Sata's 9

The Venator class Ship Huang Jia (Shining sword) was captained by Xuxia Girard of the Alliance's Navy. With a personal reputation as widely known as his ship, Captain Girard, nicknamed "The Corsair," was a master at calculating the supply routes of the independents and was commissioned the Huang Jia and its contingent of troops to raid enemy depots and waylay or destroy the ships used to smuggle supplies to them. His successes literally turned him into a Poster Child for the Alliance Navy; his austere image and shining service record was used on Navy recruiting posters and waves for most of the war.

Numerous captains flying for the independents had lost their ships or their lives to The Corsair, and Captain Rigby himself had run afoul of The Corsair twice before during the war. The first time, Rigby's ship was disabled by the Huang Jia and he and the surviving crew were captured and delivered to a POW camp in the border worlds.

Later, a Browncoat raid on the POW camp saw Rigby and many of his crew return to service. The second time Rigby was found by Xuxia, he attempted to run, and the Huang Jia critically damaged the ship during the escape. Rigby and what remained of his crew were forced to abandon and scuttle the ship along with all the supplies that could not fit on the escape shuttles.

When Rigby escaped to the independents once again, he was transferred to command the S.S. Esperanto, an Aardvark class heavy cargo carrier. It was intended to smuggle stolen armaments and recruits sympathetic to the independents through Alliance blockades between the core and the rim.

Lieutenant Commander Luotsata had cut his teeth on runs such as these, and was now Chief Helm and Navigator assigned as second in Command under Captain Rigby. The new second officer seemed reluctant but competent in his duties, and maintained a relationship with Rigby that remained professional almost to the point of being mechanical. That is, until they were hunted down by The Corsair.

The Esperanto was carrying 12 crew, 5 Browncoat veterans, and 23 border world sympathizers bound for a boot camp on the rim along with a shipment of vehicle parts and artillery munitions when the Huang Jia appeared on the scanners on an intercept course. Not wanting to repeat the losses of life from his last encounter from running, Captain Rigby ordered the ship to halt and his crew to stand down.

For the first time in their months running the alliance Blockades, Rigby's second in command dissented. Instead, the Lieutenant Commander proposed a complicated plan involving posing as settlers, taking the boarding party by surprise, dressing in the alliance uniforms and infiltrating the Alliance ship, capturing and sealing off vital areas of the corvette, then hijacking the ship and flying it to Independent friendly space where they could receive help in securing the rest of the crew and soldiers aboard.

Unfortunately, the idea was so complicated that in that time it took to explain it, the Huang Jia had closed with the Esperanto. While the corvette docked, the Lieutenant Commander's plan was amended to taking two crew, three of the vets, and four of the recruits who had technical experience out on the hull in space suits. Captain Rigby vehemently objected, saying that their lives would be spared by Captain Girard and they would do more good for the independents by surviving to fight another day than by throwing their lives away in a futile gesture of resistance.

His second in command disagreed, retorting that more good would be served by disabling the Huang Jia and eliminating its captain, The Corsair, from continuing to disrupt the supply lines of the independents, even if the act cost them their own lives. With the alliance only moments away and a divided ship on the verge of mutiny, Rigby begrudgingly permitted the plan.

The navigator and nine armed themselves and suited up, stepping into the black moments before the docking umbilical attached. The crew and passengers assembled in the cargo area to greet the boarding party in regulation fashion. However, when the boarding crew identified the known browncoats aboard and flagged Captain Rigby as a repeat offender, The Corsair simply ordered everyone aboard to be killed and recording as having resisted.

Nobody knows who did, but somebody in the cargo bay activated their personal com, treating those who had gone out on the hull to the sounds of the firing squad prepping and gunning down their shipmates. Now on their own, those outside crossed and then sabotaged the umbilical, explosively depressurizing the cargo bay.

The two ships separated with the pressure burst as alarms went off in the corvette. While those aboard the corvette dealt damage control and the confusion about what had just happened, the team boarded through escape pod tubes nearest to the bridge.

The crew were unprepared for the sudden visitors. And the Independents used the cramped confines of the ship's corridors to eliminate whatever advantage the Alliance soldiers on board might have otherwise enjoyed with superior numbers.

A brief firefight conquered them the bridge, where they held an indignant Captain Girard hostage to keep the complement of ship's soldiers at bay. But, by then a 'wave had already been sent, and it would only be a matter of time before the Alliance would send reinforcements and the Huang Jia's own soldiers would mount a rescue effort.

Captain Girard himself didn't wait, and in a moment that they let their guard down, he took them by surprise and deactivated the artificial gravity. In the chaos, he drew his prized laser pistol and seriously injured several of the Independents, including Sata himself before he managed to end Girard with a burst from his SMG. With the gravity off, the recoil sent Sata into a high speed free-floating spin that was only stopped when someone else managed to activate the magnetic boots on their space suit and reactivate the gravity.

In order not to allow the Alliance crew the opportunity to counter attack, and impassioned by the brutality of the Corsair, Sata ordered them to vent the ship, exposing everyone aboard save those on the bridge to the vacuum of space. With that, he ordered the ship re-pressurized and re-docked with the Esperanto. With the threat of Alliance reinforcements arriving at any time, they moved the injured as quickly as they dared and set a timer to detonate the Huang Jia's warheads. With the corvette scuttled, they hurried away with barely enough manpower to operate the Esperanto under skeleton crew.

While it wasn't Sata's first time seeing combat, it had been his first major engagement. Though it was the debriefing later that would earn Sata a promotion and his first command transporting the 42nd Overlanders. It was a difficult series of lessons for him to learn all at once about various aspects of decisions making, judgment calls, making sacrifices, and compromising personal values in the name of higher objectives.

While rumors about the defeat of the Corsair spread like wildfire through the independent worlds, the Alliance quashed the event in propaganda, and quietly retired the recruiting ads featuring the now deceased poster child. With so many conflicting stories, after the war, rumor slowly dissolved into myth about the ultimate fate of the fabled Alliance Captain.

Sata asked the survivors of that incident (who later became known as "Sata's 9", most of whom scattered across the verse afterwards on different assignments) not to contribute to the rumors going around about it. It was not his proudest moment, not only from the standpoint of personal dignity, but in the span of about an hour, he had orchestrated the deaths of many people when he had joined the war effort with the intention of saving lives. As a symbol of the strength needed to lead and the perseverance needed to overcome such adverse odds, Sata kept, and still keeps, the laser pistol engraved with the moniker "The Corsair."

When faced with difficult decisions, he'll often fold his arms as an excuse to hang onto it while he thinks. If it's not within easy reach, he can become comparatively indecisive and meek.