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Delta 7 was being piloted by the normally reliable Marlette, but there was every likelihood that he was distracted by some other part of the battle.

"Delta Seven, they're coming in behind you! Watch your twelve! Watch your twelve!"

Marlette, alarmed but steady, glanced at his instruments and realized that he'd allowed himself to be distracted by a firefight near the transport. This-if there had been a less adept squadron leader handling the engagement-could easily have proven fatal. The Raiders swooped in behind him and Marlette gunned the ship to a ninety-degree angle, barely avoiding the blasts that cut past his flank. He breathed a quick sigh of relief and then set his jaw in annoyance. Sloppy, he chided himself as he looped back around to try and return the favor by coming in behind the Raiders. Realizing what he was doing, though, they split off formation, giving him too many targets to choose from. He grunted in annoyance, picked one and fired off a volley. He struck the Raider's rear stabilizer, not quite nailing it but at least severely hampering its maneuverability.

Ivanova didn't like what she was seeing. She wanted to see more teamwork, more consolidation of effort. "Form up!" she ordered over the comlink that connected her to the others in her squadron. "Keep them away from the transport! We can't afford to let them get their hands on it!"

Delta 7 said, "Roger that, Group Leader."

Quickly assessing the situation, the rapid-fire fighting machine that was the mind of Susan Ivanova chose a strategy and implemented it. "Deltas Two and Seven, I'm going to lay down suppressing fire, cover me!"

"Right behind you," said Delta 2, the always unflappable Watkins. Watkins habitually exuded an almost supernatural calm. It was as if he knew the exact time,
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