A Bold Mission
The patrol had been uneventful thus far. This was not a bad thing. The space around Tamiami 8 was deep within the territory of Warlord Zsinj. JCK gazed over the starscape. The system they were in was quite beautiful, if you didn't think about the fact that battle was about to come here.
"Contact," came the cool, collected voice of Fushcia Leader. "Keep your heads up, everyone. Let's see if we've got unfriendlies." Fuchsia Squadron was composed entirely of members of a satire webpage called Absolutely Reliable News & Rumors.
JCK's monitor came back with a query. Friendly was not something these craft were. Six TIE interceptors, a formidable opponent indeed. He tried not to sweat all over his controls with anxiety, as he pulled himself together remembering his training. "We have a half dozen squints incoming," he cried out into the mic.
"Lock S-foils in attack position," came back the stern but confident voice of Lead. "Break by pairs. JCK and CSB, take your flights in left and right and strafe. We'll launch torps and then head for the middle." How did the Editor in Chief do it, thought JCK. He didn't even sound worried, despite the fact that the six X-Wings, half of Fucsia Squadron, were up against craft with superior speed and maneuverability. At least we've got the torps and better shileding, he reflected.
"I have a very bad feeling about this," said MMS. JCK knew how she felt.
Before he could reflect on a decent comeback, the battle was joined. The Editor in Chief and the new recruit, MOS, held back and let a pair of proton torpedoes go each. CSB led MMS in a tight half-loop to the right, which he emulated to the left, FMB hugging close behind. They intersected moments later, flying amongst the squints. These pilots were good. The danger for the enemy pilots was in breaking formation entirely and being picked off by the strafing X-wings. These succeeded in maneuvering expertly within a tigth range, without becoming sitting ducks for a side-on run from JCK or CSB. The trops nailed one, but all the rest were avoided, and the squints were still relatively in formation.
They turned two to each side, with one heading out straight. While the X-wing pilots had hoped to scatter the squints and have easy picking after the torps flew through, this proved not to be the case. Head-on attacks left all eight craft damaged. But the squints whipped around quicker. MMS and FMB both exploded under the concentrated fire of the pairs of interceptors.
JCK thumbed his controls over to torpedoes, and fought to get behind one of the fighters for a shot, but the pilot was too good to allow a lock. Then the fifth squint, which had remained outside the batle, came roaring through. JCK was hit in five spots. Careening out of control, he ejected. In his EV unit, he saw as the lead flight, with the EIC and MOS, had caught up to the other flights. Two squints erupted in flame, as their interest in JCK and FMB had left them distracted enough. But then the remaining squints pounced. The three remaining X-wings were all destroyed within moents. The dogfight swere intense, and Fuchsia Squadron's remainign members acquitte3d themselves well, but the opposition was too talented. Fuchsia had lost. The New Republic had lost this battle with Zsinj's forces. And JCK was doomed, as there were no fleet forces nearby and the interceptors, even if their pilots wanted to pick him up for debriefing, were unable to do so. Who would have thought all his training as an amusement park industry satire writer and editor with Absolutely Reliable News and Rumors would have been wasted on him gradually freezing to death or running out of oxygen in the wilds of space?
The screen went red and honked. JCK sighed and stepped out of his simulator cabin.
"I feel like we wrestled a rabid gundark in mating season," said CSB. "What the hell hit us there."
"I thought we were doing pretty well," said FMB. "We've always won the scenarios this past week. What happened?"
"It's not my fault," said MOS. "It's not my fault!"
Then they saw the pilots stepping out of the interceptor pods of the simulator. All was clear. It was Rogue Squadron! Or at least half of it. JCK couldn't believe the squadron had taken time out of its big schedule to tussle with them.
"At ease, troops," said Commander Wedge Antilles. "Pretty good flying out there."
"You vaped us in seconds," said the EIC. "It doesn't feel like we did so well."
"On the contrary, nerf-brains, you lasted longer than anyone else has in this scenario," said Wes Janson. "We've been trying this one out as a test of some of the new infiltration squads, and you did the best."
JCK noted that Rogue Squadron members Tycho Celchu, Hobbie Klivian, Asyr Seilar, and Koobis Nu also had taken part in the exercise. Truly the elite of the New Republic. He felt less shame that they'd had their asses handed to them on a warm bed of steamed nek groin. Noone could have lasted long against this group.
"You pretty much won out for the mission we have planned," said Antilles. Although most of the fleet has other plans for the war with Zsinj, we're sending a squadron deep into his territory. You'll be charged with sabotaguing his operations with your flying and weaponry, but also disaraming them and making them distracted by writing satire about amusement parks like Holoworld and Super Space Park. The insults being directed at amusement parks and enthusiasts in Zsinj's territory will keep Zsinj off balance and keep forces away from the front."
"This is an exceptionally dangerous mission, but one that will contribute vitally to our victory," said Tycho Celchu. "Will you accept it?"
"We're the only ones in the force who can fly well, even though not nearly as well as you guys, and also write amusement industry satire. Noone else can do this right besides the Absolutely Reliable News and Rumors team that makes up Fuchsia Squadron! Count on us."
"Excellent," said Antilles. Rest well tonight. You'll be send off tommorrow afternoon. May the Force be with you!"
The rest of the Rogues nodded approval and walked off. Hobbie Klivian held back.
"Good luck, guys," he told the Fuchsia Squadron.
Klivian's face turned dour. "You're gonna need it," he mumbled.