Star Wars: X-Wing: Scout Squadron

The following is a dramatization of a game of the Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game by Fantasy Flight Games.

            The swirling, blue miasma of hyperspace was particularly entrancing today. I couldn’t even remember the time of day. With all of these scouting missions, I had hardly slept a wink in the past few weeks. “Put the Rebellion before yourself, Aden,” Commander Narra had told me, “Put the Rebellion before yourself and you’ll do alright.” Not the most encouraging advice I’d ever received but it had served me well over the past few weeks.
            We were on our fifth scouting mission in four days. I was piloting my X-Wing and was accompanied by my wingman, Matthias Tallon in his own X-Wing and Dash Logoth piloting a Y-Wing equipped with survey equipment. We were on our way to another uncharted system, searching for a location for the Rebel Base that had been displaced from the Yavin system after the destruction of the Death Star. The leaders of the Rebellion were looking for a system that was near a major shipping lane but unknown enough to escape drawing any attention.

            
            My R5 unit sounded an alert from behind me, two minutes to our destination. I made a few last-minute system checks, shook my head to clear out all the fuzziness and waited for reversion. The murkiness of hyperspace suddenly faded away and was replaced by streaking star lines as our three starfighters popped into the uncharted star system.
            With so many scouting missions recently, all of these systems had begun to merge together in my mind. Usually a star with a few planets and moons, nothing habitable, rarely any contact with any spacefaring inhabitants. This system was just like all of the others. A large red dwarf star lay in the middle of the system and my sensors detected three planets in orbit.
            “Okay Scout 3, lets fire up the survey equipment and find out what we’ve got,” I said to Dash.
            “Initial readings are coming in,” he reported, “It looks like there are three planets each with a few small moons. Nothing too remarkable.”
            “Alright, Tubby, start making the calculations for our escape vector,” My R5 unit, nicknamed “Tubby,” whistled an affirmative.
            “Wait a minute, sensors are picking up an anomaly on one of the moons. The equipment is identifying it as a prefabricated facility. That’s all I’m getting back. No IFF signal or comm traffic,” said Dash.
            “What do you mean prefabricated? Has this system actually been charted before?”
            “No, more like this sensor profile has shown up before but no one had bothered to classify it.”
            “Huh, well we’d better check it out. Lets move it,” I ordered.
            It took us a few minutes to travel further into the system where we could take some more detailed sensor scans. In that time we were able to learn a bit more about the moon. It was orbiting the second planet in the system, a gas giant, and was tidally locked on the opposite side of the planet from the sun. That meant the moon was completely shrouded in darkness and frozen solid. Surprisingly, the moon did have a life sustaining atmosphere though no life could live on such a cold piece of rock.
            “Hey, I’m picking up four new signals originating from the facility,” that was Scout 3 again, “Wait a second. Three TIE Fighters and one TIE Advanced inbound!”
            “Son of a Sith! Lock S-Foils into attack position! Scout 2, on my wing. We’re going to cut across you, Scout 3, to try and draw their fire,” my voice was raised in anticipation. I quickly checked my own sensors, the TIEs were still 5 kilometers away but closing fast. They would be in firing range in less than a minute.

Scout Squadron faces off with four TIE Fighters.

Scout Squadron faces off with four TIE Fighters.

            “Uh, Lead, what should I do?” asked Dash, his fear creeping into his voice.
            “Just stay behind us and we’ll do all the work. Try and take pot shots with your ion cannon and see if you can’t cause some confusion,” I said as calmly as possible. Fear was starting to creep into my own thoughts. I knew that whatever happened, Dash had to escape this system with the sensor data intact. Matthias and I had to do whatever was necessary to ensure this objective was completed.
            At this point the TIEs were on the very edge of weapons range. I pushed my flightstick to the right, and my X-Wing started drifting across Scout 3’s line of advance. I trusted that Matthias was right behind me, tucked under my wing. Green laser bolts flashed past, long range pot shots from the TIEs. At the speed we were closing, the two sides would be past each other in less than three seconds.

TIE Fighters race past our X-Wings.

TIE Fighters race past our X-Wings.

            The TIEs broke into two wing pairs as they closed on us. The TIE Advanced and a TIE Fighter drifted off to the left, towards Dash; the remaining two TIE Fighters bore straight on towards me. I saw lasers flash in Dash’s direction and hoped his Y-Wing could soak up the damage. Tubby whistled a lock tone and I instinctively squeezed my trigger finger. Bright red lasers lanced out from my wing tips towards the leading TIE Fighter. Most of them whizzed pass harmlessly but I thought I saw a few graze his solar panels. The TIE Fighter returned fire but his lasers dissipated harmlessly against my shields. Suddenly a flash of light burst into my vision. Matthias had fired a Proton Torpedo at the other TIE Fighter but it had detonated a few meters short of his target.

TIE Fighters bear down on Scout Three.

TIE Fighters bear down on Scout Three.

            I cut my speed to half and cut a hard left turn towards the other two TIEs. I could see the two enemy fighters bearing down on the slow, but sturdy Y-Wing. I quickly glanced at my sensors to check the condition of Scout 3, his shields were failing. I lined up the TIE Fighter in my sights and fired. My laser bolts blasted through one of the TIE’s solar panels but it continued to maneuver behind Dash. A blue ion cannon bolt shot out from the Y-Wing and hit the TIE Advanced, scattering blue lightning bolts across the ship. I cut my speed to barely a crawl to keep the Imperials in front of me.
            “Three, scissor me. I’ll take out the guy behind you.” I said, telling Dash to cut right past me. With our two fighter pointed directly at each other, I lined up my sights again on the damaged TIE Fighter behind Dash. This would take pinpoint marksmanship to miss Dash and hit his pursuer so I took an extra second to make sure my sights were right. In that one second, the Imperial took one last shot at the Y-Wing before my own laser bolts cut right through the ball cockpit of his fighter.
            “That’s one down!” I cheered, celebrating my victory. My elation was short lived as a few more green lasers blasted into the hull of Dash’s fighter. His ship had taken a number of hits but he wasn’t out of the fight yet, a blue ion bolt shot out from the turret atop his cockpit.
            “I got him! I got him!” cheered Dash, after apparently hitting one of the other TIE Fighters behind me.
            “Nice work, now focus on the last eyeball,” I said, referring to the TIE Fighter by its nickname. I was feeling more and more confident with each passing second. “Matthias, we’re going after the TIE Advanced.”
            “Roger, I’m on your six,” my wingman replied.
            “Tubby, do you have a target lock on the Imp?” My astromech whistled an affirmative. I switched from lasers to proton torpedoes, waited for a lock tone from Tubby, and fired as soon as I heard it. The missile shot out as a pink blur and closed with the TIE Advanced faster than my eyes could track. The Imperial pilot didn’t react but there was no explosion. The torpedo had over shot its target without arming itself. I cursed and switched back to lasers.

Targeting the TIE Advanced.

Targeting the TIE Advanced.

            “I’m hit, I’m hit! I can take much more of this pounding!” Dash’s panic-filled voice filled my cockpit.
            “Scout 2, move to cover Scout 3. I’m on the leader,” I ordered.
            I trusted that my wingman could take care of the Y-Wing long enough for me to take out the TIE Advanced. I sighted in on the Imperial fighter. It began dancing around, juking this way and that. With every ounce of focus, I tracked each movement of the enemy with my crosshairs. Tubby sounded a lock tone and I fired. The red laser bolts cut straight through the enemy fighter, severely damaging it but not destroying it. What was it going to take to destroy this guy?
            “Blast it Aden, where are you!” Dash was now panicked enough to call me by my own name instead of my callsign.
            “Hold on Three, I’m on my way!” said Matthias. A pause, then a bright flash from my left lit up by cockpit. I stole a glance and saw the remaining TIE Fighter spinning out of control, one of its solar panels completely destroyed. The Imperial I was after was the last enemy remaining, the only thing remaining between us and safety.

Scout Two protects Scout Three from the incoming TIE Advanced.

Scout Two protects Scout Three from the incoming TIE Advanced.

            “Two, cut between Three and the Imp. Try and draw its fire,” I ordered hoping Matthias could at least spare Dash’s life for a few moments. The Imperial had already lined up on the badly damaged Y-Wing and I knew he would fire at any moment; I had to act now. I exhaled slowly, squinted my eyes, and gingerly squeezed the trigger. The laser blast converged on the TIE Advanced and struck home. The fighter exploded in a great fireball that sent superheated gas and debris flying in every direction.
            “We got ’em!” Matthias exclaimed.
            I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and a smile creased my lips. I told Tubby to begin calculations for the hyperspace jump home.
            “Nice work boys. That one confirmed kill for each of you,” I said proudly, “Three, make your last sensor sweep, we’re outbound in five minutes.”
            The sensor readings we took told us the Imperial facility was a research station. We left a probe in orbit to alert us to any new Imperial activity before a strike team could be sent to retrieve any intel from the facility and then destroy it. For Scout Squadron, our business was finished for the day. We were headed home, victorious. Tubby signaled that his calculations for the outbound hyperspace jump were ready. I waited for my two comrades to make the jump before the stars elongated into the swirling miasma of hyperspace outside my own cockpit.

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