And Now For Something Completely Different

Admiral Duck Sauce 2006-04-24 18:23:07
It takes the better part of a week to prepare for the operation. The Sword of Alderaan leaves the Mon Calamari homeworld for the desolation of deep space, just a short jump from Nar Shaddaa. The Action IV bulk transport Tantor Ascendant meets the Alliance carrier there, its angular frame in contrast to the massive delta of the Quasar-Fire-class capital ship. The hangar bay is a maelstrom of sparks, noise, and rumbling droids as the TIEs come in bit by bit. The guys from 8th and 12th Wings are earning their keep in support of the Vandals, and pretty soon there's a sizeable little squadron of six slave-circuited TIE Fighters and Interceptors. In lieu of an Imperial Carrier, hyperdrives have been wired into the TIEs where the pilot would normally sit. The Echo will spoof sensor readings to act as the snubfighters' mothership, and the hyperdrive cores will be jettisoned before engagement using the TIEs' paltry ejection systems for later recovery.

On the pirate front, Maso and Kolit have wrangled a handful of Hapan fighters from Force knows where. Shasna'hoj has been hard at work as well, and has provided both reliable references for their false identities as well as a few armed civilian fighters. Two Z-95s, a Jumpmaster, even an antique V-Wing add to the clutter in the Sword's launch bays.

The downtime when the Vandals aren't up to their necks in wiring and coolant is filled with anticipation, and for some, anxiety. It's uncanny how easily Shas slides back into the smuggler's life, and Eritram seems to be adjusting well to Hapan customs, coached by Lt. Maso and Aurelia (to everyone's surprise).

In the meantime, Maso's Besalisk contact has leaked details of another convoy. This one will have to be hit above Nar Shaddaa, as it arrives on its way back from Bespin. The transports (two in number, as before) will be carrying naught but tibanna gas - no slaves this time. There's enough traffic around Nar Shaddaa that explaining the presence of some trigger-happy ne'er-do-wells won't be difficult, and if things go bantha-shaped there'll be ample places to hide.
fanchergw 2006-04-24 18:56:28
As the Hapan fighters arrive, Calsera makes certain to keep tabs on them between catnaps. She's particularly interested in the V-wing and to see what models of Z-95 are acquired. Of course, since the latter are so famous for being customized, she inspects them thoroughly to see just what modifications may have been implemented.

Of course, the modified TIEs are interesting too, if just from a uniqueness perspective.

Hearing about the tibanna caravan, Cat perks up. "Time to get our game underway, Captain?" she asks Kolit.
e of pi 2006-04-24 19:01:57
Having done independent work with several small shiping companies between leaving Naboo and joining the Allaice, Ty starts working up some corporate details, such as color schemes, a logo and leterhead (OOC: Of course they have letterhead!) Mentally, he tries to fit the fighters on the deck into the holds of an Action IV, and isn't pleased by the results he gets. "Ummm, just a note, but if we put this many fighters into an Action IV, there won't be much room for anything else. We might have to leave behind the Jumpmaster, unless we dock it externally."
Admiral Duck Sauce 2006-04-24 19:10:31
"As soon as you're ready," Kolit comms back. "We'll remain here during your initial attack for emergency support, but we've got duties in Anoat space and will be going comms-black once you're insertion is successful."

The knowledge that the Sword won't be around is slightly troubling, but only slightly. You've been on your own many times before.

As for the fighters, the Hapan ships are sleek and agile, much like a TIE Interceptor or A-Wing. Although they lack the raw power of the Alliance interceptor, the Miy'Til fighter is more maneuverable in atmosphere. It carries a comparable loadout; twin laser cannon and a concussion missile launcher. The Hetrinar bomber boasts three separate launcher racks and a Y-Wing style laser turret for point defense. Unlike the Y-Wing, it has no ion capability. It's a pig, but it's a tough pig, and can seat up to four if need be - the pilot and three gunners.

The Z-95s are so customized as to be modelless. Their underpowered autoblasters have been replaced with X-Wing cannons mounted to each stubby wing and they actually have external launch bays to increase their complement of missiles. They have hyperdrives, sensors, and avionics vastly improved over the venerable stock Z-95s, but they still have the same problems; underpowered deflectors, not enough armor, and not enough engine power to really compete with a competent pilot behind a modern ship. They can match an X-Wing for speed, but can't take a beating. At least repairs should be a piece of cake; you can get Headhunter parts anywhere.
Gatac 2006-04-24 20:05:39
In a quiet moment, Mandall walks up to one of the Headhunters and gently strokes a panel on its side as if to pet a small animal.

"Hey there, gorgeous. Just thought I'd introduce myself. I'm Mandall. I know you got spunk. All the crap the universe could throw at you didn't slow you down. But up to now, you haven't lived. I'm itching to set a couple of new records with you, baby.

I'm gonna make you sing."
fanchergw 2006-04-24 20:14:33
"I'm ready any time, Captain. Sorry to hear you'll be away, but we'll manage."

Somehow, Calsera had overlooked the Miy'Til fighter the first time through. Interesting addition, to her mind. The only real limitation on the V-wing is the lack of a hyperdrive, so it won't be useful in some scenarios. Still, any of the fighters are acceptable to her, so she'll leave it up to the mission commander which she uses.

"Uhm, who's commanding this mission?"
Aihal the Silent 2006-04-24 20:43:45
fanchergw wrote:

"Uhm, who's commanding this mission?"

A dirty hand with a spanner and a bunch of wires sticks out of one of the Echo's access hatches.

"As far as I know, that would be me" says Jorm, his voice echoing slightly inside the ship's access panel. "At least from behind the scenes," He continues as he climbs out and closes the panel. "Eritram will be the boss when anyone else is around." Jorm pauses and turns and signals someone in the docking bay control room.

Jorm checks something on his datapad. "Alright, the Echo should fool anyone who doesn't get a visual into thinking she's an Imperial cruiser. Dak had better take good care of her. Now, let's double check these new ships."

Jorm begins going over the new hardware and making sure that anything needed arrives in short order. The daily status reports he gets from all facets of the operation show everything going quite well. Aurelia is apparently a great instructor on Hapan customs and the new recruits were already proving themselves invaluable.
Dieter 2006-04-24 20:56:20
Murdock has been spending time uploading vital information into his memory banks. Schematics, people, places...anything and everything that would be loaded into a mission datapad. It's one thing to have it handy, it's another to have in hardwired into your cortex.

First a battle droid, Murdock drills the infiltration team with countless firing exercises and CQD techniques. He even shows some of the crew how to take out a raging Wookiee should the need ever arise.
e of pi 2006-04-24 21:37:06
Nursing a few bruises from Murdock's training, Ty starts reviewing the spec of the fighters they have to select from, both for himself and to decide which to leave behind. His Nubian origins associate with one of the Miy'Til fighters, which are an elegant blend of power and speed, a large punch packed into a sleek shell half the size of an X-wing. Additionally, they're smaller, so more can be stored. Looking around and deviding up the roster, Ty thinks, then wanders to where Jorm is working. "Umm, sir? I've been looking over the specs of the Action IV and the fighters, and if we want any cargo capacity left over at all, I'd recommen sticking three Miy'Tils and Mandall's Headhunter into an internal bay, then attaching the JumpMaster to an airlock on the top. Attatch a few turrets on the frieghter and droid control them, and we'd be in buisiness."
DatonKallandor 2006-04-24 23:26:55
Eritram's mouth spreads into a grin as he hears Jorm's explanations.

"Eritram will be the boss when anyone else is around." - has a nice ring to it

The starship selection is an easy one for him - the Hapan bomber is just made for nuking pesky freighters.

"Now, listen up squad. I'm gonna grab that bomber, and I might just need a gunner. Any takers?", Eritram asks. "Cat, I'm looking at you."
CrazyIvan 2006-04-24 23:46:19
Aurelia has once again gone into overdrive, especially on the Hapian fighters. Hapian fighter technology doesn't lag behind the Alliance/Empire as much as their turbo-lasers do, but she has an excuse to baby new toys, and does so eagerly. One even gets a fresh coat of paint and a carefully done Queen and Country nametag on it.

The headhunters get carefully examined as well, to make sure all of their systems - doubtlessly replaced a half-dozen times, are all up to snuff, and replaced when necessary.

"Who am I flying with?"
fanchergw 2006-04-24 23:54:59
"Jorm. And Eritram. Gotcha." Two chiefs? Why can't they keep things simple and just go with one, Cat thinks to herself with a sigh.

Calsera looks at Eritram with a puzzled expression. "Aren't you our gunnery expert, Eritram? What you really need, I think, is a pilot. I'm really at my best in a fighter, small and maneuverable. Anything much bigger really hinders my style, you know? Still, I'll fill whatever seat Jorm wants me to."
Aihal the Silent 2006-04-26 00:02:50
Jorm checks his datapad again.

"Good Job, Ty. Let's leave the Jumpmaster unless there's someone who's really attached to the idea of flying it."

"I'm assinging myself as Eritram's pilot, that should help reduce any conflicting orders. Besides, if anything happens to us there'll be instant promotions all around. I'm open to volunteers to fly the freighter."
DatonKallandor 2006-04-26 00:12:33

Besides, if anything happens to us there'll be instant promotions all around

"I'd appreciate if that didn't happen though. I'm sure you'd miss my unerring aim, wit, smarts, good looks and charming personality. Someday."
Aihal the Silent 2006-04-26 15:30:10
DatonKallandor wrote:


Besides, if anything happens to us there'll be instant promotions all around

"I'd appreciate if that didn't happen though. I'm sure you'd miss my unerring aim, wit, smarts, good looks and charming personality. Someday."

Jorm smiles as he climbs into the bomber to familiarize himself with the cockpit layout and systems. "That's the point. *I* wouldn't miss anything. I'm sure the rest of the Vandals would miss us, so I'll do my best not to get us fragged."

Jorm pauses for a moment and then addresses the whole squad.

"Listen guys and gals, I want each of you to spend some time in the cockpit of every ship we're taking on this mission. These Hapan ships are a bit different and I want you to be familiar with all of them. For any other group I'd require some flight time, but you are the best damn flight group the Alliance has. Flying, fighting, fixing...they're in your blood in your bones and in your hearts. I'd rather have all of you in gimped TIEs covering my six that a fleet of Star Destroyers. Let's tighten the last few bolts and then go make this slug wish he had never crawled out from the swamp."
e of pi 2006-04-26 16:16:48
Ty nods, then climbs into the cockpit. The basic controls are faily obvious, throttle, stick, repulsor and etheric rudder in the pedals. Checking the displays, he looks for weapons, sensors, hyperdrive, status indicators, and the rest of the standard gear. Having identified the weapons systems controls, he carefully avoids them as he tests the remaining panels.
threadbare 2006-04-26 16:18:41
"I'll pilot the freighter, and look like Erit's no. 2 man, 'from the old days' when they were nobility. Besides, nobody else has good enough teeth for that kind of role anyways."
Admiral Duck Sauce 2006-04-26 17:17:48
The Vandals are just about ready to go when Dak Marko, 12th Wing's CO, jogs into the hangar bay carrying a long bundle. "Good, you gundarks haven't left yet. Don't ask where I got these, and don't say I never did anything for ya."

He sets the bundle down and carefully unrolls it. Three Hapan dueling swords clatter slightly and a small pouch with some antique Hapan jewelry tumbles out; rings, earpieces, a brooch.

"See ya when ya get back. Don't get cooked."
Gatac 2006-04-26 17:25:23
Mandall stops paying attention to the Headhunter, walks over to the bundle and snatches a sword.

Giving it a whirl, he puts it through its paces, long hours of holovids and his inherent martial skill looking like a good impersonation of actual swordsmanship.

"You guys should try this, you can actually feel the stick in your ass forming up."
Aihal the Silent 2006-04-26 17:28:01
Jorm stares in amazement at Dak's gift. "Thanks....and Dak...take good care of the Echo. I'll be checking her for dents and rust when I get back."