The Captain stepped onto the bridge of his vessel, the Carrack class light cruiser Dominant. Taking his seat at the centre of the relatively small command deck, the Imperial Naval officer signalled to his helmsman to drop them out of hyperspace. The Lieutenant acknowledged the command with a curt nod and pushed forwards on the control lever, disengaging the hyperdrive while simultaneously bringing up the sublights. The maelstrom of hyperspace dropped away before them to be replaced by the massive orb of the gas giant Taloraan as they sped into orbit.
The slender Imperial vessel was soon joined by two escort Lancer class frigates and the rear was brought up by a bulk freighter, their mission, a resupply run to Taloraan for the Outer Rim Fleet. A simple mission which was about to get a lot more complicated. An alert chimed from the tactical officer's console, who turned to face his Captain just as he stepped forward from his command chair. Looking at the tactical display the Captain could see an impressive looking strike force of Rebel cruisers between them and the planet. It looked like they might find glory in this blue milk run after all. He steps back up to his chair, pressing a switch on the command console on one of the arms as he sits down, activating a fleet wide communications channel.
"All capital ships form up, prepare to launch fighters."
ROUND 1: ENCOUNTER AT MOS ENTHA
After their ship is crippled in an engagement in low orbit over Tatooine, the Naval Marine complement of a Rebel Corellian Corvette must fend off an advancing platoon of elite Imperial Sandtroopers on a seek and destroy mission to the deserted town of Mos Entha. The Rebels knew they had to act decisively or risk being overrun amongst the wreckage of their downed cruiser. Aggressively they moved out into the town in small fire teams moving swiftly hoping to catch the Imperial forces unawares in the shadows of the night. There were light skirmishes here and there, and then the commanders of both forces found that they had bypassed each other's main patrols and occupied the area their enemy had previously had control of. This game of cat and mouse continued until the Imperial forces were isolated in the town entrance area to the north. Deploying his forces in a wide search pattern the Rebel Commander moved in, careful to not allow any enemy troops to slip through the net, culminating in an intense street battle until a second unit outflanked the dug in Imperial troops and finally eliminated the threat.
ROUND 2: BATTLE OF RYLOTH
Acting on intelligence gathered by Imperial Probe Droids, the Star Destroyer Vengeance was ordered to Ryloth to investigate reports of a hidden Rebel base. Following a lengthy bombardment a task force was deployed to mop up any survivors. The base however was hardier than expected, and the Rebel forces stationed there were more than ready for a fight when the Imperial troops arrived. A lethal combination of swift but deadly T-47 armoured Airspeeders and BTL-S3 Y-Wing fighter bombers tore into the Firehawke tank columns moving in on the Rebel positions to devastating effect, halting the Imperial ground assault in it's tracks. The Empire did make formidable use of armoured Lambda shuttles, making swift and dangerous combat drops deep into enemy territory to deploy troopers to hold key installations in the area, but they never could quite break the Rebel's hold on air superiority in the region, leading to thrilling aerial chases through the region's deep canyons, and fierce fighting on the ground. In the end the Imperial task force had to withdraw from the area due to overwhelming odds, and were forced to return back to their Star Destroyer in orbit to rethink their strategy.
ROUND 3: BATTLE OF TALORAAN
Engaged in a supply run for the Outer Rim Imperial Naval Fleet Command, a small flotilla of Imperial cruisers finds a Rebel task force between them and the planet Taloraan when they exit hyperspace. Intent on collecting the vital supplies, and preventing the Rebel forces from escaping with their prize, the Imperial fleet pulled into formation to assault the Rebel cruisers. Reacting swiftly to the surprise arrival of the Imperial forces, the Rebel fleet commander deploys all his starfighters in an all out assault on the Imperial fleet. The intention, to deal as much damage as possible to the enemy capital ships before they even close into effective weapon's range. The first wave of fighters targeted the Imperial bulk freighter, that ship's repair and re-arm capability made it a valuable target that had to be destroyed as swiftly as possible. Wave after wave of focused proton torpedo attacks from X & B-Wing fighters buffeted the freighter before the Imperial fleet could close formation, and this craft's early destruction dealt a serious blow to the Imperial fleet. Once in formation the Imperial fleet moved in, and the heavily armed and armoured Rebel starfighters shifted to their next target, the Carrack command ship of the fleet. Swift moving and agile Rebel Corvettes were the first of the Rebel capital ships to move into battle, supported to the rear by a Gallofree Medium Transport converted for repair duty. The first Corvette went head to head with the heavier Carrack class light cruiser, jinking from side to side to avoid that ship's deadly salvos of proton torpedoes. Concentrated heavy turbolaser fire finally caused the Carrack's shields and hull integrity to buckle and fail resulting in another loss for the Empire. The Corvette swiftly changed target to an escorting Lancer altering it's heading to bring all weapons to bear, as the Rebel fleet surgically selected target after target to focus all their collective firepower on. The second Lancer swung around and attacked the Gallofree from behind, destroying this valuable asset and robbing the first Alliance Corvette of that vessel's much needed repair facilities. Taking on too much damage the Corvette erupted into a superheated ball of gas and debris, but it's Lancer foe wasn't far behind, succumbing to the deadly torpedoes of an attack wave of Rebel starfighters. The final Imperial Lancer tried to disengage and break orbit, but caught by the onslaught of the focused firepower of all the Rebel fleet's remaining ships had little chance of escape, and was inevitably blown apart drawing the Battle of Taloraan to a close.
So in our fourth week things continue to get interesting, with a full three match clean sweep for the Rebellion this week, which should see them take a slim lead. A fitting way to enter into this holiday season mid campaign break for Christmas and New Year, with the scores so close that it is still anyone's guess who will end up victorious in the end. This week's matches were great, with good participation, and an interesting mix of maps taking in infantry, a classic combined arms map, and a fleet assault space map, all the good diverse stuff that First Strike has to offer.
As an added bonus. Alliance intelligence have managed to intercept encrypted Imperial coded transmissions. Which when code broken were revealed to be battle logs of the Imperial forces engaged in this week's battles. Imperial Holonet News and Imperial COMPNOR intelligence agencies tried to bury this data, but we have it for you here right now, so check them out before they manage to disrupt our transmissions:
Additionally, we have helmet cam footage and sensor recordings from Rebel troops and spacecraft engaged in these Alliance victories, follow the link bellow to gain access to the data which the Rebel Alliance are streaming to all their hidden cells across the galaxy.
If you like what you see here, fear not, you haven't missed this event, it is still ongoing, and will commence again early in the new year. We hope to see more players in the coming weeks, so if you haven't joined up already get involved and sign up here:
Also during the holidays during the break in the campaign, we plan to hold a few event nights for public play, where new players can engage in some good well populated non-competitive games, so keep your sensors peeled for more news on that as we get it.
Finally, for more information on the mod and access to exclusive material, you can follow First Strike on Twitter, just search for FirstStrikeMod to gain access to this additional content.
Lastly, one final thank you to everyone who voted for us, it has certainly been an interesting MOTY Awards this year, and it seems a very exciting time to be involved in the modding scene with some fantastic work appearing in all game genres. Good luck everyone. See you on the other side.
Until next time,
May the Force be with you.