AUTHOR'S NOTES: This is a rewrite of my original first chapter. Some sections of the chapter will be mostly the same, such as the opening battle between Yzak's mobile suits and the terrorists which has only a few changes. The real differences begin in the second section which introduces the Rebels. As to why I made these changes, I explain that more in-depth at the bottom of the page in the ending Author's Notes.
Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Seed or Star Wars.
Sector: Not Applicable
Grid Coordinates: H-7
Region: Unknown Regions
Date: CE 75
At the far edge of an area designated as Lagrange point 5 by the denizens of a small blue planet that was the third closest to its primary, two ships drew closer to each other. One Nazca-class destroyer, the Voltaire, was bearing down on the civilian freighter Blue Lagoon. The Blue Lagoon was in an area of space that was far outside the designated routes within the L5 area for civilian ships. However despite appearances the Blue Lagoon was not an ordinary freighter, which is why the flagship of the Terminal task force known as the Joule Team was here investigating it.
Opening up its hangar doors the Voltaire launched from its mobile suit catapult one Slash ZAKU Warrior, two GuAIZ R, one Gunner ZAKU Warrior, one black Blaze ZAKU Phantom, and one white GOUF Ignited. Over an open channel the Commander of the task force and pilot of the GOUF, Yzak Joule, issued a warning to the crew of the Blue Lagoon, stating that they were in a restricted area, that they were to cease all propulsion, and to be prepared to be boarded and all crew and cargo inspected. Blue Lagoon's response was to blow its hangars open from which 10 Strike Dagger mobile suits flew from.
While surprising this action was not entirely unexpected. ZAFT intelligence had warned Terminal that the freighter was suspected to be a carrier ship for one of the numerous terrorist groups formed after the death of Djibril during the Earth's and the PLANTs' efforts to eradicate Logos.
The first of the mobile suits to attack was the Gunner ZAKU Warrior, its powerful Orthros cannon having the greatest range of the present mobile suits, scattering the Strike Daggers into three smaller groups with a single of blast.
Yzak boosted his GOUF forward towards a group of 3 Strike Daggers, unleashing a torrent of energy beams from his Draupnir upon the mobile suits, destroying one as the other two scattered. Targeting the mobile suit on the right Yzak drew his Tempest beam sword. The Strike Dagger blocked the first strike with its own beam saber, only to be kicked away and perforated with beam shots.
The pilot of the third Strike Dagger tried to shoot Yzak's GOUF in the back. Yzak dodged and flew at the mobile suit, lashing out with his Slayer Whip heat rod, wrapping it around the beam rifle. Yzak sent an electrical shock through the whip, destroying the rifle and stabbed the Strike Dagger's head with his beam sword. A few more well placed cuts and the mobile suit was out of commission without killing the pilot. It would be good to have at least one terrorist to interrogate.
A quick check of his sensors told Yzak that the rest of the team had finished with their opponents. "Damage report people. Dearka?"
"No damage, just need to restock on the supply of missiles for my Blaze pack," reported Yzak's long standing teammate and friend.
"Nothing a bit of paint won't fix Commander," responded Ezekiel, pilot of the Gunner ZAKU.
"Hah, as if a bunch Naturals in outdated machines could touch me!"
"Don't get cocky Morgan; all it takes is one stray shot from even the oldest Moebius to shoot down even the most advanced mobile suit." chided Yzak. "Teresa, how are you?"
"Lost a railgun sir. The explosion messed with my suit's systems and the legs' movement calibration is off."
"Ask the mechanics to replace the railgun and work on the legs once we get back to the Voltaire. Just because we're no longer at war there's no excuse for not keeping your machine combat ready. How about you Liz, what's your status?"
"One hundred percent operational Commander." reported Elizabeth in her usual stoic voice as she piloted the Slash ZAKU into formation.
"Are there any survivors amongst your engaged mobile suits?" The following report told Yzak that, including the suit he disabled, there were three surviving terrorists. Yzak then ordered for two of his pilots to grab the other two survivors' suits as he grabbed the one he disabled and return to the Voltaire.
System: Ankus System
Sector: Freestanding Subsectors
Oversector: Not Applicable, Just Galactic West of the Bright Jewel Oversector
Grid Coordinates: I-7
Region: Mid Rim
Date: 34:2 (Great ReSynchronization Calendar)
The ship jolted as a turbolaser shot struck against the shields. The Tantive IV was not a war vessel, nor was it even designed to do any real fighting, and wouldn't be able to take much more of the abuse.
"We need to get out of here!" Shouted the resident VIP Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan, currently the youngest member of the Imperial Senate and high ranking official in the Alliance to Restore the Republic, or as it's more commonly known the Rebel Alliance. Both of which are positions she had only recently obtained.
"The hyperdrive coordinates haven't been calculated yet. We need a bit more time." Responded Captain Antilles as he checked on the bridge crew's progress.
"Captain, there is undisputable evidence of our connection to the Alliance aboard this ship! We can't allow it or a single member of the crew to fall into the hands of the Empire! Just make a blind jump!" ordered the princess.
"Princess! Are you insane!" shouted the metallic and artificial voice of Antilles golden protocol droid C-3PO. "We're on the edge of Wild Space and our current course has us heading deeper into it, straight towards the Unknown Region! Do you know the odds of surviving such a blind jump!?"
"Better than the odds of surviving when those Imperials on our tail catch us!" the princess shouted back
Antilles grumbled as he weighed his options. It was supposed to be a relatively simple mission. Using her position in the senate as a cover the princess was to go to the world of Ankus on the edge of the Empire.
Actually, it was beyond the edge of Empire, in a region of the galaxy officially listed as a freestanding subsector, a term used to designate territories that were not a part of the galactic government. But that hadn't stopped the Imperial Army from invading the planet.
Now the indigenous Cragmoloid population was essentially enslaved, with many of their number forced to work for TaggCo, an Empire-supporting (and in turn supported by the Empire) mega-corporation that was strip-mining the planet of its bountiful and valuable ores. The Cragmoloid were also in danger of poachers who hunted the sentient pachydermoid species for their tusks.
The Cragmoloids was hardly the first species, or Ankus the first planet, to be exploited by the Empire in such a manner, but the Imperials' abuse of Ankus was made easier to hide by the fact that hardly anyone has heard of the planet or of the Cragmoloid people. Even in the thousand years since their discovery by the bygone Republic the Cragmoloids had yet to incorporate many galactic standard technologies into their culture, and no more than a handful have ever left their planet.
The planet Ankus's position aided in their anonymity as it was on the edge of known space. Just go a few dozen light-years in the direction of galactic east and you would be in territory considered to be part of the Unknown Regions.
Officially Princess Leia Organa had come to this remote world as part of a Senatorial oversight committee to ensure that TaggeCo was abiding by Imperial law and has a member of Alderaan's ruling family to impress upon local TaggCo officials the value in forming relationships with Alderaannian manufacturers.
The former of the two objectives was a complete sham. While the Empire did have laws to prevent exploitation of indigenous species they were practically useless with the number of special dispensations and exceptions that had been created by the Empire's bureaucracy.
TaggCo has high friends in the Empire who will claim that TaggCo's presence on the planet and use of the Cragmoloids was all part of a program to "better the lives of the primitive indigenous species and prepare them for full induction into the Empire". These same friends would prevent anything that shows either the corporation or government in a bad light from reaching the senate floor, even when the evidence is gathered by an Imperial Senator.
The second objective was real, but it was also a cover for a third objective that Leia was carrying out as a member of the Rebel Alliance.
The TaggCo official that Leia had met on the planet had become sympathetic to the Cragmoloids and was publically voicing his opinion that current attitudes and practices needed to be changed. TaggCo did not appreciate this and marginalized his power so that while he maintained his position he had zero influence outside his department. Outraged at the casual dismissal of his opinion and the continued abuse the official had started his own rebel group among like-minded humans and Cragmoloids. The ultimate objective of their group is to overthrow local Imperial rule, chase off TaggCo, and return control of Ankus to its rightful people with enough defenses to scare away any would-be poachers.
This group had caught the attention of the Rebel Alliance who sent agents to begin negotiations. The negotiations were going well but the Ankus rebels were still wavering about joining the Alliance. Since the agents had determined that the rebel cell was legit, Alliance High Command had determined it was time to send in a major figure in the Rebellion to show the scope of their power and influence. That was where the princess came in as she was an influential figure for both the Senate and the Rebel Alliance who could openly travel to Ankus with few questions asked.
However, it's now obvious that someone on Ankus wasn't as on board with the rebels' objective and knew of Leia's arrival.
As the Tantive IV was heading out into space to go back home, an Imperial patrol cruiser appeared. But not just any run-of-the-mill cruiser, it was a Victory-class Star Destroyer, and while Victory isn't as big or dangerous as an Imperial-class Star Destroyer it is still more than enough to rip a Corellian Corvette like the Tantive IV apart in minutes.
And to make matters worse the ship appeared right in the path of their previous exit route back to the Core. With the Star Destroyer spewing turbolasers and grasping tractor beams ahead of them and the planet and its gravity well behind, their only option was to take a new course, a course that was oriented towards galactic east towards the Unknown Regions.
They didn't have enough time to calculate a new jump before the chasing Star Destroyer would be able to snag them with its tractor beams, but to fly blind in such an unexplored area of the galaxy had an incredibly high risk of running into unknown mass shadows that more often than not led to the damaging if not destruction of a space craft. Antilles was stuck between a rock and a hard place.
His internal debate was cut short by several beeps and whistles by his small blue and white astromech R2-D2.
"Sir, Artoo states that he has already calculated an emergency escape route. He only needs to upload it into the nav-computer." translated the golden Threepio.
The old captain couldn't quite hold back a small smile for the reliable little droid. Despite being only a simple astromech, in the 19 years he had owned the droid Antilles had come to notice that Artoo seemed to have an almost supernatural ability for having just the thing needed to get out of unexpected and problematic situations. But then again given the droid's past and its former owner he really couldn't expect anything less from it.
If that wasn't enough the severe shaking caused by the next turbolaser hit was enough to convince him.
"Do it." He ordered, the astromech rolling up to a console and jacking into the system. "Helm on my mark, jump to hyperspace." He waited until Artoo beeped in confirmation that the navdata was downloaded, "Mark!"
The stars elongated before coalescing into a wall of white. Antilles sighed as relief from the safety of hyperspace washed over him.
"Well your highness, it looks like we got away."
"Yes, but depending on who sold us out to the Empire we may have merely delayed the hunt. Where exactly are we going anyway?"
Antilles differed to his astromech who responded with the beeps and whistles of the droid language, a language no one on the ship could understand except for the other droids. And the one droid on the bridge that could speak Basic seemed to be in a very unbelieving mood towards his counterpart.
"Your coordinates are taking us where? Artoo you must be malfunctioning. I have downloaded the names of every planet and system in the ship's databanks, and am programmed with the names of thousands more and I have never heard of such a place." The response was a series of rather angry beeps and whistles. "Alright I'll tell them, but don't blame me if they decide to replace you." The protocol droid replied indignantly. "It seems that my counterpart has programmed a course for the planet Ilum in a system of the same name."
Captain Antilles frowned at the unknown name. "If Ilum isn't in the Tantive's computers than how does Artoo know of it?"
Atroo's translated answer was, "Apparently one of Artoo's non-factory standard upgrades is a memory modification that permanently records the name and location of any planet he has ever plotted a course to on his long-term memory banks. I assume that since my counterpart has never had such an upgrade or plotted a course to Ilum while in your service Master Antilles that it was done while Artoo was in the service of a previous master."
Due to the need to keep aspects of Artoo's and Threepio's past a secret Antilles didn't voice that he knew probably which master had the modification done and why. Instead he turned his mind to answering the question of whether the Victory would follow. All Imperial warships have the technology to track a ship's velocity for precious moments after they enter hyperspace. With that data it was possible for a captain to decide to pursue, but it was often difficult as their prey could drop out of hyperspace and go in a different direction once out of that small sensor range. Currently the Victory captain's decision would be compounded by the fact that the Tantive IV had by now entered the Unknown Regions, a dangerous area to attempt navigating.
That was also a problem for Antilles, one that he needed more information. "Artoo, how far away is Ilum? And is there a safe hyperspace route out of the system?"
"Artoo says it's not far, located at the edge of the G-7 grid coordinates about 6.5 thousand light-years away. And he says there is only one known route away from Ilum, but the closer one gets to the Core, the more routes that become available."
'6,500 light-years,' mused Antilles, 'The Tantive could make a trip of that length in less than 12 hours at full speed, but that is still 12 hours to risk in the Unknown Regions. On the other hand I doubt anyone aboard the Victory knows of Ilum, so we would be safe once we get there. And it would be safer to plot a course away from there then anywhere else in the Unknown Regions.' Finally his decision was made and he addressed the crew. "We'll maintain this course till we reach Ilum and from there use Artoo's data to navigate the known routes back home. May the Force be with us… because we're going to need it."
Three Hours Later
The hyperdrive trip would be a short and hopefully an uneventful one. Artoo had plotted a direct course to Ilum since there were no known routes from Ankus to Ilum, so there was no need to stop in another system. Although considering that the trip would be through the uncharted stars of the Unknown Regions most of the crew felt that the lack of frequent stops was not a good thing.
Currently Antilles was sitting in the captain's chair on the bridge. Ilum was an unknown world to both the crew and himself with only one astromech droid on the entire ship having been there previously and it couldn't remember why. So the captain was taking the opportunity to prepare his crew and his ship, as much as possible in hyperspace, for the upcoming reversion to real space. However that window of opportunity to prepare was cut short only three hours into the trip.
Klaxons wailed in warning as the ship's sensors detected something wrong. Antilles never even got a chance ask to what was going on but he had a feeling, and that feeling was proven right as only a second after the alarms started the Tantive IV reverted to real space.
The current overall situation was obvious to Antilles, as it would to anyone who had even the slightest understanding of hyperdrive travel. The klaxons had been for a rarely used early warning system that indicated when the ship came across an unexpected mass shadow in hyperspace. In most of the galaxy it would likely be a sizable asteroid, rogue planetoid, or one of the Empire's Interdictor cruisers. However here in the Unknown Regions stars, black holes, other anomalous gravity wells, and hyperspace anomalies were added to the list and were considered more likely for a ship to come across, but the fact that the ship was intact scratched that latter options off the list. 'Now to learn which of the remaining three forced us to drop out of hyperspace.' "Helm, status report."
The helmsman, a tall blue-green skinned Duros, reported that the Tantive IV had detected the mass shadow of a terrestrial planet orbiting a medium-mass orange-yellow star. Having been unable to make a significant enough course correction to go around the planet the hyperdrive was forcefully disengaged to avoid a collision. "Also, according to the sensors the planet shows significant life-sign readings and that there is a substantial number of energy patterns in orbit consistent with a starship's thrusters, large scale construction, and considerable radio wave communication. Seems we've stumbled upon an unknown space-faring race." a trace of excitement could be detected in his voice indicating the species' trademark love of adventure.
At this time Princess Leia walked onto the bridge, curious about the unexpected stop. "Captain Antilles, is there anything wrong?"
"No Princess, but things seem to have gotten interesting. According to our computers we've just stumbled across a space faring race in an unexplored region of space."
This bit of information captured Leia's interest.
This discovery could be the break the Alliance needs. A planet in an unknown location and a technologically advanced people would be a great asset to have in the fight against the Empire. Of course there was no way the Alliance could overthrow the Empire with just the help of one planet, but the fact that it could openly support the Alliance (if she could get the natives to side with them) would allow it to devote more resources and energy to the fight than most of the Alliance's current supporters.
'But then,' a pessimistic thought popped into her head, 'if these people have had no contact with the Empire what reason would they have to ally with an illegal rebel movement that has little to offer unless they succeed in toppling a tyrannical galaxy wide government. It's even possible that the Empire is already aware of this planet and in control of it. Keeping such a secret from the Senate is just the sort of thing Palpatine would do. And even if no one in the known galaxy knows about this world, how long would it be before the Empire stumbled upon it in its drive to increase their hold on the Galaxy?'
Apparently the answer to that question was "not long" as indicated by the blaring alarms announcing the arrival of the Victory Star Destroyer that had ambushed them at Ankus. Antilles didn't even need to ask how the Imperials had found them as quickly as they when communications officer spoke up.
"Kriff! I can't believe I missed this! Sir, someone planted a virus in the computer. It's in the communication systems. It must have sent a burst transmission in the chaos earlier that gave the Imperials our hypderdrive coordinates and they followed us here. It just sent another one which is the only reason I caught it now."
"Did the virus send messages to any other Imperial ships?"
"Unlikely, it was a standard radio burst. There would have to have been more ships at Ankus to hear it."
Star Destroyer Mangle
Captain Darkel of the Mangle grinned maliciously as he watched the smaller ship try to flee, one of its duel turbolasers firing upon his own vessel only for the energy bolts to splash harmlessly against his shields. It was a futile show of resistance from the small and minimally armed corvette against the power of his warship. That just made it all the more entertaining, and that just brightened his already good mood.
He had been most fortuitous when his communication officer managed to intercept a transmission sent out by an opportunistic bureaucratic aide, claiming that there would be an important diplomatic envoy from the Rebel Alliance on Ankus. After ensuring the message got no further, it was simply a matter of finding the aide, extracting the information of when and where (the aide had no idea of the Rebel envoy's identity), then finding a dockworker who would gladly slip a rather clever virus onto the rebel's ship and the trap would be set, while he coincidentally 'forgot' to inform the officials in charge of the region about the little operation he had planned.
Darkel didn't need any bureaucrats from either the military or civilian government to mess with his future promotion over the little fact that he had no jurisdiction in the Ankus system.
Everything had worked perfectly, although he had been a bit surprised that the rebels had been brave enough to jump into the Unknown Region he still followed, and because of that choice he now had another jewel to present the Empire.
He could already taste his promotion. Why he might even be promoted all the way to admiral and placed in charge of the soon to be newly acquired Imperial territory, he might even be named Governor.
"Sir, the rebel vessel has opened fire upon us and is attempting to run." informed one of the sensor officers.
"Return fire, but aim for their engines and capture them once they are within range of the tractor beams. I want the ship and crew mostly intact when I present them to the Emperor."
"Captain, sensors have detected multiple ships on an approach vector. The ships are likely native to the system and from the looks of their profile each ship has multiple weapon emplacements. Computer analysis suggests that they are warships, small frigates based on size, but large corvettes based on estimated firepower."
"Are they any threat?"
"Doubtful. Readings indicate no shields and that the Mangle can both outgun and outrun them."
"Ignore them. Focus on the rebel ship, and if the new ones interferes eliminate them."
Sector: Not Applicable
Grid Coordinates: H-7
Region: Unknown Regions
Date: CE 75
Terminal Task Force
Several minutes earlier
The Terminal task force set up to patrol this region of space was composed of one Nazca, two Laurasias, one Agamemnon, three Nelsons, and four Drakes.
Aboard the Voltaire Commander Joule was going over the current plan with the ship's captain.
"Now that all ships have rendezvoused I want to hold a debriefing among all commanding officers in two hours. After that we head back to headquarters to drop off our prisoners at a holding facility. Then we'll return to our patrol schedule while-"
"Sir, unknown contact has appeared 1500 to port." the crewman on sensor duty called to the captain.
"What? But there's nothing out there. What kind of contact is it? Mobile suit or a ship?" the captain asked.
"Ship sir, it just appeared out of nowhere and the thermal scanners can't match it to anything in the computers. I got a profile on laser imagining but I don't recognize it nor does it match anything in the computer."
The captain gave Yzak a questioning glance that perfectly conveyed his thoughts. Should they investigate this unknown or continue on back to base? But before Commander Joule could make his decision the sensor officer spoke up again.
"Another contact has appeared behind the first, and it's huge! Almost as big as the Gondwana with thermal readings off the charts! It's opened fire on the smaller contact!"
Now Yzak knew what he wanted to do. "Captain, send a transmission out to the other ships of the taskforce and give them the new coordinates. And get all pilots to their machines; we're going to see what's going on over there." With that he left the bridge for the hangar, leaving the captain to carry out his orders.
Things were looking bad for the members of the Rebel Alliance aboard the CR90. One of their few saving graces was that the Star Destroyer was a Victory I model, so it lacked ion cannons, forcing them to use precision turbolaser shots that the rebels did their best to evade, but they couldn't evade them forever and if the captain of the Star destroyer ever decided that he would rather destroy them instead of capturing them then they would be annihilated in a minute. Their other saving grace was the fact that the Victory I's engines were not designed for chasing down ships so its acceleration was slower.
But those advantages were taken away as one lucky shot finally struck home and damaged the Tantive's engine nacelles, its acceleration rate drastically dropping. Then the crew and passengers felt a jerk as the Star Destroyer's tractor beams locked onto them. The Tantive continued to fight but it was futile.
Then suddenly a pair of green energy beams cut a path between the rebel and Imperial ships. There was a lull in the fighting as eleven ships native to the system drew closer to a range of about 100 kilometers away. From the eleven ships a number of smaller machines were launched, from open hangar door on the seven largest ships and directly from the exterior hull for the four smaller ships. The smaller machines were… well the only word that the rebels knew that could really describe the machines would be droids. They were large, larger than a starfighter at any rate, and were humanoid in shape. Some were somewhat round and bulbous and with a single 'eye' in the center of their heads, while others were more angular with a visor in place of the eye.
Five distinct models could be distinguished, but each unit was different in its own way. Then a broad-spectrum transmission was picked up over the radio.
"This is ZAFT Commander Yzak Joule of the Terminal Joint Fleet. Cease all hostilities, identify yourselves, and prepare to be boarded for inspection. If you do not comply with these orders we will consider you an enemy of the sovereign nations of the Sol Council and act accordingly."
Aboard the Mangle Captain Darkel stared at the image of the approaching vessels on a side monitor, a scowl upon his face. "What impudence. Launch all fighters. I'll let them deal with those insects as we get back to the real prize." The scowl then reversed itself into a smirk. "But first, it would be rude not introduce myself to my future subjects."
Yzak waited in the cockpit of his GOUF Ignited for the two ships' response. He didn't have to wait long.
"Terminal soldiers, you are interfering with an Imperial naval operation to capture traitors and dissidents. You will disarm and surrender yourself to the Galactic Empire or you will be the first people of this planet destroyed for the glory of the Empire."
'Galactic Empire? What the heck is he talking about?' thought Yzak for a moment but he didn't have time to wonder about it for long. As the speech ended Yzak noted 24 machines drop out of the open ventral hangar of the larger triangular ship.
The machines were very unusual and more than a little awkward looking. From his veiwscreen's enlarged image he could make out a main body that was spherical with a circular glass viewport with an octagonal design, giving the impression of an eye staring at you. From the sides sprouted two pylons on which were some type of panel, the purpose of which escaped Yzak. They were small and it didn't look like they had any weapons but they could have some new weapons technology that he had never seen before.
But that only described 18 of the machines. The other six were similar but their design seemed a little more conventional. Their main bodies are comprised of two cylinders a little longer than the length of the round machines with curved side panels.
"Heads up people, we have incoming hostile units. Mobile armors, unknown models. Mobile suit squads will handle them; all suits not at 100 percent hang back and cover the ships. Fire support units, when we make contact break through and go after that big arrowhead. All ships are to activate N-Jammers and provide covering fire."
A series of affirmatives responded as three damaged units such as Teresa's GuAIZ backed off to hover around the Voltaire.
The two groups of machines charged each other and faster than Yzak would have thought the spheroids unleashed a volley of beam energy. The mobile suits caught all the energy on their raised shields. When Yzak lowered his shield he barely had time to move out of the way of a barreling machine that was barely a blur as it passed. "Damn, these bastards are fast!" He exclaimed. Using the AMBAC to make a 180 degree turn Yzak gave chase to the machine, his GOUF Ignited easily being outpaced. Then the eyeball began to make a large turn to once again face him and Yzak grinned as memories of the First Bloody Valentine War came to the front of his mind. "But it still moves like a mobile armor!" He shouted, tracking the machine and unleashing a torrent of beams upon it.
But the mobile armor's speed was problematic as it dipped and dived away, quickly flying out of Yzak's range before turning to once again face him. It fired a torrent of green energy bolts at an amazingly high rate of fire, but was virtually useless as they went wide of their mark, but closed in as the eyeball sped closer. Not wanting to see how long his shield would last Yzak slipped a dozen meters to the right, flew down 20, slipped to the left ten meters, and as the eyeball was blurring past again he did a simultaneous back flip/180 degree spin, firing a volley from his Draupnir the entire time.
This time the beams clipped the mobile armor and shredded the left pylon. The eyeball suddenly went into an out of control spin as it screamed away from the battlefield.
With that enemy defeated Yzak looked to his next opponent, his situational awareness having kept track that most of the enemy units remained. Fully focusing on the battle he found he was right and that the enemy was putting up a damn tough fight. In one isolated corner he saw as a Dagger L's shield failed and cracked under an onslaught of energy. It tried to counter with its CIWS but the projectiles seemed to be little impediment as a torrent of green energy bolts found its torso, blasting apart the mobile suit.
Yzak was about to charge after it but a ZAKU Phantom that he recognized belonged to Shiho got there first, unleashing a spread of missiles. The eyeball tried shooting down the spread but the position of its weapons prevented it from hitting more than a few of the 28 missiles. Several of the explosive projectiles found their mark and exploded, rendering the eyeball dead in space.
Out of the corner of his eye he watched mobile suits form up into groups of three and four and used their beam rifles to herd the eyeballs into the path of each other's attacks. It appeared to be successful, at the very least holding them off if not destroying them as the mobile armors were clearly hampered by the N-Jammers to see anything at long ranges.
Leia watched as the new ships interfered, launched several machines that looked like droids, and a spokesperson that sounded like an officer of a military, or at least an armed organization, ordered the fighting to stop on behalf of that organization. The diplomat in her filed that information away for later. If there was a later that is.
"Those droids look kind of slow." Antilles bleakly observed as Imperial fighters left the Star Destroyer's hangar. "Judging from relative position and assuming they are going full speed then I'd say that our Y-wings could outrun them. They do have the advantage of numbers so that might even things out, but unless they have a trick up their sleeves I don't think they can win."
But the captain's prediction did not come to pass. Despite lacking energy shields the machines managed to block a number of shots from the opening salvo on their metal shields. What was more impressive was how the machines actually dodged the majority, often by no more than a few centimeters.
That's when the real fight began. As one of the TIEs passed the lead white machine it made an impossible 180 degree turn and attempted to shoot the fighter in the back, but the TIE used its speed advantage to get out of range before returning. The white machine countered the TIE's follow up attack with a series of impressive maneuvers conducted in an astoundingly small radius of space before managing to successfully destroy the TIE in a manner similar to its first attempt. Similar moves from the other machines had caught more of the TIEs off guard and evened out the battle to a three on one fight.
"Those droids are incredible." breathed one of the bridge crew.
"I don't think those are droids," said the sensor officer. "It's difficult to tell but it looks like there are life forms in those machines."
Antilles frowned. "Why is it difficult?"
"Some sort of interference that started just before the TIEs began engaging the native machines. I can't get a good sensor reading on anything beyond a thousand meters."
After the initial assault Zeke had managed to break away from the main group and flew towards the large triangular ship flying under the protective cover of the heavy beam cannons, railguns, and missiles of the Terminal warships that were maneuvering to surround the enemy battleship. Along with him were two more Gunner ZAKUs, a Windam and two Dagger Ls equipped with Dopplehorns, and two Launcher Daggers.
Between the eight mobile suits there was a lot of firepower, but as he kept his eyes on the ship belonging to the Galactic Empire, he questioned if their cannons would be any more effective than a flyswatter on a rhino. He questioned their weapon's usefulness namely because the massive ship had a freaking energy shield.
The shield was not like anything he had seen before; situated less than a meter from the ship's surface with no visible projectors and remaining perfectly invisible until beams or projectiles struck it. Beams and explosions just splashed and dispersed against it, and the solid slugs from the railguns seemed to disintegrate.
Several kilometers out the ship opened fire, launching volleys of green energy. Its rate of fire for each cannon being roughly once every four seconds impressed Zeke, but the number of cannons it wielded scared him. Their individual rate of fire was slow enough that the Gunner ZAKU danced out of the path of each shot, but the number of cannons made a virtual rain that would have disintegrated pilots of lesser skill. But it was only after a verbal cuss from the Windam pilot did Zeke come to realize his mistake. The cannons weren't specifically targeting the mobile suits. They were aiming for their carriers.
With horror Zeke oriented his rear camera to see what was going on and breathed a sigh of relief. At a range fifty kilometers out the enemy ship's cannons were going wide of the small (relatively speaking) targets which had spread out over multiple kilometers.
Zeke's relief subsided when the large ship's thrusters glowed brightly, and with surprising agility made a ninety degree turn so its dagger like prow faced the center of the Terminal ship formation and rocketed forward.
'Damn! If that ship gets closer…' "Everyone Fire!" he shouted as he unfolded the Orthros and fired at the top of the ship that was passing by underneath heavy mobile suit team. But even after multiple attacks from the high-energy cannons and heavy cannons there was no sign that anything was getting through.
Fireballs burst out in space that Zeke and everyone else saw and the pilots knew instantly that three of their ships had been sunk. The distraction proved to be deadly as the heavy assault mobile suits had been focusing so hard on keeping up with the Star Destroyer while avoiding its attacks and maintaining their own. That loss of attention for a second was enough for one of the other two ZAKU Gunners and the two Dagger Ls to pause for a second too long, meeting their end by being vaporized by a turbolaser bolt.
Seeing the loss of comrades Zeke's vision turned red. "That's it!" He shouted as he ejected the Orthros and rushed at the warship. He grabbed his ZAKU's beam tomahawk and rammed its blade into the shield. The two continuous energy fields clashed, generating small electrical arcs from their interaction.
Zeke then pulled out the beam rifle and careful not to hit his own weapon or arm fired right next to the spot his beam blade was, emptying the energy clip as the Launcher Daggers and last ZAKU poured high-energy fire on the shields nearby. Like Zeke the Windam pilot had discarded the Dopplehorn and was trying to use its two beam sabers to cut through the shields. After what seemed like hours but was actually closer to minutes the Earth pilots succeeded, getting the shields to drop in the section they attacked.
The beam blades made contact with the armor and while it resisted for a moment, it was only for a moment before the blades made progress in cutting out scars as the cannons blasted out turbolasers that had been unable to shoot them because of their close proximity to the hull.
Zeke and the Windam withdrew and while the shield began regenerating it was much weaker. As long as they concentrated their attacks they could penetrate it. But they had used a lot of energy in their assault so far and there was still a lot of ship left to carve up. Thankfully two dozen mobile suit reinforcements from the virtually finished battle with the mobile armors began approaching, weaving through the defensive turbolaser fire.
Teresa held her GuAIZ in position above the Voltaire. The leg damage from the previous battle had been fixed, but it still lacked a new railgun. She watched as the double-hulled armors approached, their number reduced by three during the initial attack. They were much slower than the round ones (though still fast by her standards) and had been much easier to target for the mobile suits, so they had broken off to target the ships.
Before they entered into effective range of her beam rifle each ship fired a trio of missiles for a total of 18. Teresa immediately targeted the small fast moving weapons and opened fire with both of her weapons while the Voltaire opened fire with its CIWS, beam cannons, linear cannons, and missiles.
Teresa managed to intercept three missiles while the Voltaire got most of the other, but two of the speedy missile blew past the defensive fire. With their speed there was little Teresa could do to stop them as they impacted the hull, penetrated about half way in… and did nothing.
Teresa thanked her lucky stars that they were duds as she focused on the mobile armors
The Voltaire launched its Dispars; the interceptor missiles locking onto the group of the slow(er) moving mobile armors, destroying two of them.
Teresa launched her GuAIZ forward towards the last remaining machine. It attacked by firing two more missiles that were intercepted by her CIWS, followed by laser fire that Teresa managed to avoid. The two machines charged each other space version of chicken. At the last moment Teresa went up, her beam saber igniting, slashing through the center of the enemy machine.
'That takes care of them, are there any more?' Checking her cameras and sensors she found most of the other enemy machines were currently occupied with her fellow pilots. And if her thermals were reading things right one of the Nelsons was trying to get behind the large warship.
Star Destroyer Mangle
Things were not looking good for Captain Darkel. What should have been an easy capture of rebel officials had turned into a real mess because of the natives of this system. The TIEs he had sent out expecting them to demolish the unusual machines and destroy their carriers were instead wiped out to ten percent of their number, with only a handful of kills in return.
Now one of the enemy ships had gotten brave and was moving to come around to attack the Mangle's engines, a relative blind spot with limited coverage from the turbolasers.
What was worse was those damnable machines were now buzzing around inside the minimum range of his turbolasers, trying to get through the Mangle's shields. Fortunately their weapons, even those of their ships, weren't strong enough to do anything unless they concentrated their fire, limiting the damage they could do. So if need be Darkel could order a retreat and the Mangle could still make it to hyperspace. He'd only have to suffer the indignity of being the laughing stock of the Imperial Navy. But he wasn't beat yet, he could turn this around.
"Attention Terminal forces. The primary shield generators for the command tower are the domes atop it. The shield energy is strongest there but once destroyed the Star Destroyer's bridge will be vulnerable. Its destruction will provide a window to defeat it."
Darkel's eyes widened at the sound of the voice. "What was that!?"
"A message broadcast on all channels originating from the rebel ship."
"Six enemy units are now heading for the shield generators!"
"Turn the ship around! Get us back to Imperial space!"
The bridge trembled from reverberations as the shield generators exploded. The next thing the bridge crew of the Mangle knew were the tremors caused by the explosions that ripped through the ship. Without the shields protecting them from the smaller machines that they couldn't hit, and providing an opening for the ships, the Mangle was in a much more vulnerable position. More tremors shook the ship that was so great that Darkel was thrown from his chair.
Climbing back up his face went pale as he looked out the main viewport. Directly outside looking in was one of the enemy machines. Its eye glowed menacingly as it twirled a large axe before plunging the glowing blade through the viewport, destroying the front half of the bridge. It pulled out the weapon and moved away allowing cold vacuum to finish the job as all surviving officers were pulled from their stations and blown out into space.
Yzak looked around the battlefield. The massive ship was dying without its shields, the mobile suits systematically disabling the ship by destroying the still firing cannons and anything that looked like a weapon or communications device. He did not want anyone aboard that ship to contact compatriots.
With the N-Jammers active he opened up a laser link with the Voltaire. "Status report."
"We managed to avoid the worst of it." That captain informed him. "There were some glancing blows that melted the armor but it seems that the N-Jammers did a fine job fouling up their targeting systems. But we do have two holes in the bow plugged by missiles. A crew has gone to see what can be done about them. Thankfully they didn't explode."
"Be careful," Yzak needlessly warned, "and the explosions earlier? Who was lost?"
"I'm afraid," said the captain sadly, "The Amzen, Horatio, and Lin were sunk. Preparations are being made to search for survivors but currently we don't have high hopes." Those ships were a Laurasia, Nelson, and Drake.
Yzak scowled but contained his anger from exploding like it would have done in the first war. As a commander he had to maintain some sense of decorum and remain an example for the men. Still it was difficult knowing that three ships under his command had been sunk, with hundreds of lives lost. It was just as bad as counting the mobile suits that were under his direct command and seeing that eleven machines were missing, the names of their pilots added to the list of letters he would be writing home to families. Sadly short letters as he really didn't know those pilots very well. All this death and he wasn't even sure what he got his men into.
"Deactivate the N-Jammers, sweep for survivors, and collect the mobile suits. The hangars will be tight but we'll make it work." He ordered. "I am going to have a talk with our "guests"." The captain nodded and disconnected to carry out his orders.
With the N-Jammers no longer hampering communications the sweep and collection, the number one priority, was carried out with speed and all due diligence
Seeing that his men were doing what they were trained to do with as much speed and care as they could Yzak once more turned to the unknown ship. He was not a medic nor skilled at rescue work, so would he do something he was good at. Being a heartless and ruthless bastard till he got what he wanted. And right now he wanted answers.
Princess Leia made her choice to help the locals of the system fight the Imperials. Not that they needed much help, but she wanted to ensure that the Empire never discovered what was out here or about the Tantive's rebel activity. She just hoped that the decision did not get her people killed.
The Star Destroyer had been brutalized. Its shield generator shredded by some type of melee weapons, the engines torn apart by the warship, and just about every turbolaser cannon and missile launcher blown apart.
Once the shields were down it seemed the outcome was all but inevitable and could only be changed if the Star Destroyer had the power to run. And it didn't.
If they could do that to a fully operational Star Destroyer the Tantive IV stood no chance of withstanding an assault. And the locals' attentions would be soon be inspecting the rebel ship.
As if summoned by her thoughts the white machine that led the attack flew in front of the Tantive, stopping just before the bridge, a sword in its hand, ready to be used if needed.
Then on all channels, "I thank you for the assistance. Now I'll ask again. Who are you? And was saving you important enough to cost the lives of good men and women?"
Leia motioned Antilles to stay quiet as she nodded to the communications officer. "I am Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan. I am a member of the Alliance to Restore the Republic also known as the Rebel Alliance. And I thank you for saving both myself and the people aboard my ship."
There have been things about the original that have bugged me such as the choice of Ord Mantell. I don't know what I was thinking choosing that world as the starting point for the Rebels. Sure Ord Mantell worked out politically, but it is situated deep in the known galaxy so constantly having Threepio say "We're heading toward Wild Space!" did not make much sense. Ankus works out much more nicely in terms of galactic geography.
Another thing I wanted to address is the time scale. I decided that the 6 months after the Second Bloody Valentine and 6 months before the Battle of Yavin was not enough for development so it has been moved to a year after the Second Bloody Valentine and a year before the Battle of Yavin. And it should also be noted that I did away with the BBY/ABY calendar and am now using the Great ReSynchronization dating system. In this dating system the date is written Year: Month: Day, though I am most likely to put just the year and month. It is also based around the Coruscant year which has 368 days divided into 10 months that each have 7 weeks with each week being 5 days long, plus there are three fete weeks that are not part of any month, and 3 days not part of any week reserved for holidays.
Finally I am attempting to even things out in the military arena. In the first battle it was a single Nazca and six mobile suits against a Victory and 24 TIEs with the Earth forces winning handily with little damage and no casualties. This time Earth had eleven vessels in its maiden battle with the Empire and had 50 mobile suits to the Empire's one Victory and 24 TIEs and while they still won they had casualties consisting of three ships, most of said ships' crew, eleven mobile suits, and the pilots.
Comparison of Energy Weapons:
Now one thing I am keeping is the general effectiveness of Earth beam weapon against the armor of Imperial ships. However it is not a power thing. In terms of raw energy production Earth just can't compete with the Empire so if I went on that value its likely not even the nuclear powered mobile suits could scratch the armor of an Imperial warship. So my explanation is that Earth beam weapons generate a synthetic energy particle that is integral to the beam's function. This synthetic energy particle has a wave form that disrupts molecular bonds, which makes it easier for the destructive components of the beam to cause destruction even against exceptionally dense material.
On the flip side I am saying that this particle has an accelerated decay rate, so as the beam travels it is getting exponentially weaker, limiting its range to about 10 kilometers with a standard beam rifle (though whether a mobile suit could hit a target at that range is debatable), but at that range it would do minor damage to even lightly armored targets. Scaling up the weapon's power does increase the range, but continually increasing size and power calls for exponentially greater energy demands so it is simply not cost effective to make a weapon larger than the Gottfried, which is why Earth started researching positrons and other alternatives for their most powerful weapons. Also a constant power supply stabilizes it so that's how beam sabers work.
Star Wars lasers on the other hand are capable of achieving greater ranges for far less energy costs and their energy requirements are linear so it is possible to continually build up the power output and effective range of a turbolaser as long as you have the energy to spare (and it has the proper capacitors).
So Earth beams will be effective at close range, ranges that N-Jammers help force the enemy to fight at, while Star Wars laser weapons (though they are not really lasers) are better for attacking at long distances (its canonized that a Venator Star Destroyer's heavy cannons have a range of 10 light-minutes though I don't know if they can actually target another ship at that range).
Comparison between Gundam beam shields and Star Wars energy shields:
Beam shields have a greater efficiency at dispersing energy but they are limited in how they can be deployed, restricted to linear planes projected directly from an emitter. Other disadvantages include overheating issues from prolonged use, dual directional blocking, and if I decide to make it similar to UC beam shields it will have a similar composition to a beam saber so it will have a similar destructive effect on physical objects.
Star Wars energy shields are more versatile in that they can be manipulated to only affect objects under certain conditions. They can be unidirectional to allow full coverage of a ship and still allow weapons to shoot out. They can be manipulated into various forms and sizes depending on need and only need a line of sight from the projector to form. They do not have overheating issues. And if enough power is directed to powerful enough generator they can become virtually impenetrable. Their major downside is that the closest thing to an all-purpose shield is the deflector/particle shield type and shields can't really be used for purposes outside their specifications without modifications.