"The Uranium-enriched reactor is located on the far side of Orto Plutonia. A small Imperial air base re-outfitted from our old base is stationed just a couple of miles away from the reactor and the valley housing it. Once our Cruiser exits hyperspace, we will fire our ion cannons disabling the runway and any ships stationed there but we cannot account for any TIE-Interceptor patrols already in the air. You’re two pairs of Blue Squadron X-Wings and Y-Wings will have two minutes to reach the target and destroy the reactor.”
Ackbar had briefed Agamemnon and his strike team about the details and the importance of the mission several times, but he always found the Mon Calamari’s voice to be a calm and stoic reminder of why failure is not an option. Agamemnon found it amusing that the same trench gambit which dealt the Empire its first crushing defeat would be the same risk that was used here. he didn’t know what the Galactic Empire wanted with the Uranium but could only assume it would be used with devastating effects on other key Alliance targets.
“You know your roles and you know what is at stake here today. Today we spring the trap on the Empire.”
With the wave of a hand, the Admiral dismisses Agamemnon and the strike team as they make their way to the flight deck. Once out of Ackbar’s sight, he turns to address the team. All of them return a fair attempt at a steady gaze with smirks or claps on the back.
“Come on Aggie,” Dierdre says as Agamemnon rubs his eyes in thought, “Lighten up. You’ve trained us better than any instructor could have. I’m honored to fly with you here today, Captain.”
“Hear, hear!” they all shout. Dierdre, Brick, Jin-Zerai, Callum, and Diomedes. They all made the cut because he had picked them. And now he was sending them on one of the most dangerous missions he’d ever flown. Not even Scariff was this bad.
Dierdre punches Brick in the shoulder as they head off to their Y-Wing. Jin-Zerai inhales and exhales a few times sharply before giving Callum a bantha fodder-eating grin as they board their Y-Wing leaving you and Diomedes alone for a moment.
“Ag, I, I was hoping maybe we could spend some time working on that old podracer you won with at Malastare.”
“We will when we get back Dio. Hey, one more thing! May the Force be with you.”
“You really believe in that old religion?” Dio looks kind of confused by your words.
“Your father did. I got to believe in something for his sake.” Agamemnon shakes Dio’s hand as he heads to his Fighter. Agamemnon salutes Dio and nods his head firing up his own X-Wing.
The howling noise of Agamemnon’s X-Wing is lost in the even louder winds of Orto Plutonia’s perpetual blizzards. He knows what shortly follows as your team enters the valley that leads to the reactor. “Alright everyone, This is it!”
The sound of ion cannons firing at the Empire’s air base starts the clock as the strike team begins their run. Tower guns lie but three hundred meters above your positions, but they can’t lock on to your signature this close to the valley floor.
“Ackbar to Agamemnon. The imperial air base has been disabled but a two-man TIE-Interceptor patrol has turned back to protect the reactor. They will be inbound in three minutes.”
The sharp turns required to navigate the valley floor take a toll on Agamemnon’s body, but he has memorized this route by heart. He has the timing down to a millisecond. On the nav computer, the situation is apparent that Dio and Jin-Zerai are falling behind.
“Come on Dio pick up the pace we’re fifteen seconds behind!” Jin-Zerai says.
“Don’t think Dio, feel, trust your instincts. Feel and know,” Agamemnon says to Dio.
Panting Dio’s Fighter stalls for a few moments before he re-engages making up lost ground.
“We’re coming up on the drop zone! Are you with me Dierdre?” Agamemnon says.
“Right behind you Ag,” Dierdre says her Y-Wing climbing the rocky wall.
The two of you roll as you reach the top of the incline to maximize speed and zoom downwards towards the crater where the Uranium reactor resides.
“I have lock Ag dropping now,” Dierdre says dropping her payload on the laser shield protecting the reactor.
She’s placed it in the optimal position giving him the closest to perfect shot there is. Agamemnon fires at payload detonating it in a roaring inferno and disabling the laser shield for team two. “Now comes the hard part,” Agamemnon says to himself. Jerking the controls as close he can to his chest, team one begins the tall climb out of the valley crater. The tower guns lock onto your signature as soon as his X-Wing breaks the three-hundred-meter safe zone.
CLACK! CLACK! CLACK!
It’s all both of you can do to keep the X-Wing and Y-Wing unscathed as the guns narrowly miss Dierdre’s right wing. Agamemnon hears the howling of Dio’s X-Wing as team two reaches the drop zone.
The loud spark and the explosion of smoke and ash confirm the reactor’s destruction. Team Two joins Team One in the fight for their lives as the tower guns hound all of you on the way out of the valley. Fortunately, the Imperial gunners are somehow even worse shots than stormtroopers. Just as Agamemnon thinks the strike team is in the clear he spots a blast from a nearby tower gun headed right for Dio’s cockpit.
“Dio watch out!” Zooming behind his X-Wing Agamemnon takes the blast for him. The shot rips the X-wing left side right off and he goes spiraling towards the ground.
“Ag Noooo!” is the last thing he hears before the comms fail. Desperately fumbling with the ejector pin He manages to pull it right before blacking out.
When he awakes, the surrounding area that is noticeable is a frozen forest of evergreens and the burning wreckage of the X-Wing. The next noticeable part of the area is a TIE-Fighter that has arrived at the crash site. Acting quickly, Ag runs for cover and the TIE-Fighter fires at the already ruined cockpit of the X-Wing, further obliterating it.: Well, if this is how they’re taking me out I’m not going to make it easy for them,” he thinks to himself. The TIE-Fighter concentrates fire on the fallen trees he is hiding behind, igniting them as well. Another explosion catches Ag’s attention, so he peeks out from behind the crackling tree and notices a familiar X-Wing has blown up the TIE-Fighter. “Dank Farrik, Dio, what are you doing?”
CLACK! CLACK! CLACK!
A tower gun damages the X-Wing’s propulsion system forcing Dio to crash-land deeper into the forest. Eventually, Ag makes his way to where Dio landed ready to scold him for foolishly turning back to save his life. Looking at his scuffed uniform and shattered helmet that lies discarded Agamemnon just can’t bring himself to reprimand the weathered pilot.
“I know, I know,” he shakes his head smiling at Ag. The two of them embrace one another for a moment glad that the other’s alive.
“Alright, you crazy son of a Gundark, let’s find a ship to get out of here. There might be something on the air base the Cruiser didn’t completely fry,” Agamemnon says to Diomedes. He follows Ag as he trudges through the thick snow toward their destination.
The Imperial air base is a smoking wreck. After Ackbar disabled the ships with the ion cannons, he must have bombed the hell out of the base.
“Look Dio, there’s our ticket out of here,” he points towards a ship in a nearby hangar.
“That thing? You’re kidding, right? TIE-Fighters are pieces of junk. We’ll never get far in that,” Dio says.
Signaling for him to follow, Diomedes begrudgingly sneaks behind Ag towards the TIE-Fighter hangar. The smoke obscures everyone’s uniforms so no one running around notices the presence of two Rebel pilots though the two of them still hasten their pace towards the ship.
“Hurry up and help me unplug this thing,” He orders Dio and climbs into the cockpit. While Diomedes gets the stabilizers unplugged, Ag realizes the engine’s energy core is still intact thankfully. Agamemnon fires up the engine as Dio hops into the backseat and closes the exterior hatch. The Proton Torpedoes are also armed though hopefully they won’t see any use.
“If we’re lucky we’ll fly right by any enemy fighters, and none will be the wiser. Activate your tracking beacon Dio. I want Ackbar to know we’re back in the air.” As the older model TIE-Fighter climbs into the snowy sky a two-man TIE-Interceptor patrol saddles up alongside the two of them. The pilots assume the TIE-Fighter is friendly and signal Ag to follow them back to base.
“If we go with them Ag, we’ll never make it back to the Cruiser,” Dio says.
“Well then Dio, I hope you’re ready for a dogfight. Hang on,” He sharply turns the TIE-Fighter blasting the rear thrusters of the closest TIE-Interceptor sundering it from the sky.
“Let me know when the other one fires his torpedo Dio!” He slams the controls forward taking off.
“Now! Now!” Dio shouts as the TIE-Interceptor fires its first torpedo. Deftly, Agamemnon maneuvers the TIE-Fighter just barely in time to get in front of the falling TIE-Interceptor causing the torpedo to strike it instead. Accelerating, Agamemnon hears the screech of the pursuing Interceptor.
Doing a three-sixty, Agamemnon is able to position himself behind the Interceptor and launches his first proton torpedo. The Interceptor slams on the brakes and completely avoids the incoming missile.
“We need to get low! Must confuse his targeting system,” Agamemnon shouts. The Interceptor fires another torpedo which bounces off a snowbank thanks to the tight turns around the valley floor detonating harmlessly. The Interceptor fires at the Fighter causing minor damage to one of the wings.
“We took a hit Ag come on shake him off!” Dio says.
“Let’s see if an old model can learn new tricks,” Agamemnon says slamming on brakes the same way the TIE-Interceptor did. The Interceptor flies right by them and Agamemnon fires damaging it slightly.
“You got it. You got it!” Dio shouts.
“Not quite, this guy's way faster than we are I’m only going to get one more try at this,” Agamemnon says.
Focusing, taking a deep breath, and trusting his instincts like he told Dio earlier in the mission, Agamemnon waits for the right moment and fires at the Interceptor.
A resounding crack comes from the Interceptor as its fragile wings are severed forcing the TIE pilot to eject. Both Agamemnon and Dio let out a deep breath.
“Let’s head back to the cruiser,” Agamemnon says.
On the way back, another battle seems to be unfolding just above Orto Plutonia. When the two pilots arrive, Diedre rushes to greet them.
“Jin-Zerai and Callum didn’t make it. Brick is in medical. I think the Star Destroyer anticipated our strike on the reactor. Ackbar has more intel for you in the debriefing room Ag,” Dierdre says putting a hand on his shoulder.
As he enters, Ackbar is staring out at the hyperspace tunnel deep in thought. “Uh, Admiral? Is this a good time?”
Ackbar turns to address him, “Sorry just planning our next move.”
“I heard we jumped as soon as our Fighter got back. I was wondering if you located our tracker” Agamemnon responds.
“I did. We had to run as soon as the Star Destroyer showed up. I imagine you saw it on your way up.” Ackbar turns to face him. “Look Ag, I know you lost good people back there, but they’re one with the Force now, all we can do to honor them is never stop fighting the good fight.”
Agamemnon nods solemnly clasping the Mon Calamari’s webbed hand. “Never out of the fight.”