- February 27, 2017
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Episode XXXXI - The Battle of Xorrn
As they await the expected arrival of a force of Rebel ships to come to their rescue, the defenders of XORRN come together and make the last preparations for the coming battle with the forces of the GALACTIC EMPIRE.
As the mixed group of Rebel agents, Mandalorian mercenaries, and former slaves coordinate their efforts, however, there is tension in the ranks of the Xorrn inhabitants....
With their force of defenders joined by Mandalorian mercs from Clan Boreya, freed slave laborers from Kowak, and a few Talz braves from the Gnaaz tribe, the Rebel agents on Xorrn turn their attention to the continuing tensions between Cacique Coorsa and Lila Hardin, two of the leaders of the local civilian population. Arranging for a meeting with the twelve members of the Clan Assembly, the team leads a discussion between the nominal head of Xorrn and the ex-Imperial engineer, trying to convince them to put aside their differences.
After some insults are traded between Hardin and Coorsa, Kentas and An'ath manage to get them to see that they have to work together to save Xorrn from Captain Nervi's attack force. The two ultimately own up to their faults and their conspiring against each other, the results of Lila's jealousy of Coorsa's inheritence of his grandfather's title and Coorsa's suspicions of her past loyalty to the Empire. With the air cleared, the defenders can refocus on the continued preparations.
Hardin's people turn to working on one of the wrecked capital ships from the Clone War which lies on the surface of the planet. Pulling out all the stops, they manage to get the engines up and running, turning the mostly-inoperable Acclimator-class cruiser into a semi-functional defense vessel that can join the orbital shipyard.
An'ath uses her Rebel intelligence contacts to cover up the presence of the Mandalorians and ex-slave forces, and she also learns that the ruthless First Sun Mobile mercenary company has joined up with Nervi's attack force, apparently as a result of the rumors the Rebels spread about Var'ath's presence on Xorrn. She also rallies the exhausted slave laborers who have agreed to join the battle, motivating them to avenge the injustices done against them by the Galactic Empire.
Kentas attempts to help the SpecForces commandos in preparing some explosives, but they are unable to get a satisfactory solution from the available materials. Changing approach, he has them work up a localized comms scrambler system that will trigger when the enemy force makes its way into the below-ground foundry levels. He also trains with the ships of Lost Squadron, getting them prepped for the Imperial Navy force.
Var'ath helps with the repairs and refitting being done on the Acclimator, and he makes a desperate play for hired crew willing to man the old cruiser in exchange for a future role as Rebel Privateers. While he gets enough of a skeleton crew to man the massive floating shipwreck, the quality of the personnel is dubious and they do not get along with the other defenders. There is also rumor that one of their number may be an Imperial spy...
With the hours ticking down, the Rebels soon receive word that three capital ships from the Empire have arrived in the system - Captain Nervi has come, and he's brought a Gladiator-class Star Destroyer and two Raider-class cruisers with him.
As the TIE fighters begin to stream out of the Imperial vessels, Lost Squadron - led by the Lost Fortune - races out to confront them and try and slow their advance. Despite the aid offered by the orbital defenses around the debris field, however, the Rebel starfighters are quickly overwhelmed and forced to retreat. The resurrected Acclimator is hammered by the turbolasers of the enemy ships, and it too has to fall back to low orbit.
Retreating to new positions over Xorrn's atmosphere, the Rebels and their allies mount a more successful defensive screen against the Naval invaders, taking out many TIE fighters and doing some damage to one of the Raider-class cruisers.
In the middle of the continuing space battle, An'ath gets an encrypted message from the Rebel double-agent on board the Blood Ambition, Nervi's flagship. The agent asks for an emergency pickup from the Star Destroyer, telling her that she will eject an escape pod to free up a docking ring where a transport can help her escape.
Kentas volunteers to make the run to get the agent, and he maneuvers right through the TIE fighters near the Destroyer, pulling around to the designated docking port. Retreiving Agent Alico - who happens to be the source of the original tip about Captain Nervi's plan to attack Xorrn - he speeds back toward friendly lines, pursued by a punishing force of scrambled TIE fighters. A TIE defender joins the chase, and Kentas realizes that he is once more dogfighting with Commander Angard of the Imperial Navy, his cousin and rival.
The Lost Fortune takes a lot of fire from Angard's Defender, but he is able to get back to Xorrn with Alico intact, landing on the Foundry level to join the defense prepared on the planet's surface.
Meanwhile, up in the cloudy atmosphere, Var'ath's crew of hirelings begins to abandon the mortally wounded Acclimator. He gives orders to steer the ship into a collision course with one of the Raiders closing in on Xorrn, then heads to a waiting escape pod. After getting inside, however, the wily Twi'lek discovers that a Quarren crewmember has disabled the release controls and also locked him aboard the cruiser!
With the Acclimator drawing closer and closer to the other capital ship, Var'ath races to free the escape pod from its bay before impact. He is able to eject free of the Republic vessel just before it collides with the broadside of the Raider, causing a massive shipwreck in the Xorrn atmosphere. The two giant ships break apart and collide with the surface of the planet, raining down yet more debris and fiery explosions over the pock-marked landscape.
As the defenders cheer the destruction of the Imperial cruiser, they notice that their communications systems are being jammed by some surface-level system. Checking it out, Kentas and Var'ath discover that the source is an Imperial Floating Fortress, a hovertank that is equipped with an advanced scrambler and sensor system. While Var'ath is able to slice the system to cause all comms on both sides to get temporarily garbled, he needs to get closer to disable the Imperial scrambler.
Leading a brave group of Rebel SpecForce commandos in an attack on the Fortress and the stormtroopers accompanying it, Kentas is able to take out the tank and its attendant systems, ending the comms scrambling before it can cause significant damage to the defender's plans. It comes at a high cost, however, as half of the SpecForces troopers die in the effort. Var'ath is able to save one from his demise with some quick medical attention, and the survivors race back to the Foundry to prepare for the ground assault.
With a battle raging amid the ship graveyard on the surface fo Xorrn, Imperial dropships rain down and unload rank upon rank of Imperial Stormtroopers, as well as some AT-ST walkers and speeder bikes. Two and a half hours have passed, and the Rebel armada has yet to show itself, meaning that the battle for the foundry has just begun....