hesitated, "I would not go that far. It's more of a fixation, although I can see why."
She frowned, "Then what do you want, captain?"
"I think we should go to Jabiim."
Suffren-class Cruiser Ventôse
, in orbit via Handooine
Captain Picerne's blue eyes pierced through the viewport like a lightsaber through cloth. In this distance, he could see a flurry of distant vessels just with his naked eyes. It’s too bad the Web wasn’t able to completely wipe them out with the mines; but at least we’re dealing with some more damaged enemies than we would have otherwise, and we’ve been able to marshal up the fleet into a decent formation to oppose them on their approach vector.
He pulled up a new holo of the approaching mauarders as seen by one of his ship’s recon drones. One of the gray dots at the tip of the Reaver formation began to resolve itself into a ghastly visage of a Venator-class Star Destroyer. Gaping holes riddled the hull, out of which pored a flock of far more diminutive vessels, some no larger than an escape pod. The decrepit warship sported some new growths to its stern, where a new bank of engines had apparently been haphazardly jury-rigged to give the aging vessel more thrust. A thin film of dust seemed to emanate off the vessel, prompting the Handooinian man to look at the hull more closely where the dust seemed to be leaking from. Interesting. The dust seems to be repairing sections of the hull damaged by whatever engagement it was last in…
He felt his heart flutter at the implications of that development. We won't be able to simply outlast them via logistics with this development...
“Well, this isn’t looking good,” noted the ship’s XO.
“There’s too many of them,” agreed Captain Picerne, “signal the withdraw. We’ll regroup at Jabiim, gather reinforcements, and hopefully come back soon.”
Nov 9 2013 6:08pm
Delaborde-class Star Destroyer Themis, outskirts of Jabiim system
The Themis surged into realspace, followed shortly by the rest of the Task Force Justitia's heavy line, and then the lighter ships of the small armada. Commodore Valeska immediately toggled the holo-screens of her console, searching the various sensor readouts for any sign of Reaver activity. There's nothing here though. She let out a sigh of half-relief. At least not yet. Jabiim's done a fairly good job of enforcing radio silence, I guess. Standing behind her, Captain Viuso peered over her shoulder glancing at the various readouts.
“It looks safe enough to me.”
“It does,” admitted Valeska, brushing a strand of dark hair from her face, “but I still don't like it. But we'll make the jump to resupply. I suppose you're right about that before we push too much further. Helm, prepare to make the jump to the resupply point.”
The warship flittered back into the realm of hyperspace, shortly followed by the rest of the Confederate host. A few short minutes later, the quintuplet of wedges that formed the task force's heavy line reemerged into sublight space near the system's fourth gas giant, Jaaima VI. Commodore Valeska didn't wait for the smaller vessels to appear before scanning for the small Confederate supply depot which orbited the gas giant. It was a small XQ4 platform that dated several decades before the Confederation's existence, yet it remained serviceable enough to support the out of the way supply cache for the Confederate forces combating the Reaver presence near their borders. In an effort to further minimize the station's presence, the Confederation had painted the aging station a rather dark gray, trying to make the station difficult to spot on long-range visual scanners to the new galactic menace. Valeska wasn't so sure how effective that would be, but with the gas giants myriad of small moons orbiting the world complicating sensor scans for the station, she conceded that it might be easily missed by their opponents if they only performed a quick scan of the system. A tiny, slightly lighter splotch expanded in her viewport as the other vessels of the fleet reemerged from their short micro-jump. Well, that's good at least. The station doesn't seem to have been discovered yet.
“Put us into orbit on a route that follows the path of the supply depot,” ordered Valeska, spinning in her chair to face the warship's helmsman, “inform the rest of the fleet to acknowledge.”
“New contacts on the outer edges of the system,” announced her sensor's operator, “wait...they're ours. They have the transponders of the Handooinan Security Forces.”
She frowned. Handooine is the closest Confederation world to Jabiim, but that's still no reason for them to leave their post to join us. It's not as if Jabiim is under attack...unless the Reavers got those ships too. Then we might be under attack...Valeska turned to the star destroyer's communication's officer, a younger Jabiimi with a crop of russet hair.
“As soon as those new contacts get close enough for a direct tightbeam communication line, I want to speak to their leader,” decided the Commodore, “sensors, any sign that the new arrivals may be infected vessels?”
“None so far as I can tell,” informed the man, “they don't appear to have any battle damage that would suggest they ran into an extended fight with the Reavers, which might suggest possible infection...wait, their ships are making a micro-jump – towards the supply depot.”
Only a mere minute or two passed before the other Confederate vessels emerged into their relative space, but to the former instructor, the delay seemed to last ages. As they emerged, the other Confederate vessels immediately heeled to and began to maneuver out of the larger task force's way. She smiled. At least they didn't expect us here...that's a good sign. A voice rang up from the ship's crew pit.
“I'm got a connection with their designated flagship, the Ventôse.”
“Let's have it then.”
Her holo-projector retracted the multitude of holo-screens she had pulled up, reforming all of that previous light into that of a man of roughly average build, but with piercing green-blue eyes, sweaty pale skin, and immaculately styled chestnut hair. She glanced at the man's uniform, sizing him up. At least the Handooine defense forces don't have a habit of making their top naval commanders admirals regardless of the size of their fleet. Captain seems a little low, he should be a line captain with all of those ships under his command...unless something happened to a more senior officer. The thought chilled her quicker than being dropped off in the middle of Hoth's icy plateaus.
“Captain Picerne,” stated Valeska, “You are a little ways from home, are you not?”
“Farther than I'd like, commodore,” admitted the man, “but we're fortunate to have found you when we have.”
“Handooine has just fell under Reaver Assault. I didn't have the strength to oppose them besides firing a few long distance shots, but with your ships.”
Valeska held up a hand, glancing to side at Captain Viuso's frantic gestures.
“Just exactly how close were they when you jumped away.”
The distant man's eyes turned upwards and right, “Probably ten klicks away from our closest ship. You needn't worry about us having gotten infected...”
“That's not my concern,” noted the Commodore icily, “but it would have appeared that you have brought guests with you here. My captain here is informing me that there are now Reaver ships right where you entered the outskirts of the system. They will pick up your ion trail and realize the general vicinity where you jumped again. We have a battle to get ready for, so you're doing to do what I say, all right, got it?”
Picerne turned paler than Valeska thought would have been possible, not an inconsiderable feat considered how pale she was. But the man merely nodded and clamped his lips shut. Perhaps he's not a complete bumbling idiot of a planetary defense force officer after all...
Nov 9 2013 9:39pm
The Razor Coast, Jabiim
“CSS Fleur de Abhean, please stay on your designated vector,” demanded the droid.
Dark clouds and torrential rain blotted the light of the system's sun from the sun and obscured the outline of the boxy craft. The golden-hued traffic controller droid watched the starship wobble heavily, a not too uncommon occurence because the world's unusually unstable electric fields. Yet this ship behaved differently than other ships the droid had seen before. Most pilots merely eased their craft and cautiously flew their craft towards the starport coming in at a very low angle just in case of a sudden drop of elevation due to the planet's abnormal magnetic field. This ship, however, did not. Instead, after using its transponder code to allow it access past the world's planetary shield generators, it had rocketed straight down towards the small starport that had allowed the craft access. A flash of lightning briefly lit the sky, revealing a set of black-suited bodies draped across the heavily damaged craft in a maccabre garland. The droid panicked. Reavers.
It immediately slammed a myriad of buttons on its console, summoning the world's emergency services and security forces before going on to further alert the planetary defense forces.
A squadron of Piranha drones stationed at the port zipped over the control tower to intercept the marauding craft. Streams of emerald light criss-crossed between the Reaver-infested ship and the Confederate drones. Several of the drones exploded, but not before the drones had launched all of their warheads at the Reaver vessel. Explosions reverberated throughout the rickety warship, strewing massive parts from the skies to fall onto the local starport. The droid calmly began to redirect all other civilian craft away from the starport and began to order all ships in the starport out of the area. Already, steady streams of civilians were attempting to escape the coming carnage through every avenue possible. Hopefully not many will become affected. Emergency services should have the area quartined soon. That is one thing I can do before my demise...
Delaborde-class Star Destroyer Themis
, in orbit via JabiimCurse our automation.
Valeska scowled down at the world below them. And here I was wrong. The Reavers got smart, noticing routine updates from Jabiim traffic control on one of the ships they took from us. And now they're down there. The massive military groundside response mobilizing planetside hopefully will be enough to contain the infection, but now we have to remove something else..
.The Confederate force swung into the gravity well of the world and quickly accelerated out of it, placing their arrayed forces opposite of the Reaver vessels waiting to take opportunity of their successful planet side infiltration. Her eyes focused on one craft in particular, the ancient Venator in the middle of the marauding formation. But a vast halo of infected vessels stood between her and her prey. Several Reaver vessels flew out of the world's gravity well, half-riddled with holes from the flak towers which protected the world. Valeska winced at the high level of radiation leaking out of one the craft, a bulk freighter of some variety. But with meson-laced shell fragments littering the hold of the vessel, she was certain that neither the Reavers nor the Confederates would want to be near the vessel's remains. Several of the Reaver vessels fired on the toxic laden comrade, destroying the Reaver vessel before it could affect them. Valeska let a brief flicker of a smile crease her face. Now we know why the Reavers have not been so fond of assaulting Confederation worlds...
The Confederation vessels quickly arrayed themselves into one of the standard attack patterns common in Reaver space, with the more heavily armored Montcalm frigates and star destroyers taking the front lines, backed by the lighter and faster ships. Suffren Light Cruisers began their long-range bombardment of the Reavers. Bright beams of golden light emerged from the fleet to smash into the Reaver ranks, destroying many of the smaller Reaver vessels caught in their rays. A torrential outpouring of slugs from the same vessels devastated the motley grouping of vessels with solid slugs piercing through the various structural elements of the Reaver craft and plasma fusion explosions engulfing and overwhelming the shields of the stricken ships. They have to come at us now. Not unless they want to stay and die from that barrage.
Suddenly, the Venator-class Star Destroyer leapt forwards towards Jabiim, leading the rest of the other Reaver vessels away from the defending Confederation fleet. While taking fire from the Confederate world below, the Reavers quickly used the same gravity slingshot technique that Task Force Justitia to escape the system's gravity well and leap into the safety of hyperspace. She frowned. And they escape yet again.
“Do we pursue them?” questioned Captain Viuso, “or are we heading groundside?”
The Abhean woman paused. As much as I'd like to try finish off that Reaver Squadron, the immediate lives of our citizens are more important. We'll have to put off pursuing them until our peoples are safe
. She turned her eyes on the man.
“We move into orbit over the infection site immediately,” decided the woman, “inform General Saheel that we may be landing his troops shortly to fight the infection.”
“Can that be done?”
She hesitated, “We have to try.”
Nov 10 2013 2:52am
The Razor Coast, Jabiim
It didn't rain on Jabiim.
It came down in deluges.
Corporal Tinnes grabbed the handle on the Ares tank tightly; his water drenched hands just barely hanging on. One of the planet's daily torrential downpours bombarded the man, forming rivers which streamed off his camo scout armor onto the tank. The man's blaster rifle dangled from his sling and clattered against the heavy armor of the tank. But Tinne stared hard ahead with his half-closed eyes. I wonder if I will have known any of them...I really hope not. The tank abruptly stopped. His comlink buzzed.
“All right, we're at the outer perimeter. Everyone's stopping.”
I wonder how many people managed to get out of here? He heard the low vibration of a repulsorlift engines in the distance turn into the high whine to see a pair of Piranha Drones zip by towards the epicenter of the starship crash. As they faded into the misty rains of the world, he saw and heard their blasters firing, lashing out an unknown enemies. The soldier unslung his weapon and peered through its macroscope, hoping to catch a glimpse at the latest scourges of the galaxy. Yet even with his infrared scope, he could only make out distant heat signatures of which he could not positively identify as either being Reavers or some other humanoids. The Corporal noticed how sticky his drenched clothing was becoming and quickly stretched, dispersing a few pools of liquid which had gathered on his cape. The pair of Piranha drones suddenly zipped out of the haze and zoomed far away from the engagement. Why are they withdrawing? They can't have killed off all of the Reavers, can they? I know there typically aren't that many people on a ship as small as corvette, but still...His comlink buzzed again.
“Everyone...new orders from the Themis. Shut down all of your electronic equipment immediately. Power up it after the pop.”
Frowning, the corporal immediately complied. He withdrew the powerpack from his weapon, turned off the scope, turned off the comlink, and nearly everything else that had turned the man into a modern warrior. Underneath him, the massive tank's engine went silent. The man thought he could feel the very life drain out of the vehicle. The man gripped his now useless battery tightly. We're useless against this now, but they know what they're doing. They have to, to do something this crazy, right? Then he heard the whistling hurtling down towards him. Out of instinct, Tinnes hugged the tank closely for cover, swearing silently to all the deities he knew for his own safety. A cacaphony of loud pops followed by the intense sound of crackling lightning saturated the man's ears. He half expected to feel the jolts of electricity surging through him, wriggling his body like a dog its chew toy, but it didn't. He gritted his teeth. Magpulse ordinance. Is that really enough to stop the Reavers? I suppose they are machines, after all, or at least some of them were, or are, aren't they? He firmly slapped the powerpack back into the powerpack well of his weapon. But now they're going to make us mop it up probably, just like they do on Kashan...He turned the rest of his gear on. Tinnes' comlink came on mid-transmission.
“...and maintain your positions and quarantine any survivors running towards you. Precision orbital bombardment is incoming to suspected Reaver positions.”
Talk about a scorched earth policy...
Several minutes passed before bright emerald beams converged down to the ground, forming giant columns of billowing steam around them. If the turbolaser don't get them, maybe the scalding steam will...
Nov 10 2013 10:11pm
Delaborde-class Star Destroyer Themis, in orbit via Jabiim
“Well,what news from the ground?” questioned Valeska.
“Casualties are high, but still lower than expected,” announced Captain Viuso, “roughly three hundred dead or missing, but we don't have solid counts on just everyone yet. The Razor Coast starport is a mess. Since the Fleur de Abhean mostly crashed over the outer civilian landing pads, our orbital bombardment took out a decent chunk of the area.”
“So what you're saying is the insurance companies are going to have a fit with us,” mulled the dark-haired woman, “but I suppose that's not a surprise. But then again, the ships would have been lost to the Reavers regardless...”
Captain Viuso threw up his hands, “What's done is done. But support services is going to have a handful to deal with between the economic and political damage. As much as we really lessened the damage done that would have occurred elsewhere. The real mess is going to the be the radiation poisoning the civies got that the bombs produced to impede the Reavers.”
“Nothing that the local healthcare system can't handle though, right?” questioned the Valeska, “or are we getting dragged into this too?”
“The Army's medical units actually do,” remarked the man, “Saheels got them all up and running well down there.”
“Good, then we get over to relieve Handooine,” decided the Abhean commodore, “move all ships into position to make the jump to Handooine. I'd be willing to bet that Captain Picerne is ready to go home.”
The star destroyer led the wedge of Confederate craft out the world's gravity well to linger briefly where the Reaver fleet had jumped only mere hours ago. Valeska scanned the space before them, searching for any remains of the Reaver vessels, but there were none. Whether there had been, she could not tell. Solar winds could have easily caught the wreckage and carried it away on distant currents or the forward momentum of how the pieces could have separated the craft had long taken them some hundreds of kilometers away. It's funny how something so violent and infectious can suddenly disappear. If we ever get rid of these things, what will be say? Will they become like the Sith in the days before the Battle of Yavin? Talked about but not truly believed? Something to scare little kids with? Her eyes rapidly dilated as the Jabiim's sun and the stars around her suddenly vanished, now far behind her in realspace. As the vessel traveled hyperspace, the woman collapsed into her chair and began to watch the latest holo-drama out of Genon. Less than an hour later, the star destroyer popped into realspace on the edge of the Handooine system, followed by the rest of the Confederate flotilla. She licked her lips.
“What have we got?”
“Wreckage orbitting Handooine, various ship types and models, and a lot of it leaking heavy radiation...planetary shields are still up,” started out the man.
The planetary defenses have held then, it would appear. The flak towers have driven the Reapers away from orbit, hopefully. But what then...
“...there's a lot of activity around the 5th orbit...”
“Reavers?” questioned Captain Viuso, toggling his own holo-screens.
“I can't say for sure sir,” commented the officer, “but I'd say that's likely.”
“Wonderful,” stated Commodore Valeska, “kid, keep an eye on active sensor pings in our area. Flight control, launch a few Condors, and let's tag some Reavers so we can figure out where they are and where they're going. I want that Venator tagged for certain, understood?”
Nov 11 2013 4:06am
YT-1300 Roaring Katarn, near Handooine
The two turrets of the light freighter spun frantically around, spewing out laser fire at the Reavers remaining in orbit around the Confederate planet. Ignoring the acrid smoke pouring from the back of the ship, Gamborn slammed the ship's yoke hard to the port, sending the aging freighter in a spin that made it nearly impossible for either the pursing Reaver Ties
or his two droid gunners to hit anything with any amount of accuracy. But the Reavers are suicidal, my droids aren't. He just missed a spiraling chunk of heavily irradiated hull pieces from one of the Reaver vessels previously caught in the planet's defensive flak tower grid. He glanced at his sensor board, noting with some satisfaction that one of the pursuing blips blinked out of existence, caught up in the tumbling debris of the rebuffed Reaver fleet. The other Tie stayed glued to the freighter's tail, nor could the man shake his pursuer off. His comlink buzzed.
“Roaring Katarn, turn towards your eight right now and stay on your course. We'll take care of the bad guy.”
He glanced at his sensor screen and frowned. There's no other sensor signatures around here. But the Confederation uses stealth fighters, or so the rumors say...Shrugging, the man adjusted his course according. Laser fire continued to stream between the freighter and the Reaver starfighter. A pair of bright orange blobs from his three o'clock appeared and surged towards the Reaver fighter. The Tie attempted to veer away from the concussion missiles, but the projectiles exploded before the fighter even had an chance to complete the maneuver. The fiery cloud enveloped the ball cockpit of the ship and tore the wing panels tumbling haplessly through space. Sustained Laser fire from the unseen fighters punched holes into the fighter's wreckage until nothing remained. Smiling, Gamborn tilted his yoke side to side, wobbling the Roaring Katarn in a manner similar to wiggling the wings of starfighters practiced. A pair of blips suddenly appeared on his sensor board, suggesting to the man that a pair of Confederate stealth fighters flew on either side of him. He thumbed his comlink.
“I owe you guys one. Good luck flying and happy landings.”
The female voice that greeted the man the first time came through loud and strong.
“We're not through with you yet, come with us.”
The man frowned, “Why?”
“Your ship could possibly be infected by the Reavers, and if it is, we can't let you leave the system, we will shoot you down if need be. Follow us and everything will go smoothly. Stand by while our sensors give your ship a full scan...this may take a few minutes.”
The man frowned. I suppose they can't let the infection leave, but what if I am infected? Are they going to kill me? Or make me lose my ship? Or the cargo? I'll be a ruined man...do I risk running and saving myself? The man debated whether to flee or stay his course before his comlink crackled.
“You're clean,” announced the disembodied voice, “your shields must have held off the nanites long enough. Standby to link your nav computer and autopilots to ours.”
“What? You said I go if I was clean...” demanded the man.
“Not quite yet, though we will allow you to leave shortly. First we, and by we, I mean the Confederation, needs to have a little chat with you. And then you have my word you can be on your way. You owe us that much for rescuing you back there.”
“Think I can get a little repair help for that?”
“Probably, but I can't guarantee that for you,” stated the Confederate.
“Fine, I'm complying...”
Several minutes passed before the trio of starships jumped into the realm of hyperspace. Gamhorn snorted. They better not be putting me into a black hole...Several minutes passed before they reemerged into the midst of the Confederate armada. The freetrader looked upon row after row of turbolaser batteries and noted more than a few point defense systems swiveling to track his ship. Yet his Confederate starfighter escort stayed with him, guiding him past a pair of medium cruisers and up towards one of the Themis' open hangar bays. Finally, the two starfighters peeled away leaving the freighter's captain gaze up into the Themis' support craft hangar.
“Oh no, no no no no no...I'm not going in there until I know what's going on,” stated the man,fiddling with his ships's controls to get it off the autopilot feature.
“Roaring Katarn,” announced a new voice, “this is Themis Flight Control. Please power down your ship while we tractor you in. Commodore Valeska will be expecting your presence shortly for a briefing. In the mean time, the Commodore has agreed to your request to have your ship attended to for repairs during your stay with us. Do you copy?”
“Roger Themis Flight Control, loud and clear. I'm complying.”
Nov 11 2013 4:53pm
CIC, Delaborde-class Star Destroyer Themis, outskirts of the Handooine System
Commodore Valeska reclined in her chair along with the other senior officers of Task Force Justitia. A variety of holos and holofeed footages taken from the Condor Drones of the Reaver Fleet enveloped the walls in an ethereal light of the void beyond. There were enough of a variety of starships within the Reaver fleet to challenge a starship enthuisiast to identify them all, least of those the Reavers had bothered to heavily modify. It made tactical planning difficult. Yet her eyes kept coming back to the Venator Star Destroyer which had managed to escape her twice before. There were several other ships of its size within the Reaver fleet, but they seemed to mostly be converted bulk freighters or liners of some variety; they wouldn't have made much of a challenge to the Confederate forces if they had not been infected. She studied the various holes and gapes across the diplidated ship's hull, looking for any weak points that she could substantially exploit. The former gunnery instructor rotated a composite holo of the distant enemy, finally noticing a noticeable crevice in the vessel's stern nearly ten meters wide at its largest point. That should be pretty close to the hyperdrive. If we get a few good shots in there, we can finally trap and kill this thing once and for all...
“Ma'am?” announced an ensign, stepping into the room, “we have detained a freighter attempting to leave the system, just as you have ordered. The ship's captain is onboard. He seems cooperative enough.”
She scowled, “What did they give them?”
“Repair services,” admitted the man, “Captain Viuso thought it best to entice him in some way to ensure his cooperation.”
Her scowl somewhat lessened. He's probably right. They'll be less whining this way and probably greater loyalty to what I'm about to put him through, but still...shouldn't this man do this simply because it's the right thing to do? At the very least it'll mean less Reavers to hunt for his ship...Valeska shrugged.
“All right, let's see him, her, it?”
“Him,” informed the ensign, “Captain Gamborn, he's a human from somewhere around the outer rim.”
“All right, send him in,” replied the woman, tapping a button on her comlink.
The room lit up again with harsh artificial lights shining down on the holos, distorting many of the minute features of the reconnaissance flights. Glancing at the various officers, she waved for them to shut off their projectors. We don't need to spook this guy quite yet. She stood up and waited at the door. Several minutes passed before a guard admitted a scruffy-looking man wearing loose brown trousers and a sweat-stained gray long sleeve shirt. He almost looked unprofessional and helpless, save for the blaster pistol holstered at his side. She eyed the man carefully.
“Captain Gamborn is it? I'm Commodore Valeska of the Confederate Fleet, welcome aboard the Themis.”
The man eyed the tactical center over and idly nodded, “Well, a commodore certainly outranks a mere freighter captain like me. Not that I don't appreciate your help in saving my butt back there, and fixing up my ship right now, but why am I here?”
“Two reasons,” started the woman, “I want to hear from someone who's been in system a little bit longer about the Reaver presence here.”
“And the second?”
“We'll get there,” informed the woman, “depending on what I hear about the first.”
The man shrugged, “I was just doing a routine run to Handooine from the Junkfort station down the Triellus Trade Route.”
“Foodstuffs,” replied the man, “that seems to be an oddly popular cargo these days, at least in your areas...”
“Go on,” waved the woman, “the Reavers. You can skip past whatever you ate, and what not. No offense, but I'm not super interested in your personal life.”
“I like knowing what could potentially be on my ship,” defended the woman, “and I know it's probably pure credits on your ship now because of that delivery.”
He smiled, “You're right. But back to the Reavers, huh? Anyways, I was just sitting in orbit, getting ready to leave, when they popped up on the either side of the world from me. The planet opened fire on them, I could see the radiation spikes on my sensors all appearing in one section on my sensors, but those signatures began to scatter when I saw a lot of dots going all across the world. I quickly powered down, hoping they wouldn't notice me. A lot of them zipped past me in smaller ships, like they were looking for something, maybe a way to get in. But in any case, most of the larger ships it seemed left pretty quickly, apparently they didn't like getting shot at too much. But there still were a lot of small craft running around, still looking for things. I guess you guys haven't figured out a way to deal with them yet, huh? Anyways, I kept quiet, looking for a way to get the hell away, because I knew sure as hell they wouldn't let me past the shields at this point to land again. So finally, I saw my chance and jumped on it, but a couple of their guys noticed me and gave chase. And that's when your guys dropped in and took'em out. And now I'm here. Do you have any questions?”
“Seems pretty straightforward,” commented Valeska, “how many small ships do you think are there still?”
“I don't know, probably some hundreds.”
We may have got them in a perfect opportunity. They're still using their fighters to find a way into Handooine, which leaves their main fleet without a lot of starfighter support. We've got to strike soon before they decide to move on to greener pastures. She blinked.
“How would you like to make some extra credits?”
“Doing what exactly?”
“That large Reaver fleet you mentioned is still in the system, I'd like you to quickly fly past them and draw any remaining starfighter support they have after you.”
The man's face puckered, “Look Commodore what's your face, I'm not that suicidial. I really doubt you have the credits to finance that sort of thing. Why not use one of your own ships?”
“Because it'll be blatantly obvious that it's a ploy,” muttered the woman, weighing her options, “well, how about an alternate arrangement. We borrow your ship, have one of our people fly it, and pay you a reasonable useage fee, and replace it for you if something happens to it.”
“I get the feeling this is the best offer I'm going to get.”
She snorted, glancing at her datapad, “Probably, considering what my repair crews just found on your ship. You're not really going to tell me you're only moving food with a x0.65 hyperdrive, are you? I'll flag it otherwise as a suspected smuggling ship...”
“Look, you don't flag it, and you got yourself a deal.”
Nov 11 2013 8:10pm
YT-1300 Roaring Katarn, Handooine System
“Do you when the last time I flew one of these was?” spat out Flight Lieutenant Rieves, “guess what? Never.”
“Except for just every other day in the rec center.”
“Flight sims aren't quite the same thing...”
Captain Noela Marigarda let a smile crease her tanned face at her co-pilot's complaints before crinkling her nose. It looked worse on the outside when we buzzed past it near Handooine. But it's not too shabby inside, though he could use an air refresher scent of some sort. I've never had a ship smell this bad of synth-oil before...She flipped a few switches on her left side; the light freighter lifted itself up from the flight deck and smoothly began gliding towards the hangar's exit. Glancing above her, she noticed rack after rack of CG-10s hanging up above the flight deck. It's too bad we can't take one of those, at least it might hold enough for this suicide mission...The starship dropped out of the hangar bay to plummet into a formation of shadowy stealth starfighters. She snorted. So what? thirteen against a couple hundred? No big deal, right? Not that we should get close to fighting that many Reavers...As the picket lines of the Confederate fleet, she thumbed her headset.
“Roaring Katarn ready to go. Outbacks, you set?”
“We're set,” replied a muted voice, “on your mark.”
Noela glanced at Rieves, who nodded.
“Mark,” stated the woman quietly, sliding the acceleration clutch fully forward.
The Roaring Katarn bolted into flowing lines of hyperspace. The flight group manning the ship chattered among themselves via the ship's intercom system, exchanging various jokes and anecdotes. Yet as they idly chatted, everyone eyed the ticking chrono, as if it were the unseen elephant in the room. As it neared fifteen seconds out, everyone buckled in and cinched their harness tight. The flowing lines quickly stopped, revealing a hive of Reaver activity set in front of a purple-blue gas giant. On cue, the ship's top gunner opened fire on a nearby infected Vulture drone, deforming the front mandibles into molten slag. Great Three, you just had to shoot them before I could get a picture of what the hell is going on around us. Noela immediately banked the freighter to run parallel to the flock of Reaver ships. Immediately the Confederate stealth fighters scattered away from the Reaver magnet. Six with us, six elsewhere...
“Watch our two guys,” shouted Reive, “that one looks suicidal.”
Noela spared a glance at the freighter's two o'clock, noticing an infected Preybird hurtling towards them. But the SoroSuub-built starfighter didn't fire at the freighter, despite the now combined fire of the freighter's turreted guns repeatedly stabbing at and through its shields. Little flash marks errupted across the fighter's broad wings and fires licked the fuselage's exterior. Yet the fighter continued to surge forwards. Rieve hurriedly slipped a panel up and pressed a button, launching a pair of concussion missiles out of the freighter's hull that slammed into the starfighter, shattering its fuselage and engulfing the entire craft in a luminous conflagration. The flaming shards of the wreck flew just over the freighter towards one of the misfit Reaver squadrons scrambling to intercept the freighter. Well, I'll bet he's going to charge us for the missiles, but that's a hell of a lot better than dying...come on guys...get this done so we can get out of here...Several of the Deathsabers made quick surgical strikes into the oncoming ranks of Reaver starfighters, further confusing their beserked response to the Confederate interlopers.
“Missiles away, everyone ready to make the jump?”
They hit then. Thank the maker, then we can get out of here soon...as soon as we can draw more their fighters away from here. The captain spared at a glance at the distant Venator looming to her side, but she couldn't see where the missiles had struck at the ship's hyperdrive. Yet they must have hit if they're making the jump...Noela glanced at her tracking board, noting the sudden telltale signs of a hyperspace jump appear around the Reaver Star Destroyer. Come on...come on...get us out of here...
“To the left!” shouted her co-pilot.
Without thinking, she hastily jerked the yoke to the left, banking the freighter just out of the way of a careening Tie Fighter, which Four handily destroyed as it passed by his turret. That was close, man, it sucks having blindspots like this...but I suppose this isn't designed for dogfighting...Noela spared a glance her sensor screen. Shouldn't have done that...maybe...She transferred all power from the ship's bow shields to the engines, hoping to outpace some of the slower Reavers trying to catch the freighter. To her side, Rieves quickly ran through a series of commands to launch a pair of concussion missiles forward, which promptly looped back to lash out at the Roaring Katarn's pursuers. She glanced her sensor board and exhaled as several of the dots blinked out of existence. Noela glanced up again to see a sudden flash of light flood the viewport. Oh crap...
Nov 11 2013 9:30pm
Delaborde-class Star Destroyer Themis, Handooine System
Commodore Valeska watched as the sudden thrust of the Confederation's fleet at the rear of the Reaver fleet caught the Roaring Katarn's new crew off guard. The freighter just managed to climb above the wedge-shaped hull of the Justitia as the La Galissonière-class star destroyer cut into realspace. Turbolaser after turbolaser of that star destroyer began to spew out flak bursts at the approaching starfighter formation, ripping the formation apart with a multitude of flak bursts. Shattered pieces of the broken craft ripped through the cloud of Reavers like flechettes, dinging up and lodging into the ranks of Reavers behind them. Ranks of Confederation piranhas began to circle around their home ships, preparing to intercept the Reaver ranks before the mass of Reaver vessels had a chance to infect their carriers. The outer line of Juaire-class corvettes fired their quad lasers, taking apart more precise shots at the formation than the turbolaser flak bursts could every hope. Commodore Valeska turned her attention to the prize she had been lusting for the last week. The Venator-class Star Destroyer's stern protrusion was heavily blackened on its starboard side, and she noted with some pleasure that many of the armor plates in that area peeled out of the main hull like an Ada fruit blossom, further exposing more internal areas of the star destroyer to Confederate fire. The long-range attack cruisers within the Confederate fleet began to fire at the object of her vendetta; bright beams of tachyons rapidly slowed down to assail the aging starship. Bursts of solid slugs perforated more holes into the already riddled craft, allowing more specialized rounds to enter the starship unimpeded by either armor or shields. A salvo of proton explosive filled rounds detonated in what normall would have been the star destroyer's central refueling area, igniting a firestorm to sear and burn through the craft from the inside out. Vacuum rushed into smother the flames, but the damage had already been done. Valeska winced. If anyone else was manning that ship, they'd be jumping into the escape pods now...but you can't stop crazy like that.
Captain Viuso cleared his throat next to her, “The Elèctionare is about to fall into their hands, ma'am...”
Valeska turned her cold eyes to face the unlucky vessel. The Juaire-class corvette had been at the tip of the Confederation formation, screening and destroying many of the Reaver fighters inbound towards the Themis herself. Yet now only sporadic fire errupted from the ship's hull. More importantly, she could see nearly a dozen Reaver vessels partially lodged into the hull. It's lost. She hesitated. But do you accept that lost now? Or hold out hope that some of them can still be saved? But if anyone's going to be responsible for this, it's going to be me. Valeska began to toggle through the holo-screens to take direct command of several of the ship's autocannons. As she selected the Confederate ship in her targeting sensors, a series of escape pods fluttered off the corvette before the corvette surged forward into the Reaver formation and activated its self-destruct. The ship's multi-core power system sent a rippling explosion across the Reaver fleet, taking with it more than a few Reaver starships and Piranha drones. Relief and regret washed over her in equal parts. The Commodore frowned. But I had already made my decision, or had I?
She turned her eyes back to a large infect bulk carrier surging through the Reaver formation at the Justitia. Valeska frowned. That's going to be hell to pay...Various tractor beams across the Confederate fleet lashed onto the Reaver ship's hull, pulling it in a multitude of directions. The ship's weak hull plating began to buckle and the ship's skeleton began to contort in ways its makers never intended. Still, the infected vessel careened towards the star destroyer unfazed by its own demise. The Justitia, for her part, stayed firmly on its course, focusing all of its not inconsiderable firepower to the freighter's bow; green turbolaser bolts and sapphire ion bolts joined the steady streams of plasma fire and Starflare salvos to cleave the bow apart in equal parts asunder. A cloud of golden dust and debris continued forward from inside the ramship to engulf the star destroyer. A brilliant flash of light briefly encompassed the star destroyer as it released its excess hypermatter into space. The particles surged back into hyperspace, obliterating the debris and nanites surrounding the starship's heavily armored hull. The Justitia's plasma lance arrays continued to carve up the infected freighter's hull and hurl them back into the Reaver fleet with its tractor beam projectors. Viuso rapidly tugged on the commodore's arm.
“Ma'am, the Venator.”
She turned her eyes from the Justitia's actions to gaze back at the Venator-class Star destroyer. But only empty space greeted her. A myriad of the other Reaver vessels began to disappear into the confines of hyperspace. But many of the other Reaver vessels fought on, sometimes by choice, but more because they were trapped by lack of hyperdrive or caught in one of the Confederate fleet's tractor beam projectors. Valeska's mouth dropped. But how? They must have had a back-up hyperdrive of course...but it shouldn't be in roughly the same area as the main hyperdrive, if it was the stock model...but the Reavers have become more adept at modifying their ships as of late. She sighed.
“Well, at least we've managed to take another solid chunk out of the Reavers here,” muttered the woman, “prepare the anti-matter explosives to irradiate this space once the last of them has been put down. Plot a course for the nearest pulsar star.”
As if to acknowledge her order, the autogun batteries of the star destroyer fired on a Nebulon-B frigate attempting to exchange broadsides with the Justitia. Chunks of hull plating disappeared under the heavy fire, stripping it bare until smoldering embers of the thermite flechettes inside the ship's frame began to shine out brightly to the space beyond, illuminating the ship's skeleton to the rest of the Confederate fleet. Medium turbolaser fire from the La Galissonière-class Star Destroyer the frigate had attacked raked the starship's remains, superheating the metal and debris until nothing remained. Across the field of battle, the superior firepower of the Confederate fleet broke the back of the remaining Reaver ships. Emerald turbolaser fire and plasma weaponry from the fleet obliterated the large chunks of Reaver vessels infected. As that tedious task was completed, the fleet began to roll out and deploy their stocks of anti-matter explosives to irradiate the sites of any nanite infection remaining. Shortly thereafter, the fleet moved out to a distance to watch the explosives detonate. As the last of the Cherenkov waves appeared to the Confederate observers, the star fleet jumped to the cleansing rays of the pulsar star catalogued only as NK-40315 in the astrogation charts.
Nov 12 2013 1:48am
Delaborde-class Star Destroyer Themis, NK-40315 System
It was a ruined system.
The pale-gray neutron pulsar rotated rapidly, spinning its focused beam of intense electromagnetic radiation across the breadth of the Confederation Fleet. Some thousands of kilometers away, the nearest ball of rock that could be called a planet caught only the faintest glimmer of that harsh radiation. The planets beyond that world caught nearly nothing, insuring that they stayed as lifeless and sterile as a Core World operating room table. Valeska paced the bridge of the warship, watching the various ships rotate on their axis' to completely irradiate every nook and cranny of their hull of any traces of the Reaver infection. The process would take hours and it nearly infuriated her.
“The tracker will be dead soon,” muttered the woman, reclining in her command chair.
“True,” acknowledged Captan Viuso, “but the signal has remained fairly constant. Perhaps it's an anchorage point for the Reavers, or a base of sorts.”
“Or a random spot where they've just stopped to make repairs before they can get on to their business of infecting things...”
“These may not be our typical opponents,” reminded the captain, “but their ships still are, mostly. They've got to stop and make some detailed repairs of some sort. The structure on that Venator has to be braced or reinforced somehow, with what we did to it today, it must have been a minor miracle for it to have successfully completed a jump.”
“It would be,” started the dark-haired woman, “if the Reavers were normal. I bet their nanite things have it better repaired than you think.”
“We'll just have to wait and see,” cautioned the junior officer.
Sighing, the Abhean native busied herself with the various reports and forms that participating in any battle brought about. None of them were excruciating hard, but it was all tedious and mind-numbingly boring to her, even if much of it was simply signing her signature; many of her junior staff officers were already sifting through the various data and summarizing various incidents that occurred during the two engagements. Yet still, none of that drew her mind off of the image of the Reaver-infested Star Destroyer spewing out hundreds of infected small craft to plague the shipping lanes of the Eastern Trade Prefecture. Maybe Viuso's right. Maybe I am becoming a little too obssessed with that ship...which means I need to get soon before it drives me any more crazy...Finally, her sensor operator confirmed that all of the ships had been completely entirely cleansed of any nanites that could have remained on their hulls from the battle. The Commodore from Abhean closed out all of her reports.
“Sensors, is our tracker still working?”
“Died about a half hour ago,” informed the man, “but the position had remained relatively static for the last five hours. It's roughly a five hour journey away.”
“Not terribly far,” mused the woman, “let's go there.”
“Without reconnaissance?” questioned the Viuso, nearly dropping his datapad.
“We'll drop out a little bit away to make sure we can escape if we need to...wait..my board is saying that it's not near a gravity well, correct?”
“Then we will jump right on top of them. We can't afford to have that ship escape us a fourth time. Signal the fleet, and let's get underway.”
The various ships of the Confederate fleet sailed to their positions of Valeska's preferred lance formation, with the Themis taking the very tip of the wedge formation. Only a few minutes elapsed before the starships jumped into the corridors of hyperspace on their journey to meet the Reaver fleet yet again. With the stars of hyperspace flying past her before she could fully register them, Valeska found her thoughts wandering back to the previous engagement, wondering if she actually would be forced to destroy her one of her own vessels by her own hand for this time. The idea of killing those who had served under her sickened her, and it was small recompense to realize that she might be saving some of them the pain of eternal agony as they became twisted mockeries of the men and women they would have once been. She could nearly see their widened eyes as the Themis' guns turned on them, blowing the craft up, spraying shards of superheated metal through them like an organic pin cushion. The idea of their lifeless bodies floating in and out of the wreckage haunted her only slightly less than the holos of the Fleur de Abhean's dead crew turned into a maccabre garland wrapped around their ship. She contented herself to play a game of sabaac via her ship's command console. Yet still the images briefly flooded her mind. The bridge crew changed out, including Captain Viuso, after a twelve hour shift. Yet still she stayed there in the command chair until the ship reverted into realspace.
The Venator-class Star Destroyer stood mere hundreds of meters away from the prow of the Themis. Yet it was not the same ship she had imagined. The strains of hyperspace travel had warped the spine of the vessel until it drooped, and more hull plates had either gone missing from either the battle or the ship's near suicidal hyperjump. Lights flickered on and off across the vessel. She would have thought it a long abandoned relic if not for the sporadic weapons fire erupting off its bow or clouds of nanites starting to billow out from the star destroyer to infect the Confederate attackers.
The guns of the Themis immediately retaliated. Albeit running low on ammo from their prolonged battles, the autoguns still fired measured bursts of shells at the deformed star destroyer's weak points; the advanced KDI heavy turbolasers struck on the shields, and then fairly shortly through them to superheat and incinerate the remaining structure of the ship. Ion Cannon flak fire from the star destroyer assailed the clouds of approaching nanites, causing massive ionization damage to quickly spread throughout the cloud, short-circuiting millions of miniscule machines. The other ships of the fleet advanced onto the other survivors of the previous engagements, rapidly leading to the far flanks of the Confederate wedge to completely envelope and surround the Reaver formation. Conflagrations spread across the Reaver vessels as the damaged vessels fell under the concentrated fire of the Contegorian vessels. Mass jamming from the Tréville cruisers finally overwhelmed the fading Reaver communication signals, causing even more chaos within the Reaver fleet, causing much of the nanite cloud that the vessels carried to wander about aimlessly, instead of flowing forward to purposefully engulf certain vessels en masse.
“There she goes,” quipped Viuso.
When did he get back here? Blowing off the thought, Valeska turned up from a holo screen to watch a series of fireballs errupt from near the star destroyer's solar ionization reactor before finally breaching the reactor's containment features. The reactor went unstable and exploded like a fragmentation grenade, sending shards of molten metal and debris careening throughout the space around it. One reaver-infested light freighter got neatly bisected into two pieces by a slab of newly errant hull armor. Some of it sprayed the front of the Themis' prow, but the ship's anticoncussion field neatly deflected the remains off to space away from the Confederate command ship. Across the battlefield, the Confederate forces held their Reaver foes in place with tractor beam projectors and systematically eliminated subsystems on their opponent's ships until they become unrecognizable as more than mere artificial debris populating empty space.
But even this was not enough for Valeska, who ordered that the ships continued firing their turbolasers until nothing possibly salvagable remained. Nearly a half hour after the last Reaver vessel had gone silent, more anti-matter bombs slipped out of the Confederate warships' hangars to irradiate the battlefield of any Reaver presence. After the last of the bombs exploded, the ships jumped again to NK-40315.
But before they arrived at that barren star system, Commodore Valeska excused herself to finally catch the sleep.
The last of the large Reaver vessels plaguing the space around Jabiim and Handooine were finally gone.