Fires Of Liberty
Sail "Iron Lung" Blade
Gank employee of Jai Galaar. Trigger happy.
Born on Nar Shaada. Vied to be a star fighter pilot. Killed a guy to take his starfighter. Was not the best in his squad, but performed adequately.
Sold to the first order in a gank killer squad. Given a tie fighter and First Order Pilot Equipment as a part of his commisson.
Served for two years until a mission went bad and everyone in his squadron was killed except him. There was no one else in scanner range when it happened, so he disappeared. Took his tie fighter to the nearest inhabitted planet and rigged it to explode. Sold his pilot equipment and parts of the tie fighter for basic needs and a ticket to the outer rim. Ended up doing odds and ends mercenary work for Jai Galaar where he is now.
The smuggler’s moon is an awful place to grow up. There’s no one who will tell you otherwise. Life there is full of morally questionable moments and finding a place for a child to be is impossible. But that’s where Jack Knife was born a Gank. Shortly after birth he was implanted with his cybernetic communicator.
As an adolescent he was put to work as a mercenary. He was fitted with a Q-22 retinal tracker implant. His primary role in the sqaad was to man a turret and deny an area while others elsewhere did more of the killing and primary objectives. Mostly defense work for hutt palaces. It was literal torture for an aspiring killer. His first actual kill didn’t happen until well into his employment when a would-be theif running from the gamorean guards ran right through his killzone in the back of the palace.
In his off time he liked to hang out in the starfighter hanger. While he was there, he was mostly considered to be a nuisance. Jack would frequently poke his nose in on the controls for the myriads of fighters in the hanger. This would usually earn him a fist to the face from whatever pilot or mechanic was working on the ship at the time.
Sometimes he’d sneak into a flight simulator. The first time he did this he crashed 20 times in the 20 minutes he’d had before a Gank pilot found him and threw him out of the simulator. Literally threw him. Without a teacher he had to figure it all out himself.
He would also spend time looking through garbage piles looking for bits of armor to add to his battle suit.
One day, he encountered a young rookie pilot not much older than him searching through a trash heap looking for armor pieces. They both saw a nice piece of thigh armor in the pile between them. They raced to grab it. Jack was faster, the older pilot was bigger. Jack grabbed the piece and tried to jump down the trash heap, but the bigger Gank grabbed him by the collar of his chest piece and slammed him back onto the pile. Woozy, Jack stood to face his opponent who promptly crossed his jaw with an armored fist. The older pilot grabbed the thigh piece and walked away from Jack, who layed dizzy at the top of the pile of refuse. As he came too he watched the older pilot finish strapping the thigh armor on. He saw Jack’s head looking in his general direction. Lazily, the jerk older pilot grabbed his old rusty thigh piece off the cement floor and tossed it at Jack’s feet. Over the cybernetic comms, Jack heard two brief clicks. Click click. The rookie Gank pilot turned on a heel in a sloppy imitation of a military manuever, sauntering away from the trash heap.
As soon as he could stand, Jack ran to the fighter bay. There was a bustle of activity in the hanger but no one was watching one of the older Z-95 headhunters in the back of the garage.
The rookie pilot’s name was Sheet Razor. Jack knew Sheet would go out to fly practice routes by himself in a few minutes. Sheet was still a rookie and needed to work hard to make sure he could keep up with the other folks on his squad.
When Sheet went out today, Jack would be waiting.
He fiddled with the controls on the fighter. Taking off was boring so he never played through that part of the simulator any more than he had to. He knew where the thruster was though, and he knew where the hanger switch was. That would be enough!
The hanger klaxons blared to life as Jack punched the hanger door button. If it wasn’t for the closed cockpit door, he would have sailed thirty feet in the air. He wasn’t expecting an alarm on the hanger bay door. With his head ringing from hitting the glass of the cockpit, he quickly punched in a random authentication code he’d picked up from a Gank pilot he’d been peaking in on.
The klaxons stopped and everyone in the hanger seemed to go back to their business as if nothing had happened. That was good, it seems no one was really interested in this fighter. At least no one here right now.
Jack threw the fighter forward and out of the hanger. He was pretty sure he’d gone through everything on the preflight checklist…. As the fighter began picking up speed, a maintenance cable snapped and sparked behind him, lurching the fighter sideways as it exited the hanger. Oops.
In addition to forgetting to detach the maintenance cable, Jack had not paid enough attention to what was in front of the fighter prior to takeoff. The bottom of the headhunter scrapped heavily on the top of a gonk droid as the ship went tumbling out of the hanger door. The knock was enough to send the little energy droid sprawling, it’s legs kicking fruitlessly underneath it.
The maintenance crew in the hanger all gawked at the awkwardly launched Z-95. There was shouting and the patter of boots on the floor as maintenance crews ran over to the now damaged fighter bay. There were some loud curses, and some shaking fists. Jack punched the throttle and in seconds he was out of the there, flying freely through the dingy dark sky of the Smuggler’s moon, barely missing a swoop bike that had to swerve, scraping against a sky scrapper to avoid smashing headlong into the starfighter’s side.
Jack cruised toward where he knew Sheet would be launching his fighter. Sheet flew with a different squad from Jack’s favorite hang out spot, so the hanger for Sheet’s fighter was a few blocks away.
Sheet’s fighter danced out of the hanger, accelerating smoothly. He made it look so easy. Sheet’s route would take him flying away from Jack initially and Jack was just out of firing range. For that matter Jack wanted to catch him away from the hanger just in case Sheet’s buddies saw fit to retaliate for what Jack was about to do.
Jack followed Sheet about 1000 feet above and behind the other fighter, alternating the distance or swooping around a building every once and while to throw the older rookie pilot off in case he was paying attention. Soon they came to an area that was mostly clear of people. The smuggler’s moon had many areas where lawlessness was abundant and witness were infrequent. Sheet’s practice route took them through an automated industrial area that was perfect for what Jack had in mind. There were many obstacles here to dart in and out of. An ideal location for practicing maneuvers. And for hiding dog fights.
Jack choose the perfect moment to make his move. He waited until Sheet and he were mostly alone. He carefully swung his fighter down behind Sheet’s ship. Jack hesitated, taking a deep breath to calm his nerves.
He mashed the fire button, and the bolts were off. But at the last minute, Sheet’s fighter leaped up out of the way. The bolts glanced off of Sheet’s shields and slammed into a concrete wall.
The fight was on. Jack had lost the surprise advantage and blown his chance to get Sheet on the first shot. And now Jack was in air that Sheet had flown regularly. It didn’t take long for Sheet to dart into an alley way, losing Jack entirely, and pop back out from behind a hundred foot tall stack of storage containers right behind Jack.
His fighter began taking hits left and right. Jack was barely able to keep control. What reflexes he had took over and clumsily he mashed and smashed the controls trying to gain the upper hand. He hardly knew what he was doing. He was barely managing to avoid hitting walls as they barreled through the heavily crowded Nar shaddaa corridors. Green blaster fire flew around him, sparking off steel and concrete, sparking off his shields and occasionally sending jolts of traumatic energy through his ship. His shipped jerked and bucked in every direction in response to his fitful mashing on the controls.
Jack Dodged under bridges, around smokestacks, through tight tunnels and turns; his natural reflexes making up for his lack of actual talent at the controls. There were trucks, cranes, and huge grav lifts all over the area that moved in unpredictable ways. He narrowly avoided every obstacle the Nar Shaddaa corridors could throw at him, but Sheet knew these tunnels. No matter what he did, Jack could not gain an advantage on Sheet.
Instead he did his best to evade and dodge.
After what seemed like an eternity, but actually amounted to only around 5 minutes, the blaster fire abrubtly stopped. Jack frantically struggled to regain control of his ship after a particularly harrowing manuever through a tight gap between two steel girders. Confused at the sudden peace he threw his head around trying to see above and below him.
In a sudden fit of intelligence he remembered he had sensors and checked those. Nothing. Sheet’s fighter had disappeared off the sensors. He jabbed at the console quickly running a diagnostic on the ship’s systems, but the sensors appeared to be fine.
There’s no way Sheet would stop for no reason. Jack thought for sure Sheet was attempting to set an ambush. Jack swung his ship through the alleys and byways cautiously, expecting a surprise attack. Slowly and carefully darting in and out through the windy corridors the Smuggler’s Moon provides. Eventually, he decided to circle back to where the blaster fire had ceased.
That’s when he saw Sheet’s fighter in a heap on a concrete ledge. Half of the fighter appeared to have been sheared off, and the other half was smashed against the wall of the skyscraper. There were lesions accross the face of the wall leading to the wreckage. Looking around the area, Jack noticed further wreckage of what appeared to be an industrial frieght sky truck. It looked like the driver was forced to land further down the corridor from where Jack guessed the collision occured. Next to the truck there was a Rodian pacing back and forth running his hand over it’s head in distress. Sheet had focused too hard on maintaining his target and had smashed his star fighter into a frieght truck. Lucky.
Jack found a spot to land (clumsily) not too far from where he thought he could access the ledge. It took him about 15 minutes to get out onto the ledge. The ledge was not explicitly designed the be accesible, but lazy architects or lax building codes had put a simple railing between Jack and his target. He walked out onto the precarious ledge, blaster drawn and trained upon the cockpit, just in case the pilot decided to be alive and concious.
In the cockpit, Sheet was a mess of blood. Jack was not sure if Sheet would live. There didn’t seem to be anything explicitly piercing into Sheet’s body, although Jack did not spend any time assessing Sheet’s actual condition. Instead, Jack found a spot to perch inside the ruined cockpit, carefully detatched Sheet’s shinny new piece of thigh armor, lifted himself back out, and left.
Jack flew the Z-95 back to the hanger. He took a lesuirly pace, flying with a great deal more confidence than before.
When he arrived the pilot of that particular ship was waiting. Jack didn’t know this pilot in particular, but he know it was the pilot of this ship because as soon as he saw the ship, the pilot drew his blaster. Jack knew he had no chance of living after what he did. Ganks were not known to be forgiving on transgressions. As he was coming in to land at the fighter bay, he made a choice.
He obliterated the pilot with the fighter’s laser cannons.
After that, no one asked why he was hanging around the fighter bay hanger. The old Z-95 became his, although it wouldn’t be for long. He would acquire better ships over the course of his employment. He grew in prowess quickly, outwitting many pilots and gaining favor among the Gank Killer squadron. He was not as good as some of the most talented in the squadron, but what he could do was sufficient for what the Hutts needed. No more guarding hallways or courtyards.
He continued like this for two years before his squad was sold to a political party within the Republic built from the remnants of the Glactic Empire after their defeat in the Galactic Civil War. Jack was given storm trooper armor and a TIE fighter. The TIE figther was a good ship. It was agile and the laser canons were accurate. The kills kept racking up in service of this political party and eventually he could call himself an ace.
With his pay he had his lungs replaced. After that he was called Black Lung in his squadron, and was characterized as sounding a lot like Darth Vader on the coms, which earned him quite a bit of points among his squadron.
The political party, which had started calling itself the First Order, was not popular in the republic. Eventually the whole opperation was moved out to the unknown regions of space. Jack didn’t pay too close attention, but it seemed like there was quite a bit of ahead of time preparations being made by the Order. He was one of many hires by the First Order from criminal organizations. It seemed like the Order was building up a reasonable space force prior to leaving for the unkown regions.
Out here, the order came under new management. This new management had big plans for the entire galaxy. Orders started coming down to increase production of bigger and bigger military grade weapons, and raids on republic space were common.
At a certain point, In what Jack thought was going to be a routine raid into New republic spcae, Jack’s Squadron was sent on assignment. The fleet’s intention was to steal certain important materials for turbo lasers that were being shipped in the area. One of those shipments was on the frieighter Yissira Zyde. There were 2 shuttles full of storm troopers deployed, and Jack and 7 other ganks in TIE fighters were sent to escort the troop transports.
When the strike force arrived at the Yissira Zyde in orbit around Suraz 4, the TIE fighter teams split immediately into 4 wings of TIE fighters, scattering in several directions. They established a perimeter around the Yissira Zyde. The shuttles quickly set up to rendevouse with the freighter and began offloading storm troopers into the ship.
While the storm troopers were in the middle of Besieging the cockpit, a distress call from the frieghter had apparently attracted the attention of a small squadron of X-Wings. Two of the fighter pairs in Jack’s squadron, (wing 1 and wing 2) immediately broke off from the perimeter and set an intercept course. Jack and his wingman (who we’ll call wing 4), and the other pair of TIE fighters (who we’ll call wing 3) both stayed behind.
The TIE Squadron’s objective was only to keep the X-Wing squadron away from the Frieghter long enough for the storm troopers to finish seizing the ship so it could be flown back to First Order space with it’s cargo.
Wing 1 and wing 2 flew to keep themselves between the X-Wing squadron and the frieghter, but as soon as the two wings of TIE fighters approached firing range, the X-Wing squadron scattered in 4 different directions. Wing 1 followed what appeared to be the leader of the X-Wing squadron, and the Wing 2 picked another random pilot. The TIE’s laid fire into the X-Wings, two TIE’s to one X-Wing, a barrage of blaster fire following each X-Wing pilot, But the X-Wing pilots were smart. The Squadron Leader pulled off a magnificent turn, taking wing 1 by surprise. It looked to Jack like the commander cut his engines, swung the nose of his craft around to a 150 degree reverse heading of the ship’s original vector, and slammed the throttle back on. This sent wing 1 arcing in a wide turn behind him while he was able to correct only slightly so he was heading straight for TIE wing 2, still in pursuit of his X-wing squad mate.
Meanwhile, the other X-Wing was just doing it’s best to keep out of the TIE fighter’s crosshairs. The commander’s X-Wing immediately started slamming fire into the TIE fighter’s cockpits. They didn’t stand a chance.
Jack blinked inside his helmet at the spectacle. The menuever was incredibly well played out and executed with impecable timing. With one manuever the squadron commander had evened the odds for him and his wingman.
Wing 1 swung around to bear on the two X-Wings, being much more cautious to keep the two X-Wings in front of them. Meanwhile, the two X-Wings that had escaped pursuit had rendevoused and were approaching the freighter at full combat speeds. They seemed to be targetting the shuttles. Wing 3 dove at the approaching X-Wings.
Wing 3 took the opportunity to plow headlong into the pair of X-Wings, but as soon as the TIE’s began opening fire the pair of X-Wings split again. One of the X-Wings went up, the other went down. The TIE Wing pursued up, staying in a pair, the leader commanding his wingman to stay on target and focus fire.
This left the Remaining X-Wing unattended, and there were no more TIE wings in the area to keep him occupied. The X-Wing saw the opportunity, and gained the advantage on the two TIE fighters pursing his buddy.
The two TIEs didn’t manage to land any shots on their target before their cockpits were obliterated.
As soon as he saw wing 3 was compromised, Jack began pursuit on the pair of X-Wings. But the X-Wings had a signifigant lead toward the Storm Trooper shuttles. The X-Wing’s lasers bore down on the two defensless shuttles. One of the shuttles exploded as the X-Wings flew swiftly passed and began their turn for another pass. Jack saw this happening and put his wing between the shuttles and the two X-Wings.
Jack was more cautious than his squadmates and focused on keeping the X-Wings’s away from the shuttle.
Meanwhile, the X-Wing squad leader and his wingman had just finished taking out the Two TIE fighters that were pursing them. Jack wasn’t sure how it happened. He was starting to get nervous, this was not going to plan, and if he wasn’t careful he’d end up dead like his squad mates.
The Storm Troopers had managed to take the cockpit of the frieghter and had already begun the hyperspace sequence. Jack just needed to keep the two X-Wings away from the frieghter long enough for it to jump to hyperspace.
Jack pursued the two fighters with his wingman, and the X-Wings were doing an excellent job of staying out of his crosshairs. Suddenly, the X-Wings split just as they had before. Jack decided to try something different and ordered his wingman to follow the other X-Wing. Jack kept laying fire into the X-Wing he was pursing, and managed to spark a few shots off of the X-Wing’s laser cannons. Singeing and bending the emitter.
Jack kept his cannons warm, laying down heavy fire behind his target. His focus was tight, and soon all he could see was the X-Wing. He swerved, slowed, speed up, whatever he needed to do to keep on target.
Suddenly, something slammed into his TIE, and the world outside of his cockpit spun. The lights in the cockpit flickered and went out, leaving Jack in the dark. His TIE spun and spun out of control for what felt like ages.
Frantically, Jack banged and smacked on different parts of the ship, trying to get the electronics to boot up again. The heel of his palm slammed heavily onto the navigation console which suddenly popped into life. With the navigation console on, the stabalizers kicked into gear and shortly after his world stopped spinning.
He brought his vision around just in time to see the freighter jump to hyperspace. One of the X-Wings was way to close to the freighter when it started it’s jump and was turned to scrap metal. Jack almost felt sorry for the poor pilot. Almost.
The other Three X-wings slowly reformed into a V formation. They hesitated briefly in the middle of the battlefield. Jack guessed they were talking about what just happened. Jack stopped beating on his ship hoping they wouldn’t notice he was still in operating condition.
After a few moments the X-Wings lurched into Hyperspace, leaving Jack drifting alone in open space with only the wreckage of his squad mates to keep him company.
Sitting there in the TIE Fighter, Jack had quite a long time to reflect. He’d been doing this for several years now. His entire squad was destroyed easily by the X-Wing squadron that happened upon them. 2 to 1. If he deserted now, no one would know. No one would have to know.
Again, Jack made a choice. Jack took the time to carefully assess the damage to the starfighter, and before too long he had the ship running again. He flew to the nearest planet he knew to be inhabitted and landed far away from anyone who might see him. Once he landed he started stripping the fighter for anything he could sell. Once he had a hefty sack he rigged the ship to explode.
The explosion was brillant. Jack watched with his helmet off. A rare thing for a Gank to do, but saying goodbye to this chapter in his life was worth it.
He knew if he waltzed into town in Storm trooper armor he’d be recognized. He needed to disguse himself. Fortunatly he’d taken a scan of the area and landed not to far out of a junk yard. He pulled mud and dirt from the ground and started smearing it all over his armor. He would still look like a storm trooper but at least the brown wouldn’t stand out as much as the white.
So, clad in mud covered armor, he snuck his way into the Junk yard. He discarded little bits of steel and kept pieces he thought would be promising. Before too long he had cobbled togethor, using materials from his old Storm trooper armor and the junk in the yard, Armor more befitting of a Gank and less befitting of a Storm trooper. He also managed to find some nice pieces he’d added to his set of stuff to sell.
He took his bag of treasures from the TIE fighter and the Junk yard into town and found a merchant willing to part with a few credits to add the pieces to his collection. With the meager credits he was able to gather, and his standard issue blaster, Jack booked passage to the Outer Rim. As far from the First Order and the Republic as he could get.
Jack’s skills as a Star Fighter pilot were hard to market in the outer rim, and soon he found himself in another mercenary band using a blaster turret. It was a small mercenary group that he could hide himself in. He started going by a different name, Sail. Being a mercenary had the benefit of no one asking who you are or where you come from. Some of the people in his life went in and out of it never knowing he was a Gank. Just some weirdo in armor who could use a blaster turret pretty well.
In the outer rim he got to know many Mandalorians. He enjoyed listening to them tell their stories or War and Honor. Victory. Sooner or later one of them introduced him to Jai Galaar. He joined Jai for his chance at Honor.
With Jai, Jack felt at ease, and eventually, Jack let Jai in on who he had been, what he had done. Jai gave him a star fighter and asked Jack to do his best to protect Jai’s interests. This was how Jack was going to gain his honor in battle. Soon the kills started racking up again. And in no time, he’d had enough kills going up against Jai’s enemies to once again call himself an ace. This time, he went by the name Iron Lung.