F-57 Sabre

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F-57 Sabre
Wc2sabre.jpg
Type Heavy Attack Fighter Fighter
Primary User Terran Confederation
Additional Users Free Republic of the Landreich
Union of Border Worlds
Society of Mandarins
Introduction pre-2659
General Characteristics
Length 23.6 meters
Mass 22 tonnes
Crew 2 (pilot and gunner)
Performance
Maximum Yaw 8 dps
Maximum Pitch 8 dps
Maximum Roll 8 dps
Acceleration Excellent
Velocity
Cruise 220 kps
Maximum 400 kps
Afterburner
Maximum Afterburner 1200 kps
Armament
Guns
Particle Cannons (2)
Mass Drivers (2)
Mounts 4
Turrets
Dual-Mount Neutron Gun (1)
Default Missile Loadout
Spiculum IR Missiles (4)
Pilum Friend-or-Foe Missiles (2)
Dart Dumbfires (2)
Bomber Loadout
Spiculum IR Missiles (4)
Pilum Friend-or-Foe Missiles (2)
Torpedoes (2)
Components
Modules
Tractor Beam
Chaff Pods 3
Cloaking Device No
Jump Drive No
Defense
Shields
Fore 8.0 cm equivalent
Aft 8.0 cm equivalent
Maximum Recharge 1 cm/second
Armor
Front 20.0 cm
Rear 20.0 cm
Right 18.0 cm
Left 18.0 cm
Wc2sabre4.gif
F-57 Sabre Target Identification circa 2664
Source Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi



The F-57 Sabre was a heavy attack fighter in the service of the Terran Confederation.

Work-in-progress, expect frequent changes. Help and feedback is welcome. See discussion page.


Contents

History

The F-57 Sabre was a widely-used Confederation fighter that served in a variety of roles throughout much of the Terran-Kilrathi War. Built on a heavy chassis with a large weapons load-out, the Sabre was a formidable dogfighter that could engage multiple Kilrathi fighters for a prolonged period of time. Capable of carrying torpedoes and other forms of heavy weaponry, it could also act as a bomber, dealing severe damage to enemy warships and installations. It was also equipped with a rear turret manned by a gunner for basic defense. All of this, along with its maneuverability, made the Sabre a formidable all-purpose fighter in the Confederation Space Force.

The Sabre engaged in numerous combat operations throughout the Kilrathi War, ranging from patrols to enemy interception to bombing runs against enemy vessels. Many carrier groups were equipped with Sabre squadrons, including the TCS Concordia.

Sabres were involved in many notable operations against the Kilrathi. In 2658, Sabres participated along with Broadswords in Operation Lamplight, Confed's big push into the Deneb Sector. During the operation, a large group of Kilrathi Troopships were moving to assist Kilrathi forces when Sabres, Broadswords and Cruisers intercepted them. The Kilrathi force had minimal escort and was destroyed with limited difficulty. In 2667, the Concordia launched a force of Sabres to destroy the Heaven's Gate Starbase as part of their failed attempt to capture the system. During this assault, Confederation pilot Mariko Tanaka was killed in action after a traitor planted explosives on her vessel, killing her gunner and forcing her to conduct a kamikaze attack on the starbase, destroying it. Later, Christopher Blair flew solo in a Sabre in an attempt to destroy the Kilrathi Sector HQ at K'tithrak Mang. The attack was a resounding success and shattered the Kilrathi's hold on the Enigma Sector.

Sabres also took part in numerous defensive actions during the Kilrathi War. Several Sabres took part in the defense of Pembroke Station and the separatist Kilrathi colony of Ghorah Khar.

Many Sabres made their way into the hands of other factions, including pirates and mercenaries, and were used extensively by the Society of Mandarins, a network of Human traitors loyal to the Kilrathi. Surplus Sabres were also sold to the Union of Border Worlds and the Free Republic of the Landreich. Some took part in the action of the Border Worlds Conflict.

Specifications

F-57A Sabre WC2ManualSabre.JPG F-57 Sabre (2667) WCAManualSabre.JPG F-57 Sabre (2665) Wc2sabre.jpg F-57 Sabre (Torpedo) (2665) Wc2sabre.jpg F-57 Sabre (Torpedo II) (2665) Wc2sabre.jpg
Sources: WC II Playguide Manual Wing Commander Academy Manual Wing Commander 2 / Wing Commander: Academy Wing Commander 2 Wing Commander 2
Class: Heavy Attack Fighter Heavy Attack Fighter Heavy Attack Fighter Heavy Attack Fighter Heavy Attack Fighter
Length: 23.6 meters 23.6 meters 23.6 meters 23.6 meters 23.6 meters
Mass: 22 metric tonnes 22 metric tonnes 22 metric tonnes 22 metric tonnes 22 metric tonnes
Max Velocity: 400 KPS 400 KPS 400 KPS 400 KPS 400 KPS
Cruise Velocity: 220 KPS 220 KPS 220 KPS 220 KPS 150 KPS
Acceleration: Excellent Excellent 3 (relative) 3 (relative) 3 (relative)
Max Y/P/R: 8/8/8 DPS 8/8/8 DPS 8/8/8 DPS 7/7/7 DPS 7/7/7 DPS
Guns: Particle Cannons (2) Particle Cannons (2) Particle Cannons (2) Particle Cannons (2) Particle Cannons (2)
Guns: Mass Drivers (2) Mass Drivers (2) Mass Drivers (2) Mass Drivers (2) Mass Drivers (2)
Missiles: Spiculum IR (4) Spiculum IR (4) Spiculum IR (4) Spiculum IR (4) Spiculum IR (2)
Missiles: Dart Dumbfires (2) Dart Dumbfires (2) Dart Dumbfires (2) Torpedoes (2) Torpedoes (6)
Missiles: Pilum Friend-or-Foe (2) Pilum Friend-or-Foe (2) Pilum Friend-or-Foe (2) Pilum Friend-or-Foe (2) ------
Turrets: Dual Mounted Neutron Gun (1) Dual Mounted Neutron Gun (1) Dual Mounted Neutron Gun (1) Dual Mounted Neutron Gun (1) Dual Mounted Neutron Gun (1)
Tractor Beam Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Armor (Front/Rear/Sides): 16.0/16.0/11.0 cm 16.0/16.0/11.0 cm 20.0/20.0/18.0 cm 12.0/12.0/9.0 cm 8.0/8.0/7.5 cm
Shields (Fore/Aft): 10.0/10.0 cm 10.0/10.0 cm 8.0/8.0 cm 7.6/7.6 cm 8.0/8.0 cm
Shield Recharge Not Listed Not Listed 1.0 cm/seconds 4.0 cm/seconds 2.0 cm/seconds
Missile Decoys: Chaff Pods (1) Chaff Pods (3) Chaff Pods (3) None Chaff Pods (2)
Jump Capable: No No No No No

Sources

Wing Commander 2 Playguide

  • Weapons
    • "Depending upon which ship you’re flying, you may have blasters, chaff pods, missiles and/or torpedoes available to you. In larger ships, like the Broadsword and the Sabre, you can switch from the front viewscreen to turrets positioned at the sides and rear of the ship."
    • Torpedoes
      • "From this point onward, until you complete the lock, you must not maneuver your ship too quickly. There’s a little leeway, but you must fly mostly straight toward the target—any significant deviation will break the lock, forcing you to start all over again. (For this reason, only turret-equipped ships, the Sabre and Broadsword, carry torpedoes, even though any of the other fighters could theoretically handle the missiles."
    • Turrets
      • "the Broadsword and the Sabre, have multiple guns. In addition to the standard complement of front-firing weapons, the Sabre has a turret in the back, and the Broadsword has three turrets (one to the rear, one to the left and one to the right)."
    • Tractor Beam
      • "In addition to standard turret-mounted weapons, the turrets in the Broadsword and Sabre are equipped with a new device—a tractor beam."
  • Improved Targeting and Tracking System (ITTS)
    • "The Improved Target Tracking System (I.T.T.S.) is a feature available in the most advanced fighters, such as the Epee and Sabre. This advanced targeting system calculates the amount you must lead your target in order to maximize the chance of a hit."

Joan's Fighting Spacecraft - 2664.128 UPDATE

  • Confederation Fighters
    • F-57A Sabre

TCSNA Handbook

  • Spacecraft of the Terran and Kilrathi Fleets
    • "The Sabre is one of the best fighters ever designed by Terran scientists. It is equipped with multiple missiles, mass drivers, particle cannon and a rear turret. Keep this in mind when you attempt a rear approach. In spite of its size, the ship is fairly maneuverable and accelerates well. When you are flying a Sabre, you should be aware that its fore and aft shields are weak. Even thought the armor is very strong, armor has no regenerating capabilities."

Wing Commander 2/Wing Commander: Academy

Wing Commander 2 (De)Briefings

Wing Commander 2 Missions

Special Operations 1 Missions

Special Operations 2 Missions

Wing Commander: End Run

  • Part I: Milk Run
    • "Ripley shrugged uncomfortably. "She's had the same training as you and I, and she's had fifty hours combat flying time in a Sabre." "
  • Chapter 1
    • "He cleared the energy field airlock and felt the slowing resistance of air on his wings. There was barely thirty meters of maneuver room inside the hangar and the deck was packed. To his port side was a squadron of F-54C Rapiers. On the starboard side was the squadron of strike fighter/bombers, F-57B Sabres, with the new upgrade of a copilot in a cramped backseat to handle the weapons launch while the pilot continued to fly. He still wasn't sure if he liked this hybrid design, created specifically for the CVE class, when it was realized that there simply wasn't enough hangar space for the battle-tested Broadswords. A pilot and flight officer crammed into a space originally designed for one was going to be a tight fit. He wondered if the design boys had thought this one out all the way. That was something that always bothered him—an instrument located in the wrong place might mean that a valuable bit of information was overlooked—or while wasting a second to take a look you don't see the shot coming straight into your face."
    • "Jason unsnapped his harness and stood up to look around. He could sense that all eyes on the deck were focused on him. After all, he was the new commander of all the ships flying off the Tarawa. He ignored their stares, his attention for the moment focused solely on the gleaming row of fighter craft under his command. They all looked new at least; that was an advantage, and a curse, since there were always some bugs to be worked out in the first couple of hundred hours of flying. The squadron of Ferret scout and recon ships were crammed in behind the Sabres. That would have to be changed at once. Moving the heavier craft could waste several precious minutes if the crunch was on and they needed a quick recon launch."
    • " "Doomsday will be squadron commander for the Sabre fighter bombers, Starlight will be in charge of the recon and patrol Ferrets. I'm taking personal charge of the Rapier squadron. Are there any questions?" "
  • Chapter 2
    • " "Should keep a Sabre on the hot line loaded with a dogfighting and anti-torpedo array ready to go in under a minute's warning," Doomsday added, and Jason nodded an agreement. It'd mean that Janice's people would be flying eight hours a day, while every bomber pilot, copilot, and gunner would be sitting in their cockpits for two and a half hours a day on the hot line. The training at least would be good for them but he could well imagine how the captain would howl when he heard how much engine time the Ferrets would be burning up."
    • "She climbed off the wing, and hand signaled for the ground crew to clear. The tiny tow tractor hooked on to the nose wheel and started to pull him up to the launch ramp. The ship in front of him, a Sabre, slashed out through the airlock, kicking on full afterburners as it cleared the side of the Tarawa. The pilot looked good, perhaps showing off by wanting to peel a little paint, but it revealed a certain cockiness that was healthy."
    • "The last of the fighters came in and then the Sabres lined up, Doomsday coming in first for a perfect touchdown.
      • The third bomber was somewhat shaky, slamming into the safety net, causing the next bomber in line to drop out of its approach for a go-around. The deck crew struggled to free the Sabre, causing yet more delay and another wave off of the bomber, whose pilot called in that his starboard engine was overheating, forcing him to shut the engine down.
      • "Green three," Jason said, patching in on the landing officer's comm line. "Do you wish to declare an emergency?"
      • "Negative on that Blue Leader."
      • "Who is this?"
      • "Rodriquez, sir."
      • "Landing that baby's hard enough on this small ship, bring her in slow and easy, non combat. We're canceling the combat landings till you're aboard."
      • "Copy that Blue Leader, no problem."
      • Green three circled in, and Jason watched him on the holo screen. The ship was dropping low, the red dot of the laser guide beam now a dozen meters above the ship. Jason kept his mouth shut. Only one person was supposed to talk at a time like this and that was the landing officer.
      • "Bring her up son, bring her up. This is not a combat landing son, so don't push it."
      • Jason watched, tensing. The kid was trying to show off, to prove himself in front of the old man.
      • "Abort, abort," Jason snapped, breaking in on the landing officer.
      • "I've got it, I've got it. I've…"
      • The Sabre started to pull up hard, and then yo-yoed back down. Jason watched, horrified when he saw the ship start to yaw, Rodriquez slamming in power at the last second of panic when he finally decided to abort, forgetting that one engine was already shut down.
      • The Sabre pivoted, the nose of the ship slamming against the side of the airlock port, sheering off just in front of the cockpit.
      • The deck safety officer standing behind Jason slammed down on the crash alarm, the klaxon roaring to life, the fire retardant nozzles in the bay ceiling kicking on, spraying down on the deck. The ship spun down the flightline, the emergency safety nets detonating out from the deck floor like a spider web, ground crews diving towards the emergency safety bunkers."
    • " "You pushed them too hard. You pushed them too hard the first day out and you killed a crew, smashed up a Sabre worth tens of millions and damn near blew out this entire ship. Now just how the hell do you think this is going to look on my report?" "
  • Chapter 4
    • " "Initiating Plan Bravo," and he passed the command up to his Rapiers and to Doomsday's Sabres, while Starlight pulled her recon Ferrets back to act as point defense for the landing craft if anything went wrong."
    • "Behind him the rest of the Rapier and Sabre squadrons were following. Doomsday peeled off, taking two craft with him to hit a suspected communication and control sector several hundred clicks from the landing areas, other fighters and bombers turning off seconds later to hit their assigned targets."
    • "Pulling up to an altitude of twenty kilometers, he kept a steady eye on his main screen, waiting for the first flicker of an enemy radar. But their system appeared to be either totally destroyed, or shut down for self preservation. Far over the horizon, where Doomsday and two of his Sabres were working over a well dug-in defense which three marine regiments were supposed to take, there was still a flurry of activity, half a dozen missiles gaining space, only to be knocked out by the back up of Ferrets which were flying in with the landing craft."
    • "It took him a second to lock on the signal. It was a Sabre, flying suppression above the one Kilrathi city on the planet. The port engine of the ship had taken a small heat seeker and it appeared as if all shielding was gone."
    • "Jason watched his screen as Tolwyn maneuvered in behind the damaged Sabre. The crippled ship cleared the atmosphere and he breathed a sigh of relief. Even if it lost all power now, they could still tractor beam the craft back to Tarawa for repairs."
  • Chapter 8
    • "Jason rolled his ship and looked over his shoulder as a spread of torpedoes streaked away from the Sabre and leaped in towards the lead Kilrathi corvette. The corvette sent out a spread of shot and then turned straight in to present as narrow a target as possible. The torpedoes detonated across the bow, splitting the ship open and it disappeared in a silently spreading ball of incandescent fire."
    • "Jason dove past the position of Intrepid and continued straight in. He started to randomly jink his fighter to throw off enemy aim and to his horror he saw a Sabre move straight into a heavy neutron bolt. The ship disappeared and for a second he thought it was Doomsday."
    • "Kilrathi jamming swept through the frequencies, attempting to mask their ground defense radars. Each of the seven Sabres dropped four air-to-ground anti-radar missiles, each one then breaking into fifty sub-munition rounds that locked onto individual radars, radio links, laser trackers, point defense guidance systems, and subspace transmitters. The missiles in turn fed back their target selections to Doomsday's ship, which was mounted with a command system for this major launch. This system automatically prevented overlapping of targets and reassigned missiles to priority hits if the first missile tracking in should be knocked out."
  • Chapter 9
    • "Send the Sabres in; they could cram several people into the rear storage hatch. That'd save twenty maybe. Relaunch a landing craft and try to hold the fighters off."
    • " "We're here, Svetlana, just hang on. We're scrambling the Sabres in to pick up half your people, a landing craft is being turned around now for the rest." "
  • Chapter 11
    • "He finally saw them, tiny pinpoints of light that within seconds took form. A squadron of Broadswords flashed by, torpedoes glinting evilly under their wings, escorted by Sabres and Rapiers. Four Rapiers broke off, circling around to take up escort positions; and on their wings were the markings of their ship—Concordia."

Wing Commander: Fleet Action

  • Chapter 1
    • " "If this was just another day in the war, how would you feel about taking out that carrier."
      • "I hate losing people, but trading a Rapier, a Sabre and two of your Broadswords for a light carrier is a damn fine piece of work in my book. I wish it had always been that easy." "
  • Chapter 3
    • "He closed the door behind him and walked down the now dimmed corridors. He passed the flight ready room and had a flash memory of his first day aboard, chewing out his new pilots, and passed on into the hangar deck. The Rapiers, Ferrets, and Sabres lined the deck and it felt strange to hear the silence. No engines humming, no shouted commands blaring over the loudspeakers, the hissing roar of the catapult or the thunderclap of engines kicking in afterburners on a hot launch. It was a silence that was as complete and deeply disturbing as if he were walking through a tomb."
  • Chapter 4
    • " "Now I should add here, that in terms of quality, our technology in fighter craft was showing some significant edges, though they still had it over us in terms of sheer numbers and in firepower, which we offset with maneuverability and the ability to take more punishment, especially with our new upgrades which were just coming on line with the Broadswords and Sabre D class.
      • "But these are the key figures that I want you to take a hard look at."
      • He snapped the controller again, and columns of figures in red appeared alongside the Kilrathi column.
      • "Damn, look at that," Ian whispered, and Jason could only nod in reply.
      • "As you can see," Tolwyn announced, "from the day of the armistice and for roughly twelve months afterwards not one new fleet carrier was going to come on line for the Empire. Beyond that, it appears as if a significant portion of their carrier fleet needed to be pulled off line for major overhauls and refitting." "
    • "Jason went over to his old command chair, and sat down, a light puff of dust swirling up around him. He looked around at his skeleton crew which were manning the bridge. Normal ship's complement was just under five hundred personnel Ч he had only thirty-five. Nearly three quarters of a full crew were either support for the three squadrons the ship would normally be carrying, or for the weapons systems, but even without them, running the ship was going to be a chancy operation. And with only three Ferrets, and a Sabre on board that had yet to be transferred off, he felt very naked."
  • Chapter 5
    • "In a swirling cloud of dust, Hunter switched off power on his engines, shut down the emergency ejector system, and cracked the canopy open.
      • A choking swirl of hot dry air rushed into the cockpit, taking his breath away as he unsnapped his helmet.
      • "Damn, even worse than the outback," he mumbled, standing up to stretch.
      • A ground crew team strolled over, lazily pushing a ladder as he waited. There was no sense in getting upset by their lackadaisical attitude, this wasn't ConFleet; the base belonged to the Landreich Colonial Air Guard and a crew working in one hundred twenty plus heat had his sympathy.
      • The crew hooked the ladder against the side of his Sabre and he scrambled down out of the cockpit."
    • " "Everything back aboard Tarawa OK?"
      • Ian turned and smiled as Jason came up to join him.
      • "Another hundred crew members signed in last night off a transport that ran out from Sirius. We've got eight more pilots and four Ferrets that were strapped to the transports hull."
      • "Is that all, we were promised twenty."
      • "They had some problems getting the four, the peace commission kicked up a royal stink. We're lucky we got what we did."
      • "It figures," Jason sighed. "That commission really screwed us up."
      • "What do you mean?"
      • That report that we'd have ten squadrons of Rapiers and Sabres, well forget it."
      • "What the hell happened?"
      • "The shipment was blocked by the commission. Seems that the Kilrathi ambassador caught wind of the deal, screamed holy hell, and the Baron even got into it, threatening to end all peace negotiations if the ships were allowed to leave Earth system. Rodham, of course, caved in. The three transports, loaded down with fighters and spare parts were blocked from leaving moon orbit. So now we've got to scrounge up whatever we can find around here."
      • "We ve got five escort carriers, and a grand total of twenty-nine fighters and that's it, not counting the stuff the locals have." "
    • "The room went quiet as Kruger raced to a monitor, leaned over it, and then turned back.
      • "Any pilots with strike craft please man them immediately."
      • Ian pushed his way out of the room, a stream of colonial pilots pushing around him, Jason, Kevin, and Doomsday falling in at his side.
      • They ran up the corridor and out into the blazing heat, scattering towards hangars, the high wail of sirens echoing against the surrounding hills. The ground crew, which had so lazily come out to meet Ian when he landed, were moving with a cool precision, unchocking the wheels, the crew chief inside the cockpit, the engine already up and whining, four crew members lifting two missiles up onto the Sabre's wing pylons. Ian ran to the ladder, one of the ground crew tossing him his helmet which he snapped on, the chief coming down the ladder and clearing it just as Ian leaped on to the third rung and scrambled up, the chief now behind him. Ian saw Jason and Doomsday running past, heading for the Ferrets they had flown down from Tarawa.
      • "Engine green, nav system loaded by combat control, all weapons green with two radar trackers loaded, emergency eject armed and ready, good luck, sir!" the chief shouted, even as he reached over and helped buckle Ian's safety harness on, cinching the shoulder straps tight.
      • This is Hunter in Sabre 239A ready," Ian announced to the control tower.
      • "Will advise, Hunter, ground chief will signal your clearance," the ground control officer snapped and then switched off.
      • Ian gave a thumbs-up as the chief slid down the ladder and the canopy snapped shut, the green light of airtight lock flashing on. The chief was now out in front of Ian's fighter, hands held high over his head with fists crossed, signaling that the taxi ramp was not yet cleared. The Ferret with the light corvette engine he admired earlier bolted straight out of its hangar to his right, not even bothering to go for the runway and not needing one anyhow as it pitched its nose back, and within fifty yards stood on its tail, flame slamming off the concrete taxiway as it screamed straight up into the sky, riding a column of fire.
      • To his left he saw the armored bunker which contained the surface to space missiles peel open, the silver tips of half a dozen Sprints pointing straight up.
      • "Hunter cleared for takeoff, once lifted depart angle nine zero," the control officer's voice crackled in his headset and he grinned with the order to go for a full burn vertical ascent into space.
      • The crew chief uncrossed his arms and leaped to the side of the Sabre, crouched, and pointed forward. Ian released his brakes, slammed in full afterburners and all aft maneuvering thrusters. The Sabre leaped forward and within seconds he was up past a hundred and ninety clicks an hour. He yanked back on his stick, pulling it into his gut, the nose lifted up and he was off.
      • Ian toggled up his landing gear as his Sabre pointed straight up into the red sky, the altimeter spinning. Inertial dampening didn't work all that well inside the gravity well of a planet and he started to breathe in short convulsive grunts as the Gs built up. He knew his sonic boom was blasting out across the landscape but it was almost silent inside the cockpit except for the teeth-rattling rumble of the twin Tangent-class engines burning white hot behind him. He punched through the thin clouds and the color of the sky shifted, turning from a deeper red into violet, the first stars starting to appear. He looked to his left to see the curvature of the world and what looked like another Ferret rising up to close on his port wing."
    • "Punching in the new nav coordinates, Ian closed his fuel scoops and within minutes was up over three thousand clicks a second and climbing. Thor was nearly twenty million clicks away and he settled back, nearly dozing off as the Sabre closed, half listening to the commlink chatter as the scrambled forces continued to prowl for the needle in a very big haystack.
      • Approaching within a million clicks of Thor he finally started into reverse thrust, extending his fuel scoops to create drag. The stray hydrogen atoms found in space impacted on the energy field surrounding his ship and were then swept into the fuel tank. Each strike slowed him down by an ever so minute fraction, which built up with each passing second."
    • "Kruger and Tolwyn looked up as Ian and Jason came into the room.
      • "Glad you're alive," Geoff said.
      • "So am I."
      • "But you lost a Sabre," Kruger interjected, "a first line ship in return for one Kilrathi Stealth, not a good trade in my book at all."
      • "Return with your shield or upon it, is that it?" Ian said dryly.
      • "Something like that," Kruger retorted. "You Confed boys might think it's all right to blow a ship apart or prang one up on a bad landing, get out, and then have another one handed to you, but out here it's different. We're at the butt end of any supplies. With your asinine Confed signing that article 23 of the armistice forbidding the resale of fighter aircraft, a Sabre is precious." "
  • Chapter 6
    • " "You didn't say we, you said you," Jason replied, looking over at Tolwyn.
      • "I'm taking the jump-capable Sabre on this ship back to Landreich in an hour," Tolwyn said.
      • "Hell, that's at least a seven day run, it'll be a nightmare in a ship that small. It doesn't even have ahead on board."
      • "Well, if you don't mind, I'm taking Kevin along to keep me company. It'll be a chance for us to catch up on family matters. We'll just have to make do and rough it a bit. One of us can sleep in the tail gunner's slot while the other flies." "
  • Chapter 11
    • "Doomsday gave the thumbs up to the deck launch officer. She saluted, crouched down low, pointing forward, and the senior deck officer in the launch control room hit the catapult button.
      • In under two seconds Doomsday was clear of Tarawa, full afterburners roaring, even as Tarawa turned to avoid colliding with Kruger's flag ship. Doomsday banked hard over, skimming past the destroyer with less than a dozen meters to spare, and took a deep breath as he shot clear.
      • His heavily modified Sabre, with side-by-side pilot and co-pilot seats crammed in, and a single heavy Mark IV torpedo slung underneath shook with the 110% power surge. Grinning, he looked over at Paladin who was flying the right hand seat as weapons officer.
      • "Here we go again, laddie," Paladin said calmly, though Doomsday could tell that the old pilot was miffed that there weren't enough fighters in the fleet for him to get one of his own.
      • "Weapons check?"
      • "Torpedo armed and ready, now give me a target."
      • Doomsday spared a quick look down at his tactical screen. The forward string of frigates were less than a minute away, the first of them already slowing, turning to move in across the carriers. Less than thirty seconds behind them the three carriers were starting to come about."
    • "A modified Ferret, stitched onto what looked like old twin Sabre A engines, slammed past, diving straight into the emerging fighters. Several flashes of light appeared, fighters being killed, though Doomsday could not tell who had bought it.
      • "Ten seconds, nine. eight. Signal lock on, phase counter lock on, warhead armed, three, two, one . . . it's away!"
      • Doomsday felt his ship lurch as the ten meter long torpedo dropped from the underbelly pylon, its engine flaring to life. He looked up and saw a Landreich craft above him dropping his spread of three Mark III Torpedoes as well. Breaking his ship hard to starboard Doomsday nosed straight down and then spun over, keeping his belly turned towards the carrier so that the new laser torpedo guide could maintain lock. Paladin stayed hunched over the weapons screen, ready to take over manual guidance of the torpedo if Kilrathi jamming should throw it off course.
      • Doomsday spared a quick glance at his tactical as half a dozen red blips closed in.
      • "She's closing, closing," Paladin chanted softly, punching in a guidance command as the torpedo lost lock for a second, his guidance laser firmly tracking on the torpedoes tail. The fact that Kruger had half a dozen of the new ship-to-torpedo laser guiding systems in his munitions inventory had surprised Doomsday, who figured it was best simply not to ask how they got into Landreich hands.
      • "Closing, closing . . . impact, laddie, we got Сem!"
      • Doomsday punched in an aft visual and saw an expanding fireball of light erupting from the carrier's main engine bank. A second ball of light snapped as one of Doomsday's torpedoes slammed into the explosion. Four of the Landreich's old obsolete scimitars darted in towards the carrier's tail, disappearing into the inferno, two of them reemerging from the fireball seconds later and as they pulled out, a solid ripple of explosions shuddered across the carrier's stern from the missile spread they had launched, now that the aft shielding was overloaded and down. The entire aft end of the carrier suddenly disappeared in a white hot light.
      • Doomsday watched the Scimitars, amazed yet again at the suicidal tactics of the Landreich pilots, flying fighters that should have been on the scrap heap years ago.
      • "Fuel igniting, she's going!"
      • The explosion burst out, the blast wave washing over Doomsday's Sabre, shuddering it as if from a direct hit. He lost sight of the two surviving Scimitars, who were simply consumed in the ball of light, the enemy fighters pursuing them disappearing as well.
      • "Look out ahead!" Paladin shouted, and Doomsday looked up to see a frigate turning directly in front, her gun mounts shifting, tracking straight down on him, preparing to fire a full broadside at near point blank range."
  • Chapter 12
    • "It was impossible to sort out which target to lock on. Hundreds of IFFs streaked across space and within seconds dozens of ships on both sides were exploding. The Broadsword and Sabre gunners sent out sprays of shot in every direction as wing group size attack waves by the Kilrathi came in. The four light corvettes escorting the attack dropped out sprays of chaff, jammers, and flares. The first wave passed and Kevin, ashamed, realized he had not fired even a shot."
    • "Two of the new carriers and one of the old ones had been hit in his strike. The old style carrier was gone, but the two new ones still appeared to be relentlessly moving forward. In return, all four of his carriers had been hit. Verdun was lost with all hands. and now Moskva was finished Leyte Gulf, which had only joined him this morning, had one bay down from a direct hit. Of the more than four hundred and eighty strike craft and bombers he had launched three hours ago, less than two hundred and twenty were still able to fly. Worst of all was the loss of Broadswords; less than a quarter had returned. Estimates of Kilrathi fighter loss stood at just over seven hundred. He knew the figure would be cut once the debriefing teams had a chance to look at all the camera footage. In short, he had lost.
      • He looked at the status plot boards. Only twenty-nine Broadswords and twenty modified Sabres were armed and ready for a second strike. Already the Kilrathi were sending up their next strike wave which was even stronger than their first as they shifted craft over from defensive to offensive operations. He turned back to his strategic communications officer, who was burst signal linked back to Earth."
  • Chapter 13
    • "Actually he knew it was almost meaningless. Lexington was coming up with just a little more than half her complement and running on secondary reactor power only. It was nothing more than bait, moving ahead of Concordia, Saratoga, Ark Royal and Leyte Gulf. With three hundred additional fighters sortied up from Mars and Earth orbital bases, there'd be just over six hundred fighters, half of them with green crews who'd never seen action beyond a flight simulator.
      • "You know your missions. Blue Three, you're flying Combat Air Patrol over the carriers. Blue Two, you're escorting in the Broadswords."
      • He could see Blue Three was less than amused, getting stuck in a purely defensive role. Blue Two knew what was going to happen to her but didn't display a flicker of emotion. The Kilrathi would turn their full fury on the Broadswords and Sabres, and with less than eighty making up the strike and eighty escorts, the chances of any of them coming back was nil."
    • " "They're throwing everything in as a screen to waste our weapons on. Order the outer wave of fighters to ignore them and to concentrate on the incoming Broadswords and Sabres. Once their offensive capability has been smashed we can turn our attention to this chaff they throw out and destroy them." "
    • "Doomsday screamed with impotent rage as he saw the heavy antimatter rockets streak away.
      • A light screen of enemy fighters, launched from the cruisers, moved to intercept, and with a wild frenzy Doomsday slashed into them, killing them with a mad insane glee, while behind him, four modified Sabres lined up for the first torpedo launch.
      • The torpedoes leaped out, tracking in on the first cruiser, and seconds later detonated. Kruger's fighters swarmed in, slamming the cruiser, which appeared for a second to collapse in on itself before bursting asunder. The comm link was filled with mad screams of hatred and rage as the strike team turned towards the other cruiser."

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