“General!”, lieutenant Davos shouted as the alarm systems aboard the MC-80 Defiance began to blare loudly. “Sitrep, lieutenant.” Jan Dodonna demanded. “General. Two Imperial Star Destroyers just jumped out of hyperspace on the opposite site of the Space Station.” Only a few standard seconds passed before Dodonna responded, with cool resolve in his voice as he addressed the entirety of the command bridge “Assume attack formation, signal our support ships to set a course directly towards the station and bring the Defiance around on a course to intercept the Imperial ships with our broadside.”
“Signal the Ravager to engage the rebel corvette and frigate head on and launch all TIE Squadrons,” Captain Hendal levelled at his Coomunications Officer, then turned to Darth Vader. “Lord Vader, the…” he began, but was cut short by the Dark Lord of the Sith. “Spare me your pitiful attempt at explaining your battle-plan to me, Captain. Even a small task force of the Imperial should be able to handle a rebel force of this magnitude. I shall be in my meditation chambers. I expect the assault force to be assembled and ready to board the Space Station and the entire Rebel fleet turned to dust when I return.”
“All Squadrons, intercept formation!” Cham Dellnis ordered. From his position on the bridge of the Redemption, he was the flight controller of the Rebel Alliance Fleet best situated to command the large retinue of squadrons that had been brought along for the mission. He also had a first row seat to the view of the swarm of TIE squadrons that had disengaged from their carriers in the Imperial Fleet – and was not beelining towards establishing space control over the area near the Space Station where it looked as if the first major engagement of the battle would take place.
Meanwhile, Major Rhymer, the TIE Bomber ace famous amongst Imperials and infamous amongst Rebel personnel – had already locked his targeting systems onto the Redemption and had ordered his escort wings of TIE Fighters and TIE Interceptors to engage the Redemptions immediate X-wing escorts. As the Rebels had split up their fighter squadrons between Dodonna’s Pride and the Redemption and their capital ships on two sides of a major asteroid field – there was an opportunity to leverage the local weight of firepower, but only within a brief window of opportunity. Rhymer was privy to the comms chatter between his TIE escorts on their own channel, which he had queued to his left earpiece at a lower volume – this way he could lead his own wings of bombers whilst taking into account how the TIE escorts were flying in minutia. As he began engaging secondary weapon lock-on systems onto the redemption, he realised it. The Ravager and the Redemption were on collision course and the Redemption was about to fly directly into the devastating front arc of the Victory-class Star Destroyer. Rhymer immediately disengaged the targeting system and wheeled his TIE Bomber squadron around to instead look for another target. He would find his own Rebel ship to prey on today.
“Brace for impact!” the bridge control officer yelled as the Redemption partly collided with the Ravager as the fregat desperately yawed to put itself outside the deadly forward firing arc of the much larger classed ship. Power had already been shifted to forward shields and turbolaser batteries. As the smaller ships in the Rebel Alliance Fleet had scurried to the space station to hold off the Imperial assault, General Dodonna had banked on the ensuing combat to be slow enough for the Defiance to swing around the Imperial formation and use the power of the MC-80 Command Cruiser’s broadsides to decisively damage the weaker rear shields of the Imperial capital ships.
“Captain, the main part of the Rebel fighter screen has been destroyed. The Ravager reports minor hull damage but 65% deflector shields remaining. The Rebel corvette will be within range of the turbolaser batteries of both the Ravager and Avenger in 89 seconds.” Captain Hendal smirked. This had gone easier than expected, with the Rebel’s keeping their largest threat out of the battle for the first part of the battle. “You may fire when ready.” He simply responded and turned to look at the holodisplay of the battle again.
General Dodonna glared out the transparasteel and the distant image of the Imperial flagship. “Order all remaining squadrons to return to the hangar bays and start calculating our hyperspace retreat vector…” he began, then added. “But have commander Skywalker and his wings make one last attack run on the Ravager to ensure they will not be able to salvage it. They’ll manage.” The very last part, mainly added to bolster his own confidence. “All power to portside turbolaser batteries.” He ordered, briskly, but with less strain in his voice “Destroy that Imperial ship.” The battle of Station XN-77 had been a defeat, but not a decisive one. The was no Interdictor cruiser on the Imperial side to hinder their escape into hyperspace and although the Rebel side had lost all of their smaller ships and most of their squadrons, the Imperials would not consider the captured station at the cost of a Stay Destroyer much of a victory.