The Aurean Vultures
|The Aurean Vultures|
The Aurean Vultures are an elite squadron of Noghri mercenary starfighter pilots bound by a code of honor and brotherhood. Their starfighters of choice are modified V-19 Torrents as the original ships are being preserved and retired to a trusted private collector. The HH-87 Starhoppers painted with the Vultures signature colors. The squadron has a rich history which it traces back to its roots on Honoghr and Noghri culture.
The squadron began to take shape in the guerilla war the Noghri fought against Mandalore when the Mandalorians first discovered Honoghr. A wise village Dynast, recognizing the technology advantage that Mandalore had over the Noghri focused her villages warriors on capturing starfighters, so that they could match Mandalore in the air. It took some time, but her warriors succeeded in capturing a Mandalorian base long enough for the Noghri to drag a dozen Starhoppers away from their prior owners. The Dynast then sent out a call across Honoghr, for all the duhkas to send their best warriors to fly the ships. However, ignorant as the Noghri were of technology, they needed someone to train them on how to use and maintain their new ships. They found that sentient in an Arcona mercenary who had been fighting alongside them against Mandalore while hiding out from the Hutt Cartel. Her name was Ropa Kothari. Kothari had been trained in the flight academy of the Aurodium Legion, but had left after graduation to become a smuggler and mercenary. To her fell the task of turning the best Honoghr had to offer into pilots. As squadron leader, Kothari selected the name Aurean Vultures
Baptism of Fire
The eager warriors learned quickly and, within a few weeks, were able to fly well enough that Kothari was able to turn them loose against an enemy target. Selecting the best eleven pilots, she took them out on what she considered a milk run mission to give them confidence. To the Noghri pilots, it was a new experience and a challenge. They attacked a Mandalorian munitions depot. The Mandalorians, confident that the Noghri would not attack by air, had not even erected anti-air batteries. The Vultures took their enemy completely by surprise. The starhoppers were not equipped to bomb the depot, so they strafed it for upwards of half an hour, destroying several munitions warehouses and killing several dozen Mandalorians. It was a tiny success, but one the Noghri desperately needed. Stung by the unexpected blow, Mandalore placed fifty million credits in bounties on the head of each pilot in the Aurean Vulture Squadron, doubling the amount on Squadron Leader Kothari. The Mandalorians anticipated that a greedy Noghri would quickly turn the Aurean Vultures over to them. They completely misunderstood Noghri culture. The Aurean Vultures remained in the sky in their Hutt built starfighters until a peace deal was signed, which guaranteed Noghri autonomy, but permitted Mandalore to build some industrial complexes on the planet. As part of the deal, the bounties were lifted on the Noghri members of the Aurean Vultures.
Ropa Kothari was exempted from the peace deal, as she was not a Noghri. Mandalore wanted her badly, increasing her bounty to 200 million credits. When her squadron mates learned that Mandalore was still hunting her, they took action. She was no longer their teacher and leader, she was their friend and sister in arms. Honor bound not to let Mandalore get their hands on her, the pilots of the Aurean Vulture squadron came together and agreed to follow Kothari offworld. Handed what had become an elite team of pilots to command, Kothari immediately went back into the mercenary business. Her Noghri brothers and sisters followed her towards the stars, swearing their loyalty to no government or group, except to one another. The Vultures took part in several galactic wars, serving most notably during the Rylothian Slaver Wars where they fought alongside the Twi'lek resistance for several years. It became a tradition in the families of the original Vultures that the eldest child take their parents place in the squadron when they had proved themselves worthy. In time, the Vultures set up a deep space base where their families lived and where they could rest and refit between missions.
The Aurean Vultures never publish their contracts so it is uncertain which group or sentient has them under contract currently. Their structure has changed over the years as well. The Starhoppers have been modified to carry more weaponry and increase engine thrust. They still carry a squadron leader, though Ropa Kothari has retired from that role. However, the true leader of the Vultures rarely flies with the squadron. Instead, he carries on the diplomatic and procurement functions necessary to keep the squadron running. The current leader is Emanon Klatoo. The wings of the Starhoppers bear the crest of their original owner Sekou Tau.