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“Wait, are you suggesting we attack the Interdictor by ourselves?” Nakari said.
“It’s either that or let them catch us. I don’t think they’ll respond to a polite request to stand down. And this is one of the old models. We should go before they have time to get reinforcements here. Right now it’s unescorted and only has twenty-four TIE fighters.”
“Only twenty-four? We’re one ship with a couple of blasters and a few missiles!”
“That’s all we need. And the TIE fighter pilots might be on lunch break or something, so we should be clear for a minute or two. We have speed and surprise on our side.” I probably sounded more confident than I actually felt, but that is the only way to engage the enemy—something I picked up from Han. He told me, “Never go into battle saying, ‘Well, I guess I’ll fight for my life now, if I really have to.’ Once committed, kid, you have to commit fully, or you won’t survive.” I pointed the nose down toward the Interdictor and accelerated for the first time to full attack speed, and it was breathtaking. The Desert Jewel was definitely faster than my X-wing.
“Luke, they’ve seen us by now! You can’t surprise them.”
“I’m talking about the surprise we picked up from the Chekkoo clan on Rodia. And the surprise that we would attack them at all, considering their advantages.”
The Interdictor’s batteries swung up and began spraying green bolts from quad laser cannons, but most of it was for show, since only a couple of them had the proper field of fire. The first squadron of TIE fighters, which must have been on alert or else eating lunch in their cockpits, began to swarm out from underneath.
“Let’s get out of here!” Nakari insisted. “This is insane!”
I didn’t think so; I wasn’t simply charging in with the hope that things would work out in my favor. I had a plan, and crazy people rarely had them. “I prefer to think of it as risky,” I said, and saying that reminded me of the conversation I had with Leia on the Patience. Surely this wasn’t as dangerous as going after the Death Star. “Artoo, which gravity projector should I target?”
ITS PORT SIDE, OUR STARBOARD.
“Both of them?”
“That complicates things.”
“They weren’t complicated before?” Nakari asked. “That cruiser has to be shielded.”
“It is, but this is one of the Immobilizer models, and we’ve been studying them since the Empire has been using them against us on our raids. They have twelve shield generators—some of them ray shields, some particle shields. We take out the particle shield generators for the port side first, then go after the gravity projectors with whatever we have left.”
“While dodging TIE fighters and quad laser fire. Do you hear yourself?”
Both were coming at me now, and I sent the Jewel into a spin away from an aggressive TIE pilot. Nakari missed seeing it, so focused was she on convincing me to flee. “I did say it was complicated.”
“Luke, let’s just run to the edge of the interdiction field! The Jewel is fast enough!” I’d thought of that already, and perhaps it would have worked if I’d been in the cockpit instead of trying to make the caf machine produce something drinkable, but we’d lost too much time and space in those ten to fifteen seconds while I was unable to do anything. “No, they sucked us in too close. The TIEs are already on us.”
Nakari turned her head, saw the vast assortment of death heading our way, jerked in her seat, and exclaimed, “Gah!” She didn’t press her point after that, seeing that it was too late. Situations develop fast when fighters close on one another so quickly. We wove through the first six TIEs, avoiding their fire and head-on collisions; I managed to wing one of them with our laser cannons—we had three now, not just one—and it careened into another, taking both out. I didn’t bother firing at the cruiser, since there was no way our lone ship could weaken the shields enough to punch through, but I would gladly pull the trigger on the TIE fighters whenever opportunity afforded.
The Empire had stopped making these particular Interdictor cruisers because of their vulnerabilities, but while they weren’t making any new ones, there were still plenty of them out there. The Alliance kept running into them, so we had been training recently on how to eliminate them before our raiding parties got wiped out by their escorts of destroyers and cruisers. The Empire was putting gravity projectors into Star Destroyers now, much more difficult to take out for a group and impossible for a single ship to damage. To my knowledge no one had ever taken out an Immobilizer with a single ship before, but I’d theorized about the possibility with Wedge…