Alliance Intelligence had discovered that a number of Rebel Alliance personnel from Echo Base were being held prisoner on the Imperial Dreadnaught VTR-LX. The prison ship was currently refueling at Calast station, a civilian resort, and Admiral Nammo felt this was the opportune moment to disable the Dreadnaught and rescue their people.
Skirmish at CalastEdit
The Rebel strike force departed from the Defiance and hyperspaced to Calast. VTR-LX was under the escort of a squadron of Assault Gunboats, which moved to intercept the attacking Rebels. X-wing group Red provided cover as Y-wing group Green targeted VTR-LX itself.
Local space was congested with civilian traffic, making dogfighting difficult, and the Gunboats bought enough time for the prison ship and both its accompanying Escort Shuttles to escape into hyperspace. After finishing off the Gunboats, the Rebel force analyzed VTR-LX's hyperspace vector and concluded there was only one Imperial base it could be bound for: the nearby Bundil II platform.
Battle at Bundil IIEdit
The Imperials were clearly not expecting the Rebel starfighters to pursue VTR-LX further and were grossly unprepared for an attack at Bundil II itself. Upon hyperspacing to Bundil II, the Rebel starfighters fell upon the two Escort Shuttles Griphon and Manticore and destroyed them both.
As the platform frantically scrambled fighters and sent out distress calls, Y-wing group Green moved in on the unprotected prison ship and disabled it. This was the cue for Storm Unit's arrival; the Assault Transport hyperspaced in, docked at the Dreadnaught's dorsal airlock, and began boarding operations.
Bundil II's starfighter garrison – a mix of TIE Fighters, Interceptors, and Bombers – attempted to defend the platform and the prison ship, but launched in a staggered pattern that made them easy to intercept. Ace Azzameen and other X-wings from Red group engaged and destroyed most of the Imperial fighters, and the few Bombers that did make torpedo runs against Storm Unit scored very few hits before being picked apart by the Assault Transport's defensive turrets.
Storm Unit finished their boarding operation and made for their hyperspace point, informing their comrades that the prisoners had been rescued and they had left the Imperials “a little present” aboard the Dreadnaught – a powerful explosive. In what must have been a cathartic moment for the POWs, Storm Unit detonated the bomb, destroying VTR-LX in a massive explosion.
The Imperial frigate Archon, responding to Bundil II's distress call, finally arrived, but was too late and too far out of range to prevent the Rebels' safe escape into hyperspace.
- "Our guests wanted us to pass along a message: Thanks for bringing us home! First round is on us."
- ―Storm Unit
Although the rescue mission was a success, this operation would have serious consequences for the Alliance in the coming months. One of the Echo Base personnel rescued, Commander Kupalo, had previously served aboard the Defiance for two years and was welcomed back into active service. However, during his captivity, Kupalo had secretly been brainwashed by the Empire into becoming a double agent. When Imperial Commander Zaletta defected to the Alliance some months later with top secret data on the Death Star II, Kupalo would betray the Alliance and attempt to eliminate Zaletta along with the Alliance forces escorting him. Fortunately, he was stopped by fellow pilots Ace Azzameen and Olin Garn from the Mon Calamari Star Cruiser Liberty, who served under Kupalo's command. After his capture, Kupalo would be put into extensive rehabilitation, leaving Zaletta to assume command of the Liberty's pilots.