Star Wars Character Creator Contest

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Star Wars Character Creator Contest

Post by Cretanja »

Star Wars Character Creator Contest
Cretanja wrote: Wed May 03, 2023 10:38 am Star Wars lore is vast and highly detailed! There’s so many opportunities to squeeze unique and new characters into the lore. In honour of May the Fourth, we’re designating the month of May as Star Wars Month!

Your goal is to create a character that lives in the Star Wars universe, whether that be past, present, future, force sensitive, non-force sensitive, a cousin to a character, a child, a lost sibling, etc. It’s completely up to you.

You may submit a drawing or a written description ( or both ), of your character. The more you include, the better! ... t=30669508
^ 2023 event.


•Submissions deadline: May 1st - 24th
•A winner will be announced: Soon after, hehe!
•Have fun!

Multiple submissions are allowed; if you have the time~
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Re: Star Wars Character Creator Contest

Post by Resentine »

Dral Etrill

(Source: Deviantart - DaTallCanuck)
There were, we'll say, certain commanders or admirals sitting cozy in their custom painted ISDs who are under the impression that enough planning and preparation and "cultural analysis" can win any battle. But when you're out there in the middle of a fleet battle; flak, laser, and missiles blasting by you, and the only thing separating you from the cold vacuum of space is about 20 centimeters of durasteel and a cockpit patched together by some cocky engineer who's been surviving the last 72 hours on caf, you learn quickly that the biggest factor in a battle is mistakes. Mistakes, and who can exploit them. And I don't care what those X-Wing jockeys say, you want a squadron that will exploit Imp mistakes? You call the A-Wings.
- Dral Etrill, The Rebel Dream: Meeting The Pilots Who Destroyed an Empire by M. Stackpole, published 10 ABY

Major Dral Etrill is the stubborn and aggressive Mon Calamari commander of the Alliance Starfighter Corps assigned to Fleet Group Ember. Etrill is known as a decisive commander, often making quick decisions in the heat of battle, hoping to surprise his opponents. In addition to this, Etrill is a skilled fighter pilot, having served initially in the Mon Cala Defense Force and later joining the Rebel Alliance. With almost 18 years of flight experience, Etrill has found himself among the elite of the Rebel Alliance's Starfighter Corps, as both a commander and a pilot. He would fight for the Rebel Alliance, and later the New Republic, as a member of Fleet Group Ember. With Ember, he would fight in campaigns across the galaxy, through the Mid Rim, to Endor and finally Jakku. He continues to serve as a Wing Commander in the New Republic Defense Force.
Early Life
What do you want me to say, I had a loving childhood? I was the 22nd kid out of a pod of 30, 40? You tend to lose track of that many until they get older. My parents made sure me and my siblings didn't turn into krakana bait and that was enough. Gave me plenty of free time though. A lot less chores need doing when you have 40 siblings covering for you.

- Dral Etrill, The Rebel Dream: Meeting The Pilots Who Destroyed an Empire

Born along with the rest of his pod of siblings in 41 BBY, Dral Etrill was the 22nd son of Ger and Lasa Etrill, a pair of Mon Calamari ship builders and designers with the Mon Calamari Shipyards. Unlike many of his siblings who followed in their parents' footsteps and took an interest in design, from an early age Dral found himself deeply interested in racing, often joining in swimming races through the depths of his watery homeworld. This interest would continue to develop as he got older, eventually getting his hands on a highly maneuverable submarine he could use to explore the careening trenches and extensive underwater reefs of Mon Cala's deepest depths. When he was starting to come of age his antics, though occasionally illegal, gained the interest of the Mon Cala Defense Corps, looking for more pilots given the growing Separatist Crisis in the Republic.

When the seeming inevitable occurred, Mon Cala was divided between the Mon Calamari ruling government backing the Republic and their Quarren co-habitants, who demanded more say in the governance of the planet. The Quarren were quickly backed by the Confederacy of Independent Systems, and war was brought to Dral's homeworld. Despite his intent to sign up, Dral's parents very quickly took their younger children offworld to the colony of Ruisto to wait out the civil war. Though the conflict wouldn't last long with the timely intervention of the Republic and its aquatic allies, along with the defection of major Quarren political factions when CIS commanders attempted to usurp the throne, the damage was done. Quarren and CIS members of the Mon Calamari Shipyards formally broke off to form the Free Dac Volunteer Engineer Corps, and several cities on Mon Cala were damaged by the Separatist forces. While the damage was repaired, MCDF would be far more cautious in the future, taking more preparations to deal with outside interlopers coming to their world. This would be the MCDF Dral found himself recruited into when he came of age for service in 19 BBY, under the careful and watchful guise of Commander Gial Ackbar.
The Occupation of Mon Cala

Mon Cal fighters jumping out of the oceans for quick strikes against Imperial forces(source: Wookieepedia)

While the Emperor may have turned out to be a tactful and sneaky coral worm, the rest of his Empire was about as subtle as a krakana. Ackbar, Raddus and King Lee Char figured out early on they were coming down, it was just a matter of when. And when that turned into soon, there just wasn't enough time. Just be sure it's on the record: we did not abandon our home quietly. Mon Calamari and Quarren alike shed blood for every inch of land and sea.

- Dral Etrill, Exodus to Liberation: The Survival of the Mon Cal Exodus Fleet by A. Allston, published 14 ABY

The Clone War had concluded when Dral became a fully fledged pilot in the MCDF. The Empire had risen, the Jedi slaughtered, the Core Worlds celebrated a new beginning. The Outer Rim however, watched in quiet fear as they waited for the Empire to make the first move. The Empire was swift in the occupation of former CIS worlds, cracking down aggressively on their now defenseless opposition. Seeing how quickly the Empire seized on their former enemies left the Mon Cala government wondering: Are we next? In the midst of this new crisis, Dral found himself assigned to Tide Squadron, A newly formed unit but well equipped and under the command of a veteran pilot, Commander Guur Lahima. Under the guidance of Mayor Raddus, recently given command of the Mon Cal Mercantile Fleet, Tide trained aggressively, learning to use their fighters amphibious abilities to perform hit and run attacks and hide back beneath the waves, where the Empire couldn't chase them.

However, the day of reckoning was quickly upon them. With King Lee Char stalling negotiations to join the Empire, Grand Moff Tarkin showed up to Mon Cala with his newly constructed ISD, The Sovereign, to pressure the young King into a decision, along with the arrival of a mysterious black armored figure, known only as Vader. While Lee Char stalled, Commander Ackbar and Raddus prepared the forces they had available as tensions increased. All hell broke loose when the Imperial Ambassador Telvar, the official negotiator, was killed when his shuttle suddenly exploded. Quickly, Tarkin blamed the Mon Calamari and invaded the planet.

With Raddus directing the efforts of the Southern Hemisphere's defense forces, Tide found itself used often in attacking landing Imperial forces and then quickly disappearing beneath the waves. Despite initial success, the Northern Hemisphere found itself under devastating orbital bombardment from Tarkin's flagship, and King Lee Char was captured by Imperial Forces and called for a cease fire. Raddus and Ackbar, recognizing the danger of the situation, began their secondary plan. The Mon Cal Fleet was made up of City-Ship cruisers, municipal buildings filled with Mon Cal and Quarren refugees daring to make it off world, made space worthy under intense work. They would press through the blockade, with Tide and other fighter squadrons escorting them. The fight through the Imperial fleet was brutal, with two of five of the Mon Cal cruisers going down in flames. Tide would fight on through wave after wave of Imperial starfighters, and one by one, Dral watched his squadmates burn against the waves of Imperial fighters and flak. Commander Lahima was the last to go, taking down a pair of Imperial V-Wings chasing Dral before getting spaced by a concussion missile. Though Dral and the city ships would escape, he was alone, and Tide squadron would be retired.
The Quiet Years
The Exodus was a pretty dark time for all of us. Sure, we survived, but for what? Our ships were barely kept together after such a long time out of drydock, everyone was rationed. We never stopped in one place for long, not even for long enough to get our feet on the ground, much less in ocean water. We weren't even actively fighting the Empire and they were still killing us just by putting a listening post in a system!

- Dral Etrill, Exodus to Liberation: The Survival of the Mon Calamari Exodus Fleet

For well over a decade, the Mon Cal Exodus Fleet made its way across the Galaxy, carefully avoiding heavily patrolled sectors, doing patchwork repairs on their ships when they could. Dral, with Tide Squadron all but gone, would be re-assigned to reconnaissance, checking the next system for Imperial Activity before the Exodus Fleet would move and gather what resources they could. In this time, though he was no longer flying a nimble starfighter, he would make continual modifications to his craft, making the sensors more accurate, adjusting the thrusters, honing his reaction times. Where he could, he'd test himself flying through orbital debris or asteroid fields, keeping his reflexes sharp. While there would be the occasional skirmish with pirates and local authorities, direct conflict with the Empire was avoided, with the Exodus Fleet either exiting a system before the Imps could arrive or simply avoiding any system with Imperial space presence. Dral swore he would avenge his squadmates, but he understood: they were outnumbered, outgunned, and had few friends. Waiting was the only game they could play. Time would reward the patience of the Mon Calamari, as more and more systems would begin to take up arms against their Imperial Overlords.
The Burning Embers

Tide Squadron performing training exercises with the Pelta Frigate Y'urlin(source: Wookieepedia)

Had we heard of rebels? Sure, we'd heard of the Partisans, the Ryloth Liberation Front, old Clone War insurgents. What we didn't know is they were organized. We were lucky they approached us when they did, the Fleet was barely keeping together. They needed firepower, and we needed to have hope. A perfect match.

- Dral Etrill, Exodus to Liberation: The Survival of the Mon Cal Exodus Fleet

Rumors of more and more rebel uprisings made their way through the Mon Cal Exodus Fleet around 5 BBY. They'd long heard tales of old heroes from the Clone War, like Saw Guerrera and Cham Syndulla taking up arms against the Empire, but these were new. Small bands of pilots around Jabiim raiding Imperial convoys, a small freighter blockade running in Lothal, raiders blowing up Star Destroyers in dock over Sullust, small sparks to light the flame. It would take time, but eventually Rebel agents managed to contact now Admirals Ackbar and Raddus to negotiate Mon Cala membership into the cause. Without much convincing to bring the Exodus Fleet into the fold, the nascent Rebel Alliance turned over the Telaris Spacedocks and let the Mon Calamari and Quarren survivors get to work. Given fresh supplies, a proper dockyard, and brand new A-Wing and older Y-Wing starfighters, the Exodus Fleet quickly converted their city-ships into proper warships, the ships Home One and Profundity prime amongst them. Soon they would be joined by other Mon Cal ships who'd escaped the Empire, like the trade ship Visionary and the industrial ship Regency. It would be at Telaris that the backbone of the fledgling Rebel Navy was formed. By the end of 3 BBY, with the Mon Cal fleet converted, Dral would be made a formal Captain in the Rebel Alliance Starfighter Corps, and assigned an A-Wing squadron for him to lead.

Renaming the squadron "Tide" after his old group, Deal and his squad mates were assigned to a Clone War era Pelta Frigate named Y'urlin where much of their training would take place. The initial squadron only had 3 other pilots excluding Dral: a Twi'lek First Lt. named Nala Ujia'novomi, Tongath Lt. Eerix, and Human Lt. Bes Ruovi from Corellia. The four would spend months training off of the Y'urlin's hangar bay, honing their skills, modifying their fighters, and developing tactics for the speedy durasteel darts they called fighters. It would be during this time Dral was put in contact with General Delim Regar, who led a Sullustan Rebel Cell before joining up with the Rebellion. Regar was looking to form a mobile fleet group to operate in the Mid-Rim, performing hit and run attacks on priority targets from a mobile base in the form of a fleet. With Tide and Dral to help him, Regar believed he could cause enough damage in the Mid Rim to distract the Empire away from other priority sectors. Dral agreed, and so along with Imperial defector Captain Ender Vonreg and Ithorian tactician Major Roron Bata, the four would form Fleet Group Ember, and begin their campaign upon the Declaration of Rebellion.
Victory and Sacrifice

Tide Squadron strikes Imperial TIEs during the Battle of New Holstice.(image modified, source: Wookieepedia)

Those early years were never easy. Every small victory had a cost, we were still figuring out how to operate, barely getting our feet wet. Meanwhile, the Empire's anti-insurgency force, the 5th Victory Squadron, had spent years cutting down other cells. They cut their teeth against the Partisans, killed Anto Kreegyr and his Neo-Separatists, and fought their way through rebel groups across the Mid Rim. We were lucky we survived New Holstice.

- Dral Etrill, Rebellion in the Rim by M. Stackpole, published 8 ABY

With the Rebellion declared formally at the end of 2 BBY, Rebel Forces across the Galaxy quickly got to the hard work of subverting the Empire, with Fleet Group Ember leading the way in the Mid Rim. Efforts began with coordinated small strikes on Imperial outposts to locate high value Rebel prisoners, namely engineers for the recently seized Incom Corporation. Coordinating efforts with General Regar, Dral planned the aggressive hit and run raids on Imperial information posts on Saleucami and Boonta, locating the engineers on the swamp world Wobani. Hoping to act on the information as soon as possible, Dral pushed General Regar to authorize a rescue from the planet, feeling the longer they waited, the more likely these engineers would be executed. Regar agreed, and the two set into motion plans to raid the Imperial Prison. With several other fighter squadrons, the Y'urlin, and two CR-90 corvettes, Dral and Tide Squadron launched their attack against the planet, quickly striking and destroying the local garrison of TIE fighters and landing U-wings with marines to rescue the engineers. Unbeknownst to the Rebels, Imperial help was much closer than expected, with the arrival of the Victory Star Destroyer Varask and her escort group from the 5th Victory Squadron. The Imperial 5th was known to the Rebellion, and known to be aggressive and brutal to their enemies, but they were believed to be operating near Bothawui and not this far up the Mid Rim. While their arrival caught Dral off guard, it didn't deter him, quickly moving the fighter contingent of his force to protect the corvettes from the incoming waves of Imperial fighters. However with the fighters tied up with the Imp TIEs, the Varask's escorts quickly pushed through the line, breaking towards the Y'urlin. It would only be due to the sacrifice of one of the CR-90s, the Talloran, that the Y'urlin, would pick up the U-wings with the engineers and escape, completing the mission. Despite the victory, the rescue at Wobani and the loss of the Talloran were the beginning of several major losses for Fleet Group Ember which would come to a head over the farming and medical colony of New Holstice.

With Rebel presence now known, the 5th Squadron vastly expanded their presence around Wobani, increasing patrols along the hyperlanes throughout the sector. Fleet Group Ember was increasingly careful, conducting quick strikes against small Imperial facilities, hitting the occasional supply convoy, avoiding large engagements much like the Mon Cal Exodus Fleet. With General Regar moving his command to the MC80A Cruiser Regency, strikes would be conducted from there and repairs done quickly due to the Regency's pre-refit industrial equipment being used for repairs. However with the rapid strikes came massively increased maintenance costs, forcing the Rebels to seek out a semi-permanent base in the form of New Holstice. New Holstice was a farming world on the edge of the Mid Rim, the planet saw some action during the Clone Wars but seemed isolated enough that the Rebels could make a temporary home there. The planet was an excellent safe harbor for the time the Fleet Group stayed there: food was readily available, there was an abandoned Republic medical starbase that was filled with supplies, and Imperial patrols didn’t regularly check the planet due to its distance from the major trade routes. This gave many of the pilots, Etrill and Tide included, time to train and develop tactics, becoming more coordinated with each other.

However, being static for too long would finally cost the Rebels as by pure chance while they were resupplying at New Holstice's orbital station that the Victory Star Destroyers Varask and Howl and their escorts would drop out of hyperspace to New Holstice hoping to refuel from their patrols only to find the entire Rebel Fleet they were looking for sitting there waiting for them. The Imperials acted quickly, launching fighters and alerting 5th Squadron Command. Though the Rebels would launch their fighters as well, being caught resupplying gave their frigates very little maneuvering room as TIE Bombers blazed through the moored up fleet. It didn't help either that Dral, feeling hot headed and vengeful for the losses at Wobani, defied orders and charged headfirst into the TIE Fighter formation, hoping to get a piece of the Imperial 304th Fighter Wing, led by their TIE Interceptor “Sabre” squadron. Despite the efforts of Captain Vonreg and his X-Wings of Ember Squadron, they alone could not hold back the Imperial bomber horde, leading to the destruction of two of the 14 Rebel ships, the Emancipator and the Salvara. As the Rebels attempted to make their escape, they found themselves quickly boxed in by incoming Imperial reinforcements led by the 5th Squadron's leader; Admiral Odile Kilran and his ISD the Dragon’s Wrath. Realizing the desperation of the situation, General Regar ordered the Regency in-between the Empire and the Rebel escort ships, recognizing the smaller, faster vessels as more vital for the long term campaign in the Mid Rim. Regar would ultimately be killed by the pilots of Imperial Bomber Squadron 616 when they made a run on the Regency's Command Bridge. Despite his sacrifice, the Rebels would fall into chaos with his death, being totally boxed in. It would take sacrifice of the Nebulon-B Frigate Errant, who charged bow first into the VSD Varask detonating the ship's missile rack , crippling her, and obliterating the Errant, to allow the Rebels to escape. Out of the 14 Rebel ships present, only 7 would make it to the rally point on Prishardia, half of which would be crippled. Though the Regency would be among the survivors, General Regar was dead, leaving the Fleet Group without a commander for some time. It would fall to Major Roron Bata to step up and manage until word came from Rebel Command. With the loss of his commander and friend, Dral would reflect on New Holstice for some time. His foolhardiness and lust for vengeance got his commander killed, and his refusal to assess the battlespace cost the fleet.

Fleet Group Ember would remain on the back foot for some time after the Battle of New Holstice. During their short time under Major Bata they would see some success, such as at Ringo Vinda where they successfully raided the orbital shipyards to bolster their frigate force. And then with the appointment of their new commander, General Ran Niall, they would fight desperate odds. Niall conducted major raids across the sector at key Imperial targets, hitting supply depots on Boz Pity, Garrisons at Charros IV, and the Imperial Spy Post at Rhen Var. Ultimately though the Rebels would continue to experience major losses, especially with the Imperial counter-attacks responding to the Battle of Yavin. Their new capital ship, the Abolisher, was left adrift at the Battle of the Thornridge Nebula, several fighter squadrons were nearly wiped out after an Imperial ambush during a raid on Trogan. Ultimately, by the end of 1 ABY, with Fleet Group Ember elsewhere to hide its movements, the Rebels would lose General Niall when the 5th Squadron descended on his command post at Arda I. General Niall and a few volunteers sacrificed themselves to ensure the rest of the base escaped the planet. These losses stacked up, holes in the chain of command were growing, and there were few officers left to fill them. Thankfully, members of the fleet began to step up.
Pilot and Commander

Etrill(middle-right) attending a Rebel Navy Command conference led by Admiral Ackbar.(source: DeviantArt - wraithdt)

Command wasn't my ideal role. I could fly well enough, lead my own unit and coordinate them, but Bata wanted me and Vonreg to coordinate whole wings, keep fights from turning into whole fighterballs and train new pilots. Vonreg took to it instantly to his credit, but that sort of thing was in his blood. I had my experience, but I still had a lot to learn. Thankfully Ender was willing to step in and show me the ropes before I made a mess of things.

- Dral Etrill, Rebellion in the Rim

Though the Rebel Alliance post-Yavin was expanding, the hole left in Fleet Group Ember by the deaths of General Regar and later Niall would leave the fleet crippled, even more than the losses in ships. Roron Bata was brought up to command the fleet at the behest of Rebel Command, seeing his tactical prowess and cautious command as needed to ensure the group would remain operational. Uplifted with him would be Captains Etrill and Vonreg, both promoted to Major. Together, the two would be given joint command of all Alliance starfighters in the Fleet Group, with Etrill overseeing training and squadron tactics and Vonreg overseeing strategic operations and fleetwide squadron coordination. While the new desk jobs kept them out of their cockpits more, Etrill and Vonreg formed a better working relationship than they had before, and Etrill began taking lessons from Vonreg on squadron planning. With Etrill ensuring pilots were trained in challenging and occasionally risky situations, and Vonreg overseeing attack planning, the two began whipping the Fleet Group's fighter squadrons into shape, making the whole group into a force to be reckoned with.

This would become vital as the Rebellion entered the period known as the Mid Rim Advance. While Fleet Group Ember was taking loss after loss, the Rebels overall found a resurgence in their force. The Mon Cal Mercantile Fleet had staged a full revolt against the Empire after the death of King Lee Char, bringing many capital ships into the Rebels' fold. This included the abandoned Abolisher, which Fleet Group Ember would reclaim from Thornridge Nebula and bring back into working order. Tide and the rest of Fleet Group Ember would join the main Rebel Advance, for a time turning the 5th Victory Squadron from the hunter to the hunted. Fleet Group Ember would face down the Imperials at the battles over Gromas, Phindar, and Bandomeer, successfully pushing the 5th back but failing to break them. And in spite of their efforts in space, the Mid Rim Advance began to slowly grind to a halt as the Rebels failed to coordinate at the sector level, being unable to turn their isolated guerilla cells into proper fighting forces. The Rebels had struck too quickly, and now it would cost them.

The Rebels had so quickly advanced from their positions in the Outer Rim, only to stretch themselves thin, exposing themselves to a renewed Imperial push led by Darth Vader and his "Death Squadron". Though the whole Imperial Starfleet was involved in one way or another, Death Squadron was made up the most ruthless and deadly commanders in the Imperial Navy, headed up by Vader himself aboard his new Super Star Destroyer, the Executor. Together, Bata, Vonreg, and Etrill put work into protecting Rebel evacuations from forward posts and lost battles, protecting the now shrinking ground forces the Rebellion had. While squadrons throughout the group would continue following Major Etrill's training Etrill would be forced to leave training coordination to his second in command now Captain Nala Ujia'novomi, as strategic operations became increasingly stretched and Vonreg needed the help. Along with Bata they would coordinate sector-wide hit and fade bait attacks, forcing the Imps to draw away assets that would otherwise be used to attack the fleeing Rebel forces. While this was not enough to deter Imperial forces like Death Squadron and the 5th from pressing their attacks, it would often draw away local sector forces, which was often enough to even the odds. Their combined efforts saved many Rebel troops who would find their way to other fronts across the galaxy. But all their efforts could not stop the Imperial war machine. Despite how many lives they might’ve saved, morale dropped as loss after loss occurred. Pilot losses started stacking up for Fleet Group Ember as they were pushed back from Katarr, to Lantilles, and finally to Uyter. It was at Uyter that Admiral Bata decided that, at least for the moment, it would be safer to break up the flotilla, hide in as many systems as possible, and wait for the right moment to strike back. Better for the Empire to search a thousand planets and find a few ships than search a hundred and find everything they were looking for.

So, the time had come for Dral to lead from the cockpit again. He would take Tide squadron, a few other scattered groups of fighters and a few freighters for supply and head into the Inner Rim to Onderon. Onderon, though still occupied by the Empire, was a planet highly sympathetic to the Rebellion, having been the home of Saw Gerrera and the Partisan Movement. Etrill and his group would find safety on the planet’s moon Dxun, deep in its dense jungles and abandoned outposts from wars long forgotten. Shortly after news of the Battle of Hoth in 3 ABY, Dral was at one of the listening posts he established on Dxun when the Imperial Star Destroyer Luck’s End and her escorts arrived. Through their open channels, The Imps announced that a group tied to Onderon called “The Dreamers” had attacked a vital Imperial facility, and the Onderon capital city Iziz would suffer in response. Dral and Captain Nala quickly mobilized their forces to intercept the bombers heading for the planet’s capital, and sent a signal out for Admiral Bata. Luckily for Tide Squadron, the Imperials had arrived during the 3 months of the Onderonian year that Dxun and Onderon were so close that their atmospheres mixed, making the Rebel response to the Imperial arrival much quicker and undetected. As Imperial bombers flooded in towards Iziz, they were surprised to be gunned down by Rebel A-Wings that weren't supposed to be there. They would buy as much time and minimize the damage to the lone city of Onderon until Fleet Group Ember and Admiral Bata could arrive to drive the Imperial Fleet off. While some of the Imperial escorts managed to escape, the Luck’s End found itself hounded by the X-wings of Ember squadron and Major Vonreg, who’d been looking for such a fight. Though most of the ship burned up in orbit, it’s said the Star Destroyer’s command bridge is still visible from the walls surrounding Iziz. As a result of his surprising success on Onderon, and with a similar success by Major Vonreg raiding shipyards on Cato Neimoidia, Bata saw fit to promote the pair to Wing Commander. What Vonreg and Etrill were doing together already was essentially official: organize squadrons, train pilots, and manage their resources as efficiently as possible.

Even with the major losses, these small victories kept the Empire at bay just enough to buy the Rebels time to regroup and rearm, and importantly to Admiral Gial Ackbar: standardization. Even though some elements of the Rebellion’s force seemed universal, namely fighters such as the X-wing, many groups were still making due with what they could make work, especially as the Rebels lost world after world. But with a lull in Imperial aggression after Hoth, they had a break, and could plan. Summoning representatives from a number of Rebel cells, Ackbar arranged a conference in the Vergesso Asteroids, far from the frontlines. Engineers, tacticians, soldiers, and pilots all gathered together to exchange strategies and plan logistics for the struggling Rebellion. Commander Etrill was asked to go by Admiral Bata, where he would have the fortune of meeting the brightest minds of the Rebellion, such as Commander Lindon Javes, the mind behind the Starhawk Battleship. Here Etrill pushed for further upgrades of Alliance starfighter engines, arguing a pilot with more maneuverability would be more survivable than a ship with more armor or shields by not getting hit in the first place. This brought him into conflict with a droid logistics officer, AP-5, who argued most pilots would simply end up burning out their engines and dying as a result, increasing maintenance costs. Ultimately neither the droid nor Etrill would win out, but Rebel standardization would press on. The various officers would head back to their fleets, and though the war raged on, it would not be long before much of the Rebellion was brought together to stop a new sword from hanging over their heads.
Into the Breach

Wing Commander Etrill(bottom-right) covering members of Blade Squadron(Center) during the Battle of Endor(image modified. source: DeviantArt - BrianJMurphy)

The Battle over Endor was…. The riskiest move I think Ackbar committed to during his time commanding the Rebel Navy. 80% of our active fleet bottled up over a small moon to eliminate the most destructive weapon in recent galactic history. It was an excellent trap, perfectly planned by the Emperor. We couldn’t risk another Death Star being completed. We were lucky. Or the Force was with us. Or Vader betrayed the Emperor at the last moment. I heard that rumor about a year ago, sounds insane. It was our leadership who came through, Admiral Ackbar, General Calrissian, Commander Antilles, General Solo, Organa, and the Pathfinder boots under them. Even in impossible odds, they kept us focused. Especially Calrissian, brave enough to go into the DSII himself and lead the charge? If not for them, I’d be a corpse floating in space above some moon no one would remember.

- Dral Etrill, Path of Destruction: The Death Stars and Operation Cinder by A. Freed, published 9 ABY

Four years after the Battle of Yavin, intelligence through the Bothan Spynet would reveal to Rebel Command the existence of a Second Death Star. Word was kept quiet throughout the Fleet but ship after ship was summoned to Ackbar’s group massing over Sullust. While most of Ember was needed for diversionary attacks to draw the Empire’s attention, Major Etrill, Tide Squadron, and a number of other squadrons and ships were pulled away to join Ackbar’s fleet. Tide’s exit was quiet, though before he could leave Major Etrill was stopped by Major Vonreg, who wished him luck but couldn’t shake the feeling they might not see each other again. The rest of Fleet Group Ember was to be a part of “Operation Yellow Moon”, planting false leads and conducting raids to throw the Empire off the scent of Ackbar’s growing Armada.

It was difficult at first for Etrill and his squadmates to adjust to the environment aboard Ackbar’s command ship Home One. With so many Rebel factions coming together, along with reorganizing all these scattered groups into larger squadrons and wings for the upcoming attack, things grew chaotic during the first week of preparation. Joining Tide were near 20 pilots from across the galaxy, with home planets ranging from Sullust to Dantooine. It took time, and Etrill never got to learning everyone’s names, but they managed to get comfortable with eachother. Etrill and Tide squadron were placed into training with Commander Adon Fox of Blade Squadron, a force of the newer B-wing starfighters. Though undeniably an expert pilot, Fox was new to command and his squadron was filled with new recruits. Veterancy and experience was needed, and Etrill and his squadron had that in spades. Tide’s grizzled pilots made sure the cocky B-wing rookies of Blade held formation as training drones and A-wings alike flew in front of and between them while the B-wings made their runs on mock Star Destroyers.

After a few weeks of training, putting their craft to the limit, and coordinating their flights, orders were coming down. All squadron leaders were brought to a briefing on Home One’s bridge, despite attempts to be tight-lipped, the rumors of a second Death Star were confirmed. Blade, Tide, and the other squadrons in their unit were assigned as rearguard units, protect communication lines to the rest of the Rebellion, and fight off the Imps if they showed. A theoretically the easy but important job if the Empire didn't know they were coming. Everyone manned their ships, preparing for the coming battle. While performing his flight check, Dral thought back to his first battle all the way back on Mon Cala, and how little his own survival felt compared to the coming battle. All these people from across the galaxy, in ships as common as a GR-75 transport to some model of Correllian ship no one ever heard of, together to face down the biggest weapon the galaxy had ever seen.

Unfortunately, upon the Fleet’s arrival in the Endor system, everything went to hell. The DSII’s shield was still up, and the fleet found itself trapped between the Superweapon and the Imperial Starfleet, patiently waiting while blocking the Rebels’ escape. Surrounded, Tide squadron dived in, charging headfirst at the oncoming swarm of a thousand TIE fighters screaming toward the Rebel Flotilla. TIEs to the left of them, TIEs to the right of them, TIEs out in front of them, the A-wings ducked and weaved in between the capital ships, taking down as many fighters as possible before they could be overwhelmed. In the midst of the swarm, Etrill and half of Tide would be forced to break off to cover Blade squadron as Commander Fox moved his unit to strike the ISD Devastator, which had moved to block the Rebels off of an approach to the DSII in spite of the still operational shield. Leaving Captain Nala to protect the Rebel Cruisers, Etrill stormed in, taking down TIE after TIE that hunted the B-wings. As the battle continued to fall into chaos, the Emperor revealed his last card, destroying a Mon Calamari Cruiser with the piercing green beam of the Death Star. It was fully operational, and if the Rebels didn’t move faster, it would kill them all. Fear and determination swelled in the pilots rushing toward the Devastator. Etrill watched in horror as one of his new Tide pilots along with Commander Fox were lit up in a single run by one of the Devastator's interceptors. But in spite of that, Enough of Blade made it through, and as he was chasing one of the TIEs, Dral watched as two Blade squadron pilots lined up and blasted torpedoes right behind the ISD’s navigational shielding, getting a direct hit on the ship’s hyperdrive. The whole ISD was consumed by fire, and the little more than a half dozen survivors of the engagement turned back to help the Rebel fleet now closing with the rest of the Imperial armada.

As Etrill and what survived of Tide and Blade squadrons moved to rejoin the Rebel fleet that had closed with the Imperial Armada, they finally got word: General Solo succeeded, and the shield for the Death Star was deactivated. As Red and Gold groups, led by Commander Antilles and General Calrissian, dove in toward the battlestation’s surface, Tide and the remaining squadrons would screen them and begin runs on the Executor, the Super Star Destroyer commanded by Admiral Piett. The Imperial TIE fighters had been thoroughly reduced, both through the efforts of Rebel pilots during the initial engagement away from the Star Destroyers, and due to many of them pursuing General Calrissian and his group toward the DSII. This left the ISDs, despite their number, vulnerable. Etrill and his group made run after run, covering Y-wing and B-wing alike as they hit vital systems all over the Star Dreadnaught’s hull. He would unfortunately watch as Captain Nala, his second in command through much of the war, took a stray turbolaser shot intended for one of the bombers, vaporizing her A-wing instantly. While much damage had been done and with the Executor’s shields disabled, the killing blow would be left to Green Squadron Commander Arvel Crynyd. Crynyd had lost directional control of his A-wing, but managed to point it into the unshielded command bridge of the Super Star Destroyer, with secondary explosions destroying the main power generator, causing the ship to lose power and careen into the nearby Battlestation. The destruction of the Imperial command ship quickly turned the tide in favor of the Rebels, as the Imperials struggled to coordinate and rally despite their numbers. Then word spread quickly, Calrissian and Antilles had succeeded in their run on the main power generator. The Rebels disengaged, making their way toward the Endor moon, watching the battlestation turn to dust in their wake. Though there were many losses and time to mourn them, this was a moment of celebration for the Rebellion, chopping the head off the snake that was the Empire.
Empire's End

The Starhawk Battleship Concorde engaging the Ravager as the battle rages around them over Jakku(source: Wookieepedia)

It was at the end. Everything we’d ever fought for, every freedom denied, every link in the Empire’s chain ever broken, came to a head above some desert rock no one had ever heard of. It’d be like if the final battle of the Clone Wars happened over Tatooine. It was almost as messy as Endor during the stalemate, but in the end, the Empire broke. Even then we were lucky. 5, almost 6 years after Yavin, all the hard work, all the lives lost, and it could’ve been over for the New Republic because some wizard zealot of the Emperor almost blew the planet up. And even now, we still have Imperial Remnants lurking at our doorstep! Every week I have a local militia skirmishing with the patrol of some Imp Warlord who ruled over the system a decade ago! It’s hard not to feel out here, at least with the Imps, that the peace was a lie.

- Dral Etrill, Aftermath: The Collapse of the Galactic Empire by C. Wendig, published 13 ABY

Endor was the turning point the Rebellion needed. In a single stroke, the Empire’s greatest weapon was destroyed, its Emperor killed, and its Starfleet scattered. Mon Mothma and the Rebel leadership quickly capitalized, declaring a New Republic shortly after the victory. Imperial infighting as all the admirals, generals, and moffs struggled for control let the New Republic sweep in as sectors defected to the New Republic in the chaos. Commander Etrill was reunited with Ender Vonreg and Fleet Group Ember just as the New Republic began its push into the Inner Mid Rim and the Colonies region. Admiral Bata was confused about how little resistance they were encountering as Fleet Group Ember began its push coreward. They would discover why when the armada arrived at Umgul, just too late to stop the 204th and 304th Imperial Fighter Wings from deploying beam satellites that disrupted the planet’s climate on a global scale. This would be the beginnings of Operation Cinder, the Empire’s plan to burn the galaxy they’d lost. The former Rebels now needed to rush across the galaxy, stopping the Empire before it could burn more worlds. Fleet Group Ember chased their adversaries in the 5th Victory Squadron and the 304th Imperial Fighter Wing across the galaxy, engaging them at Vondarc, Wroona, and during the Liberation of Ghorrman. Ghorrman would prove to be a last stand for the 304th, as the battle above the planet began to turn in Fleet Group Ember’s favor, the 5th Victory Squadron panicked and abandoned them as they were in the midst of the Republic fleet. Though the 304th fought to the end, it was a futile effort as they were picked off by fighter and starship alike. Etrill went out of his way during the battle to engage the 304th, avenging his flightmates lost over Wobani all those years ago. The 5th Victory Squadron wouldn’t be seen again during the Galactic Civil War, with history still unclear where it disappeared to.

As word of the massacres got out, more and more planets defected and revolted against Imperial rule, Coruscant descended into Civil War, and the Empire would be backed into a corner as the mysterious figure Gallius Rax made his power play for control. All roads would lead to Jakku, a desert world at the edge of the Western Reaches that held Rax and many of the Emperor’s prized artifacts and secrets. The New Republic rallied every military asset they could bring to bear against Gallius Rax, which would include Fleet Group Ember. As the New Republic jumped into orbit around Jakku, they would encounter the forces of Grand Moff Randd and the Super Star Destroyer Ravager in orbit, shielding the planet from the Republic Strike Force. Fleet Group Ember had been assigned to the forward group, attempting to bait the ISDs to break formation from around the Ravager and expose the ship to assault. Despite the New Republic’s numerical advantage in this fight, the Imperial formation around the planet was compact and unmoved by baiting attacks, making it near impossible for any of the larger capital ships to break through to the planet. Tide and the rest of Ember’s fighter group took flight taking on the TIEs striking out to protect their motherships, hoping that taking them down would clear the way.

The battle grinded on as the New Republic and Imperial ships traded blow for blow, starfighters buzzing all around them. Admiral Ackbar attempted to restart the assault, using the three brand new Starhawk class Battleships to break the tide and push on the Ravager. The ISD Punishment, in a bid to protect the Ravager, rammed itself into the Starhawk Amity, destroying the ship. However, this would create the breach the Republic needed. With urging from Ackbar, Commodore Agate aboard the Starhawk Concord pressed in on the Super Star Destroyer, using the Starhawk’s specially designed tractor beam to latch on to the much larger ship. With the help of the B-wings of Blade Squadron, the heavily damaged Starhawk destroyed the Super Star Destroyer’s engines, dragging the Ravager out of orbit, bringing both ships crashing down to the surface. While they were coming down, Rebel ground forces flooded the planet, pressing towards the Imperial main base. Etrill and Tide squadron would join the fight on the surface, covering the New Republic ground forces with their starfighters. Ducking and weaving through the wrecks of downed ships and the sandstorms created by unexpected quakes, taking down TIE fighters and Imperial ground targets alike, Tide would manage to help clear the way to the Imperial base, securing the final defeat of the Empire on Jakku. It would later be discovered that Jakku was nearly a ruse, as Gallius Rax was not at the Imperial Base, but at the Emperor’s Observatory on the planet, attempting to perform a Sith ritual to destroy Jakku, causing the planet to experience quakes and eventually explode, taking out both the Imperial and Republic navies as one last act of spite on behalf of the Emperor. Fortunately, Rax was stopped after being hunted down by New Republic officers Norra and Bretin Wexley, and an unlikely ally in the form of Imperial Vice Admiral Rae Sloane. And with an end of fighting on Jakku, the Empire was soundly defeated, and the Galactic Civil War was finally over.

In the years following Endor and Jakku, Dral remained a member of the New Republic Defense Force, maintaining his role as a squadron commander and tactician. Though the New Republic would largely begin demilitarization as a result of fears regarding anyone politically dominating the fledgling government and making a new Empire, Dral stayed on, managing coordination efforts with Planetary Defense Forces. He, along with other members of the NRDF, would argue aggressively against demobilization, and fought for fighter modernization programs like the T-75 X-Wing and RZ-2 A-Wing. Though these would initially fall on the deaf ears of the Republic Senate, Dral worked with the New Republic's Allies and larger Planetary Defense Forces to ensure these projects were funded and used throughout local defense forces. The survival of these programs proved vital 10 years after the Battle of Endor, the Imperial Remnant began rebuilding their powerbase and several warlords sought to outright challenge the New Republic. Dral would find himself on those frontlines, coordinating the NRDF's efforts to fight off the resurgent warlords, showing those who'd restore the Empire why Rebel fightercraft brought them down.
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