Assassination in space. Inahj had once been stationed on the same ship as an Imperial assassination squadron. To him, though, it was just another contract.
For this mission, Andrelious had elected to fly not in his TIE Advanced, but one of Void’s Stealth-Xs. He had not flown such a ship since his elevation to Rollmaster, but such an issue did not worry him. His previous mission against the Blood Wings had been difficult as his ship was the only one that had been easily ‘seen’ by the enemy. This time, with the odds potentially stacked against him, he wanted a little more protection.
Intelligence on the composition of the Blood Wings forces was scant. All that Marick had been able to tell him was about a squadron of ‘Chiss Clawcraft’, also known as Nssis-class fighters. Arcona had faced many squadrons of these previously; they themselves were not a threat, although with a good enough pilot, anything could be dangerous enough.
As Void squadron arrived in the area that the Proconsul had designated, Andrelious quickly surveyed the area. Present was a Nebulon-B Frigate, accompanied by a pair of Corvettes. Some A-Wings were on patrol nearby; they had not noticed the entering Arconans.
Take the Corvettes first, then hit the Frigate. And keep an eye on the A-Wings. Inahj ordered, targeting the lead Corvette himself. One Jedi Shadow bomb was deemed to be enough for each Corvette, so only Andrelious and Valtiere actually fired. The rest of the squadron remained in formation, ready to provide close fire support..
As the first Corvette exploded from the impact of a bomb, the A-Wings reacted. Almost simultaneously, the squadron of Chiss Clawcraft launched from the hangar bay of the Frigate. The Void pilots could sense that there was a Force user among them. ‘Black Cat’ had arrived.
Immediately the mission changed. Instead of the fairly simple mission to assassinate the Blood Wing leader, now Void were at risk of being targeted. The Chiss Clawcraft, flying in a single formation, approached the Arconan squadron.
SCATTER! Andrelious commanded, throwing his own fighter into a barrel roll. The Voidites spread out over a fairly large area, determined to frustrate their Chiss enemy and her wingmen.
In the cockpit of her fighter, Black Cat reached forward and pushed a button that had been added on; it activated a new system. A bright floodlight lit up her target, making Damon ‘Snabbie’ Tye’s fighter visible to all. It would still not appear on sensors, making warheads unlikely to be fired, but it did make the young Coruscanti vulnerable to laser fire.
Clever little blue bitch. Inahj thought as he moved to cover his wingmate. The Clawcraft, backed up by the A-Wings that had been on patrol, were bunching in an attempt to fire on Snabbie. Several of the Chiss craft got lasers away, peppering Damon’s Stealth-X. The Knight’s shields held, but not convincingly. Three more shots, Andrelious estimated, and they would collapse, potentially costing Arcona not only a valuable Stealth-X but one of their brighter young prodigies. The last thing that Inahj needed would be having to explain such a loss to Marick; he had promised the Proconsul that Void would come back intact.
Valtiere. Follow me. Andrelious commanded. Nikola, who was Void’s regular commander, didn’t hesitate to follow the Battlelord. The Battlelord led the Knight beyond the edge of the growing melee, and towards the Frigate itself. It soon became obvious that Inahj intended to land on the Frigate. The Battlelord guided his Stealth-X in, rotating it to face outwards as he landed – a quick getaway would likely be necessary. Valtiere followed suit, landing a few feet away.
The pair of Arconans leapt out of their fighters and quickly activated their lightsabers, destroying a pair of droids that had noticed them. A few guards moved into the hangar, but were also easily defeated, not even close to having the skills to take on two powerful Sith.
“We have to take the Blood Wings on this way, Valtiere. If we tried to eliminate him in space, he’d just keep on hyperspacing away. Now we will go where he goes.” Inahj explained. The leader had appeared to escape their clutches once, during the previous battle. The last thing anyone in Arcona wanted would be a long protracted chase.
Wasting no time, Andrelious continued into the depths of the Frigate, entering the lift that connected the hangar level to the rest of the unusually shaped vessel. Sensor scans and intelligence reports indicated a skeleton crew, but many of those would likely give some sort of resistance. The Arconans would have to keep their eyes peeled.
The lift moved to the command deck. Inahj ignored the services and engineering decks, at least for now; he knew where his target would be.
The command deck was lined with transparisteel windows. The two Arconans peered out at the battle for a few seconds, seeing that Snabbie was still illuminated by the lead Claw craft. Despite this, the number of enemies appeared to have reduced. The rest of the squadron were doing their job. Along the corridor, several others were observing the battle. Andrelious took great delight in terminating them in a variety of ways, using his saber for some and various Force powers for others. Valtiere too secured a number of kills, his newly made lightsaber seeing its fair share of action.
At the other end of the long, windowed corridor, were a number of offices. These were, on an Imperial ship, the offices of the various commanding officers. It was no surprise to either to find that the Captain’s office was occupied.
The door appeared locked- this was of no concern to Andrelious who quickly cut the door open with his lightsaber. As he finished creating a hole, he threw the disconnected section of durasteel violently with the Force, sending the large slab of metal towards the desk. There was a loud crash, and a lot of breakages, but no scream; there was nobody at home.
Andrelious cursed. “Frak. He’s on the bridge. This may be a little harder.”
Again no time was wasted in clearing out of the office. The bridge was located a short distance away, accessed by another, albeit smaller lift. Unfortunately for the Arconans, a guard noticed them approaching and dived into the lift. Now the bridge crew would be aware of their presence. This did not appear to faze Andrelious, who merely strode to the lift and pushed its call button. He then directed Valtiere to stand back in one of the alcoves to either side of the lift doors.
As the doors opened, half a dozen Blood Wing members charged out, expecting to come face-to-face with the two Sith. Instead, the first few were sabered in the back by the pair, whilst the remainder put up only a small fight before relenting. Clearly the Blood Wing operated on the premise of winning in space, rather than ground combat. The Arconans continued into the lift.
The doors hissed open moments later, bringing Andrelious and Valtiere onto the bridge. Many of the stations were occupied by Astromech droids; these would pose no threat. Towards the front of the room, however, a large man stood, shaking his head at the events unfolding outside. Inahj could sense that Void had pared the enemy down to the last few fighters.
“You think things have been easy so far, do you, Arconan? I’m afraid now things will become a little harder,” the man said, turning around. It was at that point that Inahj noticed a lightsaber attached to his belt; the Blood Wing leader was a Sith too – likely Black Cat’s master.
“This isn’t a very good setup you have here. Your men may be decent pilots but they are pathetic once on the ground.” Inahj hissed.
His enemy smiled. “Black Cat and her team are the best pilots money can buy. See how they keep your friends occupied. One more hit on ‘Snabbie’, I think you said his name was, and he is dead meat.”
“I didn’t come here to talk. I came to eliminate you.” Andrelious answered, activating his lightsaber. Valtiere prepared to do the same. Against two Arconan fighters, the Blood Wing captain had no chance.
As he brought his own blade to fruition, the Arconans’ opponent chose to not attack, but instead draw the battle in. Andrelious approached first, followed closely by Nikola. The pair tried a pincer movement, but this was easily blocked; their adversary was prepared for such a simple move.
Stepping back slightly, the Blood Wing leader pushed a large button on the console in front of him. An alarm began to sound.
“WARNING: ANTI CAPTURE SELF DESTRUCTION ACTIVE. SHIP WILL DETONATE IN THREE MINUTES!” a computerised voice yelled, panicking what few organic crew remained on the bridge. Inahj took a few seconds out of the main battle to eliminate the majority of these, but, to his chagrin, a Mon Calamari that had been manning the navigation system managed to get away and into the lift.
Returning to the action, Andrelious stepped in just in time to save Valtiere from losing his left arm to a violent slash. Clearly their enemy was long out of practice. Inahj didn’t care. Right now his goal was to terminate this stubborn gentleman and get the hell off this Frigate.
Valtiere responded to the attempted disarming well. He steeled himself a little with the Force, and attacked aggressively forwards. At the same time, Andrelious leapt in the air and slashed downwards.
With two largely different attacks to block, the Blood Wing leader had to choose which to block. In the end he elected to parry away Valtiere’s attack. Inahj landed on the floor moments later. With his opponent blocking his ally’s attack, his had succeeded. The enemy’s head was cleaved clean in half.
“No time to recover. We need to go, now!” Andrelious commanded, virtually throwing his fellow Arconan in the direction of the lift. Both reached the lift at a record pace, diving in and hitting the button to descend.
The windowed command corridor was next. Neither had any wish to check on the battle outside; if they had looked they would see that only Black Cat was left. She was desperately fending off the attack from the remaining Void pilots, who appeared to be deliberately not finishing her off.
Reaching the hangar without knowing how long was left, the two Void pilots speedily moved into their fighters, launching and closing the canopy at the same time.
As Andrelious, who was slightly behind, passed through the magcon, the alarms stopped. Seconds later, the Frigate was no more, replaced by an expanding fireball that scorched the paint off of Inahj’s astromech droid.
“Alright, Black Cat.” Inahj started, radioing his opponent directly. “You are beaten. Your pathetic master was easily defeated, as you have no doubt sensed. This is against my better judgement, but you have one chance. Surrender to us now. Join us. You can serve alongside my friends here in Void.”
Black Cat stopped her ship. The Void pilots moved into a circular formation around her, ready for her to make a decision. If she refused the offer, she’d face a cold, lonely grave. If she accepted it, the glory of serving with Arcona awaited her. Right now, she hated what Andrelious had done. He had slain her master, the best pilot she had ever met and the only one to ever give her a chance. She wanted the Battlelord dead. And there was only one way to ensure that…
“Very well, Arconan. I accept your conditions. I surrender.”
Andrelious smiled in his ship’s cockpit. The Blood Wings were mostly if not all wiped out. And Arcona had a new pilot.
The Dark Crusade would be theirs.
Contract 023: Complete
Debriefing: The leader of the Blood Wings has been terminated. 'Black Cat' was successfully recruited to Arcona's side.
Hmm. Well, honestly Mark I enjoyed reading this more than your last contract. I know you said you were fighting time, but honestly, I think that allowed you to kind of just write without overthinking too much. The contract still ended up being about 2k words, which for a typical fiction entry is still respectable. Not only that, I didn't find any spelling, grammar, or syntax errors. The entire story was easy to read, and I only got confused at one part where I wasn't exactly sure that Valt had tried to engage the enemy leader by himself. I'd think that Andrel would have kept a lock on him, while Valt dispatched the other minions.
Otherwise though, the story was interesting. I like it, and it was told in a non-boring manner. You still kept your level of detail about ships and the inside of the Frigate. I hadn't even though of a boarding when I wrote the contract, so that came totally from you and I liked it. I think this also helped establish what Void Squadron can do.
The only thing really holding this contract back was a lack of depth of the other characters/NPCs. I would have loved to know more about the enemy leader...what did he look like, old, young? What about Black Cat? Would have loved to hear more about her, some banter, ect. That's what keeps this at Excellent.
C-Class = 3 points;
"Excellent" Contract = 3 points;
Total = 6 points.