Friday, May 5, 2017

Mynock Squadron Recap # 29 [RPG]

The members of Mynock Squadron have shown themselves skilled in infiltration, espionage, hostage extraction, and more.  But now their sheer ability in starship combat will be put to the test.  Alpha, Beta, and Gamma Flights have each been charged with stopping one of the massive Imperial vessels carrying thousands of Nanoshaped on a course through Dorval's Wall.  Should they pierce the barrier and enter hyperspace, one or more loyal New Republic planets teeming with life could be destroyed.  But in order to succeed in their mission, the Mynock pilots must destroy the Nanocarrier's escorts, and then engage the massive vessels themselves whilst its shields are down in the roiling radiation storms of Dorval's Wall.  And even if they survive, they'll find themselves trapped behind the barrier with no mothership to return to.  For the pilots of Mynock Squadron, what may be the most dangerous time of their lives is imminent . . .

The pilots of Alpha, Beta, and Gamma Flights meet in a briefing room aboard the Gatecrasher to determine an important issue: should the Flights survive their separate attacks on the nanocarriers, what should they do next?  Major Dei has determined that with an overwhelming Imperial presence in the system, it's best for the three Flights to remain separate and hidden, with a representative from each group sent twenty-four hours after the attack to meet at a designated point and coordinate further.  Dei says that he's determined the three best places for a surviving Flight to hide and perhaps use as staging areas for opposition to the Imperials:  Planet 3201, home of a nomadic near-human species that had been used by the Imperials as raw materials to build the nanoshaped army; Planet 2603, a high-pressure planet that is closest to the Imperial base in the system; and the mining base that is known to lie at the center of the dense asteroid belt that the Gatecrasher is presently skirting.  He leaves it to the members of the respective groups to decide on their secondary mission if their primary mission is successful.

Warik states that Beta Flight should head for Planet 3201 in order to rally the surviving civilian populace into a rebellion against the Imperials.  Mikaela disagrees, arguing that the members of Beta aren't exactly skilled at diplomacy.  Instead, she suggests capturing the asteroid base would make the best use of Beta's strengths: direct confrontation.  Tazo-Rhi, the new leader of Gamma Flight, agrees with the notion and puts in her own bid for Planet 3201, saying that as her group involves the least experienced pilots, it would be the safest fallback position.  Kero says she thinks Beta should head for the high-pressure Planet 2603, but Trill Dunerunner says that as the location closest to the Imperial center, it's the most risky proposition and that therefore Alpha Flight should take it.  Kero uses all of her persuasive abilities to try to convince Trill and seems on the verge of success, but Trill finds the resolve to say no.  As the ranking officer in the room, she decides that Alpha Flight will take Planet 2603, and says that Beta and Gamma can figure out for themselves who will take the remaining options.  After more discussion with Tazo-Rhi, Kero agrees that Gamma Flight should take Planet 3201 and that Beta Flight will take the asteroid base.

Having determined their secondary goal, the pilots of Beta Flight make hasty preparations for both the attack on the nanocarriers and what may be a lengthy period of time with little in the way of resupply or reinforcements.  The cargo holds of the TIE-Defenders are stocked with specially-selected weapons, equipment, and supplies.  Warik decides that if the nanocarriers can only be attacked when their shields are down while passing through Dorval's Wall, he needs to squeeze every last erg of explosive power possible out of the TIE-Defenders' proton torpedoes, because every second spent in the Wall's radiation could be lethal.  To that end, he enlists Keth's help in the risky proposition of trying to manually maximize the detonation strength of each individual torpedo.  Torpedoes aboard Warik's and Mikaela's vessels are improved without incident, but a sure disaster is narrowly avoided on Keth's ship when Mikaela, looking over Warik's and Keth's shoulders, notices a crossed circuit and warns her colleagues just in time to prevent an explosion.  Warik decides not to press his luck any further and leaves the rest of the torpedoes alone.

The time comes for the pilots of Beta Flight to depart on the most important mission of their lives.  The pilots say their farewells to their comrades in Alpha and Gamma and then enter the hangar bay for launch.  Once in space, they pair off, with Mikaela and Warik together and Kero and Keth together.  At top sublight speed, the TIE-Defenders make it to the attack point quickly and see what their stolen intelligence anticipated: a massive, obelisk-shaped nanocarrier on a predetermined flight path escorted by several TIE-Interceptors.  Before the Interceptors can react to the newcomers, a slew of torpedoes fired from maximum range streak through space.  One of the torpedoes disintegrates an Interceptor, earning Mikaela her first of multiple kills during the battle.  Kero puts her impressive knowledge of starfighter combat tactics to good measure, shooting down three Interceptors during the wild melee.  Keth finds himself trapped in a rolling dogfight with one of the Interceptors before finally breaking free.  As the fighting continues, Warik realizes his Defender is in the unwavering path of the massive nanocarrier!  He accelerates as fast as possible, but the tiny Defender is still grazed and suffers serious damage.  Fortunately, although the Defender's deflector shields are destroyed, the vessel remains intact and mobile.  The furious fighting against the outmatched Interceptors ends in a matter of seconds, leaving only the nanocarrier.

Having destroyed its escorts so quickly, the Defenders have time to get into position to launch the first round of torpedoes at the nanocarrier just as it enters the outermost layer of Dorval's Wall.  The torpedoes strike home, and Warik's modifications enable them to pierce the vessel's thick armor.  Still, the damaged nanocarrier continues deeper into the wall, forcing the members of Beta Flight to follow after it, knowing their vessels are not equipped with the radiation-shielding necessary to render it safe.  Quickly firing torpedo after torpedo, the members of Beta Flight succeed in destroying the nanocarrier and thus save countless lives.  They retreat outside of the wall as fast as possible, and it appears they were speedy enough that only Keth has been affected by the radiation.

Director's Commentary (5/05/2017)

In retrospect, I should have chosen actual names for the planets.  I thought numbers would be more "military" and "hard SF", but it's hard, reading this recap, to remember which planet is which.

Warik's attempt to over-charge the torpedoes was a good plan that carried an incredible risk; when he rolled a natural "1" on his Demolitions check, he was lucky that another player had a red chip left to save him from almost certain death.

The PCs did a great job with the starship combat (they were flying better ships, after all, but were outnumbered).  They also took down the nanocarrier quite vast (torpedos for the win!), and all but Keth made the increasingly difficult checks to avoid radiation damage.

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