Hunter (Firespray 31-class)
Kuat Systems Engineering
Firespray-31-class patrol and attack craft
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F-31 drive engines (3)
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Hunter is one of two Firespray ships serving House Plagueis. Confiscated from an upstart mercenary, the Hunter originally grouped with Ziost Squadron and then with Ambassador Squadron's Headhunters, and latter the Battleteam Primus Pilus. Following the Horizons crisis, the ship was detached from the Battleteam to operate independently. It was destroyed aboard one of the capital ships of the Ascendant Fleet in 34 ABY.
Originally intended as prisoner transports, these craft were renowned for their ability to hold many exotic and different species. A trademark of the ship was that it landed horizontally with the drive engines facing the surface and the cockpit facing upward. To transition into normal flight mode, the ship would rotate after take-off so that the cockpit faced forward while the drive engines faced rearward.
The stock ship was well armed and armored for its size, with on-board storage space and room for several passengers or significant cargo. Roughly as fast as the iconic Y-wing, the ship had more than enough speed and maneuverability to intercept smugglers and other renegades.
The Hunter, named Hunter at the time, originally belonged to a Corellian bounty hunter named Janseek Cadav, who like so many others enjoyed the design’s robustness while also attempting to emulate the legendary Boba Fett. As fate would have it, while searching for a thief on Commenor, Cadav noticed a familiar face in the crowd. He recognized one of CSK’s non-Jedi negotiators as the nameless Imperial officer who had overseen the murder of his family in the final years of the Empire. He saw the recognition as a chance to settle the score between them.
Barely managing to keep his emotions in check, the hunter shadowed the group while they went about securing a shipment of starfighter fuel from a nearby depot. His anger got the best of him, however, as he missed the fact that he was also being tailed. Two Ketoan agents intercepted him just before he made his move. Disarmed and held at gunpoint, he was ushered into a secluded corridor and given a severe beating for his trouble. His ship was seized in exchange for his life, and was renamed Hunter.
End of a World
It, along with the Chaser, was among the few craft already on patrol during the Alien Incursion. It was able to escape the Fortress's destruction as the enemy began ravaging the surface of the planet. Ziost retired to Kapsina after losing its pursuers, but following the Incursion, the squadron was disbanded during the Plagueian reconstruction effort. The Assault Gunboats were retired from service, though the Firesprays were retained and formed into Ambassador Squadron with the Clan’s newly acquired Z-95 Headhunters.
Following the departure of the alien menace from the Jusadih System, the Hunter proved to be an instrumental part of Ambassador Squadron, providing the inferior Z-95's in the group with support during surveys of the still-unstable world and battling off any remaining alien remnants left behind in the partial terraforming of the planet. After the world stabilized sufficiently, they continued to be used to patrol the airspace of Aerun - now called Sigil 2 as its surface was essentially a different planet - until the planetary quarantine therein was in full effect. After this, it took up patrols over the entire Jusadih system, mainly serving in a scouting role alongside the inferior snub fighters.
Ascension and Aftermath
Using assets both garnered from the Dark Council and from the sale or dismantling of much of their old fleet, Plagueis entered Jusadih with a new starfleet and a new purpose. Having trained elite soldiers on Sigil 2 in secret and supplementing them with troops from Dark Council forces, given to Plagueis by Lord Sarin to prepare for the Retaking of Antei, then-Consul Braecen Kaeth entered expecting to find a system ready to obey. These hopes were soon dashed - instead, Braecen encountered the Jusadih Independence Coalition, a mixture of the Feudal governments of Jusadih and the Crimson Tide alongside rebel forces and Dark Jedi intent on taking a larger slice of the system's resources for themselves. They entered the system to face the War of Ascension.
During the War, the enhanced forces of Plagueis made short work of the local forces and eventually overpowered the Crimson Tide. During the conflict, however, Ambassador Squadron saw little in the way of real action; instead, the Hunter and the Chaser operated separately from the Headhunters of the squadron as the group was broken up to patrol recaptured worlds and territories. By the end of the War, only Chaser had any battle damage - a carbon score below its viewport from a lucky blaster shot.
Following the War's conclusion the Hunter took up a role of general system patrol, often launching from the FFC Perdition's hangar bay and locating minor smuggling operations and pirate threats. During the Retaking of Antei, the craft remained behind in Jusadih with token forces, ensuring that no similar rebellion met Plagueis upon their return. Following this, during the Insurrection, the craft saw action as the conflicts were entirely isolated between House Satal Keto and House Exar Kun.
Reform and Reassignment
Hunter and Chaser would continue to be the claws of the patrolling beast that was Ambassador Squadron well after the Reform to Houses, seeing Clan Plagueis burnt to ashes and House Plagueis risen from them in infancy. However, these "patrol" missions would soon become quiet eradications - ground-side demonstrations and rebellions would be put down in a flash of laser cannon fire and missile launches, while suspicious vessels would be either escorted to airfields or outright destroyed before reaching orbit. The rule of Quaestor Vorrac alone saw more engagements, damages, repairs, and refits for the Firespray-class craft than all of the other conflicts it had ever been a part of combined. Soon, iron-fisted stability became the norm for the militarized system, though it would be tenuous and temporary.
Following the departure of Vorrac and the short term of Aralias as Quaestor, the Firesprays were, like many other assets, divided off to one of the factions arising in Jusadih. To combat this instability, the vigilante group that would come to be known as Primus Pilus ended up hijacking the craft on one occasion near the instability's end, using them to great effect to kill fifty-six people with laser cannons within the outpost that they were calling a de facto hangar. Following this, their concussion missiles destroyed the power stations and supply bunkers of the outpost, sending it up in flames before allowing the Dark Jedi to escape. After the detainment of orchestrator Unus Domus and his band, Quaestor Reith saw fit to assign the pair of spacecraft to the newly legitimized Battleteam.
The Hunter would find its homes away from the now-independent Ambassador Squadron, and would be piloted by Voden Erinos.
- This craft was awarded to Clan Satal Keto in the 3rd Sith War, and have been among the ships controlled by Satal Keto and its descendant, Plagueis, ever since.
- The assignment of this craft to Ambassador Squadron following the removal of Ziost Squadron was mainly due to not having anywhere else to put them at the time.