Sunday, 24 January 2016

4. Raid on Polis Massa

The rebels that sheltered in the Polis Massa asteroid field felt safe in the knowledge that the Empire was unable to find their base among the potential millions of rocks floating there. In secret, they had taken the Alliance’s X-Wing craft and had modified it to be sleeker, faster and more agile. They felt confident this model, which they had named the T-70, would easily outperform the Empire’s TIEs.
They were, however, unaware that since their victory over the Empire’s prototype stealth fighter in the Castell system, Sienar Systems had worked tirelessly to develop their stealth drives, and the latest version of the TIE Phantom was already in operation around the Polis Massa field. It was the efforts of a young pilot codenamed ‘Whisper’ that revealed the location of the base. In a bold move that saw many of the Empire’s most skilled pilots being sent on a daring raid against the rebels, a force of TIE Bombers, Punishers and Defenders managed to slip into the asteroid field using the asteroids themselves as protection from the rebel scanners.
While several Punisher squadrons lead the raids on the manufacturing centres of the Polis Massa base, Captain Jonus took a pair of Onyx Squadron pilots to destroy the prototype T-70s…
“Captain, three targets located. One is a Z-95. I think the other two are our primary targets.”
Jones checked his scanners. “Roger that, Onyx One. concentrate your efforts on those X-Wings. The Headhunter is mine.”
“Copy that.” The Onyx Squadron pilots chorused. They banked right ahead of Jonus, narrowly avoiding being struck by an asteroid. Jonus barrel-rolled underneath it. While he was unhappy he wasn’t participating in the bombing runs, he was glad to be given a challenge. The Bomber was slower than the standard TIE, but offered more protection and better ordinance capabilities. For a pilot like Jonus, all it meant was he had to be quicker than normal.
The X-Wings dodged and wove through the asteroid field, making a direct hit nearly impossible. They raked the Defenders with blaster fire, lighting up the shields before disappearing behind asteroids.
Onyx One banked left sharply then rolled effortlessly around an asteroid. “Got him in my sights!” A lance of energy from the Defender’s heavy laser cannon crossed the void and struck the first X-Wing in the rear. It’s shields died as the pilot fought to keep control of the ship. Jonus watched as Onyx Two fired wildly at the ship. He was about to admonish Onyx Two when he saw that the wild firing had been a distraction. The X-Wing had barrel-rolled to avoid the shot only to smash into an asteroid and explode.
“Good job, Onyx. Take down the remaining X-Wing!” Onyx Squadron took off after the craft as Jonus homed in on the Headhunter. The craft was almost too fast for him as it zipped between asteroids and down into the crevasses of a planet-sized rock. Jonus gripped the controls and followed it down.
The Headhunter was leading Jonus on a wild goose chase and he knew it. He was prepared for the smaller ship to bank down a narrow corridor, only to leave his bomber impacting a mesa of rock, rendering it to shards of glittering metal. He held his nerve and managed to get a target lock. Jonus prepared his ion torpedo and loosed the shot. The torpedo struck as the Z-95 was rounding a corner to escape. Powerless to turn, the ship struck the cliff and burst into a shower of sparks. Jonus pulled out of the canyon and rejoined the hunt for the X-Wing. 
The X-Wing pilot was relentless in his escape from the Defenders. Every time they lined up a clear shot, he would disappear behind another asteroid. Eventually, Onyx Squadron banked apart and attempted to pin the ship in a crossfire. As Onyx One rounded yet another asteroid, the X-Wing was on him, firing a barrage of proton torpedoes. The Defenders shields flickered and died before Onyx One was ripped apart by the remaining torpedoes. Onyx One’s sacrifice was the opening Onyx Two had been looking for. Appearing on the X-Wing’s rear, he opened up with the heavy laser cannon. The shot struck the X-Wings starboard stabiliser and sent the ship careening into an asteroid, destroying it.
“Captain, this is Onyx Two. X-Wings have been destroyed, repeat; target’s destroyed.”

“Good work, Onyx. Rejoin me and we’ll finish the clean-up with the rest of the taskforce.”

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