Anorax threw his robe behind him and seated himself in the command chair of the Shadow. He had been recently informed of the fleet’s arrival at Peliar Zel.
“Delarus, report,” Anorax said sternly.
“Yes, my lord,” Delarus said, stepping forward. “Our power generator has been repaired, but the axial superlaser is still off-line. We have begun orbital bombardment, and they have only small defenses, Z-95s in fact, to throw at us. It’s time for them to learn a painful lesson in tactics, and our skilled pilots will be pleased to teach them one.”
“Excellent. Have they sent word to their ‘saviors’, the Angosian Order?”
“Yes, sir, they have. But their forces should have arrived by now.”
Anorax smiled, gleaming with confidence.
“Yes, Captain, they should have, but they are obviously not in any condition to protect their systems. How pathetic, they’ve nothing to throw at us.”
A console buzzed, picking up the conversation Anorax had just finished.
“Sir, the planet is transmitting their terms of surrender,” the young lieutenant Candell at the console said. “How should we respond?”
“Simple,” Anorax said, rising to tap the lieutenant’s console, deleting the transmission. “Target all civilian facilities, leave not a stone unscathed.”
“As you wish,” Delarus said, turning to issue the commands.
Violently, something inside Anorax twitched. He felt something coming, a new contingency to their plan. The Angosians would arrive, and a showdown would begin.
“Sir, there’s a new ship alert,” Lieutenant Candell said, obviously startled by the news and confirming Anorax’s premonition. “A full squadron of Starchasers, Blastboats, and an unidentified capital ship.”
“Unidentified?” Delarus said, turning his full attention to the battle display. He saw the fighters with their properly assigned identification tags but one blip had no tag, glowing white was the unidentified ship, coming in fast.
“I’ll add the recording of the ship to our analysis of the Angosian attack style,” Candell said, one step ahead of his superiors, which was not truly appreciated.
“Yes,” Delarus said, “please do.” And he watched the display silently as one by one, the fighters were quickly snuffed out by the unknown ship.
He never gave much thought to the fact that his Dark Lord was just sitting silent, almost meditating.
“Come on,” Darus snickered, “Where’s the challenge?”
As the last of the TIEs were vaporized, their flashes lit up the screen. But the Admiral was more concerned with what remained.
“What are the planetary defenses?” the Admiral asked.
“Only a few Z-95s remaining,” Jared replied, “The Imperials are bombarding the civilian facilities.”
“What are we up against?”
“One Sovereign- and two Imperial- Class Star Destroyers, they’re probably scrambling their full compliment of fighters.”
“We have to stop those Destroyers,” Cid said.
“Agreed,” D’Tan interjected. He turned to issue commands. “Thorn Group, split your fighters into two ship elements and attack the two Imperial- Classes. Do not engage fighters unless necessary. Your main task is to stop the Destroyers, but watch your backs.”
“Acknowledged, D’Tan,” the group leader responded.
“We’ll take the Shadow,” said Danar.
“Let’s hope this works,” Jared said.
“Sir, I’ve broken the Imperial transmission code, should I switch to it?” Max said, who had almost been ignored in the heat of battle.
“No,” the Admiral said, “It wouldn’t do any good.”
“Belay that, Max,” Jared said, “Go ahead, I’m going to get under the Imperial’s skin.”
Delarus watched the display, as the Starchasers broke formation and headed towards the two other Destroyers. As for the unknown ship, it was heading straight toward them.
Delarus decided to risk breaking the Dark Lord’s concentration.
“My lord,” Delarus said, pausing for Anorax to awaken.
“Yes, Captain, I know,” Anorax said, catching Delarus by surprise. “Have the destroyers simply detain the Starchasers. Release whatever fighters are necessary, we have plenty to spare.”
“Yes, my lord,” Delarus said, “And as for the unidentified craft?”
“Take special care in destroying it. It carries their Star Lance crew and their precious Admiral. I shall enjoy watching it fall.”
“Yes, my lord,” Delarus said, pondering how Anorax knew the crew of the ship. But it was probably the Force and he would definitely leave that alone.
“Lieutenant,” Delarus ordered, “Send orders for the destroyers to detain their attackers and have our gunners focus on the destruction of the unknown ship. Release our intercept--”
“Just try it, you pompous Imp! Hit us if you can, Captain!” a voice said, cutting through the intercom, as the ship pulled a close fly-by, strafing the bridge.
It was Jared and his rag-tag bunch. Anorax had been right.
“Change our transmission code!” Delarus exclaimed.
“Can’t do that, Captain. We’re tapped into your systems,” Jared said, with a little chuckle.
“Lockout systems, now!” Delarus ordered.
“Lockout complete, only 23% systems copied.”
Delarus turned, only now taking note of Anorax, who had risen from his chair, a hardened look of anger fixed on his face, gazing out the forward viewport.
Delarus saw Anorax’s eye flash red, and saw a Starchaser on the display just...vanish, with instant destruction. Must be the Force’s doing, as he remembered what happened to his predecessor, Captain Malor.
“Sir,” the tactical commander said, “That ship is amazing. Such a large ship, with such maneuvering, shielding and--”
“If you wish to admire the ship,” Anorax said coldly, “You can get a better view if you step outside.”
“You think that was good, check this out!” Jared said over the com.
The huge ship corkscrewed down towards the topside of the Shadow, launched it warheads, and pulled up at the last moment. All they left behind were huge holes and a bright trail of fire, fueled by the escaping oxygen. Anorax and Delarus were both furious, the Shadow’s shields were easily penetrated by these new warheads.
The ship disappeared under the Shadow and the report came in as one of the destroyers reported its abandonment of ship, as it plummeted down towards the planet, burning up before it hit the planet’s ocean.
There was a huge lurch by the Shadow as the lights and displays dimmed. A message came through from engineering.
“Sir,” the engineer said, “We’re losing engines, if we’re to go to hyperspace, we have to go now.”
“So, Anorax, how’s it feel to have your fleet destroyed?” Jared said, tauntingly over the intercom.
Jared glanced over at the Admiral, who was snickering at his comment.
But the humor soon vanished as a huge wave of energy turbulence swept over the ship, tearing it’s hull.
“Blast!” Admiral Danar said, as he and Jared scrambled for the controls.
“Force storm!” D’Tan exclaimed, “This is real bad.”
“Gee, ya think?” Cid jeered, trying to keep the systems on line and the ship together.
A voice came over the intercom, from on board the Shadow.
“My lord, if we’re to withdraw, we’re to do it now,” said someone who sounded like an officer.
The storm quickly vanished, as the response came.