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Chickenman

Chapter 2: Forges of Ithyari

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Chickenman

The planet Ithyari is a major producer of the Empire's war materiel. Warships, fighter tanks, infantry weapons, all are created in the fiery furnaces of Ithyari. The New Republic wishes to put out those furnaces once and for all. And there's only one starfighter squadron up to the task.

Revenant Squadron has just completed their first combat mission against impossible odds. Now, the Revenants are tasked with destroying the Empire's war factories, all the while not getting killed by the very weapons being built. Revenant Squadron is outnumbered and deep behind enemy lines.

And that's just how they like it.

Edited by Chickenman

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Chickenman

"I'm sorry, guys,? Atzena Meling?s voice, weighed down with sorrow and fear, buzzed in Aeric Tunon?s ear. "But I'm just not going to make it into the hangar."

"Yes you will, Atzena, just hold it together!? Takeshi Beskar?s voice reassured. Aeric could only watch as Atzena?s damaged starfighter slowly angled itself towards the warship.

"Tell my family...that I love them. And thank you all for being my friends. You might want to back away now...."

"Atzena, don't do this! It?s suicide!" Aeric all but screamed into his comm.

"It's my sacrifice..." Atzena replied somberly. Her starfighter accerlated. The starfighter slammed into the massive warship, exploding in an impossibly large fireball for such a small craft.

Aeric choked back tears and increased his own starfighter?s acceleration, aiming for the hangar that?s shield was down due to Atzena?s sacrifice.

Jareth Daragon was the first one to get there. Too late. A door dropped into place to prevent boarding. He collided with it, instantly killed.

No!

?Nima! There?s a missile bearing down on you. Break hard to port!? Nima Secura did. Not fast enough.

No!

?Lead, Four, we?ve picked up some TIEs. Can?t shake them!?

?We?re coming, Four. Come on, Two.? Arlan Vaar fell in behind Aeric. They caught up with Four, Atuarre and her wingmate, Layla Nasrin. Layla?s fighter was breaking apart, having taken a critical hit.

?Eject, Layla!? Explosion. Dead. Aeric grit his teeth, blasted apart the TIE that had vaped Layla, and focused his attention on the one tailing Atuarre. He nailed it in time, flashing past it as it exploded. Arlan followed.

Arlan screamed.

Shrapnel from the TIE had caught his fighter. He didn?t have a chance to punch out. Meanwhile, Atuarre had been caught by a missile, their rescue effort proven futile, she joined the rest of One Flight.

There had to be something he could do. Anything!

He watched in horror as yet another missile caught Takeshi Beskar. Shrapnel and wreckage from his fighter collided with his wingman, Jaim Adarra?s. They died together.

Anything! This can?t happen!

?Got a TIE on me! I can?t shake him!? panicked Aston Kendall.

?On my way, Six.? reasurred Nat Riamor, Aeric?s executive officer.

Two explosions, and they were gone.

It was useless. There was no escape.

He glanced at his displays. Aside from him, only two members of Revenant Squadron still lived.

?Jya, Kaden, form up. We?re going down, but we?re going down with a fight.? Jya Orson and Kaden Staal?s X-Wings took their places behind him in a delta formation.

The three starfighters angled towards a wing of TIE fighters, blasting them from the sky. Missiles streaked towards them. Aeric dodged two, but they continued on their path, slamming into Jya and Kaden?s fighters.

NO!

One Immobilizer Cruiser, Two star destroyers, and dozens of starfighter squadrons turned their attention to Aeric, firing with all their might?

Captain Aeric Tunon bolted upright in his cot. Breathing heavily, he tried to calm down. Calm down, Aeric. It was just a dream. The same dream that had been haunting him for fourteen standard days, ever since Revenant Squadron?s run in with an imperial warlord?s battle group. Somehow they?d survived, even managing to capture the Immobilizer.

He tossed on a pair of sweatpants and made his way to the refresher down the hall.

Even so, their victory had not been without cost. Flight Officer Atzena Meling had indeed died bringing the hangar?s shield down. Lieutenant Jareth Daragon had also died, though on board the ship, taking the ship?s captain with him. Even so, the fight could have been a slaughter. It should have been a slaughter.

Aeric reached the sink, splashing water onto his face. He stared into the mirror.

They say you never actually die in a nightmare. That you wake up at the last second. Aeric had to agree. The worst part of a nightmare was that everyone died, except for the one dreaming.

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Rogue

Nat Riamor shifted a bit as he stood out on the platform with Captain Tunon and Layla Nasrin. Ever since he'd been pulled from the bacta tank his leg had been a little stiff. He understood that bacta had done what it could and his healing muscles had to learn to hold his weight again, but it was begining to get annoying.

Still, I should be glad I'm alive to be annoyed. It probably doesn't help that I've been straining it either.

The five day break he'd had once he had emerged from Bacta had him going stircrazy. As promised of course, Nima Secura, the group medic had had everybody around to greet him when he emerged from the tank. Nat wasn't so thrilled. The decompression headache from being 'underwater' for 42 hours was made worse by all the excitement. That and...there were a few choice body-parts that he didn't have a dire need for rest of the Squadron to see, and much to his dismay they had all been around to see the show. It had been embarassing enough when Nima had put him in the tank without everybody seeing him coming out of it.

His face blushed a darker blue at the thought. "The shuttle should be arriving any minute." He told the pink-skinned Zeltron standing a few feet to the side, anxiously rocking back and forth on her heels as her gray eyes explored the daytime skies.

"I know." Layla grinned.

Nat turned to Aeric. "This should be interesting."

Edited by Rogue

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Chickenman

"Yeah." Aeric replied. A replacement pilot. Living proof of my failure as a commander.

His gaze lifted skyward.

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Ayingel

The shuttle began making its descent. It was a far cry from what Szen was use to for shuttles. Those had always been large and full of people; never very quiet, not like this. Most of the other passengers were crew, but this time she was glad she couldn't call herself one of them.

At least this gives me plenty of time to get ready, as long as I'm left alone.

She glanced over at the other person arriving at the base, then closed her eyes and thought about the academy. Opening her eyes again, she glanced around the shuttle and sighed.

I don't see why they're in such a hurry. This all should have been done in the hangar.

Szen gave herself one final glance-over, checking all the pieces of her uniform, fingering her name tag. Smiling, she turned to the other passenger.

"So, are you ready for this?"

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Radioactive Isotope

Atuarre padded out to the landing platform and stood well behind her fellow squadmates. She was anxious to meet this new pilot. That certainly was fast, she thought to herself. The sadness over the loss of Atzena and Jareth still hung over the squad, but they couldn't afford to be down two pilots for very long. After all, Revenant was an active duty squadron now. The brass must have been impressed with their capture of the interdictor. Perhaps that was part of the reason the vacancies were being filled so quickly.

Her gaze rested momentarily on Lieutenant Riamor. He was still favoring his injured leg a bit, but he was already looking much better than he had a couple weeks ago. She surpressed a chuff of laughter at the memory of seeing him coming out of the bacta tank. She doubted she would see him so embarassed anytime soon. Still, she hoped the experience would help him lighten up a bit.

The scent of Layla's pheremones caught her attention next, and Atuarre was somewhat surprised that Takeshi Beskar wasn't around. She rarely saw one without the other these days. And then there was Captian Tunon. He looked to be lost in his own thoughts, no doubt brooding still over the casualties of the last mission. He seemed to be taking Atzena's and Jareth's deaths personally. Atuarre made a mental note to see if she could catch him alone sometime and talk with him. They all knew the risks. No one could have expected a blue milk run to end up a full-fledged battle. It's not your fault, Captain. It's the Empire's. Next time, we make them pay.

She crossed the distance to the others and stood beside Layla. "So, any ideas on how to welcome the new guy?"

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Ender

Jaim walked up, leaning against the wall. "I was thinking a bucket of old sour milk on the door to his dorm. Maybe a lizard under his pillow."

Nat shot him a look.

"Don't worry, those are for the Mynocks. My plans depend on how much of a drinker the newbie is."

Nat sighed and shook his head.

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Drake

"What if he's a she...and what if she can drink you under the table?" asked Takeshi as he seemingly snuck up unheard.

Tak's hair was a little on the wild side and he looked like he just woke up. In truth, he just had. He mumbled through a yawn then asked, "Who scheduled this flight anyway? They just had to make it at 0530? I still had half an hour on my beauty sleep."

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Ayingel

The shuttle drew nearer to the hangar.

"I guess I'll take your silence for now."

As the shuttle landed, Szen found herself checking over her uniform once more. After all, she actually did want to make a good impression on her first day. The shuttle landed and Szen hurried off. She checked her holo and then looked around for the first time.

Don't they look like an interesting bunch. Here goes...

She made her way towards the group of people.

Edited by Ayingel

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Chickenman

Aeric glanced back uneasily at the crowd that had formed. He hadn't expected anyone but Nat and Layla to welcome the new members of the squadron. He shrugged. At least they could get the introductions out of the way sooner.

The shuttle's ramp lowered and out stepped the new pilot.

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Ayingel

As she approached the group of people, Szen got her first real good look at them...Her eyes rested on each of them individually as she kept walking.

"Captain Tunon?"

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Chickenman

Aeric returned her salute.

"Welcome to Revenant Squadron, Flight Officer Brǽnen. I'm Captain Aeric Tunon, Commanding Officer," he gestured to Nat. "This is Lieutenant Nat Riamor, my executive," he gestured again, "and this is-"

"Layla!" a voice cried out from the shuttle.

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Rubezsia

She came running out in excitement, her eyes easily finding the pink Zeltron in the crowd. She sprinted across the feracrete ground of the hanger and hugged Layla excitedly. "Where in Corellia's nine hells have you been?!"

Layla laughed as she embraced the ebony-haired seventeen year old. "Off kicking Imperial ass as usual babe." She leaned over, whispering into her ear. "Now go over to Captain Tunon and Lieutenant Riamor and thank them for letting you come here."

Her face shifted to an expression of disgust. "Do I have to?"

Layla's gray eyes met her violet ones pointedly.

She sighed. "Fine..." She walked over to Captain Tunon and mock-saluted. "Sir, thank you for dragging me from the sparkling Imperial City to this overgrown backwater world in the middle of nowhere, sir!"

Edited by Rubezsia

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Ayingel

Szen glared at the much younger female. Then snapping her attention to the Captain again continued.

"Sir, if could please finish the introductions? I'm eager to learn the names of the rest of your officers."

edit (double wtf?)

Edited by Ayingel

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Chickenman

Aeric returned Sena's salute, drenched in sarcasm as it was. Layla did say she was going to be a handful. Still, it was worth it to get her off the street, especially with bounty hunters trying to track her down.

He took in her human features with surprise. Layla said they were sisters? Adopted? I'll have to ask Layla about it later.

He returned his attention back to Szen. "Actually, the Lieutenant and I have some business to attend to. I'm sure the squadron will introduce themselves at the pilots lounge. Once again, I'm glad to have you on the team." With that, he and Nat left.

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Rogue

Once they had left the hanger, Nat turned to Aeric with a look of surprise. He didn't particularly remember anything else of importance on the agenda for this morning. "We have buisness to attend to Captain?"

***

Layla walked up to Sena once the officers had left. "Sena!" She sighed, shifting her weight to one hip. "You promised me on the comm that you were going to behave."

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Mara

After everything that had happened in the past two, three weeks, Kaden was glad to get back to a normal routine. He needed for things to be normal. In just a short time he had went from a forced leave to joining a new squadron to capturing and flying an Interdictor and bringing it to the New Republic. They hadn't stayed on Coruscant very long, returning to their base shortly for a week of rest and relaxation.

Kaden winced thinking about it as he got out of bed at 600 hours. Everyone else had enjoyed the time off, but he had been anxious to get back out there. After the losses they had taken and eveything they had been through on those couple days on the Interdictor, he just need something to do to keep his mind off of it all.

While everyone else relaxed during the past week, Kaden logged lots of hours in the sims, needing to keep himself busy. He hadn't known Lt. Dargon or Off. Meling very well, but it still brought up horrible memories for him from another battle months ago. He dove into his work, refining his skills in the X-wing sims but also getting some time in the TIE and Y-wing sims to keep himself fresh. The rest of the time he spent working on Artie, his droid. He had received a few scratches while repairing the Interdictor, and Kaden wanted him up to spec again.

In fact, this morning he wanted to shine him all up because he had heard a new pilot was joining them. A replacement. Kaden sighed as he headed to the 'fresher to shower. It had only been a couple weeks since he joined, but it always seemed like a lifetime. And another lifetime since he lost Tashi.

Returning to his empty room, freshly cleared a week ago of the lieutanent's things, he dressed in a new, clean gray flightsuit, complete with his squadron's new insignia and his rank. No more generic flightsuits anymore. They were a real active squadron now. But even with their leave over, the last few days of active duty hadn't been much different.

He buffed Artie up to a shine before they both headed off to the cafeteria for some breakfast. It may be a big day with a new arrival, but Kaden couldn't do anything before he ate. And he sincerely hoped that a new mission would be arriving shortly after the new pilot as he got in line to pile up his tray.

Edited by Mara

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Rubezsia

Sena sighed. "Heh, I guess our interpretations of the word behave is a bit different huh? Where's the cafeteria? I'm STARVING!"

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Mara

Kaden followed Artie over to an empty table towards the back and sat down. This morning he actually took the time to glance at his food before he dug into it. The offerings didn't look a whole lot different, but he had heard a new cook had been hired, probably due to his fellow pilots.

He rolled his eyes as he worked through some sausage and friend potatoes. Tasted better, but not noticeably so. He shrugged and continued eating. It was all food to him, no matter what it was.

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Chickenman

"Yes." Though that's not why I wanted to leave. He pulled a datapad out of his pocket and handed it to Nat. "This arrived from Starfighter Command this morning."

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Rogue

Nat took the datapad from him, eyes examining the screen. "Someone was up bright and early on Coruscant." he remarked, still, he knew that Coruscant was a few standard hours ahead of them. It was probably nearing noon there.

He scanned the text briefly. He would review it all in detail later. "Ithyari?" he asked blinking in surprise. "There's an interesting choice for a first mission."

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Chickenman

Aeric nodded. "Not letting us start off easy, are they?"

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Rogue

"They must be desperate." He frowned. "I see why they chose it as a target. Knocking out those factories gives us a definate edge over the Imperial War Machine. Still...something easier to get everybody's heads back on track would have been prefferable."

Edited by Rogue

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Drake

Takeshi sauntered over to the newcomers. "Welcome, ladies! My name is Takeshi Beskar. I see one of you already knows our pink friend here, Layla Nasrin. The guy slacking off against the wall is Jaim Adarra and the big cuddly kitty is Atuarre."

The Trianii gave him a low snarling growl.

Tak laughed. "Down girl!" Turning his attention back to Szen and Sena, he said, "So are you two hungry? It's a good enough time for breakfast."

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Rogue

Layla was glad Tak stepped in when he did. She was begining to grow upset by Sena's attitude. "That sounds like a great idea, babe. Sena was just telling me how hungry she is from the long flight. Food's not the greatest," she told Szen. "But it's getting better."

I'm going to have a few words with Sena later about her manners...

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