Recall - A Little Quality Time


Rear Admiral
Aside from the first scene, this section wasn't even meant to exist; but since I've already written it, here it is. Probably the oddest to date, but then it is Springtime.
You decide if it realistic or not and let me know.


2681.038.2112 - A Little Quality Time

James pitched up a little to get the targeted fighter in his sights. It had taken him a good ten minutes to get through the shields, and now the chase was near its end. He pushed the trigger, releasing pair after pair of energised bundles; the third found its mark, instantly turning the enemy craft a fireball.

"It can't be!" the radio crackled, moments before the burning fighter disintegrated.

James pushed his thrust control all the way forward as he glanced down. Only one red dot remained on the radar. Just as well, since his two wingmen were taken out early in the battle. Tilting the joystick to the right, he sent his fighter along a wide arc.

A salvo narrowly missed to his right, another finding its mark on the left wing a moment later. James pulled hard to port, rolling at the same time, but the attacker was skilled and followed tightly - the next volley finding its target, and stripping the rear shields clean off.

As his ship shook violently, James eyed the dash for a split second. The eject light blinked once - twice. Suddenly, while his hand still rested on the joystick, there was a bright hot flash and then - complete darkness.

"Shit!" James slammed his fist against the controls, "Ow!"

"Yeeeehaw!" Nathan's gleeful cheer came over the headset, "I knew I'd finally nail you!"

James took off his headphones as the simulator's cockpit opened up - revealing a ring of five more identical pods, circling a holographic display projector that was replaying the battle they had just completed.

"I seem to recall you nailing me on our third simulator run back in the academy," James unbuckled himself and stepped out of the simulator.

"Oh yeah, I did too. You still remember that?" Nathan was a little surprised.

"You did fine," Caitlin comforted James, "It was two against one."

"Well this supposed Ferret flies more like an Epee," James complained, "Somebody must've screwed with the simulation parameters."

"Well at least you gave us a run for our money," Caitlin continued.

"Yeah look, sorry I couldn't help you kid," Travis scratched his head, "She just jumped me way too quick."

"A good fight," Micas spoke sombrely, "And cause enough to reassess my strategy."

"Aw, you shot me all up too soon," Lieutenant McCall lightly elbowed Micas who let out a muffled grunt.

"Are you kids quite done?" Thomas smiled at his crew. "Other folks are waiting their turn on the simulator."

Some bystanders were heatedly discussing the fight, pointing at the manoeuvres being performed on the playback.

"I bet things would've turned out different with three teams of two," Jessica grumbled.

"But this way we had a more accurate statistical distribution of skills between the opposing teams," Micas explained.

"Who asked you?" Jessica pouted.

"Come on," Travis put an arm around her shoulder, "I'll buy you a drink."

Nathan raised an eyebrow as they walked over to sit at a nearby table.

"And who will buy me a drink?" Caitlin stood pointedly in front of Nathan.

"Sorry. I'm off to bed," Captain Harvey adjusted his glasses.

"Me too," James yawned, "Research wants me up early tomorrow."

"And I have matters to attend to. Excuse me," Micas bowed slightly and walked away.

"Looks like I'm buying," Nathan grinned.

As he looked back at the glass door to the lounge, Caitlin took Nathan's hand and pulled him toward a free table she had spotted.

The pilot's recreational room on Perry was much larger than that of any carrier. Partly because the higher-ranking, desk bound officers preferred to mingle with the pilots - their only contact with the world of action. As a result, the recreational facilities on Perry attracted much greater funding, and rightly so, since it wasn't uncommon to see an Admiral putting them to good use.

As they made their way between the smart looking tables, Nathan noted how unusually clean and tidy everything was. The atmosphere was rather cosy, despite the size of the room required to accommodate all the seating, the six-person fighter simulator, several dartboards, and snooker tables of both zero-G and traditional variety. They walked through an area with plush lounge chairs and low tables, then passed a line of stools by the bar, which was stocked well enough to cater to the most demanding of customers. One could even order something to eat. The large bar protruded well into the recreational space, exposing three lengths of counter to allow easy access for many customers. Nathan imagined it got pretty noisy when there was a full crowd, but right now, finding a quiet spot was easy since the lounge was nearly empty.

They reached the table Caitlin had selected. Satisfied, she let go of Nathan's hand and sat down at the small table while he politely waited for her to do so - watching two bartenders chat idly while a third polished glasses, more out of boredom than necessity.

"So what'll you have?" Nathan waved the bartender over as he sat down in the elegant chair - as comfortable as it looked.

"Oh," she shrugged, "whatever you're having."

"Two Manchester rums, please," Nathan ordered before the barman reached their table. The man nodded and walked back to the bar to fetch the drinks.

"So is it true you've only beaten James twice?"

"Yes," Nathan nodded slowly, "At the Academy I always had the grades and he had the stats. We stuck together to help each other out with our weaknesses."

"I've seen your Academy record and I recall your flying was well above average."

Nathan nodded again "Thanks to him. He spent as many hours in the simulator with me, as I did in the library with him. I might have ended up the higher rank, but I'm half the pilot he is."

Caitlin let the topic drop, since the conversation wasn't quite heading where she had expected. "You know," she began hesitantly, "Ever since our little discussion after the Icarus was attacked, not once have you saluted to me."

Nathan was a little stunned. He waited as the barman appeared and placed their drinks before them, leaving without a word. "I'm sorry. I didn't even realise."

Major Torres smiled, toying with the drink before her, "It's alright." She tilted her head, "I find it rather cute. Besides, it's nice to be seen as something more than just a superior officer."

Nathan blinked - he decidedly wasn't prepared for such friendliness. Caitlin was a Major after all. "I'll make sure it doesn't happen again while we're on duty," he finally spoke up.

Caitlin just smiled, raising her small crystal glass to examine the amber coloured liquid,

"So how do you drink this stuff?"

"All down the hatch, I guess."

She frowned, "And what shall we drink to?"

"The good ship Icarus and her crew," he suggested.

They lightly clinked their glasses and downed their drinks.

Caitlin gasped, eyeing the empty glass in one hand while the other reached for her throat, "Oh! That's disgusting!"

"It tastes better the second time around," Nathan chuckled as he motioned for another two drinks to the bartender, who nodded.

"You're not what one would expect from your records," Caitlin finally caught her breath as the bartender placed two new glasses before them.

"And what would you expect?"

Caitlin shrugged, "Some smart-ass whose idea of achievement was to look cool."

"Maybe it's because I'm a country boy."

"I don't remember that in your file."

"I escaped the rural environment the moment I had the chance. I never understood the bond my dad had with the land, and maybe I never will."

"We all walk our own paths. I never knew my dad, but I didn't let that affect me." She raised her glass, "To the sim's last survivor."


They let their glasses meet audibly and poured their drinks down their throats.

The second shot did the trick. Nathan felt more relaxed and comfortable. He ordered another round while he thought of what to say next, "You know normally I don't drink like this, though James made sure I got plenty of practice at the Academy."

"I don't blame you," Caitlin was looking around the near empty bar, "I've tasted cough syrup better than this."

He watched her studying the faces in the lounge, "Anyone you know?"

Caitlin nodded. "Old acquaintances. That's Target," she raised her glass in the direction of a scrawny, middle-aged man, "His flying style is the equivalent of a limping, three-legged mouse. During the war he could get every cat within radar range on his tail. Great wingman. Over there," she continued, "Hot Dog. Lacking in precision but once on a cat's tail, every shot found its mark."

Nathan looked around noticing the number of grey and greying hairs, "Looks like a regular veteran reunion in here. Where are all the newbies?"

Caitlin smiled, "Who needs new blood when you've got pilots like these around? Everybody at Perry above the rank of Colonel fought in the war - and won. It's your call," she held up her glass.

He thought a moment, "To pilots - old and new." Maybe a little rough, but it was the idea that counted.

They swallowed their drinks - each exhaling audibly as the liquid burned in.

Nathan stifled a cough, "So how come you're still a Major?"

"I didn't want to get stuck in a comfy chair behind a desk stacked with paper - or training rookies who gripped the flight-stick like a hard-on."

Nathan raised an eyebrow, "So you believe flying requires a woman's touch?"

Caitlin laughed, "Well Confed seemed to agree, since they offered me a Lieutenant Colonel's leaf. I preferred to stick with my Eagle," she touched her rank insignia.

Nathan was a little confused, "Just how did you reject a promotion? I mean you can't just disagree with a direct order?"

"Like you said, a woman's touch," she grinned, "Being a woman has its advantages."

It was Nathan's turn to laugh, "I don't think I want to hear this."

"You've got me drunk, so now you'll have to."

"But you've only had three shots of rum?"

"Exactly. I've never drank that much in my life - not even during the war. I preferred to be sober when I bid my friends farewell," her expression turned serious.

"If I knew, I'd have stopped buying."

"But I'm enjoying the company," she looked at him.

"Now I know you've had too much," Nathan smiled.

Caitlin looked down at her empty glass in contemplation.

"No more for you," Nathan got up from the table, leaving a bunch of coins, "You'll thank me in the morning."

"You're right. It's not another drink that I need," Caitlin got up and leaned on his shoulder.

They left the bar in silence, each with an arm around the other. They walked through the glass sliding door and crossed a large hall to the long, curving corridor that lead to the officer's quarters. Admiral Terrell had arranged for their stay off-ship while the Icarus was being outfitted for it's next mission.

As they walked together quietly, Nathan couldn't help but think of the consequences of a relationship with the woman whose head comfortably rested on his shoulder.

Major Torres thrust a hand into a pocket and fished out a key-card with a number on it. Eyeing the numbers on the doors they passed, Caitlin finally slowed to a halt. She let go of Nathan as reluctantly as he did of her.

"Do you want to come in?" she waved her key-card back at the door it served to open.

"I don't think that's such a good idea," though his voice was serious, the smile on his face remained.

"It wouldn't be the first time," Caitlin teased, returning the smile.

Nathan lifted his hand up to gently cradle her chin. She parted her lips in response, watching him carefully.

He withdrew his hand and took a step back, "Goodnight Caitlin."

"Goodnight Nathan," her smile unwavering, she turned around to insert the key-card into the slot. The door slid open, and as she walked past, it swallowed her.

Nathan exhaled, running a hand through his hair. As much as he enjoyed Caitlin's company, things were decidedly getting a little complicated.
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1. *"Well this supposed Ferret flies more like an Epee," James complained, "Somebody must've screwed with the simulation parameters."* - As much as I hate the Epee, I must point out that it flies better than the Ferret (but the Ferret can take more than one hit
). They may be... er... fragile... but they sure are manoeuvrable. 2 dps (or rather, 20 dps) is a hell of a difference in WC.
2. *Caitlin took Nathan's hand and pulled him toward a free table she had spotted.* - Might be wrong here, but shouldn't it be towards?
3. *smart looking tables* - Hmm... first the scientists, now the tables...
in other words, while I know what you mean, "smart" just isn't the word I'd use.
4. *"Two Manchester rums, please,"* - "...Except for a good Manchester rum!"
Been playing Priv again?

5. *"Ever since our little discussion after the Icarus was attacked, not once have you saluted to me."* - Saluted to her, or saluted her?
6. *"Oh! That's disgusting!"* - Oh, now this sounds familiar
. WCP-like. However, it's a perfectly standard reaction to alcoholic beverages, so you're excused
7. *"It tastes better the second time around,"* - Yeah... when you're too drunk to tell...

8. *The second shot did the trick.* - ...She finally stopped twitching and fell dead to the ground
. Sorry. Couldn't resist that.
9. *His flying style is the equivalent of a limping, three-legged mouse.* - Eep.
That's harsh.

10. *"Well Confed seemed to agree, since they offered me a Lieutenant Colonel's leaf. I preferred to stick with my Eagle,"* - Meep! Have you looked at your WC1 manual lately?
The Major gets a gold (maple?) leaf, while the Lt. Colonel get's a silver one. The Colonel is the one who gets the silver bird.

All in all, I like.
'Tis realistic, too. Oh, and it's not the oddest. This one, I could actually see coming. The oddest is, and will forever remain, the dance.

However, you could use a better title. The current one just falls flat, somehow.
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1. He said like, not better or worse. James doesn't like the Epee either, so there.
You must admit though despite it only being the end of a battle, his ship did seem rather week.
2. Might be, but I don't think the plural form is required.
3. Well I already used elegant. I'll think about it.
4. Actually I installed the non-CD verision just to get that info.

5. Hmm. "Saluted to me" sounds better, but you may have a point there.
6. I really wasn't thinking of WCP at the time. Just trying to make a comment about alcohol since I personally hate the stuff. You should know that.
7. Exactly.

No need to apologise.
9. *shrug* Well it worked dinnit?

10. It is? Crap. I checked the WC1 for that exact purpose but I obviously was half asleep at the time.
11. Oh yeah...there is no 11.

That's good that it's realistic, and the dancing wasn't odd - just offbeat.

The title stays, since it has double meaning and is a (somewhat) logical progression from the previous section.
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1. I know he doesn't like the Epee. Otherwise, he wouldn't be a very realistic character, now would he?
But if he survived for so long with the ship displaying the characteristics of an Epee, then he's good.
2. Wha'ever.

4. And, no doubt, to find out what the Perry recroom looked like?

5. Of course I know that, since I hate it more than you do
. But co-incidence or not, you quoted Casey word for word... only she didn't spit the stuff out, like he did.
9. Maybe...
10. I guess you were. But don't worry, that's what I'm here for
11. Cheeky, aren't you? Just you wait 'till the next section.

Yeah, well I still think the tail wouldn't have been detrimental.

As for the title... well, I wouldn't let anyone change my titles, so that's fair enough
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1. Heh. Of course he's good. They wouldn't have chosen him to test pilot the Steltek craft otherwise...or would they.
4. Naw, I had to fire up the non-CDROM version of my brain for that one...and Terrell's brand spanking new office.

The tail wasn't detrimental it just got in the way sometimes. And speaking of titles, when are you going to set one for your story?
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I need a title?

I don't know. I just can't figure one out. But I'll keep thinking...
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