|年 代||出 来 事||場 面||参 考|
It took me only an hour to discover just how difficult it was to send a message to anyone outside. It took me days to go from Communications to Logistics to Sector Command, back to Communications (to someone completely uncommunicative) to Intelligence and finally to Logistics again. In the end, I was assured that my message to Oorn Tchis might arrive in a few weeks. Or it might not. Generally, I was discouraged from trying to send any more messages.
When I wasn't trying to get by the numerous clerks and petty officers controlling outside communications, I kept to myself. Hamo was gone on some assignment off-ship, and Jan-lo had begun some additional duties as a junior trainee with Intelligence. And only the Force knew where Lynia was.
So I guess I missed some of the elation that had affected the other pilots and ops crew. We had beaten Operation Strike Fear, people were saying. We had blown up the Invincible. We could defeat the Empire. There was a sense of hope and anticipation among the crew on the Independence, a sense of growing confidence. It lasted right up until Admiral Ackbar gave his speech.
It started out all right.
"Beings of the Alliance, I have come to congratulate you," he told us, standing on the stage at the back of the large assembly hall.
"And to warn you," he added.
My mind was ahead of him, or so I thought. He would deliver the standard speech about overconfidence so that we would realize that the Empire was still a tremendous power and a genuine danger, that the Invincible was only one Star Destroyer and the Emperor had many more. That's what I expected him to say. I whispered something to that effect to Jan-lo, who sat next to me, but she gave me one of those looks that says, "Behave yourself," and returned her attention to the Calamarian admiral.
"We have beaten Operation Strike Fear," he began simply, his huge, dark eyes blinking slowly in the brightness directed at the podium. He turned his domed head back and forth, deliberately including everyone in the room.
"You have beaten Operation Strike Fear," he said.
We all cheered. Even me. We had done it. Hadn't we?
While the admiral waited, the uproar died down, and soon just a small undercurrent of whispering and murmuring remained as background noise. Ackbar continued.
"Now you must prepare for something far worse," Ackbar said, and paused. "Far worse."
It was as if someone just dropped a muffle on us. Or sucked all the air from the room.
"We have reliable information that the Empire is developing a terrible secret weapon," the admiral went on, without seeming to notice the deflated mood of the crowd.
"We don't yet know what it is, or where it is, but we must find out. If our information is correct, it is a weapon so powerful that it could destroy entire planets, obliterate civilizations, wipe out species, and give total dominance to the Empire. The fate of the Alliance, and of all free beings, rests with you, my friends. I ask you only to do your best."
Ackbar continued somewhat longer, but I hardly heard what he said. I was too busy trying to imagine what this super weapon could be, and in my mind I conceived endless horrifying variations on its power, and of its effects on the human body. I'd guess others in the room were thinking the same way.
General Dodonna took the stage when the admiral had concluded. He outlined the objectives worked out by the High Command.
"First, we must discover everything we can about this new secret weapon.
"Second, we will try to obtain its technology or the technical specifications for the device itself.
"Third, we are developing a plan to destroy another of the Emperor's Star Destroyers.
"Finally, as always, we will respond to opportunities as they present themselves.
I met Lieutenant Cardacs just after he was assigned to the wingman position in my flight group. We had been briefed on an emergency rescue mission, and were on our way to the hangar.
"It's good to meet you, Captain Farlander; Cardacs here." We shook hands without breaking stride. Cardacs was a young man with sandy hair and pale, green eyes. He wasn't what you'd call handsome, I guess, but he didn't seem the type to notice. His face was darkened by exposure to some kind of radiation, and there were white circles around his eyes, where he must have worn protective goggles.
"Just transferred in!" I asked.
"Right. Been knocking about with some rogue squadrons in the Outer Rim. Sector Command, a little planet duty. You know."
"These protection missions arc tough," I told him, looking for something to say.
"Yeah. I know. I'll stick close to you, captain. You know, I have a special interest in this mission."
"Yeah. I had a friend we think was captured and sent to Mytus VII. I'm hoping he's one of the ones we're going after. Good pilot. Good friend."
"Let's make sure we get him," I answered as the hangar door irised open in front of us. "Time to go."
OP 1: Rescue from Star's End
File Name: starsndb
Rescue our escaped pilots, who have stowed away aboard a freighter. Destroy the accompanying Imperial transport, and secure the area for a Rebel Rescue shuttle. The freighter is approximately six clicks from your entrance point from hyperspace. An Imperial transport is preparing to board the freighter, and a pair of TIE fighters and TIE Interceptors is each patrolling the area. The Star Destroyer Intrepid waits 11 cricks away.
Farlander's After-Action Report
I led my two-ship A-wing flight group into the area, and immediately sped toward the freighter Genue. With the Imperial transport already in the process of docking, I knew that I didn't have much time, so A left all my energy settings as they were to hold my speed at 120.
I ordered my wingman, a new transfer named Cardacs, to attack the second of the two TIE Interceptors that were coming toward us. I targeted the leader myself, and switched to missiles. As soon as I had a solid lock on my target, I fired, destroying him as we passed.
Next was a pair of TIE fighters. Having ordered my wingman to attack the number-two TIE, I switched back to cannons and took out the leader in a head-on pass. I knew that there wasn't time to get caught up in a dogfight. Now I was closing on the freighter.
The transport had docked, but I knew that I should still have a minute or so. since I didn't want the Genue to be in the line of fire, I reduced throttle to one-third and positioned my ship behind the transport, lining up a clear shot at point-blank range.
I switched to missiles again and selected dual-fire mode, dropping my speed to zero and resetting cannon and shield recharge rates to maximum. As quickly as the launcher would let me, I fired four missiles to wipe out the transport's shields and damage its hull. Then I toggled back to cannons for the coup de grace.
Returning to full throttle, and resetting the shield recharge rate to the normal 50 percent position, I went to assist my wingman with T/F Beta 2. At this point, the Intrepid launched some reinforcements - a four-ship group of TIE fighters from Delta Squadron. After destroying Beta 2, we turned to engage the newcomers. As we battled Delta, the R2 let me know that more TIE fighters had been launched. These were replacements for Beta Squadron. Shortly after that, still more Deltas joined the fray.
By now, we were within gun range of the Intrepid, but I figured that as long as we were dogfighting the constant maneuvering would make us difficult targets. I was wrong, and my miscalculation carried a heavy price. My wingman was caught by enemy fire, and destroyed.
Then a three-ship formation of TIE Bombers (Eta) was launched. Recognizing the danger the Bombers posed, I decided to ignore the fighters for now.
I switched to missiles and reset them to single-fire mode, redirecting cannon energy to the engines so that I would close the distance quickly. As soon as I was in missile range, I reset the recharge rates for lasers and shields to maximum, reducing the rate of closure so that the computer would have time to get a solid lock.
I proceeded to take out all three Bombers with one missile apiece. A replacement wave of TIE Bombers was launched, and I eliminated them just as I had the first. During the action, I noticed that the shuttle Drago had arrived with the Rescue team.
I switched back to cannons and went after the nearest TIE fighter - There always seemed to be three or four chasing me. I quickly took out a couple of them, and then noticed a group of three TIE Interceptors from Gamma Squadron: They seemed to be headed directly for the rescue shuttle.
I targeted the leader of the Interceptors and chased him down, then did the same for Gamma 2. Gamma 3 got past me, so I switched back to missiles - I had only one left - and took him out from a distance. Figuring that there would be a replacement wave for T/I Gamma, I turned back toward the Intrepid. Sure enough, one was soon launched. I still had several TIE fighters from Beta and Delta chasing me, though, so I had to weave until I was in range to engage them.
During this battle, the Rescue Team completed its capture of the Genue. I kept after Gamma until they were eliminated, and I got the message that the Drago and Genue were safe. I finished off the last of the TIEs near me and hyperspaced home.
Lagrane wasn't in one of his better moods. But then neither was I. I hadn't known Cardacs more than a few minutes, but that didn't make me feel less guilty over his death. And the computer analysis of my mission revealed some flaws in my strategy as well. The Commander was explaining it all to me.
"There was enough time at the beginning of the mission that you could have transferred some laser power to shields, and reset the cannon recharge rate to maximum as you closed the distance. This would have brought your speed down to 90, but that would have been fast enough. Also, you could have saved your missiles and blasted the transport with cannons instead. This would have allowed you to use missiles on the TIE Bombers and Interceptors that came later. More importantly, better attention to your Inflight Map might have alerted you to your wingman's situation, and you might have been able to come to his aid."
I must have looked like a whipped musti pup, because Lagrane suddenly lightened up a little. "Look, Farlander, he was an experienced pilot. He knew the risks. You act like you never saw anyone frag before."
"Never a wingman, sir," I answered, truly aggrieved. "It happens, captain. Let it go. Learn from it and go on. Or next time, it could be you."
Lagrane was a master of pleasant thoughts.
Debriefing (Win Conditions)
SHU Drago must dock with and capture FRT Genue. Both must then survive. TRN Lambda must be destroyed.