And Then There Was One

from the memoirs of Pola Panallal, Orange Squadron

As I entering the briefing room, I had to smile. Radis was there,

and we two remaining Orange Squadron Y-Wing pilots were so hard

pressed with escort duty and off the cuff assignments that we rarely

flew together any more. Also present were fighter pilots Drel

(updated Z-95) and Arkansas Dave Rudebaugh/Lifeguard (X-Wing). I had

flown with ADR before. Oh yes, a couple of freighter pilots, Gen.

Miris, Claven, and Gabrielle. Our "mission" was to escort some techs

out to a newish Sallustan Resistance unit, where the techs would do

their wonkery and we could train pilots.

While we were forming up and dressing the escort formation, the

techs jump! Miris was pretty angry that some idiots deemed valuable

enough to rate escort would proceed without it, but you can't count

on common sense from other pilots, much less from support units. We

catch up, and the tech's lack of patience is matched by inability to

communicate. They have been waiting as they jumped at a better

multiplier than all the freighters can go, which they had not

bothered to check.

The first stop is an old bulk freighter with a variety of

modifications, including a fighter bay inside the rearmost cargo

hold. The techs go to play, upgrading systems or whatever, while

we look over the Sallustan pilot trainees. Very eager, very raw,

they have had simulator time! I suggest we start with take off and

landing drill, selecting a two seat Y-TIE ugly. The first pass

goes okay, but on second landing the rookie has a bad angle and

mangles a landing strut. I try to calm the embarrassed babbling

(in Sallustan) but he hits the eject button…in the landing bay.

Well, it could have been worse. Rudebaugh was practising manuevers

when his trainee collided with him. Gen. Miris swears never to

complain about our own trainees again.

Time to go, and we have only more of the same to look forward to

at future stops. The techs seem to have gotten the idea of

co-operation, so as we line up at the nav point with the same

astrogation figures adjusted for the slowest ship, naturally things

go off course. A MAYDAY comes in from a Rebel Allaince corvette

that is being attacked by pirates! Nervy bunch. We run astrogation

and hop over, a frigate of unknown design, two Skipray Blastboats

and a cloud of fighters pummeling the corvette, which is returning

very little fire. There are bodies floating in space; the

corvette's crew will need will need some reinforcements.

Radis agrees that we have to take out the skiprays first, and turns

on his rocket boosters. Dave, Drel and I form up and follow while

Gen. Miris tells the pirates that they are up against "the best

pilots in the Crucible sector!" somehow leaving out the Orange Squadron
name. Guess she didn't want to discourage Claven or

Gabrielle. Her tone of voice suggest several impertinent remarks

I could make to her husband occur, but I like Bel Iblis and will

let them go.

While we move in, I have my droid run astrogation for a quick exit

back the way we came. Also, Gabrielle does something daring; she programs her
ship for a micro-jump into the unknown capital ship

keyed off her ejecting! She should be a fighter pilot. It ceases

firing after a horrendous explosion.

The blast boats are KOed, but Radis takes a hit in his rocket boost

fuel tank, requiring ejection as his customized Y-Wing blows to

bits. I leave ADR and Drel to scatter the estimated 40 fighters

(who are already demoralized by Gen. Miris and, just possibly, the

damage to their frigate) while I slip over, pop my lid, and let

Radis in the ion gunner seat.

Somewhere along the line, the techs have boarded our damaged

corvette and think they can get hyper running, if we can buy them

a little more time. With only fighters to deal with, this would

not ordinarily be a problem, but a Star Destroyer and two Lancers

hop out of hyper, answering the Mayday. The Lancers waste their

time manuevering to isolate the skiprays, not knowing how

damaged they are. The pirate fighters all start to run for it.

When the Impies announce that they have IDed us as Rebels, ADR suggests a
strafing run down the side of the SD to pot the launch

bays, which are spewing TIEs. OK by me, and off we go. One pass

was all that was needed, we get the signal from the techs and we

all jump out. Good thing I had calculated the coordinates earlier.

Later, I offer to help Radis locate another Y-Wing, but he can't

afford the probable cost. Even when I offer to help, he still

wants to look into less expensive options. This leaves me the last

pilot in Y-Wing Orange Squadron.

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