Friday, 8 January 2016

2. A Phantom's Flight

“Phantom, this is Rear Admiral Chiraneau, do you copy?”
“Copy, Admiral, this is ‘Echo.’ Beginning test of the advanced cloaking device.”
The TIE Phantom shimmered for a second and then disappeared against the darkness of deep space.
“Begin scan.” Chiraneau ordered. The Decimator’s crew set to work trying to find the cloaked ship.
“Long and short range scans complete. No sign of the Phantom.” The first officer called. 
“‘Echo’, test is successful. Decloak and approach for phase two.” 
“Copy that.” Echo decloaked the Phantom so close to the Decimator’s bridge she was able to wave to the crew. 
“Now now, Echo, please behave.” Chiraneau mockingly admonished. “That’s half a million credits of prototype you’ve got hold of.” 
“Sorry, sir. I couldn’t resist.” Echo replied, “But I’ve been here the whole time. Shows just how good the cloak is.”
“Indeed.” Retorted Chiraneau. “Commence weapons test.” The Decimator launched several satellites, each as big as a Phantom’s cockpit, out into space. 
“Commencing test.”
The Phantom took off at speed, it’s blasters lighting up as it began destroying the targets. Within seconds, the satellites were debris. “These blasters are amazing!” 
Chiraneau smiled. This weapon would revolutionise the fight against the Rebellion, making it nearly impossible for them to defend against such a small craft.
Warning lights and sirens broke Chiraneau’s reverie,
“Sir, incoming ships! Dropping out of hyperspace!” The first officer was racing to his post.
Out of the darkness, three Rebel starfighters appeared and moved into attack formation. 
“Raise deflectors! Bring us about! Charge main weapons!” Chiraneau barked. He grabbed the closest console and held on as the Decimator swung to port to engage the fighters head on. “Echo, get clear, I repeat; get clear. We can handle these Rebels.”
“Sorry Admiral, but I’m not running.” The Phantom arched around to flank the fighters. “I’ve wanted a real target for this baby since I was given the flight.” The ship shimmered and went into cloaking mode.
“Three ships, sir. One A-Wing, one B-Wing, one X-Wing.” The first officer was checking the readouts from the tactical screens. 
“B-Wing is mine.” Echo chimed in.
“Follow that A-Wing.” Chiraneau roared.
The Decimator pitched violently as it swept round to catch the agile craft.

Echo gripped the controls of the Phantom tightly. She had heard a lot about the Rebel B-Wings and was eager to add one to her total number of ships destroyed back on CC-24. She pounded the console and slipped out of cloaking mode right behind the fighter. She wasted no time in hammering more keys, then opening both barrels of the blasters on the lumbering ship. The shields flickered as blaster fire stitched it’s way across the wing, forcing the pilot to bank sharply to avoid more damage. The lights in Echo’s cockpit dimmed as the ship reentered its cloaking mode. “At least the ACD is set up properly.” She said to herself. She looped around the B-Wing, ready to take it down when warning lights flashed - someone has a target lock on her. The X-Wing had followed her path and found her rear while she had been focussed on the B-Wing.
The X-Wing pilot waited for his moment, then unleashed his barrage of flechette torpedoes. The torpedoes struck Echo’s Phantom, slashing through the power cables, rendering the prototype weapon useless. The Phantom dropped its cloak and was sent spinning towards Castell. Echo cursed the Rebels and activated her life support systems. 

The A-Wing had been in a prime position to clean up the remains of the Phantom when the Decimator caught up with it. Chiraneau pushed the main gunner from his console before taking his place. He carefully guided the main turret around,
“Increase speed!” He called. The decimator lurched forward slightly, its gravity system compensating slowly for Chiraneau’s chosen modifications. When the targeting computer had found the A-Wing, Chiraneau fired a full burst from the turret. The A-Wing’s shields flared, died, and the ship burst into a shower of light as the reactor ignited, destroying it. The bridge went up in a cheer as Chiraneau sat back in the chair. It had been may years since he had been a gunner, but his talent for hitting the target in just the right place had never left him.
Suddenly, the Decimator bucked. The lights on the bridge flickered and died as the engines powered down. “Report!” Chiraneau was up on his feet, finding his own console and looking for a reason they had stopped.
“Ion torpedoes sir. The B-Wing caught us off guard. We’ve been disabled.”
“Blast!” He slammed his fist into the console display, shattering it. “How long until we’re back online?”
“Several minutes, sir.” The first officer looked as though the admiral would strike him, “I’m— I’m sorry, sir.”

Chiraneau looked from the viewport as the remaining Rebel ships made the jump to hyperspace.

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