"Blade Squadron: Kuat" is a short story written by Mark S. Williams and David J. Williams, and it features art by Chris Trevas. The story is a tie-in to the novel Aftermath: Life Debt, and it was published in Star Wars Insider 168 on September 7, 2016.
The New Republic starfighter pilot Lieutenant Gina Moonsong flies her B-wing starfighter during the assault on Kuat Drive Yards. The New Republic Defense Fleet has decided to attack the Galactic Empire's main arms supplier, which is defended by substantial Imperial forces. After several days of fighting, neither side is able to gain an advantage. Commodore Kyrsta Agate orders the New Republic squadrons to return to their capital ships. Lieutenant Moonsong relays the order to her Blade Squadron.
Aboard the MC80 Star Cruiser Amalthea, Moonsong is made the new acting squadron leader of Blade Squadron. Her commanding officer Captain Tane is reassigned to Combat Operations Planning. Moonsong and her fellow pilots leaders Fanty, Lieutenant Sandara Li, and Johan Volk attend a briefing chaired by Commander Braylen Stramm. Since the New Republic fleet lacks the firepower to overwhelm the Imperial defense fleet with a single strike, Stramm proposes surgical strikes on key parts of the shipyards' infrastructure including fuel dumps, supply monorails and sensor arrays. For the mission, the X-wing starfighters will continue to escort the B-wing bomber group. Elements of the New Republic fleet will engage the enemy Star Destroyers to keep them occupied.
Later, Moonsong leads Blade Squadron's assault on the supply monorail. Their mission is to destroy the yard's capability to move supplies and ammunition. However, the monorail is defended by several Imperial walkers including AT-ATs, AT-ACTs, and vintage AT-TEs. X-wing leader Lieutenant Li wants to attack the walkers but Moonsong tells her to protect from the TIE fighters. However, the X-wings instead engage the walkers, which are protected by heavy armor.
With the X-wings preoccupied, Moonsong leads her B-wing starfighters on an attack on the gun emplacements on the monorail. She also tells them to drop proton torpedoes on the walkers. Moonsong and Blade Squadron rain down bombs on the Imperial walkers, wiping out the monorail escorts. However, one of Blade Squadron's pilots is killed in the process. Later, Moonsong confronts Li and chastises her for disobeying her orders to protect the B-wings from the TIE fighters. When Li suggests that Moonsong was made acting squadron leader because her boyfriend Tane handed her the command, Moonsong tells Li that she lacked the experience to know that her armament would not have scratched the walkers. The two make peace with a handshake.
After resting, Blade Squadron and two other B-wing squadrons attack the Imperial command hub while the rest of the New Republic fleet engages the main Imperial fleet in a battle above the planet Kuat's north pole. Despite the New Republic diversion, the Imperials manage to scramble a makeshift group of TIEs to deal with the B-wings. Lieutenant Li wants the B-wings to hold their positions to cover her X-wings. However, Moonsong instead convinces all the B-wings to set their laser cannons to rapid fire and target the ion cannons past the target.
While the B-wings exchange fire against the TIEs, Li leads the X-wings into the heart of the enemy formation. With the TIEs preoccupied, Moonsong leads the B-wings to attack the command hub with laser-guided bombs and torpedoes. After destroying the command hub, Moonsong and the B-wings return to base. Back at the Amalthea, Moonsong learns that her former boyfriend Commander Stramm will be flying an X-wing for the next assault since the X-wing pilot Volk is in the infirmary. Despite the bitterness stemming from their breakup, Moonsong agrees to Stramm's request to fly their next mission together.
For the next assault, the New Republic fleet engages the Imperial fleet in battle formation. The Imperials deploy numerous TIE fighters, TIE bombers, TIE interceptors, and heavily armed shuttles in a last ditch attempt to break the New Republic's cruiser flotilla. The New Republic responds by deploying every fighter in the fleet against the Imperial ships. Escorted by Stramm's and Li's X-wings, Moonsong and her fellow B-wing pilots bomb the hangar of an Imperial light carrier.
Moonsong and her fellow pilots are about to aid the carrier Amalthea when they receive news that Kuat Drive Yards' commander Moff Pollus Maksim has surrendered. Gina and her comrades are relieved that the brutal fighting is over and decide to return to their ship.
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- "Blade Squadron: Kuat" takes place concurrently with Aftermath: Life Debt. Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates the Battle of Endor to 4 ABY and further dates Shara Bey and Kes Dameron's move to Yavin 4 in 5 ABY. The move is placed six months after the Battle of Endor by Before the Awakening. Since Aftermath: Life Debt is set just after Shadow Fall, which takes place around six months after the battle, the events of Life Debt must also occur in 5 ABY, around six months after the Battle of Endor. Therefore "Blade Squadron: Kuat" also takes place in 5 ABY.