“Battle alert!” Lieutenant Arno Schooner’s voice crackled over the comm unit. “TIE Interceptors coming in—bearing two-nine-three, mark twenty.”
Drax keyed his comm unit. “Three Flight, on me. Hold it together and nail some squints.”
The cant-winged Interceptors rolled in and down on the Rogues. Raymus kicked his X-wing up on its port S-foil and flicked his lasers over to quad-fire mode. While that would slow his rate of fire, each burst had a better chance of killing a squint outright. And there are plenty that need killing here.
Raymus nudged his stick right and dropped the crosshairs onto an Interceptor making a run at the Resurgence. He hit the firing switch, sending four red laser bolts burning out at the target. They hit on the starboard side, with two of them piercing the cockpit and the other two vaporizing the strut supporting the right wing. The bent hexagonal wing sheered off in a shower of sparks, while the rest of the craft started a long, lazy spiral toward the outer edges of the system.
As the Gand’s high-pitched voice poured through the comm unit, Schooner snaprolled his X-wing to the left, then chopped his throttle back and hauled hard on the stick to take him into a loop. An Interceptor flashed through where he had been, and Veela’s X-wing came fast on its tail. Veela’s lasers blazed in sequence, stippling the Interceptor with red energy darts. One hit each wing, melting great furrows through them, while the other two lanced through the cockpit right above the twin ion engines. The engines themselves tore free of their support structure and blew out through the front of the squint, then exploded in a silver fireball that consumed the rest of the Imperial fighter.
Crash, the red and white R2 unit slotted in behind Drax, hooted, and data started pouring up over the fighter’s main monitor. It told him in exact detail what he was seeing unfold in space around him. The New Alderaanian’s forces had come into the fight in the standard conical formation that allowed them to maximize firepower. The Crimson Avenger had arrayed it’s forces in more of a bowl shape, with Interceptors ringing the outer edge, preventing retreat and promoting containment. The Alliance forces also appeared to have very specific fire missions and were working over the smaller support ships working on the Resurgence.
With a flick of his thumb, TeeO evened his shields out fore and aft, then throttled back up and slashed in at a pair of Interceptors making a run on the Resurgence. He slid his crosshairs over on the trailing Interceptor as it began its shallow glide along the Frigate’s hull. His quad burst caught most of the port wing, liquefying it in an instant. The molten metal froze in a long black tangle of ribbonlike shards trailing after the damaged fighter. The pilot juked his ship to the right to escapeTeeO, but that flew him straight into a burst from one of the Frigate’s turbolasers, vaporizing the squint in an eyeblink.
The lead Interceptor rolled to port and cut down past the curve of the Frigate’s hull. Drax caught a flash of red on one of the Interceptor’s wings and nodded. “Looks like he was once part of the One Eighty-first Imperial Fighter Group. They used to be feared. Maybe I ought to see why.”
Crash, the R2 assigned to Veela sounded a mournful tone.
“Yes, I know what I’m doing.”
The droid blatted harshly at him.
“Yes, I’ll be careful. Neither one of us wants to know what Aiala will do to the survivor if we die.” Drax winked at the holograph of Commander Aiala he had taken to carrying, fixed to a side panel in his cockpit, then rolled his X-wing and cruised down after the squint. He threaded a path through the turbolaser blasts the Frigate was pumping out, then swept past the ship out near its engines
Even before Crash could hoot a warning, the hiss of lasers splashing themselves over his aft shields caught Drax’s full attention. His secondary monitor showed the Interceptor dropping in on his tail. Must have throttled back and hovered near the engines, waiting. This guy is good.
Pumping more energy into his shields, Drax rolled the X-wing right, up onto the S-foil. He pulled back on the stick to start a loop and held it for three seconds, then cut his throttle back and inverted. Pulling back harder on the stick, he completed a fast loop, then throttled up through the end of it and rolled out right.
As his fighter’s nose came to point at the Interceptor, the Allie pilot rolled his craft and dove away from Drax. The crash course pilot started down after him, but cut back to 75 percent of his speed. As he anticipated, the Imp cut his speed as well, hoping Draxwould race past him. Instead Drax triggered one quick burst of fire that hit high on the Imp’s port wing, burning a black hole through the red stripe. He then stood on his right rudder pedal, keeping his guns on the squint, and poured another quad burst of laserfire into the Interceptor exploding it into a ball of flame and gas.
Next was Raymus. He opened fire on the squint he’d been chasing for the last two minutes.
All four ruby darts drilled through the port wing, then stabbed deep into the cockpit. A bright light flashed through the hole the lasers had opened, and Ray expected the ship to explode, but it didn’t. Instead it began to come apart, with bits and pieces of it whirling away as if the bright flash had disintegrated all the rivets and welds used in its manufacture.
Veela had her guns bearing down on the T.I.E. but after seeing it disintegrate she looped her X-wing away from the dying squint, but before she could vector in on another Interceptor, she heard Captain Verana coming through on the squadron’s tactical channel. “All Alphas, come about on a heading of one-two-five, mark one-seven. That Red Bastard is trying a gravity well generator, we’re ready to bolt. All aboard.”
“But we’re winning! Now?” The same surprise Drax felt in his chest came flooding through TeeO’s voice. “That’s a stupid move.”
“Easy T, check your port side and you’ll see why the Captain is retreating?”Ray’s reply came loaded with griman adult tone. “If we can get into the ship, we’ll be lucky. One Flight is on me. Five, you have Two Flight. Three, you have Four and Five.”
Just coming out of hyperspace were two more Interdictor Cruisers and a Victory Class Star Destroyer.
“As ordered, Lead.” Drax brought his fighter around on the appropriate heading and thumbed his comm. unit. “Estimated time of arrival is forty seconds. Let’s move, Three Flight.”
Veela pulled his X-wing up on Drax’s starboard wing. TeeO brought Alpha Five up on Drax’s port wing and Ray, in Alpha Two, hung back off TeeO’s port wing. Drax goosed his ship a bit forward and shifted his attention toward their target, trusting the others to keep him informed if Allies were vectoring in on them from behind.
Your intercom crackles to life.
“It seems as if I didn’t give you enough credit for being
resourceful,” Wrath says, his eyes betraying a hint of respect. “But
now the time for deception has ended. Despite your persistence, as
well as your luck, you must admit that you are outmatched. Shut
down your engines and prepare to be boarded.”
Drax stared at the holovid, a smirk etched on his face. “Surrender?” He chuckled. “From where i’m sitting, you boys may have bitten off more than you can chew.”