Hull 721, plot arc the second

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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by sropike » 2015-05-29 03:49am

Glorius chaos all around. Olghaan flubbed it again. He just cleared the situation for the present tactical elements sufficiently that those 3 (2+cripple) Stardestroyers are going to support Lennart. And as he is still technicall "of the Line" and given the situation they will be placing themselves under his command (at least for the moment).
So bottom line: Olghaan is screwed!

And it looks more and more likely Vader is going to take more interest...

Thanks for the marvellous read, ECR!

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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by Vianca » 2015-05-29 03:25pm

Say, why am I thinking nova? :angelic:
Nothing like the present.

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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by Lerryn » 2015-06-09 05:57pm

Wow. Well, Olghaan just saved both Pryl and Lennart some trouble, at the cost of throwing himself under the Dark Lord-shaped bus.

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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by Andras » 2015-06-09 09:32pm

Anyone else get the sense that the other Death Squadron Captain was force sensitive?

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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by Eleventh Century Remnant » 2015-06-10 03:18am

Right; Thrawn is a little too cold blooded to be really upset by bad things happening to anyone but himself- he always seemed to me to take professional detachment just a shade too far. Granted, different species, his gut reactions are therefore not going to be exactly the same as most of the people he is dealing with, and he has to rely on pure reason; but even so I think he does miss cues because of that, that his social antennae are somewhat rusty form lack of use.

Even so, it's a win for him, because the more chaos he leaves behind him the more chance he has of being first with the news to Coruscant; first to present the details of the minister for justice's budding coup attempt to Palpatine, and reap the political rewards thereof. If everyone else is in too much of a shambles to stop him, great.

Lennart was grumbling internally because he recognised the probe as a cat's paw intended to achieve exactly that, keep the situation bubbling over to stop any of them racing him there.

The time for novas is past, not that would have been possible in an atmosphere so heavily contaminated with other than hydrogen. Culverin, yes, that was a broadside from Swiftsure.

Tanda Pryl, canonically (she turns up as one of the force commanders in the Elrood sector), is force sensitive, but oddly- looking at how she appears in the roleplaying game- isn't actually committed to the dark side; leaning that way because of the requirements of the job, yes, but not past the point of no return. Hm.

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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by Eleventh Century Remnant » 2016-01-04 08:45am

You know, I almost left this board. Mostly have, really- politics, ideology, all that jazz. But I still have stories to finish.

Hull 721 arc 2 ch. 35b
Oh, now, this is just. getting tiresome, Lennart thought. The roles do not reverse that neatly, and the reason he is capable of believing that they do is, for Perad Olghaan, this was never about ideology or reasons or even orders, this was always about reputation and standing.

We were winning, we were beating him, but we were having to sweat to do it, go far beyond the normal tactical set. And we were about to run out of oddball moves and have to face him in a way that would possibly have given him the edge. he's probably quite happy that he now has the chance to play me at the same game, turn the tables; so happy that he's forgotten I don't actually have to. or is he- no, I don't think so. I have become his rainbow- stripy whale.

Now there is a mental image to horrify and astonish, and one of the few truly interesting things about the Force; it can bridge the private language gap, translate between one being's way of seeing the universe and another. Between, for instance, mine and Perad Olghaan's? Unlikely- he's not listening. He's going to keep trying.

Black Prince's helm team had needed no further word, started evading again- there had been a change of watch; fair enough, fresh eyes and hands. Team alpha could do with a rest, but they would be champing at the bit until it came to their chance again.

Would they fit in on Swiftsure, their captain thought- would they lose sight of what the fight is actually about in the attempted to prove their own superiority? Pride before purpose? For that matter, did I ever tell them in so many words why we're doing this, or is rivalry enough for my lot too?

The rumour mill has been grinding fine and exceeding bonkers; they should have at least a garbled version of the truth, which come to think of it is probably all Olghaan has. He thinks I'm, we're, some species of traitor, and considering I began my attempt to persuade him with space mines he could have a point.

After first assuming that being special operations he would be used to not listening, there was that.

So- given how much damage we have done to the loyalist regulars of the Imperial Starfleet, could he actually have become correct through the force of events? And in that case, where does survival lie?

Between them, these people my crew have told me that my attempts to shield them by carving out our own niche within the system were misguided. That they do not care about fighting for something as rotten at the core as the Empire, but only for each other. When is the galaxy ever not?

Which means apart from anything else operation run away quietly is going to have to be put into effect, which means we're going to have to conquer our own pocket empire and hold it against the might of the Starfleet and Rebellion both, so it had better be somewhere really insignificant and far away. With refuelling facilities; and easily available ores, and hell, might as well add 'convenient for the shops' to the list.

Which is not going to begin right now, unfortunately- could I, though? Just leave Pryl to it? Hand over the data files- well copy across, really- and leave her to fight it out with Swiftsure- she is good, but conventionally good, best practice efficiently followed sense of the term; not enough to cope with the archetype of the breed.

Next tactical objective setting question; do I care? Honestly, no, and she's not enough of a fool to expect me to, but pretending to might make nailing Swiftsure that much easier.

'Captain Pryl-'

Her ship was already pitching and rolling to bring guns to bear, which was not the right move under the circumstances. Of course she didn't really know who she was up against- and a flicker of main motors would put her right in Black Prince's alpha arc.

She was recovering quickly, Lennart could hear her mental state, but she should have been sharper than this, should have been expecting gunfire from all angles. Was aware in theory that she was jumping into the middle of a running fight. Although perhaps not with whom.

She was also not happy. A short pause while she eliminated all the cliches she could have come out with, before settling on 'You did not think to pass on a warning to us?'

'Here's one; start weaving, because you're ripe. Two; you're in my gunsights as well.' He broke off to give an order to his crew that seemed to be three quarters sign language, the rest numbers. Conventional and orthodox it was not. She would have been fascinated if he wasn't right.

'Here's the script for the battle-play; I'm the disgraced renegade detective who has just uncovered the evidence to clear his name; Perad Olghaan's Swiftsure is the enforcer of the would be usurpers I have the dirt on. Now how badly did you annoy Firmus Piett to be sent to do this?'

Pryl was not entirely surprised by this. The worst case scenario coming true was almost expected at this point, with one of the ships she had been made responsible for limping away for deep space- in the wake of what we're presumably each side's casualties so far. (They were not; Lennart did not see fit to inform her.)

And Olghaan would only be waiting for her to lose concentration on the tactical situation before lobbing another one of those extraordinarily heavy and concentrated salvos that had already torn Culverin's flank to metal ribbons.

She passed the helm command only just in time; Thunderflare wriggled as two bolts passed through her ion flare, interacted and shook her like a wave hitting a ship- then yawed viciously more like a dog being kicked, as two bolts of the salvo connected.

It was that close. Easier to roll with it than to take it standing, to tumble almost out of control than to try to be the immovable object. Captain Pryl had the mental habits of her class, and was not predisposed to believe in the agility of power; it was not in accordance with the fitness of things that Star Destroyers should dance.

This was the Empire though, the unfit got devoured, and it was necessary to be faster than that. Helm was slow, but being shot at improved their concentration wonderfully. They surged away, twisting and jinking, looking for a moment to turn to bear.

Possibly more of an effect from Black Prince blasting a blobbed salvo back down the line of shot, five groups of bolts that each should be just enough to burn through the shielding. Bow cluster's aftertouch entanglers felt the bolts go in; a hit?

Would be nice, but- too much penetration, were they using small craft- dropships and suchlike- as chaff, to simulate the effect of a hit that really wasn't? Would have worked against a lesser crew that couldn't tell.

So where was he, how far out of the box had he got so far, did he have anything more behind him, more stunts and diversions? There was one thing that could be done from this vantage point; could have been done by the interdictors if Olghaan had thought of it in time.

Let there be storms, then; stir the upper atmosphere until something showed, until there were flow patterns and resistance that gave away the presence of a ship. A direct contact would be too easily sheared, run a tractor to produce destructive interference, but it would be enough for a targeting solution.

The loyalist response would be fire, of course. Sideslip and porpoise out of the most probable line of shot, hoping they had not become predictably unpredictable- that their tricks were not falling into a definable idiom. There was a section of com- scan watching their own trail to detect and warn against such things.

Olghaan would likely fall into a trap of his own making there; he would accept that they were behaving in an effectively pattern- stripped fashion, cease to look for such a pattern until one obviously emerged, which meant there was a little room in the situation to think and plot.

Although only a little time; the full salvo that ripped upwards fine on the starboard bow was very close, close enough to feel the wind from and- so he was coming out of the box, was he? It looked, back down the path of the shot, that between tractors and repulsor fields Olghaan had improvised a gravitic lens, , that bent the path of the bolts enough that a straight down the throat would be a failure. Hmm.

He was still in the fight then, but, external to Thunderflare, - 'Right then, I could send over the details now and you could run for it, rejoin Death Squadron and tell Vader that the Minister of Justice is preparing a coup attempt with the aid of various disgruntled renegades of the dark side of the force, and that all the evidence, and the subsequent credit and glory, are with Rear- Admiral Thrawn, who is going to make it to Coruscant first.

Oh, and that we have some very embarrassing dirt on self anointed Prince Xizor, who has been attempting to corrupt the Imperial legal apparatus, employing criminal connections to prosper in high politics, and in general leaving himself wide open to being laserated to tiny glowy bits in the name of the law.

Now, do you disturb Vader with this information or not? Sounds like a lose- lose situation to me, really...or I could leave you here to suppress Swiftsure. Are you having optimistic thoughts about death yet?'

Captain Pryl was not having many happy thoughts at all, truth be told. It was glaringly obvious now that Firmus Piett, whom she had thought she had a fair working relationship with as recently as twelve hours ago, had tried to get her killed. Bad blood between himself and Lennart? Probably.

She was also watching the multicoloured abomination dance, flash through moves and passades, move to and force his own rhythms on the shape of the fight. His opponent, she now had a name to go by, was as good in their own way- a staccato non- dance, sudden moves of bewildering speed and thoroughness- how it had been held even to as much of a draw as it was, baffling.

Suddenly the third possibility became obvious to her, and she realized that it was what Lennart had been waiting for her to come up with. Except it was not necessarily a feasible one- she could go in chase of the third party to the situation, this Rear- Admiral, Thrawn- but to what useful purpose? He was of the forces of legitimacy- whatever that meant.

If someone else gets the first report in, she thought, getting it in order before saying so, then Lennart is going to look like a renegade indeed, and anyone who helped him- but how probable were his accusations to begin with? To almost anyone else, even mentioning the Force would sound like the deranged ravings of a madman- but not to her.

Perhaps Piett had been on to something after all, sending her- not that he necessarily knew it at the time. It would need the force to find a way through this.

Although, if she went into some kind of future- divining trance, it would likely get her shot. Probably by her bridge crew, whose personal loyalty to her was considerable, but not unshakable. They had seen her do many odd things. Of which plunging into the middle of this fight was probably the least reasonable.

How do we win, and how do we survive, and how do we do both? Lennart and Olghaan both are perfectly willing to fight it out to a finish and let the pieces fall where they may. What can I do better than they can? On the evidence so far I am much better than either of them at making the fighting serve a purpose, at putting my battles to use to achieve a political and economic end.

This isn't my battle, and I can't actually outfight either of them, but- in a dispute between two more conventional ships, I would be able to talk them both down by holding the balance of power, confer victory and force submission as I saw fit. And-=what good has their ability served? They're tearing each other apart here for nothing more than pride.

Piett probably had something of the sort in mind here. Either he had a faith in her abilities that he had, frankly, failed to convey to her, he had set her up to fail which was what Lennart had leapt to as a convenient thing for her to believe, or the very recently promoted admiral commanding, death squadron, had more than enough troubles of his own and simply hadn't thought this through.

He did, however, have a very large stick to wield over her; he could bring her to Vader's attention. Did he realize that? Or that Lennart was in the same situation? A ship assigned to irregular duties out of Galactic Centre should know more than most about the operations and the operatives of the Force. If, that was, he cared to know.

I am here, with one unwounded ship- and we do not hold anything remotely like the balance of power. Is it possible to bluff and convince them that we do? No, not likely, unless- the loser may have had their ego so badly dented as to be willing to accept help, but joining the losing side comes with obvious inherent problems.

If Lennart is right, then the situation is already beyond the control of either of them, and this is purely a duel, for no greater purpose than to see who the better fighter is. Olghaan may understand that; Lennart- who told me about the background of this- clearly doesn't. The fact that his version includes him making that mistake makes it more believable. Which...

He has the force; which should, the worst of its effects on the human organism, make him tireless. He isn't. Olghaan has more moral energy than he does- I have thought that might be the way of it, when the will and judgement of the lifeform is exhausted, the life force carries on. Lennart should be in such a state. Why isn't he?

Drawing strength from his crew? He went home recently, did he not, for refit- and undoubtedly found himself disappointed by the experience, which threw him back on himself, his own resources and those of his followers. Mental note; never go home. Which also did, or should have, made him feel like a thing in himself , plugged into his own immediate community far more than into the galaxy as a whole.

How willing is he to get them killed, in no cause but their own? With all the old imperatives of Empire shorn, for nothing but pride? How can I use that...

Jorian Lennart was wondering the same thing. There was an immediate problem to deal with- the surrendered, the frigates and corvettes that had survived gravity shock, plasma column, fighter attack, and the attentions of an angry destroyer to lie here. Not impressed that none of them have recovered enough to challenge their fate, but it is just as well. They were pitchforked into this, and have no useful place.

Assuming that anyone in the Starfleet ever counts as innocent, they- well, for tactical values of the term anyway. There is nothing we can reasonably do but let them go. Hm. Fire from the planet is slackening- is he conserving energy or just going deeper? The latter I think, the signature gradients look more like atmospheric interference. What was the tactical number he was using?

'Signals- give me the frigate group. Ready? Units of task force Cobalt 52104, you will do your duty as you see fit of course but from my point of view, your part in this battle is over, there is nothing you could reasonably be expected to do. Arrest is out of the question- in whose name? Best move is to return to your sector groups.

You are being sent a condensed precis of what, in my reckoning, this fight you were dragged into has been about.' All the while keeping an eye on the tactical tank, making toy- aeroplane gestures that helm control interpreted as movement orders, and filled in the blanks on their own initiative. That bids fair to be the margin of victory, he thought, I may be the boss but they have room and remit to use their talents, be creative and decisive. This is the other side of the coin of the tunnel flying, building- xylophoning, police- baiting and other shoreside lunacy, this is why I let them away with it.

Whereas the poor sods in the frigates and corvettes, ' It is essentially authority versus authority, power against power, rivalries at the highest levels of the Imperial state apparatus and the rank and file being dragged in, used as pawns. Who is right remains to be seen; probably the winner. You should pack up and go, now.'

Olghaan had no such choice, of course- having been hammered in the preliminaries as badly as he had been- had expected to be, which was why he had brought so many ablative sacrifices? Hm. At any rate he had no way out but victory now, his only hope of survival was to show that at least he was a useful tool, to those who had chosen to wield him as such.

He has no choice but to win, Lennart thought, and Pryl is not far off the same state- only success will preserve them. I could just fade away, but to what end, and against what background? My survival or lack of it, saving present circumstances, depends on how what we ferreted out is received, which depends in part on how Rear-Admiral Thrawn chooses to present it.
The chances of his choosing to be generous are thin, at best. The odds of his being believed depend on the conclusions he manages to construct, and he's seriously underpromoted as is. If he reckons this is going to be a chance to rise, the only reason he would even admit that I had anything to do with it would be if he reckons it would make him look like a capable manager of stray maniacs- and I doubt Palpatine would care.

He would probably get on much better with Perad Olghaan in fact. I would rather not come to Sidious' attention, or be beholden to chiss generosity, if any. So, ' What do we get out of this if we win?' He asked nobody in particular, let the idea hang in the air and waited for an answer.

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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by sropike » 2016-01-04 03:27pm


Thank you for continuing the tale!

Despite the rather long time since the last installment, this newest piece is up to your usual excellent standard.

I could even FEEL Lennart getting "morally tired" as I was reading.

I salute you, sir.

Thank you for a very good read!

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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by Raesene » 2016-01-04 04:40pm

Good to see you continuing the story - please don´t abandon Lennart and his crew.

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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by Esquire » 2016-01-04 04:46pm

Eleventh Century Remnant wrote:You know, I almost left this board. Mostly have, really- politics, ideology, all that jazz. But I still have stories to finish.
And I'm so glad you haven't abandoned us. :D Excellent as always, I'm excited to find out the ending.
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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by kbird » 2016-01-04 10:28pm

Excellent as usual! Still the best Star Wars fiction around.

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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by Simon_Jester » 2016-01-05 12:50am


I have had quite a number of good times brought about by reading things you've written, ECR, and sometimes I use it at the end of a long day full of stupidity as a concentrated reminder that collections of thinking people are a real thing.

It's helped, sometimes, and I feel a bit indebted over it.
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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by InsaneTD » 2016-01-05 05:16am

Oh how I have missed this story and your writing. I'm looking forward to seeing how black Prince and her crew fair in this battle.

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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by RecklessPrudence » 2016-01-05 10:40am

ECR, your stories have been the only reason I've come back here for quite a while. In fact, Arc 1 was the reason I got an account!

I need to catch up on Phantis, though. And I hadn't reread this story in a while, so I had to read the last two or three entries to remind myself what was happening - still love your depiction of the Imperial Navy, and seeing canon characters through your (and Lennart's) eyes is always a treat.

Can't wait to see how this shakes out.
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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by 23 November 1939 » 2016-01-05 07:05pm

Huzzah! It lives. Half the reason I signed up for an account. Still good entertainment. Enjoyed Lennart and Pryl trying to get a read on Olghaan, and each other.
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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by Eleventh Century Remnant » 2016-01-06 02:05pm

It lives, and so do I- barely. There will be more, but at what speed I can't swear to. Thank you for convincing me that I should have got back to this months ago. :oops: Shouldn't be as long, anyway.
The only purpose in my still being here is the stories and the people who come to read them. About all else, I no longer care.

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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by sropike » 2016-01-07 05:06am

Take all the time you need.
Don't let Trolls bother you, just come back here to recharge your batteries, if they get too much.

Just to state again, THANK YOU for writing this, this story has given me much needed light entertainment and relief, at especially critical times.

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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by Kal_Skirata » 2016-01-08 09:40pm

ECR, your stories and FractalSponge's models are what made me create this account. Take as much time as you need and ignore the trolls. This story is undoubtedly one of the best SW stories I have read and has given me countless hours of entertainment. Thank you.

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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by Lerryn » 2016-01-16 11:15am

Your stories, and a few others, are why I made an account here - do what you need to do to keep your batteries recharged/reloaded and on-target, but don't ever think that your writing is unappreciated here.

As far as story commentary here, two things: first, in the mid-early part of the section, it's hard to tell what viewpoint you're going from - or did you pull it 'back' a little, to make comparing the mindstates of the commanders easier? Second, this bit very well shows Lennart's limitations, and how the people who were whining about him 'always winning' earlier on in the story weren't seeing the full picture. He's in Phyrrus's position - he's won just about all his battles, but the war has undoubtedly gone to Thrawn, and now Lennart is struggling to find a way to survive the endgame. Nicely done.

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