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and other two squadrons haven't yet responded. They must have been caught off guard."

"Perhaps." Brandei permitted himself a slight smile. So it always went with rebels. They fought like crazed animals when they had nothing to lose; but give them a taste of victory and a chance to enjoy the spoils of war and suddenly they weren't nearly so eager to risk their lives anymore. One of many reasons why the Empire would ultimately defeat them. "Order the drop ships into defense formation," he instructed the communications officer. "And have Starfighter Command launch two squadrons of TIE fighters to intercept those X-wings."

He smiled again. "And send a message to the, Chimaera. Inform the Grand Admiral that we have engaged the enemy."

For a long minute Han gazed out the bridge observation bubble at the approaching Imperial ships, doing a quick estimate of times and distances and ignoring the fidgeting tech men waiting nervously at the bridge doorway. "Shouldn't we be going?" Luke prompted from beside him.

Han came to a decision. "We're not leaving," he said, thumbing on his comlink. "We'd get the transport out of the docking bay just in time to run into those drop ships and TIE fighters. Lando?"

"Right here," Lando's voice came tensely back.

"What's happening out there?"

"Imperials on the way," Han told him, moving over to the bridge fire-control panel and gesturing the techs to join him. "Rogue Squadron's moving to intercept, but it sounds like Fey'lya's crowd is going to run for it."

Lando swore under his breath. "We can't just sit here and let Wedge tackle them alone."

"We're not going to," Han assured him grimly. "Get busy back there and see what shape the power coupling to the turbolaser batteries is in. We'll check the fire control up here. And
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