Pirate Attack on Draconia
|Pirate Attack on Draconia|
|"Pirate" fighters descend upon Draconia.|
|Conflict:||Draconian-Earth Cold War|
|Result:||Loss of a majority of Third Force of the Earth Directorate squadron, Draconian subterfuge maintained|
So, this is how you bid us safe conduct? Fine escort, at least we will all perish together.
The Pirate Attack on Draconia is Princess Ardala's act of subterfuge, endeavoring to convince the citizens of Earth that the unnamed pirates have also been attacking them.
Permission to come aboard, why?
For a special envoy. That's all I know.
It isn't according to protocol. What'd you think they have in mind?
I don't know, but they have given us plenty of warning, and there'll be nothing in evidence to betray us.
I'd be curious to know what they have in mind. Let's prepare a very special welcome for them.
As part of Emperor Draco's cunning plan to conquer the Earth, subjugating it in the Draconian realm, Princess Ardala and Kane are dispatched on Draconia. As one of Draco's many star fortresses, it claims to fly under a flag of truce (and thus unarmed) as part of a trade delegation to establish a mutual defense treaty against "pirates" that have devastated the spaceways, including disrupting vital food and water Earth needs from other planets.
In order to determine the veracity of William "Buck" Rogers's story, Col. Wilma Deering convinces Dr. Elias Huer of the Earth Defense Directorate to fly a welcoming committee in the form of the Third Force of the Earth Directorate—a squadron of Thunderfighters, including Rogers—to meet with Draconia. In response, Ardala preemptively launches Hatchet fighters in order to stage a "pirate ambush." It is her aim to convince the humans that the "pirates" are a mutual threat when, in reality, the pirates are Draconians themselves wishing to weaken the Earth for conquest.
Upon the Third Force landing aboard Draconia, Kane presents Ardala to Deering and Rogers. During the introductions, Ardala feigns ignorance on ever meeting Rogers, thus continuing to germinate the seeds of doubt as to Rogers' loyalties. Before being able to continue their investigation of Draconia—prompted by Rogers' belief that the ship is not unarmed—the "pirates" engage Draconia, placing the Third Force in harm's way.
Colonel, I'm switching to manual, see if I can start dishing out a little of what we've been taking.
Buck Rogers, I'm ordering you back to the base.
[ignoring Deering, directing his efforts to their attackers] Now then, let's see how you like a little old-fashioned red dogging.
Following deployment, the Thunderfighters from the Third Force engage against the Hatchet fighters, resulting in the decimation of the squadron due to the pilot's over-reliance on their combat computers to properly handle the situation. Despite Deering's protestations, Rogers attempts to help his fellow pilots to no avail. Fed up, Rogers ignores Deering's order to return to base, taking manual control of his Thunderfighter and goes on the offensive, destroying the Hatchet fighters with great aplomb much to Deering's befuddlement and displeasure — and Ardala's pleasure.
What has that got to do with the Captain?
Well, the Princess feels he single-handedly saved their unarmed vessel from the renegade pirates, and wants to thank him personally.
Apparently, even your ship was nearly destroyed. Were it not for Captain Rogers' inordinate skills and quick thinking, the Princess feels that—
[angrily] I don't care what the Princess feels!
- Princess Ardala is able to continue the charade of the Draconian's peaceful intentions, as well as obfuscate any connection to the so-called "pirates."
- Draconian forces now have proof that Earth's forces, such as the Thunderfighter's combat computer, are easily dispatched. Another weakness is the human's blind-faith on the technology, removing the "human equation" from space combat.
- The wild-card is William "Buck" Rogers, an accidental 20th century transplant from a "paranoid time," who is highly suspicious of Ardala and is able to dispatch the Hatchet fighters with great aplomb despite his lack of prior space combat experience. Further, he equates the peace envoy to the Trojan Horse from the historic defeat known as the Battle of Troy.
- The fact that Rogers is able to single-handedly defeat the Hatchet fighters further endears Ardala to Rogers, as she sees a man who can bring her great power—a weakness that Rogers later exploits to great effect.
- Rogers piloting skills would be needed for Kane's upgraded experimental Hatchet fighter variant in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century's "Ardala Returns".
- Earth is unaware of both the Hatchet fighter's capabilities and their inclusion in the Draconian arsenal, suggesting that the craft is new to the battlefield.
- The Hatchet fighters are able to render the combat computers of Thunderfighters useless by means unknown.