As part of our Corellian Corvette event I have developed a story leading up to the combat. All the members of the Plus Ten to Awesome crew got together and decided we would form an X-Wing Squadron called "The 42nd Strategic Combat Squadron, Ichiban's Raiders - The Scourge of the Outer Rim." Since we put that together in good fun I thought it would be even more fun to involve all of our alter egos in the story of the Assault on the Pontiff!
This is the first part of our tale as we begin to discover why the CR90 Corellian Corvette named Pontiff is important to the Imperium and the Alliance.
I.T.C.C. or Intelligence Tactical Command & Control was really just a large room filled with holoprojectors, computer consoles and analysis droids. Row upon row of analysts of various species crunched through intel reports, encryption codes and intercepted comms chatter. In the center was a large holoterminal displaying the core systems and some of the outer rim on a rotating 3D map. The map was alive with blinking lights of blue red and gold highlighting systems and estimated fleet assets for both the Empire and the Alliance.
Zeb walked in with datapad in hand looking through the lines of cubicles for the telltale cropped dark hair of the squadrons own Baz “Assassin” Qieles. Baz had been hard at work on something. The Captain had mentioned something during the morning’s squadron briefing about an intercepted comm from an Imperial Corvette near Corellia but would not say much more than that. Zeb knew that if it were anything at all, Assassin would be on target here.
“Baz, what have you got?” Zeb simply leaned against the cubicle wall casually with a warm cup of caff in his hand staring at the back of Baz’s head as it eclipsed the glowing terminal in front of him.
“Major, if I have anything to report, I promise you will be the first person to know. The only thing I have now is a hunch and I haven’t built my reputation on anything that flimsy. This could be a big opportunity, but I have to be sure.” Baz did not like being interrupted while he was concentrating. He was an especially focused individual and he did not take well to being sidetracked.
“I know you don’t like being interrupted Captain, but when one of my men acts uncharacteristically I tend to take concern. Earlier at the morning briefing I sensed a red flag from you.” Maj. Akarimas prided himself on the fact that even though he isn’t the best pilot in the squadron, he was especially good at interpreting the men’s moods and dispositions.
“Uncharacteristically? How so?” Baz’s second most important character trait was curiosity. It was the reason why Akarimas decided to take this tac with the conversation. The secret to talking to Assassin was to have him start asking questions and then get your answers after.
“You mentioned you were working on following up on some intel one of our probe droids picked up. That’s not like you. You never mention anything unless it’s already worked it through in that droid brain of yours. If you just mention it in conversation… well let’s just say that’s the closest you ever come to giddy excitement. Which means it could be big.” Akarimas was smiling like a Nexu as Baz turned around, unamused. Zeb knew the man didn’t like it when someone crawled up in his head like that. Anticipating the rancor, Zeb tossed the man a Barq Protien Bar, they were Baz’s favorite and it was Zeb’s guess that the young Lt. hadn’t bothered to eat all day. Baz took the peace offering with a grunt and decided not to kill the Major…. today.
“So, what’s up?” Zeb’s mood went right to business.
“The droid picked up a garbled message from Imp fleet HQ asking for an armed escort of hyperspace capable Ties from the Star Destroyer Invictus. I managed to trace down the origin of the comms and am trying to correlate it with any other intel we have on the area. It’s a big puzzle of manifests, partial transfer orders and ship movements, but I think I am closing in on something.” Baz’s hands moved swiftly over the keys of his terminal bringing up several snippets of data. Each with a red line running through from one to the other, it literally was a puzzle. The Captain marveled at Baz’s intellect some times. Everything was a puzzle to be solved, from finding the exact distance that two X-Wings needed to be to concentrate fire on a single target to finding odd patterns in the way the mess hall changes menu items.
“What’s this?” asked the Captain pointing at what looked like a cargo manifest for a fast moving courier ship called the Pontiff.
Baz starts pointing out elements on his holoterminal and organizes them for presentation. “That’s the last piece of the puzzle sir. I just need to confirm a last few bits of data. As you can see there are several luxury items on the manifest. These certain items seem to be affectations of a certain high ranking Imperial political officer. The ship is listed to travel from Corellia to a planet near the outer rim called Scree Fron. Intelligence indicates that the Governor of Scree Fron has died from a freak hunting accident and I have also managed to determine that this planet seems to be used to move some supplies covertly to the outer rim. It’s my suspicion that the planet is being used to supply fleet elements amassing in the outer rim. This obviously makes Scree Fron somewhat important.”
“The officer that is being transported is being escorted by some hot shot squadron in Tie Advanced fighter craft and it all seems to be on the hush hush. Lastly, the Imp officer in question is a logistics expert, is said to have contacts with the Hutts and has been complaining quite loudly about not having been promoted to a Governors position since he seems to be from some hoy palloy noble family on Corellia. What does that say to you captain?”
Zeb’s Nexu smile came back. “It looks to me like Scree Fron has a new Imperial Governor and we just happen to know his flight plan. What can you tell me about fleet assets on the planet?” In seconds Baz brought up the information, almost in anticipation of the question. “Who was in whose head now Major?” thought Baz.