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[小说] 【正史短篇】刀锋中队:进攻时刻(Blade Squadron : Zero Hour)











发表于 2016-6-21 22:22 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式


戴维·J·威廉斯  马克·S·威廉斯
There is no emotion, there is peace.










 楼主| 发表于 2016-6-21 22:24 | 显示全部楼层

The planet's vast wall of huge, swirling storm clouds looked like infinity itself: It filled the view, broken only by the patches of orange-gray terrain visible here and there beneath the roiling weather. Gina Moonsong accelerated her B-wing to attack speed as the rest of her squadron fell into formation behind her. She gritted her teeth and opened her comlink.
"All units, on my mark... three... two... one... mark."

The battle-computers of the B-wings synced; the next moment, over a dozen ion cannon beams converged at precisely the same coordinates on the planetary shield that protected Malastare. For a moment a portion of that shield flickered into the visible spectrum-and then splintered, disrupting just long enough for the squadron to pass through. Moonsong felt the chop as her ship passed through the compromised shield.

All around, her pilots were struggling to maintain an ever-more precise heading as they vectored through the shield's weakest portion-a struggle that grew increasingly desperate as the atmosphere built and the gravity intensified. For one ship it was too much: Moonsong watched on her screens as the electromagnetic surge of the flickering shield caught the tail of Blade 7. whipping the ship back up against the deadly wall, fireballing the craft before Karls even knew what hit him. Moonsong cursed under her breath even as she checked that Fanty was still in position on her wing, that Stramm and the rest of the Squadron were right behind. They had penetrated the planet's first line of defense but were continuing to struggle against the overwhelming force of the maelstrom.

And it was about to get a lot worse.

"Blade Five to Blade Three; I count at least a dozen TIE fighters inbound." The coolness in Cutter Poole's voice belied his complete lack of experience in battle.
“刀锋5号呼叫刀锋3号;我发现至少一打TIE战斗机正在接近。”卡特·普尔(Cutter Poole)声音中的冷静掩饰了他缺乏战斗经验的事实。

"There sure are a lot of them..." Blade Six chimed in.

"Charge deflectors to full," said Moonsong. "Let's do what you were trained for."

Yet even as the deflectors went up, and her reflexes took over, she felt her mind going back to events after the destruction of the second Death Star. It was so recent and yet it seemed like such an eternity ago...

The ceremony on the flight deck was short and to the point. Some admiral (whom Moonsong had never heard of) droned on about duty, sacrifice and heroism before proceeding to award the B-wing pilots who had survived the Battle of Endor their Medals of Bravery. Moonsong couldn't help but think they should have given them to the pilots who didn't make it. It made her promotion to lieutenant feel more than a little hollow. The only happiness Moonsong took in any of it was that Braylen Stramm had been promoted to wing commander. As the ceremony participants headed back to their duty stations, Moonsong made her way over to him. She gave him a lopsided smile and a jaunty salute, both of which he returned with less than the usual enthusiasm. In that moment, she knew everything-almost like they were playing out roles that had already been rehearsed.
飞行甲板上举行的典礼简短精炼。先是几个上将(蒙桑从来没听说过他们)长篇大论地论述使命、牺牲和英雄主义,在这之后,在恩多战役中幸存下来的B翼飞行员们被授予勇敢勋章(Medal of Bravery)。蒙桑忍不住觉得,这些勋章应该授予牺牲的飞行员们。升至中尉的她感到一阵空虚。唯一让蒙桑感到欣慰的是,布雷伦·斯特拉姆(Braylen Stramm)被提拔为联队指挥官。参加典礼的人纷纷返回工作岗位时,蒙桑径直朝他走去。她挑起嘴角朝他一笑,顽皮地敬了个礼,他无一例外地给予了略显冷淡的回应。在那一刻,她全明白了——她们就像两个剧本已被设计好的演员一样。

"The medal looks good on you, Commander," he said.

She wasn't going to let him duck out of this. She looked around to see that nobody was in earshot-then moved closer.

"What's on your mind?" she asked.

"Nothing," he replied.

"We both know that's not true."

There is no emotion, there is peace.










 楼主| 发表于 2016-6-21 22:25 | 显示全部楼层
* * *

Stramm looked past her at the confetti dangling from the rafters. "I'm not sure how to say it."

"I'll say it for you. You think your promotion means that we have to stop seeing each other."

"It does," he replied.

"That's a ton of bunk," she said evenly. "You're scared of how serious we've become."

"Of course I'm scared," he shot back. "Scared of having to choose between you and the rest of the squad."

"Sounds like you already have."

"Gina, I may have to order you to do something that might-well, if that day comes I don't want to doubt whether I'd give the order or if you would even follow it."

"I'd follow it. You know I would."

"That's my point," he said-and when she didn't reply: "I- look, we can figure things out between us when the war is over."

"The war is over," she said.

"It's not." He sat down on the edge of the stage, let his feet dangle-for just a moment, he looked like a helpless child.

"I shouldn't be telling you this, but... the Imperials aren't beaten. What looked like just a rearguard action is turning out to be something more serious. All leave is getting canceled and Blade Squadron is getting a fresh batch of recruits. And I need you to train them. Okay?"

She smiled with a calmness that she knew he could see right through. "Okay," she said.

Stramm and his B-wings peeled off, deploying their ECM packages while Moonsong led the rest of the squadron straight down on the incoming TIE fighters. Blade Squadron's penetration of the planetary shield had woken everybody up planetside, but hopefully they were going to be focused on her and not Stramm. Fanty's voice echoed through the squadron's headsets.
斯特拉姆和几架B翼去部署ECM(译注:电子对抗措施,electronic counter measures的缩写)设备,蒙桑领着中队其余的成员迎战TIE战斗机。刀锋中队对行星护盾的渗透让整个行星都炸了锅,但幸亏他们盯上的是她,而不是斯特拉姆。凡蒂的声音在中队成员们的耳机中回荡。

"Stand by for ground-hogs...." Moonsong smiled grimly. Ground-hogs was the nickname for the Imperial pilots who flew planetary atmospheric missions. Steering a TIE fighter through the mess of a planet's atmosphere was tougher than it looked, and the Ground-hogs made it look easy. Even with all the terrible weather, the B-wing's battle computers showed them in a tight formation and closing fast. Over the years the 'Hogs had developed skills and tactics that made them as dangerous as any type of combat pilot you could think of. And right now Moonsong wasn't thinking of anything else; she pushed the stick forward, diving down to intercept the incoming TIEs in what was arguably the most gut-wrenching part of Stramm's plan. Her battle computer indicated that Stramm's ships were vectoring straight in toward the target, unnoticed by the TIEs or the ground defense batteries. She and her pilots had the Imperials' undivided attention.

"Initiate maneuver orenth," she barked- and her B-wings initiated a steep loop that took them away from the TIE fighters, giving the impression that they were in full retreat. Sensing an easy victory, the TIE fighters closed in after them, following the B-wings all the way up to the edge of atmosphere beneath the shield.

Which was exactly what she wanted.

* * *

"My name is Lieutenant Gina Moonsong."

She gazed at the new faces. Above them, up in the hangar's observation deck, she caught a glimpse of Stramm watching over the railing. Each of her cadets was untested. And she wouldn't have time to teach them much.

"The three of you have been assigned to my section." She glanced down at the datapad containing the personnel files. "So welcome to Blade Squadron." She paused. What else was she supposed to say?

"Well, don't be shy," she said. "Sound off."

The tallest of them spoke up first. "Pilot Cadet Yori Dahn reporting."
三个人里个头最高的一个率先开口。“飞行学员尤里·丹(Yori Dahn)报道。”

Moonsong gazed at her appraisingly. "It says here you used to be first officer on a tramp freighter."
蒙桑打量着她。“资料上说你曾是一艘不定期货船(tramp freighter)的大副。”

"Yes, Lieutenant."

"And what led you to join up?"

"The Imperials executed my crew."

"So you're here for revenge," said Moonsong.

"I suppose so, Lieutenant."

"That's a terrible reason to fight."

"Is it? I thought that-"

"It's likely to get you killed. Find a better reason."

"Yes, Lieutenant."

Moonsong had already turned to the next cadet. "And who are you supposed to be?"

"Pilot Cadet Jordan Karls." He was a stout Togruta who wore a pelt-sash made from what Moonsong suspected was a particularly nasty predator. Karls looked like he had killed it himself with his bare hands.

"Your file says you saw action near Bespin. What makes you think you'll be a good B-wing pilot?"

There is no emotion, there is peace.










 楼主| 发表于 2016-6-21 22:27 | 显示全部楼层
"I'm highly adaptable, Lieutenant."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"I've flown everything but X-wings."

"B-wings are a lot more temperamental than X-wings," said Moonsong. "Your file says you did okay in training. We'll see how that works in practice." She turned to the last cadet, but he spoke first:

"Pilot Cadet Cutter Poole, ma'am."

Poole was young, square jawed handsome, dark-haired and blueeyed. He looked like an action hero right out of the latest holoplay.

"What are you smiling at?" she asked him.

"I'm just glad the war didn't end before I got here, sir. I mean, ma'am."

"Oh I see. A glory boy. We've got all kinds of uses for you. Just so you all know: I don't like being addressed as ma'am, skipper, sir, or boss. You all get to call me lieutenant. If any of you joined up thinking you'll take a quick rumble through the war and be home before the next Founder's Day, I have some sad news for you. This thing isn't over by a long shot. I hope you're reading me."
“噢,我明白了,骄傲的小子。我们会分配给你们各种任务。但你们要知道:我不喜欢被冠以什么夫人、队长、长官,或者老板之类的头衔。你们都叫我中尉。如果谁参了军,还以为自己能速战速决、能在下一个创立者纪念日(Founder’s Day)之前回家,那我要告诉你们一些不幸的消息。这种事绝无可能。我希望你们能明白我的意思。”

"Yes, Lieutenant," they replied in unison.

"Welcome to Blade Squadron then. Now... this is my wingman, Fanty. He's going to get you all squared away. We start training exercises tomorrow at oh-six-hundred sharp." Moonsong motioned to Fanty, who stepped up and carried on.

"Okay you heard the El-Tee; let's go." Moonsong looked back up at the observation deck, but Stramm was no longer there.

* * *

As the atmosphere frayed, so did the Ground-hogs' advantage. Moonsong fired her afterthrusters; the B-wings broke formation, spun around and rocketed headfirst back towards their pursuers, causing them to scatter in surprise. Moonsong and Fanty dropped in behind a pair of TIE fighters, and unceremoniously shot them out of the sky. Suddenly B-wing pilots who had never engaged a foe before found themselves winning their very first fight. Poole and Dahn whooped as they engaged a disoriented TIE, making short work out of him. Poole's excited voice crackled over Moonsong's speakers.

"Just like shooting mouse droids in a barrel!"
“简直就像用枪打桶里的老鼠机器人(mouse droid)!”

"Blades Five and Six, look out!!" Even as she snarled the warning, Moonsong knew it was too late-a TIE fighter was already dropping into Poole's blindspot, peppering him with laser fire. The B-wing's cockpit belched a plume of smoke before turning away and plummeting down through the clouds. Moonsong veered sharply leftward, riddling the TIE fighter that had brought down Poole, sending it spinning down after him. But the payback brought no solace.

* * *

"Come in," said Stramm.

She stepped inside his wardroom, but didn't close the door behind her.

"Here's the operation," he said without preamble. This routine was new to both of them, and they were making it up as they went along. He keyed up a map of a star sector and pointed at an insignificant cluster at the edge of it. "Commander Antilles scouted out the target: an Imperial communications hub on Malastare. I'm working up the program."

She studied the map. "Looks like the planet's shielded."

"Thankfully the shield generator is right next to the primary target. We can hit both at the same time."

"How do we get in?"

"Well." Stramm looked uncomfortable. "Ackbar's techies think if we aggregate our ion cannons, we can create a temporary aperture."

"That sounds crazy."

"Do I look like I'm arguing?"

"And even if we..." She caught sight of a locale planetside, tapped it. "What's this?"

"That's Moff Pandion's vacation palace."
“那是星区总督潘迪翁(Moff Pandion)的度假馆。”

"Pandion... Didn't he used be the head of some slaver cartel?'

"Still is. He supplies a lot of the Empire's work camps.

"And we're not planning on hitting him?"

Moonsong struggled to keep her voice level.

"Let's stay focused, Lieutenant. If we hit the station and knock out the defenses we'll be able to get boots on the ground and secure the planet." He gave Moonsong a hard look. "That's what counts. We need to be disciplined and make sure we bring everyone back in one piece. Right?"

She shook her head.

"Playing it safe isn't going to win us the war, sir. If Moff Pandion is there, we need to consider hitting the target."

"Well, that's part of the problem. We don't know if he is there or not, and I don't want to risk anybody's life going after him."

"We've risked our lives for a whole lot less."


"And who do you think is doing the actual communicating? Hitting the hub might hurt Pandion-but killing him in his palace will put an end to any orders he might want to send out. Not to mention making it that much more likely that his troops will take our orders to surrender."

"Lieutenant, you have your orders. Are we clear?"

She hesitated for the tiniest of moments. For anyone who wasn't a fighter pilot, it wouldn't have even been discernible. For someone who was. it was unmistakable.

"Yessir," she said.

There is no emotion, there is peace.










 楼主| 发表于 2016-6-21 22:29 | 显示全部楼层
* * *

The communication array and the shield generator disappeared in a massive explosion that kicked thousands of kilograms of orange-gray dust up into the air. Stramm's bombs had found their marks. The ground forces would have a much easier task now.

"Blade Leader to Blade Squadron; we have knocked out the targets and are heading to the rendezvous point." Moonsong watched on the screen as Stramm vectored skyward as she dispatched the last TIE fighter. She keyed the mic:

"Fanty. Get Yori to the rendezvous."

"I'm not leaving you, Lieutenant. What are we doing?"

Moonsong hesitated. What the hell, she thought. "Drop to one-zero-zero meters and target that power signature at oh-seven-five northwest."

"That's the Moff's palace."

"Exactly. We're going to hit it."

"We just got the order to bug out, Lieutenant. Besides, we-"

"Won't have enough fuel to make orbit? I just did the calculations. We can make it, but it's going to be close."

"Let's do it," said Yori, speaking up for the first time. "I'm having a blast."

Fanty laughed mirthlessly. "This is not a good idea."

"You don't have to come with me," replied Moonsong.

"That's where I disagree."

The three ships plunged in toward the ground, the few remaining TIE fighters left far in their wake. Most of the ground fire was still focused on the fleeing Stramm; it took the turbolasers a while to pick up on Moonsong, but when they did they started to make up for lost time with a vengeance. Moonsong watched as orange -gray spread out on all sides and streaks of fire rose toward her.

"Picking up some pretty hairy flak, boss," said Fanty.

"We'll go down to the deck and use proton torpedoes. When we get inside the perimeter, pull up and run like hell."

"Blade Three, what are you doing?" Stramm's voice echoed in her headset. "Get back in formation!!"

"Can't read you," said Moonsong. "Picking up a lot of static-"

"Dammit you can hear me just fine! I told you to stay on-" His voice cut out as Moonsong cut the communication channel. Stramm would have to wait until they rejoined the squadron to yell at her. The three B-wings swooped down until they were less than fifty or so meters above the ground.

Moonsong's battle computer sounded a variety of alarms as they drifted into a sea of anti-aircraft fire. All she could do was hope against hope that the B-wing's powerful ECM bubble and high speed approach would prove too much for the Imperial targeting computers on the ground to handle.

"Stay in formation," she said. "We're only going to get one pass." The B-wings roared into the grass-covered valley that contained the sprawling estate. The barrage of torpedoes turned the various buildings into pillars of flame, which then collapsed in on themselves. In moments, the whole valley was a roaring inferno. Moonsong didn't know if the Moff was there or not, but she knew that if nothing else, he wouldn't be hosting any more lavish dinner parties. It might not have been much, but for now it was enough. She pulled back on the stick and led what was left of her squadron up, racing into thick clouds. The ship shook so hard it felt like it was about to come apart. The clouds got thicker and thicker. Her instruments went dark. She kept on accelerating upward. If she made it back, she could only imagine what kind of reception she was going to get from Stramm.

Truth was, she couldn't wait.


There is no emotion, there is peace.










发表于 2016-6-27 22:39 | 显示全部楼层
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