"Ah, Major Sal. Thank you for joining us. Please, sit down." He motions with his hand as both he and Tarkin, as well as the young man who almost never leaves Tarkin's side these days, take their seats in the briefing room. Deena smiles tightly. "Thank you, sir, but I prefer to stand. I'm afraid my news is not particularly good."
Tarkin nods expectantly; this surprises her a little. "I am already aware, Major. In fact, Admiral Rehnou has already conveyed the details of the Ando Prime operation to me. The primary purpose of this briefing is to provide a more general overview of the strategic situation to my young companion here."
"I see." Deena's voice is carefully neutral: She doesn't believe that for a second. "In that case, allow me to use Ando Prime as an example, as the development of events has actually been rather textbook."
Tarkin nods. "Proceed."
Deena taps a few buttons on her wrist bracer, and a holo of Ando Prime appears floating in the middle of the table. "This is, of course, Ando Prime itself. The planet is not of immense strategic value, but it was fairly unguarded. The intent of this operation was to capture the capital, Elesa. It's barely worth mentioning, of course, so the scale of the operation was small." A dot on the planet, presumably Elesa, begins flashing.
The young man leans forward. "Why Ando Prime and not Ando?"
Rehnou speaks up for the first time. "Two reasons. One, Ando Prime's resources are largely untapped. We have the industry in place for large-scale manufacture, but we don't have the resources to maintain full production for very long. Two, Ando Prime was intended to be used as a staging area for an attack on Ando, and a not-so-subtle show of power to the Aqualish." The young man glances at Tarkin, who nods slightly; Rehnou face twitches ever so slightly with annoyance as he does.
So that's how it is. Deena nods and continues.
"Arsaec's forces knew that we wanted Ando Prime, but had no other information on the attack. We used cloaked TIE boarders to land Sith, then quickly took strategic targets. And if I might add, Governor, the choice of TIE boarders was a very good one. The basic bomber chassis is proving increasingly versatile."
Tarkin frowns slightly; Rehnou smiles and looks at him. Deena raises an eyebrow; apparently, the reliance on the TIE/sa design for most roles other than air superiority had not been Tarkin's idea. Interesting. She goes on.
"Arsaec's troops resisted, of course, but there's not a company of stormtroopers can do against a full platoon of our Sith warriors. We gained control of the planet easily enough, but unfortunately, it wasn't for very long." Deena taps a few more buttons on her wrist, and a space battle appears above Elesa.
"Arsaec's navy had a Star Destroyer on-post at Ando, and they made an in-system microjump to Ando Prime. They appeared on the other side of the planet, but it only took them about half an hour to reach geosynchronous orbit above Elesa. We had deployed a carrier which carried cloaked bombers in addition to the TIE boarders, but they were unable to significantly damage the Star Destroyer."
The young man frowns. "Why? I thought anti-capital operations was one of the primary functions of the TIE/sa."
Tarkin smirks a bit and looks at Rehnou, who smiles and shakes his head, spreading his hands. "Unfortunately, Arsaec knows that we do not have a sufficient capital fleet to challenge his Star Destroyers, and his directed his military to retool his Star Destroyers for an increased reliance on point-defense technology. Combined with much larger fighter screens than we can effectively field right now, it's very hard for our force of bombers to take out a Star Destroyer, even with the advantage of a cloak."
"But why? Can't they just fire their concussion missiles and run away?" The young man is stubborn. Deena clears her throat.
"Unfortunately, there's a problem. The missiles themselves are far too small to cloak in a cost-effective manner; we can barely afford to cloak the bombers on a wide scale. If they were to fire their concussion missiles far away, as they have been, the fighter screen and PD weapons can take them down with ease; any closer..."
"...And they'd blow themselves up." Deena nods; the young man leans back in his seat, and expression of annoyance on his face that mirrors Tarkin's. Rehnou leans forward.
"We're trying a new strategy that refits bombers with proton bombs and trans pilots to make attack runs below the surface of the ship, but there's some trepidation that even a cloaked ship might be detectable at the short of a range. We'll see."
"So, they couldn't blow up the Star Destroyer. What happened then?" The young man turns back to Deena; Deena presses a few more buttons. Bubbling flashes begin to appear on Elesa.
"Scorched earth. Orbital bombardment. In many campaigns where we successfully capture a planet, Arsaec's forces destroy everything they can on the planet in order to deny us its use. There have even been a few reports of Arsaec himself using a low-power setting of his planetary destruction laser to cause widespread devastation to a target. The intended result is that we lose valuable materiel and have to waste time and resources rebuilding. Unfortunately, this is correct, and has seriously hindered our campaign thus far." She pauses. "Admiral, Governor... we're winning this war, but I have to admit that it's a much closer fight than our initial projections estimated."
"So really, no one's winning at all in any of this." The young man frowns. Deena winces: This is the part she's been dreading.
"Not... exactly. The Rebellion has actually made major psychological gains by portraying both us and Arasaec as willing to destroy the galaxy to get at each others' throats. Situations like Ando Prime are sending more and more undeclared parties right into their hands. In effect, a large amount of what we had projected would be our gains at Arsaec's expense are becoming the Rebellion's gains instead."
"But they are still Arsaec's losses." Tarkin cocks an eyebrow; Deena nods.
"Yes sir. As I said, progress is slow because we are not gaining resources as quickly as we had hoped. Arsaec is, however, still losing them at the projected rate."
"And when we have defeated him, we shall crush this 'Rebellion' in one swift stroke," Tarkin says, unconsciously echoing an ancestor from the distant past. "Thank you, Major. You may go."
Deena nods, salutes, and exits the briefing room.