Chapter VI - Danger Zone


Unknown Enemy
Here we go again. Apologies about the title. If I come up with something more appropriate (or should that be, more unusual
), then I'll change it, but...


VI. Danger Zone.
The harsh light swirled in many shades of blue. It had been a mere few seconds perhaps, but it already seemed like hours. Weaver closed his tired eyes, but the light still penetrated through his eyelids.
“This is necessary,” he told himself. “I must be ready to fly the moment we’re there… otherwise, it might be too late.”
But the necessity of it didn’t make it any easier. It wasn’t so much the harsh light that was the problem – it had been just as bright during every other jump he’d made, after all. It was… the helplessness. He felt as if he had no control, and the fear that gnawed at the back of his mind – the fear that gnawed at anyone who had ever been in a wormhole – assailed him with doubled strength. What if something went wrong? What if some strange sort of malfunction caused the Ferret to break away from the Krak’ni’hra? Would he still be able to get back out of the wormhole, without a jump drive? Logic told him that this was possible, but the irrational part of his mind kept telling him otherwise.
He opened his eyes again. It was as if someone had repainted the cockpit with bright azure paint. But the colours kept changing. He looked outside. The tunnel was all around him. The only reassurance was the bulk of the Krak’ni’hra, which he could see above his head. His hands were shaking, Weaver realised.
“This is just a normal jump.” He intoned. “A jump like any other.”
And just when he thought he couldn’t stand any more, they were thrown out of the wormhole back into normal space. He breathed a sigh of relief.
“I’m launching, Krak’ni’hra.” He spoke after switching the comms back on. “Coming, Rhe’dhi?” With that, he switched on the engines. Automatically, the Kamekh’s grapples let go of the Ferret, and he was flying on his own power – in control once again. As the tiny ship gained velocity, he turned back towards the Corvette. He could see Rhe’dhi’s Broadsword pulling away from the elevator.
“Weaver?” Paladin’s voice came over the comm link. “Change of plans, lad. We’re still heading for the asteroid belt, but at a different vector.”
“Sir? What’s going on?” Lawrence asked. But he already had some suspicions.
“Pete Browning gave us the coordinates of Confed destroyer. We’re heading over there to check it out.”
“Colonel… you know he might well be lying. Is it worth the risk?”
A burst of static emerged from the speakers; Taggart sighing, perhaps? “Weaver, I know the risk. But… if there is any chance that there is a Confed ship still out there, we have to try. We owe it to them.”
Lieutenant Lawrence nodded grimly. What Paladin said was true. It was their mission – their duty – to find the survivors of the Sixth Fleet. Any survivors. “All right, sir. I understand. But I don’t like this.”
“Neither do I, lad. I truly hope we won’t regret this, but…” the Colonel left it hanging. “Anyway, I’m transmitting your new nav data.”
“Receiving… done.” Weaver replied after a few seconds. As he did, he turned in the direction of the new nav point. He decelerated, and the Broadsword pulled into formation. “How far ahead of the Corvette d’you want us?”
“Close escort for the first half-hour, and then you’ll fly a standard diamond patrol ahead of us. You can see the precise data on your computer.”
“That’s a roger… Weaver out.” Ah, well. Close escort means plodding along at the Kamekh’s speed, he thought. It will be difficult to stay awake… he hadn’t slept since the Krak’ni’hra met the Concordia… when? Must have been some seventeen hours ago. And now, it looked like it would be another five hours… at least. Thank God they had those energy pills – except that one could only go so long on those before having to sleep it off. Maybe if the Kilrathi turned up… no, thank you. I’d rather not, he decided. So far, he fought the Kilrathi twice – and both times were decidedly unpleasant. Boredom can be a good thing, Lawrence thought as he switched on the autopilot.
* * *
There was something utterly exhilarating about looking through the huge front windows of a spaceship rushing headlong towards the stars. One could hardly believe there was a war on… unless of course, he caught a glimpse of the Ferret and Broadsword, one on either side of the ship. Paladin still remembered the times before the war – back then, there had actually been a few luxury cruisers operating out of Sol Sector. Who knows? Maybe there still is one or two, in the relative safety of Humanity’s home system.
The Ferret suddenly jolted forward on afterburners. Just as suddenly, it looped back towards them. In a split second, it was out of their sight. In the corner of his eye, Colonel Taggart saw it zoom past the side window.
“Uh, Weaver, what are you doing?” Talon spoke into the comms. “The radar is clear.”
“I know… I’m just shaking myself awake.” Weaver’s sleepy voice came over the speakers. “Gonna do a quick lap around you and then get back in position, Krak’ni’hra.”
Paladin chuckled. “That boy loves to fly, that’s for sure.”
Talon looked up to where James was standing. “We all do.” He replied.
“I wish you could’ve flown the Scimitar, lad. But…”
“I know… I can’t fly a ship when I can’t even grasp the control stick.” He sounded resigned. “I remember what you said about this,” he gestured about the room. “But, I can’t help but to think about it sometimes… what did it feel like, to fly the Scim after all these years?”
Paladin looked down on the floor, and then back out the window. “I’m not about to start lying to you, lad. It felt incredible… just incredible.” His words weren’t much, but they both knew that no words could adequately express what he wanted to convey. “What about you, Hharak? Do you miss flying?” Paladin suddenly asked. Sometimes, the Kilrathi was so silent that they forgot he was there.
Hharak, who stood at the helm, stared at him, as if in surprise. “Ith iss ah great hon’norr to khom’andh…” he said, more to himself than to them. “Ith iss nhath whise tho dwelh h’on the passt.”
Talon exchanged an amused glance with James. They both knew the Kilrathi had just neatly sidestepped an affirmative answer. So it gets to them too, Captain Burkheimer mused.
The room fell silent for a while, as each of them sank deeper into their own thoughts.
Suddenly, the comm came alive. “Krak’ni’hra?” It was Weaver. “Half-hour’s up. If your radar’s clear, we’re ready to start our patrol.”
“Our radar’s clear, Weaver.” Talon quickly replied. He looked up at Paladin, who nodded. “All right. You’re cleared to go, Patrol One.”
“Patrol One?” Lawrence laughed.
“Well… you know. In case we find Confed ships.” Jeffrey replied with a grin.
“Ah… I see. All right then… Patrol One out.”
Outside the front window, the two fighters sped up and rapidly moved far ahead of the Krak’ni’hra. Resolutely, Talon turned back to the console. It may not be what I had out there, he thought, but it’s close enough for me…
* * *
As the dark smudge on the horizon grew larger, Weaver realised that they were approaching the asteroid field at last. Well, that was halfway there, and if things went well, they’d be back at the Krak’ni’hra in an hour or so. Already, they had checked one of their nav points, and they’d get to the second one – in the asteroids – soon enough. Then another nav point, back to the Kamekh, and then… then the destroyer. Assuming, of course, that there actually was a destroyer. But what other possibilities were there? Either nothing at all, or Kilrathi ships. And surely, the man wouldn’t lead them to the enemy – it would be his head as well as theirs. Traitors aren’t brave enough to risk that. Javelin certainly wasn’t… then again, he wasn’t exactly a traitor. Came close, though. Well then, it’s not so bad, Weaver decided. Either we find a Confed ship, or we find nothing. And if we find nothing? We’re here to search. So that’s what we’ll do.
“Weaver?” It was Rhe’dhi, his face appearing in the comm screen.
“What’s up?” Lawrence quickly replied, also switching to visual transmission. The two ships were within a hundred metres of each other; so with tight-beam comms, they didn’t need to worry about the enemy intercepting their conversation.
“I dho nhath wishh tho inthr’rapt yhor think’hing, bhat I h’am currioss abouth yho.”
“That’s ok… I’m just trying to stay awake, so I’ll appreciate the conversation.” Even as he spoke, Weaver stifled a yawn.
“Thankh yho. Ith iss yhor naym thath I whond’r abouth. The Thee Ee.”
“What the T E stands for?”
“Yhes. Ith iss currioss hhow yho dho nhath uss yhor prrop’r naym.”
“To tell you the truth, I’ve gone by my callsign for so long, that I sometimes forget I have a first name. After… Javelin, I didn’t want to be friends with anyone. Figured I couldn’t trust anyone. Now… I don’t know. Maybe that was a mistake, maybe not. I’m still uncertain about all this. But the point is, when I was transferred to Krieger, I didn’t introduce myself with my first name; only with my callsign. Kept things as impersonal as I could.”
“Ah. I h’undersstand, I thinkh.” But judging from the perplexed look in Rhe’dhi’s eyes, he didn’t. It is hard for him to comprehend my situation, Weaver thought, because no Kilrathi would ever abandon their wingmate.
“I know it’s tough for you to understand my actions. Sometimes I don’t understand myself, either. But when Javelin abandoned me… I’d never felt such fear before.” Lawrence grinned. “I’ve looked at the tape of that flight several times… each time, I’m shocked by how I managed to perform the right manoeuvres, when I was shaking inside that ship. For your sake, I hope you will never have to face that fear, Rhe’dhi.”
“I won’th. ‘My wingman is my guardian.’” Rhe’dhi replied, stressing the correct pronunciation, and his confidence in the words.
“’And I am my wingman’s guardian?’” Weaver grinned at the Kilrathi’s pointed remark. “I won’t abandon you like that.” I nearly have… he thought. But it won’t happen again. “Oh, by the way, the T E stands for Terrence Edward… usually, I just went with Terry, though my family… my mother sometimes insisted on using both names. Terrence Edward, clean up you room right now…” he laughed. He hadn’t recalled his childhood in a long time, Terry realised. That was when everything had still been simple. The war was nothing to worry about – it was out there somewhere far, far away. Now it was the opposite. The war was here, and home was far away.
“Mmotherrs somm’thimess arr strrange. Bhat ith iss bekhoss they arr prroud of theirr cubss.” Rhe’dhi replied, sounding very philosophical about the issue.
Weaver laughed at his wingmate’s resigned tone. “Yours too, huh?” Somehow, that made him feel a lot better. Another common trait between the two species – at times, he wondered if perhaps there weren’t more traits uniting them than there were separating. Certainly, both species had a lot to learn from each other. A lifetime wouldn’t be enough…
* * *
“All right, Rhe’dhi. I think we’ve gone far enough in.” Said Weaver, as he pulled a tight turn around an asteroid.
“Agrreedh. Therr iss nhathing hheerr.” They had been flying about the asteroid belt for several minutes now, without encountering a single enemy craft.
Still, the rocks were enough to wake me up, Lawrence thought dryly. Nothing like a joyride through an asteroid belt…
“Select nav three and let’s get going then.” Get going – as if. They’d be back here soon enough, together with the Krak’ni’hra. That would be even more… fun. The Kamekh would have to cut its way into the belt. Well, we’ll get over that hurdle when we get to it, Terry decided. He pressed a few keys on the nav console, and the display changed. A marker appeared on his HUD, pointing in the direction of the new nav point. Of course, they could only head in its very general direction, the way they were tacking in between the asteroids.
Slowly, they made their way towards the edge of the wide belt of rocks. As they did so, Weaver took a sideways glance, to see how Rhe’dhi was doing. The Broadsword was just fine, though it had to stay in constant sideways motion.
He frowned. Was that a flash of light, beyond Rhe’dhi’s ship?
There it was again, like the crackling of a shield in contact with a rock.
“Rhe’dhi…” he whispered into the radio. There, right there! A ray of light reflected off a piece of reddish metal, sticking out from beyond an asteroid. “Over there.”
“Dho yho hhav probhlemss whith yhor sysstem? I khannhath hheerr yho.”
“Sorry.” He replied, speaking louder this time. “I was whispering – instinct, I guess. There’s an enemy fighter watching us.”
“Wherr… ah. I see hhim. Yho hhav good eyess.” Rhe’dhi replied after a few seconds. “And hhe iss sskilled. The asst’rroidss prrotect hhim from arr radarr. Bhat… Lheth uss ssurrpriss hhim.”
“Indeed.” Weaver agreed. As they continued moving towards the edge of the asteroids, they approached the Kilrathi fighter, seemingly manoeuvring in that direction simply to avoid collisions.
Suddenly, there was a flash of light as the Kilrathi fighter kicked into afterburners, zooming out from behind the rock.
“He’s on to us! Let’s engage!” Lawrence exclaimed. Without any further attempts at deceit, the two fighters flew straight towards the enemy fighter, gunning asteroids out of their way. The Kilrathi too, charged towards them guns blazing.
As they got closer to the enemy ship, Weaver stared at it in surprise. It was a design unlike any of the others he’d faced. Actually, it looked like a strange hybrid between the Jalkehi and the Dralthi, taking the extended hull from the first and the wide, semi-circular wings from the other. Then he remembered a recent Intel update he’d read. “It’s a Gothri! The new heavy fighter!”
“Indheedh! I hhav ohnlhy rreessenthly hherrd of theess!”
By now, they’d entered the gun range of the Gothri, and Weaver rolled to the side to avoid a volley from the enemy’s guns. That ship is bloody well armed, he realised. Two mass drivers, and a pair of particle cannons to boot. Frantically, he forced his mind to recall the other details of the ship’s design, but he couldn’t – there were none. Intel warned of the fighter’s appearance, but as yet knew little of its capabilities.
He performed another roll as a blast of destructive energy flew past. Then he quickly slipped in behind an asteroid. As Weaver turned his fighter around, he saw the Gothri fly past, now concentrating on the Broadsword.
“That’s it… just a second more…” Lawrence whispered to himself, as his targeting computer tried to get a missile lock. There. There was the tone. He flipped the cap off the missile trigger, and firmly pressed down on the button.
“What the hell?” The missile flew straight for the Kilrathi fighter, and then straight on as the Gothri altered its course slightly. It flew right past the enemy ship and onwards, slamming into an asteroid. But he still had tone…
“Oh, shit!” Weaver swore, as he realised what was going on. Obviously I’m not fully awake, he thought as he switched on the afterburners. That wasn’t his missile tone. The Ferret jolted forward, racing in a zigzag between asteroids. “Rhe’dhi! There are two of them!” He yelled into the comm.
“Weaver? Wherr arr yho?” Came Rhe’dhi’s reply. Suddenly, Weaver realise that the Broadsword was gone from his view, together with the enemy ship. Somewhere to the side, he saw a flash of light, but the asteroids obscured the view. Now both he and his wingmate were alone.
As he charged on between the rocks, Lawrence took a quick look behind him, hoping to see where the missile was. Over there, and behind it was the second Gothri.
Suddenly, he saw a huge asteroid in his forward view. “Dammit!” He screamed as he pulled the flight stick to the side. The Ferret avoided collision just barely, but the missile struck the asteroid a split second afterwards. Before he could do anything, the shockwave of the explosion caught up with him. Like a mere pebble, his Ferret was lobbed against another rock. His instruments went berserk as the shields went down, the armour broke off and…
He was alive. His ship’s armour had been enough to withstand the collision – barely. But the cabin was dark, with all of the dashboard displays shut down. No power.
“Come on, Rhe’dhi. Where are you?” Weaver spoke into the mike, though he knew that the comms were also down. Looking out through the windows, he realised that he seemed to be alone amongst the asteroids. Even the other Gothri was out of sight.
He saw the missile explode… probably thinks I’m dead, Lawrence realised. And he’s probably gone after the Broadsword… two against one, Rhe’dhi would be in grave trouble.
“Oh, dammit!” He pounded the dashboard in frustration. Soon enough, emergency power – unless that too, was damaged – would kick in. But he had no time to spare. Again, he looked out through the windows. Far away, he saw another flash. So that’s where they were. “Come on… hurry up.” He cajoled his ship.
Finally, there was a short beep and his systems started coming back online. The computer screen came up with an explanation of the power failure, but Weaver wasn’t looking at it. Even as the engines powered up, he was already steering his ship to where he saw the flashes. Though he knew it could cost him his life, he switched the burners on again. Several seconds later, he pulled a tight turn, and slid out from behind a particularly large rock.
Beyond it, he saw the three ships. Rhe’dhi’s Broadsword was badly outmatched, whatever manoeuvrability he might have had being effectively useless in the asteroid belt. The two Gothri had him in a crossfire, and his shields were already breaking.
There was no time to spare, Weaver realised. He charged towards the three ships, arming his other heat-seeker. One of the Gothris’ rear turrets started firing at him, but he easily slipped in between the blasts. Three… two… one… lock! As soon as the missile had locked on, he’d already pressed the trigger. He saw the heat-seeker zoom towards the Gothri, not giving him even a second for evasive flying.
The missile struck the cat right in the engines. “Eat that, furball!” Lawrence shouted as the Gothri flipped out of control, and slammed into an asteroid. Its shields and armour destroyed by the heat-seeker, the enemy fighter couldn’t withstand this crash. It snapped in half and then was no more; its power plant had exploded.
Rhe’dhi, meanwhile, had turned the tables on the other Gothri. Though he was outgunned, he still had superior armour. The enemy ship couldn’t withstand the deadly exchange of fire. Even before Weaver could join in, one of Rhe’dhi’s shots penetrated the Gothri’s cabin and burnt straight into the engines. The enemy ship suddenly flared up and dissipated into debris.
Lawrence breathed a sigh of relief, as he decelerated the ship. “Are you all right, Rhe’dhi?” He finally asked when his heartbeat slowed down enough for him to actually speak.
“Yhess. Yho khame jhast in thyme. Thankh yho.” Rhe’dhi’s face appeared on his screen. The Kilrathi looked tired, but jubilant. “Yho hhad savedh mhy lhife.”
“Don’t worry about it.” Weaver grinned. “’Together we fight.’”
On the screen, he saw Rhe’dhi also smile. “Indheedh. ‘Toghether whe fhight.’ Bhat nhow whe musth konthinhue the flight.”
“That’s a roger.” Lawrence agreed. “And let’s keep our eyes open… I’d hate to have the Krak’ni’hra run into any such surprises.”
* * *
As the reddish bulk got closer, Weaver finally allowed himself the luxury of closing his tired eyes for a few seconds. There was no doubt that this was the Krak’ni’hra. Already, his targeting system had locked on and identified the ship as friendly.
“TCS Krak’ni’hra… this is… Patrol One.” He spoke into mike with great relief. “We’ve checked things out for you… asteroid belt is reasonably secure.”
“Reasonably?” At last, came Captain Burkheimer’s answer. He appeared on the screen, running a hand through his blond hair. “What exactly happened out there, Lieutenant?”
“We ran into a wing of those new Gothri fighters in the belt. They’d been hiding amongst the rocks… it was a close fight.”
“My God…” Talon’s reply indicated that he was scanning their ships for damage. “I can see that.” Then he grinned. “I thought you said you wouldn’t trash any more ships, Weaver.”
Lawrence couldn’t help but to laugh. “I’ll try harder next time… honest.” The two of them exchanged another round of grins, except that Weaver’s grin turned into a huge yawn. “Can we land now? We’ll need to get our ships fixed up a bit before we take off again.”
“Umm… hang on.” Talon paused for a second, his eyes focusing somewhere above the screen. “Yep, the Colonel’s given you clearance. Come on in.”
“Thanks, Krak’ni’hra. Weaver out.”
Slowly but surely, the two ships approached the Corvette. Yet again, Lawrence wondered about the Kamekh’s structure. It was much, much different to anything the Confederation had produced. The long hull and the wings made it look more like an overgrown fighter than a capital ship. But then, Weaver grinned at the thought, isn’t a Corvette basically an overgrown fighter? Or is it more like a shrunken destroyer?
He started decelerating as his Ferret slipped under the bridge – which was at the front of the ship, right where the cabin in a fighter would be. Overgrown fighter it is, then. He peered up, at the gaping mouth that had been painted on the underside of the hull. But it sure looks fierce, he decided.
With a deft manoeuvre – docking was one thing he had to do frequently as a test pilot – he pulled up right beneath the hatch. From above, the Kamekh’s grapples came down to link up with his ship. I’m home, Weaver thought with relief as he felt the grapples seize the ship.
He waited a few more seconds, and finally opened the hatch in the top of the cabin.
“Oh, darn it.” Lawrence looked up. Why, oh, why were there so many rungs on the ladder leading up into the Krak’ni’hra? Why, just this once, couldn’t I dock at the elevator? Haven’t I suffered enough?
No other way though, he concluded. With weary hands, he pulled himself through the top of the cabin, up into the tunnel above. One by one, he climbed the rungs. At last, he reached the top. He pressed a recessed button on the side of the tunnel, and the hatch above him slid open. It was a relief to finally see the dim interior of the Kamekh. A pity that there would be no rest for him – not yet.
Through a supreme effort, he pulled himself through this second hatch, and froze. There was a pair of feet in front of him.
“Sir… it really wasn’t my fault this time…” Weaver started explaining, but broke off when he heard Paladin chuckle. A hand reached down from above, and helped him onto his feet. Leaning heavily against the wall, Lawrence looked into Colonel Taggart’s grinning face.
“Relax, laddie. I’m here to help ye with the repairs.”
“Oh…” Weaver grinned devilishly. “Well, what are you waiting for?”


Do try to to hurry up this time
. I've actually got Chapter VII pretty much ready now, so the sooner I get some comments...
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Ahhh, the glory daysof the Terran-Kilrathi War, of 3rd-generation fighters, of dogfights among the asteroid fields. Well done, Quarto. This certainly brings back memories.

"In fighters, one must seek to become a well-oiled machine.....because in the end, the ultimate to flame the enemy and screw his old lady." -Anonymous Top Gun instructor


OK, so to stop Quarto from bitching that he only gets one replay in three days I'll post something.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial">quote:</font><HR>“Pete Browning gave us the coordinates of Confed destroyer.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Should be a Confed destroyer.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial">quote:</font><HR>he hadn’t slept since the Krak’ni’hra met the Concordia… when? Must have been some seventeen hours ago.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Sevemteen hours? That sounds somewhat unlikely, they already jumped what, two times? In system travel isn't exactly that fast. Maybe you should change it to "He hadn't slept since that dogfight in the asteroids..."

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial">quote:</font><HR>And now, it looked like it would be another five hours… at least. Thank God they had those energy pills – except that one could only go so long on those before having to sleep it off. Maybe if the Kilrathi turned up… no, thank you. I’d rather not, he decided. So far, he fought the Kilrathi twice –<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Twice? Wasn't there only one dogfight?

A good soldier is not the one who die for his country, it's the one who makes his enemy die for his.
Gen. Patton

[This message has been edited by Earthworm (edited February 28, 2000).]
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Unknown Enemy
Firehawk: Thanks
. Although bringing back memories is a secondary objective.

Earthworm: A Confed destroyer it is

Seventeen hours is fine. If you take away the two hours or so in the Goddard System, you're left with about fifteen hours of travel - and note that that's basically all in one system, since they only jumped at the end of this time slot. Fifteen hours at 150kps is... a lot. Given the fact that WC 1 and 2 distances between nav points were usually around 30,000-70,000, methinks the 8,100,000 should be enough
. Even if you take away a very generous five hours for the Drayman encounter, that's still 5,400,000.

You're not paying attention, Earthworm
. There had been one dogfight, but Weaver had fought the Kilrathi twice in his life. The first time being his patrol flight with Javelin, as described in Chapter I.
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Unknown Enemy
Jumping, yes. But you have to travel between the jump points, and that takes a bit longer.


Rear Admiral
Alright. Here we go...again.

"But the necessity of it didn’t make it any easier." - Skip "of it" to reduce "it"s.

"repainted the cockpit with bright azure paint." - "Repainted the cockpit a bright azure." to avoid two "paint"s.

"He breathed a sigh of relief." - That was sure building some tension. Too bad nothing happened. *yawn* =D

"he was flying on his own power" - Hmm. Pedal powered Ferret?

"but at a different vector." - What's the vector victor? Only kidding. It's fine.

"But he already had some suspicions." - "His suspicions?"

"the coordinates of Confed destroyer." - Earthworm already pointed this one out.

"he fought the Kilrathi twice" - I believe the correct tense would be "he had fought."
* * *
"There was something utterly exhilarating about looking through the huge front windows of a spaceship rushing headlong towards the stars." - Comma after "spaceship" for readability.

"So it gets to them too," - Heh. Human traits in Kilrathi? How quaint.

"Patrol One?" - Patrol One? =D
* * *
"As the dark smudge on the horizon grew larger," - Horizon? In space? Um...okay.

"But what other possibilities were there?" - "But what were the other possibilities?"

"Either nothing at all, or Kilrathi ships." - Um. This is odd. He traces patroling the nav points then considers an enemy encounter or lack of it as "other possibilities." I guess you could attribute it to lack of sleep.

"the man wouldn’t lead them to the enemy" - I know Weaver forgets names, but maybe a little more specific like "the suspicious man."

“I dho nhath wishh tho inthr’rapt yhor think’hing,” - How "Kilrathi."

"Kept things as impersonal as I could." - And you say my characters ramble on.

"The war was here, and home was far away." - Wow. You really get that message through well.

"bekhoss they arr prroud of theirr cubss." - LOL!

"Another common trait between the two species" - How true...though I would never had considered it.

"A lifetime wouldn’t be enough…" - Aye. It never is.
* * *
"get over that hurdle when we get to it," - "When we come to it."

"it had to stay in constant sideways motion." - You just used "sideways." How about "had to yaw/dodge constanly?"

"Over there, and behind it was the second Gothri." - That comma should probably be an en-dash.

"His ship’s armour had been enough to withstand the collision" - It would be simpler to say "His ship's armour had withstood the collision."

"the enemy fighter couldn’t withstand this crash." - "The crash?"
* * *
"Can we land now?" - That's almost as good as Ickus saying "Is going back to bed an option?"

"grapples came down to link up with his ship." - Hmm. How about "to meet/catch his ship?"

As for the story, highly amusing. I like it better that way. The battle was very well paced and descriptive. All in all, it's come out very nicely balanced.
You've got the next chapter ready? Man, these comments will finish me off.
I haven't worked on my story for over a week...but at least I got some drawing done.

[This message has been edited by Matrix (edited March 02, 2000).]
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Ahh, I like dogfights in an asteroid field, at least when I'm in a light manoeverable fighter!
(would've put a big grin here but I don't like Pokémon!)

Good description of the ongoing fight. In an asteroid field I think the Broadsword actually stands a chance to survive the attack of two Gothris at the same time. I think that in open space it would have been almost helpless against them.

One point, though. And don't, by all means, take this the wrong way! IMO, when you describe the thoughts of Talon about him not being able to fly a fighter anymore, you don't always have to mention his attempts to persuade himself that his present job is ok, too. I think you already did it two times. But that's just my irrelevant opinion!

No one will hear your cry of death in the void of space
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Quarto:
Jumping, yes. But you have to travel between the jump points, and that takes a bit longer.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

IMO, it should still be at least 1.5 days, not 17 hours.
Traveling between jump points does take time.
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Unknown Enemy
Earthworm: I've already given you the numbers... they most definitely can cover that much ground, especially since we don't know just how far the two jump points are from each other. They don't actually have to be on opposite ends of the system, you know.

Nighthawk: You have to consider that your opinion is very much shaped by the game, where difficulty was limited by the AI. In a story, there is no such limit; a Gothri is a very dangerous craft, you know.
Yes, I've mentioned Talon trying to persuade himself twice now. But picture yourself in his situation. You've just lost - permanently - a very important part of yourself. Wouldn't you have a hard time trying to adapt yourself to the situation? Remember, for Talon flying wasn't just a job.

Matrix: Ok, let's get started.

1. All right. It kinda breaks the flow though. How about "the necessity of it [...] make things any easier"?
2. True.
3. That's the whole point. Jumps are probably 99% safe - but imagine the consequences of that 1%. Had the Ferret broken off somehow, could it still get out of the wormhole? It is almost inevitable that Weaver would have been obsessed with that thought, particularly since normally one is aboard a ship with a jump drive when jumping. Anyway, I'm glad to see that the tension got across
Pedals take a lot less space than a normal engine...
5. -
6. Hmmm... nah. "He" and "his" in the same - short - sentence? A bit clumsy.
7. Indeed. And it has been corrected.
8. True.
9. Agreed.
10. How do you know it's not a Kilrathi trait in Humans
? WC inevitably focuses on the differences, because it's always been about the war. I've got the Kilrathi on both sides, so I can afford to shed some light on the commonalities.

12. Well, it's the usual problem of defining the edge of vision where there is no such edge. But most people don't really worry about the proper meaning of horizon. As far as I'm concerned, the limits of vision would form the horizon in space - if only because people are too lazy to come up with a better term
13. No. I know it's not really correct, but it sounds better, somehow.
14. Could be lack of sleep... but not his
. Actually, he's thinking about that destroyer. The destroyer, logically, would almost have to be found by itself - otherwise, it wouldn't be there. But if it's not there, then there are two other possibilities - vacuum, or the Kilrathi.
15. That makes the sentence kinda wrong... dunno why. We know who he's talking about, and we know he's suspicious. Isn't that enough

17. Everybody has to ramble on every once in a while
18. Thank 'ee.
19 + 20 + 21. Which is exactly why I brought it up. I think it's unfair to keep talking about the Kilrathi being blood-thirsty and all that. Undeniably, they are a predatory species - but so are Humans. And I don't think people would appreciate it if I started pointing out how the two species share nasty traits
22. Ok.
23. "Though it had to keep yawing back and forth." How's that?
24. True. Though I never thought you'd suggest that I use more of those
25. Aye.
26. Roger that.
28. "Catch" it is then.

Thank 'ee. As you can see, the story is actually starting to move in the right direction now
Hey, get back to that keyboard
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Rear Admiral
1. Yes, if [...] = "don't."

3. I don't need to imagine. You forget I've played Elite where misjumps weren't uncommon.

6. But "some" is somewhat disjointed. *shrug*
10. Good question. Maybe humans are more Kilrathi than Kilrathi are human.
12. How about "in the distance" then? Unless a HUD displays an artificial horizon.
13. *shrug* I didn't understand it when I first read it. That's why I suggested the change.
14. Now that makes much more sense...I think.

15. Actually I did't realise who he was talking about until the next sentence, hence the comment.
18. Well I'm also trying to get the point through that war isn't fun and games, thus such melancholic characters.
20. That's why I liked Kokonut's story and Dralthi5's Prologue too. It's about time somebody made humans the savages.
23. Er, yawing goes side to side, not to and fro.
24. I will if it's the right tool for the job, and that sentence needed a longer pause.

BTW, I agree with Quatro's times/distances - cause I use about the same time scale in my story.

And I have a way for Talon to fly once more. That is if he can wait till (2681) section 7 of Recall.

Well I'm still at the now what?
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Rear Admiral
Ignore this. Silly IE5 posted twice and never showed up.

[This message has been edited by Matrix (edited March 03, 2000).]


Unknown Enemy
12. Agreed. "In the distance" it is.
15. There's really not all that many people in this story
20. Well, I've got Javelin
... of course, he doesn't really appear very much.
I was wondering if you'll point that out. Actually, "side to side" is something I didn't think of. I'll change it.

It's been a bad week when it comes to spelling of my name
. You're like the 100th person to swap the t and the r.
Hmm. Are you actually thinking of throwing Talon in? I think that's safe - I mean, I don't think he appears in any of the novels, anyway. Better check with Earthworm though

You're still at the keyboard... so start typing your story, that's what
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Quarto:
It's been a bad week when it comes to spelling of my name
. You're like the 100th person to swap the t and the r.
Hmm. Are you actually thinking of throwing Talon in? I think that's safe - I mean, I don't think he appears in any of the novels, anyway. Better check with Earthworm though

He he, I didn't know I was such an expert.
The Talon is only seen once in the games after Priv in P2, and it doesen't appear in any of the novels. However using Talons wouldn't be strange in any way, Confed still used T-bolts, whitch desing is probably around the same age as Talons, and since it's probably going to be used by Pirates and Privateers, well, they can't afford to buy new ships when they're released.

A good soldier is not the one who die for his country, it's the one who makes his enemy die for his.
Gen. Patton
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Quarto:
Wrong Talon, Earthworm
. We mean the person.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Damn you Quarto, damn you!
That Talon would probably be too old to fly in 2681. Though his age is never give IIRC, he is a Major, which is a hight rank, so I'd assume he's at least Maniacs/Blairs age. He'd defintly be to old to fly in the time of Prophecy. Also, that Talon is never seen again after WC2. He could have been killed on the Concordia, unless he decided to stay permanently involved with Paladins SO unit.

A good soldier is not the one who die for his country, it's the one who makes his enemy die for his.
Gen. Patton
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Unknown Enemy
Actually, he's a Captain, and he's younger than Blair. Most likely, he's in his twenties. And even if he's Blair's age... Blair wasn't too old to fly in 2681

Ok, if he didn't appear any more, then I guess he's safe to use - he wouldna have died on the Concordia, because that was a temporary assignment; besides, following the explosion he was no longer useful as a pilot. It's entirely possible that he would've been transferred to Intel, where his knowledge of Kilrathi would be quite useful.
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Quarto:
Actually, he's a Captain, and he's younger than Blair. Most likely, he's in his twenties. And even if he's Blair's age... Blair wasn't too old to fly in 2681


Sure he was. He was 50, meanwhile Paladin in WC1 already says he's almost at the age limit for a pilot when he was 45 IIRC. Blair flown only two missions of the Midway, because they needed every one that could fly, that doesen't change the fact that he was to old. I'd say Talon was in his late 20, early 30 in WC2, so he's have to be near the age limit for pilots himself in 2681.
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Unknown Enemy

So, as you can see, even if we assume the oldest possible age for Talon, he ends up being younger in '81 than Paladin was in '54. And if we assume that he was only 25, then in '81 he's only 39. So there
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Quarto:

So, as you can see, even if we assume the oldest possible age for Talon, he ends up being younger in '81 than Paladin was in '54. And if we assume that he was only 25, then in '81 he's only 39. So there

True, but remember, we don't know his age, and just because he's a Captain doesen't mean he has to be that much younger than Blair. Maniac is about the same age as Blair, but he's just a Major. Talon probably didn't do anything heroic (suicidal
) like Blair and Maniac did, so he didn't get promoted that often, he was alos a test pilot, and we don't know if he flew as a standard combat pilot before. So if he flew as a test pilot for most of his military carear, he also wouldn't be promoted as much because wasn't on the firing line.
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